Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Got People

Not two weeks ago, I was lamenting my lack of People. I caught myself thinking more than once, "What have we done to ourselves? What were we thinking, moving to a new community and then adopting internationally? If there ever was a time to have your people, now is it, and I don't have them."

In Kansas City I didn't have a ton of friends, but I did have a network and that network knew one another and I had friends close enough that I could call and say, "Would you have a casserole shower for me?" and it would be done. The person I would have called might have stressed over doing it, but she would have done it and found a way to make it look like it wasn't my idea.

In my old church, the women would bring food to a pregnant woman once a week for the six weeks leading up to her delivery. And clean her house while she was at the hospital. And then bring three meals for her family once all her helpers cleared out.

I never fully appreciated that.

Actually, I'm not sure they do that full scale anymore, but Charming was born in the sweet spot when it was going on and it was awesome. Even if it did get awkward with the whole home birth/cleaning/thinking I should maybe help fiasco.

And I'm sure they wouldn't do it for an adoption of an older child, anyway, but the heart was there and I could have called someone and said, "Would you please come over and help me take care of the dust bunnies invading my home?" and someone would have come.

And this month I complained to God, saying, "I don't have People!" I have friends. I don't have a ton of them and they don't really know each other, but I'm building relationships. The unfortunate thing was, even if I called someone and said, "Would you have a casserole shower for me?" whoever she would be wouldn't know the seven other people I know and it would just be awkward for her to try to round up enough people that would be willing and able to cook and help me fill my freezer. All my people have people, but they aren't my people yet. My People are all related to me and there's only so much you can ask from them (would you take care of my kids while I go to Ethiopia?) before you feel like you've used them to their max.

But since then, I've been humbled. People have swooped in and carted Charming away so I can pack. And people have swooped in and offered to have food in my freezer when I return. And people have swooped in with their swiffers and mopped my floors. And people have swooped in and ignored their full schedules and insisted on a dinner out. And I can't help but feel like maybe I have friends after all.

I'm a little afraid that after all this swooping, they will resent me, but today I am so thankful for my new network that I'll leave the worrying about taking advantage to another day.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What's Going On

My sister emailed me last night and asked, "How am I supposed to know what's going on if you don't update your blog? Are you excited? Or just overwhelmed?"


Frankly, you would not even believe the week we're having. For those people who've been to World's of Fun in Kansas City, picture the Mamba. And then picture it with only that really big arc, over and over. There's your clue.

For the rest of you.....rollercoaster. A big one. Which, incidentally, means the highs are really high. Unfortunately, the lows keep coming.

Let's just say.....taxes. Potential sale of a company. Picking up a new child. Dirty house. Traveling husband. Adolescent children. Fear of the unknown. Lost money. Credit card max outs. And God arriving on the scene at just the right time, because, of course, He was never gone in the first place. In addition to the camp physicals, 3rd grade programs, orthodontia appointments and random 30 mile trips to Wal-mart (I know, I'm not even going to talk about it right now.) that are my typical existence.

And on that note: new topic. Fresh Produce clothing.
I got an email a couple weeks ago asking me to review an item of my choice and the skeptic in me said, yeah right. I get asked to read books for my blog. No one offers me clothes. Except, lo and behold, my new favorite skirt showed up in the mail on Tuesday and it has been on my body ever since. And I'm not just saying that because someone offered me free clothes. It is seriously my new favorite item. It is not the color I expected. It is shorter than I expected. But it goes with everything. I'll tell you more about it in a new post, either tonight or tomorrow because they obviously want me to linky it up. But it was a decent segue into my real topic of the day.

Actually, no it isn't. I thought it was because my brain works like that these days, but you might not get the connection. Anyhoo....


I am dreading the flight. I'm dreading the black boogers. I'm dreading communicating with my non-English speaking child. I'm dreading going back without my friends. I'm dreading brushing my teeth with bottled water.

But let me tell you what I'm not dreading.

Wearing two skirts and one pair of shoes for a week. Not wearing make-up or doing my hair. Springing my kid out of there. Exorbitantly tipping the coffee man. Over paying the street vendor. Bringing shoes for my Ethiopian friends. I'm not dreading handing out 100 dresses to little girls who have never had a clothing choice in their lives and 75 shirts to little boys who have never owned anything without a hole.

I'm looking forward to practicing generosity and lowering my expectations.

Ethiopia wears off over time. Unimportant things seem important again. And I'm ready for my crash course in "we have it so good."

I'm going home.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fasten Your Seatbelt.......

........Mama's going to Ethiopia!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tonight's the Night.

Every moment of the last nine month has led up to tonight.
I pray that tomorrow I wake to an email declaring that Iris is cleared to travel.
And I find myself sobbing, because tonight, one last time, her mother has to forever surrender her rights to her daughter.
Oh dear God, the tragedy of it all.
How can one celebrate while another cries?
Join me in prayer tonight for this brave woman. 11:30 central.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stollen, word for word, from Millions of Miles

Ripped in it's entirety from here, because I'm past desperate and well on my way to crazy and too tired to have any humility or dignity left. You can consider this me, begging. (Enormous thanks to Tami, Andrea and Sara and probably some others who are currently escaping my mind---crikey! and my MIL who brought dinner today--who have already picked up on my verbal and non-verbal crazy eyed cues and pleas for help.)

Here, gonna put up a picture because for some reason people link through more often when I do that.

Having been through both the adoption experience and the child birth experience, I found that all kinds of people know how to take care of you after you give birth, but hardly anyone knows the right things to do when you bring home your adopted child.  Most people also don't know how to respond appropriately when you tell them that you are adopting in the first place.  This is meant to be a guide for the friends and families of adoptive families in the praying/planning/dreaming phase as well as families in process and newly home.  Link it up, cut and paste, email it out to your family.  I will say all the things to your family that you are afraid to say or maybe that you yourself don't even know that you need yet! (I don't mind being the heavy!)

