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Monday, December 30, 2013

Still Waiting...

It is difficult to describe the anticipation I feel inside.  When I've tried talking to Mark about what I feel, I can't adequately put the feeling into words.  We've been pursuing our foster license since October 23, 2013.  We aren't waiting for a specific child (like we were with Luke), but planning to start off by providing respite care.  But deep within me, I know that there is a specific reason we are walking this path...only I can't look you in the eye and tell you what that reason is, who it is for, or what God has planned.  I can only tell you...I am walking this path in faith for something in the future.  There is a specific reason why we are being called back...we are just waiting in anticipation for whatever it is.
There is reason we have laid our lives as an open book before the Division of Children and Family Services, a reason we have allowed our lives to go under a microscope, our pasts to be laid out on multiple pieces of paper, our financial documents, our background checks, our fingerprints, our cooperation with rules not designed by us.  There is a reason Mark and I have been through two hour interviews exploring all of our family pasts, relationships and children.  We have allowed our children to be them a chance to describe what foster care means to them.  We have welcomed social workers into our home to deem our home "acceptable", allowed to look and evaluate our space, kids rooms, medical boxes, firearms etc.
It is an act of simple obedience to the call we feel we have on our lives.  Believe isn't glamorous, it isn't an act of sainthood, it isn't even convenient or easy, but it is a road we feel compelled to go down.  I tried ignoring the calling for awhile, but there it was...starring at me.  I am not done with you yet.  That is the phrase that lingers in the place between awake and sleep.  A promise of fulfillment of a purpose.  One foot in front of another starting a new journey.
We are still working toward our license and it is approaching the 3 month mark.  We found out today we need to have another home inspection to recheck a couple of items.  Mainly we found out at our last home study/first inspection that we can actually be licensed for 2 foster children in our home.  This was different than what I thought.  I thought we could only have one more based on the size of our home.  However; we thought that for the purposes of respite care it might be helpful to be licensed for 2 kids.  One 0-5 year old and one child under 2 years.  So, even though we have an additional bed (the bunk that fits over Luke's bed) they have to see it all set up with a mattress and bedding...which I understand, but it is another hoop to jump through.  Now to find a twin mattress....I just want to have the piece of paper in my hands that says we are licensed...that we have completed this process.  It will come but in the meantime I am waiting...
I miss being home with my kids...this winter break has made me realize how quickly I can jump back into the role of mom.  I miss the simplicity of just worrying about them and the house.  My heart truly is at home.  I struggle daily with working a job.  I enjoy the interaction, but not all of the stress that comes with work.  This has been true no matter what job I have worked.  I continually struggle with the guilt of not meeting their needs.  My children needing more of me than I can give.  I wish there was a way.
I've been thinking about all the other commitments in my life an trying to figure which are really the most important.  I know I am going to blink and this time with my children will be gone.  I am so afraid I am doing everything wrong, when I desire to do do it all right (if there is such a thing).
Why does life have to be difficult sometimes?
 I know what I want...I just don't know how to get there.
 These are the moments I wish my dad was here to talk to.  He was always so creative with solutions.  I had a VERY difficult Christmas season without him this year.  Our 10th Christmas without him.  I would walk into the mall and cry...pass by Starbucks and cry...hear a song on the radio and cry.  I had several big ugly cries about him not being here this Christmas.  Just a really difficult season.
I can still see him dancing with my mom on Christmas Eve in our living room on 121st Avenue to Kenny G.  The fireplace lit and the smell of dinner still lingering in the air.  Dad sipping his 8th cup of coffee for the day and mom washing dishes, David playing video games (I guess some things never change :)  I thought a lot about Christmas' past while I was so sick this Christmas.  What good memories...what good times.  I would like to think he would be proud of the woman I have become.
He would have loved his grandkids...he would have cherished them (the way he did with David and I). I think that is the one thing I really struggle with him being kids.
So as 2013 draws to an close, I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life.  So many things to fill gratitude for.  I end this year anticipation for what is to come.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

When Life Doesn't Happen The Way You Planned

It is the day after Christmas, and I am typing from my bed where I have currently been for the last two days.  I can hear the kids playing, video games blaring, happy sounds from sisters... I'm sure who are doing things they shouldn't.  But I haven't the strength to get out of bed right now and check.  The last two days I've been sick, Mark's been sick and Bella's been sick.  Stomach virus! Of course Bella is as good as new right now.  Mark and I are another story.  Nothing quite like both parents being out of commission.  It's the worst of circumstances and has only happened one other time in our parenting history.

