Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ME time :)

I would say, when it comes to children, I am a pretty patient person.  For the most part, I keep my cool.  However, even the greatest of parents need a break from time to time.  Small trips, date nights, a lone shopping trip... it all gives us mothers and fathers a time to clear our minds, focus on a task, and re-energize.

In our situation, we decided it was best to take the first few months of having Johnny and not enlist a sitter, not drop him off with a friend, and really, not leave his side until he knew where his home was, who Mommy and Daddy were, and that yes, we will be here when he wakes up. We will make sure he is fed, and that he is cared for.  Luckily, my husband is great with kids, luckily he fell just as much in love with Johnny as I did, and luckily he knows when I need a break.  To this day we have not called for a sitter unless it's a close friend or family member that Johnny knows well.  It has been imperative that Terry and I read each other's signals and that we communicate clearly. So we can act when the other is ready for some alone time.

Taking a breather on the beach cleanses the soul

In my alone time, I like to take time to sit here at the computer and catch up with friends, check on all my pages (including this one... thank's for reading!!)  and of course shop  :).  I also love to get out of the house on my own (it's so weird to drive with no one in that car seat back there!!).  Thrift shops, the gym, grocery stores, and local attractions are all places that give me refuge when I am in need of some "Brandi time."

Anyway, the point is, don't feel bad if you need a break.  The best parents know when to step out and take a deep breath.  In the long run, it's extremely beneficial for the kiddos if we just take this time and can return to them brand new and re-energized.  In my case, ready to "fly" through the house, build a tall, tall tower with the blocks, draw a picture of the family, create art out of snack food, and sit and calmly cuddle for a fun movie with popcorn.

Taking breaks makes "the little things" more fun  :)
(Watermelon cut-outs)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Party Time!

It's so true what they say about Birthdays and Holidays being so much more fun with children involved.  Not to say they were not fun in our family pre-child, but there is a new excitement, there are many memories of our own childhoods that come up, and just to see that smile on Johnny's face is priceless.  

Yesterday, Terry and I had the honor of throwing Johnny's 3rd Birthday Party!!!  I know he did have a party at 2, but he was not in our home and so here, the Big Bash was thrown with the excitement of a first Birthday  :).  Tons of his best buddies were there.

The day was crazy and busy, but that means it was FUN!  The children had fun in the yard and in Johnny's room, they responded excitedly to my planned craft, they loved the cupcakes, and the buzz of present time was so funny.  I loved the excitement I saw in the children GIVING the gifts.       

Anywhoo, it was a perfect day, full of friends and food, cake and candles.  What matters most is that Johnny had fun and is now 3!!!! (officially on the 31st).

Here are some pics I snapped quickly:

favors  :)

Rock On!

What child doesn't LOVE Mac-n-Cheese?  I served an organic version with lots of  fixins  :)
The Rock Star with his shakers... the craft of the day :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We asked for this!!!

Being a parent is not easy.  Add to that monthly social worker visits, monthly case worker visits, important rules and guidelines one must follow while foster children are in your care, possible birth-parent visits, past foster parent visits, and most importantly, the need for sensitivity toward a foster child's past, to their biological family, to their emotions, to their behaviors.

It is a whole different ball game.

So why, you ask, did my husband and I open our home to such a lifestyle?


  • There are over 400,000 children in foster care as I am typing this.
  • About 60,000 children are in foster care in CA (as of March, 2010)
  • Around 209 children are in foster care in our own Humboldt County (2010)
  • Because we have the space!
  • Children need positive role models and Terry and I WANT to be that for these children
  • We love children and the energy and chaos they create in a home  ;)
  • Because we feel responsible for our country's children- the future of our world
  • We can afford it 
  • We have the extra time and love to give
  • Life is short... spend it wisely!
  • Because every child is innocent and deserves a fair chance.
  • We have a lot to teach a child (children)
  • Children keep us on our toes  (a little more selfish, but true!)
  • We are active, healthy, and able.
  • The more we can take, the less children go without a forever family.
  • They are all waiting, hoping, wishing...  no matter how troubled and mad they seem.

I could go on and on...

This is why we stood strongly through the process to adopt Johnny.

This is also why we have decided to open our home to possible future foster placements.  Both temporary and headed for adoption.  These children need homes, families, and role models.

If you are interested in foster care or adoption... make that first call!  Go to an orientation and research the options in your area.  

Here is a link for foster parenting info in Humboldt County

Here is a link for info on foster parenting in California

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dump On!

I am an organized person.  I like to put "like with like."  My silverware must be separated and organized.  My plates are organized by both size and pattern.  My clothing is organized, my garage is even organized (most of the time).  I like to know where things are at all times.

This is all fine and dandy... until a toddler comes into your life.  I spent days working on his room before he arrived.  It was perfect  :)  Even for the first few months he was here, I organized his toys and clothes weekly and sometimes daily.  Now that I am 9 months in to toddler parenthood, I say... a mess in there is good!  Those toys need to be played with!!!  Johnny's race cars in the back of a basket aren't going to be seen and so then not played with!!  blocks perfectly organized up at the top of his closet will not be asked for!   We definitely talk about "clean up time" and how straightening up is important, but that room asks for some action!

Johnny dumped a basket of toys this morning and sat for a while playing with dozens of small toys he hasn't seen for several days.  I love listening to him change his voice to get in character, and most of all, I know it is stimulating his mind and his imagination.

Play on J!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adoption Day

Terry and I woke up this morning with smiles on our faces.  It felt like Christmas.  No, even better, like it was my wedding day.  Today we walked hand-in-hand into the Courthouse.  Today we signed papers in front of a judge.  Today we adopted our son.

This is such an unexplainable feeling.  My husband and I are so madly in love with this little boy, and my heart is overjoyed at the thought of him being in our lives forever.

Part of our celebration today included a trip to the beach :)

As our State Adoptions Case Worker told me, 
this event is as close as some infertile women get to a birth.  He is our little guy... forever.    

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bedtime is Not My Friend Right Now.

As I sit here exhausted, frustrated and badly in need of a shower, I am overcome by guilt at being impatient with my little guy at bedtime tonight.  I am in need of some advice... I welcome any and all... please!

     So Johnny and I played quietly on the floor of his dimly-lit room tonight from 8:00 to about 8:30 pm.  As our normal routine goes, he and I read a couple stories and said goodnight, gave kisses, I turned on his crib soother (like a little aquarium with soft music) and turned out the light.  I then proceeded to sit next to his bed for another 45 minutes, yes 45 minutes! while he fell asleep- or so I thought.  
    I quietly got up and tiptoed out of the room and just as I reached my bedroom at the end of the hallway, I hear his tiny footsteps running toward his door, opening it, and peeking out.  At 9:30 I am more than a little frustrated and it's not always easy to hide it.  I walked him back to bed and turned the light out, staying with him for another few minutes.  This happened once more and the final time he just sat in his bed crying.  I walked back to his room, told him I'd sit next to him for 5 more minutes and then it was Mommy's bedtime. 

Off he finally went to sleep.  I snuck out and here I am, begging for ideas.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Comfort Food

Food always tastes best when prepared by my mom.  Breakfast is my favorite meal and my mother is always ready and willing to serve up something tasty!  Johnny and I just returned from a great week spent under her roof.   

Here are a couple of pictures that I took while admiring the way the morning light creeps in through my mom's kitchen windows.  

Seeing family and friends always reminds me of who I have to thank for all of the hope that I carry with me each day.  Lots of love to all of you  :)