Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blogs: What Draws You In?

Posted by Mandy at 6:56 AM 4 comments Links to this post
There's been some talk in my blog world lately about different blogs and what everyone is flocking to right now. Also, about how some blogs are being totally overtaken by reviews and give-aways, making a lot of us run and hide from their URL.

It got me thinking about how different the blogs I visit today are from the blogs I started out visiting. Some of them I've stuck with for YEARS, others I've sort of outgrown. (not to mean their blogs aren't great; just to mean that my life has changed a lot and so has the material I search for.)

When I started blogging a million years ago, I really only liked hard-core Mommy Blogs. That's exactly where I was in life and it was a breath of fresh air to find so many other moms going through the same trials that I was.

"So your baby nurses all night long, too?!"

"Your toddler spends more time in time out than anywhere else, too?!"

"You hate your 2 month post partum belly like I do?!"


Oh how I needed all of that at the time!

Fast forward to today. Life is so different! I've started my own business, become a dog rescue crazy person (because.. it will make you crazy!), and now we're getting into opening our home for children as well. That's a lot of insane stuff in a short amount of time!

This has really changed what blogs I look to, now.

I have my list of foster/adoptive home blogs that I study like crazy. I'm really stalking them all, reading all of their old blog posts about when they first started, what they went through, and seeing where they are today. I'm desperate for a glimpse into this world before we jump off into it totally in blind faith that God is leading us here - so we'll just trust that he'll see us through! If we can just make it through all of the paperwork.. oh.. the paperwork.. then I'll feel like we have a better start! (you send one completed packet of papers thinking that's it... and they send you another packet full of new things to fill out and accomplish.)
LINKY LOVE: Sugar and Spice ; The Middle Mom ; Blessings for the Good Life
**some of these may be private.. not sure. If you know of any other great blogs like these, please link me!

Next I have my list of working moms. Some work from home, some work away. Some have part-time jobs like I do, others are working 50 hours a week. They have some awesome ideas on how to keep home-life organized and smooth flowing while having other comittments. I also like that some of them have much older kids than I do... as in.. the dreaded teenagers. I sort of read about this phase of parenting the way I watch scary  movies.. just peeking through my fingers as I cover my face in horror.
LINKY LOVE: Show Me the Mom ; Confessions from a Working Mom

Then, I have my funny, witty, fashionable, in-the-know blogs. From the latest kid trends to what shoes I'm supposed to be buying for spring, this is what I'm looking for on these types of posts. I typically leave these thinking, "I can't believe she said that!" It helps me realize I'm not the only person in the world that thinks the way I do. That's a scary reality... isn't it?
LINKY LOVE: The (Un)Experienced Mom ; Where is the Me in Mommy?

There are so many more but I don't have time to link them all. Another day! :)

I'm finding new blogs each week that I really like! I love seeing how much talent is out there and reading about how other people think, live, work, and love.

Has your own life journey changed what blogs you look for? What are you into now-a-days?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...

Posted by Mandy at 8:02 AM 7 comments Links to this post

You may think you are looking at a picture of a shelf at Toys R Us, but I assure you that this is actually my 5 year old son's bed. As is this:

There is basically a stuffed animal or toy lining the entire right hand side of his bed. If you could see under the covers, you would discover that at his feet there is also another army of teddy bears keeping his toes safe as he sleeps.

I have never in my life seen a child sleep with so many things! If even one is missing, he will know it. And he will demand a search party be sent out until it is found and safely returned to its proper place. Be it by the pillow, at his feet, or by his side.

This all started about a year ago I suppose. It began with his favorite sleep partner: Tiger. You can see Tiger in the second picture - hanging out with Bear, other Bear, and Baby. (yes, he's a boy. He just names them based on what they actually are...)

His Nana bought Tiger for him a long time ago, and he started sleeping with him from day 1. Then came Baby. Next I believe was Lizard.. and on, and on. He could never give up one to sleep with another so he just kept adding to his collection. Randomly he'll have totally bizarre things thrown into the mix like a plastic snake or the pictured jellyfish type toy that feels super disgusting to the touch. Not exactly what I'd like to cuddle with all night long. When he was 2 he even went through a phase that he was totally in love with and attached to a bottle of mustard. Yes. Really.

