8 years old! A look back through my twins’ birthdays

It seems like yesterday that we stepped off the plane and my daughters, clinging to me, arrived in Canada, on their third birthday. But it wasn’t yesterday… It was five years ago yesterday. How time does fly!

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In other ways, it does seem like the girls have been with us forever. I don’t think anybody in our family can imagine what it would be like without them. Not only have they completed Jason and I, but they have found irreplaceable places in our extended family’s heart.

It’s amazing to see how they have grown over the years… Mostly straight upwards. We look back to the pictures when they first arrived and they were so tiny, compact, and soft. Their skin is still like a baby’s bottom, but they are all arms and legs when they crawl into my lap now.

Enjoy the pictures from this time of year, for the last eight years. Most of the pictures were taken within a week or so of their birthday. Their “paper birthday,” that is. They came into care on August 28, and so that is their birthday on paper. (Their true birthday is on Meskerem 3, which is a couple of weeks ahead into September.)

Happy birthday, my darlings.

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My dream in reality: Pounce & Hound Fine Pet Goods Open

Today day for me. For the last four years, Jason and I have been working on opening our own veterinary clinic and pet store. Today, we open our doors to Pounce & Hound Fine Pet Goods for the first time.

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It’s a dream that we have been working on so long, we can barely comprehend that it is actually coming true. We’ve had numerous stops and starts along the way… The biggest of which, was the building we were going to that went into bankruptcy. So we had to move locations. That means we have literally been planning this little space of 2500 ft.² for four years.

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Jason has to wait another week or so until the veterinary clinic opens, as we have another veterinarian inspection to do first. But today, my shop, Pounce & Hound Fine Pet Goods, will be open.

I love it when people walk inside, and gasp with her beautiful it is. It’s been such a creative work, from picking out the products to designing the space and I love it that it brings others as much pleasure as it brings me.

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If you’re ever in Kelowna, please come by and visit… Least furry friends are very welcome too!

Pounce & Hound Fine Pet Goods
2720 Richter St., Kelona, BC
www.PandosyVet.com

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Just do it! Learn to care for your Black kid’s hair

Reposted from AfricaSleeps.com

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Before we went to Ethiopia to pick up our daughters, I was determined to learn how to do their hair. I had ordered a curly haired mannequin head off of ebay, but never got to practice on it, since our adoption agency went bankrupt. Suddenly, on six hours notice, I was heading to Ethiopia for an indeterminate amount of time, with only a pick and a comb to rely on. Despite the best of my internet I ons, I was underprepared to tackle twin two and a half year old’s African hair.

Not a week had gone by after meeting my girls, that I realized I was going to have to learn to cornrow… And fast. Luckily, I shared a guest house with a lovely young mom from Ghana, who had worked for West African royalty as aesthetician. Saved! Merry plopped Spice down on the steps, and proceeded to explain to me the basics of braiding. Ten minutes later, Spice was crying and wanted to escape Aunty’s rough combing. But that ten minutes of instruction was crucial to my ability to care for my daughters’ hair.

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Not a day or two later, I did my first cornrowing. I started with one daughters, and the next day, did the second.

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I totally laugh looking back at these photos, because it really was quite horrible. My parts were messy, the hair wasn’t pulled straight… But you know, the girls thought it was awesome. “Konjo Sharuba!” They would cry, when seeing themselves I the mirror. Beautiful braids!

I also thought it was awesome! And the Ethiopians and other Africans I was living with congratulated me on my enthusiastic braiding. So I paraded those kids all over Addis, and after a week when their hair was falling out (really, they were the worst cornrows ever,) I started again.

I found that little micro styles were my friend. It got me used to working with their hair, and I actually got some cute results.

Then, on holiday a month or so later in a cabin in the Ethiopian forest, I tried cornrowing again… With beads! With no distraction except the roving baboons, the girls has shorter attention spans, and I found it very stressful. We took many breaks, until I finally had their hair “done.” I think it last another week, lol.

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We all start somewhere with hair… I started in Ethiopia. Thanks to a gracious hair mentor, support from the locals, and my blind enthusiastic pride, I learned to care for my daughters’ hair. If you are just beginning and are overwhelmed, take heart; if I can be an entirely adequate cornrower with that start, you can too!

I think it is all parents’ responsibility to care for their children’s hair. For transracial families with non-Black parents and children of African heritage, this is doubly important. Caring for your child’s hair and skin means cultural fluency for your children, and acceptance of your parenting by members of their birth culture. It’s not easy… But it’s important.

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You may not have a Ghanaian aesthetician at your disposal, but if you can read this blog, you have access to Youtube. Hair blogs such as Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care and adoption haircare Facebook groups are also wonderful resources. And don’t forget to connect with your local African, Caribbean, and Black communities for support!

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Most importantly, give yourself time and an occasional pat on the back as you fall into the hair groove. Cornrows, as Rome, are not always built in a day. Try try try, and make hair time as pleasant for yourself and your kids as possible. Congratulate yourself when something turns out, and when it doesn’t… Go swimming. Then no one will notice.

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$5 off coupon for Organic Skincare from Africa Sleeps

It’s almost time for school, and a gorgeous September. If you’ve been waiting to try our Africa Sleeps products, or just want to stock up for the fall, here’s your chance!

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Just for you, a $5 coupon for our lovely Africa Sleeps ORGANIC SKINCARE products (such as shea lotions, aloe lotions, suncare lotion and lip balms!)

Simply enter the coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL5 at checkout. Offer expires September 31, 2014.

Happy shopping!