Friday, September 30, 2011

My Day in Photos... (A Weekday)

Jill over at Baby Rabies challenged her readers to do a "Day in the Life" blog post, so I thought I'd give it a go.  A photo every hour documenting the "normal" stuff...  I'm bummed that I can't show the full pics of Monkey because he truly is stinkin' adorable.  (Not that I am at all biased or anything ;-)  So here it goes... 

An Ordinary Weekday in Photos...
(Thursday, September 29, 2011)

I am sooooo not a morning person, but Monkey is always all smiles and raring to go at what I consider to be un-Godly hours of the morning.  I guess I can wake my lazy self up at dawn's buttcrack if it means getting to look at this happy little face every day.

Picture Day at daycare!!!  Got Monkey all dressed in his "big boy" outfit and then panicked because he's been spitting up like The Exorcist baby this week (teething is a booger!).  Problem solved with a bib the size of our home state.  (He really is a chick magnet too. ;-)

We got our free flu shots today at work!  One of the few little perks of working in the health industry...  Personally, I think they only offer them because they don't want us to miss a week of work, but that's okay.  :-)  Cheryl, Ms. B, and I waited in line for 40 minutes to get those shots because the company only sent one little girl to give all 500 of them.  We (of course) had to provide the entertainment for the group because who wants to stand in line for 40 minutes in a silent room.  We were rewarded for our efforts with pretty bandaids, and (hopefully) a flu-free winter.  ;-)

Hard at work...  What's that, you say?  That looks like I'm playing on Facebook to you?  Oh no, my friend...  That is "networking."  ;-)

Spent a good half an hour hiding from a co-worker in the file room.  You know it's bad when you choose two weeks' worth of bottom drawer filing over dealing with a particular person.

Lunch with my Mom after the following series of text messages:
Me - "Do you want to go to lunch to celebrate no jury duty?" (She got an email releasing her.)
Mom:  "Yes!!!!!"
Me:  "That was easy!  :-)"
Mom:  ";-)"
We do like to get our grub on.  :-)

Not really sure how this happens, but I somehow manage to collect a wide assortment of drinks throughout the day...

Daily phone call from my sister...  I swear, it looks like I don't work at all!  The last three calls on my Caller ID are from my sister, my mom, and my BFF!

See?!?  I really do work!!!  Sorted my Inbox into random piles.  ;-)

Important discussion with co-workers about what to eat on FRIDAY
They like to get their grub on too.  :-)

Home for my "spoil the cat" and a little bit of "me" time before I pick up Monkey.  This is my couch.  It might be 12 years old and in sorry shape, but it is the size of a twin-size bed and quite literally sucks the life out of you in 30 seconds flat.  Naptime ROCKS!!!

Picked Monkey up from daycare and was pleasantly-surprised to see he was still in his picture clothes!  I am, however, slightly concerned to hear that he remained clean because "he was in that huge bib all day!"  Really hoping they took it off of him for his pictures...  Guess I'll find out when I see the proofs!

Monkey enjoyed a yummy "gourmet" dinner of Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese and Banana/Plum/Grapes for dessert.

Ready for bed and gettin' kisses from Mama...  Seriously...  Those cheeks!!!  How can I resist?!?

Monkey suddenly realized that it was ten minutes past his "normal" bedtime bottle and let the neighbors know in no uncertain terms that his Mama was starving him to absolute death.  "DO YOU NOT SEE ME WASTING AWAY INTO NOTHINGNESS HERE?!?"

Sound asleep, still chewing on his blanket...
Poor baby...  That front tooth is taking its sweet time coming in.  :(

Ending the night once again spoiling and loving on my first "baby." 
Tommie loves his Mama too.  :-)

So that is a fairly typical "Day in the Life" of Mimi...  I now realize that my weekdays are rather boring, and am curious to see what my weekends are like.  I think a "Day in the Life: Weekend Edition" is in order...  :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sing a Song...

Ever since Monkey's hearing came back, he is all about having me sing to him.  It is clearly a novelty thing, because I can barely carry a tune in a bucket.  I was in band and not choir for a reason.  They say "love is blind," but if my children's love of listening to my feeble attempts at lullabies and children's tunes is any indication, love is also rather hard of hearing.

I've started to realize that I have certain songs that I associate with each of my babies.  I guess even as infants, little ones can have their "favorites."  And I've found that there are one or two songs that I just don't feel "right" singing to anyone but that particular baby. 

It started with my Immobile Munchkin.  Being stuck in a body cast made entertainment a little difficult, but we quickly found that her ULTIMATE favorite thing was to straddle my leg and pretend that she was riding a horse while I sang the "Bonanza" theme song over and over and over (I know...  I know...  Not exactly your traditional children's song, but it worked for us ;-).  Any time I would stop, she'd bounce her head again like she was galloping so I'd start over.  Two and a half years later, and I still can't do the "Bonanza horse" without thinking of Munchkin and how much fun she had doing that.

My absolute favorite time of day with the Booger Bear was at bedtime.  I would rock him and cuddle him and hum lullabies until he fell asleep.  I loved how he would request certain songs in a sleepy little sing/song voice with his head still on my shoulder...  "Wee-Pooh" (Winnie the Pooh),  "Pie-Pie" (Itsy Bitsy Spider), "Quack" (Little White Duck), "I Yuh-Yooou" (the I Love You Barney song), and about 90% of the time...  "Up-pa."  I couldn't figure out what that one was until I realized...  "Up above the world so high..."  That's what he called "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!"  There was something magical about humming "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" too.  Every time I did that one, I could feel his entire body relax.  And one of my favorite sounds in the world was his little voice humming after mine if I stopped before he fell asleep.  To this day, I haven't really been able to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" to any of my other babies.  That song is special, just for me and my Booger Bear.  When he came to stay with me when Heaven was in the hospital having his baby sister, I sang it again (when he wasn't whining that "IT NOT BEDTIIIMMMMEEE!!!" that is... ;-)

Actually, now that I think about it, I think part of the reason why I can't sing "Twinkle Twinkle" to any other baby is thanks to the one and only Little Miss.  Shortly after Little Miss came to live with me, I thought I would try to establish a nighttime routine similar to the one that Booger and I had developed.  The first night I tried, I started to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" and that little toot actually put her hand over my mouth (Thanks a lot, kid!  No blow to the ego there!) and pointed to her bed!  She didn't utter a sound when I put her down.  That is, until I had made my way downstairs and overheard her singing to herself over the baby monitor!  I realize that my voice might not bring visions of harps and little birdies singing, but I do think I can manage to get out a children's tune, for crying out loud!  I have to admit though, having been "shushed" by an 11-month-old while singing a song to them does tend to put a damper on one wanting to attempt that particular tune again. 

I later discovered that Little Miss prefered the faster, livelier tunes.  In fact, one of the only things that little girl would verbalize was "Quack, Quack, Quack!!!"  (Her way of requesting her favorite song "Little White Duck.")  She'd get the cutest smile and always waited with baited breath for me to get to the end of the song so she could say "Quack, quack, quack" with me.  :-)

Monkey seems to love "Little White Duck" just as much as Little Miss.  He loves it so much that I ended up having to make up additional verses of "Little Green Frog" and "Little Gold Fish" just to make it last longer.  :-)  But the song that I most associate with my little Chunky Monkey is "Brahm's Lullaby."  I have a feeling this will be another one of those "I can't sing it to anyone else" songs.  Even when Monkey couldn't hear, there seemed to be something soothing to him when I would sing it.  He would rest his head on my chest, and you could feel him completely relax.  Now, it is my "go to" song any time Monkey is having a hard day or not feeling good.  No other song has the hypnotizing effect that that one has for him.

Lullaby, and good night...
In the sky stars are bright...

That's usually all it takes, and my little Monkey immediately stops whining and goes completely limp.  It's almost as though my breath oozes some sort of hypnotizing vapor that lulls him into a near-comatose state.  :-)

I'm definitely going to have to find some more slower lullabies as I have more and more babies come into my life.  The lullabies tend to be the "just for so-and-so" songs that are "retired" when that little one leaves.  So if you happen to know of any good ones that won't tremendously challenge my not-so-talented vocal chords, I'm open to all suggestions!  Just keep in mind that I'm hoping to soothe these little ones...  Not scar them for life.  ;-)

Friday, September 16, 2011


Happy 39th Anniversary
to the best parents a girl could ever ask for!

I love you!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weeding Out the "Crazies"

Over the past few weeks, I've had foster care training on the brain as I've been taking all of my annual refresher courses like the self-defense class Emergency Behavior Intervention Training, Meds, Water Safety, etc. and have had several friends going through their initial foster care orientations and PRIDE classes.  It's made me all nostalgic and has me remembering my initial training three years ago.  Way back when I was optimistic that I would be able to adopt within the first few placements like they assured us during training, and I truly believed that everyone involved in foster care was there for the good of the children...  Those were the days...  :-)

Having been involved in foster care for a few years now, I'm no longer surprised by much.  I think the only thing predictable about Foster/Adopt Land is its unpredictability.  But the one thing that never ceases to amaze me is often the wide, wide range of the types of potential foster parents we encounter in so many of the required annual training classes!  I just always assumed that everyone would be like me.  Boy, was I wrong!!!

Over the past three years, several potential foster parents who have stood out to me have been:

1)  The Gun-Toters - Not sure what these people were thinking, but they had a big (and I do mean BIG) problem with having to keep guns and ammunition locked up in separate locations.  In their words, "We have permits.  If we can't carry our loaded weapons while we're carrying the baby, well...  That's just a deal-breaker!  We live in a high crime neighborhood."  They never came back.  A huge loss to the foster care system, I'm sure...  I have to admit, I was slightly concerned for the rest of the class that night knowing that these two were packing heat and trigger-happy.

2)  The Creepy Single Guy - I will be the first to say that I have absolutely no problem with single people hoping to foster/adopt.  I'm a single person!  But I've got to say, this particular guy in my initial foster care orientation creeped me out.  This guy hadn't even been approved, and he already bought a new house, a minivan, and a boat.  A boat!!!  Because he wanted "to make sure his kids were spoiled and had a good time."  Mm-hmm...  Like that doesn't scream "child molester!"  This guy went on and on about how he was "going to be last stop for these kids."  He even went so far as to announce, "Oh, I'm not giving them back.  I bought a boat!  Once these kids are with me, that's it."  He carried on like this all morning, and the trainers never once said anything to him that would make him think, "Hmmm...  Perhaps foster care isn't for me."  After the 36th time of him saying "I'm not giving them back," I finally said something to him.  "Dude...  You don't want to foster.  You want to adopt.  If you're that adamant about not losing the kids, don't go into foster care!!!"  I actually think the trainers wanted to string me up and flog me for taking away a potential foster parent, but really...  Do you trust that face?!?

3)  The Farmers - Another "not-yet-certified" couple immediately reminded me of this famous pair.  They were insistent that they only foster teenagers.  My first reaction was, "Wow!  That's GREAT!  Most people steer away from fostering teens."  As the day wore on though, I started to wonder about their motives.  Comments like, "Will we know ahead of time if they're good with cows?" and "We only want the healthy ones!" kind of raised a red flag.  I wanted to mention that child labor was outlawed decades ago, but I thought I'd leave that to the person doing their homestudy.

4) The "Saints" - I've met a few of these over the years.  These are foster parents who seem to poop only rainbows and roses and have their "good deeds" tattooed on their foreheads.  I think they've let the comments that foster parents tend to receive go to their heads and have actually started to believe that they are saints.  I love fostering, but I am far from being a saint.  I get mad at bio parents.  I want to strangle caseworkers.  There are times when I do want to quit.  I have many-a-time been the recipient of the "side-eye" when I made any kind of even slightly construed as negative comment in a training class.  Call me crazy, but I just don't think it's right to lead potential foster parents to believe that foster care is all "sunshine and puppy dogs."  Foster care is hard!  And any normal person will have their moments when things get to them and they respond in a "less than saintly" manner.  My advice to those "saintly" foster parents...  Don't be rubbing your rose-smelling rainbow poo in my face!  I am human, and I might have to go all Bipolar Girl on you if you do.

5) The "Get Rich Quick-ers" - You recognize them right away...  The foster parents who think they are going to get rich by fostering.  They have lots of questions about daily stipend amounts, clothing allowances, tax deductions, other "get it for free" benefits, etc.  They become frustrated with the fact that there is a maximum number of children allowed in the home, and immediately ask, "Can we be a group home?"  I don't know.  I've played with the numbers, and I just can't see it!  If you're using the money for what it is intended to be used for, you're definitely not going to be making money from fostering.  I suppose there are people out there who do the bare minimum for their foster kids and end up making a killing out of their stipends, but the thought of that just kills me!  These kids deserve so much better than that.

6) And My Personal Favorites - I think the potential foster family that completely floored me the most wasn't in one of my classes.  A foster mom friend of mine once told me about a couple in her initial foster care informational meeting.  During the introductions when everyone was explaining why they wanted to foster, the mom said something along the lines of, "I want to be a mom again.  They took my kids a couple years ago when I was hookin' for drugs.  I don't turn tricks no more though." (No mention of the drugs.)  And as for the dad...  All I can say is that I believe the dad was quite possibly guilty of a number of as-yet unsolved crimes.  While he wasn't overly-concerned with the required criminal background checks based on name, he was apparently very, very nervous about which specific databases the fingerprint checks were going to go through.  I'm thinking these two should probably have just stayed home that night.  Somehow, I don't think they're fostering right now.  ;-)

So what about the rest of you?  Any interesting characters in any of your foster care training classes? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chunky Monkey

So a good friend of mine overheard a conversation I had with my sister about whether or not we were going to dress the babies up for Halloween.  We were brainstorming ideas, but never really made any decisions.

Cheryl called me last night and said, "I got a costume for Monkey!  It's PERFECT!!!"

Chunky Monkey is going to be...



It's too perfect!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monkey's Newest "Obsession"

Monkey has a one-track mind.  He gets fixated on something, and will. not. leave. it. alone!  Like, for days (even weeks) on end...  Most recently, his newest "obsession" has been Kitty Cat Tommie.

Up until now, Monkey never really paid much attention to the cat although Tommie is usually never far from his side.  But Monkey suddenly noticed him a couple of weeks ago when the cat started hanging out under his highchair and begging for food.  Tommie is used to most of my other kiddos eating finger foods, so I think he's expecting meat sticks or something to fall from "the sky."  The baby's still a little young for that, so he's gonna have to wait a little longer.  Tommie knows it's coming though, and he lets us know that he wants some table scraps.  Very loudly.  And now that Monkey's got his hearing back, he is all about anything that makes sound.  And believe me.  Tommie can make some sound!  :-)

So Monkey has a newfound obsession with Kitty Cat Tommie.  I have a booger of a time trying to give him his bottle because Tommie usually sits with us when I do.  It was never a problem before, but now Monkey just has to be touching him and looking at him at. all. times, so he wiggles and squirms himself into insanely uncomfortable feeding positions and I end up practically upside-down and backwards!

Now Monkey would rather "play" with Kitty Cat Tommie than his own toys.  (Note the "touching" of the tail)  I know the day is coming when Monkey will grab on with a mighty force and attempt to pull Tommie around the room by that convenient "string" that's attached to his body.  That will be an interesting day, I'm certain.  :-)

They've taken to "staring each other down" in an attempt to see who's going to win.  Up until now, it has been the cat.  Monkey's determined though, and I have a feeling his day is coming.  Poor Kitty Cat Tommie...  :-)

I am waiting for that inevitable day when Tommie decides to go all "Rocky Balboa" and use Monkey's head as a punching bag.  :-)  He's been known to do that from time to time when the babies get on his last nerve.  It's pretty funny, really.  He has no claws, so the "boxing" technique works well for him.  :-)
Yep...  I have a feeling things are about to get pretty interesting around the house...  :-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Foster Friday" - The Far-Reaching Impact of Foster Care and Adoption

Well, we're not going to have an official panel discussion of "Foster Friday" this week...  Mostly because I was a slacker, time got away from me, and I completely neglected to send out a topic.  :-)  So this week, I think I'll change things up a bit and pose a question to all of you...  All of my fellow foster/adopt moms, dads, siblings, extended relatives, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, former foster children, birth parents, social workers, etc.!

Foster care and adoption touch many lives in many ways...  Not only does it have an effect on the people directly involved, but foster care and adoption can impact the lives of everyone in ways that many people don't even realize.  Are you a friend of someone directly impacted by foster care or adoption?  Are you an acquaintance or co-worker watching from the sidelines who has been moved to become more involved by what you have seen?  Are you a teacher who has seen how foster care or adoption has impacted your students?  Are you a birth parent, foster/adoptive parent, foster child, or relative of a birth or foster family?

This week, I'd like to ask all of you how foster care or adoption has affected your life... 

Please keep comments productive, educational, and non-inflammatory.  This topic is meant to help everyone see the many, many ways that foster care and adoption can impact lives from all sides.  We want to hear about your personal experience.  My hope is that the "Comments" page on this particular post is long, well-rounded, and is used in the way in which it was intended...

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Half-Year Mark for Monkey...

Monkey is officially 6-months-old, and has now been with me for nearly four months.  He is a super-happy little (relatively speaking ;-) thing.  Still no idea where his case might be heading, but I'm loving him like crazy in the meantime.

At six months, Monkey is:
  • Sitting on his own (although he is still a little top heavy and has to push himself up from time to time.)

  • Has been eating Stage 1 baby foods for about a month and a half, and is just now starting to eat Stage 2.  So far, he loves just about everything EXCEPT peaches, prunes, and chicken noodle.  I was fairly certain he wanted to call my agency and turn me in when I tried a "meal" of peas (which he normally likes), two bites of prunes, and peaches.

  • Has two teeth!

  • Has graduated from the infant tub to the "big boy bath seat."

  • Thinks that Mama is the FUNNIEST person on the planet and anticipates my moves.  He laughs before I even do anything!  He is super ticklish (especially his feet, underarms, and belly).  He starts laughing from the moment I un-snap his clothes because he knows that the Tickle Monster is on the way.  :-)

  • Favorite toys are his links, his crinkly books, his stationary jumper, and his exersaucer.  We officially "retired" the swing last week when Monkey started riding it like an amusement park ride.

  • Has a very long attention span and a one-track mind.  He gets his mind set on something and will keep going back to it for days!  Current obsessions are his feet, Kitty Cat Tommie, the spinner on his exersaucer, and the screensaver on the computer.

  • Flat out refuses to roll from his stomach to his back, but will immediately flip from back to stomach when laying down.  Makes no sense to me, but he only rolls the "hard" way.

  • Monkey's hearing finally seems to be back to "normal!"  After going over a month not being able to hear at all, it's finally seemed to have cleared itself up (even though we spent several mornings at the ENT, audiologist, and his pediatrician).  It's so, soooo nice knowing that he can hear me and not having to shout like I'm calling the marching band to attention in order to get him to look at me.  :-)

  • Has discovered volume control on his voice now that he can hear.  He knows to "whisper" at night and loves to growl, squeal, shout, etc. during the day. 

  • Goes for his 6-month well-baby check on Wednesday, so we'll have height and weight measurements that afternoon!  My prediction...  28.5 inches long and 20 pounds.  This baby is HUGE!  He's in 9-month clothing and is already poking the feet out of the ends of his pajamas because he's so tall.  I will not, however, make the mistake of calling him "fat" again.  Buddy informed me (very sternly) that it is not polite to call someone "fat."  Monkey is "chunky."  Hence, the "Chunky Monkey" moniker.

His parents seem to be working their caseplans, and are trying hard to do what they need to do in order to be the parents that he deserves.  His caseworker still has some serious concerns, but things seem to be moving in the right direction towards reunification.  Monkey's mom sent a letter home from his last visit that I'm going to frame and hang in his room.  She has made a lot of mistakes, but it's clear how much she loves him.  I love this baby like crazy, and I just pray that no matter what happens, he continues to be safe, happy, and loved.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

That Is SO Wrong!!!

Why, yes, my friends! 
That IS a pair of men's underwear magically transformed into a lovely summer top!

I received this photo in an email today and just had to share.
Can you guess where the picture was taken?
WALMART!!!  (of course)

I have to admit, this is rather creative.
I certainly never would have thought to do that to my guy's undies.
But then again, I have all of my teeth and don't go around
kissing my cousin.

That Is SO Wrong!!!
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