Thursday, August 16, 2007

End of Summer Open Book Challenge

In my post yesterday I said that our life is not an open book. It is not. However... it is pretty darn open! :) Over the past couple of months a few of my blogger friends have challenged me to the "Open Book Challenge." I have been putting off doing it. But I think now is the time to step up to the plate! So, my dear readers, here's the deal:

We have a certain style of writing on this blog. You may or may not have noticed this, but, unlike many bloggers, we do not normally pose open questions to our readers, or crack open the door for lots of conversation in the post comments sections, or encourage our readers into dialogue with us. The brutal truth of it is that we don't write this blog as a way to converse with folks and we don't compose our posts in an effort to accumulate comments. Another truth is this: We never in a million years would have imagined that so many people would be reading this blog. It never would have even occurred to us. But now, after 10 months of blogging, we do realize that there are some things about our family that actually interest others. Who woulda thunk it?!! And we also realize that the things that we find interesting about our life aren't always the things that our readers find interesting about it! LOL!

So, folks, here's your chance!!! The Open Book Challenge is an opportunity for you to ask me/Braydon/us both any question(s) you want. We may not answer every question (simply because there are indeed things we don't make public), but we will do the best we can. We blog lots about adoption, about Haiti, about inter-racial family, about twins, about wild-and-crazy-little-twin-boy-antics, about our 2-career-craze, etc. Do you have a question you've been dying to ask??? There are also tons of topics that we haven't covered yet in the life-span-to-date of this blog. Is there something that comes to mind that you'd like us to put out there??? Is there something you're curious about?! No matter how deep or how shallow... Now's your chance!

If you think it is nerve-wracking to throw a question out on our blog, imagine what it is like for us -- throwing posts out into the blogosphere every day!?!!! --- I don't ask much of you, do I?? So, please, if you read this blog at all, please play along with us -- click on "comments" below this post, and ask us a question -- we'll be so bummed if you don't! And just remember, like your 4th grade teacher said, "No question is a stupid question!" Ask away. Ask whatever. But just do it, please, and do it quick. We can't take too long of a hiatus before our 'regularly scheduled program' resumes and we'll be back to blogging about whatever the heck we feel like again. At midnight on Tuesday, August 21 we'll officially shut the door on this once-in-a-lifetime-Open-Book-opportunity. So, my friends, ask away~~~

NOTE: If you absolutely do not want to ask a question (or really can't think of one), then please just make a comment -- even if it is just "hi!" Because, in addition to the 'Open Book Challenge' we'd also just kinda like to have a sense of who is actually reading this thing!!!!~~~

In the meantime, we'll leave you with a couple end of summer photo gems of our two cutie pies with their latest favorite fruit:


Siri said...

Hello Johnson-McCormick Family and greetings from a blast-from-your-past Colby classmate. Been a lurker for quite some time (am addicted to your blog) and figured it was time to step up. Two questions about adoption (although both related):

1. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started the adoption process?

2. What is the one piece of advice you would give those considering adoption?

Boring questions, I know. But ones of particular interest...

Thanks for such an honest and inspiring blog. Your boys are absolutely precious (and hysterical).


Anonymous said...

Hello from a white adoptive Mom of black twins. (wow, I'm a white adoptive Mom of black twins!)

Ours are almost 2 year old girl/boy twins from Ethiopia who we met when they were 13 months old.

No questions, just have been enjoying your blog -- so well written and photographed that it has encouraged me to take more pictures and enjoy all these amazing wonderful fun moments.

Oh, I do have a question! Do you have any photo tips? What kind of camera are you using?


Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...


I don't have a question, but enjoy reading your blog because I am in the process of bringing my second daughter home from Haiti. She will join my daughter at home who was born in Guatemala.

I am also a jr/hi school science teacher, so I like reading about you juggling career and parenting.


Keep blogging, I love reading it!!

Mormor said...

Hi HBJ. Any question I might have at this point I probably shouldn't ask!!

Ani said...

This is so fun! I love your blog - your boys always bring a smile to my face.

