Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baby fiesta!

We don't know if Olive will be in our home for her 1st birthday, so we threw her a 1/2 birthday party. Because every girl deserves a par-tay!


  We had a BABY FIESTA.
Complete with a baby pinata, baby sombreros and her baby friends in attendance.
Jarritos soda....for the non-babies. 

Baby pinata on a cake

Surprise! It's a rainbow inside.



Baby sombreros

Party room for the kids

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gas Station Lady


I just had one of those moments that stops time. I was at a gas station at a very busy intersection. In the back of the car was Molly dog on her way to the vet and little Miss Olive.  I was in a hurry to get my gas and go. I put the car in park, turned off the engine and began to grab my wallet when I saw her. She was a young, disheveled looking woman approaching the packed gas station. This is a typical occurrence in our city and I was trying to avoid eye contact as she walked across the parking lot towards the gas pumps.  With my wallet in my hand, I hopped out of the car to begin fueling and I heard her voice behind me. “Excuse me, ma’am?”
It was her. The woman I had seen from across the busy parking lot. Of all the people gassing up their cars, she chose me.
Tall, Black hair, caramel skin, she was younger than me and had a beautiful face but sad expression. She immediately went into her story. She asked me if I could give her a dollar. By the perfect rhythm in her voice, I knew she had said this speech several times before she found me. She told me she lived nearby and was just trying to buy some food because she was so hungry. And then she rubbed her belly.
I followed her hand to her stomach. She was pregnant. I would guess maybe 6 or 7 months along.

My heart stopped.

My head turned to look at Olive happily in her car seat laughing at Molly dog.
I said I could give her my Clif bar. She asked what that was and I explained it was a snack bar and it had a blueberry flavor. I asked for her name. Veronica. She was annoyed with me, her voice tone changed. I handed her my Clif bar and then I said something without even realizing what I just said.
“Veronica, can I pray for you?”
She wouldn’t look at me, but she said Yes.
So right there, I put my hand on her arm and prayed for her in the middle of that busy gas station. I asked the Lord to protect Veronica and to protect her baby. I asked for provision for her and the baby and that she would be kept safe. I prayed that she would feel loved.
I said Amen and she quickly walked off. My heart was racing. I started to pump my gas and looked up to try and watch for Veronica to see which way she was walking. I started thinking of a million other questions I wanted to ask her. Did she have a place to sleep? When was she due? Could I buy her a meal?
But she was gone. I couldn’t see her anywhere.

I stood there and pumped my gas with my face in the open car window watching Olive. I tried to hold the tears back. It could have been her in that belly. I wondered if around this time last year if someone had met Olive’s mom and asked to pray for her. Did they give her a snack bar to eat?

Honestly, I don’t know much about Olive’s mom, but I hope that she was shown kindness while she was carrying her.
If you get a second, would you please pray for Veronica and her baby?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Post: Cloth Diaper Review


"The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it"
Psalm 24:1

People cloth diaper for several reasons. As of April 12, we became a cloth diapering home. I chose to cloth diaper for the following reasons:

1) I personally struggle with sending so many disposable diapers to the landfill knowing that they slowly, if ever, biodegrade. I want to honor the planet Earth that the Lord has given me and make choices that help sustain our fragile ecosystem.  (If you use disposable diapers, no judgement)

2) Being a foster parent means we may have babies of all ages and sizes come through our home. Cloth diapers are adjustable in size and can be worn by babies 8 - 35lbs. Meaning, I can use the same set of diapers on most of the babies that stay with us. Win, win.

3) Cloth diapers make my Olive's hiney sooooo stinkin' cute. Can I get an "Amen"?

Olive diaper modeling Bumis AIO
Being a "maven" I have researched ad nauseam the plethora of cloth diapers on the market. Below are my thoughts and opinions on the brands we have tried and my signature Jak Attack Seal of Approval below.

The Jak Attack, in case you were wondering.

GrowVia Hybrid: Like this diaper a lot. I'm actually going to invest in more of these. The system is in 2 parts. Outer shell & snap in liner. This allows me to simply change out the liner & keep the shell the same for a couple of changes. As a bonus, there are also disposable/biodegrable pads I can use when we are out and about. Jak Attack Seal of Approval


Bummis All in One: I like this a lot too. We will be purchasing more of these. Olive is modeling this diaper in the photo above. It's easy to fit to the baby and you can throw the whole thing into the washer and the dryer. There is no pulling out soaker pads to deal with.  It's most like a disposable in terms of putting on. Jak Attack Seal of Approval

Bummis Flushable Bio-Soft Liners:  This is what makes cloth diapering so easy. I bought a package of 100 liners for $8 and I use them in every diaper. If baby has a b.m. you simply flush the liner in the toilet with her waste. Easy peasy. Jak Attack Seal of Approval 
BumGenius Pocket Diaper:  Easy to fit to the baby and I like the ability to double up on soaker pads if I need to. (For example, during nap time). The pads and the shell dry quickly too.

GrowVia All in One: Not a fan. It's bulky, but it does the job. The snap closures are counter intuitive and the additional snap-in soaker pad is puny.

FuziBuns Elite One Size: First of all, this diaper wins the "Best Name" award hands down. It's a simple pocket design. The outer shell dries quickly and the microfiber inside is super soft. It is very trim and would be great on small/skinny babies. It fits Olive now, but I don't know if it will fit her in a few  months. (Side note: She is in the 75% for weight!!!)

There you have it. My Earth Day post. I have ordered a couple of pocket cloth diapers from Lotus Bumz and Jungle Roo. I'll let you know how they work out. All in all, it's been an easier transition than I thought it would be from disposable to cloth. We are still learning the best system for napping and outings, but I'm glad we made the switch.

P.S: Thanks to Megan, Angela, Vasha and the nice Airport Stranger Lady for answering all my questions about cloth diapering.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Guide to Waiting: 2nd draft

Well folks, we're back....on the openings list. (see details here)

As you read in my Guide to Waiting: 1st draft, I'm keeping myself preoccupied by preparing for the next child that will be placed in our home. You know what they say, idle hands are the devil's tools, so I'm keeping my hands busy.

Behold, a Guide to Waiting: 2nd draft.

1) Make breakfast ahead of time:
I'm one of those people who wakes up hungry. Like tummy rumbling hungry. But with baby Olive in my arms & soon-to-arrive 2nd child, I will have no time to make breakfast for myself.
Solution? Breakfast muffins! biscuit + egg + sausage + cheese = Winner!

3 simple main ingredients (plus whatever meat you want)
Add to greased muffin tin

Voila! Breakfast of champions!
2) Eat out with friends....a lot. (Luckily baby Olive is a rock star & lets me drag her to restaurants all over town)


3) Super Organize: I'm labeling & organizing Olive's wardrobe so when #2 arrives, we will have room for a second wardrobe.
4) Visit family: Olive & I got away last weekend and went to visit all my wonderful family. I'm so appreciative and thankful for family who loves Olive as much as we do. Grateful.

5) Wash our stinky dogs. Sorry, Molly & Higgins, but it's true. You stink.  
6) Blonde is Back: Spring has sprung, and I have loved my darker hair color but it's time for a refresh for the new season. Time to go back to my "natural" color...
Lookin' good, Jak

7) Think about starting our taxes (interesting fact: if you have a foster child for 6 months are more, you can claim them as a dependent for that tax year).

8) Do laundry - turns out, this of something of a lower priority for me. I've worn the same pair of jeans for a few weeks now... don't judge.

9) There's talks of date night in the works. We'll see if this actually happens. (Nick, are you reading this???)


Monday, March 5, 2012

"Yes, we're open" - For realz this time.

You may have noticed that this post went up in January and then was pulled down a couple weeks later. Well friends, not too long after the original post went out, Nick's mom had to go to the ER. She was subsequently admitted and had to have surgery. She's recovering well and up and around again after about a month. But during that time our agency took us off the open list as we helped care for her while she was in the hospital. Now that Nick's mom is stabilized however, our agency is putting us back on the openings list again.
SO, we're requesting a redo. For realz this time. Our home is now open for any gender/race child between the ages of 2 and 5. We pray this little one is as sweet and amazing as Little Bird and Olive have been/is.
Stay tuned to the blog for all the latest news... Gulp.
===============================================================
Dear Family & Friends,
We are writing you for three reasons.

1. Thank you. We want to express our gratefulness for your friendship and support. Fostering in and of itself can be an isolating experience. However, we have felt nothing but surrounded and encouraged every step of the way. We say this repeatedly – we could not take care of these children without you. You are just as much a part of this ministry as we are. Thank you. Thank you for walking with us

2. Prayers are heard.  As we've learned more about Little Olive’s case, we are amazed at God’s faithfulness, protection, and timing.  At the exact time we asked you to pray for the next child that was going to be placed in our home, through a set of circumstances only God could have orchestrated, CPS was alerted to Little Olive’s situation.  Because He intervened, she is safe, healthy, and thriving. And in case you don’t remember, Little Bird was born the same month we asked you all to start praying for our decision to become foster parents.

3. We are asking you to pray again.  As you know, we are licensed for 2 children. We are going back on the openings list this week for another placement.  Adding another child will change the dynamic in our home (and our sleep schedule!), but we believe God is in the details and He knows the child that needs our help (The royal “our”). Please pray with us and ask God to intervene for this child. And to give us wisdom and grace to parent two children.

We are so thankful for every prayer, email, blog comment, phone call, text, meal, word of encouragement. Thank you so much. It means a lot to us to know that we are not in this alone.

In His grip,

Jak & Nick

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grief

It's 2AM and I'm up. Nick's out of town and I'm sitting up with my thoughts watching my Little Olive sleep.  I can never sleep when Nick is gone, so I thought I would finally type up these thoughts that keep swimming around in my head.

I think of her everyday. Little Bird has been gone for close to 3 months. We keep silent mementos of her throughout our house. There are two different cute, smudgy hand prints that we refuse to clean off our mirrors. One in the hallway and one in the Littles' Room. I see them all the time. Sometimes I put my hand up to her hand print and try to remember the day and I held her up to that mirror and she smiled and reached her hand out to touch her reflection.
Her pacifiers are still under the crib. Little Bird slept with a pacifier and sometimes they would fall out of the crib during her tossing and turning. We typically would round up the stray pacifiers from under the crib every few days. After she left, we didn't pick them up anymore.  He's seen them and I've seen them - but neither one of us will reach under the crib to remove them. Because if we remove them, then that's one more piece of her that is gone.  So I keep her paci's there and smile when I catch a glimpse of them.

I don't bring this next thing up to many people, but it's part of my story and it's important for me to process, so here it goes.

I'm losing weight. At first I shrugged it off when Nick would mention my clothes looked baggy. Then I went to the annual doctor visit and saw a new number on the scale. I chalked it up to different things. I tried to blame it on the malaria I contracted earlier this summer in Uganda. Admittedly, the initial days after Little Bird left, I had no appetite. But that soon was resolved and I returned to my normal eating habits and calorie intake. Then Olive came and our wonderful friends have provided us with delicious meals. We have been dining like kings for 2 months. But I still had to go buy new jeans that didn't need to be cinched up with a belt like my old ones. I've maintained my "no exercise because-I'm-lazy policy." Then, Nick brought home a new scale last week and I weighed myself for a second time in 3 months. And saw another brand new number, different from the one at the doctor's office. I wondered aloud if I had a parasite, perhaps a tapeworm that was changing my weight? However, it's all forced me to admit what I had suspected. My body is mourning the loss of her. There is a sadness I carry. I still can't talk about her without welling up. I Googled grief and found stories similar to mine. People losing weight due to stress or grief - even though they are maintaining the same calorie intake as before.

I would gladly gain 100 pounds if it meant that I knew she was safe. That she was going to be ok. That Little Bird will grow up in a loving and stable environment and that she would never again have to see the things she's witnessed or feel afraid or alone.  This isn't about the number on the scale.

(Good news: I'm still in a safe weight range and don't intend to get in an unsafe weight range. Ever.)

Readers, Foster Moms, have you had similar experiences? This is new for me and I'm wondering when my body will go back to "neutral."

I'm also curious as to how my body will react when Olive leaves. If you've experienced this same type of thing, did it repeat itself?