Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Determined

My one word for 2015 is DETERMINED



  • I am DETERMINED to laugh more
  • I am DETERMINED to love more
  • I am DETERMINED to eat healthier
  • I am DETERMINED to run more
  • I am DETERMINED to do well at TKD
  • I am DETERMINED to enjoy life to its fullest
  • I am DETERMINED to have a great year

If you had to pick one word that will help to define you and guide your for next year, what word would you choose?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I did BELIEVE

I chose the word BELIEVE for 2014 and set myself some goals around it.

  • I believe that I will be successful in 2014 
  • I believe that I will be there as a friend and partner to Hilary 
  • I believe that I will be the best parent I can be to Liam 
  • I believe that I will continue to become a better runner
  • I believe that I will grow my Tae Kwon Do skills 
  • I believe that I will achieve my health goals

The year started out strong and I really did BELIEVE that I could do all these things. I ran my first 10k race  . I became a green belt in TaeKwon- Do  and competed in an Eastern Canadian Championship tournament . My love and friendship with Hilary continued to grow  and while parenting is one of the hardest roller coaster rides I’ve ever been on, I really do try my best. 2014 has also been a successful year in my professional life.

The area that I feel that I did not achieve in 2014 is my health goals. Somewhere around the end of summer I stopped BELIEVING in myself, and stopped trying. I stopped running, I missed more TKD classes then I attended and I stopped focusing on healthy eating. So it’s no surprise that I’m ending 2014 feeling a lot less healthy then I did when the year started.

That is part of the ups and downs of life though, so I’m not going to dwell on it and give up completely. I have started BELIEVING in myself again and I am moving on, ready to face a new year.

I’ll be picking my word for 2015 in the next few days as 2014 comes to a close. If you had to pick one word to help guide you through the new year, what would it be?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The last art card

This is Liam's last year in elementary school, so this is the last year that he will make an art card.



It was hard to fit all 9 into a single shot so I ended up having to stitch them together.  His art card this year is titled 'The Lively Triangles" and was inspired by his study of microbes under a microscope.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Memories

Last week I made a list of all the places I have lived in my 44+ years. I knew it was a lot, but I was surprised when they were all written out, that I have lived at 22 different places. The longest I've ever lived anywhere was the house my Mom still lives in. I spent 13 years there. I've owned 2 of my own houses and have lived in each of them for 9 years. With no plans to move ever again, our current home is likely to be the one that will top out at the longest in just a few more years.


I have memories from most of the places I have lived, except the earliest ones, and a couple from the early ‘90s when my memories of most things are sketchy at best. The memories run the gamut of emotions from happy to sad, grief to anger, joy to hopelessness.

But the one house that holds the most memories for me is the one at which I never lived. My Grandparents house.


It wasn't very big and was kind of dark.  There was no backyard to speak of, so I mostly played in the driveway or under a huge blue spruce that had to be cut down years ago.  The only shower was a stand alone in the unfinished basement. It was a pretty creepy basement with open stairs, a painted cement floor, a dangling light bulb and cubby holes that lead into an abyss of darkness. When I was little I loved to hang out down there with my Grandfather. He had been a boxer in his youth and still had a lot of equipment in the basement. I would have a go at the heavy bag and try desperately to lift the big heavy weights with him.

When I was growing up my Grandparents lived there with their 2 youngest sons, their 2 oldest children having left the nest 20 years earlier. There were 3 bedrooms upstairs, all off a small hallway that wasn't wide enough to allow 2 people to pass each other. When my parents and I visited for the weekend, everyone would get displaced, making room for us – I would bunk in bed with Grandma, Grandpa got the couch and one uncle gave up his room to my parents and  slept on the floor in the living room.


We spent almost all holidays and most weekends at my Grandparent’s house. Often my Mom and I would make the hour drive on our own while my Dad stayed home and worked on the weekends. I remember being curled up on the couch Christmas eve when Santa came to the door; waking up early Christmas morning and my Grandma sneaking down to get me a bun to eat in bed in the hopes of giving everyone an extra few minutes of sleep. Sunday dinners were always big affairs, served at one o’clock. Every single meal included mashed potatoes, mashed by my Grandfather with his big strong hands.

By the middle of next month the house will be emptied of all of my Grandparent's things.  The house has been sold.  My Grandpa passed away more then 20 years ago and my Grandma has lived there by herself since then.  Until she couldn't anymore.  My oldest uncle found a wonderful nursing home that can look after her daily needs and she moved there this past summer.  It took a while to get the house ready to show and the market isn't the greatest, so it took a while to sell.  But now it has.

I'm glad that I was able to have one last visit to the house this past summer.  My Grandmother had already moved and the packing up had started.  The house was eerily quiet.  Quiet enough for the memories to wash over me as I stood in a doorway or gazed down the hall.  There were still pictures on the shelves, the same pictures that had been there since I was little.  New ones had been added as the Great-Grandchildren came along.  Every sight, smell and sound brought forth another memory.   The weird noise the bathroom lock made, the squeak of the third step that meant I could never sneak in late without someone hearing me.

I live to far away to be able to help my family with packing up the remaining memories.  I will cling to the photographs that I have showing carpet that never changed, outdated but comfortable furniture and kitchen cabinets that housed a dishwasher that was never used.  I am glad for all the memories that I have and I hope that whoever lives there next can make their own awesome memories too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Microbiology

Today we attended Liam's second to last elementary school fair.  Twice a year, at the end of each semester, from pre-school to grade 6, the parents are invited in so that the children can share with us what they have studied.


Over the years he has studied Humming Birds (his first fair when he was 4), bio-luminescent sea creatures when he was 6, the human body at 7 and the mysteries of Oak Island at 11


This year, at the ripe old age of 12 he studied microbiology.  I learned more in their 30 minute presentation then I did from a whole year of Grade 11 Biology class.  We learned about atoms and cell parts, what a macrophage was, the difference between bacteria and a viruses and the history of the microscope and how they work.



For one of their experiments they created an environment for penicillin to grow in and wrote up their findings.


Luckily they used really strong bags because Liam had left his experiment in his tray of work that Hilary and I went through on parent-teach night, 2 weeks after the experiment had ended.

Liam explained drug resistant bacteria to everyone.


I can't wait to see what he learns next!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Twenty-One

Today Hilary and I celebrate 21 years together! I can't wait to see what the next 21 bring.




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kim Chi Soondubu Jjigae

Hilary decided to try Korean cooking this week.  

Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae is a hot and sour soup with beef, shrimp, tofu and of course Kim Chi.  Kim Chi is a spicy fermented vegetable dish made with cabbage.  When we bought some at the Korean market for this dish, the shop owner wanted to make sure we knew what we were buying as we were buying the strongest kind they sold.  She didn't have many Canadian customers buying that version.

The soup was wonderful.  The soft tofu added at the end gave it a nice creamy texture.  This dish qualifies as one of the spiciest that Hilary has made.  I think we may serve it over rice tonight to cut down a bit on the spice and to help flesh it out more.






Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

Today Liam took part in his first ever Remembrance Day event as a Cadet.


He marched three blocks, following an Army band and then stood for an hour during the ceremony.



Cadets is everything he dreamed of and loves every minute of it.




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cadet Drouin


Liam was very excited to finally get his uniform last night!

Now he can practice polishing his boots, and learn to tie a tie.  He'll also be gaining some great life skills when he learns how to sew on his badges this week and how to iron a shirt.

This weekend they head off on their first overnight expedition.  This will also be Liam's first time truly roughing it in the woods.  Hopefully hurricane Gonzalo heads out to sea and doesn't hit us.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

9 Stripy sweaters

Slightly by coincidence, and slightly by design, Liam wore striped sweaters for his first 3 years of school pictures.  You can check out how little and cute he was here!

After 3 years in a row, it became a tradition that even a 12 year old boy who has no interest in clothes wants to participate in now.

The proofs came home today for this year's pictures and we have a slight smile and a non smile to choose between.

Which one do you prefer?




Ignore the bad colour - we don't have a scanner, so I took pictures with my phone.


Once we get our order back and we have this year's art card, I will have to update my Facebook header.  It will be a sad day as this is the last year that he will make art cards at school.  But then again, I'm going to need a taller chair just to be able to fit one more into the montage!



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Changes


Liam got his hair cut today in preparation of joining the Cadets.  After more than 2 years with shoulder length hair, it's going to take us all a while to get used to it, but I think he looks pretty handsome.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Social Pressure

This past Monday was my first day back to work after vacation. I came in prepared for an overflowing inbox, an extra heavy work load as we come upon our fiscal year end and the final implementation date of major project that has been ongoing for more than 6 months. I was not prepared for a week of anxiety and sleepless nights. High pressure deadlines, long days and new assignments do not bother me, or keep me up at night. The problem this week? The ALS ice bucket challenge was making its way through the office.

Unless you live under a rock, you have likely heard of this challenge. Everyone from Kermit the Frog to Sir Patrick Stuart have posted their videos on line. There have been funny videos, cases of people getting hurt and even little kids telling off their mothers for dumping water on their head.

Dousing your friends and family with ice cold water is creating a media storm around North America, raising awareness for ALS. The ‪#IceBucketChallenge‬, inspired by Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who is living with ALS, has placed the challenge to anyone who wants to get involved.   From the ALS website.
The Canadian ALS society has received more than $10 Million in donations with this campaign. And beyond the monetary donations, these challenges have raised awareness of a disease, that while not unheard of, was certainly not at the forefront of media attention like cancer, stroke or heart disease.

This all great stuff. So why was it causing me anxiety and sleepless nights? I had friends, family and co-workers all taking the challenge, having fun, posting videos on line and challenging each other to get involved. It seemed inevitable that someone would challenge me. And that is what kept me up at night.

You see, while I think it’s a great cause and I’m glad for all the publicity that it’s garnering, I do not want to participate.

I have reasons that I don’t want to participate, reasons that I don’t feel that I need to share with everyone or use to justify my choice.

But social pressure is strong.
  • EVERYONE is doing it! Why won’t you?
  • Why don’t you want to support his great cause?
  • What do you have against the ALS society?
  • Come on!!! Don’t be such a spoil sport.
  • You’re such a party-pooper.
  • Suck it up and just do it!

These were the thoughts swirling through my head as I fell asleep each night.

My concerns were also based on WHO might nominate me . What if my boss challenged our whole team and I was the only one who didn’t join in? How do I say no to something that is being touted as a “work” team building activity? Some people have shared stories about their family members who suffer from this debilitating disease. What if they challenge me? My answer will be “I’m sorry for their suffering, but I won’t be participating.” How will that person feel towards me after that? Will it cause a riff in our relationship?

I let my thoughts and fears get the better of me.

I did end up being challenged by someone from work. Unfortunately my name got sent out in an email announcing that I had been challenged and that a group of us would be doing the challenge the next day. I couldn’t just quietly say “No thank you” to the person who had put my name forward and leave it at that. Suddenly everyone was aware and I had to tell more people that I had hoped, that I would not be participating.

Luckily the social pressure hasn’t been as bad as I had built it up to be in my head. There were still a few “Awww come on... why won’t you do it?” or “But you were nominated, you have to do it now” comments and funny looks when I said that I wouldn’t be outside at 2:00 with everyone else. But overall I haven’t felt too pressured or singled out for my choice. It turns out that there were a couple of other folks in the office suffering from the same fears and anxieties. We've banded together and are supporting each other should someone come along and want to cajole one of us for not participating.

What are your thoughts on this type of social challenge?  Did you participate, or did you decline if you were challenged?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Family
















I cherished every moment I got to spend with my Grandma and every moment I got to see Liam with his Great-Grandma.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unplugged

Tomorrow afternoon, Liam and I will be leaving on a jet plane (and yes, we do know when we'll be back again!) for vacation at my Mom's.

My mom still lives in the house that I grew up in.  There have been very few changes to the house since I lived there.  The biggest change, is that my mom now has a satellite dish and has access to hundreds of tv channels.  When I lived there we got 4, maybe 5 channels if the weather was just right.

The one thing that my mother still does not have however, is internet access.  She has no desire to have a computer, no matter how often I try to sell her on their awesomeness.  She could see her only grandson while she talks to him!  I could send her pictures EVERY DAY!  Email, games, time-wasters galore!  Nope, she's not buying it.

So Liam and I will be unplugging.

GASP... the withdrawal has already started and I still have the computer, 2 laptops, an iPod touch and my Blackberry all within reach.

Liam is having similar issues.

We will survive.  And it will be good for us.  My mom has 25 acres of forest for her back yard with a cabin and a pond.  There will be trees to climb, snakes and frogs to catch, bats to watch swoop out of the barn at sunset.  We have lots of fun touristy stuff to do and family and friends to visit.

So while it will seem strange to not share every detail as it happens with everyone in the world, I'll get over it.  I'll focus on enjoying the moment and being part of it.  And I promise to upload eleventy-zillion pictures when we get home.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Teaching English

There is a small convenience store at our local mall that we frequent quite regularly. It's run by a Korean family that up until recently we only shared a passing acquaintance with.  That all changed one day when the husband mentioned to Hilary that he was trying to improve his English, but found it hard because, while he can read English, some of the words are not easily found in an English-Korean dictionary, and he's never sure on how to pronounce things.

Hilary came home and hatched a plan to help him out.  We love listening to audio books, so she figured, what better way to help learn English then to listen to an unabridged audio book while following along with the hard copy.   We even had a little iPod shuffle that didn't sell at our last yard sale that we could download a copy of one of our books onto.

The only problem was that the best book choice that we had in both unabridged audio and hard copy was Twilight.  We also have all the Harry Potter's, but if someone was going to use this to learn English, we figured they didn't need made up words like Quidditch, Daigon Alley or Avada Kedavra.  So Twilight it was.

While not exactly the best subject to keep a 50 year old Korean man interested, he has persevered with it and almost seems to be enjoying it.   Every few days either Hilary or I will go in and sit behind the counter with him and help him out with any words or phrases that have stumped both him and his translator apps.   He bought his own copy of the book because he didn't want to mark up ours and he underlines anything he doesn't understand and makes notes in Korean in the margins once he has the definition or explanation of a word.

Having read Twilight several times myself, I would have characterized it as having fairly simple and easy language to understand.  I realize now that I thought that because I'm a native English speaker/reader.  To someone who is new to the language, there are a lot of colloquial sayings and downright slang that can easily trip you up.  I'm sure we are very comical looking when we are trying to pantomime the description of a word while crammed into the tight space behind the cash register.

Some recent things that we've struggled to explain:

  • If someone can drive UP to Forks or DOWN to California, why can you only show UP for work but not show DOWN?
  • What is the difference between "every day I....." and "every single day I......"?
  • Ditching school has nothing to do with actual ditches. And why is ditching healthy?
  • Explaining "hand-eye coordination" nearly had us knocking over displays of gum.
  • Trying to  explain "kicked up a tantrum" without using the word fuss, because how do you explain what a FUSS is?
  • What exactly is an understatement?
  • Trying to explain to someone who has no cultural reference to Spiderman, what a radioactive spider has to do with anything.

This teaching relationship also works both ways.  Both the husband and wife will quiz me on the Korean terms and numbers that I need to learn for Tae Kwon Do.

Win-Win!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A letter I can't send

Growing up, I idolized you.  Even though our official relationship is uncle and niece, the fact that you are only 10 years older than me made us more like cousins, or sometimes you even seemed like my older brother.  When I was little, you were the big kid that I could follow around.  When I was a teenager, you were the cool 20 something year old, living on his own, and as I entered adulthood, you were someone to talk to who had been there and done that.

We spent every holiday and family birthday together.  Every meal that I remember eating at Grandma and Grandpa's house has you sitting beside me.  I tasted caviar for the first time when you graduated from college (and promptly threw it up because you had been slipping me champagne all afternoon and had gotten me drunk).

You took me to Gay bars in Toronto long before I came out.  You were the first family member that I came out to.  I knew you would be fine with it, after all, you had already walked down that same path years before.  I watched you mourn your friends and lovers during the Aids epidemic and I feared for your health and safety.

