Monday, December 29, 2008
"We shot cool video of me dropping 15 feet off of a rock."
"We're heading to Vail tonight."
"Schwartz is an awesome skiier."
"I'll take some motrin tonight and I'm drinking a lot of water."
The boys are clearly having a blast. It makes me happy to have such great kids and to be able to provide such fun for them. I am so grateful to Mr. Silly Pants for being so generous in spirit and material with all of my (our) children. He said to me as I planned this rather extravagent trip for the kids, "we'll spend this money joyfully for them." I'm the lucky one. I'm going to thank him tonight when he gets home by taking him out to a lovely wine bar and telling how much I adore him.
Good thought, eh?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
- Schwartz is at the UW basketball game
- Twinkletoes and Clementine are hangin' out (Clementine is her bo-named because of his hunger for the aforementioned fruit)
- Songbird is doing her art
- Blueberry is sleeping after a full day of play and cuteness
- Waffles is ice skating in our backyard skating rink with his friend Jo-Jo
- Mr. Silly Pants is on his way home from work- a glass of wine is waiting for him
- Ms. Plum is sitting for the first time today, listening to holiday classics on Sirius radio and plotting holiday meals (although as I type the TV has been turned on to a bowl game upon the arrival of Silly Pants - boo! hiss!)
- We are all waiting for an additional 6 inches of snow that is supposed to arrive late tonight
...and so it goes....
Monday, December 22, 2008
Despite all of this, we are working on staying connected and enjoying our family and our precious baby. There is plenty of holiday music, enjoyment of the tree, some outdoor frolicing in the snow, and delight as Blueberry works on crawling. The state of our home leaves a little to be desired; the floors need a good mopping, the holiday grocery list has yet to be made, holiday cards remain packaged instead of mailed, and the dog could use longer walks (it's been very very cold here!).
Of course, there is a double entendre here - because Mr. Silly Pants delivers. He really does. He's so good to me, he's so good to my (our) children, and he's a great daddy to Blueberry. Mr. Silly Pants delivers.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Heard from Schwartz today
Me: How was the drive to the tennis club today?
Schwartz: It was good.
Me: Was it slippery? (It was snowing quite a bit)
Schwartz: I'm getting used to it. I like it when the car slides.
Heard from Waffles yesterday
*Waffles took injera and wot to school as part of a project on East Africa*
Me: How did the kids like the food?
Waffles: Some kids were saying things like, "This isn't bread, this is a sponge," and, "this tastes like styrofoam!"
Waffles: Mostly the white kids were rude. A lot didn't like the injera. Most of the black kids liked it a lot.
Waffles: I thought some of the white kids were mean. Closed minded. Racist. Why would you say that about a food people consider so important to them?
Me: silent....You've got some new experiences and perspective, don't you?
Boys - I love 'em!!!!!!!! THIS is why you should have a foreign exchange student and THIS is why you should take your teenager to Ethiopia with you! 'Nuff said.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
There is this movement to dig wells in Liberia . The folks involved are seriously grass roots and AWESOME! And, if you are motivated, you can dance for water here. I love this project - and the heart beats that are driving this effort are inspired and true.
You all know I love supporting AHOPE. This is an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS and it is such a heart warming experience to sponsor an AHOPE child. We do - we love it. We visited AHOPE while in Ethiopia and we'll continue to pledge our support for these lovely children.
Heather has started a club to work on helping kids in Africa. She needs your help. Check this out - Heather is a cool mom and she's onto something with this club - and $7 goes a long way to make a difference. How much do you need those 2 mochas a month?
MSF is always a winner - and my checkbook is proof of this! If you want to hear a great piece listen to this - and think deeply about humanitarian aid in the 21st Century. We need to think about these issues collectively.
This guy is doing something great - he's about to leave the US army and head to Ethiopia to volunteer his time at AHOPE. Yep, I bought him a few "cups of coffee" for his room and board during his time in Ethiopia.
Of course, our family is personally sponsoring some young people in Ethiopia so they can attend school and pursue their dreams. You can read about these 4 kids in various posts on this blog. One of these days I'm going to organize a foundation to help kids in Ethiopia find sponsors and get educated. This is my dream plan and my dream job. I'm telling you, I'm going to do it.
