Partying Our Heart Out

These are my early morning risers:

These are my sleepy heads:

Today was Kyrie’s birthday, and we had lots of celebrating to do.  But no one can celebrate until everyone is up and dressed and clean and ready for the day.  That means all the babies need new pull-ups, right?

Since our wheat allergy people are gone, I used the morning to teach the children how to make cinnamon rolls:

We spent the morning making little cakes, which I kept trying to explain needed to cool before we could put the icing on at the birthday party.  We barely squeezed in lunch before it was time for the party!

There were so many who wanted to play with us for the party, and she just cannot be around so many people, and we are on vacation, but we still wanted to thank so many people – so it seemed like a good day to use the live feed on the fan page to celebrate with so many who have helped this miracle baby make it to this miracle milestone.  We are so grateful!

Kyrie was worn out, for sure, and the other two preschoolers finally dropped for naps, too!

The second graders were busy during naptime, though!  I kept hearing squealing between the woods and our condo, and I finally peeked out because I thought Kirk had been hurt.  It turns out he was squealing with squeamish delight as Mary was trying to catch a lizard.  They spent FIVE HOURS trying to catch that lizard!  I have never laughed so hard!  Here’s a tiny clip:

Back home, Alex went to the workshop with Papa to spend some one on one time with him.  They had a blast, and made some very cool and creative stuff!  I love that they have this special one on one time together!

When naps were finally over, I split everyone up into different activities so they wouldn’t get stir crazy before the week is up.

Kyrie, though, bounces amongst everyone, especially Anber and Barrett.  She is very close to them both, in very different ways.  It’s fascinating to watch, and I so love that they have such good relationships.

I am supposed to be relaxing, but this is as close to a nap in the sunshine as I got:

Everytime we go anywhere, I unplug all the phones so the children can play with them.  We don’t actually use them or need them, and these things are relics.   Anber is old enough now to notice the letters on the keypad, and so she spent the afternoon “emailing” people on the phone by spelling their names.  It was pretty funny.

Kyrie hasn’t been eating much, and we have been more and more reliant on her feeding tube again.  So when she asked for lasagna, I went for it!  She has always loved tomato-based sauces, and it’s one way to pack in some nutrients when all she does is suck out the juice of her food and then spit it back out.

So when she asked tonight for lasagna, I made a vegetable sauce and packed the lasagna full of vegetable slices, too.  We had an excellent vegetarian lasagna, and she ate (and swallowed) two plates of it!

At one point, she dropped a squash on her chest and started screaming, “I squashed my nipple!  I squashed my nipple!”

These kids crack me up.

It was, I think, as best a birthday as we could have without Alex and Nathan, though we saw them on video phone a lot today.  It’s hard to finally be home and then missing them, but Nathan and Alex will join us after his meetings on Monday.

It’s also hard to adjust to being back home.  There is a lot of energy and work that goes into caring them, and bringing them here used to be easy-peasy for me because I was with them all the time.  Jumping straight from working 20 hour days to being alone with five of the children for the entire weekend by myself was a little rough for all of us.  They have grown so much, and I have missed so much, and it is all good, but time goes so fast!  We all have catching up to do.  They are all a little extra clingy, so I am running circles around them as they run circles around me, spending time with all of them together, and one-on-one moments, and activities with different groups of them.  I am glad we have this place, to come and re-adjust and transition back together as we prepare for what is next.

We have always come here to do that, whether that was with new fosters or after hospital stays with Kyrie, and now this.  It’s a tradition, of sorts, except it is exhausting to think we have needed this kind of tradition.  Nathan says we should have known because of how preparatory our engagement was for this – so much time apart, and the time together so very magical.

That’s us: magical, with a little bit of sticky slime on the side, and maybe a temper tantrum or two.

The kids have been good, though!

Promptings of Rest

Last night was my last night in the chaplain room at Hillcrest.


I will miss that sacred work very, very much, but am excited to see how my chaplaincy ministry unfolds in new ways post-residency.

First, though, was the most important thing: getting breakfast home early enough to surprise my kids.  It’s been nine months since I got to wake them or see them at breakfast, as I was either at one hospital or another, and they have been so excited for me to be home in the mornings.

I got them breakfast, helped them get dressed, read scriptures and prayed, and got most everyone in the car before they woke Nathan. 

I am glad he got to sleep in!  He has sacrificed so much to help me through this last year!  We knew this year would be hard, but goodness!  It is good to let go of pushing so hard, and good to be on the other side of residency and back home again.

