Thursday, July 31, 2008


After signing up for a site meter, I realize I have much more traffic than previously thought, and so have taken off pictures of some of "my" kids. I am excited to see I have more readers than I realized (I thought there were just about 2 of you).....but since I don't know you all I'm pulling pictures of my born of the heart children. I'll still post pictures of my born of the body children. Don't think I'm being partial. I'm not. Just protective. I'm not trying to out you, because I enjoy anonymous lurking on other sites myself. Hope you hang around and enjoy what you read.

By the way, I've become a frequent visitor of here, and she states so clearly what I can't seem to articulate. She's also why I am now lovingly referring to my children as "born of the heart", or "born of the body". She is a seasoned foster parent and because I haven't really been able to get involved with other foster parents in my area, just having someone who I know understands and "gets" what is going on at my house brings great comfort. She has older children as well as 3 small ones very close to the same ages as mine. I'm not alone. I have also already been the benefactor of her transparency and honesty about previous failures and tough decisions. Some much like my own. Go visit! And if she doesn't inspire you to get involved with a foster family near you, I don't know who can.

A lot of nothing

Last night I spent a couple of hours with 3 friends, 1 of which I am just now getting to know. I casually mentioned something about how I had left my home as TJ came in, and our conversation exchange as I left. The chaos of our life, and the topics that have become day to day lingo has become so normal to me, that I sometimes forget how abnormal it really is. Court dates, visits, counselors, psychiatrist, case workers, outbursts, emotional breaks and the list goes on and on. We have rejoiced over hurting a child's feelings. Because with 3 of the children who have been in our home, we weren't sure that was possible. It's not that we want to hurt them, but realizing they actually have the capacity to feel on that level did not come right away with any of them. Yes, they become frustrated when they do not get their way, but that is very different than a feeling of remorse, or hurt because they do, indeed, want to please us. Or do, indeed, understand their behavior was wrong and they want to change it.

Anyway, at the mention of my passing directions to my husband, this new friend had a mixture of laughing/confusion sort of reaction and I realized I needed to make some explanations. I could see her trying to figure out just exactly how many kids I had at my home!

Yesterday was a very long day of work for my husband. He left at 7:15, worked through his lunch, and only came home at 6:45 because he knew I had plans. My friend was already in our driveway as he pulled in from work, and so we had a very quick exchange while standing under the carport. It was this conversation that I casually mentioned that caused my new friend a round of laughter. Had I known my life could bring such response, I would have shared it earlier! ;) So, just in case your sense of humor is anything like hers (or mine), here's how the conversation went:

Before he had even opened his door, I had already started in on his directions. "Blessing can not get out of time-out for another 4 minutes, then it's bath and bed for her. Charity can have 1 cookie IF she eats those peas and carrots on her plate. 1 cookie ONLY, and ONLY if all the green and orange stuff is gone. Grace already had her cookie and she can get out of time-out when the oven timer goes off. Oh, yeah, if Charity gets down from the bar before finishing the green stuff the cookie deal is null and void. I told Faith and Hope they could sleep in the loft if they folded the clothes on my bed. Don't forget Grace's claritin, and Charity's cream, and they're all really tired from swimming and no nap today." Still trying to get in every ounce of info he needed to hear even as I climbed into my friend's van and he was walking away, I was still calling after him, "Oh, and we haven't gotten that packet from the Development Center for Children, I think you need to go back to the doctor's office and see why.

I'm not sure why I feel the need to say all of that. You can safely assume all the children ate the rest of the cookies, no one lingered in time-out any longer than it took me to get out of the drive-way, and I doubt anyone had a bath. The doctor's office was already closed.

