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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Transformation is in the air.......

 

September is here. Summer completely disappeared. "Poof" Like magic we're gearing and getting ready for another changing season. Reflecting back, it seemed like yesterday we were camping, swimming, boating, hiking and traveling around on our day trips. Now we're ready for school. As much as I will miss summer with the endless relaxed starts, having lunch at 1pm instead of noon and our bedtime routines were stretched without worrying about awakening at 7am, we are ready to move on but with more transformation in the air!  My oldest daughter is moving to Vancouver. My second oldest son moved to Fort St. John, and I'm homeschooling six instead of five plus regaining me....my one hour a day somehow someway is returning this September. I cave when structure and routine needs to be in place for our children, as it's the key elements on how our family runs smoothly. Although my spontaneous nature jumps in switching life up once in awhile eating that creature of habit and spitting out the junks of Society 8-5. I have this goal in my mind to sporadically change the 2013/2014 year but in the meantime, I'm looking forward to the Board Maker program for our three girls where routine outlined is a must. Designing their life 5 days a week. To start homeschooling this year our girls will work and document the progress of their own indoor window greenhouses. While our boys projects will be computer and engineering related. My second oldest daughter and her boyfriend plan on graduating (perhaps together) I have one son starting kindergarten, another moving into middle school all while juggling enrolled sports, voice and piano and therapy appointments weekly. Do you think I can add my spontaneous quest for adventure in there?! Can my semi-hypocritical words from routine to spontaneity combine together!? You bet yah it will! Life needs adventures! Life needs personal individual goals......for example, my husband is racing next year, and after my foot heals, I have my own physical health goals to accomplish plus furthering my own education. Transformation is in the air with surprising adventures and goals that lie ahead.......that's my "A ha" moment and thoughts for the last day of August.


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" - Mahatma Gandhi
"Just LIVE.......enjoy your life, set goals for your future, (you're never too old) be spontaneous and reminisce your positives - don't allow any negatives to define you and remember, you're never alone" - Me.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Family that work together, stay together




Mmmm......I still wouldn't change the Della Falls hiking experience. Although I have been crippled somewhat hobbling around the house with my infected foot on fire. I'm on medication for three months. The problem is I can't be injured in any way. My day doesn't allow me to sit with my foot elevated. Last night my foot felt like it was dipped into lava. It was because I was on it all day long......I did mention by 7pm last night to my children sitting around that help would be much appreciated which brings my attention to the lack of family working together these days. Mmmm....and you would think when parents are ill or have injuries it would make sense to lend a hand. When I was a child, helping around the house wasn't negotiable nor an argument. We were a family and families work together. Now-a-days there is a lack of consideration for another, and even for a family member. My husband and I discuss this with our children all the time. Sometimes I just become quiet, pressing through with “my obligations” which is absolutely everything because I'm the parent serving our children. (In the eyes of a child) Somewhere values have been lost. The meaning of family working together, stays together has been turned into a selfish independent (it's all about me) and “that's not my mess” or “I didn't pee on the toilet” or “those aren't my dishes” ....the comments are endless. Their justification is, “You're the mom, you're the parent, it's your job” Mmmm....really? So I pee on the toilet twenty times a day, I eat off of all those dishes in the sink and I constantly bring in twigs and filth from the outside while rolling in dirt. It's not the point. We all contribute to messes. So therefore everyone living in a house together should be picking up, should be completing dishes if dishes are in the sink, they should be vacuuming, dusting if there's dirt and instead of complaining about what's on, in and hanging off of the toilet or bathtub – clean it. This is my husband and I's biggest complaints right now, the lack of family contribution. I guess it's bothering me more because I'm doing everything with one leg, then I pay for it later. From day one we've tried to enforce chores but I also believe in picking and choosing our battles. We also have a chore checklist and if our children choose to help, they get a check that's worth chore money later. This works for our children that want money. Unfortunately what's sad is.....it's still a selfish attempt. What makes me happy is witnessing our children that help without wanting back and not just for one day or sporadically when they feel like it, they help as a contributing person who's a part of our family daily. That's having value. This lazy generation I feel sorry for because it starts at home, then the work place and onto their own home. Success develops first within our own walls. As much as my husband and I preach here at home, try and instill values and the skills for success, it's a 50/50 chance and unfortunately beyond our control, the odds are only that. It does make for a frustrating day to day living for the ones that only work around our home, my husband and I. My complaints while no one cares how swollen my foot really is.......while I stand, walk and feel like I'm going to vomit preparing their dinner. On the flip side.....I know all children are selfish, it's not just ours. Makes me feel better that the majority of this generation is all the same. I can semi have compassion and understanding for it. "Now-a-days people know the price of everything and the value of nothing" - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our Della Adventure


