Friday, March 27, 2015


We so enjoyed recharging on our staycation.

We are getting deep into schoolbooks, trying to hurry through our books. This year was one of the best homeschooling years ever. I love the curriculum we are using. It is thorough and easy to for the kids to do on their own. It teaches lots of basic fundamental skills etc.. However, it does not flow easily with our "go with the flow" schedule and I am struggling with how to wrap up the year.

Someone washed my camera in the bathroom sink.. I think that possibly with the help of a bowl full of rice, it may work again.

We are so wishing for warm weather. We are itching to get outside. I did rake up sticks and weeds in the yard tonight. I spring cleaned my basement and am thinking of starting upstairs. But I need sunshine for motivation!

We purchased a baby goat named Daisy. She is the cutest little thing and loves to run and play with the kids.

Life is slowing down. We had no appointments this week, altho I did have to take the mini van to get a tire fix. I also had to get a new drivers license. But other then that we have been home, doing school, babysitting, hanging out.

My son wants to go hiking on the Appalachian trail. So he is currently "training".  I am proud of his willingness to work hard.

Sometimes homeschooling is extremely frustrating and I feel like certain children of mine will never ever catch up. I think I shall ship them all off to private school. But then I talk to my friends who have kids in private school and I decide that I would rather have my own problems.

April is coming up.. It is always a bittersweet month. We are currently praying for another April miracle.

I am sooo dreaming of summer already. We will not do fulltime babysitting but will keep enough hours to cover what we need. We will be doing summer school for Nesiah and summer camp for the others.. Now if I can just coordinate all their schedules I may have some free time.

But first before summer, all 6 of my kids have medical or dental appointments. I like to get all the major appointments for everyone, out of the way before summer. July and August should be completely free of scheduled medical appointments.

These are the ramblings of my mind. No major drama this week, no major appointments, no major anything. My life feels downright normal!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Staycation 2015"

I did not carry my camera everywhere on this vacation. The pictures I did get were few and far between. The extra space in my bag was traded in for breathing meds etc.  I was determined to make the most of this vacation and focus on the kids...

Day #1 we were home in the morning, watching movies, hanging out, and finished up packing (for our then canceled vacation)
We took Nesiah to our friend's, intending for her to stay for the week. 
We had Chinese for dinner and watched a Mandie movie.

Day #2 of vacation we made the decision to NOT go to Williamsburg. Read my previous posts for our reasons..
We ended up at a friend's for lunch and snowmobile rides. 

Day #3 We decided to make the most of this "staycation". We visited The Turkey Hill Experience. The kids absolutely love that place and are already begging to go back! We also stopped to pick up Lady and all of Nesiah's stuff, as she was coming home on the bus. (Nesiah goes to school so she is often on a different schedule from our homeschool schedule)

Day #4,  Day 3 had been rather exhausting for the sick one and for momma, who was running on fumes. So day 4 was an easy day. We went to the library, where everyone got a stack of books and  some movies. We had a fun day watching movies. (Normally I only allow movies on rainy days or when I need a break, never, ever all day movies. So this was a huge treat!)

Each evening one kid would chose what they wanted to make for dinner from the special food we had purchased the week before! We had some fun treats that are normally not on our gluten free, sugar free menu! 

Day #5 We watched movies in the am. After lunch we packed up and headed out to Sight and Sound to see Moses! We have been trying to get over there for almost a year, so this was fun and highly anticipated day! 

Day #6 We headed out to our favorite little creative reuse shop. Lancaster Creative Reuse! We had fun making crafts and using our imaginations! We stopped by Chik Fil A for ice cream treats on the way home! 

Day #7 we had planned to clean our house, do some laundry then go to Herr's Pototae Factory, but I sorta messed that one up. So we were unable to go. Instead I let the kids choose what they wanted to do after our cleaning was done... The boys chose to set up their tent in the yard and "pretend" camp, while the girls painted nails and watched movies.

Day #8 our last day of vacation! We did our normal Saturday morning, pancakes and Adventures in Odyssey. I had made arrangements for my friend to watch the 2 little ones in the evening, so we could go out for dinner and Saturday night church! This is one of our favorite Saturday night traditions.

We had sandwiches and ice cream at Udder Choice, then off to church! It was such a good message following the week I had. The perfect way to end a #makinglemonade staycation.

In the end the kids all agreed that this was a great vacation and that they all had a great time! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sovereignty of God

The kids were not happy when our much anticipated vacation to Colonial Williamsburg had to be canceled. Saturday was a long, hard day for me. I was exhausted, worried about the asthmatic one and sad for my big kids. I hate when I can not keep promises to my kids.

Saturday the big kids did really well. I had been up the majority of the night before, they played quietly while I napped. Once I was rested, we went to drop off Nesiah and Lady. I picked up chinese and a movie. We have been saving for this vacation and had not had chinese in several months so this was a huge treat.

