Thursday, December 29, 2011

Adoption Update

Really no new information except that we have submitted our homestudy on two more sibling sets.  We are now being considered for five different sibling sets...

1.)  Our original three (B-4, G-3, B-almost 2) - Won't know anything until late January court date.

2.)  Other agency (G-5, B-4, G-2) - BIS not set yet.

3.)  Our agency (B-2, B-1) - BIS should be set soon.

4.)  Other agency (G-2, B-1) - BIS will probably be the first one but don't have a date yet.

5.)  Our agency (G-8.5, G-almost 3) - These are another set (like original 3) that have been back and forth on finding a home.  These poor girls desperately need permanency but I still don't think it's close since their still waiting on paperwork from another state about a relative for the oldest. :(

I couldn't stop myself from buying a toy that I have had my eye on today (on clearance).  It was just a simple wooden boy with magnetic clothes but I just know that whomever God plans to place in our family will love it! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meet Brandy...

Lexy, who has never really played with dolls, BEGGED for an American Girl doll for Christmas this year!  She started talking about it a couple months before and truthfully I thought she would lose interest and move onto something else but she proved me wrong!  She looked through the American Girl catalog about 100 times a day and chose which doll looked just like her...#23 if you're wondering (she would quiz us on this number!).  She was so very happy when she saw an American Girl bag show up under the tree and it drove her crazy that she couldn't open it early!  She did open it first on Christmas morning though!!

Lexy had been thinking of names for her doll but wanted to wait to "see what she looked like" before naming her.  The name she finally chose was "Brandy"...a mixture of Lexy and Brandon (yep he's still her "boyfriend").  Brandon's mom, Sheresa, had a good laugh when I let her know that she was a Grandma!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friends Day

Brooke, Kenzie, Ryan, Lexy and Molly

On Monday we went with Robin and her kids for a fun day.  We started out at Golden Corral for lunch, then headed to see a movie (We Bought a Zoo).  After the movie we went to the mall (which was SO packed) and then went to Denny's for dinner before heading home.

Christmas 2011 :)

Christmas Eve 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all!!

As we are waking up early, opening our gifts, eating our blueberry muffins and bacon and enjoying our family, we want to take time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!

Lexy & Brooke's Christmas jammies 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Past trauma and holidays

For the past week or so I've noticed that Lexy has been having an increasingly harder time regulating her emotions.  She's having a harder time getting to sleep, nervous/anxious acting and upsets easily.  I decided to go back and read my posts from this time last year and discovered that she had the same issues last year.  I've read that children/people with trauma in their past have a harder time at holiday time but I really didn't put two and two together for Lexy until now.  I think that all the excitement, waiting/anticipation and change of routine is just more than her little body and mind can deal with.    I'm hoping that as time goes on and she matures that this will become easier for her but the reality is that times like this may always be a struggle for her. :(  Hopefully as things settle down after Christmas she can relax again, I hate to see my sweet girl have to deal with all this!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The cousins

We watched the kids (Ashley, Toby and Johnny) so CJ and Jess could do some Christmas shopping.  Lexy and Ashley played board games and dolls all evening, Johnny was his cute self sleeping, eating and smiling and Toby had us cracking up!  He is a funny little guy :)  Love those kids!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Homeless Man

On our way to the mall we saw a homeless man sitting on the side of the road on the exit ramp (he's way up there by the sign).  The girls and I talked about him the entire time we were at the mall, we live in an area that we don't see many homeless people.  When we left the mall it had begun to snow and Brooke and Lexy were concerned that the man would be very cold and hungry sitting out there. 

They asked if we could buy him some food and coffee (Lexy offered her money).  It turned into quite the ordeal after we got the food because of where he was sitting.  The only way we could get back to him was to backtrack about five miles and then take the exit we did. 

