Saturday, 29 September 2007

One More Time!!

We decided to wait till everyone else was in school to go to an amusment park this year. So Friday, we headed down to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia for a day of fun. It rained early in the morning as we traveled which must have convinced even more people to stay away, leaving the park almost empty. It was lines!! David was our navigator and sucessfully led us to every ride in the entire park but one. We rode so many roller coasters my brain was hurting from hurling around in my skull. Gabby and Trent enjoyed the carousel and all the little guy rides. We made it home around 11:00pm, tired but happy. Meet us there next year, same time!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Bible Class - Oh Yea!

This school year we've been loving our Bible curriculum - Veritas Press, "Acts Through Revelations". We've never used any of their stuff before (it looked liked the kind of stuff for brainiac kids, of which mine are not) but we tried it and it's great! We sing this really incredibly dumb song every day and now know the chronological order of the events of the Bible. There are questions to answer each week; a test and best of all, a project. We've made "Martyr Trading Cards", "The Sign of the Fish Mosaics", "The Conversion of Saul Dioramas" and this week, "Cornelius's Roman Army Shield." They're learning tons so I'm happy and who doesn't love crafts?!

Monday, 24 September 2007

You Can't Take it With You..unless it fits in your suitcase

My daughter Kirsten and her husband Stephen and their five kids have begun the process of leaving France and moving onto the misson field in Africa. As they prepare to go they have to decide what can't go with them....which is pretty much everything. Each of them can carry one suitcase's worth of belongings. (I'd have a hard time narrowing down to one moving van!) They have recently given up their home phone and no longer have internet at their house. Our ability to talk to each other has become almost nonexsistant and will be even more so when they get into Africa. I feel as though they are fading away right before my eyes. I miss them.
This past Sunday our Pastor talked about the end times when this world will pass away and about a new heaven and a new earth. I thought about Kirsten and Steve and how the things of this world are becoming much less for them. They are trading these earthly treasures that we seem to want to cling to for the good and eternal things of God's kingdom.

"What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away." 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Saturday, 22 September 2007

I Used To Be Me

As any mom with extreme numbers of kids (and especially kids with a lot of physical needs) will tell you...your social life pretty much stinks. I used to have friends and I actually did things with them. Adult things. Lately, my adult encounters are severely lacking. It's so bad that I've tried to strike up a friendship with the U.P.S. man as he's one of the few people who come to visit anymore. I can't tell if he likes me or if I freak him out. My best friends Anita and Adela have attempted to invite me out for lunch numerous times and I told them to forget me. I can't talk on the phone because the minute I pick it up, someone is either crying or standing in front of me waiting....who can concentrate?
Last week Anita called and suggested that while our girls had cheer practice we should slip away and have a latte. I didn't have much hope, but agreed. Yesterday Anita came by, picked us up, dropped the girls all off and we went out by ourselves. We sat outside of Panara Bread at a little table and sipped our drinks. It was quiet and wonderfully relaxing. Heaven!
There were still a billion kids there when I got home and David put Trent to bed with his diaper on backwards (which for some reason causes the urine to soak the crib sheet but not the child and he slept in longer than he ever had before) but for that hour....I was me again. Thanks Anita for not letting me disappear completely.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Girl Friends

Grace has a very good friend. The kind of friend who not only loves Grace, but loves the Lord even more. Jessie is just a great kid and I'm thankful that she and Grace are close. They met before their first birthday (in the first picture) and have celebrated the following 13 together. Jessie spent the night with Grace last weekend. She not only put up with Grace's snoring and her Adventure in Odyssey stories that she listens to at full volume because she can't wear her hearing aids to bed, but this time she also slept to the sound of the dialysis machine working away.
That's a good friend.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Wild and Crazy... Sorta

Saturday night my husband and I took our teens and a few extras and went to Awakening Fest in Virginia to see Barlow Girls and Toby Mac. The weather was perfect...a fall chill in the air. God was present, the music was great and loud. We've been taking our kids to Christian rock concerts since our 30 year old was a teen. Back then we were often up front jumping and shouting like our kids did at this concert. This Saturday, my husband and I sat in our cozy lawn chairs in our hoodies, wrapped in blankets and tapped our feet to the music. There was a little bobbing of our heads now and then and a shout out to Toby but basically it was just nice sitting and listening. The kids were happy - we were happy. Still Jesus Freaks after all these years.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Water Can Be Thicker Too

Our daughter Margie came in for a long weekend to visit. She lives in Florida but had some training with her job in Richmond, Virginia the beginning of the week. James drove down on Thursday to pick her up and we she was able to stay until today. Margie was our very first introduction to foster care. That was 18 years ago...she was 16 and now she's all grown up. James and I decided way back then that we would pick carefully just what kids would come into our home. We told D.H.H.R. that we would only take a child younger than our daughters who were 11 and 10 at the time. They brought us Margie. She walked into the room, a teenager (oh no!) and smiled at me with her beautiful blue eyes and dimples and I've loved her ever since. Margie has lived in California and Florida but has never been far from our hearts. She gave us our first grandchild, Cameron (who is now 14 and just about perfect) and later blessed us with Taylor who is 8 and as beautiful as her mom. She taught us many things...never loan money to a drivers can be very handy....drawing the line can be hard but one is more fun to laugh with than your daughter....grown children still need you but they choose their own path and hairspray builds up on your bathroom walls. Lane and Kara made sure to visit with while she was up and it was a sweet family time.
And about the carefully choosing which kids would come here. Margie taught us that God does the choosing and He sooo knows best. I love you Marg.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Just a Little Escape

It was nearly 9:30 at night and the house was still humming like a beehive. Lights were on in every room and people were still doing stuff. Loud stuff and asking me where things were and making popcorn and I suddenly felt overwhelmed.
I slipped quietly, unseen, into the garage and climbed into the two seater convertible. Driving away I glanced back toward the house and slipped from the pulsating life into the cool night.... alone. I took the turns as quickly as I dared, feeling the car grab the road. My hair was blowing in the wind and there was no noise but the car humming as I sped further and further from home. The feeling was incredible and I was free!
Then I pulled into Kentucky Fried Chicken and picked Steven up from work. Someone had to get him.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Can I Get a Cup of Coffee Around Here?

