March was a great month as baseball got underway, the weather warmed up, we continued finding our groove as a family of 7, and it ended with spring break.
Bryson is playing his last year of coach pitch 7&8’s baseball. He started working one-on-one with a local baseball trainer once a week during March and with just a few sessions, he has made great improvements. His hand-eye coordination and his swing have gotten so much better. His team placed 2nd in our pre-season tournament! Bryson played in the outfield and ended up batting several runs in at the plate. I was so proud of him that I totally teared up. I knew how bad he wanted to get some hits so when it started clicking for him, I was over the moon. We played our first 2 games of pool play on a Friday night. The games were rained out that Saturday, so the tournament picked back up the following Friday. Our first game was at 5PM and we finally ended our fifth and final game at 12:30AM on Saturday. The boys played 5 games in about 7 hours and they were so tired! Our family of 7 plus Pop Stoney stayed for the entire tournament and I don’t think I have ever witnessed 5 kids fall asleep as quickly as I did when we got home at 1AM Saturday. It reminded me of my days playing in endless softball tournaments.
March included a lot of fishing for the boys. I think they fished just about every weekend and sometimes Saturday and Sunday. We have a freezer full of fish waiting on a hot summer day fish fry with the family. I sat the fishing trips out either to catch a break from all the kids or hanging back with Brynlee, but I hope to go sometime this spring.
The last week of March was our teens’ spring break. We have a beach trip planned next week so we didn’t go anywhere. They instead chose to work with Justin and earn some extra money. Justin took off early Thursday so we could take them to The Jump Park in Chattanooga and to eat at Fuji for our niece’s birthday afterwards. We worked a little bit of shopping in too, but nearly enough for me! The Jump Park wore all 5 of the kids out and bedtime was easy that night.
I continued my self-care practices in March by getting my first ever microdermabrasion treatment and facial. I’ve lost almost 50lbs and am making an effort to take care of my skin and body. I enjoyed my first spa experience and I hope that as I continue to go (I scheduled 2 more treatments) I’ll learn how to shut off my mind and relax completely. Every “first” gets my anxiety up and even a relaxing spa treatment can’t change that. I think I’ll be able to relax more now that I know what to expect.
We had our first foster care training class in March as well. That “first” made my anxiety go through the roof. It was such a hard day for me as I was a bundle of nerves which leads to stomach and headaches for me. It wasn’t bad once I was there, just like I knew it wouldn’t be, but I couldn’t convince my brain of that. We had to introduce ourselves which meant speaking in front of everyone and that is super terrifying for me, but Justin began our introduction and I kind of jumped in. I survived and all is well.
We’ve been foster parents for over 12 weeks now. It’s going well. A growing family always comes with challenges and then teens come with their own set of challenges, but overall everyone had adjusted as well or better than expected. Parenting teens is so much more complicated than parenting little ones, that is for sure. There are countless things to worry about especially since I faced the loss of Kolby at 16. We have one teen who will turn 16 soon and my mama heart is wrestling with that fact. Foster care is hard and there is this delicate balance of grace and discipline that comes with parenting teens you haven’t raised. It’s worth it and I wouldn’t change our decision for anything.
Looking forward to April, Justin & I will celebrate our birthdays. This will be Justin’s last year in his twenties, but he still looks 18 so that’s neither here nor there. Family photos are scheduled this weekend. We head to Destin next week with Justin’s family (over 20 of us) to celebrate birthdays and spend some time together. We haven’t saw them in about 6 months because we were too sick to spend Thanksgiving with them. Justin and I will attend 3 more foster care training classes this month. We are set to finish our training in June. This is our teens’ last full month of school as they finish up the school year in May.
Another thing that I am beyond excited about is that we’ll be bringing home one of those sweet boys above at the end of April. I have struggled with the loss of my two Pekingese dogs since I found out they were killed in 2015. I’ve come a long way in my healing, but not being able to tell my babies of 15 years good-bye and having them ripped from my life the way they were was absolutely devastating for me. It’s something I will never understand and I’ve struggled with anger and hurt. For about 6 months now, I’ve wanted to bring a new puppy into our home and I finally put a deposit down after recognizing this is just another step in my healing process. We should get to pick out our Cavapoo pup soon and I already have the perfect name for him. I can’t wait to bring him home later this month!
Happy April! We attended our first foster training class of the month last night and wow, talk about information overload. So much information. We are gearing up for our first regular season baseball game tonight with another following later this week. I’m looking forward to cheering on our #20!