Here you will find the chronicles of the crazy crook crew...enjoy!

Here you will find the chronicles of the crazy crook crew...enjoy!
I want to live in each season fully, celebrate the chapters as they end, and anticipate the next with only joy! God gets all the glory for the story He's written for our family! A family designed and defined by Him through foster care and adoption. If you've got some time, stay a while...and grab a kleenex;) Each chapter is beautiful and heart wrenching and breathtaking and God is ALWAYS good!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My kids? no no...MY kids don't do that...

Oh my word...potty training...little boys...naked...nakedness...nakey.  My daughter was easy.  I was not prepared for boyness, and all that word entails when toilet training.  My three year old was trained last winter...a month before his third birthday and he really wasn't that hard.  We did the naked thing and it worked like a charm.  I was planning on a repeat with our two year old...I was going to start this winter and have him done by his third birthday in February.  However...he had other plans.  About two weeks ago, he just started using the potty.  Easy as that.  Taking off his diaper, opening the bathroom door and doing his business.  Skipped the baby potty, the naked training, the gummy rewards, the sticker chart, all of it.  It was sooooooo weird and I wasn't sure how to feel...I was part happy because it was so easy and part sad because this wasn't my plan and my "baby" wasn't a baby anymore.  Anyway...that "not sure how to feel" thing didn't last long because small frustrations began taking over my days.  Potty training yourself at 2 years is great and all but when your maturity doesn't match up with your potty abilities, things can get a little crazy.  For instance...the kid won't leave his pants on, his undies on, he likes to be all natural and he doesn't care who sees it.  Now for a normal child this would be an easy fix and mom would simply force him to put his pants two year old is a manchild and I physically cannot make him put his pants on.  Ugh.  He still LOVES to play with toilet paper...whether that means unrolling the entire roll all over the bathroom or putting as much in the toilet as possible...he loves it.  He loves flushing the toilet over and over and over and sticking his head as far down into it as he can and yelling "Mommy wook a waterfaw!  Bye bye water!"  He likes to "wash" his hands forever and press his hand tightly against the faucet so water sprays the entire bathroom.  He's literally been peeing like 27 times a day and I can't turn my back for a second without a mess to clean up.  That being said, I made the executive decision to put a safety knob on the bathroom door.  It's an inconvenience for the older two but it's oh so much more convenient for this mama.  He has to tell me when he needs to go and then his potty party is 100% supervised:)
This evening I was working on dinner (daddy wasn't home) and my two year old unlocked the door and walked out into our fenced in yard.  I stopped what I was doing to follow him out and I found him right outside the door, pants down, peeing in the grass.  My energy was depleted for the day and I just stood behind him patiently waiting so I could take him back inside.  As I watched the steady stream spraying into the yard, I heard "Hey Sam!  How are you?"  And there she sweet neighbor...standing at our 4 foot fence with her elderly parents.  I did the only thing I could do "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, he just ran out here and started peeing, I am so sorry, how embarrassing."  She said there was no need to apologize and her mom tried to make me feel better by telling me that people let their dogs poop and pee everywhere without cleaning it up.  She gets an A for effort, but seriously.  After I pulled his pants up (yay me), I put him on my hip and walked over to conversate.  I was going to say whatever I could to let them know this is not normal and I am not a weirdo mom.  I explained that I had a safety knob on the bathroom door and he must have gotten frustrated and walked outside to go...and I told them about all of his new bathroom related "hobbies".  They were so sweet...told me not to apologize and then talked about how cute he is and how big he's gotten.  And then...just as the embarrassment was neighbor says "Hey! There's Bubby!"  And there he three year all his glory...pants down, peeing in the grass.  Mortified, I ran over and got my free loving boys inside as quickly as possible... yelling another apology out the door before I shut it behind the tinkle twins.  This is my life.  This is my real life.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.
Crazy Mama Crook

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A blast from the past:)

