Archive for October, 2013


happy halloween!





signs of brilliance (and other things)

What was that?  A hummingbird?  Keta asks as I’m swatting at a gnat near my face.


Keta —  He’s super handsome!

Me – What makes him handsome?

Keta – He’s smart about monsters.


K to F – Do you still have soap on your fingers?  ‘Cause if you do and you sticks your finger in someone’s eyes that soap could really stung!

Lellow —  y – e – one – one – zero – w

Ice kipples = icicles

Phojockopher = photographer

Miss risk o cats = Aristocats


Sire-men = siren

Mirror shadow = reflection

You taked a digger! = you fell

Squishded = smashed and/or flat

Hanisizer = hand sanitizer

Five e two = 52

Me– Did you have fruit and veggies with Priscilla?

Francine – Well, we has apple jelly on our toast.


Me – Tell me about trick or treating.  How does it go?

Keta – We goes to the place and rings the doorbell and say trick or treat then give the people a candy.  We throw a candy at the people.

Me – We throw the candy at them?

Keta – No.  We hands it to them like this.  I was just kidding about throwing.

Me – Where does the candy come from?

Keta – It’s in our Halloween bucket.  We fills it up before we go to the trick or treat.


Mama, why are beads not fun with ndio (yes) but are super fun with hapana (no)?

Mama, I can teach you to draw a flower.  You just draw a circle then draw a hump and another hump and draw a hump again and again until alls a sudden you have a flower!

Francine accidentally ate half of her fortune.  Somehow, it still applies to her.



learning to laugh

I read that it’s a common thing for kids with complicated backgrounds to have some confusion about matching an emotion with an appropriate reaction.  Matching a facial expression with a particular emotion can be tricky too.  Keta has struggled with this.  At first, she didn’t laugh at all.  She was screaming too much, too traumatized.  Then she had this fake and sad attempt at laughing that would make my throat hurt and my head throb.  It was sad too, and scary, since she had no idea when an appropriate time to laugh was.  The movie would darken, and slow and ominous music would be playing, thunder would crack and a look of terror would be on the character’s face and she’d be trying out her new laugh, loudly and enthusiastically.  After several months of this, she finally seemed to realize those parts weren’t funny, but she still couldn’t figure out what was.  So, for the next several months each time I’d comment that something was funny or silly or maybe I’d chuckle a bit, she’d get a really serious expression on her face and say with a really accusatory tone, “Mama, what’s funny about that?”  Sometimes if I didn’t laugh about something she’d interrogate me too.  “Mama, what’s not funny about that?”  She’d practically be hands on hips and brows furrowed.  Many of the times I was just agreeing with her that something was indeed funny or not and still she’d need to know, need an explanation from me.

Now, she can laugh, for real.  She can tease and take some teasing.  She’s clever and she’s funny.  Sometimes she overdoes it a bit and she still sometimes struggles to recognize the funny and not funny parts of life and movies, but sometimes she can recognize the funny.  She’s having fun.  I’ve always loved her and thought she was a wonderful kiddo with lots of awesome things about her, but now I feel like she’s letting me get to know the real Keta.  She’s finally healing enough to find out for herself who the real Keta is.  She’s had to be so reserved, so guarded.  Now she’s learning to relax and be happy.  She’s learning to laugh.  I’m more and more in awe.  To me, she’s pretty amazing.

Here’s Keta that first week I knew her.

DSC_0797Here’s Keta this week.


car carts

Ewww!  I’m eating a Roasalie!

It was rosemary, not Rosalie.  Or grass.  Or a “bitty stick” Nay brought in and “dropted” on dinner.  It was delicious and I thought it almost made up for the night before when I had to consider pickles a veggie.  And the night before that when I had to consider ketchup a veggie.  It was that ketchup without the corn syrup and other junk, so it really could be considered a veggie.  It was practically tomato soup.  Still though, I was a few days overdue for a trip to the grocery store.

Where are the kids supposed to go when grocery shopping?  Those fantastic but ridiculous to maneuver car carts are gone.  We had some collisions in them and they don’t corner at all, but where are they?  There’s not room in the cart for the kids and the groceries and I’m not one to spend my entire morning there so the kids walking and constantly in the way is no good.  I’d never trust them in the car the whole time (kidding!!). They’re totally trust worthy.  😉  I guess this is a plea for my neighborhood grocery store to bring back the cars.  The kiddos have fun driving and are too low to see and ask for all kinds of stuff.  Plus, there’s room for the groceries and I don’t have to set aside quite as much time as I do when counting on them to walk and stay with me but out of the way all the while not touching and asking for everything and paying attention and being good listeners and just good kiddos in general.  I don’t have to entertain them at the same time I’m making sure we have enough to completely restock our veggie supply.  Please, bring back the cars.  I don’t even care how grimy they appear to be and I won’t even think about how many snotty and slobbery and generally gross little kid hands have touched the cute and totally useless little steering wheel.  We’ve survived worse.  Speaking of which, I’m thankful to be able to go to a well stocked grocery store pretty much whenever I want to go.  I’m thankful I have the money to get some food for my family.  We have survived worse, but thankfully, unlike many millions, we didn’t have to survive worse for long and our worse really wasn’t so bad.  OK, so I’m pretty much thankful and I’ll stop whining.  Those car grocery carts were pretty nice though.



good stuff

Most of our days are great.  This makes it hard to remember the rough start K and F had.  I forget.   There’s so much good stuff that I forget about the bad days we have every once in a while and the bad days they had before and right at the start of this family.  What’s great is that now that over a year has gone by, sometimes they forget too.  There’s so much good stuff!


Francine just had her second birthday.  She turned four and is now “all growed up.”  Still confused about the whole gift thing she said she didn’t want a doll or new shoes because she already has a doll and shoes.  Then what do you want?  Presents!  What should be inside them?  No response.  We managed to figure out a thing or two to put inside them.  It was a great birthday!  Among other great things, she got a scooter, a princess scooter!



We went “hiking” recently.  It’s a difficult task since we live on the plains, but we tromped around a wooded area getting covered in mud.  If there had been any wildlife, it would have heard us from quite a distance and had plenty of time to hide or slowly stroll in the opposite direction.  We got to play in a little waterfall too.  What an adventure!



They’re English speakers now, but still learning lots of new words (like all four year old kiddos do).  They have no fear of new or big words and it’s always entertaining for me.  Most of the time I can even figure out what they’re trying to say.  We’ve started to (re)learn kiSwahili.  They like learning, but often call it Spanish.  They’d know a lot more if it weren’t for their teacher.  I’m having a hard time learning quickly enough to stay ahead of them.  Oh well.  Hivi ni vijiko vyetu is the phrase that has stuck in my head.  I think it means, these are our spoons.  Helpful.  We’ll be traveling and speaking fluently in no time with my obvious super-skills in language acquisition.

IMG_3573Will there be a lion at the petting zoo?  Keta asks me as we are happily walking up the street toward the petting zoo.  No, but I’m wondering why you’re so willing and eager if you think/hope/believe there will be a lion.  Why do they call it a zoo if there’s only farm aminals?  she asks.  Good question.  I got nothin’.



K and F wanted Milo to be a spider for Halloween and Nay to be Rapunzel since she has such long hair.  I decided it would be easier and just as fun to buy dog costumes for ten bucks.  K and F thought it was fun to wear them.


We went to a movie.  Here, five bucks gets you a small water, plenty-o-popcorn, and candy to share.  Does it get any better?  Time will tell, but these are two happy girls!  Good stuff!





Happy 4th birthday Francine!




ultimate whatever

Ultimate movie watching, ultimate matching games, ultimate skipping, ultimate Skyping, ultimate cuddling.  These are a few of the things we farmergirls do ultimate style, well two of us anyway.  Ok, it’s mostly one of us, and I’m more of an ultimate spectator. On the rare occasion we watch a movie when it’s not hair day, I’m on my treadmill or trainer with loud music in my ears watching K and F watch a movie.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is my least favorite to watch but my favorite to watch them watch.  They sing-a-long and dance and laugh and in between the songs they try to do head stands and cartwheels.  They’re on the couch and off the couch and on the couch and off the couch.  All of us are getting a cardio workout.  Unless we Skype during dinner, this too is a cardio workout.  By the end of our chat, whoever we’re Skyping is worn out from watching two blurry forms occasionally come into view.  At dinner two of us are in booster seats that we are kind of too big for because they serve as outstanding (decent) restraining devices (somewhat) preventing head injuries and crashes to the floor.  Ok, Skyping during dinner is still a cardio workout, just not so intense.  Who knew you could do the chicken dance in a booster seat at the dinner table?  Ultimate preschool games are often played too.  If you’re not racing around the coffee table while waiting for your turn, what fun is a matching game?  Then there’s cuddling.  This is probably the least restful part of my entire day.  There is some contact, but it’s usually an elbow to the ribs or a flailing heel to the knee.  I’ve been accidentally punched in the nose and head butted more times than I can remember.  It’s a good thing I don’t bruise easily.

We have fun. 🙂