From T

Tonight Trysten says:

“Mom, you are the best mom in the world. Actually, in the universe. If you weren’t my mom I would run from my other mom and come to you. That’s how amazing you are.”

I’m making sure to publish this so I can use it as leverage when he pulls a 180 at 16. He really is that precious, by the way.

MIA-T’s 6th Birthday

I apologize, my faithful readers, for being MIA. It was my baby boy’s birthday on Wednesday so I was pretty much all consumed with that this week. For whatever reason I love birthdays and typically try to make it a celebratory week instead of just a day which is fun for the birthday person and work for momma but so worth it. Most people think I overreact with birthdays but I like to think of it as a celebration of the ways they’ve affected and changed forever my life in such a positive way. So every day this week I told Trysten a few ways my life has changed because of him and how thankful I was for it. It was lots of fun.

Anyway, my “baby” is 6. It’s so hard to believe. Most of you know I had Trysten at the ripe old age of 20, so it’s safe to say we kind of grew up with each other. Zach and I were in college when we found out T was in utero and after a beautiful wedding we rented a house just a bit off campus at The University of Iowa. While our friends called us from the bars to tell us they missed us, we were reading “What to Expect” and figuring out how to set up cribs.

My friends would call and ask if I wanted to go to the big sales at Express and the like and I had to subtly remind them I had recently gained 60lbs and Express isn’t exactly conducive to my body shape.

He was the miracle we didn’t think could happen, the little boy we didn’t think we could handle. He was huge from the start (arguably because I downed entire Tombstone pizzas, but who can say for sure?) 8lbs 8oz. 3+ hours of pushing. One of my favorite memories of his birth was that most of our family drove to Iowa City for it. They came at various times when I was “just” going through labor but when it came time to push they headed for the waiting room. Except for my dad. My dad waited just outside the curtain. Reports later said he was the first one to hear “It’s a boy!” and went and told the rest of the eagerly waiting grandparents, aunties, uncles and such. I still get a bit choked up picturing his little smile at the thought of a grandson.

So he came out, truly not even crying. I put him on my belly and he looked directly in my eyes. I was never sure I could do “it”, the mom thing, until he looked in my eyes. I could literally hear him say, “We’ll get through this together, the three of us.”

And we have. He helped, a lot, with being so great. He was a great baby, an ever better toddler, and is still a fantastic little boy who is morphing into an incredible little man. A little man with a big head, about 20lbs of hair, no butt or belly, a tremendous ability to FEEL and who continues to melt in my arms whenever I even hint at the idea of a hug.

He’s so much like me it’s incredible, he really is. The other day a teacher from his school who takes my classes told me this. “Mrs. Comstock (T’s teacher) came up to me after I commented on Trysten being so cute. She said, ‘He’s the most popular kid in his class. The kids all fight over who gets to stand next to him and who gets to play on the playground.'” Side note: this is not how he’s like me, just a funny antecdote, a baby book mention if you will.

This explains why he’s been on his high horse since going to school and is also an hilarious commentary on his days away from me.

Anyway, these are pictures from his actual birthday. So this is for my dear, sweet Trysten. Who, if I have anything to do with it, will continue to allow himself to FEEL and express himself accordingly. Love you baby boy.

Woke up early to make birthday pancakes. Here are the “T” and the “6”.

Raced off to get Dailah and me some hair cuts. Tariku tagged along. They were well behaved and thus deserved ring pops.

Trysten asked for my famous made-from-scratch cupcakes with blue frosting. This was them on the way to his school’s party.

And the birthday boy handing them out.

Dailah outside waiting for her brother to finish school.

The eldest cousin’s at McDonald’s playland, or as I like to call it, a babysitter for a ridiculous amount of parents.

Baby Cates was the hit of the party.

They simply love each other. One of my favorite fairly recent things is how they call each other “brother” instead of by their respective names. Shows true growth in their relationship.

Loving the train at Happy Joe’s Jungle Bungle.

Obviously excited (so was I, just harder to tell).

Also loving the train.

Uncle Frank and Dailah. (She pronounces his name as “Wank Bi**h, it’s hilarious)

Hotflawedmama and the birthday boy.

