The Stacy Chronicles

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Memorial Day

We celebrated Memorial Day a day late.  I was shooting a wedding on the actual day (yay! for business).  I feel weird saying “celebrated” and Memorial Day.  I guess it is a celebration of our freedom, but it is also a somber day.  We should be grateful for our soldiers and veterans EVERY day!  (where would we be without them?)  But I am very grateful we as a country have a day dedicated to remembering.  We did have some awesome friends over Monday night after my shoot.  We grilled chicken kabobs and had salad and rolls.  Little Bit loved the rolls and the chicken (go figure). 🙂  Those are her two staple foods.  I got the very last watermelon at the grocery store and we opened it up on Tuesday after it had chilled.  I don’t know about you but I love cold watermelon with salt.  Yum!  Jeff prefers it without. (silly Jeff, you don’t know what you are missing)

Anyways, I got some great shots of the watermelon and all it’s juiciness…I don’t know why this one was the last one left…it was super awesome!  I have some sweet cuddly pictures of Little Bit and me, but of course I cannot share.  If you want to see them just private message me on facebook or email me.  🙂

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dripping off her elbow.

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dripping from her hand.

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I was pretty proud of this action shot. 🙂

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haha.  So much fun!

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where Little Bit stays 90% of the time…in fact she is in my lap as I type this!  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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the damage…and cute little toes with juice on them.

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so thankful of our freedoms.

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God, please bless the USA!

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the pups were enjoying the day!

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we love the shade trees in our yard!

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We Survived Our 1st Month as Parents!

This weekend marked a month since Little Bit was brought into our lives.  Here is a quick rundown of what I have learned.

  1. Being a parent is hard, if you are doing it right.  Really hard.
  2. The first two weeks were by far the easiest (honeymoon period).
  3. She is a different child after visits with her parents.
  4. It’s getting a lot tougher as she tests her boundaries.
  5. It’s totally worth it.

 

So.  It’s gotten harder.  A lot harder.  Maybe if she was born to me and we had raised her from birth this wouldn’t be quite as tough.  We have to learn each other.  That’s the hardest part.  She’s trying to see what she can get away with.  We have to get really creative with discipline.  She thinks she is running the family.  I’m serious.  We kinda let her do that the first 2 weeks, because we were scared.  We didn’t know what on earth we were doing…and still don’t.  We’ve learned a ton though.

After the two week mark the tantrums and fussing followed.  She doesn’t want to sit in her highchair and eat.  She wants to play with certain things that aren’t hers or could hurt her.  She doesn’t want me to leave the room.  She likes to grab my finger and make me follow her everywhere.  We let all that slide the first two weeks.  Partly because we felt sorry for her, partly because we didn’t know how to handle it.  I know there are a million ways to discipline…I also know it depends on the child’s age as to what works.  We are still figuring it out as a family.  Jeff and I have to be a team.  We know that.  It’s so tough to not give in.

After every visit she seems to forget everything she has learned.  She regresses.  It’s tough.  I know this will continue because she has visits EVERY week.  Her little mind has no idea what’s going on.  I’m sure she acts up more because she misses them and is confused about why she isn’t going back home with them.

She is totally moving out of our room.  It’s for the best, for all three of us.  I’m sad to see her go, but she sleeps better when we aren’t in there.  I know this because sometimes we take naps while she is napping and she cries to get out of the bed (which she doesn’t do when it’s just her).  I think this will also help with the barking waking her…since the pups stay in our room.

It’s totally worth it.  All parents have ups and downs.  All kids push the boundaries.  The hard part with this is, it’s very difficult to make any progress.  I feel like I’m swimming upstream.  I’m not going to give up or give in.  We are the parents!  Feels so weird to say that.  Pray for Little Bit.  Bless her little heart.   She’s such a doll-baby.  She still loves on us and cuddles all the time.

Everywhere we go people stop us and tell us how beautiful she is.  One women tried to take her home to her son who wanted a sister!  I hope and pray we are making some sort of impact on her little life.


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Foster Mommy’s Must Have List

Hmmm…this is something that your GPS classes for foster care will not tell you.  It is something I hope you will find useful if you are in the fostering process.  Please feel free to add other items to the list.  Everyone’s list will be different because ever child is different and you might be fostering a different age range then us. (o – 3)

These are the things I kept on hand BEFORE we got our Little Bit:

  1. RID (for lice…hey, ya never know), you want to get the whole 3 step system.  Spray all articles of clothing and treat their scalp (if the come to you with lice).  Put all their clothing and anything else they came with into a plastic bag after you wash it.
  2. baby toothbrush and fluoride free tooth paste
  3. comb and brush
  4. baby shampoo & wash (we use Dr. Bronner’s)
  5. baby towel and wash cloths
  6. unscented baby lotion (we use Burt Bee’s)
  7. diapers in appropriate sizes
  8. crib sheets, blankets, tiny pillows
  9. pjs in appropriate sizes…i have one set for every age range (newborn to 3T)
  10. socks
  11. sippy cups, kids plates, kids forks and spoons, or bottles if you get an infant
  12. crib, toddler bed (have to have these for your home to be approved)
  13. educational games like puzzles, books, balls
  14. soft toys, stuffed animals or dolls to snuggle
  15. highchair or bumbo with tray
  16. bath toys
  17. stroller (not a necessity, but sure is handy)!

 

These are things we try to have on hand.  Your foster child will probably need shoes too.  Since they are so expensive we tend to wait until we have the child and then take them to find shoes once we know their size.  They can just wear socks or be carried until then…we took Little Bit the next day, but your child might not be ready for a trip to Wal-Mart that soon…it just depends on the kid.

Some things like toys aren’t that big of a deal because most kids will just play with boxes and pots and pans, but it’s still good to have some books and puzzles for them.

If you can have your necessities on hand then you don’t have to freak out when you get your first placement.  I imagine I’d be running around trying to figure all this stuff out after they got here and I’d not be focusing as much on the child.  It really helped to already have most of it at home, so our first night was just getting accustomed to each other.

We shopped thrift stores and yard sales for pjs and play clothes.  We have been so blessed by our Christian friends and have had to buy very little.  Just today Little Bit got a care package from some friends with lots of little church dresses and outfits.  It was the sweetest thing.

Also, toys can be very expensive, so search craigslist, yard sales, ask friends if they have extra their kids don’t play with anymore.  I’m sure there are tons of moms out there who’d like to clean out the toy box!

We waited until she got here to buy baby food.  You can’t really stock that in your pantry and fridge for months waiting on a placement.  Depending on the age you will need appropriate snacks and food.  One of you could stay home with the baby the first night while the other gets snacks and food for the next few days.

Also.  Establish a schedule from the first day.  These babies need some sort of structure.  They have been thrown into a stranger’s home and have no idea how things go.  If from day one you can put them on a schedule then they will know what to expect as far as naps, lunch, bathtime, and bedtime.  A bedtime routine is so important.  Instead of just sticking them in their crib establish a routine that works for your family.  We do bath, brush teeth, potty,  massage, bible time (reading & songs), then we pray with her and she knows she’s going into her crib after that.  Some babies might be used to being rocked or need that extra cuddle time before bed.  Little Bit cries for about a minute and then lays down and goes to sleep when we leave the room.  She’s been really easy as far as bedtime goes.

You can’t really prepare for these kids because they come with their own little personalities and needs, but these are the few generic things I felt made our lives a little easier to already have on hand for the first few days.

So, what are some things you feel like you and your infant/toddler can’t live without?  What soothes your baby when he/she is fussy?  Favorite toys?   I’d love to hear your ideas!


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Why I Chose to Stay Home with Little Bit

She’s with her parents right now.  That makes two days in a row.  Once for a visit, once for a checkup.  When she gets home she won’t let me out of her sight.  I can never leave the room without her.  I can’t run to go get a new diaper while she’s on the potty.  I can’t cook supper without her clinging to my leg.  The day of and after visits are the worse.  I know she is theirs, but seeing them twice a week and then coming home to me hurts her.  She’s so little.  She’s so confused.  She wonders if we will leave her too.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all the cuddling and snuggling, but I know why she does it.

I ache for her.

When we got to the point in our GPS class where they told us about approved daycares, I stated that we would not be needing that information.  The teacher of our class looked at me like I was an alien.  “You are staying home”, she asked?  “Of course”, I replied.  There has never been a question of whether or not I would stay home and raise my kids.  Why should my foster kids be any different…If anything, they need me more!

The way I see it, she has been picked up by a stranger, dropped off at a stranger’s house, slept in a stranger’s bed, fed strange food…how could I leave her 8 hours a day with another stranger?  I try to imagine what it would be like if I were in her shoes.  She hasn’t had a choice in any of these decisions.  Now, before I go on…I want to make it clear that I’m not bashing anyone that drops their kids off at day care.  Sometimes a family has to have two incomes.  We have chosen to be a one income family.  Yes, that means no hot dates out on the town, no new cars, a meager home, handmedowns and thrift store clothes and toys, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It also means: lots of love, lots of one on one mommy and daddy time, handmade toys and blankets, home cooked meals, and much, much more.  I am the one that Little Bit spends her day with.  That means I am the one who decides what she watches on T.V. (or if she watches it), what books she reads, takes her to the potty (consistency), makes sure she has a schedule (naps and meals).  I feel like (especially since she’s a foster child) she needs the consistency and the structure.  Not in a rigid, harsh way, but in a comforting, assuring way.