Except when I was driving the children to school, this thing was on a truck coming up I-44 just parallel to us coming up the entrance ramp:


Except its chains broke, and it slid off and rolled across the median right toward us!

I had just received an impression to STOP! just before it happened, and I hit the brakes right there on the entrance ramp.  This would make no sense if you didn’t know about promptings, and normally would be so dangerous.  But that prompting saved our life, as it barreled past us just inches from the front of our van as I screeched to a halt.  It was so close there was dirt on our bumper – but not a scratch.

Whew. So many miracles.

After dropping the preschoolers off, we drove to Bartlesville.  We have been doing the “12 Days of Kyrie” and today was the day we planned to “heart attack” the offices of the nurses and doctors who have helped us keep her alive.  Except our nurse lost her son last week, so today we talked about our baptismal covenants to “mourn with those who mourn”, and how those promptings back in January to do this project have been so needed.

Again, promptings, guiding and providing what we need before we knew we needed it.

Here’s the story: way back in January, the children felt prompted to plan something special for Kyrie’s doctors and nurses.  I thought it was a great idea, and told them to come up with some ideas, and I would see what we could do.  They brainstormed a list, and I made up a schedule of what surprises would be delivered when… except it didn’t work for January, or even Valentine’s.   

So I thought we could do it for Kyrie’s birthday.

Except she said “that will be too late.  She needs us before that,” referencing our nurse.

So we backed it all up a few weeks, until we all felt the timing was right and received the spiritual confirmation of it.

Silliness, our idea.

Except commanded, in a spirit-love kind of way.

So we were obedient to it, made a plan to pull it off, and recruited sponsors and helpers.  One day they got flowers, and one day they got a barbershop quartet, and one day they got Sonic drinks, and all these surprises, one each day.

We got it all set up in January.

And then it started on a Thursday, the one Kyrie picked out on the calendar.

And then on Sunday, we lost our little friend, who tragically passed away completely unexpectedly.

We were all in shock.

Except the surprises were already set up, and kept going like hugs we could not have arranged after the fact.

There is more to the story too sacred to share right now, but that’s the point: Heavenly Father knows us, and loves us, and prepares us to care for each other.  That’s the miracle… love.


Once we spread out as many hearts as we could stick, we headed home.

I figured that since I didn’t have to work until my only job in the evening, we might as well take the disaster of our family hair crisis to get trimmed up.


I got my first haircut since chemo, not counting the chemo-mullet that had to be kept under control last year, and by the next cut I will have almost a normal style and regular layers.  I have hair!

Alex and Nathan got haircuts, too, and we will get Barrett’s cut when he is not in school.

Even Mary got a trim, and new braids that I didn’t have to do for once – always good rest for my painful hands when I get help with her braids.



She was awfully proud of them!


We got home just in time for me to run to work, and it’s been a crazy night in psych land.

Except even if I am exhausted by morning, I will get to rest.

No more 20 hour work days.

At least for now.

Instead, I get to follow the best prompting of all: spending time with my family.

I’m super excited about that.

Beauty and the Beast

There are many things you may not know about me.

Did you know that I like to waltz through empty hospital hallways at night? Hospitals have the best floors for practicing!

Did you know that I have taught the children how to jump at just the right moment on an elevator to get a moment of almost-weightlessness like on the moon?

Or did you know that my friend Sarah gave me four tickets to go see the 3D Beauty and the Beast movie at the IMAX?  Or that it was so beautiful that I cried?  It’s true!

It was cinematically breathtaking.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism about feminist Emma Watson being in a Stockholm syndrome movie; however, historically it wasn’t understood as a captor/captive narrative. It was a political statement against forced or arranged marriages, and an effort to demonstrate the difference when love is chosen and/or actively nurtured.  Originally, it was a story about no matter how you end up married, you can live happily ever after if both people do the work… but it takes both people to do a relationship well (and safely).

I’m okay with that, and taught my children that context of the film.

That said, in Jungian psychology, your own self plays all the parts.

So not only are you Belle, but you are also the Beast.  And the clock.  And the candelabra.  And the piano bench puppy.

This actually means the movie begs the question: what in your life are you destroying by force that could grow naturally if you cultivated it instead?

You are even Gaston, and also his buddy, so in what ways have you hurt others by being vain? In what ways have you ignored your conscious when it prompted you on the morals of your interactions with others, but you squashed and abandoned that still, small voice even to your own detriment?

