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Isaiah Jason – 1.5 Years Old

11/30/2016

Last month Isaiah turned one-and-a-half. Our book-loving, vacuum-enthusiast, snuggle bug is such a special part of our family. In July, at 14 months old, he became a big brother. He’s very sweet and gentle with his baby sister. He gives JoJo soft kisses and pats her head. He likes to bring her pacifier to her, push her swing, turn on her bouncy seat music and carefully wipe drool off her chin. Ali is his best friend. He loves to follow her around and do whatever she’s doing. She plays really well with him most of the time. I’m glad our three kids have each other. Zay is still a Mama’s boy, which I love…except when he’s clinging to my legs while I’m trying to cook or walk. He loves his Daddy, too. He loves to watch Daddy work on projects and try to help or imitate him. His favorite show is Chuggington (about trains) and he also loves big trucks, sirens, dogs and dinosaurs. Zay is easy-going, affectionate, obedient, helpful and gentle most of the time. He has his toddler moments of frustration, of course, but overall he’s a very pleasant little guy. Well, big little guy. He’s still at the very top of the percentile charts for height. He’s wearing 2T clothes and size 7 shoes at 19 months.

Zay is talking a ton. He will repeat almost any word and even has some small sentences like, “A bite, please?” and “I love you.” He LOVES food. Especially popcorn and yogurt (which he still calls yo-yo). If he eats something he likes he nods and says “Yeah.” And then points and says, “Mo-ore peace” while still nodding. I love how he stretches 1-syllable words out, like “hayyer” for hair, “playyyat” for plate, “shoo-oo” for shoe, “deeyo” for deer. A couple of funny made up words we hear many times a day: Meeno is the name for his lovely that I call Snuggle Bunny. It’s also the word he uses for banana. Dee Dah is how he says thank you. I was teasing the other day that the way he says cracker (“tattoo”) sounds more like thank you than deeda. He was saying cookie last night and it sounded almost like turkey. He’s a goofball and he keeps us laughing with the funny things he says and his silly faces. I love his giggle.

I’m so glad God gave us a Zay-Zay. He is a precious gift to us. God knew how much our family needed him.

Pictures from July (14 months old) through November (18 months old):

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This is his default face…so frowny. Good thing he smiles a lot.

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He was excited about getting in the bath and forgot he was still dressed…

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Checking on “Doh-Doh” (AKA JoJo, Doughy, Jojie)

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Play Alone Time

09/19/2016

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A: Why do I have to play alone?
M: Because Mommy needs some alone time.
A: Can’t you just pretend to be alone?

My 5-year-old hates to be alone. Whether it’s her personality, a result of her past, because she was an only child for most of her first 4 years or a combination of all of those; she wants constant feedback and attention. She loves to perform and loves to talk. When her little brother was born and as she started out-growing naps, it became apparent to me that we needed to institute some quiet alone time. For my sanity. And to teach her a skill she is lacking. As I’m writing this post right now she’s sitting at the desk next to me writing letters to “sick people” and chattering out loud the whole time, asking for my attention every 30 seconds or so.

Play alone time.

I think I found this blog post on Pinterest when Isaiah was an infant and I was desperate for 5 minutes without someone talking to/at me. It seemed like one of those obvious parenting moves that I had regretfully overlooked for four years. We should have been teaching her all along to play alone. Don’t misunderstand; kids need time with peers and time with parents and loads of attention. But learning to be content alone and play alone are life skills. Starting with 5-minute increments and working up to an hour, I’ve been teaching my kids to play alone. My 1-year-old can currently play alone contently longer than my 5-year-old. (Again, I wish I had started teaching her this skill a long time ago!) We’re up to 15-30 minutes now.

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It’s amazing what I can get done in 15-30 minutes alone. It’s like a deep breath for my mind. I can get the dishwasher unloaded or dinner prepped. I can respond to emails. I can write a blog post. I can finish a graphic design project. Rachel, the writer of the blog post I mentioned above, has some great tips for how to teach your child to play alone. One benefit that I’m not sure if she mentions in her blog, my kids are more eager to play together after they’ve spent some time playing alone. Do yourself and your child a favor and start doing this if you don’t already!

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Crafting with Ali

02/24/2015

I love art and doing crafts. I always have. It’s such a joy for me to see my daughter loving art, too. She got a big bucket of craft supplies and a booklet of ideas for Christmas. We’ve been having fun working on these together on these cold, dreary winter days. I’m looking forward to the days she can do these projects more independently so she can work along side me while I work on my own craft projects. But in this stage, I’m just delighted that she’s having fun and getting creative with these projects.

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When our buddy Termain was visiting one evening they sat and did art projects together for a while. He’s an art lover too.

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One day I was able to get almost an hour of sewing projects done while Ali played with Play Doh nearby. Glorious!

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Brother-Sister-Friends Forever

11/17/2014

After living for three months as (foster) brother and sister in the summer of 2013, Termain and Alianna will always think of each other as brother-sister-friends it seems, and I hope it stays that way. (He was originally nicknamed Buzz Lightyear here.) I’m beyond grateful to his mom allowing us to stay a part of their lives as friends (that still feel a lot like family) over a year after they were officially reunified. A couple Saturdays ago we had the privilege of babysitting Termain for several hours. We get together every few months but this is the first time he was with us without his mom. We were all a little nervous about how he’d do, since being at our house stirs up a lot of traumatic memories from the time he was separated from his mom. Thankfully, he did great! He and Ali play so well together and their love for each other is obvious.

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I just realized I never shared the photos from our last visit with them at Baby Vegas (AKA Chuck E Cheese) for his 4th birthday back in September. They wanted to do every game together.

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Home Tour: Guest Room

11/13/2014

In a matter of five minutes our Next Kid’s Room can be converted into a guest room by removing the portable crib, crib storage box, changing pad and diaper changing supply cart.

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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.

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I debated about leaving the rocking chair, but it could be moved out easily as well. (It’s currently only $78.25 on Amazon!)

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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.

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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.

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RELATED POSTS:

Home Tour: Next Kid’s (or Kids’) Room (this room with the baby elements added back in)

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Home Tour: Next Kid’s (or Kids’) Room

11/04/2014

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.

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I stuck to my floor plan pretty closely but I decided that a footstool took up unnecessary space.

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The double bed is low and close enough to be used in place of a footstool.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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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.

RELATED POSTS:

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)

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A Room for Baby… or Whoever Arrives Next – Part 2

09/24/2014

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Yesterday I moved some furniture around to start pulling this room together. The baby side is pretty much set. I am going to sell the green dresser and move Ali’s vintage mid-century modern dresser in here just as soon as we get a bigger dresser for her room. I don’t plan to have all of that stuff in/under the crib. I would like to replace the curtain above with a light blocking one. This works OK but it’s actually a shower curtain and I’d like to get something simpler. Other than that, this area is mostly done.

Here’s the shameful side of the room. The blue crib needs a new home but I’m too emotionally attached to it right now. I need to figure out where to hide it before Jason gets home. This bed will move into Ali’s room and we’ll put a double bed and a night stand in it’s place. I taped the floor to show where the double bed will sit. It’s going to be tight but I think it’ll work. I’m also planning on adding another rug at the side of the double bed. When we have guests we can move the crib, changing pad and changing supply cart out in less than 5 minutes. Once I sat in the rocker I realized adding a footstool would be too crowded and not necessary since I can put my feet up on the end of the bed if I want to recline.

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RELATED POSTS:

A Room for Baby… or Whoever Arrives Next (my current mood board and floor plan for this room)

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 and Firefly.)

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)

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