My Binyam. Oh my Binyam. A few weeks ago he got his full leg casts off and traded them for the under the knee variety. We got our first look at his feet post surgery and they looked amazing!

Binyam before. How much do you love his Halloween casts?

His tiny little legs with his surprisingly big feet!!!

And the close up. Amazing!

You want a comparison? Here you go.

God I love him.

There really aren’t words in this language to perfectly describe Binyam’s strength and courage. There just aren’t. But he is amazing. He’s been walking in his short casts since the day he got them on (despite getting 6″ pins removed from his feet).

Yesterday he was doing wind sprints in them.

Any more surgeries? I don’t know the answer to that for sure. His left foot looks perfect, his right still has a small turn in. I’m guessing we won’t know for sure for a few months once Binyam is fully recovered and has worn his corrective shoes for awhile. For my laymen’s eye (or mama’s eye, as it were) I think they look beautiful and perfect. I’m praying for no more surgeries. Perhaps you could join us. Look at that face, he deserves a break does he not?

Last weekend

we took a little hike with Leslie and her family through one of our local parks. It was a beautiful day, the perfect day really, to be hiking. When we sat down to dinner over the fire I commented that it was the kind of day I dreamed about when they lived in Chicago. I’d always wanted my kids to have close relationships with their cousins. Watching them together at the park reassured me all of those guilt trips I gave Jake and Leslie were worth it, our kids are great friends.

These two have the most amazing relationship. More on that later.

Binyam was still struggling with his walking casts. This meant that Zach and I (mostly Zach) carried that 50lb boy the entire hike. It was not easy but it was worth it because dang if that kid isn’t too cute.

Doozie got to walk my mother-in-law’s dog most of the hike which was a legit dream come true for her.

Just another moment where I push encourage her to do something she was scared poopless about.

Not much fear in this guy. Hilarious.

We all love Sinta. And how could you not, really?

My Bean, he’s such a great sport.

Of course there were glamourshots. There always are, aren’t there?


This party is upon us. I’m actually really, really excited. Seeings this is my 3rd time at this, the organization is fairly basic. A lot of my email to past supporters look like this,

“Hey! It’s that time of year again. Thanks for helping us the last two, would you consider a 3rd?”

Thankfully every time the responses have been some variation of,

“Of course! Would love to!”

This year will look a little different. We’ll be trying a new (still local) brand of wine. Instead of selling a bunch of painted Africas we are asking artists to paint/sculpt/jewel in their specific medium. I’m so excited about the prospects!

It will still be in the ridiculously amazing venue, still amazing desserts and awesome music (one of the bands who will be playing will feature a man I get to sleep next to every night. Hearing his “band” practice has been ridiculously thrilling these last few weeks).

My rather talented sister-in-law has some fun stuff up her sleeve as well. You’ll want to be there to see just what that is.

Most importantly, there will be wells built by this party. So far, just over $20,000 has been raised at these parties alone. The Quad Cities is alive with people who are passionate about our brothers and sisters around the world.
And that excites me. In inspires me and it rejuvenates me. 
There is no shortage of good causes in this world. We all know that. Water is vital and regardless of anything else, that remains true.

Every year around this time of year water is talked about even more than usual at our house. This is the first time Tomas has understood the discussion. When we were driving home a few weeks ago the subject was brought up again. Tomas’s history has so much to do with water. He remembers fetching it from a very early age. He remembers the headaches, the back aches, everything about it. When he was relaying another story about it I turned to him and said, “That’s why I do this Tomas, so no other kids like you have to fetch water that is so far away and so heavy and so dirty that it could make them sick…or worse.”

He started to cry then whispered, “Thank you, mommy, it means so much.”

One look into his eyes and my passion for this is renewed, my determination abounds. Regardless of how much money is raised this year I know in the end that I did everything I could to be able to look into that boys eyes and feel worthy of his love.

So please join us. If you can’t come to the party, consider donating to the cause. On this website there is the invite to the event or if you want more information feel free to email me at


Week in photos

I literally have a list 6 deep of blog posts I need to write about. The last few months have been spent reorganizing my priorities and I realized just how “plugged in” I had become. Almost to the detriment of my real life relationships. The relationships I’ve built online have been amazing, life giving sources for me but I found it smarter to delve into the relationships right in front of me a bit more. And it has been wonderful. But I’ve missed this little blog and the people I get to read about on their blogs, etc. So if you notice I’m gone for awhile, nothing sinister is amiss, more than likely it has everything to do with the pretty remarkable family and friends I’ve surrounded myself with. Or the big party I’m planning, yeah it could have something to do with that too. More on that later.

Lots of bloggers do the week in photos and since I’ve gotten the new iPhone with such a great camera on it, I’ve been having fun taking pictures of everyday moments that I’m thankful I’ve documented. So that’s what these posts will be.

As noted, we got the iPhone. Zach has been amazing at helping me set up all the apps, clouds and all other things that made no sense to be before.

Last soccer games of the season for the big 4. Tomas excelled in soccer. He really, really did. And he loved it. Look at his face, come on.

Tariku scored his first goal last week and this week it was Trysten’s turn. He was super excited.

Shockers of all shockers, Dailah also scored her first goal. For a girl who previously spent 1 quarter playing actual soccer and the other 3 quarters holding hands of coaches and teammates, this was a surprise. A rather cute one, but a surprise nonetheless.

My niece Adley Sue met us for lunch and then we took off for camp where I took pictures of my side of the family for my mom’s Christmas card. Ridiculous adorableness ensued.

My family is freakin’ amazing. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record on that, but really. When Binyam was in surgery my mom tore out what probably felt like an acre of weeds. Then this weekend she bought some edging stuff and we grabbed some mulch and voila. Workhorses. Love them for that.

Dailah saved up enough money over the last few years to buy herself a DS and a girl game. She was super thrilled. The DS is pink and the game she bought is “Pinkalicious”. Oy.

I gave a water presentation at our church. That church is amazing. We love it more and more every day. So, so thankful for them. It went well and they are very excited about the party…more on that later. 😉

I went out in public looking like this. *shudder*

Been working with my Bodystep group. In 2 weeks we launch all new moves and music. This requires me to learn 3 hours worth of choreography. Add to that the party (have I mentioned that?) and various other considerations and I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed at all that needs to be done.

Took Tariku’s hair out of his braids. He wanted an afro for his school pictures. I love how weird Einstein it looks when it’s right out of braids and combed out completely.

Dailah decided she wanted to put her old toddler bed on top of her big bed and sleep like that. Apparently there’s a princess in her dying to get out.

I know, I know

if you’re anything like me you feel like you’re the kind of person who wants to know everything about everything. You probably spend endless hours researching new ideas on new ideas and various websites on points of interest. Then you learn something that you find so revolutionary you almost wish you wouldn’t have read/watched it. Because if you act on what you know is true (and wrong) then a lot has to change in your cozy little life. And you look back and you think, “Dang that was nice when my head was buried in the sand just a few short minutes ago.” But you can’t put that information back. You can’t take it out of your head. If you’re like me you’ll probably lose a little sleep over it and then swear to take baby steps to improving your specific part of this world.

I’m only one little lady but I can still do all one little lady is capable of. In this case, I can tell you.

Halloween is a coming. This means Americans will spend a redonkuless amount of money on chocolate.

Rage Against the Minivan is one of my favorite bloggers. First she wrote this post. Which was pretty “yikes!”

But this post brought it home.

I know, I know, you didn’t click those links. Which is understandable. You came to check in with the 5 cutest kids in the world, the husband who pleases his little lady and the little lady herself but I need you to check those links out. It’s on my mind a lot lately and should be on your mind too. So if you’re at all interested in the goings on at hotflawedmama then you need to go there. Otherwise if you see me in the grocery store we just might not have anything to talk about. 🙂

Come back here and tell me what you think.

Pumpkin Patch

Last night we took off with our friends Matt, Angie and their daughter, Taylor, to the pumpkin patch near our house. We’d heard so many good things about it but had never gone. Turns out it was just an overpriced bust, if you ask me. No matter, the kids couldn’t care less. Tariku ended up with hay in his hair, Binyam had grass stains on his casts, Trysten’s allergies were on overdrive, Dailah ended up with a “baby” (pumpkin) and Tomas got to be as loud as he wanted in the great outdoors. Nothing bust about that.

Plus we got lots of great pictures, which makes mama super happy.

Apparently you could pay $3/person to take a legit ride in this goat cart but we thought instead we’d keep the goat grounded and take a picture for free.

Animals love Binyam. They love licking his toes most of all. Our dogs, the cat, they all love them some Binyam. This cow wanted to come home with him. He wasn’t such a fan.

Our Doozie Boozie

Tomas-ay and his fake smile.

Trysten and his real smile.

I was there. Really, I was!

