Thursday, March 30, 2017

Home Inspection

Today, we had our home inspection for foster care.

I think it went pretty well. We passed off everything on the safety checklist. In fact, we may have gone a little overboard. I think the inspector commented a few times that our home "was the safest she'd ever seen," or something along those lines. She seemed pretty impressed with how in-depth we had been about things.

Honestly, both Grig and I were worried that we were going to miss a bunch of stuff, but I guess we did alright.

She was pretty impressed with how well-trained our dogs were too, especially after they'd calmed down. That pleased me. I really appreciate when people notice that. We've put a lot of work into training our dogs. She was especially surprised when I just pointed at the bed and they went and laid down without me saying anything.

After the home tour, we sat down and had an interview for a while. First she interviewed me, and while we were talking, Grig came home from work. It ended up going from 2-6. She was really pleasant and easy to talk to, and I feel like things went really well.

Kevin was his typical amazing self. He was a bit loud and showed off a bit, but he also was pretty cheerful during most of it. We talked a bit about him and what he's like around other kids.

My favorite part of the entire day was Kevin. At one point, we were talking, and suddenly Kevin spoke up.

"Excuse me," he said, with just a touch of snark.

"Yes, Kevin?" the inspector replied.

"I thought you were going to bring us a baby?" Kevin demanded/asked.

We all burst out laughing. The inspector quickly explained that she was there to get to know us so that we could be matched up with the perfect children, and Kevin seemed satisfied with that response. She told us that she gets asked that question a lot, which surprised me, because I certainly hadn't been expecting that to come out of Kevin's mouth.

I loved it.

She's going to talk things over with her supervisor and submit her paperwork, and within the next 2-3 weeks (it usually is less than 2, but next week is Spring Break, so she said she may not be able to work on it next week) we should be qualified to be foster parents!

That's pretty exciting.

So, now it's a waiting game again. Baring any unforeseen complications, we hopefully will be having some more children join us in our home soon. We're excited to start helping!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Siff's 2nd Heat

About two weeks ago, our dog Siff began to bleed again.

This is her second heat. She turned one in January, but we won't be breeding her until after she turns two.
Siff in diapers

This one has been much easier than her first one. The first one ended up lasting around four weeks. The blood flow was much heavier, and lasted a lot longer. This time, the blood has been fairly light, and it only lasted just over a week.

She's really funny when she's on her heat. Usually, Siff is friendly, but not overly cuddly. She gets warm quickly, and so when she wants attention, she'll just come and sit in front of you and give you the option to pet her.

However, when she's in heat, she is super cuddly. She plopped down on top of me the other day and just laid there. It's pretty cute. She's always sweet, but she's especially funny at this time of year.

She's going to be a great mom. She's really sweet to younger dogs and is friendly to everyone. She's really pretty too. She was really easy to train and she has a really good temperament.

During her first heat, her tail became really limp. It's a condition called Limber Tail Syndrom. She has had a little bit of that this time, but not nearly as bad as last time. This time, her tail is just a little more floppy when she runs and swings more loosely back and forth across her back.

It's added an extra layer of complication this week, but it hasn't been that much trouble. Our home inspection is tomorrow, but I think it's going to go well. I'll try and blog tomorrow night to let you all know how things went.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Home Inspection

This is just a short announcement. Our home inspection is set for Thursday at 2:00 p.m.

If you want to pray that it goes well, we'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kevin's Letters

I've been pretty amazed at Kevin within the last two weeks. Suddenly, he's become obsessed with letters and writing.

All day, he pulls paper out and writes on it. His favorite words currently are his name, Mom, Dad, Arkhon, and Siff. He loves to write, "For..." and create masterpieces to give to us. He's gotten to the point where he can write most of those without any help. Here's one he did yesterday without any help:
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to present our 4-year-old

He had his name written on this one too, but since I use a pseudonym for my son, I had to take his name off. Just in case it's hard to read, the first line says "Arkhon," the second line says "For Siff," the last line says, "Dad, Mom."

He amazes me sometimes. The best part is, he's been doing this all on his own. When I was in college, a lot of my classes talked about parents and how the current system pushes children too hard. Some parents seem super competitive about making sure that their children are ahead of everyone else. In the class, we discussed how this causes some children to burn out and they never learn to enjoy learning.

So, after talking about that with my teachers and the other students, I decided that I didn't want to force my children to learn things early. Other parents can do things they way they want to, but I really wanted my children to enjoy learning. If they they were interested in something, I would definitely teach them, but I wanted to let them develop at their own pace (especially before formal education started).

When we got married, I found that Grig felt similarly. So, we've never really pushed Kevin to read. We read to him, and we answer his questions when he asks them, but I don't sit him down and force him to write.

I'm just tickled that he is so interested in writing right now. He fills entire papers with rows of letters, and then copies the letters that he wrote.

I think he's pretty amazing, and I'm grateful that he is so interested in reading and writing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Kevin's Shadow

This morning, we went on our walk, and I forgot that no one else was meeting us today. So, when I remembered, I told Kevin, "Sorry, buddy. We're alone today. We don't have any friends coming."

He was pretty cool with it, so we kept walking. A mile or so later, he suddenly said, "We're not alone, Mom! My friend's walking with us." 

I was confused for a moment, but then I looked to where he was pointing. He was gesturing toward his shadow. 

Recently, Kevin has been pretty excited about his shadow. He calls it "his friend," and talks and waves to it all the time. The other day he and his shadow were "training" together. He was standing in front of the wall facing it and he was teaching it how to fight. He would throw kicks and punches, and he loved to watch it mimic him.

So, when I realized what he was talking about, I waved to his shadow too. He then told me that his shadow's name is "Catcher of the Rhyme." 

I love my son so much. I love his imagination and how sweet he is. 

Also...congrats to my little sister on her new baby boy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Home Inspection and Surprise Visit

For those of you wanting an update on our foster care situation, we finally got our screen window fixed on Wednesday. 

Grig did a great job repairing it. It was looked awesome when he finished it. As soon as we put it back in the window, I sent in our checklist for the home inspection.

We've now been assigned a home inspector, and she's supposed to get in touch with us soon to schedule the home inspection. It's supposed to take a few hours to go through, so hopefully we can find a time that works for all of us.

We're waiting again, but this time it shouldn't be quite as long. I'll keep you updated. 

Yesterday, we got a surprise text from Grig's father. He's been on a trip delivering cattle for the past week or so. Last Friday, while we were on our anniversary date, he texted us and told us that he was in the area, but we weren't. We were sad to have missed him. 

We told him to drop by on his way back east, but he told us that the people he was with were planning on taking a different route and that he wouldn't be nearby. 

However, yesterday he informed us in that due to snow in the north, they were going to be passing nearby after all and he wanted to drop in to visit. That was pretty exciting. We haven't seen him in person for over a year, and he's never been to our new house. 

Grig was disappointed that he was going to be at work when his dad came by, but Kevin was pretty excited that he was going to see his grandpa. 

A little after 1:00 today, Kevin's grandfather dropped by 
Kevin was pretty excited. He drew a picture for his grandpa and waited at the window until he arrived. We fed him some food and then showed him around the property. He and Kevin had a great time smashing horse chestnuts and playing outside. 
Kevin was pretty excited to play tic tac toe with his grandpa. We'd learned how to play it at preschool the other day, and Kevin's been pretty excited about the game ever since.

After we came back inside, Kevin's grandpa began to teach him the finer points of the game. They had a really good time, and it was fun to watch them interact. It was really good to see Grig's dad. He's a great guy, and he loves his grandson a lot. 
Thanks for coming to visit, Grandpa! It was so much fun to see you!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Anniversary Trip 2017

So, last Thursday night (on the 2nd) we left after Grig got home from work and drove to Idaho. On the way, we nearly hit a deer. A doe was crossing the road, and I slowed down, expecting her to keep going. Instead, she stopped in the middle of the road. I had to brake pretty quickly to avoid her. She remained standing until we were almost stopped right in front of her before she turned around and rejoined a few other deer on the side of the road.

Then we met Mom and Dad at a store where I used to work. We handed Kevin off to them, and then we turned around and went back to stay at a themed hotel.

We found it just fine, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The themed hotel near where we live has a very artsy exterior and is in a pretty nice neighborhood. This one was in a very old-looking building crammed between other ghetto-like shopfronts. I wasn’t very impressed with the outside, especially for the cost. There was also no parking, but we received a promise that we wouldn’t be ticketed.

The inside was classier, and our bedroom was nice. We picked the Alaska room (mostly because it was the least expensive), but it had everything that we wanted. The jetted tub was awesome, the bed was super-comfy, and the television was huge.

We relaxed and watched some movies that night.

The next morning, we got up just in time for them to deliver our breakfast at the door. That was pretty awesome. Then, we hung out and watched more television until about 1:00 p.m. At that point, we went out walking and found a museum just down the street. They had a Roman display, so Grig and I decided to check it out. It turned out to be more interesting that I was expecting. I especially liked the weapons. I got some fun ideas for my book. I also learned that they were pretty inventive. I didn’t realize how many things we use today that originally were created in Rome.

They also had a Roman game you could play, and one of the volunteers offered to show me how to play it. I thought he was just going to explain the rules, but he ended up playing a whole round against me. It was kind of a funny match because he didn’t tell me half of the rules until we were half-way through. If I had known you could make the same three of a kind over and over, I would have probably made some different choices at the beginning. I lost, but there were a few times that I surprised him.

Grig was going to play it with me next, but a couple other people came up and started playing before we could, so we went to lunch at a Thai restaurant instead. The food was good, but expensive.

Afterward, we returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

Saturday, we got up, packed, and checked out of our hotel by 11 a.m. Then we went to Barnes and Nobles and bought some books. Afterward, we drove to the river and walked and played along the edge. We gradually made our way to Walmart, got a few more items we needed, and then walked back. We grabbed some lunch, and watched a video in the car while we ate.

For our last activity, we went to an Army Surplus store, which was awesome. We had a really good time, and I haven’t felt so relaxed in a while. We got a little tired of junk food, but it was really nice to have a vacation and spend one-on-one time with my husband.

I think I laughed more during the last few days than I have in months. I really love Grig. He completes me and makes me feel like I am loved. He is an incredibly supportive husband and a loving father. Kevin loves his daddy.

We headed back to my parents' house and found Kevin over at my sister's house. He was pretty excited to see us. We then watched all of the cousins that were there while my sister and her husband went on a date and then to Stake Conference. We showed the kids Storks and Over the Hedge. They also wanted to play Plants vs Zombies on Grig’s computer. After the adults came back, we put Kevin to bed and watched Doctor Strange, the new Marvel movie. I liked it. It was a fun, psychedelic experience.

On Sunday, we attended Stake Conference for the second week in a row, but Kevin did really well with his cousins there. Last week we had stake conference in our ward and Grig sang in the choir. After the meeting ended, I looked down to put some toys away, and when I looked up, Kevin was gone. We were in the primary room, and he had completely disappeared. It was pretty scary. I finally found him with his father. He had left me, and charged across the whole church and found his dad at the front of the Sacrament room. I was happy he was safe, but we had a good talk about not running away from me.

After Sacrament we mostly hung out and talked with everyone while Kevin played with his cousins. We had a great time, and left about 6:00. The roads were great for the first hour and a half, and then a heavy snow storm came out of nowhere. It was fine for a while, and then it became very hard to see the roads. It was a scary drive for the next hour and a half, but with a lot of prayer, we made it home safely.

I'm really glad we were able to go. Sometimes you just need to take a vacation.

Oh, and an update with the foster care thing. We just got word that our background checks have cleared. We just had to fix one screen window (which we're going to do tomorrow) and then we should be scheduling a home inspection.

Life is about to get really interesting.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Drawings of Our Family

Kevin went to stay with his great grandparents' yesterday while Grig and I went to the temple.

It was really nice, and Kevin was pretty cute when we returned to pick him up. He had been very well-behaved, and he was excited to show us some pictures that he had drawn.

Here is the first picture. I was pretty impressed. It looked like it had been drawn by a much older child.
I looked at the animal on the bottom, and I said, "Kevin, did you draw that? That is a fantastic pig!"

Kevin was a little offended and told me, "That's Siff!"

Of course. What was I thinking? It looks just like her. 
(Grig told me he would have guessed it was a pig too.) Kevin was so proud. It really is an awesome picture. Then, he showed us the next picture. 
I labeled this one based upon his explanation. I let him tell me what this picture was before I made any assumptions. See? I learn from my mistakes. 

It's such a good family picture. Our little guy is becoming quite the artist.