Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Hair care is a popular topic among transracial adoptive families. It is challenging and often times intimidating to learn how to properly care for a hair type that is drastically different from your own. It is SO IMPORTANT though! The reasons go beyond just looking is important socially, cultuarally, and is an essential aspect of self-esteem, especially among African American girls. When Janaya was little, her hair was usually in really cute box braids with barettes on the end. As she's gotten older she's wanted to try new things, and now alternates between "natural" (brushed out, texterized, moisturized), braids half-way back, and extensions. Lacy can pretty much do whatever she wants with her hair, and will usually just leave it down or put it in a pony-tail. Sometimes though, she'll want something more elaborate and I've had fun trying different braids/twists on her.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Scrub a dub dub...

It's fun to play in the sink! Shhh...don't tell mom

Uh-oh, too late--We're BUSTED!

Back Again!

We went to the Ethiopian store again tonight. Tekle came along this time, and called it the "injera mercato". The man who owns the store tried talking to him (in Amharic and English) but Tekle was too shy to respond. The man understood, saying that his own kids don't like to speak Amharic either. Tekle examined everything in the store and was especially fascinated with the materials used in the traditional buna (coffee) ceremony. I had fun practicing my Amharic and the owner invited us to come back next week so he can give us some recipies :)

"So what was your favorite part Tekle?"

"The gatorade!!"

Ok then.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Connections to Ethiopia

Last week my Dad noticed a sign on a store window advertising injera as we were driving home from the U of M. I asked him to pull over and excitedly went inside to look around. There were five men hanging out inside, and their conversation came to a halt when I walked in. I'm guessing they don't have many non-East African shoppers, and I could feel their stares as I scanned the store. I was beginning to feel pretty awkward, so I hurriedly bought some injera and walked up to the cash register. One of the men decided to break the silence and asked me incredulously

"you cook Ethiopian food??"

I laughed and explained that I didn't, but my Dad did, and that I had Ethiopian brothers who loved injera. Soon, all the guys the store were asking questions. They asked if I spoke any Amharic, and so I said "Sime Kelsey New" (My name is Kelsey). We had a really fun conversation about Ethiopia. As I was leaving, the man at the register said "I have a gift for you, to help you learn more Amharic" and handed me a really cool poster illustrating the letters of the Amharic alphabet. I was so excited and thanked him many times before I left (once in Amharic even!). I am so happy to have met such cool people.

My dad cooked Ethiopian food the next day, which thrilled Tekle. It is still so fun to see how excited he gets about injera and "doro wat" (Tekle calls anything we put on injera doro wat, even though doro means chicken, and this sauce was beef").

I am glad my Dad noticed the sign!

PJ's and a Pic

One night, shortly after Tekle came home from Ethiopia, my mom dressed he and Aaron in matching pajamas. They looked so adorable that we had to take a picture.

Tekle just loved the whole experience and attempted to imitate it time and time again. Of course, taking a new picture EACH TIME was mandatory.

As you can see from the photos below, Aaron didn't exactly share in his enthusiasm...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dinomights Follow Up

So the segment on the Dinomights aired during the MN Wild game yesterday. Thanks to the miracle of editing, my interview didn't look too horrible (I still have a list of changes in my head though).

I think it's great that the team is getting publicity. The work our coaches do is amazing! It was especially fun to watch because the night it aired, we had three additional Dinomight girls sleeping over (Janaya's friends), so we all watched it together. Good thing we recorded it, because everyone screamed whenever they saw themselves on the screen.

Here is my bootleg footage--I taped it off the tv with my digital camera so the quality is pretty bad...I'm at the very end of the clip with my beautiful tutoree ERICA :D

***The actual segment was longer, but my camera didn't have enough memory space to hold the whole thing. This is the abbreviated version.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Caught off Guard

My mom has been battling a pretty bad virus the last few days, and on Wednesday I was put on "snack duty". Seems easy enough right? Well when snack duty consists of an 8 month old, a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and a 5 year old, it gets a little chaotic (two daycare kids were over). Admittedly, I was in a pretty bad mood to begin with, and it did not improve as I frantically refilled glasses, cleaned up spills, retrieved dropped spoons, and responded to annoyingly specific snack requests. Tekle had been begging for hot chocolate, and being the good sister that I am, I made some for him in the midst of the chaos. I handed him the mug before heading back into kitchen to find more animal crackers for the disgruntled baby. Before I could reach the doorway I heard a firm little voice say 'oh, and get me a straw".

Get him a straw?

Did he really just ORDER me to get him a straw? Of course I started thinking "what a spoiled, assuming, little............"
A look of realization crossed his face, and suddenly I heard the sincerest little voice say

"Thanks for all you do for us Kelsey".

And my heart melted.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Define Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Dinomights

Today reporters from Fox Sports Net interviewed me on my involvement with the Dinomights. I was nervous and they had a gigantic camera RIGHT in my face. I ended up stumbling a lot over my words, and basically giving a horrible interview. In an attempt to redeem myself, I decided to answer the questions they asked me on my blog, and pretend that I responded the same way in real life :)

Dinomights is an inner-city hockey organization that focuses on improving the Physical, Academic, Social, and Spitirual lives of it's players (P.A.S.S.). It is made up of predominantly African American, Asian, and Hispanic kids, so it is perfect for our transracial family. I remember being extremely offended in 6th grade when a boy in my class insisted that "black kids don't play hockey". I brought in my team picture and triumphantly told him something along the lines of "I told you so".

The Dinomights definitely touched my life in each of the areas they focus on. The physical aspect is fairly obvious. Hockey kept me in good shape and challenged me physically. It is a demanding sport, and since I was usually playing on a coed team, I had to work hard to keep up with the boys (I never did get the hang of checking though).

As for the academic aspect, I remember feeling motivated to keep my grades up so that I could earn a pair of Mission roller blades.
Coaches act as advocates for players in school when needed, and expect to stay updated on grades. Dinomights also provides after-school tutoring once a week for the players. I wanted to find a way to give back to the program, so I tutor a first grader every Tuesday. It's really fun, and I love being involved again.

The social aspect of Dinomights is amazing. You feel such a sense of community between coaches, players, volunteers, and alumni. You learn social skills such as respect, flexibility, and teamwork through your interaction with others. Many of my best friends are former Dinomights, and there is definitely a strong bond between teammates.

The Spiritual focus of Dinomights is what impacted my life the most. It was powerful to have so many examples of what it means to really follow Christ. Even when they weren't saying anything, coaches and volunteers were teaching me. When they picked me up before 6:00AM for Wednesday morning practice they modeled selflessness. When they tied the skates of everyone in a packed locker room they modeled service. When they took us out to eat after a game they modeled generosity. When they invited us to their house for a team sleep-over or Bible Study they modeled hospitality. In all that they did they modeled the unconditional love of Christ.

When I was in 8th grade my oldest brother said "Enjoy it while it lasts--the Dinomight years are the best of your life".
Being a part of Dinomights gave me so many opportunities that I might not have otherwise had. I have been to numerous NHL hockey games, attended a life-changing summer camp in Missouri, been on a MN WILD commercial (ok, just for a second), and most importantly, built relationships with many amazing people. I am so grateful for the role Dinomights played in shaping my character and enriching my life.

There, that's what I wanted to say ;)

(Luckily, they interviewed lots of people so mine won't likely get much air time, if any at all)

Feel free to visit the Dinomights website (I promise I'm not just saying that because I'm on the slideshow on the home page!)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Lacy and 'Chelsea'

I remember doing my doll's hair to look just like mine too!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

It finally snowed here on New Years Eve! We've had a few tiny snowfalls in the last few weeks, but now the snow looks like it's here to stay. The little kids have been outside 24/7, which I'm sure is a relief for my mom since there's no school all week.

And what better way to warm-up after playing outside all day than eating smores by the fire?

Aaron was so funny--we were sitting by the fireplace and I asked him if he knew any campfire songs. He thought really hard for a minute, than started singing

Push it, Push it
Cuz we're in it to win it
We're in it to win it

He changed the lyrics of the Disney Channel song "Push it to the Limit" by substituting the word fire for limit. I thought that showed pretty advanced reasoning skills for a two year old!


Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a family picture with 10 people?? Just to get everybody looking the same way is a challenge. You would think that the youngest kids would have the most trouble sitting still, but it was my 21 year old brother Jesse who kept making faces and messing up the picture! My aunt took about 10 different shots, and these are the best two: