Friday, December 30, 2011

RIP

Grandma T - Oct 15, 1928 - Dec 17, 2011
The best Grandma
(Photo taken on her 83rd birthday.)

Mikha April 17, 2001 - Dec 29, 2011
The best Friend
(Photo with Muffin in 2003)

We were so very lucky to have them both in our lives. We hope they are together, setting out into the sunset on a great adventure!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stopping in with a quick update...

It has been a crazy 10 days.

On the 17th, while at my Mom's for my side of the family's Christmas party, we received the phone call that hubby's Mom passed away.

We cut our holiday short and came home Sunday morning followed by Hubby's brother and sister and their families. We picked up Hubby's other brother at the airport in Spokane on Tuesday and had a small service on Wednesday.

Hubby's Mom was given weeks to live 2 years ago. A Scleroderma diagnoses, care from specialists, and a pacemaker later... she outlived the Dr's prognosis more than once. In January 2011, she was given 2 months. We knew to expect it soon, but it certainly didn't make it any easier.

Hubby has cared for her during the last 2.5 years, with a couple of visits a day. We were happy to have moved her here from Alberta so we could do so. Hubby was exceptionally close with his Mom.

She was doing relatively well the last few weeks and we expected her to share Christmas with us. It is unfortunate that it didn't happen this way, but at least it was easy for the family to travel here given the Christmas holiday.

Hubby's Mom was an inspiration to say the least. She never said a bad word about anybody and tirelessly gave all she had to those she loved. She loved spending time with our children and they really miss her.

During our small family service, Muffin turned to me and said, "Mom, everyone is sad and it makes me sad for Grandma who is looking down at us. She would be sad to see everyone sad. She wouldn't want that. I think we should be happy for her and celebrate her life. Can we pick up some balloons and have a party for her instead of a funeral?"

Oh my Muffin... she is the light in the dark. The following day, we picked up balloons and had a party!

Christmas quickly snuck up on us, and now the family has all returned home.

Mikha, has also surpassed his prognosis and is still with us. He has been doing quite well, but the tumor on his leg has grown significantly in the last 3 days. 2 days ago, I had to re-bandage his leg 3 times... because it expanded that quickly! He is losing a lot of weight and seems to be mostly focused on licking his leg so we know that he is no longer comfortable. Sadly, we have concluded that it is no longer fair to have him endure this any further. Tomorrow... we will have to take him to the vet where he will cross the rainbow bridge into the arms of Grandma.

On another note, we got some further awful news 2 days ago that the caretaker at Hubby's parent's Seniors complex was found dead of a heart attack during his shift at the residence. Much, much too young and completely unexpected. A super nice fellow that always took time to talk to us and took great care of the residents there.

A few more days and New Years Eve will be upon us. Good riddance 2011.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Wreath - another great kids craft for gifting!

In the spirit of giving more homemade gifts, I thought I would share another craft that my kids have been making for some family members. This really is a beautiful wreath... I had to keep one.


What you need:

60+ - 2" Christmas ornaments
Wire Coat Hanger
Glue gun
Ribbon



First you need to check the tops of all of your ornaments. (They make them plastic now, which is perfect for this craft, otherwise I am sure you will be breaking a lot!) If the tops are not on really tight, you need to pop the top off and give it a shot with the glue gun.

Prepare your coat hanger like this.



Then thread the ornaments on to the wire (wire goes through the hole in the cap on top of the ornament). Pattern or no pattern... do what appeals to you. We went with a pattern, but found it made no difference in the end anyway. Other than to ensure equal colors were remaining at the end.

When your wire is full of ornaments... turn and arrange them the way you want, and then twist the wire ends back together. The hook on the end will be used to hang your wreath. Add ribbon to hide the end of the coat hanger.. and you are done! Voila!

Each of these cost me $20 in Christmas balls alone. I am hoping to find some on sale after Christmas, so it is more economical next year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Santa Claus and the truth collide.

Yes, I admit it. I do get pangs of guilt every time I tell a white lie about the Tooth Fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny. I teach my children not to lie... and here I am feeding them with BS every season. I will hide behind my justification that I do tell them that sometimes little white lies are okay, if they are done out of goodness - ie. to not hurt someone's feelings etc. AND - the fact that I would not have traded all the holiday magic and excitement I felt waiting for Santa, or the Easter Bunny for the truth as a child.

I remember confronting my own Mother at the age of 7. She lied to me, and dammit I was mad that Santa Claus didn't exist... so I think I directed my anger towards the fact that she lied to me. She proceeded to tell me the true story of the St. Nicholas and it seemed to make me feel better. At least he was based on a true story!

I dread the day when my lil Mister finds out however. He is a sensitive child and takes things quite personally. I can already envision how it will go down. He will look up at me with those big brown eyes full of hurt, and a furrowed brow of anger. "You lied to me." Yep... and then he'll break my heart, and I will have to re-tell the St. Nicholas story to hopefully regain his trust. My smart Muffin will then put 2 and 2 together and ask about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Babba Fairy from when they were babies... and I will be the Mama that crushed their childhood fantasies. But... we all survived it didn't we? And like I said, I don't regret it.

The reason I am bringing this up now, is we have been having a lot of discussions about Kenya lately. I have made a couple comments about how Christmas will be different next year if we are in Kenya. I haven't given too many details, and I don't want them to think negatively about it. But the truth is, there will be a fraction of the amount of gifts! Then, my thoughts immediately go to Santa. Santa is the bomb in my house! He is the man of all men! The wish giver of all givers! If you want something - do not ask Mommy or Daddy. No siree - ask Santa! Santa has always given our kids their 'big' gifts. We didn't ever want to be associated with such extravagant gifts. Play kitchens, Nintendo DS's, train tables, etc... But now, I fear we may have set ourselves up for trouble!

