The Stacy Chronicles

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Everett You are Adopted!!!

June 11, 2014

The day is finally here!  The day that we get to swear to love you and protect you forever.  You, Dada, and Mama already knew that day happened when you were placed in our arms, but we had to swear it before a judge so she would grant us legal custody of you.  Forever.  I mean, I know you will leave me one day for another woman, but I have 17 years before that happens buddy. 🙂  Seventeen years of all the kisses, hugs, and snuggles.  I can’t stop kissing you.  I know this will embarrass you if you read it in the future, but I can’t.  You have the squishiest little face, and the most beautiful lips.  Oh man, the best place is your neck and your little chin.  You die laughing when I kiss you there.  You are so fun to tickle and I always blow raspberries on your tummy during diaper changes.

Oh man, tearing up again.  It’s been an emotional week.  I absolutely cannot believe how big you have gotten, and how fast you have grown.  You will be ONE next month.  I wish I could stop it.  It’s really not fair or nice of you to grow so fast.  I wish I could pause time.  Tonight I was feeding you your bottle and snuggling with you, and realized that soon you won’t need me like that.  Soon, you will be “too big” or “too old” for your mama to hold you and feed you.

Let’s talk about your day!  We slept in a bit, got dressed and then I wanted to get a few pictures of us together.  Dada was at work so Elijah took some pictures with my phone.  He might make a good little photographer one day!  Dada came home from work and got ready then we headed to McAlister’s to eat lunch with your godparents.  Mr. Jim, Mrs. Jennifer, Julianna, and Cameron met us for lunch.  One day you will truly appreciate having good Christian people in your life.  These people stick around for the good and the bad.  They will laugh with you, but also cry with you when you need it.  The Murrells are that type of family and that is why we picked them to care for you and your brother if anything were to happen to mama or dada.  We had a wonderful visit and lunch.  You ate chicken from my salad.  You are such a good eater, but very impatient.  I guess it’s good that you love food as much as the rest of us!

After lunch we headed to the probate judge’s office.  We had to wait a while and then we were all allowed to come back to her office.  She and the lawyer read all the legal stuff and we swore to take great care of you.  Then you were pronounced a Stacy!  It was amazing!  We love you so much baby Everett!  You bring so much joy to everyone you meet.  I’m so proud to be called your Mama.  God picked us out the most perfect baby boy.

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Baby Everett You are 9 Months Old!

You know I love you, right?  BUT oh. my. stars!  You are a path of destruction!!!  I can barely keep up with you, even with Elijah telling on you nonstop.  Mama, never quite expected this!  Now I know why people are always saying kids keep you young.  If you are not wrapped on my back, we are all three running around the house trying to find you.

Here are some things you love to get into:

  • you love to crawl to the tub and push all the bottles off the side into the tub.
  • toilet paper.  need I say more.
  • anything on the ground you eat.  bugs, paper, food, dirt, hair…maybe I should sweep more.
  • anything in your brother’s room.  we clean.  you destroy.

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You popped out your second tooth about a week after your first, so last month.  It didn’t hurt you nearly as bad.

You don’t say any new words, but babble ALL the time!

You fall asleep in the car.  You love your new car seat.

You only say “mama” when you cry.

You still smile at EVERYONE.  They love to see your toothy grin.

I haven’t found a single food you don’t like to eat.  You seriously love ALL food, like your brother.

You are sleeping in your crib like a champ, and usually only wake up around 5:30am.

You currently, and have for about a month, walk all around the room holding on to furniture.

You can even stand up while holding on to smooth surfaces, like cabinets and walls.

You crawl properly now, with your tummy off the floor.

Daddy bought us a new wrap for my birthday.  It’s a rainbow wrap since you are my rainbow baby.  You love it, and often grab and chew on it.  I think you like all the colors.

