Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bunk Bed Dilemma

I am facing a dilemma. To buy a bunk bed or not. Wisconsin states that foster children must be 4 years old to sleep in a top bunk. There are no rules for non-foster children. I have always told the kids that everyone has to follow foster care rules whether they are a forever kid or not. The only exception is that Jacob still co-sleeps with me while foster children are not allowed to sleep in my bed.

Jacob turned 4 last September and so he is now old enough to sleep in a top bunk. He wants a bunk bed more than anything although I'm not sure he will actually sleep in it more than one night. M can handle the ladder so it won't be a huge safety hazard if he decides to climb up it. I would like to have a bunk bed so that it is there when Jacob decides he is ready to sleep in it. M is quickly outgrowing his toddler bed and I really think he only has a few more months before he will be too big for it. I don't want to move him to the twin bed and then not have a bed for Jacob to sleep in. Even if he refuses to use it, Jacob needs to have his own bed in the house.

So here is where the debate comes in.

1) Do I buy the bunk bed now for when Jacob is ready or wait until M really needs a new bed and Jacob decides to sleep in his own bed every night.

2) Do I buy the bunk beds that separate into twin beds in case they decide they don't want bunks anymore?

3) Do I buy the bunk beds with the slanted ladder that take more room and don't separate but would be safer climbing up and down? These beds are also more expensive.

It's important to me that the boys share a room right now. There are two big reasons for this. One is that I think it is good for bonding. The second is so that I can make the playroom into a spare room (or bedroom for a third kid) when the kids are both old enough that I feel comfortable allowing them to play in the basement without me right there. It will be awhile before I trust them enough to not be within sight or at least easy access but it won't be much longer. I can trust Jacob downstairs now and hope to be able to trust M in another year if not sooner.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Train and Garden Show

Jacob, M and I attended the holiday train and garden show today. It was free from 10 to noon today and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a cold winter day than in the gardens. The boys both loved the trains and the fish. I enjoyed to tropical enviornment and the flowers. I was tempted to head off to Milwaukee to check out the domes but controlled myself. We went shopping instead and I spent more money than I planned. I did get some new shirts for work and some socks for the boys. All things we needed.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Photos

Here are the pictures from our Christmas celebrations. We had a wonderful Christmas season. It started with the kids performance at the daycare on Tuesday. Thursday we made Christmas cookies and then spent Friday and Saturday with my parents and brother.

Fire Fighter Christmas

Jacob and M continue to be obsessed with anything to do with fire fighters. M loves to throw his hands in the air and loudly announce "Super Rescue on my way!" This year I tried to diversify the toys a little bit but we still ended up with a lot of fire fighters and fire trucks. Jacob even chose another firestation and fire truck last night to spend his Christmas money on. So here are the totals.

3- small monster truck style fire trucks.
2- large fire trucks.
4- fire fighters
1- fire station
1- medium fire truck
1- fire truck floor puzzle.
1- shirt with a fire truck on it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope all of your Christmas wishes come true. Mine have started already. It began on Wednesday when I made my first tres leches cake. It is a cake that is popular in Mexico and Latin America. I was originally going to make it for a Christmas celebration with P but had to postpone it so Jacob, M and I ate it. It was delicious. Not perfect but delicious.

Yesterday I made a big breakfast for the kids and me. We don't get to stay home and eat breakfast very often. The boys get breakfast at the babysitter's house or daycare and I usually just have a bowl of cereal at work. Yesterday we had scrambled eggs and hash browns.

Jacob and I spent the afternoon making Christmas cookies. They turned out great and Santa ate two when he visited last night. M took an extra long nap yesterday so we saved a few cookies for him to decorate today. Then it was off to church and dinner with my parents and brother.

Today the boys are spending some time watching cartoons and playing with their new toys. Jacob got the fire truck he was dreaming about and M got a giant crane. They immediately traded and are playing nicely with each other. Wusha is tearing apart the old wrapping paper and boxes and making the kind of mess only a 7 month old puppyu is capable of.

Later today we will head to my parents house for a nice dinner and more presents. It is these types of mornings that I really remember how much I love being a parent and how long I waited for these mornings. The joy on the boys faces as Jacob exclaimed, "Santa really does like me!" Yes Jacob. Santa does like you. She also loves you more than you will ever understand.

M had a court hearing that went better than anyone expected. It now looks like his adoption will be finalized in about a year instead of two years. Praise God! Miracles do happen. He will soon be a forever member of my family and never have to worry about being hurt again. That is a miracle by itself.

