Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ode to my 50th Post

In an ode to my 50th post, I wanted to write 50 facts about me/my life. Some of them you know, some of them you may not; but I happen to think they are all interesting. So here they are, in no particular order. Thanks for hanging with me these last 50 posts!

1) I think Zach and my "how we met" story is the best story in history.
2) I believe Jesus has rescued me from a life I woul'dve failed miserably had I went it alone and I thank Him every single day for that.
3) I believe having a great marriage is the single best thing we can do for our kids, which is why I work the hardest at that.
4) I don't understand mullets. Or rather, I understand them completely but still don't get why people would want one.
5) If I start having a bad dream, I turn to the other side. When I was younger and shared a room with my sister she told me that one side is "bad dream" side and the other is "good dream" side. I'm old enough to know better, but it still works!
6) I used to have nightmares of a fire burning my house. For some reason the only person not to get out was my little brother. So I used to tie sheets together and put them in his closet so he could get out the window if need be.
7) I firmly believe "mistakes" can sometimes turn out to be the best things that ever happen to you.
8) I think laughter truly could be the best medicine, which is why I married one of the funniest people I know.
9) I am a neat freak. I hate going to bed with clutter on the counter or dog hair on the floor.
10) I have always wanted as many kids as I could possibly have.
11) I believe parents blame everything else but themselves for how their kids end up. Don't count on anyone else to raise your children, do it at home, don't expect it to be done for you.
12) I was a 4-sport athlete in high school, was named "Female Athlete of the Year" my senior year by the Iowa Games and ran track in college. I haven't worked out in 2 months and am actually quite okay with that fact.
13) I can say without a doubt that I would die for everyone I love.
14) I love hot showers. HOT, as in, steam-the-windows, make-your-skin-bright-red, HOT.
15) This is my lucky number. It also happens to be Zach's. It was our number throughout our sports in life and has continued to play a significant role in our lives to this day.
16) One of my favorite places I've ever been is my parent's lakehouse. I am never stressed there.
17) I am extremely protective of my little brother. Though he's now 21, I would rather die than have anyone hurt him.
18) I just got teary eyed writing that last one. Which leads me to...
19) I cry a lot. I consider myself an emotionally stable person, but I cry all the time. Extreme Home Makeover? Cry. Trysten says something cute? Cry. Dailah burrows her head in my shoulder? Cry. Zach farts after beer and wings? Cry.
20) I have a decently vulgar sense of humor.
21) I have 2 tattoos and can't wait to get my next one.
22) One of my favorite Bible verses as of late is James 1:24, "My Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete. Lacking nothing."
23) I'm not a patient person unless I'm with my kids, which is amazing.
24) I'm actually a fairly forgiving person. I don't hold grudges for long and truly believe the only person you hurt by doing so is yourself.
25) I believe even the best of us have regrets in our life. I have a few in mine as well and am thrilled that I'm past that point in my life.
26) My least favorite part on my body are my fingernails. They are weak and brittle.
27) I am happy that I can now say #26. 6 years ago I would've listed everything except my hair.
28) My husband has taught me the beauty in everyone. He is the most patient, kind, loving person. He believes everyone has value and to treat them like they don't is the worst thing you can do to a human.
29) I think and dream about my kids in Ethiopia every day, I can't wait to know them, meet them and hold them in my arms. I can't wait to learn what they sound like, smell like and are like. I can't wait to call them my own.
30) I have had 2 nasal surgeries, an appendectomy, a gall bladderectomy (there is a proper word for it), 3 female procedures and various other ailments. I'm not what one would consider "a healthy person".
31) 7 of my 10 best friends are my brothers/sisters.
32) I dream of starting my own company.
33) In college I took women's study courses and became an overt feminist. When I had kids and realized there are some innate differences between boy/girls men/women, I've learned to appreciate and embrace those. God made us differently, that fact liberated me from trying to be someone I'm not.
34) I believe parents try too hard to be their kids' best friends. They have plenty of friends, folks, there will be time for that when they get older and become parents themselves.
35) My parents and in-laws are some of my best friends NOW.
36) I got my "need for speed" from my dad.
37) I got my laugh from my mom.
38) I would consider myself a tomboy but love how my legs look in heels.
39) Quite a few of my cousins are pastors, social workers, etc. It's amazing to see how God can plant a seed and the goodness spreads on its own.
40) I have an insatiable appetite for chocolate.
41) My high school buddies and I called ourselves the fantastic 5. We played sports together since we were in elementary school and they are still on my mind daily.
42) I love reading and learning. I can't wait to teach my kids how awesome it is step into that world whenever you can.
43) I am obsessed with Harry Potter and all things British. I've told Zach if anything every happens to him, I will probably move to London and marry a Brit.
44) I love talking to people. If given the chance, most people have amazing things to say. If given the chance, God can reach you through someone you would have never considered.
45) I believe God talks to us still. I believe when the wind blows on an otherwise calm day or when we get a hug from out of nowhere or during a thunderstorm or during a great day or horrible day, God talks to us.
46) I unwind at night by watching TV, Zach hates it, I love it.
47) I love watching my brother play soccer. He's such a great, natural player and it's one of the only times when he shows raw emotion.
48) I think my husband and kids are the 3 most beautiful people in this world, inside and out.
49) I think the best way to evangelize is to be a great person. Love life and give love. People will wonder how you do it in a world like today. Show them that you don't have to change who you are or be going around passing out Bibles to love God with every fiber of your being.
50) I'll probably change a few of these once I read them because I'm weird like that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Money and Interviews

With great excitement I announce we FINALLY received our earnest money last night. For those that don't know, two years ago we put an offer on a house that we (obviously) did not move into. The owners were what one might call "shady" and took us round and round for months. This led to us having to "rent" the house we owned from the people who had bought it just so we could continue waiting for our closing date on that house. Well, we finally decided we didn't want to do business with them so we found the house we are now currently residing in (until July 27th, that is). It was a blessing, as this house truly is a dream house. However, these "shady" folks quickly turned into a bigger problem and announced they were going to be suing us. Good thing we had all this documentation of their shadiness because it didn't happen with all of the evidence stacked against them. Nevertheless, they would not release our earnest money. Judging by their his and hers convertibles in their garage, we definitely needed the money more than they but they were still death gripping it. UNTIL last night. Woohoo! So this was exciting news indeed!

Then this morning my sister-in-law, Leslie, called to let us know my bro-in-law, Jake, got an interview with the Davenport School District. This means that my 3-yr-old dream could come true! They, with my nephews, could be moving closer to us in the very near future. What a great Wednesday indeed!

So that is my news. Oh, and I didn't end up taking Dailah to the doc. All the praying must've worked because there was no upchucking last night so that was awful nice. Now if only that would stay and we could get our official invite to PAC in July I would be one happy woman. They said they don't send out official invites until 3 weeks beforehand, but come on already!