Yesterday was Christmas...yesterday was supposed to be wonderful, happy, full of family, good food and yummy sweets. Luke had even picked out a beautiful center piece for our Christmas table. Yesterday didn't go as planned.  My big wonderful Christmas consisted of crackers, Gatorade and sleeping on the girls' floor next to my three year old with a yellow bowl beside her bed.  No family came, no Christmas clothes worn (no one changed out of pj's all day), no big meal cooked.  The one constant...there were presents, but not celebrated in the traditional way.  I cried a lot yesterday...from the disappointment, from the sickness, from the let down.  It was not the way I had envisioned Christmas.  

I felt sad that our families, who were supposed to come over, were left without a Christmas meal or plans of being with family.  The whole day just felt unreal.  I have never have been sick on Christmas...EVER...until yesterday.

I am blessed that we celebrated with my Mom and Roger on Christmas Eve.  I'm so glad we had a wonderful sick free time.  This year has been extremely brutal for sickness in our home.  It began the middle of August and has not let up.  I have tried to figure out why all this sickness, why everyone has been so sick this year...more sick than any other year.  We've had ear infections, croup (X 3 rounds), bronchitis, walking pneumonia, sinus infections, 2 trips to the ER, more ear infections, stomach flu (X 3 rounds), strep throat (2 of us), more sinus infections, trips to urgent care on Sat and Sun, and what we thought was a kidney stone (again) but feeling blessed it was just a pulled muscle and the CT showed all clear.  I'm exhausted!  We even had sickness on our vacation in Maui (a round of croup for Bella and a stomach bug for Grace).  I keep holding onto faith that we are going to get better, but all we can manage is 1 week of sickness free before someone comes down with something again.

I've changed sheets, toothbrushes, used disposable cups, napkins, plates, silverware, washed, bleached etc.  I'm so tired and worn down with all the worry/anxiety regarding all this sickness.  This is not like our family.

I tried to make the best of yesterday...I really did try.  The kids opened more presents, ate and watched movies.  They seemed happy, but every once in awhile made a comment about where everyone was and when we were having Christmas dinner.

Life is complex.  It doesn't always happen how you plan.  It's difficult for me to believe that Christmas is now over and it didn't happen the way I planned.  I have to accept the fact that this year, for whatever reasons, was meant to be this way.

Just praying Mark and I make a full recovery soon...or the kids will end up running the household.

Merry Christmas the Day After....
The Dahl Family

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Foster License Updates!

 We are nearing the end of the foster care licensing process...hopefully.  As always there are unexpected things that pop up even if you think you have covered it all, checked and double checked.  One such unexpected thing was that we needed to show proof that we have had a tdap shot (the whooping cough one).  Fortunately we had both already received it and our children have received the dtap (same thing but just for kiddos).  Another quick trip to the doctor's's been three trips so far (but who is counting)...and bam!  Proof of immunization for both of us.  A quick photocopy for our records and now to submit to our licensor.  
A lesson you learn early on as a "newbie" as foster parents is to be flexible and that things change...that being said we do have one "concrete" fact that we can count on.  Who ever comes through our door into our home will be a BOY.  We can count on that!  It is not that we are playing favorites or trying to "even" out our ratio of boys to girls in the house.  It is strictly a licensing issue.  Due to our square footage and the rule that a child over the age of 6 years has to share a room with the child of the same gender.  Luke is the one with space in his BOY it is!
We are planning to be licensed for a boy ages 0-3 years.  We are open to whatever avenue God would direct our hearts.  Our hearts are OPEN.  Mark and I have done a lot of talking and we are certain we are going to start out this journey doing respite care for other foster parents.  It's been many years since we have fostered and we want to get our feet wet so to speak.  Right now we are just enjoying the journey.  Waiting...waiting...waiting.  Waiting for fingerprints to return, background checks to come back, licensing scheduling to open up.

While we are waiting we are preparing our home for the inspection.  The various items we need for licensing are being brought down from the attic, cleaned and set up.  I need to purchase a crib mattress this week (as you must have proof of a bed for the child(ren) you are being licensed for).  Most all of my many totes of clothes in the attic are all girl, but I did save a few things from Luke.  I handed down most of his clothing to friends.  So there are maybe a couple things I want to get.  

I found out this weekend that I will have to replace the crib before we are licensed.  I bought our white crib in 2008 and it has drop sides and that is a big no-no now.  So we will are living on faith that God will provide the money for a new crib in the month of December. It is one piece of furniture that we must have in order to be licensed.  Honestly though...I'm not worried.  I know we will get the crib we need and I am excited to see how God might move to meet this new need.

UPDATE:  Mark and I have been cleared by FBI fingerprinting and background checks.  The last thing we have to do is our interviews and home inspection.  It has been mentioned that we will have our license by the end of the month!  So much work for one piece of paper!  

*Prayer for Bella if you have the chance.  Fever, cough, runny nose, bright pink cheeks and eye goop.  Sad, sad baby girl :(

Monday, November 25, 2013

Xbox 360

~"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim."~Vicki Harrison
This little boy, this delight to my heart, his JOY that overflows from within, inspires me daily.  Yes, he can frustrate me daily, but oh the triumph, the testimony of his little life!  How great is our God!!!  HE spared Luke's life as a tiny babe.  HE brought Luke to us forming a relationship with wonderful friends, bridging two families forever together!
Last week Luke asked Mark and I for an Xbox 360.  He had come up with this whole elaborate plan of selling our Wii for $500 dollars and buying an Xbox for $200 and keeping the other $300 dollars.  Mark and I laughed and smiled.  Our little entrepreneur.  When I questioned him about why, he simply stated he had played one before and he really likes the controller.  He tried to persuade me that the Xbox 360 would get played with so much more than the Wii and the Nintendo 64 (yes we still have one of those). How cute is that?  His mind is always thinking...ALWAYS!  

Bella and I found ourselves at the mall this afternoon.  I don't know if it was the Christmas decor, the busy hum of the mall, the smell of Starbucks coffee or what it was that triggered such strong emotions in me.  But I found myself in the middle of the upper level of the mall sobbing, wondering where my dad was?  10 years gone and I still find myself thinking I see him in a crowd of people.  My dad LOVED, LOVED Christmas and shopping and blessing others.  My heart grieves still now that he hasn't met Luke or Grace or Bella.  I feel like my kids have been cheated and it breaks my heart.  My dad would have been an amazing grandpa to them.  

So after I stopped blubbering into my sleeve in the middle of the mall, I went into Game Stop to ask the employees all about this Xbox 360.  To be honest, I had two employees actually laughing at one of my ridiculous questions.  Growing up, my dad loved new technology and we always had a computer and the latest gaming system and whatever new cell phone had come out.  Remember the brick cell phone? Yes we had one!  I can remember him waiting in line for hours to purchase the greatest new gaming system that came out.  We had a Nintendo the first year it was out as well as all the ones that followed.  I can't help but think if my dad was here, he would be out hunting for the best deal on an XBox 360 for his grandson who requested one.  My dad would have loved that...

So as an extension of my dad, I am trying to fill in that gap.  I called the "expert" today...a.k.a. Uncle D, my bro.  He has the love of new technology just like Dad.  He had some great advice.  So I am going to work on making a 10 year old boys' wish come true this Christmas because I know that my Dad would have.   

Christmas time is a difficult time for those that have lost loved ones.  Certain times of year, smells, weather, season of year, sounds can trigger memories and grief.  I know that during the holiday season I struggle a lot more with my grief surrounding my dad's death.  Grief really truly does come in waves and can often catch you off guard.  If you know of someone that has lost a loved one, an encouraging word can go a long way.  Just having someone acknowledge your grief/loss speaks so much to that person.  I always appreciate anyone that acknowledges the loss of my dad or has a kind word to say about him.  It is reassuring to me that he lives on in the hearts of those that cared about him.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chasing Paper to Love Without Limits

It's been awhile...ok a long while. :)  And while I have not written about our life lately, it has been speeding by at a force so great I can barely hang on.  There have been school events, work events, church events, new business opportunities, a vacation, fall activities and Halloween to name a few. And of course many pictures to document above events.  But...what is really on my heart, what I want to write about tonight, is my thoughts about being a foster mom.

Ten years ago, all the extra bedrooms in our home were empty.  There were no little ones running underfoot, no toothless grins, highchairs or sippy cups.  No babies rolling around on the floor, or even the promise of a baby-to-be.  Ten years ago I had 2 pregnancies and 2 miscarriages under my belt.  The whole world was pregnant (or so it seemed), and I was left empty, barren and longing desperately to be a mommy.

Ten years ago, the world of foster care entered our life.  I was introduced to the Department of Children and Family Services.  We jumped through every hoop and were licensed in March and Luke came to live with us in April.  We remained foster parents until March 2013, at which point we let our license expire.  We did not renew it (like we had done every three years in the past).  We thought we were finished with the great big world of foster care.

And then it began in the summer, as little whispers into my soul.  A situation, or a person or an article would catch me off guard.  A child in a waiting room at therapy, a foster care friend, just little things...just whispers that said "I'm not done with you yet."  I pushed the thoughts away, as having let our license expire would require a GREAT amount of work to become re-licensed.  The whispers became louder, and FINALLY I surrendered. So....last month we began chasing paper.

And.we.are.still.chasing.paper!!! If you have ever wondered "What is it like to become a foster parent?your life goes under a microscope.  Applications, personal questions, marriage certificates, kids immunization records, training, training and more training.  First aid and CPR classes.  Medical check ups, and TB tests, fire escape plans, daycare plans, policy agreements, background checks and finger prints, reference letters and interviews finally followed by a home inspection.

After being a foster parent for nearly ten years, I know what we are signing up for.  I.REALLY.DO.  I am signing up to feel HURT, PAIN and INJUSTICE.  I am signing up to FIGHT, ADVOCATE and LOVE.  I am CHOOSING to love without limits and attach to little people without the promise of forever or even just tomorrow. 

Today I walked into the Division of Children and Family Services for the first time in over a year.  It is like time has stood still in the building.  Same chairs, same mural on the wall, same visitation rooms.  I took Bella to the restroom and when we walked out we past a visitation room (not in use) so she saw the toys and such.  "I want to play in there mama."  To which I quietly replied, "no Bella B, you really don't."  Luke said good-bye to his birth parents in a visitation room down that hallway.  I remember listening to Grace scream at 13 months old, when she had one of her visits in a room down the hall.  Many of our foster children played in the various visitation rooms down the hall.

I thought a lot about not sharing this journey until it was complete, but I don't want to live in fear.  I struggle with what people think of me.  I need to be free of those thoughts.  I realize that you can look at our life and think wow...they already have a lot going...why would they choose to do that?  And I get it...I really do! But sometimes God calls us to things even though they don't make conventional sense.  I read a quote this week that said, "God doesn't call us to be READY, He calls us to FOLLOW HIM."  So it may look really messy, I don't have all the answers, and I understand it doesn't make sense, but it doesn't matter.  This is just ME following HIM.  I never want to get to a place in my life where I don't allow room for HIM to move, for HIM to speak, for HIM to challenge me to greater things.  I don't want to live a life where I put limitations on God. I go...walking back hand-in-hand with Mark to the trenches of a hurting, dark world.  Choosing to go, choosing to love, choosing to FOLLOW HIM.

So if you are so inclined...I invite you to follow us back to the world of foster care on a new journey as we have FAITH to touch the lives of children of Clark County.  I am ALWAYS amazed at the mountains God moves, and I love watching HIM perform miracles in the hearts of many.  I won't is a BROKEN system, with flaws and unfairness and injustice.  BUT, I have living testimonies of my two sleeping miracles that came through the system and were redeemed from orphans to son and daughter, I have FAITH in an almighty God for protection, favor and I am expecting to witness more miracles and mountains moved!

" Love is about risk.  If we can control it and manage it and manufacturer

 it, then it's something else, but if it's really LOVE, it's a little scary around the edges."  ~Shauna Niequist~

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"S" to-the-"I" to-the-"C" to-the-"K"!!!

