Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Thoughts on Fostering

3 months ago we welcomed the coolest kid into our house. We could never imagine how much our lives would change. It flipped us around, changed our world, showed us patience, craziness, and lots of love...and it's our new normal. 
Now in a week and a half, we will be saying goodbye to our cool kid. I'm not sure how I feel yet.

When I first got the call, it was for a 1 year old that needed to be fostered for 2-3 weeks. I thought this would be the perfect "starter" foster case. It would be a good, fun age to start with and short enough to get our feet wet. This would give us a taste of what we were in for. Naive, right?!

What we got was a 18 month old for 3 months. Going from zero children to a toddler was insane! The anxiety that we felt that first week was out of control. Where do you start? There was no easing from sleepless nights with an newborn to infant then to toddler. It was abrupt. All of a sudden, there was this adorable stranger in our house who loved to scream, tantrum, eat and poop. 

In one week, we learned what could be climbed on, pulled off, jumped on, ripped up, carried around and chewed on. I also learned that there is nothing better than rocking a baby to sleep. I love to hear that little voice call me "mama" and Mario "daddy". I love the giggles and to see that brain working things out. The kid is smart! I found out that I could fall in completely in love in a few days...all while knowing that he'd be leaving in a week or two.

In one month, we figured out that dcfs is on a different schedule. 2-3 weeks means something different to them...we were ok with that. We figured out how we were going to deal with tantrums, hitting, child care, running a business with a toddler around and adjusting marriage to fit a new being in. We saw daily changes to his behaviors. We became the people that he comes to for love, security, and silliness. We know craisins are the key to a quiet child. I love craisins...I also love nap time! We also found out that you don't sleep train a toddler...they sleep train you. 

In two months, we became more comfortable with parenting. We felt more comfortable taking him out to restaurants and shopping. It was around this time that we really saw how much our decision to foster affected our family and friends. They were all in love also. It was around this time that we really started hoping that the plan that was set in place for him, would fall through and he could stay with us. However, we found out he'd be leaving us for sure. An order to move him has been made. This guy who turned our life around would be leaving as planned. I had allowed myself to hope that he'd stay. 

At the three month mark, parenting has become comfortable. But, I see the end date coming up quick. I don't think about how I'll feel, it doesn't matter how I feel. I worry about him. He'll be moving in with family. Family he should be with. But I still worry about this one last move. In 18 months, he's been moved around a number of times. 

When the doorbell rings or there is a knock at the door, he screams and runs to me for security. It took a while for me to figure out why he was freaking out...until one day he screamed "they get me!" My heart sank. He is at an age where he remembered being removed from his last home. He knows what it means to hear a knock at the door and to be removed from a home and family he has gotten to know and even love. So many times there has been a knock at the door and I have said "It's ok, baby. You're safe. No one is going to get you." Now I know, there is a knocking coming when I can't say "It's ok. No one is coming to get you. " 

I'm terrified for him. I cry because I won't be able to explain why we won't be there any more. I cry because I know it's not just him and us that will hurt...our family and friends will hurt also when he's gone. I've already told his social worker that we want him back if it doesn't work out with his family. I don't want it not to work out for him. I don't want him moved one more time...but I'm selfish enough to hope he comes back to us. 

Monday, January 26, 2015


We are official! Mario and I were fully licensed and ready for a placement on January 1st. Expect a call any minute!

We are still waiting for that call. I'm trying to be very patient. I know that when it's right, we will get the call. It's hard though. A lot of change is just a phone call away. Such a simple thing will change how we live. I feel like it's harder waiting for a phone call, than it was taking all the classes and making the preparations. At least we were keeping busy. Now it's just waiting and there's not much we can do about it.

Every day since January 1st, I wake up and think maybe today will be the day we get a call. It's really making me crazy. Partially because our social worker and everything I've read has said that we should have gotten a call right away. That first week. Weekends are even harder, because I know we probably won't get a call on that day.

