Monday, December 27, 2010

Week Two: We're still here!!

The kids had some friends over last night and ran around the house playing, played Just Dance on the Wii, and J did our friend's daughter, A's hair. It was too cute.

The boys had a little scuffle, and we worked it out with them. We all got to bed a little later than normal and slept in this morning.

So what's going on in our household? Well, as you can imagine, we're still adjusting to each other. The kids are slowly learning that when mom and dad say something, they mean it. Whether we tell them that we WILL take them to go see Narnia (and we did that on Christmas Day), or that a consequence will happen to something they're doing, and it does. We know that we need to follow through, and that will show them that we love them, but we mean business when it comes to following the rules.

I want my kids to be prepared for this crazy world we live in - as prepared as anyone can be - and learn that there are consequences to your actions. Whether they be good or bad. And that words can hurt as much as actions. And that sometimes, you can't get exactly what you want in life.

I will tell you that I think we're doing ok so far. I've managed to keep my temper in check, even when being pushed to the limits (which believe it or not, HAS happened!). I've also learned that Chris and I NEED to make sure we make time for just us. Even if that means a few stolen moments upstairs to connect while the kids are downstairs watching a movie.

It's been an adjustment, but one that I think we are making strides on!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Four. Calm. Peace on Earth. And such as.

So the last three days were...interesting. We went to a household of FIVE in 3.4 seconds flat. And the chaos and the testing that accompanies it was just as...interesting.

Chris and I are learning about currency. What works, what doesn't. A certain someone does NOT like to be sent to sit on his bed in a time out. Bang! Found your currency. (For the record, we've had two instances of 'go sit on your bed until you can change your attitude and you are ready to join the family', and one instance of a complete meltdown in Target. Poor Chris. He got the first meltdown!)

Another certain someone has to know what we are doing every second of every day. I've been working with her to just go with the flow. And what I can and cannot tell her about what we may or may not do.

So this family is making it work. I think today was the first time that the little one realized we love him, but we certainly aren't going to put up with his attitude!

And now I must go. We're headed to the library for new cards and some books!

Monday, December 20, 2010

We're Home!

We pulled into the driveway at about 9:30 last night. We unloaded the cars, and got the kids tucked into a movie while Chris got ready for bed. He's working in the mornings this week and I'm working from home and then I'm working in the office in the afternoons. It's going to make it easier on us.

This morning we all slept in until 8. It was...interesting. I fed the kids, have a load of laundry started, and decided I would blog really quick. We had a small meltdown late last night, but nothing I couldn't handle. It's a lot of change for a couple of kids who have had nothing BUT and if I ever thought it would all be sunshine and rainbows, well then I should be smacked.

So I've officially become a sorta-kinda-almost stay at home mom. I get to stay home with them when they are home, but I will be working while they are in school. Best of both worlds I say.

On a positive note - all three kids bonded very quickly last night. The Boy is relishing the fact that he is being 'looked up to' and is taking the responsibility very seriously!

Today I have to finish laundry, and then go through all the kid's stuff - clothes, toys, etc. It's all sitting in our garage in boxes. We're going to make decisions on what to keep and what to toss or donate.

And that's all I've got for today. Just our little family - figuring each other out!

Saturday, December 18, 2010



Tomorrow our lives change forever. For good.
Tomorrow we add two children to our home.
Tomorrow we double our little family.
Tomorrow I become a mother of three.
Tomorrow my husband becomes a daddy.
Tomorrow we no longer have any spare bedrooms.
Tomorrow we fill our home with noise.
Tomorrow we double our laundry.
Tomorrow my oldest son becomes a big brother again.

Tomorrow I will stop and thank God, again, for His guiding hand and blessings in our lives.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Update: December 13

So we had the kids all weekend! We had some challenges, as children are apt to do - they were testing our boundaries and what they could get away with. Especially miss J. She would very much like it if she could be in control all of the time. Given her history, she's had a bit of fast growing up to do. The good news is that she relaxed after a bit and let us be the parents and just enjoyed herself.

Friday after we picked them up and got home, (HOLY TRAFFIC!), we gave them the tour of the house and showed them their rooms. They absolutely LOVED them! Then we took them to the tree lighting in our downtown. They had a good time, and we were able to introduce them to a couple of our BEST friends.

Saturday was pouring rain. Buckets and buckets of rain. So much rain. More rain than should be necessary. Unfortunately, we had some errands to run. So we ran them. And daddy took them shopping for birthday presents for me, since we were going to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. I made some roasted chicken, roasted red potatoes, steamed broccoli and dinner rolls. They had all gone and gotten me an ice cream cake, so we opened presents, and had cake!

Sunday we woke up and it was a clear and windy day. We went to church, where the kids had a good time in their classes. Then we made the trek back to their foster parent's home. We dropped them off, picked up a bunch of their stuff, and headed to Eugene to make a quick stop at King Estate Winery - my favorite pinot gris! We did a little tasting, and bought some vino to add to our rack.

Chris and I decided to have dinner out, where we reviewed the entire weekend and what we had observed and how we needed to work together as a team.

The foster mom called me later and I asked her a few questions, she and I had a few laughs, compared notes, and hung up. I fell asleep. Hard.

Today we had our DHS Home Certification visit. We need a caregiver number to have the kids in the home.

This weekend will be the highlight of my year! The Boy flies in on Saturday, and the kids come home for good on Sunday!

Lots to do to finish prepping for the new arrivals!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Price of the Kid's Rooms (Alternate Title: How we avoided eating ramen for a month!)

I've had a few people ask about what we eventually wound up spending on our kid's rooms, so I thought I would do a quick blog about it! You remember, I was lamenting the fact that just to outfit the rooms with furniture, we were looking at $2,000. And that was just for furniture.

