fiddlehead.....every changing, ever growing

fiddlehead....ever changing, ever growing

Friday, December 31, 2010

love at first's a Christmas Pyramid

Ah, love at first sight.  The Christmas pyramid.  This is on Jeni's list of favorite things!  For the full effect you need to see the way it glows, how the heat of the flames push the fan blades so the angels fly and the bells ring so softly.   

We purchased this in Germany during the Christmas we lived in Strasbourg, France.  It is one of the best purchases from our year abroad because it brings me back there for a moment and makes every Christmas feel extra special.

How sweet is this.  Tessa and Drew glowing in the holiday light. 
Drew is telling Tessa about how the Christmas pyramid works and then blowing out the candles.
Notice there are 4 angels.

I think it is love at first sight for her too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

African Ornament

Tessa's first Christmas home.  I remember last Christmas so clearly and how I was dreaming of our next Christmas together.  And here we feels like a miracle in so many ways.

This beautiful Africa ornament recently arrived and has been gracing our tree this year.  I love its simplicity and beauty.  I love that it will hang on our Christmas tree forever reminding all of us of Tessa's homeland, her birth family, our love for Ethiopia.  The bonus is that this ornament is apart of the Moore family's fundraising efforts to bring home their son, Miles.   Please check out their blog and order something to support their efforts!

Santa tool

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a Mom with a tool belt full of parenting techniques.  That is not to say it is a perfect tool belt....far from it.   But I am a visual person and this helps me feel like I have options.   This tool belt has everything in it from "parenting with Love and Logic", aka... "oh, oh....that is so sad".  Then there is the distraction method tool often used with toddlers.  The tool of giving choices.   Then I have my bribery tool....often used at the grocery store with donut holes.  There is the threatening tool, "I am taking t.v./wii away if you don't ____".   Then the classic, "I am counting to 10, or 5, or 3, depending on my patience level.  Lastly, there is the raising my voice and feeling like a crazy Mom tool.....often ineffective, but sometimes it is all I have left.

And so since we are in full anticipation of Christmas (2 days and counting) I have pulled out my seasonal tool...Santa.  At times the kids winter angst, sugar high and santa anticipation can present itself as very naughty behavior.  Santa does not like to see this.   Of course,  this is when I pull out the very effective Santa tool.  I remind all the little people (who all believe) that Santa is watching.   Specifically, I say in a very concerned voice, "You know, Santa knows that you are acting naughty.  I don't think I would do that if I were you."  And somehow they pull themselves together.  Very effective in the months of November and December.  I highly recommend it.

 I'll use whatever tool I have, and right now it is the Santa tool for 2 more days!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Periodically I just smile.  I just have a whole lot in life to smile about.  
While we were in Ethiopia these smiles really filled me up 
and thought they might make you smile as well.

Smile at a stranger in a bus

smile for no apparent reason as you walk down the street...

Smile...because your Mommy is standing above you acting like a fool in love and
 trying to take a photo of that sweet face.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the question

2 weeks ago my son, Judson, the "thinker and questioner" asked me

"So Mom, when are you going to get a real job?"

The question came out of nowhere for me.  But, knowing Judson, I bet he has been wondering this for a while.  Comparing my life with other people, other Moms.  Judson doesn't remember the years when he was so small that I HAD to work outside the home. He doesn't remember bring up at 5:30 a.m. to breastfeed him, get ready, get him ready, 45 minute commute one way, drop-off at daycare all to be at the middle school by 7:30.  To which, there were so many mornings I had a crisis waiting for me at my office door.  Back then Andy was in his residency years and cutting back on my hours as a social worker wasn't even an option.  I carried the weight of the health insurance and much needed income.  Of course, this is the story for many, many people, not new at all.

 I found myself in a new position... wanting to explain myself to him.  It was the first time I wanted Judson to be PROUD of me and it was for something exterior.

When you think about it, his frame of reference is that his dad is a doctor, a profession that is greatly respected and admired.  In our culture people are impressed when they hear that....that is just a fact.  They aren't impressed when you say your Mom is.....a Mom.  When your Mom doesn't have a "real job".  It is so very much apart of our culture to place value on people in that way, and it starts young without this Mom even really being aware of it until he posed the question.

There was a time I wanted so badly to be a social worker.  To help others help themselves.  My ultimate dream job was to be a school social worker.  I worked so very hard to finish my Master's in Social Work and find a job as a school social worker.   However, after Judson was born I wanted none of it.  Going back to work when Judson was 12 weeks old felt like torture to me.  I hated everything about it.  It was a real emotional struggle to hand Judson over to the daycare caregiver.  Would they know his needs, his cries...and they couldn't nurse him.  To top it off they also dumped out bottles of my milk that first week because it had separated in the fridge.  That hit me so hard.  All that liquid gold and time pumping, preparing for my child to be thrown away from me down the drain.  It hit me hard back then.  I can still feel it.  That is when I really knew where I wanted to be.

Eventually, the day came when I was able to say good-bye to working as a social worker. I was so ready to say good-bye.  While I know I was a great social worker and I did help many students and families during those early years of motherhood, it wasn't what my heart and soul desired any longer.  When "we" finally finished residency years, it was a relief to be able to focus on motherhood, especially with the demands of Andy's career.

