Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Officially Waiting for Oliver

Our dossier has arrived in Ethiopia...let the wait begin!!!



Monday, April 27, 2009

We're Those People

93 degrees in April!!! Our heat was sent thanks to a Bermuda high that will leave our area on Tuesday evening. In the meantime, we were outside soaking up some sun and warmth.

Friday was beautiful and in the mid-70s. Chloe had tennis class and we played outside. We also celebrated our dossier being sent to Ethiopia (it should arrive today or tomorrow).




Saturday was in the high 80s. Chloe and I planted our onions in the garden in the morning and she had a birthday party at noon. It was a yoga birthday party. Yes, you read that right--new age music in the background, water features, sand sculptures, yoga mats and screaming four and five year olds running around. The parking lot was full of Me*rcedes, BM*Ws, In*finitis, Le*xus & Vo*lvos and the adults sat on the white, hemp covered couches admiring the no food coloring, plant and vegetable dyed cake snacking on hummus and toubeleh. Matt came along just to check it out--and yes, afterwards I confirmed to him that we have officially joined the ranks of "those" people---the suburban yuppies in the movie "Parent*hood", the Rick Mor*anis character who has strict beliefs on what his daughter eats and drills the 4 year old on advanced math, reading & martial arts.
What have we become? I guess in a need to shatter that stereotype, we decided after the birthday party to drive to Ny*ack, NY, a lovely eclectic & multicultural town sitting on the Hudson with old Victorian homes. There is a lovely drive along the Hudson that Matt takes on bicycle and motorcycle rides and we followed that route---looking for houses for sale, seeing deer munch people's shrubbery and dreaming of living on the Hudson River with views of the Tap*pan Zee* Bridge. In the end we found our dream house, in NJ, in a town probably better known than our current town and certainly characterized in recent Holly*wood movies as a NYC suburb of horse farms, Range Rov*ers and yoga parties for pre-schoolers. Is there no escape? Hey, we liked the house and its not like we're moving there really, well, at least not for another 2-3 years.
Sunday was more heat---in the 90s! Seizing the reality of who we really were now, we loaded up the Por*sche for a drive to our favorite NJ/PA border locale---New Ho*pe, PA and Lamber*tville, NJ. The towns are across the Delaware River from each other and are home to artists, antique stores and escaping NYCers and Philadelphians to their 18th century wood and stone weekend house (you know, the people who see on HGTV). Last time we came here, we arrived in our RV (that ain't so yuppie is it?). We arrived Sunday in Lambert*ville to discover Shad Fest! The place was rocking.

The place was packed and after searching for a parking space we decided not to cross the bridge and dine on the NJ side overlooking the canal. After lunch we walked through the vendor stalls, tasted local NJ wines and paid a visit to the artist's studio where we purchased two paintings this summer. Embracing the reality that we were "those" people, we bought two more paintings.



Of course, Chloe had to get a painting too---a face painting. And being that she runs around the house most days on all fours roaring and pretending she's Mufa*sa, she chose a lion.

We made the drive back to our neck of the woods and for dinner I made a typical "those" people dinner, homemade goat cheese pizza.
Hope your weekend was a good one (and that you recognize a certain level of sarcasm in my posting).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dossier to Ethiopia!

We received word yesterday that our dossier is officially on its way to Ethiopia. This means that the waiting game has begun. We can start planning on a referral in 4-6 months.

To celebrate we decided to go out to eat. I wanted to go and eat Ethiopian food but the closest Ethiopian restaurant is in NYC and another is about 35 minutes south in NJ. Matt got home about 7 p.m. and I didn't want to make him turn around and head back into the city and it was getting late so we didn't want to trek south to the other Ethiopian restaurant in NJ. So, we did what was practical, grabbed one of the restaurant gift certificates and went here. I know, I know, what were we thinking? Well, we had a $50 gift certificate to use and Chloe loves pasta, so why not we thought. I had eaten there before and it wasn't bad. Should have driven for the Ethiopian food.

We got seated right away, someone took our drink order, our drinks came and then we were forgotten about---for 25 minutes. Apparently the two waitresses disagreed on which one should wait on our table. So, they decided neither of them should. Matt got it sorted out and we eventually did get to order and eat, not without some other complications. Needless to say, it wasn't a great meal out and we won't be returning. Not the celebration we wanted.

One of the exciting things about Ethiopian adoption is that you get to track your dossier to Ethiopia. We didn't get to do this with our two China dossiers---you get to wait and wonder until about 1-2 months later when you get a notice that you're dossier reached China and was logged in. Our Ethiopian dossier is different and I woke this morning to check-in and see how its progressing on its journey to Africa.

