Jingle Bells

Yesterday we went to my aunt and uncle’s to celebrate Christmas with my mom’s side of the family. It’s always great to see them, especially since my uncle lives on about 200 acres and owns an actual sleigh. I love sleigh rides and was excited to introduce all the kiddos to this favorite of Christmas traditions. After that, the kids decided to sled down a large pile of snow with no snow pants, no boots, nothing except their warm hearts.

Aristotle’s new dog pillow, with his likeness.

I just love this picture of Zach in his office, with the Ethiopia flag behind him. He’s precious.


I’ve never been one to understand “girly girls”, though I admit to fancying a glass of wine, high heels and varying shades of make up depending on outfits. Still, had I not birthed this child (and remember every minute with scary detail) I would have doubts as to whether or not she’s mine. Having a girl, well that’s just a whole lot different than boys. Even if my former self who took more women’s studies classes than I can count would argue with me on that, I now know it intimately to be true.

But oh the rewards of girly girls!

The only thing she likes more than babies and princesses is her reflection in the mirror.

Tonight I was playing with her and she, of course, wanted to comb my hair and put make up on me. Though there are knots in my hair that will doubtedly come out before Obama’s second year in office, it felt quite good. How old does she have to get before I can ask for back rubs?

And while the boys brought their skateboards and bikes to the open space at the Lodge, she chose instead to bring stroller and babies. Jeesch.

And Today

Today we celebrated Christmas with the Klipschs. Tonight we will go celebrate my sister-in-law’s 22nd birthday, which is very exciting. For now, it’s time for blogging and napping and Wii Music. But first, the blogging.

First one from yesterday…I made breakfast for Papa Frank and Zach’s program director. We “talked” Frank into playing. He was serious about it, I like that about him.

Today I tasked Zach to getting a good shot of the kids. The one on the blog is my favorite but I also like this. This is their natural poses when we say, “Say cheese.”

And then of course we have speak no evil, hear no evil and see no evil.

Blankets from Mimi Terre all around that were promptly used as new carpeting.

Quick TO on unwrapping gifts for my nephew, Eli to grab 1 or 2 egg rolls.

Dailah in her new outfit from Leslie jumping off Eli’s box.

Clearly my heart leaps when I look at him.

Dailah’s big present, a princess vanity. Because she needs more vanity?

Tariku’s big present was a bike. I have a pretty sweet group of his expressions when he saw it. This being my favorite.

And Trystens, a drum set. Though it was getting well into naptime, he was definitely excited. More so when we got home and he was bargaining to play the drums instead of sleep.

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with life, love and lots of laughter! (I’m also a bit partial to good food).

Christmas is, as most of you know, my favorite time of the year. The day never seems to disappoint me and Christmas Eve, yesterday and today has been the best one yet, I think. The kids are just at the most fun age I truly have enjoyed every minute.

Here’s a picture recap of our last couple of days. Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

It all started at my parents’ house. Watching movies, lots of laughter, opening lots of presents and terrific food. My mom even surprised me with my absolute favorite (okay, it’s a family favorite but this blog is about MY life so that’s what I’m going with) and got Prime Rib from my favorite restaurant in Altoona (The Big Steer). It was so great!

One of the reasons Dailah loves grandma Connie’s house..there’s chocolate at every corner. One particular spot, you can see the wrappers from the chocolate she snuck.

And the many presents.

Tariku’s first Christmas did not disappoint. He’s been so excited we’ve spent most of the last two days telling him to not yell so loudly. Which, I think, proves the success.

A new outfit and purse…which houses gum and chapstick, her two faves.

A precious backpack. More to show you Dailah’s precious pizza belly (she gets that from her mom).

He was equally happy about his name being found on lots of packages.

Trysten received some new games for his Leapster. Just in case a brother or sister roamed by unannounced and asked Trysten if he’d share his game, Trysten chose to hide in a corner and get some good game time.

We also helped frost cookies, and this is what I got to look at instead.

After opening and the aforementioned superb meal, it was time to get home in time to make Santa some cookies and read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It was a long, early so everyone in the car did this except for Zach (and only because he was driving). Doozie hoarding her new loot.

After cookies and baths, Trysten wrote Santa a note. Notice it mentions he might want a Nintendo Wii.

The boys each got a Spiderman skateboard (real size) which they were uuber excited about.

Dailah got a chair just like her cousin, Eli. We knew she would like it since she steals his all the time.

We believe firmly in cultivating already natural talents, so Tariku received his first official football…

Well, as the boys pointed out, they were really good this year so Santa did bring us the Wii afterall. This is Tariku and his favorite game (boxing) jeesch.

And Trysten who takes time away from the Wii only to explain to his brother how much better Tariku could be if Tariku did things exactly as he did.

ok, no more lying. I love the Wii. Unfortunately, it does tend to bring out my already competitive nature. Example A, me getting killed by Zach in bowling.

Dailah also got a baby stroller from her Dawson grandparents, here she is telling babies if they don’t settle down they’re in time out.

And last night, after a good meal with the Klipsch side, Dailah wanted to take pictures of us. I obliged.

Book Club’s Dancing Shoes

There is no doubt that we looked silly, even foolish. Some may have guffawed at the five adult women dancing in the middle of a martini bar, and surmised that perhaps we had consumed a tad beyond our limit. After all, there wasn’t any music and yet we danced. Admittedly, I was reluctant, self-conscious of my limited dancing abilities, and painfully aware of my scuffed up ten-year-old boots in desperate need of a polishing. But honestly, this performance had nothing to do with me. Instead, it had everything to do with my brothers and sisters throughout the world who are living and often dying because they are denied access to a commodity I often fail to appreciate–clean water. And so, in spite of myself, I danced.

School from St. Louis

The video is another class from the school that raised over $700 for Water for Christmas! Very exciting and all led by the heart and soul of my aunt (in-law), Lori. She did a fantastic job.

I’m having problems loading new videos to youtube (which is why my parents’ video didn’t end up loading) but should be able to this afternoon when we get to my parents’ and experience this amazing thing people call “high speed internet”. Should be fascinating.


All In

Today was a big day. I wasn’t really expecting it, but it was a big day.

We were at the doctor’s office (Trysten has tonsilitis…sweet). The other two were playing when I was reading Trysten a book. His book finished and I just looked at the three of them playing. Then stared at Tariku. I love him.

Not just love him but I REALLY love him. After 8 months I can finally say that. I’ve loved him in some way since the first time I saw his picture but it’s so different now.

I can honestly say that the last 8 months have been an interesting lesson in parenting an adopted child while having biological at home. It was different for awhile. I knew EVERYTHING about Trysten and Dailah. I could describe everything about them from the first time I knew I was pregnant to the present day. Tariku, on the other hand, there were/are so many questions. Did his mom kiss him like this or sing to him at night? When he calls me mom does he know what that means? There is no doubt that it is a whole different ballgame to jump into mothering a child who has so much history. (Never was it bad, just very different)

Then today I seemed to see a whole different personality. More spunky, more childlike. He teased me more and was laughing a lot. It hit me that this little boy has the most incredible survival instinct. In the Ethiopian care center they described him as “selfish, sociable, doesn’t like when kids take his toys.” At the time I shrugged it off as toddler behavior (which was part of it to be sure) but now, after knowing the REAL Tariku I realize it was just his way of surviving.

Of saying, “My world was just rocked and in case it’s going to happen again, I’m going to do what I can for me.” I don’t blame him, I’d try to go out in style if that’s what was happening to me anyway.

But that is so not him, with the exception of sociable. I feel like I could describe him, now, just as easily as I could his brother and sister and that’s a HUGE step in this process.

It seemed to hit him today as well. Tonight when I lay in his bed just giving kisses he was staring straight in my eyes and just looking hard. I can’t really describe it. But I just looked back. I was blissful just staring at him and knowing I would have a lifetime to do just that.

Then he gave me a big kiss and said, “I’m glad you’re my mommy.”

I could finally say with no trace of doubt, “Me too, baby.”

It was awesome. I love him so much and can’t believe the blessing that came in this beautiful boy.

Raindrops Keep Falling…

FYI: This was originally danced to “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” but the copyright didn’t allow us to post on youtube with that song. So bare with us.

Dancing…Laughing…Being with Family and Friends….it was a great time “Dancing for Water For Christmas”. The Pedersen’s and us were all a bit nervous, but when you look at the whole picture of “why” it became very easy! God works in mysterious ways…finding Tesi and her Water Buddies to start this wonderful mission, finding people who would never have thought to dance on a video (can we say the men in this dance?), finding generous men and women who are willing to reach a little deeper this Christmas for people who need water so much.

John and I are very proud of Tesi and throughout much of her life, have found it hard to say no to her and her siblings “ideas” or
whatever they have asked or needed us to do. Pretty sure you are not going to “Donate before Watching” our video – but hopefully you will because it is the right thing to do.

“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will is to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think of these things, there will be born is us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”- Calvin Coolidge

God’s blessings and Merry Christmas to all – John, Connie, Marcus Dawson

hotflawedmama note: My family and friends are truly amazing. (And seriously, how precious is my dad when he gets his little solo walking in front of the group, too cute). My parents are far above average for the things they’ll do for their kids and grandkids. I’m so proud to be their daughter. And yes, we laugh like this all the time. I had to leave the laugh on there, my aunts and uncles will all recognize my mom and my laughs from miles away! Enjoy!

Love Actually

Presently watching it…presently enjoying it. I won’t divulge how many times I’ve seen it (only because I lost count after 20) and I just love it. It is only partly due to the British accents. Love ’em. But I also agree with the theme of the movie, “Love actually is all around.”

Today was another great day with the fam damily. A bit of arts and crafts this morning.

Then went shopping with my dear sister while the kids took a nap. Never going to do that again. I hate shopping around Christmas. I’m typically very good about having shopping done soon after Thanksgiving but have not been up to par this year.

Must do more tomorrow.

Kids are feeling under the weather. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection on Friday and the junk seems to have settled in my lungs now. Yipppeee!

Love is all around.

In better news, WE DID IT!!!

We got $5,000 on Friday! From the beginning we were hoping we could get enough people to “buy into” $10 Fridays to build a well and it finally happened.

One well in one day. Total is up to $45,000. So sincerely amazing. Is it not?

Today, at the mall, I was reminded why I love giving Water for Christmas. I felt absolutely no pull to go into shops and look at the various gadgets that could “improve my life” when I knew that same amount of money could literally GIVE life. Quite the trade off I think.

Have a happy rest of the weekend. Getting snowed in more and more here in the great, white Midwest. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!