The End of the Year.

Reflecting on all the wonderful times of 2014, like our beautiful trip to Hawaii, and becoming parents for the first time, while also remembering those more miserable times, like becoming parents for the first time.

We celebrate New Years Eve by putting our 3D television and copy of The Hobbit to good use. The kids are off celebrating at visitation, who knows where, staying up until all hours of the night, I'm sure. My Christmas tree is still harboring presents, with the kids having been at visitation since before the holidays. Wondering if that will be one of our more horrible ideas, letting them stay that long, but I guess we'll find out when they get home, which is who knows when. Really.

Ready for this phase of our foster care experience to be over.

But 2015 will find us continuing on with foster care, as we've decided to give it another go. When our kids leave, we open ourselves up to be foster parents once again. We've decided to only take one child this time and we've discussed only doing 0-12 month olds. According to our caseworker, our kids will be leaving our home sometime in January, which in caseworker speak means before the end of February...probably.

2015 will also find us with a trip to Napa in March, and I'm sure many unplanned happenings, the good and the bad.

To be honest, my forecast of 2015 is rather boring. I see a year of simplicity. I see a year mundane. After the last few years that we've had, a boring year is probably more of what we need. But I already see myself wishing for something more exciting. Telling myself that if I want something more, then I need to get out and chase it, but already realizing my expectations for myself are rather low. I don't know if its the ever-changing life of foster parenting, or my inherited traits, that keep me from following the excitement, but whatever it is, I'm grateful to have another year to play it out.

Happy New Year!


The Last Days

Today was that kind of day. The kind where everything seemed to be blowing up around me, all while in the comfort of my own home. I even stayed in my pajamas the entire day in an effort to make the day just that much more comfortable. Joke is on me.

The kids are off track, and what is it with the blasted Pokémon cards anyway? I have never hated a toy more. And it's not really even a toy. I did the most fair thing I could do to settle the battle between the two boys yet I still get slammed by the emotions of the middle child. He is my crier. And boy did he cry today.

But really, that's not what put me over the edge.

I know they try their best, but those state workers....

As foster parents, all we really are hoping for is a bit of communication. When something happens in the case, we feel like we should be at the top of the list for people to call. Our caseworker is really good at completely forgetting we are on the call list at all.

We had court this week. From the court hearing, we expected that the kids could be moved anytime from mid-January to the end of February. The CASA worker called today and asked me if I had anymore information about the kids being moved ASAP, because that is what she had been told was happening.

News to me.

The caseworker is back at it. Sharing information with everyone else but me. Apparently, she had spoken too soon, so the kids will not be moved "ASAP". But to me, that's not the point. I had to hear through the grapevine that the kids were going to be moved.

But that's almost not the point either. That long moment between the voicemail from the CASA worker and the text reply from the caseworker, my anxiety was through the roof! Was the moment finally here? The moment of preparing the kids to go to a new home? And suddenly I didn't know if I was to laugh or to cry. Because heaven knows, the kids have tested my limits and with the lack of attachment, we've been nearly excited to have them move on. But then realizing that my little five year old buddy, who the other day asked me if Jesus sleeps, will no longer be following me around, asking me questions just to hear the sound of her own voice; that's going to be hard to get used to.

Yes, we know that these kids will be leaving soon. Very soon. Some days, days like today, not soon enough. But it's weird when suddenly your timetable is thrown off.

What an overly emotional life we foster parents lead.



Destination weddings are simply the greatest. Mike's brother and his fiancé decided to be married on the beach in Hawaii, so we decided to make a vacation of it. We spent over a week with Mike's family exploring the lovely island of Kauai. And now pictures. Because it helps remind me that just last week I was laying on the beach in the sunshine instead of here in the cold, windy state of Utah.


Being a Disappointment

A few days ago we hit our six month mark of being foster parents. Half a year has been spent sharing our home with three children that sometimes make me crazy. And sometimes make me cry. And sometimes make me smile. And sometimes make me laugh. My gut from the beginning of this placement was that we would have these kids until the fall. I was sure they'd be gone before Thanksgiving. Especially with the news of them being moved. But from day to day, things change, and we came across a huge hold-up in the case, making it look as if they'll be here at least through the new year. So here we sit with a shift of thinking and a few children Christmas lists.
But after a solid six months, and quite possibly another six more, I reflect on what has been said, and what has been written and how we feel about where we are.
You see, one of the more difficult parts, for me, of being a foster parent is telling people that I am a foster parent. Many people give praise. Many people seem to think that it takes a completely awesome person to be a foster parent. But I've never thought of it that way. To be honest, before we made the decision to become foster parents, I don't know if I'd ever thought about them at all. But now that I am one of them, being thought of as this selfless, amazing person just doesn't seem to fit. I don't feel like that. Because I am not one. How can someone say to your face that they think 'it's just awesome what you are doing', when all you can think about is when it will be over. I'm so uncomfortable with people thinking I'm 'neat' when I feel completely selfish and naïve.
I've never really hidden my feelings on this situation. Obviously. Friends and family always ask how things are going, and I never sugarcoat it. They hear the good and the bad. {Yes, there is good...and if I'd write more often, you'd probably hear more about it.} What I've come to realize is that when you are blatantly honest with people, they begin to see the person you really are. The person you didn't even realize that you were. As I explained, I'm highly uncomfortable being thought of as a saint. Yet, being thought of as a disappointment is a hard pill to swallow.
When we announced to close friends and family that we were taking the leap into foster care, they were all quite supportive and seemed to think that we would make great foster parents and that any child that came into our home would be 'lucky'. While I am so grateful for their support, I am so disappointed that I've disappointed them.
Our thoughts on parenthood in general have changed. We've really put our future family on hold. Do we have a timeline? No. But this is the part that is most disappointing. I've always wanted to be mom. And Mike, a dad. And we've talked, and dreamed and planned our lives around it. And now, we just really don't want to. Truly the only thing in my life that keeps my hope alive is how much in love I am with my five month old niece. That sweet babe makes me want to be pregnant nine months ago! But then....reality...and my face turns all sour and it makes me want to pop 10 birth control pills.
I know we've disappointed people with our current thoughts on parenthood. But truly, I think we've disappointed ourselves the most. Which is the biggest disappointment of all.


Bad Moods and Court Dates

I wish I could explain away my bad moods. Some reason for being so internally frustrated all the time. All she is doing is watching 'Frozen' while I sit here wasting time on the Internet when I should be planning my lesson for Sunday (which ironically enough is on how to develop Christlike love...).

No reason for me to be in a bad mood based on the context. Yet, I have a constant feeling of irritation. Yes, we know that I have no attachment to these kids, which explains my lack of love for them. But I can't justify my frustration. They want a snack, I'm bugged. I have to sign something for school, I'm bugged. They wake up in the morning, I'm bugged.

Obviously, I'm the worst foster parent. Ever. And immature.

The dumbest part about it is when I can actually get out of myself and enjoy them, we really do have a good time. But it is such a struggle to do that. Everyone that meets them, loves them. I have a sister that tells me all the time that she wants all three of them. I wish I did. I wish it had been different. I just can't force it. I need therapy.

We had court yesterday. The kids were required to be there, which means I also attended. Long story (that I'm not really allowed to talk about) short, the caseworker will begin looking for another home for the children. (This makes it sound like we sent the kids away, which is so not the case. I may not be attached but I would never kick out kids.) Which is what we were assuming would happen. We go on vacation in November, and they are trying to have the kids moved before then to avoid multiple disruptions. I doubt that is realistic, but it absolutely could happen. Weird.

So now we wait. We try to enjoy what time we have left. If we can teach ourselves how to enjoy them. All while secretly gathering their things together in one place so that we don't forget to pack it all up. I say secretly because the kids aren't aware of the details. They don't know that in a short month they could be gone. Foster care really is heartbreaking. (Coming from someone that sometimes wonders if she has a heart.)


A Birthday

We celebrated 29 years of life for Mike this month. And isn't it weird to be the age that no one ever wants to age from? We dropped the kids off a day early for visitation which meant we actually got to do something. And all he wanted was dinner and a movie. Of course, getting old and all, I'm not quite sure what else to do on a birthday. And its true, I'm seeing more gray hair than ever before and I've got this new wrinkle under my eye that needs some wrinkle cream stat. I digress....Dear Michael, I love you so. A happy happy birthday to you five days ago. Last year of your twenties so lets travel lots, yeah?


Something Happened Today.

I got a phone call from the caseworker that put all things into perspective. Obviously, without divulging any facts of the case, these kids may be leaving a heck of a lot sooner than was expected. And it kind of made me sad.

Believe me, I was just as shocked as you.

But first let me put my feelings into words. It comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with this blog that I wouldn't mind these kids leaving. My first sadness is for the kids. I am sad that they may just be shipped off somewhere else. That they may be doing this all over again. That it may just be another foster home to add to the list. Because they don't deserve this. No child deserves this kind of crap.

And I'm sad that they have a sucky family.

My third sadness is for myself. I went from being busy with work, to being really busy with work and kids, to being busy with kids. And now it seems I'm headed for nothingness. Which is awkward, and lazy, and wasteful. And I'm not quite sure how I'm going to handle going from wanting to rip my hair out from all the noise, to wanting to rip my hair out from all the quiet.

Another sadness is that I feel like I've put in so much effort in teaching values and morals and goals, just to see it might go to waste. Save for college, save for college! What if wherever they go next, their new role model doesn't much care about saving for college? Or doing homework. Or being home on time. Or washing your hands. I feel like I need to be in on the interview process or something.

Simply put, I didn't realize until today that I generally care for the welfare of these children. Yes, I may not feel like I can make them a part of my family permanently, but I've got my fingers crossed for their future. They are good kids. And they really can do great things, I'm sure of it. I just pray that they can find the support that they need to succeed.


