Large Family Happenings

To My Fella

An Ode To My Fella…My Big Daddy…

To My Fella

I love you endlessly and completely.

You sit with me when I poop and discreetly hold your nose when it smells.

At any point I need to, you let me sit on your leg and you hug me.

When I am anxious, you let me bite your shoulder.

Indulged me in waxing/braiding your goatee and mustache.

You only screamed a little bit when I accidentally shaved off a skin tag while I was shaving your back hair.

In all honesty, you tell me when my pants are too tight or my shirt is too small.

You let me sleep sideways and snuggled in your armpit at night.

When I am down, you make me cookies.

Even if I don’t ask and I already have a case, you buy me a 20 oz.

More times than not, you keep gas in my van.

You are a master vomit cleaner-upper and you never laugh when I cower in a corner.

Baby whisperer…people need not ask why we have 5000 kids.  Seeing you hold and love a baby makes me want 5000 more kids with you.

Your eyes melt me.

Then there is that butt…*swoon*…

I love the fact you let me mask your face.

That you will go out of your way until we find FoamHenge or some other oddity I want to see.

I love that you love maps and hats.  They are your jam.

How you hate tattoos but have never fussed at me for getting them.

I love your giant hands and the fact I can stand behind you and no one sees me.

You make me feel safe.

Thankfully, you have indulged in my purse habit.

Your giggle.

The fierce love you have for me and our children.

A lifetime is too short for our love.

Our love is one for the books.

You are my favorite person…ever.

Happy birthday, Big Daddy.  You own me and my heart, completely.  Forever and always.

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7 Ways to Know You Need a Self-Care Day

7 Ways to Know You Need a Self-Care Day

Here are 7 Ways to Know You Need a Self-Care Day.  Please feel free to add to it in the comments!

7 Ways to Know You Need a Self-Care Day

  • Planned ignoring of your family and friends happens every 5 minutes
  • When you realize you have not brushed your hair in 3 days
  • Meltdowns are happening (on your part and not your children’s part) daily
  • You find yourself hiding in the bathroom more often than not
  • The sound of your children inhaling the oxygen you are breathing bugs you
  • Going to get the mail is a vacation
  • The sound of a particular child’s voice makes you want to run down the road naked screaming at the top of your lungs

Last Night

Big Daddy got home early, yesterday.  He had to go and do weapons training, therefore, it was a short day for him.  On his way home, he called to see if I wanted lunch.  I have not been particularly hungry, lately, but I told him to pick me up a salad.

Once home, he found me where I always am…at the dining room table.  The table is filled with schedules.  There are Bible reading schedules, menu schedules, yearly school schedules, and daily school schedules.  I also had an array of Dr. Seuss books and Sandra Boynton books stacked up.

My Days

Since school started, the dining room table is where you can find me at any given moment of the day.  There are occasions when I hide in the bathroom.  I may have been found lying in the fetal position, in the closet, and sometimes I am in the kitchen starting supper.

My days are exhausting, though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the state of my house.  See, I have 5 kids at home (one is married and one is in college or working).  Two of my kids have some learning issues going on, one rushes through everything and has to redo everything.  One particular child has a word and question quota that MUST be reached every day or she will self-implode.

Then There is Hunter

Hunter consumes 99% of my day.  Physically, he struggles, so his every move has to be monitored.  I was trying to get his medications rolling, he started shaking so badly that he shook backward and landed on my apple head Chihuahua.  I thought he killed her.  It was bad.

He wants to “do school” so badly, but there are so many times he cannot physically sit still or hold a pencil.  So, he wants to play with play-doh, play with sand, read books, play with legos, etc.

While I am grading papers, answering questions, doing my work, fielding phone calls, planning/starting supper, he is glued to my hip.  He wants to do all the things, all the time and he cannot do them by himself.

He Knows Me

Thankfully, Big Daddy knows me.  He knows when I’ve had my belly full.  After our lunch, I asked if he cared if I went to town…alone…and he said:  “GO.”  He did not have to tell me twice.

Off I went.  I didn’t brush my hair, change my clothes, or put on makeup.  I just went.  Mom and daddy were on my to-do list.  I had an overwhelming desire to just go and sit with them.  I cried and prayed all the way to Paducah.

We Had the Greatest Visit

I got to see K and J (Hunter’s biological brother and sister).  I also saw my sister.  Shopping is not my favorite thing to do in the history of ever, but that did not stop me.  Kohl’s, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Old Navy were some of the stores I visited.

At Michael’s, I found some artwork. In Old Navy, I found a dress.  They were both on sale.  Then, I did something crazy!  Dillard’s!  Never have I shopped in that store, but today, I stepped out of my comfort zone.

Makeup Counter

I meandered to the makeup counter and I asked the 12 yr old girl and the 40 yr old woman to help a girl out.  There was a brief moment of stating that I want to look natural.  My makeup needs to be simple, and I do not want to look like a prostitute.

We had so much fun and yes, I did buy some makeup.  She informed me that I didn’t need to keep makeup for more than a year (mine was going on 3 or more cause I just don’t wear it often).

Coming Home

When I got home, from my self-care, afternoon, it got even better.  Big Daddy had almost finished painting the living room, papers were graded by him (and Alyssa the next day), and he cooked supper.

He hugged me, told me he loved me, that I looked beautiful and supper would be ready in a bit.  That was just the respite I needed to snap out of this funk that has been swirling around in me.

The moral of the story:  Find a fella like Big Daddy.

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Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption and his thoughts.  After having three biological children, we decided to enter the realm of adoption.  We believed that our quiver wasn’t full so the decision was easy.  What we didn’t realize is that adoption is HARD.  It doesn’t really matter what kind of adoption it is, whether it’s through foster care, international adoption or one of your own relatives, adoption is not for the faint of heart.
Adoption is Rewarding
However, adoption is very rewarding.  To know that you have taken a life into your home, that otherwise was not wanted or was being mistreated, abused, neglected, is an amazing miracle.  God intended for children to be raised by their parents, but circumstances sometimes do not allow that to happen.  That’s why we took the plunge.  To care for the orphans.
Our Wild Ride to Adoption
As for our journey, it has been a wild ride, to say the least.  We have had a lot of good days and plenty of bad ones.  But so far, we have stayed the course.  We have tried to instill Godly values in all of our children while teaching them honesty, integrity, responsibility, and character.  Sometimes we think that we are not making much progress, but truly we believe if we are consistent with the kids, they will turn out fine.  Each child is different. We have had to learn how to parent each child with their different behaviors and personalities.
I guess at first I was resistant to adoption, but after I met the little girl my sister-in-law and her husband adopted from the Philipines, my heart melted.  I saw the love shown and given to her and believed I could do the same.  So we decided to do it.
Our First Experience
Our first experience with fostering to adopt started out pretty good other than the fact that these children were brought to us and we knew nothing about them.  It was hard especially with Shay because she was non-verbal at 2 years old.  She never did warm up to me very much.  Tay, on the other hand, was very happy and always smiling.  Also, they were very sick…we just could not get them well.
Then the day that nearly broke us into the world of fostering/adoption happened.  The kids were suddenly taken away from us by the Cabinet.  We had no idea….one minute we are raising these kids, and the next minute they are gone.  We were told the reason but truly believed the social worker lied about us in a court hearing that we were not present at.  I was furious, and it literally crushed my wife.  To this day, she still has the scars of them being taken from us.  We just had to believe that the Lord had different plans for those sweet children and us.
Never Again?
At that time we told ourselves we would not go through a horrible experience like we just had but decided to give it another go around.  We started fostering Daniel and Grayce in the spring of 2007.  At first, it was really good but we learned quickly how damaged a lot of these children can be who have been in the child services system.  To find out the kids you just took into your home were previously abused is a tough pill to swallow.
Having to raise children in the midst of an investigation of abuse and ensuing court proceedings is not the way it should be.  But the kids were safe, and we did our best to cope with the behaviors stemming from their past.  We finally were able to adopt them about two and a half years later.  Since then, we’ve pretty much run the gamut on ups and downs with them.  Some days are good and some days are bad but in the end, they are loved, and hopefully, they will be able to overcome the terrible start they had in life.
International Adoption
Our next adoption was a foray into international adoption.  My wife had always dreamed of adopting from the county of Ethiopia and after I met my new nephew from Ethiopia, my sister-in-law’s second adopted child, I was ready to go to Africa.  The process was a lot of paperwork and a lot of money.  (Not sure why it costs so much to adopt a child who has no home or no one else wants).  Within a few months, we had a referral and got a picture of our son.  It was amazing how we could love someone so much whom we had never met.
The anticipation was unbearable.  But soon after that, we were able to travel to Africa and meet our son.  It was an experience like none other.  We got to meet our son and spend three or four days with him.  We went to court and were granted the adoption.  The hardest part was leaving him there.  But we were told that it should only be about 8 weeks before we could come back and bring him home.  Little did we know at the time that 8 weeks would turn into 14 months.
Huge Mistake Made by Home Study Agency
A huge mistake was made by our home study agency, and we were told by the US government that we did not make enough money to bring him home.  How ridiculous is that?  It’s a shame that money, or the lack thereof, keeps so many people from adopting children that need good homes.  When we found this out, we desperately tried everything we could to get clearance from USCIS but were flat out denied two months later.  My wife was crushed beyond all belief.  From December 2010 to about November 2011, she was just a shell of a person.
Yes, she lived and breathed, but that was about it.  She was vacant.  And there was nothing I could do about it.  For me, I believed that there was no way God would allow us to travel 7000 miles to meet a boy and tell him he would be our son, then him not ever come home.  Not necessarily for our sake but for his.  He was an innocent child growing up in an orphanage with 50 or 60 other children just like him.  But God made way for us to get our clearance to bring him home and in December 2011, we brought Jude to his forever home.  We were made whole.
Here We Go Again
After we brought Jude home, we thought our quiver was full.  But God had other plans for our family.  In November of 2015, we had an opportunity to take in our great-nephew, Hunter.  His mother, our niece, had been in trouble with the law and was not able to take care of him.  Hunter had been living with a man who believed he was the father.  He had troubles of his own an agreed for us to keep Hunter for a while.  We decided to file for emergency custody of Hunter mainly for his safety at the time.  The man who he was living with turned out not to be the biological father, and we were granted temporary custody of Hunter.
His Biological Mom
His mother got into even more trouble later and was facing a lot of time in prison.  She made a tough yet mature decision to terminate her rights and allow us to adopt Hunter.  I can’t imagine how hard that was for her.  I am very proud of her for sacrificing for her son.  Hunter invigorated our family with joy.  He has so much energy and is very sweet and funny.  However, back in June, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder called Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome.  He has been through a lot already, and it has been really tough on him and us.  But we take it one day at a time and trust in God for healing and comfort.
Adoption is Tough
So to those of you reading this and considering adopting…..do not have preconceived notions of lollipops and rainbows.  Adoption is tough and not for the faint of heart.  But the rewards are unending.  Giving a child a home and stability is a beautiful thing.  Children, whether they know it or not, crave structure, discipline, and a sense of worth.
That’s the beauty of adoption.