Let me put in a plug for my hubby here..... Again, not bashing him. He really and truly is an amazing man whose grace runs deep and the love for his children is very obvious. The stress of no job is currently weighing heavy on him. He takes providing for his family very serious, and trying to balance that kind of work ethic and responsibility with dependence on God and His timing is not always an easy thing. He is very helpful around our home, and with our kids, and I don't want to paint any different picture of him by stating what I'm sure to be true of last night. ;)

After some explanation, my new friend wittingly suggested that we should just pin a timer on each kid every day. That way, when it's time-out, I just push on their timer, and there's no confusion about who has to sit for how much longer. Now there's an idea!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


It's a word I use to describe a lot of different things. The noise level in my house right at this moment: ridiculous. The expectation for those shorts you wore yesterday to be clean today: ridiculous. Our bank account: ridiculous. The current predicament we're in (no job, last pay check drawn): ridiculous. And best of all, my entire day yesterday: ridiculous.

Let's start with my attitude. The ability to completely trust in God's timing in fizzling fast. My once, "it will all work out" mindset is quickly beginning to focus on how long it's been since we've had any real direction. Frustration and stress and irritability is kind of winning over my normally laid back attitude. I understand attitude is a choice. And it's something I believe pretty whole heartedly. But for whatever reason, whether it is really under my control or not, I'm having trouble changing it. Overwhelmed is not a fun state to be in day after day.

Yesterday was NOT good. My blessing couldn't seem to pee in the potty not one time. Not to mention her uncontrollable obsession with pouring out bottles of soap and shampoo. My Charity seemed to think acting like she did on Day 1 of her arrival would be better than all the progress she seemed to have made lately. Grace was extra whiny and insistent that her doctor needs to take off her "ganglion cyst". And yes, she calls it by it's actual medical name. It was cute, the first thousand times. Faith and Hope seemed to think treating each other like, well, like children would treat each other, was suitable. And if you didn't catch it in the last sentence, hind sight allows me to see the problem was with my expectations. They were only doing what children do. But my reaction? RIDICULOUS.

I lost it. By "it", I mean everything. My temper. My sanity. Any semblance of filtering what I say FIRST. I even lost my soft voice. Decibel 5 seemed to be the only level I could say anything. Couple that with glaring eyes. I had to apologize to ALL my children. And quit entertaining any thoughts of being Mother-of-the-year. Sheesh. Just when I thought I had it all together. (better read that sarcastic. That's how I meant it)

My husband came in for lunch about the time I exploded. He looked at me like I was growing horns or something. I busted out crying, throwing up all my feelings of worthlessness and failure all over him. He continued to look at me like I'd just fallen from outer space. Then, in his all understanding, gentle, loving manner, he said, "Gotta go back to work". And left. You're jealous, aren't you? You know you want him for your husband.

This isn't meant to bash him. But that's what happens when we expect our husbands to fill a void that they can't fill. It's unfair to expect them to. From there, what did we do? We dug in the change bucket for a dollar and 10 cents per person. Then went to the dollar store. Yes, I bought forgiveness. Maybe. Does it cost more than a dollar? What is the going rate these days?

Then my children, who I fully expected, and even wanted to spend on things completely cheap and fun and, every last one of them chose practical things. We came home with some headbands, chapstick, a hat. A different day I'd be proud. But at the moment even that seemed like a testimony of my horrible parenting. Guess I'll go eat worms. Long, thin slimy ones.

Thank the Lord today is a new day and His mercies are new each morning. Gratefulness reigns again.

I wonder how long before I screw it up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Because every girl really is one. Thanks, Shelley, for the new dresses. Who knew dresses that light up could bring such happiness! Blessing does put them on, but she quickly sheds them (my little sensory-challenged child). However, Charity announced that she could not practice ballet with she and Grace if she did not have on a beautiful dress. I can not tell you what glee it brought me to hear my child who only spoke in grunts about a year ago quickly retort that she most certainly DID have on a dress. I'm pretending, she said. "If you can't see it, you no good pretender!" How's that for language skills? Of course you'd probably need me to interpret, but all those words were there!

By the way, I read a very beautiful conversation between mother and her child with CP. Click if you're interested.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Proverbs 22:6

I'm currently reading Dr. Tim Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting. I'll try to write a little more specific and in depth review later for any of you who might (or might not) be interested. But for now this particular break down of a well-known Bible verse has been on my mind often. Parenting 5 children (7 - if you count that way.....and God-willing more to come) is something I consider a privilege, a blessing, a joy, but also something I take extremely seriously. These kids are gifts, but not really even mine. They are mine only to shepherd. Not control. My responsibility. One I do not wish to be lazy about. No, I desire to be purposeful and intentional when it comes to their lives and the guiding of their little spirits.

