ALSO** The noonday spring line is live today!!! Its beautiful. I'll share more about it soon. You can see it here if you want. www.brookeackley.noondaycollection.com****
Well, a lot has happened since November. Thats crazy.
I have about 15 minutes until the babe wakes up so I will write my little heart out until then. Who knows how many times I'll be interrupted in those 15 minutes by other little ones asking for a snack, more milk, a different snack etc.
(full disclosure - this ended up taking 3 days to actually finish posting and its not even long or thought provoking.)
Im uploading pictures for my own sake that I want to post and have on here (first day of school .. remember that? Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas .. our family pictures) Freeland is half way through his 3rd year and well on his way to his 4th year of residency. Ive been on 2 trips to different conferences and my sweet pop also passed away so I took an unexpected trip to Texas in the middle of that to celebrate his life with family too. Freeland is in Kenya again right now working with Cure and visiting Naomi's Village and our friends there. Thats what I can think of at the moment.
I miss this little space though and writing all the things the Lord is doing and what we are learning and just sharing our little lives on here so hopefully I can get back to it.
For now I will update you on how things are with the lil nugget.
She is 5 months old now. She will be 6 months old on the 29th. WHAT THE WHAT?
She has THE BEST smile. I mean it lights up a room. Im so tired of not showing you her face because its just the most precious little face ever and I cant wait for you to see it. She smiles a lot and loves her brothers and sister so much. She laughs the most with them. She is definitely attached to us and Im so thankful for that. She kinda freaks out if anyone else holds her for too long and Im not near. (momma's girl) I'll take it and just praise the Lord for it.
We spend a lot of the day holding her and entertaining her. She is in the middle of tons of physical therapy and early intervention is coming to our house to work with her weekly too. So far she is a little fighter and meeting a handful of her milestones but we want to work hard to make sure it stays that way and the gap doesnt get even larger - if she is capable of hitting those milestones at least. If not then we'll go from there. We still do lots of weight checks to make sure she is gaining weight and growing like she should. I tried to start her on some food to give her even more calories but she may not be ready just yet. We do let her play with a spoon and occasionally taste things because its what they recommend we do for her. I'll try food again soon.
She has good days and bad days. Im so thankful for her good days. They help me to see little glimpses of life being normal again. Normal, meaning where Im not exhausted from a newborn-ish baby and sleep deprived. Ive accepted that our life will never actually be 'normal' again.
Things got better at 4.5 months and then she got sick or something and she had a handful of really hard weeks/nights but I think we are on the upswing again. (im writing that so I can remember.. it does get better!)
This week happens to be a great week so thats why I feel like Im able to write all this. She actually put herself to sleep 3 times this week! I could do jumping jacks and cartwheels all over our house from that. Its amazing how much simpler that makes my day feel. It may never happen again but I will celebrate the fact that it did actually happen and she was able to do it!
Her OT (occupational therapist) keeps reminding me to seriously celebrate the victories she has because they really are HUGE considering all she has experienced. It is a blessing having someone in my house pointing out the things she does that are worth celebrating because I can easily forget and see the things she isnt doing or worry about all the "what ifs". I joked with my friends and with the OT, Sue, that all moms need someone like her to come to their house weekly because she literally just sits and tells me what a great job Im doing. For example, when lil nugget was tired and I picked her up to swaddle her and get her to bed (a very normal thing to do that nobody would think twice about. I mean we would all just do that without thinking about it right - pick up a fussy baby?) she went on and on about how wonderful that was that I know her cues and can easily comfort her. All the sudden something I would never think twice of - Im like "yeah, you're stinkin right! This is amazing. Im like actually a good mom and know what to do! And she is SO comforted right now" ha. Its ridiculous. I could write so many sweet and silly things she has cheered me on for. But having someone cheering you on for an hour every week somehow makes a difference and I think every mom needs a Sue in their life. (and it makes me wonder - what is she normally seeing if she is praising me for knowing normal things to do)
Where it stands (technically, I guess, if youre trying to understand what is actually happening) is that we are still her foster parents. Her birth family still has legal custody of her (meaning she is not legally in the custody of the state which is why we are foster parents) We will remain foster parents until the state seems fit for her to either return to her family or until the state legally removes her family's custody of her. At that time she would then legally be in custody of the state and able to be adopted.
There have been more than a handful of court dates and a ton going on, of course. But at the same time, as you can see, nothing is happening or changing. It just takes time. That doesnt bother me at all. I have a peace about the process happening and I dont feel anxious about any of that.
(photo by River James.. He is really proud of this one! :)
Since the beginning we have done weekly visitations with her birth mom. They have been just fine. By the grace of God that hasnt been hard. I dont mind them and I truly see it as a gift that she comes every week and that I have the chance to know her some. Things are starting to get complicated in this area but the Lord is still so faithful and I have a peace that he is guiding this whole process.
I could probably write a million thoughts here but I digress.
I really want to share so much and I feel like the Lord has given me a desire to share a lot of it but I also want to pray about it because this really isnt our story to share. Its hers. I can get over all my own fears of being misunderstood and all that but Im more cautious because once I put it out there - its out there and how does that affect her? Im constantly thinking "what if she finds this and reads it one day? What will it feel like to her to read these words"? So Im still praying about it all. I do feel a peace about sharing what we have learned through all this and I cant wait to have the time to sit down and share that.
This has been the hardest and the best thing we have done to date. (emotionally and mentally its hard. Physically its just whatever it is.) I never imagined how hard it would be and what it would feel like. If you had told me I probably would have said no to it all. Because I dont love doing hard things. Except I love her so I wouldnt have said no. She is worth it. The Lord is worth it. And we are just in a season of laying down our lives, growing in discipline and obedience and faith and its been humbling and wonderful.
Okay its 9:40 at night and I can still hear Wylder yelling "Cocka doodle doooooooo" in the bedroom and River saying "please shut your mouth" so I should probably go take care of that situation.
Hopefully I'll post again before her 1st birthday! (just kidding.. I really hope to post again this week)
and because Im sure my family wants to see here are some pictures of all the bigs:
Rivers first homework assignment ever - he was so excited!
wylder got new glasses.