Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Return to the Arches

My first hiking adventure in Shenandoah National Park left me full of wonder and longing to return. This time Gyps and I had the chance to share the beauty and peace we found while following the arches to glorious falls at the bottom of the canyon with those we love the most. She and her new hubby, Wolf went on ahead while Todd, The Tribe and I followed behind at a much slower pace.

It was an amazing experience to watch them find all the treasures along the trail. Tree stump dragons appeared before them only to be squealed at and climbed upon. Their voices permeated the tranquility of the winter forest scape before us as each found new and exciting things at each bend in the trail. And, as on my previous hike with Gyps, always before us and leading us on were the arches.

The falls at the bottom were even more beautiful draped in their winter glory. We longed to stay and visit with Gypsy and Wolf bur our visit had to be short. We still had a passel of little legs to get a mile and a half up the side of the mountain before it got too cold.

The last mile if hike out was steep with the worst being the half mile at the very end. BJ, being the smallest had to privilege of being carried on me or Todd's back most of the way out. Nathan plodded along like the energizer bunny and Farm Boy took position as rear guard with ever a stick or branch (sword of course) in hand. There were only a few grumbles as legs and lungs were pushed past the levels of comfort. All pain was forgotten as we sought the warm comfort of the van, where we snacked on jerky, trail mix, cheese nips and our water bottles.

The crowning glory of the day was sunset over the valley. I have been witness to many a sunset and I feel certain this one was in the running for most amazing. We got back to the villa tired and sore but with memories that would be with us forever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Making Memories

I can't really say if Massanutten will ever be the same after being over run by the Tribe. I can say that we will never be the same after a week in the mountains, (with a fireplace, hot tub and sauna of course).

Just having time away from the everyday responsibilities of home, school and life in the winter as a family was amazing. For a week we got to be just a regular family. There were no appointments, visits, social workers, case workers, reports to file or logs to fill out. We swam, hiked, snow tubed and played. We made memories that will last a life time.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tribal Adventures Forthcoming

Not only was WWW (wild womens weekend) this past September tons of fun, spiritually invigorating and flat out amazing it also resulted in us buying a time share. Traveling with seven kids is not easy or cheap. Add to that I really can't go too far for too long with out my Gyps and a time share just seemed to be the perfect solution. So, the tribe, which now includes Auntie Gyps and Unkin Wolf are headed off an exciting adventure in the mountains of central Virginia.

We have board games, swimming suites for the indoor heated pool, movies, hiking shoes and snow suites. Finish the laundry and packing and we are outta here...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happily Ever After

"Happily ever after starts now". ~Gyps on her wedding day

Princess Buttercup, eat your heart out. My Gyps has found her Prince Charming, otherwise know as Wolf. Yes, this was a kissing movie and they haven't stopped yet!

Only A Foster Parent

I was talking to my little sister who is currently being confronted with one of the many difficult and painful parts of being a foster parent. She was in a very low mood and as she shared her story my heart broke for her. As she got the conclusion she made the statement that was like a blow to the head. "What else can I do, I'm only a foster parent? I can't even fight for him".

This is a woman that has dedicated her life to caring for broken innocent little ones that desperately need unconditional love. She gives every part of herself to her children, those she birthed and those that were handed to her by a social worker. She goes to court, meetings and works out visits. She goes to doctors appointments, kisses hurts and loves away tears. She is the a living representation of unconditional love but she is "only a foster parent". She has no rights, no say, no voice.

I am angry, I feel her pain and the pain of my other dearest friends that live this day after day. So many that work so hard to do what is right knowing the pain and frustration that are part of it.

The seeds of unconditional love that have been planted in these children are the fruits of the labor. We may not see them grow to be adults, we many not have any say in how they are raised or the choices they make. All we can do is pray that they will remember they are special and that there are people out there that love them and gave all they had, even if it was only for a little while. Then, maybe being "only a foster parent" will mean something.