Monday, December 15, 2008

Incredibly Unique

Every Tuesday, after dropping off James to preschool, Parker and I head for a walk. Parker in the last month has refused to go in the stroller. Our power walks are now slow, painfully slow.

I try to remember what my aunt once told me: "I remember walking with my son when he was little. I was impatient and would tell him to hurry up. He would stop and look at everything. Now that he is a man, his stride is much bigger than mine. I have to say, "Slow down."This pass Tuesday I took pictures during our walk. December 9th and no snow. Got to capture that! But by the weekend, snow arrived by the buckets. On Friday night, Parker bundled up like a marshmallow took a walk with mommy. Not used to walking in the snow our walk was at turtle speed. But it was beautiful night and my aunt's words stuck with me. Near the end of our walk Parker said, "I'm tuck! I'm tuck! (stuck)" I laughed. He got mad!

A year ago it was James first time to see snow. (Picture below, Dec 07) If I could have read his mind he was probably saying, "This is weird. You Canadians are crazy to live like this!" (Yes, we are!) Twelve months later he is getting more curious: Why is it snowing? Where is the snow going? Can I eat it? And he kicked into a real Canadian when he started making snow angels.
I'm not crazy about winter. I'm not keen about the mercury dropping below -10 Celsius. But having these boys helps me enjoy some great features of this season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Puffed With Pride

Adoption Awareness Month was in November and I truly enjoyed writing on my experience with adoption. The post "My Adoption Story" was awarded for "Post of the Day" over at David McMahon's Blog, on 11/27/08. I was flattered to say the least to have been part of his blog. Especially knowing that David, who resides in Australia, is an international published author and photographer.

Dr. James Orbinski sent me a very kind email after I shared with him my post "Act of Courage". The author, Kelly Nault, the author of When You're About To Go Off the Deep End, Don't Take Your Kids With You emailed me when I mentioned her book on my post, "Ultimate Mom". She used the words 'beautifully written' when talking about my blog. Blush!!!!

So after a couple of well received posts from strangers, I've become self conscious about posting because I fear I now can't measure up to my previous posts. Is this what they would call "writer's block" or a sign that I've become addicted to blogging?

In any case I'm embarrassed that it takes just a few little kudos to get me all gitty and nervous. Getting a couple of nice comments is nothing. Just check out Heather Armstrong's blog: Dooce. She gets hundreds, thousands of comments! I get excited when I get 3 comments on one post, and do a happy dance!

Heather Armstrong actually makes her living by blogging. Now that she has announced she's knocked up for the second time I assume her traffic will increase immensely. (And yes, this is how she announced it....)
I'm not going to have another child to get more traffic to my blog. No, that would be silly. Maybe I'll get a pet dog. No, James would have a melt down. Hmmmm, what should I write about? How Parker demands to wear James' underwear rather than his diaper, but has yet to go do his business in the toilet? Or that James has learned to use the mouse on the computer and I'm afraid he'll start blogging? I think I'll go visit The One-Minute Writer, to prompt me to write!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Here She Is Again

My mom sent me this email below after she read my post. I must say her memory is impressive. She obviously doesn't suffer from mommy brain like me. Above is the picture that is mentioned in the email.

Hi Joanne,

This doll was given to you when you were born, from Donald & Simone B, with the little outfit you are wearing on the picture of you sitting on a stool!

Yes, this doll is 37 1/2 years old! She came to you March 1971.

An antique in dolls, but not an antique YOU.

Great blogging.



Friday, December 5, 2008

Not Just a Rag Doll

This rag doll has been around for over 35 years.
She's been hugged or better yet smothered.
She's been kissed and cried on, pulled and tugged on.

I've owned many, many dolls as a little girl.
So why did I keep this one?
Some had beautiful long hair, stunning clothes, some even could make sounds.
Looking at this doll, she is definitely not a beauty.
Her hair alone is a fashion crime.

I don't remember giving her a name.
I don't have any specific memories of her.
So why did I store her away for safe keeping for all these years?
Because when I look at her my heart gets warm.
It really does.
She was my doll and I loved her.

