10 things that happened in January

  1. Our Hawaii trip was amazing. Even though we had a hard time getting home due to a flight being cancelled and spending 12 hours in an airport with two kids.
  2. Z man has had 2 sleepovers with us. We absolutely love seeing him and I love seeing how far his parents have come.
  3. Z got to play in the snow for the first time ever and it was adorable. His parents sent me tons of videos.
  4. Bubba’s case has made no progress in Months and we keep having court rescheduled. I hate being in limbo and having no idea what is going on.
  5. I posted on my Twitter about some problem me with Bubba’s visits. He has been missing school due to visits but hopefully that will be fixed soon.
  6. We saw Diva and she is doing well. She is so happy to see us.
  7. Bubba has learned to count to 19 and write some letters. We are working on identifying letters and and writing his name still.
  8. Princess is loving homeschool. She is spending a lot of time on IXL and we have seen a lot of growth in her writing and math.
  9. I am going through some pretty exciting changes but I don’t want to to blog about it yet.
  10. I have decided to step back from blogging for a while. I will post a monthly update. Maybe eventually I will start back up again but blog only once a week.

My 10 favorite family friendly things to do on the big island of Hawaii

I love the big island. It isn’t as crowded as some other places. We stay in Waikoloa (20/30 minutes away from Kona). It is a small little resort area that has beaches, golf, shopping, and peace.

  1. A trip to the volcano. I loved this place as a kid and the kids loved it too. Princess learned a lot.
  2. Waipio Valley This is an absolutely beautiful place. You can ride horses at the bottom which is beautiful. I have also hiked down and up but I would highly recommend bringing lots of water and not doing this with small children.
  3. Akaka falls this is another beautiful place but it is a hike. We did take Bubba and Princess on this hike though and they loved it. I have heard there is also ziplining here
  4. Snorkeling- there are many places to snorkel off the beach or you can take a boat trip
  5. Kona- I love Kona. We usually have one day just walking around, going to the farmers market and eating at Bubba Gumps.
  6. Kings shops the King’s shop has a lot of good shopping as well as kid activities daily like ukulele lessons, hula lessons, and lei making. There is also another mall with more shops (called the queens shops) and a theater across the street.
  7. Luau though there are a bunch of places to go to a luau. This is by far my favorite. P.s. I have been madly in love with fire juggler since I was 12 and he was one of the regular hula dancers.
  8. Hilton Waikoloa Okay yes this is a Hotel. But this is the prettiest hotel ever. It’s beautiful to walk around and see all the art work and sculptures. It also has a boat and tram that takes you around the propriety. It’s got a lot of different animals and a public beach. Their lagoon and pools are for hotel guest only but sometimes you can purchase wristbands.
  9. Dolphin quest this is where Princess swam with the dolphin and loved it. It also happens to be st the Hilton. You get up close and personal and can kiss and hug it. I posted pictures on Instagram when I have a chance.
  10. Have fun and relax with your family!!!

10 goals for 2018

  1. Reunify more families 🙂
  2. Read 12 books (any suggestions?
  3. Save more money for retirement.
  4. Get Princess caught up in school
  5. Spend more 1 on 1 time with princess
  6. Get Bubba to write his name
  7. Get Bubba to know his shapes
  8. Help Bubba learn all his letters
  9. Help Bubba be potty trained at night.
  10. Go on at least one more family vacation (maybe including a train)

10 best memories of 2017

2017 was a good year. Here are some of my favorite memories.

  1. Going to the water park for New Years. Diva and Bubba loved it!
  2. Going to six flags for forth of July! It was a lot of fun and Princess and her family also happened to go so we could all spend time together.’
  3. Going on a road trip with Bubba and princess. Though I was nervous to go on a 10 day road trip as the only adult it sure was a blast and the kids will never forget it.
  4. Going to 2 drive in movie theaters this year (one while on our trip). The kids loved both! We need to do it more often.
  5. A joint birthday party for Bubba and Princess at the gymnastics place. Both kids enjoyed it a lot and they loved sharing their birthday party.
  6. Stating my 5th year of teaching. I absolutely love my students and I can’t believe I have been there that long.
  7. Getting the honor to take care of baby Z for a while and send him lots of love
  8. Having Baby Z get reunified and then having him and his parents continue to keep us as part of their lives. This is why I foster!
  9. Going to Hawaii!! It’s been a fun trip so far and we still have a couple days.
  10. Every moment I get to spend with Princess and Bubba

