About Me

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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, September 29, 2014

At Home Spa Products

A few posts ago, I talked about my at home spa day. I thought I would share some of my favorite products to use at home one the days I take some time to pamper myself.

- Nest Wasabi Pear candle: A spa-like smell helps to set the mood. This candle burns clean and I will definitely find a use for the beautiful glass container once the candle is done.
- Plus White 5 Minute Speed tooth whitening gel: Quick, affordable, and helps remove stains from coffee and red wine (two of my favorite drinks!).
- Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey bubble bath: A little goes a long way to create a luxurious, sweet smelling bubble bath.
- Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Treatment hair mask: A drug store product that is thick, creamy and has a pleasant scent that isn't overwhelming.
- Ole Henriksen Loofah body scrub: This minty body exfoliant leaves skin smooth and tingly.
- Body Shop Shea Beautifying body oil: A favorite of mine to use in place of shaving cream to get a really close shave and leaving skin soft.
- Biore Deep Cleaning pore strips: I've used these since highschool, which is longer than I'd like to admit. I tend to get clogged pores on my nose and these leave my skin super clean.
- Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal face mask: Great for pulling any gunk out of my skin, especially after Biore pore strips.
- Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial cream: To replenish some moisture after the charcoal mask, I slap this on my face. It smells like roses in a non-old lady way.
- Kiehl's Creamy Treatment with Avocado eye cream: This cream turns gel-like when you rub it between your finders. Helps fight puffy, tired looking eyes from lack of sleep. Who, me?
- Lush Bubblegum lip scrub: This exfoliant removes the dry patches I get from biting my lips (nervous habit) and it tastes delicious. Although I don't think you are supposed to eat it.
- Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm: A very thick balm that works for hours (even overnight) and tastes sweet and citrusy.
- Bliss Grapefruit + Aloe body butter: This cream smells fresh and invigorating, is very moisurizing but not greasy and I'm a fan of the squeeze container.
- Body Shop Peppermint Intensive Foot Rescue cream: I love peppermint foot products. This one has a long lasting formula so it is great to put on before bed.
Do you have any favorite "home spa" products?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rules

Buddy does not like rules. We aren't particularly strict, but we do have an allowance board where we keep track of his "jobs" and he is compensated for good work. But he is used to an environment with little to no rules. He is used to chaos.

Now that he is feeling more comfortable, he is questioning the rules. He doesn't understand how they are for his benefit. He honestly thinks that everything would be better if he never had to shower, could go to bed whenever he wanted and only did homework when the mood struck him.


Buddy's allowance board

Buddy has said to us, on more than one occasion:
- "If there were no rules for me, nothing bad would happen."
- "Grow-ups have no rules and they make all the rules for kids."
- "My friends told me if I was adopted I would have lots of rules."
- "Families here have way more rules then in my birth country."

It's a tough one. We see that when there is a lack of structure he has a hard time coping. He actually does much better outside our home when we set rules and guidelines and enforce them in our day-to-day life. But there is no reasoning with Buddy once he is set on an idea. We just have to keep being consistent, set reasonable rules and hope that he will come around.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make "rules" more appealing to Buddy? Let me know!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soccer in the Rain

I haven't been able to make it out to many of Buddy's soccer games because of my work schedule, so I was really looking forward to being able to attend a rare Saturday game. Until I looked at the weather forecast, which predicted heavy showers for most of the day. Hubby and I were determined to tough it out, so we packed up our rain coats, rubber boots and folding chairs and headed off the soccer fields at the neighborhood high-school soccer field.

Everything started off ok. About 10 minutes in to the first half, it started to spit. Then drizzle. Then rain. Then pour. By half time the kids were soaked and I was so thankful that Hubby remembered to bring his giant golf umbrella. To be honest, this Mama Bear was hoping for thunder. No such luck.

