January 31, 2009


The rules are officially changing. A little background...

We've lived in NYC since we got married in Bozeman, MT in 2001 and immediately situated ourselves in a 400 square foot apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. After moves to Harlem (Sugar Hill Manhattan), Williamsburg (Hipsterville Brooklyn), and eventually Fort Greene (New Hipsterville Brooklyn with a very present Old Brooklyn soul) we decided it was time to expand the family, and along with that came the purchase of our house in Upstate NY. We were fortunate enough to enter into an apartment share situation in Brooklyn so that we could continue our city lives while moving our primary address (and most of our time) to the country. Pre-Ashton we were spending one or two nights a week in the city. Post-Ashton it's been more like one or two nights a month, which prompted a recent revolt on behalf of all three of us that it's time to be more Brooklyn again. Even Ash recognized it. So, for the last couple months we've made a concerted effort to wave goodbye to the country horses and say hello to the city rats for at least one long weekend a month, and it's made a world of difference to us all.

Back to the changing of rules...

*We used to spend time in the city on weekdays, but since Ashton's daycare is fulltime upstate (and we're not willing or able to double up on costs and find daycare in the city) it looks like weekends and holidays are our only option for now. Which is actually kind of nice, because our friends are much more available during weekend hours.
*At "home" Ashton isn't allowed to stand, jump off of, dance on, or flail himself onto anything higher than a foot off of the ground. Based on the pictures above, taken in Brooklyn, that rule obviously goes out the window when we're in the apartment. We cranked up the volume on Bob Marley, pushed the table up against the couch, and watched as he grooved to the tunes and occasionally careened himself off of the table onto the couch. It was way too cute to say no to, so it's now allowed.
*Upstate we're scheduled, in the city...not so much. Today Ash fell asleep on my shoulder in the middle of the Union Square Whole Foods and not even the subway musicians while waiting for the L train could wake him up. It was about an hour before his usual nap and lasted about an hour and a half less. And he's been awake till 8:30/9:00 at night instead of his usual prompt 7:30 bedtime. And he's handling it just fine. Rock star.
*We've either been to or hosted dinners with friends every night we've stayed in Brooklyn. Upstate the only way that would happen is if the horses and the goat came by for a snack. We thoguht it would be so much easier to meet other families with children in the country than in the city, but the exact oposite has proven to be true. The reasons for this validate their own post, one day.

So as much as the gist of our life hasn't necessarily changed, life has certainly revealed plenty of new things to ponder and eventually act on. That said, the gist of our life together has always rested on the fact that we're at our best when we're open to changing things up every now and then, so I guess life really hasn't changed - the rules have just gotten more flexible.

January 29, 2009

Fashionably Fashionable, Kind Of

Orange hat, red coat, sunglasses indoors, pajama bottoms, and reindeer slippers with stickers on top. I'm pretty sure I saw Will Smith sport this exact look in US Weekly last week...

January 27, 2009

Hey There Big Kid!

Ashton has a singing potty that he's been exploring since mid-December, and whenever he sits on it the potty welcomes him back with the song Hey There Big Kid Doing Great! He's actually used it for it's intended purpose several times and his requests to "go potty, pee pee please" are definitely increasing in frequency. He'll start pulling at his clothes and get this very serious look on his face, almost a pout, and say "potty, pee pee please". I'm not holding my breath for a fully trained potty using machine anytime soon, but it's exciting that he gets what it's for and has an interest in using it. Ten years from now he's going to look back at this post with nothing but loving eyes for his mommy for documenting such a monumental step! Right...

January 25, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Dance Party

These are the kinds of pictures you get when your 20 month old decides it's time for a Sunday afternoon dance party. We cranked the volume on some reggae and jammed for almost an hour.

Ash's vocabulary is exploding. He figured out how to use the scooter we gave him for Christmas (one leg on the base, one leg on the ground to push). His mind seems to be content with always being on overdrive and I swear we had a riveting conversation about rigatoni noodles vs bowtie pasta in the car on the way home from the gym today. Tomorrow he's going to teach me his newest spinning dance move and I'm pretty sure he'll be making our morning coffee by Tuesday. He's mentioned wanting to run for local office sometime soon to round out his schedule (he's not satisfied with the swing to slide ratio at the playground), and as you've probably figured out I'm currently in a freaking out stage over how quickly he's growing up.