Weekly update December 31

  1. Bubba got what he wanted from Santa! A spider man bike.
  2. I got an Apple Watch! Yay! I love it so far.
  3. The kids also got me a new winter coat and boots because I needed some. They picked out and wrapped it. They loved the whole thing.
  4. Christmas dinner was amazing. Z and his parents stayed for hours and it was great. I loved being able to see him for Christmas.
  5. On the 27th we had our annual friends-mas. It was great to have all my best friends at my house eating and laughing.
  6. We went on two planes for a total of 10 hours. The kids were great. It was just a long trip.
  7. We are in Hawaii!!! My parents have a home here and come atleast once a year but I haven’t been in 8 year. It is Bubba and princess’ first time.
  8. Kids are having a blast swimming and exploring the island. I love seeing it through their eyes.
  9. Today Princess swam with a dolphin today and loved it.
  10. Happy New year! We are celebrating with Chicago and then going to bed.

10 tips to have a smooth plane trip

I am on a plane today with my parents, Bubba, and Princess. Here are some tips to make the process smooth.

  1. Bring 2 changes of clothes for everyone. You never know what could happen.
  2. Bring toys and movies they have never played with before. If the toys are new (or new to them), it will make them more intrigued to play with them for a longer time (at least you hope)
  3. Bring a stroller. Seriously. Even though Bubba rarely is in a stroller, I have brought an umbrella stroller to make going from gate to gate easier.
  4. Try to reduce the number of bags you bring. We have one checked bag and two carry ons between the three of us.
  5. Bring eye masks and neck pillows (if they will help your kids sleep)
  6. Have newly potty trained kids in pull-ups. Bubba will be wearing pull-ups for the whole day: Even though he has not had an accidents in weeks, I don’t want to set him up for failure.
  7. Bring games and movies everyone will enjoy. Having two kids with a 7 year age difference can he hard. I always try to make sure there are things we can all do together when they both want my attention.
  8. Bring lots and lots of snacks. Also try to buy food at a restaurant in the airport so that you can eat more then snacks.
  9. Go to the bathroom before getting on the plane. I try to avoid airport bathrooms at all costs. There is no way to do it this trip but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.
  10. Relax Traveling with kids is stressful but you are making memories with your kids. Don’t worry about what others think.

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

Week of 12/24

  1. I am on winter break!!! Yay!
  2. It was a very rough week and I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for people (especially my kids)
  3. Bubba has an ear infection. Poor baby. However I only knew about it because he had a bad cough, he never complained of pain. What a tough cookie.
  4. We had princess for Thursday and Friday. We exchanged gifts and the kids saw Santa. I wish I could post the picture because it looks adorable.
  5. Princess got a chrome book for Christmas. Anyone have any game or app suggestions for chrome books?
  6. Princess dyed the bottom of her hair blue, it looks amazing.
  7. We saw Diva Friday night and there Mom. The kids saw Santa and had Christmas with their mom, it was a lot of fun.
  8. I saw Hamilton Saturday. oh em gee!
  9. Tonight we went to church and followed our Christmas Eve traditions. I didn’t get to celebrate last year.
  10. Tomorrow is Christmas yay! Z and his parents are coming to our Christmas dinner.

Weekly update December 17

  1. I shattered the screen to my phone getting out of my car. Ugh
  2. I saw Star Wars Saturday! Yay!
  3. Bubba is having horrible night terrors lately. I think it’s because he is alone in his room. Anyone have any tips?
  4. Bubba can trace his name! Yay!
  5. Bubba had his winter party at school and my mom was his room mom. I love that my parents are so involved.
  6. Court dates are never ending for Bubba but nothing seems to ever happen. His GAL finally is doing his job though so YAY. Please pray that the whatever is best for these four children is what will happen.
  7. I saw Baby Z. His parents invited me, my parents, and Bubba to a breakfast with Santa. Omg he reached out to me and it melted my heart. His parents are doing so well.
  8. Baby Zs parents asked me to be his God Mother. I melted. It was so sweet.
  9. Baby Z now walks when you hold his hands. He has grown so much!
  10. Only 4 more days of work for me!