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Lost Friendship & Lessons Learned

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Our friendship began when we were nearly 11 years old. It was magnetic. She got me and I got her at a time in our lives when we were beginning to mature into the women we'd become. I trusted her enough to be vulnerable with my feelings and she was one of the rare people who saw me cry. Our friendship continued through high school and we decided to be roommates at college. It made sense, cause we already spent most of our time together.

We continued to room together through college and during our senior year, my then boyfriend asked me to marry him. I said yes. It was so exciting but much to my surprise, something shifted with our friendship. I didn't understand it then and instead got defensive. Why isn't she happy for me? Why is she ignoring me? Why does she seem angry and distant?

But I didn't say anything and I should have. We carried on semi-normally, and I asked her to be my maid of honor. She agreed with tears in her eyes and I felt like maybe we were back on tra…

5 Things to Learn From Grandpa's Life

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My Grandpa passed away yesterday. It was a fast and heartbreaking loss for my family. As I laid down last night, tears overwhelmed me as I thought of his life. He was an incredibly simple, loving, and hardworking man. Throughout my childhood you could always find Grandpa either restoring old tractors, helping Grandma fix a meal, watching old westerns, or giggling with his high pitched laugh about something one of the kids did. I realized last night that his life is really the opposite of what we are taught in my generation and I'm so inspired by it. To honor his legacy, here are 5 things to learn from Grandpa Arnold's life: 
1. A simple life is not a life without impact. Grandpa has lived with my Grandma in a trailer home on land that is not his for my entire childhood. It's small. They have wild cats on the porch. Meals at their home would some times only be sweet corn and muskmelon. The living room consists of a 1980's television and three chairs - one for Grandma, o…

The Difference Between Foster Care & Private Adoption

It's a question I get often: What's the difference between foster care and private adoption when starting the process?

They really are two different worlds! I thought going into the private adoption world with our second adoption would be fairly easy since we'd been through a foster care adoption. Boy, was I wrong! In light of this, I thought I'd break it down for anyone deciding which direction they want to go and how to get started.

FOSTER CARE:

Most people think of DCFS when inquiring about foster care, but there are smaller agencies that contract with the state to provide foster care services. For instance, we went through LCFS (Lutheran Children and Family Services). The benefit of going to a smaller agency is that they often don't have as big of a case load per case worker. For you as the foster parent, that means it can be easier to contact them and get your questions answered. To become a licensed foster parent, prospective foster parents are required to ha…

Parenting is Hard & Sanctifying

"This won't be the last time that doctor appointments feel heavy and clinical terms seem overwhelming, but I promise you will never be alone in the struggle."

I wrote this nearly a year ago and little did I know how true that specific line would be. This last month has been hard. It's involved lots of different appointments, medication changes, and big emotions {from both of us}.

I think, as parents, we can get so wrapped up in our children's emotions that we forget to feel and process our own emotions. Legit, most of my days are "I see you're feeling _____" or "It's okay to be mad but it's not ok to do ______ when we're mad" or "Do you need a hug?" or "Can you try that again with kind words?" It takes a lot of effort to be the emotional regulator without losing your own emotion control all. day. long.

Sunday morning we had a particularly rough morning with J. His emotions were high and when his emotions are…

Being a Boymom & My Daughter

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I thought that I was destined to be a boymom. 
I used to have bike races and dig in the dirt with the neighborhood boys and all through school most of my closest friends were boys. They were easy to get along with and didn't have all the complexities of what many female friendships often brought. They accepted me for me, cause let's be honest - I can be quirky. 
I've also always been a daddy's girl. We'd shoot hoops, work on landscape sites together, pretend we were in the WWE (I claimed Sting, while he claimed Hulk Hogan), and watch OSU beat Michigan year after year. I guess, I was what some would call a tomboy. 
Females were intimidating to me and many times I felt unaccepted by them. So, being a boymom felt comfortable. It's what I knew and what came easy to me. 
But then, she entered my world in late June.  A girl means periods and prom dresses and boobs and body image and wedding dresses and hormones...all things that I stumbled through, at best. Can you t…

Waiting & Learning to be Still

When I'm particularly anxious, it drives me to keep busy. I want to avoid the situation causing the stress with movement and busyness. The last couple of weeks have been filled with anxiousness as we await the newest addition to our family. When the kids are awake, I'm hustling them to parks, play dates, and running errands. When they are down for a nap, I'm busy with everything and anything in the house - folding laundry (and actually putting it away because it's time consuming), doing dishes, vacuuming, and picking up toys.

When all of the chores are done and I actually sit still, I find myself wanting an escape from my thoughts. Sleep has become difficult. I'm distracting myself with mindless phone games, television, and pinning decor ideas on Pinterest until my thoughts are numb enough to fall asleep. I go to yoga once a week to "relax" but last week I literally had to walk out in the middle of it because my stomach was in knots.

It's hard for me …

Why Mommy Cried & Your Potential

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J,

The doctor explained, "He's a good boy. He has a good heart. He just has an impairment with impulse control and regulating emotions." I felt the tears well up in my eyes and allowed them to flow freely. He was saying exactly everything I knew to be true in my heart, yet felt weary of at the same time. You quickly came to my side after playing intently with the toys and asked, "Mommy, why are you crying?" I didn't have much of an answer in the moment but I want you to know it's because...

I hate to think of you struggling. I want life to be easy for you. I don't want cycles to continue in you. I can't control that as much as I wish I could, however I can tell you what I see when I look at you.

I see a boy with incredible potential. I see a boy who is smart, sensitive, happy, energetic, a leader, and passionate about EVERYTHING. My constant prayer is that you see that in yourself. That these diagnoses don't hinder you and that you believe yo…