I remember several fits as we passed the aisle in the grocery store that had all sorts of bottles and brands of mustard..

"My mustard! My mustard!"

My oh my.

It's things like this that make me wonder, "What on earth did I do to this child?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oops.. I Didn't Know I was a Lesbian

Posted by Mandy at 8:52 AM 4 comments Links to this post

This is apparently how Lindsay Lohan must be feeling.

Okay, okay.. I like TV and entertainment stuff but I've never been one to keep up with celebrity gossip and news and such unless it is broadcast via sneak attack in place of real news on my usual news networks. Thus why I had no idea LL was involved with a woman, is now split from her, but still loves her. Now you're as up to speed as I am.

I was looking for something else on People's website when I saw this news story.  By the end I couldn't help but giggle.. just a bit.

She (Lohan) says that her romantic feelings for a woman "surprised" her. Really? Wow! What a shocker that would be! You live your entire life hot for men and then one day BAM! A woman catches your eye! I mean.. come on! Is that really believable? I know a few gay people and I will tell you, they KNEW they were gay from a very early age. (as did everyone else...) I honestly don't think I've ever heard of anyone suddenly becoming bisexual in their 20s... but then again, what do I know?

I have no idea why I felt this was blog worthy, but it was strangly interesting to me, so I thought you might get a kick out of it as well.

Monday, February 22, 2010

School to Moms: No more PJ's!

Posted by Mandy at 7:27 AM 7 comments Links to this post

A school in England is telling moms to stop dressing down when bringing kids to school. No PJ's! You can read a bit about that here.

Basically, after witnessing 50 mothers bring their children to school "not properly dressed" the school's principal felt compelled to send a letter home to instruct parents to wear proper attire when dropping kids off in the mornings. He said,
“People don’t go to see a lawyer, bank manager or doctor dressed in pajamas, so why do they think it’s okay to drop their children off at school dressed like that?”
 My question is, "How does he know how I dress to go to the doctor or to the bank?"

Now, I see his point. I do try to put on a pair of jeans and at least a decent shirt to drop my kids off at school each  morning. Seeing that I'm one of the fortunate few that doesn't have to be "at work" first thing in the morning, I take full advantage of that. My hair will be in a ponytail and if I find time to throw on some powder and mascara; consider yourself lucky. Perhaps as my youngest child gets older, I'll find more time to get ready needlessly each morning to simply drop my kids off and come home and work on the computer or train dogs all day. Let's not forget the proper clothing required to mop juice off of the floor and clean bathtubs...

I could see this argument if parents were sending their kids to school inappropriately dressed. I do think that getting up and putting on 'real' clothes can set a better pace for the day.. for me it signals "okay, lazy time is over - time to get to work!" However, if I choose to look like a slob when I drop my kids off at school... what's it to ya? Maybe my everyday clothes just LOOK like PJs? I know my dog walking clothes can certainly resemble clothes I might wear to lounge around the house. A long-sleeved tee, yoga pants, and tennis shoes. (and of course, the ponytail.) For what I'm doing after dropping kids off, that IS appropriate.

What do you think? Should a school be able to dictate how PARENTS look when dropping kids off at school?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Toddlers and Colors

Posted by Mandy at 7:21 AM 4 comments Links to this post

Our youngest is Samuel, and he'll be turning three years old in just about 4 months. He has been learing so much over the past few months, it is incredible! One thing that we've struggled with: learning colors.

This is actually something I've worried at least a little bit with with all of my children. I don't know why but I have this paranoid idea that they'll be color-blind. (as if that's the worst thing ever?) So, when they hit about two years old and we start really pointing out colors and teaching them, I sit nervously to see if they get it. If they can SEE colors.

It doesn't help my fear that they've all been a bit later than I'd expect at getting them.

So, with Samuel I have been telling myself NOT to worry. That he'd get them. He'd eventually learn that an orange is actually orange and he would not be the only kid in his 4 year old preschool class that doesn't know that the sky is blue.

So, all of my pep-talking didn't work. As the months passed by, I got a bit nervous at his lack of understanding ANY colors.

