Friday, July 15, 2016


Do you happen to know how many times I say this phrase over and over again in a day? A.LOT.

I have a very independent 3 year old and a sibling set who the oldest (3) is comfortable and confident in being the parent of her other siblings and anyone else who will let her. So multiple times a day when someone needs help or a dispute occurs (I know you are shocked to hear those happen in our perfect family) I find my 3 year olds ready to duke it out and parent the smaller children. They love to help even when their help looks like dragging the baby by her hair across the floor or "moving" the two year old to a place out of their way, or dressing their siblings forcefully because they themselves have not completely mastered the art of dressing themselves...whatever the situation I find myself multiple times a day telling them to let me parent or trust me to be the mommy. It has gotten WAY better than it was in the beginning but still days (mainly after visits) we struggle in this way all of us desperately trying to find our place and role in this family. Tonight I was driving and it was like a light bulb went off...

You know I find myself doing this same dang thing with God. So many times I think I know best. So many things I try and am confident if I just can fix it before He intervenes that it is better that way. I find myself getting exhausted trying to control situations that were never mine to control. I wonder if God is saying the same things to me...LET.ME.PARENT. Trust me enough to know I have your back. Trust me enough to know that I will protect you from harm, guide you as you grow, and love you to the moon and back. Let Me be in control and you sit back and be my child. The peace I feel when I think of wrestling with those statements with God and what my life would look life if I lived by those truths...that's the peace I long for my girls to find. The peace that just lets them be children. The light heartedness that just comes from being loved. You don't have to parent, just be my child. You don't have to be in charge, just trust that I am working on your behalf. You don't have to make things happen, I can make them happen...

I am in a journey with God to know this trust full well and my girls are in the same journey also trying to believe these things...

One thing is for is a Journey

Thursday, July 7, 2016

These beautiful, beautiful children...

This morning I have time to blog. The babies are on a visit, daddy is hanging out with K-ditty and I am re-energizing in the coffee shop. I am fighting for time to bless my soul, crack my Bible, listen to worship music, and drink some caffeine. While I am processing my life today I thought I would take time to tell you about my beautiful babies now that I have had time to get to know them and them to get to know us.

First is K-Pickle...if you have been on this journey for awhile you know that she is an incredible human. She is so kind hearted, so thoughtful, smart, and full of joy. That girl loves to sing (If I am being honest I have to control my anger when that child decides to sing at the top of her lungs at 5:30 in the am and wake up all the babies...but the girl loves to sing) She knows many songs but her favorite seems to be where is thumpkin, this little light of mine, and the batman theme song. She loves arts and crafts, getting dirty, and playing with friends. Her favorite human is still her friend Allison. Kadence is doing really well with this transition to a large family. She throws fits, has days of not being able to share, hitting, whining (she is still three) but there is also an over abundance of maturity and watching her be able to process what is going on. With her sisters she loves to play dress up, play outside, and run circles in the house all while giggling at the top of her lungs. Kadence loves that there are more birthday parties to go to and that there is never a dull moment at the house. I think Andy and I have been doing a great job of making sure she still gets mommy/daddy dates and hang out just us. So all things considered (that whole being three thing) K-pickle is ever-growing into a human I am proud to call my daughter.

L1- L1 just turned three yesterday. The thought of having 2 three year olds kind of makes me want to rock back and forth in the fetal position. L1 has come so far since coming to live with us almost 2 months ago. When we got her she couldn't be in the same room with our dogs (it was a long month) or K-ditty for that matter, she couldn't do baths, she couldn't share, she melted down in 3 seconds flat, she bit, she hit, she could scream...well she can still ear piercing's intense. Anyway it has been hard. It has tested my ability to stay calm and speak with love (I have not excelled on every occasion). But sometime after she called me ratchet we had a little understanding...I don't know if that was the turning point but it's a good point of reference. L1 now loves to snuggle (which this momma bear loves), she loves to be held, she loves to sing Jesus Loves Me (a song that she didn't know when she moved in). She loves to help pick up, vacuum and make things. She can now pet puppies and even had a puppy birthday party. She  has learned increasingly how to use her words and we are figuring out her triggers. Her biggest one currently seems to be speech. If that girl could make everyone understand her a lot of her world would seem less chaotic. We are working on it- so far we have taught her to say no thank you when a sister or friend is doing something that she doesn't like (she tries it on the dogs but they just aren't getting it). We have also worked on asking for help BEFORE you get frustrated. Both of these have helped her to not have as many fits, tantrums, biting, hitting.  L1 loves to learn, loves the color blue, and is currently obsessed with Grandma Joy's dog crazy.

