Friday, November 30, 2007


Today I got to do something I'd never done before. That's one way to look at it. Unfortunately, it wasn't anything remotely fun.

I went to in the Valley to see my doctor for a checkup, flu shot, and Hep B booster. I bet some of you can guess where this is headed--I am horrible with shots and blood draws. I've passed out at least four times in doctor's offices, although for the last couple years I've been doing well. I do better with someone talking to me to keep me distracted. Well, today I was on my own and the nurse was taking her sweet time between shots 1 and 2.

She had needle #2 in my arm and I could tell I was losing the battle against woozy. I told her I was getting really dizzy and she said to lie back. I remember going to lie back and then . . . dreaming about lying down, getting shots, and then other completely random dream stuff I don't remember. Suddenly I am looking up at my doctor's face and the nurse. Hello, hello, you're at a place called Vertigo.

That's bad enough, but hey, I'm an old pro at unconsciousness; I know that I'll feel better in a bit, eat my granola bar, and be on my merry way. Except that they tell me You had a seizure! What? Didn't I just pass out? Apparently I got all stiff, was shaking, and my eyes rolled back in my head. I guess it was more like 30 seconds than just a few. It did feel like an extra long nap...

Well, they didn't want me to leave without talking to a doctor/neurologist. They decided the fastest way was to send me over to the emergency room. And I think it must be a rule that I couldn't walk, so I got a freezing cold outdoor wheelchair ride. Then I got to sit in the ER waiting room alone and think about anything except those people who go in for a flu shot and find out they have a brain tumor. Then I got to sit in a room, talk to a nurse, and talk to a doctor.

Given my history of rolling blackouts and the fact that I knew I was losing consciousness as I did, they really didn't think I had actually had a seizure. With seizure disorders they hit with no warning, and I've never had anything at any time other than when facing needles. They said fainting with blood pressure drop can make the brain let things out so you may have seizure-like movements. Enough to scare a poor family practice nurse but not a real seizure. They decided to let me go without an EEG, although they said I could get one later if I wanted. But this time it had been probably an hour and half and the only ill effects I felt were hunger and a sensation that someone had been sticking needles in my arm. Did I mention I'm horrible with shots?

So Mommy's day of grocery store freedom didn't turn out quite as planned. I got home shortly before Aaron had to head down to school, with just enough time to snag a power nap (going into a deep sleep state is very tiring) while Anna napped and before we joined the Powder Puff fun freezing cold insanity.

Was your Friday more fun than mine? Not more eventful!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Real Good and Real Fake Football

We don't watch much football besides our beloved Lions, but oh me oh my what a Thursday night football game we are enjoying. Thank you NFL Network. Well, I am still watching--yes, I outlast my husband at watching football. And the day the commentator said they ran a stunt and Aaron said, "What's a stunt?" and I said, "It's when two defensive lineman switch positions"? Priceless. Thank you Idiot's Guide to Football.

It's sad that Brett is on the sidelines . . . but what's the only consolation for missing his on-the-field glory? The glory that is Sidelines Brett. I'm just sayin', the old man wears a hat well too. As for young Aaron Rodgers, now that he finally got to take off his sidelines hat for once, he can pull out of his I'll-never-play depression and cut his hair. And all of Wisconsin can stop crying; he wasn't bad.

Postgame Update: Dangit, Brett could've pulled that out with a minute left. Cancel the shave, Rodgers.

Tomorrow is an even greater football day: the school's Powder Puff game! The honyacks on student council couldn't get it together enough to have it during Homecoming week, so now we will all freeze our patooties off for three hours because Young Life is once again having a tailgate party beforehand. I'm not sure if Enor and Waltino will be allowed to "commentate" once again. Perhaps one too many principal/leprechaun comparisons last year. I won't be doing my famously funny sassy sidelines reporting video shtick. But I do believe there will be flying stuffed monkeys involved, so it's sure to be a ridiculously good time. Support your local fake sports!

Announcer: You know, it’s really tough to make predictions. Especially about the future.

Student: I think the announcers should go home.
Reporter: They will never go.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Odor Eater?

Okay, I'd like to move on from thoughts and descriptions of doggie deposits on my rug as much as anyone, but I am still dealing with it, and I figure who better to help than the Internets?

The spots are coming out very well, but I think I have an odor problem. I mean the rug has odor. I don't have a very good nose so I'm not sure if it's the smell of dog doo, carpet cleaner, baking soda, or some unholy combination of them all. I wish it would be sunny so I could put the thing outside. What's my best bet for stench removal? Will an Oxy-something product help?

Oh, and while you're at it, what's the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oh, Sh...rug

This morning I woke from the kind of sleep that makes your limbs weigh 45 pounds each, stumbled downstairs and had breakfast, fed Anna her breakfast, deposited her in Aaron's computer room with him, and went and took a shower. Important note: I have no idea what the dog was doing at this time.

Oh, crap, yes I do. And that's what it was.

When I returned downstairs I decided maybe the girl should get out of her wet diaper and pjs before, you know, she took a nap. I took her into her room but realized I wanted to grab something out of the bathroom. I turned around and saw . . . oh, sh . . . rug! The new rug! Noooooooo! A great big puddle of doggie diarrhea. I took a step and slip! A second pile, now transferred to the white square of the rug with my very own leather moccasin with the knobbly bottom. As if my eleven-year-old moccasins weren't gross enough.

So, the question of the day: How do you get runny dog crap out of the bumpy knobs of a brand new, 5 x 7, spot clean only, supposed to remain cute enough to grow with her until college, polyester/faux wool, pastel-colored rug?

I actually did pretty well with water, paper towels, washcloths, a small laundry brush, and lots of Resolve (carpet cleaner and my own angry kind). Our dog never has accidents, so I don't know why in the heck he did this (or why he is still alive). I will give it another round of scrubbing after Anna wakes up, assuming the fumes haven't rendered her comatose. Just what I wanted to move to the top of my to-do list.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Alles Gut Endes Gut

Another visit done and gone already. Today my mom flew home and I drove back home from the airport. We had to leave early and it was a rather mundane drive home alone in cloudy weather, so I was pooped when I got home. But Aaron had a meeting so I had Anna back right away; I darn near napped with her, but I had things to do. Until five minutes ago the living room looked like a toy factory exploded, so needless to say I still have lots of things to do tomorrow, and I have to get back to work too. But it's always worth it to have visitors (so come on out!) and Anna and Grandma and I had lots and lots of fun together.

As the Germans say, Alles gut endes gut: If it ends good, it's all good. Or something like that.

Coming soon (hopefully): blog posts with actual thoughts and ideas and stuff.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NIV

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sleepy Saturday

Photos from the last couple days, clockwise from top: Bright day; Daredevil; Can't shove it in fast enough!

We didn't do much today but I am plumb tuckered out. Anna refused her afternoon nap so she is going to bed early. I think we would all like a nap--or maybe we need to go for another drive.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fridays with Grandma

Today we three girls went out wandering in the sunshine. Drove down south; gorgeous waves and blue sky. Had lunch, did the tourist shops, drove back, had leftovers for dinner (didn't we all?). Huge full moon out at sunset too.

After dinner we played in Anna's room where Mom/Grandma is sleeping on the air mattress, which is really fun to play on. Anna decided it was time to get brave and start letting go to stand up on her own! At first she was kind of leaning her knees against the air mattress but then she tried it further back. She was hamming it up for us and the cameras. Once she discovers something new, she is really into trying it over and over again, so I expect she will be getting good at balancing very quickly now.

I can't post pictures tonight because there's a Battle of the Bedtime going on upstairs (she's just so not tired!), but I will try to get some up soon.

By the way, who knew y'all would have so much to say about spiders? Thanks for commenting, and don't worry for us, I haven't seen any in days--the good thing about it getting chilly!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I am stuffed with satisfaction.

