Saturday, August 25, 2012

our house is quieter now. less messy and chaotic. a little more organized.
and i no longer have to check the toilet seats for pee before i sit down.
wren asked me yesterday if we could go pick camrie up. i wish we could.

it broke my heart to let them go.

i called the shelter on wednesday and ended up being able to speak with LaKisha. she was back and settled with the baby.
little Kevin had a doctor appointment that afternoon, and LaKisha was wondering if i could pick up the boys from school and then pick her and Kevin up from the appointment and take them all back to the shelter.

so after finishing their laundry and packing up the kids' stuff, i farmed out all of my own children and camrie and i headed downtown.

we got the boys and broke the news and then found the doctor's office.

the kids and i sat in the waiting room and we were quiet for the most part. cornell was excited to see the baby, cody was ready to see his mom, and camrie was emotionless and expressionless.

when LaKisha and the baby appeared there was lots of chatter and the boys were happy and checking out the baby......
but camrie was quiet. LaKisha had to ask her for a hug.

i carried the baby out to the car.
he wasn't in a typical infant seat, he was in a huge car seat with no handle. the kind that a 1 or 2 year old would sit in. it was very awkward to carry. and the 6 lb baby looked so incredibly small in it.
he had no blanket. nothing for cuddling or support.
and i was kicking myself for not thinking of buying LaKisha a baby gift. i'm sure she has nothing for him....

once we were settled in the van i asked her if she was up for going to the health department to work on getting camrie's birth certificate.
she said that was fine, but they had to be back to the shelter by 4 for dinner or they would miss it.

we got to the health department around 3:15 and i took the baby out of the car seat and we all headed inside.
while LaKisha spoke with the clerk i let the boys take turns holding the baby.

but camrie didn't want to hold him. or sit down. she just stood there with a blank expression on her face.
at one point LaKisha asked her what was wrong. she wouldn't answer.
when LaKisha asked her for the 5th or 6th time, tears started running down her face and she whispered that she didn't feel good.

i sooooo wanted to go to her. she needed me. but she had her mom right there.

the second her mom turned back to the counter i went over and knelt down beside her. i put my arm around her and started whispering to her about how brave she was. and how much i loved her and how proud i was of her. which got us both crying.

i'm pretty sure she was tired and overwhelmed and just too aware of the two different worlds that were before her.
she had lived a fairy tale for the last 5 days. she had been dressed like a princess for the first time. she had girls her age to play with and sleep beside. she had new toys of her very own. she had quietly watched as dave and i interacted with each other, and she stood on the sidelines and smiled when we played with the kids.

she had for 5 days what my children have everyday and completely take for granted......

LaKisha was having a hard time understanding everything she needed to do for the birth certificate so i went to help her. i convinced the clerk to copy LaKisha's driver's license for us and then i offered to get the money order and mail everything for her tomorrow.
she was hesitant at first but i think she realized that it would be very hard for her to get it done anytime soon with just having had a baby.
sadly, it will be 2-4 weeks before the certificate comes. camrie will be missing 2-4 more weeks of second grade....

we made it back to the shelter just in time, and then after hugs, and good-byes, and promises to see each other again soon i pulled away.

and then i broke down.
it was so hard to just let them go. knowing they still needed so much. knowing they still have so many hurdles to get through.

it just all seems so unfair.
those kids deserve the fairy tale just as much as my own kids.

i called dave after awhile, and i thanked him for letting us do this. for supporting me and for helping with all the kids.
and i told him that i know there will be more. i can feel it. this is part of what i was created to do. and it will be hard. and messy. and heart wrenching....

but we are only on this earth once, right?
and the point of being here is not to live a perfect life, have perfect kids, and live in a clean, safe, organized bubble.
my time here is not meant to be filled with striving to perfect myself, my parenting, or my Christianity.
i am here to serve, to go, to meet needs, to show the love of my Father.
like Jesus did while He was here.

oh God help me not to forget!!! it's so easy to forget!!
and help me not to take for granted that i am living the fairy tale too! i am a child of the KING.
i should be nothing but thankful!
i have everything i need and so much more.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

our first day of school pictures :)

i have to admit that i started the first day of school with a little guilt.
several of my friends have kids starting kindergarten too and i've heard a lot from them about how sad they are to let their child go and about how their child is processing this new phase of life.

i'm pretty much passed all that i guess. i'm happy for tekoa. she wants to go and i want her to go. i love her so much, but i'm too busy at home to keep her from getting bored. and she REALLY wants to learn to READ!

but also on that first day i was a little distracted.
i don't think tekoa and i even talked much. i'm pretty sure that tyden and shaeya were filling her in on everything she needed to know during the 20 min drive to the school.

and my thoughts were elsewhere. they were on a family i had met the night before. at the salvation army shelter downtown.

on thursday morning i got a call from a friend of mine who works for DCFS. she was looking for someone to help a family. she was wondering if i could help her find someone who could take in 3 kids for awhile while their mom was in the hospital having a baby.
i said "yes."

