Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It was a hard decision...

I made the call today to let Family Resources know that we will not be renewing our foster license.  It was an incredibly hard decision that I am still a little sick about.  I mean, there is such an unbelievable need for good foster families and we believe we were a good foster family.  We have room in our home and are passionate about foster care.  However, we have to make our family our priority.  We had to think long and hard and had to KNOW that this was the right decision before making it final.  We have gone back and forth so much and prayed about it for so long.  Every time we thought we could do it and possibly take on more children, something would happen...I believe it was God reminding us that or hands are full, that we need to focus on what we have and remember that there is a point when our kids could starve for the necessary attention and care they need if we took on another child or children.  We can love more kids, we can house more kids.  We shouldn't.  We have a LONG road ahead of us in dealing with the needs of all of our children...a lifelong journey.  There will be much time in therapies and time in the hospital and time possibly spent with Wesley getting dialysis or getting another transplant.  Who knows how far Cason will go developmentally and what care he will need from us as he grows.  And Tate's life was turned upside down when we adopted 2 children with extensive special needs at the same time.  He has his own struggles and needs that we battle just like with any child.

We have an incredible village who loves us and our boys and helps us and has picked up our slack while we have spent time caring for them.  We will need these family and friends forever...we couldn't do this without their help.  So taking on more children would effect more than just us...it would effect our loved ones who help us.  We want to be the best for our kids...we want them to have all of the opportunities and love and attention and time from us as possible.  We just feel like we're at our limit.  We can do all that now.  We feel if we took on any more children, we couldn't.

ALL 3 of our boys have very specific needs that require so much time, attention and energy.  It is our life and I love it and most of the time, it's not terribly overwhelming, but sometimes it all comes at the same time and I feel like I can't address each of their needs all at once.  I get overwhelmed and emotional and feel like a failure.  I can't imagine adding to that.  Though those times aren't too terribly frequent, I get upset with myself for not being at my best ALL the time for them and for Sean.

Our hearts are full...so incredibly full.  We can't imagine not having these boys, we know that God has blessed us beyond measure.  We want only the best for our boys and our family.  It's been a rocky road these 2 years since becoming a foster family.  It's been full of ups and downs and we've dealt with so much we never ever dreamed we would ever have to.  Our eyes have been opened to a whole knew world with the adoption of all 3 of these boys.  So though it was a hard decision, it is a decision that we know is right.

Who knows what the future holds for us as the years go by.  We have learned that our life certainly doesn't go as we have always planned, so we won't say what is to come, but for now...we are content with our family just as it is!

Are you?  Have you considered becoming a foster family?  Do you have room in your hearts and homes and time to love a child?  Please do not hesitate to contact me, I would be so happy to answer ANY questions you have...even if you are just considering it or this post has made you think it could be a possibility.  Less than 3 years ago, I would have never dreamed we would ever do foster care, but in talking with other foster parents, I learned so much I didn't know, I learned that I could do this, that it wasn't what I thought...and it gave me this incredible family.  There is SUCH a need...please let me know if you are considering it, I would love to answer your questions!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My 1st Grader and Preschooler: 1st day of school!!!

Today was the day!  We were all ready!

Tate and Wesley had a great morning and went off to school with huge smiles on their faces!

I thought I would be full of ONLY JOY, but I must admit...I got a little teary eyed.  I mean, they're just getting so big...and we are so blessed by these boys!

He just looks so grown up to me!  And the high tops...oh my, they are so him!

1st Grade!

Wes has grown up so much since his 1st day of preschool last year too!

And he wants to be JUST like his big brother...hence the 1 held up for 1st grade! Ha!

And I must say, the backpack suits Wes!

This picture makes my heart want to burst!  I mean, I said, "let's get a picture together" and Tate went right over and put his arm around Wes.  This is a big deal, people.  They don't exactly get along swimmingly.  This morning, they were both so excited that they didn't bicker once!

My crazy Wes!  Watch out preschool...he is a HAND FULL!  Love him!


There is a new bus service this year.  Wes was not nervous at all!  He was SO EXCITED to get on that bus!

I walked Tate up to his class this morning.  He showed no nerves.  I was pleased and a little surprised by this!  It helps that he has this familiar face in his class.  Love that he and Kiley are going to be in the same class this year!  They were both so adorable this morning...and this is when I felt like I wanted to cry...

So proud of my boys.  They are both SO DIFFERENT and have such different strengths in school.  I am praying it is a great year for the both of them!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Head Shots

I have a business project in the works and it was that dreaded time when I needed to get some head shots to use for it.  I was quickly reminded of a few things...
1.  I am a photographer for many reasons...one of which is that I love being BEHIND the camera, not in front of it!
2.  More is not always better...in the chins category at least.  I.must.go.on.a.diet.
3.  Seeing pictures of myself makes me cringe.  Ugh.
4.  I need to pencil my brows in with this dark of hair (thanks for the tip, mom...I did it before these pictures)
5.  Sean is a good person to take my picture (he took these) because I laugh a lot when I see him behind the camera. :)
6.  I need eye cream STAT!  I have bad eye wrinkles!

Out of 48 pictures taken in about 90 seconds, I managed to find these 3 the most acceptable.

And even sitting here right now looking at these, I am thinking, "should I delete this post full of pictures of MYSELF?"  It's weird.  I just don't hardly ever have pictures of myself on here, so I thought I would go out of my comfort zone.

Sean did a pretty job on these pictures, but unfortunately, where these pictures will be posted will be right next to my younger, thing, beautiful, 1 chinned colleague. ;)

Can't wait to share the details of the "business project" these pictures were taken for!    

Friday, August 02, 2013

some thoughts as summer wraps up...

I can't believe we only have 1 full week left until school starts!  We are doing our best to soak up as much of the summer as we can before it's over...and also trying to check off several of the last items from our Summer List!

Have you seen this picture floating around online?

I saw it a couple of weeks ago and then was reminded of it again today by my chiropractor telling me about having seen it.

It makes me laugh out loud!  I love it.  I NEVER in a million years (not even 2 months ago) thought I would feel this way at the beginning of the school year.  I was wrong.  I am SO READY!  The kids are ready too!  This summer has been so overwhelming and busy and I have had a terrible routine and feel like it's been ALL fun, not a lot of productivity.  Now this is good for a while, but I am ready to have some productivity along with some fall fun! :)

And I have been terrible at blogging...terrible.  I love having this outlet to get my thoughts and feelings onto digital "paper", but I just haven't had time!  Hoping that will all change in the coming weeks.  There has been so much to document this summer and so little time to document it.  Facebook turned into my outlet...it was just so much quicker and easier.

Business at Jennie Peakin Photoraphy has been HOPPIN' and I have a business project I have been working on for the last few months that I will soon be sharing about.  Exciting stuff, but takes up a lot of time.

I feel as though my life is a dream sometimes though.  Don't get me wrong, it is HARD and I don't always feel that way.  Dealing with all of the needs of my boys and running a business and trying to keep a home (this is what tends to slack the most...sorry Sean!) all the while trying to have family fun and time spent with Sean and friends without the kids in an effort to be able to take a deep breath...well, it's exhausting.  However, it's amazing how much I love every minute of this life.  I can't believe that my dream to become a photographer has become a reality...that my dream to be a mommy has become a reality 3 fold and to the most unbelievable blessings I could have imagined.  I have a husband who loves me whether I showered that day or not or whether the house is spic and span or not.  I have a home that though it is NOT fancy at all, I STILL wake up each morning and can't believe it's our home.  I love so much about our home, our neighborhood, our deep friendships we've built and our family so close by!  I stress and worry and complain...all.the.time.  I do.  I fail daily...multiple times.  God's grace is amazing and never ending and is why I am able to go on.

The good times and the hard times of life are very literally like peaks and valleys.  When you're in a valley, it seems like that peak is just so far away...you'll never get there, the climb is too steep, too rocky, you don't have the energy.  You can't see any peaks before or after it, you can barely see the peaks you're in between...the valley is just so deep.  Then your friends and family throw you a rope (or sometimes just pick you up in their helicopters!) and carry you, pull you, drag you up. Once you are on that peak and look down at that valley, it seems so small, so much less scary than when you were in it...it is so far away.  Then you look ahead and see the next peek and it's so close.  You feel like if you get a good running start, you could just jump to it.  If you look behind you, you can see the valley you just came out of, but all you can see before that are all of the peaks all the way in the distance...they cover up all of the valleys before it.  It's so much easier to see the peaks of your life when you're standing right on one.

I've fallen into so many valleys...sometimes daily!  I can't imagine how much harder my life would be and how much more exhausted I would be without my amazing family and friends there to pull me out of those dark places.  I am blessed and from the peak that I am on right now...I can see it so clearly. :)