Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If You Pray...

...please remember Jennifer and Jody today (and until this is settled). Their case is on-hold until their file is found in Ethiopia. They are the final stages of the adoption of their son and somehow the file with all the original paperwork got lost. Please pray that this lost file will be found and that their son can come home with them soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cornmeal Crepes and Hipster Art

A week late, we finally got to celebrate our anniversary. We got Abe settled in all snug and cozy with Ted's nephew D and his wife S, along with cousins L and E and the delightful friend L as an added bonus. We then settled ourselves in snug and cozy at the restaurant Lovely Hula Hands, which I'd heard fantastic things about.

We had drinks (mine a "chambord kamikaze"--too sweet, not recommended) and foccaccia bread with olive oil and olives as an appetizer. It looked like this:
Pretty tasty, though Ted didn't care for the salt on top.

Ted ordered a chicken dish that he liked but that I thought was weird tasting (how's that for a sophisticated review?). I had the cornmeal crepes, which were really tasty. Notice the butter on the bottom of the plate these are nestled in all snug and cozy? Mmmm...butter.
About halfway through our meal, a loud-talker arrived, sitting right next to us. Across from them was a pair of Germans whom Ted had been eavesdropping on here and there, commenting on how they were speaking "high German," very articulate. The Germans were two tables away and talked in at a normal level, so Ted had to really strain to hear them. The loud-talker ruined Ted's listening practice.

He and the woman he was with ordered right away, then leaned over towards us when they noticed I was eating the crepes, asking how they were. It's not that I'm anti-social; it's just that this is our anniversary dinner, and it's sort of a fancy-schmancy place, and I don't want a jeans-wearing loud-talker directing his bullhorn my direction. So I sort of shrugged and said that I was enjoying them though I am not a connoisseur of cornmeal crepes. He nodded and went back to telling the whole room about his house remodel.

(And yeah, I guess it may have been considered impolite that Ted was listening to the Germans. In his defense, he really enjoys practicing his German, plus it was a mother and daughter talking very politely about today's rain and the color of the drapes in the room.)

We ended our dinner by taking what I thought would look sweet but that ended up looking like a bout of after-dinner arm-wrestling:
We then took a walk down the street where, what? there's a shop selling specialty gourmet salt? Really? Really:
The owner gave us a sample of salt-infused caramels. It was all we could do not so spit it out on her floor. Sorry, lady, but we're not fancy enough yet for that kind of thing.

We then walked past a children's shop that was closed for the day, but I looked in the windows and was horrified at what some Portland hipsters consider appropriate (i.e. non-nightmare inducing) artwork for kids:
Excuse me, but what the hell is that? It looks like some warped Dr. Suess blue snake with no eyes ate a sad man with a sharp nose who managed to work his way almost to freedom but who gave up right at the end, thinking droopily to himself, "Eh, I'll just let my lower half get digested slowly by this scary blue worm...can't hurt that bad, right? They're only legs and internal organs." This clipboard art can be yours for only $75. Hurry, there's sure to be a mad rush on this happy character!

I turned around and saw the partner for half-digested worm-eaten man:
I'm not sure where to begin. This horned monster looks snug and cozy compared to the freakishly scary plastic snowman in a red hat below him. Notice how angry the snowman looks? And how about the sweet fuzzy sheep with devilish red eyes? What kind of childhood do the demented parents who buy this stuff intend for their children to have?

When we got back to pick up Abe, we found this wholesome stuff going on:
This was the first time we'd left Abe that he didn't cry even once. And how fun is it to watch your child turn from his play when he hears mom's familiar voice to put down every fun toy so he can scoot across that floor as quick as possible for a welcome-back snuggle? Aah, man, that gets me, especially when it comes with a welcome-back pat-pat-pat and exclamation of "Mom!"

