Bodystep, Yeah!

We had our Bodystep launch yesterday. Though most of you have no interest in this, I do have some fellow Les Mills instructors reading this so this is for you!

Our theme was 80’s rock party. (Hence the pink tights, leg warmer, side pony and sweet make up). When we decide on a theme I typically don’t just go halfway. I was relieved to see that Emily was up for anything too.

It went really well, good amount of people. The new music is awesome and the moves kicked my butt.

I think I sweated out 50% of the water in my body.

Anyway, it was great! Thanks to all of you who came out.

In action.

Emily and hotflawedmama.

A participant who got in the spirit.

Bodysteppers!

Today

Today we were able to make it to church, which was great. It felt good to be there, as it does most Sundays.

After that we were able to meet the Klipschs out at the Outing Club in Davenport. Good times were had by all. And good pictures taken by all.

The cousins.

Trysten looks so big here.

The whole family

Dailah fixing Eli’s hair.

Some attempts at good pictures.


1 Year

So in adoption there are many celebrations and I love it. You all know by now I’m a celebration type of person. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of landing on US soil with our Tariku. The first time he walked into our house, met his brother and sister, met his extended family. It was a rather big day one year ago so I think it warrants a mention every year. It is, in essence, the day we became a family. This is what we looked like then.

Tariku did awesome the entire way home from Ethiopia. When he wasn’t sleeping he was checking out all of the new buttons throughout the airplane. He didn’t have an accident, didn’t cry with frustration at our incompetence; overall it was a great experience. Then we got to Minnesota. Our last leg. One 45 minute flight. I was so anxious to see Trysten and Dailah. To stop traveling and just hunker down for awhile. So, so excited. We got on the plane and saw the pilot tinker with things. Then he tells us something is broken and we would have to unboard until another flight landed so we could get on that. It wasn’t a big deal, he thought maybe an hour. But it was heartbreaking to me. I just sat and cried. I was just done with it all. Poor Tariku saw me crying and thought it said exactly what he wanted to say and started doing the same.

I realized then that there are a few universal things; in our short time together we had experienced laughing, hugs, kisses, dancing and now crying. In that moment I knew we understood each other. It was kind of one of those things where we had been holding onto a few things. Sure, I think you’re a cool person but are you going to be able to handle me? We had mutual conversations happening in our heads and then we cried together. And I thought, “Regardless of those thoughts, I am so ready for you.”

And boy was I! We’ve come a long way in a year. This is mostly due to his irresistable cuteness, his capacity for love and forgiveness and our mutual tenacity for getting to the bottom of issues. I told Leslie about one of the recent nights he talked about his life in Ethiopia. It was a tough night. I’ll never be able to explain why things are the way they are in Ethiopia and it’s heartbreaking. But Leslie made the comment that it was so great he has always (the last 6 months for sure) told me about his time there. He’s held nothing back. If I start to feel like something is going on, I just ask him if he’s thinking about Ethiopia and he tells me exactly what’s on his mind. It’s a blessing, it really is. I hope he feels he can always be open and honest with me.

So to one year with this boy who landed in America as a somewhat stranger and has now become a son.

Here he was a year ago eating a cookie cake.

And here he is eating at the Ethiopian restaurant in Iowa City (David’s Place…if you live in Iowa/Illinois you need to go here, it’s fantastic!) where we celebrated family day. P.S. In his referral it said his favorite foods were Doro Wot and Injera. That still holds true. We tried to give him some tamed down tibs last night and he didn’t want that. “The spicy food, Daddy!” Love him.

The group who celebrated what it means to be in our family.

Dailah and my mom.

Dailah after the cake attack.

And one of my favorite pictures of all time. Tariku and his daddy.

Happy Easter

Another post about Easter, but for now…pictures.

We went to Des Moines this weekend to celebrate my little brother’s birthday and, of course, Easter. So one of the first things we did upon entering the homeland was dye eggs. We don’t do it at our house, I’m a bad mommy. But my mom is a good grandma so we do it there. Since Zach, my brother and my dad were playing golf (I know, feel really bad for him) Marcus’s girlfriend, Lindsey helped.

The kiddos had lots of fun, which is no surprise.

Friday night Lindsey surprised my brother with a little party in his birthday honor. My parents got us a babysitter so we could come as well. It was lots of fun and since you guys know I have a super soft spot for my brother, it was lots of fun celebrating his life.

Saturday morning we woke up early to go easter egg hunting at my old high school (my mom’s place of employment). But before we did that, we did pictures.

Then commenced to the hunt. There are typically 1000 children in the race with 3-7 year olds and 100 eggs so of course I was proud when Trysten brought back 7 and Tariku brought back 5.

Doozie raked in too but, to be fair, she was the oldest and most athletic…kidding.

Afterwards we went to Wal Mart to get prints for my mom. Stopped quick to sit with the creepy Easter bunny.

Then finished off with a great barbecue lunch and a traditional cookie cake for my brother and Lindsey’s birthdays.

More later about our Family Day celebration but for now it’s time to eat because I just haven’t done enough of it lately.

A first

Isn’t this supposed to come later in life? Trysten’s first phone number. A girl gave him his phone number.

Seriously.

And when did we stop putting stickers on numbers we pass on the sly to boys? That should never go out of style. Seriously, this was so convincing from a Kindergartner I wanted to call her.

Talking…

in your sleep…do you do it?

I don’t, usually. My brother does. Always has. Most of our hilarious family stories start with something my brother said or did when he was sleeping. His girlfriend recently reported on him asking her to pick him up a McFlurry while she was out. Anything with “McFlurry” in it is spectacularly hilarious to me.

Last night I talked in my sleep.

Zach had went to his friends last night to watch something on cable. He returned home, which I vaguely remember. This was our conversation (according to him).

Me: What are you doing here?

Zach: Umm….I live here. (He turns on the TV and CSI: Miami is on)

Me: (Not looking at the TV) So you just needed your Horatio fix?

Now I don’t care who you are, that’s hilarious. I mentioned Horatio in my sleep.

So tell me, do you sleep talk/walk? Tell me funny stories. If they include “McFlurry” in them, then I’ll send you something special.

Me and Cars

Before Ethiopia, Zach and I went through cars like it was our business. About every 2 years we would get a new one. After Ethiopia, MANY of our practices with money were revealed as being downright ridiculous and certainly the car situation was one of the first.

So we have a Honda Pilot. I LOVE it. Can’t imagine having any other car. Last year, during the winter, camp’s truck ran into the back end of the Pilot. So it was in the shop for a few weeks and I was able to get a rental. It was kind of nice, just like getting a new car but I didn’t have to pay any extra and I got my car back in tip top shape.

Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago. My sister was in Mexico and I had taken her to the airport. So her car was at the bottom of our driveway. One day while talking to the kids, not paying any attention, I ran right into her car. And crashed the back end that was just fixed.

Tomorrow I take the Pilot in to get fixed again. And I get a rental.

So I’ve decided instead of paying for a new car every couple years I’ll just have a small accident, where no one gets hurt, and then get to test drive a new car for a few weeks while it’s getting fixed. Zach is less than enthused about my ingenuity.

And that, my friends, is sarcasm.

Oh

And I just finished writing our 1-year-post placement report on Tariku. 1 year. I can’t believe it myself. Lots of things to say about that boy. I wonder if they’ll mind that it’s close to 3 pages? Only partially joking, I still have to edit it a bit.

Reminds me of a year ago. April 2nd marked the day that we took off from Moline, IL to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was crazy to think about as I remember every single second from that day. This week has made me long for Ethiopia in a way I haven’t done since we got back. I can’t wait to go back, I really can not wait.

Then today. Today marks the day we first met our sweet Tariku. When I really think about it I cry all over again. How he jumped in our arms, much to our surprise. How he drank Zach’s entire water bottle. His delight at just touching my face, my hair, my, ahem, breasts. He was so much smaller than I thought he’d be. His smile bigger and whiter. His eyes bigger and brighter. I cried when we left him. Nervous energy pouring out of me. He cried as we left as well. We looked at each other and I tried so hard to tell him I’d be back with my eyes but it was lost in translation. Our story, his story resembles that day so very much. The two of us wildly holding onto each other when we didn’t know what else to do. It was the best feeling in the world, and still is, when that little boy threw his arms around my neck.