My thoughts first went to ... how challenging will it be to provide the kids with their main gift wish in Kenya? And if it's large... it's not up for discussion, as we can't take it back. THEN - I had a moment when my heart almost stopped. Santa is for the privileged only. There are millions of children in Africa who have never gotten a gift from Santa! What will my children think? Are the children in Kenya bad? Does Santa not fly to Kenya? Lord only knows what direction their young minds will take... but the fact is, this will be the time the truth about Santa will have to come out. I am hoping that an offer to play 'Santa' to young children in an orphanage or in the streets etc... will help ease the disappointment. But then I think, Really? Does Santa have a place in a third world country? It is not fair... So perhaps gifting anonymously would be a better way to go about it.

Oh, Santa Baby... it was fun while it lasted, but I am afraid this may be the last year that my children will wait with anticipation for you to come down the chimney, eat their cookies, feed their carrots to the reindeer and leave all sorts of goodies. The last year I can tell them they have to wait in my bedroom at the end of the hall, while I set up the video camera to capture the look on their faces and the squeals of excitement when they see what Santa has left them. I am going to soak it all up and try to make it extra special this year!

(I have a couple of really cute ideas that I will post later... if you are interested in some added extra Christmas fun!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

How I get my way 'Tree Hunting' his way...

Hubby and Misterman prefer to hunt their trees.

The Muffin and I prefer to have more than 5 branches to hang our ornaments on!

In this area, you cannot go cut your own tree down at a tree farm... where the trees are beautiful. So you just cannot have a good looking tree and cut it down.

I will admit, the thrill of the hunt is fun... typically in 3 feet of snow or more. They boys with their saws... girls with the camera and hot chocolate.

This year, we got the best of both worlds! Our friend 'B' and her daughter 'E' wanted to cut down a tree this year. Because her husband was out of town, I was able to convince the hubby that helping 'B' hunt one down would fulfill his needs, and swinging by the Save On to purchase one on the way back would fulfill mine!

It was a gorgeous day outside... perfect for hunting! (And for playing!)

'B' ,  'E' and their dog Dax.

Muff and I make a poor attempt at making a heart.

Glorious snow!

Mister could play in it all day!

Mister and 'E' take a break - tree hunting is exhausting!

... A little fun with editing my favorite model.

I think this might be the one!!

A baby one for Grandma and Grandpa too! (and a rare opportunity to get a shot of me with the family - typically, I am invisible Mommy behind the camera!)

'B's lovely tree! Probably the nicest 'wild' one I have ever seen! We did good!!

Tree hunting for our tree looks more like this!!

...And is a good car freshener too!!

The only picture I have so far... will post some nicer ones later! ;)


Friday, December 9, 2011

A Friday Pick Me Up!

Waka Waka (This time for Africa)



LOVE this song! I think it's going to be my new theme song... to keep me going! There are some lyrics in there that speak to me.

We are the first family to enter the Kenya program with our agency (just found out about another family who signed on though!! ;)... making us 1 of 3 Canandians families adopting from Kenya since 2008 and the Hague. We are pioneers... paving the way. 'Pick yourself up, dust yourself off' - geez, how many times do you have to do that in the adoption journey? 'Don't wait in line'... ha, after almost 2 years - I'm read to push way to the front! 'You paved the way'. - I hope too!! etc... i think you get the idea. ;)
Waka Waka means - Do It - and the other lyrics are in Fang -a Central African language. Lyrics from a song that was sung for the freedom in Africa in the 70's and 80's.

*I edited this post to add the version with the lyrics.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Crystals (great gifts for the kids to make!)

My kids have been very busy at making these for Christmas gifts. They are so easy to make!!



What you need...

Borax
Pipecleaner

The recipe is simple - 3 tbsp of Borax to 1 cup of boiling water.
First - prepare your pipecleaner design. Let your imagination run wild... The shape should fit well in a jar or container, without touching the sides or the bottom.
Wrap a pencil around the ornament - to hold it in the borax solution.


Stir the borax until dissolved.
Plop your pipecleaner in... and let it sit over night (12 hours approx.)



We have played around with the amount and length of time a bit. The more borax, and the longer you leave it - the larger the crystals will be. I prefer the look of the smaller crystals... and they weigh less as well. The snowflake below was made with 4 tbsp/cup and was left about 18 hours... giving it a chunkier look.

Different colored pipecleaner will result in different looks. Below, we used light blue, white and silver. I prefer the white and light blue. You can also add a bit of food colouring to colour your crystals!


The photos don't show, but the crystals really sparkle... and should look great on the tree with all the lights!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Considering going private...


... but hold on, not so fast. I'm going to do some research into this first.

Now that our dossier is at the Agency ... soon to be sent to Kenya - there is some thought that perhaps we should go in hiding until referral.

I HATE this idea. I'm always very vocal about being who I am... with nothing to hide. This does not appeal to me, let me tell you! I want my blog to be available to all... and then I question, what stops anyone with ill intention from requesting to read my 'private' blog  - and how would I know?

However, the rational is - there is corruption in Kenya - no doubt about it. I don't think there is an African country without it! ... and it is better to be safe.

Basically, including our last name in the blog address and name was not such a great idea after all! DUH!? But, us Thompsons are a dime a dozen... so not a huge concern. I did erase my real name from the blog. I could erase any reference to 'Kenya' - but how would this serve any intention to assist others who are considering adoption from here?

I'm pretty fearless when it comes to this type of thing. But I do also have consider my children - one who happens to be a blue eyed, blond female!

