Sunday, July 8, 2007

retail therapy

A few weeks ago, things at work took a turn for the worse. I love my job and most of the people that I work with, but my workplace is pretty crappy these days. So, after a miserable week, I ducked out of work early and went to a craft show at the Santa Monica Civic Center that one of my volunteers told me about. It was a lot nicer than I expected. They had beautiful art, jewelry and other things. I bought some darling silver mermaid earrings, a pink crocodile passport cover (too cute) and a lilac sachet. I saw a mezzuzah that I considered buying for the baby's room, but passed.

After the craft fair, I went to the Santa Monica Place. I honestly don't know what got in to me but I decided to walk in to Gymboree. I really hadn't bought anything for baby other than the items from Europe. I wasn't looking to spend a lot of money so I went straight to the sale rack. I started looking through and couldn't believe my eyes. There was this darling dress with little pictures all over it. I looked closely and it said Spanish Steps. I looked again and saw Gelateria. The dress had little pictures of landmarks in Rome. Having just returned from Rome, I loved it. I bought this darling jumper and the matching dress.

Well, shortly thereafter I lost my "I can't buy too much too early" sense and it's been a blast. After buying these pieces I went to Ebay where I found the dress in a larger size and a matching blanket. Oh my goodness.....I love this line!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

random thoughts...

I've still got more adoption process to blog about, but it has occurred to me that eventually I'm going to run out of adoption stuff to talk about. So, every now and again I'll take the opportunity to discuss random topics. Here is my first "random" post...

Last weekend I watched the Concert for Diana and this weekend I watched Live Earth. Being a huge music fan, it was fun to see some of my favorite acts performing live. Actually, I was surprised to see so many of the bands from the Diana show playing again this weekend for Live Earth. Then I got to thinking...if I was going to plan a big benefit concert, which artists/bands would I want to include? So just for fun, I came up with my top 10. They are (in no particular order):

Depeche Mode
Justin Timberlake
Rick Springfield
Duran Duran
Damien Rice
Goo Goo Dolls

I'm not sure what my taste in music says about me. Gosh, at first glance I'm thinking....where are the women? And what year is it for crying out loud? I think to a certain extent I'm still living in the past. I mean, how many women my age are still gaga for Rick Springfield? I don't just remember him fondly from high school, I have all of his cds and see him live every year. Come to think of it though, my friends E, K and Y all like him too! My friend E even pinched his behind when we saw him at the House of Blues a few years ago. It was one of the funniest things ever! I can't wait to tell her daughter all about it one day.

Honestly though, there are tons of other artists that I love. For what seems like forever, my mom and I always go to tons of concerts every summer. I guess I should enjoy this summer since it will probably be my last, huh? At least until my baby girl is old enough to come along. I can remember seeing Barry Manilow with my mom at Universal when it didn't have a roof. We also saw bands like Styx and the Doobie Brothers. I truly don't know how I got her to take me to see Adam Ant one year. She still has not forgiven me for that. I must have been very persuasive. Anyway, I hope my baby girl loves music as much as me and my mom do. It will be such a fun thing for us to all do together.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

when in rome

So, I did all I could for my home study and then my mom and I went to London and Rome for two weeks at the end of April. We had a FANTASTIC time. I took over 800 pictures. I think the reason I took pictures of practically everything I saw was because I'm afraid it will be MANY, MANY years before I get back!

So far, I hadn't really bought anything for my baby girl. The only exception was in February, while in Monterey for work, I bought a children's book and small otter stuffed animal at the aquarium. They were just sooo cute!

I decided that while I was in Europe I had to buy a few things since I won't likely be back for a while. I have to say it was so much fun shopping for her. We started our trip in London where the first thing I bought was at Harrod's. I found this cute pink bear and bib.

The next purchase was at the London Eye. We found this darling children's book called Little Lillie Visits the London Eye. It's about a little girl named Lillie who has a magic basket that transports her to magical places. I loved that it was about the place we just visited. I looked in the back of the book and found that there were others. While at Windsor Castle, I bought Little Lillie Visits Windsor Castle. We scoured London for the other books, but no luck. Sadly, and oddly, they're not available on their website. Oh well, I'll keep looking.

While trying to find the other Little Lillie books, we found these darling Katie Books: Katie in London, Katie and the Mona Lisa and Katie and the Sunflowers.

Then it was off to Rome. I found this great Pippi Longstockings book that was in Italian and my mom thought I was crazy for wanting to buy it. She talked me out of it but I did buy this Little Mermaid board book in Italian. My girl is going to be so worldly! (p.s. I found the same Pippi book in English on Ebay when I got home!)

Last, and most certainly not least, my mom bought my baby girl this beautiful rosebud dress. *Thank you grandma!* We bought it a little big (about a 2T) so it will probably be a while before she grows into it. I'll definitely save it for a special occasion. I can't wait to see her in it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

journey abroad

In accordance with the Hague Convention, all prospective adoptive parents are now required to complete 10 hours of "adoptive parent" training. It must be completed before the home study can be finalized. Vista calls theirs "Journey Abroad." It was held over 3 Wednesdays. The first two classes were 3 hours and the last class, which included a potluck, was 4 hours.

I was definitely apprehensive about the classes. What if there were no other single parents? Who would I connect with? What were we going to talk about? What if it is boring? Well, when I walked into the class the first night, one of my biggest concerns was realized. I was the only single parent. There were 4 couples and me. Oh boy. As the night went on though, I realized that they were a great group of people. At that point I hadn't decided to adopt from Vietnam; I was still thinking about Guatemala. Each of us was adopting from a different country - China, Haiti, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Our facilitator was nice as well. She was a little off the first night (she forgot our manuals) but she was very supportive and provided great information.

We discussed various topics over the three nights including: why we were adopting, what we were worried about, what we hoped to learn from the classes, developmental milestones, institutionalization, common behavior issues, adoption gains and losses, discipline, attachment, medical issues, culture and handling post adoption questions. A lot of the information was common sense and a lot I knew from my social work days, but believe me when I tell you that it was extremely valuable to discuss these topics with others. It was interesting to hear the different perspectives, concerns and plans.

For the second class we were asked to bring an item that connects us with our culture or religion. I really struggled with this. What is my culture? I'm a Caucasian American. My grandparents were born abroad but I don't know much about their ancestry. Basically, I couldn't come up with much. So, even though I'm not very religious, I ended up bringing a wooden dreidel. I can't tell you how surprised I was to find that 3 others in the group were Jewish. Two of the others brought mezuzahs and the third brought a Kiddush cup. It was interesting to hear everyone describe their items and what they meant to them.

The last night was a potluck. By that time I had switched countries to Vietnam. Each couple (and me) were supposed to bring a food from the country we were adopting from. Well, I am not a great cook. I mean, I make a mean brisket, lemon pasta, pasta carbonara, honey mustard chicken and ribollita. I am also quite the baker; my daughter will never want for cookies or cupcakes. But most nights, since I'm single, it's pasta, soup or take out. So, coming up with a Vietnamese recipe was no easy thing. I searched for hours online but found that most recipes were for fish and I'm not a big fish eater. Also, I knew there were vegetarians in the class. I just didn't see myself making egg rolls, especially on a work night. Some of the desserts actually sounded pretty good, but didn't seem very authentic. So, I wussed out and ended up finding a Vietnamese restaurant, Le Saigon, nearby. I ended up ordering Cha Gio (vegetable imperial rolls) and Goi Cuon (shrimp spring rolls). Of course, when I got to class, I discovered that I was the ONLY one who didn't cook. In fact, one of the husbands actually made these Pierogi type things that were delicious. In the end, my rolls were a big hit. In fact, some of the "vegetarians" even ate the shrimp rolls. Everything was yummy!

I have to say that I loved the classes. I so enjoyed getting to know the other couples and it was nice to talk with others who were going through the same process. On the last night, I brought my camera and we took a group photo for prosperity. We left the last class promising to stay in touch and some of us have. One couple even had a dinner party for the group. (I could go on and on about how amazing their house in Glendale was, but I won't.)

So that was my "journey abroad" experience. I can assure you that the learning does not end there. I've been reading up on Vietnam and am planning to read "What to Expect in the First Year." I have a feeling I'll be learning for the next 18 years.