Tonight Mr. Silly Pants, Blueberry and I went to a fundraiser for Clinic At A Time. A great local reggae band, Natty Nation, played and the founder's mom cooked amazing Ethiopian food for all of us. Clinic At A Time is a great local initiative by an Ethiopian woman who lives and works in our community. Her dream is to bring sustainable change, on clinic at a time, to medical facilities in Ethiopia. I love this organization - grass roots, local, no overhead, heart felt, and all Ethiopia all the time. Mulu, the founder, is a lovely and kind woman who is doing good because she feels it in her heart.
Who among us hasn't yet arrived in this place? Who among us who has adopted a wee one from Ethiopia doesn't get the need to be bigger, be better, be more present? Who among us hasn't considered the question, "What can I do? How can I make a difference?" Well, I just named a bunch of ways to do something today. Now, get to it!!
And, post a comment if you've like to add to this assortment of good ideas!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Here's the story of the origin of our Finn. I was an exchange student myself in Finland "way back when" and Schwartz is the son of my host sister. So, he was family even before he arrived this summer. He arrived in August within 24 hours of our return with Blueberry from Ethiopia - so it was trial by fire for all of us together as our family grew from 5 to 7, adding 18 year old and a 5 month old sons to the family fabric in the same weekend.
While we did get our share of raised eyebrows regarding our decision to have Schwartz come and live with us, we knew it would be better than fine. Schwartz's family is wonderful; I have connected again with them in deeper ways than the annual holiday card and occassional e-mail greeting. And, Schwartz has kept our family eye on the teens in ways we didn't anticipate. It's important as a host family to fulfill informal obligations of "seeing America" - Schwartz's presence has kept us on our toes for sporting events, road trips, and attention to the everyday details of "Americana." This has been great for the whole family and has kept the balance between baby needs and teen life in focus.
It's been great - simply ihana (Finnish word for wonderful/lovely).
Friday, December 5, 2008
Me: What is the translation of "please" in Finnish. Is it "ole hyvaa?"
Schwartz: There is no word for "please" in Finnish.
Me: I sort of remember that - is there something close?
Schwartz: No, in Finland if you want something, you just take it.
The rest of the dinner table: Laugh Laugh Laugh
I'm sending Ms. Manners to Finland. Even if it is true that I have never heard Schwartz say "please," he always says "Thank you."
Our household is pretty fun.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Women and change are linked - here's a site that makes the case in a sort of postmodern way.
To top off the site there are 2 videos that feature young women from Ethiopia. It's worth a look - and the position paper is very good. If you are interested in the action agenda, read it here.
Funny aside: some of my 9th grade boy students call my cultural anthropology class "women's pride." I think it's a compliment of the highest sort.
Monday, December 1, 2008
We need to work together to end the suffering of this disease, to end the stigma of this disease, and to stop the spread of this disease. It's not beyond us - and it's within our grasp. Here are some facts:
Even though HIV is a preventable and treatable disease, every 12 seconds someone contracts HIV and every 16 seconds someone dies from AIDS. 50% of all of HIV/AIDS illnesses are suffered by women, and 60% of all HIV/AIDS sufferers are from Sub-Saharan Africa. In Ethiopia, only 5% of those who need HIV/AIDS medications have access to them.
AIDS.gov states that,
"HIV and AIDS are life threatening conditions. There is no cure yet for HIV/AIDS. The transmission of HIV occurs through three well documented means: 1) having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with someone infected with HIV; 2) sharing needles and syringes with someone infected with HIV; and 3) being exposed (fetus or infant) to HIV before or during birth or through breast feeding. HIV transmission can be prevented through avoiding behaviors that expose someone to the means of transmission and by taking preventive measures if identified risk behaviors occur.
HIV is not transmitted through day-to-day activities such as shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, drinking fountain, doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets. You also cannot get HIV from mosquitoes."
If you're looking for more information on HIV/AIDs, World AIDS Day or ways to get involved, there are some great websites and organizations you can count to eradicate, educate, and enumerate the AIDS crisis. We need to make this happen - we need to end this pandemic. We need to care. We need to - now.
Avert, an international AIDS charity: http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm
In Ethiopia an HIV Orphanage where you can sponsor a child: http://ahopeforchildren.org/