Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm not crazy, watch this - (Famous, Rich and in the Slums) - and see!

It IS easy to be so secure in our own lives, that we don't have to think about other people's lives.

While we sit and read this by the monthly paid internet, on the expensive computers, in our large heated houses with SUV's parked in the garage, sipping a hot cup of espresso, waiting for our spa appointment - these people are dieing! Oh, wait... they are living a life of hell in squalor and then they die. I know... who cares. I don't have to think about it - it's out of my realm, a world away. And what the heck can I do about it anyway? Well if everyone would get off their leather couches, away from from their flat screens, ipods and computers - and give this some consideration, we can collectively do something about it. Even one changed life is HUGE! You have the ability to change someones life! YES, all of us... rich or poor. If you are reading this, you have the means to support a child to go to school or to get AIDS meds.

I am riled up, so you will have to excuse me. This video is the most profoundly moving show I think I have ever seen. Perhaps more so because it is close to my heart... taking place in Kenya. However, I challenge all of you to please watch this and see if it doesn't move you too!

*insert sidetrack*

A while ago, I was made aware of a comment that a distant relative said about me. "What is 'Jo' thinking!?"

For some reason, this has really bothered me and I think about it often. Not that I give a rats arse what this person thinks - but I think the fact that they are so incapable of 'getting' it, is what really bothers me. It bothers me that the human race can not only be so self indulgent that they can not see beyond their lives, but that they are unwilling to as well.

People think I'm (we're) crazy. Well to all those people that stalk my blog because they think I'm crazy - I have one thing to say to you.

Watch this video and then honestly tell me that I am crazy. You know what I think is crazy? Not doing a damn thing to help people who are in this position! ...You're crazy!

Let's get on with the show... Famous, Rich and in the Slums is a documentary made by Comic Relief about 4 UK celebrities who are stripped of all their possessions and are left in Kibera for a week to experience life in one of the worlds largest slums. Life, where 1 in 5 children will die before the age of 5! They sleep with cockroaches, use the very stinky and unsanitary latrines, and work their fingers to the bone to afford one meal all the while witnessing the famine, illness and heartbreak that surrounds them.

It is shocking. It is heartbreaking. It will make you cry. Like a baby.

Here is a sneak peak.

The problem is that this show aired on UK television in March and is not available on youtube, or even for purchase (that I could find anyway). You have to download it. I have never pirated before, so I had to download UTorrent just for this. If you already have UTorrent etc, you are halfway there. If not, please download it (it's free!) and look for this show on Pirate Bay. There are 2 parts to the show. I was able to download the first part in a day, and the second part took me 2 weeks because there was only a couple seeders. However, part 1 is the most important. In part 2 they get a little sidetracked and the show takes more of a focus on helping the people they stay with rather than experiencing their lives.

If you have an interest in Africa through adoption etc... you will most certainly love this show. But, everyone really should see it. Please watch it and let me know how it affected you, or if I really am the crazy one after all...

**Further pirating instructions

After you have successfully installed utorrent, you will go to this piratebay page with the download for part one. DO NOT click any of those big green download buttons - that is where I went wrong many times. Click the small green downward arrows and "download this torrent" on the left side. My computer operates on Vista, browsing with Google Chrome. When I click download - it downloads or saves it to a file called 'downloads'.  Open utorrent. Click on File then Add Torrent. Browse, locate file and double click. Utorrent should then start to download the file. If you click on this file in the top window, the details will pop up in the lower window. This will tell you how fast the download is happening and how much has been downloaded. When I just looked, I noticed there was only one seeder - this means it will take quite a long time. If the seeder (the person who is uploading the movie to leechers) shuts his computer off, the downloading stops unless there are more seeders. The key is to keep your computer on so it can download when the seeder has his computer on.

Once it is complete and says ' finished' in the top window... click it, so the details appear in the bottom window again. Then double click the first file in the bottom window (the file with 550+ mb). On my computer the VLC media player popped up and started to play. You may have a different media player... This is an avi. file. Most players should play this type of file.

Go here for the second part.

I hope this helps. You may need to be patient - like I said, it took me weeks to get the second part....... but it is so worth it!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My husband - the criminal.