"Samuel, what color is your monster truck?"
"Your monster truck is red. Can you say red?"
"Red!" (giggles, smiles, and then tells me 3 minutes later that his monster truck is white.)

White was his word of choice when it came to the Name that Color game. No matter what I associated learning colors with, he just could not grasp it. Then, the thought.

"Does he REALLY think everything is white?! Can he SEE the colors?!"

This morning, a miracle occured.

As I assembled his orange race track, as I do several times each day, he said,

"Mommy, have you seen my orange water gun? It's orange like this orange car." (as he shuffles through his 50 Hot Wheels to find the orange one.) "And it's orange like my race car track. Where is it?"

My jaw dropped and I grabbed him up, so excited!!

"Sam! You knew that was all orange!! That's great!! Good job!"

Sam, not impressed with himself as I was,

"Mommy... where is my water gun?" (it was under the cars... and yes, it is orange.)

He then promptly grabbed a green car and put it on the top of the track.

"Mommy, yook at my fast green car!" (that's not a typo.. he doesn't say "l's" very well yet.)

It was green, and I was giddy!

This is exactly as it happened with the other two. Just when I realized that EVERYONE else's two year olds knew their colors, and mine didn't, and I started freaking out, they started spitting out the info I'd been trying to fill them with since birth.

If nothing else, he'll know orange and green when he goes to Pre-K...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Agenda

Posted by Mandy at 8:38 AM 2 comments Links to this post
This Week I Will:

  • House-break and train a Boxer puppy for a new client.
  • Get myself and husband TB tested.
  • Get paperwork notorized.
  • Get the ball rolling on background checks.
  • Wait for husband's transfer letter to arrive in the mail. (please oh please!)
  • Say nothing negative to my spouse, do something unexpectedly nice for him, buy him something that lets him know I was thinking of him, call him randomly to see if I can lighten his load, ask him if I do anything that drives him batty without attacking him for his answers, and make a list of any wrong motivations I might have in our  marriage. (we're doing the Love Dare...)
  • Enjoy the nicer weather with my family
  • Continue trying to teach colors to my 2yr old... ugh.. (ongoing process..)
  • Continue potty training with the same 2yr old... double ugh
  • Play race-cars and play-doh and monster trucks with 2yr old - smile! :)
  • Pray for a special little girl that has already become a part of our family.. if only by love.
  • Get paid for a week of training a Boxer puppy - huge smile :)
  • Hope that the week's end will have a special little girl back "home" with us again. If only for the day.
I assume I don't have to list given things like cleaning the toilet 6 times a day b/c of potty training 2 year old or sweep and mop as necessary each day, right? You know the drill...

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Dreams

Posted by Mandy at 6:53 AM 2 comments Links to this post
I hesitated to post this because I'm not sure of what the reaction will be. Let's start by saying I'm not a psychic, I don't "see dead people," or anything of that nature. I've simply always found that my dreams are powerful. I've always joked that my brain is so hyper-active during my waking hours that God knows his only shot of reaching me is when I'm held hostage at night.

Not quite 3 months ago my dad passed away. The day he died, before I knew what was going on, I had a knot in my stomach the entire morning. I had an overwhelming feeling of anxiousness, of being trapped, of being uneasy. It became worse as the hours passed so I had to escape my house. I loaded the kids up and we went to Walmart just to go somewhere. After Walmart I still had this horrible nagging feeling, so we went to a flooring store here in town to price check some things I had been wondering about.

On the drive home I was nearly in tears. "Is this PMS or what?!" No... couldn't be.

No sooner had I gotten home, unloaded the kids from the van, and sat a few sacks on the kitchen table when I got the first phone call from my sister.

"The ambulance is at Dad's house and they're trying to revive him...." I could barely understand her through her crying and breathlessness, but I knew right away he was gone. I had no glimmer of hope that they would save him. I had no idea what had happened to his body, but I knew that his spirit was not in it. It's like everything came full circle.. I think I even told her within the first few minutes, "I should have known this was coming."

I had this very same occurance the day my Aunt died, who was so much more than an aunt to me. She was my other mom.

It was like God was trying to prepare me for what was to come. Like he knew me so well that he knew I couldn't handle having a fabulous day only to have it come to such a life-changing end. I don't deal well with sudden change...

When we got home from the hospital and from dad's house on the night he died, where I saw his face for one of the last precious times and touched his lifeless hands to try to hold on to what I had left, I hit my knees and begged God to let me see him again. I knew Dad was in heaven, I know I'll be there one day, but the wait from now until then is overwhelming. I screamed at God that I could NOT not see my dad again while I'm on earth. "PLEASE let him come to me when I'm asleep. PLEASE let me hug him. PLEASE let me speak to him... PLEASE!!"

Fast forward two months later. I had felt so upset that in the entire two months since Dad's passing that I'd not had one single dream of him. Not a dream that replayed a scene from our life together, not a dream where I felt that he was trying to see me in present day.. nothing. It seemed others around me were dreaming of him.. why not me? I continued to beg God for that experience. I told him I didn't just want a random dream about my dad.. I wanted him to let my dad actually come to see me. And I prayed I'd remember the dream vividly.

Finally, it happened.

My first dream was so real, and so odd. Clayton, the kids, and I were walking into my grandfather's house in DeWitt. I had a dish of some kind in my hands and my Aunt met us at the door. She had a sympathetic look on her face b/c this was the first time we'd been together since the funeral. I saw my stepmom at the table, her sons, and all of the family. Then, as I walked closer, beside my stepmom was my dad! I nearly dropped my dish! I ran over to him, grabbed his neck, smelled his scent, and said,

"Dad!! You're here! You came! You're really here!!!" I rambled off many "I love you's" and "I miss you so much"... it was as if no one else could see what was happening but he and I. I remember feeling his bearded face against my cheek and saying, "Oh, you're so warm!" Dad simply grabbed my shoulders, pushed me back so he could see me eye to eye and said, in responce to my "You're really here!"

"I am really here."

With that I woke up. I immediately prayed and thanked God for letting my dad come see me. I cried, and I sobbed. I still felt his embrace, I still smelled his scent, I still heard his voice.

Fast forward a few weeks later to last night. My second dream.

We were sitting in a car of some kind. I, again, was so happy to see him that I just wanted to crawl into his lap and never let go. However, this time it was like I was really awake and in control of the conversation. I asked questions, and he answered. It was an amazing experience.

me: "Is heaven really amazing?"

Dad: "Oh... yes.." (with a sincere nod)

me: "Do you miss anything about being alive?"

Dad: "No."

me: "NOTHING?!" (almost angry with him)

Dad: "No, nothing."

me: "You don't even miss ME?!!!" (hurt and angry)

Dad: "I don't miss you because I AM with you."

me: "Well, I miss you..."

Dad: "That's because you can't see that I'm still with you..."

me: "How's Beth doing right now?"  (my stepmom)

Dad: (chuckles) "I don't know.. I'm here with you right now!" (grins that grin...)

me: (rolls my eyes and smiles)

After that we just sat together. Then I woke up.

I can't describe the peace it gives me to see my dad in dreams. I can't tell you how many times I thanked God this morning for allowing it.

I know dreams aren't powerful for everyone, and this is why I hesitantly post this today. I honestly can't handle anyone saying "it's just a dream" because, well, I know it wasn't. In fact, both times I told Clayton, "Dad came to see me last night.." because that was just the truth.

I believe my constant prayers, crying out to God to have mercy on me and let me see my Dad while I'm still here, were answered. I pray they will continue to be answered.

I find it a bit funny that if I could have designed a dream it would probably be my dad grabbing and hugging me and telling me how much he misses me. Yet, in these dreams he's trying to make sure I KNOW he doesn't really. He's happy, he's around, and things are great. When you're with Jesus... why would you long for ANYTHING or ANYONE that you left on earth? I wonder if Dad's annoyed that I keep begging for him to come back to visit... I mean, I wouldn't want to leave paradise for even a moment. I'm thankful that it was arranged, though. And, for my own selfish reasons, I will continue to pray for more moments with my Dad... because even though our moments on earth were many, they were too few. There's never enough time with the ones we love. And any time I can grasp onto, I will.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let's Get This Ball Rollin`!

