Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving in OKC

The kids and I road-tripped to Oklahoma City while Mommy got to stay in Minneapolis and enjoy a Thanksgiving "break." She had to work 3 of the 4 days we're away...but I'm guessing she didn't mind TOO much!!

We left Tuesday night at 8pm and arrived Wednesday morning at 7:30. The kids slept 10 of the 11.5 hours...and I must say overnight is the only way to go!

Auntie Amber was here with Maddie and Baby Eli - who we got to meet for the first time. Ben joined us Wednesday night and we had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner Thursday afternoon. They left Friday night...and then Akins ("Junior") came Saturday morning and we had a really fun time w/ Val, Lorea and Joyce at the park by Lake Hefner.

We leave tonight at 7pm and hope to be home Sunday morning at 7am...just in time for me to go to bed and get up in time for the Vikings game Sunday night.

Enjoy the photos!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Season of Thankfulness

I was tired of the kids passing by Thanksgiving and focusing on what THEY want for Christmas. So in a first of its kind experiment for me I decided to teach them that Christmas was about giving, not receiving. I told them they each had to take money from their piggy bank and we would go to the toy store and they had to pick out something for each of their siblings. If they wanted something that was more than they could afford, they could team up with the extra sibling to get something for the third. In the meantime we could look for gifts for their cousins. Such a nice plan it was. In reality it fit into the category of what was I thinking? Emmanuel immediately took off with his own shopping cart, one he could barely see over, so he ran into everything not cemented to the ground and promptly found the car and truck aisle. He filled his shopping cart to the brim with every car and truck imaginable, the louder the better. Annie and Abegail hit the doll aisle and proceeded to tell each other what the other should buy for them. Perhaps you didn't get the point of what we were doing? We did manage to get our list checked off with only a few insults thrown my way and a healthy temper tantrum from a nameless little boy. Oh yea, these are definitely before pictures.
Social Security At Capacity
I had to go to the Social Security Office today. When I walked in I was immediately reminded of the passport office in Liberia. There was not a chair to be found. I heard a guy behind me say he had been waiting there for an hour and a half. In a rare occasion, I was one of the best dressed in the place. These were not people looking for retirement benefits, these were Moms and Dads and kids. Except they didn't have the African luxury of wearing flip flops and T-shirts. They had hats and winter coats. I remarked to the man I met with, Mr. Yosef, how busy they were. "Yes," he said, "everyone needs benefits, so many people are without jobs." Everyone should have the opportunity to sit at the office of Social Security for a while, to hear the crying babies, and smell the aroma of desperation, its a perspective much more tangible than watching the Dow drop.We are Thankful for Miss Laura
This is a picture of Emmanuel's teacher at his special school. She has been coming to our home to work with us since the summer. Ten minutes before this photo was taken you would never have thought Emmanuel would have ended her visit with a smile. E-man got mad today. Really mad, what they call BIG mad at Washburn. Big MAD at Mommy, throwing things and kicking. Miss Laura has seen more of E-man's Big MAD than anyone except Mommy and she is a rock, patient and gentle, but firm and supportive. We are hoping Emmanuel will not get BIG MAD when he is BIGGER and we will have Miss Laura to thank.

To a middle aged average woman in a parking lot
E: Can I see your spare tire??
Woman: I'm sorry???!!!
Mommy: No, he's absolutely fascinated by cars and wants to know if you carry an extra tire in your trunk.
Woman: Laughing, oh of course, I just never had anyone ask me that before.

Scott is off to Oklahoma with the kids tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Mommy has to work and is staying behind...stay tuned, good stories to come I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Abegail's Thanksgiving Show

The 1st and 2nd graders at Abegail's school put on a musical show the other night and Abegail got to read a bunch of lines all by herself. She did awesome and we're really proud of her!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Abegail's Second Sacrament

photo taken by Scott's cell phone
Our camera broke. (somebody knocked it into the wall) BUT we got it fixed and now its back. In the meantime we were FORCED to take video of the kids. Abegail had a Thanksgiving program at school on Thursday and we hope to post it soon, as soon as Scott figures out how to edit it. I have no patience for figuring stuff like that out. Abegail did make her first Reconciliation on Tuesday night. That is where you go to your first confession. In the catholic church, it usually happens before you get ready for your first communion which Abegail will have in May. They encourage the parents to go to confession too. I went at the same time as Abegail (Father Steve brought in a lot of priest friends so it wouldn't take so long) and when I came back Abegail says, "Mommy, you took a long time." I said, "I have A LOT of sins." Which of course Emmanuel had already told Daddy in the form of, "Mommy must have been very naughty!"
Quotes from funny Kids:
To get ready for the first confession, there were two training sessions for parents and a retreat for the entire family. They began the retreat with songs and one little girl comes up next to me and says, "I'm going to stand by you, but I don't want to be adopted!" I said, "yes, I do have that look about me don't I?" (if only it was that easy!)
Quotes from Abegail:
This comes from the category of what are they teaching these kids in school...
A: Mommy, do we have a lake home?
M: Laughing hysterically, trying to get out, go ask your father.
A: Daddy, do we have a lake home?
D: No, Mommy won't let us get one.
M: We do have one, you just might know it better as Grandma Marian's house.
Background: The thing to have in Minnesota is a cabin "up north" on a lake. Apparently both Abegail and Emmanuel have already picked up on this because the rest of the night, everything Abegail did I said, if you don't cooperate I won't get you a lake home. At one point Emmanuel was in earshot and blurt out "We're getting a LAKE HOME???!!!"
M: Probably not this year.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Election According to the Kids

The African adoption blogs were fairly busy when Barack Obama won the presidency. I let Abegail stay up and watch a little. I knew this was something she would think back on and remember where she was. This is not political. It's about a new identity figure for our black kids. Too often they are seeing black people on the news as defendants in murder and rape trials, residents of homeless shelters, and pulled over on the side of the road in handcuffs. Now there is someone new they can look up to. Someone who's hard work paid off. I am constantly aware that I am the future mother of a black man. The world will not be the same for him as it is for his white father. But just maybe he will see a black man as president as much as he sees those mug shots.

Here's some of the reaction written:

Politics and issues aside. Our new President elect has already made an impact on my six year old African American son who picked up our newspaper today and said "He looks just like me"

That makes it so special.

My 9 and 8 year old (Ethiopian-born) daughters have been intrigued with the whole campaign because "this Obama guy looks just like us." My 8 year old thinks it is not fair she cannot become President because she wasn't born in the US... (She wrote about that in an essay at school.)

Pretty good if kids in elementary are getting excited about all this.

Oh great, I was holding my breath on this one but now I get to say Woo Hoo!! Us too!!! Solomon, age 6, knows very well that Barack Obama looks like him, has roots in East Africa, and was raised by a white mom. I got to shake Barack Obama's hand in November 2007 when he came to my place of work to give a speech. I told him I had read his autobiography (which is GREAT, by the way), and that it gave me hope I wasn't screwing up my adopted Ethiopian son completely. He laughed (what a 1,000 kilowatt smile that guy has, and it was all for me!!) and said "I'm sure you're not." What a story I have to tell my boy! We are walking on air.

I say yes. You can rejoice. I know I am. I had tears in my eyes when Anderson Cooper declared Obama the president elect. Whether you were a supporter of McCain or Obama, you have to admit it's nice to see that final racial barrier fall. Some of the shackles of our disgusting past have fallen off and the freedom feels wonderful.

Obama's election has certainly ignited the dreams and hopes of many who haven't felt valued in our political process...the youth and persons of color (which describes our kids! :-). Funny story....Alazar (11) got up to go to the bathroom late at night and we told him Obama would be the next president. When he stumbled out of his room the next morning, he had his Obama pin on his pajamas!

Quotes from the kids:

Annie: Mommy, which one is John McCain?
M: He's the one who looks like a Grandpa.
Annie: Oh, the one with white hair? But Rocko Bama is going to be president?
M: Yes
Abegail: He's the one who has skin like mine.
Annie: And then John McCain?
M: No, then Joe Biden.

Annie: What's Joe Pommer going to do? (a hint that we watch too much news)
M: He's going to fix leaky pipes. You know travel around with Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine and if they see a faucet on, they'll turn it off. Then he'll hang out with Bob the Builder and put bathrooms in the new homes he builds.

Emmanuel: Mommy, Barack Obama is president?
M: Yes.
Emmanuel: Mommy, Barack Obama is president???!!
M: Yes.
(this goes on several more times, each time the volume increases)
Annie: (chanting and marching) ROCKO Bama..Rocko BAMA...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a country!

So Annie and I blocked off 2 hours this morning when we could go vote. And of course we spent 5 minutes in line...and 5 minutes in the booth! WAHOO!! Annie didn't really vote (no voter fraud accusations please)...but she did want to help me fill in all those circles!! I won't confirm whether or not I let her.

Then it was off to Starbucks for me! Free coffee...what a country!!

I gotta say...I'm feelin' pretty BLUE today!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This Halloween, the Richardsons are wishing you a big heart, only nice witches, and you find an easy way home!

Baby Watch:
Sophia had her baby girl Thursday morning at 1:30. Alexandra Rae Inman weighed 6 pounds and 14 ounces. They are hoping to go home from the hospital this afternoon.Proud Daddy Jack with his new baby girl