Monday, December 31, 2012

Who would have known...

As I was looking back through old posts I found this one ...

Monday, December 28, 2009
Weird Crazy Dream
Yesterday morning I woke up remembering a dream...

Me - very pregnant (with 5 babies) at a circus to have an ultrasound done!!!
Mike psycho analyzed this dream to mean...

Brooke, Lexy + three girls we are looking into adopting = one CRAZY circus :-)
Amazing that THREE years later we are sitting here blessed with FIVE kids.  It was not those particular three girls that were meant to be ours but instead it was God's way of giving me a sneak peek and preparing me for what was to come!  And Mike was right...our life is one CRAZY circus :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Picture problem

I have lots of pictures/posts to share but I got the dreaded "you've hit your picture limit" warning when I last tried to upload a picture.  I'm trying to figure out if there's anything other than paying monthly for more picture space that I can do but I'm really clueless about these things so if any of my bloggy friends have any suggestions please leave a comment or e-mail me :)

Hopefully I'll be able to be back up and running with posting our December fun soon!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trimming the tree

We got a new pre-lit tree this year and love it except that even though it says it's the same size as our old one it seemed way shorter so we ended up sitting it on a box :)  The girls decorated the tree this year because we wanted the boys to think of it as a pretty to wave at instead of to touch!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We visited Grammy and Papa's house for the first time with our big family for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was great to see all those faces around the table enjoying the food and the day.
We have SO MUCH to be thankful for this year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nothing more cute...

than winter hats  :)

Friday, November 2, 2012


Introducing our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...
Costumes made by Mommy

Brooke dressed up with some of her friends as crayons :)

We knew this year Halloween would be a little bit chaotic.  There were 51 goodie bags to make, juice drinks to buy for "A's" class and muffin brownies to make for Lexy's class.  And we had three class parties to go to so Daddy took off work to go to Lexy's and I split my time between "A's" and Gage's classes.  After school we headed up to our town's Boo Bash and Spook Parade.  There were games to play and then we participated in the parade before going trick or treating at the businesses uptown.

The little ones were crashing from so much sugar so we got dinner and took them home for the night.  Brooke had to work at the Boo Bash but afterwards went straight home because she was not feeling well.  Lexy and I went back out trick or treating for a little while longer after dinner.  We ended up with a TON of candy in this house!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mom Necklace

I've always loved wearing some sort of necklace symbolizing my babies.  I started out with a simple necklace with Brooke's birthstone in it then a few years ago I won a Lisa Leonard necklace so I had one made with Brooke and Lexy's names and I have wore that necklace almost every single day since I got it.

When the kids came to live with us "A" noticed my necklace and would ask almost daily when her name would be on my necklace.  I stopped wearing it because I felt bad for her but I missed having my necklace on so when Lisa Leonard was having a sale recently I decided that it was time to get a new one for myself....and I love it!! :) belong, to be loved.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Informal 2012

Brooke had her high school sorority Informal dance this weekend.  The theme this year was "Foot Loose" and the decorations and all the western wear turned out looking really nice.

Brooke asked her date to the dance a while back.  She wanted to do something special instead of just asking so she came up with this...
They have an inside joke about being married on the moon so this was fitting and special :)

For the dance Brooke got ready with a group of friends.  We met them at the park for pictures with their dates in the evening and then they all headed back to a friends house to eat pizza before going to the dance.

Brooke and Jordan
Jordan/Brooke, Peyton/Natasha, Austin/Lindsey, Tyler/Laura, Keonna/Levi

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Papa and Grammy came for a visit and while they were here they took the very first picture of our family all together...