Oh yeah, and they're putting the new flooring in the camp house. Yeehaw baby doggies! Hope humpday is this good for everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Projectile Vomit and Vanity Fair

So for the last few weeks (and sporadically before that) Dailah has been projectile vomiting in her sleep. I'll put her down about 8:30 and about 9 she'll cough once, I sprint up the stairs (mind you, I'm not as fast as I used to be, but still...) and she's already bathing in a sea of white. I know, gross right? Well at first I kind of shrugged it off as her wanting 2 baths a night since she loves them so much but lately they happen about every night. I can't put her in her crib without her being completely asleep or she'll cry once and throw up everywhere. Not worth the hassle and laundry in my opinion. So she's going to the doc at 2:30 today. Keep her (and me, if you've got room) in your prayers. I'm wondering if she hasn't built up a milk allergy or intolerance of some kind? If there are doctors out there who are stalking my blog and have yet to come forward, please reveal yourself and save me the $20 copay. :)

Vanity Fair's July issue is all about Africa. I started it last night, very interesting. As I get older, I start to realize the magnitude of what is going on in the world around me. I have become obsessed with worldy issues and realize how corrupt and mean people can be. I feel crazy things all at once. Empathy, outrage, compassion, anger, disenchanted, etc, etc. I'm both overwhelmed by what is happening (in Africa and in other parts of the world) and empassioned. I want to help in any way I can but at the same time feel down about me being "just one woman". I truly hope that by making our adoption known to our family and friends we can start a revolution here in this little state we call Iowa.

So I guess with that, I just want to ask that you all do your part to become aware of what's going on. Not by reading your local newspaper, it will say nothing or very little about the events occuring outside the US. Find other places, search and you will find! Take some time to become something other than "an American" and become "a HUMAN who happens to be American". Because essentially what is going on around the world is a HUMAN crisis. Though the politicians might not be taking care of their own people, it is up to HUMANs to do the work of Christ. To speak for those who cannot and to work for those who cannot. To live and dwell amongst those who have no voice and to roll up our sleeves and work TOGETHER to find a way to heal the wounds of the helpless.

(off my box now) By the way, you can all frequent Starbucks again. They recently (FINALLY) signed the fair trade deal with Ethiopia. Within the next couple of months they will be selling Sidamo coffee (an Ethiopian original) please go out and try it. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! And you will be doing your part one delicious cup of joe at a time!

Selam,
TL

Monday, June 25, 2007

Birth Certificates and Friends

For some reason I love the idea of putting two subjects at once together that don't normally fit. So there you go.

First, birth certificates and marriage licenses. For the adoption we'll have to (apparently) have a few certified copies of them when it comes time to compiling our homestudy and dossier docs. Ever the forward thinker, I went ahead and ordered those today. 4 of each of our BC and 4 of our ML. Guess what the total for that was....nope higher, nope higher still. Yup, $160. See where all this can add up? Polk County is outrageous! Zach was born in DuPage Co, IL and it was only $10+$2 additional copies. Polk Co was $15 EACH COPY. Of course that's where I was born AND where I got married so there you go. Stupid Polk Co. :)

On to friends. I know I've mentioned that we have great friends, but I really am not exaggerating. I got to have coffee with one such friend this morning. He is an economic developer by day, a lawyer by night but to me he will always be our notary. Thanks to Nathan for notarizing all of our adoption docs, one less thing to worry about because he knows I'm forever impatient with these things and is quick to respond when I need him! Perhaps I should make him a special cape? I think I'm onto something!

We had a lovely weekend. Saturday we got to have lots of family time and napping time, which can never be beaten. Saturday night we had a couple from our small group over to the house. It was wonderful getting to know them better! I love how sometimes God puts people in your life at just the right times. I'm hoping this is one of them! Sunday Zach had to rush into work but the kiddos and myself treked off to church and small group; both of which were exceptionally great. At church they had a very poignant display of how God has changed people's lives. Was a tear jerker. Then at small group a couple shared their story and it was so awesome to hear how God had worked in their lives too. What a blessing!

After that, I tried to finagle the kids into taking a nap at the same time with no luck. So when Trysten woke up, I let him watch Star Wars while I "closed my eyes" for a bit. When I woke up, he had opened the toy boxes in the basement to find his light saber that my sister had gotten him. It's a noise and light maker and I think I'm going to really regret my decision. It hasn't been off for 24 hours! Owell, at least he claims he'll protect us with it if a bad guy comes. Thanks, Trysten.

Hope all had a good weekend. Check for pics next time, I'm getting ridiculous with them! Peace in the Middle East.
TL

Friday, June 22, 2007

AHope

I think I have mentioned AHOPE in previous blogs. A recap: they are an orphange located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that houses HIV+ kids. These kids are given antiretroviral drugs and the attention and care that they need, so it is a wonderful place. I wanted to include this email from the AHOPE coordinator. I know a lot of you have been asking what we can do for kids who are struggling through the conditions they're thrown in (side from actually adopting them) and this is one way. At the bottom of this email is a list of things the kids are needing at the orphanage. If anyone is interested in making a donation, please either leave a comment in the field or email me. Or, obviously, you can get in touch with her in person. If you have any questions, let me know!


Hi Everybody (and my apologies to those that will get this more than once),
This is Erin Henderson... I have taken over as the donations/supplies coordinator for AHOPE for children, an organization that provides a nurturing home in Addis for orphaned HIV-positive children and helps to educate the community about AIDS prevention.
At the moment there are about 87 children (which is up from the 60 or so kids they had last year, thanks to increases in sponsors and funding) living in AHOPE's orphanage, from infants to 14 years old. The children are now receiving antiretroviral drugs--thanks to Jane Aronson's Worldwide Orphans Foundation--and are all thriving. (For more about the organization, please see the website: http://www.ahopeforchildren.org)
We adopted our daughter from AHOPE in the fall of 2006 and the children at AHOPE are very much still in our minds and hearts.Because AHOPE has a very limited budget for basic items like clothing, diapers, and toys, we depend on the generosity of individual donors for these things and on traveling adoptive parents to help deliver the donations.
We realize that the adoption agencies also rely on traveling parents to transport supplies for their orphanages, and we do not wish to commandeer luggage space that the agencies depend on. But if any of you think you might still be able to squeeze some extra things in your baggage, we would be very grateful for your help. Below is the list of items that are currently most needed. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
In the past we have had people gather some things off of the list and carry them over on their adoption/volunteer trip. If you are willing/able to gather some of these supplies and are not traveling, I can put you in contact with someone traveling that is willing to carry stuff over.And on the flip side, if you are traveling and have room, big or small, to carry over donations, but do not have time to gather them, let me know and I can put you in contact with someone with donations to send.Every little bit helps...even a gallon-sized Ziplock bag of things would be appreciated. I have found that many dollar stores carry a lot of the medical items for $1 or less, and have heard from some families that Walgreens and other stores have been willing to donate items when asked.
Once in Addis, we can arrange for the items to be picked up from you at your hotel or you are more than welcome to deliver them yourself if you would like to visit the orphanage. You can contact me for more details.The best way to contact me is at ahopesupplies @ gmail. com (no spaces)
Thanks so much for your help and support.
list of needed items March 2007
Eye drops
Anti fungal for oral thrush
Benadryl for allergic reaction
De-worming agents taken orally
Oral Suspension Ibuprofen
Antiseptic and Pain reliever
Savlon Antiseptic
Benzalkonium Chloride towelette
AntisepticInstant Hand sanitizer
Burn cream
Poison Ivy Cleanser
Povidone Iodine
USP Prep Pad
Plasil drop
Infants MyliconGloves
Digital thermometer
Bandage (roll)
Sterile dressing gauze (packed)
Cold compress (Hot compress).. Pack which is reusable
Cough syrups
Gas Relief
Hyopan (Hyosine Syrup)
Hyosine tablets
Cloxacillin 125 mg/5ml syrup
Cloxacillin 250 mg/5ml syrup

