Surprise from a co-worker on Monday.
7: Number of days we’ve had our Precious 2-month old
1: Number of blow-outs that have required a bath and full wardrobe change. For both of us.
6: Number of days Jason was on the road during our first week. God has a funny way with timing the arrivals of our babies…
1: Bottle she came with
7: Total number of bottles we now have
1: Pacifier she came with
3: Pacifiers we now have
6: Bibs that Precious came with
26: Total number of bibs we now have thanks to family and friends
50: Approximate number of diapers we’ve gone through
30: Dollars worth of formula used in a week. At least.
7: Average number of hours slept straight through the night. Hallelujah!
15: Approximately how many giant, slobbery smiles we get a day
18: Average number of hours per day that a 2 month old sleeps
24: Ounces of formula a 12-pounder requires a day
4: Loads of laundry done this week (not too bad!)
8: Times I’ve cried this week between the Empowered to Connect conference, worshipping, missing Ladybug and grieving for Precious’s situation (9 if you count the onion I was cutting up for potato soup.)
4: Cups of coffee I’ve had (I’m NOT a coffee drinker)
Have I mentioned that I’ve been really emotional lately? At the Empowered to Connect conference last weekend Dr. Karyn Purvis showed this video to illustrate that the “dance” of attachment looks like between adoptive/foster parents and kids from hard places. It made me cry. That dog just loves his master so much! And she must be so committed to that dog!
I wish I had some more artsy home-related projects to write about to balance out all this foster parenting business but I don’t. Our goal was to get the house pretty well de-projected before we started having kids since we knew we wouldn’t have as much time for crazy home renovations. So that’s where we are right now. Anyhow…
Over the weekend, my mom and I went to a conference called Empowered to Connect. The main speaker was Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child. It was without a doubt, the best conference I’ve ever been to. I feel like I learned SO MUCH. Dr. P is a great speaker and such a sweet, sincere, funny, smart woman. I think we all fell in love with her. The principles she teaches for parenting kids from hard places are really great. They are so love-based and wise. Also time-tested as she’s been using them with great results for over 30 years. Lots of ”duh” moments over the weekend, as I realized why a lot of conventional discipline practices are counter-productive with traumatized kids. I cried. I laughed. I really do feel more empowered to connect.
Here are a few little nuggets of goodness that won’t come close to doing justice to how great this conference was. Seriously, if you’re a foster or adoptive parent and you ever have a chance to hear Karyn Purvis speak: GO.
• It takes about 1 month of intensive care and training per year old the child is to reverse the affects of abuse, neglect and trauma. (Example: a 4 year old needs 4 months of focused attention to get to a place of earned secure attachment.)
• Bad behavior always has a purpose. What is the need that’s driving the misbehavior? Help your child develop a voice.
• Giving a child choices and compromises gives them a voice and returns their preciousness.
• Sharing power (through compromising, giving choices, etc.) proves that it’s your power to share; it doesn’t take it away.
• With a biological child, you have 2 years of saying “yes” 100,000x before you start saying “no” for the first time
• Say “yes” to your child as much as possible, especially during the honeymoon period
• If you cut your child off when you’re upset (through timeouts or silence), you are teaching him to do the same thing to you when he’s older rather than dealing with and resolving conflict.
• Always level your response at your child’d behavior, not their preciousness; never let your child’s preciousness be up for grabs.
• Regarding your facial expressions when you’re changing your child’s stinky diaper… “I want my children to know that even when they’re covered in their own *stuff*, they’re still precious to me.”
Our first 4 days went really well with Precious,* our new little baby girl. (*Not her real name.) I’m learning lots about babies, bottles, burping, etc. She’s amazing. Very pleasant and easy going most of the time. Sleeps like a champ. Gives me the best gigantic, slobbery baby smiles. I have to say, at least in my limited experience, a 2-month old is SO MUCH easier than an almost 1.5 year old. I don’t mind a middle of the night diaper change and feeding when the ability to cook dinner, do dishes, clean up the house, etc. comes along with the package. I mean, I can set her down somewhere, sleeping or awake, and she doesn’t move. Ladybug required constant attention unless she was asleep.
Don’t get me wrong, Ladybug was an awesome child. I’m just saying, toddlers are way more challenging than newborns in my book. Speaking of Ladybug, we’ve been missing her like crazy the past few days. It was about 3 weeks between the day she left and the day Precious arrived. We had been doing pretty well, feeling pretty good, and when we got the call Jason pointed out that we really didn’t have a good reason to say no to this one. He said the only reasons he could think of where born out of selfishness. My only reservation was Is it too soon? I wasn’t expecting sadness to be stirred back up quite like it did by bringing in baby #2. Precious is great and our love for her is growing rapidly, but she’s not Ladybug and she isn’t going to fill the Ladybug shaped holes in our hearts. God, we miss that sweet little girl so much.
Now I’m crying. I’m tired and very emotional lately. Sheesh. I have no idea where this blog post is heading…
Let me at least end on a high note. I have the most amazing friends and family. Ahhhhmazing. We didn’t ask them whether or not they wanted to be strung along on this crazy journey with us but they’re right there with us anyway. Have I mentioned that Jason had to leave town the night Precious arrived? Of course I didn’t mention it because I don’t ever tell ya when he’s gone. So yeah. That’s a crazy coincidence. He was in Europe for a week when Ladybug arrived and the night we got Precious he had to take off for a long trip around the mid-west. He’s a wonderful daddy and he can’t wait to get back in the game here at home. While he’s been gone, though, my mom and his mom have been a HUGE help to me! My sister-in-law has been great with answering my questions since my niece is just 5 months older than Precious. Plus, she lent us a bouncy seat and a bunch of blankets and bibs. (This blog post is brought to you by the Letter B.) Also, a bunch of friends have been super kind and helpful, too. Precious is getting tons of love. Despite the sadness we’re still dealing with, overall things have been much smoother with this second placement. God is good.
