Moving Day

Throwback to four years ago when our daughters came home!

It’s moving day!

Yes, we are finally here ūüôā¬† Today is the day we get to go pick up our girls and bring them home to start FOREVER together!!

It’s funny how things are never quite as you imagined they will be.

Even though I’ve been waiting for this day for so long…now that it’s finally here I don’t really feel all those emotions I thought I would.¬† Well…I do, but they are alongside others that don’t fit so well.

I am so excited, of course…I mean, why wouldn’t I be?!?¬† My daughters are finally going to be here with me, where they belong.¬† I love them so much and I miss them when they’re not here.¬† I love our weekends together, knowing that they’re here within my grasp.¬† That feeling of walking downstairs after we’ve tucked them in and said goodnight a thousand times and gave kisses and backrubs and cuddles…it’s amazing.¬† I love knowing that they’re safe.¬† They’re just up the steps, safe in their pink room and pink beds and pink pajamas.¬† I will know and hear if they are scared or lonely.¬† I can take care of them.¬† When they’re two and a half hours away…I have no idea what they’re doing or how to help.¬† So I can’t wait to have them here with me.

But the last few days I have also been hit by this tsunami size wave of FEAR.

From now on…everything is going to be different…and I’ve never really been that great with change.

Never again will it be just my husband and I…our little family of 2 that I know and love and am so comfortable in.¬† From now on we will always be a family of 4, not 2.¬† This isn’t really anything to be afraid of…except that I have no idea what that is even going to be like or feel like all the time.¬† And I will miss being a family of 2.¬† I am so in love with my husband, and I will miss it just being the 2 of us.¬† I know what it feels like to have children, because we’ve had children in our home lots already…but other times it wasn’t forever.¬† Eventually, they always moved on and it was just the 2 of us again.¬† It’s overwhelming to realize we are really at the end of this¬†stage, of it just being us.¬† I know it’ll be good…and I won’t even think about it.¬† But I have so enjoyed¬† the last couple months, after having kids around so much in the past year, to just enjoy being a couple.¬†¬†I will miss that.¬† I know from experience that having children around does not make your marriage less rich or exciting, but I do know¬†that it’s harder.¬† It’s harder to find time to talk.¬† It’s harder to have energy to¬†do things that are fun and crazy…just for the two of you.¬† It’s harder to get in date nights.¬† It’s harder to know¬†every little¬†thing that’s going on in each other’s lives.¬† It takes a lot of energy and time to parent…and that often means other areas can get neglected a bit sometimes.¬† Lucky for me¬†I have a pretty amazing husband who is always willing to go that extra mile to make sure that I¬†don’t just feel like a harried mama, but also¬†the¬†love of his life ‚̧

I always imagined what this kind of day…the actual day of moving our child home…would feel like.¬† Immediately,¬†you get all these images running through your¬†mind of tears of joy,¬†hugging, kissing, smiling…perfect.¬† After all, there are tons of home videos on YouTube¬†of¬†parents meeting their child for the first time or bringing their children home.¬† But without having done this day yet, I know that’s not exactly a complete picture.¬†¬†To be¬†honest, I am dreading this day a little bit.¬† I wish¬†we could skip over it, because I’m not sure how to best handle it.¬† My girls are not tiny, wide eyed, oblivious¬†one year olds being passed over to their new Mommy and Daddy by cheering nannies.¬† My girls are 5 and 7, and they know exactly what’s happening today.¬†¬†We have been going over and over and over this for weeks now.¬† Today is the day they are saying goodbye.¬† They are saying¬†goodbye to the families they love.¬† They are saying goodbye to the only normal they know.¬† They¬†will see their foster parents cry today,¬†and they will not know what to do with those big feelings inside.¬† I know what it’s like to be a foster parent…and I have no idea how to stand there and watch someone else’s painful goodbye while I wait for my child to come to me.¬† How¬†do you do that well?¬† I’m not sure if it’s more or less complicated¬†that we’ve formed a friendship with these families over the last couple months.¬† Does that make it easier or harder?¬† I think that once¬†the last goodbyes and hugs are given and we are strapped in the van¬†on our way home…we’ll all be fine.¬† We’ve done that part a thousand times now.¬†¬†But it’s just that inevitable moment where you have to watch your little girl give her ‘Mommy’¬†that last hug and kiss goodbye.¬† There is no pretty way to¬†cover up that pain.¬† Right now, they don’t understand why this needs to happen.¬† They’re excited, they’ve bonded and they love us…but they don’t understand why it¬†really needs to happen.¬† Especially my 5 year old.¬†¬†It’s not fair that to get one thing she loves she must give up another.¬†¬† Those feel like adult decisions,¬†not something a child should have to grapple with.

But…that is the reality.

I’m nervous.

I’m scared.

I’m excited.

We will get through today…and maybe it will be better than I¬†could ever hope ūüôā

Tomorrow…on the first day of forever…things will feel pretty normal.¬† The girls will wake up around 6:30 am, start giggling and chattering to each other and creep downstairs¬†once the alarm goes off telling them they may get up.¬† We will eat breakfast…probably Fruit Loops…and go for either a walk or a bike ride.¬†¬†They will play with their dolls and maybe¬†run in the sprinkler if it’s warm.¬†¬†We¬†probably won’t be thinking about forever or goodbyes.¬† In the next week sometime, when they start feeling homesick, we will call and talk to their foster moms and tell them all about what we’ve been doing.¬† I’ll send emails and pictures whenever I think of it, to let them know we still value the love and energy they gave to our daughters and let them see their smiling, happy faces…because that is such a gift.¬† Eventually, after maybe six months or a year, when we know¬†it won’t do more harm than good, we will go back and¬†visit.¬† Maybe we’ll play at the park together or just hang out in the backyard.¬† We’ll build the tentative first straws of a new¬†relationship.¬† One day at a time we will become a family…us¬†4.¬† The girls will eventually have that first day where they call me Mommy every time they talk to me.¬† One day they will be able to talk about how they came to be here, in our family, without that shadow of fear and confusion in their eyes.¬† We will start our own traditions, build our own memories and life will become normal.

I’m ready to begin that.

So…if you read this before 1:00 pm today, June 24, 2014…please say a little prayer for us.¬† We could use¬†some help today.¬† Mostly pray for Akeisha and Alexa…because more than anything I wish we could become a family of 4 without them having to go¬†through this pain¬†and loss.¬† They’ve already dealt with more pain and loss than is fair.¬† Pray that they will be able to¬†do one day at a time, and that¬†they will feel safe and loved…always.

For the next few months we’ll be doing lots of hibernating here…spending as much time as possible just making sure we know who our family is ūüôā¬† Busy starting forever.

Cheers

AF

Valentines & My Love

Yesterday was Valentines Day.

It also happens to be my husband’s birthday.

To me, that makes it the day I get to celebrate the two most important things in my life.

Him.

And our Love.

I don’t usually write about him here…because he’s not the kind of man to broadcast his life to the world.

But this one is for you, Kirby.

I want the world to know that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Because I am…because of you.

How do you describe the kind of man who makes you feel like the Queen of his universe?

Who fights for me daily, loves my broken places and pieces my dreams together with his calloused hands.

Who gentles the wild in me and quiets the chaos,

all while celebrating my passion and spirit.

How do I begin to explain someone who has more of myself than I do locked in his heart?

Whose soul seems interchangeable with my own?

Who lights up every room when he walks in, just because his presence fills the empty places in me?

He is everything I love,

more than I need

and all I’ve ever wanted.

I adore him.

Without him, I wouldn’t be me.

He’s my best friend, my safe place; my Lover and my Home.

He has taught me to be brave, to be honest and to be free.

Every single day he makes the choice to love, and because of that he is the rock I know will never crumble beneath me.

His love does not depend on what life brings us or what I can offer in return.

It doesn’t ebb and flow with the tides of change that seem to be so constant in our lives.

It’s been a decade of Love.

Always together.

We’ve laughed together through our favourite movies and sang our favourite songs.

We’ve done marathon movie nights together, played sexy date night games together, ate too many gummy candies together and driven too many long hours together.

We’ve spent hours planning, waiting, dreaming and praying our daughters into our lives.

