Sunday, January 31, 2010


to do this week.

-I have to learn all new material for my 3 classes. That means memorizing 3 hours of moves, cues, etc. I like to wait until the very last moment. Makes me feel alive.

-Some work for Water. I know I've said this before, but you should be excited about what's to come. 'Cuz ladies and gents, it'll rock your world.

-Zach and I did some budgeting tonight. Budgeting also makes me feel alive. Alive and poor. Which sounds like a joke but it isn't. Because I know I'm not poor but that I am alive. In other words, Zach and I are dedicated more than ever to stop the madness.

-My mom-in-law is getting her hip replaced tomorrow. So I plan on making some food, having the kids do some crafts and praying lots. Terre, act surprised when you receive these things. :)

-I need to get tax stuff together because that money will make me feel more alive when it comes to the budget.

-I just noticed Zach recorded "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" on the DVR. Oddly, it makes me love him more.

-Last night Tariku and I were talking about Ethiopia. Zach and I were re-enacting the first time we saw Tariku (which he loves). Then Tariku says, "I don't remember anything about Ethiopia but when you got on a bus and left me." Yup, that's what he remembers. The first day we met Tariku they only let us stay for a few hours and then we had to leave (it really does make sense). Tariku was crying so the nannies were translating that we would come back.

I'm fairly certain he held on to that memory to protect himself. I think he kept that in the front of his mind so that, in the beginning, when he'd feel happy or start to fall in love with us he'd go, "Nope". "Don't do that, they're just going to get on a bus and leave you."

He'd never told me he remembered that. Broke my heart. But I think the fact that he told me is a good sign. Right?

Man I love that kid. He cracks me up.

-That's it. Oh, and take pictures of the kids. I think it's been weeks.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Picture

So for the adoption they needed a picture of the front of our house. For most of you, this is probably not a big deal...for us, it really is.

Because you see we don't have a garbage system, thus we certainly don't have a recycling system. My "system" is boxes on our front porch marked things like "plastic" "paper" "cans", etc. Note: Zach hates this system, hates, hates, hates this system. As he says, "I'm happy you want to save the environment but seriously."

And seriously, I deserve that. From time to time I let it get out of hand so much so that our front yard has a random Tombstone cardboard loitering around. Again, Zach hates this.

To my credit, I'm saving the flippin' planet.

I digress, they needed a picture. I searched (half-heartedly) for a picture of the house in better times. Preferably with green grass, kids and dogs running amok with smiles on their faces, things like that. No luck. So I trotted my happy butt outside and took one today.

When I looked in the viewfinder I noticed 2, rather large, empty cases of beer.

"Tariku, can you move those silver cases off the table?"
"You mean the beer cases?"
"Yes, Tariku, the beer cases."
"Where should I put them?"
"Behind the tires, just hide them."

You'll notice there are any number of things wrong with this scenario. Which, my dear friends, is more troubling to you? That my son knows what a case of beer is, that we have a table (and chairs) on our porch or that I have 4-count them-4 tires on my front porch?

And it's a 70-ish year-old structure. And it's at camp, where no one sees my "recycling center".

Do you think they can put a note on there: "May not look like much but this house is home to a family who is saving the planet and having a crapton of fun doin' it?"

How would one translate that into Amharic?

For your viewing pleasure (after the removal of alcohol consumption evidence):

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I've gotten a few emails asking where I've been and why I'm not telling all of you.

Well, put simply, Zach's been gone and I've been missing him. So if I would've blogged more than I did last week it would've sounded like this...

Waaa, waaaa, waaa, poor me, feel sorry for me, it's crappy outside and I haven't gotten out of sweatpants in 4 days."

And, seeings you all clearly think I'm perfect, I thought it best I let that inaccurate illusion hold.

But Zach's back, which in essence means the best part of me is back too, so I blog.

Seriously though, everytime Zach's gone I find my awe in single moms just intensify. Because it's exhausting. It's fun, worth it, but flippin' exhausting. So to the single mommies reading right now, I salute you, and am humbled by everything you do. Seriously. If you need a break, let me know, I'll give you the much needed break you deserve.

In other news, over a week ago we had our adoption classes for our newest adoption agency. Good times. Though we'd obviously been through it and heard most of it before, it was different having "been there done that". Some good reminders in there to be sure.

And, it gets us closer to our newest babies, which is exciting.

That's all I have for tonight. I hope you all have had an amazing, and infinitely more productive week.

