Happy news has distilled upon the Scooping it Up family like the dews of heaven. Upon passing court and becoming legal parents to our son we find ourselves completely overcome. We have felt so protective over our little man that we almost don't want to post his name and picture even though now we are free to do so. But I will.

Because so many of you have prayed for him, loved him, prayed for us, supported us, bouyed me up in my dark hours. So many of you have shared your love and your stories with us to help us and prepare us in this adoption.

So, with no small amount of humility, gratitude, tears and crazy-mother-bear sensitivity, I proudly introduce you to our son, who has a beautiful name but will hereby be known to the internet as Tsega. Go ahead, you can admit that he is the sweetest most gorgeous child you've ever seen. I am praying no lice goes through the orphanage because if they have to shave that amazing hair I will weep. Weep I tell you...

On another note, on the day that I become his Mama I cannot help but think about his first mother. I want her to know how loved he is. I want her to know that I will keep him safe. That I will keep him full of good food. That I will do my best to fill his life with goodness, siblings, laughter, kisses, learning, opportunities, God. And I want her to know that I will not let him forget her or Ethiopia.

We love her and honor her so much.  We love Tsega. If we could jump on a plane right now to go hold him we would. We'd pack up and move to Ethiopia for the next 7-10 weeks just to be with him until the US Embassy clears us to come back if we could. For you waiting families, just know, the wait for a referral is peanuts compared to this part of the wait. Every day without him is torture

God is good to us.
I mean, seriously, look at that face.










Dear Little Brother, we can't wait for you to come goof around and wrestle with us on Mama and Dada's bed before bedtime. It's our favorite part of the day. We love you  -- Sissy and Big Brother

PS. Do you like to chew on your blankie like me? -Big Brother



Pregnancy Uno 2005-2006  I learned words like:

Clomiphene citrate
Intrauterine insemination
Bicornuate uterus
Fetal fibronetic test

Pregnancy Dos 2007-2008 I added to my medical vocabulary:

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Bed Rest

Pregnancy Tres 2010:

PICC line (Peripherally inserted central catheter)
Lactated ringer
Subchorionic hematoma
Pericardial effusion
Fetal echocardiogram

I would prefer if my medical vocabulary learning ends here and actually, if I am honest I would prefer I'd never heard of any of the forementioned words.

Pericardial effusion: It looks as though Baby in Utero is already competing for my attention with his/her big brother in Ethiopia. Baby has some fluid around it's heart that shouldn't be there. It could be a big deal, could be nothing. Lots of ultrasounds lately are inconclusive - which in and of itself is a great thing. Conclusive things are generally bad, like Gigantic Easy-to-See Hole in Baby's Heart, and since none of that is apparent, it probably is on the "no big deal" end of things. Baby is having an echocardiogram to take a closer look at that fluid and any possible structural problems soon. And the docs will give me more ultrasounds every month to see if the fluid grows, or goes away.

The main message shoved down my throat is that there is not a bloomin' thing we can do about it now, except watch it. Oh, and there is a teensy chance of a chromosomal irregularity. Like Downs Syndrome.

One HILARIOUS moment in the hour-long genetic consult I had today, was when the doctor was explaining what some couples think about when faced with genetic problems. Like termination - which is completely off the table. I mean really folks, I've made it this far, if God wants us to care for a special-needs child we certainly wouldn't throw in the towel now, or ever for that matter. That wasn't the funny part though. It was this: she started gently, discreetly, oh-so-sensitively tiptoeing around the possibility of making an adoption plan.

I literally had no idea what she was saying. I thought she was indicating that if the baby passed away due to one of the potentially lethal kinds of chromosomal anomolies we discussed, that we might consider adoption as a next step for building our family. I was right there with her, nodding etc. Then, as we stared into each others eyes for a moment of confusion I realized she was suggesting in our situation some couples might consider making an adoption plan for the baby. With another family.

I started laughing out loud! I said "Oh, I am so sorry, you see, I am an adoptive mother. I will not place this or any child for adoption. I bring them into my family, not put them out of it. We have an adoption plan. And it does not involve this baby."

I am a huge advocate for adoption. And I think any parent who for any reason feels the best thing for her baby is to be raised by another mother who is mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually WHATEVER-ally more capable of meeting her baby's needs, I support it. I would never judge parents who chose an adoption plan. But in that moment, her suggesting placing my own special needs child for adoption cracked me right up.

Perhaps the humor of the moment defies reading. Maybe you just had to be there.

On the upside, I am not stressed. I am not worried. It probably is nothing. And if it is something, that's ok too. See me letting go of the reins? Yup, I am along for the ride.

Also on the upside, today in the longest ultrasound of my life (and I've had more ultrasounds than anyone I know), the little squirt wouldn't move its hands away from its face; the doc really wanted to see those lips and nose. Then, something happend. I spoke to the baby out loud for the first time.

I urged "C'mon booger, move your hands so we can see your face."  Now, you may think this isn't the nicest thing I could have said when addressing my child for the first time. But, the miracle is that I spoke to the baby like it was my baby. I used my Mama voice. And for the first time in any of my pregnancies, I felt a glimmer of love for the little person-to-be. I had no idea I was capable of caring or connecting in this way.

Life is full of surprises.



This isn't what you think. I am not here to contest brands of yogurt. Though I will quickly say I am currently loyal to Stonyfield Farms Banilla and their Yo'Soy is great, Fage 2% Greek Yogurt, and heaven-have-mercy-thank-you-Canada Liberte yogurts. They are all way above average in my book. I wish I could get commission for all the name dropping I do for Liberte yogurt. They don't care about me.  I'd take a few coupons because that nectar of the Gods isn't cheap. But ohhhhh, is it dreamy.

Back to the real point: this battle was between two little boys who wanted to see how messy they could get at lunch, via yogurt.



Cookie was far too dignified and our friend A was the clear winner. We want a rematch, so come again soon A! We love you!

(And seriously, aren't Habesha children devestatingly cute? We can't wait until our little Ethiopian man is home...)



There are times when it is understandable -if not classy- for folks to hang up on one another. Whatever else is going on in the conversation, two potential requirements in my book are that you know each other, or one party has been undeniably maltreated in some way. Are you with me?

For the third time this week I received a call from a "friendly" flu-cleaning service about my "overdue maintenance" for my "chimney."  The caller last night was so sweet she exclaimed with a hint of southern charm "I didn't want you to think we forgot about ya." Awwwww. I love being remembered.

I replied "Oh, that's so nice, but, um, our house was built in 2008, has no chimney, and we've never received service from your company, so I am not sure---" CLICK

The stinker hung up on me mid-freaking-sentence. I gave her literally twenty three seconds of my precious blogging and stuffing-my-face-with-cookies-time (thanks Kate, Jeff and Antone!) to listen to her lame spiel that I knew was a sales/marketing ploy without chewing her butt off or being mean, because the only person that hates her phone calls worse than me is her. She must hate her job. I was the picture of kindness, despite feeling inconvenienced.  But then she, the woman calling with a fishy line about my overdue chimney needs hangs up on me?

What does it say about our world when telemarketers are hanging up on those they are calling and annoying? What is going on? Keeping it real though, in the face of more pressing concerns, like some interesting/potentially yucky news from a fetal ultrasound this week, and a bid from a contractor to finish our attic that was 3x the amount we are willing and able to pay to have said space finished, and the fact that we haven't received any updates on our Baby Boy in Ethiopia and it's been a month since our referral, I choose to harp on the ludicrous and unimportant. Like a telemarketer hanging up on me.

It's cozy over here in denial land.

Over and out.
Have a good night.
Ok, good bye.
Thanks for your time.
Avast me hearties.
Peace out, home skillet.
My apologies.

All perfectly legitimate ways that woman could have ended our call without being wicked rude. And how I leave you now, just pick yer poison.



April 17th, 2006 I became a mother. Big Sissy has been a constant source of joy and wild entertainment ever since we met her. Case in point, she just told me "It's sometimes hard for me to obey you, Mom, but it's easy to listen to Dad." Good to know, chicky.
 My friend Kristal shot this gem when she was nine weeks old. I miss her, the easiest infant ever born.