Posted by Mandy at 10:03 AM 3 comments Links to this post
I was thrilled when we got a packet in the mail from the Baptist Children's Home yesterday. Now the work begins! I've spent the morning filling out more paperwork and will hopefully get to schedule our TB tests with the Health Department next week to get that out of the way. Once our references (you know who you are.. get to filling stuff out!) ;) get their stuff turned in, I suppose we'll have our background checks and home check done, then that's it? Our home will officially be open for a child or children that are able to have a family friend! I'm so excited - and nervous.

I don't know why this makes me nervous. I guess bringing a child into your life is a big deal and worthy of having some nerves over. I think my feelings are really based more on this being totally unknown. I don't know what kid(s) will be put with us, I don't know exactly how old they'll be (though we did request ages 6-10, we also agreed to take someone other than what we requested), and I don't have a clue what background they'll have. We're in for a wild ride!

As the time draws near that we're close to being approved, I'm even thinking of what we need to do as far as sleeping arrangements. I did say that I felt a girl would be most appropriate for our family right now, so I'm wondering if bunk beds are in our future for Madison's room. If this child is going to be spending two weekends a month, at least, with us... seems as though we should be prepared!

It's a really strange feeling knowing that your family is basically under investigation as soon as you turn in all of your paperwork. I keep looking out of my window for some guy in a trench coat, smoking a pipe, looking at my van with a magnifying glass to appear. So far, no go.

I hope this can all be completed fairly quickly. I'm really ready to get this going! From what I hear it could take 1-2 YEARS to be a licensed foster home through DHS in our area.. so getting this done now will at least allow us to do something along those lines while we wait for God to open those doors. He's done a FINE job leading us here, so we'll just keep following and see where he takes us.

He did send me an amazing amount of business for this weekend and next week, so he is definitely helping us get closer to our house-building-goal. I wonder how many bedrooms he'll lead us to include in those plans...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Biggest Pet Peeve

Posted by Mandy at 10:58 AM 4 comments Links to this post
Thankfully I'm not someone that has a ton of pet peeves. The few I do have, however, REALLY annoy me. Which brings me to my morning..

For the past few days my Carter Man has been sickly. High fever, sluggish, and super still and cuddly. (which I love.. too bad he has to be contagious to want mommy to hold him now a days.) This morning he started complaining of a sore throat, so I used my wonderful nurse skills and shined a flashlight into his mouth. I discovered lots of grossness - big tonsils covered in red streaks and puss pockets. Gag. This, of course, warrants a doctor's appointment.

I call and agree to see a doctor I've only seen once because my first and second favorites are booked up. (apparently grossness is going around..) I was pleased to "only" wait one hour before getting in, and decently okay with the check up. Didn't accomplish all I wanted, but we hit the high points and were on our way to the pharmacy to get meds for both Carter and me. We both have some type of throat infection, be it strep or something else. (Carter's swab was unsuccessful and they didn't seem interested in doing one on me.)

We get to the pharmacy where we wait another hour. By this point we're tired, sicker, hungry, and a touch grumpy. (I had the boys with me.) I kill as much time as I can by walking around the store, pointing out anything boys  might like.

"Look at this huge rake!"
"Oh! A chainsaw!"

We approach the line at the pharmacy and wait. And wait. And wait. Finally we get to the ONE lady checking out the 15 standing around to give her our last name. Her response, "They're still working on both of them.. it'll probably be another 15 or 20 minutes."

I said, "Okay" as politely as I could and took my cranky boys and their cranky mother off to the food place just to kill more time. I helped them finish off their big soft pretzel in total annoyance.

We go back, wait in line for what seemed like an eternity, and finally got back to the ONE lady checking people out. Finally, our meds were ready!

I grab my checkbook ready to pay for these miracle drugs that would have my household back in working order only to hear the lady say,

"You do know these are pretty expensive?"

"Hu? What do you mean by expensive?"

"It's $120."

"WHAT?!! For two rounds of antibiotics?! What is it?!"

She rattled off the name of the mystery pills and I replied,

"I don't want that... obviously! I just wanted a Z-Pack or something NORMAL that isn't $60 a pack!"

I stopped myself and apologized to the lady, telling her I knew it wasn't their fault, but I was just super annoyed. She smiled and said she understood and explained that they'd call the doctor and try to get something else.

This could mean we won't have any meds until tomorrow... when the snow and ice are supposed to hit. Lovely.

So, my biggest pet peeve ever? WASTING TIME! I spend an entire MORNING at the doctors and at the pharmacy for what? NOTHING. I have NOTHING. I am beyond peeved. My big man is sick, I'm sick. He's getting sicker... as am I. But all I can do is sit here and wait. Is there seriously not a better system we could get? Is it not common sense for doctors that we OBVIOUSLY don't want the most expensive mystery antibiotics when we could get meds for so much cheaper?

So, if you see me in Walmart, and I look annoyed, and sick, it might be best to wave from a distance. I'm probably feverish, and spreading germs to everyone. If these germs make it to you, make sure to ask your doctor to call in a normal medication before you leave the office.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Exercise = Hunger

Posted by Mandy at 11:11 AM 3 comments Links to this post
We finally broke down and bought a new elliptical machine. I've been without mine for around a year now I suppose... oh what a hard year! I was a faithful elliptical-a-holic for a glorious 7 years before I finally snapped a resistance band and it went kaput. My nightly routine of getting the kids into bed, slipping on my shoes, and working up a sweat to my favorite show on DVR was over. I had to trade it in for jogging and doing workout dvds.

Fast forward to this week - IT'S BACK! Okay, not the same one, but a new one. And I'm thrilled!

The first night hubby spent his whole night assembling it for me. Even though it was already 9:30pm when he was finished I hopped on for my first 30 minute workout. I thought I'd have a heart-attack by the time I was done, but in a weird way that felt so good!

The next day I did a great 40 minute workout while Sam napped (yes.. instead of cleaning pee off of bathroom floor like I should have been doing..) and followed that with a whole hour of sweating that evening while I watched The Biggest Loser. (if they can do it.. I can do it! Great motivation!)

Enter this morning. I wake up to a sick child at 5am and after settling him down, I crawl back into my comfy bed only to hear my stomach growling. Well, more like roaring. I was STARVING.

I finally dozed off right as the alarm started to go off - that'll make you feel good.

I am typically  not a breakfast eater, at least not until a bit later in the morning. This morning, however, I felt as though I'd be sick if I didn't find food immediately. Thank God instant oatmeal only takes a minute and a half to cook in the microwave. Usually that fills me up and I'm good 'til lunch. But not today!

I let myself get too hungry by lunch time and I scarfed down an embarrassing amount of cheese sticks. (Hey, the sick 5 year old requested them for lunch.. what kind of mom doesn't fill a sick child food request?) Of course this made me feel like crap and now I'm ready to hop back on the elliptical to work off these calories.. and work up another huge appetite.

I forgot how much more I feel the need to eat when I exercise this hard. I've also forgotten how I used to cope with this back in the day when I was a size smaller and 5-10 pounds lighter. What was it I used to eat? What did I do?!

How do you handle the viscious exercise/hunger cycle? More carbs? More protein? Suffer in hunger?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Life Changing Saturday

Posted by Mandy at 10:05 AM 1 comments Links to this post
I mentioned last week that we would be spending the afternoon with a child that is currently not able to live with her parents. Actually, her parents' rights were just terminated - and the future of she and her siblings is being decided.

Knowing that she had just gotten the news, literally days before our playdate, that she would not be seeing her mom and dad again until she turned 18 created a lot of anxiety for me about how to handle any topics or emotions that might come up.

Our day started by Madison and I picking her up from the girls' cottage at the children's home. The girls were all outside with their house parents getting ready to go do "something." I knew several of them, and had a lump in my throat the entire time talking with them. I had no idea they lived there. Two came up and hugged me, "Remember me?! You came and talked to our class! Remember?" Yes.. I did. They all wanted to know where we were going, what we were doing, and when we'd be back. The one girl we were there to get jumped up and down with excitement - she had no idea what the plans were but she knew she was ready to get to them.

We left and let little girl "A" pick where we'd go for lunch. "I've never been to Mazzio's! Or Larry's Pizza! Can we go there?" Larry's Pizza it was.

Lunch was filled with laughter, jokes, giggles, and of course we had to end the meal by letting the girls hit up the arcade. "This is the best time EVER!" *from "A's" mouth repeatedly*

After lunch she was excited to come over and play. My goodness... that child is just a true gem. With all she's going through, she was still just a happy kid. According to her house parents, she 'really' is just that way. She lets life roll off of her and it's allowing her to handle the circumstances so much better than her other siblings. What I can learn from her!

Hours and hours of playing, talking, drawing, and freezing outside so they could "clean" the playhouse ended with supper around the kitchen table. She has the best manners I've ever seen. She was grateful for everything, and when I asked who'd like to bless the food she and Madison took turns thanking God for each other, for family, and "A" ended hers with, "God thank you so much for the food here and for us all having a roof over our heads. We love you so much! Amen." How many children can really appreciate having a roof over their head?

With a heavy heart we loaded up to take her back to the children's home at the end of our evening. She's not approved to have a "family friend" so even once all of our paper work and background checks and such are completed, she still won't be able to ever stay the night with us.

We all walked her in and she seemed sad to leave our house, yet happy to be back "home." She was eager to show us her BEAUTIFUL room and the framed photo of her mom and dad. After a few minutes visiting with everyone we were ready to head back home. She asked, "Do you think i could come over again really soon?" With her current situation I don't know how often we can have her over, so I simply said, "I really hope so!"

Madison has asked every day since why she can't stay with us, why we can't adopt her, why she can't come over EVERY day. Can she come this Saturday? Can she come to church Sunday? Her heart is so beautiful. God is working in her constantly.

Circumstances being as they are, it seems that "A" will likely never be a child that can be with our family. However, I see that God used "A" to launch us forward. There are so many children taken from their homes and the fortunate few end up in awesome foster homes or a fantastic place like our Baptist Home. What about the rest? What happens to them?

We hope to be an approved "family friend" family through the  Baptist Home sooner than later - depending upon how long all of the stuff takes to complete. After that, I am in prayer that we will continue moving forward. That we won't stop there.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sex Sells

Posted by Mandy at 8:17 AM 2 comments Links to this post
We had a few friends over to watch the Super  Bowl last night, and thankfully as we watched the Saints win, our children were busy playing with their friends and not paying a lick of attention.

I remember watching this ball game every year with my dad, stepmom, and brothers. I don't recall  my dad ever having to mute the TV or quickly change the channel because of inappropriate content. Welcome to the future!

I was really appauled at some of the sexual content of a lot of the commercials. Especially the infamous ones presented by Go Daddy. It seems that the days of families gathering around the TV to cheer on their teams might become a thing of the past. I would have certainly been highly upset if my children would have seen any that.

Is there really no such thing as good family entertainment anymore? I know that sex sells, and that as adults we have the right to watch what we want - I'm cool with that. However, I'd have to assume that most people would find it highly offensive for Nick Jr. to run ads like the ones mentioned because you KNOW children are watching. Should not the same be assumed for sports? Am I off my rocker here?

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Start of Something New

Posted by Mandy at 9:33 AM 3 comments Links to this post
I keep telling myself that she's just a "normal" girl... but,  I have major butterflies in my stomach. I feel an immense amount of pressure to be super normal, and perfect. With what she's been through in life, how can I be anything but amazing for her? With her sad idea of what a normal family is like, what if mine also proves to be disappointing?

This weekend Madison and I will have our first play date with a child that's "in the system." A child that was taken from her home, a child that I have heard is an amazingly sweet and loving kid.

I keep reassuring myself that a lunch date at the place of her choice isn't that big of a deal. That if she chooses to come over to play afterwards - that I'll just supervise everything and we'll act like everything's normal. Just like if it was a typical friend from school. My heart's ache for her and her situation is the difference.

I don't want her to feel that I look at her with sadness or with feelings of "you poor thing." I just want her, if only for a few hours, to feel normal. Is that possible? Please be in prayer with me that tomorrow, a little girl so deserving of an amazing life, will simply feel normal.

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