Mornings have become a little hectic around here. I'm out of bed by 6:00am and can usually count on a half hour by myself to ask God what's up for the day before the little guy is crying. He doesn't do mornings well. Wrong side of the crib or something. David and Kelly are also up at 6:00am and heading out to school clutching a package of Pop-Tarts - the breakfast of champions and of kids whose mom won't make them anything. I get our Kindergarten girl up at 7:00am and get her on the bus at 8:00 and she's pretty much the easiest kid ever and she ONLY eats Lucky Charms which proves the theory, "You are what you eat." because she is charming indeed. A friend drops off her daughter at 8:15am so she can homeschool with us and I wake up the other three kids and unhook Grace from her dialysis machine.
I don't mind any of this except for my coffee problem. I pour my cup of coffee intending to sit and drink it and an interruption happens. By the time I return to it - it's cold. So I nuke it in the microwave and take a sip and then again an interruption. Ten minutes later I'm back- the coffee is again cold and another round of radiation in the microwave. I confess to nuking a cup 5 times in one morning. But today was bad. I had reheated my cup a few times and now I really needed it. It wasn't in the microwave. It wasn't anywhere. I retraced my steps, upstairs, in the laundry room, by the computer, the copier, the back porch. I'm mad and I really really want some coffee. I resort to bribing my children. I promise to give anyone who finds it a candy bar that they can eat right now if they want it. (I don't actually have a candy bar to give them but I was willing to lie at this point.) Everyone's dashing around searching. Steven finally finds it outside at the end of the driveway where I had set it down to shoot hoops while waiting for Gabby's bus to come. I send the coffee for it's final spin in the microwave and sit down. It's now 9:00 and we start school. We pray around the table and by the time we're done the coffee is cold. I get up and dump it down the sink.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Growing Old Gracefully but Not Ready to Die

I know I need to change my name from Big Red Driver and fix the header of my blog since David killed Big Red, but I haven't been able to think of what to change it to. I thought about the nursery rhyme I named my blog for, 'There was an old lady who lived in a shoe...." but I didn't know if I wanted to be known as an old lady. Then I had this conversation with our new 5 year old.
"What will happen to me if you die while I'm your foster kid?"
"Honey, why do you think I would die?"
"Because you're so old."
"Sweetie, I'm not old, I'm only 52."
"That's really really really old."
Five year olds expect to have much younger moms and I'm hoping to live well beyond my fifties.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Little Miss Tidy (or Monk's younger sister)

Most of my children are messy. Some more than others...don't ask about the boy's rooms. But I have one, just one, who is not only neat, but borders on compulsive. Her chore is taking the garbage to the road for pick up. This is what it looked like yesterday.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Just connect this thingy to that thingy and.....

With Grace's last surgery finished to repair her catheter, we did one last training day at Children's Hospital and they told us we were on our own. We loaded the car up with machines and tubes and bags and a million other parts and pieces and brought it all home. I was just a little, teeny bit apprehensive (massively actually) about the whole thing but how bad could I mess it up? Monday night we hooked everything up and started the dialysis running at 10:30pm. At 4:30 in the morning I heard an alarm from her machine, went into her room, slipped on a draining bag of fluid on the floor and did one of those clawing, spinning into the air turns and caught myself. Grace was so sound asleep she didn't hear the alarm at all or my flailing around next to her. I flipped her over a couple of times and the alarms stoped. The next morning at 7:30 I unhooked her. We did it!! If you have to have kidney failure and you have to do dialysis, peritoneal dialysis is the way to go. Grace has no more inconvenience than being tethered to a machine while she sleeps. She feels good, no side affects and the rest of the day is hers. As fun as this all is, we are praying that a kidney comes available to her soon and she can be "regular" again. Grace has never been regular but we're not telling her that!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Oh But You Look So Marvelous

I've been thinking for the last week that our little guy needed a hair cut. I spent a lot of time thinking about it but didn't actualy get up the nerve to do it until tonight. First, no two year olds like to get their hair cut and secondly what most kids just don't like, our little guy can take to a new level of unhappines. It was amusing (not to him) and the end result was a new "big boy" look. He wasn't buying it.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Keep Your Shirt On

My good friend, Adela, took in her nephew to raise a few years ago and he's now almost four. This is not only wonderful for him, but for us as well. Adela really likes shopping and that includes shopping for adorable little boy clothes. She and her husband had wanted to go into foster care and so had saved everything their nephew had outgrown. It seemed as though God had other plans for their family and so foster care was put on the back burner. Adela called the other day and asked if we would like all the clothes that she had saved. I really really wanted them but we had a dilemma still. Our little guy would strip naked if he didn't have a one piece outfit on which was amusing but probably not acceptable in most social circles. I asked a few people to pray that he would get over this nudity issue so we could put all those outfits on him. We picked up the two huge crates of clothes after going through them. The three girls and I were dying to dress him up. In faith the next day we put him in a pair of shorts and a shirt. He kept them on. We couldn't believe it!! The next day the same and again today!! Hallelujah...tomorrow he's wearing real clothes to church!! We decided on two outfits. One is the summer Hawaii look and the other the sporty look. How will we ever pick!! Maybe we could change him halfway through the service. Thanks for praying Anita!!!