Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Parking at our house is at a premium...

we expect daily parking fees to rival that of Boston, MA.

It's a good thing Isaac has his parking spaces reserved.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Very Belated Post - Tree of Tradition Part 2

As much as I would love to blog everyday it is just not possible. Sometimes my silence is because I'm too tired, or life has been difficult and sometimes it is because I am just having too much fun with my sweet peas.

Either way there are times when I have good intentions like when I posted Tree of Tradition Part 1. The rest was supposed to be posted before Christmas. So it is 2010 and I am just now finishing the unfinished post. There is nothing like the New Year to commit to finishing what you started the year before. So without further ado here is Part 2.

Just in case you didn't quite catch it in the first part of my post I love Christmas. And by far one of my most favorite parts is our Christmas Tree. I love everything about it. I love the excitement I feel lying in bed the night before we head to the tree farm to pick out our tree. I love the smell of the tree as Hubby saws away at its trunk. I even enjoy the argument Charlie and I have every year about how the tree is too big (this is obviously not my position in the argument). But by far my most favorite part of our tree is when I begin to unwrap our precious ornaments. It is like unwrapping our history. It is like unwrapping my childhood memories of Christmas's past.

You see many would say our tree is not a "theme" tree. And in the traditional sense of a "theme" tree it is not. We do not have a 3 part color scheme coordinating both cool and warm colors to give depth and contrast. We do not adorn our tree in matching ribbon or faux Christmas fruit. But our tree has a theme none the less. Our theme is family and I have always called our tree the family tree. It is what I think about with each cherished ornament I carefully place on our tree. It's placement is always hand picked so the tree and its light will show off the ornaments beauty.

When I was a very young girl my mom started a tradition of getting my sister and I an ornament every year for Christmas. It was always in our stocking. Besides the book of Lifesavers we would receive each year it was by far my favorite thing to search for in my stocking. Due to time and our tree falling over twice, some of the ornaments have been lost which makes those ornaments I still have even more precious. By far one of my most precious is my Coca Cola ornament from 1979.

Of couse I can't forget the ice skates from aroun 1982

Or the clay angel with a penny pressed into her back so you would know what year this wonderful gift had been given to you. The artist called the angels Penny's from Heaven. I am sorry the pictures of her are not better but if I don't have time to blog, I also don't have time to get that perfect shot.


When Hubby and I got married 15 years ago in December, I knew it was a tradition I wanted to carry on. Hubby loved the idea and we began our tradition of a family ornament that first year while we were one our honeymoon in Canada.


I was thrilled Christmas morning to find that my mom not only kept the tradition going with my stocking but also had an ornament for my new Hubby (sorry but I forgot to take pictures of these two ornaments before they were packed away).

We have carried on our tradition ever since. Each ornament brings back a flood of wonderful memories that warm my soul.  Like the year Charlie took me out for a very special Anniversary. We stopped at this wonderful little shop on Grand called the Hidden Cottage. We bought a beautiful deep red ornament. Afterwards he took me to the Nutcracker and then on to Beverly's in Coeur d'Alene for a late night dinner. The night was magical and I remember it like it was yesterday everytime I place this very special ornament on our tree.

Of course there is the year we went to Leavenworth for our anniversary and I couldn't decide between 3 Department 56 ornaments so true to my Hubby's nature he said to get all 3. I love each one of them.

And no you are not seeing things the third ornament is broken. I usually have it turned the other way so you can't see it. Yes I am so fanatical that I keep a broken ornament and still hang it on our tree. It is always tucked in on the side where our love seat is so I can sit there while working on the computer and gaze over and see it. I know its years are numbered.

It would be a shame to share our family tree without showing you my Hubby's favorite ornament. On a very belated Anniversary trip to Leavenworth we fell in love with Ne Qwa ornaments. Ne Qwa is where they reverse paint on the inside of the ornament. They are not cheap but absolutely beautiful. We both appreciate the artenship it takes to create one of these amazing ornaments. It is by far Charlie's favorite ornament.

Of course every year has not been a fairy tale ending with keeping our tradition. So ladies if you are wondering why your husband rolls their eyes at the idea of picking out an ornament together every year my Hubby is not too far behind them. He enjoys it but not every year which has meant some years me venturing out on my own or with my mom to get our ornament. It has also meant that he hasn't always liked the ornament I have chosen. Like in 1998 when I got a snowman ornament from Ganaans. It has a small hole on top of its head which when first shown to my Hubby he said "it looks like he was in a drive-by shooting." This was not the reaction I was looking for when picking our ornament. The next time he wasn't with me I used this incident as a good excuse to buy 3 ornaments and then told him to pick one.

We haven't always purchased our ornament. Some years they were homemade like this one...

Or last year when I made oranments for each one of us even though I knew our sweet peas would not see them on our tree.

