October 1, 2012

New Digs

Just a quick reminder that we've settled in to our new digs over here and would love to have you stop by!

March 1, 2011


It's time to move on. Our time here has been absolutely priceless, and thank you for being a part of our journey. I hope you'll join us for the continuation of the journey over HERE.

Much love and hopes for great adventures,
The McGregors

February 22, 2011

Not Hard

I scheduled some time with Ashton's teachers to discuss our upcoming (booked, confirmed, happening) trip to Ethiopia so that we could chat about ways that Ash's school-day-life could support what he's about to experience. A wonderful friend sent me this link which contains some great talking points and just generally helpful resources for talking to children about adoption so I felt like I at least had something going in to the conversation. I'll admit that other than the handy dandy printable/linkable resources I felt just a bit more than slightly unprepared. I felt like I should have a list of ideas, activities, be ready to volunteer to come in and read adoption related story books to the kids, something. But on the flip side, turns out that what I had was all that was needed. Turns out that the conversation just needed to be started and his unbelievably freaking awesome teachers would just support us from there. Turns out the feeling of being overwhelmed with preparations can actually be a feeling of overwhelming excitement instead. This is going to be challenging, but it's not going to be hard.

No doubt our lifestyle is a natural supporter in the prep process. We just returned from a long weekend in London where both kids, the 8 month old and the nearly 4 year old , were absolute rock stars. They were hardly fazed by the time zone change and skipped happily to school the morning after returning home at 10PM from a full-day transatlantic flight. And when I say Rock Stars I mean Mick Jagger style, or whatever the farthest cry from Justin Bieber style might be. Bottom line, they travel well.

And all this to say that I feel like I can do this, and I feel like I can do it well, and when I screw up certain moments I feel like I'll be prepared to soak in the humility and truck on from there. Of course tomorrow morning may bring on entirely new feelings of anxiety and Leni may decide that the 14+ hour flight from JFK to Dubai will be the perfect hours in which to finally sprout some teeth (current count = 0) and no doubt I'm going to be a somewhat controlled pile of mush for the first few days in Addis (at best). But, we're going. It's booked. We're prepping what we have the ability to prep and letting everything else just settle in to place when it feels like settling. Because one thing we've found in all of our travels is that pushing something to settle quicker than it wants to just lands you in a giant pile of knotted up stomachs and the urge to eat pasta. Lots and lots of cheesy pasta.

So instead we're just enjoying this. There's still pasta, but of the more flavorful and light basil-laced variety. Ash's teachers are psyched to incorporate "adoption speak" into his classroom environment. We read "E is for Ethiopia" with Ash a few times a week. And we're avidly searching for hotels to stay in while in Addis, Gondar, Lalibela, Bahar Dar, and a lodge to spend our last few nights somewhere in the South.

This is going to be challenging, but it's not going to be hard. Hard is for Advanced Calculus and mastering Chinese as a second language. Revisiting my son's birth country and meeting with his birth mother and exploring the land, the culture, the history of the area that created my son isn't hard. A whole lot of wonderful with a bit of challenge on the side maybe, but not hard.

Psyched. Not completely ready yet, but getting there.

February 14, 2011

The Modern Telegram

Shrimp and broccoli curry with coconut & ginger rice at home instead of battling the V-Day restaurant reservation game, heart shaped balloons and special pink and red heart plates and napkins instead of zillion dollar roses and china, musical valentines, and maybe just a splash of champagne (root beer for the tot). Kids make this holiday awesome.

Love, Us

February 11, 2011


It's Teach for America's 20th anniversary (I'm 2001 corps) so the Alumni Summit this year is a bit bigger deal than usual. I was at their 15th anniversary summit 5 years ago held at one of the DC hotels with convention capabilities, but it was nothing like this. This year we've packed out the entire DC convention center and the entire city seems to have been taken over by the "One Day" spirit. I'm aching for some inspiration. This should do it.

And of course, when in DC one must dine at one of the 25+ Ethiopian restaurants (DC is home to the largest population of Ethiopians living outside of Ethiopia) and we managed to pick a gem. Ethiopic was delicious, highly recommend, may even go again if we wind up with a layover in DC on our upcoming trip to Ethiopia. The one where we will meet with his birth mother again. Because the director of the orphanage emailed me directly to let me know she'd spoken with her and she wants to see us when we're there in April. I'm emailing with a real life human being who is talking to Ash's birth mom mere moments before responding to my emails. It's amazing. It's overwhelming. It's exactly what we wanted. And we're nervous as hell. I'm going to do it "right" this time. Because she's there, waiting for us to come, she knows we're coming and has informed us that she'll be there, waiting for us. And the only thing that has managed to calm me has been this...

