Friday, February 29, 2008

Feb 29, 2008 - Today's the day

that I kick back and relax with my family for the evening.

All too often our evenings are hectic: get home, make diner, homework, bath, play, tickle, fight, dance, get Liam to bed and collapse.

Well it's Friday night: We're going to eat dinner in the living room in front of the TV. There will be no homework, no bath - unless it's so Liam can play boats and re-enact the sinking of the Titanic. Dinner will be made (thank you Hilary, who is not working today!). We will still play (we have new webkinz cards for tonight) we will still tickle (this is a daily requirement), hopefully we will not argue and fight (not being rushed should help that along), we ALWAYS dance in the kitchen after dinner and once Liam is in bed hopefully Hilary and I will NOT collapse and can have a wonderful evening together!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Raynaud's Disease

From wikipedia:

Raynaud disease (RAY-noz) is a vascular disorder that affects blood flow to the extremities which include the fingers, toes, nose and ears when exposed to temperature changes or stress. It was named after Maurice Raynaud (1834 - 1881), a French physician who first described it in 1862.

When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood supply to the fingertips, toes, nose, and earlobes of Raynaud's disease patients is reduced and the skin turns pale or white
(called pallor) and becomes cold and numb.

I’ve been having Raynaud episodes for the last 5-6 years. Lately it seems to be getting worse. If I don’t dress in layers and keep my trunk warm, you can guarantee that my finger tips will be white within minutes. And it is taking longer to recover from each episode and is getting more painful. My right hand is worse then my left. I’ve never taken a picture of my own hand, but here are some examples of what it looks like:

There is no cure, no magic bullet to fix this. It is just something you have to learn to live with. I can’t wait for summer and warm weather. Then I only have to worry about not holding a cold glass or making sure I put the oven mitts on before I get anything out of the freezer. At least I won’t have to wear 4-5 layers of clothing every day.

Feb 28, 2008 - Today's the day

that I work on being more patient.

I have found the last few days that I've been very impatient with Liam. Little things have pushed me over the proverbial edge, things that don't normally phase me. Some of it is from being tired no doubt, but it feels like it's more then that.

So tonight, if I feel myself starting to lose patience, I'm going to stop and ask myself if it's really worth getting upset over, and find a way to start again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feb 27, 2008 - Today's the day

that I work from home!

This is fairly new to me, so I'm still getting into the swing of it. The biggest thing that I miss is that I have 2 screens at work but not at home. I never realized that I open so many windows when I'm working until I'm doing it on a laptop and can't find anything!

Liam has gone to school and Hilary has gone to work. Now if I can just convince Oscar the cat to go take a nap I might get some work done.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Feb 26, 2008 - Today's the day

that I stay home with a sick boy! Liam woke up complaining of a sore tummy, fell back to sleep for an hour and then threw up all over the dining room. He's curled up on the couch with a movie, and we are having a quiet day together. Hilary has gone to work for a few hours, and so far I seem to be surviving as a SAHM with a sick kid for the day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Recap

You can find a 1000 recaps of the actual Oscar's all over the Internet, this is a recap of our 10th annual party!

We had planned on being 11, but 3 folks couldn't make it. I think Hilary had cooked enough food for 18, so even after sending stuff home with everyone we'll be eating left overs all week. Which is just fine by me!

Here's a view of the food:

Since this was our 10th party Hilary made a commemorative plaque for our friend Sandy, the only one who has attended all years:

Sandy accepting her award!

We had a great time! I only guessed 7 categories right, not bad since I had mainly seen kid-centered movies this year (Transformers, Ratatouille, Pirates of the Caribbean). I did end up wining the soundtrack to Juno, so not bad for coming in 5th!
I wonder what Hilary is planning for the menu next year? Because you can bet she's already thinking about it!

Feb 25, 2008 - Today's the day

that I help to educate Liam's teachers on adoption and how it affects school assignments.

I have found all sorts of great articles here that I'm going to print off and take into the teachers. They were very receptive this morning when I went in to talk to them, so I'm hoping this will be a positive learning experience for everyone.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Feb 24, 2008 - Today's the day

We celebrate the Oscar's, diss the dresses and stars, eat GREAT food and have a wonderful time with friends.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Menu

The food is probably as important as the actual Oscar's, if not more important!! Hilary usually has a food theme each year, but has almost always included "meat on a stick" of some sort: Satay's, porkcicles, kabob's. Alas there is no meat on a stick this year, but plenty of meat, so not to worry.

This year's theme is Ribs and Potatoes!

Cold Baby potaoes, halved and topped with: 1) Dill Cream Cheese 2) Shrimp with Horseradish Dressing 3) Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Capers

Main Dishes:
Spanish Tortilla
Sweet Potato Salad
Vichycoise Shooters
Twice Baked Potatoes
Zucchini & Potato Pancakes, served with Apple Sauce and Sour Cream
Honey Garlic Spare Ribs
Whiskey Sour Ribs
Chipotle Barbeque Ribs

Bourbon Sweet Potato Tarts

Feb 23, 2008 Today's the Day

I run around like a crazed fool trying to keep Liam occupied, clean the house, run to the store and get everything done before the Oscar Party tomorrow night!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Debi asked if I had contact with my half sister. The very short answer to that is NO. and here’s the very long answer as to why:

Iris was 40 when she had me in 1970, and was already a single mom to Madelaine who was 7. On my non-id’ing info, Madelaine was described as a “strong-willed and difficult child”. Nice label, poor kid!

Iris managed to keep her pregnancy hidden from everyone, includingin Madelaine. Her father even drove her to the hopsital when she had me, after she told him that she had to go into the hospital for a few days for a procedure. Madelaine was on vacation with Iris’s sister for the week. Apparently they were not a close family, and certainly Iris did not have the type of relationship with her father where he would have asked her about any procedures she was having.

So Iris gave birth to me, stayed at the hospital for a day or two and at some point signed the adoption papers. And then she went on with her life. We’ve never had any big deep talks about how placing me affected her, or how she coped. She was told to forget about me and move on with her life, and in her own way she did. She was also told that the records were sealed and that I had been adopted by a family in Nova Scotia (I wasn’t, I was adopted by a family living in the same town that she was living in.) and that she never had to worry about me ever finding her.

When Ontario first set up it’s adoption registry in the late 1980’s, Iris kind of figured it was only a matter of time till she was contacted about me. And so it was.

In the 30 odd years since she had me, Iris had never told a soul about me, other then my father who knew about the pregnancy and subsequant adoption. So her worst fear was that I would find her, “out” her to everyone and cause all sorts of disruptions to her life. It took her a year or so of us communication by snail mail before she trusted me enough to know that I would not do that.

So to this day, Madelaine still does not know about me. Iris has said that Madelaine suffers from depression and has hinted that she may be bi-polar or have some other diagnosis of a mental health disorder. She says that this is the main reason that she does not want to tell Madelaine now, as she worries how it will affect her. I also found out a couple of weeks ago that Madelaine will be laid off from her job of almost 20 years sometime in May so Iris is even more concerned for her overall well being right now. I personally think that Madelaine’s mental health is a factor in Iris not telling her, but I also think it is a crutch, a protection that Iris uses so that she doesn’t have to go there. After keeping such a big secret for so many years, it must be terryfying to think about letting that all out, and telling the people you love that you have kept something like this from them.

All of this makes any communication with Iris difficult as Madelaine still lives at home. She pays the bills, so Iris can’t call me lest a long distance charge is found. She can email me but because they share the same computer and email address, I can no longer email her in case Madelaine is home from work and gets the email. I can call their house, but if Madelaine is home Iris will tell me that I have the wrong number and hang up on me.

Iris has sent me one or two pictures of Madelaine. We even have one of the 2 of them hanging on our family wall of pictures. It’s nice to have a face to see, even if I don’t think I look anything like either of them. I can only hope that one day Iris finds the strength and courage to tell Madelaine. As Iris gets on in age, and suffers from ill health, my biggests fears are that Iris will die without ever having told Madelaine the truth. And that I will then be faced with a choice: reach out and tell Madelaine myself, with all the risks that that involves, or accept that I have lost any and all contact with my first family.

They are choices that I think about almost every day and I honestly have no idea what I would do if I was faced with making that decision right now.

Parent – Teacher meeting

Last night was our quarterly parent-teacher meeting. We got to see samples of Liam’s work, including his “self assessment”. He feels that he is good at listening, that he needs to work on “work” and that his favorite thing to do is to play outside.

