Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar eclipse

Today is Solstice, which I love, and this morning (at 1am) there was a full lunar eclipse visible from our house.
I set the alarm and Shel and I got up and went out to look at the moon. It was absolutely beautiful.
The sky was clear and the moon was bright and we stood there for about 2 minutes and then since the temperature was -27 degrees Celsius we went back inside and went to bed.
I am thrilled we were able to share the moment. It was awesome.

The Life I Planned verses the Life I Have

I was raised in a religious home. I attended a scripture study every day from Monday to Friday through my high school years. I served a mission in my early twenties for my church. For the past 15 years I have not actively participated in any organized religion at all, but I have remained interested in spirituality.
In my studies I have spent some time reading about Buddhism. One of the four noble truths of Buddhism is that "the cause of suffering can be ended".

The third noble truth is that the cause of suffering can be ended. Our struggle to survive, our effort to prove ourselves and solidify our relationships is unnecessary. We, and the world, can get along quite comfortably without all our unnecessary posturing. We could just be a simple, direct and straight-forward person. We could form a simple relationship with our world, our children, our spouse and friends. We do this by abandoning our expectations about how we think things should be.

I want to end suffering in my life. I am trying to implement this noble truth into my life and when I have been able to do so successfully I have seen that the principle works for me. Unfortunately I have a LONG way to go when applying the principle to parenting.

You see, although I always wanted to have children I didn't think in my lifetime it would happen. After coming out, my partner and I tried unsuccessfully to hear children. (HA! Freudian slip! I meant "HAVE" children, I am spending a lot of time now trying not to HEAR children!) We thought we would adopt, but the cost was prohibitive. We have now have successfully adopted through the foster care system and are the parents of two amazing boys. I have a lot of "expectations" about how my parenting will be - and it is not turning out that way AT ALL. As a result I am experiencing much sorrow and frustration, because I have not yet been able to abandon my expectations and accept things as they are.

For example...

I always wanted to have a child's room that was decorated beautifully. We had a theme, we had colours picked out. We had pictures for the wall and linens for the bed and we were excited to bring home our baby and put him in his room. Well, it didn't turn out that way at all. One of the challenges facing my son is sensory integration. He is overwhelmed by stimulus, particularly visual stimulus. When there is too much for his brain to "process" he cannot deal with his surroundings. His room was not a place where he wanted to be and where he could relax, but a place where he was so "over" stimulated that he literally had "fits" until the pictures came off the wall and everything came out of his room except his bed. We have managed to put a dresser and a night table back into his room but I think they are still too much for him.

And now my most recent disappointment:
In my ideal world we would put up the tree the first day of December. We would make cookies and sing carols, and do crafts. We would have nativities set up. We would have advents.
In reality - Christmas is too much.
When Max was two, and old enough to open presents, it took two days to get to everything under the tree. Not because there was much there, but because it was simply overwhelming.
Last year we found unopened presents at the back of the tree when we took it down - again too overwhelming.
We got the tree out to put it up on Sunday. We put it up and started to string the lights and Max started in. He is ADDICTED to lights. He has taken one string already and moved them three or four times.
I think I said "stop touching the lights" half a million times in the first ten minutes and then I was getting more and more frustrated until I actually said if he touched the lights one more time I was going to pick up the tree and throw it out the front door.
Don't ever say something if you don't mean it. He hasn't stopped touching the lights and I haven't thrown the tree out the front door.
We have a garland of red beads that look like they are cranberries. They are one of my favorite decorations. Max tied them around himself and CJ and they used them as a tug of war - which only resulted in the string breaking and beads going everywhere all over the living room floor. I managed to pick them up and bag them - where they still sit today.
So the tree is up. One string of lights is almost on. One string of lights is........hmn. I don't actually know where. And we are no closer to finishing the tree than when we pulled it out of the quonset.
On Sunday night I was so frustrated with the whole process I threw the boys in the tub, put them in pajamas and we all went to bed.
The problem is my expectations, but how do I change them? Max is THRILLED it is Christmas, more than he ever has been before, but it is still too overwhelming for him. I don't know how to adjust.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Reindeer Hokey Pokey

Today was the Christmas Concert because it was cancelled yesterday. Maxies class did the reindeer hokey pokey. The curtains opened and he froze! He has such stage fright. He recovered for the last ten seconds with the help of his aide (whom we LOVE).

I managed to get ten seconds on tape......
My boy is the one on the far left.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow day

It is rare, but today the Christmas Concert at the elementary school was cancelled due to heavy snowfall. Thankfully they have just postponed the concert until tomorrow so we will still get to see Max singing his hokey pokey reindeer version song. Last year he just sat on the stage and didn't sing a word. Knowing how he is in front of people I can't imagine he will do any better this year, but he is cute all the same!

We were under a heavy snow warning for about 24 hours - ending early this morning  - and I can verify - heavy snow fell.
Last night I charged up the snow blower and put it to work. I went out twice and what a thrill it was. I purchased the snow blower two summers ago and last year we didn't gt enough snow to use it. I was bummed. This year Shel brought it out and put it by the back door so it would be accessible when (we were hoping) the time came to use it.
In the time I had it out - about an hour all together - I did as much moving snow that in the past would have taken me over five hours of backbreaking labour to move.
I am thrilled. In fact, I love it so much I can't wait to get home and use it again!
Max of course came out to "help". He is a trooper.

No hamburgers on the grill tonight!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

365/16; L.D.

Try this: make a list of 365 people whose names you remember and who were interesting to you. And then, if you can, write down a few words about each of them before they're gone from your memory. If you can't do this, it might be wise to spend the next 365 days meeting more people in person who are interesting to you. Learn their names.

I have recently been reading the blog of an active Mormon BYU student who is gay. (If you are interested you can check out his blog HERE). He is currently writing about his mission and it has really been on my mind lately. I am not as brave as he is, nor is my mission experience anything at all like his, but thinking about my mission has brought me to this post.

One of the things about going on a mission and coming home and then coming out as a gay person is that the people you served with and other people in the LDS church often assume that you went on a mission for the wrong reasons and that you were not faithful or chaste as a missionary. That's a horrible assumption to make.

First of all when I was on my mission I had NO idea I was gay. I was in fact convinced I wasn't. The thought of homosexuality repulsed me. I HAD experienced ONE situation of same sex attraction prior to my mission, and I met with my bishop, my stake president and a general authority prior to being permitted to serve. I was convinced I was NOT gay, and I was hypersensitive on the topic of homosexuality.

L.D.was my mission president.. He was not my first mission president, and I have heard from other missionaries who had two presidents during the time they were missionaries that it is frequently a difficult transition from one to the other. This was the case with me. (I also know that there are people who absolutely LOVED L.D. and who had wonderful experiences with him. Not so for me.)

I was a very hard working missionary. I am proud of the way in which I served my mission. I had struggles for sure, but overall I would say my mission was a success.

Enter L.D.

For some reason the guy instantly disliked me, which I found strange because I had not done anything I believed to warrant being disliked. Let me give you an example. (This is just one small example of the many I had with L.D.)

There was scheduled to be a sister missionary "conference" near the mission office. I was serving in the area the furthest from the office. President called me up and told me what was on the agenda and asked me what I thought. I thought it was a waste of time. For me and my companion to get to the conference we would have to get a member of the ward to drive us to the meeting place, wait around for us, and drive us back. It was something the members were MORE than willing to do, and something I would not have hesitated to ask for, but the agenda for the day involved having someone from Mary Kay come and do a demo on make-overs. This to me was completely pointless and a waste of time. I rode a bike.  In a skirt. Every day. Many of these days it was raining. Regardless of how many times I met with someone from Mary Kay I was unlikely to change what I wore or put makeup on to go out in the rain on a bike.
L.D. did not like that I said I thought it was a waste of time, and proceeded to reprimand me for not being supportive and telling me I had no choice in the matter, but I WOULD attend, and I WOULD take part and he would not accept anything less.


At no point, ever, did I say I would not attend. He called me, (I didn't call him) and asked my OPINION on something and I shared it. Then he ripped on me for sharing it, and made assumptions that I was not attending! His wife called me later to tell me that she thought it would be a good idea for me to come down (again, I never said I wasn't) and that it would be the boost I needed to my self esteem if I would get a makeover. She offered to pay for me to go and professionally get a makeover. I declined the offer.

L.D. was someone who I found interesting. The way he interacted with me and with other missionaries in my area who were all leaving at the same time as me left much to be desired. I certainly learned from him how I would never want to lead, if I were ever given the opportunity. It was unfortunate that my mission experience was clouded in this way by his interactions with me. Having said all that about him - he did teach me something. He taught me how to write a check. He taught me when writing out the value of the check to put a line in front of and behind the written amount so people couldnt add things on the line. Many of my interactions with him were about money.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

365/15: Homa

Try this: make a list of 365 people whose names you remember and who were interesting to you. And then, if you can, write down a few words about each of them before they're gone from your memory. If you can't do this, it might be wise to spend the next 365 days meeting more people in person who are interesting to you. Learn their names.

Homa was a professor at the university where I got my undergraduate degree. I was majoring in psychology and I had completed all the credit requirements for my major and was still short of credits for graduation. I was taking random classes just to get credit and I took an introduction to Sociology class from Homa.
I was absolutely captivated. Captivated by the topics (enough to change my major to Sociology) but more captivated by this AMAZING woman.

She was from Iran and her father was a senior administrator for the Shah of Iran. Her family was exiled and she grew up and was educated in Europe. She taught the Sociology of Conflict and her life experience as well as her knowledge impacted me in such an immense way it changed the course of my life.
We got to know one another personally outside of the classroom. She advised me on my directed readings as a senior Sociology student. When I graduated she gifted me with some of the texts she used when she was a sociology student. They were some of the most meaningful books I have ever been given.

I graduated and moved and she left the university. Over the years we have lost touch and I miss our friendship greatly. This past November I went back to the university and visited with another Sociology professor with whom I became close. She has over the years maintained some sporadic contact with Homa, but lost touch again. I heard from her that since I last saw Homa, she became involved in a very abusive relationship that took her years to get out of. I could scarcely believe my ears. This SMART, funny, amazing, beautiful woman was a part of something that destroyed her mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I couldn't comprehend it. I ache for the pain she has endured. It is hard to believe that someone who impacted my life for the positive would have face such destruction in her own life.

If one day we could be in contact again it would be a dream come true. I just hope now that where-ever she is that her life is good. She deserves it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday movie meme

This meme is hosted by the Bumbles. You can link to their blog here to see other participants!

This week's movie topic is all about Family Dynamics...

Here are my favorite families in film:

Four Christmases - Both Children of divorce, a couple visit all four parents at Christmas.

The Other Sister - A mentally handicapped girl moves out on her own and challenges her families expectations of her. Diane Keaton is a phenomenal mother in this movie.

