Seriously, I’ll Be Back

 

It has been a whirlwind of activity for the past month.

Yes, tomorrow is the one month mark and it’s hard to believe we’ve had our foster daughters for one month already.

Both girls are doing well and beginning to settle in to life in the World of Weeks.

Baby Girl doesn’t have the best sleeping habits, but each week there is some improvement.  Her favorite sleeping spot is my lap.  Just look at those little feet.

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Big Sister is taking longer to warm up, which is to be expected.  Not only has she experienced more, but she understands more.  Slowly, we are reaching her though and she very much enjoys her time with Naomi and Lili.

The Texas foster care system, being different from the Illinois foster care system, has taken some time to get used to.  I have 2-3 reports I need to complete on each of the girls every week.  I thought I was to turn them in to the agency after each month they are with us, but just found out that I need to turn them in at the end of each month regardless.  Oops!

Tomorrow, we will be adding two more little girls to our home for 9 days while their foster parents take a long-awaited vacation.  Six girls ranging in age from 6 months – 10  years of age will most certainly mean a lot more chaos and laughter.  However, we’re happy to help out another foster family for a few days.

We also purchased a bigger vehicle.  The Suburban I have driven for the last 2 1/2 years just wasn’t providing enough space for all the car seats we need.  Now I’m driving a 12-passenger Transit van.

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It’s a little bigger than we probably need, but the additional space is really nice, especially considering that I will be transporting additional children from time-to-time and a stroller that takes up quite a bit of room.

So life is a little busier and louder.  Summer fun is in full swing and life goes on.

 

 

Life’s Casualties

They have a way of causing one to think about their own life.  It makes people consider or reconsider whether they are living life to the fullest or simply skating thru while making little effort to ever change.

Recently, hubby got some very sad news about a friend.  This friend tragically lost their life.  A spouse has been left alone to raise their children.  These children have lost a parent.  Parents have lost their child.  Siblings have lost a sibling.  Friends have lost a friend.

I have lost all my grandparents.  Hubby lost his father at a very young age.  He lost his mother several years ago.  He lost his step-father (the only father he really knew) a few years later.  Without question, the most difficult loss in our lives was losing our son 6 1/2 years ago.  The numbness of that loss has taken a lot of time to begin to wear off, although I  question whether or not it will completely go away.  His death changed us in so many ways and the impact of losing our son continues to change us.

So when one of us gets tragic news about the death of someone we know, especially someone gone way too young, it stops us in our tracks.  It makes us re-evaluate our lives.  It causes us to seriously question if we are living our most authentic life or if we’re simply skating thru.

Life’s casualties shake our world and our world has been shaken.  The question now is, what we do from here?  Do you go backwards or continue to move forward?  Do we change direction or stay the course?  Do we give up or keep fighting?  Do we crumble or stay strong?

Loss is certainly not easy.  Unfortunately, it is a reality of life and in this loss we reflect on our own life and what is truly important.

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As much as we may want to, we can’t change what has happened but . .

We can learn to love more deeply.

We can strive to appreciate the life we have.

We can make different choices to change our future and make this world a better place.

We can live our most authentic life.

We can be the change we wish to see in the world (Gandhi).

 

 

Emotions on Cruise

It has finally happened! I’ve gone from feeling like I’m on an extended vacation

to feeling like I’ve actually moved elsewhere.

Not that my brain didn’t already know that I had moved, but living in an RV tends to leave a person in a state of vacation or at least this person 🙂

Since receiving the job offer three months ago, our life has been a whirlwind of activity.

There really wasn’t time to focus on all that was happening. I had to get things done and they had to be done quickly.

When we arrived in Texas, the activity level remained high. We arrived 12 days before Christmas and there was much to do. The holidays came and went, but during that time we also decided to trade in Georgette on a 5th wheel, so we were busy shopping, making those decisions and preparing for yet another move. Back in Illinois we had people in and out working on our house getting it ready to put on the market and I was busy making sure everything was lined up and getting done. Our house went on the market and two days later we had an offer. I was prepared for months of waiting for our house to sell.

