Mindful Monday-Women Love

“You know what some of us fear more than anything else? Each other. I feared other women’s success because I thought it made me look bad. I feared other women’s choices because I thought they invalidated my choices. I feared getting closer to other women because I was miserable and I didn’t want them to know that.”


“The best thing I ever did was tiptoe out of isolation and join the circle of women. We need to choose to believe we are all in this together. We need to accept and honor our own lives so we can accept and honor each other’s lives. When we do this, when we help one another, cheer one another on, call one another to our truest and highest selves, we become a powerful force for good-for God-in this world.”

Both from Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynn Hybels

Love both of them. Because I would say that was my transformation. My high school self (and slightly beyond) can definitely relate to the former quote. I think most of us could admit that we’ve been there at some point.

But I can honestly say I’m finally there, at that latter quote. I used to be the girl who “had more guy friends than girls” and would go on to give lots of really ridiculous reasons why that is, all those reasons cut down other women.

Not anymore. I’ve come to a place where I’m no longer interested in cutting other women down, or, quite frankly, hanging out with women who want to do that to each other.

I’m in such a good place right now with my friends (both in person and through the interwebs) and my sisters and my moms and aunts and cousins. I’ve surrounded myself with amazing women who challenge me, love me, accept me, forgive me and support me. It’s an awesome place to be.

As a reward, of sorts, for getting to this place. I’m heading to Colorado. Tickets are bought, calendar is counting down, daily thoughts about it are here. I’m.so.excited. Why? Because I get to meet/see some of my interweb peeps. Cathy, most amazing Cathy, has offered us all a place to stay when we get there. Chandra will be there. Sarah will be there. Mama Papaya will be there. I think Rebekah will as well. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head (and know their blog names by heart). Who else is coming?

Truly, I’m ridiculous. This will be the first time I’ve ever flown by myself. I wanted a straight shot so as not to develop anxiety about boarding gates and cranky passengers and luggage racks ohmy!. I’m thrilled on so many levels.

But mostly to have a few days, in the middle of summer no less, with some women I admire deeply. I wanna soak in their genius, bask in their laughter and maybe get a little silly on the spirits.

Being in this place of raising fellow women up rather than tearing them down, infinitely better. Infinitely more rewarding.

Trysten’s 8th Birthday

So much to say about this boy. “The Eldest”. 

For birthdays we get everyone up and together then start singing, “Happy Birthday” as we get the birthday person up. I had told Trysten he could wake up a little earlier and play his DS since 1) it was his birthday and 2) he had just gotten a new game from my parents. So this is what he looked like when we met him in song.
For breakfast he chose omelets. Ham and cheese to be exact.
 Then off to school for Trysten and Tariku. Off to the doctor for Tomas, the littles and me. Tomas was diagnosed with strep throat and an ear infection, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. Not awesome.
For Trysten’s birthday treat at school he asked for his daddy’s “World Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies”. Since I felt like crap for the last few days I had forgotten the key ingredient of said cookies and was thus forced to buy sugar cookies with lots of frosting. No one seemed to mind.
My favorite part of the birthday celebration at school was that they have the birthday person sit on a chair and the other kids all ask them questions. (I also liked that they made him a puffy paint shirt with his name on it and made him personalized happy birthday cards). Trysten’s teacher is amazing.
The class asking him questions.
Some highlights:
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
A: Ethiopia
Q: If you could have any super power what would it be?
A: I would want to fly
Q: What’s your favorite water animal?
A: Dolphin
Q: Favorite color?
A: Purple
Q: Favorite kind of dog?
A: Husky
Q: Favorite subject in school?
A: Math
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
A: Probably have our family band like we’ve been practicing. (Smile)
Papa Frank picked Trysten up from school then we met them at the Corner Grill restaurant. We opened presents first.
After he got this book though (which he’s already read a few thousand times, but had lost) he read while he waited for the food to come.
Mimi Terre read to Tariku and Dailah.
Papa Frank fed Dailah some of his soup.
Trysten ordered a grilled cheese but was more excited about the ice cream sundae.
I made a valiant effort to be present, happy and vivacious for Trysten’s big day but by the end of the night I was giving into fever and chills. So Trysten obliged me and laid with me. He played his game (Harry Potter) and I soaked in his goodness.
Oh this boy. Last year I had this to say. 
This year, I’ve noticed the pull in him. When I pick them up from school his face lights up, he even leaps a bit at me but then he looks around and pulls back. Walks somewhat nonchalantly to me and gives me a side hug. I understand it, a few minutes after that he always grabs for my hand and squeezes three times. 
One day he’ll be super helpful around the house (helping with dishes, laundry, clean up, etc) the next day it’s like pulling teeth to get him to lift a finger. He’s straddling a few worlds and it’s super hard to watch sometimes. 
But I’m so proud of the way he’s handling it. That said, it’s so hard to believe we’re already here.
8 years. Whew. They’ve gone so quickly.
I’m so proud of the boy he is and the little man he’s becoming. 
Love him so, so much.


