Sunday, May 15, 2016

May fostering update.....

     Our newest addition, K, is settling in well. We went to court a short time ago and her parental rights were terminated. Nobody from her family came to court which, in a way, made me sad for her. Nobody really fought for this child, not her birth parents and not any of her previous foster homes. She's now been in our home over two months.

     Now we are in the two month appeal window. Biological parents can appeal the decision of the court to terminate parental rights. If they do, things can DRAG. If they do not we go on to an adoption finalization date. In our case, we have to wait, because we haven't had K for six months. We are extremely hopeful we can adopt this year, as early as mid September.

     Now we are a house of four crazy kiddos AND four dogs. We just picked up a Labradoodle puppy. Yes, we are totally crazy. We are the fun kind of crazy though. We also have a huge vegetable garden started for the spring. We planted about 7-8 tomatoes, a bed of lettuce, some squash and beans. We still want to plant corn pumpkins. Our chickens are laying about 5-6 eggs a day. it's a good feeling.

     I'll have some garden pictures up on the blog during the week so please check back. As always, thanks for reading.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Dollar Tree Haul April

I posted about a few products I love picking up at Dollar Tree and also added in a few fun new finds. This weekend I'll be organizing the dreaded hair care drawers in the girl's side of the bathroom. What a chore! There are enough mini hair bands to start a rubber band ball. Check back on the blog for the final organization photos tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A totally awesome thrifting haul.....

This past weekend I went on a really fun girl's weekend in Seattle, WA. This has become a yearly tradition and I just adore that city. This trip we decided to check out a couple of thrift stores we hadn't been to and one we liked on our last trip.

The first stop was Value Village near the airport. I've never been in a Value Village. I haven't seen them in CA. Wow, what a great store. Everything was well organized, clean, and prices were fantastic. I picked up some great bargains but we didn't have much time in this store as we had to head back to the airport for our next arriving friend.

Next stop was the Goodwill where they filled Macklemore's Thrift Shop video. This place is HUGE. Wow, I could have stayed for hours if I lived closer. As it was I ended up with a big shopping basket full of things I'd actually use. The children's book section in this store is truly amazing. I did pick out a few titles but had to lave the majority of my finds behind because they were just too heavy to fly back with me.

I also found great children's clothing, a brand new makeup bag and some vintage lunch trays at this Goodwill. The prices were really fair, especially if I stayed away from the higher mark up section. We visited the store on a Saturday evening and it was crowded. I've never been in a Goodwill of this size so it was quite a treat.

Last stop was a smaller, boutique style Goodwill. They do a fantastic job of arranging the clothing and decorating the store to make the experience like your favorite neighborhood small business. I picked up my 1970's winking owl cookie jar at this shop along with a few other treasures.

Shop along with me and watch my youtube video to see all my awesome finds. I'll have more thrifty goodness coming soon along with the beginning of our spring garden.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dia&Co Unboxing April 2016

My Dia & Co box and a try on....

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Our new placement K.... a fostering update

     Last week we took placement of a sweet little girl we'll call K. K has been in five homes in the past year, which is a lot of her age. She had a hard life even before she came into care and I'm sure the multiple moves have only made things harder for her. She currently has some speech issues but those don't concern me. A child who hasn't been read to, who is constantly moving and learning new rules and routines hardly has time to learn how to enunciate. Speech issues are kind of our thing in this household and something we feel really comfortable with.

     What I did not expect were some emotions I've had since K came. You see, when children come for an emergency placement they often come with nothing. We are used to that. When children come from another home they "should" have many things that belong to them. Toys, books, clothing that was purchased for the child. I know Mr. Rural and I have always made sure children in our care, even those only here for a day or a few weeks, left with far more than they came with and always new things.

     As I was inventorying K's things yesterday I was overwhelmed with sadness. The clothes that were packed for her "next size" were hand me downs. Oh don't get me wrong, anyone who follows this blog knows I love a good thrift of consignment haul. These things were heavily wash worn, stained and had rips and holes. These things were not purchased for K. These were castoffs of other children. As for toys... she had a little bear, a larger bear and a doll. That's it. Remember, this child was with a foster family previously. So, where are her birthday gifts and Christmas gifts? Where are the toys and new clothes and shoes that were purchased just for her?

     This is the kind of thing that gives all foster parents a bad name. It's one thing to graciously accept some gently used clothing for a child (I do it for my own) as long as you are also adding new items. This little girl has NOTHING that is HERS! We are remedying that as fast as possible. Last night was a quick trip to Gymboree and Carters. This weekend we'll take her to pick out a new baby doll. Toys arrived via Amazon that were purchased just for her. How can anyone not want to spoil a child?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fostering update.... yeah, about that....

     I wrote our foster farewell, as I've done before. We were ready to close. I kept meaning to take all of our floor plans and licensing documents down and put up something else in their place. For some reason or another I'd been distracted and hadn't gotten to that. Then, a call came.....

     I'm sure you can already see where this is headed. A call came for a child who has some special challenges, challenges my husband and I are familiar and comfortable with. We both were looking at each other with that "what do we do," look on our faces. So, we did what any foster parent who's been around a while would do... we asked for more information.

     Well, information lead to a meet and greet and that lead to us saying "let's meet again." So, now we are waiting to hear back from the social worker. We left the meeting and felt like we always do when we say yes. We are nervous, excited, scared, overjoyed, apprehensive and determined. We are determined that this call came to the right people at the right time. We are determined that we can help this child. We are determined that we can love, care for, appreciate and enjoy a fourth child.

     We aren't naive. If this journey has taught us anything it's to be prepared for the unknowns. However, we are confident that this child needs us and we need them. We are confident that this is a good fit for our family.

     So, we continue on another day. There will be a time, and it may come very soon, where we don't have the capacity in our home to say yes again. However, the capacity in our hearts is present so we say yes....again!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 Foster/Adoption update....

     For those who have followed along with the blog for a while you know we have been foster parents over three years. When we began fostering in 2012 we had a simple mission. We wanted to adopt a girl. We naively thought we would be placed with a girl who no longer had parents to care for her and we would be finished. Little did we know at the time that eleven children would come into our lives. Some would stay a day, some quite a while longer.

     Two years ago, after the painful loss of twins we'd fostered for a year, we were blessed to adopt our younger son. He is now nearing four years of age. We continued on our journey through many ups and downs. We were able to help some children and parents along the way as they too navigated this strange and complex system. We remained steadfast in wanting to add a daughter to our family.

     Last year, after saying goodbye to a baby girl we'd fostered for four months we got a very special call, a call that doesn't come very often for foster parents. We were asked to take a baby girl who had been surrendered through the national Safe Surrender program. We were overjoyed but so, so nervous. Could this really be the little girl we had been praying and hoping for?

     The waiting only gets harder as time goes by. Perhaps you become jaded by the system. Maybe you get so used to saying goodbye, packing up tiny little clothes in great big boxes and smiling through tears as you drive away from DHS (Department of Human Services). Maybe it's just too hard to see that happy endings come if you wait... and wait... and wait some more.

     I'm very excited to announce that last month, during National Safe Surrender Month, we adopted our precious little girl. She is now eight months old and is a long answered prayer. We are so, so thankful we have been chosen to be her forever family. We are especially grateful to her biological mother who made such a big sacrifice and such a selfless sacrifice so that we could be parents again.

     Now we have made the difficult decision to close our home, to focus on our three amazing children. However, I am still active in the foster community and hope to continue to advocate. I'm not sure where the next path will lead our family but I know that I have a lot of hard earned knowledge to share with others who would like to become foster parents or who have considered adoption through foster care. I will keep you guys updated!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More Dollar Tree Organizing- Bathroom

     I had a few bins leftover from my last Dollar Tree haul. Since I hadn't measured the laundry room before purchasing bins and organizing items it led to some items that wouldn't fit. This worked out well as it inspired me to continue organizing and move into other rooms in the house. Next up... the master bathroom.

     Our master bathroom is very small. It's about 4 feet by 7 feet. We have a vanity with cabinets and then a cabinet above the toilet which must hold all of our extra personal care items. This area was a HUGE mess.....

Sadly this photo was taken after I removed about half the items in here. Yep, we have a lot of stuff. When you have too much stuff you end with with expired stuff. Stuff breeds stuff behind closed cabinet doors at night when you are sleeping. Tiny stuff is born.... you get the picture. 

I pulled out all my extra Dollar Tree bins and my extra chalkboard tags. It didn't take long to put everything in it's place. I purged a lot and none of it will be missed. 

For less than $10 I have a clean, organized space. Organization is liberating. I'm feeling charged to find another space that needs a touch of change. More to come!