 Della Falls here we come....
Day 0



Preparation day. Backpacks packed. Home base is comfortable. And one of our sons celebrated his 15th birthday. Honestly I am feeling bitter sweet. Every time I leave my family for 2-3 days I become anxious, worried and feeling somewhat guilty. My husband is great, he encourages me to take time for myself. So I chose to hike and carry approx. 60 Lbs for 7-8 hrs a day in the wilderness with my thirteen year old son, my sister and my niece. (This is time for myself) lol While tucking in my children on the night before my 6am departure was hard. I tried to explain to my littlest daughter that mommy was going away for a few days and I will be home soon. She kept yelling, “Night, night!” Leaving my explanation questioning her comprehension. Always day 0 seems to be the hardest. 11:45pm came fast and 6am is coming early. My son with his first time hiking has no idea what he's in for....the adventure awaits.....


Day 1



No sleep from the previous night and a 5am start. Upon leaving I wrote all our children, “I love you” cards and we were out hiking at the Della falls trail head by 8:30am. The first little animals we saw was a bull frog and a squirrel. Other then that we were eaten by mosquitoes and horsefly’s. Day 1 after a 30 minute boat ride was a challenging 16 km hike (if you were a soaring eagle going straight) otherwise it was over rugged and steep terrain with continue twists and turns. It seemed like a 26 km hike when we were done! We pulled ourselves across a cable car bridge and walked across thin metal tressels.
There was points during our day that were extremely challenging. On Day 1, I received 4 massive blisters, lost 1 toe nail and my hip started giving me grief. I became silent. My son tripped twice but other then that, everyone did an excellent job considering that my sister and I agree Della Falls is a more challenging hike then Cape Scott, The West Coast Trail, and the Juan De Fuca trails by far. During our first evening we set up camp underneath the falls, and just laughed over all our pain and suffering. On day 0 I mentioned that my son didn't know what he was getting himself into....... neither did I. I felt not only physically challenged, at one point I just wanted to cry. Although there's something to say when you reach your destination, when you persevere through everything, it's an accomplishment. And within Day 1 it was! If we didn't get enough punishment from Day 1, Day 2 we're hiking to Love Lake, comparable to Mt. Arrowsmith – straight up with a rocky steep terrain. One way it takes approx. 3 hrs, the 3 hrs back to our base camp. Definitely looking forward for day 2! lol Now all four of us are aching lying in our tent with no life forms around just listening to the sound of falling water. Very quietly soothing......
 

 The half toilet
 
 Located on top of Mt. Septimus, In memory RCAF, Captain Eric Hedderson, 1951-1993, of Newfoundland, who slipped the surly bonds of Earth



