Tuesday, April 29, 2008


What a day...again.

Did I mention yet that I love having 3 kids? Especially ones that are as adorable and laugh as often as mine do? I mean, really.

Perhaps one of the best parts of my day (oddly enough) was getting word from my friend Jody that she will probably be traveling to Sierra Leone in just a few short weeks. They are so close we can all taste it and I'm so incredibly thrilled for her.

Trysten said to me today, "I didn't really like having a brother at first but I love it now. His laugh is so great."

That is a fact.

So todays pictures are brought to you by the only child of mine who will stay still for pictures these days. I tell you what. We call Dailah "The Dutchess". My father-in-law named her that because he says my MIL is queen, my SIL is princess and Dailah....you get the rest. These pictures were too cute. In 20 minutes she fell and skinned her knee and then fell and bumped her lip. :)

But I think someone told her she was royalty. She really is so funny. She is all girl and I'm not sure how that happened with a mom like me. I wouldn't know girly girl if it smacked me in the face...and that's exactly what's happened. I have a daughter who would rather paint her fingernails and sit on a chair singing and dancing than come join her brothers and mom in an intense game of soccer..Who does that?

If she starts reading trashy romance novels and hating when people ask her questions I'm going to start asking my sister lots of questions.

We made our first trip to the grocery store tonight. I told you I should be cloned. We bought way too much, it actually made me depressed. Unfortunately not depressed enough to not eat it or something like that.

Urine Part Deux

So things are going better with the urine situation. Well, I don't know if "better" is the word, perhaps just "different". He doesn't pee on the floor as much anymore (yippeee!) but he does pee all over the toilet seat as he just forgets to push that up as well (yuck). The cheerios hasn't helped that situation. I'm hoping if I keep repeating to pull the seat up maybe it'll just sink in. How soon is too soon to have the boys start cleaning their own toilet? Gag a maggot.

Had book club last night and actually stayed out until 10:30. Those things just don't happen to me anymore. But it was great conversation with a great group of women, I am just so grateful for their wisdom and insight!

Thanks for your prayers for my grandpa! He is out of the hospital and they are trying to control his issues with medicine. Now we need prayers that he takes the medicine! If not, we gave my grandma permission to chop it up and put it in chocolate (grandpa is the person who passed on my absolute obsession for all things chocolate and good).

We have thick, green mucus and coughs at our house. Is anyone else really questioning this whole global warming thing with the weather being 30 degrees IN MAY!!!! My goodness, this is getting ridiculous.

I really don't even have any funny antecdotes to share or pictures for that matter because all things considered, I'm quite lazy and don't want to go look for the camera. So until I get some powerful motivation, you just have to settle with my mom-ish words and lack of humor.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reason 4 Million and Counting Why I love Trysten

Another blog about a conversation with a 5-year-old.

Trysten: Mom, Max and Quincy (Jody III's boys, check sidebar) don't have their brother and sister home yet (they're adopting the twins from Sierra Leone) but we have Tariku.

Me: That's right, who did you talk about that with?

Trysten: Quincy, he said he's excited to get them home and play with them. He said he misses them like I missed Tariku before he came home. He said that we're cool because we have brothers and a sister who are from Africa.

Me: Well he's right about all of that!

Trysten: Mom, is Africa cooler than America?

Me: It's just different. Cooler in some ways, not in others.

Trysten: I sure wish I was from Africa. Tariku talks cool and I like his skin because it's my favorite color. Quincy and I wish we had black skin because that's really cool.

Does he get any cuter? I mean, really.

Ok so I liked, no pictures this time but this was an unplanned post. I just have to post when my kids are cute, it's like some motherly thing I think.

The kids are down (it's 7:30) and I've heard 4 flushes of the toilet in 15 minutes. That means only 10 more and they should be down for the count. Boys crack me up.

Crazy Weekend

It's been a crazy weekend. We had some great friends over Friday night. I shared my enchiladas that Cassie made, which I now regret (I need the recipe, Cassie!). But they shared their beer so I think we're somewhat even.

Yesterday we launched a new Bodypump release the kids and myself were at the Y until 2.

Zach has been at a training all weekend so we've not seen too much of him.

Today we went to church and are now taking naps, which I will surely partake in after this absolutely necessary blog.

My mom called today to tell me that my grandpa had fallen, a possible stroke. My typically optimistic mind is racing at breakneck speed to pessimism. I'm praying for him with all my might today.

My 3 names (first, middle, last) are constantly being misspelled. If I would've not been so head over heels for Zach, I maybe would've thought about keeping my easy-to-spell maiden name but I didn't. Worst I got from a telemarketer was teshoshe klipesch. Today I looked in the mail and Zach has a piece of mail for him. If they didn't have his first name, I wouldn't be exactly sure who it was for as it was addressed to "Zach klit" and that's no jokes. I think I'm going to keep it just because it's hilarious.

You remember that book of 660 pages I was supposed to read half of by Monday? I finished it last night. 660 pages in approximately 2 days. I couldn't stop, good stuff. The Other Boyeln Girl is what it is called. I love reading, absolutely love it.

The kids....are....great. Tariku is starting to get his wits about him and I must say I'm very proud to have another funny child join the family. Though his jokes are sometimes in Amharic, I completely get that he must've been the funniest 3-year-old in Ethiopia. He has started to go back and forth between wanting to forget about Ethiopia and wanting to show it off. I tried to give him some injera the other day and he told me he doesn't like it. But in the bath last night he kept saying, "Tariku Ethiopia, mommy America, daddy America, TT America, Dailah America." When I just put him down for his nap he was jokingly messing up who was who and then just laughing so hard...way to precious.

The pee thing is getting better. Everything still smells like urine but now it's mostly because he forgets to flush, so that's an improvement. As he runs to the bathroom he yells, "Pull pants all the way down!" "Shinte in the toilet, not on floor!" Who's a proud mommy?

