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