Monday, December 14, 2009

Jingle Bells

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fun in the Snow

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No Special Treatment

When we adopted Annalea in 2008, Armenian requirements for adoption stated that the adoptive family have some Armenian heritage on at least one side of the family. This was fair, I thought, considering how few children are available for adoption in this small country.

About a year ago, this rule went by the wayside. The claim is that Hague rules require this to prevent discrimination. Now anyone of any ethnicity can adopt here. I think that is a good change, with one exception. Armenians do not get preference.

I have some questions about this.

China is a Hague country. They give preference to people with Chinese heritage. Why can't Armenia?

Why is one agency requiring Armenian heritage and the other not?

Why was something that was so important before 2008, suddenly become not important at all?

I am sure this will anger some. It is already a heated discussion on the Armenian Adoption Yahoo list serve.

But darn it!!!! This is a very small country where the wait for a referral was already 1 to 1.5 years. Now you can expect to wait 3 years or more. And, yes, if you are Armenian, go to the end of the line.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Annalea's Sharpie Artwork

Friday, October 9, 2009

Annalea Dances

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Annalea

Annalea had her 2nd birthday celebration this weekend. Should we be amazed that she blew the candles out herself?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tomato Hog Meets His Match

Kevin chases an unwelcome visitor in our tomato garden.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ryan Performs for Blue Belt Graduation

Ryan performs purple belt form during his graduation to blue belt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rocking Out

Annalea obviously likes this activity.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kabob Delight

Annalea's taste of shish kabob!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ryan's First Piano Recital

Yesterday Ryan performed in front of an audience of about 50 people during his first recital. Thought you might enjoy his Ryan said, "I messed up on Chimes," but I think he handled it very well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cute Clips

Deck Update

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Work has Begun

on our new deck!!! This a project that we have been thinking about for a while, and we waited until our old deck was literally coming apart. Our plans include a large stone planter and an arbor with ceiling fans and low voltage lighting. Some might think of this as going overboard....but Kevin insisted on the fans (as a way of keeping cool and keeping bugs away). So it mushroomed from there.

So let me share with you some visuals of our progress to date.

There used to be a rickety old deck here:

James digs the first hole for the footings:

The lumber for the framing arrives:

Framing is almost complete:

A large stone planter will be built in the foreground (where the wood scraps are laying):

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Annalea and Katie Moments

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ryan's Big Day

Today Ryan made his First Communion. It was a wonderful day. Uncles and aunts traveled many miles to witness this momentous event.

Ryan sitting in his seat after mass:

A rare family photo:

Our handsome boy:

Ryan with his Godparents, Aunt Mary and Uncle Al:

A great outting with a great friend

My friend and neighbor Tammi and I took the girls for a walk along the Potomac River the other day. It was a beautiful day! Some photos from the day:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Photos Worth Sharing

During a walk on the tow path along the Potomac River, Annalea and I spotted this family of geese:

Ryan and Annalea enjoy swinging together at our neighborhood playground:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bubble Bath

This has to be a good sign...

And I thought I was the multi-tasker in the family

Kevin manages to get alot accomplished while I go to my Saturday morning pilates reformer class...babysitting, exercise, and mind enrichment.

I just love this

Ryan's spring school photo....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Now Turkey wants sympathy...How dare they!!!

April 24 was the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Armenians around the world gather to remember their forebears who suffered and died or who survivied the planned and systematic attempt of the Turkish Government to exterminate the Armenians in 1915.

Obama made a statement as all presidents do. Obama probably did the best he could. He said his views have not changed from his previous statements in which he said it was "genocide." However he did not utter that word as most had expected. I am sure all of his advisors told him not to, but we all know it is in his heart.

I guess the Turks know that too, because they are ANGRY!!! That makes me feel somewhat vindicated because they know that Obama considers what the Ottamans did GENOCIDE. He just can't say the word because we can't lose our bases there.

Below is an excerpt of Obama's statement:

"Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people.

"History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible events of 1915 remind us of the dark prospect of man’s inhumanity to man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of reconciliation. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts"

BUT, now the Turks are demanding that THEY be recognized too. An excerpt from an AP article on Turkey's reaction:

Turkey's president said Saturday that President Barack Obama failed to honor Turks slain by Armenians in a message remembering the dead in massacres nearly a century ago.

