Friday, April 27, 2012

Movies and mac and cheese.

I'm having a friend over for dinner tomorrow (technically tonight), and after the little ones are into their beds, we are going to watch what are potentially the best movies of the century.

Now, I love horror movies. In fact, I might be the biggest fan of cheesy horror movies ever. I pick horror movies based solely on the cover. Which has led me to some of the very best movies you've never seen. I look at the artwork on the front. If it's hand drawn; involves a gaping mouth; a small child; a picture of a something totally innocuous and yet creepy- I will watch it. Avidly.

So, tomorrow when my friend arrives, we'll sit with the kids, talk shop, have dinner and later, we'll grab a couple glasses of wine, some popcorn and watch Evil Dead 2. Followed by Army of Darkness. We're not watching ED (the original) because I find it redundant when one is watching 2. We may also watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I know all the words to the entire movie, and will happily re-enact it for you at any given time).

I have a list here of movies that are always welcome in my living room.

Monty Python, "Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian".
Dog Soldiers
The Color Purple (which I know isn't a horror, but I do love it)
Any Harry Potter movie (again, I just love the movies so much)
Adam and Evil (it's the worst movie ever made, and I loved it)
Bubba Ho Tep (I will marry Bruce Campbell if he ever gets close enough for me to handcuff him)
Silence of the Lambs (nothing out creeps Hopkins)
The Omen (NOT the remake. EFF the remake)

There are others; but, these are the ones that strike me right now.

Anyways, when my buddy gets here tomorrow, we'll be having homemade (by me) grown up Mac and Cheese (I will share the recipe eventually). It's one of my favourites; involving shallots, bacon, four cheeses and happiness baked in a two quart casserole dish. It's the best part of being a grown up. That and staying up until 2 am just because nobody can send you to bed. OUT!

EDIT: Here's the recipe I use for my grown up Mac and Cheese.

1/2 lb of chopped bacon- fried to medium crispy-ousity
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 green onions, chopped
1-2 shallots (or 1/2 a small onion) chopped
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
fresh pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you will hardly be blown away in the end, it mellows)
2 cups shredded cheese- I used marble this time, but anything will work
1/2 cup mozza (makes it stretchy)
1 cup shredded OLD cheddar (or sharp) for max flavour
1/2 cup parmesan or asiago

5 cups al dente pasta (any shape is fine, but mostly I use elbows)
1/2 cup bread crumbs,
2 tbsp melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Fry your bacon whilst you simultaneously melt the 1/2 cup of butter in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan and start a HUGE pot of water to boil for the pasta.

3. When the butter is melted, but before it starts to brown, add your chopped onions, and saute gently for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you like garlic, add a clove now and let it cook too (I also toss in 1 bay leaf; but take that out BEFORE SERVING). When your onions have started to soften (but before they have cooked completely) dump your flour in. All at once, and stir to make sure it all gets buttered up.

4. Continue to stir the flour-y butter (or butter-y flour) for two minutes to cook the flour and prepare it for the milk. Now, add the milk, and whisk the crap out of it. You want to get it completely lump free. You could, of course, heat the milk separately and whisk it gently- but I don't bother to make extra dishes if I don't have to.

5. Add your seasoning whilst the milky buttery flour mixture thickens. Add your bacon now too. When it becomes thick (or stops thickening if you wait long enough) decide if you wish to add another splash of milk to 'loosen' it up. If you like the mac and cheese slightly runny, then add milk, if you like it to be stiffer, then don't. Once you add the cheese the whole mixture will thicken and stiffen more.

6. Add the cheese, I reserve about 1/2 cup total of the different shreds to use with my topping. You don't have to, you could grate more, or skip it completely.

7. Toss the pasta (slightly UNDERcooked is way better than over cooked because you'll be baking it as well) into the sauce you've created. Place in a casserole dish large enough to hold it and top with the breadcrumbs, mixed with melted butter, left over cheeses and a sprinkling of parmesan to finish it up.

8. Bake until crispy top, and hot through. Eat all of it before your husband gets home from work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roundtable #37: After A Visit

Roundtable #37: After a Visit

Open Adoption Roundtable prompts are from the Open Adoption Bloggers  community and we each offer our varied and personal opinions on these prompts. 

How do you feel after a visit?

Geez, who's writing these prompts?! Are you trying to see inside my soul? Probably- because that's the only way to see different perspectives is to ask and answer honestly.

So, here it goes, I'm not necessarily proud of my answer; but, here it is just the same.

I'm relieved. In the summer, after C leaves, our lives return to our peculiar state of normalcy, and the up and down of the emotional situation levels off again. Bugs comes home, and becomes our son fully again. 

Wow. That sounds worse when I re-read it than I thought it would. Balls.

 But it's what I mean and what I have to explain.

 Last year, when C first got here, Bugs knew she'd arrived. That she was within the same city he was. He also knew that she didn't come see him for the first three days. It was a long weekend, and she went out to party with her friends. The premise she'd given us was that she'd get it out of her way, and be 100% devoted to him for the remainder of the visit if she was able to party on the weekends.

When Bugs came home though, what he remembered, and felt, versus what she described were so diametrically different that I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that those were her choices to make, and all I could do was try to help him process his feelings over the situation. He enumerated every single time she went out with friends during the week, leaving him home with her mom- instead of spending time with him and how it made him feel.

Bugs came home from that visit last summer sad; complaining of feeling worthless and of being tired of visiting her at all. He came home exhausted emotionally. He told me (I am going to go ahead and quote him as best I can),

 "She doesn't want to see that I am angry, or unhappy. She wants me to be happy. So I "be" happy. Even though I'm not happy at all. She wants to know that I am okay if she goes out with her friends, or spends two hours doing her hair. She doesn't want to know if I am angry with her. I'm so tired of pretending to be happy momma. I don't want to be happy, I just want to go swimming."

So we went swimming.  We swam; Monster in my arms; Brat paddling around trying to follow Bugs; and Bugs trying to pretend he'd been home with us all morning- several times I could see him trying not to cry, and several times, I told him if he needed to, he should. That night at bed, Bugs told me how much he loved me, and how glad he was to be home again, where whatever he felt was "allowed".

As much as C and her mother love him, they don't want his REAL feelings getting out. They don't want to hear that he is hurt, that he feels neglected, that he feels he is second best to C. They don't want him to be unhappy- and because he is afraid to be himself around them- he puts on his happy face, sending me emails, telling me in his emails how much he wants to come home. They don't want to hear about his pain- and that makes his pain so much worse.

Since that visit last year, I've told him, in no uncertain terms, HIS feelings are what matter. He is a child. Their feelings are not important in anyway compared to his; nor should he have to take their feelings into account. He should not have to pretend to be someone else, or feel something he doesn't feel in order to receive love. He can go right ahead and tell them if he has a different expectation of the visit for this year- and I dearly, dearly hope they listen this time.

Normally, I am relieved when the two weeks are over, and Bugs can go back to being who he truly is- and feeling whatever he needs to feel. And I have such high hopes for the visit this year. Especially now that Bugs knows he can be angry if he needs to be- and that he can be himself no matter where he is. That no matter how angry he is, we love him just the way he is.

So, with this next visit only a few months away, I guess I'm already tensing up, worrying and scared about how this year might effect my son. How it effects me. And I'm tense right now, just thinking about it and hoping for the best for my boyo.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shaw Fill The Food Banks 2012.

Shaw is at it again. Fill the Food Banks 2012.

Take 1:02 seconds to watch click the video, or go to Youtube directly and watch it.

 The view counter is going up, and with every view (up to 250 000), Shaw will donate 1$ towards Canadian food banks.

Take the minute to watch, or don't watch, but at least click it. Campbell's has also agreed to donate 1 lb of food for each view... If those two things are enough incentive then I don't know what would be.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #36: Agreements

Open Adoption Roundtable #36: 

"Write about open adoption agreements. Is there one in your open adoption? What effect does it have on your relationships? If you could go back in time, would you approach the agreement differently?"  From:

Well, to be honest, I don't think about our agreement much anymore. We see her every summer when she comes back to Canada. I could probably dig up our original agreement; but since it's invalid now, we go by what works year to year.

By adopting, I agreed to do whatever was in Bugs' best interest. I cannot speak to C's personal view of our adoption; but I can, and will, say that I think we're doing a bang up job of honouring the spirit of our open adoption agreement.

But here's how it started out:

First off, as we're all Canadian, our original adoption agreement was legally binding- which I realize is not the norm for most adoptions. But it should be. And luckily for us, and C, we had an extremely moral and ethical lawyer- who presented open adoption to us as the BEST and only 'right' course of action (at the time, when we were both so hurt and angry, we might have tried to close her out if we got irritated with her).

Our adoption agreement was 2 days a month, under supervision. It was legally enforceable had we not held up our end. But we did follow though, and even offered completely unsupervised visits (I wouldn't 'supervise' my mother spending time with my kids, why would I supervise her family????) 1 day/ week instead. That was C's stipulation. 2 days/ month.

Our stipulation was much different. Ours was that since we'd had abandonment issues in the past, we wanted a firm commitment that she would not leave Canada again for more than 30 consecutive days. In short, we wanted her to promise she wouldn't run out of his life after we invited her back in. We were afraid a 4 year old could not handle that loss twice. 

We spoke with C and her new husband and both agreed that they were here to stay.  Less than two years later, C came to me crying because her husband was moving back to Scotland- with or without her.  She didn't want to stay either; but, she was afraid we would stop contact. She was afraid we'd shut her, and her family, out completely for breaking the agreement.

We had family members tell us we should. We had friends tell us that the "open" part was null if she moved overseas again. We would be within our 'legal rights'.  My moral compass and overall ethics said otherwise. We took a lot of 'flak' from certain family and friends for the decision to accept her choice and simply agree to summertime visits instead. But it was the right thing to do, then and now.

We were no longer talking about a 3 year old who didn't know her at all. We were talking about (an almost) 6 year old who'd spent one day every week with C and her (fuckhead) husband for the last two years.

It did hurt. It still hurts that she chose that bastard and his fucked up family over our shared son.

It breaks my heart that she gave up having a steady relationship, weekly one on one time, with Bugs. For what? To stay with a guy who doesn't give a flying fuck for our son? Who calls her names in front of her family? A man whose mother came to visit but didn't want Bugs over when she was there? A man whose mother once hung up on Bugs when he called Scotland to talk to C- then she lied about doing it?

It hurts that Bugs was passed over TWICE for this family- he's got a better heart, and a more loving spirit than that whole family combined.

In the end though, it's not about what I needed from her. Or what I wanted from her. It's about Bugs and what he needs.

He needs to know her, to know her parents, her brother, her cousins, her aunts, uncles and grandmother. To know he is loved. And if that means he only gets to see C, herself, in the summertime- well, we take what we're given and we make the best of it.

He has been let down repeatedly over the years. Ignored; treated like a show piece; picked up late; returned early; passed over so C could go to concerts and parties; or, have her in laws around instead. But he loves her, and he is supposed to. I would do nothing to change that- even if I could.

The way I look at it is this: no family is going to be perfect, or get along without a hitch. We are doing the best we can.

And it's a work in progress. Maybe by the time he's 30, I won't still wonder if things might have been different had she chosen Bugs over the D-bag husband. But then again, maybe I will.

As to whether I would approach the agreement differently, I would insist that neither her husband, nor his family, be introduced to my son- ever. The man is an emotional abuser, plain and simple. And that is something I don't believe any child should be exposed to- especially not my child. Intentional neglect and disrespect can do as much harm as a fist.

Agreements? Ours is now totally on the honour system. My honour. I know what's right, what's important and what's best for him and for the rest of us. That doesn't mean we don't run into snags sometimes- when more than 1 family member decides to visit during the summer, at the same time as C is here- but we work around it.

 We find a way- because THAT is what family is supposed to do.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things My Momma Taught Me.

I found an old email- and I modified it to better reflect my own experience. This is a list of why I have the All Time Best Momma ever.

1. My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done: "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished vacuuming."

2. My mother taught me Religion: "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about time travel: "If you don't straighten up and fly right, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me logic: "Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me more logic: "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me irony: "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

7. My mother taught me about the science of osmosis:   "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

8. My mother taught me about stamina:   "You might be able to run fast; but I can run for a long time..."

9. My mother taught me about weather: "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

10. My mother taught me about hypocrisy "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

11. My mother taught me the circle of life: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

12. My mother taught me about anticipation: "Just wait until we get home."

13. My mother taught me ESP: "Don't think I don't know you're making a face right now."

14. My mother taught me humour: "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

15. My mother taught me wisdom: "When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

16. My mother taught me about justice: "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

 And my all time favourite which taught me everything I need to know about parenting:  "Keep it up. And I will rip off your arm at the elbow and beat you with the wet end."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Little Bugs.

I had a wonderful day the other day, and I think a great portion of the reason for that is I was spending one on one time with my Bugs. Since I got pregnant with Monster a few years back, I haven't had much time to be alone with my big boy.

So this week, we made arrangements to spend some quality time alone together while we went to the movies and out for dinner. Just the two of us. It was so nice. We talked, we laughed, we walked around and we enjoyed the movie.

When he was younger, it was always just the two of us. Since the girls were born, it's been less and less time for just the two of us. And I miss that time. I miss that closeness that we've always had.  But Saturday, we had that time alone.  And it was incredible.

I miss my little boy; the way he couldn't say the letter "L" (always pronounced L's like N's); the way he asked to go for doughnuts at "Tim's Horton" or to eat at "Mickadonells". I miss the way he couldn't fall asleep for naps unless I held his hands still. Or the way he slept in the car no matter how long the ride was.

He's grown up so fast, and so well. There aren't many times when he chooses to hang out, just the two of us- and I cherish them all the more for that scarcity perhaps.

I love my kids. And even missing those toddler days- I STILL cannot wait for them all to move out.