2 boys (8 and 12) and a girl (7).
dad is in jail, they are living at the salvation army shelter, and mom has no one to take care of the kids when the baby comes.
they were desperate.
they had a social worker trying to find a place and he was coming up with nothing. DCFS couldn't help, children's home said "no," and they were too old for crisis nursery.

so my friend from DCFS called the social worker and gave him my number.
i started racking my brain.
did i know someone who could do this?
or could we do this?

honestly i was hesitant to bring older boys into the house with my little girls.
and school was starting. which meant a lot of driving. and my van only seats 7 people- and i would have 8 kids.

but i couldn't shake the feeling that we were supposed to do it.
and dave said his usual, "sure." :)

so i called the shelter and told them we would. and they were rejoicing!! they had all been so worried and had been praying that they could find someone.
they had the mom- Lakisha- call me that afternoon and i told her i could come meet her that night.

and we have been on an adventure ever since :)

VERY sweet kids :)
Cornell, Cody, and Camrie.
they've been with us since saturday.
and God has been working out every detail.....

and did i mention before that dave and tyden were leaving for wisconsin?
they left saturday morning and got back sunday night.....

so while dave and tyden were doing this-

i was helping the boys do this-
their first time fishing ever!

while Camrie got to know the girls

i was very thankful for shaeya's help with the whole fishing thing...:)

she baited their hooks and helped take fish off the line :)

look at his face!! he had never seen a fish up close before! :) he was kind of afraid of them

cornell is beaming and cody is checking his hand for fish slime :)

getting braver!

cornell never got that brave :) he wanted me to hold all his fish....

cornell is SUCH a GOOD KID. very polite, respectful, and responsible. he loves kids and babies. he speaks very softly.
the first day when i picked them up from the shelter, we were driving from the shelter to the lake. i was asking him lots of questions and straining to hear his answers.
during a lull in the conversation he quietly asked if i had heard about the police trashing their house.
i said, "no."
and he said, "well the police came in and trashed everything. they knocked over the dressers and beds. and my dad was upstairs in the bathroom. he was up there a long time. he was using was drugs."
i asked if that was the day his dad went to jail.
he said "yes."
we were quiet then.
and after a bit i asked him if he learned anything about drugs from that day.
he said, "yes."
and i said, "don't ever even try it, okay, cornell? promise me?"
and he said "yes."

i have been talking with him a lot about how much God loves him and how God is always there for him and will listen to every prayer. and especially that God knows him so well that he knows the number of hairs on his head.
hopefully some of that can sink in....

first time roasting marshmallows over a fire...

what different lives we lead.
it really breaks my heart!!
i helped them get their showers started that first night and codi said, "you mean i'm supposed to get UNDER that?"
seriously? his first shower? he's 8!
i left him a towel on the bench outside the shower and he thought he was supposed to wash with it. he took the entire towel into the shower with him! :)
and then when he was done he asked if someone would go get 'that woman' to help him :)
that's me. that woman, or rachel, or melissa he CANNOT remember my name! it's been 4 days and he still doesn't know my name....
he is about 50 pounds overweight (wren informed him the first night that his s'more made his tummy big......ooops!), he breathes SO HEAVY all the time, he lets snot run down his face, and his arms and legs are covered with welts and open sores. he won't tell me what they are from.
but oh he is a sweet boy. he makes me laugh all the time.
last night i asked the kids if they wanted to go for a walk and he said, "what's wrong with driving?" :)
and he also said, "melissa, something's wrong with the adopted one. i asked him if he likes to eat grass and he said yes....."
and he made me laugh on the INSIDE this morning when he informed me quietly that school was bull *#!@
i was soooo trying not to smile at the first bull @#!*% this house has ever heard......

here is a picture of our church service on sunday morning :)
so sweet.

feeding the fish with "grandma."

their first time swimming!

and first time touching a snake- or snik as they called it :)

feeling very proud of themselves!!

sweet shaeya was so good at helping them and playing with them.
she had been anticipating their arrival for the few days beforehand. and that first night after playing and swimming and fishing, as we were all sitting around the fire, she came and sat on my lap and whispered, "mom, you never told me they were going to be black kids. it's not a problem, i just didn't know. and anyways i'm used to it now from the mission......"

LOVE her :)

their first day of school!! and looking so HANDSOME in their uniforms and with their new backpacks!

i heard once that having 5 kids is for organized people.
i disagree.
i decided last night that having 8 kids and having 5 of them have their first full day of school is for organized people!!
i wish you all could've seen me running around from one kid to another helping with homework, signing papers, labeling notebooks, reading school supply lists and notes from teachers, emptying lunch boxes, and telling the neighbor kids to wait OUTSIDE til we were done :)

sadly only cornell and codi started school yesterday because camrie cannot go until her mom gets the school a copy of her birth certificate.
they let her go last year but they said this year she HAS to have it.

this is supposed to be her first week of second grade.
i am going to move heaven and earth to help send away for that birth certificate THIS WEEK.
turns out it was the $9 fee that kept Lakisha from getting it this summer.
it absolutely BREAKS MY HEART that this kind of stuff is going on all around us and we are for the most part unaware!
i know hundreds of people who would have GLADLY paid the $9 for camrie to have been able to go to school this first week. so many people who would've been VERY HAPPY to help....

how can we be more aware? how can we get more connected??
show kids how to be kids?!?!?
pay the $9?!?!
show them a better way of life??
show them the love of their FATHER?? the Father who didn't choose drugs over them....

i pray He gives us more opportunities. and the grace to spend and be spent.
and the ability to choose His work over our comfort.....

their baby brother was born on sunday night so now i am just waiting for Lakisha to call and say she is back at the shelter and settled in. probably sometime tomorrow.

and tonight- since part of the bull *!@# about school is that camrie gets to go shopping and to mcdonalds while they are there- kristin and i are going to take the boys out for supper and some shopping :)
should be fun!!!

please say a prayer for this family tonight it you think of it......

Thursday, August 16, 2012

we are officially lice free.
deep sigh of relief.
i feel like i am pretty much an expert on lice now.....i've done A LOT of research.
anyone wanting any info on the life cycle or reproduction or feeding habits of lice- you know who to call.

and it all ends with the hatching of the babies from any eggs that got missed during the first treatment.
the babies are not contagious during the first 5 days of life because they are too small and weak to travel. and they are not old enough to reproduce until day 10.

we started seeing babies on ty and shaeya's heads on sunday night.
we combed through all of their hair that night and picked out all the babies we found.
4 on shaeya and 1 on tyden.
then on tuesday afternoon i did the final treatment on them both and combed through their hair again.
i took 1/4 inch sections of shaeya's hair and combed through it piece by piece.
it takes FOREVER.
she had 5 dead babies and 0 eggs. she is done.
and tyden had 0 babies and 0 eggs. done.

we've been checking the 3 other kids too and they never had anything.

one interesting bit of info here-
there are lice that like caucasion heads and lice that like african american heads. they don't really interchange unless they are desperate.
so little neiko was probably never at too great a risk.....:)

and for all of you who have been asking WHERE in the WORLD did we pick up lice......
we did spend every monday of our entire summer at the south side mission....interacting with around a hundred kids each time.....
and the only other thing i can think of is the bike helmet i bought tyden at a garage sale a few weeks ago....
now lice won't live on a helmet so it would've had to have been tried on or worn by a kid with A LOT of lice sometime not too much before tyden put it on his head at the garage sale.
who knows.
moving on.

i am also now very well informed of the reproductive habits of bunnies.
ask any one of my children.

we agreed to keep my nieces bunny for her for a few months until she moves into the house they are building down the road.

their bunny happens to be a girl. ours is a boy.

we were having a lovely time roasting hot dogs over a fire on our back patio when they brought the bunny over. and put it in the cage with ours.

exactly 2 minutes later the cage started shaking and all the kids ran to see what was going on.
many shrieks followed of, "what are the bunnies DOING?!?!?!?!"
"WHY is our bunny on mae's bunny?!?!?!?!?" "why is he JUMPING?!?!?!?"

and i calmly said, "oh they are just getting to know each other. cuddling a bit. cause they want to get married...."

and shaeya (always a bit too bright) says, "i think they are mating!"
now somebody had told her when we first got the bunnies (mom? justin?) that they would someday mate and have babies. she has been dreaming of baby bunnies ever since.
something about selling them and buying an ipod or something.
and i don't think she even really knows what mating is......

but dave and i desperately need to have a chat with her because she is talking about the mating bunnies to EVERYONE. our neighbors, our families, our friends, and any company that we have over. telling them all about the shaking cage and the jumping and the baby bunnies yet to come. quite embarrassing.

but funny how there just hasn't been a good time for that talk....really not quite ready for her to know any more than what she does. but it's time....sigh.

and then in the midst of all my recent research into lice and bunnies and such, i discovered that bunnies have the very disturbing ability to get pregnant while they are pregnant. resulting in a very large amount of babies.

so as of yesterday they are in two separate cages.
although this morning tekoa announced to me, "i put the bunnies back together, mom. you know, so they could mate for a little while. "

see how out of hand it all has gotten?!?!?!

