Blogamigas in Seattle







Hard to put into words just how needed my trip to Seattle was. I’ll get to that, let me start with the activities of the week.

Jody picked me up from the airport after a harrowing journey for her and a vomit induced journey for me. We went right to a hotel and talked into the wee hours of the morning, catching up on too much time gone by.

Next morning we woke up early so she could be my Seattle tour guide. Our first stop was the ferry that was to take us from West Seattle into the heart of the city. We had to do some jogging to make it in time, but make it we did.



(A lot of selfies were taken on this trip) 🙂

We successfully walked around eating our way through the beautiful city. Great vegetarian restaurants are there, as well as cupcake bakeries, so really what could go wrong? We also took a tour of the Underground city. Though perhaps a little anticlimactic, we did enjoy watching the other people also on the tour. Here we are trying to draw out the ghost that lives there with our flash. It did not work.



On the way back to West Seattle I snapped a few pics of the beautiful city. Really do love how it’s surrounded by mountains, water and then there’s a big city!



That night Jody dropped me off at Sarah’s where Cathy, Deirdre and Jayme had been deposited after their flights. After a night of wine, story telling and bonding we set off to hike a mountain the next morning.



I LOVED seeing this side of Seattle. Though cities are fun, I must admit nature is where my heart really belongs. Hiking? Talking with great friends? Watching kids fall in love with nature? These are a few of my favorite things!







After a delicious meal in Seattle we met at Sarah’s again where Chandra, Christina and Carrie were waiting for us. Alas, we headed to the house Sarah had rented for us. Near the beach, big enough for all of us (except Deirdre who decided she’d sleep in a closet a la Harry Potter).


It was perfect!



The next day was Cathy’s birthday. We spent a good deal of that day on the beach where Carrie brought homemade paninis. You guys, she made paninis and then carried them to the beach on a baking sheet. It was then that I asked her to marry me.

Chandra needed to put sweet Juniper down for a nap so Cathy and I walked back with her. Cathy’s family called her on FaceTime to wish her a happy birthday. Her face was pure mama joy, I had to capture it.



Deirdre and I had left to get some goodies for that night’s meal and to grab a few things for Cathy. She loves tea, so we had a little too much fun picking out her gifts.



We got home to news of George Zimmerman being found not guilty. I’ve spoken on that but let me just say, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else but there-with these women. Celebrating Cathy’s life and talking about every. single. aspect of our lives.



Super thankful for each one of them, really.



Carrie said it so well, “But what I did not know as I took those first sure steps towards family is that along the way you would be woven into our lives.  To support.  And to listen.  To encourage.  And to share.  To lean and be leaned on.  Without judgement.  But with a heck of a lot of laughing (and wine) along the way.”

It’s so true. Before adopting Tariku I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I would find a few of my greatest friends online ( 🙂 ), through adoption chat groups. That adoption would perhaps end up being the least of the things that we had in common. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I would find my soul sisters in this group. Other women who are navigating the really wonderful parts of life: motherhood, marriage, friendship, etc and all the not-so-wonderful: other aspects of motherhood, disease, death, race, attachment, trauma, etc.

And yet, there we were, in that beautiful house discussing all of those things as well as the stuff in between. Laughing until we were crying, crying until we were laughing. Holding hands when needed, rubbing backs at times. Spoiling Juniper, spoiling each other.

Here’s the reality: female relationships can be interesting. Sometimes I’ve tried to create a friendship and realized, often too late, that it’s too competitive or not nurturing enough. I’ve walked into a room of women and sensed if I spilled all of my secrets I wouldn’t be understood or would be judged in some way.

But not here. Not with this group of women. These women are the best of the best. Offering advice but not pretending to be experts, recognizing when it’s just time to listen. Offering wine when needed, food always. Makes me incredibly sad that we’re all spread so far apart in this great nation.

Above all, I’m just so thankful for them. And thankful for my parents, sister/brother-in-law, brother/sister-in-law for watching my kiddos. Thankful for Zach who allows me to stretch our limited income every year far enough to take these trips. I’m thankful my mom once told me to pour energy into friendships that will sustain me through all the ups and downs life throws at me. Thankful I listened to that advice. Thankful to God for creating these women who would end up becoming such a blessed part of my life.

Love you, ladies. Thank you, thank you for being you and for accepting me.




Girls Girls

Remember this post about Dailah not getting a familial sister? I mentioned that building a sisterhood with friendships will be important for her but what I didn’t mention is that it’s been a lifesaver for me too. Even though I have ridiculously amazing sisters (3 of whom I got to spend time with yesterday, which would explain my overall jovial mood!) I also happen to have friends who have become like sisters to me.

My brother-in-law went out of town to kill innocent turkeys hunt so my sister thought she could pass the time by having us over for a spa night complete with wine and other girly drinks.

One of my greatest friends is a literal beauty school drop out which bodes well for spa night. First, the drinks.

Ashley (“Hot Pocket” as we call her or just “HP”) came up with a Pinterest creation that was waaaay too delicious.



I can’t actually think of any situation that isn’t made better with these 3 and an alcoholic drink.



Of course we did “normal” spa stuff like pedicures and manicures.



But we also did things like bleach my hair (going back to blonde, what can I say? It just feels right.) and this:



Waxing. facial hair. Ladies, when did this happen? I’m completely aware that I have more testosterone than your average lady. I mean, literally, my blood contains more than the average female. This explains lots of things namely my strong jaw line 😉 and all of the facial hair. Thank God I have a bestie who doesn’t judge, just gets her wax out and takes care of binness.

I’ve been really lucky to have close girlfriends my whole life. I’m a lobster (Friends, anyone?) with anyone I’ve once called friend. I’ll be praying for them and hoping for their happiness all the days of my life. But at this stage in my life my friends/sisters feel more like a lifeline than any other time in my life. Marriage, parenthood and life are made all the better with friends. The really rough times are a bit easier with these people too.

So thankful for these people I’m not even going to worry about the fact that I just posted a picture of me getting my mooostache waxed on the interwebs.

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.

My (early) birthday weekend

My birthday is in June. Every year just before my birthday Zach’s schedule starts getting crazy. Pulling 15 hour days and such. So we never really get to do anything big for it because Zach typically can’t leave camp and then there’s that detail about having 5 kids home from school for the summer.

So this year my birthday is a bigger one (30, woot!) and Zach was determined to do it right. He asked what I wanted and I basically wanted 2 things: 1) friends/family around me hanging out and 2) not to plan a damn thing.

My really ridiculously wonderful husband decided on Galena, Illinois. He sent out an email to some friends and family asking who could get a babysitter for the weekend to come hang with us. Zach rented a 5 bedroom home for Friday and Saturday nights. It boasted things like a bar, hot tub and couches made for cuddling. Oh, and a full kitchen because I expected my guests to bring their favorite dishes (I know, I’m kind of high maintenance at 30, as it turns out).

If I learned one thing this weekend it’s this: I am so very blessed. I cried many times and they were happy tears, grateful tears, bless-ed tears. I am a lucky lady.

There was dining at delicious Italian restaurants where they sat us in what appeared to be a wine cellar which, if you’ve been following this blog long enough, knows that is both the best and worst ideas for a lady like me. Yum.

There was Saturday morning golfing for the men and shopping for the women.

There were mixed drinks made (this one would be white sangria by my beloved bestie, Chrissy. Doesn’t it look delicious?) and overflowing hot tubs.

I enjoyed taking pictures (per usual). This one for my sister and her boyfriend…lest they need some pictures for their wedding album one day. Cough. Please God. Cough.

And this one for my brother and sister-in-law who will be celebrating 2 years of wedded bliss in a few weeks.

There was cooking (my favorite guacamole of all time by Mr. Bruce himself).

There was snuggling with the ladies who make up my Red Tent. This picture makes me cry. Damn I love those ladies so much. (Missing Chrissy 😦 ).

There were back rubs

And gorgeous views as we sipped our coffees and/or wine.

There was bonding of brothers

and fires built.

There was a protective sister asking sister’s boyfriend what his intentions are and then trying to make him understand how thankful we are that he’s made our sister so happy. Yes, there was lots of that.

There was some pretending that Ashley “Hot Pocket” was a Berger kid.

And also some begging that the smallest woman would sit on my lap to make me feel like a giant on my birthday weekend.

There was dancing, of course there was. (With a cup of “8:30 Perker” also known as coffee, Bailey’s and raspberry vodka. Pin it people, you’re welcome).

There were gifts from Chrissy. Mine is the palest dead looking arm the orange one that says, “Plant Peace”. I love it.

There was lots of sibling bonding. My first tears of the weekend came Friday morning when I sent off a simple text of “Woooooot” to those coming Friday night. My brother, who is typically short on words, replied, “Oh ya”. My sister, also short on words, “woot”. They were my first best friends. They are still a few of the biggest blessings of my life. I am so, so thankful for the beautiful relationships I now enjoy with both of them (and their significant others). We may all be very different but I would die for these people, I really would

Sibling bonding covered my brother-in-law too (obviously). He is just plain awesomesauce. Particularly when he’s laying in the grass commenting on the beauty of the stars or the song of the birds. Also when he…

makes weird faces in pictures. My brother made me a cake. It didn’t matter if it was from a box, my little brother made me a cake. I ate the shit out of that boxed cake and could definitely feel the love there.

There were some hangovers (as there usually is when celebrating one’s 30th birthday) and subsequent wearing-of-women’s-glasses by a typically reserved man.

And perhaps most of all there was a woman, who is about to turn 30, thankful for a man who loves her enough to set up spreadsheets and send them to her friends. Who organized the weekend of a lifetime. There was a woman who looked at her husband and knew that the last 10 years with him have been the best of her life but the next 70 are sure to be even better.

There was love. There was laughter. There were memories created and hugs shared. There was bliss.