Thursday, March 31, 2011


Zach has been a vegetarian for a few weeks. He's a really good vegetarian.

I've been trying it for a day (and a half). I'm a really horrible vegetarian.

I just keep dreaming about steak.

I dislike Boca burgers.

I feel hungry a lot.

I know a lot of you are vegetarians so throw your sister a bone. How do you do it? Will I always feel a little bit like I'm missing out on the very best of life?

What do you cook? I'm certain I'll never last if I eat only rice, noodles and the same veggies over and over and over and over and over.

So recipes? Blogs? Tasty non-steak steak?


Off to *hopefully* not have the same weird steak-filled dreams I had last night. Seriously, cows talking? Asking me to eat them? Weird.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

1st shot at cornrows

Tariku has been begging me for cornrows for months. Since I didn't think I could do them, and didn't want to pay the upwards of $40, I waited until I could find some poor sucker woman to do it for free. Thursday night one of the Y childwatch employees braided a few rows and it looked GREAT. For the next day she and I went back and forth trying to figure out when I could bring him by for her to finish. It was just a hassle.

So I youtubed how to do it myself. 

And just did it. It took forever, hurt my neck, shoulders and hands, but I think it looks pretty good for my first shot. I got better each round and hope that continues.

The important detail, Tariku LOVES it, this is all that matters because he's just so sweet. 

The only thing that really bothers me about this round is that I didn't really measure the rows so some are too big for my liking. Next time!

I forget how striking his features are when his hair is shorter/not in an afro. He is so beautimous.

Friday, March 25, 2011

We've been busy

this spring break. In fact, we've cleaned a few rooms I needed cleaned/organized. I created "the fun room" for the kids by moving stuff around and by giving away some of the stuff we no longer need.

But perhaps most importantly, we prepared the garden for spring (I mean real spring, not the spring we are currently witnessing with snow and frigid temps-grr).

This will be the first year for the garden. Last year I had Zach set up old railroad ties for some raised beds but then I found out we'd be traveling to bring home the boys during summer and I just didn't want to put anything more on my plate.

So we had to start from scratch.

My favorite, most amazing hubby keeps it classy even in the midst of physical labor.

I do too, obviously, just some good old fashioned basketball shorts and cowboy boots.

With the help of "Prancer" from camp, we were able to prepare both raised beds. Next week we'll take some soil that's been mixed with horse shit manure and fill in the rest of the beds. Very exciting stuff!

It did come at a price, though. A branch of some sort scratched my eye (can I also blame that for the wrinkles, freckles and wayward eyebrows?) Serious stuff, right? ;)

Zach claims he got scratched on the finger...though I'm pretty sure he just used it as an excuse to flip me off...tough to say.

Don't let us fool you, we've been having plenty of play time. We (with my mom) even took the kids bowling for the first time. Oh yeah, and Zach cut Trysten's hair. A zig zag mohawk. My girl Chrissy dyed it blue too. Well, why not?

The concentration.

The cuteness.

I seriously love these people.

I never want spring break to end. Never. Ever. Love having all my babes home.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Happy!

Every night at dinner we do the whole "what was your favorite part of the day/what was your least favorite part of the day" business. Last night we went around, everyone told us their best part. We get to the least favorite...

Daddy: "Binyam, what was your least favorite part of the day? What made you sad?"

Binyam: "Daddy I am NOT sad! I AM HAPPY! All day I am not sad, I am happy!"

Oh he's precious.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day-March 22

So it's here. World Water Day.

There are so many "Days" now, right? All worthy, all good in their own right, but really so many. What does one do for Presidents Day anyway?

But today, today is essential. Because the water crisis isn't being solved as quickly as it needs to be. This is a crisis we can solve in our lifetime. Read that again, a crisis we can solve in our lifetime! That's HUGE!

My friend, Jody, helped start The Adventure Project (TAP) a few months ago. I've told you about it before. Great group of women, great group doing great things.

Their newest project is about water. You can read more about it here. And if you go to Jody's post here you'll know why I'm blogging.

TAP has found a partner who will match donations today. So they are asking bloggers to designate a post today and ask beg their readers to donate $20, or $10, or $5, whatever. But we want need you to donate. If $10,000 is raised, it will be matched. You read that correctly, there is an opportunity to raise $20,000 in one day to bring clean water back to hundreds of people.

We simply can't let this opportunity pass us by. So donate today. I am going to, you need to as well. Go to The Adventure Project's website and donate. What an awesome, awesome opportunity for us to celebrate World Water Day.

