Hair cut

I seriously have no fewer than 5 drafts for this blog right now. But they are bigger issues so I’m ignoring them right now.

Got a hair cut last week. It was time. I used to always grow my hair out then chop it off and donate it. My hair grows incredibly fast so it seemed like a fairly easy way to make a small difference. Plus, I have never had a huge attachment to my hair. It’s always been a fun accessory for me, a way to try new looks and just go with whatever happens from my little experiments.

My girl Chrissy hooked me up with one of her friends who was really petty amazing. She listened, laughed, and did a great job.

I don’t have many pictures of it but voila! Here it is. The ponytail. That grosses me out for some reason.

When I walked into the house the kids yelled “You look like Trysten!” 9-yr-old boy was not exactly what I was going for but in hindsight I can see the resemblance.

Had our re-launch for the programs I teach at the Y this weekend. I’m still trying to figure out how to wear it when I work out and just every day. I wanted a little more rock star and less mom-ish so I’m still figuring it out.

Good times, good times.

New Year

I’m kind of one of those people who likes to show up fashionably late to parties.

Actually that’s not true at all, I hate being late to things (though with having 5 kids that is oft the case). That said, turns out I’m super late to the blog party that is “Welcome 2012!”

We had a pretty great New Years Eve. Zach’s siblings, parents and aunt came to our house where we ate, drank and let the kids have an awesome sleepover (adults had a pretty rad one too). I love these people and am so, so freaking blessed to be related to them.

Zach kept the classy factor up a notch with his tuxedo t-shirt. Look at that table. Oy!

Uncle Jake led the bigs in a rousing game of Monopoly.

Aunt Kait was home from Japan, we were so excited to see her. Especially because she always comes bearing awesome gifts. In this case super sweet chopsticks.

Got some cuddle time with my sister-in-law, Emily. πŸ™‚

We let the kids stay up pretty late (10pm). Like the last few years we toast with the kids to the new year. And then we have them tell us their favorite memory of the last year. It is always one of my favorite parts of the night. My kids (and nieces and nephews) are such tremendous blessings.

Look at them. Is your heart bursting?

The wonder non-twins. Just a few months apart these cousins look like siblings. This is one of my favorite pictures of the year.

My man.

I never actually make resolutions. I work in the fitness industry and tend to see a large number of people come pouring through the Y doors come January. Ever the optimist, my participants will tell you that I constantly believe this will be the year they all stay! Though a few do, the majority of the ones doing it for a new resolution quit come March and aren’t seen again until the next January.

It’s enough to make a woman realize there is no power in resolutions based on whimsy.

I have thought, more than ever, about what I want in the new year. 2011 was filled with some amazing highs and some incredible lows. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about it all.

But let me tell you I found suffering in greater amounts this year than I have perhaps ever. We had trials that we entered into quietly but with great fortitude and so I can say without hesitation

that 2011 was also the year that will be described by me as “full of grace”. I found forgiveness and reconciliation were not just words in a book I love but actual things. I never knew what those really felt like until this year.

And it.is.amazing.

I enter 2012 feeling more like myself than ever before. Feeling freer to be who I am and have always been but probably never felt free to share. We all have masks, don’t we? Boy I lived for my masks.

Not anymore. I realized this year those masks are only helpful if I’m not a person worth knowing. But I am. That took a lot of work realizing that. But I know it now.

So this year I don’t resolve to be more myself because it’s the new year, I resolve to be more like myself because I have a husband who loves the whole of me. I have kids who saw through my masks even before I let them go. I have friends and family who love even the darkest parts of me. And I have a God who looks at me like I look at my kids. With absolute adoration.

Knowing all of this, how could 2012 not be the best year yet?

Melkam Gena and holy injera!

About a year (maybe 10?) this lady sent me this book:

Mama has been too scared to even try it, let me just tell you. Look how happy that woman looks on the cover! Look at those perfect rolls of injera! This was not helping my complex.

But then I went and invited 50 people to our place to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas and I thought it was time to put on my big girl panties and go for it.

I first called this amazing woman and talked for about an hour (not just injera, mind you, it was actually an awesome, soul filling convo, anywho…). In that time she gave me all of the tips, that happen to be in the book but were helpful nonetheless, I would need to know in order to make this successful.

I rolled up my sleeves (and visited Greatest Grains, our local whole foods market) and went to work. First step looked the way she said it was supposed to:

Then just 6 or so hours before party time you add some boiling water and voila!

While that was fermenting I checked out my good friend Captain Murdock’s blog to prepare some traditional Ethiopian food. As I texted her every 5 minutes or so (I think I have self reliance problems) I successfully made Doro Wat (pictured here without chicken first):

And sega wat:

Dear friends, it was not all fun and games in the kitchen though. There were onions. Lots of freakin’ onions. And I’m SUPA sensitive to those delicious little boogers. I’ve recently gotten creative.

The smell lingered for HOURS people. HOURS. The kids ran outside to escape the potency. I, however, kept the goggles on during all food prep until the smell dissipated.

I took no real pictures of the actual night. The day passed too quickly. 30 minutes before people were to arrive my mom was making some aklilt and I was making shiro. It was not pretty.

