Logistics of our Home

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me through the past few weeks and very few posts. We have had quite a busy few weeks. Two vacations/getaways out-of-state, a brand new 15-year-old daughter, two birthdays, transitions at work and more work, and appointments out the wazoo. My blog wasn’t the only thing to suffer; my legs and waist were also getting a little more rounder than I cared for as I never had the chance to get to the gym either.

The reason for my absence is that our life has been a scheduling/logistic nightmare. Maybe “nightmare” is too strong of a word to use, but it has made life more arduous. Our new daughter is doing outstanding. She is an amazing young lady and we have really enjoyed having her join our family. She is in foster care and will be with us an extended amount of time…no one knows for sure how long…but it could easily be a year or up to three years. To keep her transition as minimal as possible we left her in the school she was already attending, instead of switching her to our school district. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the school from our house, which isn’t that big of a deal (because work is halfway there!). HOWEVER, school starts at 7:30 am and gets out at 1:50 pm. And if you ask me, THESE ARE CRAZY HOURS for any student. We have to leave the house every morning in the dark at 7am; and I can assure you that I’ve heard more than once that she wished she didn’t have math at 7:30 every morning.

This schedule alone through a kink in everthing in our home. All the sudden I couldn’t go to the gym in the mornings from 6-7am. Which meant I had to start squeezing in workouts during lunch, which means I can’t really leave right after lunch to pick her up from school, which means I have to stay later at work in the afternoon, which means we need our nanny longer each day, which means I see my other two children less, which means I have less time to prepare dinner each day, which means I have to depend on my husband more for EVERYTHING (he is really pulling us through and is doing so JOYFULLY)…and so the chain reaction continues.

We started a “new schedule” this week and it has helped everything flow a little better. But we still have to juggle all the afternoon appointments, special meetings, court hearings and everything else that goes along with having a new foster child. And on top of that, all the normal teen activities.

But the point of this post is really to say the logistics of our home are starting to fall in place once again. I hope only for improvement over the next few weeks, which means I should be free to post again more often!

Talk to you SOON!

Trip to Connecticut and Boston, MA

Our last trip of the year is over! And it was a lot of fun. All three children took their first airplane ride – final destination was Hartford, CT for a wedding. They enjoyed the plane – but Jasper had a hard time staying still. We spent 4 extra days gallivanting around the state and also made our way up to Boston. It was a great vacation, but I’m so thankful that we don’t have any more travel plans this year. Connecticut was absolutely gorgeous. The trees were in the middle of changing colors, and the large, rolling hills were awesome. It was a beautiful state. On the other hand, McDonalds was about $2 per meal more expensive – and so were other places. However seafood was reasonably priced and more delicious than anything in Florida – so that was sweet! I was really glad the food was good – I hate going on vacations where there is only bad, expensive food. To the extent that we have considered planning on future trips around ensuring good food. (I’m funny that way, but on our honeymoon in Tortola the food was about $20 a plate at the cheapest and completely GROSS, and we had to pay over $50 a plate for anything that tasted good– this had an long-lasting effect on me)

On our trip we made several tourist stops, including:
1) visiting Mystic Seaport in Connecticut where we walked around a recreated 1800’s fishing village, heard a lecture on whaling and saw the tiny boat that used to be used for it, toured other old buildings, took a horse and buggy ride, spent 30 minutes in a planetarium learning how to locate navigating stars (amazingly Petra stayed quiet; Jasper took a nap), played on smaller boats and in the absolutely most perfect playroom made especially for young children.
2) eating an amazing dinner at a restaurant on the water, the meal included very sweet LOBSTER!
3) riding on an old steam engine train and taking a tour-guided river boat on the Connecticut River. The train took us to the boat, then after the boat ride we rode the train once again back to the train station. It was a cold day – we sat in the parlor car and drank hot chocolate!
4) visiting Boston and seeing the Boston Harbor, the location of the Boston Massacre, and briefly viewing other historic buildings. We also ate some fabulous ice cream and the little children took their first carousel ride.
5) visiting the CT state capitol and several playgrounds and parks in between.