Day 2



An oatmeal and nut breakfast started our day after a long night. Sleeping on the ground, tossing and turning with several aches and pains from our hike equalled into a long night. Our Mt. Septimus decent started roughly at 10am. It was treacherous. After two and a half hours of climbing we finally reached our destination, Love Lake. There was moments where we were sopped in with fog and we had to contemplate on turning around but the skies opened up and we were able to capture the sights of Della Lake with the free flowing of Della Falls. My son and sister both jumped into Love Lake gasping for air and quickly returning to shore. Love Lake was worth the effort, a glacier fed lake with surrounding mountains and snow. Crystal blue waters and as clear as if you were looking into a mirror. Looking over Della Falls, sitting having lunch by Love lake was surreal. Coming down Mt. Septimus it started to pour rain. It continued to pour. We were drenched. Cold, tired, sore and completely wet. All four of us were in our tent by 6pm. We reminisced about our best and worst experiences so far. My son said, “My best was jumping into a glacier lake and I don't have a worst” My niece said, “My worst was hiking up hill and my best was seeing Della Falls” My sister said, “I don't have a best, I love all of it and my piss off is the rain!” For me, “My best was seeing the sky open up so we could see the top of Della Falls and the worst is being cold and wet” We then laid in our tent looking at our pictures and after 14 hrs later we moved out of the tent and onto Day 3......

 Beautiful Love Lake
 
 That's where we started....way down there...is the Great Central Lake
 
 Top of Della Falls
 
 Me, tired hiker at the top over looking Della Falls

 
 
Got to love the 10 second leap having your camera set, ready to snap!



Day 3



Sopping wet. Night of Day 2 down poured. It poured so much out tent dripped on the inside. We were soaked. With not much sleep, we had a long wet hike ahead of us. By 9am we wished for blue skies...and from above of Della Falls to the base we made it and our wishes came true! Blue skies appeared and the sun came out! All four of us showered at the Della Falls base. It was pounding cold. “Yahoo” From there we hiked 16 km out to the beginning of the trail head of Della Falls. It was brutal. My niece suffered 4 bee stings (from stepping into a yellow jacket nest) 7 blisters and a river fall. My sister strained her calf muscle while I lost now 6 toe nails, 8 blisters (1 large open infected blister) plus two sore knees and my son escaped
injury free. We made it back to the Della trail head on our 3rd hiking day. Day 1 we hiked straight up to Della Falls, Day 2 we hiked further to Love Lake and Day 3 we were sitting around a fire with our tent set up where we started. At the Great Central Lake. We high fived each other. Personally, all I can feel is pain BUT for the past 3 days we did nothing but hike Mountains. An adventure no one will understand until they conquer it themselves. For our last night we ate dinner on the boat dock and thought about home......

The sun came out! 
 
 My sister and I underneath the base of Della Falls

 Us four!




Day 4 Homeward Bound



We awoke to more sunshine and to boats coming in with more hikers. We warned them about the yellow jackets that borrowed into the ground and wished them luck. After breakfast we laid in our tent discussing what we wanted to eat when we returned home. I wanted Sushi. My sister wanted red wine, my niece wanted Mcdonalds, pizza and Thai food and my son wanted burritos. It's interesting when you're limited and for only four days that food is on top of the priority list. While we waited to get picked up we reminisced, and I thought about home. With having no service, I had no idea what I was walking into next.

 Our nights


 

 
 
 
 
Being towed on our way home (seen below)
 
 
 The Della Falls Shoe tree, we hung 3 and a half pairs. The other shoe remains a mystery. (Seen above)
 
 Broken down.....an extended trip! (Seen above) lol



We were picked up, then we ran out of boat gas in the middle of the lake. Fortunately a friendly boater was passing by who gave us gas and even offered us to wake board. Later, we hung our shoes on the Della Falls shoe tree. Our trip was eventful. Not only were we temporarily stranded on the Great Lake, we then had a trailer flat coming home. Hours later we arrived. To conclude, all in all I wouldn't change anything. These are memories we will never forget and a destination worth hiking too. Long story longer, if you don't take the steps towards great adventures, you miss out on many opportunities that life has to offer. Take the plunge, the challenge, and be prepared for what life throws at you, you'll be greatly surprised on how rewarding life really is. Della Falls (my sister) I thank you!



