Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sigh at a movie

Blake and I just finished watching a movie tonight that if it had ended a few seconds earlier, I would have said it was a great movie.

There is a ton more to the storyline than this, but here are the important parts for my sigh. The couple in the movie decided to adopt, so at the very end of the movie they do the little 6 months later thing, and you see them arriving home with a baby from China (or other Asian country) and there is a sweet little scene in the apartment.

All this made me very happy, and really identify with this couple and be so proud of Hollywood to have this ending... and then you find out that she is also pregnant!

Why?? Why did they have to do that? Wasn't it enough that they were making a family and becoming parents without also magically fixing all their infertility problems (according to the movie, they also did a bunch of treatments too, all unsuccessfully)?

I know this happens occasionally, but it is much rarer than the common myth that as soon as you adopt you get pregnant, and I am irritated that the movie decided to perpetuate it anyways, but that is not my biggest irritation.

It was that by making her pregnant, it made it like it wasn't a good enough ending that they adopted, and that really bothers me! Some people build their entire families through adoption, and it would have been great to give a nod to them instead of continuing something that is largely myth. So... sigh to this movie.

p.s. hopefully by leaving out the movie name and most of the details of it, it won't spoil the movie for you until the end, and then you know anyways, but if you have already seen the movie, you know what I am talking about.


Dear Sea World,
My husband and I had a great time at your park yesterday, but we did have a few complaints. First, although we knew going Memorial Day weekend was going to be busier, we recommend working on the process to enter the parking lot, since it took us an hour to go from leaving the freeway to entering the parking lot, and part of that was due to people using left lanes to cut. We enjoyed getting to see the different animals, like the baby beluga, and we also enjoyed the shows.

Our other big complaint was about food. Around lunch time, every single food establishment had huge, unorganized lines, and so although we wanted to eat something somewhat healthy, we resorted to just nachos for lunch just because it was the only line that was somewhat shorter. Even so, we waited at least a half an hour to get to the front of the line because it ran out of hot dogs (especially since we didn't want a hot dog, and it shouldn't have affected the whole line that the front people were waiting for it). Also, when I got to the front of the line, I was told that it was no longer a line, and so I felt like I had to cut in front of another line to be able to even stay near the same spot in line (though they did allow it). So my suggestion is to 1- add more food places throughout the park for these busy days, even if they are just little carts throughout with a healthy choice or two. 2- It would be wonderful if it was organized so that if/when something goes wrong at a food place, that you have it set up to keep people moving through, like taking orders for hot dogs while they cook, or having a separate line for those just who want nachos.

Even so, thank you for doing a special for teachers, so that I could get in for the rest of the year free. Thank you for rescuing the animals for the pet show, and thank you that in spite of the above problems, my husband and I were still able to have a good time even with a very crowded park.

Lisa Olsen

Dear Blake,
Thank you so much for being the calm voice that when I am ranting about the unfairness of the fertility of the families like the Duggars, you remind me that it is unfair also that there are kids out there who for whatever reason were not able to stay with their parents, and in doing so remind me that I can be part of fixing that unfairness instead of complaining about the unfairness of who can get pregnant and who can not.

I love you so much for that,

Dear Students,
We only have 7 more days together in this fourth grade year, and for the last three, I am not even going to try to get education through your head, but instead celebrate the year we had together. However, Tuesday through Friday, as close as it is, I am supposed to get information through your head... so I would really appreciate it if you could put a lot of effort into trying to listen and not talk, at least for short period of time during the day. I would also really appreciate it if you could leave all drama until the summer, and just think of every child in the classroom as your best friend.

Your teacher

[p.s. none of these letters will actually be sent, but are just a fun way to reflect on my life at the moment.]

Friday, May 27, 2011

Approved Homestudy !

So... on today's answering machine was a message that our home study was received by our adoption agency and that although a few pages didn't make it through the fax (they are taking care of that part for us with that agency), that we are approved!

That is a big step out of the way. According to our adoption coordinator, that means, bottom line, we are technically eligible for referral! (Referral is when they give you a picture and information about a child in Ghana that you can accept and agree to have that child join your family or you can decline) Now, we were already warned that this step could take months (over a year for some families) but to think that we are there... is just crazy!

When we get the sealed copy of the home study ourselves, we will send it with our I600A to immigration and there are a few more steps with that while we wait for a referral, and there is also that one last training video to watch/complete, but really, the next big step is waiting for that phone call or e-mail (probably e-mail) that says there is a match, and a picture of our child, and the chance to accept them, and make them ours!

I thought we still had to do the dossier next, but apparently you only do that when you have a match.

I have such a range of emotions running through me right now... I am definitely excited... but also really nervous... and already wondering what our time frame will be like. Will we be one of those families that in a month or two already know who our child will be? Or will we be one that sees many others get the news they are adopting first while we wait and wait and wait, and watch another year pass before a child is in our home? And there is also the part of me that I have to fight that looks at all the other waiting to adopt families as our competition... even though I am fairly sure that this is more of a first come first serve thing.

Will this be a situation like Disneyland where its okay waiting 50 minutes since you already knew that was the length when you got there, or will it be like the DMV, where even if you know the wait time, it doesn't help?


I have heard that when you get the referral, it becomes a hurry up and wait thing where you scramble to get things together... then wait for paperwork stuff... then scramble to be ready to travel... then wait for a court date, and so on.

Side note, is that this also means that when we get the heart wrenching e-mails of the waiting kids, we are one of those people that has an approved home study that could choose to adopt one of them instead...up till now, we could console ourselves that we couldn't adopt them even if we wanted to.

So many thoughts swirling... each step seems so much closer to it being a reality. Its enough to make me want to start looking at kid stuff again, and reading about parenting and all that stuff that I put on hold when pregnancy just wasn't happening and even adoption took so long it wasn't worth getting my hopes up.

So exciting... just had to share!

p.s. just got an e-mail back from our coordinator, and she said to expect a 6 month wait at the least, because its a big program at this point. Even so... happy to get an estimate, especially since we originally weren't going to start the process until around now anyways. :-) Oh, and I just realized that those families aren't competition... they are the people that keep my spot moving closer :-D Good luck families... get matches!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Summer Reading

Between series that I am in the middle in, have been recommended to me, and new books by authors I have enjoyed in the past, I added my current summer reading list to the top.

But if you have a recommended book or two based off of what I have read before, or have above or on the side etc. I am more than willing to read more if I can squeeze them in.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home study interviews

Yesterday we had our home study interviews, and they really weren't that bad! We had two people and the wife interviewed me, and her husband interviewed Blake and saw the house and then they talked to us together, and that was it!

Blake and I, comparing notes yesterday, found that they asked us very different questions, probably to get a full picture of our family. They also let us know that a lot of what they know about us comes from the stack of papers that we had to give them, including our references, and the interviews in some ways are just a formality to match that what they read in our autobiographies and see in the references matches what we are really like.

I do have to say that it is really starting to feel more real now... besides the one pesky video we haven't gotten to yet... it is just waiting for paperwork type steps before we are at the stage where we are waiting (months?) for that special call (or e-mail?) that says will you accept this child and go through a bunch of more steps for them and raise them and call them yours. That step is huge! I think it is at that step that we go from the potential parent to really starting to feel like parents. And it is coming closer now...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden 2011

Yesterday we took a trip to Morning Song Farms (our CSA) and got to see a bunch of their plants and their animals there, and it made me realize that I haven't really talked about our garden at home in a while.

So I went out, took some pictures (Didn't resize them... so they are big), and decided to do a blog focused on our garden.

First off, its berry season, and we are getting lots of blueberries! So excited! (Apparently we had been getting them for a while now, but only a few, and Blake was eating them when he saw them... so I didn't know as soon :P)
These were all picked yesterday from our plants.

As compared to this time last year, our tomatoes are a bit behind. I have a feeling this is because it has been colder this year than last year, but they are growing, slowly but surely. We even have a few green tomatoes growing, so I have lots of hope for our crop this year!




The two raised beds that Blake built this year are doing well. The first one below has beets, herbs, eggplant and Swiss Chard. We have already harvested beets once (each row was planted a few weeks apart for us to have beets at even intervals) and Swiss chard a few times. Most of our herbs in there are doing well too.

The second raised bed is newer, so the plants are smaller. It has tons of onions, and then some spaghetti squash, pumpkin and cantaloupe. After our visit to our CSA farm, we also got some cuttings of fig trees, so we will see how they do.

Our peppers this year (way fewer planted than last year) are like the tomatoes, slow but growing and doing well.

In other news, we have our first home study interview tomorrow! I am trying not to go crazy cleaning the house or worrying about it, but I am somewhat nervous... fingers crossed it goes well.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ireland Thoughts and Reflections

I was planning on writing a long description of each day in chronological order, but have since decided against that (though I will post my typed in Ireland blogs that are still on my mom's computer at some point) and go more towards the main couple stories I tell my coworkers and friends about the trip.

Overall it was an amazing experience, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go!

It totally lived up to its stereotypes in that it is truly very green with lots of sheep and cows everywhere. Also, our Irish taxi drivers were really nice and talkative and our tour guide that we used Monday was great as well since he was really informative and nice.

We were amazed at seeing such great intact structures that were so very old, most notably the 5 thousand year old tomb. Standing in there, looking up at this ceiling that was made so long ago and still standing was really a great experience. I also loved seeing the 8th century monastery and 12th century castle. Any old structure, I really was impressed by just the fact that it is still there. But the other thing that struck me is how it is just a part of life to those who live there. One place, Bective Abbey was old, and amazing, but local families took it as a nice picnic spot, and kids were playing hide and seek there. I just felt like here, we would turn it into a really guarded area, but since they have so many of these places all around, it doesn't have to be that protected, it can just be an awesome picnic spot!

All my walking tours were interesting and informative, and pointed out things that I wouldn't have known or noticed if I was just walking around by myself. Like the statue of justice at Dublin Castle. Unlike most portrayals of justice as a woman, she was notably not blindfolded, and she faced the castle, not the city. Also, I learned that on rainy days (which are common in Ireland) the scale used to tip! My Irish tour guide said that it was a correct representation of justice in Ireland for centuries, back to the people, tipped scales and not blind. Also, another walking tour pointed out the bullet holes and plaques that I wouldn't have noticed without the tour.

My main hiking day turned out to be the rainiest day, but I am really glad I went because they are also my favorite pictures from the trip. I most felt like I was in Ireland that day too because I was actually around in the green hillsides hiking instead of in the city. At the time I was tired and wet... but still glad I was there doing it.

On that note, it was different than other cities I have been in because there are centuries old buildings everywhere, but it was also very similar to every other city in that there was still graffiti, there was still homeless people, and there were still the major chains (Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks etc.).We did purposely try to avoid the places we could eat at home, though I did go to a Starbucks for convenience one day. Our favorite spot by far was a place called Bewley's. (I think that's the spelling). We ate there for dinner twice, dessert once, breakfast once and a late snack/lunch one day too! They had the best coffee... an Orange Mocha that I didn't try until Friday and feel like I will spend the rest of my life wanting another one!

It was amazing being in the old cathedrals as well, and we even got to hear a men's choir singing in one. At the time, my main thought that I could barely make real is that I am hearing something that people have heard here for hundreds of years! I took some pictures of the inside... but they don't really do justice to the beauty of the stained glass windows or huge ceilings. Even their organs were impressive!

My only negative for the trip was the flying back. Flying there wasn't too bad because we slept off and on from Philadelphia to Dublin, but we didn't sleep on the way back, so it was a long time on planes that day and I was ready to be done by the end. Even so, I would gladly do it again in a heart beat.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ireland Pictures Part 2

Ireland pictures, part 1

No captions yet, but here are the first half of our Ireland pictures.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ireland preview

When I return, I fully intend to write a long extended post (or posts) about my trip detailing what I learned and saw and took pictures of. But at the moment, I am in an internet cafe because I just finished a walking tour that was supposed to be 2 hours, but ended up being closer to three, and while I learned a lot and enjoyed it, there were no real opportunities to sit, so I decided to use this as an excuse to rest.

We are here, we had a great day yesterday, and a good day Sunday, though we were totally exhausted. Today is Blake's first day of work, and my first day of being here on my own. I am doing well with it, and learning to adapt to changes in my original plan. For example, I was going to catch a 1:30 train to Skerries today, but since the tour ended up going long, that didn't happen, and I am not sure when the next one is so I most likely won't be going today, but more importantly I am currently tired (thus the cafe), and hungry (and will be searching for food after this) and my camera is out of batteries (so I need to search for those).

To be honest, I am fine with the change of plans. I have lots of options, currently I am thinking about a museum or two after I get those problems mentioned above taken care of.

I am happy to state a lack of fear as well, since Blake and I were walking around a lot the days before, I now feel fairly comfortable with the layout of our area, and there are TONS of people everywhere, so I don't really have many opportunities to feel alone or scared.

That's my little update.

On a random note... it has been pretty wierd to be disconnected from the internet for the most part while here, having to find out the weather from TV or newspapers, and not being able to check e-mail, but I think its been good to disconnect.

Not sure if/when I will get a chance to post again, but this has been a nice little chance to catch up on e-mails, facebook, and my blogs. :-)