This is what I wrote that day one year ago.

There is literally no way I can tell you how very awesome it was to have our son run into our arms this morning. There is NO WAY I can tell you how good that felt.

So it began with some awesome pancakes made by the beautiful, talented cooks here at the guest house. Then it was time to go to the office to sign a waver saying it was okay to take pictures of us. Then the words, “You can go meet your children now”. The 4 sets of us adopting older kids loaded into the van. I started getting chocked up, tapping my legs, chewing my lips.

When we got to the school where they were, we were told to go in a room. One at a time they called us to meet our kids. Guess what…we were last. But it was priceless, Tariku’s social worker told us to come meet him.

So we went through the garden, the play yard and into the first school room. We just peaked in and saw him right away. Once he saw us he got the BIGGEST smile and came RUNNING into Zach’s arms (because he was kneeling). I started crying, and Zach stood up so I could get a good look. Tariku took his other arm and brought me into a big family hug. He did not let go the entire 2 hours we were there. He kept touching our faces and our arms. He would have us sit down so he could sit on our lap. When he wanted to move he would get up then put his arms up. Once we said “up” he caught on and ended up telling us “up” by the end of our time. At one point I had taken him to snack area. Zach went to talk with another family. Tariku turned and noticed Zach wasn’t there and started yelling, “Daddy, daddy”. So we quick went to find him and Tariku was much better.

Then a few minutes later I had to go to the bathroom (turns out my bladder must be smaller in Ethiopia). So I went in to do that, Zach comes soon after saying Tariku was yelling for me.

In our short time together he had learned mommy, daddy, up, thank you, please. We had learned machinet (car), Tariku (pronounced tar-ee-koo but roll the r, memorize that, because that is how we will be calling him now). J So we’re already learning from each other.

He was such a joy. Always loving, gave us lots of hugs, lots of kisses and we got quite a few belly laughs out of him. He’s a Klipsch, loves when daddy throws him in the air. He also loves to play with mom’s hair and chest (for some reason he enjoys rubbing it, but that’s cool). When it was time for us to go, he started to cry until his social worker translated that we are coming back today. After that he gave us LOTS of hugs, kisses, waves and blowing kisses.

So we’re very hopeful today. He is very possessive of the car we brought him and he quickly took over our water bottle and proceeded to down the entire thing and then keep refilling it. Though he was quite nice and shared the water with his friends.

I’m not going to lie to you, the first meeting exceeded my expectations. The pictures do not do him justice, he is far too adorable. He has HUGE dimples, beautiful white teeth, a beautiful smile. The curliest, light hair. His eyelashes are looong and curly and his lips are perfect for smooches!

So we just had lunch which was AMAZING and are now waiting to head to the office again so we can do some paperwork business. After that, we’ll get to spend some more time with Tariku which obviously I’m so excited for.

I probably won’t be able to post this until tonight as there’s just one internet connection for all of the centers at CHS and it turns out 3:30 in the morning is best time to get on.

Ok, so we’re back. It’s now 5:30 our time. We just got done seeing Tariku for the second time. He got excited when we came again and came running into my arms (that will doubtfully ever get old). It seems attaching is going well as he would leave us for a bit more knowing we were still going to be there when he turned around. Still wouldn’t go too far, but it was good seeing he understood we’re here for him.

The kid loves THINGS. He hoardes them like it’s his business and let’s out a little squeal if someone tries to take things from him. Another cute thing he does is, instead of answering yes, he just nods (kind of like people do when they’re saying something akin to “what’s up?”). It’s soooo precious.

We went through the photo album with him. He had obviously seen it many times. He can say “TT” and “Dailah” and knows who they were as he would point at them in every picture. Zach and I are attempting many Amharic words to help ease the transition. So far the only one we’re real good at is “Shinte” which is basically asking him if he has to go to the bathroom. (Can you tell what we consider important in this family? J

We’re in the guest house for the rest of the night. We were able to take a bit of a walk to the office today. The city is amazing in the dichotomy of it all. Big buildings with squatters outside. Gold brushed buildings with cows and goats randomly walking by. It really is amazing.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when the kids were getting ready for a snack. One of the couples here are adopting a 6 and 7 year old and the 7-year-old led the group in a prayer. All the kids folded their hands to pray. I swear, I could literally see God smile.

And go here for one of the best responses to the whole Madonna adoption saga. Melissa Faye Greene says it better than I ever could.

Oh, and here is one our first pictures together.

The Birds

So we have this cardinal at our house. Not inside, obviously, but outside. He wants to come inside. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem except for he might be a bit deranged in his plight to enter our abode; because he runs headfirst into our window. ALL.DAY.LONG. He sits on the windowsill and approximately every 2 minutes just flies into it. Which would be funny if it weren’t so annoying.

I’ll be honest in saying I have been begging Zach to sniper shoot the thing for a good week. But, we live out at camp and so Zach, in all of his infinite wisdom, thought it best to put out the birdhouse the kids got for Christmas (thanks Uncle Frank!) and see if we can let it die a natural slow death American style. By overeating. I thought this sounded like a lot more fun. So yesterday I got the birdhouse out of it’s package and let the kids color it first.

I like seeing the difference in all of their masterpieces. Here is Dailah’s. All pink, light, fluffy. No darkness. The pink matches her lipstick.

Tariku’s. A combination of it all. Likes to get his hands dirty in anything. Sure, he’ll play babies. Oh, you want to wrestle. Of course he will!

And Trysten’s. Knows what he wants and doesn’t understand conflicting emotions. All red, all blue. No room in between.

We also had some visitors during our art fest. Zach (on the horse in front) and a few of his co-workers rode up. What? Your husband does come to your house on horseback?

After we completed the birdhouse we felt like a little baseball game was in order. They even got hotflawedmama to join. I think they were impressed with my skills. Even I didn’t know I was as good as I am when a 6-year-old pitches to me!

Dailah got in on the action. Her processional to actual batting was considerably longer seeings she had to first dust off the plate before she would let me throw to her. Seriously.

Then this morning we went to the Farmer’s Market because I love it so much. Afterwards we spent a small portion of our tax money at The Guitar Center. “Poor” Zach has been begging for an electric guitar for as long as I can remember. He’s had to watch as Christmas after Christmas he sees me get things like Dyson vacuum (love it!) and such. So we were able to get a good deal on a guitar and stuff for him and a small electric guitar for the kids. Tariku was so excited about the guitar he passed up going to a movie so he could go home and play it.

Trysten never passes up a good movie but he also never passes up cool merchandise. These hats will be sold at Camp this summer. Flippin’ sweet.

The Last Few Days

Zach was out of town the last few days on business (I have no idea why I love saying that, but I do). So that left me hubby-less and (obviously) less importantly computer-less. He was only gone Monday through today but it sure felt like longer. That was because Dailah came down with pink eye Monday. This meant we couldn’t take her to the Y’s childwatch. THAT meant that I was stir crazy by Tuesday.

So this morning meant she was no longer contagious and THAT meant we were at the Y as soon as it opened. But really, I did get to go to book club last night because the in-laws watched the kids so I can’t complain that much.

And today was April Fools so I had a hoot of a time explaining this to the kids. THAT meant lots of phone calls to dad to tell him the newest jokes which was great fun for me and probably slightly more than annoying to him.

Tman decided he was officially ready to cut his hair. So I put a few scissor marks to it before Zach got there so we could play it off like that’s how we were going to keep it (April Fools joke #2,600). Here are a few pics of that.

Before:

After:

But after daddy asked how he really wanted his hair cut. This is how it came out. I have to say he looks cute regardless.

Oh, and this is how it looks whenever it’s time for eyedrops. Dailah demands the boys hold her hand as I put them in each eye. Cute but slightly over the top.

And my two crew cut guys.