Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Big adoption news!

Our case worker came over the other day for her monthly meeting. Turns out the big adoption ceremony has been booked for next month! This doesn't mean that it becomes legal (that'll happen later in the year) but rather it's a symbolic event for the boys that makes the whole thing official.

Apparently we need to have a cake with five candles on it, plus one larger candle. Once the larger candle is lit, we'll all take it and light a smaller candle. It's supposed to symbolize something, like being a family I guess. I think the boys will enjoy eating the cake more than lighting candles.

Things are moving along!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Helping kids with their homework

So here's my question: when is help from a parent too much help? 

We've had the opportunity to help our oldest boy with two large assignments twice now. The first was a book report, and the second is an autobiography he's currently working on.

 If we had let him do his book report on his own, it would have been of incredibly poor quality and probably not in on time at all. How do we know this? Because initially we let him go at it on his own and the results were eye-opening. Not only did he write his report without actually reading the book, but his answers were flat out wrong. Thankfully the teacher gave her students lots of time to do the assignment so I ended up reading the book to ensure his answers were accurate. Plus, I sat down with him and basically pulled the answers out of his mouth, but George said I was doing his work for him. He ended up with a 3/4 on his report, which we were both happy about (although I would have argued that the teacher inappropriately took away marks.)

Now he's working on an autobiography and so far the results are less than stellar. For his cover page, all he had to do was cut out images from a magazine that represents his likes, personality etc. The end result looks like a cat puked up a hairball of pictures. He's still working on the write-up.

 Do we:
1. Leave it "as is" and let him suffer the consequences of a potentially poor mark?
2. Tell him to do it again even though he seems proud of it?
3. "Suggest" improvements (but that means we're actually doing it for him?)

 Suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Prop 8

I came across this video on the Gay Family Values blog and i found it both incredibly sad and inspiring. Please watch... I think you'll agree.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

School Christmas Concert

Our kid is not in this pic. 
Our oldest boy is in the school choir and last night they had their annual Christmas concert. I was thinking there would be like 30 or 40 kids on the stage. But no... there were probably 200 kids on the stage, many of them in costumes! And because I arrived late due to a ticket mix-up, I was stuck sitting in the back row. Which meant, I couldn't see a whole lot.

Long story short... I couldn't see my boy. I literally spent the first 20 minutes scanning the choir looking for him. I felt like such a horrible dad - i couldn't recognize my boy! Then i thought maybe the bugger was lying all along and he wasn't in the choir but was using the time to get up to no good. Then i thought maybe he was sick and wasn't able to sing. (it's amazing what runs through your head sometimes)

Finally, my other kid told me to look behind the choir master. And there he was... in the first row sitting down singing away. I was so proud for all of 5 minutes.

George gets to go to tonight's show. I told him to get there early and don't sit behind the choir master. Hopefully he'll get some pictures.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Making vs Buying Christmas Gifts

This is a sausage nativity scene
that someone made. I think it looks

Christmas is quickly approaching and the kids have been saving their allowances to buy gifts for us (we told them not to worry about buying each other something). We were going to put a limit on it, like $5, so they don’t spend all the money they’ve saved. But this past weekend the boys decided they would rather make something for us instead of buying.

George and I are over the moon about this because we would absolutely LOVE a homemade gift.

But we have a nagging feeling that they made this decision more so they can spend their money on themselves as opposed to thinking of others (they love Dollar store junk toys). This matters to us because we are trying to teach them the value of money, buying gifts for others etc.

Another reason we find their motives suspect is because of the amount of time and energy they’ve spent making the gifts so far. In other words, very little. And the quality leaves a lot to be desired.

This led us to think about a highly controversial article published earlier this year that talked about why “Chinese mothers are superior”. The article talked about a lot of things, but what stands out in our memory is an instance when her child drew her a birthday card but the mother thought she didn’t put enough effort into it so she made them re-do it.

So our dilemma is this: If we think the boys are not putting enough effort into their present, do we tell them to do it again?
If we do, will that risk stifling their creativity?
How involved do we get with the helping?
At what age should kids stop making gifts and start buying gifts?
How much should they spend?

We certainly don’t believe that buying a gift is the right solution. The last thing we are is materialistic. But we’re not sure where to go with this!

Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Our dog Hank. Does he need a friend?

Our dog's name is Hank.
He's a South African Mastiff and he weighs 140lbs, give or take.
This is Hank
He doesn't look comfy
but he is. 
His food consumption is ridiculous.
Because of allergies we have to feed him raw food.
His farts smell horrible.
His drool doubles our wash load.
The kids love him (except when he gets too excited at playtime and starts to run around like a mad dog)
He tolerates the kids (we say this because the kids have been known to try and ride him like a horse and he let's them)
He's part of the family and we love him.

Our last dog Lola, an incredibly cute Westie, died this past April and we have considered getting another dog. And with George home on paternity, maybe now is the time to get one? He could do all the training and fun stuff right now in the middle of winter.

This is Hank as a puppy
George has mentioned a number of times he likes Newfoundlanders. I've become fond of Dachshunds (weiner dog). The boys don't seem to care what kind.

Got any suggestions? We'd love to hear them!