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I’m Not Sorry

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May, the longest month of the year, is finally gone. It’s been a busy spring for us, full of trips and visits from friends and growing three babies into a toddler-turning-into-a-girl, a toddler-turning-into-a-boy, and a baby-turning-into-a-toddler. Yikes! The days are full of laughter and tears and tantrums and pulling leaves out of babies’ mouths, but suddenly I look up and these children seem bigger, smarter, more fun and creative. It makes my heart ache – proud of who they are becoming, grief in that it seems to be rushing by too fast.

It’s easy in this season of life that we are in to focus on the exhaustion, the mess, the sheer volume of my littles. They are like little Tasmanian devils, moving around so fast I can hardly catch my breath. I have found myself more and more this spring feeling like I needed to apologize for them.

“I’m so sorry for the mess.”

“I’m so sorry they are crazy right now.”

“I’m so sorry; they aren’t normally this loud.”

“I’m so sorry! Those alphabet magnets are the WORST to step on.”

“I’m so sorry; the babies go to bed around that time so we’ll have to miss dinner.”

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Recently I felt like the apologies were rolling off of my tongue every time I opened my mouth. I was in a horrible mood and on the verge of tears. And then I realized. I’m not sorry.

I am not sorry for the beautiful, chaotic existence of these babies in my life.

I am not sorry for the mess they make, because it shows me that they feel safe enough in our home to play and imagine and create.

I’m not sorry for their crazy personalities; they make me laugh harder and smile wider than just about anyone else on the planet.

I’m not sorry for their noise. They are learning to find their voices in this world, in our home. And those loud voices sing the most beautiful “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” you’ve ever heard.

I’m not sorry for the alphabet magnets on the floor. They are teaching my son to say his letters and they entertain little babies while Mama cooks dinner.

I’m not sorry for this season of missed dinner parties and nights eating out. This is such a short season compared to the rest of our lives; I want to soak up every bedtime prayer, every night-night song, every “Mama will you lay with me?”. It’s going to be gone before I know it.

I want to teach my children to be respectful, to clean up messes, to be courteous and thoughtful. I want to make life easier on those we meet by picking up after ourselves and looking for ways to be blessings. And if I fail in those things, for that I will apologize and seek forgiveness.

But babies, I am not sorry that you have swept us up into your lives. There is no greater honor than being your mama.

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{Beginning this month I am participating in a blog circle with some other wonderful women. Click here to see what Suzy has to say.}

Three, (Almost) Two, (Almost) One…

It’s been 2+ months since we became Redfearn, Party of 5. It’s been 2+ of the hardest, best months.

BIG DEALS:

After 2+ months, Newest Baby is sleeping in the same room as Bubs. So far, so good. And if feel awesome to have our room back.

After 2+ months, I have finally learned how to pack the diaper bag for 3. Snacks? Check. Spare clothes? Check. Extra formula? Check. I got this.

Our last update was the night before Newest Baby arrived. So here’s what’s happened with our people since…

Maddie turned 3!

We celebrated Maddie’s birthday for most of the month of March. We were in Colorado for her actual birthday and got to celebrate with some of John’s family. It was a fun, special time. We filled her up with lots of sugar, presents, and love.

The next week she celebrated with cupcakes in her classroom at school.

The week after that we took her to see Frozen on Ice with both sets of grandparents and two aunts.

It’s been a big month for Maddie girl.

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Bubba is inching closer and closer to two. How did this happen? Overnight he turned into a big boy – talking, running, playing hard (and sweating hard), but still giving lots and lots of snuggles (or as he would say, ” ‘nuggle?”). He just moved into a big boy bed a couple of weeks ago to make room for Newest Baby, and he’s taken to it like a champ.

Maddie and Bubs are turning into little buddies, and it’s just the best. They chase each other, play on the playground together, snuggle under blankets together to watch Curious George. I love it. Also, Bubs pronounces Maddie’s name, “Manny”. Kills me. It’s the cutest ever.

It’s fun to see his character and personality coming out. He is gentle, tenderhearted, and protective. He loves his family and wants more than anything to be around us.

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Newest Baby is just the best. Having him in our home has been the easiest transition we’ve experienced in fostering. A large part of that is because of the home he was in prior to us – they took care of him so well. It has seemed so natural for him to join us – he’s our son, the completion to our little instant family. He is so sweet, easy to smile and laugh, and he loves to snuggle too, just like his big brother. He has 6 (huge!) teeth, crawls like a champ, puts EVERYTHING in his mouth, and is pulling up wherever he can get a good grip.

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I won’t pretend that adding a third has been all easy. It’s not easy having a 3 year old, a 21-month old, and an almost 9 month old. At any given point someone is probably crying or wanting to be held (and sometimes it’s me!). We missed out on some good sleep for about a month and a half. Waiting to know when we will be able to move to the adoption unit is frustrating and tiresome. We’ve had to learn to give ourselves more time to get anywhere, to have the diaper bag ready at all times, to give each other and our littles grace when chaos abounds. But in those moments when I can be still and silent long enough to hear my own thoughts, my eyes often get misty as I think about the Lord’s goodness to us. I am profoundly grateful for the family He has given us. He didn’t do it the way we had planned, but His plan is so much better than the one I had worked out. I wouldn’t trade even a tiny piece of it for what we have now. Thank you, God, for letting us see your goodness over and over again!

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I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!

Wait for the LORD;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

Wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14

The Morning Before

Today is our last day as a family of four. I’m trying how to decide how I feel about that – more anticipation than anxiety, more excitement than grief over changing family dynamics.
Bubs has a little brother, and he’s coming to be part of our family tomorrow. He has been in a wonderful home these past 6 months, and we are excited to welcome him into ours. We’re nervous, too. The boys will be sharing a room. I’m praying that they will get used to each others’ noises quickly and that they will sleep. I’m praying that they will become the best of friends. I’m praying for Maddie, that she will continue to grow in her roll as Big Sister. She a great big sister – protective, fiercely loyal, and she speaks out for those she loves. What a treasure to see her little personality and character developing even as an almost-three year old.