I'm now at home, tired and it's still Day 4 as I write.........to update, homeward bound is safe and sound. Everyone is happy and healthy. I thank my husband for managing our fort, I'm extremely proud of my 13 year old son and even with one infected foot and several missing toe nails – this is and will be one of my fondest memories accomplished with my sister, my niece and my son and I  - this summer of 2013. 
 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Della Falls!





Top of Della Falls 
 
 A glimpse
 
 
 
 
 
Love Lake










My sister, my niece, and one of my sons (that has shown interest in hiking) and myself are heading out for a three day hiking trip to Della Falls this Thursday! Della Falls is located in the Strathcona Park across from the Great Central Lake. Access is only by boat across the Great Central Lake which is a 35 km crossing or by helicopter. We are taking the boat to the trail head and starting a 16 km approx. hike to the base of Della Falls. The highest waterfall in Canada. (440 metres high, 1443 feet) I plan on writing everyday about our adventure, taking tons of pictures and sharing our journey. Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer! Right now it's preparing home, packing backpacks and celebrating one of our sons fifteenth birthday before we adventure off into the great outdoor wilderness! An experience for my one son that he will never forget is coming and with many more spontaneous adventures ahead for every one of us! My mission and my dedication for our family's experiences continues on!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cattle herding





A little sad I am. I'm all ready for back to school. I've accepted summer is coming to a close. Although summer moved too fast for me. How can time blow by so fast as it does? I even told my second oldest daughter (that had a baby) that I don't remember my granddaughter as a newborn! She's 4 months old. We're a busy family, there is no time to sit around procrastinating. Every day is a day finished. I prepare my calendar a month ahead. Summer again - is over. A lot of parents look forward to back to school. If I could, I would home school ALL our children and experience life more instead of the embedded 8-5 daily routines we've come accustomed too.  Eventually all our children will be adults and moving on with their own lives while my husband and I contemplate what's next. We might not have the empty nest syndrome ever although I will reflect back wondering if there was something we could have done differently with our time. Routine and structure is a must especially with a large special needs family but that can be tweaked uniquely instead of following Society's routines. Makes me question sometimes if I'm being the parent I believe myself to be, or if come September, we move into the same old cattle routine like absolutely everyone else is best? Year after year, programming our children into the lives of 8-5, following every one else. October is Thanksgiving and Halloween, then comes December with Christmas following another new year, preparing for another short summer......on and on. We follow commercialism. I admit we and even me are creature of habits. I'm feeling ready to figure out something new. Different experiences, breaking free from the cattle herding onto the next field, (the next season) that continues to remain the same. I'm feeling ready to change up life, change the creature of habit that I am guilty of, that I am teaching our children to become..... to a more spontaneous, to more real life experiences, a life that's memorable to reminisce and reflect back on. I realized that I am completely following my own childhood raising my children, I am guilty of following today's Society and its over commercialized routines. While yet another summer comes to an end, and I'm jumping into yet another year of school, I'm going to re-think my calendar. Life is too short and we aren't cattle. To conclude, I feel different adventures and spontaneous decisions lie ahead. More life experiences, more travel with less materials and herding ourselves away from the predicted months ahead.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

From this moment.......

 Our first dance, "From this moment" by Shania Twain
 My Father and I
 My son (now 19) walking his mother down Rathtrevor Beach in bare feet
 My daughter (now 23) one of my bridesmaids.
 Our entrance
Cutting our cake, a 1957 Chevy cake model
 
 
On August 14th, 1999 my husband and I married. A red and white wedding on the beach. From that moment on who would of known we would be celebrating our life together with sixteen children, 3 dogs and a crazy life like ours! My husband is one of the loyalist, loving and hard working men I know. A man I will continue to grow old with, experience life with and face all challenges with knowing we will continue to be 100% there for each other. Today I am reminiscing and cherishing our choice to have a life together. Happy Anniversary to my husband, it's been a total of 16 years together and from this moment on it's him and I until the end.........our wedding song linked below.
 
