This possibly is one of the most eventful weekends for the Graham family ever. Or at least in a long time. It’s been quite a ride and I’ve decided it’s blog worthy.
Our church pretty frequently offers what they’ve titled as “Date Night”. It’s babysitting at a flat rate of 15 dollars for I believe up to 5 children per family. Obviously this is a complete steal for us. Since moving to Georgia our date nights were dramatically decreased with out having two sets of grandparents, youth we know and trust, or a big pool of friends to tap into for babysitting. Now with the addition of foster children we are even more limited because of the specifications required for a person to babysit or respite. Fortunately church child care meets all those requirements. I am so thankful for Westridge and whoever the individual is that came up with Date Night and each person that took 4 hours, probably more, out of their Friday to play with a TON of kids. God bless you! This ministry (and yes it is absolutely a ministry, ministering to husbands and wives, we need time together! Not to mention our kids, safe and loved by our family in Christ) it has blessed Jason and I in ways that are too many to list in this post. THANK YOU!!!
There’s more to that story though. I registered well in advance for our 4 children to ensure they got their spot. The night before date night I got a call from Faithbridge asking if we could respite this weekend for another foster family. *Side note: This seems like a great opportunity to inject, if you have thought about getting involved in foster care but don’t think your gifting is in giving full time care you should definitely consider being a respite family.* Now not that we minded at all providing our friends a break so they could have some time alone together as a couple and rest and rejuvenate themselves and just enjoy each other. We totally get it and are so thrilled to provide that. Seriously, you get excited for other people when they get to have that time together because you know how important it is. But it’s probably hard for Faithbridge to have to call another foster family, because the regulations for where a child can stay over night are as such that at this point only other foster families are qualified to respite. Do you see where I’m going with this?? We need you! The kids need you! As foster families it can be tough fighting the feelings of guilt when dropping off your children with someone who already has a few as well. We don’t mind, being the one watching, we always convey that to each other. It’s a ministry and we are honored to take part in each aspect of it. But there is a flip side. And who knows, respite might be a passion you haven’t tapped into 😉
Okay so obviously we said yes to that call. What’s one more right? So I got in touch with the church to see if we could add one more and they of course did. You’re a life saver Westridge!!
Ok let’s pick this pace up. Date night didn’t go as planned (does it ever?) BUT it wasn’t a loss at all. One thing that I am finally learning after years and tears of mourning the “perfect date night that was a bust” is you gotta roll with it. Life happens. Nothing was my fault or Jays fault and we just have to enjoy what we got. We did have this great plan but it ended up being I waited, for reasons out of our control, till 8 for Jay to get home and by that time he just needed to decompress. We enjoyed 2 hours of just talking which for a woman is like a gold mine! I mean seriously, when do men ever talk? 2 hours. Complete miracle if you ask me. We talked, we listened to music, we hugged and kissed, and then we picked up our 5 kids. Nothing magical, but certainly valuable.
Saturday. 5 kids. Ages, 1,2,3,5&6. Whew. Hey, lets go to the rodeo?!? Sure getting everyone fed and dressed is no small task but go big or go home right? Plus, they’re gonna probably push us to our limits anywhere so why not take them to one of the few places that its completely acceptable to act like an unruly animal? :teehee ;-): seriously I do love our kids!! Don’t we all need to act a little crazy sometimes?
2 adults, 5 kids, 1 stroller, 1 sit and stand= Max capacity in my vehicle. But we made it! And once again God can only be credited to smoothing over this girls edges and relaxing me a bit. Not that I was out bull riding or anything but all in all it went pretty well. The fact that we MADE it is major points for this family. We just usually avoid scenes when control might be lost. Especially me. And I know that’s not always a good thing, to just avoid places because it won’t go my way or it could be stressful. I know its good to “know my limits” but its even more important for me to let God give me strength and patience for stuff I may feel ill equipped for. All part of parenting! I don’t want my kids to miss opportunities because basically it would’ve too hard or too much work on my part. And I admit, I’ve already let that happen in the past. Last night reminded me that it’s worth it.
Last night also reminded me that it’s not always going to be as bad as it is in your “lets play this out” scene. Yes we had a few tears shed but over all it was fun. Brought back my own fond memories of going to the Cheyenne Rodeo with my cousin Megan. Y’all may not know this but deep down there is a part of me that wants to be a country girl. Since I was little and I spent a few summers out west with my mom, visiting her sister and my cousin Megan, I have loved horses, Chris Ledoux and George Strait, line dancing and rodeos. Gosh I need some old photos to back this up.Mom comes through with a few but I promise she has the real gems stashed away.
We also have a few home made music videos of Megan and I lip singing around their house and barn to Shania Twain. Oh and none of us will forget the time I rode one of the “baby” bulls they had. It not only rode me into the barn as I hung on for dear life being smushed alongside the aluminum/metal wall, but of course it landed me smack in a pile of manure! And I was loving every dirty adventurous minute. Jason does not believe this girl ever existed but I’m telling you, I was meant to be a cowgirl. Born in Texas and smothered by Florida lol!!! Not to worry, Jason has some uncovered country boy in him as well and he’s bound and determined to make this right. More on that later.
I know this blog post has gotten quite long. I just love a good recap. One last observation of the weekend.
My standard of “clean” and “organized” lowers with every additional child.
I am constantly telling myself get.real. I laugh now at my feeble attempts to clean up. My little groups of water cups by the fridge. It’s keeps growing. Pointless to keep washing and putting away. Piles of shoes- just get them by a door, they don’t even have to be in a line, Caleb will just end up chucking them somewhere. My keeping room, my safe haven that represented peace and quiet with Jesus. It occupies a small kitchen, fully equipped with a weeks worth of wooden groceries and an entire stainless steel set of pots and pans. Recently accompanying the kitchen is a teepee tent, among other tiny little toys that never seem to get put away anymore. Honestly if I can’t see them I consider it cleaned up. There is no hope for the upstairs the majority of the week. I’ve essentially given up. On the day that I do clean it all its a great feeling, but it’s short lived and I’m starting to be okay with that. My goals essentially are as followed:
1.) Keep the kitchen clean and the fridge stocked. We gotta eat.
2.) Laundry. Doesn’t necessarily have to be folded just have a clean pile of it somewhere, preferably so the kids can access it to attempt dressing themselves.
3.) Trash empty, toilets cleaned. This is an odd bullet point, I know. I just don’t want my house smelling like poo. I told you, standards are pretty low these days.
4.) Fresh wax melt at all times. This makes me at least feel like my house is fresh and clean. If I close my eyes. (Just like those febreze commercials! That’s the brand I use too) 😉
Truth be told Jason doesn’t let us go to long acting like pigs in a sty. If he can manage it he will grace me with a couple of his A Clean Sweep gals and for that I just can’t praise him enough.
On to Monday y’all! It was a good weekend 🙂