I also received all but one of my grades yesterday. They are as good as I had hoped for. Just one more semester before I can get my social work certification and hopefully get a job (if not sooner). Then I can decide if I want to continue to go to school full-time or cut back to part-time. For now, I'm just going to be thankful that one semester is behind me and was a success.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tent City?

No! It's a firestation city! Complete with sleep overs and "super fast" responses. Or as M yells, "I'm on my way!"

Recent Highlights

Winter is here and Christmas is only a few days away. I have been extremely busy with the end of the school semester, my internship and trying to spend time with my children. It hasn't been easy but the semester ended last week, the Christmas presents are bought, the laundry is closer to being under control again and life is a little more relaxing. Here are some recent highlights as well as some planned activities for the next couple of days.

- We received about 17 inches of snow the second week of December. It took several hours to dig ourselves out including having the city move some very large tree limbs from the end of the driveway. The picture above is from this storm.

- Jacob and M have visited Santa Clause. Jacob wants a fire truck with a firefighter. M wants a police station but I heard Santa ran out and has another special gift in mind for him.

- The school semester ended and I passed all of my classes (I think). I was able to get just over 240 hours in at my internship and loved every minute of it. I really hope I can get a job in child welfare soon. I would love to go part time for the next 2 years instead of full-time next year and be able to relax in a job I love.

- We have a tentative contract agreement. If it is voted for, I won't have to quit my job. I am relieved but also still looking for child welfare jobs.

- We are going to try to make a tres leches cake for a Christmas dinner tomorrow. We are having a miniture Christmas celebration with P tomorrow night and I wanted a desert from her Mexican culture. I heard these cakes are delicious so I am looking forward to trying it.

- Jacob and M have their Christmas concert tonight. They have been practicing their songs for the past several weeks so I know it will be wonderful. There is something about watching my children perform that makes me so proud I want to cry. I never knew my kids could affect me this way.

- I finished M's first photo montage. I can't post it here yet. His adoption process is just beginning and it will be months before it is final (maybe over a year). I will introduce him to all of my cyber friends then. I am just excited to have his "Welcome to the family" DVD finished. Unless something tragic and unexpected happens, he is here forever and I couldn't be happier about it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa's Watching

Jacob saw Santa shortly after Thanksgiving and has taken his promise to Santa very seriously. Here is how the conversation went.

S: Have you been a good boy this year?
J: Sometimes I'm good and sometimes I'm bad.
S: Well, you better be good until Christmas so I can come.
J: Okay.

I didn't actually hear this conversation but Jacob told me about it afterwards. He is now very concerned about what Santa will think. Here are some of the ways Jacob is trying to impress Santa.

-Friday night Matthew left some megablocks out in the living room. While I was in the shower yesterday, Jacob threw open the door and announced that Santa will be upset if there are mega blocks on the floor when he gets here. I promised we would clean them up. He then insisted that we vacuum and shampoo the carpets for Santa also.

- Jacob wanted to know where the "magic fireplace" would come down when Santa arrived. I told him I did not know since I'm not awake when Santa comes. He thought it was probably by the window and Christmas tree. He was then concerned about finding the perfect place for his stocking.

- Jacob has informed me that we have to leave cookies and milk out for Santa. I don't think he realizes the dogs will probably eat the cookies long before Santa arrives.

- Jacob will sleep in his own bed (he usually refuses and sleeps in mine) on Christmas eve. That way he won't get in trouble with Santa that night. He will go back to sleeping in mine the next night (despite my suggestions that maybe he could just move to his bed permanently at that time).

Christmas is still 5 days away and the anxiety and excitement is building. The house must be perfect for Santa. I am sure he will be happy to help clean that day. Unfortunately, I will lose all Santa leverage on Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Job Search Begins

I have started a job search. I received notice yesterday that they are laying off 18 second and third shift employees and I will be forced to move to second or third shift. I don't know how long the layoffs will last but second and third shift won't work for me long-term. I do not have child care during those hours and there is no licensed care in my community after 6 pm. I don't mind working some evening hours even a few days a week but I can't be out until midnight or 7 AM on a daily basis.

I will be changing shifts on January 1 until either the layoffs end or I can find a new job. I qualify for a training social work certificate now and am only 5 months away from the permaenent certificate. I will do what I have to do to take care of my children and not endanger M's placement and potential adoption. Please send good thoughts and prayers that I can either convince the department that moving me to 2nd or 3rd shift will hurt my family or that I find a new job soon.