February 27, 2009

Fav Foto Friday

Just the boys jamming with their ukuleles. There will be more uke jamming tonight when we get together with Baby Edie and her parents, who's daddy is a huge uke rock star and may even teach Ash and his daddy a few new tunes. Then we head to the "Uncle Rock" concert at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) tomorrow, they're hosting their annual BAMkids Film Festival where there's certain to be some serious rocking. And what better way to wrap up a weekend than to celebrate his best bud Owen's 2 year birthday party! It will be his first time going to a kid birthday party and he is psyched to say the least. The only thing that could possibly make this weekend better would be if Monday was a national holiday and everyone had the day off... On a smiley note our court date for Ash's readoption is one week from today and our trip to Spain is a mere 5 weeks away, so March and April are definitely shaping up to be two exciting months. Yee haw and bring it on!

February 26, 2009


I found out about an iPhone app today that actually turns your iPhone into a baby monitor. Pretty fantastic for when you're out and about or traveling - check it out at CodeGoo.

Ethiopian Heritage And Culture Camp

Thanks to Jill & Mari we found out about an Ethiopian Heritage and Culture Camp being hosted on the East Coast! A similar camp has been hosted in Northern CA for the last 10 years but this year they decided to expand and offer a camp in Harrisonburg, VA which is about a 2 hour drive from D.C. or 5 hours from NYC. We're pretty certain that we're going to register, it just looks too good to pass up. The camp, which bills itself as "A gathering of families, touched by Ethiopian Heritage" is scheduled for July 24th - 26th and is set to include the following:
  • A notable keynote speaker
  • Have Ethiopian-American speakers that will be very positive role models for your kids
  • We will hold a panel discussion with youth and adult Ethiopian adoptees
  • Have age appropriate language classes for kids
  • Ethiopian children’s games, songs and art projects
  • Have dance (Eskista) instruction, cooking lessons, hair braiding and hair braiding lessons
  • Coffee ceremony and much more!
All this plus a beautiful setting, swimming, fishing, how could we possibly say no? They estimate that for a family of 3 the cost will be around $550 for the weekend which includes lodging, all food, all activities, and all daycare (they provide daycare during the adult-only speakers/events). Sign me up! Anyone else out there going to join us? (Click here for more info)

Foodie Babies

The owners of ChowBaby, makers of adventurous organic baby food, also have a food blog called ChowMama that is proving to be quite addictive. It's all about parents using their foodie ways to raise children who love good food. Today's recipe is 10-minute Lemon Thyme Scallops which we're definitely making for dinner tonight - YUM! Check them out at www.chowmama.com or via the link in my Daily Dose sidebar. Enjoy!

February 25, 2009

Hope And A Handshake

My husband was on a photo assignment in D.C. last week and while he and his assistant were setting up in an office in the White House he had an unexpected visitor. It was just the two of them in the room when the door opened slightly and in peeked President Obama. He was looking for the resident of the office (the subject my husband would be photographing), and when he noticed that she wasn't there he stuck around long enough to introduce himself to the two sweaty photographers and shake their hands. Then he was on his way to a meeting in the next room. My husband said it was one of the most amazing experiences, because here you have the President of the USA meandering in and out of offices looking for a colleague and taking moments out of his day to chat it up with two random photogs who happened to be in his path, all the while exuding an air of absolute control and leadership, the kind that leaves you knowing that we are in good hands. He said that the handshake was exactly as he had hoped - firm and quick but with full eye contact and a complete sense that he actually did want to be shaking his hand at that moment. The shoot went on as planned and Mike returned to NY the next day with heightened confidence that we are indeed in good hands.

Last night we watched together as the President addressed Congress. It's the first time we'd hear him talk about changes he's made and progress on projects rather than just goal setting and planning. It was the first time in ages that I felt myself listening so intently to a televised speech, following along with every word in an attempt garner meaning from every single phrase. I actually felt uplifted, encouraged, and as though the speech was written to speak to the majority of the populace - just regular folks like us living their lives and trying not to make too many mistakes along the way. His speech on Inauguration Day was inspiring, but to listen to him actually working, actually changing, and really doing brought me to a whole new level of captivation by his words.

This post wasn't intended to be an all-glorifying Ode to Obama, I promise that's not where my mind was going with this. It honestly just felt good to feel hopeful. With everything that's going on around us and nearly everyone really feeling the impact of it, I mean really feeling it, it was nice to hear the sound of confidence. His handshake left my husband excited for what's to come, and his voice of hope gave me the best night of sleep I've had in a long time.

February 23, 2009

Monday Night Jam Session

Just when I think he's transformed from rocker musician into baking genius he reminds me of his ability to diversify. He may bake one hell of a chocolate chip cookie but nothing beats his mad ukulele jamming out skills. Nothing.

The funniest part is that he has to make sure he has ALL of his instruments in play at least once during the jam session, which unfortunately for us includes his Elmo guitar. I thought we had finally seen the end of "Jam with Elmo" when my sister gave him a much cooler MUCH less annoying kiddie electric guitar for Christmas, but alas he still manages to pull Elmo out of the crevasses of his music box from time to time. It might be time for the musical sledgehammer to pay a visit to the McGregors... No offense intended Elmo. Well, maybe just a little.

February 22, 2009

This Is What Happens When Mommy's Sick

Cookies and fashion statements, apparently that's what happens when dad returns after 3 days of "Mommy and Me" time and institutes a weekend of "Daddy's in charge so we're doing whatever we want and mommy can't stop us because she's too sick" time. I spent the weekend juggling various styles of Japanese cutlery in my throat while Ash got to break in my new mixer on a batch of cookies. Life just isn't fair sometimes. Though they did share the cookies with me while they were still warm so I suppose that makes up for it a little bit...

Tomorrow we have Ashton's first Parent/Teacher Conference (yes, he's 21 months old and they're already having PT Conf days) so I'm sure I'll have all kinds of updates to post after hearing such sentiments as, "He's learned the alphabet backwards and forwards!" or "He can count to 10 in 5 languages!" or "The haiku he wrote in class brought me to tears!" but I guess I'll settle for, "He taught Ben how to climb to the highest point in the room and jump off of it." or, "Your son is the only one in the class who hasn't yet added boogers to his list of culinary faves."

Yeah, I guess those last two will do. That is, as long as he continues to make cookies on the weekends.

February 17, 2009

I Think We Wore Him Out

The play-by-play: Ash goes to the MN Children's Museum and spends hours running through play-sized grocery markets and science exploration halls and bubble making stations. Then he heads to dinner at Fasika's with mom, dad, and the grandparents for a delicious Ethiopian meal. He then decides to fall asleep on the way home where not only are we able to put him in his crib without waking him up, but manage to change his diaper and put on jammies (all while an entertained audience stands by laughing histaricly at how deep in dreamland the adorable babe is) without so much as a wink. I think it's safe to say his time in MN was very well enjoyed and he is officially worn out. Lots of pictures to share as soon as my camera-toting relatives send them to me (wink wink), but back to the grind for now. We do have a couple of countdowns we're enjoying at the moment:

*17 Days until our adoption is finalized in NY (March 6th)
*44 Days until we leave for Spain (April 2nd)

February 14, 2009

You Can Take Mom And Dad Out Of MN

But you can't ever keep an Ashton from his Papa's.

We don't live across the street or across town or even "just a few hours away" from family. It requires a plane ride with advance notice and often pricey tickets to bring our son to his grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins and countless others who love spending time with him. So in true McGregor fashion this trip was hardly planned, canceled twice, and still only cost $199 per flying passenger (Ash is still under 2 years so flies free). There's some good Karma flowing here today.

We're in MN for VDay weekend and Ash is stoked to run amok with his cousins, and we're thrilled to let him. Happy Valentine's Day!

February 10, 2009

Court Date!

This is the second time I've used the post titled "Court Date!", only this time it's pretty certain that everything will go according to plan. At 11:30 on March 6th we will swear before a NY Judge as Ashton's forever parents and complete his adoption. Some of the exciting results of this day will be his official name change, NY birth certificate, SSN, and the ability to apply for a US passport (which we'll do immediately following the court appearance as the office is right next door). There are so many days to celebrate with your children, and in the world of adoption this can include DTE Day (dossier to Ethiopia), Referral Day, Court Day, Forever Family Day (first in person meeting), Forever Family Day, US version (first time together on US soil), and then of course the celebration of a finalized adoption in the US, which for us will be MARCH 6TH!!! We're psyched to say the least.