For the last three months it has been an avalanche of activity in our lives

and now that things are beginning to settle down, I’m feeling the emotions of this major life event, fluctuating between excitement, frustration, anxiousness and impatience.

Of course I am trying to give myself a little latitude. After all, we had several major life events happen all at once – hubby started a new job, we moved across country, our foster son’s moved to a new foster home, we listed our house and we’re living in an RV.

Having some big emotions over all the changes are normal, but emotions aren’t a bad thing. This means I’m finally starting to accept and adjust to all the changes that have occurred and these emotions have also reignited the excitement about our upcoming cruise.  A celebration of 30 years of marriage.  An opportunity to get away from everything for a week.  A chance to see some new parts of the world.  The opportunity to just relax and enjoy life before we get back to reality.

It will be a welcome respite and I can’t wait to walk on board the ship, order a drink and say bon voyage.

 

Let Me Answer a Question

Since we made the announcement that we’re moving to Texas, I’ve had several people ask me about our foster sons.  I want to explain what is happening on that front.

First of all, the boys are still with us.  Unfortunately, their time with us will be coming to an end.

The goal for the boys still remains reunification.  As such, they must remain in the State of Illinois where they can continue to have visits with their parents.

Whether or not reunification will actually take place is yet to be seen, but I have also confirmed that the particular county handling their case is very slow to bring foster care cases to a close.  After talking to the boy’s case worker, there is likely many more months of foster care in their future.  That breaks my heart as much as leaving them behind.  These boys deserve to have permanency sooner, rather than later and it’s unlikely that anything will be settled for them for a very long time.

We had every intention of following their case through to the end, but life had other plans.  So as we leave Illinois as a family of four, I will leave behind two little pieces of my heart, along with the hope that we’ve created a positive change in their lives.

Almost 2015 – A Look Back

It’s time to say good-bye to 2014 and hello 2015!!!!!  Another year come and gone.

This time of the year tends to make me pause and think about the past year.  The successes and the failures.  Both help us to learn and grow after all.

– Our goal of homesteading did not become reality in 2014.  A failure or success?

– Hubby had some challenges at work that caused us to step back and re-evaluate.  With old challenges behind him, he walked into the challenges of a new job.

– It was a wetter and colder than normal summer.  My tomatoes suffered, but our garden still provided us some good produce.

– We bought our first rain barrels.  At first we thought we would have a dry summer, but instead it ended up  wetter than normal.  The rain barrels were constantly full and received little use, but we have them and will continue to set them up in the spring.

– I learned that dandelions are so much more than a weed.

– We began the process of reinstating our foster care license the end of May.  On July 31st I picked up two little boys.  FS1 and FS2 have been with us ever since.

– In between everything else we did a little traveling visiting Ohio for a Guatemala adoptive families weekend.  A few days later we were on the road again for a drive out to Denver, CO for a few days of sight-seeing, visiting friends and enjoying a show.  Our time in Denver was memorable and then we were off to the Dallas, TX area for Thanksgiving with family.

– After 2+ years of talking, planning, and trying to make a decision, hubby and I finally decided that it made much more sense for us to stay in Central IL and have begun looking for our homestead property.  It’s certainly not the location we had on our radar, but somehow making this decision has given us a sense of freedom and peace.  I think no homestead in 2014 may end up being a success afterall.

While there were more events over the last year, this is a good recap of 2014 and now we look forward to 2015 and all the adventures that await us.

 

 

Some Updates

As usual, there is a lot going on in the World of Weeks and I’m not sure where to start with the blog posts, so I’ll just start and hope it all falls into place.

Watering the garden has become a daily practice around here.  There was rain in the forecast all week, but we only going a few sprinkles of rain.  Not enough to even soak into the ground.  So the watering will continue and maybe our forecast of rain next week will produce some nice soakers for us.  In the meantime, little green tomatoes are emerging and they need water, so each evening I’ll continue to give the garden a nice shower while I wait for rain.