Obama on Friday refrained from branding the WWI-era massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey a "genocide," and instead referred to the killings that began in 1915 as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."

The phrasing of Obama's statement attracted heightened scrutiny, as using the "genocide" label could have angered U.S. ally Turkey and possibly disturbed reconciliation talks between Turkey and Armenia.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, however, that Obama should also have expressed sympathy toward the "hundreds of thousands of Turks and Muslims" killed around the same period, according to comments reported by the state-run Anatolia news agency.

"Everyone's pain must be shared," Gul reportedly said outside a meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria. "It is not possible for politicians, for statesmen to make decisions on historic events."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that, while Obama tried to be "balanced," the statement was "not satisfactory' for Turkey.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry also complained that certain points in Obama's statement had been "unacceptable."

"It should not be forgotten that several hundreds of thousands of Turks have lost their lives as well," the ministry said in a statement. "Common history of the Turkish and Armenian nations has to be assessed solely through impartial and scientific data, and historians must base their evaluations only on such material."

What nerve!!! Not only do they DENY what they did, now they want sympathy? Oh...poor Turkey. The slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians and in the process the Armenians tried to defend themselves and a few of them got killed. Turkey, if you want sympathy you are not going to get it from this or any other country. The world is with Armenia, if you haven't noticed. Just about every European country and most states in the US have officially recognized the events of 1915 as GENOCIDE. Get with the picture Turkey...if you want admission to the EU, you have got to stop this nonsense.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sargsyan: Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not a Precondition

This morning the president of Armenia made a statement to commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. One of his comments concern me, and I am sure it probably has to do with the most recent agreement made with Turkey. It is a sad day today for many reasons...historically and politically.

His remarks (lifted from A1+):

Serzh Sargsyan issued as message on Commemoration Day of the Armenian Genocide victims.

"Today we bow down before the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.

94 years ago the Ottoman Empire organized and perpetrated the Armenian Genocide on the state level. A huge part of our people was coolly annihilated. Today, the Genocide in not only a past reality, but also an indispensible part of the present and the destiny of the Genocide survivors, their heirs and all Armenians.

The crimes against humanity have no period of limitation either in people's memory or before the court of history. The international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide is an issue of restoration of the historical justice for the Armenian people and the Republic of Armenia.

The Armenian nation is not lonely in pursuing the condemnation of the crime of genocide. At this moment of commemoration we extend our sincere gratitude to the states, organizations and individuals who support us in condemning and preventing the crimes against humanity. We support to the Turkish intellectuals struggling for the sake of historical justice who share our pain. We have mentioned many times that the process of international recognition of the Genocide is not directed against the Turkish people and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not a precondition for the establishment of bilateral relations.

No lessons have been drawn form the Armenian Genocide. Effective mechanisms of denial and negation of genocide have been worked out over the past decades. Denying genocide means consigning to oblivion the crime against humanity and paving the way for similar crimes in the future. As President of the Republic of Armenia, I wish that no other nation survives such a tragedy.

Any of the innocent victims has his name, his family and history, while the crime has its organizers and perpetrators. Not all the stories of that crime have been told yet. Despite the huge work done, we still have to present many facts of the Armenian Genocide to the world.

There have been many heroic pages in the centuries-old Armenian history, some of which full of blood and losses. Today, when we are shaping the biography of our contemporary statehood, we thus demonstrate that we can be the guarantors of our people's security and exclude the reoccurrence of such crimes."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obama: As President I will Recognize the Armenian Genocide

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Isn't Turkey's Holocaust-Denying Condemned Like Iran's?

Lifted from Pierre's Middle East Issues Blog
By Pierre Tristam, Guide to Middle East Issues
Wednesday April 22, 2009

Still in denial: Turkey not only ignores Armenian pleas to recognize the Turkish genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians, it bullies other governments into denying that holocaust while prosecuting anyone in Turkey who refers to it as a genocide (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images).

Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is justly condemned for his rants and raves about "the conspiracies of some powers and Zionist circles" and his (and his regime's) toxic mix of Holocaust denying or denigration.

When Turkey peddles similar poisons, regarding Armenians, as it did the very day Ahmadinejad was lecturing the Geneva conference on racism, not a word was said by Official Washington or the European Union. This, on the heels of Barack Obama reverentially addressing the Turkish Parliament on its own floor.

Last night in Canada, representative from across the spectrum of the Canadian government--conservatives, liberals and in betweeners--commemorated the Armenian genocide (1915-1923), in which some 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by Ottoman Turks and Kurds in the dying days of the Ottoman empire and before the emergence of the Turkish republic. In 2004, the Canadian Parliament passed a bill that read: ""That this house acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and condemn this act as a crime against humanity." The then-government of Paul Martin refused to endorse the bill, but subsequently Prime Minister Stephen Harper did (a lesson to the U.S. Congress, which has yet to pass a similar bill).

Get this: Turkey "warned" Canadian officials, including Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, not to talk genocide (where Turkey gets the presumption to dictate what other countries' ministers may or may not say is beyond me. Then again, it isn't: Ottoman imperiousness dies hard.) Kenney did anyway, and Harper sent his written affirmation: "I am honoured," he wrote, "to have this opportunity to extend my warmest greetings to all those attending the Congress of Canadian Armenians event to mark the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the resolution by the House of Commons recognizing the Armenian Genocide." He also, apparently, attended a vigil marking the genocide.
Turkey's response? It recalled its ambassador to Canada "for consultation." How different, exactly, is that from Ahmadinejad's shenanigans? Not very, in my book.

But European and American governments continue to dance around Turkey's denials because Turkey and Armenia, who may be normalizing relations, may be the West's new gate to the oil-rich Caucasus.

The Globe & Mail is reporting that Obama may be addressing the Armenian genocide issue later this week. He's on record supporting the bill declaring the genocide as such. But he's backpedaled since becoming president.

It's easy to demolish Ahmadinejad. He's duplicity's clown. But it's also meaningless if the same standard doesn't apply to other holocaust deniers. Turkey bullies those who don't submit to its false history. Canada refuses to go along. The United States officially still does. Time to end that charade.

Some Moments from the Weekend

My friend Nancy visited last weekend with her daughter Serine and son George. Serine was adopted from Armenia a year before Annalea. She and Annalea were in the same orphanage in the same room with the same nannies, but a different times. George and Ryan are the same age and are great buddies.

It doesn't get much better in spinning country

I may have mentioned how much I love my new health club. It is the ultimate in luxury in a fitness club setting. I especially love the locker room with its natural stone surfaces, dark mahogany lockers, and plentiful towels. It is SOOOOO clean...probably cleaner than my own bathroom...there are women in there replenishing towels and cleaning all the time. And all of this while Annalea is socializing in the fabulous child care center. All I can say is that I am usually a happy camper when I am at Lifetime Fitness.

But today there was a bit of excess in my spinning class. I like the spinning instructors at this club for the most part. They play good music and are very enthusiastic. Today the spinning room was a tad warmer than usual. The spinning instructor opened the door and that seemed to solve the problem...but when the general manager got wind that people were sweating just a little too much, he went a bit overboard. Within 5 minutes there were staff members coming in with towels soacked in ice water and iced bottled water for all class participants. I have to say it was mighty nice to have an ice cold towel handed to me during a spinning class.

This is not good...I will never go back to the Rocky Balboa style of working out again. Call me a workout snob, that's ok. It's worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama in Ankara...a step in the right direction

Obama's remarks fell short of mentioning the word "genocide," but in his very diplomatic style attempted to move the issue forward. President Gul's remarks, on the other hand, confirmed my suspicions that Turkey is still eons away from admitting the genocide was committed by their ancestors. It is infuriating.

Be sure to listen to Obama's final remarks following President Gul...these were the most promising comments he made.

Armenian Golgotha

Last night I went to the Barnes and Noble in Bethesda with Kevin and my friend Nancy to see Peter Balakian speak about his new book Armenian Golgotha. I am looking forward to reading this book, which was written by his Great Uncle Grigoris Balakian about his experience and escape from the horrendous genocide committed by the Turks in 1915. Peter translated this book into English for the first time. It was originally published in Armenian in the 1920s. The release of this book is very timely as April 24 is right around the corner. This is the date that is recognized as the anniversary of the start of the elimination of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. To this day, the Turkish government denies that there was a genocide.

My husband marveled at my willingness to stand in line for an hour to get my books autographed. I also have read Black Dog of Fate by Peter Balakian and recommend it highly.

So with that, I present the fruits of my labor:

Peter Balakian

Monday, April 13, 2009

Coloring Eggs with Ryan

Annalea's First Chocolate Bunny

Easter Morning Discoveries

More Playtime...Long but adorable

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

A quick Happy Easter and some photos we took at church this morning (with my iphone). I am amazed at what a good camera this phone is!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ryan's Pinewood Victory!!

Or I should say "Ryan's Second Pinewood Victory!!"

Because I was remiss in blogging about his first race, let me backtrack. Ryan and his dad spent a lot of time working on this car:

The first race was on Wednesday, February 18, 2009. The participants were all the scouts in Pack #706. Ryan won the race against all the Wolves.

This win qualified Ryan to go on to the Montgomery County District Race on Saturday, April 4. There were close to 20 packs represented in this race. And once again, Ryan was victorious against the Wolves.

Here is Ryan watching the race.

And here he is after he received his trophy.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sadly Dolly lost her family

The family from Louisiana who was planning on adopting Dolly has decided not to. I am not completely aware of their reasons, but I suspect it was because of Vanessa's horrendous and untrue comments made on their blog. So Vanessa won, and Dolly lost.

You should know that Vanessa has tried to post many many comments on this blog. I have had to resort to moderating the comments solely because of this.

How can this person live with herself. This is beyond insanity. Really Vanessa, how can you sleep at night?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Please help Dolly

The future of a darling little girl named Dolly is in jeopardy. This little girl has hydrocephaly and is living in an orphanage in Armenia.

A family from Louisiana fell in love with Dolly and was ready to start the paperwork to bring her home. This family also has a blog and had announced their intentions of working with my adoption agency, Hopscotch Adoptions.

Before I go on, I have to mention that I loved working with Hopscotch and its executive director, Robin Sizemore. I don't think I have said enough on this blog about them, and I wish I had acknowledged them more. But here is my chance. Robin Sizemore is a dedicated professional who has been working in Armenia for many years. Because of her experience and wonderful staff in Armenia, our adoption process was flawless. The most important aspect of an international adoption is getting the child's VISA, and our experience with the US Embassy was really uneventful. They know that Robin and her staff are the most ethical agency working in Armenia, so there really were no suspicions when we interviewed at the embassy.

OK, back to the subject at hand. There is a very unstable person named Vanessa who trolls all the adoption blogs and forums. She has been terrorizing prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents, and adoption agencies for years. And now she has outdone herself. She posted on Dolly's prospective parent's blog some awful and untrue things about Hopscotch. She has been doing this on a number of sites for some unknown reason. It is unclear why she has this hatred for Robin Sizemore. But I've heard some theories from various sources that include a failed adoption, so in some ways I do sympathize.

But as a result of Vanessa's (aka Ruzanne, and a number of other aliases) comment on this blog, this family may not end up adopting Dolly. Understandably, they are now concerned about Hopscotch. Vanessa has potentially managed to destroy a family's hopes and the chances of Dolly having a family.

So I wanted to do my part to help bring Dolly home...whether it be to this family or another one. Please consider donating to her fund on Reeces Rainbow. Just click on her photo at the top right of this blog.

Thank you and God Bless Dolly.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Some Footage from Today

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A morning at the playground

Annalea is enjoying her time at the playground much more now that she can walk...she is climbing up and going the down the slide all by herself now!

Raingutter Regatta

Ryan participated in the cub scouts annual raingutter regatta last night. This is an event where the boys design a boat made of styrofoam and then sail it down a raingutter using a straw and their lungs as power.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ryan got to deviate a bit from his regular Mercy uniform today...of course, he must go overboard when he can!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Her First Pigtails

Monday, March 2, 2009

Her new skill is being perfected!!

Love that laugh!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Some movie clips from Disney

Long, but entertaining:

Small World

The Pool at our Hotel:

Meeting the Characters:

Zippidi Doo Da

My oh my what a wonderful trip...except for the one day that the kids and I were bedridden with the stomach virus. All I can say is that it was VERY convenient having a washer and dryer in our room.

Other than that, the trip was fabulous and exhausting. Here are some photos for you to enjoy...I also have some movies currently uploading to You Tube and will embed those when they finish.