Final Mexico post-Cousins!

Final Mexico post-Cousins!

When Trysten was about 6-months-old we had my mother-in-law sew on a onsie, “I need a cousin!” We strategically put it on him when Jake and Leslie were visiting from Chicago. A few months later they called us with the happy news that they were expecting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Since that time I’ve so enjoyed watching my kids play with their kids. Now it expands to other cousins that have come along as well and it’s just increased my joy. There’s just something about cousins. I got to spend time with some of mine this past weekend too and I loved every minute. I’m so thankful my kids still think of their cousins as their best friends not because they have to but because they genuinely love each other.

Especially Dailah and Eli. Loved every one of the pictures of the two of them together.


Mexico Trip-Siblings and Parents!

A little time spent with my family in the morning and then THE REST OF THE DAY with some of my other favorite people in all of the earth. I’ve not laughed that hard for that many straight days perhaps ever. I will not mention which brother wore only a Speedo all week. I will not mention how competitive we got at family water volleyball. I will not mention the dance party to “Happy” on the pool deck or the last night just how great Jake’s toast was.

But I will mention that I love these people so, so, so much. Oh you guys. Love them. If you see me in the next month and would really like to see me cry just mention these people and how I’m moving away from them. Just be prepared for the ugly cry and maybe some light puking.

What a lucky, lucky lady I am to have these siblings (in-law) and parents (in-law).


Mexico-I am obsessed with my nephews/nieces

I’m sure I’ll get some push back from this but I want you to know that I love my nephews and nieces more than you love yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

No but seriously.

Zach and I were talking about one of our absolute favorite parts of the vacation was getting to spend so much time with our nephews and niece. Oliver, Elihu, Sinta, Cassius and Julius made the whole trip so much sweeter for me. As with my own children, I felt like I really got to know these (other) babes of mine in a whole new way. I genuinely could watch Sinta swim or Dailah and Eli play for days upon days without stopping. And Julius baby snuggles? Fuggetaboutit. I simply delight in everything about them.

Obviously I thought a lot about the fact that we are prepping to move 4 hours from these remarkable young people. It tore me up inside to think about not seeing them for weeks. How did I get so lucky to get the smartest, funniest, sweetest most adorable people to call me “Aunt Tesi”? What an extravagant blessing.


Mexico 2014-Family time!

My generous parents-in-law told us at Christmas our present this year would be a spring break trip…to Mexico…all 19 Klipschs. Obviously it was exciting then but the Sunday before we left NO ONE SLEPT because of all of the excitement.

And I have to tell you, it was better than I expected. I’ve said it here many, many, many times but I’m so lucky to have my in-laws double as my best friends. So 6 days with my best friends-no work, no school, no cooking or cleaning-it was bliss!

I’m currently trying to figure out how to blog about this trip of a lifetime but I thought I would start with arguably my favorite part.

Time spent with my immediate family. We are all early risers (except for Zach and Dailah, obviously) and so we were awake long before any other Klipschs. From about 7-8:30am we got to hang by ourselves having breakfast and swimming in the pool/ocean. Though we had our various phones/ipods in the hotel room they were only played for about 30 minutes at night so there were no distractions! I felt a little bit like I rediscovered each of my kids! One of my sweet cherubs, cough Binyam, cough, had been frustrating me for various reasons leading up to the vacation and on the last day Zach and I turned to each other at the same time and uttered, “I re-fell in love with Binyam today.” Yeah, because there was nothing else competing for our attention. We could just sit and watch our kids have the time of their lives with their cousins while we hung with our siblings. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.



Tariku is 9!

My big 3 boys all have birthdays within 3 weeks of each other. My only saving grace is that I have never been one to throw lavish parties and so their expectations are as low as humanely possible. What I lack in pizzaz I more than make up for it in excitement over their birthdays. I countdown with them and pour over them weeks leading up to it. I’ve convinced myself they prefer it this way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tariku is 9. For those who have been reading this since the early hotflawedmama days you have to be as shocked with this information as I am, right? He was 3 when we brought him home but I have to remind myself of that fact over and over. Sometimes I’ll look at him and swear I knew him as a bouncing baby, I can almost see his dimples in soft baby cheeks and eyes as big and beautifulย as they are now. I bet he was the cutest baby this world has ever seen.

Because, let’s just be honest, he’s by far one of the cutest young men I’ve ever seen.


He’s also one of the kindest, most compassionate souls I’ve ever known. You know how adults just find all the little shenanigans babies and toddlers do are just so cute and funny and always look at each other with a smile and an “ahhh look at that” facial expression? He’s the only kid I know who does the same thing. He’ll be looking at his cousin Sintayehu and she’ll do something funny and he’ll look at me like, “Well would you look at that? Isn’t she just the cutest?!?”