 


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Retail Happiness

"The onesie boys"




"The merchandise"
 
 
Back to school shopping is finished and in Canada this year! Even I'm impressed! I've been debating about shopping in the States like I do every year. To end my debate I went window shopping to price out the difference. Well........heads up, Payless shoes have awesome deals but with limited supplies. I bought all our children shoes there, even our adult children! 20 pairs! Old Navy is having a sale on shirts, $5.00 each and $8.00 on jeans from size 5-16 that's adjustable! I was having a retail happiness fix! I was having such a great time "thinking" I was saving money (in my mind) that I even splurged on onesies for teens/adults! (As seen in the above picture) Even funnier, both these boys I video taped walking around the mall in their new onesies while everyone double looked and laughed. We are use to being a centre of attention so wearing purple onesies is nothing! Having a large family you need to think about the costs for everything. For example, I purchased socks and boxers for our children that cost $250.00 and believe me, I purchased the econo packs! For the 20 pairs of shoes, it was a total of $360.00. As you can see......that's an awesome deal! When I'm shopping for all of our children I have a trick. I make a list at home with needs and sizes, from there I will leave shopping. The trick is too not take your children shopping unless you desperately need them. This way it's like Christmas in September (when I return) and a ritual we continue year after year. For a mother of many children feeling prepared for "Back to School" on August 11th is a great feeling and I didn't have to leave the Country. I will admit, I will miss the two day adventure, and Red Lobster. So unless this Island wants to bring in the Red Lobster restaurant chain, I will be heading to the States eventually for the Costco cheese and my favorite restaurant! Although right now this momma is happy with her retail happiness she's found in her own Country. Most importantly, I have happy children. That is double retail happiness! Tip - you don't have to spend x amount of dollars to make it through life, we grow, we change and yes, we can accept what we have.



Friday, August 9, 2013

Extended day trip brought warm auras

Hornby Island, The Hawaiian Island in BC!

The fire ban alternative!

Best hammock buddies!

The sleeping arrangement

Every year we do day trips to our favorite places. Hornby Island is one of my favorites. A beautiful Island that I call the Hawaiian Island of BC. My husband and I spent a week in Hawaii years ago and I'm not kidding when I state that Hornby Island is its replica. I left for a day trip with four of my sons. During our first ferry ride I agreed to drive this eighteen year old young man from Buckley Bay to Hornby Island. With his guitar, camera and backpack in hand he was politely requesting a ride. He entertained us and especially me with his entrepreneur future plans for his life. I was impressed on how mature, talented and eager this boy was. When we parted ways, I congratulated him on how independent and goal determined he was, he was a great role model for my boys! Once settled on Tribune Bay on Hornby, (the beach of endless white warm sand) we met some friends that were camping near which changed the course of our day. My original plan was to come home from our day trip.....but it sporadically changed and we spent the night with our friends. Our friends set up a tent, supplied all the bedding plus anything we needed for the evening. Besides feeling greatly appreciative, I felt somewhat out of my element not being able to support ourselves 100% and for someone like me - it's an odd feeling. Our friends were completely accommodating and welcoming, it was a peaceful and refreshing atmosphere. Not only were we on the Hawaiian Island of BC, we were swept away spending time with amazing people and as seen in the above picture (the fire ban alternative) the ambiance was definitely delightful. I found this day trip different....not because it turned into a twenty four hour adventure, nor was it because a long our way we met a great inspiring young man traveling with his guitar living semi-freely, nor was it because we were in one of my favorite places, it was because of our friends we met on the beach. The interesting part is we met on this same beach (Tribune Bay) three summers ago. We realized we lived in the same area, their daughter is and has been in the same class since Kindergarten with our son and ironically we're both adoptive families. Now our children are heading into grade two together this year and we're becoming good family friends. (Best Buddies are seen above in a hammock together) It brings my attention to what I've always believed to be true......things happen for a reason. People cross paths for a reason and we don't understand the reasoning's good or bad until the future presents itself. Who would of known three summers later we would be camping unexpectedly with another wonderful adoptive family! What's even more ironic, (the fire ban alternative) the skim board full of candles and incense is something I would do! Something that is actually placed on my mantle at home as I write.....Have you ever observed or sensed someones aura? Basically getting a feeling onto whom they really are without all the superficial behaviours? I usually know very quickly if I will like and trust someone or not to continue a friendship. I know with this particular family they're very special. Extremely kind and soft natured. They're like a breath of fresh air. It was a good extended day trip that I'm completely grateful for. During our travels home we met another traveler that needed a ride across the ferries. These individuals weren't hitchhikers, they were individuals that needed a ride across the Islands. A typical occurrence that happens for people to commune back and forth on and off the little surrounding Islands. This new father was heading back to work while leaving his 9 month old daughter and wife camping on Hornby Island. His wife camps during the summer while he travels back and forth to be with her on his days off. A bartender tending for a private company that offers services for wedding receptions and different events. Everyone has a story and sometimes while meeting a stranger along our way, or on a beach will bring great friendships. It reminds me of Connie and Arno who I met before Christmas last year....a Christmas Tree story I will cherish forever. Read previous post linked here....http://hohnsteins.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-christmas-tree.html and follow your heart, your senses and when the aura is feeling true, don't be afraid to speak with someone. You'll be surprised what they could mean to you within your or your children's future, possible best buddies forever.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Thumbelina

We ventured to the Sandcastles. While there my daughters wheelchair couldn't go through the sand. I explained it was fine, that we will wait until the rest of our family chose their favorites. Well.....a volunteer offered this all terrain wheelchair seen above. It was awesome, we were able to push through like we were on pavement. Our daughter was able to pick Thumbelina as her sandcastle favorite. As our daughter grows, we are noticing limitations but it's not because we or she can't, it's because we don't have the equipment to do so. What's frustrating is usually our limitations is just that - the lack of appropriate equipment to experience. Our daughter's wheelchair is great on extremely smooth surfaces. It definitely doesn't help when we're off road and on our own gravel driveway! Our future will consist of several changes to accommodate our daughter's mobility. I'm starting to think the sooner the better now that she's six years old and approximately forty-five pounds. Even in and out of our bathtub can be challenging. It's physically becoming dangerous for all of us. Thinking about bathtub lifts, and a paved driveway for her wheelchair seems like a huge undertaking. It's amazing on how important a smooth surface is, or a wheelchair accessible bathroom......like the sandcastles, without the equipment we're simply unable to proceed. It's interesting watching and listening to individuals complaining about nothing, while we stood there completely happy to wait for the rest of our family to return from viewing the sandcastles because we couldn't go in until we were offered a different chair. One thing about my daughter is she can be very happy with what life is for her, then other times she can be very frustrated. You know, she should be frustrated. While she sits and every other child is running around, swimming, dancing and playing with each other, she can't. We aren't the family to sit back and have limitations.....neither is our daughter but sometimes it's simply beyond our control. After the sandcastles there was dancing on the beach. Well.....my daughter and I pushed in with her wheelchair and she danced. She moved her legs, her arms and swayed with every move. For one song, I held her out of her chair where she jumped, danced and laughed requesting more. When we left she was red faced from having so much fun. It was a good evening for her. I wrote a previous post about when we are ready to landscape, we would like to make a wheelchair accessible yard and playground. I fear that it will be years from now. Which raises my questions onto when we can change our bathroom, when will we pave or have a wheelchair accessible home? We do absolutely everything ourselves and thank God our house is finished because when it's just my husband and I, it takes years. Everything will get accomplished, it's just going to take time, and that time moving so fast is what concerns me. There is some days that remind me of not our limitations but the set backs because we don't have the proper equipment. That's where I feel our daughters frustrations and our own. My mother keeps stating that my husband and I can't continue carrying around our daughter, we can't keep lifting her in and out of her bed, the bath tub and our vehicle. "We know" Our frustration is we have to right now.....not until we have a paved path way, a wheelchair ramp, and several different lifts. Change takes time. Interesting how my daughter was drawn to the Thumbelina sandcastle, "Thumbelina" a tiny little girl that conquered all odds then lived happily ever after as the Queen of flowers. You know.....I've heard that fairy tales come true and I believe. For us, and for our daughter with physical challenges, we will, and she will conquer and regardless if we have the equipment or not, we made it to Thumbelina, just like we made it to the Sacred Waterfalls, just like our daughter will walk one day. I tell our children every day, you can do anything with the will, with the provocativeness and the endless drive to do so. It's always a choice. My littlest daughter makes me believe this every day. She's definitely my little Thumbelina......

