July update

    On the 15th Bubba has officially been in care for 2 years. Please continue to pray that the right outcome comes out of all of this. I love my little buddy and want what is best for him.
    Princess’ dad got a job so I have her for the rest of the summer so he doesn’t have to get childcare.
    I have had the girls 5 months and I definitely feel like I have this parenting 4 kids thing down.
    We went on vacation to Colorado. It was a blast. I should probably make a list of what to do in Steamboat. I’m hoping we will be going back this year for Christmas.
    I have started emailing with Curlys mom. I am so proud of everything she has done so far. We have a great dialogue back and forth and I am so thankful that she sees me as a mentor and not a threat. Reunification goal is hopefully before Thanksgiving.
    I will have 7 (or 8 depending on the week) visits between my 3 children starting in a couple weeks. Like I’m glad that visits are increasing but it seemed to happen all at once.
    I only have 15 more days of Summer vacation. Where did the time go?
    I have been working hard planning Princess and Bubbas joint birthday party. It will be Batman and Harley Quinn themed and at a water park.
    What is on your fall to do list? I know it’s a little early but I am considering what to do since it all goes by so fast.
    We have already decided on costumes this year. We are going to be Zoo animals and since Pearls birthday is Halloween we are going to have a zoo themed party. Anyone have any ideas?

June update

  1. School is officially over and I have 2 months off work!
  2. I wish I could be home with my kids all year long. I love spending time with them.
  3. Any ideas of things to do around Chicago land area?
  4. Bubba and Curly’s goals this summer is to write their name and and learn their letters and numbers. Any fun ways to do that?
  5. Bubba has been through a lot lately but the hitting is getting worse and he ignoring directions. Any advice on how to stop hitting and to get him to listen?
  6. Princess is reading like crazy. Any good book series for an almost 11 year old who loves fantasy?
  7. Angel is getting more and more of a personality. She loved copying the older ones and tries to do things they can do like put on her own shoes, get her own juice, etc.
  8. We have a trip planned to Colorado at the end of July. Any ideas of what to do around steamboat springs?
  9. Princess and Bubba will have their joint birthday party at a water park in town. They are so excited and I’m just trying to think of ways to save money.
  10. I will start blogging more in September. What do you want to read about?

May update

(Sorry I forgot to submit this)

  1. I turned 27 this month. My children and friends made of very special for me.
  2. For my birthday I got a bike with a trailer and seat on the back so I can bike with all my children. We all love it.
  3. I am almost done with work (I am done June 15)
  4. I am planning a road trip this summer with all 4 kids and my parents. We are very excited.
  5. Curly and Bubba had their last day of preschool. Curly will be going to summer school this year.
  6. Princess is still being home schooled but will most likely go back to public school next year.
  7. Bubba is learning more and more letters based on us giving all the letters meanings.
  8. Angel is talking more and more. She says banana, apple, hi, bye, mama, papa, nana, bubbas name, up, done, and puppy.
  9. Curly is starting to eat a variety of foods. Does anyone have any good recipes for picky eaters?
  10. I will have my best friends daughter 5 days a week and Princess 3 days a week. Any ideas of summer activities.

April Update

  1. Angels birthday party was very low key like her. She ate the smash cake very gingerly and was more interested in the wrapping paper then the presents.
  2. Zs birthday party was a whole different story. Like him it was loud and crazy and he ate his cake like a wild man. His parents rented a bounce house and we had lots of people over. I was very excited to be a part of it.
  3. Angel is walking all the time now. Watching her walk around the zoo was adorable.
  4. Curly had an adorable little spring concert at school and she loved the dancing and movement.
  5. Bubba can ride a bike with training wheels (vs the trike he is used to).
  6. Bubba can write his name all by himself!!!!!
  7. Curly is doing a great job learning how to ride a trike.
  8. Now that it is nice out we are outside all the time. I love the fresh air.
  9. I am reading the Selection Series (after a student recommended it) and I absolutely love it.
  10. I truly feel like I am settling down and getting the hang of three kids.

10 Ways to help your former foster children’s parents after reunification

I miss Z terribly. But at the same time I am so excited for his parents and so proud of how hard they worked. They still send pictures and I get to see him. Though I don’t know how long that will last I appreciate the fact that right now they are making his transition home easier on all of us (especially Bubba)

  1. Let them know their child’s schedule/likes and dislikes/etc. It will help the child transition and the parents will most likely be thankful. Zs parents asked me for all that information.
  2. Send their child with as much as you can. I’m not saying you should spend a lot of money or anything. However, when I knew Z was most likely going home I spent his stipend on clothes the next two sizes up and toys he will be ready for in a couple months.
  3. Let them know they can contact you with any questions. And don’t judge them for the questions they ask lol.
  4. Let them know that you consider them family and will support them. A lot of families part of the foster care don’t have the support they need. Offer to be that support.
  5. Offer to babysit. It will give them a break and you get baby cuddles.
  6. Invite them to family events. Zs parents came to our family Christmas. We all got to get see Z and his parents felt a sense of community.
  7. Continue to meet up with them in the community. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting them to your home, meet other ways.
  8. Be a mentor to them when it comes to parenting. Though I am not an expert on parenting at all. I have noticed that Zs parents ask me a lot of parenting questions and instead of judging them for not knowing, I support them.
  9. Help them find community resources. Sometimes there are resources out there that they don’t know about yet.
  10. Pray for them all

10 lazy things for your elf on the shelf to do

Things your elf on the shelf can do that don’t require you to clean up

  1. Have them read a book
  2. Literally just sit them on a shelf
  3. Have them bring a note from Santa with a good deed your child should do
  4. Have them bring a small gift
  5. Have them sliding down the banister
  6. Have them sleeping in a doll bed
  7. Have them making your child’s lunch (I saw this on Facebook and thought it was genius)
  8. Sit them on top of a fan or chandelier
  9. Put them in your stockings (possibly with a little treat)
  10. Have them write on your whiteboard. (A lot less messy than a mirror)

10 business ideas all moms would love

Some of these may already exist and if they do please send me links.

  1. Drive thru grocery store. Not delivery. But an actual drive thru. Like when I run out of something and don’t want to get the kids out of the car.
  2. In Home nail/hair service. Okay I’m pretty sure this exists but probably only for people who can afford to spend a lot of money. I would love to get my hair cut in the comfort of my own home while my children run around like crazy people.
  3. In door play land. Alright I know these exist too. However there aren’t enough of them that aren’t attached to a fast food restaurant. It would even be nice to have them in actual restaurants.
  4. Baby swimming lessons where you don’t have to get in the water. Sure it’s great bonding time but sometimes I don’t feel like it. It would be nice if they had enough instructors to take them all in.
  5. Doctors who come to your home. I think a few of these still exist but it would be nice if a lot more doctors did this. (Oh and had more appointments after 3 for working parents).
  6. Places for foster children to have visits. I am not talking about a room in the DCFS office but a place that has age appropriate toys, cribs for babies, changing tables, toddler toilets, and maybe even a kitchen to cook. Throwing kids and parents in a room isn’t giving them real family time (and don’t even get me started about McDonald’s).
  7. Family restrooms with changing tables and toddler potty’s. EVERYWHERE. And not just one.
  8. A company that does a buy one donate one to a kid in foster care. I can’t figure out what we would sell yet. But there are a lot of companies that help out other countries what about kids in our own country?!?!
  9. 24/7 daycare The daycare director where all my kids have gone was telling me about how she would love to open a 24/7 daycare for parents who have night shifts.
  10. Childcare in hotels I would love if more places did this. Especially for single parents traveling alone.

Anyone have anymore?

My 10 Favorite Family Traditions

These are traditions that I love and that i want to share with my children.

  1. Making gingerbread houses on Thanksgiving. I’m not sure when this tradition started but we love it. It is kind of a competition to see how weird our house me can be.
  2. Making my Grandmas recipe for apple, pumpkin, and cherry pie. Pumpkin is my favorite though
  3. Cutting down our own Christmas tree. Though I can’t have a live tree because of my allergies, we still help my parents cut their tree down every year.
  4. Breakfast with Santa. This is an awesome tradition. The kids love seeing Santa, there is no line since we are called up by table, and I get to eat pancakes I didn’t make.
  5. Sending out Christmas cards. This one was a hard one for me when Princess was little. We always sent out Christmas cards and I wanted to include her even though she wasn’t officially part of the family. These days I just take pictures of me and all the kids and we send out cards to friends and family. Even if the kids won’t be living in my home next year they live with me now.
  6. Going to Zoo lights. We haven’t done this since I was little. We are going to start this up again since I’m a member of the zoo now.
  7. Going to Mass at the Old Church. It is this beautiful chapel where I work. My grandma loved it and I always feel like she is there with me when we are there.
  8. Going to look at Christmas lights. After mass we alway drive around to look at Christmas lights. My dad always finds some to surprise us.
  9. Getting pajamas for Christmas Eve. This is a tradition I love. I started having the kids and I have matching pajamas, it is a lot of fun.
  10. Eating French toast for breakfast Christmas morning. I love this tradition. However, my parents always made us eat before we could open presents and I do it backwards.

10 Ways to Teach Young Kids to be Thankful

Bubba is at the age where he understands more about the Holidays. We have been working hard this month on teaching him to be Thankful for things.

  1. Teach them to say thank you. This is the first step to teaching children to be thankful. We are even working with Z on saying thank you in sign language.
  2. Thank them. Show them that you are thankful for them and what they do for the family.
  3. Model being thankful. I say things like I am thankful for Bubba, baby Z, hot chocolate, etc.
  4. Talk about what you are thankful during dinner. This helps me model it but it allows him to practice and he even says funny things like hamburgers and hotdogs.
  5. Prayer. Praying to God and thanking him for what we are thankful for is a great way to model being thankful.
  6. Go on a nature walk. Teach kids to be thankful for what is in nature.
  7. Have them do something for their siblings. And teach them not to expect anything in return.
  8. Have them pack up some toys to give to kids in need. This helps clean out your house for Christmas as well.
  9. Make food in a food kitchen. If your children are old enough.
  10. Have them do chores (and thank them for it instead of pay them). This might seem like a weird one but it shows kids to appreciate all the work that is done in the house.