Thursday, March 29, 2012


As a part of an exercise in Sunday school, Jamie was asked to make a list of the talents he is most proud of.

My Talents 
by Jamie

Playing piano
Not being scared
Helping people
Running fast
Eye wiggling
( Jamie realized not long ago that he can make his eyeballs wiggle- it's really creepy and gross)

In the immortal words of Napoleon Dynamite...
"A man has to have skills, some captivating skills man, like bow hunting or computer hacking."
Or, if you are my oldest son...
not being scared and eye wiggling can be just as useful.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jake's Heart

One year ago,  Jake was two years old and waiting to have surgery to repair a hole in his heart.
Here he is last weekend, now three, fully recovered and riding high on his Daddy's shoulders.
Jake's family and friends joined together to celebrate his recovery by being a part of the Cincinnati Heartwalk. His parents, Leigh and Brian, formed a team called Jake's Gang, and my cousin Lauren and I were honored to be a part of it.
It was a great afternoon.
Everyone in Jake's Gang was excited to participate and we all remained in total agreement that Jake's adorable and brave young heart is absolutely 100% perfect.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ethiopian Saturday Night.

Rosie and her pal loved wearing their Ethiopian dresses.
Rosie got to spend Saturday evening in Ethiopia.
Not really, but she did get to go to a very fun Ethiopia inspired party for adoptive families of Ethiopian born kids. She had a wonderful time and really believes that she spent a few hours in her full of awesome birth country.  
She got to do all of her favorite things with her cool fun friends.

Tire swinging is so much more fun with a buddy!

Delicious dinner under the Ethiopian flags...
She even had a chance to learn some traditional Ethiopian dance moves with her always fun godmom.
 "We were all born in E-opia... we are all kind of sisters."
A very sleepy and very happy Miss Rosie made this observation on the way home from the celebration.
I think that there is a lot of truth to this.
Rosie enjoyed her party so much that she insisted on wearing her Ethiopian dress to church the next morning. 
She explained to anyone who commented on her dress...
"This is my Ethiopia girl faaancy party dress- I went to an Ethiopia party last night saw my Ethiopia girlfriends and danced and it was sooo much fun."

I do believe that our girl was the only person in church who wore their Saturday night party outfit as a Sunday morning conversation piece.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Memory of Collin Barton

Early Sunday morning a 16 year old boy, Collin Barton, went missing from our community. His body was found on Tuesday afternoon, he had been hit by a car while walking home. While I don't know the Barton family, we share common friends and via Facebook I was one of the many who received frantic posts from his father Sean Barton, as the search for Collin continued.
The Barton family received a lot of support from far and near who did what they could to help find Collin. Many worried folks searched desperately and everyone of our hearts broke when we learned of his loss.

 Sean Barton wrote an open letter to the community in hopes of reaching out to young people and making a difference for others. It is a true testament to Collin's memory that his family chose to offer comfort  during their darkest days of grief.
Below, is the statement issued by Mr. Barton... it is  an urgent plea to young people everywhere... to Collin's friends and classmates, to please slow down. Please slow down and then stop. Think things through. Then continue and make considerate decisions because these decisions matter.

Life is not without tragedy and we all know this. Some tragedies are easier to accept than others. This is one of those tragedies that is seemingly impossible to accept. We are struggling with how to move forward. The only thing that is keeping us going is our responsibility to each other as a family. We are very private people, especially in our grief. But we also feel a responsibility to our family, friends and community. We are making a statement in the hope to make a difference for others and gain something positive, to make a difference, even to one person.
To all of Collin's friends, especially those who were with him his last weekend, it is okay to be sad, but it is not okay to feel guilty. We are all feeling it, what could we have done differently? This question haunts us all.
The number of things and decisions that had to line up in the last 24 hours of Collin's life for this to happen seem impossible, but they did.

We all have to make thousands of decisions everyday. You cannot predict which one will end badly.

What you can do? What I am asking you to do, is consider your decisions in a different way. Think about the outcome, what may or may not happen. Think beyond, is this fun or not? Think beyond what you would want to do and consider what is safe and what your parents would want you to do. And if you need to call home, call home, no matter what you have done or what time it is.

One thing we always tell our kids is never go anywhere alone. This is an important rule. Follow it.

Don't be so afraid to tell your parents the truth and to follow the rules. Your life may depend on it.

Please, parents, talk to your kids. Kids talk to your parents. Be strong, parents, don't be afraid to say no to your kids. Kids, don't be afraid to say no to your friends.