After turning in my notice 10 weeks ago, I walked out of the office for the last time. And I was sad. I've never been one for work. You can see past posts here and here and here about how I really feel about a career life. But as I walked out of the best job that I have ever had, I wondered to myself, is this really what I wanted?

I quit my job to be a stay-at-home foster mom. Well if you've been keep up on your reading, then you'll know that this foster mom thing isn't necessarily a dream come true. So quitting my nearly perfect job to become full time at a not so perfect job is, well, much less than perfect. But I didn't really have a choice when working full time just wasn't working for me. (Props to all you moms who work at all, I have no idea how you do it and still take care of a home and kids.)

But I can't help feeling the pressure suddenly lifted. I've been spending so much of my home time working that when I'm at home and not working, I feel guilty. The curse of working from home. But it's impossible to be a full time employee when you can't really go into the office because you have three kids in school (one of which is in half-day Kindergarten) and simply, when your heart just isn't into it.

My biggest fear is what is it that my heart is into these days? Besides my super hot husband of course. I don't want to be at work, yet I seem to not want to be a mother. So I'm not quite sure where my heart is. Or my head for that matter. By the way, it's super fun to be 28 years old and still have no clue what you are doing with your life. *sarcasm*



Nine months ago I was sitting in the required training classes to become a licensed foster parent. I specifically remember sitting in the class on attachment. Our instructor spoke about how so many foster parents are afraid to become attached, because they know that one day, their foster children may leave them. In turn, leaving them with a broken heart. But we were reminded, once again, that opening ourselves up to these children will be what is best for them. If you become attached to your foster kids, you will be able to provide a love for them that is necessary for proper development. Attach, attach, attach! is what she was saying.

And I remember sitting there thinking to myself, of course I will become attached! It would be nearly impossible for me to not be able to become attached! I love children! And the thoughts went on and on. And yes, I really truly did believe every single one of them.

Well, it didn't happen.

And these kids! Oh these kids. They can be particularly adorable and entertaining. And truly, for being in the foster care system, they do extremely well. They misbehave as most kids do, but not at the level which many foster children do.

There is a cluster page on Facebook that I am a part of that is for local foster families. And I have seen countless posts about how much love they have for their foster kids. Like when they do overnights with biological parents how sad they are and how much they miss their foster child! Or how their foster child is going to be reunified with their biological family and how they are heart broken. And I don't discount any of their emotions. But I just don't have those feelings. Like this weekend when the weekend visitation that the kids normally have with relatives was canceled. That's when I wanted to cry.

My mom says to me all the time, don't you think the kids can sense that your not attached to them?

I hope not. I really hope not. And Mike and I really do try to hide that fact.

But what I learned is that attachment cannot be forced. Just because I have a love for children in general, does not mean that every child that comes into my home will be the recipient of that love. And it makes me sound awful and cold-hearted, but love cannot be forced. I tried. I really did. But I am just not attached to these kids.

And one day, if parental rights were ever terminated and these children were placed for adoption, I would not be able to adopt them. That alone is heart-breaking. But I don't think it would be hard at all to find a family that would be better suited for them. Because they really are good kids.

I have never, in all my foster care blog reading, come across posts quite like mine. Most foster parents love foster care and would go to the ends of the earth for their foster children. But I can't lie. And I promised I would share my experience. And not all days are bad. But most days I go to bed exhausted with tears in my eyes asking myself what in the world I was thinking.



My 28th birthday was celebrated a few weeks ago. And there were no candles on my cake. Which, I declare, is the first time I can remember not blowing out candles and not making a wish that doesn't come true. I guess I've reached the age of maturity. But what I find most interesting is that I really didn't have the desire. Blowing out candles is one of my favorite birthday traditions. But it seems to me that my youthfulness went, along with my 27th year. Sometimes the child inside will come out, but it's rare, and it seems that it takes a lot more effort to sustain her. 

I do wonder if my youthful self went when the children came. Did they steal my her? Is it because there is so much child running around this house that my youthful self went into hiding? Maybe she is gone for good. I don't really like myself as a parent. Did I ever tell you that? I am not the person that I thought I would be. You never really know until you try. And I tried. And I continue to try. You know how *they* say that by the time you become empty nested you kind of have to learn how to just be a couple again? Because you have kids for so long, that you kind of forget how to be yourself? I hate that. I don't want to lose myself. That girl that I was before the children came, I kind of liked her. She was a whole heck of a lot less stressed. And a whole lot more easy going. 

I've talked before about the weekend visitations that our foster kids get with their relatives. So for four days of the week, I am a mom, and the other three days of the week I'm me. I'm beyond grateful for the break, but maybe perhaps my mind is confused. Who am I? Am I a mom? Sometimes. I've noticed that this schedule can also create confusion with the children. How we behave and act at my house is completely different than how they are allowed to behave when staying with relatives. So every couple of days, these three children are also forced to change behaviors. 

I think what frightens me most is that the only reason I feel like I am able to handle the four days with the kids is because I've had three days without them. Which is a luxury. As I've said before, most foster situations are not like ours. Not mentioning when you have your own, it's a forever gig.  

I just thought it would get easier. And it's not. Praise the heavens above that summer break is over in a week. 


Biological Folk

Here's the thing about biological parents.

In the beginning, when we originally decided to become foster parents, I thought I had my mind made up about them. You know, the whole, you should never have become a parent because you suck at it and got your children taken away attitude.

Then I went through the training classes, and our fantastic instructor was able to alter my thoughts and prejudgments. Biological parents are simply people who have made some mistakes, and its partially our duty as foster parents to help them fix those mistakes so that they can get their children back.

Okay, so now I'm a foster parent. Which means I now have the knowledge that I need to make my own decision regarding biological parents (or at least the ones I currently deal with). So what do I think? Well, they kinda suck. Which is sad and terrifying because their children think the world of them (well mostly, the older children seem to have a quite a few biases against one of the parents). One of the parents had reached out saying they wanted to have a visitation. This parent has yet to have had one in the two months that the children have been in foster care. All this parent needed to do was to call and confirm with the caseworker. That's it. And this parent didn't. So now after telling them all week they have a visitation today, I now get to tell them that they don't. Because apparently making a simple phone call was too much for the children that you gave life. Biological parent, you were the one that reached out. Perhaps you should keep your promises and maybe your older children wouldn't hate you (the word isn't mine, the kids were the ones that said it). The other biological parent used to have visits and currently does not. And I may be evil for saying it, but I'm glad. It's so hard to watch the kids go to these visits where they are showered with toys, and treats, and the near worship that goes on when you know what a loser their parent is. As much as I want the kids to be with their parents and families, it is so disappointing to know that they may turn out to be just like them.

Yes, my influence of a few months may do some good, but if foster care has taught me anything, the number one thing I have learned is that you can't undo years of bad habits. In the end, these kids don't want to be here, and their old ways are how they can hold onto their family and their home.


So kids.

Here's the thing. They can be pretty annoying. It's hard to remember that they are not, nor should they be, on the same maturity level as you. And why do they ask so many questions? Especially during movies. They have to know what is going to happen before it happens. What happened to the element of surprise? My 5 year old today asked me probably 3,000 times what we were having for dinner. Hamburgers. We are barbecuing hamburgers. Over and over again. She saw me prepare the meat. She was with me when I purchased the buns. And about 10 minutes before dinner she asks if we are having hot dogs. So I replied "Yes", because why not? I tell her a million times that we are having hamburgers, which apparently I couldn't convince her of, but I tell her one time that we are having hot dogs and she runs around the house telling her brothers that we are having hot dogs. Which thoroughly confused them because they had previously inquired about dinner and they knew that we were having hamburgers. So that's how dinner went.

The kids are already begging to go back to their relatives for visitation for the weekend. We really are only allowed one night visitations, but last weekend, we were able to get two, which is confusing to kids because now they expect to spend every Friday thru Sunday with their extended family. The caseworker approved a two night visitation for this weekend also, which is awesome for us, however, there is always the fear of the relatives suddenly having plans that don't include my three kids. Which would just simply devastate all of us.

And the boys are folding origami together right now and not fighting. So this is a miracle. 

And this is the voice of a foster mom on a Wednesday night, who has thoughts, but has a hard time compiling them. 



Most of the time, I am thinking to myself what in the heck was I thinking? It's hard. Very hard. My 10 and 9 year old boys make me want to walk out on the entire experience. When they aren't fighting with each other, they are pushing Mike and I to our very limits. The 5 year old is great when she's alone, but when her brothers get home from school she suddenly takes on their personalities and I sometimes feel like I'm in a constant war between the hours of 3:25pm and 9:00pm. 

My saving grace?

Weekend visitations. 

We are lucky enough to have the kids do overnights with their extended family on the weekends. And this weekend they got Friday and Saturday night! Nearly three full days of being on our own agenda. I know that many foster families don't get the opportunity to have overnight visitation as much as we do, and I definitely know that the Lord was looking out for me on this one, because he knew that to keep a small portion of my sanity, I would need those weekend visitations. (The behaviors when they return from visitations is a different story for a different day.)

This weekend we fished, we shopped, we attended the temple, we ate all you can eat pizza, we watched Gravity, we went to church and we spent time with family. Hopefully regenerating us for another week. 


Becoming First Time Foster Parents

On Thursday, April 24, I woke up with a feeling we'd get a phone call. I think when you are waiting to become a foster parent, everyday you think you will get a phone call, but I really did think that we would. My mom says I must be in tune, because that afternoon, we got a phone call to do respite care for the weekend. Respite care is basically overnight babysitting for another foster family. We were expecting a 6, 5 and 3 year old to come and stay with us from Friday to Sunday while the foster parents went out of town. My heart pounded. I decided to take the next day off. We were definitely not prepared to bring three kids into our home, even if it was only for the weekend.

