flashback friday

Welcome to Flashback Friday, wherein I shamelessly post blog posts of yesteryear in the name of familial nostalgia!

SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010

snapshots

I had a very well thought out and intentional anniversary post almost finished. Blogger was being weird and wasn’t letting me save it, but it was okay because I was almost finished. And then Bug pushed the power button on my computer and the computer just shut down. Saving nothing. So I tried again today, but I can only upload a few pictures. I’m so frustrated with trying to get the rest uploaded that I’m in no frame of mind to wax eloquent about our last five years. So enjoy the photos, and maybe I’ll be mushy tomorrow. :)







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flashback friday

Welcome to Flashback Friday, wherein I shamelessly post blog posts of yesteryear in the name of familial nostalgia!

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2010

five years ago

…I married my best friend. I knew he was sweet, thoughtful, Godly, and hardworking, but I had no idea the man I would discover him to be. Five years later, he’s proven himself to be a man of character, integrity, and wisdom. Shawn remains my best friend but is also now my comforter, my solace, my sanity, my laughter, and my leader. His presence in my life is evidence of God’s love and provision for me, as I certainly didn’t do anything to deserve his (or His) love.


We’re taking some time this weekend to spend with one another and celebrate our marriage, but I’ll be back with more wedding photos soon!

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back to school

I can’t hear the phrase “back to school” without hearing Adam Sandler singing, “back to school, back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool.” I’m not saying I’m proud of that fact, but if you’re under the age of thirty-five I know you’ve said in the shower, “shampoo is better. I go on first and clean the hair!”

Anyway. So the boys had their first day back at school on Tuesday! Sweet Cohen was having a tough time leaving, but he had such a great day! Jude is doing awesome and seems to be enjoying his class, his teachers, and even his work so far. And me? I miss my little friends, it’s true. It’s weird to go from having them right by my side all day long to suddenly having a bit of alone time. What luxuries do I indulge in with my sudden free time? You know it, foster care paperwork!

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Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.

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Isaiah 49:13 Shout for you, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.

[The above photos got blurry when I uploaded them to wordpress, but my tradition of choosing a verse to pray over them for their school year continues!]DSC03365

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[One of my favorite shots I got. Cohen was saying, "I love you one hundred million times!" and Jude's content smile gets me every time.]DSC03363

[Another one of my favorites. I told them to show me how they felt about school starting!]

All summer Jude has been saying, “I’m not ready for school to start. Because when school starts, I have to tell all the girls, ‘Giants ARE real. They’re just grown up people. Goliath was real and he was a giant!’ And I am just not ready for that.” It truly stressed him out that he’d have to have that conversation with those girls AGAIN. (: He also told me the girls insisted that mermaids were real and that one had been discovered washed up on a beach. As I’m sure you can imagine, he was exasperated at the whole interaction. Luckily, nobody has doubted the validity of giants so far this year.]DSC03353DSC03333DSC03336DSC03338

[He was working out what kind of funny face he wanted to make, but those eyes! Oh, those eyes!]DSC03339DSC03345

[Well hey there, handsome. Look at you, just being nonchalantly cute.]

DSC03347DSC03352The boys really do love their teachers and I’m positive are going to have a great year!

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Karat-aye

One of the activities the boys enjoyed this summer was their weekly karate class! J. Bug has been begging to take karate for months, so we finally relented as a way to keep them active throughout the summer. As I suspected might happen, they weren’t quite ready to memorize the skills and sequences needed to go beyond white belts, but I’m glad we gave them an introduction to it. Bonus – they look adorable in their karate uniforms!
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Now that summer has come to a close, we’re done with karate classes and onto different activities to keep my tiny tornadoes active! Any suggestions? What do you do to keep your preschool kiddos active, exercising, and having fun?

Training Session #2

Shawn and I finished our second foster care training class yesterday, which was the Intro to Foster Care/Foster-To-Adopt class. We are thanking God for sweet friends who were willing to keep the boys from about 8am-4pm while we filled our brains with the emotional and legal aspects of foster care. We’re leaning on friends a LOT this month to watch J & C while we attend trainings. Since there’s no way we could afford to pay a babysitter for all these training hours, I have no idea what we’d do without our sweet network of friends. What a blessing they’ve already been to us!