Well I finally received a reply back from RCMP regarding Dan's long overdue fingerprinting.

The response was this :
 "Please be advised that according to our records, the application in question was received in our system on: 2011-07-05

We are unable to provide specific dates as to when the verification will be completed. Once the verification is complete, the result will be sent to the following mailing address provided:


CFSS processes more than 15,000 criminal record searches each month. The processing times for applications will vary depending on whether or not an individuals fingerprints can be associated to a criminal holding maintained by the RCMP. For those that are associated and or a manual review must take place, the process can take in excess of one hundred and twenty (120) days. For those that are not associated the processing time is significantly less. For further information on processing times please visit our website. "

Hmmm... I wonder if he knows he is a criminal?

(For anyone who would like to inquire on their biometrics, you can visit their website for contact instructions.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Owl visioned nursery.

Ever since I made the owl taggies and burp blankets, I have fallen in love with owls. They are so cute and whimsical. I know everyone is doing it - but who gives a hoot!

I know I have to realize that I may be bringing a 3 year old home, so I need to make this nursery so it can grow with her. No baby stuff.

These are the things that inspire me.

I am going to make a rag quilt full of appliques, a blend of these two quilts:

With this fabric: (I'll have to get some pink thrown in there too!!)

I want to paint the walls green:

And throw in some great accessories:

And put up a tree!

I want to get started on the quilt this fall, but everything else will have to wait until we get back. The great thing about owls - is they are gender neutral. If we get a girl and a boy, they will share a room while they are little and I can certainly tone down the pink...

While I try really hard to not purchase anything... (definition of 'try' is ' to attempt' - which does not mean I succeed!... in fact, I'm pretty good at failing in this department!) I caved at Costco and purchased a sheet set for $16!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The cost of a virus with my string of luck.

If I didn't have bad luck, I would have no luck at all. It starts like this.

Aug 5th I get a flu that then turns into a cold that then turns into a nasty sinus infection.

Sept 1st we ended up having to leave our summer vacation 12 hours into it because I lose partial sight and speech for a few minutes. We left a suitcase in the hotel and had to forgo a night for the hotel that was prepaid - $116.

While in Vancouver, we (aka. the hubby) lost a large bag of back to school clothes for the kids at the mall. - $138

Sept 6th I landed back in emerg with this nasty sinus infection. 11 days of antibiotics.

The following week I contract a virus (on my work computer) by innocently lurking on blogs. My 2 yr prepaid prescription to Norton Antivirus didn't do much to help me out here!

Sept 15th after spending 3 days of unsuccessfully trying to eridicate the virus, I had to take it in. I was quote $45 and in one day.

Sept 19th - my sinus infection comes back with a vengance within hours of taking the last antibiotic. Dr. prescribes me another 10 days of antibiotics. Get to the pharmacy to see that she accidentally prescribed me a different antibiotic and she is gone for the day... so another goes by with no meds. My computer also comes back - 4 days late and with a $100 bill. The virus was so bad they had to wipe the entire computer. I have to start from scratch.

Sept 20th - Spend the entire day reloading software. Fun. Payroll due  - cannot provide.

Sept 21st - Have to spend $655.20 to get the software code so I can activate the payroll feature on my software. Now in tears... at this price, I think I would stuck with the damn virus! My software was working just fine before!!

-NOT to mention that Dan's biometric fingerprinting (which was done on July 5th) is missing in action and is now holding up our Dossier.

When your luck costs you over $1000 in one month... you know it's bad!
... and I have a feeling this isn't the end of my string of luck! I am looking forward to September being over and a fresh start with October!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hibernation is setting in...

