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 15, 2013

Adoption illiterate

Today I had a new doesn't mean good.  As an adoptive mama, I've heard a lot of ignorant comments/ questions over the years.  Usually I use those moments as opportunities to educate. Sometimes though, the words that come my way are so absurd...I am speechless...truth.  A few years ago, I was at one of my husbands cross country meets (he's a coach) and a parent asked me if all of our kids were ours.  When I said "yes", he replied with "Wow!  You guys have a broad gene pool!".  Now that's funny.  And typically, even if I'm annoyed in the moment, I can laugh later and feel good about my part in educating the "adoption illiterate" community.  Today...however...was not one of those days. I'm still in shock honestly.
I was outside with my were playing, and I was holding the ladder my husband was standing on while he cleaned a tree out of our gutter.  Some neighbors were walking by with their dog and stopped to check on us.  We were talking gutters and then out of nowhere the husband points at our youngest and says "Adopted?"  That's it.  "Adopted?"  One word in the form of a question.  My three children were all standing there petting their dog.  I looked at my husband...we both had the same "Is this guy serious?" look on our faces.  I gave Mr. H an awkward look and then replied with "Actually all of our children are adopted."  In the kindest voice I could muster.  I think his wife could sense the tension because she was quick to let us know that their three grand children were adopted too.  Then he said it.  The words "I know I shouldn't...but I'm gonna ask it anyway.  How much did each of em' cost?" came out of his mouth.  I. Was. Shocked.  I could feel the blood in my face getting hot.  I said "Yes you probably shouldn't ask people that question."  And his wife walked away with the dog.  I'm pretty sure she understood what was happening and was helping by getting the kids to a safe zone.  But Mr. H didn't stop there...he proceeded to tell me how much each of his grand children "cost".  To be exact, he said "those kids cost $xx a pop".  I walked away.  I went in my house and started sobbing.  I could not believe what just happened...those children...heard them.  I was mad.  As I cried I got more mad and knew I couldn't sit on it.  So I marched back outside and my kids were still petting the dog, my husband was talking to Mr. I walked up to his wife, put my hands on her shoulders, and through my tears told her that what he said was hurtful and inappropriate and to please ask him to never say that to anyone again.  Then I walked back inside.  She was kind and I believe she understood me.  JT came in to check on me after they left and he was dumbfounded.  Whether or not Mr. H "meant" anything by his horrible words, he was utterly rude.  Tactless.  It's rude to ask how much someone's home cost.  Who in the right mind walks into someone's driveway and asks about adoption expenses.  Oh wait...he didn't ask about adoption expenses...he asked how much my kids cost!  In front of them.  Like they are objects.  And what if our kids didn't know they were adopted?  They obviously do and that is a whole other blog but what if we were the crazy parents that didn't tell?  Mr H. Just blew our cover.  There are just so many things wrong with the words that were spoken in my driveway tonight.  I can't wrap my mind around that kind of stupid.  This made all the people who have asked me "do you think you'll ever have any of your own?" right in front of my OWN children seem like...uh...never mind, that burns me up too.  Here's the AI (adoption illiterate) can say whatever they think they need to, to me.  I will likely make them feel uncomfortable with my answer...and through that avenue, ensure that those particular words are erased from their repertoire. But...when an AI says those things in front of my kids...that does something to my mom heart.  I'm defensive and protective.  And I do not want to explain those kind of words to my 3, 4, and 5 year olds. No one has the right to make my children feel like they do not belong in this family or feel like an object that has been purchased.  I will destroy that notion in their presence.  Next time I'm going to do better.  Now I know what this feels like and I'll be better prepared.  I apologize for the tone of this blog, this isn't my style.  Still hurt, frustrated, furious.  I just hope this one reaches a few AI's out there.  Some words hurt, some words make me boil...literally...I think my blood was boiling.  My ears have never been so hot.  All it takes is a little thought before the words flow out.  I sure hope Mr. H is the last of his kind..because seriously.

~Crazy about my children,
Mama Crook

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

She loved it! I survived:)

I am an emotionally inspired today...I blog:)

We made it!  Jayde had a fabulous first day of kindergarten and my tear ducts are still in tact!  I am sooooo proud of her:)  She was made to be a student...I realized this when she was reading sight words at 19 months.  She's been showing off since she rocked our world and I adore her for it:)  Today wasn't as "natural" for me...but I got through it.

The days leading up to this one were way worse.  I was too busy this morning to turn into mommy mush.  But I know my anxiety is still there by the way I take deep, uncontrolled, random breaths every couple minutes.  And my chest feels weird.  This used to happen every time we would have a court hearing for the kids.  I know the feeling well.  I don't think I'm "sad" that my daughter is in kindergarten...I'm struggling because I feel like a chapter in my life is closing.  And it was my favorite chapter.  I've been at home with my little loves for 4 years...almost exactly...and loved every stage and season.   It was a distant dream once upon a time...and I got to live it.  It was amazing. still is...I still get to be home with my boys:)  Although Chandler will soon be starting preK two days a week and I'll be doing preschool at home with Rowan.  It seems like yesterday I was doing preschool at home with Jayde...

Why does time have to go SO fast?  It went so much slower during our pre kid era.  I was warned this would happen.

Other than the beginning of a life altering new couldn't have gone better.  Well...there was this one thing...I must have misunderstood snack time.  Jayde and I had fun creating a "snack chart" and shopping for the different items she would bring each day.  Today she had carrots and dip, yummy gummies, and a super special surprise love note from me in her lunch bag.  Then the entire class had goldfish...provided by...I'm not sure who.  She didn't even get to unzip her bag.  This made me sad...but I'll be okay.  Jayde loved every detail about her day...including a "Mrs. Wiggins".  I asked her who that was and she said "no one...I just really like that name.  I wish someone at school had it."  This reassured me that she is still just five...not actually heading to college:)
My boys...they have this weird ability to become playmate perfection when it's just the two of them.  I do not complain.  I caught Chandler being big and helpful...which was lovely.  At one point in the morning, Rowan was crying about something and Chandler was singing to him "I like you, I like you, I like you, Just the way you are".  Those of you who tune into 'Daniel Tiger' on a regular basis know this song I speak of:)  After his serenade he said "You like that song Rowan?  Does it make you happy?" Melt my stinkin heart.  My blonde had all the right words to get me through this day...1/2 day that is:) And can I just take a moment to say...Praise the Lord for 1/2 day kindergarten!  I'll tell you what...those programs are few and far between and I'm not taking the blessing for granted!  We may have to revisit the topic at the end of this semester though...there's a chance my 'too smart for school 5 year old' resents me for choosing the 1/2 day option. Time will tell.
I know this post just needs a violin in the background...I'm a sap and I don't care.  But the truth is I have so much to be thankful for...there are so many blessings...details that have fallen exactly into place. From a perfectly timed home sale, to low mortgage interest rates, to a beautiful new neighborhood, to fast forming friendships, to a school we fell in love with the moment we first took a tour, to a grant that allowed us to send our daughter there, to a curriculum that includes our Creator and His perfect text book.  I am trying to meditate on all these things...these dreams...prayers that God said "yes" to and timed so precisely.  And with His help, I'll kick this anxiety issue that rules minutes of my every day.  I read a blog back in May...around Mother's day. It's a letter to adoptive moms...and I love this part...
"Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.
Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.
Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?"
That last line resonated with me in a big way.  She gets it.
Here is the link if you want to read the whole's a great read:)

Thanks for checking in today...I know I've been an erratic blogger this last year or so.  But for reals...this mama is BUSY:)  Don't fret...once all my children are grown and in school for the rest of their lives, I'll have plenty of time to write.  Maybe I'll start on a book...or maybe I'll get a job as a full time aid at their school.  That sounds nice:)

The kisser of a kindergartener,
Crazy Mama Crook

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BREAKING (but kinda old) NEWS! The Crazy Crook Crew has sold. their. house!!!