When I first moved to Halifax, ours was the one relationship that I knew I would miss the most.  We kept in touch at first, by phone and email.  But then something started changing.  You started changing.  While it had never been a secret that you disliked my father, you become more and more vocal about it and you started including my mother in your diatribes.  That was around the time that my own shaky relationship with my Mom was starting to mend, so I found this hard to handle.

Then the lies and secrets slowly started.  You would tell me something that you swore no one else knew, but then I would hear a different version from someone else.  And after you got caught in a couple of these, you stopped calling me all together, blaming me for your lies and accusing me of betraying you.

I mourned the loss of our relationship then.  I knew that my son would never know you as a member of his family.  It hurt, but I learned to move on.  I would still ask after you when I spoke to family, happy to hear that you were well, as I never wished you any ill will.

Then things got worse.

I don't know what caused you to do the things you have done.  Perhaps you are in a bad financial situation that you see no way out of.  Not much else can explain why you would coerce your elderly mother who suffers from Alzheimer's into changing her will, cutting out my mother, and giving yourself a bigger share.  While I don't condone this in any way, I can at least see how money may have motivated this.  The other things you have done have no explanation other then you simply being an evil and cruel person.

I have heard the voice mails you have left my mother in the middle of the night.  I have been known to swear like a sailor at times, but the words you used and the names you called your own sister left me slack jawed.  You really know how to hit a person where it hurts, with awful references to my father, who had recently passed away.  You even went for the low blow of bringing up my mother's infertility.   I'm glad Mom had the courage to go to the police and register a formal complaint of harassment against you.  Having them show up at your apartment on your birthday seems to be the only thing that has stopped you from continuing this horrific habit.

But it didn't stop you from continuing your cruel attacks on your own mother.

Once you were the Mama's boy who called your mother everyday, checking in on her, sharing the details of your life.  She looked forward to those calls, telling everyone that you cared about her so much that you took time out every single day to make sure she was okay.  It's now been more then two years since you've called her and she doesn't understand why.

Reporting her for animal cruelty to the SPCA. She loved her cats and took such good care of them.  Luckily the dementia kept her from truly understanding what she had been accused of.  The woman from the SPCA only had to take one look at them to realize that she had been set on a wild goose chase.

Calling in a social worker saying that your mother was being neglected and forcing your 90 year old mother to go through that type of investigation when her Alzheimer's already makes life so confusing for her.

Feeding her lies about my mother, digging a chasm of mistrust that has taken my mother 2 years to over come and that may never be completely healed due to Grandma's mental deterioration.

The tales of your antics have lessened of late.  I don't know if these means you have decided to stop completely and let your mother live out the rest of her life in peace or if it's just a matter of waiting for something to trigger you before you start up again.

I often wonder what I would do or say to you if I were to run into you on the street.  Fortunately the odds of that happening are very slim given that I live in Nova Scotia and you are still in Toronto.  I wonder too if you will show your face at Grandma's funeral when that sad day comes to pass.  Would you dare?  Or do you believe yourself to be so right, so above contempt that you don't think you have done any wrong?

I will always mourn the loss of the person you once were, but I do not mourn for the person you have become.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Anatomy of a birthday party


What happens when you get four 11-12 year old boys together for a 3 hour birthday party?

  • One kid will get dropped off early, before you are set up and ready to go
  • One kid will be late, causing a delay in activities and making the other kids squirrelly
  • One kid will get hurt within 5 minutes of arriving, and will then whine about it till they leave
  • One kid will not listen to any direction you give them
  • One kid will be mean to at least one other kid
  • One kid will refuse to participate in anything
  • Four kids will cry "we're bored" half way through
  • One kid will be mouthy
  • One kid will be polite
  • One kid will not like any of the snacks you offer
  • One kid will plant them-self at the snack table and scarf down everything in sight
  • One kid will use inappropriate language
  • One kid will constantly bring up inappropriate topics, like flavoured tampons (I didn't ask)
  • One kid will keep coming in the house, even though they've been told to stay outside (they are wet)
  • One kid will keep holding the screen door wide open, even though they can see the cat plotting its escape
  • One kid will be picked up late
  • One Mother will enjoy quiet time at the mall while the party is going on
  • One Mother will enjoy quiet time with an alcoholic beverage after they all leave
What do your children's birthday parties look like?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cats