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I moved my herbs to the green house and they are growing much more quickly now.

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I have more that I need to transplant into bigger pots and will move them out to the green house in a few day.  In the meantime, I’m getting their future homes ready around the patio and can’t wait to see how my few herb garden grows.

Can I just say that having a local homeschool group is AWESOME!!!  We had our weekly get together.  One of the moms brought supplies so the kids could work on a Sharpie marker tie dye project.  The kids and the moms loved it.  Sharpie markers will be taking up residence in our home in the not too distant future.

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Change is on the horizon for the Weeks.  We’re still in property shopping mode, but it’s all on-line shopping right now.  Hubby’s work prevents us from going leaving the area for more than an overnight and we need more than an overnight to look at property.  So, we continue to wait.  That’s okay though!  We have a lot on our plates and as anxious as I am to get moved, I have come to realize that for a number of reasons, the timing just IS NOT right at the moment.

I’m in the process moving things around in my house.  Our homeschool room went from the basement (because there wasn’t enough natural light) to the dining room (which is nice and bright).  Over the weekend, I decided we should utilize our family room in a different way and transition the homeschool room back to a dining room.  So we moved our t.v. out of the family room and into our living room, a room that has rarely been used since we moved into our house 18 years ago.  We will sell our family room furniture, paint the walls and 1/2 of the family room will become our space for homeschooling.  The other 1/2 will house the girls toys, but since I’m moving things around, we’ll begin sorting and ridding ourselves of all the used/unwanted toys.  A big job, but one that needs to be done.  Then it will be time to tackle the basement.  Another big job for sure.

There are other things happening in our lives.  Some bigger than others, but I’ll save that for another time.  For today, the big happening around here is Jagger’s birthday.  Jagger is Lili’s little Papillion and today he turns 2.  Happy Birthday Jagger!

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Hope you all have a glorious day and a wonderful weekend!!

 

Spring Cleaning

As much as I enjoy a freshly fallen snow, and we’ve had a lot of freshly fallen snow this winter, I don’t always realize just how much the cold weather and cloudy skies affect me. While my body seems to get used to the colder temperatures, it also seems to slow down. I spend my days doing the bare minimum and my body stores fat to help me get thru the long winter days. Cobwebs fill my house and my mind as I wait for the arrival of spring.

Today the sun shines and I’m reminded of just how much I haven’t done over the winter. I look outside and see puddles where snow and ice once resided. I have energy. More energy than I’ve had the last three months. I’m motivated to get up and move. The beginning signs of spring renew my mind, my body and my spirit.

I won’t kid myself into believing that winter is completely over. After all, spring doesn’t officially begin for a couple more weeks, but those first signs of spring are here. The sun rises earlier in the morning and sets later in the evening. It warms the earth with its glow and begins to melt away the cold and snow. Birds are moving more and their songs fill the sky with joy. My body senses the changes and responds in positive ways. I like it!  And my house seems to like it too.

Now back to spring cleaning!!

 

Planning A New Plan?

For the last 18 months, we have been in planning mode.  Planning a change of job for hubby; planning the sell of our house; planning the purchase of property; planning our move to the country; planning for animals;  planning for outbuildings;  planning . . . . planning . . . . planning . . . .

The problem with all of our planning is that it really isn’t moving us any closer to our goal.  While we have certainly been busy planning, we have not been busy living on our homestead.  We’re not busy planting the trees for our orchard.  We’re not putting in our raised beds for our garden.  We’re not building a chicken coop which means we’re not raising chickens.  We’re not putting up fencing.  We’re not putting up a barn.  We don’t have goats.  We don’t have sheep.  No ducks, pigs, horses, guinea fowl, or any other animals we’ve talked about having on our little homestead.  I’m frustrated!!!  Hubby is frustrated!!!

