Monthly Archives: August 2009

Racing for Children Who Are Running Out of Time

Well, it involves more than I can do in one day, but here’s the scoop….Judy and Peg are doing an Ironman Triathalon in WI and I’m part of their support team as they work at winning one unique component of the race – the Janus Charity Challenge. Athletes can fund raise for their favorite charity and win additional funds for that charity thru the Ironman Janus Charity Challenge. This is a really great event, and WE’RE RAISING FUNDS FOR DOCTOR’S WITHOUT BORDERS!

Here’s the cool part, you can read all you want to know about the amazing therapeutic food Doctor’s Without Borders distributes in THIS local article. Yep, I’m quoted a whole heckuva lot.
I’m hoping the NYTimes picks this up 🙂 It’s long, so grab a cup of coffee and learn about Plumpy’Nut. You’ll get the message about why our team thinks feeding stations in famine stricken locations need as much Plumpy’Nut as they can get. I promise, you’ll learn a lot.

If you’re inspired, and I know you will be, donate at this site and help us win award dollars to feed hungry children!

Need some more convincing? EVERYONE who donates will receive a $25 gift certificate from our friend Jeff, at Jeff puts his money where his heart is, and he’s doing this because he believes in ‘pay it forward.’ You don’t have to do anything – he’ll send you the gift certificate just because you donated. Yeah, so donate that Friday night pizza, your week of coffee at your favorite coffee shop, or the little bit of overtime you’ve gotten this week. $40 saves a child’s life. It’s up to you.

If you need another news source, a global news source, to move you to action, read THIS article in the August 3oth “Independent”. The need is now, and the need is critical.

Daughter #2 Has Left The Nest

My dear friend mentioned, “roots and wings, roots and wings… mom always said our job is to give them roots and wings, and the wings are the hardest part.” True.

Twinkletoes left our home today, soaring. Yeah, this amazing daughter has been acting like she’s ready to leave since she was about 4 years old – and today she got to make good on her long time readiness to be on her own. Twinkletoes left for college. She packed herself up, picked up her bro (Waffles) and his friend (SoccerQueen), and they moved her into the Big 10. As she prepared to leave, the ‘moment’ hit me. I cried the ugly cry. Sweet Twinkletoes paused and hugged me one more time. I’m so humbled by her intellect, her drive, her discipline. She’s the kid who traveled with me in Ireland, notebook in hand, recording every stop, every picture, every sunset. When I asked “who wants to….” she offered an immediate “yes!” She’s the girl who sat with her grandma who in her last days couldn’t speak, and gently and tenderly showed her images from a photo album, pausing only to let her sweet grandmother take it in with her only working part; her eyes. She’s the one who sat on the couch her entire first year of preschool and then traveled to Ecuador alone in high school to visit a friend she was meeting for the first time. She’s the girl who bucket bathed in Nicaragua for 8 weeks, with nary a complaint. She’s the girl who wrote an 86 page story when she was 9. She’s the girl who ballroom dances with beauty and grace. She’s the girl who makes me so proud to hear the word “mommy” addressed to me….and she’s now in residence at college. You can see in these pictures, I’m not the only one who is going to miss her. We love you Twinkletoes!

Wordless Wednesday

Kids in College & Back to Work

It’s time to ante up and pay tuition for the kids. It’s tough to have 2 in college – I’m basically going back to work part time in order to work for college tuition. While we’ve saved nicely in Edvest accounts for all of the kids, it’s only enough to cover the first 2 years of college for each. That feels like a luxury, actually – and fairly decent planning. (With divorce, it wasn’t easy to preserve all that the kid’s father and I had initially planned). Here’s the run down:

Songbird is in her junior year of college at a small liberal arts college in WI. Her focus is on anthropology and biology. She’s gotten crazy about osteology – which is so far out of my realm of expertise and interest that it is curious to me.

Twinkletoes starts her freshman year at a big 10 college located just down the street. She’s a great scientist and treats math and physics like it’s ‘old hat.’ I’m excited to see what she discovers as she explores her options (and yes, she’s living on campus!).

Waffles will be in his junior year of high school, I’m happy I’ll have one big kid left in the house!

Of course, Blueberry’s Edvest account has been started in anticipation of doing this all over again in about 18 years. Goodness!

I was on the phone with the college 529 planning folks and the guy said to me, “Well, if your youngest son doesn’t use his college account, you can transfer it easily to a grandchild.” Ummmmmmmmmm WHAT??? And then it hit me, it is quite possible that any of the big kids could have a child when Blueberry is ready for college. That was a low blow, let me tell you. I’m just going to ignore that reality altogether!
The two big girls are out of the house by week’s end. I’m going to miss them so much. And, my year long leave of absence ends this week – I’ll be back at work 40% beginning … tomorrow.

