Melissa Collins is a retired flight attendant with Southwest Airlines. Melissa and her husband Chad became foster parents in May 2010. They adopted their first two foster children in February: Ruben, 4, and Lexie, 2. The birth mother gave the Collinses the opportunity to do a private adoption this year as she gave birth to a baby girl, Frances Grace. Melissa and Chad plan to legally adopt her this year.
5:45AM My husband wakes me up to say goodbye and give me a kiss.
6:15AM In stealth mode, I make a bottle, grab a diaper and some wipes. Baby Frankie will be waking up soon for her first feeding of the day. I see Ruben’s light on (he’s supposed to stay in his room until 7am) and tell him good morning. I tell him how proud I am that he’s waiting until 7 and not asking for a lot of things yet. Kiss his face and tell him to play quietly. I lie back down.
6:50AM Lexie comes in my room and lies down. Ruben hears her and starts talking. I’m off the clock till 7am, so I tell them to play in their room till then. We can cuddle, but “don’t ask me for anything till 7.”
7AM We’re up. Make Lexie a cup of Silk vanilla soymilk, Ruben his 2 percent. Oops, forgot I told a friend I’d watch her 6-year-old daughter today. Hope I have time for coffee before she gets here. Thank God for the Keurig.
7:15AM Baby Frankie is up. Change her diaper, clothes and feed her. Ruben comes in to tell me that the toilet is broken. The toilet works well, but not when you flush half a roll down. Quick plunge and finish feeding baby girl.
7:30AM My friend’s girl arrives for the day. This is overly exciting for Ruben and Lexie. A new friend to be crazy with for the day. The kids play “spy” and I make everyone’s bed while they “spy” on me.
8AM Kids ask to play outside. Get the mosquito repellent applied and send them to the back yard play area. Good time to get some more things done.
8:15AM “Snack, please.” Fifteen minutes of swinging and sliding – time to eat, I guess. Serve a snack and kids say, “We’re not hungry.” What? The kids now are inside playing “house.”
8:30AM Short-order cook back in action as the kids are now ready for breakfast. Eggs today.
9AM Get art projects going. Lexie loves playing with paper and glue. Ruben and my friend’s daughter play “school.” Baby Frankie and I hang out while I try to get my first cup of coffee down.
9:30AM Bottle time. Frankie discovered her feet today and is very excited.
10AM The kids play with stickers, glue, markers and colors. Ruben and Lexie are enjoying their older friend showing them what to do. Can’t wait to clean this one up!
10:45AM Dance Party with kids, a great way to get exercise indoors. Frankie is playing on the ground with her mobile. She’s starting to laugh these days.
11AM Clean up the kitchen art mess.
11:30AM Make lunch for all the kids – Annie’s mac ’n’ cheese, hot dogs, grape juice. Everyone eats (including our Westie, who scored a dropped hot dog). Lexie is upset she dropped her hot dog, so I get her another. Gets a little loud at the table during lunch.
12:15PM Frankie gets another bottle while I get a sec to eat a salad. Nap time for Ruben and Lexie. This will be tough today with another kid in the house that they could be playing with instead of sleeping.
1PM Ruben went down pretty well, but Lexie is trying everything to stay up. How many times does a 2-year-old need to potty? You find out at naptime, I guess.
1:10PM Take a minute to get my hair looking presentable. Put a little make-up on in case I have to look in a mirror this afternoon.
1:15PM Lexie is asleep now. The neighbor’s girl is playing on the swing in the back yard. I watch a little bit of a movie I recorded and hold Frankie.
1:45PM Ruben gets up from nap and plays a computer game for a few minutes.
2PM Take kids to play at McDonald’s, and they each get a sundae.
4PM Go to Walgreens for a few things, get home and feed baby girl again.
5PM Start making dinner while kids play in Lexie’s room.
5:30PM Time to eat. We all pray and the kids start eating.
6PM Chad gets home and kisses the kids and me. Gets out of the work clothes and helps them finish off dinner. We all have a little playtime before getting ready for bed.
6:30PM Time to get the kids in pajamas, brush teeth, use the bathroom, wash faces, etc.
7PM Chad or I (or both of us) read the kids two books and say our goodnight prayers. It can now take until 8pm or 8:30pm for both Ruben and Lexie to fall asleep for the night.
8:30PM Hopefully Ruben and Lexie are down for the night. Chad and I hang out with the baby. She’ll need to eat again in an hour. We usually watch the news, a show we recorded or something on Netflix.
9:30PM Feed the baby and kiss Chad as he heads off to bed. Have a glass of wine and watch something Chad wouldn’t watch with me.
10:30PM Clean kitchen and get another load of laundry done.
11:30PM Feed the baby one last time. Hopefully, she’ll sleep through the night. I’m done! Turn out the lights and do it again tomorrow.
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