Monday, July 29, 2013

Photo of the Summer

Wordless... What day is it again?

Today I took the kids to one of my favorite spots: the swimming hole.  It's a deep pool created by the remains of an old flour mill.  When I was a kid the ledge was about five feet higher. Still, this is an impressive place to jump off, and the water is cool and deep. 

So there's my seven year old, jumping with the big boys. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five things I'm glad I packed for our family vacation

A two week family vacation with small children is, at least for me, a marathon. A never ending cycle of meal prep, meal clean up, swim suit hanging up, beach bag packing, "remember to wear your helmet!" shouting... cleaning sand, mud, grass off everything! It's EXHAUSTING.  Wonderful, memorable, delightful, but exhausting. One of these days my vacations will again involving sipping wine and watching the sun set over a beautiful city, but not for a few years, I think. Until then...

Here are five things I'm really glad I packed for our family vacation at the beach, and a couple of things I wish I had...

1. A set of plastic cups, plates and utensils. We are staying at a family beach house. Yes, we are very lucky and blessed to have a beautiful house to stay in just a few steps from the ocean. Thank goodness, because otherwise we'd have to camp, and Andrew doesn't do camping (and I'm not sure I do anymore either)  The house is fully equipped with utensils, but my children are still at the dropping/breaking/losing-in-the-bushes phase, and so I've been grateful to have cheap, dishwasher safe and unbreakable dishes.  I only wish they were all the same color, so I could avoid the "I want the PINK cup!!!!" thing.

2. Some predictable favorites: blanket, doll, book.  Having some cuddly beloved things from home has made bedtime much easier (or should I say, possible).  I'm reading the same 3 board books every night, but they're pretty good (and short), so I don't mind. Sleeping in a different bed in a new house that has different night sounds and is much darker is scary for any kid. Having her favorite doll and blanket to cuddle makes Lily feel safe.

3. Novelties for the car. It's a looooong trip to the beach house, so this year I packed a bag of new little trinkets for the kids to open and play with on the ride up. I ended up with enough fun new things for every hour, and it made the trip go a little smoother. We made a bit of a game of it, with mini quizzes to "earn" the trinkets. It also gave me some leverage against the "Are we there yet!?", "She's on MY SIDE!" whining.  This year's hits were: fake mustaches, stickers, little animals and squishy light up balls. I'm still finding those hairy black mustaches in the oddest places...

4. ALL Lily's hair products.  Last year I brought only a couple of things, and I regretted it. This year I just put the whole caddy of tools right into the car. And I'm glad I did, since I used the products on Lily, Daniel and their cousin as well as myself. Because I forgot to pack my own hair products.

5. Extra patience and a measure of flexibility. I have so many fond memories of my own childhood vacations in this beach house... the hours spent riding my bike, exploring the beach, playing board games and making up plays with my sister. I want to give my kids memories like that, which means being a bit more flexible about some of our rules. They've had candy treats, TONS of ice cream, stayed up a bit late, and eaten much more fried food than we usually consume.  Long days without the help of babysitters or daycare or camp means lots more "mommy-on" time than I'm used to, but also lots more time watching them have fun.  It's a kid paradise up here, and I've got the best seat in the house. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Orphanage Behaviors

When Lily first came home, she rocked herself to sleep. This is a classic "orphanage behavior", a strategy many children develop to cope with the stress of living without a family. No matter how wonderful the staff are at a care center anywhere in the world, they aren't a family. They don't rock babies to sleep.  They feed them and burp them and change them and swaddle them and put them down in the cribs. That's it. If babies cry, they cry.  Rocking is soothing, so babies learn to self soothe.

At 15 months, just adopted, Lily would thrash her head back and forth, back and forth quickly.  She only did this a few times, thank goodness. It was so sad and stressful to watch. The couple of times it happened she was strapped into a car seat (a hated contraption unknown to African babies).  Since I couldn't pick her up to soothe her, she soothed herself in the only way she knew how. From the very first night we were her parents, we rocked Lily to sleep. After a couple of weeks, she stopped self soothing. She'd learned that we would soothe her when she needed it.

I still rock Lily to sleep every night, even at 3 years old.  She still snuggles in my lap every night, and we sometimes chat or sometimes sing or sometimes we just rock silently.  She (almost) cannot fall asleep without at least 10 minutes rocking. When I get frustrated with all the time I've spent rocking Lily- especially those nights when she's not sleepy and is wanting to talk or be silly or get off my lap for a drink of water- I think of all the months she spent crying alone.  I think of the time soon, when she is a big kid who neither fits nor wants to be on my lap.

Rocking is a classic orphanage behavior, but not the only one my kids have. The other ones are subtler.  If you didn't know my children better, you'd think "Wow, these are some friendly, outgoing kids!" And they are, but that is also an orphanage coping skill. Who is going to get better care, more attention, a second helping of food or an extra cuddle? Cute, friendly, outgoing kids.  Kids who like to talk to adults and make silly jokes for them. Kids who know how to connect quickly and negotiate for what they need. It's no accident that Lily always (ALWAYS) gets a ride on the coolest set of wheels in the playground. It's no accident that Daniel quickly joins in baseball/handball/whatever ball games with older kids at the park.

Today at the beach my kids' amazing set of social skills was on display. Daniel got to ride on a giant float. Lily scored a giant shovel and a handful of crackers from the family next to us.  If you didn't know them better, you'd think, wow, these are some well adjusted kids!


Until a dog scares Daniel and he storms off, tears running down his stormy face. His social skills extend only to making connections. He is lost when a connection is broken. He is easily embarrassed. When the dog's owner laughed and said, "he won't hurt you!" Daniel was mortified and ran away.  He didn't know what else to do.

Until Lily tires herself out so much from chatting up all the people at the beach that she forgets to tell me she needs the bathroom, twice.

Until Daniel loses (or thinks he loses) at a board game and tosses all the pieces on the floor. He's unable to separate the loss of the game to loss of his self esteem.  His tenuous sense of control over his little world is lost with every toss of the dice.

I'm grateful, often, that my kids are so outgoing and so happy to be out in the world. I worry though, when Lily spends an hour sitting on some other mom's blanket, talking her ear off about who knows what. I worry at the amount of energy Daniel is exerting to hang out with the big kids, and the lengths he will go to make them laugh.

Later, at home, we shower and change out of our sandy suits and settle down for some cozy family time. We knit together the unraveled threads of ourselves. We try to teach our kids a little bit more about the deeper coping strategies; the ones that don't take quite so much energy. Reflection, talking, connecting.  We're not always successful. Sometimes we have games tossed on the floor. Sometimes we have lots of laundry to do.

Sometimes we spend a long time in the rocking chair.  Which is just where we need to be.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

African Curls Summer Hair Care

We are, happily, vacationing at the beach for the rest of this month! Hooray! Sun, sand, grandparents, ice cream, swimming, boating, biking! The kids are having a blast. (And so am I, to be honest.)
Before we left New York I asked our babysitter and Lily's teacher for advice on styling her hair for the beach. (Both of these amazingly patient women are African-American and have beautiful hair.)  They recommended box braids, which are easy to wash and style and will stay in for at least (fingers crossed) two weeks. As an added bonus, Lily's teacher finished off the tiny braids I'd started just a few days before we left.

Little Miss cuteness, looking all grown up with her long braids
This is how I've been caring for Lily's braids since we arrived, with some success. Every morning I spritz her head with water and apply some conditioner to the braids. Then I coat her part lines, especially on the top of her head, with oil (coconut or jojoba). The oil protects her skin from drying out and getting sunburnt. I also coat the braids with some oil or moisturizer. Then I put the braids up in some kind of bun or french braid to keep them out of her face and away from the sand/grass/dirt that she loves to get messy in!
Lily calls this her "princess hair" You can see the braids are getting a bit fuzzy, but are still holding up.

For added protection for a long day at the beach, I have Lily wear swim caps. First a cloth cap to protect her braids, and then a waterproof rubber cap to keep out the sand and salt water.  Lily is like a little fish, and loves to swim for hours. She wears the same cloth/rubber cap combination whenever we are in a chlorinated pool. For lake swimming we leave the caps off, as the fresh mineral water is not  damaging to her hair. 

Making a sand castle...

At the end of each day I rinse out her hair, and coat it again with conditioner, moisturizers and oils. I put her hair up in a high ponytail and cover it with a sleep cap at night.  She always pulls the cap off sometime in the night, which is probably why her braids are getting so fuzzy so fast. Ah, well.

So far I think we've struck a good balance between protecting her beautiful curls and letting her have fun and be the free spirited child she is.  She and I both learned the hard way how difficult it is to get sand out of curly hair, so we are on the same team about keeping sand out this time!

I hope everyone is enjoying these days of summer.... wherever you are!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

two worlds

The night we left Ethiopia with our two newly adopted children, a young man working at the security checkpoint paused in front of us for a moment. He looked at me, my exhausted white, clearly American face. He peered at my son, brown, tiny for 5 years old, looking with curious eyes at everything around. He questioned Daniel quickly in Amharic, glancing at me.  Daniel replied affirmatively.  Then the young man turned to me and said,

"Your son is a Lion of Africa. You must raise him to be proud, yes? He is the pride of Africa." *

I said, yes, of course, nodding vigorously.

But I could not meet his eyes.

Because I knew I was taking him to a country in which he would not always be treated well, in which he would be a 2nd class citizen. Loved, well fed, well cared for? Yes.  Go to good schools, be able to travel and see amazing sights? Yes. Have access to great medical care? Yes. Have amazing opportunities? Yes. But.

He would be black in a White country. No longer Black in Ethiopia.

And I felt terrible guilt about that. I still do, especially this week. Trayvon Martin was the pride of his family. He was a Lion of Africa. And now he's dead, and his killer walked free. And there are so many more Trayvons in this country.

Don't get me wrong: plenty of Ethiopians are killed violently. Too many Ethiopian boys die too young. But they don't die violently just because they are black boys. 

An important thing to know about Ethiopia is that it was never colonized. It never had white rulers or slavery, unlike almost all other African nations.  Ethiopia has always been independent, and that is a point of pride for Ethiopians.

As it should be.

To be a white mother of a black boy is to have one's white privilege ripped off like a blindfold.  My head and my feet remain in the White world, but my heart is in the Black one.  To have children, some wise person once said, is to have one's heart walking around in the world.

I may be safe, and not be followed in stores, and be able to hail a cab at night, and not be harassed by police, but my heart is not that safe. My heart walks around in black skin.

My family lives in two worlds. We live in America; we live in Ethiopia. We live in the White world; We live in the Black world.  Lots of people like to say that there isn't a Black America and a White America. Look at the President! I'm pretty sure it's only white folks who say that kind of thing.

Racism is an American disease for which we are all carriers. Yes, myself included. We are all infected; it is part of our heritage. Some people have it full blown- they are easy to diagnose.  But we all have it, even just a little bit. And the sooner that we all acknowledge that the better.  The sooner we can take a hard look at our criminal injustice system. The sooner we can acknowledge the failings of our unequal school system. The sooner we can make better choices in the voting booth.

It is hard for me to acknowledge that I took my children from a country in which their race and their heritage is a point of pride to a country in which they will have to learn to protect themselves from violence, discrimination and racism.

How I wish to meet that young man again and have a cup of coffee with him at the Addis Ababa airport.  How I wish to tell him how beautiful and strong and smart my son is. How I wish I could ask him for his advice for Daniel.

A Lion of Africa.

* It is very rare for Ethiopians to speak so boldly, especially to strangers. Ethiopian culture values politeness, privacy, harmony. He must have felt very strongly to speak his mind in that way.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Two Years, continued...

Two years ago we became a Forever Family in Ethiopia. (Read the first part here.)

After checking and re-checking that we were ready, we set off to the Farewell Ceremony at the children's care center. I should mention here that we were not alone in the guest house. Three other families were bringing home children that week, and we all stayed together in the guest house. All the other children were babies... 10 month old tiny bundles of cuteness who sat on blankets and cooed at toys dangled at them. They didn't leave the mat. They. did. not. move. off. their. mats. Sigh. I'm still jealous, 2 years later.  While we frantically ran in two directions at once after a very active 5 year old who loved cars, and a bold 1 year old who had just that week learned to walk, the other families playing with babies on a mat.  Have I mentioned the 20 pounds Andrew and I both lost the first month? 

We weren't ready. Not at all. But it anyone ever ready, really, to start raising up a tiny child who does not speak your language and has no idea what is happening, and of course logically spends most of their time screaming or eating and sleeping? Newborns are not much different than newly adopted children of any age. Just smaller and easier to tote around.

The kiddos in their traditional clothes post Farewell party.
 The Farewell Ceremony was beautiful. The children were the center of attention. There were prayers and tears and coffee.  I'll never forget the stricken look on Lily's nanny's face. Lily was her "first". The first baby she'd cared and then said goodbye to.  Her face almost had me undone. Daniel's nanny was more composed and calm, having raised and said goodbye to many more little ones. She was the one leading the other children in song and passing out treats. Daniel drank an entire soda... drinking quickly, amazed that this time, he didn't have to share. Lily wailed through most of the ceremony. She was missing her nap for this! She tore the pretty scarf of her head and screamed, proving most definitely her strong personality. I'm not putting up with your @#$% and I'm going to do things MY WAY. 

Finally the time came to really say goodbye. And we drove away in the big red van. The children brought nothing but the new white clothes on their backs. Everything they'd worn, played with or looked at for the past 10 months was left behind.

Daniel proudly showing off his new American clothes... his first full set of clothing just for him.
 We changed and bathed the children, ate a quick dinner and collapsed from exhaustion. Lily fell asleep in about 3 seconds after I started rocking her. (ha, ha, ha... a feat never to be repeated!) A power outage conveniently made it very dark and quiet that night.
Giving Lily her "first" bath.
 Then Andrew and I did what I think all new parents do. We lay awake, happy and terrified, and listened to our children breath.
Watching Lily take her "first" nap.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Two Years!

Two years ago today we became a family.

Ohmygoodness, I tremble with exhaustion just thinking about that day... So wonderful, so terribly frightening and so, so perfect. 

But, I need to backtrack a little bit.  Because the way that our adoption, and most Ethiopian adoptions at this point progress is a like an old fashioned dance. Two steps forward, one step back.

We arrived in Addis Ababa at night, late in the evening of July 9th. (We'd left America on July 8th. So, yes, it's a long trip.) The next day we had the whole morning to unpack, do some last minute shopping, and have slow, hours-long panic attacks about what was about to happen. For those of you who have had children by birth, think of this time as the pre-hospital light-labor phase. You are feeling pangs, but can still move around and, mostly, think clearly. 

That afternoon we went to visit the children at their care center.  We were accompanied by their social worker, a videographer and a photographer. It was just the kind of moment that I'd watched, crying, on youtube.  It was surreal.  We gave Daniel his Mets hat. (The Hat) We tried to coax a crying, terrified baby Lily into smiles. We shared a box of raisins. We gave Lily a piping hot cup of formula.  She stopped crying, but refused to smile.

After an hour or so of video-taped, photographed intensity, Andrew and I left the care center and went back to the guest house. We lay down on the bed and stared into space for a while.  We wished desperately we'd brought some wine with us. I probably unpacked and reorganized all our things for the 4th or 5th time.  I don't really remember, it just seems like something I would do. We may have eaten dinner. We might have slept, a little.

The next morning our kids came to visit the guest house. They wore their best mismatched orphanage clothes. (All clothes in a care center are communal. So the red Hawaiian shirt Daniel wore on the first day we met we saw another boy wearing the next day. Lily's outfit was hilariously mismatched. Each piece was not only a different color, but also a different size!)

Lily is extremely suspicious of everything. What, exactly is going on here!?

Daniel is super excited to ride in the van. He is ready to head to the airport!

My first vain attempt at getting both kids to sit still and do one activity together.  Still impossible.
That poor turquoise rug took quite a beating that week, especially during diaper changes. 

This is what we did, for hours. Up and down, stop and go.

Lily's first favorite toy/teether. Sadly, that cute hat never made it to America. 

After a brief endless couple of hours we took the kids back to the care center for their lunch and naps. Later that day we'd go back for the goodbye ceremony, and they'd come home with us, for good.

When Andrew and I got back into the big red van, leaving Daniel in the driveway of the care center, he started crying. He didn't understand that we'd be coming back in just a couple of hours. He really was ready, at that moment, to get on the airplane for America.  I suspect he thought America was paved in candy and it rained toys.  Certainly family life in the U.S. was not the endlessly exciting sleepover party that he imagined. For one thing: homework! What a letdown.

But on that day, that day it was just about perfect.

Happy Forever Day, little family.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vacation time

Our family is about to go away for a 3 week vacation in Maine. I'm filled with about equal parts longing and dread.  Three weeks, just us (mostly, there are Grandparents and cousins involved too.)  No camp.  No daycare.  No babysitters.

I'm looking forward to it, no really I am.  It will be good for us to spend lots of time together as a family.  It's just.  Well, parenting is tough and the days are long.  And we've decided, again, to have a "No TV in Maine" rule (and no ipads and iphones and other devices my kids love). Which means no electronic babysitters either. (This post brought to you by the TV the kids are happily watching quietly while I write.)

Sigh. I hope I'm not alone in this. (I'm pretty sure that my own parents popped some Champagne every time we went off to sleep away camp.)  I'm looking forward to spending days on the water, evenings on the porch, having lots of grass to play on and homemade ice cream to feast on.  But, but.  I've gotten used to having alone time too. And alone time does not exist with young children. Especially ones with sleep issues who will not go to bed in a strange house alone.

"Lily, I'm just going to the bathroom."
"Okay mommy, I come with you."

Two years ago, Andrew and I arrived in Addis Ababa to be united with our children. We'd been waiting and praying for that day for 2 (no, 4) years.  The intensity of that day and that days that followed has stayed with me.  I remember in my bones how difficult it was to be separated from them in the beginning. How I would ache and worry most of the time I was away from my children.  Now I'm worrying about how I will stand 3 weeks of togetherness.

How things have changed. How I have changed...  for the better? Hmmm....

Let's see how the next 3 weeks go...

Monday, July 8, 2013

and misses...

This is a teeny-tiny blog with a misleading (sometimes) title... so I was very excited just now to see that on my "stats" page we had reached 11111 page views! That must be a lucky number!

we never tire of carousels. never.

Here are five posts that didn't get lots of traffic this year, but hey, I liked them so I'm going to try and make you read them again!

  Maybe everyone just missed those days... Maybe everyone was really busy, reading all about some celebrity's new (poorly named) baby. Maybe everyone had just taken a vow of screen free living.  Maybe everyone had the flu (that is a distinct possibility, this winter).

Anyway... here are five posts you might have missed this year:


This was the happy follow up to this post,  telling the story of the organization Mercy Project, which works in Ghana to change the lives of child slaves.

These Two

In which I reflect on the close relationship Lily and Daniel have. (Update: they are still very close siblings, but boy, can they push each other's buttons!)

Season of Light

This was the first post in a series on our Unitarian-style Advent celebrations. Christmas in July anyone?


Strangely, this little read post was the one that came before the very popular "Before and After" closet cleaning piece. Anyway, I still have too much stuff, and now I have to pack it all up and move it to a new stuff holder house!

Can't Sleep

In which I remember the very first night Lily couldn't sleep, and how it foreshadowed all the sleep issues that have followed...

I promise tomorrow I'll go back to actually writing, not just making lists of things I've already written!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Top Five Hits

The top five hits on the blog in the past year were....

it's important to stop and smell the roses sometimes...

5. On being a Visible Family

This one is about some of the ups and downs of being a trans racial family. Also, Daniel's first (happy) experience in a barber shop!

4. Today

A short Mother's Day prayer

3.Parenting in the Deep End

On which I admit to sometimes not having an answer to our son's Big questions, and how difficult some days are when he's struggling to be at peace with his past.

2. Before and After 

This little piece about how I cleaned out a closet is the #2 favorite of the year. Hmmmm... Americans really have a closet problem, I guess!

1. Injera Time!

In which I talk about how important eating Ethiopian food at our favorite local restaurant has been to our family, and some helpful hints for using up leftover injera.

(Sadly I think most of the hits to this page are hoping for a good injera recipe. Sorry readers!)

And to all of you... Thank You for reading! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

or... "Mom, can I have a cell phone?!"

Daniel loves to borrow our phones and take selfies...

borrow, meaning: steal and hide

he's got a career in drama ahead of him...

Our little boy grew himself up into a big boy this year.  He declared that he doesn't like kisses, refuses to hold hands walking down the street, and insists that he be allowed to drive the car.

Daniel is 7, going on 17.  He is still astonished that 8 year olds are not allowed to drive. He was convinced that driving was the next logical step after being allowed to get rid of the booster seat.

We've had many, many conversations about this.

The other day he declared, looking me straight in the eye, "I EXPECT to get a cell phone for Christmas."

He was really miffed when I answered that not only would he NOT be getting a cell phone this year, he would be buying himself his own phone when he got into HIGH SCHOOL.

We shouted at each other for a while about this, then we each walked away, grumbling to ourselves.

Daniel sees his parents (and well, just about every adult in America) spending lots of time looking at their phones.  He thinks we're all playing games. (OK, he may be right on that score.) I tried to explain that usually I'm reading- reading articles about African hair care or getting updated on the Egyptian revolution. He is not convinced.

Why would anyone choose to read?!

Independence. Freedom to make your own choices. Daniel's had a lot of big choices made for him in his short life. He's pretty tired of it, and would like to make his own.  Even if he can't reach the petals, he wants to drive.

It's hard, parenting a 7 year old who wants to be 17. Makes me wonder what he will be like when he reaches 17!? There are so many things he just can't do (drive, have a phone). There are so many things he still needs to learn (to remember to pick up his pajamas off the floor, how to pack his own lunch), and so many things he thinks he knows, but really doesn't (shoe tying is elusive, walking to school by himself... sometimes he forgets to look at the cross walk sign and just barges into the street!)

So Daniel is struggling... struggling to be independent without being surly. Struggling to show his mastery of skills he's still learning. Struggling to be cool and grown up, when he's not so sure what that really means. (Should he like Justin Beiber, or not?!)

On good days I think, "this is practice for when they are teens." On my bad days I think, "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

And sometimes, when we are walking to school, he still slips his hand into mine. And I hold it, and marvel at my little grown up boy.

Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to Get Sand out of Curly Hair

I really am no expert on African hair. But, I pride myself in taking good care of Lily's hair and keeping it healthy and beautiful.

Then, she does something like this...

Yes, that is an entire bucket of sand on her head.

to her freshly washed, beautifully braided hair.

What her hair looked like the day before. 
I may have freaked out. A LOT. The thing is, African hair is beautiful and healthy and easy to manage when it is taken care of properly.  There are wonderful things about curly African hair: all the cool styles it will hold, and the beautiful texture it has. But, there are things that African hair doesn't do well, and one is handle rough treatment, lots of washing, or getting dirty. One of the biggest reason to keep long curly hair in braids is to keep it from getting dirty and damaged. 

I've spent HOURS studying videos and websites to learn about the best products and styles and the methods. Lily and I spent one hour doing the above cornrow style Saturday night. So, a bucket of sand in the head (on Sunday afternoon!) is a really, really big problem. If I get sand in my own (wavy) hair, I just shake it out. 

It's been three days now, and we still haven't got all the sand out of Lily's hair. 

so hard to see the sand, but see all those little white dots?
 My three year old's hair is super thick and super curly, as well as dry and delicate. If I comb it without any oil or conditioner, it will just break off. If I use any shampoo at all, it breaks.  Just trying to brush the sand out with my hands damaged her hair.  Since her hair was in braids, the sand got down into the layers of hair, and wedged itself inside the braids as well as against her scalp and inside her tight curls.

So, here is what we did:

1. We used a garden hose with a gentle spray to wash some of the sand off the top layer of hair.

2. I coated the ends of her braids in conditioner and then rinsed her hair in plain water in the bathtub.

3. I gently took apart her braids, coated her hair in more conditioner, and then we rinsed her head again. I had her lay on her back in the water and gently shook her hair to try and loosen the sand from her curls.

4. Then I applied lots of conditioner and hair cream, and combed it out. I was still finding little clumps of sand, but by this time it was past bedtime. She could really use another rinse out. So up in a simple puff ponytail it all went.

This is her head after the first rinse. There was lots of sand hiding inside those braids!

My advice for parents of toddlers with curly hair: Keep calm. Have patience. And stay away from sandboxes!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Blog-versary to Me!

More Injera Please is 1 Year Old! Hooray!

So, as a present to myself, ahem, I'm tinkering and redecorating the blog... don't mind me. It's just virtual practice while we wait for our mortgage paperwork to go through and I can start in on the real thing... our new house! (Which we are moving into at the end of the summer. In which case More Injera Please might have to be re-named: How to go about a major home renovation without losing your mind.)

Thank you! if you've been reading this little blog since July of 2012. Welcome! if you just happened to stumble upon this site while trying to figure your way around your new blog reader. (So long Google Reader, it was fun while it lasted!) Usually I write about international adoption, transracial family life, parenting, Ethiopian cooking/ culture or how infuriating adorable my two children are. I'm a bit rusty since the end of the school year, so forgive me, precious readers, while I get my footing again.

Happy Birthday Injera Mama!

Here is an adorable photo of baby Lily. You're welcome.