October 31, 2008

This Is What I'm Talking About...

Halloween kid-style: First a parade (with lollipops) then goodies at the village firehouse (including lollipops) then trick or treating at the local shops (more lollipops), and let me tell you, he caught on to the trick or treating concept QUICKLY! We ended the evening with dinner at Rock Da Pasta (awful name, GREAT PASTA) and then headed home for a bath. And somehow, despite his obvious sugar high he still managed to defy all odds and fall asleep at a somewhat normal hour. Our little Clifford the Big Red Dog dozed off leaving his pail of goodies on the kitchen table...now the true test, how strong are mom and dad? Today rocked.

Happy Halloween From Clifford The Big Red Dog!

October 29, 2008


And just in case you missed the version released earlier this month aimed at encouraging voter registration:

October 28, 2008


During the blog redesign I lost all of my sidebar information. The links to other blogs are what I'm working on rewriting for now, so if you notice your blog no longer appearing in my list please comment or email with your URL and I'll add it back in. Thanks!


Tonight we enjoyed a special dessert thanks to Ashton's fan club (his grandmas) - a Halloween cookie and a Halloween book! He didn't even see it coming and then all of a sudden we were clearing the table after dinner and he had a delicious cookie and a cool new book on his highchair - he's definitely sharing this fabulous story with all of his daycare buds tomorrow. Way to go Grandmas, thank you!

In other dessert news, Ashton will be attending his first art opening on Thursday. For the first time in over 7 years it will be HIS wardrobe and HIS shoes that I fuss over instead of my own. Definitely a good dessert realization. After all, it is him that people notice now days...they expect me to look disheveled and slightly crazed. Yeah! The pressure is off! He looks gorgeous in pretty much anything we dress him in so I'm really digging the new change of focus - I get to relax a bit about my own attire and ride on the heels of my adorable son. An unexpected yet appreciated perk that I'm totally going to run with. I'm thinking pajama bottoms and slippers should be suitable. The only potential negative is that I may no longer posses the ability to blame new shoe purchases on social event requirements... may need to think that one through a bit more.

In any case, cheers to dessert tonight!

October 27, 2008


I've never in my life been more sensitive to the changing of months. The only possible comparison would be from back when I was teaching and April rolled around and everyone starting counting down the days until summer. But still, I've just never been so in tune with the passing of each and every month. We first saw him at 11 months, met him at 13 months, then counted and celebrated every month since. And next week - in 9 days - he will turn 18 months. One and a half years. And my heart stops each and every time I think about it.

I imagine this milestone is hitting me particularly pointedly because it's the first "age of notice" that he'll reach while in our arms. And also the first "age of notice" that he'll reach while not in his birth mother's arms. Which I'm just guessing is playing a pretty big role in my reaction to this milestone. Our son was fortunate to experience his birth mother's love and embrace for the first 11 months of his life. 11 months that I do actually look forward to dreaming about with him, albeit with the obvious challenges, my son will know how much his birth mother loved him. 11 months of learning to look and search and sit up and pull up and roll over and grab and so many other things. 11 months that I'm so thankful he was able to experience with his birth mother. But then come the following months, that of his relinquishment, his months in the orphanage, and then the frightening months of being introduced to an entirely new culture new look new smell new EVERYTHING that followed.

I'm in absolute awe of our son's ability to transition while still seeming to remain whole. I say whole because I really truly do believe that there have been times when we've shared glances that have said, "I get it. I love you, but I get it." Clearly I'm not expecting my almost 18 month old to understand and internalize the concept of international adoption, yet his looks and feels and day to day interactions absolutely reflect that fact that he gets it more than the rest of us.

We weren't there to witness his first attempt at sitting up or rolling over, and I don't know which of his teeth were the first to poke through. Hell, I don't even know where most of his facial expressions and sounds came from. But I count myself lucky to know that all of these things came from somewhere that I can one day tell my son all about - how he learned these things from a family that loved him so much. So much. And it's my internal hope that he'll then know how much he is loved, and how welcome he is to loving each and every month of his life - here in the US, in Ethiopia where we will travel with him in the next 5 years, and across the globe where we hope he values each and every month.

Because they're all just that cool.

October 26, 2008


When asked by friends "how are things going" I tend to give a fairly transparent here's-how-it-is response. I've never been one to guard myself, rather I really respect just being able to lay it out there about how it really is. So, when the question comes along "hows it going?" I say: Beautifully. It sounds boring, but honestly I feel like we've reached a moment of normalcy. And now that I've written that publicly on the internet it's almost certain to come back to bite me. How DARE I assume we're in a PATTERN! But honestly, we've been home 4 1/2 months and it really truly and honestly feels...normal. And so so so so beautiful.

So, without further adieu, here is the most "normal" of "normal" and BEAUTIFUL of BEAUTIFUL of BFF pics, staring none other than Ash and his new Dude:

You honestly want me to smell EVERY flower on the block???

OK, you smell flowers - you must be OK.

The amazing duo solemnly swear to be best buds, forever

What do BFF's do over lunch? Mack-out, of course...here's how it is ladies.

It used to be J-J-J-J-Jenny on the block, but these days its O to the A to the O/A on the block sweet things... we're where it's at in the NYC.

A long day of being adorable can only end one way - Dr. Seuss and juice. Word to my sippy cup.

October 24, 2008


It has never felt so good to be home. After being away on vacation for a week and then immediately diving into a full work week in the city I am finally back among the horses and the goat and the leaves and the pumpkins. I think I actually felt my heart rate chill out and my skin relax a solid 10% as I drove up the driveway. One week from tomorrow it will be November. NOVEMBER!

