Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Family Band


We got Rock Band and the associated drum kit, guitar, and (a borrowed) microphone, and pretty much everyone is addicted.  The extended family spent a significant amount of time last weekend playing at Dillon’s birthday party (thank goodness I made a sign up sheet), and I haven’t had that much fun watching people play a video game since like, ever.  The kids are getting pretty decent at it, too.  Our immediate family played for a while tonight before Charles left to go to a party at a friend’s house.

the family band

"Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go - oh - oh..."

Then I put the kids to bed, created my own band, “The Nerdettes,” populated by Buffy “the Vampire Slayer” Summers, Temperance “Bones” Brennan,  Veronica Mars, and Professor Sheldon Cooper.  I know, it isn’t super original to use TV characters, but it is late, and I just wanted to play video games.  So then I quietly played through two setlists and actually am getting pretty good at beginner easy guitar.  Charles has moved up to medium, and while I am pretty much never in life going to beat him at a video game (unless, I guess, we play chess on an iPad or something), I would really like to be able to hold my own a little bit.  I decided not to practice the drums though since I was pretty sure that might wake up the kids.  Anyway, I imagine I’ll be wasting a bit more time on this in the future…

Naper Historic Settlement


Last week, the family drove a couple of hours for a little daytrip to the Naper Historic Settlement. I already explained why we had free tickets to these places, and it was kind of a good thing in this case- the settlement is under construction right now and they tried to suggest we come back after October 2011.  I had known about the construction in advance and that a bunch of stuff was closed, so we forged ahead.Kids and tour guide

We started at the Martin Mitchell Mansion and the kids got really into the tour, led by a very knowledgeable guide dressed in period costume.  They tell the story of the house as a story of a family, and even make you do a little sleuthing “what was this item used for…” etc.

After the tour, they took us to a little chapel, and the pre-emption house, which is basically a museum.  On the whole, we spent a couple of hours there and had a really nice time.  There is a whole village there, but due to the construction the paths were inaccessible.  It worked out fine, because we were starving by that time and we headed to find some food.  Basically, we ate at the first place we found and had a very nice lunch, and on our way back, we spent some time on Naperville’s art walk on the river.   The kids loved this dandelion fountain:

Dandelion Fountain

Dandelion Fountain

And then, even though neither of them knew who Dick Tracy was, they both posed with him for a super-sweet picture:

Dick Tracy statue

Dick Tracy statue

All in all, a lovely day.



When we traveled to Ethiopia to adopt Rose, I thought about the decision we made not to bring Dillon with us, and I know that was absolutely the right decision for many reasons.  But while we were there, I thought about when I would want to bring the kids back to Ethiopia, because there was a thirteen-year-old adoptee in the group we traveled with when we adopted Rose.  And in my mind and heart, I have felt like the appropriate time to go would be when Rose was 9 or 10.

So that is two or three years from now.  Really, right around the corner when you think about it.  Time to start saving, researching, and thinking about what we would want to do.  I am thinking a two-week trip with a week in Italy and a week in Ethiopia (most flights have to stop in Rome anyway, and it would give a nice break on the way out or back rather than the 30-hour stretch of travel we did both ways last time).   Also, then we could see a little of my heritage.

So think about if you want to join us for the Ethiopian Tour during the summer of 2014.  And let me know.  Italian or Amharic speakers very welcome.

For a great article about visiting a birth country, check out Adoptive Families’ Complete Guide to Heritage Travel.

Magic Trick


Today was a milestone. Dillon won a magic trick kit from the Harry Potter party (for guessing the jellybeans using an elaborate system that involved counting the visible beans on one side and squaring the result and dividing by another number). So he asked if he could play with it while I was making dinner tonight.  I said that he could, and he proceed to read all the directions and practice some tricks with Rose.  Right before we sat down to eat dinner, he wanted to show me a trick.

It was a variation of a mind-reader trick where you pick one image of a cube with a variety of images on it, put the cube in a box, and the magician “reads your mind” and tells you what you chose.  And he did it flawlessly, he had a little patter going with the eye contact and the misdirection and everything.  I honestly wasn’t 100% sure how he did it.   This is a milestone because, if you have ever had a child try to show you a magic trick, you know you can usually see exactly what is going on, and mostly just pretend you can’t and are surprised.

Which is what I did when Rose performed the trick later, and showed me exactly how everything worked…  Though D and I shared a wink as we humored her a little bit.