Importantly our precious Blueberry is going to have to adjust to absences and some changes. I expect some regression (most likely in his sleeping, which is the place such adjustments usually express themselves). We’ll double-up the bonding and attachment work so that he feels the loss a little less. I think he’s ready to spend 2-3 afternoons a week with our dear friend who is mom to two brown boys with whom he plays at a weekly play group. We’ve done some test drives this summer and he did very well. I’m crossing my fingers. It’s a lot of change for all of us. Mr. Silly Pants and I are going to have to reach into our reserves and our bag of best cooperation to make this transition work well for our family.
Can you say “Lots of Healthy Carryout Dinners?”

Running – body and spirit

One month ago I started running after a 5 year hiatus. I used to run 3 miles each day. It was a mental health practice. But then mom was diagnosed with renal cancer. The importance of caring for her interrupted many of my own self care rituals. I never ever regret my myopic focus on mom for the 6 months of her illness prior to her death. It wasn’t that I gave up being active after she died. After all, I played tennis nearly every day last summer. But, the body work remained elusive and I have felt lots of energy, strength, flexibility, and stamina slipping away.

To be honest, 4 years later has turned into 40 lbs. and some really deep frustration. I think there are a lot of 40 something women out there who get this dilemma. I suspect I’m in good company.

I learned from Tami about a run in Chicago on October 3rd. I’m a daily reader of Tami, and I admire her. I consider her one of my allies in my effort to be a good mama to my brown boy. But this time, her effort to move her body inspired me to join her (I even got a shout out on her blog which made me blush!).

So, I started running during our time on the Olympic Pennisula. I started with itty bitty intervals. Friends, I’m talking run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes for 5 intervals. I’m now running 23 minutes non-stop with a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute warm down. I’m on my way to being ready for the 5K in Chicago. I’m proceeding carefully with extra attention given to my plantar fasciitis ridden feet. (Icing them as I type, actually).

I’ll be running for a cause: Run for Congo Women. The Women for Women International program teach women the skills needed to start a business to help her end the cycle of poverty and suffering.I’ll be using my physical body and my social justice spirit to create a change both within and without. You can read about why I chose this Tami-inspired event at the link. And if you’re wondering, Blueberry will be “running” in his stroller with Mr. Silly Pants.
Here is my donation page – I hope to raise enough funds to sponsor one woman for one year (about $400). Please consider this as one of your “good deeds” this week, and thank you for your support – the moral support means everything to me. Whew this was a tough story to share. I’m embarrassed and I’m vain.
*first photo is one I took from a bus in Hosanna Ethiopia with and adorable running boy who had oodles of energy and the second is from one of my very first runs while in WA state*

Discussions and Deliberations:The Politics of Hunger

I’m an active member of an adoptive families forum connected to the agency through whom we adopted (CHSFS). The forum is quite open in that the agency doesn’t manage/edit/shut down discussions . A few weeks ago there was a good discussion about about the reality that for SOME families just a little bit of help is the difference between choosing to remain an intact family and making the choice to relinquish a child to the care of an orphanage.

What was compelling about the discussion was the suggestion that we were literally talking about $5. In some situations, could $5 be the difference between a child staying with their family and being relinquished? The discussion was potent; the idea that a very minimal amount of resources, by our standards, were all that were necessary to keep families intact certainly deserves our continued discussion and attention. And, having that discussion makes me reflect deeply and purposefully on the politics of international adoption, the politics of food, the dilemma of NGO’s, among other things.

One piece of the discussion that bothered me was the proposal that EVEN if folks could put $5 in the global kitty, so to speak, what would be the venue? By the way, it wasn’t the person who said it who bothered me, it was the “lens” of the comment. I don’t like futility.

Here is my thought: the venue is before us, right here.

The work of MSF represents that difference, that resource. In this case, the burden of feeding a malnourished child is relieved by the feeding stations MSF has established in Ethiopia. The reality is that a mother/father who receives help most certainly will have a better chance of moving through the food crisis and keep her family together.

Here is my haunting thought: what if Blueberry’s mom needed that $5 to make it possible for her to imagine NOT giving him up for adoption? What if access to food had helped HER keep her son, my son, our son? It is a thought that hurts every day – and haunts every day. I don’t need to know the answer to this “what if” question. I just need to make another mother or father’s dilemma less permanent, less life long, less haunting. I need to keep asking. I’ll keep offering, what readers do with this offer is up to them.

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’m working at making connections between those things we all hold important and something here and right now that we can do. For $40 a 6 week supply of Plumpy’Nut can be provided to a family for a child. That supply can be used at home – with the child in the care of the family – and a child can literally be rescued from the grip of serious malnutrition.

I need your help to make the Ironman Charity Challenge work for the children of Ethiopia. Thank you for your help and generosity.

Whose Toes Are Those?