Friday, December 31, 2010

Thank you, I think.

Have you ever gotten a gift, that upon opening it you had no idea what it was?  That's happened to me a couple of times, and it happened to Hilary this Christmas. She had a rough idea what it was, since it's quite obviously a knife, but she didn't know this type of knife's specific purpose.

So the obvious thing to do was to ask the giver of the gift, my Mom.  That should usually work, right?  Not this time.  My Mom had no clue what it was for either!  She thinks it might be for fruit.  She got the knife as a free gift for watching a demonstration of something at Sears one day.

Fortunately the knife had a website name on the handle.  Unfortunately I can't find this knife on their website (probably because it's a free gift).  So if anyone has seen one, used one, or knows what it's for, please let me know.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Adoption Reading Challenge 2011

FireMom is hosting a year-long adoption reading challenge.  With that length of time I might actually make it!   She has split the challenge into different levels, with each level having a goal for a different number of books, either fiction or non-fiction, all having to do with adoption

I'm going to aim for Level 3 myself - 12 books!  I may re-read some adoption books that I've already read, but I'm also looking forward to finding some new ones.  I hope that you all join the challenge as it's alway interesting to read other peoples perspectives on books. Head on over to sign up at The Chronicles of Munchkinland. And come back here to follow my progress (and poke me if I'm not making any!)  I'm going to add a section to the sidebar listing the books that I'm reading.  If you have any suggestions for adoption related books, please add them to the comments.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Hilary has outdone herself again!  The first two pictures are from the practice desert she made the week before Christmas.  Normally she just dives into a recipe and doesn't do a practice run, but this one had an unusual ingredient and she wanted to see how it would react.

And with it's Christmas (gluten-free!) crust.

Can you see the blueish flecks in the Christmas crust?  And the stuff being sprinkled on top?  Pop-Rocks! Yes, the notorious candy that was blamed for killing Mikey, of cereal commercial fame, when he mixed Pop-Rocks and Coke together. It's not true, Mikey is alive and well.

Turns out you CAN cook with Pop-Rocks.  Or at least mix them into things.  The crust was not cooked, but just a pressed cookie crumb crust with Pop-Rocks mixed in.  And they didn't POP till you ate it!  The Pop-Rocks on top of the cheese cake popped a little bit when they hit the wet cheese cake, but mostly held together till they were served and eaten.

It was a yummy cheese cake (lime flavoured) and also exciting to eat! Now I'll be on the look out for anything new that she serves, half expecting it to explode in my mouth!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A selection of Christmas pictures

We had a wonderful Christmas!

The stockings were placed on the couch with care!  The cats' stocking was hidden in the cupboard overnight as Buster tried to destroy the packaging to get a nip fix at midnight.

Wearing his new strippy PJs and looking a tad excited! 

 Santa came through with the Hot Wheels Acceleracers!  Way to go Big Guy.

 The yearly tradition of a new Canadians gift from Monica.

Boxing Day was spent honing his skills on Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2.

My camera has been giving me grief, so I didn't take very many pictures this year, nor did I get a single shot of either Hilary or I, or one of the 3 of us.  That will be my goal for New Year's Eve!  If you have any advice on cameras or camera shopping, please chime in.

Friday, December 24, 2010

How to stress out the foodies

Especially on Christmas Eve!

Hilary is in the throes of preparing a wonderful Christmas feast for us and friends tomorrow.  But in a moment of nostalgia, I craved for a food that is one of my  family traditions.

Known in my family as Green Salad, it's Lime Jello, cream cheese and pineapple!  Hilary offered to finish it for me while I put Liam to bed, but she couldn't get past the lumps of cream cheese.  With barely contained giggles, she came to ask me if it was supposed to look this way.  And yes, it is!

Even though I haven't eaten Jello in a very long time, I'm looking forward to a taste of my childhood tomorrow!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When you can't say Merry Christmas

We live far away from both our families, so we don't celebrate holidays with them.  And (mostly) we are okay with that.  We still send gifts, exchange photos, chat on the phone.  There is still a family connection there.  Grandparents know that Liam loves Club Penguin and all things Star Wars.  They know clothing sizes and if there is a need for new PJs.

But there are people who are missing from our celebrations.  People that we cannot call, cannot send gifts to, can't even email a quick Merry Christmas.  Someone who didn't know us, might think I was referring to someone who had died.  But I'm not.  I'm referring to Iris and "K", my birth mother and Liam's.

So I will wish them both a Merry Christmas here.  I hope they both know that we think of them often and hope that they are okay and that they have a wonderful holiday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The stress of the season.

We all have stress around the holiday season. Cooking, cleaning, family…. It all adds up. What I didn’t expect was a stressed out 8 year old. We’ve been having some rough patches with behaviour over the last month or so. This has led Liam to worry that he is going to end up on Santa’s Naughty list this year. We’ve had a couple of out and out hysterical crying sessions because he has been so sure that he is going to have The. Worst. Christmas. Ever.

I’ve done a lot of damage control trying to repair the wee ego. Talking about how feeling bad and sorry after misbehaving and then trying your hardest next time counts towards being on the nice list. How thinking of others and living up to the spirit of Christmas can mean more than having a bad afternoon. These pep talks seem to work to help calm him down, but don’t necessarily “stick” as we end up right back where we were a few days later.

We try really hard not to throw out that old parenting stand-by when we are in the middle of bad behaviour: “Santa’s watching you know, you better start behaving!”, because I think that would push him over the edge. But the attitude, the not listening, the general grumpiness that has been surrounding Liam like Pig Pen’s cloud of dust has been hard on all of us. My temper has been short, and unfortunately, I tend to lash out with stinging sarcastic comments when I’m pushed too far. Not my most stellar parenting moments, but hey, I’m human. The most recent one, tossed out while we were supposed to be decorating the tree but instead Liam had stomped off and was full of attitude, was along the lines, of “Well, I guess you just don’t care about Christmas then.” Way to go Mama. It took us several hours to recover from that both my comments and Liam’s initial attitude. Maybe I should be worried that I’m going to be on the naughty list this year too.

Finally, in a desperate bid to plead his case with the big guy in the red suite, Liam asked if parents had any influence over Santa’s final decision, or did you end up on the Naughty/Nice list solely based on what Santa’s witnessed himself. I seized the opportunity to wield a bit of power. I let him know that parents can contact Santa if we think there may be extenuating circumstances that Santa might not be aware of. Then we talked some more about how to improve and not get himself into the ruts that may tip the naughty scale against him. And I went off to send my email to Santa.

Sympatico has this lovely application called Magic Santa. We did it last year and it was a big hit. You fill in all the info about your child, upload their picture, answer a few questions about what they want for Christmas and *POOF* you get a customized video email from Santa, directly to your child. This year it was even more perfect, as it tied in with me sending an email to Santa. Liam got his email yesterday. Santa greeted him by name (which got a little gasp of delight out of Liam) and then Santa went on to say that he had gotten a letter from Liam’s parents and showed a picture of Hilary and I. He did go on to reassure Liam that he was on the Christmas Eve route and that he knew that Liam was hoping to get a new video game this year. You could almost see the weight of worry lift off of Liam’s shoulders as he watched.

So hopefully, as we count down the last 5 days until Christmas, we can all hold it together and make sure we stay on the Nice list.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not what he expected

Picture a long, low white building.  Once you walk inside the front door there is a desk.  And at this desk is the lady who finds families for the kids.  Kids who don't have a family and must go stay with foster parents. Each waiting child would have their own room, with just a bed in it.

That is what Liam pictured when he thought about the foster family he stayed with.  It reminds me a bit of the orphanages that you sometimes see in Disney movies. Maybe that is where he got the idea from.

Over the years we have talked about his foster family, how they invited us into their home and lives every day for the 2 weeks that he was with them.  How his foster mom worked a 1940's period museum and would dress him up in 1940's baby clothes and let him sleep in the display pram while she worked in the kitchen.

We've told him stories about their home, how part of it is made out of bales of straw, and that one room was built around a live tree. How we sat in that room and gleaned from their years of baby knowledge on how to burp a newborn, or care for his umbilical stump.

But I guess none of it really sunk in with him.  Until last Sunday, when we had a chance to go and visit them.

