Thursday, August 29, 2013

House Project {Week 21}

Already its Thursday and I don't remember much from last week.  Just that it was hard, particularly with all the extra stuff we had going on.  Shaun's mom and I worked on packing up the old house, Shaun showed it several times, and we moved ALL of the kitchen over, making the new house our place for meals.

 We've changed this from Aiden's to R's room.  Its the closest to being ready, its closest to the stairs for when he's coming in late at night and its where the sun shines through each morning, which is good for a high school student, not so much a four year-old.  :)

We stripped the wallpaper months ago, but I worked on getting all the little pieces and washing the glue off to ready it for paint.
 The dishwasher got installed.

 And my office got put back together, with phone and printer working even.
 I will not win any awards for the healthy, balanced way I've fed my family this summer.
 Micah spent hours putting together our two nightstands and dressers.  They look great, but what a pain!
 Shaun and Nathan blew in insulation again.....
 ....down each of these holes, along with holes in the kitchen as well.
 Shaun stopped to have a heart to heart with Aiden, who kept crying over nothing.

 Another dresser!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Project 365, Week 34

August 18
It was the week Z was leaving to be reunited with his mom and two siblings.  We had a party so our extended family would have a chance to say goodbye.

The love and support they give us and the children in this foster care journey is both humbling and overwhelming.  Its kind of a crazy way to do life, but they all jumped in and took Z on as one of their own from the start.

 August 19
Our first official "all meals at the new house" day.  The kids found some chocolate cereal that Thomas had left.  I don't buy it ever, so they were enjoying!
 Then we headed out to do school shopping.  Shopping for five kids is expensive...and a little crazy!

 That evening we went to the skatepark and the boys were excited that R finally had his bike back.  The cement part was full of people, but this night no one was on the dirt, so I let Amanda and Aiden do their thing.

 I was so proud of Amanda for conquering her fears.  For the first part of the evening she walked her bike down this initial steep part, but by the end, she was whizzing down!

 Aiden was ecstatic to wear his new Batman jams...

I really DO look like him!!
 Aiden, can I take your picture?
 Mom, this time with no smile.
 August 20
Micah came to help at the house, so Aiden and Alayna kept themselves busy painting while I primed windows next to them.

It was hilarious to hear their little conversations (they are just two months apart).  They talked about school starting and debated who was bigger, among other things.
 We made a run to HD to return some things, one of which was a roll of Patriots duct tape that Aiden had accidentally walked out with a different day.  In the car, I was prepping him on how to return the tape.

When we got inside, Alayna was insistent that she wanted to give the duct tape back.  Ever so contritely, she apologized to the cashier for taking the tape.  :)
 August 21
I took pictures at a pastor's conference and then I picked up R from a life skills class he'd done.  They each made a collage...this was my favorite.
 August 22
Last fire with Z.  As a seasoned boy scout, we assumed R knew something about camp fires.  He does not.  Shaun is so awesome with the boys, giving them enough space to safely try things on their own, and then gently stepping in to methodically teach and correct, ever the picture of patience and control.

Not sure if you can see it in the pic, but they'd made a nice teepee, with the big logs on the bottom and the kindling on the top. :)
 Nathanael returned home just in time to have a sleepover.
 August 23
His mercies are new every morning.
 Z's last hours with us, so we hit the skate park first thing.

 Amanda, "dropping in".

 In a quiet moment, we gave Z his memory book.  It had pictures of our extended family, with heartfelt notes by each one.
 The girls each wrote a sweet note:

 They said their goodbyes to Z and then the three kids went to the fair with Grandma and Auntie Sienna.

R and I did a dump run and HD that took a while, so when we got back it was nearly time for Z to go.  Since the social worker had done a poor job of communicating, I had made an appointment to get R registered for his classes that were starting Monday.  I said a quick goodbye to Z before we were out the door, late to our appointment, so Shaun was the only one home when the social worker came to pick him up.

He had a "closing arguments" type of conversation with him, summing up what he'd learned in his time with us about doing the right thing and being a man.  

When I returned two hours later, I desperately wanted to go out with Shaun and download everything.  But such is NOT the way of things right now.  Shaun found me in the room I was working and we sat together for a few minutes.

The lack of normalcy in our lives has become highly frustrating and such was the case this day.  Who says goodbye to their first ever foster child of 1.5 years, then hops in the car to sit with a crazy-lady guidance counselor for the next two hours with another foster child, then comes back and picks scraps of wallpaper off the walls to ready another bedroom in the house we've been non-stop renovating for the last nearly five months.

It was just about too much.

August 24
The next day dawned bright and beautiful but I was depleted.  After a little cry with Shaun, I was out the door for an 8 AM engagement shoot.  My first at an apple orchard!
Then I was off to shoot a beautiful backyard wedding.
 Meanwhile, Grammi and Bobbi had grabbed the kids for a union picnic, where they also met up with my brother and his family.  Cousins!!  (Please note how sad they look that they didn't even see their mother this day.  :)

Photo shoots and weddings are draining, because you have to be "on", but the change of scenery and being out with people was actually refreshing to me.

Shaun and I are doing well and quite frankly, our overriding emotion is relief that its over.  It was a too long reunification process that got ugly at the end.  The kids are good and honestly haven't seemed to skip a beat.

Z will forever be in our prayers and I trust that, down the road, God will use the things he observed and learned while living in our house.