Friday, December 8, 2017

Capturing moments

I hung some mistletoe in the archway leading to the kitchen. I explained the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe to the kids. A few days later Nathan was standing under the mistletoe. Just kind of standing there. I was pretty distracted, cooking dinner, cleaning, crying babies, etc. Then he kind of quietly says, "Mommy... I'm under the mistletoe." And I realized he wanted me to come kiss him. I ran over and covered him in kisses and he laughed then ran off. This sweet boy of mine is turning 6 soon. How quickly these moments are going to be gone forever.

Another cute kissing story... Since Nora has been old enough to hold on my hip (6 months??) I constantly cover her cheeks in kisses while holding her. And whenever Daddy is leaving for work and she happens to be in my arms we both kiss her cheeks at the same time. It is clear she just adores this. And now it's progressed into her puckering her little lips to get a kiss from Aaron, then turns to me for a kiss, then back to Aaron, and on and on it goes.

Life can be hectic and busy. But I find if I stop and appreciate these seemingly small moments, it all feels so happy and wonderful. It's easy to miss, through all the screaming and messes, but they are there. And appreciating them is really the only way I stay sane.

Also this girl is such a gift. Just a bit about her personality. She is 1.5 so she has her moments of toddler-ness, but overall she is really just such a gift. For example, I have this garland you can kind of see behind her head. It has these little red berries she desperately wanted to pick off when we first put it up. I took her hands and told her no. She tried again so I held her on my lap and explained, kind of sternly do not touch. She screamed and cried and threw a big old fit for about 3 minutes. Then she got distracted by a sibling trying to comfort her. And ever since, she will walk up to the berries, point at them and say, "No!". If only my children could all be this obedient! It is a sad state of affairs when the 1 year old is setting the example. She is also always the first to fold her arms for prayer. She does beg for fruit snacks multiple times a day, and today she got into a bag of rice and dumped almost the entire thing all over the pantry floor... but she is a gift! I am trying so hard not to screw her up. She just has the sweetest personality and I absolutely adore her.Though it was just a few days ago she smacked Eliza in the head with a See and Say and gave her a black eye. But just look at that face! She is definitely entering the phase of testing boundaries and seeing what she can get away with. But she seems to be a fast learner so I'm not too worried.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Abigail's Baptism

First of all I'm happy to report that I have gotten more sleep the last few nights. Thanks to a great husband and an increasingly healthy baby. I am feeling much better than I did for my last post!

Now onto Abigail's baptism. We went up to Mesa for Abigail to be baptized with her cousin Brandon. It was such an awesome day. We had such a great time with family and the spirit was just amazing all day. It really was a beautiful day. Abigail told me, "Mom getting baptized is really excited and I was so excited the whole time and just felt really excited, but then when I actually got baptized it was just so calm. That's how I know I felt the Holy Ghost. I just felt peace." She is a wise 8 year old and I absolutely adore her. She is funny and spunky and desires nothing more than to please those she loves. She is our peacemaker and I'm so grateful for her in our lives. She loves to make people laugh and she loves to help. She is beautiful inside and out. I am so grateful to be her mom.

I bore my testimony about repentance and how each time we take the sacrament it is like the chance to be baptized again. That night when putting the kids to bed Nathan told me that today he learned when he grows up and gets baptized he's not worried about making mistakes because when he takes the sacrament it is just like getting baptized. I was so grateful that he was paying attention.

I'll add some pictures later hopefully. But it was just great.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bordering on dangerous levels of exhaustion

The baby has been sick since Thanksgiving. We went to the doctor yesterday and were told he has a cold. To just do all the stuff a mom of 6 kids already knows to do (humidifier, baby vicks, saline, booger sucker etc). I was really hoping for some medication to make this stop. I haven't slept more than 2 hours at a time since Wednesday night. I am writing this to document for my future self. To see how long I can truly go without sleep. I am exhausted, but happy and fulfilled. But what I wouldn't give for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I love these girls

