Where are we?!

This feed has moved. So what does that mean? It means that if you want to read about what we are up to you’ll have to head to…

http://www.findingmagnolia.com

So for those of you who are subscribed to our RSS feed please update your reader.

http://www.findingmagnolia.com/?feed=rss2

In a couple of days this site is going to redirect to our new one and this one will be closed. For people on the RSS feed you won’t be getting our feed unless you come to our new site!

Looking forward to seeing all you there!

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Where did we go?!

This feed has moved. So what does that mean?

http://www.findingmagnolia.com

That’s the new place to head. So for those of you who are subscribed to our RSS feed please update your reader.

http://www.findingmagnolia.com/?feed=rss2

Looking forward to seeing all you there!

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Christmas Eve Morning

We’d like to help you get your day started off on the right foot.

the reflection of christmas lights in snowman glasses

crazy eyes!

yes, that is a frankenstein bib

You are smiling now, yes?

Merry Christmas Eve. From Zinashi, her new snowman sunglasses, and our very dirty house. May your day be full of pleasantries.

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Maybe the Grinch Can Steal Our Christmas; It’s Not Like Zinashi Needs the Toys

Today was better than yesterday. No one asked Zinashi to share her toys, and in fact, some indulgent mother bought her four new toys at Target. Oh, calm down. They were in the dollar section, and they are cute and wooden, and they all go together as a little set. Sort of. There are three parts of a train that hook together and then an airplane, which she wanted to sleep with at naptime. And I know, I know, I know, Christmas is in two days, and she’ll be getting lots of toys from relatives, but…yeah. When it’s something so small and she gets so excited about it, I figure it’s not the end of the world. We are just figuring out her taste, and it turns out that the one thing I didn’t buy for her is in one of her top three toy categories. She has dolls to dress and undress and feed and pretend to bathe, and she has lots of books, and frankly, I had no idea she would love vehicles so much. So there they were, and they were a dollar each, and I was like, “You know what? YES. Which engine do you like better, the green or the red?” (Red.) She designated one train car to be a gift for Ababi, but it is unclear as of yet whether she meant to give the rest to him or just one car. I’m not pressing for clarification, especially when she pushes the whole thing around the house for half an hour without wanting my help. I will take the opportunity to do something all by myself, thank you very much.

girl in a tutu, brand new train

I’ll spend the free time I earned with that purchase just sitting here, eating kettle corn and missing Ethiopia sorely. I don’t even know why or what for or anything at all except I feel an ache for it, and when I was looking at photos from our trip this evening, I very nearly started crying. So let’s all move there, okay? We can have really good macchiatos every morning and find that our pants fit better than ever despite a decided lack of fresh vegetables in our diets.

Or we can just stay here and have Christmas. I’m not sure which you’d pick, but my socks resemble those of the Grinch, so I’m sure you can guess which side of the fence I’m sitting on.

(The side that has no presents wrapped and has to figure out how to make cranberry sauce out of dried cranberries.)

(Bah humbug.)

(And goodnight.)

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It’s Going is How It’s Going

I’ve read so many places that you shouldn’t evaluate anything about your new family for six months, that now I have no idea who said it first. Was it a professional? I sure hope so, because I am taking those words to heart a lot of the time now. And using them as a reminder, really. On days like today, in particular. Zinashi was asked to share her toys at home today, and it didn’t go well. She, um, threw a magnetic hippo photo holder. Not at someone, thank heaven, but in frustration that another kid was touching her stuff. My friend, who was here with her son, assures me that it’s common at Zinashi’s age, and of course I wonder what effect suddenly having your own things has on a small person who has had nothing of her own before now. Do you think it might make the possessiveness a bit more intense? Will I ever stop wondering if what she is experiencing is typical or due mostly to her recent trauma or due entirely to her life circumstances? Probably not.

And right now, honestly, we’ve not yet made it to the three-months-as-family/two-months-home mark. It’s all still so new. Should I expect so much of her so soon? Or, honestly, of myself and Jarod as fledgling parents? I think no. Which is not to say that we don’t make clear how we behave in our family, and that we don’t, as Zinashi’s parents, strive to be respectful and gentle in all our dealings with our little lovely, but just that maybe I could be gentler in my assessment of how it’s going. It’s going fine for two months in. So she doesn’t understand that no one will take her toys from her house without her permission; okay, fine. It’s understandable. So she is having a harder time behaving herself these days; also, fine. We are overwhelmed by the holidays, even though there hasn’t been a ton to do. Well, scratch that. Three holiday gatherings last weekend alone is a ton to do. And we’ll have the same this weekend. That’s a lot of extra stimulation for our small girl. It will do me good to remember that, and to be gentler, and to be kinder, and to hold her tighter when she asks me to rock her to sleep.

These months will pass, and all too quickly. As much as I wish us on the other side of Christmas, not to mention on the other side of our first six months, there is a lot to savor now. Especially the aforementioned rocking her to sleep. I have a feeling that will disappear long before I’m ready. Long, long before I’m ready.

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This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary: And After That, I Put on Some Jersey Knits

This morning, I had a slow start (like every morning, really, but this time I didn’t bother to rush at the end), and Jarod took his moped to work, leaving before I was all dressed for Old Lady Mary, so we were without a photographer. No matter, I thought, Nicole is going to meet us at OLM’s, and I’ll ask her to take the photo! Except that I’d missed the call that was Nicole saying she wouldn’t make it today, and left the house without so much as taking a mirror photo of the two of us. We arrived at OLM’s, took in all the stuff we’d gotten her both for Christmas and as regular groceries, and proceeded to have a nice chat, during which she admired Zinashi’s look over and over again and did not notice anything at all about my outfit. Well, except that I wasn’t wearing my coat (same song, same dance, stuck on repeat), which I had stashed beneath the stroller so that Zinashi and I could walk in only wearing our holiday finery. The visit went swimmingly, and Mary loved the card with Zinashi’s photo on it, as well as the small bird ornament and giant package of cinnamon danishes we’d brought her. She exclaimed over Zinashi’s headband and her fancy plaid dress and her sweater! The sweater was exclaimed over several times. In fact, the only part that didn’t go well was my daughter leaving her headband on. I figured I could threaten ciao chocolate* and get her to put it back on long enough for a photo on the premises, but she wouldn’t last long after that. So as soon as the visit was through, I asked her to put the headband on and stand in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby. She obliged, sort of.

tuesday, december 21, 2010

I like the weird grimace at all, but I thought I’d at least try for a smile, and when I requested one, she decided to point to her teeth.

tuesday, december 21, 2010

Yes, Zinashi, those are what you use to smile with, but that’s not a smile. What? You’d rather not smile? Okay, fine. Wait, what? You want to take a picture? Okay, great. Can you take a picture of Mami for the internet?

tuesday, december 21, 2010

Legs and shoes, and then a few photos of her finger in front of the lens. Let’s try again! I’ll crouch down.

tuesday, december 21, 2010

Good enough! Let’s go! What do you mean MORE!?? Oh, all right, one more.

tuesday, december 21, 2010

And from there she proceeded to take about twelve more photos of her finger in front of the lens. For the record, she thinks they’re all fantastic.

For the record, I think she’s fantastic. Not that you didn’t already know that. She went on to charm everyone in the lobby and the majority of people doing holiday food shopping at Whole Foods. Well done, little cricket, well done.

She chose to wear her dress to sleep in for her nap, and I rocked her to sleep wearing mine, but it didn’t take me long to change for a workout and decide to slip into something more comfortable afterwards. I am now transformed from Vintage LBD Mom into Yoga Pant Mom. But it can’t be helped; I’m not going to scrub the crusted over scrambled egg pan wearing something so cute. At least, not this time.

*When Zinashi is being a little bit naughty, our current useful tool is to take away something she likes. When we first met, she said ciao instead of good-bye, and so it stuck within our discipline system. This morning she decided to hit the cat immediately upon waking, and her brand new big machina, her bear, and Baby Coco all had to ciao**. Such is life, and guess who has been very nice to the cat ever since?

**Actually, only the big machina would have had to ciao, but she also bit Ababi and refused to say she was sorry (to Ababi or to the cat) for a short period of time***, thus three of her prized possessions exited to the coat closet. She has been asking about them all day. I doubt she’ll begin her day by hitting the cat tomorrow.

***So much for your impression of our girl as an angel, huh? She’s a three-year-old. What can we do? You know, aside from making it clear that hitting the cat and biting Ababi are unacceptable? Nothing, really. We love her regardless and think that she’s a very good girl.

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Ababi Mondays: Looking back

Mary and I have been thinking a lot about this site and about those of you who read it. From your responses it seems like there are a number of people that get a lot out of our story and that is very encouraging for us. Coming this Christmas Eve we are going to make the next big step in this site and hope that all of you get more encouragement and support out of what is provided here.

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Mary and I have both traveled internationally a fair amount and so far one of the best experiences we’ve had on a flight has been with Ethiopian Airlines. The plane was very well kept and fairly new compared to some that we’ve taken to Europe and the staff was always very friendly and welcoming. The only downside was the 18hr on plane time from Dulles to Addis Ababa. Well when they announced that with their new Boeing 777 they were cutting 3hrs off the time we were both really wishing we could go, then they slashed prices and now are offering this deal…

Really, if you have even been thinking about heading to Ethiopia, this is a great deal and I would encourage you to take it.

** Ethiopian Airlines did not pay us for this post, but if they wanted to we’d be opening to accepting it!

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Since seeing the airline deal got me thinking about going back to Ethiopia, I decided to share a few pictures that highlight life in Addis Ababa. Enjoy.

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