Trysten and Dailah are getting ever the more clever as well. I really think they've taken quite a liking to being a family of 5. I can't remember if I've ever seen anything as cute as them all holding hands but if I have, it completely escapes me. Truth be told I'm enjoying myself too. Things haven't really changed that much from 2-3 kids. I felt it big time only once that I can remember. Today on the way to church I was carrying Dailah as she was sleepy. Trysten was holding on to my hand and Tariku was holding on to his (remember Zach was working). So Trysten and Tariku start running and Tariku falls, skins up his knee. He wants carried, Dailah wants carried. I had my purse, diaper bag, water bottle, 60 lbs of kids in my arms and one tugging on my coat. I sure could've used an extra set of hands but my good church-going people obliged me and picked up Dailah. :)

Anyway this post was so random but I had a few things I wanted to remember before I forgot them...which could be anytime from 3 minutes or 2 hours, they will doubtfully last longer than that. Pictures next post, I promise!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Still Hurtin'

Tariku is still feeling a bit under the weather. He's very quiet for him, still limping. He even chose to take a nap instead of eat lunch...who is this kid?

I called the doctor...just to be sure this is normal. :)

Trysten is so funny. Yesterday we were watching Ellen (admit it, you were too) with the single reason being David Beckham was on. I'm a bit partial to him myself so I was excited. On the show they called him the greatest soccer player in the world. To which Trysten says, "Even better than uncle Marcus?" (My little bro plays soccer in college). "Yeah, even better than Marco." "Oh, I don't think so, mom, Marcus is way better." Way to cute.

That's all. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Whew...a few days out of the blog world and I feel like I've been out of touch, I started getting emails making sure I'm okay...I appreciate your concern. :)

So we've been good. I've been out of things to say, things are going so well I fear a jinx will surely happen should I blog about it. (By the way, i love writing "about it" because inevitably 2 out of 3 times I write it, it looks more like "abou tit" and that always makes me giggle.)

But today has been an interesting day. It started (kind of) with Tariku getting his vaccinations. I was never one of "those moms" that cried when my babies cried over vaccinations. They're babies for God's sake, they cry all the flippin time. I felt bad, sure, but they weren't able to differentiate between a needle and 2 hours in between breastfeeding. Turns out it's COMPLETELY different with a 3-year-old; even a 3-year-old who speaks limited english. He knew what was coming. He started screaming when he saw the needles then proceeded to let out a blood curdling scream that awoke the Ethiopians IN Ethiopia. It was horrific, I started crying, he kept crying. We were a blubbering mess. Then we went to McDonald's and he forgot about his shots...

Until tonight. I noticed he was limping when we got home from the Y. Then I realized he had his first accident in his pants so I thought that was it. But then I changed him and he was still limping and very quiet for Tariku. When I kept asking him what was wrong (in English, then looked how to in Amharic) he pointed to his legs. Poor guy. Though it was the first time he let me just take care of him. He definitely has an independent streak a mile wide so he usually won't accept help in dressing, brushing teeth, eating, etc. But tonight he was all about it (hee hee hee) so I splurged and carried him everywhere, etc. I kept repeating, "I'm your mommy, I'm going to take care of you."

Then Trysten started coming up with things that hurt. I never realized that my hypocondriac (sp?) stage could've been so annoying to my parents (sorry about that 'rents) or my siblings for that matter. He was complaining of a hangnail and I was like, "Trysten, your brother got 4 shots, let's not go there." Jeesch, I hate when things like that come full circle.

BUT, on a good note, in the car Tariku said his first full English sentence! Dailah likes dolls. So Dailah had a baby and Tariku says, "mommy baby is sleeping!" It was awesome. Not rocket science, but not Amharic so we're getting there. Really the language issues hasn't really been an issue but I'm on the edge of my seat wondering what this kid will be like when I know what he's saying. He has such an awesome personality I don't want to miss it anymore!

So on that note, I must go start my book club book. I have 400 pages to read in that and 10 songs to learn for BodyPump by Monday. Good thing I got an A+ in multi-tasking (though I wouldn't check my references on that, I doubt many teachers would say the same thing).

Here are some pictures to make you smile. Dailah's outfit is just ridiculously cute, I love having a girl. The boys fell asleep on the way home from Iowa City with their hands like that, try telling me that isn't the cutest thing in the world. And do you see how Dailah is looking at her big brother? So much love, so much saying, "what the hizniz is that kid saying?"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Was This 1 day or 20?

Today was a looong day for some reason. Bodypump, bodystep, hang with the landers, head to Iowa City, visit with friends, visit with family, head home. Whew!

Did you know that it takes longer to get places with 3 kids? Did you know if you go to a hospital with one adult and 3 kids you are outnumbered and will never catch up/wait for all of them very well. Did you know it becomes not a big deal at all to realize you just spent an hour doing something but can't really remember what it was or who you were talking to or what you were saying?

Yikes, spikes. This day went so quickly and I don't remember a blink of it how does that even happen? And the kids are great. They are great. And I'm going to bed. That was a worthless post but I'm hoping I can refer back to it tomorrow to remember that this was, in fact, an entire day.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I made it. Not only did I make it with 3 kids and one grown human but I also cleaned the entire house. Like, I mopped, so I REALLY cleaned. It had very little to do with the fact that I found another piss puddle 2 cm from the toilet.

They should flippin' clone me I'm that good.

Do You Know What "Your hot" means?

That's what my 5-year-old asked me a minute ago.

Yes, I respond, do you?

Yeah it means, "You're pretty."

How did you know that, Trysten?

Because Alvin said it on the Chipmunks.

Oh, well that's weird.

Yeah, You're hot, mom.

Thanks babe, that means a lot.

No, I was just saying that.

Oh ok, well thanks anyway.

What a bizzare question. Aren't I too young to be fielding questions such as this from my baby boy? It only gets crazier, as Jody knows so well.

