California Dreamin’

How can it be December already? It’s true what they say, that time only goes faster as you get older. I remember as kids when we would make our Christmas lists and then wait forever for Christmas to come. Now it speeds by so quickly one could miss it completely if not paying close attention!

So even though this vacation was months ago… it feels like it just happened. After my sister’s wedding this past June, we had a few days to enjoy California before having to return home. I was super excited for the chance for A to get to experience some of the places and things I enjoyed as a kid.

Day 1: We headed out to the neighborhood where I grew up. A wasn’t overly impressed with knowing where I lived as a kid. But he sure did enjoy time playing around the lake. We must have rode our bike to and around that lake hundreds of times over the years.

When we were kids mom was constantly telling us to “appreciate the mountains.” She had been known to pull off to the side of the road on multiple occasions to make us stare at them. She would tell us some day we wouldn’t live where there were mountains and we would miss them. We thought she was nuts! She was right.


We also got to take A to Ruby’s. He thought it was crazy awesome that we ate on the roof of the restaurant. And he was a huge fan of the idea of ordering a milkshake with lunch!


Day 2: We headed off to San Diego and made our first stop at Seal Beach, which is always a fun stop.


We spent day on Coronado Island. It’s funny that when I asked A his favorite part of the day, his answer was playing at this park! So funny, since we could go to a park any day… but glad he was able to enjoy himself.


We ended the day taking in the sunset off the coast. A was crazy for the sand and water. We had just changed him into warmer clothes as the evening was getting chilly. He was so soaked and dirty just a few minutes later. He sure loves the beach!


Day 3: We spent the day doing touristy things just the three of us. We took A to see the Hollywood sign in the hills. He has taken note of it in movies since then and remembers being there, so that makes it worth drive!


We also got Jesse his Pink’s hot dog he had been waiting for since the last time we visited California. A enjoyed his hot dog, but was way more impressed with the firefighters who sat down at the table right next to us to eat their lunch. He stared at them and asked us questions about them the whole time. They were nice enough to say hi to him and ask his name. And when we left lunch… the fire truck was parked out front. This was definitely A’s favorite part of Hollywood. Again, so funny what makes a special memory in his mind.


And we still had time to take in some perfect California sunshine before we had to leave the next morning.

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And one last huge hotel breakfast too. A was a big fan of having all these breakfast choices, but then… who isn’t?

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After being quite nervous about the airplane ride on the way out there, A had it all figured out for the way home. This being our first time flying with him, I was so relieved that he did so well traveling. He made sure to take full advantage on the airline drinks and snacks… he just soaked in the entire experience. It’s so fun to watch him enjoy new things when he has no expectation of how it should go.

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Well, that’s our summer vacation. A has already been asking quite frequently when we can plan our next vacation. I’m ready too!

Schedule: All The Things

We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving week off of school! I was somewhat worried about how I would fill all the extra time and keep A entertained and busy like he has become used to at preschool each morning. But… the time just flew by! He had two requests for his week of vacation from school. He asked for a play day at Nana’s house and a mall day. We fit in both, so he was a happy boy!

He is ready to be back at school though. He asked me the other day why he doesn’t go see his friends anymore. Still having no real concept of time, I think he feels it has been a really long time since his last school day. I’m glad he is enjoying it so much. I’m ready for my mornings to myself again to get caught up on my work!


This coming week will feel packed full with already having scheduled two appointments for ourselves. Jesse is busy with final preparations for an upcoming speaking engagement, which means he may have some late nights.

But then… we are foster parents, which means we don’t always have control over our own schedule. I am thankful that (at the moment) most of our foster care related workers are easy to get along with. We have regularly scheduled visits from the therapist, case worker, guardian, and our licensing worker. They all have different lengths of time between required visits to our home. Usually, they end up being spread out throughout the month. However, occasionally all the visits end up being due at the same time.

This is one of those weeks. So, we will have each of these workers in our home at some point this week. It still makes A go a little crazy when so many workers want to ask him so many questions… and it’s even worse when all the visits are back to back like this. But, on the bright side, we should be done with state required visitors for while after this week!

Blessed Chaos by Ashley Wells

chaos Being foster parents is the simultaneously the best and the most difficult thing Jesse and I have done together. In total, we have loved and cared for eighteen children. Some only stayed one night and some stayed months. We have learned so much from each one of the children we’ve had in our home.

Even though we went through foster parent training with a fantastic instructor, it’s hard to ever really be prepared for how much “blessed chaos” can arrive in your home instantly. In her book, Ashley Wells, does a great job describing what day to day life can look like when you are involved in the foster care system. My husband and I could so easily relate to many of the situations she shared about in her story. I love how open and honest she is with her struggles and how she and her family had to work through them.

Back when we were dreaming of our first foster child placement we were busy decorating bedrooms and buying clothes and toys. We were thinking about how we would do as first-time parents to the child who happened to need our care and home. And although we learned about trauma and the behaviors that we might expect with a child coming from a traumatic background, that wasn’t in the front of our minds as we accepted the call for our first little boy.

On top of the parenting aspect of foster care, which every new parent deals with, we were also trying to figure out what was normal kid behavior and what was traumatized kid behavior. Then we also had to learn to deal with the constant flow of licensing workers, case managers, guardians, and therapists coming to our home… sometimes unannounced, as required. And then there are also extra appointments, family visits, staffings, and court dates to attend.

I appreciate and was encouraged by the honesty in Ashley’s writing about just how crazy this foster care life is. At times I felt like I could have reading my own story. I would highly recommend Blessed Chaos to those involved in foster-adoption or those considering or just starting out on their foster care journey. It would be a great read for friends and family wondering what it’s really like to have children brought to your door and have to suddenly learn how to best care for them.

I’m honored to have received a copy of this book and to be able to recommend it as a great read. Get your copy of Blessed Chaos today!