I woke up early Friday so I could get everything done and be ready to receive the kids around 2:00 that afternoon. Around 9 AM that morning, Mike called me from work.

"You'll never guess who just called me", he said.

And that was the moment my life changed forever. On the day that we were supposed to be receiving three children just for a few days, we got a phone call for our first placement. Three children. They said that if we chose to accept the placement we would be receiving them that very afternoon, and they would take care of finding someone else to do the respite care for the other foster family. Shock wouldn't even begin to describe how I felt. How is it possible that in less than 24 hours, all that had happened? Mike told me about the kids and we discussed how we felt. I began what later became almost an entire week of tears. We decided that we would take the kids. Mike made the necessary phone calls and I immediately fell to my knees in tears. How was I going to actually take care of three kids? Was I really ready for my life to change? I prayed and prayed for strength and then, of course, I called my mother. Because who else knows better than my mother? She listened to me cry. Offered her advice and assistance. And she immediately became a huge source of knowledge that I never knew I needed. She sympathized, but also questioned my emotions. "Abby, you've had 6 months to prepare for this, why are you so upset?" And what I realized was I was never ready. Nothing can ever prepare you to be a foster parent. Nothing can prepare you for the immediate 180 degree shift in your life. Nothing can prepare you to take care of children that have experienced such chaos in their life. And I was terrified.

When I got off the phone with my mom, I went into robot mode. The kids that were being place in our home were 10, 9 and 5, which is a whole lot different than the 6, 5 and 3 year old that I had originally been preparing for. We were expecting them to come around 4 in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time to get everything in order. Mike came home from work early and we put the final touches on the bedrooms. And around 4 PM, we got a phone call telling us that there had been a change in court that afternoon and now we would not be receiving the children until Monday afternoon. And since they had already made the switch for respite care, we would not be having any kids in our house over the weekend.

Most would be disappointed, but I was so relieved. Most foster parents don't get the opportunity to have the weekend to prepare, whether its mentally or emotionally or physically. I was able to have a few days to spend preparing myself and spending childless time with Mike because come Monday, I would be a full time mom.

On Monday afternoon, two caseworkers, and two boys and their sister knocked on our door. I feel like things after that moment are a blur. We went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few necessary items for the children and I made tacos for dinner. I do recall the children going to bed fairly easily, which was a surprise. But that next morning, as Mike was leaving for work, I became an emotional mess. I hugged and cried and begged him not to go. What was I going to do without him? I don't know how to be a mom. And my dear sweet husband started crying along with me and I realized that I'm not in this alone. Take it a day at a time. It was the longest week and one day of my life before we could get the two boys enrolled in school. Which just reminds me that my school district is year round, which means 3 weeks off every 9 weeks. Crap.

Every night and every morning that week I cried. The longer I am a foster mom to these children, the more I realize what those emotions are about. Which is a post entirely on its own.

The difficult part about having a blog is that I am usually brutally honest with myself and everyone who reads. As I have said before, many things in the foster care system may not be shared, and the things that I do share, unfortunately, I think most people may not like. My opinions are all my own (and my husbands, of course) and even though my journey is not conventional, I'm discovering things about myself that I never would have known otherwise. As I continue to express my feelings in the future, please be sensitive to the fact that I am a person, and that if I cannot be honest in this space, I see no reason to even continue to write.


If You Follow Me On Instagram....

....you would know, that last Monday, we had our very first placement. I wish that I had had time to write about it in the moment. When all the emotions were so prevalent. But now I sit here, on a Saturday night, with a 10 year old on my couch, a 9 year old on the floor, and a 5 year old running around flipping the light switches. This has absolutely been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Becoming a mother as quickly as I did, I did not know how to prepare. What I have learned is that there is no preparing. When you don't know the ages, genders, or personalities of the children coming into your home, you just have to hold your breath and hope that you're ready. And I'm learning. 

I'm learning how to be a mom. I'm learning how to take deep breaths and count to 10. I'm learning that my relationship with my husband is absolutely one of the most important things in my life. I'm learning that it's a whole lot harder to keep my diet on track when there are three kids around (and it's not even overeating, I just don't eat when I'm so busy taking care of their needs....pathetic). I'm learning that sometimes, you just have to do things yourself. Never rely on the system. 

I'm just learning. 

When I get another moment, I will write about the placement and all the emotions that went along with that day. But for now, it's off to bath time, and story time, and probably a song or two, and then the sweet moment when the house is quiet, and I'm able to lay my head down next to Mike and maybe shed a tear or share a laugh at the reflection of another crazy day of being a foster parent.  

7 Years

Happy Anniversary to the person that makes me the happiest. 
The one that I love more than I ever thought possible.
My very best friend. 
So glad we will be together for all eternity. 
I love you.


Easter Weekend...