As Elton said, "I thank the Lord for the people I have found," people who lovingly care for our son so we can celebrate our anniversary by being grossed out by salty caramels and freaked out a little by hipster kids' boutiques.
Abe told us on the way home that he likes anniversaries and thinks we should have them really often, especially if he gets to hang out with those guys you see above, nice people who only have pretty artwork with pictures of kitties that he can exclaim "kee-ee" at (he's moved on to two syllables now)
Now to start packing tomorrow for Blog Union '08. Woot. Woot.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


A dear one in our lives sent this to us today. We'd seen it already, as I'm sure a lot of you have also, but I thought I'd post it here anyway as a bit of Sunday inspiration (could this be a new theme after last week's Sunday post?). The link says that most people watching this end up smiling--saps that we are, we both find it impossible to watch without crying. Hope you enjoy:

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Playtime with Templates

Just playing with blogger templates, folks....
um, except that when I go to change the html code, it tries to delete all my widgets. I can't lose my widgets! What do I do? I've found the most rad Chuck Norris template that I'm dying to try out...

Friday, July 25, 2008


Abe has a couple of new things he's really into these days. The toilet is still a continuous source of fascination and wonder, as is now the bottom drawer in our cabinets where we keep our extra toothbrushes and floss. Letting him pull all of that out every day (sometimes several times a day) does two things: it keeps him away from the toilet and gives me time to brush my teeth.

He's also moved on from the thous
and times a day saying "wow" to now saying "mom." I think it's that he's brilliantly figured out that turning the w's upside down in "wow" created a whole new word. I sort of liked being called "Ma" but it seems that Abe has chosen "Mom" as what he wants to call me. Our conversations throughout the day often go something like this:

Abe: Mom?
Lori: Yes?
m hmm?
Yes, Abe?

This is deep stuff, people, real deep.

Thirdly, Abe has discovered kissing. Yeah, he may start off coming at you the normal, decent way that young boys should kiss: But as is true for most one-year-olds, it quickly turns to this slobbery mess: He now kisses every page in his favorite animal book that we read most nights, especially the dog page for some reason. He has this Baby Einstein book with a mirror on each page that he's supposed to use for doing things like making funny faces and "puff and blow" and touch his nose, etc. All Abe want to do though is kiss himself in the mirror.

He's pretty indiscriminate when it comes to who he will kiss. If he has known you more than a couple of hours and you say "Abe, kiss?" with an accompanying kissy-sound, he'll probably grace you with one. For a while there, I thought that I was the only one whose face he'd place both his chubby hands on before coming in for a kiss, but this weekend I caught him kissing his cousin Ezra this way. Oh well, for the time being, at least I'm the only one follows the kiss with by patting the shoulder and saying, "Mom."
Now this is in response to Courtney's post this week. Ted was working out of town on our anniversary (boo), so this is what I did in the afternoon:
I'd had this box of Trader Joe's green-tea muffins in the pantry for almost a year. I'd tasted them in the store and thought they were sort of weird, so I'm not sure why I bought them anyway. Well, I baked them and guess what? They tasted weird. So in Elaine Benes-style, I decided to forgo the stumps, going only for the muffin tops (click here if you don't know what I'm talking about).

And so as not to be wasteful, I gave the stump to Abe since he doesn't know any better right now anyway. So because even the best part, the tops, still tasted weird, I fancied them up with butter-spread and strawberry jam:
Green tea muffin stump for Abe, jammy top for Mom. Those stuffed cheeks don't lie--Abe didn't care a bit that he was just getting a stump:More weird green-tea stumps, please.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Camera

It finally happened. We got a new camera. What joy, what bliss. I am happy. It's a fancy-shmancy one, and I plan on keeping my photo-blog updated now for anyone who might be interested in checking out my ongoing experiment with learning photography sans class (with the help of library books and fellow photography bloggers though).

Thanks to Ted, who tracked down the best new camera, I got to take these today:

And four year ago tomorrow, this happened:

Happy Anniversary, Us.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Newish Abe photo

So it's not a brand new picture, but it's something. Neola sent us this, taken in her backyard at her send-off party last Saturday while I was inside cooking collards with her sweet Mama.
Our anniversary is in four days. I think that's when the new camera might be coming.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My New Hero

I know, I'm up way later than I should be. My dad, Granny and nieces left this morning, driven to the airport by one of Ted's brothers so that Abe and I could keep sleeping. Another of Ted's brothers came over late this afternoon with his family, here visiting from their home in Germany, so that vacuous silence that had overtaken the house for a few hours today left with Abe getting to meet another aunt and uncle plus three more cousins (he's got a total of almost 30).

I just finished reading this newest post and wanted to point it along to others. I'm too tired to try to explain how inspired it makes me. Just go read and be blessed this Sunday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Snapshots of the last few days

Hearing my Granny exclaim, "She thinks my tractor's sexy!" during a lively game of Apples to Apples.

Storm Troopers trying to kidnap my baby.

Taking photos with my talented photographer-niece.

The other niece changing two poopy diapers without complaining.

Many, many, many references to this song. Ya trick ya, ya'll.

Excitement at finding cute jeans at Goodwill.

Pappy stealing our baby from us for the week with excessive bonding.

Abe cracking us all up over dinner by patting Pappy on the arm and sweetly proclaiming him to be "Ma" (due to all that bonding).

Going to bed every night without my usual back-ache since Pappy's been carrying Abe everywhere.

Granny's fresh raspberry cobbler, made from a recipe she just happened to have in her purse.

Over the noise of late-night kitchen construction by Ted and his father-in-law, chatting about boys for an hour on facebook from the office with my niece in the living room. Some conversations are just better had typing.

Ending this evening tucked away upstairs with just me and my boy laughing at silliness before going to sleep.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brilliant Idea

This afternoon, while the family is out touring the Japanese Gardens, Abe was here "helping" Ted with house projects. He was sitting in the kitchen with a screwdriver in his hand, and Ted said, "We ought to take his picture with those tools so that one day if he wants to open any construction-related business, he can use the photo for his store with the caption, 'Abe Rooney: already in business for 30 years'."

Brilliant, I say. Take photos of your kids with the tools of various trades. You never know what they'll want to become. Save the photos. Let them use the photos for their business cards. Make sure they deposit 10% of any earnings into your retirement.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

They Came From the South

My dad, Granny, and two nieces are sitting on an airplane right now taking them from Jackson, Mississippi to Portland, Oregon to come meet their new grandson, great-grandson, and cousin, Mr. Abe. I'm excited. I was up until 2am last night doing chores and woke up way too early, simply excited about them coming. Here is why:
They're good at making their own fun. Here is Granny (can you believe she's 76 years old?! Her pilates class kicked my butt when I went with her to her gym), Layne, and Daddy out at night practicing their best "warrior" yoga pose...

...and Lauren, here in Portland last summer, discovering meaningful ways to spend her hard-earned cash.

"Aw, man, I'd always wanted one of these!"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Recommended Reading for an Ostrich

A place to start:

In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories (indispensable--and absolute must read for anyone adopting a child of a different race, my number 1 recommendation).

Being White: Finding our Place in a Multiethnic World

Black Baby, White Hands: A View From the Crib

Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption (I read this one very early on in our process...intriguing and wonderful--highly recommended).

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: and Other Conversations About Race

This is just a very quick list, put together between the chores we're doing today to get ready for four of my family members coming to visit tomorrow. Please help me fill in the gaps, as I know there are many more excellent resources out there. If you know of more, leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Oh, and if you need some new music to listen to, this playlist is what I'm currently loving, put together by our friend Neola whose departure from Portland this Sunday I am bemoaning (click on the mixtape and let Jack and Loretta wash over you). At least she's going back to the South so we'll hopefully get to see her there...We love Neola.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Ostrich Impulse

While I rarely ever post to the yahoogroups on Ethiopian adoption that I subscribe to, I do read the discussions from time to time if it's something that seems interesting and helpful. This week, there has been a fascinating discussion going on about many articulate viewpoints being expressed that encourage people to consider things they may not have thought about before.

It seems that it can be easy to gloss over issues of race when it has become a non-issue in the day-to-day harmony in our families. The problem with this is that our children will experience racism at some point in their lives, and it's up to us to prepare them for that. Burying our heads in the sand isn't an option.