First Day

Zach goes back to work full time today. It's my first day with 3 kids by myself. I suppose with kids this cute I shouldn't complain.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

No Words

Everything is going great. Tariku continues to impress us with his ability to be happy in pretty much all situations. It is quite obvious he's used to having older sibling-like people in his life and he's even taken quite a liking to being a big brother. Dailah has 2 big brothers doting on her every move. Yesterday they were outside, she kept kicking off her crocs and grunting for one of her brothers to come help. One of them inevitably would and then they would help her up the stairs and down the stairs. They'd brush her off if she fell. It's getting kind of ridiculous. They even like playing with her, in the picture with her in all the cushions...yeah that's from her brothers. You'd feel sorry for her stuck there if you didn't know that she loved every minute of it and didn't want them to let her out. :) My heart is bursting with love! Check out these pics, kind of crazy. (Oh, and Bodystep went well, I am exhaustapated and sore today).

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Thought

I have lately had one vice...it's called Southwestern Ranch dip from Tostitoes. It's in the fridge, a forbidden fruit of sorts.

Why is it forbidden?

Because every time I get out the jar and it "pops" I have six little hands trying to reach in the bag of chips and dip into my vice.

How long until ALL of them will understand you should NEVER get between a woman and her vice?

BodySTEP and lovely.

Tomorrow is BodySTEP launch (anyone who is close enough to come, do it! Downtown Y at nooner, it'll change your life!)

Anyway, I've been practicing all day today and we also braved the Y this morning. We put Tariku (and other kids) in the child watch as a trial run to see if he'd make it so I can get back to teaching classes (I'm going through workout withdrawls). He was in there for about an hour and he did great! Came running to me when I got back, etc. So that's awesome. Things are going well.

And here are a few more pics to prove it. I love my life.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do I Look...

Like a PTA mom? I sure hope so...because that's who I'm going to be in just a few months.

It was Kindergarten round-up day. My baby boy all growed up and it's just so hard to believe. I still remember those 3 hours of trying to push that big head out and then forgetting all about that when he looked at me. Awesomeness.

He did well...walked off flashing the peace sign as I choked back the tears and sat through a boring "chat" about what to expect from our kindergartner. Somehow during this boringness I got talked into not only joining the PTA but running for officer. All it took was the statistics on parents involved in their kids' education doing much better than others (and I had a mom who was our high school guidance counselor, she knew if I laughed at something inappropriate in class before class was out...i'm a believer). So there you have it.

Everything else is going well. I'm not quite sure if I was prepared to deal with the fact that I love Tariku so much already. I was totally prepared for being a bit resistant to him but I'm not at all. It's still hard for me to wrap my head around. 2 weeks ago I knew him just from pictures but he already feels like he's been here forever (except for the fact that he sings in a language I don't understand and I LOVE singing along with people).

With that said, here's some pics of the people I love the mostest. A couple of the pics: we went on a hike through camp yesterday it was aweome, Tariku and Dailah got into my sister's lip gloss, first trip to Target, first trip to doctor, who says Ethiopians don't love dogs? and just love in general.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Poo Sampling

So today has been a test in motherhood and it's only 7:40.

Yesterday we went to the doc and they gave us a poo sampling kit so we can test Tariku for giardia (I need no test, the paint on my bathroom walls is recoiling in fear when that kid enters the bathroom). I was thinking on my way home how there needs to be a service who will do the poo collecting for you, I hate that stuff. So I thought of a business idea. The company will be called Poo For You and the slogan will be, "We do poo so you don't have to." I think it's brilliant. But until someone actually puts it into practice, I had to do it myself. :(

6:30.."Mommy, caca." Says my middle child. I rustle out of bed, knowing what's in store for this momma when he utters "caca". I get all the supplies ready, put the gloves on and mentally prepare myself for what's to come.

6:35 2 dry heaves later and it's done. Exit bathroom stage right and see vomit from woosha (dog). Proceed to "let" him outside. Clean up vomit.

6:37 Commence to kitchen to make breakfast for 3 hungry chitlins. See large pool of urine by the door. Look at Tariku, "Tariku, shinte?" (Tariku did you just piss on the floor?) Finger shakes from Tariku. (No)

So either my dog or my son peed on the floor. I'll give Tariku leeway as it's entirely possible he was sleep walking and dropped his pants where he thought was the toilet.

Better get to taking those poo samples to the poo market. Apparently it tests better when it's fresh. Where oh where are the Poo For You people when I need them?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How Do You

say, "Stop urinating on the floor, point your penis in the toilet." In Amharic?

I'm getting VERY sick of stepping in pee anytime I go to the bathroom. About two minutes ago I went to the bathroom and noticed no pee INSIDE the toilet but quite a bit on the seat, floor, rug and side of the bath. Seriously. And the kids' bathroom smells like urine. Its been 4 days and my house smells like urine. Nice.

Any help on this would be great. :) Oh, and if you speak Amharic and can tell me what to say that'd be great; but don't tell me if my tattoo actually says "dumbass" instead of "grace". Thanks in advance.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What Do You Get...

when you take a 3-year-old Ethiopian boy to his first urinal? Well you get a little boy pulling down his pants, taking his hand and putting it INTO the urinal and pulling out the TOILET BISCUIT. Then you get a daddy screaming and dry heaving, taking the aforementioned "biscuit" out of said son's hands and Joe Namothing it back into the urinal. Then you get son and father scrubbing hands in sink and forgetting all about the need to shinte (pee).

When man and son return to table you get mommy laughing so hard she crys. And that, my friends, was us at Buffalo Wild Wings today. My life is one big comedy feature after another, I live for that.

Also, I got a new tattoo. (Sorry, mom and Uncle Vic). It's pretty sweet and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. For those that don't know (and I'm quite certain no one who can speak/write Amharic is reading this) my tattoo says, "Grace" in Amharic (the national language of Ethiopia). I've been wanting to get this tattoo for a long time now but I'd given myself awhile to make sure I really wanted it and then Zach made me wait awhile to make sure I really wanted it. So I perservered and am glad I did.

I've talked about grace a bit here but it really is how I get through life. God's grace is unfathomable, unexplainable but so very amazing. I count on it minute by minute. So I got it tattooed on my wrist to remind me what that grace cost for Jesus. (It was a very constant reminder for the 15 minutes I was actually getting the tattoo as it hurt worse than my other 2 and I kept thinking that Jesus got NAILED in that general area, it freaked me out). Anywho, it also will be a constant reminder how I need to live life, treat other people and all of that. That's a 2 second snap shot at what could be a 3 day conversation for me.

