Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018

Valentine's Day was pretty low key at our house this year. I had some grand plans that just didn't happen. However, I was able to spend a lot of quality time with Sydney. I was able to go to her class party.We had a great time, and I was so grateful to get to spend that time with her and her friends.

We then went to the library for crafts and candy sushi! Sydney crafted or the entire time of the program. She had the best time! I even made a card for John!

Speaking of John, he made us a very nice dinner, which was so sweet. Love him so much, and that he really thinks of sweet ways to care for us.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Day of Kindness

My dad and I when I was about 6 years old.
 This year Sydney and I took off day to just reflect. The last couple of years have been really hard on us. My dad was hurting, missing my mom and physically declining. There were many hard days, and he could be very difficult. This has greatly clouded my memory of him. However, he was a fun, very caring dad. I want to take more time this year to really remember the best of him. Among many things, he was a generous person. He often went out of his way to help people. So, on his birthday, Sydney and I decided to play hooky from school and work and spread kindness.

We took plates of cookies to various groups, including our foster agency.

Sydney was insistent that we walk around the local university. It was such a nice time, and we even ran into the mom of one of Sydney's friends!

 We also put signs that said "Enjoy this random act of kindness" on Rice Krispy treats and bags of Goldfish. We handed out about 40 goodies to students and staff at the university. It was so fun to see the student's just light up when Sydney would hand out the treats. It really reminded me of my dad and how he loved to spend time and be a friend to college students. Sydney was really sad earlier in the day that we couldn't be with PaPa on his birthday, and she commented that handing out stuff at the campus made her feel really good!

 I also sent a longtime friend a movie that cheers us both up.

 This wasn't on my dad's birthday, but I loved it so much, I wanted to share it. Our church is teaching kindness this month in kid's ministry. This week in particular was about showing kindness to those who are often overlooked. The kids were asked to draw place mats to be given to people in jail. Sydney was so proud and worked so hard on her artwork. She talked all the way home about how she hoped whomever got the place mat would like it and feel cared for. I love her caring heart and seeing her spread her compassion to others, no matter where they are in life.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Starting February off right

 The first day of February is the anniversary of my dad's death. This was our first one, so it was a difficult day. So we decided to start off as best as we could. We got Sydney donuts for her breakfast and parked at the school. We got to visit while the sun came up. I also surprised her at school by having lunch with her.

The next day was a special bring your parent to school day. I actually couldn't come for the event, so I surprised Sydney again for lunch. Her dad was able to come for the event, and got to hang out with Sydney and her good friend Tevin.

Sydney was excited to spend the night with her Aunt Crystal, who put on a fun spa night. Sydney even read to her while she got her nails painted.

 Our church has a fun family program at the beginning of each month. This month I got to be in a skit with a sweet friend. Sydney liked piling on goodies for the pancake party and watching her with her Aunt Crystal.

Monday, January 29, 2018

January Happenings

January was a whirlwind for us! It's involved a lot of basketball. Sydney is playing in Upward Sports, a Christian league. She's really enjoying making friends, learning skills and getting active.

She also got chosen as the Writer of the Month for her class! She very much enjoys writing, so this was a great honor and motivator.

We celebrated Archie's 40th birthday, which allowed us to hang out with our nephew, Payton, and his girlfriend, Briana.

One night John took Sydney to a basketball game at the local college. She was so excited to watch the college athletes play!

 We got to hang with friends at a basketball game. We are so thankful for friends who support us. Sydney was excited that Aunt Katy and Uncle Paul took her out for dinner afterward!

One of the sweetest things was when Sydney bought me lunch one day after church. I had been working really hard to be in a skit for church before the sermon. She insisted she take me out for lunch. So we headed to McDonald's for lunch and a treat. It was such a sweet thing and a memory I'll treasure.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Ringing in 2018

This year we were so excited to celebrate the New Year with our dear friends, the Ws! I ended up being pretty sick before the evening, but I was able to pull it together. Also, these are dear, close friends who I can just be real with. We did fondue, which was a lot of fun!

The girls had a lot of fun doing a dance party!

We had a little photo booth set up, which the girls really enjoyed.

We also had a balloon drop set up for our countdown, which we did at 9:30. :) It was a great time with friends, and I hope we make it a tradition.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018: Foster

Happy New Year! 

The past few years have been challenging ones for our family. While we have suffered great losses, we have also encountered much grace and love. It is with that being said, that I saved my last blog of the year for what, I believe, is the most exciting. I’m thrilled to publicly announce a huge change in our lives for this new year. We are adding to our family! However, we are not doing it in the traditional sense. 