but speaking of bunny cages.....
a couple of days ago neiko broke the door on our hutch.
and we were having quite a few close calls with escaping bunnies.
one day i decided i had had enough.
so i spent the morning repairing the door.
just another day in the life of a stay-at-home mom, right?

i'll show you the play by play i gave to dave.

i texted him and said, "fix door on rabbit hutch. check!
let me show you how we did it...."

and tekoa helped me take the pictures to show him what we did :)

tape measure, pencil, table saw

compressor, nail gun, nails

freshly cut and fitted piece of leftover wood

nailed to the back of the door

and viola. no more escaping bunnies.

i think he was quite proud :)
as were we.

and no making fun of the stay-at-home mom uniform, ok?
it's what works best for maximum comfort, versatility, and style.
ok not style.

and now a few pictures of two of most beautiful little boys on the planet.....

first day of school is tomorrow!! ahhh!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

crazy wren...

we had some good cousin time last week when all of dave's family came home for mom n dad's 40th anniversary :)

koa playing by the lake at grandma k's after her doctor appointment.
i love the band aids and the muddy feet :)

on sunday we had a going away party/picnic for my aunt and uncle who live in haiti-

shaeya's vaulting team performed for us that night :)

then on monday disaster struck......
tyden had been mentioning that his head was itchy for a few days. i didn't think anything of it until we were getting ready to go for a walk on monday night.
the kids were jumping on their bikes, and tyden said he couldn't wear his helmet cause then he couldn't scratch his head.....
so we knew something was up.
we checked his head and found LICE.
and then shaeya said, "well my head has been itching too."
and sure enough she had some too.

we were so overwhelmed!!!!

i left to go spend our life savings on lice treatment while dave started taking all the bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals off all the beds in the house and piling them out on the back patio.

when i got back we stripped all the kids down on the driveway and started in on treating all 5 heads.
but the kids thought it was hilarious :) i kept telling them to sit down and be quiet cause i really didn't want to draw any attention to what we were doing.....

sigh......between that night and the next day we treated 7 heads, washed about 20 loads of laundry, vacuumed mattresses, took a shop vac to the couches, cleaned out and vacuumed the van, sprayed a lice spray on everything, and put all the beds back together.

this was not even half-

i was seriously exhausted. and maybe even a little cranky.
and then crankier yet when i woke up the next morning and 2 kids had wet the bed.
and wren's pull up had leaked. and then neiko pooped his pants. and threw his sippy cup of juice across the table and it exploded. and then i found banana smeared all over the couch and someone spilled a bag of cereal....
SO MUCH cleaning and bathing and laundry!!!!!!

but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger right????

and WHY does my head keep itching?????? i KNOW i don't have lice but it's just itching!!!!!!

and then that afternoon i had a doctor appointment.
i have a milk duct in my chest that has been causing problems. i had some tests done last month and they found 2 growths in the duct that could be cancerous or could become cancerous and so the whole duct has to go.

so on top of recovering from lice and bed wetting that day i was also scheduling surgery for the end of september. :(

and later that night tyden had his first soccer meet.
i took him there to have "try outs" and then be placed on a team. he LOVED it. they got to play for fun for awhile.

and i was just trying to keep my eyes open.....

wednesday we spent the day and evening at the lake. it was rainy and cool but i was thankful for a little down time.

and then thursday i got a babysitter so i could go be with my sister at the hospital.
her baby was coming!!!!!
we spent most of the day just waiting. anxiously waiting. :)

and then sweet little treyven craig was born around 5pm.
9lb 2oz.
he is beautiful!!!!!!

everyone is already in love!!!!

especially his 3 big sisters!!! :)

and speaking of those sisters, they stayed with us last night.
things went pretty smoothly yesterday apart from tekoa having a little gum/hair incident.

but the real fun came at 4:45 this morning when our fire alarm went off.
it was SO LOUD. and it has this voice with it that says, "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!"

dave and i FLEW out of bed, and my first thought was that there were SO MANY kids to get out of the house!!!
but as we ran from room to room we realized there was no fire. just 7 crying children (seven because wren was sleeping i our closet and she slept through it all :)

dave disabled the alarm and we calmed everyone down, checked over the entire house, and then went back to bed.
and of course just as my heart rate was coming down the alarm went off again.

and all the kids came running and piled on top of me on the couch.

dave got it quiet and we started taking kids back to bed and it went off a third time. lots of tears.
so then he went around pulling every fire detector off of the ceilings :)
and after that we finally got to get back to sleep.

the kids are still talking about it all. it was quite traumatic, i guess.

but baby trey is coming home today and i can't wait to love on him :)
what a miracle!!!!

and they are all miracles, right?
beautiful little disgusting lice infested pants peeing mess making miracles :)