2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Friends

Have you ever met someone new and found you could talk and talk and they understood you and you just knew you'd be friends?

I just met a whole bunch of women like that!

I love my family and friends.... They are helpful, compassionate, thoughtful and they challenge me spiritually.

But I have very few friends who understand this crazy LEO life that my family leads.... Many really, really try to understand and I appreciate that about them... But in the end, they really don't get it because they don't live it.

I found a group on Facebook (yes, the dreaded Facebook!) dedicated only to wives of Law Enforcement.  It has become a place where we feel safe to share a little about our lives without fear that someone will start threatening our loved ones, as is all too common in the online world.  The group is "closed" so no one outside the group can see our posts, which lets us open up to each other about things we would probably never talk to anyone else about...

We've shared funny stories, scary stories, schedule problems and quirks of the LEO life...

The black sock drawer?  We all have one!

Uniforms and gear taking over the closet, bathroom and bedroom?  Yup, here too!

Coming home late from shift or off duty or being called in on a day off?  Been there, done that!

Not being able to contact your husband for hours and wondering if something BIG is going on?  Too many times to count...

Hubby missing out on Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, church, soccer games due to his schedule?  We're so used to that now...

These are just a handful of the things that you just can't understand if you don't live it.  Now don't get me wrong, my non LEOW friends DO empathize with all we deal with but I think even they would admit they don't truly get it since it's not their life.  I can empathize with a friend whose husband travels a lot for work or is deployed in the military, but I can't tell her I understand what she's going through because I've never experienced it.  I am not better than anyone else because of my husband's job or the crazy life we live, but it's just a different life and  it's hard to truly understand if you haven't lived with your husband putting on 20 lbs of gear, including a bullet proof vest and a gun each time he goes to work. 

I have spent WAY too much time over the past few days in that Facebook group.  Thankfully, I've also been able to get everything done around the house, or there would be trouble!  But, it's so refreshing to find like minded women who truly understand!  Who know what it's like and love it anyway... 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eleven Weeks Later....

It has been 11 weeks since I broke my foot.  And when I say broke my foot, I really mean severely sprained my ankle and broke a bone in my foot in 2 places.  It hasn't healed completely and never will.  I will have to see if it gives me pain or discomfort and if it does, I can choose to have surgery to have a pin put in.

In those 11 weeks, I've had a lot of time to sit and think.  I also spent a lot of time sleeping (pain pills will do that to you), and a lot of time watching Downton Abbey.  I didn't feel like reading, I couldn't move around well, and I was in pain. 

You really start to appreciate the little things when you can't:
  • drive
  • get in and out of the shower by yourself
  • get yourself any food or drink
  • easily get on or off the toilet
  • leave the house except for a doctor's visit or maybe church
  • clean the house (sure a break is nice, but 11 weeks?!?!)
  • cook dinner
  • do any kind of chores
  • sit at the dinner table with your family
It wasn't that I couldn't do all of these things the entire 11 weeks.  Most of them lasted at least 6 weeks and others the full 11.

The break, the resting, the sitting and doing a lot of nothing was fine for the first few weeks.  But then you get restless.  You want to go out into the world and do something, but it's too much effort to even get out of your pajamas and your husband is working 50+ hours that week so there's no one to even go out with.  You get in a rutt and you want to get out.

I don't remember much of the first 2 weeks.  I watched episodes of Downton Abbey that I don't remember and I apparently had a conversation with a lady at church that she remembered but I didn't.  I felt bad that my husband had to work 50-60 hours a week, including 12+ hour days with some of them starting at 4:30am, and then he had to come home exhausted to help out with the evening routine.  My teenagers were VERY helpful, but there are certain things that needed to be done that they just couldn't do.  My poor husband is so tired!  I think he's more excited about me FINALLY being able to drive than I am!

I had friends and family that helped out a lot along the way.  They took me to the grocery store, drove me to church and homeschool group, brought me delicious homemade bread and took my kids to their activities.  There were people I only knew through Facebook (law enforcement wives are VERY supportive of each other!) who checked on me, encouraged me, and asked me how I was doing.

