Category Archives: Amigos

Where in the world is Songird?


I’m getting excited..super excited…to join her in Ecuador! And tell me, who in the world wouldn’t miss her smile? Me= one lucky mom.


Songbird sings in Ecuador

Yes indeed, she has gone south again. We sent Songbird off to Ecuador last week. Again. She’s back with Amigos – this time running the program budget in the country. Cool.

We ate Mexican, loved on each other, and cried.

In the words of Mr. Silly Pants, when Songbird goes it’s like saying goodbye to sunshine. Well said.The upside for me is that I’ll  be traveling to Ecuador at summer’s end for time with my biggest biggie daughter.   






Me n’ her. Her n’ me. CAN’T.WAIT

It’s how we roll!

Every once in awhile I get a glimpse of my world from one of those oddball angles and I think, “is this really how it’s going down?” Today was one of those days. We’ve got it goin’ on here – so I’m going to give a little update, framing it all through the events of today.

Songbird is full swing back in her life at college. It’s her senior year. She texted me today and asked me to please copy her first and second page of her passport and scan it to her. She’s applying to work for Amigos again – next summer. So my #1 college kid will graduate with a double major in Anthro and Bio and …. pretty sure she’s gonna make some awesome plans.

Twinkletoes is hard at work her sophomore year. She’s in a pretty intense and prestigious biology program and dancing ballroom in her spare time. Today she called me from campus with an “Obama” report (as in, the line for admission to the gather place was 3 miles long). Later, she e-mailed me an announcement for a super cool job studying the habits of carnivores in Kenya. She commented, “this looks cool, doesn’t it?” My first thought was, “Damn! I want that job.” She knew that, of course.

Waffles is doing his 2 week gig at his Dad’s, but he swung by about 1/2 hour ago because I had texted him that there was a crock pot full of pulled pork (his favorite). He finished his school day, remembered to pick up his ‘brag sheets’ from his counselor (for letters of recommendation for college), and spent about 2 hours volunteering at our local bilingual school – a gig he committed to for the year and inspired by his own Amigos experience. He is in the thick of college apps and a boat load of pretty impressive classes. No soccer this fall, but plenty of other stuff, including being a big brother to both Blueberry and Flower!

Flower got up this morning with a HUGE smile on her face. It was her turn to go with her class to the school forest and enjoy an amazing suite of cool ropes course stuff. It was 40 degrees when she left (this mama made sure she had layers and layers to fit the needs of being super active and also potentially cold and waiting in line!) and about 63 when I picked her up at the end of the day! Oh, but her end of the day ended with her first volleyball practice! WOOT! Back to the school forest – she liked the zip line best. She loved volleyball, too. And, can I just say, Flower is LOVELY. Mr. Sillypants looks at me every single night and says, “she couldn’t be any sweeter.” Agreed.

Blueberry and I spent the day together. We had to get to the grocery store – I have to pack school lunches for Flower!!!  He spent the entire shopping hour running up and down the aisles and putting groceries into the cart. Every ‘grocery toss’ I assigned to him was finished off with his sweet cheer, “SLAM DUNK!” Before we went to the store he discovered a sucker that I think Clementine left on the counter when he breezed through here earlier in the week. I gave it to Blue. Blue asked, “what is this mommy?” I answered, “a sucker.” He looked at me perplexed, “No it isn’t a SOCCER! Tell me mommy, what is it?”  Later, when we entered the grocery, he asked, “Can I smell the flowers?” I asked him if he knew what they were called and then told him, “They’re called Mums.”  He replied, “You silly mommy, those aren’t MOMS!”  Heh. Life with 2.  I think our day had its fair share of playing cars, playing puppy, some painting, and a bit of outside rough and tumble. Oh, and there was a nap fail thrown in there. Bummer. Bedtime was a bit of a mess since he seemed particularly needy. He followed up my offer for a bath, bottle, and bed with “that sounds fun Mommy,” only to insist on being rocked to sleep. Sometimes it just goes that way.

Mr. Sillypants still isn’t home. He’s delivering a baby.

I’ll just add that my own professional life is in a bit of a tailspin as some very difficult and complex contract negotiations have just been made more difficult. Bummer. I slipped in a moment of Union activism today. I also did my typical reading/responding to a number of things. I also left a message with a certain someone at a certain agency about certain things that haven’t been certainly decided yet. ETA: (cuz y’all are commenting about this particular paragraph….which is sweet!) I’m serious about being uncertain – yet the uncertainty won’t rest in my head and heart until I have some clarity on process and program. Yeah, so I called. Otherwise, it feels like nervous unsettled energy. I don’t do well with not knowing things I need to know to settle into a course of action – OR – to desist from a course of action. But seriously, no clarity. I welcome any comments to me (privately – I won’t share) on older child adoption and disrupting birth order – program details too. You’ll know if there is something to know.

