Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My bones hurt. 10 hours of garage sale prepping. Tagging more clothes, scarves and crap than you can possibly imagine. Thankfully Lindsey and my sister came to help, I really don't want to imagine life (or garage sale-ing) without those two.

That's it. This was me before the tagging. If you can read my shirt (and know Italian) it says "Life is Beautiful" and despite the exhaustion from the last 10 hours I still believe that with every part of me.

PS. Note, I moved our recycling "process" (under the Thomas train) indoors per Zach's "request". As you'll remember, taking that to the recycling center is on my to-do list for the week. Perhaps tomorrow?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Good Start

Cleaned out 2 of the 3 rooms I needed to.

All closets cleaned out. I purged a decent portion of my wardrobe and it feels so good. There is something to this whole "keeping things I only use" deal. The past year I've been extremely selective about what I bring into the home. I have to like it enough to use it every day or I just don't bring it to the house at all.

I "announced" to Zach that I'll never work again at a place that I need a suit or high heels so a lot of my dress clothes are going in the garage sale. Zach was excited about the paired down wardrobe, not so much at the notion that I'll never work full-time again. (Joking, he supports me either way).

Finished Tariku's post placement report.

Looked into health insurance but haven't pulled the trigger, can I check it off yet or not?

I also managed to add a few more bullet points. I like to keep myself on my toes. :)

All this to say the first day of spring break was a success and now it's time for bed.

But first, these, these are my TOMS (one of my TOMS). If you don't have these in your closet, you need to get them. Every time you buy a pair of these shoes they give a pair to a person in the developing world in need of shoes. Word on the street is they are developing a sandal and if that happens, I'll work on owning exclusively TOMS.

Spring Break

I LOVE spring break. A week with all of my babies around me? It's all very exciting. They are excited too, they just don't know what's coming. This week we're going to be very busy, or I am anyway. They'll be playing outside (with temps in the 60's-70's of course they will be!) while I'm doing my own spring cleaning.

I'm making my list public so that I can be held more accountable. Granted, I still have to teach classes 3 of the 5 days but Zach can tell you that when I set my mind to something I very rarely fail at making it happen.

-Print off 2 pieces of adoption stuff

-More Partner with Youth stuff for the Y

-Start sorting through garage sale stuff (if you have anything you want to put in our garage sale let me know, I'll take it off your hands-all $ going towards our travel to pick up our babes).

-Look into switching insurance providers

-Take back recycling and order recycling bins

-Clean out shoe room

-Clean out John Deere room (our "storage room" that still has a lot of Camp's stuff

-Clean the house

-Steam the carpets

-Steam the couches

-Put away Christmas dishes (that is really embarrasing)

-Finish Tariku's Post-placement report

So I'm off. Wish me luck. And have no fear, I'll still make plenty of time for these people.

Have no fear...we did not get another dog, this is my brother's dog, Bentley. Beeeeautiful!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


my parents got tickets to the Family Series at the Civic Center. Saturday's presentation was "The Hungry Caterpillar". Who doesn't love that book? The play was terrific! My babies had a lot of fun, which makes everything so much better.

Crafts pre-show.

The boys

Coloring the hungry caterpiller


My babies and me, they were actually quite excited. No explanation as to why Tariku's button is not buttoned.




Excited for the show!

This is just a typical moment when the boys are near their daddy. Lots of laughs.

2 ladies I love. My momma and my baby.

The Panthers

Friday night found us heading to Altoona to visit my parents. Friday night also found us at Old Chicago cheering on the Northern Iowa Panthers. Both my mom and dad graduated from UNI as did quite a few of my close friends. So even though we're die-hard Hawkeye fans, it was still fun to have a homestate team in the middle of March Madness.

One of my besties, Woody, a UNI alum and a good person all around.

The group (notice Zach holding on to his Hawkeye love).

Woody and her hubby, me and mine and my brother, Marcus and Lindsey. Love them all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Our good friends, Jared and Beth, received their referral of a beautiful baby girl yesterday. Hop on over and wish them well.

I'm selfishly praying we might get to travel with them.

So humbled I get to call them friends. So thankful there will be a bigger habesha population in Iowa.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Dossier is off! Feels so good to get that off the chest.

What we know so far about the situation in Ethiopia is that they don't really know for sure what's happening with the 2-trip rule. I know that adoption agencies in Ethiopia are hoping to get more clarification in the coming weeks.

Our agency did call us soon after news broke about possibly needing 2 trips. They told us if we could get our dossier in to Ethiopia before April 9th then we should be grandfathered in under the 1 trip rule. This, according to them, doesn't mean we need a court date by then, our file just needs to be in the system. Now, the thing is we are in the midst of an international adoption, nothing is certain. We're riding these waves with a little bit of grace, little bit of humility and a lot of Tyelenol PM (did I just write that?).

We should know within the next few weeks whether we made it under the wire or not and if it really mattered in the first place (perhaps they'll hold off on the new rule for a few more months).

Prayers and happy thoughts for that big stack of paper to fly on an angel's wings to Ethiopia.

Until then, check out this guy. His second front tooth is finally growing in! Unfortunately his two front teeth look to be as large as mine once were. But he's got the looks to pull it off just fine.

World Water Day

Because we never forget, and neither should you.

Water for Christmas is all about World Water Day, of course. So here are these pins. They're a perfect conversation starter. Put them on your backpacks, your purses, jackets, whatever.

You can buy them here. Buy them for everyone you know. It's not an exaggeration to say I have one on every purse, backpack and jacket I own. Hope you will too!

A quick, related, aside. Today I overheard Tariku and Dailah playing house. Tariku said, "Dailah, we have to work hard so we can make money and give everyone in the world clean water."

They're listening, so talk about it with everyone you know.

Lovin' It

Saturday we were the recipients of about 1-2" of snow but by yesterday the snow was melted (mostly) and it was high 40s/low 50s. 45 degrees is kind of our cut off, anything higher than that the kids are outside most of the day. I think it's SO important for kids to be able to run around outside, it's amazing how better we all behave when this happens.

We were even able to take a small hike (though for living out at camp, my appropriate boot/shoe selection is sorely lacking). I seriously, seriously love living out here.

For being a very big "girly girl" she does love to splash around.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


What I'm thinking/praying about today.

Watch it Here

And another one here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Transformation

You all saw this post, right? Well, my hubby is a new man. It's weird because he's never had quite that bushy of a beard. I was, in all honesty, less than thrilled. When I was trying to figure out why I didn't like the beard I came to one conclusion.

He's too good looking. This is not to say good looking guys can't have beards but it looks like he's covering something up. He's got just a beautiful mouth, and please, those eyes? So that's what I figured out. My husband is just simply too pretty to have that hefty of a beard.

Now he's shaved it, but this guy does nothing the "normal" way. He wanted to go out with a bang. So here we have the progression to a clean shaven face.

We start here,

then go here,

after which this would be the only obvious step,

and of course this has to be the grand finale. (Note, he purposely posed and smirked in such a way that we would have good mug shots should he turn psycho on me).

Isn't he beeeeeeautiful?

Baseball Fun

The boys are playing coach pitch baseball this spring on the same team. It's a team of 7 and 8-year-olds so, naturally, we assume Tariku will be just fine.

They had try-outs the last 2 Saturdays which was fun to watch. In between each throw or each at-bat Tariku turned to us and waved. Precious.

Just the brothers. Tariku's 'fro is super sweet.

All my little Cubs.

Dailah at try-outs.

See? Turned to me and smiled after he hit the first ball.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How is he 5?

and how has it been almost 2 years since we first met him? Those were the questions I was asking myself all day today. Sweet Tariku turned 5 today and was, in all honesty, probably the cutest birthday person I've ever seen.

Our tradition is to wake everyone but the birthday person and then sing "Happy Birthday" en route to the birthday person's room. When we opened the door mid-verse Tariku was out of his bed, jumping up and down with the biggest smile I've ever seen.

He was so, so excited.

So we went to get the birthday donuts, where he got to pick for everyone. Oddly enough he picked chocolate for every single person, I'm guessing it was simply because he loves it so much he couldn't possibly imagine anyone liking any other kind.

Then it was upstairs for a photo session.

After that it was off to school for the boys and to the Y for the ladies. I taught a class, had gotten a sub for my second class (thanks, Lisa!) so we went to birthday lunch (he chose Applebees-what is it with that place?)

Naps then lots of playing outside. We finished the night at Papa Frank and Mimi Terre's where there was pizza (his favorite) cake, brownies and ice cream. Oh, and presents, of course!

Dailah with her "Don't tell Tariku what his presents are, they're a surprise!" face.

The small cake.

The brownie cake (what you guys don't have multiple cakes for birthdays?)

And a few of the presents.

