Saturday, May 28, 2011

A hair post.

 Disclaimer: I'm not an expert. 
I make hair/body butter, 
I have 3 African children, 
and I am their primary hair-care person. 
For only 10 months. 
I'm no expert. 

People ask me questions about my kids' hair A. LOT.
"How did you learn how to DO that?"
"What do you use?"
"What 'type' of hair do they have?"

I took some photos when I was "doing" #6's hair this week so you could see for yourself!

My box of bows, ribbons, frilly stuff.

My box of beads and a few snaps.
Note the bottom left square...
beading tools: must-have for beading hair.

Aubrey Organics J.A.Y shampoo, bottle of conditioner+water,
hair bucket, brushes/combs, scissors and
(not pictured) nail clippers for removing rubber bands,
and bottle of oil blend for whatever.
I shampoo only about every 2 weeks unless there's some kind of stickiness that won't rinse out with just water. I don't like most shampoos, but this new bottle of Aubrey Organics is made for dry, damaged hair and since both girls will need some of their ends trimmed off once it's a little longer, it fits the bill. I have (from left to right) a blue detangling comb that both girls hate (but it works well), a pick (I never use), a boar's hair brush, pin-tail comb (I love this one), rat-tail comb (that I used before I got the rat-tail, but not anymore), two wide-toothed combs, a wooden skewer (for pulling up rubber bands to remove them), and scissors. The bucket is actually a diaper changing thing from Munchkin brand. I love it because it can go with me to the couch, bathroom, kitchen counter, or wherever and doesn't tip over easily. 

Container of barrettes and rubber bands.

Rubber band box, small container of deep conditioner,
small container of snaps,
container of large rubber bands, and
of course... Babycakes!

All of the stuff IN the hair bucket.

The stack of hair goodies!

Tangle Teezer and my (real live used jar) of Babycakes.

Awesome snaps I found at Family  Doll@r!
Okay, so.
First, I either spray their hair with the conditioner/water bottle, or rinse it in the sink.
While it's wet, I put some babycakes in my so:
Half melted/half not. I rub my hands together and get it all melted.
Once I have it all melty, I spread it onto their hair in sections. 
While it's in sections, I detangle that section.

She has very thick, very tightly coiled hair.
I divide in half front to back.

Then I divide from ear to ear,
but work with half at a time.

Do not fear the oil. 

See how it's kind of white from the oils?
It's okay. It will soak in. I promise.
Then I start my braids, twists or whatever.
You MUST have salon clips. Lots of them.

I use the clips to hold the braids down flat while
I finish the style. I use them to keep hair out of the way
and keep a section together while
I dig for the right rubber band.
You want lots.

She likes to choose her rubber band colors and
pick them out of the box for me!

Lots of tiny braids... and purple bands for this week!
I am SO happy with how much her hair has grown!!!

She's happy with her braids too!
EDITED: This particular style took me around 90 minutes. I'm not the world's fastest braider, and I have tried several times to learn to corn row or flat-twist... and I just can't do it. The time that I DID manage corn rows, I didn't LIKE it on my girls, so I stopped trying. As for length of time the style stays in... about 7-10 days is average. It could maybe stay up to 14 days, but I don't really like the fuzz that they get.

As for our littlest guy...
He waits for the girls to get done then hops in the chair!

He is a serious lover of the Tangle Teezer.

I don't know if you can tell by this photo,
but his curl pattern is very different from both girls.
He is almost ready for some twists or something...
but I can't decide what to do yet.
Just don't turn your back and leave him with the jar of babycakes...

Next time I do #5's hair, I will try to remember to take photos and let you see that too!

Different hair week... but still adorable!

Monday, May 23, 2011


I don't usually require much in the way of a reminder to keep it in the forefront of my mind that life is always changing, always shifting, always new.

Sometimes it's something as silly as the weather, other times it's something heartbreaking like a dream you have to let go of.

Sometimes everyone shifts over on the bench to make room for one more person. Other times the earth shifts, buildings collapse and tsunamis wreak havoc on the land. 

Today is the last full day of school for the '10-'11 year. Tomorrow, after a full morning of picking up report cards, tearful children, happy teachers and sugary breakfast foods at the school, we will return home and suddenly shift into summer vacation mode. I'm not quite sure what that will "look like" this year and that makes me nervous. Schedule shifts. Routine shifts.

Tuesday of last week I contemplated turning on the heat. It was 50 degrees here and we were freezing. Just 3 days later we were playing in kiddie pools, sprinklers, and the littles were telling me how they were "too hot" in the 90 degree heat. Temperature shifts.

I think of all the victims of the false prophet Harold Camping, who sold or gave away everything, sent him all their money and fully believed that Saturday evening was going to be the rapture date and time. Believing a man to the point of major life alterations, lifestyle and livelihood changes, and then POOF. It's 6:01pm and you're still here. Belief shifts. Faith shifts.

Plans you have for your life, for your family, for the future... no matter how many times you try not to have still do, and then one day something comes along that changes everything. Hope shifts.

I suppose when things shift to a place we aren't comfortable with, we should take comfort that this- or at least our feelings- is likely only temporary. Like they used to say in Colorado, if you don't like the weather - just wait 5 minutes.

I suppose we should take comfort knowing that only the Lord knows the plans He has for us... and our plans may only prove to be heartache if we get too attached and then ...that inevitable shift happens. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo journaling my day

I thought I would try a post to "show" you what a day-in-the-life-of-me really looks like...
so here goes!

5:30am. Too early to be awake...
but the new normal-
thanks to the littles.

"Holy toy explosion, batman!"
I will ignore it as
this playtime gives me time to
drink as much coffee as
possible before
they are all clamoring for food!

LOVE my new cookbook...
 LOVE the 6-week bran muffin recipe!

Looking good!



TV babysitter during Bible Study

More coffee, more Jesus.

Nap time...
get out all the hair stuff
so I am ready when the girls wake up.

Go move the pot-garden
 into the sun.

And the one who needed the
most sleep
woke up first. Perfect.

And so it begins.

An hour later...
Big and middle kids are home...
I am growing to hate Little Einsteins
but it is keeping #5 happy while
I detangle/part/braid repeat.

Another hour later.
Can't. Feel. Fingers.

#2, sweet baby girl...
asks to make dinner!
Yes! I will just keep braiding...

No photos of dinner, or bedtime routine...
or the finished hair-do...
but believe me that all of these things did happen!

DONE! Littles in bed,
fuzzy slippers  on,
Hubby home,
Dinner cleaned up,
Time for (DVR'ed) NCIS!

Then... bedtime for the bigger kids... then for me!

Yeah, this is fairly typical for the days we stay home...
minus the in-between stuff you DON'T have pictures of...
messes, spills, diaper changes, and the like!

It's not glamorous all the time, but it's my family!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh, for the love.

Borrowing one my mom's favorite phrases for this seems fitting.

It has come to my attention that my Travel blog, day 4 -Durame post has been viewed many, many, many times lately. Only one of the "viewers" has been brave enough to comment.

Here is the controversial blog post: Durame trip

And here is what "Bishir" said in response:

"Ethiopians eat for sustenance, not just for pleasure." - Who doesn't?

"They are also so heavily spiced so that they can cover up 
the taste of the gamey-ness and old-tasting meats" Completely untrue! 
Exactly WHERE in Ethiopia were you? And does this make you an 
expert to make these unfounded conclusions for ALL of Ethiopia? 
As an Ethiopian-American, I'm appalled and these generalizations are unfair. 

It’s one thing to adopt children from a country and another 

thing to be condescending towards that country without any knowledge.

I’m outraged!
I strongly suggest you review this post and include facts instead of prejudice.

Well, allrightythen.

This is a personal family BLOG. I am simply a mom who adopted three children from Ethiopia, spent 2 weeks there and wrote about my personal experiences. I also happen to be married to an awesome chef who is very familiar with many different areas of ethnic food, food preparation, etc, etc, etc and I mentioned in my post that the comments you were unhappy with were based on HIS observation. I just know for ME... I'm not eating a raw egg in the middle of my pizza in Durame OR Chicago.

If you happen to have dropped by my blog in hopes of learning about authentic Ethiopian food... sorry. I'm not Ethiopian. 
I have 3 Ethiopian children who I do cook Ethiopian food for on occasion. Is it authentic? As authentic as it can be purchasing ingredients at the Merkato here that specializes in Ethiopian food products... purchased injera, and a blend of berbere that isn't quite as spicy as we had there,  but it works. 

Again...much of our experience in Durame was clouded by the emotionally-charged day we had just experienced. Did you even READ that part of the post or did you just read me injecting my "prejudice" upon Ethiopian food?

And... you commented:
"Ethiopians eat for sustenance, not just for pleasure." - Who doesn't?"
Uhm... most of the developed countries in the world eat mostly for pleasure. "obesity rates in developed countries" and tell me the rest of the world isn't eating mostly for pleasure!
I can eat a bowl of rice for sustenance, much of the world does.
OR I can eat pan-seared Wild Alaskan salmon with a nice beurre blanc and roasted asparagus... and fill the belly as well as eat for pleasure. 
There IS a difference. 
No one eats that third slice of cheesecake for sustenance.

Besides... an actual Ethiopian-Ethiopian told me while we were there that the pleasure in their meal time comes mostly from the fellowship around the big basket of injera, not from the actual food itself- a lesson that many American families should learn.

Furthermore, my attitude was far from condescending. 
We adore Ethiopia. 
We were "ferengi" on a super-emotional-roller-coaster-trip and we were staying in one of the poorer areas of rural Ethiopia in a sketchy hotel. 
Forgive me if I came across as "condescending". Perhaps read the entire travel journal if you truly desire to see my heart for Ethiopia and my beautiful children. 