She knows what will happen from day to day.  She knows we will be here for her no matter what.  I think this is important for her.

If you are wondering about her socialization.  I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day in our short 3 weeks that she has only had interaction with me.  For example, yesterday Jeff and I were taking her for a walk and we met a couple with two kids and a dog.  We started talking and they invited us into their parents home where Little Bit got to play with three more dogs, kids, and the whole family!  We have playdates with our friend’s kids, not to mention worship services where there are 40 or so children that love all over her!

I know we are what is best for her because we teach her about God.  I don’t think many day cares would provide her with that.  One of the reasons we wanted to be foster parents is so we can influence many children and teach them about our Lord and Savior.  We sing, pray, read, and learn about God everyday.  I’m not saying this to brag at all, I’m just saying, this is our one chance to influence this child’s life, so that she might know God.  Yes, I know she’s only a toddler, but it can only do her good.

Please take the time to read one of my favorite articles by Cindy Colley on the subject of being a keeper at home.  The original post can be found here.  She has lots of great things on her blog pertaining to marriage, family, homeschooling, etc.

This is Controversial. But Why?

 

Sometimes we just get in our own way. Sometimes we would just be so much better off as God’s women if we could just submit to His will, willingly and wholly, instead of trying to be His, in name, and yet play the world’s feministic game. We decided a few decades ago that we could do just as well chasing careers as we could chasing children. And so, by and large, our children got away from us. We’re losing them to the world in huge numbers. We can recklessly blame lots of things: inept youth ministers, school influences, weak church leaders, television–a litany of evils. But really, the buck stops at home. We can’t turn out Timothys if we have failed to be Loises and Eunices. If we fail to spend time with our kids we can’t put the Word in them in the Deuteronomy 6 way. And if they don’t get the Word in them according to Deuteronomy six, then why should we expect the result of Deuteronomy six teaching: that they should walk in the ways of the Lord all of the days of their lives. It really doesn’t take a village to raise a child. In fact, I am convinced that it’s our villages–the culture of materialism around us–that has most dangerously influenced our homes. It’s the village to which we sometimes leave our children that draws them from God.

That’s the ultimate price that we often pay for feminism. But there are other lesser prices, too. We wanted to find fulfillment outside the home forty years ago. So we left the challenging and very rewarding (and very Biblical) arena of raising our children, being keepers at home and being helpers to our husbands for desk jobs and corporate partnerships, teaching positions and medical careers. Some women traded the home-keeping business for less lucrative positions as underlings to more successful men and women. But many, if not most, did so, not to put food on the table, but, instead, to take the family out to eat more often. They were not keeping a roof over their heads, but were rather making sure there was lots of square footage under that roof along with tasteful decorations, multiple bathrooms and a well-stocked entertainment center. The casualties are sometimes the little people living in that very square footage we’ve worked so hard to provide.

But what are some of the other prices we pay (besides our inability to maximize the hours of faith-injection in our kids)? I’ve noticed several price tags in recent weeks. One is that the more we work outside the home, the more we are expected to work outside the home. Case in point: Several young ministers applying for jobs in churches recently have told me that the elders were unwilling or unable to pay the young families enough to adequately support them, so they indicated that the young preachers’ wives could “get a job to supply the rest of the needed income.” Something is wrong with that picture. Have we really come to the point in our churches in which elders believe it’s the minister’s wife’s responsibility to provide basic monetary support for the pulpits in our churches? That’s not the idea, for sure, In I Corinthians 9.

Secondly, there are those men in some of our churches today who are fearful of implementing programs which facilitate our older women teaching our girls how to be keepers at home. The reasons being given include a fear that women will get the idea that we think they should be staying at home and raising their own children. Or perhaps women will resent the study….It might portray housework as not really being an “equally shared responsibility” in the home. Or perhaps women might feel denigrated if we emphasize domestic skills like sewing and cooking, cleaning and ironing. Have we come to the point that Titus 2:3-5 is actually offensive to women in our pews today? Are some church leaders even afraid of the ire of feministic women in congregations? The phrase “keeper at home” is still there in Titus 2 and it still means “one who looks after the home; a domestic.” Is the Word so old-fashioned that we can prohibit its teachings in our churches?

