Thursday, June 28, 2012

"And mommy and daddy stay right there..."

We are coming up on our one year anniversary of meeting B.  Big anniversaries like this can be difficult for kids even if they don't have conscious memories of it.  Their hearts remember it in a well-documented, but not well understood/explained phenomena and it can be a really bitter sweet experience--best case scenario it's a great day for them b/c they met their adoptive family (some kids don't feel like this was a great thing), but also a sad day b/c that meant left their birth country/birth family/culture/and everything that was familiar (most kids feel this way at least at various points in their lives).

I can not believe that one year ago today Ababa and I were flying to Ethiopia!  I'll post more about meeting B and hopefully some excerpts from my travel journal this summer.

My original plan for our first "Family Day" was to have a laid back day at home, maybe go for a walk in a park, and have Ethiopian food and an egg-free ice cream cake.

Being the awesome mom that I am (not!), without even thinking that July 1 was our family day and that this could be a tricky weekend for B, I scheduled a get together at our house to help raise support for our friends who are missionaries in Spain and are in the US doing fundraising.  Um yeah, epic mommy fail.

So, instead his first Family Day will be sangria, ghetto tapas, and a bunch of people he doesn't know that well at our house.  Then 2 days later we leave on a 5 day trip during which we are going to see three different sets of friends and family members in three states.  He's pretty excited about our trip and had a rough week last week, but is doing really well this week, so hopefully all will go ok.  If not, we'll pack-up early and make the 2-3 hour drive home.

Buckle up B, mommy is sorry that it's so crazy right now.

B had a really hard week last week with some issues that we hadn't seen much of for several months, we took a step back, gave him some extra TLC whenever possible, and this week he's doing much better.  I think in addition to the whole family day thing, his giardia is still going strong and in the middle of flare-up, and he is transitioning from co-sleeping in our bed to sleeping in a cot in our room (with the end goal of moving the cot to his room later this summer and then having him sleep in his bed in his room at night by the fall).

Co-sleeping has been absolutely the right decision for B and for our family, I can not say enough about how much it helped our bonding (and by our, that is not just B's bonding I'm talking about, it really has been great for our whole family!) and truthfully I am sad that it is coming to an end, but he seems to be ready so we are slowly starting down this path.  We introduced the blue bed for naps last weekend, but he did not want to sleep in it at night then or this week....but tonight...he asked to sleep in it and 20 minutes later...he's asleep!

B's other big news is that he seems to really be starting to understand that we take care of him and always come to get him no matter what.  When we were doing the morning bottle (that tapered off about a month ago) we would always...every day...multiple times a day...recite our family mantras:

We are a family, mommy, daddy, and B
Mommy and daddy's job is to love B, to take care of B, to keep B safe, and to teach B about God.  B's job is to love mommy and daddy, to listen to and obey mommy and daddy, and to learn about God.

Families stick together.
Mommy and daddy always come home and we always come to get you no matter where you are.

B LOVED saying all these things and they would help when he was upset.

But he now has taken total ownership of it with a game he plays where he says:
"B ________ (fill in the blank with something like "ride a city bus" "take the subway" "use a knife" "take a bath by yourself" "walk Woosha" "go outside" "do the laundry" "stay in the guesthouse [in Ethiopia], etc. ) by yourself" and then I am supposed to say "you can't do that by yourself, you are just a kid/baby/little boy..." he then cackles hysterically and his eyes light up.  It really seems to make him feel safe and taken care of.  He now also recaps it at the end and concludes with "we are a family" and "mommy and daddy [will] stay right there."

My heart swells when I see these very tangible signs of him truly starting to feel loved, safe, and comfortable in our family.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Church according to B...

Today we were waiting for Ababa to get out of a looooong mtg after church and B decided to reenact church.

Here's church from B's perspective:

"First we sing" He sat next to me and started tunelessly droning "come, come, come" which was his rendition of "Come now is the time to worship" which we sang this morning:-)

"Then we pray."He stood in front of me and said in a serious deep voice "blue hexagon man....hexagon, hexagon, hexagon....boom, man now...[mommy, close your eyes, we prayin'! *I was trying really hard not to laugh at this point*]...hexagon, man, man...amen" (today the prayer was in spanish and english which I think threw him for a loop:-).

He stayed in front of me

"Now we learn about Jesus...Pastor R talks...Jesus loves me"

"Now communion...dis the bread, dis the cup"

"Now pray" (he was quiet here)

"Now we sing...come, come, come (cue another rousing but tuneless rendition of Come, Now is the Time to Worship).

On a total other note...make's uh-maz-ing...

I replaced each egg with 1.5 TBSP full fat greek yogurt and eliminated the eggwash.  Delish!

Let me put it this way...I doubled the recipe b/c I figured we could take to church or work, so we had 2 doz.  I took 1 doz to church this morning and they were gone in literally less than 2 minutes!  Ababa looked at me from the front:

Him: You brought the babkas!!!!!! WHY!?!??!?!!?  You always give away the good stuff

Me: oh, don't worry I kept 6 for us

Him: Nooooo...THAT'S NOT ENOUGH!

yeah, they are that good...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day, a tag sale, and "No One's Son"

Happy Father's Day, Ababa!!!!!  We love you so much!

Ababa is hobbling around with a seized up back, but we celebrated with his favorite sausage egg and cheese sandwich from the local bakery (with a preventative dose of benadryl and a different breakfast for B) and fun cards handpainted by B to see Esperanza Spalding later this year!

Ababa loves her music and B is similarly into it (as am I).  It's so adorable b/c B will chime in with the lyrics.  The first time we were in the car listening to "Cinnamon Tree" and she sang "sweet cinnamon tree" and B chimed in from the back seat "so warm and sturdy" we were shocked and then almost died laughing--it was only the second time he'd heard the song!!!

Also, I spent this weekend reading No One's Son by Tewodros Fekadu.  I highly recommend it!!!!!!!


Like, go buy it and read it now!!!!!!!!


What are you waiting for...?

His life is nothing short of incredible.  Born during the Ethiopian Eritrean war, to a mother who was brutalized by a man (who truly seems pathological in his denial of the son this act created and his endeavors to not only ignore but actively destroy this son), his life took him all over Ethiopia, including living on the streets of Addis, to Egypt, to more than 3 years in a brutal Japanese detention center and additional years stuck in Japan (embroiled in shocking bureaucratic and immigration dramas), and finally to Australia where, for the first time, he experienced the true, unconditional love of family (through his new Australian wife and her family).

I learned a lot about Ethiopia, and it was very interesting to see the other side of places we knew well in Addis.  So many familiar places were mentioned in the book, but it was a really different experience of them than we had!

It is a great read.  I read the whole thing this weekend.

It was especially amazing to me b/c he is only a few years older than me and has had such a mind blowingly different life.  It was crazy to me to think wow, in 1998 he was stuck indefinitely in a Japanese detention center and I was in college doing such and such. Really incredible.

I had lots of time b/c we were part of a neighborhood tag sale this weekend.  We met a lot of neighbors and cleared out some clutter (by the afternoon everything at our table was free for the taking, we just wanted it gone!). The financial equation looked like this:

Goods sold-desk, mirror, some baby toys and ladies clothes: $90
Gift certificate to a local restaurant (won in the raffle): $25

2 plates each of pad thai and spring rolls handmade by a thai family in our building (YUM!!!): $10
1 thai shave ice: $3
Baby girl clothes for my almost born niece and a big toy for B: $35
water: $2
raffle tickets and space at the sale: $20

So, all in all we netted $20 plus a $25 gift certificate, but I got to read my book, B had a BLAST (and now has a huge new airplane toy that he has played with constantly since yesterday morning), we got a free container store shoe rack, fancy curtain rod, and set of custom wood blinds from another seller, plus we met a bunch of our neighbors.

So, I am calling it a success.  We're sending the $90 we grossed to Tumaini to pay for school fees for the kids in August.  If you want to help, DONATE HERE and put "August School Fees" in the memo.  The school fees are $1600, so we have a ways to go still to get there:-)  We are committed to funding these school fees, please help us help these kids!  After reading No One's Son, I recognize even more acutely the power of education, stability, and mentorship in the lives of vulnerable children.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Modesty Police!

1. B is bossy
2. B is a little possessive of his mommy (particularly as it relates to Ababa and/or other children)
3. B is a little  a lot obsessed with b**bs (aka oonoonas--not sure if this is a Bism or an Amharic or Sidama word, but it's the only word he will use for them:-)

This morning Ababa was working and B and I were getting ready/eating breakfast.  I had put on an easy Friday outfit for work--long black v-neck sundress and a black and white shrug cardigan.

I sit down at the table with B and he immediately puts down his spoon, gets a concerned look on his face, and goes, "uh-oh...mama's sahwry" (his version of sorry) and just sits there.  I'm like "what, what's wrong?"  He stares at my chest, and deliberately says, "Uh-oh, mama...mama's movin'...fix it...mama's sahwry"

I look at him perplexed, trying to figure out what the heck he is talking about.

He pointedly looks at my chest some more, looks at me like I am beyond stupid to not understand what he's saying, folds his arms over his chest, glares at me, and says "Uh-oh...Mama's oonoona's are moving. Fix it... Mama needs to fix the oonoonas...she is moving (we're still working on pronouns--I'm pretty sure "she" was referring to the oonoonas:-).

Then he flaps one arm in an imperious wave and says "fix it now mommy...the oonoonas are moving...fix the oonoonas."

Guess who wore an ugly red tank top to work under her pretty black sundress to ensure that the outfit was cleavage free, and there were no "oonoonas" to be seen?

There is a reason his nickname is "Bossy McGee"...

And just 'cause they crack me up...

Oh I love my sweet boy (though I spent most of the subway ride to work this morning planning on changing out of my nunnified tank top like a rebellious 13 year old:-)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Yay-Ababa and Yum-Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Yay-Ababa got a 4.0 on his first semester of science classes and his first time back in school since 1999!!!!!!!!  All that hard work and long nights paid off!!!!

Yum-today I made the best "Egg-free" recipe yet:-)  Most are coming to work, but B and I have already sampled them, and we saved one for Ababa to celebrate his awesome GPA!

I combined a few different recipes I found online, eliminated the egg, made a few other tweaks, and WOW!

I got 30 cupcakes, but B and I *ahem* "tested" a lot of the batter in the process, I think it would easily make 3 dozen.

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
• 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 4 very ripe large bananas, peeled
• 7 oz container Fage 2 % Greek yogurt (or as B says, "yor-gort":-)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I was out, so I used 1 tsp coconut rum and 1 tsp vanilla rum)
• 1 1/2 cup sugar (I would cut this down next time to 1 cup, maybe even 3/4 cup--also, I used half brown sugar and half white sugar)
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or as much as is needed to get the consistency you want)
8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter,  room temperature (I used Jiff as all the recipes online said old-fashioned or freshly ground wouldn't work, but I might try those next time anyway:-)
1 tsp vanilla (I used 1 tsp coconut rum)
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Mash bananas, yogurt, and vanilla together (I did this in my stand mixer first and then put in another bowl while I creamed the butter and sugar).  Stir or sift dry ingredients together. Alternately pour dry and wet into the creamed butter and sugar.
Bake in muffin tins at 350 for approx 20 minutes.
Toss everything but sugar into a mixing bowl and whip it together.  Gradually add sugar and whip until  desired consistency.

I was out of cupcake liners, so I made them myself (yes, I feel very Little House on the Prairie for doing that:-).

Fold a sheet of plain 8 1/2 x 11 paper to make an 8 1/2 X 8 1/2 square and trim off excess.

Fold 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch square of paper in half and in half again so that you have a 4 1/4 inch square stack.

trace a 4 inch circle and cut it out. (I used a ramekin, but then realized that the 8 oz tub of Philly cream cheese I was using in the frosting would work:-)

take the stack of 4 circles and rest on top of a 1/4 cup measuring cup.

press a slightly smaller bottle down onto the stack so that they pleat themselves into the measuring cup. (I used a bottle of kikkoman soy sauce)

Voila! Muffin liners, put in your cupcake/muffin pan and fill as usual.

They are a little looser than standard liners, but worked great!!!! Be careful when filling that you drop the filling into the center of each tin as these can slide around while you are filling if the batter is dramatically off-center.

And just for fun, here are some photos of B from memorial day, taken by our friend K.