Monday, August 29, 2011

A quick get-away.

A long story short, Dan had to go to Spokane to pick up stone but had been up since 3am to take his Father to the hospital via ambulance. (All is well - just some back issues). So, the kids and I decided to tag along so I could drive there and so we could squeak in a bit of fun for the kids as well as some Costco grocery shopping.

We stopped at the Riverside Park where the kids played on the world's largest Radio Flyer Wagon...

... Dan decided to go down with the kids. Look at the look of terror on Mister's face... he thought for sure he was going to fall! Muffin of course, has no fear.

...and we fed all the different species of ducks and geese.

After we went on a couple rides, we walked up the street to a great little restaurant called Mizuna's. Fantastic gourmet food at great prices, with an awesome wine list as well! The kids had a Root Beer float for dessert...

Then it was off to Costco... where I stocked up for lunch items for back to school. The funny thing about my purchases, (as I noticed after we got home) is that they certainly reflected my condition at the time. Not only have I been sick for over a week with a nasty cough, sore throat, night sweats, body aches etc... but I was very thirsty when I was shopping. People who know me will find this very amusing, as I do not buy juice... ever. (Okay... the odd orange or cranberry juice here and there, but only like once a month!) The reason is, is that my lil Mister has a sugar addiction. If I have juice in the house, he will obsess about it and drink it until it's gone. I would also rather see my children learn to hydrate themselves with our good mountain water instead of a sugar drink. (Even pure fruit juice contains a ridiculous amount of sugar and calories!) Dan seems to have difficulty with this, never drinking water... (he said all he drank as a kid was juice and milk), so I don't want the kids to learn that behavior as well. If they want to drink fruit - then I encourage them to drink it in the form of a smoothie, and at least they are getting the fibre as well. I digress.... ANYWAY, enjoy looking at seeing what I purchased this fine day when my thirst obviously got the best of me...

Just to itemize it.... 24 Vitamin waters, 24 Gatorades, 24 cans of 100% juice, 24 V8's, 2 litres of Organic Acai juice, 2 litres of green health juice - and to top it all off - because of my thirst and on going cold, I also got vitamins that you mix with water. Apparently, they are better absorbed in liquid form? All I know is that I jumped at the opportunity to taste the samples of it that were put out and then bought it. You know the saying, never shop hungry? I would also have to add to it... never shop thirsty!

On our way home we saw several different flocks of wild turkeys. I am always in awe at how they manage to survive since they obviously cannot fly.

All in all, a nice quick trip, but I am still trying to figure out where to put all these drinks and how to keep my son's hands off them! In the garage they go. Out of sight, out of mind. I hope.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why did the Toad cross the road?

Photo Source

To go upland into to the forest to breed, of course. However, thousands of these Western Toadlets will never make it across the highway. 

Every year the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program hosts a volunteer bucketing session at Summit Lake on Hwy 6 to help these little guys get across the highway safely. In 2009, they had estimated that over 90,000 toadlets were killed on the road... making the Hwy so slippery that they actually had to sand the road! Eeeew!

Yesterday, we packed up the kids and drove the 1.5 hour drive to participate in this event. Unfortunately, the toads, like everything else in this area, were weeks behind. Consequently, there wasn't as many toads as there were in other years. We had to hunt for these toads, where as typically the beach is crawling with them. It was fun nonetheless for the kids to search for these tiny little toads.
Dan and Mister searching the bank.

They were hard to find as they were not only camouflaged, but very tiny! You have to be very gentle when scooping them up.
After scooping them up, we plopped them in a bucket... where they were counted and weighed.
Then we walked up to the Highway, where they had it shut down for this event.
After crossing the Highway, we released the toadlets behind a little fenced barrier protecting them from going on the highway.
Hopefully, we have given these toadlets a better chance to grow into large adults like these guys.

