Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

We spent Christmas morning as we usually do.  Brooke & Lexy woke us up about 8am and we all headed out to see what Santa left.  After looking at their gifts from Santa and their stockings, we took turns opening the other presents.  After everything was open Daddy started taking things out of packages and putting them together while Mommy made breakfast for everyone.  Our tradition is that we each choose what we like best for breakfast and we have a little of everything, this year it was blueberry muffins, sausage, hashbrowns, pancakes and bacon.  After breakfast Grandpa Tom and Mammaw came over with great presents and they got to have the tour of gifts from the girls :-)



This year Lexy asked Santa for and received a Squinkies playhouse and Brooke wanted makeup.  For their big gifts from us, Brooke asked for a TV for her room and Lexy asked for Pembo (a talking/walking penguin)...they received those and many more!

Christmas Eve

As per tradition, we went up to Papa & Grammy's house to celebrate Christmas Eve.  While there Brooke and Lexy received many great gifts from Papa & Grammy and their traditional pajamas, book and slippers from Mike and I.  When we got back home, the girls sprinkled "reindeer food" on the lawn and Lexy fixed some cookies and milk for Santa.  Before bed Daddy read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" to Lexy. :-)




Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

There's a lot to catch up on here but for now I'm enjoying my wonderful family!

Cousins Day

Instead of adding to the chaos of toys at my brother and sister-in-laws house this year I decided to do something different for Christmas.  I took my sister-in-law, Brooke, Lexy and my nieces and nephew (Ashley, Tori, Sheila and Toby) out for lunch and to a place called Jumping Jax that has bounce houses and slides and a zipline.  I already knew my girls loved the jump place so it would be a gift to them to.  The kids all had a great time playing with their cousins for the day!  I think we might make Cousin Day an annual tradition!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Party

I was in charge of Lexy's 1st grade class winter party this year.  We played pin the nose on the snowman and then a game where they filled a snowman container with marshmallows (what a mess!).  And then they received WAY to much candy and goodies as usual :)  The kids had a great time and were completely filled with sugar by the end of the party!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Polar Express

Our local library had a Polar Express night and invited all the kids, Lexy was excited.  The kids were asked to wear their favorite pajamas and the night started off with the engineer punching their ticket to board the train.  The had several crafts for the kids to do like making a train out of a twinkie and candy, a reindeer craft, making reindeer food, writing a letter to Santa and riding on a homemade train.  The crafts were followed by The Polar Express being read by Santa.  The night ended with hot cocoa while the kids waited their tturn to sit on Santa's lap.  Lexy had a great time, I love these magical and FREE events!!  I can't wait to have more kids around here to share them with!

Adoption Update

Well after submitting our inquiry on the sib group of four in the far away state I have to say I'm disappointed.  Absolutely no word back yet.  Some adoption websites are known for their lack of communication back after you inquire...some even  have the same kiddos on their sites for years!  There is not a way to check in again so I guess we wait and see if we ever hear from a worker.

Our adoption worker e-mailed a couple of days ago to let us know that J&J (3.5y & 2.5 yr b/g) from our state are going to a kinship placement.  A kinship placement is not a relative but someone that knows and is close to the children...so this is not a new person to the case.  They knew about this person way before they asked for adoptive families to come forward so WHY would we be asked to imagine these kids in our home/family, submit a butt load of paperwork and wait months to only find out that the kids are truly not needing an adoptive family?!!

Ugh, I'm feeling a little defeated.

So today I e-mailed our adoption worker asking her some questions about her helping us with a special needs infant adoption with an agency in a far away state.  We have researched this agency and I even spoke with them a couple years ago.  We have been holding off going this route b/c we really felt that we were supposed to adopt a sibling group from foster care.  This agency has several special needs babies needing a home right now, I just feel pulled to at least look further into this option and open up that door.  We'll see what happens...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Insanity

Well I told Mike last night that I think I'm going insane...his reply "you really didn't have far to go!".  I suppose he's right lol! 

I found a new sibling set that has caught my attention.  They are from a far away state and there is four...yes FOUR of them.  There are two boys and two girls and they are 5, 3, 2, 1.  Our little house would be SO full, we wouldn't be able to all fit in our van, the transition from their far away state would be hard, our kitchen table wouldn't even come close to holding us all, taking four more little ones to games, etc would be hard BUT oh the love we could share with those four little ones!  I told a friend last night "if any family would take on and could handle the insanity it would be us".