1.  When your loved one comes to you with the news that they are planning to adopt:

  • Do not say, "Oh, don't give up trying for 'your own'" or "Don't you want to have one of 'your own' instead? Adoption is not something people enter into lightly.  And prospective adoptive families already do consider this child that they do not even know as 'their own'.  By saying this to an adoptive family, it insinuates that you will not be accepting their new addition as your 'own' grandchild/neice/nephew/etc.  Also- many families that consider adoption have been through long periods of time dealing with infertility and adoption may be a very emotional decision.  It signifies the end of one dream and the beginning of a new dream.  Supporters need to be very sensitive to this and be positive! 
  • Share your concerns about the finances of adoption, but do it in a non-judgemental way.  Yes, adoption is expensive.  But you need to understand that there are grants, fundraisers, and ways to aquire the money.  So instead of looking at the people who want to adopt and saying, "Oh my gosh- you are so poor, you will never be able to afford this!" say something like, "I know that this will be expensive, how can we help you plan a fundraiser?"
  • Do not recall in gory detail every terrible adoption story you've ever heard. This is the equivalent of telling a pregnant woman that her baby will be born with 12 arms and she will be in labor for 3 weeks and her boobs will fall all the way down to the ground after breastfeeding.  Just don't do it.
  • If the family is adopting internationally, do not condescendingly talk about how there are so many kids here in America who need home.  Each person needs to do what feels right for their family.  Sometimes that means adopting domestically, and sometimes that means going international.  Either way, a child who needs a home and a family will get one.  Focus on that fact and leave your personal opinions about which you think is best to yourself.  Remember- they are BOTH awesome (and BOTH necessary!) 
2.  Once families are in process:
  • Check in with the adoptive family's (from here on out called A.F.) emotions!  Adoption can be a very emotional process.  There are days where you are in the dumps and days when you want to celebrate.  Give the A.F. the space to talk about their feelings and their frustrations.  When they call super excited and say, "I got my I-171h", pretend like you know what they are talking about and jump up and down and throw a party.
  •  Throw a baby shower just as if the A.F. was pregnant.  Make a big stinkin' deal over the mom to be.  Obviously, don't play the how big is your belly game.  But do everything else the same!
  • Support A.F. fundraisers.  They need your help!  Better yet- host a fundraising dinner, pancake breakfast, auction, raffle, etc. to help the family raise the money to bring their child home.
  • If there are other children already in the A.F. offer to babysit them leading up to traveling so that mom and dad get a few last dates in before the new addition. 
  • If the adoption is international, educate yourself about the child's birth country.
  • If the adopted child will be of a different race, educate yourself about transracial families by reading articles, books, etc. Just googling transracial families will bring up a wealth of information.   
  • Offer to keep siblings, pets and housesit for the A.F. when they are traveling. 
3.  Once families are home:
  • All the same rules apply as when you bring a baby home from the hospital.  Bring food, offer to coordinate meals and food dropoffs for church groups.  Come over and clean.  Wash clothes and put away laundry. Wash dishes.  Do not believe the A.F. when they say they do not need help.  THEY DO!
  • Respect the A.F's rules regarding holding their new addition.  Many families may wish to not have any outsiders (this includes Grandma!) holding their child so that this child who has been with many caregivers can learn who mom and dad are.  A.F's do not do this to hurt your feelings.  They are only doing what they feel is best for their new child.  Do not make them feel bad about this.
  • Also- sometimes to foster attachment in our adopted kiddos, the parent's don't want to leave them with a sitter or family member for a long period of time after coming home.  Understand that this is not because the family member or sitter is not trusted or loved.  It is just to help give the new child the right sense of family and permanance.
  • Offer to run the carpool, run errands, cut the grass, babysit the siblings, pick up items at the grocery.  New moms are notoriously sleep deprived- even if this is the 10th child they've adopted.  Drop over a huge cup of Starbucks.  Say hello at the door with said cup of coffee and leave.
  • Give gift cards for takeout and pizza- so that long after the food welcome wagon has stopped coming, the family can still eat without having to cook!  Seriously- who wants to cook when you've been up all night with a crying baby?
  • Even though the A.F. did not give birth, families who are bringing home new children will be exhausted from long nights in the hospital (domestic adoption), long flights or a week or two in a foreign land with a new baby who has most likely been screaming non-stop because the child has no idea what is happening to them. Give the A.F. the forum to share how ragged they are.  Do not judge them.  Every single part is not going to be perfect.  Let them get how hard it all is off their chest without feeling guilty about it. 
  • Watch for post adoption depression.  It is a real thing.  Just because a woman isn't flooded with pregnancy hormones, doesn't mean that she can't develop depression.   There is a lot of leadup going into an adoption and sometimes the reality is tough and can lead to lots of emotional ugliness.  Be supportive. 
  • Do not expect adoptive parents to be "super parents".  I find that there is a huge stigma that adoptive families should have it all together because they "paid a lot" for their children. All families are on a learning curve- no matter how they got their children.  Do not be quick to dispense advice if you've never adopted a child (because parenting an adopted child in the early days is a lot different than a biological child), but be quick to say, "How can I help?"- Then be willing to actually help!
  • Most of all, share in the joy that comes with bringing a new child into the family! 
If you've done a post about this topic- or want to write a post about this topic and put in ideas that I've left off- PLEASE link it up!

My April 2005

For seven years, maybe more, I knew I'd sat out a pregnancy. At the time I thought I was just too tired to deal with it.

And I was.

But there was a little girl that I now know was being born in Ethiopia who would fill that slot. For four years I referred to her as My April 2005.

Princess is June 2001, Frodo is May 2003, Charming is March 2007. Do you see the pattern? Most people don't and think I'm kind of a freak that I do. I'm OK with that. But I am asking you to acknowledge that I saw and felt a gap and looked for the missing link.

Today I call her several names. You know of her as Iris.

In September I made a post on Facebook, if not my blog, that said something like "today is the day we have chosen for our daughter's birthday." It was easiest, having her turn 6 in September so that she wouldn't be an old kindergartener.

Aside: after having met her? The child is 35 in a 7 year old body. I wouldn't have been fooling anyone.

But in my heart, she was my April 2005. Not because she was. She was "6 years." The birthday we'd been given as best guess was May 1, 2005 and that was close enough for me.

And then a couple months ago I got a short note that said her birthday had been determined to be April 10, 2005.

After so many filled out forms with September 7, after best guesses at May 1, after 6 going on 36, she is the child I've waited for.

And, dang it, I miss her.

 Today she is among friends.

But missing her birthday today hurts me.

The sun comes up
Its a new day dawning
Its time to sing your song again
What ever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name
--Matt Redman

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday and the Tabernacle

Reposting my Good Friday post from last year because....I will never be the same after this day.
And because This weekend is about a lot more than egg hunts and new dresses.
And because it's my blog.
Celebrating one of the most tragic events that became the best event in and for creation.

