Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jason and family - 2015

Jason is one of those kids (OK…he’s 34 now!) that when people looked at his pictures when he was young would say, “I bet he’s the handful.” They always said it was in the eyes.

Others would say that if I found him missing, check their house. There were LOTS of those too. I would have no clue where to start to look. I’d have to tell them that I would sit back and wait because they’d be paying me to take him back.

He wasn’t a bad kid….don’t get me wrong. He was just full of energy and into everything. His first full sentence was, “leave it alone”.

Such a fun kid!!

He did go thru a time of middle child syndrome though. The schools would compare him to Travis and kept asking him why he couldn’t be like Travis.

Why should he be like his older brother? He was himself. Different from Travis in nearly every way, except in looks.

Then Brandy was the baby and only girl (her update next).

This is the kid that at 6th and 7th grade he thought he had enough school to be a truck driver (it was a looong time dream of his…..long haul truck driving). We had a church friend that was a truck driver. He agreed to take Jason on a week long haul so he could get a feel of it.

Yeah….Jason came back and decided that truck driving was not what he wanted after all. Too much work! Too much reading. Too much math. LOL

He’s grown up now. He’s an amazing man.

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He has three beautiful kids. Tyler…12. Anikka (Annie)….almost 12 (they are 10 1/2 months apart). Shelby almost 10.

At 28 (five months after Travis did), he also decided to join the Army because of the economy. He thought from the beginning he’d be a lifer.

Now….he’s not so sure. He’s been deployed a couple of times. His unit was getting ready to deploy again. An opening came up for another job that he jumped on so he wouldn’t be deployed again.

He became an instructor! Of all the things I ever thought Jason would do/be…..teacher was not it. He is an Air Assault Instructor on his base.

When I think back on his growing up…..he was a teacher of many things and to many people. From the time he was very little, until present day.

He’s also a warrior for Christ. When he was deployed, before going out on duty with his unit…..he’d gather everyone in prayer. A couple of fellow soldiers were Baptized while in basic training because of Jason’s powerful witnessing.

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Seems I heard one time that he got the nick name –Preacher. That can’t be all that bad now can it?

Jason’s wife, Rhonda…..is a cosmetologist. She’s always been into nails and hair. So it only seemed natural for her to become certified and doing it full time.

Rhonda is also a prayer warrior. Any time….. for any one.

We don’t get to see Jason and family very often since he’s joined the Army. We miss them all immensely.

We did get to see Rhonda and the kids when we went to get Austin and Cody (Jason was deployed). And we saw all of them when we went to get the seven. We spent an afternoon at their house.  Especially Adam loved playing with Jason, and even wanted to change his name to match Jason’s LOL We had to burst his bubble and tell him he can’t be a Jr. to Jason since he’s our son and Jason is his brother.

Jason has still not met Austin and Cody.

I am really hoping we can get Jason and his family up here for Christmas this year along with Travis, Donald, and Ashley. Come that time….it will have been two years since we’ve seen them.

I really miss having all my kids near by.

God’s Blessings,

Vickie

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Travis & family - 2015

Now that I’ve done an update on all the kids at home…….here are the kids that are all grown up with families and lives of their own.

Nov 2014

Travis is our oldest. He moved out of the house 10 days after turning 18. I asked him why he thought he needed to move out so soon and he said, “isn’t that what we are suppose to do?”

Well yes….eventually….. but it sure didn’t have to be right away.

People told me to be prepared for him to move back home several times in his lifetime. I can honestly say that he’s never asked to move back home even once.

I don’t know if that is a positive or a negative in some ways. Positive ….. he’s never NEEDED to move back home. He’s always been independent and likes to succeed at whatever he makes his mind up to do.

Finish the task is what we always told him. Finish the season if it was a sport. He didn’t have to sign up for the sport again next season, but finish what you started this season.

Maybe that was his line of thinking.

Negative……I sure miss him. I am thankful he always remained in our area though so we could see him whenever and he could come home often if he wanted.

That is until he turned 29 and decided to join the Army. It was the time the economy turned real sour. He had his own construction business …..building had  pretty much halted. He decided to join the Army for a “season”. Now at nearly 36, I guess he’s in for the long haul.

He scored high enough on his ASVAB that the recruiters were giving him flack because he wanted to be infantry. But Travis knew to get where he truly wanted to be (Airborne Ranger), he had to start at infantry. He made Ranger pretty quickly. Then he decided he wanted to fly the helicopters that the Rangers jump out of. So he switched his MOS for a “season”.

He passed Warrant Officer School as second in his class and won the leadership award. He passed helicopter school as top three in his class and now flies Black Hawks and will cross train to Chinooks when he makes it back over to Rangers (he’s hoping for early next year).

Getting his wings

(Getting his wings…..Kendra got to pin them on)

Where they are stationed now, they truly dislike the schools. Their two girls (Ryann-11 and Samantha-10) are super bright, advanced students. The schools could not keep them challenged enough and seems to cater more to the “slow” students. Kendra decided to home school the girls for a “season” so the girls could continue to advance.