There are days I miss the pay check in my name, the reward of completion of a task or seeing a student or family create positive change in their lives.  At times I miss feeling like a think people actually use to listen to my opinions, they wanted to know what I thought about a student, family situation or crisis.  But it is also that very pressure that I am glad to let go of.

My kids may not always listen, and they may not think I know anything about anything outside of motherhood right now....but I know I do.  I know that I am planting seeds, nurturing them like no one else can and managing the everyday lives of our family because I want to.  Right now that is exactly where I am, where I want to be "real job or not"  it is the most important role I will ever have.  This also made me wonder is it a job only if you are paid for it?  I don't know that that is true....I think the definition of job is dedicating yourself to a passion, a calling, but it can also be dedicating yourself to a task to be able to support yourself.  Perhaps there are many ways to define it, but in my mind it is something you are responsible for, you hopefully love and need to do for whatever emotional or physical reason.  Ultimately, having the choice to be a stay-at-home mother is one of the gifts in my life I am most grateful for.  That choice alone, which isn't for everyone.  It is is a privilege to be able to be a Mom, to guide a soul through this world, whether you work outside the home or is the REALEST most important job in the world.

So, how did I answer Judson's question, "So Mom, when are you going to get a real job?"
me answering in paraphrase-
"A real job?   (with a surprised giggle)  Well, I do have a job, it is the most important job in the world.  Taking care of all of you, feeding you, teaching you right and wrong.... all the things I do.  I am not paid for it, but it is what I want to be doing.   I use to work as a school social worker (and explained that role a bit) before you were born and when you were little...but now Daddy is able to make enough money so I don't have to and can be a full-time Mommy.  Isn't that lucky?"

Judson, "Yep.   When is the pizza getting here?"

Here is my little questioner....Judson-you always get me thinking.
 How I love you and all of your many, many questions!

Monday, December 13, 2010

i heart faces- pets

i heart faces: pets

I am a pet lover....can't hardly imagine our house without pets in it.  We love our pets.  
And so I present to you....  "The day Bob the Bulldog met Toad"

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges, Tutorials and Tips

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

new painting

I just finished this new painting recently....and I adore it.   It isn't every day I finish a painting these days....and not everyday I absolutely fall in love with it.

It is from the sacred coffee ceremony in Hosanna, Ethiopia during our journey to adopt Tessa.  On this day, we went to met Tessa's angel, Amarech.  In fact, our entire group traveled to Hosanna  to meet a birth family representative/member....which I really don't have the words for right now, it wouldn't do it justice.   I can say it was entirely beautiful, sacred and one of the most important, emotional days of my life.  To see the post on Hossana go to:     This is Big Love   from our journey to ET in Feb/March 2010.  That says it all.

I knew the moment I took the photograph that I wanted to paint the moment.  That doesn't happen everyday.  I love how it came together and hope Tessa will treasure it in the years to come....

Not sure what its name is yet.   "Coffee Ceremony" seems far to mundane, not special enough.  Maybe I will go back and read my post to see what its name is....perhaps its name is "sacred".


That's right.   I am growing whiskers.

Do you ever have one of those days where you may as well be the hamster on the wheel.  Ever so endlessly, go round and round?  Gosh, I hope you do (sorry) because then I am not so alone in this.    As a full time Mom I sometimes miss the days I went off to work.   At least then, while I may have been totally frustrated and miserable because I want'ed to be with my kids, I would have at least helped a student, intervened in a crisis situation, just been a stellar social worker.  (not saying I want to go back....that is another post).

Yesterday was just one of those unavoidable days where you feel like you got absolutely nothing accomplished.  It didn't help that there were 2 sick kids home and major puke clean-up.  Thank you Lord for my wet vac....if you don't have one, why not?  They are a god-send.  Anyway, I felt frustrated by the pillows on the floor, blankets strewn here and there, extra laundry from pukers, Bob peed in the house because he hates the cold ( welcome to winter for Bob the Bulldog)....I could go on.

So, I feel the compulsion to put "out there" what I accomplished.  Just for myself if nothing else.  And perhaps it will keep me from growing whiskers if I validate myself!

Took good care of little pukers.  
Pick up and dropped off Jack from school...he remained well and even got a cat nap in on the couch- which is more his accomplishment.   Filled the "L" letter box for tomorrow.
Worked on a puzzle with the boys.     Read to Tessa.  Read to Jack.   Made a pot roast in my crock put (how I love thee).   Made cookies (from a tub) and ate too much dough.
Disinfected many, many surfaces.
After the kids were in bed I did escape to the art studio and started Margo's painting for her yoga studio "Vessel Yoga".  I am pretty geeked up about is going to be A W E S O M E.  Maybe I will be able to accomplish that tomorrow.
Notice got dressed is not on my list.  Why bother.  I looked like hell...or perhaps a hamster- all. day.
There was a long hot shower at the end of the day....and then we watched Dexter.  Oh yeah- that show is crazy good.
 I think I had better go "pluck" some whiskers and hope for a better day today.

Thank you for visiting the fiddlehead report!