And the Winners Are . . .

We really haven’t been on that many cruises in our life.  For a matter-of-fact, our very first cruise happened about 12 years ago.  That first cruise was on a Royal Caribbean ship and because we had such a wonderful experience our second cruise was on a Royal Caribbean ship.  I can honestly say our second cruise was not nearly as good as the first, but because I wanted to give them another chance, our third cruise was on a Royal Caribbean ship.  It was fantastic!!!  So our fourth cruise was on a Royal Caribbean ship and again, we had a great experience.  Our fifth and sixth cruises will also be on Royal Caribbean ships and because we are travelling on two of the ships we’ve been on previously, we anticipate we’ll have a wonderful time on both again.

This morning, hubby sent me a link to Cruise Critic and I was so happy to see Royal Caribbean represented in the Top 10 in every category.  I was also very pleased to see Allure of the Seas make the list so often because she will be transporting us on our 14-night Transatlantic cruise.

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I will admit, after checking out the winners in every category, I’m quite tempted to check out Celebrity.  Royal and Celebrity are sisters, owned by the same parent company.  Apparently, they’ve figured out how to do it right!!!

Here are the  2019 Cruisers’ Choice Award winners!!!

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/cruiserschoice_index.cfm

 

 

Little Miss Independent

ANW is fiercely independent, specifically about mealtime.

We began the switch from baby food to table food a couple of months prior to her 1st birthday and noticed that she wasn’t a fan.  When it came time to make the switch permanently, on more than one occasion she would scream, cry and refuse to eat.

Believe it or not, after having raised 3 kids and having done foster care for over 3 years now, I had never experienced a child who refused to eat, at least not to the extreme level ANW was refusing to eat.

After several days of only being able to get her to drink milk and having her refuse to eat about 90% of what I offered her, I decided it was time to get to the bottom of this problem.  Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, I began to read article after article about this very problem and how most littles who refuse to eat do so because they want to feed themselves.

Seriously?!!!  A 1-yr-old would be so independent that they would refuse to eat unless they could feed themselves?  I didn’t believe it.

Yet, this is what a fiercely independent 1-yr-old looks like post breakfast.

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Handing me her bowl after her 3rd helping.
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All done!

This wasn’t too bad of a mess or at least not compared to other mealtimes.

Honestly, allowing her to feed herself has helped, but she continues to be a picky eater.  It is a battle anytime we offer her a new food.  She simply refuses to try it if she doesn’t like the way it looks or feels.  If I try to feed her, OMG!!!  We just can’t go there.

We’re hoping she will just outgrow this, but with her tough beginnings, we need to keep a close eye on it and won’t hesitate to get her some professional assistance if necessary.

There is always something new to learn and experience and that is why it’s never boring in our home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Sail Away

Anyone who has followed my blog over the years knows my family enjoys cruising.  There is something for everyone in our family and it just makes us happy.

This past year we had made reservations for a cruise to Bermuda, but realized it wasn’t going to work out.  We had been told that the two foster sisters we have would be leaving to go live with an out-of-state family member and as it approached the time to pay our final cruise payment, they were still with us and we feared they would be moved while we were gone.  We also wanted to take ANW with us, however, the stateroom we had booked wasn’t large enough to accommodate a family of 5 and they had no other room combinations in our price range that would work.  So we decided to cancel the cruise.

We have reservations to go back to the condo we rented on Indian Rocks Beach in Florida this summer, but next summer we have booked a 7-night cruise to the Western Caribbean.  It’s on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, which is a ship we enjoy.  We’ll be taking some friends with us and it will be their first time ever on a cruise ship and their first time out of the U.S.  It will be so much fun!

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A few weeks after making our reservations, hubby found another cruise that seemed to good to pass up.  So we booked it.

Sometime the end of October, 2020 we will fly to Italy and spend a few days seeing the sights and trying some authentic Italian cuisine.  We haven’t worked out all the details of our Italy trip yet, but after our visit to Italy, we will fly to Barcelona, Spain and on November 1st  we will board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas (which happens to be our favorite ship so far)

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and sail from Barcelona, to Palma de Mallorca , to Valencia and then on to the Canary Islands.  From the Canary Islands we head to Royal Caribbean’s island in the Bahamas, Coco Cay.  After spending a day there, we head to Miami, FL and then home.  In all, a 14-night cruise!!!

With every cruise, we’ve said the same thing, “It wasn’t long enough.”  Hopefully 14-nights will do the trick!

Both cruises are a long way off . . .  464 days and 604 days to be exact . . . but we are so excited about planning these trips in the meantime.

 

I’ve Got to Get Better

I spend way to much time thinking about blog posts and not posting.  That has got to change!!!!!!

So I’ll try better by starting today.

I suppose one of the reasons I don’t post often is due to waiting for major news to share.  However, there really isn’t any major news at this point, although I’m sure that’s even a matter of opinion.

So let’s start with the kids, specifically baby girl who I’ll refer to as ANW.

Back in December, the judge terminated ANW’s parents’ rights.  Neither of them had worked the services they had to complete to have her returned.  Mom was very consistent about coming to visits, but back in July that changed.  She missed a visit which turned into missing multiple visits, eventually not showing up at all.  It made me very sad to know that this beautiful, smart, and happy baby girl would be yet another child missing out on being raised by her birth parents.  On the flip side, knowing that we could potentially be her forever family made me very happy.

That is one of the interesting dichotomies in foster care.  We do this to provide children a safe haven while their parent(s) worked out their difficulties and learn how to lovingly and effectively parent.  We love these kiddos.  We nurture these kiddos.  We become their parents and in most cases, our time with them is limited and then we say good-bye, because that is our primary responsibility as foster parents.  Yet, at the same time, we find ourselves not wanting to say good-bye.  We privately hope they will stay with us forever because we love them and don’t want to say good-bye.   There are many challenges in foster care, but that is the emotional challenge.

It would be a lie to say that we want to keep every child that enters our home.  For so many different reasons, there have been some who we’ve lovingly and happily said good-bye to.

For example, the sisters who were moving on to live with their older sister and her dad.  That was a happy moment.

Or the little boy who so lovingly talked about his grandparents and eventually went to live with them.  We were very happy for him.

Then we’ve had some that had such tough life experiences, it was more challenging than we imagined it would be.

When we say yes to a child, we never know if we’ll tearfully or joyfully say good-bye, but we keep saying yes none-the less, because no matter how hard it is for us, things have been so much harder for them.  They deserve to have some happier and simpler moments in their lives.

Now back to baby girl . . . .

In the State of Texas, once rights are terminated, the parents have 30 days to appeal and family members have 90 days to come forward and request that the child(ren) be given to them.  Then there is a 90 days hearing to determine the next step.  The 90 days hearing was a couple of days ago and unless something unexpected happened, the next step would be turning the case over to the adoption unit so we can begin the process to adopt ANW.

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I guess that is semi-major news.  🙂

So what else is happening in our lives?

A couple of months ago, hubby was invited to be part of a Senior Technical Leadership team.  He works for a very large company here in the U.S. and with only 300-350 employees invited to be part of this team, it is quite a big deal.

He attended the week-long kick-off for the team.  He learned a lot and returned home with a lot of excitement about his future with the company.  In a nutshell, the company wants to invest in the members of this team and help them take on more substantial leadership roles in the company.

We had to have some discussion about what this meant for his career and for our family.  The end result was acknowledging that we had to be open to the possibility of leaving Texas if that is where the next job took him.

Fast forward to last week when he had an interview for a new position that would move us back to the Pacific Northwest.  The interview went very well and he hopes to hear something very soon.

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Again, maybe not major news at this point, but definitely news and enough that even the possibility of another cross-country move is putting us into high gear when it comes to decluttering our house.

And how is it that a family can accumulate so much in such a short period of time?

But that’s a post for another time.

So those are the two things that most closely align with major news.  Our girls are doing well and we still have our other two foster kiddos, who we’ve now had close to 16 months total.  They are supposed to be leaving us to live with a family member out-of-state and when they leave, there will most certainly be major tears.  After all, when it’s all said and done, we’ll probably have had them 18+ months and that is a long time to be mommy and daddy, then say good-bye.  Our girls will most certainly have a difficult time saying good-bye as well.  They have been sisters to these girls in ever sense of the word and we will feel the impact of their presence and their absence deeply.

 

 

 

 

 

One Year Ago

It seems like a lifetime ago we were shedding tears over the Baby Girl that left our care to go live with her aunt and uncle.  In such a short time, she had stolen our hearts and we had to have a family meeting to decide if we wanted to continue doing foster care.

Since that time, two more foster kiddos left our care and we added four more.

One of the kiddos we added was another Baby Girl who happened to be born the day our first Baby Girl left us.

Another tiny little girl weighing about 6 lbs, with beautiful light brown skin and dark curly hair entered our lives.20180312_201017

Each week she would head off with a transporter to go visit her parents and siblings.  I would leave a couple of hours later to pick her up, having a little time to chat with her parents, sometimes getting to see her siblings before taking her back home.

