internet marketing The Big Sis Diaries: March 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My First Responsibility As Baby E's Big Sister

My mom felt a little guilty that she did some more baby clothes shopping while I was in school (she KNOWS how much I love picking out clothes...whenever I was in the Gap shopping for myself- and this was even before we decided to adopt- I'd make a stop in the baby section to ooh and aah at the little frilly pink dresses.) As she should be. So she promised, to make up for it, that I was allowed to pick a beach ensemble for her, with sunglasses, sandals, a beach hat, cover-up, and of course, a bathing suit.

I haven't gotten a chance to choose a set yet, but here are my top picks:


(Hanna Andersson)

(Baby Gap)


Sorry boys, but I have to admit: Shopping for girls is WAY more fun than shopping for boys! Proof? Just answer this question: Are you willing to wear pink or flowers or dresses? Didn't think so.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Like My New Look?

I figured that a change in my blog design had to match my changing lifestyle. Sara over at did it- what do you think??

A commentor on my last post asked what "business" I keep referring to. I probably should be more specific! Here is a week in review to give you an idea on what I've been up to:
  • Wednesday, March 21st: After school and a band lesson, I went to the Indoor Track Banquet to close off the season. I was awarded "Most Devoted" which I thought was funny since I missed several practices due to other obligations; I guess the coach didn't notice????
  • Thursday, March 22nd: Received baby E's referral!!!! After taking a math quiz (which I did surprisingly well on) and being wrapped up in other high school distractions, I almost forgot that we were waiting to be matched to a different child (this happened frequently throughout the waiting for referral time period.) After band, I saw that I had one new voicemail from my mom, and I stood in the middle of the hall, listening to the message. After telling half the school, I called my mom back for details, thus being late for French- but I didn't care! After enduring my Peervention (which I wrote about here: training after school, very impatiently as I wanted to rush home to see pictures of my new baby sis, I did just that- and boy was she cute!!
  • Friday, March 23rd: I updated all of my friends and teachers at school on the newest member of our family. I then went home, where I received word that the Sweet Dreams Project Drive was going on very successfully at Kristian's elementary school (I plan to pick up and go through pajamas on Friday; I believe the drive ended today.) I also e-mailed the local paper to see if they were interested in doing a story on my project, and they said yes!! They should be getting back to me any day now.
  • Saturday, March 24th: Went to the mall with my family to pick out baby clothes. Always a fun project, especially for a girl who loves to put together her own outfits and wants her little sister to be the best-dressed baby around! I then went to a sleepover party, which was, needless to say, very fun and crazy. Is it no surprise that I got 4 1/2 hours of sleep, especially when many of the girls were pulling all-nighters??
  • Sunday, March 25th: After coming home from the party, drove with my mom to MA, where I still have my orthodontist appointments. I rested and had discussions over possible baby names on the way there.
  • Monday, March 26th: Since there was a teacher workshop through my town's school district today while my old town had school, I went, for a few hours, to the high school I would have gone to if I still lived there. It was funny to see strange looks from people who weren't my friends but were confused about why I was there! I then had my orthodontist appointment, and drove home, once again discussing names on the way back. Once home, I finished homework, including a history project on immigration in which I interviewed my dad about his immigration experience.
  • Tuesday, March 27th: Had a relatively normal day (aside from the abnormal, GORGEOUS 75 degree weather!) at school and then went to my math tutor. I then studied hard for the math test I had today!
  • Wednesday, March 28th: Had my math test (which was not too difficult!) After school, I came home to do homework and update my blog.

