Monday, December 31, 2012

Notes to Self...

  • When making the spur-of-the-moment decision to "just throw on yesterday's jeans and run to the store," it might be wise to make certain they aren't the same jeans that the baby peed on.  Just sayin'.

  • The Walmart door greeter probably isn't going to appreciate your snarky sense of humor.  When she asks, "Is he your first?!?" and you reply "Oh goodness, I've totally lost count.  He's the only one living with me full-time though," she's probably going to stare in horror or confusion as you walk away.
  • Only buy infant pajamas that have a full zipper or snaps entirely up the front. Believe me when I say you do not want to have to attempt to pull pjs over your baby's head after a 3:00am diaper blow-out. I have done the whole "cut the clothing off of the baby" thing in order to avoid that, but it's kind of a bummer when you really like the outfit.
  •  Always be aware of those times when the baby is not with you, and adjust your speech and actions accordingly. Standing up at the office and announcing, "Mama's gotta go potty. I'll be right back" will probably result in chuckles and taunts from your co-workers. Absentmindedly taking a tissue to your boss' nose after he sneezes... Probably not wise. Always be aware of those times you are childless!
  • When the obnoxious single dad in the WIC office begins complaining, LOUDLY, about how long it is taking for the tenth time in only fifteen minutes, it would probably not be the brightest decision to start singing the "Have Patience" song just as loudly.  Others might find it amusing.  Him, probably not so much.  ;-)

Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient, you only start to worry.
Remember, remember that God is patient, too...
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you. 
Yes, these are just a few of the things that I thought I should write down.  Some things are too important to forget.  And remembering not to make jokes about not knowing what your baby's father looks like with the elderly church ladies would probably be one of them.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kid Quotes

Time for a few more Kid Quotes as we round out the year...  :-)

My sister was going through some of Ka-Diva's papers, and found this "Emergency Contact Card" mixed in with her things.  She lists her Mom's Cell Number and 9-1-1 for emergencies.  At first glance, I wasn't quite sure what she meant by "Mrs. Lynn - Not that bad."  Mrs. Lynn was the big twins' Kindergarten teacher a couple of years ago and lives on the other side of their cul de sac.  I thought, "Well, that's nice that she thinks Mrs. Lynn isn't 'that bad,'" but what does that have to do with emergency contacts?  That's when I realized Ka-Diva meant that she should contact Mrs. Lynn if there was an emergency that wasn't "that bad."  :-)  Funny thing is, my sister has called on her more than once!  Her husband is an EMT, and with four kids, someone is always getting hurt.  :-)
Buddy (upon taking a long, looong time in the restroom, my mom called in to him "Buddy, are you okay in there?") - His response...  "I'm good!  Just a singin' and a poopin'!"  (such a boy!)
(from my sister's FB) - "Butterfly has started the "terrible twos," I'm afraid.  Ka-Diva was frustrated with her last night.  She threw her hands on her hips, huffed, and said, "I can already tell when she starts school she is going to get notes in her binder from the teacher ALL THE TIME!!"
Colton (my BFF's 4-year-old) - "Mommy, what's Heaven like?"  Katie went on to describe in beautiful detail what she thought Heaven must be like...  Colton, pondering her description, replied, "Do they have nice chairs?"  Apparently comfortable seating is a concern for this particular 4-year-old.  ;-)
Monkey - The older Monkey gets, and the more he is able to communicate, the more I am beginning to discover just what types of things he does when he is with his daddy.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take Monkey to his old daycare for a visit.  Along the way, we passed that good old fast food establishment with the golden arches.  I've never taken Monkey there before, but someone certainly has, because my 21-month-old looked out the window, pointed, and exclaimed, "MMMMM!!!"  :-)
There was also the time when I thought I would be a super nice Mama and give Monkey his first real cookie.  Not one of those baby ones...  I walked into the kitchen and asked, "Monkey, would you like to try a cookie?"  I didn't think he'd have a clue what I was talking about, but I knew that he would try it because I was eating one (and anything Mama eats has to be good)...  Boy, was I wrong!  Monkey's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as he came running into the kitchen shouting, "COOKIE?!?"  Yep.  I think Daddy's been busted.
 Last month, Buddy and Ka-Diva had a book report project where they were required to turn hats into representations of their book.  Christy called me in a panic because she needed some help with the creative side of things.  We spent the next three nights working on the kids' hats.  As we came to a few of the more artistically-challenging portions, I asked the kids if they wanted me or their mom to help them.  Both of them quickly replied, "YOU!"  Christy, slightly offended, said something like, "Hey!  What about me?!?  I can do it too!  But I guess I'm not as good as Aunt Tammy."  Buddy, putting on his concerned, "I need to make this better" face, looked at Christy and said, "It's okay, Mommy.  You are trying your best.  You made a good effort!  That's all that matters!"  (Their hats totally rocked, by the way. :-)
(from Christy's FB) - "Ever since we moved into this house (about 5 years ago), circumstances have always unfolded resulting in Chris having to hang our outside Christmas lights in freezing weather.  It has become a tradition now.  Today, Buddy said, 'YAY!  A cold front is coming through!  Daddy can finally hang the lights!'  Sure enough, that is exactly what happened.  He was cold, but the house sure looks pretty now!  :-)" 

(also from Christy's FB) - "The kids have a Christmas performance at school tomorrow.  Ka-Diva (from the tub) said, 'Man, I bet it smells like soap there tomorrow.  All the parents are giving their kids baths tonight so they don't have the one kid there that stinks!' Lol"

(after a particularly smashing success at their Christmas performance) - "Performance went great tonight!  I told the kids that I, without a doubt, had the two most talented kids in the show.  Buddy just smiled and said, 'All the other moms are saying the same thing to their kids right now too, you know...'"  :-)

Monkey - During our little visit to his old daycare, Monkey made himself quite at home.  While hanging out in the "big kid" classroom, Monkey spotted a toy that he apparently just couldn't live without.  He was a man with a plan.  Monkey grabbed the toy, tucked it under his arm like he was carrying a football, exclaimed, "Come on, Mama!" and proceeded to run through three rooms straight to the front door of the building.  The daycare director was standing at the door, and Monkey walked right passed her, said, "Bye-bye!" and tried to push his way out of the building with his pilfered toy in hand!

Booger Bear - We had an early Christmas at my house with all of my kids last Saturday (more on that in a later post because it was awesome!).  At one point during the evening, I overheard a conversation between Booger and my mom.

Booger:  "Is Santa coming to your house, Nana?"
My mom:  "No, I don't think he is..."  (not elaborating that she doesn't have kids at home)
Booger (eyes HUGE):  "What did you DO?!?"

Booger knew that you had to be pretty bad to have Santa pass you by.  He had already told me that he knew he hadn't always been a good boy, but that Santa had already come to see him once.  So the fact that Nana didn't think that Santa was coming to see her absolutely shocked him.  Booger couldn't fathom a world where Nana had done something so terrible that Santa wouldn't come to her house!  :-)

Banana - Banana loves her Mimi almost as much as her Mimi loves her.  :-)  The following is what I believe is a fairly accurate representation of how our conversations usually go during the times we are together.

Banana:  "Mimi!  Mimi!  Mimi!  Mimi!  Mimi!  Mimi!"
Me:  "Yeah, baby?"
Banana:  (Big smile)

And last, but not least...  Heaven told me, "So Tammy, I just have to say you're gonna be impressed with your gift from Booger.  :)  It's not much...  Just something simple, but when he and I were looking for your present and found it he said, 'Mommy, this is what Tammy needs from me, so she knows that she can always have me in her heart!'  and the way he said it was so serious."  I love my heart necklace with Booger's initial inside!  And he sure smiled pretty big today when I showed him that I was wearing it.

I've got some pretty fantastic kids in my life, and they never cease to crack me up, make me think, and make me proud to be their "Aunt Tammy, Mama, Mimi, Tammy."  :-)

Friday, December 21, 2012

1 Week Down and 3 Months Old

The Bugmeister is 3 months old today, and is one seriously cute kid.  Definitely the easiest baby I've had yet!  He's a total flirt (very popular with the ladies), all smiles all the time, doesn't spit up, only poops at daycare, and only cries (and a quiet cry at that) when he's hungry or needs a diaper change.  He's been with me for exactly one week, and we have gotten into a great routine that should work out really well when Monkey comes back.  He's down for the night around 7:00pm and wakes up between 1-2:00am for a bottle and again between 5-6:00.  He goes back to sleep just long enough for me to get ready for work, and have a little down time before getting him up and ready for the day.  Monkey usually gets here at 8:30pm and wakes up around 7:30am, so the timing should work out well.  We'll have a trial run tomorrow night/Sunday morning when I get Monkey for our family Christmas. 

At 3 months old, Bug:
  • Smiles and coos constantly
  • Has reflux, but is easily managed with rice in his nighttime bottles
  • Taking 6oz of formula every 3 hours during the day!
  • 5oz with 1 tsp rice during night feedings
  • Loves talking to his "friends" (Monkey's old favorite Mr. Giraffe, and Bug's best "friend" Teddy Bear)
  • Has all of the women who meet him swooning when he smiles and talks to them
  • Only weighs about 10 pounds the best I can tell (check up on the 27th, so we'll know for sure then)
  • In 0-3 month clothes
  • Loves to cuddle
  • Loves tummy time (crazy kid)
  • Gets the hiccups when he cries
Bug has his first visit today with his grandma (and possibly his mom).  Grandma has had him since he was born, so she has been his primary caregiver and I know she's missing him.  My initial impressions are that Bug's case won't last very long, but of course, this is foster care.  I could be totally wrong.  I'll get a better idea this evening after Bug's investigating caseworker brings him back home.

Christmas pjs are a MUST!
As cute as Bug is, I'm missing Monkey something FIERCE.  I've never been apart from him this long, and while I have Bug to keep me busy, I REALLY need my little Monkey Man.  I'm SOOO looking forward to tomorrow night when I have ALL of my kids together for Christmas! My three boys (Booger Bear, Monkey, and my newest little Bug), my girls (Heaven and Kama), my Banana, and my awesome son-in-law Kelly... My family might be unconventional, but I think it's pretty fantastic.  Never in a million years would I have thought that foster care would bring me my family in the way that it has, but I wouldn't change a thing!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Getting into the Groove

It's been a whirlwind of a weekend, complete with Day One of me melting down and calling my Mommy because I had 45 minutes warning before Bug got here, and my house and my normally structured and organized life was in shambles.  I'd had an hour of sleep the night before because Monkey was all freaked out and INSISTED that I hold him ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  I was seriously questioning my sanity and wondering what I had agreed to by taking another itty bitty one.

The placement conversation went a little something like this:

Nice Lady - "Well, you didn't get the girls (a sibling group that she called me about earlier in the day).  They decided to go with someone in their own county."

Me - "Yeah, I kind of expected that.  That's okay."

Nice Lady - "But you did get a 2-month-old baby boy!"

Me - "Huh?"

Nice Lady - "Yeah...  (New Agency Director) didn't want me to tell you that he had submitted you because he didn't want to get your hopes up."

Me - "I got a baby boy?  Like...  They chose me?"

Nice Lady - "Yep.  They chose you!  He'll be there in 45 minutes!"

Yep...  I panicked.  :-)

Fortunately, thanks to my mom, Christy, Kelly, Heaven, and Kama, things are already getting to a new "normal," and (right now anyway) I'm no longer a total basket case.  :-)

Don't you LOVE baby feet?!?
We figured out that Bug has a sensitive tummy, changed to the "sensitive" formula, hit the good ol' gas drops, and he's been golden ever since!  Slept in his new room all night other than the four times he wanted to be fed (I swear, I have no idea how this kid can be so small the way he eats!).  And he's currently sound asleep in his room again.

I SOOO wish I could share photos from today.  Heaven, Kama, Kelly, Booger, and Banana came over to meet Bug, and spoiled him absolutely rotten.  Bug and Heaven fell in love at first sight, and I'm fairly certain I will never have to wonder if I can get a babysitter ever again.  :-)  I love that I now have a picture of my first foster son with my current foster son, and that next Saturday I'll have pictures of all three of my little guys together when Monkey comes back to celebrate our crazy mixed up family Christmas.  (Monkey's daddy just took three weeks of vacation, and I'm already missing him like crazy.  But, his daddy being as sweet as he is, realized how much we would miss each other, and is letting me have him both weekends in between now and when he goes back to work after the New Year.  Boy are they going to be shocked when they see Bug!)

We went to my sister's house after the kids left so all of my nieces and nephews could meet Bug.  Ka-Diva didn't leave our side for three hours, and Butterfly was in awe of the live baby.  Buddy was his typical awesome foster cousin self, but Pooper was more excited about the flash on my camera than anything.  Guess that particular 20-month-old isn't so impressed with babies.  :-)

God's timing is pretty perfect, I think...  I got the call that Bug was coming the day after Monkey's daddy went on vacation so we'll have three weeks to get into a good routine before Monkey comes back on our regular schedule.  I'm praying that Monkey isn't too jealous and that I can handle the chaos of getting us all cuddled and in bed at night and presentable and loved on in the mornings by myself.  As of right this second, I think it will be fine.  Although it's quite possible I am delirious from lack of sleep.  It's all good though!  I've got a new little Bug to love!  :-)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mama Got an Early Christmas Gift

Baby Boy (aka. "Bug")
2 months old
Currently sawing logs in his nice warm bed...
(More details to follow!)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Computer-less :(

Just a quick FYI to let you know that I haven't completely forgotten about the blog.  I am currently computer-less at home, and they are cracking down on Internet usage here at work, so I haven't really had a chance to do much here.  There's lots of interesting stuff going on over on FB though (easy to update there on my phone :-).

I'll definitely be writing a lot more as soon as I can get my hands on a laptop!

"Foster Friday" Guest Post: Reflecting God's Love

"Reflecting God's Love" 

During this Christmas season, I keep feeling like I should pinch myself because this cannot possibly be my life.  I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.  I didn't know that it would take 3 years of heartache and 10 foster kids, some still here - most not, to get here.

There are certain verses in the Bible that ring in my heart every day.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend."  "Whatever you do to the least of these you do unto me."  Those verses have kept me going every time I wanted to give up and run away from this little world these kids are stuck in.

As I put up my Christmas tree this year, I saw the faces of my foster kids that have left on the glass ornaments that I made for my tree.  The tears that used to come immediately because I missed them so much have been replaced by a smile just remembering them, remembering how much I love them, but I have a peace I didn't have while going through it.

In the Bible it says, "all things work together for good to those who love HIM, for those who are called according to HIS purpose,"  Ladies (and perhaps Gentlemen), we are the called.  We have put our money where our mouth is and laid our hearts out on the table.  When God saw we needed a Savior, HE sent one.  A beautiful baby born in the most humble way...  He gave us HIS son.  It wasn't easy.  It didn't feel good and then HE had to see HIS son go through the unthinkable.  Being a foster mom is a risk.  It is hard.  It is a need that needs to be filled.  It is watching our kids sometimes go through terrible things and being willing to pick up the pieces over and over.

This Christmas I am "on the other side" for right this minute.  I am getting to enjoy my kids instead of having to worry about visits and court day and possible reunification that seems to be a terrible idea.  But I have no regrets, and if you have followed my story, I have seen miracles.

Christmas in foster care can be hard, but Christmas isn't supposed to be about a certain day.  It is about your life.  It is about living in a way that reflects what God has done for us.  It is about reflecting God's love for us by loving kids that we didn't give birth to, but fell in love with anyway.  Enjoy your kids whether you will have them on Christmas day or not, and know that you are not alone.  You're not doing this in vain because someday you will be on the other side of this too, and it is worth the wait.

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