Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 圣诞快乐

Merry Christmas (even if it is a day late) to all!
May your Christmas and New Years be filled with joy, love, laughter, and even tears (if they are the good kind).

Ping is the little pink thing, trying to cut the tree down with her teeth

MissG gave it a go

Big D was laughing to hard to actually saw

Senior K was determined to cut it down, in less than 2 minutes

Ping smiling for the camera

Mommy and the kids starting to decorate the tree

Bing got to hang the low ornaments...

... and then take them down, and hang them, and take them down, and hang them... 

Finally, we have snow!  Tis a sad thing when Canadians have no snow

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Do You Love Me Big?

This, is my family.

They are all pretty cute, but they also look very different.
Well, not Miss G and the Wife.  They look very much alike.  Everyone comments that Miss G is a miniature version of the Wife.  And from what I'm told, Senior K walks, talks and behaves very much like myself.
But still, we're all so very different.

We laugh and joke, Ping comments that she has "brown eyes" just like her Dad, since the older children all have green and blue eyes like the Wife.  When Miss G is trying to bite people, we laugh and say she gets that from her Mom.

And likewise, everyone has their own "unique" ways of expressing and understanding love.

The Wife, sometimes, measures how much she is loved by the amount of Chocolate she currently has stashed away in the pantry.

Senior K would measure it in terms of Bacon.  Like, do you love me as much as Bacon?  Which is sometimes harder to answer than you would expect... because Bacon can smell SO good!

Big D would measure love in relation to video game systems...
Big D: Dad, do you love me?
Me: Yes, of course I do.
Big D:  Do you love me like an XBox?  Or a Wii?
Me:  Better than that, I love you like PC gaming on STEAM!

Miss G measures love by the number of hugs, kisses and cuddles her hour.  I guess it is kind of my own fault, I used to tell her when she was younger that "Dads are Hug and Kisses Powered".

Ping measures love by distance.  We used to read her the book Guess How Much I Love You when putting her to bed.  As she started to grasp the idea of distances, she would start to ask, "Daddy, do you love me to Ottawa?", then "Daddy, do you love me to Winnipeg?"  Once she understood how far China was, she would ask if I loved her to China and back?  I would laugh and say "Yes".  I would tell her that I loved her to the Moon and back.  Unfortunately, she didn't know where the moon was, so she countered with "Canada".

Bing though, well, he measures love a little differently still... it started out normal enough...
Bing:  Daddy, yew lub me?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you.
But then his grasp of the English language started to expand, and he started adding modifiers.
Bing:  Daddy, you lub me?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you.
Big:  You lub me BIG?
Me: *laughs*  Yes, Daddy loves you big.
... and yet, he needed MORE love...

Bing:  Daddy, you lub me?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you.

Bing:  Daddy, Daddy, you lub me BIG?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you big.
Bing:  Daddy, Daddy, DADDY!  You lub me HUGE?
Me:  *laughs*  Yes, Daddy loves you huge.
... and MORE...

Bing:  Daddy, you lub me?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you.

Bing:  Daddy, Daddy, you lub me BIG?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you big.
Bing:  Daddy, Daddy, DADDY!  You lub me HUGE?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you huge.
Bing: Do you lub me SUPER BIG!
Me:  *laughs*  Yes, I love you super big.
... and then when I thought he was all out of modifiers, he really brought out the big guns.
Bing:  Daddy, you love me like a TRUCK!?
Me:  Yes, Daddy loves you like a truck.

Bing... really... likes trucks.
- BIG trucks.
- Monster Trucks.
- Cement Trucks.
- Diggers.
- Bulldozers.
- Back hoes.
- Semi-Trucks.
- etc...

This is the pinnacle of Love for him!  All I'm thinking is, "Um, I don't know if I *DO* love you like a truck!  What am I supposed to say?  Will YES scar him for life?"  I could see him later in life crying in a psychiatric's office "My Dad loved me like his car!  *sob*  Do you know how that made me feel?!" Oh well, all my kids are headed for therapy anyway...

I have told him he is loved like a truck, semi-truck, big truck, monster truck, bulldozer, digger, tank, even a shark...

... no, I'm not sure why he asked if I loved him like a shark. 

It's cute.  But also somewhat sad.  Because he has been with us just over a year, and he is still so very afraid that he is UN-loved.  Mostly cute though.  I never imagined that I would be measuring love in terms of trucks... :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Broken Hearted and Loving IT!

NOTE:  This post contains information about two VERY adorable little boys who are currently in Foster Care in ZhongShan - I am not advocating for these little ones to be adopted, I am not involved in any way shape or form in the process of getting these children into families, I am simply talking about two orphans who I had the wonderful opportunity to meet.  Canadian Child Trafficking Laws are a bugger... but we are clear on the fact that I am not part of the process in getting these children into homes?  Great.  Thanks.

Happy defined: playing on the floor with 12 beautiful children
Heart-broken defined: playing on the floor with 12 beautiful children knowing they don't have a forever family (yet)

After I was done my two weeks in Hong Kong, I decided to head to the main land and drop in on New Day South .  New Day South is a Foster Care home which takes in children (with special needs) from local area orphanages and helps provide critical care and surgeries for them.  Its a great organization and a very needed  organization.
Looking out over Hong Kong
Each day I spent there was the same... my wife would ask me each morning "So what are you going to do today?"  My answer was the same, "Oh you know, go to New Day, spend time with the children, have my heart broken and probably cry."

I don't think I had cried since I was a little boy.
Little Benjamin

I don't think I have ever cried this much before in my life. This little guy is such a joy, a real little boy who has energy to burn!  The little guy has taken a liking to me, but I had to leave for a bit. He cried, then calmed down. When I returned an hour later, he looked at me, but would not come near. He looked at me with distrust and a painful look of rejection in his eyes. No 3 year old should have that deep of an understanding of rejection.  Normally healthy happy children will re-engage in play... but there comes a point where the children seem to start turning inward, into themselves for comfort and start rejecting those around them to try to stop the pain of being rejected.