It was a 60 degree day in January, we were playing at the park with our kiddos and struck up a conversation with neighbors we'd never spoken to before (they're not outside much:).  We noticed their house was for sale and just asked how things were going.  They said they were having showings just about every day and told us the realtor they were working with had just sold a home in our neighborhood in less than 30 days, and they were really excited about working with her.  Well, long story short..she ended up selling their house in less than 30 days too.  And then we called her...on a whim...not even planning on listing...but couldn't help ourselves.  We wanted in on some sweet 30 day action.  Have I mentioned we've listed three times already?  Starting back in 2010...then in 2011...then in 2012.  We never left it on the market for more than our 6 month contract.  It was discouraging...we didn't get much interest, we didn't get many showings, and the feedback was always...blah.  But here we were...February 2013...meeting a new realtor.  It was way spontaneous.  I loved her instantly...of course.  The next week...staging.  The next professional real estate photographer.  This was all new to serious.  The next week we were listed.  In those three weeks, we had this overwhelming feeling that it was going to be different this time...we were so filled with hope.  And we did something we had never done before.  We started looking at houses.
Okay...back to the listing...the very day we went on the market, we had a showing scheduled.  What?!  Scheduled for the next day at 7:00 pm.  However...that showing never happened.  We had a call from our realtor around 3:00 that day and we had an OFFER.  No one had even seen our house...aside from online.  Okay back to the offer...the OFFER.  It was a full price cash offer.  Yes, you read that right.  Our realtor has been in the business for 15 years and she said she has never seen a full price cash offer made within 24 hours of listing a house.  We were freaking out...trying to believe this was real...but it was really so unbelievable.  We couldn't wrap our minds around it.  It seemed too good to be true.  But in my conversation with God following my conversation with our realtor, I felt guilty for feeling doubt.  I felt like I was shortchanging an amazing God who can do amazing things.  So I recanted the doubt and let the joy take over.  I sang and danced and sang and danced.  I was in the middle of preschool with my four year old when our realtor called so he was the first to hear the news.  I said "Someone is buying our house!  We're going to move!"  And he said "but it's too heavy mama."  Love. That. Child.  The next to hear was the hubbers...and although he was excited, he too was tempted to be a doubting devin.  After trying for so long...this really was unbelievable...unbelievably COOL!
So in his offer, our buyer gave us 30 days and then he would get the keys at closing.  30 days is not very much time when you have no idea where you are going to live.  So our realtor talked to him and he also said he would rent our home back to us if needed.  Seriously.  Thank you Jesus!  Cause although we had the option of splitting our family up between various member of our life group...this was great news:)
To sum up the awesomeness of this situation...our house sold within 24 hours of listing...crazy.  We had a full price cash offer which eliminates a lot of financing fees...super rad.  We didn't have to have a single showing...YAY!  With three small children and a house that is impossible to keep clean, showings were a huge source of anxiety for me.  Our buyer is going to let us rent from him while we search for our new home...SO helpful!  Oh...AND this move is coming at the perfect time.  In hindsight, we are so glad it didn't come in 2010, or 11, or 12:)  Our oldest will be going to kindergarten in the fall and now we're going to move in the direction of the school we want our children in...a great time to transition.
This is really happening.  We're really going to leave this teeny little love filled house that has held so many of our beautiful memories.  God has really blessed this crazy family...and I can't wait to bless Him back with the perfect home I know He has planned for us.  My God is good people!

In His amazing love,
Crazy Mama Crook

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Human encounters...

Dinner time on a cruise ship...very interesting...people are interesting.  Cruises are SO in every sense.  And at dinner time we experienced alot of diversity..,some of it was wonderful, some not so wonderful.  Some dinners were spent observing and some were spent investing.  I would call myself a people person...but some people...well I'll just let you read;)
Dinner night #1...we were placed at a tiny table in between two other tiny tables, approximately 6 inches away from each other.  The night could be summed up with one word "awkward"... no one broke the ice.  We did not converse with the other tables, yet we could all hear each other's conversations...awkward.  Night #2...we were seated at one large table, again, between two other couples.  I think it helped that we sat at the same big table and not at separate little tables that weren't really separate.  Todd from Michigan broke the ice with a good old "well this is awkward", which was good enough for me to get chatty:)  We talked about this and that and I told them the story about the birth certificates and getting on the ship which inspired Todd and his wife to ask if we were considering adoption (remember the part about how my friend from DCS saved the day?).  So you know his question opened the door for me to tell our story which opened the door for them to tell their story.  Five years ago, they adopted a 7 year old out of the foster care system.  They went on about the blessings and the struggles and we understood each other.  We all love Jesus and adoption...and a friendship was formed on the ship 'Destiny'.  I forget their last name, but I wish I could find them on facebook and be friends forever:)  It was a lovely evening...I liked that table.  Night #3...another tiny table in between tiny tables...why do we always have to be in the middle?  This dinner was rough:(  We sat beside a perplexing couple...the man was probably in his 50's and rather large.  The girl was 20 something and her dress was not covering much.  One would assume she was his daughter, but she was very, VERY rude to him...belittling him in a voice that screamed 'I want everyone to hear how I talk to him'.  She treated the waiter the same way.  She spoke demeaningly, like they were less than her.  I literally felt sick to my stomach...and as I get older, I find it harder to bite my tongue, but I did and I prayed for her three times throughout my dinner.  We left without ordering dessert or even finishing our food.  We couldn't sit there any longer.  I smiled at our waiter on our way out, trying to communicate with my eyes that he was fabulous and that girl is a jerk...I think he may have read me right;)  Night #4...another big table...again in the middle,  This time we were between a family of four from Finland and a couple from Ireland.  The Finnish family was made of 4 beautiful blonde people...the two little girls could have stepped straight out of a magazine:)  They were also very nice.  The Irish couple had been married for over 50 years, they were a lovely couple...full of stories, advice, and encouragement... lovers of Jesus and loved to talk about Him.  Kath (that's what her husband called her) felt like my mamaw.  She touched my arm every time she spoke to me and the way she spoke (apart from the accent) reminded me alot of my mamaw.  They loved looking at pictures of our kids (yes, they're always with me and ready to make an appearance) and telling us stories of their children and grandchildren. We soaked in their words and traded addresses before dinner was through...they may not be on facebook, but they'll be our forever friends the old fashioned way.  I adored the evening we had with them.  That was our last dinner and it ended on a high note.
Overall we had a lovely time.  It was a great way to celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss and how incredibly in love we are.  I'm thankful we made it on board and made it back home.  And I think it may be another 10 years before we leave our kids again...just saying:)
~One very crazy cruisin mama Crook

Thursday, January 10, 2013 need proof of citizenship for a cruise?

So if you read my blog yesterday then you know that this trip was hard for us.  If we could have went back in time to change things, we would have never booked the cruise.  And despite my scary sad visions and anxiety over leaving sick kiddos, we did it.  We left.  We arrived in Miami around 12:30 on Thursday afternoon.  Right away we found a driver, actually he found us, and we got in his giant, somewhat scary white van (I have a fear of giant white vans but this one had windows so I got in) and made our way to the cruise ship.  He dropped us off and we headed over to the luggage guy who asked for our passports.  We didn't brings ours...they were expired and passports were not required for this particular cruise.  He then asked for our birth certificates.  What?  We don't have those either.  My visual wrath was turned directly to my other half whom I had asked at least THREE times if we needed our birth certificates...including right before we walked out the door on d-day.  I am a detail person, he is not, this part of the trip was his baby.  That's all I'm saying.  The luggage guy was less than kind about our response and sent us to stand in a long line with our bags to talk to another friendly lady.  I was in disbelief...this couldn't be happening...or perhaps my vision was legit and God was doing everything in His power to keep us off that boat.  Did I mention our ship was named "Destiny"?  So many much stress.  One lady lead us to another, then another, and another...we ended up sitting in an area with several other people who were not yet grown ups either, or who didn't speak English (everyone but us).  They told us we could get a copy of our birth certificates faxed to Carnival, or even have someone take a picture of them and text it to us which we would e-mail to Carnival.  Okay...there's hope.  I called my beloved sister who was home with our three crazies.  I told her to look in our safe box...she couldn't find them, a black folder full of adoption ppwk, nope, a bag in the closet full of adoption ppwk, nope, I was getting ready to send her to the next possible location when the sound of my sick children crying in the background forced me off the phone.  I told her to take care of them and I'd call her back.  Next option...JT and I both called our moms.  My mom wasn't home...40 minutes away from home actually, but she had a copy and was going to rush home to get it.  JT's mom was at work and she didn't think she still had one. this point I was praying for another type of where I could see exactly where those birth certificates were...I was going crazy.  What else, what else...I told JT to call our adoption agency and I would call our county Department of Child Services and see if either of those places had copies.  I wasn't sure but thought maybe we had to have them when we went through the adoption process or when we became licensed foster parents.  The adoption agency was no help...but my amazing friend at DCS was on it.  I'll never forget her words "yeah, you had to have those.  Let me grab your file and I'll fax it right away".  And that's exactly what she did.  There you have it, we were a 'go'.  We had decided against our anxiety and fears to go on this trip, flew to Miami, and we were getting on the ship after a dramatic 2 hours of limbo.  Some of our other friends sitting in the 'we forgot our proof of citizenship' area were not so lucky and I was sad for them.  I guess it happens every cruise...some excited vacationers make this mistake and are very disappointed.