So I inquired about them today.  We've really come to the conclusion that we are not in charge of finding our next child(ren) (God already has done that) but we do have to be open to whatever he has chosen for us.  We've decided that we are just going to follow our hearts, we will inquire about any child(ren) that catches our eyes and hearts and see what doors open or close.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adoption Update

We have still heard nothing new on the two sibling groups in our state that we have put our homestudy in on.

A couple of weeks ago I found a sibling group of two girls (7, 1) in a nearby state.  After inquiring. we found out that the 7 yr. old was just diagnosed with autism.  All the testing has not been completed but from the information we have received we have concluded that she is on the milder end of the spectrum.  Autism is one of those things that on the check lists of what we were willing to consider in an adoptive placement we always checked no.  I have worked with autistic children (on the severe side) and just didn't feel that we wanted to add that to our family.  BUT both Mike and I keep feeling a pull to these two girls.  So we have asked lots of questions and finally last night we came to the conclusion that we are ready to submit our homestudy and see what happens.

The only real concern I could come up with when thinking of them was wondering if the autism would hinder the bonding/attaching process for both the 7 yr old and I.  But really I worry about the bonding/attaching with every child we consider.  Before fostering I had the attitude and naivety that I would be able to love and bond with every child.  It was a total blow to my world when with our third foster placement I found myself having a hard time liking the child much less feeling love or a bond.  This situation repeated itself two more times for me during our eight years as foster parents.  Each time it happened it took me by total surprise and caused much self doubt.   It took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that not every child that came through my home would feel like one of my own...sometimes because of my own feelings, sometimes because of attachment issues of the child.  I cared for each child the same way...that love and bonding came very quickly with some of the children, a little slower with others and with some sadly never. 

So as we think about adopting again I worry.  I worry that because the child(ren) won't be in our home as a foster placement before adopting we won't have the opportunity to discover if that bond will come easily or not.  But I have hope that because we'll know from day one that this child(ren) will be ours forever that I can open my heart even wider to allow that love and bonding to happen.  I also know that if there are issues with bonding/attachment that we can get the help we need quickly b/c these will be our kid(s)!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Weekend

On Friday night Papa & Grammy joined us at the first OHS basketball game to watch Brooke cheer and do her first dance of the basketball season.  Brooke is on the far left in the video...

video

On Saturday, after spending the morning being lazy in our pj's, we headed up to Chuck E. Cheese for some family fun.  No pics :( , we were having too much fun!!

On Sunday after putting Lexy to bed, she kept coming out talking about her loose front tooth.  Finally about 10pm she came out and proudly showed us the tooth that had finally came out :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1st Grade Music Program

Last night Lexy and her classmates put on a fabulous music program titled "We Wish You a Swinging Holiday".  It was just the cutest thing to watch!



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sleep

I wrote about Lexy's sleep issues here.  After that time Lexy's sleep patterns have gotten better.  Most nights she can get to sleep on her own within a reasonable amount of time.  She has learned to use an array of tools to get herself to sleep...mp3 player, lava lamp, sound machine, watching the fan, musical snow globes, talking with her stuffed animals, wet cloth on her eyes, etc.  On occassion she will come out and tell us that she has tried everything and still can't get to sleep so we will give her half of a melatonin and that does the trick.

The past few nights Lexy has had a lot of trouble getting herself to sleep.  We are thinking that the anticipation of the holidays is to blame.  Even with the melatonin she has had trouble.  For a couple of nights she got herself so worked up (she was crying big crocodile tears) that Mike sat in her room and rubbed her back or held her hand so she could calm down.  Last night was a little better, we told her that we wouldn't sit in her room again and she finally got herself to sleep.

It's interesting how something as simple as upcoming holidays can cause such trouble for her.  She told us a couple of nights ago that she "couldn't make her mind stop thinking".  Poor thing has a mind that goes a million miles a minute!  Then if she gets herself worked up over not being able to go to sleep she makes it worse.  She has always had trouble with not being able to calm herself down well when she gets upset or worked up over something, we have always had to intervene for her and rub her back, rock her or talk with her. 

It's sad to watch her having such a hard time, makes me wonder if she'll ever outgrow this!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Santa 2010

On Saturday we went to see Santa.  Lexy thought very hard about what to ask him for and settled on a Squinkie House.  She took a brochure with pictures to show Santa exactly what she wanted so there were not mistakes :-)


Brooke and her friend Cristy decided that they wanted a picture with Santa too.  Santa was giving them a hard time and making them laugh so hard :-)


A reporter from the local paper took pictures of both Lexy and Brooke/Cristy with Santa and asked for their names and ages so one of the pictures may be in the paper this week!

UPDATE:  Both their pictures were in the Dec. 1, 2010 local paper.  Brooke and Cristy were on the front page and Lexy was on page 6!!!

Thanksgiving


Lexy's practice Thanksgiving meal!
 
Our beautiful girls on Thanksgiving!

Our Family

Papa & Grammy with the girls.

"The Leader of the Pack"

On November 19 & 20, 2010 Brooke performed in her school's "The Leader of the Pack" musical.  The cast did a wonderful job!  Brooke was in the chorus (she was scared to try for a leading role this year as a freshman) but she did have one number where just her and three other girls performed a dance to "Hanky Panky"...that was her favorite part :)




Friday, November 19, 2010

Show Us - Playroom

Kelly over at Kelly's Korner hosts a series called Show Us Your Life.  I've meant to join in before but never got around to it but today is playrooms (or any extra room) and I had to show off our playroom. 

The playroom is my favorite room in the house.  We decided back when we first started fostering (9 yrs. ago) to make our one car garage into a playroom for the kids.  Back then it had a sky theme with clouds, sun, rainbow, hot air balloons and angels.  After we decided to stop fostering (and concentrate on adopting) last summer we redid the playroom in a green/pink theme.  I still want to put diff. colored circles on the walls and get pictures of the girls to put on one of the walls.



Mike & I made this kitchen for the girls.
 
Craft area, one cabinet for the girls and one for me. (needs some clean up!).

Dress up cabinet and stage area.

Toys!

Music and TV area.  Dresser holds all our videos.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brooke's Informal

Brooke attended her "Informal" dance on Saturday night.  She chose to get ready with her friends and then meet her date at the dance.  She said that she had a great time but that she didn't get to dance with her date b/c they didn't have a slow dance (except the "special dances" where they had to pick an object with someone else's date on it and dance with them) until after her date had to leave. 

From the pictures I've seen on facebook some of the kids went to the extreme when dressing up for the 80's theme dance!!  One of the moms commented that "I never wore anything like that in the 80's", I said "yeah I think our bad fashion got even worse in the translation!" :)

After teasing her hair Brooke came out and asked "My hair looks huge and messy, did you really do this to your hair?".  Yep we did :-)



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nothing New

It's been relatively quiet around here, really nothing new or exciting to talk about. 

Brooke will be working hard the next couple of weeks on perfecting her part in the musical.  She has practice four nights a week, next week the practices will be four hours each.  Then they will be performing next Friday and Sat. nights.  It's been a blessing that she's had a small break in her cheer schedule to concentrate on the musical.  Cheer will start back up with basketball at the beginning of Dec.

This weekend Brooke will be attending "Informal", a dance for the girls in the two sororities of her high school and their dates.  Each year they have two dances, Informal and Formal, one of the neat things they do at the dances is that they hand out gifts to each person with the name of someone elses date on it and they must dance one dance with that other person.  This years theme is 80's and Brooke has already got her outfit ready to go!  She also has her date lined up, a junior named Bryce.  It hasn't been decided yet if she will go out to eat with her date before the dance or just meet him there so she can go with her friends.  Brooke's really excited!

Lexy has decided to join Girl Scouts.  Brooke was never interested so this is my first experience with it.  We attended our first meeting the other night and Lexy had a great time.  I'm not thrilled with the whole cookie selling thing but thank goodness that's just a small part of it.  Lexy's looking forward to the activities, field trips and camp outs.  I'm looking forward to spending mommy & Lexy time with her!

Lexy went for allergy testing earlier this month.  She has been on allergy meds for her entire life, each time we have tried to take her off of them she has gotten severely congested.  Her meds were working fine to help with the congestion but because we don't have any of her family history we really wanted to know what exactly she was allergic to so that if there was anything we could eliminate from her environment/diet then we could work on that.  I was blown over surprised when the allergy testing showed that she was allergic to NONE of the things they tested for (trees, grass, molds, animals, pollen, etc.).  The allergy doctor said "some kids are just congested" and sent us home with a prescription for a nasal spray that I will not be getting b/c I will not torture Lexy like that when her Zyrtec works just fine!  I did ask the doctor if the congestion could be caused by something that she eats/drinks, my thought was possibly milk b/c she has had issued with it in the past (lactose intolerant) but the doctor was quick to tell me that was not possible.  I'm not totally convinced, everything I've been reading the past couple of days says that congestion can be caused by allergies to milk.  I'm going to continue to research but I'm not sure I could eliminate all milk products from Lexy's diet since she LOVES yogurt and cheese :(

Adoption...we have not heard anything new at all.  I check my e-mail several times a day just hoping that there will be an e-mail from our adoption worker...I get a little down each time there isn't :(

Anyway, I guess I had more to say than I thought :-)  And because a post is better with pictures...

