Monday, December 31, 2007

Nervous wreck

Woke up at around 5am this morning. I have my MRI at 11:30am. Why is it that my mind is already thinking the worst? I watched my father die of Breast cancer. It was horrible. He was diagnosed at 45. I miss him so much. He would have loved seeing G and A and been such a great grandpa to them. My paternal grandmother died of agressive, premenopausal breast cancer when I was 5 or 6 years old. As did her sister. We have some crappy genes in this family.

I've gotten 2 beautiful children into adulthood. Dear Lord, I have two more to go.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

More testing

I now have an MRI scheduled for Monday morning. Hopefully we can get this behind us so that we can focus on other things (like packing). They told me I'd have to be in that little tube for 1 HOUR. Holy mackeral, can't they make them any bigger???

If God doesn't give you more than you can handle, he has seriously overestimated my coping ability.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas exhaustion....

Work (retail) has been utterly exhausting - I don't even remember how many consecutive days I've worked without a day off right now. When I'm not at work, we're packing. We move on January 15th, and we are nowhere near ready. The stress of Woods job loss. A's birthday celebration yesterday was squeezed in between church and grocery shopping. I have a biopsy tomorrow am.

Is it 2008 yet?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Acting Debut...

G got the part of a shepherd in the school Christmas play. She chose to wear an Ethiopian shirt and natalla. We think she made a beautful Ethiopian Shepherd and she even got got a speaking line "Go to Bethleham and find the baby". She delivered it beautifully! Big sister M was very active in Community theater. We may just have another actress on our hands.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Princess At

A's official birthday is December 24th. If you are going to pick a random date, did it have to be Christmas eve???? However, one of the very first photos I ever saw of her, she was wearing pants with a candy cane design, so it does seem oddly appropriate. We believe she was actually 4 in August.

Tomorrow is the last day of preschool before the holidays. She will be Child of the Day, and we will bring the birthday snack. She hasn't seen it yet, but we're bringing a cake that says "Princess A" (in pink frosting, of course) with a tiara and sceptor. She will be sooo excited! Her preschool teacher already made her a special crown. I will even break down and let her wear a party dress to school tomorrow (she would wear a dress 365 days a year, but it's hard to play outside in the snow in snowpants with a fancy dress on).

A is a girly girl, who wears lip gloss, loves dresses and panty hose and everything pink. Of my three daughters, she is the only one who loves everything girly. I rarely even wear makeup and I'll take comfort over fashion everyday. So do G and my older daughter M. But A actually has lip gloss "emergencies". If she can't wear a dress, it ruins her day. She loves everything with a princess on it.

I can't wait for her to see her treat tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas around the world...

A's preschool class is busy working on Christmas activities. Wood and I were touched and surprised to see Christmas greetings in Amharic on the Christmas display board at her school, and brightly decorated umbrellas that the class had made while learning about Timkat. A was beaming with pride, saying "they use these in Ethiopia, that's where I'm from, momma!". How wonderful that her classroom teacher researched and added this to their Christmas activites!

I sat down with the preschool director today and gave her a heads up about what's going on with our family. I explained the situation that had unfolded recently with our family, the ugly racism and the following retaliation for reporting it, our decision to move, the whole 9 yards. "Explained" sounds too rational - what I really did was break into tears when I started into the story, and sobbed in her office. G has gone to that preschool since she was 3, A joined her there last January, and Wood helps them with non-profit development and fundraising. They love and adore both the girls and seem like part of our extended family. She was visibly upset over what had happened, and offered to help in whatever way the she and the staff could and made several concrete suggestions, such as organizing a letter writing protest. Talking to her really helped, I feel like I'm less shaky right now, however, I'll admit I'm looking at most people I come across these days with suspicion, wondering how they REALLY feel about our family.....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Is it cabin fever?

Asrat learned 2 important lessons this week:

1. We do not cut our sister's hair (4 large cuts with the hair scissors) or mommy will be VERY mad and an early bedtime will result.

2. Swinging the jumprope in the living room next to the Christmas tree is a VERY bad idea.....and will make mommy mad too.

A farewell to a friend....

Our first friend from when we moved to this area, our beloved pastor, died this week. He would have been 88 years old tomorrow. He confirmed our son and baptized Asrat. He wrote a letter of recommendation for us for our homestudy. He helped me find a job up here. He's helped our family in so many ways, both large and small. He was a wonderful, active, vibrant man of God. He was instrumental in bringing Lifeteen to our parish. He was also very active in the business community and in jobs creation in our city. He had such a wonderful life. He will be very missed. His funeral on Friday was standing room only in the large Cathedral and even our Bishop cried.

Monsignor Cappo, we love you and you will be sorely missed.

God is good.....All the time
All the time.....God is good

Elliot Larson Civil Rights act....

