That’s right, 3 days. But today isn’t about the countdown.

Today is about my husband, a guy more commonly referred to as “daddy” around here.

Not just any daddy, but the very best daddy. I’m not sure how I can even put into words how amazing of a father he is. But I’ll give an example.

Friday night we had the closing ceremonies at camp, typically parents come and pick up their kids as soon as they can after missing them for a week. All ceremonies were over by 6:45. When we came back up to the lodge sometime after 7pm, a twelve-yr-old boy was still there waiting for his family. I found out his family had forgotten about him, had forgotten he was even at camp for the last week.

This kid, he was so wonderful. He played with my kids, talked with me, etc. He was clearly bored with my weak attempts at entertaining him. Zach finished his meeting and came into the room we were in. “Hey buddy, you want to play some ping pong?” The boys’ face lit up. The kid was complete crap at ping pong but was smiling the whole time as Zach was giving him instructions on how to hold the paddle, etc.

Zach left to go do a little more work and the boy was left with us. “So what is your favorite part of camp?” I asked.

“Ummm, I like how people treat me here.”

I was fighting back some tears so I just kind of grabbed his hand and smiled.

I think that’s it. Zach has this amazing ability to emote love and respect. And honestly, he expects that of his staff as well.

Our kids can feel that, even when Zach’s gone more during the summer. I can feel it always.

Today I panicked for a second about the fact that I’ll have 4 boys in a matter of a few days (truth be told I was more panicked about how I’m going to feed all of those boys). Then I remembered that they have the very best role model as their father. This man, this man who was seemingly born to be a father he is that good.

There is no way I’d be able to walk through this parenting life without him, there is no way I ever want to.

He is the very best and he is ours and we are so, so happy about that.

Happy Father’s day to my beloved!

We had a purposefully laid back, family focused day today. Baseball game, pizza place/fun house, Toy Story 3.

It was fantastic. It was probably the last time we’ll do it before we become a family of 7. It really couldn’t have been a better day (save for the sunburn I received at baseball). These people make me so very happy.

A picture of my boys (and father-in-law, who came with my mother-in-law to baseball and dinner) after bumper cars.

As if you didn’t know what number was going to be at the top of this page, right?

Well to say I’m eager would be an understatement. We had our travel call this afternoon. Not much new information for us having been there before, but I found myself choked up from time to time in anticipation.

Anticipation of meeting our boys, anticipation of seeing this country that has settled itself deeply in our hearts. It’s all too much.

In other news, all my campers are home. Every Friday night we have “closing ceremonies” here at camp. This is when the parents/caretakers of the resident campers come for walkin’ tacos (my favorite kind of tacos) to pick up their kids and meet all of the counselors, etc. During this time the counselors give out a few awards for kids who showed excellence in exhibiting the 4 core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Trysten actually won one of these awards last year.

I knew Trysten had signed up for soccer this week, which meant when they went to breakout programs, he learned a bit more about soccer (a man after my very own heart). He told me his counselor, “Zonkers”, was the one at the end of the line of counselors. Zonkers got up with the award and said:

“This award goes to a kid who showed the 4 core values the best. He showed caring by letting other kids go before him and helping kids if they needed it. He showed honesty when he told me when he kicked it out of bounds and I couldn’t see for sure. He showed respect because I never had to ask him to do something twice, he was always helping me out. He showed responsibility by making sure all of the equipment was put away before we left. He was just a good kid this week. So this award goes to Trysten.”

Are you crying yet? Because I did. I beamed, I really did. And so did he.

I saw Zonkers in the lodge afterwards and thanked him for everything he said. He replied, “Well I knew I would get sh*t for it since he’s the boss’s son but honestly he was the only kid that deserved it.”

Zach and I talk to our kids all the time about leadership. We tell them that some people will be leaders regardless because of their personality, or what have you. We tell them they can choose to be a leader for good or a leader for bad. Being a leader, as we know, does not imply that you lead people to do good things.

But that award showed me he “got it”, to some extent. At 7 years old, he was one of the youngest kids in resident camp. But his behavior stood out in such a positive way, it overshadowed even the fact that he was the boss’s son.

I think that’s pretty amazing. In fact, I think he‘s pretty amazing. And I’m going to miss my babies more than I can possibly say when we’re gone.

My little big man.

Lots of life outside our trip happening today. But it’s an amazing day and it’s a day that brings us one step closer to our boys.

It’s a day that we found out my brother and sister-in-law are having a girl!!! I get to be an aunt of a girl, I’m so excited.

It’s also a day I’m *hoping* my other sister-in-law has my nephew. Please, please?