What is the worst that could happen (realistically)? Who knows... I haven't given it too much thought...  They could stalk me on blogger world and make a plan to ... what? Bribe me? I think that happens all the time anyway... Hmm. Go ahead - fill me in. What happens to adoptive parents that don't go private? Or... what could happen?

Also - doesn't going private just make your future posts private, but leave your previous posts open to all? How does this work?

Tell me what to do!! And in the interim... if you follow, but don't officially 'follow' - please hit that button and come out of hiding, so I can add you if I do go private!

Thank you all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What is a dossier like?

This is how it is pronounced.

This is how it is defined.

dossier - a collection of papers containing detailed information about a particular person or subject (usually a person's record)

This is what it looks like.

90 original pages of our lives plus our passports, birth certificates etc. Seriously people, this is no small undertaking! Everything from our Business License (original!! - and others notarized) to full length photographs of us all. I believe they may possibly know more about me than I do!



But what it feels like is even more impressive!

It feels like

Joy

Relief

Satisfaction


It feels like conquering Mount Everest.

A struggling climb. Getting caught in a snowstorm, losing the topography map and then clawing my way over the last few feet to the top... Leaping off the peak and now I am just going to sit back and enjoy the view from the top as I slowly drift down. (Until I crash into a ledge or smack into a bird... sure to happen! lol ;)


It feels Surreal
Are we really going to do this?
Is this really going to happen?



Yep, I guess it is!



Monday, December 5, 2011

What's a moustache worth?

Apparently 38 million! Yep, that's right... Canada grew some mean moustaches... wore them proud for the month of November - called it 'Movember', and raised a whopping amount! All in the name of prostate cancer.

In fact, us Canadians rocked those Mo's so well... that we raised more than any other country world wide! 14 million more than Australia, who was the country that followed us...! Way to go Canada!! You know how to kick some cancer butt!

From the Movember website:
For the month of November "... these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Part├ęs held around the world by Movember, for Movember." 

Here is my hubby's first attempt at the Mo'...

Before


After

In fact, this was his first time ever growing facial hair. He now wants to know how the heck to shave it off... lol. Apparently, you just can't take a razor to it?

 Ha...ha... I'll let him figure that one out! ;)

(I know... we are 5 days into December. I'm a little behind on my posting! I have some good news though and will share tomorrow!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011: Remembering the suffering children

Today is World AIDS Day.

I never knew the significance of December 1st before now.

Why now? Because I have become aware that there are 15 million AIDS orphans in Sub Sarahan Africa. No, this does not necessarily mean they are inflicted with AIDS. This means that AIDS is the cause of their orphan status. Their family members have died... leaving them orphaned.



But wait.

AIDS does not affect the people of Africa only. AIDS is everywhere and does not discriminate between their victims. It doesn't care about what continent you live on, or what colour of skin you have.

We need to educate ourselves and our children about this. So many of us are in the dark.

Some quick facts...

AIDS is caused from HIV. HIV that is left untreated.

The typical timeline for AIDS to develop from untreated HIV is 10 yrs.

HIV is treatable. Treated with ARV's... people infected with HIV can live long, healthy lives without ever getting AIDS!

You need to get tested! The earlier HIV is discovered, the better it responds to treatment. Without testing, HIV can go undetected until AIDS develops!

HIV and AIDS is not contracted through casual contact or even saliva for that matter!


HIV and AIDS is contracted through unprotected sex and blood to blood transmission.

.... therefore, HIV and AIDS is 100% preventable. Wrap it up!

What can you do to help?
  • Learn and educate others
  • Raise Awareness
  • Support zero discrimination of those infected
  • Be an activist
  • Donate to an organization that provides AIDS/HIV education and treatment

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Cancer is Evil"

... as said best by my son.

Yesterday was a very sad day at the Thompson house. Our first baby, Mikha has been diagnosed with a very aggressive bone cancer. Yes, Mikha is a dog - but Mikha was really our first child! I know some people don't 'get it', but others will. He is a member of our family. Period.


Last week, we noticed that his ankle was swollen. We took him to the vet, she felt his bones - said nothing was broken and assumed it was likely arthritis. Thursday before we left, his entire lower leg was swollen a great deal! It was painful and he was putting no pressure on it. We put him on pain killers and had him looked after with special care while we were gone. It had gotten worse over the weekend, so we took him back to the vet yesterday. She X-rayed him and found this:



Cancer has eaten right through the bones in his ankle. We can have his leg amputated and he will have a month to live. We can amputate and treat with chemotherapy and he will have 3 months to live. We only have a few days left before this cancer will spread to his organs. (There is some thought that it has already made it's way to his lymph nodes.)

For now, he is on pain meds and happy as can be. A couple days of lots of hugs, photos and goodbyes. This morning, he managed to make his way down 2 flights of stairs to find me in the office, so he could lie at my feet. Still loyal as ever - so I let him eat cat food! :)

Mikha is an extremely unique dog and I wanted to do a full post on how amazing he is, but I shed enough tears yesterday that it will have to wait.

Muffin was hysterical when she found out and Mister curled up on a stool and claimed he was never going to get off. He has been their playmate, best friend, defender, protector and babysitter since the day they both were born.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You Americans....

Are so devoted and dedicated to your Thanksgiving celebrations and I find it very admirable! I mean seriously, our Canadian Thanksgiving doesn't begin to hold a candle to yours! What began as a harvest celebration has turned into a very large affair... one dedicated to giving thanks to all the great things in your life! Your Thanksgiving is our Christmas.

In the last 3 weeks, I have probably gotten a thousand hits from Americans googling "Giving Thanks". I did a post a month ago during our Thanksgiving... and now I would like to apologize to all 1000 of you that it wasn't a great, long, in depth post. Nope... it was just a short post to acknowledge some things I am thankful for. See the difference here? Many of you give thanks for every single day in November leading up to Thanksgiving, while I list a few at dinner.

I'm in awe of you all!

Now let's not forget... it appears that Thanksgiving would not be complete without black Friday. It seems that this is just as much as a holiday tradition as the turkey? And now I learn of cyber Monday too! Well... I'm just gonna jump on that commercialization... and join you all for my first black Friday. That's right... the hubby and I, along with a few friends are going to grab our coffee mugs, slide across the border and head out for midnight shopping! I hope it's wild and crazy. I'm not necessarily going to shop... I just want to people watch and take note how this goes down. Of course, I'm hoping for some screaming deals... but better than that would be to watch 8 screaming women fighting over one bra... or something like that... LOL! Seriously... does that happen, or is it just in the movies!?


Here's hoping my BOGS are on sale... ;)

Please share any tips or insider info with me... Where should I go first!?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A tip for you Diva's...

Yucky yes... but a topic worth touching upon. Some important information here ladies. Please watch this.



In addition, you can find many articles on his website about this. (He is a fantastic source of information for many things!)

Years ago, hubby and I saw a documentary about the 'sludge'... end product of sewage waste treatment - used to fertilize crops in China. (Well if that isn't one great reason not to purchase food from China!!) The pictures were horrendous... thankfully that it wasn't 'smellovision'! Basically, it was brown sludge with tampons and condoms spread all over the place. Gross. We are literally littering our planet with these things. Now... we can't do without condoms, those will have to stay in the landfill - but there is something you can do about the tampons!

So now we know that it is better for you, and better for the environment... your solution - is a Diva Cup. Here's to never running out of tampons, and never paying a dime more. I know... there is a gross factor... but honestly, you get over it. I think all Mom's out there can stomach this just fine!

Add caption


Diva Cup Website

AND - I literally whipped this post up so you can take advantage of today's offer on www.babysteals.com ! They are on for $17!!... they are minimum $30 here, so a great deal! Go now...!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I forgot where it goes...

Mister man... always makes me laugh. He caught me off guard in this video with his 'little scare'... but he was able to laugh about it afterwards. He certainly is keeping that tooth fairy busy!!



PS... this is my imovie debut. Just downloaded the app... worth the money! Very easy to edit short movies!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My wish list... (Bogs Riders)

Christmas that is. (Honey your off the hook - I'm not publishing the 'honey do' wishlist. ;)

I have told you how gifting has changed in my house, and I think this list will hopefully follow suit. (Especially since I only have one item on my list!!)

Actually, I have always been pretty good about not wanting exessive or overly expensive things. I have always loved clothing, appliances and other household useful stuff for gifts. I know some people believe that you should never receive clothing, or a pot etc. for Christmas. I know people who would never buy my children clothing as a gift because they didn't feel that was right. (Pfft... my kids love clothing gifts!)

But if we were to analyze this a little closer... why the heck not? 2 years ago, my Christmas gift was a knife. Yes, a knife. May seem strange to some of you... but this is not something I would have ever normally purchase because it was too expensive. This was a $150 Wusthof Classic Cook's Knife, 8-inch . And I LOVE THIS KNIFE! I am so glad I decided to get it. (I choose my Christmas gifts out and sometimes just purchase them myself.) Slicing and dicing has never been so easy and enjoyable with this knife! (Seriously!)

Last year, my dryer conveniently pooched out 2 weeks before Christmas. So guess what I got for Christmas?! A Santa Red (or so I call it!) Samsung front loader washer and dryer! I was in laundry heaven! This gift has allowed me to compress my laundry time. I can now fit in 2.5 standard loads into one load! Seriously, what could make a Mom more happy?

Four years ago, I got a pair of Pajar boots. I had a hard time swallowing the $220 price tag, but they were made in Canada with a durable suede and soft, fuzzy wool lining with a promise to keep my feet warm. Feet that have never been warm in any boot. This boot more than fulfilled it's promised! My feet are always toasty now. (If anyone knows how to make a warm boot - it would be Canada!!) Well, I am now a firm believer in 'You pay for what you get!' I am on the 5th winter with this boot, and when I asked my local shoe store when they would be getting in more Pajar boots, I was told only every 4 years or so because they just last too long that they don't need replacing! I suspect that doesn't make for very good business in a small town, so I doubt I will see them here again.

As I mentioned... this is my 5th winter now in my Pajar boots. They are still in great condition... and I really feel guilty about this - but I am ready for a new boot. Styles have changed and I would like a change... Here is my christmas wish list for this year, and I think you will agree that it is a modest request.

I am dreaming of a pair of Bogs Rider Boots.

They would be very suitable for our winters. Living on a mountain, at times we have up to 4 feet of snow in our back yard, while down town has just a bit of slush. What better of a boot to handle wet slush and deep snow!? This is my justification anyway... as my pajars will get wet (suede only resists moisture, but eventually succumb to it!) after a period of time.

I tried a pair on in the store yesterday and fell in love. People... try them on! Just try them on! SO COMFY and SO WARM! AND, the nice thing is - this year they have many more fashionable options! These are the ones I want... They are very cute on!! (Not to mention good to -40 C/F !!!)



The unfortunate thing is that they didn't have my size. :( Which means that my only hope is that they are able to get more in, or I order online (which is not very easy in Canada) or I go shopping across the border.

Perhaps Santa will hear my pleas and drop a pair down my chimney? Surely those elves know how to make them, or have 'connections'!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fostering...

Why not?

The AFABC 'adoption' magazine (Oct/Nov), reports that there is a chronic shortage of foster parents and respite families in BC.

We have an active homestudy (that we paid a lot of money for!)... we may as well put it to use!

Treading lightly, and keeping our adoption journey as our priority, we are going to look into emergency, short term foster care.

The call has been placed. We are just waiting on receiving the application in the mail and then we will meet with the local SW to get some more info!


If you would like more information on fostering in BC, call 1-800-663-9999 or www.bcfosterparents.ca

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Smile...

... this Otter is showing off her baby to you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Overrated Turkey. (the bird, not the country)

7 yrs ago (almost to the day), I sat miserably, very sick with the flu in a small family room adjacent to the Special Care Unit where my newborn baby boy was being looked after. This is a whole other story. One that I should really document before the memories escape me... but the short of it is that he had a bad case of jaundice and an infection. While I had been discharged, he had to stay to recieve around the clock light therapy for a week.

Despite being plagued by a terrible flu, I had insisted that he room in with me as I was really struggling to nurse him because the nurses kept shoving bottles in him. On top of that, I had my 17 month old baby at home an hour away. I had never spent a single night away from her before. I missed her terribly and cried when she wouldn't even so much as look at me when they came to visit. (She was so mad at me!) Although we had family that offered to help look after Muffin here and there, my poor husband was left to try and hold everything together and having to balance his work, with looking after Muffin and his sick wife and newborn that were an hour away. It was not a good time for any of us.

It was during this week that I was notified that we were to host Dan's family Christmas. It was all I could do to muster the strength to get myself dressed and fed after taking care of a newborn who required feedings on the dot at every third hour, followed by 45 minutes of pumping - all while being so sick. Unfortunately, I didn't get any nursing care at this time, or food. No catering to the Mom, I was a guest. Pout. :'( I had no help, and I have to admit ... I only ate what Dan brought me from the cafeteria every night. He would bring me extra stuff that would keep with no refrigeration and I would nibble on it during the day. (Literally because I was just too sick to seek out the cafeteria on my own!) I was forced to eat cheese by the slice for breakfast (and I do not like cheese on it's own!), and lunch was usually a granola bar and a apple sauce. Just  writing this is bringing back all the emotion. *Sniff. I was a sad state. ( I would never have admitted it to anyone though - but it was a low for sure.)...

Wow, to get back on track - SO, as I was saying - It was all I could do to look after myself and the baby, let alone conceive of hosting a dinner for 16. I think I cried for most of the day when I was told this. I was lacking strength, sleep, and sanity to even imagine how I would pull off a turkey dinner for that many people in our small 1200 sq. foot condo, with a table that sat 6, dinnerware for 8, a frequent nursing newborn and a 17 month tugging at me.

Looking back on it, springing this news on a 3 day postpartum Mom who's baby is sick in the hospital was probably not the best idea. I likely would have been better to digest it, had it been at least 2 weeks postpartum. Looking back on it, I should have stood up for myself and just said no. But I didn't... and the worry and the anxiety stayed with me for quite awhile.

As I was crying the blues to my old boss a couple weeks later, her sister had overheard. Her sister was a caterer. She offered to cook the dinner for me at cost of the price of the turkey. She was my Christmas Angel that year. I eagerly accepted and tossed out any and all concern I had about how well my turkey secret would be recieved by the family. This was really the best that I could do with what I had... and this was the only way turkey would get to any plate.

Luckily, we had found out that a party room was available for rent in our condo complex and it was complete with a kitchen! All I had to do was set the table, prepare the mashed potatoes, and a veggie side dish, (as 2 others were being brought in by the family)... and that was it.

Let me tell you, this was the best Christmas ever. I was able to sit and relax, look after my babies and just take it all in. It was so nice to actually be 'present' for the games, and the gift openings instead of running all over to check the turkey, make gravy etc.

I have played the turkey rigamarole for 5 years straight now, and it always follows a Christmas Eve where my apron does not come off - sitting is not an option, as I pull one appetizer after another out of the oven - from noon to 10 pm. Needless to say, I'm a bit pooped by Christmas morning... and I always struggle to get back into my apron and do it all over again.

This year... we are doing something different. I don't know what, but I have promised myself a year off. No turkey. I will do the Christmas Eve appies, as it has become a tradition and I do enjoy it... but I am taking Christmas day off to spend with my children. Yay! That feels so good. I want to be able to wake up to my Coffee con Baileys (or Baileys con Coffee... ha!), watch the kids open their presents, and then I am not going to stuff no bird. No sir. I am going to help my kids put together their new toys, try out their new sleds etc and build a huge snowman. Then, I'm going to make some hot chocolate... sit by the fire and snuggle up with my family.

I don't care if someone chooses to take over the Turkey Chef role, if it is catered, if we order pizza or if we heat up one of these:

I really don't care. Turkey is so overrated. You spend 6 hours cooking and slaving over the stove and at least an hour cleaning, all for 20 minutes of eating. The benefits just do not support the effort required. In my mind anyway!

To all those Mom's out there who are captives to their stoves on Christmas day... I urge you to abolish Turkey slaving for one year! Just one year. Take it off. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your children.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Heavy Heart

Yesterday I re-visited the movie `Child of Rage` on Youtube.



I then watched the documentary and chilling interviews with Beth Thomas. (the `child`of rage).



I then learned that a local little girl would soon be set free to fly with the Angels. Anaya is a 2 yr old who was diagnosed with Infantile Krabbe Leukodystrophy, a terminal brain disease.



She is currently in a Vancouver hospital on breathing support... waiting for her Daddy to arrive so he can `Goodbye` to his sweet baby. You can read her blog here, or check out her FB page here.

And if that wasn`t enough... I went to bed and read Street Children of Kenya.

Needless to say, I didn`t sleep all that well.

Today...

I made a small donation to Anaya`s family.

I learned that Beth Thomas has healed from RAD and is no longer a `Child of Rage`, but a nurse and an amazing speaker on attachment. She has created a DVD set - More Than a Thread of Hope

And today, I said a prayer for Anaya and her family, children of RAD, and the street children of Kenya.

And now I am ready for some lighthearted, uplifting activity. The sun is shining... and I am ready to embrace this day with family. ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Laundry Secret - Green Series

I have always planned on making my own laundry detergent... but have found a much better alternative!


"Soap nuts are dried fruit berries that fall from the soapberry tree (Sapindus Mukorossi) found in Northern India and Nepal. Their outer shells contain saponin, which creates a natural soap when agitated in water - use them in place of traditional detergents and fabric softeners. They effectively clean, soften and remove odors from your laundry - naturally! They have been used for centuries as a natural way to clean laundry and much more!"


I know terrible video... but covers all the facts. ;)

If you keep an eye on any of the steal websites... you can get these for really cheap. (Like 20 cents a load!)
http://www.greenbabybargains.com/  is where I got mine from Yoreganics - for 50%, which turns out to be under 20 cents a load! I have heard that you can also purchase them on the Shopping Channel for under 10 cents a load!

1 kg bag would replace 9-32 load plastic bottles of detergent! If your still not convinced Read This:

The Benefits of Soap Nuts

If you're not yet convinced of their benefits or how to use soap nuts, the following information should answer some of your questions:
  • Sustainable: It's a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
  • All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients.
  • "Green": Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
  • Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer.
  • Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it's spent.
  • Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
  • Not Actually Nuts: They're totally safe for those with nut allergies.
  • Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
  • Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils.
  • Gentle: Their mild nature won't damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
  • No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics!
  • Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water.
  • Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too.
  • Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
  • Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
  • Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
  • Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
  • Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself!
  • Countless Uses: Look below for a few ideas on how to use soap nuts in your own home.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Disrupted Adoption - Infant Adoption

I have felt the urge to write about this a few times now... and have always decided not to - in a conscience effort to not judge others. Especially considering I am not even an adoptive parent. (yet!) However, after receiving 3 notices from a waiting child site about 3 separate instances of disrupted adoptions in the last 3 weeks... my tongue no longer has any fiber left to bite.

Below, is one of the listings that was sent to me. I don't know any details other than those provided in this excerpt.

* "Mark" is a 4 yr. old boy who was adopted in the U.S. at age 3 weeks. His adoption is disrupting and a new home must be found.  "Mark" was born drug and alcohol exposed and currently has some delays especially in expressive language.

A home is being sought for "Mark" where he is the youngest child.  'Mark''s adoptive parents gave birth to a son after they adopted "Mark", and "Mark" is too controlling and tends to bully his brother.  "Mark" is good with animals, likes water sports and picture books. Maybe you can be that family who can give "Mark" the home he needs.

One of the reasons I have to comment, is this is not an isolated incident. I have heard the exact same story happen to a little boy in Canada... and I'm sure there are many more out there.


Goodness gracious... this poor, poor child!!


Here is what I don't understand. How do you adopt an itty bitty little baby... feed, clothe, bathe, love, and parent a child for 4 yrs and then decide that it's not working out for you? How does this work...? I'm trying really hard to be understanding and consider there may have been many other issues going on.... But still, I come up empty handed with a reason of how on earth this is acceptable in the regards to a newborn adoption! In both the newborn adoption disruption cases I heard of, the adoption was followed by a pregnancy.


I understand that in the case of older adoptions, attachments aren't as easy and the bonding takes a very long time. But in the case of a 3 week old baby!? A baby that you spent endless nights rocking, while holding him close to your heart. A baby who's first smile made your day. The baby you read to and played endless games of 'smell the stinky feet' because it made him giggle so. The baby you celebrated the first steps of, the first birthday, first tooth and the first "Mama"! The toddler who's pitter patter footsteps filled your home with laughter. The toddler who cried on Santa's lap and sobbed for an hour while you consoled him with a candy cane. The toddler who gave you the mushiest, wettest kisses. The toddler who loved to curl up on your lap and fall asleep with his blanket, while sucking his thumb. The child you taught to ride a tricycle, and put on his own socks! The child who made you a homemade Mother's day card embossed with a stamp of his tiny hand print. The child you took to his first day of preschool... and he was so happy to see you and excited to take you by the hand and show you all the wonderful things he learned. HOW? How do you throw that all way and give him up?

Source
I'm having a really tough time here, and I have revised this 5 times now. I don't want to come off as harsh... but honestly, this really upsets me. I feel as though this child's fate was sealed the minute his parents discovered they were pregnant. Perhaps they never thought they could ever get pregnant - and viewed adoption as a second choice instead of the best choice - I don't know. But somehow, somewhere... along the line, this poor baby became second best to a infant born from his Mother's womb. She didn't love him the same that the she loved her biological son. I don't know how or why... but it happened. If he had been born from her womb, he would have stood a chance. When he became jealous, bossy or aggressive with his younger sibling... she would have worked it out. After all, most all biological siblings go through this anyway! But for some reason, she always had the thought in the back of her mind that this child did not have a permanent place within the family... and was not as valued, therefore - he could be let go. Given up, so they could live in harmony with their biological baby without being overshadowed by a troubled child who required a little more love and attention.

I can't help but think what damage this is doing to this little boy.

I know there are certain extreme cases involving RAD, where parents don't have a choice and are forced to disrupt the adoption. These cases are fortunately rare. 


What we as adoptive parents have to understand is that it isn't going to be easy. The road is rocky and you will hit some serious ruts.  There is risk. Guaranteed, their ages will not be right. (The latest disrupted adoption was partially due to miscalculated ages.) And guaranteed - it is not going to be a walk in the park!

The wrong type of adoptive parent is the one who reads adoption fluff and has envisioned their adoption to be a little boy sliding down a rainbow with doves singing softly in the background. These are the parents that are completely caught off guard when in walks a troubled child with horns growing out of his head. A child who intentionally pees on the Persian rug, soils his pants, scribbles on your new duvet with your Dior lipstick, spits on you, steals food and splits his brother's lip open with his head because he took his toy. A boy who, suffering from trauma, is just trying to cope the best way he knows how. A boy who needs to be coaxed with lots of love and perseverance to break down his barriers...so he can learn to trust again.

This is exactly why I advocate for more truth on adoption blogs! Surprisingly, many people don't read books... and I have come across many adoptive parents who haven't read any adoption or attachment books. Most adoptive parents scour the internet however and read blogs. If more adoptive parents were bold, and honest... and spelled out the good with the bad, then more adoptive parents would be aware. The more aware they were of the potential problems, the better prepared they would be to handle it. The better prepared they would be, the less chance of their adoption failing. Don't you agree?

*(The name of the adoptive child has been changed. If you are interested in more information on this little boy, please email me on the right and I will steer you in the right direction!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

While You Were Sleeping

Mister
 
While You Were Sleeping
While you were sleeping,
I sat by your bed.
I watched you
as you smiled through your dreams.

I traced your perfect shell ear,
Touched every curl
On your little head.

I tried to sleep
But the sound of your breathing
Drew me back to your room.

I couldn't resist
The magic which tugged
At my heartstrings
And brought me to your side.

I settled on the floor
Once again.
Back against the wall,
Holding your tiny hand in mine.

While you were sleeping
I fell in love with you all over again.


Muffin
From the time my children were infants, I loved watching them sleep. As I gaze into their little sleeping faces, it is easy for me to recall their infanthood, and note their innocence. There is something so amazing about a sleeping a child. (More than the fact that the house is quiet and serene! ;) A sleeping face reminds me how precious they are... and how lucky I am to have to have them in my life.

This is how I found them, the other night. So cute, how they sleep exactly the same!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

He's my Super Hero and I'm his Evil Witch...

Yes, I have a Caregiver for a husband. No, not on a professional level... just on a personal level.

He devotes himself to looking after others. No, there are no qualifications... you just need to come across his path!

He is the guy who will give the shirt off his back in a January snowstorm in the middle of the Arctic. (And honestly that is likely an understatement - he would probably take his pants off too...)

Obviously, this is one of the largest reasons I was attracted to him!

He is often described as the nicest person anyone knows. I don't think he has one enemy! You can't 'not like' this man! (like my double negative?)

The problem is...

Often, he doesn't take care of himself.

and

Often, he gets taken advantage of or used.

However - he is also the type of person who's glass is always full even when it clearly is half full ( or empty ) - that would NEVER acknowledge that this happens.

His motto is quite admirable in that, at the end of the day he wins - because helping others makes him happy and happiness is the most important thing. (But at what cost?)

Walk in human, realist me (witch)...  and everything has a value. Yes, happiness is the greatest thing of all! However, other things do need looking after as well... or they will start to overflow in your cup of happiness and turn it rancid. I'm sorry... but that's just reality. There needs to be a healthy balance.

Sometimes, we (being me and the children)... catch a bit of rancid dribble overflow. Over the years, we have learned to support him and are so lenient that we can do double back bends... BUT... still, every now and then - I have to be the reality check (aka Witch). It's not a nice job... in fact it probably doesn't do anything for my positive thinking program, as I feel like I have to do all the negative thinking. With a cackle and a point of a finger... I am the bubble burster!

FACT - If this man of mine had no wife or children - he would spend the rest of his life serving others. He wouldn't need anything to call his own - and what he did have, he would give away. And when that ran out - I could even go as far to say that he would go into debt to give more. Why that sounds almost like a Munk... okay, so yes... my man would be a Munk... a  Super Hero Munk.

Over the years, I have seen some pretty wild and crazy things that my man has done for others... sometime at the expense of himself in more ways than one.

When I met him... he was spending 50% of his free time doing 'honey do' lists  and favors for others. Why? Ummm... not because they couldn't do it themselves, or afford to hire someone - simply, because they asked. Unfortunately though - these were not one time favors - they were numerous and frequent. They obviously manifested from a one time favor to a full fledged small book of favors. Sometimes, he would even have to travel quite a long way to complete these 'honey do's and sometimes, one task could take all day and cost him out of pocket expenses. But, he can't say no - it's just not his nature.

Now if it were me, I'd be like - "Excuse me? You want me to unplug your crap filled toilet...?! (..And you are completely capable!?) Seriously?! Are you flippin nuts!? Umm... I think I will let you unplug your own toilet... thanks for the offer though!"  or... "Perhaps I can recommend a good plumber...?" No, I don't think that makes me a Witch! - I think that makes him too nice! Is there such a thing though? No. (Yes!)
(Yes, this is a true story! He has done this - and on more than one occasion. A testament to his undying service as a Super Hero.)

Everyone thinks my man is rich. Why? Because he spends it (on others) like he gots it! (like my bad grammar?) He's not only at your service - but he will foot the bill too! It doesn't mean that he can afford it. It simply means that he doesn't want to ask you for it. He's being nice.