We are currently in the process of being licensed to be a foster family. Our intention is to foster to permanently adopt. We are hoping to adopt an older girl – between the ages of 9-12. We want to find someone who has had her rights terminated or is near that stage. It is our hope to adopt a girl who most likely will age out of foster care if she is not adopted. As I think about my soon-to-be daughter, I think about how scared she must be. I pray she’s in a good foster home and living a nice life, but it has to be daunting to think that once she turns 18 she’ll be all on her own. 

All three of us are completely on board. We know this will be a difficult journey, but that it’s the right one for our family. We have been very blunt with Sydney and talked to her a lot about things. She is excited to get a big sister! She just loves her already and is often talking about her sister. She even asked to get her a Christmas gift this year so that she will know we were thinking of her before we knew her. She chose a stuffed puppy to leave on Sister’s bed. That’s what we call the foster child right now. Since we don’t know who she is, and we don't like referring to her as the foster child, we lovingly call her Sister.

John and I ready to send in our application!
So that’s the BIG news from us this year! We did not enter this decision lightly. This is something that's been on my heart since I was about 19. It seems like, over the past year, the subject of adopting an older child just kept coming up – a lot. It wasn’t something I could ignore any longer. I prayed about it and felt like God was truly calling my family to foster and adopt an older girl. When I approached John about it, he was his usual calm. He said, “I was wondering when you were going to ask because I know you’ve been thinking about it.” He also said that he felt like my entire life has been leading me to this point, as my family often took in kids who needed a home for one reason or another. My mom was also a special education teacher, so I’ve been exposed to much different behavior and physical issues. When I talked to Sydney she gave us a loud yes. We’ve talked about behavior issues and other things, and she understands the best she can. Experiencing those hard times will be different, but at least she knows what could happen.

A lovely gift from a very dear friend.
We are working with a wonderful adoption agency, A World For Children to help us through this process. We truly feel like this is a calling from God, and we are simply being obedient. As I said before I know this won’t be an easy thing to take on, but I know it’s from God. If God is in it, then I have faith that He will see us through it. We are so thankful for your support and prayers. We won’t be posting much as we enter the foster world. We have to keep Sister’s identity and experiences private for the State and for her. Her story is hers to share and not mine. However, we wanted our friends and family to know what we are embarking on this year. We want to thank you all for your support in the past and know we have a loving community in our corner.

Here’s a little more about what’s been going on with us this past year.

Our family with Brandon, the Next Step Pastor at our church.
John continues to work at a large grocery store as first assistant manager of the meat market. He’s gotten quite involved at our church, where he enjoys a group on Sunday mornings and we are in a Wednesday night group, as well. He and I recently stepped up to help lead our Greeters Ministry. This has been a great way for us to serve together. He has really enjoyed serving at our church and has made many friends.

Over 62 inches lost so far!
I have also enjoyed being involved in our church. However, my big accomplishment this past year was losing weight. I’m still working on it, but to date, I’ve lost nearly 70 pounds! It’s been a lot of hard, dedicated work, but I’m very proud of myself. It’s been something that’s been needed for many years, and with less stress and things pulling at me in my life, I had the time and energy to focus on a healthier me!

Sydney's first grade photo
Sydney is now in first grade and is a very social kid. She has made some wonderful friends. She enjoys reading, math, and science, as well as theater.

Called to foster love through adoption.
So if you’re still reading, that brings me to our word for the year. Last year I decided to pick a word for the year and let it guide us in a way. I had picked declutter. We really worked on lessening our possessions and cleaning up our home. While I didn’t get it all done, I got most of it. I didn’t show much mercy in clearing out cabinets, drawers, and closets. It felt great. I also worked on decluttering areas of my life. I let go of some things that were holding me back, went to counseling for a bit and quit being so concerned about what people thought about me. It’s been a great 2017 decluttering in many ways!

This year our word is FOSTER. Of course, this applies to our situation in which we want to foster to adopt a child. However, I hope to utilize this word in many ways. I want us to foster relationships, our health, our finances and our faith. I want us to be intentional about how and why we do things and really listen to God’s guidance in our lives. I truly want to foster my relationship with the Lord. I feel like 2018 is a year to be foster people and aspects of our lives. Looking forward to seeing what this year with bring.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

John's Birthday

John's birthday was very low-key this year, as it usually is. He had to work the majority of the day, so we only got to see him in the evening. He had requested a doughnut cake from the local doughnut store, so that's what he got!

Sydney had discovered a joke book on her Kindle and told him birthday jokes, while we finished up dinner. He requested steak, mac and cheese and broccoli.

We then did presents. We didn't have many, but he really needed a new jacket. He's been wearing one three sizes too big that the zipper was broken. So he was very excited to get a new Seahawks jacket that is reversible and had a vest, as well.

It may have been a very uneventful day, but we loved showing John how much he means to us!