Happy New Year!

Or should I say… Happy Halloween, Happy Birthday to Me, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday to Matt, and Happy Polar Vortex x2.

I can’t believe I have not been on the blog since October. Yikes.  But New Year – new start… even if it is almost February. 

Another thing I can’t believe is that 5 years ago right now, we were on the big beautiful blue plane headed to Seoul. It’s amazing how quickly time flies – everyone says that phrase – but it is so so true.  I wish we were going back ourselves – but I am currently arranging for a collection of photos to go to SWS – hopefully with a coworker of a friend who is headed to Seoul on Saturday to meet her sweet boy for the first time. 

So for now, a quick photo update of our life since my last post. 

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Halloween 2013 – was a cold wet windy night. Alex started out as Batman and did a costume change into a pirate for round 2 of trick or treating.

 

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Christmas Card 2013 photo shoot – one of the pics. 

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Fun with photobooth – thank you Target!

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We hosted a Christmas Eve playdate / lunch for Alex’s neighbourhood friends. 

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Christmas Eve cuddles

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A visit from Santa on Christmas Eve!

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Alex and his loot – note candy in his hand…

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Yes – I was crazy enough to go out in a blizzard caused by the Polar Vortex and take pictures of my front porch – it was so cold… but so pretty. Alex’s school was even closed – very rare for a city school – but understandable with -35 weather.

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In mid January we had “Winterfest”. There was mini golf, ice sculptures, sledding, games, jumping castles and much more. It was cold… again – but lots of fun for Alex. 

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Mason had eye surgery 2 days before Christmas… again this year. He is doing ok now – but not 100%.  He is really tired of the bitter cold and can’t wait for the weather to improve so we can go for walks again!

 

The Family Tree saga

Back in mid September, we receive a note from the before / after school program that Alex attends on his school days (he is still every other day) that they wanted the children to bring in family photos for a family tree that they were going to be working on. So of course – my head started spinning. As an adoptive parent, you know the issue of family lineage will come up and it can be difficult to provide answers – especially in international adoption. So I tried to spark up a conversation with Alex about where his birth family came from – but like he does with most conversations that do not revolve around hockey or superheros, he decided to ignore me. He knows he was born in South Korea, and will tell you that if he is asked. Once in a blue moon he may ask where his foster mom lives or maybe ask something about his birth mother or father – but for the most party, he doesn’t seem to want to talk about it yet, at least not when we initiate the conversation.

So back to the family tree issue at the school.  I posted my concerns about it on Facebook – especially since i was surprised to have this come up in Senior Kindergarten – I expected I had at least until grade 1 or 2 to prepare Alex (and myself!).  My concern was not that there may be questions, but it was more that with Alex’s speech being delayed, and the fact that he can be shy in front of groups, he may be more hesitant about answering any questions his classmates may have.

I ended up giving our family picture to his before school program coordinator, and mentioned to her that Alex may not be able to answer questions that his classmates may have and that I did not expect him to if he wasn’t comfortable with it. I did mention that he was born in South Korea in case that question came up, but I felt it was best to leave things more vague.

The coordinator was very supportive. I guess the reason for the Family Tree “assignment” was that some kids were feeling sad because they missed their moms and dads since many were at school for the first time (and some arrive as early at 7am). So in reality, the family tree is just a tree on the wall with the pictures of the families stuck to it and I really didn’t have to worry about much.

As an aside… when I was picking Alex up from school one day, I thought I recognized one of the little boys who he had been playing with, but I couldn’t place him. When we went outside I saw a lady getting out of her car – and it clicked. I’m not going to say her name… but I may have mentioned her in this post. She had adopted him from Russia (I believe – thank you to the lady at the Thai food restaurant who was filling me in on some local gossip) and he looks very Asian.  So I told Alex that the boy he had been playing with was adopted too. He didn’t say much… but then asked about his friend “D” who is also Korean – he asked where Dylan was adopted from. I told him he wasn’t adopted but that he was born in Canada and lives with his birth mommy and daddy. He seemed confused and said, “but Dylan has black hair like me”.  It broke my heart a bit and also made me chuckle at he same time. I guess everyone he knows that is adopted has been adopted from Russia or Korea, and the Russian children all have dark hair and have a slight Asian look to them. So I reminded him that his friend “K” in his class, who is blond and blue eyes was adopted and she doesn’t have black hair. I don’t know if that set him straight or confused him more.

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Where Was I?

Good question – I feel at times like I am so out of the blogging world, but then I get inspired for a post or two, and then… well, life takes hold. I never realized how busy I would find it being a working mom of a 5 year old – there is very little spare time to do much.

I thought I would take a moment to share some random facts of what is happening in our lives – just so I don’t forget for when I get caught up in scrapbooking!