Thank goodness Hubby brought his golf umbrella!
The field was pretty slick by the second half, and Buddy slipped in the mud and tripped a boy from the other team. He got a cleat to the knee and a penalty for pushing. Buddy started off the season with multiple penalties due to not believing us that when his coach yelled "Buddy, PUSH!" it didn't mean to literally push someone down. We ended up having a pretty stern talk to him about the penalties needing to come to an end. Which they did, until this incident.

I could see that Buddy was upset from across the field. I hate to be that Mom, but when one of the parents leaned over and asked if I thought my little guy was OK, I figured it was fine for me to check. I ran over to the team's bench and found him sitting there with a bruised knee and an even more bruised ego. I resisted the urge to scoop him up in a big hug since I could tell he was trying to be tough in front of his coaches. Instead, I told him he was playing well, that I knew the penalty wasn't his fault and asked if he was going to be OK. He sniffled, shook his head yes and gave me a little smile. I told him to ice his knee and not go back in until he felt better and headed back to the spectator side of the field.

He went in a few minutes later and played the rest of the game like a champ. I am so proud of him for being able to shake it off and move forward with a good attitude!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chef Buddy

His own creation
Pasta a la Buddy

Spaghetti cooked to al dente
Tablespoon of cooking oil
Two eggs
Salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste

Add oil and spaghetti to a pan. Crack two eggs over top and let cook slightly. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Mix gently to coat spaghetti in egg, but do not over cook the yolks. Plate and enjoy.

Bon appetite!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Are we going to adopt again?

We had been home about four months the first time some asked us when we were going to adopt again. I was taken aback, it was a question I definitely wasn't expecting. We were just starting to get settled. Buddy was still asking for permission to eat an apple. He was having nightmares more nights than not. He was trying to hide the fact that he pooped. We were focusing on Buddy and getting everything at home to gel. The thought of adding another child into the mix was the furthest thing from out minds.

Of course we had discussed the possibility of adding more children to our family eventually. I come from a pretty big family with bio and step siblings and lots of cousins. I judged parents who chose to have only one child because it seemed weird to me. I always assumed I would have at least two kids.

Several months later, I brought the idea of more kids up to Hubby. It was our anniversary, and seemed like a good time to talk about expanding the family, right? He asked me why I wanted more kids. It wasn't an accusatory question, he was being curious. I didn't have an answer for him.

Why did I want more kids? Because I had an idea of my ideal family in my head at that family had multiple children?  I love my boys so much, they are more than enough for me. While another child would bring more love and joy into our family, it would also mean sacrifice, especially for Buddy.

Buddy needs so much right now, especially attention from Hubby and I. We dedicate a big portion of our life to giving Buddy the emotional and physical things he has missed out on for so long. I can't imagine dividing up the time we focus on Buddy because it is essential for our family.

So, the next time someone asks us when we are adopting again, I can tell them that it isn't our plan. We will be the parents who choose to have only one child. And if it seems weird to them, that isn't my problem.

And I am not the only Mom who thinks so: http://blogs.brighthorizons.com/familyroom/only-child-family/

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rainy Walk


2013



2014
Sometimes I marvel at the difference a year makes. And sometimes I marvel at as much as some things change others stay the same. I love my boys!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Therapy

Buddy saw a therapist for about 6 months, starting a few months after we got home. When she decided to move on from her practice, she was not able to continue with Buddy's therapy. Things had been going really well at home, so we thought we would take a break and re-assess in a few months.

And then we had a bad day. A very bad day. Maybe one of the worst days. We had been told by multiple child professionals that if we have a day like that to contact a children's emergency hotline. So we did, and that was actually a great experience.

One of the things that came from the call was being fast tracked to a new therapist who specializes in hurt children. He said one option was play therapy for Buddy, but that sometimes it makes more sense to "fix the foundation than spackle the walls." Meaning maybe we needed to stop focusing on Buddy and start focusing on ourselves.

I was a bit offended at first, but after Hubby and I talked about it we realized that he was right. We were open to anything and everything to help Buddy. So once a month Hubby and I get together with this very wise and insightful man in an office at the top floor of an old house (with no elevator or air conditioning) and talk about all our feelings and stresses and relationships.

