Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The end of 2008

Wow, another year has gone by. Believe it or not, we really will be sending out cards. We're calling them New Year's cards. They'll go out on Friday. And yes, you may call us slackers--at least, those of you who managed to get out your holiday cards around the actual holidays. Those who didn't...we identify best with you. Just so you know.

OK, my resolutions. I did pretty well with last year's. This year, I'm resolving to be more Earth-friendly. I made some pretty big adjustments this year (that were surprisingly easy to make) but will make some more for next year--and will happily write about them here. Heh heh heh. I'm also resolving to be more organized, in the hopes that it will leave me more time to spend with those that I love. And play with our Wii.

At this time last year, I didn't know this little boy. I knew his face, but I didn't know him. I had no idea how much I was missing until we brought him home.

Last year, we thought about getting a Wii. This year, Jason got us a Wii for Hanukkah. What an awesome husband!
Last year, Melkamu didn't get to celebrate Hanukkah with us. This year, he had a great time at Patrick's class Hanukkah party, and we celebrated every night. He does a pretty good sound mimic of the blessings over the candles.

Last year, my kids didn't have each other to hug. This year, I get tons of happy-tear-inducing moments like this one. I will NEVER tire of them.

Last year, Jason decorated some gingerbread cookies in weird and decidedly un-Christmasy ways. This year...oh wait, he did the same thing. Here we have a sampling of them. On the counter (top row, left): Blue Man Group, the Eye of Sauron, Old Yeller, accident victim #1, (bottom row, left) fat gingerbread man whose button is popping off, Harry Potter, a vampire, a shot star (instead of a shooting star), accident victim #2--complete with license plate embedded on his chest, and a witch burning at the stake. Jason is quite talented, but scary.

Last year, we had a quiet Christmas at home with just the three of us. This year, we had a lovely Christmas with Jason's family. Mom, Dad, and Adam came to celebrate with us. (This is as close as I got to a picture with all three of them in one.)

Last year, we only had one cute kid by the stockings on Christmas morning. This year, two perfectly adorable ones!

This last picture has nothing to do with New Year's, but I thought it was funny: Patrick got up to go to the bathroom at some point last night and was apparently too tired to make it back to his bed. I got upstairs to find him curled up on the bathroom rug. *snort*

Have a wonderful New Year--come and see us in 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shameless begging

If you happen to know anyone who is pregnant and due at the end of March or later, and they're interested in natural childbirth, PLEASE give them my name and number. I have a Bradley class starting on January 4th that has only got 3 couples signed up, and I can accomodate up to 6.

I can work out payment arrangements with them if finances are a concern.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

*chirp* *chirp* *chirp*--but worth it for the pictures

Those would be crickets. It's been quiet around here lately, hasn't it? Here was the beginning of December for me:

1. Patrick's birthday = birthday breakfast and dinner at home + cake in school on his birthday + party at the Children's Museum for almost 20 of his friends the next Sunday.

2. End of the semester = many, MANY papers to grade + finals to give + finals to grade + grades to record + students to reassure/console.

3. Lessons and Carols with Emory choir = rehearsals almost every night of the week of Patrick's birthday (except for on his birthday) + concert Friday night + two concerts Saturday.

I know there was more, like Rhianna's baby shower, but those three things took me STRAIGHT THROUGH from December 1st (1st night of Rehearsal Week for Lessons and Carols) to December 15th. Every single day was devoted to one or more of those things.

This past week has been devoted to shoveling out my house from the clutter of two weeks of "Mama's busy with other things" and preparing for the holidays. Then today, I went to an all-day pharmacology seminar. (See, I'm cool!)

Tonight, I finally downloaded the Thanksgiving pictures. Why yes, it is December 20th. Thanksgiving was November 27th, you say? Hmm, how about that. So, you wanna see some pictures? Here's the past three weeks in photos (most of them bad or at least partially blurry; thankfully, our normal camera is functional again):

Melkamu is, as always, adorable in his jammies

Patrick discovered that he could get balloons static-y on his head and then shoot them up to the ceiling by pulling on them. Those aren't helium balloons up there.

I graduated another Bradley class--four couples, and the first has already had their baby!

I like this picture of the kids together--Patrick is always protective of Kamu.

Then we went to Utah for Thanksgiving, whereupon the boys were showered with presents by Grandpa and Grandma M.

Melkamu sitting on his new sleeping bag.

Patrick spent a lot of time drawing on his new whiteboard, which was a brilliant gift!

Jason and Grandpa M relaxing prior to the birthday cake for all three of my guys.

