November 28, 2008

A Seriously Family Holiday

Both my husband and I grew up in families very dedicated to making the holidays special, but until this year never had to wrap our heads around the seasons holistically. There were always family holidays, but this year it was a seriously family holiday. This year's Thanksgiving came complete with every excuse in the book to get down and dirty with all of the kid-fantastic holiday traditions, to name a few: Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Child, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas Tree Hunting, Christmas Tree Decorating, and all of the other official leadings-in to the holiday season. Yes, this Thanksgiving was exactly what I was hoping it would be when I dreamed about it last Thanksgiving. And if I had to venture a guess, Christmas is going to totally rock.

Dad and Ash at The parade - Snoopy in the background

The family at The parade

Christmas Tree 2008

Grandma and Grandpa

The Cuteness that is Thanksgiving 2008

November 24, 2008

A Story Of Shoes And The Feet That Walk In Them

This is the 300th post for The McGregor Journey, one I've been eying towards for a few weeks pondering how to make it extra special. I knew what I wanted to share but wasn't exactly sure how or when, until post #300 conveniently fell on the week of Thanksgiving. Then it crystallized. Last year we were thankful for many things - a nearly completed dossier about to be sent off to Ethiopia, a network friends and family and blogger-buddies who had put up with us throughout the paperchasing process, and a warm and healthy home complete with a nervous little vibe that ran through our spines daily reminding us that in the coming year we would become mom and dad. We were thankful then, but this year brings a new level of thanks to the McGregor household. There's an African Proverb that states, "Only a fool tests the depth of water with both feet." Well, this year we jumped in with both feet, and didn't immediately sink to the bottom. Sure, we've bobbed up and down a few times but for the most part it's been one gigantic breath of fresh air, the kind you can feel only when you know what it's like to gasp.

This year, we're thankful for shoes, and the feet that have walked in them. Let me explain...

These were Ashton's first sneakers. They're a perfect example of how naive I was (and likely still am...) as to what this whole parenting thing entails. I was all set to send him to his first day of daycare in his firetruck Robeez until a kind woman pointed out that my walking-almost-running one year old should probably have a more supportive pair of shoes. Off to Target to buy his first pair of kicks! Thank goodness for the "been there done that" crowd willing to share advice with the novice mom.

Then his feet grew, and the only pair of shoes we had in the house that seemed to fit were these. Could have been worse I guess, but again, I'm thankful to the "been there done that" crowd for understanding why my son wore rain boots to daycare on a sunny September morning.

Friends. I'm SO thankful for friends. One of my girlfriends from university sent these to us when we arrived home with Ashton, and it's just one of those gifts that reminds you that no matter how far apart you are or how long it's been since you've seen each other, friends are friends, and they'll always "get" what needs to be gotten. The Rocky Mountain West will always have a place near and dear to our hearts, and we're so thankful for our friends out West.

And now things are, well, they're on a roll. It's taken us almost 6 months, but I think we finally "get" our son's feet. We have no idea where they sat or crawled or scooted for the first 11 months of his life, and very little information on the 2 months that followed. But I'm pretty sure I've memorized every single motion, step, stride, and climb over the last nearly 6 months, and I'm so thankful to have been a part of it and can't wait for another year of being thankful for his adorable little feet.

And then there's this. These feet, these shoes, this woman. Had it not been for these things the last 6 months would have been so utterly different I can't even imagine. From the absolute core of my soul I will be thankful to her always - the soles of her shoes that supported her while working to provide nourishment for her Wondemu and the soul of her heart that must have been absolutely shattered the day she knew he would be traveling to the other side of the planet to become Ashton. Same boy, same feet, very different shoes. I wish I had a way of letting her know that we will absolutely make sure he knows about all of the shoes he's walked in, his first mother's, his forever mommy's, those that carried him and those that pushed him to walk. But we're thankful to have experienced as many moments as we have. Thankful for the moment when we were face to face, foot to foot, with this stunning woman. It's not possible to be more thankful for one single person than we are to her.

We're going to continue to jump in with both feet, because that's what this kind of ride calls for. We're going to continue bobbing up and down moving from moments of sunny fresh air to those filled with gasps for oxygen. And our feet will be our wittness, her wittness, his wittness, to the life he lives and how thankful we are for it.
"In life as in dance: Grace glides on blistered feet."
~Alice Abrams

November 23, 2008

The Mommy/Son Shoe Experience - I'm Training Him Well

I can now officially say that Ashton's feet have been three different sizes in ONE MONTH. He started November as a size 4, quickly moved into a 5, and as of 4PM yesterday is now mere millimeters away from being a size 6, which in "kid shoes" terms means buy size 6 now because your size 5's wont fit in the morning. So, what to do when your child's feet are growing like weeds? I'll admit it was tough but I was FORCED to go shoe shopping. Forced I say. I had absolutely no other choice.