We have already learned so much about how to create a more nurturing environment for Buddy in our home. It also really helps to vent to an impartial third party who can offer constrictive advice and another perspective.

Basically, it's awesome and I highly recommend that any adoptive parents who are having even minor struggles with their adoptive children reach out for professional help for themselves.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Go carts

Nothing insightful in today's post, people. Just wanted to let you know that I am awesome at go carts.

We went to a family fun center over the weekend and had a blast. The weather hasn't been great lately, but it cleared up for the day and we had an awesome time racing, playing mini golf, bumper boating and eating junk food. By the end of the day we were all a bit sweaty, a little stinky and very tired.

It is nice every once in a while to take a break from regular life and just have some fun.

To help prevent injury and death...
Oh no you don't, probably 12 year old boy!

Oh, and I totally kicked all the kids' butts at go carts. No mercy lol.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Helpful Online Info


The internet contains a wealth of information. You can watch a video, read an article or find a blog on pretty much any topic.

Adoption is no exception.

I don't always agree with everything I read, some stuff can be real head-shaking-news IMO. But I have read things that have made me feel normal. Like I'm not crazy or terrible or weird, I am just human.

Here is some online info I have found particularly interesting/helpful/calming:

What you should know: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/what-every-adoptive-parent-should-know/
What I wish I knew: http://www.scarymommy.com/things-i-wish-i-had-known-before-adopting/
Trauma: http://tarabradford.net/archives/2396 and http://tarabradford.net/archives/2430
What not to do: http://www.thecorkums.com/2014/04/02/what-not-to-do-in-older-child-adoption/#sthash.efxByy9Y.dpbs
What adoptees wont tell you: http://www.adoption.net/adoptive-parents/node/25537
Responding to behaviour: https://www.adoption.on.ca/adoption-blog/post/138/The-Curious-Parent
First moms: http://heartmindandseoul.typepad.com/weblog/2010/01/your-an-adoptive-parent-to-3-beautiful-children-unexpectedly-you-find-out-that-you-are-pregnant---something-you-and-your-pa.html
Adopting and your spousal relationship: http://www.stellarparenting.com/?p=230
Post Orphanage Behaviour: http://www.bgcenter.com/BGPublications/OrphanageBehavior.htm
Understanding attachment in young children: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs617.pdf

If you have any suggestions for online info I should check out, please let me know!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Tooth Monster

Our dentist suggested we do what is called a "sleep clinic" for Buddy's first cleaning. We knew he had been having some dental pain, but we had no idea the extent of the issue. Buddy went under general anesthetic and had multiple fillings fixed, two caps done and 3 teeth extracted. After that, Buddy definitely was down for the count for a couple of days, partly from the pain and partly from the anesthetic. We felt so bad for him, but thank goodness now his teeth are in great shape.

After his surgery, we asked Buddy if he wanted to leave his teeth for the Tooth Fairy. We weren't sure if he knew what that meant, but didn't expect the reaction we got. Pure terror. We had only been home for about a month at this point, so we had to use Google Translate and some imagination to get to the bottom of it. Do you know what? There is a horror movie about a "Tooth Fairy" who kills people and steals their teeth. And my son has seen it. More than once. Yikes.

So Hubby and I fessed up that #1: the Tooth Fairy not real and #2: we would be the ones leaving money for his teeth. Buddy decided to leave the teeth on the kitchen table for the "Tooth Fairy." In the morning the teeth were gone, the money was there and our little boy believed that we would keep him safe from one of the many monsters he has seen in scary movies. 

Last week, Buddy lost his first tooth naturally since he has been a part of our family. He was very happy to put the tooth under his pillow and see what happened. And in the morning, I heard him exclaim from his room, "Look, money!"

One monster down...

Look, money! I have $3.50!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Can I Make You Understand?

I wish I could say we went into our international adoption fully prepared for every possible issue that could arise. But, in truth, we were very naive. When we adopted Buddy, we were told he was perfectly healthy but of course this isn't true. We have been so lucky not to have to deal with any clinical medical problems, but everything he has experienced has affected him deeply.

We are working slowly to help him learn what it means to be a part of a family where the kid gets to be a kid and Mom and Dad take care of the big things. He has grown so much in the last year, but he is still struggles.

My Sweet Boy, how can I make you understand:

- You have a beautiful name that can be hard to pronounce, be proud of it not embarrassed
- Save your nice words for when you mean them, not to try to control situations
- It's ok to have "bad" feelings, it doesn't mean your a "bad" person
- You can do more than you give yourself credit for, don't shut down when you feel overwhelmed
- Don't scratch and pick at your body, making new hurt doesn't take away your old hurt
- Rules are to help you and keep you safe, even if that is hard for you to understand
- Even though we aren't connected by blood, we are a real family
- Your birth family is also your real family, we don't want to take their place in your heart
- No matter what you do we will always love you, you aren't going anywhere

I wish there was a way to snap my fingers and make the dots connect for him, but it is going to take a combination of love, consistency and time. And a bunch of other stuff, too, I'm not naive any more. It is so hard for me to see him hurt but he has lost so much, how could he not?

Does anyone have any suggestions on what has worked for their family to promote healing and attachment?


Sunday, September 7, 2014

First-World Problems

We have two dogs, Swar and Grem. Since we've become a family of three, we have noticed that the dogs are very sensitive to Buddy's mood. This is especially true of Swar. When Buddy is upset, Swar is upset. He will pace, pant and act like a stress-case.

Swar, Buddy and Grem
Last night, I was on my way to bed when I noticed Swar sitting outside of Buddy's room. Normally Swar sleeps beside our bed, but if Buddy is having a rough night Swar will park himself right outside of Buddy's door and keep an eye on him. I hadn't noticed that Buddy was upset, but I went in to check on him. Here's the dialogue we had:

"Buddy, is everything ok?"
"Yep..." Sounding overly happy, which is a tell-tale sign that everything is not ok.
"Because Swar is sitting right outside your door, and he usually only does that if you are upset. Are you sure you don't want to talk about anything?"
"Nope... Well... there is one thing... but it's fine..."

At this point, I braced myself internally. Buddy and I have had lots of big talks at bedtime. They run the gamete of minor stuff that every kid goes through to things that no child should ever experience.

"Well, if you want to talk about it we can, but it is up to you."
"Well... Ok... I'm worried about Christmas and what stuff I should ask for because I want lots of different things and what happens if I ask for lots of stuff and then get the stuff that I only want a bit but don't get the stuff that I really want lots and I don't know what I should ask for because there is so much cool things but I don't know if they will really be cool or if they just look cool..."

I reassured him that as long as he asked politely, the worst thing that could happen is he might not get every thing he asks for. Tomorrow he is going to start a list that he can prioritize, which I think will help calm his nerves.

There will be many, many times we will sit together and talk, or just sit together and not talk, over pretty heavy stuff. Tonight though, my son is experiencing his first first-world problem.

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Day of School

Everyone has a first day
When they feel sad and all alone
It can be scary
When you are on your own
And I know that a first day
Can be full of doubts and fears
But they are full of new beginnings
Take my hankie, dry your tears


You'll find lots of things to do
And you'll probably make new friends

I promise we'll be together
When the school day ends

Here comes the teacher

Blow your nose and be brave
Come on now and wipe your eyes
This is no way to behave

Well, Good Morning, Teacher

We really do beg your pardon
No, Mommy doesn't always act this way
But it's my first day of Kindergarten!

Buddy didn't start kindergarten this year, but it was his first "first day" of school since being part of our family. 

He started school mid-year last year and we had some bumps in the road. We are very lucky to have ended up at a school that is close to our home, small enough so Buddy isn't overwhelmed and very diverse and multicultural. Buddy also has an amazing teacher, the same man that taught him last year. I am really optimistic that Buddy is going to have an awesome year.

And he's off...
He was nervous but very brave that first morning. I was so proud to watch him go off with all the other kids. I was also a little sad to see him walk away from me with so much confidence. I love my Sweet Boy so much!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mama Bear Spa Day

Last week I reached a new record of going 4 (or was it 5...) days without washing my hair. Buddy was in his last week of summer camp and I had to get him up, fed, dressed, packed up and at the bus by 8:15. The bus was notoriously inconsistent for pick-up time and most days we rolled into the parking lot to find the bus waiting for stragglers (i.e. us). Did I mention I would be in my PJ's at minimum 97% of the time?

When I would get home I had to shower, dress, make my coffee, breakfast, lunch, put the dogs out, tidy up, throw in a load of laundry and so on and so forth before rushing out the door for work. Hair washing was not high on my list of priorities. Thank goodness for high buns and dry shampoo.

Day 4, would you know if I didn't tell you?
On Labor Day, Hubby and Buddy decided to go with a couple of Buddy's friends to a nearby skate park for a few hours. I seized the opportunity to not only wash my hair, but also take a bath, give my hair a deep condition, put on a face mask, exfoliate, shave my legs and slather on what Hubby affectionately calls my "lotions and potions."

I love my family and wouldn't change the "hecticness" of my life over the past year for anything. But I am so thankful for time I can spend pampering myself.

Monday, September 1, 2014

50 question


1: What are you wearing? Sweater, jeans, ballet flats
2: Ever been in love? Yes
3: Ever had a terrible breakup? No
4: How tall are you? 5'6"-ish
5: How much do you weigh? 110-ish
6: Any tattoos? Yes
7: Any piercings? No, but I had my lip pierced in my 20's
8: OTP? I think I'm too old for this one...
9: Favorite show? "Parenthood"
10: Favorite bands? Too many to pick just one
11: Something you miss? My Dad
12: Favorite song? I always sing along and dance to "Baba O'Riley"
13: How old are you? 30-something
14: Zodiac sign? Taurus
15: Quality you look for in a partner? Someone I look forward to talking to every day
16: Favorite Quote? "As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about the happen" Winnie the Pooh
17: Favorite actor? Ryan Gosling
18: Favorite color? Blue
19: Loud music or soft? LOUD
20: Where do you go when you’re sad? To Hubby
21: How long does it take you to shower? Quick shower = 2 minutes, full hair wash etc = 20 min
22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? By myself = 30 min, add Buddy = 2 hours ;)
23: Ever been in a physical fight? No, but I was close once.
24: Turn on? Intelligence 
25: Turn off? Indecisiveness  
26: The reason I blog? It helps me process my thoughts and feelings
27: Fears? Mice
28: Last thing that made you cry? Buddy (in a good way)
29: Last time you said you loved someone? When I dropped Buddy off at the bus this morning
30: Meaning behind your blog name? Pretty self explanatory 
31: Last book you read? "How I Saved the King of Sweden" by Jonas Jonasson
32: The book you’re currently reading? "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro
33: Last show you watched? Under the Dome
34: Last person you talked to? My co-worker
35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted? Hubby 
36: Favorite food? Thai
37: Place you want to visit? Egypt
38: Last place you were? My house. Or if you mean on vacation, my home town
39: Do you have a crush? Nope
40: Last time you kissed someone? Buddy, at the camp bus stop (he was mildly embarrassed)
41: Last time you were insulted? Months ago in an email that I probably misinterpreted 
42: Favorite flavor of sweet? Caramel
43: What instruments do you play? Piano and saxophone, both badly
44: Favorite piece of jewelry? My engagement ring, and journal key from Buddy that I wear on a necklace
45: Last sport you played? Ummm...
46: Last song you sang? "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift on the radio at work 
47: Favorite pick up line? I've never been one for pick up lines
48: Have you ever used it? See above
49: Last time you hung out with anyone? Last week when one of my oldest friends was visiting
50: Who should answer these questions next? You! Comment with the link to your blog post!