July 25, 2012

Circling the Wagons

I've been circling the wagons this week. Holding on to what is precious and fleeting. Hanging on with all my might to what I believe is true.

Making hay while the sun shines. :)
This little boy is making hay right alongside me.

Sunday was interesting. We took Caleb to church with us for the first time in months. I actually started a post about it, but have not yet finished it. Maybe tomorrow. I have two more nights of foster parent training. It's starting to feel like a marathon. Good information. Hard information. I came home crying one night last week. The questions and doubts and scenarios were just too much for my pms-ing little self.
Are we doing the right thing? Can we handle two kids? How will Caleb react?
That should probably be another post. When I have time.
Caleb picked these for me today. He loves picking flowers in our yard and presenting them to me as gifts. "Present for you!" he yells proudly. "I'm an expert at flower picking!"

Yes, sweet boy, you are.

Caleb misses me while I'm gone at training. He's usually asleep by the time I get home, so every morning, I hear his happy little voice in my bedroom doorway:
"Mommy! You home? I missed you!"

Tomorrow night, I finish training. Then the real fun starts. My mom and step-dad are flying into Seattle and we're driving down Friday morning to spend the weekend with them down there. Can anyone say hotel with an indoor pool? :)

Needless to say, we're all super-excited.
I let Caleb take some pictures with my camera today. We were resting in the shade of our enormous maple tree after drawing on the driveway with chalk. He loves to take pictures. He loves to spin and take pictures at the same time. Makes for some funny shots!

We have spent a lot of time in the driveway this summer. Caleb likes chalk. He does some drawing of his own, but usually he dictates to me what I should draw. I drew this yesterday at his request: 
Today he printed "AHH!" above the tornado and added a stick figure.
No more National Geographic programs for a while, mkay?
Then he asked me how to draw a whirlpool. So I showed him. Now there are several on my driveway, in bright Caribbean colors. Please do watch your step if you come to visit.
We have not traveled a whole lot this summer. Even around our island home, we've stayed pretty local. This was bothering me. I like to travel, I love to explore, I always want to see new places.
But home has been a pleasant place to be this summer and as I discovered today, that's just fine. We're making memories right here, on our own doorstep. 

July 18, 2012

Students of Plan B

We smile politely and introduce ourselves. Say where we're from. Some couples are more friendly than others. A few husbands crack jokes. But overall we are a subdued group. The lady next to me barely says two words the entire night and smiles about as much.

This isn't like a normal first day of class. We aren't gathering to share a favorite hobby or learn about an interesting subject.

We're all here because somehow, somewhere, something went wrong.

Naively, I expected the others to be here for the same reasons I am: couples wanting to adopt because they were otherwise unable to have kids. I couldn't be more wrong.

There are several grandmas in the room and they are fighting for custody of their grandchildren. Several couples just want to be foster parents to children who need a safe place to stay. No adoption on the horizon, just kids who come and go as needed. Others have had children thrust upon them unexpectedly and now flounder about, trying to figure out what to do. Some have children who are already grown and out of the house. Others, like me and Jason, are still trying to build their families.

In fact, each situation is different. Our goal is the same, though: to take in children who are not ours, to provide a Plan B for them because their Plan A has fallen apart.

It's a sobering thought, taking children away from their parents. It's even more sobering when you consider what happens in a home that results in children being taken away.

I guess that's why we're subdued tonight as we learn about the system and the procedures for removal, placement, reunification, and adoption.

Foster care is nobody's Plan A. They don't call on foster parents when everything is going right.
We exist to help pick up the pieces. We may be here tonight because things go wrong in this imperfect world of ours. But we are also here to help some things go right.

July 5, 2012

Fireworks, family, and unwelcome cotton candy

Paper plates and plastic forks are wonderful things. They make clean-up after a major holiday such a breeze! Especially after hosting 14 people in your home, like I did yesterday. I heart paper plates and plastic forks. They are my new best friends.

Our 4th of July was very pleasant. A house full of family and friends made my day. I was hesitant at first about having so much company all at once. Our livingroom isn't very large and our dining room is more of a dining closet. But we managed. And we had fun while we were at it. :)

Caleb finally got his cotton candy yesterday. He's been asking for it since April. I would like to thank Scooby-Doo for teaching my son about carnival foods. He certainly didn't learn about them from me. After watching a cotton candy monster chase Shaggy and Scooby around a circus tent, he's been patiently waiting for the 4th of July carnival ever since.

The cotton candy was one of the highlights of his day. Unfortunately, it also caused us to have to clean the bathroom. Twice. Before the troop of family and friends arrived. We recently found out Caleb is sensitive to artificial food dye. Red 40 and Blue 6 and all the rest. And what do you think they use to color cotton candy? Yeah, wish we would have thought of that a little sooner. Makes for a good story, though. One that Caleb has told and retold to anyone who will listen.

Like last night for example. Sitting on a hill by the library, waiting for fireworks. Caleb makes friends with the older gentleman behind us.

"Hi man! What your name? My name is Cabub."

Thankfully, the man was nice enough to be friendly back. (This is not always the case.)

"I'm Rich, Caleb. Are you having a good 4th?"

"Yeah! I got cotton candy! It has dye and it give me diarreah!"

Painfully honest, this one. Fortunately, the man thought Caleb had said "diabetes." I didn't care to correct him.

"Come sit down on the blanket, Caleb. Leave the nice man alone."

(And stop telling complete strangers about your bowel movements!!!)

This morning at OT, he was at it again. At least Miss Sharon isn't a complete stranger. But still.

"How was your 4th of July, Caleb?" asks the OT.

"I got cotton candy and . . ." I start shaking my head.
". . . it has dye in it. And it give me  . . . "

Unfortunately, Miss Sharon understood every word.

Really son? Is that all you remember from yesterday? What about the ferris wheel or the fireworks or the water fight in the backyard with your friends? Is the diarreah-giving, dye-drenched cotton candy the highlight we must relive over and over?

Here's the moral of the story: I am never feeding my son cotton candy again. The end.

And how was your 4th of July? Eventful? Memorable? Hot? Do tell. :)

July 1, 2012

Let the berry picking begin!

Summer is delayed it would seem, up here in our little part of the world. While hats and gloves have been packed away for next winter, we still wear sweaters and hoodies when we go out. The rest of the country experiences heat waves and wildfires, and here we are doing beach days in the rain. Ha!
I wake up each morning hoping for sunshine, praying for a warm sunny day. More often than not, though, our days are gray.
But whether the sun shines or not, it is summer and we're doing our best to enjoy the season.  

We went picking this morning after church.

 Guess who had the most fun?

We picked over ten pounds! I have most of them in the freezer now, awaiting a future in smoothies and baked goods. And I just may go back for more. :) I'm looking forward to more berry picking this summer. Blackberries and raspberries in the next few months, and if all goes well, blueberries too!

What's something you look forward to doing every summer?