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Recommended Baby Product: Inflatable Bathtub

12/15/2011

When it comes to baby gear, we try hard to be minimalists. We really don’t want our house loaded with junk—swing, bouncy seat, bumbo, play gym, exercauser, doorway jumper, pack n play, crib, etc. etc. etc. They’re all handy but we don’t need ALL of them. With that spirit, I really, really didn’t want to have a baby bathtub. My parents never had one; they just gave baby baths in the sink (or in the shower and handed off the clean, wet baby to the other parent). My main beef with the plastic baby tub is that they take up a lot of space when they’re not in use. We may have many babies coming and going through the years (and some staying, of course, like this one!). Storage is at a premium around here. The kitchen sink was working for the first month until Precious started getting more active and I was concerned that slippery, soapy baby was going to whack her head on the hard edge of the sink. So… I broke down and bought one of these. The Safety 1st Kirby Inflatable Tub.

I LOVE it! I was just happy that it collapses down into the size of a pillow case when it’s not in use but it’s actually really handy too. It’s considered a toddler tub for use in between the baby bath tub and before using the regular bath tub. I think it’s fabulous for babies, though. It fits nicely in the regular bath tub, fills quickly with the faucet and has soft bouncy sides. I was thrilled to discover that she can hold herself up with her legs when we put her in it sideways. Also, she can lean over the side when it’s time to wash her backside. Perfect! I definitely recommend this to anyone with the same storage concerns as I have. Plus it’s only $15 with free shipping.

When we don’t have any babies around, I think this will be a fun pool toy or even a mini splash pool for the backyard.

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Things I Love About This House – Sloped Vanity

12/14/2011

Once we start building our new MCM house, I’ll have lots of home things to blog about. In the meantime, to keep me from only talking about Precious and baby related stuff, I’m challenging myself to post a photo of one thing I love about our current house every week. I’m going to miss this old house a lot so it’s also a fun way to document my favorite elements of it. Here’s the first one:

There were a couple features that made a big impression on us the first time we walked through this house. One of them was the downward angled vanity in the original bathroom. This room has been updated a lot but the sturdy, original vanity has never been replaced. Before we moved in the concrete countertop was installed. We added the paint, new drawer pulls and the white vessel sink. A quirky 1950s design that you just don’t see in new houses.


Homework: Eichler

12/13/2011

Have you heard of Eichler (pronounced ike-ler) homes? Jason and I have long admired the style and I decided to do a little more homework on the history and philosophy of Joseph Eichler and the “California Modern” homes he built.

Eichler was not an architect; he was a developer. Between 1950-1974, he built over 11,000 homes in California. He used architects who were students of Frank Lloyd Wright, like Robert Anshen. As I understand it, his philosophy was much like Wright’s: blurring the lines between inside and outside. One thing that set Eichler apart from his peers is that he wanted to keep his homes affordable to the middle class. His strict non-discrimination policy to sell homes to anyone regardless of race or religion led to his resignation from the National Association of Home Builders in 1958.

These paragraphs from Wikipedia (where I’m getting most of this info) really sums up the flavor of Eichler homes:

Eichler homes are from a branch of Modernist architecture that has come to be known as “California Modern,” and typically feature glass walls, post-and-beam construction, and open floor plans in a style indebted to Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe. Eichler Homes exteriors featured flat and/or low-sloping A-Framed roofs, vertical 2-inch pattern wood siding, and spartan facades with clean geometric lines. One of Eichler’s signature concepts was to “Bring the Outside In,” achieved via skylights and floor-to-ceiling glass windows with glass transoms looking out on protected and private outdoor rooms, patios, atriums, gardens, and swimming pools.

The interiors had numerous unorthodox and innovative features including: exposed post-and-beam construction; tongue and groove decking for the ceilings following the roofline; concrete slab floors with integral radiant heating; luan paneling; sliding doors for rooms, closets, and cabinets; and a standard second bathroom located in the master bedroom. Later models introduced the famous Eichler entry atriums, an open-air enclosed entrance foyer designed to further advance the Eichler concept of integrating outdoor and indoor spaces.

Here are some visual examples (sources in • below image):


Foster Parenting on Hold

12/12/2011

Because we are selling our house and haven’t started building our new home yet, we had to put our home on hold with DCS. That means we won’t be accepting any new foster placements for a while. It could end up being almost a year, which is hard because we feel really burdened for the kids who need places to go and parents to love them, especially around the holidays. It breaks my heart to have to say no to a call…and we had been getting a couple calls a week before we asked our case manager to take our name of the list for now.

One particular call was so hard to say no to. Usually the placement worker starts off with just the child(ren)’s age(s) and gender(s) and that’s as far as the conversation goes unless we say we’re interested. But as we were driving home from Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, I got a call and the worker went straight into describing the situation. It was for a 6 year old boy whose mother had been shot by her boyfriend the night before. Their only family was in another country. Our hearts were so broken for that boy and we really wanted to say yes. Jason, my dad and I took a moment to pray for the kiddo, poor guy. (My mom was napping at the time.) It was even more heartbreaking to hear about the story on the news in the following days and to talk to my friend who is an ER nurse at the hospital where his 8-month pregnant mom was taken. The baby also died. So sad.

But, we don’t want to say yes, welcome a child into our home and then have to send him or her off to another foster just because we’re moving. It wouldn’t be fair to the kid. We want to be available for as long as we’re needed for the child—forever, if that’s how the situation works out. We’re building a bigger home so we can have room for more children but in the meantime, it’s difficult to not be able to do more to help. I’m afraid I might just have to become a foster parenting advocate and try to recruit more people to become foster parents.

You should do it. Seriously? What’s stopping you?


Phone Photo Friday

12/09/2011

When I’ve got work to do and the baby just wants to be held…Moby wrap to the rescue!


Birth Parent Visit

12/08/2011

Precious’ mother requested two more visits before she surrenders her parental rights to us. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from our first meeting. We met her mother—let’s call her Brave, because she is—once before at a meeting at DCS and it didn’t go real well. But at this visit, the interactions between Brave and Precious were much better than I expected and for that I’m thankful. As awkward as it was and considering what a mess this all is, I realize now how truly valuable an open adoption can be.

Because we love Precious so much, I find it impossible to not care about Brave. Even if we’re angry about things that happened to Precious in the past, I see so much value in Brave. She holds a wealth of information about Precious’ family medical history, her ethnicity and heritage, her biological half-siblings, etc. The most valuable thing to me is to witness Brave’s love for Precious. There is no doubt that Precious is loved and wanted.

I call her Brave because what she is doing requires so much courage. She’s obviously a smart woman who has made some really bad choices. And she knows it. She openly admits that she made mistakes, putting her vices before her children. Brave is working hard to get her life back on track. Even so, she wants to release Precious to us so we can adopt her because she believes it’s what’s best for her and for us. Now that takes a lot of strength.

As much as God loves adoption, He loves restoration. I would love to see Brave’s life redeemed. And I am so thankful for the gift of Precious. It’s far from a picture-perfect story but I’m thankful Jason and I could be available for Precious when she needed us and to hear Brave say she’s thankful too—that means so much.

Could you imagine loving your child so much that you would willing let her go? She’s very brave. We’re eternally grateful.


Our Home at Night

12/07/2011

I took these pictures for our real estate agent over the weekend. I really do love this house. I hope the person/people who buy it love it as much as we did.