always needed
1. Cotton diapers
2. new/gently used kids shoes
3. kids' underwear and pj's (like sizes 6mos. to 12/14)
4. antibacterial lotion
5. rubber gloves
6. simple English books for the new library
7. balls, simple games/puzzles (that don't require language knowledge)
8. arts and crafts supplies

-- Erin Henderson -Mom to 10 (including two from Ethiopia)AHOPE Supplies Coordinatorahopesupplies@gmail.com AHOPE website: http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Little Camper

So in a previous post I discussed my eldest's first days of camp. It is still going well and here are the pictures taken of his first day. Does he not look big to everyone else? *sniffle, sniffle*


Swimming Fun

We got to the pool at Camp Abe Lincoln (put a comment in the field if you want to know where that's at, it's truly beautiful!) Dailah is wearing a swimsuit that was given to her by my co-worker, Kathryn. Does it GET any cuter than that?










Sleeping

The other day I put Dailah in her crib when it was time for a nap. I encourage her to put herself to sleep and she typically does after playing with her toys for a bit. Well when I didn't hear her usual enjoyment-while-playing I went to check on her and this is what I found. Out cold just like this. I did end up laying her down for fear of paralysis but waited a few minutes more to grab the camera and capture the moment.

Pictures

There will be a bit of a picture parade the next few blogs. I have been going crazy with the kids because we've been doing such fun things and, let's face it, they are too precious! So here's kind of a "random" group of pictures.



Mommy and Kiddos Dailah and Cheerios at the lakehouse

Trysten's handsome features
Dailah and her outfit I "couldn't resist" at a garage sale.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

1) Trysten had a great first day at day camp yesterday. As a mom, we always wonder what our kids are like when they are completely out of reach of their parents. So we were pleasantly surprised when a counselor came up to us and said, "I don't even care if he is the bosses son, he is just a great kid." Ahhhh, made my heart happy. But boy am I lucky I was the only one around him once we left camp. He was tired with a capital TIRED. After a less than successful bath, he was sent to bed early where he kept hanging on my neck telling me I'm the best snuggler and he just wanted to hug me and never let go. Tough to tear away from that kind of love!

2) On another Trysten note, he has the most odd timing when telling us he loves us. More often than not he can be heard saying, "Mommy/Daddy, I love you" while bent down waiting for us to wipe his butt after dropping a deuce. It's truly amazing. Though Zach and I get a chuckle out of it, part of me thinks he knows only someone who REALLY loved him would do such a thing and wants us to let him know he's worth it.

3) It's tough for me to think of anything better than waking up and being the first to go get Dailah out of her crib. When she sees you, she inhales with such excitement it's audible. It's the sound we make when someone scares you or something like that. It's even more awesome because it combines with her giggles, smiles and pumping of limbs to make it the best, "Good morning, mommy" in the world!

4) One of my forum friends sent this link http://farmerstravels.blogspot.com/ about some friends of hers who recently went on a 2-year missions trip to Malawi to visit HIV orphanges among other things. Pretty amazing pictures on the blog if you get a chance.

5) So last night Zach got a much needed guys night and I was left to my own vices, i.e. watching the special on Princes William and Harry. Most of you know I have a slight (by slight, I mean ridiculously overwhelming) obsession with English accents (or rather, any accents, when I think about it). So I was sitting down to watch some mind numbing entertainment and get a few laughs on funny phrases the Brits were about to say. What I wasn't prepared for was the images of them as young boys with their mom, Princess Diana. It was incredibly sad to me and I found myself crying. After much reflection I realized I was crying because I was picturing my kids over in Ethiopia experiencing some of the same pain. Though to be fair, seeing your mom's pictures splashed across magazines every day for the 10 years since she has been gone would certainly put new meaning to "re-living" the horror. Anyway, it made me grieve for those who have lost their parents, especially at such a young age. It made me count my blessings that I've gotten to know my parents through quite a few stages in life and hope that to continue for quite some time.

So my prayers have intensifed to all the motherless. I know God holds a special place in His heart for them, and I'm praying for the wisdom to know how and in what ways I can help.

Oh, and here's an awesome poem I came across.

A whisper started our journey
Yet with no spoken word
A whisper tugged upon our hearts,
Instead of being heard.

Your family is not quite complete
There is yet another
A precious child that waits
For a father and mother

A tiny hand to hold
A child to embrace
A priceless little smile
A reminder of God's grace

A whisper offered us faith
As we asked "Who?", "When?", "Where?"
Our searching paths found direction
As we whispered back in prayer

Then you were born, your photo shared
Our hearts were drawn to you
Now the whisper brings us joy
As the days between us grow few
Her little hand you're soon to hold
In a family hug, embrace
Your soon to see her priceless smile
A reminder of God's grace

Thank you, Lord, for all you've done
And all that you will do
Thank you for whispering to our hearts"I have a child for you."

by Todd and Leslie Murrill

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Baby Boy All Growed Up

So today was a tough day as a momma...my baby boy went off to day camp. :( We packed his bagpack last night and this morning he ate a good breakfast and was ready to tackle his day. He went to work with Zach because day camp doesn't start until 9 and Zach goes in about 8. So he got to hang out with his daddy for an hour. Zach said when he dropped him off at the day camp place and saw Trysten head out with the other kids he almost cried. It's a good thing I wasn't the one dropping him off, I've been a bit emotional lately and I would've embarrased both Zach and Trysten, I'm sure. So his activities will last from 9-4 and include things like hiking, swimming and arts and crafts. Zach said he's doing well but at lunch time (corn dogs and tator tots) he was asking if it was time to go home yet. :) That's my boy, he really does miss us. He kept saying last night and this morning..I'm really going to miss you guys when I'm at camp. Little does he know I've thought of little else today. It is interesting because, as a whole, I would consider Zach and myself pretty laid-back parents. But we have been nervous wrecks about this week at day camp! Perhaps control issues are to blame?