When the boys arrived I took her out of storage.
Placed her on the very top shelf of their playroom.
I don't want to the boys to play with her.
She's too delicate. And they are too rough.
Together they would have her in pieces in no time
When they understand the meaning of being gentle they might get the honor to play with her.
But for now, she is just an observer.
Watching these two rug rats go hard!

The Answer:
58 000 is the correct answer for all six of you who responded to my question!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not Only in Africa

Yesterday marked World AIDS Day. I visited the Canadian Aids Society website and got a bit more educated.

Did you know?
  • Every two hours, someone in Canada is infected with HIV.
  • Since 2002, the number of people in Canada infected with HIV has increased by 16%.
  • Of positive HIV tests reports, the largest number of new infections is that of 30 to 39 year olds for both men and women.
  • Number of people in the world who die each day of AIDS: 7 950
  • Number of people in the world infected by AIDS per day: 6 800
I took their free and anonymous HIV Risk Quiz. It got my brain thinking.

First I thought about the day I'll have to have the talk with my boys. Will I know when I'll need to have the talk? What words will I use? How about, "make love with the glove"? I think I'll be straight up with them. Avoiding some weird lingo and keeping it short and to the point. Ambiguity and ignorance never does pay.

Secondly, this quiz brought back memories of the time I got my tattoo. I got my tattoo fifteen years ago, and I can't remember how safe the place was. I remember it was "THE" place to get your tat done... so that itself made me and my girlfriends feel safe. Now looking back, that sounds stupid. Did she wear gloves? Can't remember. How about the use of needles? Clueless. I do remember was it was painful and I never did go back to do the final touch up. Pathetic, I know.

HIV and AIDS does exist in Canada. Lend your support: become better informed, minimize your risk, talk about AIDS with others, or support your local AIDS service organization, and go to take the quiz! You get the results immediately and the questions might make you think.

Note: See the new gadget on the top right side on my blog. Answer the question and I'll reveal the answer to you on Friday!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Have Arrived

Daddy and James arrived in Kelowna after a very long flight from Africa on May 4, 2007. A couple of weeks later I shared my thoughts on paper:

Sunday, May 19, 2007

James, you are home, laying asleep beside me in our bed. It is an honor, a joy and a blessing to have you. You arrived with apprehension, week and malnourished. Today, two weeks later, you are vibrant, happy and loving to eat. You are calling us mommy and daddy and we are in love and bonded to you. Your kindness, humor and soft and gentle ways are what keeps us feeling over the moon. My life is complete.

Thank you, thank you God for blessing us with our precious two sons. Continue, God to guide us to be the parents we need to be for our sons.

love and joy,
Looking back at my journal brings back a flood of memories. I've tried to type them out but the keyboard and I are not flowing tonight. I've deleted. Re-typed. Cut and pasted. Still I was not satisfied how the words read. Maybe it's just not meant to be written about, this time around. I'll respect that and in the meantime, to the two people who have shared with me, just recently, that they are adopting internationally I will keep sending positive vibes your way. All the best in your adoption journeys.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Story of My Adoption

I was born in Africa on February 8, 2005. When people tell me they know of Liberia, the country where I was born, I get quite excited. There are fifty-three countries in Africa, I only know of one!

For the first nine months of my life I lived in an old zinc house in an area highly populated with drug and crime activities. The police are afraid to go into this area, since it is run by criminals.

The sanitary conditions were very poor. My house was infested with flies and mosquitoes. Perhaps this is way I have a melt down if either a fly or a mosquito comes flying by me. Don't let me get started on my phobia about dogs....

The neighborhood was deplorable, dirty and crowded. The beach was, and probably still is, being used for latrine purposes. There is no educational, social nor adequate facility for little tykes like me.

I arrived at the West African Children Support Network (WACSN) at nine months old. At the orphanage I ate the same thing everyday: oatmeal for breakfast, rice for lunch and bread with tea for dinner. It was a lot more than I was used to but still my body craved for more. This is why I ate non-stop for a whole year when I arrived, gaining a whopping 20lbs in less than a year! You will notice that this is why I eat with such precision, quite unlike my little brother. He spills everything!