L2- L2 turned 2 a month ago and dang she is incredible! We have had a special bond since the beginning. When we got L2 she had no sparkle in her eye. She was stand-off ish and mean mugged every human we met. I thought it was cute but I knew she wasn't feeling it. About a week in we took another picture of her and there was SUCH a difference in her appearance. It was like new life had been breathed into her. That mean mug never seems to come out anymore unless we are taking selfies and I ask her to show it to me. There are more smiles and pure belly laughs that come from that girl. She has an obsession to buckle everything she sees...strollers, car seats, booster seats...the girl can't get enough of it. She also is nick named tumble weed and Houdini- one for how she barrels through obstacles and usually falls (we are working on it) and Houdini...well because she is quick, and is always in to somethings. She loves to climb on tables, chairs, or anything else that would make me have a heart attack. She loves to sing twinkle twinkle. She loves to's not's never clean...but she LOVES to eat. Then when everyone is done she likes to eat their leftovers and then drink everyones left over drinks too. She is ornery but in the sweetest ways. This girl is also the comforter. When the three year olds are throwing fits she wants to sit right next to them and try to give them hugs (which makes them even more angry), if anyone is in time out she wants to sit with them...she is just so stinking funny. There are few things I love more than when she comes running down the stairs to see daddy after he has worked and he's in the kitchen getting their breakfast ready and she squeals with delight. Or when she embraces me with everything in her and nestles her fro into my chest. My heart melts for this girl...

L3- L3 will be one next month (yes if you are counting that is 3 birthdays in 3 months). This little one when we got her was so laid back and easy and not concerned or cared who had her. Well I cured that by holding her 24/7 and giving her loads of worked...she now wants to be with me all the time. L3 is in that fun age where she still desperately needs me to do everything for her but is starting to feel some independence (I am confident she will be walking any day). She came to us with one tooth stating to break in and now has 4 on top and 3 on bottom. She sleeps through the night most nights and when she doesn't I secretly love our late night convos and snuggles. I love how much she laughs! Andy loves putting her to sleep letting her listen to Hallelujah. She loves to crawl (and that girl is fast), she loves peek a boo, loves kiddie pools, the trampoline, and man she loves having sisters...they plow her over sometimes but when they are running around the house she squeals and bounces out of delight. She can spit up with the best of them and I am always the one that gets sprayed it's nasty but worth it :) Everyone fights over who gets to snuggle L3 cause she is just so scrumptious and the baby of the family. All the sisters love playing with L3 especially L2 whose idea of play is to just be where she is. So if she is in her carseat L2 sits on her, if she is in the exersaucer L2 climbs in too, if she is in the high guessed it L2 climbs in too.

So our house is crazy but it's the best kind of crazy. It's crazy love, crazy teaching, crazy intentional, crazy exhausting, but crazy worth it. Andy and I are doing an awesome job (in my humble opinion) of making time for each other, being team players, and laughing at the things that come. After 9 years of marriage if your not married you would think how much closer can two people get but for people that are married you get it when I say I love this man more today than I did yesterday. Each day is more fun, each day we are more of a team than the day before, and we are closer than ever.We are more comfortable now in our role of mom and dad of lots of kiddos. We have both done bedtime by ourselves, gotten them ready by ourselves, and taken them in public by ourselves. We are figuring this out and continuing to find the rhythm for our family.

As far as prayers and needs go-
Prayers- We desperately need prayers for the coming has the potential to be a life changing month for our whole family. Lots of things are happening in our case and I want to be able to share them more but what I can do is ask for prayers...prayers as things move...Prayers for our girls that we would be excellent advocates of their needs and that we would love all of them well and that on a daily basis we are welcoming the holy spirit into our home.