And the adolescent outsider? The book worm instead of the pretty girl?  The fiercely independent girl who discovers her tragic past lies in both loving her parents and letting them go?

Of course I loved that movie.

And I love popcorn.

Even when I share it with three second graders, who had the treat of their life with such a big screen and real glasses and so many snacks.

It was a bit of fun we all needed, after this hard week grieving with our very beloved friend whose little son was killed when a gun fell and fired.

It was shocking and horrifying and we couldn’t even talk about it until it was all public, and even then it wasn’t our story to tell.

And worse (for us), this was a friend who had helped us protect Kyrie’s life and prepare for her death, when now all the sudden her own son is gone.

It was unfathomable.

It was beyond awful, what happened, and there was nothing anyone could do to un-do it.

Just like that, a little boy the same age as my three second graders had left us all in shock.

It all made my brain hurt as much as it made my heart break.

We went to the viewing last night, and I hugged my friend but couldn’t look at her for fear I would never stop crying, and she had more fish to fry at that party than just me.

It was the fourth funeral our children have been to with us, and they were very respectful and I was grateful.  Nathan and I took the children up to the casket to see the tiny cowboy, and Kyrie shouted, “Mama! He is sleeping! He is sleeping! Wake up, Kade! Wake up!”

Except Kade does not get to wake up, not today.

He will, we know, but for today it just hurts.

Today was the funeral, and the Caney Valley gym was packed to the gills.  My children sat with me on the front row of the side seats, where they could see and Mary could hear.  They watched his pictures and listened to the funny stories about him, and we lined up once more to say goodbye a final time.

Kyrie noticed the people crying.

They’re so sad, Mama!  

They are crying, Mama!

I hugged her tight, and wiped my tears in her hair.

We hugged my friend, and we walked passed the casket a second time.

This time as we walked away, Kyrie only whispered, “Goodbye, Kade.  Goodbye.”

She waved, wriggled out of my arms to walk like the big kids, and then strutted behind Nathan in our line of little ducklings.

We slammed into a harsh normality as we left the emotional scene, and reality hit as the kids scrambled to not-fight over but pretty much race to a water fountain.

I counted the children (again), and wondered how did I ever get from the burial of my parents to a day of walking in the unexpected sunshine with my own children? 

How did Nathan and I ever breathe through the hard things we have endured?

How many breaths does Kyrie have left?

Except she’s having a good day, right?

I look at her, measuring her panting as she plays and comparing the color of her hands and the color of her cheeks and the white stripes that shouldn’t be around her nose and mouth.  Are her lips blue? Or is it just the lights?

Except nothing was wrong with Kade. Nothing at all.  And now he’s gone.

It’s like how my father passed so brutally and slowly from cancer, and we knew it was coming, and then my mother was killed in a car accident while we weren’t looking.  This felt like that. It happened out of nowhere, and didn’t fit any piece of any kind of future we had imagined.

I have grieved the loss of babies I have seen and held and touched but could not bury.

I have grieved the loss of other people’s children who have come and gone from my home.

I have even had to sit with the palliative care team and make funeral arrangements for my daughter who won’t die.

But I cannot imagine burying my eight year old child.

My heart is broken for my friend, and she is shattered, and her family needs you to wrap them up in tender prayers this night and in coming days.

We needed to hold the children close after these services, to touch them and muss their hair and soak in their voices the way you stand under a really hot shower when you want to cry.  

We felt sentimental, and took the children to the duck pond, where Nathan and I finally met each other in person for our first date in June five years ago.

We told them our story, and how back then on that day, we never could have imagined standing there on this day with six children hand chosen out of so many.

Our family is twice as many as you can see right now, not even counting the children you will have some day, and their children, and their children.

We told them how like Kade’s spirit is still alive, the little ones we have lost are still alive, and part of our family, and thriving as fantastically invisible brothers and sisters in a picture where you can almost see where they would be.

And we talked about what community means, and how in the wake of Kade’s passing, the community rallied around his family in the same way the community rallied around our family as we fought to keep Kyrie alive.

And we talked about how this is what makes us beautiful instead of beastly, to care well for others and be there for them authentically when they need us.

This is what makes us human: to let go of the selfish behaviors that make us monsters, to protect the choices of others so that we might enjoy freedom together, to forgive one another even when accidents happen, to unite together in support of souls in need rather than being divided by differences, and to choose love even when it hurts.

(Be) willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in…

~ Mosiah 18:9

Time moves so quickly, and our little ones are growing up so fast, and no one is promised tomorrow.

