Yearly Recap {2013}

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done an end-of-the-year recap post; in fact, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about ANYTHING at all. I saw this yearly recap on Rage Against the Minivan and decided to participate, too.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?  2013 was a pretty tame year for me. We took in our second little foster daughter, loved on her for eight months, and then she reunified with her birth mother. That was hard.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?  I honestly don’t even remember what my resolutions were from last year. I’m sure one of them was to lose weight, which has happened! I will make new resolutions for 2014… I want to get back into exercising regularly, I want to take more time to enjoy the little things, and I want to simplify life in general.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I had a few cousins give birth to beautiful babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Thankfully, no!

5. What countries did you visit?  I had a brief trip across the border into Mexico, but other than that, all of our vacations were in the US. We visited Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?  Patience, time, and living more in the present.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 2013 because we were placed with our second foster daughter and also because rights were terminated on our first foster daughter’s biological parents that month. December 20th she officially became an “adoptive placement” –looking forward to finalizing in the next month or so! On November 25th, our little girl was having a routine surgery and we had a baseline MRI done for her neurofibromatosis and discovered some things we weren’t expecting and that will require more in-depth medical consultations in 2014. November 27th, the little girl we had been fostering returned home to her mother.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?  Successfully parenting two little girls aged two months apart and mostly keeping my sanity, not to mention being a mother the other four kiddos.

9. What was your biggest failure?  I didn’t put as much time into my business as I had hoped to. Seems like time got away from me in many areas of my life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  No, not really.

11. What was the best thing you bought?  A huge, comfy couch big enough for all of our massive family to sit on. Also, my NutriBullet -I use it every single day.

12. Where did most of your money go?  Taxes and kids.

13. What did you get really excited about?  We have two open spots for foster children and I get extremely excited when our home phone rings, hoping for a little baby. There are only two types of people that call our home phone – social workers and doctors.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?  Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. We play that a lot to calm Jaz down.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? I think I am happier.
– thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner, which makes me happy!
– richer or poorer? About the same, but I think we have more of our debts paid off!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?  Traveling and seeing the world, taking photos, and talking to friends.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?  I would like to spend less time online and on my phone, which is hard, because it’s how I make a living and stay in touch with most people!

18. How did you spend Christmas?  We spent Christmas at home for the second year in a row. This never happens.  Usually, Justin ends up having to work over Christmas and we head to the rig. On Christmas day, we drove to Dickinson and hung out with family for a few hours.

19. What was your favorite TV program?  Walking Dead, Girls, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and So You Think You Can Dance.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?  Oh, gosh. I’m not sure I even read a whole book last year. I probably read a few, but I can’t remember what they were. My family got me Humans of New York, a collection of photos and stories, and I’ve been loving that the last few days!

21. What was your favorite music from this year?  Unfortunately, most of my music is stuff my teenage girl listens to, because my time is spent shuffling kids from one place to another. When I do get time to myself, I’ve been digging Ryan Adams, Passenger, The Neighbourhood.

22. What was your favorite film of the year? Honestly, I don’t think I even saw a decent movie during the last year!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?  I turned 34 and didn’t do anything memorable. I will be turning 35 in 10 days -yikes! I don’t have any big plans, although I will be meeting some of my besties for a quick trip a few days after that! I can’t wait!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Starting to build the house we have been planning. We purchased 40+ acres in 2012 and were hoping to start building last spring, but it just didn’t happen that way, as we need to figure out how to get a road across the creek!

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? I still live for cozy and easy, but I’m starting to branch out a little more, thanks to Stitch Fix! My “personal stylist” sends me great pieces I would never typically pick for myself.

26. What kept you sane?  My husband and my kids. They are also probably the ones that make me not-so-sane.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.  Not everyone is going to share the same parenting standards that I hold myself to. And that’s okay. I can offer advice, support, and encouragement, but in the end, I cannot change people. Sometimes, I just need to let it go.

instafriday

Hello, Friday!

Let’s take a look at our week via instagram, shall we?

The boys made us their “special” lemonade…

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We worked on our projects… okay, well mainly my husband worked on the chicken living situation.

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BUT, I was busy turning this old family writing desk into a beautiful dresser in our foster care room! It’s perfectly imperfect and I love it!

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Speaking of foster care, our life has been busy with our little foster baby. It’s so much fun to watch her learn and grow. It’s amazing all that she has picked up in the last few weeks.

She stands next to furniture!

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The twins read her books…

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And Averie and I have soooooo much fun clothes-shopping for her!

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Christy and I found these “vintage” desks for giveaway while we were visiting my Dad. I grabbed two for the twins and she grabbed two to haul down to Texas. The boys are loving them!

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Linking up with Life Rearranged.

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grabbing life by the horn{worm}s

Does it seem to you that time is flying by at epic speeds? Or is it just me?

I’ve been meaning to write about our trip to Florida. How the massive crowds at the theme parks made me want to stab people, but then the last few days at our favorite beach town soothed my soul {and feet}.

I was planning on writing about how awesome the kids did in school this year. They are some smart little cookies, you know.

I had intentions of writing about foster care. We are officially a licensed foster family now, since April. We waited and waited for our phone to ring, and wouldn’t you know it, as we were in Florida going through the security line for Disney World, we got a call for two little girls. It didn’t work out and they weren’t placed with us, but a few weeks ago, we finally had our first placement. She is the most adorable baby and we are enjoying loving on her!