We had a lot of fun, but the children demonstrated some of their worst behavior. And it made us realize we need to do more parenting and instructing. So high on the agenda these days is building Godly character. We’ve focused more time this week on learning to be polite and considerate of others, as well as obedience.

Here is a slide show of our trip. Hope you enjoy!

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We celebrated Jasper’s 2nd birthday last week! He is doing outstanding.

I’ve been slow getting this post up because 1) we have a new daughter so the addition has been keeping me hopping, and 2) we are currently on vacation in Connecticut for a wedding this weekend. 

Jasper’s birthday was a LOT of fun! He was so excited over each and every gift to the point that we had to set presents aside and give them to him later, so in the end he opened presents over a three day period.  We definitely overdid it; but we also really enjoyed it. For his birthday he got a new Strider bike and helmet, matchbox cars, more cars, cars books, rainboots, and a firetruck – some from us, some from the nanny, and some from grandparents.

He is loving his new bike. It is so neat to see how children can use these. And at one point, he had all his new cars in a gift bag hanging on his bike, and was riding his bike, with his new boots on, while he was pulling his new firetruck. Here are some photos:

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Overall he is doing great. His motor skills are still outstanding. He can jump several inches off the ground, run and kick a ball, will jump in the pool and kick up to the top of the water, walk on a big balance beam by himself, stand on one foot, do handstands with his feet against the wall, can steer toys and bikes, and probably more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

His verbal skills are getting better. He can say two words together now on a regular basis, like “watch me,” “ride bike,” etc. He is saying new words every day and will try to copy words that you ask him to say. He is doing so much better with talking which I’m really happy about.

And the most unexpectant surprise is that he went potty #2 two days before he turned two! I was very happy about this seeing as I wasn’t planning on even trying to potty train him for many more months. Over the last week he has continued to use the potty about 5 more times! I’m not pressuing anything, just asking he if wants to go.

And in case you are interested, here is a video of children riding some Strider bikes. There are no pedals on these bikes, instead children use their own feet and learn to balance on a bike without training wheels.

Our 6th Wedding Anniversary

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On Saturday we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary! We have had an incredible marriage and I’m so thankful for the man God gave me. He is an wonderful husband and father. And we have been very blessed over the last 6 years.

This week has been awesome. We welcomed a 15-year-old young lady in our home through foster care. I’m not going to sugar coat this …. the first day or two that I knew she was coming were definitely full of concern. I had a queasy stomach…but it turns out it was mostly from the alfredo pasta I ate after the mud run last weekend. Once that passed I was fine. A little worried about the stress a teenager would bring along, but ready for it. Petra did a great job of breaking the ice for us all…running outside to greet her with a great big HELLO!- with Jasper only a few steps behind. And the few moments of trepidation and concern I had, were very quickly replaced with joy and blessings. She has been an absolute delight and I’m already so thankful for her.

In case you are wondering, we were licensed as foster parents only for 0-5 year olds, and placement had us down for 0-3 year olds. So the phone call for a teenager came at a surprise. This was actually the second time I was asked to take her. About three weeks ago her guardian ad litem, whom I know, asked if I was interested in a passing conversation. And then about 2 weeks later another friend working with foster care asked if I would take her. And so we did.

With the new family addition, we didn’t want to leave everyone at home while we went on a date. So instead, we headed to the Panama City Beach for the day with the family. It was a great afternoon on the beach. The weather was perfect. Not at all windy. And perfectly warm. There were not any waves. And the water was shallow for about 50 feet out so it was perfect for the toddlers. We all spent a lot of time looking for shells, crabs and other interesting sea life. We found lots of hermit crabs walking along the bottom. And found some perfect shells. We saw fish swimming around. Watched the parasailing, jet skis, boats, ATVs, paddle boats, surfers, helicopters, planes,  and it was bike week … Jasper loved watching all the motorcycles.

I hope you enjoy the photos. There were not any of me…no one else picked up the camera…I forgot to ask. So I will try to get a photo of us as a couple this week.