6 days. Less than a week. I want to see my boys yesterday! 🙂

That’s right kids, one week from today. Feeling good about that. I got a lot accomplished today so that probably helps. One of my friends from Muscatine just found out she too will be in Ethiopia when we are. Seriously, that’s just crazy, one of my friends from the water team will be picking up her daughter the same week we pick up our sons. Crazy business!

Today I did a few things:

I made granola bars to take with us (and cliff bars to consume now)…

and organized this.

Somehow this took me all day (with a few other items checked off as well).

I’m fairly certain my excitement has reached new levels.

The countdown continues and came with great news.

My friend, Rebekah, who I mentioned here just called to tell me that she too will be in Ethiopia around the end of June! We (or at least “I”) had been hoping we’d meet again in Ethiopia (which is quite interesting since she actually only lives 3 hours from me) but it looked like it wasn’t going to be possible because she’s going to be in the two tripper group. The two tripper group, for those not in the adoption world, means she will travel once for her court-that’s the end of June trip-and once again for her embassy date to bring her daughter home.

But we’ll be there at the same time and I’m very hopeful we’ll get to meet there again.

8 days. The end.

How many days we have left:

My little day campers who had way too much fun.

What I treated myself with (thanks to my friend Janet who gave me a gift card and demanded I only use it on myself) while running around town for the better part of 8 hours.

Exhausted but closer to feeling prepared to travel halfway across the world so that’s something!

Oh, and the best news? My brother was released from the hospital! Though there are still some questions about the whole thing, I’m so happy to have him back in his house in the loving care of his wife!

10!

What those three beauties are trying to tell you is that we have 10 days until we board the plane heading towards the cradle of life.

10 days. Yikes, the countdown begins.

I’m kind of a workhorse this morning, which is good because I kind of need to be. When I was looking at the calendar I got very nervous about fitting in everything that needs to be done before we leave. But I’ve got a little secret weapon…

It’s called camp. And all 3 kids will be there this week!

Trysten leaves today (by “leave” I mean we walk up a slight incline to drop him off in his counselors welcoming hands) for overnight/resident camp for the entire week. From today until Friday we’ll see him pretty much only at breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Exciting, yes, a little sad, yes.

Then tomorrow Tariku and Dailah head off to day camp from about 8-4 every day. So mama’s got lots of plans.

Monday I’m heading to various shopping places to *hopefully* get the last of our necessities for the trip. I had forgotten how expensive trips can be to prepare for. Oy!

Tuesday I teach my classes.

Wednesday I make lots of food to freeze. I’m also making loads of granola bars, cookies, granola, muffins, etc. Things that we can take with us to snack on in Ethiopia. I vividly remember being hungry all the time (to be fair, I’m always hungry all of the time) and I never had enough snacks on me. Trying not to repeat that particular offense. Oh, and I’ll probably try to pack a little bit.

Thursday I teach more classes.

Friday is our day for the travel call letting us know all the fun details of our trip. It will also be the time when I do laundry and try to begin packing the kids’ stuff for while we’re gone.

Next weekend we’ll enjoy each others time (including a possible Shrek 3 viewing at our local IMAX with the kiddos).

Next Monday there will be some cleaning to do (millipedes have taken over in this house with all the rain we’ve had. I’m used to it but my brother and sister-in-law might not be as okay seeing them while they’re watching our kiddos the first part of our absence).

Tuesday I teach a few classes, the boys have a baseball game and then I’m hoping I can talk Zach into a family sleepover.

And next Wednesday, well WE’RE GOING TO ETHIOPIA!

It must be said that I’m in a highly emotional state at this point in time. Saturday I was driving to teach my class and just started crying. No particular reason why but it was mostly because I thought about leaving my three little babies.

After my class my sister-in-law called to tell us my brother was admitted to the hospital for stomach pain and some suspicious blood work (he’ll be fine, but it’s all still unknown). All I heard was “It’s Marcus” and I started to cry. That’s all it took, though you guys know I’ve always had quite the soft spot for my baby brother.

But I’m giddy for the moments I’m not crying, which is super sweet. 🙂

10 days. Woot!

Ok…

now I’m excited.

I’ve gotten over my hesitations (for now) and am just excited.

12 days to go and I’m finding my excitement coming in waves.

I taught my last Friday Bodypump this morning (next Friday we have a travel call during class) before we leave and I thought I was going to jump out of my skin.

Let’s do this.

My very good friend Beth is in Ethiopia picking up their baby Lucia and may or may not have found my boys…jumping on her husband’s lap.

12 days and we’ll be on our way to the day when they’ll jump on my husband’s lap.

This is good stuff.

Oh, and I packed most of the boys’ stuff, if for no other reason than to save my poor husband from seeing tampons all the time (he sure gets squeamish when it comes to those types of things).

That chain is getting quite small indeed.