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Kendra is afraid of letting her girls down (aren’t we all!). But since she’s been working towards her education degree……we were able to encourage her in that if she can teach her own girls, she’ll be a huge asset to the public schools when the time is right.

Kendra is really a sports fanatic too (during football season…..we can hear her yelling from here LOL), and is competitive. She was up for the challenge. So far so good. They are liking it.

The girls have had the opportunity to join their local swim team and are doing very well at it. It gives them something in common with a couple of our kids and a couple other grandkids that are here.

We try to video chat with them every once in awhile. Gets chaotic here when there are 23 of us trying to talk to the four of them. Everyone wants a turn. We hook up my laptop to the TV with an HDMI cable so that we can all see them at once. It has been super nice to actually see faces.

We’ve done show-and-tell with the girls this way.

We watched them open their Christmas presents from us. And ours from them.

It is not the same as seeing them live but it helps this mama’s heart. Right now they are 2500 miles away. Clear across the United States from us. Visiting often in person is hard.

Travis has some leave time coming up and they are planning a trip home for Christmas. The first Christmas we’ve had with them in several years. I am sooooo looking forward to that.

Donald will have a week’s break from AIT and will be home for Christmas. Ashley will be at AIT by then too, so hoping she’ll get leave time.

Now….to get Jason and family home for Christmas this year.

My guess is, having 18 kids…..all beginning to spread their wings more…..this very well could be the last time that we will be able to get everyone home all at the same time except for funerals.

I am thankful that Travis did spend 10+ years around here before heading off to the Army.

I am thankful that the grandkids were born while they were still here as well, so that when they see us, they know who we are.

Sometimes, it is the little things in life that keep us sane.

God’s Blessings,

Vickie

Monday, March 16, 2015

A new soldier amongst us…

….Donald did his swear-in this past Thursday, March 12. He is officially enlisted in the Army National Guards.

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He scored high enough on his ASVAB to be able to have his MOS as an IT guy. This will be beneficial to him whether on drill weekends or in the civilian world.

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Donald does not leave for boot camp until the middle of August. He will be done with basic training the end of October and then head over to AIT by the first week of November.

We understand that they will send him home for seven days during Christmas. He will then be done with everything and back home by mid April.

He is able to attend drill weekends until he goes to basic and get paid for them since he’s enlisted. The drills are not mandatory but sure can’t hurt.

Of course he’s an E1 – Private, right now but he was told this weekend (his first drill weekend) that if he passes his PT test next month, he’ll be promoted to E2. Now he has a mission to accomplish in the next four weeks or so.

When he walked thru the door after drill (he left Friday evening and came home Sunday afternoon) it was like looking at a totally different guy. He left a kid, and came back a man, in just two days.

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Amazing!!!

He has already earned the respect of his recruiter because he doesn’t cuss, smoke, or drink. He isn’t rowdy. He does what he is told, when and how he is told.

He impressed some of the others in charge over the weekend too. Some of the other recruits asked how he got on the good side of a couple of other soldiers that no one can please. He said he just told them to treat the upper ranks with respect and you earn respect back.

We will see how the other recruits take that bit of info for next drill.

Next month, he gets to learn to drive a hum-vee…..he’s totally pumped for that one.

Where did my little boy go?

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We now have three soldiers….all in the Army. Travis, Jason, and now Donald. All three of our oldest boys. (The older two boys are in the big Army, both stationed a long ways from home).

Travis (2)     Jason Army 2009

We have a couple of others going to follow too. One wants the Navy or Coast Guard. Another the Air Force. And yet another that wants to be in the Army National Guard too. One daughter wants to join the big Army in the medical field. She plans to leave this summer as well (the others are only 16, 16, and 14….she will be 19 in May).

I haven’t had a child leave the nest for nearly 13 years…….now I remember why we adopted kids. If we didn’t get our newest nine, we’d be down to basically two kids at home by this summer.

Praise the Lord He saw what I would need and placed us with just a few more kids. Because, you know what? I’m still not ready for the empty nest. Since our youngest turns four today, I have a long ways to go before I need to really worry about that again.

God Bless America and please please please keep our soldiers safe!

Vickie

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jeremiah 2015

16 - Jeremiah

Don’t let that charming smile fool you LOL This little guy can be a stinker! He is super petite for his age….still wearing 2Ts.

Jeremiah will be four next week. He was just past 2 1/2 when we got him. He is the youngest of the seven and the youngest at home as well. He is a ball of energy and everybody loves him.

We are the first “parents” Jeremiah has ever had. He came into care at barely two months old so he’s only had caretakers since then. Having the stability of true parents was totally new to him. I think it took him the longest to actually bond with us as parents. He bonded right away as caretakers. He’s use to moving to a new home / family every 4-6 months his entire life. I think he pretty well knows he’s staying here forever now though.

