Just Pictures

Remember how when I finally upload pictures I just post and post and post them? Now is one of those times. Enjoy…mom.

Never going to stop thinking that one’s a cutie.

I got Kora this tutu (and wanted to show Andy what a girl looks like) isn’t she adorable?

Doozie’s first french braid..not bad mommy.

Up close…again…ridiculous.

Love this picture as Papa put the boys on the ledge and then had a good laugh, look at Papa’s reflection in the window.

Just some ice cream.

Tariku has started to enjoy it. No more 2 bites and then done with this kid.

Love the hair cuts, love how Tariku looks at his big brother.

My hubby and me all gussied up for the wedding. Could he BE any more handsome?

Baby girl all growed up.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

So guess what we did yesterday…cut the boys’ hair. Now…Trysten has been wanting his mohawk for some time (he gets one every summer pretty much) so we did it yesterday. Little brother Tariku walks in and wants one as well. Who are we to say no? Now before you get mad at me (and yes we know Tariku resembles a little too closely “Mr. T” I love it, and I love that they love it. So enjoy those pictures.

So today at church was communion Sunday. Today they did it a bit different and handed out the little wafers kind of like they pass around the tithing plate. So I had Max (one of Jody’s boys) with Trysten and myself and they boys asked me if they could get a cracker. I said, “It depends, do you love Jesus?” And they said, “Yes we love Jesus!” So I said okay. Well when the tray came to us I got a bit of a look from a woman who obviously wanted to tell me kids weren’t allowed to which I was hoping she would say something to me. Then I could’ve reminded her that Christ asks us to be childlike in our love for Him so why couldn’t kids take communion…but, moving on.

So the pastor is explaining what the bread stands for and Trysten says, “What is he saying mommy?” Max, ever the pastor’s son says, “Basically, Jesus died on the cross for us so we can live so this (as he points to the bread) is his skin.” Apparently Trysten thought this idea of Christian canibilism sounded logical to him so we toasted and ate Jesus’ skin. Mmmmm.

Then on the way home from church, Trysten and Tariku are pretending to be other people (i.e. daddys, brothers, etc). Trysten says “I’ll be the step-daddy”. I asked him what a step-daddy is, and he said, “A daddy that does BodyStep!” (Which is a class I teach at the Y. Too funny.

I love kids. They are just…too…funny.

Did You Know…

If 1 out of every 7 Christians adopted, there would be no more orphans. 1 out of every 7.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Because, I know our intention when we started this adoption. I know we knew it was a calling from God. We were able to quote at the very least 5 times in the Bible when God specifically mentions caring for the orphans. He calls Himself “The God of the fatherless.” A handful of times as well. He talks about “the least of these” and “the last will be first” and things of that nature. Zach and I knew we were both selfish and spiritual in our quest to adopt our little Tariku. We chose an older child because we knew these were, in fact, “the least of these” in the adoption community. We knew they lingered in orphanages far longer than their younger counterparts and we also knew our hearts were ready for a kid who walked and talked and knew the right direction to the bathroom (though not the right place to spray, as it turns out). So Tariku was handed to us by the One and Only and we are ever thankful.

Of course with that 1 in 7 statistic that also assumes 1 out of 7 want a child. If there aren’t that many Christians out there who want children in the first place, things get complicated. But then there’s those of us who would have 20 if our finances could squeeze it in. Point being, first there must be the want of another child. There are some Christian leaders who don’t agree with that necessarily; the fact is God never called us for a comfortable life void of all suffering. But I’m from the camp that believes taking on another child when one is not necessarily wanted would not be what God had intended for that child or family. But…moving on.

Last weekend at church we had Bono kind of lead the sermon. They showed a clip of an interview with him that was pretty amazing and guess what, I cried. One of my favorite things he said was that life isn’t about “pie in the sky”. We can’t walk around waiting for heaven. God didn’t tell us to sit around and wait to die because heaven is going to be that good. Our mission is to bring heaven to earth. Andy, our worship leader, distinguished between vertical worship (singing praises in church, etc) and horizontal worship (being the hands and feet of God). Our mission is horizontal worship. The fact of that matter is, if we’re okay to sit in our fancy homes and eat our fancy meals and wear our khakis and not be seriously disturbed by the fact that this world looks NOTHING like heaven, then we are not doing our Christinanly duty. We are anything BUT the hands and feet. We’d be more like the butt and toenails, necessary but nasty at times.

Bono also reminded us (and told me, I had never heard it before) that Jesus only speaks of judgement or hell twice. But he speaks of love and caring for others all the time. One of the time he speaks of judgement he talks about separating people at what has commonly been referred to as the pearly gates. He says God will separate between the sheep and the goats. The sheep will be the ones who cared for the least of these. The ones who clothed him when he was naked, who visited him in jail, who fed him when he was hungry. The people remind Jesus that he had never been in jail to which Jesus answers, “Yes, but I say whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.”

I was all jazzed up by Andy’s worship and message and then by the U2 leader himself. I was horribly disappointed, however, to have no call to action after the service. They had laid rocks at the front of the stage for people to walk by and be reminded of the Liberian children we sponsor through church who spend all day in a rock quarry for something like a nickel a day. Touching, I do admit, but to be quite honest I’ve only thought about that twice since Sunday. What I wanted was a call to action. A church leader to stand up and convince us (me included) that we are not doing enough horizontal worship. Sure, I may sing as loud as I possibly can, raise my hands to the sky and cry my eyes out during vertical worship but who sees that but the other Christians around me who are doing the same thing? I can tell you the Ethiopians who are dying from hunger don’t see my vertical worship and see that as any saving grace to them.

I think so many Christians have no idea what it means to be the hands and feet. What do I do? Where do I start? Where do I focus my energies when the world is filled with places that need the strength and hope of Jesus? These are all good questions but I don’t think God only calls us when we’re good and ready. We need to be seriously disturbed RIGHT NOW. Start anywhere, really! But I think church leaders need to give thousands of outlets for people to get started. Got a business person who doesn’t want to do missions but has the brains that might help to get micro-loans kick started in countries who need self-sustaining options? Send them to ANYWHERE in Africa and watch the effect of an entire community be transformed by the grace and hope of one Godly person. Got someone who might be interested in orphan care and possibly adopt but don’t have the money to pay for something like it? Start a separate fund where other people can donate (and receive a tax deduction!) and help out. That list is not exhaustive and are not earth shattering ideas. But it’s something and it’s somewhere to start.

All this said, I’m still one of those who has just started my horizontal worship. I’m still in the infancy stage, suckling on the horizontal worship mommy’s breast (Zach only reads this if I mention boobs, what can I say?). I’ve taken the huge leap of faith that was adoption and have found myself restless since to begin God’s work in any way I can. I truly hope it’s in Ethiopia, but who knows? I know I’m ready. I know I’m thinking every…single…day about what my strengths are and how they can benefit a country who has given me so very much. I know I’m on the edge of my seat, knowing Coach is going to be calling me into the game sometime very soon and I wonder how I’ll play. Will I disappoint? Will I lead the charge for others? Will I have to take a sacrificial foul to save time on the clock? Don’t know, but I know there HAVE to be more Christians out there like me. Keep your eyes on the prize, whoever you are, our time will come soon.

Oh, and if you think you might want another child…ADOPT!

More Rain?!?!?

What’s that about. As if our area needed any more rain. But that’s what it’s doing today and it doesn’t look like there are plans for a rain hiatus anytime soon. Sweet.

Things are going very well here. The last two weeks, though not necessarily what I expected, have been very good as far as attachment and bonding with Tariku. Having Trysten in day camp every day has meant one less child I need to bond with and watch do super cool tricks every 50 seconds. It’s enabled me to really watch and get to know Tariku like we were doing that first week with him. He really is a super fun guy and absolutely hilarious. His english is getting so good it’s kind of scary sometimes. His ability to stretch out breakfast never ceases to amaze me. Today when it took him 20 minutes to eat a bagel when it took his siblings 5 I had to constantly remind myself that it’s actually better for him to eat that slowly. It’s hard though, I kept thinking of 50 things I needed to be doing instead of watching him chew the tiniest bite 50 times before swallowing. He had another rough week though. Had a follow up cast appointment. Found out he’ll be in that cast for 2 more weeks and then a short cast for another 2. He also had his regular doctor’s appointment yesterday where they pumped him full of 4 more vaccines. Having trouble walking today. As an example of his great personality, the nurses gave him 2 of his shots and he was of course screaming and whatnot. So they took a quick break to refuel and he grabs one of the nurses shirts and pulls her face in real close and just yells at the top of his lungs. Though I was crying a bit too I had to laugh at his sheer force.