Mom arrived yesterday without any travel troubles. We had lunch, went to Target (I did not spend more than the gift card I had so HA. She bought the rug we'd been eyeing online for Anna's room though!), hit a little traffic, then took to the back roads. I had never taken that road before but it got us around some more traffic snags and was quite pretty. (Note: I am now NaBloPoMo -1 since I didn't blog yesterday. Thought about it at 10:30 pm, but thought my husband would think I was crazy. And be pretty unhappy if I woke up the girl.)

Today, food and football, of course. Oh, Brett Favre . . . I hated you the whole time, but there's no one I'd rather lose to. If we'd played the "how many times can they say Brett Favre" drinking game, we'd have been schnokered before kickoff. I thought the piece with legends from other sports offering their worship was a bit much, though. George Foreman, you wake up in the morning and think, "I'm thankful for Brett Favre"? Gimme a break. You're thankful they let you put your name on that grill, that's what you're thankful for.

Mom and I spent the day cooking enough for ten times our number. She makes the best rolls in the universe. I must say our turkey was extra good too. Anna liked the super-sweet sweet potatoes, turkey, and orange Jell-O (you have to include some, uh, fruit, right?). Later on some friends came by to have dessert with us, so we got two kinds of pie. Wonderful.

Anne Lamott wrote that there are really only two kinds of prayers: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Today is a day for the latter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This one's for all you spider-lovers out there. What, just my mom? Okay, all you spider-haters can also play along by telling me which ones I should whack with a shoe.

Lately I have been noticing a lot of spiders around the house. And wondering which ones are poisonous. I keep an eye on this one on the back deck every time I let the dog out. I'm pretty sure it's waiting around to eat us.

I'm also pretty sure my husband just wet himself. He goes twitching and jerking across the room in a Steve Martin/seizure kind of way yelling "Uhnnnnhgh! I hate spiders!" whenever I have to save him from one. Actually I felt pretty Uhnnnhgh taking this picture, even hiding behind my big honking telephoto lens with macro. Glad to know what that comes in handy for--taking pictures of relatively small insects of doom from a relatively safe distance.

I thought this one on the window was kind of pretty. Very bulbous.

Then I picked up the spider book in the library and thought it might be an immature black widow. Nice. No, I won't put my thumb in the photos for size reference!

I let this one live in the corner of the window by Anna's changing table for a month or more. Don't worry, I kept a close eye on him. Then yesterday, because my mom's coming and sleeping in there, I vacuumed him out. I put the vacuum in the garage, though, in case he came crawling out angry (wouldn't you be?). But today . . . he was back! And suddenly he didn't look so trustworthy. Is this a hobo spider? Well, maybe, because he took his bindle over by the trash can and I got him for sure this time. (Or so we'll say just so we can all sleep. Sorry, Mom.)

I like this fuzzy guy much better. He has a big red beard. His name is Jack.

Okay . . . sweet dreams, everybody!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday(ne) Update

Life ambles on at breakneck speed.

We had a nice family Friday. That's when Aaron's here puttering around on his day off and it just feels good to be home together. He handled a lot of what Anna needed all day too so I could get more work done. I've been doubled and tripled up on projects lately, but with well-spaced deadlines, which is nice because I can switch off when I start getting numb to one thing, whether it's formatting nightmares or lingo like hotness or randomly inserted irritating capitalization and hyphenation Like-This. (Rrrrrr! What is that? It makes me crazy just seeing it again!)

Saturday we played a few rounds of dominoes with friends and my total score was 4. Just 4. Unheard of. In a minor violation of No-Spend November, we bought some ice cream for the crew. Our friend Edge bought me a chocolate orange, nature's greatest food and all I want (a truckload of) for Christmas. (Okay, there's one other thing I want.)

Sunday: church, football . . . um, let's talk about something else.

