Monday, February 11, 2013

answering the call: fostercare

I realized the other day that it's been awhile since we've both been on here. I got a sweet email from Dad today..very simple: "Hey girls, I really enjoy reading your blog. Don't give up on it....Love you, Dad." Although Instagram has become my "go to" source for quick updates of way too many people/friends, his was a sweet little reminder of how stories need to be told along with pictures sometimes. So for those of our friends that don't know...Sam and I became official Foster Care Parents in December! We were so excited to make it part of our Christmas card this year.

-The Front-

-The Inside-

It may look like a "pregnancy" announcement at first glance, but it's not. We trust that God has a reason that is not the case for us right now and I hope to share more of that struggle in the posts to come. But in many ways over the last year preparing for this new journey to care for kids that aren't our "own" has felt a little like what I'd imagine a "pregnancy" to feel like: the anticipation, the preparation, etc. 

Sam and I chose to get licensed through a local Christian agency called "Lifeline" and we cannot say enough good things about them. The classes took 10 weeks, meeting once a week for 3-4 hours. There were many weeks that I was wondering what the heck we were doing there. Even in the midst of a lot of mixed emotions, I felt the Lord nudging us to complete the classes, and I'm so thankful for that. Fast forward through two home inspections in the summer, multiple interviews with our sweet caseworker, fingerprints (they came back clear, whew!)background checks, and a pile of paperwork, our official license came through the day I drove home for the Christmas holidays....I felt so relieved that a year long goal had finally been reached!

 A very special thanks to Lauren Tuggle, with jlaurenphotography for taking these photos.

 As a designer, one of the things I've always looked forward to when it comes to "babies" is the nursery. Yet, I was a little hesitant at first to really put a lot of effort into it because it wasn't the nursery for "our" first baby, like I'd always imagined it woud be. Technically all we needed to pass our home inspection was a crib and an "evacuation plan." (Love that, especially since most of the kids we will keep will be too young to read:) But, in pure "Whitney" fashion, it didn't take me long to start gathering ideas, sketching up the room, and scouring town to find the best deals possible to make the nursery into a room we would love to be in, and a place of genuine rest for the kiddos we'd eventually take care of.

After several months, lots of trips all over Birmingham, and many helping hands (thank you hubby), we were able to complete the nursery for our final home study (evacuation plan and all). I cannot thank my parents and in-laws enough for their help putting this room together, as well as the dear friends who've donated toys, and clothes. I love thinking about the hours spent in this room, praying for the little hands and hearts that would occupy it. 

The Foster care Nursery:

My $100 craigslist find, repainted, new hardware.

 Mine and/or Allie's baby shoes
 My Dad's rocking chair

 A sweet anonymous friend had these curtains made for me:)

Set of 3 animal prints-a $15 thrift store find!

 I know this room won't stay this clean, but I sure like it when it is! Friends, we'd love your prayers as we have already begun keeping little kiddos on the weekend and for short-term care! We've had soo much fun already! Man is it exhausting though! More stories to come!



Mark 9:35

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wings and Waves

Last week I was able to take a much need day and a half off work and join Mom and Dad on their way down to Jacksonville for the weekend. I really didn't think it would work out for me to go with them since it was such short notice, but I am so glad it did. I was able to surprise Mom on Thursday afternoon...she didn't know that Dad had talked to me about going on the trip! She was super surprised...and a little confused as to how I was standing in the kitchen when she thought I was at work. (We love surprises don't we Al:)

Charlie, Aunt Karen's cat is cuddle bug. He slept with me Thursday night.

We packed up and made the 5 hour drive from Dothan to Jacksonville, FL to visit with Uncle Dennis and Aunt Karen for a night. I love going to see them...they are so welcoming.

Friday, we packed up and headed to Daytona for the rest of the weekend. The girls made a day out of it and stopped at the outlets. Dad only lasted about an hour I think before he unloaded his bike off the trailer and headed over to visit with Uncle Cass. Shopping is not his idea of "relaxation."