As Good as It Gets - A single mom develops a relationship with an eccentric older man.

The Sound of Music - The Von Trapps! Is there a better movie family anywhere?

Set it Off - O.k. some will argue this movie is about friends and not families, I believe that sometimes we create our own families out of necessity when our families of origin are not available to us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 of 12: December

Chad Darnell hosts 12 of 12 - I look forward to it every month. Check out the photos others from across the globe took on this day by linking to Chads site HERE.

1. 12: 16 am
I got home from work (UFC) and Shel was in the kitchen waiting for me making salad. YUM! It was after midnight and "officially" the 12th so I started to snap pictures. Here is the oven clock just before we head upstairs..

 2. 7:00 am
CJ is in bed with us watching t.v.
It's our weekend morning ritual.

 3. 2:00pm
It is the foster care family Christmas party today. The party is held at the bowling alley, the boys are fascinated by the video games.

 4. 3:00pm
What is there to do that is more fun than running alongside the bowling lanes?

5. 4:30pm
Present time! max is helping C.J. open his present.

The safest place to drive a school bus is under the pool table and away from all the feet!

7. 5:30pm
Left over drinks. Who decided it was a good idea for little kids to drink pop at a Christmas party? I know it is Christmas, but these kids have to come home with us after - and pop before bed does not an easy bedtime make.
8. 6:30pm
Parties over. Shoes are off.

9. 6:30pm
Well someone has to clean off the vehicle so we can see where we are going!
It's snowing pretty hard which is par for the course for the foster party. I think it would not be typical for there to be good weather on this day...

10. 8pm
The birdfeeder is getting buried.

 11. 9:00pm
This is the best this flowerbed border looks all year!

 12. Bedtime.
The day ends the same way it starts. On mom's bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Conversation with Max

Max has been really weird with his food lately (again or still?) He doesn't like potatoes all of a sudden - when that's the thing he loved the most (in the past). Shel made mashed potatoes for the boys the night before last and he told her he didn't like them. Then tonight he asked for them!
This is the conversation he had with Shel a few minutes ago...

Max just asked for mashed potatoes next time I make them. (mix them up, mommy)

Shel explained that since we didn't have a mixer, she can't make them the same way.

Why we don have one?

Well, you took it out and mixed the mud and then washed it.

Yeah, I plugged it in too!

When I do that, we need to buy new one, Mommy!

How do you spell relief?

My eye is twitching which it usually does when I am super tired or stressed, but I think it is just the relief of stress that is causing the muscle twitch. I have been fighting a head cold for a few days and I'll be darned if I let it get the best of me now.
This weekend is going to be GLORIOUS!
Sunday there is a party for foster care and we get our five year appreciation certificate. (I think five years was a good commitment to the foster program - and now perhaps we are done.)
There seems to be enough snow for me to bust out the snow blower.
One more week of work and then I am off for Christmas.
I know how to spell relief - it is TODAY!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: The gift of giving

Other people participate in Thursday Thirteen and you can check them out by visiting this site.  I enjoy seeing the lists other people make.

One of the things I love the most about the Christmas season is the spirit of giving. I love giving gifts. I am going to make a pretend list here of gifts I would like to give people if I had unlimited funds. It would be nice to give gifts of healing to my family members and friends who are ill and so forth, but I have no control over things like that, but maybe one day I will have loads of money and will be able to give people really cool presents - so this is what I would give if I could.....

1. My friend L.G. - I would give 1000 books. The best books ever.

2. My friend Mel - I would give a mannequin. (Just kidding Mel!) Actually, I probably would, just cause that's funny shiznet right there.

3. My Spouse - I would give a trip to Alaska and the Yukon, and I would even go with her!

4. My Mother - I would give a home in a WARM location, closer to her kids and grandkids than the other side of the world where she is now, and unlimited travel miles first class to visit her family whenever she wants.

5. My oldest son - I would give a working car wash (which is what he wants for Christmas.) I just wouldn't put it in his bedroom (which is where he wants it!)

6. My youngest son - I would give a tractor. A real one!

7. My dad - a toupee. Oh, that made me laugh daddy. No, I would give dad a state of the art theater room all decked out with a sweet screen and sound system and keep him supplied with any movie he ever wanted - without people coughing or sneezing or standing up in front of the picture cause the movies people "give him" are sometimes accidentally "pirated"! And maybe tickets for him, my mom, my brother (I would give one to Justin but I don't think he would use it so I'll give one to Jared) and myself to a Liverpool soccer game at Anfield.

8. My friend Dave - I would give an assistant to do all his typing and reports for work (Or a computer system he can talk into that does all his typing for him). First however I would give him a floor stripper and waxer because once I told him if I ever were rich enough to afford it I would give him floor wax. He's a mean stripper.

9. My In-laws - a trip a year to whatever Casino they want. (and maybe some money to spend while they are there!)

10. My whole family - I would give a family vacation together where no-one has to do anything but have fun.

11. My Aunty Bren - I would give a vacation. Anywhere she wants for however long she wants.

12. The public library in our town - I would give a comprehensive collection of every LGBT book every written.

13. My pets - I would give the best food and toys EVAH.  

How about you? What would you give?

99 things to do: Number 18 finish stats class

Tomorrow morning I am writing the final exam for my stats class. This is the final class I have to complete for my Masters degree in Education. I have a thesis to complete, but this is the VERY last class I have to take.
Getting to this point has been a trial at the best of times.
Oh man I cannot express how happy I am to have reached this milestone in my educational journey.
I have not studied NEARLY enough as I should have for the FIVE HOUR exam tomorrow, but I am so stinking happy to be done that I doubt I will study at all.
I have really given a lot to this class in terms of time (driving to Burns Lake) and completing homework assignments (one assignment alone was 16 pages) and studying (for my midterm that is!) and to see the end of it is so fantastic I could do a dance of joy. In fact, I will.
Don't get me wrong. I am a school nerd. I love school. I love learning. I look forward to working on a doctoral degree, but to get this over and done with is a thrill beyond measure. I think the only person in the world comparably as excited to see the end of this as I am is my spouse. Congrats Shel!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shopping for Christmas

I absolutely LOVE Christmas and I am excited that #1 - This is the first Christmas with our boys as "officially" ours and #2 - That they are both old enough to be excited about it themselves.

Shel sat with them and composed letters to Santa.
CJ wants tractors and Max wants a Car Wash for his room.
A tractor we can handle... A car wash? Hmn.

I went with Max to shop for a present for CJ and it was RIDICULOUS. I cannot justify spending the amount of money these toys cost for the cheap, plastic junk that is being sold. Whatever happened to "REAL" quality toys? Unfortunately for me we are only at the very beginning of our lives together shopping for Christmas. It will only get more expensive from here on out I know. Somehow I don't think they will be excited at all to get socks and underwear. It may be a little early to start that tradition!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Movie Meme

From the Bumbles Blog:
Feature Presentation...


This week's movie topic is all about Movie Theater Pet Peeves...

I WISH we lived closer to a movie theater so I could attend more often. Movies in a theater are my FAVORITE and I miss going to the theater desperately.
My spouse and I used to go to matinees in the middle of the week and have the theater to ourself. It was awesome.

A movie pet peeve for me is.... broken chairs or broken cup holders. Do I not pay enough to keep the place maintained?

and once.... I can't really say it is a pet peeve because it only happened once, but it was really nasty. This guy behind me leaned forward and puked on the floor. I heard him puke, it splashed all up the back of my pants and then ran down and was all over the bottom of my shoes. The smell was enough to make me want to puke. I can't remember why I didn't leave. It was NASTY.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No - there WON"T be snow in Ethiopia this Christmas.

I have mentioned that I am a fan of the music of Christmas, but there are a few exceptions. Band Aid, in 1984 recorded the song "Do they know it's Christmas" to raise money for food for Ethiopians affected by drought. It is written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and one of the lines states " There won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime."
This is one of the most annoying lines of a song to me. It's a song to raise money for ETHIOPIA.

IT DOES NOT SNOW IN ETHIOPIA PEOPLE. If it snowed in Ethiopia the children there would have more to worry about than hunger.

I know it seems like a minute thing to find annoying. I think it is wonderful that people got together to raise money for others. I just think that there should be some level of awareness about the world in which we live. This song for me represents the ignorance of the western world regarding issues the rest of the world faces. Of course when I turned on my sirius radio Christmas music channel this was the FIRST song that played.

Friday, December 3, 2010

How's THAT for Timing?!

Literally the MINUTE I posted my entry about waiting for paperwork my spouse and kids dropped into the office bearing gifts in the shape of brown envelopes from the Court.
THE PAPERWORK has arrived.
We are absolutely thrilled beyond words.
Tonight we will celebrate at the Santa Claus Parade in town followed by photos with Santa!

Waiting for paperwork

We know the adoptions are final because we got the call from our adoption worker on November 19th. We are now (still) waiting for the official paperwork to come in the mail so we can get working on ordering new birth certificates (which I kind of don't like the idea of - but it's what happens so we will do it) and getting the boys passports so we can TRAVEL.
We have been telling the boys that we will go on a vacation once the adoptions are final because up until now we have not been able to leave the country with them to visit cousins and grandparents in the USA. Max has decided he wants to go NOW and he asks us every day if he can go on a plane and stay in a hotel. Poor kid doesn't get the concept that we still have to WAIT.
Shel thinks we should just go and stay with them in a hotel which is not a bad idea, but I have a hard time doing ANYTHING in the winter months. (This is bad considering we live in Canada!)
I can't wait for the paperwork to arrive so we can get started on preparing for a "real" vacation in the summer of 2011. The reality of the adoption completion is sinking in SLOWLY.

Survivor quitters are LAME

I have watched all 21 seasons of Survivor. There is nothing that bothers me MORE than people quitting in the middle of the game. It drives me insane. There are SOOO many people who would do anything to be on the show, and others who are voted off who would do anything to STAY on the show that for people to quit is an insult to everyone, and also to the viewers.
There should be some kind of penalty to them, and there is NO way they should sit on the jury to decide the fate of those still playing. How lame.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Christmas Carols

Link HERE to check out others who participate in Thursday Thirteen.

I love Christmas. I love Christmas Music. A LOT. IMMENSELY. HUGELY.
I can't get enough of it.
I like it enough to listen all year, (but other people tend to complain.)

Here are some favorites:

1. Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem - I LOVE this song, but this is not the best version ( I don't like the singer in this version, but I couldn't find any other versions). Sorry!