I spent most of today doing things that needed doing immediately (clean bottles for the girl would be nice) and before my mom arrives Wednesday (turkey to thaw in fridge; bills; bathe the girl). Anna I will leave early Wednesday to meet her at the airport, and I have a sneaking suspicion Anna may have her first Target experience. Mmmm . . . . Target. No-Spend November, you have just met your match. And we were so doing so awesome kinda well.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Please pray for all those touched by the accident involving George Fox University students.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Flashback Ethiopia: Babe in a Denim Dress

Lately I have been amazed to find in my house not a tiny baby but a toddler in the making. Anna has grown so much, gotten so much more hair, and gotten so good at standing that already she doesn’t look so much like a baby anymore; she looks like a little girl, standing tall, ready to take on the world.

But sometimes when she is at her sweetest and most innocent, sleeping or waking up or drinking a bottle, she seems to shrink in my arms. She weighs next to nothing again. Her sometimes-chubby face seems tiny again—tiny nose, lips, cheeks, closed eyes, ears.

The third day we were with Anna, the nannies had dressed her in a denim overalls dress. She fell asleep on Aaron’s chest in the room we visited her in, and we marveled at her tiny hands, ears, lips, cheeks; her perfect skin and long eyelashes.

Today as I rocked her to sleep for her nap I found in my arms again a tiny girl in a denim dress, and in a flash I was brought back to Addis, to those first days of wonder and those first naps together. She looked every bit as small and soft and innocent today as she did then. She slept peacefully in my arms as I marveled at her tiny face, her perfect skin, her precious curls. She hasn’t changed at all. She is still my baby girl.

Gratuitous Football Violence, Week 11

Big, big game for us in NFL Week 11. Now, I'm not saying I wish injury on anyone, but remember, little Eli, what happened to the last quarterback who stepped into our house . . .

That's right. We ripped his head leg off.

How do you like the Claw?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Overheard in Youth Ministry

Bossy Teenager: "I was specifically talking to all of you!"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Marfan Story on Today. (Too Much Air to Fill on MSNBC.)

Okay, apparently you were all too traumatized by my honesty to comment. That's okay. I am traumatized by my honesty myself sometimes. And Lord knows my husband is. (He previewed and okayed that post, though, FYI.)

Anyway, just wanted to note that the Today show aired a story on Marfan this morning. It's pretty general and the "interview" at the end is really rushed, so the article I linked to yesterday is more informative, but it's good media attention anyway. You can find the video on the Today website under "Video from TODAY."

From the video page you can also learn about a girl who craves eating metal, why Santas are urged not to say "ho," and about a woman who found an image of Jesus and Mary on a pancake. No word yet on why it sold for $338 on eBay, why this is news, or what keeps the anchorwoman who had to read the story on MSNBC from pulling a revolver from behind the news desk and demanding a few Hail Marys and a huge raise from her boss.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marfan and Remembering Eye Surgery

Thinking about this time last year and Marfan Syndrome today. The Boston Globe had an article on Marfan, "Old Drug Offers New Hope Against Disease." It does a good job explaining how Marfan affects the body and some promising new research.

Many of you know that Aaron has Marfan and in the last year required eye surgery and heart surgery. November 9 is the day we saw the specialist and decided to go ahead with surgery on the 15th. (I know these dates well from my insurance saga.) Although this decision was a thousand times easier than the heart surgery decision, I was far more scared going into the eye surgery. I just never thought God would let my husband die that day in heart surgery. To be honest, I wasn't so sure he wouldn't let him go blind. And I didn't want to find out what would happen if he did--to our life, our plans, our faith.

It sounds silly to say it seemed "easier" to face the possibility of being a widow than the possibility of being the wife of a blind man. Obviously I would prefer to grow old with my husband, in sickness or in health. That was our agreement and all. But everyone knows what to do with widows. Maybe not how to execute it perfectly but the general idea of how to help them grieve and go on with life. No one knows what to do with a blind youth pastor. Including me. I think I had more faith in my ability to survive on my own than my ability to help him survive.

