Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Come on Mom!!,

As soon as I opened the door, TN came rushing over, "Come on, Mom, come on!" Puzzled, I looked at Terry who shrugged and smiled, "She has something to show you." TN grabbed my hand and rushed me across the house and into the bathroom. She flung open the toilet bowl seat and proudly declared, pointing for emphasis, "I made green poop!!!" My eyebrows raised, I looked at Nerys, looked at Terry, started laughing and told her she did a great job. "It's Green!!!" she said again. Then she asked if she could flush it. You see, she had made the green poop earlier in the evening and SAVED it for me to make sure I could see the green poop, too. What a sweetheart.

You never know what you're coming home to, I guess.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays!

This year, Santa became a major household topic. TN read about santa, sang about santa, told us what santa wears and was ready for him to come. However, on Christmas morning, TN ignored all the gifts that mysteriously appeared under the tree, choosing to read books and play with toys she already had. Soon, she noticed a beautiful rocking chair Grandpa W made for her and has since spent a lot of time in. I'll post pictures soon!

TN was lavished with beautiful clothes, some of which she spent a lot of time layering one piece over another. She was... plush... She received puzzles and books, coloring books, and awesome tools to play with. Now, she spends much of her time hammering away at "nails" and figuring out how that darn screwdriver works. Ah, the mysteries of building and pounding.

We enjoyed our wonderful Christmas with friends and family. Thank you everyone, for making the holidays so special.

On January 7th, it will be Christmas day in Ethiopia, where our little Siloty will celebrate with her care-center infant buddies. We wish she was home with us and will think of her half way around the world...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Parenting Two?

On December 4th, Siloty Ezri turned 1 month old. So hard to imagine a baby so small, after bringing home TN at 14 months. Soon, we'll bring SE home to our family, joining TN and SE as sisters, making us a family of four.

Sometimes I am so excited to get SE home I can't stand myself. Sometimes I am so nervous about parenting a toddler and an infant that I wonder what the heck we were thinking! But, more often than not now, I try to imagine what our household will actually be like. I imagine that maybe TN will be jealous? Or will she want to be with SE all the time? Will they be friends as they get older, or be sibling rivals at each others throats?

I know there are no answers and that I'm coming up with hypotheticals that cannot be predicted. Nevertheless, here we are, preparing for SE to come home to MN, introducing her to a whole new world. Hopefully, we can be as good of parents to two children as we trepiditiously hope we are with one.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crying Hand, Fever Hand

Thanks to F and C W who gave TN the greatest gift ever... a crying, feverish baby who needs band-aids, shots in the rear and who has all the right equipment for the checking of tonsils. TN, after many weeks, has finally named her CeCe.

TN LOVES THIS DOLL. She carries it everywhere, kissing her little head, telling her everything is okay and patting her on the bottom. It is absolutely adorable. CeCe sleeps with her, goes to Target, in the car, in the truck and everywhere she possibly can.

What is so funny is seeing and hearing all of the things we have said and done to her over the year come spilling out in her own actions and words. If you ever wonder how it is you really parent your kids, get them a doll and see what they do. I now feel confident that we are doing at least SOME things right.

Thanks W clan for the great doll. TN now has her own crying hand and fever hand (squeeze them and the appropriate actions occur) and is a great two and a half year old mommy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Siloty

We learned on Thursday that our baby girl, Siloty was in the hospital in Ethiopia with the flu. We were so concerned and worried for our 5 week old little girl. Good news arrived yesterday that Siloty is out of the hospital and is doing well. We'll even get new pictures soon!!

It's hard to describe how horrible it is to know I had a five week old in the hospital thousands of miles away from us. I was in Texas on a business trip; Terry and Nerys were in Minnesota. Regardless of our geography, there was nothing either of us could do for our little one, execpt put our faith in the doctor's and nurses caring for out little one so far away. All went well.

Now, we wait for our court date and the chance to meet our little one in February. We will name her Siloty Ezri, meaning My Prayer, Helper and Aid. She will be about 3 months old at homecoming, so tiny. But, as FW says, she is strong, she's a fighter and will be ready for her mommy and daddy soon.

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and hopes as we sent loads and loads of positive energy towards our little one in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Drop Trow

So, recently, TN has decided that whenever her bottom has a problem she should drop pants and panties immediately to investigate the issue. We're not sure why, as everything APPEARS to be fine. Nevertheless, whenever the girl has an itch or a twitch, she suddenly drops trow in the middle of wherever

  • The kitchen
  • The living room
  • Grandma's...

We're waiting for the day she drops everything in the middle of target or something. Nevertheless, those great body parts are the subject of many conversations lately. It means we spend time checking things out, decide everything is alright and the panties and pants back up, ready for play.

Gotta love two year olds. Everything is an investigation and no one is spared playing the role of investigator or becoming the investigatee.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mary had a....

TN sings songs. A lot of songs. Recently, it has become more fun to make up new words to songs rather than sing them as designed.

Mary had a little.... lemonade.

Mary had a little.... cow race (we've been playing cow racing on the new wii)

(saving the best for last) Mary had a little.... nipple.

It's so fun to teach your kids the real words to body parts. You never know when they're going to, umm, pop up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Announcing...

The referral of baby girl Solity, born November 4th, 2008, weighing 6 pounds, height 19 inches. She is a beautiful little girl with dark black hair and enormous dark brown eyes. She's got 10 little fingers and ten little toes, each long and slender; she has the biggest newborn feet I've ever seen! She is amazing and we look forward to getting a court date so that we can share her picture with you.

We are so excited and TN is ready to travel to Ethiopia... So are we!

