The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All Panicky And Stuff

I'm a Type A personality.

No surprise.

No psychological evaluation necessary.

It's a fact as plain obvious as the nose on your face.

So, when I look ahead (which is a daily occurrence,) I get a little panicky.
  • When we will get our referral? (I'd settle just to know the month)
  • Will we need to complete our 2 year update?
  • Will we need to request an extension on our immigration application?
  • If we get our referral within the 2 year timeline, will we get it just in time to hit summer court closure and be hooped anyway?
A girl could get an ulcer thinking about these details too much.

The two year homestudy expiry thing will just have to be waited out. We'll give it until about 8 weeks prior to our DTE and then get on it. I think that's wise, don't you? (Seriously, what do you think?) With everything in me I don't want to have to go through the multiple step series to gather all. that. paperwork. Yet, I'd rather get it done that it be our fault for being delayed. Wouldn't that just be a kick in the gut.

The citizenship part of the deal is good until mid-December of this year. So, for now we're okay on that front too. If need be I'll just request an extension...I think our reasons are pretty legit. Not exactly on the list of top 10 things I'd like to do this year but I can get over it.

And as for when we'll get our referral (and if it'll fall during summer closures - depending on when they will even take place)...well, that's the question of the year isn't it? I'm hoping and praying that MOWA lifts this fantastic ban they've got on, and that the trickle of referrals turns into a flood. The tragedy that there were orphanages shut makes me wonder, if the ones that did not pass inspection are closed (and I don't say that lightly), then perhaps there is less of a concern about the legitimacy of relinquishment and they can now lift the ban? Please please let it be so. Aren't we going on 3 months?

Fortunately, I don't have an abundance of time to indulge these thoughts as they creep into the forefront of my Type A brain...I need to give myself fully to conversations such as these...

Tait: Mama, is dis one a gerl? (holding up a blue crayon)

Me: It's not a boy or a girl. (try explaining this one to a 3 year old) Only people and animals are boys and girls...everything else It. (nice, Ashleigh, real slick)

Tait: Oh, so dis one is a it?

Me: Uh, okay sure. Yes.

Tait: And my cwayons fwom Santa? 'Dem its too?

Me: Yes, the crayons from Santa are "its" too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free Ride

There are days I wished I lived in a city. With a grocery store within walking distance, an Old Navy perhaps...oh heck, something worth wandering through. But those days are few and far between. Days like today, I feel so blessed to live in a booming metropolis (commonly referred to as a town) of 2500 people...not families, individual people.

Why on days like today? On days like today I love that my kids can throw on their boots and head out to run about our unfenced yard and know that my main concern could be a dog wandering through a neighbor's yard from the off-leash park. The road is quiet (save a few rednecks), the neighbors friendly (and know us by name), and the yard plenty (sometimes it feels a little overwhelming).

On days like today, I am so thankful for all this yard-at the thought of which I often cringe (because it is a lot of work!).

On days like today, I find joy in the fact that our yard is such that they can both enjoy a free ride...actually, dozens.

Little Lessons

  1. Always drive with your hands at nine and three. That's right. It's no longer ten and two. And please, for the love, don't drive with your hand holding the opposite side of the steering wheel. When your airbag deploys you are significantly less likely to get an airbag burn if you're holding at nine and three. If you have an arm across the wheel, it'll break upon impact.

  2. If your windshield has any sort of crack: pay the flipping deductible. Just get it fixed. I know it's a small crack...barely visible. Airbags crack windshields. If your windshield is already cracked, the airbag will (apparently) shatter it...On. To. You.
Just a few small words of wisdom I have learned as of late.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Zoom Zoom

We're back.

From one crazy weekend. Actually, a weekend worth of activity packed in to a day or so...with a Sunday tacked on the end.

Last week I spent more cumulative hours on the phone than I have since High School. I didn't add them up, I just don't use the phone that much. I'm not a fan. The only reason I know I didn't use more internet hours is that I recall having my first dial-up email account in tenth grade or I simply didn't ever use it. Have I just dated myself? Oh well.

The kicker with the week-on-the-phone thing is that it was mainly with Used Car Salesman. Again: not a fan. People keep bugging us that we got a car so quickly and wow, how did we do it!? Well, the motivation of ICBC no longer paying for a rental after Wednesday was pretty much enough for us to kick it in to high gear. Time is money, people. Well, in the land of cars and write-offs it is anyway.

Friday mid-afternoon, (after busting a move all morning to get my act together - mercifully the boys were at a friend's) we all flee for the ferry. Make it there for our reservation. (Missing a BC Ferry isn't a smart move...and it's even more naive with kids. It's sheer torture to drive the 45+ mins to get there only to find you've missed your sailing and have another 2 hour wait ahead of you until the next boat and then a 1 1/2 hr crossing followed by a drive to wherever the heck you're going after that.) All that to say, we made a reservation to ensure none of the latter would occur. I wouldn't wish it on anyone...well...there is one Blonde...okay okay, I digress.

We get on the boat sail across the deep blue sea. Arrive in Vancouver at my parents' condo, after meeting up with my sister. We give her just enough time to wind the boys up before putting them to bed a solid 1 1/2 hrs past their bedtime (did I mention they'd been up since 6am and it was now 9pm...I'm already cringing at the thought of the following morning). They're in bed and someone is still singing to himself at 9:20pm but I am far to tired to wonder which one it is.

Silence is golden until 6am, (barring the Granville Street traffic below). And we're all up and at 'em. Fortunately for us all, my wonderful of wonderful husbands allows me a "it's-best-for-everyone" jog in the morning. So I head down to the gym. Wonderful option when it's pouring out and one has forgotten her rainproof running jacket. Oops.

Whip back up, grab a shower, welcome said sister and humour her as she winds the kids up yet again, (she only has 15 mins this time though and it is her right as an auntie) and we throw the kids in what we have now copyrighted, "the giant cotton ball". (That gives you a sense of my sentiments on the rental we had for the week.) Our kids now point out all "giant cotton balls" as we no offence if you own a white compact vehicle.

We whip 45 mins across the mainland, sincerely looking forward to a test drive in the rain in an area we know nothing about. Lovely.

And, as to be expected the dealership wreaks of Car Salesmen. Now, I have known a few in my time to be of sincerity and integrity. But for a moment please humour my stereotyping because in this instance it was bang on. With one exception. (Unfortunately, he wasn't the one we had been dealing with...fortunately for him, we are quite certain he is the owner...and randomly we know many of his extended family members.)

Test drive vehicle. Love (though I find that a strong word for an inanimate object) it. Sign papers. Mercifully a few of the hours spent on the phone that week had been spent negotiating pricing, and work done to the car prior to our purchasing. That saved us all a headache (don't forget, the children are running on several hours less sleep than normal...and unfortunately for us all, I stick to my no-sugar thing so there's no hypin' them up people).

Sign papers. Transfer insurance. Drive away...race (well, in an Island driver sort of way) for the next sailing. Make our ferry. Take Noah to washroom only to be greeted by the sound of some poor woman bowing down to the porcelain thrown in the stall next to us. Excellent.

Arrive back on Island. Drive home. Grab headrests that belong in the rental. (How on earth could I have left those at home is beyond me.) Whip over to Duncan to return rental. Give the kids yogurt in the car as there will be no supper tonight. Yogurt you ask? Wouldn't they spill that? Yep, turns out one of them did. All over the brand new cadillac car seat. Sigh. That's gonna turn blue soon. Whip back to Ladysmith to a Camp Pool Party followed by DQ. Get kids home and in bed.

Not to be repeated for awhile.

Oh...the car is great. The silver lining of an accident and write-off I guess.

What kind you ask?

Zoom Zoom.

And no, IT IS NOT A MINIVAN. (Don't even get me started.)

Friday, April 23, 2010


Officially entering gestational period of an elephant...or so "they" (actually, many of you!) say.

I'll take it. We're still in it. Looking forward to the future. Happy with the here and now.

