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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013!



Here we are......"New Year's Eve" or when you read this.....we're into 2013 already! Reflecting back....I question what I remember. (Ha ha) So here it is.....

January - I turned 39. I had full intentions to become this fit, hard core hot mama before I turned 40! For months I worked out, ran, lifted weights, lost weight and was on the right track!

February - One of our sons turned 9. We celebrated Valentines Day and our transmission broke on our main van! Some of us attended the "All shook up" production at the Chemainus Theatre, and my husband officially opened his G's Auto Service.

March - One son turned 12, one son turned 18 and one daughter turned 12. During Spring break our highlight was attending the Whale Festival in Tofino witnessing hundreds of whales blowing while traveling North.

April - One daughter turned 12 and one daughter turned 22. We had our Easter adoption event, attended "Noises Off" at the Chemainus Theatre and I surprised some of our children to the Johnny Reid concert!

May - One son turned 12, our new son turned 10. I went with my best friend to Alaska and the car racing season started!

June - The end of June we had a new son join us!

July - My husband turned 44, our one daughter turned 5, one son turned 4 and another son turned 12. We started camping with friends, some of our children went to camp and we spent a few days in Vancouver attending the Vancouver Aquarium.

August - One of our sons turned 14 and we continued to camp with friends! I was able to attend a week long hiking first aid trip! Wilbur met his girlfriend and became a successful stud-muffin.

September - We celebrated our sons 19th! Then my oldest daughter and I went shopping in the States....soon after some of us left on a cruise to San Diego then ventured off to Disney Land! Then we jumped into homeschooling with the best EA! (Educational Assistant) a 100% teacher for 5 of our children!

October - We enjoyed Thanksgiving and Halloween while squeezing in First Aid training.

November - One of our sons turned 8 and 1!

December - Our new son joined us December 14th. I befriended two beautiful people and we had a wonderful Christmas. Like I predicted, we did not all perish December 21.

The top 12 continuation on our bucket list for 2013:

1. My husband wants to finish his car and start racing this May.
2. I would like to take some of our children to another concert or two.
3. Definitely camping, boating, day trips and our usual.
4. Meeting my husband's brother's family this summer in the Okanagan!
5. Continue to dream "Nepal" within the next five years. (Because it's happening for this Mama)
6. Plan our usual Easter and Christmas Adoption events and attend more.....
7. Move forward........without looking back.
8. Keep my fitness somehow.....within that hour a day I promise myself.
9. Remember important dates
10. Keep strong physically and mentally.....knowing we're doing the best we can.
11. Love my husband more.....after all....we are the ones left together in the end.
12. Cherish people who are dear to our hearts - friends and family.

"Happy New Year from our family to yours!"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"We aren't average"



As you might of guessed, I have been busy lately to write. Right now, it's 9pm. The whole house is quiet. I should be sleeping. Sleep around here is minimal for my husband and I. Mostly and honestly self driven of course which leaves no complaints. It's not our new son. He sleeps like a baby! lol It's our five year old daughter. She awakes hourly. We're suspecting seizures and it was confirmed by birth family that what we're experiencing is indeed the typical signs. Also we're questioning aspiration and/or reflux and possible nightmares. Then there is her nutrition, which is a 24/7 chore with syringing as the last resort. It's a complete guessing game. As we wait in line for the specialists appointments, nights seem very long. Fortunately for me I'm used to looking at the clock 3-8 times a night before the 7am internal clock awakenings me. Our littlest daughter becomes ill quite often for no apparent reason except that her immune system is compromised. She is so beautiful, happy and full of spirit. When she's not herself - it's noticed. She's one daughter that I home school. I don't believe the public system would be good for her with all her needs. I receive a lot of opinions when mentioning homeschooling to some, especially different professionals. They're concerned with socialization. Although there is lots of socialism in our children's lives. I do believe our daughter would love the public system although given her broken nights, her immune system and her sensory issues, I believe it would be hazardous to her health. She's a little girl fully dependant with multiple concerns and as her Mother I'm not willing to put her at risk. We did get some negative opinions about homeschooling recently. What I don't understand is......why is anyone concerned when we know what's best for our own daughter? Everybody seems to have a voice (not a hand) inside the apple cart while raising our children but are they there through-out the night? Do they understand the impacts on a simple head cold or even getting lice with special needs children? If our daughter ever gets lice, it will be traumatic with her sensory issues. I think there needs to be more education on what homeschooling offers, what the benefits are. (I don't home school for myself) It's frustrating getting our public school children to finish their homework let alone our home school children do to their work. Our reasoning's for home schooling is health, mental capabilities and different personalities that don't necessarily do well in a public system. For instance, one of our sons is extremely shy, he had one friend that moved away and there was bullying issues. Another isn't at his grade level which leaves him confused in a overly crowded classroom of 25-30 students. Sure he might receive some help, maybe some one on one (maybe) but it's not enough to keep him on task. What happens when a teenager is bored.... is lost within his school work not knowing how to accomplish assignments? They start skipping which leads too...?....who knows what. Us as parents try and make right choices for our children in hopes for a better future for them. Some choices aren't going to be the correct ones and I find life in general including raising children is trial by error. Some things work for some children, others not so much. That's why some of our children do well within our public school system and some of them do not. I can explain why we make the choices we do until my tongue goes numb but what I've noticed within our society is, it doesn't matter. If it's not the "norm" there must be something wrong, there must be an alternative meaning. The biggest news flash for the ending of 2012 is; normal is safe. It's the easiest outlet for anyone to just follow each other and be normal. I've never been a follower. I like stepping outside the box, taking chances and making leaps that could cause questions, possible concerns and slightly raised eyebrows because I know those leaps become bounds with positive outcomes. I make choices individually concerning our children accordingly. I adopt. I home school. I'm over the top and have been known as "intense" by one of our children. With the choices my husband and I have made, (I believe it can definitely turn eyebrows) it's not the typical nor will it ever be. I'm proud to be different. I have said this over and over again that we've dedicated our lives to our children, to our family and as long as they want us.....we will guide them as best as we know how but most importantly - not normally. Uniquely and individually. Concluding........I used to take concerned questions and opinions more sensitive, now I try to educate by answering logically "semi-differently" leaving perhaps a still raised eyebrow but with knowing within our own hearts we're doing what's best for our children and yes, it's different for good reasons. So what do I know for sure.....nothing.....except we're definitely unique.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Already moving into 2013!