Check this out...a GREAT way to start your weekend:

October 20, 2008

Live From New York, It's Us!

We're home. Vacationing as a family of 3 was fabulous, but I must say that while landing at JFK last night all 3 of us let out one of those "it's good to be home" sighs. It's fall in NY and aside from the insane quantity of leaves in our yard that will eventually need to be raked I'm looking forward to every second of this season. Only 38 days until Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade... I'm such a sucker for New York.

Ash is a true New Yorker as well, and this week I finally found myself responding comfortably to an uncomfortable question that strangers often ask. The "where is your son from?" question. I know my son is from New York, because that is where he lives, but that answer always seems to throw the questioner for a loop. He was born in Ethiopia, but to a stranger that is really none of their business. Especially seeing as Ash is now understanding the vast majority of what is said around him, and the last thing he needs to constantly hear is that he is "from" somewhere different than us. He, along with us, is a New Yorker.

We all have a special family history that includes family born in the womb, family born in the heart, family born of struggle, family born of fortune, but it should always be the decision of the family member as to how they want to share their family history with the world. Ashton will know the origin of his family, both birth and forever. He will be raised to be proud of his Ethiopian heritage and aware of his birth country and culture. And, he will also be raised to be proud of his home and his family and where he is from. And it will be his choice when it comes to answering the question about where he is from, not some stranger in passing who, admittedly is likely asking out of pure ignorance, a very personal and defining question that goes so much deeper than just where you board a plane or park your car or call home for now.

So for now, we're from New York. And when people ask where my son is from, that's what I'll say too.

October 15, 2008

Winding Down

We're winding down on the Colorado portion of our vacation and will soon be in the air on our way to Minnesota. Ash can't wait to share all of his new discoveries with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We've had loads of fun exploring these past few days, here's just a snippet.

We took a stroll down Pearl Street in Boulder where Ash took a liking to one of the street performers. He loved the pedestrian mall where he could run back and forth side to side listening to locals playing music, but he liked the piano player best.

Is there a better way to rock out to music on the sidewalk than on a rocking pig? Seriously, he pulled himself up and began to rock out to the piano music. So freaking adorable.

Ash and dad have gotten up every morning this week to fish in the river outside of our cabin.

Dad, son, and fish.

They finally opened the pass over the continental divide from Estes Park to Grand Lake so today we took a drive. We stopped a few times to hike to a lake or a peak or a river, had a fantastic lunch in Grand Lake (honestly, the best fried chicken ever, and then a fabulous cappuccino to boot!) and then headed back to our now familiar little cabin on the river for our last night in CO.

Sometimes you're just SO TIRED from a day of exploring it's necessary to fall asleep in your car seat, half chewed rice cake in your mouth and lazily grasped Nalgene sippy cup in hand. Barely...

October 13, 2008

48 Hours In 45 Seconds

There's a little bundle of 100% adorableness waiting for me outside so I need to make this quick, but we've been having such an awesome time I couldn't help but share some pics. Off to make snow angels...

We're in the Rockies, It snowed the day we got here and the day after that and today. HUGE bull elk have been everywhere, and they actually had to close the main pass over the continental divide due to too much snow, but we wound up hiking around a lake at lower altitude that was stunning so no worries. Hopefully the pass will open up before we have to leave on Thursday, the drive is supposed to be out of this world. And then there was the wine and cheese bar just waiting for us to take over their dining room with our one year old... they truly loved him and we truly loved their wine and cheese. And the fishing (which is about 10 feet from the front door of our cabin...) has not exactly panned out the way dad would like it too, but Ash loves his Barbie fishing pole and can't get over the yummy white cold stuff on the ground so he sticks with dad and that big pole that he keeps throwing in the river for some odd reason. And then the babe goes to bed, and mom and dad crack open one of the many delicious options for CO microbrews and hop in the hot tub and watch the snow fall over Longs Peak. And that was just day #1. I guess you could say we're having an OK time.

First Snow

October 10, 2008

Family Vacation

I am now 100% absolutely and completely certain that I have passed one of life's major thresholds. How, you ask, can I be so certain? Fortunately for me this one is dead on positive - I just finished packing for our family vacation and realized that I packed more pairs of shoes for my son than I did for myself. I don't know whether to crumble in defeat or shout in glory that I'm apparently dedicated to "staying the course" of shoe supremacy via my son. He has a pair of cowboy boots, a pair of snow boots, a pair of rain boots, some really adorable (yet probably not weather appropriate, but what the hell...) Keen sandals, and of course - his sneakers.

OK, I admit - I'm bringing more pairs than that for myself, but still... he's 17 months old! I'd share a picture of our shoe packing extravaganza but to be honest it's a bit embarrassing...

We're off to cooler climates and higher altitudes and a cabin in the woods of the Rockies. Fishing, grilling, hiking, soaking up the love of the land and maybe even a hot tub or two when the babes asleep. I can't wait to be to back out west - it's been WAY TOO LONG.

October 9, 2008

National Fire Prevention Week

Ashton's daycare has been doing tons of activities the past few days to honor national fire prevention week, including a visit from the fire department and a ride on the fire truck!

Our little fireman (Just look at that face, we're so screwed)

October 6, 2008

A Week In Pics

It smells delicious outside! Days like today make me want to quit my job and search the help wanted adds for "seeking professional apple cider doughnut taster" positions. I love fall. I really really love fall, and leaves, and pumpkins, and frosty air, and everything that is the wonderfulness that is Fall. We leave for Estes Park, CO on Saturday and I CAN'T WAIT to be back in the mountains and introduce Ash to such inspiring landscapes. (And being on our first official family vacation as a family of 3 is pretty exciting too!)