Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas Morning 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home for Christmas

Lily and Anna.
Sisters are the best.

Anna and her adoring welcoming committee.

Jamie G? or Pee Wee Herman?

Jamie felt the need to dress up to greet his big sister at the airport. He also thought it was important to use a handful of styling goop to slick back his hair and "make it fancy."

Everybody's crazy about a sharp dressed man...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Batman Bad Guys and Santa

We took the gang to a family Christmas party loaded with fun stuff for the kids to do. At one of the stations was a very cool and talented art student painting kids faces. Jamie was thrilled and asked her to paint his face like one of the bad guys in Batman. She happily obliged and painted him in the creepiest Heath Ledger-esque evil Joker face.

So here is the insane and evil Joker asking Santa to bring him some star wars action guys for Christmas.

Santa is a really good sport.

Henry thought that Jamie's scary Batman bad guy face paint was a fantastic idea and asked the ultra hip face painter for a different, but still really scary bad guy.
She had just the thing for him and painted him up to look like Two Face... half monster and half man. I was really impressed that she knew two different bad guys from Batman and could quickly reproduce them on an 8 and 6 year old boy.

Henry thought this was just the coolest thing ever and proceeded to freak out all of the less frightening party guests, including his dad and little sis.

I guess we all honor the birth of Christ in different ways... my boys have chosen to do so by painting and owning the two scariest arch enemies of Batman.

Merry, Merry Christmas Two Face and Evil Joker.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Farted on Your Money

Could our little Henry look any more innocent?
I don't think so...
But now, after overhearing a recent discussion, I know that he does have a dark side and is unafraid to use his very own significant gas for evil.

This is how the first conversation of the day (6:50am) between Henry and his big brother and roommate went...

"I farted on your money."
Jamie..."that's not even possible."
"Yeah it is... I felt gassy so I grabbed your money and stuck it in my underwear and cut a big fart all over it."
"Was it dollars or coins?"
"Coins, mostly pennies"
"That's gross and I don't even care...."

However Jamie did care...I could hear it in his voice.and maybe he was even a little grossed out.
Score one for Henry and for little brothers everywhere for having the quick wit and genius (not to mention control) to occasionally fart on the pennies of your oppressor, just to prove that you can.
His father and I are so proud.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In acknowledgent of World AIDS Awareness Day...

I am constantly in amazement of seemingly regular folks who take on seemingly overwhelming tasks. Carolyn Twietmeyer is one of my personal heroes...she stepped up and reached out to those children in orphanages who need her most. She and her husband Kiel, founded an organization to facilitate the adoptions of kids with HIV/AIDS. Projecy Hopeful is instrumental in bringing these children home where they have access to the medications that all children deserve.

This is the simple explanation of the chain of events that led to the development of Project Hopeful as told by Carolyn.

Our first adoption brought focus to the reality of the number of siblings that are often separated because one of them has HIV. Our second adoption of Selah drove that point home when we realized that her teenaged brother and sister were living on their own in Addis Ababa, ET. We recognized the tragedy and degree of loss that our daughter and her siblings had already suffered as a result of HIV/AIDS. At that point we committed to finding a way to make them part of our family as well. The process to adopt this time took two years. One week before our son Andarge would have turned 18 and been unable to immigrate into the US we finally crossed the finish line! May of 2010, all our children were reunited at O’hare Airport. There was a degree of joy that was unexplainable, the last time Andarge 18, and Sarah 16, saw their sister Selah she was days from death. The looks on their faces when they saw her healthy and whole was priceless.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Anna is home for the holiday- yay! We are so happy to have her in the house with her younger sibs. It's wonderful to have everyone home and "breathing the same air," as my pal Jane puts it.

I am the most thankful for the health and well being of these six rugrats.
Everything else is icing on the cake.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

turkey by Henry~ 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jamie's Hoglet

Meet Dobby the Hedgehog.

Jamie's beloved guinea pig, Sam, moved on to piggie heaven which gave him room to start lobbying for a new pet. He thought that he really needed a reptile... some kind of lizard or maybe a turtle. I wasn't so thrilled about those kinds of creatures and we settled on a baby hedgehog... a hoglet. Jamie named him Dobby after the house elf in the Harry Potter books, and is now the proud parent of Dobby J. Hedgehog. Dobby has learned to recognize the "oduer de Jamie" and turns on his little hedgie charm when Jamie goes to pick him up. When anyone else tries to get him he curls up and sticks his spikes out... like a dangerous looking softball. And if Jamie is holding him and he develops concerns... he pulls his forehead down and squints his eyes and looks really ticked off in a completely adorable way. Jamie has a similar expression when he is grumpy so the two of them are a lot alike.
I learned that once you decide to add a hedgehog to your family... it takes some perseverance in order to locate a spiky little guy. We found a very nice woman in Montpelier Ohio (Gail Dick- www.critterconnection) who breeds them and will also give you a a lesson on their care. So Jamie, Henry and I went on an adventure to northern Ohio...about a three hours north. We left after school, spent the night in Defiance (I love saying that) had our hedgehog lesson in the morning and drove home. While we were there, we also learned that Gail and her husband are adoptive parents with two Ethiopian born daughters.
It was really a fun and interesting sort of multi culti experience there in farmland of Montpelier Ohio, with our Ethiopian and Guatemalan born kiddos being well represented.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ben and Nick

Ben Folds

Karl and I put the little guys to bed early and sneaked out to go see Ben Folds... on a school night. Mary was also at home... maybe or maybe not doing homework, so we weren't completely irresponsible abandoning our darlings- but we still felt like we had to sneak out before some sort of kid calamity prevented us from going.

