One of these days, I’m going to learn not to wait so long between updating family blog posts. To my credit, though, I have been working on the family blog during my six months of silence. I’m unveiling, with this post, the new and improved Fisk Family Adoption web site!
Blogging has changed a lot since 2006, when we first started chronicling Arina’s adoption, and the web site that Scott created was just becoming too difficult to maintain (sorry about that virus you got from the web site, MaMa and PaPa Fisk).
Scott wants me to clarify, though, that the wordpress move isn’t because Scott *can’t* handle his own web site, blah-blah-blah, but because he has too much going on, and I’m too impatient to wait for him to make updates. Okay, Scott. Your awesomeness has been noted.
This blog post will be monstrous (as always, it seems), so I’ll tackle the half-year’s events in list-form.
1) July 2012 was a fun-filled month for all the Fisks. While Arina visited her cousins in Texas, Scott and I took Jack to see Thomas the Train. You can tell from the photo, below, that he is a little excited:
We were only able to catch a few photos of the excited face, though. Jack is, in general, a serious little man, and seeing Thomas for the first time was very serious business indeed.
At the end of the month, Scott and I took Arina on her first camping trip: to the Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hills, NC.
Unlike Scott and Arina, I’m not a fan of camping, so I figured if I had to camp, I’d prefer to do so with people like Frank Schaeffer, Jim Wallis, and our favorite: Dr. Roger Ray. And, thank goodness for Roger. Because of an upset at work, Scott was unable to join until Day 2, which meant that I would be the one pitching the tent at 10:00pm.
When Roger met us that night, he asked us if he could help with anything before leaving for his hotel (his idea of camping coincides with mine).
Me (trying to be impressive): “Nope! I can handle it!”
Roger: “Are you sure?”
Arina to Roger, conspiratorially: “She’s going to need help with the tent.”
After I got over my mortification, I was, in fact, very grateful. Good girl, Arina.
In the featured photo, below, Arina poses with author Frank Schaeffer. She made such an impression that he mentioned her in his Huffington Post write-up of the festival: “Wild Goose Heaven Our Answer to Hate.”
When I showed her the article, with Frank’s author photo at the top of the page, she said: “Oh! That’s my friend, Frank.”
3) Because July was such a busy month, we celebrated a low-key Adoption Day with Arina; her “A-day” is July 10th. For her August 19th birthday, though, she had her first spend-the-night guest in the Holly Hill house: her cousin Marley! And, yes: she looked over at her, adoringly, the entire birthday weekend.
Favorite photo from Arina’s birthday? The one, below, in which Scott lights Arina’s birthday cupcakes with a blow torch — because that’s how we roll (i.e. we don’t let a little thing like not being able to find matches stop us).
In other Arina news, 2012 will hence be known as the lollipop year. We are planning a trip to Kazakhstan to visit Arina’s birth family. Originally, I had hoped to travel in September, because it’s Arina’s sister’s birth month. Scott told me I was crazy to think that we could go so soon, and that we should plan for Summer 2013 instead.
I acquiesced (very unlike me, I know) and set about raising money for what I know will be a painfully expensive trip. Arina and I decided our first fundraising project would be lollipops for Ira. Thanks to many wonderful friends (too many to name), we raised around $1500 and would have, perhaps, made more — but I finally decided, after three burns and countless botched batches, that I was “over it.”
My friend, Kara, who wins the award for most orders (seriously: I got checks from her that equaled hundreds of dollars) would ask, with every 10+ order: “Ready for another one, or are you over it?”
Kara is both wonderful and wise in many ways. Below is a photo of one of her many orders:
Thank you, Kara! And all!
The next fundraising project is forthcoming and will not involve me in a kitchen.
4) At the end of September, the Fisk family took off a few days from work and school and drove (yes: drove) to New Hampshire for the fabulous McLeod Williamson wedding.
At the end of the long road to New Hampshire, we found:
Rye Harbor State Park, one of our new favorite spots;
Alec and Michael, Arina’s and Jack’s Godparents, as a newly married couple;
and Aunt Nat, who met us in NH, since she had the Fisk family wedding present, a double-ring wedding quilt that is doubly awesome because it is a handmade Nat-original.
For a fuller account of the festivities, check out my top ten list.
5) For Halloween 2012, Arina decided to be Elphaba from the musical Wicked, which I took her and Marley to see over the summer. She also decided that Jack should be Chistery, her flying monkey. He obliged, because some little boy is crazy about his sister:
6) And, speaking of “little” boys: ours turned 3-years old on November 12th. So, an appropriate photo is one that features a little man rather than a little boy. sniff.
The 3-year old Jack, unlike the 2-year old Jack, is mastering sentences. Rather than “Mommy! Blanket! Mine?” I get the grown-up, clear and clipped version: “I want my blanket. I will get my blanket. And I will get warm.” sniff, again.
Like the 2-year old Jack, the 3-year old Jack *can* but does not *want* to use the “potty.”
And now for some Arina-isms:
1) Arina and I eat vegetarian meals for the majority of the week, but, occasionally, we crave meat. My favorite meat is, shamefully, lamb, and I ordered some one night; my conversation with Arina was as follows:
Arina, several times during my meal: “Poor lamb!”
Me, finally frustrated: “Poor pig!” [pointing to her meatballs]
Arina, horrified: “What? They’re meatballs, not pig!”
Me: “Meatballs ARE pig. Or cow.”
Arina, after a few minutes of sulky silence: “Well, at least they weren’t BABIES.””
2) Scott to Arina: “When I was seven, I would get in trouble sometimes for saying bad words. I appreciate the fact that you don’t do that.”
A. to Scott: “Thanks, Dad. I just say them in my head.””
3) Arina got in trouble at school for pulling up her shirt for her friend’s amusement.
Me, horrified: “Why were you pulling up your shirt?”
A., matter-of-fact: “Because, Mom: boobies are funny.”
Me: “No, they’re not.”
A.: “Well, Chloe laughed.”
Scott’s response, later that night: “”Boobies are funny. But, it’s not polite to flash.”
4) Arina’s response to the happy birthday balloons we sent to her at school, from her brother:
A.: “Mom! I got these balloons — from a teenage BOY!”
Me: “Look at the card, Arina. It says they’re from Jack.”
A.: “But a teenage boy brought them to me. His name must be Jack.”
Me: “They’re from your brother, Arina. The teenager just delivered them.”
A.: “Well, that’s not as fun.””
5) Me to Arina: “So, what’s your favorite thing about your new friend, Chloe?”
A.: “She lets me be the boy when we play.”
6) “Me to Arina: “How was your day?”
A.: “GREAT — I only had to run one lap, which meant I had TWENTY MINUTES of recess!”
7) Arina has been admiring the swan-shaped soup tureen Mom gave me; it’s the centerpiece on our dining room table.
A. to Mom: “I’m going to get that one day, when Mom goes into the nursing home.”
Mom: “Arina! You’d put your mother in the nursing home?”
A., cheerily: “Well, everyone ends up there at some point.”
8) A. was in “time out” when I picked her up from school. Offense: spitting water from her water bottle while atop the playground equipment. Her defense: It was Harley’s idea, not hers.
A.: “Harley said it would be funny.”
Me: “I don’t care. You shouldn’t have done it. If Harley wanted you to tease someone, would you?”
A.: “No. But we weren’t teasing anyone.”
Me: “How about the people you squirted with water?”
A.: “They thought it was funny too.”
9) Wellness checks for the Fisk girls. I went first, and A. was intimidated by the band-aid on my arm, after a blood-draw.
A: “Mom, did that hurt?”
Me: “A little.”
A., after a pause: “You know that ‘a little’ to an adult is ‘a lot’ to a kid, right?”
10) Arina to Mom: “What’s a conscience, Nana?”
Mom: “It’s something inside you that tells you what’s right and what’s wrong. And it makes you feel bad when you do something wrong.”
A.: “Huh. I don’t have one of those.”
Mom: “Yes you do.”
A.: “Mine must vacation a lot.”
Mom: “It should stay home more.”
11) Completely lost it, after seeing the following written on Arina’s newly painted white door, in black ink:
“Out of my room! Just Jack! Serios!”
12) Arina: “Hey, Mom — you’re okay as long as I pass, right?”
Me: “I guess so. Why?”
A.: “Because I’ll try hard — but not too hard.”
1) Scott realized that Jack did not know his body parts and decided to teach him.
Scott, while changing Jack’s very dirty diaper: “That’s your PENIS, Jack. Now, what’s that?”
Jack: “My stink.”
Understandable confusion, I suppose, when the first thing we say when we take off his diaper is so often: “Whew! Stink!”
I asked Jack where his “stink” is. He pointed to his diaper and said, “It’s hiding.”
2) Jack dumped a bag of tortilla crumbs on the rug.
Me: “Jack! You made a mess!”
Jack, grinning: “Puppy eat it!”
Me, letting in Emma, Mr. Knightley and Morven: “Good idea.”
3) Jack has anxiety, which is currently centered around his penis. (Apparently, he was running around outside naked at Nana’s house when he noticed a bug on his penis. Freak out ensued).
Now, discomfort of any kind becomes “I HAVE A BUG IN MY PENIS!” Hours in the car — with Jack screaming and crying about the bug in his penis.
4) Jack was already irritated with me for forgetting to bring his favorite blanket from Aunt Nat on our long road trip. He was even more irritated, when I put him in the car, and it was chilly and there are no blankets.
Jack: “It’s COLD. I need a TOWEL!”
5) Jack’s new favorite place: Toys R Us, where we stopped for a bathroom break.
Jack, to Scott (who was carrying him in the store): “Turn around Dad!”
Scott: “What do you want, Jack?”
Jack: “Lots of stuff.”
6) Jack: “I want to watch my Chugging-train movie.”
Me: “No, Jack. Daddy and I are going to watch the presidential debate.”
Jack: “I DON’T WANT IT! I DON’T WANT PRESI-BATE!”