Dailah started waving over the weekend. As in, on purpose waving to say hello and good bye. Although interestingly enough, she does it backwards so it looks more like a full-handed "come here" but it's extremely irresistable and deserving of lots of hugs and kisses.

Father's Day was wonderful. Zach put off going into work for just enough time to go to breakfast with us. It felt like we were spoiled with so much daddy time! After these last couple of weeks, I have newfound respect for single moms. I know I've said it before, but it's not even about raising the kids on your own, which can be tough. I just miss talking to him at night and things. I am blessed with easy kids so my reasons for missing Zach are mostly selfish. :)

Tomorrow marks exactly one month until our adoption classes. I can't wait! I'm excited to learn (as most of you know, I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to that) but perhaps even more excited to really give the process a jump start. I've finished another book which brings the total to 8 (!) adoption-related books since May. :) I know, I'm ridiculous. But I get crazy when I'm excited about something!

I have been doing so much research, budgeting, etc and had figured out a way to give my 30 days today. Alas, it didn't happen after talking with my favorite hubby. He talked me into a few more months so we can save for the adoption. I know these kids will be worth it, but I am REALLY looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life! Be praying for my sanity the next few months and for us to continue finding ways to pay for this adoption!

Anyway, I'll post pictures of the well-captured first day of camp as well as just other cute ones as soon as I can download them to the computer. Until then, peace, love and happiness!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Emaye

So am starting to try to learn a few words in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. The title of this post is Amharic for "mother". I don't do phoentics really well, but if I were to try, it's pronounced like eh-MY-ay. Is that right, Leslie? Anyway, I'm trying. The only problem is, our children could come from a remote part of Ethiopia that doesn't speak Amharic. Then all of this would be for not....but I'm still considering them learning at least part of the language so they'll have ties to their culture that way as well. Besides, how cool would it be if I could speak (kind of) 3 languages....okay, okay, 1 languague and bits and pieces of two others.


So it's been a great week. We were finally able to see some of Zach the last couple of nights before all of us went to bed, which has been refreshing (for everyone, I think) since he's worked so late recently! We were able to go swimming in the camp pool on Tuesday night (it was beautiful, more pictures to come) and last night Zach brought the kiddos to watch me play sand volleyball with folks from our small group (apparently should have practiced!). Anyway, it's been a great week and tonight we get to go mini golfing--without daddy--with the Klipschs.

Can't believe this weekend is Father's Day. I'm going to have to dedicate a post to all the daddy's in my life soon. They are all so wonderful, especially my own "Papa John" and of course my husband. I call my husband the baby whisperer because kids love that guy. There's something about him. I think they can sense his overall contentment and peace. It's awesome.

Anyway, it's also been an exciting week on the adoption forum. 6 people have gotten referrals, including one couple from Pleasant Hill, IA. So it's been awesome reading about them hearing of their newest child for the first time. It gets me excited for when we get to that point. Though I have absolutely no idea when it will be, it really can't come soon enough. I'm crap (ca-ca) at this patience thing.

I'm also still studying for my ACE Personal Training certification. I'm not sure why I constatly pick the hardest way around things. This is really tough material! At least this way I'll be confident in my knowledge and skills once I'm actually training people. I also learned that I undoubtedly was born with more fast-twitch muscles than slow-twitch. I always use that as an excuse when people try to get me to compete in long road races. "I'm a sprinter" I say, "I have fast-twitch muscles, not slow-twitch!" Turns out I was right all along...Oh sweet intelligence!

So here's to a (hopefully) relaxing Father's Day weekend. I'm attaching a few professional pics of the kiddos. Man they are attractive people (too bad I don't have pictures of their insides, I bet they'd be ever MORE beautiful!)

Selam (Peace)
TL

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Too Sexy For This Shirt?

I had to write that title because it reminds me of one of the reasons I'm looking forward to staying at home with me kiddies...Trysten will never hear that song until he's old enough to go looking for that undeniably fantastic band that is Right Said Fred. He came home from daycare a couple of months ago singing that song. When Zach asked him where he heard it, he said "school". It prompted my always attentive hubby to call the daycare the next day. This led to the Director sending out a memo stating all listenting materials must be okayed by her before they are heard in the classroom. It pays to know the boss!

Last night on our way home Trysten was counting. I was listening closely and was surprised when he hit 100!!!! I was so proud of him, giving him high fives, doing my in-car dance. It was all fantastic and I called Zach and said, "Trysten counted to 100!" For the rest of the car ride he tried telling me he counted to 0 and all he wanted to do today was count to 0. No matter how much I tell him 0 is actually where you start, etc, etc, he just likes 0 for some reason. What a weird kid.
Dailah has recently reminded me why I sported that atrocious pixie cut when Trysten was exactly her age. She yanks, pulls and slurps my hair like it's her business. Especially when I'm giving her the nighttime bottle. It's like she goes to sleep better knowing I'm in pain. I don't get it but when I tell her "no" and put her hand down, she thinks we're playing a game and smiles and laughs like it's the best game in history. How can I say no to that? But seriously, I haven't been tempted to cut my long locks in quite some time but I'm toying with the idea now. Shhhh, don't tell my hubby.
This weekend Dailah had her first belly laugh. I'm talking hysterical laughing-make everyone come watch-light up your week-kind of laugh. All I had to do was juggle (really, really poorly) a plastic cup and she thought it was the funniest thing ever done. It makes me feel good to know I don't have to try nearly as hard at making her laugh as I do the adults around me.
And seriously...they are getting rid of Burke on Grey's Anatomy! Boy I liked his character. By character I mean on the show, obviously in "real life" he left a lot to be desired with regards to that word.
Okay, this blog started as an excuse to post pictures but somebody give me a podium to stand on and I'll talk your ear off! Happy Tuesday every body!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Grandma Dawson

Had a great weekend at the lake. It was Dailah’s first trip and Trysten’s excitement was palpable for the past week as he remembered all the fun we have whenever we go. They are in the final stages of an addition so there was painting and things going on but it was a whole lot of fun, just as I remember. We even had our dear friends, the Hilsabecks, come out to say hello. It was awesome getting to spend some time with them.

I also got to visit my newest second cousin, Dawson Lee Bertran. As soon as I download his pictures you can see just how cute and charming (true to his name!) he really is. It was nice seeing all of my cousins and things and of course getting to hold baby Dawson did the heart good!

