Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Pictures

Here are some of our summer moments in cell phone pictures!

The boys got their "box" on at a friend's graduation party

Sand Fun on Vacation

The boys have eaten more than their body weight in watermelon, this summer!

Ty discovered a real love for puzzles.

Just another day "cruis'n" the neighborhood.

We are spending countless hours at one of the beautiful Michigan lakes a few minutes from our house.

The boys asked if they could wash my car. When I came out to check on them, they were also washing their mini cooper. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen!

Pirate Camp Day 1: LJ says, "Mom. I'm black and you gave me a red beard - you can't even see it!"
Pirate Camp Day 2
I hope your summer has been as fun as ours!!! We are meeting with our Foster License case worker, tonight. It's just an update, but we are excited about who the year might bring....

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I have been falling in love with my family, all over, again, this summer.

I credit the slowed pace and sun-shiny days. A few nights ago, Ty was having a hard time sleeping, while LJ snoozed away. I called Ty out of his room and snuggled with him on the couch. I don't remember anything special about our time; only that it was just that...time. Since most of our family time is spent with all four of us, the one-on-one interactions are sweet.

We had a repeat incident, tonight, in reverse. Ben headed out for the night and Ty was fast asleep, but I heard LJ whistling to himself on his top bunk. I put my book aside and called him out to the living room to settle in for some mommy and me time. I wasn't prepared for what God had in store for me.

LJ and I have continued to struggle in our relationship. He loves me just fine, but most days I don't think he likes me very much. He always prefers Ben's company and trying to talk to him is like pulling teeth. His answers are clipped; his mind distracted. Completely opposite from Ty.

I love LJ as my own and feel a deep drawing to connect with him, but so far, our moments have been few and far between. Even though our conversation, tonight, still jumped from place to place, LJ never stopped looking into my eyes. It was like we clicked. For the first 16 months.

After a few moments of tickling and cuddling, the conversation went [pretty much] just like this.

LJ do you know how much mommy loves you?
 I'm so glad you are in our family. Did you know that you lived with five families before coming home to me and daddy and Ty?
 Do you remember anything about the families you lived with? You had lots of mommies.
 And daddies?
 No, actually your daddy is the first daddy you've ever had.
 Did you see me jumping in the water with my daddy? [We went to the beach, today.]
 Yes. You are my brave, brave boy.
 Giggle. I am very brave.
 Do you know that God is going to use you to do BIG things for him?
 Yes. Because not only are you brave, but  you are such a lover. You have a big HUGE heart that never stops loving.
 I'm going to drive a police car!
You are? Well that is a very brave job to have. Why do you want to be a policeman?
Because they go right to the emergencies!
That's right. That's why they have to be so brave. Hey, wasn't that cool that those girls got adopted in the movie we watched, tonight? [Despicable Me]
Would you like to adopt little sisters...or would you rather have a little brother.
A brother! I would teach him how to swim to the raft. And then I would show him how to hold his knee and do a cannon ball...just like that big humungous kid at the raft.
 Oh -
 Do you know who else does canon balls like that?
 No. Captain Hook!
Oh...I didn't know Captain Hook did canon balls. LJ, you will be such a good big brother. Your little brother will learn all sorts of cool things from you.
 I really like your eyelashes, Mama. Did you know that spiders don't have eyelashes?'re probably right about that.
 And they don't drink coffee. Only daddies.
 I held back a laugh. You're probably right about that, too. Can we go back to our conversation about you living in lots of homes? Do you remember anything about your other mommies, honey?

I remember when you and daddy came to get me... [His eyes looked lost for a minute.]

I held back tears. You do?
Instead of answering, right away, he hugged my neck tight. Then he said, "I love you mommy. I'm glad you are my mommy...." and after a long pause, he added, "....forever."
I held LJ tight for a long time and couldn't say anything past the lump in my throat. I don't know what's locked away behind those deep eyes, but I know that God has lifted his countenance. It's hard sometimes, in the challenging moments, to decipher whether we're dealing with LJ's personality, past experiences, or typical four year old behavior (since our other four year old thinks he's six).

Our conversation, tonight, was confirmation to my heart that our son is going to be more than okay. He might be moody and busy and full of jump-high energy, but he is also creative and thoughtful and funny. He just needs to express things in his own time.

As we grow together, I might end up being his go-to confidante when he's wrestling with thoughts or pain. Or I might not be. I might only get glimpses into his heart here and there. I'm okay with either scenario...because in both scenarios I get to be his mom. I get to experience him and enjoy him and allow God to use him to shape my own life.

I remember the day his daddy and I came to get him too...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Just in Case

I didn't intentionally take a hiatus, but we've had a really crazy month of planned and unplanned travel.

We've worked through the disappointments of having to turn down our dream house and losing LJ's sister to another family. We are, currently, in a state of fulfillment. We are enjoying our family and taking in the best part of living in Michigan...summer (Ben would actually argue that it's fall)! We know that our family won't always be this size, so we're enjoying the time, while we have it. In the past month, the boys finished their first year of preschool, attended their first VBS, Ty turned four, and we just got back from our annual vacation, "up north".

You might remember me blogging about this trip, last year, because LJ had a very difficult time. He had only been living with us for three months at that point and didn't understand the concept of vacation...He cried every night to go home...wherever and with whomever that might have been - we didn't know.

This year's experience was wildly different. He's different.

Truth be told, he's hardly recognizable. After the week was up, on the way home, LJ said, "Mom, I really want to go home." No sadness; just readiness. Unlike his shaky understanding of what home meant when he cried for it, last year, he knows home, now...and knows we'll always go back. He knows family and that we're always going to be it.

Such an incredible transformation.

When we got home, we had a large envelope from Lutheran Social Services waiting for us. Our renewal application for our foster license. My heart did more of a flop than a flip. I'm really enjoying time with just the boys, right now. I flashed the packet at Ben and said, "Do you want to renew this thing? We're going to have to renew it, again, once we move."

It was my way of saying, "It's okay if we pass, right now."

My level-headed, quietly passionate husband said, "Yah. We better. Just in case."

Just in case....