The months went on and we wondered if it would be our last month with her.  After all, bio family first is the goal in the Texas foster care system and her case worker would come to visit some months telling us they were considering a family member who could take her.  The next month she would tell us it didn’t work out for one reason or another and then they would move on to another and another and another.  

But today we are celebrating this beautiful baby girl who is becoming more beautiful as she gets older.

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She is no longer that tiny baby that entered our home and our hearts almost one year ago.

Today she turns 1!

She is standing and cruising the furniture.

She is beginning to talk.

She loves her daddy, mommy,  and sisters, but is a mommy’s girl most of all.

She is not a crawler, but gets around quickly by scooting on her bottom all over the house.

She likes playing with her toys and getting into things she shouldn’t, like the dog’s water bowl.

She loves being on the go and is happiest when she is with us.

She has one of the worst cases of stranger danger I’ve ever seen in a baby, crying when anyone she doesn’t know or doesn’t see often even talks to her.  Heaven forbid they should touch her.  Fortunately, she is getting a little better as she gets older.

In December, the judge terminated her parent’s rights.  CPS changed the goal to non-relative adoption and if all continues as planned, in the next 4-5 months, she will legally become part of the World of Weeks and I can then share photos of her beautiful little face.

Until then, Happy Birthday A.N.!  Our beautiful little girl!!!!

 

 

 

Twenty-Three Years Later

I made it back to the Seattle area.

Lili, Naomi, Baby Girl and I flew to Seattle, via Missoula, for a girl’s weekend.  Hubby held down the fort with our other three and it was a much-needed and wonderful trip.

I can’t believe it took me so long to get back to the Pacific NW.  I suppose it was due to  the fact that we were taking trips elsewhere, doing foster care, making a move to Texas, doing foster care again, and living life.  I’m just glad I managed to get back up there for a visit and my girls LOVED it!!  At different times, they both said they wanted to live there.  Considering the fact that hubby works for a company based in that area, I suppose it’s possible that could happen one day.

Here are a few pictures from our quick trip.

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Waiting on our connecting flight at the Missoula airport.
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Day 1 – Space Needle You should all know that I’m very much afraid of heights.
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I was fine standing back and taking pictures. After all, the view was beautiful!
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Another beautiful view!!!
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Naptime at the top of the Space Needle.
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Before our trip, hubby was describing the hills in Seattle. When we crossed the street and they saw how steep our walk was going to be, both of them gasped. It was in that moment they understood what he was trying to tell them. Of course I reminded them that we had to walk back up this hill on our way back.

We didn’t have time to much, but the girls both loved the Market.  We went on Day 1 and Day 2.  I’m quite sure we would have gone again if we had more time.

Their favorite part of the market may have been the crepes, although Naomi wouldn’t leave the fish area until she got to see them throw a fish.  She was not disappointed.

Before we knew it, we were on our way back to Dallas, but not before the girls suggested we come back and bring daddy with us.

Good-bye Seattle, until next time!!!

 

Just Like That

Another year has come and gone.

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2018 has been a memorable year in the World of Weeks.

We said good-bye to our foster baby who had been with us 1 day shy of 4 months.

We welcomed our foster baby at 5 day of age, straight from the hospital.  She was born the day foster baby #1 left.

We said good-bye to two of our foster kiddos.  The sisters arrived shortly before Christmas, were with us about 3 months before moving on to be reunited with their older sister.

We welcomed back our first two foster kiddos.  They had left our care 7 months earlier and a few weeks prior to arriving back in our home, had gone back to live with their parents.  It was such a bitter-sweet call to receive, but we happily said yes.  9 1/2 months later, they are still with us.

We filled our last bed, welcoming foster kiddo #4.  She arrived the week before Christmas and has been slow to adjust.  It’s never “easy” though and we’ll work to help her as much as we can while she’s here.

Sadly, we witnessed the termination of parental rights on our foster baby and happily were told we can adopt her in six months.

We had friends and family come for a visit.

We took a trip back to Illinois to visit friends and family, then headed to Florida for a few days on the beach.

We spent time with family and friends.

We made new friends.

We welcomed new nieces/cousins to the family.

Sadly, we said good-bye to some friends and family this year as well.

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In a few hours, 2019 will arrive.  We anticipate many good things in the upcoming year and hope the New Year brings wonderful things your way too!

Happy New Year!!!!

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