2. There's Still My joy - Indigo Girls

3. Who Would Imagine a King - Whitney Houston (or in this case - Katherine McFee)

4. Sarah McLachlan - Song for a Winters Night

5. Bing Crosby and David Bowie - Little Drummer Boy

6. Boney M - Mary's Boy Child

7. The First Noel - Crash Test Dummies

8. Gabriel's Message - Sting

9. Face of Love - Jewel

10. What Child is This - Andrea Bocelli and Mary J Blige

11. Oh Holy Night - Susan Boyle

12. Ave Maria - Beyonce

13. Were you there on that Christmas Night

and Mary's Lullaby...

Sorry I couldnt find decent versions of the last two songs!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Carol Lynn Pearson

One of my all time favorite poets is Carol Lynn Pearson. In my own mind I like to think we are connected. She is close to someone who is close to my family. In my imagination, we are friends.

She is Mormon and long before I was "out" I was captivated by her poetry. I felt as though the words she wrote were meant specifically for me and I cannot even count the times that I was comforted, or uplifted, or motivated, or inspired by her words.

In my REAL life I am no longer affiliated with the Mormon church. In my REAL life I have pain as a result of my former affiliation with the Mormon church. Pain in the relationship with my mother (and she has pain also).

I have mentioned before that I love my mom. Please don't ever think for a moment that I don't. And still there is pain in that relationship. Pain born of my homosexuality and my mother's religious beliefs.

You might ask - how did I get "here" from a blog in which I began posting about Carol Lynn Pearson. Well. She is Mormon, and a mother, and intimate with the topic of the church and homosexuality. She has this idea, called Proposition Healing to increase love and hope "Breaking Bread and Building Understanding" for Mormons and Gays.

In my imaginary world, this friend of a friend is a path to a connection, a healing, with my own mother.

Here is one of her poems:


We feed one another in rations,
Serve affection measured to
The minimum daily requirement,
The very acceptable least--

While love bursts the walls
Of our larder,
Wondering, amazed,
Why we are afraid
To feast.

Totally Loving this Song.

Trying to find the BBC 100 list

Try as I might, I cannot find the origin of the list that is going around from the BBC that allegedly states that people have only read 6 of the 100 books listed. Believe me I have looked.
What I HAVE found is a list of books on the BBC that were posted as the Nation's BEST LOVED Novel. You can check out the list yourself by Linking HERE.

Since these are the favorite books read it is highly likely that you will have read MORE than six of them.... I am going to highlight the ones I remember reading..... (turns out to be exactly the same number as the last list - even with different books listed! How funny.)

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Monday, November 29, 2010

A very old meme

I've swiped this from Pink Sheep Cafe. He got it from Dead End Follies and Too Many Books, Too Little Time. I have completed this already on facebook, and what I heard was that the BBC put together a list of 100 books claiming that the average person will have only read six of them.

I have never actually verified this. HOWEVER.....

According to this list I have read 46, but I thought I had read 48.....  I need to check my other list and see what I am missing here.
I don't know why they include the complete works of Shakespeare as one book - obviously it isn't. My personal belief is that they should list individual books - the same for Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Faraway Tree Collection. Anyway, if it was the BBC that put the list together they didn't consult with me.

The books in BLUE are the ones I have read and the ones in RED are the ones I started, but couldn't finish and the ones in BLACK are the ones I have not read. I am adding books in GREEN - these are books I doubt I will ever read! And what about the ones I HAVE read that aren't on this list? I think I should be able to brag that I read Atlas Shrugged!

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis 37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry - I am PRETTY sire I have read this, but I just can't verify that belief!
87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery --
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare -- Isn't this part of the Complete Works?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

One Word Sarcomical Sunday: Meme

I am posting quite a few memes lately, not because I have nothing to say, but I am processing how much I want to post on this blog or whether I should go "private" so I can post whatever I want to.....
In the meantime I don't really want to stop posting, so I am filling the gaps until I decide what to do.

Link to the original HERE

1.Your holiday decor: Developing...
2.The weather where you live this time of year: Extremely Cold
3.Your favorite smell of the season: Pine (Christmas tree)
4.Your favorite beverage of the season: Coke - from cans with Santa on them!
5.Something you wish you could avoid during the holidays: Cleaning up
6.What you typically bring to the potluck: I typically don't attend.
7.What you wish people would stop bringing to the potluck: eggnog
8.A word to describe how you feel about the word 'potluck': interesting...
9.What is on your feet right now: Vans
10.How many layers you are wearing right now: Two

11.Where in the world you would rather be right now: South Africa with my parents.
12.Something that makes you feel invigorated this time of year: The thought of spending time with my boys.
13.Something that makes you feel challenged this time of year: Darkness - driving in the dark to and from work.
14.A cold weather comfort food you crave: Soup
15.Something you wish you were doing right now: Sleeping
16.Something you SHOULD be doing right now: Sleeping
17.Your opinion of snow: LET IT SNOW!
18.Your opinion of those big furry-looking hats with earflaps: Warm
19.A tradition you'll be sure to keep this season: Family time.
20.A tradition you'd like to start this season: more giving

Conversations in the car

Shel: The temperature is dropping the closer and closer we get to home.

Me: That's cause we live in a depression.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Currents: November 2010

Current mood: Happy

Current movie: I've been watching the Bee Movie with CJ today

Current TV Show: Right this minute I am watching the Grey Cup. The only CFL game I have seen this year.

Current book: DragonQuest

Current song: Christmas music!

Current album: none....

Current food: Pasta

Current drink: Water

Current color: White

Current Beauty Product: Sleep

Current celebrity crush: Cally - Sara Ramirez

Current Project: Finishing my Stats Class and getting ready for the final exam

Current need: Pasta

Current guilty pleasure(s): Roasted Chestnuts

Current annoyance: -39 temperatures

Current excitement: Finishing my class this weekend.

Current triumph: Finishing Stats!

Current anticipation: Going for our first ever FAMILY (post adoption) pictures.

Three Beautiful Things

1. Chestnuts. YUM!
2. Faxing in my LAST homework assignment! HIP HIP HOORAY!
3. Snuggling with my baby.

Friday, November 26, 2010

99 things to do: Update November

This is the last weekend of November so I plan to get a few more of these items checked off!

1. Sort through the box in my bedroom closet that I have moved to two different households without sorting through.
2. Write monthly letters to my sons. ( I am thinking this should actually count as 24 "things to do" and not one. Depending on how much I get accomplished I may change this later!) INCOMPLETE 2010 - How did I fall of the wagon on this one when I was doing SOOO well?
3. Start my thesis.
4. Finish my thesis.
5. Participate in Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 every month.
6. Go to a movie, in a theater, with my spouse. (COMPLETE AUGUST 2010)
7. Clean out the bathroom cupboard. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010) - but I need to do this one again! What happened?!
8. Do at least ONE cross stitch project.
9. Get an updated criminal record check (COMPLETED APRIL 2010 - and AGAIN in OCTOBER 2010 - it expired before the adoptions were complete!)
10. Get a carbon monoxide detector for the house. (THIS IS COMPLETE! January 2010)
11. Fence the dugout.
12. Renew my first aid.
13. Find our marriage license. (didn't find it - so I ordered a new one! APRIL 2010)
14. Change our last names - to a blended last name. (COMPLETE MAY 2010)
15. Send my spouse to see her dad in the USA. (COMPLETE FEBRUARY 2010and SEPTEMBER 2010)
16. Get haircuts for the boys. ( COMPLETE - I cut it myself in June!) Max got his cut again in August, and both again in October.
17. Take family photos.
18. Finish my stats class.
19. Work on my mom's 60th birthday present BEFORE her birthday! (Unfortunately this was not complete in time to send to mom on her birthday..... FAIL)
20. Get the carpet up off the staircase - remove the staples from the steps. (COMPLETE MARCH 2010!)
21. Get the hallway painted.
22. Lay new carpet on the staircase.
23. Make myself a bookmark.
24. Replace Shels' cell phone (COMPLETE. FEBRUARY 2010)
25. Cancel the contract on my cell phone. (COMPLETE. February 2010)
26. Put up Maxie's toddler bed. (COMPLETE. APRIL 2010)
27. Change the furnace filter. (COMPLETE. January 2010)
28. Hang hooks in the bathroom. (COMPLETE. January 2010)
29. Put together the smart shopper cards from IGA. (COMPLETE. February 2010)
30. Sort the tools. (STARTED May 2010)
31. Work on the boy's baby books.
32. Get an electrician quote on the house. (COMPETED MARCH 2010)
33. Hand in all the paperwork for foster care BEFORE March 31.(COMPLETE March 2010)
34. Take all the furniture from the old guest house to the dump.
35. Get tinkey winkey fixed (COMPLETE APRIL 2010) need to get new brakes, new windshield, and fix the lights before the end of the year. (LIGHTS and PLUG fixed NOVEMBER)
36. Teach Max to ride a bike. (COMPLETE OCTOBER 2010) - he got on his bike and started riding!!
37. Box up all the clothes too small for the boys and donate them. (STARTED JUNE 2010) We have done this twice and need to do it again before school Starts in September.
38. Go camping with the family. (COMPLETE JULY 2010) We went for one night to the foster family camp and I am counting it! Next year we will have a tent trailer for SURE and we will do a lot more camping. I think the boys are finally old enough.
39. Take a family picture at Lake Louise.
40. Get a Christmas gift to my parents BEFORE Christmas!
41. Send out a family letter before December 31 2010.
42. Get a dutch oven.( Shel and Max found me a dutch oven in June! YAY!) Now there is a fire ban on in the Municipal District where we live so this might take a while to get completed.
43. Cook a dutch oven meal!(COMPLETE OCTOBER 2010) Cooked with my mom on her visit and it was YUMMY!
44. Stain the deck.
45. Get a haircut. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010) for me and Shel! and again in JULY and NOVEMBER!
46. Submit receipts again up to the end of July 2010. (COMPLETE September2010)
47. Order Checks. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
48. Start Stats Class in Burns Lake (COMPLETE SEPTEMBER 2010)
49. Get an electrician to the house to start on rewiring (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
50. Pay my taxes. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
51. Put the new windshield wipers on the van. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
52. Get a brush for Zuva and brush her. (STARTED APRIL 2010)
53. Prune. (STARTED APRIL 2010)
54. Fix the lamp from Homa.
55. Finish painting the barn.
56. Rototill the garden spot. (Started May 2010)
57. Take the lawnmowers in for repair. (Bought a new one! JUNE 2010) now the new one needs to be repaired. We are hard on our lawnmowers..
58. Get Shel a new pair of glasses. (COMPLETE JUNE 2010) She got two new pairs!
59. Get the septic tank pumped. (COMPLETE JUNE 2010)
60. Start rewiring the house. (COMPLETE MAY 2010)
61. Get new wires installed for HDTV and PVR. (COMPLETE June 2010)
62. Get a new dishwasher. (COMPLETE June 2010)
63. Pin the Yard
64. Fence the yard.
65. Install new screens in windows.
66. Install new screen doors - front and back.
67. Install new doors. Front and back.
68. Plant a garden. (INCOMPLETE FOR 2010)
69. Plant some flowers. (complete JUNE 2010)
70. Put up the shelving unit on the back porch
71. Submit all paperwork for the LAST of foster care maintenance. (COMPLETE SEPTEMBER 2010)
72. Trade in the van. (COMPLETE AUGUST 2010)
73. Get a new vehicle.(COMPLETE AUGUST 2010)
74. Paint the back porch.
75. Frame some of the prints from mom and dad. (COMPLETE JULY 2010)
76. Make a 2011 photo calendar.
77. Get a tattoo.
78. Dig out my journal and start writing again.
79. Spend Thanksgiving with family.(COMPLETE OCTOBER 2010)
80. Go to Utah for Jill's wedding. (COMPLETE NOVEMBER 2010)
82. Take a risk. (COMPLETE SEPTEMBER 2010)!
83. Get Hugo Fixed.
84. Get costumes for the boys for Halloween and take them out! (COMPLETE OCTOBER 2010)
85. Make curtains for the bathroom.
86. Make curtains for the back porch.
87. Make curtains for the upstairs hallway.
88. Get the sewing machine down and mend some clothing.
89. Buy a new fridge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Gratitude

