Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali! Diwali is a major Hindu holiday in India, and is about the victory of good over evil or light over dark. In India, it is celebrated differently in various parts of the country, but virtually everywhere there are lamps and fireworks. I'm hoping Zachary's family will experience a little bit of Diwali while they're in Kolkata (and share it on their blog, of course!).

Our second-grader Aaron made the Diwali lamp pictured above. His class has been studying India and China, so everyone made his or her own clay lamp. Nice work, Aaron! We love their school -- our city has 12 charter schools, each with their own focus. (Our school's focus is the E.D. Hirsch core knowledge curriculum.)

Literally 24 hours after Anya Rashi was over her first cold, she was hit by another one! We were really fortunate last winter -- even though the boys had lots of bugs, she only caught one or two of them. This year, though, we're out and about much more than in our first months home with her, so she seems to be picking up every germ that gets within a mile of us.

She's trying out some new phrases, including "I don't know," complete with a shrug of the shoulders. In preparation for turning two, she also likes to declare "No, no, no!" She even said it in her sleep the other night! So much for trying to use other words when we redirect her . . . seems like she really enjoys saying "no!", no matter what I say. :o) She's also enjoying taking care of her dollies -- feeding them and reading stories to them are two favorite things right now.

Over the weekend, we saw something very interesting: a glimpse of our boys' understanding of adoption. They were playing "Adoption Center" with their stuffed animals. Each animal, starting with Hoot the Owl, had a turn in a basket covered by a blanket. Nathan sat to one side, busily "writing out papers" for the animals. I guess all that paperwork made an impression on him! It's sweet to see their take on adoption, and that it's a normal part of life and play for them.

It snowed here yesterday! Yipes -- winter's coming!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Three more families are traveling!

My new look is in honor of Kristi, who "tagged" me . . . I am very happy with my 'fro, circa 1978. It's a shame I was too young to be in charge of my own hair decisions in '78, or I'd have much more memorable school pictures. Ha!

We're celebrating -- and living vicariously through -- three Dillon families who are traveling to pick up their children in Kolkata this week! Two of the families are completing their second adoptions from Kolkata, India.

Zachary's family is in India right now, and are almost to the happy day when they will meet their son for the first time! He has big sister Hannah and big brother Samuel to welcome him home. He is a doll, and you can follow their trip at: http://rightler.wordpress.com/

Amanda is traveling to meet her son, Prasun, and her blog is at: http://ourboyprasun.blogspot.com/
I feel especially invested in Prasun because we met him at Anya Rashi's orphanage and took photos for Amanda and her husband. He was such a sweet, sunny boy, and I'm so excited that he will finally be with his family! They have another daughter from Kolkata named Ananya, as well as a bio son Anthony, who shares the same birthday as Prasun (although Anthony is about 7 years older!).

Also, Kristi is traveling to meet her new daughter Shaili. Their daughter Daya is from Kolkata too, and they have two bio sons, Alex and Eli. If you'd like to travel along, their blog is at: http://werrefamily.blogspot.com/

Nothing nearly as exciting as an India trip is happening at our house -- just a nasty cold for Anya Rashi, and three mice that took up residence in our basement (which the boys wanted to keep as pets. Sorry, guys.). So, I think I'll sign off for now, with a smile on my face for these three families!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Because nothing says "Autumn in Wisconsin" like bare feet, a sleeveless party dress, and a lei around your neck!

It has been a freakishly warm weekend here. Saturday was 8o degrees, and today was 85 degrees! It is so strange (but nice!) to have one last taste of summer this late in the year.

This afternoon, we were a strange sight: raking leaves in shorts and bare feet -- and sleeveless party dress with a lei, in Anya Rashi's case! Usually we wear jeans and sweatshirts for raking and making leaf piles to jump in.

The party dress was for a special occasion with our friends Tina and Todd, and their baby Liam. We were Liam's sponsors at his dedication today. Liam is the mellowest, smiliest little guy, and did very well with all the attention. The lei was courtesy of Aaron and Nathan, who attended their friend Logan's birthday party this afternoon while the rest of us were at Liam's house. Whew -- with all the excitement, followed by leaf-jumping, we are one tired crew.

I just had to post the funny Play-Doh pictures of Anya Rashi. She was having fun demolishing big pieces of Play-Doh into lots of tiny ones, when she was inspired to feed one of her dollies. It was so funny watching her stuff bits of Play-Doh into the doll's mouth, until a big lump was on the doll's face! Never a dull moment.
She's wearing a birthday crown not because it's her birthday (that's in December), but because a saleswoman at Toys R Us thought she was so cute. We couldn't agree more!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Update on Orissa

Since the previous post on this topic, many people have asked me where to find news about the violence against Christians happening in Orissa. Here is another article:
Thanks for caring about people on the other side of the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Autumn fun

Before I talk about our family, I just have to share a great blog/web site: the International Princess Project at
I bought some fantastic jammie pants for my sister's birthday, made by women in India who had formerly been trafficked into prostitution. I met the women who started the business at the conference I attended a few weeks ago. Love this!

Anya Rashi is up to lots of new tricks. She is quite a singer lately. This morning, I was getting her dressed, and I heard the melody for "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." The words need some work, though -- I only heard one: ba. :o) She also sings to her dollies, which is the sweetest thing. She has figured out how to tickle people, and thinks it's really funny to tickle Daddy or Mama. Anya Rashi has fallen in love with Elmo, and a few times each week, we turn on the last part of Sesame Street, when Elmo is the focus. The funniest part is that she forgets to blink! By the end of her 15 minute Elmo fix, tears have formed and rolled down her cheeks to keep her eyes from drying out!

One of her favorite things when Peter is at work and the boys are at school is to name her family. She says all of our names, and waits for me to ask, "Is that your family?" so she can say yes. Her name for our pet parakeet Cleo is "Coco," and she loves to point to the food and water dishes and tell me what they are. She is fixated on the number "two," and when we read counting books or count fingers, she carefully says, "Two . . . two . . . two . . ." :o) She also likes to "read" my books, and very seriously turns pages.

Last weekend we visited a pumpkin patch/apple orchard/hobby farm with our friends Todd and Tina and their three month old son Liam. We had a great time. Anya loved the goats, and fed them goat chow, pellet by pellet. I was a little concerned that her fingers would become part of the meal, but the goat was very careful. Now she's fascinated with pumpkins, and when we walk or drive past yards decorated for autumn, she points with great excitement.

I was able to spend a whole day with my sister Alicia this weekend. Originally, the plan was just to attend the last Milwaukee performance of Cirque du Soleil to celebrate our birthdays . . . but then the Brewers made it into the Wild Card playoff, so our day grew a little longer! We went to the game at noon, which was not pretty. The up side was the fans -- after the game, while the Phillies celebrated their victory on the field, everyone stayed to applaud the Brewers and thank them for a great season.

We made our way downtown for the Cirque show, Saltimbanco -- it was a phenomenal performance, and we were amazed at the athleticism, creativity and beauty of it. Alicia is a big fan of Cirque, and has seen several of their shows. I went to one with her two years ago, and it was completely different than Saltimbanco. Thanks, Alicia, for the fantastic day, and thanks Grandma and Peter for making it possible!

Good news on the adoption front: Devika's (http://www.greathopes.blogspot.com/) and Zaleeya's (http://zaleeya.blogspot.com/) families are traveling to bring them home! They are blogging during their trips so we can follow their journey. Congratulations to them!