Summer Time

IMG_3971.JPG
It’s almost that time! It’s almost time for SUMMER VACATION!! And it’s almost time when I don’t feel like an absolute loser of a mom because I can’t get my crap together to help these kids with ALL of their school needs!  I mean, come on! Is it not enough that I make sure they bathe and don’t smell like funk when they come to you, you actually expect me to be involved and meet deadlines?  UGH!!!  I don’t have time for deadlines.  I don’t have time to hunt down that stupid blanket to take a picture of it because you need a picture of my 7 year olds “most treasured thing”  It must not be that treasured if I CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE!!!  God in heaven! Don’t get me started on the blasted Heritage projects.  I dread them every year!  I’m a mix of half Mexican and half Irish, but I’m not enough of either to know things like “Traditional Mexican Dress” are you kidding me? The only “real Mexicans” I know wear very tight, colorful clothing and paint their eyebrows on with sharpies.  and the Irish side?? NOTHING….. I got nothing.

There are reading logs and snacks and lunches.  There are field trips that I can’t ever volunteer for because I work, and that brings on a whole load of special mom guilt.  The award ceremonies and the special picnic lunches and field day! All things I cannot attend and every time I say no, the tiny knife that is mom guilt digs a little deeper into my heart.

Listen I’m barely hanging on at home just providing for their basic needs.  I’m sorry to the teachers and other moms who are volunteering in my kid’s classroom, if I can’t finish that project on time, or send money on the day I need to for the stupid book fair (that happens like 12 times a year! REALLY??!) I promise my kid is loved and cared for.  That’s where my time and energy is going.  To make sure my kids know that I love them.  To make time in my busy schedule to hear about their day.  To make sure they eat, and wash their stinky feet, and that they are on the road to becoming halfway decent adults.

Thank God for summer time!! No we won’t be attending any camps or sports activities.  We will be on the couch with the AC blowing on our faces, recouping from our year of school.  Maybe we’ll visit the pool, maybe we’ll go to the beach, not likely though, we all hate the beach. (See pic up top for reasons of hatred)  Mostly we will be lounging and resting and getting ready for the next busy school year.

 

OH MOTHERHOOD

IMG_3505.JPG

Dear Motherhood,

I dreamed of you since the time I was a little girl.  I had big plans for you Motherhood.  I thought we could do crafts together.  That we could plan beautiful meals and have them with beautiful, clean children.  That the beautiful clean children would enjoy every organic bit of that meal.  I thought maybe we could have a house together. Not a grand house, just a house big enough for us all to live in, full of love and laughter and pretty things.  Maybe we could even have a clean house that’s nice and organized.  Where everything has a spot and is easily found when you need it.  Oh Motherhood, I thought we would be able to learn to sew and make elaborate Halloween costumes for the adorable children you blessed me with.  Motherhood, I feel like we have failed each other.

I think back on all the failures I had from the start of my journey as a mom.  From the c-section that brought my twins into this world, making me feel like less of a woman because I couldn’t push them out myself.  To the failed breastfeeding attempts which led to 6 months of pumping for those sweet little girls.  To having 3 kids under 3, living in a 3rd floor apartment and falling down the stairs with precious Ronin who I may have dropped on the way down.  My start as a mother wasn’t the magical start I longed for.  Looking back at my 24-year-old mom of  3 under 3 self, I wish I could tell her one thing, CALM DOWN.  Well maybe two things, CALM DOWN and PERFECT IS STUPID.  I carried this insane pressure to be “Super Mom” with me for years, and it very near killed me.  I literally had a nervous breakdown when I turned 27.  I was a stay at home mom of 3 kids, a wife, and a church member.  That was my whole identity.  I realized that I had no idea who I really was.  I knew I wanted more out of life but felt stuck in all 3 of those roles and they were demanding roles.  I couldn’t keep up with other moms.  I couldn’t keep my house as clean as other people’s, and  my crafts weren’t as cool, and my kids didn’t eat their vegetables like other people’s kids, and my husband and I fought a LOT about the house being in a constant state of disarray and other wives didn’t have that problem, and, and AND….. Needless to say my anxiety was thru the roof and it all just kind of came crashing down around me.  BUT GOD.  But God came with me as my whole world fell apart.  And when I couldn’t get out of bed he gave me children that needed me to.  He gave me a husband who was also tired of living miserably together and pushed us to go to marriage counseling, where we learned how to talk to each other in a manner  that was non threatening and could convey how we really felt.  God helped us see each other’s point of view and the fact that I had 3 young kids meant MESS.  We were at our absolute lowest point and I can’t help but thank God for that.  Living the way we were living was killing us and we were on a path to end up as a broken family.  Something had to happen and my breakdown, though painful and shameful, was what we needed.  God’s amazing healing power swept thru our lives and changed us forever.