The teacher’s had expressed concerns back in November that they felt he wasn’t progressing the way they thought he should be. At that time we discussed 2 possibilities:

1) he had only had his glasses since September, so reading, drawing and writing would almost be brand-new for him, since the previous year he couldn’t see to do it.

2) We all felt that he just didn’t understand that school was a place to WORK and not just a giant play-date that he got to go to everyday.

So Hilary and I talked to him about school being for work time, and that yes, he still gets to play, but he has to do his best work first. And the teachers reinforced this with him as well. And that did seem to be making a difference. Then he was off for an extra week of Christmas to have his tonsils out and after going back in January for 1 week he was off again to have his dental work done. It’s really only been 6 weeks that he’s been back into the swing of a regular routine.

The teachers (whom we LOVE!!) have notice that there has been a lot of improvement. His pencil grip is better, he is now working with both upper and lower case letters (where as in November he was struggling to get through a sheet of just upper case), and his pictures are becoming more detailed. He frequently surprises them (and us) with remembering different facts that they have covered weeks ago. But they are still struggling to keep him focused. In order to get him to do his self assessment, which included 3 pictures and copying 3 lines of text, Alana had to sit beside him the whole time and keep “bringing him back to the task” They are wondering if there is the potential for ADD. They are not thinking ADHD as he does not show any hyperactive tendencies, but they did mention that he does his best work after he has played outside and had that physical release. One of their examples is that if they are talking directly to him, he only seems to get ½ of what is being said. Either the first half because they got his attention when they started talking, but then his mind wanders off part way through and he stops listening, or the second half because his mind has been wandering and all of a sudden he realizes that someone is talking to him and he pays attention. Both Hilary and I agree that we see this at home too.

From everything I have read, 5 and a half is still too young for a definitive ADD diagnosis. We do have a referral to a pediatrician next month to see about having various evals done, mostly to rule out other possibilities like auditory processing disorders, sensory issues, receptive language delays.

For now, I will keep reading, trying to see if there are techniques or exercises we can do at home to help Liam focus.

Feb. 22, 2008 ~ Today’s the day

That I get to pick Liam up from school.

You’re probably thinking that this is an odd thing to be excited about. But for me it is a big deal, simply because I don’t get to do it very often. I have worked outside of the home for Liam’s whole life. I did get to take 2 days off work when he was born, and then 2 weeks of vacation when he came home to live with us forever at 17 days old. And this was our choice. It made sense both financially and from a long term career goal, that Hilary be the SAHM. I had the higher income and a job that I could not as easily walk away from for 5 4-5 years and be able to go back to.

I have always wanted to be a SAHM though. If we were to win the lottery today, I would quit my job in a second and do just that. I miss not being able to do the SAHM mom things, like pick Liam up from school every day, go home and talk about his day over a snack.

So that is what I will do today.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obits and phone books

My adoption was closed, as was the norm in the early ‘70s. One nugget of information that I did have however was the name I was given at birth, presumably by my mother. Colleen Wilson. It’s nothing like my name today, and I can’t “picture” myself as a Colleen but it is a name that will always be special to me.

I was able to know what my name was because it was on the official Adoption Decree form from the courts that finalized my adoption. One little line at the bottom stated “…and the child known as Colleen Wilson will be adopted by Mr. and Mrs. SoandSo and will hence forth be named Andrea SoandSo.” Or something along those lines.

Throughout my childhood I clung to that name. It, along with a few lines of non-id’ing info that my mom wrote down as the SW read from a file the day they picked me up were the only links I had to who I was and where I came from.

Unfortunately Wilson is a pretty common last name; 8th most popular English surname in North America. If I had had a name like Shrapnel, or Doodyman I might have had an easier time searching for family members. But as a kid I didn’t know that Wilson was common, after all I didn’t know anyone with it. I decided that my mother’s first name must be Colleen and that she named me after her to make it easier for me to find her. So I was on the hunt for Colleen Wilson.

Another snag that I had was a bit of mis-information that my mother gave the SW when she placed me. Actually, mis-information is too nice a word, it was a lie. She told them that she was widowed, presumably to avoid the stigma of being an unwed mother twice over (she was already raising my ½ sister as a single mother when I was born). Since I had a basic sense of biology, I leapt to the conclusion that Mr. Wilson must have died within the 9 months prior to my birth.

And that is how my “search” went during my teenage years. I scoured every phone book in every new city that I went to in Southern Ontario looking for a Colleen or C. Wilson. And on the rare times that I found one, I would actually dial the phone. I don’t remember now anyone ever answering, or what I planned to say if someone ever did.

And I hit up every library that I could (oh what I would have done to have the internet then!) to search through old newspapers for obituaries for a Mr. Wilson dying in 1969 or 70, who left behind a wife and 7 year old daughter. Not surprisingly I never found one.

Even now, 7-8 years after I have found my mother (whose name is Iris, not Colleen) and have straightened out the lies and stories, I still find myself slipping into old habits. I still check phone books. I have no idea what I’m looking for, other then reading the name Wilson gives me some weird sense of connection to the unknown people who share my birth name in the city I happen to be in.

And I still read the obits, looking for the name Wilson. I am no longer looking for Mr. Wilson, long deceased. I now look for Iris Wilson. That seems odd you ask? Well, my contact with Iris is sporadic at best, and she is getting on in years – she’s 78 and not in the best health. So every day I check her local paper on-line just to make sure she is still alive.

I guess some habits are just hard to break.

Feb 21, 2008 ~ Today's the day

That I stay up late!

Sometimes living in the 2nd most easternly time zone of North America can really suck! The biggest problem is that we get all of our American networks out of Boston, which is in EST. I am in AST, or one hour later. So TV shows that are on at 9:00 PM in Boston are on at 10:00 for me.

And that includes Lost tonight.

If I were content to watch Canadian shows I wouldn’t have a problem. Both CTV and CBC (the 2 big Canadian networks) have local feeds, so things are on when they are supposed to be on. I don’t get confused when I see a commercial that advertises a show for Thurday night at 9:00 and have to worry about who’s 9:00 it is or if I should add an hour to it.

The problem is that there aren’t any Canadian shows that I like. Back in the day we had Beachcombers which was good, and Bumper Stumpers was the best game show EVER, but nowadays… Eh, not so much. I’ve never gotten into Trailer Park Boys and Degrassi the Next Generation doesn’t even hold a candle to the first one. Any thing with David Suzuki is worth watching, but I don’t like political humour so Rick Mercer is out. There are a few good kid’s shows on now, like Lunar Jim but I wish Polka dot Door was still on because I really miss Polkaroo.

I could avoid staying up late by taping shows, especially since we have a DVR in the house as a trial for 30 days. But the problem with this is that it is sooo hard to avoid discussion of the show the next day, and in my case login in and going straight to the website or TWOP to read about what happened. So tonight I stay up because I have to know who is the next person to be revealed as an Oceanic 6! I was right last week about Sayid. I think tonight is going to reveal it to be Jin. Let’s see if I’m 2 for 2!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Feb 20, 2008 ~ Today's the day

that I cook dinner for Hilary.

Usually Hilary does all the cooking (and shopping and planning). However on Wednesdays we have Liam in an after-school program so that Hilary can work late and I can pick him up. This means that Liam and I get home before Hilary does so I will be in charge of making dinner.

Of course, Hilary is the most organized domestic goddess that I know! She has our meals planned out for the next 2 weeks so that she can shop smart (both for sales and what she has to carry home) and make things ahead of time. She has NOT made tonight’s meal ahead of time for me to just heat up (like she usually does for Wednesdays) but she did do all the planning and shopping. And she bought an easy to make, one-pot meal.

I realize that all of this makes it sound like I can’t actually cook or fend for myself. I could if I had to, but I don’t have to so I don’t! I can cook, but I prefer to bake and my cooking is no where near as adventurous (or tasty!) as Hilary’s is. If our meals were all up to me we would have a lot of pasta (but not the fancy Angel hair pasta with fresh Cilantro and Brie that Hilary makes), we would have a lot of steak and potato type meals (since steak is one of the few meats that I can cook and then still be able to eat it). We would survive, our meals would be fairly balanced but they would be pretty boring and repetative.

So when I can, I give back to Hilary for the 1000s of meals she has made me over the last 14+ years. I’ll have the table set, the food cooked and ready to go and maybe I’ll even meet her at the door with her slippers. Too bad she doesn’t smoke cigars or drink Martini’s………….

Dinner update:

An hour before dinner was even set to be served we had tears about it! (Liam’s, not mine this time!) He asked what we were having for dinner so I told him “Noodles, vegetables and pork chops”. Instant hysterics! “I don’t like that! What am I having? Do I have to eat that?” I kept an even keel and told him that we were not making him something different, this is what the family is eating and he should eat as much as he needs to so that he won’t be hungry.

Well, one lesson learned: Make sure to talk to Hilary BEFORE dinner about what approach to take so we can both answer with the same approach.

I had thought that we should just put food on the plate, put the plate in front of Liam and that’s it. If he asked if he had to eat it all then I would answer “only you know if you have eaten enough, so you decide how much to eat” in my most loving, supportive, non-judgement Mama voice. And I did do that. Only I hadn’t told Hilary that I thought we should try this approach. It just happened that his question wasn’t directed specifically to me, so Hilary and I both answered at the same time. And she answered with what has been our standard “you have to at least try everything on your plate” approach.

In the end he did try one bite of everything, including the parsnips. He did not gag or cry, and only grumbled a bit. Overall I would have to say that it was a pretty successful dinner!

Miniature books

I found the books scattered on book shelf last night, though I only found 9 out of the 10. Surprisingly I still have the little box that they came in, but the lid is long gone.

After several Google searches I did find a similar set of books for sale on eBay, selling for $125!
(Note to self: go through the closets and book cases more closely to see if I have any other hidden cash treasures.)

There is no author listed for the books, mostly because they are classics. They all have “as retold by Uncle Paudie” on the inside cover and a copyright stamp from Mt. Hawley Publishing Co. Peoria, Ill., 1966

The set includes:

1 Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes
2 Peter Rabbit
3 The 3 Bears
4 Red Riding Hood (This is the one I can’t find)
5 The Three Pigs
6 The Gingerbread Man
7 3 Billy Goats Gruff
8 Hansel and Gretel
9 The Elves and the Shoemaker
10 Nitty Ditties By Uncle Paudie

The Nitty Ditties was always my favorite and as such has lost its cover. It includes not only “Today’s the day they give babies away” but these other fabulous (and slightly frightening!) ditties:

‘Twasn’t the cough
That carried him off
But the coffin
They carried him of in.

Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack fell and
Swallowed the

‘Tis a sin to steal a pin,
Much as a bigger thing.
For when you die
God will say,
“Where is that pin
You stole away?”
If you say, “I do not know,”
Then He will say,
“Go down below.”

A little man direct from Mars
Sat under a tree munching stars.
But when he tried some earthly cake
He got an awful tummy ache.
Then he left without a trace,
Gone back home to outer space.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Feb. 19, 2008 ~ Today's the day....

that I won't let food issues with Liam become a problem during dinner.

I want Liam to learn to enjoy food. I don't want it to be a chore, something you have to do in order to get something else. I want him to embrace flavours and scents and cultures the way that Hilary and I do (but maybe without the extra pounds! :) )

But it's so hard! To sit next to your child while he consumes a single elbow noodle for diner and declares himself full!

So tonight I will present him his dinner and trust him to listen to his body. If he is full he is full. If he doens't like something he doesn't have to eat it beyond trying it, after all I wouldn't put up with someone forcing me to eat something I don't like, so why should he?

Wish me luck!

5 year olds and food!

I am a huge fan of For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnson. She alway's manages to sum up my life just perfectly. Take this recent strip for example:

This happens almost daily at our house!

Let's get started

"Today's the day they give babies away
With half a pound of tea.
Just open the lid,
Out jumps a kid,
with half a pound of tea."

When I was little I had a teeny tiny box of little books. And I mean little! The whole box was one inch square and held 10 books! I'll find it later and post a picture.

I have no idea where the books came from, but they were some of my favorites. They included "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears", "Little Red Ridding Hood" and other classics. But they also contained a book of non-sense poems.

And for whatever reasons, it was my favorite book of the lot, and this was my favorite poem. I think it had to do with being raised as not just an only (and lonely) child, but also having been adopted. The idea that you could just go and get a kid! Amazing! and to my young and naive mind it was a wonderful solution to many of my problems. Instant siblings!

But now, as an adult and more so as an adoptive mom, I'm slightly appalled by it. But it's such a catchy little ditti that it will be stuck in my head all week!

So why name a blog after it?

The opening line has really stuck with me:

"Today's the day"
Life is short and the days go by quickly. I want to live life to the fullest so this will be my new mantra.
"Today's the day..............." The possibilities are endless!