Lexy did mommy's makeup with leftover Halloween makeup!


This is now what a sleepover looks like, laptops and cell phones for both girls :)


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

We had a fun filled Halloween this year.  On Friday, Mike and I both got to attend Lexy's 1st grade fall party and then we all headed down to the local Spook Parade.  On Sunday, Mike and I took Lexy out trick or treating while Brooke went with some of her friends for the evening.


We didn't make it to a pumpkin patch or the apple orchard this year, much to Lexy's dismay!  I really don't have a reason other than lack of planning...we'll be sure to do both next year!

Cheer

Friday was a hard day for Brooke and everyone at her school, trying to process the death of Nathan Stiles.  He may not have been from our town but his death definately affected us all.  From all that I have read, Nathan was a wonderful young man and will be greatly missed.  Brooke and her classmates will be wearing purple & gold (Bronco colors) today as well as ribbons/hair ties and bracelets that have been made in Nathan's honor. 

I wanted to post a couple of pictures of the cheer squad from our last football game of the season. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last Football Game

Last night marked the end of the football season for our cheerleaders and football players.  And the final game for one local boy that is now in heaven.

Our last game was against the Spring Hill Broncos.  It was an intense game with many touchdowns.  At half time the football players went to the locker room and Brooke and the rest of the Dazzlers performed their dance and then the band began performing.  As the band performed we started hearing sirens and an ambulance pulled onto the track.  We all began to notice a crowd of people on the other side of the track.  A little while later the field and track were cleared of people and Life Flight landed, loaded someone and left.  It was announced that #44 Nathan Stiles, a senior Broncos player, had been injured.  The game resumed after both teams met in the middle of the field to say a prayer for Nathan.  The game ended with a final score of 72 to 99, the Broncos won.

Sadly this morning it was announced that Nathan Stiles died from his injuries.  It is being said that he had suffered a previous concussion but was cleared to play last night.  At the end of the second quarter he was hit hard on the field, collapsed after walking to the sidelines and began seizing.

Facebook was exploding this morning with prayers for family and friends as our students found out the news.  Such a sad shocking time for everyone. :( 

It seems to me that there needs to be way more precautions taken when it comes to preventing head injuries.  The boys on our team have had many players suffer concussions this season.  One incident resulting in one of our boys being Life Flighted, thankfully in his case things turned out ok.  One young life lost is too many!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Adoption Update

We are ready for this...why can't it just happen??!!  Ok so I know the answer, only God knows when the perfect kids, time, situation will happen.  I'm trying to be patient and enjoy this quiet time I have right now but I am one of those people that can't get motivated to do the million things on my to do list until I am busy beyond belief!  I have so many things I could be working on but her I sit day after day not doing any of them.  I really should get to work on those homemade Christmas gifts for Lexy & Brooke that are half done!

Yesterday we got paperwork to fill out (asking us silly questions like "why do you want to adopt outside of your race" and "what are your family's strengths" and "what will you do if the children have problems in the future") for J (3.5 yo boy) & J (2.5 yo girl).  Their caseworker received all the homestudies of interested families yesterday and should be narrowing them down in the next few weeks.

We also received the same paperwork for M (3 yo boy), M (2 yo girl) & Z (8 mo. boy).  The parental rights have not been terminated on this sib set (the date for that should have been set at court today) so it will be a while before they are ready to chose a family.  Our adoption worker did talk with the caseworker for these kids yesterday about us and the worker said they would love to have us included in the best interest staffing (even though we are adopt only) when that time comes.

I got all the paperwork turned in and now we just wait some more...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sister Love

I found these pictures that the girls must have taken without me knowing on my camera this morning.  They made me smile :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Porch

Lexy has been asking to put up decorations on the porch for Halloween so yesterday her and I took the time to do it.  She was so proud of how it turned out!

PARTAY!

This weekend seemed like one big party!  Friday after school we had a full house of girls, Brooke and her two friends Kenzie & Cassie and Lexy and her friend Avree.  We hung out at the house, fed everyone pizza and then headed to the football game.  Brooke got to be a flyer (up in the air during stunts) for the first time this year and the squad did a really great dance at half time (the videos just won't load on here).


On Saturday, Lexy had a birthday party to go to for her friend Chase, Brooke had a birthday party for her friend Cassie and then Mike, Lexy and I went to Toby's first birthday party that evening.


On Sunday evening Brooke had another party to go to while the rest of us stayed home and rested!!  It was her first campout and she had a blast with that group of friends!  I love that she has two completely different sets of friends and that she loves spending time with both.

Kati, Brooke, Suzy, Audrey, Lindsey, Taryn, Kelly

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More profiles

HA I should have known that the second guessing I did all weekend would be for nothing :-)  This afternoon I received two e-mails with new profiles from our adoption worker.  The first was:  B-8yrs, B-3yrs, G-2yrs., we will not be pursuing this sib set as there are concerns about sexual acting out by the oldest and we have to think of our girls' safety.  The second was:  B-3yrs, G-almost 2yrs, B-8mos., we are looking into this sib set but there is a possiblity that they may need a foster to adopt family (we are adopt only).  I'm feeling encouraged that at least we are getting more profiles.

I've decided that this whole situation is one of those things that we just have to have faith that we are doing the right thing and that God will let us know what to do next.  It's definately a lesson in patience, letting go of control and selflessness.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Discouraged

I'm usually the optimistic one...the dreamer, the believer.  Today I'm feeling discouraged and unsure of what to do.  I got an e-mail from our adoption worker this morning that the sib set of three from another state that we inquired about are now going to be staffed with just their current foster family...so WHY did they ask for homestudies???  I'm a huge advocate for kids staying with their foster parents if it's in the best interest of both the family and the kids...I just don't understand why the foster parents keep deciding at the last minute that they do indeed want the kids.  In our experience as foster parents, we knew from almost day one which kids we would keep forever if the opportunity arose and which ones would move on to their adoptive home if the time came. 

We are now down to one sib set of two (from our state) that we should be included in a best interest staffing for.  To be truthful I'm not feeling much hope.  I know that when the right kids come along it will just happen the problem is I'm not sure anymore if this is what we're supposed to be doing.  On a daily basis I doubt myself and my feelings that we are meant to add to our family again.

I'm discouraged and disappointed...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soccer Star


Lexy has one more game tonight to make up for the one that got rained out but last night they got their participation medals.  

It has been really fun this season to watch as the kids' skills are beginning to grow.  Lexy is really getting good at staying with the ball, kicking and cheering on her team.  She LOVES to play and is so excited each game night!

Homecoming

Homecoming week concluded with a great game (we lost but it was close) and a dance, where Brooke was asked for her phone number by a boy she likes ;-).

  

 
Homecoming Court


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Household Item Day

This week is Homecoming at Brooke's school.  They have "Spirit Week" all week long with different themes each day...
  • Mon. - twin, superhero day
  • Tues. - Household Item day
  • Wed. - Gender Bender day
  • Thurs. - Cowboys & Indians day
  • Fri. - Trojan Spirit day
Yesterday Brooke choose to play it safe and was twins with Kenzie, they just wore jeans and a matching zebra tank with a cheer jacket.  But from what Brooke said and the pictures I've seen on facebook, some of the kids went all out with the superhero theme!

Last night Brooke and I stayed up until almost midnight completing her outfit for today, using gray & white trashbags and duct tape...


Brooke was scared going to school today that she looked stupid and would be "the only one" to dress up...even though all the cheerleaders were required to do it :-)  From the pictures I've already seen Brooke looked almost normal in her trashbag/duct tape skirt and duct tape headband and bows on her shoes.  Some of these kids really go all out, so far I've seen trashbags, newpaper, syran wrap, paper clips, duct tape...I can't wait to hear more when Brooke get home!  When I was looking online for ideas yesterday I came across a dress made of yellow rubber gloves...hmm maybe an idea for next year!

Gender Bender

Cowboy/Indian Day
Kenzie, Cassie, Cristy, Mert & Brooke

Mama's Birthday

Seems I didn't do a very good job of taking pictures on my birthday, here's all I got...


 

MY DAY:  Mike tried to get me biscuits & gravy for breakfast but our convenience shop down the street was already out :(  so I had to make myself toast.  But it got better after that :-)  Mike, the girls and I did a little garage selling and then headed off to a craft festival (my favorite!).  After we left that craft festival...we went to another one :).  Papa & Grammy met us at the second festival and after walking around we headed to my favorite BBQ restaurant for dinner.  After dinner we headed to Wal-Mart where Brooke got me some new smell-um-good sprays and Mike got a cake and ice cream for later.  I was also given a slider grill from Papa & Grammy...I can't wait to use it, how fun!

The next day my mom (Mammaw) took me shopping for my birthday!  It was a little hard at first to allow her to spend money on me (just not used to that anymore) but by the end of the day I got real used to it!!!  I ended up with 4 shirts, a pair of jeans, a necklace, a pair of pajamas and a pair of workout capris...plus she took me out for lunch and dinner!  I'm thinking I could handle doing that more often :-)