Thursday, December 31, 2009

He's done it again!




Liam has managed to get in the newspaper again! Liam loves to brag about how he's been in the paper, a book, on the radio and TV! Check this old post out.


You can check out the article and full slide show of Eric Wynne's photo's here.


However this picture of me is certainly incentive to get off my very large duff and get into shape!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movie "Orphan" makes me vegetarian

When the movie Orphan first came out it was talked about up and down on the adoption blogs. This post isn't going to be about the adoption angle of the movie. So many other people have said it so much better then I can, whatever their feelings on it.

This post is how watching the movie has caused me to revert to my vegetarianistic ways.



Hilary and I are woefully behind in our grown-up movie watching. Newest Pixar, Disney or Imageworks ? You betcha we've seen it. Movies with plots, no animation and actual actors? Not so much. So when Liam went out for dinner with a friend tonight, we figured Hey! we might actually be able to watch a whole movie. Uninterrupted. With naughty scenes and grown up words even.

So we started going through the On-Demand list that our cable provider offers. The list kinda sucked. We narrowed it down to 2 - Orphan or Taking Pelham 123. Hilary wasn't in the mood for a smash'em up-blow'em up movie, so Orphan it was.

The movie was okay. It was kinda slow and since we already knew what the ending was, any suspense was sort of lost on us. But being classified as a horror movie it had it's share of creepy music, people jumping out from behind things and some guts and gore. Now I don't mind guts and gore for the most part. I'm good with real live situations involving blood and injuries, I can watch surgeries on TV without being squeamish. I just can't watch anything that I can equate back to food.

I have to confess: I have food "issues".

Can you hear Hilary laughing right now? "Issues"? She thinks that's a rather mild word to use to describe me and my food. Words that she may use include: botheration, nuisance, aggravation, annoyance, just to name a few.

Left to my own devises I would be vegetarian. Except for bacon. Or steak. Or hamburgers. The trick is that none of those food items even remotely resemble what they came from. And if I start letting myself think about where they came from and the processes to get them to my table, well then, I'm done with those too for awhile.

In our house though Hilary is the domestic goddess. She does the shopping and the cooking, so by default she plans the menu. She is very good to me though. If we are having something she knows I have "issues" with she will prepare in such a way that I can eat it. Or she'll just cut up my food for me before she serves it. That folks, is LOVE.

Anyway, back to the movie.

There is a scene that involves the rather brutal killing of a pigeon. And since it's a horror movie, they show it in all it's gory detail with a synced up squelchy soundtrack.

yeah.

We of course started watching the movie before dinner. We had planned on having sloppy joe's. Wanna know what I had for dinner? Fruit and chocolate. Hilary has kindly frozen the rest of the sloppy joe mixture for another day, long in the future, when I will have hopefully gotten these images out of my mind.

Tomorrow is New Year's eve. And since we live on the East Coast and it's currently Lobster season, guess what we will be having for dinner? And for some reason, I'm just fine with hacking crustaceans apart on my plate. As long as I'm not in the room when Hilary cooks them, she takes the feelers off for me and no bit of shell EVER gets in my mouth, then I'll have a wonderful feast.

Maybe I have more "issues" then I thought!

Happy New Year everyone!

Wordless Wednesday

Wii had a great Christmas:



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NaCH3COO



We got some wonderful reusable heating pads for Christmas. They are some freaky chemical thing that when you "snap" the ferrous disc the sodium acetate concentration goes from a liquid form to a solid form releasing heat as it does. Wikipedia explains it much better then I can. Check it out.

These pictures show the crystals forming after I snapped the disc. It took about 5 seconds for the whole thing to become solid.

I got Hilary this lovely shaped one that sits on your shoulders and holds heat for up to 2 hours.

We went back after Christmas and got the hand warmer size ones to help me with my Raynaud's

Watch as the back one is activated:



And the boiling pot of water with the dishrag in it? In order to reuse the heating pads you have to boil them to turn the crystals back into liquid. The dishrag protects the plastic from coming into contact with the hot metal of the pot. Once they cool down you can do it all over again!

So far this has been the most used Christmas present other then the Wii!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why


am I boiling a dishrag? No, I'm not channeling Aunt Marge and making Liam some new school clothes. I'm getting ready to enjoy a wonderful Christmas present (albeit a present I bought for Hilary, but she* I liked it so much that we went out on boxing day and bought more!

*Don't worry, she likes it too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A pickle and pyjamas

Searching for the Christmas Pickle in his Christmas PJs


The pickle present added another Nutcracker to Liam's collection.

I'm off to bed on this wonderful Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Traditions

Growing up, my family put our Christmas tree up a week or 2 before Christmas. It was more of a chore to get done on a Sunday afternoon then an event. In Hilary's family they put the tree up on Christmas Eve and it was an event. Everyone helped to trim the tree while they visited and toasted good cheer.

When Hilary and I become a family we merged a lot of traditions and forged some new ones. For the past 15 Christmases we put the tree up on Christmas Eve. But Liam is not willing to wait even 3 more days. He loves all things Christmas and wanted it up ASAP.

So it went up tonight after a long day of work and winter-break camp. While I wouldn't call it an "event", we certainly enjoyed ourselves. Each ornament was oohed and aahed over as it was unwrapped. We do not have a catalog perfect tree; in this instance we are not the Martha Stewarts of the Lesbian world!

Instead each ornament has a story or a memory that goes with it.

Some are ones from our childhood, having survived 30+ years of packing and repacking and shipping cross country.


Some we have gained since being together.


Some are just odd.
Yes, it's a gourd

And of course some are homemade by a great kid!
Liam is starting his own traditions, mainly his Nutcracker collection:Family traditions is one of the most important parts of Christmas for me. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Burlap bumper pads

Every year during December, Liam's entire school focuses on one thing. "The Plays". Pre-school through grade 6 students are divided into groups and they all have a role in one of 4 plays. "The Plays" have been written and adapted by the grade 5-6 class with the help of the teachers. Grades 7-9 are involved in backstage production, orchestra and entre-act entertainment. It is a well oiled machine that culminates in 150 kids on stage singing a song written by the teachers that tells the stories of all 4 plays.

This is Liam's 4th year at the school but only his 3rd time in "The Plays" since he had his tonsils out 2 weeks before Christmas 2 years ago and had to miss them. So far he has been a gold coin, a spider and this year a little fox kit. Lucky for me Hilary can sew.


He started his stage career with a recurring walk on role and has progressed to having one line. He delivered it on time, nice and loud and with no shenanigans (as some of the other 7 year olds managed to do. It's not often that they get to be on stage in front of 200 people, what an excellent chance to show off!) Each play group also does a dance routine at the end of their play, with the kids helping to choreograph their moment in the spot light.

While Liam loves all aspects of "The Plays", from set design to dance class, the highlight for him is the fact that each child gets to take home a prop from "The Plays" as a souvenir. Every year parents hold their breath in fear of what their child is going to emerge from backstage carrying. The first year Liam brought home a papier-mache gold rock, about the size of a soft ball. That wasn't too bad and eventually it has found it's way out of our house without him noticing. Last year he came home with a quiver full of papier-mache arrows. These still get played with on a regular basis, so any attempts to relocate them would unfortunately be noticed.


This year Liam kept talking excitedly about the owl's nest that he was going to get. While we weren't thrilled at the idea, we figure we could shove it up on a shelf, stick a stuffie bird in it and be done with it.

Yeah, we're a little slow sometimes.

The fact that Liam was a fox in the play should have tipped us off to the fact that the owls were probably Liam sized too. And that the nest would be sized to fit them.

It's as big as my bathtub.

My darling son was so excited to get this. Luckily it folds up and we were able to get a cab home where the cabbie didn't laugh too much at us after we put the nest in his trunk. Liam talked about the nest the whole way home, about how we were going to play owl and how he was going to sleep in it. Our cabbie seemed to develop an odd shaky/twitchy thing around this same time. I'm sure we are all the talk around the taxi company water cooler today.

The nest is really just a big circle of burlap covered foam with some straw glued to it here and there. There is no bottom to it. When I inquired just exactly HOW or WHERE Liam planned on sleeping in it he declared that it was going to go up on his bed. And so it did.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Primal Wound Book Tour

Several months ago Lori asked me to join a virtual book tour for the book Primal Wound. I have to admit that at first I was skeptical. I had never read the book before but had witnessed many threads and post on various adoption boards spiral out of control whenever the book was brought up. I figured it was maybe time to find out for myself what all the fuss was about.

