Friday, May 30, 2008

Spelling Bee

I love the national spelling bee. It's not even a guilty pleasure, I'm proud of it. I love it. But I feel sooo sorry for the kids who miss those words I've never even heard of. Tonight I got teary eyed when the 2nd place boy missed his. Heartbreaking. That is good TV, though.

So things are good around here. Tariku's rapid understanding of English is borderline freaky. The kid is a genius and I can't even take credit for it, how disappointing. Every morning in the car, "Mom, where are we going?" "Mom can I have a snack now or after night, night?" It's baffling.

I'm somewhat baffled at the genius of my eldest as well (that I can and will take all the credit for, if you're keeping score). He does remarkably well at sounding words out and spelling them. He also loves "reading" books and gets pretty darn close. His memory is astounding, we went somewhere the other day (can't remember where, he obviously gets the memory thing from someone else) and he was talking about a memory that happened when he was just under 3-years-old. It was a story that we don't even talk about but he remembered it. I think he should be in some sort of study for the cutest AND smartest 5-year-old in history.

And Dailah is still hit or miss on the potty. It'd probably help if I bought a small potty chair seat because she's a bit scared of falling in and clutches at me pretty hard. But she loves it when she succeeds (or when she doesn't). I still maintain that she'll be our comedienne. She'll do just about anything to get a laugh and remembers EVERYTHING you laugh at so when you get mad at her she checks her reserves and uses all her cuteness and hilarity on you. It's amazing, I think she gets that from the hubby's side. My humor tends to be something only a mother or husband can love (and that's because they have to or I'll punch 'em) whereas my husband's humor is fairly universal and not 5 minutes can go by with hubby's family without me on the verge of wetting myself in a laughter fit. Zach knows one of the main reasons I married him is because of his family, so we're clear about that.

I love laughing it feels good. You know what else I love? PICTURES!!!!!!!

I love this picture because it's Trysten's genuine smile, which is so hard to get nowadays (who says "nowadays" anymore?)

Doozie enjoying her milk.

The boys and Zach's parents, Frank and Terre.

This was our outing when we took Jody's kids for her on Wednesday so she could get stuff done before they headed off to Sierra Leone. Aren't her boys too cute? I got asked quite a few times if they were all mine (and I have a VERY good feeling they were asking because of Tariku and not the 4 blondes).

Max was VERY protective of Ms. Dailah (he told me he had to practice for his sister Kora) the whole time, she ended up getting pissed off but that's because she's divalicious and it had nothing to do with him.

Seriously. He really is ridiculous.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Pictures

There really were too many from the lake and beyond to choose from.

Dailah "doozie" showing her mommy's sprinting abilities.

Tariku...too cute

My cousin's son Dawson (was our maiden name and she stole it from me for her son's's okay since he's so darn cute.)

Kinda precious

My other cousin's daughter. She just loooved the dog!

Love close ups of these eyes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pee Pee In the Potty

So the dutchess has officially decided to start potty training. Unfortunately, this was not my bright idea, but hers and hers alone. She's pooped on the potty 3 times today and peed 4 or so times. Obviously that means she's went in her pants, as she likes telling us after the fact sometimes but still, she's not even two yet so this is all fairly exciting...except I am just too lazy. 3 kid having to go to the bathroom now? That just sounds like crazy talk to me! Anyway, very proud of her and it's not that surprising, we're talking about a girl who hates being dirty or messy in any way, it was only a matter of time before she started to hate that feeling in her pants as well.

When we were riding bikes Trysten started to doubt himself so I told him to just start saying, "I think I can, I think I can" and then it would happen. Well he's extended that into daily life. Tonight he dropped a toy under the car seat and I heard him saying his mantra in order to reach his hand into the abyss to get it. That's amazing.

Got great pics from today but must get to hang out with my husband...tomorrow some of the camp counselors come and it's all downhill from there.

In last bit of news. YAY to Erica who just received her referral. LOVE that she got her little girl and I saw her picture, she is waaayyy too cute! Jody and Andy leave tomorrow. The situation is intense and they need your thoughts and prayers still. In one week and one day, if all things fall into place exactly, Jody, Andy, Zeke and Kora will be in America..home free.

