Black Belt

I have to admit, when we signed a contract with Declan's Tae Kwon Do studio, I chose the more expensive month-to-month option. His stick-to-it-ness isn't always rock solid (he was 5 after all). So a year long contract didn't seem like a good fit. Little man proved me so wrong and it was a joy to witness him climb the ranks and secure his black belt last night. The next step is Juniors and I'm really hopeful he stays focused there as well. The skills he learns in Tae Kwon Do are just the icing on the cake. I'm more thankful for all the listening skills they teach and the lessons about character.
Group of black belts:
 Declan's favorite instructor, Mr. Reed:




Baby girl is perfection. Seriously. I have never experienced a more easy, sweet baby in my life. Honeymoon period? Who knows but I don't care. I've totally slowed down (maternity leave...woot woot) and I just soak her in every chance I get. She loves to be snug in my Solly wrap:
With Declan and our foster twins, I was always ready for that last feeding so I could lay them down for the night. Baby girl just snuggles with me for a long time after that last feeding as I can barely convince myself to put her to bed. Something is magical about this sweet soul. It was easy to fall (fast) in love with her. 


Baby Girl

Every time we had court I swear mom's belly had grown. I wasn't the only one suspicious and it was confirmed this Fall that she was indeed pregnant. Our home was an obvious place for baby to go since we had 2 full bio siblings. One small hitch- we were done. D.O.N.E. Our family was complete and it had been a very hard year as the boys healed from some wrongs of their past. I started getting rid of baby stuff even though my heart was a teensy bit open (Marks was not at all). Crib gone, gear gone, everything pretty much gone. It felt liberating and I started looking forward to my 2 year old being out of diapers and all the fun next steps a young family takes when there are no more babies. 

Then I found out something that changed it all. A girl. My heart blew up and I couldn't stop thinking about her. Still, Mark was a huge NO. We prayed, we argued, we each made our points, prayed some more. Mom's due date was just around the corner when Mark decided he was finally on board. We gave our "yes" and just weeks later mom went in to labor early and baby girl joined our home just 1 day old last week. It's been amazing. She fits right in. The tenderness that comes out in the boys makes my heart leap. We are all so smitten. 

The uncertainties of this case can eat me alive if I let myself think too hard. My mantra has been to love on her as long as God allows. Some days I'm steady and trusting and some days the future scares me. I don't want to rip out the hearts of our boys. So, for now, she's our foster babe. My wise friend Maralee told me this: 

"Every day with a foster kid is a gift. It's a chance to invest in the woman she will become. I know it's incredibly tough, but do what you can to enjoy this day with her."

And I do. We do. At 4am when she's done feeding, I snuggle her extra long and stare at her little face that changes every day. I let each brother hold her as often as they ask. I worry less about noise and schedules and all the other things that consumed me when Declan was a newborn and just take time to soak her in. No matter how long she's with us, we are her safe place full of snuggles, hugs, songs, and sticky fingered brothers who vow to always protect her.