Well look at that...I just turned 30.  I have no idea how that happened.  Two minutes ago I was in 1st grade listening to Mrs. Burkes explain the art of phonics while I replayed yesterday's episode of Punky Brewster through my mind and contemplating how I might become more like her...Punky Brewster that is:)  30 doesn't scare me...tis just a number.  But it did get me thinking...considering the three decades that together have created this Crazy Mama Crook.
Zero to ten...hmmm.  I remember being crazy and loving my spot at the center of attention...not much has changed there:)  I remember favorite teacher Ms. Joe and my red headed best friend Anna who liked to eat her scabs...a discovery I made during a sleepover.  Had I known prior, I may have picked a different best friend...but probably not:)  I remember kindergarten...I remember talking while Mrs. Luken was talking (a common occurrence), and getting sent to stand in a corner behind where she was teaching.  Bad move on her part.  As she was turned toward the class, I made a face behind her that looked a little something like a big antlered moose with a crazy tongue, and my 5 year old peers were highly entertained.  My crime was discovered and I was promptly removed to the hallway where Mrs. Blaydes (a feared 1st grade teacher) was obliged to witness my one and only school spanking.  Yep...I got a woopin in KINDERGARTEN.  Unbelievable:)  Or maybe a little believable.
In 2nd grade, I remember falling down at recess.  It was a nasty fall, I was wearing a dress with tights and I skinned my cute little knee.  Once we were back in class, I asked to go to the bathroom where I sat on the little kid size potty and tried to peel the tights off my knee where the dried blood had super glued them:(  Poor little me.  You must note that this was back in the day when we had little one toilet bathrooms in our classes.  During my minor surgical procedure, the alarm (tornado season) sounded and my entire 2nd grade class calmly, strategically, entered into their "safe zone".  The class bathroom.  No, I hadn't locked the door.  And this series of events lead to the most embarrassing moment of my date.  Can you believe they stayed in there?  They all saw me, teacher included, sitting there on the porcelain and they stayed!  Cramped, circled around the potty princess, every one of them giggling little 7 year old giggles.  And it was a drill!  There was NO tornado coming.  My self respect and dignity was lost at age 7.  And that was that.  The teacher scolded me while I sat exposed to my classmates.  She said I was taking too long and shouldn't have been in there.  Then I believe she giggled as well.  I could go on and on with childhood stories, but I'll spare you.
Aside from that nightmare, my kindergarten rebellion, and the shocking discovery that my best friend was part 1st decade was a breeze.  I was living life in the fast lane.  I played outside just about every day and enjoyed the wildlife that came with country living.  I loved frogs...obsessed over them.  Held them, kissed them, carried them everywhere, and played with them like most girls play with dolls.  I was a playful, rotten, busy, dirty, funny, weird kid.  My mom kept my hair in a chili bowl cut...I think mainly because I liked to chew on it and keeping it nice wasn't on my list of priorities.  Thanks mom:)

Ten to twenty...I think this decade took forever.  I wanted to be big.  I wanted to be cool.  I wanted to be pretty.  I wanted to be in high school, get my drivers license, graduate, go to college.  I wanted time to go faster.  Middle school was weird and high school was worse.  I must say I didn't super love those years.  There were some highlights for sure...but a lot of drama and insecurity overshadowed them.  I'll save those sob stories for another day.  I met my soul mate at 17 and you already know how that story goes;)  Things got better after high was good and marriage was great:)

Twenty to thirty...WHAT a transformation.  My twenties began with significant importance placed on the size of the rock on my left hand.  Twenty brought me the end of a college career and a forever union with the love of my life.  Twenty-nine brought me a forever family of 5 and the peace that comes with knowing I now have four loves of my life and they're mine...God gave them to me.  In between twenty and thirty, God showed me where my real treasure lies.  He ignited a passion within my soul that's hard to describe and through it, He created something beautiful.  There were definitely mountains and valleys throughout this past decade...He had to break me to remake me.  And that story has been told.  But it all lead me to here...30.  I love where I find myself and I can't wait to see where God takes me from here.  One thing I know for sure...the next decade is going to fly by.  I feel like I blinked at twenty and woke up thirty.  And now that the kiddos are getting big, and school is right around the corner, I know life only gets crazier, busier, and the days go faster.  We shall see:)  For now, I want to relish in these days and live the life out of them.  Our home overflows with laughter and love (literally) and I want for nothing.  Thirty, flirty, and fabulous baby!

In His amazing love,
Crazy Mama Crook

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How about a Happily Ever After?'s the deal.  My God, my hubs, and I have created our family through the miracle of adoption.  And I LOVE adoption...I mean LOVE adoption.  It's my's my God's heart.  And people love to talk to me about it...people close to me and people I hardly's kind of a hot topic I believe.  But more often than not, the adoption stories I hear are negative, sad, unhappily ever afters.  I could go on and on with specific stories I've heard...but they're basically just stories of broken hearted moms and dads whose children grow to resent and defy them and use adoption as their angle.  And for every story I hear, I try to remind myself of a similar story where adoption is not involved...because in real life, children sometimes break their parents' hearts, adopted or not.  But anyway, I'm sure there are lots of happily ever afters, but those stories seem to be rare.  When I do hear them, I get all warm and fuzzy inside and my joy level increases substantially.  I guess either way...even if I did hear positive stories all the time, I think I'd still have the same fears I have now.
The other day, I opened the door to our laundry room...not knowing my daughter was on the other side putting on her shoes.  The door hit her in the back and she said " it lady" with a smile on her face.  I said " don't talk to your mother like that" with a smile on my face.  She replied with the following words..."You're not my mother".  Those words literally took my breath away, I froze, my heart sank.  And just before the tears made their appearance, she followed her "You're not my mother" with "You're my mommy, silly".  And then the tears came anyway.

