Friday, March 24, 2017

Big Changes, Little Time

We are going through some big changes in our family right now, and as is usually the case for us, when those kinds of things happen, we are so busy living we don't have much time to write about it.

For a long time I have felt like we didn't have all the children we are supposed to have.  However the hubs and I have agreed that I am done with pregnancy.  I wasn't sure how to reconcile these mixed ideas, until I approached the hubs about it shortly before we moved from Texas.

He suggested that maybe we could look into doing foster to adopt.  At the time he had a boss who had just adopted some foster children, and when we lived in Utah before we had some friends who had also adopted foster children.  This being an idea we had both been exposed to, it didn't seem that strange of an idea, and the seed of an idea was planted in our minds.

After we moved, we were feeling lost, and missing Texas.  It took us a while to remember that we had had that idea.  Then it took us a while to act on it.  Finally last fall we spoke to the Utah foster care representative for our area.  He got us hooked up with the information we needed to decide if we really wanted to take this path.  Part of that information was some classes we needed to take.  These classes seemed like a great undertaking.  They were most of the weeknights for 3 weeks.  They ran from 5:30-9:30 PM, and we were told not to bring ANY children with us.  This meant we had to figure out childcare on weeknights.  Not the easiest endeavor, and we let a few months pass.  Finally I decided we just needed to make it happen.  We asked family and some of the teenagers who live near us, and were able to secure sitters for each night.

Another of the requirements we need to meet to do foster care is to have a housing situation that has enough space and is a safe enough environment according to the DCFS.   The space situation is measured in bedroom size and the number of children occupying each room, and their genders.  You can have no more than 4 children per room, and the room has to have at least 40 square feet per child.  You may not have boys and girls share a room together.  However these rules only apply to the foster children.  You can do what you want with your kids.

Well when you have a 4 bedroom house, and you already have 5 kids, your options are limited.  We looked into what it would take to make modifications to our home to make it easier to take in more kids.  Those ideas included finishing our playroom into a bedroom, remodeling the kitchen to give more workspace making it easier for kids to help,and to have enough space to store all that is needed for a larger family, and adding on a dining room to the back of the house.  Our current dining area barely fits our table as it, and is rather uncomfortable.  Having to put another leaf in the table to expand it so that we could fit more kids would be rather tricky.

As we looked into what we would need to do to turn the playroom into a bedroom, we discovered that due to current  building codes we would need to cut through the foundation to make the window larger and lower.  Not an impossible task, but difficult.  A kitchen remodel would take a while and a lot of funds, as would the dinning room addition.  It was something that I wanted, but had trouble feeling at peace with.

We even considered the idea of buying a different house.  We looked around a bit, but nothing felt right.  We were feeling lost.  

Then during our second to last session of class there was a family who came in to talk to the class.  This family is made up of various foster children who have been adopted.  As they talked I got the feeling that our current house might work for us to start with, but eventually we would need a bigger house.  And that maybe the Lord had more children in mind for us to benefit than I had imagined.  

After that class, the hubs and I talked and I got the idea he had similar thoughts to me.  That weekend we were able to get some time alone, and got to talking.  We admitted that moving was an option, but we didn't want to uproot the kids more than necessary.  We prayed for the Lord's guidance, and mentioned that we were considering a few homes that were for sale, or had the potential to be on the market in the near future.  The hubs mentioned a house that I wasn't aware of.  He had noticed it a few months back, as a for sale by owner, and it was still on the market.

Any time he looked at that house, he would see the price tag and look away.  This time we decided to look at the listing together.  It was listed for more than we had ever thought of spending on a house, but we kept looking.  The first few pictures in the listing were a floor plan.  I love looking at floor plans, but it isn't the hubs forte.  He usually prefers pictures and looking in person.  This time though he told me the floor plan really stood out to him.  We really liked the pictures we saw as well.  We decided to see if we could get an appointment to go see the house, and saw it later that day.

For me, just walking through the house, something felt amazingly right about it.  I just knew we should buy that house.  I told  the Hubs so, but I don't think it sank in to him at that point.  He was still accepting the price.  He felt like there was no way we could qualify for it.

Later that day I requested info from a mortgage company, in the Hubs name, because he is the breadwinner.  By Monday he had decided we couldn't afford the house and should just forget about it.  Then the mortgage company called.  Asked a few questions, and told him we could probably qualify.  He was blown away.

