Before we went to Ethiopia I was specifically told by several knowing, experienced bloggers that I should absolutely purchase lots of traditional Ethiopian clothing while I was there.

I join the shamed masses in sorrowing that we didn't buy enough clothes. It is hard shopping in Addis. It's hard to haggle, it's hard to know what to pay, it's hard to not know what sizes one is buying, it's stressful, and so we didn't come home with enough. Why not enough you say? Because we thought it would be a once-a-year kind of thing. But in the seven months since coming home with Tsega, we have worn our traditional clothes at least that many times. Every three to eight weeks we wear them. I was six months pregnant at time of travel and in no mood to guess what size I should buy and didn't know the gender of the unborn child, so Brady and I have nothing. The clothes for the other kiddos are sustaining a beating, and the kids are going to grow out of them in a few more months.

We did not anticpate how much fun and fulfilling it would be to incorporate Ethiopian observances and holidays into our celebration rotation. We now have two Christmases, two New Years, two Patriots Days, two Easters, and most recently celebrated Timkat. This is usually a three day festival reverencing Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. It is the biggest Ethiopian Orthodox holiday, and extends our holiday season into late January. The best thing about observing these holidays is that it usually entails gathering with other Ethiopians and adoptive families, and there is no way to say it except to say it: it is easier to breathe when we are together. (Tuck that feeling away when it comes time to decide where to send our kids to school.)

It is so good for all our children to be with other families that look like theirs. I am always especially honored and feel blessed when members of the larger Ethiopian community celebrate with us and welcome us with open arms. Talk about handing us the desire of our hearts on a silver platter: all we want is our children to know and honor their heritage, and they help us by allowing us to join with them.

I give you a few shots from two wonderful parties.

Brady loves a crowd. Which is convenient.

Is there anything better to a four year old than getting to play with eight and nine year olds?

at this party the kids were encouraged to try to lift this full water jug. some good folks are raising money to build a well in Mudula, Ethiopia so that instead of hauling water all day, the kiddos in that area have a shot at attending school.

Once again, Cookie seeks and finds another boy with whom he can cross swords

Samantha sat for forty five minutes while doing the cornrows. On the one hand, she was willing to undergo the pain, on the other her primary motivation was that she wanted to look like the other girls. Please let cornrows be the only thing she ever does because the other kids are doing it.



I have started and saved drafts of several posts in the past week. I am not utterly lacking inspiration, just hung up on completion. Maybe because I still feel in limbo about where I want to be writing (though I’ve decided wherever I end up I will be keeping all my posts starting way back in 2007 when I started).

It’s all a matter of tweaks and transferring and deciding and that gives me hives when I think about it. And so I stall publishing my half-finished posts.

I can’t blame everything on blog issues though. Life is full of unbloggable stuff. I am compelled to censor my writing. I am fine, just working through things that aren’t fodder for the internets. It makes for crappy blogging because that unbloggable stuff is taking up a large portion of my brain power. There is something that I’ve been itching to write about — says the Mama who the moment she types that phrase There is something I want to… hears cries from two separate monitors that are monitoring two different children. Dang. I can’t even complete a sentence at 9:45 pm on the internet, much less in real life.

Now, instead of writing what I wanted to write about I am playing the Baby Game. Do you know how to play?

You sit at the computer and try not the look at the baby monitors. That jinxes you off the bat.
You get bottles out just in case, but you don’t warm anything up yet.
You hear fussing. You stand.
Then all is quiet again.
Then you sit. Then you feel relief. You start thinking again, you type four letters.
Then a baby starts crying in earnest.
You abandon computer, start making bottle.
Wonder if Baby will calm himself. Listen for 30 more seconds.
Decide to go up. Half way up stairs with warm bottle, you realize baby is quiet.
You tip toe down a few stairs, computer and ice cream singing their siren song.
Baby fusses again.
You try to curb potty mouth. (If you are me. If you are a better person than me, you will not swear at such a trivial thing.)
You go up to room, listen outside of closed door and then enter a cocoon of darkness, lotion smell and gentle hum of fan.Baby is sound asleep, fingers in mouth.
You stand there. For what seems like an hour. But it’s only four minutes.
You tip toe down stairs, put bottle on counter, because if Baby cries again and it’s been in the fridge the whole stupid process will take longer and with your luck the beeping from the microwave will wake a different kid with sonar hearing.