Krista

  • I had my hair chopped my hair off! It feels so good to have a style again – longer hair just isn’t for me.
  • At work, we did a massive reorganization of our main floor – we did a huge weed of unused non fiction, rearranged shelving and moved collections. It took the better part of a weekend when the library was closed and was a lot of work – but it looks pretty darn good.
  • I just finished reading “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan – very fun novel playing up the stereotypes of affluent Asians in Singapore.  Now I’m onto “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding.

Alex

  • He has started hockey! He is in Tyke – also known as Timbits (oh how Canadian!).  Matt is coaching and I guess every time he asks the team if they have any questions, Alex will put up his hand and say “Let’s Play Hockey!”
  • He is coming out of his shell for sure. Often he will ask our neighbours if they know his mom or dad, or what they are doing – something he would never have done a few months ago.
  • Alex is in a big “Who made this” phase – asking that question about everything from cars to the moon to his skin.
  • Speech is still ongoing – but now he is getting help again in school – so hoping things start to progress more.

Matt

  • He has been accepted into the Vice Principal’s pool! That means if there is an opening for a VP in his board, he may be called into that position. He has worked very hard for this – I’m very proud.
  • Hunting and Fishing season is back so Matt is back to hunting and gathering for our family :)

Mason

  • Has a problem with his eye right now… poor guy.

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Senior Kindergarten

It’s hard to believe that our little boy is now in his second year of school! In Ontario there is now Junior and Senior Kindergarten – Alex is now an SK kid. Alex still has the teacher as last year which is nice – I think he will find comfort with the familiarity – and hopefully talk in class this year!  He is still full day every other day this year – going to a babysitters on his non school days.  This year he will also be in the Before and After School program to allow us to get to work on time and not rush to pick him up.  He has lots of friends there and he seems to be really enjoying it.

Now, I did something I never thought I would do – I sent Alex to school on the WRONG day!! The Kindergartners have staggered start dates… and I went by one calendar which showed his class starting on Wednesday… not the letter sent back in June with his official start date of Friday… oops! A few tears were shed – but nothing long lasting. So we have two sets of first day of school pics.

Wednesday....

Wednesday….

Friday....

Friday….

Summer Vacation

(sorry – meant to post this during the past week… imagine I did.)

I had last week off for vacation and rather than going up north, we stayed home. It . Was. Great! I swear it felt like I was off for 2 weeks. The weather was perfect and we did something fun every day.

Saturday – Alex had play dates all day and I had some girls over for drinks

Sunday – Church for final day of Vacation Bible School (which Alex LOVED!), Alex had a play date in the afternoon and then dinner at friends.

Monday – Visit the library, swimming at friends and then Matt & I went to see Danny Michel at the Church restaurant (I won tickets that morning!)

Tuesday – Trip to the Twin Valley Zoo in Brantford

Wednesday – Beach Day with friends!

Thursday –  went to see the Raptors at the mall – presented by my library, dinner with Matt’s parents

Friday – Boating with my boys on Lake Conestogo and Date Night

Saturday – Swimming and dinner with friends

Sunday – we rested….

And now a few photos to remember it all by…

Can't tell he had surgery the day before!

Can’t tell he had surgery the day before!

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Best Buds at the Beach

At the Zoo

Fun on the boat

Fun on the boat

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Caught a cat fish!

Belly Button Update – Part 2

2 weeks ago Alex had his belly button surgery (has it already been that long?!) I would have to say that Alex was a little hesitant about the whole process – and really, who could blame him?! It’s a big deal to go into the hospital and have surgery – regardless of the severity of the procedure. To prepare him, we read a few books about going to the hospital before hand – and I must admit – Curious George Goes to the Hospital is NOT the best book choice I have ever made… In the story, the man in the yellow hat leaves George at the hospital overnight as they used to do – as a result, Alex was convinced we were just going to leave him there for a few days… sigh.  (note to self – preread this sort of book before hand…)  What we did find very beneficial was watching a slideshow on our hospital website designed for kids who are going in for surgery.  The presentation was done by a very good friend of mine – so Alex recognized her daughter and kept looking for her at the hospital!

Alex was a trooper. While we waited for him to have his procedure we read books and he played on the ipad. When the nurses were finally ready, we kissed him goodbye, and they took his hand and he walked down the hall with them – talking about Curious George. He didn’t look back once.

The procedure and the time before we were allowed back to see him took longer than I expected, but really it was just 2 hours. After I went to see him in the post opp, and while he was groggy, he was his normal self. By the time we left – he was back to normal! He had to take it easy for the rest of the day, but by 9am Saturday, he was begging to go outside and ride his bike.

I wish I bounced back that easily!

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Slime!

I like to think of myself as a “crafty” sort of person. I enjoy sewing, quilting, needle point, scrapping… Alex has yet to adopt that quality. Perhaps he never will – you never know. But I want him to be creative and a “maker” of things – whether it is in science, technology, cooking… whatever he enjoys.
Every so often I break out an experiment to try. We’ve done baking of course, but also experiments with vinegar and baking soda, oil and watercolour changing milk, and oobleck, water beads… and most recently… slime.

