Thursday, November 29, 2012

A New Blogging Beginning

I haven't been here in a while.

There are reasons for it. 

For some time now, I have felt like this blog has been coming to its end.  I started it to chronicle our adoption journey to our then unknown wee person and to connect with our like minded souls.  Boy, did I connect.  What an amazing community the adoption community is and you welcomed me in with open arms!  I needed you all (and maybe you even needed me).

If you followed our journey you know it was full of trials, tribulations and many tears which culminated in the creation of our family and saw us bring our wee, little man home.

I wrote about life after we arrived home. How the bonding and attachment started as we learned to grow into family.  I even delved a bit into my struggle with Post-adoption depression.

I'm glad I did because we will always have this look back on.

We are celebrating our 2 years anniversary as a family in couple of months and we are in such a different place now then we were then.  It is amazing to us. 

Something inside of me says it is time to go. I feel like I don't need this blog anymore. (I will always need all of you though)

I have what I needed and wanted so much when I started to chronicle our adoption.

My family!

The desire to blog is still there though but in a different way. 

I have always felt like this was a blog about how we got to be a family.  Now, we are family and I want to talk about all kinds of different things.  A diary of sorts for myself of what I am thinking about at any given time.

So with that, I have started a new blog here

I hope you will join me from time to time.

Thanks for all your love, support and friendship over the last 5 years.  It has meant more to me than you will ever know.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Power of We

I signed up to be part of Blog Action Day which was yesterday but I was away and so I am writing my post today. 

As I was flying to Vancouver to visit two fantastic girlfriends for a "Power of We" weekend  up at Whistler, I watched a CBC news report about a young girl, Amanda Todd, who had taken her life because she couldn't stand the bullying she had endured for a number of years from groups of her peers. I say groups because the bullying followed her from one school to another and through the portals of Facebook. Even after her death, people are bullying her.

It broke my heart hearing the story but what broke my heart even more was that she felt so utterly alone, with no one to talk to, that she made the decision to kill herself rather than spend one more day facing the torture that had become her life.  Torture at the hands of people who obviously had nothing better to do than torment this young girl.

I know her parents were there for her and did what they could but no one else seemed to take her under their wing and say "We will protect you" or confronted these groups of kids and said "We will not let you do this for one more minute."  In this case, "The Power of We" didn't back up this young girl.  No one saw the struggle this child was enduring.

The problem is we live in a cyber world.  At the best of times, we spend most of of our day communicating with others through text, BBM, email, skype etc. but we don't actually spend time sitting down having a conversation where we can look in someones eyes and see their emotions.  It is easy to hide in this new cyber world and pretend to be something we aren't.  We can say and do things we might not do in a normal encounter with another person.  We can hide our loneliness, wipe our tears without anyone seeing us crying and we can hide our pain and frustration.

We can also be someone great, showcase our talents (real or fake) and invent new personas for ourselves.  Sneak peeks of our lives are shared in 140 characters or less on Twitter, photos of the fun we are having (real or fake) put into cleverly titled photo albums on Facebook and business connection are made via LinkedIn.

This world we have built ourselves on blogs and Facebook and other social medias has an element of falseness to it and it is a fertile ground for bullying to occur and it does.  In fact, it seems to be growing at an alarming rate. 

We spend so much time 'plugged in' we can easily feel alone because we don't interact one on one  basis like we used to.  Instead of calling to see how someone is doing you send a text or an email.

Obviously I'm a blogger and fervent user of Facebook and I know some of the things I post are to boost my own ego and make me feel like "I am someone".  I have posted photos showing how much fun we are having as a family (and mostly we are) but sometimes I post them because we are having a rough day and I need some encouragement from others to tell us we look happy.  I'm sure I am not alone in this.

Lately, I have been trying to spend more time one on one with people I love so we can laugh, cry, talk, and ((((hug))) in the flesh and it is refreshing.  I am trying to put my phone down, turn off my computer and spend chunks of time away from Facebook  and my blog and step back into reality.

How does the "Power of We" lend itself to what I am blogging about?  Here's the thing. 

What if we as a society said "We will not stand for the constant push to cocoon ourselves from the world for one more minute."

What if took back our "Power of We" and said "We will stand together instead of apart!".

What if we celebrated community, friendship, family - the old fashioned way by getting out of our houses and away from our devices and back into each other's life. 

What if we volunteered more, gave of ourselves more, and talked to strangers more?

What if we joined more team events, went to functions and had more fun together?

What if family time meant talking with words instead of fingertips on keyboard?

What would we see then?

People will argue they do all of this and more, I will argue - do you do it with your full attention and not with your phone, laptop, iPad attached to you?  I know I don't always. 

Bullying begets bullying.  Just as racism begets racism.  Somewhere along the lines, someone was taught by someone else they weren't worth anything, they were hit, they were spit on, they were treated as if they didn't matter. This person then turned their pain and frustration and put it onto another person and that person put it on to Amanda Todd.

If we stepped away from our portal connection to the Internet we might actually see people who are in pain, who are suffering, who need someone to tell them "you are loved, you are wanted, you are not alone."

 "The Power of We" gives us the power to tell children like Amanda "You are someone, and we need you too!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame

The Husband watches a lot of TED Talks.  I'm sure some of you do as well.

I quite enjoy them but I forget about them until Hubs sends me a video to watch.

Last week, he said to me "There is a TED Talks" you NEED to watch.

"O.k." I said, "I'll watch it." 

He pressed further "Ummmm, I really think you should watch it. I'll watch it with you". 

He isn't one to really insist on things like this so I said again "Honey, I promise to watch it". 

So I watched it. 

And it really resonated with me, especially since I am on a journey to change how I see the world, interact with people and parent the Wee Man. 

I think this is just to good of a talk not to share.

Maybe you've seen it and its really worth a second, third, fourth viewing.

If you haven't, please start with the first TED Talks Brene Brown did.


 She left me wanting more (in a good way) so I did a little Googling of the Internets and found she had done a second TED Talks and this one left me feeling more complete and a bit teary eyed.



Let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'Ah Ha' Video

The Wee Man is a busy little dude.

If you have ever spent time with him, you know he is always on the go.  He doesn't like to sit still for long.  He is in constant motion unless he is watching one of his favourite t.v. shows or it is the end of the night when it is snuggle mommy/daddy time right before bed.  But even then he is moving a body part or two.

I know this is common in kids. Especially toddlers and even more so boys versus girls. I mean, we spend time with friends who have girls and they are just so completely different. I know there are rambunctious girls just as there are quiet boys but overall there is a huge difference between the genders. I mean really isn't that why books like "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" exist. We are just wired differently.

We get comments all the time from people like  -  "My, he is a busy boy isn't he?" or "Your little guy sure does have a lot of energy."  Daycare calls him one of the "more active" kids in the class. Our new neighbours absolutely adore Wee Man and are fond of telling us how much he reminds them of their now-grown-son who would not sit still for anything.  They also tell us he is still a very active adult who doesn't sit still for long. She likes to empathize with me and she kindly tells me it is o.k. because others have experienced the same kind of energy in their kids. It is good to know and also gives me great hope because their son is an attorney.

