Brown Eyed Girl Celebrates its FIRST BDAY

IMG_9550Thank you Thank you THANK YOU to everyone who has taken time out of their life to read my blog! It means the world to me to feel all this love from everyone!

WOW this blog celebrated its first birthday! To me –what is even more amazing is that I have lived in beautiful New Zealand for almost a full year. In 3 days, I will have been a resident for one year! While the time HAS flown by, I have shared in many joyous memories with my Kiwi families and Canadian friends! AND Sumzie 2012-2013 was amazing!

I had always planned, hoped and dreamed of one day moving to THAILAND. I am so happy to share with all of you that MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE>>>> I have booked my flight and only have 2 more days left before I fly back to the homeland. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to explain my emotional state. I am beyond H.A.P.P.Y. I am busily trying to update the blog so that all my NZ posts are online before I leave the country. I will admit to falling MONTHS BEHIND but I have always had the intention of posting as much (if not all) of my travels with you all.

Thank you for the continued support. I bask in the love and support from all those that care for me! Looking forward to celebrating the blog’s 2nd anniversary with everyone 🙂

Stay happy and never stop dreaming!
xoxo Love you all,
Amanda Sumalee

Tragedy and Rebirth

Yesterday I woke up to a text from my friend informing me of the Connecticut shooting. A 20 year old shot and killed his mother and then went to Sandy Hook Elementary school killing 20 children and  countless adults. I immediately texted her back saying this world is too intense for me. It is becoming such a scary place! Neither of us are mothers but we could NOT imagine a world without our babies. My heart aches for the innocent angels that lost their lives. The pain those families and community must be going through… events like this really shake me. Throughout the day the New Zealand media kept the public informed. Feelings of such strong gratitude for all the heroes who helped protect the children and sacrificed their own lives. Faculty members lost their lives for the sake of their children. Through this devastation stories of strength and heroism are coming to light. I watched Barack Obama’s heartfelt speech and I, like him, feel my heart is broken! I posted on my Facebook wall that I have so much to be thankful for. I must continue to not lose faith in humanity.

With that said — I am so thrilled to welcome Charley Juilet Glass to the world. My best friend’s sister delivered her precious baby girl in Nanaimo, British Columbia today! Charley shares her birthday with my Daddy- o. December 15 is a great day to have been born!!! Happy Birthday xox

My New Zealand update this week isn’t too meaty. Emma and I got together during the week to buy the last of our Christmas presents. We are both officially done shopping! Feels good to have all my presents bought and wrapped before December 15th. We also mailed all our Christmas cards back to Canada (weeks  back) and know that most of them have already arrived!

family Xmas tree

family Xmas tree

bedroom tree!

bedroom tree!

We spent Saturday lounging in the sun on the porch enjoying spritzers. We had to put the umbrella up because the sun was becoming unbearably hot. We had our books and portable speakers and made a day of lounging. When we found ourselves to be way too hot and sticky we went inside and watched The Fast and The Furious….I know we lead a hard life!!!

Emma was able to successfully pick up the Whitley clan from the airport this morning. It will be nice to have more Whitleys here for the holidays!

My boys have school on Monday and then just a half day Tuesday before they are off on Summer Holidays until the second week of February. LOTS of summer activities planned and I am looking forward to lots of summer fun. The countdown for Ana and Kristy to arrive on January 3rd is getting closer and closer too.

Life is good for me but my heart feels heavy for all those in Connecticut. What happened was ‘unimaginable’ and I will continue to be thankful and blessed for all that I have.

Buddha Blessings to all
xox

Amanda

Thanks for all the BIRTHDAY Wishes

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I was going to go to bed but I thought I should blog quickly first. Thank you to everyone who shared their birthday wishes with me. As always, it was a pretty awkward day with the kids shrieking how OLD 27 was. I encouraged them to stop saying the number but they felt the need to keep reminding me of my age 🙂 The family bought me pink roses and made me vanilla and red velvet cupcakes. We unwrapped gifts after the fireworks…well actually the kids unwrapped the presents and then showed me what I got. (I am pretty excited to see them on Christmas morning. They are going to be HYPER when it’s time for them to open their own gifts!)

