Respite

10/27/2014

Last week we were asked if we could do a last minute respite placement for a 4-year-old boy. We agreed and then scrambled to get a bed ready for him. We’ve been in the process of moving furniture around in the past couple weeks (months?) and went from having a crib and twin bed in the foster kids room to crib and bed frame. Then two weekends ago we had a crib and no bed at all. This room is almost all the way put together and when it is, I’ll do a full post about it. But here’s the bed and night stand, ready less than 24 hours before our respite guy arrived.

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If I were to give his fella a blog nickname it would be Rhinoceros. He’s full of energy and stomps around like a large animal. He was full of noise and motion. He and Ali had a lot of fun. Jason and I were thankful it was just for two nights. Even though it was very tiring, I’m thankful we were able to help his foster family out with a restful break.

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Homestead (Not Child-Related) Happenings

01/09/2014

We’re building a privacy fence in our backyard. It’ll be a modern wood fence very similar to our last house. I did an extensive tutorial on that fence three years ago, as well as the process of enclosing our courtyard at this house, so I will not be documenting our process this time. We managed to get all 23 posts set in the ground just before the great Flash Freeze of 2014. Now Jason’s touring schedule is rolling again so we’ll have to wait for some warmer days to line up with the days we’re both off work so we can start on the pickets.

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We’re getting chickens! Two years ago Nashville passed a new law allowing backyard hens to be raised for eggs. Jason was interested right away but it took me a while to get on board. Now that we have the fence started and Jason got this new book for Christmas, I’m all in. I’m so excited. We’ll be getting our chicks in the next month or two to start raising them inside until we have the coop done and it’s warm enough for them to move into their new house. We’re allowed to have up to 6. We’re planning to start out with 3 or 4. We eat a ton of eggs around here (18-24/week) so I’m excited to start getting them fresh from our own backyard.

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The foster kids’ room (which I’m tempted to call the little girl’s room…or is it the little girls’ room…) is getting a mini makeover. We’re repainting the walls. We got some new art and moved art in from a different room and I’ve moved some furniture around. Bee is gone for 25 days and with the possibility of baby Trust coming, well, I guess I’m nesting. We decided to paint Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray just like the first foster kids’ bedroom at our last house, which ended up being Ali’s nursery. We were very happy with that color and we’re not so happy with the neon green I chose for this house.

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Our master bedroom has been slowly getting designed. We realized one day that it’s sad how neglected it’s been design-wise. Last June we celebrated 10 years of marriage and decided that it’s time for a properly designed room. I’ll share more about it when it’s finished. We started out with a dresser and curtains. We added some art. New bedding. A new bed frame and lamps. Still to go: paint and wall/headboard treatment. Rugs. More art.

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Ali’s room got a mini-makeover too. She mastered climbing out of a pack-n-play while we were staying at my brother’s house for a few days and quickly transferred her skills to her crib at home. She’s now in a big girl bed again (side off her crib for now…eventually that KURA bed in the foster kids’ room will be hers). I’ll post more about that transition later. It’s going so much better this time around. She got a new lamp, owl poster and hot pink dog-butt hooks for hanging her dress-up clothes from IKEA.

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Ideal for Foster Parents: Portable Folding Crib

12/08/2013

I was reluctant to buy a second crib when we prepared our home to foster again because I don’t think Ali would be using hers too much longer and I didn’t know if we’d get a call for a baby anyway. We got by with a pack-n-play for our home inspection but I wanted to get a real crib if/when we were placed with a baby. Enter Bee. I had looked at these foldable cribs online before and decided to give this one a try. I’m really pleased with the design. It seems ideal for foster parents or anyone else that might need to put up a crib in short notice and prefer one that stores in a small space when not in use.

Dream On Me 2-in-1 Folding Portable Crib

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It has locking castors and folds up to about 6″ thick. It comes with a thin mattress, only about 1″ thick like a pack-n-play.

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The sides lock open with latches on each side and the mattress board hinges down into place, either low or in a bassinet position.

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Bee is not sitting up or pulling up yet so we have it in the higher position. I followed the recommendations in the reviews and ordered the thicker 3″ mattress, as well as a waterproof mattress cover and a very soft cotton mini crib sheet.

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Fair Warning: The reviews for this are 2/3 positive and raving about the smart design; the other 1/3 is complaints about missing parts, cracked side rails, pieces looking like they’ve been chewed up by a rat, and poor/non-existant customer service from the manufacturer. Ours came in perfect condition and took me an hour or two to assemble. If you happen to get a bad one, I’d contact Amazon’s amazing customer service directly. One reviewer said Amazon sent a replacement immediately and sent money to return the damaged one.

