Update on the Ortega crew

It has been a hot minute since I have sat down and wrote a blog. I still write side notes when an idea comes to my mind but have you ever been so busy in life that your hobbies are pushed to the side. These past three months I felt like I needed to find myself again. I love to stay busy, and if I am not working, I feel like I am going crazy. Besides that, I wanted to update everyone how we have been. Life has been fantastic and emotional and crazy busy! We have finally adopted our oldest daughter. I will have a blog soon all about her adoption, but please welcome Miss Emily Elizabeth May Ortega. It is crazy to think I am officially a momma. I know many may think you are already a momma, no guys! I am finally a momma! No one can take her from me; no one can make any decisions for her other than her father and I. y’all my name is now on a freaking birth certificate, this feeling is amazing. Emily is thrilled to have a forever home and no more foster care finally. She is struggling a little in school, but I feel like she had a hard time transitioning from a semester of homeschooling to public. In homeschooling, I pretty much had to start at 3rd and 4th-grade levels because she moved so much in the past three years there wasn’t much learning retained. I think that homeschooling benefited by allowing me to help her reach the grade she was supposed to be, but public school is helping her build those social skills she needed. SInce being in public school math and science has been her struggle but we are happy she is progressing. We have also noticed she is communicating with her peers in a healthy way. SHe no longer fights or bullies kids either, so I have seen her grow so much this past year it makes me so proud of her. She has changed so much to better herself, and it is paying off. I believe she sees it too and is much happier with who she is.

20180410_105847.jpg
Our two middle sons will be reunified with their biological grandmother here shortly. We have a great bond with their grandmother, and I feel like that is helping with all those crazy emotions you get when children are reunifying. We have had our boys for almost a year! They are the sweetest and so polite, I see bright futures for both of them. Our oldest son is starting to open up more and more. I am noticing his change, and it melts my heart that he is more optimistic as the time goes on. Our youngest son is a little stinker and always joking with us. He enjoys coming up to me and massaging my head. He will let me know every time that every momma deserves to relax, and I agree with him 100%. They are just the best, and I can’t wait to continue to watch them grow.
Now for the littlest of them all. Our eight-month-old daughter who keeps me on my toes. We went to court mother has relinquished her rights. So next step is the BIP, Full disclosure, and Adoption! Her mother and I have a great relationship, and I feel what she did was so brave and selfless. She is giving this sweet child a second chance at life. We have had Baby K since she was five days old so of course, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to be her forever family. As she is growing and learning I am loving her little but feisty personality. She is such a happy and loveable baby. She is starting to roll over and is realizing her body can go places. It is the cutest thing when she discoveries new things. She loves to eat; we have been doing the baby led weaning since she was three months old and it has been perfect. I plan on writing a blog about this too. She is allergic to tomatoes and hates! Bananas. We also learned that she is allergic to sunscreen. So if any of you mommas have any suggestions to protect her from the sun let me know. I tried five different brands so far, we have done a patch test before making that mistake again, and all of them create a rash. So as of right now, we care many hats, sunglasses, and umbrellas when we are outside. Thankfully she loves to wear her hat and sunglasses. I can’t wait to share the adorable photos once she is officially an Ortega.
I decided to take an anxiety and stress class. It is a ten-week class we are now on week 8. Now going into this class, I had never thought that I had experienced anxiety, the stress, of course, anxiety not even. I thought anxiety is when people couldn’t mentally pull it together get through a situation. Wrong and so thankful I decided to take this class. It has taught me how to prevent anxiety outbreaks with kids who are in care. How to identify triggers and how to help them through an anxiety attack. How to avoid stress and ways to cope. I took the class because I wanted to be able to help my kids more when it came to this. At the same time I realized there was a lot I needed to do in my life as well. My oldest daughter and mother have joined me in this class as well, and it has helped our relationships grow. I would suggest that if anyone deals with anxiety or stress to attend a class. On to my wonderful husband, he is studying for a test and will be taking the test soon. Updates on that once he is ready to announce it. I am so proud of him. HE supports us and takes care of us so well. I appreciate him so much; he tries so hard to get off of work to pick up the kids from school. That may seem silly to some of y’all, but he understands that loading three kids all in car seats to do pick up can become a pain. Especially if they have fallen asleep! Don’t wake the kids if you don’t have too. I only work Wednesdays and Saturdays, so he does go above and beyond to provide for us, and I can’t thank him enough for that. I never thought I would be a stay at home mom. We would joke that he would be the stay at home dad because I loved to work and was not about to stop what I loved to do. Now looking back it all fell into place. Julian can grow in his career and do what he enjoys every day. I can experience motherhood whole heartily. It has been fantastic watching our children grow, and for that, I will forever be thankful.
I am surprised I was able to write this much. Our youngest daughter is learning that mommy’s hip isn’t where she always needs to be. So she has played this long for me to finish up the blog. I hope y’all enjoyed the update and looked out for more blogs to come. Thank you all and have a beautiful day!
-Momma K and the bunch
xoxo

A letter to our daughter’s mother: our adoption story.

