Happy Halloween!

was an amazeballs kind of day. We had weekend plans that changed quickly so we were actually left with a rare open day. After Zach entertained 20 different ideas of fun things to do in about 20 minutes we decided on a fire in the firepit. It was a beautiful, if not slightly chilly, day but we prepared ourselves and headed out the 200 feet to the firepit.

I had a book that I simply couldn’t put down so that came with, as did 2 blankets for me and many chairs, bikes and bears for the kids.

Have I mentioned I love living out here? I think I have, ok then.

How I roll in the great outdoors.

 A little tree climbing contraption the kids rigged up.

 No idea why I love this picture of my eldest but I do.

 How Zach sits after he made us a fire, set up the kids around it and, in general, took really good care of us.

At one point Zach asked Tomas if he ever helped build fires in Ethiopia. Tomas explained that, yes he had, and showed Zach how he used to fan the flame. There are many perks to adopting an older child, this is certainly one of them. Not all of Tomas’ memories from Ethiopia are good, let me tell you that, but they are all important. And seeing his face when he gets to tell us one of his stories shows me that he is proud of his life there, no matter what it meant for his future.

That said, his future on this particular day meant his first shot at trick-or-treating. On our way to my brother and sister-in-law’s house I asked Tomas if he knew what trick-or-treating meant. After establishing that he didn’t, I went on to explain that all he had to do was say “trick or treat” and strangers would give him candy. At first he thought it couldn’t be true, that there had to be more to the story. I assured him there wasn’t, that was literally all he had to do. Tomas then told me he really liked these crazy American traditions.

The 3 bigs

 My nephew, sweet baby Cash or “Cashula” as I liked to call him.

 Tomas “Batman”. With his accent he actually called himself “Butt-man”. Slightly ashamed to admit I never corrected him, it was just too funny.

 I mean, really, despite there being 400 red power rangers at every corner this one certainly took home “the cutest” prize.

 Ditto about this Tinkerbell. Fuggetaboutit.

 Nephew Oliver, a vampire bat. Don’t let the smile fool you, he had a pretty sweet “scary face” as well.

 The cousins, minus Cashula. Good lookin’ crew if I don’t mind me saying.

 Tinkerbell’s dance to candy.

 Tariku’s spiderman.

 With all of that hair we had to create a receding hairline. Classic.

 Binyam is still not able to walk. His knees were really sore for a few days, his legs are still without much muscle and flexibility and he has to learn a whole new way to walk. I admit to being frustrated from time to time as we work on all of those things but when I stop my pity party I realize I have one amazingly brave, amazingly brilliant little boy on my hands. A little boy who got a stroller ride by an amazingly brilliant, amazingly beautiful daddy last night.

What an awesome, awesome day and night we had. Truly a good time had by all.

Adley Sue Dawson

I’m an aunt again! Truth be told, she is one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to write this here blog. Any spare chance I get I’m sneaking over to my brother and sister-in-law’s to see if Adley needs a quick auntie squeeze. But alas, it’s time to devote a blog entry to this little girl that’s been the talk of the town around here.

Last Tuesday they induced my sis-in-law because she had signs showing she would probably get pre-eclampsia if the doc had her wait until her due date. So they headed into the hospital and both sides of the family camped out in the waiting room.

Everyone but Zach and the kiddos, it was going to be a long day/night.

How we wait in the new age: my dad and sister.

We saw the doc go in and knew it was getting close.

After a few more hours we heard the chimes (the nurses play a little tune when a baby’s born) and a nurse friend of mine caught my eye and gave me a thumbs up-we knew the chimes were for us. For my brother and sister-in-law, for their new family. And that’s when we got ridiculously excited waiting for my brother to come out, for the first time, as a new dad.

A staged photo of how we’d surely look once we saw my brother’s face.

The aunties, arguably the most excited.

The grandmas…ok, maybe they were the most excited.

And then it was time, I saw my baby brother coming through the window and alerted the troops. And this was his face. From the quietest person I’ve ever met in my life, happiness was written all over his persons.

After the grandma’s, it was the auntie’s turn. Boy was it pure joy holding her. She was beautiful right from the start.

 Auntie Katie

 Hotflawedmama, one smitten aunt!

 Aunt KK

 Adley’s own Red Tent

And the new proud family.

