Sunday, December 20, 2009

Parent FAIL/Santa Edition

Judah's daycare has a wonderful little holiday gift exchange. Santa's invited. A dad or grandpa always performs the role. According to legend, no child has ever identified their father or grandfather.

Tommy dressed up as Santa this year. He looked great. Tommy made a fabulous, albeit slightly skinny Santa.

Tommy walked into the room.
Judah instantly yelled, "Daddy! THAT'S MY DADDY!"
The rest of the children scattered and appeared too scared to notice Judah's announcement.

Since then Judah has been walking around saying "Santa is my daddy!"
He seems to like the idea.

He's only 2.
I think we are doing it wrong.
Pretty sure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Old Christmas Card, Old Christmas Card

Judah and I made these today out of old Christmas cards...
Judah likes to recycle :)
I like his hand print.

Thanksgiving 2009

Ignore that it's mid-December. Pretend like it's the day after Thanksgiving.

Thank you.

One of my very favorite things about the holidays is watching Judah play with his cousins. The nicest bunch of children. Seriously. I get teary just thinking about how sweet the group is. I feel very fortunate that I have such a big, beautiful family. Watching Judah be a part of all the holiday magic and craziness is definitely a highlight of my life...and his. Judah had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I think I heard him run and giggle for about three hours straight.

Here's some Lily and Judah goodness:

Friday, December 11, 2009


One hurdle that many adoptive families struggle with is the $. It's hard. So, so hard.

Here's what I'm thinking:

I want to create a space (who am I kidding? Ok, I'll come clean. I'm thinking about having my sweet, sweet husband create a space) on to display and sell items that families have created to help fund their adoption.
What do you think?
Do you think there would be interest? Are you interested?

I'm busy purchasing Christmas gifts and LOVE supporting adoption in the process. I'm super impressed with the beautiful and creative items I've come across.

Judah and I are busy making Christmas gifts today. I'll post later. They are not for sale :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Dubai has been in the news lately...

It was my plan for us to go to Dubai on our next trip to Ethiopia* (I'm our travel agent and usually decide where we are going). I wanted to stop over for a day or two. It fascinates me. It sounds exotic and crazy and different and surreal. Truthfully, I was more than a little bit excited to see it.

Tommy said "no."
He told me it was built on slavery and the slaves are still trapped there. He doesn't want to support that**.
So, I read articles like this.

Years ago, I remember trying to figure out whether or not it was ok to visit Burma (you know, if we made sure not to eat, stay at, or buy from any government run places, only the mom and pop type shops). We decided not to. If we traveled there, supporting the government of Myanmar seemed unavoidable. Now, I'm not comparing what's happening in Burma to what's happening in Dubai. I'm only questioning where is right for me to travel and why.

What do you think? Since Tommy's not going, I'm pretty sure I'm not either. Since most of us traveling to Ethiopia have limited options for layovers, what do you think?

*Oh, and we haven't started our paperwork yet. I'll let you know when we do. Soon. Hopefully. Soon.

**Please don't think I judge you for one second if you went or will go to Dubai. I have really wanted to go for a few years now. I only judge Star Jones for honeymooning there and I think that's because I just don't like her, Dubai going or not.

Holiday Special

Good news!
Now until Dec 5th, for every item you purchase at we will donate a book to a child in Ethiopia.
As always, all proceeds are going toward building a well in Ethiopia.
If you, or anyone you know, would like a tote or a book, buy one now :)

We are getting closer and closer to the well and appreciate all of your support!

Oh, and my talented hubby updated and spruced up the website. I'm proud. Go take a peek.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Thanksgiving Mystery ...

Judah has a little toy car set that we got in Krakow, Poland last summer. Thanksgiving night we returned from dinner to find the set in the above condition.

No one has yet been punished, as we do not have any eye-witnesses, and neither of the suspects are speaking ... Justice may never be served in this case.

Neither party is a typical chewer/toy-destroyer, but we believe this behavior was vindictive in nature, AKA baby-jealousy.


I haven't won anything since that cake walk in 2nd grade. I rocked that cake walk.

But, on Thanksgiving Day my luck changed. I won an adorable shirt.

