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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"I don't get it"

Technology is seriously driving me crazy! It was a great thoughtful gift but learning to use it is one of my frustrating complaints for the end of this year! An Ipod. Which stands for an infuriating pathological obstacle discouragement! Other known as a palm sized electronic device primarily to play music. Usually I only listen to music during car rides but I wanted something to take to the gym, pumping energizing music to keep me going! Well...."I don't get it" Technology is probably the most frustrating "obstacle" for me that turns me into a pathological infuriated discouraged human being! In the ole days with the Walkmans you bought the tapes, slipped them in and listened to music. These Ipod's need computers. It was an all day adventure learning to download music from Frostwire, then highlighting, dragging and placing the music in itunes, from there downloading onto your Ipod! I still don't get it. Or maybe "I get it" but I can't do it. I feel like the little engine that could. As I continue through my frustration chanting, "I think I can, I think I can" trying to overcome this almost impossible task! So now I have 100 songs on my Ipod. No where near my teenagers Ipod's with over 500 songs! For me to download 500 songs that I like, I've beaten all odds! This is where I would loose my patience, technology isn't my expertise. I do find it fascinating that our teenagers can figure out technology easily. Not only easily but it's their way of communication. It's like a new age era where they need technology as their essential tool. Socializing has become texting. Even I'm guilty for one reason only, texting is economically cheaper then using your talking minutes on your cell phone. I can text family all over Canada at anytime from anywhere without any extra cost. My sister in law and I communicate all day long doing this! Texting our teenagers is an easy, quick way to communicate from anywhere that allows service. So I'm not all against new age technology, I understand and appreciate the benefits. I just feel old school. Our teenagers get frustrated with me because I'm not catching onto this whole downloading dragging thing. They keep saying, "OH Mom!" with an aggravated voice. My husband and I have no clue about online banking, Internet shopping or anything really that involves the computer. I can receive, send emails, blog and download pictures off of my camera onto my computer. Believe it or not I've had this camera for over 5 years and I still don't know how to use it properly! In fact I blame the camera! A great essay for teenagers to write would be the pros and cons on today's technology because there is definitely a high number of both. The Internet is a great tool but I've witnessed first hand on how it interferes with learning. When I was in school, I learned strictly from books. Now I've noticed our teenagers still have the books but they're not directly internalizing any learning from them. They are inserting information from the Internet. I read in a survey they found that children are accessing the Internet between ages five and ten, they are receiving a cellular phone between the ages of eight and ten, and are starting to access social networks between ages eleven and thirteen if not sooner! For me that's not shocking but when I see it physically happening in front of me, I'm blown away! (Not with our children I will add) For instance we were swimming at the public pool and I was sitting at a table watching my husband and children swimming. (I and my second oldest daughter wasn't swimming that day) Next to us was two children maybe ten years old both with laptops on facebook. My daughter who's 15 of course was mentioning to me, "Wow they have laptops and they have facebook!" I looked at her basically stating, "Not our family" I've written before we have one communal computer and it's basically for schoolwork. For our fifteen year old we allow a slotted time after a chore where she can communicate on MSN. (Facebook isn't allowed) I have it for proper communication when needed. Again technology has it pros and cons. This is a topic I can go on and on about being right or wrong with what I believe but basically we're not protecting our children from individuals on the street anymore, it's over the Internet. Our vulnerable children don't understand how easily they can become victims with a click of a mouse. For me, I feel like a victim of frustration all the time with the computer. Getting back to my Ipod (sorry jumped off topic) after adding music to this little device, I can turn it on, shuffle music and listen but it's still like my camera, "I don't get it" With time, like the little engine that could, I will. Hopefully.

"Expecting a dogs life - not"

If life was as simple as our dogs life, I would be laying in front of a fire with a teddy in my mouth too! After all - noise, people, life's circumstances doesn't seem to bother him at all. For him, as long as he's a part of our family and fed, he's content and extremely happy! Wouldn't that be nice for the rest of us?! Lately I can't complain too much as a parent because everything that we deal with is normal (considering) times twelve. I read in another blog about lowering expectations. I always talk to our children about patience, don't expect too soon or at all. Usually with time everything either pans out or it doesn't. Sometimes for me as a Mother, I become "quiet" Depending on the circumstance of any situation, I usually choose when to approach it. Basically when I feel it's "safe" too. Even I'm learning to choose my battles. I am also reminding myself not to expect different reactions from our children. Like appreciation. Like a "Thank you" I have to remember that with time comes this word called appreciation. If I go about my day remembering not to expect anything, I wouldn't become disappointed when I receive a different response that I expected to receive. Our oldest son seems to be doing really well now being back at home. I can't believe he's seventeen! I've noticed with "Mothering" it's hard to transition into relating differently with semi to adult children. I had to explain to our two oldest that it's hard for me. I'm still their Mother but now it's about their choices they make. I'm now here to either pick up the pieces or to congratulate along their way. Basically letting go holding their hand is extremely hard. I also refer to having twelve children because we do but only eight or nine join us most of the time. Something I've accepted. I'm still their Mother but I stopped expecting or forcing their presence, it's time for them to make choices and become an individual. This is one of my prime examples of lowering my expectations, being patient with appreciation because realistically they're growing up, finding their own way and will appreciate what is or what was with having years with those fundamental skills. One thing for me having such a wide age range (I hope) but not expect that it gives me the experience that I didn't have before. I'm definitely feeling good about our teen-adults and hoping this makes me more understanding for our next batch seeking Independence. Life will never be as content as our dogs life but wouldn't it be wonderful to be so satisfied? Not something to ever expect but a great thought.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Home sweet home!"

Through-out the four days I contemplated if going away to the Mountain was a great idea. (I think we'll try anything once) We couldn't control the blizzard that happened for the whole time we were there. It made our time away "crowded" We are used to almost 4000 sq ft and we jammed into maybe 500 sq ft for four blizzarding days! We were trapped but all together for Christmas. We definitely had our 'moments' Just imagine being squished together with twelve younger individuals, your husband, a dog - all with different behaviours in a place that wasn't your own?! SO we all decided to go sleigh-riding down this steep hill. My husband had our vehicle keys and condo keys in his pocket that ripped open during sledding. An hour and a half later our oldest daughter found all of them buried in the snow bank! (Very amazing actually) In the lower left picture was our first night when all our children received their personalized mugs for Christmas. They really loved the fact their pictures were on their cups. The lower right picture we were outside getting ready for hard core sledding since most of the lifts were closed caused by high winds and snow! As you can tell, you can't see many faces because the snow felt like pellets on your bare skin! Unfortunately my husband trying to be a child re-injured his hip sledding down the hill on a BMX GT Racer! That's probably when he lost our sets of keys! The upper left picture is a family picture taken by my camera's timer. I ran in and bent in time. Believe it or not, there is a Christmas tree behind us! We took this picture just before leaving. This is the only Christmas present I wanted, it was hard to achieve but I'm very happy with it. During our time we had many different goodies and platters. Christmas dinner consisted of steak and baked potatoes! One night we had a ham with mashed potatoes & the other was spaghetti. The only traditional part was Christmas morning with the surprise of presents underneath the Christmas tree. Through-out our stay we took turns hot-tubing. An event our children will remember, hot-tubing outside while it was snowing. (Throwing snow-balls at each other) "Very relaxing"... I would occasionally look out watching the snow fall thinking out loud how beautiful it was having a white Christmas. Now that we're at home, everyone disappeared. They don't have to tell me their appreciation for the space we have, everyone running to their rooms was enough! I do ask myself would we do this again? "NOPE" It was an experience, definitely a memory but Christmas will continue to remain at home.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Off we go........"Ho ho ho"

The last week of school was interestingly sick. One by one our children came down with the fifth disease. The fifth disease also known as slap face disease is a viral infection usually infecting children between ages 5 and 15. It's a childhood rash accompanied sometimes by a fever. It's contagious until the rash appears. One of our sons had a fever for 4 days. Some of our children had no symptoms until the rash appeared. Now that the holidays have started, most of our children have mended from this illness except for one; give him a day or two, he'll be fine. We have been busy packing snow gear, sleds, skis, clothing, presents and groceries. Making last minute arrangements because we're leaving for a white Christmas. To be honest I'm used to the traditional home for the holidays although I am getting excited with all our secret plans. This year Christmas starts on Dec 22 and ends on Dec 26th! Four full days of quality family time with endless treats, board games, new movies, swimming and snow activities! Dec 22nd after unpacking our children will receive their sentimental gifts, their own pictured mugs, so they can drink hot chocolate, their Christmas night gowns and new board games. I'm really trying to make this not only a Christmas they will remember, a magical one too. Our purpose is not to spoil, it's to make memories. I smile reflecting back on my childhood Christmases when my Mother made everything for us. I awoke to a big green frog, a sock monkey and a homemade cabbage patch doll that looked like my Dad! My Mother spent many hours and thought on our gifts that was and are sentimental to me. Back then the cabbage patch dolls were extremely popular, I remember they were approximately $65.00 each! We couldn't afford these dolls but my Mother duplicated the cabbage patch kids which meant more to me then the ones from factory's. This year I made our family DVD's with music, pictures and different effects. We had a family dinner while watching the DVD's. My Mother cried, which made me cry, which made my sister cry and so on. It was a family coming together, it was touching being able to feel comfortable showing emotion with one another. That is what family is about. That's all I want for Christmas - the true meaning of family and that's being together in body and soul. My teenage daughter made a comment afterwords to me saying, "I didn't realize you still needed your Mother until now" A very observant statement and that's why a forever family for children are so important! My husband's gift hasn't arrived. It's something very special for a hard working loving husband and father. I'm not uptight that it's not here because for the first time for a long time he's leaving home. Anyone who knows us, he doesn't leave our home very often. A special occasion regardless if the missing gift doesn't arrive. We have the next week to look forward too, to spend time with and hopefully have a Christmas" that they will talk or write about like I do. Our home is a place where their story begins and hopefully never ends with endless memories of great times and love. Again, "Merry Christmas" off we snow!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Another Memory"

Wow! The Carrie Underwood concert was awesome! She's beautiful inside and out. Her show was one of the best concerts I've seen in my life. It was just beautiful. It's hard to explain. There was a back drop behind her that stimulates movements of clouds, grass moving - like the scenery was real. During one song she swung from a tree, during another she came through the floor. Her outfit changing was amazing, during one change her dress lit up with different colors like she had fireworks underneath her! Then during one song the screen looked like a movie where she was walking towards us, stepping into a vehicle, then the real vehicle came out of no where; where she sung above the crowd. She spoke to the crowd about her life, about winning American Idol and following your dreams. She wouldn't be where she is today if she didn't take the steps, making the effort and just going for it! In one of her songs it displayed pictures through-out her life up until her marriage. She didn't come from money, life wasn't easy and her show was truly inspiring. I thought "Wow" this is great for all the young individuals out there wanting to become somebody. I really enjoyed how personally beautiful Carrie Underwood made her concert. My daughter, a friend and I walked on the ferry, took buses and sky-trains all over Vancouver for two days! Went out to Metro town, China town and walked all over downtown Vancouver. My daughter extremely enjoyed herself but she had a huge enlightenment with the street life of the city. It was really sad witnessing young woman messed up on crystal meth, picking their skin, homeless people wishing us a Merry Christmas. I wanted my daughter to see real people sick and hurting for a reason. This isn't just television. These are people that could be her birth Mother, they are someones son. It's really sad and I really believe our government should do more for the mentally ill and addicted people. I heard in Victoria they are changing one of the old Travel Lodges into a homeless shelter. Downtown on East Hastings in Vancouver needs more housing. It's unfortunate that people are hurting on the streets while we're shopping in China town, going to concerts and every night we're warm underneath blankets. When this one homeless man said, "Merry Christmas" I was instantly heart broken. I know some people have chosen this lifestyle but the percentage of the mentally ill walking the streets is high. It's their circumstances that have placed them where they are. No one is born wanting this lifestyle. I'm really glad that my daughter experienced this so we can talk and have compassion for humanity. After the concert we walked back to the hotel, tried to fall asleep around 12:30 am. By 2:30am the fire alarm went off! Normally we're trained from a young age to evacuate immediately, I on the other hand was saying, "Ignore it, some drunk pulled the alarm!" I was really tired. Well, we had to leave the building. From 2:30am to 4am we were standing outside while the fire fighters had to search the building for this "fire" Well turns out a drunk on the eleventh floor pulled the fire alarm because he thought the pop machine lights was a FIRE! Ok, I was frustrated. "I will admit it" We didn't get much sleep. By 8am the hotel lobby called and asked if we had enough towels and coffee for our morning! "WHAT?" When I answered the phone I was shocked, "Why are you calling us after being up all night?" Actually I wasn't pleasant. Turned out it was a prank caller! We dressed and left for breakfast. No compensation but an apology. After all it's not the hotels fault someone pulled the fire alarm and they have to follow safety protocols and evacuate. I do have to say my eyes were burning and my brain was hardly functioning for the day! We raced and missed our 4pm bus, caught the next one just in time for the 5pm ferry! Racing just making it! A memory that will last forever.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Bye bye baby!"

I love productive days. While I baked I cut hair and showered our children one after another. Cooked dinner then headed into our daughters bedroom. Not only do I love productive days, I love organization. For awhile our daughters room started looking like piles of toys. Every time I walked in, I thought, "This looks like the beginning of hoarding" For both our daughters they do have special needs which makes it harder for them to clean, organize and grasp the concept on how to clean their room. So when asked to clean, piles started. So after dinner while our girls were both bathing in different bathrooms, I decided it was time for me to organize. My husband just finished building extra shelving in their room and in our little boys room. The easiest way to start is to unload everything into the middle of the room. From there, start organizing different piles. I had baby doll piles, stuffed animals, Polly pockets, barbies, toy food to baby clothing and barbie clothing piles. Most importantly a GARBAGE pile! There is no need to keep a doll with missing limbs, pieces of what looks like a toy and stuffed animals with no eyes! The picture to the left in the hallway is the dump pile. The picture to the right is the new improved toy area where their books are on one shelf, perfectly healthy dolls on another, their toy food, microwave and miscellaneous items on the lower shelf. Another part of their room has the barbie house, the Polly pocket area and their dressers are free for hair brushes, clips and headbands. This took me sometime going through absolutely everything. When something hits the garbage pile, you never look twice. Once gone, gone. Our daughters had an extra long bath and once out they were surprised! They were not upset about any missing items. They wanted to play. I didn't blame them because before they didn't know what they had at the bottom of their piles. It was like Christmas came early. They were happy, I was relieved. My husband was looking through the boxes in the hallway asking me, "What's wrong with this?" "We can fix this?" "Sigh"......I explained to him that you can't fix a horses leg without the leg and who wants a teddy without any eyeballs? I proceeded to show him their room which changed his outlook on the goods going to the dump. We have progress! Now it's going to be a daily repetitious battle teaching our daughters the right way to clean. (No piles) Pick a toy, play, put back the toy, then pick another. It teaches respect for the item, it teaches organization skills and that there is a place for everything. With our children starting in their bedroom, it will help them in their future with a whole house! Our home if you haven't been here is organized, clean and I truly believe what a child grows up with can result in a continued cycle for their future. Adding of course everything in a child's life, don't get me wrong - this is just one little area of all areas we as parents need to commit too while raising our wonderful children.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Ho ho ho"

The 2nd annual Christmas Adoption party was a huge success. Over a dozen families and I lost track of the number of children attended. We will continue to host this Christmas event in a nearby hall. With the help of other families we had a great magician perform a magic show, we had a projector and stereo system hooked up to play dance Wii (which was a huge hit!) Of course a surprise visitor and tons of great platters, enough food for thirds! Everyone was dancing and mingling with each other. I definitely need to thank my husband for pulling it all together being Santa because he had moments through-out the day prior to this party that was "trying" on his patience. "Patience" is key I always say. There was one moment there where I was almost in tears laughing so hard. Being his Santa helper he thought he was calling out some one's name wrong on their gift but it turned out to be a childhood nickname - he was so close in firing me! Afterwords it was amazing on how fast everything was cleaned up with the help of other families and their children. It's interesting with our children because most of them know it's their "Dad" playing Santa. The ones that don't are still questionable. Our littlest son afterwords was asking his Dad why we had Santa's bag. We were cleaning up, putting things away and our son noticed the red bag. (Oops) His Dad turns to him and explains, "It's because Santa didn't have room on his sleigh" Funny, he walked away satisfied with that answer. In conclusion what makes events like these a success is everyone who attends. So I'm deeply appreciative for the families that continue to support their children and support their adoptive community by coming all together. I've written before and I'm not sure if it's in here with my new posts but "back in the day" when we started adopting we never knew our path was going to grow with adoption that included other families, some foster parents and some birth family. I really believe it's a blessing to have such growth, support and continued friendships with others along the same path. Thank you for being in our life and again, we love you all. "Merry Christmas"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas in Plum Creek

"It's for me to know and for you to find out", Laura Ingalls sister Carrie tells her. On Little house on the Prairie the Ingalls family is developing secrets during the Christmas season. "Christmas is not the time to ask questions" For the Ingalls family it's about working together sharing chores, to work more for nickles and dimes to surprise their family members with gifts. Carrie the oldest daughter makes her father a home made dress shirt while Laura sells her adored horse for a wood stove for her Mother. The thought. You know, I'm disappointed in myself that we couldn't live more like this. I constantly remind our children, not only at Christmas but through-out the year what life and family is about. Unfortunately preaching and living it is two different things. It's like the ole saying goes, "actions speak louder then words" or "Well done is better then well said" - Benjamin Franklin. Little house on the Prairie is not only a time of simplicity from our electronics, it's a time where family worked together. During Christmas with woven scarfs, knitted shirts and homemade craftsmanship's, everyone is happy without disappointments. Laura trading her beloved pony for a stove for her Mother had me in tears. Her Mother wanted to stop the transaction while Charles, Laura's father insisted it had to happen because she loved her Mother more. They all thought Laura was crying over the loss of her pony but it was because her father worked so hard on a saddle. In the end, looking upon a star - they had a very Merry Christmas! A television show that shows the true meaning of giving - love. Sitting around an open fire playing the violin, family just enjoying each other. The one and only Christmas gift I could ask for is joy within each other spending it together. I wish everyone a very thoughtful loving "Merry Christmas"

