Tuesday, July 31, 2012
For the back door I used fabric I had lying around so these were extremely cost effective! ;) Please ignore our donate boxes in front of the doors!
Also, I am never precise- I eyeball everything. Sewing three different fabrics together, with patterns that will show if they're less than perfect, could have been a disaster! I'm really pleased they turned out pretty exact- praise God for the little things!
Monday, July 30, 2012
She has always been a champ sleeper. No matter what time I would put her down, she'd sleep for almost 12 hours. So, if I put her down late, she'd sleep late= mommy getting to sleep late.
For the last week or two, regardless of what time I put her down, she is awake around 7:30 calling for Mommy. No matter how tired she is, no matter what time she went to sleep, she gets up. Now, I know for sure she is still sleepy cause she acts a little bratty, like right now as I type this.
Mommy's super hero patience does have a Kryptonite- a lack of sleep. It is still strong, but it is weakened by her early morning wake up calls. ;)
If Annie continues this sleep pattern I will go to bed early to combat my Kryptonite, but what is best for Annie?
Do I just let this pattern continue, and let her take a longer nap midday...what about her bratty attitude because lack of sleep... I have already tried keeping her from napping and keeping her up late in hopes of making her tired enough, but she still gets up at 7:30. I think that she wakes up, realizes its morning, and decides she's rather be with mommy than sleep. I have let her cry it out, but there is only so long for her to do that until you know that she is not going back to sleep because she is crying so much, ya know? If I bring her in my room, we can sometimes go back to sleep until 9...
all Kryptonite kidding aside, she needs to sleep. She is obviously affected by her lack of sleep...
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
I found these Lobster via Pinterest, but I couldn't find the original place of origin. I looked because I wanted to buy the print to put it in my home. :) *I added the starfish in photoshop. :)
Friday, July 27, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
It was the closest to depressed I have ever felt. After I left the library that day, I went to lunch with Paul. I just stared out the window. Even at my maddest, he can get me to smile. If you have been around me long enough, then you know under any circumstance, I can't help but smile, (at some point). It's a problem sometimes actually. :) Well, that day, he couldn't get me to smile.*
I honestly thought I was depressed.
Thankfully those symptoms were only there for a few hours. The rest of the week I was in physical pain. All over. It was terrible!
I did research on stress.
Everyone always says there are physical symptoms related to stress, and every time I heard that I thought they were crazy. When I am running late, it is not going to give me a stomach ulcer. When Annie spills her Pediasure on our brand new, 1,000 tc sheets, it is not going to make my hair fall out.
Well, in my research, I discovered there are two types of stress- the everyday stress like running late, and chronic stress.
I was experiencing chronic stress.
I had been under stress for at least 5 months at the time, but when I really started to think about it, my stress had been there for years.
First of all, in a 5 year period, my sister died, I got married, moved out of my parents house, graduated college, bought a house, fostered and lost our boys, adopted Annie, and moved across the state-for the first time in my life I was living away from my home town. While some of those are awesome events, they also bring about stress.
The biggest stress was the fact that I was not settled. You see, in 2007 I got married and moved out of my parents house into our one bedroom apartment. It was too small. Months later, we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment, and immediately planned on buying a house. So for the (almost) 2 years we were in the apartments, I never really allowed myself to settle. Then we built our house but immediately started talking about moving. Then we realized we had to stay for 3 years since we got money from the government for buying a new house. In those 3 years, we fostered, adopted and looked into moving- constantly. Although I decorated the house, I never really settled. Then we knew our 3 year mark was coming up so I began packing and Paul began looking for a job. We got the job across the state from my home town, and we moved.
Now, I must say here that I am completely in love with our little town! When we go back to Houston or Dallas, we feel stressed by the traffic, too sticky from the humidity, and too rushed by the fast pace of everything. We love small town life!
However, we moved out west to move into a hotel with a toddler and dog. For 2 months. Then we bought a house, only to find out we needed to get rid of that too. SO, for 3 months we "lived" in that house. By live I mean we stayed confined to our bed because the rest of the house was filled with boxes. So, if you are keeping track, that is 5 months confined to a room/bed with a toddler and dog.
Not to mention, I didn't have internet, tv, ANYTHING to keep myself occupied. I felt like I was going to go crazy.
By May I hit my breaking point. Having never truly settled down in 5 years, this hit an all time low when we did not settle in this town. I almost had a breakdown.