And that is where I think this other little guy is.  But is he ever a little sweet heart right now!  Because he is old enough to take care of himself, he seems to get the least amount of attention.  He can dress himself, clean himself, etc.  I see him sometimes, on the edges of the activity.  He seems waiting for others to call him in, to spend time with him.  I don't know if he has been hurt, or if he is just shy.  But what I think I do see, is him starting to go within himself.  He was a very gentle and nice little boy to be around.  Easy to laugh, easy to relax.  But I think the longer he stays in an orphanage now, the harder it will be for him to come out of his shell later.  But he is a sweet sweet little boy who (I think) is just waiting for a family!

Ahhhh, I miss all the kids at New Day South!  I can't wait to be able to go back and see them again...  Well, actually, I hope when I go back none of them will be there.  I hope they will have all been placed into loving homes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Expected More

"I expected more"
"Doesn't apply himself"
"Should try harder"
"Keeps stealing the chalk"
"Has so much more potential"
"Could do so much better if he tried harder"
"He should stop talking to all the girls"

These were statements common on all my report cards since I was old enough to read my own report cards.  Which was really only around grade 9 or so... but according to most of my teachers, I've been the classic underachiever.
Not going to be an underachieving Dad!

They would see my effort and always expect more from me.  Now, granted, I was not the most studious student at times.  There were just so many other fun things to do than to study and work hard in class!  To be honest, I never studied through all of my High School career.  But I managed to graduate with Honours from High School.  I guess that was my problem.  I could coast and still pull of an Honour Roll Average.

I mean, it did take a certain creative genius, when coming to class 45 minutes late, to think ahead and roll around in the snow bank and show up to class dripping wet covered in ice to try to convince the teacher that we got the car stuck in the snow bank and we had to dig it out, hence the reason for our tardiness...  However, teachers don't appreciate that kind of effort.  Had the realized how hard it was to avoid going to class, I think they would have appreciated my work effort a little more.  I mean, just by sheer luck, I think I would have wound up in class more than I did if I didn't work so hard on avoiding it...


Ok, I will admit that maybe, just maybe my attitude wasn't that great in school.  I looked at my marks and though "Well shoot, if they aren't happy with an 85% average, then they aren't going to be happy with a 99% average either." and kind of tuned out most of my teachers... except for a couple of them.

There was Mr. Gatta, who in grade 7 had signs hung up all over the class room.  Filled with pearls of wisdom, such as:  "There are two types of people in the world - Italians, and those who want to be Italians",   or "Learn from the mistakes of others, because you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself."  Actually, that second one came in handy often.  :-)  I learned a lot from my older brother during my teen years.  Stuff like "Always remember to pee in the back lane on the lamp post when wandering home when it was waaaaay too late"... er, you know what, Senior K and Big D, maybe you guys should just stop reading this post...  Lets just assume there is nothing redeeming about your father in the next few hundred words.

Anyway, I had one teacher in College who left a rather large impact on my schooling career.  Mr Rizvi (if that is how you spell his name), who taught Physics.  I remember the first class we had with him, it was raining.  He went on describing how some people find thunder and lightning "arousing".  Which was great.  I mean, that is why I was paying the big bucks for my higher education!  Where was I going with this story?  I distracted myself... sorry.  Okay, right, so in Calculus, only like 6 people passed the mid-term.  Which really wasn't great out of class of almost 40 people.  But what happened was even worse.  The Teacher stopped coming to class.  We went to the Dean of the department and informed him that the teacher was no longer showing up.  He assured us that the teacher was in class.  Which, again, he wasn't.  This went on for over 2 weeks.  Which is bad, because there was only 6 weeks of classes between the mid-term and final exam.  Thankfully, Mr Rizvi stepped in for the last 3 or 4 weeks of class and tried to cram in the 6 weeks of lessons in that shortened period.  Needless to say, the school system somewhat failed our class that semester.  However the complete lack of caring from the Dean and Teachers left a mark.  They had no expectations for us.  They just didn't seem to care.

Rewind a little bit to Grade 11 Computer Sciences in High School.  Mr Windfield, our computer teacher at the time was a nice enough guy, but unfortunately he "expected  more from me."  This was no more apparent than all when my friends would copy my work and hand it in.  They would routinely get better marks than I would.  After a while, I finally talked to my teacher about this, pointing out that Mat and Carl and others had simply copied my works, I even showed the source code, indicating places where my friends were too lazy to change the name of the author from my name to theirs.  Mr Windfield looked me dead in the eyes and said "I know.  But I expect more from you."  Expect more from me?!  I expect to be treated fairly!  If Matt got an A, then I want an A!!!  *siiiigh*

I might still have issues to deal with here...

Rewind to Grade 9 English, and I had a lovely teacher by the name of Mrs Young.  She may have been maybe the only teacher who actually encouraged me.  Well, her and Mr Gatta (the Italian mentioned earlier) both taught me English at different times, and both had, I think, the most profound impact on my schooling during my High School years.  See, both of them "Expected more of me"... but instead of demanding that I work harder, or demanding that I do more than others, they tried the crazy novel approach of encouraging me.

I remember Mr Gatta would hang my essays outside his office door for others to read.  That Mrs Young would encourage me and actually take time to spend with me reviewing work and building me up.  That they were both advocates for me and encouraging me to get involved in more and more activities at school.

I'm sure that all the teachers had the best intentions.  I know Mr Windfield really did hold high hopes for me, and oddly enough, I wound up in a career of writing software, not English literature.  So maybe Mr Windfield really was the best at getting me motivated to grow... I'm not sure, because writing has become a hobby which I love.

But I do know that I do respond well to encouragement (duh, I'm sure most of us do) and not so well to demands of "do better".

Anyway, I digress as this post is already too long... but really, what dose this have to do with adoption.... only that I find some days I "demand more" from my children, and I don't give them the love and encouragement that they deserve.

Some days, it's easier to "demand better" than to "encourage growth."

Looking back over my life, I want to be the kind of parent that encourages growth in my children, who spurs them on to greater things by creating environments where they can grow, prosper and succeed.  I don't want to ever "demand better" from them, unless I am willing to invest the time and encouragement to help them to actually become better.

Monday, November 5, 2012

40? Really?!

... sooooo, apparently in China, I'm not SuperMan.
I don't know what I was thinking, or expecting to experience when I went to Hong Kong for work, but I'm sure what ever it was... it was not what happened.

There were some amazing moments while I was in Hong Kong and China.  Some life changing, deep, course altering, re-evaluate everything type moments... this... sadly... was one of them...

Me:  No really, go ahead, you can guess.
Waitress #1:  Oh no, I am no good at guessing Westerner's ages.
Me:  It's OK, I can't really guess your age either.  I would guess... mmmm, late teens or early twenties.
Waitress #1:  That is close.  I am 23.   Okay... I ummmm... 40?
Me:  Pardon?
Waitress:  Are you 40?
Me:  40?
Waitress #1:  Oh!  Sorry!  Did I guess too young?  I can't really tell.
Me:  Really?  I look 40?!  Okay, look at our friend here sitting next to me... how old do you think HE is?
Waitress #1:  50?  I think he 50.
Friend #1:  HAHA!!  I'm 69!
Me:  WHAT?!  50!  Oh c'mon!  Why does he get 50, and I get stuck with 40?!  I'm not even close to 40!  *to a 2nd Waitress*  Hey, you, how old do I look?
Waitress #2:  35 or 36.
Me:  Oh c'mon!  I look young!  Back home, I am considered very young looking.
Waitress #1+2:  *shocked*  Really?  You look young?
Friend #1:  *to friend #2* I look 50!  *to me*  HEY!  We look almost the same age!
Me:  I'm going to go cry myself to sleep again.
Waitress #1:  Okay, but make sure you eat the skin from your salmon.  It will help you skin.
Me:  What?!
Waitress #1:  It will help stop age spots and old look.  Fish skin is good for you skin.
Me:  I have age spots?
Waitress #1:  Only where you look old.
Friend #2:  Hey, since we're guessing, how old to I look?
Waitress #1:  35?
Waitress #2:  25?
Friend #2:  Yea, I'm 24.  Not 35.
Waitress #1:  Ahh! Sorry, I can no tell.  The hair on the face make you look so old.
Me:  *looks at friend #2 who has stubble*  Okay, I understand HIM looking 35, but I'm clean shaven.  Why do I look old?
Waitress #1:  Oh, you just look old.

I don't look 40!

Do I?   *sob*

Sooooo, yea... Apparently, in China, I look 40...ish.
I can't say I'm happy about this.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Maybe this WASN'T Such a Great Idea

I'm in China right now... not adopting anyone...  So that's different.

Actually, I'm in Hong Kong for some work conferences.

It sure seemed like a good idea at the time.
You know, take a couple, go to Hong Kong, attend some conferences, after that is done, take a week off and go to Mainland China and visit ZhongShan where Ping is from and visit New Day South.  Then head north to visit International China Concern in ChangSha.

It was a perfect plan I thought... yup... get to visit and volunteer with some orphans... you know, try to help others and all that...


Let's review a couple of things I've learned so far on this trip...
1)  Hong Kong is lovely - big, scary, looks like it's ready to topple into the ocean, but lovely... you know, once you get past the smog and pollution.  :-)  I don't think any of the 300million people who live in these 2 square kilometers have ever seen a blue sky, or yellow sun.  In fact, I'm sure a clear blue prairie would be as terrifying for a Hong Kong-ise as it is for me trying to ride a bus during rush hour here in Hong Kong.
My upgraded room has a view of the ocean - I had to try taking this picture many times, over the course of two days to find a day when you could actually SEE the mountains in the background

2)  Big D looks good in a dress.  For a halloween party, Miss G dressed Big D up in one of her wedding dresses and then spent the better part of the night doing his make up and making him "pretty".  She did a pretty smashing job actually.  Talking to Big D after the party, he said the other girls were mean to him... I think it's 'cuz they were jealous.

3)  Bing likes to color on pillows when I'm not around.  I will quote from my wife's facebook page:
Wife: 1st time parent's response, "Gasp!!!" 5th time parent's response, "....and that's why we buy slipcovers" Never a dull day with Bing
Friend: Buy new, Adrian won't care ....or notice lol
Me: NOOOOO! Don't buy new! It looks great! Very, art-deco! Just let him have at the other 5 pillows as well... *siiiigh*
He dose have an artistic flare, I like the weighting of the swirls in contrast to the volume of the pillow, it has a nice flow and cadence...

So between my son being dressed up as a bride (you should have seen how excited Miss G was while dressing him up - I was watching (in horror) over Skype as the whole thing unfolded), and Bing destroying the house, I'm starting to re-think my wisdom in coming to China and leaving them all alone at home.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy (Canadian) Thanks Giving!

Happy Thanks Giving to all our fellow Canadians out there!  We decided to celebrate our Canadian Thanks Giving in the very traditional manner of killing some poor turkey who probably didn't deserve it, I mean, he seemed like a nice Turkey.  Probably a good family man.  You know, running out to the barn yard each day, bringing home the bacon for the family and little turk-lets, helping the chicks with their homework, maybe tucking them in.  And the all of a sudden one day, WHAM!  He's on our table, and into our bellies.


Anyway, Misses Yeti made a lovely spread... with all the fixings.  The kids all helped out.
Senior K helped cook the Pumpkin Pies.
Big D made the Turkey Stuffing.
Miss G made the Pumpkin Pie.
Ping made the Corn-Bread.
Bing, well, he didn't help, but at least he didn't throw any toy cars are us.

And then, after everything was eated, we closed the celebrations with the rousing Canadian tradition of dancing poorly to an insanely catchy Korean pop song!  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


My wife and I were invited today by Trinity Bible Church to take part in (what I think) was their 1st Missions Sunday.  We were given an opportunity to get up and share for a few minutes our hearts for the orphans in China - specifically about the "un-adoptable" children.

My wife got up and did a wonderful job of explaining our hearts, and how we desire to see the end of the orphan crisis.  I'm so proud of her!

After the sermon, there was a potluck, and we were able to set up a table and answer any questions people may have about China, orphans, and what people can do to help.

So to those of you maybe checking us out for the 1st time - welcome.  I encourage you to take a look at some of the older posts, and work your way forward in time.  You can read about our adoption journey, challenges we have face in going to China, and coming home with our new little one.

Somewhere, in between all the words, you may catch a glimpse of our hearts, and why we feel as passionate about the orphans as we do.

So to the new readers, welcome, enjoy your stay, and we're glad to have you along for our journey... :-)

The Yeti + Family

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coffee TimeMachine (tm)

This morning I walked into work, after having not a great night (mostly because someone woke up with night terrors again, and I wound up sleeping in an Ikea POÄNG chair - and not even one of the NICE POÄNG chairs, no, we're talking the 79$ POÄNG wonder chair), and a rather disappointing morning, I was thrilled to find a nice, hot, steaming cup of Tim Hortons coffee sitting on my desk.

Image from:
 But my thrill and excitement came to a screeching halt... Who put a coffee on my desk?  Why is it there?  Who wants something?  Nat is off on vacation, and Mike only drinks tea... there isn't anyone else at work who likes me enough to give me a coffee.

I was perplexed to say the least.

Don't get me wrong, I love coffee!  I would drink almost any coffee, and then that's when a horrible thought entered my mind.  What if, someone, was using my coffee obsession to kill me?  They knew that I would drink any coffee left on my desk, and they could have poisoned the cup!  To be honest, they could have put a package of nails in a coffee cup and I would have probably drank it.  Unfortunately, the number of people wanting to "do away" with me at work out numbers the people who want to be nice and simply buy me a cup of coffee.

So now I'm conflicted.  I don't know where the coffee came from, who gave it to me, why, or even if it's safe to drink!

So I did the only sensible thing I could do... I picked up the possibly life ending cup of coffee, and went to have my morning coffee with the guys.

Me:  Mike, hey, thanks for the coffee.
Mike:  It wasn't me.  You know I don't go to Tim Hortons.
Me:  Yea, I know.  Nat is on vacation, and no one else likes me enough to buy me a coffee.  So I was hoping it was from you.
Mike:  So you don't know who left it at your desk?
Me:  Nope.
Mike:  Maybe Nat left it for you.  He came in early, while on vacation, snuck into your cubical and left you a coffee.
Me:  Hmmmmm, I don't think so.
Mike:  Maybe Nat used the time machine.  On Monday, you did mention that you forgot your change for the coffee machine.  So Nat probably came back in time, and left you a coffee.
Me:  So we finally built the time machine!
Mike:  Looks like it!
Me:  Well then, I'm outta here... hold on... I'm sure my future self will be here any second... waaaaaait for it... dang.
Mike:  Okay, so not future Nat?
Me:  Maybe we got the cloaking device working!  Nat could be sitting right here beside us, cloaked!  We would never know.
*Mike and I both start swinging our arms wildly around trying to find cloaked Nat*
Mike:  Nope, I don't think he is here.
Me:  So time machine is still the best explanation as to how this coffee magically appeared at my desk this morning.
Mike:  Yea, I guess so.  But why, if we built a time machine in the future, didn't future us come back and make us all rich?
Me:  Hmmm, good question.  But I think the answer is pretty obvious.  If I was in on the design of the time machine, you know I would have designed it to only send Coffee back though time... not people.  Why would I want to come back in time, I've already been there.  BUT, maybe while I was there, I didn't have a coffee!  Ahhhh, see.  That would be useful.  Then, even in the past, when I forgot my coffee money, my future self could send my past self coffee!  247 coffee cup holders in the time machine, no room for a person.
Me:  You know what, don't let me design the time machine.
Mike:  *to Andrew*  You know, we could all start freaking him out by randomly putting coffee cups for him all over the place at random times.
Andrew:  Ummmm, yeeees.  Uh, I hate to talk about work, but did you see my email?  Because your message this morning didn't make any sense.
Me:  Yea, but that was pre-coffee.
Andrew:  Ah, I figured.
Me:  Let me drink the future coffee here, and I'll get back to you with a more intelligent answer.
Mike:  So you are going to actually drink that coffee?  Even though you don't know where it came from?
Me:  Well, I figure, if it's going to kill me, then my future self could not have sent it back to me... since I'd have been dead.
Mike:  We really need to figure out this space time continuum thing, because this is getting confusing.

Aaaaanyway, the coffee was great, I'm not dead.  So I'm assuming it was safe.  How is this pertaining to adoption?  Well, I guess metaphorically, our love is the coffee to our adopted children.  Something they need, something they crave, want, dream about, long for... or at least that's how I feel about coffee... but they don't know if they can trust it yet.

While I was lost in the confusion of how the coffee came to be, I was unable to enjoy the coffee.  It wasn't until I decided that fate be danged, poisoned or not, I was going to drink my coffee, and I was going to enjoy it!  Then and only then, once I let go of my fears, was I able to enjoy the coffee.

Maybe our adopted children can't trust the coffee offered to them, because they have so many things they have to let go of, before they can embrace the coffee.

And if I am my child's coffee, then Lord help me, I want to be something better than Tim Hortons.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Every Mom Needs a Tree

NOTE:  I had posted this originally on No Hands But Ours, sorry if it is a repeat for some readers.

If you happen to want to adopt internationally, and you live in Ontario Canada, there is a certain course you have to take.  It's called the PRIDE course.  And it covers many wonderful topics.

The PRIDE curriculum provides information to help prepare all adoptive parents for the responsibilities involved in raising their children and incorporates information about the following:
  • Adoption and child welfare systems, processes and laws
  • Attachment as a central issue in all adoptions
  • Loss issues in adoption
  • Impact of adoption on your own family
  • Child development, child management and an overview of issues specific to the needs of adopted children
  • The effects of neglect, lack of stimulation, abuse, institutionalization on children
  • Identity formation and the importance of cultural and racial awareness
  • The importance of connections and continuity for children

These are all wonderful topics to be educated on.

Ummmm, for example, I know I could not have survived the adoption process without the keen insights into the Canadian Income Tax Laws and how they pertain to adoption.   Or, equally riveting, the importance of having a double lock on the medicine box, and then taking that box and locking it inside a bigger box, and then burying that box in the back yard under the Pine tree to make sure the children don't accidentally get into it.