February 8, 2009


It's Awards Season. The Globe's, the SAG's, the Grammy's, the Oscar's, and countless no-less-important but slightly less publicized events all aimed at celebrating various forms of pop culture. Had you asked me 8 years ago if I watched any of the previously mentioned awards shows you would have been met with a slightly slanted narrowing of the brows that not so discretely shouted, "what, return from the slopes early in February for a celebrity thing? Not likely." But, once you move to NY everything changes. We got sucked in early because we had to. When friends would ask us which SAG party we were attending and we responded with "what does SAG stand for again?" we were pretty much warned with a catch-up-or-take-a-hike stare. You had better know your shiz nizzle before having any conversation with anyone at an awards night party in NYC. Seriosuly, make sure that shiz nizzle of yours is 100% up to date with the latest political, social, or otherwise noteworthy mentions of every name even remotely connected to the scene. Awards parties in NY are a stressfest for me to say the least.

On to why this year's events are "Awardzzz" instead of "Awards Parties"... SLEEP PEOPLE! they all start at 8PM EST which means they don't end until at least 11PM which means if we want to watch any post commentary we MUST be up till wee hours of the night. Sure, this time last year we were schlooping it up with friends and fizz buzzing about who and where and what next, and now we find ourselves this year schlooping it up with Ash and having our own red carpet dance party on the play mat complete with guitars and a drum and lots of spinning. Only this year we have to be ready for an anytime wakeup call. Sometimes we get lucky and it sings at 8AM (twice in 8 months) and sometimes life just downright sucks and it rings at 5AM, but in any case the reality is that it could be anytime, and there's no off button. (I've checked)

So, we've done our best to catch up this year and I'll admit there have been a few rough Monday's mornings (tomorrow's is most certainly going to be the worst, are you watching tonight's Grammy's? Best awards show this year by far.) But, there's nothing more certain than the renaming of our festivities from Awards Party to just simply The Awardzzz. I'm hoping to catch some zzz's tonight but wont hold my breath for fear of missing an all important must know fact that not knowing would reveal me as Awards Season Challenged....yikes, not cool Gotham.

Below is a video of our own pre-Grammy dance party done McGregor style (Ash wasn't allowed to stay up for the festivities, hey, I do have some boundaries). He's going to be so ready to embrace the fierceness that is NY awards season next year. Only then he'll have learned the loveliness of sleeping in...

Picture Tag

Moe's Armpit-delicious Mom (seriously, go check it out) tagged me in a new picture tag while simultaneously outing the blog-slacking going around due to FB addiction. Hey, I could quit, if I wanted to. No really, I could give it up today... right after I update my status. Well, maybe I'll add another album first but surely after that. As I previously posted and still stand strongly behind, LONG LIVE BLOGGER! The rules are to go to your 4th picture folder then post the 4th picture in that folder then tag 4 people. Got it, done and dusted. A special cheers to Moe's Mom!

A couple years ago my husband was hired to shoot BB King for Esquire and I've since used one of the images from the shoot for various profile/photo montages which is why it exists in my photo folders. The 4th photo of the 4th folder to be exact. I loved this shoot and was so jealous that I couldn't tag along - this music legend is in his 80's and is still performing 300+ shows a year. And he still has his music technitian record every on-stage solo so that BB can listen to it when he returns to his trailor and analyze how he can make it better for the next gig. I can only hope to be so dedicated to something so cool when I'm 83.

And to continue the tagging of the FB crazed, I tag:
1. Cloverlandfarm
2. The folks over at "you better make it a triple"
3. Dandies in the Sunshine
4. Mumblerrr!

February 7, 2009

A Touch Of Spring

OK, so maybe the fact that temps were finally in the 40's today doesn't exactly justify a "spring feeling", but right now I couldn't care less about justifying it because it felt SO GOOD! We wore vests and sweaters with a light hat instead of big puffy jackets and the works and strolled the sidewalks window shopping instead of rushing from heated space to heated space. It was truly delightful.

We woke up intending to take Ashton to a nearby ski hill for his first downhill ski lesson, but a last minute urge to clean out his closet (no small task, trust me, must've been some form of spring fever) ended up consuming the better part of the morning and then it was nap time leaving no time for ski time. So, the skiing adventure has been pushed till tomorrow but I'm so OK with that simply because of how much better it feels to have his clothes organized - literally hours of work just to move from size 12-18 months to 18-24 months. But it's done and I'm thrilled.

Post closet-cleansing we took Ash sledding on the hill in our yard then headed into town to soak up the first warm'ish day in a long time karma. The vibe on the sidewalks was smiles, all smiles. We ate dinner at a local restaurant/billiard hall and then headed home for a jam session. Tonight's playlist included noneother than Old McDonald Had A Farm, Ba Ba Black Sheep, and then we topped the night off with a slamming rendition of Buffalo Soldier, because really what would a night be without a little Bob Marley?

It's amazing how much joy just a touch of spring can bring to a February day.

February 6, 2009

Then And Now

Eight months ago today our in-country rep presented us with Ashton's Ethiopian passport, birth certificate, and official adoption decree listing us as his parents and authorizing him to return to the US with us. It feels like ages ago and yesterday all at the same time. I've been working on portfolio that documents pictures of Ash at each month as well as his "firsts", and looking back at the pictures I'm amazed at how much he's changed and how much has happened in 8 short months.

Ashton then, first view (11 months), updated photo (12 months) and with us (13 months)

And now (21 months)

Ashton Then, his first looks at mommy and daddy (13 months)

And now, with mommy (20 months) and daddy (19 months)

Then, his first bath (13 months), and bath time now (17 months and 21 months)

His first swim (13 months) and first sled (19 months), and if dad gets his way there will be a picture of his first time skiing tomorrow! (Yes, I checked, they do make ski equipment for 25 lb not quite 2 year olds...)

And perhaps most importantly, Ash's first shoes (13 months), my shoes (17 months) and dad's shoes (19 months)

And these are just a sampling, a very small taste of the volume of pictures I have in Ashton's portfolio of "Months and Firsts" that I'll eventually put together in print form to document our first year together. That's going to be one heavy book of photos.

(PS, If you don't mind me making one small suggestion that could save you hours of time later, create a folder on your desktop/hard drive titled "Months and Firsts". Then, each time you snap a pic of a first or get a cute shot near or on your child's monthly birthday just title and store them in this folder for future use. I title mine beginning with his age in months so that they display chronologically, then add an event or other identifier after to help recall the moment. For example, 13Months_FirstSwim. Just an idea that may have spawned from personal experience of wading through thousands of photos just to find one for each month and a handful of firsts...)

February 5, 2009

East Village Kitchen

Remember the dinner parties mentioned in my posts about our NYC weekend last week? Well, one of them was hosted by none other than the famous East Village Kitchen blogger, chef, and future pastry shop owner Lauren. Who knew way back in 2005 when we both went from South Bronx middle school classrooms to air conditioned 16th floor Wall Street that we would find ourselves steadfast foodie friends 5 years later. Go check out the deliciousness that is her latest concoction, then head on over to the East Village and invite yourself to one of her tapas parties for some seriously mouth watering goodness. I for one am protesting actually attempting any of her recipes and instead have opted to just invite myself over a few times a week to try them fresh from the master herself! Great, now I'm hungry...

Cheese Face

This is Ash's "cheese face". Dad hates it (kind of goes against his whole "I'm a photographer who doesn't need to tell people to say cheese" gig) but I love it. Why? Because daycare has trained him to the point where he, a 20 month old, will turn and smile anytime anyone says cheese. Hence the recent barrage of photos of Ash "smiling". Truth be told he was just donning his daycare cheese face, but as his mom I'm taking this as his announcement to the world that, just like mom and dad, he loves life and is ready to SAY CHEESE! in as many locations as possible.

Ash is 21 months old today which means I only have 3 more months before the answer to the question "how old is he?" goes from "X months" to "X years". Yikes. Happy 21 month birthday baby!

