Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is...

Marc !

You have already met Marc. He is married to Heather. Their daughter is Neve. They are our best friends in the world. We are Neve's godparents. I have mentioned how we met, but here is a short recap. Steven lived in the guest house of Heather and Marc's main house in New Mexico. They shared a courtyard. They were fast friends. It is fitting that I write this now, Steven has just flown to meet Marc HERE.

Yep, they are going to spend three days in the sun watching motorcycles go around in circles. Why this is interesting, I don't know. I am just so relieved that neither one of them ride motorcycles anymore. That is a hobby that they both enjoyed until Heather and I broke them of the habit. They both begrudgingly sold their bikes and settled down. Now they like cars...

Marc is REALLY into cars and REALLY into E-Bay.(Remember when Heather auctioned off some of her paintings because she wanted to contribute to our adoption? Marc facilitated the entire auction on E-Bay). Every once in a while we will get a phone call, "Hey guys, I am coming to town...picked up a '67 Jaguar on Ebay...good project car." Sometimes Heather will have to pick him up halfway home when something the previous owner failed to mention comes to the surface.

Marc is a very successful architect. He works for a company that specializes in green building. He gets really excited about projects like this. This is a design that fills him with much pride. Here is more info about it. There are other things he has to do as an architect that make him feel terrible. For instance, he just helped a couple design a bathroom that includes a $ 20,ooo toilet. Yep, you read me correctly. The couple wanted this toilet that requires no toilet paper. Please don't ask me how it works. I would really prefer not to describe it. This kind of excessive consumerism really rubs Marc the wrong way.

Marc has a sense of humor that is hard to explain. Some may call it plebeian, or even scatological. The truth is there are very few people who make me laugh so hard that I spit water out of my mouth. Sometimes in life you need one of Marc's stories to get through the day.

Marc also has an amazing ability. He says what everyone else is thinking, but is afraid to say. He just puts it out there. Many times this will illicit a, "MARC!!!" from Heather. It is one of the cool things about their relationship. Heather knows when to not say something, and Marc will say what needs to be said when no one else will.

I feel very lucky to have a friend like Marc. I feel that there is nothing he wouldn't do for me. Marc is family. He and Heather are probably the only two people I feel completely comfortable with. I mean the kind of at home, by yourselves, comfortable. If you are upset, need to cry, feel like venting, it is okay. Go ahead.

This is a picture of Marc and me on his couch. (You may notice that Ted has his leash on. That is because we practice attachment parenting with him.) I had just had a sauna. They designed an authentic Finnish sauna in their house. It is amazing.

There is very little in life that can't be fixed with a sauna and a sangria at Marc and Heather's house.

There are always dogs...

Lots of dogs...

And now there is a child; a beautiful, smart, funny, mischievous child...

Marc is a great father. He and Neve go on adventures every weekend so that mom can paint.

How will my adoption impact Marc?

Marc was there when Steven and I first met. He has seen every single stage of our relationship. He and Heather watched us fall in love. They have emotionally supported us through some very trying times.

You know who is really going to appreciate Marc unique sense of humor? Two small toddlers! They love poop jokes! It is what they live for. No seriously, I will be proud to introduce my kids to someone whose only t.v. looks like this...

(Can you even see it? It is that minuscule thing between the books and the fireplace.)

Marc will be an integral part of our children's lives.

Marc just designed a house for my parents. These were the preliminary sketches...
This house, designed by Marc, will belong to my kids' American Nana and Papa. In this house our kids will learn many important things. They will learn that one of the most beautiful places in the entire world is New Mexico. They will smell pinon burning in the kiva fireplace. They will see unbelievable sunsets through the carefully positioned windows. The will eat green chile in the kitchen. They will learn the magical, medicinal powers of a Finnish sauna. (Well, actually a steam unit but close enough.)

At this house, or at Marc and Heather's house, or maybe even on one of the hiking trails in the Santa Fe forest, our kids will learn the most important thing of all...

What it means to be a friend.

Thanks Marc. I love you.

Have a great weekend with my husband. He's pretty good company, BUT PLEASE NO MOTORCYCLE RIDING!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Not mine! Got your attention eh?

This week 29 families on the unofficial agency list received their referrals. This list represents about 1/3 to 1/2 of the families waiting. There were four sets of multiples, including a set of triplets! This is the second triplet referral in two years.

The first set can be seen in all their beautiful triplet glory here. Having a bad day? Watch some of Supermom Cindy's home videos of her boys. Radiohead and toddler boys, what could be more captivating? I especially like the one when the boys are just getting up in the morning.(Wakey! Wakey!)

When I mentioned to Steven that we had moved up almost 30 spaces on the list he almost fainted. When I told him about the triplets, I had to sit him down and get him a glass of water. He stammered,"I'm nnnnot reeeeady." It is weird when it starts feeling less esoteric. I called my social worker and asked her if it was likely we would get a referral before court closure. She wasn't sure. (For those of you who don't know, the courts in Ethiopia close down for a couple of months. There will most likely be no list movement until October).