Speaking of…DON’T MISS THIS Tim Wise comment on talking about race with our kids! Tim Wise…. Mr. SillyPants and I get to see him give the keynote address at our local Racial Justice Summit. Yep, we’ll be there for the summit. I’ll be talkin’ it up, for sure.

That’s how we roll….

Sunday Snapshot (from Aguacatal)

Aguacatal, Honduras 2010

The Biggies Are Home! The Biggies Are Home!

Homecoming for Waffles from Aguacatal, Honduras

Songbird’s Homecoming from Latacunga, Ecuador – Supervising in 3 communities: Appahua, Corralpungo, and Talatac

Songbird: Excerpts from Ecuador

Songbird sends updates about once a week. They are a blast to read. I really look forward to them. I try to repay ‘in kind’ with videos for her – typically on my FB page featuring her little brother.

Her updates are fascinating and wonderful to read – this biggest daughter of mine is lovely. This last update had me giggling and understanding more clearly the arduousness of her work. While her updates are ALL worthy of sharing, I keep the bulk of her experience for her to share. Somehow, though, this one just yells for a wider audience.  I have deleted the names of the villages, per her request and also out of respect for the Amigos projects themselves.

Here is an excerpt from her latest update:

Hello back home!

Week 3 on route brought some COLD wet weather my way (shout out to mom and dad for getting my NICE boots and sending me off with a good sleeping bag and set of jackets!)…..There is snow on all the peaks here!

Tuesday was fiesta day in ________, the volunteers were struggling to get the whole community involved in the community project and campamentos, so we decided to hold a fiesta. I baked 70 cookies and carried them, along with a child sized pinata to ________ which is a half hour walk after a 2 1/2 hour bus ride…. The volunteers are struggling a bit taking initiative and getting things done, they appointed me to run the pinata (yes!). It was a lot of fun for everyone to watch the little kids swing a broom stick at the pinata and miss wildly because I kept pulling the string so the pinata would fly out of reach (this way more people got turns). Then we danced from 7-11 to caraguay/karaway music (look it up on youtube). Its pretty much a shuffle/step dance but three hours of it can really wear a person out. It was extremely awkward because the little kids danced with me and the volunteers while most of the parents and older kids sat around and watched us. But one of the best AMIGOS lessons (and maybe  lessons) is: EMBRACE THE AWKWARD MOMENTS.

One of my vols and I and a friend of ours were also almost eaten my dogs on the way back from dinner one night. That was also quite an experience. Pitch black, foggy, cold, one flashlight and a lot of growling, barking, mean mean dogs surrounding us. We made it back home all in one piece, though I felt the adrenaline of the walk in my knees and nervous laugh. I had my bag off my shoulder ready to swing at any dog that got too close.

I also made a fire only using hot coals and damp wood and paper!

On Thursday morning I walked to _______  where my vols were eagerly awaiting my arrival hoping for letters from home. The girls there have done a great job adapting to the weather. Mornings are beautiful and sunny (in general) and by 12 or 1 it is cloudy, rainy and COLD. The girls have gone from crying to go home everyday to building a great relationship with their host family and are now being invited my more families to eat lunch at their houses. They even made pizza on sunday in a house that has an oven – unfortunately they spent that night vomiting it back up. But they said it was worth it. Nothing too exciting happened in ______  this week other than platano colada and french fries with a fired egg for breakfast…and recieving some religious magazines from a missionary because I haven’t read the bible yet… 🙂 Oh wait…the COLD was the most exciting thing that happened. It was crazy cold. Props to my vols that are living there for 7 weeks!

Friday! I got my butt out of cold _____  and during the hike up to _______ could feel my feet and comfortably wiggle my toes for the first time in 2 days! The families and the volunteers are doing great and love each other a lot. I was able to go to the last few minutes of the campamento and see the art the kids were doing. It was pretty amazing for such little kids. We played some silly games outside after the kids were done drawing and I almost died laughing. We also provided excellent entertainment for the adults who were gathering for a community meeting. I havent heard people laugh that hard since I got here (excluding those of us that live in staff house).

And Saturday! I finally showered and do not stink like cooking fire, sheep, wet feet and whatever else I smelled and felt like.

I love you all! I’m sending hugs and kisses and will eat plenty of guacamole for you in the next three days before the next route week begins.

Here are some other fun comments:
About the bus:…..Taking the bus is always a fun adventure, especially because no one ever believes I really want to get off where I ask to get off.
About cooking:……Cooking has been an excellent way to connect with the women. I also learned to crochet (very poorly). It provides incredible amusement to all the girls and women who have been helping me along.

Aren’t you all jealous of her experience? I am!!!! Love love love this girl, and MISS HER SO MUCH!