Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Africa on My Mind

Africa has been on my mind lately. The famine in Somalia and the food crisis in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia are heartbreaking. This crisis in on top of the challenges such as poverty, HIV, malaria and TB that the continent is already facing.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know a part of my soul is in Africa. When I hear of the problems, I cannot help but think of Lion's birth family, of my family. The phrase but for the grace of God takes on a whole new meaning.

I cannot sit silently by. I must speak out about these problems. I must raise awareness.

So today, I encourage you to learn all you can about the famine in Somalia and how to help. I also encourage you to follow the journey of several bloggers who are currently in Kenya learning first hand what life is like for families in the developing world.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Real Me

I recently got my hair cut (off). My stylist mentioned I looked like the real me with my cut. In a way she was right. I looked lighter. There was a sparkle in my eye. I felt happier. All of this was brought on by the tremendous ego boosting bounce a good haircut and color can bring.

But it got me thinking, what is the real me?

The real me is tired.
The real me is cranky.
The real me is lazy.
The real me is selfish and self-centered.
The real me is afraid.

The real me is more than those defects of character.
The real me is hopeful.
The real me is humble.
The real me is trying hard to be better.
The real me looks for beauty.
The real me seeks joy.
The real me is a friend.
The real me shares her heart.
The real me loves herself.
The real me allows herself to be loved.
The real me loves others.
The real me seeks knowledge.

The real me is all of this and more. There are days I get glimpses of her. I wish she would come out more. I wish I could get to know her. I wish I could show her off to the world.

The real me is a work in progress.

And the real me has great hair.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Tour D'Air Conditioners 2011

I live in a house with no central air. The majority of the time, this is not an issue. A few well placed window air conditioners and I can survive the summer (by well placed I mean in my room. I cannot sleep in a hot room).

This year, the window units have not been enough. Like most of the midsection of the country, Milwaukee is experiencing a nasty heatwave. Temperatures in the 90s and heat indexes in the 100s. Add in our usual humidity and you have an uncomfortable situation all the way around.

Our usual trusty window AC is working overtime and only manages to cool our room to 82 at any given time. And in case you were wondering 82 is not cool. The situation downstairs is not much better. The living room and dining room have french windows which are incompatible with window units. The strategically placed fans do nothing but circulate the already hot air.

The only solution I can come up with to keep the family cool is to leave the house. Tuesday we went to the in-laws house conveniently equipped with central air. The Lion cub napped there while my sister-in-law and I took Bunny and the cousins to the pool.

Yesterday there was a tour of local establishments with air conditioning: the bank, the library, the mall and the grocery store. Normally I loathe grocery shopping with children but it was my favorite stop yesterday. Why the change? Freezer cases! I think we found an excuse to open every one to look for waffles, pizza, ice cream and popsicles.

Today the kids are visiting their grandma. I have taken my laptop and retreated to the safety (and air conditioning) of the local coffee shop. I haven't ruled out a trip to the movies either.

Tomorrow will bring some relief with a forecasted high of 82 (yay!). We may even be able to turn off a fan or two.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Family Reunions

My best friend has said there is the family you are born (or in our case adopted) into and the family you choose.

I've always loved that. I have my family, my mother and father's family and my husband's family. But I also have a wonderful family of friends, people who have shared so much with me, who mean just as much as my family of origin.

This past week I was lucky to spend time with both types of family.

First we drove to Iowa City to spend time with my mother's family. Her brother and his wife hosted a beautiful get together. It was casual and fun, filled with good food (and pie!) and great conversation. We hung out, we played golf (or tried), we swam and we enjoyed each other. It was just the way a family reunion should be.

Next we were able to spend some time with Lion's family. Because my children may never know their families of origin, we have considered the families we traveled with on our adoption journey part of their family. These children share the same history, they are the only ones to know what it was like to be adopted from that country, that care center at that time. These families have walked the same path, they know the joy and heartbreak of adoption. These families are our family.

We are lucky that one of Lion's families lives in Iowa so we were able to stop for a visit on our way home. Jared and Beth are parents of three wonderful boys from Korea and a beautiful little girl from Ethiopia. They opened their home and their hearts to us. The children played together and became fast friends. To see Lion and their daughter together filled my heart with joy. (I admit I was ready to start planning their wedding right there and then.)

This trip made me want to start planning reunions for both Bunny and Lion's extended families. I would love for my children to know these families, to know others who share their story.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Dog Days

(image courtesy of

Meet Bob. (Well his name is probably not Bob, more likely it is Peanut or Spike.) According to Bunny, Bob (or a dog very much like him) is going to be our dog.

Bunny loves dogs. She wants a dog very much. She talks about getting a dog all of the time. She loves Labs and Retrievers, Pugs and Jack Russells.

She knows we can't get a dog right now because of our two (elderly) cats. However, she knows that at a time in the future we will get a dog. (She assumes that she will be 7 or possibly 8, because that is a good age to get a dog). I grew up with a dog and I am on board 100%. Lion likes dogs so he's a go too. Frink does not like dogs in the least but has consented to the inevitability as long has he does not need to take care of said dog.

So Operation Dog is underway. I thought it would be fun to learn about the different types of dogs so that when the time comes we could chose the right breed for us. Bunny thought this was a good idea too, until yesterday.

Yesterday, Bunny unilaterally decided we would get a Deer Head Chihuahua. His name would be Bob. Bob "would be perfect for our family because he is small and could not jump over our fence. He can stay out in the yard when we eat so he won't eat our food. He'll go in the cat's litter box so he wouldn't have to go outside to the bathroom when it was raining or yucky outside."

You see yesterday, Bunny met a chihuahua named Chloe and fell in love. Chloe's mom was more than happy to tell Bunny all about her and that was enough for Bunny. She has talked of nothing but Bob ever since.

So Bob it is.