Planning isn’t a bad thing.  For a matter-of-fact, a life change as big as the one we are trying to make means planning is necessary .  But hubby and I had to begin asking ourselves if all our plans made sense.  Was it time to scrap all the plans we had made and start all over again?  Should we keep some of the plans and change others?  Should we keep things the way they are and just wait?  Would changing the order of our plan create forward movement?

Ultimately we decided that it was time to make changes.  It was time to start planning a new plan.  We had begun to define insanity – doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. We need a more workable plan that gets us on our homestead more quickly.  A plan that moves us toward our goal instead of walking in a circle.  A plan that allows me to sooner, rather than later, begin sharing stories of the joys and struggles on our property.  Pictures of our land, our orchard, our garden, our animals and our home.   A plan that creates positive momentum.

I wish I had wonderful details to share about our new plan, but there is still a lot of discussion taking place as we are planning our new plan.  What I can tell you is that it feels good to let go of the insanity.  It feels good to look at things from a different angle and to start over again.  While the plan may change, our goal won’t change.  We will one day be living our homesteading life.  Now we just need to figure out a faster and better way of getting there.

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Today we said good-bye to 2013 and hello to 2014 and I enter 2014 with some big hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

A few days ago I shared four things I’m going to tackle in 2014.  You can read that post here.  Number 4 on that list was sure to be the toughest for me, but I did quite well having spent maybe 15 minutes on the computer today, until starting this blog post of course.  And as expected, by not spending so much time on the computer, I got other things done which meant instead of sitting at the computer, I was up doing things which helped me tackle Numbers 1 and 2 on the list.

My monthly challenge, which is number 3 on the list, also went well and today’s soup meal became a learning experience as well.  I made Ham and 15 Bean soup for lunch today, but what I wasn’t aware of, is that ham and beans is a traditional New Year’s meal.  Although my research tells me a meal of black-eyed peas and ham hocks was traditionally prepared because it would feed a large family nicely and plenty to eat was believed to mean you would have good luck and prosperity.  My Ham and 15 Bean soup had black-eyed peas, so hopefully that means good luck and prosperity for our family.  Maybe a move to our homestead this year?!!!! 🙂

2013 is now in the past.  It was a year of making big decisions and learning many new things.

Now we enter 2014!  I’m very excited about what this year has in store for me and my family and am ready to make 2014 a year to remember!!

Tackling 4 in 2014

For 2013 I vowed to leave Facebook and on January 1st I closed out my account and didn’t look back.  I thought it would be much harder than it was and it was a very good change in my life for many reasons.  

Now, as 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to tackle 2014 and I have some big plans for the coming year.

Some may call them goals.

Some may call them resolutions.

You can call them whatever you like.

But here are the things I would like to accomplish in 2014.

1.  Lose weight.  Not just a little weight, but a significant amount of weight – 40+ pounds. 

2.  Exercise daily.  Not a walk around the block once a week, but a regular daily exercise routine and stick with it all year.  It pretty much goes along with #1, but I need to get in much better physical shape.

3.  Complete 12 monthly challenges in 2014.  That is one challenge a month that will improve my mental, emotional, physical and/or financial health.  This was actually hubby’s idea, so credit where credit is due.

The 1st of each month I will share my challenge of the month and then the outcome of the challenge will be shared the last day of the month.

4.  Reduce my computer time to no more than 2 hours per day.  This will likely be the most difficult challenge to accomplish in 2014.  The only exception is if I’m using computer time to learn something, such as how-to videos on knitting, quilting, making soap,  etc.  I also have most of my recipes on my computer, so using the computer to get a recipe for a meal is the last exception.  In other words, my computer time needs to be educational or productive.  No more sitting at the computer looking through Pinterest, reading news stories, checking email or doing anything on the computer than keeps me from doing more productive things in my life.  And no roll-over minutes!  So no more than 2 hours per day on the computer which should go a long way in helping me accomplish #1, #2 and #3 🙂

Ultimately, tackling these 4 things in 2014 is meant to make me more disciplined and discipline is necessary if I’m going to be a successful homesteader.