Christmas Break

The last few days have been crazy. I have barely had time to go to the bathroom let alone write a blog with all of my little loves home for Christmas break. It’s been busy but so many memories have been made.

Our school district has been on break since December 20th and the kiddos return to school on January 8th. In talking with friends and family back home our break is insanely long compared to many of theirs. We started our break off by visiting my parents. My husband was on call for Christmas so I loaded our six little loves up and headed back to the comfort of the West Virginia hills and my momma’s house. The kids were excited to see their grandparents and to see big bubby aka our oldest son (he opted to stay in WV when we moved) It was nice catching up on things and hanging out with them.

Christmas Eve our oldest daughter showed up at my moms and we spent the evening with my mom’s side of the family. For as long as I can remember my grandparents have always hosted a Christmas party on Christmas Eve for the family. The last few years have been hard since papaw passed away and I knew this year would be even harder with Mamaw’s passing a few months ago. They loved Christmas and seeing everyone together. So we knew they would want the tradition to continue. The food was placed on the tables and the room began to fill with laugher and a hum that comes with a large family. Although there was a sadness with the absence of my grandparents (and others that have passed away) the amount of love that filled the room was unmeasurable. I’m sure they were looking down and were pleased. My grandparents with my parents aka Santa and Mrs Clause

Christmas morning our little loves gathered around the Christmas tree and waited patiently, well as patient as children under seven can, to open gifts and have breakfast. My husband surprised us by driving up so he could be with us Christmas morning. After breakfast and presents we headed to my in-laws and celebrated some more. After opening gifts we gathered around the table to some of my mother in laws homemade lasagna. It was so yummy. We spent a few more hours hanging out before loading up the van and heading back home.

Four hours later we arrived home and had another round of Christmas. Our house looks like Toys R Us exploded but I love it.

This week has been laidback. We have filled our days with pajama parties and building living forts. Sleepy days and cold days. Sure we have had the occasional sibling argument, okay at least three a day, and yes I agreed to fast food for lunch on Friday and ended up going to McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Little Caesars because no one could agree on what to eat (I know it’s crazy but I also know I’m not the only mom to do this to keep the peace or to keep my/her sanity) but its Christmas break. It’s all good.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. May God bless you in 2018.

20 Things about our Large Family

With six under the age of seven and two young adults (who are still my babies) you tend to have lists. This is one of those lists:

20. Your once spotless house is now well lived in. Very well lived in.

19. Alone time with your husband is classified as…. ha ha jokes on you there is no alone time.

18. The amount of homework in the evenings is ridiculous (I will never survive when they all hit middle school)

17. Even though you have a toy room you somehow have toys in every room in the house.

16. Getting anywhere,such as school or church, on time is considered a victory.

15. If your phone is missing look to see which child is no longer the playing with the others and go to their room. There you will find both child and phone.

14. Bedtime snuggles and “mommy I’s love you’s” are the best.

13. You will hear “This is the worst day ever” by at least one of the little loves daily.

12. You find food in the strangest places such as toy boxes or in the clean towels.

11. Someone will always complain about what’s for dinner and refuse to eat. FYI keep cereal in the pantry.

10. Bath time equals floor will be mopped due to the insane about of water splashed around.

9. You watch the clock in the evenings until your adult child(ren) call to let you know they have made it home from work/college.

8. The TV is always on Disney or Sprout…ALWAYS.

7. Someone is always crying because someone else is not sharing.

6. Words such as fart, poopyhead, and stupid are bad bad words and the little loves race to tell you who said it (so they can say it and giggle)

5. You think to yourself “Was it THIS crazy with my old ones?”

4. You are convinced that you’re a horrible mom at least a hundred times a day and worry if you are doing a good job.

3. You give good behavior stars if they go potty (extra stars if the actually hit the toilet)

2. They can pick on each other and fight with each other all day long, but no one else can. Mess with one you mess with them all.

1. You remind yourself they are only this small for a short while and sigh. Then you Thank God that He picked you to love this beautiful chaos.

Hello Again Beautiful

Have you ever thought how different things may be if Joseph would have said no when the angel told him about Mary? What if instead of him stepping up and becoming a father to Mary’s child he walked away? What if he would have told the angel “Find someone else. I’m not ready for this.”

What if… that question has crossed my mind more than once as a foster parent. I have spent many nights crying about those what if questions. Every time we had to turn away a child or sibling group because we did not have the room or because we were not equipped to handle their medical needs. I questioned what would happen to him or her. I questioned what their life would be like.

Even with the children that have came into our home I have questioned myself. What if we can’t connect with them? What if she never opens up to us? What if he never talks? What if I can’t give them what they need? We try our best to make the situation as comfortable as possible and we love them as our own for the week, month, or year they are with us. And as the time begins to pass you question what if they need a permanent home? What if the department asks us to adopt? What if a family member comes out of nowhere and wants them? And while your mind races with these questions somewhere a judge and a team a people who are not emotionally tied to this child are making decisions that will ultimately change the life for him or her.

Many times there is but one hello and one goodbye. We get the call we say yes and we say hello to a scared little one hours later. We love them, comfort them, pray with them, and cry with them only to have them removed and placed in their new forever homes. We are just a gateway to their new life. Most of these goodbyes are permanent. And that leaves you to question what if they miss us? What if it does not work out? What if they think we never loved them or wanted them? What if they never know just how much we truly did love them? What if their new home is worse than the one they came from? What if questions that never get answered.

We have been blessed to get a second chance with one of our little loves. A second hello if you want to call it that. Something I never thought would be possible. She became part of us the moment we saw her but we knew the plan is always to reunify with the parents. While she was here we loved her, prayed over her, and enjoyed our time with her. The day we had to say goodbye was hard. So so hard. I knew we would never see she again. But you see God had other plans.

Some time passed and we had calls come in, but none of them fit what we could take in. We questioned if we were really suppose to be do this here? We questioned if our time as foster parents was over. I decided to go on and have surgery on my back that I had been putting off. Then the call came in. She was coming back to us if we would take her.

What if we would have said no? Where would she be today?

Maybe God knew I needed to get my back fixed and He know I would not as long as she was here. Maybe He knew she would be loved at the other house so we made a way for it to happen. Maybe she is meant to be with us a little while longer. Things I may never know and the one thing I do know is none of these would be possible is we would have never stepped out in faith and said “God what if you used us in your plan?” What if we could take in one more?

God has a plan for all of us. For Mary it was to become the mother of our Savior. For Joseph it was to become the earthly father of our Lord and King. For others it’s to become a doctor or a lawyer, a cook or a bus driver. For some it’s to become a teacher to share their wisdom with young minds. Still others it’s to be a world renowned blogger sharing their personal stories of overcoming life struggles and being triumphant. And still others it’s about becoming caregivers or foster parents for those that God places in ours paths. We are not here by accident. The people we cross paths with are placed before us for a reason. We may not know all of the what if’s in life. But we know the one who does.

As for us we don’t know if we will have to say goodbye again. And while that is scary and in someways heartbreaking we are grateful for more time with her. We will treasure it and make more memories with her. We will love her and comfort her as if she is ours because in our hearts she is ours (just as every child that has been in our home has been) Whatever happens she will always be part of our hearts.

Thank you God for second hello’s. Thank you for your perfect timing. Thank you for trusting us once more.

And to you little love….. hello again beautiful we are so glad you are home. We have missed you so. ❤️

What do My Kids Need for Christmas?

Yes oh yes, it’s that time of year. It’s almost Christmas. I love this time of year. Our little loves become a little bit nicer to each other, the holiday baking of cookies and hard candy has started, family traditions are being passed down from one generation to the next, even the smell of this time of year makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And while I love all that Christmas entails it’s also that time of year where we tend to over spend on everything.

Being a mom I want to give my kids the very best. However my kids seem to want everything. Which is typical, but they really don’t need anything. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. I remember the excitement building the weeks coming up to Christmas. My brother and I would go through the big Sears catalog and circles and re-circle all of our must haves (it amazed me back then how one catalog contained everything I could possibly need it’s glossy pages) We would write letters to Santa and practically beg him to bring us a few things off our long lists. This of course all while promising Santa we would be kinder to each other if he would deliver the goods to our house.

When I became I mom I wanted my kids to have everything I didn’t growing up. When I became a foster mom that intensified. Many of the children that came to our home had nothing. You want to shower them with goodies and love, especially at Christmas, so they can “just be kids”. Seeing them in their jeans that are too small or shoes that don’t fit breaks my heart. So we over spend and justify it. And that’s okay.

Even after we adopted our little loves I find we still over do the gifts. We use the rewards system for good behaviors at our house. They earn stars for good manners, or completing homework without fussing, or helping with the laundry, theres a list of other things they can earn stars for. Once they hit a certain number of stars they can decide what level to cash them in. Each level has a different value so one child may cash in early and get a “prize” valued at 5 dollars while another may bank his or she stars and safe up to get a prize valued at 50 dollars. This system works great, but it means they received gifts all year round.

So when we asked what do you want for Christmas they had to think about it.

When their grandparents, aunts, and uncles asked I gave them a small list but asked them to keep the gifts to a minimum and asked them if they really wanted to get them something then they could put money into their college funds. Is that mean of me? I hope not. It’s not that I don’t want them to receive gifts it’s just we have so much stuff. With five under the age of seven we are not short on toys around here. Just looking around my living room I see Barbies, puzzles, cars and letter magnets. I understand that they are kids and people want to buy them things (I want to buy them things as well) but we decided not to go overboard this year. Instead of buying them a bunch of toys that will be played with for a few weeks then tossed in the toy box we plan on buying only a few gifts and putting money in their accounts so when they are ready for college they will have money in case they need it. Hopefully they will understand and appreciate it later on.

Besides Christmas should not be about how many gifts you receive or how much money you spend. Christmas should be about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It should be about loved ones and family traditions. It should be joyous not stressful.

What are your children asking for? What are you planning on doing this Christmas? I would love to hear your thoughts.

From our beautiful chaos to yours don’t stress over the holiday stuff, The perfect gift was given over 2000 years ago. Remember the real reason for this season.