We then took the steps to get pre-qualified, and found that our current house was in the way.  We could only qualify if we sold our home, and closed on it first, or if we had renters sign a lease, and give us a deposit.  Plus we had 6 months rent in savings.    To me, it felt impossible.  However I felt like we shouldn't give up.  We both felt like selling our house was impossible.  There are so many flaws we should fix before we put it on the market, it would take forever.  So we considered the renting option.

Meanwhile we decided to look at some more houses on the market.  None of them felt right.  None of them clicked the way the other home had.  I knew I wanted to buy that home, but didn't see a way.  Well we prayed and fasted that the Lord would guide us to whatever His will for us was.  Then I had an idea.  The owners of the home we wanted to buy were looking for a place to rent while they built another house for themselves.  What if they rented our house?

We proposed the idea to the owners on a Friday.  The wife seemed to like the idea,  the husband was more unsure.  On Sunday, I had the feeling I didn't need to worry about it.  I took that to mean that they would rent from us.  I was wrong.

Monday the Hubs got a message from someone in our church group.  They had heard that we might be putting our home on the market and wondered if he and his wife could come look.  They came on Tuesday, and on Wednesday told us they were working on drafting an offer.  On Friday we submitted an offer on the home we want to buy, and now we are in the process of figuring all that out, and buying that house.

It is crazy, but I can also see how it has all fallen into place.  I believe it is because we are trying to do what we feel the Lord wants us to do.  We are willing to do our part, and He is guiding us because of it.

Much of the lost feeling I had after leaving Texas has flown.  I still miss the people and the place, but I know I have a purpose here.  And the Lord will guide me where He needs me if I am teachable and willing to do hard things.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The parable of the salad

Many of you may know that my youngest, Scooter, considers himself quite the chef.  It is quite  often for that almost 4 year old to go in the kitchen, and start piling ingredients into some kind of container with no rhyme or reason.  Rarely does he make something other than a mess, but it is a passion of his, and one that we would like to help feed.

Today when he and I got home from taking the older kids to school, he decided he wanted to be "Chef Scooter" and make a salad.  He proceeded to take some tomatoes and avocados off the counter and placed them in a bowl.  Took the bowl to the table, told me to get some plates, he went and got a spoon, and wanted to devour his salad.

Now tomatoes and avocados can make a great salad.  But usually we cut them up, and peel and pit the avocados.  Maybe add a few more ingredients, etc.  Well I wanted to let him express his creative side, but I also have those tomatoes and avacados for a taco salad I am planning for dinner tonight.

I suggested to him that we could make something else, like popcorn, or toast.  He said "No.  Salad"  He wanted that salad.  NOW!  I told him, I needed those things for tonight's dinner, and he could help me make the salad then.  Nope, not good enough.

Finally I got him to consider other options.  But still they needed to be his creation.  He wanted cupcake marshmallow pie.  What ever that is.  I asked him how we make it.  He looked around the kitchen, and saw some apples.  "It maybe has some apples." He said.  So I took an apple, and asked him if we needed it cut up.  "Yep." he said.  So I cut the apple and put it in a container.  Then he started suggesting the marshmallows.  We don't have any, so then he decided he needed to look in a cookbook.  I suggested we could add some cinnamon, he was ok with that.  Then while he was looking in  his cookbook, I also added some lemon juice.  He found a picture of a fruit salad in the  cookbook and decided to add some oranges.  So after we peeled the oranges and broke them into slices, he added them to our salad.

Then I pulled out the pomegranate.  This is a fruit he has no memory of eating before.  We only have it during the holiday season.  He thought it was an apple at first, but after I cut it open and showed him how to pull out the seeds, and let him try one, he had found a new favorite fruit.  He continued to eat a quarter of the pomegranate, while I put another quarter in his salad.  Then we put it in the fridge to wait for lunch.

While I was going through this experience with him the Spirit spoke to me.  How often am I like Scooter.  I think I know what I want to do, and I want it now.  I don't want to accept suggestions or help from someone who maybe knows more than I do.  I want to do it my way, even if my way doesn't really work as well.  I may look around and what ever catches my eye is what I think I need at the moment.   But if  I will take the time to look at instructions like Scooters cookbook  (in my case scriptures, teachings of prophets and apostles), and ask for help from someone with experience, I can have a much more successful experience.  I can learn a lot more and have a more positive outcome.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Daisies on Pink

I love the daisy fabric.  I have loved it since the first time I saw it in my mom's fabric scraps.  It has been calling out for me to make something of it.  I used a little of it one time when I made a dress for Aurora.
But other than that, it has just felt like too small a piece to use.  Then I started making doll clothes.  You don't need as much fabric for a doll, and it worked wonderfully.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Newest Hobby

I'm going to post the pictures of my newest hobby, sewing doll clothes here at the top, but then I am going to explain it below for those who wish to keep reading.




