Friday, December 28, 2018

My Long Hiatus

Hello, Friends.

It's been a long time.  I have missed being able to sit down and write.  Even if I found the time to do so, I was afraid it would be all negative.  Instead of hashing out my feelings on here, I've taken a liking to food and have deemed myself an emotional eater.  The lbs on the scale can concur.

It was back in mid-July that we found out that Baby J's mom was expecting another baby in October.  Within days we were also told we could take in a second foster child because our oldest child, Billy, had turned 18.

From July until October we thought of nothing else.

What to do.  What to do.

On the bright side, both Bill and I were on the same page of confusion.  It wasn't like one of us was pushing to take in the new baby and the other one of us wanted nothing to do with it.  We both knew the pros and cons.

We wanted Baby J to have her sibling with her.  One who would be close in age; a playmate to grow up with if she were to stay with us.

On the other hand, we just had 11 months of not sleeping thru the night. We feel it in our bones everyday that we aren't as young as we used to be and it is taking a toll. We also knew, after experiencing it twice with our own kids, that having 2 babies so close in age is....well, a nightmare.

My mind would not relax in those months between July and October and I was beside myself emotionally.  I was under the impression that there was only one way to look at the situation.

Take the new baby: Good Person
Don't take the new baby: Bad Person

We met with a priest friend who, thankfully, put that terrible thought to rest.  From there we were able to look at things more objectively.  Once the end of October came, we made a decision:  We would be a back-up to another foster parent who was willing to take the new baby.

Fast forward one week - mom goes into labor, the call from the county caseworker comes, and I tell her, "We will be a back-up; go ahead and call the other foster mom."

In that hour that followed all I could feel was a terrible hurt in my heart that we had made the wrong decision.  We called back and said "We will take him."

On October 29th at just 3 days old, Baby JJ came to us. We feel that he is where he needs to be.  The adjustment has been difficult.  I shed a lot of tears.  It is HARD everyday.  When they are awake at the same time all my mind can think is, "This is the hardest thing I have ever done."  And then I think what a brat I am complaining that this is hard.  But still....

There is no real update on what will happen to either Baby J or JJ.  Their endings will most likely be different, unless they end up with us, which is unlikely.  The system is an ugly place; you hear that all the time and it is true.

I worry about my own kids.  This has been the most selfless act on their part, thrust upon them by me.  My guilt is real.  And hard to bear.  But they are championing this cross like you wouldn't believe. I pray when it's all said and done, that they will come out on top of this with more fulfillment than regret.

And I can't forget the man of the house.  By my side every step of the way. Always ready to do the right thing, even if it means doing something that might break his own heart. He fights for the underdog, whoever that may be at the, the babies, even their mom--who is a victim of circumstance and not a bad person.

Count your blessings.

I hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis.  However, showering must come first 😉 I am on Instagram now so please feel free to follow me at kathleensweeney5.  There I post some family happenings with heart emojis that hide the beautiful faces of J and JJ, which makes me sad. I wish you could see how cute they really are.

I wish you much love and happiness in the New Year and I hope to be back soon.....

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


It has been so long since my last post.  I am happy to report we are all doing well.
There's so much going on around here so I think it's best to do quick post for each person in the house, starting with--

Billy, the Third.

This guy turned 18 in May.  Crazy, isn't it?  To think he was only 11 when I started blogging.

Turning 18 made him eligible to vote, too!  And he was happy to do so.

Also in May was the prom.  The junior and senior prom is combined and it coincided with the 8th grade farewell dance.  Here are the 3 oldest.  Busy night, but fun.

Billy went to the prom with his friend and coworker.  They had fun.  Pictures were taken outside the venue, which happened to be at Bethlehem Steel.  Cool backdrop in pictures other than mine that only seem to capture random people in the background.

The biggest event was Billy's graduation!!

What an accomplishment.  For ALL of us.  *ahem*

Graduation was wonderful.  I loved every minute of it.

A new tradition was started this year at our elementary school.  The graduating seniors were invited back to walk the hall with the 5th graders who are headed to middle school next year.
(This is the school where I am an aide and Matt is a student.)

Billy's 3rd grade teacher

Billy's 2nd grade teacher (and Matt's 1st grade teacher)
We recently took Billy to Villanova University for a weekend retreat for incoming freshmen.
Most families dropped their kids at the front door.  But we embarrassed Billy by walking him to his dorm room.

Billy is currently finishing up his last few weeks working at Rita's Water Ice while simultaneously learning to transition to become a Midshipman 4th Class. There's a lot to learn and memorize.  He begins the college program for Navy ROTC in August.

We are all excited to see what the future holds for this guy.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Inductions, Sacraments, and Birthdays, Oh My

Another snow day, another blog post.

I gotta be honest.  Last week started out really tough.  On Monday I was dreading the week ahead.  There was so much on the calendar and Bill was away for a few days and I just felt completely overwhelmed.  It's funny, when you have a baby in the house, your schedule takes an ugly not-able-to-get-much-accomplished- kind of tone to it.  And I don't mean funny-ha-ha.
But when Tuesday came and I'm sitting at work (actually, standing because my job is lunch and recess duty, so I don't sit) I had this A-HA moment. 

Everything I had going on was GOOD stuff. What was I freaking out about?  Wait until you see what the week was like below.  I have to say though, the change I had from one day to the next can't just be about having an attitude adjustment. It can't be that simple. It must have a lot to do with hormones, amiright?  And that's all I have to say about that because my brothers read this blog and they might get weird-ed out about this revelation I had. 

So, let's continue on to the greatness of the week.

Tuesday: Ann's induction into the National Junior Honor Society.

Ann came home last month with a letter saying she was being considered for the NJHS.  She needed to fill out multiple forms about her service, character, leadership, and citizenship accomplishments.  It was pretty straightforward.  She debated about whether or not she wanted to actually be a part of it.  I think it was her lazy side not really wanting to fill out the forms.  We forced encouraged her to do it because there are certain opportunities in life that you just don't turn down.  She handed it in and found out soon after she had been accepted.

The ceremony and reception was really nice.
I could tell she was proud of herself. One more notch on the confidence scale for her.  Bill was away unfortunately, and Mary had too much homework, but I forced encouraged the rest of the kids to go.

Thursday: Tommy's Confirmation!

He is now fully initiated!
Funny story.  I had not ordered a red robe for him to wear because I figured he would just use Billy's old one.  I hung it up the weekend prior to help get the wrinkles out.  The day before Confirmation Mary says, "You know that the size for that robe says 5'3-5'5", right?" (Tommy is about 5'10") I hadn't realized that but I figured it would be fine, maybe just a tad bit short.  So I nonchalantly ask Tommy to go try it on.  Oh my word....the sleeves were up to his elbows and the hem was near his knees!!  I scrambled to text everyone I knew who had sons that might be able to lend me one of theirs. In the end, a friend had one to give me and she dropped it off in the nic of time!  You might say the Holy Spirit was looking out for us!

Thomas Andrew Peter
 Billy was his sponsor and did a great job.

Tommy asked for a low-key and xbox.  We added cake so it would feel like a celebration.

Friday:  Ann's 13th birthday!

My little girl is now a teenager.  We did morning doughnuts before school.  After school she and Tommy had to go to their Jazz Band competition. Bill and I were able to head over to watch them perform. 
Ann holding one of their awards
(a special shout-out to my friend Heather who manages to get great pics of my kids and sends them to me!)

We didn't get home until 11pm that night but we managed to squeeze in some ice cream cake to celebrate Ann before bed.

The next day, Ann had some friends over to watch a movie and have pizza and cake. I neglected to take pictures.  But Ann had gotten a Polaroid camera as a gift (so cool, so retro) so we took a picture for each kid to take home.  This was a picture of the one Ann kept for herself.  (she really was happy, just a bad pic of
her 😏)

The rest of the weekend was spent doing social stuff with our parish retreat family.  Lots of baking, gatherings, and masses but definitely one of my favorite weekends of the year.  Bill and I went on our parish retreat 10 years ago and it was life-changing.  We have the best parish ever!

