Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Are you making one? I think I'll being making a couple! ;) I'm going to try and eat better for starters. Generally speaking we eat pretty well but these last couple months have been horrible. Lots of comfort food, bread, butter, ice cream, you know...all the good stuff. Hmmm, what else...I'm going to read more, use coupons, and paint at least one canvas. Just to try it out.

I'm not sure I've ever seriously made and kept a resolution before. Have you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Snapshots!

Present time for Dex!

Amazing Cheddar Biscuit recipe I found. So much like those Red Lobster artery clogging ones! So good!

Dex with one of his presents from my sis!

Christmas tree / Christmas table

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Good Reading!

You know its going to be a good day when you wake up to an email from your awesome sister who just moved to Ottawa telling you that she has started up a blog! Now I can stop calling her incessantly! ;)

"Deus Ex Machina...Oh By The Way"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Playground Confidential

Our close friend T's SIL (sister-in-law) writes a great parenting blog (but entertaining for all) called "Playground Confidential" that I always get a good chuckle from!

Check it out! :)
Playground Confidential

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Korean Canadian Children's Association Christmas Party!

When M and I became a part of the South Korea program with our agency we were added to an online forum for families that have or are in the process of adopting from South Korea. Its a great place for parents to trade tips, get advice, have general chit chat and organize / hear about events. Despite encouragement to get involved M and I decided to be quiet observers until we felt comfortable.

However for the last few weeks excitement had been building for The KCCA Christmas Party and we could tell this event was not to be missed so we decided go! This was the first time that we attended an event so we were pretty nervous but excited and curious too.

We got there early so we could scope out the scene and shake the willies out (so to speak)before the festivities began. It didn't take long to relax after we spotted a a few familiar faces and later we even got to meet the program manager for our program. It was really great to put a face to all those emails!

We had a really nice time and are glad we went. It was obvious that families make this event an annual tradition and we look forward to seeing our new friends again soon. Wow. A whole new world. Amazing isn't it?


Our homestudy is with the Ontario government! They say it can take up to 16 weeks for this part of the process so we.....WAIT! Story of our lives, right?! Gotta say, feels good! There's something about completing one phase and moving onto the next (regardless of timelines) that's so AWESOME! One step closer!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart - but in it.

-Fleur Conkling Heylinger

I come across this poem often. So sweet.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Special Delivery!

The doorbell rang this morning and to my surprise it was a delivery man holding a huge box from our agency! It was full of books, magazines, and a ginormous binder full of a whole bunch of helpful information! I can't wait to take the time to put the kettle on, dive in, and geek right out!

A couple days ago M & I got to review a draft of our homestudy. It was kind of weird reading 20+ pages all about us, our past, our present, our hopes, etc. We reviewed it, made some small edits and then hand delivered it back to her. The wheels are in motion!

Tonight I'm making M a special dinner of steak, crab, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and bearnaise sauce. Classic! After dinner we'll order a movie. Fingers crossed for "The Ugly Truth!" I love me some Rom-Com with my surf & turf! Who am I kidding! I love romantic comedies all-the-time! :)Seriously, I make M sit through the most disturbingly sap ball movies. You know the ones W plays on Sunday afternoons...lifetime movies? He's a great sport though. We trade off Delta Burke movies for Ice Road Truckers!

Oh! This weekend we are putting the trees(yes plural)up and decorating the house!
Pics to come!


Sunday, November 15, 2009


Big news! We've completed our homestudy! We are so relieved. Homestudies are tough! Our AP (adoption practitioner) told us that she's happy to recommend us and thinks we are going to be fantastic parents! Such great words to hear! This process is such a rollercoaster ride but boy when you're up, you're way up! This is actually happening!! It's hard to believe sometimes because it's too awesome, you know? The other day we were hanging out with our niece and two nephews and I walked by a mirror with "G" (the youngest) in my arms and did a "Oh! Hello life!" lol. They are great kids.

I'm going to keep this entry short and sweet because I am typing on the iPhone but I just had to share the great news!

More updates to come!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Could we EAT any more?!

The first is a homemade organic chicken noodle soup I made today. I didn't follow a recipe. I just kept it really rustic and traditional. I served it with warmed roasted garlic (!!) loaf. Wickedly good...and good for you!

The second pic is of a big batch of enchiladas I made. I like to do a big batch and freeze them into individual take out tins that I can pull from the freezer and pop into the oven. Just before I serve them up I add a dollop of sour cream and some diced avocado spritzed with fresh lime on top. Yum.

The third pic is of a big breakfast I made M. We have a competition between the two of us. Who can make the best breakfast! This was your typical scrambled eggs with crispy bacon and then I kicked it up a notch with William Sonoma Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes. Slam Dunk! :) FINALLY...I win. DH can make a mean brekkie!

Honey Bran, Cran & Pecan!

Now say it with some attitude and a snap for good measure! :)

In an effort to eat better or break the bad habit of not eating in the AM, I thought I'd try muffins! They can be good-ish for you, they're a reliable vehicle for some pretty amazing ingredients, and they're portable.

I started with a honey bran muffin recipe (or just use a boxed version...why not?!) and then added whatever extras I thought sounded good. Today dried cranberries and chopped pecans sounded perfect so that's what I added along with just a tad more organic honey for my sweet tooth.

I was fairly conservative with my added ingredients this time round but next time I won't be so much so. Some more crunch and tartness would have been nice but overall, they were great and just might break our dirty little habit of not eating breakfast.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Date Night!

I follow Food & Wine on Twitter and today they had a Sizzling Beef Recipe (Based on Bulgogi...Let's try this again, shall we?) and wine pairing. Friday Night + new recipe to try + a couple movies = Date Night!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Hunt Is On

We've started house hunting again. When we decided to move back into the city we leased a space that would be great for 6 or so months until we found the perfect spot but we moved in and stopped looking. Oh well. C'est la vie! Its a great spot and more than fine for now. The game plan is to find a home that will be perfect for the next few years and then when the time comes move on. Maybe we're movers?! I don't dread the thought to be honest. Originally we were thinking about reno'ing a house here in the city but so much of our life is East. M's work mainly. Eliminating that commute would be awesome for him! Plus, in a strange twist, I actually miss living out that way. Well, specifically suburb living. When we talk about the big picture we speak of a little bit of land, maybe snowmobiles, an organic garden, boating, another dog, but mostly the kind of life we want for our family. I guess ideally we would be living I don't know, maybe, Europe or on an ocean catch the drift! But then little things like work and life and responsibility comes a knockin' and bang! lol. So that's the plan for now however if you've had this conversation with us in the past, you know that this could all change. We're fluid M & I! It's easy and even fun! Now is the time I guess! The times they are a changin'!

Monday, October 5, 2009

So as its turned out, I've been doing a ton of cooking these days. There's just something about the shopping, chopping, stirring, and serving that calms my nerves and makes everything seem...comfortable, I guess. Even when we're at a particular stressful time in the process I can search for recipes and suddenly I'm thinking about holiday baking with our little one & lengthy weekend, cartoon fueled breakfasts.

Today I tried Jaime Oliver's Beef & Ale Stew. Its made with Guiness, big chunks of stewing beef, canned tomatoes and root vegetables. It seemed perfect for a beautiful, sunny Autumn day like today.

I have a large pot simmering now and plan on serving it tonight with
fresh crusty bread and dumplings. We'll freeze the leftovers for a lazy Sunday.

Happy Autumn!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

PRIDE Graduation!

We did it! We are through the PRIDE training and boy oh boy was it something else! Before writing new posts I always read the last couple entries just to be sure I'm not leaving any loose ends. Re-visiting the feelings we had towards PRIDE in our last post and experiencing the feelings we have toward PRIDE now are kind of....well, different.

In retrospect we see that the first 15 or so hours were very emotional and hard hitting. The last 15 were training tools to help us through those potential hurdles/unique challenges that adoptive parents may face. We learned that choosing to form your family through adoption can be a very emotional decision and if you base your decision on emotion alone, you may shy away from this "fantasy family" idea and decide that perhaps adoption may not be for you. On the other hand, being knowledgeable will also empower your decision to adopt and your overall journey. Its empowered us. The overall message...Parenting is hard. No matter how you get there and here are some tools that may help. Our message? This is the best decision we have ever made. Overall, it was not boring at all. Actually quite the opposite and I think that it would be awesome if there was something like this for all families.