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby

We needed to go...Ben was in town, and we absolutely couldn't miss him. He is one of my all time favorite musicians who just happened to team up with one of my favorite writers Nick Hornby, (High Fidelity, About a Boy, Juliet- Naked) and together they made and album called Lonely Avenue which is really very awesome. Nick wrote the lyrics, Ben wrote the music and to add even more to the collaboration of our favorite artists, photographer Michael Wilson contributed to the albums photography.
Lonely Avenue plays exactly like it should. Lyrics that yearn for the goodness of humanity and hope tempered with the reality of life itself. Hornby's lends both poignancy and wit in his lyrics... who else could write so sympathetically of Bristol Palin's ex as he does in "Levi Johnston's Blues." Poor Levi...
Nick also wrote a song for his wife called "Practical Amanda" which is more than lovely. As Ben was singing it, I mentioned to Karl that for Christmas I was hoping for my own song. Judging by his eye roll... I probably shouldn't hold my breath waiting for that Christmas song from my dear husband.

Ben directing the concert choir from atop his piano

Ben loves both his music and his audience which made for fun and energetic concert. He took requests, told jokes, bantered with his fans and proved that he is a very quick and funny dude. He also swore a lot which I appreciated within the context of the evening... I really enjoyed every f-bomb.
For his encore he climbed onto his piano and directed the house in a final piece. There must have been a lot of music majors from nearby CCM in attendance. Everyone sounded great and stayed on key in our impromptu Ben Folds choir directed of course by, Ben himself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Words Words Words

Mary's school put on a production of David Ives, "All in the Timing" a play in 6 acts. Mary played the part of Kafka the monkey in the second act titled "Words, Words, Words."
In the weeks of practice up to the show, Mary tried to explain the premise to me but I had a hard time grasping the concept, until I saw the play... then it all made sense in an obscure kind of way.
In the production, a never seen researcher named Dr. Rosenbaum offers a theory that "Three monkeys hitting keys at random on typewriters for an infinite amount of time will almost surely produce Hamlet." He tries to prove this theory through experiment with three monkeys named, Swift (as in Jonathan) Kafka (Franz) and Milton (John). The three monkeys do some typing and spent time discussing their captivity, their captor (Dr. Rosenbaum) and their monkey futures. I thought it was hysterically funny and touching too. My little theater companions Lily, Jamie, Henry and a couple of their buddies, laughed so hard that they were almost rolling in the aisle. They missed most of the comedic references, but the fact that their big sister was a typing monkey made up for it.
The whole production was great... all 6 acts were very well done. I am amazed that the kids can learn such a detailed and complicated script and play their parts so convincingly. Each young actor did an excellent job in proving that life is almost always a comedy or a tragedy of timing. I do believe that David Ives would be proud if he dropped in on this performance.

(That's my official mom review ~grin~)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Good idea? oh yeah.

Ok, so I did it... I got a wild hair and bought tickets for my boys to go the symphony. Then I had some 'splaining to do... Why?!?? I was asked again and again...Why do it? How could it possibly be a good idea to

take this boy,

and this boy,

to the symphony on purpose.

I don't know really, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. And guess what? I was right! I am neverever right when it comes to guessing if my boys will be well behaved. I generally assume that they will always "make poor choices" when faced with challenges that include listening ears and staying quiet and respectful in a room full of adults.
But I was wrong and I loved it. The boys had an awesome time. It was the Halloween show, full of spooky music. Lily's violin teacher found us in the audience and offered the boys a discreet wave from the stage. Cool.
They wore their costumes... and some other concert goers did too-thank goodness.
But the point is, they were good.
That's the exciting part. They were so good that the seasoned symphony couple who sat behind us complimented me on their good behavior.
Not once or twice... but three times.

They enjoyed themselves so much that when I asked if they wanted to go home at intermission, they both said "NO!"
Jamie said that he wanted to "see how it ends."
So we stayed for the whole symphony.
And they said it shouldn't be done, couldn't be done.

It was done.. here is Jamie after the show.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Passport to Forever 2010

The International Adoption Center hosted their benefit fundraiser on Saturday night and my younger kids were fortunate to participate. The highlight of the evening is a fashion show featuring adopted kids born in countries all over the strutting their stuff.
Here is Rosie during the finale with her Ethiopian flag Her partner on the runway was her buddy Ryan who is next to her with her his own Guatemala flag. Mary and Jordan... their teenage sisters/handlers, are behind them for support.

My boys, Jamie and Henry, working the runway... I think they look dashing in their cool hats and jackets. Jamie wore his reading glasses because he thought they suited his outfit- he was right... looking sharp!

Rosie working the runway... she loved being the center of attention and waved and grinned the entire time she was on stage. No surprise there... our girl is a true ham.

Flag finale... many children, each carrying a poky, pointy flags ... no incidents or accidents. Success!

The three guys from Guatemala, kickin' back together, post show.

Karl and I volunteered to put together the slide show that they show at the beginning of the program. We spoke to a wonderful family who recently adopted their 10 yr old son, Herwens from Haiti. Herwens is one of the most adorable and strongest little guys I have ever met... completely inspiring. The show also featured many photos of beautiful adopted children and their families and we put it to the music of Michael Franti and Spearhead. Michael Franti is an amazing singer and songwriter who was adopted as a child and now is a committed advocate for adoption. He also happens to be an extremely cool dude.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Rosie, the wingless butterfly... a baby butterfly is a caterpillar, right? So Rosie was a purple caterpillar.

Lily came up with her own "Vampire Chicken" outfit...both creepy and goofy.

Rosie and the ring around the Vampire Chicken

Jamie as Peter Pan after he battled Captain Hook... lots of fake blood.

Count Henry Dracula

Vampire Chicken getting a ride form The Count and Peter Pan.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Calling all adoptive families... plea for your hearts!

Karl and I have volunteered to put together a video featuring adoptive families to be shown at a benefit for the International Adoption Center at CCHMC and we need your hearts. If you are an adoptive family, or touched by adoption in any way... please send me a photo of your kids, or you, or really any family member, with your hands in the shape of a heart.
My plan is to gather a bunch of these images and put it to music.
It will be cool.
Trust me.
Also, the event is on November 6th- so I am working on a deadline. I promise to post the final video here on the 7th. Shoot, I'll even send you a hard copy if you would like one.

Thank you for your help.


Here are my kiddos showing you their hearts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

His Holiness

Karl and I had lunch with His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama yesterday.... along with about a thousand other people, but still, not a typical lunch date for us. He was in town to accept the Freedom Center's International Freedom Conductor Award and stayed afterward to be interviewed by Gwen Ifill. He also took a few questions from the audience. The thing that struck me the most about his Holiness was that he totally cracked himself up... he snickered and giggled throughout a good part of the interview- a man of peace, with a good sense of humor.

The heart of his message... be kind and remain hopeful and enthusiastic for the future.

I also enjoyed that he wore a golf visor (maroon to match his robes, of course) so that he could see his audience through the glare of the stage lights. Practical fashion at it's best.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Jamie is having a wonderful time playing soccer this season. He is lucky enough to be on a great team with wonderful coaches and a bunch of very nice, very talented players. They are having successful season and remain undefeated as they go into their last weekend of play.
I love watching him play because he looks like he is having a blast. I don't think there is anything more joyful then seeing a kid run and grin- to watch Jamie play is to watch a kid having fun.

Marty and Jamie after the game...both boys were born in Guatemala and came home the same year.

Friday, October 8, 2010

One Horrified Schnoodle

Penny and I broke out of our walk around the neighborhood rut the other day and ventured into the Eden Park area to take her daily walkies. Unfortunately for her, she came across this bronze of the she-wolf suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus and had a tough time wrapping her mind around it. Clearly she was horrified by the imagery and wouldn't take her eye off it. Here is my appalled and more than a little freaked out little schnoodle...

Far more comfortable posing in front of the river bend.

Schnoodles for Justice.

Here she is looking troubled... probably having a flashback about that she-wolf statue.

Friday, October 1, 2010

sort of celebrity sightings

Not this guy...

Early-ish Sunday morning I was buying doughnuts at Busken's and overheard a nice young man (yep, that's how I think these days) and his young daughter in line behind me. I was impressed because the little girl, maybe 4 years old, was well behaved and sweet (unlike my own adorables in a bakery) and the dad was polite to the woman selling doughnuts.
Anyway, I turned and realized that I was buying doughnuts with a sort of celebrity... not Nick Lachey, but his brother Drew.

This guy.

Then I remembered that a couple of weeks ago I was very excited to bump into a gentleman of notable distinction while Karl and I were leaving the movies in Newport.

Not this guy...

This guy.

Nick Clooney... George's dad.
He was going into see The American, George's new film and I wanted to stalk him a little and watch him watch George. I thought that would be cool and interesting to see his reaction while he watched his son, but Karl thought I was being creepy, so we went to dinner instead.

So there you have it... two sort of celebrity sightings in as many weeks. I feel like I'm working in a Hollywood Starbucks with all of this fame in my neighborhood. I can only imagine who I might see today-