By 12:30am on Christmas Eve or shall I say, "Christmas morning" Santa's job was finished. Fifteen children home, fifteen stockings and an over-loaded present piled Christmas tree! Later we ventured off to where my mother prepared Christmas dinner for almost forty people! (Seventeen was us) Christmas was wonderful. Today......as we're cleaning up the after math, I've confirmed that summer is indeed my favorite time of year. Camping, boating, endless traveling and fun in the sun is my thoughts. 2013 came fast and we're already preparing for our summer plans! Camping with friends, and possible travel plans are ahead! Not only are we thinking summer, my husband and I also confirmed that next Christmas we're outta here. We will still have our Christmas party at the beginning of December 2013! Stay tuned as it won't be cancelled! I love planning, for us 2013 is full of exciting plans, new adventures and memories! I personally don't have a New Years resolution.....just an ongoing motto. Live each day of your life as if it were your last, love and respect each other because you don't know what tomorrow brings and continue to make positive memories.  Remember if you can't control something in your life, let it rest. Take more pictures, journal and don't be afraid to show compassion and understanding for others. We're all walking the same planet with different paths, one day those paths might cross, so remember to smile - Me.






Saturday, December 22, 2012

Go into 2013 thinking "Adoption"

Tis the season....we're busy every evening with family and friends. It's nice to spend time with people we care about and to continue throughout the year. I've mentioned before that adoption not only built our family, it brought us a community of extended family and friends. Family means to me.....anyone who cares about each other. A network of people that continue to come together respectfully and with love. Everyone needs a family. This time of year, it's traditional to come together celebrating Christmas. In a matter of days, all of us will celebrate. Whatever the celebration, regardless if it's the birth of Jesus or that it means we're all together, it's an important date for all. Below I posted "A home for the holidays story" Just in case some missed this television program. Merry Christmas, and for the New Year, think about adoption. There is more positive success stories then the negatives and either way, it's opening your home, your heart in hopes to change a life. And for the adoption stories that didn't succeed, give yourself a great big hug because at least you tried and remember - there is so many children in need and want a family. (Don't stop if your dedication is there!) For us, we are constantly stating we're done adopting. Although siblings belong together. And, if a child needs a home, we wouldn't say, "No" if we can provide. I also know there is many teenagers and adults still looking to be adopted, to have a stable family. Called, "Extreme Adoptions" adopting young adults. I heard once from another adoptive family, a friend of ours said, "Never say never" I guess that's us......

Play link in the below post.....it's beautiful.

A Home For The Holidays with Michael Franti

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Unlikely Friendships"


I wrote a previous post called, "The Christmas Tree" about a couple of older siblings living together that I met while away. Today I received a surprise parcel in the mail from them. One of the items in the parcel was this book called, "Unlikely Friendships" 47 remarkable stories of true friendships between the oddest animal species. A book consisting of several stories about animal friendships. "Animals crave company as much as people do" I love this book, I love this book not only because it shows the power of friendship between animals, it was given to me after meeting two wonderful people and instantly proving the power in friendships between strangers given the chance. I called to thank Connie and Arno for such a thoughtful surprise.....her comment that still remains clear is..... "if everyone gave strangers a chance, there would be more love in this world" She stands correct, and a very wise woman. (With stating that of course we have to be realistic and make safe choices especially involving our children) I do however feel honored we met and that we will continue to remain in contact. This book of short stories are full of beautiful pictures and it's a book worth purchasing for your family. One story called the "Macaque and the Kitten" I'm going to quote, written by Jennifer S. Holland is just one of the 47.
"There is a sacred forest in the town of Ubud, on the Indonesian Island of Bali, where monkeys roam freely over the stones of a Hindu temple built centuries ago. The primates are long-tailed macaques, and many local villagers believe the guard the religious site against evil spirits. One macaque recently brought it's protective instinct to a more secular task - safeguarding a scrappy kitten that had strayed into arm's reach. With more than 300 macaques in four separate troops (territorial groups) living in a relatively small area, it's not surprising that they occasionally meet other animals pawing across the temple grounds. But to form a bond like the one that this particular macaque formed with this particular kitten seemed extraordinary to the people who witnessed it. Anne Young, who was on vacation and visiting the sacred monkey forest during the time, was one of these witnesses. "The pair had been together a few days, and whenever the park staff tried to capture the kitten, it would just run back to the monkey" Anne says. The macaque, a young male, would groom his feline friend, hug and nuzzle it, and even lay his head on the kittens head as if it were a pillow. Although this species of monkey is quite social - and often lives without fear in close contact with people - this one wanted to keep his pet kitty to himself.

He became wary of all the primates around him, and if other macaques or people got too close, he would try to hide his prize - once even using a bit of leaf to cover it - or climb higher or move deeper into the forest with the kitten in his arms. The kitten, meanwhile, had plenty of opportunities to escape the macaque's clutches, "but it made no attempt whatsoever", Anne says. It seemed content to be carried around in the bigger animals embrace.

 Long-tailed macaques live in a strict social hierarchy in which males must prove themselves worthy of female attention, and this troop was no exception. The kitten-petting male was not an "alpha male", or leader, among his own kind, and was probably not getting a lot of affection from the other macaques. An he certainly wasn't getting much affection from humans, either, as macaques have become something of a nuisance in Ubud, where they wander into rice fields or villages outside of the forest boundaries and wreak havoc on private property. The kitten appeared to be traveling solo as well, and may also have been craving some attention and companionship. Fortunately for both unmated primate and homeless feline, they found what they needed in each other among the temple ruins in Ubud"

To conclude, this Christmas we were given the gift of "Unlikely Friendships" I'm no longer quoting this book, I'm writing about the gift of meeting Connie and Arno in a restaurant one evening and from there, it was an unlikely friendship that developed through merely giving strangers a chance. Sometimes we have to trust our hearts, follow our gut instincts and believe there is good people to love.

"If two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone?" - Ecclesiastes 4:11

Monday, December 17, 2012

Life


I can't express enough, live your life, your day (today) as if it were your last. It's horrific what's happening in our world and we just never know. I've taken several moments to grieve, to wish peace within peoples hearts and I can't comprehend the losses so many people are feeling right now. All I can say is life is what we make it, it's an individual choice and while we're all living from one day to the next, we need to appreciate that, each other and what's around us before it's too late. I am so sorry for everyone that is and has felt such loss. I posted a link worth watching to remind us what's important.


https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=nj2ofrX7jAk

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Christmas Tree

Now that I've revealed our new baby....I have a special story. While away I was sitting with my new son in a nearby restaurant having dinner. An elderly gentlemen approached us stating what a beautiful son I had. Of course I agreed because I'm very bias and he's very beautiful indeed. The gentlemen returned to his table consisting of four people. I proceeded to the front door but stopped by to say, "Goodbye" to this friendly man. From there, their party of four was very engaging. Very inviting. (Something I needed) I briefly discussed who I was. One of the woman proceeded to invite me to dinner while handing me her phone number. I gratefully received it, thanking them for their thoughtfulness and I left towards my hotel. I wasn't sure if I was going to call or not but one of the gentleman's statements rang clear in my head. He said, "It's very sad that people pass each other without saying "Hello" anymore" Our world is a place of unknowns, with no trust for each other. It's really sad. The next day, I called "Connie" with the number that was given to me. She was waiting for my call. That evening I accompanied Connie and Arno to dinner. I'm not sure where the third and fourth couple was but I was privileged and felt quite honored to spend a few hours with these two wonderful people. They shared their life stories, their beliefs and some of their losses with me. You know....I've always written that I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe I met these individuals for a reason too. I felt alone during our pre-placement visits because my husband was back at home, I was the sole mother hoping to hold every ones emotions together during the adoption transition and then there was Connie and Arno. They were two individuals that told it how it was and they were straight to the point. Good and honest people. I initially thought they were together but I soon found out that they were brother and sister. They both lost their loved ones and they both now live together, supporting each other and sometimes arguing with each other. I was very touched. I don't believe they know how they touched me. A few things......they were engaging and just so openly trusting inviting a stranger out for dinner. They treated me regardless of my own argument paying my own. This is a Christmas they're spending together as brother and sister without their loved ones, living together, supporting each other....which touched base with me because I know the importance of siblings. Here is two elderly siblings that lived their own lives but were brought back together through their own circumstances now living together. What if they didn't have each other? As much as they're sad about loosing their partners, they still have one another. (The importance even 70 plus years later I witnessed) Connie wanted to show me her house. Beautiful. I noticed there was no decorations, no Christmas tree, not one inclination that Christmas was two weeks away. Earlier I purchased these little Christmas trees to present in appreciation to our child's now past guardianship worker and others that I thought deserved acknowledgement, I couldn't leave the evening until I handed Connie a little tree. She cried. We hugged as if we've known each other forever. As far as I know.....as I feel......this is a little Christmas story. I would like to say our new baby is, he's our gift......and Connie and Arno are the story. The reason why I'm sharing this is because meeting these two individuals, re-confirmed the importance of siblings. Even after our parents are passed, our families are grown (if we have children) and we are left alone without our partners, still come our siblings. I don't think they were looking forward to Christmas this year....but I hope after our dinner date, they are. Not only did I fall in love instantly with our new baby boy, I left loving two strangers that now remain in my heart forever. And that's my Christmas Story.

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Sweet 16"


I’m not sure if this is going to be a shock to anyone or not. I know most are questioning and have questioned onto why we cancelled the adoption Christmas party this year. I did mention that it was about family obligations. That it is. I also mentioned in a previous post that there was a upcoming surprise revealed. Can you guess what it is? For over a year there has been a sibling in foster care. Born in Nov 2011. We found out in July 2011 that he was CCO, meaning he was adoptable. From then on, we applied to adopt him. We renewed our home study and completed our pre-placement visits. December 14th we brought him home. Our new son, thirteen months old! It seemed like forever as any process but now he resides in our arms, with his siblings for many years to come. “Surprise” We kept it a secret because of all the political unknowns and also because now that we’re a large adoptive family, the excitement, the “support” from others are limited. On behave of us as the adoptive family, we are excited. We are relieved that our new son is joining his siblings. For me as his mother, I really am besides myself with joy. Every child that joins us through adoption is like another baby born to me. Not many will understand, not many will approve but we are thriving as a large family. I’ve always written about our challenges, I will always write not only to educate but to release. Most importantly to advocate for adoption, for larger families and the importance of siblings. With writing all this semi-shocking news to some, we weren’t looking to adopt. A brother was born. When you adopt……the chances are, there is siblings or siblings will be born. It’s a choice to adopt, for us…..it’s not a choice at all - they’re a package. In our case, the birth mother kept it a secret. Once revealed, we knew he should be adopted with his brother and sister. So I do apologise for the cancellation of our annual Christmas party with no explanation. Although our pre-placement visits were this week. Our Christmas gift was our new thirteen month old son, a baby. Our youngest adopted. I’ve changed my blog title to “Sweet 16” We have sixteen children and proud of it. We’re not ones to follow our society's normal. (Whatever that is) We follow our own hearts and capabilities to provide a loving and stable home to many children. Many children that are now our own. How do we do it? This is usually the number one question besides why. My answer now is……if you want 16 children, you have to be dedicated. Selfishness is not in our families vocabulary. Financially? Start baking and doing everything yourself. To conclude, for everyone that is shocked about our new adoption placement - “Merry Christmas” Christmas is full of secrets….and for the handful of people that knew, “Thank you” from the bottom of our hearts for helping us during the whole process from day one. As easy as this post may seem, it was a process many, many, many months ago. I have one friend Bonnie….I would like to thank especially for spending her evening and her day during the pre-placement visits in our home while away. She is very special. Another friend Debbie, Diane, Kara, Linda, Anne, my sister in law and my parents for being there supporting us all the way. I thank our adoption workers, the previous guardianship worker, and the Ministry. I also thank my sister for making herself available while looking after a couple of our children and I am very grateful to our children's birth family. They're wonderful. Sitting in a restaurant while away I met this group of lovely people. Four people that invited me for dinner; I would like to thank them for a lovely evening. (My next post will be written about this experience) It's amazing who we'll meet along our own journeys. For these four strangers, they really highlighted my week and now not strangers no more. Anne, who I met through this blog also was a highlight, visiting with her was very uplifting, supportive and honestly, I needed it. Anyone I missed, we are very appreciative for you supporting us! For everyone else, I apologise I never announced but with that being said, most of us know - adoption is never certain. Surprise and Merry Christmas from “Sweet 16” We are truly blessed!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Some of us are more guilty then others"

SADLY: The day that Albert Einstein

feared may have finally arrived.