Some of the other topics were a little more eye opening, like the loss issues, or attachment issues...

I loved the parts where they brain washe... er, educated us on the importance of race and cultural awareness, really, I think those were excellent and very very useful.

However, there was a whole section they missed entirely...  Tree Climbing.

Yes, Tree Climbing.

Yes, that is my lovely wife... in the tree.  Presumably, hiding from the children. See, my wife used to brag about her Tree Climbing abilities.  When she was a little girl, she used to climb everything.  I mean, if there was a tree with low hanging branches, apparently she was climbing it.  I didn't really see the importance of this... until recently.  Let me draw a couple of things to your attention here with the picture...

1)  You can see the children frantically trying to get to their mother.  There must be something horrible happening that all the children would be clamoring around the tree to try to get her down.  You can see that Seniour K has managed to wrangle up a ladder to help... so resourceful my children are...

2)  So why are they trying so desperately to get her down?  Well, this is why.  We were in the middle of a Level 3 Melt Down.  Why were we at a Level 3 Melt Down?  Probably because someone we ran out of Bubbles for him to play with.  If you look closely though, he is grabbing his feet.  He cries about his feet often, which is something the Spinabifida clinic keeps asking about... numbness in his hands or feet is apparently common(ish) with spinabifida.  So that is something the doctors are still watching.  But really, he was crying over the bubbles.  We know there are attachment issues with Bing, and we're glad we had the PRIDE training.  It's amazing how much comes back from the class room when you have dye-cast cars being thrown at your head...

 3)  Oh, what's this?  A coffee!  How did my wife manage to climb into a tree, with a coffee?!

4)  Ooooh, look how happy she is up there!  Smiling away, drinking coffee.  Look how happy she looks up there!  So happy.  So peaceful.  So beautiful.  Without a care in the world it would seem.

*siiiiiigh*  See, unfortunately, I did not take the Tree Climbing course offered by the Ontario Child and Family Services... so I was left dealing with the children on the ground.  And the Level 3 Melt Down... while my wife... sat in the tree, smiling away... drinking coffee... safe...

... I think I may take up Competitive Hide and Seek, I'm thinking that might be a useful parenting skill to have.

Monday, July 23, 2012

To the Mother in WalMart with the Screaming Child...

... I'm sorry.
It's a good thing I'm cute!
I'm sorry I judged you to quickly.

I'm sorry that at the sight of your disheveled hair,
clad in your 1972 floral pint muumuu,
with mismatched socks,
I judged you.

I'm sorry that while your child lay on the ground,
feet flying up in the air,
turning blue in the face from screaming so hard,
I judged you.

I'm sorry that while you looked upon your prostrate child,
fingers wrapped firmly around the handle of your cart,
awkwardly smiling at the spawn of your youth,
I judged you.

Because I did not know.

I'm sorry that I did not know that this particular morning,
you did not start off with the waking though,
'I'm going to ROCK that floral print Muumuu'.

I'm sorry that I did not know you spent a great many moments pouring over your nice clothes,
your blouses, skirts, slacks, even little summer dresses,
and pulled out the most pretty little summer dress you could find.

I'm sorry that I did not know you floated down the stairs only to be greeted at the bottom,
with a peanut butter smile, and jelly sticky hands,
and while they pressed into your pretty summer dress you hugged your child back, peanut butter stains and all, leaving you with nothing to wear, except that 1970 floral pint muumuu.

Because I had not seen.

Because I had not seen that look upon my own face,
that awkward smile, which I now know as a grimace of pain.

Because I had not seen your knuckles white while holding the cart,
for fear if you let go, your fingers would find your child's neck.

So I am sorry I judged you, too quickly to be fair.

For now I have seen, and I do indeed know, and I shall not judge anymore.
And if by chance, I happen upon thee, I shall smile the smile of a parent who is not thus.

And now, I must away, for alas, my lovely child is busy thrashing on the floor, crying, screaming, yelling, probably over something so horrible, so wretched, so vile, as having to close his bedroom door.

Alas and alack, alas and alack...

PS:  It's a good thing kids are cute... I think it is a natural defense mechanism.   :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just Call me Coach... again...

Soccer Coordinator (SC):  Wow, it says here that you're coaching... 3 teams?
Me:  Yup.
SC:  On purpose?
Me:  Yup.
SC:  Wow... uh, why?
Me:  Well, our youngest just came home from China about 6 months ago, so he can't really speak much English yet.  So I have to coach him.
SC:  Un-huh...
Me:  And then our send youngest, well, if I'm coaching the youngest, you know I'm gonna have to coach her as well.
SC:  Un-huh...
Me:  And then the 3rd one is playing on the same night as the 2nd, so I'm at the field anyway...
SC:  Are you sure you're up for this?
Me:  What?  Are you kidding?!  Absolutely!  It will be great.
SC:  Why is your eye twitching?
Me:  No reason.  No reason.
*awkward silence*
SC:  Did your wife sign you up to coach all 3 teams?

So yea, just call me Coach... again.  It's been a pretty fun year.  I did coach 3 teams this year... which was a record.  I think any other year, I was only ever coaching two of our 27 children at one time.

Coaching Bing's team was... awesome.  Yea, coaching U3 soccer is kinda like trying to herd cats... but not normal cats.  No cats who have broken in to the catnip lock up at the local po-po station, and then chased it down with a few cans of Red Bull.

I liked what one of the other coaches said to me as we were wrapping up tonight.  She grabbed my arm, and looked a little shell shocked as she asked...
Other U3 Coach (OU3C):  Do you think, do you think that... you know, anyone was... dissapointed?
Me:  Nah, I think the parents have come to understand what U3 soccer is.
OU3C:  Oh, phew... good.  Cuz you know, I'm a teacher, and I'm not used to this.  I'm used to a little more...
Me:  ... structure?
OU3C:  Yeeeeeesssss!  That's it!  Structure!
Me:  Yea, previous years I tried adding more structure, but really, it dosn't matter.  I think at this age, they are good for about 15 minutes, then they are done... no matter how you run the practice.
OU3C:  Oh good.  And I'm sorry about my kid.
Me:  Your kid?  Oh gosh.  Was he puching you, kicking, scratching and on the ground screaming most weeks?
OU3C:  Uh, no.
Me:  Then he did good.  Don't worry about it.  It would be a LOT easier if my child wasn't here.
Me:  It's because they know... your kid knows that they can be naughty and there is nothing you can do.  It's like, 'You can't get mad at me!  There are too many witnesses!'.

Ahhhhh well, another year almost done, and can't wait for next year.  :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Side of the Story

Hello, it's me, the cat.  I know, you are all honoured that I'm taking time out of my busy day of sleeping, eating and sleeping to grace you with my words.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention, that a certain someone has blamed me for chewing the power cord to the internet modem, or trying to kill the Yeti.  Thusly causing all sorts of problems for my servan... er, family.  I felt that maybe I should set the record straight and let you all who what really happened.

See, I've been a cat, well, for my whole life.  And I remember how I came to own these humans.  Yes, my sister (bless her soul) and I were born in a garage.  This garage happened to be the Yetis garage.  And life was good, but after a few days, our mother started carrying us out of the garage, and back to our real home... a farm down the street.

Well, wouldn't you know it, all of a sudden, Mrs Yeti comes into the garage, all shocked and horrified that some of my brothers and sisters were gone.  She picked up me and my sister, and kidnapped us.  She took us away from our mother and hid us in her bedroom.  Each night for weeks, I could hear my mother calling for us, standing outside the front door.  But I was too little to get to her.  I was only a couple weeks old, if that.

Now the Yeti and Mrs Yeti did take good care of us.  They didn't really have a choice.  Using our extreme cuteness, we had these humans feeding us by hand, laying the pattern for our relationship - we, the cats are in charge, and you, the humans are our servants... er, family.

So I let many things go.  I gave them lots of grace and support for all the times these lousy servan... er, family, failed.  Sometimes, it takes them days to change my litter box.  And quite often, they push me off the dining room table while I'm eating my steak.  Often yelling such obscenities like "Stop eating my food cat!"

But then a little while ago, they went too far.

Kaida - 7 year old "puppy" from the pound
I came home one day, and what did I see lounging in my home?  A dog!  That's right, a dog.  A good for nothing, slobbering, scratching flea carrying dog.

Now, did I get all angry and fire the lot of them?  Send them packing and try to find a new cat to work for?  No.  No I did not.  I remembered back to when they took care of me when I was young... but then I also remembered how they kidnapped me from my mother, brothers and sisters.  Was I angry?  Sure.  But I did my best to try to get along with everyone.

But then, they all started ignoring me.  I would walk into the room, and they would all be petting that dog.  So I decided to up my game a little.  I starting bringing home dead birds, dead squirrels, dead mice and even a snake.  Did they say thank you?  No.

What did the dog do for them?!  NOTHING.  Did the dog ever bring home diner? I don't think so.

What did this dog do that I didn't?  Nothing, nothing at all.  Yet they actually seemed to love this bag of fleas.  Well, I had it.  Enough was enough.  No one was spending time with me, so I chewed the internet cable.  Thinking, that if they could not get online to play their video games, that maybe the younger Yetis would pet me again and stop ignoring me.

Unfortunately, it didn't work.  I guess I'm just going to have to get used to this "dog" being my new sister.  I'm sure I can teach it to change my cat litter... or at the very least, open the fridge door for me so I can steal some milk.

Maybe having a new sibling won't be so bad...

Sincerely, your master, 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Technical Difficu...

Soooo, *something* ate my internet modem's power cord.  I'm not saying it was the cat... but, CAT!
So unfortunately, I will not be able to update the blog for a while... *siiiigh*

In the meantime, here is a cute picture of Bing.  :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Odd Little Family

NOTE:  I originally posted this on No Hands But Ours (NHBO), but decided to post here as well for those who may not subscribe to NHBO.  Sorry if it is a repeat for some.

Happy Mothers Day!  Um, okay, maybe that's a little late, but this is really the first time I've had to post since Mothers Day.
ComicCon 2012 - what better way to say "Thanks Mom!"
I hope Mothers Day was great for everyone... lots of flowers, and chocolate, and other such things.  Our Mothers Day, well, it was... different.

This year, ComicCon came to town.  For the first time ever.  So naturally, it happened to fall on Mothers Day. And what better way to celebrate Mothers Day, than with a trip to a conference center filled to capacity with Star Trek Red Shirts, Halo Master Chiefs, Sailor Moons, smelly middle aged men in Captain Americas with their bellies hanging out, Captain Canuck (our Canadian knock off version of Captain America, except instead of catching bad guys, he just randomly apologizes to people and gives them Tim Hortons Coffee and bacon), and the obligatory various of Princess Leiahs, both Slave Girl/Gold Bikini* and Ambassador Leiah.  There were Zombies, Aliens, Vampires, even some normal looking people... but not many.
The girls and Sailor Moom
Apparently, there ARE MANY BETTER ways to celebrate Mothers Day.

Huh.  Who knew?

You would think a Mom would have enjoyed ComicCon.  :-)
While waiting to take this picture, many "middle aged smelly men kept pushing the girls out of line to get their pictures taken"
I mean, my Wife dose happen to like Super Hero Movies, Firefly, and Star Trek.  And she DID want to go to ComicCon.  She brought it up in the first place.  I mean, we saw some Moms there, who were obviously dragged there by their children or husbands.  And good on 'em for going!
Bobba Fet and a prisoner
There were younger couples there, some obviously on a date.  Some guy dressed up as the Bountry Hunter Bobba Fet from StarWars...  The girl, wearing a nice outfit, obviously missing the meaning of ComicCon, and looked as if she was ready for a night on the town.  This was a very different kind of date.

There were even some Dads, who were dressed up, one in particular who was dressed up as Captain America.  His daughter standing beside him was trying to cover her face in shame.