The outpouring of help and support we had searching for Collin was staggering and we thank each and everyone of you. From officials, to the media, our friends, family and even complete strangers. My family thanks you.

If you feel compelled to memorialize Collin's life, please do so with a contribution to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the charity of your choice.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kid Lake.

 It all started with this book...
(a really terrific book...especially for boys)
The novel, Holes inspired the boys to dig a few holes under the swing set.
Not long before the neighborhood kids got involved in the project too...
"Hey, it's easier to dig if its wet...get the hose!"
Turns out the hose plan was brilliant one.
I ditched the camera phone...I had a feeling some good stuff was about to happen and didn't want to miss anything. 
I predicted correctly... exciting stuff did happen. The hole under the swing set grew into a lake... a kid made lake rather that a man made one.
Rosie's job was to circle the mayhem from the fun safety of the tractor.
And giggle.
She thought the big kids in mud were so funny, she could hardly contain herself.
Once she stopped her little tractor and said
"My tummy HURTS from really HURTS!"
(the very best kind of stomach ache)
 The regular old boring slide quickly became a high speed muddy water slide.
(happily, no kids were injured in the high speed muddy mud slides)
I don't want to brag, but I think my guys have some wicked mud skills!
I love Jamie's blissed out expression of muddy happiness.
Lily was not to be left out of the mud bath.
Here Swampgirl strikes a pose in the middle of Kid Lake.

Monday, March 12, 2012


 My boys often choose to enter the house in their own dramatic and stylish way.
They call it Smashface... and this is how it works.
The warm up is a hands in the air rebel yell scream run into the glass... then its a full on body slap, followed by a slow mo slide down the door.... bonus if lip prints are left on the glass.
Not sure why they do this, or where they learned it.
They didn't get it from has never occurred to me that running into the glass door face first, is a better way then opening it in the more traditional manner.
Don't think I've seen Karl do this move either.
I do believe that the Smashface is their very own invention.
(I'm so proud)
I think that one of the reasons they love this, is that the sound of boy body on glass never fails to make me jump...not a lot startles me when it comes to these two, but that icky skin smacking sound really gets to me.
This how a little conversation between Henry and I went not long ago.
Please don't do that. You sound like giant broken birds and it freaks me out...please stop.
"Stop what?"
You know what... the Smashface thing.
"Oh, that... yeah...well, we don't really Smashface into parked cars anymore, now we just do it at home."
Oh. Ok.
Smashface also proves to be big fun at the ice rink!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Love is Cheese. And Monsters.

As part of a school project on Jean Piaget (her favorite Swiss developmental psychologist), Mary asked each of her four younger siblings two philosophical questions.
The two questions were...
What is Love?
What is Life?
And here are their answers...
Henry (age 7)

"Love is something or someone like a girlfriend that you never want to loose.
 You want to be with them for the rest of your life. 
You don't want to ever break up."

"Life is like you're doing something. 
Life is not standing like a tree.
 (even though a tree is still living) 
You get smarter in your future."
Jamie (age 9)
"Love is romantic stuff. 
Something you want to keep."

"Life is when you have to think about everything that you are doing,
all of your life, the whole time."
Lily (age 11)
"Love is when you feel pure happiness with someone."

"The meaning of life is to fulfill your destiny."
Rosie (age3)
"Life is the beach."
"Love is cheese.
And monsters."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

She Dreams of Goats.

Rosie has a fear of goats.
She is afraid that she will fall victim to "pointy horns" that will bonk her over. While she is working through her fears and is becoming more and more brave, she still has a very healthy respect for all things goatish.
The other night, she had a bad goat dream.
She ran in to wake me up..."there's a GOAT in my BED!"
(there wasn't)
Together, we turned on all of the lights so that she could see that her bed is absolutely goat goats in sight.  She was still really nervous, so... in a misguided attempt to reassure her, I told her that I am afraid of snakes and sometimes I even have bad dreams about them... but the dreams aren't real and never ever leave your brain.
She was unconvinced...
"But its easy for you. Snakes are like DINOSAURS. Dead forever and GONE FOREVER! Goats are ALIVE...I've seen them and that's why I'm SCARED of them."
OK...Where to begin?
As it was 3:00 in the wee hours and I was hoping to get some more sleep... I agreed with her.
The truth of what is extinct and what is not, could definitely wait until morning, I chose not to argue...the path of least resistance. So she won the competition of whose dreams are scarier... with flawed facts, but in her mind, she definitely won. Her goat in the bed dream remains far worse then my irrational fear of "extinct" snakes.