Thirdly, I believe women in the workplace, many times, lose the precious commodity of a heart that hates sin. I have been amazed, recently, as I have learned of “Christian” women reading pornographic novels, being comfortable with vulgarity of language, dressing more and more immodestly, even undergoing abortions, and freezing multiple fetuses fertilized in test tubes–babies that they produced, but never planned to raise. I hear of more and more of my sisters who have become involved in adultery and have even left their children for these relationships. There’s a litany of sins of which we are becoming ever more accepting and tolerant. Now, do not get me wrong. I do not think women’s jobs are always the culprit, or even the catalyst. But I know that in many of the cases with which I am personally familiar, the associations at the office or school or hospital, combined with little time for Bible study and prayer make for an easy exit from the narrow path to the broad way that leads to destruction. When we are around the world and away from the little innocent hearts that constantly remind us of a higher calling, it just becomes easy for us to lose the heavenward focus and be sucked into the mentality that pivots on the here and now. The more we say “yes” to promotions and career climbing, the less time we have for prayer and family devotions. Furthermore, if we don’t have time to think about spiritual things, our consciences become less and less potent and we become more and more accepting of the world.

Did I say it’s always wrong for any woman to work outside the home? No. Did I say there are no situations in which women can make supplemental incomes and still “be there” for family? No. Do I think every woman can possibly have the luxury to be at home with her kids every day? No. Does it even matter what I say? No.

But God’s Word still calls us to be “keepers at home.” Whatever I am, I must be sure that I am that. But even aside from the clear statement in Titus 2, I think I could figure out that there’s often a big price for following a career path that takes me away from home and children. I’m going to keep pointing this out because 1) I’ve known women who figured this out in the nick of time and saved a lot of heartache, 2) I’ve known several women who figured this out when it was too late–eternally too late–for their children, 3) I’ve known several divorces which would most likely have not occurred had a woman chosen to stay home and raise her children and 4) I personally can attest to the fact that being a keeper at home is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding ventures of this life for God’s women. I want to share the wealth.

Finally, I know this is the most controversial thing I urge women to do. I will likely be unable to answer all of the mail and messages I will receive as a result of this post. They will not all be pleasant. I can hardly believe that we’ve come to the point in the body of God that the teaching we hate most, as women, is that we really should optimally stay home with our babies and raise them ourselves…for God. But we are there. May God help us to realize that the needs of babies have not changed in the last half-century. It is a deep and threatening desire to be like the culture around us that endangers our faithfulness and that of our children. May He help us to be transformed by a renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2) as we turn our hearts toward home.

Gabriella Harris 034-2

The best part of my day. ❤ My family!


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Where Are All the Mother’s At?

Oh dear.  What a day.

There are two things I know for certain.

1. Naptime is impossible if you live in the city.

First you have the neighborhood dogs and their owners walking them.  Then you have your dogs who have a sixth sense about the neighborhood dogs being anywhere near your property…thus having the right to “protect” their property.  Then you have the loud trucks constantly beeping.  What’s all that stinkin’ beeping about!?!  Oh wait, they are paving the road outside.  Then there are the neighbors who feel it’s the opportune time to mow and weed eat the lawn…don’t forget about the leaf blowers!

2. When your a mom taking a shower is next to impossible.

The plan was to shower during naptime…whether it was the dogs or the beeping, I’m not for certain, but naptime got cut short!  I know I’m probably a bad mom for doing this, but I left her in her cage with her toys and the t.v. on.  I showered anyways.  I had to.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve showered…or brushed my teeth for that matter…BrrrrrrrUhhhtttttttttsssssssLaaaaaaaBrrrrrrrrrrAhhhhhhhhEeeeeeee……That is what I heard the whole time.  I was showering like I was in a showering marathon, but Little Bit was highly agitated.  She makes these strange noises when she gets past the crying.  I know it’s sad, but I really needed to shower.

So, the title is of this post is Where are all the Mother’s At, because I’m just wondering what other moms do all day.  I feel like I’m super busy and I’m getting a lot accomplished, but I want to use all my time wisely.  I want to treasure every moment, and have lots of teaching opportunities.

She usually wakes up at 7, 7:30, if I’m lucky.  We head straight to the potty.  I make her breakfast, clean her up.  Try to eat something myself.  Go back to the potty after breakfast.  Put on some clothes.  Turn on a load of laundry.  Play in the living room.  Do some dishes.  Feed the dogs, birds, turtles, fish. <<if they are lucky.  Make sure everyone has water.  Naptime varies.  Sometimes we do lunch first, sometimes we nap first.  Naps range from one hour to three, depending on the neighborhood and our dogs (see #1 of this post).  Get up and go potty.  Play with daddy.  We usually go outside for a while.  Take a walk.  Have a playdate.  Go to the park.  Start supper.  Fold some clothes.  Eat supper.  Watch an episode of t.v.  Bath time.  Brush teeth.  Bible study time.  Bed by 8:30.

Even though our day is jammed packed, I want to make sure I’m using the time we have together to teach her.  I need fun ideas.  She’s just a toddler, but I know she can learn so much!

Some of the things I love about Little Bit.

1.  When she is trying to go to sleep she whispers to herself.  Also, if she wakes up in the middle of the night she will do this before she falls back to sleep.  I wish I knew what she was saying.  It sounds like alien talk.

2.  When I hold her and she is cuddling with me, she will lay her head on my shoulder and pat my back.  Not sure if she’s patting me to sleep or if they are little love pats.  It’s the sweetest thing EVER!

Things are going great.  We are trying to have a routine.  I can tell she is used to us now.  She is trying to push her boundaries.  She is feeling us out and seeing how far she can go.  We’ve had a couple tantrums.  We sorta just ignore her when she’s doing that.  She’s usually sitting or laying down in a safe place.  She gets over it after a few minutes.  She doesn’t understand time out.  It’s really hard, because she wants me to hold her and carry her around all the time.  I don’t want her to think she is the boss, but I know she needs reassurance that we will always be there for her.  She hates it when I leave the room she’s in.  If I go get a diaper while she’s on the pot, or some clean clothes for her from the other room.  She screams and cries and wants me to take her with me.

How do you deal with tantrums?


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DIY Fleece Covers

I am in LOVE with fleece covers!  Today I tried my hand at making them.  This is the pattern that I used.  Rita’s Rump is the fitted diaper pattern I use.  I haven’t tried them under the fleece covers, only because I haven’t bought my Snappi’s yet.  I have used a handmade fitted that has velcro on it…it’s kinda bulky, because it has built in absorption.  That’s what baby has on under the fleece in the picture.  She has wet 3 diapers today and not once has the fleece gotten wet!  It repels water very well.

The fleece is just clearance fleece from Hobby Lobby.  You can choose to use elastic in the waist, but you really don’t need it with fleece.

I can’t give you a full review because I haven’t washed one of these covers yet…so I’m not sure how it will hold up or look after washing.  You only need to wash them when they smell like pee or get poop on them.  I will just throw it in with my regular wash.

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I’m not going to write a tutorial, because there is a good one on the link I provided, but here are a few shots of the process.

Fleece Cover 045I folded my fabric and laid the pattern on the fold.  Trace with a sharpie and then cut out.

Fleece Cover 084Here they are all cut.  You want to sew up the sides only.  Make sure your right sides are facing.  Do not sew the top or leg holes.

Fleece Cover 083You will also need to cut two leg bands and one waist band.  I just measured around Little Bit’s waist and leg.  I also made sure to cut my fleece with the stretch.  I don’t know how to say that, but your fleece has a certain direction that it stretches…make sure your leg and waist bands will stretch horizontally.  You can cut your fleece out in a matching color or a different one.  I like to switch it up.  Make sure your bands are double the thickness you want the finish product, because you are going to fold them over.  From here follow the instructions on the pattern linked.

When sewing the leg holes you are going to have 3 layers of fleece to sew through, the doubled over leg cuff and the body of the covers.  I have a super cheap sewing machine and it gave me no problems.  I stitched them with a really wide zigzag.

I’m going to end up with something like 10 of these and I paid $5 total for the fleece (less than 2 yards).  You can buy elastic if you want, but I don’t think that it’s necessary.  So far these are the most economical covers I’ve made.

Let me know if you try these!

*I forgot to mention that this pattern will fit 12 to 24 months.  It really just depends on what you put under in.  If you use a fitted or a prefold, it might be able to fit on a 9 month.  If you use something thin like an insert or just panties it could fit 24 months.  Little Bit is about the size of a 12 month, and I use a thick fitted on her and then pull these over.

**Update** She slept in this fleece cover with a fitted last night.  She drunk a whole lot yesterday and by this morning the fitted was completely soaked and had spilled over the fleece onto her clothes.  I need to figure something out for overnight…maybe a wool cover and extra inserts in her diaper.  I’m washing the fleece now, so I will update you later on how it looks after the wash/dry.