Thursday, May 21, 2009

Australia #2

The bags are packed -- the truck is currently being loaded. We are about to embark on a great adventure. To be honest, I'm not really sure what we're doing. What I do know is that we are doing the 4WD Challenge to raise money for the Variety Kids -- a charity for children with medical and/or special needs in Australia. You can read a bit more about what we're doing, where we're going, and who we're helping here. Everyone says it will be an adventure of a lifetime. And, if its anything like my previous exploration of the Kimberly area in the northern region of Western Australia 3 years ago with my sister's family, I'm sure the predictions will prove true.

We are taking off tomorrow morning and driving from Perth to Meekatharra to meet up with the whole crew in the evening. There's a real sense of mystery... no one is privy to the specific itinery -- but we are given a general guideline as to what areas we'll end up every night. And, being a newbie on the trip, I am left even more in the dark to all the surprises ahead. There are 17 vehicles participating in the event this year plus the support trucks. My sister and I are in one truck... so hopefully we survive each other, nevermind the elements! We have been split up into different teams and, it turns out, Aussies like to dress up because there are all sorts of theme nights. My sister and I had to go costume shopping a couple of times this week...

So, my sleeping bag is all tucked and rolled up in the swag -- my accommodation is all set. If you remember back to my March 25th post, you will recall the wild pig on steriods that was discovered in one of the areas we'll be exploring. Let's hope his cousin doesn't make an appearance in the near future. And, apparently last year, a tame dingo came round in the middle of the night and was playfully pouncing on Andrew's, and his friend, Wayne's, swag. Dingo's don't exactly have a good name after one of them ate that baby... so, I'd really prefer not to have any 'tame dingo's' pouncing on my swag... time will only tell. Carin -- are you sure you don't want to join along?!?

Sorry. Again, no photos... looks like I may have to wait to post until I return home.

We will be playing in the outback for about 10 days and then will be taking another holiday at Coral Bay/Ningaloo Reef. My mom will fly up with the kids and meet us there for a week of fun. So, if I don't post from there... you know one of the top ten most dangerous creatures got me.



Monday, May 18, 2009

Australia #1

I have arrived. It is awesome to see my niece (Emma), nephew (Josh)... oh yeah ;-), and my sister (Leah), and bro-in-law (Andrew) after 15 months. The kids are so big now... it seems like they are maturing exponentially.

I have watched and participated in Aussie-Rules Football, enjoyed a park BBQ to pre-funk Josh's 7th birthday tomorrow, have had fresh donuts delivered to my doorstep today (Leah and Andrew's friend owns a bakery... 'bonus' and 'oh no' at the same time), and enjoyed the sunshine for sure. Gran (my mom) showed up yesterday so that is definitely fun.

We are gearing up for a our big adventure, which we will embark on this Friday. Yay for holidays!

Sorry... photo upload is not working for some reason... but there are pictures to show whenever I can get it sorted out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ooops....

One should not lose focus while waxing their eyebrows. And, unfortunately you have to duplicate such errors in order to even things out. Crap. Good thing fashion is on my side and my sunglasses should cover up my lapse in concentration. And, why will I be wearing my sunglasses?

Because.... I'm off to Australia tomorrow! Whaooo Hoooo.....................

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Plethera of Things...

This posting is rather random in the lack of theme... but, oh well.

First off... Happy Mother's Day -- you are the best!!! My sister and I are kinda postponing our celebration of mom for another week because we will all be together in Australia then... but you can't be praised too many times right? And, really, it just give me an opportunity to search my photo files to put a sweet shot of my mom for all to see....

Oh my gosh... this may be my favorite photo that I've ever taken...
Serious card sharks not to be messed with.......
I love you Mom! ha. Happy Mother's Day again....

Second. Thank you Auntie Chelsea!! Chelsea is like my number one supporter in life -- my own personal cheerleader. She was pivotal in many serious discussions early on about adopting. She helped me get ready to actually jump in with both feet and do it -- and not just dream about it. Although, we of course, don't know how old or how big my baby is going to be... but that fact hasn't stopped Chelsea from buying her clothes. I now have a selection of all sizes of super cute baby girl clothes and a couple of blankets -- seriously, these are all from Chels. On Friday, Chelsea actually gave me a "congratulations on your new home" gift, but gave me baby clothes instead, because "its way more fun to shop for a baby than it is for your house!" Hey, I love it. Thank you, Thank you, Auntie Chelsea.... you are beyond generous.


Third. On Friday night, Amy and I attended the 2nd annual Gloria's Angel's Dinner and Auction. Gloria was an amazing little girl that I feel so lucky to have known. She was very inspiring and wise beyond her years, and at the same time, she had some pretty sweet dance moves and had a healthy amount of sass, which I loved. Unfortunately Gloria was diagnosed with cancer (Neuroblastoma) when she was seven and fought hard for four years before cancer won. Her parents have now established Gloria's Angels in her honor to help other families needing support while they go through their own crisis due to medical illness. Check it out. They are doing amazing things.


Fourth. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing and there is some pretty great hockey currently... But, I would prefer if the Vancouver Canucks were leading their series. Game six on Monday...... good vibes please.


Last. I love people watching... I walked downtown yesterday and was thoroughly entertained for over an hour just watching the haps. People fascinate me.

That is all. Happy Sunday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hangin' with the girls... and one boy.

Cute pics from yesterday's hang out session with Amy, Bennett, Chelsea, Amber, and Avery...

Avery was a happy camper slobbering all over Sophie. Poor Sophie

Chelsea with Bennett

Super cute Avery and Bennett -- BFF's

Amy and Avery hangin'

Bennett, the cute chunk-a-lunk...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

World AIDS Orphans Day


Obviously children orphaned due to AIDS is a huge issue that I think about. I don't yet know if my daughter will be a direct result of the AIDS crisis, but certainly her birth country of Ethiopia is profoundly devastated by this disease. I logged onto the Worlds AIDS Orphans Day website and found some staggering facts:

Number of AIDS Orphans:
  1. There are over 15 million children orphaned by AIDS around the world.
  2. Well over 12 million AIDS orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa, alone.
  3. Experts believe that millions more orphans remain unaccounted for in India, China and Russia.
  4. At least 10 million more children will be orphans by AIDS by 2010.
The Impact:
  1. In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, orphans are often subject to discrimination and are less likely to receive healthcare, education and other needed services.
  2. In HIV affected households lacking community support, food consumption can drop by 40% putting children at risk to hunger, malnutrition and stunting.
  3. Impoverished and often without support to educate and protect them, orphans and vulnerable children face increased risk of HIV infection.
  4. Orphans are often easy prey to many forms of exploitation: forced labor, prostitution and child soldiering.
Support for AIDS Orphans:

  1. Fewer than 1 in 10 AIDS orphans receives any external support.
  2. US $4.6 billion is needed to implement a comprehensive response to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. Estimates suggest that less than US $0.5 billion is currently being invested.
  3. Only three countries – the US, UK and Ireland have earmarks providing at least 10% of HIV/AIDS funding to orphans and vulnerable children. Yet experts believe that these promises and legislation are unfulfilled as they meander through government bureaucracy

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Official Number...


Well... the predicted unofficial number is pretty darn close to the official number. So... this is where I'm at for the month of May. Sweet!

New Home Owner....


It's official. I hope anyway. I put an offer on a townhouse yesterday, which was accepted by the day's end. Yay! Now I won't be homeless when I return from holidays. Its nice to have this chapter almost closed. I still won't feel completely settled about it all until closing documents are signed on the sale of my condo at the end of June... but, I will remain hopeful. I am moving into a mansion, I think anyway... I am currently living comfortably in 635 square feet and my new place is a whooping 1,479 square feet! AND it has a garage. Anyone that has lived in, or is currently living condo style, knows how exciting this is. But 4 toilets... I don't know how I feel about that!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What's a number??

Last week I spent a fair amount of time wondering what the repercussions of my upcoming trip to Australia could mean on my adoption. Certainly, there has been a lot of movement on the girls waiting list, and it is conceivable that if the list continues to move this fast, my caseworker will want to call me over the next 3-4 weeks with my own referral. Now, this would be faster than expected, in my opinion, but anything can happen. So... I was trying to get all my ducks in a row and problem solve how to handle this scenario should it occur. What I have ultimately decided to do is -- not worry about it. Bottom line: there is nothing that I can do while I'm away to accept a referred child -- there are some things I could do through phone and email, but there are notarizing of documents that absolutely require me to be in the country to do so. That being said, if I happen to be away, and my agency happens to want to give out a girl referral, they will keep my spot in line and refer the family next in line. The initial thought of that tripped me out -- because, well, that would've been my baby. But, I have always thought the idea of referral was wild anyway. Throughout the entire process of filling out paperwork and depending on how long one element of your dossier took, or if the mail was delayed, you were arbitrarily placed at x number on this list. You could have easily been x+1 or x-1, just because. Also, we are all going to be getting our perfect child, regardless of what number they happen to fall in the lineup -- it is what it is.. everyone talks about numbers... but they are all children looking for their perfect new home. All this being said... my decision may just be a moot point and the movement on the list may just slow down anyway. But, I'm glad I thought it through... I'm totally fine with whatever happens.

Happy Sunday. Hope you're not all recovering from the Swine like myself... not really, I have a cold, but it is fun to throw in the "Swine" and watch people momentarily panic until they realize who they're talking to.