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Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids

03/07/2013

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

We really loved our last house but sold it so we’d have room for our family to grow. Specifically, we wanted to have more bedrooms so we could continue to provide a home for children in foster care. At our previous home, I designed a room that could suit one or two kids ages birth to five years old, male or female. It was a big challenge, especially with a small room. This room is targeted toward 2-12 year olds in my mind, though we’re keeping an open mind about ages at this point. It felt much easier this time around, I suppose because we already had the super versatile IKEA KURA bed (which can be flipped over to be a low loft bunk bed) and I’m not set on putting a crib and dresser in here…yet. (We do need to add a dresser ASAP, we found out last week.) Other than the bed and bedding, the woodland creatures curtain was the only other element we started with from the previous house.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I chose the green wall color based on the curtain. Also, green is supposed to be soothing and it’s one of my favorites. I read somewhere that mirrors are good for self esteem for kids. Ali loves looking in the full length mirror in her room so I put one in this room, too. It was less than $10 at Target. See that house reflected in the mirror?

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I found this when we were unpacking. I colored this picture in art class in first or second grade. I pray that our next kids will feel at home in this room and at our home. I added some cuddle buddies to the bed.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I started adding bits and pieces to this room without any kind of theme in mind; just using what we had available. A friend gave us the headphones pillow as a housewarming gift. We had the other 2 pillows already. The rockstar flashcards are the only 4 letters I completed when I started designing the series 4 years ago. Maybe I’ll finish it one day…

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

This old acoustic guitar that was a gift from my parents for my 16th birthday narrowly escaped the trash during the move. (Jason’s guitars are a million times nicer so he doesn’t see this as fit to play. However, I think some tween or teen might love it!) We also have a collection of random, discount pile Hatch Show Print posters that I thought could help fill the walls here.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

There are a few vintage ReAbide items living in here. This Florence side table works for now as a night stand.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

And this Mack arm chair (below). Before we moved in, I ordered a Nashville road map. I thought it might work as a big poster for this room. It’s colorful and free (as an AAA member) and I thought it might be neat for kids to see where our house is in comparison to where they used to live. The rug is from a local IKEA reseller. I think it’s the only thing besides the full length mirror that we purchased for this room.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I have a pack and play set up in here. I’m hoping it’ll be enough to convince our case worker that we’re equipped to take a child younger than two. Ali still sleeps in her crib and I don’t have much desire to buy and set up a second crib. If we accept a placement of a younger child, we might consider getting another one at that point…or maybe moving her to a big kid bed.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com  Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

The book ledges also came from the previous house. These books (with the exception of Pop Warhol’s Top…which I don’t recommend) these books were are all specifically chosen to be in this room.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

So a really cool thing happened. This room developed a theme without me even realizing it! I suppose it started with the Nashville map, and then the Hatch Show Print posters, and then the guitar. The headphones pillow and the rockstar flashcards followed suit. The theme that developed—which happens to be something that every child who stays in this room, regardless of age or gender will have in common—is Nashville! Music City. Even the woodland curtains and botanical bedding and rug work. We live very close to a huge park so we see squirrels, owls , leaves and lots of trees in our neighborhood.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

It was important to me that I had thoughtful, personal elements worked into the design of this room. I didn’t want it to feel like a guest room. I want it to be a special room because it’s made for a really special kid…a kid we don’t know yet but I want him or her to feel comfortable, loved and wanted from the moment they walk in. I want him or her to know that we’ve been thinking about and praying for him or her before we ever met.

Here’s the floor plan of this room. It’s about 10×12.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

If you’re putting together a room for foster kids in your house, here are some things I recommend:

• Flexible sleeping arrangements
We have this room set up with a twin bed and a pack and play. Without much trouble at all we could flip the twin bed into a bunk bed and replace the pack and play with a real crib. Sometimes foster parents put together a really nice room for 5-12 year old kids and then God has a sense of humor and their first placement is a newborn. Flexibility is key for foster parents.

• Adequate Clothing Storage
This is one of our home checklist requirements from DCS. I’m hoping to add a dresser before too long but for now, we have a big closet ready with hangers and hanging storage for smaller items. We also keep extra blankets, pillows and sheets in the closet.

• Books and Toys
Admittedly, we don’t have toys in here but we do have a playroom right down the hall. It’s mainly because of the wide age range this room is open to that I haven’t put many toys in here. The stuffed animals are probably nice for any age kid, though. These books have been carefully selected to be in this room: Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care, I Don’t Have Your Eyes, I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, The Little Train That Could, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the Sleep Book.

• Nightlight
Some kids won’t want it on but we have it ready just in case. A new room can be scary and dark. The nightlight is enough to make the whole room visible. We also moved Ali’s constellation turtle light in here because she doesn’t use it anymore. It projects stars on the ceiling for 45 minutes before shutting off automatically. We’re also required to have hallways lit and to have flashlights handy. We got this 3-in-1 night light, emergency light (comes on automatically when the power goes out) and flashlight for our first foster parenting experience. It is in our hallway.

• A Place for Photos
The frame on the nightstand that says “Welcome” is actually a placeholder for a personal photo. Thanks for another foster mom’s suggestion, I also added (after taking photos) a bulletin board with pictures of “Who Lives Here” (me, Jason and Ali with names by our photos) and a photo of our first foster placement with her name and hand print. I will add a photo of each new child under either category.

• Curtains without strings or cords
Another requirement for our home safety checklist—not that we have a curtain but that there are no choking hazards dangling from blinds or curtains.

• Rugs secured to the floor
Yeah, I actually stuck this rug to the floor with rug tape. Another item on our home safety checklist.

• Smoke detector
Our list doesn’t require it to be in the child’s bedroom but there is one in there per codes for a new house build.

• Egress window
Also per codes, in order to be considered a bedroom, a room must have a window that can be opened for escape in case of a fire. Our home safety checklist also requires this.

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Preparing for Foster Kids: Bedroom Tour

06/16/2011

Our kids room is done-done-done. Ready to go. Just add kiddos!

I’m kind of in love with this room. It was so much fun to put together. It’s a mix of new and old. It’s a mix of patterns, textures and colors (mostly blue, green and gray … our favorites). It’s a mix of gifts, sentimental items and things purchased especially for our kiddos.

Sources: The walls are Ellie Gray by Sherwin Williams. The bed, crib, rugs (machine washable bathmats!), stuffed spaniel, stuffed vegetables, twin duvet, under bed storage box and book ledges are from IKEA. The twin sheets, lamp shade, and (shower) curtain are from Target. The alphabet animal poster, puzzle blocks, and alphabet flash cards are from Petit Collage (I won from a giveaway on Design Mom). The green quilt on the bed was a wedding gift handmade by a friend. The reading chair (reupholstered), night stand (painted), green crib sheet from Pottery Barn, stacking ring toy and full length mirror (painted) are all from yard sales. The yellow lamp is from a thrift store. The xylophone is from an estate sale. The Gee Wiz game on top of the dresser was a gift from an antique store given to us by a friend. The monkey poster is by French Paper gifted from the same friend. The mobile and toss pillows are handmade by me. The color wheel clock is from MOMA given to me by my Uncle Bob many years ago. The dinosaur is Jason’s from childhood. The chalkboard door was painted by me. The folding chair is from a yard sale. The dresser is from Target purchased second hand from craigslist (we’re still looking for a changing table height mid-century replacement). And lastly, the blue Sekova guitar originally belonged to Jason’s mom when she was a teenager and was the guitar Jason first learned to play on as a boy. In high school he painted it blue. It’s not playable now but I love that it’s finally displayed somewhere. It means a lot to me. I’m so proud of my incredibly talented husband, who is now living his dream as a professional guitarist.

Here’s the floor plan. It was quite a puzzle fitting a twin bed, crib, chair, dresser and night stand into a 10 x 11 room while still leaving some floor space for playing. Once we put the KURA bed together we decided to flip flop it and the night stand with the reading nook and wall mirror in my original plan. It just worked better with the design of the bed.


Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Progress

05/19/2011

Jason and I have been working away on preparing our kids room, basically sticking to our design plans and floor plan. We painted the walls Ellie Gray from Sherwin Williams. Despite the gray wall, the room will be plenty colorful between the green night stand, various wood tones, the blue crib we’re getting from IKEA, a blue area rug and the bedding.

