Family Pics 2011

Today we set out for parts unknown to try to capture good pictures of the family. I look forward to this time of year every year because I actually really enjoy photography. Also, I really love our family. Those two things makes these few hours a lot of fun. Zach actually does much of the picture taking. My responsibilities typically include choosing clothes, location, overall look, etc. This is one reason Zach and I make a pretty remarkable team. And our kids? Fuggettaboutit. Way too cute.

Our babes…


Saturday Papa Frank bought us tickets to the 200th anniversary of Barnum and Bailey Ringling Brothers Circus. It was Tomas and Binyam’s first time at the circus, which is always fun.

Tariku was literally on the edge of his seat the entire time.

Trysten was just waking up from his nap. He still plays with his hair when he’s tired…even during the Star Spangled Banner.

Dailah, who is facially expressive as it is, did not disappoint.

Tomas (no picture) smiled in awe, looked from adult to adult with eyes so big. He loved it.

Binyam, as mentioned previously, was over it almost just as soon as it started. Mimi Terre saved the day with some snuggles and hand ear muffs. It didn’t appear that he minded the treatment in the least.

Circus was good. I’m over the animals, can we just lose those all together please? The feats of strength, the flexibility and balance? Loved it.

Happy Birthday Binyam!

On August 31st our Binyam turned 5. Since I took kind of a self imposed hiatus from electronics lately (you notice?) I have just one picture from his day. Horrible.

But for breakfast he wanted donuts. So donuts he got. Chocolate, with chocolate milk to drink.

For lunch he wanted cereal. Chocolate puffs. So more chocolate he got.

For dinner he wanted (or his older siblings told him he wanted…tough to say) Casey’s pizza. Sausage and pepperoni for the kids. Cheese for the adults.

Aunt Kait called on Skype to sing our birthday boy a sweet sweet song.

Just thinking about this boy brings tears to my eyes.

He is sweet, he is funny, he is tough and loving. He is strong and smart and beautiful and full of life and joy.

The last few weeks while his older siblings were at school Binyam and I have been hanging out a lot. His language development has flourished, his confidence in his verbal abilities has gotten much stronger. It has been so fun to see him make huge strides in such a short amount of time.

Binyam gets over stimulated really easily. At his birthday he was virtually in a comatose state, the same could be said at the circus we went to a few days ago. I think so much of it has to do with his ability to feel. This guy runs around as if he isn’t wearing any skin. I love that about him, but it also makes it quite clear that he is vulnerable all of the time. Which is super hard as a parent.

Binyam starts school tomorrow. I’m going to miss all of our time together. But I’m thrilled for him. He’ll be in an environment that is ripe for learning, that knows exactly which needs of Binyam’s need met. I’m so excited for him.

Truly though, I learn so much from this little guy. If I can re-train myself to treat each moment with as much love and joy as he does, my life will be as big of a testament to love as his is. And that’s saying something huge.

Love you, Binyam-ay.

Splash landing

One of the best things about living in the same area for 7 years is that we get to see so much growth. Our community is growing and changing in some really awesome ways. 

A few weeks ago Zach and the kids stumbled upon a new splash landing park, of sorts, and decided we all needed to go back as a family. It is so much fun. It’s right next to the Mississippi River so the view is breathtaking and the kids run around for hours while Zach and I read and talk. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Boys for realz
Then Zach decided to do some Glamorshots (you remember those?)

But this was my favorite. I look so 80s rock n roll. I’ve struggled my whole life letting go of late 80s early 90s. I say this knowing I am not old enough to qualify that statement. I’m an old soul, can’t help it.
I tried turning the camera on Zach but he isn’t flexible enough to work with me. Also, he seemingly only has 2 faces. His smile and his poo face. Damn if I don’t love them both.

Then these two. Well these two looked so old that it took my breath away. Also, remarkably, they have the same body types. 


Soccer season is upon us. Binyam is out this season because his next surgery for his club feet is on September 14th. That leaves the other 4…on 3 teams. Trysten is on 1, Tomas and Tariku are on another and then Dailah is on the 3rd.

I played soccer for the majority of my life. In fact, I’m looking to join an adult club sometime soon as well. I love soccer. It’s been my favorite sport for as long as I can remember. So definitely watching my kids enjoy it makes my heart full.

Trysten loves being the goalie. I’m not quite sure why, usually he’s the kind of kid who gets bored if he’s not involved in every play of the game he’s playing. But something about it, he loves. I was actually surprised at how decent he was. He’s not what one might call “aggressive” but the first game found him diving for the ball and running out to get it. I was pleasantly surprised with his tenacity.

Dailah was on the big field for the first time this year. This girl cracks me up. Sometimes she’s running towards the ball being all aggressive and in it and then other times she’s sitting on the field talking to her friends. Kind of love that about her.

Tomas shocked the hell out of me, if you want to know the truth. For a guy who doesn’t always come across as “athletic” he was lovin’ it and was definitely more natural than at any other game he’s tried. He works hard, and he wants it so bad. Soccer is a sport that rewards those kinds of things. Plus, the kid is big. So when he comes at the other 1st/2nd graders full force they tended to just get out of the way. I loved it. Love him.

Tariku, well Tariku is a freak of nature, for lack of better term. This kid is so good at everything he does.  Soccer is no exception. He was everywhere. Everywhere. He has so much energy so midfield was the perfect place for him. That didn’t stop him from helping out everywhere else though either. Tariku loves sports. He lives and breathes them. I love seeing him so happy, so focused, so joyful.

Poor Binyam. He wanted to play so badly. Next season. Definitely next season.

After watching their first games I realized they are at the ages where it starts becoming more of a game as opposed to mob mentality. It inspired me to get more active in their soccer lives. So I took them outside to teach them a few of the basics. First a few explanations of the game.

Then, after noticing that they all kick with their toes (typical first way to kick) I showed the proper place to kick from. (What? Not all moms teach their kids soccer in a dress? Lame)

After various fun drills and just overall fun times, I showed them how they can practice “passing” to themselves. They thought I was super cool so that was an added bonus.

I am just enjoying this stage of parenting so much. When it feels less like survival and more like genuine enjoyment. Love it.