I know this period of time happened for a reason, and I may never know that reason.  I know that I had very important plans that were changed and God knew that all along and still allowed me to miss a step off my back porch.  I also know I could've used my time better, but I didn't.  

I look forward to the changes that will come from being mobile again.  I look forward to slowly walking up and down my road to get back in shape and see how my foot holds up.  I look forward to getting back into a routine and getting some order back in the house.

And I hope I never break a bone again!


Monday, April 8, 2013

It's That Time of Year!

Spring is here and with it means....

  • Warmer temperatures
  • A growing garden
  • More time outside
  • Homeschool planning!!

I have to admit.... I actually like planning for homeschool better than I like teaching!

So, these last 2 years have been nice as my teenagers have transitioned to a time where they do their schoolwork completely on their own.  I answer questions and I grade tests and papers.

I LOVE it!

Life is going to change next year!  We will be homeschooling our youngest, who has been in public school his entire life.

We couldn't homeschool him until our adoption was final and since that didn't happen until late March and school is out in June, we decided to leave him in public school for the rest of this school year.

W has some learning issues, so that is bringing a perspective into our homeschool that I've never dealt with before.  My teens were very easy to plan for and they could do a lot of work on their own or with minimal intervention on my part, even in elementary school.

It's going to be quite the learning experience on my part.

We've realized during W's spring break that he has a difficult time even playing on his own!  He wants someone to play with him all the time... He doesn't even respond well to ideas of what he can play with.  Seeing all of that developing last week, even our summer break is going to be "interesting".

I already know we'll be playing lots of games, doing a lot of reading, and having short blocks of instructional time.

I also know that this will be labor intensive on my part....  I'm going to be exhausted!

So, why would I choose to tire myself out, have little to no "me" time in order to homeschool a child with some learning issues?  Because I've seen what public school has done for him.  And I'm not impressed.

Now before you think I'm going to bash all public schools, teachers and parent who send their kids to public school, think again!  All I'm saying is that for THIS child and THIS situation, homeschooling is the way to go.  

I hope to address some character issues, increase our family bonding, improve his academic learning by teaching him according to his learning style and ability, and teach him important life skills.

We learned already this past year that for him, getting home at 4pm and trying to address all of the above issues is impossible.  So, while I enjoyed the quiet day time of this past year, I'm giving it all up to homeschool a child that is so very different from my teenagers.

Even planning is harder.  It's overwhelming.  Internet searches aren't even very helpful.

So, I've got a school schedule of 5-7 weeks of school and 1 week off... we can use that week off to regroup, if necessary, sleep late, take a field trip, do nothing....

I've got a basic schedule of things I want to do with W, but I'm sure that will change as I look toward the details of his day.

You may think I've got plenty of time to get this planning done, but I really don't.  With the chance of me having foot surgery still there, I need to get things done earlier than normal in case I lose weeks of prep time.  My teens are going on a mission trip in June and I'll also need to get them ready for that.  

I like to have all my prep and purchases done by the end of June and this year, it may even have to be done by the end of May.  So, time is ticking and I'm not ready yet!



Friday, March 22, 2013


We weren't expecting to hear this news until mid April, but here it is...

 The adoption is final!!

Even though this is a BIG day in our family, it still doesn't change much.  From the day he moved in our home last summer, we considered him part of our family.  Now we just have the paperwork to prove that!

It may seem funny or odd to the rest of you but there are two things that make me most happy now that it's official:

  1. No more paperwork!!  We had to fill out a daily grid that tracked his behavior and experiences relating to his goals.  We filled out daily paperwork for his medication.  We filled out a monthly list of contacts.  We filled out a monthly list of doctors or therapist visits, activities we took him on (at least 3 were required each month for the type of care he's in), and the date we had a fire drill.  I understand why we had to do this, but it was still annoying to keep up with.
  2. More freedom!!  Only our approved support people could be with him without my husband or I present.  Our wonderful neighbors agreed to be support people (they didn't know what they got themselves into!) as well as my parents.  I can't imagine getting through this process without having those support people!  Now that we have more freedom, I can leave him with friends of our family too and that's a HUGE help!
 When he got home from school today, I told him the exciting news... As we had thought, his reaction was minimal and he just wanted to play some Wii!  I had to actually show him the adoption decree stating his new name!  Thankfully, he already had a therapist appointment scheduled for this afternoon so they can talk and help him process this new concept of adoption.

We had already planned on having take out for dinner tonight, so we are adding a special candy treat to that and having a small celebration!  A friend of mine is going to make us a special cake next week.  He also gets his traditional Friday bubble bath tonight, he can play Wii and on his IPod and can stay up just a little bit late as a special time to mark this special day.

So, now we are officially a family of FIVE!  Sure, we've lived like this for almost 9 months, but there's something a little different today. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Getting Closer...

I got an email the other day from our adoption social worker that this long process is soon coming to an end.  The word from the clerk is that they will mail our adoption decree the beginning of April!

From the moment he moved into our home last July, he has been a member of our family.  He calls us "Mommy" and "Daddy" and refers to the teenagers as his brother and sister.  He even argues with us all as if he's been in our family for years!  But his last name is different than ours and that is what this decree will change.

It has been a long time in coming.

We were told we could file for adoption in early October, except we were waiting on other people to get their paperwork in order and that didn't happen until early January.

Then when we filed, there were problems with how the paperwork was filled out (not on our end) so the process was delayed while those things were corrected.

It's a 30-90 day process and when it's all over, I think we will hit over 80 days... With the way things sometimes go for us, that was expected by us even when no one else thought it would happen that way.

By the time we have the decree in our hand, it will have been 2 years from when we first made the phone call saying we were interested in adoption through foster care.  To some, that may seem like a long time, but it really isn't.  There were countless hours of training (and we have more to go to keep our foster care license current!), homestudy visits and meetings. 

It was actually pretty fast in the adoption world because from the day we submitted our list of children we were interested in learning more about until our first meeting about our soon to be son, it was only 6 weeks!  

From the day he moved into our house until the day the adoption is final will be right around 9 months... Just like a regular birth!

We plan on having a small family celebration once that decree is in our hand... Some take out from a favorite place and a cake that my friend is going to make that will show our new family.

I'm sure some of you are wondering if we're going to do this again.  And I can give my answer with great confidence.... MAYBE!  I have my eye on a young boy on the website, but I'm afraid that with the uncertainty of the healing of my broken foot, we won't be able to pursue anything right now.  So, who knows.... maybe later this year?  Maybe next year?  Maybe never.... God only knows at this point.  We do hope to do some respite care (taking care of someone else's foster child for a short period of time) and maybe even foster again.

So, what will I miss from this process?
  • Our wonderful therapeutic and adoption social workers.... We have laughed together and they have been with me through pneumonia and a broken foot...
What will I not miss?
  • Paperwork!  Oh my goodness, just when you think the pre-placement paperwork is over, there's the therapeutic paperwork!  In our state, there are 2 levels of foster care- family and therapeutic.  You get different amounts of reimbursement and so there are different levels of work involved.  With therapeutic care, there is daily medication paperwork, daily behavior paperwork, monthly contacts and monthly information, including what activities you have included the child in.  I will NOT miss this aspect of things!
  • Asking permission to give OTC meds, take him out of state, etc.  I understand WHY we have to do this, but it's still a pain to have to defer to others who may not care what our choices or plans are.  Thankfully, his worker has been very accomodating.
  • Training, training, and.... MORE training!  I also understand the need for training, but at some point you realize they're saying the same thing over and over again...

 We're looking forward to that day when it is all official!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's Been Awhile

It's been over 3 weeks since I blogged.

There has been so much going on, but yet nothing much.

My foot is still broken and I still can't drive. 

We are still waiting for the adoption paperwork to be processed and finalized.

I've finally healed enough to be able to get around better.  I'm trying to make the transition to using only one crutch around the house so that frees up one hand to be able to carry things.  It feels great to not always have to rely on others to bring me even a drink of water or the phone!  We'll hear more about how the bone is actually healing at my appointment next week.  Apparently I have a bad enough break that I was a candidate for surgery the week after it happened.  When I got my 2nd xray a week later, the Orthopedist told me that if the break was in a slightly different place, I'd need surgery NOW... Oh my goodness, I am thankful that was not the case!  The doctor will see how I've healed after 12 weeks and decide if I need surgery to put a screw or pin in and I'm really hoping that's not the case because that's almost the last thing I want to do this summer!

We had a particularly busy week with lots of appointments, meetings, church and night shift.  And not just regular night shift, but the early one where my husband has to be ready no later than 6pm.  Of course, he is usually ready around 5:45.  There's nothing like cooking dinner at 4pm (well, cooking for me these days is sitting on the bar stool chopping vegetables) to eat at 5pm and then showering and getting your jammies on at 5:30 because you can't get in and out of the shower yourself.  Life could be worse of course, so it's important to keep things in perspective.

So, I am learning that the things we think are so important in our schedule aren't always.  If the house doesn't get a good cleaning every week, your family will survive.  If all you can do is lay in bed and then move to sit on the couch and then back to your bed again, do it with a good attitude.  If God sits you on your rear for a few weeks, you better not try to fight it and instead make the best of it!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Change in Plans

I had it all planned out...

I was going to work really hard last week getting a ton of things done, so that my daughter and I could go out of state to help a relative who is going through a health issue.  Then we'd meet my husband and the boys for a school trip/family vacation.

But that's not how it all turned out!

I'm not an outdoors kind of person.  I do like to hike, but we don't get to do that much.  If I have the choice between reading a book inside or doing almost anything outside, you'll find me snuggled up on my couch with my book.

But last Tuesday was such a beautiful day that I decided to kick the soccer ball around with the kids after our youngest got home from school.

I was standing on the back steps and not paying attention as I turned to walk down... That was a bad choice, to say the least!

I missed a step, or landed wrong, or something...  I ended up breaking my foot.  I was hoping it would be a simple break, but it turns out that it was a pretty bad one.  Apparently, the bone broke in 2 places.  The good news is that I am in a boot and not a cast.  

So, for the past week, I've been home bound and bed/couch bound.  I've been instructed by the doctor to keep all weight off my foot and I've been following those orders.  Perhaps I've been overdoing it on the doing nothing, but I want the bones to heal.  

I'm forbidden from driving for SIX weeks.  After 12 weeks, the doctor will see if I need surgery to put in a screw.  That is absolutely NOT in my plans for the summer, so that's why I'm doing a lot of nothing.

So far, I've watched almost 2 seasons of Downton Abbey.  I've played on my Kindle Fire.  I've folded a load of laundry (mostly socks and underwear).  I've organized our taxes.  And that's been spread out over 6 days!

I have no desire to read a book, to sit on the porch or to play any games.

It's not even easy to just quickly use the bathroom.

Showering and getting ready for bed at night is exhausting.

Getting dressed and ready in the morning makes me want a nap when I'm done.

Normally, I'm not good at following doctor's orders.  About 7 years ago, I had a stress fracture in my foot.  My doctor told me to use my crutches and rest it a lot and it would heal in about 6 weeks.  I did none of those things and it was probably 12 weeks before it felt completely better.  So, that's why I'm resting this time around.

I'm not a person who is normally on the go every minute, but I do keep busy during the day getting stuff done.  I am a homebody and don't like the weeks where I have to be out every day.

But being able to do NOTHING and go NOWHERE is getting pretty frustrating!

My family has been helpful and my friends have been checking in on me and offering their help.

And in the end, compared to health issues far worse than mine, I really have nothing to complain about.  I should just sit and enjoy this time to rest, read a book, play a game with the kids, and quit my whining.

I'll let you know how that goes!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Surprising Friendship

Just about a year ago, I met someone who would soon become one of my closest friends. 

The sad thing is how we got to be friends and get so close in such a short period of time.

For the privacy of her and her family, I won't give many details.  I'll just say that I was made aware of a crisis in her life and reached out to her during that time.

This family had visited our church with us around Christmas time and had been attending for a few Sundays.  The existance of a superficial relationship helped me be bold and confront her on some things.  God worked in her life and she was saved soon afterward.  But her crisis didn't go away; in fact, it got worse.