Jeremiah doesn’t meet a stranger unless he’s in one of those moods.

Last Sunday at church, Donald picked up another 4-year-old and was playing with him. Jeremiah was totally upset that Donald didn’t pick him up at the same time, and the other little boy latched onto Donald’s neck (staking claim) that he had to hang on with both arms to keep from dropping the boy so he couldn’t pick up Jeremiah anyway..

Jeremiah got after Donald and told him he had to share and started crying. (it really was kind of funny to watch). After church, Jeremiah told the little boy’s parents that Donald wouldn’t share. He even told the little boy’s aunt, and Pastor. Apparently it bothered him all through church. No wonder he was so quiet (I just thought of that).

Not sure how Jeremiah is going to take it when Donald leaves for basic training soon. He swears in this Thursday so he’ll be leaving in the not too distant future.

I think I’ll take a picture of just the two of them so Jeremiah can have it in his room. Maybe that will help him.

Anyway……like I said before, Jeremiah is full of energy. Some days, he spends a lot of time in time-out on the couch. I know we are suppose to have them sit there one minute for every year of age, but at 3-years-old now, we can’t get 30 seconds out of him at one time. Then when he does finally get down, he goes right back to what he was doing to get himself into trouble to begin with. <ugh>

This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

Sometimes we’ve wondered what God was thinking to give us a couple of toddlers at our age. I wouldn’t trade them though, although they do keeping us hopping. I tell ya, this last group we got, has challenged every parenting skill I know. What has always worked before, isn’t working now.

The older teens boys say they get in trouble for the stupidest things. I don’t think getting them to stop wrestling in the house, having war games in the house where they fall into, and break doors and other things, is stupid things. Nor is chewing with their mouths open, and not letting them playing on video games whenever and however long THEY deem is ok. They like to take Jeremiah and involve him in their games, which winds him up totally and then get after him when he wants to continue while they watch TV. I really don’t think these are stupid rules. Stop throwing the brother around. (yes, they’ve been known to pick up Jeremiah, and throw him on the couch all in “having some fun”.)

Rules is rules. They think I’m picking on them even when I try to tell them that most all the rules we have in place have been the same (or similar) since our first child was born nearly 36 years ago. They have always worked. Why change what is not broken. I don’t think it is asking too much to have them put a coat on when it is 32 degrees outside.

Anyway….enough belly aching LOL

Jeremiah’s update is the last of the kids at home. Whew! That sure took a whole lot longer than I thought it was going to take.

I’ll update on the three oldest kids (the married ones) next.

Have a blessed day!

Vickie

Monday, March 9, 2015

Logan 2015

15 - Logan

Logan is 5-years-old. Our youngest red-head. Fortunately he isn’t quite so “energetic” (for lack of a better word) as our other three red-heads.

In his profile from the foster parents it said he was “too affectionate”. At the time I’m thinking, “how can a 3-year-old be too affectionate?”

He likes to give hugs. He likes to be touching someone. He likes to “pet” me (he’ll stand by my chair and pet my hands/arms/legs, even my hair). If my feet are propped on my stool, he likes to lay across them. He’ll also just stand by my chair and hold my hand while watching TV, or sometimes sits in my lap.

I don’t think this is too affectionate. I do get after the other kids when they jump all over him with “would you just stop touching me all the time” while at the same time trying to teach him about other people’s spaces. He does a whole lot better with others but I never get after him for wanting to have some kind of physical touch when he is near me. I figured he just didn’t get much of that when he was in the infant stage and there will come a time when he won’t “need” that kind of thing and I will be missing it terribly.

Logan is definitely a follower too. No matter the age of the person.

When we were visiting the kids for the first time (he’s #6 of the 7)….every time the baby would act up, Logan would stop doing what he was doing to act just like the baby. If I was getting after an older kid, he’d stop what he was doing to do what they were doing. If one of the kids invite Logan to do what they were doing, good or bad, Logan follows.

I’m not sure how to reteach him to do his own thinking. I address each issue as it comes up. Even just repeatedly asking him (and a couple of others) if that was the right choice, or the right decision to be making. Hoping that will redirect their thoughts. I started that last week and that has seemed to help…..when I’m visible to them. Now to get them to remember to use their integrity when I’m not. <sigh>

We haven’t officially started Logan on any book work for school. He asks what certain letters or numbers are, like in his name. He knows all his colors and even the alphabet song. He can count up to 20 without messing up except for “five-teen”.

I don’t think he will have any issues when it comes to the book work at all. So since he’s five, and his birthday is past public school deadlines anyway, may as well let him be a kid. This next fall though, we will begin the official school work with him.

I believe that eventually, Logan will be one of my calmest, my cooperative kid. Kind of like big brother Donald. He pretty much is now, when he’s not following someone else’s lead.

Have a blessed day!

Vickie