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Getting Settled

I’m way behind on blog posts. I still haven’t posted about Ali’s and my trip to Florida a month ago or the swimming lessons she started. I have pictures of mid-century modern things we’ve bought and sold. I have pictures of our blossoming landscaping. I was behind before Buzz showed up 12 days ago but now I’m REALLY behind. However, it’s easier to write about what’s currently going on.

• Yesterday was Buzz’s first day of day care (in our care) and it was so good for all of us. The consistency of a daily routine, structure and opportunity to play with other kids all day will be great for him. It was also a much needed break for Ali who has been kind of stressed out (acting out for attention, yelling and hitting a lot) and we could tell she was craving down time, as well as some individual attention from Mom and Dad. I worked at home yesterday with just Ali. Holy Cow! I got so much done! I thought working at home with a child was challenging but after struggling all week last week with two, it was a piece of cake. Day care isn’t cheap and it will use up most of the daily board rate that the state gives us for Buzz’s expenses but it’s worth it for us. This is what Ali did after breakfast:

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• We all picked Buzz up together and went shopping for a new grill. I love when stores have double child seat shopping carts, especially when they’re shaped like a car. This is the first time we’ve taken both of these kids shopping. They were driving each other crazy. (Get it?) Seriously, they pick on each other like brother and sister. Ali is a pesky little sister constantly grabbing his steering wheel or flicking his hair. He whines and tattles and is always pushing her back into her side of the car. Then she smacks him. Then he fake cries. (Anyone have suggestions on how to foster sibling love and kindness?)

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• Our old grill was a surprise wedding gift from my cousin Dan. I was 18 at the time and I thought, A grill? That’s so…grownup. We’ve used the heck outta that thing over a decade and moved it to 7 different apartments and homes from Erie, PA to Nashville, TN. It was such a wonderful, thoughtful wedding gift. Now here we are 10 years later grilling our first dinner on the back patio of our dream house on a gorgeous May evening with a spunky little Hispanic girl we adopted and a playful little AA boy we’re fostering. I never in a million years would have pictured this as my life from that vantage point but here we are and I love it.

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• Speaking of love, it’s not all brother-and-sisterly squabbles. They do like each other. After dinner they wanted to swing in the hammock together and then they were working together to fill containers with rocks in the courtyard. And the sweetest thing yet… Jason was putting Ali to bed while I was putting Buzz to bed. He brought Ali into his room so I could give her a hug and kiss goodnight. As they started to walk out, Buzz said “Wait!” We asked if he wanted to say goodnight to Ali. (We’ve suggested this several times before and they usually refuse anything other than an occasional “night night” or wave.) They both leaned in for a hug and then a kiss. MELT.MY.HEART.

• Neighborhood moms are so generously bringing us meals 3 nights a week and it lifts a huge burden. If I haven’t already mentioned it, Buzz will likely be with us a couple months but of course anything can happen in foster care. I love his mom. We’ve been texting back and forth a few times through the week. She was super helpful in getting me his immunization records so I could get him into day care. (DCS…not so much. They pretty much dropped the ball last week and this desperate mama decided to take matters into her own hands…without of course “going over their heads” because, ah hem, we’ve been warned.) We’re constantly referring to ourselves as Mr. Jason and Ms. Martina to Buzz, both out of respect for his parents and because we believe he’ll be reunified with them soon. However, he has started calling me “Ma” and Jason “Da.” I’m not sure how to avoid this because Ali is calling us Mama and Daddy all day. Also, I don’t think he’s able to say “Ms. Martina” or “Mr. Jason.” I just hope his mom is not offended if/when he calls me Ma in front of her someday. I tried. I really did. Ali, on the other hand, sometimes calls me “Nina.” Or “Ali’s Nina.” Oh that girl!

So that’s where we are. Blogging has been a little scarce because I’m still fighting to recover my energy. At the end of the day when I have the choice of sorting out my thoughts here or going to bed, I usually fall asleep sitting up before I even make the decision. But we’re definitely getting settled and life is starting to feel more manageable. Thanks for hanging out here and sharing this adventure with us.

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6 Responses to Getting Settled

  1. Mama says:

    One thing we learned along the way was to never pay attention to tattling because that exacerbates it. You already have lots of patenting skills and tricks. Keep up the good work!

    • mahlbrandt says:

      That could be tough since he’s actually kind of helpful in stopping her from doing something she’s not supposed to do! Good advice though, Mama.

  2. Instant Mama says:

    Oh, I so remember falling asleep every night before I could even decide what to do. Or in the afternoon while paying bills. Or pretty much any time I sat down. Anywhere. Anytime.
    And good luck with him calling you ma – with Ali doing it he’s just going to copy her. I guess you could talk with his mom and just let her know you’re trying… And I really love that you have a positive relationship with her. That is truly what Jesus would do.

    • mahlbrandt says:

      I was sitting at the foot of Buzz’s bed last night waiting for him to fall asleep and I fell asleep sitting up! LOL. It was a dimly lit room at close to 10 so it was hard not too. Thankfully I didn’t fall on the floor or anything and he was snoring a minute later.

  3. Amber says:

    Proud of you guys! Hang in there through the tired and the overwhelming. (and when it comes down to it, I’d pick sleep over blog any day! we all understand!!)

    • mahlbrandt says:

      Thanks for the grace and encouragement, Amber. I keep waiting to hear you guys have gotten a new call. Have you checked to make sure they have you on the list properly? (Or maybe like me, you were savoring the silence for a while.)

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