Whatever the reasons, I had trouble being open to the possibility that God might let the surgery be unsuccessful. I really, really had to rely on other people's prayers, because they were braver than mine. Mine were kind of passive-aggressive: I'd tell him how he could decide if he wanted to make a terrible, terrible mistake. Here is some of what I journaled the night before the eye surgery:

At times it has been overwhelming to think about the “what ifs.” But the support has been incredible. . . . Last night at the end of Young Life everyone huddled around Aaron to pray. The kids are amazing. [Kid you would not expect!] prayed the most beautiful prayer: “Aaron always asks me the most amazing questions; he has made me think about so many things in my life that I never thought about before . . . Bring him back so he can ask me more of those questions—and look me in the eye when he’s doing it.”. . .

It breaks my heart to think of Aaron not being able to serve those kids like he is . . . I know God would find an amazing, surprising way to be glorified . . . but I am terrified of being asked to do that. I don’t know if I could be good enough at holding him up. I don’t know if he could keep the faith or if I could bear it if he couldn’t. Part of me is sure we would find the grace . . . but mostly I just don’t want to be that holy. I know this is no super-spiritual attitude—feels like I should be saying “Whatever you want, God, is fine by me”—but that’s not really true. Of course he has the right and I want to be obedient and even be glad to be that obedient. But honestly I don’t want that. Yes, I’ve told God this, since he already knows. And I think if I understand him correctly (okay, I don’t even come close to understanding him, but humor me here), he’s been leading us all along to SmallPort, to youth ministry, to adoption . . . I don’t think he wants to change all those plans all of a sudden. I hope not anyway. Aaron is so gifted at what he’s doing. I want us to bring home our baby and I want him to see how beautiful he or she is. God, you aren’t going to let all this go to waste, are you? See, I have conflicted feelings—yet I am finding peace. I am being held up. I am being brought to the feet of Jesus by my friends who have faith for him to see. On him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again . . . so that many may give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many (2 Cor. 1:10-11).

I wonder how many times I have clung to that verse in the past six years. I wonder if I'll be braver the next time we face something big, after all we've seen by now. But maybe I don't have to be--maybe just being honest and letting others carry us is enough, whether it's the first time or the twelfth or the the two hundredth.

Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just to Say I Did

I think I'm going to cop out tonight and post this nothingness instead of a thoughtful post. I have some of those percolating but I can't get them out right now. I mean, tonight I made muffins. Like from a recipe. With flour and stuff. That's kind of like creativity, right? So don't get all greedy and expect a post too. Never mind the fact that most of you won't get a muffin either. Or that they probably won't be that good.

Shout out to my friend Artsy Betty, just to see if she's out there reading and plagiarizing my blog for PSA's . . .

Monday, November 12, 2007

Danger! Move (Your Things) to Higher Ground!

Thursday after Anna's breakfast I was making my own. I had put her down on her back in the living room. I heard her make a look-at-me! noise and looked up--she was standing up against the front of the couch. Ta-da!

She spend the rest of the day practicing pulling up, and now she has it thoroughly mastered and is starting to work on creeping sideways. She loves standing and "walking" with her hands held. Couch, chairs, tables, shelves, legs, you name it, she will stand against it.

Aha! There's that phone book I wanted to eat!

Her swing has found a new use as a pull-up device, although she also somehow got herself seated.

We've spent the last few days moving everything up, up, up higher. Including the animals. Poor kitty. Or as Anna calls her, "Kheeee!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Postgame Letdown

Okay, so that didn't quite work out as hoped. Dangerous territory for those of you on List Probabation. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Small consolation photo: they still almost ripped his head off.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Beast #92

It's Saturday. That means tomorrow is a religious day in our house: FOOTBALL DAY.

The Lions are 6-2 (about to be 7-2). Hop on the playoffs train now, if you're not already on The List. (Those on The List are not allowed to cheer for the Lions when they reach the Super Bowl, because these non-fans have made too many disparaging comments. We don't allow hypocritical bandwagoning once the dynasty has begun.)

This year I've been collecting photos of our team, especially the large and in charge #92 Shaun Rogers, acting out our favorite cheer, like this to start the season: RIP HIS HEAD OFF!

Those arms are scary.

This one, I love tiny Greise's face: "Mama!"

This one reminds me of the end of Bill Cosby's Fat Albert routine: "We give! He ain't fallin' on us!"

Oh, but this--THIS!--it does not get any better, or more exciting, or funnier, than this 360 pounds of grace:

Time to feed The Beast, football fans. You gotta feed The Beast. And give him oxygen.

Tune in next week to see how Kurt Warner looks with his head ripped off.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Frivolity and No-Spend November

Aaron is off with the youth group for bowling and an overnighter at the church. They will undoubtedly eat too much pizza and Red Vines as they play Sardines until daylight returns or injury occurs (we all recall the cries of "Nancy's down!"). Funny to be missing it. Funny too to have a Friday night home without him, which I often enjoy, but to have a baby girl here keeping me from spending all night with guilty pleasures on TV and from the fridge. Although the night ain't over yet. I might get my quarterly Conan fix.

I have declared it No-Spend November in our house. Aaron was going to participate in No-Shave November with Waltino, but he didn't want to preach this Sunday looking like a hobo.

No-Spend November means bare minimum spending--no going out to eat, no buying things for the house, no extra grocery shopping (except buying more fresh items like milk). No way this will work, probably, with Thanksgiving and my mom coming and all, but it's a goal.

Today I dropped off three bills at local business offices to ensure I wouldn't need to buy $1.46 of stamps in November. Actually I was just making everything take as long as possible since I was enjoying being out of the house alone, just because I could. It should be called No-Life November.

What are your tips for making the month's cash last longer? How do you amuse yourselves, stretch meals, save gas, defer the repo men, etc.?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ethiopian Coffee Trademarks

The Christian Science Monitor had an article today about the trademarking of Ethiopian coffees. Ethiopia is "the birthplace of coffee" and we can vouch for the fact that they have some really good brews. They make it strong, almost like espresso, and put lots of sugar in it. Aaron kept trying to prove his manhood by taking it straight. They just thought he was crazy. The article's slideshow shows the traditional way of brewing coffee over coals, which we were treated to a couple times.

I bought coffee beans in Addis, including some from Harar, where Anna is from, which is considered some of the best coffee in the world. The beans I bought for about $6 a pound (is that right? 27 birr per 1/2 kilo, I think) would be sold in Starbucks for $20 a pound or more. Ah, the power of the dollar, but also the power of Starbucks to buy low and sell high. But Starbucks took a lot of flack for trying to block Ethiopia from trademarking its coffee "brands" from these certain regions, and the coffee growers won. Hopefully this will be good for the Ethiopian economy.

Anyone have a good source for reasonably priced fair trade Ethiopian coffee? I would like to get some from time to time, especially decaf if I can find it. I can't spend a lot, though, since we go through quite a bit. (Okay, is that an ironic statement considering my stated concern for how little the coffee farmers make? Yeah, hypocrisy. It's the American way.) Maybe we can drink less coffee if it's better coffee. But our Addis stash is nearly depleted!

More on coffee another day. I could use some now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Perfect 10.

She's a perfect 10 months today.

My Brilliant Sister-in-Law Piscis said that when she saw her first sonogram of their baby-not-yet-born, all she could think was "Perfect." Funny, that is exactly what I thought, felt, and said when I first saw Anna's picture on my computer screen. Perfect.

That first referral photo sits framed on a shelf, and if I carry her by it and she sees herself, she is transfixed. "Oh! Who's that beautiful baby?" I say. "That's you--Anna!" She smiles and says Heeeee.

Perfect then, perfect now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Overheard in Youth Ministry

Teenager to Youth Guy: "I want this picture where you look like you're on drugs. And this one where I look pretty . . . and you're there too."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Attachment Anger

Last Sunday was an extra busy one, and last Monday I paid for it with Anna.

After church we had a potluck brunch (oh! the maple weenie rolls!) which meant longer hanging around and more passing her around. We went home, fed her, and kids were over to watch the Lions game with us (get the broom, Da Bears are SWEPT) as usual. Anna likes hanging out with the big kids, and there were a lot: Hippie and his Tiny Sis, Chatterbox and ShyGirl, Famous Sandboarder Matt Walton, those hairy twins whose names he can't remember. When Anna got too tired, I put her down for a nap. She woke up before the game was over, though, and I let some of the kids hold her. After our victory a game of Boodle broke out. And with those ADD twins, it got rowdy. Little girl got kind of clingy.

They all cleared out to go to church and help Aaron get ready for Frontline (youth group) and I wasn't sure if I was going to join them later or not. But Anna was happy and awake and so we went down late, and she was content, but I didn't let the kids hold her.

Monday: Angry Anna.

She was moody all day--whining between every bite of food, little things sending her from happy to tears in an instant--and I made the mistake of not being patient putting her down for her morning nap. I tried to make her go to sleep alone (instead of in my arms) and then when I came back and held her she'd snap awake the second I put her down, so finally I said Fine, don't nap! and put her in her swing to just hang out. By lunch she was totally grouchy tired; I put her down and she slept almost three hours.

Later she really showed her displeasure. At me. She wasn't just tired and fighting sleep, she was fighting me, acting like an unattached baby, having a tantrum in my arms. She arched her back, wouldn't look at me, cried and howled, bashed her head into me, squirmed away. Her every action said I'm mad at you! You overstimulated me to exhaustion with all those people and then you left me to sleep alone . . . and I don't trust you!

It might sound like she was just tired but there was a difference. Somewhere I picked up a mommy radar and it could tell. She does certain things when she's no no no not tired and this was different. It wasn't the same as the grieving crying the previous week either. It was a definite lashing out--at me, at change, at the fearsome feeling of losing stability and predictability again.

My exhausted baby fell asleep at 7:30. Aaron and I stayed up a while after he got home from Young Life, and she stirred when we came up to bed. "Ohh...can she come in with us? I miss her," he said. "Sure," I said. "She misses you too."

She snuggled in between us, and as my eyes adjusted to the dark I saw a tiny silhouette of a hand reaching up, waving in the dark, connecting with another, Clap. Clap. Clap. And I heard her smile: Gheee. When she tired she settled in, her breathing slowed, and she rolled over to sleep in peace.

But she rolled onto my face, so she had to go back to her crib.

At 8:00 a.m. she greeted the day with a smile, secure in all that is now hers. She's learning to trust, and we're learning how to be careful with her fragile heart.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


“So do not throw away your confidence, because it has great reward.
For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised.”

Hebrews 10:35-36 NET

Accompanying thoughts from Beth Moore here.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

An Ethiopian Birthday

Today was Yezeshewai's birthday--the girl I sponsor through Compassion. We were honored to meet her when we traveled to Ethiopia in July.

Yezeshewai is eleven. She lives with her mother and two sisters in a town just outside Addis Ababa, in one room of a house that belongs to someone else with furniture which mostly belongs to someone else. Her mother makes injera for someone else to sell.

Through our sponsorship Yezeshewai's school fees are paid and uniform bought. She receives health checkups and information and visits from a social worker. She attends Sunday school at the church which sponsors the project. She participates in extracurricular programs--she likes soccer. Yezeshewai writes me letters thanking me for the clothes or shoes they were able to buy with our Christmas and birthday gifts and telling me about their weather and what she has been learning.

She wants to be a pilot. We told her she must fly to Oregon and visit us.

As we pulled into the grounds of the church which sponsors this Compassion project, I saw Yezeshewai's face dart back behind the door of the tiny project office building. She came out to meet us with a small bunch of yellow and orange roses and a shyly murmured greeting and a quick, wispy hug. In the office we were photographed; she wears the same shy smile as in the first sponsorship photo of her I received.

We heard about the project, saw the church, handed out Jolly Ranchers, and took group photos. Guess which one's the visitor? Yezi's neighbors declared, "He looks like Michael Jordan!"