Jennifer has an Etsy shop with lots of adorable t-shirts and more. The proceeds go to humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. So, I'm obviously a fan. You should be too. I've been creating my Christmas list and know that a cute shirt or two will be on the list. Oh, and she is offering free shipping if you order by Dec 5th. Go quick! Go quick!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't make Mommy sad!

Judah now scolds his toys. He tell them, "Please be nice! You are making mommy sad!" Since he's very theatrical, he says "sad" very dramatically with a sad face.

I have NO idea where he gets this from.

It should be noted that he also spends a great deal of time telling his toys very sweet things. They can just be a little bit naughty every now and then.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Tracy at JunkPosse makes amazing necklaces. She is currently donating 30% of the profits from a select group of necklaces to the Bottomly's Ethiopia Adoption Travel Expenses. Here are some of the necklaces.

Really great necklaces! If for some reason any of the above links are marked sold out, you can click on the JunkPosse store link right here to find the necklace listed again.

Monday, November 16, 2009


On the way to work/daycare, Judah and I often discuss important matters. Usually, he picks the subject. Ok, he always picks the subject.

Today's subject: All the People Judah Loves.

J: "I love papa"
Me: "Yes, you love papa"
J: "and grandma toooo"
Me: "yes"
J: "I love dada"
Me: "Yes, you love dada"
J: "I love Georja, Steve, Danica, Trent, Dylan, Kiki, Cody"
Me: "Yes, you love them"
J: "I love Saoirse"
Me: "Yes you love them"
J: "Auntie Cole, Nana"
Me: "Oh Judah, you are so good at loving people"
J: "...and pizza" (with a serious look).
I laugh, which cues him to tell me a very funny, original joke (cause I'm already obviously in a laughing mood).
J: "banana pizza." Then laughs a great belly laugh for about 2 minutes straight.
Me: "banana on PIZZA?"
J: "YES! GOOD IDEA!" Still laughing.
J: "I love papa pizza" while laughing so hard he's turning red.
Me: "papa on a pizza?"
J: "Yes! Good idea! and dada pizza! Grandma pizza!..." He spends the rest of the ride cracking himself up. Seriously. Cracking. Himself. Up.

I love how hard my Judah laughs.
I love how often he laughs.
I love his fabulous jokes.
I'm so lucky.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Race Car

Judah loves cars and trucks. He likes 'em fast. He likes 'em loud. So today we went to the NHRA Auto Club Finals. We had a great time. Judah met Antron Brown, top fuel driver.

Antron's ride.

Judah's Ride

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Artist

Judah created this original masterpiece at Georja's (daycare) a few weeks ago. He is proud. His mommy is proud. His daddy is proud. Judah shows everyone who comes over. He squeals with delight and says "I did it! Georja! Georja!"**
Very cute stuff.

**we are not sure if he's explaining that he did it at Georja's OR if it's his very first portrait. Interpret as you wish.

Today, we went to the zoo. Judah met a 2-year-old boy at the gorilla exhibit (we spend a lot of time at the gorilla exhibit). The boy looked at Judah and said in an informative and very assertive tone, "this is MY mommy" while pointing to his mom. Judah looked right back at him, matched his tone, and said, "this is MY mommy" while pointing to me. This went on for a few rounds. I assured them that they were both correct. That there was no reason to get fired up. Plenty of mommys representin'!

It was a fabulous 2 year-old disagreement/agreement. I love being Judah's mommy, maybe especially (and obviously egocentrically) when he's being all bossy about the fact.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Foto Flashback

The first picture we ever saw of our Judah...

Two minutes ago

Loving his alligator

Making a funny face

and laughing hysterically after being shown the picture above.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday Nights

On Wednesday nights I go to my parents' house.
The events have ritualized:
We eat Grandma's homemade organic salad and soup (it's made from good stuff from her ever growing garden).
Papa and Judah do the dishes (Judah is always quite bossy about how the dishes are done and somewhat resistant to Papa's help).
They work/laugh through their differing styles.
Then Papa and Judah mop and sweep at the same time.
Together they vacuum.
Sometimes they water plants.
They always play with cars.
I feel lucky.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Judah's Burrito Recipe

Now that Judah's 2, his household chores include fixing meals. Here's his burrito recipe:
Add two spoonfuls of beans.


Add cheese.


Roll it up.

Have Scarlett take care of the clean up.

Enjoy (Judah's food always tastes best to him).

*please ignore that I didn't post yesterday and that I'm a big FAIL. I'm going to post again tonight to make up for it and learn, somehow, to forgive myself :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tote it up

Have I mentioned our tote bags? Oh, I haven't? Ok, then let me tell you about them :)
They are made of 80% recycled cotton and 20% recycled soda bottles. They are sturdy and perfect for grocery shopping, gym clothes, or just about anything. My FAVORITE part: ALL of the proceeds are going towards building a well in Ethiopia.
Here's where you go to get the tote:
Wouldn't they make a great holiday gift? A useful gift that gives back. If you know me, stop reading. Yes. Stop. Right. Now. Seriously.
If you don't know me well, please feel free to keep reading.
Now that it's just us, I can tell you what I'm giving lots of people this holiday season.
I'm giving the aforementioned tote bag with Gobena coffee inside.
Here's where you go to get the coffee:
Families with children? I'm adding a copy of I Make the World Better. Yes, that's my plan. YOU can even steal my idea and give the same gifts if you want. I actually encourage it. :)

I have more gift ideas so stay tuned.
Remember, we are only on day 9.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Now we're cookin' ... almost.

I love this book. It’s beautiful. The pictures are beautiful. The stories are beautiful.
Have I mentioned that I just love everything about it?
I do.
It’s a cookbook, but so much more. The chef, Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by his adoptive parents.
It’s truly a celebration of Africa and you can’t help but be inspired after flipping through the informative and colorful pages.
I admit, I thought for a moment, I would LOVE if Marcus Samuelsson created a cookbook focusing on just Ethiopian cooking next. Then reality hit. I don't cook a lot right now. This fabulous book has recipes for all the staples. I need no more. At least right now.
Truthfully, this is what happens.
I open the book while Judah is napping and get lost in it. About 30 minutes later, I awake from my happy daze and tell Tommy that I NEED Ethiopian food right now. There is no time for buying ingredients and cooking. Judah wakes up and we go eat at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. I don’t actually cook anything. Sad, but true.

Since Christmas is arriving soon, I thought you should know about another book that needs to be added to your list. Plus, it stays in line with my policy of giving gifts that give back. A portion of the author’s royalties are donated to UNICEF. Gotta love that Marcus Samuelsson.

Be back tomorrow, we are off to fill our bellies with doro watt and injera! :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009


We haven't cut Judah's hair yet. Nope, not even a trim. We have no plans to in the near future. Just the thought of clipping off one of those curls makes me feel ill.

Since it's been working for us so far, I thought I'd share our haircare ritual.

We wash with shampoo about 1x per week. Most days, we wet his hair in the bath and put in gobs of conditioner. I do this right when he gets in, so it has lots of time to soak in.

We use this conditioner:

After it's soaked in for a few minutes, we comb out his hair with a wide tooth comb.
Then, we rinse. But, we barely rinse. Maybe two cups worth of water.

After the bath, we spray in lots of leave-in conditioner.
This is what we use:

We have a few ways to go after this. We either 1. are done and let his hair be big and free and beautiful, 2. add a big gob of medium hold hair custard to style it a bit, keeping those curls tighter and fabulous.
This is what I mean by hair custard:

OR, I spend some time twisting it up. It takes some time, but we LOVE his cute twists.
I usually twist it up on Saturday mornings and leave the twists in till about Tuesday or Wednesday. Later in the week we let his hair just be free and fun.

When his hair is in twists, we just spray the leave-in conditioner 2x per day (once in the morning and one time later in the day). We don't comb it. If something icky gets in it, we untwist and shampoo it up.

This routine has been working for us so far. What do you do differently? Any tips?

It's a few steps, but WELL worth every spritz and twist. When you have hair THIS unbelievably beautiful, you just HAVE to spend some time worshiping it.

Here Jude is with his bribe...

which is an important step when having a 2 year-old sit and get his hair done...

If you need more bribing ideas, the CARS movie also works well.

Friday, November 6, 2009


was one of those special days that I felt in my toes and saw through watery eyes. Today we got the most beautiful gift in the mail. Today we received my baby boy's birth certificate. The most beautiful piece of paper I've seen.
It states something that I can't seem to get enough of.
He is ours.
We are his.
He belongs.
We belong.
The same boy I spent years dreaming of. The same boy I fell in love with before ever meeting. The same boy I spent months and months hoping to hear that he would be ours (the entire time feeling lost without). The one I fell deeper in love with at first sight. The one I am so thankful for each day.
The one...the reason...I can't finish this post. I'm crying too hard.
I'm just so grateful.
And thankful.
He is ours.
we are his.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do you like my tree?

This may look like "just" a tree. It isn't. Not to me.

On Earth Day 1993, my best friend and I planted this tree. We had been inseparable for about 10 years prior to the planting. At the time, we didn't know how much this tree would mean to us. We were given the tree at school. While discussing and debating what do to with it, we decided just to pull over and plant it. We had to move quickly, because we didn't want to get in trouble for unauthorized tree planting :)
It was less than a tiny twig. We tried to hide it a bit because we didn't want the gardener to mistake it for a weed.
A few years later, we noticed that someone had tied a stake to it. We were so happy that someone else cared, that it was important to him/her too.
Years later, the building went through a remodel. I was scared they would opt to remove the tree. They built around it.
Now, 16.5 years post planting, it's big and strong and beautiful and makes me happy every single time I see it. Some days, when I need to feel a little bit of love, I will purposely go out of my way just to drive by.
I could write a billion sentences about how the tree is a metaphor for everything in life. It is.
But, my simple thought today is that most trees are significant to someone...whether you planted it, chose it, sat under it while waiting to be picked up from school, watched it grow outside your house, played under it at the park, etc...

Do you have a tree? What's your tree story? If not, you should. Go plant one. They are fabulous
(so is my best friend).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Throwing Dirt

I've been a big grouch today. Oscar has nothing on me. I hoped that by the time I got to the blog writing part of my day, things would improve. No luck. So, if I were you, I'd stop reading and do something productive with your time. OR you can read about how I want to throw dirt at people.

We've all been there. The moment when a person asks how things are going in the adoption process or "so how much longer?" and you secretly just want to throw dirt at their face?


I think it's because we don't usually know the answer. It's hard to answer a question that you should obviously know the answer to with "I don't know."
OR, you know the answer, but it's never easy and simple. Always complex.
For example, when the "so how much longer?" is followed up with a "so do you go there and choose a baby?"

I know these are moments when you can share and sharing is good. blah. blah. blah.

But, when you're all grouchy because you don't have answers (usually because no one has answers) or the answers will take 3584968 years to explain, it's hard. Maybe I'm just a big grouch today, but as we get ready to start our next adoption my new plan is to just say "no" and throw dirt at their face.

Monday, November 2, 2009


There's this thing called NaBloPoMo (or something close to that). It makes you post every SINGLE day for the month of November (yeah, I didn't actually read what it was about). All I know is that the cool kids are doing it. I'm going to try.
Well this wasn't so bad. Look, it's already November 2nd and I'm a success. A pure success. So far.
What to write? Wait. Hold on a minute. I'm going to run upstairs and take a picture. I may have few thoughts, but I do have the world's best subject.

I'm back. Cute stuff going on up there, huh? Yes, my life has so much darn cuteness, it's difficult to take.
Lately, Judah has really been working on expressing feelings. He tells me all about how his stuffed animals are feeling. If they are "sad" he tells them to "cuddle me" and "hold me." Judah is a great caretaker.
He is also acutely aware of his emotional needs. Judah's daddy started working on a constructionish project yesterday. Judah didn't feel like all of his needs were being met. Here's a video of him explaining the situation:

(Transcription: Daddy, I want attention. Daddy, I want attention, daddy.)

Yes, the videography skills are all mine. Sadly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Our little hamburger...

Flippin' our burger

Trick or treatin'

with Scooby

and a cute duck

the first taste

of Halloween goodness

and notice his super cute t-shirt?! :)