"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No baby for Jen

Things have gotten slightly better than Saturday. Thankfully. To be more specific, instead of hurting himself now (i.e. biting or hitting his head), Peanut is just getting really, really upset. For no reason at all, sometimes. He runs around crying and calling my name. Since the more aggressive behavior is decreasing, maybe that means we've passed the worst of it...

I really hope so, because this girl is TIRED. Peanut is just a bundle of energy, and on the off-chance that he's not running around like little boys do, he's following me around the house saying, "Hold me, Mommy Jen. Hold me." There's only so much of that I can take.

On Monday, our home development worker called me to see if we still had Peanut, because they had a baby they were trying to place. And oh, I so wanted to tell her we'd take him! But Logan once again was the sensible one who shut down that idea really fast. I know, I should thank him.

But man, I really want a baby.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect. -Romans 12:1-2

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Follow through is a beast

This is the day where I seriously am reconsidering this whole fostering thing. I asked Logan earlier, "Why exactly are we doing this again?" And his smart aleck response was, "Because you wanted to!" In my defense, it was more because I felt like we were supposed to be foster parents than me actually wanting to, but I guess it doesn't really matter in the big picture.

Today was by far the most difficult day we've had with Peanut. And that's saying something, considering he bites, kicks, hits, and bangs his head on the wall. It was like he totally woke up on the wrong side of the bed...twice, because taking a 2-hour nap didn't seem to help AT ALL.

Today his new thing is to fling himself on the ground, and throw his head back - hitting it on the hard floor. On purpose. What the heck are we supposed to do with that? He's been getting upset over the smallest things, and we just don't understand it. Things just don't make sense today. We were supposed to go to a birthday party around lunchtime, but Peanut wasn't listening and even hit and pinched me - for the first time ever. So, after saying we weren't going to go unless he behaved, we decided to follow through with that and not go. Even though Logan and I were really looking forward to the party. Sigh.

We went to mass today, and you can pretty much imagine how that went. All of the older ladies tell Peanut how he's sweet and cute and everything, but like Logan and I told each other afterwards, they didn't see him roll underneath the pew just to get away from Logan's grasp. Yes. He literally rolled under the pew in front of us because he knew he was misbehaving and wanted to get away.

It could be a coincidence, but yesterday he was supposed to have one of his supervised visits. Unfortunately, a certain family member didn't show up. Of course the social worker didn't find out until Peanut was on his way, so the poor little guy is probably really confused. And he's probably mad at me because I was the one who told him he was visiting his family.

Sometimes Logan and I want to knock some sense into certain people.

I think one of the hardest things to deal with as foster parents is how you're the ones dealing with behaviors that wouldn't be a problem if previous caregivers had just dished out a little discipline. Because we know how sweet this kid can be. Logan and I are hoping this is just a typical relapse. If it isn't, well....I don't even want to think about it.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples,
'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.'"
-Matthew 16:24-27

Friday, August 26, 2011

Some things you never forget

Today is 2 years since the day Logan and I found out we were pregnant with Levi. And I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a Wednesday evening around 5:00pm. I had been feeling funny things in my stomach for a few days, and the week before I kept waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night - something I hadn't done before. We had taken a pregnancy test the previous weekend, but it was negative. Since my weird symptoms persisted, we took another test when Logan got home from work. It was a cheap one, and the positive line was very, very faint and took a few minutes to show up. Logan actually left the bathroom at first because we thought it was negative again. But then I looked at the test, saw a blue line, and ran to tell Logan. We both didn't believe I was pregnant (pessimism at its finest), so Logan actually went out and bought a more expensive test that made it really obvious that I was pregnant. We were overjoyed. And totally overwhelmed.

That same evening (right after we found out), the priest who officiated at our wedding came over for dinner. And he totally celebrated mass right in our dining room. It was seriously one of the coolest things ever - the first mass (and only, actually) that was celebrated in our home was the first mass I knew there was a baby inside me. (I'm thinking you need to be Catholic to fully understand the joy behind this. Just saying.)

We're entering the time of year where I remember all of the dates that are associated with my pregnancy. And I don't think I need to explain how difficult it is to think about, especially considering we still haven't gotten pregnant again. The pain has decreased over time, but it will never fully go away.

My precious Levi, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I need a vacation

Well. This past week or so has probably been the most difficult since Peanut came to us. It's probably normal for a kid to seem to regress, considering all that he's been through, but man...it's exhausting. He's constantly - and I mean CONSTANTLY - wanting me to hold him. We could be in the car, at the dinner table, you name it, and he says, "Hold me, Mommy Jen!" I can't hold him 24-7, nor would I want to, obviously, but the problem is he gets really upset sometimes if I can't hold him.

