Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I Just Want The Brownies To Bake...

It has been one of those days where the time crawls, or flies really fast and I've fallen behind. Nothing get done (at least the way it is suppose to) and I'm just floundering.

I am so ready to pull my hair out, and possibly shed a couple of tears.  Not that I am one for crying but I am in the mood for a "Good Cry," not that I really have anything to cry about.  :P 

I suppose I could say that my bad day really started last night with my two younger boys yelling at the neighbours who had friends over (no it wasn't even a party) to "Shut up!"  I smacked myself in the forehead over this one.  I know that they might have gotten confused due to  another neighbour having a pool party on a weekday night complete with actual and constant screaming from their guests, however this was nothing like it. 

So making brownies was on my to do list and have the boys go over and apologize with them.  This making brownies has taken all day!

I woke up with a headache that turned into a migrain.  I don't get them often thank goodness, and Advil helps make it at least bearable.  My daycare kids arrived, and I served grill cheese sandwiches for lunch without incident.

I did what I wanted to do today for the most part, and my kids weren't bad, a little loud perhaps but gentle reminders that if they didn't cease the yelling I'd be taking their DSI's away worked.

The kids went with me to Svetec Farm where they could run around catching chickens, petting goats and play in their yard.  It took longer than I had thought to get my order, but the kids were happy playing while we waited.  I just don't know where the rest of the day went.  Phone calls, running a quick errand for my sister and still at 10 minutes to 7pm the brownies will not cook.  They are still in the oven and I still want to decorate them.

I need sleep, a good night sleep without any adoption worries.   I started the brownies at 4:30, I don't know how they managed to take this long, I did put Preston in a "Time In" there were more phone calls, and a few arguements but I still have unbaked brownies, and the oven is working fine.

I haven't even started dinner yet, I just want to say stick a toothpick in me, "I'm done," but alas I am no batch of brownies, (or maybe I am).   And so I'll go and make dinner, and hope it won't take as long as these dang brownies.

***Brownies were made at last and decorated at 8:30pm but no one was home.  Good Grief!  Dinner was a bust, my chicken quesdillas (sp?) were way too spicy for the kids so we ended up doing something we've tried really hard not to and ordered in. 

It's days like this were I just adore my husband.  He makes the screw ups so easy to bear, and is everything I need to get through them.  God I love him.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Still putting pieces together...

There hasn't been much to write about these past few days.  At least not about our adoption proceedings.  We have our third meeting with our adoption practioner and than it is the home meeting.  Our house is almost ready to pass inspection.  I just need to purchase a lock box for our medicine and organizing my collections of loose papers.  I loathe dealing with papers.  I find it very satisfying to go through a handful of them and discovering the ones I can actually toss into the recycling bin. 

But as for this meeting, there is 44 questionaire. The first 20 Dale and I had to answer individually, and it was emotionally draining for me.  Dale's family might as well have been "The Cleavers," from "Leave it to Beaver".   Just picture June Cleaver with black hair and that is Dale's mom right down to the dresses she wore, and still does.

The stuff about my present was easy, but digging through childhood memories wasn't pleasant at all. 

How sad is it that I don't have one truly happy memory of my me and mother.  I know she was happy when she was visiting friends, and had friends over.  I know we made Jell-o once when I was really little, but even that I recall a tension in my belly.  She wasn't a happy person to say the least.  I think I summed it up best when I said she liked the idea of being a mom, but resented the work involved. 

Being a mom is work, it can be gruelling, and you will be unappreciated at times, but also it can be a whole lot of fun if you put the effort into it.  I find myself suckered into a game of Zingo, (like Bingo) with Preston and Cyrus, but there is something delightful about sitting at the dinning room table and playing Sorry, or another board game.  Some days the kids want to play Monopoly, and we have the game set out for days, playing an hour or so every evening, until someone wins, or they loose interest.

In fact as I am writing this, I do feeling like playing "Sorry".  Preston and Cyrus had a sleepover in Preston's room, and the two of them were up late giggling and talking.  "I'm tempted to wake them up to play, but alas I'll guess I'll let themselves wake up on their own, maybe after breakfast...or maybe not, as I did promise to take them fishing this morning. 

All well, there is always time after dinner.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

TDH Ukraine Christmas Hosting Program for Orphans.

Dale and I already decided that we arent' going forward this year, due to our own adoption plans however, I wanted to pass this along. 

