Ideal for Foster Parents: Portable Folding Crib

12/08/2013

I was reluctant to buy a second crib when we prepared our home to foster again because I don’t think Ali would be using hers too much longer and I didn’t know if we’d get a call for a baby anyway. We got by with a pack-n-play for our home inspection but I wanted to get a real crib if/when we were placed with a baby. Enter Bee. I had looked at these foldable cribs online before and decided to give this one a try. I’m really pleased with the design. It seems ideal for foster parents or anyone else that might need to put up a crib in short notice and prefer one that stores in a small space when not in use.

Dream On Me 2-in-1 Folding Portable Crib

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It has locking castors and folds up to about 6″ thick. It comes with a thin mattress, only about 1″ thick like a pack-n-play.

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The sides lock open with latches on each side and the mattress board hinges down into place, either low or in a bassinet position.

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Bee is not sitting up or pulling up yet so we have it in the higher position. I followed the recommendations in the reviews and ordered the thicker 3″ mattress, as well as a waterproof mattress cover and a very soft cotton mini crib sheet.

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Fair Warning: The reviews for this are 2/3 positive and raving about the smart design; the other 1/3 is complaints about missing parts, cracked side rails, pieces looking like they’ve been chewed up by a rat, and poor/non-existant customer service from the manufacturer. Ours came in perfect condition and took me an hour or two to assemble. If you happen to get a bad one, I’d contact Amazon’s amazing customer service directly. One reviewer said Amazon sent a replacement immediately and sent money to return the damaged one.

Cost Breakdown: $110 for crib + $25 for thicker mattress + $12 for waterproof cover + $7 for sheet = $154 TOTAL

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Foster Care Ch. 4 Prep: Looking Forward, Looking Back

11/06/2013

As I spent the month of October preparing for our fourth child, I thought a lot about our first three. I’ve had this idea for a while but finally did it: an 8×10 photo, an initial and a shadow box of significant items for each child. It’s the start of our hallway gallery wall that might one day be full of difference faces and memories.

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I also make a necklace in honor of my motherhood to these three sweethearts.

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I made a CD of my “songs for the foster mama’s heart.”

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I got our next kid’s room ready, including setting up the pack n play in case we get a baby. (And if we do, I’ll probably end up buying a second crib because Ali is still using hers.)

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Lots of time was spent reading and praying, usually right in this spot on the couch in the morning before anyone else is up.

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I spent half of a Saturday cooking several gallons of soup and stocking it in the freezer.

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Sometimes I feel like the house is ready and other times I feel like I need a day to clean and organize. I know it’s ready enough and we have everything childproofed to DCS standards but I guess it’s just a nesting thing.

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Then I rearranged the next kid’s room a little bit. This bed seems to only work in this one spot in this room and it kind of drives me nuts. I’m thinking I’ll eventually move it into Ali’s room and get some regular bunk beds that can be switched into twin beds for maximum flexibility.

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Then more time has been spent resting, waiting, preparing, breathing deep in the now. A cup of tea on a sunny afternoon is balm to my soul.

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Rocker

10/03/2011

I was so excited that I have something to share that’s not related to foster care or babies… it’s actually home related and mid-century modern, too! Then I realized it is still very much related to foster care and babies. Oh well. I tried.

Last Monday night I emailed Jason a link and said, “Can I get this? I want to rock my babies.” He replied back, “Yes dear. You can rock your babies in that chair. Go for it. Sweet mama and wife, I love you!” A couple of clickety clicks later on my Amazon iPhone app and it was ordered. It arrived on Thursday. Talk about rockin’ service! It took no more than 5 minutes to assemble and is exactly what I was hoping for. A white plastic-shell Eames replica rocking chair for our kids room. Precious and I have been enjoying it.

PS. If you want to get a real deal Eames rocker, you can buy one through Herman Miller for $479.


