Many hands make light work! Feeling the push today to organize all the winter gear and bins that had to come up stairs with the flooding in the basement. There is a huge pile in the guest room and I can feel it sitting there calling me to get organized! After inspecting the floor I realized why Sheff thought it was funny I was happy to see under the carpet, it was not tile but linoleum:) SO on the super hot day this week when we had four playmates over I had the kids help pull up the linoleum. The water dissolved most of the glue so it pulled up easily and the kids did most of the floor. Then Sheff bagged the tile and is sanding the floor so we can paint it. The project (along with my new laundry room) will be a work in progress but it was wonderful to have so many kids really helping!
Today as we celebrate Veterans day, I wanted to talk to the kids about both what it means to serve and how we can help our troops. Having family serve in the military can be a source of fear and pride. The kids do not have immediate family abroad but have heard from their Grandfathers and family friends about both war and leadership serving in the armed forces. We made a list of what WE could do from home. ~The kids' school has a program to send care packages to the troops. Shop, Ship and Share has lists of helpful things to buy and send to the troops. We got beef jerky, sunflower seeds and baby wipes for the kids to bring in to school for the program. Many locations participate, google to find locally! http://www.minnesotanationalguard.org/press_room/e-zine/articles/index.php?item=4518 ~ http://www.operationgratitude.com Check out for more ideas and programs happening to support our troops. ~Sending Halloween Candy to the troops, google the closest locations. We found a
We welcomed eight children into our home between March 2020 and today, we have had twenty five children placed as foster children since 2015, and an additional five as respite placements. These numbers look so bland on paper. Thirty children have been part of our daily living in the last six years, we have nine of our own children. In putting some thoughts on paper about what these numbers mean, it boils down to acceptance and hard work. If anyone is new to the Otis family speak, "our own" is a loaded term. We have five biological children and four adopted children. Early on one of our sons told us the power of the question "which ones are your own?" And the fact that I answered without hesitation all those years ago, "they are all our children" from birth or adoption, feeling fully accepted and claimed has become the way we walk in this family. This does not take away the respect and open conversation about birth families, first families and sacrifice. F
Where we were in March and where we are today has evolved. Sure there are great things, we all feel some of those. More time together, slower pace, perspective and pause. The flip side can be really painful. Isolation, feeling underwater, fear of the future, disconnection to loved ones and the list goes on. Yesterday after a day that had foster care lows, disconnection from our oldest that I know I am not managing well, and frozen pizzas (with lots of jalapeños) for dinner, we needed a re boot. As a family we brainstormed some ideas to get us out of the "pandemic slump" that we have fallen into. We re wrote the chore chart to update days that work for the 7 living at home, we deep cleaned seasonal spaces to get out winter gear for skating, sledding and indoor space for skateboarding. We sorted things to donate and recycle. We washed and folded all the left over items that were used for our foster daughter that left, said a prayer over the pile, and put them in a bin. We too
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