Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Little about Our Trip

Well, our little mini-vacation ended up being alot of fun. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the first time this year I could wear a tank top and flip flops. :) I love it!

Our drive down was uneventful. Emma does well in the car. After about two hours of driving, she finally asked, "Are we almost there?" Terry and I burst out laughing. We were both wondering when those words would come out of her mouth!

I'll bet you've never seen a kid so excited to see a hotel room. Upon arrival, there was all kinds of dancing, clapping, whooing and jumping on her "new" bed. We stayed at three different hotels over the five days, and each one got the same reaction. The last hotel we stayed in was Emma's favorite. We stayed there for three days. She had her own bedroom with a TV. We don't usually let her use the remote at home (far too complicated with all Terry's "gadgets") but the one at the hotel was very straight-forward, so I taught her how to use it. Talk about addicted. I think she enjoyed using the remote more than she actually liked watching the TV!

Our first morning in Calgary was kind of a drag. We had to get up early for our appointment at the US Consulate to apply for Emma's travel visa. The appointment was absolutely not what I expected. In fact, I would describe the experience as, well, sort of --- Ukrainian. (No offense to the Americans reading this post!)

First off was trying to find the darn place. I was fully expecting to find something similar to the Canadian Embassy we saw in Ukraine. You know, a building fenced off with a flag blowing outside. When we neared the address of the building, I studied the surroundings carefully to find the American flag. No luck. I started to panic as we only had minutes until our appointment. We flagged down a local who pointed us in the right direction...into a regular looking office building. Hmmm. OK? When we entered the building, I thought for sure we were in the wrong place. A coffee shop, a drugstore and other shops lined the first floor almost like a shopping mall. But in the distance, I spotted a very official looking man who turned out to be the customs guy. We walked up to him and informed him of our appointment and that's when all the action began. Take off your coats.... show me this document and that me proof of payment....stand here so I can scan you. He rushed us through this whole process so fast and then whisked us off to the elevators. When the door opened, he kicked everyone out and let us on. The Consulate was on the tenth floor. When we got there, the whole process of coats off and scanning happened again. We were given a number and shuffled into a room with about fifty chairs. Our number was next. We sat for about a minute before our number was called. We went up to a little window and passed over all of our documents which I had gone over a million times to make sure they were perfect. The lady asked us to have a seat and she would be with us once she had gone through the paperwork.

I couldn't believe how fast and efficient the whole process was going. We took our seat among the others and waited to be called back up. After about an hour, we started to wonder what was going on. We were SOOOOO bored because there was nothing allowed in the I-Pods, no cell phones. There were no snack machines or beverages of any kind. We watched as many people were called up to the windows and were getting denied visas for various reasons. I really prayed that we had not made the three hour drive for nothing. It reminded me of the SDA rejecting a dossier for forgetting to dot an I or cross a T. Don't get me wrong, I know it's serious business and they're not going to let just anyone into the US, I was just hoping I didn't forget a minor detail which would put our application in jeopardy.

FOUR HOURS LATER (ouch!!!!) we were finally called up to the window. Another typical Ukainian "hurry up and wait" experience. We walked a little apprehensively to the window, wondering what the verdict would be....."OH, she's your daughter? And your both Canadian? No problem!" What!? It took you four hours to figure that out!!! Whatever. I won't question the gracious people who have allowed us to travel with our daughter into their country. We were just very happy to have the whole thing overwith!

After that, it was off to the hotel for some fun....

Here we our enjoying our lunch at a beautiful outdoor restaurant....

We had lots of fun on the rest of our trip. We visited the zoo and even took a trip out to Banff so Emma could see the mountains.....

In Banff, Emma spotted some horses and said, "Can I sit on the back?" How could we say no? We enjoyed the most beautiful one hour trail ride through the mountains...

Overall the trip was awesome. I was a little concerned what effect the change in routine and being away from home would do to Emma. But everything went great. She behaved very well and we all had a lot of fun. Actually, the time together seemed to really strengthen our attachment which seemed a little bit diminished since I had returned back to work.

Things have been better since getting back as well when it comes to me working. Emma seems to be getting used to it. We make it a habit of her letting me call me at work after school and sometimes she and daddy come down and see me to bring me a slurpee. Emma really enjoys these things and it seems to be making the transition easier.

This week is a huge week at work. I can't go into any details why as of yet. All I can say is that I need a lot of prayer for favour. I'll let you know more later.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Upcoming Road Trip

Well, I thought I'd try and take a little time to post despite leaving for our road trip tomorrow. I have all kinds of last minute things to do, I may just have to stay up a little late.

We experienced a first the other day with Emma. She has lost her first tooth since being home. Here's what it looked like:

Yes, that's a look of utter fear on her face. We wrestled with the tooth all day long on Saturday, as it seemed to be hanging by a thread, but still refused to come out. Emma was not fond of our pulling, yanking and tying of string around her tooth. We tried to explain to her how exciting it would be to get money from the tooth fairy, but this didn't make things go any smoother. Finally, at the end of the day, I grabbed hold and yanked that sucker outta there. Emma's sheer terror turned into sheer delight when I showed her the little tooth in my hands. She screamed and jumped up and down exclaiming how she is going to get a "new, big one!" (tooth)
Amazingly, this is only the third tooth Emma has lost and she will be eight this year. I guess God is giving us some time to get some calcium into those adult teeth before they come through the gums! :)

The excitement continued the next morning as Emma woke up to money from the tooth fairy. Her big plans for the money: buy a slurpee for daddy and mommy. Sweet kid!

Tomorrow we embark on our first road trip. We will be heading out for five days to Calgary. We have an appointment for Emma at the U.S Embassy on Friday. We need to get her a visa as we plan a winter vacation to the U.S. She needs a visa as she is not yet a Canadian citizen. And, of course, the U.S. embassy is three hours away and she has to apply in person. It took us two months to get this appointment. But it actually turned out to work out quite well, because I have some work training to do in Calgary on Monday and Tuesday, so we'll spend the weekend and maybe try to have some relaxing family time. I dunno.....five days, three hotels.....not sure how the change of routine will be on Emma. The poor girl rarely gets to leave our house, let alone stay in hotels far away. Well, I'm hoping a good time will be had by all.

That's all for today. Time for me to start packin' and get the house good and spotless. And, of course, I have to find out who the new American Idol is! Or, as Emma would say, "Merkin-Idoe"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Little Dancing Queen

It's me again. I found a couple minutes to post today, so I thought I'd share a couple pictures. Emma had dance photos done a couple days ago. She had to dress up in her little dance outfit for her final recital. She's been so excited all week because she knew she would get to wear "nake-up and chapstick." (AKA makeup and lipstick) I can't believe how grown-up she looked. It scared me a little. She's going to be one beautiful girl when she gets older!

Week two of work went a little better than week one. It's still hard, but I'll keep on and hopefully after some time we'll find our new normal.

As far as blogging goes, I will continue on. My posts may be fewer, but as one of my blogging buddies pointed out, it's a great place to network and get support from others who've been through this whole adoption thing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to Work

I'm seriously considering whether or not to continue on with this blog. Trying to work two jobs (one being mom, of course) is proving to be difficult and time consuming. Since going back to work a week and a half ago, this is the first chance I've had to sit down and post. The only reason I found time is because Terry goes out on Wednesdays and Emma is in bed now. If I do decide to continue on, I think Wednesdays will be the only day I will have time to sit down and post. (No post last Wednesday because I was having such a rough week that Terry stayed home to cheer me up. What a guy... I love him so much!)

So, as if you couldn't tell already, I'm not exactly thrilled with the whole going back to work thing. My first day back last Monday was SO hard! A lot harder than I thought it would be. I spent most of the day fighting back tears and hiding in my new office (which needed a thorough cleaning anyway) Terry and Emma came by after school and brought me some flowers. I totally lost it. I just couldn't believe that I was never going to be there to pick Emma up from school again. And losing out on extra family time is a total downer. I just got so used to being there all the time for them.

I hate to be such a whiner, because I know there are so many parents out there who don't even get the luxury that I had. Some come home with their new kids and have to return to work right away. Some don't have the luxury of not needing a sitter. It's these thoughts that have gotten me through this past week. I am so blessed to have been able to spend so much time adjusting to my new life as a mom and always being there for Emma. Now I need to learn how to let go just a little bit, I guess. We'll see. I'm still trying to convince Terry that I don't really need to work. :) LOL! He's not quite on the same page as I am, yet!

Another thing that's been getting me through is some of the people I deal with at work. There has been a huge staff turnover since I left, so many people don't even know me. But the ones who do know me seem very happy to have me back. I've worked with some of them for so long, it's like catching up with long lost relatives! And I've had so many customers stop by my office and even come give me hugs to let me know how happy they are that I'm back. It feels good to have been missed!

The hardest part about the last week and a half has been some regression in Emma's attachment. I firmly believe it has to do with me going back to work, but Terry swears up and down that something else must be causing it. (I think he's scared to admit it, as he thinks this may give me enough reason to stop working) I don't really know what to think. All I know is that it's really a tough thing to go through. Especially after all the progress we've made. So, we're back to making Emma's world small again to try and get her back on track.

Despite going through the hard stuff, we had some joy as I got to celebrate my first mother's day this year. It is so awesome to finally be able to celebrate this day, as the last few mother's days have been spent waiting for a void to be filled. Well, it finally is. I am so blessed!