So here are some pics of the new tat. I did the second photo just for my sister, Kait, because when she got her tat done she did this sweet "emo" pose so I gave a good shot at my own. What do you think, Kait, emo enough for you? Can you feel all the emotions I was thinking at the time?

Where's Waldo?

So I mentioned in one of my posts from Ethiopia how the Ethiopian people were generally astonished at how see through I was. In most of the pictures I look like a ghost, a phantom. Unfortunately I did not get the rest of my family's nice darker complexion (as you see from the skivies post, neither did my son). Anyway, here are three pictures Zach and I like to call the "Where's Waldo" series. Try to find me, I get smaller and smaller as the groups come to swarm the nice ferenjes (white people). I tried to bend down and talk to some of the kids but they were literally so freaked out by me they ran. I don't blame them, I'd been crying all morning and then there's that see through bit. After seeing how beautiful all of these kids are you can see how I developed a complex while there. I love a good dose of humility from time to time.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We're On a Roll

Zach and I were able to go back to sleep this morning so that was nice. We woke up in time to make scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes. I wish I could say we felt better after such a big breakfast but that would be lie; it's almost sad how much we had to eat when someone we know quite well eats once a day at best. Anyway, off the soap box now. We were also able to get a shower and all kids ready to head to church today. Tariku and Trysten did very well (Dailah went in the child watch) so we were proud of that!

Here are some more pics, just because I'm on a roll. The kids are eating a cookie my mom brought to celebrate Tariku's birthday (March 16), my brother Marcus's birthday (April 10th), my sister Kara's birthday (May 2nd) and my mom Connie and my birthdays (June 5). We're celebrating because my sister is in town from Virigina and will doubtfully get back for everyone's birthday!

It's 4am Again

I guess I should stop falling asleep at 7:30. Me and my boys went to bed at 7:30 so now I'm wide awake. They were both moving around on the floor next to us so I decided to take them to their beds. It sounds like they're both sleeping so that must have been a good decision. Turns out we're not the type of family who enjoys a "family bed" of sorts, which is aokay with me.

So our first full day together went really well. We had 0 tantrums from Tariku and that included giving him a bath! Turns out if he sees his big brother doing it, he'll try it as well. So that was refreshing. As you can see in the video, life at the Klipschs is awesome as this was the sound pretty much the whole day.

I have to keep trying to remind myself that we're still early in our time together and the shizniz could hit the fan at any point but I'm counting my blessings this early morn. So here are some more pics of our trip back to the hegemonic super power (as my sister, Kait, so elequontly put it). Excuse Zach and my absolute exhaustion and our desire to take a picture of Ronald McDonald.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

3 Kids Playing

Holy S***

We have 3 kids!

2 of them are sleeping, the other is "quietly" reading books. Tariku fell asleep with covers over his head because his big brother kept trying to play with him. I love a kid who sees napping as a priority.

Last night when we got all 3 kids in their car seats I turned around and it hit me. When we were getting ready for bed, it hit Zach. About 10 times this morning it hit the both of us. Holy shizniz we have 3 kids. They all have done so well today (Trysten hit a bit of a wall after waking up too early this morning but that can be expected) it's amazing. It's been hard for me because I want to hang with Trysten and Dailah as I missed them so much these last two weeks but I want to hang with Tariku to continue getting to know him. It's weird having to remind myself to spread myself between them all the make sure they know I love them all.

With that said, I'm going to take my second cat nap of the day. My belly misses the Ethiopian food and my non-existant gall bladder hates the greasy American food. Tariku enjoys my mom's turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole; so apparently he continues to not discriminate when it comes to food. As a side note, he ALWAYS smells food before he eats it. If it doesn't make the smell test he refuses to eat it. On the plane he went for a smell test with the ice cream and stuck his nose in it, hilarity ensued. Never seen anything like it but cracks me up every time to see him smack a piece of food to his nose and take a big whiff.

Zach is trying to beat me to sleep, I must not let him.

Laughter Is a Universal Language

I've been up since 4am. Though when you go to bed at 8:30 that doesn't sound so bad. I slept like I haven't slept for days (literally) it was amazing. Both boys slept in our room in sleeping bags and did very well. I feel really good about it all.

The meeting was great. Tariku gave lots of samis (kisses) and Trysten and Dailah were genuinely happy to see us and meet their brother. After a greeting from our amazing family and friends the kids commenced to being brothers and sisters and cousins. It was sooo great seeing the kids and the rest of the family, I had missed them all so very much. I only cried a bit so was very proud of myself. Once I get the video, I'll put the video on the blog so you all can see.

So I got 1 1/2 hours before Zach and Tariku joined me, with Trysten following soon after. The boys have been jumping, playing and primarily laughing the entire morning (and last night for that matter). I can't say enough how amazing Trysten is. He has welcomed Tariku in the family as if he's been here the entire time. I asked him what he did last week that was really fun, he said, "Nothing compared to seeing you guys and getting Tariku." I mean, really. He has taken a liking to try to copy whatever Tariku says in Amharic which is very funny. Dailah has loved giving him kisses and was hesitant to go down last night as it was quite obvious she thought Zach and I would not be here when she woke up. I'll be happy to prove her wrong.

Been kind of sad watching Tariku just look at all of us speaking in English. He is obviously confused as to what we are saying and also why Zach and I would be talking like that as we've done a decent job at speaking primarily in Amharic to him. We plan on ichating with a few of Tariku's friends that were also picked up last week so that he can talk about the crazy stuff we're making him do...things like sharing and eating non-spicy foods.

Better be off to play with the kiddos. I realized I woke up at 4am because it's lunch time in Addis. I got so sad thinking I wasn't going to be heading down to the kitchen to enjoy a freshly made breakfast. I went down to our freshly stocked kitchen (thanks mom, Jody and Leslie) and was tempted to eat the Doro Wot and Injera but decided instead for powdered donuts. It was not nearly as enjoyable.

Sounds like Tariku is getting frustrated, better go throw the kid a bone. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tariku on Plane

We're In America!!!

I've never been so excited to see the great chill that is Minneapolis, MN. We're here and have just 2 hours until we take off to Moline, IL. Arriving there around 5:15. I'm getting so anxious to see the kids it's ridiculous! Thanks for all your prayers, they have worked! Tariku has been an absolute gem the entire trip thus far and has surpassed me in his ability to travel well without complaint! So just one little 45 minute flight and we're home free!

I'm attaching the last post I wrote before leaving Ethiopia that I didn't get to email while there. Can't wait for you all to meet this guy!

So the last day is here. It’s 9:15am and I’m waiting for the Ethiopian cooking class to begin. Zach took his youngest son guitar shopping with him so I could have full concentration when attempting to make Tku’s favorite dishes. Last night we had a hair braiding “class”. It was interesting to watch her do it but became a bit problematic when we tried to ask questions because the nice woman knew nothing of what we were saying. So it wasn’t a class as much as it was an exposition of sorts. I’m hoping the cooking class goes over a bit better otherwise I’ll have no idea what and when to put in the various spices that make Ethiopian cuisine what it is.

A bit nostalgic today as I think about how impacting of a week we’ve had. Obviously the best part of this whole trip has been meeting and getting Tariku. I’m very thankful we didn’t bring the other two kids with us as it wouldn’t have been near the experience with them (this says nothing about them, but our ability to parent 3 children and be fully aware of what’s going on around us is not so good). I think the second most life changing event was on Sunday. When I think of my time in Ethiopia, I keep coming back to that day, that moment when we met a very special person. That scenery on the way to Hossanna. That day is what I think of and what I will undoubtedly keep coming back to when I need to find strength in parenting, in life, in work and in my daily pity parties.

I am really looking forward to getting home and seeing the kids run to us at the airport; Dailah with her one armed run and Trysten with his hair flying behind him. I imagine our first family hug and get a bit teary eyed; I am so looking forward to that. But I also wish, to some extent, our kids could have seen this. Their reality of life is far different than most of the world and I wish they would start seeing real “reality” at their young age. It was a bit startling for me to REALLY see it for the first time at 25. I do pray they grow up having a worldy view of life, love and the varying degrees of the pursuit of happiness.

I’ve heard other people say they missed Ethiopia about a week after they got back to America. I can definitely see why that might be. (It has nothing to do with the fact that they clean after us, cook 3 amazing meals a day and we have the option of a driver anywhere we go). Life in Ethiopia is quite nice, relaxed, intense and above all very beautiful. It turns out the Mighty Mississippi has nothing on the land of 19 months of sunshine.

So the rest of the day is just the cooking class, a nap for Tariku, an exit interview for CHS and then collection of all our original documents. If it’s anything like this past week, it will go by very quickly. I’m eagerly anticipating our return home but absolutely dreading the flight back and that’s because I’m a heinous flyer and I have no idea what to expect of my beautiful Tku.

Last night a few of us were talking about the week after the kids had gone to bed. One of my friends, Rebekah, said, “If we do our job right, our kids will be the generation to come back to Ethiopia and make a real difference.” I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on our kids (and I don’t think she was putting that pressure on them, she was more making an “I have a dream” statement). It saddens me terribly that there will be a huge part of Tariku’s generation in foreign lands. It also saddens me that the children in other lands just might be who God has chosen to come to Ethiopia and give the people a chance to eradicate so many of the country’s less than desirable aspects. I think if we REALLY do our job right, our children will know the culture, the language, and the people well enough that they CAN come back and change what hurts the country and keep what makes the country so beautiful. The last thing in the world I would want is for Tariku’s generation of Ethiopians to come Americanize Ethiopia, it is beautiful BECAUSE it is Ethiopia.

What has surprised me most about this trip is how in love I can be with God and how mad at Him I can be at the same time. Overall the feeling is, as always, complete awe of His Creation and ability. Perhaps the word that I most feel about God right now is grace. His grace has led us here, to pick up Tariku and experience a nation He so obviously holds close to His heart. I can’t be too mad at Him for that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We're Off

So we're just getting ready to eat dinner. The buses are here so we can tally ho right afterwards. I just sent Zach up to bring down our luggage. Tariku is trying to get into the buses to go on the "aerwoplan". I think we're ready to go.
2 good signs we've attached to Tariku. 1) Zach keeps calling him Trysten. I figure this innately shows he already thinks of him as his son and is in love. 2) A child hurt Tariku and mama bear came out full force, I picked the kid up by his arm and placed him away from Tariku. Then proceeded to smother him with hugs and kisses, it was effortless.
So with those good signs, we take to the air. Pray for us! Give Trysten and Dailah lots of hugs and kisses and tell them we're coming soon! Love you!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Honeymoon is Over

But I love it still...there were approximately 6 tantrums today each getting longer. I'm very glad I'm a veteran mother or I might turn and run but I distinctly remember what this is like and know it gets better. Plus, I know that all of this means that he knows we'll be around regardless. he doesn't just need to be cute and funny all the time, he can just be Tariku and we'll still love him. So, it sounds funny, but I'm glad we're at this stage in our relationship. I still get such a big kick out of the kid.
It was all Tariku all the time today. Side from the tantrums, we had an enjoyable day. He's starting to learn Zach and I have an amazing ability to hang out while he works things out so we'll win every time. Tariku still eats like it's going out of style and drinks enough to go pee every 10 or so minutes. No accidents yet so that's nice.
perhaps the biggest shock of the night came when we attempted a bath. The nannies told us he didn't care one way or another whether he had a bath but we witnessed something different altogether. HE HATES THEM WITH A HOT, HOT HATRED. He took one look at it and screamed and didn't stop until 40 minutes later. Not sure how that worked out but if the kid would learn to wipe better we wouldn't have had to run into it yet. :) Either way, not a big deal but perhaps a better heads up would've enabled me to strap on a bigger pair and prepare myself.
Anyway, loving this whole thing I'm not going to lie. Talked to the kids tonight and Tariku had a hoot of a time talking to his "cchee cchee" (TT) and Dailah as well as both grandmas. I'm sooo wanting to be home and have all three of my kiddos in my arms, I miss them so much! We leave in just 24 hours so that's very exciting.
Not sure if I'll get to post tomorrow or not but we'll post when we're at Minnesota as we have a 4 hour layover. So until then pray for our safe travels home! Love to all!

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He's Ours!

This was written yesterday...

He's Ours!


I'm typing with Tariku taking his nap next to me. Beyond his head I can see out over the town of Addis and in the distance is the mountains. It's starting to rain here, which I am so happy about as I prayed for the rain to help the farmers in the south with their crop. I must say, there is no more a perfect situation to be in unless we had Trysten and Dailah here as well.


So he is officially ours. We woke up this morning to eat oatmeal and cornbread but not of the instant variety on either one so it was a real treat. We then went to the infant care center to get a tour of that. I would be lying if I said I wasn't "done" with the tours. At that point I was just ready to get Tariku in my arms for good. It's a beautiful facility with beautiful babies but I probably would've appreciated it more had the tour been on one of the first days. After we got through part of it, we saw they had brought the older kids to the center for the good bye ceremony. Once Tariku saw us, he was not letting go so I made an executive decision to skip the rest of the tour and hang with him. A couple minutes afterwards, a nanny took him upstairs to change his clothes.


As the older kids who weren't being adopted this week sat patiently (they were very good, it's amazing) we parents sat in joyful expectation waiting to see our kids in their traditional Ethiopian outfits. The babies came first, and then Tariku hurled himself down the stairs and lept into Zach's arms. He looked sooo handsome and it felt good to have him hurl himself at us. Though he was supposed to stand against the wall with the other kids being adopted this week, he chose instead to sit on our laps. (We didn't mind). I won't spoil the ceremony for those who may be reading in eager anticipation of their children's good bye ceremony but it was amazing. Very sad, very emotional (isn't everything in Ethiopia?) but very worth it. Arguably the most emotional part was seeing the nannies get so emotional. They were crying and hugging and kissing on all of the kids. There isn't a way to describe how amazing the nannies are, there just isn't. But I do hope they understand how great and appreciated they are by us adoptive parents.


The good bye ceremony was bittersweet for us as well. I'm incredibly sad for Tariku that he has to leave this place in order to have a family. Ethiopia is such a culturally rich place, I am grieving for him that he won't be returning to his motherland for a few years. CHS taped the ceremony so I hope as Tariku gets older he'll be able to see how much this country and the people of this country loved him.


After the ceremony we were loaded into the buses to head to the guest house for lunch. Lasagna Ethiopian style is approximately 100% better than any American lasagna I've ever had. This could be because of the brief stint the Italians had occupying Ethiopia. Anyway, Tariku slammed that stuff down as well. I gave him the same proportions as I gave myself and he had that sucked down long before I did. We, in fact, had to teach him the word "shovel" as that was how he was using his fork. Our son also enjoyed feeding daddy some of that special lasagna so it was cute as usual.


A few minutes of playing and then off to the American Embassy to get our kids' visas. We waited in line, were scanned, waited in line, were scanned (they took my bookbag from me, I got it back but it was strange, for those going soon don't bring CDs, batteries, tapes, or ANYTHING electronic with you). Waited in line and then we got to go to the interview. It consisted of a few questions we answered honestly and then they said, "Your child's visa will be given to your agency." And that was it. Not a lot of pomp and circumstance for what turns out to be the very last hurdle in this adoption. They told us we could not cheer for each family making it through but I got teary eyed thinking of all the hurdles we've jumped through to bring this precious being into the Klipschhood.


So we celebrated with some food for Tariku (do you read a theme here?) and hugs and kisses for us all. Waiting for a bus was interesting as a group of young men just sat and stared at us. The Ethiopian people give new meaning to the phrase "People watching" as they do it without disguising who or why they are looking at you. I envy their overtness about such matters.


Next came The Sherton where we went to confirm our flights for Thursday night. We were told to be at the airport at 7:15 and our flight leaves at 10:45 pm so that should be nice. I was also able to buy a traditional wrap that the women carry their young in here. When I was talking to the woman in the store I asked Tariku which color he would like, purple or green. So she translated for me and then started laughing. She said, "He says he does not want you to carry him in that." This was made even funnier as I was carrying him in the Ergo carrier at the time. So I settled on the purple.


We stopped for a brief stint at a super market because another couple needed snacks. I didn't necessarily need anything but I bought this mix they have here that has nuts, popcorn kernels and other goodness in it. I'm presently munching on it.


That brings us to now. Tariku Asamo Abiyu Xavier Klipsch is napping next to me. His eyes got too heavy holding up the long, curly eyelashes apparently. We thought for sure we'd be in for a treat when it came to nap time as it was 2 hours later than he normally went down and, there is, of course, the whole language issue. But Zach and I laid next to him and showed him closing eyes, etc. Zach kept a strong arm on him to keep him from getting up. J He ended up breaking free for a minute but I grabbed him and laid him on my chest and started whispering "ischi ischi" which basically means either thanks, it's okay, calm down, it's cool or something like it depending on which Ethiopian you ask. I also rubbed his back and his legs. He started to get heavy breathing and closing his eyes. He got up for long enough to move his head to the pillow and has been out since. One nap down 4 trillion to go in our lifetime together, let's hope the others are half this easy.


The rest of the night is all Tariku all the time. We hear he's a bit of a night owl so we'll see how well that goes over tonight. I am overwhelmed with this guy. I never in a million years thought I would have attached to him so quickly and effortlessly. There is no "playing" mommy with me right now, he makes it quite easy to love him. I'm so eager to bring him home and have his brother and sister meet him. Zach and I were agreeing today that he and Trysten will have lots of fun and he and Dailah will undoubtedly keep me on my toes. What a perfect place to be!