Its only fair to tell you a bit about me, I guess. I live in San Juan, PR. Our family is built via domestic adoption. Our son just turned 2 this past week. We're also a dual career household, so I can appreciate the challenges you face raising a family and trying to keep your paying job.

My question - how did you choose Haiti for your adoption? and, were you floored when you were referred TWINS!?!?!

I guess that's 2 questions :)
You have a beautiful family, thanks for sharing your lives with the rest of us.

ManyBlessings said...

Ok...I sat her forever trying to think of how to narrow down my questions. ;) So many I ask two? And if they're too personal, go ahead and delete them or reword them or whatever the heck you want...haha (are you worried now?)!

*Do you ever consider going back to Haiti for another adoption? Or are your boys the completion of your family?

*Does one of your little guys have an umbilical hernia (the nurse in me has wondered for awhile)?


Cindy from central NC said...

Hi Heather,
We talked about this last week in our emails....I'd love to hear you blog about this...

Question: Why do you think that we, as Working Moms (and esp as Working IA Moms who have most likely waited--and gone through hell and back waiting--for a family) get a decent amount of pressure from the "non-working-full-time" front? And it's not just SAHMs but just people in general. Maybe a better way to ask the question is why do we (as confident know-I-should-be-working-Moms) allow ourselves to feel defensive over it? What's up with that? How do you feel about that? And then...then...put that whole DayCare taboo blogging thing on top of it cause it's all related...

That's what I want to hear you and your followers comment on...? (remember, you asked....)

Hugs to you,

Anonymous said...


My question has to do with language- are you planning to expose the boys to the African American dialect? My family has dealt with this through marriage, and I am curious about your plans. . .I guess your boys are still young so maybe you had not had to deal with it yet. . .

Oh, I link here from the Fingerson blog, I am a former student of Laura's. . .


laurafingerson said...

Wow - you GO with your Open Book Challenge! I can't wait to read the questions and answers!

My question:
What does a typical daily schedule look like for you? I have posted these a couple times on our blog and I find it so interesting and informative to see how other twin-families manage all the things one has to do during the day to keep the family going (waking up, sleeping, eating, getting groceries, cooking, playing, working!, etc.).


The Fry Family said...

Hi Heather & Braydon,
I'm a faithful reader (at least once a day or every other). It's your celebration of life that drew me in. I don't have brilliant questions, but:
1. What drew you to Haiti?
2. What software program does Braydon use to create those fantastic videos?

Anonymous said...

Alrighty - here goes.
Does your nanny help you keep the house clean/cook? I dont have a nanny, I work full-time and I cant do it all. Any tips, hints, clues how to work and spend time with your kids and be a wife and homemaker?


Glen and Andrea said...

Hi, I just found your blog last week after reading your comment on another blog I read. I live in New Zealand and we are 2 years into the process of adopting from Thailand. Your little boys are fabulous, my husband thinks they are adorable too. They look like heaps of fun. I can't think of any question to ask sorry! said...

Oh, no you didn't?! lol. Ok, you have opened a can of worms by giving me permission to ask. Lol. So here goes. (I have many questions).

1. What made you decide to adopt from Haiti?
2. How did you and Braydon meet?
3. Will you adopt more children?
4. Where is your next big adventure?
5. What haven't you done yet?

Ok, I'll leave some questions for the others.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a couple weeks. I found my way there from another blog. We are in the process of adopting a 9yo boy from Haiti-just waiting on a passport. It's been two years since we started. Your boys are precious. I love their hair. You made awesome time on your adoption.

Tim & Sarah said...

Hi, my name is Sarah. I am married with 4 children, all girls. 2 bio and 2 adopted. We are in the process of adopting our boy from Haiti. I am just dying to know exactly how you got your boys hair to look so good, from beginning to now. They are the cutest boys, and this is what my husband and I want to do with our son. I am a therapist and my husband is a fire fighter..... What do you all do for a living? If you prefer to email me about the boys hair, my mail is Hope to hear from you soon. Love, Sarah in Indiana!

jazzmoh said...