The other problem is that he hurts himself - intentionally - when he doesn't get his way (including when I don't hold him). At first Peanut just bit his wrist, but it's progressed to hitting his head against the wall. Of course, that makes him even more upset than he is in the first place, so he wants me to hold him. But I don't want him to think I'm going to hold him every time he purposely hurts himself. And at the same time, I don't want to refuse to hold him and then have Peanut hurt himself even more. Talk about a catch-22.

We've been trying everything, or so it seems, and I'm very thankful that his daycare is working with us on this. Our new strategy is to give him more one-on-one time (I'm not going to lie, Logan is better at it than me), so he won't feel the need to beg for attention all the time. It's hard, though, since I already feel like I'm neglecting laundry and cleaning the house and everything. I decided to stop coaching soccer because life is busy enough already. But I know that in the end it will be worth it.

Oh, and let's not forget about Marley. As much as she loves Peanut (seriously, she's been known to run in his room and wake him up to play if we're not careful), Marley is also constantly begging for my attention. Except for when Peanut is throwing a fit - then she looks at us like she's the innocent one.

If you're ever bored, stop by our house. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"How's the baby?"

We still have people asking about "the baby" (AKA Bamm Bamm), because they don't know he's not with us anymore. It's a bit depressing to have to explain it over. and over. and over...2 months after he went back to his family. When we explain how we have Peanut now, I'm sure people must be thinking we're crazy. Like one co-worker told me today, "You fall in love all over again!" Yes, it's true. You do fall in love again. And we are crazy. But oh well.

Speaking of Bamm Bamm, we got to see him over the weekend. It seems like he's doing well, and he's still as cute as ever. We would totally take him back in a heartbeat, but we know that's not going to happen - so we're just thankful that we still get to see him.

On a completely random note, yesterday a co-worker asked if I was pregnant. Apparently, it looks like I'm pregnant (she said I had a puffy belly thing going on...). And I think that's just ridiculous considering I've lost weight after getting my wisdom teeth removed. I wanted to say, "No, I'm not pregnant, but thanks for reminding me. AND THANKS FOR CALLING ME FAT."

I'm kidding, because I totally would never say that. Instead, I just told her that I was probably bloated due to the wonderful soft/liquid diet I'm still on because my mouth refuses to heal.

And that's just a glimpse of the wonderful week I've had so far. [Please note the sarcasm.]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just call me Mommy Jen

Peanut officially calls me "Mommy Jen" 99% of the time. He still calls Logan "Mr. Logan", though. I think little boys just like saying mommy, because when I brought him in Target the other day, Peanut kept pointing at me and telling everyone we passed, "That's my mommy." (I didn't have the heart to say anything.)

When we had Bamm Bamm, I was worried about how hard it would be for us to give him back. Now that we have Peanut, I'm still worried - but this time, I'm more worried about how Peanut will handle it. And I say that because he is older and has become more attached to Logan and me than Bamm Bamm did, even though it's only been 3 weeks. When he's not driving us CRAZY, he's constantly giving us hugs, and lately he's been crying occasionally during the night until I go in and comfort him. And when he's upset (due to him either being in trouble or getting hurt or something), he cries for "Mommy Jen" and asks me to hold him.

Even though he does have a biological mother, he sees me as his mom right now, because I'm the one doing all of the "mommy" things. I totally get that. But it's still hard to think about what will happen if/when he leaves us. The poor little guy has been through enough already. I guess it's just one of those situations where you have to trust that God will work things out for the good of all, even when it seems like someone will get hurt, no matter what happens.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Discipline, it's what's for dinner

I just have to announce that Peanut has been PACIFIER-FREE for 3 days now. Hollerrrrr.

I also have to say that I may have made it seem like things with Peanut have been going 100% smoothly and that we have this parenting thing in the bag.

Not true. Whether it's the "terrible two/threes", or how he was raised in previous homes, or that he's just too smart for his own good, there have been several times where Logan and I have been beyond impatient with Peanut. We're both working on letting things go, because we do realize Peanut is just a kid and that he's not perfect. But boy, he really does know how to test us.

I'm starting to wonder how different it would be if it were our own child. Would we have more patience with him (or her)? Would the whole discipline thing be easier because we would have started at day one...and not day 1,000 or so? Or would it actually be harder? Perplexing questions, I tell you.

Logan and I are currently putting Peanut in time-out whenever it's necessary, but we'd love to have suggestions for any other methods that might work better - because sometimes time-out is effective, but other times Peanut totally sits there singing the "Happy Birthday" song and couldn't care less that he's in time-out. So, any suggestions would be appreciated. :)

All things considered, we are very glad that Peanut is cute and sweet and keeps us entertained. Fostering is hard, but definitely worth it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"We're heeere!"

Peanut is a trip. I guess he's gotten used to us by now, because he can be one goofy kid. And he is starting to be extremely friendly with everyone.

Yesterday, for example. We're walking into a very small church for the vigil mass, and the priest is talking to a few people in the last pews before mass starts. Peanut runs up to him, saying, "We're heeere!" and gives Father a big hug. It was super cute. Since it was a small church, though, Peanut's voice echoed. Loudly. And then he sees a man holding the tall crucifix. Peanut runs up to him, asking, "Is that a toy??" Once again, it echoed. Everyone, particularly those in the back of church, was quite entertained. Peanut was relatively quiet for the actual mass, thankfully. :)

Logan bought a slip'n'slide and a sprinkler thingy to occupy the little guy, and our neighbor came over to chat. We needed a second hose, so Peanut follows our neighbor back to his house to get one like he'd been knowing him his entire life - and not just 5 minutes.

We all walked to a snowball stand yesterday - Logan, Peanut, Marley, and myself - and Peanut was just a bit excited. A lady walked by us and he tells her, "I'm going get a snowball!" On the way back, there was a guy sitting on his porch, and Peanut yells at him, "I have a snowball!" He continues to carry on a conversation with the random stranger as we walk by, until we pass the house. Peanut makes sure to yell "Byeee!" before we turn onto our street.

Behavior issues? Okay. This kid hugs everyone he meets. He does have his moments where he doesn't listen, though (oh, does he!). And he has this annoyingly bad habit of biting his wrist when we put him in time-out (yeah, we're working on that one). But I'm convinced that most of behavior issues are because of the environment a kid is in or has been exposed to in his life. At least that's how I feel about Peanut.

Last night, we had another 3-year old over for a few hours, and the two boys got along great. And Peanut started daycare this week since I went back to work, and although I was extremely nervous (you know, about those possible behavior issues), he did really well. One of the daycare workers even told me, "He's a great kid!"

Yes indeed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

House Pictures - Master Bedroom

It's only called the master bedroom because it's for Logan and myself. Unfortunately, there's no master bathroom attached to it. :( But the room itself sure is huge!

Until this summer, we had a very boring room - white walls with no pictures hung and not much furniture. So, all we did was paint, rearrange some things, add an entertainment center (given to us for free!), get some curtains, and change up our bedding and lamps. Good enough for me. :)  (That was pretty much all we had time for anyways - we finished it a few hours before Peanut arrived!)

Before we moved in
I don't really have any good before pictures because they all look like a tornado hit our room. Seriously. So this is the only one you get...and I just love how Marley makes her way into most of the pictures I take these days. Good thing she's cute.
Our room now! I was determined to buy a bold color for our next comforter. And I'm glad I did.
We only painted the walls beige so you might not notice. But it looks good in person :)
The only other rooms we have left in our house to work on is the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom. But since both of those require a lot of time and money, it might be awhile until we get to them. (Um, our kitchen counters are reddish orange - and I only say that because some people say orange and some say red. Take your pick. You think that's bad? Our toilet and shower are blue. Awesome.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm feeling the love

I'm going to start with some positives. Peanut is now sleeping with the lights off! Woo. (It's the little things in life, I tell ya.) Yesterday I also got him to take a nap without his pacifier. But I think we ended up paying for it afterwards...let's just leave it at this: he peed in the bath tub. Eh.

Peanut's constant asking about "Nana" has also decreased. Don't get me wrong - he still asks for her, but it's nowhere near as often as it used to be. Thank you, Jesus.

In the last few days, Peanut has become very affectionate. It's cute, actually. Like at church, he kept putting his head on my lap. And even as I type this, he's randomly running up to me and giving me a hug - and occasionally trying to climb on my lap. Even though we still have some very trying discipline moments, the affectionate moments totally make up for it.

I've decided that Peanut is going to call us whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Sometimes it's "Mr. Logan" and "Mrs. Jen" and sometimes he says Mommy and Daddy. Whenever he does say the latter, though, we make sure to add our name to it - "Momma Jen" and "Poppa Logan" or something like it. Because while we totally understand him seeing us as his parents right now, he does have biological parents. And I don't want them to get offended by him calling us Mom and Dad. Plus, I know he visits with at least his mom, so I've been referring to her as his mommy. It's a very complicated situation, this whole name thing, and I guess there's really no right or wrong way to handle it. I don't know...

Considering I've been recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out (awful, I tell you), and we've managed to make it through the last 5-6 days, I'd say we're doing pretty good. :)


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