Tuesday, July 29, 2014

First Big Purchase : Foster Care

Right now Jonathan is out making one of the bigger purchases in our attempt to be ready for foster care. We start our 10 weeks of MAPP classes in just a few weeks and need to have everything ready to start accepting kids before our last home visit. That includes getting a new twin bed, crib, car seats, etc.clothes. We've decided to move our oldest son up to the finished attic and use his old bedroom for our foster kids. Tonight Jonathan is picking up a twin bed so we can start putting it all together.

I have mixed emotions about...everything right now. On top of the list is stress. I'm stressed out about getting everything ready and the cost. What if we spend all the money only to end up not actually getting foster kids. I don't see why that would ever happen but that doesn't keep me from stressing about it.

The paperwork that we're supposed to fill out and bring with us to our first MAPP meeting is still sitting untouched by my bed. I can't quite figure out how to describe my personality in one sentence or how to write an autobiography. Someone recently told me that I have a "sparkly" personality. I wonder how that would look to the social workers? ;)

I read, and have been reading lots of blogs and anything I can about being a foster parent. Sometimes reading those blogs makes me feel excited and I feel even more sure about our decision. Other times what I read scares me a little and I start to worry. I worry that the kids we get will be too much for us to handle. I worry that I'll fall in love and end up with a broken heart.

But then I saw this...

and I remember that it's not about us. It's about the kids we can help even if it's for a short time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Practically Perfect In Every Way: Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival Review

The 2014 Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival has begun and last week we were able to catch a performance of Mary Poppins at The MGR Playhouse. This was our first visit to the MGR and even though it's about an hour drive from Rochester, I would make the trip again in a heartbeat!

Auburn is a neat town with a lot of history including the home of Harriet Tubman and the Auburn Correctional Facility. If you go to see any of the productions during the festival, I recommend hitting up Connie's Tex Mex  (we had a great view of the prison) for some of their amazing tacos at a really reasonable price!

After dinner we went straight to the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse Theater. It's located right near Owasco Lake in Emerson park which look like a great place for a picnic! Next time I'd like to plan on having enough time to explore a little more.  The area is beautiful and because the theater is the perfect size, there's not a bad seat in the house!

The show itself was even better than I expected! Such a positive and happy feel. From the music to the choreography it was was practically perfect in every way! The show is better than the movie by far! Different, but all my favorite scenes from the movie were still there including some outstanding choreography to "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". I kept catching myself smiling while I got caught up in the magic of Mary Poppins and I'm planning another trip so my kids can enjoy it too.

SuperCal *Photo credit to Isaac James

Bert was pretty easy on the eyes! *Photo credit to Isaac James

I would highly recommend a trip to the Finger Lakes Musical Theater to enjoy this show or any of the other 7 productions that will be playing this season.   

*I was provided tickets to see Mary Poppins, but all of the opinions are my own :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival

I remember when I first fell in love with musical theater. When I was in 6th grade we took a field trip to Toronto to see Phantom of the Opera. I still remember getting a little teary eyed when Christine hit that note in "The Phantom Of The Opera". I had never seen talent like that before! Since then, I've seen the Phantom at least 5 times and I still get caught up in the moment and seeing the music come alive! 

Musical theater is something I enjoy sharing with my family too! We've been to see shows like The Lion King, Phantom Of The Opera, Annie, and most recently I took Evelyn to see Beauty And The Beast.

My love for musical theater is why I was so excited to learn about the start of the third season of the Finger Lakes Musical Festival! The festival showcases "Broadway in the fingerlakes" at 3 different venues in Auburn, NY. The season lasts from May 29th to Oct. 18th and features 200+ performances of seven productions.

Productions include:  “Mary Poppins,” “Damn Yankees,” “On the Town,” “The Will Rogers Follies,” and “The Church Basement Ladies: The Last (Potluck) Supper” at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and “Menopause The Musical” at MGR Downtown at Auburn Public Theater

We'll be making the trip to Auburn this week to see a performance of Mary Poppins at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse! Auburn is only about an hour drive away and there's so much to do I'm hoping to stay the night and do some exploring the next day.

For more information on the shows, as well as the new work series, “The PiTCH,” please visit http://fingerlakesmtf.com

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Can I be This Old

I can't believe I'm the mother of a teenager!! How can my little boy be this old!? How can I be this old!?

When we first started throwing around ideas of how we should celebrate Ethan's 13th, we thought about having a huge party and inviting everyone we know. Then as the day started getting closer and I started thinking about all the work and $$ that would actually go into it, I had a great idea! I told him we could still have the big party OR we could just have a small family party and I'd give him $100. Maybe I should feel a little bad about bribing my kid with money but I think we both won in the end. I was saved from a ton of party planning and money and he is a lot closer to buying that xbox he's been wanting :)

Actually, he ended up with over $300 dollars!!!! What is a 13 year old going do do with all that money!? I told him he should give some of it to me for giving birth to him. For some reason he doesn't like that idea.

In the days weeks leading up to his birthday I was feeling a little sad thinking about how fast time has gone by and that my first baby was going to be a teen. Then yesterday morning I had just woken up and was laying in my bed when Ethan came in to cuddle with me for a minute. After I wished him a happy birthday he said that so far I was the second one to say it. He told me that before he got up he was laying in bed reading his Bible and got a text from his nanna.

My son spent the first few waking minutes of his 13th birthday reading the Bible...

