Thursday, December 13, 2012

Foster Care As of Late

Hey friends!  Sorry I haven't updated you on the foster care part of our lives lately.  As many of you know, our home was opened in mid-October.  We actually had a temporary placement for one weekend shortly after.  It was good, yet challenging, and an invaluable learning experience. 

We actually haven't been getting as many phone calls as I thought we would.  Maybe it's because we only requested one child.  It seems they might usually come in sibling groups.  We also requested 5-11 year olds and we haven't gotten any calls about a child in that age range.  Mostly we get called about teenagers, which Caleb and I feel a little young to parent kids that old. 

I guess I thought we'd have a long-term placement by now.  It seems like we went through this long process to get certified and now we sit here doing nothing.

During our first placement, we saw the reality of how this commitment will deeply affect our biological children.  Which in turn made us wonder which would be better for our family: to serve through respite (short term/emergency) care, or by taking one long term placement.  If we took short term placements, there wouldn't really be a new normal to get used to.  We would probably always be adjusting back and forth, which could be hard.  It seems like if we took one placement for longer-term then we could adjust and would eventually reach some kind of normal... I don't know.  I guess we just trust that God will open the door for a specific child if it is truly His will for that child to join our family.  But in the meantime, it does feel a little bit like we are doing nothing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Old Saint Nick

Yes, we've decked the halls, visited the lights at the square, and even visited Santa at Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, like we've done since I was a girl.  But our festivities have come to a screeching halt as of this past weekend when Emerson got a fever and, as it turns out, an ear infection.  We haven't left the house much the last 3 days except to visit the doctor and get essentials at the store.  We have cooped ourselves inside and are trying to get better.  The poor boy's temperature reached 103 today  :(  So, please say a little prayer for him.

But here are some of the festivities that we have done this month so far:

Watched the parade and lighting at the square.  Emerson was in awe.

Picked out a tree.

Decorated the tree.  Pantless.
Now, I must preface this picture by saying that Emerson has been intrigued by Santa for a awhile now.  He has looked at him in photo albums and read about him in books and talked about visiting him and sitting on his "wap" for weeks.  He totally knew that's what we were going to do that day.  But as soon as we started approaching Santa, the tears came and the lip even popped out.  Needless to say, Emerson did not even sit on Santa's lap.  Instead, Daddy got to sit in Santa's chair and Santa stood to the side :)  It was pretty funny.  Sometimes those Santa pictures make the best Santa pictures.

My sister and I, 3 weeks apart, both expecting girls

Emerson was a leetle scared of the bear too.
As you can see, Bass Pro can be a pretty scary place.  But an even scarier place right now, is visiting the doctor.  I just know Emerson is developing a fear of doctors.  We had a very scarring incident recently with vaccinations that involved Emerson getting poked 5 times in one leg.  He also hates getting his ears looked at and it results in screaming and crying every single time.  He told us after visiting the doctor that he got a shot in his ear.  No wonder he is scared!  I would be too if I thought someone was trying to give me a shot in my ear!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Intentional Christmas

Becoming a parent really makes you rethink Christmas and it should be done in your home.  What lessons do you want your kids to learn from it?  Will they learn that it is all about them?  That they can choose what toys they want and expect to get them?  Will they be discontent because they compare their gifts with their friends' and they have an insatiable desire for more?  Will they learn to be ungrateful?

Or will they learn the real point of Christmas?  That mankind needed a Savior and Jesus was willing to humble himself to the point of being a helpless, dependent newborn to be that Savior for us.  That Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday and it's really all about Him.  That this is a season of gratitude and a time where we can adore Him.

A woman spoke last week, at a Bible study I go to, about being intentional about Christmas.  If we aren't intentional about making the message loud and clear for our kids, then the world will quickly teach them what it thinks Christmas is about.  

Caleb and I have decided to try a few things this year, even though Emerson is a mere 20 months old.  At this young age, he is a sponge and has already learned so much about Christmas.  We began a Jesse Tree Advent for the month of December.  Each night we read a Bible story and hang the corresponding ornament on a small tree.  All the Bible stories, old and new testament, point to Christ.  We have also been playing with our nativity.  Emerson loves doing this.  I read a little board book that tells the Christmas story (The Story of Christmas by Patricia Pingry) and we act out the story with the people.  He asks to do it all the time.  Hopefully this is instilling the message to him!

