Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We have a winner!!

Melese and I are very happy to announce that AMY is the winner of the Converse sneakers! WaHoo! And further evidence that the blogosphere is full of kind and generous people, Amy is going to use them to help others.

Amy is the proud mama of an adorable three year old named Lila. Lila was adopted form Nepal. Amy brought my attention to a terrible situation happening in Vietnam right now.

The Bac Lieu 16 have a Facebook Group, and here is their petition to congress. Sad stuff.

Amy is planning to auction off the Weeds shoes, and donate the money to this cause.

Wouldn't it be something if these shoes just kept do-gooding over and over again? What could one pair of green sneaks do?

Congratulations Amy. And thank you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Eyes of my eyes Giveaway! This is your feet on drugs...

Some of you may know that I had asked Mary Louise Parker to host our Fundraiser. I bombarded her with incessant requests sent her an e-mail. Unfortunately she was in NY on April 17th, and everyone was stuck with me as the host. Mary Louise is the beautiful and talented star of the show Weeds. She has a daughter from Ethiopia, and does a lot of work for WWO, Jane Aronson's charity.

Converse has designed a special shoe for Mary Louise, a Weeds shoe. Mary Louise has donated these shoes to me. I want to give them to you. I would have listed them in the online auction if I had had them by then, but I didn't. I know that the majority of the readers of this blog have already donated to the school and library in Ethiopia, and I don't want to ask for donations, or raffle tickets, or anything like that again. I want someone to win them. Someone with biggish feet. They are a men's size 8 or a woman's size 10. They are signed by Mary Louise and have a cool Weeds season 7 logo on the heel. Even if they are not your size, they are cool and you could give them as a gift like she did, and like I'm about to.

 You don't need to have made a donation to the school or library to win. You just have to leave a comment. Season 7 airs on Monday night, I will pick a winner by random integer generator, or whatever that thing is, at 4:20 pm Monday. I will announce the winner on Tuesday morning. If you want more chances to win post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc, and leave another comment saying that you did. (Isn't that what people do? Seems like a good idea I guess? Maybe MLP will see the contest and know how grateful I am and sign right up for hosting a future fundraiser? Yes please.)

Good luck! Just say yes to drugs! Er, I mean SHOES!

*If you feel too guilty about being in the running for cool shoes without having made a donation for the school you can always go here or here and enter guilt free. :)

Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Haves and Have Nots....

The beauty about a new project, about a first time collaboration, is that the people involved can have a say in how thing go. We are working out the details for the sponsorship program for the school in Meazi and Melese's village. I would like your input.

After the event in April, I met with the president of The Fregenet Foundation . Tafesse told me all about his wonderful school, and asked me if I knew any adoptive parents who might want to help him keep the school going strong. He really does have an incredible foundation, and he could use a family or two to become his school's cheerleaders. In an incredible, full-circle, crazy, kind of coincidence, Tafesse's dreams of a school came after the death of his only child- Leeza. Leeza was Dana Roskey's (of the Tesfa Foundation) fiancee. The grief following this young woman's death has spurred ripples of goodness and hope for thousands of Ethiopians.

Tafesse has run his school for many years and had some very wise words of advice. He told me that individual sponsorships had proved disastrous in his school. Those who were sponsored received visitors, sometimes new uniforms, letters, etc, and those that weren't did not. It was upsetting to students and parents alike. His school is a little different than ours will be (Fregenet is in Addis Ababa), but I can't help but think that we should consider being a unified group of sponsors. Yes, it is fantastic to get assigned a specific child and to see that picture and to make that connection, but really that is a gift for the sponsor not the sponsored. If all of you who pledged to take on a student agree, I think we should form a group and not count on having our own personal student.

Sponsorship for the Kololo school is $21 a month, or $252 a year. 

Thoughts? Concerns? Who is in our group? Who wants to help a city school?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 20, 2011


Me: Meazi what do you like most about Aster?

Meazi: Everything.

Me: What do you like most about Judah?

Meazi: Hmmm, not sure mom. He is a little crazy.

It's good to have friends.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

I love you forever. You are my dad forever. I like you. I love you. Will you love me forever? - Meazi

I love this picture. To me it epitomizes why he is such a wonderful father. Minutes before he had asked Meazi to stay out of the zen garden directly behind her. She fell in, he helped her up, and gave her this look. He manages to make them feel safe, to make them laugh, but also to keep them in check.

They adore him.

He reminds me of someone...

Dear Dad, I love you forever. You are my dad forever. I like you. I love you. - Jules.

We are off for a mini road trip today, to see my sister Kate and her betrothed. The kids will see their first modern dance performance, and enjoy their dad's favorite road trip food.

Have a lovely Father's Day.

Oh, and don't forget to vote!

They really did drag this contest out didn't they? Enough already.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raising Butterflies

A boy came into Meazi' class in May. He had switched schools. May is a tough month to start a new school. His mom approached me the other day and told me that the only reason her son was able to make the transition was because of Meazi. He had been crying in the classroom. Meazi approached him and asked him what was wrong. He said that no one would play with him. Meazi said, "Well, you can play with me." She took his hand, and from that moment on she has had his back.

Another mom approached me to compliment me on my parenting skills after hearing this story. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. My daughter knows what it is like to be an outsider. She has had to learn about change and about adapting, very early in her life. Her losses have been enormous, and she has better coping skills than many adults I know, myself included.

"Meazi is a kind and loving child and has been a wonderful part of our Kindergarten community."

 1st Day of Kindergarten...

 Last day of Kindergarten...

Congratulations Konji. I am so proud of you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

They Are Practically Amish.

In a classic case of "Do as I say, not as I do," we do not allow our kids to watch television. After nearly two years of being a mother I find myself saying, "Why on earth did I ever agree to this?" I believe Steven got me at a weak moment. It was probably during our adoption process, I had probably been watching bad television for six straight hours, while eating Hot Tamale candies and feeling sorry for myself. Sugared out, brain-dead, he probably looked at me slumped on the sofa and said, "You don't want your kids to ever feel this way do you?" No I didn't.

Whenever I tell people this, they tell me about all of the great programs available for kids these days. I don't doubt them. There have been so many evenings, usually around 5:45, when I have wanted nothing more than to plop them down on the couch and turn on the TV. So far I have resisted. (Disclaimer: in no way is this a post about what a better mom I am for not letting my kids watch TV. Surely you have read some of the blog and you know this is not the case? There is no judgement about this).

In a way, I feel like I may be contributing to my children's feelings of being different. The no TV thing makes them a bit strange. When I taught at the Waldorf school, I really loved the fact that the students didn't watch TV, and that they were not allowed to wear TV characters on their clothes. Their imaginative play was remarkable. Meazi and Melese act out all kinds of amazing scenarios, the most popular one involving their travels to Russia to adopt two children. I love watching them play. Occasionally they'll ask me to be 'that airplane person who passes out the drinks', and I do.

It is amazing to me that you don't have to watch TV to know about Dora and Elmo. They are ubiquitous.  It is hard to purchase everyday things for the kids that don't involve television. Happily Melese calls his Diego toothbrush, Domingo.

Melese's friend Domingo...
 We are definitely movie people though. Steven and I both love movies. We haven't taken either child to a movie in the theatre yet, because we haven't seen anything advertised that we want to be their very first movie in a theatre ever.

Then there is that whole sensitivity issue. We have shown them a few movies here at the house. It has pretty much been a debacle. They loved Toy Story 3, but still talk about the scary incinerating part. Pippi Longstocking was a hit, but we had read the book first. When we got a different Pippi Longstocking movie from the library Meazi became terrified of the villain and cried hysterically whenever he showed up on the screen. We turned it off. I thought the animated version of  The Little Engine that Could would be a safe choice. Not so much. The nightmare train was, well, a nightmare for her. Next up, The Jungle Book. Great for Melese. He loved the elephants and now marches around the house shouting, "Hup two three four! Keep it UP two three four!" But he does correct me, "Mom, it's The Jungle, not the book. It's the movie mom. So, we call it simply The Jungle. Meazi couldn't watch it, she was too afraid of the tiger.

This past Friday the evening seemed to drag on and on. Steven was nowhere close to leaving work, so I thought it would be nice to have another movie night. I had recorded Ramona and Beesus on our DVR. I thought Beverly Cleary based entertainment would be a no-brainer. It was, until the girls walked into their basement and found their cat dead. Yep. Dead. Family. Pet. Oh and there was kissing! A young girl with a love life, which Meazi now refers to as a 'Lovin Life'.

Enter world's greatest website: Kids in Mind. Someone at work told Steven about this site, and it is great. We will be using it before we choose our next movie.

So yeah, another post about how I am struggling as a mother.  How do I make sure that my kids aren't those weird kids who aren't allowed to watch TV? How do I help them retain their beautiful imaginations? Why does Meazi already know who Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are? How do I make sure I don't traumatize them with my poor viewing selections?

For the record, Pippi Longstocking's mother is dead and her father is the king of Cannibal Island.

"What's a cannibal mommy?"


Sunday Garden Tour

This picture is a good representation of how I feel about parenting lately...

Sunday Garden tour...at somebody else's garden.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Steven, who has never taken much interest in this blog, keeps texting me to tell me where I stand.

Don't forget to vote daily until the 21st.

