When the boys are away….

This momma is going to sleep!

Matt has gone away until late Saturday with Alex AND Mason, leaving me alone for 4 days.  I must admit – I’m really looking forward to this time alone.  While I already miss my boys – I really need this break.  For the last few weeks we have gotten in to a bad sleep pattern where Alex is in our bed by 1:30am every night – and will only calm down for me, so I’m going to be catching up on some very much-needed sleep.  I had a girls night last night (Wine Wednesday), I hung up some art / pictures around the house, did a little shopping, and have started getting some curtains hemmed for our living room (they have been giant puddles since March). I’m eating the meals that I want (like a whole spinach pizza last night), eating my favourite snacks (Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn), and enjoying a glass or two of wine.

So when my boys do come home, I will be rejuvenated, less stressed, and one happy mommy!

Storybook Gardens

On Tuesday Alex and I had another date – this one to Storybook Gardens! We were supposed to double date with Emily, Jeremy and Xander, but unfortunately X was under the weather (feel better little man!).  It was a HOT HOT day, but luckily there was a lot of shade and a lot of water features to cool off in.  We went on the giant jungle gyms (shaped like boats which were a huge hit), saw the ducks, the donkeys, played in the splash pad, and saw the sea lions.  unfortunately Humpty Dumpty was under construction (he must really have had a fall), and he was unavailable for  viewing.  But most importantly we go to go on a little train that went around Springbank Park.  That was I’m sure Alex’s highlight of the day.  We are hoping to go again later this summer or early Fall with E & X, so I’m sure it will be even more fun then!

We had gone last year, but most of the activities were way too mature for Alex (except the water park) – Last year at SBG

This year at SBG

I discovered how difficult it is to take good pictures when you are at this sort of place alone.  I do however have many pictures of Alex “driving boats” (aka boa ).

(and from later in the day)

I think Alex truly enjoyed himself.  I can tell firstly because within a few minutes of leaving Alex was fast asleep for our whole ride home. And secondly – because of this smile.

What to do while you wait

Today’s biweekly update from the Children’s Bridge included a good listing of things waiting families can do to help pass the time.  I thought I would share it for those who are in the (excruciating) waiting stage.  I’ve edited the  list slightly to make it more generic, but this list was created by Cathy Murphy from the Children’s Bridge.

Enroll in a language class
What language will your child be hearing or speaking when you receive them? It is a great comfort to your children if we can learn a few phrases or simple songs in their language to support them during their transition into your family. You may not learn to speak fluently but it will certainly enhance your understanding of your child’s culture.

Attend cultural events in your community and learn more about your child’s culture
Join in some of the celebrations for: Autumn Moon Festival, Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Race, Divali Festival of Lights, Kwanzaa, Day of the Republic (October 25) and Independence Day (December 16). Sign up for a cooking class and research and try recipes from your child’s country of origin.

Attend a families-in-waiting support group
Families-in-waiting support groups meet monthly in many cities across Canada. These groups provide you with the opportunity to meet others who can relate to your circumstances and provide support, networking and friendship while you wait! Sharing the wait with someone else who understands can be very helpful.

Find a “mentor” from the adoption community
They’ve gone through the process and can share their experiences with you. What were their joys and challenges during their adoption journey? How can their experience and friendship support you on your own adoption journey?

Read your Adoption and Parenting Resource Kit and books on adoption and parenting
This is when you have the time to sit back and relax with a good book.

Keep a journal
Write your emotions down in a journal. You can record your thoughts and feelings as well as some of the frustrations you will feel with the longer timelines.

Prepare for parenthood
Becoming an adoptive parent doesn’t happen over night but when it is time to travel to your child’s country you’ll want to be sure you’re ready. It’s never too early to look for a pediatrician or family doctor (the wait lists are long in Ontario). There is a list of International Adoption Clinics in the member’s section of the CB web site www.childrensbridge.com. What resources are in your neighborhood? Have you been to your local community playgroup or drop in centre?

The Children’s Bridge is always looking for volunteers to help support our pre and post adoption services. Consider giving some time to the CB Board of Directors or mentor other prospective adoptive families as a volunteer Regional Coordinator in your area.

Safety/childproof your home
Is your house childproof? Have you:

  • Installed outlet covers and plates on outlets?
  • Installed smoke detectors on every level of your home?
  • Used window guards, window stops or safety netting to prevent kids from falling out of windows?
  • Removed window blind cords that have loops, which can cause strangulation? Bought safety tassels to replace cord loops?
  • Installed door knob covers to keep children out of dangerous rooms (bathrooms, garage, office)?
  • Posted emergency numbers next to all phones?
  • Installed safety latches on all cupboards and airtight containers, including refrigerators?
  • Stored knives, sharp objects and heavy pans out of child’s reach?
  • Stored medications, detergents, soaps, alcohol and other hazardous items out of reach?
  • Used back burners when cooking, and remembered to turn handles away from counter edge?
  • Equiped faucets with anti-scalding devices? Also remember never to have hot drinks near children.
  • Latched trash compactor and dishwasher?
  • Ensured there is a fire extinguisher in the kitchen but not close to any heat sources?
  • Made sure trash can has lid and is inaccessible to children?
  • Ensured you have a safe cupboard (filled with wooden spoons, plastic cups and lids, and other harmless items) for your child to explore while you are cooking?
  • Used child safety gate to keep kids out of kitchen when you are not there?
  • Ensured you have a cordless phone to remain mobile with kids around and have at least one cell phone in house for use in emergencies when there is no electricity?

Finish Projects
Finish those home renovation projects such as painting, refinishing furniture or even renovating your home.

And last but definitely not least . . . look after yourself
You’ll need to find ways to deal with the stress of adopting and being in process. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Now may be the time to join that health club, sign up for a yoga or try a thai chi class. Who knows it just may make the wait more bearable! (And work with weights – your baby won’t necessarily be a 6lb tiny bundle – more likely a 20lb+ baby on the brink of toddlerhood. Your arms and back will thank you!)

Go Wild!

One of the nice things about having a young child is that you get to visit all the fun destinations you enjoyed as a child.  On Friday, Matt and I took Alex to African Lion Safari, which was something we both enjoyed as kids.  If you live in South Western Ontario – it is a must visit.  What the African Lion Safari is an animal park where you are caged up (you get to drive around or take the Safari bus like we did).  You get VERY close to the animals – baboons literally jump on your car and the ostriches will peck at their reflection in your car windows thinking they are getting food.  The ostrich is not a smart bird.  The animals live in large reserves where they get to roam free. There is also a splash pad (Yeah! It was over 30C that day), a boat ride, a train ride, and other various attractions.  We went with some friends who have a little guy just a few months younger than Alex, and that made it even more fun. 

Smile! On the bus venturing out on our Safari.

Who ran over my lunch? (told you we were close)

Hayley, Henry & Randy

A leisurely boat cruise - to check out some monkeys.

Time to get WET!

Weee!!! It was hot, I didn't mind at all!

Now, have you ever had one of  those moments where you feel like you are a horrible parent?  We had one just after the splash pad.  I thought it could be fun to go on the little train that took you to the camels and various other animals.  Alex is a HUGE fan of trains right now.  He makes everything and anything into a train, and watches Th*mas the Train every chance he gets.  Mind you he doesn’t like brushing his teeth with his Thomas toothpaste… but that is a different issue.  So, we go to the train line and it is long… like a 30 minute plus wait, it was very hot – and it was well into nap time. So we decided let’s forget it and just go home.  Everything would have been fine… but as we were walking away the train rolled into the station.  Alex freaked.  He cried. He screamed. He tried to crawl out of his stroller.  We felt horrible.  All this little guy wants is to go on a train and we failed.  It WILL happen next week at Storybook Gardens (right E!). 

New Year’s Resolutions – an update

I do have the full year to fulfill my resolutions right?  Because I’m way, way behind.  Luckily there are 171 days left in 2010.

1. Get presentable in a bathing suit.
Well I did gety a gym membership, so that’s a start.  Just need to USE that membership.  We won’t be traveling south any longer (Wedding has moved to Thailand – boooo!).  I’ve just bought bathing suits that cover a lot more for now.

2. Give up my Creative Gals blog. 

3. I was going to give up Etsy – but I have a very strong addiction – and can’t do it at this time. 
In the process of revamping both stores.  Just need some time to craft….

4. Matt and I will go away – overnight – alone. 
Yeah right. Need a sitter that will watch Alex for an extended period of time first.

5. We will start our second adoption!!
Done – but stopped as you know…

6. See a naturalpath about my endometriosis.
Done! Went to my first appointment yesterday.  On lots of new supplements to assist with hormones and pain, but also seems according to the electronic acupuncture machine my large intestines are way out of wack, so stuff for that.  Next week I start a 6 week round of acupuncture.  I’m told by next month I’ll feel much less pain.  Fingers crossed!  If only I didn’t feel nauseous from the supplements.

7. I will start Alex’s Life Book.
Sadly, the most important of all resolutions has yet to be started. I’m still torn between paper and digital. 

Next year – no resolutions.  This is way too stressful.

A week away

On Wednesday we got back from a fantastic week away at Matt’s parent’s cottage in the Almaguin Highlands (just north of Huntsville – where the G8 was just held).  The first two days were spent hanging out with Matt’s parents and his nephew Zach.  Sadly we missed one very important thing while packing – Alex’s new fishing pole.  We did find a substitute, but this little fisherman wanted a REAL fishing pole, something with a hook. It was quite the dangerous scene out on the dock as you might imagine.  He did catch a few fish though, so he must have the Robinson’s touch. 

And like any good getaway, there was some dancing.  Seem’s our little boy is a bit of a Lady Gaga fan.

And there was a lot of food consumed. We attempted pudding again… still quite a mess.

 On Canada Day, Matt’s parents left, and our friends Todd, Staci and their son Jackson came up to spend a few days with us.  We had a great time, enjoyed the water, the ATV, had great food, and perhaps a cocktail or two… or three.  The one real thing that was great with our friends visiting is that Alex slept REALLY well – Jackson wore Alex out!

Like any little guy that visits the cottage, Alex was immediately drawn to the ATV.  He LOVED the ATV.  If he wasn’t on the ATV, he was playing with toy ATVs. 

For the last few days, we explored new areas in the region, swam, and most importantly, relaxed.   And tried to get away for the insane heat.  Yuck!

Well…. we relaxed until the last day. It’s a long story, but the key to the lock on the boat went missing.  We spent over 4 hours searching for that stinking key, and we never did find it before we left.  Luckily the key was found by Matt’s mom a few days later.  Phew!

It’s never easy leaving this place.  We are so lucky to have access to such a beautiful retreat.  But getting home, to our own beds is quite nice too.