Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ethiopian Canadian Kids

I have a friend who has a great website for Ethiopian Canadian Kids.

Most of the events scheduled are for Manitoba but there is lots of other good stuff for families all across our great Canadian landscape to utilize.

So go check it out!

Ethiopian Canadian Kids

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The More Organized I Try To Get....

...the more disorganized I feel.

How is this possible?

I feel like I am running in 100 different directions.

Trying to keep up to a 2 year old while doing laundry, cooking meals, getting in some "me" time, getting in some "husband" time, family get togethers, play dates, Citizenship paperwork.....

Not to mention the pile!

I have a pile on my kitchen table!

A pile!

I detest piles!

I am always bugging Yvan...quit piling stuff...and now!

The pile is mine!

I don't know what is in the pile!

I tried to reduce the size of the pile this weekend but only managed to make it bigger!

I'm feeling like this a lot lately !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You may have already noticed because all of my sentences end with these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I need a holiday from the pile!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go Canucks Go!!!!

(Let this be the caveat that states I am not a hockey fan but because my Momma and Auntie live in Vancouver and do love hockey (especially the Canucks) this is for them. The cute hat and toque are courtesy Auntie Kerry! Tonight is game night and if the Canucks don't pull out all the stops they won't be moving on so hopefully this little cutie helps)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Manic Monday

We all need to feel a little more like this!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess it is a long weekend which means 3 days of having Yvan home to help me keep the wee one entertained!

I confess I went for cocktails with 2 fantastic girlfriends this week and it felt good to 1.) Have an adult drink (or two). 2.) Talk to people who get how hard parenting can be and laugh at our parent-fail moments.

I confess I may have gone a little overboard this week when shopping for Easter goodies to hide for the wee one. No chocolate but fun toys! Can't wait to hide stuff in the backyard Sunday morning for him to find.

I confess we had a busy day yesterday - 2 playdates and then a neighbourhood walk before bedtime. All of this activity makes for a tired boy.

I confess I played Paul Simon's "Graceland" for Ade the other day and he looked at me like I was nuts. Then I played Muse's "Uprising" and he rocked out! Fist pumping and everything! (Right now he is dancing like Mad to the Adele)

I confess the Easter Bunny may not have purchased any chocolate for the boy but he may have for mama and papa!!

I confess we still have hard days. I have to remind myself we have only been home 3 months (next week) and it is all still new for all 3 of us.

I confess we watched the newest Harry Potter movie last night.

I confess I am reading " The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" right now....I hope it gets better because this first chapter is boring with a capital B! Anyone have any good book recommendations?

I confess we are wishing a Happy Easter and Earth Day to all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Family Photo Sneak Peek

We had family photos last weekend with Yvan's family! The gal who took our photos, Arlene Chambers, was wonderful!

It was really cold outside but Ade did so good! The adults were probably whinier then Ade was!

Here is a little sneak peek of what is to come!

(Click photo to embiggen)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Manic Monday

Excercise can make the difference between sanity and insanity

I find that when I get out and burn off some steam I feel much better.

I know this isn't breaking news or anything.

If I can get to the gym and do a work out or go to a yoga class and soothe my mind I can handle the day to day tasks far easier. This was true before we even had the wee one home.

Now that he is home I need to have that hour or so to clear my head and get the cobwebs out even more. But finding the time seems much more difficult these days.

When I don't work out I find I get tired faster, eat more craptastic food then ever, and feel sorry for myself in a gargantuan way!

So, I guess what I am asking for your help?

When do you find the time? How do you schedule it in?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess I almost didn't write this post today. I am feeling a lack of blog-lustre lately. Not sure what to do about it...have to ponder it for a while.

I confess it snowed here last night! SNOWED! Mid-April and it SNOWED! Um strike that!!! It is snowing while I type this! (Insert banging of head on kitchen table)

I confess I am feeling under-stimulated. I need to do something to evolve myself. Thinking about going back to school part-time and taking Pyschology classes and working towards my Psych degree focusing on PADS and PPD. The idea of going back to school at almost 40 is daunting though.

