This weekend one of Zach’s oldest buddies came over with his daughter. Before he left he called Zach and asked him if he should bring his clippers. Since Tomas didn’t comb his hair all week while at camp, Zach thought it’d be a good idea.

So Cory brought his clippers and set up a barbershop on our front porch. Tomas before.

Tomas during

And Tomas after. He looks so old so brace yourselves.

While the boys were cutting hair I took the kiddos, and Cory’s ridiculously beautiful daughter, swimming. She is seriously beautiful.

That inspired Zach to cut Binyam’s hair as well. Well…it wasn’t so much Zach that noticed, it was just that when Binyam walked out of his room this morning he looked like this:

 You question me?

So yeah it was time. Zach set the barbershop mood with some music.

Put on his favorite shirt of mine and got to work.

I was amazed at the difference in Binyam’s hair (left) and Tomas’s (right).

And after. Settle down, ladies.

Tariku said, in no uncertain terms, “hail no you aren’t cutting my hair”. Trysten said “I’m not cutting mine until I’m in 4th grade” (he’s just going into 3rd). And Dailah begged Zach to cut hers. We stuck with these two first.

Love them.

They are home

right now all of my babies are slumbering peacefully under our roof and I just couldn’t be happier about that.

I’ve had the flu for a few days…not the way I wanted to spend “The week of Tesi” but it was what it was. The boys are home and the sounds of their voices has put a salve on my rather irritable belly.

The littles and I headed up to the lodge early so that I could get front row. I needed to see the bigs, badly. That meant we were there early, so we entertained ourselves by taking pictures.

Then Doozie turned the camera on her ‘rents.

Then they were the first ones to come in. They were beaming..or maybe it was just the reflection off my beam. (Trysten is holding up his patch, Tomas is hiding behind him).

Bad picture of Tariku but you get the idea.

Their cabin got up and did a little song and dance. I know I’m partial but I’m pretty certain mine were the cutest. (PS the other white kid on the far left with the green shirt is not mine. He looks like he could be, but I assure you my kids end with Tariku).

Here with their counselors, Keys and Nacho. Trysten has had Nacho for the last 3 years. Nacho is amazing. I cannot say enough good things about him.

I had to get a picture of them 1) being cute and 2) being nasty. Seriously, can you smell them from your computer screen? Because you probably could if you really tried.

And look at me. I’d been dealing with flu symptoms for the last few days. Can you even tell here? Man, I love them.

I cannot stress enough how great a good camp can be for kids.

Trysten got a chance to just be a kid. Before I dropped him off I told him “I don’t want you to be responsible for your brothers. I don’t want you to be the oldest kid, I just want you to be a kid. I want you to have fun and meet new friends.” Trysten reported that he wore socks only one day. He only wore 2 of his 6 pairs of shorts I sent with him. He didn’t brush his teeth at all and he showered every day…by swimming in the pool. That, my friends, is all boy. Trysten also reported that when he got to the cabin he did not act responsible for his brothers at all.

Trysten got the patch for exhibiting the core value of “Caring”. His note from his counselor said, “Trysten was a joy to have in the cabin, although at times, he was a bit competitive with his peers. He was always curious and ready to try a new activity.” Which, for anyone who knows Trysten, knows this explains him to a T.

Tomas got to be in an environment with a bunch of other kids and a few caretakers. A situation that undoubtedly reminded him of the care center he was in for a year and a half. The difference this time being that he had a family who loved him waiting for him on the other side. The difference this time was that he knew the caretakers were temporary. Tomas appeared to have worn everything we gave him….through mud and water and possibly horse manure. His bag smelled the worst. Tomas didn’t comb his hair the entire week and after his shower tonight he was wincing while combing. Tariku looks at him, shrugs his shoulders, “Sorry dude.” Brothers.

Tomas got the “respect” patch. His note from his counselors said, “Tomas was awesome to have in the cabin.” Anyone who knows Tomas knows that sometimes it’s as simple as that. He’s a freaking joy to have around.