My man has, no doubt built an entire house in favors, from landscaping, to tiling the bathroom floors, to installing the toilets, to hanging the screen doors and picture frames! However, he has never lived in a house that is complete. By complete, I mean all the painting done, lights installed, and baseboard applied etc... This is a 2 part equation - partly because he is always busy helping everyone else with their projects, and partly because he will not ask anyone for help. Ever.

The sad thing is that really, he shouldn't need to ask them for help... they should be at our door offering! (Quiet.. lil Witch..;-)

We have learned - okay I have learned - (the children grew up with it) to just accept it and roll with it.

This is a daily thing for him... not just a weekly thing - daily.

Let me just summarize one of his days. Saturday. We have an appointment to drive to a town that is just over an hour away to pick up a hospital bed for his Father. However, this is also the only day that anything is ever open here - so we also have to get all household chores and errands on this day as well.

 Let me back up by saying that our dogs and cats have also been without food for a week. Our pet store here closes at 5:30 every day - and typically I get it, however - Dan, being the nice guy he is - has lent his company vehicle to a staff member who doesn't have a vehicle. (See a trend here?) So now he has to drive my vehicle. This then forced him to have to pick up a can of pet food every night... thinking that he would have time the following day to buy the food.

Okay - so Saturday am, he takes Mister to hockey first thing in the am. He comes home and quickly tells me that he is going to go help the Boy Scouts clean up the hall as they will certainly need his truck to go to the dump. (Parents are supposed to rotate their volunteering support - but this is the 3rd Saturday in a row that he has been the main volunteering presence there. He is the one that gets things done. He knows it, and therefore feels more obligated to go.)

Okay, I thought... as I recall that I was unable to walk down the steps in my garage for all the bags of recycling and garbage that have built up.

 I let him know he has to be back at 1, so we can go get his Dad's bed. 1 oclock, he arrives back and we quickly run to make our 3pm pickup. We get back in town around 4:30 and he calls one of his employees to ask him if he would like a ride home. Confused, I ask him if we are not supposed to be delivering and installing this bed. Yes, but his employee needs a ride. This is where I have to put my Witch hat on and explain to him that we cannot always drop everything for everybody. This employee is older than me. He is paid very well. He has choices. He can buy a vehicle, he can walk, or he can call a cab on his cell phone. AND on top of that all... he was hired with the promise that he would be able to get to and from the jobsite on his own. But - Dan has already offered. So, I request to be dropped off at his parents so I can at least get started as we are coming up to dinner time - and there is not a lot of room in the truck for an extra person anyway. 30+ minutes later, Dan arrives. It is now after 5pm and he realizes that he missed the petstore - again.

We disassemble his Dad's old bed and put the new one together. We finish, make the bed, help his Mom get dressed and haul the old bed out at 7pm.

Our tummies are now gurgling and demanding food. We go home and decide that it is too late to cook something, so we order food. Dan for some oddball reason, does not like delivery - he prefers to pick it up himself. So off he goes to not only pick up our food, but food for the animals as well.

 45 minutes later, he comes flying through the door... puts the food down and tells me that he has to run. There are two young girls who are broken down and need rad fluid. (Don't ask me how... him to a 'problem' is like a fly to shit - he'll find it anywhere. Ha! I think I should sew him a Super Hero outfit so he can do a quick change in the vehicle!) Of course, this does not surprise us at all.. no questions asked. So the kids and I eat. I quickly take note of our begging dogs and think to myself that my man has likely forgotten the dog food.

I give him a call on his cell phone to remind him... but no answer. 30 minutes later, (his food cold now) he arrives back home, kicks off his shoes and comes upstairs. All 3 of us at the same time say "You forgot the dog food..."

Back out he goes for a run to the corner store.

Later that night, he was telling me how many loads to the dump he had done. I quietly say, without even looking his way... "How much did that cost you?" and he then launches into the usual defensive pose... "Well, it was much less than I expected... the fridge didn't weigh that much...." etc, etc... (What I forgot to ask him was - how much the rad fluid cost! ;)

As much as it can get so aggravating... I know that I wouldn't love him as dearly if he wasn't this way. Over the years, I have found it much less stressful to just let him do his thing. It does get very hard however when I see it starting to take a toll on him. And I do have to put my foot down (and don the witch hat!) when I notice other's taking advantage of him on a consistent basis or when it is having a negative effect on him or our family.

What he doesn't understand is that in his service to others, he is unable to cap it or control it. Soon it starts to consume him and then he goes from feeling great for helping someone out to being run down and stressed because he can't do it all, and he doesn't know how to stop it, how to say no or how to reprogram others in his life.

He can't be everything for everybody... but yet he will insist he can. He is the caretaker to his employees, (*to most everyone he deals with on a daily basis), and to his family... so I guess it's my place to be his caretaker - put on my 'Witch' hat and ensure he is getting looking after somewhere in the mix!

The Super Hero Husband has read and approved of this post, with the exception of specific references of people to whom I've had to re categorize *

His comment was simply a laugh... the laugh that means he thinks my delusional thoughts are funny - because this simply is not a true recollection of reality. (His anyway...;) This is my Tuesday Truth... as I see it. ;)
Linking up with:

Monday, November 7, 2011

November - National Adoption Month

And in celebration... I have posted a few videos...

A comical approach...



A biblical approach...



A 'special' approach...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Great things are meant to be shared...

And this is one of them!



Africam is live safari cams. So you can feel like your right there in Africa! One of the greatest things about these cameras is there is audio too... so you can hear all the amazing birds!

Last night we watched a herd of Zebras come down to the watering hole. Very cool! There are a few different cameras to chose from, all from different locations. You can also find a great deal of info, blogs, forums, maps and favorite clips. AND... if you 'like' them on FB, or register on the main site, they will notify you when there is animal action! My kids love this!! I love this!! Check it out...