The last few weeks of our lives have been literally filled to the brim! Dave had a last minute client meeting near Ocean City, Maryland again, and he asked us to go with him since he would literally be gone the last few days before I left to take the kids to Illinois if we didn’t. We got to spend a few days at the ocean again, and wow was that good for the soul 🙂
I’ve always thought myself to not be much of a beach person, but what I’ve found lately is that I love the beach. I just don’t like sunburns, and my hair getting wet so when I go and just chase the waves that lap at the shore, and lounge on the beach with a good book, and I am lathered in plenty of sunscreen, I am good to go! So these last few trips to the ocean filled my heart so full!
We arrived back from Ocean City the evening of Tuesday June 20th, and I turned around the next morning, and picked up Dave’s mom from the airport the next morning. Bless her heart…she flew out to drive back with me so I wouldn’t have to do it with the kids alone. I am so thankful for her! I packed up the car that day, and we left at 6AM on Thursday morning June 22nd. The drive wasn’t bad until we hit some Chicago traffic and road construction. By that point we were just over it. We arrived at my brother in laws house in the Chicago suburbs around 7:30PM that night. I don’t mind the drive. It’s really not bad, but the key for us is leaving early so we arrive when the sun is still up or shortly after it goes down. Neither Dave or I do very well with night driving.
The days following were filled with lots of fun, family, and friends- a trip to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, visiting our neighbors dairy farm, visiting my brothers cattle farm (but they also have goats, sheep, donkeys, kittens, chickens, etc), the Children’s Discovery Museum, the library, bike rides, my brothers wedding in Iowa, playing with Nana and Papa’s new puppy, and more I’m sure….I just can’t remember everything because it was all such a blur!
Here are a few pictures from our time there:
This one was during a crazy tractor ride my dad took us on. We somehow found hilarious straw hats and all crammed into the tractor cab 🙂 Other farmers in the area slowed there cars down to stare at us 🙂
Discovery Museum selfie
Seal exhibit at Brookfield Zoo
Getting a calf to suck on her fingers
Nana and Papa with their new puppy Jetta!
My little brother and his beautiful bride with Abbie, Alex and my sister’s daughter.
After the wedding we headed back to Dave’s brothers house in the suburbs on Sunday July 2nd, and planned to leave there early morning on July 5th. We enjoyed watching fireworks from afar of the surrounding area on a hillside near his house. It was really fun! We took a bunch of popcorn, drinks, and a blanket and just enjoyed some time together before we took off.
Now being back home, I feel like my summer break is finally starting. Abbie didn’t get out of school here until the Thursday before we left for Ocean City so right now is literally the first time I’ve sat still in a few weeks. I love going back to visit family, and when I do I fill the time as full as I can because that’s the only time I get with them, but being an introvert, and needing clear space within which to think in is hard, so coming home…that’s all I pretty much have wanted to do 🙂 I’ve been unpacking and getting the house back in order, and obviously getting my brain back in order as well.
Some hard thing are coming, and I find myself going through a “nesting” phase like I would if I were getting ready to have a baby. I’ve been finishing projects around the house, working on certain things with my kids to prepare them for our new “arrival,” and readying my heart. With this has come a lot of pressing into God and listening for His voice. Some of His answers have surprised me. I have prayed about what is next after losing my job at Hearts at Home, and surprisingly I think He wants me to work more. I guess I shouldn’t say surprisingly….I have fought for a long time to just only stay home, and not work at the same time which has proven to be incredibly difficult. I don’t think it was ever in the cards for me to just stay home, and not work in some capacity, and so as I actually am preparing for a final interview this afternoon, of which they have already told me to go ahead and secure childcare, I am actually excited. I’m a bit scared as well, but only because I really want this job. (Honestly I am one of those weird people who never gets nervous about interviews so this is an odd feeling for me)
Part of the reason I am so excited is because this has been a source of tension in our marriage for a long time….how to balance expense of childcare vs me working and also me wanting to be more present in our children’s lives, but not being able to make financial sense of how to do so. So I am excited, because I feel really on the same page with Dave on this….I have been feeling a bit suffocated by being home for awhile, but my previous salary didn’t make sense for me to pay for childcare. This new job will allow me to pay for childcare, but also bring home some, and still be part time. Not that life is all about my happiness, but as I looked back over the times in my adult working life when I was happiest, it was when things were more balanced- back when I worked part time, but was home a few days a week as well. Lately being with the kids so much as made me resent them, just wanting to get away from them all the time. I know bringing a foster child into that will only escalate my feelings, so I have found a daycare that is very excited not only about Alex, but also about a future potential foster child, and they are willing to work with me whenever that happens. Not only that, but they have many therapists who are willing to come right to the center if a child needs additional help, so if our foster child needs additional therapy we will be able to take care of it right there!
