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Decluttering the cluttered

I have a 3 bedroom, two bathroom house and am a single person (always have been since moving into this home).  How have I filled it with STUFF???  I have no idea, but every room has stuff in it!  I am by no means an episode of Hoarders, but you would think there are many adults living in my home and not just me (and my mom for the mean time).

I’ve been meaning to de-clutter, knowing that one day in the future I will have a child living in my home who will need space to grow and make the home truly ours.  While wasting time on Pinterest I came across a list I will implement for the next 6 weeks and see how much I can truly rid myself of (this may be difficult, I tend to hold on to things for sentimental – or future use – value).

Here is the list of 56 things you (and me) can start with for de-cluttering the crap out of our homes:

  1. Spare buttons from clothes that you are keeping “just in case” – I have random buttons kept in those little baggies all over my house.
  2. Makeup past its best – Ya I have a TON of this
  3. Anything in your home that you look at and don’t like – I think I like everything
  4. Clothes that don’t fit – I flipped my hangers last year and already gave my sister-in-law a ton of clothes
  5. Books you’ve never read and won’t ever read – this will be hard for me as I love books!!!
  6. Books you have read and have no intention of reading again – again…hard for me
  7. Old magazines – I have none of these thank God!
  8. Anything that you can get the same information from easily again online – this is interesting
  9. Anything broken – nothing broken, if something breaks I am over you
  10. Old bedding in the bottom of your linen cupboard that you never use – I need to match my bedding and then throw away everything else
  11. Out of date food in the cupboards – again, I clean my fridge out, but cupboards not so much
  12. Half finished craft projects that are never going to be completed – does this include my scrapbooking room, because I have a problem
  13. Toiletries you will never use (e.g hand cream/foot cream etc… from a set you got at Christmas) – oh yea I have a lot of this too…please stop buying my lotions people!!!
  14. Pens that don’t work any longer – I have a lot of pens – but not at home so I am probably good.
  15. Large items that take up too much room and could be borrowed if you ever need again –  I did sell my one table.  I have a camping bbq that hasn’t even been used that I need to sell – MENTAL NOTE
  16. Anything that makes you feel sad or guilty when you look at it – huh, this one will take some thinking
  17. Games/jigsaws where some of the pieces are missing – I have nothing of this, but once my sweet KOKO gets here I am sure this will change in time
  18. Chargers for phones you no longer own – I need to download all the pics from my old phones and then sell them with the chargers – MENTAL NOTE
  19. Kitchen gadgets you never use – that bagel cutter I never used, the popsicle molds that are brand new…okay okay
  20. Artwork that doesn’t make you happy – I think it all does
  21. Anything that doesn’t work as well as it should  – hmmm again this will be a thinker
  22. Any earrings that don’t have their partner –  I need to just rid of 90% of my earrings because they are cheap crap!
  23. Any shoes that don’t have their partner – all my shoes have partners…pretty partners.
  24. Most manuals for items you buy – ya I would probably just buy new if something stopped working …LOL
  25. Scraps of wrapping paper that won’t wrap anything – again can we just leave my scrapbook room alone cause that will take some time to organize
  26. Educational notes etc… from prior qualifications – Like my seven binders from teachers college and my B.A???  Can I re-read them all first???
  27. Any plastic carrier bags you are stockpiling I have a ton of plastic bags – I reuse them as garbage bags!
  28. Sports bras that have lost their hold! – I threw out three yesterday – SO THERE!
  29. Any mugs over the total number of people you would ever have drinking in your home in one go – Ya I need to get rid of or sell some of these…I have plenty!
  30. Any glasses over the total number of people you would ever have drinking in your home in one go – See above
  31. Anything that is past it’s best in the freezer – did this two weeks ago – fish from two years ago – yuck
  32. Herbs and spices you never use – my spice rack destroyed my spices…they are all rock solid now, I am pissed!
  33. Out of date medicines – ya like the allergy pills in my desk that expired in May 2014 (I moved to this desk in July 2017 so I have NO idea where this came from)
  34. Items related to hobbies you don’t do any longer – I keep my hobbies
  35. Memorabilia that doesn’t hold the same value for you any longer – my Kelly Gruber Rookie Card!!!  NOOOOOO
  36. Toys no longer played with – I will never throw out my pound puppy of my build-a-bear
  37. DVDs you have watched and won’t watch again – yep I am defintely going to do this (and VHS tapes)
  38. CDs you don’t listen to any longer – for sure…all those mix CD’s
  39. Recipe books you don’t use – Weight Watchers recipe books anyone???
  40. Bad photos you have had developed that you will never want to frame or put in an album – as a scrapbooker this goes against who I am #sorrynotsorry
  41. Any junk mail / old paperwork that is piling up – I have a ton of my dads paperwork but since accountant died I am terrified he will be audited and I will be screwed!
  42. Hair products you used to use when your style was different – again or was a gift, just stop…my hair is in a ponytail 7 days a week
  43. Ornaments that you are sick of dusting – who dusts???
  44. Dead plants/flowers – I don’t have these…
  45. Shoes that hurt when you wear them – this will be tough…I’ll have to re-wear everything to see 😉
  46. Old nail varnish / nail varnish in a colour you don’t wear any longer – all of them??
  47. Excess baking trays / saucepans etc in the kitchen – I don’t bake
  48. Outside furniture that has faded, broken, or is past its best – can’t someone just repair my bench cause I love it!
  49. Food in cupboards that you and the family don’t like and won’t eat – why would I buy something I don’t like???
  50. Old calendars and diaries – I trashed these old things months ago because I was embarrassed at how stupid I was growing up
  51. Excess loose change – gather it up and get it to the bank – I really wish I had this problem….
  52. People in your life that make you unhappy to be around – again I am pretty good at this too
  53. Digital photos on your phone or computer that aren’t any good – I do this monthly as I print my photo’s
  54. Rusted/tangled jewellery beyond repair – ugh so much….
  55. Accessories that you don’t wear – like all the scarves and hats I have and NEVER wear!
  56. Bottles of alcohol that have only a tiny bit left in them – HAHAH I do not have this problem, no alcohol is drank at my house except a bottle of wine on book club night

56 things and this is JUST a start!  WOW…okay I will work on this list for me and my precious KOKO who will not want to live under the mounds of books and photo’s that I’ll never scrap.

Stay tuned!

Love Nicole

 

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2

The realities of a single woman adopting from Haiti

When I first started my journey to being a mom (through insemination) I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  Sunshine and rainbows would not be in my immediate future, but I knew without a doubt it would be worth it.  All the poking and prodding and monitoring of my cycle would be agonizing, but I was okay with all of it.  It was a means to an end.

In November of 2015 when I started the adoption process, I knew my journey was going to become much harder, even more invasive and much more expensive, but again I knew in my heart that it was what I needed to do.

The realities of this journey have surprised even me, me the girl who plans and reads and researches and re-plans and re-reads everything!

The costs – financially are exorbitant.  For the first year I literally was in the bank on a monthly (sometimes weekly!) basis moving money around and getting money orders to pay everyone under the sun.  My money – it’s running out.  Well in reality it has run out.  I am actually looking forward to re-mortgaging my house when it comes up so I can pay off the debt and have my nest egg (which is going towards paying the second half of my adoption costs) settled. The thing that kills me is that none of this money has gone towards my sweet little child who I don’t even know yet!

Every penny, paid to whomever, is worth it.

The costs – emotionally are exhausting.  I see people I have connected with in chat groups get their referrals, their Visas, their Exit letters and of course their homecomings and I am jealous.  Not like the boy I like, likes another girl jealous – but WHY NOT ME???!!! jealous and that is an envy that isn’t fair to anyone.

Every tear and sad face is worth it.

I don’t have a partner to share in my grief.  Most people who adopt have that special someone that they can lean on when the wait becomes to long.  They have someone to talk to who understands and most of all is REALLY REALLY interested in everything you are thinking and hoping for. My friends and family love me and they care and are excited for me, but they don’t have the same passion obviously as a spouse would have and sometimes I feel completely alone.

Every ounce of longing is worth it.

I don’t have a partner to share my fears with.  There is a Hurricane blowing in quickly and fiercely.  My child, the one I don’t know, is living there, as are hundreds of other children, with no parents to wrap them in their arms and keep them safe.  The sweet nannies and creche directors I know do everything they can, but nothing replaces a mother or fathers warm embrace. With every update on Hurricane Irma, my anxiety rises and my prayers become deeper and longer.  Other people are disappointed their Caribbean vacation spots will be destroyed – I am terrified, the child meant for me, will be harmed or that their biological family will be injured, it takes everything in me not to scream.

Every prayer and raised heartbeat is worth it.

Co-parenting will not be my reality.  I was with my friend and her husband this weekend – as I am most weekends, and their youngest was having trouble pooping.  She had been constipated for a couple of days and she was screaming and crying not wanting to poop.  What a simple concept for us adults.  You have to poop.  She was bribed, begged and pleaded with for over an hour and her parents were lucky – they had each other to tag out.  When one needed a break to get out of that small cottage bathroom, the other was there.  When my kid refuses to poop – and don’t they all at some point – it will be me.  My patience will be tested.  My frustration levels and anxiety will be pushed to the limits.  My kid will stomp on my buttons and I can’t push back. I am the adult.  The only adult.  I have no one to tag out with and that reality kicked me pretty hard this weekend as I looked down on that sad little face of a girl who wouldn’t poop.

I can handle this.  Not only can I handle this, I WILL handle this and while I know sometimes I will fail, sometimes I’ll barely pass, my child will NEVER doubt that they are loved.  They will always have a soft spot to fall and that is something we all need a little more of.

Love Nicole

 

3

Dreams can come true – if you are patient

There was a hard, dirt path from the Creche to the little building I was staying in.  As I walked towards the door I could feel the heat on my face, see the sun and knew that I would be sweating through my shirt by mid day.  I didn’t care though because a smiley faced toddler was running up the path screaming manman (mother in Creole) dressed in a beige t-shirt and crocs on her tiny feet.

She wrapped her arms around me and I could smell baby powder and sweat.  I was on my knees, tears springing to my eyes – this was my daughter.

My alarm went off and I woke up in my queen sized bed, light streaming through my window, Simba snuggled in my knee nook snoring softly.

It’s not a bad way to wake up-but that dream was so real I couldn’t help but cry wanting those chubby little arms to still be around my neck.

I am a short way in to a long waiting game for a referral, knowing that this will not be the first of many dreams to follow.  Will I have a daughter or a son?  I don’t know and I don’t care.

Thank God for dreams

Nicole

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ten minutes

Cottage living, nothing beats it.  Every summer with Kim and her family, the sites, the sounds and smells are so familiar to me now I can’t imagine a life without them.

On Saturday’s boat ride, coming back from Jeff’s friends cottage where Kim, Meaghan and I had no luck at fishing, Mya, (Kims daughter) sat in my lap for about ten minutes (which never happens – she is a mama’s girl at heart).

Her blond curls were tickling my nose from the cold wind and she was wrapped up tight in a towel around her puffy blue life jacket.  Her head was resting against my chest and I was wondering if she would fall asleep again as she always falls asleep on boat rides! She was telling me stories and pointing at all of the Canadian flags as we sped by.  I gently pressed my lips against her head and closed my eyes for just a moment and imagined when my own sweet boy or girl would be placed in my lap enjoying their new life in Canada at the cottage.  It will be then that the sites and sounds and smells will change – everything will be seen through new eyes – through the eyes of my child.

Mya is around the age my own child will be so having her be so willing to spend her time with me just makes me feel like a kid in a candy store!  I smile a bit brighter and the sadness and aching of not having my own child eases a little, knowing I will have a future as a mother and am right now getting to build my relationships with my extended family and their children.

For the rest of this week, I will hold tightly to the memory of those sweet curls blowing across my face and the warmth her tiny little soul provided me – even if it was only for ten minutes.

Love

Nicole

1

Dinner conversations

This past Saturday I was treated to my favourite dinner – All You Can Eat Sushi – by the lovely Alex.  She drove up from downtown to the dreaded Durham Region where she thinks the dragons will attack her as soon as she crosses the Port Union boundary – she’s crazy, we feed our dragons Trump supporters…

Anyway, we had an amazing meal and  great conversation that really got me thinking.  We were talking about things we KNOW we want in our life.  Her biggest one was a husband, and to travel the world.  Now for those of you who may know my little Yoga loving hippie, this was not a shock at all.  (4 years ago I would have been shocked, but she met a sweet man who changed her view points on this and I totally get it!).  For me, the answer wasn’t so simple.  I started thinking about things people in general know they want in life and my answers were not so concrete.

A man (life partner)

This one is tricky – ask me ten years ago, I wanted to be a housewife, taking care of my imaginary husband, the house, the kids the whole nine yards.  I believed fully in passionate, romantic love.  But that was an un-realistic point of view.  I’ve been told this a million times over by friends and family members who roll their eyes as I watch another Nicholas Sparks movie.  But, I don’t know if I believe in any of that anymore.  I don’t feel like I will be fulfilled without this kind of love, so I am just kind of floating along the dating trail waiting to see.  I’d like a partner, sure.  But I have been single for so long, and screwed over so often that at the end of the day – this isn’t my “dream future”.

Child(ren)

This is my only focus.  All that I have, all that I am, is going into being a mom.  It’s the one constant throughout my life that hasn’t wavered (okay well 30 years ago I wanted 10 kids and the number has slowly decreased from there).  Having a child, being a mother, is the one thing I will sacrifice everything else for.  It’s not a want, it’s a need that has roots so deep in my heart I think I would rather die than live childless.

The perfect job

I like my job; I don’t love it usually though some days I do.  There are things I would rather be doing, but this job has set me up for success and stability in life and I crave stability – hence why having a man in my world is not a priority.

Travel

I’d travel most places in this large world of ours, but I will only ever plan or desire to travel to the USA and the Caribbean *and Mexico*.  When I am on vacation I like to relax and lie by a pool/ocean.  If someone else wanted me to go to say Belarus (cough Alex cough) I’d go, but I wouldn’t plan it.  Again, once I am able to be a mother, my idea of vacations will change.

A roof over my head

I love my house.  I picked it and decorated it for me.  It was nice being single at this time because it was all about me in a world where it so seldom is.  I don’t ever see me selling this home, I have great neighbours, a close drive to everything and everyone I love and it’s affordable (thank you job).

Maybe I do know what I want.  Maybe I am afraid to admit those things that I don’t want or aren’t willing to settle for because they aren’t the norm.  People are uneasy when a woman of a certain age are single still…maybe I just have to accept my lot in life because of my wants.  I don’t know…time will tell I guess.  For now, this lady is a single, trying to adopt, caseworker who has a few Caribbean vacations planned in the next few years!

Love me or hate me…but that’s what it is!

 

2

It was just a dream

I drove up to the Creche, hot and sweaty, the bus had no air conditioning and I was having trouble breathing in the stale, Haitian heat.  When the doors open, the kids and their nanny’s came pouring out of the small building in front of me with smiles on their faces, but I was only looking for one.  The face of my boy – my son.  I picked him out immediately, shiny skin, damp with perspiration, a big grin and tears running down his cheeks as he saw me – his manman (mother in Creole).

He jumped into my arms, there was a lot of noise around us, laughter and happy squeals as other parents around us met their children for the first time.  He whispered in my ear that he had been waiting a long time for me.  I pulled back and kissed him on the forehead and told him I had been waiting my whole life for him! We spent time sitting on a bench together talking and giggling, holding hands and hugging constantly while he told me everything I could possible ever need to know about him.

I knew it was a dream, he spoke perfect English; my beautiful child will not.  He was also older, maybe 6 or 7, and my child will be under 3.  But even though I knew it was a dream, it didn’t damper the elation I felt because this child, this beautiful little boy was mine and I loved him instantly.

Waking up with a damp face from tears I was sad and upset and immediately felt a part of me was missing, a pain in my heart that was so real it kept me paralyzed for a brief moment until I realized my alarm was going off.

It was time to start my day.

But what a dream…it was a really good dream.

Love

Nicole

1

What a week

It’s Thursday…this week isn’t even over and I have been specially blessed TWICE!  Some weeks are normal, boring even…some weeks I see and feel heartache and sadness, but this week – this week is great!

First, my cousin Matt and his lovely fiance safely had their second little boy delivered by C-Section at 9 pds and 15 ounces!  I know – a big boy!  James Gordon and I met on Tuesday and snuggled for well over an hour.  His newness and sweetness radiating off of him and of course putting him down left an aching that I never fully recover from.  I know that having a newborn is not a part of my journey – but sometimes, when I let me weaknesses role in, sometimes it still bites.

Second – and this is MY good news – I am ADOPT READY in Ontario, meaning my ministry has put the stamp on my home study and once my dossier is complete I can submit my final documents to my adoption agency for translation.  My first meeting with my practitioner was all the way back in January and now – 10 months later, I am adopt ready!  I know I still have a year or more of waiting for referral, but this crucial step is complete.  I can breathe a sigh of relief.  My government is not standing in the way between my child having a mother.

Thank you God.

Love Nicole