Ok, so I'm already steering away from the point. I'm good at that, aren't I? A little Attention Deficit. Likely. Anyway, back to the verse. It's the "Train up a child" verse. One familiar to many. But I'd never heard (or studied for myself) the Hebrew words used here. Turns out some translations actually say, "train him up his way." Dr. Kimmel points out that this particular translation is more accurate and lends a more literal meaning. If you are like me, I was still slightly confused, but he goes on to further define the actual Hebrew word used: dereck. This same word is translated in Ps. 11 refering to the bend of a bow.

Kimmel goes on to explain that making a bow out of a tree limb requires first studying the limb to figure out its natural "bent". If you were to string the bow without first doing so, when would snap due to the string against its natural bent rather than with it. Any light bulbs going off for you? They certainly did for me.

I'll leave you with a little from his book that brought new light, direction, perspective and purpose in how I handle my children's weaknesses (hopefully a little more gracefully).

This means coming alongside them with a plan to help leverage their natural and unique gifts and skills into highly developed assets that they can lean on in the future.

We should study them [our children] enough to know which natural bents they have that push them in the wrong direction. They might struggle with an inordinate amount of fear, shyness, stubbornness, argumentativeness, dependence, independence, sexual drive, or need to take dangerous risks. We can't make these liabilities disappear, but we are to raise them in such a way that we account for them and give them tools to help process them properly.

I can't find the actual part where he said it, now, but he goes on to say that God created us (and our children) with great gifts AND weaknesses that require them to lean heavily on Him for power and help. I realize much has to do with where you are in your own spiritual walk, but for me, that statement alone was freeing and relieved some guilt I've harbored from when I've fallen so short. How fantastic to know that God not only loves us despite our weaknesses, but he actually created us with them. And how much easier it is for me, now, to extend that grace He gave to me on to my children.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


....Sadie is sleeping.

Yes, like that.

And, by the way, that's our schnauzer's bed. The two of them are pretty good friends, actually. There are times when they are chasing each other around playing like 2 kittens. But when it comes down to it, Sadie is the one who rules the roost. It's all fun and games until Sadie gets tired of playing. Then she lays back her ears, sticks up a paw as if to say, "Come any closer and I'll use the claw". Toby (the much bigger DOG) quickly renounces claim to his bed, his food, or wherever/whatever Sadie has decided is hers when she hisses. He comes to my side and looks all pitiful. And I say, "Boy, if you can't take up for yourself against that itsy kitten, I'm not doing it for you."

I think this is why we have all girls. A boy would never make it. Around here, girls definitely rule and boys definitely drool.

I'm never alone

This picture is obviously posed. Because, I mean, really, who keeps their camera in the bathroom? But the truth is that yesterday I actually closed the door to go potty (I normally don't) thinking that I might accidentally be able to use it without 20 questions happening right in front of me. Or some certain unnamed kid saying, "ya need me to wipe you?". While I was peeing, this is what I saw. I was laughing so hard I was crying by the time I got out of there. The conversation through the door was even funnier. I can't remember everything that was said, but the 3 of them were sure I needed them. And decided that if I couldn't see their faces, maybe their fingers would be enough.

I mean, come on. Who can look at those little fingers and not feel loved? It did not matter how frustrated I might have previously been. Those 30 fingers (and the remaining 20 that can get along without me long enough for me to pee) are just priceless. Certain trips to Wal-Mart might make me complain, but I delight in these children! ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



'nuff said.

Ok, so it isn't enough said, since so many of my readers (both of you) don't live in our town and can't fully understand. You see, my wonderful husband usually does the grocery and Wal-Mart shopping. Occasionally I run in for something, but very rarely is it for a basket full of stuff. Every time I go with my children, I swear I will never go again with them in tow. My hubby would rather go himself than keep kids while I go.