Top row:  Buster, Montry
Middle row: Boston, Oscar, Edgar
Bottom Row: Hazel, Alice


Boston and Montry have been with us for 2 weeks now and have settled in like troopers.  They still hiss occasionally if one of the big cats startles them, but for the most part everyone gets along. There hasn't been a lot of playing between the old guard and the new, but then again the old guard range in age from 6-18.  Buster and Edgar are the playing fools of the group, being the youngest at 6 and 14, and they are tentatively considering it with the kittens.

I had forgotten how much fun kittens are.  The leaping, the scampering, the playing.  I had also forgotten how sharp and nocturnal kittens can be too!  They love to play together, but surprisingly don't sleep together or cuddle.  They have very different personalities, with Montry being a lap-cat who loves to snuggle, and Boston being more stand-offish.  Though if I do find a kitten in my bed at 4:00 am, it is almost always Boston.  I think she wants to cuddle, she just doesn't want anyone to know it.

Life with 7 cats is full of fun and I recommend it for everyone!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Double Bronze




I had a fantastic time at the tournament today.  Even though I didn't win my sparring match, I felt that it was one of my best bouts yet.  It does make me realize that I need to practice a lot more with other adults, and not just the little kids in the family class.


I'm sore and tired, but very glad that I went.  This is so far out of what I used to consider my comfort zone, that I still shake my head in wonder that I really did this.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Comments

People blog for all sorts of reason - a place to work through their stuff, to share what their family is doing with friends who are far away, to educate others, to promote their own business or to share their views on current events.  There is no right or wrong reason, or way to blog.  But one thing that most blogs have in common is comments.  Melissa from Stirrup Queens says it so well "commenting is the "Polo" to blogging's "Marco" (you can check out her full post here)

I love getting comments, so I make the effort to leave comments.  That's how it works in conversations, so why not in blogs.  You say something and I respond.  And like conversations, you and I may not always agree with what is being said.  For most grown ups, that can lead to great discussions or debates and can help to open up each other's understanding to a view point that is drastically different from their own.

For some grown ups though, it can lead to childish reactions.  "I don't agree with what you say, so I'm going-to stick my fingers in my ears and shout NANANANA-BOOP BOO till you go away".  It's rarer that you see this in real life conversations (though I have encountered it) but it happens a lot with blog comments.  It's all thanks to the wonderful MODERATE button.  Comments that need to be pro-actively approved before they can be seen by other people reading the blog.  It gives the blog writer the ability to pick and choose which comments they publish.  It's great if you have trolls or spammers.  It's not so great when people use it to censor ideas that do match their own.  It shuts down the opportunity for ongoing discussion and learning.  It limits their readers to only hearing one opinion on a subject.

I encountered this situation this week.  A group of adoptive parents where discussing a blog post that shared an adoption story.  The main point of this blog post was that the adoptive parents re-created a water birth situation with their newborn adoptee and had it captured in pictures.  All of the adoptive parents in the discussion agreed that this was odd, strange, unsettling and done by people who may not be well educated in adoption.

As an adoptive parent, but more so as an adoptee, I too had many thoughts and feelings on this blog post and the idea of re-creating a birth session.  So I left this comment:
The photos are stunning and beautiful and on their own they would be a wonderful way to celebrate any family. BUT..... 
I am both an adoptee and and adoptive mother. One thing that people often forget is that the cute little babies grow up. What seems like a wonderful idea through the rose coloured glasses of new adoptive parents, or the Hallmark version of adoption that people not connected to adoption believe, are not always wonderful ideas to people on the other side of the adoption triad. 
I love both the first pictures my parents have of me and the first pictures I have of my son. They celebrate the milestone of each of us joining our family. None of these pictures try to react the pieces and moments of our lives that do not belong with the families we now live with, but belonged to our first families. 
I showed these pictures to my (adopted) 11 year old son and explained what they were. His response was "that's kinda dumb, there's nothing wrong with adopting." And that is how these types of photos can make adoptees, like baby Sebastian who will one day grow up, feel - adoption must not be good enough for you if you needed to stage a pretend birth and bonding moment.