The kids suckered Grammy into reading all their books to them too :)

Friday, October 26, 2012


Just some random "life in the Richards' home" pictures :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Well we can say we ATTEMPTED the pumpkin patch :) 

We had some grumpy attitudes, a playground that wasn't made for little people and some sticker bushes but we got to experience the pumpkin patch for the first time as a family and I'm thankful for that!
The kids did enjoy decorating their finds (Timmy picked a green pumpkin, Gage and Lexy both got orange pumpkins and Aydianna chose a squash) with markers and setting them out in the garden to display.  Maybe next year we'll be brave enough to try carving :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another one in school

Gage turned three a few months ago.  He's technically old enough for preschool but he's not ready to go for the academic part.  However he does need his therapies (OT, PT and speech) and going to preschool is the only way he is able to get those at this point.  So for now, he will go to preschool two days a week to get his therapies and stay home with Mommy and Timmy the rest of the week.
He is excited to go to school, especially about the bus that picks him up.  And he's excited to see Mommy at the end of the day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

First Haircuts...with us

Gage and Timmy were both looking a little like shaggy dogs :) so they got their first haircuts since they've come to live with us.  Timmy kept saying "all done" and Gage would flinch anytime the scissors would make a sound but they both sat still and didn't cry!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Doing what's best

We had a situation come up this week that made us stop and think.

"A" brought home a note from school about a field trip to the pumpkin patch...I took it out, signed it, attached the required money, wrote it on the calendar and slipped it back into her folder ( I have learned very quickly that nothing can wait for later or this momma will totally forget about it).  Later that evening as I was cooking dinner I got an overwhelming feeling that I was doing the wrong thing by signing that note.  The concerns that came to mind were 1. that "A" (and both boys) has little to no "stranger danger" feelings, she would talk and walk off with anyone at this point (and the only adults looking after the kids would be the teachers) and 2. a pumpkin patch trip (at least this time) should be a family bonding experience instead of a school activity.  After talking over my feelings with Daddy we decided that "A" would stay home with me that day in lieu of joining her classmates on the field trip and that we would continue to work on stranger danger with her and we would go to the pumpkin patch as a family.  I wrote a note to the teacher explaining the situation and was very pleasantly surprised when the teacher came out to our car after school to tell me that she totally's so helpful when you have great people working with you!  The teacher also let me know that "A" has been doing well in class.  She is still learning when it is ok to speak in class, she said that "A" will now raise her hand and just start talking instead of waiting to be called on :) but at least it's progress!  She also mentioned that "A" is VERY independent and resists having help with almost anything which is something we see at home too and are trying to work on as she was treated beyond her years previously.

"A" was NOT happy that she was staying home instead of going on the field trip but in the end we did what we felt was the best for her.  I'm sure there will be MANY more times that she won't like a decision that we make in her best interest in the coming years! ;)


A large family and any type of sickness is NOT my favorite thing to deal with!

For the past week a cold/sinus/flu bug has been running rampant through our house causing missed school, grumpy attitudes, aches and pains, lots of coughing and sleepless nights.  Both boys have asthma so it has been especially hard on them and it landed "T" at the doctor but I THINK that we are finally all on the mend...can someone please knock on some wood?!! :)

This has made me start praying everyday now though that we will somehow get a free pass from any stomach bug that may roll through town this winter!!  Ugh, just the thought.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lazy Days

Our new favorite way to spend a lazy Saturday is gathered all together playing in the playroom :)  That room has never gotten so much use!

But our Sunday wasn't quite as lazy, Brooke, Lexy and Mom went shopping for winter clothes for everyone.  Ten hours and lots of money later, we finally made it back home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Sons

As I wrote on facebook...I love spending my days with MY SONS!  It feels so weird but SO right to say those words.  As a foster mom I had the pleasure of being "Mommy" to some very special little boys that I loved dearly.  I secretly hoped that God would bless me with a son someday that I wouldn't have to worry about having to go through the heartbreak of letting go...and he has doubly blessed me. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1st day of Kindergarten

"A" started Kindergarten today.  We went back and forth on what would be best for her but in the end we decided to give it a try after her passing her assessment with flying colors and asking to go to school like her big sisters everyday....multiple times a day  :)

Daddy and Lexy took "A" in yesterday afternoon to meet her teacher and put her supplies away.  Lexy and Mommy walked her in this morning.  She was so excited!

