Monday, September 21, 2009

One Week of School Down, Less Than 40 to Go!

So, we've gotten through just over one week of school, including 3 different Curriculum Night sessions. I'm still trying to get totally into the pattern of Kindergarten half-days. In the mornings, while we're in morning sessions, I'm trying to work from home, to save an extra 40 mins/day of communting time. It's working mostly- except when the kids have a dentist appointment, or a doctor's appointment, like today. That throws me a bit off schedule. But its mostly working for me. I'll get really into the routine just in time to change to the afternoon sessions.

Here's first day of school (before the tears!). Is he a big kid now or what?

I also have to mention that one of our local Moms has started a fabulous little website, where she is offering embroidered fleece items for sale. Click HERE to get to her site. I've ordered some of her adorable shoe bags for my nieces- great for ballet slippers or anything at all. I'm also going to order some fleece pillows from her, but I'm trying to finalize what colours/designs go with what kids! She has Chinese-themed and non-Asian themed designs, designs for boys and girls- something for everyone. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Relaxation Week... is over

We had a full week to recover from our trip to Toronto before going back to work (yesterday) and school (today for the girls, tomorrow for my big Kindergarten boy!). It was a much needed week of relaxation. Here's some of what I did.

1) I read this:

You have to love the quaintness of Agatha Christie novels. So British. For the record, I also used to watch Angela Landsbury in "Murder, She Wrote", and I love the PBS Mystery shows (especially "Rosemary and Thyme", the English gardening and crime-fighting crones who make me look forward to being in my late 50s!).

2) I pinned together the layers for my daughter's quilt. I has been a wip (work in progress) for over a year now. All that is left is to machine quilt it, and put a binding on it. I expect it might be ready by Christmas 2010.

3) I resurrected this knitting project:

If you can't tell, it is a simple scarf, making use of short rows to change the orientation of the knitting in a consistent pattern. I made a scarf using this pattern last winter for a friend. I might keep this one. It's made from sock yarn, so is really soft and a bit stretchy. DH thinks its a bit 1970's psychadelic, but I don't think so.

4) We (DH & I, not the kids) also started watching Season 1 of this HBO series:

I'm pretty sure it is horribly inaccurate in a historical sense, but it is entertaining and I particularly enjoyed watching episode 7, directed by Tim Van Patten. (Remember the Van Pattens from te 1970s & 80s? Tim is Dick's half brother and Vincent's uncle).
And that is how I decompressed after the family vacation we'd rather forget. There were also a couple of nice and calm family outings, proving that, we can be a functional family unit- most of the time!

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Don't Call Me Mother"

This is a book written by Ms. Dragonfly, aka Elizabeth Elias, whose adoption journey I, and many others, followed in her popular blog "DragonflyandLadybug". You can find the link to her blog over on the right.

Most of Elizabeth's adoption blogging ended soon after she brought home her beautiful daughter- much to the disappointment of many. The reason why is at least partially explained in her new book. She suffered from one of the issues not often raised in the adoption world: post-adoption depression.

I will admit right now that I haven't read E's book yet. However, in my compulsive drive to learn everything I can about adoption and adoptive families, I did read Karen Foli's and John Thompson's book "The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption" 2 or 3 years ago. The realization that adoptive parents can suffer from depression after the much-anticipated arrival of their child is not new. But it hasn't gotten a lot of air-time in what I'll call the mainstream adoption community, either, which leaves many sufferers feeling alone and bewildered.

"Don't Call Me Mother" is a memoir that I believe will reach out to other parents who find themselves in a dark place after their child's adoption. Thankfully, post-adoption depression has not been part of my life, but I want to walk a mile in the shoes of a woman who has experienced it and is able to tell the tale.

Elizabeth's book is available HERE.

This is Elizabeth's second book about adoption. Her first is a delightful children's tale called "Lovebug". I'm not sure if it is still available, but its worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Family Vacation...

We just returned from our worst family vacation ever. For the first 3 days, I fought off a migraine while the girls, now 10 and 12.5 years old, fought each other constantly in the way that only pre-teenagers do... nasty... Our 5 year old was more interested in asking "when are we going back to the hotel?" and "when are we going home?" than in the zoo, or the museum. Sigh.

There were a few bright spots. We met friends while there and did the CN Tower Tour with them. Those few hours with someone else seemed to distract the girls from quarrelling with each other. Then we had supper at the Marche Movenpick (now the Richtree Market) on Yonge. Did I mention we were in Toronto? Fabulous place to visit. We even used to live there- for 3 years prior to having kids. After spending a week on the 401 and 400- in traffic that wasn't even bad, by TO standards- I'm happy to be living much farther off the beaten track. Like I said, fabulous place to visit... and shop in.

Two other bright spots to mention- I dragged the whole family down Queen Street West into the "Fashion District" where there is a wool store called Romni Wool. Here it is:

So, I would have preferred to go myself, but that wasn't really in the cards. So, we all walk from Osgoode station (because we had to see the CityTV/Much Music building), all the way down Queen West until we get past Bathurst. Finally, there is the shop. I spent about 20 wonderful minutes staring at and feeling wool that I can never buy in person here (e.g., Berroco, Debbie Bliss, etc. etc...), until my little people (and my one big person) got too restless. So, I quickly bought 9 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in an orangey-burgandy and left. Oh, to spend an hour or two there. Someday, maybe. I'll have to check for upcoming conferences in Toronto so I can get there by myself. So, the wool is stashed for a few weeks until I finally decide on a sweater pattern.

The other bright spot was a concert. The Jonas Brothers concert, if you can believe it! Our oldest daughter is a fanatic. I mean completely fanatic about them- and has been for about 2 years. Every inch of her bedroom is plastered in Joe, Kevin, and Nick. Last year, we had tickets to see them in the Ampitheatre, but backed out of the trip a few weeks before, due to my work committments, mostly. Good things come to those who wait, it seems. The concert was in the Skydome/Rogers Centre this year and was a real piece of work.

Now, I am saying this as a disengaged observer- I am definitely not a Jonas Brothers or Jordan Sparkes fan. But the production... totally top-notch. Very impressive. Of course, they are of Disney pedigree, so its not too surprising, I guess. It was also the loudest concert I've ever attended- thanks to the high pitched screaming of at least 30, 000 pre-teen girls (most of the other 26, 000 had to be their parents, right?)! I have to admit, the boys are kind of hot. If I was 25 years younger, I'm sure they'd be my Rick Springfield, Scott Baio, and Eric Estrada ;) And I almost have my daughter convinced that Joe's offering to the parents in the audience of "Sweet Caroline" was really just for me ;) (LOL- how old does he think we are!?! I consider myself more of the Simon LeBon than the Neil Diamond era, thank-you very much.)

Anyways, here's a tip: if you haven't seen the romantic comedy "The Proposal" with Sandra Bullock, do yourself a favour and go. I watched it on the plane on the way home. In fact, now that I think of it, maybe that was the best part of the trip...
Naw. It was the wool shop.