I slept on a single bed size mattress on the floor, sometimes sharing it with other boys if the orphanage got crowded. I spent my day singing, and memorizing my ABC's. There were no toys. It took me no time at all to learn about super heroes, trucks, and cars. Disney, and the other toy makers have the power of marketing down pat, no matter how hard my parents have tried to shield me from these consumerism gurus.

The nannies where loving and caring. Though I do have to stay that since living in Canada I am sure smitten by blonds. I love to touch their hair. You can just ask a couple of girl blond buddies!

When I met my dad for the first time, I just clung to him. I didn't want to see or hear anything else but him. I was afraid, sick and hungry. Having him hold me made me feel safe and happy. Slowly I looked at my mom and my little brother. It took me awhile to start talking. I was often found humming and singing songs. Especially the song, "Hosanna".

After two weeks I started talking a lot and my parents say I haven't stopped since. I love entertaining. I can sing you 3 of Kid Rocks' songs, word for word and I have also incorporated some of my own dance moves. The words in his song Amen, "can you imagine what's it's like to starve to death...." reminds me of the stats in Liberia: nearly half the children die before they are five years old.

If you ask me, "James, where is the sun going?" as the sun sets I will tell you it's going to Liberia.

If you ask me what I did in Africa I tell you, "I was a little baby and hungry and I cried." And then I'll pretend to cry like a baby. As funny as I think I am, my parents often tell me, "James, calm down. Use your soft voice."

I know that my daddy and mommy waited and wondered, but they tell me, never did they imagine I would be so cute and they would love me so much, even when I can't sit still to take a picture!

Note: Any words that are highlighted are links to past posts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Act of courage

There is no guarantee that a speaker is actually good at it. And it's so annoying to listen to one who isn't. I, being raised catholic, have listened to priests who could make me fall asleep at the first sight of them walking to the podium to say their sermon. I had teachers who had the same power of me. I swear I slept through every grade 12 chemistry class.

And then there are those wanna-be-good speakers that try too hard. They are the Tony Robbins of the world. They use their hands, walk around, their voices go up and down trying to keep the listeners awake and entertained. This is when I need to use the restroom. I take the longest route and take another 15 minutes strolling around before I get back to my seat.

Last week Daddy and I attended a lecture given by Dr. James Orbinski. I had never heard of the guy. But reading an article in the paper about him I decided that we should attend. To ensure I didn't get disappointed I gave myself an internal talking to: "Even if he is a bad speaker focus on the words and the meaning of what he is saying. Don't focus on the delivery." I repeated this to myself like it was a mantra. All for nothing. Dr. Orbinski, was not flashy. He delivered his message with heart and possessed a soft compassion about him. I didn't even have try to focus; it came naturally to want to listen to him.

As the past president of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Dr. Orbinski has seen disturbing stuff. I was honored to be in his presence. To meet someone who not only has seen the horrors in Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, and many other locations but has taken an on hands role in tending to the thousands of people affected by these atrocities was humbling.

During the Q&A period someone asked, "What can we do?" Dr. Orbinski answered, "Donating, signing those online petitions are not enough. You have to join a group in your community, participate in something that you have a passion for. You need to do more. Refuse to accept the unacceptable."

I jotted down a few other things he said on my pink wrinkled little notepad that I carry in my purse for the boys to scribble on as entertainment...I knew it would come in handy for me one day.
  • ...political responsibility....imperfect outcomes
  • alternatives are possible if we choose to see it
  • indifference...silence...forgetting
We purchased his book at this event and I was the first in line to have him sign it! He asked, "Who do I make it out to?" I said proudly, "To James, our son that we adopted from Liberia."

I'm taking a small step. I am completing a volunteer application for our local women's shelter. Though my true goal is be an aid worker in a third world country. This lecture sealed the deal in my heart that indeed I'll be doing that one day. When? I can't say for sure. But I will. You can bet on it.