She was equally excited about the Sonic slush she got after school for her first day (she chose cherry)!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our silly family

We've been enjoying just being a family these past couple of weeks :)  In all our silly-ness :)

Gage and Timmy were hammering on Lexy's "house" :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mommy's Birthday

I celebrated my 39th birthday by standing in line at the DMV with a two year old (what was I thinking??)  to renew my licence, taking a three year old to the doctor and waiting FOREVER to be seen and buying myself a brand new battery for my didn't-want-to-start-sometimes (and that's not good when you have five kids!) van.  But I also got lots of hugs, kisses and happy birthdays from the most wonderful husband and the five sweetest kids in the world!

I made spaghetti (look at those boys' faces!!!) for dinner and bought a pumpkin roll (YUM) and ice cream for dessert.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Settling In

We have spent our first couple of weeks settling into our new normal and bonding as a family.  Mike has taken a few weeks off of work so that the kids will bond with Mommy and Daddy equally.  Our first week, except for walks and playing in the backyard we didn't take the kids out in public until Saturday, we were all getting a little cabin fever so we headed to the mall and dinner.  Slowly we've been doing more as time progresses.

I think the bonding process is going very well.  The boys know already that we are Mommy and Daddy and come to us willingly for play, loves, help and comfort.  Of course the bonding process will go more quickly for them as they are dependent on us for pretty much their every need still.  For "A" the process will be longer but we are seeing progress already.  While she does talk about her birth parents/family and former foster parents a lot, she does call us Mommy and Daddy and calls our house home most of the time now.   "A" loves to have lots of attention and will take/give hugs and compliments willingly.

This past Monday we signed our adoption placement agreement and will be finalizing the adoption in the next few months hopefully.  Now we are working on getting schooling, therapies and services set up for the kids. 

We did also hear on Monday that baby brothers case plan has been changed to adoption so we may be hearing something soon about if he'll be coming here and if so when.

Some pics from the past couple of weeks...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Daddy's Birthday

Mike turned 49 yesterday!  With all the expense of visiting and getting the kids home, daddy and I both will be foregoing birthday presents this month.  But we at least had to have cupcakes and ice cream to celebrate!!  I got lucky and even found wrestling cupcakes at Wal-mart!

The boys LOVED those chocolate cupcakes (and making a mess).  And yes this is Brooke's "mom do not take my picture face :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Introducing Our Kids...

I can't believe we have FIVE kids! 

T - A - Brooke - Lexy - G

Lexy - G - Brooke - T - A

Bringing them HOME!

On Saturday morning Daddy, Mommy and Lexy (Brooke stayed home so she didn't have to miss school on Monday) headed out for our three hour drive to visit the kids again.  Our visit was from 11am to 6pm so we decided to take all the kids to a kids museum nearby.  After getting lost, eating lunch and then finding our way...the kids all had a great time!  On Sunday the kids spent the morning helping the foster mom pack up their belongings and then we had a short visit from 12pm-4pm.  We ate lunch (we even braved a sit down, wait for your food place instead of fast food!), played at a new park and then headed to Wal-Mart to pick up a few last minute things before taking the kids back for their last night at the foster home.

On Monday morning we headed over to the foster home to pack up the van with belongings and kids and we headed home!  After about 3 and 1/2 hours we got to show the kids their FOREVER home for the first time!!!

