Well Worth the Wait

A little bit ago I officially became a grandmother!

There are SO many things I could write on this subject. So many directions this post could take but I will keep it simple. Or at least try.

Our eldest daughter and her husband tried for almost a year to get pregnant. She had two sisters-in-law get pregnant before her. Then as they all watched their growing bellies together, each of the sisters-in-law gave birth. Each having relatively fast labor and deliveries. After 3 days of being in labor and two hours of pushing…completely natural and drug-free, our Miss Bailey came a day late! Our daughter was so calm and strong through the whole labor and delivery everyone in the room were surprised and one nurse said she should do a video!

IMG_3271Being there and going through this experience, to me, brought my daughter and me even closer. Being on the other side of the birthing experience made me see birth in a deeper way. Women are awesome. We forget so much much of what actually happened during our children’s’ births. I peppered my hubby with questions after seeing what our daughter went through.

IMG_3286Dad did so good and helped our daughter stay calm and strong. So glad to have him by our daughter’s side. His love for his girls is one many pray for.

IMG_3400Our miracles this past Mother’s Day. To truly appreciate a miracle you sometimes have to go through loss and heartache. Without those hard places, none of our kids or granddaughter would be here today.

IMG_3401Grandma and our sweet grandbaby matching on Mother’s Day!

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Double Digits

Mr. Bubblewrap turned ten at the end of last year. We kept is simple, no party. Overwhelment is something we try to keep out of his life. So he chose to go out for coffee with Dad and Mom. Coffee and ice cream, coffee ice cream to be exact.IMG_2827

Each year for his birthday dessert, he wants cinnamon rolls. This year I was inspired by Mandy at Biblical Homemaking blog and laid the rolls our in the number 10. He thought it was the coolest.IMG_2828

We liked the idea of the birthday dates with Dad and Mom so much that we are going to do it much more often. Parties for the big birthdays…5, 10 (though not for Mr. Bubblewrap), 13 and maybe 16.

These Two

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When it comes to our man cubs (thank you for the phrase, Ruth from Gracelaced), these two are close. Our oldest and youngest man cubs. Though they are very different in personality they connect so well. Their imagination goes way beyond the others. They push each other and yet are each other’s safe place. Each is a leader, yet both are willing to follow the other. 14 years age difference may seem like a big now but I am excited to see this relationship grow. To see what God has in store for these brothers.

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This Christmas

IMG_2887We had our traditional Bible reading of the birth of Jesus before presents.

IMG_2888Before Christmas, we told the kids that instead of gifts we were going to do an adventure, a family event. We had them write things, places they’d like to do and go down. Some of their ideas were big, but most were local and rather small. BUT none were going to Durango, Co to ride the Polar Express!! They were SUPER excited!

IMG_2903Not knowing what all they’d get I printed up “tickets” and got them “Believe” ornaments.

IMG_2917IMG_2918Waiting for the show to begin. It was cold, cold.

IMG_2921Metting and talking to the Hobo Ghost character. (We forgot The General’s jacket in the vehicle, but he didn’t complain.)

IMG_2924On the train, getting ready for it to start. So hard to get a good photo of the gang.

IMG_2925The real tickets, stamped with letters too.

IMG_2935As soon as Santa came onto our train The General said to me “I told you Santa is real!!” Santa was asking our oldest son if he was trying to take his job…the beard.

IMG_2938Santa and his helper handed out bells too. This little guy was beyond excited. But you know what his favorite thing about it was The hot chocolate…”Hot, Hot, Hot, we got it!!”

We headed home the next day after doing some shopping with our Christmas money and eating delicious food. Durango has some of thee best food around. You have to go Grass Burger, cannot beat grass-fed beef and the Fired Up Pizzeria, besides their pizzas they make the yummiest basil lemonade.

Big Family Mama

Looking at my life, while I have always been more of an introvert, I think I was destined to be a mama to a big family.

Growing up for a time we lived with our grandparents and two aunts. My mom comes from a big family and always having family around was normal for me as a child. Many big potluck meals, sleepovers squished in with cousins, learning to bake with Grandma and fractions with Grandpa help shape the way I see family today.

Having divorced parents who both remarried meant having multiple siblings…full biological, step and half, step mom, step dad all trying to blend into one. Kind of weird when a classmate becomes your step sister or that you are old enough to be the mom of your three half brothers. This shaped the way I view blended families.

Take the time my mom and I were visiting my cousin in the hospital. The little patient he roomed with lay helpless in his crib having broken limbs planted the seed of adoption in my heart. That seed being watered and fertilized unknowingly along the way. Leading me to have a heart that sees adoption as being family.

When I met my husband, Robert, he wanted four kids, which to me was a big family. Huge in fact. I thought he was crazy, but I loved him and said why not. I had not yet put all of these events together. I could not yet see how God was preparing me all along to mother six kids.

It wasn’t until about a year or so after bringing our youngest kids home and our kids were sitting around the table that being a mama to so many kids felt right. The so many became family. They became who I am, who I was called to be all along. Our house is noisy. There is always a door opening or closing in our home. There is currently dog hair and dirt mixed in with the wet pool feet marks on our freshly cleaned floors. One child is happily drawing on the patio table while four others are cooling off in our small rectangular pool after playing backyard baseball. And when our oldest and her husband join us we feel that much more complete. To be called their mother I am grateful.

Good Parenting ISN’T Easy

The other day at my 60 something appointment since February I got two comments, in regards to our big family, ones that I get too often.

“It must be hard.” and “You seem so calm.”

First of all, parenting brings the best out in a person but it can bring out the worst as well. My husband and I are no more “special” than the next parent. And trust me we have been pushed to our limits more than our fair share on this parenting journey. So if you think I am calm…thank you. But really you are looking at the work God has done in me or you just caught me at the right moment.

Second, of course, it is not easy. Good parenting is never easy. Raising a child into a functioning, civilized, caring human being, one who knows they are capable of reaching their potential takes work. That is raising them from day one, with your DNA. Throw in someone else’s’ DNA and all that goes into raising kids from foster care and no it is not easy.

Today I see things in a different light. I used to take so much for granted when I only parented our bio kids. Sometimes it takes a broken mirror to show you just how important the little things you did really are. So many of the little moments, just talking about the everyday things like “Oh, look at that bird,” all of the small touches, the little everyday connections, if missing can really affect a child. Not to mention when bad stuff happens.

My husband and I truly feel no different than the next good parent trying their hardest. We have no special super powers (though I wish we did, they’d sure come in handy). We haven’t taken any over the top intense training to prepare us for this. A lot of it has been off the cuff parenting, a LOT of praying and yes, a lot of failing.

Moms and dads, don’t let the media or those around you pressure you into feeling like you are not a good parent. None of us are great…well okay there are those among us. None of our lives are Pinterest perfect. (At least no one I know.) We all make mistakes, we all yell at times, we all lose it and you know what…that’s okay. We are showing our kids that it’s okay to be human, to be less than perfect. It’s okay it mess up. They get to see how we handle failure, how we handle a stressful situation, a major plot twist in life. To me, that is what real parents do. If you don’t have laminated ABC’s on your walls…it’s okay. Your kids don’t care. They want your time and attention. They want to be bored and discover things on their own. They need to fall and figure out how to get up on their own.

Parenting isn’t for sissies for sure, but I really haven’t met too many of those, so you are more than likely going to be just fine as a parent. So pull up your big girl/boy panties and stand your ground, spend time with your kids, make the hard decisions (I have said this more than once, “I want you to be safe more than I want you to be happy.) Make your kids do chores, teach them to forgive, show them how to notice and accept others around them. Give them new experiences in and out of their comfort zones. Let them cry, let them feel pain, let them know the depths of messing up and being forgiven. Show them grace, give them order, hold them accountable.

Parenting is hard. Parenting sometimes sucks. But parenting is also very worth it.

 

 

 

Vacation

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We took a vacation, a road trip to see family in California and Arizona. It was LONG, it was fun, and the memories made were well worth it.

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Our Miss D’s (Nana) suitcase fell out of the cargo shell onto a very busy highway about here. Cabazon…115 degrees, SUPER windy, hence the windmills. Long story but her poor suitcase got shredded and it’s contents scattered all over the busy four lane highway. It wasn’t until some sensible drivers moved over that we were able to retrieve her belongings. Up until then I was at the mercy of the wind made by the speeding vehicles to blow her clothes my way.

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Family tradition, the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Since I was a little girl we have taken pictures here. Now all six of our kids have been here.

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Huntington Beach…never seen this young gent so happy!! Seriously. The beach was a hit for sure. If I could bottle it up for him I would.

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Tried new coffee. It gave Hubby and I a few minutes alone. Grateful for even mini-dates.

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Went to La Brea Tar Pits. I hadn’t been there since like fifth grade. Lots of fun. Very informative, which I eat up. The kids had fun spending some Christmas money at the gift shop too.

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IMG_2063Los Angeles, CA traffic!! No thank you.

 

IMG_2072Can’t tell you how much we all needed this little guy to nap and nap long.

IMG_2073Cousins and one uncle.

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Family in Arizona. Good times. So blessed to have a family who not only accepts our kids but sees passed their skin color and their past. Everyone of our family members has been so good to our kids. God is SO good.