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!