Speaking of World Water Day...

of course we are thinking about it at Water for Christmas as well! The Colorado contingency of our group has been hard at work on something exciting. It's going to launch on April 1st so great ready for that as well. But for good measure, I'm donating there today as well. Feel free to follow suit. :)

I would LOVE to see the blog world light up today. Like it did for Martin Luther King Jr day and the like. I'm showing my kids videos about water (the videos from charity: water are great for kids!), I'm letting them "consider" donating some of their saved money to the cause as well. This is a real opportunity to create little water advocates in the next generation.

So happy water day to you. Pass on the passion.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Baby Cash (and Frankie and Emily) came over to give "The big 3" their presents.

Baby Cash is sooo cute. Today I was looking through old pictures and found it remarkable how much my nephew (Cash) looks like one of my sons (Trysten). Amazing.

No matter, my camera was lovin' it some Cash-y!

Dailah couldn't get enough of her little cousin either, imagine that.

Uncle Zach played with the little guy. I think Zach sometimes misses having a little baby to "throw around".

Zach even did the traditional Klipsch trick with his nephew.

Of course we had to go outside (Spring has sprung! And the thermometer was hovering at around 70 degrees!) Do you see those eyes? Do you see those dimples? Do you see those little teeth. Oy!

And then the big 3 with their new shirts from the Frank Klipsch family. They were perfect (and adorable).

Yesterday was one of those days when I was just looking around me and thought "This is my version of the most perfect day". The big boys were playing with their new basketball hoop -also from Frank Klipschs- the littles were playing with their various bikes/lawn toys, I had my nephew on my lap and a beer in my hand. My favorite man in the world (that'd be Mr. Hotflawedmama) was across from me and 2 other people I love so very much (that'd be Frank and Emily) were there too.

It was just one of those times when I knew it was entirely possible to bring heaven to earth in a multitude of ways. So, so thankful for that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

my artiste

On Friday I got a note from Trysten's art teacher telling me that one of his pieces (yes, they are called "pieces" even when the artist is 8!) was chosen to be showcased at our local mall. I was excited to see what he had done, as he wasn't for sure which piece had been chosen.

Then in the car he said, "Oh yeah, I remember, I think it is my self-portrait!" Which made me even more excited.

Drum roll, please...

I know I'm partial but I thought it was amazing, especially for a second grader. I got a wee bit choked up when I read this.

And then clutched my chest to keep my heart from bursting forth with love goo when I saw this.

Love him, so proud of him.

birthday bonanza

I'm certainly to the point where if I never hear "Happy birthday" again, it'll be too soon. We finished all of the boys's celebrations this weekend with a family party at a local bounce house. Whew. No words. Just pictures. Ok, maybe words, definitely pictures.

Papa spoiled with one more dinner/presents for Tariku.

Dailah with her new hair cut (be still my heart).

Push up contest in the restaurant. You guys do this too, right? With mom (me) as the judge as to whether or not they are legit push ups. Mmmk.

The men at the bounce house.

Pizza after. Or for these two, chips.

The birthday boys.

The most amazing wall hanging my mother-in-law created for Tariku and Tomas.

And then Zach put the two littles on top of the car. Because why wouldn't he, really?

Done...until July. Oy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday, Tariku!

Wednesday was my sweet Tariku's birthday. I actually think I've been spending the last few days just reflecting on him, on his life and his precious precious place in our family. More on that later, for now...

Waking the birthday boy up.

Little sister wanted the first hug.

Tariku chose donuts for breakfast. This kid can't resist chocolate, high fructose corn syrup or fried goodness. And really, can you blame him? Also notice his afro, can you tell which side he sleeps on? :)

We got in the car and...he no longer needs a booster seat! Woohoo! He was actually thrilled about this little revelation.

Tariku (or "chooch" as well call him) wanted cupcakes for his school birthday treat. BUT, that didn't pan out so he wanted the cosmic brownies as back up. Again with the chocolate and HFCS.

The littles partook in the action as well.

Got a quick picture of Tariku with his really, really amazing teacher. This teacher challenges our supremely intelligent little guy. She recognizes the special needs Tariku has (with regards to food issues and schedules) and she supports and loves him. He has positively thrived in her classroom.

Zach picked Chooch up for a little daddy/me time. The rest of us hung out at home. Tomas actually got to Skype with his friend Yenenesh from Ethiopia. They were unbearably cute together, can't wait for it to happen again!

When Tariku got home, Tada stopped by. Tada was the counselor from Barbados I mentioned awhile back (so this is why people tag their posts, eh? Need to start doing that). It was actually Tada's birthday as well.

We spent a few hours outside. 65 degrees. Was the perfect afternoon for baseball, soccer, football and bikes. All of Tariku's favorite things.

For dinner Tariku chose omelets. Ham and cheese again. Chooch likes more onion powder, garlic and salt and pepper than your average 6 year old. Normally I say no so as to give him high blood pressure at such a young age but today I obliged.

At the end of the night, he was still jubilant. Still perfect.

Man oh man this boy. I read Living and Loving Outloud by Cornel West (a great book, by the way). One line struck me because it reminded me so much of our "Choocie boochie".

"Go on. Move on. Do what needs to be done. Care for those who require care. Spread love wherever you walk. Spread love whenever you talk." -Cornel West

That is Tariku in a nutshell. He spreads love in every.single.action. Every word. Every hug. Every smile. I'm fairly certain those of you who don't know Tariku personally, have never met anyone who brings the sunshine with them the way he does.

I remember the first time I saw his picture. "Look at his eyes!" I said to Zach. The sunshine was there. Behind the gray skin, the reddish hair. The swollen belly and stick thin arms. Behind all of that there was the sunshine.

And it's gotten brighter and brighter since.

Our Tariku is smart. Whoa buddy is he smart. I still cry every time he reads me a book. Yeah, reads me a book. He's been able to do that for some time now and it still shocks me.

He's the first one to offer help of any kind. When I'm cooking, if something drops off the counter he'll run from the next room to pick it up for me. If he sees Dailah struggling with a toy or Binyam struggling with his shoes he's the one to fix the problem. In fact we have to literally tell him multiple times a day, "Tariku thank you but I asked Trysten to get that. Tariku thank you but it's Tomas's turn to get the plates ready."

Tariku is funny. He's a great dancer, an amazing friend and a great brother. He is so good at every sport he tries I'm fairly certain he's some sort of prodigy. He is beautiful. Striking, even. The eyes, the mouth, the cheeks and hair. Fuggetaboutit. Not a day goes by that I'm not tempted to pimp him out to the highest modeling bidder.

And boy has he settled in my heart. I love him fiercely and fully. Truly, he is everything I hope to be one day. Joyous despite my trauma, full of love despite being full of pain. He inspires me, he really does.

And we get him. We share him, with some amazing, amazing people in Ethiopia but we get him. I am so, so thankful for that.

Man I love him. 6 years old. Can I just hold onto him forever?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tomas's Surprise

I mentioned here that Tariku and Trysten surprised Tomas for his birthday eve. Oh it was so sweet. So, so sweet.

So while I was cooking Trysten came up to me, "Mom, could you keep Tomas out of his and Tariku's room? We are making a surprise for him."

They closed the door, only coming out once in awhile to get more supplies. When Trysten told me Tomas could come in, I wanted to come in first.

And the boys were so proud of themselves. They didn't explain it first but my initial reaction was still "this is really cool". And did I mention they were so proud of themselves?

They called Tomas down and randomly broke out in "Happy Birthday".

He was so happy. But then he started crying. Tears through his smile.

"This is the sweetest thing ever to me." Hearing him say that made me cry as well.

After tears were wiped up the boys explained it. Tomas, see, loves African safaris. So there were monkeys and snakes everywhere.

Tariku's bed was actually the Mississippi River (because, obviously, that's in the Safari as well).

Tomas's bed was the arctic (again, because the arctic and safari clearly go hand in hand). Notice the penguin pillow pet.

The capes were "as close as we could get to streamers. Plus, they show Tomas how strong he is. Like a superhero." Trysten explained.

When dinner was served Tomas said. "Mom, this will be my first birthday I celebrate. I didn't know how old I was until you told me. I like how you celebrate birthdays here."

So much tragedy, so much heartache, so much hope in those few sentences.

He's 7.

6 years without a party. 6 years without anyone really celebrating his birth or him in general. This is not to say his birth family didn't celebrate somehow, I have no idea if they did or not. But according to Tomas, it was nothing like this.

Nothing like his 2 brothers who spent 30 minutes decorating his room. Making him know they were happy he was there. They celebrated him in a way he had never known before.

That, to me, is some amazing love. I am constantly inspired by the way my kids love each other.