Much love!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Just pictures tonight..Happy Memorial Day. Thank you, thank you to those who have served, who are serving and who have had to watch loved ones leave to support me, a complete and total stranger. Your ultimate sacrifice is appreciated more than I can say!

Friday, May 23, 2008

They Did It!

JODY'S KIDS CAN COME HOME!!!!!!!! They got their visas. The kids are coming home, to a good home. God is good. Life is good. It's raining balls and Tariku asked today "Raining in Ethiopia?" And I had to say, "No". But overall, life is good.

I can't wait to meet Zeke and Kora!

Swords and Lakehouses

I just heard the boys playing "swords" while going pee. Is that normal for boys? Pee at the same time and try to cross urine streams, so weird. People often refer to women being the great mystery of centuries past but come on...swords? This makes no sense and yet brings my boys such pleasure. Who's the great mystery now?

Soo excited about the long weekend. We are heading to my parents' lakehouse for the 3-day-weekend and I couldn't be more excited. Possible chance of rain but do you think that rains on my mood? Not so much. We'll still get to ride on the boat and just relax, away from camp, away from any opportunity of Zach leaving us to get a tractor out of the ditch or clean up after someone. Ahhh, it'll be nice.

Hope you all have a great weekend as well!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Last night we had a professional photographer come out to Camp to take some pics. She was WONDERFUL! She stayed for almost 3 hours and just kept clicking! The kids took quite the liking to her, especially Dailah who chose to sit on Shannon's (the photogs) lap rather than get her pictures taken.

Shannon puts a sneak peak on her blog so we can see a small example. You interested? Go here for a little preview of these amazing pictures. We're the first family (obviously) but if you scroll down you can also see my in-laws (mentioned in previous post) you'll recognize them because Zach and his brother look alike and Leslie and I do too. :)


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Not only am I turning into my mother...I'm also turning into my elder sister-in-law, Leslie ( I just call her sis). Today we went to Hy Vee and guess what I bought and had for snack time...Pita chips (from the Healthy eating department) and HUMMUS! Wow, and you know what I enjoyed it...there, I said it, I enjoyed it. Thanks, Leslie for showing me the light. :) (This is not to say I didn't follow it up with cookie dough, cuz I'd be lying if I said I didn't, but I started on the right track).

Speaking of Leslie. HUGE news. She, her husband and my two nephews ARE ADOPTING FROM ETHIOPIA!!!!!!!!!! Not just from Ethiopia, but from our agency. This means there is a good chance their daughter will come from the same area as our son and she will most definitely have been in the very same care center as Tariku. I cannot believe God could be this good. What a blessing! They have been the most supportive through our entire process and we knew they were considering an adoption of their own. It's safe to say they were at the top of our prayer list for quite some time. So happy to have them experience this amazing thing called adoption (don't ask Jody about it though...). So please welcome them into this huge adoption family. She's an amazing writer so I'm currently trying to talk her into an adoption blog. :)

Anyway, I love her, I love them and I CANNOT wait to get a picture of my niece and show you all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You and Me Go Fishin...

Gave Tariku another It was great, though he was scared poopless of fish. He liked pretending but wanted nothing to do with the real thing. Zach went and bought all 3 kids a little package that had sunglasses, a fishing pole, and a tackle box. Trysten got Transformers (of course), Tariku got Cars (of course), Dailah got Barbie (of course), I got a purple one (of course).

Here are some pics because their cuteness speaks much louder than my attempt at cute words.

Tariku pretending to cast. He ended up losing 2 fishing lines and 2 bobbers. NIIIICE.

A fish that Zach caught but Tariku wanted to pretend was his. Wouldn't let it get any closer.

I mean, really.

I caught the first fish and it was pretty exciting. My pole was THE pole this time around, caught the most fish. By the way, mom, your generosity on mom's day paid for this hair cut. AND that fish was bigger in real life than it looks. Teehee.

Trysten casting, pretty good form.

First fish for Tman, could he be anymore excited?

Again with the fish.

Just a couple of brothers contemplating life, love and why fish are "so nasty" according to Trysten.

Look at that cute little fish. Sorry daddy, mommy's got game tonight.

Dailah casting, good form, poor patience (wonder where she gets that from...)

How many 22 month olds do you know who get put in timeout at a place like this and just sit there? Crazy.

Had to add this because it's too cute. Doozie in her toddler bed.



Firstly, Jody's kids are in desperate need of prayer. Please pray/send out good thoughts for them as their adoption is certainly running a course where there are unthinkable possibilities at the end.

Also, please go here and read about how the drought in Ethiopia is affecting the children. The area they are talking about in this article is VERY close to where our Tariku is from. In America we cannot fathom what this might be like. Even having been there, I have no idea what it would feel like to see your children slowly dying in front of you. There are no food shelters or YMCAs there to take care of these kids (not in the south anyway) and the entire thing is just tragic. Last night as we got a thunderstorm with torrential downpours I couldn't help but look at the overflowing Mississippi with a little bit of animosity. There is no reason that rain isn't going over there. Please, God let it get over there!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Believe

So for book club we read a book called, "I Believe....(somethin, somethin, somethin)." Can't remember it all, but it was a collection of essays that was a feature on NPR as well as a number of places. It was just people writing in talking about what they believe in. Some were funny, some inspirational (I particularly liked, "I believe in chocolate" because only a fool would disagree). So we book clubers, being the really smart, awesome women we are, decided we should write our own. We're going to read them tonight in front of the rest of the club but I thought I'd post mine for my blog club. :)

I Believe in the Power of Presence

Job was a man whose suffering was intense; in a short space of time, he lost his children, his wealth, and his health. His bitter wife provided him no comfort; instead, she prodded him to “curse God and die”. Comfort arrived when three of his friends showed up: “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:13)

The Bible later goes on to say that once his friends started talking and trying to soothe him, Job became even more distressed. Sometimes words are not enough to break the ugliness of suffering.

In my times of suffering: deaths, miscarriage, adoption, and just random valleys I have found hope only in the presence of my loved ones. Those same loved ones do really nice things for me as well; clean my house, make us food, paint our house, give us clothes, make us coffee. I appreciate those things immensely but I value so much their time and their sacrifice for just being there with me.

Time is definitely one of this world’s most valuable resources. No one has enough of it and it’s constantly slipping between our fingers. There are never enough hours in the day for me to get all the things I want to get done. It is the knowledge of this that makes me believe that for someone to sit with me while I figure things out or have a good cry, they are truly sacrificing a great deal for me.

It’s common knowledge that we all have different love languages. So I was surprised when I met a special person in Ethiopia who told me that us being there meant the world to him. It wasn’t what we said, it wasn’t the donations we brought or the medications. Our presence, our time, our hand resting on his; he was so very thankful for that.

It made me realize that perhaps it is somewhat of a universal love language, this valuable thing we call time. Whether Ethiopian or American, man or woman, God or human, dog or cat; we all seem to long for someone to love us enough to be there. Love us enough to cut out just a few minutes of our precious days to show up. We don’t need comforting words or presents, we don’t even need philosophical or theological reasons for what we’re going through. Sometimes, we just simply need each other’s presence.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Zach made it back. We're a family again and it feels great. One reminder of why I missed him? He just took Trysten grocery shopping while the other two nap so I can nap. MMM, I love him.

Dailah fell her toddler bed. So sad, she didn't even blink twice at the bed before she crawled in it, turned over and dismissed us out of her room to take her afternoon nap. Hilarious.

Here are some pictures just because they're fun people.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Grocery Shopping

We went shopping last night in preparation for operation a-weekend-without-daddy. This is what we came home with.

2 bottles of wine
apple juice
pizza rolls (a box and a bag)
cream cheese
cinnamon rolls
lunch meat
movie...27 dresses
toaster strudel
hot dogs
12 pack of pop (which I don't even really drink!)

And I call myself a personal trainer. Pfff!


