Friday, October 31, 2008


Disclaimer- I'm an elephant, not a republican!

Waiting...and waiting...and then some more

For those of you in the process, please trust me when I say.....he's worth the wait. No amount of frustration, impatience, eagerness, earnestness, will change the wait. I'm reminded that Mr. Silly Pants waited his whole adult life to have a family. He hardly showed his emotions about "waiting" during our "wait" - but in truth, I think most of his 30's and his early 40's were testimony to his thoughts that his dream of family was never going to materialize. But then everything changed, and Blueberry came into our life. My husband's life (and mine) filled with new obligations, new duties, and new challenges. Every day we both feel the joy. Some days we feel the growing pains (ok, the truth is that today is one of those days for me). Every day we feel the obligation to raise a kind, compassionate, centered, strong, young black man. Every day we struggle with the question, "how do we do that?" Every day we feel the quiet burning intolerance of racism and it breaks our hearts but not our resolve. Every day we kiss and cherish our perfect little son, whose homeland is Ethiopia, a country to whom we owe such a debt of gratitude and to whom we will work tirelessly to honor and uplift. Yeah, the wait is tough, but trust me, he's worth it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dress code

It's getting cold and hats are now part of the daily dress code. At the last of big brother's soccer game, little Blueberry and I enjoyed the morning mist and the awesome defensive moves of Mr. Waffles (#16). And honestly, the babe is just growing by leaps and bounds and I just can't keep my hands from wrapping him up in big momma bear hugs.


He's a Finn of few words, and Waffles laughs about his deep "terminator" voice. Ergo, his nickname is Schwartz. 18 years old and he's a hoot. His common utterances include:

"Tennis was quite fun."
"I think that is quite good."
"I take the car today."
"Is there ice cream?"
"When is dinner?"

We really enjoy having him here this year - adding to the melee and reconnecting us with all that I love about Finland. I lived with Schwartz's mom when I was an exchange student in Finland in 1982. How's that for connection?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rings on our fingers and bells on our toes

Well....just rings on our fingers. We designed them and we love them! Mine is the Celtic infinity knot with a blue sapphire - my birthstone. Mr. Silly Pants has the same knot, his birthstone (garnet), and a lovely 1800's Silly Pant's family diamond. Happy day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

NOT undecided

Yeah, it's our yard!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A full table for Indian Summer

This is the best week of the fall season. Our table is full - every child in our family is here this week; Songbird, Schwartz, Twinkletoes, Mr. Waffles, & Blueberry. I love it! It's a gorgeous fall in Wisconsin. We've had some unusually warm days. Schwartz keeps asking me if this in normal weather for Wisconsin as the report from his home country, Finland, is it is already feeling like winter. There are always days like this, but there seem to be more this fall season. This is nice for me - since I like to be outside with Blueberry as much as possible. He loves being outside, touching the leaves on the trees, pulling at blades of grass, and visiting the pond where all the geese are honking and paddling around. It's nice for Schwartz since he can play tennis outside. Twinkletoes went with a bunch of friends to the orchard today - we have a HUGE bag of apples in the kitchen. I'll be making apple crisp tonight, I'm sure. Schwartz will love the dessert, especially if we serve it with icecream. This boy eats TONS of ice cream. The other day he told me to buy the cheapest I can find because he doesn't want to worry about eating so much of it. LOL! (OK, so no more Ben and Jerry's - he's not impressed!)

This is a particularly lovely week because Songbird is home for fall break. It is always so wonderful to have her home. She'll be good company this week for me - and she and the dog are pals - he'll be extra tired this week which will mean I will have less doggie discipline to manage. I have to admit, I have such fun hearing about her college courses and discussing all the cool things her hard working mind is exploring. I love to talk with her as she delves deeply into her own intellectual identity. Finally, Mr. Waffles is wrapping up his soccer season, working hard, and making plans to join the HS ski club. Whew - Mr. Waffles is busy!

OH, and our wedding rings are ready on Wednesday! Yeah! We exchanged rings from our parents on our wedding day - but the rings we designed have been cast and just need a little gem adjustment this week. Mine has a blue saphire (birthstone) and Mr. Silly Pants has a family diamond and 2 garnets (birthstone). They should be very nice as they are designed with a celtic infinity knot, mine is white gold and his is yellow gold.

To sum it up, this week EVERYONE is at the dinner table. It's the kind of week I love. It's the kind of week I built with this family. Mr. Silly Pants and I are so lucky.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Milestones - Blueberry

Eats Cheerios and....

The Education of Richard

We are on in the midst of assisting Richard with his education. He has settled into Addis and has commenced his studies. Richard is so excited. I receive e-mails from him often. He is eager to share his progress, his situation, and to affirm our trust in him and our willingness to continue our sponsorship of his education. He says things like the following, "Mom, I am very fine and doing well at my studies and today also we are learning Anatomy and microbiology and that is very interesting subject I like it. Yes I have some friends who learn this college like me here in Addis and actually the only one boy is who learn in my college with me but not all because every students are learn their college by different option accordingly their education capacity." And this, "I am giving you my wonderful appreciation to you for being proud of me. Listen! I really found you more kind than I previously expected. All you have doing for me are becoming one of my greatest part of my life. You must proud of yourself because you are in the mood to rebuilt my life once again."

Whew - what a leap this has been for us. I'll keep the blog updated about Richard's progress. We are all well aware that we are on rather unstable ground - we're sponsoring a young man who we met just last month in Ethiopia. We don't know much about him, except that we understood immediately when we met him that he is bright and clever and industrious. And, if our intuition is correct, he's kind and gentle and truly wants to build a fruitful life studying the sciences and medicine. Of course, we know the risks of helping him, of limiting his sense of self help, of creating the impression that foreigners are available for easy financial support. There are a lot of tensions here - but our family continues in our determination to trust and to believe. And, Richard makes us smile. And to think this started in Lalibela!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

18 Twinkletoes

Twinkletoes turns 18 today! She's such an amazing young woman. She's an accomplished clarinet player, an amazing ballroom dancer, she's a superb student (we tease her that she got more than her fair share of the family 'smarts'), she's incredibly determined and organized, and she's tender and compassionate. Wow - she's some kind of kid! I'm crazy proud of her, and I am in awe of her. She's the daughter I dreamed of having, the sister her sibling adore, and the friend her peers seek.

Twinkletoes has a keen interest in travel. She's been to Hungary, Slovakia, Ireland, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Ecuador - already! I think she crossed the border into Peru, too. She's been in a volcanic eruption - that's right - she had to flee in the back of a truck with a carpet remnant covering her head. She thought to call me and say, "just want you to know I'm ok, this is expensive. Bye." HUH?????? Did I mention she is fiercely independent?

When she was 9 she wrote a story that is over 100 pages. She sat on the couch her entire first year of preschool - she didn't want any part of the silly and chaotic mess of kids careening around the room. She can windmill pitch a softball with incredible precision. She wears her coat in the house sometimes, it drives me bananas. She's cold, I'm warm. What a pair. She's a southpaw. She has a strong sense of justice and of fairness - sometimes it makes it hard to have a conflict with her. She's quiet and powerful. She thinks football is stupid, and she'd rather not eat red meat. Her bedroom smells so good. She loves a good salad, a book, her collection of photos, and she remembers where I PUT THINGS (which is good, because I forget!).

Twinkletoes will be going off to college next year. I'm excited to witness this next part of her journey. It's an incredible privilege to call Twinkletoes, "daughter."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008