Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wine to Water 2012

Almost 3 weeks (3 weeks!) ago there was a little event called Wine to Water in Davenport. You guys have heard about it for years. First year, second year, third year.

Clearly I'm a little late to the game on posting about it. The week after the event I was literally so exhausted I was going to bed at about 8pm every night.

The second week after the event I will call the "I wish it was this weekend again" week. My thoughts were lost in how much fun it was and how much I wished we could do it all again every weekend.

So you get the summary 3 weeks late. There will be no pictures on this summary because my computer is old and crazy and hates me apparently. So if you want pictures, see my sister's blog here, or Jody's blog here.

But here at hotflawedmama you'll get thoughts and lamenting from a humbled woman.

The party details were virtually the same, so read past posts for that information if you're interested.

This post I want to be about the people.

My sister-in-law, of course. Who contributed more than ever before. Who was the person I called to just scream into the phone and then hang up. Who insisted on daily calls the last 2 weeks, mostly because she knew that's my jam. Who answered my doom and gloom texts with positivity and exclamation points! She. was. amazing.

My husband who, once again, astounded me in every possible way. Facebooking for the first time in months (years?) to drum up support. And who literally gave people eargasms with his beautiful voice and guitar playing. (Well, him and a few of our other amazing friends).

Jody who flew in from the Northeast to talk about why The Adventure Project is the best in the business at what they do (creating jobs, integrity, providing clean water, etc). I can't really explain how good it was to see her but I can tell you she is as amazing and beautiful as ever. I was so thankful she came and so sad when she left. And for Cassie who chauffeured her around all weekend.

For my amazing interweb friends who donated online and for the one (cough, Chandra, cough) who bid HIGH on a few of the online auction items.  And to my aunt-in-law who came from St. Louis.

For blogger friends SFM and Tamara and Facebook friends who made the trip from Chicago, Wisconsin and other ungodly parts of Iowa. They came to support and stay at camp and hang with us. Unfortunately I was legit the worst hostess ever and, when I was hanging with them, was either preoccupied mentally or so exhausted I might have been partially sleeping. I am hopeful they believe in second chances.

And of course, my friends and family here. It's kind of amazing what throwing a decent sized fundraiser can do to bring out the real friends you have. The ones who maybe you thought were and then kind of go MIA? Maybe not so much. The ones you thought could one day become a friend offer their arm and leg (and sometimes many beautiful floral centerpieces!) and time and talents. They text you with things like "I'm bringing 11 people! And I've gotten 4 amazing pieces of art to donate too!"

Here's something about me that is kind of the essence of me. If I know you, if I like you, if I love you or have ever loved you, I will pour myself into our relationship in as much of a capacity as I'm able. I will do virtually anything for you. Even if we've fought or had a bit of a falling out, doesn't matter. If you call me and need anything I'll do it. Please don't take this as something I'm bragging about. I'm kind of an exhausting friend because I don't understand when my friends don't return my fervor. :) See what I mean? My intensity is not always an awesome thing. It's actually what I blame my prepubescent acne on...

But having events like this, I've seen that my energy naturally draws similar energy to it. This party is not possible without many people who have equal parts passion, intensity and borderline psychosis (like me). It's just not.

And so I'm left, 3 weeks later, feeling so grateful to those people. And you people who prayed and sent out your good energy to the event.

Because, after all is said and done, the event will have raised somewhere between $13-15,000 (long story why there's such a discrepancy).

Regardless of what the actual total is, it means people in India are empowered, get jobs and have sustainable access to clean water.

And if there's one thing I'm really intense about, other than friends and family, it's global access to clean water.

Until next year...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Wine to Water Online Auction!

If you're anything like me, there are times in this online world that you feel completely bummed that you are missing something taking place in places like California or Colorado or Seattle. And I know, because you all have told me, that a lot of you across this great nation are bummed you are missing Wine to Water. So last year we held an online auction of some of the art available at the event. The online auction brought in almost $1000. So how could we not do it again?

Here is your chance. Your chance to bid on really beautiful art as well as enter into this story.
This story is complicated and brutifal. It involves using "small" people (moms, friends, sisters) to do big things across the world. It involves a small-ish community to change the face of a big community. It involves entering into the story of our moms, friends, sisters around the world. And I can attest to the fact that when you choose to enter into the story, your life will never be the same. Every time you look at that piece of art, you will remember that you are part of it. Incredible.
So here's the deal. The online auction starts right now, and will close Saturday, November 10th at 12pm CST. Send your highest bid to me at We will have someone bidding on your behalf Saturday night. So if you love a piece, bid high to ensure you get it! :) If you have any questions about the piece, email me and I will find the answer for you! Also, the photography is not awesome, I apologize. It comes from various sources with various levels of clarity. 
Remember, your bid (should you win) will go directly to The Adventure Project. Your bid will be tax deductible! Win a piece of incredible art AND tackle the water crisis? Incredible.
This is just a portion of the art available at the event on Saturday. If you are even close to Davenport, Iowa you need to be making the trip to see the rest. Beautiful stuff. Oh, and the party is really, really fun. Have I mentioned that? And edgy and cool. Need proof? From last year (Thanks, Captain!)

Alas, the art! Good luck and happy bidding!
1) "Mother Africa" is a 14x11 canvas Acrylic mixed media painting with original photography transfer.

2) "Falling Waters" is a 27x74 quilted wall hanging. 

3) "Giving Hands" is an 11x14 Acrylic on Canvas

4) "Water is Life" is a 16x20 Acrylic on canvas

5) "African Savannah" is an 11x14 Acrylic on canvas

6) "Ocean Rose" is an 18x24 Oil on canvas

7) "African Village" is 4 1/2' x 18". It is hand painted by an African Fair Trade Artist and then machine quilted and bound in the Quad Cities. 

8) "Water Gives Life" is a series of 3 (you are bidding on them together) 16x20 Acrylic on canvas. When combined, the piece is 20 x 4.5'. 

9) "Sirocco Solano" is 5' x 4' framed oil on canvas.

I'm so excited! Go! Bid! 

Thursday, November 01, 2012


I have this weird thing with people who talk about being "busy". As much as I, for the most part, am pretty good at letting people "do them" I am complete shit at that when people talk about how busy they are. It's all relative, right? I have Facebook/blog friends who are moms to more than 10 children. 10. At any point when I feel a little overwhelmed by my "busy" I think about what it must feel like to feed/bathe/clothe that many people and I tip my pretend little hat.

I'm not that busy.

And really, I'm not.

My sister got married almost 2 weeks ago. I can't wait to show you pictures. She was beautiful, my new brother-in-law was handsome. They were so happy. I am crying right now just remembering it all. It was absolutely beautiful. I'm so thankful they found each other. I love them both more than I can possibly put into words (which is why, on a sidenote, I did a flash mob as my matron of honor speech). Good times.

This weekend my hubby and I are heading out for some fun with friends. The thought of being with that guy with no kids makes me a little slap happy.

And the weekend after is Wine to Water. Lots of fun stuff coming up with that.

But this post is really about the fact that a few days ago Tariku asked if he could snuggle with me. Please re-read as many times as necessary.

My Tariku asked to snuggle with me (for the first time in 4 1/2 years).

I was hot and grumpy, talking to Zach about various things.

But I snuggled the shit out of my son, of course I did.

This boy who still shirks a good deal of my physical touch asked to snuggle after so many years.

I wanted you to know because things are really good with us, despite that, they really are. But man I didn't know I had been missing that so much until his little body draped over mine.

So if you're in the thick of the cringe-when-touched or any of the other stuff that we gladly (or not so) take on as adoptive mamas I just wanted you to know.

Carry on mama warriors. It'll be worth it. Promise.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Almost a month later

How is that even possible? Almost a month after this and I still think about those 2 all the time. Every time I come home I look up the hill at the clearing where they are buried. Fall is beautiful at camp, one of my favorite seasons for sure. Where they are buried there is one bright red/purple tree that sits among only yellow/orange ones. I love that.

