Monday, 24 June 2013

Rykauna's grade 8 graduation

If you have just read my last post, you know that this is the second graduation we have attended in four days.   This year is a milestone year in terms of schooling.  Rykauna graduated from grade eight  today and will be a secondary school student next fall.

Hard to believe.  I remember doing this myself.  Now I am one of those moms watching my daughter walking across the stage and praying she doesn't stumble in her high heels!  Thankfully she did not :)  It was a hot humid day but despite the lack of a/c in the auditorium it wasn't too bad.

Rykauna was relieved to listen to her name called and hear the "with honours" phrase after her name.  She has worked hard for  her honour roll status.  We are pleased.  Both Steph and I realize she has worked much harder this year than any school year we ever did.  (Except maybe Steph's third year  of his University of Waterloo Chemistry degree).  Her drive and determination are impressive.  Anything this girl decides she wants to do, she will do.  Even if she has to try ten thousand times.

The grad culminated with a dinner banquet celebration at a local golf and country club.  It was a great way  to celebrate with her dear friends that she will be parting ways with in the fall.  Since there are so many high schools in the area, students choose a high school like we would choose car models.  Different schools are known for different specialty programs, but at the end of the day, or four years in this case, they all grant a diploma.  The school she will attend is not the same one as any of her friends.  The school most of her friends are planning to attend, would be over a one hour commute for her.  She thought and prayed about this decision, but in the end chose to attend the neighbourhood high school that is walking distance from home.  We all know the first few days of school will be tough because she will have to make all new friends, but we are also confident she made the right decision.

Here are a few pics of her big day.
Just before leaving home we snapped a quick pic with Grandmaman

Getting her green honour medal

Sorry pics not too clear... we were far away

My firstborn is turning into a beautiful young lady

Rykauna and mom

I love this daddy/daughter pic!

Now only one grad left.  The preschool teacher told me today that Li Lin is expected to show up for her graduation from preschool on Friday.  Never a dull moment.

Last week, Rykauna took an overnight class trip to Niagara Falls, and Logan graduated.  This week Logan is on an overnight class trip to a camp nearby while Rykauna graduated. 

Today I found out about Li Lin's "grad".  I wonder what Hudson's teacher has forgot to tell me?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Logan graduated into middle school

On Friday we attended Logan's grade six grad.  Hard to believe my curly topped boy is heading to middle school next year.  It was neat attending the ceremony and seeing the kids receive their diplomas.  After a brief cake  luncheon, we headed home,  and then later celebrated with Logan's favourite meal.
Logan and his teacher

Two handsome guys :)

A hint.  Logan has the appetite of the typical North American male.  Burgers.

I packed up some drinks, some tortilla chips with fresh homemade salsa and then headed to the drive-thru at the golden arches.  Hudson ordered and finished his first Big Mac ever.
We then headed to the beach and had ourselves a little picnic.  We brought some sand toys, a frisbee, and a soccer ball for the kids to play with.  The water has not had much time to warm up yet as the weather has not been all that warm.   Turns out the water temp felt fine to the kids so they went in, clothes and all!  We should have known... it doesn't matter how cold it is, if there is no ice, it is swimmable!  It was a fun way to celebrate the culmination of elementary school.  The kids had a blast and so did Steph and I.  We took along lawn chairs and just sat beside the shore and gazed out onto the watery expanse.  Taking a few moments to just sit and chill was amazing...something we do far too infrequently.
Logan arm-deep in a sand hole he dug

The four them all!

Rykauna doing gymnastics on the shore

Li Lin loves the sand and sea... she was thrilled to be at the beach


Hudson testing the water temp before going all the way in

We are so blessed to have this beach so close to home.  15 mins away.  Not bad when you live in the middle of a large city.

We bought a safe

A couple of days ago we bought a safe.  It cost 150 bucks but it was worth every penny.  We bought it to put our most valued  "things" in it.  After all, if our house were to burn, these are the objects we feel need to be rescued.  Obviously,  getting  all family members to safety would be top priority.

There is nothing of real monetary value going into the safe.  Mainly because we don't have anything of significant monetary value.  But what is going into the safe is priceless... photos of the kids and official adoption paperwork.

I got thinking about it last week and thought to myself, "What would we do if we lost all traces of the adoption paperwork? Does our agency keep one copy in case such a thing like this happens?"  I don't know the answers to these questions, but I knew the solution could be a relatively easy one if we just took a short trip to Wal-mart.  So we did. :)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Therapeutic job?

I don't mention my job here often because, well, it is really just a job to me.  A means to an end.  A payer of bills.  Am I  a career woman?  No.  I have no need to feel fulfilled by working outside my home.  I have no desire to climb any ladders or make a name for myself in the world of healthcare.   I am a full-time mom with a part-time job.

I do, however, feel that in some ways the job is like a gift to me.  Yes, a gift.  I work in a busy trauma hospital and the patients and their families have taught me more than I can help them.  Being employed as a registered respiratory therapist there, I have attended to countless patients that have had their lives altered, sometimes permanently, by accidental injury, acts of violence, or disease.  I provide respiratory therapy to the sickest patients at this hospital.  The ones who cannot breathe on their own and are dependent upon life-sustaining ventilators to keep them alive.  Ventilators are my specialty.

Depressing job?  Yes, it can be.  But this gift I have referred to, is the gift of thankfulness.  Thankful for my health, my kids health, the health our extended families...our lives.  When someone is critically ill all other problems become miniscule.  Think about it.  If your nearest and dearest were hooked up to a breathing machine would you care about whether you had the newest cellphone model on the market, about whether your house were as nice as your neighbours, about whether you were getting crow's feet prematurely, about whether your outfit was trendy enough, or about whether your car looks too old and rusty.  Not a chance.  You would be focused on the life of your loved one.  All the frivolous stuff would take their proper place.

When I go into work and see adults of all ages fighting for their lives, I realize that whatever problem I may have thought I had, is no big deal.   If I have had a frustrating day at home, then head into work for a shift, I usually come home realizing that whatever I was feeling sorry for myself for, was nothing.  Not only was the problem a null issue but I then consciously and/or subconsiously realize I have so much to be thankful for.  Today I am thankful for this perspective readjustment that I get on a regular basis.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a close friend of mine who is a registered nurse on the cardiology floor of our local pediatric hospital.  She had stopped in for a visit on her way home from a busy shift at work.  This friend told me, she felt her job taught her thankfulness.  She shared that seeing ill children, worried parents, and difficult diagnoses, makes her realize that any of her perceived problems are not true problems.  Going into work was "like a kick in the pants" to reshift priorities and realize just how good her life really is.

I think I have finally figured out why God wants me to keep working at my job. (I have asked him on many occasions about quitting, and I have been puzzled as to why he would want me working outside the home at all.  There are many others who can do my job.) isn't the patients that need me, it is I, that need the patients.  I think I must be a slow learner in the thankfulness department because I seem to need weekly reminders, in the form of a 12 hour shift, to reset my thinking and realize that I have so much to thank and praise the Lord for.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Quality time with my man...

This past weekend, Steph and I spent a belated birthday of his in Niagara Falls.   We did something a bit uncharacteristic... the kiddos did not come with us.  That's right, we left them in the loving care of my mother-in-law and enjoyed some time alone together.

Upon arrival to our fallsview hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to have our room upgraded from a fallsview jacuzzi suite, to a two bedroom fallsview jacuzzi suite complete with a fireplace!  It was so big we could have brought the kids along and everyone would have found a place to sleep.  Shh!  Don't tell them that though.:)

We enjoyed our time just chillin' out together, admiring the awesomeness of the mighty waters, and meandering into little shops and bistros.   It was great to spend so much undivided time together.  I just love this guy and never tire of spending time with him.  :)

We love doing this on one hand, but on another hand, we struggle with it.  Why?  Well, we feel we only have the kids for such a short time before they grow up that we want to take our vacation time with them.  I struggle with it as well because I work part-time and don't want to spend any more time than necessary away from them.

We have discussed many times about going on an anniversary cruise together, but we never have because neither one of us can leave them that long. Pathetic?  Maybe.   When it came time to go to China last year the same thing happened. The thought of leaving them was too much for us.  We just could not do it.  So the kids came along for the adoption trip.

We realize that occasionally leaving them is probably good for them and for us... so maybe, just maybe, we will try to do something like this more often than our usual of once every couple of years.