Friday, February 24, 2012

Loads and Loads of...

Laundry.  8 people in the house equals mountains of it.  I figure I do 3 loads a day on average now IF no one wets the bed.

People who have kids of their own typically have a year or two between adding more kids & laundry.  Its a gradual adjustment, and the older kids eventually take on some of those responsibilities.  For foster parents, its like a bomb dropping.  Going from our biological family of 3 to adding 5 more kids, ages 9 and under is a big deal.  This is especially true when 3 of them are preschoolers who have been neglected and often have "accidents".  I rinse out at least 3 pairs of underwear a day!  However, I am *determined* that they will all be using the toilet reliably an a few weeks. I think they can, I think they can....

Dishes.  It is easier to share this task, as it is clear-cut and not as time-intensive as laundry.  Mickey and Donald (names changed to Disney characters) are excited to share the task of loading the dishwasher, and my own son unloads it and puts away the stuff he can reach.  We each clear our own plates and I put away leftovers.  So far, this is working well.  Daisy and Minnie are in charge of setting the table.  I can say that these kids are thrilled to be helping out, and very glad to be at my house - especially Daisy, who at 9, was in charge of "everything" at her mom's house.  Take that with a grain of salt, because she is not the best at telling the truth!

Homework.  Donald and Daisy have homework each day, which requires me to listen to them read and sign papers and planners, while the others excitedly shout at me about what they drew or painted at school.  Afternoon chaos!  I am grateful that they are in the habit of doing homework immediately after school, though, because I've had some where its been an argument every day.

I found out this week that Donald is considered delayed enough to be in special ed. classes at school, and has a pretty low IQ.  He wants badly to learn, and I am doing my best to give him opportunities to do so!  I am glad the school counselor called to let me know his situation.  I hope to be able to read his IEP (Individual Educational Plan) next week, along with each of the others.  Maybe that will help me better  understand where they are so I can help them move forward...

The school is also trying to get the kids in counseling.  They had started the process before they even came into foster care, and have been concerned for them for quite some time.  I love how caring most of the staff at our schools are, and hope  the worker cooperates and gets them in therapy soon.  I was glad to hear that the kids seem much happier at school now, as well.

Visitation for them will start in the next couple of weeks, and it will be interesting to see how they react to seeing their mother again.  They rarely mention her at all (maybe twice a day between all 4 of them, and some days not at all), and never have asked to see her, but if I ask Minnie (the youngest) if she misses mom, she says yes.  Daisy has said she hopes to live with me until she's 18!  Granted, we are still in the honeymoon period, but its clear they are all happy to be here, and, so far, I'm happy they are here as well.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


First of all, let me tell you that I have separated the homeschooling part of my blog out from the rest of this, which has pretty much turned into being about  foster parenting and other miscellaneous parts of my life.  If you want to follow the homeschooling journey, hop on over to Windy Hill Home School!

Second, I didn't have much time to be sad over losing the baby.  I threw myself into a Pinterest project over the weekend.  I took the Ambleside Online booklists and made them into Pinterest boards by year (grade level).  Then I went a little crazy, making a board for all the school subjects and more.  If you are interested in seeing educational resources, check out my boards here.

Last of all, let me tell you about the new kids.  I got a call Wednesday for a sibling group of four!  I wasn't certain about this one - partly because I have never had so many before (and am now technically over the limit set by DCBS), and partially because of how difficult they sounded to handle, and the fact that I'm not over my cough yet.  I was told there ages (4, 5, 6, & 9), that one has ADHD and is medicated, and that together they are a handful.  Oooh, sign me up! LOL...but the only other home they could find was two counties away.  I hate to see the kids have to switch schools, and they really didn't want to break up the sibling groups, so we said yes.

I'm glad we did.  They are no worse, and some better, than others we've had.  They are excited to be here and are settling in pretty well.  The youngest, we'll call her Minnie, "has trouble sleeping," I was told.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but that first night Minnie screamed & cried for several hours, slept a while and then had something resembling a night terror.  Everyone else slept fine!  Night two was a big improvement.  She didn't fuss going to bed, and then just had a 20 minute terror at 1am.  Last night she didn't cry at all and slept the whole time!  Nap time today was better, too, and she slept over 2 hours.  I really don't think her problem is sleeping :)

All the new kids go to the same school as the boy we've had 6 weeks now - we'll call him All-Boy.  Unfortunately, it is out of our district.  We worked it out for the preschoolers to ride the bus to that school and back home again, but now that some are older, the bus can only get them to school.  I will have to take a chunk of every  afternoon (from 2:30-3 or so) to pick them all up.  I am thankful that its just one school I have to pick up from this time, though, and its actually the closest one to us.  Yeah, don't ask me why its not in our district!

All-Boy and the 5 year old, Mickey, are in the same class!  They gave each other a hug when they arrived at our home.  There was *much* excitement the first night!  They are bunk bed buddies, and older brother, Donald, is in the third bed in the boys' room.  The girls, Minnie and Daisy, are in the other room.

I haven't met the bio-mom, and not sure when that will happen.  There are 2 dads, as usual, and the man they call Daddy isn't anyone's dad.  For all of that, they are good kids.  I'm thinking this will be a stay of 4-6 months - just a gut feeling.  I reserve the right to revise my estimate after meeting the other adults in their lives. :)

So far, they are eating well, playing well, and very active.  Thank goodness for bikes and a trampoline!  There could be snow this weekend, and there's no school Monday anyway (President's Day), so I'm really hoping we don't get cabin fever.  This is the second time I've gotten a house full just before a 4-day weekend.  DH says its Murphy's Law following us around.  I just think someone is out to make sure I get to know these kids SUPER well before they go back to school!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gone, Baby, Gone

I love that song by Martina McBride, Wrong Baby Wrong.  It seems appropriate today, although I'm singing the Gone, Baby, Gone verse.  Around 11am, I checked my phone because I had gotten a text message a little bit earlier.  I noticed I had a missed call and voice mail as well, from 8:45am.  Have I mentioned how AT&T doesn't work well here?  I get VM and texts sometimes the NEXT DAY.  Ridiculous!!

Anyway, the voice mail was from the DCBS and it was the boys' worker, saying that she had talked to the judge this morning and the baby was going home!  Today.  Instead of a visit at noon, I was to pack his things and bring it all. So, that was a big surprise, since the grandparents had told me they had to wait for court on March 7th.  Turns out the judge either forgot to sign, or signed the wrong paper TWO weeks ago, and he should have gone back then!!!

The grandparents were overjoyed, and I was sad.  Very sad.  He is the  youngest child I've fostered, and I expected it would be harder to let him go.  I was right :(  He woke up from his nap, I put him in the high chair for a snack while I packed his clothes, toys, diapers, toiletries, snacks and sippy cups.  We all drove to the DCBS office and told him goodbye.  The 4 year old was happy to have a room to himself again, and I must admit I won't miss the stinky diapers!

I would have had him one month tomorrow.  He turned 15 months old while he was here.  He had about 5 teeth come in, and all his front teeth finished coming through as well.  He got me up early most mornings and chased me around all day.  He made messes, rearranged things constantly and liked to push buttons, open and shut drawers and doors.  He was cute as a button, with curly red hair and chubby cheeks.  I'll miss the little guy.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

Pinterest is as inspiring as it is addicting!  You can find me here.

I joined because of the sheer number of my Facebook friends who were inviting me (peer pressure! LOL), and at first, I totally didn't get the big deal.  At all.  But every once in a while, I would go back and look again, and eventually I figured it out.  I'm really not usually slow to catch on, but this images-only was confusing to me :)

Anyway,  I have been loving the great (and cheap or free) ideas I've seen and have put several into action, such as the cereal-box trashcan for the mini-van.  I even added my own twist by storing the roll of garbage bags inside the canister.