We found ourselves in a convennient neighborhood in Brooklyn (by pure coincidence I swear) for the mother son shoe-shopping duo and managed to pick up a crazy cute pair of rainbow Adidas kicks. The only downside is that now dad is jealous that he doesn't have a pair... And to top the experience off we found that Ash finally fits into the pair of monster fuzzy slippers that grandma gave him few weeks back - a great weekend for shoes!

November 21, 2008

This Time Last Year...

We were celebrating my birthday with two special gifts. The gift of a fabulous day planned by my loving husband, and the gift of a very important necklace. (For a quick walk down memory lane the post is here.)

I knew that this year's birthday was going to be infinitely better for very obvious reasons, and so far the day has definitely not disappointed. Two more gifts, but this year's totally kick last year's butt. Totally.

Only good things come in these boxes...

And by far the best of the two, the only face I consider to be a "gift" to be woken up by in the wee hours of the morning (sorry babe, I love your face but to get to "gift" status at 6:30AM it needs to come bearing a cup of coffee. Which, this morning it did, alongside heart shaped waffles and raspberries. I love ya hun). The best part of waking up is Folgers-in-your-cup-carried-by-this-little-guy-and-his-dad. Followed by a visit from Marc Jacobs, of course...

November 18, 2008

No Pictures, No Video

So, I've been scrolling the recent posts and to my surprised was met with astonishingly few photos and videos. Which is funny because lately I've been finding myself saying (out loud to Ash while nobody else is around), "this is SO CUTE, I should DEFINITELY post this!" And then I don't reach for the camera, or videocam, rather just continue playing with my insanely active and adorable son. So, sorry. I'm going to try to do better but it seems that the cute activities are tending more towards the line of jumping off of high objects and standing on top of anything with wheels, so as you might imagine turning away to grab the camera for "just a moment" could quite possibly almost always result in one of those headlines that reads, "irresponsible mother turns for just a moment while child skateboards off Grand Canyon". Yeah. I'm trying really hard not to be one of those, and unfortunately for now its the pics and videos that are taking the hit. So goes the life of (have I already mentioned this?) a REALLY active 18 month old and his overprotective mother...who still lets him jump off of things and turn anything with wheels into a skateboard, but has enough sanity NOT to turn her head for even a moment to reach for a camera to catch said moments on film. Hooray for momentary lapses of reason, and their counterparts...MOMS.

November 16, 2008


Having a passport has always meant the world to us. It's the reason we can truly say we've seen the eyes of their eyes, and something we will never take for granted. Sure, it's resulted in slightly elevated trials during travel (Brazil, Morocco, France post-2004 election), but we're always just plain and simple GRATEFUL to have the ability to be a part of the world's international "system" and gain a better understanding, perspective, on life (most favorites would be Bolivia, Italy, and no particular order).

Given the fact that passports are at the forefront of my mind, I'm clearly ready to travel. To take the next trip - go somewhere else, explore somewhere different. Spin the globe, point a finger, get the passports out and go somewhere. Only this time we can't just get-up-and-go, because we're one passport short. Ash is so ready to continue his explorations, has already proven his airplane-loving life via trips throughout the US, and I'm convinced has the heart of a traveler. As soon as our readoption paperwork makes it through the NY court system and we're issued a court date we'll know exactly when his next (international) exploration will be... and we can't wait.

While waiting we're more than happy to appreciate where we currently are. Happy, puddle jumping, almost-Thanksgiving NY. But still really really excited to book that trip to Honk Kong... any day now!

November 14, 2008

Fav Foto Friday

Ash insisted on bringing his Elmo book in the car on the way to daycare this morning - and he actually sat and flipped through the pages and "read" it to himself for the entire 10 minute trip!

November 13, 2008

Child Friendly What?

I'm a firm believer that anything you enjoyed pre-child can also be enjoyed with-child. Period. Ok, maybe not ANYTHING, but just about everything. I mean, obviously we're not going to bring Ash to our friends housewarming that is mostly an appetizer tasting event with lots of people. Oh wait...we did that and he LOVED it. What I meant to write was, obviously we're not going to bring Ash to an art opening where there will be "breakables" or "no touches" on the wall and loads of adults out to have a good evening. Oh wait...we did that and he LOVED it. I mean, what I REALLY meant to write was... well, you get the picture. We're just not that family who redefines what life is simply because they're now 3 instead of 2 and 1 of those 3 prefers a bottle of milk rather than a glass of grownup grape juice.