My heart was rescued by her pure, loving, sweetness.  I am her mommy.  Not her mother.  And I won't make that mistake again.  The truth is my daughter loves me like any daughter loves her mommy.  She watches me, learns from me, she models so much of what she sees from me.  She tells me I "smell gorgeous",  she says my "face is precious" (she loves using strong adjectives).  She tells me she's going to be just like me.  She hates it when I'm disappointed in her, she's always plotting new ways to make me proud.  She wants my attention, she wants my cuddle time.  She never lets a meal go by without saying "thank you for my dinner mommy" (or lunch or breakfast)...even if she just has a bowl of cereal.  She loves making me happy and she succeeds every day.  She's a gift and I simply adore her.  She's not perfect, neither am I.  But we're perfectly mother mommy and daughter.  Thank you Jesus.    

 Someday, during an argument in her teen years, she might pull out the "real mom" card.  And I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  But the truth...the truth is I'm as real as they get.  And although I'm extremely secure in that truth, those words will would (if they are spoken) still cut deep into the heart of this mama.  But maybe I can put that fear to rest for a while...because in the here and now...I'm just her mommy, NOT her mother.  And I think that's the way I like it.

      Crazy Mama Crook

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thankful for another Father's Day

I've told you all how wonderful my husband is...the kind of father he is...a man whose character has been shaped by his Savior.  I'm so proud to call him mine, the father of my children, the leader of this crazy family.  But this post isn't about him.  It's a painful one to write...but my heart needs to share.  It's about my father, the man who helped bring 6 God fearing, Jesus loving children into this world.  A man who is crazy about his Jesus and his family.  A man who will do whatever he can to serve others.  A man who loves, provides for, and protects the family God has given him.  This is the man who raised me...and he's still there...sometimes.
You've probably never heard of frontotemporal lobe dementia (also called FTD or Picks disease).  We hadn't either...until my father was diagnosed.  He's 57.  It's a form of dementia that strikes it's victims young and it strikes hard.  It's fairly rare but research surrounding the disease is taking off.  It's NOT alzheimer's and it's not really like any other form of's almost weird that they share vocabulary.  It's a disease that destroys the part of the brain responsible for inhibition, reasoning, rationalizing, social skills, and much more.  Basically it destroys the character.  It's victims eventually lose all resemblance of who they once were.  And if I'm being honest, the real victims are the family...the wife who takes care of a man who is in no way her husband and says words that break her heart over again every single day, the children responsible for babysitting an unpredictable mean man who was once their loving father, all of the loved ones who take the verbal abuse that we know is not actually coming from him.  It's hard.  It's ugly...a painful kind of ugly.  If you have the time and care to educate yourself, is a great link that describes the disease and it's signs and symptoms.  I wish so badly that anyone in our family had known about this disease.  Our father has had it for years undiagnosed, then misdiagnosed.  So much pain could have been avoided had we only known what to look for.  The disease is bizarre as are it's symptoms.  Close to 10 years ago, he started drinking 3 gallons of water each day.  He would carry around a gallon milk jug filled with water and try to convince others to do the same...we just laughed at him and chose not to heed his advice.  And back then, he would laugh with us.  If we had only known.  Between 5 and 10 years ago, he began neglecting issues of personal hygiene...we tried to address the issue in a sensitive manner but nothing seemed to matter.  If we had only known.  There were SO many things like this...and not one connected to another.  Honestly, he's always been somewhat of a corky guy and we all wrote the oddness off.
In the spring of 2011, the symptoms heightened and finally revealed to us that something was definitely wrong with my father.  After seeking help, he was given a diagnosis of anxiety and depression...a common misdiagnosis of FTD.  The appointments continued and by early fall, we got the news.  He and my mother sat in an office, they were 1st told that he had FTD and what that means, that his days were growing short, and then to go straight to his private practice and close the doors inevitably.  My dad is a physician.  A man passionate about health, medicine, and his career.  There is NO way a person afflicted was FTD can practice as a physician...or work period.  But the position of a medical doctor is a dangerous place for FTD to live.  My mom called me on that long drive home, I remember it well.  We cried together.  I was in shock.  No one thought he had a brain disease, it wasn't on our radar, nothing about his behaviors fit the mold of what we knew as "brain disease".  And that's exactly what FTD is.  I mourned for my family, for my father, my mother, what they were going through.  My own pain was huge but I couldn't even comprehend how they must be feeling.  And it broke my heart. 
My parents were here yesterday for Father's Day.  It was a good day and I was blessed to get to spend it with him.  At this point he still has some good days and we're thankful for those.  Some days he seems like the dad I know so well.  And yesterday was one of those, at least part of the day.  When he's stuck in his bad place, we have to deal with him carefully, we have to stay calm, avoid the innate urge to contradict him and tell him what we're really thinking.  That's hard.  But reminding myself that it isn't him isn't his good brain, it's the diseased brain.  This helps me and the rest of my family cope.  It's a horrible thing to watch a man, a husband and father, a rock, a perfect picture of health, a man full of integrity, pride, and brilliance...lose so much.  And I've only shared what I'm comfortable with...what I've written today is a small...small...small picture of the pain and suffering our family has endured.  For the most part, we've only spoken to family and our closest friends about our father...we've all been trying so hard to cope and to heal.  But I needed to share, I got my mother's blessing, and I need to ask for prayer.  Pray for love and grace and mercy and healing.  Pray for my dad and pray for my mom even harder.  I know my God is good but all of this has been a reminder for me that we deserve nothing good.  Anything good is a beautiful blessing from our Savior.  I don't deserve my happy life, my husband, my healthy children, my home.  They are all undeserved gifts.  I don't want to go into what I do deserve.  Our God is good and He's holding us all through this horrible chapter and I know He'll somehow use it for His glory.  Although in the here and now, the valleys seem to only get deeper.  Please pray for our family.

