Sunday, February 22, 2009

And Then the Tow Truck Came and Blew His Mind

The entertainment value of the tow truck may have been worth the double insurance deductible. Probably not, but at least there was some lemonade to be made out of the lemons.

My mom and grandma came to babysit today while Paul and I went out for some couple time to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. The afternoon got off to an inauspicious start when I got our rental car stuck in an unplowed parking lot, but 45 minutes later we were ready to hit the road again and we had a lovely time hanging out alone while simultaneously out of the house. We get lots of quiet time together after the kids go to sleep, but it was a special treat to go out for lunch and grocery shopping. I am a lucky woman to be married to this guy (who convinced his best friend to dress up as a clown and have pies thrown in his face in lieu of either of us getting covered with dessert during the cake cutting ).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I need...

There's this post I've been seeing on other peoples' blogs where they've entered their first names followed by the word needs into a Google search. Frankly, I didn't find those posts too interesting until I tried it out for myself. The first five results using my name:

1.Betsy needs a day job.
2. Betsy needs a bath.
3. Betsy needs a boyfriend.
4. Betsy needs a makeover.
5. Betsy needs our help.
I have admit, the stupid exercise did make me smile.

We still don't have a final word about our Toyota Matrix, but the Corolla has been declared totalled. I've been very impressed with State Farm throughout this process and would recommend them to a friend. The settlement they're giving us for the Corolla was a pleasant surprise and would actually allow us to go out and buy an identical car. Our current plan is to attempt to get by on only one car for awhile. We don't want to rush into a purchase. Meanwhile, if you own a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey, I'd love to hear your opinions about it. We would be looking particularly at late-model used versions (2003 and newer I think). [Yes, I do feel ridiculously old and frumpy considering the possibility of a minivan.]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh, Fiddlesticks (Or Something Stronger)

It started out as a nice, quiet President's Day. We got up, drank some coffee, and got the kids ready for their pediatrician's appointment (conveniently scheduled so we wouldn't have to take time off work). Then Paul went out to put some things in the car...
Apparently, someone rear-ended our Matrix last night and caused it to ram into our Corolla. Yes, those are both our cars in the pictures. Our State Farm agent is checking to see whether our deductible is $500 per car or $500 per accident. Joy.
The good news is that all of us are fine, nobody was in the cars, and we have the entire day to coordinate insurance and tow trucks and rental cars. We're okay. They're just things. It's just money. The bad news is...well, obviously both of our cars are out of commission and we're not sure yet whether they're totalled.
So, that's how our holiday is going. The kids are now napping and Paul and I are each drinking a beer.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Teal Purse with Pink Sunglasses?

This is how Atticus accessorized to go to daycare on Friday morning.
Do you think he knew he was being silly?

A video of a new favorite pastime:

P.S. Stop the presses: Norah let me re-do her hair tonight WITHOUT COMPLAINING OR SCREAMING ONCE because she was occupied with cleaning out her own ears with Q-Tips. Have I found my magic bullet?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A New Look

I discovered a new website today that provides free backgrounds for blogs. Thanks Aqua Poppy Designs! I love it so much I might even spring for a customized header.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spring May Come!

We had a very, very welcome reprieve from freezing weather here today. It felt fantastic to go to the park and for a walk. When we got home, the kids chatted all about the day on our cell phones.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Year (and a Day) Later

Since this is the only baby book I've kept for Atticus and Norah, I want to make sure I write about the day that we met.

We landed in Addis Ababa that morning. As I mentioned, we quickly encountered lost luggage and being forgotten by our driver. We then arrived at our hotel to find that we weren't expected until that evening and didn't have a room. We immediately called the lawyer because we had some papers to sign before being allowed to meet the kids. He wasn't in his office. When we finally met with him that afternoon, he claimed he hadn't known we were coming. Also, we'd been told that he had to take us to the orphanage himself, and had therefore allowed our driver to leave. Apparently, that wasn't the proper procedure, and he was very put-out by the idea of driving us; he finally arranged for a pair of teenagers to drop us off on their way somewhere else. Strangely, none of this really upset us, but I was getting very, very nervous because we knew that visiting hours would be over fairly soon at the care center.

When we arrived at the care center, the nice coordinator asked us to take a seat. She made a phone call in Amharic and told us to wait. We waited, and waited, and waited. I didn't understand what was going on and was being very fidgety. I definitely remember Paul asking me to calm down a little. In retrospect, I realize now that the coordinator had made a call to the nannies and asked them to prepare the kids. It seemed like a lifetime of waiting, but I'm now very impressed that they got both kids fed, bathed, moisturized, combed, and dressed within the forty-five minutes or so that we sat there.
Suddenly, after over a year of wondering what it would be like to meet our kids for the first time, they were carried into the room by their caregivers. For the record, I think I've cried through every adoption video I've ever watched, but I was too stunned when meeting our own kids. It felt delightfully normal and surreal and every other combination of happy feelings I can think of.

We were so caught up in holding them (and figuring out how to exchange babies with one another!) that we would have forgotten to take any pictures or video at all. Luckily, another adoptive family was there and shouted at us to take a picture:
We took a lot of pictures that afternoon. This is the face Atticus made the first time he saw the camera flash:
I also insisted on taking off their socks and shoes to count their toes. They each had ten.
On subsequent visits, it cracked us up to see how well the nannies bundled up the babies when the weather was 75 degrees out. Note the fleece romper: This video (the only one we shot the whole trip!) perfectly shows their personalities those first few days. Atticus was all about the flirt, while Norah was happy to quietly take things in.
Atticus fell asleep in Paul's arms every time we visited. We thought it boded well for his sleep habits. Ha!
Their nannies the day they left the orphanage
Bonding in the guest house
Finally, one year later:

Monday, February 2, 2009

How Can I Possibly Put This Year into Words?

One year ago today, Paul and I began our trip to Ethiopia to bring Atticus and Norah home. Yesterday, we watched a slideshow of pictures with the kids. Whenever one of the myriad of photos we have of donkeys came onscreen, both kids would shout that it was a dog. It was such a tiny thing, but it made me think about how different all of our lives are now. If the kids were growing up in Ethiopia, they would certainly be familiar with donkeys already. We are so, so, soooo lucky to have them in our lives. A year ago, I hadn't ever heard one of my children yell, "Mommy!" and it's become the sweetest sound of all.

When we returned home from Ethiopia last year we were a little too preoccupied to write much about the trip. Since I can't possibly express how grateful I am to have had this year with my children, I'll settle for posting some never-before seen pictures.

This picture doesn't capture it, but flying over the continent of Africa on a clear day was one of the most spellbinding things I've done. This is a look down at Sudan.

Because Paul and I are both middle schoolers at heart, we had to take a picture of this banner in the Addis Ababa airport.
Once we'd cleared customs, we couldn't find out luggage or our driver. It turned out our bags had arrived the day before us and our driver had forgotten to come at all. After figuring out how to call a cab (Answer: Wander around looking lost until a taxi-arranger takes pity on you), we were relieved to get into a taxi driven by a twelve-year-old. Here are some things we saw:

Two views from our hotel room

I'll add more of the story tomorrow!