The way to win the Baby Game is for the whole shenanigan to last less than or equal to twenty minutes. If it takes longer than that, ice cream is melted, train of thought and motivation is totally lost and either you are stuck fighting the good fight with Baby for hours, or it takes just long enough where all you’re good for is zoning out in front of the TV. In my experience “just long enough” is 21 minutes.

While writing this I have been playing. Time elapsed: thirteen minutes. It is still not clear if I am going to win. And I am losing steam on my original topic.

On an entirely separate note, I made some kick-booty homemade falafel and tzatziki sauce tonight. Like, better than I’ve eaten at any established restaurants good. I am thinking of about not saving the leftovers for tomorrow and giving over to gluttony right now. Wish you could join me. What does your Baby Game look like?



The older kids, have somehow discovered the ugly truth that if they postpone waking me to feed them or turn on Sesame Street, they have a free reign of the house. Things are going missing. Scissors, jewelry, shoes, pens, toys. I have been walking a tight rope for months with clinging to the mess and this is not good. I seriously cannot find my stuff. And their room is a freaking war zone in major disarray. I guess on the upside they are learning to delay gratification for something they want more. On the downside, we have arrived very early in my mothering career at the threat "If this isn't picked up in two minutes, it's going in the trash." I did follow through once or twice too. I noticed in order to carry out this threat one has to not look at what it is, not care, and focus on the principle of it. Painful for everyone.
And yes, I lock my older kids in their room at night. It has always been this way. They don't question it. They have drinks, kisses, songs, final potty chances whathaveyou and guess what, they never, ever wander downstairs or into our bedroom. 99% of the time they sleep through the night, and I am convinced it is in part due to knowing there is nowhere to go. If they need something, they knock and call out and we come. It is a thing of beauty.

Starting to cook more again. Really liking it. Remember how one year ago I was in bed with a PICC line pumping fluids and calories into me, and didn't leave my room for four months? Remember how I wanted to be human and eat but couldn't even stomach the smell of my own family or an apple or shampoo, for months? Food, oh how I have missed you. Hubs has been traveling a little less than usual, and we have a wonderful au paire-ish sister-in-law Liz who is around a lot these days and let me tell you, going from the glory days of 2009 one adult and 1.5 children who eat food to three adults and three kids who eat a lot of food has changed the game when it comes to grocery shopping and meal planning. I am now the psycho in the grocery store with the heaping cart. And a meal that used to provide leftovers is gone in one sitting. I am putting on my oven mitts because I am entering the realm of Cooking for Quantity, when I was already pursuing Cooking for Martha Stewart to Approve of Me, and I couldn't be happier. When it comes to the kitchen, I like complicated and nuance and challenge. Now that I think of it, that applies to many areas of my life. I think I am an adrenaline junkie.

I am trying to let go of some things. I cannot do it all. So this morning when Hubs offered to take the older three out of the house, I didn't choose their clothes, insist on another layer, pack snacks, hand him a blankie and just-in-case bottle for Tsega, or any diaper supplies. I just let him leave. It's his problem. It was really hard to do. I know what it takes to facilitate a smooth outing, and I just waved and said "Bye!" But I did do all three childrens' hair before they were allowed to walk out the door. I am sorry, but somethings are non negotiable. (They were totally fine, by the way.)

I have now utilized hot sauce as a consequence for sassy back talk. For a while it was enough to simply set it out on the counter when words from the oldest were getting ugly and rude. We've talked about how we are family, and we have to be patient, and listen and obey and speak kindly and express things appropriately. This is a huge challenge for the girl child. She has a mouth on her. And it isn't acceptable. I won't have a kid who is disrespectful to adults. Ironically, the straw that broke the camels back wasn't a snippy comeback. She stuck her tongue out at me in response to a direction I gave. I calmly and silently took her hand, and held her down while administering some hot sauce to her tongue. Just a dab. Oh the tears. Oh the moaning and wailing. I told her I didn't want to do it, and that it wasn't a punishment. She chose to be hurtful and I wanted her to remember we must use our mouths to spread love in our family. Next time she must remember to control her reactions and think about what is ok and what isn't. I dunno if it's going to work or if in the end it was just punitive. I don't want it to be. And sadly, she confided to me later that a friend of hers sticks her tongue out all the time when she is upset, to Samantha, to her own mother. She was copying. Now I have an even bigger worry than sass; susceptibility to friend influences.