But we were on our way...out to sea...on a ship named Destiny.

We had to turn around two hours into the cruise and head back to Miami because one of the singer/dancers was seriously ill and needed what they called "stateside care".  So our 1st port in Key West was canceled due to our delay and a shortage on time. Oh worries from these two Crooks, we were just happy to be on the cruise:)  I've got more to tell but my blogging time has expired...we really did have a good time.  So glad my husband is a rational man and he didn't let my worrisome weirdness thwart our plans to celebrate a decade of wedded bliss!  To be continued...

~A Cruisin Mama Crook

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crying over a Cruise...

This Friday, January 11th, we'll be celebrating ten years of marital bliss.  Ten years of doing this crazy life with my best better, more grounded half:)  This past June, we decided we were going to do something big to celebrate and we booked a cruise.  It seemed like a great idea at the worries, only anticipation.  However...the closer we got to departure, the more anxious I became.  I've never been away from the kids for more than one night...I eat, sleep, and breathe them.  They are my every day and they make my every day.  I mean seriously...scroll up and look at those three faces again.  And the closer we got to our four days of freedom and relaxation, the more nervous/stressed/overwhelmed I became.  So many thoughts ran through my wouldn't believe most of them...because I'm nuts.  For example, I sat on my couch one evening a week prior to our trip and imagined that JT and I were going to die on our cruise...leave this earth and be with Lord.  It didn't stop imagination then took me to our funerals, our lives were celebrated together and our families had to decide whether or not to take our children.  They decided that the kids should see their parents one last time and in my "daymare", our youngest, Rowan, was being carried by his aunt to say goodbye to us.  He was screaming and crying and reaching for my lifeless body and my sister was trying her best to calm him and I could literally hear his voice screaming "mommy, daddy, mommy, Nooooooo!"  So as these thoughts/visions are running through my mind, and tears are streaming down my cheeks, I tell my husband that I don't think we should go.  I explain a little of my "vision" to him and he just stares at me...blankly...with a certain look I've received alot over the last decade.  And my worries are not taken seriously...not even for a second.  Easy for him...he didn't see what I saw...but whatever.  My stress level increased and decreased quite a bit leading up to what I'll call "d-day".  I'd talk to a friend who'd encourage me and talk sense into me...remind me how important my husband is and how good this uninterrupted time together will be for us.  Then a certain 5 year old got so constipated she had a fever and a certain 2 year old got the all too familiar ear infection.  They were fussy and clingy and we were leaving the next day...really?  The night before we left, we were sitting at the dining table adding up the math...our plane tickets and the cost of the much we would be throwing away if we just stayed home.  And this was not just husband is the numbers guy and he's the one who started adding it up.  The thought of leaving our sick children was not sitting well with him at all.  Now...I must tell you, we were leaving them with their favorite aunt and she was coming to OUR house.  So daily life was going to be basically the same for them and we had faith in her...we've seen the way she loves and cares for them.  She rocks.  That being said, I also love and care about her and thinking of leaving her with sick Crook kids for 5 days did not help with my anxiety.  But she came...ready and excited...referring to her time at our house as an "adventure".  And there was a part of us that was still excited by the idea of our trip.  Those two things combined with the $ already invested...inspired us to walk out the door.  Mind you, we spent the 1st leg of our trip talking about how excited we'll be when we get back home and feel their little arms around our necks.  But we left just the same...we did it.  There was no turning back.  Or was there?  You'll have to find that out later.  Why are we in our 30's and still not grown ups?  That's how it felt anyway.  I cannot believe we did what we did...or should I say, didn't do.  I'll get into that part of the story tomorrow.  It's been too long since I've written...
One Very
~Crazy Mama Crook