I can feel it in my bones... fall is upon us. If I were to be an animal, I most certainly would be a bear. It's an innate feeling... instinct if you will, that I have to curl up somewhere warm and not return until spring. Seriously. I did not go outside Sunday once. Nope, not even for a second. Want to know what I did? I complained feverishly about the freezing temp. "Can we please start a fire, or turn on the furnace?" ... oh about 5 times. Yes, I could have have gotten up the couch and flicked the heat button on our thermostat... but I was shivering under blankets! Once I felt I had enough heat to move a little... I quickly tried to locate my stash of socks that have been hiding all summer. (Flip flops... your dead to me now.) Then my pants, then a long sleeve shirt... and then another a few moments after that. Dan was running around half naked and looked at me like I was growing a third eyeball. Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to harness and capture the heat in any way I could. Numerous times (and I mean at least 10!)... I had to remind my husband and children that they were not born in a barn and the door needs to be closed. Seriously - I think every time one of them went in or out, they left the door wide open! What a terrible summer habit - but hello people, it is freezing! (12 degrees Celsius - what I wuss, I know!)  I drank coffee, lots of it. Then I drank tea, lots of it. After I felt comfortably warm I started to clean house. After all, this is where I am going to be spending a great deal of time over the next 6 months! I spent all summer avoiding my house and trying to be outside every chance I got... and now I have a whole lot of housecleaning to attend to. There is no spring cleaning in my house - by the time spring sets in, I'm ready to get the heck outside and into the garden. The cleaning starts in fall in my house. So I started to clean cupboards yesterday and will slowly work my way around the house until all is organized and cleaned. Summer clothes need to disappear and the winter sweaters reappear. Time to go through all the kids' clothes and put away all the ones that don't fit anymore. Cull the toys and everything else... before we settle in to a long winter. Hello socks, slippers, pajar boots, fleece pjs, hot baths, warm tea, desk heater and my automatic car starter.... we meet again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome back to my heart Ju-Ju-Be!

Remember when I hinted about my Mother's Day gift here?

Well, I never did update this because it did not arrive until this last Monday. Yes, that's right.... 4.5 months. I won't bore you with the details, but I had been given a new back order date 4 times and never rec'd it any of those times. I sent some emails off to get to the bottom of it, and in the end it was taken care of that same day. They drop shipped it to me from the warehouse and included some gifts.

As a business owner, I realize that mistakes can happen. What is really important is how a company is able to correct the mistake and maintain their reputation and clientele. I do a great deal of purchasing online and have had some really terrible service and delivery problems in the past. In all these times, I have walked away with a bad taste in my mouth. One time I was sent a lens cloth as an apology gift on a $200 purchase. Another time I was sent a promotional pen! Needless to say, I have never purchased from these businesses again.

This company however, did go out of their way to make it right. They made me feel like a valued customer... and I appreciate that!! Okay, time to spill the beans... The hint was " is going to be 'Major'." with a photo of jube jubes. If you haven't gotten it, then perhaps you are not familiar with this brand... let me have the honours of introducing to you, my favorite bag brand... Ju-Ju-Be. Your life will never be the same...

I had a couple of their bags already and have been absolutely in love with this make. These ladies think of everything a Mom may need when designing these bags! The Mother's day gift I ordered was a Ju-Ju-Be Major - wallet. I thought I loved my green leather fossil wallet, but this is the icing on the cake!! Check it out...

FINALLY! A wallet large enough to be carried without my purse, and I can add a purse strap and carry it as a purse if necessary. I have a large purse which is great for long outings, but typically I run around with just my wallet... so this is perfect for me!!

... and the cherry on top is that it matches my ubber lovely 'BFF' diaper bag that is silently waiting in my closet ... waiting for Kenya. Here is my original purchase post.
(Did I mention it has a crumb tray... a crumb tray! - check out all the wonders here..)

And not to be forgotten are all the lovely gifts they sent me...

A tote bag, Fuel Cell (lunch kit), Paci Pod (for pacifiers), and a change purse. 
Ju-Ju-Be - you rock!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What will our life be like in Kenya?

Many people have misconceptions about where we will be living and what we will be doing with our time. No, we will not be living in a mud hut, (much to my dismay...and I am serious.) and no I will not be scrubbing laundry by hand all day in a little stream. AND the only reason - is for the safety of our children and the fact that our priority will be adoption. I would love the idea of living in a small village... rubbing elbows with the Maasai etc., but sadly that is not conducive to the adoption efforts. We have been advised to live in Nairobi to have close contact with the courts and adoption offices etc. Traffic in Kenya is crazy... so a small commute of a few miles just within city limits can take hours, so living hours out of town is just not feasible for the travelling time we would have to do.

We will likely live in an apartment complex for safety reasons. It will be something like this one and will be located in a nice Nairobi neighborhood.