Another way to help your kids with gratitude issues is to focus on giving.  There are many people out there, near and far, who need.  Angel tree at your church,  Operation Christmas child, Compassion International (giving mosquito nets, or clean water, etc.-- you can do this here), serve at a nursing home, give to your neighbors, etc.  The opportunities abound at this time of year.  By helping direct your kids' attention to the need around them, they will become more grateful for what they have and will take the focus off of themselves.

You can also have a birthday party for Jesus with a cake on Christmas day.  We have already been singing happy birthday to Jesus and Emerson loves it.  

If we don't plan to do something, we will do nothing.  Christmas season will pass and we will wonder what message we actually sent our children this year.  

Yes, we are still doing Christmas trees, lights, stockings, a little Santa, and even gifts (though limited to 3).  These things are not bad, but what is the main focus?  How can we get the real message of Christmas across?  I feel like it could be hard at times.  We have 10 to 1 more Christmas books about Santa than Jesus.  Christmas music that entertains kids is about Santa and Rudolph.  I bought a Veggie Tales Christmas movie the other day, just so we could have one Christmas movie that is about Christ!  Despite these things, I am trying to make it to where we talk about Jesus during Christmas time far more than Santa or presents.  Maybe with the Lord's help, Emerson is getting the right message. 

I guess the point of this post is to challenge you, like I was challenged, to be intentional this Christmas.  Intentional about the message you are sending your kids.  It's never too late to make changes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

20 months


You are 20 months old now and quite a ham!  Most days I am just loving the stage you are in and enjoying watching you learn and become more independent.

You love to sing lately.  It was like all of a sudden you knew lots of words to lots of songs.  And you like to sing with us, even if it's a song you just heard for the first time (like jingle bells).  It melts my heart when you sing with us.  Even when I am trying to sing you to sleep,  you insist on singing with me, so it defeats the purpose of getting you to fall asleep.

You speak clearly and you have a vast vocabulary at this point.  Three word sentences are pretty common for you, and sometimes you'll make longer ones.  You imitate everything we say right now.  For example, you fell down when Nana was here last week and she said, "did you fall down, buddy?" and you replied "fall down buddy".  So it always sounds like you call people buddy because we call you buddy a lot.

You recently, suddenly knew how to count to ten and I have no idea how you learned it.  And you know quite a few shapes.  You might just be left brained like your father.  It amazes me how you learn things that I don't recall teaching  you.  You are a sponge.  It does make me laugh because I've caught you inspecting the axles of your car before and watching the garage door opener work as it opens the garage.  Future engineer maybe?  We'll see.  Coloring only entertains you for a minute.

You have become more creative in your play, lately.  Sometimes I'm surprised at what you've come up with.  For instance, you'll turn your nesting blocks upside down, line them up, and put your animals in as passengers to a train.  You are very into trains right now.  Your imagination and pretend play is so fun to see develop.  I think you will like having a sibling around to play with, since it's just us most days.

You will hug "baby sissy" and kiss my tummy sometimes.  Who knows how much you really understand, though, because sometimes you'll point to your own belly and say baby.  When mommy holds cousin Callie for very long, you tell me to lay her down so I can hold you.

You are very into Christmas right now and I have had to try extra hard to emphasize Thanksgiving, since something has sparked such an interest in Christmas in you.  I know that Christmas will be so fun with you this year, though, because you are already anticipating it.  I am excited to do our new advent with you.  I think you will really enjoy it.

Emerson, you are a joy and blessing and we pray for you every single night.  What a gift motherhood has been to me and I am amazed as I watch you grow up.  I think it really is glorifying to God just to see the miracle God has created in just a small person like yourself.  I love you.


PS- Here is some 20 month footage.  I tried to capture how cute Emerson is when he sings, but he is much too fascinated with seeing himself on video for me to get anything.  He loves looking at photo albums or videos of himself/our family, which is why it is impossible to get a decent photo of him lately.  He'd rather be on the other side of the camera.  Watch this:

While cooking dinner yesterday, Emerson was helping me put something back into the fridge, and when I turned around, this is what I saw:

Yep, that's a broken egg on the floor.  Somehow, mysteriously, the egg compartment was opened and the lone egg in the carton was dropped on the floor.  Of course the first thing I did was grab the camera, as any good mother would do. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rake Day 2012

A week after moving in, we began the endeavor to rake our millions of leaves.  While it was kind of fun, we will probably be implementing more high-tech leaf control methods next year (leaf blower? mulching?  it's all new to me).  We sent 20 bags of "yard waste" off to the compost today and turned back around to see leaves already covering our yard again!!!  It literally doesn't look like we've raked yet.  Kind of humorous.  Kind of not.  Here are a few memorable shots from our gorgeous rake day:

This is a sandbox that was here when we moved in.  I think if we put a little work into fixing it up, the kids would love it.  Emerson has already found several army men and other "treasures" hidden in the sand.