The next day the SUPER excited cousins got to see Adley for the first time through the nursery windows. It wasn’t as great as if they got to hold her but it did hold them off for a bit.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love being an aunt, and boy do I! I must say it’s slightly different when it comes from someone I’ve known basically my whole life. Watching my baby brother become a daddy has been one of the coolest things I’ve experienced in my short life. Both exhilirating and scary, if I’m to be honest. I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to protect him and now there’s really no point. For the rest of his life he’ll be walking around with his heart on his sleeve, at his most vulnerable. That’s how it is as a parent, right? At our weakest and strongest simultaneously? I’ve enjoyed seeing the strength from my brother, and it’s made me nervous as hell to see him this vulnerable too.

Because I already see it in his eyes, he’d do anything for this tiny little human. I’m pretty sure she’s managed to create quite the little army of people who love her and would do anything to protect her.

One of those people is definitely me. I love her already. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that she has my (and by “my” I mean “my brother’s”) nose. 🙂

New Casts

Today Bini was introduced to his new casts. The whole day we kept celebrating, “Yay! Binyam gets his new casts today! He’ll be able to walk in these!” Etc, Etc.

Binyam before (we had to reinforce the knees last week as he had literally worn holes in them), precious.

After the cast. His foot WITH THE PIN in them. We did not know about the pins. We weren’t able to prepare him for these things that had to come out. It was awful, it was painful.

Better shot of the foot. It looks so good! The doc was happy, “Looks great, not perfect, but great.” I’m a bit partial but I’ve always thought his feet looked perfect.

The actual pins. They seemed to go on forever.

Here’s the thing though, when he was getting the pins taken out I was ugly crying. Can’t believe how much I love this boy, how I would do anything to not see him in so much pain like that. But I wasn’t alone. As soon as Bini started crying Dailah was crying, and then Tomas was wailing, and then Tariku was crying. Trysten said the only reason he didn’t cry was because he saw everyone else crying and didn’t want to make other people cry.

But then it was done. Binyam chose blue and black as his new colors. He’ll be able to walk in these. His beautiful little legs are so atrophied I hardly recognized them.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, this kid is hardcore. I could tell he was in so much pain. Some of it was when they were taking the pins out (obviously) but a lot of it was just anytime we moved the knees. He’s so stiff and sore from being in the same position for 3 weeks. We came right home and put a heating pad on his knees (they told us this would loosen the joints). He was pale, so obviously in lots of pain but anytime I would give him a kiss or kind of rub his legs he would just smile.

I’m assuming, knowing him like I do, you will undoubtedly see pictures of him sprinting at breakneck speeds within the next few days.

I don’t know what I did to deserve this boy and this family but I will spend the rest of forever trying to earn it.


Coming home from my in-laws tonight I took Dailah, Trysten and Tomas with me in one car, Zach took the other 2 with him. Somehow we got on the subject of singing (I think I asked Tomas if he remembered any of the songs he used to sing in Ethiopia.) So Tomas tells me he has an even better song for me (you won’t be able to see anything, it was shot in the back of a dark car).

Then Dailah proceeded to sing maybe the cutest rendition of her preschool song called, “Good morning”.

When I asked Trysten if he had a song he wanted to sing he commenced to singing, “All my single ladies”.

Well, I tried.

Some Ethiopians in Iowa

Today the kids and I took a little road trip to the great city of Waterloo, Iowa to meet with a few fellow Ethiopian adoptive families.

Tamara arranged it (thank you sweet Tamara) which is never an easy task.

Anyway, Tomas and Binyam loved seeing a few familiar faces (both Ethiopian and American) and I loved meeting new mamas who have that same crazy look in their eyes as I do. (What is that look anyway? Lunacy? Sleep deprivation? What?)

But one of my oldest friends just told me the other day she likes my posts with pictures more than words (this girl has loved me since the 2nd grade, if she hates when I “talk” then you all can’t possibly like it either) so here you go, Pit. The pictures.

This one had the ladies eating out of his hand (and by that I mean carrying him around). And really how could he not?

Take a look at that last picture. Had to zoom in on Tariku’s cuteness and the impromptu kiss little Bini gave his big sister. Yes, I do so love them.

Lots of fun, let’s do it again next week! And if you’re an Iowan family (or close enough) interested in our little outings, leave a comment or email me and we’ll get you in on the fun. It’s like the babysitters club but cooler.


One of my favorite things about adopting an older child is how they call you out on your junk. For instance, when we started decorating for Halloween, Tomas looks at me, “Mommy, why we do this? Why this in the house?” Well, there really was no explanation as to why I was in the middle of hanging little pumpkin tinsel. I just looked at him, “When you’re in America, you’ll notice Americans do a lot of crazy things that make no sense. Run with the ones you like, leave the ones you don’t.”

