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Sunday, April 28, 2013

MS RUN - Team Inspire!

May is MS Awareness Month!

Three of our boys ran 6 km for MS!

From start to finish!

Thoughts to remember.....

A 9 km run for Multiple Sclerosis followed by notch hill today was awesome. My type of spa-treatment! Below is a copied past post (refurbished) explaining our families involvement with MS, and onto how it can affect everyone.

I always write about our experiences with Adoption, different special needs and having a larger family. I have experiences with many different elements that I haven't touched base on. My family suffers from MS. (Multiple Sclerosis) Multiple Sclerosis is a disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is the brain and spinal cord. They say it's not hereditary although there is genetic influences. A little history, my first cousin and my sister has Multiple Sclerosis. I wasn't educated about MS until my little Sister was diagnosed. The central nervous system controls much of the body's functioning. Depending on how you're affected, where the MS is basically attacking your brain will depend on what function of your body is compromised. For me to completely understand the damage MS does, I had to be told that it's like having termites chomping in different sections of your brain. Once eaten, there's no repair. Depending on what section MS is attacking it can affect the visual, Motor, Sensory, Coordination and Balance, Bowel, Bladder, Sexually and Cognitively. For me, as a close family member I honestly behave like there's nothing wrong but family members are affected by this disease too. My only sister lives literally five minutes away and we hardly see each other. I know she wants to be an Auntie to all our children, she is......but her MS keeps her away. My cousin is thirty minutes away, she loves children and her family.....but her MS keeps her away. They can't handle crowds, loud noises and bright lights. If they do, it's time framed with short visits. With our children I believe in communication. Even if it's not positive because the truth is a reality. Even understanding hurts because I have a large, louder crowded family that especially my sister is missing out on. AND it's not my sister's fault. Most of our children will not know their Auntie like I do. That's what Multiple Sclerosis is taking away from us. Away from my sister. The only thing I can do is educate our children why. These lesions that can be located either on your brain or your spinal cord (depending where they are) depends on your ability to function. Right now most days my sister, and my Cousin are physically mobile but every day is unknown. Mostly I believe my sister is affected with her sensory abilities which doesn't make mobility helpful when she can't be in the same room as noise or bright lights. That's why our family isn't the best place to be. For our family I believe this disease has taken away relationships and has changed everything for what it could have been. I often wonder if my family members that have Multiple Sclerosis understands that it's not me, not our family that seem distant but it's our understanding that we're too much. Too much meaning adding too much for their MS. AND it's O.K. because we understand. Multiple Sclerosis is a crippling disease physically, mentally, socially and can change families like ours forever. Years ago in April we started running for MS, a fundraiser event that our family is a part of, we collect pledges and our team was called "Team, Why not?" This year, it's called, "Team Inspire" I wrote this post because it's been a huge part of my life, an ONGOING huge part of my life because it's people I love, people that our children love are affected and if not anything, education is the key to any disease. One thing I believe is, if we can't cure it, learn so you can live with it. For my family members living daily with all the unknowns, I truly do understand and so do our children. Today, I was very proud of three of our sons running a total of 6 km! Then following their mother up Notch hill shortly after! Way to go my boys! (Seen above)

Next up, I've heard in the wind that there is a 5 km adoption awareness run here on the Island in June! A fundraising event for AFABC (Adoption Federation Association of BC) Remember -it's not a race, so anyone can do it! If you're interested in donating to this association, please contact me - for a great great great GREAT cause! It raises funds for programs that help support hundreds of adoptive families and youth across BC.

Then - this mama is back on track thinking of a half marathon in her near future!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Reflection of my grand baby's baby shower"

My grand baby's baby shower

The baby food guessing game
(smelling and tasting baby foods)

Name the number two!
(consisting of 10 different chocolate bars)

The cake
(designed & made by my sister)

This bag explains it all.....

My daughter Kylie
(holding our gift)

Thank you everyone for the beautiful gifts!