Phone Photo Friday

09/02/2011

We said goodbye to Ladybug yesterday. It was very sad, and there may still be some waves of grief coming. However, we are doing much better than I expected. I knew God would equip us for this journey He asked us to take and we have so many friends and family praying for us. I’m not sure if we’re on the other side of the storm or if we’re in a big safe bubble but I am so thankful for God’s grace. It truly is sufficient for us and His power really is made perfect through our weakness.


Thank you, Ohdeedoh!

08/10/2011

I failed to mention it here last week (crazy week, you know?) but last Monday—4 days after Ladybug arrived—Ohdeedoh ran a very kind interview with me and a tour of our kids’ room. I’m honored that they would choose to share our story with their readers. Also thank you and welcome to all of you who have been stopping by here after reading about us on Ohdeedoh! I hope you’ll stick around and share in this exciting new journey with us.


Kids Bedroom: Sources of Inspiration

06/30/2011

I’m on my computer all day at work as a graphic designer. Whenever I have a few minutes free I’m browsing my Google Reader or Pinterest pages absorbing inspiration from all the amazingly creative people out there. I had been tagging ideas for kids room and nurseries for years so when I had the opportunity to design a room for our future foster kids, I already had lots of ideas. I had so much fun putting this room together! (Have I said that before?)

This room was the inspiration behind painting the wall gray and painting the little night stand bright green:

I first saw the book ledge idea here:

This blue crib blew my mind. (Then, I saw this version in the 2010 IKEA catalog.)

There are a lot of KURA bed mods out there on the interwebs but this one inspired me to cover up the super-bright blue panels with white contact paper. She used fabric here:

And, of course, chalkboard paint has been all over the home & craft blogs for a while now but this room is what inspired me to paint the back of the kids bedroom door:

Here’s a tour of our kids bedroom in case you missed it.

If you’re a new reader from Itsy Factor, thanks for stopping by! (And thanks for the blog love, Elisabeth!)


Preparing for Foster Kids: Bedroom Tour

06/16/2011

Our kids room is done-done-done. Ready to go. Just add kiddos!

I’m kind of in love with this room. It was so much fun to put together. It’s a mix of new and old. It’s a mix of patterns, textures and colors (mostly blue, green and gray … our favorites). It’s a mix of gifts, sentimental items and things purchased especially for our kiddos.

Sources: The walls are Ellie Gray by Sherwin Williams. The bed, crib, rugs (machine washable bathmats!), stuffed spaniel, stuffed vegetables, twin duvet, under bed storage box and book ledges are from IKEA. The twin sheets, lamp shade, and (shower) curtain are from Target. The alphabet animal poster, puzzle blocks, and alphabet flash cards are from Petit Collage (I won from a giveaway on Design Mom). The green quilt on the bed was a wedding gift handmade by a friend. The reading chair (reupholstered), night stand (painted), green crib sheet from Pottery Barn, stacking ring toy and full length mirror (painted) are all from yard sales. The yellow lamp is from a thrift store. The xylophone is from an estate sale. The Gee Wiz game on top of the dresser was a gift from an antique store given to us by a friend. The monkey poster is by French Paper gifted from the same friend. The mobile and toss pillows are handmade by me. The color wheel clock is from MOMA given to me by my Uncle Bob many years ago. The dinosaur is Jason’s from childhood. The chalkboard door was painted by me. The folding chair is from a yard sale. The dresser is from Target purchased second hand from craigslist (we’re still looking for a changing table height mid-century replacement). And lastly, the blue Sekova guitar originally belonged to Jason’s mom when she was a teenager and was the guitar Jason first learned to play on as a boy. In high school he painted it blue. It’s not playable now but I love that it’s finally displayed somewhere. It means a lot to me. I’m so proud of my incredibly talented husband, who is now living his dream as a professional guitarist.

Here’s the floor plan. It was quite a puzzle fitting a twin bed, crib, chair, dresser and night stand into a 10 x 11 room while still leaving some floor space for playing. Once we put the KURA bed together we decided to flip flop it and the night stand with the reading nook and wall mirror in my original plan. It just worked better with the design of the bed.


Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Progress

05/19/2011

Jason and I have been working away on preparing our kids room, basically sticking to our design plans and floor plan. We painted the walls Ellie Gray from Sherwin Williams. Despite the gray wall, the room will be plenty colorful between the green night stand, various wood tones, the blue crib we’re getting from IKEA, a blue area rug and the bedding.

This is the opposite corner of the room, shot from the doorway. Those black tables and white table on the floor are marking the spot where the KURA twin-size loft bed will sit. The corner of the room where the chair is sitting—hopefully a rocker someday—I’m calling the reading nook. We’ll put a set of shallow book ledges along the wall there.

The curtain is actually a shower curtain we picked up at Target last year. Nursery curtains was always the plan for it but I’m not convinced yet. I’m going to wait to see how it works with all the furniture and bedding before I split it into two panels.

I made this mobile to hang above the crib but honestly, I’m not so sure about it. It’s navy blue and bright green card stock with dog images on one side. It’s growing on me so we’ll see if I decide to keep it.

I found this dresser on craigslist a few weeks ago. It’s not the ideal color or height or style but we’re running out of time so it’s close enough.The pack-n-play is posing in the crib’s place.

We’re almost there! The last furniture pieces, book ledges and rug will be in place soon. After that we will hang the wall decorations (a couple posters, a clock and some vintage items) and add bedding. I can’t believe how fast we’ve pulled this room together but on the other hand, I’ve been planning it for years… So fun. I’m loving this room and the whole experience of planning and decorating a room for our kiddos!


Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Furniture & Decor

05/05/2011

The Challenge:
Gender neutral:
 We are choosing to be prepared for a boy or a girl
Age range: We are choosing to be prepared for newborn through age 5
Two?: We may consider taking a sibling set of 2. And/or we might have a child biological in the midst of this foster parenting adventure.

First, acknowledging the obvious: There is no theme. I’m not a fan of themes for ANY room, kids rooms and nurseries included. It is neutral. We’re keeping the colors gender neutral and soothing for reasons I hope are obvious. We’ll add more color depending on specific kids and what works at the time. And of course we’ll also have toys and books adding pops of color all over the room.

Specifics:
I mentioned last week that we’re planning on a SOMNAT crib. It comes in turquoise (love!), green (love!) and pink (cute but not boy-friendly). I ain’t gonna lie—when I first saw the green one on IKEA’s website back in August, I almost went and bought it right then. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE colored cribs. At some point, I started preferring the blue one. I could still do the green if blue is out of stock. We’ll see.

It was at least 2 year ago when I fell in love with the KURA bed. It’s a four poster twin bed. It’s a loft bed. It’s a bunk bed. Oh the versatility! I would have adored this as a kid. My bunk bed was cool but this just begs to be turned into a fort or a house or a secret cave or a cozy hiding place. We’ll keep it as a low bed for now, so it’s toddler friendly. If we’re confident in a kid’s ability to climb the (I’m guessing) 3′ ladder, we’ll flip it around. If we have 2 kiddos that are bigger than crib size, we’ll have to use it as a bunk bed.

Beyond the essential pieces of sleeping furniture, we have our little green 2 drawer dresser and yellow lamp and a full length mirror for the wall (I read somewhere that mirrors promote good self-esteem for kids.) I’m also the proud owner of  the Animal Alphabet poster from Petit Collage. Currently, I have this chair and footstool in the book nook of the kids room, but it’s not real comfortable and I would prefer to have a rocker anyway. I have lovely memories of my parents reading books to me in a rocking chair when I was little. This mid-century rocker from Urban Outfitters fits the bill stylistically but it’s a bit pricey for my taste.

We don’t have a dresser yet. I’d like to find a vintage one like the picture above that’s changing table height, walnut or teak, and not more than 46″ wide. That’s not too much to ask, right? Oh, and less than $100 please. If we can’t find that, we have a white MALM dresser that’s out on loan and I think we can get back.