But we are promised blessings of peace and hope if we choose love.

And that builds in you a kind of joy that is real even when your heart is broken, and you know it’s because that kind of joy isn’t contingent upon circumstances.

And that’s the kind of love and hope and joy that unites a community even while they grieve.

And that’s the kind of love and hope and joy that makes a girl dance in the hallways, even when she is exhausted.

And that’s the kind of love and hope and joy that makes life beautiful, even when it can be really beastly sometimes.

Talking to Your Children About Tragedy

Recent community tragedies have touched many of us, and left us heartbroken.
Even harder still, is talking to our children about it.
Here is an article I wrote several years ago that may help, and can applied whether this recent tragedy or natural disasters or other things children hear about on the news.

Here are 10 tips for talking to your children about tragedy:

Start where they are. What your children understand about what has happened will depend on their proximity to the event, exposure to news or social media covering the event, and the responses of the adults around them. One mom kept it at her child’s level by asking her son directly what he had heard about a school shooting, then talking with him about just these things and answering only his specific questions.

Gauge your own response. Usually, if the parent stays calm then the children will also stay calm. If the parent identifies specific coping skills, the children will use them as well. A father modeled emotional expression for his son by crying after a fire destroyed a nearby home, but also finding ways to volunteer.

Acknowledge fears, but counter them. Children may worry that a shooter will come to their school, too, or jump every time there is lightning because it might mean another tornado. Verbalize those fears, but also counter them with facts. One father pointed out that school shootings are rare, and another father reminded his children that not every thunderstorm brings a tornado.

Process with other adults. Before talking to your children, process your own emotional response with other adults. If you were more directly affected, modeling healthy grieving and mourning together is appropriate and healthy. One group of moms met for breakfast every week after a school shooting, working to keep their emotional needs separate from the emotional needs of their children.

Reassure safety. Talk about safety in a neutral way or even fun way. One grandmother role played with younger children, making safety planning fun and giving them practice without making it frightening. The older children helped brainstorm escape routes, ways to call for help and safety items needed for a storm.

Follow the child’s pace. One mom let her children express themselves as they always have: playing outside, creating artwork, making music or playing games. Family dinners foster moments for good communication, and long walks or hikes give time and space for children to bring up issues they want to share. Physical movement and creative expression are excellent ways for children to process trauma, both emotionally and physiologically.

Normalize daily structure as best you can. Maintaining structure and routine as much as possible will help children feel safe and comfortable. Helping children maintain function will empower them to express their own emotions, process their own responses, and cope with the layers of feelings and thoughts they have as the world around them changes. One couple realized that funerals usually follow the death of a loved one, so they took their children with them to a funeral as a normal part of mourning. This helped the children participate in their own grieving process.

Watch for regression, but don’t expect it. Children struggling with anxiety or overwhelming emotions often regress in developmental areas. They may begin bedwetting again, or lose their toilet training or become clingy with parents. They may want to sleep with siblings or in the parents’ bed or need the nightlight like they did years ago. These are signs the child needs more help and opportunity to express her emotional response, and increased structure and normalized routine may also help. Some changes in eating and sleeping patterns, concentration levels and topic of conversation are expected and will settle down over time.

Turn off the media, even social media. It is one thing to watch the news to know the path of a storm or prepare appropriately for shelter; it’s another thing to constantly stare at repeated images of the aftermath. A single mom watched the media carefully so her family could be prepared, but after obtaining the information she needed, turned on a movie and made popcorn. This way her children were well-informed and calmly prepared, rather than anxious and in crisis mode.

Respond actively. Finding ways to help with cleanup efforts after a natural disaster may help children feel powerful and in control, making a positive contribution to their community. Delivering flowers or stuffed animals to local children affected by a school shooting helps children not involved in the tragedy find a way to respond directly to what they witnessed. Writing a note to a child displaced because of a tragedy is a way to be a friend. Volunteering at a local agency or for a church service project can help people far away from the tragedy still contribute something positive.

Children look to us for safety, comfort and modeling of healthy emotional expression. Talking with them about tragedies and teaching them how to cope are vital parts of raising them well. Helping each other is a part of mourning together, and we grieve because we loved so much.

