Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bat Boy and his Biggies

Summer time is a good time around here. We have a lot of fun. These days, the fun is really in the hands of Blueberry and his biggies. While Songbird is Ecuador (and she’s doing great, btw!) and we miss her A TON, we are making our own fun here. Case in point, Waffles is a heckuva great big brother. He’s kind, gentle, and fun loving. Tonight I turned around when I heard, “Hey Mommy, look, I have a bat brother!”  I turned around to find Blueberry hanging perfectly still while shouting out, “Mommy, bats hang upside down and only come out at night!” Waffles himself is hangin’ around this summer until he leaves for Colorado State University – Ft. Collins in mid-August. We’re soaking up every precious minute. And, Blueberry believes that Waffles and his posse plus (plus = girls) are his pals.  The thing is, they are. They slow down, play cars, kick soccer balls, walk through the woods, and offer up a few snuggles. Yesterday Creme de Brule was here for most of the day and Blueberry knew just what to do …. she was a great early morning snuggler (Waffles and Creme de Brule  had been to deliver a friend to the airport for an early morning CA nanny send 0ff – they’re like that).  Sesame Street always plays better in a lap, right?

Twinkletoes is here all summer working at a lab. She was awarded a prestigious summer research scholarship. We are so proud of her. She gets on the bus at 7:30 every morning and returns at the dinner hour (how nice that Mom has dinner ready all.summer.long).  But really, she and her sweetie, Clementine, are favored evening playmates.  Twinkletoes is our routine/regular/rhythm where everyone else comes and goes on a more chaotic summer schedule. Blueberry needs her constant and dependable presence. Clementine, working a really intense summer roofing schedule, is typically a evening visitor – just in time for a few pre-bed tickles and rough housing. Clem has been our ‘goto’ helper for as long as Blue has been entrusted to our family, and Blue treats him like a biggie brother. And visa-versa. We love to witness their friendship, even if it means Blue knows who Perry the Platypus is ….. Phinneus and Ferb – really? (Is that how you spell it?)   Mr. Silly Pants and I look to these two biggies to help us squeeze in some evening minutes of tennis, too. We have to work on bits of balance too, and Clem and Twinkletoes sometimes meet that need for us.

We miss our sweet Songbird a ton. She’s in Ecuador – working for Amigos. She writes from Ecuador during her first week: “My week started out with a community visit. Last year as supervisor I traveled every week to the same four communities, this time I got to visit a new community. Because I had no idea where it was I had to ask a few people in the bus terminal which bus to take to get me there – eventually I figured it out and some school-kids on the bus helped me out by telling me the actual bus fare and where to get off the bus. From there it was a 10 minute ride in the back of a pick-up truck with the wind blowing (and rainclouds hovering around that opened up mid-travel) through a series of flower plantations. We arrived at the centro or center of town, which consisted of a small store, a school, and a small medical facility. There I hopped off the truck, paid my 35 cents and started looking for the house I was supposed to visit. I found it eventually (after accidentally wandering into the clinic). Unfortunately the young woman who wanted to apply as a volunteer was not home so I talked a bit with her mom, left the application and a guide for her family and headed back to Latacunga in  a hot sweaty bus playing a strange French film.”  She tells us that during her second week the program supervisors arrived. She showed them around town and then says about her budget keeping skills (which is her job this year) “I am now more informed about what kinds of things we are doing and my responsibilities as budget keeper. My budget balanced out perfectly this week – to the penny (I hope its like that every week!). I also delivered a HUGE deposit to a local hotel reserving rooms and space for AMIGOS training directors, who will visit our project mid-July. I have never carried so much cash on my person and I was quite relived to hand it over to the hotel.”  We seriously cannot WAIT for pictures. 

Blueberry thinks Songbird is at college. He tells me she’s at “Bewoit. In cowege.” It makes sense since this is where she usually is when she isn’t here. One thing I learned is that because he didn’t see her leave the airport (it was a 6 a.m. departure and I didn’t take him), then he doesn’t really believe she’s anywhere other than “Bewoit.”  Imagine if your life was one of two possibilities – home or Beloit. Yeah….scary.

Our summer has started off with damn good fun. I’m posting a picture a day on my facebook page to sort of sum up our days and remind me to stay focused and present. The biggies help this along – they keep me in full swing of family life. I can’t say that I’d wish the loads of dishes and constantly emptied refrigerator on any of you, but I think every 3 year old kiddo should have a bevy of biggies.

I love bat boy and his biggies.


Wordless Wednesday

Flash (ing)

The biggie boy and his posse are fixtures in our home space. I fondly call them the ‘plague of locust’ when they visit. These are good guys. I love ’em for many reasons. Today they get points for mowing our large yard – taking turns – between rain drops, and for playing a few hours of ‘cars’ with little boy Blueberry. These guys know how to have fun. And they are prone to healthy rascally fun. Speaking of rascally fun – today a couple pairs of “Flash” briefs showed up on the living room table after a Target run – a pair of red and a pair of black.  I eyeballed them curiously – but I know Waffles is a BIG Flash fan.