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We had an amazing 1st Easter as a family.  I hope to come back and add the family pictures we took on here.  For now, here is one of all the kiddos at church:

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Update on your adoption.  The case worker just came by this week.  They are still waiting on some of your medical information from the hospital.  After all that comes in, they have to write up a report and get papers for us to sign, then we go to court.  So, just more waiting.  We are praying to be finished with it all in May, but it could take until June.

We love you so much BooBoos!  You are growing up to be an incredible young man.  You seem to have the best personality.  I can barely remember when they placed you in our arms at 4 days old.  You are such a big boy now, and we grow more and more in love with you every day.

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Daddy and Mommy and Baby #2

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Mommy.  The sweetest word I’ve ever heard…and I’ve heard it about 237 times in the last day.  I love it.  It is surreal.  Three years old is a lot different from a year and a half.  Not in a bad way or a good way…just different.  Our Little Man came to us Wednesday at 6pm.  Our first night was difficult because Jeff had a speaking engagement and we got Little Man an hour before services.  I decided to keep him with me and attend our usual congregation.  He had already been to a GI doctor almost 2 hours away.

He did really good.  I stayed with him in bible class…I didn’t want him to think I was going to leave him right after I got him.  He asked to go home.  And then asked to go home, pwease.  I knew he was so tired.  Daddy didn’t get home until after bedtime.  Bedtime was a little rough.  I went to check in on him and the light from the hall woke him up.  Then he started crying.  I curled my body up on the teeny toddler bed and he wrapped both arms around my neck so tight!  I couldn’t even lay my head down.  Major choke hold.  His little face was squished up on mine and he was sweating and breathing in my ear.  Choke hold or not, I was choking back tears.  He called me mommy twice on the first night.  He also kept asking about Daddy.  You see, he got to meet daddy for about 10 minutes before Jeff had to leave.  Little Man was enamored from the first moment he laid eyes on his Daddy.  He followed him around the room, put his hand on Jeff’s arm, and when Jeff went to leave Little Man said, “where you goin”?  Haha…can’t sneak away from this one!

Boy, does he talk.  It is totally incredible.  He’s super sweet.  I know the first two weeks are always the easiest.  I know he is trying to please us.  I really hope he stays this way because he is incredible!

He knows so much.  Things that I would never imagine a three year old could know!  And he remembers everything!  I’m astonished and it’s only the first day!  He has said so many cute things today and I wish I would have written them down…I’m so utterly exhausted I can’t think straight.

Everything they say is true.  Boys are so different from girls.  He’s 90 to nothing all day long.  I wish I could bottle up his energy and sell it.  I’d be a millionaire.  He understands everything.  It’s so different having a baby that you can communicate with.  He says “I gotta pee pee mommy” and off we go.  “I want my milk-cup mommy”, “this is good mommy”, “thank you mommy”.  He is so polite and respectful.  He knows please, thank you, you’re welcome, yes ma’am, yes sir, and so on.  Then there is some saying about a 3 year old being like a teenager or some sort of connection.  I agree with that one too.  Again, mind blown!

This age is so fun, but I feel like I can’t keep up.  I feel OLD.  I know we are pushing 30, but really…should my body feel this way?  Momma’s got a new bedtime and it starts with a 9. 🙂


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And The Floodgates Open

I’m missing my baby girl.  They came to get her at 7:30 this morning.  She was so tired.  We went through our normal morning routine.  Got her up, potty, put her in the highchair with her milk, strawberry banana yogurt, and berry Kix.  She spit out the yogurt if there was a chunk of strawberry on her spoon, she also slipped the pups her Kix from time to time.  I changed her clothes, brushed her teeth, and we told her how much we loved her.  Before we knew it there was a knock on the door.  “But we need more time”, I said to Jeff.

There was nothing we could do.  We couldn’t stop it.  We couldn’t buy more time.  This is it.  Out of our home she goes.  Forever.  Our first child.  Our Little Bit.  “Try to stay strong”, I told myself.  “Do not let her see you cry”.  We put her carseat in the social workers car and gave her lots of hugs and kisses.  I told her she was going to live with her aunt and that she loved her very much.

We sent her on her way with a bible (that a friend bought for her), her favorite doll that she slept with every night, some small plastic balls, her bucket and shovel she won for reading 3 books from the Summer Reading program, and some gummy snacks.  I hope she remembers us and our love for her.

Last night I had arranged for me to leave around 9am for a new job taking care of an elderly lady from church.  I knew I would need something to take my mind off the pain.  I could not spend the whole day at home.

I’ve held it together all day…until I got home.  When I got home around 3:30, everything screamed a child lives here.  She literally had “stuff” in every room of the house.  Jeff tried to clean up this morning right after she left, I asked him to leave it.  I wasn’t ready to put it up.  I went around and took pictures of everything in all the rooms, so I could remember.  I don’t want to forget.  I love her so much.

I’m not writing this blog to make you feel sad for us.  I am writing this post for two reasons.  One,  so I won’t forget anything…even these feelings that are tough to swallow.  Two,  so you can see the whole picture of foster care.  It’s not fair to anyone reading this (that is considering foster care) to only see the bright side.  This is REAL.  This will happen to everyone that fosters.  You will lose your child.  It hurts, It’s not fun, but it happens.  You aren’t doing this for you.

Jeff and I feel kinda awkward.  It was like we were parents and now we are not.  Where is our baby?  I keep feeling like we need to turn the t.v. down as if she’s napping.  I keep wondering why she’s being so quiet…what is she getting into?  It’s such a strange feeling.

So, I want to post pictures of what I saw when I got home today.  Just so I can always remember.

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Memorial Day

We celebrated Memorial Day a day late.  I was shooting a wedding on the actual day (yay! for business).  I feel weird saying “celebrated” and Memorial Day.  I guess it is a celebration of our freedom, but it is also a somber day.  We should be grateful for our soldiers and veterans EVERY day!  (where would we be without them?)  But I am very grateful we as a country have a day dedicated to remembering.  We did have some awesome friends over Monday night after my shoot.  We grilled chicken kabobs and had salad and rolls.  Little Bit loved the rolls and the chicken (go figure). 🙂  Those are her two staple foods.  I got the very last watermelon at the grocery store and we opened it up on Tuesday after it had chilled.  I don’t know about you but I love cold watermelon with salt.  Yum!  Jeff prefers it without. (silly Jeff, you don’t know what you are missing)

Anyways, I got some great shots of the watermelon and all it’s juiciness…I don’t know why this one was the last one left…it was super awesome!  I have some sweet cuddly pictures of Little Bit and me, but of course I cannot share.  If you want to see them just private message me on facebook or email me.  🙂

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dripping off her elbow.

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dripping from her hand.

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I was pretty proud of this action shot. 🙂

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haha.  So much fun!

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where Little Bit stays 90% of the time…in fact she is in my lap as I type this!  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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the damage…and cute little toes with juice on them.

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so thankful of our freedoms.

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God, please bless the USA!

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the pups were enjoying the day!

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we love the shade trees in our yard!


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Foster Mommy’s Must Have List

Hmmm…this is something that your GPS classes for foster care will not tell you.  It is something I hope you will find useful if you are in the fostering process.  Please feel free to add other items to the list.  Everyone’s list will be different because ever child is different and you might be fostering a different age range then us. (o – 3)

These are the things I kept on hand BEFORE we got our Little Bit:

  1. RID (for lice…hey, ya never know), you want to get the whole 3 step system.  Spray all articles of clothing and treat their scalp (if the come to you with lice).  Put all their clothing and anything else they came with into a plastic bag after you wash it.
  2. baby toothbrush and fluoride free tooth paste
  3. comb and brush
  4. baby shampoo & wash (we use Dr. Bronner’s)
  5. baby towel and wash cloths
  6. unscented baby lotion (we use Burt Bee’s)
  7. diapers in appropriate sizes
  8. crib sheets, blankets, tiny pillows
  9. pjs in appropriate sizes…i have one set for every age range (newborn to 3T)
  10. socks
  11. sippy cups, kids plates, kids forks and spoons, or bottles if you get an infant
  12. crib, toddler bed (have to have these for your home to be approved)
  13. educational games like puzzles, books, balls
  14. soft toys, stuffed animals or dolls to snuggle
  15. highchair or bumbo with tray
  16. bath toys
  17. stroller (not a necessity, but sure is handy)!

 

These are things we try to have on hand.  Your foster child will probably need shoes too.  Since they are so expensive we tend to wait until we have the child and then take them to find shoes once we know their size.  They can just wear socks or be carried until then…we took Little Bit the next day, but your child might not be ready for a trip to Wal-Mart that soon…it just depends on the kid.

Some things like toys aren’t that big of a deal because most kids will just play with boxes and pots and pans, but it’s still good to have some books and puzzles for them.

If you can have your necessities on hand then you don’t have to freak out when you get your first placement.  I imagine I’d be running around trying to figure all this stuff out after they got here and I’d not be focusing as much on the child.  It really helped to already have most of it at home, so our first night was just getting accustomed to each other.

We shopped thrift stores and yard sales for pjs and play clothes.  We have been so blessed by our Christian friends and have had to buy very little.  Just today Little Bit got a care package from some friends with lots of little church dresses and outfits.  It was the sweetest thing.

Also, toys can be very expensive, so search craigslist, yard sales, ask friends if they have extra their kids don’t play with anymore.  I’m sure there are tons of moms out there who’d like to clean out the toy box!

We waited until she got here to buy baby food.  You can’t really stock that in your pantry and fridge for months waiting on a placement.  Depending on the age you will need appropriate snacks and food.  One of you could stay home with the baby the first night while the other gets snacks and food for the next few days.

Also.  Establish a schedule from the first day.  These babies need some sort of structure.  They have been thrown into a stranger’s home and have no idea how things go.  If from day one you can put them on a schedule then they will know what to expect as far as naps, lunch, bathtime, and bedtime.  A bedtime routine is so important.  Instead of just sticking them in their crib establish a routine that works for your family.  We do bath, brush teeth, potty,  massage, bible time (reading & songs), then we pray with her and she knows she’s going into her crib after that.  Some babies might be used to being rocked or need that extra cuddle time before bed.  Little Bit cries for about a minute and then lays down and goes to sleep when we leave the room.  She’s been really easy as far as bedtime goes.

You can’t really prepare for these kids because they come with their own little personalities and needs, but these are the few generic things I felt made our lives a little easier to already have on hand for the first few days.

So, what are some things you feel like you and your infant/toddler can’t live without?  What soothes your baby when he/she is fussy?  Favorite toys?   I’d love to hear your ideas!


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Why I Chose to Stay Home with Little Bit

She’s with her parents right now.  That makes two days in a row.  Once for a visit, once for a checkup.  When she gets home she won’t let me out of her sight.  I can never leave the room without her.  I can’t run to go get a new diaper while she’s on the potty.  I can’t cook supper without her clinging to my leg.  The day of and after visits are the worse.  I know she is theirs, but seeing them twice a week and then coming home to me hurts her.  She’s so little.  She’s so confused.  She wonders if we will leave her too.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all the cuddling and snuggling, but I know why she does it.

I ache for her.

When we got to the point in our GPS class where they told us about approved daycares, I stated that we would not be needing that information.  The teacher of our class looked at me like I was an alien.  “You are staying home”, she asked?  “Of course”, I replied.  There has never been a question of whether or not I would stay home and raise my kids.  Why should my foster kids be any different…If anything, they need me more!

The way I see it, she has been picked up by a stranger, dropped off at a stranger’s house, slept in a stranger’s bed, fed strange food…how could I leave her 8 hours a day with another stranger?  I try to imagine what it would be like if I were in her shoes.  She hasn’t had a choice in any of these decisions.  Now, before I go on…I want to make it clear that I’m not bashing anyone that drops their kids off at day care.  Sometimes a family has to have two incomes.  We have chosen to be a one income family.  Yes, that means no hot dates out on the town, no new cars, a meager home, handmedowns and thrift store clothes and toys, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It also means: lots of love, lots of one on one mommy and daddy time, handmade toys and blankets, home cooked meals, and much, much more.  I am the one that Little Bit spends her day with.  That means I am the one who decides what she watches on T.V. (or if she watches it), what books she reads, takes her to the potty (consistency), makes sure she has a schedule (naps and meals).  I feel like (especially since she’s a foster child) she needs the consistency and the structure.  Not in a rigid, harsh way, but in a comforting, assuring way.

She knows what will happen from day to day.  She knows we will be here for her no matter what.  I think this is important for her.

If you are wondering about her socialization.  I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day in our short 3 weeks that she has only had interaction with me.  For example, yesterday Jeff and I were taking her for a walk and we met a couple with two kids and a dog.  We started talking and they invited us into their parents home where Little Bit got to play with three more dogs, kids, and the whole family!  We have playdates with our friend’s kids, not to mention worship services where there are 40 or so children that love all over her!

I know we are what is best for her because we teach her about God.  I don’t think many day cares would provide her with that.  One of the reasons we wanted to be foster parents is so we can influence many children and teach them about our Lord and Savior.  We sing, pray, read, and learn about God everyday.  I’m not saying this to brag at all, I’m just saying, this is our one chance to influence this child’s life, so that she might know God.  Yes, I know she’s only a toddler, but it can only do her good.

Please take the time to read one of my favorite articles by Cindy Colley on the subject of being a keeper at home.  The original post can be found here.  She has lots of great things on her blog pertaining to marriage, family, homeschooling, etc.

This is Controversial. But Why?

 

Sometimes we just get in our own way. Sometimes we would just be so much better off as God’s women if we could just submit to His will, willingly and wholly, instead of trying to be His, in name, and yet play the world’s feministic game. We decided a few decades ago that we could do just as well chasing careers as we could chasing children. And so, by and large, our children got away from us. We’re losing them to the world in huge numbers. We can recklessly blame lots of things: inept youth ministers, school influences, weak church leaders, television–a litany of evils. But really, the buck stops at home. We can’t turn out Timothys if we have failed to be Loises and Eunices. If we fail to spend time with our kids we can’t put the Word in them in the Deuteronomy 6 way. And if they don’t get the Word in them according to Deuteronomy six, then why should we expect the result of Deuteronomy six teaching: that they should walk in the ways of the Lord all of the days of their lives. It really doesn’t take a village to raise a child. In fact, I am convinced that it’s our villages–the culture of materialism around us–that has most dangerously influenced our homes. It’s the village to which we sometimes leave our children that draws them from God.

That’s the ultimate price that we often pay for feminism. But there are other lesser prices, too. We wanted to find fulfillment outside the home forty years ago. So we left the challenging and very rewarding (and very Biblical) arena of raising our children, being keepers at home and being helpers to our husbands for desk jobs and corporate partnerships, teaching positions and medical careers. Some women traded the home-keeping business for less lucrative positions as underlings to more successful men and women. But many, if not most, did so, not to put food on the table, but, instead, to take the family out to eat more often. They were not keeping a roof over their heads, but were rather making sure there was lots of square footage under that roof along with tasteful decorations, multiple bathrooms and a well-stocked entertainment center. The casualties are sometimes the little people living in that very square footage we’ve worked so hard to provide.

