Apple Picking & a New Norm.

I’m having kind of a weird phase right now…there’s so much to do to finish our homestudy before our final walk through in a few weeks, yet I find myself wanting to really be present with our family and spend a lot of time just being together without really accomplishing something. Or the things I really want to do are totally not contributing to the list of foster parent things I need to get done. It’s like those last few months before you have your first baby…you know that things will never be the same after the baby arrives so you’re really hanging onto your time with your husband. It’s not that things are worse after a life change like that, just different.

During our foster parenting weekend last weekend, the presenters mentioned the same thing. When you become foster parents, you are signing up for a “new norm” in your family. I don’t have any idea how things will look in our lives three weeks from now, but I know for sure that they will look different, and will probably never be the same again.

So as I accomplish one thing on my “to do before foster kiddos” list, editing all of my photos from the past two months, I’m going to post as many as I can here and spend some time reflecting on our lives now. I want to remember these feelings and know that I cherished these days with my two boys as best I could. To know that I wasn’t taking it all for granted, but that I was embracing the moments that God gave to me.

With that thought, we went apple picking.

I’ve always wanted to take our family apple picking, so when some lunch plans fell through last Saturday we were able to take an impromptu trip to the mountains to pick apples. It was not ideal, but it was definitely our “normal” these days. The rollercoasters of emotions with little ones is always interesting. You never know who is going to embrace the outing and who is going to complain the whole time. We usually have one of each. This time we took a friend and he was the most cheerful of the apple pickers, while Jake played the role of complainer and Tyler vacillated between the two. Normal. I’m thankful to my mom who taught me that my own experience doesn’t have to be based on the experience of my kids. Just because Jake was miserable didn’t mean that I had to be. Greg is learning this too, so we really enjoyed our time up there, despite the drama of a six year old.

Obviously, not every moment was misery for Jake. It was a bit crowded, but once we were in the orchards it didn’t seem bad. It wasn’t too hot and we picked and explored and walked and ate apples in the shade and ran through the orchard and used funny basket things to pick the higher up fruits. It was a good outing. It was beautiful up there. I got to take my coveted apple picking pictures. We brought home a half bushel of various kinds of apples and a jug of fresh pressed apple cider. I don’t think I’ve got the energy to do any apple canning this year, but I’ll try freezing some apple pie filling this time.

I’m glad we’re finding ways to be together and enjoy each other even as we get our TB tests and our car inspections and finish putting up baby gates and putting on baby locks. It’s good to embrace our family as it is now, before it turns into our family as what it will be. We’re getting ready for our new norm.

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