We are approaching our adoption, and I am overwhelmed with so many emotions. This adoption has been a long-awaited moment, and we can’t wait to see what our future holds with our daughter. 
Throughout this whole process, it has been heavy in my heart to write to our daughter’s Biological mom. I know little about her but just want to thank her for giving our daughter life but Most importantly giving her a second chance in life.

To the wonderful woman who gave life to our daughter,
I just want you to know we are proud to call her our daughter. The beautiful gift we were very fortunate to receive, is telling me what a significant loss another woman experienced. I don’t mean that by any disrespect. You pushed aside your selfish acts to make sure she has a better future and with that shows how beautiful you truly are. Don’t think for a moment that she won’t know who you are and where she came from.
It takes a lot for someone to realize that this precious gift deserves the world. For whatever reason, no judgment on your part, you were unable to give this child the future they deserve. I just want you to know I can’t thank you enough for being brave and making sure your child’s future is going to be magical. I want you to know she is very loved and well taken care of. She has grown so much and is such a beautiful young lady. I appreciate that you carried this child under your heart and gave her life.
So please don’t feel ashamed or guilty because you gave her up for adoption. I speak of you with all the respect you deserve because you gave our daughter a second chance. You gave her life, and we thank you for that. I don’t want you to worry, her father and I will treasure and guard her with our lives. I will make sure she has the best opportunities in life.
We will honor the sacrifice you made when you made the impossible choice to give her up for adoption.
Thank you for this amazing child. No matter what she will know who you are and what brave choice you made and how much you love her for doing this.
Thank you and Take care.
Julian and Kristina Ortega

You are strong!

untitled

 

This past month has been a roller coaster, Mentally and physically speaking. Everyone always asks if you are “Okay?” I find that question becoming redundant. No, I am not okay, but yes I will eventually be okay. I know they ask out of concern, and it is much appreciated, but sometimes I just want a hug and someone to tell me it is going to be okay. This journey is challenging but worth every minute. Only takes some time to get back to feeling normal again and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I can tell you one thing is making time for yourself and family pay off in the long run. I want this blog to be about a few things this journey has taught u because I know when I am reading blogs I want to learn about how people dealt with certain situations because I could go through the same thing.

Oct 7th of this year, our middle daughter reunified with her aunt and uncle. It was a bittersweet moment for us. I knew her family is where she needs to be, but for the last eight months, I had watched this beautiful child become a beautiful little person. She has truly taught me so much as a mother but nothing prepares you for the unexpected.  We dealt with the death of her father and the separation of her older sister, during those months. Her older sister had to be placed in treatment once they both came into care. During that time I remember her older sister trying to break her ankles and feeling lost at what to do. I had never dealt with a child who was so angry. Once they admitted her sister to the hospital, I was sitting there talking to her and could see that deep down she just needed someone to be there for her. I stayed at the hospital with her for a whole week till they could get her into a mental hospital. I knew that she needed me and I needed her! She kept me distracted from one of the most heart breaking moments I had to deal with as a foster mom. It was a stressful week because we were also in the middle of transitioning our son back with his bio mom. One of the roughest weeks I have had since becoming a Foster Mom. I look back at that week and realize it taught me so much. I am strong, and I’m built for this Mom life.
I need to make sure I give it my all, for my kids! These kids come into care and have no idea what to expect. I can only imagine the fear they have stepping into my home, but if I continue to stay strong for myself, I can be strong for them as well.
When our middle daughter’s dad passed away while she was still in care, I tried so hard to prepare myself for the outcome. I expected her to be sad and depressed. Shockingly, she was just numb to the situation. Again, every case we deal with as foster parents teach us something new as well.
Two days after his death we received a phone call that our oldest daughters uncle had passed. Talk about a double whammy. Once again, I was preparing myself to tell her and figuring out how to help her deal with this. She had a harder time dealing with his passing than our middle daughter with her father. I am not sure if it had anything to do with our support for them or what. I have just realized so much this year, and one thing is EVERY child deals with stress in entirely different ways.
I have never dealt with death personally. So trying to understand what they are going through was difficult on my part. I tried reading books on how to cope and educated myself on that subject. I can tell you from experience no book or google search is going to give you the advice you need when it comes to death. Sadly, it is something I am going to have to experience to know what emotions they were dealing with, To understand what they needed from me during the most robust moment in their life.
A few months after their deaths is so vivid to me. I can remember feeling disconnected from my girls because if either girl was trying to deal with their loss, I wasn’t sure how to react. Of course, I offered hugs, long walks, car rides and just anything to help ease their pain but I missed the biggest picture. I was trying so hard to try to help them escape the memories. What they needed was someone to talk with, to express the beautiful moments about them. One evening, I walked into their room, and they were talking about memories, and I could feel their pain. It finally occurred to me that they just needed to talk. I am learning daily on how to parent and how to deal with everything that comes with fostering but the best thing I can say to anyone who may be doubting becoming foster parents, is you do the best you can with what you have. God will guide you; it may take a minute but worth every lesson taught to you.

