Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I am on A Way With Words!

On a whim a couple of months ago, I called in to the radio show A Way With Words to ask a grammar/lanugage question that had been bothering me for a long time. I was shocked, nervous, and excited when they said they wanted to feature my question on the air!

That episode finally aired, and it's pretty weird to hear my own voice on a national podcast/radio show.

I personally find all of every episode of A Way With Words interesting, but if you'd like to skip ahead to my part, you can start at the 16 minute mark.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

2 Weeks Post-Placement

Hi friends!

I figured it was time for me to try to sit down and write an update on how things are going with our new family size. In case you haven't heard, our family has DOUBLED!

Yep. Two weeks ago, we accepted a placement for 3 siblings: a 2 year old boy, and 4 and 6 year old girls. Needless to say, our lives have been a lot busier since then!

Guys. I just can't even handle how awesome this is. #fosterparenting

I'm happy to say that the kids have fit in so well with our family, and it has gone about as easily as adding 3 kids to your family overnight possibly could. Of course the kids have some age-appropriate behaviors that we are working on, but nothing concerning. They are generally so good, and the girls are so eager to help out around the house.

These girls are going to turn my hair gray with all of their drama, but they are gems and I'm so thankful for them. ❤️ They were so excited to help me with dinner tonight.

Jude struggled a bit the first week or so. I think he was overwhelmed with having 3 kids in his space all of the time, and he was likely feeling a bit sad about not having our undivided attention all the time. And on top of that, I was so busy with 4 kids that I kept forgetting to give him his medicine, which makes a huge difference in how he does cognitively and behaviorally.

But this week has been much better. I make sure to give him his medicine, and Josh and I have been more intentional about connecting with Jude one-on-one a few times per day. Our oldest has also gotten really good about trying to play and interact with Jude. It makes my mama heart smile every time. And it's good in a different way for him to fight over toys with the younger two, too.

Bedtime Bible story with our wild, wonderful crew. Each person in this picture is such an undeserved blessing to me. Our hands and hearts are so full. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

The kids' goal is already adoption, and we are told that we can start that process in 90 days.

I can't even put into words how much we feel God's hand in all of this. It's just amazing. Our hearts and hands are full.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Staci + Ryan's Wedding Sneak Peek

Hi friends! I just posted a sneak peek of pictures from Staci and Ryan's wedding last weekend to my photography blog, but since I haven't posted anything there in ages, I thought I'd share the link here, too. Their wedding was beautiful and perfect!

Click here to go see!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Non-Update Update on our Foster Adoption

You may or may not have wondered over the last year how our foster adoption journey has been going. If you see us regularly, you probably realize that it hasn't really been going anywhere at all, because we don't have any new kids.

It's been 10 months since we were approved for foster care through Sunrise Children's Services. We've accepted a handful of referrals during that time for kids from 2 weeks old to 12 years old, but we weren't chosen for any of them.

I didn't know exactly how the referral process worked before we got into this, so I'm going to assume that at least someone who reads this won't either. I thought that if we got a call and accepted a placement, then that child or sibling group was as good as ours. Not so. Usually several people will accept the same placement, so the child's worker will collect all of the homestudies and decide which one seems like the best fit.

There are several factors involved in choosing which home is right for each child: obviously the needs of the child are the top consideration, but we've learned that the convenience of the worker is also weighed. If it's between two ostensibly equal homes, but one is a 10 minute drive for the worker and the other is an hour drive, guess which one they're going to choose. I really can't say I blame the workers, but it just stinks when you live out in the middle of nowhere like we do.

We LOVE Sunrise. We really super do. Sunrise is a ministry of our Kentucky Baptist Convention, and if you are a member of a baptist church in Kentucky, then it's likely that part of your tithe goes toward supporting them. You should be proud of that. Our training was wonderful, and the post-placement support is apparently top-notch. One of the things we loved about going with Sunrise is that they hold your hand and help you out a lot more than the state caseworkers are able to. Being a Christian organization with Christian staff, it is wonderful to pray with them, receive Godly counsel, and know that they are making their decisions based on prayer and a desire to honor God.

That said, we knew going into it that we may wind up having to switch to going through the state. With Jude being nonverbal, our parameters for the children we will accept are pretty narrow. That, combined with us living in no man's land, has made getting a placement through Sunrise difficult.

We began the process of switching to the state a couple of months ago, and I'm told that we should be approved by the end of the day tomorrow. Everyone at the DCBS office has talked like we should receive a placement pretty quickly after that, so we'll see what happens.

We are so eager to have more kids in our home and in our family! Will you pray with us that the Lord would be pleased to do that soon?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Homeschool Room Tour

I know I'm a little late for all of the fun room tour blog hops that happened a few weeks ago, but better late than never, right?