 

Emily Christensen, Ph.D., author of Keeping Kyrie, lives with her husband in Oklahoma, where she works as a counselor and a chaplain. Their six special needs children were adopted from foster care, and you can follow their story on YouTube.com/Housewifeclass or on Instagram @housewifeclass.
Her Ph.D. is in Marriage & Family Therapy, her M.S. in Professional Counseling, her M.Div. in Pastoral Counseling, and her B.S. in Human Development, and she is pursuing a third degree in Hebrew & Jewish studies. Her blog is www.housewifeclass.com, and her email is housewifeclass@gmail.com.

Homeschool Arts

Today in art, we learned about charcoal pencils:



Anber is home now, too, starting kindergarten, she says.  So we continued her work she always does on Saturdays and days they are out of school yet.


It’s also good to be home listening to them practice!



Kirk is even figuring out piano with one hand!

I love these kids!  Barrett is even have a much better week (since I have been home, of course, so, yeah, all that is on me), and Kyrie was well enough to return to her friends at school.  I’m so glad, and having such good days is so healing for all of us.

Bat Girl

My hours of chaplaincy ended today with grief, as is often the case, but the purpose this time was making meaning and finding purpose in what is most important.

I was asked the question, “if your house was on fire, and you could only grab three things, what would you take?”

Choosing Nathan is easy enough, but that leaves two things and I have six children.

Six children and not enough arms.

Nathan, I say, and my girls and my boys.

Does that work?  Can that count? Is it cheating? Does it matter?

And if they are what is most important in my life, then when am I always leaving without them?

This season of working a job while finishing residency has been very hard on all of us.  I think getting a nanny is the only reason Nathan is actually still alive.  But throwing a new adult into the mix has stirred up the worst in all the children, and only proved to us that their attachment was healing and growing only because we were doing it all ourselves.

The good news? It means we really are making a difference.

The bad news?  Nothing really can replace that.

Even for free.

It’s the little things, as it turns out, that mean everything.  

Our relationships are built through the experiences that annoy and exhaust and frustrate us, just as much as the things that please and refresh and nurture us.

We need each other, and nothing replaces that.

So in the end, the great nanny experiment, which everyone always told us we needed, didn’t work for us at all.  It took an entire month of background checks and interviews to even find one for keeps, and then we still went through three to find one who showed up most of the time but not always.  The best time saving use was for helping with transportation,  and if we had a reliable one on time we would still use a nanny for some of that.

Our favorite, though, was just getting babysitters for going out on dates without the children.

Except they were terrible every time, so it wasn’t much fun and too high a price to pay.

So while something different may work for your family, what works for our family is just doing it on our own, however exhausting, and enjoying date nights at home for this season of young children.

Because it is true, in fact, that date nights are non-negotiable.

I learned all of this, and sorted through all of this, mostly to avoid dealing with a little girl who can’t quite stay well.  The good days are so good, but the sick days are so sick.  All that while the other five are the exact same way, except with attachment and behavior.

Regardless, my season of finishing chaplaincy is coming to a close, and my time of letting go of death is here.  I must leave the presence of my parents and return to my own family, who are very much alive.

My peace comes in aligning myself with the will of God: keeping His commandments and living according to His laws, caring First and foremost for my family, and having faith even in the grace and mercy that are part of the plan.

I had a rough day emotionally, in part because my children were struggling, in part because my husband battles depression (which he is very open about so I am not telling anything he doesn’t share himself), and in part because some days it feels like the more I try to do to help the more everyone is in crisis.

Because they don’t need me to do anything.

They just need me.

So tonight, when I had to leave for work, I threw myself into the To Do list waiting for me, and then sought out the Chapel for respite and reflection.

Except someone stomped in and whisked on all the lights and nearly blinded me.

Too much.  Too loud.  Too bright.

Story of my life.

So I slipped out and found a bench in a busy hallway, in the middle of chaos where I always seem to be, and took off my ears and sat here and wrote this until I could breathe again.

Because I can’t save the world.

I can’t even save me.

But I can be me.

But only if I breathe.

Feeling the Stomp of Life

Because I am Deaf, I feel all the things you cannot hear.

Before we had children, I felt Nathan crawl into bed with plans to talk and tangle, but now he falls into bed for safety and escape.

Before we had children, he left me slowly, begrudgingly, unwittingly.
Now he jolts alert, heart pounding, reacting to a scream I felt as something – or someone – that fell heavily to the floor… or worse, to check on our baby who doesn’t breathe while the other children stand still and unmoving.

When I steal silence in a bath of bubbles, I know which child waits for me in the hall by how they bounce, jump on the floor, lean against the shelf, bang on the door, or sticks their fingers underneath.