For James - with great hope - James Orbinski

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Baby books are very popular, but to try to find one that is geared to adoption. Not easy. This book was found by my mom. It is specifically created for international adoption. There is no mention of my first tooth or my first time I rolled over. Instead it has: the first greeting, the adoption became official on, I came from the country of, the living conditions were.

I have kept every piece of documentation: from our criminal checks to the court's decree of adoption. James has no information on the first two years of his life but rest assured there is enough photos, video footage and documentation of him to roll his eyes at me! He has often told me, "All done mommy." when I try to take one more photo or a video clip of him! And I being the responsible mother that I am I don't listen and keep snapping pictures or videoing and saying, "No, James, just one more and than all done! Look here James! Yes! Smile at mommy!" Ugh! I can't believe I do that now that I see it typed out! Good grief no wonder he gets annoyed!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My deep, very deep thoughts...

Prior to starting our adoption journey in Africa we began in Brazil. It wasn't pretty: too much time, money and paper work. This entry from my diary shows that I was in depths of despair over the whole thing.

Adoption for me is more than "getting a child" but saving one child from a life of loneliness, fear and cruelty.
Yet I feel that all these obstacles that are put in front of us are a possible sign that this is not to be.
They make you feel that adoption is a bad thing.
Adoption is for:
the desperate,
the rich,
the stubborn ones,
and yet maybe it's God telling us to not go this route.
Maybe we are not meant to do this.

Maybe we need to look at a different angle.
I just wanted to adopt a little boy who needed a place to hang out as he grows to be a man.
I just can't understand why we must 'fight' and 'struggle' to adopt one child - I don't need a specific color, race, sex, or age - I just want one, yet I feel we are asking too much.
Why are we being felt that we are being pushed out from adopting?
I had this fantasy that we were doing such a great thing and now I just want to throw in the towel.
Surrogate was something I thought for a half a sec, in-vitro and more drugs to get me pregnant were also only fleeting thoughts because we had a belief that adoption would mean so much more to us and it would make us complete.
God, I ask again, to guide and tell us where we should be going.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Adoption Awareness Month

This month is Adoption Awareness Month.
We all know of someone who has been adopted, who has adopted or given a child for adoption. All three are linked together so tightly.
The families in all three are touched by it. Some by joy, some by sadness and some by a mixture of emotions that only one who goes through it can describe it.
I think adoption is a great thing...sometimes to a fault.
Just recently I caught myself saying to someone who just told me their sister is expecting for baby #2 and I said, 'Why don't they adopt?"
It was only the following day that I realized what I said.
Maybe the cartoon that I posted (click here) got to me!
A blogger friend: The Funk Family, are now on their third adoption journey.
They have been waiting a very long for this adoption to become a reality.
Their faith and their children keep them persevering.
Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time. (Note:To my prairie readers the Funk Family are from Saskatchewan.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Put Your Hand in My Hand

I love the boys' finger prints that are left displayed on the windows, the mirrors, or on the freshly cleaned appliances.
Really it doesn't bother me.
It would have years ago when I was really anal.
That is why I am grateful that parenthood didn't come to me as quickly as I wanted it to.
Had it come than I know that I would have been nagging at them and frantically cleaning behind them!
But now, I'll purposely not clean the mirror that is covered with hand prints.
I think it's just so darn cute.
I 'inked' the boys' hands and got them framed.
I hope that I"ll be able to see these little fingers grow to become strong hands of men.
Do you think they'll let me hold their hands once they are older? Probably not.
But I'll have their love in my heart and their framed hand prints.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Frightfully Good Times

As the mommy witch I must say that it was a bewitching Halloween! James who is petrified of dogs asked to be a puppy and Parker's buddy lent him his monkey costume. Both boys were able to make the sound effects of their animal and devilishly enjoy eating their candies!

James loves being center of attention so October 31 satisfied him completely! He woke up this morning dressed up in his puppy outfit. I think he thought this was going to be an ongoing event!

