Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Official End of Summer

Our swimming pool was closed on Friday afternoon. This is our official marker of the J-M End of Summer and Start of Fall. Here's the 2009 End of Summer Swimming Report:


  • holds face, face-down, in water
  • blows bubbles
  • go completely under water, submerged, for up to 3 seconds (or as long as her parents can stand it!)
  • walks/jumps off edge of pool into water
  • "dives" off of pool steps into water
  • when holding her on her belly, she'll kick and kick and kick
K & O:
  • jumps of all kinds of crazy varieties from side of pool and (...their favorite...) from a chair positioned at side of pool
  • full forward flips into pool from side of pool or from the chair
  • 3 kinds of dives: Swan Dive, Racing Dive, "Streamline Dive" (thanks to Calvin, who is teaching them not just how to swim, but competitive/racing swimming)
  • all 5 strokes: freestyle (or as I've always called it, "the crawl"), backstroke, back crawl, breaststroke, butterfly (they are really good at the butterfly-- this is their strongest stroke)
  • can swim underwater for width of pool, and about 1/2 of length of pool
  • can tread water for long periods of time
  • can retrieve multiple objects in one dive from deepest part of bottom of pool
  • can do racing "flip turns" underwater off of inside wall of pool
  • forward and backward rolls (somersaults) underwater
  • handstands underwater
  • snorkeling with full gear (masks, snorkels, and fins)

As promised (they've been asking for many months now), to mark the Official Start of Fall, we finally got the boys a ramp for the driveway. We set it up today and they tried it out for the first time with their bikes, then their scooters, then their skateboards. We're moving on to a new season. Out with the old and in with the new----- Fall has arrived!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

First Football Game of the Season!

(and Meera's first football game ever)...
Lehigh vs. Princeton
Readers of this blog who have been reading for a long time will remember Kyle and Owen's LOVE of Marching Bands. We made it to the game with plenty of time for following the Lehigh Marching Band around the parking lot for a good while. This is a favorite for K & O. It is now a favorite for their baby sister too!
Princeton's Marching Band was there today too. And the competing Marching Bands put on quite a show in the parking lot! The boys are still totally unselfconscious about marching around with them. It is quite a sight.
Lehigh puts on a good production for home games. Pre-game was a blast! Among lots and lots of fun things they got to do, the boys got to jump 'till their hearts' content...
Chat it up with the LU Mountain Hawk...
And a special highlight this time... they got to see (and go inside!) a University of Pennsylvania helicopter. (the helicopter later did a fly over when the game started). Seeing the helicopter was all very cool...
And "LU" face painting of course! GO Lehigh!
We always have the best seats in the house.
After the game the boys went down on the field and got to spend some quality time with their two favorite players, the awesome Jaren Walker (their coach from summer Sports Camp), and the superstar Matt Cohen. Both of these guys just happen to be in my class this semester, so the boys are assured to get the V.I.P. treatment! ;)
Speaking of after the game... Meera was totally conked out as soon as her body hit the carseat!
At home tonight after dinner the boys were playing "football" in the kitchen. Owen was Jaren Walker and Kyle was Matt Cohen. They played and played and played. Before conking out in bed themselves.
Oh, Lehigh lost to Princeton... but we had such a great time today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gazpacho Recipe

For Jen and others asking for the Gazpacho recipe (photo in post below)!

This recipe has been evolving in my kitchen over the past many summers. It is best at the end of summer when all the summer veggies are ripe and fresh and overflowing at the farm-stands.

Summer Gazpacho

4 large (or 6 small) fresh ripe tomatoes
1 large (or 2 small) cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 large (or 2 small) red or green bell pepper, seeded and stemmed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and stemmed
1 small red onion
2-3 cloves garlic (vary amount depending on how much you like garlic)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
lots of salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste

Combine all in food processor (or blender). Blend until relatively smooth (we like ours just a tad bit chunky). Refrigerate overnight. To serve, top with fresh garnishes -- we like some chopped cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and lots of sliced avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Great with bread and cheese on the side! (and a nice glass of white wine!!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bulleted Blogging

So much to blog about, so little time.

  • I love doing Meera's hair. Love it. Have always loved doing little girls' hair. I have loved doing K & O's hair for the past 5 years too, but there's something about little girls' hair... you know, it is just so so fun. Anyway, yesterday I braided Meera's hair for the first time! I must admit, it is gosh-dang adorable!
  • Here's Meera today (below), out for a walk with Braydon and the boys while I worked late. Hair in a braid again today. The great thing about the braid is that she can't figure out how to get it out (as opposed to any kind of ponytail, barrette, etc.-- which she loves to pull out). So, the braid lasts all day long. She still loves the backpack. And spends a ton of time in it.
  • Tonight, as we were putting the boys to bed, I was saying some loving things to the boys about how they are "our precious boys" and "we dreamed about them before they were even born" and "before they were even born we wanted our beautiful twin boys with brown skin and black hair and dark brown eyes" etc etc etc (my typical whispering sweet nothings in their ears at bedtime). Out of nowhere, in the midst of it, Kyle says to Braydon, "I am the only one who's black in the Star Room" [his class at school] Braydon affirmed that yes he was, and then asked "How do you feel about that?" He said, "Good!" Right now K & O have so much pride in being black boys. I spend countless hours obsessing over how on earth we can keep it that way as long as humanly possible. It is a top priority in our parenting, and a constant challenge we're trying to step up to every minute of every day. Semi-somehow related....... A couple nights ago I made "Indian Food" for dinner. I put that in quotes because this is tikka masala made with a paste from a jar (Patak's) and store-bought saag paneer and naan... so seriously, this is *not* the real deal... but anyway.... So, we were eating it (all three of the J-M kids love any chicken tikka masala that has ever been put in front of them... who doesn't???)... and Braydon said something along the lines of "...When I was a kid we never had anything like Indian Food..." and Kyle was suddenly like, "What? Indian Food? This is Indian Food?" And I said, "Yes, Indian Food, like from India." He said, "Like we're from Haiti. So, who is from India?" I said, "Well, like, next door, Ambika and Nate, they are from India. They were born in India. Just like you were born in Haiti." Later that night, getting ready for bed, Owen says, kind of questioningly, like he's asking it as a question-- "So, Nate and Ambika were born in India, and Kavya's mommy was born in India?" I was STUNNED. Seriously, I don't know how he knows that our friend Shalinee (their friend Kavya's mommy) is Indian (obviously, I know that he notices that she's dark-skinned, but I have never referred to her as "Indian"). I said, "Yes, my friend Shalinee was born in India." And he goes, "Yeah, just like we were born in Haiti. Was Kavya born in India?" And I said, "No, she was born in the United States." So, he says, "So, is she Indian?" And I was kind of dumbfounded about how to get into this whole thing. So, I said something like, "Well, you guys are Haitian-American because you're from Haiti but you're also from the United States. And Kavya is Indian-American because her mom's family is all from India but they're also from the United States" and then it all sort of veered off---- We proceeded to have a whole conversation about which place is further away-- India or Haiti, etc., etc., etc. Anyway, there is no real point to this, but I just thought it was totally fascinating that they (or maybe just Owen?) was putting that all together in his head, or at least trying to (asking big questions, that's for sure). They are getting more sophisticated about all of this stuff and it is just crazy to see how it all starts to come together for them.
  • Summer is quickly coming to an end. It is warm out still, but we're pretty much done with summer and moving on to fall. The boys are anxious for pumpkin-picking and Halloween-planning and we're already eating apples and pears instead of strawberries and blueberries. We're at the tail end of that late summer phase and tromping headlong into the early fall phase. Dinners like gazpacho are no longer-- dinners changing-- the true sign that a season's changing.
  • Braydon's business is --seemingly-- taking off. After years of heartache and struggle we seem to finally be getting somewhere with it. We are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. But finally, finally, there seems to be some traction happening. Here are K & O sitting at my home computer watching Braydon do a live business presentation that his company streamed --in real time -- over the internet. This picture is so symbolic to me because so much of Braydon's business start-up has always been ultimately motivated by his desire to provide for his sons. He started this company the same month we began our adoption process (January 2004). If you're a reader and you have any interest whatsoever in live video streaming (of music, of presentations, of workshops, of seminars, of whatever), please email us! hbj2 (at) lehigh (dot) edu
  • Meera is developing quite the little personality. She's suddenly busy all the time. With K & O this age (age 15-16 months all the way up to age 2) was sooooooo tough. They were both running/climbing/jumping in opposite directions all day long. Meera is completely different. Her energy is so different. Her time is spent on totally different things. And, big sigh of relief... there is only one of her. Whereas with K & O this was the most difficult phase of their childhood so far, with Meera this phase is such sheer pleasure. Every moment with her is pure bliss. I know that sounds crazy, but it is honestly true. She is a little gem. She's talking up a storm (although we understand hardly any of it), and she's all over the place.
  • I've got a big post about gender percolating. So look for that sometime in the not-so-distant future. Gender gender gender. It is huge. Here's Owen one day as he appeared after "Rest Hour" (photo taken by Margie, God love her!-- note the shoes-- {old bridesmaid shoes of mine} This photo is Classic Owen)
  • Kyle and Owen play that they are skydiving every day (ever since MorMor's skydiving weekend). This is their current play of choice. Mostly it involves them swinging on the swing set as high as they can possibly pump themselves into the air, and then, with dramatic flair, propelling themselves through the air until they land on the grass. It is scary to watch. I continue to think it is amazing that we've managed to get away with so few trips to the Emergency Room. I love this photo of Kyle (below). This photo is Classic Kyle.
  • We've been eating pancakes and bacon for dinner every couple of weeks or so. Not my favorite dinner, but definitely a favorite for the boys (all three of them). A good way to end the day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,
he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it,
rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery
of the world we live in."
~Rachel Carson

Monday, September 21, 2009

Skydiving for MorMor's 60th

Back from the blog break-- sorry for the long hiatus-- too much going on to blog! Seriously! Anyway, moving on...
First on the agenda for back-to-blogging is this: The weekend before last we went away for a skydiving weekend in celebration of my mom's 60th birthday. It was crazy fun. Here's my mom jumping out of an airplane from 2 miles up!
Turns out my mom has always wanted to go skydiving. Who knew? Turns out my dad knew. So, for her 60th birthday he planned an amazing weekend away for her and a bunch of their friends. We had such a good time. My dad rented a house in the Poconos near the skydiving center. People (especially my sister and her two people!) drove for hours and hours and hours to get there, but it was worth it. We had a terrific weekend. The house turned out to be perfect for our group. We had a celebration dinner at the house Saturday night for my mom. There was hiking and swimming and many adventures had by all. There were some stolen snugly moments too (mostly revolving around K & O getting various grown-ups, including MorMor and MorFar, to read them books). The highlight, of course, was the skydiving. What a thrill. I went solely for my mom with no inclination to go on my own. But I'd go again in a heartbeat. It was awesome. My sister and I flew in a plane together and jumped within seconds of each other. In the pictures below it is our two parachutes that you see. My mom and her friend Theresa jumped from another plane. And family friends Laurie and Rich jumped from another. The rest of our group watched from the earth below... word has it that Kyle, Owen, Sadie, and Meera could not have been more mesmerized by it. It is really quite a sight to see-- these colorful billowy parachutes falling from a crystal-clear-blue sky. If you haven't done it or seen it, I highly recommend at least one or the other. It is incredible. A week after it is all over, though, the biggest thought I'm left with actually has nothing to do with skydiving... I'm just left, yet again, with the thought, "What an amazing set of parents I have." Skydiving for your 60th? Your husband planning and implementing it all to make it happen? Your kids and grandkids and some of your closest friends --all in a gorgeous vacation home somewhere in the middle of nowhere-- singing "Happy Birthay" with candles atop your favorite kind of cake? It seems like something from a movie or something-- is this our real life? But the truth is, my parents are amazing and they deserve every second of happiness they get coming their way. Their lives have been centered on giving and, for me, one of the greatest sights to see is watching it come back to them. Life is a gift. Every precious second of it. Happy birthday MorMor! (and thank you MorFar!!!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photo of the day

The Princess/President on her Throne/Desk, reading.

...at 5:30 this morning.