Believing and for His glory,


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What a night...

Wow...where do I start?  Yesterday was hard and yet incredibly easy.  I picked up a good friend on the drive to dropping our little nugget off and we chatted the entire way which kept my emotional state in check:)  The transition went better than I could have ever imagined.  I saw two ladies sitting with an empty carseat and I just walked up and asked if that seat happened to be for a precious baby boy.  I think his aunty jumped up and hugged me before she even said "yes it is".  I...of course...began to cry which prompted what I would call a "hug frenzy".  Both ladies thanked me repeatedly for loving their nephew.  They appeased me by listening to every word I wanted to tell them...about the baby (THEIR nephew;), his schedule, likes and dislikes, sleeping habbits, I even sang them the song I made up for him (with hopes they could memorize quickly;).  True story.  And they loved it.  I asked for her info and she wrote down both her e-mail address and phone number with great zeal:)  I asked her to please call me if she ever needs a sitter and she offered to let me watch her two kiddos as well.  They were ecstatic to see him...passing him back and forth, loving on him, and listening to me ramble on.  They expressed their appreciation to me several times and I could feel their relief that he had been with someone that loved him so much.  I drove away with all of the feelings I had asked God to give me earlier in the day...blessed. 
As soon as I got back in the car, Chandler said "Where baby go?"  Rowan actually used the baby's name (which is kind of difficult) and asked where he was.  And little Miss Jayde who happened to sleep through the entire thing, woke up and immediately asked where her baby was.  On the verge of tears, I looked at my friend Jen and asked her how I was going to fix this.  I was SO sad for them.  Jayde just stared out the window with crocodile tears in her eyes and responded with a "no" when I asked her if she was okay.  They were all aware that he was leaving our family today and they said their goodbyes before we left the house.  But I think the sight of his empty carseat hit them hard.  Jen and I chatted through the drive and I contemplated taking them to McDonalds and letting them play in the playplace...a place they had yet to experience due to their mom's mild case of germaphobia:)  I dropped Jen off and my tears could no longer be avoided by out they came.  I was determined to cheer up my babies so off to McDonalds I drove.  I sat in the parking lot trying to get myself together when Jayde informed me that playing in there would definitely make her feel better and that playing would probably make me feel better too.  I needed that giggle:)  So in we went...I must tell you that playing in those things goes against all my instincts.  Big kids running over the littles, sneezing, slobbering, some not adhering to the "must wear socks" rule.  I was in a mood for sure...a new one...and I threw caution to the wind for the sake of their smiles:)    I must also tell you that in my mind, my kids would whine through dinner begging to go play, the playing would likely give me an anxiety attack, my newly trained middle child would definitely have an accident shutting the entire thing down for complete disinfection, I would have to chase them to get their shoes on and they would leave kicking and screaming with their little mom dragging them through the parking lot.
In real life, they thoroughly enjoyed their nuggets and fries, Jayde and I had a wonderful conversation about how neat it is that God trusted our family to take care of the baby.  And about how He's probably going to send us another baby to love...we talked about whether it would be a boy or girl and Jayde said she can't be sure but she bets that when she smiles, the baby will smile back at her.  I agreed:)  And then...we ventured into the germ infested toddler paradise.  They did great aside from a giant kid knocking Rowan down and making him cry...his sister quickly ran to his rescue and all was good.  When it was time to go, I got their shoes on...there was no "chasing".  We all held hands and peacefully made our way to the mini van...after I accidently left through the emergency exit...oops.  I wouldn't have even known, but a hair eating little girl was taunting me with my mistake through the window.
Then we got home where all of the baby stuff was still sitting around...I immediately told them how proud I was of their behavior and handed them each a pack of gummis to suppliment the nutritious dinner they had earlier inhaled.  And then I asked what movie they'd like to watch...Despicable Me and cuddle time...yes please.  Then they wanted milk...okay.  Then they wanted grapes...okay.  I was on the phone with my sister and she asked if I was going to drizzle the grapes with chocolate syrup, let them eat in the living room, and perhaps suggest a Crazy Crook food fight.  I laughed and told her that if she wants something, now would be a good time to ask;)  JT had a track meet and I think he may have been slightly shocked to come home and find me in such a state...he had prepared himself for something entirely different.  He had said his goodbye that morning and I know the mood in our home helped him be okay too.  I went to bed with comfort and peace...with knowledge that our little nugget was getting some GOOD lovin.  My God is SO good to shouldn't have been that easy...He gave me everything I asked for...everything I needed.  My heart is good and I am so thankful!  My God is always faithful:)