Please don't get me wrong! I don't equate being successful with being an attorney, or a doctor, or what have you.  I would be just as happy if he were a dancer, a gymnast, an artist, a teacher, a writer, a plumber, an electrician or anything he desires.  I just want him to know he is special and loved no matter what he does.  But I do worry about what others might classify him as if they deem he doesn't fit the 'regular' mold of a child who sits still all the time and does what he is told at the drop of a hat.

Our daycare gave us some activities to help activate his proprioceptive system.  It took me a long to time to even attempt to say the word "proprioceptive" but the activities they listed were great and sounded really fun.  Things like:

  • Playing mountain hiking with a small backpack with some books, or small bags of rice or dried beans to give it weight.
  • Helping with heavy work - carrying laundry baskets, grocery bags, pulling bags of leaves, shovelling, sweeping etc.
  • Pushing against the walls and pretending to make the room expand.
  • My favourite - the adult sits with their knees bent and feet on the floor - the child pushes against your hands with his with all their might and then eventually the adult rolls onto their back and lifts the child up with their knees on the child's stomach and they soar in the air while making eye contact.  Wee Man love this one!
  • Jumping on a trampoline
These are just a small sample.

Still I wanted to know more about what proprioceptive meant so I googled it and found a whole Internet full of information.  But basically this one gives a uncomplicated explanation - Sensory and Perceptual System. 

We are sensing that Wee Man has some struggles.  When he gets anxious he chews or sucks everything in sight, from his clothes, to his toys, to the carpet, to the counter tops.  He can't still in a chair, one leg must constantly be dangling over the side and moving, and he must touch every surface he can.

After some 'googling' we found this video and it really was an 'a-ha' moment for us.  We saw a lot of behaviours which were similar to Wee Man's. 



I have always thought traditionally schooling does not work for everyone.  Everyone learns in such a different manner and wouldn't it be nice if this was implemented in schools for children.  Lo and behold it is in some schools. My friend just told me about a pilot project at her son's school where they have new chairs for kids who need to be moving in order to focus...wiggly chairs, chairs that spin etc.  Her son, in particular, feels like he learns best when he is standing. He can focus better he has said then when he is sitting because all he can think about is how his bum feels numb.

I'm not a homeschooling mama.  Nope, not at all. So this isn't an option but maybe if we work on things for him now, by the time he goes to a 'regular' school he will be armed with tools to help him succeed based on what his needs are. 

Because we aren't in a position to diagnosis anything, we are seeking some guidance and looks like we have found someone who has post-adoption counselling experience. Yay!  We haven't started yet but I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

The other thing we are doing is becoming more lax with the 'sit still and eat your food' rule in our house.  It stresses him out to sit at attention and not move while he eats.  You can visibly see the stress as he rubs his head and hunches over and just stares at his plate.  So heck ya, hang your leg off the chair and swing it.  By all means have a toy at the table to play with in between bites, go on and sing songs, be a little silly, and talk.  Communication is key right? Isn't that what people always say...not that we haven't always talked at the dinner table because we have but talk about how 'cows are blue moos' and 'dogs can talk'.  Just sometimes Ranavan is a bit too serious.

We're gonna get silly people!

It's the same for disciplining.  We are always asking him to stay still and focus on what we are saying but maybe in order for him to really focus on us he needs to be moving.  We are stepping outside of our box in terms how to parent because it is obvious we need to evolve. We still stand our ground and Wee Man must abide by the rules we have set out.

Let's be clear here. Some of the things we are dealing with are certainly age-related and definitely toddler-type behaviours.  We are tying not to obsess over it or worry our heads off.  O.k. The Husband is much better at this than me. I worry.  I come by it naturally. It was inherited!

We've also been told his behaviours as of late are "A sign of his deepening attachment. It's always aimed at parents, usually more so at the mom." and this also seems on target as our *2 year anniversary is coming up in a few months and he was 2 when we became his parents (who can believe 2 years have almost passed) and so maybe this is all it is.  The testing of boundaries because he really, truly, finally feels like he can.  (*Based on professionals telling us it will take the same number of years for a child to really settle in as the age when they came into the family.)

As parents, you just do what is best for your kid given what they tell you through verbal and non-verbal cues.  We are going to follow Wee Man's lead here and go with our gut instinct.  Doesn't mean it is going to be easy or that we won't all slip up. It just means we are going to do our best.
 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remember to Breathe

We are going through a "rough patch" around here lately and that is putting it lightly.

As I mentioned in my previous post we are slowly settling in to our new abode.  It is an easier process for The Husband and me.  Wee Man is another story.  On the outside he looks like a happy little dude going about his day.  But on the inside he is a tangled web of emotions.

Being 3 makes the transition that much harder.  We are definitely learning that 3 is a much harder place to be than 2.  Wee Man's language skills amaze us everyday.  He is finding the way to say words he couldn't in the past. Sentences are long and filled with details.  1 or 2 word answers are a thing of the past.  (Unless that word is.....NO!  We still hear that word said with much vehemence a ton.)  He can dress himself.  In fact, he prefers to chose his own wardrobe and is usually dressed about 15 minutes after he wakes up.  Diapers are a thing of the past both during the day and at night.  He is, for all intents and purposes, "A big boy!"

However, being 3 is also trying to find out who you are.  Asserting your independence and doing things "All by myself!"  As an adult and more importantly as a parent, your goal and hope is that you guide your young child along a path which will lead him towards success and happiness.  Whatever success and happiness means to that particular child and notwithstanding any trauma, delays or PTSD they have encountered in their lives.

So as parents to a Wee Man who is 3...we find ourselves butting heads with him on occasion as we try to teach him some of the ways of the world. This past week it seems like we have been locking horns ALL. OF. THE. TIME.



I'm not over exaggerating here either.  My head literally feels like I have been hitting it against a brick wall for a week. 

There have been some other changes too.  The daycare he has been going to is slowly introducing him to the "Ladybug" room.  This room is for the kids who are aged 4-5.  The true pre-schoolers.  They get them ready in this room for entering Kindergarten by following a pre-school curriculum. It's actually quite a nice feature because then you don't have to worry about getting your kid into pre-school.  They are already there. 

Up until now, he has been in the "Hucklebug" room.  Kids 18 months to 4 hang out here and they do all kinds of fun activities and field trips.  The rooms are in the same building and are linked by an adjoining kids' bathroom.  They often play together during the day, have naps in the same room and generally mix and mingle at some point during the day.  He is used to being in and with the kids in both rooms is what I am trying get at. 

The idea of the slow introduction to the Ladybug room for the kids is getting them ready to be in the "big kid" room but also because Kindergarten changed this year so that kids who started Kindergarten this fall are only going part-time.  They don't have the room to move the kids up full-time as they would have done in the past.  So they bring up kids on the days the Kinders are in school.

I do think, and so does the Husband, that being labelled a 'part-time' ladybug/hucklebug has Wee Man confused.  We were scratching our heads on Sunday, after many melt-downs, tears and temper tantrums (and those were just ours), and trying to figure out what had changed.  Big move, yup, that we knew was a huge factor and would play out for a while, but honestly he has been pretty good about the new house.  That is not to say maybe this is something he has been holding in since we moved and only now feels comfortable letting it all out. 

We both think it is a kind of "the straw that broke the camels back" type of scenario.

The temper tantrums are of a giant proportion.  He has never, ever had these kinds of tantrums.  Ever. So, as parents of a child who has certainly had his moments and not been an angel but has generally been a good kid, it has been frustrating.  For the most part we both can remember to breathe and tell each other "This too shall pass!" "Right?"  We can co-parent and strategize and confer on what we feel is the best action plan to get things sorted. 

This weekend was a different story.  Maybe it has been so much more than we thought.  The move, the being in a new house, the routines of our daily life shaken up.  There were moments this weekend when we were both tired of the yelling, spitting, hitting, and throwing of toys at us and the dogs, moments where you just kind of forget you are the adult and begin to temper tantrum yourself.  This, we know, is not the correct nor responsible action to take...but there you have it...we both found ourselves yelling at some point making the entire household one giant, yelly, mess!

Breathe!!!!  It's what we tell Wee Man when he is getting wound up.  When his playing, dancing, running, biking pace starts to build momentum.  The kind of momentum he doesn't realize is taking him into another zone.  It happens...we stop him...tell him to breathe and he does.  He comes back down to his normal level (please note I said his normal level which is different from every other child). 

This weekend I think we all forgot to breathe.  A 3 year old is NOT going to remember to breathe. Rightly so, they live moment by moment.  But with all of us forgetting to remind each other to breathe it was a hard weekend.

We constantly remind ourselves about all he has lost.  How much change he has been through and continues to go through.  Sometimes we forget though. He can show so much maturity and he has progressed so far in such a short time frame.  We forget he is still younger than he looks emotionally. So weekends like we just had catch us off guard and we think "Where are we going wrong?" 

We aren't, we just have to remember to breathe.  He is gaining, growing, and learning.  There will be times of regression.  As a friend wrote on her blog, with progression there will first be regression.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes!

This summer brought a lot of changes. 

It seems not just for us but for many people we know.

I mentioned we were moving.  And we did.  It was a big move even though we only moved about 10 blocks.  We had been in the previous location for 9 years.  Routines had been established, routes had been dog-walked faithfully, and neighbours, while not well know, were faces we knew.

The Husband's brother lived next door to us.  As JG puts it, "it felt like home" knowing he was right there beside us.  The Husband's parents lived a block away.  A 2 minute walk for impromptu visits and family suppers.

I cried.  The day of the move.  The night of the move.  The early morning of the first night in the new house.  I cried. 

This is the home we brought Wee Man to.  He loved this house.  It was his whole world.  It was a very big change for him.  We knew it would be.  His room was his sanctuary and he felt safe. The backyard was his kingdom full of toys and grass to play on. He still calls the house we are in "The New Home" and asks often if we can go back to the old home because he misses it "again, and again, and again!"



We are all starting to settle in.  Slowly.  New routines are being established.  New dog-walking routes are being found.  A yard is slowly starting to emerge.  Quite honestly I think the Wee Man loves to play in the dirt more than he ever did the grass.  We have a fence now so dogs and kidlet can run free in the back yard once more without parents hovering and yelling "Come back here"" or "Don't go over there!"




Summer flew by for Wee Man and I. Not so much for The Husband.

The Husband herniated a disc in his back and has been, well - flat out, since about the end of May.  It has been hard for him.  The pain and discomfort is written all over his face. He is man who likes to work hard, exercise hard, and play hard.  Watching and not being able to be in middle of the action is certainly cramping his style and making life extremely difficult.  We are awaiting surgery, which is not something he wants, but will be necessary to bring his life back to the normalcy we are all used to.

The Wee Man and I took a trip to the west coast to visit Grandma Gloria, family and friends. 

It was a nice, relaxing visit.  Wee Man doesn't get to see Grandma Gloria much being so far away and I think they both enjoyed it.  I even ventured down to Los Angeles for the Crossfit Games  with some friends while Wee Man stayed and played.  I think he had a pretty good time.




 

If you haven't noticed, Wee Man has grown.  Long gone is the baby/toddler we first met.  In his place is a wee little man full of opinions, laughter, tears, and bravery.  He fears nothing, he loves wholeheartedly and he runs at full speed pretty much all day long.
 
Now it is fall! The summer is gone and in its place are chilly mornings, cool evenings and warm afternoons in-between.  Students are back in school, leaves are changing colors and geese are getting ready for their long journey south.  The sun is beaming its rays later in the morning and setting earlier at night. 
 
Change is definitely in the air! 
 
 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Going back to School? Who Me?

I'm thinking of going back to school.

At 40, I am thinking of going back to learn something new.

It scares me.

Not the being 40 or part...but the going back to school part.

Writing papers, reading text books,  and taking exams scares me.

I will do some classes by correspondence first I think.

That way I can work full time and attempt school on the side.

If I fail utterly, than at least it is in the comfort of my own home.

I can't decide it I should do a Psychology or Sociology class to start.

Both areas interest me.

Hi, Ho! Hi, Ho! It's back to school I go!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

House for Sale

We put our house on the market 2 weeks ago.

We spent a month packing, sorting, sanding, painting and cleaning getting our house ready to sell.

It is the first time I have sold a house I own.  Before it was always my parents worrying about a house we owned selling.  I just got to hang out waiting to pack my bedroom for the move.

It is a wholly different experience when it is your own home.  There is so. much. work. to. do.

Not to mention the emotions of it all.  This is our home.  I talked about it here and I'd rather not get into it again or tears shall rain down upon my keyboard and then I will need a new computer.

We have had quite of bit of interest.  In fact, we even had 2 offers, 4 days after the house was on the market.  We accepted one of them...only to have the deal fall apart because the couple buying the house decided to get a divorce instead.  Yup! That's right! They are getting a divorce instead. 

The one thing I learned last year when I was going through my PAD (Post Adoption Depression) was not to make any major life decisions when you are under duress...apparently this should also be a clause included in the contract when you are purchasing a house. 

Said clause should read something like this: "Dear Buyers! If you are having a mid-life crisis, marriage trouble or are just looking at our house for the fun of it...please think twice about making us an offer.  Thank you very much!"

I jest! It is awful all around.  That couple are no longer a couple.  Sad.  Our losing a sale pales in comparison to someone losing their marriage. 

So, our realtor kindly contacted the next couple who had put an offer in on our beautiful home and they said "Yes, please! We are very interested. Can we come see it again?" Of course we complied with their request and they viewed it again on Saturday.  After seeing it a second time, they have decided to move to another city in another province.

Hello???????????? Is it something in the house????

This entire process is trying. Keeping your house tidy and neat all the time because at the drop of a hat someone might call and ask to come and view the house. Packing the 3 year old and 2 Chihuahuas into the car in record time and either going to the in-laws or just driving around for an hour is somewhat stressful.

The excitement of an offer, the scrambling to make sure you get the offer just right, getting ready for a home inspection only to find out the deal is falling apart...well it sure knocks you off your feet.

This week we have more showings...2 last night, 1 tonight and 1 tomorrow night. 

It's weird knowing you can't be in your house, the house you own, because strangers are there at that very moment looking at your things, going through your drawers, looking in your closets, standing in your bedroom.

It's all bit creepy!

We know our house will sell. It will just take the right buyer.

I'm just not sure my sanity will last until that right buyer comes along.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monsters

There has been much talk of monsters in our house lately.

It has us confounded because we aren't sure where it is coming from.

We don't let Wee Man watch scary movies or cartoons.  All of the books we read are light, fun and/or about adoption and families coming together.

So, where does the fascination with monsters come from?

We must look under the bed, behind the dresser and in the closet to make sure there are no monsters.

As we were out driving yesterday afternoon, the question of "Are there monsters over there?" was asked.

"Over where?" I asked.  "There!" he stated pointing in no particular direction.

I know this is the age where the active mind engages and things from the day are remembered and carried into dreams. 

But I honestly don't know where the monsters come from.

I remember having to sleep with the light on when I was a kid and I have clear memories of NOT being able to get out of my bed or the monsters would get me.

But where do these imagined monsters come from?

O.k. so I must confess, we have watched "Monsters Inc." but those are friendly, cute, cuddly monsters.

Uh oh, except when they are scaring kids at night....maybe that wasn't the best for him to see....

But we haven't watched that movie since wee dude first came home.  And the monster thing really just ramped up in the last month or so.

We have a night light in his room for him...ha ha...its a "L'il Monster" and we told him that he is there to watch over him at night and protect him...he seems o.k. with it.  He asks for it to be turned on every night.

But still, where does the "monster under the bed" notion come from?

Anyone have any thoughts?



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Things That Make You Go Awwwwwwwwww!

Wee Man has been sick the last couple of days with a low grade fever and a cold. 

Last night he was content to lay in our bed and watch "Curious George".

Sometimes, I worry about our bond with him.  He can be so defiant at times.

I know he is just asserting his independence and trying to figure the world out on his terms. 

Still, we worry...does he love us, does he need us, does he want us?

As we lay on the bed watching the movie he looked over at me and said,

"Momma, I not feel good, my tummy sick.  I lay on your chest?" 

He snuggled up on me and promptly fell asleep.

My heart swelled.

He loves us, he needs us, he wants us.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Addendum to Today's Post

There is one habit I think should have been on the Marc and Angel's list that isn't.  So I'm going to add it myself.

It is something I have become very good at over the years...but I wish I wasn't.

I'm sure I'm not alone on this one either.

Arms Length Relationships - holding people at bay because you have been hurt in the past.  Forgetting that although someone may have hurt you, the new person standing in front of you deserves a clean slate. Relationships are hard. They take work and need to be nurtured whether it is a friendship, a partner/spouse, a family member or your children.

I have become an expert at holding people at arm's length.  I only want them to see the strong, happy me because if I show them my vulnerable side (except when I cry at the gym those people get to see THAT side of me)....maybe they won't like me very much anymore.  Having had my heart stomped on in the past by various individuals, I am very cautious about letting people in.  Sometimes I open myself up and then if I think there is even whiff of them "abandoning" me I clam up.  I turtle in my little shell and avoid them. I give a little bit of me when maybe I should just give a lot and see what happens. 

Relationships can only be as great as you let them be.  If you don't take a chance...well you might just be missing out on something special.

Note to self: take my own advice.



Marc and Angel Hack Life

I follow this blog called Marc and Angel Hack Life.

The posts always seem to be exactly what I need on the given day I read them.

Weird right?

Todays' post is - "20 Habits Holding Good People Back."

There are certainly some bad habits I have that are holding me back.

These are the ones that jumped out me immediately:

Chasing after those who don’t want to be caught. Do not chase people. Be you, do your own thing and work hard on your passions. The right people who belong in your life will eventually come to you, and stay.

Here I am completely guilty.  I chase after people.  I want to be friends with most people I meet (call it "Only Child Syndrome"). I know not everyone will want to be friends with me.  That's cool.  The people I do become friends with I hold dear to my heart (even if I don't always show it like I should).  Sometimes, I hold people close to me that I shouldn't.  People who are friends with me out of convenience or who only need me when times are tough (meaning they call me when they need to unload all of their bad things )and not so much when times are fun.  I'm learning to know when to let go and not chase after people. It isn't easy and it can be painful to let someone go. 

Not asking for help when you know you need it. – No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, you can always turn back. Be STRONG enough to stand alone, SMART enough to know when you need help, and BRAVE enough to ask for it.

Can I get an Amen! How many of us don't ask for help when we need it? I bet a lot!  I know I am one.  I have gotten better at this though. In fact, I even ASKED for help packing our house up.  My mom is going to come out give me a hand! Yay Mom! 

Holding on to things you need to let go of. – Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things in life that should not be. Sometimes letting go is what makes us stronger, happier and more successful in the long run.

I think this ties in to "Chasing after those who don't want to be caught" but it also can be letting go of an idea about yourself - like you aren't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, skinny enough etc. etc.  We have all thought things like these about ourselves at one time or another.  They can be self destructive if we let them control our lives.  I am learning that I am good enough just the way I am. Imperfections and all!

It is also letting go of THINGS.  I just purged our house of years of stuff we had been hanging on to.  Things we were given as wedding gifts and had never used.  Articles of clothing we thought maybe we would one day fit again (who were we trying to kid) and items that for some reason or another we had a strange attachment to even though they were of no use or benefit to us anymore (i.e. a lava lamp).  Many things were donated because they were still good for some one to use (i.e. a lava lamp), other things were recycled and a few things thrown in the garbage because they just weren't worthy of being donated or recycled (think VHS tapes here - did you know they can't be recycled and I tried to give them to Value Village but they weren't having it).

Focusing on the negative. – Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best thing to happen every time, it’s about accepting that whatever happens is good for this moment, and then making the best of it. So stay positive, and hold on to what’s truly important. Let your worries go. No matter how you look at it, some outcomes just don’t make sense right away. Choosing to carry on with your goals through this uncertainty is what matters.

My husband will tell you that I can be a serious Negative Nelly.  I have a bad case of "The Worries" and I tend to catastrophize things.  In my head I am know I am doing it, but my irrational self at the time it is happening always wins.  Case in point - selling our current house is stressing me out beyond belief - I think it will be CHRISTMAS before we have it touched up and looking good enough to sell.  It will probably be more like a week or so.   I try to focus on the positive...really hard....but sometimes that little devil on my shoulder knows exactly what to say to push my buttons.  This will probably always be a work in progress for me.

What is a bad habit holding you back?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Few Precious Minutes



No, this is not an ad for our local newspaper.

This is a few precious minutes of alone time.

More often than not Wee Man wakes up before us.  He is, shall we say, our alarm clock. I can count the number of times on one hand where we have had to set our alarm since he came home.

He is an early riser - 6:30 or so.

I am a moderately early riser - 7:30 or 8.

The Husband is a sleep until noon kinda guy.

Anyways, I am getting way off track here.

The one thing I miss, at times, is my morning ritual.  Waking up, letting the dog(s) out, making a cup of tea and reading the paper consisted of my pre-parenthood routine. Alone, by myself, with no one else around. A time to gather my thoughts, clear the cobwebs out of my brain, wipe the sleep from my eyes and and just sit. (Oh and read the paper too)

My "Sharpening my Saw" time if you will - if you are unfamiliar with this term of mine, it simply refers to my recharge time - I need it and crave it for my sanity.  It is something I have always needed, this is not new by any means.

This morning I woke up at 7 and to my surprise the wee lad was still soundly sleeping. So I crept downstairs all quiet like, so as not to wake him, and made myself a cup of tea and read the paper.

Do hear that?

That, my friends, is the sound of silence!

And IT!  Well, it is delightful!

Aaaaaaah! 

It lasted 10 minutes and then I could hear the little dude crawl out of his bed and turn on his light.

The day has just begun.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Growth Factor

Wee man is growing.

Like a little weed!

He has grown more in the last 4 or 5 months than the entire year he has been home with us.

It's as if his little, wee body has said "Right! We are finally healthy, all parasites/buggies are gone, all food incoming is now going to go to excellent use, and we can commence growing at an alarming rate!" And so he eats....like a 13 year old teen...he eats!

Some days he wakes up and we both look at him and say "Wow dude! You grew overnight."

Literally!

This morning I looked at him and thought he must have grown last night because he is taller. Seriously! He is taller! He looks leaner and has lost the baby fat/parasite/malnutrion bulge he had when we first met him. The parasite battle has been over for a long time but his teeny belly seemed stuck in the distended position as if those first 2 year's of his life taught it that it should just stick out.

He has outgrown 4 shoes sizes in a year!

4 SHOES SIZES!

He was a size 5 last January and we recently purchased his spring shoes in a size 9! 

Not to mention the pants. He was wearing size 12-18 months when we got him and still had to roll them up. At 24 months he was fitting size 12 months....he weighed 21 pounds and now weighs about 33 pounds.  Now he is in size 3 and even those are fast becoming too small.

So we have been going through many pairs of pants.  Everytime we turn around it looks like his ankles are ready for a flood of gargantous proportions to roll through his immediate area.  I would say it is Urkel-like but only in the "dude you wear your pants waaaaaay to short" sense. He is far to cute to truly be Urkel.

I vaguely remember growing pains as a kid and how my legs ached so bad I wished I could take them off.  I can't imagine how it feels to grow so much so fast.  Wee man's little body is now in a position to be able to "catch up" to where he should be but wasn't given a chance to when he was a wee babe. Some days he is so crabby and we have to remember how painful all this catch up must be.

Not only is his body growing but so is his emotional/intelluctual self.  His speech is rapidly becoming age-appropriate. We can now have full on conversations with him and it makes life so much easier.  He can tell us what he needs, wants and is feeling better than ever. It certainly makes for a happier household.  And Dude! He is SMART!!! Smarter than the two of us combined and that is dangerous.

However, with the speech development comes the confidence to tell us like it is.  Case in point, the other night wee dude said to me "Mama, GET ME MY SUPPER!"  Excuse me!?  We are now working on "Please" so at least now he says "Mama, PLEASE get me my supper!" Ha! 

Emotions at 3 are something else.  Many, many people said to us "3 is worse than 2" and I DID NOT believe them.  2 is random and out of control because they are learning so much and can't get across what they want or need. They can go in one direction and something catches their attention and they are off in a new direction before you can turn your head.

3 is full of the DRAMAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!  Seriously, Academy Awards could be won in our house for the way little man can turn on the tears when he doesn't get his way and then shut them off just as quickly as they started.  The "I'm-going-to-stick-my-lip-out-a-la-Guiness-Book-of-World-Records-style" pouts to see if that works on ya is something to behold my friends.

3 is also chock full of fun!  We can laugh together over silly jokes, actions, or crazy living- room-dance parties.  His smile lights up an entire block and his giggle is infectious! Really, when he starts giggling you need a HazMat suit to keep from becoming infected too and never being able to stop laughing along with him.

Watching the growth and development of the wee one is awe inspiring.  There is nothing else like it in the world. We see things anew through his eyes...he sees things in the world around us we haven't seen in long, long time and it is so good to be enlightened with the help of such an amazing little dude.

Now, if only we can get him to stay in bed until 8 in the A.M. and life will be perfect!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bah! Computers!

Computers drive me insane!!!

Today I am having nothing but computer issues!

I want to listen to Itunes while I work...nope! Not happening!

Tried to log in to my RDP so I can work (RDP is how I work linking from home to our office's network) - every time I try to open an email I get kicked out! EMAIL IS HOW I GET MY WORK DONE DAMN YOU!

Read a blog post and wanted to comment. No way! Username and Password not valid!

THEY ARE VALID! THEY ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are not valid computer!

YOU. ARE. NOT. VALID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Big Move

We're moving.

I'm packing.

Very slowly, I am packing up the last 7 years of our life in this house.

We aren't moving because we have run out of space with Wee Man now home. We aren't moving because our house is old beyond repair. Our lovely little 2 story home was built, by us, just over 7 years ago. We love our home. It is the perfect family home.

Why are we moving? I ask that question every day.

For years, almost 10 to be exact, Yvan and I have walked through the neighbourhood we live in. At first it was just the 2 of us when we first started dating. Yvan would come over to my little apartment (which is about 6 blocks from where we live currently) and we would take walks at night and talk about owing a home in this lively, lovely, family-friendly neighbourhood. We talked about the family we would have here. Then we added a cute, little Chihuahua to our walk, and then another one and last year Wee Man became part of our walk abouts. We dreamed of living in a core neighbourhood with trees so well established they could tell you stories of a 100 years ago.

There was one street in particular we always dreamed of living on, but thought it would be years, and years, and years in our future, if ever.

6 months after we first started taking our walks together, we bought a wee, yellow house on a corner lot. I LOVED this house. It was cute with 2 bedrooms, one teeny bathroom and a basement that was crumbling with a slight moldy smell but I loved it!



2 years later we decided to build a new house in the place of the old house.

We built that house over a 6 month period from start to finish. We moved in to it in the dead of Winter which in Canada means end of January! Lucky for us the day wasn't too cold.

The house took some time becoming ours. At first it seemed so big and empty in comparison to our little yellow house. As we added touches of art and photos to the walls it slowly became home. Every family gathering we had or party with friends we loved, our house grew to be a cozy, warm home full of memories. We endured our struggles to become parents here....we agonized over whether or not our dreams of having a wee one join us to make our home complete would ever happen.

We celebrated birthdays and holidays here. We hosted dance parties in our living room, we sat outside in our little yard enjoying Saturday morning over the paper with 2 eggs served any style. We grieved the loss of loved ones in our home. We celebrated running our first 10k here, my sis-in-laws staggette was held here. Yvan's brother lived in our basement for 2 years.

So many memories here in our home.



We cried here a lot, we laughed here a lot, and dreamed of our future here....a lot!

Then one day! Our biggest dream of all came home. Wee Man! We celebrated his arrival with close family. We struggled through our first year here as a family of 3. We had good times and some bad times but we got through it all - the 3 of us!

One day, we took Wee Man and the 2 dogs for a walk. We ventured down our favourite street and said "What if one day we were able to build our dream house on this street?" The actual statement that was made went something like this:

Me: "You know, I think I might be ready to build another house again."
Him: "REALLY!!!!!!" Insert here - wheels turning in his head and boy could you hear those wheels!

Now, you have to know I was thinking it would take at least 2 years to find the right spot...the right house to tear down.

Someone, somewhere had other ideas.

2 weeks after I made the above statement we were signing the dotted line on our new home. Or I should say our new home soon to be torn down replaced by our dream home. (Be careful what you wish for...it might just come true!)

You might say we were crazy to think we could attempt to build a new house in the first year of being parents (to a 2 year old I might add) and those naysayers - well they would be right! It was crazy of us...let's just add some more stress to the pile why don't we?

There have been some very trying times over the last 6 months (yes, I know really the last year) but adding in the build put us on the precipice of losing our sanity. BUT, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. We are making it through the craziness together. Our new home, on the street we have always dreamed of living on, is soon to be complete. 2 months from now we should be unpacking boxes and settling in.

Then the adding of art and photos, having family gatherings, and parties with friends we love to make our house a home will begin again.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And the Worst Blogger of the Year Award Goes to.....

Me!

I have been awful at blogging.

(Horrible!)

Every time I open up my computer and open the Internet my page pops up automatically.

(Despicable!)

The first thing I see is my lack of posts.

The taunting of not being a good blogger is constantly on my mind.

(Slacker!)

I want to write stuff.

I have things to write about.

(Lame-O!)

Finding the time is the difficulty.

(Excuses, excuses!)

That and I think "Oh, does anyone really want to hear about THAT?"

(Just stop already!)

I read some really good blogs.

Amazing blogs written by people who have important, funny, thoughtful, satirical, challenging things to say.

I feel like I don't measure up!

Maybe I need to quit being a sis pants and just write about things I want to write about.

Really write about things.

(Challenge Accepted!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Littlest Rower

Ade loves to come to the gym with us.

He gets lots of attention from everyone and has fun playing on the equipment! We think it is important for him to see us and other people we know being active so it becomes second nature to him to work out.

His favourite machine to play on is the C2 Rower...we think rowing might be in his future because he picked it up quite fast.








Friday, March 16, 2012

The Potty Train

So, it looks like we are taking the first tentative steps towards potty training.

This is very exciting news in our house.

The talk of all things poop and pee is certainly first and foremost in all of our conversations as a family. Even at supper time there is much chatter from the wee lad about where the poop and pee is supposed to go and who he is supposed to call when he needs to go.

Wee man has been going on the potty for a long time but still wearing diapers. We had progressed to pull-ups in the last couple of weeks and THEN....

This morning gotchies were asked for and so we quickly obliged and explained how he had to be sure to let someone know if he had to go potty.

We were in our bathroom getting ready for the day. We told Ade he should go pee and one of us would take him.

He said "No way" and we thought he was being his 3 year old self.

But then...we heard a door open....followed by the sound of the toilet lid being lifted....with 2 little feet on the step up to the toilet....and when we went to look in his bathroom he was sitting on the potty!

AND

He had peed and pooped all by himself!!!!!

To say we did a happy dance is an understatement!

One lucky little dude received 2 chocolate chips for being such a big boy.

Now we know there will be accidents....it is only natural...but wow!

That, my friends, was big step!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wee Legs Can Make for a Long Journey

"Hey! Wait for me! I'm coming!!!"




"I said wait! I'll be there soon!"



"Oh man! Why is this taking so long???"



"Almost.....there...."



"If it's o.k. with you....I'm just gonna rest for a bit!"



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crazy Weightlifting Lady A.K.A Why I love Crossfit!

I've been called a crazy weightlifting lady! It's not true. O.k. the crazy part...I'll give you that. I do lift some weights! They aren't crazy by any means.

Seriously!

You should see the ladies (and guys too) in our gym, Synergy Strength and Conditioning, rock out the heavy lifting! I aspire to lift weight like they do. Not to degrade the weights I do lift! Because for me they are pretty cool, and I have room to grow which is awesome.

The thing I love about lifting weights and Crossfit in general is that I am continually surprising myself. Every time I walk through the door to the gym and look at the WOD (work out of the day) I think "Holy Mother of Pearl" how am I going to do that?"

And then, I do it!

Many crossfitters will tell you it is the energy of those people who are working, sweating, grunting, groaning and getting it done beside you which pushes you to do one more pull up, one more box jump, or one more kettle bell swing.

It is in those moment when you are the last person doing the WOD, and those who are done stay to cheer you on to the finish, that you realize strength is in numbers. No one is left alone to finish a work out and so you dig deep to get those last 5 power cleans in. Other people know that you can do it even when you think you can't and they will make damn sure you don't give up.

Community is everything in Crossfit, because in all honesty it would be really hard to do these workouts on your own. At least for me it would be. I never been to a gym before now where I have actually made friends with the people who are also working out there. That is because the standard gym, for the most part, is a solo effort. Crossfit gyms are not like that. You work out with the same people everyday. You become friends and cheerleaders of one another.

Crossfit has been deemed a 'cult' by some. A derogatory term used by people who have no idea what they are talking about because they have never tried it. If by cult you mean, a group of people who gather together because they have the same fitness, eating, and healthy-living lifestyle goals than heck ya! It's a cult! And I'll sign up any day.

But I'm getting caught up here...

I started Crossfit because a friend recommended it and I could see how it had changed her physically as well as mentally. Yvan wanted to try something new and more challenging than we had been doing. So we took the leap and stepped outside the box....or rather inside the box. (Crossfit gyms are called boxes because typically they are large warehouse boxy spaces.)

2 years later we are still doing it and seeing gains every day.

If you follow me on Facebook than you know I signed up to do the Crossfit Games Open . I know I won't make the games this year. That is just fine with me. I didn't get into Crossfit to compete just to get healthy and strong.

Along the way though, I saw the benefits of competing now and then....in challenging myself to push myself harder than I might do in a typical WOD on a typical training day. I didn't think about the fact I wouldn't be able to complete some of the more technical movements. Instead I thought to myself, "Let's see how far I can go during this challenge and do my very best."

Kimmy says best it best on her blog "Sometimes It's a Little Bit Like a Butterfly". Now there is a gal who has gumption, dedication, determination and an awe-inspiring attitude towards life.

As always happens with Crossfit, I have surprised myself. After two rounds I am still in the Open. I have been able to do both WODs to the best of my ability. Am I the best in the world? Nope, but it's not the worst either.

Last week, the second work out was my Nemesis in terms of weightlifting - The Snatch! (It's a lot of people's harbinger of evil). The snatch is a movement where you lift a barbell from the platform to locked arms overhead in a smooth continuous movement. It is a very technical movement and damn hard.

I have just started getting the hang of this movement. Just. Started. To. Get. The. Hang. Of. It. After two years. So, when it came up last week to do multiple snatches in clusters of 30 at increasing weights with a time cap of 10 minutes ..well, I knew it was going to be tough.

(I should also mention here that I am actually afraid of this movement. It scares me. Putting weight up over my head lifted directly from the ground is a bit intimidating)

I got through the first 30 @ 45# in about 2:30 and moved onto to the next cluster of 30 @ 75#. I have only done 1 power snatch at 75# before so I figured if I got 1 or 2 reps I would be laughing...over the next 7 1/2 minutes I got 8 reps.....8 reps!! That is a lot for a max effort....and yes, I'm tooting my own horn here. I actually got a little teary because by the end of the 10 minutes I was beginning to really understand the mechanics of the movement and to not be afraid of it anymore.

I didn't do it by myself. My fellow crossfitters were there cheering me on. One of the coaches, who could see my frustration level rising, came over and talked me through every 8 of those snatches. I could hear people yelling my name and telling me I could do it.

Once again, I was surprised by my own efforts. Not by the people though, because you can always count on them to be there for you.

I guess what I am getting at here...is the reason Why I love Crossfit and have become a crazy weightlifting lady.

It helps me face my fears. It breeds friendship and positivity. It makes me a better, stronger, faster, healthier, more productive person.

When I have conquered a WOD, I know the rest of the day will be a breeze.

(And yes, this is a shameless plug to get everyone I know to try Crossfit at least once.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Is February finally gone???? Thank Goodness!

February 2012 was awful.

I needed to step back, take a break and re-evaluate which is why I haven't been blogging of late.

My dear, sweet, kind, feisty, lovable Grandma passed away.


We were close. Very close.

Growing up I probably spent close to every day with her except when we lived out of town. After school I would go to her house until my mom was done work and could pick me up to take me home. We would sit and watch t.v. together and argue over the news. We always had differing opinions on everything so it was always enjoyable to get into heated debates with her. There is probably no one else on the earth who could challenge me like she did...and get me riled up the way she did too.

Even as an adult, we talked every week. I tried to see her every week too but sometimes it was hard and it would only be a couple times a month. She loved Yvan. I think more than she loved me and she always told me how lucky I was to have found him. She was right.



She prayed hard for our adoption to go through as well. She would always say she just couldn't understand why it was taking so long and why they were keeping our babe from being in our arms where he most needed to be. She was beside herself with joy the day we came home with Ade.

She was fiercely protective of her kids and grand kids (great grand kids too) and her world revolved around family. Many holidays were planned with Grandma involved because we just all liked to be together.

The last month before she died I was privileged to be able to spend almost every day with her and to tell her how much I loved her. Her family came to be by her side in her last days and she was so happy to have them all there.

I was very honored to be able to say the Tribute to her at her funeral. It was incredibly hard to put her 88 years into words. I did my best to honour the little lady who was so special to so many. She always said she was so lucky to have us as her family but the truth is, it was us who were so unbelievably lucky to have her as our Matriarch.

I miss her terribly. I always will. As a friend so eloquently said, "the longer someone is in our lives, the more we miss them when they are gone."

My grandma had been in my life since the day I was born.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

He's 3!!!!!!!

Who can believe he is 3??! And has been home a year?!!

We can't!

Where did the year go??????



We threw our wee, little man a party to celebrate turning 3 and being home with us for a year! Our fantastic family and friends came over to help us celebrate which made it even more special for him and for us!

Chillin' the night before the big party!




Opening a special gift from a special little friend in Calgary :)




My first ever attempt at a birthday cake! I'm quite proud of how it turned out!



A little overwhelmed by all the people singing "Happy Birthday" but he had a blast and got to play with so many of his favourite little friends!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Cold is in the House

And I'm talking the kind that takes root in your head.

Just underneath your eyes and nose.

The kind where your nose feels so stuffed out that your eyes might pop out.

The kind that makes you cough until you feel like you can't breathe.

It has taken 2 out of 3 of us down.

Thankfully Wee Man is o.k. but he is rampant upon his two sick parents.

Will continue the one year reflections of Ethiopia soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inflight Entertainment or Ade's First Christmas?

I could regale you with stories from our 13 hours in the air enroute to Dubai but I'm not that mean. I would hate to bore you with 13 hours of nothingness.

I won't bother telling you that Yvan slept almost the whole flight and I spent the entire time fighting off the hand of the guy sitting on the other side of me. I won't mention that he tried to grab my ass pretty much the entire flight and covered it up by pretending to be asleep. There will be no stories about how said guy never spoke a word to us unless Yvan got up and went to the washroom. Then the "ass-grabber" told me all about himself and how if I liked he would give me his number and he could show me around Dubai while we were there. Not sure how that would have worked since MY HUSBAND would have been there too.

Anyways, instead of telling you THAT story....I will show you pictures of Ade's first Christmas with us instead.

It is a much happier story!!! I will title the story.....

THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!!




Christmas Morning - having our oatmeal.



Coffee on the couch with Daddy. He still doesn't understand the presents under the tree are for him so he isn't even interested in them....YET!


Opening his stocking.




Ooooooh! What's in here?




There's more?????



Brunch with Yvan's family (missing his sis and her hubs - they joined us later)



Post present opening disaster area!



Playing choo-choo trains



Helping Grandpa open his gift :)


Riding his new car!



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It Takes 3 Flights to Get to Ethiopia

And Janaury 10th, 2011 at 3:15p.m. we boarded the first of those 3 flights on our way to Ethiopia and to our son, Ade.

One year ago we embarked on the greatest journey of lives to date.

If you recall we received our long-awaited, much-anticipated, highly-stressed-over Visa for Ade on December 28th, 2010. I woke up to an email from a friend who was in Addis Ababa and had been with our representative over their when she picked up our visa. She knew the CAFAC office was closed for the holiday season and she didn't want us to wait one more day to find out Ade was finally ours to go and get.

I screamed when I opened the email and read the words, "I'm thrilled to tell you this, - ADE'S VISA IS IN!!!!!!!" .

I yelled to Yvan and my mom that Ade's visa was in and then started to weep! All the worry, waiting and wondering came rushing out in one swoop as I cried and cried and cried! Yvan and my mom encircled me with their arms and we all cried together.

The next 2 weeks were spent finishing up packing Ade's bags and getting our bags packed as well. List were checked and re-checked. Calls were made, work was organized and soon it was time to leave.

But wait! What about flights you ask? Well, Yvan and I had taken a leap of faith before Christmas and had booked flights on December 23rd. Something told both of us we it was time to go to Ethiopia and not leave Ade waiting any longer. So, flights, well, they had already been waiting for us!

January 10th, 2010 was a Monday. We had most of our bags packed with just a few last minute things left to go in. We had a couple of things to run and get and one might think we were unorganized but this was probably just to keep us from sitting and pacing at home until it was time go.

We were both so nervous and emotional. We knew life as we knew it was about to change big time. As we zipped up our bags and hauled them all downstairs to the back door, I started to cry. It was here. The time had come. We were going to Ethiopia. Going to meet our son. Become a family.

Yvan gave me a big hug and told me to take a deep breath. It was all going to be o.k.

As we waited for Yvan's dad to pick us up, we talked about our past life together and how the future was going to change. We imagined what it was going to be like to see Ade for the first time and how he and we would feel in that moment.

I cried all the way to the airport. The rest of Yvan's family met us at the airport to see us off. I cried the whole time. I cried all the way through security and while we waited to board. It must have been the last 18 months of stress and waiting working itself out. It was also excitement, fear, happiness, uncertainty and so much more.

I settled down as the plane took off and we relaxed back into our seats and held hands.

When we landed in Toronto we made our across the airport to the International area of the terminal for our flight to Dubai. We had booked to fly on Emirates airline through the UAE with a one night stay over in Dubai. Just weeks before we travelled, the UAE had put a new Visa rule in place for Canadian citizens but luckily since we were travelling with Emirates they would sponsor us.

However, we had not been told how to pick up our visa, hotel voucher and food vouchers for our stay in Dubai. (Emirates pays for your hotel and food when you are on a layover.) The first boarding agent wasn't very helpful at all and told us she couldn't help us and we would have to go back outside of security to the front desk to collect our papers. Boarding had just been announced and I panicked thinking we were going to miss our flight. Yvan managed to talk to someone else who was kind enough to radio and have someone bring our documents to the gate.

Whew!

We boarded the A380 (which holds 500 people, has a first class with suites, and business class with flat-beds and an economy class with the night sky on the ceiling!) It is absolutely the biggest airplane either of us have ever been on. Yvan and I marvelled at the smoothness and quietness of it as we took-off into the night sky.

13 hours later.....we landed in Dubai.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chocolate and Cheese Sweats

Alright!

What is it about Christmas time that instills in people free range to eat anything and everything in sight?

Or is it just me who does that?

This year leading into Christmas I was really good. I was sticking to my new eating style, working-out like a mad-dog and using self-control beautifully. In fact, (excuse me whilst I brag a little) I lost 2% body fat and 2lbs in 2 months. Now, I realize I don't have a lot of weight to lose but body fat is something totally different so I was very pleased with this. I have seen a noticeable change in how my body looks (leaner) and feels (stronger) because of this.

I promised myself I would stick it out entirely through Christmas allowing myself a couple of splurge days on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Because everyone deserves to splurge now and then.

Christmas Eve we had a lovely potluck appetizer gathering at my bro-in-law's house. I hadn't been eating much cheese (I did eat about 8lbs of cheese at another family gathering the week before) or bread so seeing all the delightful food on the table had me salivating more than Pavlov's dog.

I dug in!

I dug in hard!

It was good! Well, it tasted good anyways. The eating always feels different than the digesting. Typically after I have eaten certain foods, and an over abundance of them, the after result is uncomfortable and not so pleasant for my husband (think lactose intolerant symptoms). I know you've all been there. (Well maybe not the lactose intolerant symptoms.)

Then we headed back to our house (we live next door) for some dessert. The box(es) of chocolate were opened and it was game over.

Seeing all of those delicious dark chocolates nestled in their tiny, little beds inside the glittery, gold box with a pretty bow on top melted my heart like a fondue pot! I began to eat one, then another and another and....well you get the picture.

The gluttony fest had begun. My wall of will power came crumbling down and visions of hamburgers, sweet potato fries, apple pie, potato chips, waffles with whipped cream and chocolate cake danced through my head.

Over the next week I ate myself silly. It's almost as if once I started my brain (re stomach) said "Well, you've started now you might as well keep on going." By New Year's Day night my stomach and digestive system had, had enough of the junk food.

I pulled our last organic chicken out of the freezer on New Year's Day and so it was ready for the next day. Monday I roasted the chicken in the oven, made some sweet potatoes and corn to accompany the chicken and we sat down to a delicious, healthy meal.

It tasted good!

Yesterday we returned to the gym for the first time since the day before Christmas Eve. Oh my! What a week off and non-stop eating can do to a person when they go back to their regularly scheduled program.

I felt sluggish and slow, heavy and thick!

And the sweat! It was not a good sweat!

There is the healthy, salty, "I've just worked out really hard" sweat you get from a work out.

But this sweat...it was full of everything I had eaten over the last week. Mostly, Chocolate and Cheese!I could feel the chocolate oozing from my forehead as I did my row, box jumps and knees-to-elbows.

Today, it was the cheese sweats! Trickling, thickly down my face as I did back squats.

Blech!

While I love Christmas and all the glad tidings it brings, I am definitely happy it has come and now gone and we can get back to life as we know it.

Sans chocolate and cheese sweats.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And so 2012 begins....

....and I am already exhausted!

I should be well rested from our Christmas holidays. Alas, this is not the case.

A week off with Yvan home is something which rarely happens (maybe once a year) and try as we might to have some down time we found ourselves flitting about here and there visiting and eating with friends and family.

Couple that with a New Year's Eve spent with delightful friends where we stayed up until (wait for it....) 2:30 in the AM!!!!

Ade woke up punctually at 7:15AM giving us less than 5 hours sleep. Yes, we did this to ourselves...and spent much of New Year's Day laying on the couch in our pajamas watching Ade run hither and thither through the house. It's ok...he survived the less-than-attentive parenting we offered. It's amazing how a child can just play, and play, and play and play....

My little Grandma, who is 88, has been sick on and off for months now. It started back in September and she is progressively getting worse. This weighs on my mind and my heart. We have always been very close and she helped raise me for a good chunk of my life. Seeing her become weaker by the day is heartbreaking and watching as she slides deeper into depression because she can't do the things she used to dreadful.

She often tells me these days, that "getting old is no fun" and I believe for her now that she is sick and her frail body is failing here it isn't any fun at all. She has always been a very active woman who bowled, went for walks, played shuffle board and managed to go shopping every single day. She would like to continue the robust, active life she held but finds it to strenous and being confined to her tiny apartment has been awful for her.

Seeing my sweet grandma like this is saddening and emotionally draining because as much as I want to make her better and for her to live for ever.....I can't.

Starting back to work right after Christmas holidays is harder than I thought. Being in a laid-back, carefee, wear pajama's until noon, no need to rush to get Yvan out the door, or Ade ready for activities mode got to be quite routine. (Funny how that can happen in a week) and so this morning when we heard Ade wake up and looked up at the clock and realized it was 8AM we both jumped out of bed in bleary-eyed wonderment at having slept in on the first day back to work.

That made me tired too.

I read post a while back about being in the moment...and I am trying. But I keep getting ahead of myself and find that I am living 4 months down the road or planning our summer holidays...for crying out loud it is only January 3rd! That can wait right?! My brain is whirring with the sound of my inner voice saying "What adventures can we get up to this year?" and "You SHOULD book some stuff now so you don't leave it until the last minute and then don't get to do it!"

I am making my self tired.

We are also building a new house. I have been very hush, hush on the subject, mainly because Yvan wanted me to, but it isn't something I can keep quiet about anymore. It is stressing me out. We are building our dream home. I am very thankful that we are able to do this. But I am a girl who likes everything in their place and the creature comforts of a well established home (I moved A LOT when I was kid). Our home now has fully and completely wrapped its arms around me in a homey embrace and I don't want to let go. I know that I house is just a house and you make it a home but right now...after all the changes and ups and downs of the last few years...my home is my safe haven and I will be so sad to leave it.

Building a new home is very tiring (but exciting).

There is also a niggling in my brain. The niggling is much to do with how I can do more to help others. I would like to volunteer more this year but not quite sure at what. Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Alright, this post is fast just becoming me vomitting random stuff all over my keyboard and likely you have stopped reading this post by now.

That is if anyone is still reading my blog. I have NOT been the best bloggers as of late.

I will leave you with some things I would like to better myself with in the year 2012. Not resolutions because really do those ever work but small goals or minor achievements I would like to see myself hit.

Get more rest.

Worry less.

See friends more.

Get on my yoga mat.

Meditate.

Crossfit without fear of failure.

Spend more time with my husband.

Travel with my wee family to some fun destinations (at least one or two trips somewhere in Canada)

Complain less.

Smile more.

Stop to smell the roses.

Volunteer.

Stop being so damn hard on myself.

Laugh more.

Hug people more.

Dance more.

Tell me some of your goals for the New Year!

Happy 2012 :)