Bee at 7 Months Old

12/19/2013

Bee turned 7 months old on the 17th. When I have time, I probably should look up what developmental milestones a 7-month-old should be hitting. Clearly I’m not concerned. LOL! She’s eating pureés when I get around to offering it to her. I’ve made all of her food so far besides the oatmeal cereal my mom bought us. She’s had carrots, banana, applesauce, broccoli. I have some sweet potatoes waiting to be prepared next. Banana was by far her favorite. I made a weird mix of carrot, broccoli, banana and oatmeal the other day and she gobbled it all down.

She’s babbling a lot. She yells when she’s upset, which is pretty much only when she’s hungry or lonely. Doesn’t cry much. Her babbles include: dada, baba, hi and mama. She said “mama” for the first time on the 17th and my heart melted. Ali wouldn’t say it until she was over a year old. Speaking of mama, we’re hopefully going to meet her grandmother this week who is trying to get custody. She’s had a couple visits with her mom so far and one with her dad.

Bee loves to stand and bounce (with assistance) and is working on learning to crawl. She’s not very good at sitting up yet but she’s an excellent roller. She’s a stomach sleeper so put down in any position she immediately rolls on to her tummy. At her 6 month doctor’s visit she weighed just shy of 20 lbs. and I can’t remember her height but she’s in the 95th percentile for height and weight. That means she is comfortably wearing 12 month size clothes. In fact, as Ali grows out of clothing, I’m just putting it directly into Bee’s dresser. She can wear some 18 month size too, and it hardly looks too big.

Girl came with a whole tub of clothes…that were too small. Of course, none of us realized that right away because there were lots of 6 month size. Only a few pieces worked. I had a handful of hand-me-downs in our foster care stash that were Ali’s and another foster mom leant me her stash. Eventually as time trickles on I’ll keep buying her more. We’re expected to spend at least $1/day on clothing. Two weeks in, I bought her first lot of clothes and spent pretty darn close to $14. Then this past week, I just broke down and spent over $100 on an order of more clothes from Old Navy. Her case worker raided the donation closet at DCS but said it was mostly 18 month size. I haven’t seen what she found yet but I’ll be happy if she has a decent fitting wardrobe to pass on to whoever she goes to next—which could either be her out-of-state grandmother or her mom depending on how things work out.

It’s safe to say at this point that she’ll definitely be here for Christmas. All of her presents are wrapped and ready to go. Her stocking has been made and hung with the rest of ours. I offered to get her picture made with Santa for her mom so I need to follow through with that this weekend. We’ve never done that before with Ali or any other kids so it should be interesting. Overall, Bee has been delightful. The sickness really knocked the wind out of us. Would you pray with me that Bee gets 100% healthy? She’s had a snotty nose and a cough since she arrived (and probably longer than that…) She’s got a good attitude though.

UPDATE: I was surprised to get the news this morning that Bee got special permission to spend the holidays with her out-of-state relatives! I’m happy for her and them. Baby’s first Christmas is a big deal. She’ll be gone for almost two weeks and is expected back to us on January 2. 

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$14 worth of new clothes from Target.

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Ali tells me everyday that she loves Bee. The jealousy and regression only lasted a few days and now she loves her to pieces. It’s the kind of sibling love I always hoped for for Alianna.

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The Dreaded Flu

12/18/2013

Last week we got hit with the dreaded flu. First Jason, then me and Bee. Alianna made it through unscathed. Even Bee’s case worker got it. Bee had the vaccination so I guess it didn’t work. I’m sure no one wants to read a blog post about all of our fevers, coughing and moping around for a week so I’ll stop there. I just wanted to let you know why I haven’t posted anything in so long! We’re finally almost back to normal.

Here are some photos from the past week. Ali watched waaaaaaay too much TV but it was survival mode, man.

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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


Bring on the Christmas Cheer!

12/04/2013

I started listening to Christmas music back in early October thanks to Jason’s new album. (It’s seriously fantastic. You should buy it!) The Sunday before Thanksgiving we put up our new-to-us Christmas tree and the rest of our decorations. It was so much fun to have Alianna’s help this year. She’s old enough to leave the fragile decorations alone for the most part, too.

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My Granny’s Shiny Brite ornaments from the 1950s get a special spot up on the kitchen counter.

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The rest of my Shiny Brite and Trim Time collection of vintage ornaments go on the aluminum tree in the dining room.

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I made a stocking for Bee (on the left) similar to Alianna’s stocking, out of an old wool sweater. I still don’t know if she’ll be here for Christmas but I can take off the initial and reuse the stocking in the future if she’s not.

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The past few years we’ve only done the mid-century silver tree and vintage ornaments but Jason suggested a more traditional tree this year. I’m really loving this giant tree with it’s warm lights in the corner of our living room. The crackling fireplace makes it all just heavenly.

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Turkey Day 2013

12/02/2013

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year which actually worked out pretty well because everyone else brought the majority of the food, we just did the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole and lots of dishes.

Turkey #1:

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Turkey #2:

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‘Twas a beautiful day.

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I asked Ali if she would take a picture of Jason and me before anyone else arrived. She’s getting pretty good with my iPhone!

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Ali with my parents, Grandma and Grandpa:

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Ali with Jason’s parents, Nana and Papa:

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Mmm… Jason did an awesome job with the turkey and stuffing. It was delicious.

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I didn’t get too many pictures of the actual dinner party but suffice it to say, it was a great day. These two little ladies laughed and played and ate too much dessert. Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite days of the year. I have so much to be thankful for. God is good!


Transitioning Bee into our Household

11/30/2013

Thanksgiving marked our first full week with Ms. Bee. I would have liked to write an update sooner but my hands have been pretty full. A year ago when we were thinking about reopening our home as foster parents, I didn’t think I wanted to parent another baby. I was hoping for a child older than Alianna. God heard my heart and we got 2.5 year old Buzz Lightyear. It was hard; really hard. The closeness of his and Ali’s age; the fact that he was grieving and angry and missing his mom; the fact that they were both close to 2 years old; it was our first experience parenting two children…it was a very challenging season that ended up being very rewarding. We’re thankful we were able to support he and his mom during that time. By the end of it, I was starting to think about babies again. I take back what I said…I want a baby again. My fellow Facebook and Instagram foster mamas understand this as “foster baby fever.”

Again, God heard my heart and we got Bee. Jason and I are both really, really enjoying having a baby around again. I actually said to him the other day, “Maybe we should only foster babies. They’re so much easier.” This time around is much more relaxed: we’ve done baby before, we’ve done parenting two kids before, we’ve done the foster care system before. It’s taken a few days to figure out how much Bee needs to sleep each day and how much formula she drinks and how often. We’re gently nudging her towards a schedule we prefer. She sleeps well: 10-11 hours most nights and takes 3-4 naps a day. It’s kind of amazing how much more laid back we are as parents this time around. Oh, and babies are so easy to love and attach to! Jason and I are already smitten with little Bee. We’re pretty sure her stay with us will be short term but that doesn’t stop us from falling completely in love with her.

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Alianna’s transition into big sisterhood has been the biggest learning curve. We’ve seen jealously and regression. We weren’t able to prepare her much for this experience. I’ve told her many times that Buzz’s bedroom would soon belong to another child and we’d have someone else come and live with us for a while. I only had an hour warning about Bee specifically and I knew that even with that, it wasn’t a guarantee that she was coming until her case worker called back to say, “We’re leaving the office now.” That gave me about 15 minutes switch from, “There may be a baby girl coming here tonight,” to “Ali, there is a baby sister coming here tonight. She’s going to stay with us for a while just like Buzz did.” The second day I heard Ali tell Bee to go away a couple times. She asked me if Bee was going home to her mommy. We’ve explained many times that Buzz is home with his mommy so I’m not sure if Ali was hoping Bee’s going home with her mommy (now) or if she’s asking the bigger question that we’re all asking, is she going to leave?

I believe the jealousy and regression have a lot to do with the sudden influx of baby toys, products and contraptions. Within a day or two we had a bouncy seat, Bumbo, swing, Johnny Jump Up and some kind of activity center jumping unit. In addition to that, we have bottles, bibs, burp cloths, blankets, rattles, teethers, toys and crinkle books. I can’t blame Ali at all for being jealous and for wanting to try out everything and be a baby, too. A mom of three confirmed my hunch that we should both indulge and discourage her behavior. Allow her to check things out and pretend to be a baby but keep reminding her that she doesn’t need those things anymore because she’s a big girl now. She’s been pretty good about helping me, especially getting a new diaper and wipe and taking the dirties to the trash can. She loves Bee and most of the time wants to be near her, gives her kisses, asks were she is and what she is saying. I can confidently say that after a week things are feeling pretty normal.

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Introducing… Bee!

11/25/2013

On Thursday afternoon we got a call—only our third call in 3.5 weeks of being open to new placements—and it was a “yes” call. A 6-month old girl? A baby? Yes! God has been preparing my heart since August for our next placement to be a baby girl…ever since I found out Alianna’s biological mom was pregnant with a girl. Bee is not Ali’s biological sister, however, I know that God was preparing me for Bee as well as putting that baby sister on my heart so I’d pray for her a lot. In fact, when I found out baby sister was coming into state custody, I bought some formula, diapers and a newborn onesie from the clearance rack at Target just in case. They put baby sister with another family member so we never got that call. However, funny how God works isn’t it? That onesie I bought just in case…I found an exact duplicate in the tub of clothing that came with Bee!

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I love when God gives me these little signs to show that He knows me and He cares what matters to my heart.

So, back to baby Bee. That’s not her real name, of course. It’s my online nickname for her. We don’t really know how long she’ll be with us at this point. There is a family member out-of-state that they’re hoping will work for her placement but state-to-state transfers and documentation can be slow. Initially we were told it might take 6 months. By the next day, we heard they’re going to try to expedite it, but they still couldn’t give me a time frame. Just “faster.” One day at a time. It would be nice to know if she’ll be with us for Christmas so I can prepare but such is the way of foster care.

Bee is a big baby! That’s part of the reason for the nickname…she’s round and bumbly. I though Ali was a big baby but Bee is already too big for all the 6 month clothes she came with. I have some 9 and 12 month hand-me-downs from Ali that suit her much better. We’ve been blessed with another very easy-going, happy, good-sleeping baby. Praise the Lord! She is really delightful and we’re all so happy to have her join our household for however long we get to kiss her big, soft cheeks and inhale her delicious baby smell. I’ll write more about how we’re all transitioning when I have more time.

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