We went to see a life sized replica of the tabernacle of those desert wandering Israelites. It was in the middle of the Negev. And it was raining. We were in on the one inch they get a year. Aren't we special?

It was considerably smaller than I'd imagined. As were most things in Israel besides the Temple--which I only saw in miniature--but the proportions were spectacular. Here I am standing, inappropriately dressed (it was the theme of the week) before the Bronze Altar.
Here is our temporary guide at the bronze laver. She asked us before we went in if we wanted the Old Testament tour or the New Testament tour. We asked for the "both" tour. She lit up like a Christmas tree and began one of my favorite tours of the weeks. She walked us through the tabernacle and gave the entire story with a Hebrew accent of how the tabernacle points directly to Y'shua. (Goodness, I hope I spelled that correctly.) She would have nothing to do with the name Jesus. "Is He American?" She asked. "No? English? No? So what was his name?Y'shua." She is a beautiful woman.
The table of showbread. I don't remember the significance. Study Hebrews 9. It's next on my list. I also hope against hope that Spence videoed the entire tour because I want to show it to everyone I know.
The lampstand.
The Altar of Incense.
Creepy blue-eyed mannequin dressed as the high priest complete with breastplate.
The Ark of the Covenant.
With the ten commandments, Aaron's staff and the jar of manna inside.
Me, crying. And why? I'll get to that in a minute.

This is a shot within the Holy Place. Those navy striped curtains in front of you are the entrance to the Most  Holy Place.

I don't know about you, but when I've read the cricifixion story, or heard it told, the versions go something like, "All our sins were piled on Jesus, and God could no longer look on him because he was so ugly to God with all our sins on him" thus the reason that Jesus said, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" 

And, frankly, I have always been bothered by that. How cold. How unfeeling. I mean, this was HIS SON. I can imagine looking away because you can't stand the sight of the suffering of your child, though I find that when my children are suffering is when I'm most likely to look on them. I cry with them. I lock eyes with them and hope that by sheer force of will I can make the pain go away with my earnest stare. (I look away from the wound. I can't stand that.)

I've decided, in all my wisdom (that IS tongue in cheek), that Jesus, like most humans, cried out to God, feeling forsaken more than being truly forsaken, but that's just me. Although being the sacrifice for a bunch of ungrateful humans seems rather forsaken, I suppose.

So our guide says, while indicating the curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place and talking about how thick it was in the Temple, etc., "And the Bible says that it was torn in two from top to bottom. Why was that?"

We, good Christians, gave the good Christian answers. God opened himself up to us, He is no longer separated from us, Jesus is the door way to God, yadda yadda yadda. You know, all those things you are taught in Sunday School, right? And like a good Sunday School teacher she says, "yes," and "uh, huh," and "What else?" 

And THEN she says, "What do Jewish parents do when their children die?"

Oh. My. Blessed. Risen. Savior.

The tear their clothes from top to bottom. My God, my "unfeeling" "uncaring" "cold" Father in Heaven MOURNED His Son. He ripped his clothes from top to bottom.

Yes, to give us access to him.
Yes, to indicate Jesus is the pathway.
AND to show His grief. He ripped his clothing right in two.

Oh, Sweet Jesus.

I cried for hours. My God is not an unfeeling Father. He loves His son. And by allowing His Son to be OUR sacrifice, how much does He love us? 

That's just amazing.

And I'll sign off in the same way our guide sent us off, but I'll give the English because I don't know Hebrew. But let me tell you, it is Beautiful.

"The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24

I highly recommend you go here and listen to it in Hebrew. And here to read about how the LORD delights in us as a father. And that page gives more on the blessing as well. 

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

But more on THAT tomorrow.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Jealous Much? Green Just isn't Your Color.

On March 13, a fellow adoptive mama asked me, "Are we hoping to be submitted the 21st or is the 28th more realistic?"
My response was, "I'm hoping for the 14th. But, yeah, the 28th is more realistic so let's check our email tomorrow, hope for the 21st and expect the 28th." Big laugh. Ha. Ha. Ha....

On the 14th, late in the day, I got an email that said, "You were the only family submitted to embassy today."