Ways to help-I am not good at this part but people keep asking and because I am not good at asking this is the best I can do being transparent- we don't need any clothes( all though I am a sucker for matching clothes...and if that's the case it's not really a need is it- LOL, beds, toys, etc currently (thank you for all the requests). If you are still wanting to get involved in our crazy story we will always welcome diapers (3,4,5,3t/4t pull ups) and wipes (any kind). We will always welcome toddler snacks. We do all our grocery shopping at Hyvee currently (because they take WIC and it's easier to do all our shopping in one place) and Costco. We will always welcome Lavender, balance, and serenity essential oils (hahaha- they kind of go non stop in our home).  Miralax and the little yogurt bear probiotics we go through a ton of too. If you ever want to hang out with our kiddos so that we can go on a date, run errands, take someone to the doctor, or date one of our kiddos while you hang with the others. If you ever want to take our dogs on a walk, or give us a hug...we will always embrace community. My house always needs to be cleaned, dishes need to be done, booster seats scrubbed, and clothes hung up (it's our reality). If you have a special idea and you want to spoil one of our kiddos, we will let you. We will never turn down more people loving on our girls...this also applies to my older girls. If you want to spend time building into them, I would love it.  I also sometime need help transporting my teenager to independence for visits and sometimes depending on visit date/times that is really hard. In regard to visits I also need an "Oh shit" plan for those dates when I have things schedule that I can't change, andy's sleeping, and then the visits get cancelled and I need to rearrange life really really quickly. This is us being vulnerable...

We can't do it all...but we can love well, we can be intentional, we can lean on Jesus, we can take it one day at a time, and we can do this in community with others

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Up to my ears in beautiful crap...

Quite Literally...

I had an epic night last night of parenting. I had not gone to sleep yet but at 11 L2 woke up crying, had peed, and had taken her diaper off. I put on a new diaper, rocked, and put her back to sleep...she thought she was up for the day. Finally sleep prevailed. At 4AM K-ditty woke up and had pooped herself and was very upset as she is not a fan of having accidents. Got her changed...she too decided she was up for the day and decided to turn on her lights and look for waldo while she waited for the sun to wake. Finally sleep prevailed for her too. At 5:30 L3 woke and was ready for her day and needed a bottle. Sleep never prevailed for her. At 7 L1 and L2 woke up and had pooped and taken their diaper off and L2 had poop EVERYWHERE...every slat of that crib, in her fro, on her fingers, on her toes...L1 kept saying poop poo poop poo and Andy was working late and I have 1 hour to get them ready for their visit...meanwhile Kditty is loosing her mind in her room because baby L is missing (they share a room- I had taken her to feed her and she was downstairs in an exersaucer) and then once that was over she was loosing her mind cause I had not cracked the door enough and then because I cracked the door too much (oh the life of a three year old) and while Baby L was in exersaucer she peed through her diaper and made a puddle...yes a puddle at the bottom of the she was soaked...and then all the while the dogs got into the trash and then ripped up a toy block (the least of my concerns)...oh and a sippy cup I chose had a hole or a crack in it so milk was EVERYWHERE...but at 9am everyone went on a visit or their respected place of hang went to sleep and is at the coffee is is talking to Jesus. Mom might go shopping, mom might get a pedicure, mom might fall asleep...but in a very strange strange strange a way I can't explain in words I know I am where I am supposed to be. If I didn't have the stress and pressure to have them all ready for their visit and for them to look their best when they went I probably would have just laughed. It still would and will suck to clean it all up (Thanks to a husband who did that) but this morning I lost my cool, I was frustrated, and I was/am very tired. Parenting is not for the faint at heart. Parenting kids with trauma is really not for the faint at heart. Parenting through and with bodily fluids is just plain gross...

But I think it's in these moments that I can clearly see the picture of Jesus. The more I parent the more mad props I have to give to God. If we could fist bump I think there would be lots of that going on. As I sit here thinking about the girls this morning I have no doubt that there are countless days that God is left with a momma bear that has all her crap smeared around and yet a smile on my face. I look to Him out of helplessness because I know I have made a mess and yet for the life of me can't figure out how to clean it up. Everywhere I move on my own keeps making it worse and makes more of a mess. It is only when I cling to him that the crap gets cleared away, that I start to smell more like lavender, and less like feces. It is only then that I can find any sort of comfort at all. So I cleaned poop- in reality it's not my first time I have done this (it's the first time to this magnitude with SO many at the same time) but I have done it before and I am confident I will do it again (cringe). Its part of loving these little girls. I love them enough not to leave them in their crap. In that same way God has taken my sin before and he takes it again and again (cringe) and that is what He does...because He loves me too much to let me sit in my own crap. He invites me to sit on His lap and very graciously clean me up and send me back into the world only to get to do it again. He loves me. He wants only the very best for me and wants me to walk my day free of feces but if cleaning that is what He has to do first He does...over and over and over again. Same with all of my kiddos regardless their struggle or fecal matter (literally or figuratively) I will love them over and over again. I will get frustrated with them. I will come armed with bags upon bags of wipes...or maybe just the water hose. But I will do it out of and with love. I will stick with them till they are restored and then I will hold them near and comfort them till they are ready to go, be brave and face the world again. Parenting is our way day in and day out to show our kids practical love that maybe one day they will be able to see the character of Jesus in our love for them.

