Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
1. I am not a very logical decision maker. I make almost all decisions based on emotion and gut feelings. That being said, nothing irritates me more than people who refuse to be reasonable and rational.
2. I have always been embarrassed by the fact that my cheeks are always pink to rosy to fire engine red. Apparently my skin is completely translucent, and if I am tired, hot, sick, angry, or embarrassed my ears and cheeks (okay, lets be honest...pretty much everything from my shoulder blades up) is bright red.
3. I don't think I could ever possibly be a mother my daughter deserves.
4. I love playing The Sims games, because I make characters that look like Nathan and me that live in a house that looks like ours. Then, I use it as a prediction tool. FYI, the last time I played that game before we got our referral, my Sims decided to adopt a baby and the computer generated a black girl baby for us. And I named her Meron, even though I was actually planning on naming our daughter (if we had one) Harper. I hope my Sims win the lottery....
5. I love my job most of the time.... except when I hate it. It does make me appreciate the fact that I have so many people in my life who love me, because a lot of the kids I work with don't have anybody in the world who cares what happens to them... except for the people who get paid to take care of them.
6. Sometimes I don't engage in debate, because when I get really angry I cry uncontrollably and it is hard to debate if you are crying.
7. I'm a 3rd Degree blackbelt in taekwondo. It took 12 years of training to reach that level.
8. I sleep on the right side of the bed ( mostly because my husband MUST sleep on the left side) on my stomach with one knee up and out to the side. Or at least I used to, before the baby started sleeping on me. Now I have to sleep on my back, and I haven't had any actual sleep since Meron decided she liked us enough to care if we were still there in the morning.
9. I want Meron to like me best at all times. I feel a little bad when she wants to come to me and not Nathan, but I feel worse when she wants to go to him and not me.
10. I like to take showers in the dark.
11. I love 'Little Bill'. I cry during about 60% of the episodes.
12. It took me 8 years to get my ba in Human Services because I dropped out about 2 months from graduating when I got married. Stupid. But I finished it last year after a 3 year hiatus.
13. I once quit a job at a nursing home after 3 days, because of one phrase, "Make sure you move the foreskin to the side when you are cleaning a patients penis." I called the next day an hour before my shift and said I wouldn't be coming in.... ever. Apparently the nursing field is not for me.
14. I own two pairs of jeans and I wear one of them to work every day. There is now a hole developing in one, and I can't afford to buy a new pair until we get our taxes back.
15. My favorite kind of ice cream is Bryers Mint Chocolate Chunk or Bryers Chocolate.
16. Last week I made 3 huge pots of 3 different kinds of soup and two big casseroles of goulash. Then I put it all into single servings in freezer bags. Our entire freezer is full of soup and goulash and leftover shiro and lentils from Genna.
17. I want to paint our living room, but I'm too lazy.
18. My favorite television show is Monk. I find his craziness endearing.
19. My other favorite show is House. I find his craziness endearing, too.
20. I secretly think my soul would wither and die if I had to spend more than a day apart from Mer. I keep reminding myself that it probably won't, and I can't make her live with us until I die even if it does.
21. I use cloth diapers and g-diapers most of the time, because I'm horrified by the fact that no disposable diaper ever used has ever decomposed... they're all sitting in landfills. That being said, every once in a while I get SO TIRED of the extra steps for the other types of diapers that I break down and use disposables for a while. Mer likes them better, too.
22. Every time I put cloth diapers on Meron she cries because they are bulkier. I always tell her that she may choose to use the toilet when she is ready and then I won't ever put a diaper on her again. I keep hoping for her language skills to improve so she understands. This is my entire potty training strategy... she'll probably wear diapers until she's 12.
23. I have been to Jamaica 5 times, but never as a tourist, and as much as I'd like to go back, I don't think I could do it unless I went to work again.
24. It took me 3 1/2 months to get all of our thank you cards out.
25. It was embarrassingly difficult to come up with 25 mildly interesting things about me.
I tag everyone who hasn't done this already. It is kind of interesting to see what you can come up with... 25 is a LOT of things!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame."
"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake."
These are mine... what are yours?
Monday, January 19, 2009
Timkat (Amharic "baptism") (also spelled Timket or Timqat) is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. It is celebrated on January 19 (or 20 on Leap Year), corresponding to the 10th day of Terr following the Ethiopian calendar. Timket celebrates the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism (similar to such reenactments performed by numerous Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land when they visit the Jordan); early European visitors confused the activities with the actual sacrament of baptism, and erroneously used this as one example of alleged religious error, since traditional Christians believe in "one baptism for the remission of sins" (Nicene Creed).
During the ceremonies of Timkat, the Tabot, a model of the Ark of the Covenant which is present on every Etheopian altar (somewhat like the Western altar stone), is reverently wrapped in rich cloth and born in procession on the head of the priest. The Tabot, which is otherwise rarely seen by the laity, represents the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah when he came to the Jordan for baptism. The Divine Liturgy is celebrated near a stream or pool early in the morning (around 2 a.m.). Then the nearby body of water is blessed towards dawn and sprinkled on the participants, some of whom enter the water and immerse themselves, symbolically renewing their baptismal vows. But the festival does not end there; Donald Levine describes a typical celebration of the early 1960s:
By noon on Timqat Day a large crowd has assembled at the ritual site, those who went home for a little sleep having returned, and the holy ark is escorted back to its church in colorful procession. The clergy, bearing robes and umbrellas of many hues, perform rollicking dances and songs; the elders march solemnly with their weapons, attended by middle-ages men singing a long-drawn, low-pitched haaa hooo; and the children run about with sticks and games. Dressed up in their finest, the women chatter excitedly on their one real day of freedom in the year. The young braves leap up and down in spirited dances, tirelessly repeating rhythmic songs. When the holy ark has been safely restored to its dwelling-place, everyone goes home for feasting
The pictures above are a priest carrying a Tabot in a Timkat ceremony at Gondar, at which water will be blessed (he is assisted by a deacon holding a liturgical parasol) and crowds gathering at the Fasiladas' bath in Gondar, Ethiopia. Also, because I can't not post pictures of Meron, a bunch of her on Timkat eve. It's hard to celebrate this one here, although we've been dancing all day... does that count?
In other news, Meron is almost a full fledged walker. We had a lovely supper at some friends' house last night, and Merrie crawled about 2 times the whole night. She was running around trying to keep up with the big kids! It was really fun. I am still startled when I see her take off on her own though. She looks so grown up and toddlerish!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Meron is now 15 months old. I meant to post on the 10th, but she was in such a good mood on the 10th that I didn't want to miss anything. Then I was going to post on the 11th, but she was in such a bad mood that I didn't have time! She is now an almost walker... she's been venturing out on her own a lot more. I think that she'll walk more than she'll crawl within the next two weeks. That means she is right on target for Ethiopian babies, as everyone in Ethiopia said that babies should walk at about 15 months. She is so tall and heavy now. She can learn about 1 sign every day, and is really starting to know how to use them. She can sign please, more, eat, drink, thank you and milk. She can say hi, bye, mama, dada, tickle,bear, light, tree, roar, woof, moo, baa, quiet and quack, although she doesn't say them all consistently. She understands a lot of directions now, which is really fun. She has 3 teeth in and 3 more coming (poor baby!). Meron is more amazing, funny and beautiful every day, and we love her more every second.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
It took us about 5 hours to cook 5 Ethiopian dishes. We had doro wat, alicha sega wot (my favorite) lentils, shiro and collard greens. For the first 4 recipes we needed to cut up 10 onions. Our house will not be popular for a while... Everything turned out pretty well, and I was excited. It really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It was so fun to watch everyone try to eat it! Everyone was a good sport and tried to eat with their fingers first, although a few did eventually cheat. We did allow silverware for delicious pecan pie for dessert (thanks Mary). We weren't sure that was the traditional way to end the meal, but I think it might need to become part of our new tradition! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas... even if you didn't know it was Christmas!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
It is a fine balance getting the exact right amount of juice into Meron. Too much leads to disgusting things, too little leads to a lot of pain and tears and a little incident that keeps Nathan in the running for "Father of the Year" (ooo, will there ever be gloating from him if he succeeds in his bid after I failed so miserably), but also has caused some flashbacks and nightmares. The right amount seems to be one 6 ounce juice cup in the morning- mostly apple juice with a little splash of prune juice to give it a deadly brown color. Thus, prapple juice became part of Meron's daily diet.