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Emma and I spent the whole day together. She really wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget it was my special day. She prepared me days before that I would not be allowed to sleep the day away because it was MY BIRTHDAY and a day to be celebrated. MY pleas to just sleep the day away fell on closed ears.  It was a pretty great that my birthday landed on a gorgeous Saturday so I had the day off work. We went to a restaurant close to the beach to have breakfast then quickly headed off too the zoo. Burma (the Burmese elephant) was out walking around which was a huge treat. Quite often she is in her glass house chained up to a pole so it was nice that she was roaming around. She came quite close to the wall so we were able to get some great shots of her. She still looks like a baby elephant to me but I have been informed that she is fully grown.

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Kiwi Tree

Kiwi Tree

After we walked around the whole zoo we went and grabbed some caffeinated drinks. We needed energy to continue the celebrations. We went to the Christmas Wonderland. It is New Zealand’s biggest indoor Christmas forest. over 150 trees are uniquely decorated by different themes. It would have been nicer if the building was a little bigger because there were so many trees and people, strollers and kids all in one square building. Some of the trees were so cute. All the money from tickets was donated to charity!What is a day without a little shopping? We were both on the hunt for presents for our kids. My kids keep changing their minds on what they want for Christmas so I have yet to buy them anything but I am hoping to complete my shopping pretty soon. My homemade Christmas cards are finally done and I am hoping to get them all mailed off tomorrow. After shopping we drove to Brown’s Bay and got pizza to eat at the beach. How nice is it that I got to eat Birthday dinner at the beach in December! I can’t even complain that it was windy because the air was still warm.

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We went home for a bit to swap photos and relax before the fireworks. I was able to send off a few birthday thank you emails and enjoy my flowers. It was the first time I had ever received flowers and I GOT two bouquets in one day 🙂 Emma dropped me off when it started to get dark out. I met up with my family  on the grass and we (the parents) shared in some bubbly and strawberries. When we got home the kids were excited to eat my cupcakes and open the presents. It was a really late night for them but it was a great end to the day.

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Sunday (my Canadian birthday) I got to celebrate in my own way! I slept in with NO ALARM CLOCK (even though I could hear the kids running around the house I could just smile and roll over)! I hung out in my room reading text messages and facebook posts and got to chat a little with some friends. I went upstairs and had lunch and shared cupcakes with the boys. Pretty much my whole day consisted of lounging, playing with the boys and finishing my Christmas cards. The 6 year old tried to help me with my cards at one point so there are a few that…aren’t up to my level of perfection. There wasn’t much he could do to assist me so I let him put some stickers on the cards. Unfortunately when they were going on crocked I patiently tried to explain I like them to be straight and not clustered together. Eventually I let him peel them and then give them to me…production slowed until he got bored and decided to make his own!

So that was my birthday weekend!

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xox Buddha Blessings,
Amanda

Goodbye 26, Hello Rest Of My Life…

In honor of this being my last blog (at age 26), I thought I would make a detailed list of my 26 dreams and desires. In truth, it was easy to think of about 10 and then afterwards I began regretting the topic. Dreams and miracles seem to be similar words with vastly different meanings. Without my mind going too wild I tried to base my list in mostly “reality’’. Please do not take this list too seriously or you will hurt your head.

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Thank you so much to everyone who has been sending their words of encouragement. I have known all along that 27 isn’t that big a deal and I still have 3 years until I reach the big 3-0! I do not have many friends my age, most are younger and many are older so it has been great to get advice from both perspectives. The overall message being:

Age is not something you can control. It is a daily reminder that you are ALIVE!!!

26 Dreams and Desires…

1. Become a midwife’s assistant or be a Doula. When I was a kid I wanted to be an obstetrician; until I found out how many years of schooling it entailed! Then I decided I would prefer to be a Pediatrician so I could work with the Mom’s and the babies. NOW I would love to be a doula. To be a part of the support system at such a significant time in a someone’s’ life WOULD BE INCREDIBLE.