Patrick and Grandma M.

The boys love their Grandma M!

We were in Nevada for part of Thanksgiving. This is Jason and Patrick climbing a hill behind the condo.

Melkamu in what Jason calls his "typical pose"--reaching up to be held with Elmo in one hand!

Jason took Kamu climbing up the hill later.

Patrick and Grandpa M on a 4-wheeler. Patrick's typical phrase: "YAHOO--GO FASTER, GRANDPA!!!"

Kamu and Uncle Adam relaxing after a 4-wheeler ride (for Adam, not Kamu. He's still too little.)

Patrick got a fishing pole for his birthday!

Patrick's party at the Children's Museum. (There was actually another table with more kids at it. It was fun but crazy!)

Little Carlton Banks? No, it's Kamu.

I managed to get a corneal abrasion and infection over Thanksgiving (it wasn't pinkeye), so I got new glasses. I actually like them! (And in another week, I'll be done with the antibiotic and steroid drops...finally.)

My guys are so cute!

Patrick finished another term of gymnastics. He doesn't want to do it again, but he had fun. He'll be doing tennis in the spring!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The tidbits to munch on before I post about our wonderful Thanksgiving trip to visit Jason's parents (because I have to download photos):

1. It was a really wonderful trip. And Jason only lost $100 gambling in Mesquite! Which, coincidentally, is all he brought to lose gambling. Mind you, I won more than I lost...

2. My "profits" will be buying a new pair of shoes (pathetic though they are--you just don't win much at $5 Blackjack tables when you're only starting with $100)

3. I'm back on antibiotics. For pinkeye this time (but it's bacterial, not the viral that I thought I had (but didn't) several weeks ago). Thank goodness for doctors who will call in antibiotics prescriptions from 2000 miles away on a Sunday morning so that I didn't have to get on the plane in so much pain. And thank goodness for antibiotic eyedrops that work quickly enough that I could open my eye without wincing in (too much) pain within a few hours.

4. This is the third time I've been on antibiotics in a month. It's really sad.

I read this:

And this:

over Thanksgiving. Must go get Eclipse and Breaking Dawn tomorrow. Who's up for the movie of Twilight? I know I'm late to the party, but I'm here and would love to go see it. The books are mighty compelling.

6. I have heard from several friends from the past in the last few weeks--and feel absolutely thrilled! I hope that you're all here and reading, and will keep in touch!

7. We lost our diaper bag sometime in the last few weeks and realized it right before we left for Thanksgiving. This wouldn't be a big loss but for the fact that my soft-backpack carrier for Melkamu was in it. Sigh. I will be making a new one. It wasn't hard to make or expensive, but it's been so useful and the carrier that I had to use for him in the airports wasn't nearly as comfortable for either of us. But it's still better than traveling with a stroller.

8. OK, I'm off to finish my lecture for tomorrow. This is the last week of classes. Next week comes finals and then I'm done for the semester. I am taking off the entire week after that to do almost nothing and regain my health. I hope.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Melkamu is two years old!

So let me tell you all about my big boy! He's so amazing. He's about 31 pounds and quite tall, only about a head shorter than Patrick. He's growing out of a few of his 2T shirts and the pants fit him perfectly. I suspect he'll be into 3T by spring. He is a bruiser and wants to be in the thick of anything that happens, whether it's the dogs playing or his big brother building with blocks. He wants to play all the time, especially if he can get you to chase him around and tickle him.

He's quite the toddler as well! Melkamu apparently realized that he was about to turn 2 and has been ramping up the production of important toddler phrases. Instead of shaking his head, now he says "No!" while shaking his head. This morning I heard the first "I do it!". And from the "mmmmmmmm" that comes out when he grabs something, I know that "Mine!" is not far behind. But along with those come the heart-melting ones, like "Up!" when he wants to be held and "Luh yu" (if you ask him to say "I love you"). He uses his strength to give incredibly strong and heartfelt hugs, and never fails to blow kisses after saying "Bye bye!"

Melkamu has turned into a little reader, which warms his mama's heart as the daughter of a librarian. Lately he insists on having a book in his crib with him so that he can "read" before going to sleep, just like Patrick does. His current favorites are his Elmo bath book, his Elmo lift-the-flaps book, and his Elmo puppet book. And Goodnight Moon. If he wants to hear a book, it's often Goodnight Moon, Elmo, Elmo, and Elmo. There might be a few more but I have to admit, I'm remembering why I was so glad that Patrick didn't fall victim to the siren's song of Elmo. Kamu also found the enormous Elmo doll that Patrick got at one point and has been dragging it around with him nonstop. The birthday card that Grandma and Grandpa M sent had Elmo on it and I had to convince Melkamu to leave it in the car when we got to daycare today--I'd been unable to convince him to leave it at home.

We had a great birthday party for Kamu the other day. It was a little insane but wonderful to be able to celebrate with our friends. I think there were 14 kids. I didn't try to plan games due to the ages of the kids, but they had a great time with the ball pit that was Kamu's birthday present from Bubbi and Grandpa G, as well as all the other toys around here. Today we sent cupcakes to school with Kamu and then went out for Ethiopian food to celebrate his birthday. As always, the people at Meskerem are the best and we had a wonderful dinner.

We got the first picture of this strong and handsome face 50 weeks and 1 day ago

We met this beautiful and terrified boy 8 months and 20 days ago

And today, we celebrated with this incredible angel who has brought so much joy and happiness to our family. He has us all wrapped around his little fingers and we are so happy to have him here with us.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photos next time, promise

Our camera bit the big one, so our Halloween pictures are on a camera that Jason brought home from work. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with our camera dock and the memory card is too small for the slot on my computer at home, so I have to wait until he brings home the cord. Hopefully he did that today and I can get the pictures tonight.

I didn't believe the election results until I watched McCain's concession speech. Then I bounced around the living room with giddy excitement. I know it was poor manners but I felt such hope at that moment that I couldn't help it. I agreed with Obama's politics way more than I ever did with McCain's, so that makes me happy, and I am so thrilled that my children will grow up seeing that people can achieve their dreams no matter their color.

We just have to change that pesky "natural born citizen" thing in case Melkamu wants to be President. Patrick has already decided against it since he doesn't want to leave home to live in the "big White House." Even though he'd have to be 35 to be there. G-d help me if my sons still live at home at 35.

One of these years Jason and I will be healthy. We miss that. First it was my walking pneumonia that started with an annoying cough at the end of September and was finally diagnosed more than 3 weeks later (because I didn't go to the doctor until then). Then Jason got sick with something that sounded suspiciously like my walking pneumonia, but he never went to the doctor and so we'll never know. Then he immediately got an evil sinus-clogging cold, which I promptly developed and have been suffering with ever since. And now I think I might have viral pinkeye.

The boys have been sniffling and coughing a bit but nothing worse, which is encouraging. I don't know how they're avoiding getting the germs that Jason and I keep passing back and forth, but thank goodness for it.

Happy events and pictures that will soon be posted: Halloween, the shower some of my wonderful friends hosted to celebrate Melkamu, and the birthdays of everyone in my house except me over the next few weeks! Someday, perhaps, we will have a family member whose birthday is not within 2 weeks of a major holiday at the end of the year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Anyone else feel actively sick about the election tomorrow?

I swear, if I could stick my head under my pillow and just leave it there for the next 36 hours, I would do it. I've never felt so scared about what the future could be in four years if this doesn't go the way I hope it will.

I am so glad I voted last week. The three hours that Patrick and I stood in line in the 40-degree weather were worth it.

And on a related, and somewhat surprising note, no one has either a) keyed my car, or b) stolen my Obama-Biden magnet off the back of it yet! Things in the area around my campus are so bad for those supporting Obama that they've been forced to nail the Obama signs about 8 feet up in trees if they are to have any hope of keeping them.

Just go vote. I know I don't agree with the political views of everyone who reads this, but please go vote either way. Until then, I will be cleaning my house in preparation for hosting my supper club tomorrow night--our theme is "Celebrate America!"

(Next up will be pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes, I promise.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blue dot in a red state

Or perhaps not, according to some polls--I might get to go back to being a blue dot in a blue state!

Georgia is one of the ones that allows early voting, which started a while ago. There are only a few polling places open. You can go to any of them within your county.

Patrick has been wanting to go vote for Barack Obama with me since I indoctrinated educated him about why we think he will be a better president for the country. I had these lovely, sweet images of taking him on Election Day to our local polling place, with Christy and Rhianna and their moppets. We would sit chatting for a little while, having fun while the children played their games. In a short while, maybe 30 minutes, it would be our turn to vote. This was all based on my presidential election voting experience in Decatur of 4 years ago.

Fast forward to this year. Headlines on the news every night: "Voters across the metro Atlanta area are waiting in line for hours to vote early!" "Lines are predicted to be 6 hours or more on Election Day!" "By the time the polls open on Election Day, the lines will be too long to get through in 12 hours!" Or something like that.

So I gave up my idealistic notion and figured that I would make it a fun trip for early voting for Patrick and I. We left yesterday morning and got doughnuts to eat on the way there, dressed reasonably but not particularly warmly for the weather. After all, it was early voting and surely it wouldn't be a long wait. The polls opened at 9 a.m. and we arrived at about 9:30 to find at least 500 people in line. In 40 degree weather. As soon as I got my jaw off the floor of my car, I turned to Patrick and said that we'd try again the next day.

This morning, we planned ruthlessly. We chose the polling place in Norcross rather than the one in Lawrenceville, on the hopes that it would be less crowded. We dressed extremely warmly. We awoke early and planned to get there at 7:30 a.m., though they didn't open until 9. We brought food and books and a blanket in which to wrap ourselves. By the time we got there (actual time about 7:50 a.m.), there must have been 150 people in line in front of us.


Regardless, we got into the line and made ourselves comfortable while wrapped in a bright orange-and-pumpkin-covered Halloween-themed blanket and eating NutriGrain bars. We were surrounded by wonderful and expressive people who have similar political views as my own, so during times that I wasn't reading Curious George or Disney stories, I was engaged in discussions of why we think that we need to vote the way we do. Patrick was a very good kid, cold and sniffly but a trooper.

At 10:00, we were given forms to fill out for early voting. At 10:15 we were about to go into the building, and I thought that all I had left to do was turn in my form and vote. I was getting a little concerned since I only had 15 minutes before I absolutely had to leave to get to my class on time. At 10:20, we made it into the building. It was there that I discovered that there were several more lines inside. On the bright side, I did regain feeling in my toes at that point.

Well, Patrick proudly voted for Barack Obama eventually and I voted for all the other candidates for which I needed to vote. We made it back to our car at 10:50. I had an 11:00 class. I was 20-25 minutes from school and still needed to drop off Patrick at his school.

Thankfully, I was showing a movie today (GATTACA, a fabulous movie to show in a genetics class). I called my department chair and asked if she would grab the movie from my desk and pop it in, and promise my students that I would be back. And believe it or not, when I raced into class at 11:25, my students were still there and still watching the movie! They chided me for being late in the same way that I chide them, and then we were all engrossed in the movie again.

As of today, something like a million and a half Georgians have cast early ballots. Very impressive. While I strongly, vehemently disagree with the way a lot of the people here will vote, I am very happy to see so many people out there to do so.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

*sigh* OK, Elmo it is

I'd actually decided the day after I posted that last entry. Melkamu needed a breathing treatment and we always read books while we do them. He scampered over to his bookshelf and grabbed his Elmo "If you're happy and you know it" puppet book thing. The look of joy on his face when he handed it to me pretty much nailed it down.

Of course, now I have to make an Elmo costume. I bought the material today. It cost as much as buying a costume. Remind me about that next year.

Anyway, I made Patrick blue fleece pants to be Cookie Monster when he was 3 (he already had a great fleecy Cookie Monster sweatshirt, and I also made him a bag like a chocolate-chip cookie for his candy. Man, that was a great costume. I'll have to post a photo), so I feel confident that the pants will be easy enough. The sweatshirt--I'm a little nervous, since I'm planning to make it hooded and stick Elmo eyes on top. But hey, he's not even 2 and he's as likely to get freaked out about it as he is to really enjoy it.

Either way, I know he'll be adorable!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's that time of year again!


We like Halloween around here. Jason gets into it early, watching scary old movies from the end of September through Halloween. We've had Patrick's Halloween costume for several weeks now (black Spiderman) and are contemplating possibilities for Melkamu (please vote in your comments about which one he should be): a pumpkin, Elmo, or a train conductor. I just like the time of year, with all the wonderful smells and possibilities for baking. It makes me want to bake things with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg in them. I wish I were a better baker, but I still like to try and have fun.

Today we went to the pumpkin patch. We love the pumpkin patch we've found. They have a huge selection of pumpkins, a bunny petting zoo, moon bounces, pony rides, and other fun things. We look forward to going every year.

Patrick's pumpkin

Melkamu wanted one also!

Jason tried to talk me into this 30 pound pumpkin. I didn't go for it.

Melkamu had fun riding in the wheelbarrow with the pumpkins.

Patrick liked the display of fall decorations!

Time to pet some bunnies!

And jump in the moon bounce!

Despite proof otherwise based on our photos, I am actually part of our family. Since we never have pictures of all 4 of us together, we have a fabulously talented photographer taking family pictures of us tomorrow! I am so excited!