On a more somber note, my sister, my cousin and I visited my Grandma Dawson yesterday. She is 95 and has Alzheimer’s, among many other diseases, etc. Last week she went to the hospital and on Tuesday (the 5th) the doctor said she wouldn’t last 48 hours. This prompted my uncle from Texas to come say good-bye. As I’m sure you noticed, she is still living and beating the odds. She has congenitive heart failure so it is only a matter of time. At this stage I’m truly praying God takes her soon so she doesn’t have to go through a lot of pain when the time does come.

It is such a weird thing, relatives dying. Truth be told I was not extremely close to this Grandma and it was due in large part to her not being totally interested in a close relationship (even though we lived just 5 miles from her my whole life, and at one point we lived next door!). She didn’t always have the nicest things to say and would sporadically call me by my younger brother’s name (though to be fair, I was sporting an unflattering pixie cut at the time).

But she was my Grandma. It’s hard at this stage because I find myself not feeling the “right” to be sad. At some point you tell yourself that you shouldn’t feel sad seeings you never really had that great of relationship in the first place. But perhaps that’s why I am a sad. Some part of me not only mourns my inevitable loss, but also the loss that’s been there for 25 years. I just don’t know much about her. I know things only from stories from my dad or uncle (mostly my uncle). Grandpa Dawson died in a tragic drowning accident when I was quite young and the memories I have of him are there perhaps only because I’ve seen pictures. When we asked Grandma to write her memoirs she had just two entries, neither one was altogether interesting.

As a Christian I am excited for her new life after she dies. Her mind and body will be restored and she will again be renewed in God’s image. Not the image I saw on Sunday. Not the old, 85lb lady wasting away on her bed. Not the lady who doesn’t recognize her granddaughters and certainly not the lady who can’t say anything that comes out clearly. I feel so sad for my dad, who I’m sure can’t remember the last time Grandma expressed a whole lot of love or gave him a hug that every child needs from his/her mom. I hope he (and my uncles) can come to terms with the fact that their relationship might have to be built in Heaven where there will be no more anger or resentment getting in the way of a truly remarkable relationship.

Either way, here’s to my Grandma. The lady that called me “my smiler” in a few of my birthday cards. The lady that gave me Red Hots when I would come over to do laundry. The lady who made amazing pies and attempted to show us how before her mind started slipping. The lady who gave the world my dad and my uncles. The lady who somehow knitted such a tight relationship between her sons, they blessed me with my close relationships with my cousins. The lady who taught me how to sew. The Grandma who constantly reminded me to zip up my coat on a cold, Iowa winter day. The lady who survived the Great Depression, WWII, the death of a fiancĂ©, the death of a husband and the death of her mind. The Grandma who asked if I was wearing white at my wedding. The lady who did crossword puzzles and had Christmas at her house. To the lady who (hopefully) gave my dad the ability to weather any physical storm and live a long, long life.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

PAC and Motherhood

Fantastic adoption news....One of the ladies from our awesome agency just wrote an email letting me know that we will be getting our invitation to PAC at the end of this month. We will be attending classes on July 19th and 20th. Woohoo! The classes take place in St. Paul, MN and go from about 12-5 on Thursday and 8-3 on Friday. From these classes we will learn valuable information about things like: transracial adoption, transcultural adoption, sibling adoption, toddler adoption, bonding, etc. After that we will have homework that needs completed. Once we turn in the homework to our social worker in Cedar Rapids, we will get all of our homestudy dates set up. This is where the process really starts getting going and I couldn't be more thrilled.


Of course, with all of this is the question of, where in the world are we going to come up with the cash? Well the good news is, the bulk of it is not due until we get a referral. The bad news is there is still a pretty good chunk of change that we'll need to continue in the process. If you have any creative ways of coming up with it, let us know! I am working on getting something together so I can start selling quilt blocks to people to create our childrens' homecoming quilts. On those quilts, whoever buys a block, can write anything they might want. A love note, a Bible quote, what have you. I think it'd be a great way to get people involved.


On a lighter note, I love motherhood. Though last night got a bit stressful as Trysten got something in his eye (according to him, it was a rock) and Dailah wasn't going down without a fight (and massive amounts of vomit on her freshly laundered sheets). After a good piece of birthday cake and a quick beer I felt much better. :)

I love babying my kids from time to time. Last night was Trysten's turn since he had the aformentioned substance in his eye. I got to hold him a lot more and he brought his Batman blanket down so we could snugglebugs on the couch. Man he's fun to snuggle. He'll let you rub his head and his legs, or whatever. It's awesome. Sometimes I find that I probably wouldn't ever stop if I didn't force myself to put him to bed. It seems we are mutually taking advantage of the situation and hope the other doesn't find out about it. It's great fun, really. At camp, the counselors nicknamed him, "Hawk" (seeings he's recently went back to his mowhawk). I like it and love that my son is included in the fun. Starting June 18th he's going to go to Day Camp every day for 8 weeks. It's going to be awesome, he's going to have so much fun. Of course I'm not feeling nearly as anxious about it seeings I have a good feeling they will be taking extra good care of the boss's son. Thanks, honey!

Dailah doo (as the daycare teachers call her) is precious. Every morning they're talking about her constant smiling and laughing. They said the other day that she looks like a Cabbage Patch kid (which could be why I love her so much, I always did love those things). Course they then went on to explain yes, she does look like a Cabbage Patch kid, but perhaps one with a constant stream of snot running down her face. Alas, it's true. But she smiles through the snot bubbles and it's all good.

In the end, after my various methods of coping and taking 10 deep breaths after the hard day I was having, I was happy to hunker down and snuggle with my husband who shared my equally hard day and love for those darn great kids.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Love Birthdays!

My birthday yesterday was fan-tabulous. I awoke at 6:30 to my hubby's smiling face saying, "Happy Birthday." Then Trysten ran in and gave me some good snuggling time. A couple minutes later Dailah joined the group with her crazy morning hair and beautiful smile. Giggling and wiggling her hands (which of course I interpreted as Happy Birthday!).

Went to work and got an hilarious card from my co-worker, Kathryn. Zach met me for a yummy cup of coffee and my brother-in-law, Frank, took me to some amazing Mexican food and great conversation for lunch.


Then last night we had about 15 of our friends and family out for a BBQ. Though we had to discourage any lawn games for fear of people being lost in the prairie that is our backyard, we all had a great time. I went to bed (at 10:30 no less!) amazed at my egg-cellent life, yet again. I seriously might have the best life in history. My friends and family are absolutely top notch. With just limited amounts of alcohol, I had the best laughs in the entire world. It even prompted me to make "laughter, on my birthday" comments throughout the night. But really, truly, I thank all of our dear friends for making my birthday the absolute greatest.