Once again, they invited us into their home.  The currently have 5 children in staying with them, ranging in age from 3 to 15.  Liam walked in and made himself at home, wandering around inspecting things.  The house has changed a lot; they put on a huge addition last summer to accommodate their youngest foster child, a little girl who is blind and in a wheel chair.  But the straw room with the tree is still there.  Liam and their little boy who is 7 quickly made a bee-line for the play room and were not heard from until it was time to go.  Hilary and I got to enjoy tea and sweets and catch up on the last 8 years.

It was an interesting journey, one that we did at Liam's request.  I hope that it helps to fill some void for him, or at least gives him an accurate picture of how his first 2 weeks of life were spent.  Being held, being loved, being part of a family.

It has also brought up some other questions:  Why don't we "get" a foster child?  Are their other children with no where to go?  Why can't we help them?  Liam would very much like to have a sibling.  But I don't think that foster care is the right choice for us right now.  Maybe one day though.........

Monday, December 13, 2010

The clothing wars

I knew it was too good to last. Up until now, Liam has not cared about what he wore. In fact, he would be happiest if he could just be naked all the time, something that he frequent does at home (but may need to stop sooner than later, since we just put in new back door with full length window !) There have only been 2 clothing choices that he has said no to in the past – 1) turtle necks. He hates them and feels like he is choking. 2) the pink t-shirt. I’ve always been secretly smug in the fact that I had a boy who would wear pretty much anything. I don’t know how well I could handle a girly-girl with a need for matching accessories or just the right article of clothing. I myself am pretty much an “open the drawer, wear what is on top that is suitable to the weather” kinda dresser. My socks are frequently very different colours to what the rest of my outfit is. I’m clean, I’m warm, I’m presentable. Job well done in my book.

And then it happened. We were going out visiting friends on Sunday and I brought Liam his clothes to change into. He dove right into the sweater, pulled on his socks and stopped. He R.E.F.U.S.E.D. to wear the cords that I had brought down (nice brown ones that matched his sweater, I’m not completely lost in fashion) All he wanted was track pants, and no amount of cajoling, pleading or bribing was going to work. “Track pants are more comfortable”, he claimed. “Cords aren’t warm enough”, he lamented. “I just don’t want to!” was his final argument.

As most parents know, picking your battles is a key part of parenting. And this was not a battle worth going to war over. The track pants were clean, warm and presentable. Sure he would look much cuter in the cords, but he doesn’t need to be cute.  And so we left the house with Liam in a nice sweater and a warm, clean pair of track pants.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.  I may need to run out to the store to stock up on some track pants this week!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dec 9th, 2010

Happy 17th Anniversary Hilary!

I love you. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendars

We don't celebrate the religious side of Advent, but we do count down to Christmas with an Advent calendar every year. Most years we buy the calendars with little windows that open and you get a chocolate.  One year I made a Calendar for Hilary, putting small gifts in numbered paper bags that I hung on our bedroom door.  The year the Liam had surgery the week before and then again the week after Christmas, we filled mini gift bags with Hot Wheels and other small toys.  Last year we splurged and got Liam a Playmobile Pirate Calendar.

This year I decided to make them again.  But I really like having a little chocolate after dinner each night, and we don't need any more toys!  Luckily, Laura Secord sells Advent Calendar Chocolate Refills!  After a trip to the dollar store I was all set.

So let the countdown to Christmas begin!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mr. Conductor

Having spent Millions and Billions of dollars on Thomas the Tank Engine trains, tracks, pajamas, blankets, shirts, face clothes, books, videos, underwear, coats and shoes, it did not come as a surprise that the vehicle Liam chose to study this term was trains.

On Thursday they held their first term fair, where the kids get to showcase their work.  Liam told visitors all about trains, how they run, the parts of trains and showed off his art work.

Now they move on from theme and start working on their annual plays.  They will go back to theme in January, but will study a new area under this years umbrella theme "The World of Work".  I can't wait to see what topic they choose.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kitchen Science

Meet Scientist Liam
Tonight he performed extraordinary experiments:

His notes:

Conclusions: when you add dish soap, food colouring disperses best in milk, fastest in Sprite and has interesting results in oil.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pizzelles, fire and the smoke detector

Every year for Christmas my Mom and Grandma would make Pizzelles.  I don't know where they got the original recipe or their presses, but they have been making them for longer then I have been alive.  Eventually my Grandmother started using an electric press, which made TWO cookies at a time.  When I was young, I would help my Mom make them in the fireplace.  Since a recipe makes 4 dozen + cookies and you can only cook them one at a time, it made for a whole day, very hot affair.   Several years ago my Mom found a press and gave it to me for Christmas.  Sadly, life always seems too busy to spend the day making cookies, so I have only used it once or twice.

Well this weekend I decided that we needed Pizzelles!  They have always been my favorite cookie and now are Liam's too.  And while you can buy them pre-made at some specialty Italian markets, they just aren't as good.  So I oiled up the press, mixed the dough and got going:

all photos were taken with Liam's DSI since my camera batteries were dead.

It's almost guaranteed that you will have at least one fire while making Pizzelles on the stove top.  After all there is one cup of oil in the dough.  But thanks to Firemom's many fire prevention posts, I was prepared.  I knew where the fire extinguisher was and I knew that my smoke detectors had fresh batteries.  I do however regret the fresh batteries (Just kidding Firemom!).  The actual "fires" were really just small flames... easily blown out and did not require the fire extinguisher.  But suddenly and with out warning, the smoke detectors started going off!  And really... I've made toast that has produced more smoke.  Even with the doors and windows open, I couldn't get the smoke detectors to stop beeping! Eventually I found a step stool and was able to silence both of them.

In the end it was worth it.  We ended up with 4 dozen cookies wrapped up to be frozen and I'm pretty sure Liam and I ate at least a dozen during the making.  And best of all?  He proclaimed MY cookies even better than his Grandma's because, and I quote "he could taste a bit of extra love in them"

Awww! If that doesn't encourage me to make them more often, I don't know what will.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Food, food and more food

For more then a year now we have been planning a cooking day with our friends Sandy and Jason.  We would split the cost of groceries, split the chopping and stirring and then split the end results.  We thought we would make some pasta sauce, a stew, maybe a curry - all things that could be frozen and heated up for a quick meal after work.

Well yesterday we finally got together and did it.  Here's what we ended up with:
  • 10 hours
  • 4 people
  • $120.00
  • 9 dishes that made:
  • 32 meals &
  • 5 desserts
  • 0 injuries
  • way too many dirty dishes!

    click on the picture to see the labels

    Sandy and Jason brought over their nifty vacuum sealing system.  Hilary was a little hesitant to put liquids into bags, but it really did work!

    It was a long and tiring day, but households have lots of food in the freezer and we're all game to do it again in a few months.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Vampire Brains

    Halloween may be over, but the fun continues.  Hilary made us Vampire Brains for dessert last night.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Happy Halloween!

    I hope you have a safe and fun Halloween!

    Love Luigi, Mario and Toad.

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Happy Birthday Mom!

    We had a lovely visit with my Mom recently:

    Nice walks in the rain:

    And she even tried her hand at some Mario Cart:

    Happy 68th Birthday Mom!

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Liam and Mama

    Since I'm the one who takes most of the pictures, I'm not often in them.  So this one that my Mom took is now my current favorite shot of Liam and I.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Old friends revisited

    2 things happened yesterday that just made Liam's day.

    First he saw this trailer:

    Then I had to clean out the attic. 

    Since our attic is really just crawl space under the eaves I often get Liam to help since he's the only one who can stand up in there.  The bribe is that he can play with some of the toys that we may find that have been boxed up and put away.

    Well, the 5th box he pulled out was his Cars toys! 

    Cars was the very first movie that Liam saw in the theaters, 1 month before his 4th birthday.  He sat mesmerized for the entire thing, thumb in mouth not even blinking.  He loved it so much we ended up seeing it 3 times at the theaters and were in line to buy in on DVD the day it was released.

    Of course, he also had to have the toys to go with it, so that he could act out every scene as he watched.  The one toy he REALLY wanted was Mack, the 18 wheeler that hauls McQueen across the country.  So we gave him an incentive - earn $20.00 and it's yours.  He was a very highly motivated 4 year old!

    It helped that Granny and Grandpa where here and kept slipping him Loonies!

    But alas, little boys grow up and their interest move on to things like Star Wars, Poke'mon or Halo (not that he's allowed to see/play Halo, but he still "loves" it - go figure)

    But old friends are never really gone... just packed away for awhile.  We had family movie night last night and watched Cars, while Liam revisited all of his toys.