Friday, October 24, 2008

BOO 2 U!

Ever since my first purchase on Etsy, you know those darn cute super capes that I got custom made for the boys, I've done a couple more purchases, okay more than a couple...

This item I found earlier this month! I was browsing for modern Halloween decorations when I found this BOO banner at the Lullalo shop. The garland hangs from a lovely black satin ribbon and doesn't look tacky. Just what I wanted!

Katheryne, the designer at Lullalo has many different styles and is now working on Christmas banners. I'll be adding that to my Christmas decorations!

Seven more sleeps till Halloween and the kids costumes are ready, the pumpkins are bought, the BOO banner hangs ghostly in the kitchen and we are excited to Trick or Treat!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Off Road Adventure

It was probably on our second date when Daddy told me that he would love to do off road racing with a dune buggy. I never really heard of such a thing and wondered why someone would want to drive at full speed on bumpy terrain.

Our honeymoon involved a day watching an off road race in California. It was dusty, hot, noisy and the concession stand food was far from tasty: yeah, very romantic. However the groom thought is was so much fun that he ventured off to Mexico to check out a dune buggy race a year later. This time, I was wiser and stayed happily in Canada waiting his return.

Then the years zoomed by and the dune buggy dream took the very back seat. And than one day this summer Daddy announced he was going to shop for a dune buggy. I was thrilled that Daddy decided to just go for it! Soon the helmet arrived with the gloves and fire proof suit. The boys, all 3 of them were darn excited! Mommy just shook her head, lovingly. A couple of weeks later Daddy drove 30 hours to get his Dune Buggy. Arriving safe and sound all the men around the neighborhood were gathered on our driveway awing over this dune buggy.

The very next weekend Daddy was able to attend the last race of the season. Mommy and the boys missed out due to the very wet and muddy weather. Daddy arrived later in the evening very muddy but with such shine in his eyes that my heart beamed for him.

The helmet, suit and dune buggy are all put away waiting to be put into use come spring for a full season of racing. Till than the boys continue to use dune buggy lingo, imagining they are racing and winning each time!

The passion in Daddy's voice when he talks about the dune buggy reminds me that we need to let free more often and go with what moves us before that dream goes away for good.

P.S. The # 228 refers to the second month and the birthdates of the pit crew (James and Parker).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm a blog stalker...

With over 100 million blogs out there I have to stop myself from becoming too much of a blog stalker. I have about a dozen blogs that I try to visit every week.

I need to keep my list short because I have a huge potential of becoming a blog addict. I have caught myself reading blogs way pass my bedtime, with much regret the next morning when I have the 2 dictators waking up at 6 AM.

This blog, M.D.O.D. became a favorite of mine because I am actually learning a few things about the medical field. Visit this blog, you may want to add it to your favorite list. What? You don't have a fav blog list?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ultimate Mom

When You're About To Go Off the

Deep End, Don't Take Your Kids With You, is the book I read during my first year of motherhood...that was last year.

It was at a parent conference when I heard Kelly Nault, the author of the book, speak about 'unleashing the ultimate mom within you'. I loved how candid she was about motherhood. I think that anyone who tries to say that they never had a meltdown in their career as a mother is severely in denial, which maybe a good place to be. But how long can one hold on like that?

Twenty months into my job as mommy I've had one meltdown...a month! So I refer to it on those less then easy days so that I can get back to being the Ultimate Mom to my boys.

Kelly is a spunky Canadian who gives 10% of the gross book proceeds to "Make A Wish Foundation" and if you are not the reading type visit, where she shares pratical parenting tips.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Just Shear Luck

This Thanksgiving, like most, I tell myself it was just out of shear luck I am placed in this peaceful country. Yet I don't feel that this feeling of luck is enough. After seeing the movie Body of Lies last night, I kept dreaming that I was in hiding to avoid being caught and tortured. I had a gun, it looked like an M16 gun, it was dark, I was hungry, scared and strong.

Maybe it's my mind trying to show me how darn lucky I really am. The thing is, I wish that my gratitude could erase even a small portion of sadness that engulfs so many of us. Now that would be beautiful.

Our new babysitter just recently moved here from England. Thanksgiving does not exist in her country. She asked me last night, "What does Thanksgiving mean?". This is when I should have answered something of value but this what I said, "It's a time to be thankful, eat turkey, pumpkin pie and you get a day off!"

I was lucky to have been raised in a small rural town not having any understanding of war or witnessing extreme poverty. My lack of political interest was because of this huge security that I felt living in this town, province and country.

Sure my political knowledge has increased since I was a kid but it is still weak. Like I don't think I could carry an intelligent conversation with Justin Trudeau or that new Palin chick!

I am lucky for the usual stuff: health, love, roof on my head, peaceful country, blah, blah, blah. But what I really want is to show my appreciation of living this life, so I'll try to be kinder, show less road range, and have a good time....

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The boys have entered the phase of, "Let's play daddy!".
"Bye mom! I'm going to PDI. I have to go make patio doors. I'll be right back." hollers James.

Not only do they pretend to go to work like daddy but they want to drive his truck, wear his shoes, shirts, and yes his new helmet!

If they keep this phase till they are in their teens they will be cutting the grass, doing the cooking....and other 'fun' things that daddy does like a pro!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Apology Policy

Our No.2 has to say, "I'm torry (sorry)." to his older brother about 3x before 8 in the morning!
By the afternoon I've lost count how many times I've put him in his crib for bad behavior!
Saying sorry involves the guilty to look to the 'innocent' in the eye, say sorry or torry however you want to say it and then hugging and giving a kiss to the 'innocent'.

The faux pas involves either toy stealing, pinching or hitting!
James seldom hits back but enjoys telling Parker that he is the bigger one: "Parker, you can't ride my bike. You're too little." or "Parker, you can't go with Daddy 'cause you're too little".
Today, James told me to be quiet because Parker was sleeping.
James takes his big brother job quite seriously... most days!

Seasonal Shift

Autumn has crept in, leaving summer in the dust.
The night crawls into day earlier and I hide the beach towels with hesitation - not totally ready to let go.
Luckily the world was designed to turn summer into autumn s l o w l y.
It would be dreadfully hard to fall into fall overnight! Don't you think?

The kokanee salmon at our city creek is the pivotal sign that the season has shifted. James joined his preschool on the Kokanee Field Trip.
All he wanted wanted to know was where the sharks where hiding!

Kid Rock says it the best in his song All Summer Long, " ...nothing seems as strange as when the leaves begin to change..."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Defeat Your Dragon!

"I have Hope, Faith and Courage on my side and Love standing guard at my back. No Dragon in the world is a match for all that."

There are some people what can achieve more in a day than others. And then there is my nephew, Matthew Epp, that has at the age of 15 years old achieved certainly more than I have in my lifetime!

Matthew has been battling cancer since the age of 2, wrote a book about it for kids when he was 11, was named the 2004 Champion Child in Saskatchewan, Canada, met our Prime Minister, and participates in numerous fundraising events to help raise money for the fight against cancer.

The book Hope and the Dragon, written by Matthew, is a must read. Let this be your next book purchase! Go to to order it today and you will be financially supporting Matthew's cause of finding a cure for cancer.

Matthew's dauntless spirit with those sparkling eyes inspires all who meet him to gracefully and courageously overcome adversity. Visit Matthew's blog where you can learn more of his story and post a message of support.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mommy Essentials...or so I think

I love having my very own mommy business cards.
I have passed on my mommy cards to the preschool teachers, the babysitters, and to new mommy friends.
I ordered my cards on-line at Nightshade Creations. (click on Nightshade Creations to visit their website)
You can design your card with your choice of layout, colour, and text.
I ordered a personalized memo pad for myself too. So I can pretend that I am an executive working downtown Manhatten!

For $30 it's a great mommy tool!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Please be patient with me

I can't seem to write anything that excites me this week. Perhaps I bit of back-to-school laziness! But I can easily post some summer snapshots....