the weekend

was superb. Relaxing. Kind of rainy and gross, but great. Zach starts gearing up for camp this week which means, amongst many things, that we lose lots of quality daddy time. So we soaked it all up this weekend.

We also harvested a bit from our garden. Spinach and lettuce. They both tasted like little bits of heaven the second you bit into them. I think this gardening bit is growing on me.

One month until I head to Colorado to be with some pretty remarkable ladies. Oh man am I excited about that. Especially because I’ve been wanting really badly to reach through the computer and give a few of them true (not just cyber) hugs.

The bigs are done with school next Monday. Littles finished preschool. I am busy scheduling dentist appointments, Kindergarten physicals, and other things we’ve been putting off far too long.

That’s it. Summer is starting and I couldn’t be more excited about that.

Tomas’s day

it’s done. Tomas’s ESL celebration went off without a hitch. He was beyond happy, the kids at school were excited to learn about his country (and most of them disliked injera, much to his shock and horror), and I was happy to be done with it.

The good news: I was able to let myself go at the end and not become overly ridiculous. The bad news: I had just enough time to snap a few photos before my camera ran out of batteries. Facepalm.

First, pics of the night before the big event!

The food. Ohmygoodness I love Ethiopian food.

The happy diners.

And the rather silly diner.

My pictures pre-battery dying of the celebration.

The table

When no one was looking I could find all of my kids stealing some of the injera.

It was good fun. My favorite part was seeing Tomas light up, definitely. My second favorite part was listening to Tomas tell the kids about each thing we brought and about little details from Ethiopia. I was so proud of him.

I need you to do this

go to Jody’s blog. Do exactly what she says.

I signed up my entire family (including kids!) today. It’s easy. It took 2 minutes because I did a pretty basic page.

Here’s the thing, I’m not asking for your money (though I’m sure The Adventure Project wouldn’t mind that ;)) I’m just asking for your time. Mere seconds of your time can do HUGE things to rural farmers in Africa.

Read more about that here.

But please do it. And if you need help, email me and I’ll help you set it up. There really are no excuses why you can be one of 1000. 


— House is clean after…a long time. It feels good. I was tempted to move into a hotel for the night just to make my hard work last more than 4 hours. Didn’t happen and right now there is a dirty footprint on my freshly mopped floors. Such is life!

–I’ve spent way too many hours thinking about this ESL celebration. I want it to go so well for Tomas. I know there are many deep seeded crazy reasons why I’m making such a big deal about this but I assure you they are all rooted in my deep love of this boy. And a deep love for the country that produced 3 of my sons. I get that the country itself can’t see my tribute to it, and I also get that the special people in the country can’t see how hard I’m trying to honor their sacrifice, but for some reason that hasn’t stopped me from trying as hard as I can to do it anyway.

–I bought some injera from an Ethiopian man who lives about 45 minutes away. I asked him if he’d make us dinner for tonight too (I obviously paid him) since I was driving all of that way. Tomas cried when he saw the injera. And then he hugged Dawit and told him he was the best cooker ever. The Ethiopian food tasted so good. I felt totally ashamed at how bad I’ve been at making/buying this connection to their culture. Shame on me, seriously.

–Went to the pool tonight. Summer is almost here. June 3rd is our last day of school. I’m wanting the kids home with me now. They are so much fun. I miss them. Ready to see more of them.

Stay tuned for these 3 boys tomorrow. There will be pictures of them in their traditional Ethiopian garb and, probably, pictures of masses of girls (and some boys) throwing themselves at my adorable sons. And how could they not?

Dailah’s preschool graduation

I’m aware it’s a perfunctory part of having kids, the preschool graduation. Doesn’t change the fact that I cried when I saw my wee girl in her cap and gown. Doesn’t change the fact that I was super proud that she spent the last year making some beautiful pictures and singing some beautiful songs. Doesn’t change the fact that I’m nervous as hell to send her to Kindergarten, and be without my faithful sidekick every day. Doesn’t change the fact that I think she’s the most beautiful girl in the world.

Had some time to take some fun ones too.

Why does he look 20 here?

Same question for this guy.

These two are absolute besties.

They dance.

And they make quick getaways.