Believing and for His glory,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thankful through a hard day...

I've been spending alot of time reflecting on things I'm thankful I wanted to write a list and share it.  It's not super deep, just a simple list of thankfuls.  Things I don't want to take for granted.  I'm going to thoroughly enjoy writing it out:)  I wrote this list a couple weeks ago and wanted to post today.  It's a hard day, but there is so much to be thankful for...

I'm thankful for an awesome God who is in complete control of this crazy life.
I'm thankful for a Jesus who has saved me and promised me the gift of heaven.
I'm thankful for a husband who is most definitely the only person in the world who could love me so completely, dream my dreams with me, and support every ounce of my craziness.
I'm thankful for 3 healthy children.
I'm thankful for a daughter with a huge heart.
I'm thankful for a son who has been a fighter since the day I met him and has overcome so much.
I'm thankful for our youngest son who although very much the "baby" in this family, has welcomed a new baby into our home without a single act of jealousy.  Almost every interaction he has with the baby involves a sweet voice and a kiss on the forehead. 
I'm thankful for friends like Jess and Tyler Michael who are always there.  When the birthmom of our son went into labor...when we got a call to rush down town at 11:00 pm to pick up our little nugget...and LOTS of times in between, they were here.  When I'm overwhelmed and looking for an extra set of hands...they have the hands I need.
I'm thankful for a family that accepts every bit of craziness I have to offer with open arms.
I'm thankful for our membership to the Childrens Museum.
I'm thankful for Cars 1 and 2, Toy Story 1,2, and 3, Super Why, and every episode of Elmo's World ever created.
I'm thankful for my baby bjourn, that without, I would surely not be around to write this blog.
I'm thankful for White River Christian Church, a family full of imperfect, Jesus lovin people just like me.
I'm thankful for long family walks to McAlisters.
I'm thankful for the massive amount of energy God saw fit to give me.
I'm thankful for a sweet houseguest who is teaching me how to be stretched again.
I'm thankful for a little boy named Cooper (aka my sweet one) that makes my life even more rich.
I'm thankful for friends who bless us BIG...unexpectedly and undeservingly.
I'm thankful for a cozy 3 bedroom home that has taught me "space" is overrated:)
I'm thankful for a college roommate who is still my best friend, and recently joined the journey of adoption in a beautiful, crazy, and perfect way.
I'm thankful for a sister that has been there for me through every trial, tear, and triumph...made the phonecalls when adoptions fell through and threw my baby shower when our Rowan arrived. She is my safe place. 
I'm thankful for frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets during track season.
I'm thankful for my triple stroller and the mini van I once said I'd never drive.
I'm thankful God chose us to love our little nugget...even if just for a month.  The gift of our time with him is priceless.
I'm thankful for the minstry of foster parenting and all who take it on...a love I'm convinced is the easiest, hardest love in the world.
I'm thankful for a tight budget that serves as a constant reminder of how blessed I am to stay home with my children.
I'm thankful that God spared us from the pain we would have endured if we had lost Jayde and Chandler.

I'm trying to focus on that today.  They were part of our family for 2 1/2 years before their adoptions were finalized.  I can't even begin to imagine our lives without them. 
My heart is aching...saying goodbye to this sweet baby is hard.  He fit right into our crazy crew and we all bonded so quickly.  I know it's not about us.  It's about providing a loving and safe home for the time we're givin.  I just hate thinking about what THEY go through...hurting babies...what is it like to bond with a family, trust them, know that your needs will be met, wake up every day to the same face greeting you with kisses and a smile...and then all of the sudden, this love you've known, is gone.  It's not helpful for me to think about this...but I can't help it.  In the past, I've been blessed with having relationships with birthmoms...but not this time.  And that's hard.  I think I need that.  Our little nugget is going to live with a relative, I'm taking him to meet her this evening.  I've written her a two page letter and began packing up his things.  I hope she hugs me back, I hope I get a good vibe, I hope I can drive away feeling like he'll be loved even better.  A friend reminded me that he is God's son and I need to entrust him to Him.  I find comfort knowing that His strength will get me through this day...not mine.  And that I will pray for this sweet angel every time I think about him.  His picture will join Elijah's on our wall and we'll never forget him, that's for sure. 

~A sad little Crazy Mama Crook~

Monday, April 2, 2012

I thought about feeling bad, but...

So it's been a while since I've written and I've realized something.  I'm an emotional writer.  I need inspiration.  And he has arrived:)
Welcome to crazyland:)  It's filled with crazy baby love and this mama is crazy emotional.  We have a new little houseguest and we're all falling for him fast.  Life in our home has been a little more chaotic...if that's possible.  Adjusting to a baby that you don't know anything about while also attempting to care for our 2,3, and 4 year old as USUAL is a near impossible feat.  Scratch that, it is an impossible feat.  I'm so grateful for a daddy on spring break so he can be home to help with the adjustment.  Watching him love on a baby he doesn't know the same way he loves on his own melts my heart.  In fact, it sends me straight into the ugly cry.  Watching my little girl love on the baby and model so much of what I do melts my heart too.  She is such a lover...such a helper.  The boys are mostly uninterested, but she is on top of things.  She jumps to his rescue every time he makes a sound, with many suggestions about what he could possibly need.  She also has LOTS of questions...questions I wasn't prepared for.  The best answer I could give her for his sudden arrival while she was sound asleep, was that his home isn't safe right now so he's going to stay in ours for a while and God really wants us to love on him.  She accepted God's request with a smile and has overwhelmed me with her 4 year old heart.  On Sunday morning, she rocked a fussy baby in his carseat so I could chase her brothers around trying to get them ready for church.  She put him to sleep and as I watched her...the ugly cry again made an appearance.  As I got myself ready for church, memories and thoughts of my own children, their past, what "could have been", flooded my mind.  And the make-up that I desperately wanted to wear was all but the ugly cry.  The inevitable pain that comes with loving and losing has been on my mind too...but focusing on that isn't an option.  This is hard.  Nothing about it is easy...aside from the instant and unconditional ability to love a baby...THAT is easy.  In all the disorganization and chaos, I was reminded why most foster parents wait until their kiddos are grown to take on this ministry.  It definitely makes sense in so many ways.  Making sense isn't really a Crook specialty.  I actually did think, for a moment, about feeling bad for my children...feeling bad that they had to share their mom and dad in such a big way.  But I was quickly reminded.  This life isn't about us.  It's not about our sweet, safe, little family.  It's not about saving all of our love, time, and attention for our children.  It's about being Jesus in the most real way we can and chasing after what's on His heart.  Our children may not get all the attention they feel they're "entitled" (I'm pretty sure they're too young to feel entitled... you know what I mean), but what they do get is much greater.  Being the hands and feet, sharing their home, their everything, with a child in need, seeing mom and dad do their best to love like Jesus...THAT is a gift no amount of "attention" can match.  In my recent days of emotional mommyhood, I've also been reminded that the very existence of our family is a direct result of answering God's call to love hurting children.  How on earth could we let the very blessing God has given us for our ministry, keep us from our ministry?  That is a powerful motivator.  We are tired, and honestly a bit overwhelmed, but one look at that baby whose smile is larger than life...and it's more than obvious... he's worth it.  We're not sure how long he'll be with us, but we're squeezing in as many hugs and kisses as we can while he's here.  And those cheeks...they're SO yummy:)

A crazy emotional and crazy in love,
~Crazy Mama Crook

P.S.  Happy Birthday to the love of my life...the man of my dreams...the calm to my crazy...I. Love. That. Boy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