Having coffee with friends.



A day at the beach.


Cheering on your team.


Having dinner out with your friends.


Out on an intimate date.


Having a conversation with your best friend


A visit to the museum


Enjoying the sights















Digestion verses solution

I've come to the conclusion that all of us (including myself) enable our short falls and allow other individuals to treat us disrespectfully, or use and abuse. I remember Dr. Phil once stated that our own being; our personalities, our own behaviors, the act of kindness, over giving and or the cliche statement "keeping the peace" creates our own situations. Situations simply as being talked too disrespectfully from our own children, or from other people. The situation exists because "keeping the peace" isn't actually "keeping the peace" necessarily because it's enabling the situation to continue. I'm starting to understand that addressing the situations is a more affective way to a solution, even if it hurts another to hear it. Not that I didn't know this before.......I'm completely for prevention and when prevention fails, there needs to be a solution. For me, it's a struggle with some individuals especially with other adults. I always try and swallow comments that aren't respectful towards me or something dear to my heart. I fear that addressing what bothers me will create an escalation with more drama or more disrespect. That the results for solution back fires and the situation becomes bigger, and develops resentments. So the question is, "When do you make the decision to address a disrespectful situation?" For children, it's almost immediate of course. I'm writing about adult situations, it could be with family members or close friends. Strangers.....is also a immediate response. The struggle is when it's someone close to your heart, you don't want to hurt their feelings, you don't want to be taken the wrong way, you don't want an escalation into a particular situation either. My answer....when a situation becomes to heavy to hold within your heart, you have to release it. Be patient and wait for the appropriate timing without distractions, without anger or frustration. Approaching delicate situations with individuals need to be done with love in a calm manner and also allowing an openness within your own heart to listen to their responses. In hopes that response is gentle. After all, every ones perception is different, every ones heart pumps to a different beat. I've heard several times from people that I'm a very calm natured person given many situations I've faced. I believe I am. I also believe I digest more then what I reveal too. I smile after writing that sentence.....using the word digest is perfect because what we can digest and pass thoroughly is healthy, it's what we can't digest is the problem. In order for me to remain peaceful, and to continue to have a calm natured personality I need to sometimes swallow the cliche "keep the peace" and solve the problems. I'm generically writing about this topic because it's a topic that not only exists in my life, and will until I pass....it's a topic that exists in all of us. I'm openly honest to say, "Heh, sometimes I hurt inside from peoples words" I can swallow it like a big girl too....digest and pass it but sometimes addressing it, releases and solves the situation completely. Digestion verses solution is my thoughts today. I hope my thoughts, sharing my feelings opens up solutions for you too because one thing I know for sure, I'm not alone in this place called Earth with these feelings. And I can't write this enough, "Love and respect each other as if it were our last day because we don't know when that day is" - Me.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"A Christmas Family Reunion"





Every year my mother, sister and I attend the Chemainus Christmas Theatre. This year it was "The Gifts of the Magi" It was a play about poverty during Christmas time. With no more than one dollar and eighty-seven cents between a couple, they had to decide on how and where to spend their money. With also deciding whether to part with their own precious possessions to provide one another with a gift. In the end, they learn about a much greater gift - love. I won't write about the play any further just in case you're attending but it's a great spirit lifting event to attend with someone. Before the theatre production we always walk the streets and check out all the little local shops. Chemainus is a cute little town surviving with locally owned businesses. If you're looking for something special and unique for someone, there is the Christmas store, the Hansel and Gretel candy store and a little clothing and purse store called "Gallery 786 Inc" with great deals. The Gallery 786 Inc store is very small but the owners originally from East Africa are very welcoming, very grateful for any business that walks in. Their minimal amounts of merchandise is of good quality with amazing prices. We support their store. After our little walk of this special little town, we enjoyed once again live performances. The gifts of the Magi reminded me about how all of us get caught up in the commercialism, the impulse buying for our loved ones. I felt disappointed within myself because I'm guilty. Believe me, when I'm wandering around purchasing items for our children, I get side tracked. I see Elmo and Abby... I see a sale on something that wasn't on my list and then my list extends even longer. I don't believe I'm materialistic. Especially not for myself. I will admit, I love giving. I love surprising. Although I do know and I do feel every year that our magical material gift exchanging has to change. My husband and I just discussed that next year needs to resemble something different allowing a years warning. This is a personal journey and indeed a test for me. A tradition breaker so it won't be easy. A few years back on Christmas we attempted a family Christmas at our local Mt. That involved a blizzard, a contaminated communal hot tub and frustrating moments with all of us stuffed into a 600 sq foot condo that resulted in a extended bill from wall damage that one of our children tripped into! So this Christmas remains safe with the traditional......and after having a great evening at the theatre, I'm already re-thinking our 2013 Christmas plan. For now, my Mother just asked for everyone to be together for Christmas. Her wish. She's decided to rent her Church (with a kitchen) where we can all attend Christmas dinner! She called it, "A Christmas Family Reunion" It's going to be HUGE! We're going to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas, share this one day together and that's going to make for a very Merry Christmas! AND as a Great Aunt, I will get to see my nephews beautiful baby boy once again! Yahoo!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Merry December 1st!

Our children's designed tree takes first prize!

