going on in this head of mine…

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about anything else than what’s on my mind. And those thoughts are not ready to be told, or processed or both.

I’ve never been good at the in between. You know, at having all of the proverbial balls hanging in the air. For those that were with me through Tariku’s adoption you will remember this about me, vividly.

I wish I would get better at this; and truth be told I have gotten ever so slightly so.

Alas, I’m not good at hovering. At the space between settled and unsettled. Between knowing and not knowing.

But it’ll get better, it always does. And my life right now is pretty darn great. So I’m in a pretty fantastic spot. Even if it’s in between.

That’s it. That’s all I can say without telling all my secrets.

But when it’s time you’ll be (one of) the first to know.


Saturday my brother graduated from college. When I was watching the processional I realized how much we take an education for granted. In my family it just kind of went that way. Graduated from high school, went to college, graduated college, etc.

Only since coming home from Ethiopia where we were specifically asked to raise Tariku with a good education do I realize just how blessed we are to have such access to something that is not within reach to a good portion of the world. Though people complain about our public schools in this country quite a bit, I venture they would rather their kids go to the worst public school in America than in many other of the developing world.

So it was a bit more bittersweet Saturday for me. Proud of my brother, of course, as you’ll remember I’m uuber protective of him. But also humbled at the opportunities we have in this country.

With that said, the pictorals.

It took FOREVER to get started. So we all pulled out our Crackberries. It was slightly ridiculous but it’s nice to have a friend around when you’re bored.

And then there he is going to get his diploma. “Marcus J Dawson” pretty cool words.

We went back to my parents’ house because we were so schleepy. Here my sister went up to give Tariku a kiss before naps and just…couldn’t…go…any…further.

Once the graduate came back, it was picturetown. Here he is with my youngest.

And then with my grandparents.

My side of the family here.

My sister (Kara), Marcus and hotflawedmama.

These people are the Pedersen’s. They are great family friends. They babysat the kids during the ceremony. They have made my parents happy with their friendship and thus made me happy too. Plus they have kids our age so that always helps too.

Marco with my babies.

After pictures my parents treated us to Spagetti Works in Des Moines. MMMM carbs. Dailah was equally excited.

Manicures and Pedicures

This weekend we went back to my parents’ house because my baby brother graduated on Saturday. My mom also enticed us by offering manicures and pedicures on Saturday morning. Since the last time I received a mani/pedi was possibly in the Clinton Era, I happily agreed. Mom even begged me to bring Dailah along so we could get her nails painted. This made me feel even better knowing she was going to receive her first mani/pedi exactly 12 years before her mom did.

And knowing Dailah as well as I do, I knew if any 2 1/2-year-old could sit through a morning of pampering it would be her. She’s worth it, obviously.

If I still needed any more encouragement to agree to the manis/pedis, my mom told me Mimosas would be involved. I promptly signed on.

The only thing I was nervous about was my injury from Pump launch. It turns out I should’ve been more worried about humiliating myself with how nasty my feet were. The poor women working on my piggies had to go into a locked closet to pull out the only-for-the-worst-cases tools, which in an extremely weird way made me proud.

Anyway, I have some pretty sweet looking toes and fingers to show for it and one proud little baby as well.

Dailah getting her toes painted. She looked up at me when our feet were in the cesspool, er foot spa, and says, “Mommy, this is so fun!”

And then her nails.

My mom and Doozie.

Lindsey, hotflawedmama and Dailah.

We were there for about 2 1/2 hours. Bumped right up against nap time. She did terrific the whole time and only hit the wall at the end where she calmly made herself a bed and rested for a bit.

My grandma and sister.

Mommy and daughter.

The gang (side from my mom).

Just a (Thurs)day in the Life…

A few months ago Julie showed a day in her life on her blog. Loved the idea, but that’s mostly because I love all of her ideas. So I had been wanting to do it since but kept forgetting to document the day. I finally remembered to do so on Thursday and I’m just getting around to posting it now. But it’s worth it, I’m sure. Without further ado…

6:30 am I arise before the kids to get in some “light” reading.

