Thursday, 18 April 2013

Adoption Journey : Assessment #2

We had our second assessment Tuesday and we felt it went smashingly. These are the personal individual interviews, where we have to talk about our parents and siblings and our relationship with them growing up and now. While we were still in PRIDE training we heard some horror stories from a few women saying they were in there for close to two hours and it was like they were being grilled, so needless to say I was a little nervous about it. But it was nothing like that. I was done in about 35 minutes, and she just asked a list of questions. A few of the answers were a simple yes or no, but most of them (for me at least) required much more explanation. But apparently I'm succinct and don't talk more than I need to (HA, never would've thought I'd have had that said about me) If I was succinct, then I'm not really sure what word should be used to describe how Jason's interview was haha. He was finished in 12 minutes, we're pretty sure that's some sort of record. She told us to be prepared for anywhere from 30-90 minutes. I was figuring Jason would be around 30, and I'd be closer to the hour and a half. Hooray for small miracles. We have our final (hopefully) assessment in two weeks back at our house, where we're interviewed together about our relationship. So we need to have the floor in by then (if we don't have it in, we can push back it back)
   To celebrate the happy occasion of having the quickest interviews on record we got a crib. I found a good looking crib on kijiji that came with a mattress for $50.

Not 100% fond of the honey colour, but it's solid wood, so it's workable. After we picked up the crib, we went on a little baby related date, that in my eyes was more than worth it, because it was hilarious! We went to Baby's R Us, because I wanted Jason to check out a few of the things I'd tagged as wanted (namely the stroller) Like I mentioned in the Lust List post, I reaaaaaallllllly want the Bob Sport Utility Stroller. I figured a jogging stroller would work best for us because we're both on the tall side (Jason's actually a giant in training), and the ruggedness of the larger wheels lend itself to our type of walking (mostly on trails - or his parents dirt road). We were wondering around the stroller section he pushed a few then asked which it was, I pointed to it and he said, "holy crap look at the size of the wheels!" The Bob strollers come with a "state of the art suspension system" which Jason properly tested out by bouncing it around the store laughing like a maniac. Talking about how the kids are going to be bounced while they walk, and he may or may not take curbs at high speeds just to see how high they can get. I said I didn't really like the hand brake placement - also why it needed a handbrake, he said it would come in handy when going down hills. Wouldn't want the kid to get too ahead of us. Then we both laughed at the visual of the kids barreling down a hill, just bouncing with that state of the art suspension. It was close to closing, and I'm pretty sure the employees thought we smoked something before we came in. We then moved over to the Bob dualies, he was impressed that it bounced almost as well as the single. So, stroller has been picked!

View Full Size 

This beauty will be added to our registry as one of the only big ticket items that will be on it, since we need to have everything by time of placement. Then we checked out the baby seats, to which he didn't have much interest because unlike the stroller, they couldn't be bounced all over the store. We also had to take a look at the baby gates, because we have to have them installed at the top and bottom of the stairs at time of placement. Unfortunately because we don't have walls for them to smoosh between, we can't go for the cheap route, boo...but the ones that have to be hardware mounted tend to look a little better. Perhaps we'll DIY something, I've seen a fair amount of nice looking ones floating around Pinterest. It's nice to have a few things crossed off our baby to-do list, and the fact that it came with more laughs and odd looks makes it that much sweeter. I seriously recommend going to Baby's R Us and rockin' out the Bob strollers, it's a guaranteed laugh.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

April Organize-A-Rama: You Call That an Office?

So, April's apparently half over already? Someone clearly neglected to tell me! I've been working on a few areas, getting them organized, or functioning better, so first up was one area that didn't really take all that long, but has made a pretty big difference so far. That would our "office". We don't don't have a dedicated home office space (yet). But we do have a desk in the corner of our bedroom that we can use as a makeshift office for the interim. His name is Shakey...because if you look at it wrong it could fall over - it's that sturdy, but he does the trick for now.

Sorry about the crappy phone pictures the in-laws have my camera and it was night time) Please pretend that the light is in fact finished and hanging proudly, illuminating the room; instead of unceremoniously slumped half finished and half forgotten in the corner. (While you're pretending the ball of folded paper isn't there, you can also go ahead and imagine that that duct work is enclosed nicely) Now, moving on the desk. It's not particularly unorganized, it's something that's just not really living up to it's full potential. While a light sneeze may bring ol' Shakey down without warning, he still really wants to pull his weight, and help us stay on top of our bills, and taxes, and magazines, and what not. The cords are a big pain in my you know what, and since the desk top doesn't work (and hasn't for close to 6 months) they can finally disappear! We needed a central "hub" for billing and other paperwork, so I wasn't running all over the house trying to find where I'd stored things when we needed them. Plus keeping on top of bills is rather important, because companies can get a little testy when you don't pay on time - and "I lost my bill in a mountain of random paperwork" doesn't really fly with them.
   After about two hours of organizing (actually it was more like 1.5 hours of tracking everything down and about a half hour of organizing) Shakey now looks like this:

Not too shabby of a makeover eh? And yes, it is essential that you be watching Dr. Who whilst organizing. We got rid of the non working desk top and put the laptop up there. Unfortunately we don't have wireless because we're pretty technology illiterate, and our wireless router wouldn't work for some reason when we moved, so we have a massive 100ft internet cord that we just traipse all over the house when we need to move. So coiling it up keeps it out of our way. Bianca the hippo is an excellent note holder for all the corny little notes we like to write each other, and the calendar clipped to the wall tracks all our bills - when they come out, how much that kind of thing.

100 nerd points if you can name what Dr. Who episode I was watching. I plan on adding a cork board (I thought I'd have enough left over from a project, but alas, I didn't) and probably a larger calendar. As for underneath, we've got everything there now, at the reach of our fingertips. Sorted and stored and pretty looking.

I've got all my magazines, which I reference often, I went through them all and threw out ones that I deemed no longer relevant, and took out pages in ones that only had a few nice things - which ended up in the blue binder - that's where I keep track of all the house stuff. (Inspiration, layouts, budgeting, etc.) The green binder I is pretty self explanatory, it's a house for all those called Manuel. Every time I see (or hear) the word manual, I think of Wall-E, when the captain doesn't realize it's a book. "Operate Manuel. Manuel, relay instructions." (Check it out...funny) White file thingy has all our current tax stuff, receipts, papers all that jazz (because we're bad, and still haven't filed yet - still have time). The red binder has the recipes I ripped out of magazines that I then got rid of (can I get a woot woot for throwing out 20lbs of old magazines), it's also where I do our menu planning.

These files house all our important paperwork. Our banking stuff, insurance stuff, travel plans for future trips, medical stuff, yada, yada, yada. The purple ones have all our paid bills stored for tax purposes (two months at a time) and previous years taxes.
   That cleared up paper from all over the house, and has helped my piece of mind, knowing where all our important papers are - so hopefully nothing else gets lost. That crosses one thing of my list, and I'm currently working on the our closet and the blue room, so hopefully those should both be done by this weekend.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Lust List : Baby Gear

Since we're currently on schedule to be finished our assessments and ready to be placed on the "ready to adopt" list about a month earlier than we were initially thinking, it's bumped up our timeline for having to have things for time of placement. We're hoping to get a baby through our adoption, and just like any first time parent we have nothing. I've had a number of things on my wish list from when we were just thinking of having our own, here's what I'm lusting after right now.

I've worked with, and babysat a few little ones who's parents have used glass bottles, and I really liked them. These ones are from Lifefactory and have great reviews. They're BPA free, and are easy to clean (you can throw them in the dishwasher without even taking the rubber sleeve off), and they have interchangeable lids, so it can go from a nipple bottle to a sippy bottle, to a flat cap bottle. They can grow with the child, making them a lot more environmentally friendly than most plastic ones. Plus the fun silicone sleeves give them a bit of personality! 

Ergo Baby Performance Carrier in Black and Charcoal

I don't really know too much about baby carriers, since I haven't really used them very often. But this Ergo Baby Carrier, has received some of the best reviews out of all the carriers I've looked into. It's light weight, and will fit both Jason and I, and grows with the baby, even growing with the child until they're around 90lbs. Plus it's not ugly haha, Jason gave it his stamp of approval, and since he'll most likely be the one carrying the kid in this the most that's important. We like to go hiking, and while we plan on getting an off-roading stroller, it'll be nice to have a carrier for times when the stroller just isn't practical.


Speaking of the off-road stroller that we plan on getting...the Bob Sport U Stroller is our man! I've seriously been lusting over this bad boy for eons! I've used enough strollers in my days to know what I do and don't want in a stroller. And since both Jason and I are tall it can often be a challenge to find strollers that give us enough leg room and that have a high enough handle as to not cause me more back pain. So we figured a jogging stroller would be our best bet. I like that this stroller can fit a baby from two months to up to 90lbs, and also is compatible with most infant car seats. So it's even more-so the right choice for us now, not knowing what age child we're going to get. It's a pretty kick-butt stroller, you can go pretty much anywhere with it!

In terms of a diaper bag, I want something more masculine so Jason doesn't have to be ashamed to be seen in public carrying it. While neither of these options are actually "diaper bags" they're both decent options. The first is a weekender bag, and is actually a DIY, that I could try and rope someone much more gifted than I with a sewing machine into "helping" me make. (I can think of a couple aunts and cousins). It's massive, which is both a good thing and a bad thing, because as an owner of a massive purse, you tend to shove way more in there than needs to be just because you can haha. The other option I like is actually a camera bag. Which means it's not massive, and would be better for streamlining, and only packing the essentials in the diaper bag.

The crib...probably the most essential aspect of the nursery. I love the modern lines of this white BabyLetto crib, and it has a fairly reasonable price tag as well. Because I don't know if you've noticed, but I certainly have...cribs can be bloody expensive! I like the neutrality of a white crib, over the wood tone ones that I've seen.

Since we have no idea the exact age of the child we'll be getting, we wont' be picking up a car seat until we get the call, and know what age. But we still need to know what we're going to get, because sometimes you have to make a quick decision, so we'd have to make a mad dash to pick things up. If we get a fresh out of the hospital baby, we want the Britax Bob B-Safe infant car seat, because it's light weight and matches our Bob stroller, and safe, that matters too. If we get a baby that's three months or older, this all-in-one car seat would be our best bet, and the best use of our money. It can be a rear racing seat for baby's 5-20lbs, then sits forward, and can get rid of the base and it becomes a booster seat, so you don't have to buy three different car seats.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Spring has Sprung & Minor Tweaks

Before monsoon season hit, we were able to get a few things done outside in preparation for the patio, and it was pretty evident that spring had sprung. There were adorable little shoots popping up all over the place, and while I am by no means a gardener, I certainly can get excited about little signs of life growing from the gross, dead looking earth. A number of the bulbs and plants we planted last year in the front garden were coming up.

Aww, look at that cute little sedum guy. Still have to trim the dead stuff...have to wait for it to stop raining for more than five minutes though, which clearly doesn't look like it's going to happen.

 No clue what these little sprouts I labeled things was stick a fork in the ground and trust that my elephant memory would do the rest. Alas, I can't even remember anything we planted in the fall (other than tulips haha)

Speaking of the tulips. The random friends growing in the backyard get more sun so they were a little more advanced. The older teenage siblings if you will.

Those tulips and this (hyacynth I believe) were growing where the myrtle was last year, so I'm not sure how long they were there, if maybe we just never saw them through the myrtle jungle.

Or perhaps it was those dastardly squirrels thinking that when I told them to "stay the *@#$ away from my bulbs" I actually meant, "take what you'd like, and disperse at your leisure". Either way, pretty colours should be on their way.

On a completely unrelated note. I thought I'd share the progress made on some dining room features. Remember Octa, the octopus chandelier?

 Well, she got a bit of a makeover...

Woot! She doesn't even look like the same Octa, eh? We're not 100% sure if she'll stay the glossy white, or if she'll change to a matte black, depends how nicely she plays with all the other pieces in the room. Her shades have jumped ship and she'll just sport a fun round filament bulb.
   The other update came in the form of some butt comfort. Here's what our dining chairs looked like before.

Brown with a pink velvety seat cushion. Now, there was nothing particularly wrong with the wood tone, it just didn't really go with the rest of the wood tones that are going to be in the room, we were going to have to re-stain them anyway, so since they needed to be sanded down regardless I decided to go with that I really wanted. And the best part is, my Nana wasn't even really upset that I decided to paint them. Thumbs up for previous owners approval.


Cool lines eh? (please disregard all the crap in the background, judging by the patio furniture I'd say this picture was taking about September/October haha)

Wabam! Looky looky...and this is only with primer, haven't even given them their final coats yet, then they'll look all glossy and beautiful.

And a detail shot of the new bum padding.

I love them. Jason thinks they look pretty good too. Not too bad for $7 a chair.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Nursery Mood Board: Around the World in 80 Days

Here's round two of nursery mood board inspiration. We're inching closer to having the floor laid in there, which makes my heart go pitter patter. This board was inspired by our love to travel (and my near obsession with maps), and then I found this great vintage Around the World in 80 Days movie poster and it used it as a sort of jumping off point.

Here's what I came up with.

1. Crisp Linen by Ben Moore with yellow, red and blue accents
2. Map Wallpaper by Wallpapered
3. Can't find the original link but here's a cool DIY version of an orb pendant
4. Blue striped reclaimed wood clock (could totally be a DIY project)
5. If you don't have a street sign laying around from your younger days, Etsy's got your back.
6. Water through the porthole looking print
7. A cute vintage bicycle riding dude
8. No vintage travel room is complete without a pair of vintage driving goggles.
9. A wooden mirror for baby to look at themselves (you could easily frame out an existing mirror)
10. Another print, this time of an 1899 car
12. A vintage ship print (this would be another simple DIY)
13. Just in case baby is wondering what letter their name starts with
14. A super cute elephant hook to hang...well whatever
15. A great brass floor lamp for those late night reading sessions
16. My most favourite rocker ever (I want to make our wingback look like that)
17. A simple blue pillow
18. Revamp a mid-century dresser to use as a change table (there's all sorts on kijiji)
19. A ship in a bottle always amazes me
20. Side table lamp for when the overhead light is just too bright
21. Who wants a piggy bank, when you could have a lion bank, and pretend you're on safari!
22. A red Moroccan pouf to rest your feet
24. A cool "magical thinking" rug from Urban Outfitters
25. There's no reason a laundry basket has to be ugly, this one from West Elm sure isn't
26. Cute little suitcases to house toys when not in use.
27. Little rocking bird (comes in different colours)
28. A fun vintage toy train to push around
29. A cool airplane mobile to help baby fall asleep (this is another one that one could DIY)
30. A lovely brown and white crib
31. Simple star sheets
32. A great red and gray quilt to keep the little one warm

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Adoption Journey: Assessment #1

We had our first home assessment last Tuesday, and  again we were a little over-prepared for what was needed. Nothing like working ourselves into a frenzy. We cleaned the house better than it's ever been cleaned. We borrowed Jason's parents new water vacuum, which is amazing! Seriously, it's like magic. It doesn't have a filter but the water sucks everything up. It was pretty great, and made our house smell so fresh. They had given us a checklist of what our house needed in order to pass, and we were a little worried because we hadn't done everything on the list, but she didn't really seem to care, hooray! She started of by taking a (super) quick tour of the house, she didn't even really go in any rooms, just sort of poked her head in them. Which was kind of frustrating because we did a fair few changes to things because they were on the checklist, and she didn't even look at them or notice them. She missed our laundry room all together haha. Then we sat at the table and went over some more paperwork (our insurance stuff, the dogs immunizations, police checks, etc) then we got to talking. She went over the rest of the house checklist, and all we have to do to pass completely is make sure the pulls for the blinds aren't hanging down, install the floors in the kitchen & dining room, and do up a fire escape plan and post it. (Which seems rather silly since we're wanting a baby - I don't know too many babies that can read. But it's the same rules whether you're getting a baby or a 10 year old) We also have to make sure we have baby gates installed at the top and bottom of our stairs by the time of placement. (As well as get all the other baby stuff we may need - crib, car seat, stroller, etc) Another thing we need to have by the end of our assessments is who we would want to have as guardians of our children...which is tough. Especially since we don't have any idea what sort of issues the child may posses, and that has a bearing on who we'd want to have as their guardians.
    Then we talked a bit about our personalities, and how we'd describe each other, which is always fun to hear, how your spouse views you.

(my shy & quiet husband hanging from a tree)

My favourite question of the day, (in regards to our infertility) "why did you choose to adopt, versus remaining childless?" Remaining childless wasn't even an option for me, like I said before, I feel like it's my purpose to be a mother. Jason responded with, "I dunno, I just really want a munchkin I guess." Hahaha, I died a little trying to suppress the laughter. She asked us when we planned on telling the child they were adopted, and I resisted the urge to say we'd make that their 16th birthday present, because not everyone loves our sarcasm...and we fully intend on telling them from the very beginning. She asked us about how we'll deal with questions the child may have about their past, and their family. I told her it was rather hard to answer this far out, everything is situational and needs to be age appropriate, so how are we supposed to know now, what we'll say to them then. Then she told us we would have to tell them everything about their past...even if they were sexually abused, and don't remember, because it's easier for them to hear it from us, rather than read it in their file when they're able to. Which I understand, but holy cow, not really a conversation I'm looking forward to having (not that we may need to), and which age would you drop a bombshell like that on someone?
   We went over the nine pages of what type of child we be okay with getting. They literally cover everything under the sun that could potentially affect the child (or does affect them). We were pretty open to all things, and it's hard to rate a lot of them because we want a baby, and things like mood disorder, or autism, or schizophrenia aren't going to present themselves until later. We both preferred going over the list with her, because she helped clarify a number of them. We're being pretty open to getting a call on anything, there were only a few things we said we would say no to, because we'd take more info on pretty much any baby they called us about haha.  She asked us about our priorities and our values, and our interests, and it's hard to not sound corny or lame when you're spouting them off. Then we booked our next two assessments (she likes to combine the interviews into one so there are actually only 3 woot!), and before we knew it the assessment was over! We think it went well, she never stopped the meeting and said, "well, you're not really what we're looking for" so we take that as a pass. Plus she booked the final assessment with us, so she had to have at least kind of liked us.
  In case you're wondering how Kai behaved...she supervised the whole time...

(You can read about our fertility struggles and our decision to adopt: part 1, part 2, and part 3)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Operation Backyard Awesome : Destructive or Productive?

Jason posed the question when we were digging out, and hacking up, and chopping down things in the backyard if we were being destructive or productive. Actually he was in the middle of beating apart a large chunk of roots when he asked, so he was probably being destructive haha. But I'm pretty sure when it comes to yard work it's a combo of both. I mentioned before about our plans to create a back deck/patio. We weren't able to get to it last year, but we really want to use our outdoor furniture and our patio flame this year, so we have to at the very least hash out our plans in enough detail and certainty to run the gas line for the patio flame (and probably the BBQ at the same time.) We're planning to have someone come out from a landscaping company to take a look at our space, and help us brainstorm some ideas for the space. I know what I want when it comes to the patio (and we've pretty much nailed down how we want it to look) but neither of us know much about gardening, or landscaping so we need some help with that aspect of things. We decided to initiate phase one of "Operation Backyard Awesome" with that massive bush (seriously it's got like a 7ft diameter) we've got just chillin' right in the middle of where our patio will go.

Since it was such a nice day Sunday, we didn't want to be inside, so we got to ripping out the giant bush (And by we, I totally mean Jason, I didn't even have to ask him) He had fun, don't let him tell you otherwise.

He made short work of it, especially since he had these rinky dink little shears, he couldn't find the big ones on his first glance so he stuck with the little ones. Then the dog distracted him...

Until she was done. And when she's done she lets you know...

See, this is her, "I'm done, leave me alone now" look. She always just lays down and ignores you when she's done or bored...and she's usually done or bored after about two minutes. She's a lazy player.
    We took that as a good time to take a breakfast break, before finishing it off.

Huzzah! Bush-be-gone! Look at that giant circle of death. We couldn't get the roots out because the ground was still too frozen (maybe having something to do with the fact that the ground hadn't seen the light of days in years). We'll leave it for a few days, then dig them out. Upon removal of the giant bush, we found some treasure...

And by treasure I mean gross old flower pots, some of which had frozen to the ground, and the bottoms were completely eroded away. The giant one Jase is trying to pry from the grips of the cold, dead ground had so many snails in the bottom of it, I gagged a little. I don't mind snails, they're kinda cool, in a grotesquely weird way, but it was like the mother ship of colony's. Hundreds of the nasty little buggers. We also cleared away all the dead clematis and other junk that was against the house, as well as trimmed the tree that was hanging way over the fence from the neighbours'. You had to almost crawl under it if you were walking there. So phase one is complete, we've cleared away everything standing in our way, now we can get to the fun stages. It was such a productive morning outside, that we decided to bring the fun inside. We also got the dining room painted, and I sprayed the chandelier for the dining room as well. All in all, Sunday was a very good day on the home front.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April Organize-A-Rama

Today's the day! Of our first home visit! We're nervously & excitedly awaiting our Social Worker to get here to get the ball rolling on our in home assessments. Can't wait to let you know how it went.

In other news, since we've been cleaning our brains out this past week, getting our house as clean as it's been in a long time (honestly, it probably hasn't been this clean since we moved in haha - we used this amazing new vacuum) I realized things still aren't very well organized. There's still a lot of displacement happening up in here, because of the kitchen...but now all the cabinets are up, we really have no excuse. So in the spirit of spring cleaning, I made a little pact with myself, that once a week I'm going to have to organize at least one room (or area) in the house. I think the kitchen's a pretty logical spot to start, unfortunately I didn't have time to get all of my kitchen stuff in there before today (since we had a few other more pressing matters to take care of before, and we just ran out of time) so as soon as she leaves (and after Jason and I discuss what went down) I plan on getting all my dishes and glasses and other random goodies that belong in the kitchen up from their dungeon and away in cupboards. I'm hoping to tackle the kitchen, our bathroom, our closet, the magazine & paper issues, the blue room & the basement (and if we're feeling super ambitious the garage).