Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meet T

Yesterday our second foster child joined our family. He turned two in November and is quite a ball of energy! About two minutes after we got home he was running laps around the house, climbing up the back of the couch like a little rock climber and then jumping from it with abandon. This little tyke climbed up to the top of the bunk bed (without the ladder) and today we found him perched atop of the cat tree - he's so little and yet seems to have more arm strength than Robert and me combined!

He loves drinking his "baba" with milk, loves petting Kai and chasing the kitties, and his two favorite words are "no" and "mine" - hmm, sounds quite a bit like all of the other 2 year olds I know! He also seems to really enjoy bathtime. I was wondering how I was going to get him clean, but as soon as I mentioned the word bath he was taking off his clothes and jumping into the waterless tub. He loves playing with his bath toys and dumping cups of water on his head. He also really likes to play hide and seek and give hugs to Papa B (Robert) and he's currently sitting on my lap "helping" me write this blog!

T's case is a little unusual - mom is being very cooperative and really wants to turn her life around to get him back so DHS thought it would be good if we all met and got to know each other so yesterday when we picked our little guy up we also met "mom". It was, of course, a very emotional day for her, but she was friendly and tried to make the transition as smooth as possible for T.

Robert met with T's mom, the caseworkers, and the judge today, and the first hearing is set for January, so we are pretty sure we will have T through Christmas.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A $5 Christmas Tree, Hot Cider, and Dolly!

Beautiful Mt. Bachelor (taken from the passenger seat)

Ready to find our Christmas tree

Kai helping us look for the perfect tree

She's the one

Got her!

Our lovely tree

Last year Robert and I purchased a beautiful live potted white fir to use as our Christmas tree and then we planted it in our front yard. This year, we decided to spend $5, get a tree permit, and hike through the woods to cut down our own tree! Although it hasn't really snowed yet in Bend, as we drove towards Mt. Bachelor, (about 15 minutes from our house) there began to be patches of white on the side of the road and an awesome view of the great white mountain. After driving around for awhile trying to find a forest road to turn onto, we decide to just pull over to the side of the road and trek our way in. We didn't have to go to far before we found quite a few good-looking Christmas trees. Granted, these aren't the big, round, symmetrical variety you find at your local tree farm, but a real life Charlie Brown tree is exactly what we were looking for! Kai had a blast running around in the snow while we picked the perfect (well, perfectly imperfect) tree, Robert sawed it down, and we headed home with our lovely Christmas shrub.

Later that night we put on the Bennington Christmas CD of choice (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton), drank hot cider, and decorated our lovely 9' tree - which looks a lot bigger in our house than it did in the forest!
Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

My Thanksgiving pies

My mom and cousin Mike waiting patiently for food.
(And there's me taking the picture and Robert in the kitchen!)

Russ, Terri, and Mike's tattooed arms

Dad and me in the party room - their garage!

Robert and cousin Mike being silly

How many men does it take to carve a turkey?
Apparently it takes my two step-brothers: Russ and Mike

Frank and Marlene all the way from Maui


My lovely tree skirt

Well, it was another very busy Thanksgiving for us! Robert's cousin Mike came up from Corvallis to spend the holiday weekend with us (for the second year in a row... it's a tradition now!). We had my mom over for brunch Thanksgiving morning, and then headed over to my Dad and Terri's for a big family reunion - with family members coming from as far as Minnesota and Hawaii! After a full day and a delicious meal there, we headed over to Gene and Penny's for some late night pumpkin pie:) On Friday Penny got out her sewing machine and helped me make a lovely tree skirt! My mom came over and we all went for a walk around Sunriver. On Saturday morning I headed back over to my Dad and Terri's (Robert was sick), for breakfast. Marlene made exquisite french toast for Terri's birthday and I had a chance to say goodbye to everyone. It was a whirlwind but it was so good to see everyone. I think from now on we'll be hosting all holidays at our house... I don't think I have the energy to do that again! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Winter Boat Ride

Our poor little injured patient

Mr. Cone Head

Rob-ert the sailor man -toot toot!

A little chilly at Friday Harbor

Me stuffing a doughnut in my face and trying to look innocent.

Two weekends ago we took a quick trip up to the San Juans to spend a few nights on the boat with Robert's parents. Robert is going to be taking sailing classes this Spring, and is getting really excited about it, so he's been anxious to be on the water. We had a really fun time and nice weather, but we did have one rather significant mishap the first morning...

Robert woke up around 7 and since I wanted to keep sleeping he decided to take Kai for a nice long walk around the point (we were still docked at the harbor and hadn't left Anacortes yet). I had drifted back to sleep but was violently awakened some time later by Robert flinging the cabin door open and yelling "We've got to go; Kai's been hurt". Now I'm not usually one to jump out of bed, but hearing those words made me panic so I flew out of bed, threw on my shoes, and went running down the docks after Robert in my pajamas. Unfortunately for me (not a runner), our boat was moored at the farthest end possible, so I had to run farther than I've ran in years and man were my lungs burning (time to get in shape maybe?!) Robert had put Kai in the back of my car and the only reason he had run back to the boat was to get his cell phone so he could call and try to find an animal hospital (how come we never have our cell phones when in an actual emergency?)

We drove to the first clinic and when we got there I saw poor Kai's wound for the first time. He had been so excited on his walk that he was jumping around and got tangled in a bush with pointy branches and somehow completely ripped a huge portion of skin from his leg. The skin had flapped open to reveal a nearly perfect 6 inch by 4 inch square of his thigh. It was like peering into a window of muscle and veins. The lady who greeted us was not very friendly and seemed rather unmoved by Kai's injury. She said the doctor would probably see all of his other patients first and then get to Kai. As if we would let our poor little bloody doggie sit in a kennel all day waiting to see the doctor! I thanked her rather curtly and we headed to the Animal Emergency Clinic. When we arrived there, they put us in a room right away and said they would have to knock Kai out and sew him up. We left him there trembling and whining and headed back to the boat to wait for their call.

At about 1:00 that afternoon they said his surgery had gone well and that we could come get our big guy. He got quite a few stitches and they had to stick a big drain in his leg. The worst part, however, was the huge plastic cone he had to wear around his head for 2 weeks. You would think he would have eventually figured out to allow for more space when moving around, but he kept crashing into things and ramming through things for the entire 14 days. He wasn't supposed to move around very much either, so getting him down the very long dock and onto the boat was quite a chore. We decided to stick him in one of the luggage carts and wheel him back to the boat, and although normally he probably wouldn't have stayed put, he was so sore and drugged that he just layed their and enjoyed the ride.

He has since got his stitches out and is doing much better, but it will probably take awhile for all of his fur to grow back! And aside from that little (costly) episode... the rest of the trip was a blast:)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Life as Foster Parent

Baby E had trouble sleeping last night, so Holly stayed up to try and comfort her while I tried to sleep. When I awoke this morning, I found Holly and E. lying fast asleep on the floor in the baby room. E. was wrapped in her blanket and Holly was wrapped in her sleeping bag. I tried to get the camera before they woke up, but our meowing cats spoiled the moment before I could snap the shot.

When we signed up to be Foster Parents we knew it was going to be emotional, but you never really know anything until you have experienced it first hand. Well, we got our first dose of Foster Parenting today at 2:00 when DHS (Department of Human Services) called and said that the judge ordered DHS to return E. to her family. We had a doctors appointment scheduled for her at 2:30, so E's case worker met us at the clinic to pick her up. We fed her a bottle, gave her kisses, prayed for her and said our good byes. It is amazing how much love you can feel for a baby only after 24 hours.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby E.

God brought Baby E. into our lives today. She is a very sweet and beautiful baby and we feel very blessed to have her in our home. Because our blog is public, we will have to keep things pretty generic, but we look forward to sharing our foster parenting journey with you.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Finally Foster Parents

Yesterday we officially became certified as foster parents. We were made aware of this in two very real ways: we received a certificate in the mail, and we received a phone call from our caseworker asking us if we would be willing to take two little brothers (ages 1 and 7) who had been taken from their home that day due to extremely unsanitary living conditions. Robert received the call and left me a message while I was teaching. We waited for the next few hours to hear if we would really be bringing these two little boys into our home. At about 5:00 Robert received another phone call letting him know that a grandma had been found in a nearby county and had been approved to take the boys. So the call yesterday was a bit of a false alarm, but it was also a very real indicator that we may be welcoming children into our home at any moment. Please pray for the little boys who were removed from their home yesterday. And also, that God would help us prepare ourselves for the first child / children that we welcome into our home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall is Here!

After a long, warm summer, Friday evening brought stormy gray skies and the wonderful smell of damp earth and rain. I absolutely love the fall, so the abrubt change was a delightful surprise. September, October, and November are my favorite months of the year; I love the coziness of the weather, the pumpkins, the way the world becomes a palette of hues of golds and reds, and how homes and stores begin to smell of cinnamon, apples, and spice. I love wearing skirts and tights, finally having a justifiable need for coffee or tea throughout the day, and a good reason to bake seasonal breads... and eat them. Oh, there is so much to love about fall!
Classes begin today. I have several first-year Spanish classes this term, and although I enjoy teaching the advanced grammar and linguistics of second-year Spanish, there are benefits to having trainable, malleable students who are new to foreign-language learning.
In addition to new classes, Robert and I are preparing our home and hearts for a very new life this year! Our caseworker has completed two of our three required homestudies, and we hope to have the final walk-through this week. Then, she has to write a report, have her supervisor authorize it, and we will be officially certified as foster parents. It could all happen as early as the end of September, so we could very likely have a child (or two) in our home by October. We now have two bedrooms prepared for little ones; a nursery for babies, and a bunk-room for older kids. We have decided to be open to taking children 8 and younger, although surprisingly, our caseworker told us they are having a difficult time finding homes for babies and young children right now (most likely due to families being unable to afford child care if both parents are working). So while we may end up with a couple of school-aged kids, it's also very likely we'll end up with a newborn or two. Please pray that we will make the transition into instant parenthood as gracefully as possible, and that whatever children are placed with us will adjust to our home, our schedules, and most importantly to living with a new family.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ben and Mary

Me and Mary

Mary and Ben

Getting ready to ride the tube

Ben and Mary on the tube

Me and Mary on the boat

A funny picture of Ben, Mary, and my dad


A whole new meaning to "wind-blown"

Mary enjoying her favorite pale ale on tap at Deschutes Brewery

Ben's excited about beer!

The girls at Nancy P's Bakery

Ben, Mary, and Amber almost to the top of Smith Rock

Uncle Bob and Chase - in matching orange shirts:)

Holly and Jack

Trevor, Bethany and Jack at the summit

Mary on the way down

Monkey Face

Cooling off in the river

Ben and Mary came to visit for a few days and we tried to pack in as much Central Oregon fun as possible! They arrived Thursday evening - after hitting a piece of metal, getting a flat tire, and hanging out in the middle of nowhere for 2 hours waiting for a tow truck. On Friday we went to Lake Billy Chinook with my dad and he took us out on his new boat, Draggin' Flies. Dad pulled us on their "tube" behind the boat and did his best to fling us off. We each took a few rides and the final ride (Mary/me) was pretty intense! Dad pulled us for about 30 minutes (with Ben keeping a careful eye on us in case we flew off), and kept going faster and faster. By the end it was like trying to stay on a bucking bronco, but Mary and I held our own and never came off! Saturday we hiked Smith Rock (about 4.5 miles) with friends from church. It was a gorgeous day, although a little too hot and sunny at the beginning of the hike! I nearly fainted on the way up, but on the way down the backside of the mountain we were mostly in the shade and found a nice river to jump into to cool off. Sunday Ben and Mary joined us at church and Mary and I played a harmonica / violin duet. Our time with the Giudices is never long enough, but we sure enjoy our time with them and look forward to our next visit!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Weekend with Amber and Chase

Chase and his Mama

Robert enjoying the scenery

Three Creeks Lake

Kai and Sadie playing in the water

Amber and Me

Uncle Bob, Chase, and all the doggies

Chase, pre-lemon face

Chase, post-lemon face

Our dear friend Amber discovered a gorgeous lake just West of Sisters and invited us to spend the day there with her and baby Chase. Amber brought her adorable little pit bull, Sadie, and she was also babysitting Cassy (a very sweet Golden Retreiver), and with Kai we had a car-full of wet, stinky dogs! After our trip to Three Creeks Lake Amber came over to hang out and watch movies. She spent the night and we got to hang out all day Sunday as well. Here are some pictures from our fun-filled weekend, and even thought it looks like we were torturing Chase with lemons, he actually LOVES them and kept sucking on the slice until it was just peel!