When we pulled up on the side of the road the older man jumped up and walked over to our car.  I handed him the sack of food (McDonalds) with $5.00 inside and a large coffee and we all said "Merry Christmas".  With tears in his eyes he brought the cup of coffee up to his mouth and kept saying "God bless you all".  As we drove away we were all crying...definately a lesson in what this season should be all about! 

A dog massage

Don't all dogs get shoulder massages while watching TV? :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Day - Winter Break

We found Jingle the Elf on the kitchen counter this morning pretending to roast marshmallows with Santa!  Lexy wanted to try to actually roast the marshmallows so we lit the candle and used toothpicks and mini marshmallows...she has been roasting all day long!

We didn't have any plans for today so I got out the plastic pellets that I bought for a project and Lexy had fun pretending it was snow...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Party

Lexy's gift to her teacher (peanut butter fudge) and classmates (flavored tootsie roll banks)

After the Winter Party, school let out early and Avree came home with Lexy to exchange gifts, play and have dinner together...

Lexy's gift to Avree - monkey earrings and BFF door pillow

Avre's gift to Lexy - puppy chow (yum!) and a BFF shirt like hers

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Family Fun Day

We had a great family fun day - Christmas Style over the weekend.  We did a little shopping, had dinner, went to see a movie...
Alvin & The Chipmunks - Chipwrecked
 and then we headed out to look at some lights...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adoption Update

I've been quiet on the "adoption stuff", not because nothing is happening...simply because we are choosing to fully enjoy our holidays!  But I want to remember what is happening during this time in our journey so...

We have submitted our homestudy on two more sibling sets...1.) G - 5, B - 4, G - 2...with another agency in our state  2.) B - 2, B - 1...with our agency.  Best Interest Staffings should be scheduled soon in both these situations.

In the case of the three that we thought were coming...we were told that the agency/SRS did the internal grievance review and still stand strong in their decision to not place with the foster mom.  We were also told that now the foster mom's lawyer has petitioned the court for them to consider removing the kids from SRS custody and placing them in the custody of the foster mom for adoption.  This is really the only way that the kids could stay with the foster mom so we understand why she is choosing to go this route BUT she would have to adopt without any assistance from the state and for these three kids (with multiple needs) that is HUGE.  Court is still set for the end of January, our worker says that this particular judge is very unpredictable so nobody really knows what will happen.

My hope is that by the end of January we will know who will be joining our family!

Brooke AND Lexy Dance

Lexy decided to attend the Little Girls Dance Camp that Brooke's cheer/dance squad put on this year where they learned a dance routine to a Michael Jackson song.  Last night the girls were invited to perform their dance at the basketball game.  They all got a hat and sparkly glove to complete their outfit.  It was so cute to see both my girls performing at the same time!  Afterwards Lexy said she loved doing the dance but she still doesn't want to be a cheerleader! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Making

Our Elf on the Shelf, Jingle brought the fixings for making and decorating sugar cookies one morning.  Both girls were excited to make and eat them!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Slumber Party and Snowman Night at the Library

On Saturday night both girls had something fun to do. :)

Brooke had the annual Christmas slumber party with her high school sorority...

Lindsey, Suzy, Brooke, Katie, Audrey

And we took Lexy and her best friend Avree to a Snowman Night at the local library for crafts, stories and snacks...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

President Obama's Visit

I'm not into politics in the least bit but this was amazing for our whole town.

The president came to visit us...ok so we didn't get to invite him into our home for dinner (that thought gives me anxiety), talk to him or even see him (except for through the glass of the car) but it was exciting all the same.

We could have stood outside (in the freezing cold) all night for a ticket to be in the building with him but we decided that we weren't that dedicated :) Brooke and I both said that if it were Ashton Kutcher we would have sat outside for days haha!!

I did go to Robin's with some other friends and we stood out on the sidewalk (we were told that if we went any closer to the street than the sidewalk that we would probably be either shot or tackled to the ground!) and watched the motorcade speed by before the speech.  We went inside to watch the speech on TV then we went back out to watch the motorcade leave town...much slower this time and we actually saw The President waving at us from the car.  Brooke watched the speech on TV with friends (her school was optional for the day) and Lexy's class watched it in their classroom (she said it was boring haha).