February 9, 2011


My children are moving. Ash is skiing and Helena is crawling and the universe is spinning. Yikes. PS, Helena is rockin' commando style due to a pesky rash on her tush that even Butt Paste doesn't seem to be curing. Suggestions welcome.

February 5, 2011

Snow Can Be Good

At least that's the mantra we recited on our way to the mountain this morning. A trip planned rather spontaneously in an effort to remind us all that snow is not inherently evil, that it may well have a positive purpose in life. And no, I haven't forgotten that we're both graduates of Montana State University, Bozeman where there was an actual written rule that new snow meant classes were canceled (and that both of us held seasons passes to the hill/mountain from the ages of 13 to 21...), so yes I feel ridiculous even posting this out of sheer embarrassment to the true spirit of winter. But we're not in college in anymore. And we don't live in Bozeman anymore. So post I shall because dear sweet mother of all things true...this winter has sucked.

Ash dug the chairlift. Maybe because of the scenery, maybe because of the thrill of going to the top of the mountain, but most likely because daddy had stocked pockets. And by that I mean stocked with starbursts. Nothing like a little sugar to psych you up for getting to the top.

Our room has it's own "hot pool" which basically means Ash has decided he'll live here forever. And Leni has decided that she no longer sees any reason to go to bed before Ash. So, we hot pooled, we watched whatever was on Cartoon Network with some popcorn in mommy and daddy's bed, and soaked up a whole lot of just-the-4-of-us.

And then we kicked them out. To their own beds on the other side of the wall. And lest you think we did this in an effort to be all romantic and such, I'll just remind you that I'm currently blogging and daddy's currently scouring Craigslist for a new minivan.


February 4, 2011

February 3, 2011


It was a rough morning drop-off for Ash. One of those mornings where he draws out every possible activity from brushing his teeth to putting on his shoes as long as possible in an effort to put off the inevitable. And when asked why he doesn't want to go to school he replies, "because I really love you mommy". Oh man. He usually loves school, but with all of the snow closures/delays/early dismissals this month his routine has been turned upside down thus causing some out-of-the-norm clingyness. I stopped counting once we hit 10 (yes, 10) but imagine we're somewhere in the boat of 12 full day closures plus 2 two-hour delays plus 1 early dismissal. All in the month of January where there were only 20 possible school days to begin with. No wonder the kid's a bit off.

And to top it all off Helena has finally reached the stage where she appears to actually care when she's being dropped off. Not that she didn't notice before, but there's only so much caring that a 0-6 month old exhibits. Apparently 6 months is the cut-off though as the day she turned 7 months she started giving me the look when I'd drop her off. She totally realizes that mommy's leaving and now seems to really care about it. Her eyes burn a hole smack dab through the center of my heart as they stare me down while I make my exit. It sucks.

I love my children. I love sitting on the floor watching Ash hand toy after toy to his baby sister then break out in gut-bursting laughter as she happily takes each toy only to toss it over her head almost immediately. And should the toy happen to land on one of the cats watch out, he may never regain control of himself and may wind up laughing himself to sleep. I love that my children are comfortable pretty much anywhere, that they'll go to sleep at night wherever we put them, be it at the brown house or the Brooklyn house or a hotel or at Grandma & Papas. I love that we now eat at restaurants as a family of 4 as smoothly as we did when we were a family of 3. Well, almost as smoothly. That last one can still be tricky every now and then, but Leni seems to be catching on pretty quickly. I love that there's a mini ski vaca and a weekend in DC for TFA's 20th anniversary alumni summit and a long weekend in London all in our near future and Ash is looking forward to all of it and Leni probably is, she just doesn't know it yet. Because they both seem to love spending time with us just as much as we love spending time with them. And I love that.

Which is why I absolutely loathe Ash's clingy drop-offs and Leni's laser-beam vision when I leave them at school/daycare. It guts me. I know they're fine 30 seconds after I'm gone. I know they're smiling and happily playing with their wonderful teachers surrounded by all of their friends mere moments after my exit. I know they'll be reluctant to leave when I arrive to pick them up because they're having so much fun, but after a second or two of contemplating this they'll shoot me the worlds biggest smiles and run (or be handed over in Leni's case) to my arms for the worlds biggest hugs.

But that doesn't make the drop-offs any easier.

And don't get me wrong, I do enjoy running for a quick cup of coffee (because "quick" is possible w/o children in tow) and dedicating my attention to the adult world during the work day. My preference is to continue working outside of the home full time while I essentially outsource my job as a parent to my children's teachers. I chose this.

But that doesn't make the drop-offs any easier.

But want to know what it does make even better?

The nighttime giggle fests. The long weekends getting away together. The evenings spent lingering in restaurants enjoying food from every possible ethnicity. The extended trips spent exploring the world together. The Saturday mornings when both kids are brought into bed with us and it's just the 4 of us for a few hours making forts out of the sheets watching the occasional cartoon and reading stories.

I suppose those things make the drop-offs a little easier.


A lot easier.

But I'm still entitled to pout for a little while each morning after the drop-offs, but just for a few minutes. Promise.

February 2, 2011


A word not to be taken lightly within the adoption community. Sure, there's waiting involved in biological births to families but they're in a relatively greater amount of control over what happens during that waiting. There's much less unknown, and a whole lot less "what's my baby doing now and how is he/she interacting with her family" going on. And there's a complete nonexistence of waiting children. Waiting children. And by this I don't mean all children having been relinquished for adoption, rather I'm referring to children who have passed some sort of marker - a dreadful milestone of sorts - that places them in to the category of "waiting child" which basically puts their chances of being adopted at zippy to nil. Children who have essentially lost all rights to to childhood and the ability to develop in to who they could be one day. Waiting children.

Children like this.

And all of a sudden the word "waiting" takes on an entirely new form, an imperceptible being. She's 4 years old and about to be completely screwed. And is just one of many in this position.

Next time you witness someone waiting impatiently in line for their double-tall-nonfat-sugarfree-latte (um, me) just do me a favor and slap me upside my not-waiting face. It needs it.

January 27, 2011

I Won't Be The Deer

I want this to work so badly that I've told myself there's no way it won't. Which is dangerous. Because the reality of the situation is that we may not be able to find her. And if we find her she may not agree to meet with us. And even if we find her and she agrees to meet with us she may not be able to physically get to a meeting. And if we do find a way to all be together in the same place at the same time, how will I keep my head/mind/soul/entire being from just collapsing and looking on silently in awe of the woman who made us a family. Just like the last time. I don't want it to be like the last time. This time I want to ask the questions I intend to ask rather than letting my heart crumble and deteriorate into a replica of a deer in headlights. Though there's no way to to prevent heart crumbling in these sorts of matters, so maybe I could just shoot for not being the deer. Oh if only, if only we could get to that point where I'd have to put forth the effort to not be the deer. If only there would be a "this time".

"This time" actually stands a chance of happening. We've reached out to multiple contacts and people seem to be willing to help. And even if "this time" doesn't happen, at least we'll have the experience of enjoying Ethiopia. But I really want "this time" to happen. Really really really. And when it does, I promise not to be the deer.

January 23, 2011

Phew? Um, No.

A recent encounter with some seemingly naive ignorant ass-wipes women gave me the unfortunate opportunity to set aside one additional little bit that I didn't share in my last post.

"You know, he's really not that dark. No really, he's really light skinned. Phew."

Phew? PHEW? Let's just say I'm very disappointed in myself for not reaching across the table and launching myself into lifetime solitary confinement. Because the boy upstairs is not a "phew", he's by no means "light", and DEAR LORD please grant me sufficient Karma to maintain perspective.

I continue to seek perspective when responding to the daily (yes, daily) encounters that directly impact my family regarding race. It may seem unreal to some that race still plays such a role but it is ridiculously real to us. Ridiculously.

Why should light skinned = phew?

So not OK.

January 18, 2011

How Sick Was He?

As I sat down with a pair of women who I truly believe have the most loving intentions, I knew I was in for it. Name your adoption cliche and they've undoubtedly shouted it from the highest rooftop.

"Oh look at your gorgeous daughter! You know it always happens that way, you adopt and then BAM you're pregnant!"

