Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall and new beginnings...

The month of September starts tomorrow...the nights are getting colder, and it's starting to get dark earlier and earlier already. Yep, summer is coming to an end very soon...and the fall is starting! The fall always brings a mixture of emotions for me...I love the back to school period and the idea of new beginnings, with all the possibilities for the new school year still lying ahead. A new year begins, and that's a good time to make a fresh, clean start! I always love the crisp, clean air and the beautiful colors of the leaves on the trees. At the the same time, I'm always sad to see the warm, relaxed days of summer come to an end. It means going back to school...back to work...and back to the daily routine, the grind of everyday life!! Of course, this year the change of seasons also means we're one step closer to our step closer to going to the Philippines and bringing home our baby!! Although Raph is much more practical and rational about the adoption than I am, I know that he's very eager to have a little one running around the this point, we're both very eager to have something more concrete, like a picture and a name!! It's difficult when people ask us: so, how's the adoption going? Any news? You see, we always give the same answer, and I feel like I am repeating myself over and over again!! I sound like a broken record. We most likely won't hear anything before we're sixteen months, before June of next year, we won't have any news!! I know people mean well and want to show interest...I just wish I had another answer to give them!! It's all so abstract and surreal for now. If I were pregnant, I would be able to feel the baby move, and people could see the progression as my belly grows. With adoption, it's years of waiting and hoping and preparing before you finally have something to show for it!!

My little niece K started the first grade today. She's been so excited to go back to school! She's been talking about it for weeks. It was really cute to see how happy she was to go to school!! She proudly showed me her school bag, and is really looking forward to having homework for the first time. I hope she continues to feel this way about school!! I can't wait to experience these firsts with our child...first day of school, watching our child learn to read and write...I know our turn will come, we just have to be patient.

In the meantime, we are pretty much settled into our new house. We like the neighbourhood a lot. The location is really wonderful! The renovations on our house are moving ahead and progressing well. We're taking it one project at a time. The carpet on the stairs will be changed next week. We would have liked to put in hard wood for the stairs, but it's just too expensive. We decided to put in a new, clean carpet that's a more neutral color. After that, we would like to change the counter of our upstairs bathroom (get rid of the blue!) and the tiles in our hallway...and that`s pretty much it! Then we`ll be done. I think it will look great! We`ll have updated our house with some little cosmetic renovations that won`t have cost us a fortune. We likely won`t be here for much more than three years, so we don`t want to invest too much money in the house!!

I`m still waiting job wise to hear back from a few different places. I`ve sent off my CV, and in September things should fall into place. Raph has another week of vacation left, which is nice. He goes back to work after labour day weekend. Once he goes back to work, I know that things will roll and he'll have his hands full with his new job. There are still a lot of new things for him to learn! He'll be travelling to Montreal for meetings frequently as well. I know he loves his job, and his team seems to really appreciate him as a boss. So, he'll be occupied and time will fly by for him. I just have to make sure that I find something to occupy my time as well!! I`m keeping my fingers crossed this happens soon, so that I can start planning my schedule and get into a routine of sorts for the fall. I can always fall back on the part-time job at the Y, but I`m hoping something better, something more in my field of study comes along! As we all know, keeping busy helps to pass the time...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FUF Picnic!

We just had another busy weekend! It was a very nice weekend though. Our agency organized a picnic for all the families adopting from the Philippines and Vietnam. It was great to get a chance to meet different families from all over Quebec, at various phases and stages of adoption. I'm a shy and reserved person by nature, so meeting large groups of people like that always feels a bit intimidating to me. I always have to be careful not to stay in my corner and hide in my shell. Of course, it was particularly fun to see all the beautiful children, and day dream about coming back to this annual picnic with our little one some day in the near future. We also got the chance to meet a few families whose stories I've been following through their was really wonderful to finally meet in person! I hope we get the chance to do this again sometime. After the picnic, we planned to camp out with a few other couples from our agency. In the evening, we had a dinner of corn on the cob and hot dogs. Later on in the evening, we made a nice camp fire and sat around the fire, talking about adoption. It was really nice to be surrounded like that by people all living the same thing, people who understand what we're going through and who are experiencing the same feelings and emotions as us. Even though we just met, to me it felt as though we already knew each other. There just seems to be a bond created by adoption that brings us together. The fact that we've been following each other's blogs probably helps!! In any case, it was a great weekend, and I look forward to meeting these wonderful families again sometime soon :0)

Job wise, I had my interview at the local College. Unfortunately, I did not get the position. It went to someone with more teaching experience, a teacher with seniority. I am quite disappointed, it was EXACTLY the full-time teaching position that I really wanted...but, I'm on their list of substitute teachers now and if one of their English teachers should get ill or take a leave of absence then they will call me. I am still hoping this might happen!! It has happened to me twice before in the past, so it is possible! There are a lot of retirements coming up as well, so I will try again in January and next September. I also sent my CV to the school board in our area, and I'm on their list as well. I am also on the list of teachers at a language school in Ottawa...I've already filled in for a teacher a few times there the past couple of, I have a few different possibilities. Now, I sit by the phone and wait for a phone call!! We'll see what happens in September, when the school year really the meantime, I've been offered a kindergarten group at the YMCA after-school program. This should be fun and will keep me busy. Another bonus is that working for the Y gives me free access to the pool and the, I could start swimming again!! Yay!! In the next couple of weeks I should have a better idea of what I'll be doing this fall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On parenting (this coming from a non-parent!)

To be honest, I haven't felt much like blogging lately. It just feels like not much new is happening on the adoption front. Furthermore, I know full well that I won't have any adoption news to report for another ten months or so...

My husband and I have discussed it, and we've decided not to go out and buy lots of toys and clothing until we have our proposal. Although I am very eager and excited to go out and start preparing the baby room, I know that it's better to hold off until we know more. I am a dreamer and my mind is often run by emotions, while my husband has a much more scientific mind, ruled by logic and practicality. We balance each other out. Emotionally, I would love to go out and start buying some clothes and toys for our child...but rationally and practically, I know that my husband is right and that it's more intelligent to wait. From a practical perspective, it's better to wait till we know if it's a girl or a boy, and the age. Whether our child is nine months old or almost two years old makes a big difference in the kind of clothing and toys we'll buy. When you're pregnant, you have something see the baby growing, you can feel it moving, and even hear its heart beat. With adoption, it's's very vague and wish, you dream and talk about it for years with the people around you with nothing to show for it...and then, all of a sudden, you have a one and a half year old running around your home!! A part of me wonders if my desire to buy things for our future child doesn't stem more from a desire to make the adoption concrete and real rather than a real need. So, even though my heart is already with our child in the Philippines, I'm going to hold off on buying things. Once we have our referral, we will still have three months before we actually travel. It will just keep us busy and help to pass the time between our referral and our travel date. Besides, I see a lot of people around me who have tons of toys for their children to play with...and the result is that these children are bored very quickly and easily. It is as though they are unable to entertain themselves...they need constant stimulation. Neither my husband nor I were raised like that...we had a limited amount of toys, and were encouraged to use our imagination and entertain ourselves. I am grateful to our parents for this, for it allowed us to develop our creative side. We hope to do the same for our children. Give a child an empty cardboard box, and they will play for hours. We don't always need expensive, complicated electronic toys. This is my plan and my wish, but we'll see what actually happens. I have to admit that we do actually have a few toys for our dog, and I buy her treats and bones on a regular basis. Our dog is a bit spoiled, and I bet our child will be too :0) Since we don't have children, we may have made her too much the center of the household. It is for this same reason that we would eventually like to adopt two children, to avoid having a single child who's very spoiled and selfish, and the center of our universe. Adoption and having children is a very big part of our lives, but it's not the only thing that's going on. I think it's healthier for the parents to be in charge and to run the household rather than that everything revolves around the children and that they run the household. I know this is easier said than done, and we will surely struggle with this issue in much the same way as we've seen many families around us do. We all do the best we can...and just hope that it's good enough!

My husband and I held a BBQ for all of the members of his team at our house. We were about 25 people in total. I was speaking with the wife of one of my husband's colleagues about adoption and raising children, and she told me that there was one thing that she thought I should always remember: there's no manual on how to raise children, there's no one right way to do it. Every child is unique, every situation is different. You have to make it up and learn as you go can read all the parenting books in the world, but there's just no one right answer! I think of how my mom raised the six of us, each of us a little differently as we each had our own unique personalities and very different needs. There definitely seems to be some truth to this piece of advice. It will be interesting for me to read this post again in a couple of years from now, when I actually have a child and am actually a parent. I wonder if my opinion will have changed...if I will see things differently. Time will tell!!

Other than that, Raph is on vacation for two weeks...yay! We're staying home and's been a big year, and he hasn't had much time to relax. In September, it's going to be busy at work, so he'll be running again...which is why we've decided to just stay home this year and relax. I have a teaching contract for the next two weeks, teaching an afternoon class. We can take this opportunity to visit Ottawa, go bike riding...I know Raph wants to play golf...and we wanted to do our deck as well. Two weeks goes by so fast! I have a job interview at one of the local Colleges tomorrow morning...I'm really excited about that. In the meantime, I've started taking contracts from the language school in Ottawa and by mid-September there will very likely be an opening for a full-time teaching position there. I also have an opportunity to work part-time with children at the YMCA after-school program. Teaching the College class is definitely my top priority. We'll see what happens! It looks like I'll be working in September though...I don't know yet exactly what I'll be doing, but I'm hoping I'll be pretty busy :0)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Six months since ICAB approval!

I've decided to add some music to my blog! Hope you like it. If not, there's always the mute button :0)

It's our six month anniversary today! Wow, time is going by so fast. Already half a year since we were accepted by ICAB. We received some great news last week, as a local bloggy friend, who's also with our agency, received her referral for a baby boy after only eleven months! This is very encouraging, and I am so happy for this wonderful family! I hope everything goes smoothly and quickly and that they get to travel to the Philippines very soon :0)

I'm kind of hoping time slows down a little bit, because I'm not ready for the fall and the colder weather to start already. I feel like we haven't had much of a summer's been cool and rainy (except for my week in Italy :0) But then in Tuscany, it's always sunny and beautiful!) We've been lucky and got the chance to see fireworks over the water twice this summer. We got tickets through Raph's work. One evening was Canada, and the other was Germany. The German show was set to German music, which was neat. It's such a beautiful, spectacular show...and both evenings it was very nice and clear outside, which means great visibility for fireworks! Raph starts his vacation on Saturday...and he doesn't go back to work till the beginning of September. This will be really nice for both of us. We want to go and visit Ottawa, go bike riding, maybe go camping for a few days...paint our deck. I'm looking forward to it! I hope the weather is nice and that we can enjoy it. Then, in September, it's back to work and we'll find ourselves a new routine. We've moved twice in the last fourteen months, so we haven't had much of a routine in a while. In September, it would be nice to fall into a steady, stable routine for a while.

We're settling down in our new house, and we're getting to know our new neighbourhood. The books in the office have been placed, and the last two boxes have been unpacked in the laundry room...Raph put up some shelves for me, so now it's nicely organised. The grey tiles on our kitchen floor are going to be done tomorrow. I'm excited! After that, our kitchen will be done! There will just be the bathroom counter and the carpet on the stairs to do. Painting our deck is a priority, since we need three warm, sunny days in a row to do that! This needs to be done before October. The rest can wait...

Oh, I also read a really good book this's called "The Time Traveler's Wife." It's such a beautiful love story! It's very compelling, and I couldn't put it down! I don't want to give too much away, but the couple in the book struggles with issues of infertility. I think they've made the book into a movie as well. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I definitely recommend the book :0)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our three year wedding anniversary.
Wow, time goes by so fast...I can't believe it's already been three years :0)

Raph and I got married in Italy, at La Pietra in 2006. La Pietra is my parents' house in Tuscany. This is seriously one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Actually, my mom bought a piece of land with ruins, and had everything re-built from the ground up. She insisted they use original material as much as possible. There were literally just four walls, with a tree growing in the middle when she bought the ruins. She bought the land and followed her vision. Now, it's a gorgeous family house with a swimming pool and a chapel :0) It took two full years to build.
My family and Raph's family as well as some of our close friends travelled to Italy for the wedding three years ago. It was absolutely beautiful, a real dream wedding come true. My mom organised the ceremony, the cake, the flowers, the dinner, the music...everything! I took care of the wedding invitations and the the thank you notes. That and the dress fittings were my biggest worries! This was an absolute treat for me; it allowed me to actually enjoy my wedding day. Brides always complain that they were too stressed on their wedding day to actually enjoy it...well, for me everything was so well organised that I was able to relax and fully enjoy the moment. This was the best gift I could have received!

Raph and I have been through a lot together the past few years...with the infertility treatments, mourning the loss of our biological child, and the adoption process. It's made us stronger as a couple. These are the kind of things that either make you stronger as a person and as a couple, and you can grow together, or it can pull you apart and destroy you. I feel very fortunate to have someone like Raphael in my life. I feel very lucky to have such a strong, stable relationship and to be so in love. We have a mutual love and respect for each other, and I can't wait to bring a child into this relationship. Of course we argue sometimes, and I know that we have a lot to learn about being parents. We will make our mistakes too, like everybody does! I am looking forward to becoming a family, and watching my partner grow in his role as a parent. I feel that we are ready now, and both of us are eager to embark on this new adventure! I know our turn will come soon, we just have to be patient. Everything in good time...