As I mentioned before, I am trying to get healthier in 2012 and that includes to take more baby-steps in getting the remainder of the chemicals out of the house.  So first - baby wipes!  I ran out today, and knew my Melaleuca Wellness Guide had a fact, it has 3!  I sorta mixed them up into my own concoction, but it seems to work and smells really fresh.
I totally can't figure out how to rotate, sorry!  New computer ;)
First, I took a roll of paper towels and cut it in half.  This was by far the hardest part!  I didn't realize how tough the cardboard in the middle would be to hack through.  Next step was to pull the cardboard tube out - had to use the knife for that, too.

I took a large bowl and mixed the solution, including 2 1/2 cups warm water, a capful of Sol-u-Mel, a capful of Renew Bath Oil, and a spash of Tough & Tender,  and stirred it well.  Then I simply put the cut end of the paper towels into the solution and let it sit.  In 20 minutes or less, it soaked all the way to the top, and there was still liquid left over (I think because of the variance in the size of paper towel rolls, and the fact that I used 3/4 of one).  I squeezed the excess out gently and placed into the wipe box, but decided to go ahead and pull the  wipes apart, since they of course wouldn't nicely pull out one by one in that sort of container.

So, I used the leftover liquid, added a bit to it and used the other half of the paper towels to make a second batch.  And I was stumped as to what to do with it, since the direction recommended reusing a store bought handi-wipe container like what I have in the van (but it wasn't empty yet).  I remembered the cereal box containers, and knew I had another one, so I got it out.  It worked perfectly!  Yes, its larger than needed, but the paper towels could stand upright and be pulled from the center and ripped off as needed.

So there you have it!  A healthy and somewhat Pinterest inspired project.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

2 down, 2 to go

Boys.  God love 'em.  They are rowdy, rambunctious, sweet, cuddly, messy, loud, hungry, loving, open, outdoorsy, messy and more.  Yeah, I know I said messy twice, LOL.

This past week a couple of the boys' families had court (Wednesdays around here), and the recommendation by social workers was for them to go home.  I was told that the worker didn't know what to expect - had no "feeling" on it like one sometimes gets - but they did end up going home.  They were very excited - boys, moms and dads - and the house was crazy because they arrived at the same time and we had to sort what went to which car!  We hugged, and DS made the 14 year old a drawing of them having ice cream cones together.  The 14 year old proceeded to pick on me, which his sister (adult) thought was funny.  I get the feeling

Its always a little empty-feeling when they leave, but this time we still have 2 other foster boys to keep us busy.  The 4 year old is missing the 2 that left, which I haven't had to deal with before, but thankfully our DS (now 7) is a pretty good playmate.

We hit a snag Thursday afternoon when the stomach bug caught me, then DS.  So yesterday (Friday) was a day of recovery (no homeschool) and visitation hour for the foster boys.  Today I'm still taking it easy, but trying to disinfect the house so DH doesn't catch that evil virus.  I'm pretty sure the foster boys already had it and it just hit them a bit differently, and being younger, they got over it faster.

Their visitations went well.  One got to visit aunt and grandmother, and its the aunt that is trying to get custody. She had adjudication Wednesday, and I still don't know how it went, but hopefully progress is being made in that direction.  The other met with both grandparents (that have pretty much raised him so far), and to my surprise his dad was also there.  First time I've seen a parent for this one.  From what the grandfather said, court will be March 7th to determine where he goes.  I hope to get confirmation of all that I hear from the families from the social worker, but if not, I tend to believe the families.  They gain nothing by lying to me, that I can see.  The problem I usually run into with fully trusting what they say is that they listen to what is said to them with hopeful, optimistic ears, and often don't hear the "ifs" and "maybes" that make all the difference in the world.  Especially when repeated inaccurately in front of a child - and usually they don't realize it until its too late.