Location relevance will revolve around rental cost and proximity to our desired place of where we will volunteer or to the orphanage where our child/ren will be from.

During our first week in Kenya, we had intended on settling in and getting over our jet lag while we toured around on a bit of a safari... one last hurrah as a family of four and life as we know it. This may still happen if we can manage to raise the money. After this time, we will settle in to our apartment and will begin our visitations with our new child/ren at the orphanage. Hopefully, we will be allowed to visit for several hours a day until the 2 week period is up, upon which we can then bring her (or them) home. This is when we will start our 3 month fostering period.

During this time, our days will be spent getting acquainted to the new addition and life as a family of 5/6. We will be busy homeschooling the kids  for the first half of the day. I haven't yet dove into my homeschooling research yet, but I think we will likely be spending 4 hours a day homeschooling. This should be an easy task with Dan and I taking turns with the baby and the teaching.

After lunch we will be spending our afternoons volunteering at a local orphanage. I have been in contact with one orphanage who has happily accepted my offer to come and volunteer as a family. We will be doing lots of baby holding, feeding and diapering while the kids will be playing with the older kids and perhaps helping them with their English. Muffin will likely find herself in the toddler area... Mothering all of them. Of course during this period it is very crucial to bond with our adopted child/ren, and that will certainly play a role in how and when we volunteer. If our adopted child is a young infant, I will wear them in a moby wrap. If the child is over 1 and walking, I will still be wearing the child a lot as it is great for attachment... but will likely have less time to be hands on at the volunteering. But here again, Dan and I can take turns. I'm sure we can still be useful even while tending to our own busy toddler.

Dan and I would like to possibly get our hands further involved in perhaps a larger building project where he can use his skills. He also really wants to see Kibera, the slums of Nairobi, and see if there is some way he can help there. I can put my office/accounting skills to works at any orphanage in addition to web design, blogging etc. Not that I am a web designer - but, simple websites are easy to create and many of these organizations need all the help they can get in this department. Orphanages need to be seen to get the funding...

Basically, we want to bond as a family, and do everything we possibly can to help as a family. We want to make as much impact and difference as we possibly can in our time there while we fulfill our adoption requirements. So no, we won't be rough'n it, but we won't exactly be spending it all lounging around in the pool either!

I have been toying with the idea of scouting for families in need of a monthly sponsorship. I know many people I have spoken with do not sponsor children as they don't trust that their money is getting to where it is intended. There is a great deal of corruption in Kenya, so this is certainly a concern. During my time with the orphanages, I will investigate legit places to donate to, or establish my own private connection with a family in need. If you are at all interested in sponsorship, or one time donations... please contact me or watch the blog, as I will be sharing this information. The need in Kenya is so great, so giving a warm blanket, bag of rice or some medicine to someone in need will be a very easy thing to do... and we will be able to take photos and document the families appreciation for your generosity. Something to keep in mind anyway...

**Edit to add - "During our first week in Kenya, we had intended on settling in and getting over our jet lag while we toured around on a bit of a safari... one last hurrah as a family of four and life as we know it. This may still happen if we can manage to raise the money."
To clarify... This post was written in September prior to our Dossier been sent off, and prior to our plans for adoption financing to tank (selling property etc.). At this point, we have sold our boat etc... and were 'raising'  (saving) money not by 'fundraising'... but by collecting bottles, cutting off unecessary spending (ie. cable etc.), selling things we didn't need. (Clearly the term 'saving' would have been a more appropriate choice of words - however this did follow my aura migraine episode, after which I struggled a great deal with my vocabulary, especially written - this is NOT an excuse though, and I am leaving the term as is.) In December, we entered into a wholesale contract with a company who allowed us to sell bracelets at retail cost (as a home business) to earn money to help with our adoption fees, travel costs, and living expenses. We are not fundraising to go on a safari. I know this may seem obvious to those of you who have been following, and to those that personally know us - and quite frankly it feels silly to even have to explain this. However, if this was viewed with no regard to the timeline of events, it may be misconstrued.

Fellow bloggers... do you spend any time going back and add/editing or deleting posts that are no longer relevant... or is it just assumed that what was current then, may not depict today's picture?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My hubby's secret crush...

Seriously, I feel sorry for you readers. Ha! My blog is simply not safe from any topic. I think it, or experience it and I write it. Welcome to my my brain!

He has always loved... Sandra Bullock.

But what's not to love? She's cute, sweet and funny!

 Not to mention has an adopted cutie as well!

Not to come as a surprise, but he is pretty fond of Halle Berry as well. 

Yes, I agree... she is simply gorgeous!


The other night as we were watching the finale of America's Got Talent - he made a shocking confession. 

Ready for it? 

He has a crush on:

Yep, that's right Queen Latifah

Total shock! After 12 years... I am surprised that he is able to surprise me! I tried to find out what it was that he was attracted to - and he said he didn't know but he maybe it was her high cheek bones. lol. Then he looked at me with a grin and said, "Your gonna put this on your blog aren't you?"
 Yep, I am! ;)

(Not that there is anything wrong with being attracted to Queen Latifah - I love her, she is a funny, strong woman. BUT, she's not your typical celebrity crush!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foto Friday - Things that can aggravate...

When your future home (the large lot you bought on the edge of town... for peace, quiet and privacy - a.k.a. the ability to give you the freedom to have backyard fires and chickens - not to mention on a culdesac for the kids) - has developers for neighbours who decide to put up 2 duplexes... cramming 4 families in on 2 lots, right next to us and in our culdesac creating more traffic.
BOO that!

Things that can put a smile on my face...
Stumbling upon wild black berries! Yummo!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another guest appearance...

Today is the scheduled posting of one of my previous posts (White Married Couple Seeks Black Friends) on the online Adoption Magazine. Please head over and check out all the great posts from Canadian adoptive families... in addition to a great list of blogs!

You can find my previous post (Crazy, Rich or Angelic) here.

Am I THAT Mother?

Having a son has forced my immersion into the world of over competitive sports and jocks. I abhor this. I fought it with the hockey. Not being a hockey fan (I know, as a Canadian I should be hanging my head in shame.), and desperately wanting NO part or affiliation with the the crazy, Hockey Mom and Dad syndrome that turns average, ordinary parents into psychotic, over reactive side board screamers who live in a fantasy world thinking that their child will actually be the next Wayne Gretzky.... I protested hockey for my son. Soccer, Baseball, Tae Kwon Do... anything but hockey. But, Mister said he wanted to play (well perhaps he was coerced - verdict is still out ;)... and I will support my children with whatever they want to do. However, this agreement came with some big obligations from Dan. The deal was that hockey was his baby. I do the gymnastics, soccer, swimming etc, etc... but this one was all his. No stinky change rooms and freeze your butt off cold rinks for this Mom. Lo and behold however... I caught a few practices here and and there and started to warm up to it. (Especially when they practiced in the new rink where I could watch from the warmth of the rec. centre.) This game, league, team... whatever - really focuses on making these children well rounded players. The kids have fun and get great exercise, and to top it off - all the parents had to sign waivers agreeing not to be psychotic.. and they aren't! (At least not yet.)

Fast forward to summer soccer season - my favorite sport that my children play!! This year Mister is in a boys division, where as last year the teams were mixed. Last year (ages 4-5), the focus was for each child to get as much ball time as possible. They all rotated positions and the time on the field was distributed fairly. No score was recorded - the focus was on having fun! Well if I didn't just fall off the fluffy, friendly bleachers into the pit of the epitome sportsmanship hell for a 6 year old - this year. First of all, Mister is in the boys 6-8 yr old league. With a birthday at the end of Oct, this makes him the youngest player on the team. Secondly- unfortunately for him, he got placed in a stacked (Yes, I said stacked - you know it happens, and I have heard numerous stories.) team. I wish I could take a picture of this team in comparison to the other teams - just to show it to you! You know how every class will have an abnormally tall kid? Well strangely enough, this team has every unusually tall kid  in this age group in town! And these kids eat and live sports... genetically tall and athletically gifted. Add to that a handful of other athletically gifted children who don't miss out on a single clinic or camp. And then add, Mister - the youngest, the shortest, a genuinely GOOD player... but not aggressive enough to get by these other kids. All of this - I have no qualms with. Stacked team, tall kids, athletic talent - etc. I think it's all fine! BUT... let's add a coach who perhaps is too concerned about the score, and then it gets my skin boiling! To be quite honest, I have not been able to watch a whole lot of his games as I get too worked up. Last Saturday was his first game since June. The game went like this. Mister and another child from his school were subbed out right at the start. Then he got put in as defense. The very next rotation he gets subbed out again. Wait a second. Not even in the second half of the game - there are 8 children. He has had 2 subs along with this other boy, and only 2 other boys have had 1 sub - meaning there are 4 boys who haven't even subbed. The remainder of the game continued this way. By the end of the game, he had had 4 subs while 2 children did not have any! The 2 that did not are the 2 largest, strongest players who always have the ball (and 1 was the coaches son)! Let's add to my blood boiling situation as I watch them coach these children without any encouragement to pass - ever. Just score. No positions were rotated. Mister continually got put in defense and was lucky to get the odd kick in here and there. At one point, after Mister had already spent one rotation out, the coach sent in one boy to relieve the other boy that was subbing. Mister went to go out on the field too... and then stopped short as he realized the coach didn't send anyone to relieve him. Dan looked at me, and must have realized that the crazy caged Mama was about to explode, so he spoke up and told Mister to head out as he had just sat out. The coach caught on (Dan made sure he had heard him) and sent another boy to sit out. This team has never lost a game - but they sure as heck are lacking a great deal of good sportsmanship.

 One of the tall boys Mother's was talking to me one day about how other  parents get upset when their kids play on his team as he is so tall and strong. She was tall and athletic herself. She was explaining to me how you can get a lot of flack for being the tall one etc... I understand that. But what I should have said is it's one thing to be bigger than the other kids - but it's another when they take advantage of the situation and don't let the other children have an opportunity. Pass the ball!!! If these kids, passed and played as a team - then no one who have a problem!

I don't know if it's a boy/girl thing or is symptomatic of the coaches, but my daughter is in the same league and her games are focused around building skill, learning the game and equal opportunity. The games are very fun to watch!

Please let me clarify, that I am not the Mother of athletically challenged child who just likes to blame their child's lack of success on everyone else. Mister dominated last year, and was very gracious about passing and not stealing another teammates ball. He is a great team player... and can handle the ball quite well when given the opportunity. Last year he would score 1-2 goals a game! This year, he touches the ball 1-2 times a game! And - hence the problem is that I may just jump out of my happy zone one of these games and say something. I bite my tongue every game! I teeter on the edge of being a quiet, courteous parent to being a rabid Mother Pit Bull. I don't want to be THAT Mom. I really don't. I believe that sometimes letting kids tough it out teaches them a lot more than it does to come to their rescue. But darn it - he is 6 and I am paying for him to learn soccer. It breaks my heart when I see the sad look on his face after he has been sat out for the fourth time. It kills me to see him say that he doesn't want to play, when he LOVES soccer! I am also concerned that coaches like this do nothing for the development of the players. It is a team sport and one of the hardest lessons for young children is to play as a team. I will likely try to quietly be a bit more vocal... but in the end, I'll just have to hope that next season greets us with a better situation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Only 3 more days left to double your gift to the East African Drought Relief!

For every dollar Canadians contribute to a registered Canadian charity responding to the East Africa drought, the Government of Canada will set aside one dollar for the East Africa Drought Relief Fund. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will allocate these funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations for humanitarian assistance efforts that benefit the people most affected by the drought. The government will match eligible donations made from July 6 until September 16 2011.

Dan and have been donating all summer to the Canadian Red Cross Horn of Africa Fund. The Provincial liquor store here has wonderfully set up a donation program and I can't think of a much better place to do so! If you can afford a nice bottle of wine to accompany your dinner - you certainly can afford to feed a child for a day! We made a pledge to donate $5 every time we made a purchase at this store. It is very rewarding to know that our money was doubled and can stretch twice as far!

If you haven't already done so, please consider a donation to one of the following humanitarian organizations that are working in the region. A dollar a day can feed a child - as little as a $5 donation will feed a child for 10 days!

The Humanitarian Coalition
The Humanitarian Coalition is a network of Canadian NGOs determined to unite in cases of humanitarian crises. The Humanitarian Coalition is formed by five of Canada's leading aid organizations: CARE Canada, Oxfam CanadaOxfam-Qu├ębec,Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada.

