Monthly Archives: October 2009

Halloween and El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

PA170215My kids are looking forward to Halloween and El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Pumpkins have been purchased and will be carved Friday evening in preparation for Saturday night’s festivities. The kids are still deciding just what garb they’re wearing for Halloween. Mark and Holden have put their heads together to see what they can come up with to scare the neighborhood kids. Oh, the excitement!

So, after Halloween is over and the kids have decided that they really don’t want to eat five pounds of sugar, we turn to El Día de los Muertos. The kids will likely add to an altar, already started, in the front hall. We will serve the Guatemalan Fiambre, a delicious pickled red salad, with dinner. Unlike Guatemalan tradition, we do not visit, party and eat at relatives’ gravesites (many have been cremated). But, weather permitting, we will try to fly kites.

The Guatemalan tradition of flying circular barriletes gigantes, kites some forty feet in diameter, occurs in severalG Kites villages around the Guatemala City (where Greyson was born) warding off evil spirits and honoring the deceased. The bright colorful kites are made of tissue paper and decorated with images and messages as they soar through the air whipped around by hummers and streamers.

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Filed under Cultural Awareness, Guatemala, Multicultural Families, The International Mom, Traditions


I was upstairs writing when Josi’s friend appeared with a special delivery, “This is from Josi.”SeptemberOctober 2009 085

It was a warm just-from-the-oven dense fudgey-chocolate brownie sprinkled with powdered sugar. Yummy!

But the best past was the note written in marker on the paper towel that the brownie was wrapped in, “I love you – J.”

Thoughtful girl…she makes me feel all warm and happy inside.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, Parenting, The International Mom


It’s normal. Part of life. But teaching my kids to deal with the green-eyed monster has been a challenge.P7090089

For years Holden and Josi were upset over what they saw as special treatment of Aubry. Trying to explain the nuances and vastness of sensory spectrum disorder (SPD) to young kids was not an easy task. There were some things they did well – like following our commands of never taking anything from her unless it would hurt her or someone else. There were some they didn’t – like aggravating her futher when she was in sensory overload.  

Time is the great equalizer. Eventually the jealously subsided as the kids grew older. They acquired compassion for their sister and understanding that SPD required different parenting and inter-sibling skills.

Jealousy came to the forefront again, as Aubry realized that her little brother received more attention than her. “Why does everyone think he’s so cute?” 

My biased answer was that he was cute.

That answer bombed out with her, “I’m UGLY?!”


“Honey, you are beautiful and when you were little people made over you too. That’s what adults do sometimes,” I said.

I realized Aubry’s jealousy stemmed from her own insecurities about herself and also from the fact that they were so close. Too close. When with him and others, she felt invisible.

So Mark and I focused on building Aubry’s independence from Greyson, confidence in who she was and discovering her gifts.

At her request we put Aubry in swimming. It appears to be working – satisfying her sensory issues, promoting her independence and confidence in herself.

Aubry’s first meet was last weekend and she did well. “You’re coming? All of you? To watch me?”

The icing on the cake was her reaction after each of her heats. Looking up at us from the deck, her smirk grew into a huge smile as she saw thumbs up from her brothers and heard us yelling, “Way to go Aubry!”

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Filed under Epiphiany, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, Parenting, The International Mom