Bee Flew North

12/31/2013

OK, actually she was driven North. I mentioned before Christmas that Bee was given an unexpected family pass to spend the holidays in Wisconsin with her grandparents and extended family. We met her grandma, great-aunt and great-grandma for dinner at Chilis the Friday before Christmas to get to know them a bit more before the send off. They’re very sweet people and I know Bee is in good hands. DCS extended their permission until January 13, her next hearing date because her grandma was planning on coming back down for the hearing anyway. It’s kind of weird…we technically still have a foster placement, Bee is officially still our foster daughter, but she’s not here. Although we do miss her, it’s been a nice break, too. After Buzz left I realized the unnatural circumstances that often come with foster care where the number of children in a household sometimes decreases. An additional child is a big adjustment and then reducing back down to one child from two feels like such an easy break. We’ve been enjoying soaking up lots of time with our amazing 2.5 year old Alianna. She is such a joy and a delight. Also, we got to see Buzz again. He and his mom came to the Christmas service at our church.

Bee all packed and ready to go. Have you ever seen a foster child come with such nice luggage?!

IMG_1989

Two of her three Christmas presents from us. I opened them the night before she left.

IMG_1998 IMG_1999

Send-off day.

IMG_2013 IMG_2014

We soothed ourselves with ice cream after the send-off dinner.

IMG_2022

Ali showing off a gift from our neighbor, pocket babies.

IMG_2030

Christmas church service:

IMG_2042 IMG_2046 IMG_2049 IMG_2057

Advertisements

Buzz came back…

12/30/2013

with his mom for dinner! (Side note: Our current foster placement is nicknamed Bee and our last foster placement was nicknamed Buzz [Lightyear]…Unintentional!)

Buzz was with us for three months, May-July this year. He returned home to his mom at the beginning of August for a 90-day trial period. She passed all of her requirements with flying colors and Buzz is now officially out of state custody. I could share his real name, I suppose but I’ll keep it Buzz for now. His mom did give me permission to share photos of his face though.

We got together for visits a couple times during the 90-day period and it always took Buzz a long time to warm up to us. I imagine it stirs up all kind of mixed feelings about being separated from his mommy for so long. We’ve all become like friends/family through this foster care experience so we’re hoping he’ll get more comfortable with seeing us. Buzz’s mom wanted to celebrate with us once he was finally officially out of custody. I felt like it was the right time to finally invite her to our house. She had only known the general area where we lived. I figured she’d enjoy seeing where he spent most of 3 months this summer. We were all hoping it would be healing for Buzz to come back to our house again too, and then to leave with his mom. Closure.

So Buzz and his mom came over for dinner two days before Bee arrived (in November…I’m posting this late). I didn’t take a lot of pictures because these two got crazy once they got over the initial awkwardness. At first Buzz was clinging to his mom and wouldn’t even let her put him down. Eventually we moved to the playroom and he couldn’t resist playing with Ali. He’s taking gymnastics and karate so he showed off lots of moves. Ali now knows how to build a tower of blocks and chop it down with a “Hi-yuck!” as she says.

Their dinner visit went really well. It was also loud and crazy and reminded me of how stressful and tiring that season of our lives was. I’m really thankful that we were able to be there for Buzz and his mom during that time but I’m also really thankful they’re back together.

IMG_1109 IMG_1124 IMG_1111 IMG_1126


Snow Day – December 10, 2013

12/24/2013

I’m not a fan of snow and cold—I’m still bitter from all those years living in the snow belt in NW Pennsylvania—but who could resist the joy and wonder of a toddler exploring the freshly fallen snow? This stuff is pretty rare down in Nashville so I bundled her up and we headed out to play before breakfast.

IMG_1855 IMG_1846 IMG_1856

Ali’s reaction to tasting an icicle: “Mmm…tastes like popsicles from the ‘frigerator!”

IMG_1858 IMG_1851

And then by the afternoon it was all melted. Thank God!

IMG_1860

I’ll be away for the next week or so enjoying the holidays with my people. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Christmas Cookie Helper

12/23/2013

For the past several Christmases, from when we were anticipating becoming parents through when Alianna was too young to help, I’ve been dreaming of the day I would have a little helper to make Christmas cookies with me. This year was my dream come true. Ali and I had a great time and she really was a good helper. She rolled peanut butter dough balls in sugar, helped me unwrap Hershey kisses and stuck the kisses into the hot cookies for peanut butter blossoms. She was also the thumbprinter for our raspberry thumbprint cookies.

IMG_3025 IMG_3027 IMG_3028 IMG_3029 IMG_3030 IMG_3032 IMG_3033 IMG_3035


Phone Photo Friday

12/20/2013

2013-12-20

Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!


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. 

IMG_1747 IMG_1754

$14 worth of new clothes from Target.

IMG_1800 IMG_1890

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.

IMG_1914 IMG_1941 IMG_1983


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.

IMG_1869 IMG_1882 IMG_1913 IMG_1918 IMG_1920 IMG_1922 IMG_1926 IMG_1977 IMG_1978 IMG_1987