Welcome to Theodore Roosevelt Academy. Also known as our basement. This is what you see when you open the door to go downstairs:

Well, hello there little classroom. Look, there are my boys picking up toys before the first day of school. That big red bucket of soft toys drives me batty, because it just always gets dumped out.

 I hung the curtains to hide some pipes on the wall, and I think they help cozy up the space a bit, too. The "Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort" is a quote from TR, and one that I thought was very fitting for a homeschool room. The world flags are a free printable from Mr. Printables, and were a crazy amount of work to cut out, but I love them. I added a few more countries that are near and dear to our hearts, but were missing from his original pdf (Moldova, Malawi, Romania, Nicaragua, and Poland). Before you get to that area, though, you walk past this spot:

The Veggietales growth chart is very precariously hiding the fuse box. "Comparison is the thief of joy" is another quote from TR that really speaks to my heart as someone who has always struggled with what I call "the grass is greener syndrome."

This was our classroom after the first day of school:

Oh look, now it's magically straightened up:

Beside the lockers is a dry erase calendar where I've roughly planned our school year. Seeing it all at once like this is priceless to me:

On the other side of the area is a reading tent that Jude hates (but the animals love, so there's that) and a few toys. Beyond that is my poor neglected craft area. You can also see the swing where Jude swings while we sing our memory verse of the week.

 Going back toward the stairs, I can't leave out the hammock and trampoline. They are crucial to our sanity on very cold and very hot days! Behind the trampoline is an office-y space where I do my printing and cutting and whatnot, and also where the file cabinet is that holds all of my plans for the year:

And I'm so excited to have finally found something to make our bare bulbs look a little more finished. I'd been searching and searching for something that would look nice, but not interfere with the light, since the basement is kind of dark anyway. These were pendant lights from Target that I got on sale, and I just took them apart. The big body of the CFL bulb holds them up on its own, otherwise I'd have been in trouble. I love them!

Well there it is! It isn't anything fancy, but I think we've made the most of it! If you homeschool, what does your area look like? Or if you don't, do your kids have a special place for homework or crafts?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

Jude had a really great first day of Kindergarten... right up until it was time to actually do school.

We did our usual Monday morning run to Etown to visit the Chiropractor, and then I dropped him off at Renee's house to play while I did my grocery shopping. Renee does therapy with Jude four mornings a week. Three of those mornings are at our house, but on Mondays he gets to play at her house. 

Jude has quickly gotten used to Chiropractor visits and does really well there, and he loves going to Renee's house.

After lunch, it was time to start our school. I've planned to spend about two hours in the afternoons working on school with him, with a potty break in the middle. Two hours may not seem like very long, but it's intense, one-on-one, non-stop school work. When he went to preschool last year at the public school, he was there for four hours and I figured up that he got less than 30 minutes of actual instructional time. And when you add the three hours he spends in one-on-one therapy every day, we're more than satisfied with his "course load" for Kindy. We've taken a break this summer, but in the spring we were doing school work for an hour at a time and he loved it. 

I took the above picture to compare with his first day of preschool picture from last year, but I also wanted to start a fun new tradition in front of our lockers:

About the t-shirt: Let me tell you a story about a little girl about 25 years ago who had a Batman t-shirt that she loved. Said little girl really wanted to wear her Batman t-shirt on her first day of Kindergarten, but her mama (understandably) wanted her to dress a little cuter than that for the first day. When she got to Kindergarten, half of the class had on Batman t-shirts! So when that little girl grew up and saw this Batman t-shirt, she knew exactly what her son was going to wear for his first day. It's the cirrrrrrrcle of liiiiiiiiiiiife! (Please don't think that I was somehow scarred or affected by this event. I only know this story because my mom told it to me. I don't even remember it happening. But my mom has never forgotten it! Jude's shirt was as much for her as it was for me.)

His first day of school was ROUGH. He yelled/cried through the whole thing. (If you've been around him much, you probably know what I mean when I talk about his yell/cry. It's a loud AAAAAAHHHHHH that basically means, "I don't like this." The good news was that he still did everything I wanted him to do, even though he was yelling/crying the whole time. He's great like that.

I can't end things there, though. I have to add that the second day of school was a million times better. He didn't yell/cry even once, and he actually seemed to enjoy the activities. So please don't worry that I'm just torturing him and/or myself with all of this. I'm sure not every day will be awesome, but I'm also sure that not every day will be like the first day.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Charles 6 Months Later

I thought somebody might be interested in seeing how Charles has grown in the six months since we got him. Everybody's been commenting recently on how big he's gotten, and they are right! What I didn't realize until I looked back at these pictures from the day we got him was how much his face coloring has changed. I didn't know that would happen!

Oh Charles. You make our lives so much more wild. And chewed up. And peed on. And barked at. Let's hope that this winter, you also learn to make our lives much more rabbit-y.