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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I have this huge post with about 10 pictures saved on a flash drive of my friend Amanda's but she went to bed with her little guy and it's in there with her. :) So you're going to have to wait for that awesome post until tomorrowish. I apologize, because pictures are so much more fun than I am.
I just put Tariku down. He seems to turn to me when wanting to go to sleep. He cuddles up right in the nook of my shoulder and breaths in my neck deeply. It's cute, but hot here in Addis. I suffer through the sweating and let the little guy fall into a deep sleep before I shift ever so slightly.
I'm not going to ruin the post I worked so hard on but YES, we made it through our Embassy appointment so he is officially a Klipsch. Though the kid sweats when he sleeps, has stinky burps and feet, has a little table butt and sounds like he's going to have adnoid issues, did we have any doubts he was a Klipsch?
Let me just say this before I go join my two boys in our bed...at this point in our life together I would recommend older child adoption 100%. Even though he ran away from me at the hotel (he's fast!) and he gets delirious like his little sister when he's tired (can we say "how fast in Amharic can one guy talk?"), I would say go for it. I know there will undoubtedly be tough times ahead but I'm having so much fun with this guy!
All for now, I promise (Cassie) there will be pictures tomorrow; though I have no idea when as the government shuts the power off of parts of the city throughout the day to conserve. Mom, tell the kids we miss them so very much and can't wait until Friday to see them! Love to all!

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Could It Be?

Another fantastic day...I'm going to pinch myself at some point because I think this has to be a dream. Tariku is terrific. This morning was just so much fun! We picked him up at about 9am and had him in our guest house until 1:30. I'm telling you, he's just amazing we have so much fun. It turns out he LOVES Coke (the pop, obviously) and water, and cars. He also is the most amazing eater I have ever seen in my entire life. The guest house cooked injera and doro wot (which happens to be his favorite) for lunch today. I was really wishing we had brought our camera down because he consumed in in the most amazing time. There is no way to describe it, he just ate until he literally had food poking out of his mouth.
We went up in our room for awhile and showed him pictures and video of Trysten and Dailah. He loves saying, "TT" and "Dailah" and can point them out in pictures. He calls Zach "Ababa" which is basically "daddy" in Amharic. It's really precious. He's also gotten even more comfortable in front of us. When we first met him and really up until today, he wouldn't say too much; he'd just sit and look at us and touch us, etc. But today he started speaking more (both in amharic and english) which shows us he's starting to feel we're more comfortable. He also started singing a song on the way to the car when we were dropping them off. I was sooo excited about it and I could tell Tariku was happy to share his beautiful voice with me. With all this new sharing of language Zach and I are learning more and more amharic and he is obviously learning more english. He is really a smart kid. Tariku was playing blocks with another dad here. The dad was saying, "red, blue" with each color of the blocks. Each time he said a new word, Tariku would repeat it and seemed to understand and know it after a few minutes as well.
After we dropped the kids off we went to the Women's and Children's health center that CHS built and then we went to the community school they built as well. We are so thrilled to be a small part of the humanitarian efforts CHS is doing in Ethiopia. We are very thankful for that. Then we went to the National Museum which was really interesting.
Anyway, there has been no power here the entire day so I just had a few minutes on the computer so all of that might be random. Plus, I haven't had a chance to upload pictures but just wait...they are irresistable! Tomorrow is our day to get them full time and go to our Embassy appointment. We are so very excited to have literally no hurdles in our way and have him FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES!!!! YAY!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

On Working

Yesterday when we left Addis Ababa at 5:15 it was pitch black. We could see the muslims of the city coming out of their homes for the morning call to prayer and that was only because they had the traditional white robes on that showed through the darkness. As we were driving we were able to see the sunrise (which is unlike any sunrise I've ever seen it's so beautiful) and much to my shock, there were people out everywhere. Though they weren't out for a Sunday stroll, they were already hard at work. Men, squatting over their gardens plowing, hoeing and planting. Women carrying sticks, children and water. Children doing laundry, carrying each other and playing. I thought about how different America might look had we all shared the work ethic of the Ethiopian people. There are Americans like that, don't get me wrong, but I think our motivation behind it is very different. In Ethiopia, it seems to be all about pride. Pride of their families, their homes, their crop, their country. In America, there is certainly pride but I think it tilts a different way for the majority which is altogether sad after comparing the two.
We were able to stop at a typical hut on our way home from Hossanna yesterday. It was a beautiful hut, startling to think of a family living in it. We were met with around 100 Ethiopians wanting to get pictures, to see us, etc. So Zach took a picture of me with some of them. I think they came to look at us because, speaking of me now, I am almost see through in this country. The sun shines so brightly, in all of our outside pictures I blend in with the scenery so it looks just like a wig and eyes. Kind of embarrasing but I can completely understand why they might want to see the see through woman, I am quite the sight to behold.
Anyway, this morning we will go pick up Tariku at 9am and we get to bring the kids back to the care center until after lunch. It will be a lot of fun having them all here to play together and I can't wait to get so much time with Tariku, as it will be the longest we've had yet. After that, we'll get to tour Addis and go to museums, etc. We will report back after that, probably with a lot of pictures!

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God is Great

Today was amazing. I'm not going to write too much about it because it's so very personal to us, but it was terrific. I'm just praising God that we were able to experience this. Tariku is such a blessing to this world, I just must pinch myself sometimes!
There is no way to verbalize what today was like (not even for me) but I know this entire process would not be the same without it. We were able to take a 3 hour drive South, to Hossanna. The place where Tariku is from was still about 120km south of Hossanna but it gave us a glimpse of what he lived like before he came to the care center.
Anyway, we're off to go see Tariku and give him an extra special hug. Post later.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sleep Will Not Come