Unfortunately, one fateful day, we were almost out of apple juice. The prapple juice I was to make wouldn't have the proper 4/5 apple 1/5 prune ratio. It would have to be Prunple juice... 4/5ths prune and 1/5 apple. This was my first failing of the day. I should have gone out to buy apple juice. Instead, I lazily let the child drink mostly prune juice, reasoning that she was hungry for breakfast and would not take kindly to being parted from her fuzzy jammies so early in the morning. The day went well. We played on the floor for a long time (me not knowing that the title I was working for was already slipping through my grasp). Then, Mer gave the universal signal for a diaper change (a funny face followed by a paint-peeling odor wafting throughout the room). Being the good mama that I am, I went to change her immediately, not noticing that we only had a few wipes left in the container.
I began the task at hand, and almost immediately panicked. It was a poop-splosion to end all poop-splosions in Mer's cute little cloth diapers. These diapers have a rice paper liner that you use (they look a little like about three sheets of toilet paper in the bottom of the diaper), so that you don't need to rinse solid waste off of the diapers. We usually just flush it and go on about our day. This poop-splosion mocked the very idea of liners. There was poo everywhere: on both sides of the liner, front to back of the diaper, on the diaper cover and coming out the legs. I was horrified, but set to work. Soon, due to my sweetly cooing and wriggling baby, I had poo all over the back of one hand and on two of the fingers of the other hand. It was then I realized that we were out of the cloth wipes that we usually use, and I had to open up a pack of disposable wipes. I got poo all over both wipes containers and the changing table (since I had to let go of Mer's legs so I could use both hands). I was attempting to block Meron's roving hands with my elbow, and thought I had been doing a good job. I was actually secretly congratulating myself on my multitasking abilities as I triumphantly pulled out a few new wipes and returned my full attention to the baby. I looked down just in time to see her hand, which my horrified mind insisted must be covered with peanut butter, go directly into her mouth. That's right, the baby ate poop. Being a curious soul, she had been attempting to do so for quite some time but had been unsuccessful until my lapse of good parenting. Judging by the look on her face, it wasn't really as good as she had always imagined. But, the deed was done. My once pure baby was now tainted, and I was left trying to figure out what to do. Did I spray her mouth with disinfectant? Did I get her to rinse out her mouth? Her cup was still full of prunple juice, and goodness knows she didn't need any more of that. Should I brush her gums and tongue with a tooth brush? I almost decided on that, but then decided we'd need to burn her tooth brush. So really, I mostly just tried to get her to rinse out her mouth with water and then secretly avoided her mouth for a few days. And that is how I lost my hope of being entered in the contest for Mother of the Year. If you have any stories about how you lost your titles, I'd love to hear them. It might make me feel a little better, although it won't make me forget...
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I can't help but think about Meron's mom in Ethiopia at this time of year. It is almost Christmas there (in Ethiopia Christmas is January 7), and while we were celebrating our first Christmas as a family, Tewabech's mom will be having her first Christmas without her daughter. I didn't think, when we started this process, that I would think about her mom as much as I do. I guess I always assumed that our daughter would have been abandoned or have parents who had died. Once I realized it doesn't always happen that way, I secretly wished that it would... as awful as that sounds. I just thought it would be so much easier to explain to myself and to Meron. I mean, how unfair is it that we get to have this bright shining light of a girl in our lives, just because we have a little money and her mom didn't. Now, though, I am so glad that I met her mom. I can tell her the story of how she was born and how she was named. I can tell her where she comes from and the name of her grandpa.
Someone asked me a while ago if it made me sad that she looks like her other mom and not me. I actually thought it would, but it doesn't. I get to see her every day. I am the one who gets to see her walk and finger paint and laugh and pout and crawl backwards. I get to cuddle with her, and it is me she reaches for when she needs help or reassurance. Her not looking like me is such a small thing in comparison to what I get, and it is such a wonderful connection to her other mom. I can tell her that her eyebrows and her shy smile are the same as her mom's. I can tell her that when she sucks on her bottom lip she looks just like Messeret. I think that is a great thing.
So, here is Messeret's and my daughter. The video was taken after we finger painted, and I would like to have some words with whoever labeled these paints as being easily washed off with soap and water.