Nineteen whole months.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Colour

We had a friend over the other morning and were (delightfully-may-I-add) colouring My Little Pony pictures. I love My Little Pony, if for no other reason than there are so many colours from which you can chose that there is no "wrong" one. Their names are as whacky as their coats and hair. And living in Unicornia? Well, that's a conversation all on it's own.

The hour we spent on this one activity was perfect. One little three year old girl, (ah hem, three and a half, she corrected me) would look over at one little four and a half year old and exclaim, "Great job Noah!". That little four and a half year old would look over at the three year old and exclaim, "Great work Mama" which I would reciprocate, "Great work L" to our friend. We passed around compliments such as "good job staying in the lines, nice use of the colour red, good idea with the markers" and so forth. It truly was one of those times that just make you smile. The moments you wish your children would constantly reflect upon as they're bickering. (Well, I do anyway.)

One of the boys would pick up a randomly named crayola and question what colour it was. If it was a tough, rare colour, instead of giving them a reply which would likely be accepted with a funny look, I would simplify it. Indigo would be described as green or blue. Mauve would be called purple.

The interesting moment came when Tait held up a marker and asked what colour it was. I looked up, (from my own My Little Pony colouring page) and smiled to myself. Reflecting, I knew that not because of ignorance or racism but rather simply trying to make the name of the colour easier to remember to my kids, I likely would have called it "skin colour" three or four years ago.

But it's not, is it?

"It's peach," I replied.

"Oh, yes peach" they each repeated one after the other.

And in that moment, a simple lesson was taught. And I know that "peach" will likely never be called "skin colour" again by those three children.

Monday, April 19, 2010


The weekend away turned out, well, a little different than expected. I was away 20 hours rather than the planned 2 full days. My family was involved in a MVA midmorning on Saturday. As "they" say, most accidents happen close to home and this one proved the theory right. My four boys, (man, two kids, and one small crazy dog who apparently has 9 lives) were a whopping 2km or so away from our house. Ironically, there were no other vehicles (occupied) on the road. There wasn't even a witness...this is at an intersection that boasts a motel and laundromat on one side, a hotel and restaurant on the other and a ferry terminal only metres away. It's all relative though I guess when, as I have mentioned before - you live rural.

The driver ran a stop sign.

Thankfully (and I don't use that lightly) everyone is okay. The carseats are of course to be destroyed (thanks ICBC for new cadilacs!) but the boys are safe, save a couple of scratches on one small child's neck from the belts. The dog (we never take him anywhere!) happened to be in the back on the floor which is nothing short of a blessing as the airbag would have taken him. Yes, the airbags deployed...Ben's arm burn proves does the bruise under the burn and the reminder from the boys that they really "did not like that smell of yucky dust, Mama" (a result of deployed airbags).

So now, we wait to see if the car is a write-off. We anticipate: yes. The front windshield is shattered though still in tact, and there are a whole host of major issues with the hood and headlights (crumpled and smashed), the side panels (completely misaligned), the door which no longer opens without a large popping noise (due to misaligned panels), and the bumper is currently sitting on top of the hood. Yep, it was ripped off.

All that to say the weekend didn't go as planned but of importance is the well-being of everyone.

And, while thinking about this weekend, I was reminded of the truly important things - life, health, well-being, equality regardless or race or circumstance - and was directed to this article about Molly...yes, again. The girl is a rockstar, people.

Here's a snipet to wet your if you needed it.

Supporters' Spotlight

Youth Fundraising Makes a Splash in British Columbia

[...] Molly Patterson, through the sale of colourful stainless steel water bottles adorned with a self-designed logo reading “H2oh for Ethiopia” as well as the sale of Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian coffee beans, has met her goal of $5,000 and upped the ante to $8,000.

“People all over Canada have purchased my colourful water bottles and Ethiopian coffee, and I even had one order from the US,” shares Molly. “I have my bottles in local stores, and I also have an "H2O for Ethiopia" FaceBook page. I have sold 250 water bottles so far. Everyone I have talked to wants to help.”

These WaterCan fundraising projects hold deep significance for all four girls as both families have adopted children from Ethiopia. Molly explains, “In 2008 my parents and I went to Ethiopia to bring home my two new brothers. I saw how people were drinking dirty, filthy water that was full of bacteria. I wanted to help them out. I really like the people in Ethiopia and they were very nice to me.”

PS I thought this was the case but it was just confirmed...K.B-L. you are the US purchaser. You're like famous and stuff.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I'm going away this weekend. Alone. All weekend. Sans kids. Sans other half. (That's the sad part...because, well, you know I love my kids but my husband lets me sleep in and doesn't require parent-directed play...constantly.) I'm excited. Staying in my own room...kiddie corner to a friends' condo. She'll pamper me - without even knowing many of the little things, she'll do it.

As I've spent the morning preparing to be away there's been a bit of hustle and bustle in the kitchen. Mentally, I figure if I want these semi-annual Mama weekends to continue, (and I feel it's justifiable to call it semi-annual...seeing as there was a first one in October and now this...hmmm maybe I'm jumping the gun, ) I need to prepare as much as is controllable. I cannot control what happens once I step out of the car but everything leading up to that point - I feel - falls on me.

Suppers for the next two night are ready. Laundry's done. Dishes cleaned up. While I've been movin' about trying to prep, however, my mind's been wandering. Last time I did this we were just post-restructuring plan. We were still in the limbo phase of what next...who...when...will it actually solidify?


Imagine Adoption.

Our Adoption.

Now, we're hovering around 24 on the list. Where will we be in the journey come this October? Will going away be a possibility...will I be, not in Sydney but rather Africa? Will we still be waiting? How many of the question marks will have transformed into exclamation points?!

I was also directed to a Rainy Day some insight. To some friendly reminders. To a smile and an uh-huh nod (to myself). Check out this week's post. Because after a comment I received about a week ago from an very casual acquaintance, ("Did you ever get that baby of yours"...makes you cringe doesn't it? like she's a commodity or something,) J thoughts were a breath of fresh air.

And, what I really loved...

[...] There's this notion that adopting internationally is trendy because a few celebrities have done so. However, far more celebrities have had biological children, and no one responds to pregnant women with "You're just like Reese Witherspoon!" For some reason adoption seems to invite responses that sound unnatural, at least to me.

I often get questions about why we chose Ethiopia. Why not domestic? Why not China? Why not a surrogate? The thing about adoption is, there is no easy way. Domestic can take years and have numerous complications as can International. All of the "solutions" have their obstacles. More importantly, it's none of your business. It's true, I just told you to mind your own bees wax. I used to be really open about why we chose Ethiopia.[...]

The other question I receive a lot is "Why?" In all fairness it's usually preceded by "If it's not too personal can I ask?" Again, I've tried to be very diplomatic in my answers. I do wonder though if diplomacy is the way to go. How could that not be a personal question? No matter what your reasons are for adopting aren't they always personal? No one asks pregnant women "Why?" So maybe adoptive parents should be exempt from this line of questioning as well. Chances are we're either infertile and we chose to, or we're not infertile and we chose to adopt. So really what you're asking is are we infertile? Which yes, is a very personal question.

[...] I still classify [(our) adoption] as a deeply personal experience, and one I would encourage more people to exercise respect around. I suppose at the core of it, whether intended or not I find many questions we face disrespectful. [...] However, please don't take my openness to mean asking the lady next to you at the grocery store 'Why doesn't your baby look like you?", is an appropriate question. Take it from me, you'll look like a nincompoop.

Well Said.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scratch That

I found a great recipe...or one that appealed to a Rachael Ray magazine while in California last month. It appealed because Carrot Cake has always just seemed yummy in my mind. {so sad for me, i can't eat the stuff because of a wheat/corn allergy but i recall the taste from back in the day when i could enjoy it all}

The one bone of contention I've always had with this specific dessert, however, is the gross amount of oil used in it. Hence my appreciation of the one I found. The trick seems to be in the sour cream. I'm okay with that. Yet, due to my need to use as little sugar as possible I felt the need to alter it a bit - make it a fun, kid/family/waistline/heart friendly dessert.