That's my prayer today- that God would meet me in my crap and that he would help me to love others in theirs and that by His grace we would all get clean!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My heart...

Oh my heart! I am trying to work and I have too much on my heart to process before I can process work e-mails this morning. Today it has officially one month since we said yes to our first placement. How can such a short time change your life so much? There is so much about my life that has changed and yet here is my heart in all of this...

I'm refreshed- Vacation was beautiful. It was a blessing. It was reconnection. It was slow and intentional and more slowness. There were books, coffee, discussions, beaches, sunsets, and sleeping in (although I think 8am is the latest I really slept in). My soul and heart was taken care of. I was loved well and I loved well. It was much needed and am forever grateful for all the hands it took to make that happen.

I'm grieving- On the way back from in the O'hare airport Andy and I watched as a man looked us right in the eyes as he passed and then went into cardiac arrest, fell out of his wheel chair, and where a pilot stopped to do compressions. It went on for about 30 minutes and when they finally left on a stretcher he was still not breathing on his own and was blue but the EMT's were trying so very hard and had to get him out of that terminal. I still can see the man's face...I can see his brother's face as he was on the phone frantically in tears saying "He's dying". The counting as the did compressions, the urgency, the's been four days and I still find myself thinking about him and his family daily. It was rough...

I'm happy- There are no words to describe the happiness I felt in my heart when we went and picked up Kadence from Grandma's and she wrapped her arms and legs around me and squealed with delight to see me and then immediately asked to see her sisters. Then the smiles and giggles on all the girls as we play and they start to figure out we are all in this for the long haul. I am also happy that Andy is so engaged as a daddy. There is so much of our life that can be overwhelming but man when he picks up a baby my heart melts over and over again.

I'm hurting- Hearing our girls' story yesterday broke this momma bears heart. It hurts that the world was ugly to them. It hurts that because of that they hurt and are confused. My heart bleeds for them and for the pain they have walked through. I'm hurting as I wrestle with what my life would ever look like if the courts decided they were not for us (if everything goes as scheduled hopefully I will have the answers to that before school starts)...I'm hurting that in order for my dreams to come true to parent these girls someone elses rights have to be terminated...there is hurt and grief in that and I do not take that responsibility lightly. Last night Halena was watching Parenthood on netflix and it was the episode where the adoption doesn't go through. I had to get up and walk away as tears streamed down my face so I could do the ugly cry. Remembering watching that episode a mere week before Miss K was born and weeping with fear. Then watching it last night as I had a sleeping baby strapped to me...I weeped again. I don't know how to love just a little bit. I only know how to love with my whole heart and all in. There are a lot of things that weigh in on my hurting heart.

I'm thankful- I'm thankful for all the people that have stepped in to help, brought a meal, organized closets, did laundry, fed a baby, to the therapists that take time with my kiddos, to my staff that have rocked it...there is just so much stinking gratitude in my heart. I am thankful to my two teenagers that have been so filled with grace towards each other, the babies, and to Andy and I...our whole house has been transitioning and that is hard work on everyones part. I am thankful for our caseworkers and parent aid...I love them! I love that our parent aid advocated for us to change our visit days so they are now on Tuesday/Thursdays...sooooo that means that my girls can go to preschool on Mon/Wed/Friday and finally have some predictability and routine to their life.

I'm scared- I am scared because this next week I am taking my big noisy family to a church camp for the week where I am speaking for the week. I am scared to mess up life again for them. I am scared to sleep in an RV with all these babies-LOL. I'm scared for the months to come...scared of the many many decisions I am not in control of but directly effect my family...