2. I have grown up to believe that you choose your FAMILY. As we grow we shape our own definitions of what it means to us.  I believe that family is not solely comprised of blood relations. That said I would like to meet (as many as possible) people from my birth family. Part of my personal identity remains undeveloped. I do worry though…did curiosity kill the cat?

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3. Financial stability.

4. Feel loved unconditionally for who I am. Stop having to prove I am worthy of being loved. I don’t want to have to pretend or modify who I am depending on who I am with. I don’t want to seek out love I truly feel deserving of. I want to keep discovering who I am. I want to be me and be happy with that.

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5. Find out the details involving my stomach scar. It is the width of my abdomen and I have had it since I was adopted. Just like I find it unnerving to have no birthday details, I find it unsettling to NOT know why and when I had surgery. All I know is that no organs were extracted and my stitches were cleanly done.

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6. Find a cure for my insomnia. My mind just won’t shut off at night. A lot of the times when I am trying to sleep I lay awake thinking or having “daymares”. I am living through things that have never happened but it feels real.

7. Get my motorcycle license and own a bike!

8. I have always wanted to shave my head and start from scratch. When my parents found me in the orphanage I had thing scraggly hair with bald patches. To this day I have thin thin hair and I have always wondered how it would grow back? It has never seemed to be the right time to shave it off but it has always been an idea of mine. If there was an opportunity to do it for a charitable cause I would strongly consider.

9. Be in a spelling bee! Aha since I was a kid I wanted my class to have one but it never happened for me. Nothing intense like you see on television – just a simple fun one where two lines are formed and you sit down once you spell a word wrong. You advance every time you spell a word right and there is one winner! I think I am twenty years too late…

10.  I don’t know if it will happen but I would LOVE to go back to Nepal. I met so many wonderful people who will remain dear to me. I want to go back and see them as well as travel around and volunteer my time as much as possible. I will never forget the warmth of the Nepalese.

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11.  Publish a book? I have always LOVED editing essays and reading over other peoples ‘work but I also like writing. My Mom was a teacher who chose to edit in red ink. To this day I love the feeling of reading over something and scribbling red ink all over the page with corrections and suggestions. Maybe one of these days I will become an author or an editor for a publishing firm?

12. Go to space? I think I am more interested in the spaceship ride than being in space but I bet the whole trip would be astounding.

13.  I know it would be impossible to make the world perfect. Who am I to decide what “perfect is”? What I do know is that I want to live in a world that has eliminated child sex offenders, rapists and world hunger they would be top on the priority list. ANYONE who mistreats children or women does not deserve my sympathy. Mental illness or not – I do not believe I would be able to forgive a person. It is depressing to know there are still people who do not have access to food daily. I hate wasting or throwing out food. One day we will abolish world hunger.

14. Hire a personal chef (thanks for reminding me Bizzle). I am a horrible cook and I have always wanted someone to grocery shop and cook all my meals. I am a huge snacker and that is part of the reason why my health is not in order. I eat whatever is quick and accessible in the kitchen or grab for the nearest potato chips or cookies. Having a personal chef would take the thinking out of what to eat and how many calories I was consuming a day! I NEED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN one day!
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15. Increased fitness. I would like to increase my stamina and lose my stomach fat (less cheese more exercising!!!) Workout with Bob Harper and/or Jillian Michaels would be a dream come true. I WANT to be on the American TV Show The Biggest Loser just so they can yell at me, “Last chance workout”. I know I would never make it on the show but a girl can dream right?!
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16.  Good bye economy class hello Business Class or First Class. I love flying so why not be as comfortable as possible while doing it?

17.  I have always had this plan of what I would do if I won the lottery. If I had the option of yearly installments or cash out  the lump sum I would take the one time payout. My reason behind the lump sum is that I would be too paranoid that the cheques would stop coming. Even if cashing out meant the total was substantially less I would have the mental security in knowing I had received it and would then begin to plan my future.  If the day ever came that I won BIG I would go on 2 separate vacations. Family trip and friends trip!! For some reason I have put a lot of thought into this. I would then put more than a third into a savings account that I did not have access to for around 5 years.