Tariku I was most nervous about. He’s young for overnight camp. As I’ve mentioned many times here, when his schedule gets off he gets all kinds of scared and exhibits it in any number of ways. When he’s tired he cries. A lot. Over nothing. But he did really well. I watched as he clearly took care of some of the kids in his cabin (picking up their backpacks, filling up their water bottles). I also watched as he got to spend time in water sports where surely his natural prowess for all athletics made him feel good. When I saw him tonight he looked at least 2 years older. When I tucked him into bed he started crying that he just wanted to go to camp for another week and be with his friends….he was asleep 1 minute later.

Tariku also got the “respect” patch. His note read, “Tariku was enjoyable to have, although he had a tendency to play rough with his cabin mates. He was always positive and we hope to see him soon!” Yup, they have him pegged too. There was also lots of talk about he and Tomas struggling if they didn’t win…which is so true. Tariku reeeeeeeally hates to lose. My babe.

So proud of the boys. So proud of the young men they are becoming. So happy they are home and that they are mine.

Happy Birthday Dailah Leagh

Yesterday was my one and only daughter’s birthday. She turned 5. She goes by a lot of names around here “Dobadays” “Doozie” “Doozie booz” “Dailah Leagh a chicksapea”, etc. And at any given time, these can be used to describe her perfectly.

We woke the Dobadays up singing Happy Birthday, as we always do. Once I saw that she was hiding from my camera she immediately became Doozie.

Knowing her as well as we do, Zach and I decided we’d let her have a little time with just us before we woke up Binyam (the bigs were still at camp). Her favorite place? The counter as I put my make up on for the day.

For her birthday breakfast she chose super sugar-y cereal. Also known as Cap’t Crunch knock offs.

On this morning, despite it being her birthday, I had to pawn her off on Prancer. Zach was working and I had a class to teach so Prancer “volunteered” to drop she and Binyam off at camp. Zach works with some really amazing people. This one specifically I’ve had the pleasure of befriending over the years. Good people.

When I picked Binyam and the bday girl up early from camp she wanted to change into “a birthday outfit”. When I asked to take a picture this is what she did. Doozie.

My parents drove the 2 hours to come see her on her birthday. They also came bearing gifts. This cookie is actually called “The Doozie” in the store. It had to be hers, no?

What’s a girl like Dailah love doing almost more than anything else? Manis and Pedis, obvi. So off we went to a nail salon. Myself, mom, my sister and sister-in-law, neice and Binyam. Of course Binyam. Oh boy do I love her.

Dobadays has lots of people who love her.

This is the picture that was supposed to be cute, “oh look, mom and daughter sharing a pedicure tub, precious” but instead it looks like I’m trying to birth her again. Weird.

The bday girl chose blue for her fingernails and purple for her toenails. Great choices.

Doozie booz chose The Corner Grill for her dinner venue…because they serve the kids meals on frisbees (that they then get to keep). While there she got a call from her aunt Kait who lives in Japan. She was super excited about it. Unfortunately I think she may have learned this from me.

Doozer has generous grandparents. Very generous grandparents.

I happen to love this picture because it’s Zach and his mini me. The eyelashes, the bronzed skin, the beauty, oh my!

These two might fight to be the first to buy her a car on her 16th. They love her like crazy. Grandpas, the very best.

These two love her like crazy too but will never buy her a new car on her 16th. They might not be the best but they try to be every day.

And these people? Well…not much I can say about them that hasn’t been said. It takes a village, it really does.

 Dailah is smart and hilarious, she is sweet and spunky, she is playful and endearing. She gives the most amazing hugs and every night asks for a little snuggle time.

Dailah would stay up late and sleep in late if it were up to her (that would be her dad’s genes). If she has your ear, she will ask you 20 questions just to learn more about you and more about the world. Dailah never accepts simple answers when she thinks there is more to it. Don’t try telling her the easy answer, you’re not getting off so easily.

Dailah loves sugar, chocolate and carbs. She really dislikes every veggie and most fruits. Once when she tried a SmartDog, she asked me why I was making her eat dog poop. No. joke.

She continues to love all things girly. Make up, lotion, perfume, accessories, etc. But she’ll also be the first one to kill a spider when she sees it. She helps daddy take dead mice off the traps. Shudder.

Truth be told, she is everything I can remember wanting to be as I got older…in a 5-year-old’s body. God help me if I don’t pray every day that she keeps her strength, her determination, her love of life, her wit. (God also help me if I don’t pray every day that I wake up with her eyelashes, but that’s neither here nor there).

I love this girl. In the deepest recesses of my body I love her. I’m so thankful for the 5 years we’ve had and the lifetime still to go.

I call her my angel, because she was the first after our miscarriage. When I wasn’t sure if life ever got really good again, she came along. She saved me from that darkness. 5 years ago she came out and went straight into the NICU and I remember that first night sleeping mere minutes. I just kept staring at her. And I prayed over and over, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” That’s all that came out the first night with her…and every night since.

Love you, baby girl.

and then there were two

the bigs took off for resident camp this week. I realize they’ll be spending the night mere feet from our house, but that didn’t lessen their excitement one bit.

I was actually excited for them as well. Lately they’ve been getting a little bored at home and I thought this was the perfect way to feed their need for constant movement. Plus, I wholeheartedly believe that every kid should go to camp. Especially these:

These two get to go to day camp this week as well. If you do math as well I as I do you’ll surmise that I will be kidless this week. I will admit to being fairly excited about this fact. My to-do list is pages long.

It took but a few minutes from the time I dropped the bigs off for me to gain new energy. Keeping up with 5 kids is different than 2, even if it’s only mental from time to time. So with my new vigor I harvested our rather happy (finally some rain!) garden.

And got to work on 4 loaves of zucchini bread. Zach dropped by and asked if I needed some help. He decided he would peel the zucchini. Notice zucchini placement. Perv.

And this picture? Well she was just too cute. The last few months she’s decided to pick out her outfits herself.  I love that Dailah has her own style that is so uniquely her own. I just go with it. Today’s was actually “normal”, I can assure you it’s not always.

a sampling

of my grocery list. Please guess which ones are for me and which ones are for Zach:

-whiffle balls
-panini bread
-ground walnuts
-sunflower seeds
-Frank’s hot sauce
-Soy milk

I freaking love that man. Regardless of the fact that he just asked me if I’m going to be growing my armpit hair out now.

Hotflawedmama as dancing porn star?

Last night I get a Facebook message from Cathy:

“We are playing Dance Party on the Xbox and one of the Avatars is you…if you were a porn star.”

I had just one question.

“And how awesome of a dancer am I as a porn star?”

She replied.

“You freaking rock, it’s Lily’s favorite fly girl.”

And somehow that made me feel good.

That somewhere in an alternate universe I am a fantastic porn star-turned fly girl.

On Drought and what to do about it

Here’s the thing about me. I hate when people complain about something and then do nothing about it. I’m not always the best kind of friend to “just listen”. If you bring a problem to me, I typically want to either solve it for you or force you to solve it yourself. I don’t know what it is about me that’s like that.

That’s how I feel about this drought. This drought that is affecting my kids’s families as well as millions of other brothers and sisters in East Africa. On our iPad my husband has it so that when breaking news happens it gives us a little bell noise. Since I subscribe to many different news outlets related to Africa the iPad has been a tooting with news of this drought. The one that’s worse than the one in the 80s. When pop stars wrote songs about it.

This is one of those times that my words just aren’t coming. I have no doubt, though, that we got our tax refund back just in time. That it was meant to help this situation. I hope you’ll agree on that (with your own money, that is). 🙂

They said it better (this might be an ongoing list when other well spoken women weigh in on the subject).

Rebekah-she also has ways to help linked on this post, the same organizations I would urge you to support!!!


Blueberry’s mom

On Camping

for the last year or so Zach will randomly talk about how he wants to start camping. Since he knows me and knows I’m not what people would call a “camper” I figured he had come up with a clever euphemism for sex.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. He was talking about camping. Like the pitch the tent (again, not talking about sex), sleep on the earth kind of camping.

I wasn’t thrilled about this for any number of reasons, especially after my most fabulous weekend when Courtney said she didn’t like camping because of “bears, mountain lions, and murderers“. Yeah that didn’t help. Even though Courtney is funny, skinny, beautiful and smart (these being reasons I generally don’t trust a person) there was something in her eyes that made me believe she had legit reasons to be scared of those things.

Alas, I could look into these eyes no longer and say no. And can you blame me? mmmmm

I agreed to take a family “vaca” this fall. A camping “vaca”. Lawd help me. Today we decided to get our equipment, including a bigger tent.

The kids have been so excited about the new tent and the thought of going camping. None as excited as Tomas, though, and when I told Zach that Tomas was most thrilled Zach says, rightly so, “That’s how Tomas approaches everything in life. With complete and total excitement.” So. freaking. true. Tent set up, check. Kids break dancing in said tent? Check.

I’ll be the first to admit that one of the only reasons I agreed to our camping expedition was for the new socks and shoes. I’ve been campaigning for SmartWool socks for something close to a year. And if mama’s gonna be a camper, mama might as well be a hiker. I think I look like a camper/hiker here, no?

In all actuality I’m rather excited for this weekend in end of August when I take 4 Zanax pack up the car with what will certainly be too much stuff and venture out into the wild. New shoes and all. Wish us luck with all things, but most especially the murderers.

This morning

I woke up earlier than everyone else per usual. I had gotten a pretty exciting phone call on Tuesday letting us know our tax refund was going to be released by Friday (most adoptive parents claiming the adoption tax refund were “audited” as it were, we were stuck in that for these last months). As both Zach and I are the “we’ll believe it when we see it” kind of people, we checked our account every 15 minutes hour.

This morning at 6:35am it was there. I waited until 7:30 to wake Zach up and deliver the good news.

Then at about 8:30 we sat down in his office and paid bills.

All of them. Cars, school loans, doctors, all of them.

It means one thing.


A huge day for us. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been mentioned here before that Zach and I were a little reckless with our finances when first starting out as a married couple with (then) 2 incomes.

Since coming home from Ethiopia, everything changed. What the hell were we doing trying to keep up with the Joneses? And who the hell are the Joneses anyway?

It was then that we created a pretty strict budget and, more or less, have stuck with it (and even made it stricter from time to time!) for the last 4 years. We whittled down a lot of our past mistakes and gave little toasts to each big bill we paid off.

Today, was just that multiplied. Writing “paid in full” on some of our larger bills? Oh my.

Nothing exciting happening since getting out of debt. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we now no longer want stuff just to have stuff and now is the first time in our married lives when we can afford stuff.

I know people don’t like to talk about money, I know that. But I’m doing it today to let you know that if you’re in over your heads, it’s not impossible to get out. Believe that. If we can do it, so can you, I promise. But it’s going to take so much work, and probably a lot of time. You let me know and I’ll pray for you, I’ll support you and I’ll love you through it.

Cuz it’s so worth it. Holy cow is it worth it. I’ve been debt free for 12 hours and I’m quite convinced I’ll sleep pretty well tonight.


Good stuff

this week’s been crazy busy. Learning new stuff for my classes (and re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) has really left little time to blog.

But I’ve still been reading some amazing stuff. This woman is on a roll with a really amazing series on caring for the poor, etc.

So read every link from the first to the most recent.

Go here. Tell me what you think.

I’ll see you after I successfully launch my classes and come out from under the covers after watching Harry Potter.