Every year we add an ornament to our family tree and carry on the tradition started by mom when I was a little girl. This year was no exception. We received ornaments for us and for our sweet peas from both sides of the family. Each one is cherished and now wrapped and carefully placed in the ornament box awaiting to be reopened next year when I once again will be filled with the memories that warm my heart and soul.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How White is Too White?

Before I start this post I think I should clarify a couple of things first. You will notice that I will use the word white instead of Caucasian. It is my preference. I don’t use the word Caucasian in my everyday life to speak in general terms of those who would be considered white or mostly white so I won’t be using Caucasian on my blog. I will also not be using the word AA or African American either. In my personal opinion I think it is rude to assume that just because someone is black they are African American. They could be Haitian, Jamaican, etc… If you are wondering if I call our children African American, I do not. As we have gone through our adoption process I have learned that Ethiopians do not necessarily like being called African. Africa is the continent they live on. They are Ethiopian. I completely understand. I don’t call myself North American. North America is the continent I live on. I am an American. I just wanted to clarify my choice in words before you read this post.

How White is Too White?

This question has been plaguing me ever since we started our adoption process but especially since we have gotten home from Ethiopia. I am not talking about the fact that although I am white I have tan skin and my Hubby is well… white, white. What I am talking about is how white is the world around me and is it too white racially speaking?

This is a question I probably would have never asked myself if we hadn’t adopted children who aren’t white. Why would I ask it? I tend to socialize with those who I have met through church, family, and work. They all happened to be about 95% white.

It is why when we were given the opportunity to adopt Isaac and Jocelyn I took a hard look at myself and asked the question if I am prejudice? Would I be prejudice against our children or the friends they chose or the spouses they would marry? When I told my hubby I wanted to take the time to think about these things he laughed at me and said “don’t be silly you’re not prejudice.” In all honesty I didn’t think I was either. But was that because I wasn’t or because my exposure to other races had been so limited?

In grade school there was one boy who I knew was a different color but I didn’t know the word for it. I now know he would be called bi-racial. The only other non-white kids I remember is a little Asian girl named Treng and a Pilipino girl (sorry I don’t remember her name). The first time I remember meeting a black person my age was when I was in 6th grade at a track meet. I was completely intrigued by her mostly because of her speed but also because she was different than me. I do remember studying her facial features and how white her teeth looked against her beautiful dark skin. I was a typical kid with typical curiosities.

In Junior High I remember very few students of a different race. I could probably count them on my one hand. High School was much the same. This pattern has held true for most of my life other than the year I spent in Phoenix at Master’s Commission. With such little exposure to other races how could I not take a hard look at myself? I wanted to make sure my love for Isaac and Jocelyn would be pure and unconditional.

Now that our sweet peas have been home with us for four months, I am asking the question again. How white is too white? Is our world too white for our children? Hubby and me have tried to stay very attune to the way our sweet peas react when they see someone who has similar skin color. We have noticed how they stare at marketing posters of black people in stores we shop at and they almost always make some kind of comment about them. Last Wednesday while visiting the YMCA we realized how much something has to change.

Not too long after Jocelyn adjusted to the swimming pool a family with a young black girl waded into the pool. I would say she was maybe 10 or 11. Our sweet peas were mesmerized by her. She came over to say hi and sat down across from Jocelyn. Jocelyn immediately began touching her hand and arm while jibber jabbering. I asked Jocelyn if she liked her pretty skin and she just smiled and continued to babble. Once Isaac noticed the girl had sat down with Jocelyn he quickly joined them. He just stared at her and smiled. Both our sweet peas loved touching her hair which was amazing! It was very long and her mom had been locking it since she was about 4 years old. It looked absolutely beautiful on her. After getting home later that night Hubby and me discussed how attracted our sweet peas were to the little black girl. Why not? Their world went from being completely black one day to very white the next.

We have discussed many times how to go about making our world more “colorful” without a lot of good answers. The one thing we have realized is that most of our friends are from church. We tend to hang out with people who have the same passion for God that we do and who hold similar values. Unfortunately our church is white…very white. If we are unable to add “color” to our world through our church where do we go? Do we go to the “worldly” culture around us that does not share our values? Do we want this to be the influence for our children? Our answer is a resounding no.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us in a very hard place. A place I didn’t realize we would be four months ago. It leaves us in a place where we are praying and looking at attending a different church. Do we know the church? No but we know what we need. We need a church that is multi-racial just like our family where our children can meet and be friends with other black children. Our goal is that our sweet peas would have multi-racial relationships that will have a positive influence in their lives. We know the relationships we have built at our church over the past 7-8 years will not change but how often we see them will. It is a difficult decision to make and one we will continue to pray about. Children bring change to our lives even if it is sometimes unexpected change. Change also means a new adventure and one we welcome to be on with our amazing sweet peas.

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