All in all this was a great opportunity for our town (we are now a part of history) and a great story that the girls will get to tell their kids and grandkids!

President Obama waving at us (back window)

President Obama - News crews - The Stage - The Motorcade

Presidential Helicoptor - Drew Needam (local boy who sung the National Anthem to the President) -
President Obama doing a meet & greet - President Obama's car

Security Helicoptors - President Obama giving his speech -
President Obama getting off the helicoptor - President Obama's signature

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Toby & Johnny

I got to spend the day with my two sweet little nephews yesterday!  They got here early so Lexy got to see them before school and then because she had late start, Brooke watched them while I took Lexy to school.  We love those boys!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Room Switch

We decided that since we already had ordered and picked up the bunk beds that we would go ahead and do the room switch (Lexy and us) and set up the new bed.  We figure that hopefully we'll be adding more kids to the house soon so this will be one less stress when that time comes!

BEFORE - Lexy's messy room :)

AFTER - Our very small room :)
Our room is now definately smaller but we're willing to make the sacrifice so our kiddos (and future kiddos) will have plenty of room! :)

I'm going to wait to show Lexy's (and future kiddos) room.  We still have a few wall things and accessories to finish up!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mrs. Claus' visit

It is tradition in our house for Mrs. Claus to leave a note and new ornaments for each child in our home on December 1st of each year.  She must have been busy yesterday because she visited a day late this year!  This year along with the note and ornaments, Mrs. Claus left a snowman countdown and an Elf on the Shelf book and elf!! 

Lexy was so excited when I read the book to her.  She couldn't wait to name the elf (our elf had left a note saying that she was a girl and gave some name suggestions).  Our new elf's name is Jingle and we can't wait to see what funny, sneaky and naughty antics she will be up to while she is visiting!

Monday, November 28, 2011

O Christmas Tree

On Saturday we put up our Christmas tree while listening and dancing to Christmas music.

After putting the tree up we realized the room just didn't look right so Brooke & I took down all of our spring/summer living room decor and did a little room makeover. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

As per tradition we spent Thanksgiving at Grammy & Papa's house!

This year I am very thankful for the wonderful family that I have been blessed with!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Answers but not really

I spent the day yesterday shopping (by myself, boo Robin for backing out on me...sickness is not an excuse!) thinking that any moment my phone would ring.  It didn't ring all day so I stopped by the house to check e-mail before heading up to get Lexy.  Our worker had e-mailed (chicken!) that the judge set a hearing date for the end of January to hear the fostermoms side.  It also said that the kids can't be moved until then and we can't visit.  I called our worker and we talked about what this means for us. 

We have no idea how the judge will rule in January.  He could rule against the agency and SRS and let the fostermom adopt or he could uphold agency/SRS decision and the kids would then be placed with us (if we are still interested).  What we have decided is for our sanity we will move forward and look at new profiles.  If there are any kiddos that we are interested in we will have our worker submit our homestudy.   Then in January we will wait to see what the judge's decision is.  If these kids are meant to be ours then it will all work out and if they aren't meant to be ours then maybe our kids will present themselves while we wait!

I returned the car seats was hard...felt like we were giving up.  But we can't have three extra car seats sitting in our car for two months :(  The jammies, stroller and some of the toys still need to be returned.  We've decided to still get the bunk bed set, we promised Lexy she could have one either way.

I've had my moments of "why are we being put through this again?".  Our family has been through a lot of heartache and loss when it comes to kiddos that we have loved.  But we do all feel that this (adopting again) is what we are supposed to be doing so we'll push forward.  We know that we are truly blessed to have one another and if our family is meant to grow again then it will. :)  So for now we will enjoy spending time as our little family and celebrate the holidays to the fullest while we wait!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'm sitting here with knots in my stomach.  I've already taken tums this morning.  I need to get out of this house...waiting on Robin to be ready to go.

Court was this morning at 8:30am.  Our adoption worker said she would call as soon as she heard the outcome.  The judge could decide that the fostermom doesn't have a case and end everything today allowing us to move the kids here and adopt or the judge could decide that the fostermom has a case and schedule a trial/hearing date to hear the evidence...which would most likely be months down the road.

The waiting and stress are getting to me.  I'm tired of not knowing what to say to anyone when they ask about the kids.  Especially Lexy, she is so excited about getting more siblings and she wants to talk about them all the time and it makes me so sad to have to continuously remind her that they may not be coming at all. 

I had already ordered several Christmas gifts for the they are arriving and with each box my stomach gets one more knot.  I have three car seats sitting unopened in my car...I don't know whether I should take them back.  There is a stroller, beds and bedding ordered and sitting at the store awaiting pickup...ugh.  I go Christmas shopping and tell myself not to buy anymore for the three kids but somehow there's always something in the bag for them when I leave...

I just need someone to give me answers.

Monday, November 14, 2011


After several conversations back and forth, a transition plan was made and approved by all involved today.  We were to have our first weekend visit this weekend with a final move in date of Dec. 8.  We had made all the plans to make it happen and were all SO excited.

THEN our worker called tonight and dropped the bomb.  Foster mom did indeed get a lawyer and petitioned the court to stop the move and allow her to adopt the children.  We knew this was a possibility but it SUCKS!!!

Thankfully court was set for next Tuesday (usually it takes much longer to get a court date).  I'm just hoping that this court date will result in a final answer.    I do hope that final answer is in our favor but ultimately I just want what is best for those three little ones.

So obviously the visit for this weekend was cancelled...and we're mad and sad and frustrated and confused. :(

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good...

We will be starting transition visits soon.

The bad...

The team now wants to do a 30 day transition plan.

The ugly...

The fostermom has filed a grievance with the agency.  She also might be obtaining an attorney to fight having the kids moved.

We knew this was a possibility :(  All we know is that SRS denied her for adoption.  We don't know the reason but it was serious enough to not let her adopt these kids who have been with her for 18 months.  She has the right to disagree with their decision and fight it.  But the unknown sucks for us.

The team has made it clear that we are the family they have chosen for the kids and that we will move forward towards the goal of them moving to us unless/until they are told by the court to stop the move.

Our worker has been told to start transition visits. the question remains of how we will do those visits.  Fostermom may or may not cooperate, we are 3 hours (one way) away, the weather is going to start getting bad for traveling, once a week visits and a long transition won't be best for these kids, we are scared to death to get attached etc., etc.  Our worker said she was going to talk with a children's therapist and the team to discuss what options we have.

I WANTED THIS TO BE EASY!!!  I know our plan isn't always God's plan...

Today I am thankful for three little sweeties that have no idea that we already love them and can't wait to hug them tight.  I ordered their Christmas jammies today...although I had to guess on sizes...I can't wait to see them wearing them!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Couldn't wait

We haven't heard anything since our file read meeting last Thursday about the adoption.  We are waiting to hear answers on a few questions there are with the case.

We just couldn't wait any longer to do SOMETHING to make getting chosen for the kids seem real.  On Friday we went to Wal-Mart and got paint to paint the room that Lexy and the kids will share and Daddy and Lexy stayed up late painting while Brooke & I went  to see "Footloose".

This is the before color...what Lexy calls a yucky grey blue.  Lexy picked a great color called "bermuda blue" that I'll post when we hear that we can actually set up the room!

Today I am thankful that my family is so excited for the possibility of this adoption.  Lexy can't wait to share a room with her siblings. :)

Lexy's Program

Last Thursday evening Lexy had her 2nd grade Music Program.  The theme this year was Americana.  The kids were asked to dress in red, white and/or blue and they sang some really cute songs.

Lexy with her 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Springer

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Last night we were all sitting in the living room when I felt the couch start shaking.  At first I thought Lexy was kicking the back of the couch but then Brooke turned around from the computer with eyes wide asking "what's happening?"  The entire house shook for about 20-30 seconds.  We're supposed to have to worry about tornados...not earthquakes!

Today I am thankful that we do not live where there are actual earthquakes.  The news said this earthquake happened 200 and some miles away and just our little house shakin' was enough for me!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Long Day

Today was file read day.  Mike and I headed out for a three hour drive to the adoption office, sat and read three HUGE files (and there are still at least three more to read thru later) and then headed back for another three hour drive home.  Thanks to Papa & Grammy for getting the girls from school and staying with them until we got home!

The file read went as expected...we kinda knew what was important to look for and write down since we have done this before.  It is definitely sad to read about the life these kids and their parents, grandparents and great parents have lived.  It's all just a vicious cycle :(

We gave our official "YES" to the adoption placement and now we wait for word on what will happen next.  Normally at this point we would start transition visits while we wait for SRS to set up a subsidy/apa meeting but because of the circumstances in this case we are not sure how it will all go. 

There is still a chance that this could all be drastically delayed or not happen at all...and that scares me because our family is 100% committed to these little ones and we have already begun to consider them a part of our family.  Trying to stay positive...

Today I am very very thankful for my family :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thankful November

Because I have SO much to be thankful for in my life (and it is one of the words we are working on as a family), I'm going to attempt to write about something I'm thankful for as many days in November as I can. :)

Today I am thankful for cold medicine.  Without it I'd feel even worse than I do!  I'm thinking my girls (and maybe even Mike) are thankful for my lack of a voice. :)

Halloween 2011

As per tradition, we celebrated Halloween this year with the local Spook Parade, school parties and trick or treating.

Brooke really didn't dress up this year.  She wore her "Thriller" outfit while she worked at the Spook Parade Bash and on Halloween night she put a headband around her head and called herself an Indian/Hippie while she hung out with a group of friends.

Lexy decided she wanted to be a Werewolf this year.  Her other choice was a flamingo but she decided she wanted to be scary...and boy was she!  With her glasses Lexy has a hard time wearing masks so we decided to paint her face to go with her costume and I think it turned out great.  I love that that girl never goes with the "normal" she's always thinking outside of the box!

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's a Boy...and a Girl....and a Boy!!

We were the chosen family on Friday at the best interest staffing and we were approved by SRS today (five days earlier than we thought!).  On Thursday we will take a three hour drive (each way) to sit for four hours and read the file.  After that we will wait for a subsidy/APA meeting to be set up by SRS, hopefully that will happen fast too!  Our children will move in soon after that meeting :)

I cried with happiness and relief when I got off the phone with our worker and then immediately started freaking out a bit about all that needs to be done in a short amount of time.  I know we can do it though so the freak out didn't last long.  I called Mike, messaged Brooke (who told her entire seminar class when she got my message) and told Lexy when I went to her fall party at school (she said "this is THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE".)

Our life, family and home are about to change big time and we couldn't be happier! :)

Informal 2011

The theme for Informal this year was Famous Couples.

On Saturday Brooke spent the day getting ready with a great group of girls before her and Taryn's dates met them at Taryn's house for pictures.  Brooke and Sheldon (her good friend) went as Barbie & Ken and Taryn and Andy went as Allie & Noah from The Notebook.  Of course Brooke had to drive them all to the dance in her pink car since she was Barbie :)

Brooke came home saying that this was one of the best nights ever!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More questions

Even after two messages left, we did not hear back from our worker on Friday to reassure us that the staffing did indeed happen and that nothing new, crazy or devestating to us happened.  Ugh...while our worker continues to tell us that for her "no news is good news", I have never been able to live like that.  I need reassurance...perferably on a daily basis that all is still going well.

So Lexy could NOT stop talking about the kids this weekend.  Every two seconds she was bringing them up!  She is just REALLY excited and believes that they are meant to be a part of our family.  We sat down on my bed this evening and spent a couple of hours talking about the kids, how we would do the room (and how we would do it even if the kids don't come), their new names etc. and then Lexy started asking some hard questions.  Questions about foster care and adoption and how they work together and why some kids are adopted and some go back to birth parents.  She asked questions about why she was adopted instead of going back to her birthmom...and that's a hard truth to tell but we talked about it.  She had lots of questions and I answered each one.  Lexy had a hard time going to sleep again this evening :(

I knew that us adopting again would bring up some questions, thoughts and emotions for Lexy.  I'm just glad that I'm here to answer the questions, listen to her thoughts and reassure her that she has always belonged in our family and that she is SO very loved!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Foster Memories Friday - Beth

The next foster placement we took was a little different than the rest.  We heard through family that our niece (whom we don't know well) had her daughter placed into foster care.  We contacted the child's worker and asked to be considered for placement of Beth.  We ended up having to pull the "we know what we're doing and we are relatives" card when the worker resisted moving her to us.

Beth was 10 months old when she moved to us.  We tried to settle her into our family but Beth turned out to be one of the hardest kiddos that we fostered.  She would scream at the top of her lungs constantly, never willing to settle or be comforted.  On top of (or because of ) this...I'm not really sure which...I was never able to form a bond with Beth.  I loved her and treated her the same as my girls but I just never got to the point that she was "mine".  The case was complicated and we found that us being "family" made it even harder.  The birthparents felt that we would give special treatment and not go by the rules for them and we weren't willing to do that which caused tension.

Birthmom had another baby about 6 months into us having Beth.  Birthmom got to take that baby home from the hospital with her.  It was looking more and more like Beth would be going home (we had started unsupervised visits) when birthmom started failing drug tests again.

After about seven months of Beth being with us we made the decision to have her moved to another foster home.  It was a very hard decision for our family but it really was the best for everyone involved. 

After Beth left us we heard that the new baby was also taken and placed into the same foster home.  Then they were both moved to a grandma before eventually returning home to mom and dad.  Beth now has 4 or 5 siblings.  Beth is now 5 1/2 years old.  I saw her in a store recently and she is beautiful.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We've never really had set chores for the girls but lately I have found that they are getting lazier about cleaning up after themselves.  This is especially true for Brooke who really needs to be learning how to keep a home running and clean before she's out on her own and living in filth :).

This is what I came up with...

1.  Another area that needs improvement is how we act and speak to one another.  Our family will be working on being respectful, cheerful, thankful and helpful towards one another.

2.  These are our weekly chores.  As a family we have always had our cleaning day on Sunday.  Until now the girls have only been responsible for straightening up their rooms and Brooke does her own laundry but now they will be responsible for cleaning one other area of the house.

3.  These are the daily chores.  The girls pick two per week that they will be responsible for.

4.  This is our discipline chart.  The girls must move their clothespin down when a discipline issue arises.  This starts over each day (except if they get down to grounded).

Each Sunday at dinner we discuss our words and give examples of something done right and something that still needs work for each family member.  The girls also pick a new weekly and two new daily chores for the week, they must be different than the week before.

To help the girls know what needs to be done in each room I made up these cards.  Brooke must do most of the things listed on her weekly chore card while Lexy has to pick two or three (to make it manageable).  The sticks with initials are used to decide who gets to pick their chores first but would also be good for any time that both girls want/don't want to do something to make a fair decision (like when they argue about what to watch on TV!).

When we get more kiddos, it will be easy to add them to this system.  I'm already thinking about adding chores like light helper (turn off all lights in house), line leader (on the way to/from the van), bath helper (hang towels, put dirty laundry in hamper) etc.