January 23, 2009

Quack Quack Shoes

Ashton really wanted to wear his "quack quack" shoes to school today and was devastated when we made him put on his sneakers. I'm sure his teachers wouldn't have minded (and probably would've had a good laugh over it) but my fear of what other parents would think kicked in and overruled. In general I couldn't really care less what other people think but apparently when it comes to raising my child I could. When does being a parent begin including enough confidence to sluff off other parent's criticisms? I'm not talking constructive criticism, that I can definitely take (and encourage). I'm talking about the looks that send your mind sailing into thoughts of questioning your methods even when you know that what you're doing is part of your well thought out parenting plan, or at least you think it is. But that's what I'm talking about - the moments when you should have enough confidence to say to yourself, "fine for them, but not for us" but for some reason don't yet have enough confidence to be able to pull off that simple sentence. I should have let him wear his quack quack shoes to school today. Bad mommy.

That settles it. Tonight we're going out for dinner and Ash will wear his quack quack shoes. And maybe I'll wear my leopard print slippers. TGIF!

January 22, 2009


This time last year we booked a last minute getaway to Mexico City. This time two years ago we jetted off to the Dominican Republic for a long weekend. Both were during winter, both to warm places, and both very very needed. January and February used to be two of my favorite months when we lived in SW Montana, but in NY they're just two really cold really long months when the sun rises all together too early in the morning and sets way before it should in the evening. In years past it hasn't taken much to lift our spirits and carry us till Spring, just a few days someplace warm and sunny where every drink comes paired with a little purple umbrella. Ash is really going to love the warm, the sun, the pool, the ocean, and I'm pretty sure even the umbrella! Just one problem this year...we're one passport short, but thankfully not for long.

We're just waiting for the NY Courts to assign us our court date to finalize Ash's adoption and then we'll have the piece of paper (we'll actually walk out of Court with it in hand) that we need to apply for his passport, and since all of the County offices are all in one building we're planning on taking that piece of paper and walking it next door to arrange for an expedited passport. If all goes well we'll have his passport within 72 hours of the court date, and if all goes really well we'll be on a plane to some form of paradise within days later. And you thought the waiting and the counting down stopped when you return home from Ethiopia... Though I must say that this wait and this countdown rocks all of those prior.

January 20, 2009


I'm much better at reflecting than anticipating. Even with my uncontrollable urge to over analyze, over think, and over prepare, my reflections still continue to teach me more than any of my anticipations ever have. So, there was just no way I could have put my thoughts on paper about today's events before they actually happened in a way that would accurately represent how I felt. I had to wait until they were over to allow the chills that ran through my body, the fresh breath that sighed through my lungs, and the quick step that invaded my feet before my mind was ready to embrace how truly iconic today was.

I, a woman, have renewed confidence in America. I, a mom to an African American son, have renewed confidence in America. I, a believer that diversity and unity are a solution, have renewed confidence in America. As President Obama says, "It's not about me, it's about you." And I, for one, am ready for today. Ready for tomorrow. And ready to be the change we wish to see in the world and not be silent about the things that matter. I've never felt so inspired.

As we sat in a local restaurant and watched the first African American take the oath of office as President of the United States of America, I cried. I don't cry at funerals. I don't cry in hospitals. I don't cry over spilled milk. But apparently even my tear ducts aren't immune when it comes to events that change the course of the world. This is big, and this is good.


January 19, 2009

Standing On Giants' Shoulders

"So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others - all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face - war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts."
~Barack Obama, MLK Day 2008

(Image created here)

January 18, 2009


The folks over at Franklyn D. Resort in Jamaica appear to have figured it out. When mom, dad, and child check-in to their all-inclusive 1, 2, or 3 bedroom suite they're also introduced to their "vacation nanny" who's services are included with your stay. For example, he/she will build sand castles with the tot while you read a trashy mystery novel poolside with your umbrella drink. And if you require his/her services in the evening the rate is just $4/hour. Where do I sign?

One of their current promotions that I don't get, however, is the BYOG deal. Bring Your Own Grandparent. Granted, according to this deal you can bring one grandparent (for free) for every paying adult and receive a free room upgrade to accommodate said grandparent, but tell me this: If grandma is already joining us on vacation, then why would we pay extra to stay at a resort that includes a vacation nanny? They must not have met Ash's grandmas.

So, for those folks out there teetering on the edge of the its-been-way-too-cold-for-way-too-long ledge and are searching for some relief, I recommend Jamaica, a vacation nanny, and if you can swing it... BYOG!