UN World Food Programme
WFP is targeting the most vulnerable individuals with much-needed food. They aim to reach nearly 6 million people in the coming months.

UNICEF is on the ground in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable children and families. Their life-saving interventions and expertise for nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, education and child protection are delivered on a mass scale, in coordination with the UNHCR and WFP.

Canadian Red Cross
Money raised will go to support the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the region, both providing emergency relief and helping people recover their livelihoods.

Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders has worked in the camps at Dadaab for 14 years. They offer medical services in Dagahaley camp, providing a general hospital and five health posts.

Mennonite Central Committee
MCC is committing $1.2 million through Canadian Foodgrains Bank to support two food-for-work programs in Kenya that will have short- and long-term benefits. Kenyans will be paid with cooking oil, maize and beans for their construction of 92 sand dams and 25 wells. In Ethiopia, MCC funds are expected to be used for supplemental food for children under age 5 and lactating or pregnant women.

World Vision Canada
World Vision is providing emergency aid, including food, water, shelter and health care, to more than 3 million people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My small town, sheltered, Canadian self.

My largest fear about living in Kenya is living in fear. I know as a Canadian that I take many things for granted. My health and my safety are virtually guaranteed as a Canadian.

Clean drinking water is available for free wherever you go in Canada. Cities, towns, or walking up a mountain stream. I can hydrate myself, my children, my pets and my gardens any time I want. I don't have to wait for the rain.

I know I will have to throw all organic purchasing standards out the window and just hope that the produce I buy is grown chemically free. I will however be bringing 12 jars of organic peanut butter with me. Peanut butter is a staple with my children, so I won't take my chances there.

No insect here can cause me serious harm. Mosquito? No big deal... it's a small itchy bite. Not Malaria, or Dengue Fever. My daughter seems to be a smorgasbord for mosquitoes and there is a small possibility that she may have already contacted Dengue Fever in Costa Rica, which of course makes a recurrence very risky. I prefer not slather my children in deet and other chemicals. In Kenya, I will have no choice. True fact: - Malaria has killed more than half the people who have EVER lived. I realize there are anti malaria meds, but is this applicable for someone who lives there? Is it safe to take these meds for upwards of a year? Obviously, I have some research to do here.

In addition to the Mosquito, there are also Tsetse flies, baboon spiders etc. Not to mention all the venomous and lethal snakes. I've got bears and cougars. I have never run into a cougar, and I am not afraid of bears. I can take Kenya's lions, crocodiles etc... but the insects and snakes that can invade my personal space - I am not fond of!

Crime. I know this may be hard for some people to believe, but I have never had to lock my doors. Ever. Crazy? Hardly. I have always lived in small, safe communities. (Read - not city smart. at. all.) I have never felt afraid in my home towns and I can recall only 1 time where I felt unsafe in all of Canada. Not to say that nothing ever happens here... it is just very rare. I have never had to worry about being pick pocketed, or having my purse stolen. I'm telling you, I have a hard enough time keeping track of my purse, that I simply won't be able to carry one! I'll have a darn neck wallet, money belt, ankle pocket etc at every end of my extremities! My children, who also take their safety for granted and do feel very comfortable talking to strangers, will also have to be strapped to me. In addition to all that strappage, I will prefer to also have a dog. I have this fantasy that I will take in a local stray dog to keep my family safe. Yes, that is likely the only thing that will allow me to sleep at night. Speaking of night... I like my freedom to travel at night. I believe that it gets dark pretty early in Kenya and it is deemed as unsafe to drive or walk at night. Does this very early dinners if we want to eat out?

Crossing the street. I have never been to a country that drives on the wrong side of the road. (Or right side? Who am I to argue...) Traffic will be nuts I'm sure, and now we will have to contend to...stop, look...oh, look the proper way, and look again just to be sure you looked the right way, then walk. Heck... I struggle to remember to get out of a taxi on the sidewalk side, not the street side while in other countries with crazy roads and traffic. (Once had my taxi door slammed into, in Mexico for this very reason.)

Clean, mountain fresh air. I don't have to contend with air pollution, and never have. I'm sure Nairobi has it's fair share!

