Saturday, March 30, 2013

Going Full Hippie

These are chickens.

Six Rhode Island Reds to be exact. They have taken up residence in a corner of my living room and are happily peeping away. 

I completely blame Morgan.

My kids are over the moon excited. (I'm pretty excited too...) We're looking at plans to build a chicken coop, and hopefully, within a few months, we'll be able to send the girls out first thing in the morning to collect the eggs. 

We're also planting phase one of our garden on Monday.

So, go for it. Best "hippie" joke wins. As far as I'm concerned, all I'm missing are some dreads, birkenstocks, and maybe a goat. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Different Kind of Stage Mom

There's a certain amount of stage-mom-ness that comes naturally to me given my two girls and their musical pursuits. But when Ashlynn asked, begged, pleaded, and basically threw herself at my feet promising she'd do whatever I asked her happily for the rest of forever if I'd just let her enter a pageant, I nearly choked.

A pageant? Really? Like dressed up, parade around stage, fancy dresses, judged on your appearances? So not my scene. I might even be morally opposed to beauty pageants on a fundamental level, and maybe a bit afraid that my inborn stage-mom tendencies would turn me into one of those crazy reality-show pageant moms. 
So I talked to a few moms in my community, and they assured me it wasn't a beauty pageant, that it was judged more on talent and poise and interviewing skills. They told me it would be a chance for her to serve our community. Then Ashlynn begged more. For months on end. And my husband pointed out how we encourage Abby to be on stage all the time and it would be good for Ashlynn to do something just for her. And then I thought about how fun it would be for her to be in parades, be on stage, make friends, represent our small-town community, etc... So we took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet.

The last few weeks have been filled with practices, talent routines, discussions about modeling and on-stage interviews, and a giddy 9-year old bouncing off the walls with excitement about the pageant. I kept wondering what in the world I'd gotten myself into.

But Ashlynn loved every minute of it. She absolutely lit up and shined on stage. The first time I saw her do her cute Harry Potter monologue that introduced her piano piece, tears sprung to my eyes as I thought, "Wow. That's my kid. And she's pretty stinking amazing!"

The pageant was on Saturday, and the days leading up to in and the day of were absolutely insane. Saturday morning at 6:40am found me hauling down the mountain in the blizzard to judge violin federation. (Stupid snow, grumble grumble....) I got back just in time to re-curl Ashlynn's hair, put makeup on her and run back over to the pageant.

After all the talent-ing, the makeup, the glitter, (I got in extra trouble for putting glitter in her hair because all the girls are supposed to look the same in the opening number, don't you know,) she was sitting in the chair next to me, bouncing off the walls, waiting for her name to be called as part of the royalty.

And call her name they did.

What I've learned in the past few days is that this isn't just your average beauty pageant. These five girls will be representing our small mountain community for the next year with tv appearances, community service projects at least monthly, performances, and a huge commitment for the community celebrations that happen around here every Labor Day and Christmas. I don't think I realized quite the crazy we signed up for until I was talking to one of the moms of the outgoing royalty, and she showed me the bag she carries everywhere complete with butt-glue (did you know there was such a thing?!), false eyelashes,  multiple costumes and at least two curling irons. 
So deep breaths. She is going to love every bit of it. I'm going to hold on for the ride, and pray for on-time carpools, good hair stylists, and moms that know more about the mysteries of butt glue than I do!

Monday, March 18, 2013

In Which I Reveal the Extent of my Craziness...

I have four children. This is a lot, did you know?

Let's be honest here. There are many times that the volume level in my house rivals a jet engine at takeoff. Often, my day consists of triage-ing the needs of my four children and deciding which screaming child, which bickering pair of kids, which gigantic mess needs my attention first. There are very few things that I avoid so strenuously as I do as a trip to the grocery store (or heaven forbid, Wal-Mart!) with my herd of children. At least once a day week I hide myself behind a locked bathroom door just to get a minute to compose my thoughts.

After finally getting pregnant with Max, I swore up and down that we were done, all the time knowing that we were supposed to have at least one more. Then Ian snuck in, completely unexpectedly, and when he was born, we finally felt whole, complete.

For a little while.

There's a long story behind the removal of my birth-control-of-choice, but all you really need to know (trust me) is that in the months since my fail-safe, don't-even-have-to-think-about-it birth control method has been gone, I've been filled with the unmistakable knowledge that our family isn't complete. I've tried to deny it. I've looked around at our chaos and wondered what I could possibly be thinking. I finally got up the courage to mention it to my husband, expecting that he would tell me that I was crazy insane.

Except then he didn't.

(This is hard for me to even write about, because I fully expect that virtually everyone who reads this will think me totally insane. I think I'm totally insane, if that makes you feel any better. One of the reasons I've been so absent from this blog for so long is because I haven't had the courage to sit down and write about it for fear of ridicule and people telling me that I've completely gone off the deep end. Trust me, it's not anything I don't know.)

We know there's a girl that needs to join our family, and we feel her absence from our family keenly. There have been many times in the past few months that I've been making dinner while Abby practices upstairs, Ashlynn practices downstairs and the two little boys are playing literally at my feet, and I look around, panicking because I don't know where the baby is. It always takes me a minute to realize that there's no baby. When we're out and about and I do the kid head count, I frequently have to remind myself that I have only four kids, not five, and don't need to go running around like a crazy lady because I've lost a kid that doesn't exist. (Further proof that I've lost it: when I typed that last sentence, I typed "only five kids." See, told ya.) My husband has had similar experiences.

But it gets better. Tom and I equally as convinced that this baby is not coming from us. This has been hard for me. While I don't love being pregnant, I love little babies, and would gladly cuddle a newborn daily for the rest of forever.  But we've known since shortly after we were married that someday we would do foster care and/or adopt a child, and we can't deny any more that this is the right time to pursue it.

There are many reasons why  we shouldn't do this, chief among them being that I already have an entire herd of children, two of which I'm homeschooling, and a whopping 22 violin students. I've been immersing myself in foster care and adoption blogs, and I've learned that above all, foster care can be incredibly unpredictable, which scares the daylights out of my control freak self.  I'm worried about how it may change the dynamics of my family, and how it may affect my girls if we have a disrupted placement. I'm worried about the chaos that may result from suddenly adding a new member to the family, and how we'll manage everything that comes with a foster placement.

But for as many reasons as there are not to do it, there are reasons why we should. While I joke about how crazy our house is, there is a lot of fun here. Good food, lots of music, many laughs, much love. I am not afraid of special medical needs, and I know that we have many blessings to share.

We're meeting with someone from Utah Foster Care Thursday night. We have a million questions. We're nervous, we're probably a little naive, we're more than a little green behind the ears. Yes, we may be a little crazy. But above all, we're excited to follow this path and see where we end up.

Any tips? Anyone have experiences doing foster care? We'd love to hear from you.
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