wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.

8.15.2015

The call. {Our second foster care experience}

Of course the call came when we least expected it. 

It always seems to work that way. 

The call came on Monday. Actually, the email came first. 

"Any interest?" was written in the subject line.

A 12 day old baby boy.

The call came at 3:00.
 Our homestudy was chosen. We were chosen. 

We made an emergency trip to Target (where else?!) to get supplies to get us through the first couple of days: diapers, wipes, formula, some clothes, pacifiers, a baby blanket.

We went to the hospital that night to meet him, to feed him, to learn more about him. 

The next day, after dropping 3 very excited children off with Grandma Jan, we headed to the hospital to bring home our boy. 

It took 2 hours of talking to the doctors, nurses and social workers, signing papers and packing up his things, until we were walking out into the rain, carrying this new little life. 

I whispered to Jake, "They are letting us leave with a baby!"


It has been so surreal to be home with a newborn again. I still can hardly believe it. 

Ever since we started this process, I have wondered what it would feel like taking in someone else's child as my own. Would I feel the way I do about my biological children? Would it feel like babysitting? Would it feel like a burden?

Honestly, I was scared.

I was scared that I wouldn't love them the same as my kids, scared that it would feel like a burden.

With J, I am relieved to say that the past few days have been nothing but a joy.

Aside from some sleep-deprived, middle of the night frustration on night 2, I have been soaking everything in. We never thought we would get a newborn, so it feels like such a gift to be able to experience this stage of life again.

I already love this little guy so much. We all do.

We are fostering to adopt, but with babies, in the beginning, the goal is for them to be reunified with their birth family. It's a long road adopting babies from DCF.

Sadly, I can not tell you if J will be with us forever. We hope that someday he can proudly say he is a Kreyling, but we won't know that for quite a while.

If he does end up leaving us, I know that we will be able to say that we loved him fiercely, prayed over him, read to him and talked to him about Jesus, and that our lives will be better for knowing him.

But for now, he is ours and we couldn't be happier. 

Please join us in welcoming and loving our new little boy.

As Jonah has excitedly been telling everyone, "Come meet my new little brother that we hope to adopt someday!!!"

(Our amazon wish list: https://www.amzn.com/w/3PPXQMY764PE6 )



7.28.2015

Our first foster care experience.

Last week we had a 3 year old boy come to live with us for the week. It was a respite care situation and it was our first time having a child from DCF come into our home.

Honestly? I was excited, but nervous. And scared.

We knew a bit about him and even got to meet him once, but still, I was nervous. Since we had never done this before, I just didn't know what to expect.

But we went in to this knowing that this boy needed a home for the week, knowing that he would have to leave us and go back to his family, and knowing that he just needed a family to love on him, keep him safe, care for him and have fun with him.

And that's what we did.

And we all stepped up to the plate. Especially my kids.

Boy do those kids love and love hard.

They welcomed him and immediately brought him into our family.

Jonah was thrilled to share his room, his toys, his stuffed dinosaur and even a few pairs of socks. Lily happily took him up and down the treehouse countless times, put on his shoes, read him story after story after story, and was so proud to be the first one to successfully put him down for his nap. Kate was his constant playmate, holding his hand on family walks (at his request), playing trucks in the dirt, and blowing hundreds of bubbles.

It was beautiful.

I can't really explain how it felt to see my kids in this way. They were so sweet, so caring, so loving, so forgiving, so accepting, so helpful, in ways I had never seen them before.

Overall, it was a great week. We definitely had some bumps and bruises along the way, as it is never a seamless transition. One thing that surprised me was how quickly Jake and I forgot what it was like living with a three year old! And a three year old that was constantly learning the rules and how we do things in our home. Boy was it exhausting!

We had lots of fun going swimming, blowing lots of bubbles (I think we went through 4 bottles!), going to playgrounds, the library, the splash pad, the bakery, playing with planes and trucks and cars and eating lots of PB&J sandwiches.

By the time Sunday came, we were all checking the clock to see how much time we had left with him and would then run to go play with him some more. When it was time for him to go, we had 4 very sad children. Two were crying and giving hugs, not wanting to let go. One was crying, "don't want to leave! Don't want to go! Want to stay here!"

It was very hard to say goodbye.