At 7am on her birthday she exclaimed 'I wonder if my birthday presents came!'

Ooops. Um, I hadn't wrapped them yet. Ridiculous unplanned weirdness came out of my mouth in the effort to distract and pacify her:  "Oh, go downstairs and see if the Birthday Fairy brought them yet!"

What???? Birthday Fairy?  Like we need another mystical creature who brings presents to us; why did I just say that?

She ate it right up. She searched the house over while I hid in my closet and wrapped her presents. Even Hubs joined in with "I think I just saw the Fairy but she got away!" (Thanks, hon.)

I planted her gifts once I was done so the fun could begin.

Photobucket a likely spot: the steps on her bunk bed

The shock when she saw the presents that the Fairy brought was hil-ari-ous

Photobucket "I bet the Birthday Fairy used a GPS from Tinkerbell to find our house!" (direct quote)


a new dress!

Can't wait to try it on

Photobucket it's hard when it's Sissy's birthday

second present: a new swim suit! Sharing with brother, who was happy to not be left out

Now onto her special Fancy Daddy Daughter Birthday Date!

Hubs escorted her to this awesome restaurant in Cambridge. He claimed "It was perfect. I am going to book her wedding reception here."

Lots of pink and purple and funky

 a complimentary dessert from le chef


The celebration continued as Daddy and Daughter arrived home to grandparents and cousins



And she got ANOTHER chance to blow out candles!


Brave brother, don't worry. Your birthday is in two weeks. 

We can't believe our big girl is four years old. Samantha Bird, we love you and are incessantly proud of you. Thanks for being our friend and a good Sissy. Happy Birthday!



My wishes were pretty dead on folks -  we were thrilled and surprised last night to get an email from our adoption coordinator that we have been assigned a court date for April 30th!! 

This is VERY soon, exactly four weeks after we accepted our referral.  There was much screaming, jumping, laughing and clapping in the Scooping it Up house last night. Samantha kept hugging us and saying "Mom, Dad, I am just so excited!" Cookie jumped and danced around with the rest of us crazies, and probably didn't know what was going on, but we handed him a picture of his brother and he kissed it. Maybe he does get it, a little...

We love our little man, who is now 5 months old, and are beyond ecstatic that things are moving forward quickly. We are coming, Baby Boy. We are coming as soon as we can.

I said all I wanted for my birthday was to get a court date. I am changing my request a little though. Now all I want for my birthday is to pass court the first try, AND for anyone who is feeling like doing some good for the orphans in the world:  This care center needs a cow. Ethiopian Orphan Relief is a great organization with a board of directors that includes a few awesome adoptive moms who care deeply for humanitarian work in their childrens' country. I want to be just like them.

Don't do anything for my birthday. Or my next. Or the next. Except pray we pass court and give a little to some awesome girls orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Read a little ditty about what a single cow could do for them.

*edit: "We" are not going to court. As it turns out, we are not required to be there since our documents were sumbitted so quickly and our court date is assigned before the cut off for the New policy takes place. I would definitely be freaking out if I had to go in two weeks. Baby Boy's hearing is April 30th, we will be called and told if all went well, and if so, then in 4-8 weeks after travel to Ethiopia to bring him home. Sorry for confusion!



Her last night here was spent in the trenches, as always. There have been a lot of tantrums, tears and sorrow since she went back to Denver, and it's been hard on the kids, too.

Thank you, Grandma Jane. We miss you.






Dear Me,

While you can't do anything about this right now, in the future I would advise to not try to deal with the adoption roller coaster AND the crazy hormones and issues you have with pregnancy simultaneously.

It makes you a horrible beast of a woman to be around. Just ask your angel of a mother who has donated her life for two months to take care of you and your children. Ask your husband. And the telemarketer you verbally abused dismissed abruptly yesterday. You suck at being pregnant, and you're exploring all sorts of new psychosis and anxiety while waiting for your Habesha boy to come home.

You forgot from the last two times-- you swore you'd never forget one tidbit of the torture from those months, but you did-- you forgot that as your sickness starts to subside, you can't sleep. You stay up 'til 2, 3, 4, 5am every night and feel pissed off and crappy every day. For months until you have a newborn,

And don't forget, you still struggle with that whole obsession with body image stuff that is very real though it never went very far to hurt you but lingers in the back of your mind. It has been beaten into submission as an adult into very healthy food choices, but rears it's emotional head as weeks pass and you get fatter against your will and every nerve ending in your body and mind scream "NO!"

You hate how people stare at a pregnant woman. You hate more than anything when strangers and friends and family think that since you're getting fatter it is now ok to touch your torso. While you don't love the growing belly, you also think it's not fair that there is a physical sign that you are expecting this baby, but no one knows about your other son, who is 7,000 miles away, needing a Mama.

You want to tell people and sometimes do, when they feel the need to talk about your belly, "Actually, we are expecting two. This baby and another who is in Ethiopia." You know that you don't owe people an explanation, and you have years ahead of you where you will be desperate to avoid conversations with strangers about your conspicuous family, but somehow you feel like you are betraying your Ethiopian son by not telling people he exists.

Speaking of betraying him: the weight of his past and his future is haunting and relentless. You lie awake at night thinking about how to talk to him about things like birthdays, and how to deal everytime he hears someone say to Samantha "You look just like your Dad!" or tells Cookie "You are a good artist, like your Grandma."

The whole world takes genetic connection for granted. You worry that this little man will know he is loved, have a strong sense of his place in your family, and still have holes in his heart that you will never be able to fill because there are other people he needs to meet for answers. This doesn't make you love him any less.

But you think about how to talk about it. How to support him, how to prepare him and succor him. Because not thinking about it because "He might not have those feelings of loss" as some folks like to point out helpfully, is like sending him into a football game without helmet because "he will likely be ok."

You've only been in public twice since receiving your referral and since starting to "show." Your insomnia, your anxiety, your contradicting feelings, and the number on the scale are all just going to increase.

So, Me, in closing. Hang in there, but try not mix a cocktail of pregnancy hormones with adoption stuff.




We are still waiting to hear from our adoption agency when Baby Boy's court hearing will be. I fantasize about this magical date where a judge hopefully looks at our family documents and Baby's file and makes us legally his parents.

I think my birthday, end of April, would a fabulous day for a hearing, but I would take Monday, May 3rd.  These may not be especially realistic, in fact, I just pull these dates out of you-know-where, but I am being hopeful, optimistic and impatient. So there.

I check my email hoping for news from our agency constantly. I have been online so much, hoping to be sitting right here when word comes, but realize I am wasting a lot of time, just waiting. This nagging feeling has been growing and this weekend Hubs and I hit the Holy Mackerel Mode with bringing a baby into our family in fourteen weeks or less. And seven or so weeks after that, surgery and a newborn.

These timetables may sound generous, and every day feels like eternity what with me still feeling like crud most of the time and growing increasingly more uncomfortable now that a bowling ball has taken up residence under my skin -- I love you, little bowling ball. I will love you much more when you are not inside my body. Thank you for understanding.

But really, time is ticking, and we need to figure out some stuff.  Pronto. Last night as we watched the Sox (halleluja baseball season is back!) we made lists of things we need to prepare for, decide, etc.

Where is everyone going to sleep?  While we didn't determine who is going to be in what room yet, we did decide that we need to buy another crib, and with some good budget work, we are going to finish our attic to create an office and a playroom /another bedroom upstairs. Before Baby Boy comes home, hopefully. We are waiting on some bids from contractors. We are not DIY folk.

What are our goals for attachment when Baby Boy comes home?  For the first several weeks home with Baby Boy we drafted some ground rules for ourselves, family and friends that will help us foster attachment and appropriate bonding with a little man who needs to learn who his new parents are.

Where do we stand on me traveling to Ethiopia?
If I don't go, would we ask anyone to go with Hubs?
Would the kids be ok if I went?
Would I be ok if I went?
Would I be ok if I didn't go?  Don't know any of this right now.