I went to bed also reflecting on what my Papa Frank says a lot about his life and his awesome career at the Y. "In a secular sense, none of this makes sense." And I find that true in my world as well. To take my life outside of God and the blessings He's given me, none of it makes sense. It's too good to think I could've had anything to do with weaving it all together. There'd be WAY too many coincidences in my life (the first of which would be actually meeting my husband again and MARRYING him!) to get where I'm at. So I fell asleep last night just constantly saying "Thank you, thank you" to a God I don't see physically, but can see and feel every single day. What an awesome pillow to sleep on!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quarter-Century old and Tassimo!

My weekend:

Friday night with my hubby was just as I remember from 5 years ago when we were just kids in Iowa City. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings (the offer to go somewhere nicer and more romantic was there, but I love beef so we went with that!) and then to Knocked Up. Both were good but I must say they had nothing on the company I was with. :)


Saturday was my day to sleep in (until 9:30, can you even believe it?). When I woke up I had a message from my Realtor. She was just heading to the people who put an offer on the house. Could she come over and have us sign everything? Abso-freakin-lutely! So it's official. It was a good offer (especially in the present buyer's market) and we are happy. Now bring on the packing! After the offer was official I banned cleaning for at least a week and it felt oh-so-glorious. I went to toast my hubby with a nice cup of coffee but found our coffee machine had broken. We decided we would head into town and do a little shopping. This brought us to Target and to TASSIMO!!!!!!!!!!!!! For those that don't know, Tassimo is a coffee machine that delivers coffee in a direct pipeline from heaven, I kid you not. I won't go into detail here because it will prompt me to leave work early to go enjoy a cup of cappi but let's just say we might need to buy a king sized bed so our Tassimo can sleep with us at night. We also got to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. At the restaurant we were celebrating in, my daughter said, for the first time. MAMA! SHE CAN SAY, "MAMA!" Woohoo! Oh yeah, and my dog's 3rd birthday!


Sunday sent Zachary to work and me and the kiddos to church/small group. It was awesome as usual. Even cooler was what I learned in my small group. Did anyone know that Paul originally brought the Gospel to Africa through ETHIOPIA??? I had no idea but felt some odd sense of pride in that. Interestingly enough, Paul also brought the Gospel to Europe at about the same time. Last night I had a dream that my ancestors and our kids' ancestors preached the Gospel hand-in-hand together. Then they were up in heaven cooking up our connection. Cool dream. As a side note, I also dreamed we found $5,000 randomly. Here's hoping that both dreams come true, and quickly! Oh yeah, and Dailah decided to say, "TT"! (This is what we call Trysten). So she can now say, dadda, mama and TT with clarity. Everything else sounds like shriekeing!


Today I got to work with an email from our adoption agency asking us when we could attend the PAC classes. I'm hoping Zach can talk to his boss and see if we could go the July dates. I realize he just started and it's busy season for camp but I do think this is a HUGE step in the adoption process and needs to be attended to immediately. So we'll see about that.


Also, I'm listening to Melissa Faye Green's book, "There is No Me Without You" on CD lately. For anyone who has any interest in reading a REALLY FANTASTIC BOOK, please go out and buy/rent this book immediately. It gives an amazing voice to the African/Ethiopian people and is just a beautiful testimony to the power of one person.


And, I'm turning a quarter-century old tomorrow. It's crazy to think I'm going to be 25. Crazy because I've been married for almost 5 years, have 2 kids and possibly 2 on the way. And, as my brother-in-law so wittily reminded us, we will be on house #3! :) Anyway, special thanks to my mom who gave birth to me AND gave birth to me ON HER BIRTHDAY! So happy birthday to my momma bird as well!


Oh, and I'm attaching a picture that was on the front page of a section of our Quad City Times. That kid under the huge hand is my favorite son, Trysten. That huge hand? Yup, that's my father-in-law, Frank's!

New York Times article about adoption from Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, Open Doors for Foreign Adoptions By JANE GROSS and WILL CONNORS

Published: June 4, 2007ST. PAUL —

Ethiopia was not on Mark and Vera Westrum-Ostrom’s list when they first visited Children’s Home Society & Family Services here to explore an international adoption.

From Ethiopia to Minnesota Ukraine was first, because of their family heritage, until the couple discovered that the adoption system there was chaotic, with inaccurate information about orphans’ health and availability. Vietnam was second, after they saw videos of well-run orphanages. But the wait would be at least a year and a half.Then they learned about Ethiopia’s model centers for orphans, run by American agencies, with an efficient adoption system that made it possible for them to file paperwork on Labor Day and claim 2-year-old Tariku, a boy with almond eyes and a halo of ringlets, at Christmas.

From Addis Ababa, the capital city, they traveled to the countryside to meet the boy’s birth mother, an opportunity rare in international adoption. And at roughly $20,000, the process was affordable compared with other foreign adoptions, and free of the bribes that are common in some countries. It is no wonder, given these advantages, that Ethiopia, a country more often associated by Americans with drought, famine and conflict, has become a hot spot for international adoption.

Even before the actress Angelina Jolie put adoption in Ethiopia on the cover of People magazine in 2005, the number of adoptions there by Americans was growing. The total is still small — 732 children in 2006, out of a total of 20,632 foreign adoptions, but it is a steep increase, up from 82 children adopted in 1997.Ethiopia now ranks 5th among countries for adoption by Americans, up from 16th in 2000. In the same period, the number of American agencies licensed to operate there has grown from one to 22.

The increasing interest in Ethiopia comes at a time when the leading countries for international adoption, China, Guatemala and Russia are, respectively, tightening eligibility requirements, under scrutiny for adoption corruption and closing borders to American agencies.

Ethiopia’s sudden popularity also comes with risks, say government officials there and in America.“I don’t think we’ll be able to handle it,” said Haddush Halefom, an official at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which oversees adoption. “We don’t have the capacity to handle all these new agencies, and we have to monitor the quality, not just the quantity.” Capping the number of agencies is one solution. And that is what some international adoption officials in the United States are now urging the Ethiopian government to do.

Of concern is the ability of agencies to handle the rising demand, which may have contributed to a recent mix-up involving two families sent home with the wrong children by Christian World Adoption, an established agency, although relatively new to Ethiopia. That case prompted inquiries by the State Department and the nonprofit Joint Council on International Children’s Services in Virginia, a child welfare and advocacy organization, and the adoption agency itself, said Thomas DiFilipo, president of the joint council. Officials at Christian World Adoption did not reply to e-mail messages or telephone calls. But Mr. DiFilipo said the agency was reviewing its procedures and has hired immigration lawyers to resolve the mix-up.The consensus, Mr. DiFilipo said, is that the mix-up was “an honest mistake.” But, he added, “This could be the byproduct of a staff handling 35 placements when they’re used to handling 20.”

Children’s Home Society & Family Services, founded in 1889, began working in Ethiopia in 2004. The agency completed about 300 adoptions in its first three years in Ethiopia, and expects to complete that many in 2007 alone. Along with Wide Horizons For Children in Waltham, Mass., the society is credited with helping Ethiopia create a model for international adoption. Ethiopia, with a population of 76 million, has an estimated 5 million children who have lost one or both parents, according to aid organizations. Many African nations have outlawed or impeded the adoption of their children by foreigners. Ethiopia has welcomed American and European families who are willing to provide homes for children who have lost both parents to AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis or starvation, or who come from families too destitute to feed and clothe them. (The adoption process includes routine screening for HIV infection.)

Two elements distinguish Ethiopia’s adoption system, according to dozens of experts. One is the existence of transitional homes for orphans, in the countryside and in the capital, with services and staffing that are rare in the developing world — paid for by American agencies.

Not long ago, Sandra Iverson, a nurse practitioner from the University of Minnesota’s international adoption health clinic, the first of its kind in the United States, was invited to visit the Children’s Home Society’s Ethiopian centers. She arrived with a neonatal otoscope, to diagnose ear infections; the Red Book, the bible of pediatrics; and scarce antibiotics. She left confident that Ethiopia’s orphans enjoyed unusual care. “You don’t hear crying babies,” Ms. Iverson said. “They are picked up immediately.”

The other signature of the Ethiopian system is that adopting families are encouraged to meet birth families and visit the villages where the children were raised, a cutting-edge practice in adoptions. Some agencies provide DVDs or photographs that document the children’s past.Russ and Ann Couwenhoven, in Ham Lake, Minn., recently showed one such video to 6-year-old Tariku, one of three children they have adopted from Ethiopia. The boy seemed proud of the beautifully painted house he had lived in, they said, and the uncle who had sheltered him for as long as he could. Linda Zwicky brought 2-year-old Amale home five days before the Memorial Day weekend, with a letter from the child’s grandmother that described holding the motherless infant at her breast even though she had no milk.

Sometimes such vividness is too much. Melanie Danke and her husband, of Minneapolis, adopted 6-year-old twins and a 3-year-old, all siblings. One of the twins “would work herself up until she was inconsolable” looking at photos of the aunt and grandmother who raised her, Ms. Danke said. So she has tucked the photos away for now.

David Pilgrim, vice president of adoption services at the Children’s Home Society, said the agency spends $2 million a year on its Ethiopian facilities.At the main transitional home, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, a staff of 170 care for about 120 children, ensuring that the children have consistent contact with adults, which experts say mitigates the most damaging psychological effects of institutionalization. During a reporter’s recent visit, the two terra-cotta buildings where the children live, usually for no more than a few months, were spotless, with staff members scurrying to pick up toys and food spills as they hit the floor.The transitional home has a primary school, open also to local students, where the children begin learning English. There is a medical clinic with two full-time doctors and 10 nurses. Down the road is a guest house for adoptive parents, who also can stay in a sleek hotel.

The children also enjoy the services of a “laugh therapist,” Belachu Girma.“These kids come here and are very depressed at first, all with their heads down and not talking,” Mr. Girma said. “I come in and try to help them relax.” There was laughter also at the nearby guest house, more of the nervous kind, as American parents waited to take their children back to St. Paul from the Horn of Africa.

Araminta and Jason Montague, from Atlanta, who picked up 17-month-old Natan last week, compared their experience in Ethiopia to an earlier adoption of a girl from China (where Americans adopted 6,493 children in 2006). “Our daughter was in an orphanage with about 300 children and she was very dehydrated,” Ms. Montague said. “We were never told her origins. Her sheet just said ‘Status: Abandoned.’ ”

Some parents anguished, as did Karla Suomala of Decorah, Iowa, when she arrived in Addis Ababa to adopt 5-year-old Dawit and his 21-month-old sister Meheret. “It’s hard to know what the right thing is to do,” Ms. Suomala said. “Should we just give all the money we’re spending on this to the children’s mother?” Ms. Suomala and her husband, David Vasquez, had already spent time with her.“It was obvious the birth mother loved her children,” Mr. Vasquez said. “She said to us, ‘Thank you for sharing my burden.’ ”

Alessandro Conticini, the head of child protection at Unicef Ethiopia, is one of many who believe that international adoption is a good thing but must be “part of a larger strategy” that focuses on keeping children in their families or communities, with the help of humanitarian organizations.

Indeed, the Ethiopian government has taken the unusual step of requiring foreign agencies to provide social services and document the results. As a result, agencies like Children’s Home Society and Wide Horizons have built schools and medical facilities — including one for HIV-infected children. But Mr. Conticini, of Unicef, worries about the mushrooming number of private adoption companies that “are not properly regulated by the government” because two different ministries are involved and working at cross purposes.

At the State Department, visa applications for children adopted from Ethiopia are getting extra attention, said Catherine M. Barry, deputy assistant secretary for overseas citizens services. “We will very quickly see if patterns are emerging,” she said, “and we will intervene in a timely fashion with anyone doing less than quality work.”

While the governments collaborate to protect a delicate adoption system from the perils of growth, adoptive families arrive each week in Addis Ababa to ease their children into new lives. Last week, these included Mr. Vasquez and Ms. Suomala. While she had no trouble escorting Meheret from the orphanage, Dawit refused to budge, so Mr. Vasquez carried him toward the gate. There, the child grabbed the bars and would not let go. Mr. Vasquez considered prying his hands loose and thought better of it. Instead he told Dawit that it was O.K. to cry.

Jane Gross reported from St. Paul, and Will Connors from Addis Ababa.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Offer!

We got an offer on the house, we got an offer on the house! And it's a GOOD offer. By good I mean we won't be paying anything. We won't be walking away with anything either, but that can be expected for only living in the house for 2 years. What this means is that I'm one step closer to staying with my babes and helping people reach their full physical fitness potential! I love life, I love God, I love everything (but will miss my house). Please, oh please don't let it fall through! Anyway, hope you all have as good as a weekend as I'm going to have!

Zachary

This one won't be near as long because people think I'm lying or exaggerating when I talk about Zach. I just wanted to include a few more pictures and talk about the amazing man who gave me those two beautiful kiddos.

