Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

What a wonderful year we have had.  Here is a peek back...

January - Trips downtown with good friends, lots of arts and crafts and tinkering!

February- Playing in the snow, creating, building and celebrating love.

March- Room re-dos, snow storms, garden planning and Easter.

April- Puddle jumping, fires, mud pies and tilling the soil.

May- Birds nests, butterflies, baby plants, Mother's Day and a trip to Lincoln's home.

June- big birthday, camping trip through the Midwest, geocaching and baby snuggling.

July- Cherries on the tree, lost teeth, zoos, ice cream and a wedding.

August- Family reunion, drum corps, first day of Kindergarten and a NEW HOUSE!

September- Birthdays, first days of preschool, enjoying that new house!

October- Apple picking, pumpkin patches and fun at school.

November- Another birthday, taekwondo, new paint, thanksgiving and snuggles.

December- Christmas programs, tree cutting and decorating, and spending lots of time with friends.

Happy New Year to you all...may 2014 bring more happy times and precious memories.

Friday, December 20, 2013

{this moment}




{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Little Elf






Mr B has been busy making a gifts for his brothers this week.  We decided to make them blankets, so we took a trip to the fabric store where he picked out the perfect fabric for each brother (dinosaurs for one, weiner dogs for the other).  Then we set to work making and binding the blankets.  He worked the pedal (and only one time did I nearly lose a finger).  We think they turned out great.  The pictures are a bit funny because he is wearing his reflective firefighter costume from Halloween...but you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Do-over?

This is a quick little note, but following on my post yesterday that portrayed all the good that has been going on, I feel compelled to just write a few lines about today...this way you can't say that I didn't warn you :)

So today was epic meltdown day.  I figure any child torn from his family, stuck into ours and left for long enough is entitled to one major freak-out, and it arrived today.  I should have seen it coming when I got a call from school at 9:15am, and I wish I had realized it was brewing and handled things differently, but alas, only hindsight is 20/20.

There were tears- not just mine- screaming, kicking, biting, throwing, dumping, tearing, smashing...it was u.g.l.y.  I lectured, I guilted, I bargained, I prayed, I yelled...it was nobody's shining moment.

The one ray of humor in it all was that as I was standing, literally holding the door shut while our little buddy calmed down enough to be around the other children, one of the kids handed me the mail, and I opened a beautiful Christmas card from the Safe Families staff that thanked me for "sharing the peace of our home with a child"...more like a PIECE of our home the way he was bashing the walls.  But that little card really did give me enough pause to take a few deep breaths and even crack a smile.

Anyhoo...by the end of it, we both said our apologies and it was all hands on deck to clean up the disaster zone.  It left me feeling really shaken up and wishing I had handled things differently, but in the there are no do-overs, only grace.

Here's to tomorrow being a new day.  Sigh...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Little Christmas Reflection




Today I am linking up with one of my most favorite bloggers, Linny, over at A Place Called Simplicity.  If you haven't read her blog, you really should head over there...she is one of the most positive, inspiring voices I have ever read on this big Internet.  And her kids are adorable...it is worth a peek just to see her beautiful family.  

Anyway, today Linny has asked her readers to take a moment to stop amidst all the Christmas preparation craziness to rest (Selah) and to reflect on how God has provided this year.  

We have been blessed with a new home.  We took a huge leap of faith, threw caution to the wind and are now enjoying our new place.  We have a wonderful lady who is living in the apartment attached to our house.  She is an artist and was over last weekend teaching the kids to paint with real watercolors (from a tube!).  We share our space, she shares her talents...this is life as it should be!  We look forward to many more gatherings of our favorite people now that we have a bit more room to spread out!

We are blessed with Hubby's job- a job that he loves and that provides for our family and allows me to stay home with the kids.  This year we are especially thankful for the wonderful health insurance benefits he has as we are heading into a year of serial casting, leg braces and intense physical therapy for our daughter.  We have dealt with medical care provided through the state for many of our Safe Families kids, and this experience makes us ever more grateful for the excellent care that we receive!

We are thankful for family that lives close- both sets of our parents live in our town, and this year my dear grandparents have also moved in up the road.  Never did I dream of being so lucky to have this much family close, or for my children to get a chance to snuggle up on their great-grandma's lap for a story like I used to!

We have been amazingly blessed this year to become a Safe Family.  We have had seven sweet children come through our home, some staying for a few days, others for a few months.  We have been challenged and changed by each child and I truly believe that we and our biological children have gained so much more from the experience than the children we have fostered.  We have not been able to change their worlds, nor to always send them home to the situation we would chose for them, but in the end, we can look at each child and feel good that we were at least able to love on them, feed them and remember them in our hearts and prayers.  

I am putting in a video of our current little boy, who will most likely be leaving us and heading back to his family at the end of this week, in time for Christmas.  This afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table, working on a Christmas gift for Little Bee and listening to this boy SING SING SING all alone in his room.  What has he been singing?  Songs from church!  It is moments like this that make it all so worth it.




I could go on and on with thankfulness for dear friends, celebrations, new babies, wonderful schools, safe travels and adventures, but instead I will wish a Merry Christmas to you all and hope you are able to take a moment to rest and consider the beautiful things that have happened in your life recently!  Enjoy this little video and a few pictures from our year.





















Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Before and After

Before

After
We have picked up our paintbrushes for the first time in our new home and given our bedroom a one-day makeover.  By the grace of God, all four children entertained themselves for an entire day while Hubby and I painted.  We think it is much cozier now...which is good since it is about 10 degrees outside!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Toe-Walking










We are entering a crazy time with our little Miss Flower.  Along with being smart, spunky and a touch sassy, she is a TOE WALKER.  Big time toe-walker...like a human barbie doll.  So, now that she is four, it is time to address the issue, before it starts to take a toll on her knees and back and she finds herself unable to do all the things she loves to do.

Soooo....starting in January, she and I will be off to Children's Hospital every Monday morning bright and early for serial casting.  Each week they will cast her legs in an increasingly flexed position, allowing her muscles and tendons to grow longer.  We will continue this for anywhere between 6 and 18 weeks, depending on how her legs respond.  Then she will be fitted for leg braces- one pair she will wear all day, every day, and another pair for nighttime that will hold her legs in a stretched position so that the muscles do not tighten back up.  She will wear the leg braces for years to come.

According to the awesome PT and orthotist we are working with, the real hard part is completing the 60 minutes of physical therapy a day...though to be honest, driving over an hour into the city and back for a 3 hour appointment doesn't seem like it will be too easy either.  It will be a 7+ hour trip each week.  Luckily, we have wonderful, generous family living nearby who are willing to help with the other kids.  A neighbor will put Lego on the bus in the mornings for me, and Bee is able to go to a full day of school on Mondays at our beloved preschool.  Grandmas and Great Grandmas will pick up all the other hours.  SO BLESSED!

We won't be taking any Safe Families kiddos (once our current guy returns home supposedly right before Christmas) until we get through the thick of this. That should simplify life a bit.  Keep Flower in your prayers as we start to figure this all out.  I am sure that it will become old hat in no time and won't slow her down for long, but at the moment we are filled with questions like "what can you wear over huge leg casts?!" "how do we keep her from kicking a hole in the wall while she sleeps?" and "how are we going to keep her casts dry in the snow?"

So that's our newest adventure, starting January 6, 2014.  Here we go...


Friday, December 6, 2013

{this moment}



{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2



 







Oh, two year old.  You are hilarious and frustrating and character-building and heart-warming all rolled into one.  You can make me tear my hear out and burst into laughter at the same time.  Your help makes things take twice as long, your cleaning makes things dirtier and getting dressed takes an hour, but your presence makes everything better.  Your daily goal is competence and independence, but at the end of the day you still snuggle into me and suck your thumb.  Yes, two is so, so good.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Little Pre-Christmas Cheer

We kicked off the season with the girls' preschool Christmas program tonight.  I am going to share a gratuitous amount of pictures and videos for family who wasn't able to make it...and anyone else who needs a little Christmas cheer!

Little Bee decided to wear her purple boots and her teacher and I agreed that 7pm was not a time to pick a battle with a two year old...and then lo and behold when we told her she could wear the boots, she wanted her black dress shoes.  This is the one shot she consented to almost smiling in :)  But there were smiles, really!

Flower is into the posed pictures these days...

She had the best time- smiling and waving and singing her heart out.  Tallest kid in the class!

At an hour past her bedtime, Bee wasn't so sure about the whole thing, but she did enjoy the cookies at the end!

Getting the two year olds to walk into the church was a bit like herding cats.  Cute cats.  She didn't scream or cry though, putting her in at least the top 50% of the class :)

One picture with both girls!

And the Bee decided she might like to wander around a bit.  She really does give some stellar dirty looks.  I think the red-eye makes it even better...laser eyes!  See if you can spot her in the videos...she is wandering around, and then sitting on the teacher's lap.  Flower is front and center singing every word and doing all the motions.  Oh, the difference two years makes!