Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Three Days of Christmas ...

With respect to our family traditions, there are not 12, but three days of Christmas. The festivities begin with a visit to Aunt Jenny and Uncle Eddie's on Christmas Eve, right after an hour+ long mass at the Ukrainian Church. This is our opportunity to
reconnect with our aunts, uncles, cousins and recently, second cousins. We spend the evening drinking, partaking in a 'not so light' lunch and exchanging gifts. On Christmas day, we spend the morning at my mom's opening gifts and preparing for the traditional turkey dinner ... at about 2 o'clock! This is often followed by a long nap ... so we can rest up for the next event ... an evening at Uncle Mike and Aunt Judy's. Here we begin with a festive drink from Derek's bar, followed by another 'not so light' lunch and to top off the evening some traditional accordian tunes performed by uncle Mike. Finally comes Boxing Day ... our day for entertaining! Our event involves .... wait for it .... drinks and, yes, another 'not so light' lunch! We add a 'friendly' game of pass the ace and the game where you get to steal someone's prize ... ain't that the spirit of Christmas?!
We have been following this routine for as long as I can remember and each year I look forward to going home ... I hope we are able to continue our traditions for many more to come ........

Friday, December 29, 2006

We're Back .......

First of all I must address 'the kids' ... they were excellent travellers!!! We had a very smooth ride up north! As for the drive
home ... that's another story. We only had Winston on this leg but my patience was wearing VERY thin ... he was on my lap, back to the 'perch', scrounging in the very back (where I couldn't reach) for OUR turkey sandwiches ... there was no room left in
the cooler once we loaded up on sauce, ravioli and sausages, not to mention 2 of uncle Mike's rolled turkeys ... then he spilled half of my coffee into the cup holder area and drank most of it ... makes for one hyper 12 pound dog!!! And of course I was tired and hungry! How, pray tell, will I manage the trip next year???!!!
Anyway, as usual we had a great visit with family ... lots of food, drink, laughs and late nights! I look forward to continuing our
traditions and sharing them with our daughter one day! Now I'm off to catch up on laundry ....... holidays are officially over I guess!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Heading North ... with "The Kids"

Well, we have just about everything packed and ready to go! I am not sure how the drive will be this year with the 2 'kids' ... besides our beloved Winston ... we have his little brother, Lucky, who has been staying with us and will be travelling along as well. If the camera wasn't packed I would include a photo of the 2 little guys ... they are adorable! Anyway, as I was saying ...
the drive ... should be interesting!! We have two lap dogs ... and I mean that literally ... yet, only 1 lap! Now on one of the previous trips I managed to create a little bunk bed for them in the back so they could have a good vantage point ... very important for bichons! Only time will tell if this will be a successful strategy for a 6 hour drive!
The packing itself, was interesting ... every time Sean put a pair of socks in his suitcase, Lucky was right behind him pulling them out ... he is a stinker! Winston, of course, just sits in his arm chair looking on ... more evidence of his 'human nature'!
My sister was mentioning the same packing procedure with my neice Olivia ... guess this is just more training for us!
So far the weather is looking reasonable ... rain (some possible freezing in the morning) ... at least we don't have to worry about
snow and blizzards ... freezing rain we can handle by waiting it out! So ... safe travels to everyone and best wishes for happy holidays!
No internet where I'm headed so no updates until after Christmas!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Concert or Comedy Club

Our friends, Buck and Lisa, invited us to go to the Christmas concert for their two kids in day care (our godchildren, Grant and Gwen). Well, I can't tell you what a treat that was! We laughed our @#!*es off! These little guys were just hilarious ... they ran
the gamment of 'performances', from the one who boogied his way across the stage to the little ones who cried through it all ... start to finish ... to the parents who had to rush the stage as wee ones toddled ever so close to the edge. As guests we enjoyed the unique opportunity to watch Grant and Gwen AND to check out the other kids ... I'm sure most parents have no clue what the 'other' children are doing. And in time, I am sure we will be no different!!!
Here's a shot of Owen, my friend Nancy's star, and Gwen, who may have stopped crying for the brief moment it took to take the
picture. Grant ... I'm afraid my batteries did not last long enough for your performance ... we'll get you next year little buddy!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I simply read over my favourite blogs and then .......

I don't feeeeeeeelllllll soooooo saaaaddddd!

Couldn't help the musical interlude! You may notice the side bar titled 'What I do in my spare time'. Truly this is what I do on
a daily basis .... live vicariously through the adoption of others! Every day after school I get home, turn on channel 314, head upstairs, grab the computer, bring it with me downstairs to the big brown chair, tune into Y & R and check out the following sites: RQ first for the day's rumours, then Yahoo for any messages from our 'chat group' and then I find out what is going on in everyone's life ... aka, the 'blogs'! I have to admit I am absolutely 100% addicted ... I need some serious intervention ... preferably in the way of a baby! I really think this will be the only way to tear myself away from the computer!!! What is the attraction? Well, simply put, the blogs basically fulfill all my emotional needs .... they make me cry, especially around referral time, and laugh, as well as prepare me for what is to come. They also help to remind me that we are not alone ... this IS a unique experience and it is great to share it with people from all over the world who have BTDT or are walking along with us!
Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories!!!!
As for my favourites so far .... please tune into Elsie Elsewhere (she is crudely honest and has an amazing sense of humour) as do Pomegranate (the mall punk is adorable!) and you cannot miss out on the twins (Do They Have Salsa...). Definitely scroll down to the Santa photo ... it is priceless AND as for their Never Say Never entry .... I am saying NEVER ... do you hear me ....
Of course with all the time I am spending on the laptop I'm missing some of the important events in Jack, Sharon, Nick and Phylis' lives .... can anyone give me the latest info?????

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Thrills and SPILLS ....

While we wait, and wait, and .... wait some more, we ... party? Well, we host Christmas parties ... last night was the second and final one for this holiday season. Last weekend we enjoyed a great video by Sean's staff, followed by some charitable donations.
Each of Sean's staff draws a name out of a hat and then purchases a toy that reflects the person they chose ... then all toys are
donated to St. Vincent de Paul. We, on the other hand, put numbers in a hat and fight over a variety of gifts purchased at the liquor store! Well, we can say there is 'spirit' of some sorts at both of these functions!

Cheers Everyone!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Just When I Was Starting to Feel Confident ...

So, as usual, I anxiously opened up the weekly update from our agency on Friday afternoon. Of course the headline news highlighted the recent referrals that had just arrived ... old news to me! AND THEN, I began to read the next paragraph as follows:

Now the Bad News_
There is never an easy way to tell families, anxiously awaiting their referral, that I
have bad news to share. I can only say heads up, as what I am about to impart, while
not new, will be discouraging for those of you in waiting.

Naturally, my less than optimistic side resigned myself to accept that 'this it it' ... 'my biggest fear' ... they are going to shut
down the program! But alas, that is not so ... our agency was simply informing us that there probably wouldn't be any referrals for Children's Bridge families for the next 2 months due to a gap in log in dates. Not surprising news to me really, as I have been obsessively checking the referral sites to see who was logged in when and how many days between referral dates and blah, blah, blah. Basically it just reaffirms what I have already predicted ... we should get a referral some time between March and May (end of the month most likely!) and travel in late spring or early summer ... we'll see!

Now, how to process the recent referral of a boy to one of our families ... don't get me wrong ... I'd be just as happy BUT what will I do with the pink pottery barn stuff stashed in the closet?????? I never learn .........

Thursday, November 30, 2006

CCAA Update

The CCAA has updated their site this morning ... files that were logged in before Sept. 9,2005 have been matched. Congratulations to all those families who will be receiving photos of their new additions in the next couple of days!!!
What does this mean for us? Well, based on the Rumour Queen's analysis, my new best friend, it is quite possible that
almost all the rest of September will get their referrals at the end of December. It will take at least 2 months to get
through all of October and then ... we are up next ... hopefully! My best estimate is that we will recieve a referral in
March or April. There you have it ... I have faced the reality that things are NOT going to speed up. In the grand
scheme of things ... we have waited almost 10 years ... what's another 4-6 months??!! Let's just hope there aren't
anymore slow downs .... PLEASE!!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Decking the Halls ....

Okay ... 'tis the season to be jolly ... no? Not here! I forget every year just how much work is involved in 'decking the halls'... and to be perfectly honest ... I have been miserable! Up the stairs, down the stairs, boxes everywhere ... I just absolutely detest the clutter I find myself amongst ... it drives me CRAZY!!!!!! I came to the point where I didn't even want Sean to talk to me or come anywhere near the chaos ... I needed to deal with on my own - just me and the chaos, head to head. And now, at this moment, after 2 days of ranting ...... PEACE!!! Ahhh, peace, order and a cup of tea ... now, I'm happy ........ well, almost!
Perhaps part of my misery is deeply rooted in the underlying issue that we do not have 'her' to share the holiday with us this season. We were 100% certain that this Christmas there would be the pitter patter of little feet, milk and cookies for Santa, little hands tearing into wrapping paper, etc., etc., AND of course .... the Christmas tree!!! Instead we can only assure ourselves that 'she' WILL be here next year and that this WILL be her last Christmas without a family, without tradition, without joy AND so ....
the Christmas tree will remain in its box, unopened ... awaiting 'her' as will the beautiful ornament you see!!! Thank you Nancy ..... it is beautiful and we truly can't wait to see it where it belongs!!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm a Survivor!

Well, I did it ... I survived a full day (12 hours) with a "toddler"! I have to say, my neice Olivia was a treat!!!! I was expecting some grief for the first while, or at least at nap times ... definitely when we went back to Olivia's house to let Zoe out and she
then realized ... "hmmm, no mommy or daddy here either" ... BUT, there was none of that! She was happy and lovable the whole time ... didn't even notice mommy was gone ... sorry mommy!!! I even managed to put together a turkey dinner for a pre-Christmas family celebration ... move aside Martha! Actually, I have to admit I had some help along the way ... thank you all!!! Thank you Olivia for needing a bottle and some 'quiet time" before bed ... right when dishes needed doing!

Of course there were lessons to be learned along the way .... some that will be harder than others but I say .....BRING IT ON!!!

Top 10 Lessons:

1. Cheerios were made by God.
2. Winston will settle down ... eventually ... I think!
3. A big thick blanket makes a great coffee table cover.
4. Smiles and cute poses occur AFTER the flash has gone off.
5. Babies love to be naked ... like a few friends I know.
6. I can live with SOME mess ... I think!
7. My 'typical' dinner parties will be a thing of the past ... KD anyone?
8. Nap times are a must ... I have things to do too you know!
9. I'm going to need to do some serious redecorating ... toddler friendly!
10. I think I'm ready ............

Winston, on the other hand, is a whole other story! Check him out, post Olivia ....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's happening with the adoption?

Well, now that I have 'mastered', and I say that with the utmost limited confidence, the basics of this blogging business, I can get down to the heart of the matter ... 'the adoption'.
What is happening with the adoption you ask ... NOTHING!!!! At the moment absolutely nothing is happening, with the exception of a great deal of frustration! Things have certainly not played out the way we hoped or planned, but, what else is new?!
For those of you unfamiliar with the process of international adoption, allow me...

Step 1 - Homestudy and Dossier (our adoption package)
Step 2 - Ministry Approval
Step 3 - Translation of Dossier into mandarin
Step 4 - DTC (Dossier sent to CCAA - China Centre of Adoption Affairs)
Step 5 - LID (Log in date - the date the CCAA logs in our dossier)
Step 6 - Dossier is reviewed by CCAA
Step 7 - CCAA matches child with family
Step 8 - Referral sent out - photo and information about the child being offered
Step 9 - Travel to China for child

We have been through the first 6 steps and are now anxiously waiting to be matched with Cadence!

Of course, if things had unfolded as originally expected, Cadence would be here already!

Our LID was Nov. 10, 2005. At that time, we were to expect a referral within 6-7 months (May or June) and travel about 10 weeks later (July or August). By January, we were told timelines had increased - referrals would take 8-9 months. A couple of months later, our agency sent out more disappointing news - timelines to referrals were going to take 10-12 months. Well, we hoped at the very least, to have a photo of Cadence by Christmas ... oh what a Christmas this would have been!
Unfortunately, by late August the timeline was 12-14 months and currently it is at 15 months ... this means we MIGHT
have a referral sometime in February! That my friends is the BEST case scenario! From the rumours, timelines are likely to
increase even more ... in fact some say it could take up to 2 years for a referral (from LID). We won't likely have to wait that
long, but an 18 month wait is certainly possible. Given that, the worst case scenario is to receive a referral in May and travel in the summer. On the positive side, at least Sean will have paid time off to travel and time to bond with 'the baby'. What can we do ... things are beyond our control ... what will be, will be ... BUT... it WILL be ... won't it?!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Practise Makes Perfect .... ?

Well ... this is an attempt at 'uploading' a photo ... at least I sound like I know what I'm doing!
Now let's see whether it worked ...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Blogger in Training ...

I have spent the last couple of months reading many 'journeys' of faith and hope ... all with happy endings. It is time to share our story .....