How did the injera turn out you ask? Not great. I couldn’t figure out how to get it to not stick to the pan. My brother-in-law, Jake, took over and was able to get a few decent rolls out of it but it was still “meh”.

It tasted grainy-er than I’ve tasted and it was too dry. All of this was obviously because of my being a novice. I’ve promised myself (and Tomas) that I will learn how to do it right by 2013. And I will.

If you want pictures of the ridiculous amounts of love and cuteness that were at the party go to Beth’s blog or my fabulous sister’s blog.

The night (and the food) was a great success. Tomas especially was in his element. When he was in the care center they called him “Little mayor”. He was the epitome of that Saturday night. So hilarious.

In the end, truly, it was a magical night. We are so blessed to have such a great group of people who love and care for our family. Makes a girl feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

2, 2, 2

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I was going to blog about no fewer than 5 things but then I got an email from this group telling me about this pretty great idea and I knew this was going to be the post I re-introduce myself with.

2 years ago the earthquake hit Haiti. I don’t know about you but I can still cry immediately when I remember those first days when we were hearing such large amounts of death and destruction. In fact I just finished reading this blog for the last half hour. Mercy.

Today NPR was talking about what’s going on in Haiti 2 years later. A man from USAID was talking about how aid and emergency relief was over and so now they are focusing on development and other ways of making the country even better than it was before the earthquake.

A caller came in who described himself as a grad student who wanted to point out that one of the best things to come out of the earthquake was the development of charcoal-efficient stoves. No. joke.

Since I happened to know a precious woman who, along with another precious woman, started an organization that is revolutionizing charitable giving and focusing their efforts right now on charcoal-efficient stoves I got really excited.

So here’s the deal. I want at least 2 of you to donate here. Then email me tesileagh@gmail.com letting me know you donated. THEN, get 2 more people (who will get 2 more people) to donate as well. You can set up your own page or just donate to the page I linked to.

Please, please show Haiti we have not forgotten about them. Did I mention a stove is $20?!?!?! I’m about to spend that on a Casey’s pizza for the hubby and I to share. We can do this.

So join. There’s a reason I keep coming back to you people, and that reason is because I know you are good and you are loving. I know you will donate. πŸ™‚

Thanks.

Haiku it up

Semi-Feral Mama called me out in email to write a Haiku in her comments. It worked out nicely because I wanted the book she’s promising one commenter for the better part of forever. It was just what I needed to submit a Haiku (or 7).

Here’s your challenge. Go over there and write one yourself. If you’re feeling particularly charitable in this year 2012 feel free to write underneath your Haiku (this is for hotflawedmama, feel free to send her the book instead of me). I really freakin’ want that book. πŸ˜‰ Kidding (kind of). But at the very least if you win you need to tell me how it is. Even though I already know it’s amazing.

So go! Haiku it
up! You will not regret it!
Victory is sweet.

*SF Mama I think that counts as my 4th entry, no? πŸ˜‰
**I did not recheck that my Haiku were legit Haiku. No telling whether they can be legally counted as such.

Christmas!

Perhaps one of my favorite Christmases ever this year. The kids were wonderful, hubs was amazing, it was just terrific.

Tariku with his new iPod.

Binyam with his snuggie. Kind of an inside joke…This kid is the coldest person we’ve ever met. His hands and feet are seconds from hypothermia at any given moment. He’s actually even more irresistable in his snuggie.

The kids toasted Jesus with their sparkling grape juice.

And daddy made the birthday boy his pancake (which I ate…still not sure how I feel about that. ;))

Then celebrating at Zach’s ‘rents. This gift we gave to my nephew, Cash. Pinterest I love you.

My mom-in-law made this poncho for Dailah. fuggetaboutit

My mom-in-law got down on her (fake) knees and proposed (again) to my dad-in-law. They will be renewing their vows next week. Precious.

Papa Frank surprised my bigs with their own snowboards. They were seriously excited.

We were all seriously excited, as it turns out.

Pre-Christmas

We did not have internet for a few weeks, I’m just getting back to it and am too lazy/tired/hungover (still from New Years Eve ay yi yi) to do anything but picture posts. It’ll come, I promise.

Lots of cookie decorating at my mom and dad’s house. My niece Adley Sue LOVED the frosting. I just love her.

The tongue! The concentration!

Look who was the last woman standing…and I don’t even like sugar cookies.

Christmas Eve morning we opened presents from my ‘rents. Tomas chose to wear everything he got. All.Day.

Yearly tradition, Santa Claus came!!!! The kids were so hilariously excited.

None more than these two (more specifically Tariku).

I mean, look at this face and thumbs up to Santa!

Even the adults took a seat. Santa Claus happened to be my favorite basketball coach growing up. What a great man.

He made a point to say “You know I’m kind of a cool guy but those people, your parents and grandparents they love you. They are the real heroes.” Kind of a really cool moment.

At one point Dailah asks where his sleigh is and he tells her it’s outside. A few minutes later my mom says, “Um, there’s a kid outside.” Sure enough Dailah walked around the whole house looking for his sleigh.

She came inside, “Where is it? I didn’t see it!”

Santa: “Well it’s invisible during the day. Kids aren’t supposed to see it.” Then he leaves.

Tomas looks out the window and yells, “I don’t know about his sleigh but I see his car!”

Freakin’ hilarious.