So, I do what I do best...try to organize everything! My office area is looking good. I've attacked my camera gear. I have my sites on the kitchen for the second time in two months. The garage was attacked yesterday. Closets have been organized but have a few things to finish it up. I'm sure I can find more if I really try!

Until that special call comes in, I'll be patient and really try not to call our social worker every day...I will try very hard.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


While we are very very patiently waiting for a call from the state for our home inspection, I'm trying to get the house and our life organized and then more organized. I really want to get things finished now, so that when we get a foster placement, we can spend all our time on that and not fiddly stuff.

This means I have one of those lists that I make each week and just keep adding to it.
-Put up the hanging pendant reading lights up in the bedroom (we've had these for almost a year, because I couldn't decide if the shades were too small. Turns out they look great.)
-Organize the linen closet again. Strike that, organizing all the closets again.
-Rearranging the kitchen to include kiddy stuffs. How is it that we have so much random crap in the kitchen that we never use! Also, our tupperware is like a living thing, some multiplies while others disappear.
-Making a better work station for me. I have no storage. So the person that thrives on organization, really has very little.
-Adding baby furniture in means rearranging and trying to find better solutions to our floorplan.
-getting the garden ready for fall planting. I didn't plant beets last year and seriously regret it!
-Since the cat broke their cat tree, we are trying to see if we can expand their world and maybe make put shelves on the wall for them like a catwalk.

Maybe not this complex and bright...but we might as well use wall space instead of the ugly behemoth we have that takes up so much floor space. The only problem is the weight of our cats. We searched Ikea for shelves that can hold our plus size girls. Believe it or not they do exist.

Beside organizing the house, I've been trying to get my life in a good spot. Not like I have all that much control over my life, but there are definitely things I can work on. My business, my head, planning goals, debts, lots of marketing, taking care of as many details of life and getting them all mostly figured out. One of the things we have definitely been working on for a while is debt and planning towards a house. That's straight forward. I've been streamlining my business since I started, because every year is different. However, if I can get it as much in line as possible now, I feel better.

One of the things I've really needed to work on in my life is friends. It's one of the things I talked about in our foster care interview with our social worker. We need to make sure we have people we can really count on when life gets tough. I don't feel like I have anyone close by that I feel that way about. I have friends that I'm close with and I have friends that I was very close with, however, I don't have any best friends. I've been missing that. The one person who I would consider my best friend is over in Arkansas. I miss her a lot and really miss that time we spent together! I need someone closer!

So, that's been something I've been focusing on again. I've kept in contact with some women from our foster care PS-Mapp class. I'm happy I hunted them down, because it's good to see where we all are in the process and I feel like I'll need that connection in a friend. So, I do hope to really keep in contact and get to know some of them better. 

I have also recently found a groupon It's a group of ladies in Burbank who plan out little events locally. I am so excited! I already went to a strange movie with two other ladies last night and already made a connection with one of the women who wants to learn more about photography. 

It's really making my heart happy to meet new people. I only see a limited number of people working for myself, so it's good to supplement that with good friends. Just getting to know more people is making me happy and also helping me pass the time waiting for our foster care license!

Monday, June 09, 2014

I finally did it!

Ok, I only ordered new business cards...but really I have been putting it off for a year now. To be fair I did order some last year around this time...but I totally spelled "architectural" incorrectly. Who the hell is going to hire someone to photograph their architectural work if they can't even spell it!

Because of that embarrassing typo, I kept putting off ordering new cards. Partially deciding that the money would be better spent somewhere else. Probably punishing myself a bit also. I have this beautiful website and my old ugly business cards that don't least they are spelled correctly though.

However, even those old cards have an issue. First of all I hired someone to design a new logo...I never liked it and then I never said what type of photography I work in. Might not seem like a big deal to most people. However, when you say photographer, people assume I photograph people or weddings. When you work in a niche area like real estate and architecture, you need to point that out. One day someone will randomly pick up my business card and think, "Architectural Photographer! This is exactly the type of photographer I have been looking for!"

I'm also excited because my cards will have different photos on the back. I have been pulling my favorite photos for a while now. Trying to decide which to use. Which will represent my work best. Then I had Mario come through and help choose the best. I don't want to use a photo that I love, but really doesn't look great on the card. I get attached to some photos and need to learn to let them go. So Mario came through and we got rid of half the photos that I wanted to use. I have to admit it was hard to do. He just zipped through and told me which to delete. I tried not defend a few and then realized he was totally right. Then I got rid of about five more while I was designing the card. I'm happy with my selection and will be excited to see how they turn out!

The second thing I finally got around to doing was printing up a bunch of photos. We have a decent hallway and I've been wanting to put a bunch of family photos up. Ikea sells of frame-less glass frames...if that makes sense. It's basically a piece of glass with brackets. I like the look of them. Of course when I went to ikea to buy some, they had stopped selling them. However, I knew someone who did have a bunch of different sizes and were just storing them. My mother. I begged her for a bunch and she mailed them to me before Christmas! How ungrateful that she send me these frames and I didn't get my act together and print photos for them. So, last night, I decided I was going to order these damn photos! I think I printed 20-25 prints from my favorite printer. They should be here tomorrow...I can't wait to see them! I want them up on the wall for when my mom and sister come down next weekend. I think it will be fun to see and also she won't give me shit if they are up and not in a box still!

I think the motivation is really about getting these things finished that I have been wanting to get done now while we have the time and money. We figure once kids come into the picture, we won't have the time or cash to do it. Why we sit on these ideas for so long, I don't know.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I'm not normally one of those "Oh, god! It's Monday!" type of people...

But it sure felt like it today. Really it started with a dipshit move by me. Monday is street cleaning on our side of the street. I have to move my car by noon or I get another ticket. Yes another. I have a reminder set on my phone. The alarm went off and I screwed around until I had two minutes to move my car. That's when I started running around, putting on clothes, grabbing my purse, running over to grab my keys...and noticed one of our adorable weaselly dogs pooped by the front door. Of course.

I paused at the door knowing it was now one minute until noon and that parking ticket dude sits out front waiting for it to strike noon. I'm not kidding. I started to throw my stuff down and run down the hall for toilet paper to clean up the crap. Then I thought, no, I'm only going out to move the car to the other side of the street...I'll be right back.

I grabbed my purse, grabbed the keys off of the table and yelled to the dogs, "This doesn't mean shitting by the front door is acceptable!" I shut the door, turned around to make sure the door was locked and then looked at the keys in my keys...laundry room key...where the hell were my house keys!? They are usually kept on the same pull-apart key chain.

However, last night, mario let me out in front of the house, while he found parking...I had too many iced teas at dinner and it had hit emergency status. So, I had grabbed the house key off the keychain...but where the hell did I put it after running inside like a crazy person!? I checked my purse. A second car key. No house key...and it turns out, no phone either. Great. That's when I noticed the parking ticket dude cruising down the street. I took off around the corner and hopped in my car as quickly as I could.

My car was now safe from a ticket, but now I had to get a house key. I had two options. Drive over to my friends house and see if she's home. She has a spare key to our place and maybe she'll want to get lunch. Or I can drive to Mario's work and get the key. So, I drove over to Rene's house. She wasn't home. No problem, she's probably at the library and the library is on the way to mario's work...perfect.

This is where I should tell you that I was avoiding going to Mario's work. When I ran out of the house, I had only planned on moving the car. I hadn't showered yet. So, I threw on some less than great clothing choices. Normally, when I show up at Mario's work, I want to look pretty good...not have my hair sticking up all over. I'd rather look like a trophy wife than the crazy looking troll. So, as I rolled past the library and saw Rene's car wasn't there either, I threw some lipgloss on that shit and hoped everyone at Mario's work was at lunch.

They weren't all at lunch. However, they are a room full of artists, I forgot they like the lights off. They work by the light of the computers! Thank the lord! So, I just strolled back to Mario's desk and shocked him by appearing out of the dark. Of course, he laughed at me when I told him that I locked myself out of the house...but offered to take me to lunch.