Cost Breakdown: $110 for crib + $25 for thicker mattress + $12 for waterproof cover + $7 for sheet = $154 TOTAL


Foster Care Ch. 4 Prep: Looking Forward, Looking Back

11/06/2013

As I spent the month of October preparing for our fourth child, I thought a lot about our first three. I’ve had this idea for a while but finally did it: an 8×10 photo, an initial and a shadow box of significant items for each child. It’s the start of our hallway gallery wall that might one day be full of difference faces and memories.

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I also make a necklace in honor of my motherhood to these three sweethearts.

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I made a CD of my “songs for the foster mama’s heart.”

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I got our next kid’s room ready, including setting up the pack n play in case we get a baby. (And if we do, I’ll probably end up buying a second crib because Ali is still using hers.)

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Lots of time was spent reading and praying, usually right in this spot on the couch in the morning before anyone else is up.

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I spent half of a Saturday cooking several gallons of soup and stocking it in the freezer.

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Sometimes I feel like the house is ready and other times I feel like I need a day to clean and organize. I know it’s ready enough and we have everything childproofed to DCS standards but I guess it’s just a nesting thing.

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Then I rearranged the next kid’s room a little bit. This bed seems to only work in this one spot in this room and it kind of drives me nuts. I’m thinking I’ll eventually move it into Ali’s room and get some regular bunk beds that can be switched into twin beds for maximum flexibility.

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Then more time has been spent resting, waiting, preparing, breathing deep in the now. A cup of tea on a sunny afternoon is balm to my soul.

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Mission Accomplished: It’s a Dresser

03/18/2013

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My big goal for this weekend was to find a dresser for the bedroom our future foster kids will stay in. Eventually, I’d like to add a beautiful vintage dresser but for now we just needed any dresser. I found this specimen for $22.99 at a thrift store in our neighborhood. I spent about 3 hours repairing, sanding and painting it. I spent another $12 on handles and hardware. It’s not big but it will work for now. I painted it the same color green as the little 2 drawer nightstand I painted a couple years ago for our first kids’ room that’s now in Ali’s room. Eventually they may end up in the same room. So here’s my wonky little weekend DIY project, before:

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And after:

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I need to call our case worker to double-check but I believe all of our requirements to reopen our home as foster parents are now met. BIG SIGH!

Related posts:

Preparing for Foster Kids: Bedroom Tour (the 1st time)

New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids (the 2nd time)


The Nest is 75% Ready

02/07/2013

75% is enough for now. Enough to call our case worker to have her come out and do a walk-through. Enough to make me feel mostly prepared.

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Bedroom for Future Foster Kids Checklist:

• assemble KURA bed
• hang curtains
• hang wall art
• add a rug
• make space in closet for clothes
• dresser
• bookshelf ?
• nightstand
• lamp
• hang book ledges
• mount guitar hook for my old acoustic
• nightlight
• make bed look comfy and inviting

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The Rest of the House Checklist:

• mount TV to the wall in the den
• cover all electrical outlets with annoying plastic caps
• lock up all of our medications and vitamins
• lock up all of our cleaning supplies
• lock up all knives
• lock up all matches and lighters
• secure rugs to the floor (so they’re not tripping hazards)
• make sure we always have bananas
• have and know how to install car seats and boosters for newborn – 8 year olds

Our den/playroom:

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New Home: Kids Room Plan

05/23/2012

At our last house, I designed a combined nursery and kids room as we were becoming foster parents. It had to be suited for 1 or 2 kids, either gender, newborn up to age 5…all within a 10×11 bedroom. In our new house, we’ll have a nursery for Precious and another bedroom that’s set up for our future foster kids. I’m not really sure what parameters we’ll set next time around so I’m planning this room for 1 or 2 kids, boys or girls, ages 2-12. The room is approximately 10×12. We already own the bed, dresser, curtain, book ledges, owl, sheets and chair. The rest would be new purchases.

Sources

1. Sherwin WIlliams Mélange Green – accent wall color

2. Sherwin Williams Greek Villa – other three walls

3. IKEA VANDRING RÄV duvet cover and pillow case $20

4. Woodland shower curtain from Target Home (as window curtain) – no longer available

5. Owl wall art – vintage

6. Dresser – vintage

7. IKEA VANDRING RÄV Soft toy, set of 2 $8

8. Jimco orange lamp with drum shade from Lowes $40

9. IKEA KURA reversible loft bed $199

10. IKEA RIBBA picture ledges (to use as book ledges), x2, $10 each

11. Target Home 325 Thread Count Wrinkle Free Sheet Set – Blue Diamond $28

12. Chair – vintage

13. IKEA RINGUM 2′ round rug in green, x3, $10

Floor Plan (to scale)