I was floored. And so excited. And paralyzed because I didn't know what to tell my friends. There were nine families that went to court at the same time as we did. Four on our date (three plus us), one on the 9th and two (plus two more that we didn't meet) on the 11th. We have walked most of this later process together. Some were passed in court, some (including us) were not. Some got court decrees sooner. Some (us included) were delayed. We all got birth certificates on the same day. All nine families. And then came the info about the passports. Three families (us included) didn't get one. A week later, all the kids went to see the embassy doctor. When I and a few others got the note letting us know that our MOWA letter was in ahead of time, I was whooping it up. (We might get these kids home in April yet!) So submission, ahead of the pack, left me a little floored. Why, when I'd been behind for so long, had I rocketed forward? And how did I tell my friends?

And in the midst of it all I told God, "I know some part of me is going to try to take credit for this, so I'm going to go ahead and repent now and give You all the glory."

Yes and amen.

March 21, I got a note from the embassy letting me know they had my stuff.
As did a couple of other families, those submitted on the 21st.
On March 22nd, I got an email requesting a birth parent interview.
On March 23, 24, and 25th I waited to see if we would get our requested days April 2 or 3. Because if we did, we'd be on a plane on April 5.

That would be today.

I did not get that email.

On March 26th I got the email saying our interview was scheduled for the first available time slot: April 12.

I rejoiced. 

March 26th was the same day one of the families submitted on the 21st got a request for interview. By the time they got theirs scheduled, it was for April 16th.
And then they got another email that said, they'd opened another interview slot and they could have it. April 6.

I deflated a little bit. Though SUPREMELY excited for my friend, part of me said, "hey, wait...."
(as always, there is more to this story, but it isn't my story to tell)

So, as all this is coming down, another friend gets submitted on the 28th.
She woke up yesterday morning to an email that said, your interview is scheduled for TODAY.
She woke today to an email that said, "you have been cleared."
She is leaving on a jet plane on Saturday.
And though SUPREMELY excited for my friend, there is this little part of me that is saying, "what the....?"

Then God reminded me that I was happy with my dates before people started rocketing ahead of me.

I'm not ready to go anyway.

But that has not necessarily slowed the formation of tears.

As an aside, the three people that stood in court with me on Dec 30, were only submitted to embassy yesterday. I have NOTHING to complain about. I do know that.

And I'm terrified.
And I have so much to do.
But I'm going to miss my little girl's birthday.
And what is she going to think when the people who were there with us come and get their kids and we.....don't?

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Joy in the Midst of Chaos

I've had to do a lot of looking for joy lately. It isn't wildly apparent. One could wonder why. I mean, spring came early. Our adoption case looks to be progressing somewhat rapidly after all those months of nothingness. And yet, I feel defeated. I'm exhausted. And then, there will be a moment where joy rises up within me and makes me pause and reflect on how good life is. Sometimes that moment is completely frivolous. Sometimes it is swirled up with frustration. And sometimes, it just is.

 For instance: you might think this is joy in seeing a rainbow. Hey, I like rainbows as much or more as the next guy, but let me tell you, what brought me the most delight is that I was standing in the back of the house doing dishes when Princess pointed out that it was raining and sunny at the same time. To which I replied, "Perfect combo for a rainbow. I bet if you go out front you'll see one." The joy in being right. (Hey, this one comes very rarely.)

As opposed to: yesterday Princess told me a story involving words that rhyme with wonder. I told her, "Cute story, but thunder doesn't rhyme with wonder." She insisted it did. I insisted her teacher was wrong. "Yonder rhymes with wonder. Thunder rhymes with blunder." She insisted I was whack-a-doo. wonder (whun-der). Thunder (thun-der) Yonder (yon-der)
Mom: well, what do you know? I never would have believed it.
Daughter: told ya so.
Mom: if you ever want me to admit I am wrong again, you must be gracious about winning. That was far from gracious. That just made me mad.
Daughter: so can I use the computer?
Mom: After that snotty little remark, no.

This is only a joy story because I take joy in her self confidence.
And that I own the computer.

 He's going to make a great boy scout. Always prepared. In his right fist is his "pocket knife," a piece of wood that is broken in such a way that it looks like a blade. Under his left arm is our emergency first aid kit that he's assumed as his own. If any boogy men attack, he's prepared to fight them off and patch them up. Mind you this is a couple hours after he's fallen asleep.
 Little tiny swimming suit for my little tiny girl. It makes me happy to just look at it.
 The water here drives me insane. All my glasses have this foggy film on them. All my coffee cups are coffee stained. Nothing looks clean. And then last week I happened upon this in the grocery store. Viola! Clear glasses. Coffee stains gone. Just. Like. That.
 Little tiny soccer cleats for my little tiny soccer player who has a countdown until his next soccer practice.
 Yesterday after school it was raining, so the kids came home and crashed in front of the TV (not my preference). After approximately an hour, Eldest stood up, turned the TV off, grabbed his headphones and started tidying up the room. Joy, pure joy.

Getting compliments on hairstyles that take about 30 seconds to do. And wearing big fake flowers in my hair. Even in yoga pants.

There was a fuzzy picture here that was me in my yoga pants. You couldn't tell that is what it was, but it was here with a cutsie explanation about it. Somehow the cutsie explanation and the photo got deleted. So, I'm going for no photo, yes cutsie explanation: Yesterday Brent and I both had to leave the house. Which mean we both dressed up. Real nice. We wore jeans. As soon as we got home, I found him in the closet peeling his jeans off, where I also was, also peeling my jeans off. "You, too, huh?" To which he replied, "We'll both be in real trouble if we ever have to actually wear real clothes all the time."

Over spring break, Brent drove me all the way to Arizona. Probably because I told him, "You can come or not, but unless you tell me I can't, I'm going." There was a lot of flex in our schedule, except for seeing the Grand Canyon. That had to happen on Friday. Friday morning we woke to one child complaining of a stomach ache and another barfing. We loaded the van to overflowing, handed the boys barf bags and took off. What we expected to be a four hour trip was closer to seven hours what with all the dipply little detours that his wife wanted to make and all the barf clean up stops. His only request was that we make it to Holbrook in time to see the Jayhawks play in the Sweet 16. (Guess which hotel doesn't have cable? Guess which town doesn't have an Applebees? Guess whose wife sent him out to buy sandwich stuff before she allowed him to go off in search of a crappy sports bar to see the game? (but in my defense, guess whose wife stayed in the cable free hotel room with, by then, three barfing boys so he could go?))

He brings me joy. He takes me on jaunts. He puts up with my crap. He drives me crazy. But he also drives me where ever I want to go.

I love you, B. Happy birthday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Making Memories

My kids had a lot of new experiences over spring break.

Seeing giant Saguaro cacti.
Panning for fool's gold.
Picking fresh oranges, lemons and grapefruit.
Being carried up and down desert mountains.

Sleeping in our own...Cozy....Cone. a Wigwam. (Also known as the Cozy Cone Motel for Cars fans.)
It just looks like a rock, but that is a petrified tree stump in the petrified forest.
The Painted Desert. Pictures don't do it justice.
 Vomiting our way up to, around, through and away from the Grand Canyon.
But if you ask my kids what their favorite part of the vacation was, every single one of them will answer: seeing friends.
I love that my family has become so intertwined with such awesome people that they are the highlight of our trip.
(FYI, we saw three different groups of friends. My kids will answer with their specific favorite friend. The follow it with their second fav. Followed by their third fav. And THEN will list off something we saw or did.)

Monday, April 02, 2012

40 days?

I have to admit it. My 40 days of solidarity has gone out the window. Who put spring break in the middle of Lent, anyway? And then we were submitted to Embassy and then things went all kinds of haywire. And now we are planning to go back and running around, freaking out about things that don't matter and not thinking enough about the things that do.

But making lentils hasn't really been on that agenda.

I can tell you that we vacationed on an extreme budget.
Except for when we didn't.
Then again, when we paid a lot for food, we were eating at an Ethiopian restaurant (and the pizza joint next door).

I can tell you I had coffee every single day.
And thought about Ethiopia every single day.
But not necessarily at the same time.
And I took my coffee with creamer.
(As do my daughter's nannies, but.....)

There have been a few times when the kids will ask who we are having solidarity with.

My answer is simple: people who eat out of their pantries.
People who are on a budget.
The middle class.

Better luck next year.
I'd say maybe I'll try to finish strong, but my plan for tonight is to concoct something out of the ingredients I found in my deep freeze.
The fact that I have a deep freeze, that is running, with enough food in it to concoct something, kinda takes away from the solidarity aspect.