in the land of the living.

More posts to come but for now…

I have bronchitis.
Tomas has strep.
Trysten has strep.
Tariku is still recovering from his tonsil/adenoid removal and
Dailah has a suspicious sounding cough.

Good times.

Princess Ball

On Sunday Dailah was invited to the annual Princess Ball at my father-in-law, Frank’s, church. Even though they do this every year, she still gets just as excited as she did the first year.

So Dailah and I entered our modern day version of the Red Tent and prepped her for her night on the town.

At one point I even looked down and she was meditating. With proper mudra fingers and “Om” on her lips. Love that girl.

We finished with just enough time to snap one picture before we had to meet Frank at the church.

Getting her out of the car, I couldn’t help but see the likeness between these two.

This year papa stepped up even more and brought her a wrist corsage. She squealed with delight. They were quite the handsome pair.

A quick picture of two of the people who love her most (Note to self, never be in the forefront of a picture, does nothing in the way of making my oversized head appear smaller).

While Dailah and Papa were at their dance we went out to eat with some friends. Last week I had heard that one of my favorite Mexican restaurants (Los Agaves for those local folks) had $1 tacos on Sunday. Since I 1) love a good deal and 2) love Mexican food I got all kinds of excited about the possibilities. The Bergers and Smiths met us out where we had our typical amazing time.

These two seem to always dress alike. This night they were rocking their very best Bill Cosby sweater look. Love that about them.

Doozie joined us after her dance where the Berger sisters (who she considers her sisters) met her with oooos and aahhhhs.

I don’t really understand her love of dressing up all fancy all of the time but I must be honest in saying a part of me was thrilled that she rocked the arm tats the whole time too. Love her so, so much.

Tariku’s Tonsils

On Wednesday we had an appointment with an ENT specialist for Tariku. The last few months his snoring had become so intense he was keeping Tomas and himself up at night. Then around Christmas he fell asleep in the car. After awhile of loud snoring it got quiet. A few minutes later he started gasping for air and woke up. 

That sounded like sleep apnea, I thought.
And the last few weeks he started to show more signs that his apnea had gotten worse. 
We told the Doctor this and he looked down Tariku’s throat and nose and said, “Yup, he needs them taken out.”
They scheduled the appointment for Friday. 
On Friday we took our little Tariku early in the morning to the surgery center. He was still stinkin’ cute in his little gown.
Zach and I took turns snuggling in bed with him. He was nervous, but seemed to bask in all of our attention.
After he came out of surgery we got to go right in to see him. Tariku was just coming out of anesthesia and put the “C” in “crazy”. Poor guy was flailing about, spitting blood and screaming. He calmed down when he heard Zach and me. But MAN was it hard seeing him like that. 
But of course, Tariku being the strongest kid I know, impressed the nurses with how much he drank right away, how well he handled the pain meds and his overall mood and temperament.
He impresses us still. Every day he gets better and better. He’s done well drinking what he’s supposed to and tasting the pudding, applesauce and bananas.
When Tariku came out of surgery he asked how much longer until he saw his brothers and sister. Then he said, “I just want everyone I love around me.” And so my mom had come to help. Papa Frank came for a visit. My siblings went to lunch with us. That night Frank and Terre brought over dinner for those of us who could eat and lots of hugs and kisses for the one of us who couldn’t. Terre also gave love to our dogs, namely Abe who, at 160lbs still considers himself a lap dog.
Leslie and Oliver brought balloons over the next day, which made him very happy. And it’s been a non-stop “Let’s show Tariku how much we love him” since.
And boy do we!
I love him so, so much. So excited for him to get better sleep, and to breath better, etc, etc. But more excited that he’s my son. And what a darn good one he is!

