Mystery Girl

08/09/2011

Perhaps you’re wondering why all of the photos of our little girl are faceless and why I’m not using her name. It’s not a strict rule from our training, but Jason and I have chosen to protect her identity. First of all, we’re not her legal guardians; the state is. Secondly, someone may be looking for her and it’s our job to keep her safe. So, her name for the purposes of blogging and facebook is L. Or lately, I’ve been calling her Ladybug. (Which is incidentally now a blog category in the “FILE UNDER” menu to the left, Family: Ladybug) I thought I’d explain that in case it seemed bizarre that I was cropping out the best part of the photos… her beautiful little face. And believe me, I am taking tons of pictures that aren’t creepily-cropped, for my personal use.

I need to come up with some creative, identity-concealing photo tricks. Any photographer friends or fellow foster parents out there have suggestions?


Front Garden Expansion: Phase 4

08/08/2011

Look! A blog post that isn’t about the kid! 🙂 I’ll get back to writing about her tomorrow, probably. I didn’t want to leave this series unfinished.

We got our gravel delivered and spread in the front garden. It’s close to being finished. Jason asked the delivery guys not to spread it all the way to the edges because he wants to had a landscaping border first, to keep the gravel from spilling into the grass. Weed eaters and pebbles are a bad combination… our front window can testify. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this since I identified the plants in the Phase 3 post. So, on with the pictures…


Phone Photo Friday

08/05/2011

(Picture borrowed from Jason’s phone this week.)

We’ve tried so hard to keep our cocker spaniel Lucy from getting fat but she’s getting a lot of extra snacks these days.


House Rules

08/04/2011

It wasn’t a requirement for us but I thought it would be a good idea to come up with some solid House Rules before we have any kiddos bouncing around in our house. I took some inspiration from others’ house rules (K&D and Meg from whatever…though I can’t find the specific posts) and some design inspiration from here, and came up with 6 House Rules for our home.

When our home study writer asked me on the spot if we had any house rules, all I could say was “no hitting, no breaking things, no throwing toys across the room…you know, normal parenting stuff.” All of that seems like a given to me and falls under the umbrella of  “show love,” because really part of showing love is respecting other people and property. “Take risks” could be twisted, I suppose. Running out in front of a car is taking a risk. Standing on the dining room table is taking a risk. But, taking risks is an important value in our household and what I’m really thinking of is … Take a risk and try the brussel sprouts even though they look gross. Take a risk and trust us to love and parent you even though you’ve had your heart broken by adults in the past.

We have little L with us now and she’s too young to really understand the rules much. She’s great at showing love, taking risks, doing her best and having fun. Work together needs a little tweaking, especially when it comes to diaper changes and snotty nose wiping. But she is already learning so much. Yesterday papa taught her how to blow her nose in a tissue and how to say please. And tell the truth? Well, she’s 1. It’s hard to tell sometime whether she’s lying or mistaken, especially with yes or no questions.

You can download a free printable (8.5×11) PDF of these house rules if you’d like.


Not-The-Mama

08/03/2011

Jason is home. THANK GOD. He travels a lot for his career as a musician and I’m totally fine with that. I love that he gets to travel. However, becoming a foster parent and a parent for the first time while he was 4,000 miles away was not easy. After 3 days of carrying around a 25 lb. sweetie who loves to snuggle and needs lots of extra hugs these days, along with the up and down getting into and out of the crib, the high chair, the car seat, etc. my arms were killing me. I am so happy that Jason is home with his strong, sexy, man arms.

This is a strange way to become a parent, no doubt about that. We’re learning so much, having a lot of fun, and we’re pretty exhausted, too. Oh, and we’re still supposed to be earning a living too, right? My brother-in-law who just became a daddy in February promises that we’ll fall into a nice rhythm soon and be able to balance it all. I hope he’s right.

Regardless of the unusual circumstances, witnessing your spouse become a parent has got to be one of the coolest things ever. I could see his love and interest and excitement through their Skype interactions the first couple days but actually getting to see Jason scoop up this little girl and give her hugs and kisses was the sweetest thing. And to see her reach up to him, asking to be picked up and held in his secure arms was precious.

We don’t know a whole lot about little L’s family situation but the only relatives we’ve heard about are female, which leads us to assume she has never really experienced the love of a daddy. Another clue is that she keeps calling Jason “mama,” (which she is also calling me and my mom.) We keep saying, no that’s “papa.” And she says, “Papa.” But then if he walks out of the room, she calls out for him, “Mama!”

I’m so happy that Jason has been not just willing to fill in this gap for however long she’s ours, but that he is truly excited to be her dad. He’s excited to take her out to ice cream and to the park and to hold her hand while she’s toddling around. He’s happy to feed her and hold her as she’s falling asleep and to let her bury her face against his chest when she’s scared of a new situation. His desire to protect her stirs up a righteous anger, usually directed toward “the system” that would allow her to get bounced around from home to home.

Jason is doing an awesome job being a papa. I’m so proud of him for doing this, for agreeing to give himself so fully and to love someone so completely, knowing that she may be ripped away from us. And I say ripped away because even if we agree that her moving back with her original family is the best thing for her (and if we don’t agree, there isn’t much we can do about it…) it’s still going to be the most awful heart ripping pain we’ve ever experienced. We selfishly hope that she can stay with us longer… forever? We just don’t know right now. But more than anything, we want the best for her. We want her to have a hope and a future, a great life. We want her to always know that she is loved, precious, and wanted.


Everything changes…

08/02/2011

when you love some, love some, love someone… (Cue the Kathy Troccoli song from the 80s)

In this case, I’m busy loving someone 2.5 feet tall. I can’t tell you her name or show you a picture, sorry. But trust me, she is absolutely beautiful! On Thursday night we were placed with a little girl. She is so sweet, silly, playful, cuddly and fun. She’s a great eater and a great sleeper. She really could not be more perfect. We’re not sure what the future holds beyond this week (we’ll find out more on Friday) but for now we are savoring every minute with her.

I’ll try to keep up with my blogging this week but no promises. There are more important matters to attend to, if ya know what I mean. And my posts might be a little bit centered around her, because, well, my brain is pretty consumed right now as I was just thrust into the world of being “Mama!” (that’s what little girl has been calling me) for the first time with an almost 1.5 year old, in a very unique way. Thank God for the wonderful support of my family and friends, especially my mom. Jason was out of the country on a short, week-long trip to Scandinavia when I got the call so the first 3.5 days I was on my own. On my own with my mom never more than a phone call or text away, and often with us, too.  I’m so glad Jason’s back now and he absolutely loves her and is a huge help! He’s an awesome daddy. I knew he would be.


Front Garden Expansion: Phase 3

08/01/2011

Plants! After chopping down the grass and covering the area with landscaping fabric, it was time to start adding plants.

Besides less front yard to mow (hooray!), we don’t have a specific plan for the landscaping of this area. Jason will have lots of space to play and plant and tinker and propagate and all those fun things. I’m sure in a few years it’ll be as full and lush as our back garden. We’re using gravel as mulch. More on that in the next post.

Artichoke agave:

Blue Elf Aloe x2:

Some kind of cactus… if you want to know the name, I can ask Jason

Variegated yucca transplanted from my parents house:

Orange Sedge:

And lots more space for future plants: