Tag Archives: mom

Learning Language in Toddler Time

Language development is one of the most intriguing things I can think of.  I remember as a young child sitting in history class, maybe in sixth or seventh grade listening to my teacher teach on some ancient civilization.  I remember it because of the un-thought out question that I had.  The statement was made that the civilization did not have a written language.  Before the teacher could explain further my hand sprung up and I was called on to ask “if they did not write things down, how did they communicate?”  Yes I very un-thought out question.  Being able to communicate is the the same thing as being able to write.

Read more here: http://www.oaksacorns.com/baby-puzzle/learning-language-in-toddler-time


Leaving Kiddos with Sitters for the Weekend

Going off to work is one thing, going on a date night is another, but a whole weekend… Friday night, Saturday night, how many of you parents are cringing as you think of the idea.  You know all of your family routines.  You know the cries and the times of day that they just need to snuggle.  You know what a day, weekend looks like with your family.  And you know how much effort you put into keeping it all together.  Maybe you have a grandparents that want to help and are looking forward to “a lengthy time” with the kiddos.  Maybe you have a sibling who loves to help out and has a super awesome idea for a whole weekend trip or maybe you have awesome friends who step in and do you a huge favor.  Whatever the case is you know that the responsible adults who are helping are giving a whole lot of energy.

How do you get ready?  What do you need to do?

Read more here … http://www.oaksacorns.com/baby-puzzle/getting-ready-to-leave-your-kiddos-for-the-weekend File_000 (4)

Planning a Toddler’s Birthday Party- Watch to the End to Hear an Honest Confession – Episode 5




Today we take a look at party planning for a toddler.  The child party making scene is an interesting one to me.  Theme of the Party.  Children’s games.  Party favors.  Invitations.  Family.  Friends.  All of these things are included and will detailed the planning process.  Thank for watching.

4 Steps to Take to be a Stay-at-Home Parent – Episode 2

In this episode I talk about the steps we have taken so far to being a single income family and for me to be a stay-at-home dad.  Cheryl and I are goal setters and planners.  Additionally we believe heavily in the family unit.  We are placing the value of family ahead of career in order to give our children more time for the things we think are important.  It has been a 10 month process.  If you are looking at having a parent stay at home.  Think about what you want it to look like.  What will change.  How will the family need to change.  How will the family benefit from this change.  What might be your stumbling blocks.  We concentrated a lot on budget and finances.  We are excited to be able to teach our children values, morals and responsibilities.

Spring is Springing

Yesterday at 3:30 I officially entered my “spring break” from work.  Later this evening Spring will officially begin.  With time off of work comes the “I will do it on break list” (kinda like New Years resolutions but in March). One of the things that I have placed on this list is to be more dedicated to keeping our baby puzzle blog updated.  No big updates today, but there should be a few coming down the pike in the next as we meet with both state workers, our living agency, and a potion attorney all in the next six days.  In the mean time I have uploaded two short videos to You Tube.  Thanks for you support and thanks for reading

  1. B-Rad’s video
  2. Little Nat’s video
  3. Bonus: LR’s video

Groundhog Day 2016

Today is Groundhog Day.  I cannot go a single Groundhog Day without thinking about Bill Murrey and his desperate to escape living through a day that repeats it’s self without end.  He tried so very hard to get it right, then he tried so very hard to get it wrong and still he would wake to hear Sonny and Cher sing their love ballad.  

Well if you didn’t hear on the news, the groundhog did not see his shadow which tradition and lore tells us it will be an early spring.  Why is that tradition?  Why do we except it as fact?  How in the world does one relate to the other?  I have heard and read sever different explanation, but at the end I still wonder why?  Why except things as fact just because that is how they have been?

As we posted, LR’s bio-parent’s rights were severed.  Cheryl and I have contacted our licensing agency and an adoption attorney.  From the best we can tell it will be about 4 weeks (so around the beginning of March) before our home is an “approved” adoptive home.  It will then be about sixty to ninety days before the adoption date can be set (so somewhere in the start to mid May).

I can say with certainty that I am naive about the process that we were to go to for the adoption.  It feels like the more paperwork we fill out the more we are asked to fill out.  It feels like the closer to the end we walk the further away the date gets.  I don’t believe that my own genius is anywhere close to the comic genius of Mr. Murray, but at the same time it feels a little like I imagined as a young adult that the character it Groundhog Day was experiencing.  

Today we recived an email from our licensing agency with changed to the licensing requirements.  Lots of changes have been happening to AZ foster care system ever since we have been involved. With the changes we see at least two areas that will most likely need to change to maintain our licenses.  For me the safety and well being of the children is the most important thing.  However the changes seem less about a practical application and more about changing things just so it is different.  Why continue to throw hoops and hurdles.  We are trying our hardest.  The changes were supposed to give more support to the families and the children.  The largest change I have seen has been a change it leadership reporting, very little to assist the children.  Why do we settle for things to stay the same just because they are tradition or lore?  Why can’t improvements be made at the practical level?  We don’t need more hoops, we needs more supports.

Thank you for reading.  I will post an update as we hear back from our adoptive lawyer and when we meet our new case worker.  Happy Groundhog Day.

Turkey Tuesday Thanks

As we prepare for the holiday coming this Thursday, it leads me to be introspective about the things we have experienced and are thankful for.  2015 has been another unique year.  I am thankful for many things and I am sure that if I sat listing them all it may sound like everything in my life.  Here are three things for our “Turkey Tuesday”.

Since last Thanksgiving, Cheryl and I have said goodbye to two of our three placements, hello to two new kiddos and grown closer to our three current placements.  I am very thankful for the many gifts that each child gives us.  They all have their own personalities, but in their own unique way they show us what it means to love and be loved.  They grow and discover the world around them and as they do they remind me of the simple things in our lives that are just as important as the more complicated ones.  Seeing the world through a child’s eye has a certain level of innocence and can un-complicate a complicated decision without even trying.  I am very thankful for our three little ones with us and the two littles back home with their families.

My second Turkey Tuesday Thanks is from back in April. I spent 16 days in the hospital and another two weeks on “couch rest”.  During that time a lot of the slack I left behind had to be picked up.  Some of the slack was by family, some by co-workers and a whole lot by my loving wife.  Cheryl was a rock who went to work, came home and took care of our kiddos and found time to take care of her emotionally fragile husband.  I am thankful for the family and friends who lent her a hand in taking care of the kiddos, of the house, the dogs, and her.  Cheryl went to bat for me, making sure the doctors were on track, she slept on hard chairs and she held me up.  This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the slack pickers in my time of need.

The third Turkey Tuesday Thanks is for the many coming changes that Cheryl and I anticipate in the coming year.  We feel like we will have a more clear understanding what our “baby puzzle” picture will look like.  We have been working feverishly to set ourselves up for our “domestic dad” plan and we will have a more active role in forming the people our littles are becoming.  Every year there is change and I know that nothing is ever static.  Having a chance to live out our goals and our plans makes me thankful.

So, from the Covert’s house and my own blogging desk, I want to wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  And that you may remember to remember the many blessings in your life.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Change Without Annoucement

In a moment things seem to change without announcement.

As I wrote in an earlier post, our normal respite family who takes our kiddos when we need child care took on other responsibilities and is no longer available to us.  Last weekend we had a chance to meet a new respite family.  They can only take the baby (so we will need another family for the boys).  They live in Mesa, which is on the other side of the valley from us.  We drove to their home last Sunday and met with them.  They are a nice couple, married around the same time as us, hospitable.  They told us many of their experiences within the system.  Getting to hear their accounts and stories of the goods and bads of fostering (they have actually adopted one child) was an interesting re-affirmation that at the very least Cheryl and I are not taking crazy pills and living in some other reality.  In addition to getting to hear their own story we also had a chance to see where the baby will sleep and eat and all of the other things.  Sometimes sudden change can lead to an unexpected surprise.  We will have to a chance to meet the other respite family this coming weekend.

Just the other morning I woke up to the fussy sounds of the baby wanting her morning change and meal.  Most mornings she is up before the boys and this morning was no different.  I went into her room and she was still half sleeping.  Because she was still half asleep I left her in her crib while I picked out her outfit for the day.  Daycare always asks us to send her in “footsies” because of her protest to keeping on shoes and socks.  That morning I chose a “onesie” and pants.  I remember looking through the selection and the many messages on the front “Daddy’s Favorite”, “Mommy Loves me”, “Mommy’s Favorite” and so on and so forth, so many of the baby clothes that the many stores out there carry have person specific messages.  On this this particular morning it had a picture of a whale a something about how Daddy loved her.  So many things have changed in the kiddos lives since they have come to live with us.  Keeping them focused on hitting their developmental stages is important to us.  After court this last week we have to keep that in mind the most.  It is not a competition to make the cute clothes ring true but about helping her learn to walk and getting the boys to learn to use the potty.

In the meantime… we will look forward to the changes that happen suddenly and sometimes without announcement.  Thanks for reading.

Motivating Words

You saved my life, now maybe it’s my turn to save yours but I can never repay you, what you did for me is way more but I ain’t givin’ up faith and you ain’t givin’ up on me…

I found myself in a local grocery store buying the blue Similac formula.  Now for anyone who has had the pleasure of buying formula you know that the large Costco type containers give you the most for your money.  Well I walked in with a government issued coupon for the much smaller (and therefore more expensive) cans, seven in all.  This was all that I was buying so once I gathered my seven round containers I took them to a register.

I chose this particular store because it has less foot traffic and it takes about three times as long to check out with one coupon (which I had two – so about six times as long).  No one was in line and there were at least two other checkers open.  As I approached, the checker said to one of her co-workers something like oh goodness and indicated at least a mild bit of distain for the government coupons.  She began scanning the blue, round containers, continuing to talk to her co-worker about how most people with those coupons come in late at night.  Finally, her co-worker had a customer which forced the checker to talk to me.  A few sentences and in her mind things did not add up asking me to explain further.

Once she heard me explain that I was a foster parent her stance changed from judging to gratitude.  Rather interesting to me because this was not the first time I had seen a switch like that from similar workers.  Also, strange to me because I was still using the government issued payment.  She thanked me at least ten times in five minutes for opening my home to the kiddos.

Hope, I just need a ray of that, cause no one sees my vision … All I know is you came to me when I was at my lowest you picked me up, breathed new life in me, I owe my life to you

Sometimes we see the kiddos at the highest and sometimes we see them at their lowest.  Lots of the interactions that we have seen that have caused friction or hassle have been with the things and people surrounding the kiddos and not themselves.  Two overly caring CPS workers are on our cases right now.  One in charge of the siblings and the other in charge of the “middle” child.  They have judges yelling at them for not giving six hours of visits each week; parents showing and leaving early, parents no showing, parents asking for things that they do not get and all the while cannot give more than they have.

Cheryl and I have promised each other that we would keep each other a focus, next the kiddos and finally everything else.  The largest problem I see is so much of the demand that is placed on the workers is for the well-being of the parent unit.  I am sure that in a round-about way the thought is if it is good for the parents then it is good for the children.  As foster parents we have to remember that we are brought onto the scene just for the kiddos, to make their lives livable during that time in their lives.  We owe our times to them, we owe our lives to them.

Let me turn on the lights and brighten me and enlighten you;  I don’t think you realize what you mean to me, not the slightest clue

Growing up I had a family who cared for others and was a part of the community.  I Learned lots of lesson about the importance of community.  I know my parents gave those to me.  We go on and we learn.  As a young college student I met many inspiring people and I know that if It had not been for at least five people in my life I would not have made it through college; not on the course that I did.  On one occasion I was finishing up some activity and a mentor and fellow choir person pulled me aside and handed me an envelope.  I opened it to find a check.  The amount was not important; the enlightening message was.  It was not payment for some service, it was community helping community.  Her one request of me was to remember what had been given and when I saw others in need to give what I can.

The enlightening message was something I had heard from my up-bringing, but in practice it sank in with this single action.  I have a number of people who mean more to me than what I can say with words.  Life lesson, choices, actions… they all mean something.

…sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.  But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength; and just pull that it out of you and get that motivation to not give up; and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face…

This last week I have been reminded a lot of where we have come from and where we are.  Reading some of the stories and seeing the shift in where the Baby Puzzle was and where it is now is inspiring.  Cheryl and I continue to be a part of our community and give what we can.  Sometimes we encounter situations where we think it will go one way, but when we are shown the full picture the direction is changed.  Sometimes we see others struggling alongside of us and we have to remember to keep our focus on what we can help with.  We want to be so much more, but over the past 11 and a half months when we over extended ourselves that is when we feel the most overwhelmed.  Sometimes we just need that little extra that might be a lot or nothing at all to someone else.  They may not know that far reaching effects it will have on our lives just as we do not know the far reaching effects our efforts will have on the kiddos’ lives.

Thanks for reading… sometimes motivating words come from places we did not know they existed.

Whole World….

As the many months have rolled by we have been blessed with two wonderful kiddos. I would like to take a few lines to write to those kiddos.

We do not know what the future will hold for you.
But we wish the whole world for you.
We do not know what experiences you will have.
But we hope those experiences give you wisdom.
We do not know the people’s lives you will be a part of.
But that those people will feel blessed as we feel blessed.
We do not know the dreams that you have for your future.
But know we dream that you will be successful with whatever it is.
We do not know the chances you will have.
But we are fortunate for the chance to have known you.
We may not be a part of your whole rest of your lives.
But if you ask of it we gladly would do anything for it.
We may not be a part of your lives forever.
But you will always be a part of our lives.
We may not be what you will call home.
But you are always home with us.

Be good. Be strong. Be helpful. Be courageous. Be positive. Be strong. Be yourself. Be independent. Be whatever you want to be. Your world can be the whole world.

With love, always Cheryl and Nick

They tell you all of the hard parts of being a foster parent while in class… but I guess I did not believe it all while we sat there. The kiddos are still with us. As I said, we do not know their future, but if all goes as to plan they will be going home in about a month.