You got this!

thT7Q31ZPU

 

*Pictures- google-strong

5 tips to stay organized

5 ways to stay organized as a Foster Parent
1. Color Coordinate
2. Buy a planner
3. Have a spot for homework and backpacks
4. Chore list
5. Filing cabinet

I know many people panic being first-time foster parents. I did! I decided to share some ways to stay organized. I hope it helps with those who struggle with being first-time foster parents or anyone who is needing help to get organized with kids.

 

COLOR COORDINATE

Color coordinating has been a lifesaver! I purchase everything from the dollar store when it comes to baskets and totes. I buy bulk toothbrushes, and brushes off my amazon prime account and make sure they come in all different colors, plus they come cheaper that way. A visit to Walmart and they have a variety of separate color towels and wash clothes. The pens I use for my planner I purchased at Sam’s club and bought the color bundle set. When it comes to their lotion and hair product I use my label maker to put their names on the items and highlight it according to their color. It may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff is so worth it. If children leave things laying around, I don’t have to search I just look to see what color it is. I have a closet that I put everyone’s basket including Dad and I we have all our toiletries in there as well as our towel folded in the front. Our closet is located right before the bathroom, so this has been very effective when it comes to staying organized. We also noticed that new placements aren’t so lost when trying to figure out what is theirs and where it belongs.

BUY A PLANNER

I use The Happy Planner to stay organized, it has a primary calendar, and it also has the day to day planning. I have a blog all about on my page if you want to know all the details. Whoever has an appt or school functioning I use my color coordinating system to manage my planner for their events or mine. Typically try to use sticky notes for reminders throughout the day so that I can stay focused. It helps with sports, visits, projects and so much more. This organization tip helps when you get a new placement in because Those next 48 hours are hectic. So being organized right off the bat will help with a smoother transition.

HOMEWORK AND BACKPACK SPOT

If you can find a spot in your house for backpacks and homework, I will encourage you to do so. If you are not able, my suggestion to you is set a homework time so that it stays organized where ever you decide to set the kids down to do homework. In our house, we have the backpack wall. I just used command hooks to hold the backpacks up off the ground and spray painted them to the color of each child. IF you don’t want a wall of bags, my other suggestion would be a spot in their room, so it is still off the ground and organized as well. Do what works well for your family. Everyone knows that Our homework spot is our dining room table! Every kid knows that if someone is there doing their homework, it is quite a time! I have extra pencils and paper laying out every day after school just in case. I use my cooking timer during reading to time the kids. Some of my children prefer to go into their room to read which is fine the timer is loud enough for them to hear it.

CHORE LIST

Every day after school everyone has a chore, they first do their homework and typically while I am cooking dinner they will start on chores. Mothers dream to walk out of the kitchen to a spotless house, right? If only but it is the thought that counts. You usually get kids who 1. Have never cleaned 2. They had to clean for punishment 3. They hate to clean and will throw a fit to get out of it 4. Love to clean.
At our house, we use an award system, and I am not talking like do a chore, and I will buy you a video game. NO! It is more like do a task, and we will earn our way up to a dessert from McDonald’s. I don’t want to just hand my kids a treat after one duty I want them to learn that when they get older, you must work hard and then comes the gift of life. I have had some many people roll their eyes, but I feel like in my household this system works! I get asked so many times how I raise my kids to be so respectful and well mannered. I don’t want to sugar coat life even with the smallest things like chores.
I made each child a magnetic chore chart ( I plan on making a separate blog on how I made them) It is labeled Monday through Sunday each day I change out their chores. I even have a “FREE DAY” magnetic that the kids try so hard to earn. They can earn it by helping mom without being asked or helping someone else as well. Using their manners while out in public or not fighting with their siblings. There are many ways to earn the “FREE DAY” I also included an everyday side, and I have magnetics made for showers, homework, brush teeth, put on lotion, do your hair, read, etc., everyday things.
The chore list has been a fantastic organization trick because the kids know what is expected of them. They just move they’re magnetic to the “COMPLETE” box, and all I need to do is go check the list and to see what they have done. It has improved our oldest son with being more responsible which I am loving watching this boy grow.