James and ChurchGirl Part II

On the first day of highschool, my freshman year 1996, I met a boy who bears almost no resemblance to the man I know today.  On March 25th 2000, I went on a date with that boy and although he wasn't my type, I was interested.  I mentioned in my last blog that he was working his magic on that date...a sweet talking gentleman who helped me gliterize my Dorothy shoes, and I liked it;)  That spring, he spent quite a bit of time helping me memorize my lines...more points.  Things started getting serious and after a few months, he was my boyfriend:)  He came to church with me and my family every Sunday and he gave his life to Christ and was baptized that July.  Now...all you know about James is what I've told you since I met him in high school.  I'm not going to delve into his pre high school history, but know that our God can transform, renew, and make any story into His love story.  And my husband's is one of my favorites;)  So anyway...I went off to bible college that fall and it was hard for both of us.  We had so much fun that summer and dreaded being a state away from each other.  You know young's soooo dramatic.  I know he was worried I would find some young preacher boy and fall for him and I was worried about a girl in his study group at IUPUI;)  That fall, he worked very hard at school, and he also worked nights at FedEx.  He saved up his money to go on a mission trip to Haiti with me over Christmas break... I had already fallen for him, but this kinda sealed the deal;)  I would go home as much as I could on the weekends and we spent ALOT of time on the phone and e-mailing each other.  We dated for almost 3 years and we did have a few rough patches but that's to be expected...we were James and ChurchGirl after all;)  We got married in 2003, we were still in school and he was still working nights at FedEx...that was SUPER fun.  Actually it was...we didn't know any different and we were just happy to be hubs and wifey.  We didn't have an elaborately planned storybook wedding, "real" jobs, or a starter home.  We were just in love.  The kind of love where you only have a 2 month engagement because you're too excited to wait.  The kind that doesn't care where you buy your wedding dress, how you decorate the sanctuary, where you have the reception, or if you go on a honeymoon.  The kind that lives in an apartment for years with no internet, no cable, and a kitten for entertainment.  We were twenty and twenty-one and literally CrAzY in love.  We used to eat a lot of spaghetti and frozen pizza.  And those used to be the best meals ever.  I  loved telling people our story...I would get all JT's ID's out of his wallet.  I would lay them out in order of the date they were taken.  The 1st one was his college ID, he had angry eyes and a tough guy look on his face. And I would say "This is the old JT."  The next one was his Sam's Club ID, he had a cute little smirky smile on his face and I would say "This is JT after he met Samantha."  The next one was his driver's license where he was cheesin it up and his face spelled joy, and I would say "This is JT after he met Samantha and Jesus."  I just loved doing that, people probably thought I was a weirdo...which wouldn't be entirely inaccurate;)
If you keep up with "Sam and JT Plus Three", then you know the rest of the story from here.  It amazes me how God took two seemingly incompatible kids and created something beautiful.  And where He took us from there is even more beautiful.  Who would have ever thought the mean kid would grow up to be a teacher, mentor, coach and have a HUGE impact on his kids.  Who would have thought he would grow up and instead of insisting on having his "own" kids (as people often put it), he would open his heart to adoption and let God define his family.  No one was there to teach him how to be a father, but he is an AMAZING father to his children.  And really...who would have thought he would grow up and marry that annoying "church girl" in french class?;)  God thought it...He had it all planned out since day one.  My pride in him is endless and although he's only 12 years old in Christ, he leads this family with incredible faith and love.  We just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and given our ages on our wedding day, I'm thinking we can make it to 50;)  So thankful.....

