Friday, January 30, 2009

Rebecca,

Tomorrow will be our fifth anniversary. You are the most remarkable woman that I have ever met … and … the most beautiful woman that I will ever meet. How lucky I am that you chose to share your life with me.

We became friends quickly when we met and then dated for a mere 5 months before I asked you to become my wife. It was so easy to make that choice about you in such a short time … I knew what I wanted in my life … that you were perfect for me, and that I loved absolutely everything about you. I’m so glad that we rushed into things.

When we met, you had a business career well under way. I have no doubt that you could have taken that career in various directions with great success because of your intelligence, your charm, your warm way with people, and your determination to do things the right way.

Now, 5 years later, with our boys having turned into young men, we have 3 girls together that are under the age of 5. So you made the unselfish decision to put a hold on your career and devote yourself to raising our three daughters. I will always be grateful for that … and so will our girls when they are older and can have an appreciation for the choices involved. I am also grateful that I have been able to watch you become a Mom again. You are so good at it and it seems to come naturally to you.

My life with you has been such an adventure and it doesn’t seem possible that we have only been married for 5 years. I love you more than words can express. My heart will always belong to you and I will never stop trying to make your life as wonderful as possible.

-Tony

Calling all armchair psychologists!

I'm in a hurry. I have to run into a store to pick up a few things, but when I turn into the parking lot my back tire gets stuck on a curb, and no matter how hard I pedal I can't seem to get past it. I finally have to get off and move my tricycle over and then get on and go again. Finally, I make it into the store. There's a very sharply dressed lady staring at me (I am definitely NOT sharply dressed). I get my things and then exit the upscale store I'm in -- with the lady still looking at me. I'm starting to get angry, but I keep my head down as I head out to my transportation and hook the shopping bag over the handlebars. Who is she to look at me like that? What...does she think she's better than me just because I ride a tricycle? I keep thinking about how far I have to go and the fact that it's going to be dark soon and that the girls will need dinner. I get on and then look up. And who is next to me? The very sharply dressed lady...on HER tricycle. We smile at each other and cruise out of the parking lot. She turns right to head up a hill towards her destination, and I cross six lanes of traffic to get to the opposite sidewalk and then start sailing down a big hill really fast (thinking maybe I will make it home before dark), which feels great. Then I wake up!

Any ideas? Am I mentally unstable? Or do I just have some sort of inferiority complex?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Check out the hair!

What Elizabeth looks like after her hair is combed out and moisturized and before we put it in pony tails... Don't you love her smile?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prayers for Derrek and Samantha

Please think of Derrek and Samantha today as they're going through a rough time. An ultrasound Monday revealed that the baby did not have a heartbeat and Samantha would miscarry. They are at the hospital today, and Sam is having a D&C. I know many of my blogging friends have experienced infertility or miscarriages and know how hard this is for them. It's easy for people to say things like "it happens a lot" or "they can try again" or the often thought but hopefully not spoken "it wasn't really a baby yet." But it was a life that they were planning for, their baby, and now it's gone. I was at the doctor with Samantha on Monday when she found out, and her heart was breaking. I'm heartbroken for them and for the grandchild we have lost.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Does the cold weather bother them?

I'm often asked whether the cold weather bothers our Ethiopian girls. Well, it's 18 degrees outside today, and here they are! I guess the answer is no...


Monday, January 26, 2009

Adjunct Post Regarding Pain Meds!

Follow up to yesterday's post...

The pain meds are NOT nice after all! I wrote yesterday's post about 45 minutes after taking the meds. I was feeling all fuzzy and warm and mellow. Then they really kicked in and I spent the entire day with my foot hurting PLUS my stomach feeling sick, shivering, and itching all over! Only good side to it is that I didn't eat much of anything, so maybe I counteracted the previous day's binge on sushi, wine, and chocolate.

Today I don't care if it feels like an ENTIRE TRAIN ran over my foot -- I am NOT taking those pain pills!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sushi + Wine + Air Mattress = Pain

Yesterday afternoon the girls went to Dad and Beth's house to spend the night. Woo hoo! Mommy and Daddy get the night off! I get to go on a date with my handsome hubby! I took extra time with my hair and make-up and even put on perfume. We had a glass of really good wine, then went out for some awesome sushi, then came home and had some music, dessert wine with chocolate, and a fire in the fireplace.

Sounds really romantic, right? Well, I thought so, so I decided we should blow up the air mattress and sleep in the living room in front of the fire. Ambiance, you know? So, I went upstairs and got the air mattress and pump, and then fell down the stairs -- end of romance. We slept (yes, slept) on the air mattress for a couple of hours and were miserably uncomfortable (and cold once the fire went out) and then got up and went to our bed where I stayed awake all night (and kept Tony awake too with my tossing and turning) because my foot hurt like crazy.

Then, if that's not enough non-romance, we spent the morning going to the emergency room to have my foot x-rayed. It's not broken, but I have a sprained big toe that is black and blue and feels like a dump truck ran over it. The pain meds are nice though.

Our anniversary is next weekend, so maybe we can try the "romantic evening" again -- only this time without the air mattress.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Can they read?

Well, they think they can read! Tony often reads "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" to the girls. They have most of it memorized and love it that they're reading the book. Actually, it won't be long before Nora and Ruby are reading for real! They're getting really good now at sounding out simple words and can tell me what letter most words start with by sounding them out!

video

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pile O' Pugs

Kids are napping, dogs are napping - I think it's time for my nap!

P.S. We actually have four pugs. Jack just wasn't in this pile o' pugs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nora is teaching her sisters to eat with chopsticks!

Nora spent the first three years of her life eating with chopsticks, so she's really good at it. Our litttle Ethiopian eaters are learning....


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Handwriting Without Tears -- Thanks Celeste!

Thanks, Celeste, for the GREAT tip! We got our new letter pieces in the mail today, and they're a huge hit with the girls!

For those who haven't heard of this, a set consists of several wooden long and short lines and several small and large curves. With these pieces, you can make any of the upper case letters of the alphabet! What a great learning tool. I didn't actually buy the "Handwriting Without Tears" brand. I found a guy on eBay who makes these by hand and sells them for quite a bit less. The quality is great, and they seem very sturdy! I bought two sets since I have three sets of little hands making letters. Thanks again Celeste! You called me for my thoughts, and I got lots of your ideas too!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quick...where's the brush?

Check out this wild, early-morning hair!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hello Rebecca...are you still in there?

I used to always have my nails done, my hair perfectly highlighted and cut, nice Ann Taylor clothes. Now my standard uniform is jeans and a Target tee shirt. BUT today I got my hair cut and highlighted! It looks great! Last time my hair was highlighted...six months ago (a few weeks before leaving for Ethiopia). Last time my nails were done -- before leaving for China a year and a half ago. Wow, it's not all about me anymore. :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peanut butter and jelly with injera?

We had left over injera (Ethiopian flat bread for those who haven't had it) from last night's dinner, and the girls wanted to eat it for lunch. So, being the clever mom that I am...I spread peanut butter and jelly on the injera and rolled it up. I was cracking up watching them eat it! How's that for blurring the lines between Ethiopian and American culture? I wish I had taken a picture, but they were eaten before I even thought of it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scavenger Hunt = Controlled Chaos

The girls had a GREAT time today on a scavenger hunt! I used squares of paper and markers and put a letter, number, or shape on each one. I had them hide their eyes while I taped them up all over the house. Then I gave each of the girls a list of which ones they needed to find and sent them off! Whenever they found one they brought it to me and told me the letter, number, or shape (or asked me if they needed help), and then I circled it on their list. At the end the older girls spelled their names with their letters (Elizabeth can't spell her name yet). They were absolutely squealing with delight. They had so much fun that we did it a second time (and then Mommy was done).




Monday, January 12, 2009

An Elizabeth Story

The other day we were driving down the road and Elizabeth started to cry in the back row of the van. She was strapped into her car seat, and when I looked in my rear view mirror I saw her head cocked to the side with her hand near her ear. I thought her earring was caught in her coat so I told her not to move her head and mommy would help her real quick. I got to a safe place, pulled the van over, and climbed back to her.

Was it her earring? No, her beautiful, curly hair was stuck to the Velcro of her coat. Does this tell you anything about her hair's texture? Poor little thing!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nora

You'd almost have to hear the inflection in Nora's voice to know how cute she sounded when she said this:

Nora: Mommy did you kiss me while I was sleeping?

Me: Yes, I love to come in and give you kisses while you're sleeping.

Nora: You kiss me all over? You kiss my face?

Me: Yes, I kissed your cheeks, your eyes, your forehead...

Nora: You kiss my ears?

Me: No, I didn't kiss your ears.

Nora (very serious): It's OK you kiss my ears mommy. They're real clean.

Oh what a sweet and funny girl!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We ate butterflies for lunch!

The girls liked this so much that Ruby told me a was a really, really good mommy. :-)


Sleeping Booty?

Nora, as she steps onto her princess step-stool to wash her hands: "Mommy, that's Sleeping Booty." Hmmm...I'm not sure about her booty -- it's hard to tell with the big princess dress she's always wearing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Enough teeth for an airline ticket?

Ruby lost her 7th tooth yesterday. Yes, my 4-year-old daughter has lost seven teeth and has two fully grown-in permanent teeth. She lost two of the teeth in the past week, and she is all over the idea of leaving your tooth under the pillow and the next morning money is there! She gets wildly excited in the morning when she pulls out...a quarter (yes, the tooth fairy that visits Peculiar is cheap). So this morning's dialogue...

Ruby: Mommy, mommy look money (holding up the bag with a quarter in it)!

Me: Wow you got money! Are you excited (duh)?

Ruby: Yes mommy. Put it in piggy bag (think she meant bank). Save lotta, lotta money. Cost lotta money go airplane to Africa.

Me: Ooooh. Are you saving your money to visit Africa?

Daddy: Do you have enough teeth for that? (Glancing at Elizabeth) Elizabeth has a lot of teeth. (Very funny Daddy. She be wrestling the teeth out of Elizabeth's mouth.)

Me: What would you want to do in Africa?

Ruby: See people. See my Africa mommy, my other Africa mommy (yes, there are two she talks about), see Netsanet, Sara, and Mikyias.

Me: Well, Netsanet, Sara, and Mikyias live in America now, but we will go visit Africa again someday.

Ruby: OK, mommy! (Smiling and happy, dashes off to the bathroom.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our Brother, Billy

Today, this world lost a very special man. Bill Berube (affectionately known to us as Brother Billy) died this afternoon. Bill is the husband of Tony's sister, Pam, but he's much more than just an in-law. He's our brother. Bill and Pam have a son, Kyle, who I know will also miss his dad terribly.

What can I possibly say to sum up the man Bill was? He was a devoted father, a caring husband, a friend to everyone, and a genuine and kind person. We shared the same taste in books and crosswords, and all of us shared a huge affection for Vermont, lake Memphremagog, and red cups (Pam knows). It is almost beyond belief that Bill is gone from this world. He will live in my heart forever and ever. We love you, Brother Billy. We will miss you very much, and we will never, ever forget you.




Mama you did it, you did it!

Yesterday I made Ethiopian food for the first time. I know, I know...Ruby and Elizabeth have been with us for four months and I should have at least attempted making it before now. But, I will admit that I was a little intimidated by the recipes.

Well, my cooking effort paid off! Ruby was just about beside herself with excitement that I made injera for her. She was watching it come out of the pan saying, "Mama you did it, you did it!" Did it taste like injera from Ethiopia? No. However, it did hold up to tearing off pieces and scooping up food with it, and it tasted OK. I think Ruby was mostly just excited that I did this for her. I also made Chickpea Wat and Ethiopian Cabbage and Potatoes. They were quite good, if I do say so myself! Everyone had seconds!

All three of the girls loved the food, but the Chickpea Wat was a little too spicy for Nora (my little Hunan girl). Elizabeth was excited about "Africa food" but not to the degree Ruby was. None of them are picky eaters in the least, so it's not that they dislike American food. I think it's just a comfort to eat foods that remind them of Ethiopia. I will definitely make Ethiopian food again -- if for no other reason than to see this look on Ruby's face.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Our family is growing again!

No, we're not adopting again! I almost had you with that title, didn't I?

Derrek called me yesterday to say, "Mom, Sam and I have some good news for you." Yep, I'm going to be a grandma...again! And I thought 2009 was going to be calmer! I'm very happy for Derrek and Samantha, and I'm excited to have another grandchild. Every year just keeps bringing more big changes into our lives.

Happy New Year!