Over the next few months, I got to witness something I had never seen before in a friendship of mine.  My new friend, a new Christian, was seeking HARD after the things of God and challenging me to do the same!  We talked on the phone, texted and emailed and met when we could.  We read a book together and discussed what we learned.  Over the summer, when her schedule was easier, we met weekly at church to do a Bible Study together.  

She shared with me the details of the crisis in her life.  I was frustrated and sad for what she was dealing with.  She knew without a doubt that God had forgiven her and she had completely repented, but that didn't change what she was going through.  But she continued to cling to God and has gotten to see Him work a miracle in her life, one that even her young children and her husband noticed.

There were also times this past year where my new friend encouraged me... Through the countless adoption meetings and visits, through personal illness and a health crisis in a family member, through the stress of LEO life and in the fun times of the soccer season and vacations... She was there to text Scripture, ask how I was doing, give advice and laugh with me. 

If you were to ask me just over a year ago if I would reach out to someone I had met only 2 or 3 times and was 12 years younger than me and start a friendship and that we'd be as close as we now are, I would've called you crazy.  That's not what I do.  I don't reach out to people I don't know... I don't stick my nose into that person's life... I don't put myself out there like that...

The only thing I can think about this situation is that God knew what I didn't.  He knew that she needed my friendship and He knew that I needed her's.  And even now He is the only one that knows what lies ahead for her future.

If I had been content to stay within the circle of friends that I had a year ago, I would have missed out on getting to know a wonderful person... I would've missed out on seeing God work through the struggles she faced... I would've missed out on my own spiritual growth as well.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Little Change in Tradition

For at least the past 5 years, our family has gone out of town on the weekend of my older kids' birthdays.  

It started as an easier alternative to having birthday parties.  With their birthdays only 2 days apart and with my husband's crazy work schedule, it was getting impossible to have 2 parties on a weekend where he was home to help.  I was getting tired of it all, especially so close to Christmas and only 2 weeks from my husband's birthday.

If I'm remembering correctly, we usually have gone to the mountains for a few days and one year we even had snow on my daughter's birthday!

This year, it didn't work out for us to travel.  With my husband's work schedule surrounding birthday weekend, all the planning, packing and unpacking would've been on me so it actually worked out fine to stay home to celebrate.

For our kids' birthdays, they pick the dinner of their choice (whether we are cooking at home or eating out) as well as the activity of their choice.

This year, we have a pretty fun long weekend planned.

They'll spend some time with friends this evening.

They'll get a surprise visit from longtime friends tomorrow.

The birthday girl will get to spend some time with friends after church on Sunday and then have the family celebration in the evening.

We're not quite sure what we're doing Monday,  but I think my son just may break out the 14 discs of extended edition and bonus features from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that my husband got for Christmas.  I know my husband will watch as well, if he's not able to work any off duty.

On my son's birthday, we're going out to lunch and doing a little shopping at the Lego store.

A friend of mine is making some delicious cupcakes for each kids' birthday dessert.  That takes a load of my mind in not having to make anything.  It's well worth the price to not have to make it myself!

It's hard to believe that this year, my teenagers turn 15 and 17.  I remember the days they were born as if they were yesterday.  They are sure growing up fast!  In just a few short years, they'll both be out of the house and living on their own. 

Our family is looking forward to another birthday weekend celebration for our teenagers and also looking forward to seeing what God has in store for them in the coming year!




Friday, January 4, 2013

Adoption Update

It's been quite awhile since I posted anything specific regarding where we are in the adoption process.  Since I actually have an update, I figured it was a good time to share!

In late August, in a phone conference with the social worker and Guardian ad Litem in the county where W was in foster care, we were encouraged to file the adoption paperwork soon after the early October date when we could legally file.  We had to wait 3-6 months from the date of his placement in our home before we could file.  Because things were going so well, it was recommended we file after 3 months.  We were all in agreement and I was told that the adoption worker in that county would begin preparing the paperwork we needed to file in our county.

October came and went...

November came and went...

