December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Channeling his inner Tai Chi

December 23, 2009

Down To The Wire

Everything this month has embraced that mantra. Projects for work, plans for celebrations, preparations for travels, projects at home, and even just the day-to-day seem to have only found successful completion at the very last possible moment. No complaining here though, as they all did eventually find successful completion, they all just came right down to the wire to do it. I dream of a day when everything that needs to be done is done a whole week or even a day in advance. But again, no complaints here, just maybe a slightly increased blood pressure and nervous twitch every now and then.

But the most fabulous of fabulous news is yet to come! News that in my industry about 99.999% of our clients absolutely shut down for the period between Christmas Eve and New Years, which if you've checked your calendar lately is TOMORROW, or if you're on most public school schedules starts at approximately 3PM TODAY! Sure there will be lingering projects and ongoing to-do's, but the bulk of the "this needs to be done by 9AM YESTERDAY" kind of projects will wrap sometime later this evening only to be resurrected in 2010 (when once again, they'll assume their down to the wire positioning). But for one glorious week, one relaxing sun-drenched sandcastle building week, the only thing that will come down to the wire will be whether the programmable coffee maker can figure out how to pour Baily's into my morning cuppa joe and somehow deliver it to the balcony for me. Oh holy sweetness.

So to everyone from us, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, a slightly belated Hanukkah, and three big cheers to a very Happy New Year!

December 16, 2009

They Look Just Like Each Other!

I had heard that many times while strolling the village with Ash, from strangers, shop owners, random Starbucks crazy ladies, you name it. We kept hearing about this other village family who had also adopted from Ethiopia, and who's son "looks exactly like Ashton". You should really meet! they would say. They look exactly alike! One of the local shop owners even mistakenly called the other boy by Ash's name because, well, clearly they must be long lost twins. And then we met the boy and his family. If by "look exactly alike" they intended to say that they're both African American boys with similar chocolate skin then I suppose they would've be spot on.

Let's look past the fact that the boys differ in age by 3 years (um, hello Mr. shop owner...) and actually notice features that make us appear similar to others. Same shape nose, lips, bone structure, hair color/texture/style, their eyes, ears, hell ANYTHING other than just the color of their skin! Honestly, had it been one individual perhaps I wouldn't be so perplexed but it's been many many individuals approaching both mothers for multiple months feeling obligated to tell us about our son's "twin" in the village that we simply must meet. Really? I wish I had the moment when we met the other boy and his mother on camera. Our eyes met, went quickly to our sons, then back to each other with this I just sucked on 3 lemons look of perplexity. Both black? Yes. Both boys? Yes. Both Ethiopian? Yup. But wait, don't all white New Yorkers with Italian heritage look EXACTLY ALIKE? Didn't think so.

So, we welcomed the meeting as the first of many. In fact, the meeting was the first of a new local village adoption group that we're hanging out with. And lucky for us Ash's "twin" (I cringe even writing that, yes the other boy is adorable but seriously, beyond skin color the only similarity was the green frosting staining their lips from the cookie they shared), has quite a few Ethiopian family friends in the area who we'll hopefully get to meet sometime soon. Super cheers to that!

Wordless Wednesday

December 10, 2009

Shark Butt Pinchers

That was the incredibly creative name daddy applied to the little pinch he'd give to Ash's bottom if he tried to get out of his seat during dinner time. Not a real pinch, just a small nibble to persuade the tot to stay in his seat and finish his darn chicken. I think what he had in mind was a comical "look at my fingers in the shape of a shark mouth coming to bite your bottom, ha ha ha, look at my hand swimming around the kitchen just waiting to cutely bite the bottom of any little tot who tries to escape before finishing dinner!" When in reality this is what Ash heard, "there is a shark in the kitchen and he is going to bite my bottom and maybe even daddy's hands. YIKES!" And as you can imagine, he was quite freaked out. I happily played ZERO roll in the brilliant invention of the frightening shark butt pincher rather quickly stepped in to replace the word pinch with the word beep, and tried to make the slow yet steady transition from daddy's hands resembling a biting shark to something more along the lines of a silly beeping finger poke. It took a while, but Ash finally attempted to get out of his seat (very slowly, making sure that darn shark was nowhere to be seen) and spent the remainder of the night informing us that he had caught both the pinching shark and the beeping fingers and both were safely caged in his pockets.

The boy knows how to play the game. And, daddy may have learned a lesson or two about the literal minds of toddlers. Maybe this evening we'll just duct tape him to his chair until his belly is full.

December 7, 2009


So it's bath time circa Dec 7th 2009 when Ash decides tonight's bath should get a little crazy. "DADDY! GET IN WITH ME!" And bath night quickly turns into an Ash/Daddy splash fest. Until they both stand up and Ash GASPS and points "at" Daddy and says:
All while making sure daddy knew exactly what two he was talking about. He has one, daddy has one, and he thinks its so cool that together they have two. And there you have it, my son's killer counting skills.

December 6, 2009

Santa Fear No More

So apparently we're over the "Santa is scary don't you dare make me sit on that man's lap" phase. It might be the daily advent gifts from Grandma Santa, or possibly the consistent reminders from every media source everywhere that Santa = presents that turned his opinion of the man in red from frightening to really super cool, or maybe he just picked up a new affinity to the color red and big bushy beards, know knows. One thing is certain though, he officially and 100% digs Santa.

OK fine, I'll sit on his lap but you know I'm only doing this because I know that bag over there is filled with candy canes, right?

So about that candy cane...

What's that? You want to know what I want for Christmas? Well then I suppose I can spare a few more moments of my time. Hmmm, I'd like a Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen, a visit to the Mickey Mouse Club House with Owen again and also I'd like it if Bret Favre would lead the Vikings to the playoffs only to throw 27 interceptions and be forced to retire for real and pick up golf, and then suck at it. And world peace.

Dude, are we about done?

Fine, I'll hug you, but you had better come through with that Favre request.

He even said "Merry Christmas Santa, I love you" after he got off Santa's lap. OK maybe it was more like "Merry I want a candy cane Christmas I want a candy cane Santa I want a candy cane I love you and I want a candy cane" but all the words were definitely there. The fear of Santa is definitely long gone and an Innocent candy cane filled belief in St Nick is solidly in place, hopefully for a long long time.

December 2, 2009

Ellow Subarine

Ash came home from school this week completely obsessed with all things Rudolph and Santa. Granted he's had some exposure to these things in the past thanks to mommy's slight (heh) holiday obsession but I swear I haven't intentionally forced this on him, I mean it's not like I strapped him to the couch in July and forced him to watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation or anything. No no no, that's the kind of event best saved for his middle school years. So I was quite surprised when after our mother/son sushi date night out we came home and he went straight to the DVD's and grabbed Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a DVD he's probably never even seen before much less watched. Yet he knew Rudolph was one of Santa's reindeer, that he had a red nose, and that Santa goes HO HO HO. He told me all of this before putting the movie in, then sat absolutely still (not common) for a full 45 minutes watching the 1964 claymation classic. I melted just a little bit.

He wanted to know anything about everything. Who's that? What's that? What they doin? Where they goin? He's never been so intently interested in a movie ever. My guess is that there has been a lot of talk about all things Santa at school recently which must be where his interest was originally sparked, and then of course there are all of the influencers we've introduced at home like the tree and books and advent gifts and holiday music blasting from every speaker in every room, so I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that he now has his own slight obsession about the holiday season. And we hope to keep it to just that, a simple love of all things holidays, a special enjoyment of music and decorations and general good spirit.

So when I woke up the next morning I fully expected to hear his little voice humming to the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from his bed but I could not have possibly been more off. The next morning, after an evening of Rudolph and Santa and carols and all things holidays, I heard him singing this:

We all live ina ellow subarine
ellow subarine
ellow subarine
We all live ina ellow subarine
ellow subarine
ellow subarine

Apparently he's moved on from Santa to The Beatles. I miss so much between the hours of 9PM and 7AM in his little mind...

Wordless Wednesday

Photos courtesy of Ash's aunt, mom to his cousin Jess, aka Miss Bingo. Thank you!

November 30, 2009

The Older One

Finally it's the 30th. The days between the 21st and 30th of November tend to be filled with recognition by daddy that he and mommy, if only for those brief 9 days, are the same age. But thank the shining stars that the 30th is finally here and mommy is once again the young one. Not that I'm obsessed with age at all, it's just that I like being the younger one. Makes me feel, younger.

Back to the point, it's the older one's birthday today. Ash spent the morning serenading daddy with Happy Birthday, asking when we're going to go get the fishies for the toilet (Daddy's present this year was a Fish N Flush which turns the tank of your toilet into half-tank / half-fish tank. It's installed but the fish haven't been added yet.) and me reminding him that we would be going to get the fishies after school. Then we dropped the tot off at school a titch earlier than usual so that we could enjoy a birthday breakfast out. Hey, one must take full advantage of any and all methods of babysitting to facilitate lovers moments out.

So. Happy birthday to the one who will always (aside from those 9 pesky days in Nov) be one year older. You don't look a day over a year more than me.

November 29, 2009

Sunday Styles

It's the last Sunday in November and we spent most of the day raking leaves, riding bikes, playing on the swing set, and rolling down hills. All without a coat on. Ash had his bike helmet on which kind of counts as a hat, but aside from that it must've looked like a typical family fun day circa end of September/beginning of October but certainly not nearly December. I suppose we were pretty much robbed of a summer this year (the only sunny weekends we got were the ones when we traveled elsewhere) so we do kind of deserve a longer than usual fall, but I'll admit that my eyes did look on a bit longingly while passing the holiday aisles at Lowes today wondering if we're ever going to be able to break the sleds out. And then I quickly ate my words and dashed back outside, without a coat on, and hurried my way home to play outside some more.

November 28, 2009

'Tis The Season, Minus The Butter

Two weeks ago Grandma was in town, and she spent at least one of the days baking cookies with Ash. Then last week Gamma and Papa were in town, and they spent at least one of the days baking cookies with Ash. These days were sandwiched around a massive Thanksgiving feast and officially kicked off the holiday season and "OMG did I really gain a dress size overnight?" kind of realizations.
We plan on sharing a good portion of grandparent-love-in-the-form-of-cookies with Ash's preschool class (if there are any left by the time Monday rolls around that is...) and just today tossed out every bit of leftovers that we knew were prepared with at least a stick of butter (you'd be surprised how many that accounted for). We're quite intent on making sure this holiday season wraps with a new kind of realization of the "OMG I lost 2 swimsuit sizes" kind.

See, we're abandoning the cold of the North for the warmth of the South for Christmas this year. The WAY South. The Costa Rica kind of South. And for those not yet aware: It's a lot freaking easier to cover up a few extra pounds behind an XL wool sweater than even the most tummy-tucking bikini on the beach. And don't get me wrong, it's not like we're going to completely avoid any and all holiday savories and treats. We're just going to try and avoid the recipes that require multiple trips to the Stop and Shop to restock the butter in the fridge. 'Tis the season, minus the butter.

November 27, 2009

Christmas Tree 2009

OK I promise some actual words here eventually, but default yet again to a photo for the day's post. We've been putting up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving since our first Thanksgiving in NY 8 years ago, and this year was no different. We cut down a concolor again this year - if you break the needles in half it smells like citrus and just makes the whole house smell yummy. Tomorrow = words. Promise.

November 24, 2009

We Should've Waited

This was the expression on Ash's face when I revealed to him that in a mere 48 hours he's going to be front and center with 75 foot tall Clifford the Big Red Dog and Buzz Lightyear. We took him to the Macy's parade last year and he loved it then, but at that point he hadn't learned about any of the characters yet so to him they were all just a bunch of really cool really big balloons. Not this year, this year they're his favorite story book characters, cartoon superstars, and music he dances to daily! Honestly, when I started telling him about the parade and everything we are going to see I had a slight moment of "OMG his head is going to start spinning 360 and pop off" and quickly regretted telling him with a whole 48 hours of advance notice. I should've waited until we were on the subway, on our way, Thursday morning. Now I have a super-stoked 2 1/2 year old bouncing off the walls singing "me see Clifford me see Buzz me see Clifford me see Buzz!" repeat repeat repeat, jump jump jump, repeat repeat repeat. We definitely should've waited. Lesson learned.

November 23, 2009

When Your Tattoo Artist Moves To Texas

You go to Texas for your tattoos. Which is exactly what happened last weekend to mark an (if you ask me) unremarkable date. Grandma flew from MN to NY to care for the tot so that mom and dad could fly from NY to TX to get inked. Mom was turning 29 with 12 months experience and dad thought it appropriate to mark the occasion by officially inking the design we'd been skipping about for months via a weekend trip to Austin, TX. Where, the most talented tattoo artist on the planet (who abandoned us by moving from NY to TX last year...) had blocked off an entire Saturday afternoon. For us. So grandma flew, we high-fived and tagged off in passing, and then we flew.

To anyone un-inked this may seem a bit frivolous, but to the inked in the crowd it makes complete sense. After all, once you've had someone use your body as a permanent canvas, well, you're kind of leery about having anyone else step in. So there ya go. That's the whole story, A-Z, about why mom and dad had to fly to the live music capital of the world and not listen to any live music at all because we spent the whole damn weekend in transit just because the only person on Earth who could ink the way we wanted lives there. In Texas.


And guess what. The tot and the grandma, and the mom and the dad, and the inker and the inked, well, we all made it to Monday. In a "my back is just a wee bit sexier than it was on Friday" kind of way. Not at all in a "30" kind of way, but in a completely kickin 29 + gaining experience every day kind of love.

Go Mom.

Style details:
Mom: Ash leaves (from the Ash tree) circling Wondemu in Amharic script
Dad: Wondemu in Amharic script through the star shown on Ethiopian flags and passports
Womdemu = Ash's given name at birth.

November 22, 2009

Sunday Styles

Details to come, but this definitely counts as fixerup #6...

November 21, 2009

Fixerup #5

And this one is a sure-fire winner. Breakfast in bed. But not just any 'ol breakfast in bed, the kind that takes place in a separate time zone than the one you usually wake up in. This is sure to guarantee an extra shine in your aura and kick in your step. Of course you may need to fly in grandma for the weekend to care for the tot and accommodate the whole mommy and daddy being in a different time zone thing, but we never said this whole fixerup project was going to be simple did we? Oh, and this step is also in complete compliance with fixerup #4, the maintenance step, seeing as I now have two entire mornings of my own private hotel bathroom (well I have to share with daddy, but whatever) to apply all of those extra tubes of guk purchased earlier in the week. But that can wait until after they deliver our warm homemade cinnamon rolls and extra large pot of coffee to the room...

November 20, 2009

So About That #4...

For those still interested, I am now the proud owner of both mascara and lipstick. Well ok, maybe not lipstick but tinted lip gloss (hey, at least it's not chapstick), and maybe I haven't broken the seals on either of them yet, but there might just be a Friday (ok let's be real, Saturday) night unveiling of painted mommy. Maybe. Hey, I shaved my legs and had my toes done and allowed the chainsaw to have it's way with my hair so I may as well jump completely overboard and paint the remaining pieces. Operation fixerup #4 = maintain enough sanity to survive continuation of #1-3.

And in the meantime have a whole lotta fun...I'd break into a raucous tune of "I feel pretty" but I'm not quite there yet.


Nearby Enough

Some readers of this blog may occasionally wonder to themselves, "jeez, for a family who doesn't have any family nearby they're sure nearby family pretty often." And I would happily respond, "yup". It's amazing how watching airfare like a hawk can result in semi-affordable quick trips here and there, and how just being willing to pick up and go makes it completely possible to raise a child in NY who knows just as much about his MN grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins as anyone else in their class who's family lives right next door. And then there's the magic of having family within driving distance. Sure there's an hour and a half between us, but that's a heck of a lot shorter than the distance between us and any other member of our family. And when the end result is hanging out with family on a random Saturday and watching Ash revel in the love that is Jess, well, that hour and a half pretty much disappears.

So that's the deal. We're lucky enough to have some family just nearby enough to be able to hang out on random weekends. And we're lucky enough that airplanes exist to connect the rest of our family, who, thanks to those airplanes are also just nearby enough. Nearby enough that Ash's grandma is taking over Ash duty in NY this weekend, and nearby enough that Ash will be spending a NY Thanksgiving with gamma and papa and aunt and uncle and cousin Jess. Nearby enough that more auntie fun will be had over New Years. Nearby enough.

Of course we still share those "holy crap if I just had a grandma to drop him off with for a moment" kind of moments, which we share with every other family out here it seems. But they're just moments, and life is working, and conveniently enough when family is just not quite so nearby enough we have friends who are. And life is working. But just to make myself clear, anyone out there with multiple sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and extended family who even dare so much as to squeak about not having adequate moments to yourself, well, to you I share my most prized electronic muzzle.

Nearby enough? 'Nough said.

November 18, 2009

Fixerup #3

Between moisturizer and paint and getting my toes did and my hair done I'm a bit lost... Do I really need to do all this stuff to be "fixed up" every day? Operation fixerup may go well but operation keep-her-fixed-up is going to be the challenge. I'm sure there's a matrix out there somewhere that can help a mama devote adequate time to fixerup activities, but if not I definitely know of a matrix that helps a mama savor vino style activities. So in either case I stand to benefit. Though right now I'm leaning towards the vino...

A Hit And A Miss And A Slam Dunk

So maybe I didn't make it to the store to purchase lipstick or mascara (that's right, I have neither in my cabinets, not even 10 year old versions stored away for a rainy day). But here's what I did do which in my humble little opinion takes me right through operation fixerup #3, 4, and 5:

I sat in a salon while someone transformed my feet from workin'girl blisters to sparkly painted DEAR LORD I WANT A NEW PAIR OF SHOES TO SHOW THESE PUPPIES OFF kind of tosies and then went on to schnazzle my hair into something slightly more acceptable than the scraggles my locks have resembled as of late. That's right - I got my hair done and my toes did. Take that operation fixerup.

But tomorrow, tomorrow I WILL find paint. And maybe even the eye AND lip kind. After all, now that my moisturized self is all let me sport those peep toes even though its 45 degrees outside I may as well build on the momentum. Hell, I may even smile for the camera in a way that doesn't shout dear Lord please make this end.


Mike and Ash swung by the salon while the transformation was in process, and Ash couldn't take his eyes off of mommy's hair falling to the floor. Perhaps this was also step #1 in the process of readying Ash for his first haircut, set to happen sometime in 2010, but somehow I doubt it...

Wordless Wednesday & Fixerup #2

Fixerup #2: I'm happy to report that this morning I moisturized, and today I plan to purchase either mascara or lipstick. I haven't decided which yet, but one will find it's way onto my face before sunset. Moisturized and painted? Watch out Heidi. On to Wordless Wednesday...