RIBBA picture ledges work great as shallow book shelves. My plan is to get 4 and create the look of a bookshelf with the depth of 3.5.” Rugs. We have issues with rugs. As long as Jason and I have been married (almost 8 years, that is…) we’ve been pet owners. Getting pet hair out of rugs is a nightmare. Now we’re the proud owners of a beloved cocker spaniel and well, she pees sometimes. Always on something absorbant cuz she’s smart like that. So we don’t do rugs at our house. But, we do have the perfect doormat by our backdoor. It’s got rubber anti-slip backing and it’s machine washable. Hello! It’s so perfect because it secretly is a bathmat. So, I figure I can get 4 of these perfect TOFTBO rugs and put them together to create one perfect, machine-washable, kid-friendly 4’x6′ rug. I’ll let you know how that works out. Other than that, I think I’ll add some art, maybe a mobile above the crib, perhaps commission my mama to knit a pouf like this. I also included some samples of bedding from Target I’m considering.

Budget Breakdown:
KURA twin bed (4-poster, bunk or loft) – $199
SULTAN HARESTUA twin mattress – $100
SOMNAT crib – $99
VYSSA SLOA crib mattress – $50
RIBBA picture ledges 21″ x 4 – $40
TOFTBO bathmat 2’x3′ x 4 – $40
Chair + footstool – using what we currently own for now
Dresser found on craigslist for $50 (details coming soon) – $50
ANIMAL ALPHABET poster – won in a giveaway
ELLIE GRAY 1 gallon of Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint – $27 (purchased on sale)
Full-length wall mirror – free (from my parent’s house)
Paint for green nightstand and blue mirror – already owned

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TOTAL: $605


Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Floor Plan

04/28/2011

The Challenge:
Gender neutral:
We are choosing to be prepared for a boy or a girl
Age range: We are choosing to be prepared for newborn through age 5
Two?: We may consider taking a sibling set of 2. And/or we might have a child biological in the midst of this foster parenting adventure.

The Space:
Our kids room is only 10’x11′. But… I love living in a smallish house and the design challenges that require creative solutions. (See cloffice.) Knowing that we want to fit a crib and a big kid bed in the same room, I’m planning on getting a SOMNAT crib (2.5’x4.5″) and a KURA twin bed (3.5’x6.5′) that can be flipped over into a loft/bunk bed, both from IKEA. We already have a sturdy vintage 2 drawer nightstand and a vintage yellow table lamp. We plan to add a 4×6 rug, a chair for reading books, shelves and a changing table height dresser (maybe IKEA MALM if we can’t find a vintage option).

The Configuration:
Key: gray box is the 4×6 rug; green circle is a footstool, KURA is the twin bed, blue box SOMNAT is the crib, the white box with yellow circle and blue/gray oval is the painted nightstand with the yellow lamp and CD player, RIBBA are picture ledges from IKEA that we’ll use as book shelves, light blue box is a floor-length mirror, MALM is a short dresser from IKEA or better yet—a mid-century walnut or teak one. The left side, bottom is where the double, sliding-door closet is located.

Idea 1: My original solution. I taped out the beds on the floor, placed a chair and the little nightstand and it feels like there is very little floor space.

Idea 2: I like this but I have a feeling putting the twin bed and crib up against each other won’t work if we have 2 kids sharing this space. (I’m thinking older kid dropping things on the baby.) But… could be great if we just have 1 at a time.

Idea 3: I like how this opens up some floor space but the dresser backed up against the end of the crib makes me a little nervous. Plus the drawers would open right into the doorway. I’d have to see this one in person to be convinced.

Idea 4: Dresser, bookshelves and rocking chair are too crowded.

Idea 5: Put a changing table height dresser in the closet. This might work but we’ll lose a lot of closet space. Currently this closet is 1/2 space for kid stuff and 1/2 adult stuff (file cabinet, coats, box of winter accessories and games.)

Idea 6: Almost there with this one but I feel like the dresser would crowd the crib into the corner too much and make the reading nook feel closed off.

Idea 7: I think this is the winner! My only concern with this was having the twin bed in front of the window but we decided this should be fine. It’s at the foot end of the bed anyway. This floor plan allows for the biggest open area of play space on the floor. Yay!


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