The book tour offers us the chance to ask other readers questions on the book and then to go to their blogs to engage in discussions with them on their answers. So read on to see the 3 questions that I have answered and then follow the link at the end to find all the other participants.



  • There are a great deal of behavioral issues that Verrier attributes to the Primal Wound of being separated from ones birthmother and subsequently adopted. These range from acting out and testing the adoptive parents, to becoming detached, to future inabilities to maintain healthy relationships as an adult. To the adoptees, I'm curious if you identified with any of these traits and to the adoptive parents, if you witnessed any of them in your child(ren)? Further, if you answered "yes", do you think your adoptive parents would agree that you have these traits as well?
Personally, I do not identify with any of the traits from the book. I've been in a wonderful, loving, healthy relationship for 16 years now. I have a wonderful group of friends and I've never felt that if I don't hear from them for X amount of time that they are going to abandon me. I'm still friends with people that I went to high school with a million years ago.

The only time I ever recall "testing" my adoptive parents would have been when I was about 6 or 7. My mom and I had a fight about something and I pulled the classic adoptee line "well you aren't my real mother anyway, so you can't make me!" I don't remember what my mom's reaction was or what even happened after that. I wasn't testing her to see if she would continue to love me, but I was looking to hurt her so I went for the low blow.

I was neither an acting out teen or a compliant teen that the book categorizes adoptees as. I was pretty typical compared to my non-adopted friends. I went to the occasional party I wasn't supposed to, I tried cigarettes and alcohol and I also hung out with my mom while we shopped together.

I told my mom about the book and this book tour. She's never read it and doesn't have any desire too. When I shared some of the author's observations with her and asked her if she thought I had any of these traits, she just laughed and said Hell No! She thinks I was a pretty "normal" teenager and that yes, my adoption played a big part in who I am, but she doesn't think that I was "wounded".

I would have to agree with her on that one.

  • How are the observations made in the book the same or different from the adult adoptees actual experiences?
My experiences are quite different from what is observed in the book. The author seems to believe that every adoptee is wounded (to various degrees) and that we all have to come to terms with that and accept it in order to move on. And for those of us who don't believe we were wounded and don't feel that we have anything to accept she labels us as being in denial of our primal wound. Kind of a no-win situation there. I have never experienced problems with maintaining relationships or friendships. I do not feel that I will be "annihilated"

My concern with the observations in the book is that they were all made after interviewing adoptees who had sought out therapy, be it adoption related or not. There was no control group of adoptees interviewed who were not at a point of their life that required therapy. I believe the observations would have been very different if the pool of adoptees had been broader. I don't deny that many adoptees do feel some sort of "Primal Wound". I just don't believe that it applies to all of us, not even when using a spectrum where some are severely damaged and some only slightly.


  • As a birthmother, my overwhelming stance towards this book was, (until completion that is) very defensive. It hurt to have to read about the pain I've inflicted upon my daughter, and my initial reaction was to criticize the book's thesis and deny that any part of it could be found in my personal story. Did others (adoptive parents, adoptees and birthparents alike) have this same reaction? If so, was your opinion changed by the end of the book?
I guess it's time for a confession. I didn't finish the book. I couldn't bring myself to finish the book. I made it to page 156 (of 222) and just could not go on. I also could only read it in short bursts, taking a break from it that sometimes lasted a couple of days. I too was defensive - How dare this woman think that I have any of these issues? Sure some adoptees might have a "Primal Wound". Yet statements like "these issues center around separation and loss, trust, rejection, guilt and shame, identity, intimacy , loyalty and mastery of power and control..." have nothing to do with who I am or what I believe about myself.

None of this means that I think adoption is all ponies and rainbows. There is loss, there is sadness. I've talked many times about my own experiences. I simply do not believe that I was so wounded by being separated from my birthmother at birth that it has shaped and influenced every facet of my life since then.

So I guess to answer the question, No, my opinion of the book did not change as I read through it. I think the book can be a good insight for what some people may feel, but I worry that people will try to apply the book's thesis to all adoptees.


To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at The Open Adoption Examiner.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable # 11

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next two weeks--linking back here so we can all find one other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

An open-ended prompt this round, because it's always interesting to see where each of us takes it:

Write about open adoption and the holiday season.