    And yes, even after the 1,345,675,123 viewing of the movie, I still shed a tear when Lightening pushed the King over the finish line! 

    Be sure to mark your calendars - June 24th, 2011!

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Foster Care

    Oct. 17 to 23 is Foster Family Appreciation week and the province wants to thank the more than 800 foster families who give children in need a loving, safe and stable place to call home during a family crisis.

    "There is no greater gift a grown up can give a child than the gift of hope," said Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse. "Our foster parents are committed to providing children with what they deserve, a loving, caring, nurturing home, and most importantly a renewed hope for a brighter future. For all their great work we say thank you."

    Recruitment of new foster families and orientation sessions are held year-round, but the third week in October is set aside each year to recognize the commitment and difference a foster family can make to a child in need.

    "My foster care experience has helped me to grow, learn, and become more connected to the world around me," said Sarah. "My foster family saw my strengths where others saw my weaknesses. Today I have hope because I know my foster family will always do what's best for me."

    The week includes events around the province when certificates of recognition will be awarded to foster families for every five years they have cared for children.

    The Department of Community Services is always looking for more foster families. If your family is interested in becoming a foster parent or want more information call the toll free number at 1-800-565-1884.

    Nova Scotia Department of Community Services - Media Release - October 18, 2010

    My life has been touched by foster families twice. I was placed with a foster family when I left the hospital as a newborn and I stayed with them for 6 weeks before I went home with my adoptive family. When Liam was born, he spent 17 days with a foster family before he came home with us.

    I don’t have very much information about the foster family that I stayed with. The mother filled out a questionnaire about my daily habits (bath after breakfast, nap outside in the afternoon, morning pooper), what type of formula I ate and any medical events during my stay with her. Those 6 weeks have always been a part of my story, but never one that I thought a lot about. It was a short enough time that having it as a void in my history has never really concerned me. I knew I was with a family and presumably well cared for. I’ll have to check with my Mom, but I don’t ever recall asking questions or even being curious about who my foster family was.

    Liam however, has recently asked about his foster family and would like to meet them. Because we had a pre-birth match, Liam’s mom was able to give her permission for us to visit Liam during his stay in foster care, since we had no legal ties to him at all until the end of the 17 days when she had signed all the papers terminating her parental rights.  His foster family lived an hour outside of the city and invited us into their home everyday.  They let us bonded with Liam, leaving us to hold him and care for him while they went about their day.  They even invited us to spend the whole day with them on the weekend, and once drove into town to their own son's house so that we didn't have to do the long drive after work.  We were brand new to this parenting things who didn't always know what we were doing.  They taught us how to burp and feed a newborn and taught us to keep a Thermos of hot water in the bedroom to make mixing bottles in the middle of the night easier.

    We have a wonderful picture of Liam's foster mother holding him and plan on going out to visit them soon.  While they were only a part of our lives for 17 days, they will always hold a special spot in my heart for being such wonderful, amazing people that took Liam, and us, into their lives.

    Thank you to all the great Foster Parents!!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Sleep perchance

    to sleep some more!!!

    Liam has never been a great sleeper.  For the first 3 months we couldn't wake him up, and ever since then we've had trouble keeping him asleep.  We first succumbed to alternative sleep solutions when Liam was only 9 months, in the hopes of not losing our ever-loving minds.  The crib became storage for stuffed animals and we started co-sleeping.  And it worked for us, until Liam was 3ish.... when I woke up with a perfect foot-shaped bruise just above my left kidney and we deemed it time to transition into his own bed.

    The transition took us almost 2 years before he could get into his bed by himself and fall asleep.

    Then we had another bout of night terrors, some sleepwalking and just night after night of interrupted sleep. After 8 years, you kinda expect the "baby" to be sleeping through the night.  This is something that is not covered in any of the parenting books that I've read.

    So when we added ADHD medication to the mix this summer, we were a little worried.  One of the main side effects of pretty much ALL the ADHD meds is difficulty sleeping.  And we were right to be worried.  Liam's bedtime was creeping later and later... from 8:00 to 11:00.  He would be in bed but awake, calling down, needing water, books, cuddles or letting his mind wander into worst case scenarios (fire, plague, war....) and causing himself great anxiety.  He was also waking up through the night, so nobody was getting any rest.

    Until we discovered the best solution ever!

    Sweet, wonderful melatonin.  How we love thee.  2 little tablets, dissolved under his tongue, and Liam is asking to go to bed within 20 minutes and is out like a light!  He is back to an 8:00 bedtime, and after brushing, reading and a quick cuddle he is out by 8:30.  Which makes for happy mothers and a well rested boy.  And since melatonin is a natural product that your body produces anyway, there are no side effects and it is not addictive.  Win-Win-Win in my mind!

    Now if I could stop watching TV shows that are on too late and get to bed earlier myself, I might be well rested too!

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Adoption, adoption everywhere

    Once again adoption has found it's way onto my TV without me realizing it.  There is a daughter and her birthmother racing together on the Amazing Race this year.

    To me, reunion is hard enough without doing it with the stress of TV cameras and travel, all while running a race to win a million dollars.  From what they said on the opening episode, this is only the 3rd time that they have met face to face.  I think they even said that the first time they talked was during the interview for the show! It took Iris and I almost a year to work past having to send letters through a social worker, and then even longer to get to phone calls and the idea of meeting face to face.  And I realize that everyone is different, I just hope they don't have some sort of honeymoon phase that ends while they are half way up a mountain in Tibet.

    Liam is watching the Amazing Race with us this year.  It will be interesting to see if it sparks any adoption questions for him.  The first episode didn't; he was much too interested in watching them storming the castle, smashing suits of armour with watermelons and laughing at the people trying to get their little shell boats across the water.

    I hope it works out for them and that they have the chance to get to know each other like they are hoping for.  I would love to see some follow up with them after the show is done to see how they made out and where their relationship will go from there.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Homework = Fun!

    Did you know that homework can be fun? It certainly never was when I was a kid. Now that I’m a parent and having to suffer work through homework a second time, I’m determined to make it fun. Here’s some of the things you can find Liam and I doing most evening between 5:00 and 6:00. If you are ever near by around that time stop by and join us!

    Water fun - When the temperature hit 40C nobody wanted to move, let alone do homework. So we got inventive and added a water component.

    Water Gun Reading - Write out 20 words on individual pieces of paper and scatter them around the back yard.. Use them as target practice as you read them. Mama had to participate in this so that we were both getting caught in each other’s cross fire.

    Water Bomb Math - similar to water gun reading, write out math questions and spread them around. Then set a bucket of water and the water bombs in the middle of the yard. Run to a question, answer it, run to the bucket and be the first to throw a bomb at the other person. Keep playing long after the math questions are all answered.

    Scavenger hunts - These can be used for all sorts of home work ideas. We recently did an eye spy/scavenger hunt for reading homework on a walk that ended up at the park. I carried a notepad and pen with me and would write down words of things as we saw them. Liam had to stop and read the word and then find the item before we could move on.  Since he knew we were going to the park, he was motivated to keep moving.

    Sidewalk Chalk - Everything is more fun when it's done outside!  Write out the list of reading words or math questions in a hopscotch board and answer/read them as you play.  This week I wrote math questions up and down our sidewalk, driveway and even our street with a right and wrong answer to pick from.  Based on which one you picked you followed the arrow to the next question.  If you got them all right it led you to a surprise at the end.  But if you got one wrong you got the booby prize and had to start over to figure out which one led you astray!

    Online Games - What better then an asteroid shooting game for fun? A game where you shoot words by spelling them out! There are a ton of reading and math websites out there to help make homework fun. Even Club Penguin can be used for reading. Just visit the library above the coffee shop and do one of their paint by letter books.

    Reading is Reading is Reading -When Liam can’t choose which book to read or is just in a reading funk, we’ll breakout all sorts of things to read - comic books, the back of a Wii game carton, cereal boxes. Our most recent one was Dixie cups with riddles printed on them. It all counts!

    Board Games - I pull these out when I’m out of other ideas. It can cover 1) Reading - the instructions, the game cards, the board. 2) Math - Monopoly and the Game of Life are great for money concepts, or any game with dice is good for simple addition. 3) Strategic thinking and planning - nothing like a good game of chess to get in some thinking and planning.

    The down side to all of this fun is that it can up the ante of what Liam wants to do for homework.  I have to plan ahead and be prepared.  We don't do something super fun every night, sometimes we read boring old books or do work sheets.  But mixing it up keeps us both interested!