I was disheartened to read one very short post in this discussion written by a youth pastor who was asking to be removed from the group. He expressed frustration with the topic and seemed to feel that the discussion was going on too long, that it was being dissected to death. I can't find the original post, but I do remember his writing something about hoping that it would be enough that he'd "rescued an orphan." I cringed.

He left a link to the church he works for. While it brandishes claims on its website of valuing diversity, I didn't notice a single non-white face in any picture (and there were a lot of pictures). Even among the white crowd, everyone looked pretty much the same: no punk rockers, no "down and outers," no grunge youth. Everyone looked very clean and tidy, with tucked in shirts, baseball caps, cute ponytails on the girls and tasteful highlights on the women. The website even lets all those tidy folks know that it's okay to wear crocs sometimes. Well, that's good to know. For a minute there, I thought maybe they discriminated against footwear.

Someone on the group wrote this youth pastor a tactful and gracious response, pointing him towards a study that was done about referring to our adopted children as "rescued orphans" and encouraging him not to leave the group. So far, he hasn't responded. I hope he does.

All of this made me feel angry and snarky (hence the sarcasm) but then sad.
When this guy was challenged to think about race, he ran away. The child that he adopts is going to be brought out of all that is familiar to her and into a world that not only is completely foreign but also that treats her as a charity case, not just someone's daughter. What a lucky girl.

"Oh look, there's that sweet brown girl the youth pastor rescued."

She's going to be seen as a specimen of this man's altruism, not as a unique human being who, yes, may have been brought out of difficult circumstances, but who needs now to feel that she's part of a family who loves her as she is.

I'm by no means an expert on race. I still have so much to learn, and I hope that I listen to the voices of those who know more than I do and especially to those who have experienced first-hand the awfulness of racism. What I do know now is that when I look at this newest member of our family, I don't see him as a child we rescued. He's just our son, and if anyone should ever feel lucky during the next 18 years, it's us since we're the ones who get to raise and nurture this amazing, beautiful boy.

Bubba Youth Pastor needs to get a clue.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nerd-girl Crush

For that fellow nerd-girl...the glorious Stephen Merchant:

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Dare You

I dare you not to cry (despite Whitney's warbling):

Ted and I are slightly skeptical about the authenticity of this story. If it is actually true, seriously, it's impossible not to get teary at this.
Update: we've been doing a little research. Looks like it's a true story. You can read it here. And it seems there's a movie about it too.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

a Nightmare and a Frolic in the Toilet

Our friend Jill took this photo today when we were having brunch at their house. I love it.

I had a dream last night that we were being made to swap Abe for another baby. It was truly awful. I was freaking out, panicked, asking "the authorities" why they were doing this. I remember asking, "But this new baby we're getting wakes up every day at 6:00!" Yeah, we think Abe is pretty perfect for us, and not just because he sleeps until 10:00 most days.

This afternoon, within the span of about ten seconds, we found him in the bathroom, standing at the toilet, one arm reached as far down as he could reach, splashing gleefully. When I picked him up to move him to something more productive, he screeched bloody screeches for a good two minutes. Two minutes may not sound like very long to you. Well, you just haven't heard Abe's screech yet.

The camera is still missing, so we're depending on friends to email us photos they take when we're together. Thanks, Jill.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I can't find my camera. It's been missing for a whole day now. This really sucks.
On a very positive note, Mary at Owlhaven ended up raising $1800 for her parents to take to Ethiopia to go towards buying food staples for the people in that region.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Al Gore came to visit.

What we found Saturday morning while yard saling:
Abe really digs it. He holds the wheel and even uses the gear shift. Have you ever before witnessed such cuteness? I didn't think so.

Why we were up until 2am last night:
This game and the 1980's version of Trivial Pursuit (played after this game of Cranium was finished) were both found at Goodwill for $4 a piece.

I didn't want Abe to take a second nap today, but being read a Jimmy Carter book might do this to a boy:
And another Southern politician, Al Gore, stopped by too this week:

Finally, my new addiction: Go Blooque.