Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You are staying in a bordello, like it or not!

We leave in just a few days for the Pacific Northwest. Spending a few days in Seattle with Michelle, Casey and kids... Touring the Pacific Science Center... Enjoying Ethiopian food... Ordering a cake from the famous Borraccini's Italian Bakery... Staying in a historic sea-side bordello... Taking in a Bluegrass concert... Gaping at the views from amazing Hurricane Ridge... Relaxing beside the lake in the Olympic Peninsula... Hiking various waterfalls... Frolicking in the ocean-spray...

"What?!? A bordello? You have got to be kidding me!?! In all of the reading I've done about bordellos, they are filled with ghosts. It is not safe! I WILL NOT stay there!! I can't believe you'd have us stay at a bordello!!! This is ridiculous!" These were the words of our oldest, Jake.

Some thoughts Jake's mom has about his outburst: When did the ghost phobia start? What horror movies have you been watching on the sly? When have you found the time to peruse readings about bordellos? Did you skim over the historical significance? Did you miss the part where bordellos were often a rare moment in our country's past where women had some measure of independence and control over their own finances? Wouldn't it be just a little bit fun to tell your 16-year-old peers that you stayed in a bordello this summer? And again, afraid of ghosts???

Sorry kiddo. We've already paid. You are staying in a bordello, like it or not.

Did I really have to say that out loud? Is this a bad episode of Twilight Zone?

Can you picture Clark, a trembling-Jake, and I snuggling up together during our bordello-stay? That is what it will look like friends...

Oh brother... Washington, here we come!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sparkling Moment

Simon and Sylvie-Aganoti have had the toughest time adjusting to "Who is the baby in this house?". Simon has been pretty good with her; though, definitely needing some extra cuddling and reassurance from us. S-A targets Simon sometimes. I don't know if it is that he is closest to her age (a seven year spread), that he is least likely to play with her, or that they both vie for the role of the youngest. Sometimes she will walk by him and with complete unsolicitation say, in a very snotty voice, "NO Simon!". Sometimes she will go into his room and mess with his things--not playing with them, but knocking them over and mixing them around. If he's on my lap, she wants up...

...on and on and on...

So, yesterday imagine my joy and surprise when I spied them on the deck giggling and playing together. Simon was writing words in Sylvie's blocks, reading them to her, then laughing when she stirred them up. I took my camera out to capture the moment when I found this....

"I love you Mom", ahhhh, my heart melted.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The boys are coming along. We have been working on eating and sleeping issues. Smaller meals, more frequently and a solid bedtime routine (with music and a good book). It seems to be helping, as is the passage of time. The boys are doing much, much better.

Last week kept us busy. I co-directed Camp Invention and all boys participated (Jake as a teacher's assistant, Liam a volunteer, and Simon a participant). Much fun was had!
A few snaps of last week...

On the potty. Again!
The skirt we love so, so much.
Planting our Ginkgo trees. Patting down the soil. S-A LOVES to help!!! Heading in for a much-deserved break.
Tandum diaper change (Go Daddy's Go!!!).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sweet Singing

Sylvie-Aganoti sings us a beautiful "I Love You" song, inserting different family member names... There is nothing nicer than hearing our sweet, singing girl!

Sorry for the neck cramp; I am having trouble turning this clip the right direction.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two of our boys were witness to the accidental death of an 8-year-old girl on the 4th of July. She was electrocuted. Our kids were right there while it happened and while paramedics were unable to resuscitate her.

They are sad, confused and grieving for this little girl and her family.

One of my boys asked me if I would help him write a will because he's afraid he could die at any time. He is right, any of us could die at anytime. Though, usually kids do not spend time mulling that possibility over.

I've been having trouble staying asleep. I wake up to a pounding heart, grinding my teeth. It could have been my boys and the thought terrifies me.

We go to a trauma counselor tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Today is the day I married my best friend. I love to think back on that evening. My favorite pictures of the day we became a family...