As soon as we released the toads, Mister immediately said, "Mom, can we do this again next year?" 
The kids enjoyed it so much! It's nice to be able to participate in these programs... teaching our children to take an interest in the future of our wildlife. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dr. Google

It is an unfortunate fact that both of my dogs have Kennel Cough. Wait a second... it's not as bad as you think. A human equivalent to a cold if you will. Yes, we do vaccinate our dogs... but never for Kennel Cough as we have never had the need (and it only lasts 6 months), and I really don't believe in over vaccinating.

One week ago, I was sure that Koda must have gotten a bone lodged in his throat and was trying to hack it up. (Key symptom #1). He also had a runny nose. (Key symptom #2). He had kept me up all night Thursday. I was certain that at any moment the dog was going to stop breathing! I woke Dan up and he called the emergency vet service. We were told if there was a bone stuck in his throat, he couldn't do anything about it until morning. Nice emergency service I'm thinking. It's a good thing the dog didn't get hit by a car or something! First thing the next am., Dan took him in. $160 to say that perhaps he scratched his throat with a bone and it is now inflamed. A shot of anti-inflammatory and some anti-inflammation pills.

2 days ago, Mikha starts the same hacking. The hacking almost sounds like a honking and honestly sounds like they have something in their throat that they are trying to get up. They sometimes also spit up saliva during a coughing spell. (Key symptom #3) Google, my pro bono vet, informs me that our dogs have Kennel Cough. The recommended treatment is actually vitamin C and Robitussin DM. Seriously. If you prefer natural remedies - a teaspoon of honey will help coat their throats. 

Now, we are trying to keep our dogs at bay and off the trail as much as possible. Koda plays with everyone in the neighbourhood and manages to catch everything first and brings it back home to Mikha. So look out dogs... and beware, not all vets are as cheap and as informed as Dr. Google!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Orphan Awareness

I know - it's all too obvious that I love my Orphan/Adoption videos. I think the first thing a person does upon considering adoption is to immediately hit Google. Google hits back with blogs and videos. I watched dozens and dozens of videos in the beginning of our adoption. I spent hours pouring over You Tube while shedding many, many tears. Nothing can touch you like a great Gotcha video, or the reality of an orphan's life. So without further ado... I bring you another great Orphan video.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Please define relevant government official.

I am taking baby steps with this dossier - but at least there is movement! One thing we need is 2 letters of reference from a local religious leader, Commissioner of Oath, Notary Public or relevant Government Department. I have one letter written and signed by our kids' principal with a signature from the Catholic Priest that is associated with the school. One down. But now I have been stewing over who to get to sign the other. The wording is loose at best in my mind. What the heck is a relevant Government Official? Relevant to whom and in what way?

We do have a couple of friends who are police officers, so I was thinking certainly that should qualify somewhere in that list, so I email KKPI and asked. The response I received back was, "If it is a letter of reference then the police officer can write." Hmm.  I hope I am contacting the right party and I hope she understood what I was asking. I am sticking with it however, as it only seems like common sense that a Police Officer would better qualify than a Notary Public etc. And given the fact that I do not personally know a Notary Public, Commissioner of Oath, or other "relevant" Government Department, that I am aware of - it will have to do! This is just one of the minor things, or grey areas in a pioneer program... we are certainly expecting many more! Which is okay, as we are good with rolling with the tide!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In a rut...

Sharla over at The Chaos and the Clutter.... has started a Tuesday Truths post, so I thought I would jump on the bus!

Yes, I admit it. I am in an adoption (and other areas - but let's just concentrate on the one for now. lol) rut. I am still not finished the dossier, and typically I am the person that would have just grabbed hold of it and completed it in 2 days. But here I sit and procrastinate. I think much of it has to do with summer. Summer is typically chaotic for us, but this year we have had 3 weeks of family visiting, 2 backyard projects (the tree house and the chicken coop), in addition to a busy work season - not to mention the kids are home full time! I just seem to be lacking the energy... and other times I just feel deflated. This adoption struggle does seem to take a lot out of you. It seems to have been going on forever... we have literally been tackling this for 2 years now. I can't help but feel that it's all surreal and a good part of me feels like it will never happen. In fact, more and more as this process goes on - I feel more and more deflated, like I spent all my energy in the beginning and am just working off of whatever reserves I can find. Should have thought more like a marathon runner and not a sprinter!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever felt this way. At least I hope I am normal in feeling this way! Surely there must be ebbs and flows of your enthusiasm in the process! Right? I am going to make a promise to myself to start to tackle this dossier in the evenings and hopefully in the process I will discover my gumption again. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Out of the mouth of my 6 year old.

We have always been very open with our children about the adoption. We have included them in the decision making process from day one, after all it will effect them just as much as it does us. One of the reasons we thought it would be nice to have twins, is so they have a sibling that they are really bonded to. Muffin and Mister are 17 months apart and are very close. They do everything together, love the same things and generally get along 95% of the time. Mister has always had his sister is his life and he struggles to do things without her.

One day this weekend, we were driving in the van and the kids had been teasing each other in good fun when Mister piped up and said "Mom, can we change our order and get a boy instead so I can teach him to harass "Muffin"?" It was cute in the moment, and Dan and I exchanged a quick smile before I explained to Mister that we are not "ordering" a child, and equipped him with the proper terms. 
After listening to my explanation of the process, Mister thought for a few seconds and then said, "But Mom, there's is only one problem with that."
"What is that?"
"Well, she's not really going to be my sister."
"Of course she will be, just like "Muffin" is your sister"....
He thought for a little while longer, "Well how can she be my sister when she isn't going to come out of your tummy?"
Insert the explanation of how families are made up in all different ways, not just biologically. I then realized that although we had been open in our discussions about the adoption, that I never fully explained what I thought was the obvious. We always speak of the adopted child being their brother or sister etc... and it never clued into me that he wasn't fully aware of how this thing called "adoption" works. I referred to his Chinese adopted friend, and I explained the process of fostering, bonding, attaching, then going to court to declare that you will love this child forever and ever. That we will always be their Mommy, Daddy, brother and sister. I explained that it was same promises that I made for them when they were growing in my tummy.
Fast forward 2 hours. We are sitting with Dan's Mom and Dad, when Muffin walks up and says "Guess what Grandma and Grandpa? I am going to court!!" 
She raised a couple of eyebrows, and Dan and I laughed and explained her new found enthusiasm.
I now realize that we have many more discussions that need to take place to fully prepare them for this process. Sometimes I take for granted that Mister understands it, just because his sister does. I need to go back to the drawing board and look at this from a 6 yr olds perspective!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bottles for Kenya

The kids have decided to earn money by taking in refundable cans and bottles. They are saving for spending money for Kenya. While we are working hard to afford the adoption itself and the residency period in Kenya, there will not be much left over to fund our entertainment. And it would be a serious atrocity to go to Kenya and not partake in a safari and some tours! However, they don't come cheap!! They are actually quite expensive! So we have been working hard at collecting bottles from friends, family and blue bins around town. This weekend, we had a van full!

Which turned into:

Which turned into:

$70.94!! It took us a good 2 hours to sort, but it was worth it. Later that day, the kids worked on painting a Kenya savings jar.

Adorned with an orange frog, a lion, an elephant and some flowers!

Yesterday, the kids and I stumbled upon a recycling station with tons of bottles and cans available... so we loaded up what we could with what we had (some grocery bags). We took them back and made $22. After taking out a few dollars each time for a cold rewarding drink afterwards... the kids now have over $80!

I envision myself spending a lot of time at the good ol stinky depot! lol...

Monday, August 8, 2011

A fortune worth framing!

Dan found this fortune in his fortune cookie this weekend. I have it tucked away in my wallet. I like it so much, I may frame it! lol.

There will be many changes for us this up coming year, that will coincide with our adoption. Goals that we have tirelessly been working at for a couple years... and our adoption journey has officially reached the 18th month now. We are certainly ready for some changes and some headway on the adoption front. 2012 has the potential to be great!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Haiti's orphans... a documentary worth watching!

