Thursday, October 30, 2008


Grossy=Hybrid of gross and yucky
Piss=Pants (so we hear "Piss off!" a lot when he's undressing)
Miss Anya=Lasagna
Dammit=You guessed it—Mama needs to watch her mouth
Sara-lou=Scooby-doo (we have a good friend named Sara-lou. I think she's honored.)
Pasta luego=Hasta luego
Lightning P. Queen=Lightning McQueen (from the Cars movie)
Old MacDoughnut=Old MacDonald
What because=Why

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not an addict

The other night as we were sitting down to dinner, Nora starting clawing at me and rooting, making it perfectly clear that I wasn't going to eat before her. This maybe 30 minutes after her last feeding. I resigned myself to a(nother) cold dinner, pulled up my shirt and said, "You're a junkie, girl!"

Sidamo shook his head: "No, him's not a junkie. Him's a baby. Him just want milk."

What would I do without him?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tickle Monster (and big giggles)

According to Nora, Sidamo is the coolest cat in town. (Sorry for all the bouncing—I need to fire my cameraman.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

4 months (and a couple days)

Dear Nora,

What a fun month it has been. You've started rolling over, laughing, and staying up all night. You're a true party animal. For a more robust summary of what you've accomplished this month, refer to prior posts.

As always, I'm over-the-moon in love with you, and I can't wait to see what month five brings.


What was that about "Country First"?

I've been getting at least one piece of mail daily from the RNC—apparently they're casting a pretty wide net, since I'm a registered Democrat. Most of them give me a chuckle (a huge picture of Palin with a tiny John McCain off in the background, messages placing the blame for the financial crisis squarely on Obama, and so forth). But the latest one was just disgusting. The front features a menacing picture of the nose of a jet plane aimed at a building and reads, "Terrorists: They don't care who they hurt." Inside is a big image of McCain's opponent with the message, "Barack Obama. Not who you think he is."

I'm all for a gloves-off debate about the issues—this is an important election, and people need to be informed about who they're voting for—but this? Playing games with our nation's worst tragedy in recent memory, and using not-so-subtle innuendo to suggest your opponent is somehow linked to it? It makes my stomach turn.

For the record, when asked if he was proud of this ad, McCain responded, "Absolutely."

How's that for Country First?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Un-scary Halloween treats

I've always recognized that there's something gross about the mass-crap consumption at Halloween, but it wasn't until I had a kid who would be among the crap-eaters that it really hit me just how icky it is. Don't get me wrong—I have no beef with indulgence, or even a once-a-year gorgefest, but the high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavorings that end up in the treat bags? Now that's the stuff real nightmares are made of.

This year I decided that, while I can't control what my neighbors hand out, I can at least do my small part to take some of the nasty out of the holiday. And no, I won't be handing out carrot sticks or mini-tubes of toothpaste—I'm not begging for an egging. I decided on organic, fair-trade chocolates from Endangered Species Chocolates—so yummy the neighborhood kids won't even notice the absence of Butterfingers and Skittles.

Here's a great article on the whole issue of fair-trade cocoa, as well as the benefits of choosing organic:

Happy haunting!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Amish Paradise

Thanks in no small part to the kindness of fellow travelers, TSA agents, and the monkey backpack, the kids and I are home alive from our trip to Amish country. We went to visit my dad and his wife, who recently bought a B&B there. We had a great time, and it was the first time all six cousins were together in one place.

Sidamo, Zoe, Xavier, Catherine, Nora, and George

The B&B is lovely, tucked in Ohio's rolling hills, and we were there at the perfect time of year: leaves are changing, the weather was beautiful, and the days are still long enough to spend lots of time outdoors. The kids had a blast running around my father's property, feeding the deer on the farm behind the property, and playing on the neighbor's swingset. Oh, and riding in the cart of my dad's John Deere.

Catherine and Meaghan feeding one of the more approachable deer. One of them, #50 (dubbed Lucky because she's managed to stay on the farm for eight years) would actually stick her head through the fence and lick your hand—or your infant's face, whichever's closer. Sorry, Nora!

Zoe giving Sidamo a push.

Zoe and Xavier. Flattering angle for both, wouldn't you say?

Pop-pop giving George and Catherine a ride. It's quite surreal seeing my Brooklyn-born dad behind the wheel of a tractor.

George and Sidamo taking a tractor ride. How cute are they?

Zoe showing off her new friend the wooly worm.

George, crafting his next bit of mischief.

The days sort of blend together (blame it on the lack of sleep—Nora was up all night to nurse every night, and Sidamo started his day at around 5:30 most days), but one of the days we went on a boat ride on part of Ohio's extensive canal system.

Can you see the horses ahead in the distance? Turns out they don't walk in the water to pull the boat as some of us (okay, just one of us) thought.

Andrew and George. See the beautiful leaf colors?

Pop-pop with all his grandchildren. Not easy to get a good photo of six kids. Someone on the boat asked if all the kids were mine. Good lord, I would have thrown myself off the boat (and into the knee-deep water) if I'd been in charge of wrangling all those kids by myself.

A different day we went to a pumpkin patch and petting zoo, but Sidamo and George slept through the pumpkin picking part and woke up pretty cranky about the petting part.

Xavier with his bounty.

At least most of the cousins thought it was fun.

Just not this one.

Seriously, how can you be grumpy in the company of this little piglet?

Or this one?

A big, big highlight of the trip was the realization that my dad's new home is within driving distance of my blog friend Alicia and her daughter Eliza, who was one of Sidamo's roommates at the care center in Ethiopia. I completely fell in love with little Eliza when we were there to pick up Sidamo, and if those vigilant nannies had ever turned their backs, I might have snuck out of there with two kiddos. Alicia, Eliza, and Eliza's big brother Benjamin made the drive to Amish country to meet us, and the kids had a lovely reunion. Eliza is every bit as charming as I remember her, and she couldn't have found herself a more wonderful mom and big brother. They're remarkably forgiving as well: After our gathering at my dad's place, we took them on a wild goose chase with the unfulfilled promise of lunch. Really and truly, we drove for hours in a three-car caravan before eventually finding a place to eat greasy grilled cheese sandwiches. Poor Alicia realized at some point that her tank was on empty and decided to turn around before we made it to a restaurant. I'm still not quite sure how it all happened, or why she's still speaking to me, but maybe we're all stronger for it?

Eliza, Sidamo, and the ubiquitous Dora.

George, Sidamo, and the lovely Miss Eliza.

Can't you see them playing duets in a smoky bar in about 60 years?

On Meaghan and family's last day there, we went to visit some neighbors, who graciously offered rides on both horses and swings.

Sidamo still says no to horse rides, but he was thrilled about the swing.

He did ask to touch the horse, though—a first. Oh, but he also insisted on having the whole penis discussion again. Loudly, incessantly, in a very quiet barn occupied by just me, him, a horse, and a very modest Amish woman. "Mommy, him have a peeeenus?" I ignore. "Mommy, that's a peeeeeeeeenus?" And so on. I can't begin to explain how uncomfortable it was, but at least I know I can repay him by showing this blog to his future girlfriends.

Catherine and Zoe (not pictured here) both loved riding Seb, and Ruby was the perfect hostess and riding coach.

In other big news, Nora rolled over for the first time while we were there. I missed the first rollover, but my dad saw it. Now she rolls pretty much as soon as she's placed on her back. This is a photo of her immediately after one of her first revolutions. Do you see that sense of accomplishment?

All in all, the trip was great. Traveling alone with two kids is no cakewalk, though. The flights weren't as bad as I had envisioned, but it took a ton of preparation and even more patience—on all our parts. I learned before the flight home that I could request a gate pass so my dad could come through security with us and all our accoutrements, and that made life much easier. The visit itself did have its tough parts, and at times the kids and I were pretty cranky and tired of each other. But we all survived (with a few extra gray hairs for one of us), and it was all worth it to see my father thriving in his new environs.

It was also pretty exciting to get six of the world's cutest kids in one place for a weekend. I wish that could happen more often.