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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, January 21, 2017

Buddy's New Bedroom

I've written about Buddy's old bedroom in our previous house. We moved at the end of 2015 and Buddy got a new bedroom. Obviously...

We initially moved all Buddy's old furniture into his new room, but the plan was always to let Buddy design his room the way he wanted it. Hubby and I exercised veto power over the request for all black walls, ceiling and trim but in the end we came to a compromise. Black furniture, including a loft bed, with green accents. And a couch.


The first step was to patch the numerous holes the previous owners' child had made in the walls. And remove the random toys from the vents. And peel a reflector off one wall and fix the damage that made... Anyways, once that was done, we painted all the walls a green so light it is almost white. When that dried, I taped 4 parallel bands of painters tape that was 2 different thicknesses all around the room. I did this free-hand, and occasionally checked that the bands were even all the way around using a tape measure.



The wall treatment I did was inspired by this video (caution, annoying music alert!):


Buddy picked out a bright green accent colour, and I followed the plastic wrap demo pretty much, except I had to free-hand using a brush in the corners where the roller couldn't reach. Once that dried, I carefully peeled off the painters tape. I'm pretty happy with the results and Buddy thinks it looks awesome.


Then came the time to assemble all the bedroom furniture that we had purchased from Ikea. This was a 2 day project between Hubby and I, and we didn't even have to assemble everything because some furniture we re-purposed from other areas of the house. Putting the loft bed together took a day in itself. We finished with minimal bickering, so I feel pretty secure in our marriage. Once everything was put together, Buddy helped with the finishing touches.


I think the room turned out amazing and Buddy loves it. As an added bonus, we can no longer see Buddy's unmade bed so there is one less source of fighting in the house. Hubby has also taken to tossing any random junk Buddy leaves lying around up onto his bed.


If you're interested, this is the furniture and accessories we got for Buddy, or similar to what we already had at home to re-use:

- Buddy's bed and bedding:
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80160867/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60307281/#/00307284
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60296503/#/20296500
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/70261555/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30271721/#/10271717
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30306532/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/20315674/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/70300482/

- Buddy's couch area:
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/S89010623/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80281138/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/20331103/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/50320848/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60192355/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/00122822/

- Storage and other accessories:
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30360468/#/70360466
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/20275814/#/60275812
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/00323972/#/00323972
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/20300286/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/00323972/#/30219281
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/50242841/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60295438/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80149511/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/10281410/
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60297545/
(the dark green ones don't appear to be available at the moment, but this is a similar style of curtain we bought)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Re-Introduction

Over the last year, posts from me have been a bit on the light side. Life has been busy, and there have been lots of times where I have thought of or even started a new post but by never get around to finishing it. I am making a point this year to carve out more personal time so I can write - I find it really helps me process my thoughts.

Anyways, I wrote this post last year (when I made myself the same commitment...), and not much has changed. Except now we are 3 years home with our son and are experiencing things for the fourth time around. Although, there are still plenty of challenging to go around, especially as Buddy is now a full-fledged teenager.

I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my work and home life. Hubby is the back-bone of our family who makes sure we don't get scurvy due to poor diet. Buddy continues to grow into an amazing young man. And we still have our dogs, Swar and Grem, completing our family.


I do try to document some of our life on social, so if you are interested you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

If you're interested in reading our adoption story in more detail, check out these posts:
- Our Adoption Story, a Quick Look
- Why Did We Adopt: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Extended Family Drama

I wrote a long time ago about a difficult patch we had been going through with Hubby's family. I haven't written about it since, but things haven't resolved.

At the beginning of the New Year in 2015, Hubby sat down with his parents. They had been feeling resentment towards us for awhile but had been trying to repress it, unsuccessfully it turned out. They told Hubby they felt like we don't consider their feelings, especially when it came to time spent with Buddy in comparison with my Mother.

My Mom and I are very close. She raised my brother and I alone until she met and married my step-father (who I call my Dad) when I was in the 1st grade. She is the one person who has been a constant in my life and I don't know where I would be without her. I, and by extension my family, spend a lot of time with my Mom. Less, now that we are parents, but still more than a lot of other grown children spend with their's.

My husband doesn't have the same relationship with his parents. He loves them, but they are not close in the same way my Mom and I are. Apparently, this is an issue for my in-laws, especially Hubby's mother. They have been keeping score - especially since we adopted Buddy in 2013.

In all honesty, I'm not surprised. Hubby's mother has a tendency to play the victim, hold grudges and throw past perceived slights against her into every argument. She doesn't seem see her role in the stand-off she and I are currently in.

It is ironic that this whole thing started over her feeling isolated from our family, and has resulted in us becoming much more distant than we have ever been. I no longer attend family events with Hubby's side. Sometimes Buddy and Hubby don't, either. They haven't been to our new house. We don't extend invitations to school events or spend weekends with them at their lake in the summer.

I feel terrible for Hubby. He has said numerous times that I am his wife, and he will always defend me and stand by my side. But I know he cares about his parents and loves his mother very much. He is in the middle of this whole ridiculous argument.

I know I should be the bigger person and make the first steps towards reconciliation. But I have done that before and we are still in the place we are today. So maybe I am being stubborn and selfish - but I just don't want to be the bigger person this time.

Ugg...

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!