We drove to Yezeshewai's house, her head on Aaron's shoulder as she sat on his lap, and met her queenly mother, her soft older sister, her firecracker younger sister, and some of the most sparkling neighbor girls on earth. We received Ethiopian hospitality with coffee and popcorn and smiles, and we were shown the framed photo of ourselves sitting in a place of honor. We made awkward translated conversation until too soon we had to go. Yezeshewai now clung to us as if to soak us up.

I wonder how is she is today, this eleventh birthday day of hers. Does she even realize it is her birthday? I have heard birthdays are not so important in Ethiopia as here, and certainly she has no PalmPilot reminder or circled wall calendar square to draw attention to it. Did her family gather together today for a special meal or moment of honor? Did her sister wear her fancy dress? Perhaps they saved some Tootsie Rolls. Perhaps they are looking at their family photo--their only one, the one I took--and saying, as I am, Happy birthday, Yezeshewai. God keep you safe and strong.

Friday, November 02, 2007

New Carpet = Less Fibers in Her Diet

Surely I have more important things to blog about, but carpet installation is the event of the day (and during NaBloPoMo, you gotta take all the easy ones you can). I spent the day at the store with Anna and then trapped upstairs with her, smelling hot glue and listening to The Rolling Stones and a humorously loud male grunting. I think what he really wanted to do was curse our spiral staircase. I know I have many a time.

This new carpet is made possible by a grant from the Family Members Pitying Your Living Conditions Foundation. It really is past due, since our old blue-gray granny carpet had previous-owner gerbil issues and our evil cat issues and long ago started getting loose loops torn up where the dog would scratch before laying down. Then they just started showing up all over and falling out in clumps. Like blue spaghetti. With dog hair parmesan. You guessed it, Anna finds these just delicious. Nothing like fishing a nice long wet string out of your baby's mouth to inspire home improvements. Nothing like "Baby girl, stop eating the carpet!" to make the neighbors wonder.

The high school senior known as Hippie came in with Mini-Me (well, I'm not the me) while Aaron was wrapping up TV and stereo wires. All the furniture except the TV was in the kitchen/dining area. Hippie looks around and says, "Something seems different. . . . New TV?" Bingo. We moved all the furniture into the kitchen so we could replace our working TV with an exact replica.

Oh Hippie, we love ya. And lest you all think I'm being to hard on him, he likes to make me feel dumb with fancy camera terms. Ones other than "point" and "shoot." I owed him a jab.

Spaghetti carpet

Mmmm . . . fiber(s).

Hallelujah, new carpet!

Helping Daddy screw the thingy back in

Something's different . . .

New configuration (in progress)

Trying it out

Thursday, November 01, 2007

National What Was I Thinking Month

Since I have a moment free while enjoying the peaceful sounds of my daughter screaming at her daddy's Grover voice, let me take this moment to take a foolish plunge: I will (attempt to) participate in National Blog Posting Month by posting every single day in November. Even if FunnyWriterMommy is too chicken/smart to take up the challenge. (Oh yes I did, RMM--you in now?)

Clearly I have been hitting the Halloween candy too hard. I am insane, or perhaps the word is irresponsible, to be taking this on while so behind on my work project that makes me want to gouge out my eyes, instead of dealing with the insurance papers I can't make sense of and the filing that doesn't fit in my stacking tray any more because it hasn't been filed since May, with diapers to change and pjs to put on and stories to read, with my mom coming for Thanksgiving, with carpet installers coming TOMORROW MORNING and not a coaster let alone a couch moved out of the living room, never mind what's covering the closet floor.

Oh well. I'm doing this one for me, because blogging might be something else on my to-do list, but it feels good once I've done it. And if it feels good, do it, right? (And if you can't be good, be careful.) I need to write to declutter my head, to use a creative brain muscle, to vent, to record, to remember. No one needs to read it, necessarily, to make it my oxygen. But oh, the high I'll get if you do . . .

So get your commenting fingers ready and let's see what kind of scintillating topics/crap I can come up with to fill the days!

"You seem to want to write, so write."
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

"Shut up, Anne."