Still don't know what the prize is.


Hi Steven! Welcome to my blog! xoxo

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

I finally had a chance to go through some of the kids' old clothes. We are lucky enough to be the recipients of many fine hand-me-downs, especially for Melese. By the time he is through with them, they are ready for Goodwill. I saved some of Meazi’s nicer things for friends, especially her Ethiopian dresses.

There are a few of her things that I cannot let go of.

Those shoes and that dress she left the orphanage in.

That silly matching Mommy and me Lucky Brand sundress. I never thought that I'd be the kind of person that would buy matching dresses for my daughter and myself, sounds so, pagent-y or something. It was actually nice because the first time (out of the three times we both wore this dress) she did get a kick out of it, I felt that it helped with our attachment, at least for that day. Also, there was that benefit of "If you forget which white woman at this party is now your mommy, check their dresses."

That Keep on Truckin' dress. You understand why I can't give that away right? And was she ever really that small??

And her uniform jumper. Her classmate Adrian's little sister will be getting most of her uniforms, but I am keeping her size 6 jumper.

I am also keeping Melese's orphanage farewell clothes, and an adorable one-piece striped outfit he was wearing when we went through customs in Los Angeles.Unfortunately, due to an incident which I hope is not indicative of his feelings toward America, said onsie had to be removed and bagged in the airport. 

Our house is about 950 square feet. Melese, Meazi, and I share a closet. At this rate we are going to be out of room very soon. Do other people do this? Keep things like this? Or do I still live in Crazytown? Don't answer that. I already know.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One year and 303 days...

We headed to the YMCA today, to squeeze in a family swim. They heat the training pool to over 90 degrees. It is very relaxing to splash around in there with the kids. There is a lifeguard, and today there were about one hundred other children swimming. The pool is only four feet deep. It is heavily chlorinated, which is a good thing because those one hundred children never get out of the pool to use the bathroom. Meazi is a fish, and can now swim on her own. Melese splashes around, jumps into our arms from the ledge, and occasionally blows a bubble or two. It is a nice way to wrap up the weekend.

Just before five, as we were getting ready to leave, I asked Steven if he wanted to grab burritos for dinner. There is a new make-your-own burrito place that just opened in our neighborhood. The kids and I tried it last week. He said yes. In the locker room I asked Meazi if she wanted to go out to eat. As we walked to the car she said, "Dad, I really have a surprise for you, that you are going to like." He said, "Well Meazi, I have a surprise for you too." I said, "I think you guys share the same surprise- burritos."

We drove over, and Meazi discussed what she was going to choose this time, spinach tortilla, refried beans, Spanish rice. I asked Melese if he wanted a burrito and he nodded an emphatic yes. We pulled into the parking lot, hair wet, flip flops, all of us reeking of chlorine. I opened up the back to give Meazi a hand out of the car. She said, "Uppy!". "Uppy?" I said. "Ok." I picked her up. She wrapped her arms tightly around my neck, I felt a drop of water fall from her curls onto my clavicle. She put her head on my shoulder and then whispered into my ear.

She said, "You are very special to me." Tears shot out of my eyes onto my cheeks. "Oh Meazi" I said, "That is so swee..." She cut me off, "You all are, you, daddy and Melese. You are all very special to me."

It was the nicest thing she has ever said to me. I know that she loves me, but this was different. This was not a rote, "I love you," following one that I said to her. This was different. I said, "Meazi, tell daddy what you just said." She got embarrassed and asked me to tell him. So I did. We got burritos.

In the one year and 303 days that I have known her, I'd have to say that this may have been my most favorite moment.

But maybe she just really likes burritos.

Later of course, Steven and I decided that it sounded like something a teacher would have said to her. My moment of pure attachment-happy-joy turned into, "Which of her teachers told her that?" Then, because I am apparently still a misanthropic cynic who fears the worst, I wondered which creepy adult told her that so he could molest her.


At least for that split second...pure joy.

Sunday Garden Tour

The Return of the Sunday Garden Tour.
Meazi is watering her grape tree and Melese's Lilac tree. Melese is trying to fix my Flip camera.

We have a blueberry!

And some lettuce...

Sweet peas...

Waiting on the strawberries...

Beer! Er, I mean hops...


Asparagus? I think?

A wee squash...

Wine! Er, I mean grapes!

A lone blackberry...

Coriander up the wazoo...



Would you like that baked, mashed, or minuscule? Our lone potato. Ted has got his eye on it.

Flip still out of order...

Cherry tree, flanked by two strawberry plants...

Disclaimer: Usually not a fan of monkey clothes for our kidlets, but make exceptions for pj gifts from Nana.

Thank you bees. Really makes up for the lack of French fries.