This is the opposite corner of the room, shot from the doorway. Those black tables and white table on the floor are marking the spot where the KURA twin-size loft bed will sit. The corner of the room where the chair is sitting—hopefully a rocker someday—I’m calling the reading nook. We’ll put a set of shallow book ledges along the wall there.

The curtain is actually a shower curtain we picked up at Target last year. Nursery curtains was always the plan for it but I’m not convinced yet. I’m going to wait to see how it works with all the furniture and bedding before I split it into two panels.

I made this mobile to hang above the crib but honestly, I’m not so sure about it. It’s navy blue and bright green card stock with dog images on one side. It’s growing on me so we’ll see if I decide to keep it.

I found this dresser on craigslist a few weeks ago. It’s not the ideal color or height or style but we’re running out of time so it’s close enough.The pack-n-play is posing in the crib’s place.

We’re almost there! The last furniture pieces, book ledges and rug will be in place soon. After that we will hang the wall decorations (a couple posters, a clock and some vintage items) and add bedding. I can’t believe how fast we’ve pulled this room together but on the other hand, I’ve been planning it for years… So fun. I’m loving this room and the whole experience of planning and decorating a room for our kiddos!


Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Furniture & Decor

05/05/2011

The Challenge:
Gender neutral:
 We are choosing to be prepared for a boy or a girl
Age range: We are choosing to be prepared for newborn through age 5
Two?: We may consider taking a sibling set of 2. And/or we might have a child biological in the midst of this foster parenting adventure.

First, acknowledging the obvious: There is no theme. I’m not a fan of themes for ANY room, kids rooms and nurseries included. It is neutral. We’re keeping the colors gender neutral and soothing for reasons I hope are obvious. We’ll add more color depending on specific kids and what works at the time. And of course we’ll also have toys and books adding pops of color all over the room.

Specifics:
I mentioned last week that we’re planning on a SOMNAT crib. It comes in turquoise (love!), green (love!) and pink (cute but not boy-friendly). I ain’t gonna lie—when I first saw the green one on IKEA’s website back in August, I almost went and bought it right then. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE colored cribs. At some point, I started preferring the blue one. I could still do the green if blue is out of stock. We’ll see.

It was at least 2 year ago when I fell in love with the KURA bed. It’s a four poster twin bed. It’s a loft bed. It’s a bunk bed. Oh the versatility! I would have adored this as a kid. My bunk bed was cool but this just begs to be turned into a fort or a house or a secret cave or a cozy hiding place. We’ll keep it as a low bed for now, so it’s toddler friendly. If we’re confident in a kid’s ability to climb the (I’m guessing) 3′ ladder, we’ll flip it around. If we have 2 kiddos that are bigger than crib size, we’ll have to use it as a bunk bed.

Beyond the essential pieces of sleeping furniture, we have our little green 2 drawer dresser and yellow lamp and a full length mirror for the wall (I read somewhere that mirrors promote good self-esteem for kids.) I’m also the proud owner of  the Animal Alphabet poster from Petit Collage. Currently, I have this chair and footstool in the book nook of the kids room, but it’s not real comfortable and I would prefer to have a rocker anyway. I have lovely memories of my parents reading books to me in a rocking chair when I was little. This mid-century rocker from Urban Outfitters fits the bill stylistically but it’s a bit pricey for my taste.

We don’t have a dresser yet. I’d like to find a vintage one like the picture above that’s changing table height, walnut or teak, and not more than 46″ wide. That’s not too much to ask, right? Oh, and less than $100 please. If we can’t find that, we have a white MALM dresser that’s out on loan and I think we can get back.