It was beautiful out. I don’t care what you people say in the “big city” Iowa is God’s land, man. It’s America. 😉 But really, it’s been absolutely beautiful out. Last night was no exception.

Poor Binyam. Couldn’t go in the straw maze, couldn’t go/do many things. But we dragged his wheel chair in the solar maze (which we actually got kicked out of, whoops) and anywhere else we could go. Zachary, being the best dad he is, helped Binyam pick out his pumpkin.

Tariku. Loved this picture, his real (beautiful) smile.

Just another shot of the quintessential American back drop.

Zach and I had to apologize to the Matt and Angie for the rather lame pumpkin patch. Matt made the best comment when he said, “It’s never about what you’re doing, it’s always about the company you keep.”

And it was true. We’ve been very lucky to get to know Matt and Angie more and more these last few months. So blessed by their friendship.

Regardless, we now have 5 pumpkins gracing our porch. There’s something pretty cool about that for me.

Vegetable Pot Pie

I must admit I’m a leeeetle embarrassed so many of you asked for my vegetable pot pie recipe. For many reasons, really, but mostly because it’s easy. And not at all good for you. And I found it on this site.

So if you came here for something revolutionary, you’ve come to the wrong place.

But if you’re anything like me and sometimes have just a few minutes to whip up dinner and really hate the idea of your second or third pizza night of the week, then this recipe is for you. If you have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, this recipe is not for you.

I doubled the recipe for the 5 kids and me. We had nothing left. Truth be told I could’ve tripled it and I have no doubts that would’ve been gone too. Also, because I’m lazy, I skipped the egg bit. Who are we fooling with the egg brushed on top? Seriously.


  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (9 inch) frozen prepared pie crusts, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine potato soup, mixed vegetables, milk, thyme, and black pepper.
  3. Spoon filling into bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, and crimp edges to seal. Slit top crust, and brush with beaten egg if desired.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

the interwebs

I am constantly surprised at the things I learn from this internet. The people I “meet”, the people I fall in love with, the things that move me, motivate and inspire me, etc. Today alone, I actually quit sipping my wine to process and receive so many great blogs I read. I thought the only way I could share with you and discuss is by connecting you to them.

Amanda just had a really great post on something horrifying going on in our world. Amanda, in case you’re new to hotflawedmama, traveled with us to pick up her son Teshome when we picked up Tariku. I’ve known her for the better part of 4 years and she, like my wine tonight, keeps getting better with age. Love her.

This woman loves espressos and Jesus, need I say more? No but seriously, I love her blog. She just had a great post on attachment that I’m currently chewing on. I’m horrible with band aids. Literally, I’m scrooge. Our rule in this family is, “If it’s not bleeding, you don’t get those $4 bandaids.” I’m currently rethinking this logic.

This blog I just came across tonight because it was linked up on one of my regular’s blogs. I love the way she wrote about her new babes. It reminds me of something we heard a lot when Binyam was having surgery on his feet or when people noticed his feet, “Did you know he had club feet before you adopted him.” “Um, yes, sir/ma’am, I did. This says nothing of me other than the fact that I wanted this kid as my son so freakin’ badly. Selfishly I wanted that smile to greet me every morning, can you blame me?”

Her blog I’ve been a little obsessed with for awhile. Tonight the last line of her blog is, “Only God can turn a glow stick into grace.” Not sure it gets much better than that.

Last night we were at the wedding of a good family friend. The kids look forward to weddings because they just love to dance. Who doesn’t? Binyam is still in his wheelchair because of his full leg casts but that didn’t stop him. I dare say there was no one on that dance floor who was happier than he was. Binyam was spinning himself around, shaking his head to and fro, doubled over in laughter. It was amazing.

Tonight at dinner he was eating when Mitigu crawled up his lap and started licking his lips. After Binyam pushed Mitigu down he was just laughing. Which got the other kids laughing. Soon Dailah yelled, “Binyam has happy tears!” and he did.

The thing about Binyam is I’ve never seen the face of God the way I see it in my son. Here is a boy who has gotten the shit kicked out of him by life yet still finds every moment of life deserving of celebration. Binyam is full of grace and love and joy and hilarity and

Tonight as I put him down to sleep I cradled his head so he’d look me in the eyes, “I love you Binyam-ay.” After his big smile, “I wuv you mommy.” Then he threw his casts around my hips, arms around my neck and lifted. A full body hug that proved life is ridiculously delicious and ridiculously good.