The group of parents to be that were in the course with us were a great bunch! We really look forward to keeping in touch with some of them and eventually watching our little ones form friendships of their own.

The last couple hours of the course were spent listening to 4 different speakers. The first was an adult Korean adoptee who was adopted in the 60's by a single Caucasian woman with one biological child of her own and one other adopted daughter from India. I'm going to leave her name out but her story was not all "rainbows and butterflies." She struggled (to put it lightly) with her identity growing up but later came to terms and is most certainly (I asked)an advocate of interracial adoptions. She explained that in the 60's there were not the resources available to parents that there are today and she wholeheartedly believes that had they been, her story would be different.

The second speaker was another adult adoptee who was united with her forever family through a closed (no contact with birth parents) domestic adoption in the 50's. In the late 90's she received a phone call from a social worker whom her birth mother had hired to find her and they re-connected. Her story was one that assured us adoptive families in the room that regardless of an open (active contact with birth parents) or closed (no contact with birth parents) adoption, we are our child's Mommy and Daddy. Later, she and her husband formed their family through an international adoption and she was also kind enough to share that story with us.

The third speakers of the day were a couple who have two children through open domestic adoptions. They spoke of their struggle with infertility and how they came to accept the idea of an open adoption.

The final speaker of the day was a girl...lady who had been adopted domestically. It was a closed adoption but when she was 11 she asked her mom if she would help her find her birth mother. Her mom agreed (could you imagine how much courage that took?) and eventually they found her mailing address and allowed the young girl to write the birth mother a letter. I'll mention it b/c it was so sweet. She said that the letter she wrote contained all the important information an 11 year old holds dear. Her favourite food, favourite toys, her hair colour, and her best friends name. :) Isn't that cute?! Two weeks later a letter arrived in her mailbox. "Thank you for your letter, of course I'd love to meet you, would you like to come to visit with your family?" Her family packed up the car and drive the 5 hours to visit for a couple days and they've maintained a healthy relationship since. Now fast forward a few years. This young girl, well not a girl 21, becomes pregnant and decides to put together an adoption plan for her son and now is a birth parent in an open adoption herself.

It was so nice to be able to hear a birth parent story. There is a ton of planning, thought and so much love that comes into play with an adoption plan and although our adoption will be closed I often find myself thinking about our child's birth mother and wish her strength, health, love, and support. What she is doing / will do for our child is the most selfless act I can imagine and even though we do not have a photo of our child yet, or believe that he/she are even born, I quietly thank her daily.

All & all we learned a ton from PRIDE and are amped up to be one step closer to getting on that plane to Korea to meet our baby for the first time! Above is our entire PRIDE group and of course we had to get a pic of M and I being presented our certificate! Proud parents to be! :)

Hey! Funny side note- Because we knew that today was going to be our last class, we were told to bring our cameras to take pictures for our baby's "lifebook". Well, we had a good laugh getting ready this morning thinking about the day that our son or daughter looks at this photo and says "Oh my gosh! Look at how you guys were dressed!Hahaha" :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Its been too long!

The past few weeks have been spent visiting with our Adoption Practitioner and getting through our homestudy. This has been tougher than we even imagined and we've been so stressed out. But, we have one more in office visit and then one visit in our home left and then she should be able to finish up and send our homestudy to us & the ministry for approval. The time line on that is usually 3-4 months however we've been told that the government is hiring some new staff b/c they identify that its a long process. Hopefully that will speed things up. Then, from there, the approved documents will be sent to our adoption agency and they will put it together with our other important documents (Diplomas, marriage certificate,medicals, family photos, financials, etc) and send it to Korea....and then...we wait and wait and wait some more. :)

These past couple days we were at PRIDE classes ALL DAY. Kinda boring but interesting too. Its a parenting class that is required by the province for all foster and adoptive families. Its main goal is for the families to better understand the entire process of raising a child with, essentially, a past that you don't necessarily know about. What have they experienced, how it may affect them, how to help them through some unique and natural curiosities, questions, grief, etc. A lot of it is focused on domestic adoption and fostering older children for the most part so it can get pretty emotionally charged and sometimes even frustrating. We are required to have taken the course to adopt however the whole group of us are adopting internationally and there isn't very many statistics and such for us. However, we're there and on the flip side, we can see that there is also a lot of general parenting stuff that is going to be really useful in the long run. Pretty interesting. Plus, its at a Greek hall and they serve the best potatoes and salad at lunch! We still have two more classes to go before we complete that.