2 days after the dogs died we got a call about a baby boy they were wanting us to foster. He was born minutes after Aristotle died. I don't care who you are or what you believe, that is significant.

I needed a distraction, so the dog that took such good care of me for 8 years sent me one.

And what a distraction he was!

It has been 6 years since I've had a baby in this house so it was quite an adjustment. Are you aware newborns don't sleep through the night? Yikes, that was rough.

But Z was such a good baby! He was beautiful and wonderful and exactly what I needed to help ease the pain of losing my other 2 "babies" a bit.

We had him for almost 3 weeks and then he transitioned to a home that will potentially adopt him should his birth mom not be able to regain custody. It's for the best (particularly since I have a few things going on that no sleep/newborn made difficult) but I do miss the little guy.

My sister is getting married on Saturday (MY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED ON SATURDAY!!!!) and I'm so excited. I love her fiance and I love a good party. Let's do this.

Wine to Water will be November 10th. I love throwing this little shindig. It'll look a little different this year but the results will be the same - hundreds of people who will have access to clean water who were once without. That's awesome.

Life has such incredible rhythms built into it, I've found.

Grief (losing the dogs) can give way to incredible joy (my beloved sister getting married) and sacrifice (weeks/months of planning) can give way to blessing (for those with jobs/water and for me-to witness a community that truly cares about the world).

I think it's in these moments that I see God the most. In the moments of despair and in the moments of dancing. Life was never meant to be spent entirely in the middle, even though that's where we constantly try to remain.

Life in the depths or heights is brutal and beautiful (or brutiful as this blogger calls it-which I love and will heretofore steal) and even though it can be beyond painful I wouldn't trade it for a life lived in the middle.

A life lived there wouldn't have given me Tomas, Tariku or Binyam. It wouldn't have given me this marriage that is the epitome of brutiful. It wouldn't have given me the dogs or most of my friendships.

So I'll take it. It's damn hard but I'll take it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Abe and Aristotle

I know most of you who read this blog (does anyone still read this blog?) are my friends on Facebook as well. So you know about my Abe and my Aristotle. But writing for me has always been therapeutic on some level and after spending the entire day on the couch watching Season 2 of Sons of Anarchy (love/hate that show) and crying at the mere sight of my dogs' water bowl I decided maybe I'd try to write about them.

About a month and half ago Abe started showing signs of something like a UTI. He peed in our house for the first time since he was a pup and had to go pretty frequently. Took him to the vet multiple times over the next few weeks and nothing was working. He stopped eating, slowly his legs stopped working properly. It wasn't good. So I sent a little Hail Mary to Facebook and the next day we fed him heated hot dogs. He ate 6 at one time. There was hope! We took him to a new vet who decided to go a different route with treatment and it worked...

Until it didn't. The last 2 weeks I could tell he was giving up. Finally, last Wednesday I laid on the floor with him and I just knew. I knew it was time. He hadn't eaten, he looked like this.

I told Zach I thought it was time but he didn't think so (we all know we humans handle these things differently). He asked me to take him to the vet Thursday morning. A good friend met me there. She had to lift him into her car. As we virtually carried him into the vet, I was swallowing that lump of emotion. Over and over. Until Abe got on the scale and it showed he was 110lbs. I. lost. my. shit. My Abie baby was always around 165 (I know this because Zach had a small obsession with how big he was as he was growing). The vet said if the meds didn't work, Monday would be the day.

You know where this is going, of course. The weekend was spent with Abe on the couch. Time spun too quickly, as it often does and I felt that pull in my belly. The blanket of sadness, the constant tension in my throat, the tears at the brim. Sunday afternoon I took my nap with my baby knowing it would be our last.

And did I mention that Thursday, when I had my "talk" with Abe, he walked off with Aristotle? I was outside and saw Abe walking okay for the first time in weeks. He and Aristotle were walking towards the horse pasture where they pulled many shenanigans over the years. I thought to myself, "Man, it looks like Abe is breaking the news to Aristotle like he just broke it to me."

And later that night, our Aristotle didn't eat. Our Aristotle who would literally eat an entire bag of dog food if we let him. Stopped. eating. I told Zach I thought he was sad, you know, because Abe just told Aristotle he was done fighting.

But then when I was in Chicago Saturday Zach told me Aristotle wasn't walking right. He still wasn't eating.

I told myself even if he had whatever the hell Abe had we caught it earlier and would be able to treat it. Or maybe he was just sad.

And then Sunday morning Zach let Aristotle out before church. That afternoon he still hadn't come home. Hours of us searching camp for him proved unfruitful. It was going to get cold that night.

I knew. I knew he walked off. I could just tell. He was always the dog that looked out for the family, he would never want to be the reason for our sadness. Never.

Sunday night was the. worst. night. The kids said good bye to Abe. It was heart breaking. I can't even write about that. Maybe some day but not today.

Monday morning I dropped the kids off at the bus stop and then drove around looking for Aristotle. It was a ridiculously beautiful morning. One of those mornings that Aristotle and Abe would've spent chasing deer and other woodland creatures.

I told Zach I just needed to get it over with. I couldn't watch Abe like that anymore. He could no longer walk and he couldn't/didn't need to pee. It was time. So we took him to the vet, we kissed and petted him until he was gone. Shit that was hard. But there was closure, you know? Why do we need that so badly? I don't know but it was done. He was gone. 

A few hours later we were coming home from my sister's house (what the hell would I do without my family and their terrific distraction and love? I don't even want to know) when Zach called. Aristotle had been found. "Prepare yourself, honey, he looks like Abe did. It's not good."

I was just so thankful he was found. Remember that closure thing? He was hiding under a cabin. The cabin was directly across from our house. 

When I got home Zach had him in our shower to warm him up/wash him off. The kids gave him a kiss. For the next 20 minutes we were on the phone with 3 different vets. I was about to spend a lot of money that we don't have to save him. Anything, I told Zach, so that I didn't have to lose another beloved dog that day. 

He sat up, looked at us, laid back down and was gone. 

Best buds. Brothers. As poetic as it was/is it shattered my damn heart.

Abe was hilarious. A gentle giant. Always kind of a mama's boy. He loved to "dance" with whoever would offer it. He constantly creeped onto couches. He was a lap dog born in the wrong sized body, was all. My mom once spent the night and tried sleeping on Abe's couch. She said she woke up to him staring at her. What the hell was this mere human doing on his couch? It was not surprising that he spent his last days curled up on the couch with constant attention and love poured out upon him. 

Aristotle was the lover of all, but the fiercest protector. The one time I saw him aggressive was when a guy coming to clean our carpets approached the house. Aristotle bared his teeth and growled, backing the man into his van. As soon as I saw the guy I too got the heebie jeebies. Aristotle knew, and he wasn't going to let that guy near us. I never once felt scared living out here when Aristotle was around. He was always the dog that came and laid his head on my lap when I was sick or sad. When Zach was gone he would follow me everywhere. To every room, every bathroom break. Watching. Always. If Zach was there he trusted I was safe and relaxed, going off on his trips around camp, in any pool of water he could find. It was no surprise to us that he let Abe have the attention his last few days. It surprised no one who knew him that he walked off to die. And certainly came as no shock to hear he made his hopeful last stop at a place where he could still keep his eye on us. Under a cabin. 50 feet from our doorstep. 

Here's the deal. If you aren't a dog lover, this probably sounds a little crazy. But if you've ever loved an animal then you know what I'm saying is true. I knew everything about them. All their little ticks and quirks. And I loved them with a fierce mama love. 

And they're gone. 

It's a little unreal.

And so today I thought about loss and love. About how right now love is kind of associated with loss. And pain and hurt. So I turned away my best friends and family because sometimes there aren't any words and sometimes it hurts worse to talk to other people you love when you just lost something you love because you know it'll all end this way. And normally that's ok but not today. 

Today nothing is really ok and so you wake up, still groggy, waiting expectantly to hear the sounds of tails wagging and tongues licking and get none of that. It's too quiet. 

Later you'll try to wash towels but then you realize they smell like loss and so you throw them in the washer and leave to go lay back on the couch where escaping into the TV is too tempting to ignore. 

And then your kids will come home from school and ask if they can go visit Abe and Aristotle. You say yes. Because you know the two who asked have seen death in an even worse way and have come out the other side and so, of course, yes go talk to our beloved dogs. Especially because their daddy made a beautiful tribute to them at their burial site. 

And then you'll realize why one of those boys specifically has been so hesitant at times to welcome the love you've poured into him. Because love. fucking. hurts sometimes. And if he's known that since he was 3 then maybe he's onto something you're just getting around to realizing. 

Maybe the loss of these two most adored pets is another way God is showing you that even though we haven't all traveled the same paths to get where we are, we can still relate to each other in our shared struggles. Our shared loss and our shared joy. 

And so when those kids return from their walkabout you will look them in the eye and tell them you love them. Knowing that there will be days that love for them (and theirs for you) will fucking rip. your. heart. out. But you'll get up and do it again the next day because sometimes love. will. save. you. 

I got a tattoo recently that says "Expecto Patronum". It's from Harry Potter. It's a spell that keeps Death Eaters away. In order to escape the kiss of death you need only think of your happiest thought. Light overcomes dark. Joy overcomes sadness. 

I keep looking at that tattoo today and am left with the image of two big dogs chasing rabbits as 5 kids play a game of baseball around them. A mom and dad drinking coffee on the porch, hands entwined. 

Expecto Patronum

Friday, September 07, 2012

Binyam is 6!!

Our favorite "baby" of the family had his birthday August 31st. Because his is the last birthday of all the kids I will admit it often feels a little like an afterthought. I'm pretty sure on the 30th I turned to Zach and said, "Did you realize it's Bean's birthday tomorrow? What should we do about that?" And after 4 other birthday parties for the year I'm basically too tired to even feel guilty. Thankfully Bean is, bar none, the most easy going with those kinds of things so he didn't hold a grudge.

School had started so by the time I picked up donuts and Zach and I started descending the stairs singing "Happy birthday" the kids were in full hurry-get-ready-for-school mode. Except Bean. That precious boy knew it was his birthday and knew we would "wake"him up. So in his bed he stayed, for probably 10 minutes, while his siblings rushed around to get ready for school. Love him for that.

Donuts. Of course he wanted donuts. Binyam doesn't eat much of anything throughout the day unless it involves sugar and/or chocolate and, preferably, both sugar AND chocolate.

Binyam wanted cupcakes for his school snack. There's an awesome local cupcake shop a mile from his school that I knew would do it up right for this special guy. When we got to school I was thrilled to hear he had asked his teacher and classmates to call him "Bean". It's what we call him and he definitely sees it as a term of endearment. Made my heart smile knowing he already felt loved enough in Kindergarten to deem that nickname appropriate. Pictured here with his "crown" chair.

His teacher came up to us at Kindergarten round up and said, "I am crossing my fingers I get Binyam in my class. He is so amazing." It was then that I decided I'd cross mine too. Anyone who sees the goodness in this boy immediately is someone that I can trust with his precious heart. Here Bean's teacher gives him 6 birthday high fives.

Binyam is so like me in that we know love when it shows up. All he wanted, always, for his birthday was a sleepover. And he was very specific about who he wanted. His cousins Oliver and Eli. His best friend, Maddox, and Maddox's big brother, Charlie. Because I love all of those boys with all that I am and I knew it'd be fun to get special time with them for me too, I was ridiculously excited for the sleepover. Zach and I made our homemade pizza, poured ourselves a glass of wine and then celebrated with abandon this life we are so blessed to come alongside.

Annnnd I'm already crying. I don't know what it is about Bean that makes me so overly emotional. I don't know if it's because he's my "baby" that makes me feel so fiercely protective of every part of his being or if it's because I've had the flu for the better part of this week (which explains the lack of punctuation and edited photos). Anyone who knows him will attest to the fact that they feel for him in exactly the same way.

Because he had a miserable start to life. If you can imagine the worst start to life, he had it. His birth member described Bean's pregnancy as "worst possible scenario". And then he came out with club feet and the world crumbled around him. But knowing him now I can tell you that he's made conscious decisions to not let any of that define him. I know that because he is light and love. Because he'll laugh, loudly, just because everyone around him is regardless of whether or not he knows why they're laughing. I know it because he rocks a bright red brace on his leg every day. He wears it so proudly and boldly no one has teased him about it. How could you tease something someone is so proud of?

I know it because I know him. I know him as the little boy who shuts down the minute he thinks someone is upset or frustrated with him. His big, precious lips form a pout and the only thing that will shake him from it, the only proven method is getting him to smile. You get him to smile? And he breaks. After that you can talk rationally about what's going on. He and I are good at this dance. We are down to just a few minutes of it. Because I get it, I get him.

And I freakin' love him like crazy. I wasn't there for his birth, I wasn't there for his first breath but darn it if I don't feel his life with every beat of my heart. I'm so thankful for that scary, wild day 6-years-ago. I'm so thankful I get to call him my son. I'm just so, so thankful for him.

Happy birthday my precious Bean.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is anybody alive out there?

can anyone hear me?

10 points to who knows what movie that's from.

Anyway, hello again. It's me. I feel a little bit like I should reintroduce myself to you all.

In a lot of ways the last months away from the blog (and really a lot of social media in general) has been kind of liberating. I have noticed a difference in the amount of time I'm present with the family when I don't have internet access at home. It was really nice.

That said, I still don't have internet and now that the kids are at school during the day it'd be super if we had it. :)

Now I'm trying to figure out if it's best to just start from today or try to tell you all that's been going on since last we spoke. How about a few pictures from this summer to tide you over?

We got to go to the Mehaber!!! Though we'd been before it had been 4 years so we were due. And there were just too many people going that I wanted to see for me to come up with any valid excuses.

Amanda was so generous in letting my entire family (sans Zach, who can never make it what with a camp full of kids and all) move in.

If there is a girl around, Dailah will hone in on her and stalk her like prey. Sometimes I feel so sad for her that she has no one to make bracelets with. Samry was AMAZING at playing with Dailah and doing whatever she wanted.

We got to stop at Amanda's parents' house that happens to be beautiful and lakeside. The kids were in hog heaven there.

Love "catching" them when they aren't posing.

This was their faces watching Ethiopian musicians perform. Hilarious.

We ate delicious, delicious Ethiopian food! My kids were so incredibly happy.

We got to see people we traveled with too! Agiro and Twedros treated Tariku like their little brother in Ethiopia. It was so fun to see them all together again.

We also learned how to make injera (plug: you NEED that book! It's essential if you want any hope of successfully making injera. This amazing lady taught me that. I bet you can find out how to order the book there too? But look at Dailah's injera! It's in the shape of an Africa! Amazing!

Speaking of her, there she is in the green. And Cathy. I've mentioned Cathy before. I'll mention her later too. Of course I go to the Mehaber to keep the kids in touch with their Ethiopian roots but seeing some of my favorite people is a really big motivator as well. I got to meet Kim too (no idea how no picture was taken, alas...). She is doing a ridiculously great job with those boys of hers. We needed more time!

It was hot. So. so. so. hot.

Those of you in the adoption world would be so jealous of the people I got to travel with when we picked up Tariku. We traveled with these guys too. This family is really just too beautiful.

My Bean

There was a station where women would write your names in Amharic. Fun.

Cathy was able to come over to Amanda's afterwards and bring her kids. We are soul sisters. Sometimes I feel like that's all that needs to be said. Also, she should move to the midwest, that should also be said.

When I went to Cathy's in Colorado I couldn't get over how much her oldest reminded me of my oldest. Some of my favorite moments in Colorado were when I was talking to Carver about life because I could imagine having the same conversations with Trysten in a few years. They met and, well, Trysten is still talking about him.

Amanda. She took on 5 kids and this hair. Come on, she's amazing.

We stayed up way too late every night. I think this picture of Dailah was at about 10:00pm. She was delirious and hungry.

The crew. Tariku and Teshome (right next to Tariku) were besties in Ethiopia. Every time I think of their relationship I get tears in my eyes. It is a priceless, priceless thing for him.

This was everyone (but me) for almost the entire 6 hours home. We were exhausted.

This is my favorite picture I've taken of my favorite people I took all summer (maybe thus far all year?)

The big 3 went to resident camp again this year. Trysten was in his own cabin away from his brothers for the first time. I can't tell you how good it was for him to just be Trysten and not be the oldest brother. But ugh, it was rough on me this year.

And these two? Had so much fun. Tariku still struggled with re-entry (more on that later) but otherwise they just can't wait until next summer.

Their counselors...Nacho, you've heard me talk about him (far right) is the best at what he does, there really is no comparison. And this year they got Optimus too who was just as attentive and wonderful.

Trysten was with 2 British guys, which is exactly where a Harry Potter-lovin' guy like himself wants to be (he's just like his mom, amiright?) But seriously, they were everything I could want in counselors for my boy.

 Those were the pictures I had ready on my computer. Nevermind that they are a few months old.

But I figured out a way to blog more so you'll hear more from me. I promise. Off to read the blogs I've missed since my absence. Love and hugs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

to blog?

you need internet. We currently do not have that in our home. So I will be back, when this great nation of ours can figure out how to get internet to our home without us paying hundreds of dollars a month.

Or until I spend some QT at my sister's house and can steal from her wifi.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mehaber bound

The kids and I (Zach's too busy during the summer to come with on our many excursions) packed up Thursday morning for the 6 hour drive to Minnesota. Our main reasoning for this trip is the Ethiopian Mehaber that will be later today. But as an added perk we get to stay/hang out with Tariku's best friend from the orphanage (Teshome) as well as many other awesome people we've met throughout this adoption journey. Last night as we were hanging with Cathy's family, Tony's family and, of course, Teshome's family. I was reminded again how blessed I have been by this whole adoption experience. Obviously I've gotten 3 amazing babes to pour love into, but I also got so many things I wasn't expecting. Finding other women/families who love me, encourage me, challenge me and help me has been one of the purest blessings of my life. The house is asleep but for me. I've made myself a few cups of coffee (they are not coffee drinkers in this house, the horror!) and am catching up on some social media. I'm thinking about the people I get to meet/see today and the moments we'll get to celebrate the culture of Ethiopia and I'm positively beside myself with anticipation. My next post, I'm sure, will feature an obscene amount of pictures but until then I'm off to read a bit before the house awakes. Love, T

Monday, July 09, 2012

New Chapter

So I mentioned in this post that we had a secret to share.

Sarah thought maybe it was my sister getting engaged, which is super exciting and I'll write on that later, but not it.

The news is that in a few weeks we will officially be licensed foster parents.

Yikes. I almost threw up just typing that.

To back up:

After we first adopted Tariku, Zach and I started talking about how foster care will happen for us one day. We always kind of thought we'd start it when the kids were older and then we'd be able to do some older children fostering.

But after about a year home with Tomas and Binyam we both realized we still had some room in our hearts for more children. So we thought we'd go to a foster care informational meeting and see what they had to say.

We left feeling like it was definitely doable and that now sounded like a good time. They said at the meeting that we'd start the 10 week classes in a few months and then go from there.

The next day we got a phone call, "Hey we saw on your sheet that you've adopted before so we were hoping you would start classes tomorrow."

