Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas with kids is a wonderful thing! Excitement comes in all forms:

...chaotic Christmas pageant with Brother a king, Sister and Tammy angels.
...Cookies and milk left out for Santa. Santa knows that she, I mean, he did not eat all of his cookies, but in the morning, all were gone. What elf helped out?
...Santa's gift of wheels for each kiddo. Brother says that Sister does not have a "real" bike. It's a trike. She loves it just the same.
..."We're gonna open ALL of these presents at ONCE?! WOW!!"
...Lunch and dinner with our wonderful church family.
...Teenagers and college kids in that family willing to play many, many rounds of Guess Who?
...Desserts up to our eyeballs.
...and most fun, as they are still settling in: "I really had a fun day with you." from Brother.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kids in Training

We are settling in. I have forgotten how hard it is to teach kids the ropes. And ropes are something we have many of, as I have found that being the most structured, predictable as possible mama helps my kiddos so much in making sense of their new world.

Our focuses for the week:
1. Woe vs. Slow vs. Go foods: Curly and Sister not so into Go and Slow. Waaaay into Woe. However, we have discovered a handful of Go foods that we like: apple sauce, bananas, milk, yogurt and cheese.
2. Bathroom Business: Where toilet paper belongs (and doesn't belong), why is there soap next to the sink?, How to Wash Your Own Body 101.
3. The Joy of Toys: Top two this week: Play-doh which they claim to have never seen before. They mixed all the colors together. I love them for that alone. And two, puzzles...not a puzzle left in the house that hasn't been completed at least five times.

Looking forward to Christmas vacation where we can find more foods, play with even more toys and perhaps, just perhaps, have a cleaner bathroom.

Ten More

Ten months is too hard to condense into a list of 10. I have been missing Baby B so much. More to love about her:

1. Loved being chased up a slide. Could care less about the down part.
2. Helped me complete a 2000 piece puzzle. She would get a piece here and there over the course of two weeks, but got to put the last piece in. "We DID IT!"
3. Called CC and Stubby her foster brothers. "I have the best foster brothers EVER."
4. Sat with our friend Kathy every week at church. When I went to church yesterday without her, I found myself look down to see what she was doing on Kathy's lap several times.
5. Always wanted to be first one to buckle herself in her carseat. She almost always beat Bug, and almost always yelled: I beat y'all!
6. Chose one story each night for me to read and one for her to "read." Most typically: Wheels on the Bus or Goldilocks and the Three Bears
7. Put her hands over her mouth every night after brushing her teeth and said: I didn't brush my teeth. They are rotten. And YOU. CAN'T. SEE. THEM.
8. Loved, loved, LOVED hide-and-seek, but was admittedly, not very good at hiding.
9. Joy of Candyland equaled pretending to eat all the candy at the end. If she wasn't going to win, she'd say (maybe whine is more accurate): Will you PLEASE not eat all the candy?
10. Often looked over my shoulder as I played Scrabble on Facebook. "You could put that Z right here. Would that work?"
11. Pretended to be a lumpy, laughing pillow every night before going to her bed. "See how lumpy I am." Lumpy pillow was ultimately purchased from imaginary storekeeper and carried to the top bunk.

Eleven more. Oops. But who is counting?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baby Beignet's Ten

10. Phrase of the summer: This is freakin' me out!
9. Swore off brussel sprouts very soon after moving in. Just the other day though, she told a visitor that she used to like sprouts but "now they just don't taste right anymore."
8. Had the best kindergarten class and teacher. We both loved that part of our community.
7. Often repeated phrases she learned from other people in unexpected contexts. "Let's get this party started" one morning while climbing out of bed comes to mind.
6. Thought it was the most special thing to come to work with me.
5. Was undie sorter and recycler extraodinaire.
4. Was the most nurturing baby magnet on earth. Friends Kay and Renee let Beignet mother their infants to no end. She was in her piggy glory.
3. Named any animal, doll, character she drew, anything that was worthy of a name: Leah.
2. Learned to swim this summer after being terrified of the pool. "I even put my face in that time!"
1. Has nothing but a whole lotta love in her heart and is willing to share it with anyone--from babies to little old ladies in wheelchairs. Beignet is one of the most compassionate children I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

Forever Found

We delivered Beignet to the perfect-for-her forever home today:

8 days before Christmas
7 siblings
6 kids in school
5 car seats in the car
4 furry feet on a dog named Cooper
3 girls bunked in one wonderfully girly room
2 parents with an excess of energy
1 family that will be hers for always

The good-byes are always hard, and this one was no different. Fortunately, though, it's more of a see you later.

See you soon, Baby B. I loved every bit of having you here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hair and TV

Blonde, curly haired 5 year old to Beignet: I just want to watch TV. Do you even HAVE a TV in this house?!

Beignet to Mr. Blonde and Curly: Yeah, don't worry. You get to watch TV on Hair Nights.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More to be thankful for...

Tonight I am thankful for:
Beignet's reaction to her BIG NEWS!
A great foster care Christmas party with, I am pretty sure based on the beard alone, the REAL Santa in attendance.
Legos and coloring books = entertainment for what seems like hours.
Caseworkers who work weekends.
"Seasoned" foster kiddos who welcome newbies with enthusiasm and compassion.
A friend who traded cars with me so I can fit three kids in for a week.
Getting to see Bug and her mom today.
Clementines enjoyed by 2/3 of the short people population here.
Kids who sleep soundly enough that I can pack things in their room without disturbing them.
Caffiene and the opportunity to go to sleep before midnight.

Life is crazy. Life is good.

The New Two

In a flurry of activity, a new pair has landed here. Three-year-old girl and five-year-old boy are snoring away in the bunks. They are settling in, but with some sadness and confusion. Tonight at dinner, little guy says: Why do you take kids from their houses to come and live with you without even asking? And at bedtime told me he will be running away in the morning. Sister appears much younger than her age, so toddles along behind Brother and Beignet. Here's hoping they settle in soon and can feel safe and happy here.

Finding Forever

The cat is finally out of the bag. The cat that has been prowling about for a good solid month now. Beignet was told today where her forever will be. There were mixed feelings about how she'd react. She is headed to a fantastic who came into our lives almost three months ago and with whom we have spent many hours. We were able to show Beignet a slide show that her new family had created just for her. She sat with bug eyes watching the pictures go by, telling her caseworker who everyone is. Beignet doesn't quite get the timeline we've created. To all the grown-ups around, we are hurrying things a bit to get her home for Christmas. To Beignet, she wants it NOW. "Why can't I go now? Why do I have to wait till Thursday?" Her week will be hectic, which will hopefully help things fly by. As her caseworker pulled away, Beignet came to me: Can I start packing now?

Sending you on your way with love, baby girl.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Carols

Excerpts from last night's dinner:

hum, hum...Why Santa says "Better watch out?" (explanation provided)
hum hum hum...Why we can't shout? (more explaining)
hum hum...What is a town? (answer)
hum hum...How does he know if we are sleeping?
Why we need to sleep?
I always sleep so he doesn't have to worry.
hum hum hum hum hum...How does he know if you are good or bad? Miss Sanderson said that not this line but the one after this line (weeks on the calendar) on the 17th, after we go home for a lot of days, she will call Santa and tell him who was naughty and nice.

What will tonight's carol be?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love Letters

I get love letters from Beignet almost daily now. Yesterday's was one of my favorites:

"Dear Tammy. I love you Tammy. We have very great fun together at our house. We are a good good foster family. I love you. Beignet"