IT'S IN NEW YORK CITY.

All this work, the paperchasing, the worrying, the double-checking and triple-checking to have our dossier go to Oregon then to Washington D.C. then back to Oregon then on to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to have it sitting 20 miles from my home in NYC. Too funny.

So, I'll keep checking in on it I am sure. And, yes, I signed up for the delivery alert, but yes, I am still checking in on it.

In other exciting news, it is supposed to be beautiful and in the 80s here this weekend. I am walking on sunshine with excitement!!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Broadway...


We bought Chloe a shirt from the musical and she had to wear it to school today.

Last night we all got to enjoy an early birthday present for Chloe from our friend, Tom. Since Chloe is constantly playing Lio*n King and running around telling people that they are to act out characters from the movie, Tom picked up that taking Chloe to see the musical on Broadway would be a great birthday present.

I had this dress made for Chloe and I adore it. She wore it to the musical and she told me that she never wanted to take it off.

A family photo with Rafiki in the background.


Last night we were treated to dinner here and then walked across the street to see the Li*on King. It was fantastic. The costumes are amazing. Chloe was mesmerized in between her running commentary on what was happening or going to happen. She loved it! Thanks Tom!

Matt, Chloe and Tom after the musical. Tom is holding a beautiful beaded elephant made in S. Africa that he bought for Chloe.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A New Ally in My War on the Grocery Store

I've written and complained extensively on the terrible grocery stores we have in our area. If I wrote my true thoughts and feelings, then this post would be R-Rated. I truly believe I am on blood pressure medicine NOT because it is hereditary but because I have to enter one of the horrible grocery store chains in my area at least once a week. Yes, they are so bad that they are detrimental to my health.

I have been waging war against them for three years, spreading the word to anyone who would listen that you don't have to be a megastore to be a good supermarket. All it takes is to keep the aisles stocked and maintain some fraction of customer service.

So, it was with joy and befuddlement that I came across and article in my local paper today. The columnist was bemoaning that Consum*er Report*s will publish their supermarket rankings this upcoming months and they found our area one-stop shop chain supermarkets to be some of the worst in the nation. "How could this be?" he wondered. He also pondered as to why they would rank three area stores, Tra*der Jo*es, Who*le Foo*ds and Fa*irway (all at the top of the list)above the more typical area supermarkets (which were at the very bottom of the list). Is there something he didn't know he asked? Yes, yes there is and I am the one to tell you what you are missing.

So, continuing my crusade, I penned a letter to the journalist in an effort to enlighten him and the myriad of county readers who read his weekly column. I basically stated that the three, specialty stores had something the one-stop supermarkets did not---you guessed it, customer service. These stores keep things in stock and actually bag the $400 in groceries you purchased. They don't give you the stink eye as you throw food into bags because the clerk doesn't bag and she is beginning to check out the next person in line, mixing their grocery items with yours. But, I am not going to get started, the blood pressure is rising.

Hopefully my letter will make it into next week's column.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chloe's Playground Rules

We had a beautiful and warm weekend. It was lovely. Its too bad that spring has left us this week and the heater is back on.

My cousin Rachel came to the city on Saturday and we toured the sights with Chloe in tow. Translation: we didn't see much. When Chloe goes into the city she knows what she wants to see--the Natural History Museum or a playground in Central Park. Being that it was a beautiful day, the playground won out.

Chloe really needs to write a book: Playgrounds of the World. It would be a coffee table book with lots of photos. I'm starting chapter 1, Chloe's Playground Rules.
Rule #1: Climb to the highest vantage point in the playground to survey what their is to do and what you want to play. You can also scope out other kids and find the thing you most like to do first. On this day it was climbing up and sliding down the pole.
Rule #2: Running in packs is always the preferred way to play. If you go to the playground by yourself, make a new friend.


Rule #3: The purpose of making a new friend is so you can use the cool stuff they brought with them to the park.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Science Center Field Trip

On Wednesday, I went with Chloe's preschool class on a field trip to a local science center that teaches children about space and NA*SA missions.

The program was geared to the preschool class of four & five year olds and focused on harnessing the power of air to move rockets into space. The program was very engaging and lots of fun.

Chloe getting to see what it is like in an astronauts sleeping bag.
Trying on a space helmet. The instructor was trying to have the kids solve how astronauts scratch their face in outer space. Chloe decided to just scratch it with her hand, which wasn't quite the point of the experiment.

Strapped into the simulator. The kids got to sit inside a replica of a space shuttle. It didn't move and they got to watch a video on how astronauts live in space.


Using air to mix paint colors together.



Spring Concert



Just a few photos from Chloe's pre-school concert and auction. The children perform songs and then the mom's stay for dinner and a auction and raffle.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Random, but it was funny at the time

Chloe talks and talks in the car. Its non-stop. Just for giggles and in the hope that maybe, just maybe I will be able to listen to the radio again in the car, I leave it turned on. Its simply background noise to the conversation that Chloe dictates that we have. On our way to school this morning Chloe was quizzing me as to whether I remembered the time we went to the science center with her school on a field trip. Of course I remembered, it was yesterday! (pictures to come soon) This doesn't matter to Chloe. She acts like it happened three years ago, "Do you remember when I put on a space suit and pretended to be an astronaut? Do you, do you really remember?" Uh, yea, if I don't I need a cat scan because something is seriously wrong---but you can't say that, that just gets her upset, so you play along like it happened a million years ago and you giggle and rehash events that just happened like literally a second ago.

So this is my usual morning ride to school with Chloe. As I said, we were reliving yesterday like it was 2 years ago when I can hear in the background what sounds like a Le*xus car commercial. At least it sounds like it is because it is the voice of the announcer. The one who has done all commercials since 1989. I'm listening to Chloe's questions and statements when I hear the announcer get bleeped out on the commericial. Did he just cuss? Is this a real commericial. Of course, I couldn't tell what I heard because I was playing 20 questions with Chloe.

After dropping Chloe off at pre-school I scanned the airwaves to hear what I thought I heard again. I was running an errand when the spot came on again. Its hilarious and I was hearing what I thought I heard with the exception that it is a Mit*subishi commercial. It features the voice of the original Le*xus announcer, who has done the commercial voice overs since 1989 and was recently replaced. He is now the voice for Mit*subishi and since he has such a recognizable voice they decided to take a little jab at Le*xus. I desperately tried to find the commercial on the internet but couldn't. There's lots on the internet about it though. If you hear it, listen to it (if you are able to).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Three Years in New Jersey

It was three years ago today that we officially moved from Texas to New Jersey. We've put down roots now (and fought some off--see previous post) and this is home.

Matt asked me this weekend to name another city I would like to live in besides the NYC metropolis. My initial reaction was to say Dallas, but I thought that would upset him if I said that since he is still convinced I would move back in a hot second. So, I said Austin. Matt’s answer? Dallas!

In all honesty though, other than really enjoying the low-cost of housing and having my parents and Matt’s brother nearby, Dallas offers little to us now. I thought for a few minutes about moving back to Dallas and my first thought was----what would we do for entertainment in the land of chain restaurants and strip shopping malls? (Sorry to all my Dallas pals, but really). New Jersey is home now. We don’t live in NYC proper but we get to benefit from all that living in NYC suburbia offers. In my opinion we live in the most diverse, cultural epi-center in the U.S. It’s entertaining and there is so much on offer. You certainly don’t get bored here!

In honor of three years, I’ve made a list of my favorite things about where we live now:

1. I can go to the highest point in our town and see NYC. Some have a view of it from their yards—I can pop into NYC if I want to and just because.
2. Lots of public transportation. I can take a bus, taxi or train into the City w/o having to move my car from the driveway of our house.
3. I can walk from our house into our town to shop for groceries or at The G*ap.
4. Sometimes I hate it but, we actually have four seasons here!
5. Lots of social and philanthropic groups to get involved with.
6. Lots of historic sites and U.S. history nearby.
7. If I drive west, north or east I will make it to a one of three different states in an hour or less (Try that in Texas).
8. You can actually be outdoors in the middle of the day in summer w/o getting heat stroke.
9. We can snow ski in winter.
10. On the weekends we can pick the shore or the mountains (its usually the mountains).


Sunday, April 12, 2009

HAPPY EASTER!


Chloe woke us up early this morning excited that the Easter Bunny would have visited. She ran downstairs to find that the Easter Bunny left her a basket of goodies. Her favorite thing in her basket was the ladybug magnifying glass.

We went to the early church service and afterwards had a egg hunt for the children. It was really quite humorous to see the kids run right past eggs hiding right out in the open.

When we came home we found that the Easter Bunny (in the form of a neighbor) had left some eggs on our doorstep.

As Chloe opened her bounty I slipped outside and hid some more eggs. Just as Chloe came outside a rabbit darted from our yard through our neighbors. Chloe wondered if it was the Easter Bunny or just a rabbit.



