Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa meet Misho, Misho meet some crazy guy in a slightly yellowing beard

20 December 2008 - Misho had his very first consultation with Santa. Quite the moment. Handled it very well. Stared at him with his now well known "what the...?" look, and then looked at us for explanation that we could not provide. Yes, it's a man in a red suit who smells like whiskey. Ask him for things, and he'll bring them. We don't know why.

The best part of the day was the Santa meltdown. Apparently, Santa needed a break and a poor security guard let two more families in line (we were one of them) after break was supposedly called. Santa briefly sighed, and began a rather extensive, and animated hissy fit. Now mind you, this was an authentic looking Santa. Real beard. Old. White. Crusty. So the hissy fit was priceless. When he looked at the back of the line at the two additional families not previously approved before breaktime (I waved at him), he blew a gasket. Got all like "no you didn't" on the elves and white gloved hands were a'flyin and I believe I heard him say "fuck." So, I did not think our "consultation" would go very well. I'm assumed he probably had to pee really bad, and most likely, did not have the prostate to support the urgency. Finally get to the front of the line, Santa beckons us. I'm thinking, we're going to get plummeted by this elfin moron. He takes a look at Misho and melts before our eyes. "This is the most beautiful child I have ever seen. Where ever did you adopt him from?" Proceeded to go on about his love of adoption and how proud he was of us as parents, and blessed our child and us infinitely and beyond.

Now, I know, dear readers. We are the lucky ones. I know the debate about how to handle people who think you "saved" a child. We did not save Misho. We love him and hopefully one day, he will love us. But there is something kind of nice about Santa, a potentially violent Santa with a small prostate, telling you he's sending you something extra nice this year because he thinks your baby is cool. It's a very strange anthropological interchange that truly made the day quite special.

A very strange, yet memorable first Santa visit. Not to mention the family in front of us who dressed their two sweet innocent boys in white turtle necks and maroon sweater vests. I mean, what the..?

The voice of Nat King Cole is the salve for all that ails me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just cuz...

This photo is cracking me up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Prepping for Xmas and Learning to Multitask with Mr. M

Oh dear lord the holidays are a comin. And even in the best of times, I'm seriously challenged in the area of holiday prep. I'm talking the basics like shopping, cards, party attendance, tree trimming, decorating a sweatshirt with sparkles and puffy paint, etc. As you can guess, this year it's even worse. My infant multi-tasking skills are seriously in their beginning stages so juggling the regular holiday tasks with the basic infant dance is stretching my gills. Fingers crossed, I'm moving up the learning curve, but most likely at a snail's pace.

Primarily, I've been focusing on the basics. Keeping him fed:

And warm:

Everything else gets left half way done on a table to gather dust while I chase another thought that came into my head. The number of half-organized closets in our house is astounding.

Things left to do for Misho's initiation in the absurdity that is the American Holiday tradition include - scary Santa photo shoot, purchase of crazy holiday onsie, family photo holiday card, a consult with Santa about what Mr. M wants this year, an actual plan for how he will spend the holidays, and about 7 other things I have now forgotten. Not a big list, but things that remind me that I'm no Claire Huxtable, and that remind Claire Huxtable that I am not and will never be C. Huxtable. However, I did get a shot of a Santa with nail polish on:

Teaching Misho that even Santa likes to dress in drag every once in awhile.

We finally got the tree up and decorated. Trying to post a video of the tree trimming haps last night, but having some serious technical difficulties. Here are a couple of photos in the meantime. David looks like a father from the 50s, freshly home from work and bonding with his son. Misho and I look very festive or like we're headed to class at clown college.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Woo Appeal for IOFA!!!!!! - in Ethiopia!

Hi all,

Wanted to interrupt this normally silly and shallow blog for a Big Woo Holiday Appeal to help an incredible organization called IOFA - the International Organization for Adolescents.

IOFA is an independent, nonprofit Chicago-based organization advocating for the rights of adolescents. Our current initiatives include the prevention of child exploitation, especially human trafficking, promotion and support of girls’ leadership, and the empowerment of orphaned youth. Currently, I am serving on the board and working with IOFA and potential partner organizations to expand its activities to Ethiopia, particularly in the area of orphanage transition.

As many adopted parents experience, when you pick up your new son or daughter you see and interact with the older kids. It's probably reasonable to guess that these kids might very well stay in the care center or orphanage without a permanent family for most of their childhood years. The orphanage becomes their home. Most often, when they become adults, they are forced to leave this "home" and make do on their own. Without ongoing support, they struggle with self-sufficiency, including finding a job, managing finances, securing a place to live, health care, finding friends, building relationships, and basically keeping safe. This leaves them incredibly vulnerable to crime and exploitation, including human trafficking, prostitution, the drug trade, and begging on the streets. Every organization I spoke with in Addis, including AHOPE and CHSFS (and a brief conversation with Melissa Faye Greene) said that this was one of the most pressing and most neglected issues in working with the orphaned population.

In response to situations like this, IOFA developed and implemented a creative and comprehensive orphanage transition program called Project Prepare!, first in Serbia, and now hopefully in Ethiopia. Project Prepare! is a multi-facted support program that meets the vast needs of this vulnerable population. The Project Prepare! curriculum teaches youth how to search for jobs and manage finances, how to differentiate between safe migration and human trafficking, how to avoid drugs and violence, and to create a safe and supportive network.

My husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit centers where Project Prepare might take place in Ethiopia. Below are some photos of us at Children's Heaven - a wonderful program that works with adolescent girls, providing them a safe and loving place to call home. We would love to bring Project Prepare to these fantastic women!

I know the holidays are upon us and the economy is rough. However, I just realized that Big Woo gets about 150 to 200 hits per day. If each Big Woo reader would click on the link below and donate maybe $5 to $10 dollars to IOFA, we could raise a good amount to support the launch of Project Prepare in Ethiopia. If you have any questions about the program, my experience in Ethiopia, or IOFA, let me know ( All support, no matter the amount is most welcome!

About IOFA -

To donate -

Thanks for your support and readership! Now back to gratuitously cute pictures of Little M and my hubby.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Proof that we made it outside

We did it. You can see tiny little M in the leftside mirror for proof. We're waiting for Daddy to get out of the ChicAveDominicks. We're in the car, but we're out there people...dear lord, we're out there.

Temp at time of photo - 12 degrees.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Condo Fiebre

Here's what cabin fever looks like today:

We've had a reverse-evacuation to the confines of the condo. Its 20 or so degrees out. We've got unbearable wind chills, little heartiness to the cold from this CA gal, and a baby who prefers, no, demands to be naked. Our skin is about to peel off from the fake dry air. We've run out of things to talk about and the silences are muy awkward. I can't verify this but I think Little M may be petitioning to go back. He didn't bargain for extreme weather conditions that kept him locked up like an ailing hermit.

What would C. Huxtable do in this situation? Manhandle Mr. Huxtable into moving to a more moderate and sensible location.

Fine idea.

In the meantime, I've taken to Little M's method of pacification. It's actually quite nice.

S & M (oh my - just realized that I've been signing alot of things with those initials that represent something a bit different than the mother/son relationship. Nice.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

Musical theatre trumps bigotry every time.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die