It was a good experience and I am glad we had it. We learned a lot about how it feels and what it's like having a child from DCF come into our home. Honestly, it's hard for me to put into words.

But it was hard. It was hard knowing he wouldn't get to stay.

Even though it was painful to say goodbye, we are all changed by this experience, changed by him, changed by opening our home and our hearts to this boy. We are hopeful that one of these days, we will get a child or two or three, and not have to say goodbye.




6.28.2015

adoption Q&A

Now that we are getting closer and closer to a placement, I find that I am answering a lot of the same questions, so I thought it would be helpful if I answered some of them for you all. 

Q: International or Domestic adoption?
A: We are adopting through the Department of Children and Families, so our kids will come from right here in Massachusetts. 

Q: What ages/gender/race?
A: We are looking at kids ages 0-5. Race does not matter to us at all, so we are open to anything. As for gender, we just want at least one of them to be a boy :) 

Q: One of them has to be a boy?? Wait, how many kids are you hoping to adopt??
A: We are open to 1-3 kids! We are actually hoping for a sibling group of 2 or 3. We are really feeling called to sibling groups. So often DCF has to break sibling groups up because they can't find families to take them all. So, we are really hoping to be able to keep the siblings together.

DCF has a limit of 6 kids per family, so since we already have 3, we can get up to 3 more.  So, there is a good chance that our family of 5 could soon become a family of 8!

Q: Where are you planning on putting everyone??
A: We currently live in a fairly small ranch on a beautiful corner lot in a fantastic location. We looking into moving, but we kept coming back to the fact that we just love our location too much to move. So, hopefully within a month or two, we will begin construction to add a full second story onto our home. We will also be moving some rooms around on the 1st floor to give us a bigger family room and dining room. It will be our biggest project yet, but the end result will give us 4 bedrooms and a full bath upstairs, and a new living room, new dining room, full bath and one bedroom on the first floor. This, in addition to the 2 rooms in the basement, will give us plenty of space for our growing family.

Q: Do your kids know?
A: Yes! They have been very involved from the beginning. All three of them are so excited about adopting and I know they will be such great big siblings.

Q: You already have 3 kids, why are you adopting?
A: Honestly, we are not adopting for us. We are adopting for them. We are adopting because we have the ability to give these kids a home- to love them, to keep them safe, to give them what they need, to give them a family that loves them unconditionally. We feel that God has called everyone to either 1.) care for these kids in need through adoption or foster care, or 2.) to support the people that are adopting or fostering. We feel led to adopt, so we are following that calling and seeing where it leads us. 

We know this will not be an easy path, but we are so excited to see where it takes us. 



6.20.2015

Thoughts on Adoption: pre-placement.


This past week we officially became approved to be a pre-adoptive home.

These are some of my thoughts on our adoption process pre-placement:

Our adoption journey officially started a little over 2 years ago after we found a 2 year old boy wandering alone in a crowded parking lot (read about that here). It was then that we felt a big push from God to get things rolling, so we sent away for the paperwork to get started. 

The paperwork came. And it sat. and sat. and sat.

We were nervous. Scared. Really scared. And life got in the way. 

That paperwork sat for a year in a bright blue folder, tucked away with our weekly grocery ads and take out menus. 

Finally one day, that paperwork was finished and we waited for the next step. 

The first time we met with a social worker, I was so nervous. The house had never looked so clean. 

We were still slightly terrified, but there was also a little bit of excitment starting to brew. 

Months after that first meeting with a worker, we nervously drove to our first training class. 

After 6 long heartbreaking classes, somehow, the excitement was continuing to build. 

All this time, we had been praying. Praying for God to open doors or close doors. Praying for clarity, for patience, for wisdom. Praying for God to show us, tell us, reveal to us whether or not we should continue to pursue this. 

A few months after the classes ended, and we finished another massive mound of paperwork, our homestudy began. Again, I was way more nervous than I needed to be. But all went well. 

After another few months, we got to read that completed homestudy and this past week were approved. 

As difficult as this entire process is, as heartbreaking as it is, as terrifying as it is, somehow our excitement has only grown.

God has shown us through the past 2 years that this is the path we are to take. 

We know that the hardest is yet to come. We know that since we are adopting through foster care, that we could have these kids for weeks, months, maybe even years and that there is a chance that they may not end up with us forever. 