We’ve crawled on our rooftop and laid beneath the stars.

We’ve been stuck in Mexico together, listening to the huge waves crashing on the shore as we slept in our seaside palapa.

We’ve created a child together and you were the one by my side staring in awe and amazement as he entered the world, a beautiful testament of the two of us, forever entwined by this tiny one.

We’ve sat in comfortable silence together and screamed side by side down the dip of a huge roller coaster together.

We’ve stared in exhausted, shell shocked silence at each other at the end of a long day.

We’ve given away our hearts and cried together as we said goodbye to the first little child who made us parents.

We’ve slept crammed on a single size hospital bed and rotated through bleary night time feedings.

We’ve sat together by the bedside of a tiny little boy fighting for his life and took turns stroking his trembling body.

We’ve talked late into the night, tangled in each other’s arms and hearts.

We’ve knelt together in front of the toilet, you holding my hair as my body hurled every last ounce of strength from me.

All the best and probably worst moments of my life have been with you.

I love doing life with you, Babe.

You are an incredible man.

Thank you for all the times you give your heart, your space, your time and your love to me and our children.

Thank you for creating a home for us that is safe, fun and so full of love.

Thank you for working so hard to provide for us and for letting me stay home to be a mother to our children.

Thank you for loving me even when I am so unlovable and for being proud of me even when I fail.

Thank you for leading me and our children closer to Christ through your life and example and for guarding His presence in our home with courage and zeal.

Thank you for riding this crazy roller coaster we call life with me and for throwing your hands up alongside mine while we careen out of control!

I love you more than I can ever say!

~Yours

We Are Home Schooling!

Yes, you read that right.

Me and my littlest A are homeschooling! ¬†It’s been 2 weeks and maybe we are just honeymooning but it has been AWESOME! ¬† I love it!

Now I can just about see some of you rolling your eyes, making that skeptical face and going…yeah whatever.

I get it.

I never wanted to home school, either.

In fact, until I read through my daughters’ adoption files I always said that I would never do it because I would have hated it as a child, myself! ¬†I thought that home schooling was for really large families who like to hide away from the world or display their family on TV shows! ¬†I thought children who were home schooled were all really smart, a little socially impaired and just not normal! ¬†As you can see, I really hadn’t spent much time thinking about it or taking a look at people who actually did home school! ¬†These were just my misguided perceptions, which I am thoroughly embarrassed of now.

But when special needs walks into the picture, everything changes.  Suddenly I could see that even though I loved school and it would have made me miserable to be at home, for some children it may be the exact opposite!

For some kids, school causes so much stress that they spend all their time just trying to cope!  This may be a result of trauma, attachment issues, learning disabilities or any number of other special needs.

There are tons of supports available, but you have to fight for them and it’ll take time. ¬†I certainly don’t recommend that every parent experiencing difficulties with their child at school should just pull them out without exploring their options, but sometimes all the support and time in the world won’t meet the real needs of your child. ¬† This is especially true in adoption.

For months, I had been saying…we’ll just give it some more time. ¬†Or, I’m not ready yet so that’s just where she needs to be.

In truth I wasn’t confidant enough that I was ready to commit to this journey or that it was the right path for my daughter. ¬†For some reason I was really afraid that I would pull her out of school and then fall flat on my face! ¬†I was afraid she wouldn’t learn, that it would all be a mess and that we would all hate it!

But somehow God has a way of making things clear and as things got worse at school my mind lingered more and more on the idea of home schooling. ¬†Part of me fought it…simply because I love school! ¬†I love the specific school my daughters were attending, and where my oldest daughter still is. ¬†I love the community. ¬†I love the staff. ¬†I love the atmosphere and all the kids. ¬†I love the special projects and events that are connected to school. ¬†I love the opportunities school brings to experience life alongside others and to have a broader view of the world. ¬†I just love it. ¬†I am a teacher, after all.

However, God began to speak to my heart and show me that my daughter needed something different. ¬†My husband and I had always promised that we would make decisions about our children’s education according to what was best for each child, one year at a time. ¬†We could no longer claim that we were doing that, and that bothered me! ¬†Even worse, I was scared and discouraged as I watched my daughter start to fall back into behaviors and patterns that we hadn’t seen in a long time! ¬†I felt like we were losing ground instead of gaining, and I missed my happy little girl. ¬†Though we had a great team at school and communicated regularly, I realized that my daughter didn’t need a teacher. ¬†She needed her Mommy. ¬†She needed me.

So in some ways I chose to home school out of desperation and because school was not working…but even more I chose to home school because I realized that I wanted to!

I missed the first four and a half years of my daughter’s life. ¬†I¬†want¬†to spend more time with her! ¬†I want to be there all day, every day, even though it truly does drive me crazy sometimes! ¬†I want¬†to know every little thing that happened in her day, and to be the constant that she comes back to. ¬† I want to be the one who laughs with her, gets frustrated with her, explores the world with her and watches her learn and grow. ¬†Because even after 18 months together, I’m still getting to know her. ¬†I’m still trying to figure out who she is and how she thinks. ¬†I’m still learning her challenges, her strengths and her learning styles. ¬†I am still figuring out her love language and her sense of humor. ¬†I am still proving to her little heart that I am her Mommy and I will always love her; that even though others have come and gone I am here to stay. ¬†There is nothing that can replace TIME.

So, here goes nothing!

The next half year is a bit of an experiment, but I am so excited. ¬†I am excited to be able to focus on the things my little girl is good at, and remove some of the things she is not yet ready to handle. ¬†I am excited to use the teaching skills I have to figure out how she learns and to make learning fun for her. ¬†Choosing to home school a special needs child is completely different than choosing to home school a child who is gifted or even just average. ¬†For the special needs child, you need to lay aside curriculum expectations, most typical teaching styles and any methods that conflict with your child’s exceptionalities. ¬†I have to fight against the temptation to follow a book, accomplish too much in one day or copy other’s home school structures. ¬†Home schooling is all about finding what works for your child and your family. ¬†Once you embrace that, there is immense freedom! ¬†It is wide open from there! ¬†You get to decide what you study, how much, how long, where and when. ¬†You get to decide everything. ¬†This can feel scary, but chances are if you set out on this venture your gut will let you know the answers to these questions.

¬†So far, it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

I have my little girl back.

I’m seeing peace where I saw frustration and agitation. ¬†I’m seeing happiness where I saw a constant edginess. ¬†I’m seeing success where I saw failure academically. ¬†I’m seeing gentleness where I saw anger. ¬†I’m seeing a glowing pride in her bright blue eyes where I saw confusion.

It’s not all perfect, and I’m still figuring out how we’re going to handle all this. ¬†I don’t know how long we’ll be doing this, but for right now it’s the right thing. ¬†I am sure of that.

I was given some great advice from another home schooling mom.

Pray.

Pray over everything you do.  Pray over the math, the spelling, the reading books and the colouring.  Pray for wisdom, pray for patience, pray for grace and perseverence.  Pray for courage and a sense of humor.  Pray for yourself, your child, your husband and your other children.  Pray blessings over your child and their school work.  Pray blessings over your home and family.

Know that this work you have chosen to do…been called to do…is valuable and important in the eyes of God. ¬†At the end of the day, you are Kingdom building, not just teaching ABC’s.

This is the perspective I want to embrace as we dive into this new venture.  I want to teach my daughter out of a sense of gratitude, and hand all the work of our hands over to the One who can make it beautiful and valuable.

 

 

Adoption Day & Celebration

Finally, finally…after months and months of waiting…

it happened!

We are officially, legally a family.

I’d like to introduce you to my daughters,

Akeisha Sofie Grace Freeman

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                                                                     &

Alexa Anna Joy Freeman

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Could they possibly be any more beautiful? ūüôā

On Oct. 16, 2015 we had our day in court and received the official documents needed to finalize our adoption of Akeisha & Alexa.  It was a rather boring, anticlimactic ceremony that took a grand total of about 10 min to perform, but it was a satisfying, victorious day for the 4 of us nonetheless!  The court presented the girls each with their own stuffed dog as a congratulatory gift and we all went to DQ afterwards with the family and friends who joined us to celebrate with ice cream.

My sister in law gave us a thoughtful gift of¬†helium balloons, note paper and tape so we could write¬†our¬†happy news¬†and send it to the skies for someone somewhere to find ūüôā¬† It was a fun, sweet way to mark our day.

Our big celebration took place 2 weeks prior to our official day in court.  We were running out of time to plan a big party before the arrival of our baby so we decided court date or not we were going to celebrate the fact that we were a forever family!

So…we threw a party!¬† I couldn’t possibly have pulled off something like this on my own, but with the help of some incredible friends we were able to celebrate with close to 100 people who have been important in the lives of our daughters and us in the past year and a half.¬† It was an amazing evening and one that we will look back on with joy and gratitude for a very long time.¬† It was so special to have the people closest to us all together in one place and be able to thank them for walking this journey with us and loving us!

My husband and I really wanted to do a ceremony where we could¬†publicly acknowledge the fact that we had chosen to bring our daughters into our family and love them, care for them and provide for them no matter what.¬† We wanted¬†Akeisha¬†& Alexa¬†to know that just like our marriage, this was a vow we were making to them¬†for better or for worse, no matter the cost and that we were serious about it.¬† We wanted them to have a moment to look back on to physically mark the beginning of our family, to solidify in their minds that this was different than every other home they’ve been in before.¬† Why?¬† Because this is permanent!

These were our vows to our daughters:

Akeisha Sofie Grace Freeman

We are so proud of the beautiful girl you are growing up to be. We are so blessed to have you as our daughter, and we want you to know that we will always be your mom and dad. We will never leave you.

We promise to take care of you and make you feel safe.

We promise to love you, no matter where you go or what you do.

We promise to make Jesus Christ the centre of our home and to show you what He is like by our actions and words.

We promise to pray for you and ask for God’s help to be the best parents we can be.

We promise to have grace for the times you will fail and to celebrate your achievements with you.

We promise to be patient with you as you learn, listen to you and to be gentle with your heart.

We love you so much!

From now on we will always be a family, no matter what.

Alexa Anna Joy Freeman

We are so blessed to have you as our daughter. You bring so much fun and laughter to our family and we want you to know that we will always be your Mommy & Daddy. We will never leave you.

We promise to keep you safe.

We promise to take care of you the best that we can and to give you the things that you need.

We promise to love you forever, no matter where you go or what you do.

We promise to make Jesus Christ the centre of our home and to show you what He is like by our actions and words.

We promise to pray for you and ask for God’s help to be the best Mom & Dad we can be.

We promise to be patient as you learn, forgive you when you make bad decisions and to laugh with you lots.

We love you so much.

From now on we will always be a family, no matter what!

It was a beautiful moment to be able to look into¬†my daughters’ eyes and¬†promise them¬†all we had to offer.

I cannot change the past, but I can offer hope for the future and the promise that they will never be alone.

At the ceremony a friend of ours beautifully described the link between our adoption into Christ’s family and the adoption of our two daughters.¬† We also sang the song “Cornerstone.”¬† Standing beside my husband with my daughters at my side and our baby stirring inside my womb my heart was incredibly full singing these words.¬† With Christ as our cornerstone I know our family’s foundation is strong enough to withhold the changing seasons, no matter how difficult.

“Cornerstone”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
He is Lord
Lord of all

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless stand before the throne.

AF

 

 

Backyard Adventures

So I wish I could post some¬†more photos for you of some of this stuff but until our adoption is finalized I can’t legally do that.¬† So…you’ll just have to be satisfied with my descriptions ūüôā

I love to see kids using their imaginations and playing outdoors.¬† It is so healthy for all of us and it’s the sort of activity they don’t get to enjoy as much during the school year.¬† Recently I feel like the girls have really found their groove with the long summer days and are coming up with all kinds of things to do!

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, my husband has been working on building a tree house the past week.¬† He was actually pretty stoked about this since he’s always wanted a good reason to build a tree house apparently!¬† ūüôā¬† The girls were so excited about this and loved helping him.¬† I cringed as they wielded hammers,¬†winced as they helped him saw and covered my eyes¬†when it was¬†finally¬†complete enough for them to clamber up there…WAY up there!¬† Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea…but¬†spending the last few years providing daycare for other people’s kids and being a foster parent for the Children’s Aid Society has¬†sharpened my ‘safety first’ instincts!¬† I¬†tried not to¬†let my nervous squeaks ruin their¬†excitement and pushed away the jelly feeling in my stomach when I climbed¬†up¬†with them the first time.¬†¬†Is it safe?¬† Barely.¬† But is it fun?¬† You bet it is!¬† This is why Akeisha and Alexa need a Daddy.¬† I encourage and applaud¬†them when¬†they are adventurous and brave…but I’m not as¬†good at providing opportunities for them to practise those characteristics.

It really has been tons of fun, though, this tree house thing.¬†¬†It can become a pirate ship, a secret clubhouse or a cool place to have lunch!¬†¬†Yes, that was today.¬† Tuna sandwiches, carrots and apples are so much better when devoured¬†with grimy little fingers as we gaze around at¬†green, leafy walls.¬† Even the chipmunks, who have been feasting¬†on peanuts right out of our hands, managed to crawl up there and try to steal a few crumbs!¬† It makes me feel¬†like a child again…climbing trees, brushing the dirt off my sandwich, feeling rough wood on my feet and going out of the way to make¬†each little moment extraordinary.¬† There’s even a trap door, which makes you feel like you’re entering a secret¬†hideaway!¬† Akeisha tied a rope to a bucket so that they could transport all kinds of treasures up and down.¬†¬†She also tried ‘fishing’ for chipmunks from her leafy hideaway which resulted in one clever little chipmunk¬†getting quite the surprise when his peanut wouldn’t come free!

 

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There is also still a little fort in the bushes¬†that gets some attention, a bear trap that was created ‘just in case’¬†and a new favourite¬†hobby…picking¬†apples from the wild apple trees¬†beside our house!¬† Every now and then we still catch caterpillars and put them in our bug buckets…though they rarely get attention after that so they have a rather unfortunate end.¬†¬†Akeisha is usually the ring leader of all these activities and the past few days working alongside Daddy¬†she became enthralled with the idea of¬†‘working.’¬† So yesterday all day I was her boss and she drove to work¬†in¬†her workboat, just like Daddy.¬†¬†She was so cute all dressed up in Daddy’s big work boots, a Rockscape Design hat and¬†a big sweater that¬†covered most of her body.¬† She took lunch breaks and even did a bunch of jobs for me as my ’employee.’¬†¬†Hey, if she’s into working and having fun I’ve got all kinds of jobs that can be done!¬†ūüôā¬† After making the beds, doing dishes and sweeping the floor she was ready to go back to pretending to work like Daddy, not¬†me!¬† Lol.

Our poor little doll babies who got such devoted attention a month ago have been rather neglected, but every now and then they still get a few cuddles, a walk to the park or a diaper change.  Crafts have been a big hobby lately and this mother has had to grin and bear all the glue, string, little paper pieces and wasted tape that goes with that!  Most of the crafts have been things for the fort or tree house.

I am so grateful for the little haven we have here up at the top of a quiet dead end street.¬† We have a perfect backyard for kids to be able to explore, play and create despite it’s small size.

So much to be thankful for.

Alongside all these backyard adventures I am just celebrating every little sign of attachment I see in our daughters.¬† Today Alexa, mimicking the words I’ve said to her so many times, told her doll “I’ll love you always and for ever NO MATTER WHAT!”¬† She also played shy and stuck right by my side the whole time a woman selling books dropped by this morning, which is a great improvement.¬† The last phone conversations we had with the girls foster parents were remarkably different than a few weeks ago.¬† Instead of the girls needing to know all about their former homes and what they were missing, they were able to excitedly share about the fun things that have been going on here!¬† We are hearing mostly Mommy and Daddy again, after a few weeks of reverting back to our names, and they are even able to have conversations about their new last names without feeling quite so threatened.¬† Alexa has a habit of coming up to me any random time and saying, “Mommy, I love you.”¬† No reason at all.¬† No particular emotion to provoke it.¬† Simply I love you ūüôā¬† She loves when I call her my baby.¬† A favourite bonding activity is to be wrapped in a big towel after her bath and carried back to her room.

Daddy still gets¬†greeted with huge shrieks of joy each and every evening…and he deserves every ounce of adoration the girls give¬†him.¬† He’s amazing.¬† Day after day he comes home from work and pours a truckload of energy into¬†the girls.¬†¬†Alexa loves her snuggles from Daddy, climbing into his lap after supper just like I used to do with my Dad every night.¬† My favourite quote of hers was one Saturday morning as she crawled into bed to snuggle beside him.¬† “You’re my warm and fuzzy Daddy,” she said as she rubbed his whiskers affectionately. ūüôā¬† She has been a Daddy’s girl since day #1 and there is just a bond there that I love to watch.

Akeisha likes to¬†get quality time and attention, like helping him build the tree house or sitting on his¬†lap chatting.¬† She got to stay up late a few nights just chatting with¬†Daddy and it was so eye opening to hear her questions and comments.¬† They talked about everything from house fires to school to¬†her day.¬† She was amazed to hear that Daddy would come back in the fire to find her if he knew she was still inside, and once again I was reminded how much we need to voice those things.¬†¬†When trust is just being built,¬†those things are not simply taken for granted as obvious facts¬†like¬†they were for me when I was a child.¬† They love to hear us say adamantly how much we would miss them if they left us and how we would follow them!¬† They’ve decided once they’re big enough to be¬†moms themselves they will live next door to us in the house that is for sale so that they will not be far away, and¬†talk about saving up their money for that.¬† ūüôā¬† Right now I am listening to them play house.¬† Akeisha is the mom and Alexa is the child.¬† Alexa has just been¬†put on a ‘time-out’ by¬†her sister and Akeisha is carefully explaining why exactly she is there and what will happen.¬† Wow.¬† Sponges.¬† It is incredible to hear your voice being parroted back at you.¬† The other day Akeisha said to me, “Mommy, I wish I would have been in your tummy.”¬† We’ve had this conversation a few times.¬† When I smiled, hugged her and said “Me too,” I could see her beautiful brown eyes glow.¬† We have so much yet to cover about the life they’ve already lived without us, but in those little moments we understand who we are.¬† We are a family.

I have no idea why God has allowed me to parent these girls.¬† I feel so unworthy some days.¬† But it really is the little things that matter so much.¬† It’s the way I speak, the way I go about my day and the things I place at the top of the list.¬† Through two pairs of young, searching eyes I get the chance to portray a tiny piece of what Jesus looks like.¬† When I stand before Him some day, I know what I am doing today is going to matter.¬† They are golden opportunities.¬† That can feel overwhelming, but I also know that it does not all depend on me.¬† God chooses to use me, but He doesn’t need me.¬† He will bring the increase.

AF

 

 

 

I want to be ALONE!

Ok.

So this is me being honest and letting you all know that even though we’re pretty excited about our new family of 4…we’re normal.¬† Not every day is rainbows and shimmer.

Right now I am hiding downstairs in my jammies while my husband builds a tree house with the girls and let me tell you I am just drinking in the quietness here!¬† Some days I am full of energy and happiness and amazement…and other¬†days I’m just plain old¬†tired.¬† Also…my personal bubble is nonexistent these days which sometimes makes this Mama Queen of the Grumps!¬†¬†Wiry little arms hugging, pulling, yanking and poking at me all day long.¬† Affectionate?¬†¬†Yes…but¬†Mommy is not always in the mood for affection.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for silly, nonsensical chatter and stinky morning¬†breath in my face.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for bony little bodies jumping on me.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for whiny little voices following me all¬†over the kitchen as I try to get everything done that needs to be done¬†between 5 and 6pm.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for markers all over the floor, glue on the table¬†and macaroni¬†bracelets¬†in the bathroom sink.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for little bodies climbing up on the countertops and sending a zillion cups¬†crashing to the floor while clumsy hands search for that perfectly pink favourite.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for¬†an out of control garden hose spraying my basket of¬†dry laundry.¬† Mommy is not always in the mood for little voices calling “Watch me!”

Sigh.

Yup.

Pretty normal.

My¬†husband is awesome about this.¬†¬†He¬†helps chase away the “Mom guilties” that want to come in and just bash me to pieces when I just need to be ALONE!¬†¬†The other night after the girls were in bed I went¬†out¬†for like 5 minutes to pick something up and I could’ve just laughed out loud!¬† I felt like a FREE WOMAN!¬† Of course when I got¬†back 5 minutes later two little faces were peering out¬†the window at me calling…”Mommy!¬† Where did you go?!”¬† Like it was the most insane thing ever that I¬†would¬†go somewhere without them!¬† After all, we are pretty much inseparable…and to bring some balance to this post…I¬†am SO thankful that I am in the position where I am able to be a stay-at-home Mom¬†to my daughters.¬† I truly am grateful for that, and would not change it for the world.

However…that doesn’t mean my patience level is any¬†higher than¬†yours and I just wanted you to know that it’s real life around here, too!¬† Bedtime is usually one of my favourite times of the day.¬† I love to be able to tuck them in, read stories, hear them pray and just feel connected at the end of the day.¬† But there are some days all I want is to give a quick kiss and then BE ALONE!¬† Days like this one can make me feel incredibly guilty, because I know there is a Mom somewhere who would love to be able to have just one more exasperating, annoying Monday!¬† Some days I am that Mom…there are two little faces etched forever on my memory that make me ache with loneliness some days.¬† I love my girls…but I’ve learned that nobody can be replaced.¬† Each new little person finds their own place in my heart…a place I didn’t even know existed until they came.¬† The one left empty will always be just that…empty…except for the memories.¬† So I understand we need to treasure every second.¬† Just writing that made me cry.¬† There is a little buzz cut that used to come lay softly on my cheek every single morning and make all kinds of happy, endearing noises…and every single morning I miss that little buzz cut.¬† There is a pair of vivid, joyful brown eyes that used to make me smile every single day as they danced to the sound of belly giggles…even on the worst days…and I miss those brown eyes every day.¬† I did not think it would hurt this bad for so long.¬† But I’m getting off topic.¬† The annoyance is already starting to fade!¬† Lol.¬† Count your blessings, right?

But I’m not supermom.

And some days I am just plain old selfish…or didn’t get enough sleep…or it’s that time of the month.¬† Some days I am overwhelmed by the intensity of life with two little girls who need to be loved so well.

Being a mother means you get to see the worst and best of yourself almost daily.¬† It’s really quite the rollercoaster.¬† I never knew how selfish I was until I got married.¬† Then I knew.¬† Two years later, I became a ‘mom’ for the first time and I learned my selfishness ran much deeper than I’d realized.¬† These little people in our lives teach us so much more than we could ever imagine we didn’t know!¬† I like to think, though, that with so much opportunity for messiness and absolute failure there is so much potential for growth!¬† Every moment I choose to force a smile instead of a scowl, every time I choose to soften my tone…I get a zillion opportunities every day to be like Jesus!¬† And if I fail…well…at least there are still many more chances to make it right.¬† And the little people we learn from?¬† They are so quick to bounce back with a smile and a hug.¬†¬†They will forgive every time.¬† They will love you¬†no matter what.¬† After the worst day, they will still want goodnight hugs and kisses.¬† After¬†the fiercest tantrum they will smile and say I’m sorry before you’ve even sorted through your own mass of¬†feelings.¬† That is beautiful.

I’d like to think it’s ok to fail sometimes.

I like to remind myself we all get grumpy every now and then.

This is where abundant grace comes in…for my children and for ME.

Akeisha and Alexa love to hear us say we will love them no matter what.¬† Always and forever.¬† Some days I need to hear that from my heavenly Father, too.¬† He will love me no matter what.¬† Always and forever.¬† It isn’t my acts of service or my moments of graciousness or my stunning successes that earn me His love.¬† He loves me simply because that is who He is.

Thank you, Father

Ps. On a lighter note, the girls have been playing pirates the past few days!¬† LOL¬† It’s hilarious!¬† “Arty AR AR” is apparently pirate lingo.¬† Outfits are complete with paper eye patches, stick swords in a fabric sheath and paper hats.¬† So adorable ūüôā