I have some really great pictures on my camera but haven’t had time to upload them so that will be coming. Dailah is such a trip. This is the age (she’ll be 2 next month) when I’m either loving the age or hating it, there’s really no in between. This morning has been pure joy though. After I woke Zach up, I told him I was coming up to his office to write this so to keep an eye out for the kids. I get almost to the office (it’s just a 50 meter walk or so) and I hear “Mommy!” Well it’s Dailah, not having listened to the, “Stay here command” from me, she wanted to come with. I told her to go get daddy but instead she comes sprinting (in the rain) towards me. She’s one stubborn little girl. We get up here and she starts coloring with a yellow highlighter. She says, “mommy wewo (yellow)”. I was shocked. Didn’t know she knew that word. Love actually watching the wheels turning.

All I know for now. Wanted to get in touch with my peeps!


Here are some pictures to make us all feel better about not being able to go to the EKC…

Doozie being the adorable cowgirl she is.

Doozie LOVED the baked beans at my grandparents 60th anniversary party this weekend. She had approximately 3 helpings and ate every bean, I regretted it later.

Nephew “Puddin'” LOVED the oatmeal creme pies. He was a big fan of high fructose corn syrup, as his mom is a better mom than I and limits the junk they eat. I spoiled him, how could you not? Look at that face!

My grandparents greeting their many guests. 60 years and they’re just as cute as ever. I couldn’t believe how many people showed up, they sure had a lot of love squeezed into a little room and a little town. Love those two.

These are the 5 kids squeezed into my Honda Pilot. Waayy too cute!

Zach and I took the kids to a restaurant. We told them they couldn’t cross that line…so they spent the rest of the night toeing the line to see how serious we were. We were serious.

My brother, Marcus and myself in my dad’s new car. Nice ride, takes a car like that to make my younger brother scared poopless that he’d wreck it.

The Power Rangers, how hilarious is that? I think at this time Dailah was putting her baby to sleep and Eli was eating, that was kind of the theme of the two days we housed my nephews.

My mom (guess which one) my aunt (shorter hair) and my uncle (kind of hidden) all entertaining guests. Here they are looking at a slideshow of the last 60 years of my grandparents’ lives. The other two well wishers got emotional watching the video…that’s love (and my family, we’re all emotional).

Zach with Doozie and “Puddin'”.

I just had to say one of my favorite parts of the anniversary party was when 2pm hit (the starting time of the actual party). The first guests arrive. My grandma, at this point, was a little nervous no one would show (turns out that never stops being a fear) so she was more than a little excited to see the first guests. With a quick utterance of, “Well, here we go.” She put on her party face and met well over 50 guests with the best smile, laugh and hug anyone had seen. We joked that apple didn’t fall far from the tree as we saw my 3 uncles, aunt and mom all get into the party mode as well. Meanwhile my cousins and I had a fantastic time “catching up” and trying NOT to talk about the fact that we were all, in one way or another, exactly like them.


Well I thought we’d be able to go to the EKC picnic this coming weekend. We had it all planned, etc, etc. BUT then I checked my planner and it coincides with a good friends wedding! So I’m completely bummed that I won’t be seeing a lot of you there. BUT, we’re hoping we can come one weekend after summer camp season is over to make it to one of the monthly Ethiopian weekends and then see if we can’t see some of you then. But have lots of fun, make sure you all post pics on your blog so I can see what we missed. 🙂

Since I’m kind of MIA on the blog scene, I had to say congrats to my dear friend Erica who got her court date for her sweetpea! Keep me posted on that one.

Only have a moment before Zach steals the computer for the rest of my life (or so it’s seeming now doesn’t it!)

SOOO bummed I won’t be seeing you guys this weekend. BUT who is excited for the TV show, WIPEOUT tonight? Yippeee!

We’re Doing Well

So we’re doing well over here. Tariku is getting used to the extra 10lbs hanging off his arm, so much so that he gets dangerously close to submerging it in the bath every night. The first few days he was so aware of it he held it up everywhere, now he flails it about like it’s been there for years. Kids…they truly are resilient little boogers.