But I loved seeing one (single?) Mom, who was sitting on the floor with her two young boys.  Both boys were jacked up, and dressed up in costumes.  The Mom looked tired, but was smiling and encouraging her boys to have a fun time.  I'm sure she brought them after much begging and pleading on their parts.  And good on that Mom, who embraced what her boys liked, helped them get dressed up and take them out for an afternoon of comic books.
Head Crab from the Half Life video game
See Mom's are amazing.  I don't think the girlfriend really wanted to be there... judging by her body language, I don't think Bobba Fet was going to get a 2nd date.  Even the daughter of Captain America, who probably used to chase her father around the house asking for hugs and kisses, seemed to want to run away from him now.  But the Mom's there, well, they seemed to enjoy it... at least some of them... because they saw their 35 year old husband get to meet Jayne from Firefly!!!  Err, I mean, they got to see their children have a great time geeking out with fellow comic book and Sci-Fy fans, and in typical Mom fashion, managed to put the happiness of their family before their own, and find some measure of enjoyment in it.
Anikin and Obi Wan, how predictable
I guess every family is a little odd.  I know ours is.  Mothers Day at ComicCon seemed to work for us.  Is it for everyone?  Nah.  But it works for us.

I'm glad our family is a little odd... because I think, normal is boring.  :-)  If I wanted normal, I would not have had 5 beautiful children... I think that's just crazy.
Apparently, Bing would not take his eyes off Wolverene
What other Mom's get treated to breakfast in bed, home made cards, flowers, chocolate, and then get to meet Captain Jack Sparrow in the afternoon?  Are we a different family?  Maybe.  Is it because of adoption, faith, country we live in... or just because we're all a little crazy.  I think it's probably the crazy.
Meeting Captain Jack - I think Miss G is actually blushing in the picture
I guess part of growing up is finding out what Family really means to you.  And ain't no backpacking 'round Europe gonna help that.  But you find what family is to you, however it looks, and love the family you are given.  Single Mom, Single Dad, Step Mother/Father, Step Sister/Brother, Adopted... maybe there is no normal family anymore, except for a family build with love (sadly, that is not as normal as it should be).

When my children are 30 years old, and in professional counselling, that poor psychiatrist will never be able to figure out the root cause of my children's "issues"...

... but that psychiatrist will be able to identify many many many different ways our children felt loved, and accepted in this odd little family, no matter how different (or crazy) everyone is.

* = Despite my pleading, the boys did NOT want to get their picture taken with Slave Girl Leiah.  *siiiigh*  Maybe next year.  Next year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Still DIDN'T Eat Your Skittles!

About two years ago, I posted this:

And oddly enough, it is one of the most read articles here on the Blog... oh, wait, I just checked the stats, it IS the most read article on my blog.  Why is that?!?

Maybe it is worth giving a bit of an update on the whole "trust" issue.

Miss G:  DAD!  DAD!  DAD!
Me:  What baby?  What's wrong?
Miss G:  DID YOU eat my CHOCOLATE?!?!
Bing:  CHOCOLATE!!!!
Me:  No, I did NOT eat your Chocolate.
Miss G:  Because my chocolate is... gone!
Me:  Oh no, I bet your Mom ate it.
Bing:  No chocolate?
Miss G:  Mom, did you eat my Chocolate?!
Wife:  Um, yes.
Miss G:  WHAT?!  WHY?!
Wife:  You hadn't eaten it yet.  So I ate it.  You know if there is chocolate in the house, that I will eat it.
Miss G:  But I just got it.
Wife:  You had it for 2 weeks.  If you can't eat it in two weeks... tough...
Me:  See, I didn't eat your chocolate.
Bing:  Yes Chocolate?
Me:  Miss G, why don't you ask Mom who ate your cake?  The cake I got you on our Date Night.
Miss G:  *GASP*  No no no, Mom would not eat my cake...
*awkward silence*
Miss G:  Mom, did YOU eat my cake?
Wife:  Ummmm, yes.  But you left it in the fridge!
Miss G:  Where else was I supposed to put it!
Wife:  You have to HIDE it from me!
Bing:  No Chocolate?
BigD:  Oh, are we talking about the time you ate Dad's chocolate?
Wife:  Hey, he wasn't eating them!
Me:  No one told me they were mine!  I thought they were the boys.  Since when do people buy ME chocolate.
Wife:  Look, it's very simple, if there is chocolate in the house, I will eat it if I can find it.  You all have been warned.
Me:  I think the important thing to take from all this, is that it is you MOTHER who eats your candies.  Not me.
Kids:  Yes Daddy.
Me:  Which means, I did not eat your Skittles.
Kids:  You TOTALLY ate our Skittles!

So now, the children trust neither of us.  I guess you really can't make/force people to trust you.  Maybe in a few more years, they will learn to trust us more... or at least how to hide thier chocolate better.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ottawa: Dow’s Lake - Walk the Wall

Ottawa: Dow’s Lake

Each year, International China Concern (ICC) organises a walk-a-thon called Walk the Wall. The walk is 10km long and participants from all over the world sign up, get sponsors and walk, raising money for the many abandoned and disabled children in China.
Walk the Wall raises the necessary funds to give life to hundreds of children and adults with disabilities by providing full-time care. ICC works to end abandonment by providing supports to families with disabled children, proving that there are ways to keep families together.
I think that's a pretty cool fundraiser.  I know I can walk, so I'm gonna look at getting signed up, and asking for donations!  This is a pretty new event to Ottawa - so lets start letting friends/family know about it now... see if we can have more people walking than those people out there in Vancouver.  Yes, Braided Tresses and family, I'm looking at you.  :-)

NOTE:  The links provided are for 2011's walk... I'm still waiting on the details for the 2012 walk, but will keep you all posted.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"He's adopted"

Recently my wife and I actually went out on a date.  Amazing, I know.
We went to see the Avengers movie, and if you've seen it, you probably know where I'm going with this...
And no, its not going to be about Scarlett Johansson in her Black Widow costume.

image from

There is a part where the Avengers are talking about Loki, the bad guy.
His brother Thor, is trying to defend Loki's actions...
The joke is at the expense of Loki, the film's villain and adopted son of the god, Odin. Loki's brother Thor defends him to fellow Avenger Black Widow, who then points out that Loki’s “killed 80 people in two days.” Thor then replies, “he’s adopted.”
You can read more about it here, it is where I got the above quote from.

