Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas

I am really having a hard time getting my mind bent around Christmas this year when it comes to gifts for the boys.
We live a blessed life. The boys have clothing, toys, and pretty much everything they need. Trying to decide what to get them for Christmas is stumping me.
They have toys which they play with often and which they enjoy. We have whittled and whittled and whittled the toys away and so the house is not full of things they don't use but we really don't have the space to bring in a bunch of stuff. I'm sure some people would think they have a lot of "stuff", but I think we have been good about keeping the toys to a minimum (compared to how much we used to have!)
I am not concerned with having a million things under the Christmas tree but they boys are old enough to really "get" the idea of giving and receiving so it is important to me that there is SOMETHING for them to unwrap.
Max wants his own tree for his bedroom. I am having enough trouble coming up with ideas for presents under one tree, I don't need another! Somehow I am certain if we get him lights and extension cords he will be thrilled.

Monday, November 21, 2011

finally beginning

I've done it. I have taken some time off from work to get working on my thesis.
Why am I dreading this?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kids and technology

There's been a lot in the news and in conversations I've heard lately about kids and technology, more specifically about kids and cell phones. A friend of mine made the comment on facebook "I know several people who couldn't raise their kids without technology!"

I got the information above from a verizon website and I thought it was interesting.

On Monday Maxies school bus broke down before it got to our house. We went to look for it after calling the neighbours and finding out their daughter had been picked up already and we found them down the road. The wind was howling, the temperature was around -26 degrees C and the kids were getting cold waiting for a replacement bus. I offered to the bus driver to let the kids come sit in the van and warm up. She asked them if they wanted to and they all did. They climbed in and I turned the heat on high. Out of the 5 kids that came into the van (all younger than high school) 2 of them were texting the whole time and 2 other playing with an i-pod. (they were all polite and very happy to be warm) but it got me thinking about how we use technology in our home.

We have 2 televisions in the house and both have PVR. I like to watch television without commercials and it is nice to be able to record television shows without having to keep track of video tapes. The boys have NEVER been good "sit down and watch a tv show" kind of kid but now they like Scooby Doo, Inspector Gadget and most recently Max asked to watch the Magic School Bus. CJ will pay more attention to the television but unfortunately (for me) neither of them will just sit down and watch something from beginning to end and so I end up watching most of the kids shows that we put on the t.v.

The last time we were in the hospital at outpatients ( I feel as though we go once a month) they had us in a small waiting room with a television and CJ was quite disgusted that I could not fast forward through the commercials. He thinks every television has a PVR!
Shel went with Max on a class trip to the firestation and something about Star Wars was mentioned. She said all the kindergarten kids (but ours) knew who the Star Wars characters were. She felt a bit guilty about that so she stopped at the video store and rented some movies. As it turned out the boys were not interested in them at all and we just ended up paying late fees on the one we left in the dvd player when I returned them!

Shel and I BOTH have i-phones. We both have games downloaded for the boys to play and both boys know how to use the phones. The other morning I noticed that CJ had used my phone to take a picture of his poop. When I went to delete the photo I found that he had not only taken one picture, but SIXTEEN pictures of his poop. What can I say, he's proud.

We have used the phones to let the boys watch movies on netflix when we drove to Edmonton and we have used them to occupy the boys while we waited for appointments. Max knows how to find netflix, find a movie he wants and play it. Sure there was a time when kids waiting for appointments had magazines and toys to play with (in doctors offices) but for the most part those things don't exist anymore, and to be honest I would rather my kids  played with my phone than with the toys other sick kids had played with.

CJ (who is 3) knows how to go to youtube and look in the history for the motocross videos he likes and play them.

Could I raise my kids without technology? I'm sure I could, but why? I think I need to teach them MORE though, because right now they know enough to be dangerous. This morning CJ deleted a game I have been playing on my phone for a few months. DANG that kid! It made me think of what I can live without. I won't add that game again ... and I'll have time to find others!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snow Day

I got called into work this morning early. There was a power outage and temperatures dropping in the dorms.
The generators are now working. The heat is on. I am headed home to join my dog in his socks!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My very first blog post - from May 2006

Here is the very first thing I ever blogged.

My "Old" blog can be found HERE. I am seriously thinking I need to combine the two spaces but for now I have no idea how to do it and so things will remain as they are....


So Oprah was interviewed by Anne Curry last week and one of the things they were talking about was prayer. Anne asked Oprah if she prays and she said this.


"I live in the space where God is. There is no question that that is why I am where I am, and why I have had the success I have had. I allow myself to be guided by that which is greater than myself – than my personality. That’s the truth. I am doing the work that my soul came to do."

So this made me think about a couple of things.

1. What do I believe about God?

2. Do I pray?

3. Where is the "space where God is"?

4. Am I doing the work that "my soul" was meant to do? (Geez I hope not)

5. Do I even believe that "my soul" has work to do?


But the most bizarre thing of all was the dream I had. I swear I was dreaming about good and evil and which place was I in. Angelo was in my dream - probably because I just got an email from him. But this ‘thing" touched my shoulder and asked me to look at Angelo and see what space he was in. So I look at him and he is "melting". His eyeballs are all mushy and sinking into his head and he looks like some Edvard Munch painting. Then the "thing" touched my shoulder again and told me to be afraid and I was GRIPPED with this crazy fear that I never experience when I am awake but I experience it quite often when I am sleeping. It is the most terrifying feeling. ANYWAY. I woke myself up, but when I went back to sleep I dreamt again about which "place" I was in and was told to walk away from the darkness. Whatever that means!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some recent random thoughts to start off the week

I'm actually not officially Blogging this week because I am spending some time going to all the blogs I love to read (but haven't lately) to catch up. Instead of blogging here daily I have set up some "pre-written" blogs to be posted automatically. Such technology!

Here are some random thoughts that sometime ago began as a Thursday 13 but never got that far:


1. I wish the aisles in Walmart were as wide and clear from obstruction in real life as they appear on Walmart commercials.

2. Since when does vegetable soup need to be advertised as "vegetarian vegetable"? Shouldn't vegetable soup "BE" vegetarian?

3. I think vehicle headlights that are LED are dangerous to oncoming traffic.

4. Orange is not a Christmas colour to me but it is impossible to find strings of multicolor Christmas lights that don't include orange bulbs.

5. I have loved reading for as long as I have memory. I wish I could be certain book characters or be in the places books are set. One of the very first characters I ever wanted to be was "Heidi" from the book by Johanna Spyri, another was Mary Lennox from "The Secret Garden".

6.One of the first places in my life I thought I would like to visit was "The Faraway Tree" from books by Enid Blyton.

7. I wish I could take "time-outs" in my life like they have in sports. There are some instant replays of my life I would like to watch over again before making a decision on what play I was going to make.

8. I'm allergic to cats and I never thought I liked them until meeting my spouse. Since then I have loved a few and think they are cool pets. I am still allergic though.

9. I am also allergic to my great Dane Hugo, but I love him and cannot imagine my life without him. No, wait. I can imagine it. I would breathe easier.

10. Daylight savings time is a terrible idea and should be done away with. I have yet to experience one positive thing as a result of daylight savings.

11. Swimming and Chess should be a part of school curriculum.

12. UPS has really fancy television commercials about delivering packages worldwide where you see a dude in a brown uniform riding a bike in China and playing soccer with kids in India and in a boat in the Pacific but they don't deliver to my town in Northern Alberta which is a HUGE pain when trying to shop online. They should spend less on commericals that say they go worldwide and spend more on actually shipping worldwide.
13. It seems wrong somehow that people can save so much money in some places by cutting coupons, but in other places coupons aren't even available. If there is a way for companies to offer a savings on an item doesn't it seem like the saving should be automatic and for all people who want to buy the product?

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders fields by John McRae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Wake up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I think I should have excused myself.

I had to go to a meeting this afternoon. I went a few minutes early and entered a room where a male and female were already waiting.

I know "who" these people are. I know they work for the same organization. I know at least one of them is married. I know they live in different cities. Beyond that I have no idea what their relationship is, how long they have known one another or the nature of their relationship.

So when I arrived they were adding one another to their contact list on their phones. Then the lady texted the guy, then they giggled. Then the guy took a photo of her which she did not want him to have apparently because she does not consider herself photogenic, but he said she could not be in his contacts unless he had a photo of her. Then he showed her the photo he took of her which she apparently approved of because she said he could keep it. Then they giggled again. Then she texted him again.... ad nauseum.

All of this is going on while I am sitting in the room and I had this stream of thought.
"This is awkward, do they even know I am in the room?"
"Oh dear, perhaps I should leave the room."
"Wow. Something strange is happening here."
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. THEY WERE FLIRTING!

Can I just say it was such a surreal experience and I almost laughed out loud. I felt like I was a voyeur into this weird heterosexual ritual that is normally hidden from gay folk.

Flirting confuses me. Granted I am married and have been for the past 13+ years so there really has not been any reason for me to flirt in my life recently, but I don't think I EVER understood heterosexual flirting. I certainly didn't do it (that I know of) - and if any guy every flirted with me I don't think I knew he was doing it. Having this experience this afternoon made me realize how strange relationships between men and women are and how different my relationship is with men from the relationships straight women have with men. for the record I have also spend some time with the man who was in the room and not at any point did he take a photo of me, ask to have me in his contact list, OR GIGGLE with me. That would have been downright bizarre. I also think it was weird knowing he was married because they were absolutely flirting. Is that a common thing for married men and women?

This is one strange world we live in people. One strange world.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How much denial am I in?

Since the adoptions were finalized last year we have had virtually NO contact with the foster care system. Our house was automatically put on hold for fostering as it is with all families who adopt. When the six months "freeze" was over I tried to contact the foster care worker to get our home open again and basically that went no-where. Then they were in need of an emergency placement so they called us and needed to open the house "IMMEDIATELY" so in the space of three or four days we were running around like chickens with our heads chopped off but apparently they placed those kids elsewhere because the communication all of a sudden completely died off again and we haven't heard from them since - haven't even heard if our home is open or not again...

I digress.

In the year or so it has been since we have had social services involved with our family it has been an amazing thing. We have just "lived" without anyone looking over our shoulder, and it has been wonderful! I didn't realize how wonderful until the foster worker was back in our home to being the paperwork for reopening our home and she was taking notes on everything we said.

Yup. That again. I guess we had become accustomed to having everything we said - in person or on the phone - being written down and filed and I just forgot what an annoyance it is.

This time as our worker was asking us how the boys were doing and taking notes I thought to myself "HEY THERE! These boys are OURS now and there is no reason for you to be documenting every single thing that I say about their progress because now it is none of your business!" I mean sure, ask me how they are doing if you care to know, but there is no reason to be taking notes on their progress and filing those notes away somewhere. We are DONE with that process for these boys - and it was not an easy process by ANY stretch of the imagination.

So here is where I wonder if I am in denial or not: The foster care worked always asks how Max is doing and I always reply - "Max is doing as well as Max can do." She follows up this comment EVERY time by saying that soon Max with reach his "thresh hold" of intellectual ability and that we must be prepared for him to continue through his life at the mental ability of a 5 or 6 or 7 year old. I know she is trying to be supportive (in her way) but part of me wants to tell her to shut up already.

In the back of my mind I have believed this and in a way I think I have been making allowances for him because I believe he "cannot" do certain things and it is just because of the circumstances of his prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. It's a tightrope walk for me though. I wonder if my BELIEF that he will stop progressing actually limits his progression. Then when I think - no - he will keep developing over his lifespan I wonder if I am deluding myself and setting myself up for disappointment.

One of the things we do know is that he struggles with communication. He has the ideas but somehow accessing them and then getting them out is hard. In spite of that I am constantly amazed by the things he does. He has a great memory but it has to be "triggered". For instance, the other day we were parked on main street to pick up the mail. An ambulance drove by with the siren on. He asked if I remembered when mom went in the ambulance because her nose was bleeding. That was over a year ago. I was pretty impressed by his recollection and we had quite a talk about it.

Today I had to take him to a doctors appointment. After the appointment we were sitting in the truck eating lunch together and a boy walked by and waved. I asked him if he knew the boy and he said he didn't, it was just a nice boy who waved, but did I know that the shoes he was wearing meant he was a skateboarder?

Just these little things that he comes up with give me hope that he will continue to grow and learn. I just hope I can balance my realistic expectations with my hope - and not sell him short one way or another.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude month

On facebook some of my friends have started a "gratitude month" post where each day they post something they are grateful for.
I like the idea so I joined in even though I don't know where it started. (It may be a Mormon thing since everyone I know who is doing it is Mormon?)
It's still a good idea!
I used to keep a gratitude journal many years ago and I have fun looking back at the things I was grateful for. I am grateful for a lot of the same things now.
What are you grateful for?
Here are some of mine:
I'm grateful for warm days even though it is November already.
I'm grateful for my sons who grow more each day and who make me smile each day.
I'm grateful for my mother who always inspires me.
I'm grateful I was able to put up Christmas lights because of the joy they bring to my oldest son.
I'm grateful for friends who provide us with last minute halloween costumes!
I'm grateful for my spouse who sits with me in the emergency room ALL DAY LONG to make sure I get the care I need.
I'm grateful for the balloons which my mom and sister sent in my birthday package. We have played and played and PLAYED with those balloons for three days now. My lips hurt!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hoping for a productive day

We have really been blessed with wonderful weather for this time of year. Yesterday morning it was -15 but there was no wind which still made for a pretty nice day. On Thursday the winds were whistling at around 60 km an hour. It was only -4 but with the wildchill it was MUCH MUCH colder.

When Max and I went to meet the bus we were so cold we climbed into the ditch and crouched down to get out of the wind. I haven't found my winter coat yet and the wind just blew right through me. Unfortunately that ditch will fill with snow before long and will no longer be a place to get out of the blowing morning chill. I wish we had a place to build some kind of small shelter in the driveway where we could wait out of the wind on bitter days but unfortunately there is no such spot. On either side of the driveway the ground gives way immediately to the ditch and so there is no flat spot to put anything.


It is also the place where CJ likes to hide while he waits for Max to get home!
Today the temperature is supposed to reach as high as 1 degree which will be FANTASTIC as there are some things in the yard and house we need to do before the cold sets in for good. If it does actually get that warm I may even bust out the chainsaw and get rid of some deadwood before the snow flies. I guess the real proof of how warm it is will be how much we get done. I'll post photos Monday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What's your number?

Recently the population of the earth exceeded 7 billion.

There is a cool page on BBC that you can link to here to find out some stats on yourself and the country in which you live.

When I was born, I was the:


3,793,054,066th  person alive on Earth and the 77,990,203,579th to ever be born.

Interesting isn't it?
 

You can get more information on the page about the country in which you live. I entered Zimbabwe because although I don't live there now, it is where I am from.
I thought it was interesting that the life expectancy of women in Zimbabwe is 45.5 years. Thankfully I no longer live there, but reside in Canada where my life expectancy is almost double.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen things I hate about my dental experience

1. The x-ray plastic pieces cut my mouth.
2. The dentist gloves taste nasty.
3. The freezing gel put on the inside of my cheek burns my tongue.
4. The squeezing and shaking of my cheek while putting the needle is does not take away the pain of the needle.
5. The bite blocker forces my mouth open wider than my jaw naturally allows.
6. My lips crack and bleed under the dental dam.
7. I have to concentrate the whole time on not gagging because my mouth is so wide open.
8. I HATE getting a filling on a tooth that will need a root canal in less than a year. I think it is a money grab and a way to make more from the insurance company and keeps me coming back to an experience I dread.
9. There are four posters on the ceiling and they were the same posters five years ago.
10. The freezing never completely takes away the pain of the dental work.
11. My fingers hurt at the end of two hours from clenching my hands so long.
12. I didn't get to rinse out my mouth after the whole thing was done.
13. I hate that I have to go through this whole process FIVE MORE TIMES in the next three months.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nablopomo

Today is the first day of National Blog Posting Month.

I have lofty goals of participating and posting something every day.

I will start out the month with a photo of my boys from Halloween yesterday. They had a ball. We just went to a few houses out in our neck of the woods and they loved every minute of it. Max wanted to come homke and start eating candy but CJ wanted to keep going. We experienced rain, sleet and snow but still persevered!

Max was bound and determined he was going to be a witch this year - right up until bed time on the 30th. Then he decided he was going to be a pirate. I could NOT come up with anything he wanted to wear but the Fenties bailed us out with costumes for both boys! Pirates are grumpy apparently - hence the grumpy face on Max.