Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Wishes

On days the boys are gone, I find myself having to turn the TV on to fill the quiet. Unfortunately half the time it happens to be a kids show because I feel like I don't get to watch them enough. Today happens to be one of these days. The boys are doing their Christmas with their mother tonight, so since I have time I have a Christmas to remember that I want to share.

This holiday season was one Sean and I was not looking forward to. Sean had a two week layoff that was coming right before Christmas and from Thanksgiving on most days Sean was being sent home since there wasn't enough work for everyone. We had bills to pay and even with Sean working consistently we were barely scrapping by. I was terrified, with Sean not working we were going to fall behind, how were we expected to provide anything for Christmas morning?

The boys had things they had been asking for since September and I had a pretty decent mental list going for everything they had been wishing for from the Beyblades, to the Legos. Every time they would talk about Santa and what would be under the tree when they woke up Christmas morning. They would light up that it would break my heart. I didn't want to let them down.

Most people had already done their Christmas shopping and decorated their trees the while Sean and I were attempting to figure out what had happened with our last paycheck. There was nothing. The check we had been banking on coming in to pay our rent and buy our groceries before the holiday. No one had any answers for us. It was scary. Sean was starting to work on my sense of calm pacing the floor waiting for some kind of magical solution to materialize in front of us.

We received a phone call one day telling us that either Sean or I needed to go to the DHHS building. There was some kind of drive going on for the foster families in the area and it was only for a two hour window. It was a snow day and the roads were pretty slick so Sean walked down to the office since we practically live next to it. When he came back his arms were full of presents. I was so confused and a little stunned that Sean had carried so much stacked on top of his arms in the snow. The Knights of Columbus held a toy drive for the department and we were aloud to pick presents for both the boys. The boys oohed and ahhed over the stack of presents under the tree and begged to open them right away.We were over the moon excited. We had something for the kids to open Christmas morning and we loved it.

The next day there was a knock at the door, but when I went to answer it, no one was there. On the porch was a box of presents all wrapped with the boys names written on Christmas tags. Red and green paper encased the little gifts. To that unknown person who found it in their hearts to leave us such a surprise, you will never know how much it meant to us.

Come Christmas Eve morning we had more presents under the tree than I could have ever hoped for. We received more generosity from friends and family then we could have imagined. We were so caught up in the feeling of the holiday. It's one thing to know that Christmas is a time for family and the ones you love, to give selflessly without question, but to be the center of that giving is unbelievable. The boys kept climbing over the couches to gave at the present covered eyes. Their smiles and laughter was infectious and wonderful. We were all looking forward to my mother and brother's arrival for the holiday to complete the feeling that was going around. Everything was clean and shiny, dishes were washed and in the cabinets, laundry was folded and put away, floors swept and washed, as I said shiny.

When my mother arrived, we had to do so many trips up and down the stairs carrying bags of presents for the entire family. There wasn't any room in the house any longer for anything. There were bags filled with clothes to last them both the week, gift bags strewn about the kitchen, and a cooler filled with food in the laundry room (slightly backwards I know). My mother is one who tends to go all out for Christmas.

For the next few days of Christmas were magical. We had received so much kindness that I thought it would last a lifetime. It was the first time most of my family met the little ones. Oh they were met with so much love too. My Uncle spent much of Christmas day sitting with them while they ate and played cars with them when it was boring adults speaking of adult things. I remember growing up him being my siblings cohort against my parents. Any time we were told no we went to my Uncle. It's strange to see that with the boys. He feed them Oreo balls and chocolate. He picked up Markus when I told him to go in time out and coddled him, I had to leave the room to laugh. I didn't expect my extended family to have anything for Dominick and Markus since they weren't really my sons and we are not sure as to what will happen in the future. The boys were so shy, but were soon hugging everyone in the room finding out who was most likely to say yes and who would refer them back to me. It was heartwarming.

By the end of the celebrations we had bags and boxes filled with toys and candy for the boys. Sean and I spent an entire day sorting through everything deciphering what was worth unboxing right away for the kids to play with and what was going in storage to be used later. In the end we had three bags filled with toys to put away for later days. We had two boxes to go in the closet for rainy day activities. Lastly we had unboxed so many toys, adding batteries, setting up the race tracks, and piecing little parts together to ensure they were ready to be played with right away. Of course Sean and I had to test run some of the toys to ensure quality of use.

Sean's back at work now and I'm still keeping an eye out for our missing check. We have to get back to reality with all the concerns of how to make it through the month, but we can at least be happy with how much love we have for everyone that helped us make this a great year for these two little boys. Their happiness has been everything we ever wanted. It was the most beautiful Christmas ever. It was one we will not soon forget.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dommie and his black eye

As I've said, Sean and I recently became foster parents. Dominick and Markus have always been part of our lives since Sean is cousin's with their mom. We babysat the two of them since Dom was born. For the past seven months since our two little buds came to live with us, we've been pretty accident free. Of course a three year old and a five year old are bound to get hurt at some point. They are boys; it's expected, but we never had anything bigger than a scratch are a bruise the size of a thumb print.

This past Sunday we had my sister-in-law Britt and her son Braeden came over for dinner. Sean was in heaven, goofing off with all three of the boys, while Britt and I were wrapping a few of the Christmas presents for the kids. All of a sudden, Sean comes barreling into the room demanding me to check Dom's eye. He quickly explained that as he was spinning Markus the other two spun behind him. Now, Mister Dominator tends to be a bit accident prone. He's always falling or crashing into things. At the age of five, his balance has seemingly gotten worse. Dommie spun himself a little too crazy and instead of landing on his butt like usual, his feet came flying out from under him, pushing his body forward, and forcing the corner of his eye to collide with one of the bunk bed's trundle drawers square on the edge. Sean was concerned of how quickly the area began to swell. All I could do was stare at my poor little man's face, watching as the entire left side becomes more swollen and as the color became a deep shade of violet and navy.

Instantly I picked up Dom and started to panic. Up till now, he had been really cool about it. He had cried of course, but nothing major and was starting to calm down when I, of course, make the situation worse by suggesting we go to the ER. To any child who has gone to a doctor's office, the only thing their hearing when you say hospital is "I'm getting a shot". Instant waterworks all over again. Thankfully my sister lives on the first floor of the apartment building, so I hiked Dominick higher on my hip and carried him to down the stairs.  All I could do was keep telling him how brave he was and how proud I was of him for being strong.

My sister ended up telling me that bringing him to the hospital would have just been a waste of time. Dom's eye was still a clear white and although there was swelling it's hard to break or even chip the section around the eye. All in all he would have to deal with a nasty bruise and cut for Christmas. She sent me back up to my apartment with two ice packs, kids chew-able Tylenol  freeze pops, and advised me to not let him sleep for a few hours.

It sounds so silly now. Sean and I were freaking out more than Dommie had. He was so calm through the whole ordeal and the two of us were running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. It was a bit traumatic though. We work so hard to keep the boys safe and if we could we would keep them in a bubble. We are so scared to mess up or to looked at like we aren't doing our job well enough. We forget to remember that every parent goes through these moments of uncertainty and distress and the last time I checked good parents still have children with quite a few battle wounds. Just because our boys have scrapes and bruises doesn't mean we are doing anything wrong. If anything we are doing things right. Kids need to learn from they're mistakes and each boo we kiss has a story to tell. Dommie loved telling people what happened, that is before the tenth person to asked what happened. After he just was annoyed to have to retell the story over again.

We learn from the kids every day and I think it's safe to say we learnt we are good foster parents, not bad ones by any means.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hello there!

Well then, I think some introductions are in order. 

My name is Renee. I'm 22 years old and the third child born of four. I have two older sisters, Stephanie and Aurelie, and one little brother, Aaron.

I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world. Sean and I have known each other since childhood and have been together for six years and recently married last August.

We have two little kitties, whom we love dearly. they are now over a year old and the act just like any other 1 year old: loves attention and to play. Lucky and Levi are brothers that we adopted from the ASPCA November of 2011. We love them dearly.

Sean and I also recently became foster parents to our two little cousins, Dominick and Markus. Our lives are really hectic, but it's wonderful.

This blog is a glimpse into our family life and the struggles of two 22 year-olds with no parenting experience, attempting not to give these two little handsomes any future therapy sessions.

We are so happy and proud to share with you our different and interesting story about life throwing you some curve balls. If you had asked me two years ago where I thought I'd be right about now I would have told you starting a family with Sean, and where I would have been right this is definitely not what I though I would be doing.

...It's better.