I think the more interesting part, is at the bottom of the site listed above there is a voting option to say if the joke was out of line.  Over 96% of the respondents responded that "No, people are too sensitive", while only a mere 3% voted "Yes, it insulted adoptees and adoptive parents".

My feelings are mixed on this.  I mean, yes, the adopted child is the bad guy in this movie.  However, in almost every other movie I've watched over the past 35 years the bad guys were NOT adopted.

So should the non-adoptive people be complaining that biological children are shown as bad guys...?

Hmmmm, but getting back to what I found interesting... the results of the voting.

The question posed was "Yes, it insulted adoptees and adoptive parents" or "No, people are too sensitive"... I feel that if the bad guy were of a visible minority group, the voting would have been very different.  People would see the question as more of a racial discrimination issue, and maybe would have voted differently.

But still, only 3% voted it was offensive?!  C'mon.

Replace "adopted" with "black" and see how well it goes over...
The joke is at the expense of Loki, the film's villain and he is black. Loki's brother Thor defends him to fellow Avenger Black Widow, who then points out that Loki’s “killed 80 people in two days.” Thor then replies, “he’s black.”
If that sounds wrong, then it is probably because it IS wrong... regardless of "black", "adopted", "mentally delayed", "geek" or anything else.  How about Thor just owning the fact that his brother Loki is a massive jerk who wants to enslave all of humanity?

Oddly enough, the Hulk gets a free pass... even though everyone in the movie is afraid of him and is very intentional NOT to upset him because he has a habit of destroying cities.  But then by Avengers-Logic... the Hulk wasn't adopted.

*siiiigh*  If you can't say anything nice...

Friday, May 4, 2012


A new event to add to the Yeti's Cultural Calendar.  I don't know much about this show, but someone passed me the info and said it was in support of the performers, who have various special needs (I'm still not comfy with the term "China Disabled People's" that the organizers use).

I love one of their actors bio page, where she talks about loosing her hearing and becoming a dancer.  She has a quote on there:
To all of us, some things are given, some things are withheld, over which sometimes we have no choice. But one can always choose one‘s outlook on life, and look more on the positive side, and face life’s disappointments with a cheerful and grateful heart.
 Tai Lihua
In Turkey
March 18th, 2003

More information can be found on their website: 

They will be in Ottawa on October 14th - information is below from the Chinese Community Life Ottawa group, but I'm sure the NAC would have information on it as well... Oh look!  They DO have information posted:

More information:

The Canada-China Cultural Development Association proudly presents:
My Dream



Net proceeds will go to support
Easter Seals and The Disabled Troupe


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The BarBQ

Inside of my barbq - burner in the middle, heat shield rusted to dust
 I love my  BarBQ .  It's getting kind of old.  Kind of rusty.
But still, it's my BarBQ.
I really enjoy cooking outside, some nice steak, or burgers... mmmmm... yummy!
But recently, my BarBQ has been giving me all sorts of problem...

Me:  Alright, I'll be outside cooking the burgers.
BigD:  Can I come and watch?
Me:  Sure, c'mon.
BigD:  Hey Dad...
Me:  Yea?
BigD:  Is it bad that flames are shooting out of the bottom of the barbq?
Me:  Nah, I'm sure its fine.
BigD:  Oh.
Me:  Why?
BigD:  Well, it's just that there are a lot of flames.
Me:  Ummmm, how many flames?
BigD:  A lot.
* looks under the barbq *
BigD:  Is that bad?
Me:  Yup, that is bad.
BigD:  Is it touching the gas tank?
Me:  Yup.
BigD:  Is it going to explode?
Me:  I hope not.  Hey babe, we can broil burgers in the over right?

I open the lid of the barbq, and notice a big pillar of flames churning out through the middle of the barbq.
No heat or flames on the sides... just a single, big column of fire in the middle.

Digging the old burner out of the rubble...

I would liken it to how God led the Israelites through the desert with a pillar of smoke during the day, and a column of fire during the night.

So for about two years, I've been barbq-ing on this barbq of mine.  I'd actually gotten quite good at it.  I would always have to be rotating food in and out of the flames, because the only place it would cook would be right over the middle... you know, where the column of fire was.  So I had this beautiful ballet going on as I rotate food close to the flame, then farther out to move raw-er food in closer...

I guess if I were to overlay what I was doing with my barbq with psychological jargon, I was developing a coping mechanism.  And it worked well.  I had barbq-ed some very tasty burgers and steaks using my coping mechanism.  But deep down inside, I knew I was falling short for what I had been created to cook.

I knew there was a better way.  I knew I could have more even flame.  :-)  As I walked the isles of Wal-Mart, looking at the Broil-King BarBQs, I thought to myself "Oh I could be a better cook if only I had that BarBQ, if only I wasn't saddled with this horrific column of fire rusted out barbq."

It served me well, but I think it's time for a new one

I didn't want a Webber gril, I wasn't asking for an expensive Napoleon barbq... I just wanted my barbq to be, well, not broken.

Realizing that I was not going to be able to afford a new barbq, I started looking at replacement burners.  I figured my burner was the problem, but I never thought it would be as bad as it was...

After taking the BarBQ apart, and replacing the burner with a new one, I was over joyed to cook burgers that night for friends!  I didn't have to resort to my ballet of rotating food, my coping mechanism, I could sit back, enjoy the barbq-ing and once again was filled with the contentment of having a nice flame to cook my food on.

My children have coping  mechanisms, maybe they are so good at using these that I fail to notice them sometimes.  But when something goes wrong, and you get to peek under the grill and see the burner and see just how broken and hurting they are at times... well... I wish it was as easy to fix a broken soul than it is a barbq burner.
Old burner, beside the new one
It breaks my heart too, because I'm sure they know that they are just coping at times.  I'm sure they know that they can be, and want to be in a better emotional state.

Recently, we had made the decision to take Ping out of Kindergarten.  There were just too many times where she was coping, and not really growing.  We didn't want her to get labeled as a bully, or mean, or broken... so the Wife is going to be home schooling her for the rest of the year, and we will see about Grade 1 next September.

These are never easy decisions, and one can only help that by doing so, we've grabbed a new burner off the shelf, and are heading to the check out in an attempt to help fix her barbq.