For Thanksgiving we went up to Mesa to visit Aaron's family. I found matching outfits at Old Navy and went a little nuts. But I love it. With 6 kids it's almost impossible to get a good picture of everyone. So I'm posting this awesome picture I got of my oldest and youngest girls. It just makes my heart swell looking at it. 
       Olivia is such an awesome, smart, beautiful person. She loves to be helpful. Watching her enter this stage of adolescence kind of breaks my heart a little, and every time she wants to do something little "kiddish" it just makes me happy. She still hates the feeling of anything slightly uncomfortable, and cried for 20 minutes over me making her wear this outfit. And another fit was thrown over that cute little clip in her hair, because it wouldn't stay exactly where she wanted. Hopefully as she grows she'll continue to learn to control those emotions.
       Nora is officially 18 months old! She is a joy. She loves her binky, and to read books, and to play with her older siblings. When she's unhappy she has this awful squawk that makes at you. Just the other day Olivia was laughing at her dancing and every time Olivia laughed, Nora would stop dancing and yell at her. Ridiculous child. But for the most part she is very easy going and easy to please. She has about 10-15 words that I understand and maybe 5-10 that most people would understand. She also loves shoes. She played so well with her cousin Summer this weekend. It was fun to watch them together.

A new tradition?

So I've always dreamed of going to cut down our own Christmas tree and this year it was finally fulfilled! We had a great time but there are few things we'd do differently if we do this again next year:
1- First eat the food, then do the things. This is my general rule for life but we somehow broke it and thought getting lunch after we get the tree would be a good idea. We ended up kind of settling on this tree because kids were hungry and getting grumpy.

2. We'd probably go a little further north. We didn't really want to drive too much further so we stopped as soon as we could. Most trees had been logged or burned, leaving us with very few options.

I think that's all. It was fun running around the woods. The weather was beautiful. And I just love our little Charlie Brown tree.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Just a quick life update

