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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fourteen Years Later...

Life has taken on a different landscape than what was fourteen years ago. Never could we have predicted the course our marriage would take, but never would we trade it in. 
Happy Anniversary Love!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What Not To Do...

Yesterday, all three kids visited the dentist for their six month cleaning. I was surprised to hear that Addi and Charlie had zero cavities with Myriam needing some extra attention to a few of her pearly whites. Myriam had everyone laughing (no surprise there) with her usual witty remarks such as, 
"You are crunching me up!"
That was what followed the laughter when she ask Dr. G if all the ladies, better known as assistants, were his girlfriends. 
Needless to say, it was a lighthearted, successful visit including the advice to floss which most patients hear after every dental cleaning. 
Well, Myriam took it seriously after using her token coin to get her prize.

This is what TO do:

This is what NOT to do:

You can imagine my surprise when we were no more than five minutes out of the parking lot hearing the screams of terror from the back carseat. 
My first compassionate motherly response was to chuckle. No judgement, you all would have laughed too. 
Next was to shamefully call the office and tell them I am making a U-turn back to the office for a ring removal. Once there, Dr. G asked what the heck happened and I politely said, "Well, you told her to floss!" 
(I actually think she was trying to open the ring wider to fit her cute chubby fingers, but the story sounds better if she was trying to floss.)
A look with the mirror to see exactly where the ring was lodged, a distraction question to Myriam and quick tug on the ring and it was out. She sliced her gums pretty good, but nothing that prevented her to jump gleefully out of the chair after being told she could have two tokens for two prizes. 
You'll be happy to know that the rings will now be removed from 
Dr. G's Token Tower. 
Myriam leaves her mark everywhere and the staff certainly will be hearing about this adventure at their next study group!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Mother's Love

These kids have my full attention. 
Mother's Day was full of emotion as we wished Myriam's Tummy Mommy a happy day and sent a text to Miss Bee's Mom to have a sweet day. 
Two gifts grew in my tummy; two gifts grow in my arms; all four have my heart. 
Thank you to our village who encompasses us with prayer, support,
hours of childcare and wrinkles to prove that we share lots of laughter together. 
Thank you to all my motherly figures in my life who have
inspired me to continue to become a better, stronger more influential
mama to my little blessings. 
Thank you to my mom who, from the beginning, has shown and continues to
example to me what a mother's love and sacrifice lives, loves and prays like. 
Happy Mom's Day to all...(yes, a day or two late)...and cheers for surviving the ups and downs that comes with parenting all ages,
all back grounds and all situations. 
Sometimes, I find the best way to overcome a bad day is to simply laugh.
Thank you Jesus for blessing me with such joy.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Boys, Bikes and BB Guns

In effort to spend quality man time together as father and son, 
Tim took up our friends offer of playing at his place up and over the hill. Charlie was beyond excited to hop on the bike, as was Tim, cruising in the sunny weather. Tim broke up the long ride with a few stops on the pass and treats on the other side in Leavenworth where they stayed for the first night.  After over stuffing their stomachs, they rolled back to the hotel feeding the goats along the road and exploring the German town until the sun went down. 
The next morning they woke up ready to complete the bike ride to Ellensberg. From that point on, it was everything a mother would scream while playing with boy toys, "Be careful!"  It's a good thing they kept mom home...Guns, quads, off road vehicles, explosives and miles of land to explore. April started with a bang for these guys...I'll let the pictures explain the rest of the story. 

{ Top of the pass. }

{ Sweet treats for my sweet boy. }




{ Playing, exploring & enjoying the outdoors. }


 { First time behind a gun. Not bad. }

{ I can't look...}

{ Let's just say they created a big boom. }



Thank you so much Brian for tagging along and speaking life into our son. 
I don't ever plan to join you so I'm glad you chose to take my place.
Lock and load em' boys!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Having Fun In The Sun

A picture glimpse into our Spring doing's...
The kids have been busy outside building tree forts, riding scooters and bikes, jumping in the creek and enjoying the warm sunshine. I've had to do go through all their closets as all three have grown inches over the past few months from the last time they had shorts and tank tops on. Addison got her top braces put on which went fairly well. I'm still training for the 50k, Tim flew to Cambodia and Miss Bee is adjusting to the heat attempting to air out her many chubby rolls. It's been a gorgeous spring so we will finish the school year strong so the all-day play can go on!

 { After visiting Gigi at the Hospice House we treated ourselves to Wood's Coffee and some beach exploring. Addi made friends with the seagulls, Myriam skinned her knees twice and Charlie had a crab attempt to crawl up his arm. Such entertainment with these ones! }

 { Girlfriends gonna match .}

{ Cooling off with sweet treats & good friends. }

 {This one. So. Grown. Up. STOP IT! }

 { Mama's silly, sassy, busy coffee bean. }

 { Tight bonds between these sweaty spring sisters. }

 { Charlie has struggled this year keeping these darn allergies under control. }

 { So many choices. }

 { Dirty feet & don't care. }


Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Monkey's Set Free in the Zoo

 Rather than stay home and study, we took to I-5 and had ourselves a field trip at the Woodland Park Zoo. With Daddy overseas, we all needed a distraction from missing him and the zoo was the perfect place for that. 
The weather had cooled down giving us sunny skies to stroll through all the exhibits. Myriam explored the grounds with Miss Monkey clinging to her back giving her the freedom to check things out on her own. Yes, I got looks, but my kid was not running free and out of control so I had no shame. 
The favorite exhibits were the lizards and snakes along with Mr. Brown Bear who sat himself in front of the glass and stared at his could be entree's. I could watch Brown Bear all day long if the kids would have it!
The lions were napping under the trees out of sight and the hippos were deep in water not to be seen. The tigers and jaguars were also MIA. Miss Social, a.k.a. Myriam, tried coaching a group of old ladies to make a funny face that would encourage the jaguar to come out of hiding. It was quite funny seeing all these oldies scrunching up their faces and saying, "Cheese! Here Kitty Kitty!" 
I may have hid from that scene as well!
At the end of our tour, the kids were allowed to pick out one treat from the gift shop; books, toys and stuffed friends along with the rescue kit to save the stuffed friends from danger. After loading back up and stopping for a quick snack (bottle time), I had four sleeping kids dreaming their way through traffic. 
It was a perfect day with my own little monkey's!

{ Viewing all the bird exhibits. }



{ We had lunch by the penguins. }

{ Touching the California King snake. I kept my distance.}


{ Having fun feeding the birds. }



{ He was more relaxed then what it appears to be. }

{ The lizards were a hit with all the kids. }

{ Mama & her babies checking out the zebras. }

{ True form. A smile with left over lunch. }

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Loving Her Is Easy


Miss Bee is almost three months now and continues to gain more rolls that Addison can't keep up naming...so far we have Billy, Bobby, Percila, Patty, Matty, Fatty, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Rumble, Tumble, Squishy, 
Spongy and Bungee.
 Nothing beats a Chunkee Bee with many rolls to squeeze, tickle and kiss. 
We have entered the bubble blowing phase so bibs are a must as we are blowing raspberries and attempting to communicate with noises. If found, the tickle spots can get this little thing giggling which I love to hear on any young child. It's fun to watch little ones figure themselves out as daily, Miss Bee is learning or doing something new. Grabbing toys, sucking on her fingers, kicking with delight and lighting up when she sees familiar faces. 
It's still unclear how long Miss Bee will be in our home as the goal is to go back home to her Mommy and Daddy. It's been educational for me to sit in the court room and listen in on not just our case, but those of many other hurting children in the community. We continue to send pictures and write updates that are passed through letters and text messages during visits. We have not only built relationship with Miss Bee but with her parents as well. 
I've been asked more than enough times, "How are you going to give her back?" Easy. The best plan is for reunification. That is the goal. My job and blessing is to be the best for Miss Bee until she can return home regardless of my emotions and attachment. As a licensed foster parent, myself and everyone else who finds themselves in this position should know how quickly that attachment can happen. If that chiseling of a child growing deep into your heart is not happening, then it's a disservice to the child's development and time in your home. I understand how some kids are harder to love, but here's the bottom line; if we are not loving these kids like our own, then why are they in our home? 
Fostering and adopting kids from hard places is a mixed bag of fear, trauma, embarrassment, shame, horrific stories and walls that have been built five stories high in attempts to protect themselves from more pain. A week before we picked up Miss Bee, we experienced this a little bit when we 
provided respite care for our friend 'M'. 

'M' needed a home for two nights which turned into a week in our home. From the time she entered our door with one bag of her things to the time her social worker left, was under five minutes. We were complete strangers to 'M' and yet she didn't run away, claw at the door or ask for her social worker to stay longer. She knew how this worked and slowly walked to the room we had prepared for her to sleep in that weekend. 'M' and I unpacked her bag and put all her belongings into the dresser drawers then together Myriam and I gave 'M' a tour of our home. 
Over the six days in our home, I learned more than I wanted to about this seven year old girl. I was asked too many times to be her "pretty mommy," and reminded that she was "adoptable."  There were few moments of fear and usually just at night after we spent time reading books, sharing stories and learning how to say bedtime prayers. It wasn't all pretty over those six days.
"M' recognized that there was someone younger in the home which instantly became the target of her emotional stress and baggage.  Myriam received lots of grief from our friend that week when not deserved. When you understand the challenges 'M' has had to overcome, you understand why. 
Because 'M' ended up staying with us a little longer than planned, we needed to go shopping for a few more things that would get us through the week. I'm so thankful for Little Red Wagon and the many options they provide for those in-a-pinch moments of needing something for the kids. 
The morning 'M' was scheduled to leave, she wanted to write some speeches for us to hear before she left. My heart struggled with all that was happening as her story came out in these speeches as our kiddos sat on the couch jaws dropped and eyes popping out. Regardless of what we heard, we gave 'M' our full attention and clapped when she was finished. I knew that 'M' had no home to go to after she walked out of our home. I knew that there was not a secured home with interest to adopt this little girl. I did what I could and packed her bag full of car ride treats, school activities (she missed three days because she was out of district due to the lack of foster homes in her county and finding a respite home was more important then keeping her in school) and many coloring books and games to keep her busy knowing she would sit in the office for hours that day and possibly the next. She left with more clothes than she came with and wore Addison's old jacket with pride.
What surprised me the most, was how routine it was for 'M' to pack her bags and move to the next home. We were her eighth home she had stayed in during the just under two years she'd be in care. In the week she was in our home, she opened up emotionally with me and was okay with me rubbing her back, holding her hand and sharing a hug. I saw a glimpse of 'M' breaking down one of her walls. I had guilt for not being able to keep her longer, but also knew that Myriam couldn't take any more than she already had. This wasn't fair for 'M' and I can't say with confidence she's in her permanent home as she's been legally free for awhile now. 
Fostering is hard. It's unfair. It's ugly and confusing. but, regardless of how I feel about caring for these kids, it's multiplied for those having to be cared for. So, when someone asks me how we can take in an infant, love her like our own, have interrupted nights with bottles and back to being spit on...

Well, it's easy. 
Jesus took us in. He didn't question how hard it would be to love us when we wandered or strayed away; when we choose to sin rather than follow. He doesn't look at our past and see the scars that will haunt our futures. He wraps His arms around us and without words, gives us the promise that for right now, in this moment, it will be okay. 
So, for right now, we will wrap our arms and heart tightly around Miss Bee and love her like Jesus does regardless of how much it could hurt if she goes home. We will continue to open our home to this little girl that has quickly found her place in our lives. We will provide what's necessary for her to grow and develop along with offering many prayers for her Mommy and Daddy to prepare their home for a potential return. I ask that you pray the same. 
Pray for the kids in our community who are being placed in strange homes, having to gather a bag of goods and walk into scary situations. Pray for the kids who are adopted from international homes and brought here into a completely different environment. Pray for all the parents who are making these adjustments with the kids that together patience and grace may be a common thread in daily decisions. Pray for walls to break and attachment to become a beautiful story between child and parent. And then, pray if your home is willing to walk an unknown, unpredictable and amazingly blessed 
adventure of fostering or adopting.