Going through such a life altering situation brings everything into perspective.  I’m so relived to learn that I don’t have to be perfect.  I don’t have to have this whole motherhood thing figured out completely.  My house is still a mess, but it’s getting better as the kids get older and can help more.  I’m still a mom, wife, and church member, but now know that I don’t have to be the “perfect” mom, wife, and church member.  Comparing yourself to other people is a good way to drive yourself insane.  I will never be anyone else but me, and I’m ok with that now.  Do you know how freeing that is??  Living in a world where you can appreciate the women in your life and their specific strengths and not be jealous or wish you could do what they do, is such a beautiful place.  I encourage you to speak into people, not about people.  I encourage you to find the strength in you to be able to truly love and appreciate your friend who is a tad more organized than you, or the friend who’s house is always a bit messy but always has an open door.  Motherhood and Wifehood, isn’t easy, that’s why God gives us friends to help us survive it.

Oh Motherhood, our start together may not have been everything my little girl mind imagined, but it’s definitely an adventure.  Sometimes you are magical and sometimes you make my hair fall out.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Is it suppose to be this hard?

My family is a fostering family.  It’s something that I always thought about doing as an individual, but I never thought my husband would ever want to do something like this. We already had 4 kids, why on earth would we take on another one?   BUT GOD is God and he has a way of messing around with your heart and making it want something you never thought you would. One day my husband looked at me and said, “I think we should look into that Foster Care stuff now.”  James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress” -ESV  had been a verse that kept coming to him during prayer or conversations.  Of course I got a bit dramatic and started to freak out at the prospect of this whole Foster Care Idea. With the help of my undramatic and very logical friend Christie, I made the first phone call. 10 MAPP classes and 3, almost 4 years later, we are still at it.

Here’s some super flattering pictures of us at foster care graduation night

1653420_10153787628790125_1231307518_n.jpg

1607093_10153787828485125_476735893_n.jpg

We’ve had many kids come through this house, and have loved everyone. But February 2015 my heart didn’t know what hit it.  We got the call on a Friday that a newborn baby needed a home straight from the hospital. He was supposed to arrive on that Monday but it was the year of blizzards and Massachusetts was closed on Mondays for the month of January and February, so he showed up on a Tuesday.   Baby boy was 5 days old, and I knew from the moment I saw him that he was something special.  It took a couple more months for my husband to realize this, but he’s always a bit slower and needs a little time to catch up:)   We called him JC and he captured the hearts of everyone he met.  There were times when we thought he would leave us. About a year into him being with us, the weekend of my girls 12th birthday, I was told to pack him up and have him ready to be picked up on Monday. They were going to take him to live with his half siblings and their relatives.  It was a weekend of mourning and worry and trying to figure out how to tell my 4 children, that the baby we have all grown to love so much was going to live with absolute strangers.  But in the true fashion of social workers, it was Wednesday when I finally called and asked when they were coming to get him, just to be told that they decided he was going to stay with us for a little bit longer.  This process happened 3-4 more times.  Having a baby whose future is unknown is a constant pain in your gut.  Knowing that if they decided to take him from us, not only would our world be turned upside down but so would his.  We were the only family he’d ever known.  The people he would go to wouldn’t know that his favorite band was Johnnyswim, and the only thing to get him to stop crying when he was teething was to put their album on repeat.  They didn’t know the songs I sang that would get him to smile and  calm down.  It was an unimaginable pain and deep seeded heartarche to be reminded that he wasn’t actually ours.  Through all of this I couldn’t help but think that “MAYBE WE SHOULDN’T BE DOING THIS, IT’S TOO HARD.”   I feared that our decision to be a Fostering Family would ruin my other children.  That this heartache would be too much for them and it would harden them.  Somedays I just wanted to crawl into my little introverted hole and not come out.  I had deep conversations with God.  I let him know that I might not make it if my baby boy left me.