RIBBA picture ledges work great as shallow book shelves. My plan is to get 4 and create the look of a bookshelf with the depth of 3.5.” Rugs. We have issues with rugs. As long as Jason and I have been married (almost 8 years, that is…) we’ve been pet owners. Getting pet hair out of rugs is a nightmare. Now we’re the proud owners of a beloved cocker spaniel and well, she pees sometimes. Always on something absorbant cuz she’s smart like that. So we don’t do rugs at our house. But, we do have the perfect doormat by our backdoor. It’s got rubber anti-slip backing and it’s machine washable. Hello! It’s so perfect because it secretly is a bathmat. So, I figure I can get 4 of these perfect TOFTBO rugs and put them together to create one perfect, machine-washable, kid-friendly 4’x6′ rug. I’ll let you know how that works out. Other than that, I think I’ll add some art, maybe a mobile above the crib, perhaps commission my mama to knit a pouf like this. I also included some samples of bedding from Target I’m considering.

Budget Breakdown:
KURA twin bed (4-poster, bunk or loft) – $199
SULTAN HARESTUA twin mattress – $100
SOMNAT crib – $99
VYSSA SLOA crib mattress – $50
RIBBA picture ledges 21″ x 4 – $40
TOFTBO bathmat 2’x3′ x 4 – $40
Chair + footstool – using what we currently own for now
Dresser found on craigslist for $50 (details coming soon) – $50
ANIMAL ALPHABET poster – won in a giveaway
ELLIE GRAY 1 gallon of Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint – $27 (purchased on sale)
Full-length wall mirror – free (from my parent’s house)
Paint for green nightstand and blue mirror – already owned

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TOTAL: $605


Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Floor Plan

04/28/2011

The Challenge:
Gender neutral:
We are choosing to be prepared for a boy or a girl
Age range: We are choosing to be prepared for newborn through age 5
Two?: We may consider taking a sibling set of 2. And/or we might have a child biological in the midst of this foster parenting adventure.

The Space:
Our kids room is only 10’x11′. But… I love living in a smallish house and the design challenges that require creative solutions. (See cloffice.) Knowing that we want to fit a crib and a big kid bed in the same room, I’m planning on getting a SOMNAT crib (2.5’x4.5″) and a KURA twin bed (3.5’x6.5′) that can be flipped over into a loft/bunk bed, both from IKEA. We already have a sturdy vintage 2 drawer nightstand and a vintage yellow table lamp. We plan to add a 4×6 rug, a chair for reading books, shelves and a changing table height dresser (maybe IKEA MALM if we can’t find a vintage option).

The Configuration:
Key: gray box is the 4×6 rug; green circle is a footstool, KURA is the twin bed, blue box SOMNAT is the crib, the white box with yellow circle and blue/gray oval is the painted nightstand with the yellow lamp and CD player, RIBBA are picture ledges from IKEA that we’ll use as book shelves, light blue box is a floor-length mirror, MALM is a short dresser from IKEA or better yet—a mid-century walnut or teak one. The left side, bottom is where the double, sliding-door closet is located.

Idea 1: My original solution. I taped out the beds on the floor, placed a chair and the little nightstand and it feels like there is very little floor space.

Idea 2: I like this but I have a feeling putting the twin bed and crib up against each other won’t work if we have 2 kids sharing this space. (I’m thinking older kid dropping things on the baby.) But… could be great if we just have 1 at a time.

Idea 3: I like how this opens up some floor space but the dresser backed up against the end of the crib makes me a little nervous. Plus the drawers would open right into the doorway. I’d have to see this one in person to be convinced.

Idea 4: Dresser, bookshelves and rocking chair are too crowded.

Idea 5: Put a changing table height dresser in the closet. This might work but we’ll lose a lot of closet space. Currently this closet is 1/2 space for kid stuff and 1/2 adult stuff (file cabinet, coats, box of winter accessories and games.)

Idea 6: Almost there with this one but I feel like the dresser would crowd the crib into the corner too much and make the reading nook feel closed off.

Idea 7: I think this is the winner! My only concern with this was having the twin bed in front of the window but we decided this should be fine. It’s at the foot end of the bed anyway. This floor plan allows for the biggest open area of play space on the floor. Yay!


The End of An Era: Closing Our Home to Foster Care

04/27/2016

dscn1085

For the past five years I’ve been a foster mom. We started our classes in early 2011, were approved and took our first placement in July 2011. For five years, a significant part of my identity has been wrapped in the label of foster mom. It feels strange to peel that label off.

Our goal with foster care was to love kids in need, to be their parents for as long as we were needed to fill that gap, and perhaps to adopt someday. Our journey has been a success. If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you probably know all about our experience but five years is a long time to keep track of so here’s a brief run down:

July 2011 – First placement 16-month-old “Ladybug” was with us for 5 weeks and then exited custody to an extended family member. Whirlwind first parenting experience!

September 2011 – Second placement was 2-month-old Alianna. Found out a few days later she would be an adoptive placement. A month or two later DCS decided to move her to a friend of the adoptive mom of two of her four half-siblings. We fought it. Hard. And won, by a miracle! We were given custody by a judge in order to pursue private adoption.

February 2012 – Put our home on hold to new placements while we prepared to sell our house, move in with my parents temporarily and build a new home.

August 2012 – Finalized Alianna’s adoption just after her 1st birthday.

February 2013 – Once settled into our new home, we took our home off hold status so we could start fostering again.

May 2013 – Third placement was 2.5-year-old Termain. He lived with us for 3 months, through the summer of 2013 and then was reunited with his mom. Through our experience his mom became a dear friend and I’m so thankful they are still in our lives.

November 2013 – Fourth placement was 6-month-old “Bee.” Technically placed with us for 3 months, although she spent 30 days in the middle of that period doing an extended family visit with relatives in another state. In February 2014, her ICPC passed and she was transferred to another state as a kinship placement with extended family.

June 2014 – Fifth placement was teenie preemie “Firefly.” He was 3 weeks old, brought to our home straight from the NICU. He was less than 5 lbs. and still several weeks before his due date. He was with us for four weeks before his case was dismissed and he was returned to his parents. The following month, I found out that I was pregnant with Isaiah.

October 2014 – Sixth and final placement was 1-month-old Noah (who now has a new name). He was with us only 3 days but his sweetness anchored deep in my hormonal-pregnant-mama-heart. He left custody to an adoptive placement who has since reached out and reconnected with us. We’ve had the privilege of keeping in touch and getting together with them.

April 2015 – Put our home back on hold status as we prepared for Isaiah’s birth. We planned to reopen within a year.

fostercare-collage

Which brings us to today…

April 2016 – We had planned to be on hold just for 9-12 months and then start taking placements but I got pregnant again pretty quickly after Isaiah’s birth. Going from two kids to three in short period is one thing. I’m finally starting to feel comfortable with the idea of three. But four kids still seems really hard to imagine. Our agency will only allow us to be on hold for 2 years. In April 2017 Ali will be 5, Isaiah will be turning 2 and Josephine will be 10 months old… I don’t think we’ll be ready to start fostering by then either, so we decided it was time to close up officially. It’s a bittersweet decision.

Bitter because it’s a cause we are passionate about. The need is great. It’s hard to walk away knowing there are still so many kids that need safe homes to go to in our city, right at this moment. And, honestly, it’s hard to step out of the label, the role, the identity of foster mom that I’ve worn proudly for the past five years.

Sweet because I’m so honored that we’ve had the opportunity to bless six children who needed safe mama- and daddy-arms to hold them through a really traumatic time in their lives. I am blessed by the friendships we’ve made through fostering…with biological family of the kids, with other adoptive parents, with other foster parents. The biggest blessing from our experience, of course, is our forever daughter Alianna.

Closing our home brings a wave of relief. For five years our lives have been in a state of temporary. It was hard to plan ahead more than a few months, never knowing how many family members we would have and what ages of kids we would be parenting at any given time. We’ve had bedrooms with gender neutral flexible set ups. Now, we can finally feel settled with some permanency in our family and our home. I can say with confidence that later this year we will have three kids, no more and no less. I know what their ages will be and that they will all share our last name. We will be allowed to leave the state without asking for permission. We won’t have regular home visits with a case worker anymore. We won’t have classes and credit hours to keep up with annually. We can even get rid of our home phone that we never used for anything anyway. It’s a new kind of freedom.

Foster parenting will forever have a special place in my heart and I wouldn’t doubt if we do it again in another season of our lives. In the meantime, we can stay involved in other ways. We are signed up to be mentors to new foster parents in our county. I plan to continue supporting and encouraging the many friends I’ve made through #fostercare on Instagram, many of whom are still in the trenches as foster moms. I’m considering becoming a CASA or a member of our county’s foster care review board someday.