FILING CABINET

My good ol’ filing cabinet that I am quickly outgrowing. I am going to give you a tip just buy the medium size. I bought the smallest one because in my head I thought If I don’t have the room I don’t need it, and if it becomes cluttered it is time to organize it. Wrong! I need more space for filing. Utilizing my color coordinating tip I do it in the filing cabinet as well. So, each child has their file but I forgot I own business, a house and I also have bills! I went in only thinking about the kids. I purchased a bigger one keeping my organization tip in mind don’t go to big, or it will give me a reason to keep filing till I am knee deep in a mess of clutter. I purchased all my folders on amazon prime. It seems like anything that has a bundle of colors is cheaper which helps me in the long run. I use my label maker to stay organized with the filing system. I file by oldest to youngest as well. Now when they go home, I just send them back with the whole file. Any artwork or grades anything that you want mom and dad to have. I keep the things they have drawn me or written to me, and I put all of those in a separate folder for memories. Cause man oh man it is nice to go down memory lane to see just how far these kids have come.

I hope these 5 Organization tips have given you an idea of what may work for your family. If you would like to see any of these tips in a more detailed blog or have any questions, just let me know down in the comments below

– Momma K and the Bunch

Capitan Period Pants! #Momlife

“Mom, I can’t wait till I get my period.

I will grow chest hair and a beard like dad!

My voice will get deep,

and people won’t look at me like I am a little boy.”

This morning was a #momlife moment. Kyleigh and Nate came over this weekend, so that makes a total of 7 kids, this morning was busy and loud! In the middle of getting everyone their hot tea and breakfast, my ten-year-old approaches me, wearing his costume and holding a wooden sword ready to conquer the world. I am sipping on coffee listening to my girls argue in the back ground about how I am making them drink a vitamin C concoction because everyone was full of boogers. Anyways back to my son, he approaches me with so much confidence and determination. I ask him if he was on a mission and he replies “Mom, I can’t wait till I get my period. I will grow chest hair and a beard like dad! My voice will get deep, and people won’t look at me like I am a little boy.”  My oldest looked at me as if I had been keeping a secret from her and my two youngest daughters about rolled over in laughter. He looked at me waiting for a reply; I explained to him that yes one day he will hit puberty, but he technically would never have a period because he is a boy.  He asks, “well what is a period?”  In my head I am thinking, okay he is ten how can I make sure I don’t freak him out…… I could A. Sugar coat it, you know make it sound like the best seven days of our lives, so he doesn’t freak out. Or B. Lay it to him straight and be upfront and honest and pray I don’t traumatize him because at this age the imagination is in full force. So I went with plan B, I explained what happens, and to my surprise, he said well good thing y’all don’t die during that week, never mind I just want my puberty to come already so I can be like dad!  He runs away to go back to play. I look up at my two youngest girls, and the look of fear is on their face. Whoops! Surprise! Everyone learned about periods in our house today! #momlife

Review: The Honest company

The Honest Company Review

IMG_0785

I decided to try out The Honest company for the diapers. One I am a sore sucker for cute baby items. Two our sweet little one has one sensitive butt. So, I decided to utilize their offer online, and that just paid the shipping and handling, and the company will send you a sample box. I love bargains!
When I first got the box, which happened to be five days after I placed the order. I liked how quick they shipped out product.
I received seven adorable diapers, mind you I got to pick
out every single design and size. IMG_0768

My little one is 10 pounds and fit into the size one diaper.

IMG_0770

I was a little nervous at first but my final thought I freaking love these diapers!! They fit her so perfectly and comfortably. Her little bum didn’t get a rash with these, and that was a huge plus! Her mega blowouts had no chance of escaping either.
Next, I received ten wipes.
To be 100%, I didn’t see
Myself purchasing these
Again. I practically didn’t
Like them and they felt a little dry. I did, however, like how thick they are, that was a plus.IMG_0777

I also received a sample size traveling kit which included Face and body lotion, Hand soap, Organic healing lotion, Shampoo, and body wash, and Multi-surface cleaner.