7:00 am kids get up and it’s a race to feed, clothe, prepare backpacks and lunchboxes; thus no time for pictures.

8:00 am I get home from dropping Trysten off at school and it’s time for this. Lately I’ve been trying to substitute at least one of my coffees with this.

But all I really wanted was this.

9:00 am the kids get their first shot of sugar in gum leftover from their Easter candy. Fittingly, pink for her and blue for him.

In between 7 am and 9:30 am about 3 loads of this is done.

10:00 am the kids are in the car to go look at a charter school we might be transferring Trysten to in the fall (more to come on that).

10:30 am we arrive at said school.

11:00 am. After a quick tour and a chat with the Principal, we rush to the North Family YMCA where I teach my class of Bodyflow.

12:30 pm we arrive back at home in time to rush order the kids food and tuck them into bed for naps.

1:00 pm I get around to eating. On the menu today is 3 pieces of Tombstone pizza and multiple glasses of water.

2:00 pm fill out some paperwork here and there, plot gardens, doze on and off and enjoy the scenery.

2:30 pm pick Trysten up from school.

3:00 pm attempt to teach eldest to ride the bike without training wheels. Notice how much he is like his mother in that he gets frustrated when he notices it will take more than 2 minutes to get hang of this. Promptly asks if he can be done yet. 3:10 pm mother makes mental note to teach child more patience.

3:30 pm the social worker comes for Tariku’s 1 year post placement for his readoption.

4:00 pm the kids are awake, the boys go outside and Dailah decides she needs extra loving from mother.

4:30 pm arrive at the Downtown YMCA where I teach Bodystep and then Bodypump.

7:00 pm we come home and it’s another rush to eat dinner, brush teeth and put littlest members of the family to bed.

7:45 pm start watching TV and don’t finish until…

10:00 pm when I go to bed.

My life is awesome. I realized after the fact that Thursdays are our busy days which ended up working out nicely because otherwise there would be a lot of pictures of us just hanging out and clearly you get to see those every other day.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Life With Dogs

(Cathy, though this may seem like a ploy to finally get your kids dogs, that’s not what it is. Now of course if that happens, then it’s just a happy coincidence!)

I love dogs. I talk about them a lot here, but I seriously love my dogs. Aristotle (obese chocolate lab) will be turning 5 in another month and Abe (HUGE great dane) will be turning 1 in a few weeks). My dogs are the best. I’m not sure I could have any other breed besides lab or great dane (though we’ve talked about our next dog coming from the humane society, so never say never, I guess). Anyway, I can’t tell you how much joy they bring to our house.

When we first started adopting we heard Ethiopians came home petrified of dogs. When we went to Ethiopia we realized why. The dogs were crazy and scary and wild. We actually walked by a heap of dead dogs on the corner of the street (akin to something we might do with a bunch of raccoons who came too close to the car). It was heartbreaking for us.

But not our Tariku. We gave him a few days at our house before we brought (then just Aristotle) back from our friends’ house. He got a little anxious at first but then we had Trysten pet him and it’s been this every since.

Dogs are seriously amazing people. My kids are a little too young to comfort me when I get sad at times. I remember when we were going through the wait to court and wait to travel with Tariku it seemed Aristotle was the only one who could make me feel better sometimes. He’d rest that big ole’ head on my lap and leave it there until I pulled myself together. They have amazing insights these animals.

But one of my absolute favorite things is when I go to wake Zach up for work and see this.

Couple things about the above picture that I love.
1) It shows we don’t believe in headboards or footboards. Footboards because Zach is tall and he actually likes to kind of hang his feet off of a bed and headboards because I like to hang my hands off of a bed. We’re weird but it works for us.

2) It shows I also don’t believe in matching sheets, or that little cloth that hangs over a bed to cover up the mattress. Once a sheet is just too gross to sleep on anymore we just switch it out for one that’s kind of in the same color family. And that cloth thing would just be one other thing I’d have to wash, besides everyone knows there’s a mattress under there, right?

3) My dogs are huge. Can you even see Zach’s head in there? That’s a Queen sized bed. We’re seriously considering getting a King just to make room for the dogs.

The Wedding

So after the quick trip to my cousin’s we went to the wedding. The bride is a longtime friend of the family. She is my sister’s age, she has a sister my age and a brother my brother’s age. We grew up playing sports together and carpooling and all of that good stuff.

Truly, the sister of the bride was a bit like a little sister to me (she was actually a year younger in school).

We hadn’t seen them in quite some time so it was great to catch up. What was even crazier was remembering how tall they are.

The bride is 6’4″ and the bride’s sister is 6’0″. Seriously. So if I look like a teeny tiny person you must first put this information into perspective.

My brother and his girlfriend offered to watch the kids during the wedding (a blessing!) but they never miss a good party so they came to the reception. Dinner and dancing? They’re always in.

The gang. Hotflawedmama. Amber, the one closest to my age. The bride, Nikki, with my sister in front of her. Emily and Kerri. All longtime friends.

My budding photographer.

Dailah preparing to eat candy.

Her dance moves.

And our dance moves (that would be an air guitar by hotflawedmama.)

Baby Coyce

After Pump on Friday, my sister and I with the kids (Zach had a group out at Camp and wasn’t able to come) headed back to my parent’s house in Altoona to go to a wedding Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning we got up early to go to my cousin’s house (just over an hour away) to visit my new baby second cousin.

My cousins and I have been so close since we were little, I really hope all the second cousins will grow up knowing each other well too! It’s such a precious relationship to me.

My sister and baby Coyce.

Dailah rocking her pretend baby.

Dailah and my cousin, Katie.

Dailah and my second cousin, Izzy.

Baby Coyce.

The boys were there but so were legos so no pictures documenting their presence.


Friday night was Bodypump re-launch. As always, lots of fun. We had something like 40 sets of equipment and still had to turn quite a few people away, so the turnout was awesome.

Only bad part was while we were setting up for the big show one of the big stages fell on my foot. Though I probably needed stitches, I went for butterfly band aids instead so just had to put up with a little bit more bleeding than usual. Anyway, it’s still sore today but we’ll see how it heals!

Dudes dig scars on feet, right?

Some pics.

The Ants Go Marching In

We have an ant “situation” at our house. By “situation” I mean “infestation” and by “infestation” I mean if someone would show a picture of our house you could probably watch, in real time, the ants take over the house.

It’s gross.

I’ve been begging Zach to call the pest person that comes out and takes care of the other pests out here. He came out today. Few things about ants I didn’t know.

–They like either: protein, sugar, salt or carbohydrates. It changes all the time. I suddenly related a little more to the little devils upon hearing that.

–When the ants started appearing they created what Zach and I dubbed “a superhighway” in our kitchen. There were always 2 lanes moving to and fro the tiniest of crumbs. We found out that when one ant finds a tasty treat it proceeds to go tell all the others. You can actually SEE the first ant bump into the second and on down the line. Fascinating.

–The pest control guy gave us some gel stuff and then sprayed something that will supposedly take out the whole colony. I’m skeptical but the pest guy was freakishly knowledgeable in all things ant so I’ll go with it.

In the end, I can’t wait to see them die. I was going to take a picture but didn’t want to gross you out (ok, I actually didn’t want you to see how nasty my kitchen is).

On another note, I cleaned the entire house. Did a good 7 loads of laundry and made dinner today. I even managed to take a shower and use the foot scrubber thingy.

These days of feeling like a good person have to hold me over for 2 weeks or so when I can manage it again.

Must go, dishes can’t last in the sink anymore or we will literally be overrun.