Haiti, warm in my heart... is where our adoption journey started. It has been almost 19 months now since the devastation of the earthquake and the images of all those displaced orphans... planted a seed within us to adopt.

This documentary is really worth watching and certainly gives me mixed emotions. Wouldn't it be wonderful if families could afford to feed, clothe, and educate their children - and not be forced to give them up? Absolutely! And wouldn't it be wonderful if all the money that would be otherwise be designated to adoption... pay to keep these families together? Sure! But, sadly... it doesn't work that way. This is an extremely destitute country... with half of the population being children. No jobs, no health care, no assistance, no opportunity. These children are being abandoned, starved, dying of illnesses and being sold as servants. Look into these children's eyes and tell me that they don't want a better future! The poor boy crying as he has to watch the other boys go to school, when he is unable. Or the girl (Denise) who certainly has a preference for the orphanage than she does her own home! There is a very bleak future for these children in Haiti. A life in an orphanage is the best opportunity they have in Haiti, and I personally find it disturbing that the directors of the orphanage where Sonson resides think that a life in a orphanage is a better option than adoption. If it were me, or my own children... I would want them to have a family, and a life of opportunities. There are not enough orphanages to house the children in Haiti, so why not provide an orphan a loving family by way of adoption to make room for one more orphan... saving one more child's life?

I would bet you would be very hard pressed to find a Haitian (or other third world country) Adoptee who wishes they would have been left in their birth country to endure the daily struggle of hunger, disease, and lack of education.

The adoption freeze... it had to be done. I understand that. But clearly, there are paper ready, orphaned, abandoned children... let's get them out and give them the love and life they deserve! God bless God's Littlest Angels orphanage! (If you are interested, Dixie has her own blog.)

Unicef is very hard on adoption... only supporting children to remain in their birth country to the fate of which they were born in. I think there is a healthy balance of supporting families, and supporting adoption. Not all children have families obviously. By sponsoring a child in a third world country, you sponsor the entire family and enable them to stay together... this is important, and we personally sponsor 3 (one in Kenya!). By adopting, we are giving a child a family that they don't have.. or never will have if they are not adopted.

Video below:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Measure of Beauty

Video footage of children in orphanages and slum schools in Kenya and Uganda. Beautifully done; accompanied by a beautiful song.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm back!

I took a bit of a blogging hiatus. So, where have we been? Here... but visiting with family, and lots of them (18 to be exact)!! Over 3 weeks steady of family from both sides... overlapping here and there.
Some of the highlights...
We started to free range the chickens in our yard. They are 10 weeks old here and have completely killed off the colony of carpenter ants that have been eating one of our cedar trees. (I know, they aren't supposed to like cedar... but they were!!)
Uncle E came to visit us from Norway. He is not too impressed with Cotton deciding to join him for a glass of wine on the patio.
Then Ozzy showed up (black chicken on ledge)... and Uncle E found the humour in it.
The boys worked on the treehouse. Uncle E and Uncle R... made "art" of the railings (to put it nicely). The spacing was all off, but they thought it was so good, they actually gave themselves a name - Back on Track Contracting. Ha! It was entertaining for sure!
Muffin and the funny Uncle R.
I gave them a fashion citation. Shorts and long socks.... a no-no.
Nonetheless, they thought they not only had skill, and fashion, but good leg too!
Then we finally met the latest cousin to be born, my sister's lil girl.
She has high snuggle factor for sure!!
We went camping for a few days with the cousins. 
Mister and cousin S on a lil hike.
Muffin and her lil shadow - cousin Missy.
So cute!
The cousins on the beach.
The boys playing in the water.
Mister and Missy sharing Aunty J's baby wrap... to warm up in.

Things have started to resume to normal. We have gone berry picking, made jam, celebrated my birthday and are planning a weekend getaway to Seattle to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 

Where does the adoption fit in? I'm hoping to be able to complete the dossier mid Aug.