The classes were every Tuesday for 3 hours each night, for 10 weeks straight. We needed babysitters and I needed a sub for one of my classes. Obviously without hesitation I responded


And as is with most things like this, it ended up working itself out. Only one night did we have to leave early because Tariku fell off his skateboard and wanted to see a doctor (he was fine). Everything else fell into place.

The classes were long and sometimes really painfully boring. Because we had done so much education before our adoptions we knew a lot about what they were discussing.

We were disappointed to find they didn't do any attachment talk and very little education on privacy.

We were pleased to learn more about the birth family relationship and how it pertains to the foster family.

So in the end we will be dually licensed as foster and adoptive parents for a child 0-5yrs old. Any gender. If we are fostering a child who has parental rights terminated and they are a good fit for our family we will choose to proceed with an adoption. If not, we will do our best to love 'em while we got 'em.

If we get a placement and we can see that any of our kids are struggling in the least bit we will take time off from fostering and refocus as a family. With all things, our family is our priority and we are entering this new chapter with that in mind.

Of course I'm nervous and excited and want to throw up a little bit. Undoubtedly the thing I'm most nervous about is falling in love with a child/ren and then having to release them. After the classes, though, my mind has shifted and I feel better about that.

Because the thing of it is I really do believe Zach and I are good parents. I think God gives us all these places where our strengths can meet some of the world's greatest needs and this happens to be it for us. Parenting. We make mistakes, of course we do, but I think in some respects this is the thing I'm best at.

And so we go forward. Scared, excited, nervous, anxious, all of that. But we have each other, and our kids who are more excited than we are and we have a God who we really do believe is stringing this all together.

So for better or worse.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

where we've been

Binyam got fitted for a brand new foot brace. His left foot is as perfect as it's going to get, but the right one still has a kidney bean shape. Because of that his foot is often sore at the end of the day. The orthaped doc thought this brace should help the situation until his next surgery (when he's done growing, so we have awhile). 

Family picture. Come on, love them so much.

Until last year my parents owned a house on a lake. It was awesome. It's been a little weird not having that to go to this summer but a few weeks ago they took the boat out on to another lake. Dailah hit her stride immediately.

Here's a little factoid about me, I was originally born in a town called Pleasantville. Seriously. And they have an amazing pizza place. Hadn't been for many years but I was able to take my kids there a few weeks back and it was just so cool. Something about those moments of full circle that I love.

Love going to my parents' house. Because they are so good about doting on my kids that I get to put my feet up and just revel in their joy without thinking about how many loads of laundry I'll have to do when they're done.

The kids and I headed to my parents house for a week of camps. The 4 boys had wrestling camp (which Trysten and Tariku loved, the other two felt "eh" about it).

That same week we also took the kids to an old school ice cream shoppe. Felt like we were going back 50 years (in a good way). Delicious soft serve ice cream. Tomas hates ice cream so he got a slushie instead which insisted was the best ever.

The same week of wrestling camp was art camp. These 4 got to participate in that. It was really, really cool.

Dailah made this self portrait.

Tomas's (if you look closely you'll see he made himself into a hot air balloon with his head being the balloon. Love it.

Trysten chose to make a comic strip instead. It's pretty rad.

And because Trysten chose it, so did Tariku. Another rad comic strip.

We got to dog sit one of my friends' dogs. It was a small dog. We are used to only big dogs. She was really cute, especially when we decided to put her in a costume.

Lots of baseball games. Abe came with us to the last one, which he loved. (Pic by Dailah)

The kids' team. They didn't have a real winning season but they learned a lot and had such good kids/coaches. Couldn't ask for anything more.

The boys with 2 of their coaches (dad and grandpa).

While the kids were at camp (more on that later) I got to have long lunches with friends. I am so, so blessed by these relationships.

The hubby of my friend Chrissy got promoted to Lt that week so we went to a party store and decorated the crap out of their house. Totally fun.

 Oh, did I leave a cliffhanger last time? Ok, I promise next blog. :)