15 Spiders Down, Unimaginable Amounts To Go

So I gave my notice last Wednesday. I offered 30 days, but they took 2 weeks. Well, they took 2 weeks but told me I could be done in the office THIS FRIDAY. What that basically means is that on Monday of next week, just 7 days from now, I will be enjoying a lingering cup of coffee on my front porch while my kids chase bugs and balls around our yard. In just 7 days, our kids won’t be going to daycare and I will get to remember what it’s like to intimately know my kids on a minute-by-minute basis 24/7. This could not be more exciting to me.

And in just 2 days the 1st will come and go and no mortgage payment will be mailed. Let’s say it with me, AMAZING. The woes of camp life are quite insignificant when you think of all the strings God pulled to get us where we’re at. It’s glorious.

This weekend will have me getting my Personal Training certifcations. From 8-5:30 both days I will be hard at it. Though tiring and perhaps tedious, it will be worth it!

So yesterday’s message at church was about forgiveness. What an awesome concept and one we as humans tend to fall short on. I applaud myself for being halfway decent about this. I can’t remember the last time I held a grudge for too long. But I also realize I’m not near as good at this as the Big Man Himself. Can you imagine all He’s forgiven us for? It’s such a humbling thought to think I just forgave my husband for putting his nasty, crusty socks right next to the clean pile of clothes. Oh happy perspective! I will continue working on the little bouts of forgiveness I do on a daily basis so that perhaps if there ever is a time when I am asked to fork over a large pot of forgiveness, I will be well trained.

And the adoption is progressing. I, of course, finished my homework and am now waiting (im)patiently for my favorite husband to finish. He only has a few more questions so I’m (forcing) encouraging him to keep up the good work. πŸ™‚ I am excited to turn that in and get started on our homestudy! I am hoping to be completed with our homestudy not too long after courts reopen in Ethiopia. Pipe dream? Perhaps. Still counting on it? Absofreakinlutely.

Unil then, enjoy some pictures.

This is a picture of some of our wonderful friends on the fourth. Though my husband appears to be in love with the other guy, Greg, in that arc of love, they are actually terrific heterosexual lifemates. His wife and I appear to be holding hands.

Seriously, could this face BE any more perfect?

How many grandpa’s do you know who WEAR their grandchildren? Not many, but not many are as good at my father-in-law either.

Hard to find a picture where the girl isn’t eating, hasn’t just eaten, or doesn’t have food leftover on her persons from the last time she’s eaten.

Now can you see why I’m pumped to spend so much time with these people?

John + Tesi = Lawn Domination

Without further ado, here are the pictures of my friend, John, and my successful domination of our yard. As noticed in a previous post, the yard had been forgotten for a few weeks and it took John to come out and help me get it under control. For about 3 hours we were cutting, raking, trimming and drinking. Only the latter could be considered fun. Here are a few pictures. I assure you, the crater pictured below has been filled in and you can’t even notice it now. For details about our exursion, check the older posts.

You are 1 Today

–One year ago today you were born. Born early, but beautiful. I was so scared I would lose you, but you are here! I labored with your daddy for awhile, got some yummy pain medicine and brought in the female troops. Your Grandma Connie, Auntie Leslie and Aunt Kait joined your daddy and me in the Red Tent to welcome the newest female Klipsch. So much love for you in that little room!

–One year ago I gained a daughter; another child to love, a girl whose hair I can braid. I’ll teach you about boys, your periods, shaving your legs (hopefully with more regularity than your mom). I’ll teach you other stuff too, like how to be the only girl on the soccer team or the baseball team, how to chew sunflower seeds, how to bat your eyelashes at your daddy when you REALLY want that piece of candy (okay, so HE’LL be teaching you how to do that to ME). We’ll get manis and pedis together and delight in the joys of being women. We’ll read great books and discuss the philosphocal ramifactions of it all, the oppression of races and sexes and all the good stuff.
–One year ago today you were whisked from my arms and placed in an incubator. I wasn’t allowed to hold you for 24 hours. To this day, those were the toughest 24 hours of my life. You were so little and I knew you needed me the way I needed you, but the doctors didn’t trust you would thrive in that condition. 25 hours later you were in my arms and all your stats went right, they went normal; showing them the bond between a woman and her baby is so much stronger than any oxygen tank sometimes. I hope I will always be a source of oxygen for you, a place to clear your head and just feel safe and happy.
–Today you are alive and thriving. You giggle and slurp. You talk and laugh. You crawl and pull yourself to standing. You have rolls on your thighs and the most beautiful eyes. You cry when I drop you off at daycare and come crawling at record breaking speed when I come pick you up. You are life and you are joy.
–Today you are a daughter to your parents and a sister to your brother. You take these roles very seriously and seem happiest when it’s just the 4 of us. You take comfort in comfortable surroundings but are adapt at exploring new and wonderful things.
There is so much more I could write about you dear daughter. Today, like a year ago, I praise God for the blessing that you are and have always been to me and to the family. You are a miracle and there will never be a day that I don’t thank God for His blessings that have rained down in abundance since you entered my life. Though our family may grow, you will always be my baby girl, my sweet, sweet Dailah. Happy 1st birthday, angel.

Word Feast

So to start off where I left off….last week was both the best of times and worst of times. Monday I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, no big deal I told myself. Well Tuesday I woke up and didn’t want to swallow, talk or eat (which is perhaps the biggest indicator of something amiss). So I went to the doc and was diagnosed with tonsillitis. For some reason things went from bad to worse and I don’t remember much of Tuesday and Wednesday. What I do remember is asking myself why in God’s name I’m throwing up when I have tonsillitis? Who knows but it’s safe to say I wasn’t completely normal until Fridayish.

So Wednesday night we took off for Des Moines as a pit stop to our PAC in MN. Thursday early we took off! We got to MN, tried to check into our hotel (not until 3, whoops!) and ran to KFC before the fun began at 12:30. When we pulled up to CHSFS offices we were amazed at how nice they were! Not that we were expecting a hole in the wall, but it was beautiful. So this reassured us that we picked a good place. We were thrust into our small groups right away. Come to find, our small group consisted of 2 other groups from Iowa (an Ankeny and an Iowa City, both of which are adopting from Ethiopia). Yay! The other two families were from MN and looking at the same place as well (Russia, Uzbekistan). So anyway, it was a really great small group and we had a great time. I really can’t say enough about these classes. Perhaps the best part was seeing Zach feel more and more excited/reassured that the process goes (somewhat) according to plan. For the most part I have been the one doing research, etc, and relaying it back to him so it was his turn to learn all of what I already knew. Plus, they discussed issues such as transracial/cultural adoption, attachment, etc. It was eye opening and discussion inducing and GLORIOUS!!! So we were SO happy that CHSFS requires this as part of their process. We also got to hear about the Ethiopia program for about 1hr+. It was great hearing from the head of the Ethiopia program (and Ethiopian adopter herself, 4 times over!)

Not to mention my husband and I got some good alone time! The classes ended at about 8:30 on Thursday so we went and checked into the hotel and then went to go find a few drinks to bring back. NOPE! Silly MN doesn’t sell alcohol past 9, that is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. Anyway, we had fun liquorless anyway!

Friday we went and met my mom and the kiddos at the lake. Ended up staying there that night just to recoup. Saturday AM we made a pit stop at the big mall to purchase an Apple laptop. Zach’s eyes are my weakness, I tell you that much. The thing is awesome and I can’t complain because Zach has started his homework already. We got home, I packed, Zach went golfing with the guys from our small group. Sunday found me and the kids at church and small group, Zach packing and back to work. Me packing and packing and packing some more.

Yesterday was MOVING DAY!!!! We are pretty much all moved into Camp. It was dirtier then I expected and not quite ready for us but we’re there nonetheless. Stayed up late unpacking the kitchen. Felt good. I’ve started a count. Spiders killed: 4, Spiders seen: 22million (approx). But it’s nice to be in the house, even if it was hard to find my unmentionables today. And perhaps most important that happened yesterday? I FINISHED HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. It was great, I was happy and I can’t wait until the movie. I feel as though these people are my friends, that says a lot about me and I’m not sure anyone else BUT me will think it’s all good things. πŸ™‚

So…..with regards to the adoption. Now we complete “homework” which is basically 6-10 pages of an autobiography for both Zach and myself. As I said, Zach’s started his, me not so much. I’ll be doing that at work the next couple of days. πŸ™‚ Mine should go pretty quickly because, as noticed, I have no problems writing about myself and the people/things I’m passionate about. πŸ™‚ After we send that to our agency, our social worker calls and sets up our first homestudy, which will probably take place a few weeks after completed homework. So this is moving along now! Though a HUGE part of me hesitates to bring her within 5 feet of the camp house yet, I know she’s looking more at the love in the house then the actual bricks and mortar, but still…

Anyway, things are well. Have to make a mad dash to Target today. Not that it wasn’t interesting showering with no curtain today, but just in case one of the camp counselors decides to get his jollies from watching my make-upless, stretched-out-from-two-babies butt shower, I think I’ll pick up a curtain for tomorrow. πŸ™‚ Until then, hope you are all well and happy!

Fun at the Lake

Turns out Dailah eats…a lot, all the time and anything. It’s glorious. As shown in the picture it makes her very, very happy!

Trysten’s favorite part of the lake, with his Papa John.

Do those blues need explaining?

I posted this for 2 reasons. 1) Dailah is smiling through her paci and I think it’s hilarious when she does and 2) with the shadow it looks like I have defined deltoids (which I don’t) but the shameless part of me pretends I do.

Me with the brave kids on the tubes.

Picture Post

Ok, my next post will be all words, so I’ll get the pictures taken care of now (sorry, John, our lawn ones will come when we set up the computer, I promise!).
Trysten and Dailah at Adventureland, she really is happy, I promise!
T & D with my parents, pretty pic, eh?
Kids on the train with my gorgeous sister.
Who is missing in this picture? TRYSTEN! Why? Because he’s taking it of course! Not too bad, if I do say so myself. Sister is so happy to see you big brother!

Reunited!

My reunion with my kids was even better than I imagined. It felt so good in my innermost being to hold them again! Truth be told we haven’t let each other go for very long since. The weekend at the lake was excellent. Quite relaxing as it brought just my family and my aunt and uncle, probably the lowest showing we’ve had in awhile! Still got some good fun in the sun and family bonding time though!

So today marks exactly one week until we are living in an entirely different house. It shouldn’t be as weird to me as it is considering we’ve lived 3 different places in 4 years, but it is quite odd, really. Truth be told I LOVE the house we’re in now. It is a house I had mentally imagined us in for at least 10 years when we originally bought it (would have been 2 years in September). So perhaps that is why I’m stumbling a bit in picturing me living at camp.

Well that, and the fact that I’m more the kind of person who hates bugs, tics and all things nature-esque unless I’m hiking/driving through them. Hard to imagine I’ll be living amongst them and they will be my people. And only half of the house is done presently so 4 of us will live in 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a kitchen; not unpossible but certainly not ideal for me! πŸ™‚

Don’t read this as complaining, there are more positives to living at camp than I can name in one blog, I’m just coming to terms with my reality in a week. Give me 3 more weeks and I’ll be singing koomba-freakin-ya and sleeping on a bed of money due to the lack of mortgage…or just saving that for the adoption.

Speaking of, 3 days and we’re in MN learning about adoption. Woohoo! Can’t wait to fill you all in. Until then, look tomorrow for a ridiculous amount of pictures from my kids week and John and my’s successful domination of our yard.

I Miss My Kids!

Well it hit me…not that I haven’t been missing them all week, but I’ve been keeping busy, doing things that are accomplished a lot easier without kids around. Today I get to see them in just 6ish hours. I can’t wait! I miss their voices, their kisses, their smells! Oh I just miss hugging them, and talking to them, waking up with them and giving them baths. Two wonderful kids, I tell you, and they are all mine (oh, and my husband’s). Can’t wait to see them, even if they don’t miss me as much as I miss them. πŸ™‚

Last night I got a bit more packing done. Then my good friend, John Dengler came out to help me mow and do overall outside maintenence to the house. We worked from 7-10. Yes, you read that right, it was ridiculous. I think my neighbors were forming a coup against me, there was going to be an uprising to kick us out before the new people moved in. It had been THAT long since we mowed our grass. Not only that, but someone (cough, Zach, cough) had left what started out to be a freshly cut, fluffy pile of grass on our lawn with hopes of taking it to camp. 4 weeks later it was a heaping, heavy, smelly bag of compost that left a crater in our yard and a poo-smelling stench permeating the place. It was awful. The smell and soy sauce look alike stuff was getting on John and my hands and was creeping in our nostrils. It was gross. I have pictures of the ridiculous amounts of grass (since our regular mower was broke we had to use an OLD one that didn’t have a mulcher, which meant raking too, FREAK!) and the aforementioned crater/heaping bag of poo. You’ll have to wait until next week to see those, but you will want to because it’s amazing.

Until then, hope you have a great weekend. I most assuredly will as it will include reuniting with me kiddies and fun at the lake!

Day 3, Check! And Harry Potter

Day 3 has come and gone and I’m still only slightly hysterical without the kids. Dan and Becky came back from Italy a few weeks ago and brought pasta and other yumminess with them. They made that for us last night and then went to Harry Potter with us. I got a bit of packing done beforehand and even took a load of clothes to camp. Dailah’s now ready to be clothed should winter hit tomorrow at camp. πŸ™‚

So Harry Potter was AMAZING. Being the book lover I am, I’m not going to mention the fact that the book was better (though it was). I am also a cinema major, so I can appreciate how hard it would be to cram a 1,000 page book into a 2hr30min movie. With that said, the movie both standing alone and compared to the book, was outstanding.

The cinemotography is getting better and better with each one, as is the acting from the various “young” actors. Overall, I was quite pleased with the whole thing. I would argue that even those who don’t typically get a lot from the Potter series would really enjoy the film.

With that said, the movie reminded me of one of the reasons I love the books so much. It’s just the themes of love, friendship and good versus evil. This movie really played into the fact that not much seperates Harry from Voldemort (the dark lord). As Dumbledore says in the final scene, it’s not the similarities, it’s the differences. I think that speaks to life as well. What both terrifies and excites me about the human race is that we are all so similar. While it excites me that there’s not THAT big of a difference between myself and say, Mother Theresa; it also terrifies me that there’s not THAT big of a difference between myself and say, Bin Laden. We are human, we at one point were probably held and kissed by our parents, we put our pants on the same, we all eat, we breathe, etc. The difference is our reaction to our situation in life.

How we choose to live our lives reflects the differences in humanity and THAT is where we can make our mark. Harry constantly chooses the path of love, friendship, goodness. This is because he believes in the goodness of the world even though he has seen so much darkness. What a beautiful testament to his character! This is what I hope to pass on to my kids. We will all experience darkeness, there is no way around that. Though I grieve the day my kids lose their innocence and realize there is bad in the world, I realize it’s inevitable. I hope I am there to show them that there is still good, too. That they can CHOOSE to be that good when everything/one around them is choosing to be the bad. Though they may have darkness in them, because we all do, they can still CHOOSE the goodness. The darkness does not have to define them.

I love these ideas. One of my favorite lines spoken in the movie (can’t remember if it was in the book) was when Sirius Black says something to the effect of, “Fear can make people do crazy things.” Though that discussion is perhaps an entire blog in itself, I couldn’t agree more. Look at the world we live in today, it’s so fear based we have parents afraid of taking their kids on airplanes or to the pool or out in the sun. Arguably our country has perpetuated it in recent years so that it’s slimed it’s way down to everyone else. Fear-driven life is infinitely depressing. It can, in fact, make people and countries and things do crazy things. It can stop you from doing pleasurable, relatively harmless things. It can paralize and cripple. It is not a life I want to teach my kids or a life I want to live. Though fear creeps in dark corners of my world, I try on a daily basis not to let it overtake me and prohibit me from living a life God has given me. The only one I’ll have. I’m trying to live the life as goodness, without fear. Some days are better than others, I think today is going to be a good day.

Day 2, Check!

I’ve made it. Only had one “replase” when I went into both of the kiddos rooms and just looked around. I think I’m doing fairly well actually. Last night I got SOO much packing done. Only one room (kitchen) left on the whole first two floors to go. The basement is pretty much complete so really I’m doing okay.

I even got to go out to eat with my in-laws last night and then go for a drink with my SIL, Leslie. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I am so blessed to have such great sisters and brothers! I love that Leslie and I are both vissionaries who want to make tomorrow’s world just a bit better. We spent most of the night coming up with ways to revolutionize this little area of the world we live in. The Quad Cities is notorious for its inferiority complex, which is completely unjustified. It really is a fabulous place to live and has great things to offer, Leslie and I just want it to have even more. We see so much potential in this place! It almost seems like a blank slate for us, ready for two women to paint it red! Now if we could stop with the big ideas and get down to some plausible ideas.