I'm so glad to have another snow day to sit back and document the good week we had. 

Signing off to spend it with my 7 favorite peeps. 

Happy Snow Day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Trust Or Bust

"I really should update my blog" has been a recurring thought in my head for a couple of months now.

Last week the stress was high for me.  I had a court date scheduled that I had been anxious about for 3 months.  We had the kids say goodbye to baby Jackie before they left for school - "just in case."

Well, we all returned home here that day.  But something changed.  What I thought might be a goodbye to our girl has ended up being more time with her than we originally thought.  We will still move along with the plan for reunification with Mom because that is what we are supposed to do. We will keep up with the weekly parental visits, sporadic court dates, bi-weekly home visits from our foster agency and monthly visits from the county caseworker.

None of this is a surprise to me. I read all about it before we jumped in.

But now that we are living it....Wow.  It's tough.  I want to know how it all ends.  NOW!  I want to know where my heart is going to be when it is all said and done.*

On a much happier note, we are in love with this little one and that is exactly what she needs right now. Surprisingly, I think she is what we all needed as well.

It took Tommy 3 months to hold her.  We had to blackmail him.  "No Xbox until you hold her".  It worked.  The joy the rest of the kids had the first time he held her was a moment I won't ever forget.
Now I catch him picking her up, making silly faces, and sometimes just staring at her.

Tommy holds Baby J for the first time
Then there's times when I walk in the room to see something like this:

 The girls have been a huge help, saving my sanity at times.
diaper-changing :)

And last, there is no other person I'd rather be on this journey with than Bill.  He not only helps so much with what needs to be done, but he is my rock.  He always puts things into perspective.  He is never selfish, always thinks of others....especially the "least of these".  He loves baby J like his own and reminds me that I need to let my guard down as well.  So now I am ALL IN.

A good friend sent me the link to this blog post by foster mom Meg Duerksen.  Oh my goodness. It is so good and is an amazing post with similarities to our own story.   But my biggest take-away was when she wrote the following:

*the “ending” is unknown and i wrestle with the not knowing.
but you know what?  the “ending” is unknown for ALL of us.
we fool ourselves into thinking we know what’s going to happen with our families.
we have an illusion of control but nothing is certain.
so i pray about all of it.
it’s all in God’s hands.  He already knows about all of it.  He knows.

Yes, YES!!

My mother always used to say, "Worry is a useless emotion."  And she was right because it really is all in God's hands. He's got everything under control.  And that gives us the courage to do what we need to do, even if it scares us.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Old Year Happenings

I'm sitting here on this glorious snow day.  We are off from school and work.  Even Dad has made it home early.  The girls graciously have played with the baby a lot and I just finished taking down most of the Christmas stuff.  (The Wise Men told me it was okay - just this once)  The older boys had to go up to church to help shovel.  (They're loving the fact that I signed them up for that job )  But aside from that, it's a cuddle up, pj's on kind of day.

I think the biggest happenings in the house is this incredible, awesome news.  Here is Billy's tweet about it.

A dream of his since 2nd grade.  And now my dream is to win the lottery.  Ha! 

Another exciting thing on the Billy front is that he finally got his license.

 It's been a good couple of weeks for this guy.

In other news,
-Mary, Tommy, and Ann had many concert performances between the 5 ensembles they play for.  -Matthew, Tommy, and Billy have all started basketball.
-Tommy and Ann are about to start stage crew for the school play. 
-Billy and Mary are doing winter track.
-Mom has filled her gas tank a record number of times.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving with my side of the family.

Grown up table

Kid table
My dad and brothers

Mary taller than mom.

Sister in law Kathy/awesome cook & host

Mary with Godmother, Aunt Linda

We also had a wonderful Christmas!

New Year's Eve 2017.  Bill was helping to keep NYC safe while the rest of us hung out at home with Uncle John and cousin Johnny and stayed warm.
7 degrees
And that's a wrap for 2017.

Happy New Year!!