Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hello World!

Posted by Mandy at 6:25 AM 2 comments Links to this post
I'm sorry for my blogging absence... I've been trapped under endless loads of laundry. I'm seeing why families with this many kids often have two sets of washers and dryers. Mental note for the future...

There has been so much going on lately - and yet nothing has really changed. We are still Clayton and Mandy plus 6, but that may soon change. One of our foster boy's biological father's has surfaced and wants custody - we'll see what the court decides next month. My feelings on him possibly leaving range wildly. One day I think, "Dear God if they're going to do it, do it now!" because of his "after-visits" behavior. When things calm down, and he's regulated again, I could sit and cry at the thought of him not being here, being separated from his brother... and put into ANOTHER new school. 3 schools in your kindergarten year does not seem like a great start. I'm often finding myself thankful that I have zero control over any of it. I would not want to be put into that spot to make a decision as to what's in "the best interest" of a child.

Other than "typical" DHS stuff, upcoming events for us include tons of baseball and dance stuff. Dance pictures are this coming weekend - I've done nothing to get Madison's costume ready for that. Nice. Everyone that wants to play baseball is now registered except for Emily. Working on that.

I'm really excited about ball season! It's such an "All American" sport, and seeing the same families on the fields year after year just makes small town living what it should be. Don't get me wrong, the last two weeks I always feel like "Seriously.. we have 4 more games?!" because I'm ready for the season to end before the season is ready to end, but maybe this year will be different... yeah.... sure...

On that note - I do want to share a tidbit of info that an older gentleman gave to me when my first two started playing ball. I was talking about the "stress" of getting ready and going here and there and everywhere. How I missed our lazy afternoons at home. His words have stuck with me:

"We always used sports as family time. It is so much fun if parents just see it as fun.. the kids won't get stressed if you don't. We had some of the best laughs traveling to and from games.. eating out afterwards.. getting slushies from the concession stand. It was some of the best memories we ever made."

I want THAT for us, too! Last year I made the decision to never let my kids see any stress on my face in regards to their activities. It made the soccer and baseball season so enjoyable! I still look back on last year as such a wonderful time. This year we'll have 3 more kids to share those memories with. Memories their own families never made, and likely never will even if they return home. What an honor!! When they hear the clank of a baseball against a bat in the future, they will likely think of being with the Moss family. When they smell hot dogs and popcorn on a summer day, they might just remember the fun we all had at the ball field.

That's what I hope they remember - THE FUN. Not that mom and dad were always stressed out about it.  Not that we fussed about "having" to go here or there. Just that Mom and Dad were ALWAYS at our games. They ALWAYS cheered for us. And we ALWAYS got to get a lollipop to eat on the way home... even though Mom hates candy in the van...

Monday, February 07, 2011

And Now We've Entered the "Angry" Phase

Posted by Mandy at 8:32 AM 6 comments Links to this post
I have been patting myself on the back over the past couple of months that I've not let anger and judgement grip me when it comes to my foster children's parents.. well... at least where one case is concerned.

Yesterday that changed - quickly and drastically.

I wish I could vent on here about what happened, but I can't. I wish I could teleport to a location far away and strangle reality into a parent's head right now, but I can't. I wish I could understand how your children could ever not be the MOST important thing in your life, but I can't. I wish I could take pain away from a child that's hurting, scared, and uncertain of what's to come because of "big people's" bad choices, but I can't. I wish I could make this all better... all go away... but I can't.

I found myself in a puddle of tears on my bedroom floor this morning.. just crying out to God. "Why?!!" Begging for him to open the eyes of those that need it. Anger has a hold of me towards bio-parents and their recent decisions... we're working SO HARD on our end to heal and help these kids, to support their family reuniting, and I feel as though the other parties involved are not. And it makes me mad. It makes me hurt for the children. It makes me scared about the future and what will happen.

I am beyond rooting for the parents right now. I can't lift myself up to that place in this moment. I just want THEM to have to see their children cry for them. I want THEM to have to answer these awful questions. I want THEM to take ownership for the mess they've created.

Today I will pray, and I will know that many of you and my real-life friends have been in this place more times than you can count. How can people be so blind to the truth? I just cannot understand...

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

What Doubling My Kids in a Month has Taught Me

Posted by Mandy at 11:53 AM 4 comments Links to this post
Going from 3 kids, to 6 kids, in a matter of a month has taught me a lot in a hurry. Learn or go nuts - one or the other will happen without a doubt.

I've called and harassed  asked all of my "bigger than normal family" friends what their tips and tricks are since my house suddenly filled up. I've learned a few things and I thought I'd share 'em with you. In case any of you are as completely, totally, and ridiculously insane as I am and want to ever parent this many children.. or more.

Dishes - My good friend Brandy said that her kids all have a color of dishes that belong to them. That way, they can use the same cup during the day and not mess up 3 (or 10 in some of my kids' cases..). Also, if "someone" forgets to clear their spot at the table after meals... they're instantly found out.

I haven't gone out to purchase color-coded dishes, but I have been using the "one cup a day" rule. Wow.. what a difference! I did not realize how many cups we were running through, but it's cut down drastically. Just think, if everyone in our house just used 2 cups a day - that would be 16 cups in ONE DAY. Ay-Yi-Yi!

Laundry - Many of my large family friends have said they keep clothing to a minimal. Some have a rule of "you have 'x' amount of space for your clothes.. if you have more clothes than can fit there - you have too many.

I do think this is a smart rule. But.. well... umm... I just like to buy clothes! Even with this many kids, as old as they all are, I still see them as real-life dolls. Especially my girls. How fun is it to dress up your girls?! So our bows and frills have mostly turned into jeans and sneakers but thankfully Sketchers invented Twinkle Toes and "girly moms" like me everywhere rejoiced! 

They are so stinkin' cute!

So, I've come up with different rules that work for me and my shop-a-holic ways.

We have two kids per bedroom. Each bedroom has its own LARGE hamper. When that hamper is full, I just take the whole thing to the laundry room and in it goes. I don't separate anymore. I'll pick one day every now and then and bleach white if they need it, but for daily purposes, it all goes together. It's super easy to take them from the dryer and right into the room they came from for putting it away. Towels have their own hampers in the bathrooms. Bathrooms have hooks.. each child is expected to use their same towel and hang it up at least 2 or 3 times.

And, I do laundry EVERY day. I've always done laundry every day since having 3 kids... but now I do a few loads EVERY day. It is just part of my daily routine now and doesn't seem as hard as it sounds. It saves me from having "Oh no we don't have any towels, socks, or jeans!" panic attack moments.


This is where the going gets tough. I cannot believe how much food we're going through! I refuse to back down from my "we WILL eat healthy" rules... so we're just spending more right now. Ugh...

I'm thinking over meals and seeing how I can make healthy options that don't cost a fortune. For example, last night we had chicken marinated in Italian dressing (cooked in pan with a bit of non-stick spray, no oil, nothing.) with brown rice (from the box, that you have to cook for 35 minutes instead of my normal "boil in a bag" kind.) and green beans.

Fed all of us, was healthy, and didn't cost much! Hooray! If you have healthy meal options for a LARGE family that won't break the bank, PLEASE send them my way!

I've also gotten really strict on "random eating." With just 3 kids I didn't mind if they grabbed snacks whenever they wanted... but that has come to a sudden halt. We have 3 meals, and two snacks, at scheduled times. At first this felt way too rigid... I hated doing it. Now it's just normal! We're actually saving a lot of money by cutting down on them just grazing, and they're eating meals much better. Duh.

These are just a few of the things I've learned so far. There are many more but how long does one blog post really need to be? Share your tips and tricks with me! I could use them!


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