It was a lot of fun. I’m not sure if the recipe I followed was the best one (it wasn’t the one linked above!) and I don’t think you have to use brand name glue…  I used the stuff from the dollar store. Alex loved it! I highly recommend it if you want something fun to do on a rainy day! (note – just be sure to do it away from carpet….)

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Here is a vine I did of it in action.

Next is the ivory bar experiment!

Tuesday Tidbits

  • I think I’ve turned into the worlds worst blogger…. I keep thinking I should give this up – but then I seem to regain some energy to do it again… We will see.
  • Peer pressure can be a good thing. At least when it comes to our guy and his bike. Alex has been using just one training wheel for some time, and really didn’t need it any longer. But it took one of his little friends to come down the street with no trainers for him to finally decide he was ready for a 2 wheeler. So as soon as Alex saw his friend (who had been using trainers just 30 minutes before), he sat down and tried to get the extra wheel off. Then he was across the road to the sidewalk and off – super speedy I should add! No whip outs so far – fingers crossed!
  • We spent Canada Day up at our cottage lot camping – it was a great time. You can read more about it on our cottage blog.
  • One of the recipes I tried while up north was Chicks on Sticks – I highly recommend it if you are going camping! Super easy and very tasty. You can find it on my camping / cottage pinterest board.
  • C has me hooked on the Mortal Instruments series. On book 3 right now! And they are being made into a movie - sweet!
  • Any magazine readers out there? Our library just got Zinio – digital magazines free with your library cards – check your library you might get it!
  • Speaking of library – it is so nice that Alex can finally participate in the Summer Reading Club and activities at the library I work at!  He just got his first sticker for reading 3 books – here’s hoping the momentum sticks.
  • Alex had his final report card home. He did pretty well considering he would rarely talk to the teachers making it difficult to assess his abilities. We are going to be working on his abcs and 123s this summer to help with JK this September.
  • Alex’s belly button surgery is set for this August – any tips for those who have had their kids in surgery?
  • We are experiencing some real behaviour issues with Alex – lots of whining – and lots of problems at bed time. I am hoping this is just a phase… Anyone have some extra patience they can send my way?
  • Matt, even though he is a teacher and should be on summer break, is actually taking a class this summer! He is taking the Principal Part 1 3 week course right now – 4 days a week of intensive instruction. So he may be having a job change in the not so distant future. Very exciting for him!
  • My cleaning lady called in sick today – and she is on vacation next week, so my house is a disaster. Must finish up this post so I can go mop my floors… :(

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The Belly Button Update

First a little history….

When Alex was still in Korea, we received an update from our agency that Alex had an irritated belly button and had gone to the doctor. They sent us a few updated pictures then – and one showing a reddish bellybutton. While we were concerned, we knew he was being well cared for. After Alex came home to Canada and we took him to our family doctor, we were told that his “proud flesh” had never healed so the doctor put on some silver nitrate which normally seals off the belly button. We did this 3 times. But it never healed!

For the most part the redness (which looks a bit like the red inside your mouth) wasn’t causing any issues – occasionally it would be a little yucky… and bleed. Now that Alex is able to communicate more, he has been telling us it sometimes hurts. And he is always fingering his belly area… So… at his 5 year checkup, I asked again about his belly button. The doctor wasn’t sure what the best move would be, so he referred us to a surgeon.

Matt took Alex to the surgeon for his first appointment, so I am not 100% sure what was said  - but the surgeon mentioned before she decided upon a course of action, she wanted an ultrasound. I guess there is a sort of connection between the belly button and your bladder and she wanted to ensure that there was no mass on it.  When we went for the ultrasound – Alex wasn’t able to eat or drink anything… and his appointment was for 10:45… not an easy time as any parent can imagine. He cried and whined for food and drink the whole time there. Then the appointment lasted an hour. First an ultrasound tech, then the supervisor, then he left, then he came back, then he left, and came back again. So as you can imagine, I was a little concerned.Alex having an ultrasound

Two week later I took Alex back for a follow up. Turns out it is a tumor – but not any sort of worrisome tumor – completely benign. It is a small mass of blood vessels inside his belly button – and when it gets rubbed too much, some blood vessels can bleed… hence his discomfort and discharge. It does not continue through to that connection with his bladder which is a relief.

The solution is to have a short surgical procedure where they will put him under and remove the mass. Many parents wait until the child is closer to 10 years old, but since Alex will be playing hockey this year, we don’t want his equipment rubbing on it and causing him any distress.  No dates set yet – but hopefully in the next couple of months.

So there it is! That’s where we are with the belly button saga. Will keep everyone up to date!