Of course we measured him, he's grown 8 inches in less than 2 years. Can you imagine that?

I really am at a loss for words tonight. He makes my heart ache for so many reasons. Birthdays feel different for Tariku than they do for Trysten and Dailah, not because I feel differently for him but because it feels like someone is missing. And they are. On Tariku's birthday I am constantly thinking of his birth family, wishing we could share this with them, wishing they could see this little guy who is turning into one of the most amazing kids I know. It's just different.

But what's not different is my love for him. That is so real, so visceral it surprises even me. I don't know when it happened, when I started to do the things with him that I've always done with Trysten and Dailah. Things like taking in a long deep breath and soaking in their radiance while cuddling, grabbing his hand when he's near and just memorizing every wrinkle and freckle. I don't remember when I started to absentmindedly play with his hair and bathe him in my motherly love. I don't know when it happened but it has and it feels good.

My boy loves having "Happy Birthday" sung to him, he loves (and excels) at every sport imaginable. He is slow to stand up for himself but fierce to protect people he loves. Tariku still will be the first to volunteer to help anyone and when I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, he said it was his daddy coming home (Zach had been gone since Friday). What 5-year-old says that of his birthday?

To love this guy and be loved by him, I count it as one of the biggest blessings of my life. This God I've been talking to a lot lately, that God has given me grace I couldn't imagine by planting Tariku in my life. Though I know there was profound loss in how we found each other, there has been profound love found through that loss. And I suppose that's a part of grace.

And I suppose that's love. I suppose his kind of love is the sweetest kind. Happy birthday my sweet, sweet Tariku.

Monday, March 15, 2010


"Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other."
-Romans 12:9

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm a Do-er

This past week has been challenging on so many different levels. At the core of me, I know that I'm a do-er. I think I'm a good listener too but the people closest to me know that if they tell me something, I'm going to want to do something. I'm not good at listening, digesting and then sitting. And honestly, that's all I've been able to do this week.

Sit on my hands and listen or read or think and pray.

Jody. Oh, how my heart is broken for her. I remember almost a year ago Jody, Amy, Cassie and I had been interviewed by someone at church about Water for Christmas and after that he wanted to interview us about adoption.

It started out innocently enough, asking the whys and the hows. Then it got kind of personal, asking how well (or not well) the church supported us. Jody was just sitting there watching and I just broke down in sobs, knowing I personally couldn't have gotten through Tariku's adoption with my faith and my spirit intact without her. Because she's good at that stuff. She isn't nearly as emotional as I am (imagine that), she's levelheaded, she's supportive, she justified my emotion when it was warranted and gave me a verbal slap in the face when that was also warranted. We laughed together and cried together, walked that road together (with much support from other friends as well).

And so this past week I just wanted to repay her for that and everything else she's done for me. If you're reading her blog (which you should because it's amazing) you'll know she's stronger and more mature about the whole thing than most people could possibly imagine. I find myself in complete awe of her and her faith and her strength. How am I supposed to be a do-er when she's do-ing so much already? She's not sugar coating the truth, and even if you don't know her I have no doubts you can feel the rawness of everything.

But this week for me, because of Jody and a few other things, I've turned to prayer more than I ever have in my life. For the first time I've seen prayer as something I can do. Imagine that!

And it's brought me closer to the God of grace, of love and mercy. This God who has saved me, a woman who sins every single day, from complete devastation and disillusionment.

How humbling to be able to call God "father", sometimes I wonder how that's possible when I'm me and I know the sins I've thought, said and done.

Christians sometimes get a bad rap in the world, and sometimes it's deserved. But I've found too that just assuredly as you can find someone who is the example of darkness calling themselves a "Christian" you can find more who are examples of light. I know so many people who have devoted their lives to Jesus who are the epitome of love, life and wonder in a world that isn't always so.

And Jody's one of those. One of those people who is an example of God's love and mercy despite not necessarily seeing examples of that in her life right now. I can't imagine how it'd be possible for her to be and to feel the way she is without knowing who holds her heart in His hands and who is the Author of her story.

If you're in need of inspiration, go visit Jody. Show her your support in love and in prayer. That's what I'm do-ing. I'm going to rally my blog readers around her as she's done so often for me. That and pray, for her, for Andy, for their family. I hope you will too.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bearded Saturday

Do you think my guy...

looks like this guy?

He's a wolfpack of 1, my friends, but I do so love him regardless of how much he looks like a serial killer.