Last Weekend

So I’ve been horrible at blogging. Many reasons why, but the biggest is probably just that we were busy. And when we weren’t busy I decided catching up on DVR sounded like more fun than blogging. So I gave myself that.

But it’s Monday now. President’s Day actually, so the kids are home from school. I’m trying to put off a house cleaning and a grocery store trip so blogging wins.

Last weekend (as in, not this one we just celebrated but the one before that) was laden with joy. Friday night my brother and sister-in-law took the kids overnight so Zach and I could have some QT together. We had so much fun going out to eat, lingering at different shops, hitting up one of our friends’ bands at a cool venue in town and then going home to an empty house. There was nothing earth shattering that happened, except we got so much uninterrupted time with each other, which is really all we needed.

Saturday night Leslie and Jake held a “Baby Rave” at their place complete with a fog machine and strobe lighting. What started out as a distraction for them (has it really been almost 3 years they’ve been waiting for Baby Klipsch?) ended up as a really fun night for adult and kid alike. We offered to take my brother and sister-in-law’s babe for them this night so she enjoyed her first rave as well. Turns out having a baby makes it a lot tougher to take pictures. Also turns out when a fog machine is added into the mix, most cameras don’t know what to focus on. Either way, was able to snap just a few.

Sunday I woke up to the smells of omelet making and coffee brewing. Then heard the kids entering the room carrying breakfast for mommy. Squeals of “Happy Valentines Day, mommy” greeted me.  Though a day early, it made me so completely happy.

Sunday night we met with our group of friends for dinner at the Bergers. Lasagna soup (amazing) and other homemade goods made my belly dance and the company made my eyes sparkle.

It was just one of those weekends that you wake up on Monday morning so deliriously happy you forget about the laundry that didn’t get done or the garbage that is overdue to be taken out. And Praise God for weekends like that.

Oh valentine’s day

Never really been a big deal in my life. I’ve always made it a point to make sure my boyfriends/hubby recognize that I think it’s not something I really “believe in”. This lets me them off the hook a bit, but mostly I stress that mama likes to know you love me throughout the year.

Since having kids, the day has taken on a whole new meaning. They just get all kinds of geeked out for the outpouring of love large amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

So a few years ago we started a tradition of either a) writing each other little love notes or b) going around the table and telling each other specific things we love about each other. It’s my favorite thing, because the kids are so creative.

I write them all down and put them in their scrapbook but a few good ones:

From Dailah to Tomas, “I love you because you carry me everywhere and you always say, ‘oh Dailah you are so silly and so cute’.”

From Tariku to Zach, “I love you because you are so, so strong and you play with us all of the time.”

From Dailah to me, “I love you because you are a good person to all of us.”

From Tomas to me, “I love you and dad because you make the best food I’ve ever had.”

From Trysten to Binyam, “I love you because you have the cutest curlies in your hair and you make the funniest faces.”

Needless to say, there was lots of love at the dinner table tonight. And every other night.

So valentine’s day. I love it now. Not because I get really awesome gifts (I actually got nothing, which is perfect) but because I get lots of high fructose corn syrup now have 6 valentines to share it with.

And they are the most perfect valentines in the world.

am loving this today. From here:

Dog piles.
I’ve been running. Kind of.

Mostly I’ve been walking, with short bursts of running if a song comes on that is really, really good. Even then, I only run until I feel sure that I’m on the verge of peeing my pants and then I go back to walking…. It’s a girl thing. (Ok. So it’s an old lady who’s had 3 kids thing.) Anywaaay. I’m sick of being flubby and I’m tired of being depressed, and this walking/running/trying not to pee thing has been helping a great deal with both of those issues. So that’s good.

The only problem is that there are fat piles of dog crap everywhere. We’re talking about insane amounts of poo in every form imaginable. Fresh poo. Old poo. Crusty white poo. Poo that looks like soft serve ice cream. Poo made of rice and beans. Grass poo. Poo that makes you ask yourself “Did that dog survive?!” Poo with little flowers growing out of it.