Not to mention, Annie had to sleep with us since January. 5 months with our baby in our bed. 5 months of not really being together. Sleeping together is more than just sex- its cuddling at 2 in the morning. It's snuggling while reading. It's late night talks. None of that occured- for 5 months. And yes, that includes sex too. I would be stating the obvious to say that having Annie in our bed for 5 months strained our marriage.
Thankfully we moved into our new house in June. I busted my tail for 2 weeks moving and settling in- just putting pictures in my house made me feel 100 times better. Paul and I sharing a bed again was amazing! It's nice to have my best friend back. :)
Then I worked at our church's VBS for a week- didn't get much moving in done then.
Then Annie started to sleep all day. From 8PM-1PM- that's when I'd wake her up! Who knows how long she would have actually slept. Obviously I couldn't get much done because she was sleeping all day, (I have to drive between the 2 houses to get boxes and I can't leave the house with her asleep).
We took her to Dallas and they sent us home cause nothing was wrong, except the sleeping was highly concerning. Whatever... another week of inactivity.
The next week the sleeping continued so we went back to Dallas and the ER once again sent us home. The next day I took her to a different hospital and asked that she see a neurosurgeon. She was operated on- another week of moving lost, (not to mention the stress of having a baby not normal for 2 weeks, but drs refused to care for her, and so I had to fight for her. Then she had to be operated on. Yeah, not stressful at all).
Then we came home and Annie and I were sick at the same time- no moving done again.
Then Paul was sick the week after that. Not much was done again.
Needless to say, settling in this house is vital for my mental and physical health.
I have been very proud of myself. Everyday since we have all been healthy, I have chipping away at the boxes. The first 2 weeks we lived here I worked nonstop. Annie is not allowing that right now, but I am not letting that stop me from still getting work done. Little by little, everyday, it must be done!
We just got our fridge yesterday. Yeah, so that would mean we have had to go out to eat for pretty much every meal since January. I am so sick of fast food.
Remember how I lost 25 pounds before the new year? Yeah, totally gained that all back- between being confined to a bed for months, and having to eat out since January. If that is not enough to stress/depress you, I don't know what is.
I have visitors coming in mid August- after that- I will be ramping up my eating healthy and exercise, and by February I can be at my goal weight, (according to my phone app that helped me lose the 25 pounds so easily).
Between now and then, I will finish moving in to this house. We are so close to being done. And, by done, I mean I will not have one box left, (except for seasonal stuff). We will be 100% settled in this house by mid August!
And yes, once we are settled, I post pics of the house. I know some of y'all have been dying to see those pics. :) Sorry, life has been quite crazy!
With all that being said, I am in love with our new town and our new house. I just need to get settled to relax. :)
*according to the research, at that moment I was responding to the stress with: Foot on the brake – A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I don't remember how it came about, but she told me that before she had her baby girl, she had lost a son. On April 9, 2009, he was 13 weeks along, she delivered him in a Target parking lot. Wow, so horrible!
Just the other day she sent me an email about abortion. I was about to get Internet again, so I marked it as read later. Then today I was on Facebook, and I saw links to a post that were titled the same as the link Leslie had sent.
I opened it and found that not only was it the same she sent me, but the mother and child mentioned on the blog post were her and her son!
It took my breath away. I emailed her to confirm that it was her story, (and not just a coincidence- but seriously, that would have been a huge coincidence). I also asked if I could share it here.
Here is the post that she sent me- you must see it. I confirmed that they actually are pictures of baby Jake! She was able to bring him home, snap these pics, and then bury him. WOW!
This is Annie's cousin Jake, and our cousin Leslie's hand.
Please keep the original post going, and feel free to share mine as well. I think it was important for me to show you that Jake and Leslie are not made up pro-life "propaganda"- they are real! They are in my family! Jake is Annie's cousin!
Friday, July 20, 2012
It has been almost 6 years, (that's impossible!).
Just the other day someone told my baby sister, (age 14 at the time of the accident, and age 19 now), that its time she got over it. Umm, yeah, not something you should say to someone. Ever.
You see, you can move on with your life, but a part of you is always missing. You can move on, but getting over it is something that never really happens. And that is ok. Yes, for mental health, mourning should only last for a season and grief will go on a little longer. But after all that, you will still never be the same. So have some compassion people! This is not something you get over. You will never forget it and it has changed you forever.
Just like yesterday's post I am talking about what NOT to say to people who are going through grief.