Friday, August 2, 2013

Personalized imprints

I'm in decision mode. It's now August and in between camping trips I'm usually getting ready for back to school. Every year I spend two days in the States purchasing clothing and shoes for our children. The clothing in Canada has become comparable although the running shoes still are expensive. I've been searching for online sites to order instead....online ordering seems to be the new shopping experience. Since I started homeschooling, I've been online ordering for over a year now. The other day I stumbled across a site that you can customize your own clothing. That was fun. All our children are getting their own shirt with their names on it. What's nice about personalizing and especially for our children it gives them the sense of stability and ownership within our family. Having "Hohnstein" on their own shirts signifies their place in their new family. Every time we adopt a child, we celebrate and their gift is their own shirt representing them and their new name. It can take years for a child to feel stable within a new family, and any little detail can either disrupt their hopes or help them realize they're here to stay. Personalized clothing is a great idea, photographs on your wall should be done instantly especially if your family is already placed there. I've also been in the process of making all our children their own albums. All our children when they're adults will receive their own childhood albums. Recently our oldest son, also he's our first and oldest adoption returned to his childhood home town. The town we adopted him from. He was suggesting he might go back and live there. He returned within one week. He explained to me that it's not the same, the town that he once knew, where all his childhood memories reside, where his childhood friends still exist have changed. It's not his home. He went back to the hotel where we had our pre-placement visits, and that's where he remembered good memories. The beginning of his new life and family. It was a "Awe" moment for me. It was just before his twelfth birthday when he came home, it was a rocky road from the beginning......then even rockier during his teen years. Now he's turning twenty and after nine years of being our son, after searching out his birth family, returning to his childhood home; his recognition of his place in this world is us. That's adoption. From the beginning of placement, throughout the years of questions of who am I? Where is my place within this world? To seeking....and realizing that his adopted family is the one that committed and dedicated themselves putting that shirt on his back. It's the reassurance from day one that even when he wasn't sure, or didn't want to be our son, that he was anyway. I'm referring to our oldest son because he's now twenty years old. We accomplished establishing attachment with attachment disorder labels, we adopted an older child with major trials and tribulations within his past history. And we didn't succeed because of a personalized shirt, I learned when during the hard times to still be his mother from a far. I constantly reminded him that he's my son if he liked it or not, that he can make his choices, even go on with his life but it doesn't change the fact we picked him and he's always a personalized "Hohnstein" I sure do love him....he's come a long way. He might not know this, but he helped me......I learned while parenting him on how to hopefully successfully parent the rest of our children. Something every parent should know. A. It's not about you. B. Let your adolescent learn from their own choices. C. If they seek, be there for when they return - very important (they're your child) D. Forgive and move on. E. Remember, you're not alone, there is hundreds of families with challenges - seek your own support. To conclude, raising children is not easy, raising teenagers is crazy, having compassionate, respectful adult children is what I see successful at the end of it. If it does not "feel" successful, remember you did the best you could and you won't be forgotten because you were a part of your child's life, a stepping stone that they will remember. That's still a personalized imprint you made as their parent. My thoughts for today........