We had a nice lunch date and I dropped him back off at work. He gave me his copy of the house key and I headed back to face that poop by the door. However, mid way home, I decided to take the car through a drive thru car wash. I mean, I'm already out right?

Adjusting my route home, I pulled up at the car wash and there were three cars ahead of me. The first car was pulling out of the wash. The second car is punching in the code to redeem his wash and starting to head in. The third car pulls up to the kiosk and waits like he's supposed to. I pull up behind him and wait, thinking it would be really nice to have my phone to check emails or words with friends. That's when I notice the guy in front of me reach out to the kiosk to punch in his code...before the other guy is hardly even started. This is a big no no! The signs say wait to punch in your code until the other car is exiting. The kiosk even says this before you punch in the code. Remember my car wash problem of 2009? ONLY PUNCH THE CODE IN WHEN THE OTHER CAR IS LEAVING! I yell "NOOOOO!!!" Of course my window is up and he doesn't hear shit.

The carwash stops half way through the wash cycle and car number 2 is now confused, pissed, and his car is covered in soap. Car number three is oblivious that he has even caused this problem and is yelling at car number two to leave the car wash. I sat there watching, trying to decide if a car wash is necessary at this point. I start to back up and realize how narrow and curvy the entrance is. I tried for a bit to back out and realized it was hopeless. They designed this car wash to trap you in. So, I waited. Car number two sat there for a while...probably calling the attendant. Then he started to pull out and car three started pulling in thinking he was going to wash his car. Car number two tried to stay for the wash...and I was trapped. All because I locked myself out of the house.

This went on for a while, but they finally figured their shit out. They both ended up having to drive around and get back in line. The attendant reset the machine and I was able to wash my car...good thing, because it looked like a pterodactyl had shit on my car. I got home to clean up the poop by the front door. Then, as I walked to the back door to let the dogs out, I realized the back door had been unlocked the whole time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Cat toys and Thongs

Maria, our house cleaner came by on Tuesday to clean our hovel. We are always excited for her to come over. She always comes in and plays with the dogs a bit. They think she only comes over to visit them. The cats all come out and say hi. She greets them and chats with me a bit while preparing herself to attack our mess. I'm just plain excited to have someone else clean up after me!

This week was no different. The dogs and I were excited to see her walk in the door. The cats were indifferent but still came out to greet her. We chatted about life as usual, while I worked on a shoot from the previous day. As I glanced up, I saw her grab a toy off the ground and start shaking it in front of Penny. Penny obliged her by batting at it a bit. She's been trying to win Penny over for a while.

I stopped working and glanced up to talk to her a bit more, when I looked at the toy. It looked like a mini octopus. I couldn't place it as any of the toys that we had. Then the cat caught one of the "tentacles" and I realized what it was. 

Me "Maria! Those are underwear!"
Maria "Ooh la la...why are there underwear in the living room?"
Me laughing "No, those are my sister's underwear...she stayed here for the weekend and she must have left them. Oh god I'm sorry!"
Maria "Oh well, I put them in the laundry."
Me "Nah, I'll just put them in an envelope and mail them right back to her!"

She was totally unfazed that she was using my sister's thong to play with the cat. She just walked back and put it in the laundry. Of course I thought this was too funny and sent off a text to my sister...

Me "Maria just found a pair of your underwear and thought it was a cat she was swinging them around for Penny to attack. We were cracking up when I told her what she had."

Lindsay "Now that's embarrassing. I'm so glad I wasn't there!"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Excited...and terrified...and excited

There have been a lot of ups and downs in our life lately, however, Mario and I are so excited to be starting on the next chapter in life. Kids and/or babies! With our inability to get pregnant, Mario and I have been talking about adoption for a while now. We are finally starting that journey! Fertility treatment and private adoption are off the table just based on cost alone. I mean, we don't need to go into debt just trying to have kids, when kids are expensive enough on their own. So, we are adopting through Los Angeles County.

I have spent the last year or so looking through websites, forums, looking at children up for adoption and just trying to educate us in general. A few months ago, we decided it's the time to get started. We have our finances under control and are saving up for a house. Mario is doing well with work and my business is better than it's ever been...and we are just plain ready to be parents! We have tried for so long to get pregnant and with my 38th birthday coming up, we decided there's just no more waiting. So, we called up for our foster/adoption orientation. It was a long wait for the appointment! I think we had to wait a month and a felt like forever!

Last week we finally attended our foster/adoption orientation class. I was nervous and so excited! The class was great. There were a lot of wonderful people with big hearts. We left ready to get this show on the road and we even got certificates. Of course I took a photo and sent it out to friends and family. 

Of course, after our orientation, we were very excited to get started on our classes. So, today we were fingerprinted. Lindsay told me my days of crime are over...ha. Next week we start our classes. We kind of lucked out with that. There are only so many classes from now until July and only so many people allowed in any class. So, after our live scan today, I came right home to sign us up for classes. All of the classes were full...except for the spanish only class and fostering only class. Well, being the determined lady that I am, I called and emailed determined to get into one of those classes! The guy called me back and said I should buy a lottery ticket, because someone just dropped out of the class I really wanted into. Woo hoo! 

So for the next month and a half, Mario and I will be attending foster parenting classes. There are 30 hours of classes for the next 6 weeks. It really doesn't seem like very much instruction to prepare us to open our home to children, but we are eager and excited to get going and see where this new adventure will take us!

I'm sure it will be the hardest thing we've ever done, but we have lots of love to give!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

We is Organized!

I shopped...and I scrutinized...and I bought what I hope will be the answer to all my camping organizational needs. I actually did pretty good. I bought three smaller bins and one drawer set...and some how it was a perfect fit!
                                                             I took these four bins...

 and exchanged them for these...

Square footage wise, it's not much of a difference. However, they are far more organized. The big drawer bin is all kitchen, washing, and fire needs. Almost two of the big bins fit into the drawers. Hopefully there will be no more digging around the bins looking for the little stuff that fell to the bottom. There are two small drawers, perfect for all the small stuff that we need fairly often.

One of the bins to the left of the drawers is lantern, headlamps, flashlights, and fuel. The second bin to the left is basically the set-up bin, tarps and stuff for setting up tents. The two bins on the top are optional really. One has hats and games and the other has a random inflatable mattress in it that we just bring as a back up. I like this setup because any of the drawers or the smaller bins are a great size to wash dishes in. 

In organizing this all, I got rid of a few things. However, I really hope to keep an eye on things this weekend that we really don't use. I'd like to start keeping things more minimal or at least more realistic. I'm pretty excited though, I think the drawers will keep a lot of stuff off the tables and out of site.

Now I just have to prepare for the weather change that I just saw in the forecast. I knew it would be 50-60s in the day and 30s at night. However, when I checked the weather today, I saw that there might be snow showers on Saturday. This makes me happy that Mario and I are going up on Friday to set up. Mario has been in snow but has never seen snow falling. So, as long as I pack warm enough clothes and blankets, we are more than ok with the snow! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Camping Season is upon us!

I'm so excited to be camping this weekend up in Big Bear! It will be cold at night, beautiful during the day. We are camping right along the lake, so we are thinking about doing some fishing also! A good group of friends. Laying in my hammock reading. Eating some damn good food. Friday can't come soon enough people!

There is one thing that eludes me though. That one thing that I just haven't  gotten a hold of in the last 10 years of camping. Organization. You know I love organization. Love it! So, every time we go camping, I think I will get it figured out so-help-me-god! Every year, I get so frustrated with the amount of crap all over the table and hunting through bins to find one thing. And every year I am determined to finally figure out the perfect system to house all our camping shit.

When I was young, my parents seemed to have it down. There were like 5 cardboard boxes that were packed into our tent trailer along with clothes, chairs, food, dogs and we were set. It seemed simple. Maybe they didn't bring the amount of shit we do.

Actually I'm sure I need to par down. I already know I'll go through and take some things out that just aren't working. Kitchen organization is the worst. I've never gotten that down. There are pans and utensils borrowed from the home kitchen. Big things, small things. I just have a big plastic bin that everything gets thrown into and becomes the biggest most disorganized mess to deal with while camping. Ok I just spent an hour on pinterest looking up ideas.This year, I'm going to try to employ some tricks. A hanging shoe organizer to store kitchen and cooking supplies. They won't be sitting all over the table...less mess.

Instead of big bins, I think I'm going to look into plastic drawers and smaller more focused bins. Keep things separated and easier to get to. Worth a try. If not, I'll organize other shit with it! Wish me luck! 

I'll post photos when we get back. Also, have I told you before that the minute that I make plans for myself, my clients call for a bunch of shoots. It's very hard to say no to them, but sometimes I've got to do things for me too! Still there is a little guilt, they are the reason I get to take vacations. Off to home depot and kmart in the name of organization!

PS. Upon looking at other people's master camping lists, I was shocked by the amount of extension cords and crock pots on the lists. I know we do not suffer while camping, but holy hell that's a bit over the top! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Trouble with Lipstick

I don't have the best luck with lipstick. I've never been great at being able to choose a color or formula that works with me. Especially if I'm just seeing a tube and not able to see the color on my skin. Maybe I have an odd color skin or maybe I'm just picky. I'm not sure, but I have quite a collection of unwearable lip products.

The only real great product I've gotten was a lip gloss that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas one year. I love the color. I loved the formula. It's on the more expensive side. However, I'll happily pay that price for something I know I'll love wearing.

I don't love paying anything for shit I don't love. Boy do I have a knack for buying shit that I don't love. I've tried 15 hour lip stain that only lasted an hour. I've tried lipstick that's too drying on my poor chapstick addicted lips. I've tried colors that look great in the tube but looked absolutely horrible on me. I've tried lip glosses that made my lips sting. I've had lipstick that wears off my lip quickly and leaves me with only a line around the edge of my lips...cause that's cute. Just last week I decided to try a 24 hour liquid lipstick. It looked like a good color and hey, if it lasts a few

Honestly I was curious how long it would last. I got to the car and opened up the tube. Looked good. Smelled good. Applied. Eh on the color. If it will last through a photo shoot, however, I could live with the color. I started driving home and I noticed a spot on my lips that felt sticky. By the time I got home, my lips were sticking together. Not good. I get it. If you want that shit to stay on for 24 hours, it's gotta stick to you. Well it was really sticking. I finally got to the point where I had to put lip gloss over the top. I needed that barrier so my lips wouldn't stick together. It worked. It was definitely more comfortable. Unfortunately, usually once you put something over the top of it, it won't last as long. Well, it actually lasted a decent amount of time. I ate, drank and applied more chapstick over the top. I think it actually lasted a few hours. I haven't tried it again since because honestly it wasn't that comfortable. It was such an odd feel, that it's all I could think about. I want to put something on and not think about it. I will give it a second chance...I'm just not sure when.

So, yesterday, since I wasn't completely happy with that buy and I was still jonesing for a new great lip color, I bought this.

I thought the color looked pretty. I thought it looked like a spring color. I feel like it would be like my lip color but better. I also thought it might be either sheer or just a nice formula because it's called butter lipstick. So, as soon as I got to my car and applied it. It felt very nice. It felt like lip balm. Then I looked in the mirror. No way. That shit is light pink! Almost white! This is me feeling very disappointed again..but with almost white lips! I swear I keep looking at that tube and wondering where it went wrong.

I have to admit, it's not looking quite as light in the photo as it is in real life. It almost looks ok. Don't trust the photo though. I wouldn't go outside in this color.

Mario actually came home tonight, looked at the tube and said "oh that's a nice color!" I told him to wait and I'd show him. I only got it on my bottom lip before he started laughing. I need to start shopping where there are samples...only that just seems not so cleanly. I'm just going to buy my same lip gloss that I love.