Friday, March 31, 2017

State of the House - March

I put together a slideshow of Grampy's 98 years with photos Shaun's mom had collected, among them this one, taken in March 1994, his 75th birthday party. When I saw Shaun and I (far left), two thoughts immediately crossed my mind. We were so in love and life was so crazy. We got married two months after this photo was taken and we'd bought our first house a couple months prior, which needed a complete gut job. Shaun was working 16 hours a day on the house, trying to get it ready for us to move into after the wedding and I was working four jobs trying, against all odds to make the ends meet.

Today, twenty-three years later....we are so in love and life is so crazy....not much has changed. :)

A month ago we agreed to take in two teenage sisters for six days. The six days have turned into 33 days, with no immediate end in sight. It goes against "strict" state regulations that there not be more than five children in a therapeutic foster home and most certainly that the foster kids genders not be mixed. Obviously we have six children in the house, and the genders are mixed, so a significant amount of "high up" people have had to do a significant amount of paperwork and conference calls and research. A worker I'm close to told me that she read all the waivers that were filled out by different people from our agency. She said the one thing that was common among what everyone said was how Shaun and I were a team, how well we communicate and work together as a unit. I like that and I'm so very grateful for him!

Six kids, three teens has meant four different school calendars, with different start and end times. At 5:30AM, in the cold and dark, I take the first one to the bus stop, several blocks away. Then the next kid leaves at 6:30 via cab, then the next kid walks to school at 7:00 and finally I walk the little guys at 8:00. Somewhere in there, I try to squeeze in my half marathon training, time with God and other things that must get done. I desperately miss my alone time in the morning....its just not the same with people up and about.

In the afternoon, I leave work and go directly to pick up kids from school and then we do the reverse order of "the wave" as they filter in.  We begin homework and whatever after school and evening activities the day holds. Sometime after dinner Shaun gets home and we say hello before he plays chess with someone or monitors the teens while I go to bed. It's exhausting, but tax season always is and so is finding a new routine when there's been a major life change. We've also had so much fun and Divine love flowing. Life is good!

I got a text from an unknown number,  "next Friday ok for a visit?", I wracked my brain, trying to remember which kid has a visit, and why on a Friday. And then it dawned on me that it was my IV nurse, scheduling a home visit to flush my medi-port. My life is weird!! But God has given us so much grace to maneuver this transition. That song Lord, I need You...every hour I need You often runs through my head. Not a day without you, God.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Project 365, Week 13

There was a cloud over the week as we processed the loss of Shaun's grandfather. But spring still arrived (yay!!) and we got up each day and did the things that life asks of us. And there was joy in the sorrow and beauty in the mundane.

March 20
DQ helped us celebrate the first day of spring with free cones! 
And the snow was not a deterrent for the kids to play in the park.

March 21
When Gavin's mom gave him to me, she told me he has lots of new tricks on the floor if we wanted to see. Without her saying something, the baby might have been 3 years-old before he was out of arms long enough to show us his stuff. :) As it happened, the kids took great delight in watching him move.

March 22
Ray got hired with a construction company, full-time! I felt honored that he was so excited to share the news with us. I spoke to him on his ride to work and on his ride home and he texted me some pictures of the job site, day one. Praying its a good fit for him and that he has much success there.
The kids were reading some old blog posts, laughing at the silly things they used to say when they were little.

March 23
WAY too much slime in my life these days....its all the rage in 5th grade.

March 24
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

March 25
Pausing in the crazy to snuggle with my girl who continues to grow and age right before my eyes.

Two super sweet, super handsome boys at Great-Grandpa's wake.

Just the three. blessed to have known their great-grandpa!

March 26
My crew...looking their best for the funeral.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Project 365, Week 12

Another week of our kind of crazy, this time with snow delays and cancellations thrown in. Hopefully it was our last hurrah with winter and now we can switch gears to spring. YES...Happy Spring!!


March 13
As a show of support, my mom made us a full meal and brought it over, complete with dessert. Our families have always been so welcoming to the new people that come through our home...they are definitely an extension of what we've got going here.

Also, I got a little time with my dear from Oklahoma who was here visiting family. So good to see her and hug her and have her hanging out in my kitchen!