Its funny, we have to get up at 6am on the days we're in class and its so awful getting up before the sun! The weird thing is in the Summer I would have no problem but this time of year, with it still being turns my stomach. Literally. I have a physical reaction. You should see poor M watch me dry heave! lol. Gotta be the universe preparing me for motherhood! Babies really don't care what season it is, whether the sun is up or not, or how you're feeling, do they? ;)

So, we're still a ways away yet but we're chugging along bit by bit!


P.S. Did you guys see the pics of Katherine Heigl with her daughter Naleigh (Nancy Leigh)? Those chubby little arms are so cute!

Monday, August 24, 2009

This Ones A Keeper!

I tried another Korean recipe today and it was amazing! Really, really good and spicy!!

It was called "Taktoritang" which is pretty much a braised spicy chicken & potato stew. I let it simmer for a really long time and the meat shredded up and the potatoes almost mashed themselves and it made for a nice, thick broth. I did make a couple changes to the recipe as I found a couple different variations online and you know how you can always get a feel for a dish when you start assembling the ingredients? Yeah, that started happening. For our tastes it just made sense to use boneless, skinless breasts instead of drumsticks, I also added a handful of green peas ('tis the season)and used some low sodium chicken stock. Good thing too, that 3 tbsp of red pepper paste is out-of-this-world. If you're not into really, crazy spicy food I would kick it back to one tbsp and skip the flakes all together. You could always add more to individual bowls later. To top it all off I added some chow mien noodles but to be honest, it didn't need them....I just felt like some noodles is all. ;)

Perfect for the cooler months and a great freeze for later kinda meal! Minus the noodles of course. We have tons of leftovers! I plan on just scooping it over rice for a quick meal.

Actually, it probably costs under $15.00 to throw together too! Even less if you already have the chili paste. Bonus!

Monday, Monday

I must admit, I spent a good hour (ok more but pls. don't judge me) this morning watching "Gotcha" videos on youtube.
"Gotcha Day" is the day that the family is united with their baby. I've attached a Wiki link for more info if you're interested! A lot of the videos I watched this morning were of the actual moment that the baby is passed by the caregiver to the adoptive parents. Awesome stuff. The families post the videos for friends, family and I suppose for families like us (it is youtube after all)who want to take a peak at what that moment might be like. I find it hopeful and it makes me really happy to watch it all go down.

This is a cute one....If you're emotional, grab a tissue! :)

I Almost Forgot!

The beef marinating in all of its "Bulgogi-ness" ;)

The Wonton Filling

Those recipes I tried The dumplings were really good but we pan fried them so I didn't feel the best about eating them. Next time I'll add them to soup maybe? The Bulgogi was good but lacked a flavour burst that I was expecting it to have. I thought it was going to be really sticky and spicy. Not so much. Definitely a recipe I will try again and again though especially now that I know what to add more of and what to add a little bit less of. Trial and error. That will make it special I think. Perhaps, over time it will become one of our family recipes!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One Step Closer


Saturday was fingerprint day! We have to have police clearances done for our homestudy so of course we needed to get our prints done and submitted as soon as possible. It doesn't take long at all b/c they are now done electronically. Just a few days. No biggie. We're being very efficient and organized with all of our appointments though and are always so amped up to get one step closer to our little one! We were really excited to get there so we were up and at 'em early and were the first ones through the door when they opened. "Adoption?" was the first thing the gentleman behind the desk said! Haha. "Yup!" we replied and we were off. It turns out I have perfect little fingerprints! They said I can thank my mom for that as your fingerprints come from your mothers side. Interesting. DH had really good ones too but overall the man taking our prints declared me the winner. :) We are finding all these little things leading up to our baby's arrival so important. Sort of our version of sonograms and such.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wish Me Luck!

After mentioning that Korean restaurant in my first entry I've had such a craving for it! Tonight I've decided to surprise M with some homemade, albeit very basic Korean cookin'! I've been trolling (totally great website for all kinds of recipes with real people reviews) and I think I've found a couple basic recipes to try for my very first time.

My secret hope is that when our lil' one arrives we will have a few favourites down pat and it will be our little tradition to prepare them together.

The first are Korean wontons full of cabbage, veggies, marinated meats, ginger and I may add some glass noodles. We'll see. I may even take my chances and do a medium sized batch to freeze. Mike is a big gyoza fan so I think they'll be a hit. Here's hoping!

The second is just a super easy version of bulgogi
that I plan on serving with some rice.

Better get crackin'!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Since The First Day..."

My Grandmother passed this week. She was a great Mother, Grandmother, & friend. She would sit at her kitchen table for hours with any one of us and talk us through any problem we might of had or just tell & re-tell funny family stories and laughed and laughed. She was beautiful.

Her and I had a special saying we would say back and forth every time we hung out or talked on the phone...."I've loved you since the first day I saw your beautiful face" and then I would tell her that she was my best friend. We've said it for as long as I can remember. She would secretly tell us all that we were her favourite! :)

She made a lot of people feel really, really loved and special. She was amazing that way.

I always hoped that Grandma would be around to meet my children. I know she is with us on this journey though and who knows... maybe she has already met our son / daughter and is giving him/her the low down on all of us! ;)

I'll carry on everything she has taught me about life, love and family.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting Up To Speed: Post #1


Things are moving along quite nicely with the adoption! We got word from our agency that we have been bumped up the wait list...well, bumped off the wait list I guess and have been given the green light to start our homestudy! Originally we prepared ourselves to be on the wait list for at least a year, year and a half and THEN start our homestudy so this news was "laugh while you're crying" good news. lol. It was awesome.

This past Tuesday marked our first sit down meeting with our Adoption Practitioner (AP) and although we were really nervous, it went really well. After just a few minutes we felt at ease and ready to tackle the huge mound of paperwork she had prepared for us. I'm not sure how familiar anyone is (including me!) with the international adoption process but as we go along I will do my best to explain each of our many steps.

The homestudy is basically a process to determine if we are ready to become adoptive parents. It consists of a series of interviews/ visits at either our AP's office or at our house. However at least one of the visits has to be done at our home where she checks to make sure that our house is safe, has enough room for the child, checks out how we live, etc. On average there are between four to six two hour visits, but if needed there could be more.

So during the interviews our AP will talk to us about a range of things. Our childhood, our expectations of family life, personal relationships, all that good stuff. We found the wait leading to our first appointment stressful b/c we didn't really know what to expect but all that anxiety subsided when we got there. Our AP is really pleasant and thorough with every document. We've been told to get ready to be very flexible throughout each and every step so anytime something has a set method in this process, its a bonus! From the beginning we were told that dates could change, requirements, documents, everything could flexible. So we left feeling relieved, really. We're good peeps w/ a ton of love to give so all we need to do is be open and honest.

Truth be told, we're eager and happy to go through all the motions that lead us to parenthood!

We're going to be parents!!

We're over the moon excited about our first bambino and these days its all we talk about! "Do you think the baby will like my cooking?", "Do you like the name...", & "what do you think the birth mother & father are doing right now?" :)

Our next appointment isn't for a few weeks but we have lots to do in preparation for it so we'll be busy. A while back we got to meet a really nice family that adopted their first son from South Korea at our first seminar and they told us that they found all the paperwork made the time go by faster. My good friend "M.E" also said the same. I can see how that would be true. I'm an organizer by nature so I'm spending a lot of time dating stuff, "post it" noting, checking boxes, & addressing stuff. I secretly love every detail. ;)

"M.E" rocks and has been a huge help to us during these first few very confusing, anxiety ridden months. I'm lucky to be able to hit her up for some advice when I need to. "M.E" ? Are you out there? lol. Thank you!

So! We'll write as often as it makes sense. When there is news, we think of something cool that we think you guys might like or with recipes and other fun stuff. This is just the beginning!

We'll leave you with a Koreatown restaurant recommendation! On the corner of Bloor and Palmerston is a great Korean spot with the cutest side patio. We rode bikes up and had a "Hite" beer and some really great mandu. Can't wait to go back!



P.S. Unless specifically told otherwise we will follow blog etiquette and name people by their initials only. Just for privacy sake.