I know most of you are probably not terribly interested in the details of our immigration process. But for the sake of those who are also pursuing or thinking about immigration to Canada, here's the latest update.
The recent letter from the consulate in LA informs us that they have completed the initial assessment of our application, and expect to finalize it without needing a personal interview with us. They go on to request our medical results, but say they can take 4 months to be received at their office, so I assume all is well there. They are also requesting a copy of Will's Canadian birth certificate. He is not part of our application, since he is already a Canadian citizen, but we did inform them we have a son. Finally, the letter says they will review our case again in 120 days to verify that all documents have been provided. And they end by asking us not to contact their office unless there is a change of address or a change in our family composition.
Last week, some friends and I had a really fun girls' night out in Regina. We saw the Moscow Ballet perform "The Great Russian Nutcracker" at the Conexus Centre--it was an amazing show! Someone had the idea that we'd all wear tiaras--our group got lots of attention, especially from the little girls who were there! It was great to go out with a group of women--we ate at Earl's beforehand, and then grabbed some drinks and dessert at Starbucks afterward.
I am really enjoying Will these days! It's fascinating to watch him acquire language, slowly but surely! Animals are a favorite of his, and imitating their sounds! He's also picking up more gestures. If we ask him something like, "Will, where's the moon?" he will shrug his shoulders as if to say, "I don't know." And he frequently responds with "Me!" if asked a question. Sometimes this is the correct answer, as when we ask, "Who wants to take a bath?" or "Who wants to go for a walk?" However, Kate especially likes to ask him things like, "Who wants to eat a tiger?" or "Who wants to go to China?" because he will enthusiastically answer "Me!" even to these. This is a really fun stage, as he becomes more and more of his own little person, and yet still loves to cuddle with his Mama. Here's a recent video:
Is there anything better than rocking a little one to sleep to the sound of a lullaby? The following four CDs are extra special to me because I had them when Kate was a baby, and they really bring back the sweetness of that time. Just now I sang my four year old to sleep with the same Betsy Hernandez lullabies I sang to her at four months old.
Betsy Hernandez beautifully sings the lullabies that her husband, Frank, wrote for the Hide 'Em in Your Heart Lullabies CD. Each song is based on a Scripture verse or passage related to children. Some songs are soothing and some are a bit more lively. I love "A Little Child Will Lead Them" and "Don't Be Afraid." As Abbie reminded me in her comment below, this is probably the best way for children to memorize Bible verses.
This is a great CD from Integrity Music called I Love You: Songs of Love & Blessing from a Mother's Heart. The lyrics and melodies are simple, but powerful. Here's an example from my favorite track: "My-O-my-O-little joy-O, Baby I love you. My-o-my-o-little joy-O, Baby I love you. You're everything I ever dreamed, That you would ever be. And now I know, it's really so, you're part of the very heart of me."
The Planet Sleeps is a collection of lullabies from 16 countries! The producers traveled to places like Chile, Tonga, Ireland, Cameroon, and New Zealand to find the best songs and performers. I love "Chi Mi Na Morbheanna", by the Rankin Family of Cape Breton here in Canada. Another favorite is "Noomey" performed by two singers from Israel, one Jewish and one Palestinian. A portion of the sale of each album goes to UNICEF.
Lullaby: A Collection is similar, in that each song comes from a different country or tradition. I love the Spanish lullaby "A La Nanita Nana" and one from Japan called "Sakura/Owayare." Ladysmith Black Mambazo sings an original African lullaby, and Judy Collins sings the traditional African-American lullaby "All the Pretty Horses." A great way to introduce babies and young children to music from around the world!
I just received this wonderful catalogue from World Vision Canada. There are many meaningful gifts you can give, either on your own, or in honor of a family member or friend. I think it would be a special thing to do as a family. Canadians can give a goat to a family for $100. For only $35, you can provide an agricultural pack for 3 families. Help to give an impoverished girl the gift of education for $60. Stock a medical clinic for $100. The most popular option for group giving is to fill a stable for $1200. Check it out! You can also buy a gift card so the recipient can choose a gift to give.
Another reporter found my blog, but this time I didn't end up on TV, thankfully. Suzanne Boyer from the Moose Jaw Times Herald called me and asked for my thoughts on the election. I talked with her mostly about why I think it's important for me as an American expat to vote. Some people may wonder why expats go to the trouble of sending in absentee ballots. Well, many of us can't vote in the countries where we live, and in my mind, I will always be an American first and foremost. Most of my friends and family are there, my children are US citizens, and there may come a day when we return there. Not to mention the IRS's requirement that US citizens file taxes no matter where they are in the world--we don't make enough to be double taxed, but some expats do! Anyway, it ended up as a small article on the front page called "Getting out to vote--in a different country" but it's not online.
I also gave her the names of some American friends of mine in the area. They ended up being featured in the headline story, Expats reflect on election. I agree with both friends, which is why I was so torn about my vote! I share Denise's excitement over the election of an African-American, and her hopes that Obama will improve American relations with the rest of the world. It was thrilling to see them on the stage in Chicago's Grant Park, and to see the jubilance in the faces of people around the world. But like Myra, I don't like Obama's stance on abortion and recognize that this is a setback to the pro-life movement. Hopefully this administration will make abortion reduction the priority they said they would.
The election is over, but we can still be involved! We can pray for Obama and Biden, as well as our senators and representatives. I plan to write to them as well, and let my voice be heard about the issues I find most concerning.
What about you--how do you feel about the election results?