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.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best of 2016

I can't believe another year is already drawing to and end. As I thought about writing this post, I didn't know if I would have a top 10 moments of 2016 captured and thought I may need to cut it back to a top 5. But as I went through my pictures of the last year, I realized there were SO many good bits, and I actually needed to make a few hard cuts.

So, without further ado, my top 10 moments of 2016 (in no particular order):




Buddy's 1st Science Fair:

Growing up, I OWNED every school science fair. I was top of my class, grade and region every year, competed nationally, and was a coveted after lab partner. But more than that, I loved science. I still do. This year, Buddy was forced to participate in his 1st ever science fair. He chose not to compete (not the move I would have made, but I accepted his decision), but I still had so much fun sharing my love of the scientific process with my Sweet Boy.







Turning 35:

In 2016, I turned 35. I am now no longer in the 18-34 "box" and it was scary for me. But I actually didn't struggle with 35 as much as I thought I would. I am a working wife and mom, trying to balance everything and often failing terribly. But that's OK, because my family loves me for who I am. I had a very chill birthday, hanging out with my family at my Mom's house.









Work Travels:

My job was a big part of my life in 2016. I started the year working 12 hour days, 6-7 days a week. I have learned a lot about personal balance this year, thanks in big part to my boss and mentor as well as my second-in-command and mentee. Through all the hard work and long hours, I have grown so much and found a great deal of satisfaction in what I do. I have also been lucky enough to have traveled to some remote areas of Canada to visit Indigenous communities and learn from their People. For that, I am truly grateful.








Buddy Tries Baseball:

Over the summer, Buddy decided he didn't want to play soccer but instead wanted to give baseball a try. Honestly, we couldn't care less what (if any) sport Buddy plays. It was just so cool to see him ask to try something new and voluntarily put himself outside of his comfort zone. He started out the season as the weakest player on his team, but he worked hard and didn't give up By the playoffs, he was one of the teams pitchers! We were so proud of him - not for excelling at the game but for being so brave.






Phoenix:

Around the same time as my birthday, we took a week-long trip to Phoenix, Arizona. It was a nice break from the long Canadian winter we had been experiencing. We got to meet one of my internet adoptive-Mom friends, along with her husband and three lovely (adopted) daughters, in person. We hiked, explored and went to Target. A great family vacation!







Christmas:

This year was our 4th Christmas as a family. I can hardly believe it - it feels like yesterday Hubby & I were trying to figure out how to celebrate Christmas with a tween who only knew the western definition of the holiday from Home Alone. We have our traditions and routines firmly in place now and have learned how to navigate what can be a difficult season as a team. And yes, we watch Home Alone every year.








Mexico:

This was our first big family holiday with just the 3 of us. I hadn't been to Mexico since high school, Hubby since University. Buddy was so eager to go somewhere with clear blue water, and Cozumel was the perfect place. We had so much fun relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, driving around the island, and eating mango-coconut swirl ice cream until we were stuffed. The staff at our hotel (the Occidental) was so friendly and wonderful, too. We were so sad to leave and are already dreaming of our next get-away.






Canada Day:

This was the first year we all dressed in red and white and really got into Canada Day. We spend a lot of time honouring Buddy's home country, which is also where Hubby and I have family roots. But we rarely celebrate the country we live in. I am proud to live in a place where we are actually free to pray, speak, dress, and love however is natural to us. And it is wonderful to be able to pass those values down to our son.








Daisy:

This year, my Mom got a new dog. Daisy is a 7 year old pug and she is SO cute. She is silly and noisy and enjoys watching TV. Seriously - this dog watches TV. She seems to like cooking shows, and does not like anything staring animals. She has been a good sidekick for my Mom, who's last dog died over a year ago. Welcome to the family, Daisy!










Metric and Death Cab for Cutie:

Metric and Death Cab for Cutie are two of my favorite bands. This year, they went on tour together and all three of us went to their concert when they were in town. I used to go to shows every weekend, and sometimes during the week, when I was in my 20's. Now that I'm in my 30's, not so much. It was nice to get out and listen to live music with my boys, even if I was exhausted and my ears were ringing afterwards.









Honourable mention:

This is my favorite photo of 2016. I was home with Buddy, who was playing in the front yard of our new house. I looked out the window and saw Buddy impossibly high up our tree. And, being mother of the year, I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of him looking toward the sky, trying to figure out how to climb a few feet higher. Then, I asked him to come down. After a neighbour gave me a funny look. I love my sweet boy's bravery!