My sister and I

Thank you for every ones support!
"The baby shower was a success!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"The impossible"

A stressful week. If any ones life is stressful, call me. (I can make you feel better) Although it's over and there is many years left for stressful weeks. To end, we watched a movie called, " The impossible" A true movie about a family on vacation in Thailand where a earthquake triggered a massive tsunami. One of the most devastating natural catastrophes on record. A family after surviving the tsunami were separated. Not only separated but severely injured. The mother under went several near death surgeries. The family searched for each other for days...............then amazingly they reunited. A true story. Weird on how after our own week of stress I ended up watching "The impossible" Basically reconfirming nothing is impossible with hope. My mind went wild on me this week loosing communication with our oldest daughter while she's been traveling Central America alone. I was prepared to leave this coming weekend to retrace her every step. With our technology of the internet once again - we located her whereabouts, then shortly after we heard from her. Life can quickly change. From one minute to the next it's completely unpredictable. I can't stress enough to love each other minute by minute......we really don't know from one day to the next. Feeling loss and feeling loss of hope is the worst feeling of all. Regardless of your situation, onto how hard your day might become - continue to have hope, be positive and above all believe. It's life - affirming. For the past couple of months my husband and I have been through lots of trials. Mostly I have shared on my blog from many hospital visits, to flying clear across Canada reuniting with our daughter, to becoming grandparents, to thinking we lost our oldest daughter while traveling. There is more...........but without getting into great detail - I am so so grateful given our large family that we're pushing through still with strength, love and the security of each other. Tonight, above all nights after a week I'm resting in peace knowing there's got to be a higher existence then just us - because honestly I feel I've been guided with many hard choices, and the strength to believe I'm choosing what's right. My blog won't explain my past couple of months clearly......but personally I'm willing to share if asked. It's pretty amazing and I'm a skeptical, practical person just in "awe" lately on prayer. For my daughter traveling.....I am proud of her bravery to do so, I just want her home safe and sound to share her experiences. My thoughts for tonight are, "I love my family as it grows larger with not only my children, my grandchild, and our significant others - with good people. You can never have a big enough family. Family (people) loving (people) is what life is all about" - Me. The day our oldest daughter left traveling, I took her picture seen below. I can't express enough; constantly take pictures.

Our oldest,
to return home soon!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Run your day!

I don't do this often, but once in awhile a picture reflection is fun.

Notch Hill
Update - I'm still dedicating an hour a day for myself.
I've lost ten pounds.

The grave.
Yellow peddles laid down today
in memoriam.

Saturday night's weenie roast,
yes - in the middle of our driveway! And
it's not a birthday party, it's just some of us!

And it continues into the night with marshmallows.....

Making homemade granola bars

My friend loving my grand baby, I wanted
to call her "Grandma" too! And she is!

Saving a wild baby bunny.....

Look closely into his shirt......

Next up, celebrating our 6th birthday party
for April!

To conclude - in a matter of a few days - we can do it all,
so can you!

Quote of the day, "Either you run the day or the day runs you" - Jim Rohn.

Hohnstein's & Gilbert's

Who would of known the future......I remember the first day I met Cathy. In my kitchen signing papers to run support groups, potluck dinners and events. From there the events lead to relationships, teenage challenges and now our families "The Hohnstein's & The Gilbert's" reunite. Our daughter, and their son had a beautiful baby girl together. Two large adoptive families with sixteen children each become family forever. That makes 30 Aunts and Uncles for this little girl! Speaking for myself, I'm glad our families are family. One main reason is because us grandparents are experienced, I believe we will be on the same page while living out of the same book for years to come. Thank you for giving me permission to use our pictures.... to share our story. I know both of us grandma's want to write a book one day - I can't wait to read about the endings. In hopes for positive outcomes. For now, a whole new level of relationships emerge. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Building a world

We've been re-assessing some of our children's cognitive abilities to adjust their academics accordingly. I find it completely fascinating. I'm also not a mother that is in shock when I find out my children's academic abilities are below their initial clinical report. This week one of our children's IQ's was just that. Below what we initially thought. It's 41. An individuals normal IQ is averaging around 100. To get a sense on how IQ's work - one out of a thousand will have an IQ under 44. Decades ago, if a persons IQ was 44 and under, they were institutionalized. Luckily now we have programs such as CLBC (Community Living) resources available to help people with lower IQ's to socialize, and work within a community. Our child is only one of a few children we have with very low IQ's. I'm not shocked of course. I am very happy. Not because some of our children suffer cognitively but because with diagnoses, with a IQ number - we know what their future consists of. We know what our future (my husband and I) consists of. With knowing we're building a world. I mentioned that today that we were building a world - our examiner liked the phrase. It's exactly that. When you have a child with a very low IQ, a world needs to be built that consists of hand over hand supervision. So I've requested a functional life-skill appropriate IEP that will enhance, and be predictable on a daily basis from year to year. From Monday to Sunday building a binder with pictures from morning to night what life will look like. Building a world. Of course every year will be adapted accordingly by either adding or subtracting certain scenarios but knowing what every day looks like is proven comforting. It all goes back to routine, structure, and organization that equals success. I am a creature of habit. A special needs child needs a built world. They need repetition, routine and structure. As an experienced mother of special needs children I've noticed that days and time are recognized because of their routine, not because of the calendar. I've wasted sometime this year during homeschooling suggesting to teach the concepts of money. "Value" I've learned a lot of things that we tried to teach....that was really and honestly a waste of time. Finally questioning, "What will be functional for their future?" Leading up to building their world. See, I don't have the educational background to know exactly what to do, although I do have the daily and yearly experience to predict what I think for sure what's best for some of our children's futures. Writing about building reminds me about how some Countries streamline children starting in Middle Schools. Meaning they direct children into their cognitive paths. Some clearly are along the road to University, while others are directed into different trades and other work fields. I know the controversy and opinions are very high concerning this method although I completely understand the concept. Some adolescents fail the typical high school education requirements because they can only comprehend hands on. So I can agree that University isn't for everyone, and a trade is. A unique plan per child would be more successful then lumping every individual into the same class learning the same thing, the same way while half was lost long ago. It must be mind-boggling for teachers to teach all these different strengths, interests and cognitive abilities day after day with maybe a 60% success rate. So I definitely question our education system and onto why it's not streamlining here already! I think this is why many families are shifting towards homeschooling because we can help build their world regardless if it's special needs, behavioural, comprehension or interest - designing an education plan that best suits per student results in success. That's what I think for sure. PS, another alternative;  if you have a child that is academically lost, they can't comprehend written material - research the Blade Runners program for adolescents ages 15-30 who are challenged with high school, low levels of literacy/numeracy, language barriers and numerous (countless) related challenges because what I've read, Blade Runners is one of the most successful projects to assist individuals into a long term attachment into the labor field. If the high school education isn't working - there is alternatives - I'm all for building their world.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pay it forward

A pay it forward story. Our oldest sons' girlfriend, her sister and her mother attend these monthly gatherings. A pay it forward group. Where everyone attending puts in $5.00 into the pot. At the end of the evening, everyone picks out a rock. The one that gets the rock with a red dot, gets the money in the pot. Then they have to spend that money on someone else. Someone in need. They picked our daughter, her boyfriend and their baby to purchase everything seen above. I was very touched. Touched enough, and love the idea so much that I've joined the group.

I've been besides myself with gratitude. Before this lovely family came by (seen above) I had a friend stop in dropping off squares, books and sentimental items that I really was in "awe" over. Before that my Father and Mother stopped in meeting their great grand baby. It was a busy day of endless support.

Then I heard from my oldest daughter that is currently traveling Central America. I was hiking up Notch hill when she messaged me. She was looking at Mexican homemade baby slippers. She was acknowledging her younger sister and mentioning she's an Auntie. I was shocked. I've been letting our family and friends absorb our new enlightenment's at their own pace in hopes we can move on peacefully. When I realized my oldest daughter has accepted her sister back into our lives, it was not only relieving but once again, I felt a sense of peace within me. I remember when the three of us, (myself and my two oldest daughters) would lie on my bed watching Grey's Anatomy eating popcorn together. Everything lately has been bringing tears to my eyes.

When you adopt, everything changes. You loose friends, you gain friends, your family dynamics change. It's not an easy path. It's not easy for anyone especially all the children involved. I'm speaking from my own heart and experiences but what I've seen through our challenges, -  it's definitely challenging but there is a light. My children have shown me that. I'm a proud mom today. I'm a very appreciative mom and in "awe" for all the support, and thoughtfulness. This is the way the world needs to move - forgiving, and paying it forward everyday.

At the top of Notch hill today I revisited the little grave. I carried up different rocks, shells and one of our sons wanted to place a little heart he made. He said to me, "I hope it's still there when we come up again" Another "awe" moment to end this weekend. My son just then showed his respect. I have great challenging children. The lights at the end of the day keeps my heart pumping.

We all should be paying it forward - what can you do for someone today?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Celebrating a life born......

As busy as life is......I still wouldn't change a thing. I'm actually so glad that my personality, my drive within me remains active, organized, routined, fully structured with extreme patience. Without those abilities, I wouldn't suggest having my life! My first granddaughter is amazingly perfect. I'm not being bias either (honestly) I'm throwing a baby shower April 27th. If you didn't receive an invite and would like to attend, please contact me. This is a time to celebrate a life, and a new beginning. Please join us if you can!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An open hand

Honestly I shouldn't be writing right now. I've been up a long time. I apologise now for all my writing mistakes. Before I could get a good nights rest I wanted to announce that my husband and I are officially grandparents as of 9:34am Tuesday, April 9th of a beautiful 7 pound 12 ounce baby girl! It was an experience I will never forget. Assisting and supporting my daughters birth. Her and her boyfriend did amazingly well. It was a time I will always cherish, not only to be a part of a miraculous birth but to witness a young couple in love, embracing each other, supporting each other and including me in it. I felt very honoured. All day from Monday morning until Tuesday morning we were together, hour after hour. Tears from emotions we shared, comments from different moments spread amongst each other, it was truly a bonding time between my daughter and her boyfriend. Then came the baby. All I can say is, "Wow" She's a beautiful little girl. What was more beautiful then her, was the love I seen between her two parents. The love we all shared being together. Several hours after the birth I made a speech, slightly slurred from the lack of sleep and I said, "You's been a rough road. Perhaps choices have been backwards, but I truly believe you're both on the right path. Education might not come first. Mine didn't either. As long as you have goals, and work towards them - you will succeed. I'm proud of you. Be honest and true to yourselves and everything else with follow" When I left, (while alone driving home) I just cried and cried and cried. All my own emotions hit me. It was flashbacks from the beginning of meeting our daughter for the first time, to experiencing our challenges, days of feeling helpless, to witnessing my grandchild's birth knowing I was wanted there, as I really wanted to be there too. Where we took each others hand, and moved on knowing we were indeed connected forever. This experience for me was much deeper then just a child born, it was a new beginning for everyone. I texted our old adoption worker thanking her again for my daughter, and for the rest of our children. They've enhanced my life more then anyone knows and that's why, I will always have an open hand to hopefully guide and support. And most importantly, everything is going to be ok - the path isn't meant to be taken right all the time - the wrong turns and dips are life experiences that educate us. Even the best of us need those reminders. I did....... and thank you God for my own lessons learned and allowing me to have an open heart and hand to grasp on what feels right.

I can't see my screen anymore - that means I'm not only slightly slurred, I've progressed to slightly blurred too! So this happy grandmother is signing out for tonight. Leaving you with this, for the first time ever, I whispered into my grandchild's ear, "Grandma loves you" Then immediately following, "That was weird!" I will get used to this too..................then while walking into our home I was called, "The Grandma Mom" That is also very weird but works. I have a few new names that I can adapt too that aren't inappropriate slang. Yeepee!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


The last few days have been busy with birthdays, (we have four children turning 13 within a few months) and my lists of endless appointments and chores to do. I've tried to write several times drawing a blank. This doesn't happen very often. I guess waiting for my grandchild to be born, while baking up storms, and endless grocery shopping I have a lack of words. I've been up my little hill (Notch) several times, I even re-arranged the grave that still exists. It looked like someone disrespectfully knocked it around. One thing that really bothers me is people that destroy others existences of being there. Like Inuksuks. I love building them, leaving them for others to enjoy knowing that someone was in that area. A landmark. Inuksuks for me teach me patience, when walking away after hours of balancing - I always hope others would recognize the amount of time and most importantly that someone took the time to say, "Heh I was here" instead of destroying it in less then a few seconds kicking it over. Soon I will bring flower peddles and show my respect to this little grave. It's probably someones pet, regardless what it is - respect it will get. As I continue with my own hour a day with fitness, changing my eating lifestyle while continuing to cook and bake for my family - I'm always feeling successful at the end of it. My own way of respecting myself. No big news in this post. We're doing really good considering our large dynamics and with that - we're always working on respect for everyone and everything.

"Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners" - Laurence Sterne.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Anything muffins!

We're moving on into a new chapter of life, so my posts are shifting. (It's about time) I've been changing my lifestyle lately with more exercise, and on what I consume. Lifestyle changes aren't easy especially when I'm the only one doing it in my home. Before I deleted 200 plus posts years ago, I was sharing many recipes that I cook for my family. I was introduced to this one recipe that I've tweaked to accommodate not only breakfast, it can be used for lunch and dinner. It's quick, easy and pre-made. I love the idea and I've been using it often! It's all about muffins!

