Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keep It To Yourself

Note: I need to make a few comments before posting this. I actually wrote this 6 months ago but never posted it because i thought maybe it was too harsh. But after hearing about other people's experiences recently, I thought it might be time to just put it out there. Although I'm writing about race issues, I think this applies to SO many other circumstances as well.

I have been avoiding blogging about racial discrimination and plain old ignorance that I've been experiencing lately vis-a-vis my children. But without being specific, because even I am not mean enough to out others who have been ignorant, I'm just going to give some advice to these unnamed people -- keep it to yourself!

If you think it's terrible that my husband and I adopted black children because we're robbing them of their culture, keep it to yourself. If you think that my children aren't my "real" children because they're not the same race as me and my husband, keep it to yourself. If you think that my children will suffer being in a white family, keep it to yourself. And please, please, please most of all, if you absolutely have to say something, say it to me and not to my children who are beginning to understand that the world is not always a friendly place.

I'm not asking for more civility. I'm asking for more silence. I'm asking for a little forethought before blurting out your opinion of my children and our family. I don't go around telling people that their children are cursed or robbed of their culture or not the right color or that they look like animals (yes, this was actually said to me!) In fact, I think we should all, myself included, try to only say nice things about each other's children and families. Because in the end, I know that my black children were meant to be mine just as much as my white children were. God planned it from the beginning, and He does not make mistakes. We humans do make lots of mistakes though, and I know that I'm not perfect by any measure. I think I'm just tired of defending what I know is a beautiful thing and meant to be.

Finally, if you're reading this because you're a friend of mine, and you're wondering if you've ever said anything to offend me, chances are that you haven't. In fact, almost every one of the comments listed above came from strangers or distant acquaintances. Most people have been loving and supportive and kind. Most of my loved ones and friends have given my children, all of my children, lots of hugs and kisses and acceptance. But unfortunately the negative comments often overshadow the good, so seriously people...just keep it to yourself!

Friday, July 8, 2011

For All You Austenites

Yes, I'm blogging at 6:30am which means I'm actually up before 8am. Contain your shock! My father would be proud; he's always harassed me about my night owlish ways. But I digress. I had to share that one of my favorite books Austenland by Shannon Hale is being made into a movie. If you happen to love Jane Austen as I do, you must read Hale's modern take on an Austen-ish tale. Then when the movie comes out, go and see it!

Shannon Hale announced the movie production on her blog Squeetus and you can also read a more official announcement at The Hollywood Reporter. The screenplay is co-written by Shannon Hale and Jerusha Hess (of Napolean Dynamite fame) with Jerusha Hess directing. And Stephenie Meyer will be producing the film. Talk about Mormon girl power!

On a completely different note, we had our first tornado warning, sirens and all, in our new home. It wasn't our first tornado warning experience; our first was at Maija's kindergarten "graduation" (yes, that has to be in parenthesis because kindergarten?) back in May. Her school went on lockdown twice within an hour and a half and there we all were crouched on the floor in an elementary school hallway. Yesterday, we were cleaning the house for my parents' arrival, when the neighborhood sirens went off. We woke the napping babies, grabbed the dog and our two older children and headed for the basement. The poor babies were so disoriented and scared. The worst part though was having no idea what was happening and not being experienced or prepared enough to even know how to find out what was happening. We will be buying a weather alert radio soon.

In the end, my parents' flight from Raleigh, North Carolina was diverted to Albuquerque and redirected back to Denver. They arrived so late that they went straight to their hotel. All that cleaning and they didn't even see the perfectly clean house. You know that within the next hour when my kids wake up, this house will be anything but clean. Sigh. But, at least, they get to see their grandparents today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Tomorrow (actually today since I tend to blog in the middle of the night) my parents arrive for a visit. I'm excited for them to see our new life in Denver. We've been here for almost 3 months now, and I can't wait to share the things I love about Colorado. I'm also glad that I'll get a chance to see them because they are on their way to Utah to prepare for a mission to Finland.

My mother is from Finland and this will be her first time living there again after 47 years. She has visited several times, but now she's returning to her homeland, to Suomi (Finland), to live and I am so happy to see her come full circle. My mother grew up in a small Finnish town the youngest of two children in very humble circumstances. She told stories of living in a two room apartment which consisted of a kitchen and a second room divided by curtains into quasi-bedrooms. There was no indoor plumbing so she had to use an outhouse to answer nature's calls even in the dead of a Finnish winter. You know those stories that parents and grandparents tell of walking uphill both ways in horrible weather? Well, in my mother's case her stories aren't exaggerations used to humble her children. It's just how things were. As a teenager my mother converted to the Mormon church which later prompted her to move to the United States to attend BYU in Utah.

Fast forward 47 years and my mother's life couldn't be more different in mostly positive ways. That's not to say she wouldn't have had just as wonderful of a life in Finland as she does now, but this was her path and now that path is leading her back to her homeland. This will be my parents' third mission but I think this mission will be the most meaningful to my mother. I'm so proud of her for the woman she is, my Finnish mama. She has taught me how to face life's challenges and how to be an unconditionally loving mother to my own children.

Rakastan sinua Mom.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July 2011

After a difficult night - all 4 kids awake half the night (ugh!) - we finally left the house in the late afternoon for a holiday picnic by the lake. Here are some pics -

Click picture to see slideshow

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Kiira

My baby girl just turned one yesterday. I can't believe how fast it went and I have bittersweet feelings knowing that my last baby is almost not a baby anymore. Happy Birthday sweet Kiira!

Friday, July 1, 2011

We Are What We Eat?

Occam's Razor as it's often referred to states that the simplest explanation is usually the right one. So what is more likely? That the increase in obesity in America is due to pollution or air conditioning ( Study Suggests 10 New Obesity Causes) or the fact that Americans are eating 570 calories a day more than they were 30 years ago (The American Diet Then and Now)? I'm no expert but seriously is it that hard to figure out?

After living overseas several times and losing weight each time (without dieting I might add), it is pretty obvious to me that we just eat more and are less active in the United States than other countries. We're all about conveniences (click here for a hilarious video). Of course my husband and his family are living exceptions to the you-are-what-you-eat principle. My husband eats pop tarts for breakfast, hot dogs and soda for lunch and pretty much whatever else he wants. He's right where he should be on the old weight chart. Hmph! Totally unfair!