If everything works out this job will be remote, and easy mom daytime hours. I will need to be on the phone quite a bit so I can’t have the kids home anymore, but I am ok with that. I will still be able to pick up a sick child from school, take them to appointments, and even work when we travel if needed. It will require a lot less creative thought, and shouldn’t be emotionally draining…just a job that I clock in to and out of, and honestly that is what I need right now. My family needs more of me, and I know a foster child will, so I need a job that doesn’t emotionally drain me.
I’m also praying about how to serve at church during this time. I currently am one of the leaders for our Women’s Bible Studies, but I am praying hard about what that looks like this fall, and whether or not I should be doing something that takes so much of my time right now. Last year I found that I was snapping at my children more because of how much time I was investing into bible study, and that seems a bit counterintuitive….hmmm mom is reading her bible, she gets angry at me….lol not quite what it probably should look like! I don’t want to idolize my children, but there is also a time, and a season, and I’m not sure that this season is the right one to continue serving in this capacity. There will come a time when my children do not need so much from me emotionally, and physically, and God will make it clear where I am supposed to serve at that time. I am trusting in His provision for where I am to serve right now.
I have had a few wise people even utter words to me such as “maybe now is a season where you are supposed to just be still, and not do anything.” That statement kind of horrifies me because honestly….I don’t do “still” well, but that may just be exactly what God is asking me to do. For a long time I have put serving and my passion in front of my marriage, and my kids. I’ve let those desires lead me, and I know now that I need to put God first, my marriage third, and my kids third. Anything else comes after that, and so knowing that work has been a source of tension for awhile, I need to make it a priority for the sake of my marriage, to make sure that is more important than all of my volunteer activities.
So I find this nesting thing kind of funny, though it makes total sense. I’ve talked to other foster and adoptive moms and they said they did the same thing. I share mostly to let other mamas in similar situations know that they aren’t alone, but also to inform. To inform those who aren’t that familiar with what goes into fostering and adopting that this is a real feeling that we have. That this life we are waiting on…all the unknowns, the wondering what child God is preparing for us….that these emotions feel very much so like the nesting, and wondering you do when you are pregnant with a biological child.
A friend and I were recently talking, and she shared her heart with me a bit. She said “I feel like God has been prompting me for awhile to acknowledge the stage you are in right now as a pregnancy.” Can I just say how healing that was to hear? Tears flowed, and it felt like a direct embrace from God that He sees and He knows my heart. This waiting….it’s a different type of waiting filled with so many more unknowns than my pregnancies with my biological children did. When we don’t keep it in check, and take it to God , there are so many more fears and anxieties that can consume us about this process. The hardest one is knowing that we are 1 paper away from being on the waiting list which means right now in this very moment there is potentially a child whom God will be assigning to us that is living in an unsafe, unstable home. Who may not be getting meals. Who could be being abused, exposed to horrific things that I cannot even fathom, and yet we wait….with all of the unknowns, and we trust God, and we don’t let satan mess with our heads and worry about tomorrow. We trust our God, and we pray, and we wait for this child.