Awesome day.

Our school

I know I’ve mentioned here many times how great the school that we ended up at, rather by accident, truly is. I know I’ve said it because sometimes I just can’t get over how lucky we are to have stumbled there.

For the last 2 weeks Tomas has been talking about an ESL (English as a Second Language) celebration. Yesterday the ESL teacher called me to discuss details about said ESL celebration.

On Tuesday night they have invited parents of the school to come learn more about the different cultures that are represented at the school. Wednesday during the day the entire school gets to check it out. Awesomesauce? I think so.

The teacher asked us if we’d bring everything we had that represented Ethiopia. She asked lots of questions about the culture, about some of the food and drink staples, etc. I told her we’d bring all of our goodies. As well as some injera and some Ethiopian coffee.

Got in touch with a local Ethiopian who will be making all of the injera for me (just until I get my injera making pan, then it’s all me!) and it looks like we might be all set.

Oh my Tomas, he is SOOOO excited. So excited to tell everyone about Ethiopia, show them a major part of who he is. So we’re going all out on this one. (Tariku is also excited, as he gets to stand at the Ethiopia table too but he is not in the ESL program).

Because that’s huge to us. A school that celebrates the differences? Doesn’t happen all of the time.

Be prepared for copious amounts of pictures and love espousing on Tuesday and Wednesday. It could get all kinds of ridiculous here at hotflawedmama.

This weekend

Had a lot of fun with some very good friends. We planned this trip to my parents’ lakehouse months ago. It was perfect timing because Zach could come (camp season starts soon) as could everyone else. Bad timing because it was freezing and we couldn’t get in the water. C’est la vie! Nothing stops this crowd from having fun though.

We walked in Friday night and got to cooking. These people can cook! I’m fairly certain I’m the one who loves cooking the least but eating the most. Because of that, they let me be the “guacamole tester”. I love gauc. Actually I’m obsessed with it. Bruce makes amazing guac, so does Chrissy. Chrissy suggested a guac-off and I agreed-so long as I could be the judge. In the end I couldn’t judge, mostly because I was in a guacacoma.

The kids were arguably more excited about the weekend than the adults.

The boys room.

The girls room (Dailah was soooooo excited to have more girls! She calls the Berger sisters her sisters and they let her. They are so unbelieveably precious together.)

In the morning we ate some eggs and other goodies. We had weird seating arrangements. Like the tallest man (6’7″) next to the shortest young man (3’3″).

It was a little chilly so Bruce grabbed his daughter’s shawl and threw it on him. Loved it.

That night we made some homemade pizzas and various grilled veggies. Holy smokes. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. One of my favorite concoctions ever would be the squash/potato/onion combo. This time we added zuccini (per my sister’s recommendation) and it was well received.

The Bergers and I own Ninjas. If you don’t have this blender/food processor/drink maker/best thing ever you need to get one. This is the newest version, the Bergers got it to surprise us for the weekend. We made many things in it, pizza dough was the first. Notice the sense of wonder in the men’s eyes.

After the dough was Ninja-ed we had to roll out it out. Ann (married to Bruce) took on the task. She’s small. So she needed a stool.

Margaritas were also made. And consumed. And daaaaang they were delicious.

There was also some leg wrestling going on. I lost. But after further review of the pictures it turns out Chrissy cheated. There will be a rematch.

Our men are amazing. They cooked, they cleaned and they did dishes. This is what it looks like when a 6’7″ man does dishes. He has to squat the entire time so as not to throw out his back. Who knew?

And we took really cold boat rides.

These people. Oh my. They are some of the greatest friends I have ever known. I can hardly believe how blessed I am to have them in my life. God is good, so, so good.

Day in the life

Every year the blogs go crazy with insight into the daily lives of their writers/families. Can I tell you it’s one of my favorite times? I love being a voyeur into some of my favorite blogger’s lives. So here’s mine. I was actually only supposed to take a picture every hour but I like pictures so some hours I took lots, some I didn’t take any. I’m a rule breaker, what can I say?

