Archive for November, 2013


happy thanksgiving!


I’m thankful!


lies and laughing, thankful part 3

We’ve had (are having) some issues with telling the truth.  Half normal kid stuff and half carry over of those extremely important survival skills. I try to get it, but the lies are about to make me crazy.  I try to explain how hurtful lies are and how hard it is to trust people who lie etc etc.  I try to explain that “I would never lie to you, Keta.”  Lie!  I lie all the time.  I lie about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the other night I had to lie about the lie of the tooth fairy or it was going to be a long torturous night followed by a long torturous sleep deprived day.

The tooth fairy has been to our house three times before.  Each time, we’ve survived.  It’s been rough and kind of scary, but together we’ve made it.  With the extra stress of the holiday season, our coping skills are close to an all time low.  Even though the tooth was far away in the kitchen and the door was closed just so, and we’d read and we’d cuddled, and we’d been through our I’m safe and mama’s here and will check on us routine, it was scary.  I was summoned back to the bedroom before I had even reached the end of the hallway, and it was once more through the I’m safe and all that routine.  I was almost sitting down the next time I was summoned.  This could not continue.  So, I lied.  I crept back their bedroom knowing they are still awake and peeked in.

Them – Mama!

Me – Hey!  I thought you two must be asleep!  How did you trick the tooth fairy?

Them – We didn’t trick her!

Me – You did trick her!  She’s already been here and left Keta four quarters!

Them – Mama!  How did you not see her?

I walked away and they were asleep within minutes.  I was not even a little conflicted about the lie, but I might be the next time I claim to never lie to Keta.


Keta’s favorite rhyme to sing is Blah Blah Black Sheep.  Francine’s is Where is Jacques?  Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques.


I know dinner was a success when Keta ends up with food on her face from ear to ear, food covering the front and back of both hands and food down her arms to her elbows.  Also, when the dog has picked up Francine’s fork from the floor and taken it outside to enjoy and one of the wiggly eyes from Francine’s water bottle has, I guess, fallen into her food and been almost certainly and unknowingly eaten, the recipe is a keeper.


Keta – We’re learning about de cave at school.

Me — That’s so great!  What have you learned about caves so far?

Keta – When things get all old and fuzzy they de-cave.


Francine – What’s a leprechaun for?

Keta – It’s for Thankspatrick Day.  It’s right after Balentimes Day.


Francine recently asked if we could bob for apples, using from these words only apples.  That one took some deciphering.  We did it though, wearing hula skirts.  I don’t know why.

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We had to practice trick or treating in the car, what to say and when to say it.  We had to work hard to remember to say, “Thank you!” and “Happy Halloween!”  We got back in the car after our second stop and Keta asked, “Did I do it right Mama?  Did I say all the right words?”


Francine painted my toenails, but just on one foot.  I don’t know if neon turquoise is a color, but if it is, every other toenail is neon turquoise.  The other toenails on that one foot are hot pink.  Toenails on the other foot, no color at all.  Made me smile all week.


We sometimes lie, but we laugh a lot too.  I’m thankful!


sherehe! thankful part 2

We’re celebrating! It’s been two years since we first saw Keta’s sweet face.  We thought we needed a Congolese dinner party to celebrate! Sherehe! (hope that’s actually celebration/party in kiswahili …. not sure)

So, today I’m thankful for…….

The internet – where I found an awesome Congolese peanut and veggie soup recipe which even got around Keta’s strict no veggies or anything green policy, she had seconds!  Yumma!


The ladies of Shona Congo – Thanks Solange, Mapendo, Riziki, Argentine and Dawn for making it possible for us to dress the part and to have such beautiful linens at the table!  We love you Shona Congo!  Get your own (and help some great ladies support themselves in a place it’s hard to do that with a few things going on that makes it even harder) at


Papa Noel and Kekele – We love listening to your wonderful music!  Even though my kiddos are from the other side of the country I’m thankful I get to bring the work of Congolese artists into our home.  Our favorite Papa Noel album is Cafe Noir and our favorite Kekele album is Rumba Congo.  Listen, it’s good stuff!

LBB – Thanks for helping me get my girls home!


Milo and Nay – Thanks for being good sports when Keta and Francine insisted you be dressed up and then tied Congolese napkins to your collars.


Plastic stemware – Even four year olds know the crucial role that stemware plays at dinner parties and if it can be pink and have edible purple sparkles on the rim – bonus!  These things have hit pottery, been accidentally slammed onto the table, dropped to the floor and tipped over and of course have been in the dishwasher a time or two, and the result, not a single chip!

Asante sana!


thankful part 1, one year later

Just went back and read last year’s thankful part 1.  Wow.  It’s been both a lifetime since then and the briefest of moments.

I’m thankful that as I’m sitting here enjoying a cup of tea after breakfast (thankful that we’re not rushing around!) I’m hearing my two energetic daughters (thankful I get to use those words together, my and daughters) play trick or treat dressed in warm footy pajamas, dog Halloween costumes for super hero capes, and silly paper glasses as masks.  I’m thankful that my bedside table is no longer empty except for two photos of daughters I haven’t met, but is now covered with unread books of mine and stacks of paper-board books with silly rhymes and pictures.  I’m thankful those artistic black and white photos on the wall have been replaced by framed family portraits drawn and colored by little hands that two years ago had never held a crayon and didn’t have a family to draw.  I’m thankful that my peaceful and quiet times outside on my patio have been replaced by shouts of delight and I’m thankful I can’t sit outside enjoying it for more than a moment before being interrupted to “come see this!” or “hurry to watch me mama!”  I’m thankful that this can’t be any longer because grocery shopping is waiting and laundry is piling up and presents for this afternoon’s birthday party need to be wrapped.  Maybe later I’ll be able to add some photos, but for now, I want to play trick or treat with my girls.  I’m thankful!