Oh, and apparently when Zach is gone for a week, upon his return we dress alike and brush our teeth together and-in general-are the cutest couple you've ever seen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Beginning

Yesterday was a looooong day. Ice storms hit our area and covered everything with a nice inch or so of ice. So we weren't just stuck inside, we were literally stuck inside. All day. Together. Even on days when it's really cold I make them go outside for a few minutes. Fresh air does wonders for people. I also have a huge aversion to kids just watching TV, playing the Leapster or playing the Wii most of the day. So we randomly broke out in dance every hour. In summary, it was the longest day I've had in a very long time.

But today, well it was a different day entirely. I got exercise, so did the kids. They were perfect, I was not...but as close as I can be. Tonight I picked them up after my last class. The boys told me a story.

It was a story about a caucasian kid telling my boys they couldn't be brothers because Trysten was white and Tariku was black. Then this happened.

Trysten said: "Yes he is my brother, we adopted him from Ethiopia, Africa."

Stupid kid: "There is no such place as Ethiopia."

Tariku: "Yes there is, that's where I'm from. I flew on a plane to come to America."

Stupid kid: "I'm in 4th grade, I know there's no Ethiopia. If you were brothers you would have to be white (pointing at Tariku) or you would have to be black (pointing at Trysten)."

Tariku: "No, because I'm from Ethiopia and Ethiopians are black and my family is from America and there are white people in America."

Trysten: "He's my brother, so stop saying that."

Tariku: "And he's my brother."

Trysten: "How about you and Tariku race and whoever wins is right?" (yeah, that probably came from me, racing used to be my favorite form of competition too).

Well Tariku being the superb runner he is kicks the older kids' booty. The kid tries to say he won and then ran off.

When talking about it later, Trysten says, "It just made me mad that he is older than me and doesn't even know about the world."

Oh buddy, it only gets worse from here.

Then, just to prove he's been paying attention, as I was laying Trysten down to sleep he said.

"I guess that kid doesn't even think Martin Luther King, Jr even gave his speech yet. Because if he knew about his speech he would know that black people and white people can do things together, like be in a family."

Then we talked about how things didn't change completely since Dr. King. How some white people still hate themselves enough to throw that hate on whichever minority is closest. That this is just the beginning of sticking up for his brother and for our family.

It's just the beginning of having each other's backs. Of defending each other against the ignorant and the hateful.

It might be a long road for them but I saw them tonight after their "battle". They were closer, they loved each other more, there was something there that wasn't before.

And it was simply beautiful.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Today the kids and I talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. We talked about what things were like then and how they're different now because of it.

We talked about different schools (Trysten listed the friends he would be missing), buses and water fountains.

Then we talked about our family. And how we wouldn't have been possible without him.

And tonight as I was double checking on the kids as they were falling asleep I heard Trysten praying.

"And thank you for Martin Luther King, Jr for giving me my brother."


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Everything Changed

Everything changed when we started the process to adopt Tariku. Little things and big things, they all changed. We are completely different now than we were almost 3 years ago.

3 years ago if the earthquake would've hit Haiti I regret to admit that I would've done little but cry over the pictures and the babies.

Today is so different. I haven't slept well since it happened. Restless to help in any way I can. But everything I do doesn't feel enough. There is a huge part of me that wants to jump on a plane and go help. To physically reach out and help our Haitian brothers and sisters.

But I can't do that right now. So instead I go places like:

here and here.

If you don't like those places go here, here or here.

Just go somewhere, do something. Because seriously, these things need to disturb us to the point of action. You don't need to adopt to finally figure out that your humanity is and should be directly linked with the humanity around you. I did but you don't because you're better people than I am.

So let's just do this together, alright?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dreamin' of Boys

in the motherly sense that is.

Exciting news on the homefront, Zach got a computer just for work, so hotflawedmama finally has her own computer at home. I know, I know, hold your applause-very exciting stuff.

Anyway, with that comes great responsibility and by "responsibility" I mean backing things up on a portable hard drive and fun things like that.

So that's what I've been doing. Capturing my some millions of photos on a portable hard drive. And do you know what I found? The transition of Trysten and Tariku from "buddies" to "brothers", and what a beautiful transition it is!

Thus, I'm dreamin' of boys today. I wonder if our next adoption will consist of boys or girls or a combination of both. I see my husband with his brothers and I can almost feel that ache for my boys, my hubby and his bros are so close and have so much fun together.

Then I see my brother who clung to almost every boyfriend I had growing up, looking for his future brother. When meeting Zach something clicked and, I like to think, Marcus found the brother he had always wanted and Zach found the brother he never knew he wanted.

But I want my boys to have that. Probably to make up for my poor brother who had to endlessly be put through make up trials and such with me. Who only 8 years ago found a "real" brother. Since you all know I have a weak spot for my little brother, perhaps that's why I'm overcompensating, I don't know.

All I know is, you can't fake love like this.


Early 2009 (P.S. I have no idea why Tariku has no gloves on nor why his hat sits atop his head rather than over his ears, call it "personal style", if you will).

Late 2009

To Loc or Not To Loc?

That's the question with Tariku. He hates getting his hair combed in the morning, so when we was looking at pictures of various styles that would require less combing, he picked loc-ing.

I did lots of google searching and ascertained that I could probably pull it off, with a little help and a lot of concentration. I'm too cheap to pay someone to get it started (upwards of $75, no way!)

So that's what we did last night. Me with my pajama pants and he with his Leapster. It didn't turn out too bad. I actually used loc-ing gel stuff this time so I didn't have to do too much this morning to prepare it for the public. He was excited to show his friends.

Dailah asked me upon completion if, "When my hair turns black would you twist my hair too, please?" Though I didn't feel I could promise such a thing, I did promise I'd curl her hair today.

Anyway, we'll see how long this lasts. If this doesn't work I'm shaving it off, which he DOES NOT want. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Melkam Ganna

or Gena or Gana, it's spelled multiple ways in English. Merry Christmas in Ethiopia! Celebrated on Jan. 7 there, it was celebrated Jan 9 here in hotflawedmamaland.

Our 2nd annual Ganna celebrations were a success, if I do say so myself. It's morphed a bit into a celebrate-all-of-Tariku's-favorite-things day but I think he likes it better that way anyway. :)

With all of Tariku's favorite foods: doro wot, pizza, brownies and ice cream, and most of Tariku's friends we brought in Ethiopians Christmas and New Year in a fantastic way.

A veggie dish, I can't remember what it's called.

Doro tibs. Chicken and some veggies.

Doro wot. Spicy chicken stew.

A little bit of everything for dessert. A cream puff dessert, brownies, french vanilla ice cream, cookies and cream ice cream and sprinkles galore.

Some of the people, notice the pizza on the table. We've gotten pretty good at deep dish-style pizza.


Zach and his mom, Terre.

Tariku and his friend, Thomas, enjoyed each other immensely.

This is the picture I call "lotta men on the couch". Papa Smurf, uncle Frank, Jared and my dad, John.

Russell, or "twin one".

Dailah reading to Papa.

Papa also entertained Elliot or "twin two".

The calamity.

Thankfully Logan and Kara were thrilled about helping in any way possible so my hands stayed clean.

Here Elliot shows how excited he is for little sister to come home from Ethiopia.


Dailah set up shop painting nails, she will soon be charging.

Friday, January 08, 2010

We Pause

this regularly scheduled program where I talk about my failures as a wife and mom to brag.

Trysten is a smart kid. There, I said it, he's smart and I'm so proud of him. The last few months have been a true pleasure for me as I've watched him fall madly in love with reading. Since I'm quite a book lover myself, I beam at the notion that he'll follow me in this area alone.

For Christmas each year the kids get a book from Zach and me. We take our time figuring out what they are in to and make it just for them. We write a little note in the front about why we picked it and what year it is. This past year he's gotten really into chapter books and devours them with some amazing speed. We, on a whim, got him Book 1 of the Captain Underpants series knowing a) he loves series and b) he loves discussing every single aspect of underpants. He finished the book in about 20 minutes.

A few days ago his Grandpa Frank picked him up from school (a special surprise he does for Trysten every once in awhile) and proceeded to buy him the next 4 books in the series as well as a few others. He also invested in a little bookmark timer. When we met for dinner to swap Trysten (a mere 3 hours after school got out) Trysten had read for over an hour already. We had to beg him to put his book down at the dinner table. By the next day he had 2 of them finished. The day after that and they're all complete. He's now reading them for the second time.

It's no wonder he goes to a different class for reading, right? Can you feel me beaming over here or what?

And then today he came home to tell me that he earned a piece of gum from his teacher because he was the only kid in class who went and sat down quietly as his desk when his teacher asked him to (Trysten did also divulge that he did this so he could read a few more pages in his book).

Then the real kicker. He showed me this bracelet. It has a little red hand (high five) on it. It's a program they have at his school where if one of the kids is exemplifying a core value (things like caring, honesty, respect and responsibility) then they will receive a little hand bracelet. The key is that it's anonymous, they have no idea who gave it to them or what exactly they did. This teaches them to just do it all the time and once in awhile they might get "caught". Well he was "caught" being responsible today.