I confess I have been working on "Thank You Cards" for a long time. I used to be able to get stuff like that done quickly but that all changes with a wee one tugging at your pantleg asking you to "Elmo" (which means play).

I confess watching a 2 year old teethe is painful! Life is not easy whether you are 2, 22, or 72! Honestly, you can feel the pain as he grabs his head and cries and looks at you with a look that says "Uh, hello? A little help here would be nice because my gums are being RIPPED APART!!!"

I confess I go thru a couple of days a month where I think no one likes me and that I have no friends...then I get my monthly cycle and remember why I spent the last 2 days crying, feeling sorry for myself and eating everything in sight.

I confess we bought Apple TV and it is amazing! We can stream music and movies from our computer to our TV and they have some fantastic internet radio stations. Right now I am listening to some classic '80's tunes and they just played "The Cure" and "Depeche Mode" back to back. Sigh! Brings back my teenage days!

I confess we are having family photos done tomorrow!

I confess because we have Apple TV and then signed up for Netflix, I am now hooked on watching "Deadliest Catch". Seriously, crab fishing is so dangerous! Who knew!

I confess I am looking forward to the May long weekend because we will get to see my Momma and I miss her a lot! I wish she lived closer so we could spend time together more often.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mother Nature's Cruelest Joke...

..just might be teething (besides PMS, puberty and menopause)

Poor little guy is working on teeth number 5 & 6 since we arrived in Ethiopia 3 months ago.

Right now his 2 bottom canine teeth are half way up and his top 2 are just starting to make their way thru the gums.

Yesterday he could have filled a swimming pool with the drool...he has been feeling so awful and I think the fever came with the teeth pushing.

His temp. is back down to normal today thank goodness.

Thanks for all the well wishes and advice :) it was much appreciated!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Manic Monday

One wee one

One fever of 38.4

Irritabililty, tiredness and not at all like himself =

One panicky mom!

No Manic Monday post!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess we bought wee one a "My own leaptop" and he loves it. He is sitting at the table next to me with lap top singing, dancing and learning his alphabet while I write this post.

I confess we went swimming this week with Grandma and it was so much fun! Wee one loved it!!! A lot!

I confess it is the weekend and it looks to be very nice weather here so we are hoping to get out of doors lots.

I confess we have friends coming home from Ethiopia this weekend with their little baby girl and we are going to greet them at the airport! How different it will feel this time because we have our young son finally home with us!

I confess we booked a great seat sale out to the west coast for summer holidays thanks to a friend of mine. We were thinking of driving but 2 days of car travel with a 2 year old versus cheaper flights and 2 hour air travel seemed a much better idea.

I confess wee one and I are still in our p.j.'s this morning and it feels good :)

I confess it is ice cream time and the local drive up and park Dairy Queen is open for the season and I can't wait to go for a sundae with hot fudge and raspberry toppings.

I confess I haven't got much else to confess right now! Happy weekend to all!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

T-Shirts for Sale!

My friend Julie in L.A. is working hard to raise money for a school in the Kambata region of Ethiopia where her children are from.

She has already made her goal for the Library which we happily donated too.

I just bought 2 shirts for Yvan and me and the money goes to the Kololo school.

You can go here to buy yours!

She is also having a fundraiser evening April 17th - we wish we could be there but alas we must wait for the wee one to have his passport before go for a visit again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Flip Side

As a family, we get lots of looks. Whether it is all 3 of us out together or Yvan out with wee one alone or me...we get looks.

Yvan has noticed them from the moment we got home. I didn't as much because of the haze I was in but I certainly do now. And even after I came out of the haze I just think I didn't pay attention to it. Until recently where I have been noticing the looks more.

We both noticed it in Ethiopia. Mainly because our hearts were breaking each day as we thought of the day we would fly home and Ade would be leaving his homeland. It literally was the hardest thing to wrap our heads around. One day, when I am ready, I will tell the story of leaving the transition home with him but for now that must remained tucked in my heart.

Many Ethiopians greeted Ade with hugs and kisses! They love their children over there. They are not afraid to give affection to any little ones they see. It is certainly is a "village raising a child" instinct and so wonderful to experience.

There were times people told us how wonderful it was we were adopting him and taking him to Canada. We both hadn't a clue what to say! How do you say to someone who is so happy for him and outright showing it how wrong they are. We are the ones who feel lucky. Lucky to have this wee little dude in our life bringing a whole new energy and perspective.

On the flip side, we also encountered people who clearly did not agree with adoption. It was never said with words. A look can be very powerful and body language says what a million words never could. We completely understood their reaction. It would not be easy watching future generations leave the country to go elsewhere raised by families who do not know the culture of their birth country. We could have told them how we will teach our son about his country and to be proud of his heritage. We wanted to tell them we will make trips back as much as we can so he can see where he started his young life but we didn't. It wouldn't have come across the way we wanted it too. We can only hope we don't let them or him down on this front.

Now we are home and starting to mesh as a family. I think the more comfortable we feel with him the more it shows outwardly to the world. This in turns makes people who don't know us feel they can talk freely to us. (I think people were scared to approach me the first month we were home because of the panic in my eyes that said "I have a kid and he is 2 and I don't know anything about parenting at 2 year old so stay out of my way".)

I believe most people are curious which is natural. We have been lucky in that no one has been outright disrespectful or rude to us but I am sure we will one day encounter an awkward situation or too. As Nicky so eloquently writes there are definitely things to say and things NOT to say to an adoptive family.

This is an example of what not to say:

Sunday afternoon we bundled the wee one up and headed out for a stroll around the neighbourhood to get out of the house for a bit. There is a charming little coffee shop just a few blocks a way and since the wind was chilly we decided to head their for a coffee/tea/snack break. As soon as we entered the shop we got a whole bunch of "Awww look at him, he is sooooo cute" remarks. We get this a lot. But for the most part people kept their distance.

One lady however, wanted to chat with us. She opened up the conversation with "We have friends who went over and got a little one from Africa." We asked where in Africa they had adopted but she didn't remember. She "oooh'd and awwwww'd" over wee one for a bit. As we were getting ready to leave she said to me "My daughter is trying to get pregnant and if they can't they are going to go get one". I said "You mean adopt a child?" And she said, "Yes, they will go over and get one".

After we left the coffee shop I told Yvan what the woman had said to me and we both conversed about how it was silly to think her daughter would "just go over and get one". I could have told her how long the wait can be. How much scrutiny you go through not to mention the mountains of paperwork needed. I should have shared our story about how it took 18 months to bring our son home after waiting 20 months for his referral. If we were feeling snarky we could have said "They don't have booths on the side of the road where you can stop and pick up a child." Which is where my mind went first when made her comment.

I didn't do any of these things.

Partly because I didn't feel like starting a debate or an argument in the coffee shop. We were having a lovely time out and I didn't want to ruin it by trying to teach a lesson to a well-intentioned but uneducated woman I didn't know from a hole in the ground.

Partly because I am sure she was going to tell her daughter she met a family who "got" their child from Africa and how she had told us about her. I can almost see her daughter's face as she told her she had told complete strangers they have been trying to have a baby and were considering "going to get a child" if they didn't get pregnant. Complete mortification I am sure.

And partly because I didn't have the time but had I the time I might have bought her a tea and sat her down.

On the flip side, we were out of town Saturday to visit Yvan's grandma, Ade's great-grandma. We went for lunch and while we were there a table of women behind us commented on Ade and how cute he was. Most everyone notices his eyelashes, which are envied by women everywhere we go!

One of the ladies looked at me and said "Aren't you lucky!"

It took me a moment to respond because this is not what most people say. Usually people comment about how lucky he is to have us for parents, a chance at a good life, yada, yada, but she got it!

She 100% got it!

She followed up this remark with "So many families would like to adopt and it is so hard these days. You are so lucky!"

She is right! We are lucky to have him and we know it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Manic Monday

The Upside of things is there will always be a downside!

Once upon a time, in land far, far, away (o.k. the land is where I have always lived) I had a roommate. This roommate was the most excellent roommate. I couldn't have asked for better really. His name was Terry and he and I were great friends. Terry was a wise soul...wise beyond his years.

One year for Christmas, Terry gave me a beautiful silver ring. Engraved inside the ring was the following inscription:

This too shall pass

We lived together when I was in my mid-20's and as everyone knows (or maybe they don't) your 20's can be a hard period. Trying to figure out who you are and what you want to be in life. (Although now I know this can be something you spend your whole life doing.) Terry really helped me sort myself out and encouraged me to go after what I wanted.

He explained to me the meaning of "This too shall pass" because honestly I hadn't heard the expression before. He said: "When things are going horribly remember 'This too shall pass' but also when things are going well 'This too shall pass'. In essence what I am trying to say is; times will be good and times will be bad but they always pass."

It is a saying I have carried with me since. When I am stuck in a rut and it just doesn't seem like things are going my way I say to myself "This too shall pass" and it makes me feel much better. On the flip side when I am feeling on top of the world and like nothing will ever bring me down I am sure to remind myself "This too shall pass".

I don't do it to be a pessimist or a come across a downer.

But it's true. Life is not a constant. It has its ups and downs.

Like a roller coaster ride.

The best quote I ever heard was in the movie "Parenthood" where the Grandma talks about her husband taking her on a roller coaster when she was 19.

She says: "I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it."

And it is true! The roller coaster ride is fun.

However, after the last couple of years a couple of turns on the merry-go-round doesn't seem so bad. Even if it were just for 5 minutes. But the thing to remember is - there will always be an up and then a down - just like a roller coaster. There might be some flat spots but they are just a pit stop before the excitement and life lessons waiting to be had.

Last week, I didn't post a Manic Monday post because I was in the middle of a down. Not a down like when we first came home. I hope to never have that feeling of panic and doom again. The week prior we had a really good week! An "I'm king of the world" week. We were clicking, getting our groove on, having fun and I forgot for that moment "This too shall pass".

It isn't a bad thing I forgot. I actually think it is good I let it slip from my mind because it allowed us, more specifically me, to really start attaching. I'm not saying the attaching and bonding haven't been there. Its just we are all dancing around each other trying to figure out how this is going to work. I will leave this topic of attachment for a separate "Manic Monday" post because it really deserves its own post.

There are certainly things I want to share and it is why I have been writing about my experiences with PADS. However, there are times, feelings and thoughts which just can't be shared. I started out writing these 'Manic' posts because I felt alone and wanted to see if anyone else could identify with me. Thankfully, I am not alone, I don't wish anyone else to feel this way but if you do feel it and are experiencing it, it's good to know there are people who 'get it'.

But there is a young son involved and I don't ever want him to read these posts some day in the future and think "I did this to my mom". "I made her feel this way". In no way is this true. It was the circumstances leading up to him coming home which let to these events. I know this. He must know this too.

So, last week, I had a couple of bad days. As I have already said not as bad as when we first got home, but definitely down days. This is too be expected. PADS or PPD doesn't go away overnight. It takes time. On average it can take about 4 months all the way through to a year to feel fully like yourself again, (According to some reading I have been doing on the topic) to feel the panic and overwhelmingness of it all dissipate.

Some say wait until 6 months to evaluate anything in your new family - like here. I think she is bang on. I think it could take longer for some but certainly don't evaluate anything in the first couple of months home.

I chose to keep the details to myself on the off chance I happened to sit at my computer and spew the contents of mind and hit enter. I know I could remove the post if I felt it was too much but it is the internet after all and "What happens on the internet stays on the internet". It's not like it was so bad I couldn't write about it but in the heat of moment, like in an arguement, things can be said that later would bring regret.

The thing to remember is - The ups and downs are normal.

They do not mean you aren't healing, growing, are doing the work. It is really hard work.

The ups and downs will be a roller coaster.

This too shall pass!