Monday, April 26, 2010

Crazy with a Capital C

Posted by Mandy at 8:06 AM 3 comments Links to this post
Do you ever have a weekend that is absolutely insane? Not just typical ridiculousness, but lots of huge events all at once? This perfectly describes this past weekend for us.

It started Friday. Hubby leaves for work early in the morning, comes home mid-afternoon to grab the most random array of items (his bike, food, clothes, and all kinds of gear that I could not begin to tell you the correct names of.) and heads out for the weekend.

This weekend was the long-awaited Ozark Extreme Adventure Race. Doesn't this sound like something Clayton would partake in? It's a triathlon (biking, running, paddling) and this was Clayton's first year to try it. He and his great friend Stephen teamed up and, amazingly, they finished in FIRST PLACE in their division! (3rd place overall!) I thought Clayton was kidding when he said they came in first... I'm such a good supporter, right? Their times was something like 8 hours, 32 minutes... give or take a minute. 8 HOURS. There is little in the world I would be willing to participate in for 8 entire hours. Especially super intense physical activity. No thanks.

So, this awesome race meant Clayton was away all weekend.. which wouldn't be a huge deal except:

Dance recital weekend!

That's my Madison - the one in the middle

Thank God for mothers.. because mine saved me! She and my stepdad came into town in the morning to help me wrangle the boys, feed people, and get Madison beautiful and all of her massive amounts of costumes, shoes, snacks, ribbons, bows, and all things necessary together. With their help it all went off without a hitch. The boys were SO well behaved.. I was beaming with pride!

Madison did a super job. Dance is definitely her thing. We've tried sports.. and she is great at soccer, but nothing compares to dance for her. She is quite gifted, and I couldn't help but shed some tears as I watched her and her awesome class perform the most beautiful and FLAWLESS ballet dance I've ever seen. She is growing up on me. It's happening so fast. I watched the tiny little girls do their ballet, tap, and jazz moves and it took me back a few years. I remember Madison learning those cute little steps...
"shu-ffle, ball-change" (to a very slow count)

Now these girls are doing incredible moves! They REALLY tap now. They REALLY understand the importance of being high on their toes, being graceful and deliberate, and working together as a team. Beautiful! Yes, I am a proud mother.. I won't even try to hide it.

Let's rewind just a bit, though. Let me take you back to Saturday morning... BEFORE mom got here to save the day, before we began getting ready for recital.

Picture this: You've not slept at all that night because a big storm blew in. Your two boys came crying to your room and climbed into your bed. Being the only parent in the house, you are the only person that can try to ease their fears. They sleep peacefully with you.. but you can't sleep AT ALL because the two of them take turns kicking you, tossing, turning, sniffling... oh boy!

Finally, you all go to sleep. Then, your cell phone rings. You're so exhausted that it takes you several minutes to figure out it's literally right beside the bed.
"Mandy? Where are you?"
"Umm.. I"m home.. who is this?"
"It's Tricia (friend that dispatches at the police department) and you need to get you and the kids into a safe place. The National Weather Service just put out a tornado warning HEADING RIGHT TO YOUR HOUSE!!"
"What?! Okay... thank you!"

I nearly threw up I got so afraid so fast. I found that Carter and Madison were already up, and I yelled at them to "get your shoes on and get into the hallway NOW!!"

They did, and I threw a mattress over the top of them as I slid my shoes on and grabbed Sam (who was soundly sleeping in my bed) and my cell phone to join the kids in the hall. I reassured Madison that we were probably okay because it was raining really hard,and that everyone says that it gets still and quiet before a tornado hits. Within two seconds of me saying those words, the rain stopped... completely. Silence. I hugged the kids tightly to me, and just prayed and prayed. In my head I kept thinking "why does this stuff always happen when I'm here ALONE?!"

Within 30 seconds of the calmness outside, I hear a sound of rumbling high in the sky. "Is that thunder?" It got louder and louder.. and was steady. The wind was raging outside... and then... nothing again. Silent. Then, heavy, harsh rain. I finally took a breath and called Tricia back. She kept asking if she needed to send someone to come out here to get us.. but thankfully we were safe and it was over. Thank God for AMAZING friends!

There was no damage, that I know of, in our area. I definitely felt like we were right in the midst of something that could have easily turned tragic. I am so thankful! If anything, a tornado stayed in the sky and moved over and never touched down.

What a way to start crazy dance recital day.. right?

Thankfully my husband got home Sunday afternoon and I felt like my life came back together again. I'm pretty used to being alone with the kids.. but this was just a bit extreme. I told him that this coming weekend I'm leaving for 2.5 days and I'd be back before Monday morning. Yeah.. right.. as if I could really stay away!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Baptist Home Gives our Foster Pup a Great Home

Posted by Mandy at 9:48 AM 3 comments Links to this post

It's funny how things happen. Madison's grade had a cute little school music program that they put on Tuesday, and I walked in the auditorium super excited to find two seats next to Justin and Laurie - the girls' cottage house parents at the Baptist Home. Not only have they devoted themselves to ministering to these amazing girls, but they are really hilarious and awesome people to hang out with!

As we waited for the production to begin, a lady sitting in front of me leaned back and asked what dogs I had up for adoption now, and I mentioned this sweet girl - a German Shepherd puppy that I snagged from our city pound about a month ago. She was to be euthanized the next day.. and my love for the breed made me impulsively take her home.

Laurie turned to me later and asked about the puppy, and said that they'd talked a bit about getting a dog, specifically a German Shepherd. Inside I lit right up! I have had a few people ask about adopting this girl, but none could provide the home a German Shepherd typically needs. (SUPER active, very structured, very disciplined, and very committed.) When you take all of those things and wrap them up into a family - you get the girls' cottage. I knew they would be perfect!

They came to the house that afternoon to meet her. They quickly fell in love, and by the next morning they picked her up, took her to the vet, and that was that! Her new name is Bella, and I am thrilled to know the pure joy she will bring to so many children. "A" and "E" were already in love with her from being over here... I can't wait to hear how they all reacted when they saw her as they got off of the bus after school!

Sometimes people don't really get why we do dog rescue. Why spend the time, the money, the energy on dogs? They're just dogs. Yes, they are. But this is why we do this. Not for the dogs, for the people's lives that these dogs touch once adopted.

Some people seek out our foster dogs simply because they want a dog. Once I figure out what type of lifestyle they have, I have gotten pretty darn good at matching dogs with their perfect people. When a great match is made, it's joy. It's love that some people have never felt from another human that they feel from their pet. It's loneliness healed. It's recovery from illnesses made quicker... easier. Children that are feeling lost in this world find comfort and understanding in the big brown eyes of the dog that loyaly sits at their feet as they cry. That licks their tears away and cuddles on the couch. It's a reason to get outside and become active. It's a way to teach responcibility and understanding to children. I guess they're not really just dogs to me. They are a gift from God to us. They are our helpers here.

To see Bella (who was Stormy while she lived with us) go from the pound, to being rescued and fostered, to now going to a group home for children that are being fostered, and pay it all forward... it just makes it all worth it. It reminds me of why we do this when others question our motives. Her job in this world is likely to be a healer, to be possibly the only one to bring a hurt child out of her shell. God uses his creatures for amazing things, and he allows us to watch his glory shine even through the eyes of just a dog.

When my own dad died (5 months ago), I found the most theraputic thing to be running with my own rescue dog. My own German Shepherd (Ava) that I once saved -  has since then payed it back to me a million times over. She can't talk, she can't understand what I say, but somehow she understands when I need a quiet nuzzle, her head on my knee, or for her to simply keep up with me as I run off my grief, my stress, my day.

I've seen her respond to the children that we bring to our home in such a gentle and loving way. She is truly a mother dog at heart. "A" and "E" immediatley felt at home here because of Ava, and of course Cooper.. our rescue Toy Poodle. If God can use me... a human so full of sin, judgement, and all things of the flesh - of course he can use his animals. So innocent, so oblivious, nothing keeping them from just doing - just being.
Ava watching over Sam - as always!

Dogs will never be as important as people, but they certainly have a huge importance to people. I am so, so blessed to get to see that first hand every single day. With this week being an exceptional example of how Bella being just a dog - makes her the best thing ever to a group of girls that deserve every simple joy this world has to offer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random Jobs I Might Rock Out

Posted by Mandy at 8:45 AM 3 comments Links to this post
Have you ever sat and thought about what other jobs are in the world.. and decided that there are definitely a few that you would be the most awesome person to do that job, ever? Yeah... me too!

For example:

 Walmart greeter. I think that I would be the coolest greeter the world has ever seen. I rarely get tired of talking, I love meeting new people, and I think that I would be just giddy getting to give little kids happy face stickers. You even get a little stool to sit on if you get tired of standing...  Cooler yet, sometimes you probably get to slip your foot out and trip bad guys trying to run out of the door stealing stuff.  Yep.. I'd rock at that.

Lunch Lady - Oh yes. I can actually see myself doing this. Think about it. I love to cook, and I'd absolutely bust into the school Jamie Oliver style tossing out white rice and bringing in brown... down with canned crap and in with more home-cookin'! So, the kids might miss their french fries, but they can learn to eat real potatoes instead.

You get to talk to the kids, but are in no way in charge of them. Yes.. this rocks.

Maid - I REALLY love to clean other people's homes. It is so much fun to get everything just 'perfect' and know that when they come home they'll be so happy to see their house all shiny and fresh. The downside to this is, I'm pretty sure if I cleaned houses for a living.. I'd likely never want to clean my own home. Also, it would be hard to do things the way the home owner wanted me to, and not how I thought was best.
"Who puts dish towels in THAT drawer?"
"Only clean the floors once a week? If you say so lady..."

Secretary - Depending upon who I worked for, I think I'd be an awesome secretary. I love to organize stuff, talk on the phone and get problems solved, and run here and there to do errands.

Circus Dancer - Yes... totally random, but how cool is this gig? You get to dress up in amazing costumes, dance to music, and the crowd you're dancing for is full of kids so it's all good fun!

Then, there are those jobs that I KNOW I'd really be awful at:

Carpenter/Contractor - Do you ever watch that show Holmes on Homes? Basically this guy comes in behind really bad contractors to fix everything they did wrong in homes and even outside for landscaping and such. All I can think when he starts tearing EVERYTHING out is how that would immediately drive me insane. Having to simply tear an entire room down to rebuild it? My patience is not cut out for that! Not to mention I have no skills - as in I don't even hang pictures.

Psychologist for Adults - Though psychology fascinates me to no end, there is no way I can see myself doing that for a living. I just don't have enough patience for adults..I admit it. Hearing the same people come in with the same problems that they create by repeating the same negative behaviors... I think I'd yell at someone.

Waitress - Remember back in the day when your waitress had a pen and a notepad and she'd write your order down? Not anymore! Apparently waiters and waitresses have super-human memory implants somewhere in their brains... they can memorize an entire table's drinks, meals, and special instructions. I can't remember to stop by the bank on my way home... I would be horrible at this job! (not to mention trying to carry those heavy drinks out on those huge trays? Disaster would definitely be occurring on a regular basis.)

Nurse - After the surgeries I've had and also having my babies... I realized I could never, ever be a nurse. My hats off to all of you! You deal with the grossest stuff in the world... really. What's incredible is they act as though it isn't a big deal to them to clean up your vomit, wipe your blood off of you, and change the dressings on your mega-wounds. (like those three csections I had... I cringed FOR the nurse as she dealt with my incision... I had the best nurses!!) I love how nurses can make you feel so good about yourself for the simplest of things.. like finally having enough urine output.... who else would cheer for you on that one?

There are so many jobs in the world. Some are so gross that I can't even watch people on TV do them (AKA: Dirty Jobs) and some are so stressful that I wonder WHY anyone does them. I think I made the right choice for me... raising my kids, and dealing with animals. Not sure I have patience for anything else!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DHS Step 2 - Complete

Posted by Mandy at 11:41 AM 3 comments Links to this post
The first official meeting, the Inquiry meeting with DHS, was this past Saturday. Wow, my head was spinning when it was over! There were some really amazing foster families there to share their experiences with us newbies, and some really great people that were in the same place we are. Just starting.

I got really excited and scared when the foster care liaison said something along the lines of the end of the meeting completing another step in the right direction. Wow! Step 2, already! (step 1 - tons of paperwork. Step 2 - inquiry meeting.)

Next on the agenda is our first home visit, which apparently will be pretty soon. It is supposed to happen before our parenting classes begin (if I remember correctly) and those are scheduled to start around May 4. Wow!! Nine weeks of classes, plus another home visit... and is that it? Really? Working with DHS I keep reminding myself that it probably won't all go so smoothly as it sounds and it might take a LONG time to get this all done.. but I really have no idea.

This makes me super anxious to find a new house.. now. I thought I had found the PERFECT house. After all of my searching.... finally! I went to look at it with my realtor, fell in love, convinced Clayton to give it a shot, and not 3 days later the people that own it decided not to sell. I was/am so heartbroken. To the point that my realtor is working on figuring out what led them to suddenly take it off the market and if there's a way they'd reconsider. It seemed so perfect for where our life is going. Lots of bedrooms, a fantastic layout for a house full of kids... houses like that just don't exist from what I can figure from my hunting experience.

So, I sit in waiting. Maybe God slammed that door shut because our perfect house is somewhere else and he knew I was ready to move into that one. It's easy to say that, but in all honesty, I'm just feeling crummy about it. I've gone to look at a different house since then and thought I'd love it, and couldn't "feel" it. It can't compare to that one.. the lost one.

So much going on - and none of it is in my control. For a Type A personality like myself.. this equals a lot of anxiety. I know... I know.. "give it to God." I'm REALLY trying to... honest! I keep saying aloud, "Okay God.. we've put our 'yes' on the send us somewhere so that we can do this a bit easier, PLEASE!" I'm sure he's laughing at me... and shaking his head in disbelief that I still don't always completely trust that he's got everything under control. I mean.. he spoke the world into existence, yet I don't think he will be able to get us into the right house.

For today, I will look outside of my window and be thrilled with this gorgeous weather. I will be thankful for a roof over my head and a floor at my feet... and I will beg God to hurry up already... ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Post About Nothin`

Posted by Mandy at 9:19 AM 2 comments Links to this post
I felt the urge to blog today with no real ideas of what to say. Sometimes randomness is a good thing... right?

I kept the kids home from school today. It was a spontaneous decision that I made last night... for no reason at all. Benchmarks are over, it's Friday, and it's a gorgeous day. Why not?

Within the first hour of being awake I was second guessing that decision with Samuel making it his life quest to annoy Carter and Madison to the point where they scream at him, but not quite to the point that they finally have enough and shove him or force him out of the room. He's learning...

A trip outside to walk the dogs, ride bikes, and do several wagon and tire swing rides fixed everything. Sunshine is God's magic solution to the world's problems... well.. except in the Middle East I suppose.

I got to see 'my' girls yesterday after school. It was an hour away from picking up kids from school time, and I thought, "I'd love to see A and E today... wonder if we can make that happen." Poor Eroshi... (she's my friend thankfully, and she's in charge of all of the girls at the Baptist Home.) I always call her so spur of the moment, "Can I get the girls today after school?" I'm supposed to give her a day's notice... but my brain rarely plans an hour ahead, much less a day. I do my best, but I had to at least ask. Thankfully they had nothing going on so they got to spend the afternoon/evening with us. A trip to the park and then to Mazzio's and the world was right. A tear-fest from the girls talking more in depth about court cases, their parents, and their feelings had me feeling like I would throw up. I just wanted to make them feel better.. and I can't. I can't do a thing. And I hate it.

"A" seemed to have a heavy heart. Her adoption will soon be finalized and she and her siblings will be moved many states away to be adopted by an Aunt that they've met all of one or two times in their lives. She's terrified. She's upset. She's realizing that she REALLY is not going home again - ever. She's angry... and I'm angry for her.

"E" is upset because the judge over her case won't talk to her.. says she's too young to have an opinion. Though I agree... I hate that she feels that way. She's angry because the judge is talking to her siblings and according to her, "None of them want to go back home.. but I DO. He won't listen to me, though.." To be so young and to have all of this weighing on you.. it's so unfair. I looked at my kids all snug in their beds last night and thanked God for our lives. We are so truly blessed.

On a kind of related, but different note, we have our first DHS meeting this weekend. I'm nervous and excited! It's a mandatory inquiry meeting that kicks this whole thing off. Stuff is happening!

I am still praying that our perfect house with lots and lots of rooms is right around the corner... I think I've found it but I feel hopeless that it will work out. Phewy on that.

I am hitting it pretty hard breaking Sam from his pacifier now. Oh how I hate this phase. He is an excellent whiner as it is and now he's got it DOWN whining for that thing. Good thing I've done this twice before - he doesn't know who he's up against here.

It's Friday! I don't know if that will mean anything for us this weekend or not... but hooray anyway! :)

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Became a Mom

Posted by Mandy at 8:57 AM 4 comments Links to this post

I saw this on Amanda's blog: Confessions of a Wannabe Supermom and had to join in!

1. Pregnancy is hard. Seems like something you'd know, but I swear each time I was pregnant, from week 5 all the way to the end, I was shocked at how hard it was.

2. Sleep deprivation makes you insane. Hubby and I never have fought in our marriage like we did on those long, exhausting nights with a newborn. Nothing makes me happy when I'm running on 2 hours of sleep.. per day.

3. Older kids are fun! As silly as it sounds to me now, when I had young toddlers and babies, I could not imagine having a CHILD. Like 5yrs and up. I have loved having my older kids! They are so witty, silly, funny, and if you take the time to deal with them in those really hard years (ages 2-4ish) the discipline part is just EASY when they're older. (well, until the teen years hit I'm sure.)

4. I would drive a minivan. I never saw that one coming.

5. Buying clothes for kids is more fun than buying clothes for me. This could really be classified under a more general "I'd get less selfish" file... but seriously, I had no clue that I'd LOVE shopping for my kids the way I do.

6. You worry... a lot. From their friends, to their health, their grades, and their spiritual life - my gosh you are constantly battling being a worry wart.

7. You never 'really' get tired of your kids. We all need breaks from our children, but I really wondered how I'd handle being with my kids every single day before I had them. I could have never guessed that being away from them would simply make me scurry to return home! Nature takes over I suppose.

8. Your friends will change, based on how you parent. A lot of my friends don't parent exactly the way I do, but we do all have a similar view of raising our kids. It's very hard to be friends with someone - even if you really liked them in the past - if you can't appreciate each other's parenting styles.

9. It's expensive. It doesn't have to be super expensive to raise kids if you just take care of their basic needs. (oh wait.. yes it does..) but when you add in the extras it's kinda mind boggling what kinds of money you're willing to HAPPILY shell out on jazz and tap shoes, baseball caps and uniforms, and trips to water parks and the zoo. Add in all of the other stuff and you really spend most of your money on your kids. What's odd is you don't usually care...

10. It can be addicting. I really love my kids, and other people's kids. I always have been a 'kid' person. I did not realize that having a baby, for me, just made me want to have another. Having a table full of children makes me think of how we could fit just one more chair there. (I'm looking for a bench now..) I am glad that I've realized that God keeps this desire in me so that we'll help other children, and not just keep having our own. Exciting!

Has anything really shocked you about having children that you did not expect? Do your own "10 things" list and link me in the comments!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Kind of Mom Did You Think You Would Be?

Posted by Mandy at 11:12 AM 5 comments Links to this post

Do you remember the days before you had kids? For some of us.. our brain power has been nearly sucked dry and thinking back is nearly impossible... but try if you will.

I was thinking the other day about the type of mom I thought I would be. Even when I had my first baby, I had visions of the things we'd do together when she was older. When I had my second child, I had these novel ideas of how life would be through the years. By the third, I think I had pretty much figured out that those ideas were not gonna happen.

I used to be super creative. I loved art - painting, sketching, even coloring in a child's coloring book was a great way to pass the time. For a few years I kept this side of me up with the kids. And then, days started showing up that I'd sit with a blank sheet of paper, a great piece of black chalk, and... and... I'd sit there. The paper wasn't all that was blank - so was my mind!

"What are you going to draw mamma?"

I had no idea. Pictures that are pleasing to kids are easy.

"Will you draw me a flower?" "A dog?" "A worm?"

But, eventually, I stopped drawing things I loved and ONLY created art on a 2nd grade level. (well, that might be a bit generous...) I literally could not think of a single thing I wanted to draw...

As time passed, I totally lost my creative edge. I can barely draw a pretty heart anymore. One side is always too big, one hump on top is always more round than the corresponding side... when did that become difficult to create? Thankfully, my 5 year old son appreciates my efforts.

It just hit me that I am NOT the mom I thought I would be. I am NOT Suzy-Homemaker like I imagined. I'm not crafty. I have a difficult time thinking of fun things to make with toilet paper rolls and hot glue. I don't see a pile of trash and think of all the fun projects that we could do with them. My daughter definitely does... but I don't. Wow! I never saw this coming!

Another dirty secret? I don't like cooking with my kids. Yeah.. I said it. I hate it. They get in the way and they  make a huge mess and they make a 10 minute job turn into a 35 minute job. I keep trying to think of ways to teach them to crack eggs and measure flour without actually having to let them do it. So far, no good idea has come to me on that one.

I thought I'd be that mom that loves to bake with my kids, that loves letting them help me cook supper and such. I just don't... I really like being in the kitchen ALONE. Those family shows that picture a food fight in the kitchen full of smiles and laughter would just not happen in this house. If any one of my children purposefully threw a pile of food across the room... well.. let's just say there would be no laughter.

Of course, the kids love to help me cook so I put on a happy face and take an extra 35 minutes to do everything for the sake of making memories. No one read this post to them - don't call me out for the horribly impatient cooker I really am. So far my front is working.

I must have lucked out that I have kids that love to use their own imaginations and then draw me into their games, instead of looking to me for entertainment. I guess over the years they figured out that if they want to bake a cake they better ask their father. (they also learned to ask him for things like putting up a crazy zip-line, building an INSANELY BIG tree house, and putting up a tire swing.) What am I good for again? Hmm...

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm so Glad my Daughter is Clueless

Posted by Mandy at 2:32 PM 6 comments Links to this post
Each year I wonder if this is the year that Madison will get it. Get what? Pop culture. Boys. Hair. Clothes. TV shows. You name it... all things cool.

So far, she is still completely and utterly clueless. She doesn't really have a favorite singer - she wouldn't recognize Miley Cyrus if she walked into our front door, or even Justin Beiber..  however you spell his name. (and, quite frankly... Justin B. freaks me out. He's just a young boy and he's singing all kinds of songs he shouldn't be.. anyone with me here? Moving on..)

Madison has no idea what name brands are or where her clothing comes from. She doesn't care. In fact, when I left her here with her daddy to go shopping one Saturday she asked,

"What are you shopping for?

me: "Spring clothes for you kids."

"Why do you have to go to Little Rock?"

me: "Because that's where Justice and Children's Place are. And every other good store."

"Well... why don't you just go to Walmart? It's closer.."

That just made my day. I love shopping at certain stores, but I love that she has no idea that, to society, any one store is better than the other. Her self-worth is the same whether the shirt she has on cost $5 or $35.

I've noticed that a lot of her friends already know what labels mean what, and look for them. What's worse, I've noticed that they ask each other where their clothes come from in a "is what I have better than what you have?" kind of way. Sad... I hate that.

Recently a little girl asked her, "Do you have anything from The North Face?" Madison's response, "What's that?" She could have 10 things from that store and not have a clue.

Sometimes I feel bad that she doesn't know some things.. like who the popular teeny-boppers are so that she can relate a little better to her peers. It isn't that I'm refusing to let her know.. it's that she has no interest in it. She'd rather read a book or play her NDS. I even sat down with her once last year to see if she liked that Hannah Montana show... since ALL of her friends loved it.. and she barely made it through 2 minutes. Didn't float her boat.

Sometimes I think that she's a lot more immature than her friends because of this type of thing, and I go back and forth between being glad of that, and curious of that. Why is she? Is that just her personality? Is it because though her mommy is an admitted label lover, we don't talk about clothes? I can't help but wonder when this will come to a sudden end. I'm pretty positive that eventually she'll strive to do what kids do - fit in. She'll want what her friends have, want the clothes they wear, and want to be like them. (which makes me thankful for the friends that she's picked thus far...) She'll be 9 this June. At age 9 I have to say I was probably a lot like her. I don't remember caring about clothes or anything of the sort until Junior High, but it seems kids are getting materialistic much younger these days.

For now, I'll be thankful for my non-demanding tween.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Room Re-Do... again?

Posted by Mandy at 9:40 AM 3 comments Links to this post
We recentely painted and organized Madison's bedroom into more of a "big girl" room and I posted about that here. She loves it and so do I! Now, we have to reorganize this room with avengence. Our Baptist Home stuff should be done very soon and we'll have "E" coming to stay with us for much longer periods of time. She'll need her own bed and at least some space for her things for a few days' time. On top of that, we'll also hopefully have our DHS stuff done in the next several months and we'll be in need for another bed, anyway.

Thus begins my wheels a' turnin'. What do we need?

Bunk beds like in the boys room? Two twin beds decorated all cutesy? How do I organize more clothes and shoes and STUFF?

Thankfully Madison's room is a mega room as far as kids rooms go. It was the original master bedroom in this house before they added on what is now the master. She has two large closests in her room... we only use one of them for her stuff and the other has been designated the "bed nook." So, we could at least have enough closet space, which is priceless!

I plan to begin my online hunt for beds today. I'm always looking for the best deals for the best stuff. If it is a bunk bed, I have to have white. Everything in Madison's room is white - so let the search begin!

I get so excited over stuff like this! I love to decorate, redecorate, and organize. It's such a challenge to look at a space and figure out a way to make it work for the job it needs to handle.

On top of being excited about this, I'm completely overwhelmed! I was on the phone with a friend that currently has three foster children and three bio children this morning, while I was aimlessly walking around Walmart with Samuel, and I said, "Umm.. when you figure out how to get all of your stuff to fit in your house, you MUST come to mine and show me how to make it happen!" At least I have good organizational mentors...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What's Your Cleaning Schedule?

Posted by Mandy at 10:46 AM 2 comments Links to this post
There are a few things that I know for sure. Each day that I am blessed to wake up and get out of bed, I will breathe air, I will eat chocolate, and I will clean the house. Every. Single. Day.

My kids help out a lot. They pick up after themselves which takes care of lots of clutter lying around everywhere. They clean their messes after showers and they clear their places at the table after eating... my husband is a super handy house guy as well... so why am I cleaning so much? What's left? Oh yeah... laundry, floors, and laundry again.

One thing that I have managed to figure out about keep up with house work is that I have certain things that must happen every day. EVERY day. Laundry is one of them.. then dishes... and floors.

I try to do a load or two of laundry every day - and I do mean from washer to closet. That's tough for me for some reason. I really have to gear myself up to get anything from the dryer to its designated place in the house. If I don't follow this schedule, we will run out of something. It never fails. With as many clothes as we have, there are never enough clean blue jeans, socks, or underwear. How is this so? I cannot wait for them to wear flip flops EVERYWHERE soon so that I can lay off the whites for a while.

Dishes are a given. I don't know anyone with kids that doesn't run their dishwasher at least once a day. I have a once a day rule here. It gets filled, it runs, and that's it. I don't empty it until the same time the next day, and I don't worry about the dishes in the sink until then, either. If I load the dishwasher and only two bowls couldn't fit, those bowls will absolutely sit in the sink until the next day. I don't wash by hand. Ever. (My husband has so sweetly taken this on as his job. My cookwear that isn't dishwasher safe gets scrubbed by the man in the house - or it sits in the sink until I HAVE to clean it to cook again.) I figure that cleaning counter tops goes hand in hand with doing dishes...

Floors. Oh boy the floors.

I admit that I have a slightly unnatural obsession with clean floors. You'd think that the kids that we have in and out of this house would have broken me from it, but no luck. I vacuum once or twice every day. I cannot handle dirt showing on my floors. I sweep almost every day - which is a bigger job but I hate feeling crumbs and grit on my bare feet so I make it happen. (sometimes not until 10:00 at night... but at least it stays clean for a few hours that way.)

Do you have jobs around the house that you feel you HAVE to do each day to function? What is your general cleaning "schedule" to make things run smoothly around your house?

Monday, April 05, 2010

You Can Walk on the Water Too

Posted by Mandy at 6:48 AM 2 comments Links to this post

I am a huge music lover. I can hear a song that came out 15 years ago and remember what was going on in my life when I first heard it. I have a vivid memory of hearing that crazy "Red, Red, Wine" song on my way to the first day of Kindergarten. It's no wonder that as we embark on this crazy journey of helping children that many songs have brought tears to my eyes and will forever hold special meaning to me as the ones that encouraged me through this.

One of my favorites right now is by Brit Nicole - Walk on the Water. (you can hear the song and hear the AMAZING story behind it here.) (They play it on The Biggest Loser Now!)

The basic message is that, with faith in Jesus, you can do anything. To push past your fear, the criticism, the doubts, and just GO. DO. BE what God is calling you to be no matter how insane it sounds.

Today I will take paperwork from DHS to be notarized, and I will give it to the our go-to Family Service Worker. She will get to work, hoping to push it through quickly so that we can get involved with the parenting classes scheduled to start THIS MONTH. If you've never dealt with foster care or similar things and aren't aware of how incredibly long it typically takes for them to get a class together - then you can't appreciate this. When I called last week, and she excitedly said to hurry and get the papers and send them back so she could get us in.. it was like God's plan unfolded right in front of me and he said, "see, I told you so."

I keep going through different emotions with this: I'm scared, I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm anxious... I'm everything. When I feel doubtful I remind myself that just because we are licensed it doesn't mean we have to say 'yes' if we don't feel it is right for our family. (Then I remind myself of how hard it is for me to say 'no' to even rescuing an abused or neglected dog... like I'll easily say no to a child?)

I am SO blessed to have close friends to reach out to with my doubts and fears. They've walked this road before and they are totally candid about each step along the path. There's no sugar-coating, and also no lack of expressing the amazing joys and blessings that it brings.

The hardest part of this will likely be the judgment, the dirty looks, the doubt from others. I've already caught a glimpse into some of that just with the girls we've let into our family from the Baptist Home. Such sweet, amazing girls... but people constantly say we should be afraid of them. That our children aren't safe around them. And, when you add another older child to your family and go out into public... people look at you like you have 5 heads. (of course, these people have no experience with foster care... so they know everything.)

At first I could keep my cool easier about people's doubts about these specific girls. I understand that they're only going by what they've heard, what they assume, and they've likely never been blessed like I am to see these children IN REAL LIFE. Now, these girls are a big part of us. You talk about them... and Mamma Bear will come out. MY girls are not dangerous. MY girls are not going to harm my children - they love them. MY girls have NO FAULT in what's happened to them in the past and should not be outcasted by others because of it. Those are MY girls. If you choose to live in fear of children that have been harmed, neglected, and abandoned, then that's your decision. But, please, do not question our decision to do the opposite. We know the risks. We know how to be cautious, and we will continue to learn. This journey is so full of doubt already, the last thing people stepping out in faith need is reminders of why they shouldn't, or why you wouldn't. Just like when we wanted a third child... it was amazing how many people felt the need to let us know all the reasons we were wrong for that, and why they'd never have 3. Guess what... for our family, 3 was perfect.

Life is so short, but God gives us opportunities each and every day to be a blessing to someone. He puts people in our paths constantly and will give us wisdom to know which ones he wants us to reach out to and which ones are to be cared for by others. As people are already telling me, "You can't save them all."

My response is, as it will always be, "No, but I can try."

Peace and Craziness Copyright © 2010 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template Sponsored by Online Shop Vector by Artshare