But what are some of the other prices we pay (besides our inability to maximize the hours of faith-injection in our kids)? I’ve noticed several price tags in recent weeks. One is that the more we work outside the home, the more we are expected to work outside the home. Case in point: Several young ministers applying for jobs in churches recently have told me that the elders were unwilling or unable to pay the young families enough to adequately support them, so they indicated that the young preachers’ wives could “get a job to supply the rest of the needed income.” Something is wrong with that picture. Have we really come to the point in our churches in which elders believe it’s the minister’s wife’s responsibility to provide basic monetary support for the pulpits in our churches? That’s not the idea, for sure, In I Corinthians 9.

Secondly, there are those men in some of our churches today who are fearful of implementing programs which facilitate our older women teaching our girls how to be keepers at home. The reasons being given include a fear that women will get the idea that we think they should be staying at home and raising their own children. Or perhaps women will resent the study….It might portray housework as not really being an “equally shared responsibility” in the home. Or perhaps women might feel denigrated if we emphasize domestic skills like sewing and cooking, cleaning and ironing. Have we come to the point that Titus 2:3-5 is actually offensive to women in our pews today? Are some church leaders even afraid of the ire of feministic women in congregations? The phrase “keeper at home” is still there in Titus 2 and it still means “one who looks after the home; a domestic.” Is the Word so old-fashioned that we can prohibit its teachings in our churches?

Thirdly, I believe women in the workplace, many times, lose the precious commodity of a heart that hates sin. I have been amazed, recently, as I have learned of “Christian” women reading pornographic novels, being comfortable with vulgarity of language, dressing more and more immodestly, even undergoing abortions, and freezing multiple fetuses fertilized in test tubes–babies that they produced, but never planned to raise. I hear of more and more of my sisters who have become involved in adultery and have even left their children for these relationships. There’s a litany of sins of which we are becoming ever more accepting and tolerant. Now, do not get me wrong. I do not think women’s jobs are always the culprit, or even the catalyst. But I know that in many of the cases with which I am personally familiar, the associations at the office or school or hospital, combined with little time for Bible study and prayer make for an easy exit from the narrow path to the broad way that leads to destruction. When we are around the world and away from the little innocent hearts that constantly remind us of a higher calling, it just becomes easy for us to lose the heavenward focus and be sucked into the mentality that pivots on the here and now. The more we say “yes” to promotions and career climbing, the less time we have for prayer and family devotions. Furthermore, if we don’t have time to think about spiritual things, our consciences become less and less potent and we become more and more accepting of the world.

Did I say it’s always wrong for any woman to work outside the home? No. Did I say there are no situations in which women can make supplemental incomes and still “be there” for family? No. Do I think every woman can possibly have the luxury to be at home with her kids every day? No. Does it even matter what I say? No.

But God’s Word still calls us to be “keepers at home.” Whatever I am, I must be sure that I am that. But even aside from the clear statement in Titus 2, I think I could figure out that there’s often a big price for following a career path that takes me away from home and children. I’m going to keep pointing this out because 1) I’ve known women who figured this out in the nick of time and saved a lot of heartache, 2) I’ve known several women who figured this out when it was too late–eternally too late–for their children, 3) I’ve known several divorces which would most likely have not occurred had a woman chosen to stay home and raise her children and 4) I personally can attest to the fact that being a keeper at home is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding ventures of this life for God’s women. I want to share the wealth.

Finally, I know this is the most controversial thing I urge women to do. I will likely be unable to answer all of the mail and messages I will receive as a result of this post. They will not all be pleasant. I can hardly believe that we’ve come to the point in the body of God that the teaching we hate most, as women, is that we really should optimally stay home with our babies and raise them ourselves…for God. But we are there. May God help us to realize that the needs of babies have not changed in the last half-century. It is a deep and threatening desire to be like the culture around us that endangers our faithfulness and that of our children. May He help us to be transformed by a renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2) as we turn our hearts toward home.

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The best part of my day. ❤ My family!