"Remain stabilized and equal"

As I'm having my tea this morning I have recognized once again that we're always focusing on our behavioral children. I've always known this. I also don't like using the word "Behaviour" but it's the easiest way to explain their actions. It seems that for my husband and I we're constantly trying to either relate or curb some of our children's behaviours. Our time mostly is generalized towards this. What about some of our children that are relatively quiet and better behaved? Sometimes I find that dealing with different scenarios with the same key children take away from the ones that I call shadows. Now with stating this I'm completely aware who and why gets most of our attention. My husband and I always talk about how we can acknowledge our little shadows. A few years ago we started taking out certain children to dinner, movies and other activities that they might enjoy. It's still a excellent idea to do although we don't make it a habit just for our shadows, our other children that take up our time at home still need to be acknowledged in a positive way also. Usually that consists of the one on one "Mother" speech. It's quality time not quite like the others because my main objective is to council in my own way. Not to just listen but to hopefully in a repetitive way make some sense onto why life is the way it is. In our life with children with FAS, we're always trying explain everything in black or white, over and over again. Usually our morning consists of a speech in hopes our day will have positive results. Unfortunately once out the front door everything I talked about was forgotten. I'm back to square one but something we've accepted with raising our children is repetitiveness. I really really believe that if you don't have the consistency chaos could surface. For us, as much as our children can detest our rules, the future outcome will outweigh with positive results. (Hopefully) So it's worth to stay strong within how you need or want to raise your children because that's the fundamental skills they will remember come adulthood. I keep reminding myself our children won't appreciate and/or understand their childhood until into their thirties. With writing this we do see and have witnessed many glimpses of appreciation but for example; I now in my late thirties with children continually reflect back and remember different things that my Mother or Father did. I understand the "whys" on my consequences, I give my Mother full recognition for who I am today. Without my parents supervision, rules and yes some expectations on how I'm suppose to present myself in this world, I would be lost. So as much as our children can complain or even argue about our rules, from what I've learned from my parents stick. This is why repetitiveness doesn't bother me from one day to another because eventually my point on how to behave will be acknowledged. Maybe not now but later when life is most important, when our children are adults with children on their own. In the meantime, we continually move forward as parents they need. (Perhaps not want sometimes) Ha ha. We are always aware and circulating quality time accordingly for our children. Yes it's a fact we spend a lot of effort and energy on our more "behavioural" children but if you're like us, a larger family, remember the shadows. Don't leave anyone behind. And believe that what you're doing as a caring parent will pay off.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Good ole days"

Our weekend was very home based, it almost seems unusual for our family to stay home for a weekend. One highlight that my husband and I don't do very often is go out for dinner. On Friday night we went out with another couple who we adore. In fact we just love them and their children except on Friday night it was just adults! It was nice. My husband as always when he gets speaking, he talks about the good ole days. The good ole days consisted of episodes that you don't want to share with your children! Jumping 4X4's, hucking green pine cones at each other, driving vehicles backwards past police stations, sliding sideways through stop signs, jumping from one car to another while waiting for the intersection lights to change and his old Ontario days. It reminds me of the show Dukes of Hazard! It's interesting how the generation has changed because even when I was a child my Mother wasn't telling me to go outside, she was yelling for me to come in! I made mud patties, climbed trees and loved playing in the woods. I didn't have a computer, Ipods, game systems or cell phones. I had the great outdoors. When I was a teenager I had no rides, I walked everywhere. To phone a friend I had to stand in the kitchen near the wall where the phone hung, usually my sister and I would fight over the one phone. (I will admit we hit each other in the head with it!) Funny I remember when my sister and I would lay on the couch together and if our feet touched, it was war! Our feet would kick each other until our Mother would yell at us to stop! Children haven't changed in that way but unfortunately they've changed needing electronics. One of our house rules is games aren't allowed until they've played like children I remember. Then their time playing games are limited. We have one house computer but our children have to do a chore for access and again time is limited. Our older teenagers, age 16, 17 and 20 bought their own computers and have more access of course. My husband keeps saying that the kids now-a-days don't know how to play and they're not "tough" enough. They definitely bore quickly and easily. If we don't plan their day they are suddenly "bored" Yes it's not like the good ole days. It's interesting sharing stories and understanding that it's a evolving generation. Back then I remember walking to and from school, doddling along. There was no worry of being kidnapped or assaulted. At least it wasn't as common. I really enjoy the older television series such as "Little house in the Prairie" because they worked hard and together as a family. It was simplistic without the influences of television and computers. Even the Hannah Montana shows that the children love these days are full of cheap ignorant comments then the audience laughs, cheers it on. I personally don't understand why the generations are getting so unappreciative and selfish to the point where the family meaning is irrelevant. I as a Mother try to teach the importance of family, what it means to have each other, to respect and to have compassion for each and every one of us. For the most part, I have witnessed in our children this love I'm constantly writing about. But there is that generation gap that's completely different and I understand and blame technology. Our children just look at us as old. So it's nice to sit and reminisce the past with others that completely can relate. Chuckle and have a great time remembering the good ole days.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Everyone needs "Love" and "Family"

December 16th and 17th my daughter and I are going to Carrie Underwood at the Rodgers Place. (GM Place) This will be her first big concert in the big city. We have two days to wander the streets window shopping while for her experiencing a completely different lifestyle. Every time I'm in a large city I'm reminded on how truly blessed we all are living in rural areas. The space, the privacy and most importantly the clean fresh air. Usually with me walking the streets I have a hard time passing by the homeless. I'm not wanting to give them money for habits they might have, I usually give them food. What I will have in my backpack will be wrapped food items and socks that they can either wear on their hands or feet. Something light and easy to pack while window shopping. I don't fear people and usually no one wants to cause harm. The city is packed with individuals coming and going. I really think this is the next best thing other then leaving to a Third World Country where our daughter will understand the impacts of addiction, of being homeless and mostly ignored; while people walk by pretending their existence isn't there. The morning of the 16th we will walk, take buses and sky-trains, see a concert, stay in a hotel - we're having our time together but most importantly she's going to see another side of this small world she won't want to be a part of but develop compassion for. When we were visiting with our Grandma through adoption we were discussing about drug addicted street people, many that are birth parents of our children. Honestly years ago I didn't care about the birth parents. Especially after hearing abusive stories. Now of course we still protect our children and our privacy. Although within myself I'm finding understanding, reason and if these individuals had supports in place, I wonder if their life could change? I'm not writing about professional supports, I'm writing about family. (Love) Some stability, a home. Understandably people don't want to subject themselves to people that can potentially cause harm, steal and bring the drug dealers home. I also know a huge factor is that the sick don't want help and when they do, it's so hard to trust. I think we need more group based homes for adults wanting help that isn't expensive. Where there is stable loving genuine people looking after the home qualified with dealing with addictions. I guess I just explained what rehab looks like. Although I think when these individuals hear "Rehab" it's a forced pressure that scares them running. Also when they feel like they've lost everything, their family, their children - why on earth would they want to change? That's why I'm stuck believing that everyone needs a family. Rehab and different types of professionals aren't the answer they seek. Yes the first step they need for recovery but without a loving family member, why would they? I truly feel sorry for these people just lost and the only thing that helps is drugs. Individuals no one should judge because until you can walk a mile in their shoes, you have no idea. "Mmm" I'm a deep thinker. Probably one of my most time consuming slightly frustrating traits! So moving on, this December will be a month to remember, many changes that is bringing sentimental time for each and every one of us. Even though our children have come from loss and a history of abuse, every year we're developing fundamental skills that we hope will help them into their adulthood. We have never said we're the perfect family but trying not to be bias, I think we're a family worth growing up in. No matter what, we'll always be here and when we're not, there will always be a sibling. Something that everyone needs - family - including the street people.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Our black bears"

I used to religiously write but lately my thoughts have been scattered with several different elements in our life. In fact surprisingly enough our life is positively mellow tone. We do have a resident black bear. We've seen him lurking around but he mainly hangs out at our neighbors house. When speaking with our neighbor they've had nothing but problems, constant garbage eating, the bear destroyed their compost area and has been on their porch peering in. We told her that we don't have these issues probably because our home is full of loud children and barking dogs! She then asked to borrow some children! Since we started this new garbage collection, one week food waste only, we've had an increase in wild animals. This black bear has found it easy to access food in our area and is becoming a nuisance. The conservation officer has been called but this black bear seems extremely intelligent dodging the officers attempts to find him. After all if I was the bear, I would know exactly when it's safe to come out too! As much as I write that wild animals can be a nuisance and a worry for our safety, I feel for their confusion. We have taken over their forest with building construction. Who's to say this isn't the black bears home? Correct me if I'm wrong but generally speaking I think that the animals aren't interested in us nor trying to frustrate us with the endless spreading of our garbage. Really, if I was a bear I would be thinking "Thank you for the food" Being that we're in their forest putting out samples. I really hope when the bear is found that he's brought further into his territory rather then ending his life. It saddens me to hear another animal has been deceased simply because he's lost, confused and only eating what's been put out for him. Of course we're not feeding the bear - like written above, he's enjoying the food waste and composts. A regular smorgasbord! I've read that black bears roam large territories, the males might wander a 15 to 80 square mile home range while the females usually give birth this time of year. Did you know that their cubs will stay with their mother for two protective years? The mother bears will nurse their cubs during the winter season until spring, then they will emerge searching for food. We always hear that bears hibernate this time of year but I read a fact that they are not true hibernators. During the winter period they won't eat, drink, urinate or defecate but will awake if disturbed. I think if anyone has a fear of a new lurking visitor (like anything) education is the key. Years and years ago we had a wolf family on our property. Another story that reminds me of a scene off of the "Little house on the Prairie" where the wolves would surround the home, pace back and forth on the front deck. I would have reoccurring dreams of wolves but after facing my fear and educating myself on the animal, I was cured of my endless worry. The dreams stopped. Sometimes we have to learn to live with them and with caution. Kind of reminds me of teenagers. (Smile) Come to think of it black bears and teenagers have common traits, they usually surface at night, sneak into the food leaving evidence they were there, sleep until odd hours of the day, roam again when hungry and grunt when somethings not just right. Huh - we're more closer to the wild then we think!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

33 days left of 2010! Feeling "blessed"

We've been busy this weekend attending different adoption events. It was nice reconnecting with families we are friends with while meeting other families we don't know. There is some really great people out there. Our children just love the adoptive community atmosphere. Unfortunately because there is so much action taking place it's hard to connect with other parents. I noticed from a far there is many families we don't know, many other parents that would be nice to meet but sometimes from one end of a room to the next seems so far! Our children seem to have no problems accomplishing movement back and forth from one end to another! It was a good productive weekend. Usually the weekend before December 1st would be the weekend to put up our Christmas tree and decorations. It feels so weird not doing anything! We won't be here so there's no point, so we've been venturing off. Dec 2nd Ladysmith's Festival of lights is happening that evening. We've never been. I've heard thousands of people attend the lighting of the town, the Santa parade and fireworks. I heard there is entertainment, food vendors and the little shops are open for business. I'm hoping it's going to be a mild dry evening so our family can enjoy every aspect the festival offers. The Bethlehem Walk this year starts on Dec 11th - Dec 14th from 6 - 8:30pm. There is over 250 people in costume, live animals and a working village walking through the streets of Bethlehem. Every year we attend one evening ending with listening to Christmas Carols, having hot chocolate and cookies. If you haven't been, it's worth the time going. I believe a donation is asked for our local food bank. Beware that there is long line-ups and lots of people! Getting there early is a must! BUT Dec 11th we're having the Christmas Adoption party, so no Bethlehem that evening! Plus the first night is extremely busy! Now speaking of the holidays, there is exactly only three weeks left of school, 15 days of school! Four weeks until Christmas! 27 days! Five weeks, 33 days left of 2010! I don't know about you but I'm shocked on where the time goes?? I do have to add we're really excited for 2011! If all goes as planned we will have two more teenagers graduated, one in which has applied to the Canadian Forces, our oldest finishing her second year in University, a new nephew, a new adoption placement and a bigger vehicle! (Hopefully) That's all I'm going to write about that. I do smile because come January there is only 6 months left of school which means summer! Yes I'm thinking that far ahead! I love our children home. In the meantime our last month of 2010 consists of family and friends. There is several families that I can think of that I would love to keep in our lives forever, a few that would be honoring to know more and another that we should just sign now making it official that we're not going anywhere. Family comes in all forms and sizes, I can never express enough what our family means to us.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This is my extremely loving friend Wilbur. He's just dropping in to remind and invite all pre-adoptive and adoptive families to our annual Christmas platter potluck party! It will be on Dec 11th from 4pm-8pm!
Please RSVP me if you're coming, for directions and for more enlightening details! It sounds like it's going to be a great party! With a surprise visitor! Entertainment, crafts and more!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Who's your super-star?"

Origami fortune teller crafts have been popular in our house lately. Every which way I turn I'm picking a color, a number and my children are unmasking my fortune. Tonight I'm very happy with my life and I have a great smile according to their pieces of paper. I'm not sure about my smile but I know I'm very happy with my life. My husband is 20 years old and a super-star! I'm not sure if I like that idea. If twenty year old super-stars look like my husband we're in trouble! Origami fortune teller crafts are so simply created and full of imagination that lasts over decades with children. I remember when I was running around telling people they were lucky too! What's nice is our children placed "cute" positive comments in theirs. Positive reinforcement surfaces in many ways! The beauty in these hand held fortune tellers is our children are happy playing the game while their siblings and friends are constantly receiving uplifting quotes. I know that when you tell someone they look nice today, more then likely it's a genuine gesture that makes that person feel they look nice. So when someone is told they're sweet, I wonder if for that period of time as they're thinking they're sweet, would they act sweet is the question? Positive reinforcement is suppose to curb the behaviors. It reminds me of reverse psychology. I understand the two are two different concepts. For example I try to pick and choose my battles with our children. So if an argument erupts over putting on their winter jackets and boots because it's minus 5 with wind chills of minus 17 I would say, "Ok, I'm putting on MY jacket and boots because Brrrrrrr I'm not willing to get sick for Christmas" Then I would ask, "Do you remember being sick? Not even getting out of bed, holding that bucket?" I'm not even out the door and my son says, "It's too cold outside, I'm going to put on my jacket and boots" I'm smiling inside, argument vanishes, no battle occurred, we left the house warm. I don't believe neither positive reinforcement nor reverse psychology is 100% effective but 99% of the time there is a light bulb triggered. Like the Origami fortune tellers don't even realize that they're playing something positive with each other, which is uplifting each others spirits simply picking a color and a number. My thought process is still envisioning my husband as a 20 year old super-star! Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha (sorry honey) The thought instantly changed my mood from solemn to uncontrolled laughter! Nevertheless it's all great innocent mind or mood altering fun........

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Johnny Reid - Today I'm Gonna Try To Change The World

Becoming "Good people"

Good people. I have been in "Awe" over some really genuine good people. Everyone we meet in life has the right to be accepted (or not) on his/her own merits. It's better to be yourself. I read somewhere that it's better to be hated for who you are than liked for who you aren't. Being honest with yourself allows you to be honest with others. A dishonest person has no chance in maintaining true friends because eventually they're figured out. Loyalty is huge with people, I constantly tell my children that foremost keep loyal, keep the confidence and don't speak of anyone else. Don't judge. Respect within a friendship is keeping information shared between each other confident. There is nothing worse then breaking the loyalty within friendship, it's just common courtesy and everyone deserves and should expect that friendship respect. For our children because there is some bullying tendencies that surface I'm always encouraging them to be a "good friend" Respecting their friends privacy is loyalty but on the flip side of friendship the question irises on when to "watch out for your friend" If there is talk about running away or committing suicide then of course consulting their parent or a professional is important. As much as we teach our children the importance of honoring friendship it's only with age and experience with loosing friends on how to keep them. Unfortunately with some of our children they really struggle and peers are important. At a time of crisis usually just listening is all a friend needs and perhaps a sincere hug. Our children as I've written before; I've seen this sincere compassion for others, it's one of my top ten list of wants for them as they mature. I've always said that it's "Okay" to give advice, add your perspective but don't ever judge and remember to be sensitive to their friends circumstance. Basically don't get offended when they don't want to listen as it's only your opinion, let your friend make their own decisions. Good friendships are based on trust. I keep telling our children that the number one most important factor in any relationship is trust. Once broken it's very hard to salvage. It reminds me of the "little boy who cried wolf" Eventually when the truth is told, there is no belief within his/her words. One consequence we've given was reading this story over and over again. In fact the truth will always set you free - "Just tell the truth" otherwise it will eventually come seek you out. "Piles of white lies can be the end of you" meaning the truth always surfaces in one form or another. These are all skills I hope our children generate through-out childhood so they can be respective good people in their adult years. I keep telling one of our sons that being selfish won't work for long, sharing and having the generosity (returning the favour) will keep a friendship lasting. There's a golden rule with friendships. "Always treat a friend as you would want to be treated" I keep telling our children that if you've made a mistake, apologise. As much as I continue to teach our children on how to treat others, I'm always reminding myself the same. Who am I to judge another? This is where acceptance that I write all the time I believe to be as important as compassion. Accepting differences, lifestyles and heritage. After all this world isn't based on one way nor should it be. That's what makes us individuals, unique and we all can give something to someone else intellectually; as long as our children learn the basics of respecting one another and their friendships - they will flourish in relationships! For myself, I do my best to practice what I preach and I am in "Awe" for having people in my life that is all of this and more. Thank you for being who you are! I always smile thinking of you..........

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Our experiences & benefits of having a large family"

November is adoption awareness month. Well it's almost over. Last year I was writing an article that didn't make the newspaper in time, this month my article should make it in the local newspaper by the end of the month! Few.... I'm always advocating for large families. A passion of mine. "Our experiences and benefits of having a large family"

I wanted to write this letter to explain and educate on how our family works raising (currently) twelve children. Before we ever thought of being a larger family within today's society it was always in our hearts to adopt. Once the process started we realized that within BC alone there are over 1000 waiting children to be adopted. So not only did we want to adopt, we wanted to continue as long as we could, within our capabilities. Having a large family is not only a passion for us but a life that we enjoy immensely. There is definitely challenges but there are challenges within a smaller family as well. It's all in how you manage the situation. Our numbers for incidences of course are higher. We're definitely not perfect parents but we're dedicated parents to our children. I do stress that not everyone can manage a larger family unless they are willing to dedicate themselves to routine and structure. It definitely requires organization skills, patience and a sense of humor at times. We are learning as we grow that we need to educate others of the benefits and the reasons that we have ventured on this path. We can't stress enough that this is our passion and we love our family as large as it is. Speaking of large, my husband and I always state, "We're not large" and this is simply because we don't feel like a large family. This is our life. Basically we live day to day with our family of twelve children; we're not any different from a family living with three except the numbers are higher. Everyone has different paths and focuses in life; where to put their dedication and commitment and ours is with children. Here is some of the benefits we experience within our family that smaller families might not.
1. All our children have a sibling that they can confide in or have support from when they can't go to a parent. They will never lack peers or companionship.
2. Our children learn to share, have boundaries and patience with one another.
3. We're also practical with spending, we teach our children to get the most out of their dollar. For example I cook and bake seven days a week, homemade lunches instead of pizza days that costs $5.50. With this our children aren't deprived but it makes them more appreciative when we do go out for dinner or have those special snacks.
4. When we're choosing sport activities, we usually group up our children which cuts down driving time but also creates companionship and builds relationships. For example two of our girls is in horse riding together.
5. When it comes to adoption, from our experience it's an easier transition for a child when there is other children in the home coming from the same circumstances.
6. Our children will always have a sibling that they can grow up with and will become more confident within themselves due to a sense of belonging. Our children with special needs will always have family members for support and relationship long after we as parents are gone.
7. We are extremely active and do everything as a family.
8. Our expectations for our children are based on their capabilities and we're extremely satisfied when a simple milestone to some means a huge success for us. So we're very relaxed.
9. Our children learn compassion, cooperation and responsibilities because they are more aware of boundaries, learn respect for one another.
10.No matter what happens, they have each other forever.
I know everything above can be true for smaller families but when you're a special larger family through adoption, there is differences that we all accept within one another. It comes from past experiences, grieving and loss then moving forward positively with unconditional love and acceptance. This is what I see within our family.
11. Our children learn not to judge, not to favour or have racism. Being a larger family we learn most of all, compassion and acceptance of not only our family but for others. This will give our children huge benefits within their future to succeed. Society plays a huge roll in what someone should or shouldn't be or do - we start right here with our twelve children and counting. We live, learn and teach that we're all compatible, acceptable and compassionate individuals and should be towards each other. I as a mother of twelve children and adopting again believes large families work together and should be acknowledged in today's society as any other family - normal - just a bigger happier crowd!

Nothing against you smaller families, you're awesome! (I love you too) Basically being who we are with all our challenges and more rewards I feel the need to advocate our strengths and reasons why. In my mind, if we can do it, "Why not?" I will tell you something honestly - We would adopt a child before wanting anything else in this world.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Our extended family!"

November 20th our first snow day was not only snow ball throwing, snowman building, it was go-cart ripping! We lost hydro for approximately eleven hours. Within those eleven hours we mostly slept. It's been a very exciting weekend and not because of all the white stuff. We picked up one of our Grandmas from the airport! This Grandma came to our family through adoption. She's two of our children's past foster parent. While adopting we've not only grown within our immediate family, we've grown within our extended family. We have Twelve Grand parents! Some known as birth and others known as adopted. For us we not only adopt our children, we adopt their past. With writing that it does have to be a healthy relationship. In adoption it's called establishing an openness with either birth family members or previous foster parents. Picking up our children's Grandma was extremely exciting for all our children because she's "shared" amongst our whole family. I even love her from the moment we worked together with transitioning our children from her home to ours. One adoption step that I believe to be very important is having a supportive, smooth and loving transition from foster home to adoptive home. We were very lucky to experience this with our first adoption. Our first adoptive children were in their Grandmas foster home for seven years before being placed with us. Can you imagine after seven years being moved? I completely understand the difficulty and sensitive nature that exists with all parties involved but with this transition it was a successful and positive move. This is because of the foster parent that is now forever a part of our family. She didn't loose her children she cared for, she gained a whole family with them. Each adoption transition is completely different and sometimes it's not beneficial to maintain contact with previous foster parents. Sometimes it's too difficult for the foster parent, the adoptive parents or the child/children involved. We've been on both sides of the positive and negative transitions. It's unfortunate because what it boils down to is the children and what's best for them. The best is having a forever family and parents they can call "Mom" or "Dad" A home that is permanent where they will never leave again. Having the ultimate best is being able to keep loving people from their past in their lives. Our second adoption we have maintained a relationship with one birth Grandfather and two foster Grandparents. People who are positive in our lives, that continue to love our children and understand the importance of adoption even when it was hard for them to let go. As I know one wanted to adopt one of our boys but was unable to adopt all his siblings. That's where transitioning can become emotionally difficult. Adoption is exciting but full of continued losses even from foster care. (One reason why we would never foster) Our third adoption was worrisome at first in regards to how we felt with boundaries and privacy coming from the foster parents. I was really worried wondering if we could continue with having an openness relationship but we were patient and understanding in hopes that our privacy would be maintained. They are wonderful people who now are our next set of extended Grandparents. We have them over for every occasion. I'm hoping with our next adoption we'll add more extended family members but only time will tell and on how it all play out. Right now it's just so amazing on how many people from all parts of British Columbia can come together and be a family through adoption. I would have never thought adopting children would not only bring us beautiful children but adding many loving, beautiful other family members as well! Now having another visit from one of our special Grandmothers was completely wonderful, honoring and really makes our family feel special that she's still a part of it forever!