I'll concede that our parenting strategies tend to lean towards the progressive side but we still enjoy being surprised from time to time as to how child friendly every activity could actually potentially be. For example, twice in the last week we've had absolutely scrumptious white tablecloth dinners at notable restaurants in NY. With Ashton. That lasted multiple courses. And are SOOOO the type of events that other parents have attempted to convince us are things we'll never get to do again because our entire life (with child) will now be COMPLETELY different. I beg to differ.

First restaurant, Landmarc (NYC, NY - Their Tribeca location)
The menu is a fabulous concoction of perfectly grilled meat daily fresh pasta specials and oysters and all other sorts of loveliness, but the kicker is... so is the kids menu! Ash ordered their pigs in a blanket which turned out to NOT be a plate stuffed with hot dogs fried in buns, rather a presentation of homemade sausages covered with fluffy phyllo dough. He devoured the deliciousness while mom and dad enjoyed a perfectly prepared steak salad and the day's special pasta paired with the most perfect Bordeaux. All while the waitstaff kept Ash entertained with crayons, coloring paper, and playfullness. And the creme de la creme? Every table dining with children automatically has a basket of cotton candy brought for dessert. Seriously. A nummy pleasant evening to say the least.

Second restaurant, Harvest Cafe (New Paltz, NY)
Much like the first experience the waitstaff seemed to really enjoy having children in the dining room. And as an added incentive they host "family night" on Thursdays where kids eat free and mom or dad get a complementary glass of wine with their meal. Sold. They welcomed us with crayons and a coloring book for Ash as well as their signature pumpkin bread which may have been the only negative of the evening. Not because it was bad, but because Mike finally realized that he now has competition for the good bread at the table - whereas before I would let him have it all, Ash isn't so gracious. He proceeded to eat the entire plate...Mike got none. Poor daddy... :( Anyhow, Ash proceeded to munch on a Manchego cheese quesadilla while Mike spooned a stuffing/fruit stuffed acorn squash and I drooled over every bite of my sage infused duck breast. Another nummy pleasant evening.

I'll admit there have been changes, but to be honest I couldn't name one that sticks out in my mind as having actually changed anything. After all, life is already very child-friendly, it's us who need to be reminded that children are life-friendly.

November 12, 2008

We're So Lame

We thought in advance, "hey - how about going out Wednesday night?" and actually followed through and booked a sitter. We thought we'd catch up on some cinema and go see Changeling and then head to a multi-course indulgent dinner after, and MAYBE be back by 11PM.

Ahem... Enter reality.

We got to the theater and realized that Madagascar II was a whole hour SHORTER than Changeling, and both of us (already yawning at the ripe hour of 7PM) decided that short and funny beats long and thoughtful, so we opted for the cartoon. After the flick (which didn't totally suck, but really wasn't that great) we headed to a sushi bar where we knew we could fill up on relatively healthy goodies without having to wait on courses... and we were home by 9:17. At least the black miso cod was delicious.

So, date night found us relieving the babysitter a bit earlier than planned and cuddled up on the couch enjoying the CMA's. And we don't even listen to country music... that much. Ahh, the difference a year makes.

Tonight was perfect.

Road To Readoption

We're finally moving forward to make everything A-Z 100% NON-reversibly FINISHED. I'm actually quite stunned that it took us this long (a whole whopping 5 months) but I suppose there were better things to do with our time over the last nearly 1/2-year that may justify having put this process off. In NY the process involves hiring a lawyer, filling out and notarizing a ton of forms, fingerprinting (AGAIN! Seriously, this is the 3rd set of fingerprints we've had taken - why are our digitized federal fingerprints that we had taken for our I-171H not suitable?), and a few other paperwork lovely experiences like physicals, marriage certificates, and the like. It's like recompiling a dossier for the purpose of just recompiling your dossier - because nothing has changed, they just need it all to be redone, again. I don't get it, but I'll happily do it, because it's what needs to be done.

And regardless of how long it takes us to complete the readoption the fact still remains that at the beginning, middle, and end of each and every LOVELY day we already have a very precious document - his Ethiopian birth certificate that lists the names of his parents...Ours.

As of today we've submitted all of the necessary documents to our lawyer with the exception of our medicals. Ash's pediatrician is working on his and Mike and I go in to our doctor tomorrow to have ours filled out, so hopefully we'll have the remaining docs in the mail by early next week. And then we wait, again, for a court date. Only this time court will be in NY and the possibility of not making it through due to lack of electricity or water or any number of events should not be an issue. The court date we receive this time should be pretty set in stone.