We welcomed the longest day of summer with a fabulous Ethiopian dinner. Waffles sweet foodie friend helped me cook – she was AWESOME to cook with! 



More on that in a later blog post….back to the plague of locust. It was a mere hour after dinner and”the briefs” showed up for a raiding of the cupboards.  A huge bag of blue corn chips, a jar of nutella, a box of graham crackers, a jar of salsa, a gallon bin of fish crackers, popcorn, and I think a box of Annies Bunnies headed down the stairs to accompany a video. I have nothing more to say. Except the cupboards are bare and the boys are nearly ….

Wordless Wednesday

Because 1 just won’t sum it up!

Waffles Graduates

Happy Day. I am so proud of biggest biggie boy. He is a truly good young man; full of laughter and ready with a bright smile, a deep compassion and caring for his community, an ability to stay in his own sense of himself matched with an openness to others. I love this boy with such tenderness and an enduring deep gratitude for the gift of him. It is true that all of my children are my teachers. Waffles way of living reminds me to be generous in friendship, to laugh and be silly (trademark Waffles), and to find the good in the moment.

Waffles is off to CSU-Ft. Collins in the fall. I can’t wait for this next piece of his journey. But oh boy, I’m going to miss this kid something BIG. BIG. BIG. His hugs are the best. Proof is in the pictures…..

Food for thought – the luxury of the well fed

The expression “food for thought” is a privilege of the language of the elite.  If you’re hungry, food is about survival and certainly not a matter of cerebral jumping jacks or playful linguistic exercises.

I’m worried today. The ‘food news’ from the Horn of Africa is ramping up – food insecurity is on the rise. When food is in scarce supply, suffering is an every day experience.

The BBC reported this: “the eastern Horn of Africa “has experienced two consecutive seasons of significantly below-average rainfall, resulting in one of the driest years since 1995”. They added that the crops have failed and local cereal prices remain very high. The food reports from fewsnet are featured on the USAID page and include a map of the areas under serious threat of devastating famine.

I have a pretty good sense that this blog is read by a number of adoptive families who have been entrusted the care of children from the areas in crisis on the map. If your families are like our family, we made some promises to our Horn of Africa beloveds. Those promises were both explicit (you will know our son through annual communications) and implicit (we promise to care for the future of Ethiopia – in word and in deed). Thus,  I’m worried. More worried than usual. Ramped up worried. And, we promised to carry our worry into action.

I received this report from a friend on the ground in the area where my son was born: “There is drought in Southern Ethiopia because the rain was too late this year. [The rain] is started but farming inputs like fertilizers and seeds are so expensive. Most people do not able to farm their lands. Also the price for the foods are tripled because of bad policy of gov. and inflation. The free market policy give right to elites to do what they like. This time there is no sugar and cooking oil in [ southern area village] even for expensive prices. It is difficult time for children and aged people. Some children are in an urgent needs. We do not know what is going [to happen]. ”

This picture was attached to the e-mail to demonstrate concern for conditions in southern Ethiopia- – the skin around the knees is loose and showing signs of malnutrition. I can see it. And I’m scared. For a family I love. For the people I love. For the work of social justice and food security everywhere. I don’t HAVE to know them to care…but in this case the knowing, the heart link, makes me weep. Injustice sucks.

I’ve got an e-mail in at Doctors Without Borders to see who is on the ground and where in Ethiopia. More generally, where around the Horn of Africa, too.

I wanted you to know. All of you. I don’t have a plan of action. Yet.

I’m doing some serious work to recruit a triathlete who will compete in Janus Charity Challenge’s  new venue – the Life Time triathlon.  Janus is  now partnering with the Life Time triathlon series. I’d like to have an athlete for MSF and an athlete for AHOPE for Children compete for the charity purses in the Life Time triathlon events. Do you know any athletes registered for a Life Time triathlon? If so, we could tackle getting some food aid to the people of the Horn of Africa and some support to the vulnerable children and the families who are supported by AHOPE for Children. You can read what seems like a bazillion posts on this blog (search for Doctors Without Borders/ Plumpy’Nut/ and Janus Charity Challenge) to learn more about the history of how to raise money through the Janus Charity Challenge. (Edited to add – we have an athlete for MSF! It’s our 4th annual fundraiser!). Live link here:

It’s not like I don’t have enough on my plate already…. see, right there! Another example of the language of privilege as I think about what to do and how to mix and mesh the concerns of my community right here in my neighborhood and over there, in the neighborhood in which he was born. Today is pressing upon me. Today there is no ‘food for thought’, only ‘food for life.’  Let’s figure it out – let’s do the work. Fill the plate.

Wordless Wednesday