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In the quiet moments like this morning it’s easy to find myself moving from anticipation to anxiety. 3 under 3! WHAT ARE WE DOING?!? The chaos!
Last night at church and today in my reading time I read a couple of verses that couldn’t be more well-timed

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:27

Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. Mark 9:37

We are confident that The Lord has brought us to this point and that He will continue to guide us (and give us lots of grace!) as we parent our brood. We have been so blessed by family and friends already who have encouraged us, showered us with gifts, organized meals, helped rearrange furniture, and who are eagerly waiting with us for Friday. We couldn’t do this without our “village”. We are so grateful.

We’ll let you know how it’s going sometime next week!

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Life’s Been Happening

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve even thought about this blog, if we’re being honest. Life with a one year old and a two year old has been all-consuming. Who knew??

It has not been an easy summer and fall, but it has been good. Our house has been packed to the brim with fun and playing and growing and throwing fits and living life. It’s hard not knowing anything about what’s going on with Bubba’s case. We know absolutely nothing about what the future holds (as usual), and it can be maddening at times. But we love him and it has been so fun to watch he and Maddie grow into buddies. One of my favorites is listening to them play in the curtains (Sidenote: this is something that I swore I would never let my children do. Also on that list: wiping noses with clothes – theirs and mine – and feeding them in the car seat. HAHAHAHAHA!). 

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Bubs has been growing more and more comfortable in our family. The summer for him brought walking, lots of laughing, splashing in the pool, and the cutest little way you’ve ever heard a kid say, “Noooooooo!”.

Maddie is in the throes of being two. I refuse to use the phrase, “terrible twos”. While two brings it’s challenges (“Mommy get outta here!” What.) it is also proving to be my favorite age. She is learning so much, is developing such a fun, funny, outgoing personality, and I feel like even now we are getting to see her character start to show. She is independent, has a deep sense of justice, and is fiercely loyal. I don’t know that we could love her more.

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So that’s what’s been going on with us. I’ll fill you in on our big trip this summer in the next post – Disneyworld!! Spoiler alert: it was amazing. 

Thanks for adventuring with us.

Serenity Now!

For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4

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This summer is flying by, and it has simultaneously been one do the hardest summers and one of the best we’ve had in our household. Lately two phrases seem to make their way out of the recesses of my mind and into the air – “serenity now!” and “Jesus, take the wheel!”. They perfectly portray what I am feeling in his house with a one year old and a two year old, and thankfully saying them out loud usually makes me laugh.
Bubs has been here for over a month now, and having him with us feels normal. Maddie does NOT like him stealing her toys, but other than that she seems to be adjusting well. We’ve spent most of the summer at home, swimming, playing with toys, watching too many movies. We’ve had time with family, which has been wonderful. And we have a Disney adventure with Maddie coming up in a few weeks, which we are REALLY anticipating with excitement. But staying home has been hard, too. Because of new regulations we’ve been without a babysitter for over a month (thankfully Em is now certified again! Hallelujah!). So we are eager for a date night sometime in the next couple of weeks. A little time away from our little blessings will go a long way I think.
I think I will look back on this summer fondly. Everyone says that the days are long and the years are short, and I agree. I don’t know how long our life will look like this – how long Bubs will be here, how much longer Maddie will want to snuggle and watch “the puppies” (101 Dalmations) in my lap. So I’m trying to soak it up (with lots of coffee and screamed prayers hiding in the kitchen).
Thanks for listening, encouraging, and adventuring with us.

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He’s Back!

New Baby (or “Bubba” as Maddie calls him) came back to us last Thursday. He looks exactly the same only with a mop of hair.

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The adjustment is going surprisingly well. He’s finally slept through the night two nights in a row (hallelujah!) and has finally started to smile again. We’re grateful for that. Maddie’s biggest issue is sharing her toys (“MINE! No no, Bubba. Dat’s not NICE.”), and if I’m being honest I would rather her be jealous for her toys than for John and me, which was the case last time. The biggest issue we are having with Bubba is getting him down for naps. The kid likes to be rocked…for a long time. But that is getting better.

People have asked us if this will be permanent. We have no idea. We only know that he needs some stability and security, and we want him to know that in our home for as long as he’s with us.

We will give updates as they come. Be ready for some back of the head birthday pics soon – Bubba turns one on July 1st!

Thanks for adventuring with us!

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Come On, Summer!!

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Let me tell you, I am identifying more and more with Olaf’s summer obsession. May seems to be moving in reverse and I fear that summer and its freedom will never arrive. End pity-party rant. Girlfriend knows how I feel (see below).

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It has been a long time since my last post, and nothing majorly notable has happened in our house other than running full speed ahead about 99% of the time. We have been so busy – visiting friends and family, having friends and family in our home, going to workshops, weddings, gearing up for camp at Pine Cove (this will be John’s 11th summer! Holy cow.), etc. We have loved every almost every minute of it, but we will sure welcome the slower pace of June and July.

I don’t have much news to share, so I’ll share some killer pictures instead. Our little girl is growing up before our eyes, and we are sure trying out best to savor every minute of it. She talks CONSTANTLY (she must get that from John…) and is such a little lady…who also happens to love dirt and sticks above just about anything else. Her new favorite phrases are, “soooo pretty!” and “dat’s not nice!”. She’s such a trip and the biggest adventure of our lives. Thanks for walking down this road with us.

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