As his reward for all of the above he got to stay up a little later than usual. I could listen to him talk forever. 2 examples of his precious personality.
1) We were in church Sunday and he leans over to me during worship and says "Amasenganalaw (Ethiopian way of saying "thank you") for being the best mom in the world)
2) Tonight after he was done eating he says, "Mom, can I please be excused, not because I want to get up but because I want to sit on your lap because I love you so much."

Seriously, please God don't let this one grow up.

Are You Sitting Down?


That's the total for Water For Christmas.

14 months, that's how long it's been up and running.

And you all have donated $275,000.

$175,000 of that was in this past November and December.

I'm short of words on that today. Because seriously, it's baffling. When we started we wanted to build just one well. That was it. That was our goal. We had no idea how that first well would ripple into our hearts and result in 55 wells.

In other words:

-$640 a day
-13,750 people

Aren't you amazed by that? You should be. But hold on kids because we're not done yet. That solves just 1% of Liberia's water crisis, so there's more work to do.

But because we're just people who aren't getting paid, whose only strong suit is our ability to throw passion at something and watch it stick, we celebrate every.single.dollar.

And $275,000 is a lot of celebrating.

I hope that if you've donated, if you've prayed, if you've thought about water sometime in the last 14 months then you celebrate that too because that is the power of Water For Christmas, it's about the movement.

Thank you so much for joining.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

12 People

Most of you will remember last year about this time. After the Christmas trees were taken down and presents were opened those of us whose hearts had been invaded by water were left feeling a little...empty. We wanted more, so did many of you.

So we did the "300 voices" campaign. In the end it was just a fancy name for monthly giving towards water.

We're doing it again this year, but we're calling it "12 People" instead because your monthly gift ($20, $40 or $100) will change at least 12 people's lives.

Tomorrow we'll all come together and sign up here. You can do it any day you want, actually. I'm doing mine Friday because that's when we get paid so if you have a similar excuse that's fine! It will automatically deduct from your account every month once you sign up.

You don't like that option? Then make a one time donation of at least $240 ($20x12)here and become one of the voices.

If you don't like the internet or know people who would want to be involved who don't have access to the internet, etc, then you can send in a check monthly to:

charity: water
200 Varick St., Ste 201
New York, NY 10014

If you do the check payment, leave a comment or email me and let me know you're in.

This is kind of a big deal, you know. Just wait, in the coming weeks we'll reveal the official total and it.will.blow.your.mind.

Become part of the movement, because I can tell you with absolute certainty, you'll never be the same.

And neither will they.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


we celebrated our last Christmas, this time with my mom's side of the family. We were missing an aunt and uncle and some cousins/second cousins but we still managed to have lots of fun and lots of laughs. It was around -20 in these parts so the sleigh ride at my uncle's farm was postponed until next year but it was warm inside!

Where Dailah gets lots of hugs-and special treats-my mom.

When that high fructose corn syrup hits their lips, they get all kinds of geeked up.

Dailah and my second cousin, Carter. Ahhhhhh.

Some of my cousins/second cousins.

Close up on Carter.

Aunts, uncles and grandparents.

A Cake

My friend, Ann, makes great cakes. Amazing cakes, really. For Christmas she made me this one. I think 3 gifts I received from friends had the word "Peace" on it. This makes me happy, I really do want to leave this world-or any interaction- a bit more peaceful.

But back to the cake. Soooo good. This cake is one of those that you can taste the love and the time that the baker put into it. That's the extra something special that is missing in your average bakery cake if you ask me.

The cute box it came in.

The approval.

New Year's Eve Pics

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

I was commenting last night to Zach how this might have been my favorite New Year's Eve. We went to a hockey game with most of my in-laws as well as my sister and her friend. We all had a fantastic time. When we got home we let the kids have a sleepover in Dailah's room. For the next hour and a half Zach and I played board games and listened to the kids on the monitor. It made for an entertaining time. At about 10:45 Zach and I snuggled in to watch the ball drop in New York knowing I would doubtfully make it to the Iowa New Year. I was mentally taking stock of the last year and noticed a smile creep across my face. A lot happened this past year but it began and ended the same way-with Zach and my legs laced together, beer in hand, my head in the crook of his shoulder. I'm fairly certain as long as my years begin and end like that, anything else in between can happen and I'll make it through.

But since this is the closest I'll get to a scrapbook, I thought I'd record a bit about each of the Klipschs.

Trysten (6) is the oldest and makes note of that often. He started attending a different school this year and has come home with a more colorful vocabulary as well as a more thorough outlook on life. He continues to be the one to remark that his favorite part of the day is snuggling with me or something sweet like that. There is something about the oldest that brings out the mother bear in us, I think. They were the first ones to bring out this power we didn't know we had. This year brought on him an awareness of how he looks to other people and a new emotion-embarrassment. Whether it be tripping when he didn't mean to or running into a glass door, his tears are more likely attributed to being embarrassed than being hurt, though he would never tell you that. This boy wears his heart on his sleeve, which makes me painfully aware of the fact that I'm fiercely overprotective of that in particular.

Tariku (4) is our "middle" but you would never know it. He spends a lot of his day taking care of one thing or the other. More than likely it's his younger sister but he can also be found cleaning or organizing (thus taking care of mommy), trying to feed the dogs or let them out to go to the bathroom. He clearly holds onto the notion that he has to be useful in order to stay, which we're trying to combat on an hourly basis. 2009 has been the year that he clearly is starting to feel he belongs with us. Because of this, we are seeing a few more things that he had been trying to cover up (things I've mentioned in this blog before). This makes us both happy and sad. Happy that he knows he's with us forever and sad that the events leading up to him becoming ours will forever be a part of his story. Though I know I shouldn't say this, he has my favorite laugh of anyone I've ever heard. I think it's because he's the only one of our kids who has experienced such great loss and trauma. It's like his laugh is so sweet because he knows the opposite of happiness and so appreciates happiness so much more. For him, I find myself protecting things he cannot protect himself yet-his self-esteem, his truly beautiful nature. 2009 was a witness to my falling in love with this boy over and over again.

Dailah (3) is the mommy of the group. As I type she is giving her baby a bottle, kissing her good morning and burping her. Not a lot has changed in the last year for this one other than she now speaks in full paragraphs, can tell sweet stories and has developed into a full fledged entertainer. Dailah seems to have wholeheartedly embraced her role as the lone female and uses it in every capacity she can, most notably getting whatever she wants from whoever is around her. Though we tease a lot about her being a little diva, she has quite the sweet heart. Should one of her boys fall ill or get even the slightest injury she is the first on the scene, stroking their hands and telling them "it's ok". She holds Tariku's hand every morning as I comb out his hair (there are tears nearly every time, you see). Dailah remains the uncontested best snuggler, she throws herself into our arms with abandon. I think for my life I will be protecting her natural innocence and our pride (I have a feeling when she's doing standup I will have given her quite a bit of ammunition against me).

Aristotle (5) our chocolate lab runs amok on the campgrounds. Stealing food from people's campfires and stealing hearts from the workcrew (who recently bought dog treats to give him...and we wonder why he had gained 10 lbs in a few months).

Abe (1) our great dane is the dog version of Dailah. A comedian in his own right. Watching him prance through snow is one of the funniest things we've seen. Though close to 150 lbs he still considers himself a lap dog and truth be told when Zach is away, he can be found on the bed next to me.

Zach has come fully into his own as the Director of Camp. Watching him find the place where his passion and God's provisions meet has been exceptionally wonderful this year. Zach has a natural ability towards leadership which has become increasingly evident as he's been able to get a typically nomadic group (counselors) to sign on year after year. They believe in what he's doing and can't wait to be a part. Zach comes home to a house who eagerly awaits his arrival every day. To a wife who asks incessant questions about his day and to kids waiting to be thrown, wrestled and challenged in the Wii. No matter how hard his day, he always saves even the tiniest bit of patience for his family.

As for me, well I spend most of my days humbled by this life. Raising kids has become the most satisfying work I've ever done which is a complete shock to me. I also truly enjoy my work as a fitness instructor and have become good friends with a lot of my participants as we sweat and sometimes cry together. Being a part of their health journey is a really fantastic place to be as I see them become better versions of themselves. Water For Christmas continues to be at the top of my priority list as well. Though I don't blog about it or talk about it as much as last year at this time, I think about it all the time. As cool as it is to be able to tell people where you were when certain events in history happened, I am ever so humble to say I was a small part of this group of people who fulfilled God's promise to the world.

We have many hopes and dreams for 2010. 2009 was the first year in our lives together when we weren't preparing to have a baby, moving or taking on a new job. We will doubtfully be able to say the same for 2010 but we're ready for whatever might happen. With hands intertwined, we'll face whatever comes our way with love in our hearts and the will to thrive-not just survive.

May you face the new year with the same gleeful tenacity. Happy New Year!