For Breakfast:  Vegetable Egg Muffins

Egg muffins - in a bowl, mix 4 whole eggs, 14 egg whites, basil, oregano, salt & pepper, 1/2 diced red pepper, 1/2 shredded zucchini, 2 shredded carrots and 1 onion or scallions. Preheat oven, coat muffin tin with a little oil to prevent sticking. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full with mixture. Bake 30 minutes at 350 or until muffins are golden brown. All pre-made muffins can be refrigerated and reheated.

Or, Bacon and Cheese Egg muffins - same idea, use either egg whites or whole eggs, or both, add chopped bacon and shredded cheese. Experiment, add onions, garlic and switch up your recipe, anything goes according to your taste buds! This is an easy breakfast pre-made the night before for your children before heading off to school! Hamburger Egg Muffins, switch the bacon for ground hamburger!

For lunch or dinner, Black bean muffins - blend, a cup of black beans, 1/4 whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 2 egg whites or whole eggs, 1/4 cumin, salt & pepper, 3-4 cloves garlic and 1/2 onion. This makes 3-4 muffins, double or triple recipe for more. Oil your muffin tin, add mixture and bake 30 minutes at 350 or until golden brown. This recipe I used in a tortilla. Once cooked, I chopped up muffin and spread over a tortilla with salsa. It can also be used in a hamburger bun instead of the beef patty!

The above picture is the black bean muffins. Remember, you can experiment, mix anything into a egg mixture, spices, any food ingredient and make muffins out of it. The beauty about muffins - there is hidden ingredients that your children will never know of. And depending if it's a breakfast muffin, a lunch or dinner muffin - add sauces accordingly like ketchup, salsa or sour cream. Eat as is, or add a side dish or make it into a wrap or vege burger! They're also easy to pack for picnics or into your children's lunches! I love love these "anything muffins" what I call them! Anything goes - experiment and come up with a delicious full meal muffin for any occasion! Bon appetit!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's right - "It's called, Love"

Since we've been home, we've been busy. Busy organizing life and repairing relationships. We did manage however to wrap up our spring break in Tofino!

Still no baby news. Which is good because it gave us more time to prepare! Since the arrival of my daughter being back home, I've noticed many mixed feelings. Our children warmed up very quickly. Inside our home it's very welcoming and forgiving for the most part. Although outside our home (with other people) they're questioning why on earth would we choose to take on and support our daughter, her significant other and their soon to be baby. Here is my answer.

I was seventeen when I had my first child. The circumstances were different although my mother supported me with my boyfriend. She housed the both of us until we were stable enough to not only parent but to support our little family on our own. I know first hand how hard it is to jump into motherhood with a brand new baby being a teenager. Not only that - I know I needed my mother. My baby at the time was in good hands with all the support I was given. When I flew East not even thinking about bringing my daughter home, (just to support the birth) - within those few long days I knew I couldn't leave them to manage on their own. I know the past few years were difficult while they were running having the time of their lives, but I also had a sense that that time was now over. A new chapter was beginning and I needed to do what's right. I never stopped loving my daughter while away. I was hurt and angry but my love never dwindled. I seemed to long for our relationship to somehow be corrected eventually. I found out my emails to her were blocked from birth members. That's why she never responded. She followed my blog religiously everyday. So my only last attempt was to bring our personal trials public through here, so she can read onto how much I still loved her, what she meant to me and that I'm no longer angry. I ask everyone that feels upset by our decisions, "Would you do anything differently?" "Would you continue to feel angry with no forgiveness to never see your daughter or grandchild again?" Continue to worry what the future holds for them, for their baby while doing nothing. I can't. When I'm angry I feel within those moments that I can move on and forget but when reality shines on me - I need to do what's right, what I feel is right for everyone. Not only for them but for our whole family. For peace. So I write explaining our choices in hopes that others can move forward too, and if not - I am deeply sorry and understand because out of anyone - I was there grasping for the understanding and forgiveness myself too to move on. I can't write enough that life is too short and to follow what's right within your heart regardless what others think - trials and challenges are there for a reason, perhaps to teach us to forgive. Like me. If you're having trials, please inbox me - I have some hopeful answers because I've been there with no hope. In conclusion, I am proud to say I'm looking forward to the next chapter being an active grandmother and mother supporting my daughter into her next journey of life. It's called, "Love"