So...we've been sick!  As in all 5 of us S-I-C-K!  Like middle of the winter sick.  In fact... in a span of three weeks we have all been on antibiotics.  There have been ear infections, sinus infections, croup, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis.  Fun times here!  Don't you wish your family was blessed with all this sickness?  No..I's been horrible and I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
I'm still coughing...good times.  Bella is still coughing....Mark's ear is still bugging him, but we press on.
Out of all of us though...Bella has been the most sick.  She is the one that scared me, ER visit, and two weeks later double ear infections. 
She spent about a week sleeping at the foot of our bed just so I could hear her.  Poor baby.
Luke seems to have made his full recovery.  Going a zillion miles a minute and "crashing" at night to sleep.  He has a very nice teacher this year and I feel we are blessed.  She moved up from 3rd grade this past year, but really seems to know how to connect with 5th graders...seriously how can he be in 5th grade :(
Grace is doing well too!  She loves school and there is nothing greater than being able to check on her, hug her and talk to her throughout the day.  She loves helping me set up my classroom in the morning.
I missed the 3rd day of school....seriously...I hated every minute of it, but my temperature was 102 degrees...what can you do?
This last picture is just for fun.  Last week when I was so sick and didn't do ANYTHING (dishes, laundry, etc...) the kids took advantage and messes like this greeted me when I finally emerged from our bedroom. Oh play-doh how I have a love/hate relationship with you.  So beneficial but so messy and potential for destruction of carpet is very HIGH!

Can't wait to post when we are finally healthy and well.  That's all from the Dahl House!!! Peace Out! :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Babies Don't Keep

Time has a way of marching on.  You can't stop it, contain it or add to it.  It just ticks silently by.  Somehow your three year old that you are just certain started preschool is now somehow in the 5th grade.  Growing taller, stronger and smarter with each passing day.  I told him before he went to his first day of 5th grade I was going to shrink him back down until he was three years old again.  He just laughs at me and says "mom...your so funny."  I smile back but the truth is I can't believe how fast time flies by.  I can't keep him little.
I am so proud about what Luke has accomplished.  He has defied the odds and this mama celebrates his life! So many days he is my hero.  I look at him and I feel his strength.  What a blessing he is.  I remind myself to hold on to every moment, every hug, every time he wants me to play with him, because I know there will come a time I will not be a preferred playmate.
Here is her sweetness on her first day of preschool.  Three years old and ready to conquer the world!  Oh how I lover her adorable cheeks and the fact she let me dress her and do her hair any way that I liked.  How is it possible she stands in front of the same door (same doormat and boots) and has grown up into a 3rd grader?  Be still my heart!!!
I'm so happy that she was excited for school this year.  She made me so proud on the first day the way she marched right into her classroom and embraced her new school.  The school she desired to go too.  What a perfect fit her sweet personality.  A small class of 17 kids and personal attention and connection to her teacher. I am excited for her school year and happy to be on this side of the valley we went through last year.
Oh how I long to hold that sweet little baby again!!! She was 5 days old in this picture.  Complete miracle and I am pinching myself because I still can't believe God allowed me to have her.  She has changed me for the better.  She has taught me so many lessons (as all my kids have).  Babies don't keep...her newborn smell faded, she learned to hold her head up, roll over, talk, crawl, walk.  So much in the first year. 

You blink and here is the same baby ready for her first day of preschool!  Where did the time go?  She did incredible on her first day.  Marched right into her classroom and talked to her teacher.  NO TEARS!  A year ago (heck three months ago) I didn't think preschool would be possible for Bella.  But here she is....making progress...ready to learn and spread her wings just a little more.  

I keep holding them tight because even though they will always be my babies...babies don't keep.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Croup is Terrifying

Photo: Because she couldnt let brother and sister have all the fun...Bella and I ended up in the ER at 2 am cause she has croup.  Breathing treatments and steroids and 4 hours later she is much better.  She is very chipper this morning. I on the other hand am not. the Dahl kids have been taking turns being sick since August 15th!  You think it was the middle of February around here with the amount of cold medicine, nose blowing, coughing, antibiotics and humidifying we have been doing around here.  Please tell me it's early?!?
 (This is how old Bella was the first time she had croup)

I kid you the month of August we have gone to the doctor 4 times, the urgent care 2 times, 2 trips to the ER, 8 trips to counseling, and 2 OT therapy sessions!  Throw in a little drama with our health insurance (they decided to drop our coverage since they thought Mark didn't work at BNSF anymore...can we say whoops computer glitch).  Trying to get antibiotics for a girl with a double ear infection on a Friday afternoon when the pharmacy tech tells you "sorry your coverage was terminated that will be 49 dollars" the mama bear comes out!!! We've been busy...Sheesh!

(Second time she had croup)

This past week takes the cake though.  I've been preparing a classroom for morning kindergartners, beginning of the year teacher meetings, meet the teacher nights and dealing with sick, irritable children. Then Tuesday evening I had no sooner told Mark, "Bella sounds croupy," and sure enough 1:30am, I am jolted from bed by a gasping for every breath three year old baby girl.  This wasn't my first rodeo with croup.  Bella has actually had it twice before, but I was gripped with the intense panic and fear of my baby struggling to breathe.  She was crying, and trying to vomit and gasping, and I can still hear it in my mind.  TERRIFYING!!! I almost called 911! I began praying out loud as I threw clothes on, and Mark buckled her in her seat.  I remember looking at Mark and asking "Are we going to to make it?"  As always Mr. Steady looks at me and says "yes, you are going to make it.  She will be ok."  Somehow he has this ability to make me believe that I am strong.  He doesn't react, he doesn't panic.  I do enough for us both :)

There is no one on the roads at 1:30am.  NO.ONE.  I drive quickly while glancing in the rear view mirror every five seconds to make sure she is still breathing.  I can hear croupy breath...she has a difficult time speaking to me...but she is with me.  I keep talking to her as calmly as I can..."hey baby...we are going to the doctor...they are going to give you medicine and make you feel all better.  It's going to be ok (reassuring her and me).

We make it to Legacy Salmon Creek ER.  There is no one in the waiting room.  We get our hospital I.D. badges and we wait to be called back.  I am more than a little ticked that no one comes to get us for like 10 minutes.  I feel like screaming "my baby is having a difficult time breathing! Don't you care!" but I hold it together patting her on the back.  We finally make it to the room.  She is running a fever, she is congested, her blood oxygen level is 99 percent so that relaxes me a little.  Her and I are laying on the hospital bed.  She whispers to me, "I sick mom."  "Yes, baby...but the doctor is going to make you feel better," I reply.  The nurse comes in followed by the doctor.  I could have diagnosed her myself.  She has croup.  Yep...I agree.  Someone comes down from the respiratory department and attempts to administer a breathing treatment. face mask for my baby girl, so I hold the plastic tube of vapor as close to her nose and mouth as I can.  He listens to her back and chest during the treatment.  The nurse brings oral steroids and mixes them in apple juice.  Bless.her.heart for knowing how icky they taste.  Bella drinks the apple juice and then they give her a bright red Popsicle.  I don't even care how much Red 40 food dye is in it.  She perks up after the breathing treatment.   The nurse then attaches a pulse oxygen monitor to her big toe and it glows red.  Bella is not too happy about that, but tolerates.

The doctor comes in to check on her and then lets me know there is a two hour observation after steroids are given.  Fabulous!  While I appreciate why they observe for two house I brought nothing to entertain her (since I left in such a hurry) with and those steroids really wired her up.  She was so funny chatting a mile a minute and then there was the 4 trips to the bathroom in 2 hours.  4 times unhooking the oxygen monitor and reattaching it.  4 times they ask where we were off too.  I began to struggle with a bit of anxiety once I knew she was going to be ok.  All the adrenaline, the exhaustion, and being all alone were not a good combination for me.  I really HATE the ER too.  I wished Mark had been there so we could have tackled it as a team, or mom there to talk too and lean on, but I was strong and fought through it.  I prayed a lot.  Around 4am the ER really started to get hopping.  At 5:30am we were given the ok to head home.  I was very glad to leave, and more happy that she was going to be ok, and was no longer struggling to breathe.  After we got home, I moved her toddler bed into our room and she slept there for two nights so I could keep a close eye on her.  I am happy to report she is doing much better and happy :)

No matter how many times I have worked my kiddos through croup it is absolutely terrifying!!! EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!  I feel like a newbie.  It is a virus that settles in the throat in the opening to the wind pipe.  It causes the opening to swell.  The cough sounds like a bark.  It is very distinct.  She caught the cold virus my olders had, and unfortunately turned into croup :(

I actually thought I was going to lose Bella on Tuesday night, and I felt paralyzed for a moment on how to help her.  I could see the fear in her eyes and I hope she didn't see the fear in mine.  So grateful to hold and kiss her.  Thankful for the medical care I could access for her and the power of prayer.  And also knowing that even though I felt "alone" that night, I wasn't.  HE was there with us.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My School Girl

It's been a long journey and much prayer...but even in the midst of my unbelief and lack of faith at times, my hopes and dreams for Grace regarding school have become a reality.  It is no surprise to know that Grace struggled and I mean "struggled" with school last year. Last February we began piecing together the puzzle of some of her symptoms and anxieties.  We home schooled her for the last semester and we went to doctors and therapists, specialists and she had specialized testing. We crossed through the valley, and have come up on the other side.  She is stronger, healthier and ready to return to the classroom come September 5th. Grace will begin a new chapter in her schooling at a private school called Camas Christian Academy.
I have wished this for Grace for a VERY long time, but money being tight I had "let go" of the dream that this could be an option for her.  You see to make this dream a reality...this mama...will be teaching part-time morning kindergarten at Camas Christian Academy this year (housed in Grace Foursquare Church).  I wasn't looking for this job, but it found me.  I could go on and on about how many amazing things have happened and what confirmation I have had regarding this opportunity, but mostly...I am just happy for this little girl!  When she heard I got the job, she yelled "YES! I get to go to school there!"  And knowing Grace and what she has been through...that!  
In case you hadn't noticed by the pictures they wear uniforms at this school (perfect for her OCD mind). She absolutely knows what to expect and finds peace in that.  I personally think she should be the newest Land's End model!  Her anxiety is lessened by the fact she doesn't have to ride the bus and she knows mama will be at school with her till noon.  *She has had tremendous anxiety since the shootings at Clackamas Town Center and the shootings at the school in December.  She will often bring it up those events out of the blue and worry about Mark or I if we are in a store too long.  We love on her, and let her talk and reassure her things are just fine.  But, I think God knew exactly what she needed in terms of her school and met her need, and in turn met my needs too.  :)  Feeling VERY blessed!   

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fourth of July & Updates

I have not been keeping up with blogging as of late.  Life has continued to speed unable to stop it despite my best efforts.  The kids keep growing, changing and living life!  
We've been enjoying the lazy, fun days of summer.  We've seen 3 movies, gone mini golfing, Luke and Grace have rode their quads several times, camping, bbq's, the Clark County Fair, overnights at Mimi's house and Grandma's camp.  It has been fun...a lot of fun.
Right now my brother and sis are up visiting from Southern California.  The visit is almost over and it has gone by to quickly...much like life...going by too quickly.  Like Luke asked, "Why can't they live in Washington?"  His little mind doesn't understand why they don't just exist here.  I can't blame him.  I miss them terribly.  It is difficult for me not to daydream about what living next door would be our lives would be richer for having them closer, but we are grateful for visits and Skype and Facebook and technology that keeps us connected.
This cute little three-year-old has blossomed this summer.  She has bloomed in a way that delights my heart. She spent time with her "best friend" and asks daily to go to her house to play.  She is completely potty trained (even at night), has overcome some of her sensory issues.  Bella has started imaginary playing and telling jokes :)
Last Monday our ENTIRE house was re-plumbed.  That was a fun adventure :)
Our living room received a new hardwood floor.
Our van got 4 new tires.
At the end of the month we are putting on a new roof.
Needless to say...we are BROKE!  But all of our needs have been met.
We are looking at the last days of summer...and then heading into the fall season.

Difficult to believe that the summer has almost already flown by.  Almost one for the books.
It also has been a summer I have been reminded of God's faithfulness.  Its been a good one...full of joy and happiness and answered prayer...And even a special SURPRISE! (More on that to follow soon).
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