Permission Granted

When I had my first baby I wanted to be with him all the time.  This is normal.  Mom’s need to be with their children and at the same time I treasured those little trips to Target to get food.  Just small outings where my husband could have one on one time with our baby boy.  As Robby grew I was never away from him over night.  I adjusted my job so either he came with me, or I came home for the night and went back in the morning.

Then when Robby was three Dan arranged two days away for our anniversary to Chattanooga.  He had friends of ours watch Robby for those two days.  Those were the hardest two days of my life and the best two days.  Permission Granted.  I could be away from him and he was just fine.  He had a blast.  In fact, two weeks later he went to my sister’s house for a few days too.

New moms need to know it is ok to be away from their kids.  They have permission, actually they really don’t need permission.  Part of raising kids is teaching them to fly.  Part of that is done by gently pushing them out of the nest.  We home school, gently pushing them out of the nest comes in forms of summer camps, VBS, homeschooling classes and other clubs and sports throughout the year.  My husband and I have taken week-long trips together without the children.

Moms you have permission to be away from your kids.  It is ok.  Yes some will cry, and it will be hard.  I have a five-year old who cried, screamed, yelled, threw, you named it he probably did it when we dropped him off at our church CDC for morning preschool.  I finally had to take him out.  But a few more months at home and he has made it a week at VBS.  But I know not all kids are not easy.

I also look at foster moms, since I am one too.  In one year we can all of a sudden have a house full of kids.  Most families take years to have this many kids.  And if you are a stay at home foster mom, the state does not fund child care for you.  So here you are left with little ones and no help.  But you need help.  Permission is granted to ask.  In fact you don’t need permission.  Just because you are a stay at home mom, does not mean you should not be allowed help for daycare, or summer camp for your kids.  You need a break.  You have to take care of yourself first.  Ask, ask, ask.

Moms, it is ok to be away from your kids.  To send them to VBS for the week or summer camp.  Even if they are in school all year, it is still ok.  Each mom is different and do what you know you can handle.  Permission is granted for you to be an awesome mom, and amazing mom.  Call another mom and go out for coffee.  Get a baby sitter and go on a date with your husband.  Have your husband take the kids to the movies and you stay home.  Your deserve it.

Permission Granted.

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Makings of Strong Families-Family Traditions and Celebrations

8.  Has a strong sense of family in which tradition and celebration abound.

When Dan and I had our first thanksgiving dinner, we brought two family traditions together.    His was onion rolls and mine was dried sweet corn.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas after that we have always have those two items, among all the other wonderful yummy foods we have!  When Jeremy moved in with us, we asked him what one food item made thanksgiving for him.  It was deviled eggs.  So now, we have three foods, for sure we make.

It is the little things that we do every year that make traditions.

  • Leaving cookies and notes for Santa.
  • Dying Easter Eggs.
  • Fireworks on the 4th of July
  • Picking Pumpkins at a Pumpkin farm
  • Hunting for easter eggs
  • opening one present christmas eve
  • breakfast in bed on mother’s day

When I asked my 5-year-old what traditions we have.  He responded “Jesus.”  Oh gosh my heart melted!  We have family celebration of Jesus every day, and bigger on Sunday.  Every holiday we celebrate Jesus is woven into it.

We have special things we do for birthday’s.  Daddy has started taking them out for birthday breakfast.  We let them pick out where or what they want to eat for dinner.  It is their special day.  We also celebrate

  • birthday
  • baptismal
  • confirmations
  • anniversaries
  • adoption days
  • graduations
  • weddings

Family celebrations isn’t about money, but about time with one and other.

Some families have weekly game nights or movie nights.  Some have pizza night.

As we get foster kids in and out, we try to see what important traditions or celebrations they may remember and if possible, use them.  Just like the deviled eggs.

What kind of traditions do you have in your family?

Need  helping getting started check out Simple Mom and 10 Ideas to Get you Started.

Hey wondering about dried sweet corn?



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Makings of Strong Families-Teaches right from wrong

5.  Teaches right from wrong

Notice the word teaches.  I talk to many parents who expect their children to know this.  But like anything else there is a training period that lasts about 18 plus years.

You are the biggest example in teaching right from wrong.

Let’s face it even God knew this was going to a tough thing for us to know right from wrong.  This is why He gave us the 10 commandments. While he expects us to keep these commandments perfectly,  He knows we can’t so He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for us.  This is the foundation for teaching my kids right from wrong.

