An Artful Life

I grew up in a small Midwestern town, a farming community to be exact.  My days were filled with school, after-school activities and friends.  Saturdays were spent hanging out with friends and Sundays were set aside for family.  I was free to roam around our small community spending many hours with friends.  We were rarely at a loss of what to do.  Much time was spent perfect our bowling skills at the local bowling alley.  We walked across town many times during the spring and summer for a drink or ice cream at the local ice cream shop.  As I got older I earned my own money at various jobs and that was probably the time when my life began to change.  I became more independent and the closer it got to high school graduation, the more my life went in a different direction.

My parents seemed to re-create the life they knew growing up, I did not.  Maybe it was growing up in the same small town all those years, but I longed to move away and experience life in ways I only imagined.  I didn’t want to be tied down in the same place for years on end.  I wanted to experience as much as life had to offer.

I did move away from home after high school.  I got married and moved two towns away.  Not far at all, but away none-the-less.  I experienced motherhood two times and with two babies in tow, I moved away again to a bigger town, in a bigger house and thought life would be grand.

A short time later, my life really changed.  My husband left me and the boys for greener pastures and I was soon in the new category of single working mom.  Before I knew it, I was back in that same small town I so wanted to escape just a few year earlier.  With two small boys, (one with autism, although I wouldn’t have the official diagnosis until a few years later), I needed the help of my family nearby.

A few years later my life changed again as I moved to California, got engaged, got married and then moved once again to the State of Washington.  Hubby was stationed in the Army at the time and we would spend the next 13 – 14 months there.  Within a few short years, I had gone thru more adventure in my life than I ever dreamed.  Not all of it good, but all of it an adventure none-the-less.

Later this year, hubby and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage.  We started our life in Washington before moving back to Illinois.  A few months later we were back in Washington where we stayed for a few years before heading back to Illinois.  We stayed in in that same small town I grew up in for almost 20 years (something I never wanted to do) before we landed in Texas where we have been for the last 14 months.  During all of this we raised three boys and are now raising two little girls.  We will once again become foster parents, bringing more children in our lives.  We have had the luxury of traveling to some fabulous parts of the world.  We have laughed, loved, and lost.

For some, this would be more than enough adventure to last a lifetime, yet I still long for more.  What does that say about me?  Okay, maybe I don’t really want to know the answer to that, but I do feel strongly that life is to be lived.  Not lived by simply waking up each morning, but lived through those experiences that cause me to think, to feel and to see all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

That’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to throw all the paint I can find on my canvas with hope that the outcome will be one of the most wonderfully beautiful paintings ever created.

Here’s to an artful life.

 

I Could

I could use this time to blog about how excited we are to be getting an RV.

I could also talk about our growing list of items we need/want to get for the RV and camping.

I could list off all the things I’ve bought so far, like bedding, towels and kitchen supplies.

I could also talk about the reservations we have made for future camping trips and our plans to make more reservations around the country over the next few months.

Instead, let me fill you in on the kids because I haven’t done a kid update in quite some time.

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Lili has been talking about and planning her birthday party since shortly after Christmas.  She will turn 8 the end of April and since we don’t throw big elaborate parties, it seems a bit early to be making all these plans, but she gets very excited about her birthday.

She has been taking some art classes and LOVING them.  She has had many interests, but the one consistent interest in her life has been art.  Her first class was a 3-D art class and she begins a 2-D art class next week.  I see more art classes in her future.

Once our weather gets warmer, she’ll be back in the saddle continuing her horseback riding classes, but in the meantime her art classes and gymnastics keep her plenty busy.

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Naomi is turning into quite the dancer.  She took a ballet class about 1 1/2 years ago and once the session was over, she had no desire to continue.  She now attends a class at a different dance studio and LOVES it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for the last several weeks, you know she was in a dance performance called, “Ice Queen.”    Since then, we’ve been treated to regular dance performances as she jumps and plié’s around the living room.

She too will continue riding lessons, hopefully next week (weather permitting) and also attends gymnastics once a week.

(I cannot publish photos of the boys on a public blog like this.)

We still have FS1 and FS2.  Next week they will have officially been with us 7 months and in about 6 weeks, FS2 will have been with us longer than he was with his bio dad and mom.  It’s very bittersweet.

FS1 still loves school, but has struggled to keep up with his peers, so last week I went to his school for a meeting with his teacher, speech therapist, school psychologist and school social worker.  Each of them put him thru a variety of tests and the results were not at all surprising.  While he is currently 52.5 months old, he tests as a 36 month old.  The only area he tests in his age range is in motor skills.

This isn’t uncommon for children who have come from difficult home environments, but to have this information in place is a good thing.  Now we can put an IEP in place and he can begin getting additional services to help his reach an age appropriate level.

FS1 also goes to gymnastics and keeps reminding me that he can start taking riding lessons when he turns 5.

FS2 is a busy boy.  He began walking on his 1 year birthday and hasn’t stopped since.  He likes to be on the go, is saying quite a few words, eats well, and is drinking from a sippy cup.  He does not appear to have any developmental challenges and has grown quite attached to us.

I don’t have him in any extra-curricular activities at this time, but he tags along when I take the kids to gymnastics.  He’s not the most patient spectator and I’m sure would much rather be down in the gym participating 🙂

The boy’s case goes back to court in April and we hope to have a clearer picture of their future at that point.  For now, the goal is still reunification and the judge has ordered that permanency be established within a year.  The one year mark is the end of July, but since court cases are rarely scheduled less than 6 month intervals, we anticipate that the judge will schedule the next status hearing sometime in October and the boys will continue to be with us until then.

The kids are very excited about the RV and have already claimed their spots – Lili on the top bunk, Naomi on the bottom bunk, FS1 on the pull down bunk and FS2 in the pack-n-play.

The girls are assisting me as I pick out all the things we need to stock the RV and FS1 is trying to understand why we aren’t going to get the RV now 🙂

Life should be enjoyed and we are certainly trying to do just that.