Connor James, today you turn 5! I'm so excited for you, because for some reason you have been looking forward to turning 5 for years now. I pray that 5 is as exceptional as you think it will be (it will be I'm sure, just wait until you see what we got you). You are really turning into a boy not just a little boy now. You're into morning cartoons, video games, hanging with friends, talking, and talking. You become more and more like your Daddy everyday especially when you're playing an iPhone app or Wii game. I can't wait for the day when you actually beat Dad at a game. You do things that you get from me too, like sticking your tongue out when you are concentrating, being left-handed, and that being social thing you do. You've also surprised both of us as we have had the pleasure of watching you love on people. You make friends with everyone young or old, white or black, special needs children, animals, etc. You really don't care as long as they want to talk and/or play. I love that about you and I pray that you never lose that gift. You see someone to love on and you just do. You've welcomed Daniel into our home and now baby J-man. You're so proud of him and love showing him off. Even J-man's bio Mom noticed how in love with him you are. Connor, that is a gift and I can't wait to see how God continues to use that. Keep loving on people, even the crazy old man across the street whom Mom and Dad always try to avoid. Keep pushing our family (especially Mom and Dad) to love others no matter what! I will continue to pray for the leadership skills God has given you. I know that you get sick of me telling you about being a good leader and responsibility you have to others. But Connor, God has given you the gift of leadership and I pray that God uses it to do big things. I adore watching you learn your new favorite hobby (karate), which is helping you gain self confidence and self pride that I love to see come out. Continue to try new things and don't be afraid to fail. In the last two days I've watched you climb a rock wall that floats on the water and slide down the front, ride horses, get in front of the whole camp, ride the zip line without falling(I did it today and it was hard let me tell you), and leap off the tallest deck in the whole camp into the water (even teenagers are having trouble doing it). I pray that Jesus continues to capture your heart for Him and I look forward to watching you grow in your understanding of Him and what your own faith looks like. Keep asking questions about God and Jesus and make a relationship with Christ your very own. I love you Connor oh so very much. Love, Mommy
First day home from the hospital. Always had a smile on your face and drool all over your shirt! (age 1)
You really did think that you were SO COOL. (age 2)
Always the clown. (age 3)
4 was a great year, can't wait to see what happens next year......
Talked to a great friend this weekend about our upcoming week at Pine Cove Family Camp. She gave me the great idea to make t-shirts for the family to wear each night at dinner/family activity. The camp has dress up nights, but that was going to be a lot of work and to be honest they sounded rather lame. So I found white shirts on sale and decided to tie-dye them. We let the boys stay up late, dance, eat snacks, and help make their shirts. I think they turned out great and the boys couldn't be more excited. They keep asking when they get to wear them. We'll see if I'm brave enough to post a picture of the whole family in the shirts, we just might look absolutely ridiculous. What do you think?
This weekend we got to say goodbye to good friends. The Jones' family are planting a church in Colorado and leave next week. We got to say once last "we love you" and will miss you this weekend. We have known Jones' since the week we moved to Texas and will miss them dearly. But I can't wait to hear about all the great things God is going to do through their family.
Alexis and Chloe such cute little bugs. Can't wait to see this friendship blossom throughout the years (luckily Christin's parents live in Austin, so we will get to see them). "Frick and Frock" or Bryce and Brock. Such good friends. I'm so proud of my best friend for taking this journey of faith. So excited to see and hear about all the great things that happen up in Colorado. And I can't wait for my bestie to become a Bronco fan (and yes she will)!!!
Alright I know I haven't updated you guys in quite a while. I'm not avoiding you, I just been avoiding writing this update. You know; it's a it's not you it's me kind-of-thing. You see everyday something changes and I think "I should sit down and update everyone", well then the phone rings and everything changes once again.
Unfortunately, I can't talk about J-man's case. I can tell you that he is still our foster son. Yup lame I know, but that's it. Everyday his case changes and one minute we think this could be forever and then the next minute well....maybe only a week or a month or a year.
Which leads me to my first thought about what the heck is going on. We knew going into this that the "system" was flawed. We knew that CPS workers were overworked and underpaid. We knew that birth Mom's can be perfect one minute and literally crazy the next. We knew that sometimes your case all depended on the judge and how he/she feels that day. (You know maybe they had bad Mexican so now everyone must pay, yes they can do that) We knew that we could fall in love with a little boy or girl and one day have to give them back to Mom.
But for some reason "knowing" all these things and LIVING all these things is REALLY REALLY REALLY DIFFERENT!
My next thought is all about me. (Yeah cause that is how I roll sometimes) I've gotten lot's of encouraging comments from everyone online, on the phone, in the grocery store, and everywhere else. Comments like:
"Jen, you were made for this." or "Jen, I can't believe how well you handling your life now" or "Wow fostering, that's incredible only really special people can do that, great job." or "You make that look easy"
I smile and say thank you or something nice and take off, partly because I don't want them to see the "truth" and partly because in most cases I HAVE 4 CHILDREN to watch and control and I can't chat people.
The "truth" is I feel like that stupid saying about ducks; "calm above water, but paddling like crazy under". That's me, calm and put together on the outside or even out in public. But at home my house is NO WHERE as clean as it used to be. I rarely get to eat dinner until 9:00pm every night. I don't always feel like a give each child the attention they need or deserve. And I'm tired.
Then there's all the crap that is going on in my head. One day I feel like I got this and we've had 4 kids forever and this foster thing is easy. The next moment I'm saying in my head, "What were we thinking?". One day I'm planning our life together with J-man and the next day I find myself plagued with fear for what his future will look like.
The kids are doing great and don't even notice my dirty house or that Mommy just might be crazy. Connor just got his first stripe on his white belt in Karate. Bryce is talking up a storm and loves playing with his brothers and sister. J-man is crawling more everyday, eating well, sleeping great, and bonding with me and the family very well (Birth-Mom might think "too" well). And Alexis is lovin' life and becoming more and more stubborn everyday (in a good way of course).
I'm increasing my time with Jesus to help me with everything that is going on right now. I'm getting back to my journaling because I just need too. I just ordered some bracelets that I'm going to wear for each kid to help remind myself to pray more often for each of them. And I started reading "Radical" by David Platt. This is a very good book for me to read right now, because it helps remind me why we signed up for this fostering to adopt thing in the first place. We felt called to live different, to love others the way Jesus loves us, and to live as an example to others that Jesus loves them no matter what.
So there's my update. This is really hard, not J-man but all the other crap. We look at each day with him as a day to love him as our own. And we keep doing what we feel God wants us to be doing; Loving Him and loving others.
So on Saturday I got the afternoon off and went to the spa. I got an AWESOME deal from Groupon. I got a massage (my first), a hair cut and style, color, a conditioning treatment, and $50 to spend at the boutique. It was really fun to just take time and be a girl. My massage was interesting. It was my first so the first 10 minutes I kept wanting to giggle and laugh. I have a problem and whenever I get uncomfortable I laugh. It is weird and very horrible especially when you aren't supposed to LAUGH. You know like when you are in church, when your having a serious conversation with someone, and never ever when you're getting a massage. So there I am lying on the table trying to not laugh when all of a sudden the massage gets not so funny. Old man massage grandpa decides to give me a deeper tissue massage because I have so many knots. So the rest of the massage became a rollcoaster of pain and not as bad pain. I felt better afterwards, but I'm not sure if it's because I spent 30 mintutes in pain or if I actually liked it. Then I had my hair consultation and I was totally feeling nervous, because I'm pretty picky about people doing my hair. And so I told myself as I sat there and waited that if some one with bad hair walks around the corner I'm so outta here. So here's who walked around the corner(ok not really but she looked JUST LIKE HER): And I couldn't be MORE EXCITED! And so since this lady had the coolest hair EVER. I let her talk me into this cut: Overall it was a fun afternoon and I even bought some earrings, a ring, and a new shirt. What do you think?
Connor has been taking Karate all summer and EVERYONE is absolutely loving it. Connor loves it because he loves the kicking, jumping, hitting, and running around. I also think he loves having something he can feel proud about. Bryce loves it because he gets to sit in the back of the class with me and just observe. That is how he rolls and he is really picking up on a lot of the material. I love it because it is teaching my boys self control, self discipline, self esteem, and some self defense (yup that's a lot of selfs). I also LOVE that the Sensei is very strict and reinforces a lot of the stuff I say everyday about being polite and having self control. It helps make me not look like such a broken record.
Connor earned his white belt this week by reciting the "Class Creed". He did very well at speaking loudly and clearly and I'm very proud of him. Here's the creed:
1) I must develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or physcial self.
2) I must develop self discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.
3) I must use common sense before self defense and neverbe abusive of offensive.