  
                                                                 Mom's designed tree


                                                                        The third tree


                                                          The stockings hung with care


                                                                Wilbur finished Christmas

To conclude, one of our sons continues to crack jokes, including Christmas jokes! To start the season, he asks, "What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?"
(Claustrophobic)

Apparently our dog was not!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dhanyawad

The other night I went out to the movies with a friend. Once or twice a month I will attend a movie. It's a great way for my brain to relax. This particular friend isn't a adoptive parent. She has two beautiful children and a wonderful husband. I met her in our community through the Elementary school approximately 4-5 years ago when one of our sons was in kindergarten. I write about how supportive our adoption family friends are. They understand us, our adoptions, our challenges and us as a group of adoptive parents support and acknowledge all our differences. It's a great network. Although - there is a few individuals that haven't adopted, that aren't adopting that support, understand and are compassionate towards our family. (I can name a few) With this particular friend described above she really touched my heart. I'm not one to outwardly present physical emotion although inside I teared. Before our movie we went for coffee where she handed me a very thoughtful gift. I won't get into great detail although the gift represented a passion of mine. A place I've frequently written about in the past, a place that I helped support with years of fundraising, a place I've not only learned some of their delicious dishes of simplistic foods to cook, a place where I learned enough to communicate with their language. Over a decade now I've been dreaming about traveling over to Nepal. Experiencing their culture and trekking through the Himalayas. Seems a bit far-fetched now that I'm raising a big family with several special needs right? My dream could have been accomplished by now, my life could have been completely different but my husband and I have sacrificed everything for our family. We've lost friends, there is distance between family members and we're judged upon almost daily. Our life can be challenging. With writing this, again as I've written before, we wouldn't want it any other way. Judgements used to bother me, now I accept them. A day not walked in our shoes is not worth any judgements to me, so I basically take anything like a grain of salt that slips in between my fingers and disappears into thin air. I've also learned to have compassion for ignorance because what we don't know or understand creates that judgement in the first place. So getting back on topic, my friend handing me this gift of sentimental handmade items from Nepal touched my heart. What was more sentimental then the items was her message. Not only has this friend shown support, understanding. compassion and not one judgemental remark towards our family.....she has shown support as a true friend towards me with my interests and my dreams. Reminding me through her thoughtfulness to keep my dreams, and that dreams do come true. My dreams to visit Nepal right now do seem far away but not unrealistic for my future. Having a supportive husband and family also paints a brighter light. Who knows what the future holds, I do know within mine as an individual, I do have dreams too that could come true. The trick is not loosing sight of it. Us as parents regardless if we have twenty or two children, we need to keep some focus on ourselves. Whatever it is........wherever it may be.......and when - keep it alive and until then, continue to practice an hour a day on you. I would like to take this opportunity to not only thank this friend but if she's reading, to know the impact of her words, not only has she re-inspired me, I witnessed a true friend.


"A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably without judgements" - William Penn.

Believe it or not, there was a time I thought there was no hope for true friendship. Friends that you can trust, to believe they're your friend whole heartily. I was wrong to ever think there was no hope - I am truly blessed with a handful of true friends that carry all the attributes of realism. So not only do I feel support without judgements, understanding with compassion, reminders to be me and follow my dreams - I feel a sense of relief knowing there is true friends. Dhanyawad (Thank you) for that little piece of magic.......to start our holiday season.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fish eyes bounce?


When I thought I had enough to do, I decided last minute that it's smoking salmon week. So today consisted of filleting and brining fish. Wednesday morning I will start smoking! Every year I smoke salmon. This year I started late but it will be done by Friday! I like it for our holiday platters and mostly throughout the year I make sushi. So in the middle of everything else on my list, I will be smelling like fine smoke with a hint of fish! It's funny because if I have to leave the Indian Chief for an outside errand, I leave as is. No point changing my clothes when my hair reeks of smoking cedar chips and salmon. "Mmm mmm" During the filleting today, our home schooled children were able to dissect the fish heads. You might think I offered such a treat but they practically begged to see what's inside a fish head. So if you have a weak stomach, stop here and don't proceed browsing the pictures posted below. lol The fourth picture is a fish head cut in half, our son wanted every little organ, all the little pieces collected and recognized before he was finished. It reminded me of myself when I was a child. I wanted to see if the fish eyeballs bounced. Today our son wanted to see how big the fish brain was. It was small. Although learning about the fish brains was fascinating. Fish do have a cerebellum which is the prominent structure in the brain of a fish. They sense pressure, maintain balance and regulate muscle movements. Although their brains are not sufficiently developed to allow them to sense fear or pain. So rest assured, these little fishes knew nothing before hitting our sink! We also learned that fish do have tongues. It's called basihyal, a bony structure on the floor of it's mouth that resembles a tongue. It doesn't have taste buds, it isn't muscular and it has limited range of motion. From what we understand, it definitely resembles a tongue but it doesn't act like one - the only reason it's there is to protect the aorta which lies very close to the mouth. Most fish have colour vision. I suggested for our son to try and bounce the eye although it was just too sticky. Which leads me questioning, "Do they bounce?" Who knows.....a mystery not solved today. Fish heh - weird creatures but they sure make some awesome smoked salmon!




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Going Crazy

We had a great day! It was a beautiful day outdoors. We decided to pack up our cooler, treat our children out to McDonald's and head to a local park. One of our children made the comment about having "Mc-diarrhea" Then our littlest son yelled, "I don't want diarrhea!" I was thinking to myself, "Nope, I'm definitely not having diarrhea" Just a funny conversation between children. Writing of funnies, our children always ask where are we going......I always respond, "We're going crazy!" Again, our littlest son pipes up with excitement yelling to his brothers and sisters, "We are going CRAZY!" and off we go.......While at crazy (the park) we designed our own leaf heart seen above. We had some of our children sit inside of it and I continued to take photographs. My blog picture title changes once in awhile for the added change, added spice (also seen way up top) some of our hands posing together on a log. We had fun today taking pictures. Our children played on the oceans edge, they played grounders on the playground and when I wanted to leave - they didn't ironically! The rest of our weekend consists of a game night (Saturday night) and swimming on Sunday. I leave you with some "fun" pictures of our weekend.

A total of 16 years together
Thumbs up!
Beach on!
Shadow Hearts


My quote for this weekend is, "Wherever you go, go with all your heart" - Confucius

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chances are higher



We've been fairly busy with different specialist appointments. When you have as many children as we do....the chances are higher for some medical situations. In fact we have heart, lung and kidney medical concerns with three of our children. Plus a Neurologist. One of our daughters is followed by a cardiologist every two years, our one son has had several spontaneous pneumothoraces resulting in lung surgery. We have another son being tested because one of his kidneys stopped growing and is no longer functioning. With these tests, they're also testing the functioning one. I feel I've seen everything when I worked in a first aid room and I was also mentally strong coping with any scenario. When it's your own children, it's a completely different story. When my teenage son teared with burning pain from chest tubes, I had to leave his bedside to strengthen my composure. Every time he would come to me frightened saying, "Mom I think it's happened again" I would ask him his symptoms and sure enough, we packed knowing we wouldn't return from the hospital for days as my heart sunk. Our daughter had blood shot eyes from physical pain after nine attempts inserting a catheter for a simple urine collection with no sedation. We have had several experiences with the hospital throughout our twenty two years of raising children. You would think it would get easier. Today there was four attempts for an IV in one of our sons. During the fourth try I was begging inside my own mind for it to work. "Please....." I feel I have no control. Although today, I knew if the fourth attempt didn't accept, I would be stopping the process very quickly by demanding a new nurse or referring us over to the Children's Hospital. Yes tests are necessary but not by amateurs on my children. (Or on their behalf, two tries and switch nurses) For this particular son we are waiting for his results, the conclusion onto what's next is still unknown. There has been talk about a Nephrectomy, a removal of his non-functioning kidney in his future. What the future holds......I don't know for any of us. I try not to worry about what I can't control and take one day at a time. Knowing that everything usually works out in the end. I trust that. It's the in between time witnessing your children endure the pain and suffering that you can't control. It's a very helpless feeling as a Mother. My husband can't attend tests and procedures that involve needles, or the sight of blood because he will pass out. So it's me. I'm pretty tough and became thick skinned long ago. What's really amazing is how resilient children are. Our son today after the four attempts for the IV was a trooper. For the test itself (seen above) he remained still for over 45 minutes! Afterwords, I treated him out for a nice meal and his shirt was full of stickers for a job well done. Our futures are unknown, our days can change instantly and our bodies are not machines. Every scenario that has happened, that will happen is not only a challenge in a sense emotionally, it is everything to do with experience, teaching us (teaching even me after twenty two years) on how to deal with our own emotions. Today is over while only reflecting back - I feel not only a sense of relief that it's over, I feel very proud on how our day was handled. How our son was so brave. Which leaves me knowing we have the power within ourselves to overcome most and the rest that we have troubles with, we have to have faith that with time we will. To conclude, many times I complain about our world's technology. I get very frustrated with computers, Ipads and phones. Today witnessing the medical technology was once again amazing; the imaging into our bodies. I said to myself, "I will try not to complain about our technology ever again!" It saves lives........my reminder for the day.

"We acquire the strength we have overcome" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Love your team!

I

Besides our dedication to our family, my husband and I know at the end of our day, at the end of 20-40 years raising children, we have each other. If you have a significant other, remaining on the same page is a priority. Forty years from now, it could be just us. So I wanted to take this time to remind everyone to appreciate their partners, to thank them, to continue to grow, develop strength and cherish each and every day.  Not only is my husband a great father, he is an amazing husband. Someone who I am very thankful for. Enjoy another song by Johnny Reid....a very inspirational singer. For today - love your team, that's you and your significant partner that makes every day move onto the next! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Good" weekend




We had an invite for dinner on Saturday night from some friends. Pretty exciting. They made a wonderful dinner. Not very often am I sitting around asking for something to do! I think between my friend and I, we were re-wiping after each other! During our visit, our daughter really enjoyed this fish tank (seen above). In fact, we have been looking for something just like it for her bedroom. So kindly enough, our friends daughter gave this fish tank to our daughter. I thought that was very generous and thoughtful. Sometimes just those little moments makes up for all the challenging events throughout our day. I'm not sure if our friends daughter understood the meaning of this gift. Not only was it something our daughter enjoyed, it is a soothing stimulus for her nighttime routine. It will be used every night! So very appreciated. It was a very productive weekend. On Sunday I baked all day, some of our home schooled children were writing and creating posters on our ecosystem. While my husband was rearranging parts of our house. Our weekend ended with trimming some of our children's hair, having baths and settling down while watching the "Grinch" A short but productive post.

"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort" - Paul Meyer.

What I know for sure; at the end of the day when everything is accomplished, it is a good feeling. Therefore you start fresh tomorrow - me.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Intellectualist


My last post came from left field and this post should be coming from the right. (maybe the centre) I've been completely brain fogged organizing absolutely everything so life as I know it runs smoothly into the New Year. Besides doctor, specialist and therapy appointments, I've been scheduling field trips, ordering while budgeting for ongoing school supplies while finishing laundry, cleaning and maintaining our home, stirring up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then adding Christmas. Two weeks before December and our lights are up, half our Christmas presents are wrapped, Christmas cards are ready to be mailed thanks for scrap booking with friends. Then the occasional movie and reading before I go to bed. Believe me there is a lot more to this multi-tasking then meets the eye.....stay tuned.....something might surprise you. For now, I've been really enjoying homeschooling. Surprise, surprise. I'm starting to grasp the concept of their curriculum's, planning for their next day, their next week and what's really awesome is I just love our educational assistant! She has been amazing. I was able to give her more hours with our school funding, she is here 25 hours a week! Our home has many different professionals coming and going. I wasn't sure how I felt about different people weekly entering our home although what I've noticed, what I've felt.....soon all these important professionals supporting our children become family. For instance, our EA could be my daughter. We've discussed not only our children's schooling, we've discussed personal life goals. I love my life lately. Not that I didn't before but when I really sit down and contemplate life, it's good. I feel peaceful. Everything that was stressing me perhaps before, like designing a school room, homeschooling five children - now has subsided. I am a huge intellectualist. I brainstorm absolutely everything. (Just in case you didn't notice!) I love to learn, experience and when I'm tackling a new area in our life, I prefer it to be correct from the beginning. With stating that, life is never perfect and sometimes a guessing game with mistakes a long the road. It's "Ok" to fine-tune and make adjustments that "I tell myself" Like the Bible I've starting reading. I started reading from the beginning realizing this isn't a book typically read from cover to cover, so I started in Mathew. For me, it's a slow process because I need to grasp the concepts before moving on. Like our homeschooling, like welcoming different professionals into our home and learning that change is good but most importantly having patience with myself to grasp all these new dynamics. This light bulb clicked on inside me recently realizing that over analyzing, over stressing for the correct way is unnecessary because eventually at the end of the day everything becomes clear. If it doesn't, that day is over anyways. I will always think about absolutely everything. I will think enough for all of us. lol For right now......I love who I am. I love my organization strength, multi-tasking and intellectual skills. I can improve on grammar and editing although I just love my life. I love my family, and I love the friends we have in it. I don't know much about God. What I feel though is a connection building, surrounding around us, around myself - of love, support and more individuals understanding us as a large adoptive family mastering all odds to remain together. It's not easy. Which makes me very grateful for compassionate people, for the professionals, for individuals like our EA, and our friends and family. So as I multitask, move onward, I thank you. I honestly thank my life......and my path because its truly my dedication.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Brain gone caged with no answers"


We ventured out to our first field trip. The Wildlife Recovery Centre. I've decided that Socials will continue with our children's Aboriginal and First Nations culture. The Wildlife Recovery Centre provided many of the spiritual animals needed for our children's next project and what's more exciting, we're off to Victoria to the Royal Museum next! During our adventure today I asked our children to get into a cage for pictures. Their answers were, "No" Well......as you can see above, my answer was "Yes" I climbed into the cage provided and felt for several minutes what it feels like being held in captivity. Of course I wasn't worried, I was getting released. However it did trigger my thoughts about life behind bars. I have absolutely no clue what it feels like. I can only imagine ones life changed from poor choices and serving time, possibly a life time behind bars. After proven guilty, captivity is definitely warranted and especially while keeping the rest of the public safe. What often worries me is after the time served, is getting released a good idea. I guess it depends on the crime, the remorse and if the counseling provided changed that person. I always question how does one know who will become a repeat offender. I believe most individuals wear masks, their personalities can be altered and some individuals without a outwardly noticed conscience can fool the best of professionals. I'm guessing with their time served, their good behavior, the noticed remorse, that individual deserves a second chance. As an adoptive mother I hear about second, third and fourth chances with birth parents. I also know many children remaining in foster care without a permanency plan is because their birth parents are seeking help, they're getting released again from rehab. I personally know of a situation where five siblings were adopted, but the last two of seven are in foster care waiting on their birth mother after fourteen plus years of addiction to become stable enough to parent. There could be some other underlying factors to this scenario but it's a prime example of how many chances does one receive before making a decision for what's best for the children and the clearly addicted mother that shouldn't have been released over and over again. There is a fine line deciding I suppose. We watched a bear looking back at us laying peacefully in his captivity.


I'm not exactly sure his story although regardless if he was born in captivity or put there because of his unfortunate circumstances, the question even for him is uncertain. Rehabilitation without parole more likely. Which sadly brings me back questioning onto whom should and shouldn't be released and why onto others become repeat offenders continually disrupting lives with no consequence at all. Baffling and confusing meanwhile the process is very complicated, and seems concrete either way. Interesting how a few minutes of fun incarceration leads to questioning different processes with no real answers. I will ponder over something I can answer next time and be thankful that my life's circumstances has kept me free.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remember the days....



Remember the days......when there was "good" television  programs aired? There is great programs on now but there is nothing better then watching the good ole classics! The interesting part about watching these old programs is, our children like them too. They are clean. They have good conclusions. Some of our favorites are "Three's company" Of course,  "Happy Days" "Little house on the prairie" Remember the "Golden Girls?" Gilligan's Island I used to watch when I breastfed our third son at 3am in the morning. Roseanne! I loved Roseanne! Dukes of Hazard. Green acres.....My three sons and Bewitched! What I've noticed now that television repeats itself just like family cycles do. What about "Hee Haw!" or "The Twilight Zone?!" Alfred Hitchcock, The X Files my husband and I used to watch religiously together back in the day......lol......and 90210 I watched every episode when my first daughter was only two years old. Now I can't even subject myself to the new version!  I loved watching "Cheers!" And there was a show called "Night Court" around that time too! Like cartoons, I still think the good ole classics are the best! The Smurfs made a return, while the Bugs Bunny and Tweety show lives on and Tom and Jerry! There was The Carebears, The Flintstones, Aligator Al and Yogi Bear! Do you remember the talking horse, Mr.Ed? Besides television shows.....language has changed. Like "sick" doesn't mean "I'm sick" It means cool or awesome. "Like that's epic man" That must be better then sick! When I was a teenager it was narley. When I mention anything over the head like 747, I am then questioned, "What is 747!?" Lately it's been "legit" LEGIT? When I ask our young teens what legit means to them, it means they bought that game, it's serious. It's legit! Sweet. lol Legit it is then! Like I seriously just wrote this legit sick epic blog man that completely 747 most of my readers dude but heh; I don't need to make sense either, life is narley. I think now that I'm "almost" 40 and feeling the difference with time, it's really epic. (I mean neat and interesting) Honestly, it is really cool witnessing the difference and remembering the days when I personally think life was slightly cleaner then it is now. Even the items we buy aren't new ideas.....the cabbage patch dolls, the ridiculously priced furbies aren't new! I had one when I was a child, I actually do remember! Our children tonight was looking at me weird while I danced to " Happy Days" It was playing on a ole movie. I just reflected, reverted and remembered the days............when it seemed cleaner, somewhat simpler but our reality is our next generation has taken over. I will tell you though, it doesn't stop me from playing "The Waltons" or the "Swiss Family Robinson" The Brady Bunch was excellent.......funny......The Brady Bunch seemed so functional, always working together, happy and life always came out positive. Mmmmm....must of been a television show! Then there was Lassie and The Littliest Hobo. Agh.....I loved so many shows back then. Now I write because there's nothing great on television anymore. So I conclude this post with the theme song from " Happy Days" because they were, happy days. Now today we move on to another epic adventure and may the force be with us while the ride continues. And if you're younger then me, "Your time is coming" for remembering your days! For the rest of us....."Enjoy Happy Days"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"My first Christmas gift"



