Well, I’ve been slack at blogging. Big surprise there! *Insert eyeroll here*.
Honestly, we went on vacation in February and then when we got home, our house was full of the flu, and then the world went into total meltdown mode.
Harper spent the 8 days surrounding her 7th birthday with the flu. Poor kid. We did end up having family over for pizza and cake (note to self, order more pizza next year!), which she only JUST felt okay enough to participate in. I kept her home from school that day, and therefore cancelled her kid party, but by the afternoon she felt ‘okay’ so I went ahead with the family party. Nothing like a little pizza, cake, and a brush with the flu.
I’m glad we did it then though, because a few days later, school was cancelled for the foreseeable future and basically everyone went into lockdown mode.
How are we handling that? Just okay.
The month of March consisted of me picking up double my shifts to cover at the hospital, and the rest of time trying to control my anxiety, buy groceries for our family and our extended family who were either quarantined or not keen on risking going out.
Once April came along (547 days later), things kind of settled down some. New Brunswick is doing really well keeping our numbers of Covid low. I’m not sure if I’m just getting used to this, or if its honestly just not that much different than my regular lifestyle. We’re on our second week of official home school from the district, and that is honestly not going that well. Harper and I have such similar personalities that it is not an easy task to teach her anything. I think I’m going to have to make a chart or something of daily tasks and just stick to that. I tried to teach her a couple of fractions yesterday because we’ve been doing a lot of baking, and I thought it’d be useful to teach her. That’s not going the best, but it really could be worse. *shrug*
Now that I have literally nowhere else to go, my excuses for not getting things done has really gotten quite short. I have accomplished several things I’ve wanted to get done for a long time. I mean, I keep adding to the list but hey, what else have I got to do? Yes, one of those things was to blog more, but my kitchen cupboards were really messy and bugging me, and now they’re not…so there’s that.
I’ve made several signs, developed a Tik Tok addiction, hurt my shoulder, started our seeds for our garden, incubated some eggs (due to hatch this week), spoiled my kid on Easter, cried some, laughed some, cleaned a lot, read a lot, and played a lot of Warcraft.
Oh and I dyed Harpers hair pink.
What have you been doing to keep busy?
We see a marriage counsellor.
Wait! Did she just say marriage counsellor?! Holy, they must be in hot water! People don’t talk about that! Sheesh!
Well, maybe they SHOULD talk about it! HELLO! The divorce rate is HUGE, people aren’t even bothered to get married at all, and people are still staying in unhappy marriages ‘for the kids’ (which by the way, is NOT helpful to your kids, but that’s a whole other story).
If people did talk about it, about normalizing the idea that it’s okay to get help, that wanting more for your marriage is a good thing, maybe we could be happier humans. If we could possibly be happy in our marriages, how great would that be?!
People talk about ending the mental health stigma all the time, but no one talks about this. This is important! Working on yourself and your marriage is important work and NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT IT!
So, true to my oversharing self, I’m of course going to talk about it.
Wow. 6 years is a long time to be unhappy, mad, resentful, and grumpy towards someone. Especially someone you love, or at least did at one time. If I were angry with one of my friends for 6 years, we definitely wouldn’t be friends anymore.
Anyway, we have always talked about how we could go see someone to help us figure out how to make our lives run a little bit smoother. To help us with our communication that we all, as a human race, are so good at these days. *Insert sarcastic eyeroll*
Finally, in May 2019, I figured it was time to actually do that, instead of just talk about it. It’s covered under our health plan, so why not? I booked us an initial appointment.
Man, was I nervous. I had it in my head that we were going to talk for an hour about how I was a crappy wife and should probably fix that. About how any problems we have would obviously be my fault.
Totally not how it was.
You guys. Marriage counselling is great. It really is.
- You might need an outside perspective – You know that saying that if you were to throw all your problems into a pile with someone else, you’d wanna take yours back? Sometimes it takes someone else looking at your pile and saying “All of this is figure-outable!”
- Unbiased opinion – I was scared that everything would be my fault. Another thing I’m finding through this counselling and my personal sessions, is that I’m really hard on myself. I’m sure Casey thought that Laura (our counsellor) would side with me because we’re women. I’m gonna tell you, no one is choosing sides. Some sessions might be more focused on your stuff, and others might focus a little more on your spouse, but there isn’t really any side choosing.
- Breaking things down and focusing on changeable things – You know how if you have a big goal to hit, you’re better off making a list of the steps you need to take to get there? It’s like that. If your big goal is a better marriage, let’s break it down into the little, day to day things you can do to get there.
- It’s probably covered by your health plan – Seriously. People often see the price of therapy and think pfft! NO WAY! It’s 80% covered by our health plan. Call your provider and find out. A little bit of therapy is probably cheaper than a divorce!
- It’s worth your time – An hour session every few weeks is completely doable. Especially if you step back and think about wasting 6 years of your LIFE being unhappy! You can spend an hour scrolling through your Facebook feed, you can definitely spend an hour every few weeks working to make your life better.
- You don’t have to be unhappy to go – I wanna put this whole point in caps. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE UNHAPPY TO GO!!!! I feel better now. Don’t wait until it you’ve been unhappy for too long. Go. Now. Seriously. While writing this post I chatted with Casey about it and we both agree that it doesn’t matter what your marriage looks like, it really could only get better, right?! So go, and have a kick ass marriage, because you both deserve it.
I really can’t say enough good things about going to couples therapy. It’s really made a lovely difference in our marriage, and you guys, we weren’t even unhappy when we went. We just wanted MORE from our marriage, and we’re willing to put the time and effort in to make it better!
Disclaimer. I have not been paid to say any of this. These are my own opinions.
Fair warning. If you haven’t seen Frozen 2, there might be some spoilers ahead!
I’m sure we were among the last people who watched Frozen 2 in theatres, but my schedule was busy so I couldn’t swing it. It’s a full day trip to the city for us at the very least. I took Harper out of school on a Friday and we went away for the night to watch it and get some Christmas shopping done (as much as you can get done with your kid there).
I thought the movie was fantastic. I’m really into the themes and little lessons slipped in this time, without making it really obvious. One big thing stood out to me.
“Our love is not fragile”
Thank you Kristoff. Really. Thank you. We’ve been watching and showing our kids Disney movies for so long now, that it seems normal for a couple ot be ‘over’ or ‘done’ after a single fight. Over one partner feeling the need for independence. But not Kristoff and Ana.
Sure, when she took off and left him to his own devices, he sings a little about how that kind of hurt him, but by the end of that song, he’s talked himself back around, remembering that he loves and trusts her to do ”the next right thing.” So he’ll wait for her to return.
And what is the first thing he says to her when he scoops her up as she runs from the earth giants?
“What do you need?”
There was no, “how dare you just leave me like that?!” No, “You can’t just go off on your own like that!” I think he knows at this point what kind of woman he’s in love with. He trusts that she has a good reason for her crazy flight from the earth giants, and for raving that the dam must be broken.
When it’s all said and done, Ana, who does realize that she did take off without any notice and that it wouldn’t feel nice to have that done to you, appologizes to Kristoff for not being more considerate.
He says, “Our love is not fragile.”
Meaning that it’s a bond based on mutual trust. That it’s strong on both ends.
We need to stop romanticizing shallow, self centered love. We need to show ourselves and our children that it’s not normal (or it shouldn’t be) for couples to be constantly upset, mad or annoyed at each other over petty differences. We need to make deep connections that last a lifetime, not just until you have a fight over who does more work around the house or who gets more time off without the kids. We need to strive to be couples that support each other over big and small tasks.
Kristoff doesn’t try and shove Ana aside so he can do the saving. He supports her and lets her shine. He obviously wants to keep her safe but he’s not going to stop her from doing what needs to be done. He’s going to be there for her and support her.
THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why the world needs a WHOLE LOT more Kristoff!
I see it all the time on social media. “Have a daughter and you’ll have a best friend for life.” “I asked God for a best friend, he sent a daughter.” I’m sorry (not sorry) but I wholeheartedly disagree. My daughter is my daughter. It’s a special bond that you can’t compare to anything else in the world and it’s one of the most amazing relationships to be involved in, but we are certainly NOT best friends.
We probably won’t ever be.
Why? (What a cold, mean mom! I’m glad she’s not my mom! I feel bad for her kid!).
Because first and foremost, I am her mother. I’m her protector, safe place, disciplinarian, cheerleader, confidant, mentor, teacher, role model, and much more. To my friends, I’m their friend. I might be able to spread a few seeds of influence here and there, but overall, I’m not (or I hope I’m not) mothering them. They should be able to talk to me, trust me to give them the best advice I can, but it’s not the same. I’m not going to ever punish my friends for misbehaviour. It’s not my place. I am not going to make them write lines to practice their handwriting when it gets sloppy. I’m not going to make them eat their vegetables. At the end of the day, I don’t snuggle in with them, dreading the day when they’re too old for that. They can take my advice or leave it.
I think it might be a big mistake to aim for friendship with my daughter. Friendship is on equal ground. With my daughter, I should be in a position of leadership. I should guide her to live her best life. I aim to model good and healthy behaviour for her every day, in the best way that I can. When I’m with my friends, sure I’m not going to start breaking the law but I can let loose a little more. I want my daughter to respect me as an adult and her parent, its not the same as being her friend.
I try to consistently discipline my daughter. I’m sure my friends wouldn’t be overly appreciative of my discipline.
See where I’m coming from?
We wonder why our kids don’t respect adults or their parents, this is part of the reason. We’re not friends.
Maybe one day, when she’s grown and I have no more control in her life, we’ll be a sort of friend, but I hope she has her own best friends, of her own age. I’ll hope I taught her how to live her life in a way that her friends are cherished.
Until then, I’ll keep on mothering.
I mean, I’m no parenting expert, so I guess we’ll see how this all pans out!
I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since we woke up to the world having not ended. We unplugged the computers and had candles out, the bathtubs filled, and water and food stocked just in case the Y2K bug took us all out. When it all didn’t end at midnight, we all sort of thought “Maybe it’ll be midnight on New York time…or LA time.” So we went to bed figuring we might wake to the end of the world as we knew it. Turns out we were all crazy. It’s kind of hilarious to think about it now, that we thought the world was so technological back then that we couldn’t survive a virus. Did anyone have any idea what the next 20 years would bring? Not likely.
In the past, I have not wanted to take part in the whole “New Year New Me” BS. I’m still not really into that, but I’m into goal setting, so I thought I’d share my goals for this year. Here they are in no particular order.
- Continue my current weightlifting routine (3x/week).
- Practice yoga twice weekly (seriously, my muscles need it).
- Sprinkle enough cardio into my routine to not die on the Tough Mudder in June.
- Cut down on the clutter.
- Continue to build my sign business.
- Volunteer abroad and at home.
- Travel to a new country or two (or three?).
- Read 24 books.
- Make a habit of tracking my food.
- Practice Spanish daily.
- Run at least 1 5K each month.
- Take care of myself through therapy, daily meditation, journaling, taking time for myself, stop neglecting things I love doing.
- Utilize my planner more efficiently. Plan & Prepare ahead.
- Take care of my marriage (therapy, date nights, time together).
- Finish my Nutrition Coaching Course.
- Check off a couple of my bucket list items.
- Organize one room per month, at least.
- Spend more time with Harper.
- Be more intentional and less mindless on my phone.
- Use less plastic (bags and bottles).
Happy New Year!
It’s a weird thing to describe to someone, how it feels to be waiting to adopt. I’ve done the other type of wait, the wait when you’re pregnant and waiting to meet your baby, to hold them, all fresh and know that they’re okay. The last month of pregnancy is at least 400 days long, I can fully vouch for that. I knew I was pregnant very early on, so it felt like a really really long 41.5 weeks. The fact that I was huge and could barely breathe only exaggerated matters. Waiting to adopt though, is so very different.
You don’t get a phone call or email when you’ve finally gone into labour. Every twinge and funny gurgle in your belly is a little bit of hope that it might be time. With adoption, every single phone call I get, in the back of my mind I think, “Could this be it?” Especially if the caller ID says UNKNOWN. That’ll really make your heart skip a beat. I check my email way more times in the run of a day than is necessary. I know that if it’s important they’ll likely phone me, but honestly, you never know. I have to say, it’s pretty disappointing to only ever get junk mail.
Sometimes when it’s quiet at the house, I can’t help my mind from wandering. I’ll think that quiet times like that will be less common. I’ll over think a little too, about “What if we end up adopting two?” Could we handle it? What will they be like? Will they resent us for taking them out of their home country? Will they have interest in their birth parents? Or none at all? Will they know english? How old? What gender? What have their lives been like before we met? What about before they went into the orphanage? What were the circumstances surrounding them being placed into an orphanage? What if we know nothing? What if we know their whole family history? I’m sure it’s completely normal to wonder these things.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s all going to fall out from beneath our feet. We’ve done so much paperwork, put so much time and effort and heart into this so far, but it won’t be ‘real’ for us, not really, until we get the call. Honestly, I sometimes fear that I’ll get an email saying that they’ve taken us off the list because they’ve decided that I’m not fit anymore, that we couldn’t handle another child, or maybe that my BMI is too high for their liking (yes, part of the requirements to adopt from the Philippines is to be under a certain BMI, and yes, they CAN make that a requirement).
This past Christmas was really emotional for me, which kind of hit me out of the blue. This year I’ll be a bit more prepared for it. We’re a family that hangs out fairly often on a regular basis anyway, but even more so surrounding the holidays. It’s almost too much to try and visit with and see everyone we want to see and who wants to see us. I couldn’t help but think of where our child was right then. Had they been born already? Were they sitting in an orphanage over Christmas? Did they feel loved? Or lonely? I wished they could be with us already, enjoying the love of our family.
We always have it in the back of our minds. We’re making plans for our next family vacations, as well as our 10 year anniversary next year, and we honestly have to think about what we might do if we booked something and then got the call for our adoption. Travel cancellation insurance is a really good idea.
As you can see, there are a lot of questions surrounding adoption for me, and I’m sure for others in the same situation as us too. All I can really do is wait, as patiently as possible, and pray that our future child or children are being well taken care of until we can hold them in our arms.
It’s been over a year since I posted about our intentions to adopt. At that time, we had finally sent in our completed dossier to the our agency.
Quite a lot has happened since then. After we sent the dossier to our agency, they got back to us, saying they thought it would be best to update our information, since it took so long to get everything notarized and organized that most of our documents would be out of date by the time they made it to the Philippines. That really sucked. We had to redo our Medicals, our criminal record checks, get new letters from our employers, and new financial statements. Plus they had found a new medical document they wanted filled out for the Philippines specifically. So, off we went to get that all done with and re notarized. Our dossier finally went off to the Philippines probably in August of 2018.
In November we received word back from the Philippines that they had some extra questions from us. We were asked more questions on how we planned to handle becoming a multicultural/multi racial family, as well as specific scores from our psychological testing.
The rest of the questions was the easy part. Getting in touch with our psychologist is like pulling teeth. It took 3 weeks for her to return my original email. We didn’t finally receive the documents from her until January of 2019. 9 weeks after emailing her. With the extra addendum finally put together, we were able to mail it off to our agency and finally off to the Philippines.
The processing time for extra information requests is 2-4 months, so I expected that we wouldn’t hear anything until the 4 month mark. I was scared we’d be asked more questions and have to wait another 2-4 months. I was right in that they took 4 months. We finally got our approval!
It really has been quite a long road of paperwork. We began thinking of adopting in May of 2017, got approval from the province of NB in April 2018, and approval from the Philippines in May 2019.
REPOST from old blog. Sept 21, 2018
I want to start this post off by saying that I’m privileged enough to work with one of the best teams of nurses on earth. We have each others backs and support each other in every hairy situation you can imagine.
Working at a tiny hospital in a tiny town is a completely different experience than that of the nurse in a large hospital. Many people would ask things like “Is it weird to nurse people who you’re related to?” or “Is it weird to see the same people at the grocery store that you saw in the ER that day?” Honestly? It’s not even weird. If you’re doing your job as a nurse, you can separate outside life from what you see in the ER.
But can you? Really?
For the little things, like giving a needle or the medications people take, yes. I don’t remember (or judge) that sort of thing. I’ve had someone ask me if I remembered seeing their bum once. No. No I didn’t. Thanks for the reminder.
For other things, it’s more difficult to forget about. Since it’s such a small community, I get to know, and care about my patients. I am able to form great relationships with many of them, and that is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
There are other things, though, that you carry with you. For a long time. Some days, when I’m going about my life, grocery shopping with my little girl, I see someone and think, I remember nursing your family member, and it brings up all kind of different emotions.
I remember holding your aunts hand while she died. I remember stepping out of the room and blinking back my tears.
I remember the fear on your friends face when they were having the worst day of their life.
I remember holding out hope for you when you were praying that this wasn’t a miscarriage. I remember the joy on your face when you found that it wasn’t.
I remember laughing so hard at your joke that I snorted, which of course made me laugh harder.
I remember the day you felt that you lost every bit of dignity you had. I tried my best to give you some of that back.
I remember holding your hands, sitting on the stretcher, and praying with you.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night, questioning myself, whether I did or said the right thing that day.
I remember being there when we couldn’t save your family member. No matter how hard we tried, and we tried SO hard.
I remember being called in to work in the middle of the night so we could transport you to a larger hospital where you could get the life saving procedures you needed. I didn’t mind the loss of sleep, if it meant you could come home to your family.
I remember the day you were so scared you might die. I remember being scared too. When I see you in the community, my heart sings.
So as you can see, it’s VERY different to work in a small community than it is in a large hospital. Yes, we clock out at the end of the day, but the nurse in us is always going, thinking, remembering.
REPOST from my previous blog on June 5, 2018.
I thought since we are finally finished our dossier and have sent it on it’s way, that I could write a bit about our journey in adoption so far, and answer some questions that I am getting quite frequently.
I’ll start at the beginning. Which was actually over a year ago. We decided it was nearly time to being adding to our family, so I went off of birth control in January, with the idea of actively trying to get pregnant in March or April. As time went on, and it got closer to the time to actually ‘try’, I just couldn’t do it.
Without meaning to sound selfish, I hated being pregnant. I wasn’t even particularly sick, but I was extremely anxious the whole time. We approached our pregnancy with Harper as an ‘all in’ experience. We had a gender reveal party with cupcakes and yummy food, we had a babymoon, we did a cute name reveal. It’s actually where this blog came from. I just didn’t want to look back on it and think, I should have done something else, because honestly, I didn’t know if I would want to, or have the opportunity to do it again. During my pregnancy, I bled frequently. Each time I would think I’d lost her. It was mentally and emotionally draining. We were blessed to carry her to term and now have a happy, healthy, beautiful 5 year old, but I was not in any rush to put myself through that again. Yes, I know that every pregnancy is different, but I found it extremely hard.
We had talked about adopting before, probably a year or so before that. We got the first bit of information from the company that handles adoptions in New Brunswick. But, I just didn’t feel confident in it, as the person who normally did them was out for an extended sick leave, and I didn’t want to be doing this with someone who wasn’t confident in the procedure (not that anyone wasn’t competent, I just didn’t feel like it was a good time).
Anyway, May rolled around and I still couldn’t work myself up to actually getting pregnant again, so I asked Casey, again, how he felt about adoption. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, so for me, it’s always been an option. His answer was basically that he wouldn’t ever pressure me to have another child, and his opinion was the same now as it was when we talked about it before, “Lets look into it.” So, in May of last year, I emailed Gentle Path again and began reading through the first step documents.
So over this past year, we’ve been filling out documents, getting references, and much more, up until we could take the mandatory Adoption Course in September. The course was held in Saint John, and was 2 days about the process and what to expect with our adopted child once he or she comes home. It was a good course, as we were going into this pretty blindly.
Before that course started on Friday we were able to book our evaluation with a Psychologist in the city. We did some mandatory personality testing and had a chat about our lives and marriage. It took a few weeks for this to come back but not that long in the grand scheme of things.
After the course, we were able to begin our home study process. Gentle Path contracted a Social Worker for us, and we scheduled a time for her to come to our home and talk to us. Since we’re very rural, she scheduled a full day to spend with us. In January, she came to our home and we had 7 long hours of interviews. If we didn’t live so rurally, it would have been done over the course of a few visits, but this worked well for us. We also met with her a couple more times, in her office to complete the study.
Once our home study was done and all of our documents were complied, we were able to submit our Dossier to the Adoption Panel in New Brunswick. They reviewed our paperwork and on April 5, 2018 we were accepted by the province of New Brunswick to adopt a child into our home.
Since then, we’ve been compiling a few more documents that were specific to the Philippines, and getting them notarized by a Notary Public. We ran into a few snags doing this, as things needed to be worded properly, and all needed to be signed in blue ink, not black.
So finally, we have all of the paperwork and whatnot sent off to Gentle Path, who deals with it from there, sending it off to the Philippines. Hopefully within a month or so, I hope to hear back from them whether we are accepted or not.
I’ve gotten many questions from people over the past couple of weeks, but I’ll answer the most common right here.
Are you getting a baby?
No. The youngest child we would potentially be paired with would be around 1 year old. Babies aren’t common in international adoption, and you tend to wait a very long time for one. We have applied for one to two children (sibling group) under the age of 5.
Boy or girl?
You actually cannot request a preferred sex when adopting from the Philippines. Some countries allow this, just not this one. We have no preference.
How long does it take?
Honestly, it varies. You aren’t just put on a ‘list’ in the Philippines and just happen to get the next child available to you. You are paired with a child that meets your criteria. We were approved by the province for 1-2 children under 5 who have mild developmental delays, and minor correctable needs. Since we live in such a rural location, we thought it less safe to accept a child who might have serious health needs, where they might require multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, or complicated procedures. I’d hate to think we put a child at greater health risk living on a small island than living in an orphanage in a large city, with access to larger hospitals. We came up with the things we would and wouldn’t accept with the social worker who did our home study, and believe it’s best for our family. Therefore, we will be paired with a child that meets that criteria. I hope that makes sense.
If we were on a list for a very young, healthy single child, we might wait a very long time. There is really no way to know how long it takes to pair each family, as each family has different criteria. My educated guess is between 2 and 3 years.
Why the Philippines?
Unless you go into the adoption process with a country in mind, you basically have to look at each counties rules and regulations and see if you can meet them, and choose from one of those countries. We had a few reasons for choosing the Philippines. We chose a country we have interest in travelling. When our child is older and ready to travel back to the country they are from, we wouldn’t mind visiting the Philippines more than once. It’s a beautiful country with so much to see and do.
What does Harper think?
Harper isn’t really old enough to understand. Some days she says she would like to have a sister. Some days she doesn’t want a sibling at all. She will grow to understand once things get moving.
Why not domestically adopt?
Honestly, this question is deeply personal, and different for each person. It can take many YEARS to adopt within the province, unless you’re willing to accept an older child or a child with serious heath issues. It’s a whole different process to get a home study finished and submitted. Casey and I love to travel and I suppose that I can only speak for myself when I say I have a heart for people who live in poverty that many in our town have never seen. Orphanages don’t exist here anymore, but just thinking that my future child is currently laying in a crib in an orphanage that is underfunded and understaffed fills me with both hope and sadness. We can’t change the world with adopting a child but we can change the world for that one child. Adoption is no small thing to take on. You have to have it in your heart, and this is what’s in mine.
That’s all I can really think of, when it comes to frequently asked questions. If you have any, I’d love to answer them. If you’re interested in adoption, I’d love to point you in the right direction!