Dear friends,
We are happy to announce the Urkaine Hosting Program for this Christmas, tentative date of arrival 18th of December, for 2 weeks.

It is a program that TDH Canada runs where kids from orphanages in Ukraine come to spend a vacation in a Canadian family.

What can be a better Christmas present for yourself, your family and a person whose life you will change forever?

Good news this year:

-no age requirements for your children (they can be younger than the child you host)

-single parents can participate.

Please find all the details, requirements, FAQ and application form at

YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROGRAM JUST SPREADING THE WORD and forwarding this information to anybody that could be interested or could help find other families.

There is no advertising budget!

Thank you.

Don´t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Luba Grakhova
TDH Canada
514 658 49 66
514 632 23 62 cell (available on cell starting from 26 August)

If you don´t want to receive this message or received it by error, please reply to it indicating so.

Chers amis,

Nous annonçons le programme des vacances pour les enfants de Ukraine ce Noel, de 18 décembre pour 2 semaines.

C´est un projet que TDH Canada fait ou les familles peuvent accueillir un orphelin pendant les vacances.

C´est le mieux cadeau de Noel q´on peut faire pour soi-meme, vos enfants et une personne la vie de laquelle vous allez changer pour toujours.

De bonnes nouvelles cet année:

-pas de requeriments de l´age de vos enfants (il peuvent être plus jeunes que l´enfant qui vous accueillez)

-les familles monoparentaux peuvent participer aussi.

La page en français va sortir bientôt, pour maintenant s´il vous plait trouver des détailles en anglais, des questions fréquents et formulaire d´inscription ici:

VOUS POUVEZ CONTRIBUER EN ENVOYANT CETTE INFORMATION a tout les personnes que peuvent être intéressées ou peuvent aider a trouver des familles d´accueil. On n´a pas de budget publicitaire! Merci.

N´hésitez pas me contacter pour tout les questions

Luba Grakhova
TDH Canada
514 658 49 66
514 632 23 62 cell (vous pouvez me rejoindre au cellulaire des le 26 aout)
Si vous ne désirez recevoir ce message ou vous l´avez reçu par erreur, s´il vous plait répondez-moi pour l´indiquer

Monday, 22 August 2011

Back from Camping...

It's hard to see how bright, funny, kind and thoughtful your kids are, and yet at the same time so disadvantaged. 

The term "Micro Managing" has been a coin phrase in our family these past few weeks.  Due to Dale's impulsive nature to manage everything thing.  He isn't controlling in how he does it, he just offers adviced, I give him the look which says, "I know how to do it." and he raises his hands, and backs off laughing. 

Camping this year has been an experience.  The kids are older now, I have two teenagers, but they ALL  need to be mirco managed to some degree.  Common sense and following simple instructions is not easy for them.  Alex believes he understands, wants to PROVE himself.  So when it came time for him to take the backseat out of the van, which I repeatedly told him it was the backseat I wanted out.  Alex refused to listen to his younger brother and took the middle seats out of the van instead. 

I realize that it's really is no big deal, but I could tell he felt his LD weighing him down.  It is so frustrating that language confuses him.  So after letting him vent off his frustration together we put the seats back in the van and took out the backseat together.  Then I put him in charge of packing up the van while I did things inside.  Alex wanted the coolers in the van right away, which I hadn't finished packing, and after repeating several times that they weren't packed I showed him all the stuff that needed to go into them before I could let him have them.  After that he gave up on the coolers, and put his focus into packing the tents, lawnchairs, beddings and other camp items, Dale had pulled out the night before.

Preston packed up his and Cyrus' things, I only asked for the basics, swimming shorts, PJ's, Hoodies, and extra socks.  Preston can be a rock when he wants too, and this was one time he shone.  He made sure Cyrus had two sets of Pj's, five pairs of underwear, two pairs of pants, shorts.  He did an incredible job.

However, when packing for a camping trip, there are a lot of things that need to be done, the house cleaned, dishes and cooking untensils, camping gear, food, matches, sleeping bags, pets looked after, I can't count how many times I was being "MOM!"ed and had to stop what I was doing to re tell, demostrate, problem solve and so on, from everything to our dog's food container missing the lid to showing Cyrus where the fishing tackle box was, (right where I said it was).  I realize that to some this may seem normal to some degree, but not when they aren't being lazy, or diffcult.  It is hard to see them struggle when they are really excited and are really trying hard to do what needs to be done.  We laugh a lot, and help each other out, without trying to step on toes. 

The end result was a fully packed van, albeit with some items left behind, (which I have only myself to blame), two broken fishing rods, and a somewhat tidied house.  But I have learned long since, that sometimes you have to pick and chose your successes, and for me leaving with enough time to get to the camp well before dark was my success!

By the time Dale arrived at the campsite, (he was spending a rare day golfing) we had two tents set up, complete with air mattresses and sleeping bags.  It was a good end to a hectic day.

We survived, we stayed (mostly) dry despite the storm that blew in off the lake, and spent the days, lazying in the sun, swimming at the beach, hiking through the woods, and as a special treat for Me, an award winning  breakfast buffet at a local restuarant.

My only regret was the hurried good byes that were offered at the Wood Family Picnic.  The storm blew in hard and fast and everyone scattered to their vechiles.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Russian Overload, learning the language.

After months of practicing speaking Russian, and learning sentences like:

I understand you.
I do not understand you.
Help us understand.
Are you hungry or thristy?
What hurts?
Did you have fun?
Days of the week
Drinks Tea, coffee, milk, water, juice, pop
May we see...the menu, manager, director
It's very hot,
Thank you,
I love you.
We have three boys.
We have a dog and a cat.
It's all good.
How are you? (With all the acceptable responses.)
What is your name?
You are a beautiufl little girl.

and so much more.

Apart of me wants to stop, give it a rest.  I love learning the language, though my mind is tired of it.  However, I know that if I do stop I will lose some of it.  Oddly enough I am starting to learn to read it, (or at least starting to sound out the words if not fully understand them), and can now make my own simple sentences. 

Last week I learned that verbs have a different endings depending on the person(s) you are referring too. (I, she/he, They, you) And they have a lot of ways to say "to go"  all of which depends on if you are with someone, how you are getting there, what you are carrying. 

I wasn't aiming to be fluent, and honestly I never expected to take it this far.  I am glad I did, and will continue to do so, though by the time we adopt I expect I really won't be fluent, but I think I will have an incredible understanding of their vocabury.

I just hope I don't suffer from burnout.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Festive Ukrainian Cooking...

I never thought I would be one to read a cookbook from cover to cover, but this is one that is loaded with tidbits of information.  If you are just getting to know the Ukrainian culture, and would like to know it better, this cookbook is a great place to start.  It took the author Marta Pisetska Farley eight years to put it together, after researching recipes that have been handed down through stories and songs.  Apparently a lot of the Ukraine recipes are passed down, where the measurements are, and handful of this, a pinch of that and so forth.

The cookbook follows the Ukraine calendar year listing off traditional holiday customs, with recipes to match.  Before each recipe there is a little write up, which is insightful as well as informative. 

Reading this book I picked up on some of my Grandmother's quirks.  My mother thought its was weird when my grandmother would often pack a picnic and have them eat it in the graveyard.   It turns out that the Ukraine people made a day of cleaning up their beloved graves and had a feast right there afterwards.  They believe that the spirits of their loved ones are close by and protect the living and for this they make a point of honoring them.  Personally, I think it is a beautiful way to keep the ones who've passed away close to our hearts.

Another thing that made me chuckle was my grandmother always offering us food.  We would be stuffed, but she wanted us to eat more and more.  She would often hold out a bowl to the men and say "you can finish off that little bit of potato." The unfortnate victim would then find themselves being given another two servings (though usually more) of the dish.

Being Canadianize I feel that my hertiage is more of a hodgepodge of cultures that have been watered down to nothing.  I did find out (I had believed our family was from Russian) that my Great-Great Grandfather was born in Odessa. I have Scottish on my Dad's side, but I am a result of a watered down culture.  We have no real traditions except what we make for ourselves.  Finding out about this connection is exciting, more so because I had wanted to adopted from Russia but felt the pull more to the Ukraine.  It was after we had already started the process to adopt from the Ukraine that my aunt gave me our family's history.  I was already willing to embrace the Ukraine culture when we adopted our child, but now it is more than that.  It's me connecting to my own hertiage and that is truly exciting.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Culinary Experience...

The past couple of days I’ve been pulling Ukrainian recipes off the internet in an effort to learn more about the culture. 

I’ve made Borsch (Beet soup).  The family didn’t care for it much, so I added a couple of beef bouillon cubes.  The next day when I served the leftovers every single one of them came back for seconds and then thirds. 

