Sep 11, 2018

Our First Foster Child

I wrote this post about 1 year ago.... but I avoided publishing it.  It's so hard to know what to say.  But since it's the 2 year anniversary of her leaving our home I think I'm ready to tell you about how incredibly hard it was.  Here we go......

Our height difference is staggering in this photo isn't it???

So it's been awhile since I wrote, I haven't been ready to write a blog post about foster care until now.  I wish I could share so many of the amazing experiences we had, but due to confidentially I can only give you certain, and not many details..... I hope you understand.

We got the call from Utah State's foster care in July 2016 for a 3 year old girl who would likely be coming into Foster Care later that day or even a few days later.  Zeb and I talked about it and decided pretty quickly we were ready and said yes!  We ended up waiting (anxiously) about 2 days while they looked for her.  She came to us about 6 pm one night face stained with tears and scared as can be.  We quickly taught her about the joys of cell phone games and she played peppi play, explored our fully stocked kitchen, and clung to me all night.

The adjustment was much quicker than I thought it would be (although the first 3 nights were pretty rough).  A few funny things, she (appropriately) didn't want to bathe in front of strangers..... so we ran to Walmart for an Elsa swimsuit and referred to bath time as "the indoor pool" instead.  Foster care was an amazing experience for her, for us, and for everyone who got to meet her. My mom flew out and (after being background checked) helped us care for her for about a week until we were able to get her into a daycare near my work. We loved and still love her dearly and wanted to (committed to) adopt her.  However, after 3 months of her living with us some extended family stepped forward to take her to their home.  She is still with them and will very likely be adopted by them.  They are nice and all, but of course we think she would be better off at our home!  The state favors blood relatives over foster care families - always, without hesitation.  Her extended family that she is living with has decided that maintaining a relationship with us is not her best interested and have cut off our contact with her. We do still text her new parents every few months and they send us pictures and have let us know that she is doing great.  We are happy for her and grateful she won't have to move again as it was traumatic on all fronts.  If for any reason that adoption falls through she would come back to our home and we would of course adopt her, but we are 100% sure they will adopt her and we are so conflicted with those emotions and the emptiness of our home.

I had been concerned that maybe it would be hard to love her, it wasn't.  I had been concerned that she would have "issues", she didn't have any more than the rest of us.  I had been concerned that our families would have a hard time accepting her as part of the family, they didn't.  Foster care is an amazing thing!  Our sweet foster daughter was in our home because of her family background, nothing that she had done.  She wasn't scary, or damaged, or hard to love.  She was an amazing resilient 3 year old that I had the opportunity to spoil, love, and teach for a 3 month "summer vacation" while her family figured things out.  I hope we fade into her memory as a fun summer camp she attended when she was younger as she moves on with her life in a safer more secure home environment.  But she will never fade from our memory and we talk about her, think about how she is doing, and wonder if she's happy, often.

We decided as a couple to take the 6 month break that the foster care systems provides for us after a foster child leaves your home.  It broke our hearts for the state to take her away from us because they favor blood relatives over foster homes always.  I think I understand (on a very small scale) how biological families feel when the state removes their own child from their home.  It's terrible, it changes you, and leave you broken and empty.  Gaining empathy for people's life experiences is an amazing thing!  We are healing though.... we look forward to taking care of more foster children in the future.  We loved the 3 - 6 year old age range and will likely stay with that for the time being.  I highly suggest everyone becomes a foster parent if they are in a position to do so.

It's an amazing, life changing experience.  I love to talk about our experiences and answer questions.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE feel free to contact me if you have thought about becoming a foster parent and have any questions.  It's a beautiful thing to bring into your life.  We appreciate the love and support of all our family and friends as we started our foster care adventure.

UPDATE: Our foster daughter was adopted by her extended family.  We have not seen her in about 2 years but do know that she is loved, cared for, and safe.  We miss her terribly and decided not to do foster care again so far.  It was too hard and we haven't healed yet.  What we did decide was to go ahead and gamble on IVF.  Spoiler alert - it worked and we have a sweet baby boy who is biologically ours, that we can make decisions for, and share pictures of, and no one is going to take him away from us.  I"ll tell you all about that experience in another post.

