Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Boys

Lincoln is getting a brother!

It's a boy :).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Things As You Start School

My sweet (growing so fast) girls, remember those 10 things we talked about last year? With school starting, and the busyness of the season upon us, I feel that we need to talk about them again. They change a tad as you change, of course. I know that you won't always want or welcome my advice, so I will try to refrain from constantly blurting out my opinions as you continue to grow.

I said I'll TRY, I can't promise anything.

We are always ready for school by the time it rolls around, but I think for every mom it's hard in that where-have-my-babies-gone kind of way. For me it's never about you being a year older, it's about how you change with each leap. The changing is the hardest for my mommy heart. Just know that I will always date back to your baby days, your innocent days, and your days when you actually wanted me walk you to your class...Miss Ella.

Look at all that 4yr old sweetness.

In the newness of this "older kids" season I have learned a lot. My life isn't all toddlers and babies like it once was. I've learned a lot this past year - both good and bad. I've learned a lot about waiting and listening. A lot about letting go. And a lot about how I try to control things that were never meant to be in my control.

Motherhood is humbling, girls. It's a journey of grace, and love, and joy, and pain, and sleepless nights. It's dancing in the rain, and soaking up the small stuff. It's this passion that runs so deep in my being that sometimes it's painful.

And just as I blink and remember being in my early 20's with my belly swollen with your newborn goodness, I also know I'll blink and we'll be ten years from now.

10 things, girls. 10 things that I want you all to remember as you start another year of school...

You are unique. Unique among your siblings, and unique among your peers. You won't be any good at being someone else, but you will be great at being you. Each of you have different passions and talents that make you stunning in His (and my) eyes. Embrace the beauty that God created when He knit you together. Inside and out.

Everyone is not doing it. Not everyone is acting that way. Not everyone talks like that. Not everyone is wearing that skimpy outfit. And not everyone thinks its cool. The only one you need to be following is Him. Otherwise, be a leader and a light.

You are worth it. You are worth that dream you want to chase, that goal you want to reach, and anything else your little hearts desire. You are worth waiting for, worth fighting for, and worth the respect of others (especially boys, my dears). You are worth it because He says so.

Don't be a gossip. You don't want to be that girl. It never ends well and it almost always comes back to bite you. Let your conversations be uplifting and encouraging to people around you. God wants your words to be full of grace.

Be Honest. To me, to yourself, to Him. Be upfront and tell it like it is. It's like telling someone their zipper is down, awkward at first, but better for everyone in the end.

Focus on your heart, not your appearance. Modesty is admirable. I have been shocked at the pressure on you young girls. Our culture can be nasty, be prepared to fight for what you know is true. The state of your heart is more important than your size, or choice in designer clothes - you are more important than a number. And at the end of the day, people want to be with someone who's heart is full of passion and joy, not with someone who only talks about her image or lack there of.

Love your sisters. Take a look around you, these ladies are your best friends. Look out for each other. They will be here when you are down and when you want to celebrate. They (along with myself) will sit in bed and eat pizza with you when you get your heart broken. It is an unbreakable bond, remember that when you pass each other in the hallway.

I am your mother, not your friend. This is a hard one for me because I really want you to like me and I know that sometimes you won't. For now though, it's my job to raise you. Study, do your homework, and make good choices in your friendships - if you don't, I will step in and be the bad guy (and we all know how much fun that is). We'll laugh and talk like girlfriends sometimes, but for the most part, I'm mom. I can't wait to have the grown up relationships with you that I have with your grandma.

Show unexplainable love & grace. Girls, remember the year we've had and those we have loved. Remember that no one in school would have ever guessed the horrible battles that C was fighting. And remember that you never know what the kid next to you is dealing with. Love people even when they're not your favorite people. Love the ones that no one wants to love. Everyone needs Him, and nothing trumps the grace that He has shown us. It truly is amazing grace, ladies - don't ever let anyone tell you different. Share it with everyone.

I'm here. Anytime you need me. Anytime you need to talk or cry or rejoice, I'm here. I want to know whats happening in your little world. I will wait for you to tell me and I'll try to accept the times that you don't. Just know that I hurt when you hurt, and I rejoice when you rejoice. Tell me all about life, about school, and about whats on your heart. I'll listen. Always.

I love ya, babes.

Yes, you'll always be my babies. And no, I won't call you that in front of your friends anymore.

There is nothing I wouldn't do, no fight I wouldn't fight, and no other earthly love like the one I have for you.  It is unique and mysterious and a gift from Him.

You ladies are a gift in so many ways. I am forever thankful for the bond we have. Here's to another school year. If you need me, I'll be in the car after drop off trying to figure out where the time has gone.

Love you so, so much,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This, That, And The Other Thing

Sometimes a list is a great option, yes?

- Summer is coming to an end, and the kiddos are literally climbing the walls with boredom. We have been to the pool a million times, run around outside, had craft days, etc. But now they are soooo booored, and there is nothing to doooo. So needless to say, we're all ready for a schedule.

School starts in 6 days. I love them deeply. But it's time. Before my hair turns grey.

- It has been chilly here lately. In the morning it can be a cool 52 degrees. And you know what that means for me, right? My Fall obsession can begin. Pumpkin everything, friends. I'll try to refrain from going completely crazy till September.

- Lincoln has this bear that he carries around everywhere. But he constantly has it in a choke hold and it cracks me up. I will keep that bear forever. And ever and ever.

- A little foster update... It's been almost 2 weeks since C & A left. Feels like they have been gone longer for some reason. We did get a call to let us know how everything is going a couple days ago from a caseworker - and honestly, it wasn't good. Things aren't great where they are. The family is just so broken, and the mother just is lost on how to be a parent, sometimes I don't know how or if they will rebuild. Deep breaths though, it's all part of foster care. I really believe He has a plan for their little lives.

- We got a dog. Because we have no boundaries. And because everyone in the house insisted that we NEEDED one. I don't even want to talk about it.

He is almost 2 and part of a breeding program for assistance dogs, so he's fully trained and really laid back. He gets a lot of attention and is insanely worn out at the end of the day. You understand.

- I am almost half way through the pregnancy!! Woohoo! We have our big ultrasound in 7 days. Not that I'm counting. And yes, we will be finding out the gender :).

- Baby #7 has just starting moving around enough for me to feel those little kicks. Oh my word, it never gets old. In every pregnancy I am always amazed at what a miracle this all is. Such grace right there in my (growing) belly.

- You know one thing that has kept the kids busy lately?? Rainbow Loom. The girls seriously love this craft. They've made tons of bracelets and such. We bought our kit at Michael's. Totally worth it.

- And just in case you're wondering, Kinley's curls combined with her bed-head is still reaching all kinds of awesome.

Love her.

So anyway, that's what we've been up up lately. Nothing super exciting, but it's been a good couple weeks with the fam. We are finding our "normal" again :).

Hope you all are having a great week!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A New Morning

I had planned on posting yesterday after the girls left, especially after some of your sweet encouragement on Facebook... which by the way, can we all just move to one neighborhood and live life together, drink coffee, laugh the cares away, and live happily ever after?

No? It was worth a try.

But I was so tired and emotionally drained that it was just better for everyone involved for me to take my tired self to bed. I guess it went exactly like I thought and nothing like I had planned. The CW took them as quickly as she brought them back in December, like we had not grown into a family or something.

And it was C's birthday, so there was also that.

Can I just spill my heart for a second? Honestly, I think it has been so difficult on me because I had to fight to be their mom. I was the role in their life that they didn't trust because of their past, and it forced me to put sweat and tears into building a bond. I have never had to fight for the love of a child, and if you want the truth, I hated it in the beginning. But that part about this journey has ended up being my greatest gift, it grew me in ways I didn't know I needed as a mother.

Love is hard sometimes, but it never comes back void. Even when you lose.

They taught me about loving regardless of the outcome, and giving away my heart even though I always knew in the end it was going to sting. They were a constant reminder to me that Jesus didn't say to love only when it's easy or when you won't get your heart broken, He just told us to love.

Love is always worth it. And I would do it again in a second.

I loved that snow day with the girls. It was the first time they had been sledding. We had only had them a couple weeks.

Our whole family said goodbye yesterday, not just me. People always wonder how that is on kids, or how they are dealing. And I can tell you that ours are doing great. They knew we were waiting for C & A's bio mom to get healthy, and even though they were sad, they showed excitement for them about being able to see her again. I was proud of them. I'm sure there were times that this year was hard on them - they had to share their things, make room for kids their own age, and watch Eric and I struggle through some hard times with the girls. But they also learned about relentless love and a never failing hope.

And I know God will use that in their lives. Like I said, we would do it again in a second.

And we may. Our hearts are still deeply in the system. We plan on still being involved, we are just going to wait for God to show us how. I think my heart is going to take a little hiatus from taking in older kids, mainly because my heart is still with the older ones who just left and I know we could get a call about them at any point.

But we'll see. Our line is open, and so are our hearts :).

Thank you, thank you, thank you for hanging around for my ramblings. I so appreciate the support and encouragement that you've shown us!