Thursday Thirteen is hosted HERE. Check out other participants!

This week, in the spirit of Thanksgiving (even though I am in Canada and our Thanksgiving was over a month ago) Here are 13 things I am grateful for.

1. I am grateful that the adoptions of our sons are complete. I know I have posted on this a lot this week, but I am not ready to stop talking about it. I know we are blessed to have two adoptions of two unrelated children complete on the same day. In spite of all the challenges we have faced throughout this process we are blessed.

2. I am grateful for the HUGE bag of M and M's which my friend greeted me with in her driveway in Roy.

3. I am grateful that the seasons keep changing and that I can find pleasure in some aspect of all of the seasons.

4. I am grateful that I was able to travel and attend my sisters wedding in Utah. I saw my family, I saw my friends, I ate great food, I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and I loved every single solitary minute of the trip.

Here is a photo of one of the laughter moments. This guy in a kilt with a skateboard was walking through the mall - totally random. I was running to take a picture of him, my friend was running behind me. Here's this trail of people running through the mall. Kilt man, fat lady with a camera, skinny lady busting a gut. When I caught up with him I asked him to pose for a picture. I could not stop laughing. People were looking at us like we were from another planet.

5. I am grateful for my spouse who made the trip possible and who stayed at home with the boys and suffered sleep deprivation while I was away. ( I had to find a picture of he she would not object to having posted).....

6. I am grateful that I have ONE exam separating me and the end of my grad statistics class.

7. I am grateful for all the LUXURIES which I enjoy in my life, they are many.

8. I am grateful for the relationship I have with my parents and with my siblings.

9. I am grateful for the access I have to medical care in Canada.

10. I am grateful for early intervention programs which support the learning and development of my son (s).

11. I am grateful for my oldest son whose laughter and ingenuity amaze me every day.

12. I am grateful for my youngest son who is the healer of my heart.

13. I am grateful.

Is it cold yet?

Look what we have to look forward to!
Oh Canada, The true north strong and free(zing).

Who knows better....

We had a visit today from our foster care support worker. We are on hold as foster parents for six months because we have just completed the adoptions, but we haven't seen our support worker since late this summer and she wanted to stop by. She is wonderful (as long as we remember that everything we say to her can and will be documented!)  and Max in particular is fond of her which is great since he isn't really fond of many people. (Sounds like he IS genetically related to his mother and I!)

Anyway, she came over and brought us a beautiful bouquet as a congratulations on the adoptions and we were sitting at the kitchen table when Shel arrived from picking up school kids and brought in some groceries. She put the bags on the kitchen floor and went out to the vehicle for more. Max went over to the bags and started to unpack them and put stuff away. He brought out a frozen pizza and went to put it into the freezer of the mini-fridge. I said to him "That won't fit in there Maxie, it needs to go downstairs." He said "It will..." he put it in and shut the door. It fit.

Then he went to put something else in and he had to move a jar of pickles in the door to fit everything and he put the jar on the top shelf of the door. The lid of the jar was taller than the space allowed for and it hung out and appeared as though it would impede the closing of the door. The support worker and I both said " The door won't close Maxie." He said, "It will." and shut the door. I said to her, "I think we need to stay out of it, he obviously knows more about putting away groceries than you and I do!"

Shel called me tonight at work to see if I had any idea where he put the cucumber. I had no idea and would hate to even try and guess, but I was tempted for a minute to suggest to Shel she wake him and ask him where it was - in payback for EVERY night when he wakes us in the middle of the night!

Shel made Maxie and the support worker a cup of tea each. Max LOVES tea. They were sitting at the kitchen table together drinking tea and she said to him, "We both love tea, we will have to drink more tea together" to which he responded "At your house?!"

I know, every part of me knows, that he has disabilities, but in these moments like today I am just SOOO grateful for all that he understands and does and I put out of my mind for just one minute my concerns for the future, his and ours, and I bask in his personality. His growing, glowing personality.

My number one.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking back

I have been looking back at some old blogs that I wrote a few years ago. It is wild to think I have been blogging for a few years already. I used to do some things that I really enjoyed. One was Ten on Tuesday where a topic would be posted and people would all respond to the topic with their own ten responses. I haven't done it in so long I had forgotten about it and when I went back to the place it was originally hosted it is no longer there.

