What a weekend! This might be the longest post EVER, by the way. So as said in a previous post, myself and the kids took off to Minnesota this weekend to attend the Ethiopian Mehaber. The Ethiopian Kids Community in the Twin Cities puts it on every year but this was the first one I felt like Tariku would be ready for. Boy was I right!
Overall, Tariku has never been happier. Right when we pulled into the parking lot to the Mehaber Tariku says, "Mom there are Ethiopians EVERYWHERE". Yes, he really is that cute.
PLEASE finish this post because there is more cuteness ahead.
We left early enough that we'd miss any traffic on Friday and were pretty successful. My strategy for the 6 hours was to let the kids watch a movie for the first 2 hours, nap for the next 2 hours and then watch another movie for the next 2 hours. Honestly, it worked almost perfectly, the kids do so well.
Our first stop was Julie, Tony, Raina and Fantaye's house. Tony and I first connected because we were supposed to originally travel with them. Since then he has been a resource and support so I was so excited to meet them. Plus, I was excited to meet Fantaye. In Tariku's care center video he pretty much finds her and slaps her in every scene, poor thing. So I wanted to be able to apologize in person. With how well all of the kids got along, however, Fantaye apparently forgot the abuse she suffered at the hands of my little habesha.
This kid is a friend to all 4 legged friends as well.
Honestly Dailah might've been the most excited about Raina and Fantaye. GIRLS! There was pink and babies and strollers everywhere. She was in her little heaven. These two got along famously and if they lived closer I'm sure would get into all kinds of cute trouble together.
After a delicious dinner and great conversation with the hosts, we were off to Matt, Amanda and Teshome (and soon Samrawit!) where we were to stay for the weekend. Tariku was definitely most excited to see Teshome as they were great friends in the care center (though Tariku again expressed that by slapping). We got there a little late so we let them play and then they somehow talked us into letting all 3 boys sleep together. Amanda was nice enough to read a book to them in their air mattress bed.
That didn't work so well so at 10:30 we separated them. Tariku literally woke up at just before 6am the next day whispering, "Teshome". Couldn't contain the kids' excitement for too long so we were up and ready for the Mehaber. First some trampoline time, though. I taught the kids the "crack the egg" game, which they loved. Turns out Teshome is a tough egg to crack!
I have a feeling I'll be begged incessantly for a trampoline for the coming days/weeks/months.
The Mehaber was, in a word, amazing. It felt so good to get Tariku around all these families that looked like him. All these Ethiopians. He was so eager to see a few faces from Ethiopia but I could tell he was a little nervous at first as well.
But then he saw these two. Agiro and Twedros. He ran headfirst into Twedros. This made me cry (surprise, surprise) and made the three of them shout with glee. Look at Tariku's face, seriously.
When the kids heard about all the events at the Mehaber they were most excited for 1) the bounce houses and 2) tattoos. So we did both, lots.
Trysten with his woosha (dog).
Tariku and Teshe with their tattoos and smitten faces.
Doozie with her fish face.
Right after the tattoos Tariku got to see his other friend from the care center, Eshetu. These two were called "the twins" for obvious reasons. When we got back from Ethiopia I emailed Eshetu's mom, Jodi, to tell her she had the cutest, sweetest little boy. Turns out he still is.
They taught the tricks of Ethiopian dancing. Can you see the permanent smile on this kid?
Tried to take a picture with our travel group's kids. Were missing a few, but this was the best shot I got. Sad, I know.
We got to see and spend time with so much of our travel group, Tiffany, Rebekah and others. It was so great to reconnect with them, you have no idea. This world of adoption has brought me to the most amazing women and families. Families who understand why I would be excited about the littlest things with Tariku. Who celebrate those with me. How blessed that I got so many inspiring women to travel with.
After the Mehaber, Matt and Amanda graciously hosted a small party at their house. Talking late into the night with Jodi (Esthetu's mom) and her family, Julie and Tony, Matt and Amanda, Sara (whose blog I will come link once I know the link!) and Tiffany just absolutely solidified my love for these people and their families.
As a bonus this weekend I also got to meet Mamasweetpea, Chandra and AnnMarie. Wanted to soak them up as well but wanted MORE TIME!
I'm ready for another one this weekend but wouldn't mind if it was in Iowa. Thank you so much Matthew and Amanda. They really are the hostesses with the mostestes.