Sunday, September 30, 2012

Project 365, Week 39

The kids and I are back from MA and they are all tucked in bed.  Shaun and crew should be done with the show in about 9:45 and then begins the three-hour take down and then the two hour ride home.  I wish we could have stayed, but I was trying to be a responsible parent and have my kids somewhat ready to attend school in the morning....they didn't get a whole lot of sleep this weekend.

This week contained some stress, which is strange because I rarely use that word.  A tough work meeting and some really bad traffic did it for me.  Makes me extra thankful I'm in the troughs of training for a half marathon.  Running 25-30 miles a week is one of the very best stress busters I can think of.

September 23
Sunday was such a beautiful fall day and I got to be out in it shooting a couple families for one of my fall sessions.  I had a great time but as time wore on my headache the time I finished up I was nauseous from it, too....I thought it was because I'd done my long run that morning and hadn't had a chance to eat or drink...
September 24
...but the next morning I still wasn't feeling great so Shaun offered to go to the grocery store with me.  I had to photograph the occasion because this simply doesn't happen, the two of us in the store together.
 September 25
I came home from walking the girls to school and found these two snuggled up on the couch.  Shaun was reading about the Apostle Paul and Aiden was intent.  So sweet.

In the evening Shaun and Avery headed up to MA with a small crew to setup for the production.
September 26
My boss asked me to attend a damage control meeting with some disgruntled customers because I'd been heavily involved in the deal, so I threw on some heals and prayed through my nervous stomach.  The meeting ended up going pretty well, though it was emotionally draining.
On the way home, I stopped to take some pictures for friends who just had a baby.
 When I got home I really wanted to debrief with Shaun but since he wasn't here I chased the kids around the house.  We have the perfect house for chase and running around in circles and I delighted to hear their laughter and shrieks....good medicine!
 September 27
My sweet, sweet boy.  Such good company for walks to school.
 An email interrupted me after Aiden's bath so he ended up playing like this for a while.
 One of the harder things when Shaun is gone is that Aiden has to be woken up.
 September 28
Avery and Amanda had the day off of school because the teachers had a day of prayer (yay...LOVE our school!) so we went to the river to tire the dog out who would be locked up most of the weekend.
 My dad came and got Amanda and Aiden so they could go do the nursing home service with him.  Aiden knew he wanted to wear a tie "just like Pop".  My dad said Aiden was on his game talking to the residents, shaking hands and singing.  Even at three, he understands that he is there to minister and bless people.  Awesome!
 After taking Z to the dentist (and waiting 45 minutes to be seen!) and meeting up with my dad to get the kids, we were on our way to MA.  Except, because we'd gotten delayed, it was pushing into rush hour time on a Friday.  Traffic was intense.  By the time we arrived, I was completely frazzled....people do this regularly??

We met up with Shaun and Avery and the kids swam at the hotel for a bit before we went to dinner.

September 29
Early Saturday morning, we were back on the road to home for the four-hour round trip to go to Z's game.  Aiden and Alayna were happy to be together.  They made a cake out of dirt and a stick and were singing Happy Birthday.  :)
 The show, to a packed out church, was a huge success with many giving their lives to Christ.
 I was so happy to get Aiden to agree to these overalls....oh, my heart!
 Wow...this week is October...can't believe it!

Project 365 delayed

Good morning! Have I ever told you how cool I think it is that you come here once in a while to check up on us? In the last couple weeks I've had several people make in-person comments to me about my blog, and I had no idea they knew about it! Not sure what the draw is...must be the cute kids? :) Anyway, thanks for caring about our family And being so sweet with your comments...I'd write even if no one read, but it makes it a little more fun this way. We are away in Massachusetts today, as we have been all weekend and I didn't have my stuff together enough to have my Project 365 done before we left. We have an obscene number of Internet devices in our lives and still I cannot do a full post with photos "on the fly". Definitely on the user end because I know that all these devices know how to talk to each other. There is one more show tonight, if you live anywhere near close or know someone who does!The Show

Friday, September 28, 2012

Unperfect Friday

You know, I have all these grandios ideas of catching up on blogging and giving each little thing it's own special post. But time, it keeps on slippin' and I'm well aware that the saying "perfection is the highest form of procrastination" is me all the way and really, this is just my little blog and so why does perfectionism of any sort have the right to enter into that conversation.

And so, this post will be wildly random and filled with topics that the perfectionist in me would love to split up but the working mom in me is insisting that I just do it already before it's all completely passed.