February 2, 2009

Over A Hump

Daycare might wonder why there's a picture of a woof woof and a meow at the bottom of this week's check...

Two major events occurred simultaneously this morning that brought such huge smiles to our faces I almost hesitate to post them for fear of jinxing the situation. I'll be sure to knock on lots of wood after this one.

*Last night Ashton slept from 8:00PM to 7:06AM with zero wake ups in between. Last week his schedule was more along the lines of 7:45PM - 5:10AM so I'm totally digging the new schedule. PLEASE let this one last for a little while!
*While a 7:06AM wake up call is pretty cool in itself, the fact that IT WAS LIGHT OUTSIDE made this morning the best freaking morning of 2009 so far.

We seem to be over a hump. Bye bye 5AM it's dark out side wake ups, hello 7AM wake up to the shining sun smiles all around morning happiness.

February 1, 2009

Can't Help But Wonder

This weekend was wonderful. We were back in Brooklyn, back with friends, back into old habits, and just overall back into a groove we hadn't felt in a while. Granted we've spent time in the city since bringing Ash home, but until recently those times were few and far between. And, don't get me wrong, it's nice to be back "home" now, back to the country and calm and SPACE, but we do love our city - we just love our village too.

That said, I've been on a wondering streak lately. Questioning more than usual, playing the "but what if..." game in my head, and just generally being more curious about things that I must not have had time to be curious about before. (Heh) So, in honor of the fact that so many of my fellow bloggers out there have posted AT LEAST once in the last 2 weeks about being a "bad blogger because of FB", and in honor of that really annoying fabulously informative "25 things" tag going around on FB, I've decided to go rogue and post 25 of my recent curiosities on my blog and just blatently ignore all of the FB "25 things" tags. Long live Blogger. Please don't hate me.

I can't help but wonder...

1) What did Ashton feel like when he was 5 weeks old?
2) How different would our lives be had we moved to LA? (I was set to attend Law School at UCLA and Mike had a photo job offer in LA both as we were getting ready to graduation college. At the last minute we changed our plans and went to NY instead.)
3) What is the homeless man who lived on the church steps across from our first Manhattan apartment up to these days?
4) What if carbs WEREN'T the devil?
5) If Ashton slams his fingers in the door and I comfort him back to happiness, but then he goes and slams his fingers in the exact same door the exact same way, can I laugh?
6) Is it wrong that I smile when my son's eyes start to water because he just ate a spoonful of hot sauce - and liked it?
7) Why wasn't everything made spicy by default?
8) What would the world be like if we all truly and with no judgment considered each other brother and sister.
9) How can so much legislation be passed in the name of God and the "Family Institution" when it has such devastating consequences for those who love each other the most.
10) Why does anyone ever feel justified to judge the love between others?
11) What did Ashton's birth father look like?
12) If you were given a chance to walk a mile in someone's shoes, who's shoes would you chose?
13) I should answer #12 with "Ashton's birthmom" but I have a feeling I wouldn't. Why?
14) If a woman were President would I be feeling or doing anytyhing differently?
15) Does the fact that the answer to #14 is likely "No" mean that I'm missing something?
16) How can I change so that I don't miss anything?
17) My cat smells really good most of the time, but on Sunday nights he usually stinks. Is this a normal part of cat hygene?
18) What if I actually joined a rock band or opened the wine bar or ran a youth hostel?
19) I really just want to buy a building in the city and open/run a youth hostel. Will it ever happen?
20) Imagine how much I wouldn't learn if I didn't meet the travelers who would've passed through my youth hostel but couldn't because I never built it. Is that reason enough to run with a crazy dream?
21) Does Wondemu miss mom?
22) When Ashton is memorized by other African Americans on the NYC Subway, does he already get race or is he just flirting?
23) What if truffle cheese was readily available to everyone? Global happiness or pig revolt?
24) Why would anyone ever want to make a truffel chocolate cake? Mushrooms and chocolate, seriously?
25) If God is truly in control then why, why why why why why, would he not have installed a "don't wake up before 7AM" chip in every child prior to birth? Just think of the happiness this would bring to the world.

I tag all of my fellow bloggers, what can't you help but wonder?