Saturday, August 30, 2014

Overdue Care... of ME.

Over the last two months, I've been pouring all my energy into preparing our life for two more kids. And I haven't dedicated any energy whatsoever into taking care of myself. I'm probably 10 pounds heavier, definitely 10% less energetic, and 10% more depressed. Life is finally getting real around here, and I'm feeling the effects of my physical self-neglect BIG time.

I've had to nap during the day to have enough energy for the evenings. I can't seem to get remotivated during my days if I take a break. That means I either do nothing for entire afternoons, or I work myself into exhaustion because I'm afraid to stop. This is NOT ME! I learned long ago that I feel like my best self if I'm eating crazy-healthy and exercising intensely 3 or more days a week-- duh! How can I NOT give my family my best self?

For myself, and for my family, it's time to rededicate myself to taking care of myself, inside and out. Yes, I've added two kids to my crew.  I have three school-aged kids who need constant supervision and help learning how to be each other's sibling. It is mentally exhausting to wrap my mind around all the adapting that needs to happen.

BUT what I'm seeing in embarrassing clarity is that I simply cannot focus ALL my efforts on my children. I HAVE to take care of me first. I have to make sure my own oxygen mask is on before I can rescue my kids.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Years are Fleeting

This afternoon I drove past my girls' future. Groups of incoming college freshmen orienting themselves with campus. For me, back-to-college weekend in recent years has been one filled with nostalgia and reminiscent smiles. It's been filled with excitement for the kids who left their homes to soak of their final years before adult responsibility. Images of soaking up sun on front porches, listening to music in a nerdy fraternity's back yard, and walking into classes nearly skipping have filled my mind as I watch the students' nervous excitement all over town.

This year... this year was different. This was the year I realized that I had just a handful of years to prepare my girls to do life away from home. The briefest of years are ahead of us, and I find myself wondering how we are ever going to be ready. J has had 14 years of careful nurturing and guidance. Even with nearly a decade and a half with her, I feel like there is so much left to teach. Which makes me a little panicky about our sweet A. There is so much lost time, and more time that will be spent getting to know and trust each other before teaching can be the focus. It's overwhelming and leaves me breathless just thinking about the tiny number of days she has under our roof.

Miss A is a phenomenal kid. Truly, we are so blessed by her each and every day. She is a phenomenal big sister and daughter. She is happy to help out and seems to want to be around Amos and I more than alone. She is extremely intelligent, witty, and a great listener. And then there are moments when I can see the loss from years without consistency, without adults to invest in her and love her enough to give her boundaries. Those moments strike my heart and knock me to my knees. The responsibility is huge, the lost time vast, and my wisdom small.

Two weeks ago, a guarded teenager moved into our home. Praise God, each and every day, I have watched her begin to trust and to love and to rely. The layers are becoming slowly and steadily thinner, and I know that God is working miracles in her heart.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homecomings

Written a few days ago... 

J came home last night from her Dad’s, and it was a happy happy evening for us! As thankful as I am that she has her dad in her life, the six weeks that she spends with him every summer seem like eternity for me and for Noah and Miriam. Life just isn’t the same without my firstborn around! Although we have plenty of parenting to do with her, she is growing up so much. She is incredibly helpful with the littles and is so happy to play pretend games with them. She and Noah, in particular, have gotten close over the last year, bonding over all things fantasy and science fiction. I’m so thankful for that bond- otherwise I’d have to be carrying on conversations about Dr. Who and Star Wars on a regular basis! J’s homecoming was another huge date in our transition into our family of seven. 

We have three kids back under our roof, two left to come. 


Our daughter, A, will be coming home to stay forever in just THREE DAYS!! It is a scary and exciting time around the King home. Things are about to get real around here. The fun dating phase of our transition is coming to a close, and true colors are going to start to show. My hunch is that A’s transition will come with some growing pains, but with patience, perseverance, and prayer, I have faith that we will get through the worst of it. The plan is to pray our way through one day at a time, or one hour if necessary. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Last Day of July and School Plans

I cannot believe that July is over! We started the first day of the month with our staffing interview, and our new daughter is sleeping in her bed here as we roll into August.

Our life continues to unfold, slowly but surely. Miss A has been here nearly every day since she met the kids last Sunday. Tonight is her second overnight visit. She seems to be doing really well, and my biggest concern is how crazy Noah and Miriam are making her. Those two have been maniacs when A has been here- LOTS of negative attention seeking going on around here! The crazy thing is that as soon as she went back to her foster home on Monday, they made a complete turn around and were best friends for the rest of the day. I'm doing my very best to be patient yet firm and to give both littles as much individual attention as possible. Honestly, though, I'm barely keeping my head above water. There are moments where A is able to see Noah and Miriam as the sweet siblings they are, and I am thankful for the few glimpses that she has had.  I'm just not sure how to navigate everything. It seems nearly impossible to juggle everyone right now. We are trying to get to know our new daughter and allow her to know us as parents. Simultaneously, we need to give the kids time to get acquainted and also nurture and reassure the bios. It is a crazy mess!

Mr. J will have his first overnight visit this weekend. His meet the kids day last weekend was pretty calm, and everything really seemed completely natural. Noah and Miriam were vastly different than they were with A. I think the reason may be that J was more interested in playing with the kids, and A is more interested in being around Amos and I. Maybe there is more parent sharing with A and less of a  play date atmosphere.

In just eleven days, the school year will begin for three of our kids. A few days later, Mr. J will begin his year, still with his foster parents, and Miriam will enter the small Catholic school a town over from us. The classes there are blissfully small. The 6 kids in her grade will be paired with the second graders, and the entire classroom will be less than a dozen kids. There are only about 30 kids in the entire school. I could not be more thrilled with the path that God has provided for my youngest child. She is ecstatic about attending Mass with her class, and she is slowly coming around to the idea of dress codes.

With all five kids in school, I hope we'll be able to settle into a routine and find out what the new dynamics of our family will be. I'm trying to move forward with little expectations, but over and over I start to make assumptions.  There is a constant need to hand my family over to God. I have to remind myself that I am powerless without Him. But with Him, amazingly beautiful things are possible!