I thought I would substitute a few know, just give it a bit of TLC. But I didn't have any carrots yesterday, nor do I ever have canned fruit in the house. So, well, I gave it a complete overhaul and apparently it worked. I can still call it a cake, (mainly because I baked it in a square cake pan) and that in itself makes little fingers and mouths all the more anticipatory. In the same breath, I don't at all feel guilty for allowing them to "indulge" in what is likely the closest thing they've ever had to a non-birthday-cake.

So, because I realize we are all busy people I will post the recipe instead of making you head over to Rachael's site. (Apparently she and I are now on a first name basis?! Um, okay Ashleigh.)

Carrot Top: (Carrot-Pineapple Bundt Cake with Sour Cream Frosting)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped fresh/canned pineapple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Well, you're going to have to head over to the site for that because I didn't make it.

The Gist of the Directions:
Mix top 5 ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together following 5 ingredients. Stir in carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Then, add flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into greased 6-cup bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 55 mins.

My Version.

Okay, before getting into this I should perhaps make it known that, (as mentioned above) I didn't have any carrots or pineapple in the house. Also, the walnuts weren't opened yet. Oh - and I was out of Olive Oil.

Zucchini Cake With A Twist:
1 cup flour (next time I think I'll try oat or spelt flour and perhaps I'll be able to have it)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1+ tbsp cinnamon (you can never, in my opinion, use enough of this stuff in baking)
1/2 tbsp nutmeg (it just gives it that "mmm" taste with a bit of kick)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup peanut oil (I really have no clue what to use peanut oil for...I realize it's not usually baking...but it was given to me by friends as they were moving and couldn't take it, and like I already said I was out of olive oil)
1 egg
1 1/4 cup zucchini (we grew a whack of them in the summer and I had a ton of it shredded and frozen just waiting for a moment such as this)
1/2 cup apple sauce (from our fall applesaucing days...nothing but pure apples)
1/2 cup raisins (why not?!)
1/2 cup almonds (like I said, the walnuts weren't open)

Directions a la Ashleigh:

Mix together. Throw in square 9x9 (I think) pan and bake at 350 for about 30 mins.

The boys were ecstatic. Ben enjoyed them too, though gave me a funny glance when I tried to explain what was in them and how the original recipe looked.

I love recreating versions of already perfected recipes. Rachael Ray makes this easy to do and it's fun for everyone. Plus, who doesn't love dessert full of good stuff?!

PS: We're now sitting around #25

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

45 Minutes

I have the best job in the world.

Most days I also have one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Some days fly.

Most days are filled, however, with these periods that seem to last f.o.r.e.v.e.r.


I can often reflect upon a day and think of the million things my boys and I did together and wonder how there were moments, hours perhaps, that seemed to drag.

During one thirty to forty-five minute interval today...

(I honestly don't know exactly how long it was as, when the sun is shining you don't look at your watch you just get the heck outside, people)

We see Mr Golden Sun, (after singing for him repeatedly throughout the past several days)...and head outside with binoculars. Because you know, they are much more effective when looking at things in the distance rather than little brothers' faces up close, indoors.

Upon arriving at the end of the driveway, yesterday's hopscotch is rediscovered.

One round of that and we're ready to move on to the next most exciting thing...seeing if our road really is smooth and hilly enough for Lightening, RPM, and Leak Less to race.

Good news, folks: It Is.

Five minutes of racing cars and Tait goes on his endless search for weeds - ah hem - flowers. How sweet.

This offering took no bribes.


I promise.

Following the hopscotch adventure, car racing, and weed - ah hem - flower picking, the boys decided they would go catch butterflies...yes, with our garbage and recycling cans. I have no explanation. Any butterfly caught by one of these doesn't deserve to get away. (Oh and in case you are wondering, yes, they are walking away from our driveway. This hunt took sheer determination...and perseverance...and perhaps a few other synonyms.)

I will admit to a requested pose on this one.

Well worth it.

Ain't they cute?!

All that in well under three-quarters of an hour. Somedays I truly don't understand how we get through an entire nine hours.

Best job in the world.