Monday, November 26, 2012

Bengal Fever Friday

Henry made a personal declaration on Thanksgiving Friday that he and Jamie were the luckiest boys ever.  I have to agree with him on that... all three of my guys, four including Grandpa Jim, got to spend a morning of football with the Bengals, at Paul Brown Stadium.
Since it was a dudes only outing, I pleaded with my dear husband to capture the magic photographically for me... he delivered with some great shots of the boys.
My favorites are of the younger two leaping into the end zone...
Dad and Grandpa chose not to do a goal line leap, but did pose on the big Bengal B at mid field.
 And then the little guys ran a few 100 yard sprints, just because they could. that #18, wide receiver AJ Green chillin' at his locker?
Hmmm...he looks a little shorter in person.
Nope... here is the true (super cute) A.J. Green.... he's the tall fellow in the middle.
This is an example of why moms and sisters were not included in Bengal Fever morning... there is a good chance we would have embarrassed all parties by paying too much attention to the cuteness of the players... not so cool amongst the dudes in our family.
The awesome (and as noted, super cute) quarterback Andy Dalton,
(again, tall guy in the middle),
with my two very happy (and cute) boys.
Punter Kevin Huber and long snapper, Clark Harris were kind enough to grin and pose with numbers 14 and 18. 
 I think H-Bomb needs to grow a smidgey more to fill out these pads.
The boys delivered an inspired pretend post practice press report...
but Coach Lewis didn't appear too worried about them taking over his job.
Doesn't Karl look a little bit NFL coach-y, sporting his Bengal logo gear that his wife gave him as an early Christmas gift?

 Thank you to ll of the good folks with the Cincinnati Bengals for making this special day possible for my guys. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and a day that they will never forget. I can imagine that it's distracting to have a couple of kids (and dads) poking around the locker room and asking for photos and autographs, but the players, coaches and front office could not have been kinder about them being there. The tour was offered by the Bengals organization as an auction item at the International Adoption Center's party, Passport to Forever. I am grateful that the Bengals have a heart for adoptive families and opened up their stadium and practice to benefit the kids. Thank you dear Bengals for your support and generosity and congrats on a fabulous season.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Dear Turkey.

Ten years ago, on this national day of Thanksgiving, the world was graced with a charming little Boston terrier who would soon become Anna's Christmas puppy.
Here is dear little "Turkey" as he was so lovingly christened, and 11 year old Anna, during their first days together.
And here is the duo today...
Happy Thanksgiving and birthday to my favorite little Turkey grand-dog , wishing you only the very happiest and healthiest years to come!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Welcome to Cincinnati, Emilio Estevez.

Emilio Estevez as a broody and intense Billy the Kid in Young Guns.

Yesterday morning was full of excitement for me in terms of my very rare celebrity sightings.
Ok, here goes...
I was enjoying a cup of coffee with friends in a downtown coffee shop when in walks Emilio Estevez. 
And I got a little distracted.
(sorry friends) 
As a middle aged housewife of the new millennium,  I am also, most definitely, an adolescent of the 80's and spent my awkward, but formative years going to the movies. 
Many movies.
And 87% (conservative estimate) of these movies starred my now coffee shop neighbor, Emilio E.
I swoon.
And the best part about seeing him now is that he seemed to be a really nice guy. 
While I don't spend a ton of time hanging out with movie stars, I can imagine that they might be a little bit bossy and a smidgey bit over confident at times.
But not my teenage hero Emilio... he was quiet and polite and  as he left the coffee shop he stopped to chat with our local Streetvibes salesman Andre. Unlike me, Andre didn't seem to recognize dear Mr. Estevez and asked him why a guy like him got to hang out with such fine and foxy women.

   (I completely agree, the two women that Emilio was with, were definitely fine and foxy and also members of the Greater Cincinnati Film Commission )

 And Emilio chuckled and gave him a few bucks... because he is adorable and sweet, and then Andre tipped back his head and belted out a joyous Christmas song for Emilio Estevez and the fine and foxy ladies.

And I took this picture because I'm sneaky that way.
Later, when I tried to convey the magnitude of my exciting morning to my dear daughter Mary, she  had a tough time wrapping her mind around it, even when I showed her this photo of dear Emilio listening attentively.
"Mom, he's like older than you!"
Imagine that...gasp.
"Maybe a little, and when you run into Joe Jonas is 30 years, you will still be wowed, and he will be a few years older then you too." 
(I was impressed by my comeback and eager to stick up for Emilio and I)
"Did you get to talk to your teenage moviestar hero?"
"Why didn't you ask someone to take a picture of you with him?"
Don't know. 
"If it was me, I would have asked him to put me in a fun headlock and then asked someone to take a pic... " 
I would have likely been arrested if I asked Emilio Estevez to headlock me this morning, sorry to let you down, Mary. 
"So you just weirdly stalked him and took his picture when he wasn't looking?"
"You are such a creeper."
Apologies for the stalk, Emilio, and welcome to Cincinnati. 
Thank you for shooting your film here and for being so positive and generous about our fair city. We are delighted that you chose Cincinnati to film Johnny Longshot and look forward to being a part of a great family film.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Young Writers for Adoption

The young writers were recognized for their talent at Passport to Forever.

Early last year, I attended a talk given by one of the fabulous English teachers at my kid's school.  It was called  The Science of Developing Strong Writers, and it caused me to start thinking about what I could do to encourage kids of adoptive families to express themselves through their words. I know that a lot of adopted kids have had some very remarkable and inspiring early histories and I would love to give them an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams. Their pasts, their present and their futures. I wanted to invite and encourage kids of adoptive families to get their thoughts out of their head and hearts and onto paper to share.

With the help of my dear husband, we decided to host a contest for young writers of adoptive families asking youth to participate by sending their written work to a website. We  opened it up to all ages, and all experiences, kids who were adopted themselves and also those who maybe lost their status as an only child or youngest kid, but gained a brother or sister.

The young writers were invited to choose from a couple of questions with the common theme of family and to share their thoughts in less than 500 words... either poetry or prose. We were eager to read what they had to share. A panel of very qualified (and fair minded) teachers carefully read each submission and judged them based on overall quality and emotional impact. I was very happy to pass on the difficult job of choosing the top submissions to this fine group of teachers... judging this contest was not at all an easy task.

 Last weekend, Karl and I were able to meet the writers in person... we were thrilled to have a chance to see the young faces behind the words. The International Adoption Center at Children's Hospital hosted their annual benefit gala, and offered to recognize the contest award winners. It was an honor to meet each one and thank them for participating. Each writer showed a great deal of determination, creativity and above all, courage. Writing about something as personal as adoption is extremely difficult and these writers showed a huge amount of bravery in sharing their story. My hope is that each of these young people feels good about being a part of the project and gained something by sharing their words. I very much hope that they continue to share their gifts as they grow.

Below is a prose excerpt from a young writer who was adopted from a Bulgarian orphanage at the age of 11. He chose to define the word "family."
 "The term family had a different meaning for me when I was growing up in a Bulgarian orphanage. I made friends who I considered to be my “family.” Daniel, Yordan and Veselean were my three closest friends. They were my support system. When food was scarce, my friends and I would leave the orphanage and go into the town to find small jobs to earn enough money for food. One job required us to sweep a large taxi parking lot to earn enough money for a loaf of bread and a container of butter. It wasn’t much but we were satisfied with our efforts. We were trying to take care of each other as a family but we were only seven-year old kids. We didn’t have parents to give us guidance or care for us. There were many pieces missing in my “family.”

 I was searching for the pieces to complete a family while I was in the orphanage. I now realize that the missing pieces were a mom and a dad."

This young writer expresses her feeling for her sisters through poetry... here is an excerpt from the poem that she submitted.

"I tell them it’s not blood that holds a family together
Its love, the glue that lasts forever
So yes, I love them just as much
And I’ll hold each of their little quirks
Their grins, their laughs, their teddy-bear hugs
In the deepest part of my heart
Because nothing can break my family’s bond
We’ve loved each other far too long."

true sisters.

To read all of the winning submissions to
Young Writers for Adoption
please visit our website

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Design/Build, Talking Head.

From interesting concept...

to completed project.

Dad totally nailed the cool TV- talking head Halloween costume so Lily could go trick or treating with news anchor gusto.

Thank you dear architect-y Dad (aka, Karl Gieseke AIA, of G/R Architecture and Design), who happily switched roles with Lily who designed the project while Dad/Karl worked as the the building contractor.
Who says architects don't get to do cool projects anymore?


Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Pig Returns to her Corner!

A Cause for Celebration!

Our Big Pig is home from the hog hospital and now guarding her rightful corner.
She remained brave throughout the quite lengthy cosmetic double ear surgery and the subsequent rehabilitation.
We are all very happy... our family is complete again now that our fine swine has returned home. 
 I thought about posting a curbside note warning any potential pignappers to stay away from our newly restored cement hog (now with state of the art anti theft security) and threatening prosecution to all pignappers, but Karl thought that I sounded crazy. 
And also mean.
So, to avoid sounding crazy and mean, I will post no notice... but instead provide a warning here.

Pignappers Beware- 
Our fine swine is too delicate of a hog to endure the horrors on any further foul play. 
Enjoy her as she serenely and stoically guards her corner, 
but please leave her in peace.

Welcome home Big Pig,
We missed you.