Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Thursday, 29 January 2009

New Year, New Adventures!

Well, it seems my thesis-free time - it has, after all, been over a month - has been long enough to give me an itch to be learning and doing something new. I have actually been mulling over my post-thesis life for a long time, thinking I would maybe take french classes, or photography. Something challenging and stimulating, but fairly low-pressure. Since having Hesperantha, I've also toyed with the idea of getting into some obedience work with her. Just before finishing my thesis I jumped the gun just a bit and joined a book club started by a friend. So I have that once a month, which is lovely. And then, right around Christmas, the church bulletin announced 5 weeks of swing/salsa dance lessons. I think that Geoff has always been fearful that someday I might actually try to get him to take dance lessons with me...I've joked about it a bit, and so when this announcement came out, he realized all on his own that he had no choice in the matter, and that we would be going dancing! And better yet - he likes it! But the problem is, a couple of swing and salsa lessons aren't enough to get really comfortable with it, so we're planning to sign up for an introductory dance class at the university rec centre in town. It starts next week, and we can take other classes after this one if we want to. The dance is a great thing - we get to go out together, and it's wonderful exercise (which we lack, sadly). And, in addition to dance, there's a nearby dog trainer whose level 1 obedience classes start next week, and we're going to try to register for those. So, I think we'll have enough on our plates, because we are also beginning nursery & spare bedroom renovations (floors and trim, mainly) this week, and have a few more skating sessions with the Burmese youth from our church. I wondered aloud, earlier this evening, if we're trying to fit in as much as we can pre-kids, knowing that there won't be quite the same luxury to take classes and so on with little ones (which is ok). We're also planning to get tickets to see Diana Krall in the spring, and "Stars on Ice" in May (yay)!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Email/Mail Magic!

Before the weekend, I sent our adoption caseworker one of those emails that doesn't really need to be sent - wondering if our approval letter had arrived yet from Ontario, and knowing that she would have emailed us if it had. My rationale, based on some superstitious thinking, was that perhaps our letter would show up all of a sudden if I sent her a message. And it did. So, there you have it. Guess today's moral of the story is that acting on superstitious thinking pays off (for those of you who are taking me seriously right now, I'm just kidding). But it was my day today (despite feeling tired and blah about being at work) - after being confused and accidentally showing up 30 minutes late to an Ethics Committee meeting at work (which I can almost never attend), I won a draw for a Starbucks gift card just by being there & putting my name in the box. Then I got a lovely email response from Pizza Pizza, who is sending me a free pizza voucher after I emailed them about my disappointing experience with their new website (LOVE Pizza Pizza). I should likely spend some time entering online contests tonight...or making more customer complaints :) Anyway, I digress...

Now that our provincial approval letter has arrived, the agency can send our dossier off to Ottawa for authentication (the step I kept forgetting about). Typically, the dossier comes back to the agency in 2-4 weeks. Then it is totally ready to go to Ghana.

While I had hoped the dossier would head to Ghana in January, it may still get there in February. And one benefit in waiting for the provincial letter was my discovery of an error or two in our photo pages, which I happened to browse this weekend while sorting all my adoption materials. So, I've sent the corrected pages to the agency & they will arrive this week, in time to go to Ottawa with everything else.

Things are starting to move along, and once our file is in Ghana, we'll officially be waiting for a referral - very much anticipated, and also anxiety-provoking as things start to feel 'real' - but we're getting into final renovation mode (including nursery) now that Christmas is packed away for the year, and I'm enjoying the freedom to focus on life after thesis, so we're feeling good about where things are at!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

New Additions!

Well, since the Durango's transmission quit, and we put in a used tranny that was feeling a bit suspect (and then we started getting only 6 miles per gallon - that is not a misprint), we opted for a new vehicle. So now we're back into a minivan, which is totally fine with us. We had a Caravan for 6 years and it was so handy - from people (and large dog) transporter to renovation materials hauler and back again. And I have this irritation with trying to negotiate regular car doors that are trying to close on me or scratch other people's cars while I'm trying to get things into or out of my vehicle, so I'm a huge fan of sliding doors. As well, people keep reminding us that SUVs come with 7 passenger seating for kids and dogs, which we know, because the Durango was a 7 passenger, however the huge glitch with that set-up is when you have two car seats and therefore no way of accessing the rear seat for your dog or other passengers. When they make an SUV with a sliding door AND a sliding seat to provide rear access, then we'll talk. But I have no shame with the minivan. I have no idea what this whole North American cultural issue is with the minivan stigma. And, a peek inside our new (2006) Odyssey, and you'll realize that sitting in that sporty, snazzy, technologically overloaded cockpit (complete with sunroof) can feel pretty good!

Anyway, that's one thing. And, as part of Christmas/graduation/upcoming travel (where I really want to be able to take great pictures of our kids) we've picked up a digital SLR - so fun. I just need some time to really play with it. We found it very lightly used, and therefore got a good deal on it - picked up our van in Guelph after work on Tuesday, then went by Hamilton for the camera, then home again in time for bed before work the next day! It's a Canon xsi, for those who want to check it out online. Very exciting!

Getting Ahead of Myself

Oops...I keep forgetting that there is one more step before our dossier heads to Ghana. Once our letter of approval arrives from the Ontario government, the whole package has to go to Ottawa for authentication, then come back to our agency, and then they send everything to Ghana. While the authentication is fairly quick (2-4 weeks), this means our dossier will most likely head to Ghana in February, not January, as we had been hoping. We are anticipating our approval letter any day - hopefully this coming week. This has apparently been taking a bit too long lately, at times, so we are hoping folks at the issuing office are off to a good start for the new year & keeping any resolutions related to efficiency!

Monday, 5 January 2009

2009 - Off and Running!

Happy New Year!

Two quick updates to start January off...

First, we had a call from our adoption practitioner to let us know we have Ontario approval, and are just waiting for the official document to be sent to our agency, which we hope will happen this week or next. Once that arrives, our dossier is ready to head to Ghana!

As well, Ghana has just completed an election, and I have pasted a couple of links here so you can read about how that has transpired over the past week: