The New Normal

baby shoesY’all. This has quite possibly been the longest week of my life.

Last week, our family doubled in size overnight as 3 sweet foster babies entered our lives. 4. KIDS. Total. Count on your hand…one, two, three, FOUR.

I’m not going to lie to you. This week has been hard. Not like, oh, my child won’t eat his peas hard. But like, oh my (now) oldest flipped out because she didn’t have a balloon and my middle boy refused to nap and my (now) youngest is clinging to me like a June Bug, and oh yeah, by the way WHERE THE HECK IS MY BIOLOGICAL CHILD AND WHY IS EVERYTHING STICKY??!  

Seriously, there aren’t enough wipes.

The first 24 hours were pure survival. Do you ever watch those shows? Where the people are dropped off in the wilderness with nothing but a sharp stick and a loin cloth? They end up naked, afraid, malnourished, hiding under some sort of “shelter” they fashioned from leaves and animal skins? Yep. That was us.

At one point, Jay and I locked eyes across the room. Naked children were flying about. The littlest one was soaked in some sort of sauce. Benji was afraid. And we both saw the same question in the other’s eyes: WHAT. HAVE. WE. DONE.

So we prayed. We asked others to pray. Lord, this was YOUR idea. YOU have to come through. YOU have to give wisdom, and strength, and wipees. And chocolate. 

And He did–even the chocolate.

Sweet friends brought food, and wisdom, and encouragement. One brought a meal by yesterday (as part of an AWESOME meal train set up by church members). She came in, looking beautiful as always. Not sticky–I was jealous. She asked how things were going and I mumbled something about taking up drinking about it being okay. When in reality, my eyes must’ve looked something like that of a hostage who can’t speak, for fear her attacker is listening. It’s not that they’re bad kids, it’s that there are so many of them…like a tiny herd. 

Right now, we take things hour by hour. If the kids are mostly clothed, not fighting, eating decently well…it’s a successful hour, and we try again the next time. Sometimes there are tears, both from kids and adults. We’re all adjusting, all making changes and sacrificing things. Like showers. Or makeup.

But in those moments where I think we’ve gone crazy or wish I was secretly an alcoholic, I am treasuring things like this:

My biological son is LOVING this. I mean, really loving it. He and the 4 year old boy are having a blast–playing together, sword fighting, getting into trouble. The whole deal. It’s the sweetest. 

The kids are doing well at school, and sleeping/napping well. 

They told me they love it here. 

They are learning how to say polite things, how to pray before meals, how to apologize to each other. 

Jay and I are learning what it means to be poured out for others. Friends, we have NEVER been more tired. While cooking, the microwave timer dinged, and I opened the fridge. I told my mom I couldn’t believe it was only Saturday to find out that it was actually Friday. #depression

We have had more closet hugs, cookie binges, tears after bedtime than ever before. But each day, we realize the calling is great. Hard, but great. These kids need a safe place, and we can provide that for them. Sure, we’ll smell like three-day-old milk and no one will want to sit by us in church, but these kids will know they’re loved by us.

So as you read this, pray for these littles. They are strong, able to endure much more than I can. They are uprooted from family, forced to change schools and eat things that are green. Their clothes, toys, cars, foods are unfamiliar. And yet, they get up every morning and strive to make it through their day. Pray we can make that easier each time they wake and that our actions and words will only point them closer to Jesus.

Let’s do a puzzle

My sweet baby turns 3 this Sunday.

Three years ago on October 18, at 7 p.m., I strolled waddled into the hospital with contractions about a minute apart. I thought they were just more Braxton Hicks contractions, which I had since 18 weeks or so. But, just to be safe, I thought…

I still remember the nurse checking me and tell us, “You’re staying! You’re at a 7!” Holy cow.

Suddenly, everything changed. Continue reading

Now you see him…

Corbin PicEveryone: Meet Wyatt. 

No. Not the one on the right. That’s Corbin. Mostly naked, watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates. (Is there another way to watch t.v.?)

Wyatt is the one on the left, in the Cars chair. 