No idea why this is now centering but onward we go. Alarm goes off at 6:20am. I’m actually up at 6:10 thinking about all I have to do today. Go downstairs to get the big 3 ready for school. Pack lunches, halfass-ly look for the camera and don’t find it so you’ll have to take my word for it. 3 lunches packed, 3 beautiful boys loaded into the car. Drop them off at bus come back to the house. Notice the camera was left in the car. Pull some weeds in our garden.
Back into the house we go where I prepare myself. 
Wake up littles, lay out their clothes and go downstairs to get breakfast started. They are taking awhile so I throw in some laundry.
Littles are still taking forever so I start packing some bags for this weekend at the lakehouse.
While preparing some homemade quiche Cheerios and OJ I read a few pages of this book that I can’t put down. Highly recommended.
Full bellies, cancer fighting Vitamin C consumed, littles go off to play and I do too. Though, my “play” is different. It consists of reading blogs/facebook and catching up on some DVR (Biggest Loser).
Feed these beautiful dogs.
Notice these two are looking particularly beautiful.
Zach rises and shines and we have coffee together (one of my favorite parts of every day). Ignore his facial expression, this is one of his favorite parts too.
Load up the car with the littles and various bags. Punch in my favorite new CD.
20 minutes later and we’re at preschool. Drop off kids and I’m free my day actually begins.
Meet my mom at a grocery store to buy goodies for this weekend at the lakehouse.
Stop by a clothing store to see if I can find some clothes that fit me for summer. Managed to find a few things that will a) not show my booty and/or girl parts, b) cover any and all remaining signs of past pregnancies. All important.
Arrive at the North YMCA to teach my Bodyflow class. 
Meet my mom, brother, sister-in-law and niece at a Mexican restaurant. Convince myself a mango-rita is necessary. As is a cheese enchilada. 
Papa Frank drops off the littles. He had picked them up from preschool and taken them to McDonalds. They are thrilled and hyped up. We decide that’d be the perfect scenario to take them to the mall.
Leave the mall (and my kids with my mom) to pick up the bigs from school. They greet me with enthusiasm that I didn’t know I needed until it came.
After picking up Trysten’s hat (pictured above) from a restaurant he left it at on Tuesday, we meet my family back at the mall and hang for a bit.
Go to my sister Kara’s for a little rest time.
Head to drop Tomas and Tariku off at their baseball game (where Papa Frank will be taking good care of them). After drop off the littles, Trysten and myself take off for school where Trysten will be amazing the community with his talents. 
Get to the school. They are selling pizza and pop. We buy lots of that. These two think it’s the best.
Take our seats. To combat my nerves on behalf of Trysten I take pictures of some of the people I love.
And then it started. Not soon after it was time for Trysten. Being his mom I saw all of his little nervous ticks. Being his mom I beamed the second he started speaking into his mic.
And giggled nervously, chewed my nails and wiped the tears as he wowed us with his robot skills.
Concert done. Time to thank our tribe. We have the very best tribe.
But then I got selfish and wanted a picture of my very favorite robot dancing 8-year-old with his ridiculously proud mama.
Dailah wanted a picture with proud mama too and Bini does as Dailah does so in they both came.
I claimed the concert such a success it was worthy of an ice cream outing. Papa Frank brings Tomas and Tariku to meet us (after an astounding baseball victory).
With all of my kiddos under my wing again we arrive home. Daddy wants to watch the tape of Trysten’s performance, so do Tomas and Tariku. Round of applause ensues. Quick clothes changes, bathroom trips and teeth brushed. Bedtime. Rushed bedtimes, my least favorite.
Watch a little Survivor with my favorite man.
Lay down in bed


Tariku (front/2nd base), Tomas (somewhere back/around center and right…tough to say with my Tomas). They are soooo cute. And could Tariku look anymore like Ozzie Smith with his little afro under the hat?

Trysten preparing for a grounder.

Meanwhile, these two were the epitome of cute.

The aunties (and baby cousin) came to cheer the boys on.

Binyam found some ladies. Ladies love them some Binyam.

Oh, there was batting too. Trysten.

Tomas. Look at his concentration (and squat!). Too cute.

My “Choochie boochie” Tariku.

Tonight the boys have a baseball game and Trysten has his role in the school’s music program. We are having someone video the game and someone video the music program. I have a gut feeling this is only going to get worse.