Mother Of Four

This post was written two weeks ago.  A lot has happened since then, but it is still part of our journey, so I think it’s important to still post it….

September 12, 2017  It’s time for some honesty. I have said before that I want to always inspire others to consider taking in a kiddo who needs a family – especially those teens!

My first teen has been a dream. Connecting has been easy, fun has been easy, and parenting has been easy.

My second teen is a total sweetheart. She asked if she could call me mom after only a few days. She has said thank you a hundred times, she loves hugs, and even complies when consequences have to be handed out.

But for some reason, this time around is emotional for me. Some of it is that my husband is in a season of travel, so I’m alone. Another aspect is that every moment of our day is crammed full. I have three kids in soccer with practices and games overlapping. I have one who is also in a coding club before school and music after school. I have another who is in dance after school, has some failing grades, is trying to find a job. We have appointments and court dates during the day, and I’m at the kids school helping in class, teaching music, and having lunch.

It’s a full life. It’s a good life. But I’m learning that I can only handle so much. And now that I’m trying to figure out how to make sure everyone gets the socializing they want, and keep healthy food in them, and transport them places, it’s just too much.

Today I asked for help. I have often heard about depression settling in when a new kiddo enters the family, much the same as postpartum can settle on a mom with a new baby. I sat in a doctor’s office and cried my makeup off.  But she talked through everything with me. Gave me some information and some temporary medication. It’s okay that I need some help. It’s ok because what I’m feeling without help is not okay. I can’t eat, I’m nauseated, I even yelled at my boys and broke down in tears in front of one of them, effectively freaking him out!

But in that moment, I was able to call a friend who prayed powerfully over us. I was able to talk to my husband for the first time in a few days. We got to connect. Each friend who has spoken truth into my life has left something in my fuel tank that fills it up just a little.

Galatians 6:9: “So don’t get tired of doing good.  Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” -Kate

Picture that oxygen mask on the airplane. You need to put yours on first…yoga and exercise, or a big cup of coffee.” -Karen

It is so clear that God has called you to this life. You are amazing with teens!” -Stefanie

You inspire me over and over when I watch you parent all four of your kids.” -Tiffany

I love you so much. When I saw what you were feeling in your heart, I knew I wanted to be on this journey with you.” – Kylee

Just walking and talking with Kamie was a full hour filled with encouragement.

I want to walk this journey with you.” -Angela

You’ve got this! Nothing is impossible through Christ and you are posturing yourself as a servant to the orphan – it’s true religion! I love how invested you are. You aren’t doing this alone. Self-capability is like self-righteousness. It doesn’t exist. We are meant to lean on and draw from our great God every minute. ” -Gina

The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I won’t let him do that to me or my family!

So, if God is calling you to this, it might be easy! We had that experience. And it might be hard! We get to have that experience too. But doing nothing has no purpose!

I’m thankful that I get to be mom to four amazing kids! And that is my honesty post for the day.

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Sewing…

I have been wrestling with this post for a while now.  It’s one that I feel is important to share, but I really haven’t been able to figure out…how.

We had to say goodbye to our second teen last week.  Things changed quickly – over the course of just a couple of days – but the effect on the family was intense.  I know just about everyone would agree that protecting my littles comes first, but protecting the other teen who has been placed in my care is also a priority.

I knew when taking in this sweet 16 year old, that some very clear boundaries would need to be established if there was a chance of success.  All of the trouble she had found herself in up to the point I met her had been connected to a cell phone.  So most of the boundaries were in place to protect her from the phone causing problems in our home, at school, and at other events.  I was able to sit down with her and give her a copy of the boundaries that would be in place, as well as the consequences if any of the boundaries were not respected.  We made sure the consequences were short so there would be lots of chances to learn from any mistakes made – fully expecting there to be some, and there were.  We gave her a day to read them, consider them, and sign her agreement.  And she did!  I was so hopeful!

For the first 3 weeks, consequences were provided in a calm manner, and she accepted them calmly.  And then she didn’t.  Chaos ensued.  She knew and was reminded several times that she was wanted and desired by our family, and the choice would always be hers to remain a part of the family, or decide not to.  By her choices, she told us what she wanted and we had to make the terrible decision to say goodbye.

I’ll be honest, it’s hard not to feel failure.  I know that I did the best I could for this sweet, kind, helpful girl.  I also know our family cannot operate in total chaos.  But that doesn’t make it feel much better.  And this is foster care.  You truly never know what is going to happen.  I guess that’s parenting in general, at times.

So now our role is to pray.  We will never forget this member of our family.  We pray God protects her.  We pray for healing in her heart and ours.  I get to teach my boys during something that is difficult.  I have always preferred a bit of difficulty in their lives, and the opportunity to learn from it, than a life of complete ease and leisure.  We can do hard things.  We can because God has called us to this journey, and we have him to cover us in His perfect peace.  When P cries because he misses her and is worried about her, I get to speak truth into his tender heart.  God has given me an incredible privilege with the life he has called me to.

As I sat outside in the sun the day after we said goodbye, I looked down at the shorts my 17 year old asked me to sew, and I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have her in my life.  She has changed me.  And by having her here, and doing simple tasks for her, I get to love her deeply and I’m honored.  There is redemption in sewing…literally and figuratively.

And one final, but important thing.  Our foster care agency, Koinonia Family Services, has been nothing short of incredible.  Their support was unwavering through this whole process, and continues to be as we move forward.

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Life Goes On

This is true…life does go on.  But it’s often easier said than done.  I don’t share a lot of our foster care journey because I have teens and I want to respect their privacy, as well as the trust they have given me.  I wish I could shout to the world everything that happens because I think when you get the inside story, it can often encourage you to do something about the injustices of the world.  And that’s always the purpose of any entry that falls under the foster care and adoption side of this blog.  I want the teens everywhere to find families that love them unconditionally, support them as they come into adulthood, hug them when words fail, and give them a true home and family where they can be exactly who God made them.

But…I can’t!  So, all I’m saying in this blog today is that healing happened inside our family this long weekend.  It’s beautiful.  It’s a moment among many that have come before and many that I pray will come after.  But the moments that happened this weekend leave me content.  I am content with our family.  I am content with my parenting.  I am content with my marriage.  I am content with the healing that came.  Content is a very nice place to be.  If you knew what I know, I think you’d run to your local foster care agency and sign yourself right up!

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It is NOT Soup Season

This recipe has been on my desk since last “soup-season”, and I’m just now getting around to posting it.  Happy 108 degrees today!  Enjoy this some other time…for now, eat some ice cream!

Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup
from Life is NOYOKE

INGREDIENTS:
–  1 c. wild rice
–  8 c. vegetable broth
–  2 bay leaves
–  1 Tbsp thyme
–  2 tsp salt
–  4 stalks chopped celery
–  1 c. chopped carrots
–  1/2 onion chopped
–  4-6 cloves garlic
–  8 oz. chopped mushrooms
–  1 c. soaked cashews
–  15 oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans

INSTRUCTIONS:
1.  Soak cashews overnight
2.  If not an option, soak in boiling water for as long as you can
3.  Heat broth (reserve one cup on side)
4.  Add rice, thyme, bay leaves, and salt to the broth.
5.  Put a lid on, and simmer for 45 min.
6.  Chop veggies (except mushrooms) and put in pot with rice for another 30 min.
7.  Drain cashews and beans, cream in Ninja/Vitamix with 1 c. broth for 15 min
8.  Put creamy mixture into pot when timer says 15 min.
9.  Add the mushrooms.  Replace lit.
10. When rice is done, remove bay leaves and ENJOY!

Quick, Easy, Cheap Instant Pot Meal

This meal is one of my go-to meals!  It comes from the My Plant Based Family blog.  She calls it a Mexican Casserole, but it’s really just a pretty basic and very tasty Rice and Beans meal.  I do it slightly different from the link above – 1 8 oz. can of fire-roasted, diced tomatoes.  My kids devour it, I can keep all the dry ingredients in the pantry, if I had one cupboards, I can set it up anytime during the day and set the timer so it’s ready when we get home, and we even take it camping with us when we have hookups!

The blog is linked above.  Here is the recipe:

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice (Don’t use white rice.  I tried it and it was way too gummy)
  • 1 cup uncooked dry beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 8 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Do

  1. Dump all of the ingredients into your pressure cooker and stir once or twice.
  2. Close the lid and cook on manual for 28 minutes.
  3. Once done, allow the pressure to come down and open carefully. If you are in a hurry you can do a quick release.
  4. Stir in some fresh cilantro and a healthy squeeze of lime juice, and top with diced avocado.
  5. Serve with chips!

Enjoy!!

Kids Actually LIKE Love and Logic?

Today, my nine year old said, “Mom, you’re like a master at Love and Logic” and I said, “Thanks Buddy!”  I asked him, “Do you like Love and Logic?” He responded, “Mmmm…yeah” with a shrug.  I said, “Oh good, why?” and he said, “It’s really good for parents.”  My husband said, “But not good for kids?” and he said, “For kids and grownups!  Because someday I can teach my own kids Love and Logic, and they can teach their kids and they can teach their kids!”

Not only did this thrill me, and make me feel like a wonderful parent for the first time this week, it told me something even more important: Kids who experience Love and Logic on a regular basis actually see the good in it!

If you’d like to hear a quick little audio blip on how to handle the many situations where it is hard to find a logical consequence, here it is!  Dr. Jim Fay:  Energy Drain

 

 

Babies + Love and Logic?

I got to hang out with my favorite 10 month old yesterday – and that’s saying a lot because I’m not a baby person.  Something amazing happened!  He crawled toward the stairs and when he got there, I said, “Uh Oh!” – Love and Logic style.  Guess what he did?  He stopped!  He put his face down on the bottom step, had a little internal struggle, and sat back down.  Then he crawled toward the door stopper that is broken if it gets touched.  I said, “Uh Oh!” and he sat back and stared at it for a minute, and crawled away.  I was loading the dishwasher, and he was having a blast moving the bottom drawer back and forth and then I saw that leg lift and the little knee start to go toward the door, and I said, “Uh Oh!” and he put his leg back on the floor where it belongs.

When his mom got back I asked her if she had been using Love and Logic with him and she said yes!  I didn’t discover the beauty of Love and Logic until my youngest was 2, so this was so much fun to experience!!!

If you have a baby, and you want to teach him early to listen to your instructions, Love and Logic: Magic for Early Childhood is where it’s at!!  Perfect for ages 8 months to 6 years old.

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