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Sunday, 11 March 2012 09:11

Choosing a Legal Guardian

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I get regular emails from the 'Parents' Magazine website, and today their topic was choosing legal guardians.  I was intrigued, since my husband and I put a lot of thought and prayer into choosing legal guardians for our daughter and was interested to see if the article reflected the same considerations we had.

Unfortunately this particular article seemed to be more about informing the person already chosen of the guardianship and what comes along with it, which was disappointing.

Legal Guardianship is particularly important to me since I was taken into foster care as a child due to a large misunderstanding.  Due to the nature of the event, it may not have made a difference if I had a designated guardian, but I wanted to make sure to give my children what I didn't have so that even in an event like the one I experienced, they would not have to spend time living with strangers. 

So here is my own list of things to consider when choosing a Legal Guardian for your child.

1. Religious Beliefs and Worldview

It is extremely important to us that our children are raised in a Christian home - particularly one that closely reflects our own beliefs.  Along with that comes a number of perspectives about how we should live and act, and it was important to choose someone who emulated these things.

2. NOT Grandparents.

I was largely raised by my Grandmother, and although she and I have a closer relationship than we ever could have had otherwise, she was robbed of the ability to be 'Grandma'.  We do not want to do this to our own parents.  Also, then the question of 'Who?' is an issue that can do nothing but cause pain to someone...

3. Proximity to Family and Friends

Because Brian's family and mine are not close friends, it was important to consider a guardian who was either not too close to either family that our daughter would be brought up with a bias as to which family she spent time with (which would be unfair to the other family), or somehow equally close to both families and willing to ensure that she would spend time with both families.  Also, if she happens to have many friends in the area we live in, we hoped to find someone who lives close enough to make sure she can still see her friends, or has ties to the area so even if they moved away would likely return regularly for visits. 

4. Demonstrated Ability to Guardian

In our case, we chose a family who has raised a number of children already.  Our hope was to find someone who had already demonstrated parenting ability to us somehow, as well as showing signs of having a similar 'parenting style' to ourselves.

5. Financial Ability. 

Although our daughter will be well provided for if we kick off in her childhood, we wanted to know that any legal guardian we chose would not be financially encumbered in any way by an extra child.  In the event that it takes awhile for life insurance, etc. to come through - we wanted to be certain that any guardian we chose could handle it.   Also, in the event that our daughter requires a guardian, it would be nice for the family to be able to easily have room to give her a bedroom of her own.  We also didn't want to put our child in a situation where - if she were to receive a significant inheritance - her Guardians might find it tempting because of their own financial standing, to take her money. 

6. Age Considerations

Ideally the person chosen to Guardian would be of a similar age to ourselves, however we found this consideration to be less important than many of the others.  It was important, however, to choose a couple who would still be young enough to parent even when our daughter was reaching adulthood. 

These were the big things we discussed when choosing a guardian, and thankfully we were able to find someone who fit nearly all of this criteria perfectly.  Thankfully also, they were willing to accept the role of guardianship for Celia. 

What are your thoughts on these considerations? Do you agree or disagree? What considerations would/did you consider that I may have missed?

 

Friday, 09 March 2012 09:01

My Daughters 'First' Word - 'No!'

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My 15-month-old Celia hasn't been saying much up until this point.  She says 'Da' - sometimes she means Daddy, sometimes she seems to mean any number of different things.  She has never deliberately said 'Mama', much to my disappointment.  She does say a certain rendition of 'Bye Bye' when people leave the house - or when cars drive by, or the cat leaves the room, but it is no where near as clear as her newest - 'No!'.

So lately, all I have been hearing is a chorus of 'No, no, no, no, no....' in the background of my life, and unfortunately for her, she says it so often I hardly pay attention anymore.

It's as though she's been mentally taking note of everything in our house that somehow displeases her and now she's going around and telling me what all of these things are.

She was lying next to me in bed this morning and I had my arm looped around her when she began pushing my hand away and saying 'No, no, no, no...'.  Brian began to tickle her a bit - as he normally does - and instead of giggling like crazy - like she usually does - she says 'No, no, no, no....' and turns and shakes her head at him.

Later I opened the fridge door for some reason or another and when I closed it, she quickly rushed over to it chanting 'No, no, no, no...' and when I refused to open the door for her again she threw herself on the floor - first on her back, then she rolled over on her face, whining and moaning the whole time. 

In hindsight, I think she wanted a snack, so I felt a little dumb for saying 'No', but like I said earlier, she's starting to fade into the background with her constant chanting!

What were your kids' first words?  Were they exciting, or a little bit annoying? (Honestly)

By the way, I know I've been lacking in the photograph department lately - I have lost my camera! Hopefully we will find it again soon...

Thursday, 08 March 2012 10:42

Thursday Interview - With My Dad

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Last Thursday I interviewed my Grandmother, and after some deliberation I decided that although my goal is to interview 'Moms', the series wouldn't be complete without including all of the 'Moms' in my life - which, for me, happens to include my Father. 

My Dad is in his 50's, and has been involved with raising two children - myself, and my step-brother who is 4 years younger than I and was 4 years old when Dad became his step-dad.

Interview:

1. Do you remember what was going through your head when you first saw me?

There's my little girl... there's my daughter.

2. In what ways do you think I'm like you?

Lots of ways - musical talent, artistic talent - lots of ways.

3. Do you remember any of the songs you used to sing to me?

Yes, I remember one song - I used to sing you to sleep all the time...

*Dad was unable to recall the name of this particular song, but I remember him singing 'You are my Sunshine' to me as a child.

4. What are (or were) your dreams for me?

I wanted you to be successful always.

5. What were the hardest moments you had when I was growing up?

I don't know... I don't know if I had any hard moments...

6. Do you think it's easier or harder now to be a parent than when I was a child?

No, I think it's the same.

7. What advice would you give me about raising my own kids?

Let them grow up on their own, without telling them who they're supposed to be. 

I won't go into great detail about my relationship with my Dad - you can find more details on my 'About' page, as well as some past blog posts, like 'June 1, 2010' and 'Update'.   His answers here are short, but they mean a lot to me.

Suffice it to say that for the first seven years of my life, it was just 'Dad and me' and so we are extremely close.  In 2010, my Dad began to suffer through a series of spontaneous bleeds in his brain that doctors seemed at a loss to explain.  Since that time, my Dad has struggled to communicate as he once did.  Lately, he finds himself emotionally moved to tears quite easily, and an interview like this brought up many emotional memories for him.  

I am so grateful that he took the time to do this interview with me, and I appreciate that he tried to remember things at a time in his life when remembering is physically not an easy thing for him to do. 

Tuesday, 06 March 2012 09:00

I'm a Worrier...

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I'm a worrier.  I even have 'worry' as one of my keywords - on the right side of the blog, you can click on 'worry' and come up with all of the blog posts in which I was expressing some sort of fear.

I remember waiting by the window when an expected guest was due to arrive and imagining their violent deaths when they were late.  They MUST be in trouble, if they're not here yet!

When it would storm, I would settle into the bathtub with a blanket, a few pillows, and a good book - although I probably was never able to focus enough to actually READ it.

I remember one night I was certain I heard 'someone' sneak down the stairs and stand just outside my bedroom door.  I finally worked up enough panic to scream at the top of my lungs and when no one answered, I assumed it was a killer who had already done in my parents upstairs.  I grabbed my 'trusty kickstand' (an old bicycle kickstand that I kept next to my bed in case of an intruder... yes, I did that...), and swung open the door.  There was no one there.  I also discovered that my parents were safe in their bed upstairs and were quite annoyed when I came barging in yelling at them to see if they were alive.

The intruder had turned out to be my dad who had walked down one section of stairs, and then back up again after checking that my shoes were at the door and I had made it safely home - see, I got it from somewhere.

My husband's family, on the other hand, was much more laid back.  And I wish for my children that they don't live in fear like I have.  I pray that if they ever choose not to go to travel to a war-ravaged country, or not to climb mountains or live in a desert or jungle that it is not because of fear.

I pray that fear is never what holds them back.

Monday, 05 March 2012 11:12

Angry Dad in Bookstore

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I love wandering through bookstores.  Yesterday my husband and a friend and I were visiting a local Indigo and after I had taken in the baby section, I wandered over to the early readers section to dream ahead about buying books for my daughter.

In the children's area of this particular Indigo, they have a number of Plasma Cars for kids to drive around on.  This is not an advertisement for Plasma Cars, but I may as well describe what they are in case anyone is unaware.

These things are actually pretty cool, you sit on them and spin the steering wheel which actually propels the entire 'car' forward as you turn the wheel.  I have no idea how it works, and I've never seen one big enough for me to try, so I can only say from my experiences watching kids drive them that they appear to be really fun.

I overheard them speaking before I saw the girl - there was a man (presumably her father) trying to get a girl to get off one of these cars because she was 'too old' for them.  Their conversation went something like this...

Dad: Get off that thing, you're way too old to be driving around on it!

Girl: Look at this book!

Dad: Did you hear me? You look like an idiot!

Girl: I love these books, they're so cool!

Dad: Those are TRASH! We need to get out of here.

Girl: What about these? These look like good books too...

Dad: Those are just JUNK! You're too old for all of this...

Their conversation was somewhat longer than that, and I don't remember exactly what they said, but it was something like this.  I felt so bad for the girl.  I admit that sitting on the Plasma Car her knees were almost hitting her face and she looked a little silly on it, but I didn't think that quite warranted the amount of criticism she was getting from her Dad. 

Also, when he pulled out the words 'trash' and 'junk' to insult the books she was looking at, I recognized the tone - it was the tone I use when I'm exceptionally angry and am attempting to actually injure another person with my words.

The girl, for the most part, ignored her Dad completely, which makes me assume she was probably spoken to like that quite regularly.  When she drove around the corner and our eyes met for a second, I gave her what I hoped was a sympathetic smile. 

I understand that as parents, we all have bad days sometimes, and I'm sure there will be times when someone could blog about how awful I am being to my children in public.  I hope I keep this in mind though, and remember that my goal is to encourage my children and uplift them, and not to bring them down.  There would be so many ways to encourage a child to act older, and to have higher reading standards for themselves without resorting to name calling or public humiliation. 

I pray that I remember this as my children grow...

 

Sunday, 04 March 2012 22:29

Since Our Wedding...

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Seven years ago today, I was sitting in class at Bible school scribbling the date repeatedly in my notebook.  Although I was not yet 'officially' engaged, Brian and I had already discussed potential dates for a wedding, and March 4 had been the last lingering thought.  

The professor walked into the room and wished his students a 'Happy Army Day' before beginning the day's lecture.  Really? Army Day? Wha...? 

Oooooh..... groan.

It's ok if it takes you a minute, everyone in class was in stunned silence for a minute too before the groans of acknowledgement sounded. 

Oh well.

I had initially wanted a November or December (Christmas) wedding, and our family had been encouraging us to wait until the following summer so we compromised and chose a day later than Christmas, but still potentially 'wintery' to indulge me.

Six years ago today, there was a wicked blizzard in our city and as a result, many people ended up leaving early and our wedding reception ended with very few people remaining much earlier in the evening than planned.

The snow was exactly what we needed to have the beautiful winter wedding photos that I wanted.

 

 

 

 

Since that day, we have moved from a smelly apartment building to a rental house to our very own house!  We had a pet lizard (who died) and then a pet cat.  I have gone to business school and we have both attended university.  We have cumulatively worked at over ten jobs, and often we each worked two or three jobs at once.  Four years ago we found our current church family - which is as much like family as any of our 'real' families.  We have been to China.  In 2010 our family grew with our daughter Clara, and this fall we are expecting baby #2! There have been rough times and great times, and I can honestly say that as long as we are solid in our relationship with each other and with God, everything else can come as it may.

I feel so blessed to be with Brian, and to have been able to spend the last six years with him by my side at every step.

So, (because I know he will read this)...

Happy Anniversary, Brian! I love you!

Friday, 02 March 2012 09:55

Crappy Cloth Diapering

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If you haven't already, check out the blog post by Crappy Pictures called:

cloth diapers, the good things and the crappy things

I seriously laughed out loud - which doesn't happen to me often while reading blog posts...

I've been thinking a lot about cloth diapers lately, since I will inevitably be diapering two babies at once when October rolls around, and I'm not certain I have enough diapers for that.  The nice thing about my diapers, is that I have been biased towards one-size diapers and so in theory, my newborn can share diapers with my then-to-be almost two year-old.  I also have a number of tiny diapers that Celia used when she was much smaller to use on the new baby.

Currently she uses mostly Charlie Banana one-size pocket diapers.  I love the elastic in the leg which helps keep 'stuff' in around her small legs.  We have about 14 of these in various colours.

As well as a few Kawaii baby diapers that we mostly use at night because they're bulkier and have a tendency to leak around the leg holes.  I guess Celia has thin legs...

Largely because I like shopping, however, I will inevitably buy a few more diapers  for the newbie just to make sure we have enough. 

Spoiler Alert: This is me fishing for comments...

What are your favourite cloth diaper brands?

What would you recommend I buy for our new baby?

Thursday, 01 March 2012 11:44

Interview With A Mom - My Grandmother

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I decided to start a series of interviews with Moms I know and respect, and decided to start the process with the woman who was my 'Mom' for the first seven years of my life... My Lovely Grandmother.

1. Do you remember what it felt like when you first saw your babies?

It was a very moving experience.  Very touching.  To me they were perfect little gifts of God.

2. What did you like most about being a Mom?

There are great rewards in being a parent.  Even though there are a lot of heartaches, I would never not want to be a parent because of that.  When you take a chance to love, you also take the chance to be hurt.

3. What were the hardest moments you had when your kids were growing up?

When they were in their teenage years and starting not to listen or be obedient.  [It happened] when they turned about 16.

4. What is one thing you would have done differently as a Mom? 

I sometimes thought I should have been more patient.   One time I forced one of the boys to sit at the table to eat his food, because he was such a picky eater, and I think I maybe shouldn't have done that.

5. Do you think it's easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising your family?

Harder, I think.  There is so much media input, so much technology - we didn't hear about all of the things you're supposed to be doing with your children.  There is more influence now, and pressure.
Also, kids today don't seem to have to do any chores, or work - they seem to be more spoiled. 
When I was a kid, my homework was my last priority - first I had to help with chores, then supper and dishes, and then in the evening I would do my homework often after everyone else was in bed.  I don't know if this is the best way to do things, but I had a lot of responsibilities.
Kids need to have responsibility, and they need follow-through from their parents if they aren't doing what they are responsible for.

6. What advice would you give me about raising my own kids?

Do a lot of praying, and seize every moment that you can to encourage your children and show them love.  Take time to listen to your kids, and talk through things with them.

Thank you, Grandma - for taking time to do this interview with me.  You have been and still are a great influence on my life - I appreciate you so much!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 10:45

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

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Yep, that's a Blackberry...

"Yeah? Whatta ya want?"

"Whatever..."

She'll make such a good teenager someday.  She isn't even walking and she already knows how to storm into her room and slam the door...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 10:29

Celia's Nursery

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I'm linking up today with 'Growing Up Geeky' and 'ELF: A Family Blog' for Toddle Along Tuesdays.  Clara is currently sleeping, so these are all older pictures of her nursery, some as we were setting it up...

We painted the nursery this green, after choosing a colour that could compliment either pink or blue after the baby was born, since we didn't learn the sex beforehand.  I found these stick-on decals at Zellers for something like $10, and thought they were simple but cute.  Clara has fun pointing at them now, also...

Her messy bookshelf with all of my Little House, Narnia, LOTR and Harry Potter books still on it... :)  The top and bottom middle squares were left 'empty' until after Clara was born - they now have pink baskets in them that are the same as the two green ones on the sides. 

The blue hanging thing was from IKEA - it is now so full of stuffies that it has fallen from the ceiling from the weight and has had to be reinforced.  I painted the wall hangings - they weren't as nice as I'd hoped, but I guess they turned out ok.  You can see the pink baskets in the bookshelf from here.  We got this crib from Walmart for $150 or something like that - it was actually nearly identical to a $450 crib from Sears, and honestly just as stable...

 

This room is just under 8 feet wide by about 11 feet long, and in less than a year we get to figure out how to fit two children in here! Wish us luck!

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