I was contemplating on what book I was going to read next. Asking myself, "Do I have time?" Then my sister in law sent me my Christmas present early. A book. Not just a book. It's the Woman of Faith, Study Bible. I normally never write on sensitive topics such as this one but I thought......"I write on almost everything else, so why not?" I will admit my knowledge is minimal when it concerns the Bible. I read absolutely everything else and I couldn't help questioning myself, "Why not read this one?" Speaking for myself, I think the Bible is difficult to read and to understand. It's in verses one after another but I've noticed that if you learn to flow with it while reading, all the verses collaborate into each other. I've only briefly turned a page. My husband and I haven't read the Bible. My husband probably never will. He's a motor magazine flipper. I can honestly write that I thought I would never read the Bible. I've always believed into believing what works, accepting all spiritual faiths and adapt them into our multi-cultural home. Lately this question keeps coming back to me....."Why not read the Bible?" The interesting part of my answer is....there is no answer. My mind draws a blank. As hard as I scramble to answer the question, it's always blank. Really, there is no logical excuse not too. Sure I might not understand it but I also didn't understand many things until I read it or lived to experience it. So my next book is my Christmas gift. I feel this Christmas is blessing me in several ways and that will be another post to explain. For now......I will read the most popular and probably the most misunderstood book in the world and see for myself what I think. I had someone tell me recently to stop listening to other people when it concerns the Bible and to read it for myself. I find with all the different religions stemming from one book they contradict each other. So how does one choose what faith to follow? Here's a thought......there is Christians, Catholics, Jehovahs, Buddhists and many other types of religions that I find follow the same type belief systems but they slightly veer off in different directions. My thought is......they're all following the same God just interpreted differently. So.....will God accept everyone who believes but follows within their own interpretation? Please feel free to post because I can also be writing out of context very ignorantly because I'm only seeking the truth and I think most of us are. Us humans need and crave something more then what life has to offer. I know this. I'm also brave enough to openly write about what some of us are afraid of. I use the word "afraid" because I've felt afraid of even searching, and yes - approaching this sensitive topic. Individuals might ask, "Why would you be afraid?" My honest, honest, honest answer to that is; "I don't want to make a mistake and misinterpret something as important as the Bible and live my life following a faith that contradicts how I feel. It's like a battle within yourself constantly questioning, "IS this right?" I also have this huge over-bearing feeling of having compassion for all; meaning and questioning God onto why good people who don't follow but perhaps believe (in their own interpreted way) won't go to heaven? This is where I'm ignorant of course.....yes and admitting because I know many who are reading....have most of these answers already. I also know.....I will know the answers too after reading myself. I'm starting to realize that the journey towards God is a battle, I also think it's not about a "religion" It's about yourself and having a relationship with yourself and God. Which makes me think......it doesn't matter if you've been labelled Christian, Catholic, Jenovah or Buddhist, it's not the congregation that spiritually connects you, it's you and who you are spiritually connected too. The congregations only support and teach their interpretations. Anyways....I am a thinker. I think about absolutely everything and I would love to write professionally one day....(grammar enhanced).... thinking, writing and expressing on any topic. Journalism is a critical and sensitive hobby or (career) and eventually when I start my book.....I will be prepared and I will have lots of factual experiences to offer. For now through this blog and what I share is only my own baby steps. Bare with me..........I might possibly have a story to tell as I'm carefully experiencing and researching my way there. For now, my latest research is "The Bible"

Adoption Christmas Party cancelled.


Due to some family obligations that have come up, we have to cancel our Adoption Christmas Party for this year. I do apologise and next year it will be back on! Dec 2013.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Goldendoodles!


It's just been confirmed that our dog Wilbur successfully impregnated Marley. Two non-shedding mini-labradoodles. Marley is due Nov 15th. I'm not the breeder. I just have the stud. Back in August I wrote about our interesting experiences with Wilbur's first visit to the vet that didn't involve shots!. If you haven't read that post and need a laugh, here it is: http://hohnsteins.blogspot.ca/2012/09/accomplishments-with-different-twists.html Just scroll down to the last paragraph to the semen collection. Well it worked! Right now I have no idea how many puppies will be born although the breeder introduced me to Skype. I've heard about this site before where you can see each other while chatting. Basically a live online web cam. I was never interested until now. The breeder informed me that the birth of these puppies will be on live, then you can follow the growth of the puppies at all times through skype. So I made an account. I thought what I great opportunity for our children to watch puppies grow, play, eat and whatever else they do. In order to follow the puppies live online, you do have to make an account and download skype. After that, around Nov 15th when the puppies are due, the live video should be available. Under goldendoodles all lower cased one word. If you're interested in a puppy, they are $1000.00. From experience with our dog Wilbur, they are very loyal, loving and very gentle. Great family pets and great around children. And many children! I've had many breeds and these mini-labradoodles I've found to be the best. Intelligent and quick to train. A breed that is fun, playful but laid back. (Not over the top, ADHD kind of dog) So if you're interested and want a loyal companion for the New Year, let me know. Marley the mother's temperament is exactly like Wilbur's. We had the honor of her visits while attempting to help the natural way for conception. Now a memory I'll never forget. (Ha ha) If interested; it's first deposit picks first until the litter is sold. Which is $500.00 then the other half is due when the puppy is picked up in the New Year. If not interested, you can still follow their birth and first 8 weeks live online! I thought this live online web cam was pretty cool. The breeder was explaining that the really neat thing about it is, the waiting owners can watch their puppies from day one. Or there has been occasions where people have chosen and purchased through watching on skype. Interesting our technology. I'm going to end this post with a funny picture I took of both parents. Marley is the slightly larger brindle colored dog hitting Wilbur in the face. Wilbur with his loving personality just squinted and took the abuse. After all.....she had a reason to hit him......it wasn't fun trying over and over again until being subjected to artificial insemination!