21 July 2017

Bonus Buddy's Last Night


Tonight is our little bonus buddy's last night in our home. Tomorrow morning we say goodbye and take him to live with his forever family. Fostering is hard. Being a good foster parent means constantly making choices that are going to be the best for these littles you love, even when it means breaking your own heart. This boy has been the most joyful little person we've ever had in our home and his smiles and giggles are going to be so missed. My little dude is going to have a great life. He'll be immediately surrounded by people who are so ready to love him deeply and forever. His new/forever parents are just the kind of kind-hearted people I had hoped for. A new family is being made, my joyful buddy is going to his final home, and we can be proud of the work we did while he was here.

16 July 2017

Sunflowers


We have our first sunflower of the season. :) I first started planting these sunflowers the year we had our miscarriages, as a tribute to our lost babies. Every fall I harvest some of their seeds to plant in the spring, then every summer when they bloom it kind of soothes my soul in a way. The year Noah died I'd sit in the sunflower house crying, watching the bees go flower to flower, missing my little boy. By then the 5 sunflowers of my first year had grown to a sunflower house of nearly 40. I'd breathe deep, sitting in their shade while the sunflowers swayed side to side, supporting each other against the wind, acting as sentries for my broken heart. I didn't do a sunflower house this year, just planted a few along the fence, but this guy came up on his own anyway where the sunflower house grew last year. Persistent, resilient, they keep coming, working their soothing magic on my still healing heart. ❤

Will we adopt again?

I regularly get a few versions of the same question...

"Will you adopt again?" 
"Are you doing foster to adopt?"
"Are you guys trying to adopt again?"
"Do you get to keep this one?" (asking about our current little bonus buddy)

Here's how I usually answer...

"No? Maybe...I don't know. Probably. Probably not? Maybe? Hopefully. I think so...I don't know. It'd be cool. Probably. I...think so? I don't know. Probably not. If we can. If the opportunity comes. I hope so, I don't know, maybe, probably not, maybe, I don't know..."

I can't be much clearer than that on whether or not we'll actually add to our family but there are a few specific things I'm more sure of.

Bonus Buddy isn't staying forever. In our home he's "the baby" or just Baby, in posts when I mention him he's my little Bonus Buddy. When he came to us people kept asking, "are you keeping this one?" and then I'd explain how we don't actually know, that at the beginning of a case the goal is to go back home to biological parents, how we didn't know with Ezra until about 7 months into his case. Now I can say 100% this little guy won't be a permanent part of our family. Great things will happen for him, it'll be okay. We love him and will keep being his guardians and protectors for as long as we're his foster parents but in the story of his life that's what we'll always be, his fosterparents.

We're going to keep fostering. I love being a foster mom. I LOOOOVE being a foster mom. I love supporting the parents of the kids in my home. I love getting to know them, showing them compassionate care, and rooting for them to get back on track and for their kids to go home. If we get to adopt from foster care again then that would be great, I would love that so much. Our first goal though is always to help these littles get back home to their mom and dad.

We (probably) won't be adopting privately. The only way I can see us adopting from outside foster care is if someone who knows us asks us to adopt their child or connects us with someone looking to place. That would be a welcomed miracle but I think the chances are slim mostly because we really aren't looking, trying, or asking. We aren't going to sign up with an agency again, we don't have a profile, we aren't really out anywhere to be seen by women looking for an adoptive family. We're open to it, but not doing anything at all to pursue it.

So I don't know, maybe we'll get to add to our family again. We're open to it but we aren't pushing or chasing any options.

23 January 2017

30 Random Things About Me

I haven't written in nearly a year. How did that happen? For my 30th birthday here are 30 random things about weird little me...

1. I'm terrified of sinkholes. Really everyone should be. I mean the earth can open up beneath you and swallow you whole, burying you alive, never to be seen again. 

2. I have a light freckle on the end of my nose. While we were dating Daniel frequently thought it was dirt and tried to wipe it off.

3. You know those "which state should you live in?" quizzes? I get Texas every time. Every single time, on every quiz, ever. It's always Texas.

4. Things I get weirdly worked up about: wildfire prevention/suppression (against), Red Delicious apples (the carp of the apple world), the county jail part of the criminal justice system.

5. I didn't learn to whistle until I was 15. I finally figured it out while in line for Space Mountain while on a school trip to Disneyland.

6. I haaaaate the sound of pouring liquid. I don't know why. Commercials where they're pouring a drink? Makes me gag.

7.  My favorite movie is Waking Ned Devine.

8.  If I could have lunch with anyone it would be Leslie Knope or Amy Poehler...or Michelle Obama...or any of about 6 mom friends that it'd be cool to get together with without all our kids. :)

9. My favorite book is Les Miserables. When I was in middle school an adult in my life yelled at me that I was stupid (they were angry about something I'd done). Being angry, hurt, and stubborn I went to the school library the next day, grabbed the thickest book I could find and started reading (because "stupid" people don't read thick books I guess?). I picked up Les Mis. I'm sure part of that love comes from reading Les Mis helping me feel like this person was wrong and I wasn't stupid, but even without that...Les Miserables...I just love it.

10. Speaking of "stupid", I think stupid is one of the meanest things you can call someone. That's why I don't let my kids say it.

11. I've never been pulled over (while driving) or been the driver during a car accident. 

12. Second year at BYU I was "pulled over" by a police officer (along with some friends) for longboarding in a private county parking structure in the middle of the night. 

13. Whenever I make pancakes I turn on Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams and start with "Banana Pancakes".

14.  One of my favorite things about snow is how it makes everything glow at night. 

15. I've been working on my undergraduate degree for almost 12 years now. That is concurrent enrollments, not "going back to finish". I've taken a semester off here and there and since Aurelia was born I've been doing 1-2 classes at a time. I worked full-time for all but one year of school until Aurelia was born.

16. I hiccup every time I take my first drink of a soda. 

17. I saw Jaws on TV about a week before I started swimming lessons when I was a kid. Around the same time I also learned about barracudas. I was convinced that if I went into the deep end of the pool then a shark would eat me and barracudas would come out of the pipes in the side of the pool. Even now I get really freaked out when I'm swimming anywhere that I can't see the bottom. 

18. I was terrified when we found out we were having a girl (Aurelia) because I didn't think I would know how to handle or be comfortable with the whole mother-daughter dynamic. Turns out I do and I am. :)

19. It creeps me out when swimming in a lake and I reach my toes down too far and hit the colder layer of water.

20. Smarties are my favorite candy. Or Giant Chewy SweeTarts...or Cherry Sours...or Peanut Butter M&Ms...I have a sugar problem.

21. I have a small birthmark on the back of my left leg that I was so self conscious about as a kid that I refused to wear shorts until sometime around middle school.

22. One of my all-time favorite songs is Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk by Rufus Wainwright.

23. I want a pet goat. And some ducks. And a small pig. And a few chickens. Plus a bunch of land and a humongous garden. Basically I want a farm.

24.  I have weirdly straight teeth for never having had braces.

25. I frequently initiate random dance parties with my little goons.

26. When I'm driving alone in the car during those sweet, blessed, child-free-driving moments, I turn up my "Mama's Jams" playlist (thank you, Amazon Prime Music), sing super loud and dance like a crazy person at every red light. 

27. Sometimes I make myself a microwave S'more and eat it while I hide from the kids in the bathroom behind the locked door. The same hiding method works for candy stashes.

28. I still wear a pair of shoes I have from 7th grade. They still fit and don't have holes sooo...they're good. 

29. I really like weightlifting and loathe, LOATHE running. Running is the worst.

30. I love washing laundry. I avoid folding clean laundry for as long as possible. A lot of times I'll put a clean load of laundry on my bed thinking "I'll have to fold it to go to bed" but then I go to the bed, see the clothes, pause for a second, then push them all to the floor.

19 February 2016

So, this time of year is hard. Really, really hard. We're almost to the anniversary of Noah's death. Something great has been happening though. In the last few weeks I have actually WANTED to do things. There have been little events here and there (going to visit friends, helping with a foster care event) that I have genuinely WANTED to do, looked forward to, and enjoyed doing. That's big, I mean really big.

I really don't like talking about depression, anxiety and all that because I still (even after almost two years) haven't fully accepted and been kind to myself about it. I still have (what I know are incorrect) thoughts that this is all my fault and I need to just snap out of it, suck it up and get back to fully living life. Quit making excuses and just get back to it.
I put all of that on myself and then constantly worry that other people are losing patience with how unreliable I've been, how unwilling I am to do the extras, how difficult it is for me just to show up, to do even normal things like running errands. I know I should be kind and patient but most of the time...I feel like a failure, like a weak failure of a woman.

Add to all of that the guilt I still carry every day about Noah's death. "If I'd have done this differently, if we'd have been more insistent, if we'd have held on longer..." I have tried and tried to forgive myself and let go of that guilt but I'm nowhere near it yet. He was/is a sweet, tender little boy who should not have died.

I've been doing my best to make sense of all this, trying to grow and learn and be patient with and kind to myself, taking it all a day at a time. I've been able to find joy in little things and I've been sticking to the basics, the most important things in life. Then a few weeks ago I noticed I had gone a few places, seen a few friends without feeling at all like I had to drag myself around. I did it, I ENJOYED it and there were more things I was looking forward to. For a long time I've been going through the motions on nearly everything, just getting through and surviving, getting by with the bare minimum.

Yesterday I wasn't doing well. "Bad days" like that are exhausting and discouraging, especially after a string of really good days, but it was also a reminder of how far I've come recently. I'm really hopeful now that I'm slowly but surely progressing and healing. I know I'll still have really difficult days but feel like overall I'm both learning how to better cope and making progress toward healing.

It feels SO. GOOD. to actually want to do things. I feel hope returning, feel strength growing and joy building. I feel like I'm coming back but as a stronger, more compassionate, more empathetic, and overall better me.

Thank you to everyone who has been patient and understanding. :)