Something that has been said of me, (to my face and I am sure behind my back), is that I didn't love Tracie as much as others since I am taking it better than they did.
This couldn't be more FALSE.
I handled my grief very well. She died while I was in counseling, (literally, my mom called while I was in with my counselor!). I was also in college where I was one credit away from minoring in psychology, (if I did minor it would have counted against my degree plan and I would have had to take many more classes to graduate so I chose not to minor!).
I had a strong grasp and understanding of my mental health. I knew I had to deal with everything as it came. And I did.
More importantly, way more importantly, I was a Believer.
I mourned deeply for three days. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. It was awful. I was not sure if she was a Believer, (and therefore not sure if she was in Heaven or Hell). God revealed to me that she was a Believer, (so she was in Heaven), and after that my mourning lessened and turned into grief. I also learned so much about God's sovereignty then. I did not question why this happened and I still don't to this day. He is in control and that is all I need to know. Romans 8:28
Between my psychology and sovereignty understanding, it made getting through this tragedy easier. I did not say easy. Easier.
Everyone says the first year is the hardest- that is so true! After that year, the pain lessens everyday, but a part of you is always missing.
I am almost 26 and Tracie would be 24. There is a good chance she'd be married and could have kids, (if not now then soon). Do you see what a loss I have experienced? We'd be in the same stage of life, picking on our hubs together, ;) raising kids together, etc. The loss is huge, and there are reminders everywhere.
But, I do not let it run my life. I know she is in Heaven, and I know God has perfect plans for my life, and well, everyone's. He is good and that is all I need to know.
Just because I have handled her death well does not mean I love her less than others, nor does it mean that I had less of a relationship with her than others. We were less than 2 years apart! We shared a room as kids growing up. We'd beat each other senseless, then 5 minutes later be best friends again. We were sisters. Before October 6, I can't remember life without her.
So whether you think someone is taking too long to get over it, or didn't take long enough- you should keep your mouth shut.
Err on the side of compassion.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
I am writing this first part for people who have/are fostering with the hope of adopting. I am writing to help them deal with their grief after losing that child.
Tomorrow I will write about my sister, and dealing with that grief.
During grief people can say some pretty insensitive and hurtful things- without really meaning to. That is why I am posting this- in hopes of shedding some light on those items so they are not repeated.
I am about to write about family issues that arose because of our grief. If you are family and are reading this, I am not writing this to stir the pot. This is important to share for others' grief processes and I have no ill feelings towards anyone because of this. Please do not make this a "thing." :) I waited 2 years to post this, and it needs to be written. I am not using specifics because it is not important- as I said, I do not harbor ill will towards anyone...
July 22nd marks two years since we said goodbye to our sons.
For those new to our blog, or just needing a refresher, here is a quick reminder of what happened:
March 2010 we began adoption training. At this same time we did respite for two little boys. I was to watch them over spring break, so I kept them for a day as a trial run. I knew from that day that they were our sons. After the week with us, Paul and I were completely in love. Going from no kids to having 3 and 5 year old rambunctious boys in your house leaves a huge impact when they are not there. I mourned when the left. Literally.
Over the next few months, we got to see them sporadically, (once they showed up at a restaurant and begged to eat with us. Their foster family felt bad, but I would never have it any other way. It was heavenly!).
The boys apparently talked about us often. Woody, (the 5 year old), randomly asked all the time when he would get to live with me, (he had no idea we were planning on that very thing). Buzz would wake up in the middle of the night crying- not for his mother. not for his foster mom. FOR ME.
Regardless of what the world thought/said, we had chosen them as our sons, and they had chosen us as their parents. Forever.
July they were finally moving in with us! After 6 months we could fight to adopt them.
The DAY before they moved in, we got word that mom suddenly, (after 9 months of doing NOTHING), wanted her kids back. We knew, (if cps did their job), the earliest they would leave us would be about October. Match that with the hope that if mom took her time and we could make it to the 6 month mark, we could fight for them- we had hope.
A week later, we got word they would go home by the start of school. We had a month.
A week later we got a call- they were being picked up at 8 am the next day.
We lost them in 2 weeks instead of the few MONTHS it was supposed to take.
I do not want to speak poorly about cps, (they did help Annie after all), but in our boys' case- they royally messed up, (this is not just me saying this- people from different agencies, people that know how the system is supposed to work... they agree with me too). You see, mom saw the boys for a total of 4 hours in the 2 weeks, and those 4 hours were at a cps office, under cps supervision. When we got Annie, it took a month of transitioning her into our home- with cps watching- to make sure it was a good placement. When a child is taken away by cps- it is supposed to take long to transfer them back home as well. After messing up enough for cps intervention, parents need to prove that they have changed, etc. In this case, their was no proof of anything.
Ok, so my quick refresher took a little while longer than I intended...
A week after we lost the boys we were scheduled to go to my cousin's wedding in Austin, a weekend affair. With 2 rambunctious boys, (and for other reasons that I have forgotten), we knew all of us would not go to the wedding. Woody would stay home and have a special weekend with Paul, and Buzz would come with me.
After suddenly, (with only a few hours warning), losing the boys, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a wedding, especially for a whole weekend.
If the wedding was just for a night, I would have gone. If the wedding was a month later, I could have gone.
I knew I would be surrounded by people celebrating, and I would be thinking about how I had been dreaming of dancing the night away with Buzz- he was quite the dancer. :) I would be in full grief mode, and I did not want to take away from the bride. :)
I also knew they would not understand my grief, and having dealt with quite a bit of grief in my life, I knew the best thing for me was to stay away.
I emailed my entire family explaining my I couldn't come and asking for my feelings to be respected.
I was flooded with emails/phone calls- not of encouragement, hugs and prayers- but of people trying to convince me to go to the wedding.
One family member said something to the effect of, "as a foster parent you knew you'd lose them so it can't be that hard." Yeah, say that to someone who is losing a loved one to an illness, see how well that goes over.
We knew we'd lose them, IN OCTOBER. And there was still hope we could keep them. So 2 weeks was a shock and way too soon, (not to mention the fact the cps didn't do their job so it was maddening to know the boys were going home to an unstable/possibly dangerous environment).
This was exactly the reason I was avoiding the wedding. That was the last thing I needed to hear.
Then another family member called to say how upset they were that I mentioned that losing them was the hardest thing I ever had to do. You see, my sister was killed in a car accident October 2006. In their eyes, they thought I was saying this was harder than that. First of all, what if it was? This is my heart we are talking about, not yours. But that's not the point. I said it was the hardest thing I had to DO. When Tracie died I didn't have to DO anything- all I had to do was mourn.
I didn't have to hold her in my arms and tell her I'd never see her again. I didn't hold her and tell her that I couldn't be her mommy anymore. I didn't have to let her leave, knowing where she was going was much worse than where she was, (if the boys had been transitioned properly then I could have trusted this decision of cps).
Losing my sister was the hardest thing I have DEALT with- the most grief I have experienced. Losing the boys was the hardest thing I had to DO. See the difference? Receiving a phone call about this at that time was not easy to deal with, nor was it appropriate, (we're talking days after they left).
As I said, what if I had taken losing them harder than losing my sister? How to you control your grief- how can you, an outsider, know the pain I am feeling? Anyway, it was just insensitive. Absolutely no ill feelings towards this person. :)
Also, when my sister died, no one questioned my grief and we were supported by so many people. That support goes on to this day, which I will write about tomorrow.
When we lost the boys, we were truly supported by only a hand full of people, and only truly understood by a few.
Do you know how toxic it is to try to grieve and deal with all those emotions when people don't get it, or when they think it is not a big deal? I had to put my mental health first in this situation. Grief can take years, and I wanted this to be a good grief- something I dealt with and moved on so to speak.
I am not mad at either family member, but it solidified my decision not to go. I was contacted by many other family members as well, and they were all the same. They were not meaning to be rude, or to cause me harm, but as I said, it was just toxic.
They didn't get it and probably still don't. Many of you reading this now may not get it either, and that is why I am writing it all out for you.
This past March, we were at adoption training again. I was talking to a woman, telling her the boys' story, and her face contorted with anguish and she asked, "how did you get through that?!"
I smiled and began to say my usual answer of knowing God's sovereignty, Romans 8:28, etc... but then the tears came.
I rarely cry over the boys anymore, and it is usually because I hear a song, (music is very important to me- for grieving, for praising, etc).
Well, out of nowhere I was overcome with emotion at the fact that someone understood my pain, and knew it was real. Like it was ok to grieve. I was surprised by these tears.
As I said, I harbor no ill feelings to my family. I only shared it for others to see:
1. If you do not get a foster parent's grief, then say nothing. If they ask for space/time to grieve, respect that.
2. If you do have sympathy, but not empathy, give the sympathy- it is greatly appreciated!
3. and finally, if you have empathy- whether from experience, or like the lady at the adoption training- you just have empathy- definitely show it. It is greatly needed.
If you are considering foster to adopt, and are scared, don't be. It hurt to lose the boys, but they will always be apart of our family, and remember: we adopted Annie the same way. The boys hurt, but Annie was worth the risk! AND, the boys were worth our pain- read on:
Another dumb thing people would say was, "don't get too attached." Below I listed a few links to old posts- read the one titled Guarded Heart. You'll see what I had to say in response.
This song goes right along with that response. I heard it earlier this year and lost it. Like I said, I rarely cry over the boys, but this killed me. It was as if the writer of the song read my blog post, and my mind, and then wrote this song.*
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XyDxHw-MdjE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>iframe>
If video is not showing up, here is the link for the song: All Of Me
Here are some things I never wrote about at that time, but they are important to mention for my memory at least:
- I can't remember when, but it was spring/early summer 2010- and a friend turned to me and mentioned me having the boys soon. I lost it right there in church. I could NOT wait to have them home with me. I tried to laugh off my tears as hormones, but she stopped me. She hugged me and said that it was not hormones. It was ok to want the boys so desperately. ♥ thanks B.R.
- I would call Woody, Buzz or Jersey, "Angel," and Buzz would turn to me and say, " No Mommy, you a angel." ♥
- The day the boys left we went for a drive. We didn't go anywhere, just drove for hours. I did not want to be home. I was flipping to music on my iPod, (I'm telling you, music is super important to me), and came to, "You'll Be in My Heart." Cue tears. This song, as well as Matt's song above are my songs for the boys.
Here are old posts from 2 years ago. Please read them. I just did and it amazes me to see where we were. I am so so so so so thankful for this blog! I always have been, but I am most thankful for the posts we did about the boys. It's nice to go back and remember, ya know?
Bad to Worse
This is Hard
*song was written when he knew he would lose his child to a heart defect after birth. The had just celebrated his first birthday when this song was released. :) Jehovah - Rapha :)
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
One thing I absolutely regret, but I didn't even think about it until yesterday- I wish I would have gotten a family portrait of the 4 of us. I have pics of me with the boys, Paul with the boys but not one of all 4 of us. :(
Monday, July 16, 2012
When I found this shirt i def got choked up and had to fight back tears. I knew i wanted to save it...for now I put it on her baby doll. :)
Sunday, July 15, 2012
We are thrilled that my BFF is having a girl this fall! Annie's cousin Olivia will be hitting the hand me down jackpot! You see, Annie has had some clothes for two years now,(only wearing them one or twice).
I don't care if next summer she's still in 12mths- we're handing them down! Lol So before we do, I'm having Annie wear them one last time. Say hello to a precious hand me down that was given to Annie and will now be handed down to Olivia. :)
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Last night around 9, I heard Annie over the monitor. She never talks, cries, our makes a peep in bed.
Her voice grew louder, and I was finally able to make out, "I want to go see Mommy."
I knew better than to run in, and so I waited for her to cry.
I was so torn! I want her to know that when she calls Mommy, Mommy comes. But, I don't want her to become manipulative.
She repeated this heart wrenching phrase for over 45 minutes.
I even asked my Mom if there was a specific amount of time I should wait until finally relieving her.
But at the same time as that text, Annie must have fallen asleep.
Then at 8 am, "I want to go see Mommy." I think my days of sleeping late may be over. ;)
I passed this super hard test with flying colors. During the 45 minute test, Paul was surprised I lasted so long! I told him he was jealous, and that if she had been calling for daddy he couldn't have held out as long. ;)
It was a bittersweet test! Sweet because she was calling out for me, and so bitter because she was calling out for me for 45 minutes. (she took breaks, but it lasted 45 minutes as a whole).
I'm pleased to announce that not rushing to Annie last night did not cause her any distress or damage. Be strong Mamas! Remember, they are mini manipulators- don't give in unless it is absolutely necessary!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
We were watching Shrek Forever After, (Annie's new love-she quotes it and we watch it daily), and I look over and she's like this. I did not set her up or anything. Also, I keep her at the center of our bed for safety. Yep, she scooted over to my pillow and propped up her feet-herself! Smart Princess. Next she'll be asking for a sweet tea and for me to fan her. ;)