On a good note, I am pretty sure I succeeded in being a relatively fun nice Mom this week, despite a bad mood brewing in the back of my mind the last few days. I really was able to give love and do good things with my kids despite my own crap. That is progress. I don't think kids are dummies, they can feel tension. But I wasn't tense. Not with them. I really felt it was all neatly compartmentalized. Am I deluding myself?
I hope not. I was awfully proud.

Dinner Homerun

In the absence of powerful life insights, I will supply the internet with filler. Beyonce is blasting, the kids are dancing and playing in crumbs of brownies under the table and I shall spin this out quickly.

For some reason the Littles all devoured dinner tonight and I thought I should document what I did so I can repeat it another time. It drives my husband crazy that I create most dinners as I go, and thus when he likes things, the odds are good that he will never get that exact dish ever again. He has favorites and because I never measure and rarely reference a cookbook, it's in the words of Cookie "too bad so sad."

Glazed Salmon, Peas, Rice Dinner

Salmon Glaze
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp (ish, I just poured til it looked right) soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
5 dashes paprika
1/4 cup honey
wisk all together pour over or brush on 1 lb salmon cut into 3 or 4 little steaks (I baked them at 350 for an unknown amount of time. I watched until they were done. 20 minutes or more ish?)

Frozen peas are so sweet they need absolutely nothing to tempt the kiddos
Brown rice, olive oil, a few shakes of dehydrated onion, salt, pepper, oregano into rice maker And voila! a dinner that all three kids inhaled.

Hmmm, though maybe it helped that I made homemade brownies for dessert. Who knows? Either way, it was a miracle (read: letting them watch 2.5 hours of DVDs) that allowed this all to happen. Enjoy!


while the cat is on the computer, the mice raid the pantry

The question when I face this situation is: clean it up, or, turn a blind eye and let them eat until they are gone so I don't have to clean it up?

I ain't tellin' what I did.



Hello old blog. I miss you. I haven't forgotten about you. I have saved all 400ish posts and am trying to figure out what to do with you. I think there is some decent stuff in there.

Don't want to delete it all.

Should I undertake the project of a century and go back and remove all mine and my kids' names so I can transfer the old posts to my new blog?

If anyone is still coming here and has any thoughts about my conundrum please share.

If anyone wants to read about how I take care of my Habesha child's hair and skin which was what I posted about today on the new blog, you still have the chance to ask for the website.

Just haven't decided what to do with all of this.




snow day cookies

We are utterly buried under 2+ feet of snow right now and since we have 100 feet of driveway, no one is coming in or out of our snow cave. This means messes. And a looney mother. The only way to deal with the lunacy and messes is create one more mess: cookies.

I am childishly proud to say I am getting to the point with cookies that I can look at a recipe and decide how I want to change it to make it come out how I want. A little more flour, a little more baking powder, less this and that, and voila! Today's creation. I am not going to lie, they are really good. Enjoy!

My Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses (you can omit the molasses if you don't have it and just make up the amount with either sugar)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (white, wheat whatever you have)
3 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

If using unsalted butter, add 1 tsp salt. if using salted butter I find it doesn't really need more. But you can play with it.

1/2 - entire 12 oz bag of chocolate ships (depending on how much chocolate you need)

Let eggs and butter come to room temp, the fast way to do this is turn on the oven to 350 and put the butter and eggs in the warmest spot you can find on the stovetop as the oven heats. Don't forget to yell at your children and tell them to get away and stop breaking eggs all over the floor. While this is going on measure out dry ingredients except sugar and stir together.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixer if you're lucky enough to have one. Add eggs and molasses and vanilla. On lowest speed add the pre-mixed bowl of dry stuff. Incorporate only, don't over mix.

Eat some dough. Add chocolate chips by hand. The more you use the mixer the flatter the cookies will be. While kids look away eat more dough.

8 minutes until heaven. While cookies are baking give crying baby to his Daddy.

And then take a picture of another cute baby blowing raspberries

a cookie in hand is worth two in the bush?

This recipe has been approved by the Cookie Monster himself, who proclaimed "I so excited! Me Cookie Monster and me want cookies!"

Don't forget the milk!

And now I have to go clean up the messes.


The Pen is Mightier

If you're like me, and I think you are, the top of your fridge is home to all manner of make shift "swords." Any household oblongish object that appears innocuous to oh, say, a girl, in the hands of a little boy becomes a weapon. And when that weapon has been used poorly one, or three too many times, it is confiscated and put in a high place.

