November 28, 2007
November 26, 2007
Now this is a point of contention for some Jewish families. Hanukkah is not traditionally a big holiday in the Jewish calendar but with the close proximity to Christmas and the increasing commercialism of holidays, Hanukkah has become a more prominent holiday. I haven't seen any big inflatable menorahs or mechanical dreidles in front yards (don't be surprised if those appear on shelves soon) but it is much easier to find Hanukkah related items these days. Some argue that displaying lights in the yard or having too many decorations around the house is a sign of "assimilation" and shouldn't be a part of the holiday celebrations. We however feel that some blue and white lights in the yard is a good way to mark the "Festival of Lights".
So with my competitive fire burning I frantically untangled our lights from last year and tried to get them hung before it got too dark. Note to self: in the future don't do it solo. I ended up nearly breaking our dining room window when I fell from a ledge on top of the ladder which was useless in the thick mounds of mulch and mushroom compost (my secret weapon for winning yard of the month). I twisted an ankle, bruised an elbow, and thought I had a bloody nose (turned out it was just competitive juices!) But I got up and finished the job. By nightfall we had blue and white lights around the front of the house. Our dreidle wreaths proudly hung on the front door. I hate to think this was all brought on by my desire to keep up with the Joneses. I'd like to think that under that frantic rush of adrenaline was my desire to create a magical and memorable holiday tradition and to proudly show that amongst our neighborhood displays of Santa and Rudolf there is also a place for our Hanukkah lights (and the menorrah that will soon be glowing in our front window).
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November 20, 2007
November 19, 2007
In honor of National Adoption Month, here are a few of our favorite adoption books:
Over the Moon by Karen Katz (picture book, fun illustrations, nice story that can fit most international adoption scenarios)
Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen (children's book, Taiwanese author, an alligator raised by a family of ducks)
Rebecca's Journey Home by Brynn Olenberg Sugarman (A Jewish family's story about a new baby sister from Vietnam)
Waiting for May by Janet Morgan Stoeke (One of Noah's favorite books to read while waiting for our own Mei-Mei. A good book for siblings.)
The Family Book by Todd Parr (A great book for all families! Highlights all of the wonderful ways families are unique)
Every Year on Your Birthday by Rose Lewis and Jane Dyer (same author and illustrator of I Love You Like Crazy Cakes...both beautiful books about a mother and her daughter from China, stunning illustrations)
And some good adult reading material:
Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolf (very honest account of one mother's experience. short easy read and good for all parents starting the process)
Beyond Good Intentions by Cheri Register (this should be mandatory reading for all parents considering international adoption. Not always easy reading because of uncomfortable topics and some extreme scenarios, but very thought provoking)
China Ghosts by Jeff Gammage (one of the most moving and beautifully written adoption memoirs I have read)
A Love Like No Other:Stories from Adoptive Parents (a wonderful collection of essays covering a wide range of adoption experiences)
Digging To America by Anne Tyler (a great novel about adoption, culture, and two very different families)
Relative Choices: Adoption and the American Family A NY Times blog with some amazing entries.
Hallmark Adoption Videos...bring out the tissues
And if you are more in the mood to shop than read, here is a link to my friend Morena's new site which is raising money for special needs adoptions. A wonderful place to do some holiday shopping that will have a very positive impact http://www.cafepress.com/forthischild
November 13, 2007
"Next time you should get the shrimp"
"It is not the strong but the responsive that survive".
Those aren't fortunes. Who's writing these? I used to think that writing fortunes would be a fun job (same with naming paint and fingernail polish) and it seems like they are now sorely in need of fortune writers. I think the batch we got was written by someone who was depressed and I guess fortune writers don't get paid a ton of money so perhaps there is a good reason for the depressed tone of the messages. But what happened to those fortunes of the past (or perhaps our local restaurant should change fortune cookie companies)? The ones that predicted travel, news, handsome strangers, and on a very good day...good fortune in the near future. Or perhaps we truly get the fortunes we deserve and I really should order the shrimp next time.
November 10, 2007
November 9, 2007
Camille turned two on Wednesday. Hard to believe our sweet Mei-Mei is so big. Just seems like yesterday when we saw those first pictures of her, just yesterday when she was placed in my arms peering up at me with her big brown eyes, just yesterday when she started walking. I know that "time flies" by quickly with kids. It seemed when I was pregnant with Noah everyone told me that and I didn't really "get" it until he arrived. And now with Camille time seems to fly by even more quickly. Birthdays are such a defining marker of time. A time for celebration and reflection. With Camille's birthday I always feel a little sad.I always think about her birth family on this day.
To celebrate her actual birthday, we planned on bringing doughnut holes to her class. Unfortunately this family tradition has grown to include auto accidents. Last year for Noah's birthday, Adam and his mom were rear ended while bringing donuts to school. Well, this time it was me. It was a busy morning and after loading everyone up I was focused on remembering to stop by Krispy Kreme. I should have been focused on driving because I ended up backing out of our garage and hitting Adam's car. Not too badly, but enough to feel very stupid! Happily after that the day went well. Camille had fun with her classmates...digging in the school garden, eating doughnuts, singing songs. I hope that this will be the year of the "terrific twos"! A year of exploration, laughter, and not too many tantrums!
November 4, 2007
Sydney, Noah, Zoe, and JonathonA huge thank you to Xan for being such a good friend (thank you for skipping coffee to help me in those frantic last minutes...vacuum, food prep, etc.). Thank you to Sydney, Zoe, and Hayden for building a birthday house for Camille and helping her dress up for her party.The amazing butterfly cake (made by Duchess)
November 2, 2007
Noah and Duchess creating a very sweet and spooky house
We had a couple of scary swamp monsters handing out treats
Noah was a scary farmer (thanks to his glow in the dark skeleton shirt that he refuses to take off). He wore a pair of Adam's overalls from when he was 4 years old. Camille was supposed to be a chicken. My mom spent time hand sewing white feathers to a onesie and minutes after Mei-Mei put the costume on she started screaming "don't like it!" and started pulling off feathers....looked like we had sacrificed a chicken in our living room! The only thing she wanted to wear was the tiara Nana made for her. Jonathan also joined in the trick-or-treating fun, but he wasn't too crazy about the wagon ride.