Not Much

of anything was done this weekend. It could be sized up as such.

Saturday was pajama day at the Klipschs. We played quite a bit of Wii as a family. It sounds silly but it’s amazing how fun it is to cheer each other on and such. Anyway, we did lots of that and little of anything else. We got about 4 inches of snow on Saturday which was our excuse for the laziness. Seriously 4″ of snow in late March. Though I can’t complain because a good friend is dealing with the worst in North Dakota.

Saturday night Zach was nice enough to stay with the kids while I went to a movie with my sister. Duplicity, not bad. I don’t know if I’m as good of a judge as I used to be. With 3 kids truly not having to think about anything for over 2 hours is a real treat.

Today we went to church then met Frank and Terre for lunch. We then went to get me a new phone which is like Christmas for me. Though I still don’t have texting (who needs it?) I do now have access to internet and therefore email (and by “email” I mean “blogger” and “facebook”) all day. Which will be nice for me and less than nice for the kids.

Since we’ve done nothing to take pictures of, here are a few that I haven’t been able to post yet. My parents brought these hats back from Texas. Enjoy.

Say, What?

This morning Dailah was asking me to read her a book. Zach and I had been talking about various items over a steaming cup of coffee so I “asked” her to wait a few minutes. A few minutes later I hear,

“Look mom, my penis!”

I don’t turn around, just say, “No, Dailah, you have a vagina remember?”

“Moooom, book is my penis.”

I turn around oh so scared. And see it. She is dangling the book between her legs. And she is calling it her penis.

Must go read up on educating our children about proper genitals and such. What with my son saying this and now Dailah, we’re in real trouble.


I can hardly believe I’m 2 days late in posting this. Sunday morning we celebrated Tariku’s birthday…again. It was also kind of an excuse to get everyone together one last time after Saturday night’s celebrations. Tariku didn’t mind we “used” him in this manner.

Alas, it was loads of fun even if I hardly remember it since I was so sleepy!

Sleepy…but with a boy this excited about a $10 lego Star Wars. Blessed, truly.

Can you feel his excitement?

Tradition in our family, the cookie cake. The cookie cake that I ate half of the next day. If I only had some sort of self control…

Brother-in-law, Jake and father-in-law, Frank playing the Wii. Hilarity all around.

Frank is surprisingly flexible for a 6’1″ man. Here he proves his skills with Trysten and Oliver.

It was a fun morning but apparently not enough to deter Frank from “resting his eyes” a bit.

This was the food. There was a lot. You might look at this and think we had a lot leftover but we didn’t. Apparently no one in either of our families has any self control.

Eli, my nephew, apparently thought my dad’s lap looked too comfortable to resist. Nevermind they’ve met each other a handful of times. My dad just oozes good grandkid snuggles, I guess.

I really could celebrate Tariku’s birthday every weekend!


Yesterday my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who got married in Mexico had their reception out at camp. It was a perfect day with food, family, fun and so much more.

Leslie and I were talking about how we remember how special wedding receptions were as kids. Staying up late, dancing, endless amounts of sugar and soda. Time spent with cousins and friends and loved ones. So I tried to recreate that magic with my kids last night. At the end of the night, Tariku exclaimed, “That was the best night of my life!” So I think it was a success.

I got to see so many family members (from Zach’s side) that we don’t see very often. It was fantastic getting to talk to them so much. Fun times all around. So here’s a picture parade on our day.

Zach’s aunt Lori and cousin Amy (though I claim them both as mine) made the trip to and fro Chicago all in one day. Amy, as it turns out, is just as beautiful and skinny in person which is highly unfortunate.

Aunt Julie (also Zach’s aunt but whatever) brought the most amazing spring giftbags for the kids. Some of the stuff in there were these slingshots, which were a huge hit.

Aren’t they precious?

Tariku was completely smothered in love by everyone yesterday. It made my heart just burst to see everyone love on him so much.

My parents. Aren’t they beautiful? Love them, lots.

And my brother and his girlfriend, Lindsey, also beautiful and loves of mine.

All of Zach’s family. I didn’t get a good one with all of the St. Louis family (email me one please, Lori!)

My sister and hotflawedmama (I’m in brown, just in case you couldn’t tell). She may have longer eyelashes but I got height which has to count for something.

My kids had been practicing dancing for the last few weeks. They took full advantage last night. I was beaming, let me just tell you. All my Single Ladies, anyone?

My mom and Dailah, who looked particularly cute if I must say so.

Zach’s aunt and cousins. The youngest one was actually our ring bearer in our wedding. He is now taller than me. Talk about surreal.

This to show you beauty and evidence of sugar shock.

They were amazingly precious together. Here they are inside, opening bubbles. See, told you we let them loose!

And the boys eating the scrumptious food.

Haregewoin Teferra

For those that are in the Ethiopian adoption world, this is old news to you. For those that aren’t, it might be something you haven’t heard yet.

Haregewoin Teferra was an Ethiopian woman. Not just any Ethiopian woman; she was an Ethiopian woman who, when every single person in her country was fleeing from the AIDS epidemic and anyone remotely associated with it, jumped right in. She’s the “star” of the book, There is No Me Without You. This book is one most of you have probably read. If you know someone who has adopted, they have probably told you to read it. Particularly for Ethiopian adoption, it seems we all have at least one common denominator in our choice to adopt from Ethiopia and that is this book.

I’ve waited to blog about Ms. Teferra dying until now because the truth is I’ve been pretty sad about it. In quite a few respects she is everything I want to be. She’s not famous (at least, not to many people outside the adoption world and even I’m famous to some people…or at least my mom’s been telling me so for many years). I want to be like her because she chose to stay and fight when everyone else was choosing to flee. She gave up EVERYTHING (wealth, prestige, houses, cars, clothes) to save her fellow countrymen (mostly children but it could be argued she was a lifeline to adult friends of hers living with AIDS as well).

That’s what I want to do, I suppose. Stand and fight, for as many things as I can. Of all the things I want said about me upon my death (there will be lots! I’ve already started writing my eulogy, now to who shall I entrust these great words?) I hope it will be that. Simply she was a lot to a few. Instead of moving so injustice could continue on, she became even a small barrier to be broken through. Those things could definitely be said of Ms. Teferra and I know no matter what I do, it’s literally nothing compared to what she has done.

I have no doubts Ms. Teferra can be accredited with making international adoption more of a possibility from Ethiopia and thus I thank her memory for my Tariku.

Now what to do. I’m going to copy this directly from Melissa Faye Greene’s blog (she’s the one that wrote that book).

Dear Friends,

By now you may have learned the shocking news that Mrs. Haregewoin Teferra has died suddenly after a short illness. We don’t know what caused her death; she felt sick for a couple of days, went to the doctor, came home without a diagnosis, felt sick again, and that was the end.

We are grieving, yet we have no time to spare: 59 children survive her, many of them toddlers and babies, the majority HIV-positive.

World Wide Orphans–the New York-based organization that has overseen the medical care for Haregewoin’s children for many years–has stepped into the breach. They have assumed full custody of the 42 HIV-positive kids.

These heroic measures come at high cost: we estimate $200,000 will be required in the coming year (about $4,600 per child) to cover food, healthcare and medicine, education, clothing, and caregivers for the 42. Once their basic needs are met, the children’s paperwork will be sorted out; some may be eligible for adoption, others may have extended families in a position to allow the children to return. But that is for the future. The crisis is now: keeping these children fed and clothed, paying the salaries of loving caregivers to act as stand-ins for their late parents, making sure there is no break in the life-saving healthcare provided by WWO.

Haregewoin lived with these children seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for ten years. She is irreplaceable. The smallest ones, of course, have no idea what has just happened. Please let us work together to act as foster parents in absentia for these little ones. Thank you in advance for any amount you can give.

Online contributions can be made at
Specify Campaign for Haregewoin’s Children.

Or checks may be sent to:
511 Valley Street
Maplewood, New Jersey 07040



–I just finished reading my book club’s new book, The Girls. It was awesome. It’s a fictional autobiography of conjoined twins. I gave it to my sister, so I can’t tell you who the author is, as it’s slipped my mind. But seriously, if you’re like me and enjoy having a list of potential reads (cathy) put this on your list. It’s real rad.

–I love random gifts. Just little things people give you to let you know they were thinking of you. Notes sent, food picked up, etc. Today it happened to me twice. The first time was from a fellow Bodyflow instructor who gave me a precious little locally made necklace. The second time was from one of my participants who had told me last week she owned one of my favorite local restaurants. So tonight she brought me two subs from her restaurant (Grinders, for you local folks). I love that, love them (thanks Lisa and Gino!)

–I love Lily Allen’s new single, “The Fear”. Have you heard it? If not, here are a few of my favorite lyrics. But sing them with a British accent, dripping with sarcasm.

I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I dont care about clever I dont care about funny
I want loads of clothes and f***loads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

Ill take my clothes off and it will be shameless
Cuz everyone knows thats how you get famous
Ill look at the sun and Ill look in the mirror
Im on the right track yeah Im on to a winner

I dont know whats right and whats real anymore
I dont know how Im meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
Cuz Im being taken over by The Fear

Lifes about film stars and less about mothers
Its all about fast cars and passing each other
But it doesnt matter cause Im packing plastic
and thats what makes my life so f***ing fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
and its not my fault its how Im program to function
Ill look at the sun and Ill look in the mirror
Im on the right track yeah Im on to a winner

I dont know whats right and whats real anymore
I dont know how Im meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
Cuz Im being taken over by The Fear

Forget about guns and forget ammunition
Cause Im killing them all on my own little mission
Now Im not a saint but Im not a sinner
Now everything is cool as long as Im getting thinner

I dont know whats right and whats real anymore
I dont know how Im meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
Cause Im being taken over by fear

–I’m feeling sassy, can you tell?

–We got an email from our adoption agency saying they are looking for teachers at their Ethiopian school. Darn-it if I’m not doing calculations to see if we can swing it.

More tomorrow about a “legend” from Ethiopia who passed away and a way you can help. Because I know you’re packin’ plastic and that’s flippin’ fantastic.

And We Have…

It was 77 degrees outside yesterday. 77 degrees. I loved it. We weren’t inside at all except to take naps. We were having too much fun so I only snapped a few pictures, here’s Dailah fake smiling for me.

The boys had swimming lessons. I was a bit nervous about this one’s ability to listen seeings this was how squirrley he was from all the fresh air.

Today wasn’t quite as nice, still 60 degrees so I really can’t complain that much. After naps I made some bread then forced the kids to go outside. They went up to the basketball court while I started dinner. I went up to make sure all was ok. This is where I found the boys…

And the grill…or coat rack, depending on your perspective.

After some really good cheeseburger soup for dinner, we decided to spoil the kids. I gave the kids a bath while Zach made bowls of ice cream. We brought them upstairs and watched Kung Fu Panda. Lots of laughter, some chocolate spills but definitely made me ridiculously happy.

This group eating their ice cream.

And the eldest. Loving how zoned they are on the TV.

Then afterwards, we were dancing and the dancing led to kung fu fighting (that was the song so, naturally).

Happy Birthday, Tariku!

So today was my middle child’s birthday. He’s been talking about it since he first started speaking English. When he saw Dailah’s and then Trysten’s, he decided he was a fan. Bless his heart, he had to wait almost a year before he got his shot. Well his wait ended today and we did our best not to disappoint.

I know you want pictures but let me just say this…this boy, is my heart. He is joy, he is love, he is beauty. After he opened one of his presents tonight (a basketball) he asked if he could share it. That’s him. He’s really that sweet. I find myself just staring at him, smitten. Totally head over heels for my boy.

Most Ethiopians are not born in a hospital, Tariku is no exception. We have no idea when his actual birthday is but today was chosen as a day to represent it. I don’t really grieve that we don’t know his actual day, that is of little consequence. I did grieve a few things today, the mom and dad who weren’t here. Who didn’t get to see his eyes light up when we sang him Happy Birthday. Or feel the death grip of a hug he planted on me numerous times today.

Tariku felt a bit of loss today, I think. We have a picture of a special person to Tariku in our living room. I was walking downstairs and I saw him lingering by it. I went and told him that person was saying “Happy Birthday” to him too and praying for his happiness.

I say it all the time, but I really have no idea how we got so blessed with Tariku. It really doesn’t make sense seeings I am who I am (and Zach, well he deserves something this sweet, but me?). I look at Tariku, the boy who has grown 5 inches, who will play babies with his sister because he loves her so much. Who holds her hand when she walks up and down stairs in case the dogs come barreling down and a stray tail hits her. Tariku, the brother who lets his eldest brother pick what game to play. Tariku, the one who cries when he loses in a game. My ambidextrous ball dribbler. The boy who can sing his ABCs and sings it loudly! The little guy who randomly used subtraction the other day (subtraction!) He’s the guy who pics out the purple Skittles and gives them to me (because he knows they are my favorite).

And even though I grieve for him and some of the losses he has experienced, I find comfort in what hasn’t been lost. I know the little guy who is here, all those things I described, is who he has always been. In Ethiopia, in America…

And he is the most beautiful 4-year-old in the world!

First, Dailah, getting ready to sing, “Happy Birthday” as we walked down the stairs to get Tariku.

Then it was time to measure. First measurement was April 22nd of last year. 5 inches in the last 11 months. Can you imagine?

Tariku opted for no birthday pancakes because he had heard he was getting surprised with donuts.

The donuts were brought by an Auntie who loves him very much. And these boys. My nephews.

I asked Tariku if he wanted me to make a cake, cupcake or brownies. He wanted cupcakes but I forced him to pick a color different than his brother’s. So when Trysten came home, he offered to read Tariku a book while I made the cupcakes. That was the best background music I’ve had while baking!

The boys tried to wait for me to get done so they could lick the bowl but the 70 degree weather was calling their names so after the book, she was my only “helper”.

After making cupcakes and a short stint of being locked out of the house, we were off to my in-law’s for some pizza and fun.

Tonight when he got home Tariku got to talk to Degenet; one of the little boys who was in the orphanage with him the whole time. He was also brought home the same week Tariku was. I’ve kept in contact with Degenet’s parents. Degenet started singing to Tariku on the phone and Tariku started crying. He was so excited to hear from his dear friend. After they talked a bit (with Tariku exclaiming, “I’m in America!”) Tariku ended the conversation with, “I love you, Degenet.” It’s been almost a year since they’ve seen or talked but when you’re a friend of Tariku, you’re a friend for life.

Weekend Recap

As promised, pictures and more!

Friday night was family fun night at Trysten’s school. It was crowded and fun night. So that was fun. 🙂 My parents did meet us there, which the kids loved. Here, see?

I had to wake up early (5:15am) on Saturday morning. I slept horrible that night on top of it, so I was less than thrilled Saturday morning. Thankfully, my husband is rather amazing and when he woke up on Saturday he let me go back to bed. It was sooo nice. Then we went on a hike because the weather was more than perfect.

First, Tariku opened his first birthday present from my Aunt Kathy.

Papa Frank joined us for the hike, Doozie preferred his hand.

Trysten on the low rope course.

We returned and realized the kids had left their babies in time out (what?!?!?)

Today we were able to play outside again with it being so nice out. Iowa in March, you just never know.

Zach running drills with the boys.

Trysten explained this drawing at camp as Tariku, dad and mom. Guess who is who. (I kind of enjoy that I’m twice the size of them)

And this, of course is Dailah, Trysten and Tariku.

While the boys played basketball, I read my book and Dailah played with her baby. Check out her pocket, it contains my phone, which is kind of irresistable.

Loads of fun. Tomorrow is Tariku’s birthday. He’s like a bride the night before her wedding. All frantic, excited and near tears. Ridiculously endearing.