A couple pics from the weekend we thought we were saying goodbye

IMG_3165.JPG

IMG_0173.JPG

BUT GOD. He has taken care of us this entire time. He’s given me a husband that is my true partner in all of this. We cry and ache together.  He has given me friends that I can call on and cry with or rage with or just be overly dramatic with.  He’s blessed me with children that are amazingly strong and he’s molding them into humans who care about more than just their own little world.  They are compassionate, caring, and selfless.  They have depth and know what it is to serve others.  They hurt sometimes but that’s ok.  Learning to hurt and still have joy is something people work on for years.  They’re just getting a head start:)  Trusting God through all of this has definitely made us a stronger family unit.  Someone told me recently  ” You know it’s from God if it’s easy”  I think I strongly disagree with this statement.  In fact I know I do.  God never promised easy, but he did promise his unyielding support, love, grace and mercy.  This is our calling.  I feel that clearer than ever these days.  Just because its hard doesn’t mean you should quit.  So we are making  the decision to hang on and cling hard to the Lord and his promise to never let us go.

IMG_3130.JPG

Well 2 years and a whole lotta tears later, HE’S OURS!! We are going to be able to adopt our baby boy!  We’ve even chosen his new name,  Jameson Michael, Jamie for short. It’s still a little unreal to me.  I no longer cry tears of grief over him.  My tears are of relief and joy. And because I’m sooo dramatic (eye roll please) I’ve gone on to worrying about if I will be a good mother to him.  I’ve never adopted anyone before.  I don’t know what it’s going to be like to try to answer his questions of where he came from.  He has 4 bio-siblings out there.  I have no clue what to do with that!!!  Then I take a deep breath and think “BUT GOD”.  He knows, and I trust that he will get us through it all.

HELLO….

Well hey there!  If you are reading this then WELCOME TO MY FIRST BLOG POST!!! Before we get too deep, there are a couple of things I would like you to know.  First I AM NOT A WRITER, but I do have some things to say and share with you.  Things that might make you laugh, or cry.  Or maybe a story of the way I mother my children will make you realize that you aren’t as bad at being a mother as you thought you were.  I will set the bar REAL low people.  Be blessed.   Having 4 biological kids wasn’t in our original plan, neither was being foster to adopt parents, putting our total to 5 kids, and neither was taking in another foster baby which gives us a grand total of 6 freaking kids that we are responsible for keeping alive. (I cut it pretty close some days) Oh Lord I can’t wait for you to meet Destry.  He has definitely cut my life expectancy down by 5 years with all the stunts he’s pulled. You will love him! But that’s for another time:)

I am awkward.  Sometimes it’s painful to watch. Other times you just gotta laugh real hard at me.  I don’t need you to laugh “with me”it’s ok,  you can laugh “at me” I don’t mind. One time I described one of my bestest friends by the size of her bust line, complete with hand gestures to an absolute stranger. “Yes Hannah, she has real big bajangas.” I don’t know how or why that came out of my mouth but it did and I’m ready to own it.   I have a lot of fears, spiders, heights, making phone calls, ordering food, any kind of winged beast, from butterflies to birds.  Birds are evil and will peck out your eyes. OH and rodents, including bats which are flying rodents!!!  GROSSS!! (taking deep breaths now)  And don’t worry if you are my friend and have a fear, I’ll fear that too! I wouldn’t want you to have to face your fears alone.  What kind of friend would that make me?  🙂  I also have a few OCD tendencies.  I really don’t like it when people’s eyebrows are going the wrong way.  I will fix them for you or ask you to fix them yourself.  But rest assured, I will not quit helping you fix them until they are perfect! I also CANNOT STAND when a fork (breathe)  scraps (breathe) a plate (scrunch shoulders up in imaginary pain) I will rub your plate where I think that fork has scraped.  I’m sorry but it must be done.  I need to heal the scrape that was carelessly made by that dang fork.  I might even try to take the offensive fork and wipe it with my napkin to help make the offensive fork a better behaved fork. All the while my face will be doing really pretty things.  It’s not my most favorite thing about me.   I’m an introvert and an extrovert which is great because I can fit in pretty much anywhere.  I also think there’s a lot of stuff I’m still trying to figure about myself, and I think I’m ok with that.

I guess the most important thing I want you to know is  that I’m starting this blog for me. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since forever and I’m finally going to do it.  It’s scary to put yourself out there, but I’ve found that I’m getting too old to be scared.(don’t ask how old)  It’s time to DO and not hold back.  God gives us one life to live, just one.  I’m not going to continue living it with the fear of failure, because that is one sure-fire way to never DO anything.

So that’s me in a nutshell.  Thank you for reading my first official blog post. (all 5 of you. I really love you;)  I am pretty excited about this new adventure.  And who knows, maybe I will  acquire some followers but even if it’s just me writing things to myself, I will be ok with that too.