Note to self: drill husband about that later.

So, because my husband started a new job today (temporary, but a long day none the less), he was not due home until after 6:00. I could not even fix supper without a grocery trip, first. I did not want him to go spend all that time in Wal-Mart, nor did I want to leave as soon as he came in. Being the loving, caring, thoughtful, and humble wife that I am, I loaded up the kids and headed to hell.

Yes, I said it. Oooo, the "h" word. Hell yes, I said it. Stay tuned and I might use some more choice words. I really forgot they were remodeling here. I couldn't find a dang thing. And I wasn't the only one. Half our town was wandering around Wal-Mart with confused looks on their faces. And the workers were just as clueless. It might've been funny to just walk around and people watch if I hadn't been toting three yr. olds who have to touch everything. Each had to pee. At different times, mind you. And did ya know the newly remodeled bathrooms have automatic toilets? Well, they do. And wouldn't you know it....I have 3 toddlers who won't pee on those kinds of toilets.

I was waiting on DHS to show up and take my kids away from me. I can only imagine what the people in the next stall were thinking. It went something like this:

First of all, keep in mind they can see 8 feet in one itty bitty stall. First up was Charity. Who was already holding herself and squealing she had to go so bad. (Typical of her) About the time I finally got her to let go of her shorts long enough for me to pull them down, the potty flushed. 3 kids screamed. It echoed. Which Blessing thought was neat so from that point forward she was saying over and over and over and over again, "HEY!!!" in her ever-so-loud-and-gruff-voice. Oblivious to all else happening in the stall, she just cupped her hands around her mouth in her corner and kept shouting, "Hey!". Charity locked her knees straight and for the life of me I COULD NOT set her little tooshy on that potty. Some how in all the wrangling of feet and arms and getting her seated properly up there, I must have knocked Grace, already terrified and crying from the auto-flushing potty, into the paper dispenser. There was some muffled crying going on...seeing as how her face was smushed into my own backside. It was kind of hard to hear what she was actually saying. What, with all the "HEY!" hollering from Blessing and the potty that seemed to think it needed to flush every few seconds. Finally I heard her, "Momma, You're squishing me and it hurts my feelings!!", she was saying. Never mind all the things I said while in that stall with the 3 of them. I assure you, every last girl in there was traumatized. Myself included. People seeing us come out of there probably had to wonder what in the world was happening behind those doors. I'm confident I'll have nightmares involving automatic potties from now on. And so will my children.

Back to the actual shopping trip. I left without bacon bits. When someone finds the aisle they are on, please let me know. I gave up after the 4th trip around the place with only that left on my list.

My computer is back!

After what seemed like forever, my computer is back home and hopefully really and truly fixed. So, maybe I can manage to catch up on your sites, blog on mine a little more often, and email all my friends who think I have abandoned them. :)

We just returned from our trip to Florida. Unfortunately vacation does not mean we get to leave sibling rivalry, social issues, fits and whiners behind; however, we had a fantastic week! The older girls and I got almost completely through "Everything on a Waffle". Love that book, by the way. Faith and Hope also got up early several mornings and enjoyed walks on the beach with my dad. They would find all kinds of critters or jellyfish and even saw dolphins close enough to see their entire bodies in the waves. My husband and I also spent a lot of time reading. We played a ton of "Uno" and "Sorry" and "Old Maid". And lets not forget the endless hours on the beach and at the swimming pool. My most favorite still is going out at night with flashlights and catching ghost crabs. Can't you just hear all my girls squealing and laughing and squealing some more? Turns out, the fraidy cat of the bunch (Grace) won the crab hunter of the year award. I can't believe my most cautious child is the one who would actually grab the crabs and throw them in the bucket!

While there, Blessing perfected her swimming. That girl is a fish! She was jumping off the side and swimming to the side all by herself. Here she is jumping with Faith and Hope.

This one makes me want to go back already!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Off to camp

Sunday night I sent Faith, my oldest daughter, off to camp. Are you wondering if she is actually old enough for that? Well, you aren't alone. Since when is she old enough? And to top it all off, turns out, she's attending the YOUTH services as opposed to the ones for children. Youth? Are you kidding me? She's 10, people. She's my baby, you nut cases. My baaabbbyyyy!!! (said with the most drama you can possibly muster)

The camp is in the northern part of our state, and I actually attended the same camp as a little girl. I'm really excited about her having this experience, and have prayed that this week will be a spiritual marker for her. I'm not one of those parents who leaves teaching my children how to follow Christ up to Sunday school workers, VBS, or camp; In fact I'm very confident that my own responsibility in growing spiritually strong children is much greater and probably more profound than any camp experience. However, I'm equally confident that many of God's children joining together for worship, fun, and focused time of learning about Him with some amazing Christ-followers could be a life changing experience for her. My little girl just really isn't anymore. She's growing into this beautiful young lady and my primary goal is for her to have a personal relationship with Jesus. She has begun that already, but life with Jesus is so much more than an occasional prayer or quiet time. She's now learning to fear Him, to love Him with all her heart, to rely on Him..... sometimes holding onto Him rather than on us. I'm losing control! ah! But while it's scary, it's a beautiful thing to watch her blossom.


My computer has a mind of it's own. Some days it comes on. Some days it does not. Some days it will stay on, some days it goes off right in the middle of something unsaved. Annoying. To say the least. So, when you do not hear from me, pray for my computer! ;)

There are tons of things going on right now. A move for our family is likely. Our family dynamics are ever-changing...I guess that comes with the territory of being a foster family. Vacation is just a few days away...and I can't wait!!!! So, our home is abuzz with packing (moving packing, and vacation packing), painting/getting the house ready to sell. Ok, it seems like a lot more than that. Why is it when written down it doesn't seem like something I should be so stressed about?

So, there you have it. Much ado about nothing. These are a couple of pics of our 3 youngest.

The fish (Blessing):

This kid is really swimming. Really. Swimming. Am I the only one amazed by this?

Here are the 2 that refuse to get their faces wet. They are slightly bothered by the fact the one smaller and younger sibling is getting so much clapping and yelling and excitement from the adults. But not enough to do anything about it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dirt, anyone?

These 3 partners in crime are becoming closer and closer all the time. Maybe, eventually, they won't be just crime partners.

Maybe not even just sisters.

Maybe. Just maybe. They'll be great friends.

A mom can dream.

Meanwhile, the quarreling has come down from an insane level to one I would consider pretty normal for any family. Not bad for sisters who have not had since birth to get to know each other. Or for a couple of girls who got a rocky start in life and social skills just didn't exactly come easy. I love this picture! The dirt just adds character, huh?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Our Last Day

We're having major computer problems, and so I'll probably be missing again for some time. yuck. It's been a hard few days, as we said goodbye to Little Boy Blue on Wednesday night. Our last day together was a very good one. We enjoyed swimming together.
Even his fits were savored.

And this laugh and picture will forever be priceless.

Once again, there have been many tears, screams, profanities and fits. But we are drawn very close to Him and reminded that this ministry is not about how we feel or the emotions that come our way when a child leaves our home. It's all about glorifying our Father, and teaching little ones about how He loves, how He lives, and how He rejoices over each one. It is amazing how days of grieving are also wonderful, joyful days of drawing close to our children, lots of games, heart to hearts, holding, crying AND laughing together.

Meanwhile, we've added a new member to the family. Meet Sadie.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blessing's Adoption Service

A couple of days ago I found Blessing (just get over the o-so-dangerous-playing-on-the-ladder part) busily climbing up and down the ladder tending to one baby after another. She would put a bottle in one's mouth. Then go down a few steps and cover another with a blanket. Then call "I'm coming!", and go back up a few steps and pat a crying baby while making the sounds for it. "What are you doing?", I asked. I'm sure either Faith or Hope put the words into her mouth, or she was mimicking their play, but she answered, "my doshin sewvish". For those of you who do not speak Blessing, that's "my adoption service." Bwahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, the joy this babe brings me.