Liam has always known that he was adopted. He knows as much about his first family as we do. He has pictures of his mom and 1/2 siblings up on his bedroom wall. Being a "secret" myself I vowed from the get-go that there would be no secrets for Liam.

The only problem is I can't stop other people from keeping secrets.

Liam's brother was 3 when Liam was born, so his mom was able to keep her pregnancy from him. As far as we know she still has not told him that he has a younger brother. This can make it awkward and difficult to try and explain to Liam. He is very proud to have a brother and will tell anyone who listens. He would very much like to know his brother and be a part of his life, but so far, he's mostly okay with the fact that he can't do that. He doesn't really understand that his brother doesn't know that he exists though. Adoption is such a complicated thing to understand at the best of times, that this fact is just beyond his cognitive skills right now. And sometimes I think it's still beyond mine

As Liam's mom, it's a struggle for me to know how to handle different things that come up. Like Christmas 2 years ago. I was out shopping at the mall with Liam so that he could pick out Christmas presents for family. We had gone over our list: Grandma and Grandpa, Granny and Grandpa, Great-Grandma, Auntie Sarah and Noah. I didn't include his first family because we weren't in contact with them and I really just didn't know what to do. We had never sent presents before, just letters and pictures throughout the year. Liam got the idea though that he was going to buy them presents.

And who was I to tell him he couldn't?

So he picked out a book for his 7 month old baby sister. Good Night Gorilla, one of his favorites. He picked out something for "K" but I don't remember what now. And then he picked out a Webkinz Little Brown Bear for his brother. And 1 for himself. So that the bears could be brothers too and they could each have one.

Hmmm. hard to say no to that!

Now his intentions were not completely selfless. He had been wanting a Webkinz of his own for a very long time. And I think part of him thought that this would be a good way to get me to agree to one. Boy, can that kid read me like a book!

Liam hasn't decided yet this year if he is going to buy them presents or not. Some days it's yes, some day's it's no. 7 year olds aren't always known for thinking of anyone but themselves. And slowly he is catching on that this "relationship" is unidirectional. He's never gotten anything from them, not a letter, not a gift, not a picture. His little brown bear is still one of his most important stuffies and he talks about how his brother has the bear's brother and wonders what he named it. I wonder if "K" ever even gave it to him. Did she change the tag and say it was from her? Did she throw it away? Is it in a box somewhere waiting till the day she finally tells "C" that he has a younger brother?

So on Christmas day this year I will give Liam extra hugs and kisses; one for "K", one for "C" and one for baby "J". It will never replace what he could have if we had an open adoption and he wasn't a secret, but it will have to do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

16 years






Years that we have been together







Major cross country move


Houses


Apartments


Dog


Cats


Turtles


Career Changes


Family Funerals


Fish


Bunny


Kid








Love of my life

Wordless Wednesday - A boy and his sword

Monday, December 7, 2009

3 phone calls

I made the choice to move to another province almost 12 years ago. This meant leaving family behind. At the time I was just getting back onto speaking terms with my parents and I have no siblings so the move was not a big deal for me. In fact I had "left" my family nearly 4 years before that when I first moved out of my parents house.

But even with the upheaval in my relationship with my parents, extended family was still important to me. I may not see them every year, and in fact could go several years without even communicating with someone, but they were still family. Joys and triumphs could be celebrated over phone lines or through cards and flowers.

Family doesn't seem to be very important to my parents however. My father has 9 siblings, 5 of whom he has not spoken to since 1971 when their mother died. My mother has 3 siblings and they have all sorts of problems.

Since I have lived in Halifax I have had 3 phone calls from my mother, each of which have left me sad - not just at the content of the message but at the blatant disregard for my feelings that my mother has.

All of the phone calls have involved her telling me that someone close to me has died: My Uncle Bob, a good friend of the family Bill and now today my Uncle Maurice, my Dad's only brother. She doesn't call me specificially to tell me about these events. Quite the opposite, they are an after thought midway through our conversation, sandwiched between the weather and how work is going. "oh by the way, I forgot to tell you that your Uncle Maurice died last week. Are you enjoying working from home?"

WTF?

It's like she thinks that because I live far away and am not active in someone's daily life that I no longer care about them. That hearing about their death won't upset me.

