I really liked this post by one of my favorite bloggers about how we view missions, etc. Please go to that link (and, if you have time, follow the other links she uses). I’ll wait…

So I got a new (to me) computer from a friend of mine. She (the computer) is beautiful and fast and sleek. I love her. I feel a brand new excitement over blogging because things actually happen when I ask them to and that is very new and refreshing. It’s also easier to post pictures. Yay!

In the car Tariku and I fell asleep. When I woke up he was draped over my shoulder with his hands encircling mine. We have come a long way, my friends.

Dailah is in a new dance studio this year. It is SO much better than her last one. I loved this quote from her studio, “Today is your day to DANCE lightly with life, sing WILD songs of adventure, soar your spirit, unfurl your joy.”

Went on a date with the hubs. I don’t love Valentine’s Day. I hate anything that feels forced and unnatural. A day to celebrate love is my kind of day but a day to celebrate love forced on us by mega corporations? Nothankyouverymuch. So every year Zach and I pick a different day to celebrate love. It’s our way of throwing our fist up at the man.

The kids went to their first Iowa Hawkeye wrestling meet. The Hawks are really, really good so it was a lot of fun. The big 3 got front row seats with their grandpa while the rest of us sat a little higher. It was so much fun.

Tomas had his first piano “recital” last night. He has only been playing for a few months so it was mostly just showing us what he had learned. Regardless, I was so proud of him.

Tomas was SO nervous-as evidenced by his chewing his fingernails off. But he killed it. My precious son. A lot of our family came to watch his debut. For our kids from hard places there is something so profound about people they love showing up. When Tomas woke up yesterday he put on the nicest outfit he owns. All black with a red tie. Upon seeing his outfit the rest of his siblings emerged with similar looking outfits in solidarity. It meant so much to him. I just think that is the coolest. I think he is the coolest.

Not to be outdone, Zach and his brother Jake performed a little Heart and Soul as well. They looked like a couple of twins. I loved every second.

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Heeey

I have this friend since second grade, when we talk on the phone (every couple months or so) we open with “heeeey” (pronounced like “hay” with the “a” drawn out). Every time I can hear her smile-and I’m sure she can hear me smile as well-and then we pick up where we left off. The “heeey” is our way of saying, “I’m sorry it’s been so long, we have 10 kids between us, life is bound to go too quickly.”

So…heeeey.

I think the best way I can summarize what’s been going on is with bullet points.

-The big 3 are wrestling. My dad was a good wrestler, as was my brother. I come from “a wrestling family”, as it were. If you live in Iowa and you say you are from “a wrestling family” you automatically get a little more street cred. This state is crazy about its men in tights rolling around with each other. Because I’ve loved my little brother so intensely for as long as I can remember I used to hate watching him wrestle. It’s just so intense, it’s just so vulnerable. Weeeell, it’s way worse as a mom. Boys had their first tournament last weekend and I really did feel like I was going to throw up all day. It is insanely hard to watch them get beat at something. I’m nowhere close to a helicopter parent but in those moments I see why it’s an epidemic in this nation-in many ways it’d be so much easier to shelter my kids from experiencing that for as long as I can. Instead, I sign them up for another tournament this weekend. Builds character, right?

-We got a new kitten. Made the mistake of going to a friend’s house who lives in the country. Their farm cat had 7 farm kittens. Say what you will but dammit if the sight of all 5 of my kids begging me for another cat isn’t impossible to say no to. Zach finds it just as difficult, thus: Evie D. (“Evie” for Z’s grandma “Evelyn” and “D” for my grandma “Delores”.) She’s sassy and fun and funny just like our grandmas. Oh, and we brought her home on New Years EVE. It’s just the perfect name. 🙂

-I took the GRE. Yeah I did. I decided to apply to grad school. It’s something I knew I wanted to do since I was in college myself, but I’ve loved raising my kids so much. Now that they’re in school it’s just good timing. I’m going for my PhD in Communication Studies, hoping to one day teach at the collegiate level. If I get in then I know it was as good a timing as we thought, if not, there’s always next year!

-Christmas was amazing. Many times on Christmas Day I looked around me and thought “I never even thought to dream this big.” That is how good life is right now. It’s busy, and it’s crazy but it’s good. This year we did the “Something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read.” Then a gift from Santa and some stocking stuffers from us. I LOVED it. By nature I love things simple and efficient, so that fit the bill extremely well. If you’ve been looking to downsize presents in order to focus on more important stuff, I can’t urge you enough to do something like it.

-I’m going to Haiti in just over a week. After Wine to Water Jody asked if I’d like to go and see just how good The Adventure Project really is. Um, yeah. Many times, particularly as money is always tight around Christmas, I’d say to Zach, “Honey I just won’t go to Haiti, it’s fine.” And God love him, he consistently said, “It doesn’t matter, you have to go, Tesi. I won’t let you not go.” Sweet Jesus I love that man. So I’m going. I am really, really excited.

So much more has gone on, obviously, in the last few months. But as I rang in the new year with my kiddos, my hubby and my sister/brother-in-law I couldn’t help but realize just how great this year was. We had our struggles, boy did we! But they were worth it. Because we’ve come to 2013 and we are stronger and happier than ever.

We have no idea what 2013 holds for us but we are excited about life. We are thankful for it. And I’ll take that any day.