Trysten is enjoying camp and was even more excited because the Landers boys were going to be at camp this week. Good stuff all around.

Book club tonight, more pictures to come hopefully after that!

Thanks for all the words of encouragement!

A Lot Can Happen In A Week

So there we were…Tuesday night, after bath, 5 minutes before bedtime. I was being the cool mom I am and letting the boys get a few more minutes of jumping on the couch to show off their ninja skills. Zach had a rare night home early so I went, giddily, to the bathroom for the first time in a long time with no kids following me. Right when I closed the door I hear a yell. A scream, a plea, really. Daddy! Mommy! Daddy! It was Tariku and, though he has the tendency to overreact with the slightest owie, I knew we were in trouble. So I went out there and Zach says, “He broke his arm.”

This is why he said that.

As you can see, his forearm is doing it’s best to give us a “wave” which is altogether unnatural and extremely painful, I’m sure. So I asked Zach if I could stay with Tariku in the ER as I’m always the disciplinarian (that’s the nature of a stay-at-home mom it seems) and so I wanted to be the comforter too. We were in the ER for 3 hours just to have them tell us it’s broken (duh) and splint it. They then made an appointment for the next morning at the Orthaped clinic to get it casted. As strange as it may sound, we bonded intensly for 3 hours with no other siblings around and me having to fight off well-intentioned doctors and nurses overwhelming him with their big, fancy English words.

On top of that, I had to admit at least 20 times that I was willingly letting my kids jump off the couch. Then there was the social worker who came to ask me various questions about how I discipline and how he got scars and cuts that were obviously much older than the time we had him. This line of questioning even included them asking me about his toenails (which are admittedly not “normal” looking) which I had to tell them my best guess was that they were due to 3 years of walking around with no shoes on.

So with my mommy head between my mommy tail, me and my more bonded son headed home.

The next day was even crazier. He actually had to be put under to set the arm and cast so he got in his scrubs and his little surgery hat. They wheeled him away from us and into the operating room. Suffice it to say it was traumatic for us all.

He’s recovering well though. Getting used to the extra 10lbs on his left arm so that’s a relief.

As if that wasn’t enough, Thursday morning brought my nephews to come stay with us. So the few days went well, it was nice to spend so much time with them. I was pleased when Eli cried and clawed for me when turning him over to his grandma. He also took a liking to calling me, “mommy” which I took to be a compliment.

Friday morning on the way to pick my sister up from the airport, 4 kids in the car, the tire on my car blows. Which, after putting the spare on, had to be taken to the car place to get a new one on. So my sister, myself and 4 kids were at Wal Mart for 3 hours.

Overall the week was incredibly crazy. Not one I would necessarily want to ever do again but there were certainly shining moments. I’ve retired my mom-of-5-hat and was surprised to realize it wasn’t so much the sheer number of kids, but their ages. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I think that’s more what it was than anything else. So I salute you, moms who do that on a daily basis!

Here are some pics of the week.

I know…I know…

Bad blogger. I did better while in ET, that’s just crazy…but…we’re without internet here so that makes things kinda hard, right?

But we’re okay. The flood is affecting us over here in Eastern Iowa. I have pictures on my camera that I’ll upload once we have internet, it really is pretty amazing. The trek that used to take us 10 minutes to downtown now takes at least 20 and it’s a winding, winding path. Cedar Rapids (now made famous by the likes of the Today show and various others) is about an hour away from us and is home to my uncle and his family and a few cousins. All of them have been unable to make it to work for a couple weeks with the threat of not making it back out. It really is pretty crazy. The river would have to crest MUCH higher to actually make it to our front door but we have not come out of it unscathed. Our basement (including the boys’ room) now smells like BO, poo, urine, old feet and various other smells that I never wanted to smell in my house. It makes me long for the days when it was just a newly adopted Ethiopian’s urine that I was smelling…anywho, we’re okay and safe and that’s a lot better than other people in our town. Anyway, the ole’ Mississippi is living up to its various nicknames by it’s current.

What else has been going on? The boob on the ankle is gone and all that’s left is a slight limp only noticed by people who knew of the reason for it in the first place. This is all good news as it’s helped me get back to my A game on the parenting front (don’t ask the kids, as they might disagree).

We had a good father’s day. Zach had to work so it was pretty laid back. One day when I get back my internet I’ll write an ode to his amazing fatherhoodness as well as the man I get to call “daddy” every day. Both amazing men, both men who are definitely a dime a ten thousand anymore.

What else…my eldest started day camp today. He’ll be gone every day for the rest of summer pretty much. He woke up at 5:45 am this morning asking if it was time to go to camp. One would think he wouldn’t be that excited as he LIVES HERE but that one would be mistaken as he was beyond excited.

Tariku continues to learn more English but draws a blank when I ask him “what’s wrong” or “why did you do that?” for some reason he chooses those critical times to “fake” his Ethiopianess and just looks at me with those big eyes (I jest…of course he’s Ethiopian and he plays at not knowing oh so well). But overall we continue to fall more in love with each other every day and I’m sure he starts hating me less and less for taking him away from better women at the care center. We’re starting to become very happy he’s here on both fronts. 🙂

Single mommin’ it is way tougher with 3 kids than with two. For various reasons (one being Zach doesn’t have someone employed who can be the contact person at night) I don’t get to see Zach too many nights before I go to sleep either so that doesn’t help the situation. It’s starting to wear on us both but at least I get a quick Kaluha on ice before I head to bed where he’s not able to escape to the wonderful lands of “buzzness” with the ever present threat of someone losing a finger and needing a rush to the ER. Hopefully soon he can find someone who can at least take a few of these nights from him so that I’ll remember what it’s like to hug a husband and the kids won’t start shrugging their shoulders when someone asks them who their daddy is.

All that said life is going quite well on the homestead. Save for the threat of natural disasters, husbands over worked and under loved, mom’s hitting their breaking point with one child talking and two repeating after them…we’re hanging in there. Alas, don’t cry for me Argentina, I have a home over our heads, food on the table, fresh water to drink and access to affordable healthcare. That means I’m better off than somewhere around 95% of the rest of the world.

We’re Better

The boob on my ankle is shrinking…or shifting, tough to say. It’s a common boob theme in my life, for some reason… Anywho…

I was able to put some weight on it today, even walking on it with a “slight” limp. I’m a flippin’ animal. No really, I feel much better about the whole situation.

The kids are great. I honestly can’t understand why I got so lucky to have these people in my life. Funny story…on Saturday Zach was able to spend the whole day with us without having to go into work once, it was REALLY nice! So that night we were heading to some friends’ house for dinner. We get in the car and he says, “I don’t know how you do it all day every day, hons.” I knew what he was talking about, of course. Though I hesitated in telling him, the kids were being particularly troublesome that day for some reason, but I let him just contemplate that for a little bit. “I don’t give you enough thanks or credit for doing it. Awesome job, nice work.” “There were times today when I wished it was a Monday so I could go to work and relax for a bit.”

I laughed, and did end up telling them they were being particularly squirrley that day. But I appreciated his comment so very much. Because I know it’s more work. I remember working, it was just 10 months ago that I quit working full time. I admit, I didn’t have a stressful job so my days were pretty easy but still…this full time mommy business is not for the faint hearted! There are definitely moments when I would kill to put on my suit, high heels and head out the door to grab coffee with a client or something similar. Perhaps go on a golf outing of someone who is thinking of building in the next year, that would be nice.

I digress, at the end of the day I’m still so very thankful Zach’s job gives me the ability to stay at home. The ability to stay in my jammies if I want. Do laundry and clean the house when I want (not in those few precious moments I have with the kids). I get to make dinner, spend good quality time with my hubby when the kids are tucked in instead of using that time to do all the stuff I’ve neglected. And then of course the kids…knowing which of Trysten’s smiles will be coming at any moment. Knowing when Tariku is being sarcastic and when he has to go to the bathroom. Knowing when Dailah is at her breaking point and the moment just before she slaps you in the face. All these things would undoubtedly not be so vivid if I didn’t spend every waking moment with them. The fact that I’m right now, on a Wednesday, in my parent’s house having went shopping all day and to 2 movies! This is the life. Sure, it’s a life where I was vomitted on, peed on and the walking kleenex all in one day but it’s the life. The only life I could possibly want right now.

Off to peek on those kids and see if I can accurately guess whether they’re dreaming of power rangers (Trysten), cars (Tariku) or hitting someone in the face (Dailah).