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

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