As soon as I saw "Your comments are awaiting moderation" pop-up, I knew that my comments would never make it on this blog.  The other comments all left there are telling the blogger/photographer how wonderful and beautiful this is.  Not a negative thought among them.

It's been 3 days now since I left my comments.  I'm drawn back to the post throughout the day to see if maybe, just maybe the will post my comments.  But I'm not holding my breath.

You can check out the post, and it's happy comments here:  Birth without fear

UPDATED JUNE 6, 2014 - I have just found out that my comments have indeed been published.  I'm glad that my voice and that of others has been heard.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Green


Someone else got their Green belt tonight too but doesn't want to be in pictures anymore.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Books

I love books.  I learned to read at an early age so that I could escape the alone-ness of growing up as an only child in the country with no one else to play with.  Hilary is also a voracious reader and as such our house is filled with books.

Liam struggled early on with reading and we feared that he would never find the same joy that we do in losing yourself to a great story.  There is nothing better then curling up on the couch on a raining day with a good book where you find yourself swept off to far away lands.

Our fear has proven unfounded.  Liam has developed a love for books and stories.  It could be listening to me read out loud to him before bed, carrying his Ipod and speakers from room to room so that he can follow his current audio book, or the best one, him choosing to read a book over any other activity.  He now reads above grade level and enjoys books of all styles and ranges.  From Divergent to Stephen King's IT to his currently love of Warriors.

I'm so glad that we are raising a reader.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Couches

We bought these blue couches 8 years ago when we first moved into this house.  They have served us well through many naps, movies and get togethers.




But time (and cats and the kid) have taken there toll, so we went searching for new ones.  These are what arrived today!



Bigger, browner and bolder, they change the whole look of the living room.  The verdict is still out with the cats, but all the people of the house love them.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thinking out Loud #2



What it is…
A weekly celebration of quirks and randomness! An opportunity to take the pressure and stress out of writing by sharing whatever it is that happens to pop into your mind when you begin to type — all worries about sense and structure pushed aside. A collection of random and disjointed thoughts, just because.
You can check out other peoples entries at Running with Spoons.




  • Liam’s school is having a yard sale on May 31st which means that we may be able to reclaim our spare room by selling all of our crap treasures
  • I would like the temperature to level out so I can decide what to wear each day.
  • Once again this year I am hiring someone to mow the lawn.


    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Happy Mothers Day - 2014

    Happy Mother's Day 2014


    I was looking at some old pictures this morning and found this one.  Our very first picture as "Mums".




    My previous Mother's Day Posts:

    2008
    20092009
    2010
    2011
    2012 - apparently I skipped blogging that year
    2013



    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Thinking out Loud



    What it is…
    A weekly celebration of quirks and randomness! An opportunity to take the pressure and stress out of writing by sharing whatever it is that happens to pop into your mind when you begin to type — all worries about sense and structure pushed aside. A collection of random and disjointed thoughts, just because.
    You can check out other peoples entries at Running with Spoons.



    • I love having my nails done up all pretty, but it takes such a toll on them so that they now look like this. 


    • My TKD instructor is calling this “Move-Up May” to encourage us all to test at the end of the month. It’s been ONE YEAR since I lasted tested (normally people test every 3-4 months) so I really want to get my butt in gear so that I’m ready by May 28th. 
    • I still can’t count to 10 in Korean.  

    • Liam only has FIVE weeks of school left before summer vacation. I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone or the fact that he will be in grade SIX in September.
    • One day I will accept that I am lactose intolerant and will stop eating ice cream, especially at work.

    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    Bronze

    I entered the Hiltz Tae Kwon Do Open Championship tournament again this year.  While I really enjoy TKD, I'm not really a competition kinda gal.  But it's good to step out of my comfort zone and give it a go.  I didn't place in patterns and got a bronze medal in sparring.  Something tells me I need to train with the adults more then with the little kids!


    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Scammin' it old school

    The wonderful internet bankers got tired of us not answering their emails, so they've pulled out all the stops and sent us a letter by snail mail.  Sent all the way from Great Britain so that it couldn't be traced back to Hong Kong.


    I'm sure Mr. Liang Hun Wang just can't wait to share the 22 million dollars with BOLTON.  We are gathering our information and getting ready to fax it off to him first thing in the morning.  I always knew that we would strike it rich one day!

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    An end of an era

    For almost 20 years Hilary and I have hosted an annual Oscar party. We've had anywhere from 2 to 20 people come to enjoy a night of food and fun. There have been years where Hilary would start cooking weeks in advance. Some years there was a theme to the food - Mexican, Indian, potatoes, meat on a stick.  Last year we even did a full turkey dinner.

    Being on the East coast has always made for a very late night, often meaning that we needed to taken the next day off work to recover and clean up. The actual Oscar's don't start until 9:30 for us and often don't end till nearly 2:00 am.  That is WAY past my bedtime.

    This year we have decided that we are simply watching the Oscar's on our own, likely in our PJ's.  In fact, we may even just tape the end and go to bed at a decent time since we both have to get up early on Monday.  Instead of spending all of our time cooking and prepping, we are going to have chips and dip and buy a fancy dessert to share.

    While we loved every year's party, and we'll miss celebrating with friends, it's time to scale things back and just enjoy a quiet night.

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Sour!

    Liam loves all things sour, especially candy. It’s almost like he needs it, even beyond just a craving for it. After some research, it turns out that he may very well be onto something. The shock of something sour can have a similar effect on a brain with ADHD as the stimulating medicine that is prescribed for it. Even the Center for ADHD Awareness, Canada lists sour candies in their “Adaptive Equipment” list. The stimulation of the sour taste gives one part of the brain something to focus on, freeing up the rest of the brain to focus on the true task at hand like homework or reading.

    While we don’t mind Liam having candy, we obviously don’t want him having it all day, every day.   One of his favorite sour candies is “WarHeads Spray Candy”.   I’m pretty sure it is 100% chemical with no redeeming quality to it – other than it’s sour.  Luckily I stumbled across a fresh, non-chemical alternative that Liam loves just as much.




    Yes, Liam loves to squirt fresh lime or lemon juice straight onto his tongue. It makes my mouth dry up and shudder just at the thought of it. He’s offered for me to try it, but I have politely declined.

    I wonder what the school would say if we started sending this in his lunch everyday?

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    Shared Interest

    Sometimes I wonder if Hilary feels like she lives with TWO 11 year old boys.  Liam and I have quite a few common interests.  Our current obsession interest is Star Wars, and more specifically Star Wars Lego.

    I love Lego.  I had it growing up, but of course back then it was simple rectangle pieces in 4 primary colours.  Now sets come with such oddly shaped pieces, that I can't tell which way is up.  The new sets are pretty awesome though.  Liam and I have been coveting some of the bigger Star Wars sets for a while now.

    Last week we headed out so that Liam could spend some money that he got for Christmas.  He really, really, really wanted the Millennium Falcon set, but only had half the money needed.  So he started his sales pitch.  "Mama, you love Star Wars as much as I do."  "Mama, wouldn't it be fun to work on this together?" "Mama, haven't you always wanted this set too?"  "Mama, don't you have some Christmas money that you got?  You could put it towards the Millennium Falcon."  I'm pretty sure this kid is going to grow up to be a con artist... he can talk his way into a lot of things.

    So I pooled my Christmas money (and then some) with his and we came home with a 1200+ piece Lego set.  We worked a lot on it on Sunday, and surprisingly, we finished it tonight!  Now the only question is where to keep it.  It needs to be played with (check out the detail!) but we don't want it to get smashed or broken.  Hilary doesn't seem to keen on my suggestion that we box up some of our antique tea cups and use the sideboard as a Lego display case..... I'm not sure why, it seemed like a perfect solution to me!





    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    Oh No, It's a Muffalo




    Liam's school play is next Thursday and he is playing one of the "Muffalo's" children.  He looks pretty scar to me with his big bad claws!