Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sneak Peek

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Grad is just around the corner.

Abby's grad will take place the May long weekend. Each school gets a different weekend. There are 500 kids graduating in her class. Grad happens over two nights. The first is the commencements and the second is the banquet.

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Finding a dress was not easy. Has anyone looked for grad (prom) dresses lately??? There are a lot of hideous dresses out there... I wanted to take pictures of some of the ones we saw, but there were signs up and ladies watching that no photos were to be taken. There are also a lot of very skimpy dresses out there and that wasn't the look we were going for.

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We started to search online. Abby was very picky about what she was looking for. Every dress I would show her, she would hate. Every dress she showed me cost thousands of dollars (apparently she has very expensive, designer taste) and I said no and laughed at her.

Finally, one evening I found this dress on a website and left it open on the computer as I was heading out the door, I texted her to go look at it, telling her I think I had found the perfect dress... she texted back a few minutes later and said she loved it.

So we measured her and ordered it, knowing it would have to be shipped to relatives in Memphis first (they didn't ship to Canada) and then on to us, praying the whole time that it would fit! Abby is 5' 10", so length is always an issue.

The shipping date kept getting bumped and two days before I was going to cancel the order, the dress came and it fit. Almost perfect. It needed to be taken in in the waist a little and the beading at the shoulders needed some extra stitches, so it would fall nicely. It is now altered and ready to be worn.

And she looks stunning in it!

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So, this is just a little sneak peek. We have our professional photographer booked for when the cherry blossoms come into bloom. I can hardly wait for you all to see the whole dress...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Venting

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I am so angry.

This morning, I headed out in our little Spring blizzard to get Silas caught up on his immunizations. I had taken his immunization records in a couple of months ago to be translated and figured out by our community health centre and we were now going back in to catch him up on some immunizations that he still needed.

We went into the little room with the nurse and went through all the questions, the measuring, etc. She went out for a minute to talk to the head nurse and then came back in tell me that she couldn't give Silas his needles unless I brought in our official adoption papers to prove that he was my child. It didn't matter that I had his health care card with his full name in my wallet.

I have NEVER been asked this before. Not with Lilah and Zoe. Not in the four years that we have had adopted children. Not for immunizations or for the countless medical appointments we have been too.

You really should never piss off a 41 year old mother, who has parented for eighteen years and who has seven children.

I asked why I wasn't told this BEFORE I came in? -- I should have been.

I asked why I have never had to show this paperwork for my other adopted children? -- I should have been asked to.

I asked why, after I had just been to the travel clinic for immunizations with all of my children, I wasn't asked for proof or any kind? -- They should have asked.

I asked why with my biological children, I was never asked to show proof that I was their mother or guardian, or that there weren't adopted? -- She shrugged her shoulders.

I asked why, just because he is chinese, they assume he isn't biological, my husband isn't sitting there... that suddenly the rules change? -- Those are just the rules. Uhhh... since when?

So if I had walked in with my biological child, or even a white adopted child, with their health care card, these questions would never even have come up.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Nephews

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This weekend, Tim's sister, husband and two little boys came for a visit.

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Peter was born January 5th and we hadn't yet met him. He is one chunky little guy... who loves to eat!

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Our kids had a great time with their cousins, especially the girls, when it came to holding the baby.

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Once again, I was lucky enough to take some photos of these beautiful boys.

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Joshua loves trains... hmmmm... I wonder where he gets that from? -- Grandpa!

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why do I blog?

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I have thought about quitting my blog at times. There are times when it doesn't feel like there is a lot to blog about or that what I want to blog about, may be boring to my readers. But I continue for a few reasons.

I love to take photos and having somewhere to post them encourages me to stretch myself more in this area.

We have no family near us. I want them to be able to see what is going on in our lives.

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I started this blog because of our adoption. Blogs encouraged me throughout our adoption processes and now after as well. It is encouraging to know that I am not alone in some of the issues that we face. I learn from others and I hope some learn from me.

I use to spend hours scrapbooking. I don't have the time or the desire to do this anymore. Every year, I have made my blog into a book. This is our memory book. All of my photos and all of my posts. Each book is from January - December. My first books were printed through Blurb.ca. I now use Blog2print.com. It takes me five minutes to put a book together, for a full year!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A bit of psychology: {Zoe}

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Lilah's psychologist decided she wanted to see Zoe. I had told her a little bit of some of the issues that Zoe has and that both girls were responding quite well to some of the techniques we have been using (see attachment), but that she was on the opposite side of the spectrum from Lilah. She thought meeting Zoe and figuring out a way to work with both girls together would really benefit Lilah.

I went to this meeting expecting the Dr. to tell me that I should just continue on with the same techniques that we are already using. And she did say that. But that was not all...

I love this psychologist because I feel she has really great instincts. Instincts that are usually right in line with mine.

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Zoe is also full of tension, which shows in her body. Her tummy is very tight and somewhat extended. She is also very hypersensitive. I have posted before about how massaging Zoe is often a challenge. Not always. But often. She squirms and squeals and laughs uncontrollably when people touch her. If she is relaxed, I am really the only person that she will sometimes allow to touch her, without these reactions.

The psychologist recommended giving her more control in these situations. Putting her hands under mine and allowing her to control the massage. Using heat bags to roll on her back or tummy, again with her hands controlling the movement. Putting the lotion into her hands and having her rub it behind her ears (her most ticklish spot!). She also recommended singing together while doing this to cause some distraction. It may also relieve some tension to have her lay on her back, hold her ankles, push her legs up and rotate them around and around. Or to push her legs up towards her tummy. She would like these short bursts of exercise to happen once an hour for about one minute. We will see how that goes!

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Zoe clung to me throughout the hour. She looked to me for comfort. The psychologist said she could tell that Zoe has a very healthy attachment (unlike Lilah) and through some questions that she asked (who is in your family? where do you all live? how old is everyone? etc.) she could see that Zoe is very centred in our home. She understands who her immediate family is and where we all belong. This is something Lilah hasn't quite figured out yet.

The Dr. does NOT feel that Zoe has ADD or ADHD. Zoe stood at the sand table and poured a tiny stream of sand into the spout of a tea pot for five minutes. A child with ADD would never be able to do this.

But Zoe has no inhibition and no impulse control. There is a disconnect between her body and her mind. This is something that could put her in some very dangerous situations if it isn't brought under control. An example of this behaviour would be that if Zoe decides she wants something... she will ask over and over and over. Stop for a few minutes. And then go back to asking for that item over and over and over again (obsessive play). She CANNOT sit still. She CANNOT NOT touch other people.

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We have noticed this lack of control whenever strangers (even family friends) come around. She will instantly start yelling, laughing, running, etc. We often have to send her to her room until they leave. We thought it was an attention seeking action, but now I think that it is her anxiety rising.

I have also talked about Zoe's food issues. She is always worried about when the next meal or snack will be. She will ask in the morning what is for lunch and for supper. She gets very upset when told no or to wait for food. She will sometimes still eat food off of the floor if it is there. She can say she is full at a meal, but if you don't take the plate away from her, she will continue eating. This fear of lack of food is what causes her tummy tension. It was suggested to have her play with a toy kitchen, to pretend to prepare food and give food to others. Again, if we can get her to a consistent relaxed state, these food issues should diminish.

When Zoe was playing in the sand table and asked to pick some toys to put into the tray she chose a tea cup, dishes and tea cups. Some she filled with sand, others she did not. She also chose a ballerina with very long hair and a princess. When asked to tell a story about what she had placed into the sand table, this was her story.

Once upon a time there was a ballerina named Zoe and a princess named Mama. They were invited to a birthday party, but when they got to the birthday party there wasn't enough food. Some of the plates were empty and they were hungry...

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After one hour at the office, Zoe was done! She crawled on my lap crying, begging to go home. This is very unlike her.

Because Lilah is doing really well right now (we have had three straight weeks of cooperation and happiness), the psychologist asked to see Zoe alone again in two weeks.

Zoe shows classic signs of PTSD in children. The psychologist feels there was some early childhood trauma that occurred. She wants her referred to a Psychiatrist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital for an assessment. I don't know what the psychologist was thinking, I sat there and felt that there was something she wasn't telling me... I should have asked more questions, but didn't think of it at the time. I left discouraged and upset and worried.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How do you do it?

The one question I am asked by woman, more than anything else is... "How do you do it?" (The one question men ask more than anything else is... "What do you drive with all those kids?" -- so for the men out there... we drive a suburban with an extra seat... it seats 11.)

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I may be a little embarrassed to admit this... but one show I love is Celebrity Wife Swap. Kate Gosselin was on this show last week, swapping lives with Hugh Hefner's ex Kendra Wilkinson.

Let's just say that Kendra was a little overwhelmed with Kate's everyday life, as mother to eight children.

Even though I think Kate has some personal work to do in her life and her focus may be a little skewed, I totally understand how she runs her home. I run mine much the same way, and with seven or eight children, I don't know how you could run it any other way.

My day to day life is very scheduled. Do not throw anything in as a surprise, because it will not go well with me and I might just have a little breakdown. Every thing we do is written down in my calendar, or I will forget. And sometimes I forget anyway, because if I don't check my calendar many times throughout the day, things will likely be forgotten. I plan my meals every weekend for each night and these meals have to be healthy, easy and usually thrown into a crockpot so that as our family members trickle in throughout the evening, the food is always warm and waiting. My kids all have their own special jobs to do around the house. The dishwasher, cleaning their rooms, setting the table, putting their own dirty dishes away, cleaning up after themselves, sweeping the floor, etc. And some little extra's here and there, practicing guitar and violin, practicing Tae Kwon Do, doing homework. This is a constant battle. But one battle they won't win, because I cannot do it all. by. myself.

I do laundry every day. If I let one day go by, I have twice as much laundry the next day, which is eighteen sets of clothes, pj's, towels, bedding, etc. If I let my house fall apart, it just makes it that much more difficult to catch up. I am lucky enough to have a maid service come in bi-weekly to clean my house. I can usually keep up with the little day to day stuff, but the deep cleaning... not so much.

So I understand Kate and her rigid schedule and the amount of jobs that she makes her kids do. Unlike Kate, I hope that we also have balance in our lives. That my kids get to go out and play, hang out with their friends, do the things they love... and I do to, because we all help each other.

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I love my down time, where I can read, blog, take pictures, etc. When all my kids are at school, I relish the absolute peace and quiet that I get for a couple of hours a week. If I don't get that time, I will find it somewhere. Even if that means skipping out on some things that other people might not always agree with (church, care group, etc.). I know what I can handle and what I can't, I have no problem saying NO.

And I work out. I should work out more and would like to work out more (even though I HATE it), but it keeps me energized and healthy. It is rare that I get sick, at least, so sick that I can't function. If this Mama gets sick, everything can fall apart in my house and that can become completely overwhelming. For everyone.

Everyone makes choices. We chose to have seven children, we also choose to limit the amount of activities they are involved with. I know parents who have two children, those children are in so many activities the parents are constantly running them around. It is a choice. I am lucky to have a husband who helps out big time when he can. He is also very energetic and is involved in a lot of the same activities as our boys... biking/skateboarding and Tae Kwon Do.

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Like anyone having children, you work your way into this lifestyle, child by child and it just becomes the norm. You find what works for you and your family.

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I am constantly asked by everyone, "How do you do it?" This is how.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dancing Diva

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Zoe loves to dance.

She has been taking dance for two years now. But mostly, she makes up her own moves.

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Everyday, she asks me to put on the music, so she can dance.

It's "Mama! Watch me!" or "Mama! Take a picture!".

She dances in front of the fireplace, where she can watch herself in the glass.

Zoe dancing from Paige Riegel on Vimeo.


I have always wanted a little girl that loves to dance.