The Ukrainian Apple cake came out very well, and today I plan to make Lazy Vareniki,  or  Khrustyky (Sweet Nothings) I haven’t decided just yet.

As for other Ukrainian foods I am not sure what else to go for.  I know Cabbage rolls and Perogries are popular but I plan on buying them from the corner store which is a European deli meat market, as they make far better cabbage rolls than I can. 

Breads...My mother was known for her breads, unfortunately I never had her skill.  So I use breadmakers (I have three, because with five people to feed it does make sense) on the dough setting and transfer to loaf pans.  I always feel like I’m cheating but at least it always comes out perfectly.  It would be great if I could find the Ukrainian egg bread in a bread machine recipe.

As for other foods I am a little stumped, I am not certain what I am making, and when or what is it for (Christmas, Easter, Dinner, Breakfast)?  The Lazy Vareniki? Is it a side dish or a meal on its own?  It's like a cheese dumpling and says to serve with sour cream, butter and sugar.  The Khrustyky I’m assuming is a snack or dessert.  
Despite my lack of knowledge about the mentioned dishes, and the dishes I have yet to disover, I am having a blast in the kitchen.  For me this is all part of the fun of it. 

I have already order “Festive Ukrainian Cooking” that has 5 star reviews on Amazon.  I can’t wait to get it, until then the internet is my guide.
Happy Cookings!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Embracing the Ukraine ...

My husband and I have been floundering when it comes to religion.  Several years ago we left our church which was a heart breaking decision (I’m not going into details as to why).  Needless to say this has left our internal compasses in terms of religion spinning.  We’ve put off going to other churches, mainly because I guess we were still in mourning over leaving our beloved church.  
However, with adopting a girl from the Ukraine, we are completely open to attending a Ukraine church.  And yesterday we entered into a Ukraine Orthodox Catholic church.  It was very unusual compared to what we are normally used to.  I was pleased to hear that they have Sunday school, Ukrainian dances, church outings and even a weeklong camp in the summer months for the children.

Personally I can’t see us joining anything just yet, and there is another Ukrainian church in our area that we are going to visit.  The parish we went to yesterday had maybe seven people in attendance including us.  It was a Saturday service but we went to it because it was mixed English and Ukrainian sermon, I think we’ll aim for a Sunday Service at the next one.    

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Adoption Practitioner 2nd meeting...

Wow and wow!

We had are second meeting with our adoption practitioner and I am more than a little put out.  I didn't mind that she seem a little disorganized, and that our meeting wasn't a meeting at all rather an exchange of papers.  However, she went through my medical file and asked about my diabetes, if it is under control (which is and has been for the past two months ~ I am newly diagonsed) and then she said she was going to put in her recomndation that I loose weight during the homestudy process.

I am overweight, obese even, and I will be the first to admit it.  She didn't even ask if I had been losing weight (which I have been with my doctor's supervision).  It is going off slower then I would like, but it is going down.  She told me I should be doing the South Beach Diet, repeatedly.  I've heard of it, but the fact that I am now diabetic and I have my blood sugar levels under control (finally ~ after attending a diabetic education session) she wants to throw a book at me when I've already been struggling with the life changes which involves diabetes.  Jeesh! 

To have her say, 'I'm doing this for your own good," was a real slap in the face.  Not a wake up call if that is how she was intending it to be, the diabetes was a wake up call.  I know in the long run I will be healthier, but the fact that she was so self righteous about my weight, "saying if she can do it anyone can." As if I need my own personal failure rubbed in my face, and the twenty pounds I've lost in the past four months means nothing.

This was just insulting, and yet I have to admit (albeit begrudgingly) she is right, I do need to lose the weight, but for my own health, and not because I am applying to adopt. 

The new lifestyle I've embraced helps, I've made a point of sticking with portion size, we don't eat a lot of fried, high fat, red meat foods.  I am not as active as I would like to be, due to a knee injury a year ago that still bothers me, but I go for walks, we love hiking through the bush and last weekend I even ran a bit a long the trail. We are an active family, and do lots of things outdoors. 

So I am not going to do her "South Beach Diet" and I will be sticking with what the diabetic educators, and what my nutrist recomends.  I will continue to eat very little potatoes, and staying away white breads, and pasta, and continue to make the better choices.  I will commit to be more dedicating to increasing my execrise. Next week I have to meet up with her again.   Maybe I should make an appt for lipposuction. LOL