Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Hoops

Adoption Homestudy Update - Complete
1. Home visit - approved
2. My fingerprints - approved
3. CPS forms
4. City and county background checks

The only missing piece to our private adoption update is my physical and drug test - scheduled for next week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's just me

Like most 3yos, the Nugget frequently discourages us from singing, dancing, or talking. Or blinking or chewing. (I read that Helena Bonham Carter based her Queen of Hearts character on her toddler daughter's dictatorship, and I'm guessing that she is three too.) He used to say, "No, don't sing!" or, "Stop talking." His edicts were usually given at a high volume, occasionally with foot stomping. Now there's picking your battles and there's creating a monster, so after several months of discussing manners and why other people get to talk or tilt their heads or blink their eyes whenever they feel like it, without getting Nugget permission, he has finally settled on a quasi-polite alternative, delivered sotto voce.

"It's just me."

This phrase indicates that he would please like a solo performance of whatever he's doing. Fair enough.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bowl me over

We took the Nugget bowling for the first time this weekend. My friend E tipped me off that our local alley has these special ramps the little ones can use, plus kids' shoes and lightweight balls. The Nugget wasn't even the youngest there.
The Nugget proudly chose a fuschia 7 pound ball (he wanted purple, but the purple ones were all 12 pounds or up) and hefted it around like a pro. I kept trying to spot him, but he was all like, 'Mom, I got this.' Didn't drop it once! He was so attached to it, he even wanted to hold it while he waited for Daddy to bowl.

The Nugget alternately granny bowled and used the ramp, with equal success. Hubby was able to set up the game so that the bumpers popped up for the Nugget's turn. Of course, his favorite part was the ball return. He wouldn't even wait to see if his ball knocked down any pins; he just raced over to the machine for the exquisite delight of seeing his ball appear out of the darkness.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Hoops

We've started jumping through the hoops to become foster parents. Simultaneously, we need to renew our adoption homestudy for to stay eligible in the adoption waiting pool. It's a little complicated, and all my "free time" is going towards both processes. I'm going to keep a little online journal here, partially to remind myself what's been done. Certainly not very interesting, but maybe it will help anyone considering adoption or foster care.

Foster Care - Complete:
1. Attended orientation class
2. Fingerprinted and qualified - inkless = same day notification! Sweet!
3. Registered for Foster Adoptive Kinship Training (FAKT) classes. The training will be 20 hours total, split into 4 classes. Once you attend the first class, you can makeup other classes in the case you can't make 4 consecutive Saturdays.
4. Lined up childcare for FAKT classes.

Adoption Homestudy Update - Complete:
1. Hubby's physical and drug test - accepted.
2. Hubby's fingerprints - accepted.
3. My fingerprints - pending.
4. Scheduled my physical.
5. Scheduled a home visit.
6. Doing county and city police background checks tomorrow afternoon!
7. Requested forms for CPS checks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prepping for V-Day

The Nugget's preschool doesn't "do" Valentine's Day. The teachers must thank their lucky stars come Feb 14th, because can you imagine a roomful of 3 yos hopped up on sugar? Yikes! The real reason is that they prefer to do generic celebrations, like Fall, Friendship, etc. to respect the diversity in the classroom. I can dig it. (You know what I think would be even cooler though? If a school could celebrate holidays from all represented cultures and maybe even those not represented in the student body, like Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa, Eid, Purim, Christmas, Halloween, Solstice, etc. I know if this actually happened, there'd be a good chance of parents protesting basically every holiday or complaining if one faith had more holidays during the school year than others...but I think if the adults could keep an open mind, it would be such a great education about respect and culture for the children.)

We still get to celebrate V-Day with the my mom's meetup group though, so I am deep into the preparation for handouts. I know that the kids will receive plenty of candy, so I'm going to go a different route.

I have a bunch of animal cracker soaps leftover from Baby Cabbage's shower, so I'm going to repurpose them for the older kids. Potty learners burn through soap, it is crazy! The note is, "Wild about you!"

There are a lot of under 3's coming to the party too, and the soaps would just be choking hazards. So they'll get their own little pack of Baby Mum Mums, tied up with a bow and tag that reads, "Hey, Baby!"

I sign each one, "Love, Nugget" but I don't write the recipient's name on it. This might seem impersonal, but a moms' group is a fluid thing, especially in winter. Cold and flu season and toddlers who pitch hour long tantrums about outerwear means that the RSVPs can change from 40 kids down to 12 or the other way around. The no-name arrangement allows me some flexibility when some kids skip the party at the last minute and others fill in their spots.

Do you have any creative Valentine's plans?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The more you know...

Nugget (speaking to stuffed guinea pig): Stay in school, study hard, and stay off drugs. And then you can ride in a Sikorsky (helicopter). I will give drive you to school in that Sikorsky. And then we'll ride in a white and silver car.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Todos juntos

Last month, the Nugget watched Grammy print photos from her compact printer. He watched in slack-jawed fascination as the paper slid out, first yellow, then red, then a full color photo. This week, he requested a small piece of paper from my notepad. He scribbled on it with a pencil, then slid it slowly under his calendar, making a low "Schzzz," sound and retracted it...once, twice, three times. Then he exclaimed, "Look Mommy! It's me, Santa, and Baby Cabbage!"
The Nugget has a Handy Manny doll but prefers to call him Handy Mandy or Handy Manatee. "I'm gonna play with you, Handy Manatee. We work together, todos juntos!"
Today when I went to get the Nugget in the morning, he greeted me with a squeak. "I'm a guinea pig, Mom! And this is guinea pig's Giraffe. Look, guinea pig is scampering!" And he slam-crawled (he slaps the floor ferociously with his hands and knees - not sure how he doesn't get bruises) across the room repeatedly, squeaking.

The fork in the road

Since we had our disruption last month, just before the holidays, we pledged to give ourselves a little time to grieve, think, pray, and just enjoy the holidays with the Nugget. I felt frozen to the spot, like I couldn't choose the next step, couldn't even see through the fog.

While we were planning our adoption with K, I actually begged Hubby to let me stop and just stay a happy family of 3 if it didn't work out. He agreed that we could stop. At the time, we believed it would work out of course, but I needed a plan B. I didn't think I would be strong enough to take another step if this child were to make a third hole in my heart instead of filling the second bedroom upstairs.

Weeks later, we looked at each other and agreed that although it would be nice to walk away, we aren't done yet. Turns out we are gluttons for punishment, and I have found more strength (or lunacy) than I ever dreamed possible. There's a child who comes to me in my dreams, and I can't give up on him/her yet. We are going to stay in the local agency's waiting pool with some stricter parameters, and we're going to be trained for the state's foster-to-adopt program. We are going to pray over any/every call we get and when one feels right, we're going to put the opposite program on hold and focus on that child. I know in this choose-your-own-adventure story, loss lurks around every corner. But around the right corner is the child meant for our family.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow Day

About a month ago, friends and family started emailing and calling about the snow. Are you ok? Are you snowed in? Your city is on the news! That week, it had been snowing every day, but we had only about a foot on the ground, and the streets were completely cleared and salted by our amazing road crews. I couldn't even understand why this was newsworthy. I told everyone it was nothing, that it was just our normal Midwest winter snowfall.

Now, we have THE LAKE EFFECT SNOW. 24 inches and it's still falling, 2-3 inches each hour. I love it until I have to venture out for groceries. It's the stuff snow days and winter dreams are made of. Incredibly, there are plenty of area businesses still open today. We won't be enjoying any of them as the plow hasn't come to our street yet. But I have hot coffee in my mug, our power is blessedly on (for now), a few meals stocked in the freezer so I can delay a grocery run, and the best little helper in the world.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Belated Co-worker Christmas gifts

Have you seen those mini glass ornaments on sale and wonder what you can do with them? Snatch up a couple boxes while they're 75% off and hide them away with your holiday supplies for next year! Here's what I made for Hubby's co-workers last month.

1/2 dozen candy cane cookies in a cello bag, matched with skinny satin ribbon (usually 2 for $1 at JoAnn Fabrics), and a mini ornament.

To add the ornament to your bow, make the first knot, slip the ornament onto the one strand of the ribbon, and tie your bow on top of it. The recipient will be able to pull one end of the ribbon and the ornament will slide off easily.

If you want to add a gift tag hanging under the ornament, remember to write on the tag first! Then make the first knot, slip on the tag, then the ornament, and finish with the bow.

The Gift Closet - 2011 Kids' Birthdays

Here's what I'm stocking in my gift stash for 2011. The first 3 are mainly to send to our out of state friends/family, so I keep them small and light to save on shipping costs.

1. The same personalized snack bags I gave out in 2010, for all the '10 babies :) Scored a bulk discount from the seller.

2. Enamelware cups for the 2-3 year olds. Bonus - my friend's daughter attends a Montessori school, and this company will give the school a portion of my purchase when I enter their code.

3. A smencil and a mini notebook for the 4+. I saved by purchasing a pack of Smencils with a Borders coupon, then I divvy them up one per kiddo. I keep my eye out at Target and CVS for multipacks of flat notebooks on sale and if the graphics on the cover aren't cute enough, I will cover them with scrapbook paper to match the kids' interests. This seems like a strange gift when you think about all the intricate toys they make for 4+, but I swear kids love having special book to write/draw in, and the scented pencil is a bonus.

4. Bonus on hand: I have a few sets of rock crayons and coloring books, some felt boards, magnetic puzzles, cute bath buddies (a loofah with an animal face) and bath salts, in case the Nugget's local friends invite him to their birthday parties.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tell me what you want to hear

When playing with his monster truck, the Nugget said, "Yeah, it's amazing....just the way you are." (That's a Bruno Mars reference for the Nugget, not Billy Joel or Mr. Rogers.)

Hubby and Nugget came into the room, and I greeted them, "Hi boys!" The Nugget replied, "Hi girl! Wanna do something with me?"

The Nugget's favorite singers right now are Katy Perry (especially "Firework", which he memorized the first time he heard it) and Lady Gaga. He also loves to belt out "Secrets" by OneRepublic.

I often call the Nugget "mini Will Ferrell". He hasn't seen anything the comic has done, but he has the same sense of slapstick, timing, and just plain goofiness. He can turn anything into a joke. Today, he went upstairs to fetch Giraffe and as he headed up the stairs, he turned to wave to us, "Bye Mom! Bye Blue! I be right back. Boom!" And all I could think about was Chazz Michael Michaels.

Overheard at church:
N: Daddy, did you get your hair cut?
D: Yes, before Christmas, I got it cut.
N: (feeling Daddy's head) It looks so nice!

N: Mommy, my feet are a present for you. You can unwrap them now.
M: Do you mean that you want me to take your shoes off?
N: Yes! Unwrap my feetsies, they are a present for you.
M: (taking off shoes) Wow, what a great present!
N: Yeah, the feet are a remote control train for you.
M: Ok...I'll pull on this lever (moving a toe), and maybe the train will move.
N: Chug-chug-chug....woo woo!