This past weekend at my parent’s house the kids got to carve a pumpkin. Tomas looked at me, “Why we do this?” I reminded him of the crazy Americans. He seemed to accept that as a justifiable reason as to why we would gut a perfectly good food item and carve it out to scare little children. I, on the other hand, have become increasingly skeptical of some of our traditions. 🙂

But they were stinkin cute regardless. Oh, we also got to decorate cookies, now that makes sense.

Because I just don’t tell you enough about myself…

Shonda (go to her blog, she has one of the most beautiful families I’ve ever seen) tagged me on this survey. I’ve been trying to figure out a blog post the past few days. Not that I don’t have unlimited funnies/crazies throughout the day to tell you but I always forget the next day. So here is something harmless, kind of fun. Enjoy.

1) What is your biggest pet peeve? Hmmm. I’m not actually sure on that. Perhaps my kids chewing with their mouths open? That ranks right up there with the biggest anyway.

2) If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? Well this changes from time to time honestly. Right now it’d probably be Colorado because 2 people I love are there (my husband, away on business and Jody who made the selfish decision to actually move there. 😉 ) Truth be told, though, I’m kind of one of those people who loves wherever they’re at in the moment. So right now I want to be right where I am because I have gathered all of my family around me like some freakish cult. And because I live a pretty darn good life.

3) Have you ever been searched by the cops? Well no, but admittedly I’ve probably come close. There are a few really funny stories that I would need to get release forms from the responsible parties before sharing here. Don’t let me sound cooler than I am, I was/am a “good girl”. Or, at the very least, a “bad girl” who was supremely cautious and careful and lucky to have never been caught. 😉

4) What is the one thing on your mind right now? My hubby. I just skyped with him (had to keep it PG, the kids were around, you know how it is). My life is infinitely more dull and boring without him. I swear I remember fall being the most colorful season around here but until he comes home, I’m firmly believing the sky is gray, the leaves are gray and all hope is gone from the world. 🙂

5) Favorite song right now? Again, this changes by the second. Anything by Ray Lamontagne. When I’m cleaning I’ve been known to go back in time to some classic Shedaisy (what happened to them?) When I want to jam out with the kids I turn XM to 90s on 9 and am bound to hear Ice Ice Baby. If someone were to take a peak into my ITunes selection they would swear it was owned by someone with multiple personalities…which is probably true on most days.

6) What talent do you wish you had? That would have to be singing-while-hitting-the-right-note. That would be amazeballs. My brother-in-law Jake can do some amazing shin slaps which would be kind of cool too. Overall I’m happy with the balance God gave me in life: ability to dance to anything-inability to sing. It all evens out.

7) Favorite drink? Boring…water. Though I do enjoy a good couple glasses of Merlot as well.

8) In one word how would you describe yourself? Yikes. I don’t do one word. If something can be said in one word, I’ll choose to say it in 10. Obviously. I digress, the word would probably be “blessed”. Because, isn’t it obvious? Amazing, hot husband. 5 hilarious, kind children. 2 dogs who presently need a bath but overall are pretty precious. Extended family who make the world a better place. Friends who love me regardless of my crazy antics. And above all of that, a God who still loves me despite being a severely flawed, disappointing human being.

Well that was fun.

Now I pick 8 people to do the same thing.

1) Rebekah – because she’s Rebekah and she says things like “we don’t allow ourselves the purity of love with them”. (Will explain later.)
2) Beth– because I miss her and she’s smart and beautiful and wonderful and an amazing baker.
3) Leslie– because she’s my sister and one of my very best friends.
4) Sarah– because her kids are beautiful, her words are beautiful and she gave me some life giving info on our boys before we could pick them up.
5) Cathy– because she always has funny things to say and she’s dealing with bronchitis and puke over in Colorado (she also might be the third reason I want to live there right now.)
6) Miss Effie– because she is smart, beautiful, generous, has hens that lay the most delicious eggs this side of the Mississippi and because she is proof to me that one voice can be mighty!
7) Jess– because she needs a reason to blog too. 🙂 And because I can’t wait to go visit her and #1 very soon!
8) Blueberry’s mama– because I will forever be indebted to her for something she did for our whole family. Oh, and she also happens to be smart, beautiful and the proud mama of some amazing individuals.