It has been reported by several good sources that while I have never sported a "pregnancy glow" (more like a ghostly peaked palor) I am, however, donning an ever present adoption glow.

Receiving a referral is a total high. I am not sure when I will come down but for now, I am loving life. Thank you all for comin' by the blog to wish us congratulations. What a lovely support group we have. I feel so blessed.

I have several ongoing projects that may or may not be of interest

Project One
Try three new foods a week. It is a game to test out the waters, and build my tolerance to smells and textures and hopefully gain some weight. It's sick really. No woman wants to be in a position to have to purposely gain weight. It doesn't sit well. It's not right. And yet, I barely linger above the double digits on the scale and desperately want to make a trip to Ethiopia in a few months. This means food. As difficult as it is for me. I have to get more calories in my body without throwing them back up. Man I miss my PICC line. My right arm, however does not.

Project Two
Grow tomato plants from seeds. I have been dying to do this project since last summer and despite my limited abilities I am gonna give it a shot. I bought two kinds of heirloom tomato seeds from Martha Stewart's supplier up in Maine  (I know, it's wrong that I listen to her opinions so much. I have an unrepentant crush on the Dame of Homemaking).

I have also read a few books on the subject and this week planted the seeds. If they actually germinate and I meet with even mediocre success, I will share pictures and my methods. If you never hear about this again, you will know I failed.

Project Three
Practice this

image of course, from Marty   How to fold a fitted sheet:

1. With the sheet inside out, place one hand in each of two adjacent corners.

2. Bring your right hand to your left, and fold the corner in your right hand over the one in your left, so the corner on top is right side out. Next, reach down and pick up the corner that is adjacent to the one that was in your right hand (it will be hanging in front), and fold it over the other two; this third corner will be inside out.

3. Bring the last corner up, and fold it over the others so it is right side out.

4. Lay the sheet flat, and straighten it into the shape shown above.

5. Fold the two edges in, folding the edge with elastic in first, so all elastic is hidden.

6. Fold the strip into a smaller rectangle.

7. Continue folding until rectangle is the size you want.

note: directions made for a right-handed person; if you are a "leftie" you have to switch this up.

Project 4
Find another family adopting with Dove who is traveling to Addis in April or May or early June. I desperately want to send a blanket to our little baby boy, but I can't send anything directly to the orphanage because they will have to pay taxes and tariffs on any packages.

So, I want to mail a little care package to some lovely family to take to him for us. If you are another Dove family and going to Toukoul anytime soon, please please contact me.

What projects are you working on?



Warning: If you haven't read Part I, go there first.

The next day (Wednesday) was a "think through this day."  And despite my physically weakened state, and the impossibility of saying yes, instead of wallowing in the injustice of getting a referral call at such a difficult, no, down right bad time, I spent hours online researching travel to Ethiopia while pregnant.

Am I allowed to get vaccinated? 
How far along would I be about when we'd travel?
Could I get strong enough and well enough to a) take care of myself and Cookie and Samantha b) meet this new child's needs and c) actually go to Ethiopia to pick said child up???

I spent the whole day trying to conceive of how to make this happen. I couldn't banish the thought that this was too much of a Sign to send the referral along its little merry way. Afterall, how many shocks can one family take in a year?

Hubs was having similar feelings. We received a such a outpouring of love, support and encouragement from his parents and my mom (who we let in on the huge secret) it was impossible to come down from the high. 

Thus, about 30 hours after the phone call that we never in a million years expected, we decided we wanted to accept the referral. We felt so peaceful, despite not knowing exactly how things would all work out.

Thursday we set up another call with our agency, and the caseworker seemed to understand how nervous and flustered we had been when she'd called Hubs earlier, and she was very kind in not making us feel stupid for how ridiculous and giddy we were now sounding on the phone. We couldn't even speak coherantly.

I was thinking Oh my gosh, she's going to think we are mentally unstable and incompetent. We have to stop stuttering and tripping on our words, or she's going to call Ethiopia and tell them we are not right in the head and that they should not place any children with us.

And so with Hubs hidden away in a conference room at work, and I at home, we sat up to our computers and waited for the email to come from the agency with pictures and information about the little one.

The conversation as we waited for the emails to get to our respective inboxes resembled caveman talk:

"I am sweating."
"I can't breathe."
"I am totally sweating."
"I really can't breathe."
"Did you get it?"
"No, did you?"
"No, if you get it, don't click on it."
"ok...Did you get it?"
"I swear if you get it and click on it I will kill you and never forgive you."
"Why isn't it here?"
"Seriously, don't click on it if you get it, did you get it?"
"I can't breathe."
"I think I am gonna pass out."
"I can't believe it's not here."
"Did you get it yet?"
"I can't believe this is happening."
"Why is it not here?"
"Did you get it yet?"
"No...wait, I got it!"
"Don't click on it!!!!! I don't have mine yet!"

And that last comment was mine. Hubs got the email a full four minutes and 38 seconds before I did - I know because I was watching the time ticking away. The suspense was brutal!

I spent those agonizing four minutes and 38 seconds refreshing the page constantly, whining, and yelling at Hubs to open his at the penalty of all sorts of terrible things. He ended up having to stand up and walk away from his lap top until I told him I got the email.

And finally, as we opened the email together and saw the little face, our joy was indescribable.

So now, without further ado, the Scooping It Up Family would like to announce that we have accepted a referral for a little baby boy!!!

He is almost four months old, and he is the cutest, sweetest most angelic thing in the world. He is little but thriving and wonderful and we love him.

I always thought it was a bit cheesy when I read or heard families say after seeing their referral information "We already love him." Now I know why it sounds cheesy: because it is an understatement.

We are completely and utterly besotted with him. His face looks so familiar to me, he looks as though he will fit into our arms and family so beautifully.

And just in case you are trying to do the math in your head here is the layout of the our kids as of this coming June/July -when we could possibly be traveling to Ethiopia to bring him home:

Samantha: 4 years old
Cookie Monster: 2 years old
Baby Boy: 7 months old
Fetus: 29ish weeks in utero, due begining of September


We can't post any pictures or identifying information about him in a public forum until we pass court (which means the Ethiopian government grants us custody as his legal parents) so unless you come over to our house to see the pictures of our angel boy, this one will have to suffice:



Everyone says that the call for your referral comes when you least expect it.

I stand here today as a witness that this is true. And if there were prizes for parents who Expected a Call the Least, we should win first prize. 

HOLY COW we got our referral call!!!!

Yes folks, you heard it right. We got surprise phone call from our adoption agency about a baby matched to us.

As I type this we are just starting to come down from the shock. I completely reek of sweat. We haven't slept in days.

We are still not sure why, how or who didn't get the memo about our "hold" in Ethiopia. But we are absolutely sure that God is indeed in charge of our family and has had plans for us all along. We are so grateful for this misstep in communication.

So here is how things went.

On Tuesday the 24th I was in agony due to my arm and had given up on sanity by taking two Benadryls. To me, this is like taking heavy narcotics. I was completely strung out and sleepy and couldn't lift my head off the pillow. The phone rang and my mom came to say "Hey Dove Adoptions is on the phone. Do you want to talk to them?"

Now, most normal pre-adoptive parents would be like "hmmm, why is my adoption agency calling? I should take this."

I just wiped my drool and said "It isn't anything important, I will call them tomorrow."

Can you believe this? I rejected my referral call without even knowing it.

So, they tried Hubs, who was on a business trip in Houston. He was driving to a board meeting when they told him the news. I wasn't there, but I am pretty sure he had to work hard to not drive off the road. He was completely shell shocked. Due to the odd nature of the referral --being that we all thought our family was not currently being considered for referrals -- the conversation went something like this:

"We know you weren't expecting this and it's OK if you do not want to look at the referral. In fact, if you are not in a place to even think about accepting a referral, we recommend you not torture yourselves by looking at it. It is OK to say no, and to tell the folks back in Ethiopia there was a mistake and make sure they understand about your hold." They left it at that.

Poor Hubs didn't even have a chance to call and tell me because he had to go straight into a four hour meeting. He was a mental wreck, and when they took a break to grab drinks he ran outside and called me.

My freaking out commenced. And to my infinite heartache at first it wasn't pretty rainbows and sunshine freaking out. It was more how-can-this-be-happening freaking out.

After the initial panic, more meetings for Hubs and more attempted naps for me, and a looong plane flight home that night, we were able to talk about it face to face. Don't you love when important conversations start at 1am?

We didn't know anything about the referral, gender, age, circumstances, nada. We didn't want to know unless we were going to feel any kind of peace about the possibility of accepting the referral.

to be continued...


She'll be comin' round...

...the mountain when she comes hi ya'll!

There is a chance things are looking up for me.

I am pushing 17 weeks on this prego train and something is telling me I might be ok.

Don't get me wrong. I almost had a horrible-awkward-butt-naked-pass-out-trying-to-shower moment with the wonderful woman who helps me clean my house today.

You know those moments when you know something bad (like fainting while naked) is going to happen any moment and so you start doing the "please no, dear God, please no, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease" prayer?

She would have understood, but still.

One of the reasons I was so loopy was because my PICC line was removed last night, because my arm has so much cellulitis (known to the medical community as Rashy, Oozy, Itchy Crud) that it was too dangerous to keep the line in. That pussy stuff was seeping into the insertion point and to get the line infected was a risk not worth taking as that could send staph infection straight to my heart, and thus to my entire body in a very short amount of time.

Soooo, interwebbers, the equation today was

No picc line = no IV fluids = wicked low blood pressure = my poor cleaning helper was spared seeing my lady parts but was not spared seeing my legs that have not been shaved in a shamefully long time.

I stumbled from the shower dripping wet with the towel saying "Gloria, help me!" And she did. And I didn't hit my head on anything but my pillow.

All this aside, I haven't had an IV in 24 hours, or pushed my medication. I am flying solo. And I am not doing terrible. I gagged a little. Felt a awful, but I might be ok.

Miracles are happening in this household. Because I know I didn't start feeling better this soon when the other two were sprouting.

Thank you friends and family, and blog buddies for sending prayers, kind thoughts, kind words, kind letters, kind emails, and lots of positive juju my way. I have needed it and felt it.

And on an entirely separate note, I was definitely due for a new swim suit this summer. HA! Obviously there is no way I will be going down that road now that I will be sporting expando-tummy this summer, but I thought I would show you what could have been in the runnings.

I am no fan of one piece suits. I am all about easy access when one needs to use the ladies room and I have nightmares from my childhood about struggling for dear life trying to peel those things down in some filthy beach restroom before I wet myself. I was scarred forever. The only one piece suits I've worn as an adult were for lifeguarding jobs.  That being said, I would like to look like this woman, and this suit would be the only thing we had in common. I'll take it. Find it here.

This next number is a little on the bright side for me, I tend to go with muted neutrals for swimwear because I am a wimp, but I love this one.

I wouldn't do the shorts, give me normal bikini bottoms in the blue or pink, thanks. I don't need to emphasize the inner thigh at this juncture of my life. Find it here.

This is my favorite. My last suit was from the same company and I loved it.  I love love love this top. Wanna see the back? It's totally up my alley. Also, I want this girl's back. And arms. And tan. See it and other great tankini tops here.

Well folks, it's time for bed. I am going to try to drink a little more to make up for my IV (I really miss that thing) and celebrate that my arm is already healing, and hope for some more miracles, if not new swim suits in the near future.



“Family need not be defined merely as those with whom they share blood but for those for whom they would give their blood.”  --Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

There are a thousand reasons a family could choose to persue adoption.

For us, adoption research began as a response to fertility issues and astronomically bad pregnancies, but then very quickly it took on different meaning. It became plan A. Present surprise-pregnant-condition aside, we feel very strongly that adoption is how we would like to and should add children to our family. 

I sometimes cringe at the words that we use in the adoption community like "paper pregnancy" and "expecting from ethiopia" and "born in my heart."  I think for families who are expecting their first child through international adoption it is especially helpful to use these words to help coworkers, friends and family understand that this is just as exciting and legitimate a way to bring a child into a family as a birth. People "get" having a baby.

Not everyone connects to an adoption process. So I understand why these words and phrases exist. They are not badly intended.  I have used these words myself.  They reassure ourselves and others that this is "normal."

But babies aren't born in people's hearts. The are born to mothers who are real, actual people. Brave, loving women who couldn't take care of their children for a multitude of possible reasons. This is a hiddeous injustice.

They aren't born in our family. And they weren't necessarily "meant" to be adopted. The more I think about it, it's kinda a rotten thing to say about or to a kid. "You were meant to be in your adoptive family." That could also be heard as: "You were meant to be ripped away from your family and brought to another country and deal your entire life with that loss. Your parents were meant to be unable to care for you."

Sometimes, I don't even like thinking the phrase "this child or those children belong in our family" because technically, they belong in their birth family.

There is a huge BUT though... While I believe God does not intend for any child to be alone and abandoned, it is not His will that makes millions orphans on this planet, I do believe that it is His will to open up hearts and homes of families to love these children. To step in and take them in as their own when their first families can't.

I think it's OK for us adoptive families to admit that we may be Plan B for our children, but that that is alright because they are plan A for us. Maybe that is where God comes in.

Because this doesn't mean our family isn't legit. It doesn't mean an adoptive mother isn't 100% a real mother. It also doesn't mean there isn't cosmic, Godly power directing certain families to certain children and uniting those children with parents who beautifully fit together and need each other.

It just means a child who was adopted has two families who love them. Maybe we aren't meant to parent these children. But because of what they've lost, we are meant to parent them. It's a mixed up thing, adoption. I know I am contradicting myself here.

On another somewhat related note, I've been reflecting on how much we have over the last year prayed for the children that will come to our family through adoption. I admit that many times the prayers supplicated to God are that we could finish paperwork quickly, get the babies quickly, get to Ethiopia quickly. Hurry hurry hurry.

Now, as our adoption is on temporary hold, I feel a great pause and conflict. 

What if the babies' birth mothers or fathers have different prayers than ours?
What if those families are praying they will get better, or find a job, or find enough food;
What if they are praying to find a way to stay together?

What if two different families are praying to God that they will have the honor and priviledge of raising these beautiful children?

God cannot answer both of these families' prayers simultaneously. So, I feel the need to let go of my urgency. If I had to decide between us getting to have the babies four weeks sooner and it meant their families had them in their arms four weeks less, I would choose their birth families. I really would. I don't want to pray for us to adopt quickly any more.

I want to pray that we will be prepared whenever those babies need us. Not a day sooner. That doesn't mean I don't want them right this second. Don't get me wrong. But I am going to pray for the peace to let go and realize God is in charge of this.

And He just might have some other prayers He needs to attend to, before ours.



I have been a jerk to everyone around me lately.

Embarrassingly, it's mostly, because my arm itches.

Not like, ooh I am uncomfortable, this stinks. More like, if I were a wolf or lion in the wild I would have gnawed off the offending appendage to end the torment.

My arm has been on fire. The worst itchy, burning fire I've ever experienced. At night I convulse fighting the urge to scratch. I am up all night battling it. I give in sometimes and go nuts scratching over layers of tape and plastic. Which, of course, only makes it worse.

Today when the nurse came over to address my complaints and ripped off the bandage covering the insertion point of my PICC line, what we saw was something disgusting. And wrong.

I am still shocked at what was hiding beneath the bandages and tape.

And I think you should have to see it too.





Sometimes it is nice to know you're not nuts. No wonder I was in agony, right? Apparently my skin doesn't like the adhesive and plastic it's been under for the last seven weeks.

Luckily, the creative -and humane- nurse cut down the bandage to half its normal size, and covered my line with some foamy stuff that had no adhesive on it. She left the worst part of the rash exposed so it can heal and dry out.

My arm is still on fire. But because she rubbed the rash down with alcohol it now burns more than it itches. And guess what, I am loving it. Lesson learned: Pain is manageable. I can live with pain. Itching is the worst.

OK OK, now you're traumatized from those sick pictures. I will give you a pretty one. This is one of my favorite pictures ever. It's not perfect, but it was one of the first Mama-Baby shots I ever took and I was happy with it. It still makes me happy. Hopefully it will cure you of the previous ones.


Now, go be grateful your arm doesn't look like mine.

I will try to be nicer to my family.



The Daughter holds one thing to be certain in her life: that she will marry her Dad. I don't blame her for wanting to, I certainly have similar tastes. She realizes this may represent a loss on my end, and throws me a bone by offering "Since I am going to marry Daddy, you can marry Grandpa, or Cookie Monster or Uncle Luis." Thoughtful, isn't she?

My favorite pictures of the progeny are not so much from occassions, but more often from my random four minute photo shoots documenting nothing other than how they look and act today. Because tomorrow they will be bigger, and different. I find this a terrible, terrible tragedy.
Today Samantha dressed up in a white dress and my veil and this is what happened.

Thank goodness there is a window by my bed (the place from which I take all pics these days) and
thank goodness we have at least thirty years until she is wearing that veil for reals. Right?



Please join with me in remembering what really matters and go read this today.

Thank you.




This is our friend Jenna.

She's been helping take care of the kiddos and me for the last month. It's hard not leaving the bedroom for months, and having someone like her around has kept my sanity in check.

We love her so much. Cookie Monster doesn't give out kisses to just anyone ya know.

Today is her last day for awhile and so far it's been a doozy; she went down to the basement to see if our poor cat needed food and found a horrible surprise. Apparently four days of solid rain doesn't just affect old houses, ours is brand spankin' new and has a leak in the foundation:



Photobucket (in this above pic you can see how high the water was, by the time Jenna found it, it had drained quite a bit)

She waded in her rain boots through the water to take pictures, rescue dining room chairs and a few pieces of artwork, and my darn expensive Oreck steam carpet cleaner that has been submerged in 6-8 inches of water for who knows how many days now...(dangit dangit dangit)

She waded through floating cat food, cat litter and cat-general-nastiness. She came upstairs to report her findings, to me, useless me, on the phone with Hubs who was waiting in the security line at the airport.



Sorry Fifi Cat, for not knowing the reason you've been such a brat the last few days was because you couldn't get to your food or litter box.

I am a terrible Kitty Mama.

And, Jenna, the babysitter and Me-sitter extraordonaire has clearly gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Thank you Jenna.

Now, from my command post in bed, I gotta figure out what to do about the basement and the hot water heater not working... I am an utterly ignorant homeowner.



To anyone who saw the following note on our front door:


I hereby testify that we are not in the habit of hiring role-playing hookers.

I really was in bed, and a real  nurse was coming by.

We swear.

*Hubs has been relieved of his duty as official note writer, despite his efforts
to properly phrase and re-phrase the aforementioned note.

Thank you.



Just got word about a big change to Ethiopian adoption. It looks as though parents will be required to take two trips to ET. One to be there in person for a court hearing wherein custody is granted to parents - before a lawyer could represent us. Problem is, the US embassy is still going to take 6-10 weeks after that court hearing to get their crap together so we can go home.

Wait, maybe it's not the embassy. Someone has some kind of paperwork that needs to be done that will take a long time. It could be anyone.

But what it all means is: unless a family can stay in Ethiopia for two months waiting for the green light, we will be required to go out there twice.

Another big expense, another large hoop for jumping. sigh...

It's a good thing we are used to major hullaballoo to bring kids into our family.



Today I looked it up: there remains exactly forty nine days until I turn the big three-oh.

Thank heaven.

I am not fearing this milestone. I've decided it will be a relief to leave the 20s behind. That way when strangers chide me for hauling my children around and looking "so young" (they always say it like I'm a reckless, sexually active teenager rather than a compliment) I will have some clout and be able to say "actually, I am thirty."  It will feel good. 

I am tempted to list some things I'd like to accomplish before the big day, despite being hampered a bit by the fact that the only place I will probably go this month is a trip to the hospital to see my OB.

And speaking of the man. I've been avoiding him like the plague since I was admitted to the hospital back around week 8ish of my pregnancy. I fear the smell of men. Any male, be they 22 months or 6 or 29 or 60 makes me want to hurl. Occasionally I do. It's like my body screams "ALERT: Your kind did this to me, keep your pheromones and sperm outside a 6ft perimeter at all times!" The idea of being in a small room with no open windows with him keeps me thinking maybe I will just let another week pass...

Anyway, I know I ought to go see him at some point, but other than that, a real accomplishment would be upping my shower schedule from one time a week to two.

2010 is not shaping up the way we planned, but sometimes I feel as though I am on the cusp of accepting the changes.  With some heavy indoctrination and pep-talking from the unstoppable leader of our little tribe, Hubs, some days I let myself believe this will all be for the best.

Or, it could just be that it's getting warmer and I've seen more sunshine through my windows lately.  Sunshine is my drug of choice.

What can I accomplish in the next 49 days?  At first it seems not much.
I can't organize anything in my home
I can't do any photo shoots
I can't help any friends in need
I can't walk downstairs or take my kids to the library or gymnastics or grocery shop or fun shop
I can't work on any projects
Or eat anything besides the same diet I've been on for almost three months now (saltines, bread, apples occasional cheese).
I can't go to NY, or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, or hang out with friends.
I can't even really make progress on my 94-book-long "To Read" list on goodreads
I can't get the knee surgery I wanted to do this winter
I can't exercise
I can't try the trillion recipes I want to try
I can't even shave my legs properly


I can work with Cookie Monster on the techniques I learned yesterday from the speech therapist.
I can finish reading our first chapter book, Charlotte's Web with Samantha.
I can remember to express gratitude to all the people who help me every week keep my family running
I can work with my parents and Jane Kurtz on a service project benefitting Ethiopia Reads in Denver. Their church group -- if we get the approval-- is going to work on book donations to send to Ethiopia and it has been thrilling just to propose the ideas. I do so hope it will work out. It feels good to even try to do some good in the world, all from my bedroom.
I can stay positive despite every day being the same, feeling the same.
I can smile every time my kids come into my room, no matter how I feel.

I can get through the next 49 days, and then 49 more, and then 49 more, and things will really be different around here.

In the meantime, some more of that sunshine can't hurt.



It's time to get out and dust my palm fronds. I mentioned in this post that if Early Intervention were to work with my sweet boy and convince him to speak, I'd be at their beck and call. And share my house with them.


Last week two incredible, lovely women (one a speech therapist and one an occupational therapist) came to our home to assess my 22-month-old love bug Cookie Monster, and it was both enlightening and humbling.


I admit, I do feel a little nervous and defensive-ish in writing personal info about my son, who cannot, literally, speak for himself. Perhaps this is his story to tell. Perhaps it's not fodder for the internets. But I feel that it is my story as well. It is part of my education as a parent and I am 100% sure that seeking professional help on any level for anything we feel we can't do on our own in life is not something shameful, it is the smart and loving thing to do. I am not embarrassed about having Early Intervention over. If anything, I am proud of myself for making the call.


So Cookie performed beautifully on the little sections of the test. His social and developmental levels, cognitive, fine and gross motor skills are all right on or above average.  Receptive speech was fantastic, he follows directions like a champ. Expressive speech though, well, this was why I asked them to come.


Cookie hasn't been progressing in his speech much. In fact, since January when I became sick, it's regressed a little. He doesn't try new sounds much. He won't repeat words when prompted, he stopped calling Hubs "Dada" and went back to calling him "Mama."  He knows what is going on. He's smart as a whip. But I can see him realizing this is hard for him; he's frustrated. We have a lot of grunting. I hate the grunting/pointing game.

This is just as much about getting me help as it is about helping C-boy. I will admit: I don't know how to teach him. I am beyond my skill-set as a mother. I know I can be doing more, and better.

The moment of truth though, when I saw the level of speech at which they assessed him, I was angry and sad. It was kinda bizarre- as they announced "So, he definitely qualifies for EI services" I actually smiled and clapped with joy but simultaneously my brain was saying "Shut up, he's perfect, how dare you say he isn't the most perfect, normal child ever! You're wrong!"

It was humbling. That is the only word for it.

But, they come back on Tuesday. With a Mary Poppins bag of tricks at their disposal.

I am ready to be taught. I am ready to do better by my son.
I get teary-eyed when I think of the possibility of him being able to tell me what he wants, what he's thinking about.

This is gonna be a great thing. I know it.

My perfect Cookie Boy.



The jig is up.

I have to confess. I think about Ethiopia every day.

Even though I've got plenty on my plate (ha! that's funny because I don't eat very much) and in my body with which to concern myself right now, it feels like a good portion my nerve endings and heart strings are being pulled somewhere south east of here, across the Atlantic and across the entire continent of Africa about seven thousand-ish miles away.

To Ethiopia.

And it's not just about the children that will eventually find their way into our family from there. --though, man I miss our adoption. I can't wait to get back on the wagon.  But really, though, it's the whole country. It's the people. I am smitten and no amount of distress during this pregnancy can kill my buzz. There is such beauty there, and such need.

I actually daydream about moving there someday. Maybe not forever, maybe for a few years. I dunno. I mentally toy with immersing myself in the culture and devoting more of my life to helping the people. In some ways perhaps I've romanticized this dream, but I love thinking about it.

Today I was reading Jane Kurtz's blog. She is an awesome author who's work we love in this house. Her childrens' books are wonderful.

On her blog she wrote about the story of the starfish. Sometimes little tales like this are told over and over and lose their impact, I certainly had heard it before, but today it affected me because of something she added after.

The story goes that a man, walking on a beach after a storm, comes upon a person who stoops, picks up a starfish, and flings it into the ocean.

The man looks around. Starfish litter the sand all up and down the beach. “You’re nuts,” he says. “You could work all day and not make one tiny bit of difference here.”

The other stoops, picks up a starfish, flings it into the ocean. “Well,” he says, “I made a difference to that one.”

Then, what Ms. Kurtz wrote next made tears come to my eyes. She talked about some folks she was meeting up with to work on donations for her charity called Ethiopia Reads, which is getting books to children in Ethiopia.

She called the group of American children collecting books "starfish throwers."

My entire body was electrified. I want to be a starfish thrower! I want to be someone not paralyzed by the enormity of all the pain and awfulness in the world.  I want to just do something about it. It doesn't matter if I can't change the course of the tide. But I can make a difference to a few people.

Photo by Keith Levit

I can't stop AIDS in Africa. I can't feed all the widows and orphans. I can't dig all the wells that need to be dug.

But maybe with some very minor sacrifices on my end, maybe if I allowed myself to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable, putting off selfish wants, I can make a difference to one widow. Feed a few children in need. Get medication to a few who need it. 

Just fling a few starfish into safety. Doesn't that sound awesome?



There is some funny stuff being said around here lately:

My Mom, gasping and remarking upon witnessing first hand the Alien Lump of Fetus trapped in Far Left Side of Bicorunate Uterus (only a few have seen it and will testify, it's bizarre):

"Do you know that's not normal? I mean, that's not right. Back in the olden days you would have been hanged for witchery. Or stoned. {Leaning in close to Alien Lump} Don't worry Baby, it's Grandma Jane. I will save you."


Me: So and So thinks her life and marriage are falling apart.
Hubs: It can't be worse than ours right now.
Me: (Pause) What, our life or our marriage?
Hubs: ummmmmm...I mean...no...


Hubs, in dead serious tone of voice, flinging back and forth a cat toy consisting of a long felt ribbon on a plastic stick:  I could have been a cowboy.


Samantha: Mom, can I lay in bed next to you so we can talk?
Me: Sure, what do you want to talk about?
S: The Bahamas.
Me: I love the Bahamas. We sure had a good time there, huh?
S: Yeah. We should go back. But you're sick, so maybe we can go without you.


Hubs: Grandma Jane, do you know where Staci's IV bag is?
My mom: Oh! Usually I take it--
Hubs: Yes, I am gonna stop you right there, sorry but, where is it right now?
My mom: Sometimes I--
Hubs: (slight shake of head "no")
My mom: I can do this, seriously, ask me again
Hubs: Where is Staci's IV bag?
My mom: It's in the dryer.


Samantha: That's a scrittle.
Me: What is a scrittle?
Samantha: It's a kind of knee tickle, where your fingers go up. You know, like a garohvee.


Samantha: Mom, is the baby in your tummy Ethiopian?
Hubs looking at me: Well, is it?


After a lovely chat for "date night" I asked Hubs if we could now have snacks.
His eyes lit up and said "Mmm, hmmm!"
We exchanged a momentary look of confusion and he said
"Oh, for a second I thought you asked if we could have, well, something else."


And that last one, my friends, made us laugh and laugh.