Will we try to visit other parts of Ethiopia while there, the region Baby is from? Don't know.
Do we have enough airline points to cover plane tickets to ET?  Don't know.
How much help will we need when we are home? Don't know.
How can family and friends who want to support us help? Working on this.
What else does do I get to buy? Ahh, a less stressful question. I am not one of those women who claims "I hate shopping."

I love shopping. I love when my kids grow and I have to get them new shoes and clothes. I love researching kid products, handbags, photography equipment, books, my own swim suits and evening wear even, you name it, I will shop for it. And I will like it.

The best part is, shhhhhhhh, I am whispering this so he can't hear: so does Hubs. He is a closet shopping lover. He needed new luggage recently and he was like a kid in a candy store.

Case in point: he has, of his own free will and choice, visited three different malls on a Saturday morning with two young children to compare prices and colors of window treatments. Did I mention he did it without a wife, and that he liked it? Tallied here is reason 8,046 why I love him.

Anyway, to alleviate some of the waiting anxiety and to feel productive, I ordered a new car seat. In doing so I did wonder if we will ever leave the house again considering the four people who cannot get in and out of the car without adult intervention. It could take us centuries to get anywhere.

But in the hopes we will actually go places with all the children,  I chose the new Britax Frontier 85. It is both carseat and booster seat, fitting kids from 20lbs to 120 lbs, so basically it will last until Samantha is in college. Niiice.

Cookie will move up into her current seat, Baby Boy will take M's current seat, and Baby 2 will use the Graco infant seat that I never used for any of my kids because I don't like infant seats. Confession here: I am a bit o' a car seat snob. Britax are always rated very highly for safety, comfort and user friendliness. I will add that in four years of using Britax seats I have never once dealt with a twisted strap or persnickity buckle. They are solid, awesome seats, and I am happy we have them.

The final prep question running through my mind is a bit, um, womanly, so if there is an actual male reading this post, be forewarned.

Will I be able to breastfeed Baby Boy? Will he be too old to try? Can I or should I do anything to try to relactate now, in the weeks I have before he comes, even though I am currently pregnant? Would it be less good for Baby 2? Is relactate a word?

Actually, I only stopped nursing Cookie two months ago at 22ish months old. I wouldn't have to relactate - again, if that is a usable word.  I might just have to pump or something to build up a supply.  I suppose I should mention here that, yes, I am one of those crazy loves-to-nurse women.  I know not everyone likes it, or can, and that is A-OK with me. There are millions of happy, smart people who were not breastfed.

But it has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. Nursing my kids has always felt sacred to me. What it does for me, what it does for the baby is awesome. In a crunch, I actually nursed by sister's baby once. (It wasn't my fault she left her nine-month-old with me all day without leaving a bottle and that I had perfectly good bottles under my shirt. I told her later, and she just laughed.)

I am working through letting myself feel ok about not nursing Baby Boy if for some reason it doesn't work out. But you can bet your sweet breastpump that I want to try.  I would be pridefully psyched if I managed to nurse two babies simultaneously, one of whom is not my biological child. I feel like that could be my crowning Mother Achievment to date.  But far more importantly it would be an incredible way for us to bond, and give him some really awesome calories to boot.

I need to hunt down a lactation consultant who can give me advice. If you are one, reading this right now, and you don't think I am nuts, please let me know. If you are not a lactation consultant and DO think I am nuts, don't let me know.

Off to make some more plans. And maybe do a little more shopping. And of course, wait.



I knew it wouldn't be easy. It could actually be foolhardy.
But I hoped it would be worth it.

The weather report said it was supposed to reach 87 degrees.  They were wrong.

So, with a gulp and a lot of help from Grandma Jane (ok, let's face it, I mostly sat) we went here:














I could get down:

But it was harder to get up (some of you fellow bed resters know all about the atrophy):

This is how we felt when we left:

A little standoffish, a little wincing, tired, but ready. It was the shortest trip to beach of my life. But one of the best.

Here's to walking around more. Getting ready for our little man to come home from ET. He deserves a Mama that can get out of bed, ya think?

Here's to a record hot day in April.

Here's to living near the ocean.

edit almost 48 hours later: i can't walk. every part of my being is in pain. i am rocking a migraine. i definitely pushed my limits with this little trip. still, totally worth it.