Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where good ideas go to die

Is how Obama described DC in his "opening statement" during today's debate in Texas. His words got me thinking.

On Tuesday I voted in Hawaii's caucus. I went with three of my "hippie mom" friends (what Mohamed calls them). We made t-shirts
and the other moms brought their children since all their husbands are currently deployed. We stood in line for two hours, with kids tired and cranky, to cast our vote. I think it is clear who I voted for.

But Obama's statement made me wonder, how is he really so different? What if his good ideas go to die in Washington? What if he becomes corrupted by power? What if he already is, and he's just fooling me (and a lot of the rest of the country)? Can I really have any clue who I am voting for?

My uncertainty is compounded by each passing minute of the debate. Hillary is making some excellent points, and Obama's answers seem REALLY repetitive. Have I judged Hillary too quickly? Perhaps she is the better choice? What about when all the hype fades away, will Obama be true to his word?

Four years ago I made the wrong choice when I voted for our president. I take seriously my responsibility to vote for the right person this time.

ps- if you are wondering what "crunchy" means (from the t-shirts we made) it basically means "natural." Think hippy, but without the drugs and promiscuity. Want to know how crunchy you are? Go here:
I scored 117

Norah is 9 months old!

I can't believe my baby is growing up so fast! I just deleted the last post about Norah, due to the rather pitiful, outdated pictures. Here are some new ones:

Some things that I love about Norah: her impossibly soft baby cheeks. Her throaty giggle when I kiss her belly. How much she adores Amira. When she wakes up at night she calls mamummmmmmm, mamummmm until I go in to her. She says nananana when she wants to nurse. She puts her hot, chubby hand on my face and closes her eyes while she eats. She is such a happy, mellow little baby. She likes to cuddle.

She can stand on her own for a few seconds at a time now. She can also climb the stairs, even though she understands she's not supposed to. Oh, and she finally got her first tooth. It is not far enough up to be visible, but I can feel the little points of it poking through her gums. Well, that's it for now. Oh, and here are a few more pictures of things that make me happy.

The flowers are from Valentine's day, and are pretty much dying but I don't have the heart to throw them out.
I took the picture of the oranges just a few hours ago and Amira and Mohamed have already eaten half of them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I went to Costco this morning because Amira had eaten every piece of fruit in our house, and she simply cannot survive without bananas. During our fruit buying frenzy I walked by Costco's display of roses. Several men were searching through seemingly identical boquets, looking for the perfect bunch for their sweethearts.
Let me just say, Mohamed doesn't really buy flowers. He thinks it is a strange American tradition, a distant cousin of the even stranger tradition of Christmas trees. Once I noticed the flowers in Costco it seemed that every man in the store had some in his cart and I began feeling sorry for myself. For so many boquets of flowers not bought- not because I actually wanted the flowers, mind you, I just wanted Mohamed to buy them. So I made a show of telling Amira that we were going to buy flowers for our neighbor, knowing full well I planned to keep them, myself. I figured if Mohamed saw me buying flowers for myself, he would get the hint.

On my way to the check-out aisle I realized how crazy I was being. I felt the same way I do when I see commercials for diamond rings, and for a moment wish I hadn't given mine back. I don't want a diamond, I returned my engagement ring several years ago, but when I watch those stupid "diamonds are forever" commericals, I start to think I do.

I put the flowers back, and started to think about the love Mohamed and I share. I thought about the millions of ways he shows me his love. The first things that came to mind:

When we came back from our trip to Morocco, Mohamed had stocked the fridge full of my favorite foods (or at least the food I try to have us eat)- bags of organic spinach, several pounds of oranges, hummus, you get the idea. Not even food he really likes.

He rocks Norah to sleep every night.

He always kisses me exactly three times when I drop him off at work.

If I like his meal better at a restaurant, he trades me.

He pretends he doesn't mind eating lentils and beans every night.
A few nights ago I told him I wanted to find a way to revolutianize childbirth in the US. (this was probably the fourth time I have changed my career goals in the last month). Mohamed said, "You would be really wonderful at that, sweetheart. Sounds great." Not, "How will you do that?" Or, "will you just make up your mind."

And finally, I often think about how well he loved me during Norah's birth. He was completely present with me, and strong when I needed him to be strong. He rubbed my back, and brought me water, and encouraged me continuously. I asked him the other day if he ever thinks about Norah's birth and he told me, "all the time."

I love you, my husband. I love you for all those reasons and countless more. Happy Valentine's day to my true partner and best friend.

And, as it turns out, Mohamed come home from work with a dozen pink roses.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"The South"

Mohamed's family's house, in the south of Morocco. The house is made of dirt and palm trees and has stood for over 100 years.
This is where Mohamed's parents sleep. His mother was proud to show us the bed they had just recently gotten.
This is the kitchen. The women squat down on the floor as they prepare delicious, elaborate meals using the simple utensils seen here. I could write a whole post about the amazing meals we ate while in Morocco. Maybe I will.
The above picture is where the women cook the bread. Several of the neighbor women gather in this room once a week, and they make large batches of bread for each family. Moroccans consume more bread than any other country in the world (according to Mohamed, that is).
The woman holding Amira in this picture is my mother-in-law. She is always smiling, and is the social centre of the village. She loves to laugh, and travel anywhere she can (around Morocco, so far, but we hope to have her visit here next year.) She rocked Norah to sleep every night during our stay. That was a special time for both of them.
Mohamed and his Aunties.

David and I getting sprayed with rose water at the end of a meal. David was a little suprised when she started dousing (sp?) us with perfume. Norah wanted to give it a try.

Well, that's all for now. Norah is whining "na-na-na" at me, which means she is hungry. Again.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Missing Morocco

So, we have been home for over a week now, but I just can't seem to put into words how our trip to Morocco was. I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm not really ready to be back home, yet. I keep wandering my house in a daze, waiting for someone to show up with dinner, or for some of our Moroccan family to knock on the door. The other day I saw a grandmother and her grandaughter in line at the grocery store. The grandmother was speaking to her little baby grandaughter in a foreign language, and something about the way the two of them interacted reminded me so much of the way Mohamed's mother played with Norah that I found myself crying in the grocery store. Not just tearing up, actually crying. Our last three weeks in Morocco were spent with 13 of our family members crammed into a 3 room house. I loved every chaiotic minute of it. See, I told you I couldn't write coherently about our trip. My thoughts come out in a crazy ramble. I'll just post some pictures and save you all the trouble of my rambles. At least for now.

I will post pictures in chronological order. I'm sure it will take me several posts, and therefore several weeks (I have two small kids, forgive me) to tell the whole story. Anyway, the people in this picture are some of Mohamed's closest family friends. When things got tough between Mohamed and his evil stepmother he would ride his bike and visit these people (in Casablanca). We stayed with them for a few days as we recovered from the LONG flights to Morocco. Please don't look at me in this picture. Really. Oh, and David devloped quite the crush on the girl sitting to my left.

After recovering from jet-lag for a few days and buying some warmer clothes for the girls (turns out it was a lot colder than we had anticipated) we got on the road to Mohamed's village. Mohamed thought we should drive all night, hoping the girls would sleep and therefore make the drive easier for everyone. Well,the girls didn't sleep and neither did we. By 3 in the morning we were all too tired to drive, so we pulled over and slept for a few hours in our cars. In the middle of the desert. Before we went to sleep we got out to look at the stars and I couldn't breathe, there were so many. Or maybe that's just because I was so tired.

After our little nap we finished the drive and finally arrived in Mohamed's village. Everyone was still asleep as we snuck into his family's house. Mohamed called out to wake everyone up, and suddenly his family was surrounding us in a flurry of hugs, tears and kisses. Mohamed and his father held onto each other through it all, crying tears of joy. Mohamed's village:

Mohamed's father:

Oh, and please be aware that Moroccans don't like to smile in pictures. It is strange because they are a very smiley lot, in general, just not in pictures. Just didn't want everyone to think all our relatives are unhappy. In fact, Dad is the smiley-est of all!

Well, that is it for Morocco post #1. The girls are waking-up from their naps. I promise more pictures and less rambling for the next one.

Oh, and GO OBAMA