It's almost like she doesn't care. And maybe she doesn't. But I do.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A new era has begun


Up until yesterday Liam HATED the telephone. Conversations with Grandma were "Hi, I love you, Bye!" when the ear piece wasn't anywhere near his head. He refused to talk to anyone on the phone no matter what.

This has all changed!

Liam rushed in from school on Friday demanding to know where the phone was. Apparently he had set up his very own play date. This is a play date in the high tech age. 2 kids meet online at Club Penguin and wander around there aimlessly while they chat on the phone with each other. I was intrigued to see how this was going to work for my telephonophobic child.

He got over that fear pretty quick! They chatted and played for over an hour! Now this is an older kid, neither Hilary nor I have met him and we don't even know his last name. We do know that he goes to Liam's school and that he is an Old (so grade 3 or 4) and that they started chatting on the bus to swim class about Club Penguin.

This is Liam's first friend that he has made completely on his own without any involvement from Hilary or I. He did meet another friend at summer camp this summer, but that one involved me calling the boy's mother and setting up a play date for them.

And for the first time ever, the phone rang today and a young boy politely asked "May I please speak with Liam?"

I thought we would have a few more years before our phone line was tied up by the kid all day long. Guess I was wrong.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Open Your Whore Mouth

”Open

Aunt Becky is always telling us to shut our whore mouths. Now it’s time to open them. Check out her post so that you too can open your whore mouth and get in on her giveaway!



1) Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream?

No way no how! I don't like any sort of bitty-bit foods on my food! And that includes the sticks and leaves that Hilary keeps trying to convince me adds flavour to things.

2) If you had to choose one word to banish from the English language, what would it be and why?

Maaaaaaaaaammaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Just the long drawn out, whiny version, not the sweet loving Mama! version.

3) If you were a flavor, what would it be?

Pineapple

4) What’s the most pointless annoying chore you can think of that you do on a daily/weekly basis?

Making the bed. You're just going to pull it all apart so you can get into it again.

5) Of all the nicknames I’ve ever had in my life, Aunt Becky is the most widely known and probably my favorite. What’s your favorite nickname? (for yourself)

Andy of course. I was Andrea for the fist 20 odd years and now I've been Andy for about as long (okay, that's just sad.........)

6) Your stuck on a desert island with the collective works of 5 (and only five) musical artists for the rest of your life. Who are they?

  • Great Big Sea
  • John Denver
  • The Beatles
  • Billy Joel
  • Johnny Cash

7) Everything is better with bacon. True or false?

TRUE! As evidenced by Bacon Mints

8 ) If I could go back in time and tell Young Aunt Becky one thing, it would be that out of chaos, order emerge. Also: tutus go with everything. What would you tell young self?

Don't bother wasting a year at university, it won't do you any good anyway.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An atheist sings Christmas

I love Christmas music! Once it hit December 1st and our digital cable box had the Christmas music channels turned on I was all set. Working from home has it's perks. You can sing out loud all day and no one says a thing! Until your 7 year old gets home and joins in. He loves all things Christmas.

Until he hears his Mama signing things like "The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head." or "Joy to the world! the Lord has come" or "Christ the Savior is born;" or "God rest you merry, gentlemen"

You see our family (Hilary, Liam and I) is atheist. But we do jump on the bandwagon for a lot of the Christian celebrations! Of course we celebrate the secular parts of the holidays. We give gifts, we put up a tree, we believe in Santa Claus, we celebrate family. Now that Liam is 7 though, a lot of the harder questions are coming up. Like why his Mama keeps signing about God and Jesus if she doesn't believe in them?

Good question little man.

Trying to explain it to an atheist 7 year old is tough when I'm not really sure I understand the answers myself. I grew up in a Catholic household - I was christened, had my first communion and my confirmation. We celebrated both the religious and the non-religous sides of Christmas. I have long since left both the church and any beliefs I may have had behind. But somethings are just so ingrained. Like Christmas carols!

For now I'll just keep singing! And one day Liam will figure out the the nightly lullaby that I've sung to him since he was born is actually a religious Christmas carol. Good thing it's in French and he's not bilingual!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is it drugging your child

to give him Rooibos tea to make help him go to sleep? We are on day 7 of Liam being awake until at least 10:00 PM. And then of course being a bear to wake up the next morning.

His solution? Stop waking him up when he's so tired in the morning.

Ummmm.... not happening buddy!