We made it to Uncle Cass and Aunt Mary Sharon's condo Friday afternoon just as the sun was setting! It was beautiful to be right on the beach again! It was hard to believe that the last time I was there was right after Sam and I got married almost 4 years ago.

These are the views from Mary Sharon and Cass's condo....we had great October weather.

 Mary Sharon and Cass cooked for us both Friday and Saturday night. It was restaurant quality gourmet in my book. The steaks were amazing!

The highlight of the weekend was going to the Waves and Wings Air Show put on by Embry-Riddle University, where Uncle Cass teaches. He has apparently told Dad to come to this for years, and I am so glad I got to tag along. The show was incredible. I am generally fascinated with planes, so to see these kinds of planes up close and personal was a treat.

The Canadian Air Force

Mom and Mary Sharon

An Air Force Thunderbird making a slow pass
The Thunderbirds were most definitely my favorite. The sound they carry is phenomenal....The funny part is that the first time a Thunderbird passed by I thought for a split second, "wow. these jets are incredibly quiet......" WHHHHOOOOOOOM. The sound hits my ears and a I barely have time to cover them. It was awesome. I felt like I was standing next to a subwoofer.

Sunset watching with Dad
Breakfast on the pier with Dad at Crabby Joe's
Overall the weekend was a lot of fun. Minus Dad's truck breaking down and delaying our trip back to Dothan for about 5 hours. I didn't get home until 1 a.m. and drove through the worst thunderstorm Birmingham has probably seen in months. Needless to say it was a rough day on Sunday. But, spending time with the parents for a few days was worth it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A trip to the zoo

Al! Hope you are doing well this week and enjoying some nice weather! We are currently in the midst of a pre-fall "cool" front (not cold front, it's not cold yet), and it feels amazing!! Hopefully, it will continue to just get cooler-we are ready for it!

So, we have traveled to visit both parents the last two weekends. Last week we went to Atlanta for Labor day weekend and had a great time. Sunday, I got an itching to go do something a little more adventurous than my "normal" 3 hour Sunday afternoon nap since we usually don't take advantage of being in Atlanta when we're there. I remembered that you had taken a trip to the Wild Safari Adventure somewhere in GA, but I figured out that it is in La Grange...way too far away for an afternoon trip. So, we opted for the Atlanta Zoo instead since it was right down town. (And when I say, "right down town," I mean you could probably see into the zoo from some of the front porches directly across from the zoo parking lot...I would still seriously consider living there though.)

I was reminded how huge elephants are again.

I think it is safe to say our favorites were the chimps and gorillas. They were fascinating to watch
and very humorous. I really enjoyed the ones that had some attitude. It felt like they knew 
we were watching them and were just giving us some attitude. 

Excuse my all naturale look...unlike the past few days here, it was soo hot that day-
 the hair went up in seconds. 

Notice Mr. Poser straight above. 

There were a couple really young baby chimps, and the female would not
let them out of her sight. She held on to the older baby, by the leg, for what seemed like
forever, so he wouldn't run away before they got their afternoon snack. 

A Red Panda just chillin' in the trees.

This is a little hard to see, but it's a family of Otters all waking up from a nap. I watched almost all
of them yawn one right after the other. It was precious. 

This was one of my favorite stops of the day! You remember when I was in Chengdu, China back in 2007? Well these pandas are from the same zoo that I visited that summer. I might have even held one of their siblings. I was so excited to see one up close, even if behind glass. Would have taken him right on home if that wasn't illegal.


Sam was actually there with me:) Here he is feeding some birds. They were everywhere.

Leave it to my 6'-4" hubby to reach these guys. 

Proof we were both there.

Fast forward to this past weekend. We made a quick trip home to visit Mom and Dad, and see two very important people:) It worked out that Ashley was in town, and I've been begging her and Kate to visit me, so she brought Kate over to see us Saturday morning and we had a great time playing and talking! Kate is beautiful and is getting so big!! 

 We also got to see this guy for a little bit over the weekend! Getting taller it seems every visit, but he is doing great at school!

Well! That's a quick look at what we've been up to Al! Let me know what's going on over there!

Love you,