When I asked him what kind of cookies he wanted for his school birthday party he said double fudge chocolate chip but then added, “Maybe make regular chocolate chip too so people who don’t like my kind can have a choice.”


This picture that showed Tomas’s personality shows Tariku’s just as well. Tariku is always a little hesitant to try something. He would prefer watching someone else do it, multiple times if possible, so that when Tariku finally does it he does it really well. I don’t think “spontaneous” will ever be a word that describes this sweet son of mine.ย photo 1

I don’t know a lot of things but I know that if I can just love people the way Tariku loves people-despite how much it’s hurt him in the past-then I’m going to be one fully realized individual.


We were leaving our Mexican resort on Saturday (more on that later) and I grabbed Tariku’s hand. In order to “hold hands” with Tariku, I have to physically hang on to his hand. His hand continues to remain unwrapped around mine. It used to kill me, that he wouldn’t return my affection, but now I just realize touching is just a little too intimate. I’ve realized as long as physical connection is initiated from him, then it’s with full force and strength. And when he leans in for a hug or kiss before I ask for one? It’s made all the sweeter.

Man, I love my Tariku. What a lucky mom I am to watch this boy take on the world for the next many decades.

Happy birthday my Chooch.

I hate goodbyes

I mean hate hate them. I know no one loves them, at least I assume no one loves them, but I don’t know anyone else who is as awkward with goodbyes as I am. If you’ve ever talked to me on the phone you know what I’m talking about. I typically end my phone calls with something like, “Mmhhmmokbye*awkward laugh* yeahokayloveyou *awakward laugh*” click.

It’s even worse in person. I’m a hugger but if I don’t know whether or not the other person likes hugs I always go into one of those half handshake/half hugs which tends to force my outstretched hand towards the other person’s penis or vagina. Those good byes always include an awkward laugh as well, for obvious reasons.

That said, I’m about to have to say some really hard good byes and I know I’m simply ill equipped for the task.

Zach has been getting phone calls from various camps for the last few years. Apparently that’s what happens when you do really, really well at something. Zach and I both agreed we would be picky with any offers. It had to be a really good job for him, one that would be challenging but also something he is passionate about. It would have to be within driving distance of our families. It would have to be a place we would actually enjoy living.

It looks like we found it. Starting end of April the Klipsch clan will be moving to Michigan. Zach will be the new VP of Programs for the Michiana Y and will get to oversee operations of Camp Eberhart. As for the kiddos and me, we will live on site at camp. My new kitchen overlooks a lake, so I suppose there are worse places to move. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s just 4 hours from the QC and 6 from Des Moines. All still doable for a weekend!

As always, it’s a bittersweet good bye. I love this community I’ve called home for 10 years. I’ve made friends who are more like sisters and I have actual sisters who live here! I have a job I love and coffee shop I love (oh Redband you can do no wrong!). My parents, brother and sister-in-law live just 2 hours from here-a doable drive in one day. My in-laws take us to week at least once/week. It’s really a pretty sweet gig.

But because Zach and I got pregnant and married at 20 we’ve never really struck out on our own. It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying to think we will just have our crew for the first time in our lives if things go wrong (at least until we build up a community there).

So there it is. Big news. I’m terrible at the in between. I feel like I’m neither here nor there, which leaves me restless. And when I get restless, shit gets done. Which is why I have one room in the house packed and wouldn’t be at all surprised to find the rest of the house done in the next few weeks (would be days but we’re heading to Mexico-more on that later!).

If I’ve learned anything in my 12 years of marriage, though, it’s that home for me will always be wherever Zach and I can snuggle on the couch together drinking cheap wine and watching our kiddos wrestle each other. I guess that kind of makes me the luckiest lady in the world doesn’t it?

That said, pray for us will you? That Zach loves his new job as much as he’s loved his job at Camp Abe Lincoln. That the kids meet new friends at their new school and make the transition as easily as possible (they are actually really excited!) and for me. I rely so heavily on this group of friends and family I know there will be a lot of dark days ahead. ๐Ÿ™‚

Michigan or Bust!

Tomas is 10!

Friday I walked downstairs just as the sun was peaking through. I love mornings when I’m the first awake, when I can start the coffee and maybe a good book before everyone else takes their first bathroom break. Truth be told I was really looking forward to a few moments alone, the last week has been crazy stressful, until I heard Tomas utter quietly under his breath, “I’m 10!”

As I’ve told many people, I have no doubt this second son of mine will greet every birthday of his until the day he dies with as much fascination, wonder and joy as he greeted his 10th. I think he might get that from me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I remember when we first considered adopting Tomas and Binyam how scared I was to bring a then 6-year-old boy into our home. I pictured someone really sullen, moody and temperamental. Of course any kid with his history would have more than enough reason to behave that way or even worse but I’ve never been able to describe Tomas with any of those words. From the moment I saw him, the light that came from his sturdy body was bright and I knew we would be ok.