Here's a little video of that class (I messed up filming the third part of the creed due to technical difficulties (or because of a little 3 year old and a 10 month old)).
Dude, the J-man has been living with us for more than 5 days! Sometimes it feels like he just got here yesterday and sometimes it feels like he has always been here. It has been a crazy 5 days, but also a kind of just normal 5 days. I'll explain.
Crazy that we have 4 kids now. Crazy that we have had 2 CPS visits, 1 lawyer visit, a trip to the pediatrician, and a trip for a visitation. Crazy that I have to carry 2 babies upstairs one weighing 26 pounds. Crazy that the J-man liked (I say liked because today he only threw one) throwing tantrums. Crazy that Alexis' two front teeth decided to make an appearance and she was up until 11:30am last night. Crazy that I forgot about the milk cups I let the boys bring yesterday on the way to church in the van and discovered them this morning(Please remember that it is summer and I live in Texas). Crazy that I had 5 things on my to-do list this weekend and only did 2 of them(Yes one of the things on my list was to post an update for everyone). Crazy that I get stared at when I go out with all the kids and was called "insane" twice this weekend.
Normal that we went to the pool on Saturday and everyone loved it. Normal that we have taught J-man that it's ok to crawl all over the house and play with anything. (When he first got here he wouldn't crawl more than a foot) Normal that typical meals for the babies now include yogurt, sweet potatoes, cut up peaches, and veggie straws (again when we first got J-man he wouldn't eat anything and it has become obvious that he did not have a good diet). Normal that at 2:00pm all the McManus children are in their rooms sleeping and/or resting. Normal that we all made it to the gym on time and Mom got a must needed hard workout and uninterrupted shower. Normal that I did 4 loads of laundry, folded and put the clothes away, cleaned all the bathrooms, and kitchen. Normal that my kids adore little J-man (Bryce actually cried when we dropped him off for visitation, so sweet). Normal that my husband is my freakin hero and has helped me out a lot and already loves that sweet little baby (I wish I could post pictures).
That's all for now. I'm off to have a couch date with my man.
We got the call today. The call about a little man who needed a family to love on him. I can't give details, and I can't even post a picture. But, I can tell you that this little man is NOT at all little. He is 10 and 1/2 months and is wearing 24 month clothes. And he is beautiful! The whole family is already totally in love with the little-not-so-little J-man.
Here are a couple of my random thoughts tonight.
1) CRAPFIRE! We have 4 kids. 2 who are NOT walking. Can we really do this?
2) Bryce and Connor were superheroes today. They loved making the J-man laugh and helped pick out some clothes, a new car seat, and a toy for him.
3) Alexis and the J-man loved splashing and playing together in the bath tub. It was so cute!
4) The J-man seems to be an easy going little dude and that just totally ROCKS.
5) He's already attached to his new Mommy.
6) I can't help but think about J-man's birth mom tonight. She needs prayer, lot's of prayer.
7) I'M TIRED! We got the call at 3:30pm and by 4:45pm J-man, a CPS worker, and an Arrow worker were in our house. I signed a lot of papers and got lots of information. It was fast, crazy, and yet I felt a calmness. I kept saying in my head, this is all God, and I need to just have faith that this is a part of his perfect plan. (OH yeah and today of ALL days, I got up at 5:45am to workout, no nap either....I'm very tired)
8) How am I going to go to the grocery store with 2 non walking babies and the older boys? (that just hurts my head)
9) Is everyone gonna sleep through the night tonight??
Last night I went out with my Mom and Aunt in downtown Austin. I FINALLY weened the little girlie (no worries I won't be blogging about that, just know that it was horrible) We started the evening off getting coffee at a cool little place called Austin Java and then headed over to see a show at Esther Follies. It's a comedy variety show with music, improv, and magic. It was a FREAKIN' hoot! We had a blast and laughed and laughed. And GET THIS I was sitting next to the guy named Jacob from the Twillight movies the whole time, I just HAD to get a picture with him to prove it. My Mom asked him if he would take off his shirt, but he wasn't too excited about that. Then we headed out onto 6th Street and went to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. If you have never been to a dueling piano bar and like music is any sort of way, YOU HAVE TO GO! It is a blast. We crawled home really late and then had to wake up early for church, but the hair in a pony tail and bags under my eyes was SO worth it! Thanks for a fun night out, Mom and Nana!
Us at Austin Java Me and Jacob (and yes I asked him if I could post this pic, he said "sure") Esther Follies!
What would you do if you had a night out on the town?