So since my last post we've gotten a new person! We have a foster placement right now, I'll just write "M" because I'm not sure legality with names and whatnot and I just need to unload a lot of information from my brain.
      M is a newborn and we picked him up from the hospital. He's now 3 months old. Man it's been challenging. All you foster moms out there who do this over and over, my hat is off to you because this just might be the one that breaks me. We'll see what happens...
        So right now I have 6 kids under the age of 10. I do a preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and teach for VIPKID from 4:00 - 7:00 am most mornings and some weekend nights. I also sub at my kids school every once in a while. I don't even know what my life is right now. Or why I'm choosing to do so much. But really I'm loving all of it. Preschool is probably the most stressful of all the plates I have spinning. But I keep it pretty low key. Montessori is my style... and by montessori  I mean they pretty much dig a whole in my backyard for 2 hours. But for 30 minutes we have some very high quality letter learning and name spelling practicing. The kids have fun and the parents all seem satisfied, I just always feel like I need to be doing more in this area. Like these parents (my friends!) are paying me money to educate their little ones and I feel that responsibility heavily. That is why it's stressful to me. But I do think I'm putting this on myself because all of them are just grateful for the break from their 3 years old for a while. Or grateful for the friendships that they're making. So it's fine. But I'm hoping to my up my game a bit in the new year.
         So a bit more about M. One day I was chatting with my sister in law on the phone and we were talking about more children and I told her I wanted one more but I don't really want to be pregnant again. I told her how we've been back on the open bed list for a while now but still hadn't gotten a call and I really just wanted someone to call me up and say, "Hey do you want a baby boy?" Fast forward 24 hours and I'm pulling into my driveway and my phone rings. "Hey - do you still want a baby boy?" Uhm, excuse me, who's this? "Oh sorry, this is [so and so] from DCS and we have a newborn baby boy being discharged from the hospital. Are you interested in taking him?" "Oh my gosh yes!"  Of course my conversation with Ruth came back to my mind and I immediately felt like this was just meant to be. I called Aaron and he was like, "Okay don't get too excited. Remember last time?" A few weeks prior we had gotten a call about 2 little boys needing placement and I got all excited, we started to get the bunk beds ready, and a few hours later DCS called back and said they found another home closer to where the boys were. But they were an hour away so I knew they were looking for other placements. With M, no one mentioned anything about any other families. So I ignored Aaron's advice and got very excited. Broke out the baby clothes boxes and pulled out the bassinet. I was so excited and checking my phone every 5 seconds. And a few hours later DCS did call back. "Hi, so they are giving the baby to another foster family."  What? Okay. I was kind of crushed. I try to have faith that everything works out, and I do know that, but this was disappointing. And I could not get this baby out of my mind. I prayed that entire night that something would happen and that this baby would end up with us, if that was Heavenly Father's will. But I couldn't stop thinking about him the whole next day. And then at 10:45 the next morning, I was subbing at the kids' school and I saw the familiar DCS number. I was actually on a little a break so I was able to answer. "Hi, so that other family backed out. Are you still willing to take the baby?" My heart almost lept from my chest. Again I immediately agree. I hardly knew the teachers I was working with but I gushed all that day to anyone who would listen. I was supposed to get a phone call from the hospital social worker but no one ever called. So I just got a babysitter and drove straight to the hospital. I introduced myself and explained no one had called except DCS but I was here for a baby boy, I didn't even know his name. The receptionist looked at me quite suspiciously but then once she spoke to the social worker she looked obviously relieved and they sent me back.
           M had been in the NICU because that is the only place at YRMC that has a nursery. He was 1 week old. The nurses immediately let me know he was really fussy and was the loudest baby there. They used lots of tricks but he almost never stopped crying. He had just settled down and was in his little hospital bassinet when they walked me over. He was the tiniest baby I had ever seen. Barely 5 lbs. The other foster parents had never left the hospital. They couldn't calm him down and the nurses just got a bad feeling about the connection. The parents seemed really stressed and it seemed to make M worse. I scooped him up and loved on him immediately. He looked up at me and just smiled. The one nurse just cried. The social worker was like, "Oh my gosh. This is night and day from the other foster parents." Protocol would have been for me to spend the night at the hospital and have them assess me and my ability to care for this needy newborn properly. But after an hour of watching me with him the nurses were all like, "Lets get you out of here. You obviously got this."
       During that hour I was holding him and he was looking up at me and I just felt like I could talk to him. I prayed that his spirit could hear me. I told him how much I already loved him. That he was safe. That I would keep him safe as long as I could. That I was going to bring him to a home bursting with love for him. I told him I was going to be here for him and I wasn't going anywhere. And he literally sighed, what seemed like relief, and slept peacefully the rest of our time in the hospital. And not once since he's been in our home has he been the inconsolable baby described by the nurses. He's definitely a challenging guy at times, needy, but never inconsolable. He likes to be held, and as long as he's touching me he's usually fine.
      However, he has paternal grandparents in CA that would like to be placement. He also has a maternal aunt in TX who wants to be placement. Paternity is in question, so there might be a different dad and whatever other doors that opens up. So the chances of us adopting him are slim. But, I honestly feel like he is my baby. Even just the other day in the car, Eliza said, "Mom, I don't know why but I just know we are going to adopt M." And I keep telling her that is probably not going to happen. She says she understands, but she also says, "Look just go to the adoption store and tell them, I am adopting this one." And I told her the adoption store might say, "But he has to go live with his family." To which she quickly replied, "WE ARE HIS FAMILY!" And then she covered him in kisses telling him that we are his family.
        We go back to court in January and nothing will likely change between now and then. The families interested in being placement have to do a lot of paperwork and jump through a lot of hoops and it takes a long time. Like up to 6 months. So maybe we'll have him 3 more months at least. It is very crazy to not know at all what will happen. I think that has been the most challenging part. I have literally no idea if I'll have this baby forever, or 3 more months. We could even possibly have him for another year, and then lose him. I have heard of crazier.
         Another challenge with foster care is all the appointments. DCS worker visits. Licensing worker visits. CASA visits. Easter Seals visits. Doctors appointments. And bio parent visits.  Almost every day there is something. Most of this isn't a big deal. His bio parent visits are supervised so someone picks him up and drops him off. The home visits are usually short and sweet. But sometimes I miss my days of not having anything to worry about.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Science please!

Eliza was taking a bath while I was doing my hair and make up.  I was chatting with her, in what I thought was a pleasant conversation.  But she said, "Mom can you be science please?"

"Um be science?  No I don't think I can be science. " I replied, confused.

"Yes you can! Be science!"

"Eliza, I don't think I know what you mean."

"Yes mom.  Be science! You know, like when you don't make any sounds. You don't say anything at all. That is being science!"

At this point I started laughing out loud. "Silence? you mean you want silence? "

"Yes! Silence. ... wait then what is science?"