Our adoption worker was keeping in touch with the other adoption worker and was only told that she was working on the paperwork.

Finally, in mid December, we were told all the paperwork had arrived to our agency!  Apparently we were waiting on the original birth certificate.  I thought that was an easy document to order, but apparently it can take up to 6 weeks to receive and who knows when the order was placed.  Regardless, the paperwork arrived just before Christmas and was ready for us to sign and get notarized.

Unfortunately, we received the paperwork on a Thursday afternoon, too late to go to the bank to get it notarized.  My husband worked all day Friday, Monday and Tuesday.  Our credit union was closed on the next Wednesday.  He worked again all day on Thursday and Friday.  So, it was 10 days from when we received the paperwork until we could get it notarized!  

I need to go with our adoption social worker to file the paperwork so we scheduled a date.... in another week!  

At this point it's really ok. What's another 1-2 weeks when we've already waited 3 months longer than we thought?  And while we wait, we still receive our foster care payments, which are much more than we will receive in adoption assistance.  So, it's all good and we really have nothing much to complain about!

After we file the paperwork, it will be an additional 30-90 days of waiting while it's processed.  We've been told it will take at least 30 days, but really shouldn't take as long as 90.  We'll just expect it to take 90 and then be pleasantly surprised when it's less.

I'll continue to use the waiting time to prepare for homeschooling W, either when the adoption is final or in the next school year.  I'll post more details about that in a future post.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

Early this year, I posted my goals for the 2012 year.  I did well in some goals and struggled in others.  But I found it was good to have some goals written down so that I could at least see what things I wanted to accomplish this year.  It was also important not to get tied down to getting the goals accomplished, even when life happened and made it virtually impossible.

So, as we begin another year, here are my 5 goals for 2013!

  1. Read through the Bible in a year- AGAIN!  I did this last year and there's nothing wrong with doing it again.  I'm using a different Bible translation (NKJV this year; Holman Standard last year) and probably a slightly different format.  Our church preaches line by line through books of the Bible and at different points during the year I am involved in other Bible studies, so I find reading through the Bible in a year really does work for me in keeping me on a schedule and not sticking only to the books that I "like".
  2. Travel!  When I looked ahead to our month by month plans (as of now, God willing), I saw that we will be traveling somewhere almost every month of the year, minus the crazy 3 months of the soccer season!  We are thankful for the opportunities we have to go to a variety of places this year and at a low cost due to having friends and family in different areas with places we can stay!
  3. Enjoy & Prepare- Life will once again change when we I homeschool our youngest in the new school year.  He's different from our older children in how he learns and he will require quite a bit of one-on-one work with me to complete his work.  I'm used to my high schoolers basically getting their work done on their own, so this will be VERY different for me!  So, I'm resolved to enjoy these last few months of "freedom" before I move into a time where my time will be occupied much differently.  And because his learning style is different, I will also need to spend a lot of time preparing what he will be doing for school- finding the activities, games, books, etc that will help him learn.
  4. Relationships- Whether it's longtime friends that you've lost contact with or new friendships you want to nurture, it's important to leave some time in your life for friendships.  They laugh with you through the good times and encourage you in the bad times.  Sometimes you lose touch due to circumstances in your life, but they're always there to pick back up with you when you need them.  I want to be sure this year to spend time with friends, those good friends you know you'll have in your life for a long, long time!
  5. Healthy Living- Many people have the goal to eat right and exercise as the new year rolls around and they realize how much the ate during the holidays. I actually lost about 10 pounds over the holidays, but not in a way I would recommend to anyone- pneumonia and stress!  I'm sure I gained a pound or 2 with Christmas eating.  I think for 2013, I would like to continue healthy eating (little to no processed foods, infrequent eating out and healthy recipes) as well as being active (walks with my husband, hiking, riding my stationary bike).  I don't want to obsess about it, but simply to make those changes that will best help me to have an all around healthy lifestyle!

Last year, one of my most popular posts was on my 2012 goals!  That's good, because that gives me some sort of accountability in knowing that people know what I said I wanted to do and they just might ask me if I actually did those things!

What are your goals for 2013?