I’ve gotten away from blogging over the past year but my heart is aching to write again. I’m looking at my life from a different angle now. For a while it seemed that foster care was the only exciting topic in my life to write about but I’ve realized there is a lot more going on besides that. This blog originally started out with a focus on mid-century-modern style, furniture, homes, living, etc. with an emphasis on home projects. As we because foster parents, my focus shifted. I’m planning to return to more blogging about home projects, modern/mid-century-modern furnishing/architecture/homes, interior design mixed in with parenting, adoption, graphic design, craft projects and one of our newest endeavors: homeschooling.

How does that sound? (Is there anyone still out there, reading this blog and this super-long post? Chirp. Chirp.) What do you prefer to see posts about here?

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Taking the First Step … Again [Foster Parenting]

01/21/2013

My phone rang and when I saw DCS on the caller ID I had an adrenaline surge. Do they know? Can they call already? Is there a  kid? All of that went through my mind before I pressed answer and said hello. It was our case worker, getting back to me. I had sent her an email telling her we’d be ready to reopen our home soon and I was wondering what all we needed to do.

We’re not ready but I contacted her because I needed a nudge. Not that I’m procrastinating, but there are just so many little things we still want to do to get settled into our new house – hang more shelves in the garage, figure out storage for my work room, landscaping, bigger art, hang the art we have … we’re pacing ourselves with time and money. Before we reopen our home we need to assemble the bedroom for “the next kids,” get a home phone, lock up our medicines, cleaners, knives, a whole list of little things. When I talked to our case worker, I found out their policy changed (shocker…). Originally she told me we could be in “closed” status for 2 years without having to redo our PATH training and home study but they’ve changed it to 1 year. I’m glad I called when I did because we’re 5 weeks from the 1 year cut off. Within that time frame we just need to amend our home study, not redo everything. (Thank God!!!)

That means we might start getting calls by March 1. So, I’m kicking into nesting mode again. But it’s so different this time around. I’m not sure if I’d call it excitement… We’re going to Disney World! That would be excitement. We’re climbing Mt. Everest! That would be adrenaline. I’m getting pumped up but I know it’s not going to be fun and easy; it’s going to be difficult and likely painful. There are a lot of logistics we don’t know and it’s impossible to plan for at this point… like how are we going to manage childcare for another kid (or 2?) during work hours. I don’t know. How is Ali going to respond. I have no idea. What are we getting ourselves into. Don’t ask me.

One thing I do know: we’re supposed to do this. God has called us to be foster parents and we will say yes. Again.

From experience, I can say with confidence that He will not lead us into something and then abandon us. He will equip us as we go and bring light to each step, one at a time. Here we go again!

Here’s my pictorial to do list.

This bed needs to be assembled, curtain hung, art hung, etc.:

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I wish we could use this phone:

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This drawer needs a child lock:

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This closet (where we keep our cleaners and medicines) needs a locking door handle:

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We loathe these things… and need to cover about 5,000 more outlets:

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The dept. is not going to like this:

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Or this:

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Foster Parenting: What to do the day the kid(s) arrive

05/24/2012

Having our foster care license on hold because of our new home build is hard because Jason and I have both been growing more and more passionate about helping the kids in the system. Trying to learn what I can and stay connected while we’re unable to open our home, I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading blogs. This one, I Was a Foster Kid, is raw and difficult to read at times, but so insightful. LT has a whole list of posts that are geared towards foster parents and things we can do better. I found these Top 10 Things to Make a Foster Child’s First Day Easier to be especially helpful. It got me thinking about how I want to set up some things in the bedroom for foster kids, our kitchen and items to have on hand when we get “the call” again and accept another placement.

Things like… making sure I always have kid-friendly snacks on hand (should be easier next time around because of Precious); giving a tour of the house, especially a detailed tour of their bedroom, explain house rules like bathroom etiquette and where to eat as we walk through the house; having lots of stuffed animals, pillows, a bop bag for punching and a swing for calming overwhelmed senses. Another thing I gleaned from her blog (from this post), is to make sure the kid(s) know we want them at our house, they’re wanted and loved; not a burden to us. And they’re not in foster care because of anything they did wrong.

(Photo above: breaking the ice with Ladybug, our first placement in July 2011, the morning after she arrived.)


Kids Bedroom: Sources of Inspiration

06/30/2011

I’m on my computer all day at work as a graphic designer. Whenever I have a few minutes free I’m browsing my Google Reader or Pinterest pages absorbing inspiration from all the amazingly creative people out there. I had been tagging ideas for kids room and nurseries for years so when I had the opportunity to design a room for our future foster kids, I already had lots of ideas. I had so much fun putting this room together! (Have I said that before?)

This room was the inspiration behind painting the wall gray and painting the little night stand bright green:

I first saw the book ledge idea here:

This blue crib blew my mind. (Then, I saw this version in the 2010 IKEA catalog.)

There are a lot of KURA bed mods out there on the interwebs but this one inspired me to cover up the super-bright blue panels with white contact paper. She used fabric here:

And, of course, chalkboard paint has been all over the home & craft blogs for a while now but this room is what inspired me to paint the back of the kids bedroom door:

Here’s a tour of our kids bedroom in case you missed it.

If you’re a new reader from Itsy Factor, thanks for stopping by! (And thanks for the blog love, Elisabeth!)


Preparing for Foster Kids: Technical Safety Precautions & General Household To Do List

06/02/2011

Here’s the part of preparing our home for foster kids that’s not as much fun to talk about or photograph as designing the bedroom. We have a checklist of things that need to be done in our home before an inspection. These requirements differ from state to state and agency to agency, I’m sure, but here are some of the things we had to buy/do:

• outlet covers on all of our electrical outlets
• cleaning supplies and chemicals stored in a locked cabinet
• all medications (including vitamins) stored in a locked box
• smoke detectors in various locations throughout the house
• carbon monoxide detector installed
• minimum 2.5 lb. fire extinguisher rated for class B and C
• hot water heater set lower than 120 degrees
• matches and knives inaccessible to children
• landline telephone available (we decided to sign up for Vonage for $15/month)
• flashlights in working order and accessible (we got a nightlight/emergency light/ flashlight)
• bedroom for child with proper clothing storage
• bedroom for child has a window
• separate bed and mattress for each child
• infant crib in compliance with government safety standards
• area rugs secured to floors; mirrors and wall hangings secured to walls
• internet adult sites inaccessible to children (we use Safe Eyes to block these sites)
• pets are up to date on all required vaccinations
• automobiles in safe operating condition
• vehicles equipped with child safety seats for infants/young children and booster seats for older children

So that’s only about half of the list, but it covers most of the main requirements. I was looking for this information online out of curiosity before we started the process so maybe someone else out there will benefit from seeing our list. We added to this list our personal list of projects to get done around the house before we welcome foster kids into our home:

buy furniture (crib, bed, dresser, rugs) for the kids room
hang book ledges (pictured above—I did this all myself! I’m very proud.)
• decorate kids room
• paint the kids room
• paint the rest of the house… or at least the master bedroom, living room, kitchen and hallway
finish the fence blog post coming soon!
• close up all the gaps along the bottom of the fence so Lucy can’t wander away
remove the dangerously sharp fireplace hearth  Booyah!
• get the electricity fixed in 2/3 of the house (this is a new development as of yesterday … stupid old wiring! Right now have 4.5 rooms without electricity … the kids room, my cloffice, both bathrooms and the ceiling light in the kitchen.)
get a new vehicleThe Silver Bullet. Yay!
build a new patio table we got a great deal on an already built one
• finish drywall and trim in Jason’s studio aux room
• finish drywall and paint in the laundry room
• clean out studio aux room and closet
• clean out our bedroom closet and dresser and give clothes to charity
• clean out cupboards
clean and organize pantry

Ok, so most of the things on our personal list have nothing to do with preparing our house for kids EXCEPT that we want to have all of these things checked off our to do list so that once we have kids we can just relax and have fun in the evenings and on the weekends. Sounds like a nice dream, right?