Thank you for your support, once again! We look forward to sharing more about our growing family soon.

S, T and TN

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Catching up

Hello everyone,

I'm sorry for such a huge delay in writing recently!

TN has grown so much and experienced her first Halloween where she got to knock on doors and say "trick or treat!" She had a of fun and she was a beautiful princess. She received many compliments and did a great job saying thank you. We had such a beautiful night for weather and it was so fun to play with her. I'll be posting pictures very soon.

TN continues to boggle our minds. She is such a dynamic child. She has this amazing sense of humor and is so smart it boggles the mind. Terry brought home a huge globe for her many months ago and she loves to play with it. She frequently drags it out of her room to play. She now knows how to find countries on her own. She knows these by heart:

Brazil
Japan
South Korea
Turkey
Yemen
Oman
Saudia Arabia
Ethiopia
Kenya
Madagascar
Australia (and Sydney and the East Australian Current)
Iraq
Iran
Sudan
Zimbabwe
Botswana
Afganistan
China
Thailand

She can also find Minnesota and Iowa (where mommy and daddy are from).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new era

Rosa sat so that Martin could walk.
Martin walked so that Barack could run.
Barack ran so that my children might fly.
-- author unknown

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A thing about pull-ups

They are not reusable, folks.

Don't wash them.

They do weird things to your child's clothing and to your new, fancy, front-loading, bought-on-clearance-super-cheap-but-super-awesome, water-saving washer.

*sigh* Alas, one of the last pull-ups TN will ever wear, now that she is potty trained (!!!!!!), has been washed. I really didn't intend to wash it, but know this: The silica gel/whatever the heck that stuff is in those diapers can get REALLY, REALLY wet. They can get so wet, in fact, that they burst open the seams, spilling jelly-like substances all over your clothing, washer drum and then clump up and flop around inside the washer.

I, of course, only realize this once the clothing is all nice and "clean" and ready to be put in the dryer. Then, I spent 1/2 hour shaking out all of the clothes, throwing them piece by miniscule piece into the dryer. I then spent some lovely time getting to know the shiny silver drum of the washer, carefully pulling, scraping, and caressing clumps of silica/whatever the heck that stuff is off of the drum. You know, that stuff falls into the holes of the drum of your washer making it quite difficult to remove. But, I think I got the job mostly done and threw in another load of laundry (a few towels, just in case). We'll see what happens to them in about 23 minutes.

So, a word to the wise, oh ye new parents, do not wash pull-ups. It's not a good thing, and I don't have to be Martha Stewart to know it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

In ways you don't expect

As adoptive parents to a child of color (which I've written about here and there), we tried to think of everything that might come up. This includes what other people might say, how to react, how she might discover race, racism, skin color, and the ways we are different and the same. As we all know, however, we can't predict everything.

Last night, I was sitting on the rocking chair, my bare feet resting on the floor near TN. She touched by foot and said, "Mom, somebody colored on you!". I looked down, confused at first, and quickly ascertained that TN was looking at the purple blue veins everyone can readily see through my melanin-free skin. I told her that no one colored on me. In fact those were my veins and that daddy and TN had veins too.

TN checked her dad's feet first. Sure enough, he had veins also. She proceeded to peel off her socks as quickly as possible to find her own veins. After searching top and bottom she declared, "Somebody took mine!". Indeed, through her chocolate skin, no veins could be seen. We never thought she'd discover the color of her skin this way! I assured her that she had veins just like Mommy and Daddy. After doing some quick thinking, Terry and I turned her hands palm side up, where her hands and wrists are lighter. There, we all found some of TN's veins--veins you could SEE and she was satiated. No one had taken her veins (which is good for all of us!).

It's fun to see ways that TN connects to the world. She never asked why we couldn't see her veins (perhaps because we worked quickly to discover a few she could see), but I'm sure this day is coming soon. Until then, some of us are the color of brown crayons and some of us are the color of yellow or white ones. Just ask her, she'll tell you. For now, she doesn't know all of the socio-economic-political-identity issues that come with these monickers of color, and we're okay with that.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

I promise...

To get to pictures up tonight of TN at the wedding! I'm sure we got some good ones and can't wait to see them myself!

Also, I promise to tell you that we are officially waiting for a referral for a baby sister... We are officially waiting for the referral of a baby sister!!!

New names TN has suggested:

Baby Sarah

White Baby (hmmm.....)

Pink

But not:

Terefech

Nerys

Elmo

or Terry... Because those are other people's names... Apparently, my name doesn't count.

Too funny.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wedding!

We had a wonderful time last weekend at Chad and Angie's wedding (our nephew got married!). TN was a flower girl and looked amazing! As soon as we get pictures loaded onto our computer, I'll post some here.

Congratulations to Chad and Angie!! May you have a beautiful, loving and laughter filled life together!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm getting a baby sister, mom

Last night, TN wanted me to cuddle her before she went to sleep. So, I sat on the floor with her cuddled into my chest as we rocked back and forth. The swirling rainbow nightlight made patterns on the ceiling and cast a pinkish glow to the room as I cuddled with my baby.

"Mom?" TN said as she looked in my eyes with that tired, glazed over smile.
"Yes, Nerys?" I asked.
"I'm going to have a baby sister."
"Yes, Nerys, you are. You're going to be a big sister."
"Yep. Mom, I'm going to cuddle with baby sister."
"Oh, she'll love that, Nerys. You will also be able to rock her and sing her some songs if you want."
"Yep. And, I'll give her a bottle."
"Yes, Nerys, baby sister will be very happy when you give her a bottle."
"Go get baby sister now?"
"No, sorry, we have to wait a few more months."
"Sorry, mom."
"It's okay, Nerys. Right now, you are my little baby and we'll cuddle. Close your eyes, Nerys. It's time for night, night. I love you."
"Love you, mommy."

*sigh* I wish every night were as peaceful and wonderful as this night.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dad, you suck!

This evening we were on our way to Ethiopians for Ethiopians for a little get together, playing and language learning with other adoptive families. As we're pulling out of the driveway and heading down the road, TN pipes up from the carseat, "Dad! You suck!" Terry and I cast disturbed and questionning glances towards each other, clearly thinking, "No way did she just say that."

Then we asked her to repeat herself, "Dad! You suck!" followed by, "Mom, you suck!" I start laughing (because it's pretty funny, but don't worry, I didn't do it aloud). Then she says, "Dad, I suck too!" Then I really start laughing. She repeats it one more time before we figure out that she is saying, "Dad, you're stuck", "Mom, you're stuck", "I'm stuck too". After I get done laughing, I explain.

Quite a few weeks ago, TN decided that while I was driving home with her from daycare that I should hold her. After 3 days of attempting to explain that I couldn't hold her while I was driving, I finally told her that she was stuck and that I was stuck too. Our seatbelts made us stuck. This worked and ended days of sobbing and begging from the backseat.

I guess tonight, TN forgot her "t's" and as it turns out, we all suck.

I told TN she just got blogged. Too bad that doesn't mean anything to her yet...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Missing her

There are some days, as a parent, when I sit and stare at TN's picture on my computer at work. There is nothing I want more than to spend they day with her, playing, cuddling, and laughing. Sometimes, in fact, I want to be with her so badly that my heart aches. It's days like these that the guilt of having her in daycare hits and I feel like perhaps I am failing her as a parent.

There are trade-offs as a parent, there is no doubt. We could forego my income and the benefits that it gives our family, and devote all of my time and energies to her. But then, I know that I would likely not be the best stay-at-home mommy. I get so much out of my work: the challenges, the interactions with other educated professionals, the feeling that I am helping others throughout the States.

On the other hand it is so good to know that TN is acquiring good social skills, playing and learning in a structured environment with a few other friends at daycare. I know that she is safe, warm and loved at the very small care environment she is in and that she equally loves her care provider. All of these things are reassuring.

With the debate raging about Palin, McCain's VP choice, women have polarized to one faction or another: Stay at home and be a "responsible" parent or be "irresponsible" and leave your child in the care of others. Sure, the argument is more complicated than that (e.g., Palin has a child with special needs, a pregnant teenage daughter and a son going into the military), but surely one could make some of the same arguments about being the parent of an adopted child, needing perhaps more parental energy and care than a biological child.

Regardless, the pressures on parents today, especially (it seems to me) mothers are starting to feel the heat again about making a choice between career and children. As we head towards our second adoption, a second daughter and child in our life, this brings the issue into focus once again. I don't know that there is a "right" answer to this question. In fact, I think the answer to this question probably varies family to family and perhaps in even child to child within a family.

I think we have made the right choice, for our family, for this child, in this moment. That doesn't mean the situation won't change in the future. One of the beauties of life in these United States, regardless of political affiliation, is that we still have the right to make choices that are right for our own families.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

We would like to take this opportunity to announce that we are beginning a second adoption of a baby girl from Ethiopia. We are very excited to welcome a new baby girl home sometime in January of 2009.

Of course one of the major discussions at our household is names. We have included TN in on our naming discussions. She is excited to have a baby sister, so here are her suggestions (remember, she's 28 months now) for baby sister names:

1. Coffee: TN's favorite beverage. She also suggested coffee in amharic form: Buna
2. Pete: TN made up this word. It's one in a long list of words she has now "made-up" that are actually real words. She laughed hysterically when we repeated "Pete" and thought this was a good idea.
3. Darwin: Our cat
4. Fezz: Our kitten
4. Ooo-oooo: Her favorite sound from the They Might Be Giants "No!" soundtrack for children.

We'll keep you update on names and the newest upcoming addition to the family!

Thank you for your love and support!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Cure for a Cold

Poor TN woke up all congested on Saturday morning. The poor girl sounded miserable andwas losing her voice, but was up running around, playing, laughing and having fun. Nevertheless, I warmed up some water, added some honey and lemon and begged the child to drink it. She avoided it, of course, like the plague.

So, I told her that if she drank the water with lemon and honey it would make her nose feel better. She said, "Okay!", ran over to the couch, picked up her sippy cup and shoved the straw right up her left nostril... Not exactly what I had in mind.

After laughing my ass off, I asked her if she felt better, to which she proclaimed, "yep!".

So, next time you get sick, just shove a straw up your schnozz and all should be well. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bic!

TN is making up words. She finds this to be an extremely hysterical pasttime as she gets others to repeat her new made-up word.



A couple of weeks ago, TN started saying "bic!" and then waiting for you to repeat it back to her. As soon as you do, she's bent over in stitches laughing at your use of this clearly not-real word. It was during this same time period that she spent a couple of days over at Grandma and Grandpa's house. She kept walking up and telling them, "bic!". They struggled and wondered what this word was! What was this girl trying to communicate to them? What did she need or want? So, Terry gave me a call-- I was in Miami-- and said, "Umm, maybe you know the answer to this question. TN has been saying this 'bic' word all weekend and Aggie and your dad and mom are trying to figure out what this means. I think its driving them nuts." I started laughing on the other end of the phone, explaing that it means roughly... absolutely nothing. It has no meaning, she's just trying to get people to say unreal words because its funny. Poor D&J spent a weekend trying to muster up the meaning of bic, only to find out it meant absolutely nada.



As these word games of hers continue, we laugh and laugh. This is the best game ever invented. Just ask TN.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who's Yo Momma?

Now that TN is a super-speaker, and everyone thinks she's 3, she's started asking some very interesting questions. Once in a while her 2-year old slang is hysterical and/or embarrassing depending on the situation.

TN has taken to saying, "Who's Yo Daddy?" and "Who's Yo Mama?". More often than not, she now walks around pointing at strangers saying, "That's not yo mama!" or "That's not yo daddy!" While it is funny when we are alone, it did pose a certain problem for daycare a few days ago.

Tammy took TN on a walk. They happened to be behind an African man who was also walking down the sidewalk. TN is talking away when she abruptly says, very loudly of course, "That's not yo Daddy, Tammy!" Tammy said, "No, you're right, that's not my daddy". TN then exclaims, "That's my daddy!". The man then turns around, looks at TN and says in a heavy accent. "No, I am not your daddy." Poor Tammy was about ready to melt into the sidewalk as TN confirmed that this man was, indeed, not her father.

But, it never fails that we get into a public place and TN is pointing to everyone in their brother loudly proclaiming that everyone in the store is or is not her daddy or mommy. It usually draws quite the giggle and laugh from passerby's... but then, I've also seen the eyebrows go up as people start to wonder what the heck is wrong with this kid? She doesn't even know her parents!

Oh well, TN thinks it's all fun and games. These lovely experiences usher us into the two-year old phase... how to embarrass your parents. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Famiversary!

Yesterday we celebrated our first famiversary!!!! Believe it or not, it has been ONE WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR since we came home. We miss our beloved friends we met in Ethiopia and all of their amazing children, we miss the sites and smells of Ethiopia and all her beautiful people. I think about TN's Ethiopian family and talk to her about them even though I know she doesn't yet understand. Someday she will, though, and I want to make sure that they've been an ever present, positive and loving entity in her life even if she doesn't remember them.

It has been such a beautiful, rewarding, and amazing year. I love being a mommy so much words can't express... Terry is a fantastic and wonderful daddy. It's so fun to watch TN and Terry wrestling on the floor, or TN "jumping" on dad's tummy and chest. My favorite thing about being a family? If TN spies Terry and I exchanging hugs and kisses, TN grabs our legs and says, "Nerys hugs too!!" So, we pick her up and squeeze her between us with great big hugs; then we each shower her with kisses. She squeals with delight and yells, "again!" I can't help but beam at these endearing and fun family moments. I am blessed beyond words to have TN in our family, and to have her love us as much as we love her.

Happy Famiversary, Family!!




TN about 1.3 years ago, just before we traveled to Ethiopia.
















TN a few weeks ago. A beautiful, super-smart and funny little 2 year old. We love, love, love you TN!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Okay to be Different

Children's author Todd Parr has a book called, "It's Okay to be Different." In it, he describes different family attributes, like having different mom's and dads, or being adopted. He also talks about being a different color and having lots of different friends. TN has pretty much memorized the book and loves saying who has glasses and who doesn't, who in the household is adopted, and who isn't. Today, she was reading the book with her dad. Terry read the part where it says, "It's okay to have big ears!". TN promptly reported, "Dad has big ears!" I laughed til I almost peed my pants. Terry looks at me and says, "What? Do I have big ears or something and didn't know it?" No, I'm happy to report Terry doesn't have big ears (and it would be okay if he did), but apparently TN thinks so!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stay Young


And start doing it early.

Thanks, National Geographic!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Swimming

It finally hit 90 here in MN, so what else is there to do except set up TN's first pool and go for a dunk in the water?













































Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hey Mom! Where's the Charmin?

Nerys went to the bathroom.... And came out with our empty TP dispenser and some new TP. I guess we'd been negligent in keeping the TP dispenser full and ready to use in case someone, say, wanted to use it. And, since nothing gets past TN, she brought (literally) this to our attention by bringing everything to.... The living room. That's right, I turn around and TN is dragging the TP dispenser from the bathroom into the living room where I could assist in solving the problem.



Notice that this dispenser still has one, single, lonely piece attached to it. No problem, TN hastily removed the offending piece, put it in the trash and declared the TP roll ready to be removed.















We now have all the supplies neccessary for changing the TP: Dispenser? Check! New TP? Check! A cleaned off cardboard TP roll to be removed? Check!



Now, if TN could only get that roll off....



No problem. Mom successfully removes and replaces TP roll (hence, no pictures) and TN sets off to put the TP back in its rightful position.








Pick it up, "Oo, Mom! That's heavy!" she says.
















She lugs it back to the bathroom...


















And back into its rightful position. Thank you TN, for helping us see the error of our ways and helping to correct the TP problem. We'll try not to leave an empty roll in the future.







Thursday, July 3, 2008

TN Enjoys the Summer

Swimming, smelling the flowers and blowing bubbles with Grandma...




















































Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is she too hot?

Many people hold to the notion that children are color blind. This is especially said when children of differing races or ethnicities do something cute, such as hug each other or play with children in "mixed" groups. The adults in their lives frequently comment on how the children play together "even though" they are different; they love unconditionally. I suppose this might be true up to a certain age, but eventually children do come to notice in one way or another, that the children they are playing with don't look the same as they do. Sometimes this happens in a positive, protective way, other times by neutral and casual observation, and at still other times in a way that is negative or derogatory.

At daycare this week, one of the children asked the daycare provider, L, if TN was too hot. L knew what was coming next and asked casually, "Why do you ask?". The little girl, three and a half year old A, said, "Because TN is black and black gets hot in the sun." This observant little girl knew that when she wore dark clothing, she got warm-- sometimes even hot! So, she suspected that being in the sun made TN too hot also. She wasn't being racist, but she was definitely recognizing color. L responded that TN was fine and that if she got too hot, she'd come and tell L and L would help her. A good response which satiated A's concern about TN.

TN doesn't yet "know" that she is a person of color. While she has noted that her skin is brown, it's a neutral and casual observation linked largely to the color of crayon she was currently using to color a picture. While I have gotten glaring looks from all spectrums of the human color continuum, TN hasn't quite picked up on those negative observations yet. In different instances we have experienced those who assume that my partner is brown and that assumption may have an attached evaluation of good or bad. In other situations, it doesn't matter who my partner is; as a white woman, I should not be raising a child of color. I can deal with these idiosyncracies of the public's "feelings" and personal philosophies about our raising of TN. Soon, TN will have to deal with them too, and I will be a good role model, stand-up parent, and have an ear to listen when she needs to talk about issues of racism. Hopefully, my examples will ease the process of her transitioning and fending for her own dignity and respect. Afterall, there will come a time when I am not with her to help. How I wish she didn't have to deal with these issues, but eventually she will.

When we became the honored parents of TN, we also became a household of color. With this knowledge it is our responsibility and obligation to act on her best behalf, defend her and stand up to those who dismiss, offend, or in other ways negatively interact with TN or promote racism in general. This is complicated in a society ruled by not offending others. It is especially difficult when at times the comment is a look, stare, or glare that is imbued with negative meaning or disapproval. Nevertheless, we work with in the parameters that we accepted when deciding to adopt from Ethiopia. Until then, its' important to remember that:

1) TN is not an exception rule. It isn't okay to talk about how "bad" people of color are in general, but make an exception for my daughter. My daughter is a person-- a person of color who deserves respect and honor. As an example, it isn't okay to tell us a story about such-and-such and what terrible thing they did... oh, and they were black. Is this important to your story?? Probably not. It doesn't matter what negative actions people take; that this person is a person of color is almost always irrelevant to the action they took. Everyone does bad things sometimes.

2) It is not okay to tell jokes about people of color-- stereotypes that uphold and perpetuate negative, cultural, and social institutions aren't acceptable.

3) Be prepared. I am actively and willingly obligated to take you on about racism. I am also willing to remove my daughter from your presence, unabashedly, in order to prevent her from being harmed-- emotionally or physically.

4) Let's talk! Do you have questions about racism and race? Do you want to talk about racism and how to avoid being racist? I'm not perfect in this arena, and I don't think anybody is. I'm guilty of using phrases I'm not entirely familiar with, such as "being at the bottom of the totem pole"-- Did you know this is a position of honor and not a position of lowest person? I made this mistake in a classroom once and was immediately called on it, in a very educational and respectful way. And, I try never to use this comment now. But, I also learned something this day: It's possible to combat racism in an educational and enlightening way, and not in a way that bring the "offender" down.

So, let's talk. If you have questions, I may or may not have answers... but it's best if we learn together instead of degrading each other. Racism is part an unfortunate part of our lives. Let's learn to take racism down together. It's okay for things to get too hot, as long as we can come together in the end to cool things down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cute things heard recently

This morning, TN woke up bright and cheery as usual. I sat her down on the changing table, took and took off her jammies. When I got to her diaper I said, "Girrrrl, you're wet!" She said, "Holy Buckets!"

Last weekend, Terry went to Iowa to help his family who were struggling with the flood which deeply affected their businesses and lives. TN and I spent the whole weekend talking about the fact that dad was in Iowa. It took me most of the week to convince TN that each morning this week dad had gone to work, and NOT to Iowa. Well, this evening, we're shopping at Target. TN is in a cart in the middle of the aisle while I peak at a pair of shoes for her. Suddenly, she says, "Mom! Nerys go Iowa!". The lady passing by starts laughing, for this is quite an odd thing for a 2 year old to proclaim... what two year old wants to go to Iowa??

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sing, Sing A Song!

TN has begun to sing... and read. We've sung these songs and read these books so much that she now repeats the words in a super-cute, sing-song cadence. She even imitates the tones, pitches and voices used to sing and read. D&J returned from a 2.5 week vacation in Alaska only to find a two year old who sings and reads. Poor Grandma and Grandpa are sure she grew too much while they were away. How can a little girl who "only" talked several weeks ago suddenly be a "reading", singing big girl in so little time?

I'll give TN this, she's a smart little one. She's ready to read every book in the world and to read it back after a few sittings. If you say a word once, it becomes an instant part of her vocabulary. Now she wants to sing the ABC's fifty times in a row and it's too funny to listen to ellemmenoopeee all in one little blurred phrase. And when she gets to the end of the song, she is so, so proud of herself. And, so she should be. We're proud of her, too!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Toad Foo

TN has developed an affinity for Toad Foo. She especially loves Toad Foo when it has been sauteed with sesame oil, Shitake, button, portabello mushrooms and low-sodium soy sauce. She doesn't particularly care if we consume Toad Foo over brown rice or rice noodles, as long as there is a steady supply of Toad Foo in which she can stab her fork, she is very happy. Just in case you haven't interpreted yet, Toad Foo is Tofu, that lovely firm soy-based product that comes in a massive block water soaked block. It is also her new favorite food. I just want to thank the Toad Foo producers of the world for the alternate protein source for my meat-hating, veggie-loving 2 year old.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let the Birthday Bash Continue!

This is TN in the morning crinkling up her nose when I asked her if she looked cute:














TN loves her cake and eats it, too!









Sunday, June 1, 2008

She's 2!

Happy Birthday, Terefech Nerys!

Today, you turn two and celebrate your first birthday with us. Last year, we celebrated your birthday buying toys and scrapbooking supplies, preparing for your journey to us. We cried because we could not be with you, but talked about our hopes and wishes for our future, together, as a family.

This year, you light up our lives with your laughter, jokes and charm. Your beauty is compared to none, and compliments your bright personality and your amazing capacity to learn and grow. Tiny little you has grown to a robust and active little girl, running, jumping, singing, and climbing over every possible obstacle. You are independent and have such a strong desire to learn that we find ourselves trying to keep up!

We've been telling you for a week that today you get to have cake. We're pretty sure you think you get to have pancakes for your birthday, and I think we can accommodate that.

Happy Birthday, Nerys. You are an amazing little girl that we are honored to have as our daughter, our forever baby...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's Official...

TN is a toddler. Laughing, running through the house, tripping on unexplained objects, talking a mile a minute (as long as no strangers are around), growing out of clothing so fast I'm surprised there are clothes in the dresser that still fit her and now... riding a tricycle. Ah, yes, we have graduated from walking to peddling in a rapid fashion.

So, we bedecked the child in a tricycle helmut, which came with knee pads and elbow pads. Quick guess: Which objects in this list are the most popular with TN? That's right, one cannot travel inside or outside of the house without wearing the knee and elbow pads. Thanks, once again, Sesame Street marketing. We appreciate your due diligence in protecting our children. FYI: Do not wear the helmut inside. When you fall flat on your face, that little piece sticking out...well, it does bad things to necks. So, the new rule is: no tricycle helmuts in the house. We learn these things eventually... as new parents...

Here are pics of beautiful TN, who turns two in only nine days time.




























Monday, May 12, 2008

100th Post!

If you've stuck with me alllllllll this while, congratulations! You've just started reading your 100th post. And, how nice that it coincides with Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to all of you new, up-and-coming, waiting, and been-there mommies!

Last year on Mother's Day, Terry woke me up with a gift... blue bibs. I laughed at him, cajoling his choice of blue. So confident was he, that our new bundle of joy would be a boy. Ahhh, only a few weeks later brought us the gift of a precious baby girl.

This year I had my baby in my arms to celebrate with. Off to Fasika to have Ethiopian food for lunch with Popop and Gramma (aka, grammy, granny) who weren't fishing (whenever you ask, TN will tell you confidently that they are fishing). We met another mommy there with her Ethiopian children and it was nice to sit and talk with her and her son for a bit.

It has been an extraordinary journey and I thank you all for your love and support. Being a mommy is even better than I thought it would be. TN is the most amazing child, laughing or crying, sleeping or awake. It's amazing to hold hands with my daughter when we walk down the sidewalk, or practice going under the blanket to be in the dark, and then out of the blanket into the light. It's a joy to see her stand up! No hands! And then so big! all as she is precociously perched on her bicycle seat. As much of an effort as we put into making her safe, she finds ways to climb onto furniture and toys in a most unsafe way. But, the smile on her face as she reaches towards the sky is enough to light up a stadium. Little does she know that she does so much more than that by lighting up our souls.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

ZOO!

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the MN zoo to see the animals and visit with our friends J, A and E. TN and E had a great time playing together, but mostly checking out the animals at the zoo. Here's a few photos from our trip.






The classic stick-your-head-in-the-hole picture. Instant farmer, just like that.















Smile at the goats! Or, enjoy being really high up on top of dad's shoulders.
















Looking for wolves.... or quiet contemplation.




























Monday, April 28, 2008

Saying Goodbye

On Saturday, we put our 8 year old cat to sleep. After struggling to control her diabetes, her organs started to fail and we lovingly held her as she took her last breath and slept forever. As we wept over her, our first baby girl, we said our good byes and gave her back to the earth. She lies nestled under the lilac tree to happily chase birds in her life after death.

She and her brother were our first adopted "babies". It took us months to name them both, so one wore a blue piece of ribbon and the other wore pink ... collectively, they were named Baby Boy and Baby Girl. Baby girl finally got a name, Ellis, but most of the time we still called her Baby Girl. The poor girl suffered as we brought baby TN home, not thinking too fondly of this crying, then crawling, then walking creature who'd invaded her space. It was harder to control a toddler than it was her big (physically!) brother. But, every night when the TN went to sleep, Ellis would reappear to snuggle into our laps, nestling her head in our hands as we rubbed her ears. She'd bury her head in the crook of our elbows and purrrrrr as we stroked the softest fur on the planet. Her brother looks for her now, but seems somewhat soothed to lie on the last clothes we wore before laying her to rest. They must still smell of Ellis and bring him some measure of comfort.

So, goodbye our first baby girl. We miss you very much, but hope there are many mice and birds in your second life to keep you happy and content, and a warm blanket on a soft, smooshy bed for you to rest after a hard day of play. We love you.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Language... comparisons and politics

TN's language has developed so fast that it's hard to keep up these days. You'll notice that quite a few of my posts are about TN, talking and language development. Call it a fascination I have, and try not to think of it as a critique, for this is not the intent. Language acquisition is a phenomenal thing to me and TN provides me with plenty of stimulus. Lately, TN has found it enjoyable to compare who has what and to self-correct her word order.

TN: "Mom, Nerys no necklace?"
Me: "No, Nerys is not wearing a necklace."
TN: "Mom necklace wear it?"
Me: "Yes, mom is wearing a necklace."
TN: "Mom? Daddy no necklace wear it?"
Me: "No, daddy is not wearing a necklace"
TN: "Nerys no wear necklace."
Me: "No, you are not wearing necklace"
TN: "Nerys no wear necklace, okay?"
Me: "Okay."

As you'll see in this dialogue not only does she do a lot of comparing: Who wears what, but she also changes the order of her words. Lately it has been a riot to listen to her practice sentance formation and saying things "right". This isn't something we've taught her to do, really. It's just that when she tells us something, we tend to say it back to her in the proper tense and order. Some might call this a reflective listening exercise. Either way, this habit of ours has rubbed off on her.

Also, we're attempting to expand TN's vocabulary. In doing so, we took cues from Hillary Clinton who, on two separate occasions, used the word "excoriate" during her speaking engagements. We've decided that since Hillary thinks that EVERYONE has uber-collegial vocabulary and linguistic skills, then surely our two year old should probably be able to say this word, too. Thus, in addition to using fun words like "attached" (as in, "Yes, mommy's hair is attached", e.g., please stop pulling it out of my head), which she appropriately uses, we also have taught her the word excoriate. She's very close to being able to say it. When she does, we'll send a tape to Hillary... perhaps it will help us send her the message that if you want to reach "The People" who's "voice" she insists on using, that she's speakin' the wrong language. In the mean time, TN will be the smartest, most well-spoken Kindergartner in the whole world...in three years. Thanks, Hil.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pink!

TN knows her colors. Yes, all of her colors, but she has a favorite. I don't know how this happened, but my little girl's favorite color is Pink. It's the one color I've dreaded my whole life. I avoid it like the plague. Yes, yes, I painted 3 of her 4 walls pink. And, yes, the crib sheets are pink. But, you know, one wall is brown, and the crib sheets have brown polka dots and striping. She could have picked brown for a favorite color. It seems reasonable that this could happen, but it didn't. The color of choice is pink, pink and pink. You might wonder how we know her favorite color is pink? Allow me to share.

It wasn't just that she went to REI with daddy and picked out hot pink suede Merrell's. It's not that they are the only shoes she wants to wear. It's not that most of her clothes are pink (mostly not purchased by me, for the record!). It's not even that when I did her laundry last week that I pulled out all pink lint from the dryer. No. It's that whenever we ask TN, "What color is ________?" Her first, immediate answer is "Pink!". If we say again, very seriously, "TN, what color is that?" she says, "blue" in a really disappointed way.

There is this sense that she just wishes that everything could be pink! Last week I walked into her bedroom to get her out of bed and she said, "mom shirt orange?" I confirmed that my shirt was orange. TN said, "mom shirt orange. Yuck. Off." I said, "you want me to take my shirt off?" She said, "yes. Orange, yuck, off" I said, "What color shirt should I wear?" She said, "Pink!"

I'm sure her tastes will change with time. After all, she did start eating green vegetables eventually... surely, her favorite color won't be pink forever, right? Until then, I'll continue to pick pink lint out of the dryer and make sure that she has enough pink socks to last each outfit throughout the week. After all, it's important to satisfy the need for our little one's favorite color, pink.

Friday, March 28, 2008

TN enjoys life... A Pictorial




TN discovered that you can "drum" your heals on the side of the bench (pronounced "bunch" for those of you learning toddler-speak). It is very fun!







Also, it is funny when you can stand on your head and peak through your legs at Gramma W. In fact, you can look at anyone through your legs. This is amazing. Try this at home. You'll like it too.



Hey There! What's up? Oh, it's Mom!




















Remember those glasses I told you about earlier? Well, I can wear them upside down, too. This way, they don't slide off of my nose. I love my glasses.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where Is....

TN is strongly identifying with names. Most of our conversations lately gather around "rules" and "where is____?"

This morning at 3:00 am, TN woke up and was doing the whiny crying thing. You know, not crying, but kinda that fake crying thing that just lets you know they need some attention? So, I get upstairs and TN greets me with, "daddy work?"

Me: "no, daddy is sleeping. It's still sleepy time, not work time."
TN: "no daddy work? Sleeping?"
Me: "yes, it is still time for sleeping."
TN: "yes, sleeping"

Bleery eyed, I rubbed her back and rocked back and forth before asking her if she was ready to lay in bed again. She whispered, "yes.", and so I laid her back down where she promptly went back to sleep. I was awake for another hour. Funny how that works.

Last week, TN was convinced that everyone was hiding. When I asked where daddy was, she would say, "hiding." It was a point of fact, not a question or ponderance. The week before we had a discussion about Popop (my dad). I told her that Popop had gone fishing.

"Fishing?!" she said from the back seat, sounding at once exasperated and shocked.
"Yes, fishing," I said.
"No!" TN said, "Fishing naughty! Popop naughty!"
I said, "No, fishing is okay. Popop will bring you some fish to eat."
"No! Naughty Popop fishing!" TN said.

After several rounds of this, knowing I was losing the battle, I gave up. Apparently fishing is bad, although I'm sure my father would beg to differ.

Either way, fun conversations like this have given rise to guesspeculating on where people are and what they are doing. Each morning, we go through the list of people she knows and she guesses where they are... Each morning we confirm or deny where someone might be. One thing always remains the same though: No matter what, my brother is always sleeping (Sorry, Chuckles!).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Playing House

TN received a Fisher Price doll house for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa W. We didn't open it for several months because it seemed a bit old for her. But, last month, we exhumed the house and its family from the box and set it up in the living room. It's pale pinks, blues and yellows now grace our living room floor. Originally the set came with a caucasion mom, dad and baby, two pink chairs, a yellow kitchen table, a kitchen set and a potty. It has now grown to also include a baby crib, lamp, rocking chair, baby papasan chair, puppy, living room set, armoire, and television. TN loves this toy and roleplays important parts of her own life over and over. There was only one thing really missing...

For months Terry and I looked for an African American family for the house, but could not find one. We looked in store after store, on the Fisher Price website and even called around. We could buy an entirely new house with an African American family, but that meant buying all of the pieces and the whole house again. We didn't need a whole new house! If we could buy a grandma and a stroller (white, of course), they why couldn't we just purchase an African American family. It simply wouldn't do to have an entirely white family living in the house, when our family just doesn't look like that.

Terry finally found the African American Family. On the Fisher Price website you can purchase the African American family not as a toy accessory, along with lamps, kitchen sets, etc. No, the African American Family is a "part", as in a piece to "fix" the original toy kind of part. Frankly, I'd searched the FP website rather extensively, but never thought to look for a black family as a "part". There's something about this that bothers me, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Rather, I feel that this family of color (mom, dad, baby) should be available just like any other accessory. Our family is not made up of faulty pieces. Our outside skin may not match, but we are not broken.

The big picture is, I'm upset about this now, but TN doesn't care. She loves her new family members just like the original ones that came with the set. Now she has two mommies, two daddies and two babies. They all use the potty, eat broccoli at the table and rock in the chair. She's not at an age yet where she knows that her skin is brown, and that our skin is peach and that someday she'll have questions about that. But, we care that she has representation of herself, in this house, in her toys, and that those images are positive from the start. So, it may have taken a while to find our family of color to play with, but it was worth it just to set the stage for the future.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dear Aunt Julie,

Thank you for the Super Fabulous glasses and hat for Valentine's Day. Since I love hats the mostest, this has become an essential part of my wardrobe. Additionally, I am now obsessed with glasses and am SOOOO happy that everyone in my close and extended family (but not my mommy) wears them! Because my mommy does not wear glasses, I have mommy put them on just for fun. Thank you for helping my mommy become a glasses wearer too. To show you just how much I LOVE my new wardrobe accessories, here are a few pictures.

Love, TN



















p.s. I have also discovered that pants can be tied around the neck for a lovely scarf-like accoutrement. Hooray! And, look what a totally cool, hollywood kind of twinkle I have in my eyes. I couldn't have done it without you, Aunt Julie.






Aunt Julie, here is proof that you can walk, wear a glasses and a hat, a dress and pants, and look VERY cute at the SAME time.









And finally, although Mommy does not want me to post this picture, here she is sporting those cool shades. I am so excited that I am flipping backwards laughing.






Thursday, February 21, 2008

Potty!

TN became interested in the potty a few weeks ago. One of the children at daycare has been potty training, which sparked her interest. But, being in the bathroom while mommy and daddy do their business has also been very interesting. So, now that she has the language to tell us she is ready to go pee-pee or poop, we caved and bought a potty.


Her's looks something like this. The first day we introduced the potty TN was great! She excitedly made pee-pee and it didn't take long to figure out what a reward system was for her. Not toys, not stickers, not snacks. No, TN wanted to wipe. That's right, the honor of using time-tested, soft TP is the greatest reward on earth for making pee-pee or poop on the potty. This, of course, was not what we expected, but it sure works for us!
She's a bit young for potty training, and we don't expect any mastery anytime soon, but she sure is enthusiastic about using her potty. She let's us know when it's time to go, when she has finished, that she wants to "wipe, mommy", "flush mommy", and "wash hands, mommy". Most funny though is that she waves to the toilet and says, "bye, pee-pee!" as it washes down the toilet. Maybe the novelty of the potty will wear off soon, but so far, so good and it's fun to see her grow up so quickly!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Laughing it Up

I don't think 21 month old children are supposed to get sarcasm, much less practice it. I guess we could call it a joke. Further, no one else who lives in this house (hahaha) is EVER sarcastic. Never ever. I swear. As such, we're not sure where she picked up this skill.

So, TN understands that some things are hot, such as food cooking on the stove, steaming oatmeal, the oven/stove in general. She also understands that some things are cold, mostly snow and ice. However, mostly she understands that things are either hot or not hot. One day, she walked up to Terry with a piece of string cheese, pointed to it and said, "hot?" And before he had a chance to answer, shook her head and said, "nooooooooo!" in that teasing, bantering kind of lilt that let you know she was totally kidding. She then laughed and took a bite out of her cheese ("cheeeeesz!"). She does the same kind of thing with her colors too. She tells us an object is one color, then laughs and tells us the correct color. She's just too funny.

TN finds the humor in most things in life. Grandma JB taught TN to say "cha cha cha" and stomp her feet three times. TN thinks this is hilarious and will spontaneously walk up to us, stomp her feet and say, "cha cha cha!!", then laugh hysterically at herself.

I don't think TN could be more fun or more funny. She's such a hoot to be around and we can't wait to see her develop more humor!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow 2

We tried sledding again, this time making a more concerted effort not to face plant the poor girl in the snow. Taking advantage of one of the snow-melt days, we ventured across the street to the sledding hill and TN and daddy went for a spin. It turned out much better this time!



Before you go sledding, you get all your gear on and clear your nostrils. This is VERY important.













Right before going down the hill, you smile and wave to your adoring fans (all adults, children and infants are adoring fans.)
















When you return from the bottom of the hill, you smile again, relishing in your accomplishments of the day.

Addis Ababa Time