Jun 8, 2016

Fully Licensed

We passed our home inspection (probably with flying colors but they didn't add any comments) and then we waiting 3 weeks for it to be sent to DCFS and reviewed.  It usually wouldn't have taken quite that long but they only review home study reports on Monday's and we got delayed by the Memorial Day holiday.  After reviewing our case study, interviews, financials, and medical records, they assigned us our Resource Family Consultant (RFC).  That was the final step!  So we will be meeting with her soon to discuss our hopes and dreams for our future family and what type of children we are dreaming of.  Then we will discuss real life and the children who are available.  Ok, actually I have no idea what we are going to talk about - but I love that they come to our home around our work schedule for all these meetings and we don't have to go to their offices during specific office hours.  That makes this whole process seem even easier!

May 12, 2016

Home Study

Our home study is complete!  What a relief.  I don't think I realized how stressful getting your own home ready for an inspection could be.  It took us weeks to get ready.  Some of the notable thing we did (that you probably have thought about doing once or twice but won't ever actually do):

  1. Replace your smoke detectors with combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.
  2. Anything that is heavy that a kid might climb and get crushed by (ie, bookcases); bolt those suckers to the wall!
  3. Go through all your stuff and organize it.  If it's hazardous if swallowed, lock it up, but seriously a few more keys for your keychain!  One thing I learned, don't put the toilet paper storage locked behind a keyed lock... you'll be miserable!  
  4. Now that you did that for your whole house, go do it for your garage (note to self, this will take much, much longer than you expected)
  5. That extra gasoline for your lawn mower - get rid of it!  (unless you happen to have a ventilated storage container that locks, then you could put it in there).  Also, I don't reccomend trying to dump it into your cars, you will make a big mess.
  6. Get a home phone line from your friendly internet provider, and a home phone, with an answering machine.... You might already have this, we didn't.  Next be super surprised at how often your new phone rings considering no one in the whole wide world knows your number.
  7. Lock up any peroxide based hair color and/or bleach you might have, and your nail polish remover (you don't have lots of hair color?  I have a TON, I'm a hairdresser after all.....)
  8. Do you use those cute laundry or dish soap packets that look like candy and kids love to eat them - STOP USING THEM!!!  (really though, even if you aren't doing foster care you need to stop using those - tons of kids eat them and end up in the ER)
  9. Fireplace?  Get a screen so the kids don't burn themselves (or in our case, just extinguish the pilot light and never use it).
  10. Let's talk emergency numbers - the police, fire, hospital, poison control center etc.  Look those up!  Then get on Etsy and find a cute word template to type them all out on.  Laminate them and stick one in each car and one near your new land line.  While you're at it put some first aid kits in your car, and with your medicine cabinet at home.

(As you can see Zeb did all the hard work!!). On top of these awesome things we decided to combine our office and guest rooms together to free up a kids room.  It was really a lot of fun to get that set up!  

The home study lasted about 3 -3 1/2 hours and all but 20-30 minutes of it was an interview of us as individuals and as a couple.  We gave them information about our vaccines, our cat's vaccines, our finances, our educational background.  We also discussed how our families of origin handled conflict while we were growing up and how we handle it now.  Also, what causes us conflict in our marriage.  Then we discussed how we were disciplined while growing up and what our plans are for disciplining our future and foster children.  We talked about any times we had sought counseling, what it was for and if we found it helpful in anyway.  Then we talked about any instances of abuse we had experienced or seen.  It sounds super exhausting, and it was!  But truthfully it was all fairly surface level.  We didn't really have to bear our entire heart and soul, and we really liked our licensor.  
Next she will write up a report about our visit and hand it off to.... I can't remember, DCFS (department of child and family services) I think.  They will assign us a RFC (resource family Consultant) which should happen within the month and all the needed steps will be complete!  It has been very busy to get to this point but honestly not too stressful or time consuming.  But we are so greatful to have the stress of the home study over and done with.

Apr 29, 2016

Showered with Love

Zeb and I had the opportunity to go to Oregon last week to take an updated family photo with my family.  Several grand children had been added to the family since our last one and because no one was great with child it ended up being a good time to get one done.  We had such a blast playing with our nieces and nephews and getting in some much needed family time.

While we were there my wonderful sisters(-in-law) threw me a foster care shower.  It was so much fun to see the people I grew up with and many who had a large impact for the best on my youth... it takes a village and all... It was a wonderful opportunity to share our decision, answer questions and let people know all about what we've been up to.  I gave Zeb the option to stay and visit (since it was a bit of an unconventional thing we get to make up our own social rules right) and he decided he wasn't too into talking about it for hours on end and so my dad took him out to dinner and a movie instead.