On facebook I wrote...
Our family is all in one house tonight (all SEVEN of us), it just feels right!! It will take awhile for all of us to adjust to our new normal but we are happier than words can say :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Family Visit

We headed back down for our first family visit on Saturday.  Brooke and Lexy's first glimpse of their siblings was at the foster home.  We all sat and watched the little ones play in a little pool for a bit and then headed in for lunch together.  Brooke and Lexy didn't say too much at that point but they are both pretty quiet around new people and I think they were just taking everything in. :) 

After lunch we took the kids with us for a couple of hours.  There's not much to do in the small town we were in especially in the heat so after visiting a really bad park for about two minutes, we ended up at Wal-Mart where Brooke said we looked like a parade and swore that she wouldn't be going out in public with us much lol :)  But it did give the girls time to push around each of the two carts and get a chance to talk and play with all the kids.  We took the kids for dinner and then returned them to the foster home for the night.

On Sunday morning we picked up the kids at 10am for the day.  G couldn't get out the door fast enough and into Daddy's arms this morning!  It was extremely hot again but we braved a much better park until we were all sweaty.  After lunch we headed to our hotel where we went swimming in the (cold) pool.  After pool time we all layed down for naps.  I was very happy when all three kids felt comfortable enough to fall asleep with us.  Lexy and I went back to the pool during naptime while Daddy and Brooke stayed and napped :)  We had to finally wake the boys up after over two hours so that we could head out for dinner.  After this meal we resigned ourselves to the fact that eating out for our big family would always entail THREE tables and momma serving up the food buffet style but at least we knew we could do it!! :)  We returned the kids to the foster home about 6:45pm.  G cried as soon as we pulled into the driveway and we had to leave him crying with the foster parents :(

On Monday we picked the kids up again at 10am and headed to the same park as the day before...we love that park!  After playing for a while we headed for lunch...Brooke said "here comes the circus" as we walked in. :)  After lunch we returned the kids to the foster home, gave them each a stuffed animal that we had picked out for them and then headed for home.  G cried again.

A took to Brooke right away.  We knew she would because she is 5 going on 15 lol! but she did realize at the park that Lexy is more fun to play with!  She's got beautiful long hair that she's already asked Brooke to fix like hers!  She loves to be a helper but also needs to be reminded that she doesn't need to do the icky parenting stuff, she just gets to be a kid and have fun!  A is also learning quickly that what mommy says, mommy means.
G is definately attached to Daddy but loves to have any of us play, tickle or just smile at him.  He has the best smile and OH those dimples!  He is the most delayed in speech but he did say "Mommy" while we ate lunch the last day just to see if I would look his way and gave me the biggest smile when I did!  G doesn't like to have any other kids play in what he thinks of as his space and will throw a good fit if he's not ready to leave when we are.
T is the silly, cuddly, lovable one.  He likes to give kisses and hugs and say "Hi" to EVERY person that he goes by...Lexy says he would be a good Wal-Mart greeter when he grows up lol!!  He can also throw a good fit and is onery as all get out!  His giggle is so contagious!  The first night he learned a new word from me..."apple" and so we had apples with almost every meal and he would proudly hold up a piece and say "apple" to me and smile real big.

Brooke and Lexy have not stopped talking about the kids!  Both of them have said that they can't wait for them to move into our house.  I think we all feel the same way...they belong with us and we already love them so much!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

File Read & First Visit!

We headed down early Tuesday morning for our three hour drive to the adoption agency.  We spent FIVE HOURS in a tiny room reading through the kids' files, writing down any information that we thought we might need in the future or that the kids might someday want.  There were six thick files, we got totally through three and leafed through the other three.  There was a couple of surprises but nothing that would scare us away (although it might have someone else).  My eyes were exhausted!

At 3:30pm we headed to the foster family's house (30 min. away from the office) to meet the kids.  The foster mom had done an excellent job of preparing the kids (to the best little ones can be prepared for this) and all the kids were excited to see us.  We spent the next three hours playing with the kids and showing them the picture book and book with CD (with my voice) that we had brought for them.  We ate dinner with them and then played a little more before leaving to head home.  I think that the kids are doing well so far...T(2) loved to have Mike hold him and they would growl at each other and then laugh, G(3) took redirection from me very well when he was pinching a sibling and A(5) introduced us as her "adoption" mommy and daddy to a visitor to the house :)  A is VERY talkative and wants us to be talking or reading to her at all times.  Both boys are delayed so they aren't speaking much (that we can understand anyway) but they make up for it in movement...those two are busy, busy, busy!

A transition plan has been made.  The girls will join us for a weekend in the town that the kids are in this weekend.  We will stay in a hotel and visit the kids in the foster home first and then take them on our own during the day.  Then next weekend we will travel down to the town again to spend time with the kids while the foster mom packs their stuff up.  We will be bringing the kids home with us on the 10th.

I think I'm still in shock that this is really happening :)

Lexy and Brooke each wrote a letter to the kids and we mailed it last night in hopes that it will make it there before we see them this weekend.

Mike said last night at (our) bedtime "in a couple of weeks bedtime won't be this peaceful"...I said "no in a couple of weeks bedtime will be the ONLY peaceful time".  But we wouldn't have it any other way :)

Monday, August 27, 2012


I talked on the phone with the foster mom tonight for about an hour.  We made plans for tomorrow afternoon and she shared some more information with me about the kids.  At one point our youngest (T-2) came into the room with foster mom so she put him on the phone.  I could hear her telling him things to say but couldn't really understand him until she told him to tell me that he loved that point I heard the sweetest little "lub you" that I think I've ever heard :)

Foster mom also e-mailed a new picture of all three kids to me...they are SO cute!!!

SO nervous!!!

We got word yesterday that we got SRS approval and we will be going for the file read and to meet the kids tomorrow!!!  We will talk about next steps tomorrow but it looks as though hopefully the kids will be moving in two weeks.

I am so excited for this to FINALLY be happening!  I do still have that little bit of anxiety that something will go wrong but it's because of past losses not because of anything related to this case.  Everything with this case just seems to be falling into place...just as it is supposed to when it is meant to be! :)

I never dreamed that I'd be as nervous as I am to meet the kids.  I lay awake at night and I have a knot in my stomach all day.  But I know that I already love those three babies with all my heart!  I'm sad that they'll have to grieve the loss of their foster family and the life they have settled into with them.  I am truly grateful for that foster family though because they have loved and helped our kids in so many ways until they could be with us!  Our goal will be to make the transition as smooth and positive as possible for everyone involved. 

I can't believe I'll be Mommy to three more kids!!!  My kids will be B-16, L-8, A-5, G-3 and T-2 :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Adoption Update

It looks as though the issues have been resolved...some of the mountains have been moved!!  We received one approval last Friday (one that we were REALLY worried about) and we are now waiting for SRS approval (evidently they are behind) so that we can go to read the file and meet the kids.  Hopefully that will happen sometime next week and then next weekend all of us will go to the town where the kids are for the weekend to spend time with them.

The foster family has removed the Aug. 27th deadline for a move so that the kids won't have to go to another foster home before coming here.  I just hope that things start speeding up before they decide that they can't keep them any longer.  I SO appreciate that the foster family is putting the kids' needs before their own. 

I haven't been able to stop myself from starting to pick up small things here and there for the kids but I have held off buying anything big.  I can't wait to start making those bigger purchases!  I even have a magazine marked with Christmas ideas :) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

3rd and 11th

A little sad this morning to see these girls off to their first day of 3rd and 11th grades...

Each girl had their favorite breakfast before heading out, Lexy - biscuits and gravy and Brooke - orange rolls.

Lexy took her teacher a small first day gift...
After school they will get an ice cream of their choice from Sonic and then favorites for dinner (spaghetti and brownies).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Fun - Week 12

The girls start school tomorrow :(

For our last week we...

Went shopping at the Legends and to lunch at the T-Rex cafe with Mammaw...

Went to Coco Key (indoor waterpark) with friends (Natasha and Avree)...

Saw the movie "The Odd Life of Timothy Green".  No pics but we all LOVED this movie.  It had a great message.  We definately should not have forgotten the tissues!

And today Lexy and I met Robin and her kids at PowerPlay for lunch and to play at the arcade...
The only picture I thought to take :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer Fun - Week 11

Some of the fun things we did this week were...

We made flarp again this year.  This is one of Lexy's favorite things to make :)

Cousin Ashley came over for a play day...

Lexy stole daddy's box of nails and had some fun playing with them with magnets...

The living room was transformed into a fort on a couple of stay-at-home days...

We went swimming with Robin, Mackenzie, Molly and Ryan...

AND Lexy got brave enough to jump off of the diving board!!
Lexy was SO PROUD that she conquered her fear!!  She then wanted to do it over and over again :)
Lexy and I also met with my childhood friend, Sandy, for the second time this summer.  It has been so much fun catching up with her and we just love that little girl of hers, Riley Jean!  Both times we've met up I haven't thought about taking any pictures (next time for sure!!) but here's a picture from when we were in about 3rd grade...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adoption Update

We were chosen as the kids' family.


There are some issues that have arisen that need to be figured out/taken care of...and it has to happen fast since the kids need to be moved from their foster home by Aug. 27th.  There is nothing that we can do to help figure out or take care of these issues and unfortunately we are still at risk of not getting the kids. :(

We have done and are doing everything on our end to make this happen but only God knows if this is meant to be.  We are staying positive and praying that if these are our kids that mountains will be moved to make it happen quickly.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Adoption Update

We got the phone number and permission to call the current foster home to talk with the foster mom more about the kids, get sizes and ask any other questions we had.  I made the call last night and she and I spent over an hour chatting about the kids.  She was so sweet and kept saying that she will miss the kids dearly but that she thinks that we will be the perfect family for them :)

We are starting to really get excited but are still cautious that something could go wrong.  We can't wait to have them in our home so that we can fully enjoy them without worrying!

I did make my first purchase for them today, a few new books to add to our collection that I thought they would like :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Adoption Update

I kind of hate to even post this for fear that somehow it will jinx us but...

We have been presented with another sibling group (g-5, b-3, b-2) with our agency. 

About a week and a half ago we were sent the profile, along with these three there is a newborn sibling that we will need to be open to taking if his case goes that way.  Last Tuesday I had a phone conference with the current foster mom (they are not an adoptive resource) to find out more about the kids.  On Thursday we received a picture and sent in our official "we are interested" e-mail.  On Friday a BIS (best interest staffing) date was set for Aug. 9.

We are the only family being considered.  The kids need to move more quickly than usual so there won't be a transition plan. 

We are excited for the possiblity but very cautious of really believeing that this could be happening finally!

We do still have two sibling groups with another agency that we have our homestudy in on but a BIS hasn't been scheduled for either of those yet so we are not withdrawing on those yet and just letting things work out how they are supposed to.

Caboose Junction

I found a new experience for us to try after we decided that we wanted to get away for a long weeknd, Caboose Junction Resort at Table Rock Lake in the Lake of the Ozarks.  We left early Friday morning for the four hour drive...a nice relaxing drive until the last hour or so when the roads began to be twisty and hilly for about the last 100 miles!  We all survived :) (momma seems to be the only one with a queasy tummy in the car thankfully). 

Our caboose was right by the lake where we played in the water (well mom did only until she got bit by something and refused to go back in!), relaxed in the hammocks and took walks along the shore.  We also enjoyed playing card games together, talking, laughing and just spending time as a family. Staying in the cabooses was really a fun and unique thing for us.  We loved that there was a small kitchen (with supplies) and a grill so that we could make most of our meals.  The beds were a little hard :) and the bathrooms were TINY but definately a new experience for all of us!

We also took a day trip to a drive thru/petting zoo and ate dinner at a great little diner.  And on our way home we took a drive through Joplin, MO to look at the damage/rebuilding of the tornado last year.