So here I am, 1:50am in Addis. Zach and I woke up at about 12:30am when the dogs started barking, a house alarm went off and kamakaze bugs were making their way near our ears. He is so good at shaking that off and dozing once more but here I sit. Supposedly the sleeper of the pair of us, I have been unable to find my "gift" here in Ethiopia. Surprisingly enough, I don't feel tired at all. Must be all this altitude (which is also what I'm blaming for constant light headedness).
For those who have went here before and are commenting that I blog a lot. I do that because you all downright pissed me off when I didn't hear from you all the time. :) Plus, I'm awake all the time so that helps as well. We also have a couple at a hotel and another family at the old guesthouse so we're not sharing computers a lot.
I remembered something else quickly. We got to see Tariku eat lunch. Talk about joy! This kid can eat. I'm telling you. It was fascinating watching the nannies get them all ready. They sit at the table, first was a bowl of soup. Then came the meat course, which Tariku was obviously most excited about (yay for beef!) They gave them all HUGE spoons and Tariku would fill the entire thing up and stuff it down his mouth. Then look at us, smile, take another huge bite. It was great. We taught him the art of saying, "mmmm" after bites of beef and "ahhhh" after a refreshing gulp of water (which he drinks more than any other human on this earth).
We also witnessed the first potty break. After a bit of "wee wee" on his and Zach's hands, we've learned we're going to have to teach him to "shake it off" a bit more before he pulls his pants up or mom will be doing more laundry than I care to think about and daddy will be "that guy" that always smells like little kid's urine. Tariku was good about washing his hands right afterwards, though so that's something.
So I'm scheduled to get up in approximately 2 hours. The trip to Hossanna is about 4 hours from what I hear so I'm hoping I can sleep some in the car. It doesn't help that I wake up starving every few hours. Apparently Ethiopians don't starch or fatten their meals as much as Americans do because the Ethiopian food is just not sticking to my belly at all (not that that's a bad thing) so I'm left rummaging the kitchen for PBJs at 2am. Brings me back to my college days but there's less beer and more clarity.
Getting updates from my sister-in-law on our kids has been soo great (thanks, Leslie!) I did cry a bit when I talked to them the other day but overall we're doing fairly well. I miss them immensly but know they are being taken care of very well so that helps out more than I can say. I really think once we get home, settled, teach Tariku a bit about sharing, and catch up on some sleep, my kids are going to get along famously! Please, God, don't let those be famous last words.
On that note, must go either keep my eyes closed until sleep arrives or move around so much Zach wakes up to talk to me. :) I'm sure he prefers the former.


Another great morning. We woke up to fantastic scrambled eggs and banana bread. I realize I keep talking about food, but I love food and they have perfected the art of cooking here. And the coffee!! Ethiopian coffee makes Starbucks look like a bunch of 4-year-olds with a lemonade stand. I'm hoping they can just put it in a bunch of IV bags so I can just load myself up every morning upon my return. And it's always fresh, always fantastic. So moving on…


We got to the office to talk to the doctor, nurse, social worker and nanny who has been taking care of Tariku. It was nice talking to them. We asked the nanny what she wanted us to tell Tariku about his time here. She said tell him he was always so sociable, always so loveable and that they will miss his smile. Did I cry? Yes, is she so right? Yes.


We then got to watch a video from his birth place. I won't go into too much detail because it is Tariku's story to tell but it was so very powerful. So very emotional. It will be something he can treasure for the rest of his life and this DVD alone was worth everything we went through with CHSFS. I'm eating big time chow right now as I've witnessed how fantastic of an organization CHS is here. People say it every time, but it's so true. The nannies LOVE the kids. They get so much love you wouldn't believe. You truly wouldn't.


Tariku was superb again. He seems to be a bit partial to me but who can blame him (just kidding). He got mad at us for the first time today. When the kids here get mad they do this shoulder shrug thing. They shrug one shoulder a couple times, I think it's the equivalent of flipping us off but that's hard to tell. Another little boy had taken the audio recorder we had sent Tariku and was listening to it. Well we let the boy play with it a bit too long. Tariku went to a seat opposite us, turned down his face. I said, "Zach he looks sad." So we started calling his name. We got the shrugs, then the tears. I couldn't help it, I had Zach snatch that toy like a 2-year-old. Much to my pleasure, Tariku cheered right up. And proceeded to say, "Thank you, daddy."


He's taken a liking to saying, "I love you". He has no idea what it means I'm sure, he just knows when he says it we'll kiss him and do whatever he wants us to do so that's nice. He also started walking off and then motioning us "come here" and wants us to see everything. So he's training us well.


The pictures are in his bunk bed. I never thought I'd say it, but his eyelashes make Zach's look like mine (which is to say, nonexistent). He is beautiful. I've started memorizing every scratch, every scar, every freckle. It's been fun getting to know everything about him. We won't get to see him until tomorrow night and I'm already missing the kid.


Leslie, will you tell Trysten that Tariku liked listening to his voice the best? He just kept playing it and saying, "TT". They are going to be the best of friends. I'm so stinkin excited.


Tonight we will go to AHOPE (the center that houses HIV+ children) then shopping (yippee!) and then to the Crown Hotel where we will see traditional Ethiopian music and dancing. I'll post after that as well. Hope you enjoy the 4 pages!


We just got back from our time at AHOPE and shopping. AHOPE was amazing. Just 2 years ago the government decided they would pay for the essential anti-retroviral medicines for HIV+ kids. The person giving us a tour said AHOPE had changed so much in the last 2 years as before that it was pretty much a hospice for + people. So incredible to think about. AHOPE is definitely an appropriate word because the kids were amazing and beautiful in a way that I'm not sure American kids would be should they be in the same situation.


That is kind of the theme to Ethiopia. In a country that should, for all intents and purposes, be without hope; hope is all around. I've heard comments from Americans who feel really sorry for the Ethiopians. I tend to look at the Americans with more sorrow than the Ethiopians. There is definitely poverty. There are the crippled who would undoubtedly be "whole" in America. But the Ethiopians are so much closer to God. They are more like Jesus than I'm sure I will ever be. They have so little but that also means there is so very little between them and Jesus.


With that said, we should not give up on them or count their cause as a loss. They deserve much, much more. But I envy how hopeful their eyes are and how welcoming they are to us. There are grown men holding hands, women with their arms around each other. Completely heterosexual and completely overt with their affection and I'm envious of that.


On a lighter note, we went shopping and Zach and I did our best to boost their economy. J I hope you guys are prepared to see all the goodies!


We just got back from the Crown Hotel. Amazing dancing, fantastic food, beautiful people. We will hopefully post a small video when we get home. Time for bed. It's 9:35pm here and we have to be up at 4am to go South to Hosanna. Should be an emotional day! Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures!

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