2016 was a good year for me and my family, and we are looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. All the best to you and yours and Happy New Year!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Pie (using REAL pumpkin!)


This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.

Growing up, my Mom always cooked a big traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal which ended in pumpkin pie made from scratch with real pumpkin.

I actually didn't even know canned pumpkin filling existed until I grew up and started doing my own grocery shopping.

My Mom is on a European holiday this year, so I am hosting a slightly less elaborate Thanksgiving meal. It will just be Hubby, Buddy and I along with my little brother and his girlfriend. Not to mention the pug patrol of Swar, Grem and my Mom's new dog Rose. We're going to have a chicken instead of turkey with fewer trimmings and boxed stuffing. 

But, I couldn't skip making my Mom's pumpkin pie from scratch.


CRUST:
- 2 C graham cracker crumbs
- 8 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Add the ingredients into a food processer and pulse until combined and has the look and feel of wet sand. 
  • Spread the mixture evenly into a 9" pan (use either your fingers or a flat bottomed glass). Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake the crust on the middle rack of an oven pre-heated to 275 °F for about 10-15 minutes, until it is firm and lightly browned. Remove and cool

FILLING:
- 1/2 C milk
- 1/2 C whipping cream
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 C packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 C real pumpkin*
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp each cloves, ginger, nutmeg (or to taste) 
- 1 tsp salt
  • In a sauce pan, heat the milk and cream until bubbles form (do not boil).
  • Add the other ingredients, mixing, in order listed. Mash if desired to give a smoother texture.
  • Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust
  • Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven at 450 °F for 10 minutes.
  • Turn down the temperature to 350 °F for 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven, cool. Serve with whipped cream.
*To get real pumpkin for the pumpkin filling, you will need 1 small pumpkin. Cut it in half, scoop out the contents (save the seeds if you like for roasted pumpkin seeds, another family favorite), cut into large chunks and steam or boil for 10-15 minutes. Cool until manageable to the touch. scoop the pumpkin flesh away from the rind and mash to desired texture. It is probably even possible to get 2 pies worth of pumpkin if you want to double the recipe.

I promise, it is not hard to do and is worth it for the flavour of real pumpkin.

Yummy! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Golden Rule

The other night, Buddy got a message on Instagram from his friend asking why he had been saying mean things behind his back.

Last weekend, the two boys had been hanging out and Buddy came home annoyed. This is pretty typical. It seems like any time Buddy spends too much consecutive time with one person he ends up frustrated.

Buddy may be a teenager now, but in some ways he is still socially behind his peers. He wants things to go his way, and gets upset when others are not willing to let him take the lead and dictate activities all the time.

He vented his feelings to the mutual friend, who spilled the beans to another friend, and so on and so on until it got back to the first boy.

Add typical teenaged behaviour (gossiping, hormonal moodiness, loyalty testing) to typical post-orphanage behaviour (feelings of entitlement, controlling behaviour, mixed maturity), and you've got a recipe for problems. Especially when trying to make and keep friendships.

We continue to talk to Buddy a about how no one can control other people's actions, we can only control our own. After 3 years, he still hasn't come to accept the golden rule: treat other people the way you want to be treated.

So Buddy doesn't understand why what he did was wrong. He honestly believes that the fact that he was annoyed gives him the right to say mean things. He also doesn't understand why he's not allowed to use Instagram until he responds to his friend's message and apologize for hurting his feelings.

So he's simmering at the dinning room table, and I'm letting him. If he hasn't learned in 3 years, he certainly isn't going to learn tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The 4th First Day

This week, Buddy had his 4th first day of school as a part of our family.

He returned to the same school as last year, with the same home room teacher and classmates. This made for the easiest first day of school we've had yet.

I have written about the mistake we made choosing Buddy's first school, as well as his experience last year on the 1st day. These events were big moments in our family.

This year... Not so much.

- We did all our school supply shopping on Amazon, except for the items we re-purposed from previous years (including Five-Star binders Hubby and I have had since WE were teenagers!).
- We didn't buy any "back to school" clothes, except a pair of new shoes Buddy bought himself with the money he earned working this summer (also purchased on Amazon).
- We gradually packed up Buddy's school bag the weeks before school started.
- I didn't pick out a special first day outfit for Buddy.

We didn't have any big lead-up to the first day of school. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary the day before school started.

We were just chill.

Yes, under his arm there are another 2 boxes of Kleenex, the school annual requirement

Buddy woke up the morning of his first day, ate a normal breakfast, did his normal routine, performed all his normal morning chores and headed off to school. No fuss, no drama, no dysregulation, no hypervigilant over-excitement.

I'm kind of kicking myself for not being chill sooner!

Today was just like any other day. Which is the biggest school victory we've had so far. I am so proud of my Sweet Boy. And I'm also proud of Hubby and I for meeting him where he needs to be.

So, here's to a great first day of school. May there be many others.

Especially next year, when Buddy will have to move schools again.

Monday, September 5, 2016

In a Nutshell

Guys.

It's been a minute since I checked in. Actually, it's been more like a year.

I miss writing this blog, processing my thoughts, and having a hobby that is just mine.

I miss you! I have gained so much from the interactions, sense of community and new friends I have gained by blogging.

So, this year isn't shaping up to be any easier (professionally) than last, but I have learned a lot about time management, delegation and work-life balance over the past 12 months. So I am going to make a real effort to carve out time to blog more often.

Over the last year, we have gone through a lot as a family. I am going to jot down a few things I can think of off the top of my head:


- Buddy started junior high (a big change - not one that we were very well supported with by his new school). This meant several new teachers (good and bad), new friends (good and bad) and a whole lot more homework and independence (bad, bad, BAD). But we got by and hopefully found a good routine and will have a better game plan for this coming school year.

- Hubby and I worked a lot. Like a LOT, a lot.

- We bought a new house last October and are in the process of finishing our new basement and having the back yard landscaped. Soon we will have a media room and a pool. This makes the previous point a bit easier to deal with.

- Because of work and saving money for home renovations, we didn't do much in the way of vacations this year. We did spend a week in Phoenix in May for my birthday. I am a big fan of off-season vacations!

- Buddy did skating lessons (again) and baseball (for the first time) this winter and spring. He hasn't decided on a winter activity this year, but we are thinking he will probably skate again because he seems to enjoy it. His favorite activity continues to be playing video games. He saved enough money to buy himself a PS4 this year. Screen time rules are still strongly enforced as he becomes a total jerk when he spends too much time fighting aliens.

- Speaking of Buddy, activities and working - Buddy got his first summer job this year: working for me! He worked 4 weeks this summer which was a great experience for him. He now has a better idea of how education and experience impact wage and what it means to do a menial task for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Hopefully this helps him understand the long-term benefits of working hard in school.

- Swar and Grem are still good. Swar is 16 now and Grem is 8. The continue to be crabby and stubborn (Swar) / over-energetic and spastic (Grem). Age never seems to change their doggie-personalities, and although they can both be pretty darned annoying we wouldn't change them for the world.

So that's the past year in a nutshell. How did it get into this nutshell?!?

(Austin Powers joke, which if you already knew, good job)

Friday, September 2, 2016

3 Years

Three years ago today, Hubby and I met Buddy for the first time. In honour of our Metcha Day anniversary, I am re-posting this from Nov 30, 2014


Hubby and I went through a blind adoption process. We had no idea of the age, gender, or number of children we would adopt, or even if we would be successful after everything was said and done. We were approved to adopt 1 to 2 healthy children, anywhere from the ages of 0 to 10. I had an image in my head of our family complete with a 9 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, for whatever reason.

Once we traveled and met with our in-country facilitators and had our first appointment it became clear that our criteria was a bit narrow. Not impossible, but we hadn't gone through the whole process to gamble while in the home stretch. So we underwent the difficult task of having our criteria changed while out of our home country. We figured it was more important to become parents to a real kid than stay stuck to an imaginary picture.

Thank goodness for our wonderful agency, social worker, an in-country facilitators. They basically busted their butts to get everything done for us as quickly as possible. While we waited, we decided to look at our time as an international getaway and did lots of sight seeing, food sampling, and culture immersing. We actually had a blast!

The night before our second appointment we learned that our facilitator had pretty much forced our newly amended, translated and approved dossier into the hands of the woman we would be meeting with the next morning. Our new criteria was for 1 to 3 children with up to moderate health conditions between the ages of 0 to 13. We said a prayer and went to bed hoping for the best.

The second time we met with the government adoption agency was nerve wracking. We were stressed out and nervous to say the least. Would the woman accept the new dossier or would she insist on using the old one? Would our changes be enough or would it all be for naught? How long would we have to wait for another appointment if we weren't successful this time?
And then we were handed a 1.5 page write-up and picture of a beautiful little boy. A single boy. A healthy boy. A boy who was under 11 (remember our initial criteria...). It was Buddy.