    And please share any fun homework ideas that you have!

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    adhd medication

    "Liam is in a really good mood, he has been so good, listening to me really well he sat and ate his lunch with no problem, I haven't seen him in such a good mood in awhile!”
    told to us by our friend Judith after spending the day with Liam while he was on the Adderall.

    We didn’t make the decision to try ADHD meds lightly. Ritalin has gotten such a bad rap over the years from being over-prescribed and abused that it even has it’s own song on The Simpson’s.

    Bart: [singing to the tune of "Popeye, the Sailor Man"]
    When I can't stop my fiddlin'
    I just takes me Ritalin
    I'm poppin' and sailin', man!

    But as we learnt more about ADHD and the neurological component, we likened it to any other disease. If Liam had been diagnosed with diabetes we would not have thought twice if the doctor had said he needed insulin. So we forged ahead into the land of prescriptions.

    We’ve been lucky that we were able to start him on the medication over the summer so that we can watch for effects and side effects. Our family doctor was only comfortable starting him off on Ritalin until we were able to see a pediatrician. Over a couple of weeks we tried a variety of doses. We quickly discovered that a higher dose caused Liam to have a lot of anxiety. This boy who has flown 20+ times in his 8 years was petrified during take off on our trip to British Columbia in June. He sat between Hilary and I, clinging to both of us and ran through every possible worse case scenario. Luckily we were able to distract and redirect and the anxiety ultimately passed since that was only the first 15 minutes of our 10+ hour day of travel!

    The Ritalin did have the desired effect of helping Liam to slow his thoughts down and to focus on what was going on around him and what he was doing. The down side of Ritalin is that it only lasts in your system for about 4 hours so he was taking a 2nd dose at lunch time. This was okay when we were on vacation but not something that would work well during summer camp or when he was back at school.

    It seemed however that we were going to be stuck with Ritalin for a long time. The first referal we could get for a pediatrician was Sept 24th! We asked our doctor to see if there was anyone else that we could get in to see sooner.  Our second referral was for Oct, 2nd!  Luckily the second Dr had a cancellation and we were able to get in the very next day.

    This Dr started us on a course of Adderall, first at 10 mg per day and then up to 15 mg.  And WOW! It has been great!  The one fear that we had, that Liam would lose himself or his amazing personality, has not materialized.  He is still the great, fun, awesome kid with the wacky sense of humour that he always was.  But now we don't have to say things like "stop spinning" or "please just be still for 1 minute" 346 times a day.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Thrill of a Lifetime

    As part of my fabulous and 40 birthday celebration this year, we spent the day at the CNE  Nothing says "40" like cotton candy, mini doughnuts and midway rides.  And Liam was finally tall enough to go on some of them with me.

    His favourite (and mine) was the swings

    We also played lots of carnival games and came home with 7 new "stuffies"

    Even Grandma got in on the games.

    But for Liam the biggest thrill was going on his first "grownup" ride by himself.  I love rides, the faster and the spinnier the better .... IF I'm seat belted in AND they don't involve water.  Of course, he wanted to go on the Flume ride.  No seat belts - it relies on gravity and momentum to keep you in and it splashes down into water.  No Thank You.

    So we sent him off on his own!  There was a gaggle of kids smaller then him in line so he queued up with them.  The ride operator stuffed all 6 kids into one log.

    By the time they came down the last hill you could have fit 2 more full size adults behind them!  Gravity and momentum smushed them all forward into the poor littlest kid at the front.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    A Knight to Remember

    For my birthday dinner this year we went to Medieval Times in Toronto.  We didn't tell Liam where we were going, but hinted that it was going to be a boring, grown-up restaurant with nowhere to play and probably no other kids.  He was none too thrilled....till we walked up to the front door.  Then I thought his head just might pop-off!

    And as an added, super-secret bonus, he was called up to by the King and Knighted by Princess Lenore.

    It was definitely a (K)night to remember!

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    My school picture

    So for those anxiously waiting.... this is me:

    Long(ish) hair, a dress and panty-hose! I hated smiling for pictures then as much as I do now!

    By the way, the Virginia is for Lovers kid in the back row (for those who thought is was me) is a boy!