About 25-30 years ago I was introduced to something called American Girl Dolls.  Well not the dolls themselves, but the books about the dolls, and the catalogs of the dolls.  I loved it when those catalogs would arrive.  I would pour over them for hours, dreaming of what it would be like to have one of those dolls.  However, I knew it was just a dream to have one.  Those dolls cost around $100 a piece, and when you are in a family of 9 children, well lets face it, your not likely to get a toy that costs that much.  So for me it was just dreams.

Fast forward 10 years or so, and my younger sisters were at that stage.  However they had an advantage I didn't have.  Someone had a brilliant idea.  Make nice looking dolls the same size as American Girl Dolls, and charge a fraction of the price.  I still remember how excited they were the Christmas that all 4 of my younger sisters each got an Autumn Harvest Doll.  I was a little envious but hey being 20  years old, I was to old to expect such things.

Then I had daughters.  It took a long time to reach this point, but finally about 2 years ago I finally got Aurora an 18" doll.  This one was an Our Generation doll.  I wanted to get one for each of my daughters, Cinderella who was about 10 at the time, thought she may be to old for such toys.  She decided  otherwise after seeing her sisters doll, but even though the dolls were a lot less expensive than American Girl Dolls, they are still big dolls.  Cinderella was dedicated to her Barbies at the time and had a rather large Barbie house, and we were living in a small house.  I had to hold off for a bit.

Then I found the deal.  I found a local listing for someone wanting to clear out their daughters 18" doll collection.  4 dolls, a camper, a jeep, a scooter, 2 salon chairs, a wardrobe, plus a little more for $200. I couldn't pass that up. Some of the dolls were a cheaper brand, and had been well loved, but a couple of them were almost new.  I decided to give my girls the more worn dolls and save the others for later gifts.

Cinderella was blown away.  She was very touched, to get an old worn out doll with frizzy hair. She has told me since that was her most favorite gift she has ever received.  Then came the time when my boys discovered the jeep, scooter, and camper in the garage.  Couldn't keep them a secret for much longer.  So when Aurora received another Our Generation doll for her birthday, I knew it was time to uncover more of the goods.  Then my boys wanted in on the action, and we needed more dolls.  So out came the last two dolls, with the information that these dolls belonged to ME.  They could play with them, but no fighting, and I had to give permission.  I didn't want Aurora to hog all the dolls.

Then I discovered something.  I really liked having my own dolls.  I liked to dress them up, and do their hair.  Later, I decided that I would like to make doll clothes.  My kids don't always appreciate when I sew for them, but I knew the dolls wouldn't complain if I made doll clothes.   I discovered a wonderful website Pixie Faire  There they have doll clothes patterns, and a decent amount of them are free.  And they give away another free pattern each Friday.  I decided this was a good way to start and see how serious I am about this hobby, before investing a lot of money in it.   I have a lot of fabric scraps from my own sewing, and from my mom.  I figured I could start without having to invest too much.

I have made the items pictured above, so far.  My first project was the  purple swim suit modeled by Cinderellas doll.
The next one was the blue swim suit with the skirt.  I used the same pattern for that swim suit, and made up the skirt on my own.
  Then I made the pink dress last week, and today I finished the t-shirt that is under it.

I plan to make posts in the future as I make more clothes.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Friends

I have been struggling ever since moving.  My life has been a roller coaster of emotions.  I have to just keep looking forward to the future.   
We moved back to a place where we had lived before.  To the same house even.  We had rented it out while we were gone, but had had no plans of returning, even though we didn't sell it.  But the Lord had plans.  He knew we would eventually come back, and prepared a way for us to be able to do so.
One might think that moving into the same house would make the moving transition a ton easier.  However, for me, it has been more difficult in some ways.   I think maybe in part due to expectations that it wouldn't be, makes the struggle more emotional.  I am hoping that if I bare my soul, I can set this aside and move on.
Each day I am going to blog about some expectations one might have, and I think I maybe even had them to a degree, that have proved false, and helped create more emotional discord inside of me.  

1. Expectation: You already have friends there, so there is already a social circle where you fit.
    Truth:  In Utah, a highly Mormon community, there is a great social disadvantage.  Your social circle largely is the ward (congregation) you belong to.  This congregation is based on where you live. You attend church with those who live around you.  This is great, because you worship with those who live around you, and can have a closer knit community.  The church functions in such a way that every ward runs the same way.  Our church is a global church.  Church is basically the same, no matter where you attend, other than the people.  You don't shop around for a paster that you like, or a church that teaches doctrine just so.  Every ward teaches the same doctrine, and each ward is lead by a bishop, who didn't volunteer for the position, but was called to the position, by leaders of the church higher on the line of authority,  in direction from God.  The bishop changes, when the Lord decides the bishop should change, and to the man the Lord sees fit to be the new bishop.  Anyway, as I said, you attend church with those who live around you, and the boundaries of your ward change, based on growth of the members of the church in your area.  And very sadly, when those boundaries change, you no longer have anything to do with those who used to be in your ward, even if they still live near you.  While we were living in Texas, those boundaries changed.  I came back to a ward, where I don't know many people.  And all my friends who I had before, who live in the other half of the neighborhood, so therefor the other ward, we don't have that connection anymore.  I still see them, and talk to them, but we don't have that connection.  I feel lonely, because I don't have that connection.  Don't get me wrong, I still like the people I go to church with, and I even have people I consider friends.  But it isn't quite what I want.

So, now that I have identified that, I know I need to find ways to make friendships with those in my ward, but also need to find ways to continue interaction with those who I consider my friends, who still live near me, but aren't in my ward.  Now I just need a plan.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Follow up

So to follow up with all of my crazy posts.  I do know what I am supposed to do.  But as the hubs reminded me yesterday, there has to be opposition in all things, or else you don't really have th freedom to choose, you are just going along with the flow.

The time to leave Texas is coming, I need to accept it and look forward to the future.  When I do that I truly feel peace.  When I start thinking about all the reasons I want to stay, then I get confused, or have a stupor of thought.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Making Choices, and following promptings.

When the kids  and I take a walk we often play "the corner game". In this game we take turns deciding which way to go when we reach corners.   My kids love this game, and often get upset if I forget to pause and let the next person choose.  Our neighborhood has a lot of greenbelts, and there is one in particular that my boys love.  This one has trees so it is nice and shady, picnic tables, benches and gravel paths that wind through it.  The boys love to get out of stroller and roam the paths.

Today I was taking Scooter and Spike for a walk, and we were playing the corner game.  While we were walking we came across a greenbelt area.    Well this was not their favorite one, but was similar.  Spike asked me, "Why did they tear out all of the paths?"  I told him, "This is a different one, but I know how to get to the one you like.  I can take us there, or we can keep playing the corner game, and we might get there we might not, and if we do it might take longer to get there."  He opted to just have me direct us there.  While I was walking, I couldn't help thinking about the parallels in my statement to Spike.

The Lord knows what I want, and knows what is best for me.  He can lead me there if I let Him, or I can make my own decisions, and possibly not get there, or take longer in getting there.

I wish I knew what the Lord wanted right now.  I know I have felt the need to move on.  I know we have felt driven back to Utah.  I know I love Texas.  I also love my family (extended family) none of which live in Texas, most live in Utah.  I know I am needed here, I'm not sure how much I am needed in Utah.  I want to be someplace for a long time, so that my children don't have to keep moving, and I know if we move to Utah we can probably stay there longer than if we were to move somewhere else here.  If we were to move to a different home here in Texas I think it would only be for a little while, and that might be harder to say goodbye to than saying goodbye right now.

Part of my thinking these thoughts today is because as I was walking with my boys,  I noticed that one of the houses near that greenbelt that my kids love (and this house is one that I love the look of from the outside, and it is the right size for our family, and if I were to buy a house in this neighborhood it is probably the house I would want to buy.) is going on the market soon.   Seeing that causes me to second guess the thoughts I have had lately.

That, and the fact that the Hubs hasn't really had any luck in looking for a job in Utah so far, but we haven't been looking that long.  It could change, really easily and quickly when the time is right.  But he has really been struggling the last little bit with this, and it makes me wonder if I have been misinterpreting my thoughts and the whispering of the Spirit.  Which part comes from me, and which part is coming from God?  

I have desires that lead in both directions, so I can see how my own wants might lead me to think either way.  It is so hard to know.  I know I need to trust in the Lord.  He will lead me where I really want to be in the end.    I just need to discern which messages come from him.