I think you get the idea – The side of the road is speckled with turds.

So the key to running, er, walking hastily, in Costa Rica, is to keep your eyes firmly planted on the three feet or so ahead of you, only looking up occasionally to see that you’re headed in the right direction. Otherwise you’ll end up slipping in dookie and breaking your neck or rolling your ankle on one of those hard crusty pooballs. And take it from me, that is embarrassing.

So this morning I was out there, and I was thinking about how it is just like me to get caught up in gazing at what’s waaaaay up there, on the road ahead, that I forget that I’m navigating through landmines right here and now. I fail to address the most pressing needs because my heart and mind are set too intently on the future. And that’s a pretty good way to end up in a pile of shit… So to speak.

Sometimes I see the Church doing this, too. I’ve seen folks who are so hell bent on figuring out where a poor soul is going to spend eternity that they either don’t see or don’t care about what that person needs today. And I see a lot of sad, hurting, broken people walking away from this Church that seems to care so much about whether or not they’re “saved” but doesn’t bother to find out that they’re lonely. Or sick. Or starving to death. Or that they’re overwhelmed by raising children, or financial burden, or porn addiction, or whatever. The people around us are navigating landmines that could take them down at any moment. And some in the Church want to hand them a Bible tract and say “It will all be okay, if only you make it into Heaven someday.”

Talk about a pile of crap.

So I was reading the Bible (I do that sometimes) and I was struck by something interesting. In Mark 8, when Jesus was preaching to a big fat crowd and they got hungry? He fed them.

His friends were all “Hey, Jesus, everybody’s getting hungry…. Should we cut ‘em loose?” And Jesus was like, “ Um. Noooo. How about we feed them so they don’t die. “ (Paraphrase mine). Notice what he didn’t say? Jesus didn’t say, “Yes, let them go home hungry for if they die of starvation it’s no big deal because they’ve met Me, so it’s all good. Eternity is all that matters!” No – He fed them. It mattered to Jesus that those people didn’t go hungry that day. It mattered.

It matterS.

Today matters. And how we care for those around us matters.

The people in my life who have most influenced me are those who fed me when I was hungry. They are the women who came alongside me when raising babies felt a little bit like being slowly eaten by cuddly, diapered piranha. They are the couples that have stood by El Chupacabra and me during the absolute darkest moments of our marriage. They were anonymous donors that, when we were younger and poorer, gave us a gift that kept us afloat for another month. The people who changed my life are the ones who took the time to walk with me awhile, showing me how to navigate the landmines and the steamy piles of crap and even ~because we all step in it every now and again~ sat down with me to dig the shit out of my shoes with a toothpick. So to speak.

They didn’t introduce me to Jesus and then abandon me, thinking they’d sealed my eternal fate and nothing else mattered. They helped me live in the everyday, and in doing so they developed in me a bright future.

So as I was zig-zagging between dog-logs this morning, I felt like God was reminding me of the very thing my dearest friends have taught me over the years; Live alongside people, and be keenly aware of their needs. Feed them if they’re hungry and look out for the crap in their way, so that if possible you can help them though it, or even better, around it. Because if you really care about any one person’s future, eternal or otherwise, you’ll be heavily invested in their today. Dog piles and all.

6 Months home and

Tomas has started to read. It’s been so fun watching him learn the letters, the sounds and now, put it all together. It’s amazing, really. I took 4 years of French and all I can remember is

tres interresant



des poissants (fish)

So on Saturday Zach took the kids to dinner while I prayed for death lay in the fetal position in the throes of the flu. Upon their arrival Zach was excited to show me that Tomas could now read.

Zach (who is the best dad in the world, not sure if I’ve mentioned it here before) gave him a few words on a napkin and helped Tomas get the courage to try them out. Well, Tomas did it. And it was awesome.

Tomas was really excited to show me as well. After Zach gave him a few more words, it was bedtime. A few minutes later and Tomas is coming up to tell us Trysten wrote a new word for him to read!


Yup. And wouldn’t you know Tomas sounded out the word, laughed hysterically and then went and high fived Trysten.

Boys. Oy.