Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Turo loves playing games. Candyland, Memory, Sorry, High Ho Cherry O, Ants in the Pants, Break the Ice, even the Cat in the Hat has a game (that could easily be turned into a drinking game - not with children, of course). And my mom taught him how to play War but she calls it "Who Has the Highest?" Love her for not introducing the word War to my kiddo.

Games are good for teaching colors, counting, taking turns, being a good sport and cheating. After a few times playing, he figured out how to stack the deck in Candyland. So then we had to have a talk about why that wasn't okay and how the game isn't as fun for everyone when you cheat. So many teachable moments.


Another one of my 2012 resolutions is to learn more about/get involved in Michigan politics. I feel that I am sadly under-informed about the issues facing our state and it feels rather overwhelming to try to figure it all out. Back in 2011 I attended a couple of Michigan based democratic party political events. It's hard to be new to these sorts of gatherings. People all seem to know each other and have a strong background in the issues. I worry about sounding stupid or not knowing what is going on, but I figure I can't learn much sitting at home.

To kick off my political education, I read former governor Jennifer Granholm's book on her time in office. And you really do need wine and chocolate while reading about the rapid economic decline of your state.

Then Turo and I watched the State of the State address. (Okay, Turo watched Caillou on the iPad) I even took notes. Now I have a list of things I need to learn more about. This includes - emergency financial managers, the second bridge to Canada, how the new business tax will work & what is going on in education.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pantry project

One of my goals for 2012 is to buy food that is less processed and requires less packaging. So, I found this great bulk food store and decided to try it out.

I gathered up all my empty containers

Bought a ton of surprisingly affordable items

And have been attempting to make things like veggie burgers.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

College town

I love sharing a city with a major university. So far this month we have

cheered on the Women's basketball team

visited the art museum

rooted for the Maize and Blue at a Men's Indoor track and field meet

and attended a MLK day concert
(this photo is actually from Turo's first concert at Hill Auditorium a couple years ago but I wanted to include a photo to go with theme of the post)

At the MLK performance, before Turo decided he had enough of the singing, speaking and modern dancing, we did hear Aaron Dworkin, a UM grad & MacArthur Fellow, who founded a non-profit to help youth of color access classical music. Oh, and he's adopted. And has a book called Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee's Journey to Leadership - it's on my list. Am I the only adoptive mama who gets dorkly excited when really awesome people have adoption stories?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ethiopian Christmas

We visited our local Ethiopian restaurant to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas. Turo loves injera!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Turo turns 4

We celebrated Turo's 4th birthday at the beginning of January.

Cake prep

Uh, oh, this isn't looking so great.

More presents (a post-Christmas birthday is a bit under and overwhelming at the same time.)


Thursday, January 19, 2012


My sister lives in Austria. The last time we saw her Turo wasn't even two yet. We Skype, but that's not the same as an actual, in person visit. So, while she was in the States over Christmas (her parents -my dad and stepmom-live in Colorado), she flew in to see us for a few days. It was lovely.

Turo loves his Aunt Katie and wants to know when we'll be going to Vienna to see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Auntie Jess was in town to see her family and us for two weeks. We love Jess. It was so nice having her here. She adores Turo and he feels the same about her.

Games were played.

Special cookies were baked.

Grandma was called upon to have a special weekend with Turo, so we could have girlfriend time. We went out with Jose for New Year's Eve.

Made resolutions while drinking coffee in our jammies.

I've known Jess since I was 19. We've navigated adulthood together. She knows the dreams of my heart. She is currently job searching for social work jobs in Chicago. Then she'd only be four hours away. By car. I can't even begin to explain how happy that would make me (and Turo).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


On Christmas Eve Turo Skyped with Santa. I had no idea Santa sounded just like my dad.

Turo gives Daddy the gift he made at preschool.

Great Grandma tries out the new electronic drums.

Time to head out on our third annual family Christmas night outing to look at lights until Turo falls asleep and then getting Chinese take-out. This might be one of my favorite traditions we've established as a family.

(But no flying trapeze. Maybe next year.)

Monday, January 16, 2012


When you can't go outside, move the fun indoors.

Some more baking, with sprinkles. Not sure why he has his shirt off here again. Apparently it is hot in our kitchen?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three years: Referral anniversary

Three years ago I woke up for the last time without being a mother. Without knowing what my son looked like. It's funny how clear certain memories are of our referral day. The way my heart pounded as we waited to learn about our future child. Feeling the strong need to go to the church across the street from Jose's office afterwards. The moment seemed so important that I wanted to be in a sacred space. Driving home and accidentally getting into the HOV lane and wondering if I could get out of a ticket if I explained that I had just seen my son's face for the first time. Sitting at the dining room table and calling the important people in my life to tell them the news. Having to readjust my expectations from parenting a baby to parenting a toddler.

It was a big day. And my heart has never been the same.

Dad & Alison Visit

The first weekend of December my dad and stepmom came for a visit. We had a great time hanging out in Ann Arbor and doing holiday stuff.

We made cookies

And made sure to document every moment.

Grandpa even taught Turo how to Tebow (they're from Denver). Am the only one who didn't have a clue that this was a thing?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas

Turo holds up his first book of Christmas. And each night we read a new book as a way to count down to Christmas.

Up until a few days before Christmas Turo kept telling people he didn't know what he wanted. Then one day he busted out that he wanted a flying trapeze. Seriously. Where does he come up with this stuff?

Friday, January 13, 2012


We hosted a small Thanksiving dinner for my mom and grandma.

Turo helps with the preparation.

The table is set.

I feel like I'm just starting to get the hang of cooking and baking. I rarely make something incredible. Usually it is at least edible (sometimes not even that - the Christmas roast was a mess). But this chocolate pie was amazing. Like I wanted to eat the whole thing by myself and then lick the plate amazing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Holiday Season: A Recap - Tesfa Art Aid International Fundraiser

So, my mom asked me tonight if I was going to blog again. I have many posts swirling about but when I sit down to write, nothing sounds that interesting. So, if you are looking for some lovely writing, check out the list of blogs to the left. You'll find some good stuff.

Over here, I'm going to share some photos of our November, December and start of 2012. We've had a lovely last couple of months.

Back in November, my cousin and I went to a fundraiser for Art Aid International. This program is run through the Tesfa Foundation (the one where the bracelets are sponsoring a student) and brings art to children in Ethiopia. I bought this painting of little Ethiopian children handprints for the playroom. It was a great cause to support, and I had a blast hanging out with my cousin.