This week was a relatively normal one, busy-wise. But tons of upcoming events will be sure to keep my head spinning:

  • Several Peervention, Bon Ami, International Club, and OpSmile meetings
  • Piles of homework/essays/tests that I know will be soon coming my way, as the marking period ends next week
  • Picking up and going through all pajamas on Friday
  • Cleaning/organizing EVERYTHING in my room- since I might not have so much time to do that soon!
  • Begin taping video documenting my family's journey to prepare for and adopt baby E, which I will use for the awareness portion of The Sweet Dreams project next year
  • Begin journal documenting the same thing, which I will use for myself to look back on and to maybe- hopefully- publish someday
  • Pack and prepare for my family's skiing trip over Easter
  • Help my mom get the house ready when friends visit over spring break in April
  • Babyproof the house
  • Buy more clothes and toys
  • Pick a name!
  • And tons more baby-preparing tasks that we haven't even begun yet (I feel tired just looking at the nursery and seeing nothing but laundry...we need to get a move on!)
  • Update this blog on everything that's happening!

So hopefully, that will give you an idea of what's keeping me occupied. But don't worry- more info on the goings-on will keep coming, since now I have MUCH to write about!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Busy, busy, busy!

I am so thrilled to be able to tell people, with complete certainty, that I have a baby sister!!!! I want so badly to share pictures of her sweet little face, but I'll give you a written peek until our agency gives us the okay to post them: she has the most ENORMOUS brown eyes, a sweet little smile (my mom says she looks like she'll be a happy, giggly baby. Like her big sister!), and although her legs are very skinny, we know that making her gain weight *probably* won't be too big of an issue. She's bald because of a ringworm infection she had (which has since cleared up), but we think that makes her look even sweeter!

There is a debate among adopters whether the wait for referral or wait to travel is more difficult. Given that we were almost sure it was a boy, we didn't have many girl nursery themes or names picked out. Therefore, the list of what we- me included!- have to do is endless, and I'm sure we can easily fill in two or three months of getting ready! Here is a checklist sample for wgar we have to do prior to bringing home baby E:

- Buy tons of PINK clothes: half-check! (we picked out a handful of ADORABLE girly outfits, but we do have a ways to go! )
-Design/put together nursery: have hardly touched this one yet, except for picking out possible wallpaper designs
-Baby-proofing the house: eesh! We better get on this one!
- Going through old toys and buying new ones: we don't have many new ones- but I KNOW that one won't be a problem!! My brothers and I are set for the job...
-Contact local newspaper to see if they're interested in featuring a story about my Sweet Dreams Project (which is underway! More on this later) and our adoption: check!!!! THEY SAID THAT THEY DEFINETELY WERE! Much more on this later too!!!!
-And tons more!!!!

I assure you that despite my business (this in addition to schoolwork, etc.) I will be sure to post much more often! I have so much to say to report on, and I'll be so excited to go on and on about it...I'm still not totally grasping the concept...WE'RE BRINGING A BABY GIRL- MY SISTER- HOME!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Adoption Update...Finally!!!!

I've been going crazy, wanting to post more about our referral...but there were some situations we really needed to work out, and now we finally have. Unfortunately, there were some complications, and as a result we had to turn down our referral. We were of course sad for the little girl's sake, and upset that we couldn't adopt her. But there is some good news...

CHSFS called today to match us with a DIFFERENT little girl!! Coincidentally, she's the exact same age as the other child- 14 mos (DOB Jan. 16th.) She seems healthy, though very skinny (but we can fix that ;-)) And of course, she's a cutie!! The best part is that I still have a little sister after all! :-)

The referral story, very weirdly, was the exact same as before. It was a Thursday, same time of day, I was in same class at school...same reactions by my friends. Of course, the important thing is that my family will be bringing a little girl home, and hopefully very soon! I will be sure to post pictures as soon as our agency gives the okay- and until then, I'll be going all out, fixing up the nursery and buying little clothes and toys!!!!

I'm a big sis- AGAIN!

*Update (3/23): We officially accepted our referral! The pediatrician said our little munchkin looks healthy and good to go. Yippee! I can't wait to share pictures!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Many of you I'm sure have seen...