Saturday night was awful, not only was I dealing with a sick kid, but the reality that I was going to break my kids hearts. They were going to need to give up yet another  fun event.

Sunday morning I informed them that we could not go that day and possibly not at all. I was texting the lady in charge of the retreat, trying to work out details to postpone our trip.

My kids were angry and rightly so. I gave them space to deal with their emotions. We had a long chat about answered prayers and hard things in life.

See this is the thing, God has answered so many prayers for us. My friends all joke that if they want something, they will simply ask us to pray for it for them. My kids wanted to know exactly why God would not answer this prayer for healing. Did God not know that they wanted to have fun? Did God not want them to have fun?

 We believe that God gives us the desires of our hearts. BUT ONLY IF THEY ALIGN WITH HIS PLAN FOR US. We believe that God is sovereign, which means that sometimes He will not give us what we want, because it is not His best for us.

We talked about dealing with accepting hard things, accepting when we don't get things we want. We hashed out why God would not give them what they/we wanted.

We talked about feeling upset and angry but not focusing on the negative.

(Several weeks ago I was at an adoption training. The trainer shared something that stuck with me. So many biological parents were not taught/given the tools to handle crisis or hard things. They do not have the ability to manage life's curve balls. We have coping skills, learned from life experiences in a healthy family. So many biological parents do not have that and when life comes at them with hard things they self medicate or self destruct)

So I decided this was a teaching moment. A time to teach and model how to handle big disappointments in life.

We also believe that when God says "no" then we need to make the best out of what we have. "Life is hard, deal with it" is one of my mantras.

So as we were discussing and venting, my friend texted me. They invited us over for lunch and snowmobile rides. The attitude in our house changed pretty quickly with that invitation. We were thankful for friends and the kids angry attitudes softened.

Sunday night was not great. I decided that it was now time to salvage this vacation.

My friend is also one who always helps me sort out life and see the light when I am drowning. She and I had a good discussion on how to salvage our vacation, how to make it fun and how to regroup.

At this point the kids were open to alternatives because really Saturday and Sunday had been fun, despite the disappointments.

So we decided to do a staycation. The only problem was, we still had the health issues to contend with. So we are taking each day as it comes. So far it has been quite fun. We made a list of things we would like to see and do, using the money put aside for the Williamsburg vacation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Hard Things in Life..

We have had a hard year. The kids have done great with the roller coaster ride of foster care. They have learned much compassion and made many sacrifices.  They love deeply and care to much.

I decided to take them on a vacation as a reward. Family vacations are a wonderful bonding time for us. We love to travel and hang out together away from the stress of every day life.

We did some research on vacations.We wanted to celebrate some pretty big deal answers to prayers, while making fun memories.

We used to go camping, but no longer can due to unbloggable illnesses.

We have to have handicapped accessible, large family accessible, single parent friendly and allergen free vacation spots. Yes, I always ask "does the room/house have new paint, new carpeting, is it smoke free and is it pet free? Does it have room for 7 people? Is it handicapped accessible? Is there room to park a 15 passenger van with a side lift? Is it a safe area for a single mom and young kids"

We found the perfect spot. A large family, homeschool retreat in Williamsburg Va. It met all my criteria. Bonus, it was educational!!

I spend hours, making arrangements for Nesiah to stay at respite, for someone to care for our animals, for someone to dog sit, for transportation for Nesiah from respite to school, and for all foster care permissions to travel. Not to mention preparing food for the week, packing all the kids and all the meds, everything but the kitchen sink!

We made costumes for the boys. The kids counted down the days.. We were soo excited. I went to great lengths to make sure that the week prior to going was to be stressfree, so I could be calm and relaxed in prepping that final packing/prep work.

First someone reacted to cat hair brought in on our little kiddoe that we babysit. We had a rough two days. Then that same someone contracted pink eye. We visited the pediatrician on Wed.

We also had 3 caseworker visits, our monthly visits, and 3 days of snow and ice.

My birthday happened too along with the biggest snow storm of the year.

Friday I called the specialist and the pediatrician the illnesses were worse.. they continued to worsen over the weekend. There was little sleeping, lots of nebulizer treatments and lots of worrying. There was even a late night, on really icy roads, trip to the ER.

so Saturday morning we made the decision to postpone our vacation. The much anticipated vacation. The kids were heartbroken, but were fervently praying that we could still leave the next day. We packed everything into the van, dropped Nesiah off with a friend and made sure everything was ready to leave first thing the next morning.

Saturday night was awful. Really awful.
Sunday morning, we decided that it still wasn't wise to travel. The kids were angry. We unpacked the van.

Monday morning I announced a change of plans... We were going to do a "staycation" instead of going to Williamsburg.

More to come...