Did I mention that I survived another year of the three-kids’-birthdays-in-five-days week? Just barely. We pulled it off, though, and I now have TWO teenagers. Lord, help me.

Our oldest is taking his driver’s road test next week. Lord, help me.

Oh, and today I discovered these beasts {tomato hornworms} mooching off my tomato plants. Okay, more like devouring them. What the hell. Don’t mess with my tomaters.

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So, like I said. I’ve been meaning to share all these things with you; but, I’m kind of tired. This having five kids thing is kind of exhausting. And awesome.

just be.

I sit here on my favorite corduroy chair with my warm blanket and a steaming mug of coffee, with a computer on my lap and a cat at my feet. The kids have just been whooshed outside to meet the bus at the end of the driveway, and I sit as I do every morning for a short time. This is the most peaceful time of my day. So quiet. So un-chaotic. I love the chaos {most of the time}, but sometimes it’s lovely to just be.

I think about how I arrived at this place in my life. Many, many mistakes and lots of hasty decisions. It’s so odd to think that if I had just made one different decision all those years ago, my life may have veered off on such a different path. But, all of those decisions and mistakes added up to be so right.

I am blessed with an awesome husband, who has put up with me and my quirks for over a dozen years {not to say that he doesn’t have his!}. Children who know they are loved, get it, and are able to pass this love onto so many others. Some may think our hearts and house are overflowing, but we have so much more to give. We will open our doors {and hearts} to those children that may not know this kind of nurture. My family will be the love, acceptance, and stability that they need to thrive. I’m excited {and nervous} to see what our new journey will bring.

 

 

Linking up with Just Write.

 

room for improvement {2012 goals}

this photo has nothing to do with my post. it's just funny.

 

I am a resolution-type of gal. I love sitting back and analyzing what is working for me, what is not, and making plans for change. I love to daydream, and love to think of all the things I want to do with myself. If only I had the follow-through. Can I resolve to try harder with my resolutions? Kidding! {sort of}

I need a place to be accountable for my goals and where I can look back and refresh my ever-forgetful memory when I start to slack off. So, in no particular order, here are my 2012 resolutions:

For my fitness and weight loss goals, visit me at Shrinking Jeans.

Eating dinner at the table as a family, at least three times per week. We have a hard time with this. A lot of times, we are on the run somewhere between dance and basketball and choir and soccer and basketball… you get the picture. When we get home and have time to eat, it usually consists of the kids eating at the table and me sitting in my chair eating and catching up on emails or something equally as ridiculous. I am going to make an effort to eat with the kids AT THE TABLE several times a week.

Cut the cussing. I cuss. I try to not let it slip out in front of the kids, but I know that I could be much better about it. Especially when angry or annoyed.

Time management. I am planning out times for working from home, and also planning on setting aside a certain amount of time before bed each night where I pick up various clutter and junk around the house.

Establish a better relationship with Kane. I think we are off to a good start so far this year.

Keep my vehicle cleaner. It’s a disaster right now. The end.

Get licensed for foster care. See this post.

Limit my Starbucks visits to just twice a month, unless we are on vacation. Ouch. This will be tough. I love my coffee lite frappacinos and skinny iced lattes.

There you have it. I hope at this time next year, I can look back at 2012 and be happy with the progress I’ve made!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

a year of loss, patience, and growing

2011 kind of kicked my ass. I’ll admit it. I am not one bit sad to see it go.

The losses were hard. Not that loss is ever easy, but I never expected to lose so many wonderful people in my life. Cyndee, my Grandma Krank, my Grandma Barnhart… there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of them or miss them terribly. It’s painful to think of just how big the void in our family is without their physical presence.

This was the year we went forward with our plan to have more children. Never in a million years, did I think we would be wanting more little people running through the house, but over the years, we have grown to love the chaos, the loudness, and the crazy. Justin had surgery in March, but that story is best left to be told face-to-face, preferably while consuming alcohol. If you’re lucky, he will probably show you photos, too.

No luck with making babies, yet, but we will keep on trying! If anything, this whole journey has taught us much about patience and strengthened our marriage. We have opened our eyes to the possibility of adoption and foster care, not as second-best, but because we have taken time to see, learn and realize that our hearts have more room than we ever thought possible. We have so much love to give to more children, children who otherwise might not ever experience the love of a family.

The spring was filled with sadness, anger, and shock as we learned of certain betrayals. It was not easy making the decision we did, to cut people out of our lives completely, but it was necessary to protect our family. There are just so many chances you can give someone before you say no more to the hurt. Our family is stronger because of it. We’ve grown. We have become closer.

Having our oldest kid home the past few weeks, on Christmas break… we know that we made the right decision in sending him to boarding school. He is changing, we are changing… the tension, the anger, and the hurt on both sides, it’s better. So much better. He is excelling in school and has been given opportunities that he would not otherwise have been given, had we kept him home this year.

2011 has grounded us and strengthened our family. We have learned once again to take nothing for granted.

“She turned her cant’s into cans, and her dreams into plans.”

“Some people come into your life as blessings, others come in your life as lessons.”

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