Do you know what this is? I never did. It's an Act, passed in Michigan in 1977 to define civil rights; to prohibit discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin. That's the condensed version - it goes on for 12 pages. I'm actually surprised that our state has it's own legislation on Civil Rights. Should it really vary from state to state? Could you have a basic civil right in one state, but not another?

Does your state have it's own Civil Rights act?

Friday, December 14, 2007

When you're going through hell...

The past week has been very busy. We are moving. We sold our home and have purchased another home in another neighborhood. We have to be out of our current home by January 15th. Yikes. Our new home is much smaller than our current home, so I have to figure out how to have a major garage sale with about 3 feet of snow outside. Since I'm in retail, the holidays are my busiest time and to say I work a lot of hours during 4th quarter is an understatement. But it is what it is. Winston Churchill said once "If your're going through Hell, keep going". That's what I feel like we're doing.

As our situation has unfolded, I'm heartbroken and sickened by the derogatory comments and characterization of our family, due to the color of my daughter's skin. That our family's economic stability could be thrown into turmoil due to small and narrow minded people who apparently aren't current on Civil Rights legislation is mind boggling. The ugliness of racism stands in direct contradiction to the very meaning of America. But we are fighting back. I feel like we are hunkering down and preparing to do major battle.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


"It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate."
---James Baldwin (author)

Our family experienced an incident this week that shook us to our core and turned our lives upside down. I trust that God has a plan for us, a purpose to come out of this. It's just very hard to see right now. I'm cognisant of the fact that our actions now are important - to show our children the importance of standing up for our beliefs, model our response to those who show ignorance and racial intolerance. Regardless of the cost.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

It's been snowing for days now. We got about 12" in the past two days. 2-4 more inches scheduled for today, and 1-3" overnight. This part of living in the UP is hard to get used to. It starts snowing in October, and stops in late April. 7 months of continual winter can drive you a little bonkers! There is no planting in the ground in the spring until June 1st. It's not hot until mid July. And it snows again in October. We get an average of about 240", sometimes more.

When we lived in Metro Detroit, we got about 36", for comparison.

There are three places to go with kids in the winter when cabin fever hits and visions of "The Shining" are setting in: the library, the Kids Museum, and the YMCA. We have annual, sanity saving memberships to the Kids Museum and the YMCA. We are known on a first name basis at the children's section of the library. We have a mall, if you can call it that. There are about 30 stores, most of the tiny mom and pop variety. There are three main anchors - JCPenney's (where I work), Younkers, and Kohls. No food court, no play area, so not much of a distraction for the kids.

None of us are particularly winter, outdoors type of people. Except for A. She loves any kind of weather, hot or cold. She could play in the snow all day. People told us it was cruel to bring a child from Africa to the UP because of the climate. Obviously, they have never met a child like my daughter!

Some photos of our winter wonderland.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Books, Books, Books...

G is reading. She started spontaneously reading in July. We were sitting in the car, under a billboard, when she looked up and said "mom, what does "mix it up" mean?" It was a billboard for Culver's milkshakes. From that beginning, she has taken off. She spent maybe a month on easy readers. Now, she can read books without pictures for clues. At bedtime, she is trying to take over the reading of bedtime stories. Much to A's chagrin.

By the records, the girls are 18 months apart. In actuality, they are about 12 months apart. However, much that happens with artificial twins occurred with them. G is very, very tiny. A grew very, very fast. They have been the exact same size for over a year now. They wear the same clothes, the same size shoes, are the same height, and A weighs a pound or so more than G. Due to the similarities, I think we treated them very similarly. My peas in a pod. The dynamic duo. What one did, the other one did. We didn't really treat G like she was older or vice versa. They went to the same preschool.

A had a hard time with G going to Kindergarten this year. Our mantra has been "when you are 5, you will go to kindergarten too". Repeat. Over and over. A is not convinced that she is not being deprived in some way. Now G can read. And read extremely well. So A thinks that she should read too. But she is not there developmentally. She sees herself as THE SAME AS her sister, so she is bound and determined to try. She doesn't just want to tell the story from the pictures. She wants to read the words. When she can't, I try to help. Then she gets mad. G doesn't need any help, why should she? So I stop helping. Then she is mad at herself, for not being able to read. Sweetie, mommy couldn't read at 3. Daddy couldn't read at 3. G couldn't read at 3. It's not a contest or a race. You are not less than because you can't read. How can we fill that empty space inside that tells you you have to do everything perfectly or you are flawed, defective?

So we downplay G's amazing acomplishments, so as not to stir the pot. Wrong, I know. I've never seen a child read like this - ever. She is so far beyond her classmates with reading that her teacher is putting her in a program for gifted readers. They've never had a kindergartener in the program before. G has always been in love with words. She could talk at 9 months old, and used 3 word sentences by her first birthday. When she was 18 months old, there was nothing she couldn't say. And use correctly in a sentence.

G, we're so glad you have mommy and daddy's love for books. They will feed your mind, fill your soul. A, be patient. Give yourself time to grow up. Be our baby a while longer.