A more in love than ever,
Crazy Mama Crook

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

James and ChurchGirl

It all started in my freshman year french class.  Madame Rockabrand seated me right behind the mean kid.  You know...the kid with a grumpy face who doesn't really talk to anyone.  The kid that is too cool to pick a french name so when the teacher asks for his choice he says "I don't want a french name, my name's JT".  She obliged and called him french;)  I worked up the nerve to ask him what JT stood for and he was thereafter "James" in my book.  He couldn't stand that I called him that and so he coined the name "Churchgirl" for me.  My friend Sarah and I used to pass a notebook back and forth between classes. I wish I could get some excerpts for you but it's up in the attic...a place I don't venture.  I know there was a lot of "James thinks he's so cool, but he's so not" in there. Anyway...freshman year came and went and that was basically it for my interaction with James.  I take that back...I ran track my junior year, his senior year.  And he used to yell "TRACK" at me. That's what the fast kids did when I was on the inside lane plotting along and they were coming up behind me (and any other fellow plotters).  Essentially it means "move out of the inside lane, a real runner is coming through".  I would move, he would fly by me, and that was the end of that.
These were the contacts I made with the "mean kid" in high school.  He was prom king, Putnam county athlete of the year, a local track and basketball star...I believe he still holds the mile record at our high school.  And he had an ego the size of Montana.  Anyway, he graduated, I started my senior year and that was the end of that...of that chapter anyway.
The spring of my senior year, I was cheering at what would be the last basketball game of the season.  I was bouncing around in my little uniform, flexing my spirit fingers...and what do you know...Mr James Crook was sitting a few rows up directly in front of me.  Our eyes locked during "Are-You-Proud-To Be A Cougar Fan..." and because I have good manners, I smiled.  He smiled.  And I didn't think much about it.  But Ashley (the girl who dated (and married) his best friend) came up to me during lunch the next week and asked me for my phone number.  She told me who wanted it and reluctantly, I gave it to her.  Little did I know what that choice would bring;)  LOTS of phone calls.  There was always a reason I couldn't come to the phone and I was able to avoid him until...the day I answered.  Caller ID wasn't so much a thing back then:)  He told me I was a hard girl to get a hold of and the whole conversation was just awkward.  Here we were...James and Churchgirl, casually chatting like it was was weird.  And then I started to feel horrible about dodging his calls, he was a lot nicer than I remembered.  He asked me out on a date and my mom said yes to a double.  It was much more fun than I expected.  And so there was a 2nd date...a single...we ate at Joe's Crab Shack, went to Target and got me some patent leather shoes, and then went back to my house and gliterized them in the garage (I was totally Dorothy in our high school musical:).  That was a pivotal date.  I remember catching myself dancing to the music at Joe's and when I stopped and asked if I was embarrassing him, he replied with "Don't worry about it...I could sit and watch you all day."  Um...hello.  He got this 17 year old girl's attention with that one.  He was a smooth talker for sure.  This is getting long...I'll write more later.  I know you're dying to see how the story ends:) 
Today is our 9th anniversary and I still can't believe I married the mean kid sometimes;)  I'll tell you what though...God can take any "mean kid" and create a man after His own heart.  James is living proof:)  We just might have been the last couple in our home town that anyone would have imagined together.  And here we are...livin the dream with a purpose.  God. Is. Good.

Going on a hot, kidless date tonight,
Crazy Mama Crook

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Whispers...

If you read this blog (or know me at all;), then you know our story.  You know about the mountains and valleys and the long road we traveled to get to "Sam and JT Plus Three".  I'm still on a high...I haven't come down from the amazing mountain God placed me upon on December 14th, 2011.  I have however, had some time to reflect and see God's hands on every bit of our journey.  There were many times I couldn't see His hands or His purpose...but He was there.  He heard our cries and restored our joy.  He healed all of our pain in His own way.
Although I rarely think about it anymore, I remember October 16th 2006 vividly.  I remember walking into my Dr's appointment excited, innocent, and oblivious.  I remember the Dr. struggling to find a heartbeat, and after evaluating the size of our baby, telling us we miscarried.  It took a week for my body to react to the loss of our baby and I spent that week praying harder than I'd ever prayed for anything in my life.  My God can heal our baby...the Dr. could be wrong.  My prayers didn't matter, nature played it's course.  At least it seemed my prayers didn't matter.  But while I was grieving and questioning God, there was another baby being knit in the womb of another woman.  This baby girl would be born in 2007, the same year our baby would have been born (I "know" our baby was a girl too).  This baby girl would come into the world and travel a hard road on her way to us...she would wait for us and we would wait for her.  It was July 22nd 2009, the 1st morning Jayde woke up in our home, she woke up with a smile and called me "mama" with a question in her voice.  I was too weak to correct her...I answered with "yes" and mama it was.  I believe that was a whisper.  My God was letting me know that she was mine.
The spring of 2009, we met Julie.  She is the one who 1st opened our hearts to adoption...she devastated us in the process.  She gave us a baby and took him away just as fast.  Her baby boy was born that was Chandler.  He too, would travel a rough road on his way to us.  And God was preparing us to love a beautiful broken baby who would require more than we had ever imagined we could give. 
On February 6th 2009, we met a Elijah.  He was our 1st houseguest and he owned my heart for the months God gave me with him.  He is a handsome biracial boy with a personality that would have any mama at hello:)  It just so happens that on February 6th 2010, exactly one year later, our beautiful biracial baby Rowan came into this world...the 1st addition to the crazy "Crook" crew.  I don't think the exact date is a coincidence.  I believe it was a whisper.  Exactly one year after I met Elijah, the 1st child God entrusted to me... God gave us our 1st forever child, a baby boy that looks so much like him.  I can only hope Rowan will grow up to be as sweet:)   
All throughout our journey, I can now see God's hand, His whispers, His reasons, His plan.  He was designing and defining our family in His perfect way.  For each baby we lost, God was preparing us for babies He found and wanted us to love.  We had children all along...just not the ones we thought were ours.  When I think about all this I get those warm and fuzzy goosebumps.  I love my God and I'm SO glad He loves me the way He does.  He knows what's best for His children...this I know for sure!

Crazy Mama Crook