A BIG thank you to Vanessa, Vanessa, Melissa, and my mom for the work they put into making it happen.  Everything was perfect and so well thought out.  I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't have the answer to peoples questions or that I would bore people by giving them way more information that they cared to hear, but it was such a wonderful evening and I loved talking and catching up with everyone.  Here are some pictures from that evening.

Also a HUGE thank you for the gifts we received (and continue to receive almost daily).  It has been such a help in getting us ready for our home study on 5/9/16.  We have only three more tasks to do around the house and then we will be just about ready!  It has been a little bit harder than I thought to prepare for all age groups at once instead of growing our supplies while the children grow too.  One example is that in our home we now have a bedside sleeper for infants, a pack and play for toddlers, and twin bed for kids. a queen bed for guests, and a king bed for us!  (We do NOT have that many bedrooms - not to mention there is only two of us living here right now).  We have a house filling with supplies, toys, kids movies, first aid kits, and love from family, and friends.  These children are so loved and supported already and we don't even know who they are yet!  Not to mention the overwhelming love and support we feel.

Apr 19, 2016

Moving Right Along

Things in the licensing process are moving right along.  We just got word back that our background checks have been completed (they were ran in Utah, Idaho, and Oregon which can sometimes hold things up) and we have finalized a date and time for our home study.  It will officially be taking place on Monday, May 9th.  So we can expect to be fully licensed shortly after that.  We are continuing to get the house ready and are currently working on the kids bedroom and getting that all set up.  It has been so fun to come home from work and find packages at the door.  We get more and more excited as our home fills with children's toys, necessities, and is becoming more and more kid friendly.  Thank you to everyone for your love and support in making this somewhat stressful time much more relaxing and stress free.  We feel so blessed and encouraged by our kind words and thoughtful gifts... THANK YOU!!  

PS; If you are interested in learning more about what we are doing you can visit the Utah Foster Care webpage ( or ask us any questions and we will be happy to fill you in - we are a pretty open book!

Apr 11, 2016

So.... What's next?

Each weekend we work on a project so we can be ready for our home study which will be sometime in May.  A few weekends ago we got locks for our garage cabinets and sorted through everything to ensure all hazardous items were now behind lock and key.  This past weekend all bookcases were bolted to the walls.  We have a whole check list we are working our way through.

Zeb and I have decided to wet our feet in the foster care program and to see how well our broken hearts handle the intricacies of it by starting out as respite care givers.  This means that once we are licensed we will look after children for anywhere from 1 night to 1 week while their foster parents are taking care of family emergencies or even just needing a break.  Pretty much any need that might arise where the children need a short term, safe place to stay.  This is where we will likely get children that might not be in our requested age range or sibling groups for a relatively short space of time.

One of the reasons for this is that it will give us the opportunity to better answer the questions we will be asked but don't yet have answers to, such as:  would you like a boy or girl, would you take a sibling group of two or more, what behaviors can you work with and which ones can you not tolerate, and many many others.  It will also help us to gain a deeper understanding of how the system works and what kind of support we might need to help us be as successful as possible.  We hope to someday adopt through the State of Utah and this is a perfect starting place for us.

It has been so wonderful to feel an outpouring of love and support as we start down this path and prepare for parenthood (and our foster/adoption license). Please continue to pray for us that we can make the best decisions and see what the path that is right for our family.  Thanks everyone!!

Mar 27, 2016

Our Family.... an update

Family and Friends, we are so glad you stopped by our blog!  You probably have a few questions about what’s going on in our life and what we’ve been up to since we have been missing in action on the blog for the past few years.  Let's start with the basics:  We have purchased a town home in Herriman Utah where we currently live.  It is about 30 minutes from the SLC airport.  We are loving having our own place and thoroughly enjoying living outside of Utah County.  We are both working; Zeb in the mortgage industry and Lisa in the accounting/finance industry.  We have a beautiful, shy cat named Ramona, but you can call her Honey Bear.

     We have tried for a few years to start our family but it just hasn't been working out for us.  In 2014 I had surgery and our doctor was confident we would be pregnant in just a few months.  However when that didn’t happen it was time to start seeing the specialist's specialist.  After many, many tests it was determined that as a couple Zeb and I would never be able to have biological children on our own and if we wanted them it would be possible, but would require some pretty intense infertility treatments (ICSI).  We have taken our time coming to terms with that news and adjusting to the fact that the life we dreamed of and planned for might not be the path our life will actually take.  We have started to dream new dreams and adjust our plans and have come to some conclusions about what we would like our future family to be and how we would like to get there.  We are happy and excited to share that news with our family and friends!

     We have many options available to us to start our family and we have decided that for our first child we would like to pursue adoption through the state of Utah.  This means that we will obtain the same license that foster families receive.  We have finished taking 32 hours of training through the state and are about get our first aid and CPR certification.  The next step on our journey will be to complete a home study and then we will be ready to foster-to-adopt, or adopt a waiting child.  We are so excited to take these next few steps to finish our license and are so ready to get going and start our family.  We know that for many people this is the path less traveled and we are honestly thrilled to be on it.  We are happy to answer any questions you might have.  We do understand that it is all quite fascinating and interesting and we feel blessed to be learning about and participating in this path!

     We will continue to update this blog as much as possible about where we are at in the process and are so grateful for your love and support as we build our family.  My mom has put together a registry for us on Amazon if you would like to help us prepare our home for the upcoming home study Link Here.  We are so grateful for the love and support we have felt as we have made this decision.

We'll keep in touch,
Lisa & Zeb

May 26, 2015

Utah Valley University Graduation

In May Zeb walked at UVU's graduation.  I was so proud of him!  After a few set backs and a lot of hard work he was finally graduating!!!  What a relief.  We had so many plans of things we wanted to do with our life but were stuck while we waited

for school to finished and here it was!  We had a fun graduation party with family and friends and had a blast celebrating!

May 18, 2015

Picking up where we left off

I took a break from blogging.  It was a nice, much needed break.  I think I didn't have much to talk about, and the things that were important to me at the time were likely not important to anyone else.  So there's that.  But we've had a beautiful life lately and I'd like to fill you in on it.  Since I'm an accountant I live my life in "quarters" so.... here are a few fun picutres from Q1 2014.  We had been having a lot of fun with family and friends.  We even took a spring trip break to Vegas to get away from the cold of Utah and cross some things off our bucket list.  We knew school would end for Zeb but sometimes it just seemed like that day would never come so our trip to Vegas was a great break from homework and the stresses of life.  Our favorite parts were visiting the grand canyon and eating at Chef Ramsey's stake house.  I still dream of the Mac & Cheese that I had there.... amazing!

Ringing in the new year... probably somewhere around 9 pm.  I"m not a night owl!

Have you ever seen a happier kid???

Zeb teaching his nephew how to fly the angry birds blimp


For Valentine's day we went to see Brian Regan at the Energy Solutions Arena

Standing on the Hoover Dam

Dinner at Chef Ramsey's - Steak

Anyone else love Pawn Stars??  It was fun to look around and watch them film

The nicest couple took this picture who were road tripping back home from picking up their newly adopted son.  It was great chatting with them

I've been thinking I need a selfie stick lately!  But I'd probably be too embarrassed to use it, either way I meet a lot of nice people while asking them to take our picture - it's a great way to break the ice and make new friends.  I'm keeping up with my photography hobby - and I think my pictures have improved a lot over the last year.  While I catch you up on our going on's see if you can see the improvement too!

Feb 27, 2014


I haven't been around much lately.  Truthfully I don't have much to say :)  But I am writing a blog still, it's just a private blog.  This year my new years resolution was to write my life history.  I decided to do it on a private blog because I know there are services that can print you blog into a book for you and that seemed like the easiest option.  I've been reading through old journals and scrapping my memory for evens that really mattered in my life and have stuck with me.

Now don't get too excited - you don't get to read it!  Maybe once I'm dead and gone someday....... But I might share bits and pieces of it with you if I feel they are compelling and aren't too embarrassing!  Here's how it starts though:

In the words of my parents:

"On April 20, 1984 Lisa raced into the world and into our lives.  She has always been on the go, just the way she started life.  Lisa was anxious to get here so the labor moved much quicker than expected and we ended up racing across Salt Lake, running red lights and darting between traffic to get to the hospital.  In the great hurry, Reed even forgot where the hospital was.  Finally there at the hospital, we raced through the hallways and minutes later she was laying in our arms gently crying as a new born baby."

I don't remember much of my childhood.  It's not that I've blocked it our per say, I've just taken living in the moment to a whole new level.  This year my new years resolution was to write my life history up to this point (2014) so I could take a hard look at the things that have helped shape and mold me into the woman I am today.  I'm pretty proud of who I am, and I don't want to forget the events that helped get me there.  Now back to my parents side of the story:

"Since then Lisa has always been moving, dancing , talking or making things better.  From the first twirl in her Dad's arms Lisa has been in love with dancing.  She would ask her dad over and over again to dance with her.  Swing dancing or waltzing she spent most of her time in the air.  When he wore out she started taking lessons, only now with her feet firmly on the ground.  Her wonderful rhythm and sense of grace were always evident and she shone in the many dance recitals we attended.  Often she was selected to be the focal point of the dance group and frequently in the audience we would hear comments of how cute she was.  All the early dance experiences helped prepare Lisa for her High School passion, the dance team.  She was especially excited when all the dads were invited to dance with their daughters at a High School football game.  I'm sure it won't be the last time she and her dad dance together."

I'm grateful that my parents wrote down these memories.  This excerpt is from my young women's "high school" graduation party before leaving for my first year of College in utah.  So I have some stories to tell to catch you up to speed.

Lets get started....

Dec 6, 2013

December?!?! What the.....

I've written this posts two times now and for some reason they haven't shown up on the blog yet!  But I'm still here, still alive and doing pretty well.  Winter hit us hard last week and we've had 5 days below 20 degrees now.  brrr..... I hate the cold.  But I know I'll make it through this winter because we're only 2 weeks away from the winter solstace!!  Maybe I'll throw a party to celebrate the days getting longer again....

Tomorrow we're decorating ginger bread houses in this joint - I couldn't be more excited!!!  I got quite the assortment of candies at WINCO tonight and remembered how much I love that place!  It was way better than grocery shopping at Walmart, and believe it or not, quite a bit cheaper as well!  I'm a believer now and you should be to - check it out, it's totally worth the drive!

Sep 25, 2013

creepy crawly things

oh... Hi there.  You're still checking back in here.  That's good to know!  Thanks!

The other night I had the most vivid dream I have EVER had.  I was laying in bed sleeping (in my dream) and as I rolled over I took my pillow with me.  That's when I saw it scurry from it's now exposed spot on my bed back under the warmth of my pillow.  A thick brown spider.  I lept from my bed, only to be held back by the sea of blankets that entrapped me.  When I was finally free and standing next to my bed I started the processes of ensuring my safety: shaking my hair out and stripping my clothes off.  I grabbed a light and started scowering the blankets for where the furry creature had gone.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  Somewhere during my striptease and shaking out of my hair I became aware that Zeb was telling me "It's OK, you're OK.  It's OK, you're OK."  As I searched our bed, I couldn't find the spider anywhere and Zeb was asking me what I was looking for.  I got back into bed, my heart beating out my chest and continued to itch all over for the next long while as I drifted back off into dreamland.  I must have given Zeb a heart attack because I didn't fully wake up and realize my sleep "walking/stripping" and scouring of the sheets was all in a deep dream state until the next morning.  My story of what happened and Zeb's version were quite different leading me to believe, there might not have actually been a spider in my bed.

But then again, I do have a tiny bug bite on the top of my left hand.... so really, who even knows?

I guess that black widow I found near our garage a few weeks ago had a greater effect on me than I originally understood.

Aug 15, 2013


After only 1 week I sold my first item in my Etsy shop!  Wahoo!!!  I was pretty excited to see the email stating I was officially up and running as a business woman.  I took the profits and headed straight to fabric store to purchase the fabric for my next sheet set.  I have them created, photographed and up for sale at the shop.  I think they are adorable.  I also have purchased the fabric for my first "set" (crib skirt, and sheets - I've decided to stay away from bumpers, too controversial right now) which I am creating right now and will post as soon as it's ready for sale.  Any ideas on nursery themes for my future sets?  Also, I have the colors are coordinated and am thinking of a name for the set - I'll post the colors for input tomorrow :)

I really am having so much fun!  I hope it keeps taking off in the right direction so I can buy some more fabric soon!  Thanks for all the support and spreading of the word, it means so much to me!

Here are the new items up for sale:

(Don't I have great taste in fabrics!)

I am also working on my shop banner and graphics....  I'll post them once they are completed.