I understand there is a huge spectrum of personalities and variances of shades of people, and not everyone fits into neat little boxes. I also acknowledge that we influence our children into gender roles ways we might not even intend, but in this house the jury is IN on nature versus nurture. My boy children (well, the older two) have an innate need to feel an object in their hands slam forcefully against another object. If that object is a person who can scream and run or - cross your fingers- fight back, all the better. The sensation of hitting literally seems to feel good. It seems to connect their bodies to their surroundings and indeed, I think it possible all wars come back to that without proper steering towards organized sports, many boys tend to channel their need for sensory input in violent ways.

On the other hand, my girl child has never really felt the need to take a foam bat, or broom handle, or spatula, or umbrella, or bamboo skewer, etc., ad nauseum- and start beating the crap out of the wall just because. She is fodder for completely different parental observations. For example, I heard Samantha playing dolls the other day. Eavesdropping on children playing is really the most magnificent past time and sometimes I drop the laundry (I am a professional at Laundry Avoidance Tactics, or LAT) grab a pen and start writing it down as fast as I can.

sob sob sob
why are you crying?
oh my mother is dying in her castle
but wait, where is the baby
oh a long journey. far away. like Ethiopia, or Jerusalem
we must save her
yes yes we must
sob sob
but now why are you crying
my dress is dirty, and i shan't have it ready for the ball
oh we will help you hurry hurry, before it's too late!
don't forget the baby,
where is the prince, the father?

She is four, and her playing hits on most of the major themes of female adult stresses: What on earth is she gonna do about her mother, her children, getting to where she needs to be on time, her clothes aren't working for her, and where the #$%@ is the male in her life?

Whether she knows it or not in her play conflicts and resolutions she is preparing for life. She is thinking of how circumstances affect people, how they respond, how they feel, and the repercussions of their choices. Her ability to hold all her characters' stories in her head and help them interact is a thing of beauty. And to top it off, during one play session I heard her say out loud

oh! I left Tsega alone in his room, I need to close the baby gate so he doesn't fall down the stairs! and then she stopped her play, ran from her room to check on her brother and make sure all was as it should be. Women multi task like no one's business, and it starts early. I am not suggesting that the way my older boys play doesn't somehow prepare them for their adult lives, it's just not as obvious to me how it all works for them. Maybe because I still don't understand how the male brain works in general. It's not you boys, it's me.

I love observing my little people, watching them grow, watching their minds and hearts develop. In the meantime though, I hear the pitter patter of feet chasing feet and shrieking time to confiscate a sword.


brady's future girlfriend

I know he's only six months, and a little behind in most aspects of development. There is however one area where he seems to shine: Attracting and loving on older women.

Not unlike his father he is cultivating the art of putting up with a good beating mixed with the hugs and kisses.

And like her Auntie S, she is totally worth it.


My Fight

Words are going to fail me tonight. I already feel it. My thoughts are all a jumble. It's dangerous to do this because it is late and I don't quite know what my point is at my onset. I hope I tread gently and write coherently.

A friend of mind, a fellow adoptive mother had a ton of bricks dropped on her today by way of Ethiopia. Her child's father was able to send a letter to her indicating that they have no house, literally no shelter of any kind, and her child's two older sisters are very sick, probably dying very soon as he has no money to send them to a hospital. He said he is so sad his family will not ever see each other again in this life.

We both cried as we talked about this letter. How much we want to help get someone to drive the six or seven hours from Addis, assess the situation, and get the girls to a hospital. The rules and ethics built into internation adoption make sending money or giving aid an ominous task, but what can be done? Can anything be done? The need is immediate and the results of doing nothing are final and chilling. They will die. How wonderful would it be to build them some kind of shelter with beds to get them off the cold ground, build them an outhouse, give the man an ox or a few chickens or something to help get him on his feet, make sure they have clothes, shoes, etc. There might be a way to do some of this. We are looking into it.

The cold hard truth is that the onus is now placed my friend simply because she knows. Before there was doubt, guessing what their situation might be like. But now she knows what this family is up against. Her child's family might not survive and some day, her child is going to ask her "what did you do to help them?"

This is a question not all adoptive parent consider about as they excitedly start filling out paperwork and picturing a cute little brown face and brown toes: that real deprivation, poverty and starvation are no longer in someone else's back yard. It is no longer someone else's passion or problem. It is no longer 7000 miles away. It is staring you in the face every single day asking what are you doing to help? The heavy mantle of responsibility descends swiftly and decidedly upon our shoulders as we receive these little ones into our arms. Their birth families become part of our own. The sounds of their first language rings in our ears. The desperation of broken families breaks our hearts. The knowledge of the wrongs done to their people by their own government makes our blood boil. And perhaps without really understanding beforehand what we signed up for: Ethiopia becomes our fight.

