Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Baby, its cold outside

Its a chilly 24 degrees today. Good thing we've got the coolest baby wear to keep warm. Anna is modeling her baby leg warmers for you all in this picture.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anna Update

*Anna slept 8 hours in a row last night! Hooray!

*Our little piglet has gained 2 pounds over the last 2 weeks. WOW.

*Ernie can't get enough of his baby sister. When she wakes up from a nap, he runs upstairs to see her. When Grandma suggested she take Anna home with her, Ernie cried.

*Brian is back at work full time. So far things are going well. Ernie has played mud factory in the back yard the last few days, which keeps him busy while I'm tending to Anna.

*Anna can sit unassisted for up to a minute. She is a constant source of amusement to Ernie, especially when she falls over from a sitting position.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Our Trip Part III

Our last 2 days in Ethiopia were bittersweet. It was a glorious gift to be able to travel home early to spend Christmas with Ernie. But of course it was difficult to leave Ethiopia, Anna's homeland, especially knowing we wouldn't be traveling back soon.

*Friday was Mercado day! This is the largest market in all of Africa, a huge maze of alleys and shops. We only saw a tiny fraction of the market, which included clothing, textiles, carvings, instuments, spices, grains, beans, produce, live chickens, plastic Christmas trees, baskets and coffee. It was visually overloaded with stuff. It was hard to take in everything that was going on around us. At our first stop, we entered a small clothing shop big enough for about 6 people and started to pick out some pretty garments for Anna to bring home. It took maybe 10 minutes to pick out what I wanted. Then the bargaining began. Almaz, the wife of CHI's Ethiopian coordinator, went back and forth for about 5 mintues with the owner of the shop. There was lots of words, lots of shrugging, hand gestures and eye rolling. As the negotiations abruptly ceased, Almaz looked at us, shaking her head, and said "no" and then gestured for us to follow her out of the store. So I'm thinking this is our big ploy, pretend to walk out and the shop keeper will call us back in a give us a deal. No. The whole process happened at 3 more shops. Enter the shop, pick out some clothes, barter, "No," walk out. Store #5 was the winner, and we left with 4 dresses for about 30 US dollars. Our driver gave us some side commentary on the negotiations, saying that we would probably pay 4 times as much as any Ethiopian if we weren't there with Almaz. The rest of the negotiations that day seemed a little calmer and quicker. We ended up with some great finds. My only regret is that I didn't spend more time just looking at the people and atmosphere and drinking in the feel of the market. Since we were in Ethiopia such a short time, much of it felt like we were just floating through it, only able to process such a small amount of what was going on.

Man carrying matresses on his head at the market

Baskets displayed at the market

* Our last day in Ethiopia we spent the morning touring museums. It was great to hear more about Ethiopian history and culture. Of course, much of what we had already learned was from the Ethipian people themselves. They are very proud of their country and history. It was wonderful listening to Tsegay talk about the warmth of his people and the richness of his culture.

* We left HOH about 7pm after an afternoon of packing and saying goodbye. One nanny cried as she said goodbye to Etagegnehu. Even in the airport, and Ethiopian worker assisted me with Anna's big messy clothing/diaper disaster as Brian worked out our trip with the airline.

*The trip home lasted 36 hours. Addis Ababa to Khartoom to Frankfurt to Washington D.C. to Seattle. Next time I'll pay anything to make that trip shorter. Surprisingly, Anna didn't make the trip exceptionally harder, I just think that much travel is difficult no matter what. If anything, Anna distracted me from my own discomfort. We arrived home about 10pm on Sunday night. I went to the emergency room at 5am for traveling sickness and dehydration. Brian came down with a nasty cold that week and it took a week before we had Anna switched to our own time zone. And I still think it was easier than with Ernie.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Anna in Action

Here's some video we shot of Anna while we were in Ethiopia (warning - if you do not like cute babies, don't click play!)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hooray for sleep!

* Today is Brian's first day back at work. Our little angels slept until 6:30 and 7am. Hooray for me! I don't know why, but life adjusting to kid#2 is so much easier than #1. I feel more rested, happier, more easy going, more energetic and all around more capable. We'll see at 6pm if I am still feeling this way.

The sounds of Ethoipia. Someone mentioned this on our CHI yahoo group the other day. Here are some that stand out from the House of Hope.
* Rooster crowing. Not just in the morning, but all night.
* Rock music about 8am from the neighbors.
* Peaceful chanting from the mosque down the street 5:30am.
* Snarling, fighting, howling dogs all night long, especially if you stay in one of the smaller rooms at the front of the compound.
* Children laughing and playing. What better sound is there?
* "TA-goo". A long, drawn-out, high-pitched call to Anna every time we ventured out of our room. Esentially the nannies saying, "Come visit me!"
* Have I mentioned "Dinner is ready"? Music to my ears!