Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Contest? Yes, It Looks That Way

Well, if you haven't heard through your favorite social networking site, we're in the top two in Meijer's Awkward Photo Contest. We entered a photo of our kids to join in the fun with a company and family close to our hearts, and out of thousands we've been chosen to be finalists.

There's another pic that people are voting for en masse, and we have been neck and neck all along. Now we're over 100 votes away, and what was really exciting has become a true competition! And while I'm not all for bugging people, especially acquaintances (versus, you know, my mom), I think I've started to. Because the prize? It's a $20,000 scholarship.


If you haven't already, we'd love for you to vote, and to spread the word to all of your friends, too. You can vote once a day for the next four days. Thanks to everyone for the support!

Here's where you can do it. Thanks again!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Health

Quite suddenly, we've become vegan.

No no, no we haven't. Not entirely. But kind of we've gone vegan

I know that by the very nature of this lifestyle one doesn't kind of do it, but here we are, inching our way in that direction. 

It all started with mac & cheese. I noticed that I was feeling pretty awful after eating the stuff with the kids. And since we tend to eat our fair share, I was noticing it a lot. So I took stock of what happened after each mouthful of cereal, each slice of bread, and you betcha, I had a gluten sensitivity. 

I've always been lactose intolerant, and the gluten business was pretty similar. Had to cut out the gluten, and after one day there was a difference. Two and I was feeling like a new gal. It's been nearly a week and I can't believe how much better I feel all around, outside even of my stomach. 

Two of my friends are also gluten-free, and on a recent evening walk we chatted about nutrition and making the move when the rest of the family doesn't have gluten issues. One of my friends has recently battled breast cancer, and during her treatment and surgeries she found that many of her physicians are vegan. Always a very healthy eater, she was shocked to hear that the general belief behind non-obviously-genetic-type (that's the technical term, I'm sure) cancer is that it's the food we take in and the energy we output (or don't) that does it, or leads to it, or helps it along.

She delved into the subject of vegan eating and immediately her family went in that direction. The other friend on our walk, and several more in our peer group, took their families to the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle soon after, all with tremendous results. Allergies have disappeared, mystery coughs gone, bowels happy to be bowels again. 

I came home and talked to Trevor about it. We talked about his uncle, battling cancer right now, and about our friend, who was the first in our peer group to get it. We talked about what it might be like in that doctor's office, getting a diagnosis, and hearing that it may have been related to diet. Diet! And how, in that moment, we would be horrified that we had not tried harder to prevent it.

And so, now, we are taking a path we never thought we'd take. From a hunting family, Trevor was at first not interested in the least. After our talk, he was the one to suggest we give it a try. 

We're not going to be hardcore - we can't; we know we'd sink and our resolve would be compromised. We're going to lean on fresh fish and continue the eggs. We're not going to force anything on anyone. We're going to walk down for ice cream now and then.

But the other things are big steps for us. Thinking vegetarian is new, and even though we'll continue to make chicken and fish and eggs for the kids, trying to clean up our diets in major ways is hard. We're fumbling a bit right now, but then again, we just started, and we do have a lot to learn. 

We feel great about the adventure of it, though. When we take our long, nearly nightly family walk, we feel like we're doing the right thing, and while I haven't had a chance to talk to Trevor about his energy because he's been working nonstop, I know that I feel lighter and springier already. 

Tonight for dinner I pulled all of our vegetables out of the refrigerator and set them on the counter. I began chopping, and asked Marta and Berit to put them in the pan. Celery and cauliflower, zucchini and edamame, kale and peppers, they all found their way into the girls' bellies before they had a chance with the pan. Our stir-fry was small, but the girls were giddy and full, entirely from our fresh bounty. For dessert they ate gluten-free bread and tomatoes, and the whole time I wondered if it would work. It did.

Marta Speaks

After waking from a 4-7:30 p.m. nap:

"Good morning, Mom!"

Me: Marta, it's actually nighttime.

"Well, can I have a bedtime snack, then?"

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Berit: "Are you from France? What crunchy are you from?"
Marta: "Um, Arizona."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Gift

Two nights ago Trevor had a dream that we were running on the roof, running away from something, and while he was concentrating on carrying Berit, I fell. I "just exploded" when I hit the ground, he says. In his dream, he started throwing up, he was so immediately upset.

Not a regular dreamer, Trevor has been shaken ever since.


There have been complications with Korea. Without writing the long list of recent challenges (just the thought of them all have my hands and fingers tired; we have been over and over and over them too much), I'll say this: we are officially in a new position, which is hold.

Too much has been sent our way and we cannot act in the best interest of everyone - Berit and Marta, the new child, Trevor and me - so quickly. We have asked to be put on hold.

Here is what that means: We will not lose our "place in line," which I am not allowed to discuss in detail, but can say that it is very, very high on the list. (Place number one is the next family to get their child, etc.) We will continue to climb this list (though there is very little climbing to do), but we will not get a referral (The Call). People on the list under us will, and when and if we say we are ready to progress, we will be in the same or higher position to receive a referral.

Once we made this decision... well, let me back up. I don't think I can talk about what happened after without at least a notation about making this decision. It was hard. It was hand-shaking, tear-strewn, dream-having hard.

And once we sent our official request to be put on hold, something happened that no one expected. It was almost physical, a sense of a wrapper being taken off, or a tie being broken. Not that we were free, not at all. That's not what I'm getting at. It was like we took our sunglasses off - that's a better way to put it.

And I'm not saying that we weren't good parents before, because we were. I know this. But - our kids! They are so, so cool. They are so big! Marta is writing her name. Writing her name! No one has ever thought to even teach her to make a circle, and she's drawing pictures of people and writing her NAME.

Berit is reading books and riding horses now, too. She is braver today than she was yesterday. She is staying up later and problem-solving and working things out with Marta instead of always fighting. She's getting shy in a group of new kids.

I have never seen my children in the way I do now. No longer do I look at them and instantly wonder how I'll handle a particular situation with three. No longer do I envision going to three at night, or driving three in the car, or feeding/bathing/dressing/shopping with three.

And this is OK. It's amazing that it's OK. It's laugh-and-cry-at-the-same-time OK. Because my God, look at my two funny, smart, brave and great girls. They are so fun to be with.

We go exploring and play games and just talk now, and there isn't a second current running behind my thoughts, wondering how we'll get to Korea. It's just us. We're good.

Of course we are mourning the loss of this current, too. But the gift we have been given is remarkable. We are lucky, not flailing. Everything is going to be alright.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


My dear friend Ellen once told me that after her first two boys but before her third boy, when she wasn't pregnant but wanted to be, she wondered why she should feel emotional about *not* having a third. Because look at her two, who are so perfect and wonderful. Look at her loves. Why shouldn't she just be content with her two?

I think of this often, these days.