I wrote a set of posts over on Dropping Anchors with some lists to help potential foster parents prepare their homes for their home study safety inspection as well as tips from experiences foster parents to make the transition of a new foster child easier. Check them out if you’re in that category!
That’s lot of words, huh? We had a Christmas baby-gender-reveal surprise baby shower. It was an unforgettable blessing organized by my friend Steph with a part of our foster mom support community from across the country. I had passed Steph the sealed envelope from the ultrasound tech because she offered to give us something more special than a piece of paper to open on Christmas day. (And she’s one of the most creative people I know!) She rallied the troops behind my back and they sent gifts to Steph to wrap and organize into a really unique gender reveal surprise for us. I am still so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would bless our family like this. Most of these women I’ve never even met in person, although we connect daily through social media to encourage, pray for, commiserate with and entertain each other.
The first present to open was this ornament that Steph made. It will be such a special keepsake on our Christmas tree every year.
(Please excuse my Christmas-morning-no-makeup-pajamas family.)
The first baby boy outfit we opened…
Ali got some special gifts, too.
These little knee pads made me swoon.
A teething necklace in one of my favorite colors.
A fellow chicken mama sent this one!
At some point while I was opening gifts and Jason was documenting it, Ali started taking photos with my DSLR.
These are her photos…
I am so thankful! What an amazing surprise for Christmas day, to find out we’re having a son and to be showered with so many thoughtful and adorable gifts for him.
I was interviewed in a little getting-to-know-you post over on Dropping Anchors blog last week. Check it out if you’d like to know more about me, why I’m a foster mom and what my experience has been like for the past 3.5 years.
This little night stand was bought at a yard sale and made over when I was putting together our first kids’ room back in 2011. I like this clock in here because it has a sleep timer with ocean sounds, rain or radio.
The black acoustic guitar was a gift from my parents on my 16th birthday. My professional guitarist husband thinks it’s trash but I say it’s sentimental. If any of our guests get inspired to bang out some tunes on a cheap old guitar with rusty strings, they can feel free. Otherwise, it’s art.
This mid-century modern dresser was a vintage store score from our first kids’ room as well. I love it because it’s changing table height (which is why I moved it into this room) but also because it’s beautiful, sturdy, solid wood and in great condition. I picked up the bookshelf from a thrift store and gave it a new life with paint to match the nightstand and a stained plywood back.
Home Tour: Next Kid’s (or Kids’) Room (this room with the baby elements added back in)
This room makeover is finally complete and ready for our next inhabitants—our next foster placement, baby Froggie due in April or overnight guests. The room includes the rocker I bought when baby Alianna arrived. We replaced the shower curtain we’ve been using in our foster kids’ room for the past 3 years with these textured green light-blocking curtains from Target.
I stuck to my floor plan pretty closely but I decided that a footstool took up unnecessary space.
The double bed is low and close enough to be used in place of a footstool.
A second rug gives a fair amount of soft play space on the floor. The poster is by French Paper Co. and was a gift from my art school bestie, Renata, for our first kids room.
I’m still a very big fan of this crib, which I nominated as The Ideal Crib for Foster Parents last year. It’s smaller than a typical crib and can easily be folded down to move into another room or store flat to about a 6″ depth. The poster and storage toy box are from IKEA.
That blank spot above the dresser/changing table is begging for some artwork. Both rugs in this room are from IKEA. The vintage metal cart between the bookshelf and dresser holds diaper changing supplies, burp cloths, bibs and receiving blankets. It’s easy to move around as needed and is still stocked from Pumpkin.
The bulletin board above the bookshelf is a collage of family photos, separated by “Who Lives Here” on the left side and photos of our former foster children on the right side. I have temporarily hanging here the first and so far only gift I have bought for our belly baby “Froggie.” It’s such a simple phrase to put on a bib but for foster and adoptive parents it’s always loaded… because we are not the only mom and dad in those cases. With baby Froggie, for the first time, we’re the only Mom and Dad. Our baby can wear this bib without anyone getting offended, feeling left out or jealous, and without raising any questions (unless we’re questioning his or her feelings about Jason and me, I suppose!).