The world is a hideously unfair place. I think many of us who believe in God as a person look forward to that conversation after this life where we humbly and tearfully ask "Why were things so unbalanced? Why did so many suffer when others had so much?" For the time being we must work to right the scales. Most likely anyone reading this blog has a computer and access to internet, and thus most likely access to medical care, education, clean, heated and running water, and a place to live. We are unfairly, unspeakably blessed.

A very wise teacher reminded us for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.

Tonight I rightly and painfully and gladly feel my burden of Knowing. I have been given much. I am sickened as look around my comfy home at the stuff that I don't need that money bought. Money that could save lives and fill hungry bellies and hungry minds. Tonight I am once again reminded of what is important. Everyone is called to different causes, be it cancer research, missionary work, AIDS, animal cruelty, elder care, childhood obesity, anti-racism awareness, rain forest conservation. Perhaps your cause is advocating for your special needs child. Whatever it is, don't stop fighting.

And if you don't have a fight, Ethiopia is a pretty good place to start as the third poorest country in the world. These people and these people and these people are on the ground improving lives as I type.

Now you know, too.

*reliable person has been found to drive to area and assess situation. Don't know where things will go from there but more information is always a good way to start.

** My friend Liz linked to this post today and one of her commenters wrote this about me : "

"I'm bothered by ScoopingItUp's statement, 'This is what no adoptive parent thinks about as they excitedly start filling out paperwork and picturing a cute little brown face and brown toes: that real deprivation, poverty and starvation are no longer in someone else’s back yard.' Really? How could anyone NOT think about that? The children we adopt come from families too poor or sick to keep them - how can anyone be even the slightest bit surprised to hear that they desperately need help, and that they will ask for help from the person who is by far the richest person they know?"

Here is my response to that comment:

I shouldn't have generalized about prospective adoptive parents and didn't catch that statement as I wrote it. I just changed it to "not all adoptive parents." I will humbly admit that for me personally, adoption was a journey into understanding how close these issues and problems are to myself personally. I wasn't raised very aware of the outside world. I am not criticizing my parents, I am literally saying we didn't have a TV. I didn't watch the news. I never read a newspaper. I never traveled. I grew. I am still growing and learning.

I should have never written that other adoptive families were like me, not truly understanding what was out there and what circumstances might bring a child to needing a new family. On the other hand, I don't think I am the only person who has had to learn these lessons. And even if you think you understand what it is like for these families, receiving a letter like that, from a real person, a real birth family with real details is shocking and devastating no matter how much you think you know. I am sorry if my words offended.


Writing Assignment

Just so you all don't think I am a terrible mother, I did ask her permission to post this.


to whom it may concern

To my son, Cookie who sat as still as a statue today while getting a hair cut, and then didn't flip out when the "reward" candy cane broke as I was taking it out of the wrapper: You are the coolest two-year-old in the world. Thank you for letting me off easy. There were several junctures at which you could have decided it was all too much. I love you for being so chill.

To my hair dresser Ahmed, who handed over spikey hair clips with teeth and said "hold these dragons" to my two-year-old during hair cut: I've never seen anyone do such a beautiful hair cut so efficiently. You rock.

To the women at the salon who didn't flip out when I walked through the door with all four kids this morning: thank you. And for not throwing a fit about Tsega sitting on the floor. Because a little hair is not going to kill him. There are worse things on our floor at home.

To the people who are snickering about me taking my two-year-old to my hair salon for his first hair cut by a person who isn't me: I've seen too many Supercuts employees butcher men I love with a set of clippers. I will admit I have a strong  obsession  love for Cookie's hair. I wanted to watch Ahmed do it to get pointers on how to do a better job myself, which I am happy to do. Cookie has "scissors only" hair. Amen.

To any readers who might work at Supercuts: No offense. I am sure there are great stylists at some locations just not in Boston Metro West.

how handsome my little ketchup-faced lad is...

To the woman in line at CVS who threw an embarrassing tantrum about showing ID for cigarettes for exactly 4 minutes and 12 seconds: The ID would have taken five seconds tops. Please rethink your motivations in life.

To the cashier to ultimately said to ridiculous woman "Ma'am, I don't make the laws. I keep them. I am sorry but I am not going to risk my job because you feel inconvenienced right now. Write your Congressman a letter": I almost grabbed an American flag off the display next to me and started a round of applause with the other people waiting in line. Truer words were never spoken in a CVS.

To the Brazilian crew man working on finishing our attic right now who with pride and love told me in broken English that his mother had nine children "none of whom died": Thank you for reminding me that health care and low infant mortality rates are not to be taken for granted. I have a few little blessings running around that might not be here today without intense medical intervention. Myself included. I would have been the mom that didn't survive any of her pregnancies. I am awfully blessed.

To my breast pump: I hate that the first and last thing I do every day involves you. But my baby needs more milk than what he can get through his mouth, and I have to put it through a tube in his stomach, and I harbor a morbid and largely unfounded loathing for formula, so for now, we have to stay friends. But just so you know, it's been over six months and our relationship cannot last forever. So just watch yourself. Someday, I will watch a Celtics game in peace. You don't own me.



Thanks reader friends. I appreciate very much all the positive feedback. The sad little approval hound in me feels validated and loved and all that jazz. It really is an amazing thing to know the thoughts I've sent out to the universe actually resonated with someone(s). I am humbled and grateful.

Those of you who asked to be redirected to the new, albeit potentially temporary spot I tried to contact you. There were a few email addresses I didn't get to work. If for some reason I left you out, don't be afraid to yell at me.

I miss this place. For anyone wanting to start a blog, I highly recommend blogger, which I thought was difficult to use until I jumped blindly into wordpress, which will not allow me to be apart of the the blogher publishing network, nor tweak css code, nor customize colors, fonts, width of post areas, and all the nonsense that made my blog feel like "home" to me. Wordpress is not my friend. I will be sticking with it awhile yet, but it kinda bites.

Happy New Year to the internets.

You rock.


Future Blessings

Its 2:40am of the new year and I am not ready.  I want to tie up this past crazy year with a neat little bow, put it in a drawer and close it and then burn the bureau to ashes. Ain't gonna happen.  There are only glimmers of beginnings of hopes of changes for me personally.  Yet here I am on a day that is supposed to present a clean slate and beginnings. A place that last year seemed so hopeful and optimistic and blissful. This day last year we spent dreaming of receiving "the call" from our adoption agency. Only a few days into 2010 our plans were hideously altered (if you are a newer reader and don't know the  story of 2010, please see the "How we Got Here" tab at the top of the page). We've been clawing to get to the surface for air ever since.

Where am I this year?  Honestly, I don't know.  I don't feel quite as hopeful and optimistic.  More guarded, worn out and humbled.  This year has brought out some of the best, but also some of the worst in me. If Hubs had any part of me left on a pedestal after seven years of marriage, Circumstances took a chain saw to the pedestal.  There is nothing like a marriage and children to expose the chinks in one's armor and bring out one's character weaknesses. 

In 2010 I experienced more bodily pain than I ever imagined possible. You know those scales of pain in the hospital where they show the placid face of 1 and the hysterical face of 10? I reported 10 on more times I can count.  I had so many complications with a pregnancy that as far as we can tell, was borderline immaculate conception I can't even remember how many medical interventions it took to keep myself and baby Brady well.

Honestly, this past year has felt a whole like choices and plans being stripped away and me learning the hard way. It very much felt like a massive Test.  I still don't know if I passed, because while we are still standing, most of the time anyway, I see how it's changed me.  I feel more serious. Less fun. Less spontaneous. More quick to feel stressed or defensive. I don't like these things at all. I want to smile more, give of myself more, laugh more, I don't even know if I know how to be silly anymore.

I want my children to know without a shadow of a doubt by my face and my body language that I am happy. I don't want them to walk on egg shells around me. (I don't want Hubs to have to do that either.) I want them to learn that it's ok to have a hard day but that we still show love and play and can be happy. They only way they will learn this is if I teach them by example. I have been at times, a rotten example.

Even though I cannot and do not want to undo everything that has happened in2010 I do want to shed the heaviness from it.  A wise woman once said  "There are some years in our lives that we would not want to live again. But even these years will pass away, and the lessons learned will be a future blessing."

Here is to feeling blessed aready -how could I not? Have you met my amazing kids??
And here is to finding a little more lightness. Searching for my Happy New Year, and wishing you one as well.