Our next steps in paperwork include getting our home inspected [fire inspection, environmental inspection, and gas inspection] -but we need to replace a couple of smoke detectors, get a carbon monoxide detector, a rope ladder, and fire extinguishers first -diagramming and photographing our home, getting a criminal history check from our caregivers, writing up our home schedule [weekdays, weekends, and summers], finding a caregiver and daycare [our foster children won't be in daycare since I stay home, but we need to have one on file], and getting documents signed from our school system letting them know that if we foster a school-aged child, they’d be in that school. That’s about a third of the paperwork that needs to be done by this Thursday. 

[Take a deep breath, take a deep breath. One step at a time.] 

The before-lunch part of our training focused a lot on some of the emotional aspects of foster care. I’m always surprised to remember how MUCH it takes for a child to be put into the system. Sometimes up to thirty calls have been made to CPS before enough evidence for removal is found. I understand that you can’t just take kids away from their parents with little to no proof of abuse or neglect, but it always strikes me anew that ANY child we foster has been through the ringer. They wouldn’t be with us if they didn’t experience some seriously heartbreaking things.

Oh, the ministry and healing that these little hearts need! 

Some of the information we received delved a little graphically into specifics of abuse and neglect, which I think wasn’t easy for Shawn to hear. I know it will be different once we’re facing the repercussions of abuse/neglect in our home 24/7, but that part of fostering will be one of the easier parts for me. The case studies our trainer read [graphic and heartbreaking] were actually cases I’d read in college when I was writing my thesis about childhood sexual abuse and the correlation to dissociative identity disorder [formerly multiple personality disorder]. Most of the behaviors described in foster children as possibly stemming from abuse or neglect are behaviors I witnessed and dealt with in a 24/7 capacity when I interned at a children’s home. Except those kids were teenagers and significantly more dangerous and manipulative.

I’m not saying that aspect of foster care will be easy peasy mac ‘n cheesy [Cohen's favorite phrase at the moment], but I do think God has uniquely equipped me for those issues. In some of the younger children, behaviors were described that made Shawn and I laugh a little.

Child not sleeping through the night until they’re a year old? Child hitting themselves on the head and throwing tantrums three times a day that last forty minutes each? Child with social delays who needs to have common social interactions explained and practiced? Child kicking and hitting you during a tantrum? Child screaming so loudly and for so long that they lose their voice?

Um…have they met Jude? ‘Cause that last one happened just a couple weeks ago when I dared to tell him he couldn’t take Legos to bed, and all the others are happening MUCH less frequently, but were all frequent occurrences at some point in his blessed five years on this earth.

[For the record, he has a giant stack of books in his room as well as pens and paper should he not be able to sleep; he can pass the time reading or writing. Legos just make him want to build a spaceship, which then always means he needs to test it out by flying it around the room, and then of course Cohen needs to see his amazing spaceship, and before I know it both boys are wide and awake engaged in an epic space battle. And...I closed his bedroom door, went downstairs and had a good cry, then watched something with my headphones in to keep my sanity, but at an angle where I could see his room. He stopped after 1.5 hours, came downstairs the next morning, and apologized in his hoarse little voice for being so angry.]

I’m just sayin.’ Yes, the emotional aspects of fostering will NOT be easy. But between Shawn and I, we have a pretty wide breadth of experience in this area.

But. The amount of paperwork I have done/need to do while also keeping my boys from destroying each other and/or the house feels insurmountable. And sometimes – on the days when I’m not leaning on and listening to God – I feel like we’re dumb for doing this without our parents close by. That we’re only setting ourselves up to fail, and that I’ll end up being an overtired and overworked Mom who isn’t able to give any of her children what they so desperately need.

But I thought the same thing when I got pregnant with Cohen. And in that season, God taught me that if He calls us to something, He will provide EVERYthing we need. Not always what we want, and with things like patience it’s very often day-to-day provision. But He will unfailingly provide in astounding ways. Astounding ways that leave me breathless. I can’t wait to share some of those things with you. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for being part of this journey with us. 

To offset some of the tougher topics in this post, please enjoy some photos from Jude’s 5th birthday. His birthday was in November. I’m sorry-don’t hate me-later is better than never?

DSC03175DSC03176DSC03177DSC03171[Their relationship defined by a photo.]

 

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