I’ll come back soon with a second part of this room tour when the room is converted into a guest room. I don’t think I mentioned in previous posts that this room is approximately 10′ x 12′. It can accommodate three people with a double bed and crib, night stand, dresser, bookshelf, rocking chair and standard size closet.
A Room for Baby… or Whoever Arrives Next (my current mood board and floor plan for this room)
A Room for Baby… or Whoever Arrives Next – Part 2 (progress photos)
Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids (this room a year and a half ago before it was occupied by Buzz and then later Bee, Firefly and Pumpkin.)
Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Kids: Furniture & Decor (planning our first bedroom for foster children at our last house)
Preparing for Foster Kids: Bedroom Tour (photos of the above mentioned room that ended up generating a lot of interest on Apartment Therapy)
I’m excited and honored to be part of a new blog written by a group of foster moms (and hopefully some other perspectives, too) called Dropping Anchors. I wrote the first post which went live on Saturday, called These Weirdos Are My Tribe. Today there’s an excellent post written by my friend Kate which explains What It Means to Drop Anchors. I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think!
“Whoever arrives next” beat Froggie to the punch and is now occupying our next kid’s room. His name—for social media purposes—is Pumpkin and he’s just as sweet as could be.
After two very busy weeks at work with three magazine deadlines and two short trips out of town, I’m way behind on blogging and have plenty to go back and share about. However, this news needs to be shared right away. We got back from our second trip on Sunday night. At work late on Monday afternoon, I was finishing up my last of three deadlines when my phone rang. DCS placement showed up on the screen and I wondered if this would be a good one. We’ve only had a couple calls since Firefly left on July 3 and none worked out with our availability. This call was for a 1-month-old boy. Our only reservations were that he’s too young for childcare for a couple more weeks and in the back of my mind I was doing the math for the age difference between him and baby Froggie… seven months. I’m trying not to think too much about that right now because in foster care a lot can change in six months. Pumpkin is our sixth foster child to parent. Of the previous five, four of them have been with us three months or less. Our Alianna, of course, is the exception. I know so little about Pumpkin’s case at this point that I have no way to predict how long he’ll be with us. I’ve been missing Firefly badly and maybe it’s partly the pregnancy hormones but I’m just so thrilled to have another little baby to snuggle. His short history is hard and angering, so it’s not all cuddles and new baby smell around here. We also have deal with the ugly reality of why he is in state custody.
The life interruption is real and difficult. Adding a new family member with just hours notice turns our worlds upside down for a little while. It was almost 3 hours between saying yes to the placement worker and Pumpkin arriving at our house. That’s 3x longer than we usually have to prepare. It was enough notice for me to finish up my work, tell my boss, pick up dinner on my drive home, sit down to eat as a family of three, scramble through the baby room pulling out boxes of bottles and infant boy clothes, and set up the diaper changing supplies. Somewhere in the rush I knelt down and explained to Ali that another little baby was coming to stay with us for a little while. She’s so sweet and understanding and she LOVES babies. As soon as he came through the door she was asking to hold him.
Once the papers were signed and the workers left to drive home through a monsoon, Daddy Jason called a family prayer meeting. Ali finally had her chance to hold him while Jason and I surrounded them and prayed over Pumpkin, his case and our family—especially big sister Ali—as we move forward. So far he has been mostly delightful. He’s been sleeping well and eating well. We’ve had some bouts of fussiness, but we’re all still getting to know each other. I’ve spent a good amount of time snuggling him just like the photo below and he sure loves to be held close. If you’re a prayer, please pray for his health (for complete restoration and detox), for his case (lots of meetings, hearings, decisions happening this week and next), and for all of us as we get to know each other and tread water through the waves of transition and mix of emotions.