IMG_0779

Let’s start with the positive, Surface cleaner LOVED! Used it for wiping off my changing table and even though I use a traveling changing table, I would still use the surface cleaner to wipe off the public restroom changing table before putting me down and then I would spray down my changing pad after I used it as well. The hand soap worked great for my middle daughter’s sensitive hands, and now she doesn’t break out in a rash! The organic healing balm I used on my son’s rash worked like a charm.
The con’s I didn’t like the hand lotion it has a unique smell I just couldn’t get over, and throughout the day I noticed I had to apply it often, unlike my typical lotion was I apply maybe three times a day. The shampoo and body wash…. This isn’t a con it wasn’t bad, but again I don’t see myself purchasing it. I am content with what I use now.
Overall I loved the diapers!! I plan on purchasing them again for Halloween, but unfortunately, it won’t be a monthly purchase I cant see myself paying that much for diapers every month! I do enjoy that you can purchase different designs that are a huge plus, but the price kind of kills it for me. They did have a bundle deal that was a neat feature as well as a monthly subscription. I would give them a try on the diapers and see what you think. I loved how well they fit and no rashes!! Woot Woot!!
Let me know in the comments below if you have tried out these diapers and gave me your thoughts. I would love some more feedback on other products that they sell as well.
-Momma K & the Bunch

***I am not affiliated with any company mentioned up above. This is my opinion and am not being paid to do this.

Numb

Numb

It has been one heck of a month……… I was trying to write a blog about our middle daughter going home with the family before her leaving. I typically write to prepare myself for what is coming, expressing my feelings and getting rid of all the negative thoughts. This time around I couldn’t help but feel numb.

Little S joined our family Feb 2017 with her sister. Her sister, unfortunately, had to go into treatment shortly after coming into our care. Little S was so shy and kind. Her smile would light up the room, and there was never a moment her kindness didn’t show. Her personality was amazing! She would melt your heart in a matter of seconds. I watched this beautiful child blossom. Little S found herself in our home.

There have been many obstacles I have had to deal with while being a foster parent, but no one can prepare you for what comes when a child loses their parent. May 9th, 2017, I received a phone call that unfortunately, Little S’s dad had passed away over the night. She was at school when I found out, and I knew right away I needed to get her. I would hate for her to find out during school about her dads passing. I arrived at the school, and she was so happy and thrilled to see me. I told her that we were going to do whatever she wanted to do today. Little S looked at me with tears in her eyes and said something is wrong isn’t there? I am going home, aren’t I? I just hugged her so tight and told her that she wouldn’t be leaving, but she will be visiting her grandma today. I explained grandma had something significant to say to her.

We ended up at target and went shopping of course! We went to the park, went home and did her makeup, and she put on her new dress that we had just bought. I asked her to tell me stories about her dad and what her favorite things about him were. Her memories were so precious and allowed her and I to connect on another level. Those moments will forever be cherished.

Over the summer she was growing more and more. The more she grew, the more I fell more in love with this precious girl. She came to us one day as we were folding laundry and looked at me with those beautiful big brown eyes, She leaned into me and whispered I just wish I could stay here forever. My heart was so content, but I also knew I needed to remind her how important it is to go home with family if it is possible to do so. She was so understanding but would occasionally mention us adopting her. Without a doubt, I would adopt her in a heartbeat, but again as a foster parent, I can’t stress enough how important it is for reunification to happen.

September 27th, 2017, her case worker comes over and gives us the news that her uncle and aunt will be the new placement. He gave us our ten-day notice. Inside I was broken, but on the outside, I showed her how excited I was, and we spoke about how important it is to go with them. They had passed everything they needed to do and how beautiful it was that they were going to take her and raise her. She was excited but nervous, which is to be expected. Little S leans in for a hug and just starts crying. She replies with “I would dream at night that you would forever be my momma K.” I replied, “and I will be!” No one will ever take that from me.

The next ten days just felt so numb; I am not sure how to explain the feeling. All I knew is that I had to prepare Little S for what was about to happen……. But how can I do that when I didn’t feel prepared for what was about to happen to us.

October 7th, 2017, the day has come to say See you later! She was excited at this point and couldn’t wait to get her stuff in her new room. Taking her belongings out to her relative’s car seemed like it took forever, I just kept talking to avoid anyone asking me questions. Seems like if anyone that asks me how I am doing, I completely lose it. I must be strong for her, and she should see that I am okay for her to be okay. Children feed off our emotions, and I didn’t want her to stress about my feelings. I wanted to make sure she was excited no matter what.

I will pray for her daily and pray that as a family we cope with this in the best way that we can but explaining this feeling has been difficult. Typically, I can express myself without any issues but this time around I just feel numb.