I'm lonely- They warned us in training that you wouldn't be able to relate to people and I was skeptical and thought truly my transparency would set me above the bar here. I couldn't possibly be lonely in this. But I have figured out in my short month that we as a culture, myself included, are not good listeners. We are not fully present with people. We aim to compare our kiddos, to find a way to relate and finish peoples stories...sometimes I just want to scream...I know people want to be heard...I know people want to normalize things I am walking through as just being a mom...but it's different. My littles don't know when I walk out of the room that I am coming back, they don't know when we eat that they will get another meal, they don't know that they are safe, they don't know that they shouldn't say I love you to complete strangers. They don't know why so many people in their life are called mommy and daddy. They don't know that their bed is their bed and that their home is their home. I as their mom can't tell you their favorite foods, their favorite color, what shows or characters they like. I am blindly parenting children that I love but that they don't know me and don't trust me fully yet and they can;t communicate their needs. It's hard work. It's good work but it's hard work. I know parenting is hard. I know having more than one kid is hard work. Hear me when I say that this hard work and though a lot of our stories of being moms are the same there are somethings that you have walked through and things that I have walked through that will forever not be the same and that is totally okay. I will forever not understand breastfeeding and labor and that's okay but you will also not understand fully parenting through trauma. It's is beautiful and I am so grateful that I have so many people in my life that are desperate to walk through life with me even when it gets hard and I am so grateful and I truly value all of my friendships but sometimes in the stillness of my heart I am still lonely... and the place I feel  the safest when I am in the comfort of my own home with people that get me and get my family and extend some serious grace to my littles.

I am at peace- I prayed for this...not like as a badge of honor...but as a deep breathe sigh out of seeing how God answers. For the longest time when I prayed for a black baby girl I thought God got my prayers mixed up when He gave me Jada (still so appreciative for that but really thought He missed the memo). When I prayed for multiple babies, when I prayed for stories with all of the things we were seeking in a placement (so much of this I can't share on this platform) I see unfolding infront of me. I just got a new planner and as I was switching over things I saw that in December I had written out specific goals for the next three years and in the matter of 5 months almost all of the things I desired to have in three years we have now going into June. I also wrote myself a little note that said God is working, even when I can't see Him he knows my heart and He is at work. So there is this crazy amount of peace knowing that this is where I am supposed to be, these are my kiddos, these kiddos were set apart to be part of my family...I fiercely pray everyday that it is forever.

I am in love- My gosh I have an amazing husband! He's the real MVP. It might be because it is our anniversary but my heart overflows appreciation for that man. He is incredible and is probably the reason after so many years and especially after this month that I am still standing. He leads me closer to Jesus, he sings Jesus loves me to our babies, he is patient with me and loving and gentle. He is fun and full of a fierce selfless love and with I look at him I get butterflies...EVERY.SINGLE.TIME

Hearts are crazy things...they can wrestle and process so much and you can look at me as a hot mess or as a woman that longs to be as transparent as I can be with you in this journey. My heart is learning, adapting, figuring out our new normal and all of these things my heart is processing meshes together to make me and today I am embracing that and grateful for the heart God has given me and for how deeply it loves and how strong it feels each and every piece of this journey.

Thanks for bearing with me and letting me walk through this with you...thank you for taking the beautiful parts of my heart and loving the parts that are broken and hurting...I in no means have this figured out but this is me one month in...

Monday, May 16, 2016

To blog or to sleep...the struggle is real

I know full well I should sleep. But I just had a home made cinnamon roll with some milk and the house is silent so why not blog.

If anyone has been following along closely you will see that a ton has changed from my last post and although because of awesome regulations in place I can't share everything I want to share I thought I would update you on things.

May 2nd we got a teenager. She's 15. She's beautiful. Our goal in this relationship is to show her unconditional love and to parent her as she continues to blossom into a young adult. I think it's funny that God sent me another teenager. I told Him specifically that our teenage department was closed for business. I actually met our said 15 year old the Friday before she moved in...we got to sharing lives and she told me she was in foster care. I probed and at one point she lit up and said maybe one day I could live with you. I laughed at her(I know...I am just that great of a human). I told her the next kids God sent me were going to be babies and that I was not interested but I was glad there was people out there that would take teenagers but it was 100% not us. I also told her living with us isn't fun...I can be fun Kylie but I can also be protective and very assertive Momma Bear and sometimes people can not be a fan of that side. I'm also nosey and all up in peoples business which can also be annoying as a teenager. Weekend went by and that Monday I opened up our e-mail that had kids that needed placed on it (this e-mail comes out like 5 times a day if you too want to be in the trenches and go through foster care training) and I saw a girl out of our county that had a similar name and age. I called and just asked if said girl lived in my city. She did. It was her. I hung up. I went home and told Andy I thought we had a problem because I felt strongly that God wanted us to say yes to this. He smirked in his Andy way and said I think you are right. And we laughed about what God was doing and then called the people back and told them we would take her. 3 hours later she was here...Its been 15 days but so far so good :)

Fast forward to Thursday the 5th (yes that same week) we thought we were getting another placement. They went in shelter but they for sure told us we would get them. All weekend we prepared for 4 and for 3 boys and a girl.

Tuesday the 10th came and the case worker for that sibling set FINALLY called me back (toward the end of the day) and as she is reading me the kids file another email comes out about 3 girls needing placement. I read the ages and I immediately stop taking notes and tell her I need to call her back. I quickly call Andy and tell him our two options and he says he thinks the girls is the route to go. So I quickly (everything feels like it has to be done fast) call them and tell them we will take them. I didn't ask questions I just said yes. This goes against all of our training but I did it. It felt like it took forever for the caseworker to call me but she did. I was at Hobby Lobby when she called and I remember crying as she was filling in some holes for me. I was nervous and excited and every emotion in between. They would be here that next morning by lunch time. So rearrange #456 of our house to now accommodate 4 under 4 and 2 teenagers. 18 hours later my world got rocked in the best of ways.

I will never forget them opening the van doors and me seeing these beautiful african american baby girls. I get choked up even now thinking about it. It was surreal. We welcomed them into our home and started showing them around. The lady pretty much says "take luck" and out the door she goes. I spent most of my day just trying to make kids not feel scared, changing diapers, and frantically looking for clothes that fit kids. When they came all three kids were wearing the same size diaper so figuring out what was the right size was a very early on battle. Then it was size of clothing because no one was in the right size clothing. Then there was have they eaten? Apparently no because our first meal we went through a half a loaf of bread and I didn't even have a sandwich. When did the baby last have a bottle? Wait...there's no formula in the container of formula...not even enough to make ONE bottle? do they nap? Do they take pacifiers? Is the oldest in a toddler bed or crib? Do they have any allergies? ...wait this one has braces on her feet...what are those for? Then frantically digging for PJ's that night and I find a breathing treatment machine...wait who does that go to? How do I use this? WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS WITH NO ANSWERS? I was frustrated, it was chaos...but luckily very kind friends made sure we were fed and started washing mass amounts of clothes that were in various sizes that didn't fit and then rocked babies...lots of hands rocking babies.

Well, we are officially six days in. The laundry still isn't completely done and we still have some awesome behaviors (this evening was rough after first visit) but what we do have are smiles. We have girls that love to be cuddled, girls that are learning an appreciation for reading books, trying new foods, and learning how to share. We have figured out that everyone can break out into a song of Twinkle Twinkle or ABC's if we need to calm our not gentle hands or stop the sibling bickering. We have girls that call out for Momma and Dadda when they wake up in the morning or when they want to be held. We have girls that tonight I put to bed all 4 all by myself! Birth mom reported today that while they were on visit she saw some awesome behaviors (in the non-sarcastic way) out of the girls that she was very happy to see. We are instilling a routine, lots of love, and oh so much consistency (something that both the 3 year old and the soon to be 3 year old wish I would forget).

So all of that being said here are some things that I have learned-
1. Trash bags for foster kids are a real thing. It's wrong. It doesn't communicate worth. I get that it's easy but it hurts this momma's heart
2. Good gravy there are a lot of appointments. Grateful that we have flexible schedules and that a lot of the therapies can now come to the We are use to a revolving front door so that makes life easier and kind of cool
3. Your phone will ring all the time. The other night from end of dinner to bedtime (about 3 hours) I had 37 missed calls/texts. Some case workers, some therapists, some people wanting to help, some's all good. It's all beautiful. It's just a lot.
4. Naptimes and Bedtimes are a must...they make us all sain. Jesus is more important than both but I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I have skipped some times with Jesus and slept or had my deep conversations for the day with Jesus in a much needed alone hot shower.
5. Coffee and a good planner are next on the list of essentials. There is ALWAYS something to put on the calendar. Have 6 kids and its constant. The only time I got really grumpy over the last 6 days was the morning I went in and poured my coffee and there was no creamer. I thought about curling up in a ball and rocking myself to sleep but I did what any other mom would do and I loaded all those kiddos up when I took one of our teenagers to work and they all fell asleep so we kept driving. We went to starbucks, I got coffee...they slept and husband cleaned the house...I kept was BEAUTIFUL! Coffee and Planners...non-negotiables
6. Community is important. Community makes it possible to pee and all kids still be alive. Community makes it possible to be there when you are scared to be alone. Community cooks, community cleans, community organizes, community reaches out and does even when you don't know what to ask for. We may be the ones parenting and in the trenches but it is so much more fun with lots of people in the trenches too.
7. Hardest part of all of this...not posting pictures on Facebook of their beautiful faces...I want to spam your whole entire newsfeed with lots and lots of pictures but instead you get an occasional picture of the back of their are welcome. But one day, if the Lord is willing you will get to see the front of their face :)

Every night when L1 and L2 go to bed and if they are restless or crying I get on the baby monitor and tell them that they are so brave, so loved, and so safe. I have now been doing this every night so it now works to calm them at the doctor or today when they were leaving with the parent aid to go to their visit and L1 was confident she was moving on to another foster home and my heart broke. But I assured her she was brave and that as soon as the visit was over she would be coming back. I will never forget the look on their face when they got out of the car today after their visit and knowing that they got to come back. L2's face lit up with the biggest smile and she embraced me and nuzzled her curly head right into my chest. We were all right where we should be. Today after the girls left for their visit Miss K was really quiet (not typical when her and I are in the car) We got to 291 and she said where are my sisters? I explained where they were going and what they were doing (developmentally appropriate style) and there was a long pause....she then said I really miss my sisters when will they be back? So all the sibling bickering, the learning to share, and the power struggles between L1 and Miss K...and Miss K still 10 minutes in wanted them back. When they showed back up this afternoon she was So excited too...till someone had a toy she wanted (such the life of a 3 year old).

All this being said- we are grateful, we are surviving, we are making head way. We know there will be rough days ahead. There will be triggers as milestones approach. There will be regression. There will be tears (on all of our parts). But there will be love...lots and lots of love. We are adjusting, we are figuring it out, we make no claims to be excelling...we just taking it one day at a time, liking each day a little more then the last and each day figuring out our new normal. But we have attached...we love them and we want them to be our forever family...a very dangerous attachment to make in the world of foster care but we know even if this is short term this is the only kind of love we have to offer. When we love, we only know how to love forever... This kind of love is what gets us through the hard days and lets us fight for what they need.

We are doing our best to love all of our children and each other selflessly and with everything in us.

God is at work in this home...may He always get all of the glory!

Monday, May 9, 2016

I need my community...

So tomorrow is the day...tomorrow is the day that IF the system works like it should we should be hearing back from the case worker on our kiddos and get to either a)move them in b)set a date to move them in c)the system will be so messed up that none of the above happens. On Saturday we got word that they are for sure coming it is just a matter of when. So- We have a 2F, 4M, 5M, 6M all coming when they come. We are going to have a house full to say the least. The 4,5,6 are all going to be in one room together. The 2F and Miss K together. Then our 15F and 18F together. It's going to be big, it's going to be loud, and it's going to take us some time to get adjusted to our new life. As word has been getting out that this is coming down the pipe people have been asking what can they do to help us get ready. We have made an exhaustive list as a whole family of some needs/wants to make our house run smoother or some things we foresee needing in the near future. I will know sizes hopefully tomorrow. There will be some things that will be your trash and our treasure and then there will be other things that we will just be looking for. If you feel so led, we would love your help in this adventure.

Your Trash that might be our treasure and other things you can be on the look out for:
-Car Seat/Booster Seats (x4)
-Kids Helmets (x4- 3 Boys and 1 girl)
-Swim Wear (x4- 3 Boys and 1 girl)
-Boys PJ's
-Shoes and Clothes for the boys (The girl should be well stocked-Thank you Miss K)
-USB Drives (x5)- It keeps all of our paperwork on all of the kiddos separate but in order as well as picture for their birth families and their journey with us
-4 regular sized pillows
-A White dresser
-4 Mattress Covers (4 Twin, one crib)
-2 Full Mattress Pads (The teenagers are wanting the foam things that make beds not hard)
-Night Lights (3)
-Diapers for the 2 year old
-Kids Tylenol/Benadryl (I hear that when you have multiple kids that someone is always sick)
-Ethnic Shampoo/Skin Care products or other things in this area that I am not skilled at knowing what I need
-Kids Toothbrushes (1 girl/3 boys)
-Some good children's book or toys with some cultural diversity :)
-Little hair ties
-Toddler/Little kid food or snacks
-TV for the teenagers room- nothing fancy just something to watch netflix on (sometimes they like to watch things that are not Princess Sofia or Paw Patrol-I get it)
-Boy Toys for 4-6year olds. Maybe Balls, Legos, or Outdoor toys (I'm really just making stuff up I have no idea what boys like-it will be a good learning curve for me)
-Gift Cards (Amazon, Food, Gas, Target, Aldi, Costco, Hyvee...really anywhere)
-Passess or things to do as a family (who knows we might actually hibernate and not come out of the house but in theory this would be fun)
-12 cup coffee pot (We currently make two pots a day to get all grown(ish) people caffeinated...thinking on our new adventure we will need more caffeine)
-Black and White rug to go in one of the teen girls room
-Some Black frames 5x7 or 8x10 to add family photos of them to our family wall

That's what we could come up with as a family team...I am sure there are things that we are not even thinking of that we will figure out as we go. But our great adventure is in full swing and we look forward to what God has in store for us as the week unfolds and we know without a shadow of a doubt the only way for us to do this and do it well is with LOTS of Jesus and our committed community!

Thank you already to the many people that have tracked down beds, have helped us rearrange, to Duane for building us a dining room table that everyone will fit at, to my girls that have been so patient as we keep moving things around till we find just the right fit, and to our friends and family that are holding us up in prayer all over the world. We appreciate you!

Thanks for being in this with us...

Friday, May 6, 2016

The night I did the ugly cry...

So it was like any other day...we were at Pro Deo, Andy was stringing up a piñata for Cinco De Mayo and it was almost dinner time. We got the call asking if we would take a sibling set. We said yes. They said they would call the worker. We finish the piñata, charge a phone, and frantically start looking for the things we need to make this work thinking that before bedtime we will have doubled the size of our family and all with littles that were going to have no idea what was going on. We were excited, scared, nervous...we prayed lots, we moved and rearranged fast (Andy's gift). Two hours later the home finding place calls back and says that the worker has put them in shelter over night and hopefully would call us in the morning. We paused. We decided to go on a walk with our family of 4 and two pups and slow down and enjoy the evening. We put Miss K to bed and she was wired. Finally about 9:30 Andy gets on the baby monitor and says Miss K you need to be asleep. She says when are the kids coming? It took us a minute to clarify but she made it very clear she meant the children that we had been talking about all night. She didn't get the memo that they weren't coming and this whole time had been waiting for them- no doubt in my mind she was watching out the window for them. Andy, without missing a beat, said why don't you pray for them. That was the end of discussion. Then over the baby monitor we here muffled talking and so we turn up the baby monitor as loud as we could and listened. We didn't hear it all but what we heard made our hearts melt and made this momma bear do the ugly cry.
"God I just really want them here"  "I want her in my room" "I want to play with them" "I really want these brothers and sisters" "...keep them safe" "thank you for our blessings"

And just like that I am a heap of a mess on the floor. My three year old gets it. She has been very aware all week since our 15 year old walked through the door that something is beautifully chaotic about this all but she has a gift of hospitality and a heart that overflows for others. Every time she sees our 15 year old she asks (in all honesty sometimes awkward questions-like the first 15 minutes we met her...Kadence asked where her mommy was) if she can read books together, go on walks together. Kadence always wants to be in her room and talk with her.

So we might still get a placement before the weekend is over...and we might not. But one thing is for sure Jesus is in the midst of all of this and hearing your three year old pray for kiddos she has not met and asking Jesus to bring them to us so we can be their family is enough to make this girl do the ugly cry.

Our family moves forward confidently knowing that God got this and that our family is being covered in prayer by our friends, family, and most importantly Miss K.