I wonder sometimes if Lucy rolls in something gross just so I’ll have to give her a bath.
The post from earlier today was actually written several days ago and scheduled for this morning. Right now, I’m eating the last of the bananas as I write this and I don’t feel any urgency to run out and buy more because… 2 month olds don’t eat bananas.
Right as we were sitting down to eat dinner last night we got a call for a baby girl. We felt like we were ready (enough) and didn’t have a good reason to say no, so we said sure! She got to our house around 7:45pm last night.
It hasn’t even been 24 hours yet but we’ve been doing great so far. She seems really pleasant and easy-going. She slept from 10-5 last night and then after a diaper change and a bottle, slept until I had to wake her up at 8:40 so we could get going with our day. She’s cute and fat and she likes to smile and make faces. Very different from a nearly 1.5 year old but I think this is going to be lots of fun, too.
I’m still working on coming up with a bloggy nickname for her. I have no idea at this point about the timeline or what to expect. Hopefully we’ll get a little more clarity about the situation in the next few days. As always, prayers are appreciated!
Thursdays have been my unofficial foster parenting update day. It’s been 3 weeks since Ladybug left. It’s been hard. Probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But considering all, we are doing well and moving forward little by little. A few days after our goodbye we left on vacation. The timing worked out perfectly for us to get away although we had been really hoping to take her to Disney World with us. The week away was a great distraction. The house felt so quiet and empty when we got home. We returned to a bit of a mess. Nothing major but you know, the typical post beach vacation 6 loads of laundry, pile of mail, tall grass, expired milk, stale house. You should always clean the house and make the beds before you leave on vacation. My mama taught me that. But I ran out of time and didn’t do it. So we came home to a filthy house.
By the end of last week our house was dusted, vacuumed and mopped. The refrigerator was cleaned out and restocked with groceries. The 6 loads of laundry were all put away. Mail was sorted. Bills were paid. It was such a relief. Not just to feel “caught up” but because I was feeling so unprepared for our next placement. Feeling physically prepared has really helped me start moving towards mental, emotional and spiritually preparedness.
We’ve been getting a lot of calls but all of the calls have been for school age kids. Not only are the kids a bit out of the parameters we’ve set up (birth-5 years old) but it was still a bit too soon for us. I think we’re almost there though.
(PSA: If you’ve been considering becoming a foster parent, please take the first step today and call a local agency to request more information. There seems to have been a big influx of school age kids into the state system due to the start of the new school year. The kids we have been called for have all been siblings between 5-12.)
When Ladybug arrived, Jason was away on a long trip and I was totally bumming around the house like a bachelorette. The floors needed vacuumed and I hadn’t been grocery shopping in a while. Those two factors made me feel so unprepared for her arrival. I didn’t even have a banana or Cheerios to give her for breakfast the next morning. (Thank God my parents live so close and could bring those 2 things over at 10pm!) I’m making it a point to always have bananas in the house from now on. I know it’s petty but it’s a tangible symbol of our preparedness.
Yesterday’s post inspired me to finish another series I started months ago. Here is the final (for now) phase of our front garden expansion project. Recap: Jason plotted out the garden expansion by cropping the grass really low. Then I helped him put WeedBlock down over the whole area (750+ sq. ft.!). We positioned and planted the first set of grasses and cacti. We got a big delivery of gravel. And now here we are. Jason got some brown metal landscape edging from the hardware store. We decided to go with metal over plastic this time because we’re assuming it will last a lot longer (and not get mangled by the occasional lawn mower clip.) Jason also added a few more plants and moved a pretty blue pot from the back patio out to the front. I love it. Jason did an awesome job with this whole project. I’m really thankful that he loves gardening because he makes our yard look super.
Also, Jason is frugal. (Praise the Lord!) He likes to buy medium size plants and split them up to save money. Yes, it looks a bit sparse now but it will fill in a lot over the next couple of years. Patience, young grasshopper.
The papery, blue-green grasses below are new. I have no idea what they are. If you care, leave a comment and Jason will respond.
Some already established plants now feel unbalanced in this corner but not for long.
If you were reading this blog prior to our kids room tour on Ohdeedoh, you may remember that once upon a time I was doing a house tour series. I started with the living room, then the kitchen and dining room, then the studio, the hall bathroom, the hallway and cloffice, and the master bathroom and laundry room. I haven’t yet shared the master bedroom because we have an embarrassing lack of night stands. There I said it. I’m ashamed about my alarm clock sitting on a pile of books. However, since it’s been several months now and we STILL don’t have night stands, the house tour must go on. Or something like that. (And just watch, we’ll probably end up finding the perfect night stands this week.) I’m swallowing my pride. Here is our (bedside table-less) master bedroom:
See, I’m too ashamed to even post these pictures full size…
Another embarrassment of our bedroom… the dresser with the missing drawer. We got a lot of good suggestions here and we haven’t done anything about it yet except add balance by replacing another drawer with a basket.
Who let those kids get married?
Jason’s mom made us this cross stitch as a wedding gift and it fits right into our fluffy cloudy white bedroom. (That was my goal… light, airy and clean like a cloud. Not like a sterile laboratory.)
I fought against the idea of installing a ceiling fan. I voted for a capiz shell chandelier. But it really does make a huge difference in keeping our room cooler.
There. That wasn’t too painful I guess. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of a complete master bedroom to replace these with by the end of the year.