January 16, 2009

A Night Out

Last night Cloverlandfarm mommy-and-daddy-to-be took over the race car, book, horsie, and bedtime duties so that mom, dad, and grandma could have a night out in the city. Let's just say that I think Ash had an even better time than we did because he hardly even noticed when we left. He was way too engrossed with his new friends to care about the wherabouts of mom :) Thanks guys, you're going to be amazing parents!

So off we went, a quick Q train ride to Union Square where we enjoyed a celebratory toast at Flute (note to self, the Montaudon Champagne Grande Rose Brut is delicious) and then headed next door to our reservations at the Gramercy Tavern. A zillion courses later that included black tagliatelle, scallops, lobster, pork belly, seabass, cod, three different goat cheeses, tapioca, pumpkin upsidedown cake, chocolates, a levender infused gin cocktail and a sensational Nebbiolo we waddled our way into a cab and somehow managed to climb the stairs and join the babe in dreamland. It was a night well done. Very well done. And to top it all off, guess who slept until 7:10 this morning? YEAH! My son rocks, and having grandma in town and good friends to play with the babe while we go out and play does too.

Happy Weekend!

January 12, 2009

Bedtime Stories

I really wish I would've had my camera during bath and bedtime tonight because the description of the scene detailed below would definitely benefit from some well taken advantage of photo opps. Oh well, next time I'll remember to duct tape my camera to my forehead.

Tonight was bath night, and it's hair washing night which means he gets to endure several LONG minutes of me picking his hair to get all of the snarls out (and anything else that crept its way in during the week). He's actually gotten really good at this and just plays with his boats and fishies while mommy untangles the beautiful curls that I refuse to cut. I finished yanking on his curls just about the moment he decided it was "nigh nigh" time for his fishes. Perfect, we dried off, oiled up, zipped up the PJ's, and it was off to bed (nigh nigh).

Usually we read several stories, lay him down for the night and it's off to dreamland till morning. And let's just make one thing clear right now - it's definitely HIS definition of morning. As far as I'm concerned his leap from dreamland to good morning sunshine occurs more at the hour of YOU SHOULD STILL BE SLEEPING! But that's just my opinion. So anyhow, back to bedtime. He usually acts like a gorilla first (pounding his chest and saying ooh ooh ooh) which means that he wants me to read Goodnight Gorilla. Only tonight, he wanted to read it to me. He took the book, flipped from page to page while "reading" the story, and then it was off to the next book. Finally I put him in his crib, where for the last few nights we've left his favorite book - one about apple picking in the Fall - because he seemed to like looking at it while dozing off. Only tonight he actually laid down on his tummy and opened the book and the read it, out lout, to himself. When he was finished (I could see/hear on the baby monitor) he said...

"Nigh nigh apples. Nigh nigh mommy daddy."

Then he fell asleep.

January 10, 2009

Weekends, The Cure All

Apparently all it takes is a weekend to completely forget about how absorbed with work and unabsorbed with sleep we've been lately. Waking up together on a Saturday morning just makes everything all better. Not that anything was bad, not at all actually. Life is pretty good on all counts. But there's just something about leaving a work week behind and jumping in to a weekend of snow, snow, and more snow that leaves one of those ridiculously huge permanent smiles on your face. Some things never change: 1) We LOVE snow 2) We LOVE weekends 3) EVERYTHING is better with Ash around, even the two hours on Saturday afternoon when he's sound asleep napping in his crib :)

Ash woke up from his nap to more snow falling outside and can't wait to go sledding!

Can we go NOW???

Come sit by me and let me charm you in to taking me sledding...

OK, that didn't go according to plan. How am I going to make this man take me sledding?

The direct approach - I want YOU to take me sledding!

January 9, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard

I think I may have unleashed the cause of my uninspired-to-blog mentality as of late. When we first became 3 we were so exhausted that I felt almost compelled to post just to make it seem as though I was still walking among the living (those of you who spent months instead of just weeks in this phase, bless you) so I would post regardless of the hour. After a while we came to terms with the fact that, for sanity's sake, 2AM laptop sessions should probably come to an end and we needed to begin maintaining a somewhat "normal" sleep schedule that was more on par with our tot's. For the most part this meant that in order to get 8 hours of sleep we would need to be snoozing by 10PM. Something I wouldn't have thought possible but we eventually figured it out and made it work. For about a week...

We're now finding ourselves back into bad habits that are not limited to just sleep. We're working more, staying up later, being more active (not a bad thing, but in the scheme of things isn't exactly helping), and overall for the past month or so have felt more like zombies than a care free family enjoying the holiday and winter season. But then when I give it a bit more thought, maybe it's not zombies that we feel like but something more along the lines of what we were used to pre-child. Maybe its actually just NOW that we're starting to normalize and bring our lives as a family of 3 into a sustainable routine - one that resembles much more "us" and much less what the world thinks that "us + 1" should look like?

In any case, old habits certainly do die hard and the fact remains that we need to start hitting the sheets before midnight, or maybe 12:30, but most certainly before 1:00AM. Certainly. Or, I would just need to find the job and social environment that would support a new status quo, as well as somehow hypnotize my child into sleeping past 6:15AM. For the first time in my life actually changing a habbit might be the easy route. If I get 5 hours of sleep a night that leaves me with 19 hours to get things done, which if I completed in 18.5 would leave me with a half hour to...go insane. Apparently I need to learn to function on less sleep. Suggestions?

When all you want is a decent picture of you and your son smiling...

Explaining to mommy whats up

Nothing's better than a good book

January 6, 2009

Melkam Gena!

Merry Christmas! Ethiopia celebrates Christmas on January 7th each year and 2009 marks our first Ethiopian Christmas celebration as a family of 3. We plan on on preparing lots of wat, singing and dancing to our CD's of Ethiopian music, and showing Ashton various videos on youtube of his birth country. He LOVES watching videos that other Ethiopian adoptive families post on their blogs and youtube. It's sure to be a day of celebration. Melkam Gena!

Around this time last year we had these documents to celebrate. Life was good.

And this time this year we have this little man to celebrate. Life's a little bit better than good this year.

January 4, 2009


You might be a parent to a 1-2 year old when:

*You're forced out of bed at an unseemly hour before the sun rises, yet somehow can still be found smiling while the early waker sucks down a sippy cup of milk while watching The Wiggles.

*Sunday NFL games go hand in hand with teaching someone in the room new "key" vocabulary such as "TOUCHDOWN", "FLAG, FLAG!" and "CHOO CHOO". (That last one might be for times when the game is running on the slower side and some train set playing time is in order.)

*The calories in your refrigerator are obscenely skewed towards liquids such as whole milk, straight up fruit smoothies, and juice juice juice.

*When others pinch their noses due to an unfortunate scent in the room you react with, "oh that's nothing like what little Bub pushed out of his bottom yesterday" or "yeah, well you should've been around when little Popeye drooled this amazing new yellow out of his bum..."

*Suddenly it's ok to talk about leaking bodily fluids with strangers.

*A random smile makes you cry. Actually, let's change that to pretty much any look that's shot in your general direction from your little one that you're sure is a sign that they know who you are and are willing to put up with you for a little while longer, just in case you're worth hanging on to. And then they do - hang on to you.

There have been many many times over the past 7 months when I've held on and not wanted to let go, but this past weekend he held on to me with the kind of grip that screams I KNOW YOU AND WANT YOU. And we just cuddled for a while, and then a bit longer. I'm the luckiest mofomama on the planet.

January 3, 2009

Who Would've Thought It

I've thought multiple times over the past two weeks, "hey, I should put together a Christmas post or a New Years post or a year in reflection post"... only I never actually acted on any of those thoughts and now it's January 3rd and I may as well be thinking ahead to Valentines Day. I'm absolutely dumbfounded by how quickly the year 2008 came and went, and surprisingly after two weeks away from work celebrating with friends and family I'm not exactly itching to get back to the daily routine. Seriously, this is surprising because I'm always ready to get back to routine. I love vacations, I adored the twelve weeks I had at home with Ashton over the summer, I do enjoy the occasional break from the routine. But, I'm always ready to get back to it, accept for this time.

Ashton is at a stage where he changes so much every day and I've been glued to him for two weeks awaiting whatever amazing action he's going to marvel me with next. I don't want to drop him off at daycare on Monday morning and miss those things, I want to be on the play mat or in the kitchen or at the swimming pool soaking up every single minute of his growth. I'm pretty sure he's more than ready to get back to school and be rid of the crazy woman constantly staring at him all day long though... For his sake and more than likely the sake of my long term sanity I'm going to pull on my big girl pants and rejoin the race bright and early Monday morning, but until then I reserve the right to pout - just a little bit.

So, cheers to a healthy happy new year and constantly learning new things about myself. And cheers to the new Putumayo CD we turned on for bedtime tonight that my son is currently sitting up in his crib and clapping to. Maybe we should stick to lullabies.

New year, new hat.

Happy new year from the cat.