It is an exciting time but (okay here comes the Debbie Downer) it seems to me that this influx must be directly related to the current tragedy unfolding in Ethiopia. I realize agencies try to facilitate a larger number of referrals because of the closure, but this number 29 seems staggering to me, especially if it is only representative of 1/3 or 1/2 of the families. Loss and joy interwoven, can't quite get my head around it.

This week, more than any other, I have felt censored in what I want to share. I wish I could tell you about an experience I had while working on Stage Nine. Does Blogger have a way to just password protect one post? I don't want to make this blog private, but I feel like there are so many things I can't talk about. It is probably just as well. I should just keep my mouth shut. I'll try to come up with a way to be less cryptic without ruffling anyone's feathers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Top Three Reasons I Love My Husband Today...

Reason Three:

Me: What were you doing with the camera outside in the dark for forty-five minutes?

Him: I made you this...

Reason Two:

Him: Here, I brought you this. Do you know what it is?

Me: Uhm, no.

Him: It is a Biden daisy. It is an Ethiopian daisy. Isn't it pretty?

And the NUMBER ONE REASON I love my husband this Sunday:

Me: I feel like having pancakes.


Not only did he make me pancakes, but he added my favorite ingredient, CHOCOLATE.

I am lucky.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is...

Dr. Phil!

No, not that Dr. Phil.

This one...

Dr. Phil is a friend of the family. He has spent his entire life working to help children. He is a leader and a hero. He is a bigwig Doc, a former medical school dean, and the nicest guy you'll ever met. He is a pioneer in the field of Cystic Fibrosis research. Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating disease. Here is some more info.

Here are some specifics of his research:

"Dr. Farrell has had a long-standing interest in pediatric nutrition, especially in infants with respiratory disorders such as hyaline membrane disease and cystic fibrosis.He has published numerous articles on the epidemiology and effects of nutrient deficiencies in preterm infants and patients with CF, and on the benefits and challenges associated with newborn screening programs for this disease.

Dr. Farrell’s current research program is entitled Assessment of the Benefits and Risks of Cystic Fibrosis Neonatal Screening.The stimulus for this unique investigation, initiated in 1984, came from his experiences as a practicing neonatologist and pediatric pulmonologist. He fully appreciated the difficulties in diagnosing CF, despite its relatively high incidence among autosomal recessive hereditary diseases.

This randomized clinical trial, which has received continued National Institutes of Health support for more than 20 years, involves 650,340 newborns throughout the state of Wisconsin. It has become the largest prospective pediatric research project since the polio vaccine field trials of 1954. A related study, supported by a grant from the US Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), analyzes psychosocial outcomes after newborn screening."

Here are the impressive results of that research:

"Results obtained thus far have elucidated epidemiologic characteristics of CF and unequivocally demonstrated significant nutritional benefits without revealing any long-term risks.The nutritional advantages of neonatal screening, published in The New England Journal of Medicine (337:963-969,1997) include greater height, weight, and head circumference. This randomized trial has also demonstrated unequivocally that malnutrition can be prevented in children with CF by a combination of neonatal diagnosis through screening and aggressive nutritional intervention (Pediatrics 107:1-12, 2001).

In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control, in association with the CFF, concluded that the Wisconsin investigation and others have generated enough evidence to recommend national screening of newborns for CF. This recommendation was published in the CDC's October 15, 2004 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."


His research has prevented malnutrition in newborns. When you are a waiting adoptive parent, especially one who is waiting for a child from a foreign country, new words pop up in your vocabulary. They are words like, 'head circumference', and, 'malnutrition'. Dr.Phil's research has made it possible for parents who have children who carry the gene for cystic fibrosis, to get early intervention. CF causes malabsorption of nutrients, and therefore malnutrition.

I guess I have been thinking a lot about malnutrition this week. The drought in Ethiopia is worsening. Children are dying. Dr. Phil's research has made sure that no child who is screened will suffer malnutrition because they carry the CF gene. Not too shabby. If you have had a baby, or adopted a baby in the last twenty years, it is highly likely that Dr. Phil's research has benefited you and your child.

Last year Dr. Phil received an award from the Heritage Foundation.

“Heritage Foundation award recipients have many great qualities in common, but one quality stands out beyond the rest. Our Heritage Award recipients have an uncommon vision for the future. And at this time, we honor Dr. Phil Farrell for his vision, for his long-time relationship with Marshfield Clinic and for his contributions to the current and future well-being of Wisconsin.”

Seems like a busy guy right? Busy with all that changing the world stuff ?

Well, Dr. Phil was not too busy to help me when I got sick. He and his beautiful wife Alice were extremely supportive. Dr. Phil helped me to figure out what to do and where to go. His advice was invaluable.

I always feel bad for the doctors in a group of friends and families. They can't even go to a picnic without thirty people coming up to them with various ailments,"Doc it hurts when I do this," "Doc, what do you think of this mole?" Can't the poor man just relax like the rest of the picnickers? Why does every outing entail seeing patients?

Dr. Phil would never make you feel bad about stopping him mid-hot dog to answer a question you have about your health or the health of your children. He is more than happy to help. It's what he does.

How will my adoption impact Dr.Phil? I am hoping that I don't have ANY questions for Dr.Phil when I bring my kids to the next picnic. I hope we can all just relax on the deck, take in the sunset, and maybe even spot a bald eagle. In Dr. Phil my kids will see a man who has dedicated his entire life to helping others. He is an inspiration. He is a world famous doctor without a hint of self-importance. He is humble and kind. He is modest. I will never forget his support. It was the scariest time of my entire life. I am so grateful to him.

Thank You Dr. Phil.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What it feels like for a girl...

I taught first grade on Tuesday. During recess three girls came back into the classroom. They were very upset that the older boys were not letting them take a turn in kickball.

I stumbled on this video. In Ethiopia, any girl would count herself extremely lucky to ever attend school. I am not criticizing my students. They are lovely, and working on their own empowerment on the playground. I just wish that these Ethiopian girls had the same problems.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Days Like This...A Sunbeam for Anna.

We are straight,

We are strong,

We are valiant and bold,

For the sun fills our hearts with its life giving gold.

We will open our hearts to the sunbeams so bright

And we'll fill all the world with our heart's inner light.

- Waldorf Verse

Anna has received her sunbeam.

His name is Kai Misikir, and he is seven months old.

Pop on over to her blog and give her a big congratulations.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Making of a Habesha Garden.Part II- Flotsam and Gypsum, and "We're Going to Need a Bigger Sifter."

The Making of a Habesha Garden. Part III- If You Build it They Will Come, and a Critique from Pip and Squeak!

Our Habesha garden is just about finished!

Ingredients: strawberries, pumpkins, peas, carrots, lettuce, wine grapes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, asparagus, honeydew melon, beer hops, New Mexico green chilies, chamomile, teff (on its way from Phoenix), broccoli, basil, cilantro, fava beans, eggplant, Buna (coffee, actually still potted inside), squash, and cucumber.

Pip thought the sweet peas were quite tasty and requested more. Squeak, although satisfied with the number of slugs and rolly pollies, found the lack of ladybugs quite distressing.

Steven has been working on this project for months. It was much more difficult than he imagined. The concrete was about twelve inches thick. It was all meshed together by rusty wire underneath. The cement saw didn't work. At one point he announced that instead of Habesha Garden, the project's new name would be "Steven's Folly." When he finally made it through the concrete to the dirt he found that the dirt was made up of, you guessed it, more concrete. He sifted every inch of dirt through a giant contraption that he made himself. He then treated all of the dirt with gypsum. Save for these thirty seconds,

and twenty more minutes of the fun planting part, Steven did ALL OF THE WORK.

Steven knows that this will be a wonderful place for our kids. He made it with love, sweat and tears (well at least cursing).

I hope that they will like it.

Farmer Steven, enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Days Like This...Katy.

She rode a horse to her wedding.

This is Katy. You know her. For over a year she has been writing an insightful, moving, and brilliantly hilarious blog chronicling her adoption process.

This week she received the news she had been waiting for...

Two children, halfway across the world, would soon be placed in her care.

In her honor, I would like to present this song …

Get Music Tracks!Create A Playlist!

Katy and I share a love for Van the Man. If you can't see it, or if you press play and can’t hear it, it is because Mr.V.M. doesn’t like it when people use his music in cyberspace. (There is nothing worse than an angry Irishman one shot shy of a Jameson’s buzz on).

If that happens, here are the lyrics. Sing it yourself, LOUDLY. You know the tune.

While you are singing, think of Katy and Aldous and the twin girls they will meet shortly.

When it's not always raining
there'll be days like this
When there's no one complaining
there'll be days like this
Everything falls into phase
like the flick of a switch
Well my momma told me
there'll be days like this

When you don't need to worry
there'll be days like this
When no one's in a hurry
there'll be days like this
When you don't get betrayed
by that old Judas kiss
Oh my momma told me
there'll be days like this

When you don't need an answer
there'll be days like this
When you don't meet a chancer
there'll be days like this
When all the parts of the puzzle
start to look like they fit
Then I must remember
there'll be days like this

When everyone is upfront
and they're not playing tricks
When you don't have no freeloaders
out to get their kicks in
When it's nobody's business
the way that you wanna live
I just have to remember
there'll be days like this

When no one steps on my dreams
there'll be days like this
When people understand what I mean
there'll be days like this
When you bring out the changes
of how everything is
Well my momma told me
there'll be days like this

Oh my momma told me
there'll be days like this
Well my momma told me
there'll be days like this
Oh my momma told me
there'll be days like this
Oh my momma told me
there'll be days like this

"Everything is realistic if you try hard enough." - Aldous

Congratulations. I think I finally know the real definition of Straight Magic.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

will return next week.

Thank you for your comments and e-mails. It is comforting to hear that I am not the only resident of Crazytown, just its mayor.

Also , for all of the ladies in Canada who found me, this is for you...