Hi Family!
I'm just a lurker coming out of the closet. I do not have kids of my own but I really enjoy reading your blog about 3x a week.
Your boys are so beautiful and I'm so jealous of all the delicious, home cooked food they get to eat. My gosh, your monthly grocery bill must be very expensive!
My question is not really profound but why doesn't Braydon post more often?

Kathrine said...

Hi Johnson-McCormick family,

my name is Kathrine, I am from Germany, single mother of a wonderful daughter, MA, waiting for my baby.
I just love your blog! Your writing is great your photos precious - handsome boys!
I can't believe they are only 3, they look so big.
The only question I might have right now is where to get those triekes? I haven't seen those here at all.
Keep writing, can't wait.
All the best.

Rob and Mandy Brelsford said...

Hi Johnson-McCormick Family!!

You know I am a new reader of your blog, and found you through a link from J & P & Midrine's blog.

Before I wanted to ask what O you went through (but just recently had this answered on your blog). My next question was what brought you to Haiti but someone else asked that already. I love someone elses question about how you and Braydon met! So basically I have nothing to ask right Sorry about that.

But I DO want to say I very much enjoy your blog - it is such a vibrant record of life lived to it's full. I love it!

~Mandy :)

Rob and Mandy Brelsford said...

o.k. - Ive got my own question now... who picked your paint colours for your house???
I LOVE them!

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

I check in about once a week -- maybe twice, I try to say Hi every few times -- so you'll know I am reading.

I have a question, but it may be too personal for you. So ignore it if it is.

Do you plan to tell your boys a lot about their birth families - do you know much about them?


If you stay a college prof. can the boys go to your university for free?


if you were to take a WILD guess about what your kids would be/do when they grow up --- what would you guess.

You are not going to sleep for weeks answering all these questions. :)

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

P.S. -
Commentary on the SAHM vs. Working Mom thing ---- when I had a couple of kids, I worked ... I would LOVE to go use my talents to work in some part time way -- but once your family gets big you lose the option because it is too expensive to work --- even if you are degreed and semi - accomplished, daycare for five or more is not an option.

I would say that working moms might feel "judged" by SAHM's but the reverse is true too.

If we all just did what was best for our families and worried less about other peoples choices or what they thought of ours --- it would be a much better way to go.

Julie said...

god i love this family

Jen said...

Hi, I found your blog through the Livesays blog awhile ago. I love the stories & pictures, and I especially like reading your insights on adoption and raising adopted kids. My question relates to this---do you think you'll take your boys back to Haiti to visit someday?
Jen said...

Wow, you hit the big time girl! They love you..... I can't wait to read your answers. Big hugs.

Michelle said...

Hi! My name is Michelle and my husband and I have a 10 month old African American daughter who was adopted last October.

We are seriously considering locs for our daughter and, like Sarah, we'd love to hear how you started and maintained your sons' hairstyles.

Also -- I would love to hear how you are bringing their birthculture into their lives. Obviously, their are differences between Haiti and a domestic adoption, but there still might be some ideas that would cross-over.


cloudscome said...

I don't have a question right now, but I am on the edge of my chair to read all your answers to the great questions in these comments. So brave of you to throw it open!

Marnie said...

I am a pretty regular lurker. Thanks so much for sharing your lives and your wonderful sons. My husband and I are parents through domestic transracial adoption. I found you through Mayhem and Magic. You are such a bright spot in my day and I love hearing about K and O and so appreciate your perspective on the ephemeral nature of parenting young children. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy every moment.
I would love to hear a bit more about hair too- I am debating styles for my son and K and O's locs are so gorgeous. Did you decide to do it for cultural reasons?
Have a great day, and since I haven't commented before, I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend.

happy mom said...

Your boys are so cute, you already answer questinons in your regular blogging, and you get me to thinking(thank you). I would like a list of your favorite books about adoption and/or raising black children. More of a request I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Hi Johnson-McCormick Family. I've been a lurker for a while. I found your blog through the Livesay's blog. Your boys are beautiful. I have been very interested in Haitian adoption for years, and hopefully in the next couple years we will be able to get the process started. I don't have any questions at this point, but I love reading your blog!