I liked it so much I wondered if I could start up a new Ten on Tuesday blog myself. Is there some kind of Internet etiquette about stuff like that? Is it possible for me to start up my very on Ten on Tuesday blog for people to come and participate in? Is that stealing an idea and is it "unacceptable"? And if it IS an "o.k." thing to do, how do you get people to participate in something like that? I have been thinking about it all night and all day today.

Another thing I used to post quite frequently were "conversations in bed". Things that came up in conversation with my spouse that I found humorous. I don't know why I stopped that one either except that we had children and our bedtime conversations lapsed into stupors of exhaustion. If we DID talk I likely forgot about what was said before I ever made it back to a computer. But I enjoyed those posts and I would like to start them again.

Last night I had a conversation with Max at about 3am when he came into the room for the tenth time and I finally gave in and let him onto the bed.

I actually did not converse much because I was still in a dream state, but Max said to me
"When I get big I am going to wear your pants and eat peanuts." (He is allergic to peanuts, but I have some peanut M and M's from the USA which he has seen and asked about.)

I can see his interest in Peanuts, but wear my pants? Really?!

Job Comparison

When Shel and I lived in the USA, I worked for the Utah Division of Youth Corrections. At that time I was a college graduate and I made 12 dollars an hour. I was thrilled to have a job and to have insurance and I loved my job. There were issues about budget (it seemed as though there were ALWAYS issues with budget) and so one of the things we were told at that time was that we would not be getting yearly wage increases.

I worked in a facility where stressed out parents could come in with kids, meet with a counselor, and if the issues were too volatile or a resolution could not be reached and the families needed a time out, we would provide a very short term time out for the families by having the kids stay with us in the facility for a night or two. Of course, the most stressful times for families was always around the holidays and the facility was usually filled to capacity around this time of the year. For staff this meant that getting a day off on a holiday was highly unlikely. In all the time I worked for the division I worked on either Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day - or all three. It was just how the cookie crumbled. It was something I hated, but it was "life", there just wasn't another option.

When we moved to Canada I got a job in the Education sector. Schools close on all the holidays and so all of a sudden I had Thanksgiving off, Christmas off, New Year's Day off in addition to the vacation days I accumulated each year.

For the school I work for until you have worked seven years you accumulate 15 days off per year. This year a new contract was signed and now after five years of employment you earn 20 days off per year. 20 days off per year is a MONTH of vacation. I earn a MONTH of vacation! I can't believe what a thrill it is to say that. I am more excited to use it, especially now that the adoptions are complete and we can get passports for the boys and travel to visit family and friends who live far away.

When I was in Utah I visited with friends who still work for the State of Utah. They still have a freeze on wage increases. They still have to work on holidays.
Granted in every job there are things I have loved and things I have hated. I will always cherish the years I worked in Utah for the things I learned and the friendships I have made that have lasted many, many years and will last my lifetime. Now I will use some of my vacation days to visit my friends who work all the time! Oh Happy Day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

365/14: Cael

Last year I started a blog posting project called x365 which is supposed to be a year-long journey, writing short vignettes about 365 people who have touched your life.

The idea was started and finished by someone else. His project is completed but you can check it out by linking to him HERE (and you can check out those written by others.)

I got thinking about it. It is something which completely captivates me and yet scares me at the same time. Obviously the people who have had an impact in my life have not all had a good one. Do I even remember or KNOW 365 people? This is something that has the potential to be offensive, and yet I keep coming back to thoughts of the project and thinking I will do it.

I have not posted anything on my project 365 in a long time, but I thought I would get back to it... so here we go....

My son. My baby.
It is amazing to me how someone so small, so young, could impact my life so much in such a short time.

Cael came to us when he was one day old. I have known him his whole life!
He was tiny, under 5 pounds when he came home.

This boy is my heart.
When we knew he was able to be adopted, we immediately planned to adopt him ourselves. In January of 2010 we met with caseworkers and adoption workers (3 people in our tiny kitchen) who told us that although we had applied and been accepted to adopt him there had been a "problem" with our file and we were not "correctly matched" and that Cael would be put onto the adoption website because babies were highly adoptable and there was probably a family who had been waiting longer than we had who would be a better match for Cael than we were.
I cannot express in words the agony and anguish that I experienced in that moment. My entire world completely collapsed. This baby who we knew and had cared for from the day after his birth was going to be taken away from us. They also told us at this time, even though we had been through the adoption process to become an approved home, that we were no longer an approved home and if we wanted to adopt a child in the future we needed to start at the very beginning and have a worker come to our home to do an assessment. (This had been done already.)
I thought I was going to lose my baby. I thought he was going to be taken away. I thought at that moment that I could not handle it and I could not allow myself to love him, or to bond with him any longer. I thought I needed to steel my heart for the inevitable separation.

My little boy would not have any part of it. He loves me. He RUNS to me when I come in the door at night. when I call out,  "I'm Home!" He yells "YAY!" He hates to see me leave to work in the morning and he cries when I leave. We watch tv together. He snuggles into my shoulder. He melts into my body. He loves me completely. He laughs and my soul sings. He is my light.

We fought the decision that was made in January and the fight was a brutal one. We jumped through more hoops and went to more meetings and signed more papers, and had more intrusion into our lives and 11 months later (11 months and 6 days after we were told we could not adopt him) a judge signed the adoption order and made us a family.

Cael has danced his way into my heart. My little humpback whale.