We had reservations for Easter brunch which I had to cancel thanks to the 70 year old tree that sits directly atop our sewer line. It likes to send its roots directly through our clay pipes and send a flood to our basement. It seems to enjoy doing this during major Christian holidays, Easter and Christmas. Matt is off trying to find a tool rental place that is open on Easter to clear out the pipes so we can flush toilets, do laundry and shower. Looks like we have alternative Easter dining plans.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Preparing for Easter

Happy Good Friday! Chloe had her preschool Easter party yesterday and she came home with a bounty of treats and presents.

One of Chloe's presents was a dinosaur egg that you carve away to find a plastic, dinosaur skeleton puzzle. Chloe couldn't wait to open this and get started. What an absolute mess! Chloe was covered in dust in the end and our hands hurt so much from digging out the fossils. Chloe loved it of course...what kid doesn't enjoy making a huge mess?








I had promised Chloe that we would dye eggs yesterday, so while she was at preschool I boiled some eggs. After the dino egg disaster we went outside to dye the eggs. Chloe loves tie-dye so I purchased that kit as well as a painted, sparkly egg kit. Chloe painted one egg and then we attempted to tie-dye and egg. Apparently my creative skills don't extend to coloring eggs. In the end, Chloe just wanted to dip the eggs in color and spoon them out. This was very big girl to her.

On a side note, I co-oped this week at Chloe's preschool. Her school is not affiliated with a church and they don't do religious activities but they do dye eggs and have an egg hunt. So, during circle time on the day I co-oped I was surprised to hear the teacher ask if the children knew what Easter was all about. Many of the children were eager to answer and many raised their hands. One little girl got called on and shouted out, "Easter eggs!" and the teacher replied in her happy, loud preschool teacher voice, "That's right! And, the Easter Bunny brings them!". Something welled up inside and I blurted out in my middle-school history teacher voice, "NO IT'S NOT!!!!". You could have heard a pin drop and every eye was on me, causing me to say, "It's not about eggs and a bunny!" And I left it at that.

The teacher's eyes were as big as saucers and I think she gave me the stink eye. But seriously?!? First, and I hate to offend those preschool/elementary teachers out there, as a secondary level history teacher, I hated having to correct every silly misconception children came to U.S. History with, the majority of which came from preschool and elementary teachers and D*isney movies. If you don't want to teach what really happened on an age appropriate-level, skip it please. Don't create more culturally illiterate people. Christians and non-Christians in a western country should be able to tell you that Easter is a Christian holiday that commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. And really, the point is this, I can't fathom why the teacher thought that was a good question to ask anyway?! Its a non-religious school but that doesn't mean I want someone telling my child that Easter is about a bunny that comes and leaves eggs in your yard! So, I had to do some cultural literacy damage control with Chloe, on an age-appropriate level of course.

Funny thing, I am friends with the aunt of one the girls in Chloe's class. She came to dinner this week and without me telling her about my co-op experience she shared that her niece randomly told her that she learned at school that Easter is about a person in a bunny costume that puts eggs filled with candy in your yard! Oh my....

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Dossier is Done!

Our final document arrived this morning and I just finished checking and double-checking our three dossiers--and they are complete. I just sealed them in an envelope and after I pick up Chloe from preschool we are overnighting it to our agency!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Off with the Training Wheels

We had one really nice day this weekend, Sunday. It was lovely. Its now back to rain, possible flurries and cold. We grilled out on Sunday evening and while we were outside Chloe decided to give her bike a spin without her training wheels, with Daddy's help of course.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dinner Anyone?

We hit the motherload---of restaurant gift certificates that is. We had a fundraiser shindig last night that was a silent auction and casino games. We aren't gamblers and I don't really know how to play any Vegas games and we didn't win any of our silent auction bids because we went cheapo this year after we blew a large wad of dough at this event last year. I did spend $100 on casino chips, which I cashed in for tickets. What did my $100 investment get us? The winning ticket to one of the drawings---$500 in gift certificates to local restaurants---nice restaurants. I'm getting hungry.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

NO FOOLIN'..."IT'S" HERE!! (I-171H)

I also posted this update over here but I am so excited that I had to post it on this blog too.

Chloe and I came back from our all-day search for Easter shoes to find that our I-171h arrived!!! Its only been 1 1/2 weeks since fingerprinting!! I snapped this shot and immediately made copies so I can send it off for state certification tomorrow. Hopefully our dossier will be in Ethiopia this month!!! Yipppeeee!!!



 
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