Once completed we'll have Ashton's US birth certificate which will reflect his name change, his Social Security Card (and number of course), and the ability to file for a US passport. Yee-freaking-double-haw. We'll finally be able to book that trip to Hong Kong we've been planning and hopefully bring our son overseas a few times before he turns 2 and full-priced airfare kicks in ;)

Happy date night Wednesday!

November 10, 2008

On Health And Date Night

Back in the "babywait" days I used the excuse that we were anxious and waiting therefor deserved to indulge in the occasional (or frequent...) high calorie meal. My weaknesses:

*Plates of fried chicken (buffalo, spicy, battered, and dripping with hot sauce)
*Anything dipped in cheese
*Anything with cheese as a topping

But hey, I was babywaiting, so it was ok! So now what's my excuse? I blame butter. Pre-Ashton days we were very strict olive oil and nonfat cooking spray users, and pretty much everything (other than olive oil) was purchased in the fat free version. With a one year old, however, things have obviously had to change - because he actually needs fat. I haven't quite hammered out the details of how I can cook healthy meals for Ashton that include the "real" ingredients (butter, full fat dairy products, etc...) while still maintaining a healthy diet for myself (nonfat sprays, light or fat free everything) so to help the process along... we joined the gym. Thankfully I have weaknesses in this area as well:

*Angelina Jolie
*Jonny Depp
*Childcare for the cost of a cup of coffee

Some might wonder how these three items could be considered gym "weaknesses" and why I'm actually thankful for them. Well, our gym has a room called Cinema Cardio where there are a bunch of treadmills, eliptical machines, and bikes stationed in front of a giant movie screen. They show high action flicks that don't require headphones so that you can sweat to the likes of Angelina Jolie and Jonny Depp. If I had to list the top two images that would inspire me to work just a little bit harder it would definitely be those two. Last weekend they showed Tomb Raider and I swear the fight scene where Anglina swings from a bungee cord while beating off an entire team of intrudors logged my fastest running speed yet. And then there's the gym's almost-free childcare so that while mom and dad are being reminded of the exact location of every musscle in our body our sweet child can spend some time jumping off the walls in a neon color foam padded room. He wins.

Tonight we're taking him swimming, because quite frankly no amount of Angelina or Jonny could possibly override the stinging pain caused by "first weekend back at the gym and I'm in PAIN" syndrome.

On another note, with the economy in the tank and a very busy two months ahead with birthdays and holidays we decided the most fiscally responsible way to prepare would be to hire a babysitter and go on a date. My goal is that I'll have put in enough hours at the gym by date night to fit into an outfit from my pre-butter days, so that we can then go to a restaurant where there will inevitably be... lots of butter.

November 9, 2008

I Love Sundays

And the reason is clear, I'm mom to this little boy. This perfect adorable little boy. A little boy who is already doing great things, and will one day do things even greater. He is hopeful, he is inspiring, and he trusts his mommy and daddy that he's in good hands. And THAT trust is something more coveted than I could have ever possibly imagined. He looks at us as if to say, "Ok guys, you're it - now do it well". We will, we promise.

November 5, 2008

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

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

Happy 18 month birthday Ashton!

November 4, 2008


The United States of America has elected an African American male as their President. My mind is at a loss right now and couldn't possibly add anything of greater meaning than that which has just happened. History people, HISTORY. Some pretty freaking fabulous history.

Cheers to a new America.


The original plan for today was to bring Ash to daycare, vote, work, then pick up Ash and head to a friend's home to watch history being made. Plans changed around 11:40 when daycare called to inform me that Ash's temperature was 104 degrees... I rushed to pick him up and am now home (though I was still able to vote before the daycare call) with a sick boy in my lap. So, instead of conference calls and frequent trips to for election updates the afternoon has switched focus to Children's Motrin and Finding Nemo. His fever has been going down steadily and now I'm starting to wonder if this all wasn't just his way of getting out of daycare so that he could be glued to election coverage... The McGregors voted, have you?

November 3, 2008

Clueless But Certain

I have no clue why many readers couldn't read posts under the recent redesign, or why the problem is magically solved now that I've gone to a stark white blog background. I have no clue why Ash has decided that food is now the enemy and prefers to be on a purely liquid all soy milk all the time diet. I have no clue how to perfectly handle the multiple back and forths to the city this week and which ones should take priority, justify staying the night in Brooklyn, or even justify utilizing the newest potential SOLVE ALL OUR PROBLEMS drop off daycare center less than a mile from our apartment. I'm clueless, and I'm so OK with that.

I'm clueless as to how tomorrow will turn out, but I'm 100% certain on what I'll do to impact the outcome. VOTE.

These two adorable boys can rest assured that their mom's will vote