Every year we measure the kids’ growth on their birthdays. he grew over 2″ this year.

And Daddy, Tman and Joe, who stopped by to give Trysten one last birthday present.


Saturday we met my parents, brother and Lindsey (my brother’s beautiful, wonderful girlfriend) in Iowa City to celebrate Eldest’s birthday (that is on Wednesday). Can’t believe he’s going to be 6. Here’s some good pics from the day.

Oh, and if you were looking for a good, concrete way to discuss consequences for your actions you should get pulled over for speeding. Then you should get a ticket, just so you can tell them about consequences. Yeah, that’s why I got a speeding ticket today, to talk about consequences. Wish the talk wouldn’t cost me $76 but whatever.

Tagged: Addictions

I was tagged by Emaye to give 5 of my addictions. Emaye said one of hers is grammar which makes me wonder how she keeps reading my blog, sometimes my grammar is just pitiful. But she’s rad so I’m okay with it. I just did this with my blog award but, shoot, I have more than that quite honestly so I’ll give another stab at it.

1) Reading. I read for at least a couple hours each day (though I count research on the computer as well). I’m actually a really fast reader so I’m constantly looking for good ideas for new books. If you ever wondered what I would like as a surprise that costs you nothing, email/comment and let me know what books to read. I would love you forever for it.

2) Lotion. I put it on at least once a day. I don’t like it on my hands so much but everywhere else. I’m a freak about it. Which has settled itself on my kids. That’s kind of nice, though, because my kids tell me when they are feeling “itchy” and simply go apply lotion. They’ll have great skin well into their 90s, I’m sure.

3) Learning. Had I not been married and with child in college, I probably would’ve been one of those who went straight through my PhD without stopping. I loved college because of the classes and the 15-page papers and the debates. It was just so fun. I’m still a bit that way, I get obsessed about a subject then rent a hundred books from the library on said subject and whittle away a few weeks. In a nutshell, I like knowing a little bit about a lot.

4) Cracking my toes. Ewww, I know that’s gross. But it’s gotten to the point where it hurts if they need to be cracked and I don’t do it. It’s awful but what can I do about it now?

5) Smacking my hubby’s booty. I’m not sure how he’ll feel about me saying this, but I seriously do it all the time. Once in awhile he’ll tell me to stop but he knows I’ll get sad so that’s a rare occasion. But he just has the best booty, it’s like a magnet for my hand. Best looking magnet I’ve ever seen!

I tag: whoever wants to do this. I want to see EVERYONE WHO READS MY BLOG. Seriously. Addictions are funny. They make me giggle, so commence to making me giggle.

The Princess and Her Papa

Papa Frank (my father-in-law) took Dailah to her first Princess ball tonight. She has literally been so excited since he asked if she’d go with him. Let me first start by saying I know full well how lucky she is to have grandparents that love her so much and who dote on her like no one else. Papa Frank is spectacular and so it came as no surprise that he wanted to take on our little 2 1/2-year-old Princess. On top of that, my mother-in-law, Terre, whipped this AMAZING dress out in no time at all. Can you even believe her talent?

So after our BodyFlow launch (we had 78 people, it was amazing!) I raced over to Frank and Terre’s to get my princess, well, princessfied. It was so much fun, it gave me chills to think about all the times we’ll be doing this together. Proms, dances, gulp, weddings. Either way, it was so much fun tonight. To be a mom of a girl. To be a mom of THIS girl.

And for the pictures, in no particular order because the Oscars are on.

Hotflawedmama preparing my precious.

Doozie coming down the stairs to show everyone.

And with her date.

Of course one with her daddy (oh the eyes!)

Instead of a corsage her Papa got her bling, which is much preferred I’m sure.

The boys kept telling her how beautiful she was, it was just priceless. I happen to think they’re all pretty beautiful.

Throw a Puck at His Face!

So we went to a hockey game tonight. Our local Quad City Flames were playing another team. They had black jerseys and donned names like “Schweizer” and “Schnoodle.” So I’m guessing they came from our neighbors up north. Minnesota always has cool names that sound like they just stepped off the boat at Ellis Island.

Anyway, I was feeling particularly brave tonight and toted all 3 kids by myself to the ice arena. Zach was there for work (basically playing really cool games so kids would beg their parents to send them to camp, every time I looked, it was working). The 3 kids were seriously so much fun I sat congratulating myself for terrific parenting skills more than anything.

So we got there and got some “food”. Man, the stuff they serve at those places is gross. But, the kids loved it and I managed to eat two “hot dogs” so I guess I can’t complain too much. See, they liked it.

We progressed to our seats which happened to be about 3 rows from the ice. Apparently when the lady asked where we wanted to sit and I shrugged with a weird look on my face she translated that to, “As close to the ice so my kids can hear people yelling things like ‘Throw a puck in his face!'” Perhaps the woman just had more of a sense of humor than I initially gave her credit for. Either way, we were close! This is how the kids felt about it.

Within 2 minutes the first fight broke out. Everyone was on their feet yet I insisted the boys stay seated so as to show our support of making love not war. I had truly forgotten that hockey players and fans have turned violence into an art form. Within 3 minutes Dailah had decided she was bored and did 1 of these 3 things at different points in the night.

Applied chapstick.

Proved just how parched she was while chatting with her peeps.

Or, my personal favorite, searched various body cavities.

All in all the night was a success (though I saw no triple deeks so I know Mighty Ducks was a lie) and we had much fun. Won’t do it again for another 10 years but fun nonetheless.

Too Kind.

Cindy gave me a great award. My first in a very long time and since I’m not likely to make the Academy Awards which was once this cinema major’s dream…oblige me as I stammer through this acceptance speech.

First, a mention on Cindy (because they always thank the Academy). Cindy was a lifeline to me in my darkest of hours waiting to get the travel call for Tariku. I needed something, knowledge of a little boy being real. What did his smile look like? Did he have long legs or short? And Cindy, who was going through something very similar became a sister of sorts. But she was/is sweeter, more well-written and more beautiful than I am so naturally I was/am completely jealous. But either way, her story is so much my story. And seriously, coincidence that we both have little boys named Trysten/Tristan? Me thinks no.

Secondly, the rules of the “Your Blog is Fabulous” is to write 5 addictions and then give the award to 5 people. So here are my 5 things.

1. Blogs. Love/hate relationship. Love them because it’s fun and hate that I love them so much. But these ladies are seriously my peeps. Should I one day meet them in real life, I have no doubts we’ll become BFFs. Thank you, ladies, for all you do.

2. Hot showers. Scalding hot, makes my skin turn red, hot showers. I don’t always get them, most of the time it’s a quick rinse. In fact, my mom got me a pedicure shower-thingy for Valentine’s Day and it’s still in the wrapping. I laugh every time I see it in the shower. When do you think I’ll be able to afford such a luxury (i.e. a shower lasting longer than 2 minutes?) My guess…earliest would be 10 years.

3. Les Mills programs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they are the best fitness programs in the world. I’ve seen more bodies change in the last year that I’ve been teaching them than I can count. I’ve NEVER seen so many people enjoy exercise. Being a part of that is an extraordinary thing.

4. Chocolate. That is why I NEVER have it at home. Because I will eat it and just. not. stop. You all who have been with me for awhile remember ALL my posts about chocolate chip cookie dough and how it saw me through the wait for travel. Frankly, it sees me through a lot.

5. Sleep. Need at least 8 hours every night and yearn for a 2-hour nap. The 2-hour nap is not a daily thing but I do at least get a cat nap every day. This frustrates Zach sometimes, my ability to fall asleep in a matter of seconds but I think he’s just jealous.

As for the blogs I now pass the award to:

1. Amanda and Matt, of course, have to be mentioned here. They were our traveling buddies, but more importantly, Amanda and I talked almost daily before we left for Ethiopia. Our boys were in the orphanage together and we were in the guest house together. They are awesome.

2. Rebekah. Did you already get this, Rebekah? Either way, we also traveled with her. This, in and of itself, is not a big deal but she’s so great I use it as a bragging tool. For instance, when I was talking to Leslie today I told her that I was hopefully going to see Rebekah…THE REBEKAH at something. She’s just that cool.

3. My sister-in-law, Leslie, has to get a shout out. Her blog features 2 of the most beautiful children who happen to be my nephews. Always has great links to really cool articles and she talks a lot about food, which I’m also passionate about. Plus I love her and she’s beautiful, smart and fabulous so it fits.

4. Nicole’s. She’s a fairly recent blog I…read. She has 3 boys from Africa and they are beeeeautiful! And she’s fabulous. So if you haven’t yet, you should go there cuz it’s amazing.

5. Christina. She might have already gotten this, I can’t remember. If she hasn’t then it’s a fluke. She and her gorgeous husband, Joe literally saved my sanity. They traveled in the group I like to call “my real group”. It was a few weeks before ours and it was the group that our ET coordinator first had us look into tickets. So we thought we were going. Then paperwork happened and we weren’t. I was more than heartbroken, I was downright depressed. Then an email came. It was from Christina (I hope it’s ok I’m saying this now). Joe had taken a little cell phone video of Tariku playing ring around the rosey. It was the first time I’d ever seen him ALL OF HIM. Until then it was just his head. He had legs! He giggled and ran! I heard the kids yell Tariku! It was a 17 second video and I watched it for the next 2 hours straight (that’s, unfortunately, not an exaggeration). I forwarded it to my family. It was my first taste of my son. It was done (somewhat) illegally by Joe and his family and do you know I hope one day I can repay them. They are amazing and will always hold a HUGE place in my heart.

That was ridiculously long. But what do you expect for my one and only shot at an awards show?

Just Your Average Randomness

About 20 times throughout the day I think, “I need to go blog about this.” But since I don’t have a computer until Zach is done with work, most of it is forgotten by the time 8pm rolls around (I like family time before immersing myself in the computer). So here are a few things I’ve thought of…

–Dailah is officially potty trained and it boggles my mind. She seems so tiny. Sometimes when she goes, she lets a little, ahem, gas come out. Every time she’ll say “muse me” (her version of “excuse me”, you’re welcome Leslie). The second time it happens she’ll throw her hands up and say, “AGAIN!” It’s hilarious, I laugh every time.

–Tariku is getting so big. Tonight he put a pair of jammies on that were huge when he came home from Ethiopia. Now, they are stretching to the seams. Should he choose to continue to wear said jammies, there will be holes in various areas.

–I pretty much believe that if you’re not intentionally helping people in life then you’re unintentionally hurting them. That is why my kids pray things at night like, “Thank you that mommy says turn off the light. Thank you that mommy says turn off the water. Thank you that mommy says ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”. Things like that.

–I can tell I’m getting older not because of sore joints or saggy skin (though those new revelations certainly don’t hurt) but because I like vegetables more. I now like cheeseburgers fully loaded whereas before I’d ask for the “no pickles, no onions” variety. I told Zach I’m 2 steps away from his dad who orders a bowl full of olives at restaurants. Me? I’d choose a bowl full of sweet peppers. MMMMM peppers.

–I read this article and just love it. Because it proves why going with charity: water was a good decision. Not because the dude running it is Christian, but because he’s transparent. That is so important when we’re asking you to give such a valuable resource to this company.

–At the indoor farmer’s market on Saturday a woman walked by with coffee. Tariku says to her, “Mmmm, I love coffee!” She says (with such a disdainful look at me) “Oh but your mommy doesn’t let you drink coffee does she?” He says, “Yes! Just Ethiopia coffee.” I let her know quickly that he’s from Ethiopia and it’s common in his culture to drink coffee from a very young age and really who was I to tell him no when he looks at me with those big beautiful eyes. Something was lost in translation apparently because she kept giving me the skunk eye. Jeese, some people are just so uncultured.

–A well known guy from our community died suddenly of a heart attack on Sunday at 58. He ran marathons, was in great shape and had a heart attack in his sleep. This is hitting me for some reason. I really liked all my interactions with him, he had a heart for this community like I’ve rarely seen and that is certainly one reason. But 58? That is so young. My parents are that age, I think it’s hard when you start losing people that are the same age as you/people you love.

–Today I went to get our prescriptions filled at our local CVS. When I pulled up the woman says, “Are you related to Kara?” I told her that, in fact, Kara was my sister (Kara is the pharmacist there, you see). The woman says, “You looked too much like her for it to be a coincidence.” I felt my chest puff up with pride. We used to always get the whole, “Are they twins” schpeel when we were younger. Hasn’t happened for quite some time, what with my head growing increasingly larger by the day. There’s also the whole issue of her redonkulessly long eyelashes. Either way, I hadn’t heard it in so long I had forgotten how proud I am of being her sister. And how ticked I was that she’s lived in this community for just a few months and already I’m getting asked if I’m her sister. What is up with that?

I think thats it. Man I wish I had some pictures for you but I just don’t. Words. It’s a wordy kind of day.

Too Much Sweetness

Here’s something you may not know about hotflawedmama: I’m not what one might call “romantic”. Never have been, have tried to work on it because my sugar deserves some sugar but I float dangerously close to the unromantic side. Zach, on the other hand, is romantic. Not in the schmoozy, over the top way, but the “I brought you home a cheeseburger with everything on the side” way. He pays attention and then just does things he knows I’ll like.

Like the other day at dinner, we always go around and tell one thing that was our favorite of the day and one thing that was our not favorite of the day. We did that and then Zach says, “Now let’s go around and talk about everything mommy does for us.” Truth be told they went on a long time (and could’ve gone longer hand they let me interject…joking) but it made me realize that they notice the little things. Little things like crawling under a bed to get a stinky sock so the room stops smelling or wiping off boogers on the walls, those kinds of things.

That’s why I love him. Not because some day tells me to. So we never celebrate Valentine’s Day because, truly, every day is V-day with my guy. (Cue the “awwwws” please).

With that said, I had a rather brilliant day. The only thing I would’ve changed was not having a sinus infection. If that wasn’t around, it would’ve been perfect.

Started the day with hubby letting me sleep in (now that’s my kind of romance!). Then off to the indoor farmer’s market. Our farmer’s market makes me so happy I almost get teary eyed when I pull up to it. All that free-range beef and poultry brings something out of me I just can’t put my finger on. Today at the market was even more special. They had crafts for the kids…

And fair trade Ethiopian coffee for us. I also got to see my friend, Beth, who I’ve been missing lots lately. And then all of these people and vendors. I like to call them my homies.

They were also doing a special where you could buy vegetables or donate canned goods brought from home and they were giving it all to local food pantries. You all know I’m a sucker for a good cause so I stocked up on potatoes and tomatoes for myself and our local pantries which was a pretty rad way to start my day.

Then the kids took off for lunch and naps with daddy while I went to the library (I had a practice for one of my classes). I spent a good 2 hours in the library studying and planning my vegetable garden for the spring/summer. I also ordered a few seed catalogs online and am counting down the days until they arrive. It’s the little things for this gal.

On the way into the library my sister calls to tell me that she gets off work at 6pm and if Zach and I want to go out she’ll babysit. Have I mentioned how much I love having her back? So we promptly dropped them off at her house. Took a few photos of my Valentines.

And of his…

Then it was off to Toys R Us to get a Wii game (with a gift certificate). Barnes and Nobles to get books (with a gift certificate) and then to Old Chicago for Pizza and World Beer Tour (with gift certificates).

It was one glorious day/night that proved nothing fancy in my life needs to happen…I just have it that good.

Hoping yours was half as sweet!


Did I tell you I’ve been doing some research? That might be an understatement.

The last couple of days has been all about heart disease. On the news, on the soap operas (yay General Hospital!), etc. This is all warranted and appreciated; my husband’s family tree has heart disease all over it. Women need to understand how susceptible we are to heart disease.

But my focus has been AIDS, specifically in Africa. Because there are just so many people dying. Today I came across my blog friend, Nicole’s, post. So I wanted to point it out to you because it was great and I want one of these shirts.

Since my budget pants have been “tightened” (and by “tightened I mean “strangled”) the only real spending I do, other than groceries and gas, is spending that will directly POSITIVELY affect someone else. This is kind of tough in our world, if you haven’t noticed. Anywho, there are these shirts so go buy them. If you were going to get me a Valentine’s gift and hadn’t yet, I’ll take one of these.

That’s all I got. I think a sinus infection has attacked me so there’s not a whole lot going on in this head except pain. Cheers!