18. A craft room with ample storage space that is stocked full of supplies. Anybody who crafts knows it is not a cheap hobby. It has taken me years to collect my supplies and I am nowhere near having the amount I desire. I would also like my own photo printer! Not a portable single one but a heavy duty machine! I love developing photos and giving them to people in my snail mail.

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19. Learn more about different religions. I have passionately read about Buddhism but I would really like to dedicate more time to understanding the history and philosophies. I do not want to limit myself to just one and am very interested in Christianity, Hinduism and beyond. Learning more about faith and what it means to other seems inspiring.

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20. I would like a Pinterest budget (merci ana!!). I would be more inclined to actually create things instead of just pinning everything to my boards and thinking that ‘someday I will make this’!

21. Un-chipable nail polish. The newest thing is getting your nails chillaxed. I would like to be able to buy it and not have to pay some technician the application fees. I would much prefer applying a type of nailpolish that didn’t need base and top coat  and loads of nail polish remover when the nails start chipping a few days later. It is a lot of work to MAINTAIN chip free nails. I wouldn’t invest so much energy into it but it helps deter me from biting my nails.

22. This is a silly dream but I wish that Private Practice wasn’t ending! I love Charlotte and Cooper as a couple. If only the show could go on or they could have their own spin off. Kadee Strickland and Paul Adelstein have dynamite chemistry and feed off each other in their roles!

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23. I don’t like how soap operas are slowly becoming extinct. Besides how entertaining they are it is going to leave so many people out of work. Not just the actors, writers, directors and crew will be unemployed; all the staff who work on the shows and magazine publications.  Soaps have been on air for over seventy years and slowly fading away.

25. Another silly fantasy would be to have unlimited battery life on electronics I use regularly. It is super frustrating to have to charge my laptop, camera and phone regularly so they do not die “suddenly” on me. Not a really GOOD idea but I am running out of ideas to write about…

26. One of my favourite books is Pay It Forward. (The movie didn’t do the book justice.)It made me want the world to be a better place! I wanted to be that person who did favours for others but didn’t want anything back in world. I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.

I kept my promise to everyone reading! I blogged for a week! Thank you so much to Ana, Bizzle and Cous Cous for their continued support over this past week. We realized just how big the number 26 was, and maybe I was too ambitious for wanting to include that many in each blog. That is behind us now because I am done 🙂

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Sorry about the repetition for some of the answers.They say if you write your dreams and goals down they are more likely to come true. Here’s hoping!

Thank you thank you thank you
xox Amanda Sumalee

26 Things On My Bucket List

This list is in no particular order. It took me a LOOONG time to fill up all 26 slots. I guess the ONLY good thing about my birthday being on Saturday is that I can stop blogging these lists! I really didn’t realize it would be take so much energy to think of 26 things to list a day. (It doesn’t help that I have to think about whether all my content is appropriate for the public! I think my answers could vary a little if it was just for my diary…)

1. Own a high quality camera

2. Anything related to flying or that feeling of pure adrenaline : skydiving, parasailing, hang-gliding, heli-skiing, base jumping, being shot out of a canon?, aerial swing. Anything that makes my stomach flip flop!!

3. Become a mother (I envision at least 2 children)

4. Find someone to share my life with

5. To live in Thailand and learn more about my heritage

6. Swim with sharks. I would like to swim with dolphins TOO but sharks is the priority

7. Be a dog owner

8. To run a marathon

9. Own a dark blue Wrangler Jeep (since Texas I can’t see myself without one. ONE DAY long down the road)

10. Have a job that I am truly passionate about

11. Be debt free (goodbye student loans!)

12. Discover more about birth parents/family members

13. Go to Fiji “the happiest place on earth”

14. Travel and see as much of the world as possible

15. Attend more live concert!

16. Go to a live filming of Chelsea Lately. (It used to be Ellen or Saturday Night Live but I have kind of moved on from that)..doesn’t really need to be on my bucket list but I am watching an episode now and she always makes me laugh.

17. When I was a kid I dreamed about living in a townhouse and having my best friend live next door to me….I think my updated dream is to live in a great place near friends. If it happens to be a sweet townhouse I am all for it! Hopefully I will be a homeowner and not a renter for the rest of my life.

18. Get more serious with my RRSP…it’s never too early to start saving for retirement!!

19. To learn Thai. I would like to feel comfortable conversing with other Thais.

20. Create a scrapbook of my life (a couple of pages of each year of my life). I was inspired after seeing my friend’s scrapbook for her daughter. She had 1-2 pages for each birthday. It was the most amazing work of art ever!!!

21. Get my ear bumps removed. Since I was a kid I wanted to get my ears pierced so I could wear dangly earrings…clip on earrings hurt!!

22. Volunteer my time more. I always feel so great before-during and after!

23. Laser eye surgery! Oh ya contacts be gone.

24. Learn sign language…I learned about Helen Keller and Louis Braille in school and am still inspired by their perseverance.

25. Take a bigger interest in learning how to cook and bake. I need to branch out from just the basics.

26. STAY connected with FAMILY and FRIENDS. It takes effort and energy but it will continue to be important to me.

Only 2 more days of blogging to go! I hope I keep my promise and blog everyday until my 27 birthday! Thanks for reading these. Bizzle I have already begun our list 🙂

Always Thankful – Keep Smiling,
xox Amanda

26 Things About Me

5 days left of being 26! That means 5 more days of lists. I hope I don’t run out of things to share with y’all 🙂

1.  I chew gum almost every day

2. As a child I found water “flavourless” but now I love drinking it

3. I am very competitive. Being the youngest of 3 kids motivated me to try HARD. I will admit to being a sore loser.

4. I have never feared death

5. I am NOT a morning person. The first thing I do in the morning is press the snooze on my alarm. I always set MORE than one alarm from daily paranoia of over sleeping.

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6. I have an ADDICTION to cheese!

7. I would rather have a girl’s night in than out. I MUCH PREFER to be makeup free and clad in comfy clothes then dressed to the nines.

8. Money has ALWAYS stressed me out and constantly on my mind. I worry about my future.

9. I would rather run than jog or walk. If I am on the treadmill I CHOOSE sprints

10. I always make a wish if it’s 11:11 and smile when I see the clock at 12:34!

11. Since around the age of 16 — I have wanted to be younger than my age. I frequently lie about my age to strangers because no one believes me when I tell them the truth. [ Last year for my 25th birthday my parents took me out for a celebratory birthday meal and the waitress asked me if I needed a kid’s menu!!!]

12. I LOVE going to sleep to the sound of a rain but especially thunderstorms

13. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated with: pregnancy, childbirth, babies, and multiples

14. I love receiving massages. I also love the feelings I get when I am giving someone one. It is such a simple way for me to make someone else feel great.

15. I would rather be too hot than too cold

16. I wear flip flops almost every day

17. I love watching soap operas because it is my escape from reality. Daytime actors work HARD and get a really bad rap from the entertainment world L I no longer feel guilty about supporting the daytime community! xox

18. I love reading. I find myself going through a period of mourning when I finish a great book.

19. I have a big sweet tooth.

20. I feel unnerved to not have a birth certificate. My birthday is a made-up date!

21. Scared of spiders and snakes and not ashamed by my “murderous way” when need be!

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22. When I drink tea or coffee I have to wait at least 5 minutes before drinking it. I hate eating or drinking anything that is hot! [fun fact: when I first started drinking the beverages I chose to add milk  as a way to help quicken the cooling process.]

23. I don’t like talking on the phone and I find leaving voicemails very awkward.

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24.  I am PERSISTENT on: snapping pictures, video recordings and writing down funny quotes. I do this because I have a bad memory AND because I want to be able to capture and relive it later with others. I want to be able to preserve memories!

25. I love giving people nicknames. It used to be a learning tool to help remember names.  Now it’s a fun habit I can’t kick.

26. Love fuels me. I crave it. I love to be loved.
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