Zach is truly all the things I've written about and more. I couldn't have picked a better husband and I'm just so lucky to be traveling this life with him. I was telling my friend, Shannon, that as a mom I'm always hoping my kids will go above and beyond anything I've accomplished. Be smarter, more athletic, better parents, etc. The one thing I'm not sure they can surpass, though I hope they can meet, is their choice in a life partner. If they find anyone they love half as much as I love their dad, they'll be happily married individuals.
Tonight my betrothed is taking me to an early birthday date. We will go out to eat and to a movie and I'm so excited. It almost feels like when we were first dating! I picked out my clothes (still not too revealing, a girl's got to make the guy work a bit!) and am thinking about little else all day. I love that I still get that way with him. Except for this time we get to come back to a house with two beautiful humans that are a product of our love together, what a blessing! Oh, and we also get to drink legally now which is pretty cool.
So here is to my husband of almost five years. May we always be the best couple we know! Love you hons.
And I also added a picture of all the Frank Klipsch the III's. What you can't see in this picture is the night before. The night before we were celebrating our Papa's awesome honor (an honorary doctorate from St. Ambrose University for being the most kind, generous person this Quad City community has ever seen, well that's what I say, they call it "Public Service"). Anyway, it was on that night when the wine was flowing freely that I commented, and I quote, "We might be the best looking, funniest, smartest, most humble people with the best hearts here." Though I can't speak for myself with the last two, I think we did come close to the rest at least that particular night. Look at that picture and try to disagree with me. :)

Dailah

It's kind of tough to write about Dailah. There's something about being a mom to a little girl. I can't put my finger on it quite yet, but once I find the words I'll be sure to write about it. Anyway, whatever it is, I wouldn't mind having more of it.

Though I've always wanted a little mini-me, it has been brought to my attention Dailah looks like her dad. After much reflection I must admit there are some stark similarities even the most narcissitic of moms couldn't deny. Last night when I was giving Dailah and Trysten a bath, I noticed she had her daddy's darker complexion. This means she will have that beautiful bronzed tone from just being outside for a few minutes. (Needless to say, this also means Trysten will be burned to a crisp in the same short time span, sorry Tman!) She also has his amazing eyes with beautiful long lashes. She has his terrific, perfectly plump, naturally pink lips. She has his build (that is to say, lots of junk in the trunk) and I'm told Zach used to move his hands and feet all the time as she does. She also (thankfully) has his chin that doesn't dip down when she smiles. She also has his sleep schedule. Stay up late, sleep in. Coax me to going to sleep but just try to wake me before I'm ready. They'll take a nap if there's nothing better to do and even then, if they remember while sleeping that they're missing out on life, they'll wake up ready to go.

But she does resemble me a bit anyway. She has all of my thick hair that tangles easily and needs coaxed to come out of knots. She loves laughing and loves her brother. She also has the Dawson nose, thankfully it looks more like my sister's and mom's and less like mine. But I also think she might have my chubby cheeks which I still maintain is much cuter and kissable on her than me! I'll be interested to see who she's more like in personality as she continues to fine tune it.
But so far so she is truly such a delight. Quick to smile and laugh. Never cries, unless she's tired or hungry. She's started to finally do some army crawling. She LOVES standing up and holding on to things and thinks she's the most hilarious person in the world when she does it. Her little body shakes and shutters as she tries to balance and laugh at the same time. She laughs hysterically at dogs and loves Terre's little chihuahua because she can put almost her whole mouth over his entire face. She loves to eat. She'll truly eat anything and never turns away a good Cheerio or teething biscuit. Loves ice cream so much she'll eat it while her mouth becomes numb and she no longer feels when she's eating it until it hits her toungue. She is amazing, beautiful, hilarious and a joy to behold. Just check out the pictures and see for yourself!

Trysten

Last night the kiddos and I treked off to Target to do some much needed grocery shopping and present buying. Since June is a big month for us as far as birthdays and anniversarys go, we had a lot to do. I love going to Target with my kids. Trysten and I share the popcorn combo, talk about our days, what toys he wants, etc. Dailah laughs at everything. Wiggles her hands and feet and grabs at Trysten's hair or my belt. So last night I got an urge to write about each of them in my blog.

I'm afraid Trysten is a lot like me. We've been told we look a lot alike. He has my wide face, smaller stature and my smile. He has my wider nose and my runny nose. He has my freckles and complexion (please God, without the acne!) He has my speed and athletic prowess (okay, he gets that from both sides). We have the same sleep schedule, which is to say, sleep as much as you can whenever you can. We go to bed early and wake up early, take a nap if we can get it. He loves talking (particularly on the phone as of late) and cries at movies.
But he has his daddy's sense of humor and thirst for rough housing. He enjoys his daddy's favorite pastimes like farting and peeing outside. He has his daddy's beautiful eyelashes, thank goodness. He also has the Klipsch legs that go together from hip to knee and then flare out as if having a ball between the calves. Though quite weird, it's amusing to see him and Papa Frank standing next to each other with those very distinct legs!

But above all, what I'm most proud of, he is just a good kid. He is so caring, so thoughtful, so loving. He is kind to people, shares well and his spirit is just so good. Of course he has his bad days and bad moments but he is so genuine and passionate in everything he does. It's truly a sight to behold.

As a purely baby booking mention, he can write all of our names and spell many words by sounding them out. He has also learned to do a handstand and really does it pretty well. He also enjoys sommersaulting and his teachers tell me he is the best colorer in the class. He enjoys counting to 50 (and getting $ from our friend, Dan for doing so!) He also enjoys collecting mommy and daddy's leftover coins and putting them in his Spiderman billfold. Once he has enough, he likes to buy something when we go grocery shopping. Something with only his money that he can put on the counter, have the person ring it up and then handover his money. He loves any figurine that has the potential to kill "bad guys". He sleeps in the lower bunk with a blanket draped over because he gets scared to see the green light blink on the smoke detector. He also likes "Mr. Crab" to sit outside his bedroom to scare off the bad guys. He enjoys helping me clean and especially do laundry.


You saw the soccer pictures but here is another where, it has been argued, I'm holding my look alike and Zach's holding his.

Soccer

So my favorite 4-year-old just finished his first season of soccer. It had its highs and lows but overall we were very proud of him.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I wanted him to be "that kid". "That kid" that parents were exclaiming, "Test that kid for steroids!" Or even, "Check that kid's birth certificate." Is it too much to ask for something like, "Is that David Beckham's kid?" Alas, we got none of that. Though I do like to think he gave the other parents a good laugh when he would sporadically sit down to help the landscapers pull weeds. He was often found chatting with the ladies or helping an unfortunate soul who fell down. Though my child is not going to win any "best hustle" for his season perhaps he'll win "Mr. Congeniality".

The prize for best stunt pulled by a player has to go to the little girl who decided mid-game that she just HAD to write an entry in her journal. She came to the sidelines and when asked by her daddy what she was doing she stated simply, "Writing in my journal, daddy!"

With that said, I was happy to find even if my son does not have my soccer skills YET, I was still one proud mama. As you'll see by the pictures, he is WAY too cute not to love regardless. The pictures go from a) him actually trying to b) what he was seen doing often: squatting and forcing the coach to encourage him to chase after the ball. Or c) showing his true character and shaking his coach's hand for a season well done.



To sum the season:

Soccer jersey $18
Soccer cleats, ball, new socks, shinguards $50
Seeing my son shake his coach's hand Priceless