Mr. Freeze

We have officially been the owner and disowner of three, count ’em, THREE previously owned freezers. I have cleaned more dried blood from warm freezers than one person should ever have to do. When our last freezer failed on me for the second time I cried UNCLE and went searching for a new one. I swore to never take another chance with someone else’s cast off freezer ever again. I loaded up both babies and headed first to Harry’s Appliance Store where I was hoping to buy it because I like Harry’s and I like local and I like their delivery and haul away feature, but their least expensive option was $150 more than I was willing to pay, so I loaded up both babies again and headed to Home Depot where I found another one that was smaller than this one, but matched my target price of $350 and told them I wanted it. While they were finding it in the back I quickly came to my senses and did a review check. Turns out that Magic Chef doesn’t necessarily make a magic freezer. I loaded up both babies again and just came home. Craig suggested I shop online which is what I usually do, but didn’t this time because I wanted to see the freezer in person before making a long-term commitment to it. However, having just been to two stores with freezers and taking mental notes of the sizes, I felt more confident in my online shopping skillz. Sears it was. I found this beauty for $379 including tax and they had one in stock and it was just the right length to be able to fit into the back of my van, though we weren’t exactly sure of that until we got there and we had to do some fancy maneuvering that included leaving Millie at home, giving Baby A back to his primary care giver, taking some seats out of the van, and loading up as many kids as we could into Craig’s Volvo. But we did it. And Craig put it together when we got home and now we have our new family member, Mr. Freeze.

He’s officially open for business and accepting donations of broccoli-free frozen meals from just about anyone. *grin*

I’m super happy to have him here!

Oh, and did you catch that above? We are back to just one baby again. We miss him, but I’m planning to sleep for the entire weekend.

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Two Babies

So here we are, readjusting to life with two babies. We’re going through a pretty fantastic amount of diapers and bottles this week. Wow to the 10th power. Oh, I’m also still homeschooling the girls on their respective home days and we’re struggling a bit to get done the things we need to get done. Okay, we’re struggling a lot.

Today was our first attempt at following the full Tuesday fall schedule complete with home day for Katie and Millie, piano lessons for them, and choir for all. We were also surprised at 6:20 this morning with the storm shelter people came early and woke up the entire family, babies included. We’re happy to have a storm shelter, but they did tell us they would be here between 7-8am, so it was a literal rude awakening. So we had that going for us today along with an unexpected trip downtown because I’d forgotten to secure the permit and had to do that TODAY on top of everything else.

And I’m looking ahead to the rest of this week and wondering if we’re going to make it. I know we will, but in what state will we be by the end?

Stroller for 2

So a double jogging stroller would be pretty nice about now because on Saturday Baby A came back to us for a little bit so we’re currently carrying for our 1yo, Baby T, and our 2mo, Baby A and I’m remembering just how crazy life was when the girls were little and I’m also remembering why we simply just didn’t do much during those years other than live.

We don’t think Baby A will be with us very long. We agreed to become his alternate care givers in the event anything happens to his primary care giver. On Saturday night that event happened. I got an email asking me to call. I was in Owasso, but I called anyway and was asked if we could come get the baby. I explained I wasn’t there but Craig and Chloe could go and then proceeded to try to get Craig on the phone. This is the point in them where I realized that if I’d had a true emergency I would have been completely on my own – he was a hard man to get a hold of that night. He and Chloe had gotten up early for the cross country meet and then spent much of the day in the heat outdoors. By 8:30pm they were zonked. He took some Nyquil and passed out. He was not hearing the phone by 10pm when I called and I tried his phone, the girls’ phone, and the house phone in multiple rotating successions. I finally decided to post something on Facebook asking if anyone could go to my house, while simultaneously texting my neighbor to see if she was home. I actually had several sweet folks offer to drive over to my house at 10:30pm. As it turned out, my neighbor was home and her husband went across to ring the doorbell and wake Craig up. In another twist, the doorbell didn’t even wake Craig up – our barking dogs did. So that was perhaps the only time I’ve been thankful for those goofy barking dogs.

So this weekend was a little nuts. Katie and Millie were in Missouri with friends; Maddie, Baby T, and I were in Owasso; Craig and Chloe were picking up Baby A and staying put in Oklahoma City. This is going to be one interesting week for sure.

Happy Birthday, Baby T!

DSC_0001 13

As if having one birthday in the house wasn’t enough, today Baby T turned 1! We have a history of keeping 1yo birthdays very small and uneventful. Babies don’t really have any idea what’s going on here at this point and the whole affair is really for the parent. And in this case, it’s really so that we could take a few photos to send with him in the future so that he will one day know that someone did care enough to celebrate. To that end, I only actually wrapped one of his presents. He enjoyed everything in the way you would expect a 1yo to and then he tried to eat the wrapping paper and then it was time for bed.

He’s only been with us for a little over one week now, but he’s worming his way into our hearts, just like we knew he would.

Whatever May Pass and Whatever Lies Before Me…

Kids in #FosterCareWhen the boys came to live with us back at the end of February, they came with a pretty colorful vocabulary (hello? 3yo’s and the f bomb?) but also this one song:

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name

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I’ll never forget the day we discovered they knew this song – it was our first time taking them to church with us and it just so happened to be one of the Sundays our church played a version of this song at the end of the service. Little boys who sat silent through all the other songs suddenly burst out singing. They exclaimed to us, “HEY! This is OUR song!” We were just thrilled they knew one. I went home and downloaded this song so we could play it some more for them. It became the siren song of their time here. R3 would belt it out at random times during the day and he especially loved yelling it out during nap time, as though singing songs about God would exempt him from his need for sleep. Granted, he often changed some of the words – he was quite fond of singing, “Bless the Lord, oh my booty, o-o-o my booty…” And yes, we laughed.

The boys left us in June to go live with a family member, but this song has stuck around. It truly became THEIR song, so much so, that whenever we hear it we immediately tear up. This song will forever and always remind us of two sweet, yet stinker, little boys who stole our hearts for four months in 2013.

I’ve been preparing a hallway for our upcoming foster care tree project. The walls have been painted and I just need to finish the doors (there are six in this hallway) and then get the trees painted on. After that I can hang the (so far ten) green hand and foot prints we’ve taken of every child we’ve cared for since we began this journey. I’ve been wanting to write something on the wall to go along with it, but just couldn’t nail down exactly what. This week, it hit me. This song isn’t just the boys’ song. It’s all of our kids’ song. I now know what I’m going to write. Read this again:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. Whatever may pass? Why do children end up in foster care in the first place? Because of something outside their control. Whatever lies before? We have no idea what is in store for these kids as they pass out of our care and into the hands of another. Will those hands be gentle? Will those hands point them to Jesus? Will they grow to repeat the sins of their fathers?

And so we pray for them as they come and as they go – The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning. No matter what, it’s time to sing Your song again. No matter what has happened or what is yet to happen, let us have hearts that praise God through the midst of it and remain singing when the evening comes.

For our baby today who left our home: whatever lies before him…

For the two boys who snatched our hearts and moved 10 miles south of us: whatever lies before them…

For the untold names and faces of children we have yet to meet: whatever may pass, and whatever lies before them…

Let them be singing when the evening comes.

A Sad Day

Hard Stuff
A juxtaposition from today: Preparing to say good-bye to Baby A while simultaneously preparing for a weekend visit from my parents. My mom has ALS and now requires a hospital bed for sleeping. Sweet friends arranged for us to borrow one for the weekend and even while the reality of this, a hospital bed in my living room, lie waiting for one effect of the fall (my mom’s illness); the diapers, formula, onesies, teddy bear, and hospital paperwork being tucked in a small bag awaiting pick up along with a small babe was evident of yet another (the need for foster care).

And as I type this I’m still wearing the same shirt I’ve had on all day and I still smell like the mother of a wee infant – eau de spit up – and my arms are empty. We pray for the future for this little one and wonder what will be and can only hope God hears and that He cares.

Baby at the Bowling Alley

Baby Bowler
We almost made today an at-home jammie day, but in the end, opted to sneak out for just a bit. We hadn’t been bowling with our Kids Bowl Free passes in a while and thought today would be a good day to go again. So we packed up ourselves and our baby and headed to the bowling alley. We followed that up with a matinee showing of Despicable Me 2, which was the second time half of us have seen it. We really liked it. Twice. Baby A liked it too in an, “Okay, my foster mama held me for two straight hours” kind of way.

Baby Love

Baby LoveAs I look around my house I see how quickly we have become what we once were, what with the piles of diapers, wipes, bottles (new territory), tiny socks, and so much equipment – baby stuff in almost every room of the house.

And all for little guys like the one above, whom I would keep in a heartbeat if we could, but whom I also know is not mine to keep. And so we love while we can.

And who can resist?

Diaper Party

Okay, it’s not absolutely official yet and there are still some other scenarios that could bump to the front and cause Baby A to move on, but we’ve officially requested a transfer from being emergency care parents to being long-term care parents. A variety of reasons led me to ask for this, but the short answer is that we felt like we made a good connection with Baby A’s birth family and believe it to be in his best interest to stay with us for his duration in foster care. There is still a chance he could move into a “kinship” home and if that happens, our status as emergency care might not change yet, but we’re hoping he will be able to stay with us for a little bit longer. Okay, a lot longer.

The day I started the process of making these arrangements a sweet friend of mine told me she was planning a girls’ swimming party soon and wanted to have everyone who came bring a package of diapers for us. It was a sweet gift and we were happy to receive it. We remain thankful for the continued support of our church and school families and friends as we continue to follow this calling that is foster care.

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Sharing Stories of Foster Care

111 Project Video Shoot
Okay, so obviously I didn’t take this photo. It was snapped by Ben Nockles during a little video project we participated in today on behalf of the 111 Project. We shared stories of both becoming and being a foster family.

In the spirit of keeping it real, this morning a 9am doctor appointment for the baby got bumped to 8:30 and I found out at 8:05, so let’s just say I didn’t have time for a shower. I rushed to get him there and when I finally got home, the 3 hours of sleep I got last night begged to be joined by one more, so I crashed. Woke up just in time to get lunch going for everyone before taking the baby in for a parent visit. Craig and I went straight from the parent visit to this video shoot.

Do I wish that maybe I’d given more careful thought to my appearance today? Perhaps. Okay, yes. But in the end, this is our life in foster care. This is what we do.