BSC said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a couple of months and just love all of the photos of your boys. Our family is waiting for a referral of a sibling group from Haiti. I don't have a question but I'm looking forward to your answers to all of the other questions.

By the way, we just drove on 78 to take our son to his first year of university in VA. We joked about stopping off to visit your family. You feel like the kind of family one could just drop in on.

Beth in Nova Scotia

Life in Fitzville said...

Haven't been around much lately, but it's always fun to catch up here when I do get back to it... i love seeing all the pictures. I have been wating to ask about your camera too!

Jen S said...

Hi Heather and Braydon,
I love reading your blog!!

1. What specific things do you do, or purposely don't do, to foster K&O's relationship as brothers?

2. When you decided that the boys should have their own rooms, how did you decide to move Owen and have Kyle stay rather than have Kyle move and Owen stay?

xo jen

Anonymous said...


I am just a lurker that loves your blog (your kids are absolutely adorable) and decided to say hi. I have a bio daughter and we are still trying to decide how we are going to complete our family (choices: are we done? or where will we adopt from?)
My question is: how do you decide what information is too personal to share? Do you keep everything that you know that happened before you adopted your kids just for O&K to know? We are having this conversation in our fanily right now.

Of course, if the question is too personal, just delete! :)

Thanks for a great blog


Anonymous said...

Hi Heather!

My friends/other students at Lehigh/kids in our past Intro recitations and I have been wondering this for awhile now. People asked ME this question at Lehigh ALL THE TIME! I don't know why they thought I would know the answer to it!! I WISH I knew the answer, so hopefully, this is my chance to find it out!!

The question is: How are you SO energetic and enthusiastic at home, in the classroom, at social events, etc., etc.??? How can you come into the room completely filled with energy when EVERYONE knows how crazy your life is??? Do you sleep?? Do you do drugs?? We all know you drink a LOT of coffee, but is that REALLY ENOUGH??? The only time I have seen you truly look tired was during the adoption process--which I think speaks to the real pain you guys went though...

ANYWAY, please answer so we can all figure out how to find this secret energy!!!

Miss you SO SO SO much!!!! Lots of love (from Chicago!!)

Mayhem said...

Hi! You know I read here almost every day, but I don't comment as much as I should.

I'd love to read about how you met and decided to marry.

I am about a quarter of the way through your book, Heather, and I'm kind of collecting questions as I read. Some of my questions are being answered by the book itself, but would it be okay if I talked/emailed you sometime about the rest? I'm absolutely wondering more about how you make school/education choices for the boys.

Corey said...

Question from the Waters Family:
When can we get together in September? We miss & love you guys!

Anonymous said...

if you adopt again, would it be a boy or girl and would you try another place to adopt from, like Brad & Angie? :)

trish said...

I'm thinking, I'm thinking......
so many good ones already!

Anonymous said...


I have no questions. Just enjoy reading your blog.

vy said...

Hi! I've been lurking forever, enjoying your stories and pictures of your family.
I have a soon-to-be 3 year old daughter adopted from China. My hubby and I have been approved for our next adoption but I'm leaning towards Ethiopia and my hubby towards China.
I have 2 questions for you.

1) We do not live in a multi-cultural area. (1 hour outside Copenhagen, Denmark) The only Asian people around are at the local Chinese restaurant. We have friends that came home with their daughter from China 1 week after us and the girls see each other at least every other week. Do you have any suggestions for Asian exposure? Eating Chinese food every once in a while just isn't enough.

2)Any comments on pros and cons of siblings with different race/culture (Chinese & Ethiopian) vs. same race/culture (both Chinese)??

Love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

lori said...


Our family has been lurking on your blog for a while now and we love it! Your blog is so positive and the photos of your family are just beautiful. We are a transracial adoptive family (my husband and I are white and our daughter is bi-racial) and our daughter loves to look at the photos of your boys. Sadly, due to the area we live in, somedays your boys are the only brown faces she sees (we're working on moving as I type). Thanks for that.