And in answer to another comment, I do enjoy Ethiopian food! I really, really liked the injera and tibs, shiro and a beef and pepper thing I forget the name of... but unfortunately- I can't eat American-ET food. It's all made with white/wheat flour and I didn't realize this when I took the littles out to eat and got very, very sick. I try to just make it at home.

I resent the fact that someone who knows nothing about me other than what is found in ONE POST got "outraged" and is judging me based on such little information. 
As an Ethiopian-American adoptive mom, I'm appalled and these generalizations are unfair.  (sound familiar?)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dreaming of Ethio-topia

We were in the middle of a full-on, injera-and-shiro-craving, Ethiopia-is-full-of-rainbows-and-unicorns-dipped-in-chocolate-and-covered-in-sprinkles kind of day week.

It was NOT fun for this Mommy.

It had been a looooong 3 days of:
"We want to go to Ethiopia"
"We go see Sister and she will give us cookies"
and on and on and on.

It gets hard to take.
Hard to hear and hard to respond in a therapeutic-parenting kind of way.

I may have at one point offered to allow them to drink from a puddle instead of from the sink...
you know, just like in Ethiopia.

I'm not proud of it...
but day 4 of Ethiopia-is-awesome-like-disney-minus-the-crowds-long-lines-and-overpriced-soda...
and I couldn't take it anymore.

They wanted to watch their Ethiopia video we received while we were there.
It's short... a quick video of the farewell ceremony at the care center.
So, FINE. We watched their video.

That's when it happened.

I saw it.

#5 was asked to sing a song for the group and as we watched the video sitting in my 
not-nearly-as-awesome-as-Ethiopia-was living room,
I looked at that screen and I saw a VERY scared, 
VERY freaked out little girl
singing the wrong song.

The song she sang?
It's her comfort song.
It's the song the girls still sing.
It's a song her first family taught her and it's about Jesus.

And seeing that face...
seeing her so scared...
hearing the nannies trying to get her to sing the song they wanted her to sing...
watching her glance from person to person...
clearly wanting to escape...
Well, yeah. It made me cry.

I knew it at the time...
We all knew the kids were falling apart at returning to the care center for one last hurrah after being gone for several days.
We couldn't get out of there fast enough.
We were ALL uncomfortable.
But her calm, content expression...
I didn't read the extreme level of fear that day.

And now?
I took one look at that video and saw right past the facial expression into the heart of my baby girl.

Her whole world was being ripped apart and they wanted her to sing.

It makes me sick to think about it now.

And, it brought me right back to the place where my heart needs to live on days like that...
the place where I choose to put on my big-girl-panties ...
the place where I remember I am parenting children who have great fears of abandonment and change...
the place where I drop a large portion of my sarcasm at the door and hug my babies, 
point to their video and tell them:
"Do you remember this day? 
Sister Martha said 'you take your babies 
and go to America and stay there together.' 
You are my baby. 
You will ALWAYS be my baby. 
We live in America. 
Everyone in Ethiopia knows where you are and they know 
Mommy and Daddy are taking care of you now. 
Mommy loves you very, VERY much 
and I will always take care of you."

And, suddenly...
No more Ethio-topia talk.

MY babies were back.

And the battle was won for today.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Random thoughts for a Monday

Sorry to not post often my bloggy friends!
I don't have an excuse except to say- computer still not acting nice, yucky weather draining my energy, and stuff going on in my heart that I am just not sure how to blog about.
Here are some snippets of our lives of late:

  • Last night we heard Osama bin Laden is dead. Condemnation of "celebratory Christians" runs rampant... never mind the obvious double-standard of condemning someone for judging.
  • Baby Boy has learned a new tactic to add to his arsenal. Now, when he's done something wrong he says the usual "I's abouts to cry!" but if that does not soften the heart of the correcting-parent, he throws in "I'm CUTE!" It's not the cute-factor getting him out of trouble... it's the laughter destroying any credibility as a parent.
  • One-year anniversary of our flood-yardsale-fundraiser. Wow... a year?? 
  • We've been home 9 months tomorrow! Amazing!
  • My babycakes hair and body butter is keeping me busy! May's scent-of-the-month is Orange! Yum.
  • Only 3 weeks till the last day of school! I can't believe how it's flown by!!
  • My baby boy may go to college in diapers. 
  • I'm considering taking the kids to the pool this summer wearing a tent. That way just seems easier. I'll call it "modesty".
  • Some days I just want to travel back to the Garden, grab Eve and SHAKE her.
  • It's been raining here for like 47 days. It gets sunny just long enough to mow the grass.
  • My heart hurts for so many children in the world with no family of their own. Physically hurts.
  • God blessed me with a wonderful husband who has a heart like mine. 
And... That's all I've got for now! Sorry... real writing to resume soon, I hope!