Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Blizzard & The Nursery

First, the blizzard of '09...
In Kai's hometown, a.k.a. our nation's capital, there was an impromptu community snowball fight. How absolutely amazing is that? A clip from the news...
A snowball fight took over the intersection of 14th and U Streets during a snow storm in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. The event was organized by a Twitter group calling for people to gather and participate and more than 200 people showed up.

A shot from NYC...

And while all of that business was going on, a nursery was being wrapped up. A few things still linger, like the storage cubes/bench which is near completion and next month we'll have the little bookshelf. The twin nephews are arriving on Saturday, armed with loads of artwork for the walls. In a nutshell, we are there.

I used this rocking chair when I was a little girl and repainted it this morning for Niko. Kai had to restrain me from painting a big "N" on the seat with black polka dots. I think that really would have added some P-zazz. However, it's not my chair anymore so I compromised and went with the minimalist look.

The wing chair below is an easy-peezy trick. I've had the hardest time finding a rocker that we liked. They're all a bit cheesy. This is a simple wing-chair from our local market. I found a "rocking chair adaptor" that is sold online and in most big hardware stores that anyone can do. If you're unsure, you can YouTube it and see it done. That being said, this is soon to be a rocker/swivel.

This is the blank wall awaiting the magic touch of the twins' artwork. Current pieces include a few things from Barcelona and a gift from a local NYC painter of The NY Dolls.

The crib. This crib is beyond beautiful. It was a very generous gift from our friend, Lynn. It's perfect (almost).

The "(almost) perfect" part is the fact it doesn't matter what colors, brands, fabrics, toys and so on are in this room. The little person it's furnished for is not here! Once that happens, it will be perfect.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

#3 and Pooped

This will probably be the worst post ever, but stick with me...

We are beyond exhausted that we're purely punchy and silly at this point.

Friday afternoon at work we found out we're unofficially #3. Saturday by 6am we were up and organizing. The ZipCar was in motion by 10am - one stop in the city to pick up nursery supplies; next stop was Long Island for crib, changing table and many, many more supplies. Our thanks to Lynn cannot be put into words. (you are the best!)

Today was spent putting the whole lot together - fun with drilling, jigsawing, hammering and wiring was had by all.

Macaroni & cheese and fresh spinach (our favorite) is cooking right now with Tivo about to be enjoyed, if we stay awake that long.

We have a nursery! Wow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

#4!!!! and....Month 5

Today was a big day in the Gittens' home. Not too long ago we were #15 on the unofficial wait list, moving at an expected pace straight through #8. It was at #8 we picked up some silly momentum that bustled us straight through to #5 with heads-a-spinning. Well, since then we've been a bit stagnant. Stagnant is an expected yet "ech" state.

Today we are unofficially #4...*cheering*

Also, the other big date which I must mention today because it's doubtful I'll have a minute to blog tomorrow, is that 12/10/09 marks our 5th month on the wait list. There is nothing unofficial about that number. It's fact!

The current average wait time for an infant referral is 7 months, which has steadily decreased. Only 5 months ago when we were put on wait list, the average wait was 9 months. I'm not speculating here, just stating what's going on.

In any event, I think we're in good shape. We're not yet viewing this with a skewed view, thinking it's right around the corner. We are however, picking up the crib this weekend and plowing forward with our room swaps to prepare a proper room for the little guy. It will give us such piece of mind when the room is completed. When baby items start arriving at your house for the baby you know is coming, yet you have no room for said baby, it's just not good!

We'll be 'good' at the end of this weekend.

And the icing on the cake? Our twin nephews (7 yrs old) are making their annual holiday trek up from Atlanta and will be the first to see (and assist with) the new layout. The opinions, questions and statements made of a seven year old are the most honest, intelligent and raw you'll ever get. They're much more insightful than one would think. It's worth listening to.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Flight Planning Tip

I've scored so many great tips from the blog world that I thought it was about time I offered something in return.

If you're a frequent traveler, you may already be aware of this little tool. I NEVER book a flight without checking with them first. It's and is a reference for flight costs across the board. It is not a booking tool. The concept is similar to the programs used by travel agents.

1. Choose "Search Fares"
2. Sign in as a guest
3. Plug in your info - as detailed or open as you choose'll see the costs, various airlines, flight numbers, stopovers, dates, times, etc for your cities. You then take that information and book through your preferred outlet or the airline directly. This way, you have the flight numbers and connections that create the lowest priced fare available.

The screenshot below is a search I did using the "month long" search to find the cheapest dates to fly in April. Flying on a Monday in April (vs. a Tuesday) saves close to $1k a pop per person. Crazy.
p.s. Not that anyone is taking JetBlue to Addis, but in case you want to use ITA for domestic travel - JetBlue is not in their system. I think they may be eventually.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Through the Eyes of the Dining Room Table

Ever wonder what your dining room table would say about you, given the opportunity? It has the inside scoop on your ups & downs and most intimate workings of your family.

Not too long ago, our dining room table looked like this. Ugh....those were the meds for our final round of IVF, with 75% of them being injected. Ouch is the only word coming to mind as I look back on that. For months, our table served as a mini-chem lab as we tried to keep things straight - including our minds!
Fast forward a year+ and it now looks like this...

Thank you Teresa & Matt!!!

And within that year our table was the hub for nephews creating their little Picasso-like masterpieces, card games, dinner with friends/family, gift wrapping station, fabric cutting table and on & on. However, it rarely served as the place Kai and I would congregate for nightly dinner. We still opt for the tray-in-front-of-TV style we've lived with for the past 15 years in our NYC shoebox apartments.

Today the table will move. Dun. Dun. DUN.

We are making room for baby. No so long from now, our multi-purpose table will become a proper dining table. Kai and I will put our TV trays away. A high chair (gasp) will be placed next to our dining chairs and a family will sit down to dinner and talk about their day. (Seinfeld fans?)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nursery Ideas

The adoption packet does not come with a timeline of when to start thinking about a nursery. I think we all just follow the other's lead on this one. Cross your fingers that you have a proactive mom-to-be in your newfound sisterhood of the adoptive bloggers! It's not uncommon to receive your referral and have nothing prepared.

It's also something you don't want to rush; seeming over anxious or the horrible feeling of jinxing something. Ours is more of a practical decision at this point. Referrals are flying around like crazy right now. We have family coming in for Christmas. We live in a condo where maximizing the use of space is crucial. So, our plan is to begin the nursery this weekend with a 12/26 eta for completion. "Completion" really means = enough floor space cleared away to throw down an air mattress. (our twin nephews are coming in and want to assist with the final touches)

I'm staying away from a themed nursery and am leaning in the direction of color & pattern. Mixing colors that will stimulate his mind, yet hopefully not keep him awake! Bold patterns to grab his attention will be used in the fabrics. I have an idea of the outcome in my head, but that's never the end result. The little surprises along the way usually work in your favor, changing the final style to one even better than imagined. Here's to hoping that's the case!!!

Our starting point is the black & white bedding and then throwing in some bold patterned fabrics I've picked up along the way. I also saw this great fixture for the ceiling that includes different sized balls in contrasting color and texture. This is perfect for a ceiling focal point for him while in the crib or playing on the floor. I'm definitely looking into recreating this in some way.

In case anyone else needs some inspiration, there are some great bits here...
DesignDazzle and ApartmentTherapy

So many things can be recreated to fit within your own style. Sometimes the hardest bit is the starting point.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Belated Thanksgiving...

It's been awhile since my last post. So long in fact, that many important dates have passed that would have otherwise been addressed...Thanksgiving, World Aids Day, court dates, referrals and recent updates to name a few.

I'll keep it simple by wishing everyone a belated Thanksgiving and give a little recap of our holiday. I say holiday because we took the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving away as our pre-adoption vacation. You all know the one...the one that has more significance than any trip you've ever taken because the next time you board a plane with your passport, it will be to pick up your child(ren).

At the beginning of our paperwork phase, someone (I forget who, but I thank them from the bottom of my heart) suggested planning a trip that would fall in the middle of the "wait list" period. It would serve as a very attractive alternative point of focus from the ritual of stalking blogs and watching the unofficial wait list creep along. They said a getaway would also do wonders for your thought process for the transition and ups & downs that come with international adoption.

hmmm....okay. Who am I to turn down a trip suggestion, considering the benefits we'll reap afterwards? Done. In February, I booked an apartment in Barcelona for Thanksgiving. We only needed to use 3.5 vacation days, yet 10 days of vacation time were ours! Woohoo!

And the best part? Kai's family are big travelers and joined us the second we mentioned it. There may not have been turkey on our table, but there was plenty of family, fun and paella to go around!

Now, as someone who has made it a ritual to blog-stalk and continually press refresh on the unofficial FBI list a bazillion times daily, this trip was therapeutic on many levels. No computers, no blogging and the obvious distractions to real-life when being on vacation made for a wonderful, refreshing break.

It doesn't matter where you go, but a break is a good thing at this stage in the game.

p.s. My friend, Heidi, had the most wonderful post on World Aids Day. I couldn't say it better. Please check it out here.