My question is: What do you do when you are confronted with racist/innapropriate comments in front of your boys? We need some help in this area.
thanks for sharing your journey.

Kristina said...


I've been reading your blog for sometime. I don't get to read everyday, but I try to get caught up once a week.
I especially loved your vacation blogs!

My question would be how did the boys adjust to being in daycare right away?
I am a stay at home mom, but I would never judge you for your choice. But I would like to know the good, bad, and the ugly. That way I can make a better informed choice someday.
My fear is that my son and daughter (both in Haiti) might think I am simply dropping them off to another orphanage. He is almost 3 and she is 2.
Just curious!
I think you and your family are awesome and I love to read about all your adventures!
Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I love reading your blog, I am a mom of 2 girls (18 months apart); we live in San Juan, PR and I have no questions. I am actually a college counselor here and viosited Lehigh last year... it's a small world. I also love Virgen Gorda....bye. Lucia

Hi! I'm Laura. Welcome to my blog. said...

hi there. i read your blog regularly. i love that you post so frequently and that you write down the conversations between the boys. it's great!!

my question might be too difficult to answer (and since i don't have kids of my own yet i really wonder about this)but here it is...

as a mother of twins, do you find yourself more attached to or relating better to one boy over the other? and if so, what do you do to address this?

LaLa said...

Cute pics as always!!! I was going to ask what a couple of others have...are you thinking of adopting again and if so, from where?

Lori said...

Hi Guys-

Just wanted to say Hi.. I can't wait to read all the answers to the questions! We miss you!

Lori & Shelli

Anonymous said...

Caught this invite just on time!!!
First of all, really enjoyed your blog.
My first question is whether you are considering adopting another child and if so, in Haiti? The four of you seem so "whole" as a family that I can't picture another member, but I'm just a reader.
My next question is very trivial. The boys have very cute clothes; care to share where you shop?

Sarah said...

You guys are so good about sharing so many aspects of your lives. I really think so many of my questions are answered. But one thing that I always wonder about families, in general, is about dinner and food preferences. I know you posted about how you used to cook so much and you wish you still have the time for more elaborate meals. But how do you feed 2 pre-schoolers who, presumably, have different tastes and appetites? Do they eat the same food? And when you have meals with the 4 of you together - is it a challenge to keep the 2 active guys at the table?

The ideal in our family is that we sit at the table until everyone is done, but it is definitely a challenge at times and wonder if it's appropriate at this age. But the fact that Katie loves food makes it easier.

Love your blog Heather! What a great life! Thanks for sharing it!

Ema said...


One last thing- I wish you all the best on answering the questions.


Anonymous said...

You seem pretty experienced; pretty fun-loving; pretty capable. would you handle the situation if you came home to find your 12 year old K & O on the computer...wearing only their underwear...playing poker???

Guess Who

Anonymous said...

Love the blog! I don't know how you do it. You really do it and make it seem possible. I read because it is an inspiration. I know they say that we (women) can do it all (i.e., career and family) but sometimes that is hard to ACTUALLY believe/know. Sometimes it takes seeing it. Even though I'm not seeing it for real, I get to see it online through your blog every day. thank you for that.
My only question is HOW do you do it???

Anonymous said...

Been reading for a long time now. I too have an "active" 3 year old boy. Not clinically hyperactive or ADHD, etc., but very very "active" just like yours. That's why I like to look at your blog. Honestly, I cant even imagine having two of them (the exact same age????!!!!!! OMG). My question is if you could do one of your top 10 lists on activities or ideas or TIPS for how to handle very active little boys. You seem to have a lot of ideas. I don't know how you come up with all of them. But what are your favorite tips up your sleeve???

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm a Lehigh alum. My question is do you feel uncomfortable knowing that a student (like me if I was still in college) could potentially find your blog??? I love to know about your home life because I always respected you so much as a professor and as a woman to look up to, but I wonder if you ever feel uncomfortable about the idea that anyone could "find" you and see you not as a Professor (like on campus you are so professional and so respected etc. in a powerful kind of way) but as a mother and everything. You don't have to answer (and I'm not saying who I am), but I'd like to know if you would be willing to answer. Thank you for being a role model. from a former student.

Anonymous said...

Have been reading for a long time. Love your blog. Our famiy is addicted to your blog. Read it every day. Our question is what does Braydon do for work? Also, can he post more videos? His videos are our favorite. thanks.
From The Jacksons in Newbury California

Anonymous said...

Hello. Our question is: do you ever feel famous? Because of your blog? Like- does anyone ever come up to you in public and recognize you, etc.? To us you are like celebrities!!! We'd be more excited to see you in an airport or restaurant than we would be to see Paris Hilton!! Does anyone ever recognize you?
Thanks for the great blog,
the Brown Family in North Dakota

Anonymous said...

We have been reading basically since you started blogging. We can't get over how adventurous you are with two young kids (TWINS!), and how much you travel with them. Our question is what are your biggest pieces of advice for travellingw ith young twins (we have twin girls age 4 and we still haven't taken a trip with them and make everyone come visit us because we are too scared to ttravel with them STILL!!!!!!!!!!). Help!!!!?! How do you do it?
The Tannenbaums (Sharon, Steve and twins Kara and Emma) from Michigan

Anonymous said...

OK i've been thinking about this and it is almost midnight so I have to post before you stop the clock on this!!! LOL!!!!
Question: Can you tell us your favorite family friendly meals you do regularly?? I can't even imagine trying to cook for TWO three year olds (and having to do it after a long day at work!!!)! We have one and we're going nuts. What are your staple quick family meals/??????
love your blog 0000
Macionis family (south eastern Iowa)

Anonymous said...

Why did you adopt? Also, why did you want twins? Did you have a choice for boys or girls? If yes, why boys?

Anonymous said...


Patricia said...

Hey friends,

Just giving you a shout out and letting you know I'm here.

love you,

trish said...

I know it is way past midnight on Tuesday there but I'm going by my clock on the other side of the continent!
My girls have been asking a lot of questions lately about the many homeless people we see when we are out and about. What kind of conversations, actions, do you have or plan to have with K & O regarding this subject?
I feel fortunate to hear your input - both the professional and the mom.

Gail (Braydon's Mother) said...


I did try to submit a question, but presumably goofed as usual. Anyhow, I'd like to know whether you've considered turning some of the blog into a book. Lots of possible subjects of course, but it would be especially interesting to follow the boys' increasing awareness of color at a very early age and their wonderful positive feeling about being black.


Jaylen Dorio Abella said...

Here is what I've been dying to know for the longest time about you:
As a working mother myself I get tons of grief and hassle (mostly very subtle but very bothersome and hurtfull nonetheless) from SAHMs all the time. Does this happen to you? You never write anything about it I've noticed. The most horrid is the "Full Time Mom" phrase-- implying that somehow I am a "Part Time Mom"?????? Like because I have a career my mothering is only part time (as if I'm not a mom while I'm at work???)? It makes me absolutely positively livid. But I have yet to figure out how to respond. I just sit there hurt and livid with nothing to say in response. How do you cope with this kind of thing? I need a clever brilliant response. Hope this comment isn't too long. From one working mama committed to my work AND my family, to another-
(oh, and I love your blog!!!)
Jaylen Abella in upstate NY

haze said...

Hi, I don't have a question, I just like reading your blog and seeing your boys up to their antics :-)

A & B Baxter said...

Sorry this question is coming in late- hope you're still taking them? We're in the process of adopting a baby (probably 6-12 months old when we bring her home) from Ethiopia. What's your advice for the transition and attachment related adjustments when we get her? I've been reading books but it would be really wonderful to get a "real" family's perspective (a family who has actually gone through it). Did you let people visit right away? How long did you wait to leave the house? Etc.? Thanx.
Alicia & Bob Baxter, Burlington Vermont

Anonymous said...


Leslie said...

I don't really have any "new" questions, but love to hear about your family and think about where I might be with my girls 2 years from now. Your boys are so much fun!