We just completed one month of month since we slammed the door on summer and looked head on into a new school year.

Amanda was (and may always be) our wild card. She was insistent she didn't want to go but actually found that she loves it.

The first several days her teacher would come up to me with another funny story about Amanda...the first time she came up to me I knew exactly what she was going to do. She thinks Amanda is just so cute and funny and she is, but you could also take her differently. Thankfully her teacher has embraced her "spice"and thinks she's a "peach".

Amanda is starting to get the reading thing, as it applies to real life. Prior to this it'd been her parents asking her to read and why on earth would we need her to read when we are so good at it and always around. But the lightbulb is going off and, lo and behold, she has found there are actually some real life applications with reading...such as the program guide on the tv...comes in handy when you need to decide between Jake and Dora.

Avery is doing well, as expected.  There are just 13 kids in her class so she has more opportunity to get on her own track...the teacher has already realized she's going to need to get creative to keep Avery's appetite for knowledge satisfied.

The girls have chapel together, morning snack and recess, lunch and afternoon recess and various other times.  Shaun and I take turns walking them there and back home and most days that is sweet time together....the other days that don't fall into the "most" category are generally just ugly.

Shaun and Avery left for Boston on Tuesday to get set up for a show we're doing this weekend.  I have missed him so much, which is odd to me considering all we've just been'd think it'd be old hat by now!

This month marked six months that Z has been with us....that's actually about what it feels like, too.  Some things are really hard, others are a joy.  Ultimately, we feel like we are in the center of God's will for us and that is just a sweet spot to be in.

Easily, the hardest part has been dealing with all the "people" that come with Z.  Its the social workers and the layers of supervisors above them, the therapists, the "system".  We knew going in that would be  a point of frustration and it sure has been.  The bureaucracy is mind-numbing and, while most involved seem to genuinely care about the kids, at the end of the day it is a J-O-B for them.

I've had to do lots of growing in the short time he's been here.  This whole experience has exposed some ugly sin in my heart that I didn't even know was there....its hard and painful to work through but I know it will be worth it.  Am I the only one who feels like their list of things to work on never grows shorter??

So other than "the system" and the mind-boggling amount of weekly obligations that come with him, the rest has all been very positive.  He's fit pretty seamlessly into our family and all the kids get along fabulously.  They say "I love you" often and look up to him as a big brother.  He watches out for them, especially Aiden.

Foster care, at least with older kids, at least for me, is a constant push/pull.  We are doing our family thing here and twice a week Z is seeing his family.  We are giving everything we can for him, have turned our lives completely upside down for him and yet, given the chance, he would happily, gratefully go back to his family today, if he could.  On my weak days, that's just hard to swallow, even though I really wouldn't want it any other way.

Yesterday we walked to the post office and upon entering Aiden declared, "This is where Amanda got Bear!"  Yeah, like nearly a year ago and HOW do you remember that?  The kid is amazing with directions and locations.  I am not, so YAY!

So much more to say, but I've gone on long enough.  Sometimes I see a wordy post like this and get scared away.  :)  But look at that...I dumped a bunch of posts into one and the world is still spinning.

Let's make it an incredible day!  Here's to LIFE!  (Which I am hearing in the background because I served Life cereal and whenever I do that I can't help but break into the To Life song from Fiddler on the Roof whenever they ask for it and now the kids sing it and ask to watch it on the iPad...quite the invigorating, and somewhat inappropriate way to start your day.  :)

This is the very day God acted—

   let’s celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
    Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

Psalm 118:24,25

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Football

Saturday dawned a beautiful fall day, chilly in the morning but slowly and gently the sun warmed everything up to perfection.

Avery was cheering for the first game and Z was playing in the second.

 After watching a few cheers, the boys decided they would need something else to do, so an informal game began on the sidelines.

Aiden going in for the tackle....
Z and Aiden trying to take Daddy down.

 In addition to playing, eating is also a very important part of the day, with an extra special treat of a juice box!
 Shaun is always teaching, always instructing, ever patient.

 Aiden made sure he wore appropriate attire...

 We had different fans this week

 Halftime show...

 (He's the kicker)
 More fans!

 Scoring a touchdown!!

 A reception

We're so proud of all the work both Z and Avery have done to get to where they are.  Its a huge commitment and a ton of work and neither have complained, in fact, they've really enjoyed it.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men
Colossians 3:23