Sunday, March 29, 2009


Here's my new heart's desire. We saw one of these in the campground and it looked so cozy and inviting and fun! I just wanted to hit the road with a stack of good books, some art supplies, and my hiking boots. If I were to get one, I'd choose the clamshell version with the kitchen on the outside. Brand new they cost about $20,000, but I saw a minimally used one for $9,500. Oh, the wanting mind.

Death Valley 2009

The cousins on the dunes.

We arrived back home last night after spending one glorious week in Death Valley. It was hard to come back and I actually felt a little glum about returning to the cold, gray weather and all the household chores. Same old thing.

But at least the trip was wonderful. We were able to do several full day hikes with the boys while Ember rode along in the backpack. Beck hiked on his own two feet and Yogi did some of each. It's so exhilarating to be outside, traveling along the trail, all that big sky stretching out forever, away from people and cars and noise. I could've easily stayed a few more weeks - especially since it took a few days to calm down after all the stress of packing and preparing for the trip.

There were some precious moments: of silence, of sun on skin, the gravelly voice of ravens, wind in Junipers, the smell of Mesquite, the night sky full of stars, firelight on the kids' faces. I want more of all that! And I think there's a part of me that needs more of it.

As soon as we get the photos organized we'll post a bunch - maybe even a slide show!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ember and the English

Yesterday on my nightly walk I ran into a woman, a mother of many ranging from 3 - young adult. I see her frequently and she met Ember just after we brought her home. Anyway, yesterday she saw me walking alone and we had a short rather strange conversation.

woman: How's your daughter? How's the English coming along?

me: Oh, she's doing great! She just turned a year old a few weeks ago. (Thinking that would answer the question about English.)

woman: So, what does she say? Does she speak English or Ethiopian?

me: (Huh?!) Well, you know...she's only a year old. She isn't saying many words yet. She says bye-bye and that's about it.

woman: So, is she still speaking Ethiopian?

me: (Huh?!) She was only 4 months when we got her. She was born in Ethiopia, but she wasn't speaking yet. Not Amharic or English. She was just a little baby. Why? When did your kids start to talk?

woman: Oh, they were all talking by 3 months.

me: (Huh?! Not sure what to say at this point since I'm thinking she's either crazy or seriously confused. I just wished her a pleasant evening and was on my way. A little strange if you ask me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weather Update

yesterday morning...


Hers's how to torture a mom: set up a playdate with a very good friend from childhood that you've only seen once in the past 20 years. Go over to her house to see it for the first time, add your 3 kids to her 2 and try to have a conversation. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Follow Up

Well, I had my follow-up doctor's appointment today and I don't have cancer! Yipee! It hasn't been the best week for me. I had some trouble with insomnia and was more anxious than usual. But until I walked out of the doctor's office I didn't realize how worried I've been. All of the sudden I felt really, really tired.

I picked up the kids, went to the park so they could play outside for an hour and then we all came home for naps. Two hours later Beck tried to wake me up. When he finally succeeded (apparently after 3 tries)I woke up entirely confused about what day it was, what time of day it was, who was home. And I've felt heavy and slow ever since.

The doctor wasn't able to give me a reason for all my troubles, but if things don't go back to normal in the next few months, we now have a plan.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Birthday Night

There she is! Our birthday girl is one. And she's wearing her new corduroy romper suit made by her grandma. Isn't she cute?! Now I'd like to get her ears pierced which is something I never thought I'd want to do to a baby, but I look at her and just think, oh! A little sparkle would be perfect! Most of my friends disagree and one even said it would be very Whiskey Tango of me. Whiskey Tango, she explained, means White Trash.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For Michelle!

The hair salon is in the Wallingford Center and is called Li'l Klippers. The Ethiopian gal who cut Ember's hair and who was very sweet is named Tete (sounds like T. T.) Good luck, Michelle! (I didn't see your comment until today and I wasn't sure you'd see it at this point if I left it in the comment section of the old post!)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Home Again

Just wanted to let everyone know that the surgery went ok and I'm back and feeling a lot better today. The last time I had general anesthesia I woke up feeling wonderfully warm and super relaxed, but yesterday it didn't go like that. Instead I woke up feeling like I had a terrible hang-over. The room was spinning, I felt a little nauseous, and I had a pounding headache. I have another appointment next Friday with my doctor who will tell me the lab results. I'll spare you the details of my personal experience, but the medical term for my problem is menorrhagia and it's been going on since last October. Not a good time.

Today is Ember's first birthday! My parents were nice enough to take the boys for the day so that I could catch up and catch my breath and later I'll drive over with Ember for her birthday dinner.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Catching Up

I don't mean to be distant, but I guess I have drawn back a bit lately. I've been dealing with an annoying and persistent health issue which is finally resulting in minor surgery tomorrow. So that's been on my mind.

And, as usual, we're just busy. We spent last weekend at the cabin and had our Nexus pass interviews on Monday morning. We "passed" and should expect our new passes in the mail in the next week or so. I really am so excited about these passes and what it will mean for us. I feel like so many new adventures are now a possibility. I know we always could've gone across the border, but with a car full of little kids we just didn't want to risk waiting in a long line. And now we don't have to!

We also signed all our paperwork for refinancing our house. I've had some doctor's appointments. And all the regular home stuff on top of that.

The big news of the day is that Ember is walking! It's been gradual, but now she's walking more than crawling so I think it's fair to say it's official: we have a toddler! Her birthday is on Saturday and we will just have a small family gathering for that. Sometimes I think about the day of her birth and wonder about it. Was it easy? Did her birth mom have any friends there to support her? And what I was doing here on that day?

Speaking of Ember, as I type this I can hear her screaming in her crib which is very unusual for her. Ear infection? Teething? Will I get any sleep tonight?!

Anyway, here are some beach photos from last weekend. It was unusually warm and the kids got busy working on this beach fort. This was Ember's first time on the loose at the beach. She ate a little bit of sand, but then realized it wasn't that great and stopped. I could spend hours just sitting back and listening to the kids doing their thing - working together, making discoveries, noticing things. It is beautiful.