Health care. I have some research to do here. Obviously we need a good health insurance to cover us while we are there. I am told that the hospitals and health care is good in Nairobi. Good in a world standard I am sure, but I am also sure it won't be the level of what we can expect in Canada. I will be packing my suitcase with every kind of vitamin and natural remedy I can find to keep us healthy and out of the hospital!

The election - Aug 2012. Pre and Post election violence scares the jeepers out of me. Seriously. I don't want to live confined to the 4 walls of our apartment. Enough said.

Now that I have clearly defined myself as a spoiled, melodramatic westerner... let's add some reality to this. The one reassurance I do have is that I know first handed that everything regarding safety travel is always exaggerated. Secondly, I have spoken with other Mothers who have been to Kenya and feel that it is safe to move their children there. There are also plenty of Expat's who live in Nairobi with their families and they seem to do just fine! Not to mention that Kenya is visited by 10 million tourists a year. It can't be that bad! Right now I am simply preparing for the worst and hoping for the best!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Foto Friday - Cheers to my man...

Who celebrated a birthday this week! Happy Birthday!! xoxo

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Summer Vacation

As per the previous post, all did not go as intended - but we made the best of it!

We got up bright and early on Friday am. to head to the Pike Market. We were told that it is nice to get there around 7 to watch them all set up. We found this to be a waste of time... there was not much to see and all the stands were not set up until later on in the morning. We also were very hungry and ended up paying a very pretty penny for breakfast in a restaurant inside the market. Next time we will go down the street to a Cafe and get a $4 breakfast sandwich!

The market however - did not disappoint. What I would give to live near a market like this! An abundance of organic and heritage produce, fresh fish and flowers! Heaven on earth for me! Sadly, I missed out on the Market Spice Tea... but am very much looking forward to it next time!
Yes... your reading that right - $5 for those bouquets!!
Decorative wreaths made from peppers, garlic and flowers. Very cool!
Heritage tomatoes that I was drooling over!!
Following the market, we walked down to Seattle's underground tour. It was very interesting and informative. Cool to see the buried building fronts from 100 years ago!

The kids and Dan. Mister checking out this old tub. Did I catch the Muffin looking up or rolling her eyes?
A very old bathroom!!

After the tour, we stumbled across the famous gum wall in the alley of Post Street. Over 
20 years old, this is a certified tourist attraction in Seattle!! Muffin even added to the art

After our detour back up to Canada... we hung out in Vancouver for the next couple of days.
 We hit Granville island... which a great place to relax on a patio while the kids enjoyed the
 waterpark. The kids also hit up their favorite store in Vancouver... the gem store. They 
made one large purchase.... a sibling stone. 2 stones cut from the same rock, that they will
 keep forever as a reminder of the loving bond they share. Dan and I couldn't help but wish
that they had the other 2 pieces for the adopted child/ren... but this is now, and currently they
 are both inseparable,so it is nice when they head off to University etc, they will have this as
 a reminder.

Since we missed out on the Crab Pot in Seattle - we stopped in at Steveston Wharf for some
seafood. A $70 platter that Dan and the kids shared - however, I am pretty certain that Mister
could have eaten it all single handed! Luckily for Dan, I wasn't that hungry and shared my
halibut meal with him - otherwise he would have gone hungry trying to compete with these 2!!

Eyes half closed - which is better than the usual fully closed.

Mister getting right into it - I love this picture! lol.

On our way home we accidentally ended up in Kelowna (Read, Dan took the wrong Hwy),
which worked out fine as we were able to find a hotel room, get up and spend a few fun
 hours there before we headed home. We went to the City Waterpark and then took the 
kids Go Karting. Mister was clearly 4 inches too short... but they set him up with about 5
 cushions toallow his feet to reach the peddles. This was the first time the kids have driven 
go carts, and they did amazing!! Mister was surprisingly the little speed demon, while Muffin
 took it easy.

Now we are back home, back to school, and I am trying to get back to normal. Another ER trip last night confirmed that I have really nasty sinus infection. Not sure if this is related to my previous experience or not... but I am feeling much better today after a couple doses of antibiotics!

(Excuse the alignment issues... I think the new interface has some glitches!!)