A while ago I wrote a post on lying.  Why do they lie?  Why do our kids do the things they do?  We have many issues with Isaiah.  As I started this post, I had pause to do a time out with him for stealing his brother’s blue tooth.  And his chocolate Easter Bunny front he freezer.  And for food under his bed.  (it is bed room cleaning day!)   Isaiah is five, he entered our family at 3 months.  So he has been raised by us, same morals and values.  Same rules.  I keep teaching him right from wrong.

One of our foster boys I made up a little reminder sheet for him.  He had sticky pockets.  AKA as always taking things with him that were not his.  He did this a lot from his class room.  He would take things from other kids backpacks.  He could walk by something and just take it.

The reminder sheet simple said:

Is it yours?  Yes, then you may have it.  No, leave it be.

I think one of the best ways to teach kids right from wrong is to discuss it daily.  Talk about why what they did was wrong, not that it was just wrong.  Keep the communication open.  Discuss the 10 commandment.  Martin Luther’s Catechism is great to review the 10 commandments and their meanings.  There are many great ways to memorize the 10 commandments.

 teaching kids right from wrongHaving Family Rules also help.  This gives them guide lines to so they know what is right and what is wrong.   We have rules, but they have become unwritten down again.  Again a May project we are working on to update them.    I think rules should not be should nots.

You should not hit.  Instead say,

In this family/house we respect each other.  Which means we do not hit, kick, bite, smack, pull hair, spit, punch or hurt any one.  Including the pets.

This way is also better for new foster kids coming in. Using “In this family” get past the “well in my family we do it this way.”  I simple respond with, in this family we do it this was.  This also works well with friends who are over visiting.  Some with use the Lords name in vain.  We simple say, “In this family we respect God’s name.  Please don’t use God’s name in vain.”

Pinterest really has some great and cleaver ideas for making family rules.  I thinks families have embraced family rules beyond the “should nots”

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Makings of a Strong Family-Shares Responsibilities among its members

6.  Shares Responsibilities among its members

Oh I could go in so many different directions here.

When everyone works together things get done.  Faster.   Better.  Easier.

Is it a women’s job?  Is it a man’s job?

Let’s just agree some things men do better.  And other things women do better.

Find the better and do them.

If the hubby cooks well, then enjoy it!  If the wife likes fixing things up, wahoo!

It is about stepping up and taking initiative to know when you need to step up.

My husband is good at this most days.  He will do dishes often.  And he puts the lefts overs away.

But guys, if your wife is having a tough day, and not feeling good-step up.  If baby is sticky, don’t walk away like you didn’t smell that.  Trash over flowing…you get the idea!

And gals, our guys work hard.  Do extra stuff for them when you can.

All over our house we are lacking this right now- initiative and shared responsibilities.  Unless mommy is giving out who is cleaning what.  It is not getting cleaned right now.  There are something that are getting done.  But I know this is where I have fallen in terms of good chores and shared responsibilities.  We have had list before, but then kids come out and in.

And when I do ask them to clean some times I get screaming and whining.  And sometimes they do it with a cheerful heart.  And sometimes they do it without being asked.

We are going to work on this.  I have already a few ides in place for the beginning of summer.  This will be easier cause AnnieQ will be done with school and it will flow better.

My Kid Organization board on Pinterest has lots of ideas for chores.  Check it out!

This is part of my Making Strong Families Series.

How do you share responsibilities?


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Makings of a Strong Families: has a Sense of Play and Humor

5.  Has a Sense of Play and Humor

All can be perfectly quiet, calm and before they know it, momma is doing something silly!  You got to!  Kids love that stuff, when moms and dads can be silly!  Watch the smiles on their faces when parents get down and play with them.

When Robby was little he had lots of toys.  But the thing he loved best was when Dan got on the floor with him and played horse.  He loved that.  The smile beamed from his face!  Sadly many parents don’t take the time to get down and play with their kids.  We often are tired or busy.  But kids they want us to play with them.  They would rather us take a ball and throw it with them than sit and watch TV or computer.  Kids would rather sit around the table playing a board game or cards on an evening then all this other stuff we have them in.

Families have to play.  Together.

 I don’t always do a good job on the together part.  You often hear-go play-so I can get things done!

I remember one time we were outside working on some yard work.  Before I knew it we had a football game going on.  The kids ate that up!  More so cause daddy was the one running the football!  Kids love parents when they play!

Marriages do better when you can be silly every once and a while.  Or more.  Most marriages balance each other one, one a little bit more serious the other a little bit more silly.  Dan and I balance each other out!  I have the daily fun down better, he has the big fun down better.

Really as I type this Isaiah walks out with a huge bead necklace, going “look at me” and “shaking his booty!”  Where’s my camera?  Humor and Play!

Jeremy and I can go from having the most serious conversation about life, to have the funnest conventions about life.  Robby thinks we are funny.  Sometimes we are.  But in our house, you just got to find humor to make it through!

When was the last time you all had a belly aching almost peed in your pants laugh?  I remember years ago, I was at my granny and pop-pop’s house.  We were playing cards like we always did there.  My great Aunt Dinny was also there.  I don’t remember what happened, but she said or did something that we all laughed so hard.  We normally didn’t laugh like that together.  But that moment, I will always remember!  We always played together, but the humor was the bellying laughing kind.

I am going to write a book.  I have been saying this for 10 years now. It is going to be called “When All Else Fails There is Always Duct Tape.  Humorous Parenting Advice”

Have fun.  Play games.  Laugh.  Blow bubbles.  Tell knock knock jokes.

How is your family playing and finding humor in life.

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The beginning…

Hello. My name is Jennifer. My husband and I adopted a little boy this year, Bryan, and he is 6 years old. I thought I would share with you our journey and “labor pains.” I want to be sure and start from the beginning so you know WHY and HOW we decided to take this path. Buckle up and ENJOY THE RIDE BECAUSE I KNOW WE HAVE..

When I was younger, I remember saying that I wanted to adopt children. I didn’t know anything about adoption or know anyone who was adopted so I am not sure how I got this idea but I did. After Jeremiah and I got married, I was diagnosed with PCOS. They told us it would be difficult to get pregnant but we continued to try. Countless baby showers later, I had had enough. I wanted my chance to be a mother.

At a friends house one night, somebody mentioned they were going to adopt through the Foster Care System. That Monday we were signed up to take MAPP classes and get licensed for Adoption. We started our classes in October 2011 and had an approved Homestudy on December 20, 2011. This is going to sound a little harsh, but at this time we were allowed to start looking for children on a website. It’s very different than adopting a child that has been placed with you THROUGH Foster placement. We actually had to search through children on different websites. We submitted our homestudy EVERYDAY to so many different agencies and rarely received a reply. COUNTLESS children without homes and we were willing to give them one… but nobody called.

In March we decided to contact some agencies who have what they call Meet and Greets. Basically, you go to an event that is set up as a fun day for children in Foster Care or Group Homes who are waiting on a Forever home. We went to 3 events in April. I will skip to the punch here and let you know that we met our son on April 23, 2011. There he was playing a game all by himself. Normally I don’t have a problem talking to children but when I saw him, I was at a loss for words and was so scared to go up to him. I took a deep breath and just walked right up to play with him. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!

Bryan, my husband Jeremiah and I played all day. We played on the swings, we sang songs, had lunch, jumped on the trampoline, read books and told stories, played tick tac toe, had an Easter Egg hunt and shared cookies. There we met the Gaurdian Ad Litem, case worker and case manager. They were all so nice and loving. They shared with us that Bryan was just TPR’ed on April 22 so he hadn’t hit any websites yet and was legally available for adoption. They also stressed that they didn’t have any families in mind and would gladly start the process on Monday morning with us. The GAL said that she loved us for Bryan and wouldn’t not stop until she got what she wanted and that was all 3 of us together. Later that day, we say SEE YOU LATER to Bryan. (Of course I cried bc honestly you never know what will happen at these events or if you will see the children again.) I gave our information to everyone involved and took down theirs.. EXCEPT FOR THE GAL. Once we got in the car tohead back to town, I started emailing our homestudy to everyone involved. I asked them to send it to the GAL. This is when my labor pains begin…..

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Free/$1 Movies this Summer

Who likes to  goto the movies?  We love the moves doing the summer time!  Especially the free ones and the $1 ones!

A few places have release their movie list (I will update as I get more info!)