"You really are a saint. To think how you saved that boy and now you have a real child. What a blessing."

"She is so gorgeous. It reminds me of how sick your boy was in the beginning. How sick was he again?"

In true Ned Flanders form, OH DIDDLY IGGLY FREAKING YIDDLY!!!!

But really, conversations like this tend to provide that occasional kick in the arse that I need to keep real. Annoying? Yes. Ignorant? Most absolutely. Just one more reason to travel the hell out of our kids so that they NEVER behave that way? YOU BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR.

January 15, 2011

This Time It's Just Us

Grandma flew out to watch the kids for the weekend (as in 2, two, TWO nights away together...) and we drove north. So far we've been in Lake Placid solo for a grand total of 8 hours and have managed to eat somewhere in the ballpark of 6 meals. I lost track after the Napa Cab that's still causing me to lick my lips like a cat on peanut butter. There are spas and hot tubs and fireside martinis in our future. Our children are as happy and loved as they could possibly be with grandma in charge of their weekend sleepover fiesta. If you're looking for us we might just be too far over the rainbow to find for the next 48 hours. Leave a message. Beep.

January 12, 2011

When We Go See My Ethiopia Mommy...

He gets it. He so very very gets it. Thumbs down to the folks out there who question the ability of a toddler to remember, really remember, their "things". My toddler remembers his things. He constantly brings up trips we took 2+ years ago (silent muh-huh to myself...) and associates things with places. So now that he's really starting to integrate the idea of having an Ethiopia mommy into his daily thought process he's also really starting to need something to attach that to. And what better than the original attachment, right? Right. So, we're planning a trip to Ethiopia. He needs to go. We need to go. It could be really really good.

Now, I'm not completely naive. I understand the logistics behind introducing my child to his Ethiopia Mommy and the potential for challenges. But that's why this is so important right now. He needs the response to those challenges. He's seen the world, he's been there, he's been told he came from someone else's belly, and he understandably wants to know where "that" looks like. And we're so excited to show him.

We're waiting on our agency for further options and possibilities, and you can bet your bottom dollar we'll take full advantage of everything made available. But the fact is there, it will be the 4 of us and Ethiopia this spring. This Spring.

This Spring.

January 8, 2011


It's been tough going for this blog lately, life just seems to be constantly intervening in my plans to write more and more frequently. What once occupied a 3-4 paragraph blog post is now condensed to a 1-2 sentence Facebook status update. Not by choice. I'd still much rather be writing blog posts than opting for the much easier/quicker FB post. I just need to figure out a way to build it back into my list of things to prioritize.

Speaking of Priorities.

A rather common response to my FB posts while traveling is (or is similar to): "How do you manage to go on so many vacations?" Well, traveling has always been a priority for my husband and I, and we always planned to maintain it as a priority once we had children. We maximize every second of my vacation time from work so that we can go on as many trips as possible. I don't spend much $ on clothing, our home is decorated with artwork carefully accumulated through swaps with other artists, and we're big fans of IKEA. We'd rather work a 60 hour work week while simultaneously completing a major project on the house and just forgo sleep than use our vacation time to complete the project on the house when we could be traveling. Some would call this nuts, but there's little we look forward to more than traveling together. So, we cram as much in to our working weeks as possible and save as much of our income as possible so that we we can be on vacation traveling together as often as possible. It's our priority.

We spent Christmas in MN and New Years in Mexico. Despite not being able to fly home to NY in between these two trips due to the epic snow storm that closed all NY airports for what felt like YEARS we were able to make both trips, on time, and in very good spirits. We had to tack on a flight to Houston and spend the night at the hotel airport, but in all honesty all this did was make Ash really happy that he'd finally been to TX - a state Daddy's been traveling to for work pretty frequently lately. And ANYTHING Daddy related is about as cool as it gets for Ash, so the stopover in Houston was just icing for him. And his little sister Leni? Champion. At the ripe old age of 6 months she's already well seasoned in the art of falling asleep the minute the landing gear touches down at our destination.

Next month we're taking them to London for a long weekend, and plans are in the making for a trip back to Ethiopia in April. There's no doubt that this year's vacation time is going to be stretched as thinly as possible.

And we wouldn't want it any other way.

How else do you end up with a story of your 3 1/2 year old dropping his bright blue van matchbox car through the cracks of the ocean-side bar only to be seen looking on in horror (or fascination) at the scene of two giant crabs quickly snatching up the opportunity to play with something new? And then the follow up conversation where said 3 1/2 year old boy insists he needs to swim out to sea to scold the crabs who stole his van. Needless to say there are now two crabs in Mexico with a sparkly new blue van to play with cause there was no way in schizzle mommy was crawling under that deck to rescue the van knowing who were the other occupants under the deck.

Just sayin.

And don't get me wrong. All 4 of us LOVED sleeping in the comfort of our own beds once we returned to snowy plow-deprived NY. But I'll be honest with you, it only took about 12 hours before we were back on kayak.com searching for the next flight.

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From the four of us to all of you. Love, The McGregors

December 18, 2010

But Wait, Where Are The Children?

With other absolutely 100% capable LIFE SAVERS, that's where. Well OK maybe there wasn't any actual life saving going on, but there was a fair amount of sanity saving and some seriously needed time away, together. We love our children, we really really do, but they make finding time to spend together as a couple a wee bit difficult. So when the opportunity arises we jump - high and fast. And it arose twice this week. TWICE. As in, if you see us walking down Broadway tomorrow we may not even be twitching. We might look... chill.

Opportunity #1 came about when we both decided to take a day off of work and hire a babysitter so that we could spend a random weekday playing hookie. We basically restaurant hopped all day, tossed in a visit to MoMA, and wrapped the evening at an art auction. Pristine. Opportunity #2 came in the form of our child-swapping weekends with friends who have 2 children the exact same age as ours. They take ours for a night then we take theirs for a night. Not just pristine, AWESOME. No, DOUBLE AWESOME. We spent our night away at a friends holiday party eating unbelievable BBQ and not having to worry about spilling red wine on a child. Then we spent our night with the four kids playing "where should we fly the magic rocket ship to next?" and listening to endless giggles from the bedroom where two of the world's most adorable 3 1/2 year olds told each other stores till nearly 11PM.

So if you were concerned about the children, don't be. They're fine. Wonderful even. And so are we.

December 10, 2010

December 5, 2010

She Speaks

So I admit to sucking at this lately. If it makes any difference I have at least 2-3 blog posts daily run through my mind, word for word, that just never seem to make it to here. And they're good ones too! Brilliant even! Well, maybe not so much, and perhaps that's why I haven't taken the time to put them to writing. That said though, I'm not giving up. As infrequently as I post here it's still pretty much our only hope at having any sort of life book / baby book / family album for keepsake purposes since I also suck (even more) at doing any of those things in their non-computer form. So I forge on...

We switched Leni's formula to Earth's Best Organic Soy (we were on their dairy version) and her monumental puking after every feeding seems to have subsided. Hallelujah. We've also started feeding her apples, pears, carrots, and sweet potatoes - sometimes mixed with rice cereal, sometimes not. Ash still eats pretty much anything you put in front of him, or at least he'll try a bite or two before making the "this is the grossest thing on Earth WHY are you feeding this to me?" face. His latest favorite is the spicy cold noodle dish from one of our local Japanese joints, and not too far off in the running would be daddy's spicy chicken - the boy is kicking his taste for spice up a notch and this makes us all smile.

We're coming off a week of daddy being on a zillion airplanes and gamma coming to visit to make sure mommy's head doesn't pop off, and I'm happy to report it didn't. Thanks to gamma and the one flight of daddy's that actually landed on time - the important one, the one that landed him HOME. 3 work weeks left in 2010 then we get to spend Christmas in MN and New Years in Mexico. And then? Then we're going to be entering the year where our son turns 4 and our girl wraps her first year of life and holy hell SLOW IT DOWN. Well, slow it down AFTER we get to the Christmas in MN and New Years in Mexico part. But the next 3 weeks can fly by as fast as they very well please.

November 26, 2010


We train'd, we subway'd, we Brooklyn'd. We lunched. We Radio City'd. We Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon'd then we diced, chopped, and wrapped things in bacon then we cooked cooked cooked. And we ate ate ate. There was wine, there was bacon. There were people singing, playing, and dancing to We All Live In A Yellow Submarine - again and again and again. It was so very happy. Then we ate apple cake for breakfast, prepped a days worth of bacon snacks, and set off to cut down this year's Christmas tree. Twas truly a Thanksgiving to give thanks.