So Dailah is sick. She's had the big "D" and vomit coming out like it's her business. This is the longest we've went without some sort of explosiveness...and it's been 1 hour and 45 minutes. She's had 2 baths since about 2 am. She's running a slight fever but nothing too alarming. Gross. Poor thing just sits on my lap and leans her head on my shoulder. If she wasn't so sick I'd rather enjoy it, but I feel bad for her.

Other than that, we're doing well. I rented the very essence of a chick flick last night in 27 Dresses and enjoyed not being hounded for my poor taste in movies. :)

Here's hoping a few things: 1) Dailah gets feeling better fast and 2) no one else gets it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Single Mommin' It

So Zach is gone this weekend to a camping trip. Thankfully he left one of his shotguns lest anyone get any ideas while he's gone. :)

I normally wouldn't mind that he's going, in fact, I'd be downright happy for him. BUT camp starts in 2 weeks. There's just one weekend after this where I'll have a husband and the kids will have a father. After that, he's gone from sunup to sundown (and beyond) every night.

We knew this going into it and for all the perks of his job, I don't mind 3 out of the 12 months of this but it doesn't make it any easier. So I was struggling putting on my happy face while he trucked out with some dudes this weekend. But I'm sucking it up and pulled out all of our summer toys for the kids, even reassembling a few myself (shock!).

On the plus side, he left the computer this time. :) So I'm sure you'll hear a lot from me.

On another lighter note, he's on a local TV show in about a half hour. You'll find him chatting with a woman, undoubtedly being charming as ever.

And here I'll sit. Unshowered, in my pajamas (I did get up and go to the Y today but haven't found time to shower since, I know...oversharing) and eating chips and dip. The life of a single, stay-at-home mom has MANY MANY MANY perks, but today it's very unglamorous and I feel quite sorry for myself for it.

To all the bonafide single mothers, I salute you!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I'm emotional today for unknown reasons. Jody's fight for her kids is reaching a critical point and all day today I'm reminded of being in that position just a few short months ago (though hers is a bit tougher as it's been much longer) and I know there seems to be no end to the darkness.

Then I get a card from my sister. Nothing real special about it....
Happy Mother's Day Sis

(on inside)
great sister...
great friend...
great mom...

You really put your heart into everyone you love.

(Her message, scribbled in her Doctor's script)
Sis, I thought this card was pretty perfect.

This may not seem out of the ordinary but it came from a gal who still hugs with just her chest up and rarely cries (basically, I got all the emotions in the family).

So it was perfect. I love her, I love Jody and right now I'm just emotional for two of my favorite gals in all the world.

'Cuz This is Ladies Night!

Ladies Night last night. Jody and Leslie and myself went to a great restaurant downtown and stayed chatting for 3 hours. The "waterboy" kept coming up asking us what kind of lives we had that we didn't want to go home. I commented that we had 30 kids between us (not quite, but 11 kids is A LOT for 3, young, beautiful women such as ourselves). He seemed to get REALLY scared about that.

Our post-placement report went well. Tariku forgot to mention the fact that I was the best mom but he was his normal adorable self and so we passed with flying colors. She even commented on how he seems to be bonded so well and I must admit that it's true. We are forever impressed with his ability to love us regardless of how many times I mess up. He's starting to give kisses and "I love yous" without any prompting and he allows himself to melt into my arms when he gets hurt or is sad. No more rigidness for this kid.

Trysten is just getting bigger and bigger right in front of my eyes. During "rest time" (the other kids' nap time) he likes to "work" and often writes stories (I can actually read them decently as he sounds it all out and writes what he thinks, mostly leaves out vowels) and reads books. He drops words like, "obviously" and "delicious" or even "substantial". Trysten also has natural abilities in math (which he must get from his father) and loves telling me what 5+4 equals and things like that. I am constantly enlightened and pleased with our conversations and it seems I don't have to go too far for "adult conversation".

Dailah is actually getting more, and more, and more verbal as well. She just started saying "I wuv oo" which would obviously melt the coldest of hearts. She also enjoys pooping on the potty and we're told often that we could potty train her now. Too bad we're still just too lazy. Besides, as of right now, she only tells us she has to pee after it's happened so we'll wait a bit longer. :) She'll be two at the end of July so we have some time, I'm not in too big of a hurry. One of my favorite things she does right now is to say "poo wee" when I'm changing her diapers. I also love how she calls Trysten "TT" and Tariku "T2". I really do think she'll be a comedienne as she LOVES making her brothers (or anyone else for that matter) laugh and has figured out how to make people laugh quite well. She's a little sponge and will at least attempt any word you try to get her to say. But, above all, she is best at saying, "no".

I realized I've been talking about Tariku a lot (which makes sense since we just brought him home and a lot of my readers are fellow adoptive parents hanging on every word, imagining their lives once their little ones come home) but I'd be remiss not to mention the other two who are doing very well with the whole thing as well. There was a 50/50 chance that, by adopting, we were going to screw up their lives as well and I'm happy to report that as of right now we're all doing swimmingly and I realize a lot of that has to do with my children's respective personalities. Whew, how blessed I am.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I just watched "A Walk to Beautiful" on WQPT. It was about women in Ethiopia and the Fistula epidemic. It was emotionally wrenching. Talking about this silent epidemic that is hitting women throughout rural Ethiopia. Go here for more information. It's hard to wrap my head around it to be quite honest. With both of my births, I was in the hospital, got an IV, delivered within 8 hours of going into labor. There was a lot of structure and not too much surprise. I know some choose home births, etc, but after watching this program I was so very thankful for the options we take for granted in the land of the free. I just kept thinking about Tariku's mom who probably had him on the floor of their hut with no help. Scared and laboring with many other things on her mind. So thankful it turned out okay for her (at that time, anyway). I'm just spontaneous enough to go get my doctorate in gynecology and head to the South of Ethiopia where most of these women are affected. Anyone got a couple "Gs" I can borrow to get my doctorate...oh and that whole "time" bit, if I could borrow a few years that'd be great too.

Also, please pray for my friend Andrea whose son (waiting for her in Ethiopia) is VERY sick. Please, please pray that God pulls one of those miracles He alone is capable and heals him. If that's not in the cards, please pray for the little guy to be without pain. Oh God, sometimes the brokeness of this world is just too hard.

I am a pretty happy person but sometimes even I find it hard to see the good in situations. So no funnies here, my apologies.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tri-lingual at 3?

One month home...that's just hard to believe. Tariku has done so remarkably well, I literally couldn't have written a better beginning to this story of ours.

Did you know this kid can speak English? He hit some sort of turning point this morning and now says complete sentences and phrases. It's quite remarkable. 4 years of French only got me to remember how to say fish, yes please, my name is and I need chocolate and wine. He's a genius, I KNEW it. But truly, I am just so proud of him.

Had a wonderful Mother's day that started with the opening of a gift certificate for a 90 minute massage (Tarah why don't you live closer?) I LOVE massages but it's something I never buy myself so I was greatly pleased with that present. I think Zach's just thankful he won't get asked for a back rub for a few days now.

Had a very productive day today. After training a few clients, we went to get the car estimated finally (only a few months after the accident) then went to Hy Vee to stock up on milk, bread and peanut butter. After all this accomplishing I talked myself into buying fried chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies and...OREO FLUFF!!!!!!!!!

I was first introduced to oreo fluff by the Klipschs. They could purchase 4lbs of it and hammer it down in a single night. Turns out Tariku could keep pace with that as he was quite comfortable stuffing his mouth with it as well. I was particularly proud of Dailah, as she was just as proficient with the fried chicken as she was with the fluff. Love a girl who knows her way around a chicken bone.

Wednesday morning brings our social worker for our first post placement report. In that time I need to restock the pantry, clean, do some laundry, do something cool with Tariku's hair and teach him to say, "My mommy's so great she should teach all other mommy's how to be so good!" Truth be told I'm most nervous about completing the cleaning.

May 30th....Sex and the City movie....who's in?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mom's Day

What a great day. Woke up to go to church. Had a great service while there. Then went off to brunch with the in-laws and a few family friends. Came home to get in a good nap (mmmm, naps) and am now bonding with the hubs while the kiddos are tucked tight in their beds. I love being a mom.

Weird today that I have such mixed emotions, emotions I wasn't necessarily prepared for. I'm thinking A LOT of Tariku's mommy. I have this picture in my head of her, though I have no idea what she looks like, never met her, have no idea how she smiles or cries. But with as much love for life as Tariku has, I picture he had to have gotten it from his mom. In the Ethiopian culture the child rearing falls to the mother and so I can't help but imagine he was taught to love life and laugh often from his mommy.

I'm just wishing that she got to see him today. I'm wishing she got to get a mother's day hug from him and I wish she got to see him dance in the car today. Today, more than any of my 5 mother's days, I have some DEEP gratitude for being a mom. Not only a mom to Trysten and Dailah, but a mom to Tariku who I did nothing to deserve but was blessed with anyway.

Sometimes I imagine Tariku's mommy and myself meeting in heaven. There won't be any translators, it will be the two of us sipping Ethiopian coffee laughing at all the funny things Tariku did in life. We'll be holding hands and sitting in a comfortable presence that mothers often do because we already know the secret to a happy life. We'll watch Tariku playing with all of his brothers and sisters and I won't need to say thank you because she'll be able to see I was thankful every day of my life with the way I raised him. She'll see my thankfullness in the man he became. We'll just sit, bonded in our mothering of the same boy that God blessed us both with.

I really can't wait for that day to happen, especially on a day like today. I am so thankful to her for doing such an amazing job in Tariku's first few years and for raising him to be such a delightful little boy. Though I have the reins now, the reins still look and smell like her and I'll do my best to keep it that way. What a delightful mothers day gift I was given.

Other than those incredibly joyous feelings :) I have deep gratitude for my mommy who also raised me quite well if I must say so myself. The mom who I'm quickly becoming like and haven't tried stopping it more than once or twice. Interestingly I was also thinking about all the things I had promised myself I would never do to my kids that she once did to us and I've absolutely done every single one. That's when you know you have a great mom, I think. So thanks for being the best example and a truly loving, beautiful, fun-loving person.

So Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there who is lucky enough to call themselves by that name. May we wear our mom badge's (but not jeans) proudly today!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Oh, and for those demanding a new family pic, anytime I try to upload one out here at camp it takes too long so I just need to do it when in town. It's coming, I promise!

Too Many to Choose

We just got home from a wedding. I couldn't wait to post these pics and was trying to narrow it down but there were literally too many to choose from. This might be quite a few posts.


Jody is doing a pretty awesome thing on her blog. To raise the last bit of funds for her kids, she's having an online auction. Go check it out, the cute purses I mentioned in an earlier blog are back but with goodies inside that you can bid on. Believe me, I want everything!

Does it get any better than giving money to a good cause and getting goodies in return? Me thinks not!

Bikes and Bikes!

My boys love the bike. So the other day we went to the bike path in Davenport complete with the whole fam, one bike, one wagon and one 120 lb lab. It was a lot of fun. Trysten is so weary of anything new. He wanted me to have a continuous hold on his bike/shirt so that he wouldn't tip over, much to Zach's dismay. He took some getting used to it and never really went downhill, just rode the break the whole time.

Then it was Tariku's turn. I kept putting my hand on the bike downhill and he kept brushing it off, "No thanks, mommy." And off he'd go with me hobbling behind him. It was pretty amazing.

Then Trysten decided he was brave too. :) It will be very interesting to see how those different personalities take shape as the kids get older.

The Dutchess, as I'm sure you can guess, was just fine sitting and sunning in the wagon munching snacks and enjoying the scene.

Oh, and Zach is the master of rigging up various things in our house to make daily life a little easier. So he tried this harness, leash thing with Aristotle (our dog) pulling the kids but also attaching around his waist. This made for little to no effort on his theory. He didn't take various control issues into account like the fact that there were 400 dogs on the path and Stotle wanted none of walking in a straight line to pull 2 kids in a wagon. So most of the time Zach was just ticked at the dog and pulling him, fixing the rigging device, cussing, yelling at Stotle, etc, etc. I took quite a few pictures but Zach wasn't really happy about it so none of those. :)