I love being a mom.  I absolutely cherish holding a sleeping baby.  There’s also nothing better than having a child crawl into your lap and snuggle into your shoulder for comfort.  It absolutely breaks my heart when I try to snuggle a child who has built a fortress around their heart and defends it with the strength of a strong army.

I have always had a close and strong relationship with my daughter.

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I’m still working towards having a closer and stronger relationship with my big boys.  It has taken years…but I’m making progress even though at times there are plenty of steps backwards.

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My husband is my best friend.  We have been through a lot together.  Sure, there are moments where you struggle but I think over the years Les and myself have learned what matters most to us – being together.  When you gain an appreciation for simply getting to be in the same room with the other person, then all the other stuff is just little stuff.

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I’m sensitive.  I both notice and am affected by others’ emotions.  Ask my husband and kids if you don’t believe me.  I also feel incredibly bad when I hurt someone else’s feelings….for a very, very long time.

Cooking dinner each evening soothes me.  I thrive off of opening the refrigerator and looking in the pantry to see what calls to me to be made.  My sister-in-law tells people that if she gave me a hot dog, a carrot, and some parsley that I would have a buffet feast waiting for everyone for dinner.  I find it funny.   The point she’s making is that where most people look in the fridge and see nothing that will make a full meal for dinner, I take it as a challenge to make something everyone will eat with what I have on hand. It actually stresses me out to have to conform to a menu plan even though I attempted it a few times.

My writing and photography were nurtured by my husband.  Both of these things may be natural tendencies of mine but Les fostered them with the gifts he’s given me over the years – my camera and laptop.  He is my number one fan when it comes to my writing and photography.  He makes me feel talented and I share what I share on my blog for his benefit to keep him linked with our family no matter the distance between us.  It’s my belief that he shouldn’t only have to get phone calls and texts when he’s away that say, “Do you know what your child just did?!”

My favorite and preferred ways to relax are: writing, reading a book with a cup of coffee, writing curriculum, hiking, writing, sitting in a beautiful spot out in nature and thinking, writing, and going on a trip with my family.

I’m spontaneous.  This is both good and bad.

I don’t like being in the spotlight.  At all.  I’m a behind the scenes kind of person.  Unfortunately, this is not an option for me for a couple of reasons and I’ve learned to cope with it but I will never enjoy it.

Some days I feel like I conquered the world.  Other days I feel like it conquered me.  My struggles have both shaped me and made me stronger.  Do you remember the story about how Justin came to us?  Do you remember the epic search for a potty seat with a bigger pee guard so that Justin, Malaki, and Justice would stop peeing on each other while I was trying to potty train them?  Do you remember the mystery of the missing toilet water and where and how I found it later that night?  Yeah…all those things and so much more have taught me many valuable lessons over the years.  In fact, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve been working on completing a book about our foster care years for awhile now.  I could have gotten it done before Gabriel was born and that was my intention, but impatience and excitement for his arrival got the better of me and I couldn’t concentrate on writing it the last three weeks of my pregnancy.  Now I’m finishing it like this:

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I want to finish the book for two reasons.  1) I can work through all the emotions during those three years and the aftermath it left. 2) Raise awareness for others of what it’s really like to foster children.  These parents need a support system and it’s important to know how you can help.  Hint:  Telling the parents they are saints – is not it!!!

Some changes occurred earlier this week.  I’ve been reflecting on it for several days now as well as talking it over with Les too.  Overall, I feel a sense of relief and freedom even if the catalyst all of it was upsetting.  I’ve done some scaling back of some of the extras I’ve  been doing. It’s important for me to remember that just because you can do something – and may even be good at it – doesn’t always mean you should.  It doesn’t mean I regret having done them but it’s time to hand the baton over.  I’ve paved the way for someone else now and pray it will continue to be successful while I focus on enjoying a little baby in my arms, the peace I’ve found with the boys, chatting with my daughter in the evenings about her day, and making plans with Les for a likely move for our family at the beginning of next summer.

Above all else, God has been by my side through all of it.  In the moments where I felt like I couldn’t last a second longer and in my most cherished moments like below.

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I have a second photo of Gabriel making the sign of the cross while he is nursing as well.  In the other photo, he is holding his three fingers together and the other two are fully folded into his palm.  I called to Les and he took a picture of us.

This is simply me.