Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Happy Father's day!

To be honest, my husband and I have a bit of an issue with some of these holidays, such as Valentine's day, Easter, Christmas, etc... They've become so commercial! We all know they're designed to make consumers feel guilty and go out and buy gifts!! It's all a ploy to get us to go out to the stores and spend money. That's the main purpose. Of course, this is what makes the economy go it's not necessarily such a bad thing!
We want people to go shopping and to stimulate the economy and help get us out of this recession. This is what keeps the economy least, this is how our capitalistic society works.

Don't get me wrong! We both like Mother's Day and Father's Day and we think it's a great concept. I like the idea of thanking your parents for what they've done for you, telling them how much you love them and how much they mean to you. It's a great opportunity to show gratitude to our parents. It's important to do this, and these holidays or special dedicated days provide us with a nice platform to do that. But do you need to go out to the store and buy gifts to do this? Maybe making breakfast in bed can be enough...and can actually be a nicer gesture than a store bought gift! Or for kids, maybe they can make a card or an arts and crafts project for their mom or dad. Personally, that's what I would like the most! Something that my child worked on and made just for me!! This is how we always celebrated father's day and mother's day, both in my family and in my husband's family. Just a little gesture like breakfast in bed, and a home made card or drawing...maybe some flowers. And lots of hugs and kisses and I love yous!! To me, that's what those holidays should be all about. Otherwise, it kind of ends up feeling a bit phony to me. It just feels kind of forced, and it should be natural. I think it's better to keep it real and from the heart. I am really looking forward to starting these new traditions with our child, and celebrating these different holidays together as a family. Most of all, I can't wait to watch and see my husband becoming a father. I am sure he's going to make a wonderful father someday. Words can't express how much I'm looking forward to experiencing this with Raph. It's an intense longing, which runs as deep as my desire to become a mother.

It's hard for me to even think about this, much less write about it, without becoming very emotional and tearing up. I have written before about how I have been contemplating and trying for so many years now to become a mom... but it's more than that. As a couple, my husband and I have been trying to become parents. I see my husband interact with other children, like my nieces, and I can't help wondering and thinking about what kind of a father he will make. I am so excited, thrilled and anxious...not only to become a mother, but also to see my husband become a father and to watch him interact with our child. It's an exciting, new adventure for both of us. We have a lot to learn, I know...
We'll just have to take it one step at a time! Let the adventure begin :0)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kudos to stay-at-home parents!!

It's been a while since my last posting...I hoped to write more often, but with the move, we don't really have easy access to the internet right now! There is no internet at the rented apartment where we are staying right now. I hope to write more regularly once we've settled into our new house. Another week has passed, and things are still going by very quickly! Yay! Things have been pretty busy with the move, and with looking for a new job. I have started sending off my CV, and have received a few letters of confirmation of receipt, but that's about it for now. Once we’re settled into our new house, I will start looking more actively, both on line and in person.

I know myself, and firmly believe that keeping busy is the best and the healthiest thing to do! If I’m not keeping busy with work (or other productive projects!) and just spending my time at home, waiting for my husband to get home...I will drive both of us insane! It’s funny, but while I’m working and on a regular schedule, I actually get much more accomplished and more done when it comes to household chores like cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping. At first, I was really excited to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to enjoy a couple of years of being at home, taking care of our child. I thought that this was the best option. I had a kind of naive notion of how much fun and enjoyable this would be. Last time when we moved up North from the city, I spent three months at home without a job while we were in the period of transition. I was sooo happy and excited and proud of myself when I found a job teaching English at the local college!! The three months while I wasn’t working felt like the longest months ever! I didn’t feel good about myself, I felt unhappy and restless. When I would meet someone and they would inevitably ask me or my husband what I did for a living, I felt ashamed to say that I was between jobs. I mean, I quit my job to follow my husband up north when he got a promotion. It was a perfectly respectable reason to be without a job...and still I felt bad about myself! So much of our identity is tied to our job, to what we do for a living. This experience made me realize that I probably won’t enjoy being a stay at home mom as much as I had imagined at first! Realistically, I’ll probably get bored and feel eager to get out of the house for some intellectual stimulation! I think it’s important for one of us to stay at home with our child for at least the first six build a strong bond and for the attachment process...but after that, it’s time for me to go back to work and for our child to go to day care! I have to build and have a life of my own.

I always wondered at people who had kids and sent them off to day care when they’re only a few months old. What’s the point of having kids, if you’re just going to send them off to day care or give them to a nanny to take care of?! I now see this a little differently! I realize how important it is for me to be busy and happy and to have a life of my own in order to be the best mom and the best wife I can be! Like I said, I was a much happier and more balanced person when I started teaching again. As a result, I was a much better wife to my husband too! And by extension, I imagine that if I’m occupied and happy with my life I will be a better mother. If that means working and sending our child to day care, then that’s what it will be. Besides, day care is great for socialization, and might actually be very comforting for our child. Our child will be very used to routines and to the institutional life with many children and rules, and he or she will probably be very happy at day care! So, yes, I’ve been re-thinking the stay-at home thing in favour of day care and working. Even if I just work part-time, and even if it’s just in a bookstore selling books...I will have the feeling that I’m being productive and contributing to society, I’ll feel happy and proud of myself. Of course, being a stay at home parent can be very gratifying and rewarding too :0) I admire stay-at-home parents, and truly believe that it's the hardest job in the world...

Of course, I do not speak from personal experience! Once we actually have a child, I might re-think everything again. We'll just have to go with the flow and take things as they come....just take it one step at a time!! That seems to be the motto :0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four months since ICAB approval!

Today it is four months since we officially received our ICAB approval.
Wow, honestly the time is just flying by these days! I guess it`s because we`ve been busy with work and with moving. I can`t believe another month has gone by already!
Of course, I`m not complaining. I`m glad that it`s going by so fast. On the other hand, I`m starting to think about all of the things that still need to be done before we travel and before we have our child...honestly, it`s probably a good thing that we still have a few months ahead of us to prepare! Like Raph always says to me, one thing at a time...take it one step at a time! We`ll get there...

Our house in Amos has officially been on the market for a week now...Hydro informed us yesterday that we've already received three offers, so it looks like selling our house is not a problem at all! It's just a question of some paperwork at this point. I really should have known, with the painting and the interior decorating that we mom is an artist and just has an eye and a feeling for this! Not to mention that there just aren't any houses for sale in our area, so there's no competition...there's a shortage of housing, and the house have been selling well, as Raph' mom told us. She's been following the real estate market over there, and was pretty much right on :0) I was a bit worried, because of the economy right now and the housing market up north...but, it looks like I worried for nothing! As usual! I guess I should know by now that moms are always right...both my mom and Raphael`s mom assured me that we would have no problems selling the house, and that we would even make a profit with it...and they were right, of course!! So, that`s great news...we`re very happy with how smoothly and quickly the sale of our house went. Now, let`s hope the move goes as smoothly and previous experience shows, I`m probably worrying and stressing about that for nothing too!! What a waste of time and energy :0)

My new resolution is to try and focus on the positive, and to invest my energy in things over which I have control...and the rest, well...I just have to learn to let it go. It`s no use worrying or stressing about things over which I have no control. It doesn`t do any good! What is that passage from the bible?
Give me the Strength to accept the things I can not change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Or that Doris Day song: Que sera, sera!! Whatever will be, will be...the future`s not ours to see...Que sera, sera!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A nice rendez-vous, and a nice weekend overall!

We've been having a great weekend! The weather's been nice, and we've had lots of nice activities. Raph arrived on Friday. He played golf during the day with some colleagues, and I had my last day of correcting English exams at the College. On Saturday, my six year old niece K had her karate test to get her yellow belt. Raph and I had the privilege to go and watch her. It was really neat to see. She was so concentrated and disciplined! And, she passed her yellow belt. She was the youngest and one of the smallest in the group, but she did it. I am so proud of her!

After the karate, Raph and I had a meeting with a couple adopting from the Philippines. I've been following their blog for a couple of months now, and they happen to live close by to my brother's house! So, we thought it could be nice for us to meet in person! We seemed to have a lot in common, and the timing was good. Being shy and introverted, I admit that I was a little bit nervous about the meeting at first...but I really didn't need to be! It was really nice, and it kind of felt like we already knew each other. I felt comfortable and at ease, which I'm really happy about. It was just great to be able to talk openly and freely about adoption and the Philippines with people going through the same experience! It's different from talking with my family and friends about this...since they're going through the same process as us, they truly seem to understand how we feel and what we're going through. It seemed like sometimes I didn't even need to finish a sentence, and they already knew and understood what I meant. It was just nice to be able to share and exchange! And the guys seemed to get along as well, which is always a very nice bonus :0) We had really interesting discussions, and I hope that we will be able to do it again soon :0)
I'm looking forward to meeting other families in the process of adopting from the Philippines in the near future! There are a couple of families in the Gatineau area whom I've been in touch with, and there's also a family living not far off from where my in-law's, I hope that I'll get the chance to meet up with them this summer, once we've settled into our new house :0)
I feel very lucky to have found so many families in the process of adopting from the Philippines in our area, and I'm really looking forward to meeting them in person :0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cute true story about language issues

I was getting bored with the beige colored background of my blog, so I decided to give my blog a little facelift! Also, the month of May is I figured it was time to move on from the tulips (which I put on to represent my Dutch heritage, and our impending move to Gatineau-Ottawa!)

I have only a couple more days left of correcting, and then we leave for Gatineau! I can't wait to get settled into our new house. I'm looking forward to starting our new life over there. It's great to be in Montreal, I'm really enjoying it. Other than the cold, rainy weather we had last week, that is. It's great to spend some time with my brother, his wife and my two nieces! My little niece K is going for her yellow belt in karate on Saturday morning...I'm so excited for her! We're going to go and watch. I also got the chance to see a couple of my close friends (whom I hadn't seen in a long time! One of them had a baby in the meantime, and I finally got to see him!) It was really nice to get a chance to catch up. I'm looking forward to living closer by and being able to see them all more often. Still, although it's been great being in Montreal, I really miss Raph a lot! Being apart for so long is not easy on either of us! It's hard only seeing each other on weekends. Usually, we have so much to do, to organise and to prepare for both the move and for work that even during the weekends, we haven't really had any time to spend together the last few months. We talk on the phone two or three times a day, but it's just not the same. I can't wait for us to be together in our new house! He has three weeks of vacation this summer...I think that will be good for both us :0)

As for the adoption, not much news! I continue to reflect on the language issue... We were invited to a BBQ last Saturday by some old family friends of ours. Interestingly enough, this BBQ was held at our old house where we used to live when I was six or seven, in the neighbourhood where I grew up. Our friends bought the house from my parents many years ago. It was kind of strange being there with my brother. It brought back a lot of memories for both of us. We lived there for about three or four years. It was fun to see our old hasn't changed all that much! Well, old bedroom is now a black dining room...but other than that, it hasn't changed much at all!

Raphael and I at the BBQ at my old house

Anyway, I digress...I do have a point! I'm getting to it! See, our family friend, D, asked me if I remembered how we first met. I told her no, I thought that she was a friend of my brother or my sister from high school. Apparently, the first person she met from my family was actually me! She was babysitting these two kids one afternoon, and all of a sudden, this little blond five year old girl just wanders in the front door and starts playing with the dolls and the toys! D went over to talk to this little girl, to explain to her that she can't just walk in like that, and to try to find out where she lives. However, the little girl was babbling in another language, so they couldn't understand each other! D was getting worried, so she walked outside with her to try and find her parents. Sure enough, a tall blond teenager was riding her bicycle down the street, looking for Amber! So, that's how she met my family...

It's interesting to me to hear this story...I'm actually a pretty quiet, shy, conservative, introverted person. This bold, fearless, adventurous, out-going little five year old that D describes doesn't resemble the adult me at all!! I kind of wish it did, though! Where did that Amber go? What happened along the way? This story reminds me that I actually didn't know any English or French when we first moved here. I was five years old, and spoke only Dutch. I managed to learn to speak French and English quite fluently, and I think that I will be able to pass this on to our child as well. Children are sponges and learn very quickly. I learned French in Kindergarten, by playing with the other kids. I learned English a couple of years later, and it was even easier for me to learn. Now it has become my dominant language. It's much more difficult to learn a language as a teenager, or as an adult!! Perhaps the younger we start teaching our child languages, the better. On the other hand, another school of thought states that if you teach too many languages at once, at too young an age, that person will likely never really fully master any one language. They'll be able to get by in three languages, without really mastering the intricacies of the grammar and the complex vocabulary of any one particular language. I know this to be true, I am living proof that there is something to be said about this theory! I still think we will try the bilingual approach, where Raph speaks in French with our child, and I in English. We'll see how it goes. And if we see that it doesn't work, we can always make adjustments as we go along! Nothing is set in stone :0)