Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adoption, explained in crayons

Kisae loves to draw, so it's not surprising that when I pick her up at preschool her cubby contains pictures she made that day.

She had three little crayon drawings in her cubby on Tuesday. I was surprised only when she described one of them to me.

"That's you getting me," she said. "That's my house a long time ago."

The drawing showed something like a hut and then me reaching down to pick up her up. The crayon baby seemed to be in some kind of bassinet. Kisae explained that this was when she was a "tiny baby." The next picture was of just me and her and the last of the whole family but still when she was tiny.

At her age it's hard to know how much she processes about her adoption or how much she thinks about it. So I was totally surprised, maybe even taken aback, that she described it in crayon -- while at school.

It was sweet, and I think it's good that she's trying to understand the things we've told her. She described the pictures while we were in the car. I had to wait until a red light to turn around and look at them. They were so sweet. Truthfully, they made my eyes well up just a little bit.

(The scans, by the way, are pretty faded. Oh well).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter jackets? Ice on the windshields? Our brief freeze (but today high of 76. Ah).

The temperatures dropped this week for about three days, dipping below freezing three nights in a row.

I grew up in NY and went to college in upstate NY, so it's not like I cannot deal. But frankly, I've just grown used to warmer temps. And now, I found it mostly just a hassle to (for a few days) dig out jackets and sweaters and drag in plants or cover them with sheets and towels.

And I was downright puzzled about what to do when I went out to the car one morning with Kisae and discovered a sheet of ice on the windshield. Of course, I don't own a scraper. So I just waited until the heat cranked up and the ice melted.

The kids weren't initially thrilled with the whole jacket thing, though when they felt the cool air and saw the frost on the grass, they agreed. The first freezing morning, Ben wanted to call his Colorado cousins and tell them it was 32 degrees. I had to stop him because a)it was 6 a.m. there and b)I knew such weather news would be hardly, well, news to them.

Anyway, the freeze is over. We had a lovely, sunny and in the 70s, weekend. My geraniums and pansies went back outside - still blooming.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Would-be stars on ice

Ben has been interested for some time in learning to play ice hockey. Probably because Jim loves -- and sometimes plays -- this sport. But as a Florida boy, he's had limited opportunities to skate, much less learn to play hockey. In fact, his first three times on the ice took place in Colorado when we were visiting my brother' s family.

Still, this summer when his camp went ice skating he came back saying he was the best one on the ice. Of course, I did get him to admit that he was practically the only kid who'd ever been skating before that camp trip.

Well recently we took the kids to the holiday ice skating rink UCF had set up at Christmas time. Ben was thrilled -- and really not bad for a kid who was skating for only the sixth time in his life -- and came back determined to try hockey.

So Jim signed up for a "learn to play hockey" program at the one (that I know about anyway) rink in Orlando. Of course, in typical fashion Ben immediately started talking about making the competitive/traveling hockey team! We had to explain that first he had to pass through the "learn to skate" program, then he would move into "learn to play hockey," then maybe a chance to sign up for a recreational team and after that, some older kids played on the traveling team.

At least the kid dreams big. Anyway, the classes started this afternoon. Jim said he's doing well, but still needs to learn to stop. Yeah, the basics.

Chakisae skated at the holiday rink (her first time) and loved it, so I was a bit worried she'd be upset that she wasn't in the "learn to skate" program, too. But she wanted to go watch Ben today and didn't seem to mind she wasn't on the ice -- yet. Though Jim is now taken with the idea that we could sign her up, too, and maybe she'd be the first female Ethiopian hockey player. Hmm.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Donuts guys

has decided she loves donuts.

"I a huge fan of donuts, and Daddy a huge fan of donuts," she explained to me the other day.

At age 4, she has clearly figured out who is responsible for the junk food in this house.

Daddy, she added, is her "donut guy."

New Year (no resolutions but maybe a few wishes)

We had a lovely end to 2008, though I'm not sure I'd call the year itself lovely.

Too much upheaval and angst at work; too much worry/stress about Ben, though I think we're on the upside of that issue (I hope).

Maybe that is why I had no desire to do anything on New Year's Eve but stay home and hang out with the family. We decided to have just a collection of appetizer/sampler type things for dinner. Ben requested latkas. Jim wanted "summer rolls" from our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I would have grabbed some misr wat and injera but our only Ethiopian restaurant is too far away for a quick takeout run. We added some coconut shrimp and some plantains to our little international feast (also some strawberries, just to be sorta healthy).

Jim put the folding table on the patio (ah, Florida, it was a beautiful night), and we ate under the lovely glow of Mr. Tacky (our inflatable snowman).

Really, it was perfect. Than we watched Bednobs and Broomsticks, which the kids loved, though Ben expressed grave doubts when I showed him my movie selection (when will that kid learn that Mom knows things?).

We had friends over for brunch the next day, which was a low-key, enjoyable start to 2009.

I discussed resolutions with my family -- very small ones, like we'll all make our beds every day -- but no one seem interested. I think the direct quote was, "That's not going to happen."

I guess I could make it happen, but it's just not a battle I feel like waging right now.

So we head into 2009, not with a list of resolutions but just hopes that things are a little calmer, a little more upbeat -- and with the realization that many people have had a far, far rougher 2008 than we did. We are all basically healthy. Our house may be too small (in my eyes) but our mortgage is reasonable and fixed; our work may be in transition but we remain employed. We are together.

So hello 2009.