The Ceremony
The Music
The Friends
The Family
The Cake
The Begining

Monday, July 6, 2009

Can One Like Purple Too Much?

I can not express the extent to which Sylvie-Aganoti enjoys the color purple. If given a choice, she hand's-down picks purple. She loves it!

This morning after waking up in her purple bedroom...

she opts for this yogurt...

and chooses to wear this shirt.

After running a couple of errands, I head to the director's house of the summer camp I am involved in to pick up my syllabus, where she plucks....

...this purple beauty right out of the flower box!


Yes, one can like purple too much...

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Here are some pictures of Danny and Sylvie-Aganoti enjoying themselves (and each other!).

"En da poo goin wimmin," as S-A likes to put it!

We have a toy scorpion that Sylvie plays with in the pool. When it floated near Danny, he screamed, "Ouch, ouch!", and jumped out of the pool. He was very cautious when he got back in and kept checking the grass far, far away where the scorpion was newly located.
This is an honest-to-goodness pout face! Can you believe that lip???
Lunchtime! They had left-over pizza and strawberries. Danny ate both of their pizza slices and Sylvie-Aganoti ate both of their fruit. Perfect! S-A insisted on sitting in Danny's chair with him; he kindly obliged.

You are about to see some lunchtime etiquette from toddlers. Beware: these pictures are not for those with a weak stomach...

Lastly, a wagon ride. Thanks for your efforts Danny, playing with this girl is hard work!

What a fun day. Thanks for coming over Danny!

Friday, July 3, 2009


I am spending a lot of time the last couple of days worrying about Linsey, Danny and Abdisa's mom, both adopted from the same orphanage as Sylvie-Aganoti. Linsey also has two daughters, Taylor and Kailey, and husband, Rick. I've known Linsey for several years and she is a wonderful person, so kind-hearted and such an integral piece of her family and community.

Linsey has been very sick for almost two months, with no answers to her symptoms. She, Rick and Abdisa flew to Mayo Clinic in Arizona on Monday to further look into her situation. I am concerned about her and my thoughts are preoccupied with her well-being.

I picked Danny up for a play-date yesterday. He and S-A had fun splashing around in our kiddie pool, eating lunch and going for wagon rides. He seems be holding up pretty well; though, definitely misses his Mommy.

My thoughts and prayers are channeled to Linsey and family. I am hoping they get good news soon! She updates her blogsite, if you are interested in following her progress, supporting her, knowing her...

These are pictures Linsey got of Sylvie-Aganoti when she went to Ethiopia to bring Abdisa home. Linsey brought S-A this bear all the way from us in Montana! These pictures, as well as Linsey's recounts of Sylvie's personality and health, are what got us through our wait during the rainy season.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Six-Month Homestudy

Yesterday was our 6-month homestudy. We look forward to these visits with our adoption social worker, Betsy, who is fabulous! Reflecting on the last six months, it is hard to believe a half-year has passed since Sylvie-Aganoti has come home from Ethiopia. We are so lucky to parent her!

In the last six months S-A has gained 13 pounds (doubling her weight exactly), grown 5 inches, learned a new language, adjusted to our family, overcome her fear of dogs, tried dozens of new foods, crawled, stood up, walked, run, danced, jumped and climbed, she has learned to sing, color and kick a soccer ball. She loves to ride in her wagon, water the flowers, point out airplanes, have pancakes at Grandma and Grandpa's, read books, play with her dollhouse, wear her Daddy's shoes, push dump trucks around on our deck, take pictures with the camera, wave at Poppa Doug in the morning, eat whipped cream, go for rides in the car, brush her teeth, nap in Daddy and Momma's bed and play with her brothers. Sylvie-Aganoti brings us all so much joy. We are endlessly thankful to her birth-parents, Hope Adoption Agency and the Ethiopian officials who entrusted her care to our family.

Here are some of the pictures enclosed in her Six-month Homestudy Review...