Countless games everyday...a definite perk of having eight people in the house.

I sat down to read with Aiden and, judging from this picture I found, I apparently fell asleep on his shoulder.

March 14
Snowday for all.

March 15
Another snow day. The kids were wanting to play in the snow, but it was SOO cold.

There were three different puzzles going on this one day.

March 16
We attended parent/teacher conferences and Avery showed us her neat-as-a-pin locker. Thankful that the kids seem to be thriving.

Amanda produced her own "cooking show" to make slime.

K's boyfriend has become a regular dinner/evening guest. What's one more??

March 17
May your cottage roof be well thatched and those inside be well matched. -Irish Blessing

I had to say no, you cannot go to your boyfriend's house where you will be unsupervised on this Friday night. So to soften the blow of 'new house, new rules', I took the girls to the mall while H was at youth group. You would be shocked at the items on my "List of Things I'd Rather Do Than Go To The Mall"....things such as laundry, running a marathon, cleaning toilets, shoveling snow.  However, after walking through the gown shop we talked about proms and weddings and marriage. And seeds were planted, which I guess makes the mall worth it.

March 18
Yup...more games. Sequence is one of my favorites.

March 19
Sadly, Shaun's grandfather passed away this day. His 98 years were well lived.

I started going through some of my photos of him and this was in the favorites. He took such joy in his great-grandkids.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Project 365, Week 11

Week two with the girls was still a lot of logistical "things" but we started to settle into just a bit of a rhythm and are getting to know each other better. The fact that our family schedule has been relatively quiet has been so helpful during the transition. I would ask if you'd say a quick prayer for us when we cross your mind, as we have some big decisions to be making.

March 6
One of the big things I've really been enjoying is dinnertime. We are in between sports and we have extra people, so we've enjoyed some nice meals together. Also, more people means lighter work....a couple times Amanda took extra care in setting the table, adding place cards. :)

March 7
Additional older siblings can come in handy at homework time. ;)

I came home from a work dinner to find Uncle Nathan and the kids involved in a rousing game of Apples to Apples. 

March 8
We met my brother and sister (and a whole bunch of their cute kids) at my moms and they pitched in for some spring yard clean up.

March 9
Amanda had a friend over after school and all the kids ended up playing Capture the Flag. The older girls thought it was SO fun, but spent the next couple days being sore from the running. ;)

March 10

March 11
These two have made great progress in swim class. Amanda promises with this new session she will not pitch a fit about going.

March 12
Shaun's 98 year-old grandfather's health took a turn and he was admitted to hospice. We took the kids over to see him while he is still alert. It was sad and hard.

I left to get the kids to rehearsal, but Shaun was able to stay for the afternoon. He snapped this sweet picture of Grampy with his youngest great-grandson. Precious!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March's 10 on 10

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month (Friday).
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day! }

We woke up to the 1-3" of snow the weathermen had forecasted. Boo! Though no plow or shovel was needed, they cancelled the day of school. We complained about the extra day in June just a little and then we got down to the business of enjoying the day off.

The beauty of having a house full of people is you can always find someone who is up for a game. 

Not pictured is some drama and tough parenting of a teen, leading to an impromptu 1.5 hours round trip drive for an unexpected pick up. We're all getting to know each other and there will be some growing pains.

The night before, Amanda asked if a few of her school friends could sleep over. She made phone calls and arranged it all and by early afternoon the house was filled with lots of girls. Then cousin Alayna made the sweetest phone call to us, saying she really missed us and could she come over. I said absolutely, because we were having a party! ;)

So I cranked up the baby monitors and milled around, supervising and feeding and joining in some of the games. It was a crazy and fun snow day!


The boy cave....I think they were getting a little space from the girls.

Counting for Hide-n-Seek...two people pair up and hide, all the others are seekers. :)

Never too cold for the zipline, apparently.


Chess lessons, Part I.

Sweet boys in the minority, sticking together.

Movie time.

Chess lessons, Part II.

Getting settled for bed. In total, 12 kids slept at our house. One hundred times out of hundred, I want to be the house where the kids go. :)