...was jam packed with lots of sunshine, lots of family time, and lots of stomach aches. All that good food got the better of me and I went to bed with a stomach ache Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Which was just so much fun.
Mike got one of his more spectacular sunburns. Springtime is always such a learning curve with that man's skin. And nothing bugs him more than people bringing up the obvious. So make sure you ask him if he's been out in the sun.
I even got an Easter basket this year full of stress relieving lotions and candles, which means I always smell like I just came from the spa. Which I love. 
Mike got himself a vintage edger, for the lawn. It's broken. But apparently there is nothing better than a fun project that will turn into a fantastic tool, if he can get it working. When. When he can get it working.
We discussed the pros and cons of urinals, got cheated by Smiths, got a nail in our tire and had to replace the whole tire, and finally had our first tulips bloom.
But let's talk about getting cheated by Smiths for a second. That checker was so busy talking to us about our Easter weekend that she completely forgot to bag some makeup and two screw thingys that we bought. We got home and I realized we didn't have the makeup, which was a whopping $10. I wasn't about to let that slide. We had to hop back in the car and drove the 20 minutes back to Smiths, because of course we were at one over by our parents homes. Luckily they just let me show the receipt and go and grab another one. Then we got all the way home and Mike realizes that he doesn't have the screw thingy's that he bought. Not even kidding. Those were only $2 so we are just going to have to eat that one. So annoyed though. Lady, you don't care what we're doing for Easter, nor do I care what you are doing for Easter. I just came to buy these things, not make any friends. Please don't talk to me. Its awkward. Plus, its obvious you can't do two things at once.
Oh and we won the Left, Center, Right game at the Easter party which resulted in Easter eggs full of chocolate. And $13.77 in change. Cha-ching!
Plus....throw back to our first Easter as a married couple!


The Anxiety of Waiting For a Phone Call....

....may put me in my grave. It is hereditarily normal for me to have anxiety all the time. Which I do, all the time. But then you give me a real life reason to have anxiety and I'm through the roof.
The idea that tomorrow we could have a house full of kids just blows my mind. So mentally ready for this. So physically unprepared. I have yet to clean out the cabinet underneath the sink in the main bathroom. It currently holds all the storage of toilet paper, soap and toothpaste, leaving absolutely no room for adorable hooded baby towels or a Thomas the Train toothbrush.
My house is child-proof, in a safety sense, all thanks to the requirements of licensing, but what about all those other things. The things that need to be out of a child's reach not for safety purposes but my own sanity? I'm thinking that my ultimate decorator would be a bachelor. Which is an oxymoron because bachelors don't decorate which is perfect when it comes to having children running around. Except it's hard to know what needs to be put away when you don't really know what age of children you'll have.
Good gosh, just tell me to breathe. There is no gestation period. There is no working up from infant to toddler to child. This is just BAM, child. With you. All the time.
I can't even handle my excitement!


On Monday...

 ...we met our Resource Family Consultant (RFC). We have an RFC!! It's been such a long wait. It seems that none of these different divisions share information with each other so it was another 45 minutes of answering the exact same questions that we've answered several other times. What ages? How do you plan to discipline? How do you cope with stress? And on and on. We've got it all memorized now, so it's a piece of cake. Apparently Mike told them I'm a clean freak. So then I had to explain myself out of that one. He claims he didn't say "clean freak", I'll never know though. That, however, is the phrase that she used when asking me if I am "flexible" in terms of cleanliness. Well obviously. Because kids are crazy messy and if I wasn't flexible I doubt I'd want any kids coming and messing things up.
We are now officially on the waiting list. I finally was able to get a better idea for how many foster homes there are in the Salt Lake Valley and how many of them were waiting vs. already had placement. She said that of the six RFC's, each one has about 50-75 homes. Of the homes that she has in the Salt Lake Valley over 80% of them have placements. She says that us getting licensed for three is a very big deal. Most homes don't have that much space, yet they see more groups of children of three or more come into the system than they see one child or groups of two. Which makes me think I better start looking for some bunk beds!
It's crazy to think that any day now we could have a house full of kids. I'm beyond excited and completely terrified but I pray that I will have the tools that I need to be able to take care of each of their individual needs. Because I know that when God tells you to do something, he will provide the way so that it can be done.


It's Official...

...we are now licensed to foster in the State of Utah!
We received our license in the mail last Thursday and and our home study will be approved today.
Almost six months to the day of first making our decision to become foster parents. {Blast you, background check, for taking so long.} I've never felt so relieved and haven't felt more ready than I do right now. Even if I can hardly remember a thing that I learned in training. I'm so glad I chose to write about each of the eight classes. I've gone back and read those post's several times to remind myself that I actually did sit in those training's. It really did happen. I really did watch those videos, and hear those stories. I really have been prepared {as much as possible} to become a foster parent. And I've got a big manual to prove it. So let's get this thing going. The best kind of teaching is hands on experience, right?

I recently just finished reading "Little Men" by Louisa May Alcott, a beautifully written book that was recommended by another foster care blogger. My favorite excerpt is as follows,

"I only want to give these children a home in which they can be taught a few simple things which will help to make life less hard to them when they go out to fight their battles in the world. Honesty, courage, industry, faith in god, their fellow preachers and themselves. That is all I try for."

"That is everything. Give them these helps, then let them go to work out their life as men and women and whatever their success or failure is, I think they will remember and bless your efforts..."

And now we wait.

{If you missed the posts on the training classes, you can read them here: one two three four five six seven eight}


Foster Care from the Child's Point of View

I am constantly overwhelmed by the articles, and blogs and videos that are found on the internet about foster care. And we've had so many of our loved ones share them with us when they come across them.

The video below was sent to us on Facebook from Mike's aunt. This is one of the most beautiful accounts of foster care from a child's point of view that I have ever seen. It's not a specific story from any specific child, yet it seems its every child's story that ends up in the foster care system.


Home Study? Check.

And talk about simple! I wouldn’t say I was worried about it. I knew that we had checked, and double checked the list to make sure our house was in ship shape before the licensor came out. But I was anxious. I didn’t really know what to expect. It didn’t help that she was about 30 minutes late. Mike and I wandered around the kitchen in effort to keep the freshly vacuumed floors looking freshly vacuumed. The TV was off. And there we paced. In our own anxious minds. Making random comments back and forth. I asked Mike if he was excited. He replied ‘Yes’ with the most adorable smile. We were kids on Christmas, I tell you. Then Mike remarked on how he felt like a dog in a cage being confined to the kitchen floor only.

When she finally came, we did the home tour first. She didn’t seem very concerned with most things. I felt so proud that I had all my first aid kits, and fire extinguishers, and was sure that she would want to see the inside of the fridge or pantry or something. But she took our word on the first aid kits, and fire extinguishers, and basically just wanted to make sure our hazardous liquids were locked up. {And I got a little clarification on what needed to be locked up outside of the obvious. Any chemical that a child could drink. If you were wondering…} I shouldn’t say I was disappointed. I mean the less she wanted to see, the more likely we were to pass, right? But at least I felt good on the inside knowing that I took care of everything whether or not she wanted to see it.
First she interviewed Mike and I together. She wanted to know our history and what our relationship is like. Then Mike had to leave the room and I was interviewed alone. She asked for a chronological history of my life. Where was I born. Where have I lived. Where did I go to school. When did I graduate. The obvious. Then she asked about my childhood, my relationships with my siblings and my parents. Throughout the interview she continually asked me if I had any traumatic or significant events in my childhood, my youth, my adulthood. It felt so good to know that I didn’t have anything to tell her. Even though she continued to fish for something, anything. She asked about my relationship with Mike. She had me describe him. She asked me what we fight about. She asked about my hobbies and interests.
Then it was Mike’s turn. And I’m sure he went on and on about how awesome his wife is.
When we came back together, she asked us about what kind of parents we will be. What our idea of discipline is. What our history is of being around children. And then somehow we went from our original 2 kids to saying that we’ll now take 3.
I have no idea how that happened. Later that night, Mike said, ‘I can’t believe we said we’d take three kids’. Yeah babe, me either. But you know, we can always turn it down. And going from zero to three is a lot really fast. But I think once you get involved in this situation, saying no just doesn’t really come easy. Who can say no to an adorable child in need?
And the event in which we have been waiting five months for was over in an hour.
We should hear from our resource family consultant (RFC) in no more than three weeks. Hopefully presenting us with our official license to foster.


When I Have The Time To Sit Down And Write,

Foster care is obviously the thing that comes out. It is constantly on my mind and when I’m not actively preparing for it, I’m thinking about it. Which makes all other activities, journal worthy or not, fall to the wayside.

For instance, we are lucky enough here in Utah to have Olympic venues that still host the Olympic trials. We decided at eight bucks a ticket, that’s some pretty cheap Friday night entertainment. Plus I’d get to gawk at Apolo all night. Win, win. Unfortunately, our dear short track speed skaters didn’t do nearly as well in Sochi as we Americans had hoped, but I got to see them skate in person. Before the Olympics. Which basically means we’re best friends.
At the end of January, my ward went to Youth Conference. Yeah, I know, my ward does things different. I like it. Except I don’t really like winter. So Youth Conference in the mountains in the dead of winter was just down right awweeeesssooommmmeee. But it’s okay. While cross country skiing, I was filmed taking every single hill on my rear and/or back. But it’s easier that way. So yeah. They only played the videos at a fireside a couple weeks later. So glad I was not in attendance.  I love these sweet ladies that I get to serve with in the YW presidency.

And Valentine’s Day! Oh the day of love. I’ve written about past Valentines Days here and here. This one was just awesome {but maybe not quite as dramatic} as those that came before. Plus who doesn’t want to see Les Miserables on opening night at Hale Centre Theatre? Amazing. Love the power of that show. And the talent that the community theater always seems to bring together.
It's been a mad rush to get the room done in our basement for Mike’s cushy work-from-home office. We’ve busted our tails getting it done before our home study tomorrow. And it seems our late nights of painting baseboards paid off. We moved his desk and computer in last night. We don’t have closet doors or the office door installed yet, but it’s a fully functioning room so he can begin working down there tomorrow.


Our home study is tomorrow morning and man do I have a list I’ve got to get working on. All I have to do is get the entire house scrubbed in one evening, while still managing to watch The Bachelor (which really isn’t that important, Juan Pablo is a loser). But I’ve already dusted and scrubbed all my baseboards, so I’ve made a small dent. Can’t even believe that our final step in getting licensed is tomorrow. Please pass, please pass……


It’s This Little Secret I Have

Not a person at work (except my boss) knows about the secret that I keep. No one at work is on my Instagram. No one at work reads my blog. Not that they don’t have access to it if they knew about it. They could find the links through Facebook. But they don’t. To be honest, I think most of my coworkers wouldn’t know the first thing about Instagram. And a blog? What’s a blog? This chapstick sits on my desk, staring at me, reminding me of my secret. Anyone that would come to my desk would see it if they were looking. But they wouldn’t ask. They probably wouldn’t even speculate. And when I finally get licensed, and announce it at the monthly accounting department meeting, fingers crossed that I shock every last one of them. Because who would have thought?
Why have I kept it a secret at work when I’ve been so vocal about it in other areas of my life? Other than avoiding the dramatics of them thinking all of my work will fall into their laps when I walk out the door on that life changing day, and therefore secretly hating me just a little bit, I really just didn’t want them to know. They are nothing but sweet to my face and great when it comes to coworkers but sometimes isn’t it nice to just keep something to yourself every once in a while? It is weird to have such a big part of my life have nothing to do with the other big part of my life. Guaranteed the second that I tell them I have something to tell them they will all think I’m pregnant. Oh man, are you in for a surprise.
My lips smell of Pina Colada. Reminding me that I hold one of the sweetest of secrets. I’m going to be a foster mom.
(Yeah I know, I should really dust my desk.)


We Are Not Criminals!

Great news! We knew that, yes, but it took the government two very, very long months to figure that out. I still can't figure out how hard it is to type in a social security number or two and send off the information to the State of Utah, but apparently.
We finally were able to schedule our home study! {Which I still don't know if that's one word or two...} The down side is they are almost an entire month out! So we have until February 25th to get our home in ship shape. Which I tell you what, we have the safest house on the block. Every single everything is behind lock and key. We've got a crib, a car seat, a full size bed, toys, a baby gate....everything we need to get us through at least the first few hours of parenthood. Except diapers. We aren't jumping on that wagon until we know we need to.
My goal is to pass on the first round. Which means we've got checklists that needed to be checked and double checked and an entire house to scrub to perfection. Now we just keep our fingers crossed that the write-up doesn't take another four weeks after the home study. This process feels like its taken forever. The training classes seem a millennia ago. I'm beyond ready to jump in, head first. Here's to praying that our first placement doesn't take 6 months!


Good Things Happen

Happy Friday! This week has been long. I do recall at least one morning this week that I nearly screamed when Mike made me get out of bed to go to work. So thank goodness this weekend will provide me with two days to do things my way.

Our weekend plans consist of a celebratory meal at Texas Roadhouse tonight because Mike has gone and gotten himself a fantastic new job! This has been such an answer to our prayers and we are so excited that he will be able to have a bit more freedom and really be able to flex his smart muscles. The lucky duck will be working from home so now we embark upon construction in our basement to finish him an office. {Gotta keep those upstairs rooms available for some kids!} I admit, I thoroughly enjoyed every single pounding of the hammer that I got to listen to last night while Mike and his dad worked. Because every single pound meant that things are finally coming together for us. That if you wait, and you pray, and you put in effort, God will bless you. And sometimes it seems like it takes forever, but most the time it's worth the wait. And with that being said, I'm off to finish my Quest bar and enjoy myself a lovely weekend doing whatever I feel like with everything that I hold dear.


If You Really Knew Me: {3rd Edition}

Unless I'm married to you, or related to you, I'll probably withdraw if you try to get to close to me. {All of my friends are nodding right now....}
The only good thing about winter is that gloves are more socially acceptable which keeps me from having to touch germy door handles.
If I could do it all over again, I'd come back as a non-eating disorder ballerina.
I'm a secret keeper. There isn't a person in the world that knows everything about me.
I don't really care about offending people.
I'm what I call an over-sharer. If you can get me talking, you'll find out way more about me than I ever wanted you to and than you ever cared to know.
I'm pretty much a walking contradiction. {See paragraphs 4 and 6}
I don't wear 80 percent of the clothes hanging in my overcrowded closet. Of the 20 percent that I do wear, most are gray.
I'm a classical {in terms of classification} music junkie. All hail the Baroque period.
I enjoy doing math in my head.