Oh, and he’s imaginary, in case you couldn’t tell. 

Yes, Wyatt is our new friend. There when you need him…maybe even a little when you don’t. Like when you’re trying to eat dinner and Corbin won’t eat because he’s concerned Wyatt will try to jump from his too-high position on the stairs.  

Or when you’re late to an appointment but you can’t leave yet because Wyatt isn’t buckled. Even the imaginary need to follow the laws. 

C’s imaginary friend appeared in the last few months. I don’t know if he’s a response to wanting a sibling, or if C’s even able to sense that feeling as a need. I’m never sure how much he feels, though I know it’s more than I think. 

Ever since Wyatt made his appearance (or lack thereof), I started looking up some info on imaginary friends. I’ve seen stats that claim only 35% of kids develop them, while US Today (2012) quotes the New York University Child Study’s stat of 65%. Both Jay and I had imaginary friends. His was Sonic the Hedgehog (the fastest thing alive!) and mine was Pee-Wee Herman (don’t judge).  

That US Today article also goes on to say that children with imaginary friends tend to be more creative and excel in verbal skills. While I can’t speak for everyone’s kid, but I think one of the main words to describe Corbin would be vocal, loud verbal.

Either way, Wyatt is sticking around, which is just fine with me. Sometimes they play together. Usually Corbin does all the talking.

Or so I think. 🙂

What about you guys? Do/Did your kids have imaginary friends? What about you? 

Sovereign Over Us

There are some songs that move me. 

Spiritually, not physically.

Though, let’s be honest–there are those songs, too. Cupid shuffle, anyone? Generally, these songs are reserved for weddings or silly youth ministry videos. 🙂

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A Day in the Life

The pain of not being able to have a second child hits at weird moments for me.

Often times, I’m totally involved in my day-to-day activities when someone does or says something that makes my heart wince. It’s almost always an accident, just in my head, or someone making polite conversation. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s not.

The readers struggling with secondary infertility understand this. It’s the lady at the daycare center, “So you’re just enrolling one, then?” Or the sweet friend, Fertile Myrtle, who asks when you plan on having more kids. Or the lady in playgroup who announces she’s pregnant again. Making conversation, you say, “Oh, that’s great! I didn’t know you guys were trying for another.” Oh, they weren’t…with any…of the 5 she has. Please! Give me whatever water you’re drinking!

I remind myself: Do not be envious. For everything, there is a season. 

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It’ll Wash

Earlier today I lost my child in a pile if leaves in our backyard. Yes, that’s how large the piles are. Don’t judge lest your leaves be judged.

Sickness and the busyness of the holiday season have prevented leaf raking. Therefore, colossal leaf piles.

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I baby Corbin. I asked his BSF class to move him to the next room. He was still in the birth-one year old class even though he’s almost 14 months. He’s in there with little bitty babes, and the other class has kids his age. He’s smaller compared to most kids his size, so sometimes I wonder if they try to protect him by keeping him away from bigger kids. Not a bad thought, but not how I’d like it to be.

So I wondered if I do the same. Do I protect him too much? Am I allowing him to fall a little so he can learn how to navigate the world around him? Do I guide him on the easiest path or let him choose a harder one?

If you ever want to see what kind of parent you are, let your child play in a yard full of leaves. It’ll reveal some ugly truths.

As soon as he stepped off the porch into a giant leaf blob, I felt myself tense up. He’ll be dirty. What if he eats a leaf? Or dirt? What if he smacks his head on the concrete pavers below? He’s scuffing his shoes by crawling through leaf and concrete steps!

Tension.

We have a split level backyard, with one section dropping off about 3.5-4 feet. It’s a sizable drop for a kid…any kid. So there’s some room for caution.

But I really never let him play out there because of all those nagging thoughts. How sad is that?

He had a blast by the way. 30 minutes of un-mom-interrupted leaf time. They were everywhere. And he did try to eat one.

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My child is teaching me so much about The Lord. And I’m thankful.

Loving us enough to want to protect us but also enough to let us choose our own way.