When we play hide and seek, and the children try to cheat by taking my ears away, I can still feel their giggles through the walls and see their hunched shapes under blankets.

So they take tinker toys and cover my eyes, which turns the game into a monster chase that sends them all squealing into the backyard.


When my blankets rustle with the tug of a toddler climbing up…

When the kitchen rattles from things knocked down by a preschool dancer…

When the playroom rumbles with the tumbling of Lincoln logs…

When the carpet feels like the pat-pat-thump of a one weak-legged child trying to walk our balance beam…

When the soccer ball comes soaring through the back door, past my shoulder, and bounces off the table…

When little handles comb fingers through my hair pulled into makeshift ponytails…

When my eternal companions plops down playfully instead of collapsing…

That feels like a good day, and I am glad to be home, even for a little while.

Sick Girl

This goofy girl was pretending to feel some better today, but still has a fever so couldn’t go to church and can’t go to school tomorrow.  But we got to play together for a little while!  She is trying!




Kyrie’s Kids

What we don’t talk about are all the children that couldn’t stay with us.

What we don’t talk about are all the times we said no.

What we don’t talk about is the little girl with multiple handicaps that we were first “offered” when we very first started fostering, who passed away before our home had the paperwork to get going.

What we don’t talk about is the little baby girl who was born with half a heart, whose doctors called us a year ago to see if we could adopt her before she died.

What we don’t talk about is the little baby boy we got called about this week, the one who was born with a too small head and no folds in his brain.

What we don’t talk about are all the ghosts of faces we see that we cannot help.

We cannot help them because our house is full.

We cannot help them because we are mortal, and exhausted.

We cannot help them because the special needs of our own children are already so expensive.

We cannot help them because our time is spent earning money to care for these children, and our free time is spent playing with the little ones we made promises to already.

We cannot help them because there is just me and Nathan, and sometimes a nanny, and everyone in the community who helped us so much is about tired of rescuing us because we tried to rescue these.

We cannot help them because, because, because.

Except we can.

We don’t need to adopt every single baby in the world.

We don’t need to bring home every single medical fragile child we encounter.

We don’t need to keep every single little one the rest of the world rejects.

But we do need to do something.

There should be a safe place that an abandoned infant could go to die, instead of dying alone in the hospital.

There should be a safe place that a medically fragile child could be properly cared for until a brave family could be found.

There should be a safe place that sick children who are “difficult to place” could go to receive therapy and be stimulated and receive nurturing and love while waiting for their forever families, instead of being stuck in the hospital by default, sometimes for years.

That’s what we can do, even when we can’t be a family for every single one, we could be a place.

We can use our experiences from Seven Lively Arts, our experiences from fostering, our parenting skills, our newly gained medical skills, our fantabulous resources of excellent therapists and nurses and doctors, and all the contacts we have gained through the book and through advocating these recent years and three houses when we only need to live in one…. all of it suddenly makes sense.

All of these random pieces that have slowly pulled together over time, and then exponential-ized since the book, and the platform responsibility we now have, plus new secret warriors who have the missing pieces I needed, and suddenly it’s all coming together.

We are going to start an agency, for group homes for medically fragile children.

I’m not kidding.

We are going to call it Kyrie’s Kids.

That’s what we are going to do.  I already have the paperwork from the state to fill out, and the contacts I need, and the friends who are willing to help and full of ideas, and resources to get started, and plans to make as soon as Nathan wakes up and finds out about all this in the morning.

But it’s happening, you guys.

We’re opening a group home.

Mom Visits

While Kyrie was being sick, and Nathan was playing violin at a funeral, the second graders were in town for bio-mom visits.

Kirk got to have lunch with his mom:


And we tracked down Mary’s mom, who is often homeless and whom she hasn’t seen in over a year, but we managed to catch her walking around downtown to a nearby park:


She offered to buy our Bartlesville house for half a million dollars.

We told her that was a deal.  SOLD!

It was rough seeing Mary’s mom, and what addiction can do.  She showed Mary some shiny jewelry and put something sparkly in her hair.  Mary responded by asking her why she steals things with a boyfriend who hurts her, instead of getting a job to buy some new teeth.

Sigh.

But she says she is trying, and getting help from relatives, and I hope it is true.

Kirk’s mom seems to be doing great!  She is clean and sober and holding down a job, and we are so proud of her.  They enjoyed ordering their lunch from her, which the kids thought was very cool, and I hope the hugs will brighten Kirk’s spirits.

We could not have done today without the help of our nanny,  Shawn, and I am so grateful.