At that moment all sadness was gone. I did cry a couple of times that day but they were tears of thankfulness. I take no credit for any of the good in my life. God has taken my feeble attempt at being a good mother and is turning it into something beautiful!

So we officially have a teen living in the house. And I think it's going to be amazing :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

We're Expecting!

Well, sort of...

We're going to be foster parents!

In about 6 months from now (unless something crazy happens) we'll be licensed to foster parent up to 2 kids from the ages 0-5! Foster parenting is our main focus but we'll also be licensed to adopt if the option comes up.

This has been a something we've been thinking and praying about for over 3 years. We actually applied for the process 3 years ago but were told by a lady after the first interview that we didn't make enough money. I thought for sure that they must not like us for other reasons and that they were only using the money thing as an excuse...

Shortly after we applied, I met a neighbor who not only was a foster parent for years, but she and her husband adopted 6 kids out of the foster care system. Hearing her stories and falling in love with her kids only encouraged us that foster parenting was something we really wanted to do.

 So we kept praying, and researching, and waiting for a time when we were in a better place financially. So yesterday - after a 2 hour home visit - we were told by the same lady that she thinks our family would be a great fit! She actually remembered us and our kids from the first interview and seemed genuinely excited that we decided to try again :) 

Why Foster?

After we had Houston, we were pretty certain that we were done having children of our own but we still didn't feel like our family was quite finished. I started doing research on adoption and came across some blogs and websites on foster parenting. The tugging on my heart started right away. And as soon as I brought it up to Jonathan he was right on board with it! 

We feel like God has blessed us with an amazing family. We get along as a couple and our kids are well behaved, loving children...for the most part ;) We want to open up our home to children in our community that are in need of a home (even though it's just for a short time) where they can feel safe and loved. We want to be there to help these kids heal and recover from situations that no person, especially not a child, should ever have to go through.

What Our Kids Think About Foster Care

The kids are excited about the idea although I don't think they understand everything completely. Shoot! We  still don't understand it all completely! But when the lady asked them about it at our home visit they all told her they are happy about it. Evelyn told her repeatedly how she wants a little girl! Even if that meant she'd have to share her toys :) 

Obviously, our kids are our #1 priority. So if we start this and see that it's not working out with our kids then we would stop and maybe look back into it in a few years.

One of the main reasons why we're only taking kids who are younger than our own is to make sure that our kids are the influencers, the influenced!

Our Next Step

The next MAPP classes (10 weeks of mandatory training) are full but we couldn't go to those anyway because they're on our church night. So we'll be going to the class that starts in August. In the mean time, we already have a bunch of paperwork to fill out. Including an autobiography...

Foster children often come to homes with only the clothes on their backs. No car seats. No cribs. No diapers. Nothing. So we need to stock up on things in different sizes and other things like toothbrushes and bottles. 

We know it's going to be hard. I'm sure it's going to be harder then we can even imagine! But we both feel like being foster parents is a sort of a ministry or sacrifice that we feel lead to at least try.

Who knows...maybe it won't work out. Maybe we'll get half way through our classes or get that first child and decide that it's not right for our family after all. But at this time we feel like it's the right choice and we're just taking one prayerful step at a time.

Please keep us in your prayers :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014 Winter Olympic Craft Ideas

I love when the Olympics come around and the winter Olympics are my favorite! When it comes to homeschool, there are endless things to teach the kids about. The history of the games, the countries participating, the sports, and maybe I can even go over the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding drama!...No? Yeah. I guess It's probably a little too much for my 5 and 8 year olds ;)

So now I'm on the look out for some good crafts that we can do along with the lessons. Here's what we made during the 2012 summer Olympics.

Olympic Ring Cupcakes

Olympic Ring Cupcakes.
Olympic Medals

Look how little they all were!

-Use a round cookie cutter to shape your favorite cookies.

-Wrap the cookies in foil

-Trace your round cookie cutter onto the back of gold and silver card stock. 2 circles for each medal. *I bought my paper from Michaels

- Tape Olympic themed ribbon to one side of the wrapped cookie than tape 1 card stock circle over it. Tape the other circle to the other side of the cookie.

Although, I like to use any excuse to make cupcakes, I don't really want to do the same crafts for this Olympics. I'm thinking something winter themed...and edible ;)

Are you doing anything fun with your kids to celebrate the Olympics?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Disney On Ice Review: Passport To Adventure

It's really hard to find entertainment that's appropriate for our whole family to enjoy, so every time Disney On Ice comes to Rochester we make sure we see it.

Disney On Ice Presents Passport To Adventure is packed with highlights from some of our favorite Disney movies like: The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan. I loved watching the couples like Nala and Simba skate together. The tricks and lifts they were doing had me holding my breath at times!

My favorite part of the show was probably the Little Mermaid section. It was such a magical sight to see all the colors and characters skating around to Under The Sea. And my kids are still talking about the scene at the end with Ursula! The kids also LOVED the entire Peter Pan section! From a flying Peter, lovable Captain Hook, and a giant crocodile they agree it was their favorite part.

The Lilo and Stich section of the show was our least favorite. It did have a couple of cute dance scenes but the parts in the middle just didn't hold the same exciting feel as the rest of the show.

With tickets for children starting at just $15, Disney On Ice Presents Passport To Adventure is a great  idea for a family night out this weekend. Tickets are available at The Blue Cross Arena box office or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

*Tickets for me and my family as well as the pictures I used in this review were provided by Feld Entertainment.