Tomas has an alter ego we named, “Intensity”. The thing I love about this alter ego of his is that it doesn’t just come out in moments of competition or play, it comes out in love and friendship too. A few months ago he came to tell me that there was a new girl in his class and he was pretty sure he was in love with her. When did she start school? I ask. 2 days ago, he confirms.

Intensity (pictured here in the center).

photo 1


This boy who will be the very best partner in life as he’s constantly bending over backwards to compliment Dailah and me. When I asked him what he wanted for his school birthday treat, “Anything homemade. You are the best baker in the world.” I make all my baked goods straight from a bag or box. There is nothing special in my baked goods. But I tend to believe Tomas sees the extraordinary in the ordinary. (Pictured here with his awesome teacher and equally awesome Grandpa…oh and boxed brownies).

photo 2


Tomas chose Buffalo Wild Wings for his birthday dinner, as sons of vegetarians are prone to do apparently. Ahem. And, unlike his big brother, was thrilled when the place sang him Happy Birthday and delivered the biggest piece of cake I’ve ever seen.

photo 3


Tomas is the hardest working kid I know. He’s completely caught up (and passed) many of his 4th grade peers. This after entering his school in 1st grade knowing no english. He gets overwhelmed and and frustrated like we all would but then he works. I can’t imagine all that he’s done in order to catch up but man does it leave me feeling proud and humbled all at the same time.

For his birthday treats he chose some clothes, candy and iTunes gift cards. And, of course, had to bring back a little gift for Zach and me too.

Man alive I can’t wait to see what this kid does. Whatever it may be I know it’ll be done with more love than is necessary and more grace than is called for.

Love you so much Tomas-ay. Happy birthday.

Trysten is 11!

11. It seems impossible, it really does. A month ago I started to notice Trysten was getting more emotional than usual. At different times he would vacillate quickly from anger to sadness. So I asked him if he was going through puberty.

I asked my son if he was going through puberty. So weird. Though he hasn’t noticed any of the physical changes, I do believe we are on the brink of it all. He’s starting to prefer talking with Zach and me instead of watch cartoons with his siblings. At his birthday dinner he wanted to sit by me at the table instead of down by his cousins.

Trysten and I have always been extremely connected. Sure we are very much alike but I think it’s more than that. Probably it has more to do with the fact that I had him at 20-years-old and so we’ve kind of grown up together. Me forcibly so and he under the watchful, loving eye of his father and me (and countless family members).

Zach is often left bewildered by my ability to know what it is really going on with Trysten. He sees only the ways in which Trysten outwardly expresses himself but I know the motivations, the reasons behind it all.

I don’t know if it will always be this way. I don’t know if I’ll always know exactly when he’s about to tell me something important because he sucks in a small breath before starting or if I’ll know when he’s about to tell me-word for word-all about his latest Minecraft escapades because of the way one side of his mouth turns up. I assume our relationship will change like all relationships do. Not better or worse necessarily, but different.

None of this is to say he’s my favorite or my preferred child, it’s only to acknowledge that I “get” him in a way I don’t necessarily “get” any of my others (in the same way Zach “gets” Tariku more than the others). Oddly, sometimes Trysten can be the most infuriating as I see in him the same frustrations I see in myself. It’s also just to acknowledge that Trysten has now been alive for 11 years. I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that in one breath it feels like yesterday he was born and in the other breath it feels like he’s always been a part of me. I can’t exactly remember a time in which my heart didn’t beat at least partially because his did.

Regardless, there it was. His 11th birthday on the 25th.

The boy who loves pets in a “they are fun to cuddle with sometimes and laugh at their shenanigans but don’t expect me to get super excited about caring for them” way.


The one who has his daddy’s sense of humor but a style all his own. Who still runs (okay…walks swiftly) up to us when he sees us at school and delivers a bone crushing hug.


The one who chose a fire resistant safe for one of his birthday presents from his grandpa so he can keep all his stuff in it. This coming from the boy who tends to spend every dollar he gets just as soon as it’s in his hands and destroys even his most prized possessions with overuse and neglect.


The one who would have Dickens claiming, “He was the best of brothers, he was the worst of brothers.”…and good luck figuring out which one woke up any given day.

This 11-year-old who still loves reading (though not quite as much as he has in the past), begins a task/sport/book/project with inspiring zeal only to taper off a week or two later and who keeps sweet notes/cards from his family to remind him of how much he is loved.

I am under no illusion that any of my children are perfect, I am so incredibly grateful they aren’t-it would be way too hard being as imperfect as I am and be their mom at the same time. But I am forever grateful God chose me for my Trysten Zachary.

Happy 11th birthday buddy. Love you more than you can think about measuring.