And So It Begins…

Kindergarten started today. I did surprisingly well, I’m not going to lie. Just got chocked up one time when I was taking a picture of him and it struck me how old he’s getting. He was sitting there in his Kindergarten row by himself. It was obvious he was a little hesitant to start up a conversation with his classmates but he also looked calm, like he knew it was going to be okay. He walked right up to his teacher, “Hello, Mrs. Comstock.” Such a great kid. But I’m so excited for him. I loved school (probably didn’t tell my parents enough) and am so excited for him to start. His teacher seems nice and he’s oozing enthusiasm so it makes it worth it. He was, in fact, a little bummed that it’s already the weekend and his first day was a half day to boot. What a bummer. 🙂 But he got to do recess, PE and lunch today so he thought he got all the good parts of the day anyway.

What scares me most about Kindergarten? Trysten is my empathetic one. He cried when we took our dog to the vet the other day because he’s not walking well. He cries during movies when they’re sad and is just overall the one that wants to make sure everyone is happy and comfortable. I’m so afraid of that preciousness, the one that is so gentle and rare in boys. I don’t want school to beat it out of him. He is my little angel and I can’t stand the thought of losing an ounce of that. But I’m excited for the years to come and watching him come into his own, whatever that may look like.

The kids ready for Trysten’s big day.

My baby boy. My goodness how he’s changed my life in ways I didn’t dare pray or ask for but received by grace.

Seriously, I’m a mom to a Kindergartner…who is a bit tired in this picture.

And he is a dad to a kindergartner…and even more tired than I was.

Showing his teacher his loose tooth, I knew he’d be okay then.

Soccer!

Last night was Trysten’s first soccer practice. The coaches (also known as mom and dad to Trysten) did a great job (I think) and my offspring had a great time. Here’s some pictures to give you a quick taste.

Doozie mentally preparing for soccer practice.

Tariku doing the same.

Look at that face, that’s her game face baby.

Trying, trying.

Tariku showing his natural abilities.

Trysten just LOVES soccer.

Looking good…check out little sister behind him, story of her life.

And where they, obviously, got their abilities. ahem. Just a little of mommy and daddy competing.

6 Years Ago Yesterday

Zach made the biggest “settle” of his life by marrying this ole’ gal. And I’m laughin’ all the way to the marriage bank.

When I was 13 years old I was on an AAU basketball team. My team (from Des Moines) went to a tournament in Burlington, IA and stayed at the Best Western Hotel. After checking in and getting the okay from our parents to run around a bit before game time, my friend and I moseyed on over to the front lobby. There, checking in, was a beautiful boy with a big head, braces and a red jersey with, who we were assuming was his father. The father (if I remember correctly) had a red shirt and hat, pants giving him a front AND back wedgie and sausages for fingers. My friend and I commented on this particular boys good looks (I’m sure I mentioned his specific great ASSets) and continued to our game.

When we got back from our game, most of the girls team met in a room. We hear a knock on the door only to find a pizza box when we opened the door. Inside the pizza box was a note, “Meet us by the pool, the good looking ones are 15, x, x,” (I don’t remember the other numbers except for one in particular, and that’s because it was also my jersey number). So by the pool we went. Who did we find by the pool? Well that check-in boy with a bunch of his good looking 13-year-old friends. What luck! So by the pool we chatted in all of our 8th grade glory. Their team from Davenport, IA (where I was sure all the gangsta’s lived) and ours from a town called Altoona, that the boys just loved. After that night of a couple hours of talking around the pool, we left the hotel never to see them again.

Throughout the years my friends and I would reference “The Davenport Boys” a number of times to talk about funny things they said and strange behaviors our friends did with the male eye watching. The year after we met them, in a moment of sheer genius, I wrote “Zach and Tesi” in the Australian sand.

You see where this is going…my sophomore year in college I had just transfered from The University of South Dakota to University of Iowa where I was staying in a dorm. The second night there one of my suitemates invited a girl from across the hall over. Low and behold she was from Davenport. I started telling her about “THe Davenport Boys” and how I only remembered two of their names, Zach and Brian. She said she went to school with boys with that name (imagine that!) who both played basketball and one of them (Brian) was going to Iowa! So she called him to come over that night and as he walked down the hall I saw the same Davenport Boy from 6 years before.

Then Liz (my davenport girl-friend) said she knew Zach’s screen name. So I tried it. He was in Muscatine at the time playing baseball and after awhile we realized we both had plans to hit the bar scene the next night. Skip ahead 24 hours. WAAAAY to late/early and too much beer for this little lady left me closing down the bars with my friends and not enough beers for him and waaay too much dancing left him doing the same. In a stroke of genius, Zach yells out “Tesi” in the middle of downtown Iowa City at 2am. Who was standing in front of him but a less-than-sober me. After giving this relative stranger a hug, we parted ways with promises of talking to each other. In true Zach form, he takes one last look at my ASSets, which my friend witnesses. The rest is, as they say, history. We went on a date the next night and I’ve been in love with that man since.

After dating just a few weeks we were saying “I love you” and planning our future together. A few months later Trysten was en utero (oops!) and we were planning a wedding. We got through a baby and college in 4 years and since, have wrestled our fair share of marital demons.

But he is honestly the most perfect mate. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years ago when I literally almost sprinted down the aisle to the man with the long eyelashes and ridiculous amounts of love and patience. But here we are. I’m more in love with him every day. We often talk about how we’re the perfect couple and feel bad for everyone else (I know, that’s ridiculous) but we can’t imagine being happier than we are together so that just makes sense.

We may not be perfect (or might be!) but we are perfect for each other which is why I just can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this dude I get to call husband. Happy Anniversary love machine!

Truth

So here’s a little something about me you may not know…I am a truth seeker. Someone who read my blog asked my sister, “So your sister likes God, huh?” I suppose you could say that. Obviously I think God is the epicenter of truth, if you will, but my problem with “typical” (ugh, I hate that word) Christians is that they only read Christian-themed books or listen to Christian artists and what have you. I don’t like the idea of only believing what you’re fed and waiting until Rick Warren tells you to do something, to do it. Jesus told us a long time ago to do the things these Christian authors are telling us to do now, and we are, theoretically, supposed to be doing what JC tells us anyway, so where’s the short circuit?

I don’t know, but I know I need to be a little more forgiving of that. I think the reason it bothers me a bit is most of the real truth, where I seemed to have found God the most, has had nothing to do with typically Christian things. “Going green” has blossomed in the Christian world because various Christian authors have written about its merits. Adoption has as well. There are so many examples of these things, even though both of those examples are nothing if not Christian in orientation. I.e they’re just good things to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a few “Christian” books and listened to the music, not all of it is bad. But I also know there are Christian artists/preachers who are un-Christian in their daily lives and “secular” artists who know God in a way I never could.

So with that said, I offer you the bit of truth I’ve been listening to compliments of my friend, Kasey. Obviously it’s an older song but it’s rockin’ my world the last couple days. Though I don’t think we need to be colorblind (colors in the world are so much better) I do think our hearts need to be colorblind and so for that, En Vogue, I salute you.

En Vogue, Free Your Mind (So weird coming from a gal who is too close to gray in color but nonetheless…)

Prejudice, wrote a song about it.
Like to hear it? Here it go.

I wear tight clothing, high heeled shoes
It doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute, no, no, no
I like rap music, wear hip hop clothes
That doesn’t mean that I’m sellin’ dope no, no, no
Oh my forgive me for having straight hair, no
It doesn’t mean there’s another blood in my heir, ya, ya
I might date another race or color
It doesn’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers.

oh la la, oh la la, oh la la, oh la la
Why oh why must it be this way?
oh la la, oh la la, oh la la, oh la la
Before you can read me you got to learn how to see me, I said

Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow.
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow

So I’m a sistah
Buy things with cash
That really doesn’t mean that all my credit’s bad, oooh
So why dispute me and waste my time
Because you really feel the price is high, for me
I can’t look without being watched, and oh
You rang my buy before I made up my mind, OW!
Oh now attitude, why even bother
I can’t change your mind, you can’t change my color

oh la la, oh la la, oh la la, oh la la
Why oh why must it be this way?
oh la la, oh la la, oh la la, oh la la
Before you can read me you got to learn how to see me, I said

Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow…
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind don’t be so shallow….Free Your mind!

oh la la, oh la la, oh la la, oh la la
Why oh why must it be this way?
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said

Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow
free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow….Free your mind!

Caves and Campfires

Yesterday was, if I do say so myself, an awesome day.

We started the day with the Landers at Maquoketa Caves. It’s about an hour from our house and was quite fun. I must admit we are either the best moms on earth or the most insane, or perhaps it takes both to be the first, who knows. Anyway, 9 kids under 9, 2 adults under 30…recipe for disaster. Turned out a lot better than one might think but Jody and I were both in agreement that perhaps next time we either a) bring more adults to help with the 3 smallest or b) just bring the bigger kids. I was planning on stealing from her awesome camera but she forgot her memory card so you’ll have to go with these. I think you get the idea.

The story of Jody’s life…yay for twins!

The first obstacle…got through it with just a few tears.

Jody with the 3 youngest…a little help please?

Here we go.

All of ’em. Trysten and Max admiring their tree frog.

The aforementioned frog.

Tariku hiking, “I done mommy”.

Dailah looking up at her eldest brother, such love.

“Can I be your friend? Maybe another sister?”

Dailah enjoyed hanging with Kora. She would yell, “Ora (Kora) mere (come here)” and then proceed to clap. Kora obliged.

Just a cool looking picture.

Doozie fell asleep on the way home and took an hour nap, then wouldn’t sleep when we got home so this is what she spent her time doing instead.

Then Zach got the idea to head to camp’s lake and do some fishing and a bit of a campfire grillout. It was a great idea on this perfect night. The high point had to be when Tariku decided he had to “drop a deuce” as they say. There are “bathrooms” (I use the term loosely) right next to our campfire so I tell him to go in those. He starts screaming and crying that there are bugs and spiders. I had to try to explain that, of all parts of the human anatomy, the butt has the fewest reasons to be elitist when it comes to accomplishing it’s duty (get it…duty). After having to place him on the potty, we came to an understanding. After that, it was all good.

One reason I married Zach…and it ain’t his firemaking skills (though those are great too).

The boys helped daddy get the fire going, Tariku’s face is hilarious.

After hot dogs were consumed by the kids they went to do some fishin’ while mom and dad ate their chicken.

The adults choice of meat. Seasoned chicken to perfection. Mmmmmm. Smores were had by all and enjoyed by all, especially our Ethiopian prince who was trying them out for the first time!

And…

I’m that lady that gasps, claps and “whats?” at the Olympics, which is awesome. Loving every second of it! I’m with you, Cindy, our 2 countries housed in this house are so excited about the whole thing. The kids, waving their American and Ethiopian flags, love the Olympics.

The weekend was awesome. Mishap with the camera has caused me to not be able to publish some pics but once my mom sends me them you should probably mentally prepare yourselves for some ridiculous cuteness. Suffice it to say, the kids were happy but tired. 3-hour-naps and 12-hour-night sleeps is starting to catch them up.

Today was kindergarten registration. We took Tman to that and then to Applebee’s (his favorite restaurant…I know, we’ll work on his taste). After that we headed to pick up his school supplies list. More to come on that.

For now, here are some pics of Andy’s concert that my friend, Amy, took. I think it’s funny because Leslie and I often “ask” (and by “ask” I mean “tell”) people that we look alike. But I think the proof is in the puddin…or the pictures.

My love, my life, my hubby.

A daddy’s love. Anyone else like to playfully spank their diapered babies? I always miss when they’re out of diapers and you can no longer pat them on the bottoms for fear you’ll hit too hard.

The whole family at Andy’s. Guess which one c’est moi…

This is hilarious. My $8/box hair doesn’t quite measure up but we’re close.

My diapered, dazzling Doozie.

Me, Doozie, L-nizzle and Puddin’…told you I love nicknames.

Weekend

What an awesome weekend. We left to go to my parent’s place on Friday. Friday night/Saturday morning we spent at the lakehouse. Saturday night found us at the overcrowded Iowa State Fair and today we went to Adventureland in the morning and will be heading back after the kids’ naps. It’s awesome. More details later. In the meantime, questions from some of my commenters that I will answer quickly.

#1. Why do you call Dailah, “Doozie”? Um, not sure. I’m kind of the queen of nicknames so it just so happens all of my kids have about 3 of them. Tariku is still aquiring nicknames but so far he seems to like “My Ethiopian Prince” the best. 🙂 Imagine that. Doozie has stuck because when she gets tired she is quite a “doozie”. But seriously, she’s the best doozie in the world.

#2. Would we consider adopting an older child again? Um, quite honestly if any of you out there wanted to give us money to adopt again we’d be on our way adopting an older child in a heartbeat. Of course there are challenges to older child adoption but their are to infant adoption as well, they’re just different. I can say without hesitation that we’re so very thankful we went with a 3-year-old and would not hesitate a second to do it again. In fact, we encourage anyone who can swing it to give it a try! 🙂

Stay tuned for pictures!

Just Pictures

My life is good. My days are great. Dailah had her regular 2-year-old checkup and he confirmed what we believed to be true, she’s too smart for her own good. He was impressed with her language development (she was just showing off, “No, Trysten!”) So that is great news. Trysten ended up having an ear infection which explains why he was complaining of his ear hurting.

I know I’m a bit partial, but I can take no credit for him. His preciousness inside is only mirrored outside.

Leslie’s cake she made for Dailah’s birthday, she’s that good and that sweet.

My made from scratch cupcakes and frosting. Who knew there was so much sifting and separating. Worth it, though, every bite. But I was too exhausted for hearts or “D’s”.

There was fresh fruit too! For those that didn’t feel like clogging their arteries.

Doozie with her favorite accessory in the world…a baby.

Look at their eyelashes. They are ridiculous and I love them.

Dailah’s tutu from her auntie Leslie.

This is just hilarious. Watching Andy sing his heart out.

Blowing our her candle.

Dailah at the zoo on Monday…the hottest day of the summer with humidity points at 75%. Real feel 105 degrees. But they boiled corn for us so who says no to that?

Jake at the zoo. Check out the gray shirt that is darker in some areas…sweat, all sweat.

Papa Frank at the zoo. Check out the bottom of his shirt. The only part not soaked with sweat was at the very bottom.

Tariku’s sweat ring, the kid has the most amazing self-cooling system in the world.

And me…too hot and wondering what in the world would have possessed me to go to the zoo that day.

Orphan Ministry Project #1

So I know you all have been on the edge of your seats about what our first project for the Orphan Ministry at our church is. Well I’ve got one word for you…Plumpy’nut.

Obviously, selfishly, I campaigned for something that would directly benefit Ethiopia. As I have mentioned many times in this blog, Ethiopia is in a state of crisis over a food shortage that has lasted longer than you can possibly imagine. They have seen many rainy seasons come and go with no signs of rain. Doctors Without Borders has set up record numbers of sights in Ethiopia, including one in Tariku’s hometown of Shinschiho.

The fact of the matter is, it costs $63 US Dollars to literally save 10 children. This plumpy’nut is nothing short of a miracle because there is no need for refrigeration or any special stirring or sorting that needs to happen. The doctors can send these beautiful home with their malnourished children and continue to feed them the P’nut until their children have recovered.

The reason this is an immediate issue? Because P’nut is in short supply. It’s in such short supply, in fact, that they literally have to WEIGH THE CHILDREN and whoever is closest to death, gets the P’nut. The rest are sent home UNTIL THEY ARE CLOSER TO DEATH. There is no getting around the facts or the sadness this fact includes. Least of all that the mothers of these children travel miles upon miles to get to a station that might refuse them. That refusal could be the death of them or their child(ren). Can you even imagine the pain and the difficulty? There are hundreds of pictures I could show you of these starving children but you can see them if you imagine and there is no need to use shock and awe for something like this.

There are many news reports about the stuff so please google search it if you’d like. Here is one…

As far as our “project”. We’re buying Plumpy’nut and LOTS OF IT! So…if you’re interested, please leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you. Obviously any little bit helps but $63 feeds 10 children!!! Can you imagine that? If you know our address and just want to send money, feel free to write a check to UNICEF and put in the memo line “Plumpy’nut”.

We need you, the children and mothers and fathers of Ethiopia need us and I am wanting to prove that we, Christian or not, can prove that we have not forgotten our neighbors in Africa.

Thanks in advance, much love.
Amesenganlaw (thank you)
TL

Happy Birthday, Doozie

So my daughter turned 2. Kind of crazy to think about. Here’s a quick recap of her birth.

(back story) A year and a half before Dailah was born I miscarried because I got REALLY sick with a kidney infection that ended up getting in my bloodstream, turning me septic. Obviously too much for the little one in the womb, it succumbed to the infection and I managed to escape death. Sooo, we were told that IF we were to ever get pregnant again, I’d have to be considered “high risk” since my body likes to take commonly acquired illnesses (UTI) and turn them into near-death experiences.

So there I was, December 5, 2005 found out I was carrying the Doozie. Pregnancy went well for the most part. They put me on an antibiotic once/day throughout the whole thing in hopes that it would stave off any unnecessary bugs. Then Zach had to go out of town for a 2 week stint for work. Though nervous, I was still 3 weeks until D day so we thought we’d be fine.

Well…I went into my normal 2 second doctor’s appointment and my urine and follow up blood sample showed signs of infection. They put me on the monitor and she proved she was a stable young thing so they sent me to the hospital to do an amnio. After the amnio came back saying there was a 5% chance of Dailah’s lungs being underdeveloped they left the decision to me whether to induce. Zach rode the midnight train home to help me make the awful decision. In the end, against a few people’s advice, I chose to induce because I wasn’t leaving the hospital with no baby like last time. It simply wasn’t an option.

They put something in my naughty bits that was supposed to just “prepare the cervix for labor” but it ended up, just a few hours later, throwing me into the “good stuff” of labor. They wanted me to have an epidural (oh pull my arm) because other tests had shown my spleen had doubled in size and they were a bit worried about it exploding or something so they also wanted to make sure I didn’t push very much. Anyway, just a few hours later, with her daddy, auntie Leslie, auntie Kait and grandma Connie in attendance, Dailah made her entrance.

Not breathing at first, the first picture is what I turned over to see.

So…5% my patotie, Dailah was in the NICU for a week because her blood tests showed signs of infection as well (how much do I thank God every day I made the decision I did?) Of course, she was and still is the Dailah we know and love and she was off most machines and monitors after only 2 days. Always the fighter that one.

And today she is our little Dutchess. I’m fairly certain she’ll be the comic of the family. She has a knack for making people laugh and then continuing to do so. She is the mommy of the group as well. Loves taking care of people. We had baby Cates over for Dailah’s party yesterday and all Dailah wanted to do was hold her and feed her. She gave her lots of kisses and laughed at her little feet. She loves her new tutu and new purses and doesn’t care too much for guns, swords or Power Rangers.

She loves snuggling and giving kisses. She insists on a nightly bath and helps put her own lotion on. She goes on the potty about once a week and seems fine with that. Though, truth be told, I was kind of disappointed when the ultrasound showed her to be a girl (hey, I wanted 3 boys and then 2 girls, sue me for my control freakishness) I am so very thankful she is just that.

I know every daddy says their little girls have them wrapped around their fingers but I didn’t think Zach was capable of it. Though he does discipline her, it pains him to do it and she knows it. She is so sweet, and so funny I am just so blessed to be her mommy.

Even though she entered in such a tumultuous way, she proves every day that she was meant to be here and I am truly a better person for having brought her into life.

Happy birthday baby girl!

Pictures wouldn’t post so watch for them coming *hopefully* tomorrow.