...the Oprah Winfrey special "Building A Dream" about her establishment of a top-end boarding school for girls in South Africa. If you didn't, you should! I have seen the whole thing twice and many parts of it many more times, and it never fails to move me. What Oprah has done is absolutely remarkable- it's so uplifting to see a celebrity use her wealth in such a phenomenal way- but listening to what the girls have been through and how they can go through so much pain and come out so positive and full of life is truly inspiring. That is why, when a girl in my French class brought it up, I went to my teacher and asked if she wanted to borrow the video we had of it to show to the class (okay, it wasn't TOTALLY a way to get out of classwork- though that was a bonus.) It tied somewhat into the curriculum, but I thought that it was important to share this truly inspiring special with the kids in my grade, since frankly, we don't get much exposure to extreme hardship in our town.

We watched the video this week, and I could see some kids close to tears. Of course, and I include myself in this generalization, it's hard for high schoolers to think about many other people- let alone anyone outside of our families or social groups- when there is so much pressure to perform well in academics, sports, etc., while maintaining a relatively normal life. It's hard to focus on everything pertaining to ourselves sometimes, even, especially when it's necessary for getting into college, etc. But I was really happy to see how this special touched so many other kids my age, and I hope we all will take the opportunity someday to be a little less self-centered. And hey, volunteering and giving back to the world doesn't look bad on college applications, either ;-).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reprimanding the World of Negative Adoption Comments, One Big Company at a Time

Everyone who is adopting/has adopted knows that there are just some things you can't say to someone who is adopting/has adopted. However, a lot of the world generally does not understand the line drawn between "okay" and "not okay." Hallmark recently issued a radio ad in which they included a phrase about why someone would choose adoption. Their wording was, at best, not great. While my family is not usually too touchy about this type of thing, my mom felt that on behalf of adopters everywhere, she should let Hallmark know that what they said on their commercial could potentially be offensive to adopters- and adoptees- and that they really should be careful about what they broadcast on the radio and who their audience is.

Here is her e-mail:

Dear Hallmark:

I must object to the wording used in one of your radio ads. I believe the piece is meant to promote a line of cards that suit "today's" lifestyle and address situations which are less traditional than, say, birthdays and anniversaries.

In the ad, you have a woman speaking a line about adoption, saying something like: "We couldn't have one our own, so when that didn't work, we decided to adopt." I have two problems with this. First, an adopted child is, indeed, one's own, and second, this phrasing makes a choice for adoption seem second best.

While many people do adopt as a result of infertility, I'm not sure many adoptive parents would explain their situation the way you have in the ad, namely, "when that didn't work out...." I wouldn't want my adopted child to hear that phrase as an explanation of how she became a member of our family! And, again, our adopted child is definitely one of our own!!


Mother to three bio children and one adopted child (No fertility problems involved!)

And they replied with:

Thank you for letting us know how you feel about the adoption comment you recently heard in one of our radio commercials for our new line of Journey cards. Your comments have caused us to revisit that ad and as a result we have pulled it from the series of commercials. It is never our intent to offend anyone and we appreciate your bringing this perspective to our attention. We hope that you will visit a Gold Crown store to see the actual cards which we hope you will find helpful in encouraging others.We appreciate your taking the time to let us know your feelings.
Hallmark Consumer Care

We were shocked and thrilled by the fact that Hallmark decided to pull the bad ad from their radio commercial series! Of course, that's how it should be, but it's rare that such a large company takes to heart customer complaints and acts on them. As a result, we've decided NOT to boycott Halmark, as we originally had planned ;-)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

100 Things About Me Part 2

This is my 100th post, so you know what that means...the second half of my 100 fabulously interesting, unknown-to-the-public-until-now things about me!!

51. I only wear high-heeled or platform shoes; I don't want to come to terms with the fact that I'm so small!
52. My great-great-great uncle on my mom's side is Clarence Darrow (the prosecution lawyer from the Scopes Monkey trial; they based Henry Drummond on him in the book and movie "Inherit the Wind")
53. My grandmother on my dad's side's house was taken over by Nazis in World War II. They got it back some years later, and although everything was broken and in disarray, my grandparents still live there today- my dad and aunt were raised in that house and it's where we stay when we go to Norway. Interestingly, the basement portion used to be a midwife hospital run by my great-grandmother- the rooms are small and square and there are many of them, and "my room" still has the number 6 on it.
54. When I was little, I had the funny habit of making up a new name for myself every day and forcing everyone to call me by that name; I got mad if people refused to do it. They were elaborately girly names like Clarabella or Annalina. One day, in pre-school, I couldn't come up with a name so I took the name of my pre-school, Palfrey, and added an "ina", thus naming myself, for the day, the gorgeous name of Palfrina.
55. I've never had a single best friend for more than a year. I'm not the "best friend" type; I love having just a lot of good friends.
56. In pre-school, I had a friend who thought my name was literally OhSusanna (as in the song)
57. I'm a nail-biter- I know, I know, not a good habit! I have the temporary cure of getting manicures, but once the nail polish rubs off, I'm back to biting
58. The four kids in my family (counting the new one coming) were born in three different continents; I was born in Norway, Kristian and Carsten were born in the U.S., and the youngest, of course, was born in Ethiopia
59. I have blue eyes
60. I saw Al Gore in Savannah, GA when he was running for president. I was nine and the only kid in the crowd, and Tipper Gore waved at me!
61. I cook/bake things when I'm bored
62. My parents considered naming me: Anna, Julia, and Madeline
63. My favorite board game is Life
64. I was mentioned in the Boston Globe when my dad took me to a Women's World Cup soccer game when I was seven. However, they spelled my last name wrong and something I said they quoted my dad as saying! Just shows how the media can skew things...
65. Other than Kenya (which was, so far and by far, the most amazing experience ever- I challenge Ethiopia to top it. Okay, it probably will) some other top destinations I've visited are Prague and Amsterdam
66. I have a weird habit of, when I go to other countries, instead of learning common phrases like hello, thank you, etc., picking up really odd ones. For example, I can say "Step inside please" in German, "pickpocket" (which I probably picked up since it sounds funny- zakenroller) and "store" (that's funny too- winkle) in Dutch, and of course, "I've been robbed" in Swahili. Wonder what I'll learn in Amharic????
67. My friends call me Susy (but I don't like it when adults, other than my parents, call me this- don't ask me why)
68. I love, love, love the city- New York City is only about an hour's drive away from us, and if I could, I'd go there every weekend (mark my words, I'm going to live there someday!)
69. I have very poor blood circulation in my fingers and toes. My hands and feet are always freezing.
70. My fingers and toes are, however, very long. Don't ask me how- they're the only "long" parts of my body (as I've mentioned before, I'm very petite!)
71. I cannot believe I've never gone to a Broadway play, given that we live so close and I love musicals. However, my mom owes me, since I chose to go see one with her in lieu of a birthday party last year. I'd love to see "Wicked"," Hairspray", or "The Color Purple".
72. I've had braces for four years. It was only supposed to be two. They promised I'd get them off later this year, but at this rate, I don't know if I believe them.
73. I fed a giraffe in Kenya, and its tongue was blue and very rough. At first I was doing it wrong and it licked my whole arm- not the most lovely experience!
74. I particularly like pudding; it's pretty much the only sweet thing I don't like
75. I'm obsessed with the show "Friends." So is one of my best friends. Once, we jointly threw a "Friends" party, where we watched several episodes and played a "Friends" trivia game
76. I can't wink, whistle, or snap my fingers
77. I run on the treadmill almost every night; I like to run, but I hate races
78. In the chocolate vs. vanilla debate, I choose vanilla hands down
79. I once swallowed a loose tooth. I also almost threw one away because I thought it was a nut (I was eating ice cream with nuts) and lost one when I got hit in the mouth with a ball playing four-square
80. I'm a citizen of both Norway and the U.S., which I think is cool, but my younger sibling will probably be a citizen of THREE countries- Norway, the U.S., and Ethiopia! Talk about being worldly!
81. I have really weird patterns. Really, they're weird. For example, I wear jeans every other day and in the in-between days I wear other pants like corduroys or khakis. Also, when I'm measuring out food servings, like pretzels or pieces of fruit, it has to be a multiple of four, like four, eight, or twelve. I don't know why I do this, but in ways they're beneficial, because it keeps me from leaving a pair of pants hanging unworn in my closet or from overeating.
82. My least favorite, and worst, class in school is math (word of advice for pre-high school readers: never, ever take honors algebra- unless you're prepared to be confused out of your mind or, of course, you're a math prodigy)
83. Proof of my extreme disgust for math: I'm doing this instead of studying for my algebra test tomorrow (okay, I'm only kind of kidding)
84. I'm very into memoirs- one of my favorites is "The Color of Water" (go read it!)
85. I also love biography-type movies ("Walk the Line", "Dreamgirls", "Marie Antoinette")
86. I've been e-mailing back and forth with Melissa Fay Greene- my English teacher thinks it's so cool that I'm corresponding with a famous author!
87. I love going to the movies; I'd go every weekend if I could
88. I'm going through a John Hughes movie phase- I love "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club"!
89. Given the choice, I'd definetely rather be too hot than too cold. I like my showers almost scaldingly hot.
90. I love to ski. Everyone in my family has to or else my dad will get mad (a true Norwegian!)
91. I talk A LOT. People tell me this all the time. One of the best compliments I got from a friend was, "At first glance you look like such a sweet, quiet girl, but you really never shut up."
92. As much as my family travels, I've never been to Disney World
93. I also love very classic movies- I never get tired of watching "It's A Wonderful Life"!
94. I'm not very careful about where I'm going. I must trip at least once a day.
95. I want to have a very mixed-race family when I grow up. Ideally, I'd like one bio kid, one little girl from China, and of course, a little boy or girl from Ethiopia (no, my husband doesn't get a say in any of this.)
96. If I had to live on one food for a week, it would probably be pizza. Of course after that week I'd go on a diet ;-)
97. My favorite "childhood" movies (if you can call them that, given that I'm only 15) are "The Lion King" (which features Africa, my favorite!), "A Litte Princess", and "The Parent Trap" (the newer one)
98. My favorite season is summer
99. I watched the Oprah special about the academy for girls she opened in South Africa, and I was *almost* moved to tears. What she has done has been my dream. Given that I'm going to be a teacher and definetely spend some time teaching kids in Africa through the Peace Corps, I think that I should open a school for girls in Ethiopia someday, and maybe one in Kenya too (given I have the money, of course!!!!) Maybe I should call on Oprah for help????
100. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I could probably make the list go on for miles- but I don't want to bore you! ;-)

Friday, March 02, 2007

I can't resist...

It's killing me that I have no more news to report on our referral (apparently the internet AND phone systems are down in Ethiopia...grrr.) Therefore, I've decided to give an update on what ELSE is going on in our household.

A nasty cold has been circulating through my it's my turn to have it. Combine that with an equally hideous fall down the stairs yesterday (from the top) leaving me as bruised as a banana, and it's not too hard to see that I'm not feeling my best. However, I- and the rest of my family- are otherwise doing well.

Last week was our February break from school. We took a nice, three-day trip to Massachusetts to visit old friends, and overall it was very relaxing. About half the kids at my school came back tanned, and although I was admittedly jealous, I was also reminded that my family does have a very big trip coming up. I'm sooo excited already, but I thought that to fuel this excitement, I would love to read about other people's trips to Ethiopia. So, I now pose the question: if you went to Ethiopia at some point to pick up an adopted child (or otherwise) what was your most memorable experience? I can't wait to hear responses!!!!

*Question for BlogSpot bloggers (if you don't mind): Could anyone please tell me where I can design my own (preferably free) template for this blog? Thanks in advance!*

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Some of you may be wondering...

what's going on with us. There are some details about our referral that we have to look into before we move forward, and I promise to post more when we hear more.

Have a good weekend!

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