Then we were told that day was the first day he was available to be adopted internationally. If we hadn't waited for new documents to have our second appointment we wouldn't have seen Buddy's file.

How amazing is that?

We later found out that Buddy had started down the road to adoption at the exact same time we did, all the way on the other side of the world. It was the missing piece of why we felt such a strong desire to adopt.

I don't believe that God plans for children to be orphaned. The best place for every child is in a loving home with their first family. But I do believe that when this was no longer an option for Buddy, God helped bring us together to make the next best thing. Every road block, delay, snafu, happened so that we would all be at the same place at the same time.
As silly as it may sound to some, everything happened for a reason.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Old Dogs & New Tricks

We rescued our pug, Swar, from a shelter at 5. He has been feisty right from day one. Now, at nearly 16, he has slowed down some but is still as smart as ever.

He's taught himself a new trick in the last few weeks. How to knock over the garbage in our en-suite to get to the Kleenex inside. It has become part of his daily routine.

Who... Me?

Buddy caught him red handed (red pawed?) the other day, on video.

I told you he was a feisty little guy!

While Swar is a very smart dog, he is still just a dog. We figured out a way to thwart his bad habit.

Poor guy... Maybe next time

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Me at the Moment

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
That I didn't know as much as I think I did. As much as I "prepared", there really wasn't a way to be truly prepared to bring a hurt child into our home. I was so naive.

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Distinguishing trauma behavior vs bad behavior. The older Buddy gets, and hormones start to kick in, the more and more hard this is to do.

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My husband. I also get a lot of help from the online community. I have gained so much knowledge from bloggers, Twitter and Facebook.

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
Don't worry about what other people think, worry about what's best for your family.

My perfect adoption support would include… 
I don't believe in perfect. And the support I need changes every day, or even multiple times a day! But I have learned that it is important to ask for help. Whether through leaning on family and friends, therapy, or just giving myself a break, in order to take care of others, I have to take care of myself first.

Reward charts yes/no?
I know they are a big no-no for adopted kids, but we have used an allowance board for Buddy in the past and it worked for us. He is a visual learner and the board helped him keep track of his daily "jobs". Now that he's gotten the hang of things, we don't rely on it any more.

What I hope I can give to my children:
A safe space where he can continue to learn to be honest with the people who love him. The consistency to internalize that no matter what happens I love him and will be here for him always.

When I look into the eyes of my child I see...
His first Mom. They have the same eyes that change color from blue to grey to green. I'm glad he got something so beautiful from her.

If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something, where would you go?
There are so many places I want to go with my family: Africa, Australia, South America. But if I could only pick one place, I would take him back to his birth country to see his first family. Hopefully we will get a chance to do that in the near future.

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
I was having a hard time processing my feelings, and it was an outlet for me.

Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
I don't feel as much inspired to blog as compelled. Seeing my feelings written down really helps me work through them. Blogging has made me a better Mom and a better person.

Who is your favorite adoption blogger?
I have so many! I'm going to turn to my Bloglovin' account and list the first 5 blogs that have been recently updated.
Snapshots from Our Journey
The Cork Board
No Bohn's About It
Rage Against the Minivan
The Adoption Social (who I've lifted this blog post idea from - thanks ladies!)

Who is your favorite non-adoption blogger?
Tattoologist. I find the pictures beautiful and fascinating - I love looking at other people's tattoos!

Ot the weekend I can mostly be found...
In my pajamas, un-showered, avoiding work. As much as possible, anyways.

What makes me/my family laugh?
We have voices and personifications for our dogs, Swar and Grem. I have written and deleted further explanation a handful of times, so suffice it to say that those of you that get it, will. Those of you that don't, wouldn't want to know the depth of our weirdness.

Tea or Gin?
During the day I generally drink to water or coffee, I drink tea more often than gin, but I don't have either often. If presented a cup of Earl Grey and a G&T, I would probably pick the latter, though.

The best thing we did this week was...
Went for a walk as a family. The weather is getting warmer (finally! Why do I live in Canada...) and it is nice to be able to get outside without risk of frost bite. Even if that means needing to carry 15 year old Swar after 2/3 of a block because his arthritis is acting up.

In my life at the moment….
- Book – Nick Hornby: Funny Girl. He's been a favorite author of mine for a long time, and I hope this book about a beauty pageant winner turned actress set in the 60s lives up to his previous works.
- Music – Death Cab for Cutie: Kintsugi. We are going as a family to the Death Cab for Cutie / Metric concert this week, and I am trying to catch up on Death Cab's most recent album. I Will Follow You Into the Dark from Plans was our wedding song


- TV program – Buddy and I are watching Lost on Netflix. We're 3 seasons in and just found out the series is being removed April 15th. We're too far in to throw in the towel, but too far out to have a hope of finishing in the next few weeks. The struggle is real.
*This is going up after April 15th. We didn't make it through, but a colleague has lent me his DVDs so we are in the clear
- Food – Thai. Especially Tom Yum soup. Although when it comes to food I'm really not picky. Take, as proof, this picture of the pizza I made for dinner last week. Although, Buddy was the one that ate it, so maybe I'm more selective than I think...

- Pastime – I just started doing yoga every morning, right when I get up. I have been feeling more stiff lately, so I thought it might help. I'm only 2 weeks in, but it seems to make a difference in how I feel throughout the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rights vs Privileges (and Video Games as Currency)

Buddy has been on a video game ban for the last month.I have talked in the past about consequences fitting actions. I do still believe in that.

However...

Junior High has been a big adjustment for Buddy, and we are seeing some major attitude issues at home. Judging from his last report card, the school is experiencing the same thing.

I don't put this all on Buddy. His school is focusing on teaching kids to be more responsible and take ownership for themselves and their own work. They are pretty much teaching kids this:


Buddy is not there yet.

I'm not saying the school is bad or wrong. They just don't get it. They don't understand that Buddy is developmentally not in a place yet to accept the responsibility of being the leader of his academic team.

His report card was disappointing. His grades were fine. Good in most cases and even great in some. But the comments on his attitude were concerning. So we have pulled out the big guns. A video game ban that will continue for an indeterminate time until attitude at home AND at school improves.

Everything I have read about parenting children from hard places tells me this is the wrong thing to do. The consequence does not fit the action, The punishment isn't clearly defined. We are extending school life into the home.

But, at the same time, video games are Buddy's personal currency. So we have started using it as a form of payment for good behavior. And lately, there hasn't been that much to pay him back for.

Hubby and I talk about Buddy's sense of entitlement as "POB", which refer to an article about Post Orphanage Behavior we found pretty helpful. It's "POB" when Buddy expects video games to be a right, not a privilege.

So, for now, no video games. And his behavior has actually improved in the last month. It makes me wonder: is he better behaved when he doesn't play video games, or is he working hard to show that he deserves to have them back?

Only one way to find out. But I'm not quite ready to test it, so we will be video game free for a bit longer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The World Around Us - I Stand With Ukraine


I have never claimed to be a political person. However, the situation in Ukraine has gotten to a point where I feel the need to throw my voice into the fray.

My Grandparents immigrated from Ukraine (not "the" Ukraine, BTW) around the time of WWII. Prior to that, they had endured many hardships, including Holodomor. From 1932-1933, former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orchestrated a genocide also known as the Terror-Famine. It claimed millions of Ukrainian lives and was blamed by the USSR government on natural factors and poor economy. Some continue to deny Holodomor.

Some people also deny the atrocities currently happening in Ukraine. If you are interested, and I hope you are, please think critically about what you read. There are many opposing reports out there. It's hard to distinguish facts from propaganda.

A family member of mine just returned home from his time at the front lines. If you think the situation in Ukraine has improved, or that there is peace, you are wrong.



The situation in Ukraine  is complicated. Much too complicated for someone like me to be able to provide any real insight. All I can do is speak up and say that Ukraine does not belong to anyone but herself.

I am proud of my Ukrainian heritage, just as my Grandfather taught me to be.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

First Wedding

Over the summer, we took Buddy to his first wedding.

Hubby's cousin was getting married 700 km from our home, so we decided to fly out to save the 8 hour car ride.

We spent the morning before the wedding at a nearby beach...
Buddy playing in the sand

The weather and venue were beautiful...
Buddy and I checking out the fountain at the venue

 We all looked fabulous in our wedding attire...
We clean up real good

Buddy found some creepy-crawlies to chase between the wedding and reception...
A tiny frog

The bride and groom were so happy and obviously in love...


It was a great weekend, and a pretty perfect first wedding for Buddy to attend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Life Books and Memories

I've always loved keeping photo albums. Ever since I was in high-school I've been diligent about printing out pictures and organizing them into albums.

We have 4 different albums related to our adoption.

The first is on a hard-drive and contains every picture we took during out time in-country. There are pictures of things that are private to our family, so this is the one album I haven't printed out.

Hubby in-country the day before we met Buddy for the first time


Next, we have an album we printed in a book that tells the story of our adoption. This is the book we share with family and friends who want to know what the trip was like.

One of the last pictures in our adoption story book - Buddy on the flight home


The third album is one for Buddy. It has pictures he picked out himself of our time, as well as some additional pictures we received from people who knew Buddy before we did.

Two of Buddy's favorite dogs that lived in his orphanage courtyard


Our last album is Buddy's Life Book. We took the information and pictures of Buddy's past that we had, put it in appropriate words, and wrote the story of Buddy's life. This was the hardest but also the most important album we made.

One of Buddy's baby pictures (his love of animals goes way back)


The thing I have found about Buddy's life book, is that the best time to start/add to it is now. It is amazing how quickly things are forgotten. This is especially true for little things Buddy shares that aren't documented anywhere else.

Writing it down saves it forever.

If you are interested in creating a life book, here are some resources:
IFAPA Lifebook Pages (free online)
Adoption LifeBooks: Dos and Don'ts (free online)
Life Book Ideas (Pinterest board)
Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child (this is the book we used)
Life Story Books for Adopted Children: A Family Friendly Approach (Kindle version)

What is your favorite life book resource?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Whirlwind Work Trip

As I mentioned in some of my last posts, I've had some pretty significant changes at work over the last few months.

I've been in the same profession for over a decade and have always done pretty much the same thing. In the spring of 2015, my company successfully bid on a contract and I was chosen to manage it. The whole experience has been really rewarding but also very challenging. Some days I stop and wonder how this is now my professional life!

As part of my new role, I am able to do some traveling on our company plane. Before you get too jealous, it isn't as glamorous as you may think. There is no champagne and caviar. There actually isn't even a bathroom on board! But it beats flying commercial, because it allows me to go multiple places in one day.

This month, I've flown to 11 different communities in 6 days. And boy are my arms tired! (ba dam CHI). We traveled not only by 5-seater airplane, but also by helicopter and over winter roads. I almost had to go by snowmobile, too, but luckily that was an hour ride in -30C weather I managed to avoid!

It was a great experience. I grew up in the north and this trip made me miss where I come from. Except the cold. Oh MAN, was it ever cold!

While pictures don't do it justice, I thought I'd share a few.

Beautiful (and Cold!)
Northern Airport: No security clearance here
Our Plane
View from the airplane
Our Helicopter (the pilot graciously carrying my bag)
View from the chopper
Driving on the Winter Road
Winter Road from the Air
Home!
And if you've never ridden in a helicopter over frozen muskeg to visit a remote island village:

video



Saturday, January 9, 2016

Get to Know Us!

I have talked about our adoption story in a few places on this blog; Here, here, here and here (to be exact!)

In the last couple of years, a lot has changed about our family, so please allow me to introduce us, as we are today:

Me: Here, on the interweb, I go by Mama Bear. I'm a wife to
Hubby and a Mom to Buddy, which are by far my most important roles. I'm also a health care professional. This year, I have seen my team grow from 2 to 30+ and I am still trying to figure out how to manage that. I am also an introvert who loves reading, Netflix and podcasts. My perfect night is staying in, listening to Gilmore Guys, watching Jessica Jones and reading the latest by Irvine Welsh or Chuck Palahniuk.

Hubby: My husband is one of the hardest working, most selfless people I know. He is a go-to in his profession and he does so much for our family. I honestly don't know what I would do without him. He is an amazing husband and father. It has been a joy to watch him bond with Buddy over the last 2 years. He is also a music snob (which is great because I constantly have something new to listen to) who reads the only books I don't (biographies and non-fiction),

Buddy: My Sweet Boy is the missing piece of my heart. He is entering his teen years with a balance of stubbornness, bravery and forgetfulness that is uniquely his own. Buddy drives me crazy / melts my heart a million times a day. He loves pizza, zombies and video games. Buddy is outgoing, athletic and is one of the most charming people I have ever met, bar none. Although he has been in Canada for over 2 years, Buddy's love of potatoes will always give away his Eastern European heritage.

Swar and Grem: Our two dogs. They are both hot messes, in their own ways. Swar is a 15-year-old pug with no teeth, arthritis and a bad attitude. Grem is a puggle (that's a beagle / pug cross which is as bad an idea as it sounds) is a hyperactive cuddle-bug who currently has a bad case of kennel-cough. *punctuated by a round of coughing from Grem* They drive us all around the bend and smell terrible no matter how often we bath them and what expensive food we feed them. And they are family.

So, that's us. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance!