Todd Family Blog

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Butler Way

I can't lie. I talked to God before, during, and after Butler's championship game last night. I know it's always the joke - should you pray that your team wins? But it really wasn't that I wanted them to "win". It was that I really wanted the way they do things to be rewarded. I also won't lie about the fact that I thought it would be good for college sports if Butler won. Not that the UCONN players aren't exceptional young men, but just to prove that a school that conducts itself in an exemplary manner, with a small budget, and no frills can win the obvious prize that everyone, "good or bad", covets.

After Butler lost I was confused. Why didn't the best outcome happen? And why had the loss occurred in such a strange, uncharacteristic way?

"The Butler Way" isn't just a motto or cliche. I've seen it and lived it. So did my mom and sister. I'm not sure I knew that was what I was experiencing at the time, but I can cite too many times that a professor went out of their way for me, other students were supportive instead of competitive, and the general happiness that tends to permeate that campus. As always, you don't know what you had until your hindsight kicks in. It was the only school to which I applied and I was never sure if that was smart until about 10 years after I graduated. I appreciate so much my time there, the friends I made, the knowledge I gained, and the professors I had.

Last year, as I watched in person as Gordon Hayward's shot bounced off the rim, I was devastated along with about 70,000 other people in the stadium. That lasted until I attended the thank you rally the next day. I couldn't stop a few tears as I stood with 5,000 other people in Hinkle Fieldhouse who wouldn't stop clapping. The ovation lasted until the players finally cracked a smile, an almost uncomfortable long time. It wasn't planned. The crowd simply had to let them know that they were proud of everything, no matter the outcome. I had never seen anything like it, especially in the age of boosters slipping players money, illegal recruiting phone calls, and debates about whether or not college athletes should receive formal payment. It went against everything that cutting down the nets says is important. We were cheering not about a victory, but about conducting yourself on the biggest stage to make yourself, your family, your friends, and your community proud, against all the odds. They had given us the ride of a lifetime as a sports fan, but more importantly made us proud to be associated with them in any way.

With all that said, you must read the article below, if you haven't already. It says the rest of what I'm thinking. Last year I wondered if the thank you rally would have been as poignant if they had won. I had to admit, I didn't think so. And maybe what is said in this article is the reason things have happened as they have. I still wish Butler could have that "W", but not because it would make things right. Just because it's what I want for people that work that hard and care that much. However, what they gave everyone in America who recognizes it could not possibly compare to a victory. And yes, Levi and I will be at this year's thank you rally to cheer for all the best reasons. Thank you, Butler Bulldogs, and congratulations to Brad Stevens and his staff on an exceptional job well-done.

Read it and pass it on:
http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=dw-wetzel_final_four_butler_goes_down_its_way_040511

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Levi, Month 2

Our second month has continued to be full of firsts! We definitely know little Levi well and he knows us. I feel like the language barrier is almost completely gone and he now knows all sorts of words and actions. We think he's even said "Dada"! During the day he is pretty much your normal American boy, save the Amharic vocab flying around. (I have signs posted everywhere. Takes me a couple days to remember the words I'm learning!) We've even begun baby music classes, which are a huge hit.

Nighttime is still very difficult. Pretty much as soon as he turned 1 he adopted the typical 1 year-old "I must fight sleep and stay awake" mentality. Pair that with teething, tummy trouble from new foods, anxiety from orphanage baggage, typical separation anxiety, and who knows what else, and we still aren't getting much sleep. Lately, with a few exceptions, he wakes around 1 a.m and is up and down until we get up around 7. Whew! During the day he's still only napping about 1/2 hour - 45 min. a couple times a day, but sometimes I am lucky enough to score an hour and a half nap. Thank you, Lord.

The pictures should say the rest. Someday I'm sure we will have pictures of my and Brad's adventures again. We still haven't been able to use a babysitter or even someone else changing a diaper, but I think it's right around the corner!!!

Levi's first birthday! After our trip to the zoo the Todds came over for presents and cake. Here Levi is opening his present from Jan Stevens - a couple Butler shirts! We also need to thank her for the blue tissue paper, which kept him busy for the next 10 minutes.


This would be why we didn't have a big party. Having people stare at him and sing was still a bit much, as you can tell. He smashed the cupcake in protest but refused to eat it!


We love you, Dawgs! This is Levi in his first Butler shirt. (Thank you, Jan, for the great first birthday present!) I can't wait to take him to games next year.


I know there aren't any animals in this shot, but I just love this picture. It's during Levi's first trip to the zoo! It scared him a bit at first, but then he really enjoyed it, especially the stingrays and meerkats.


Fun with the dogs. When Levi first came home he couldn't have cared less about the dogs. After a couple weeks he was amused by them. Now they are his absolute favorite thing. Every morning arms are waving and there's a giant smile when we open his bedroom door and see those three ridiculous faces. He thinks they are great walking practice, fun to crawl over, great for getting kisses, and even more fun to treat.

This is what I saw when I turned around while cooking at the stove.

Loving on sweet Luke. Luke is very stoic with Levi. Calmly (shocking - he used to be our most hyper dog) guarding and watching all day long.

Kisses from Cal. Cal almost obsessively kisses Levi. He follows him all day sneaking kisses on his cheeks. Cal is by far Levi's favorite dog.

Cal and Levi playing with tupperware while I cook.

Would you mess with this child while he has his CIA around him?


A video of Levi's joy at seeing his dogs. Gracie stands by politely waiting for crumbs, Cal mostly wants love and is putting up with tons of abuse (Levi digs his fingers into Cal's gums and receives only love in return - we are working on the concept of "gentle") and Luke is getting brazen about licking Levi's tray. Since this video the dogs now have to lay on their beds during mealtimes as Levi just gets way too distracted, as you will see. But I'm glad I got this moment before they were banished.
video

One of my favorite firsts of the past month: I think this is the very first time he felt grass, at least that he could remember. He was completely amazed by it. Loved throwing it in the air.





And his first time at a park, on a swing, playing in the mulch....




And our first stroller outing! His first time in a stroller ever! Great walk on the Monon.


Just a bit of silliness.


And I happened to get the hardest we have seen him laugh yet. All I was doing was tossing a remote control in the air and catching it. Apparently that is hilarious.
video

Another fun first - Levi's first visit to Purdue. We paused by Brad's old house for a picture and got him a tee that says "My First Purdue T-shirt". First of many, I'm sure.


Levi met so many friends in his second month!
Aunt Jenny came for a weekend. He immediately was giving her hugs and kisses. Think he can tell we are related?


Gathering with a bunch of friends and their kids at Granite City while Jenny was visiting. So fun to have all the kids together for the first time! There's Alli Webber Yancey, her husband Kyle and sons Eli and Isaac, Megan Roy Greek and son Owen, and Emily Webber White. Her daughter, Libby, was born just a few days later!


Louis and Heather came all the way down from the Detroit area to meet Levi. We had such a fun weekend hanging out and catching up.

Louis and Heather's son, Connor, and Levi watching Yo Gabba Gabba. Connor had never seen the wonder that is Gabba.


A play date with Elizabeth Mott's twins, Noah (here) and Caleb. So fun!


One Sunday we met Elizabeth and Keith in Lafayette for dinner. Thanks for driving down, guys!


Our dear friend, Andrew Jones, was in town for a conference and came for lunch. It took us a while to get a picture where Levi had stopped wiggling. Ah, trying to keep a one year-old still.


Amanda and Nate Crisel, who in the near future are heading to Tokyo for a couple years!, came down for one last visit. I surprised Brad with tickets to the Big Ten Championship downtown so he and Nate could go have guy time. Amanda and I had fun chatting all day and playing with Levi. We'll miss the Crisels!!!


Brad's shot before the championship game started:


Meeting Tim and Steve while having soul food at Kountry Kitchen Fine Foods downtown. Oh my. Highly recommend.



So many new foods tried! He has gone from eating almost only formula and cereal two months ago to eating mostly table food now. We're still trying to fatten him up. He's getting longer, but not wider, haha. We often finish meals with whole milk yogurt topped with baby food topped with olive oil. Goodness!
First teething biscuit!

Out to eat at the Ethiopian restaurant, Abyssinia (which is fantastic by the way). His first Ethiopian food! He loved it - even the spicy beef.

After feeding himself for the first time.

First frozen yogurt. (Mmmm...Huddles...highly recommend.) Big hit.


Like most kids, after a while he gets fussy from being in his high chair. He eats so much, we spend a lot of time there! He gets these crocodile tears going and looks at me with his best "big brown eyes". Hard to resist.



I love bath time!




After bath I sing a silly song, "Baby in a sack, baby in a sack, I've got me a baby in a sack..." as I wrap him up in a towel and lift him by the corners of the towel. He waits for it every time now.


End of month 2!


So, we are getting out at least a bit. I got to go to Monique's surprise 30th birthday at Matteo's. Quite the party. Ryan, you did a great job planning!

Monique surprised

Her beautiful cake made by the fabulous Molly. (She's opening a bakery in Noblesville. Can't wait!)

The girls - Miriam, Lauren, Abby, Monique, and me

Any party with the Metzings needs to turn into a jam session at the end. Jason gets the crowd going.

The impromptu combo

Getting in a couple songs before I leave