Wednesday, December 17, 2014

School Basketball

Andrews first ever school team was this year playing basketball.  This was only his second season playing basketball and the first he was old enough to play for his school.  This team is 1-3 graders and Tim helped another dad coach the team.  We lost all but one or two games, but the kids learned a lot and had fun.  It was nice to get to know some of the parents of kids we see on a regular basis as well. 

It was obvious that the first graders don't quite have the coordination and skill of the older players yet but I can't wait to see what this group of kids is doing when they are in 10-12 grades.  Could be that one of the schools star players on high school girls or boys team was struggling to catch a ball on our team this year.  :-)

Way to go Wildcats!  Great sportsmanship, great teamwork, and great fun!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Foster Family Christmas Party


 Last weekend our foster agency had a Christmas party for all their foster families.  We put on our Sunday best and headed to the event with no preconceived ideas of what to expect.  We walked into the room full of decorated tables, and found ourselves a place to sit.  Looking around, we knew no one but the agency employees who were mingling around the room.  There was a magician doing magic tricks and making balloon animals, a face painter painting elaborate scenes on children's faces, a DJ playing Christmas songs, a photo booth, and a couple other "self serve" activities.  We had a very nice buffet style meal and dessert and then enjoyed visiting all the activities. 
     The DJ started playing some dance music and a group of kids, teenagers, and adults were dancing.  A large group of boys (including Andrew) gathered around the man making balloon animals and were learning how to blow up balloons with his machine and make all the fun things.  Families were visiting the photo booth together.   Santa came in and was immediately run over by the little ones all looking to give him hugs.
     As I looked around this sea of people I had never met before I was overcome with emotion.  Some of these kids have been sexually abused, some of them have been bruised by those who were supposed to take care of them, some have been neglected and gone days without food and basic necessities, some are separated from siblings they love.  Some of the children there are adopted/biological kids sharing their home, possessions, and parents with foster siblings.  They have no idea how long they will be "siblings" or when the next call will come and their home will grow (or shrink) again.  The great thing about this party was, it didn't matter who was who.  I didn't know which kids were in foster care, which ones were with their biological parents, which ones were adopted.  I didn't know who had been in foster care for years and who was placed last week.  I didn't know . . . and neither did anyone else (outside the employees of course) and it didn't matter.  Everyone was dressed in their best, smiling and enjoying being together with their "family" . . . foster or otherwise.  All thoughts of the life and pain outside of that room were left behind and they were just having a great time at a party.
     I wish that type of freedom for each of those kids.  There is so much in life that will be hard . . . . knowing whether you will eat, be taken care of, be safe . . . that shouldn't be a worry for a child.  I wish each Christmas could be filled with balloon animals, dancing, and family photos. 
     To my foster agency I would like to say Thank You . . . Thank you for giving these kids such a wonderful night.  Thank you for giving me new perspective, new things to pray for, and a wonderful evening with my family (foster and otherwise).  Thank you for caring enough about these kids to do what you do every day of the year.
     I am so glad God called us to this.  It is certainly not by our own desires or our own strength that we make it through this roller coaster ride.  God called us to it and gives us the grace each day to make it . . . no matter what the day brings.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wrapping Up November

Andrew's class at school did a project where they had to design a turkey in disguise . . . he is trying to stay OFF the Thanksgiving table.  This was Andrew's creation.  Military disguised turkey . . . . named Tim Turkey after his uncle who leaves this month for boot camp.  Praying for you Uncle Tim!!
Thanksgiving was at our house this year.  I was so excited to host Tim's family for Thanksgiving and although his dad was sick and unable to come we had a great time.  The turkey turned out perfect, the food was all ready on time, John and Frieda had made delicious desserts . . . . it was really nice.  Surprisingly it was relaxing too.  Plus, it's always great when the little kids nap in their own beds and sleep on their regular schedules!  Frieda made some adorable little turkeys out of candy that the kids devoured!!  :-)

The following weekend some of my nieces and nephews were in town so we took advantage of grandma and grandpas hot tub and Marisa's access to free movies. 

 Then they had the annual light up parade to welcome in Christmas in our town.  The night was perfectly chilly but not cold and not a drop of rain so we had a great time as a family.  No photos of the two little ones but I promise, they were there.

"Mom, this is the best night ever.  They gave me a Polar Express ticket with hot chocolate attached!  My very own hot chocolate so now I can make my own!!!"  If I had known this would be such a big deal imagine the mind blowing I could have done if I showed him the entire box of hot chocolate in the pantry . . . :-) 

Add to all this Chunky Monkey's first dentist appointment AND our first ever trip to the ER with a child.  Chunky Monkey came to me in a panic saying he had swallowed "it down"  "get it mommy" "get it out my mouth"  unfortunately I saw nothing.  At the advice of the doctor, off to the ER we went.  XRays were all clean and it was determined that it was likely a lego or other small toy that would pass.  Praise God for nothing more serious.  He has been a real trooper . . . was perfectly cooperative at both the dentist and the ER.