Daddy climbed the tree

So Emerson had to follow.
I think we had over 14 piles of leaves in our front and back yards.  Whew.  We had our workout for the week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tour de our new house!!

Dear goodness friends, I tell you I am so worn out after the last few weeks!  There was packing (blah.) and moving and unpacking (a little less blah but still tiring) and organizing and raking (oh the raking!).  But I tell you, after all our hard work we are pretty much settled in our new home.  I don't like living out of boxes, so we were pretty quick to unpack.  This is why I have been silent on the blog front.  Here are the belated pictures I promised.  We love our new home :)

And I have to say that a wood burning fireplace was literally the top thing on my list of what I wanted in a house.  We have already had 3 fires our first week of living here!  And I love the brick and built in shelves.  The fireplace has an insert so we decided we would try it out for the first year and if we didn't like it, we could sell it and just use our fireplace the regular way, but Caleb has actually fallen in love with our wood burning stove, so I imagine it's not going anywhere anytime soon.  This wall is one of my favorite things about our house. 

Dining area:

And I'm so sorry I don't have a picture of the kitchen yet.  I literally just walked in there to take one and there was clutter lining the entire counter space, so I walked out and decided it wasn't worth de-cluttering for a blog pic.  Just being honest :)  But it has dark-ish wood cabinets, black granite countertops, black appliances, and a tile backsplash.  Cabinet painting may or may not be in our future, due to the darkness of the kitchen compared to the rest of the home.  

Master bedroom.  I don't think these pictures really capture the peacefulness and freshness of this room.  My mom got us new bedding, so it's really bright and happy.  I love it.  Also, this is the first time we have been able to fit our furniture in our bedroom with a little room to spare.  It's the little things :)

E's room across the hall (There is also a boring guest room across the hall, not pictured):

Brody posing in the hallway for me:

The home is technically 3 bedroom, but we plan to use this as a fourth bedroom if needed.  It has two entrances (with doors) that open to the kitchen and the entryway.  Right now, it is used as an office, housing our desk and bookshelf.

And finally, my other favorite part about our house, the backyard (these pics were taken in September.. now all the leaves are off the trees and on the ground).

To the left.

To the right.

Back of house.
I'm sorry for the bajillion pictures.  Maybe some of you care to see the entire tour?  Ha.  We feel very blessed to have this home and feel it will be a great place to grow our family.  Oh yeah!  We LOVE the neighbors too!  Various neighbors have welcomed us with muffins, wine, stonemill, and an airplane for Emerson :)  The SWEETEST people.  They all want to exchange numbers in case of emergency.  There are 3 young families and the rest of the folks on the cul-de-sac are empty nesters or retired.  Such a great community.  I can't wait to get to know them better.  Thanks for letting me share my home with you :)  Come see it in person and maybe I'll make you a batch of cookies!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sweet Baby Girl

We got to see little blessing on our 20 week ultrasound on Tuesday.  If you are friends with me on facebook, you already know it's a GIRL!  We were totally convinced it was going to be another boy, so we are getting used to the idea of it being a girl :)  We are ecstatic.  Here she is:

 I think the last picture of her is just precious.  It's an above shot and she has her hand resting on her forehead pointing her finger.  She also gave us a big yawn during the ultrasound.  She seemed so sweet.  She looks perfectly healthy and based on her size, she was 3 days further than my original due date.  Of course, they are keeping March 24th as the due date though.  We are thankful for this blessing. 

And my mother had to take me to target and get a few girly things for her, of course!  This was the picture I posted on facebook announcing that the baby in my belly was a girl!

In case you are wondering, we have no idea of girl names!  We had a small list of boy names, but those probably won't work!  ha!  Emerson will point to my belly and call her "baby sissy."  He went with us to the ultrasound and ever since then, he keeps wanting to pull up my shirt and look for the baby.  The fun thing about having a girl, is that she will have 3 other girl cousins in the same grade!  Can you believe it?  Let's hope they are besties and not big on drama!

Baby girl at 20 weeks:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Goodbye October

Hello November!  I feel like I have so much to update on, so instead of writing an extremely long post, I will try to write a few posts in the next few days updating you on our lives.  Our life has been a little crazy, because we are planning on moving into our new house next weekend!  I will try to post pictures this week of our new abode.  Not to mention Halloween took up a bit of our time here lately. 

Emerson had his first trip to Silver Dollar City a few weeks ago.  He had a blast.  The most memorable part for him was riding the "choo choo train" and how the "bad guys" took "money"from us.  He talked about it for the next week. 

Please notice Emerson's new "smile for the picture" face

He even got to ride a few rides, though he was pretty serious during them
As far as Halloween festivities go, Emerson got to really participate in pumpkin carving this year.  He did pretty well.  He didn't want to touch the guts at first, but eventually warmed up to it and was digging his hands in helping Daddy.  

Halloween night...

It's so hard to get 5 toddlers to sit still at the same time!
There's that smile again.

He plopped down on the ground and decided he was DONE.
I think Emerson had a great Halloween.  He was so so excited to dress up like a monkey and practiced saying "trick or treat" but he wouldn't ever say it for the people.  But mommy has really been enjoying the Halloween candy that Emerson worked so hard for :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Kitty Cats

Emerson had his first trip to the zoo a few weeks ago.  We had the perfect day for it and the weather was spectacular.  I'd say the trip was a success and Emerson thoroughly enjoyed himself.  Here are a few of the highlights in pictures...

Gorgeous Fall Day


See the giant orangutan staring at them from behind?

This moment with the tiger was by far my favorite animal moment at the zoo.  He walked over to us and stared us in the eyes for minutes.  I have never been so close to a tiger in my life.  My mother-in-law said he was thinking "lunch", but I'm pretty sure he was staring into the depths of my soul.  Maybe he was trying to get me to set him free?  I always feel like caged zoo animals want the wild again :)

How cute is this?

I'm pretty sure Emerson just enjoyed the freedom of running around, too.  The boy has energy.  The zoo was huge and we did a ton of walking.  I asked him what his favorite animal at the zoo was and he said "kitty cat".  So, I'm not sure which animal that was.  We saw many animals in the cat family, some of which actually looked very similar to house cats.  I mean, surely a tiger or monkey would be much more exciting than a cat, right?  Oh well, at least he had fun!  Our trip was a success and we look forward to going again maybe in a year or so.  Until then, good old Brody will have to do :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pig Sooie for Papa

Emerson has been "pig sooie" this and "razorback" that this week (we're training him young).  So, I had to capture his hog callin' during dinner tonight. 

This one's for you Papa.

Oh, yes, and many of you told me you couldn't see the video of Emerson falling asleep while he was eating in this post, and I fixed the problem.  So if you desire to watch that, check it out and scroll to the bottom :)  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hello Friends!  Much has happened since I wrote last.  This past weekend we visited Kansas City and Emerson had his first trip to the zoo!  I will post about that later.  But here are three big updates in our life:

One-- This sweet angel made her debut into our family.  Meet my beautiful niece Callie Ann Pierce.  It was actually a somewhat scary birth, with Callie being filled with blood, unable to breathe, and rushed to the NICU.  However, she was able to leave the hospital 2 days later, perfectly healthy.  She has been wonderful since and seems very laid back and content.  We are loving having another sweet baby around!  And we are very grateful for her life.  What a blessing she is. 

Two--  Our home is now officially open for foster care!  We could get a child any day!  We actually got our first phone call today, but it was for 2 kids and we really want to stick with one child while our family is in the transitioning and growing phase.  Sadly, when we take a child, I will only be able to share limited information on the blog as there are lots of confidentiality rules, which makes sense.  Please pray for us, that we will have an obvious nudging by the Holy Spirit about what child to accept.  And also pray for our (and Emerson's) transition into having another, older child in our home.  Pray that we can love them as God would like us to and that we will see them through His eyes.

Three--  We are now under contract for a house!  I am SO excited about this.  I will write more about it in a separate post, but it will be very suitable for our needs.  It is 5 minutes from Caleb's work and is in a great neighborhood near Gulley park.  My two favorite things are the wood burning fireplace and the giant backyard, which has 21 grown trees in it!  Eek!  We will be breaking out our rakes as soon as we move in, I'm sure. 

More to come about the house and the zoo with lots of pictures!