  • Monaco has released their free movie schedule:  Every Monday & Wednesday | June – August at 10:00AM
  • Regal Movies will start their Summer express in June also, but will be charging a $1.
  • Carmike $1 movies has $1 or $1.50 movies all year long.  We have a popcorn bucket for them!  We bought it for about $17 back in Jan and can fill it for about $3 every time we go!

Graphics by JW 

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Developing a Sense of Trust Makes Strong Families.

4. Develops a sense of trust

When babies are born, the first thing that they learn is trust. Trust that when they cry their needs will be met. Crying is their only form of communication. When our babies cry, we pick them up, love them, feed them, and care for them. This teaches them that every thing is ok.

This little guy above is my nephew Jon Jon. My daddy took the picture!

When you get married you form a bond of trust. For better or worse. I promise to be there.It is wise for you to create hedges or fences to make sure that trust stays true in your marriage. Listening to each other and keeping communication strong helps keep trust strong. Respecting each other creates a sense of trust.

Divorce is not in our vocabulary. We never have to worry about if we have a bad day with each other that it may end it all. We trust each other that we can make it through those tough times. We trust that God has given us the strength. But it takes work. All the time.

That trust we have in each other is something we have to teach Jeremy. He makes comments that Dan is cheating on me or me and the pool guy. Coming from a normal back ground kid, I would be mad. But we know his back ground. We know that we have to teach him, that Dan and I are strong and together. I do not go to the store to “cheat”. I goto the store to go to the store. But if you understood the history of where he grew up, this is what people did. They didn’t commit to each other for ever. They came and went. They cheated. They were not there when you needed them. Sometimes the only person you could trust was yourself.

Robby grew up with a strong sense of trust. He was hungry, I fed him. He was wet, I changed him. Yes there were times he cried and I didn’t know why. Sometimes babies cry. But we gave Robby that sense of trust.

Isaiah came to us stiff as a board. We popped him into the sling and carried him. He cried all the time. He was sick. He spit up all the time. We only fed him 3-4 ozs at a time. But in time he wasn’t stiff any more. We invested a lot to help him learn to trust. To teach him how to attach.

We did not know he was going to be ours forever. Just that he needed this. To trust.

This trust is a two way street though.

While teaching children to trust, parents trusting children is important to. Mr. Isaiah has been at it again with food. This time hiding food in the dinning room under a dresser. This brought in an ant parade. Right now I do not trust him in the kitchen. He is not allow in the kitchen. He had to get really strict with him about the kitchen and food thing.

When Jeremy move in with us I didn’t trust him. I loved him and wanted him. I just didn’t trust him. He was coming from a back ground where he had done many things and I didn’t know yet how much I could trust him. As time went on, I slowly trusted him more and more. But then when things would happen, certain trust would fly out the door and slowly had to be regained again.

Trust in the Lord you God with all your heart, mind and soul.

Trust is a funny thing. Here one day gone the next.

Why don’t you take your kids on a Trust Walk? or better yet, let them lead you!

Check out my Pinterest Board on Strong Families for more ideas on trust

How do you develop a sense a trust in your family?

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Kid’s Summer Scavenger Hunt

Summer is a fun time to relax, explore, create and have fun!  For some more summer fun, I decided to do a scavenger hunt for them.  I made it large enough to take the whole summer to find.  Then by the end of summer they can make a scrapbook of all the fun things they found!  My goal is to make them work together and always be on the look out for these items.

You can use our list or make up your own.  Share with us later how the hunt went!

Summer scavenger Hunt


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I could never do that!

One of the things I am loving about blogs, is how you are invited into so many families.  It is like a front door invite to come along for the ride!  I visit many families along the way, but this one really intrigued  me!  This family is all about adventure and taking the kids along for the ride!  I have enjoyed reading their site.  

I remember reading this a few days ago and thinking how cool for them, but I could never do that!  And then I read a post on Rocket City Mom about why they homeschool.  It was the same for me when I tell people that we homeschool or we are foster parents, or even that we adopt, they typically would say “I could never do that!”

It is amazing what we can do in life!  If you put your mind to it, you can do anything!  Could I take my 4 kids and husband on a bike tour of the US or Europe?  Maybe (would have to get into super better shape than I am in now) but why not!  Next summer we are adventuring to Europe for a few weeks with our two older boys.   Imagine what we could do if we put our minds to it!

Go read about this family!  It is a great adventure to follow!

Reykjavik Children and Culture Festival | The Family Adventure Project.

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