So let's get started!

See this little pile of lumber?

That built two beds. Total cost, with hardware? $150.00.

With conditioner, stain, sandpaper and dry cloths? $80.00.

We turned it into two of these beauties:

Are you still with me?

I ordered both J and W's bedding from Total cost for two sets? $122.00. Shipped. Her bedding was complete - with sheets and pillowcase.

His was only comforter and sham. So I had to buy him some sheets. At Target. On Black Friday. $15.00. Pillows? $7.00. Fuzzy red blanket? $15.00.

Alarm clock on his desk? $7.00. We already had the light, the desk and the chair. Score!

Rug on the floor? $29.00. IKEA! Mattress on the bed? $149 - IKEA!

Dresser? $59.00 - IKEA. Shelves? $39.00 - IKEA.

Total for W's bedroom, including linens? $496.00. LESS THAN $500!!

OK - now J's room. Same deal - lumber, stain, bedding, alarm clock, fuzzy blanket.

Her rug was $49.00 (IKEA) and we also had to buy her desk ($17 - IKEA) and her lamp ($39 - Toys R Us). We already had her dresser. Her shelves were $40.

Total for J? $492.00! Again - less than $500!

So for less than $1,000, we completely outfitted TWO bedrooms. Two mighty stylish bedrooms I might add.

And they are done. Assembled, decorated, cleaned and ready for two kids to come have the best memories possible.

I can barely wait until Friday!

Hustle Bustle...and a Merry Merry Christmas!

**Before you get started, you may want to grab a tissue. This warning sponsored by my girl Cheri.**

Wow was our weekend wonderful! (I just love alliteration, don't you?)

When we last left the Herren familia, we had just received a voice mail from our kids. We called them back, left a message, and then waited. And waited. And. Waited. I actually had to attend a work function for about two hours and could barely stand it. I was regularly texting my husband at home 'Did they call back yet?'

I got home around 7. Chris had gone out and put more lights up outside (this is our first FULL Christmas at the house. We moved in last year around November 20th and just did NOT have time to make it like we like it), and he wanted to take pictures, because we knew we were going to go see the kids on Sunday.

Then the phone rang. I yelled for Chris, but he didn't hear me. I knew he wouldn't be out there for any length of time, so I answered it. It was our daughter, J! Oh she was SO excited to talk to me, and talk about our family book! And ask SO MANY questions! Chris came back in about 20 seconds into the conversation, so he didn't miss much at all.

Needless to say, we talked to them for about an hour. It was an AMAZING conversation. They were so excited to meet us, and so overjoyed that we had been chosen as their family! We let them know that we would see them on Sunday, talked to their foster mom for a bit, and then hung up.

Saturday night, some of our VERY BEST friends threw us an adoption shower. To say that we were blessed is an understatement. They threw this thing together in a matter of a week, and as tight as things are for everyone, the kids got some really amazing things. We are SO THANKFUL for the blessings we received that night.

Sunday finally came and Chris and I were awake at 4:00 in the morning. The kids are about three hours away, and we wanted to make sure we were there in plenty of time to meet them, and hang out for a bit before we went to church.

We pulled into their little town about 8, and found the road (complete with a bridge) that we had to turn on. As we made our way up the mountain, we watched the GPS for the turn. But we really didn't have to do that, because they had made a sign at the turn that said "Mom and Dad! Turn here! Keep right!!"

Lost. It.

Over another bridge, and down a long driveway, and we had finally arrived!!! Our kids met us at the door and there was instant bonding. J asked me to French braid her hair for church. She LOVED her Christmas dress, as well as the necklace we bought her for the 'iecbreaker' gift.

W liked his cool argyle sweater vest (and put it on, because daddy had his argyle sweater on!). He also thought that the watch we brought him as his 'icebreaker' gift was awesome!

We attended their church with them, where we were introduced by both of them to all of their friends as 'mom and dad'. It was an emotional moment, as this community had rallied around these kids and prayed that they would be sent Christian parents. We were formally introduced during services (this church has about 50 members - it's a small town!), and the elders prayed over us, blessing us and the kids and our new family.

After church, we took the kids to 'town' to go see a movie. We took them to see Megaminds in 3D and we had a blast! Wanna see how cute they are?

(Disclosure: I'm able to post this picture, because their faces aren't easily identifiable)

We brought them back to their foster home, where we sat down and discussed transition. Since the kids bonded SO well to us right away (and why wouldn't they, we're awesome!), the foster parents told us that we could come get them on the 19th. J&W have a Christmas play that they are in that day, and we will go down, go to church, attend the play, and bring them home. For good.

Amazingly enough, my oldest son flies in for Christmas on the 18th. What perfect timing God has for us!!

So you may be asking - what about this weekend? Well... their foster mom drives a bus, and she will be bringing up the high school basketball team for a tournament this weekend, to a town about 1/2 hour from us. She's bringing the kids with her, and we will go pick them up, and keep them for the weekend!! Can you believe it? Again, God's amazing timing for us!

I'm so very excited about having them this weekend. And they are as well. I'm even more excited about the 19th. My house will be very full and very merry this Christmas!

Full circle. And God's AMAZING timing. And His Plan. All along.

He is so good.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Voice Mail that Changed it All

Chris and I came home from work today, knowing that the kid's social worker was going to be telling them about us today, and presenting them with our family book.

I looked at our home phone and there it was, a message.

I played it. On speaker. It was J's voice - telling us that she thought the book was 'awesome' and that she can't wait to see us on Sunday. Her last sentence? "OK mom and you!"

We cried like babies. She sounded so happy and excited. And she has no idea how happy and excited we are as well.

Sunday can NOT come soon enough.

Christmas came early in the Herren house this year. Thank you Jesus.