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Little Christmas House"

One of our sons made this little Christmas house last year. He brought it out a week ago and placed it secretly on my craft table. Every time I'm sitting next to it I get emotional. I'm not sure exactly what it is, is it because he gave it to me? Perhaps it's the detail? Maybe it's the fact he hid it for a year nestled safely in his room until now? What it reminds me of is "The Little House on the Prairie" series. A favorite television show of mine! Most importantly it's a time consumed art project that he kept safe to himself until now. With some of our children they're definitely material lead. Especially when they didn't have anything before being adopted. Then with others it's not the material that's important, it's their family. Basically I'm a deep thinker and a little homemade house like this gets me thinking. A month back I attended a workshop and the speaker reminded us that we needed to keep in tune with our frontal lobe, meaning always being aware and ahead when dealing with our children. I think my frontal lobe works over time to tell you the truth! So what is important? It's quality not quantity. Honestly, as the Christmas season approaches I love to give. Being only one month away I just started. What I did do is booked a Chalet at our local Ski Mountain for Christmas. This year it's about our time together. My husband isn't going to spend the day dealing with endless toy unboxing and garbage! I'm not going to spend the day in the kitchen cooking. We're going to spend our time together in the snow, swimming in the court yard pool and hot-tub and eating plattered prepared foods. This year won't be traditional. We're going to make snow-cones, play board games and awake Christmas morning to a few sentimental gifts then go sledding! Just like "The Little House on the Prairie" Like the little house our son made. The gifts aren't the memories remembered, it's the time spent together. For example we have many fond memories, some intentional, some by mistake! One fond memory completely by mistake was when I took nine of our children over to Hornby Island. I completely forgot that the last ferry off left at 6pm! I decided to stop for chocolate cake of ALL things to eat in the van, then I had to stop to clean off our children from eating the chocolate cake. With that twenty minute interference we missed the last ferry. In the middle of summer, no where to stay with only towels as blankets we slept in the van. (I know my frontal lobe wasn't working) I parked near the beach, threw out the back seats and there we were huddled together making a memory. Needless to say it was a long, long, long night. I have never watched the tide go out, then in, then out and the stars come out then disappear as the sunrise came up. This was almost three years ago and our children still talk about it. My point is (because we all know I can ramble off topic) that sometimes we can over look things that are right in front of us. Our sons little Christmas house was purposely placed and given to me to remind myself that it's the little things and precious moments that create the bigger picture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Recently purchased amazing books!"

Anyone who has been following, we are a large adoptive family. Twelve children and we're in the process of adopting our next two children! That's all I'm going to write regarding our family. I'm going to write more on how we manage, how large families work and focus my blog to enlighten, inspire and give tips as well as receive ideas, share recipes and perhaps just a chuckle as my interesting sense of humor and English grammar can be amusing at times! Just recently I purchased a few books off of If I'm not writing at night, I'm reading. I bought the Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul. (Single stories celebrating forever families) The best I can be living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Effects - this book was written by Liz Kulp, a fetal alcohol exposed teenager and Jodee Kulp, her adoptive Mom. Anyone who has children with FASD should read this book. Liz writes her feelings through-out the book that is so honoring to read and I see many of our children feeling the same way! Quote, "You can not see my disability on the outside. I like to make myself look pretty and I like to wear cool clothes like the other kids. People seem to notice me and I stand out in a crowd. I laugh loudly, walk loudly and talk loudly. I like a good time" "Individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure often look like everyone else. The facial differences attributed to FAS occur during only two days of gestation, so most persons affected have hidden physical and neurological differences. Their actions and reactions to life experiences are often misunderstood" Sadly FAS is 100% preventable. I recommend this book, a quick read that helps understand your child's feelings. Another book I recently purchased is "Help! I've been adopted" by Brenda McCreight. It's written for older adopted children. I'm really eager to read, I know I will be satisfied and I will pass down this book to our older children to read as well. Back to the first book I mentioned, "Chicken soup for the Adoptive Soul" That I also highly recommend to purchase! It's so touching, passages in this book brings tears to my eyes and I truly believe that if other families that don't adopt read this, they will either start adopting or will understand why families like us adopt! For example, "A Child like Me?"

With saddened eyes and head bent low,
It's damaged goods most see.
With my unclear past and broken heart,
Who would want a child like me?

I watch her walk into the room.
From a distance I can see.
But dare I take a closer step?
Who would want a child like me?

And then I see her look my way.
She smiles so tenderly.
But do I even dare to dream,
She would want a child like me?

And then, as if I spoke out loud,
She approaches cautiously.
I try so hard to once believe,
She will want a child like me.

But dare I once let down my guard,
And trust that she will see,
Hiding beneath this old stained shirt,
Is a beautiful child like me?

My smile, they say, lights up a room.
I'll be good as good can be.
Oh, please, dear God, let her want
A special child like me.

I feel her hand reach out for mine,
And within her eyes I see,
A single, tiny, shining tear.
Could she want a child like me?

And when she takes me in her arms,
With a warmth so pure and new,
She says the words I've prayed to hear,
"The child I want is you"

By Lisa J. Schlitt (Beautifully written)

When I read this the first time, I cried. It reminded me meeting one of our sons for the first time. This is an excellent heartfelt book. For myself - I feel so good inside that we continue on the path we lead.

Monday, November 15, 2010


New and re-freshed. As time went by I missed writing. I was known currently as twelve children and counting. Now I've labelled my new and improved Blog - Namaste. Namaste's meaning is "Hello, Goodbye and Welcome" in Nepalese. A place that I have been fond of for many years is Nepal. Kathmandu - their city located on the hills of the Himalayas! In the two hundred plus blogs I wrote, I advocated how we survive as a large family. Mainly positive approaches, many recipes and different strategies that seem to work for us. It was bitter sweet deleting everything, two years of writing but it's time to awake and awake every day likes it's a new beginning. So here's to a fresh enlightened start!