We know that since we are adopting through foster care that it could be years before these kids officially have our last name. 

We know that it won't be easy. 

But it will be worth it.

And now? Now we are on the verge of meeting some very special children. Children that He already knew would be a part of our family since the beginning of time. 

Every day I wake up wondering if it will be the day we get that phone call or that email. Every Day.

It could be Monday or it could be months down the road. 

We are so excited to meet them. Learn about them. Get to know them. Love them.

We are also terrified. 

But  God has changed our hearts so much over the past 2 years and now, what I picture when I picture adopting? 

Right now, I picture these little kids, standing in our doorway for the first time, Jake and I bending down to welcome them to their new home. I picture Lily, Jonah and Kate jumping up and down and squealing with excitement, hugging everyone and wanting to take their new siblings to show them their rooms. I picture Jake and I crying as we look at our new family. 

I know we will be so scared. But the love and excitement we feel for these kids we haven't even met is so much greater than the fear.

4.10.2015

Raising kids, from an only child's perspective.

So, I'm seeing everywhere today that it is National Sibling Day. 

Naturally, this got me thinking about my lack of siblings and that I didn't have anyone by side while growing up. No side kick, no one to run around and explore with, no one to fight with, no one to complain about our parents to, no brothers, no sisters. 

My being an only child could not be helped; it is what God meant for our family. It was no one's fault my mom got sick while in labor with me. 

For years and years I wished for a little brother. For as long as I can remember, I said I would have a big family when I grew up. "5 kids", I said. Being the silly girl that I was, I even wrote down what I wanted to name my 5 future children, first and middle names.

Of course I had friends (Forest Ave. friends and families will always hold a special place in my heart!) that I could play, explore, ride bikes, roller skate, trade baseball cards and imagine with. But  I felt like there was something so special about having a brother or a sister. You grow up together, get in trouble together, know each other better than anyone else. I wanted that more than anything. 

When I met and started dating Jake, I was thrilled when I learned he is one of 5 kids. Finally, siblings! Future cousins! A big family! All I had ever wanted. A big, tight-knit family. 

I am so thankful for my extended family- I have 3 beautiful, wonderful caring sisters-in-law and one smart, artistic, adventurous brother-in-law. So far, I am one awesome niece and nephew. I only wish we all lived closer to each other! 

Once Jake and I started our own family, even though it was sooner than we had expected, we were already talking about kid #2. It was never a question of "if" we would go for more than one, it was when. 

We decided early on that we wanted our kids close in age. And just like that, we had a 21 month old and a newborn. 

Then, 8 months later, God decided our family needed one more. And before we knew it, we had a 3 year old, 17 month old and a newborn. 

As hard as it was (and is!), I am so thankful that they have each other. It has been so fun watching them grow up together and I pray that as they grow, their bond will only get tighter and they will be great friends. 

However, being an only child raising 3 kids, has it's difficult moments. 

I think one of the biggest things I have had to figure out in regards to parenting more than one child, is how they act towards each other. What is normal sibling behavior? I really had no real first hand experience with this. Constant fighting- normal? Tattling, hitting, arguing- normal? I knew that it was normal for siblings to fight, but how much? 

As an only child, it has been so interesting to me to watch my 3 kids together. Some days they are best friends, other days they don't want anything to do with each other. One minute they are screaming at each other and the next minute they are fully immersed in some game they made up. I see a bond between them that is so special and a love that truly can be only between siblings. I am so thankful that they get to grow up together and will have each other for the rest of their lives. 





2.25.2015

life never slows down {finally an update- job, homeschooling, and adoption}.


Well, it has been months since I last posted anything on here! We have been busy living life and shoveling over 100" of snow in the past month! 


Quite a bit has been happening since I last posted:

We have made great progress on our adoption journey! We have taken all of the classes, reference checks have begun and we are in the process of completing all of the interviews for our home study. This has been such an eye opening experience so far. We know that this is, and will continue to be, quite the adventure and roller coaster ride. We have been praying for guidance and for clarity as we get closer and closer to the time when we will begin looking at and meeting some of the kids. It is incredibly exciting yet also terrifying!  We don't know what the future holds, but we are so excited to possibly bring more little munchkins into the family! 

Another big thing that happened is that in January, Jake changed jobs. He is now a full time Beverly firefighter! This has (and will be) a big step in Jake's career. He is headed off to academy on Monday for 9 weeks. I am anticipating a bumpy transition for the kids, since this will mean less time with Daddy during the week and most likely, a very tired and sore Daddy on the weekends. 


But once academy is over, Jake will be assigned to his Group and will then begin his new schedule, which will be drastically different than what we are used to. He will work 24 hours on, then have 24 hours off, and then work 24 hours on again. Then he will have 5 days off.
That will definitely be an adjustment! 

But because of his new schedule and how much time he has off, we have officially decided to homeschool all 3 kids next school year. Homeschooling Kate this year has been great and she has learned so much- the biggest thing is reading! She is now reading books all on her own and she is so proud. It has been so fun teaching her and watching her learn to read and to see it really start to click just in the past couple of weeks. 

The kids are all excited to try homeschooling next school year. We already ordered our curriculum and everyone in the house can't wait to begin! 

 Jake and I have thought and prayed long and hard over this and we feel that this is the right thing for us next year. We will see how it goes and take it year by year. But for now, we are all really excited to begin our homeschooling adventure!  

In spite of all these big changes going on all around them, the kids are doing great and are really excited about everything going on. Even the massive amounts of snow we've been getting :)

Sledding is the best. 

8.09.2014

Kids chores: our new chore board.

I have been trying to figure out a chore system that would work for our family, especially for our three kids, ages 7.5, 6 and 4.5. 

One that is easy to use, easy to understand, easy to make, but is effective when it comes to actually getting chores done. 

After lots and lots of Pinterest searching and pinning, I found one system that I loved and thought would work well for us. I found it here.

Well, that was about a year ago.....

Today, after much procrastinating, it is finally done! Hooray! 


I started this project off by coming up with a list of chores for the kids. 

Jake and I decided that while chores are to be done because everyone in the family needs to help out around the house, there will also be some extra chores added to give the kids a chance to earn some money. 

(The money they earn will be divided into their 3 jars: Save, Spend and Church)

So, I came up with my list: "Family responsibility" chores and the chores that the kids will earn money for. 

There are lots of family responsibility chores, and for now, just a few money chores. We decided to start off giving the kids each $1 per week if they complete all of their paid chores. 

After I took this picture, I added a $ sign on the clips that are money chores: bathroom, mopping, dusting and trash. 

Each kid gets their own colors: Lily's pins are green, Jonah's are blue and Kate's are pink. These are their chores that never change: put dirty laundry in the basket and clean laundry in drawers, clean up bedrooms, and clean up the backyard at the end of the day. 

The pins that are not colored will rotate each day. So, one day, Jonah will have to take out the trash and bring the bins back up to the house on trash day, Lily will have the chore of cleaning the playroom, or Kate will have to set the table. The next day, the chores rotate. 

I will be adding some seasonal chore clips as well, such as raking leaves and shoveling snow.

My favorite chore that I came up with is the one labeled "Dinner". I came up with the idea that each week, when I am making the weekly shopping list, I will ask each kid what they would like for dinner that week. Each kid gets to pick dinner for one day that week (with some gentle guidance, of course!). Then during the week, when a kid gets the "dinner" chore, they get to help make the dinner they chose. They will help prep dinner, cook dinner and clean up dinner. I think it will be really fun and the kids are most excited about this "chore"! 

Once I finally had my list of chores, I got my supplies ready to make the actual board. 


Jake cut this thin board down to the size I wanted. 

Then I primed it, so it would be ready for the chalkboard paint.


After 2 coats of chalkboard paint, it was ready!


I added this cute string to hang it from. I didn't have a hot glue gun, so I just used super glue to attach it. Hopefully it holds! 

I used chalk to divide the board into three sections, one for each child. 

Then I added some of the pins that I painted and wrote the chores on. 

The pins start out on the top, then once the chore is completed, the kids can move the clip to the bottom. That way, they can easily see what they have finished and what is left to do. 

I am using a little drawstring bag to store the extra chore pins.




I am thrilled it is finally finished. And the kids are equally excited to begin their chores! 

This was very simple to make and didn't require many supplies or tools, but I think that it will be very effective.