2015, A Recap

2015, A Recap

What a year it’s been! WordPress sends out a yearly review of this blog and it was brought to my attention that I only blogged 25 times this year. Could that be true? That means I missed a lot of what we did this year so I wanted a place to recap 2015. It’s my blog, I can photo dump if I want to.

January 5 Ian Matthew was born and the world will never be the same. I wrote about this little bit of squishy preciousness here.

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Zach and I tried teaching Dailah to snowboard and Binyam to ski. It took multiple hours, numerous utterances of the F bomb and this one selfie of Zach flipping off the camera with a gloved finger for us to cry out uncle and literally never return.

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Dailah received a 1st place trophy for cheerleading. Even though our alarm clocks rang out at 3:45am we still managed to hoot and holler louder than anyone else.

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We had our first experience with toboggans. The hill is on the left, only 2 people the employees of the hill had ever seen crash halfway down are on the right. We assume it’s because not many things were meant to carry 2 Klipschs due to sheer head size and overall beefiness. We lived and I peed a little laughing so hard so not all was lost.

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My kids continued to eat me out of house and home. I now double a recipe if it says “serves 8” and usually the kids still eat more fruit after all of that is gone. If you hear of giveaways that feature blessing someone with groceries for a year I’d be much obliged if you would enter us. I’ll have to start working if these people continue at this pace. 😉

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Tariku and Trysten filmed a commercial for summer camp. I’m not entirely sure why anyone would use anyone other than my kids in their commercials after seeing how adorable they were. 🙂

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I helped a fitness studio start up. Though I’ve done marketing for over a decade it was fun to be able to shape the tone and “voice” of the business from the beginning. Plus I got to work with my good friend Kyle Taylor in creating the logo (thanks, Kyle!)

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We said good-bye to our first family car-the Honda Pilot. Zach got in a car accident and it was totaled. The airbag shredded the gloves he was wearing with the force of the accident-I can’t believe how fortunate we were that he was ok. Despite the fact that she had seen better days, that every part of her was dented and bruised. Despite the fact that she was perpetually dirty from living at a camp and that her bumper stickers signified a moment in time now gone, she also brought home 4 out of my 5 kids. She was the place the 7 of us were first a family and on the back of one of her seats was where Tariku decided to practice writing his name in ink. In her trunk was where we said our final good byes to Abe and Aristotle and, above all, she protected Zach on her final trek. She was a good car.

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We bought a Subaru (great car!) and soon after Zach took Trysten on a road trip with my dad, uncle and cousin to Colorado for a week of snowboarding. Zach took this picture, one of my all time favorites.

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We said good-bye to my sister’s white boxer, Leo. Leo lived with us a few times throughout his long life and I sure did love the way he took care of my sister when she lived on the east coast away from us. Once Ian was born it was as if Leo knew my sister was going to be okay so he let go. I can’t stress enough how much I love dogs and Leo was one of the good ones. Miss ya, buddy.

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We took a family trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes for spring break.

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The kids played baseball/softball which I do believe is the longest season of any sport. The older 3 tried out for All Stars and were selected. Tariku’s team made it really far and was a fun team to watch. Tomas and Trysten’s not so much. 😉

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The big 3 were all on the same team as it has been for many years mostly because Zach and I don’t want to make too much work for ourselves. So it was that they were often in the field together. In the below picture Tariku is playing short stop, Trysten was pitching and Tomas was playing catcher. It was more fun than you can possibly imagine.

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They also played a lot of soccer! (My favorite!) My parents came over for quite a few games considering they live 7 hours away. This surprises no one who knows them.

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While playing 3rd base, Tomas took a ball to the face from the hardest throwing pitcher on his team. This was soon after I posted a picture making fun of little girls wearing face masks in softball. I feel largely to blame for this injury but true to his nature Tomas was smiling the whole way through getting stitches.

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We went vegan/plant-based. More on that later.

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We had a visit from my friend Chandra and her 5 kiddos. I loved watching them play and have so much fun together. It’s weird that a few of my great friends have never met my kids except through my blog and the stories I tell when we get together so it felt ridiculously good to have Zach and my babes meet this friend of mine I always talk about.

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My good friend, Alex, brought her boy toy and dog up to camp for a weekend. She used to live at our previous camp as well so to say I miss seeing her randomly most days would be an understatement. She’s a fellow Harry Potter junkie and just overall top-notch human.

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Tariku offered to hold my hand for the first time. On Facebook I wrote this to mark the occasion:

Last Thursday after his baseball game, one in which he got a minor injury, I asked him if he ever just wished I was there. To comfort him, give him a hug, make it better. No, he says, sometimes I wish the animals were there though.
I told him how when we first adopted him that used to kill me-that he would never let me hug him or snuggle him, not even hold his hand. I told him now I realize it’s not that he doesn’t see me as his mom but that he really just doesn’t like physical touch so I didn’t take it personally anymore (and that I never really should have).
Then on Saturday while walking around camp, with tween girls in swimsuits everywhere, he told me I could hold his hand.
My relationship with Tariku continues to be a reminder that the most beautiful things in life are often the result of a lot of hard work and sweat/tear equity. It’s also a reminder that the culmination of that hard work can sometimes be in something as relatively unremarkable as an outstretched hand and an offer.

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Leslie and Jake finally got a dog! Though I think Leslie is still on the fence about Daffy she hasn’t gotten to the good stuff yet where Daffy is no longer chewing everything and is instead comforting my nephews or niece when they are sick or sad. Hang on, Leslie, you’re almost there!

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My nephew Caden John was born!! On my birthday! Which happens to be my mom’s birthday too! He’s a smiley little man and I love him so. I wrote more about him here.

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We played more rounds of basketball in the front yard/court than ever before. We even talked grandparents and dogs into playing along too sometimes.

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The kids finished their last day of 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd grades respectively.

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Doozie competed in Regionals for cheerleading where they took home 1st again.

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I continue to do the marketing for my brother’s Chiropractic business, Dawson Chiropractic near Des Moines, Iowa. I do it mostly for the free adjustments but also because he is genuinely the best chiropractor to which I’ve ever been. Oh and because it forces my little brother to talk to me on a regular basis, a perhaps not naturally occurring thing for a quiet dude like him 😉

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While at an orthopedic appointment for Binyam our car was broken into and stuff was stolen (also, weirdly, the thieves tried on every pair of my sunglasses but didn’t take any. It took me a good while to put them back on my face after imagining some weirdo trying them on. Also made me seriously question my style that they didn’t deem any of them worth stealing. But that’s neither here nor there.) I called the police and then about 5 minutes later called Jimmy John’s since we hadn’t eaten lunch and it was well past 2pm. Jimmy John’s arrived first which was hilarious to us all.

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Zach started seriously training for triathlons and I continued to take hundreds of pictures of my pets. Zach is on the left swimming in the lake while Hagrid and I kayaked next to him-keeping him safe and looking adorable in the process.

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All of the Klipschs came to visit-even Kait straight from the NYC. I continue to be beside myself with gratitude that I count Zach’s siblings and significant others as some of my greatest friends. And time spent with my remarkable niece and nephews is always exactly what I need.

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My 5 all went to Camp Eberhart for a week and had a ridiculously good time. Trysten got to go in the bigger kids cabin where they stay up a little later and hang with the older girls cabin over campfires. I pretended to be all cool as a cucumber but there were def a few nights when I drove past “on my way home” just to see what was what.

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A few weeks later Dailah was off to cheer camp. It was her first time at an overnight camp that her dad wasn’t in charge of and at which we didn’t live. Despite her smile here she actually hated it-coming home with bruises and bumps covering her legs from being dropped and thrown around (as fliers are, obviously). Soon after spending $250 on this camp she decided cheerleading wasn’t for her and asked if she could not try out for the coming year. This perfectly sums up the personality she was born into by nature of being her father’s daughter.

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Tomas’s face was used for marketing purposes. This makes sense because of all of my kids his face best translates constant joy-which is what you get when you send your kids to camp, obvs.

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We let the kids sign up for tackle football for the first time. I held off for as long as I could on account of me loving their healthy knee joints and beautiful, developing brains. I’m still hoping they choose cross country or soccer over football but now at least I know it’s possible for all of us to survive football season.

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My sister and I got another matching tattoo (we both have the purple cross on my sister’s foot, along with our mom, from when I turned 18). This time we got the two “d”s. Before marriage our maiden name was “Dawson” and in high school sports we were called “the double Ds” not due to mammary size, clearly. She and I are polar opposites in so many ways but I love her like no one else. That veiny arm would be mine. Gorg.

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I got a selfie stick. I don’t always use it but when I do everyone loves it. 😉

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My parents took us all to Adventureland-an outdoor roller coaster and water park. It never disappoints, especially now that the kids are old enough to go on all the rides by themselves if they want to.

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Then my parents took my kids for a long weekend while I flew off to Colorado and Zach stayed in Michigan to work. I spent Thursday-Sunday with my blogamiga friends for the 5th year in a row. There is just no way to tell you how much these women mean to me. Mothering can be really quite lonely despite having little ones in your business all day e’ry day. Adoption parenting adds another layer that can add to the loneliness, particularly if it’s an adoption of a child from a different race. Sometimes there are just too many things that are specific to that where other friends just can’t possibly understand because they haven’t been there. These women though? They’ve been there. And they are better women, better mothers, nicer people, bigger hippies and funnier than I am. So I basically spent 4 straight days stealing all of their knowledge and then claiming it as my own when I got back. I love them more than they can possibly know.

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Upon my return my parents took us all to the Iowa State Fair. If you love fried food, the smell of animal shit and people watching, then the Iowa State Fair is a must see. It’s ranked as the #1 state fair in the country and with good reason-I really do love it.

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We took a family trip to National Bridge State Park. Despite Tomas’s look of confusion we had a tremendous time together.

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Zach and his good friend, Isaac, participated in two olympic sized triathlons: the Three Rivers, Mi and the Chicago Tri. It’s always good fun watching the two of these old friends together and I tend to get all the feels when I’m watching people I love compete in feats of strength.

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I left Binyam home alone, on accident, for 20 minutes-marking this as the first time I’ve ever left a kid anywhere on accident. I knew he was going to be ok when I got home (he’s 9-years-old for goodness sake and Zach was literally working a few hundred feet away) but I still felt like total crap. Until we pulled into the drive and saw him sitting on the front steps looking ridiculous presh with his soccer stuff ready. He had no doubts I was coming back to get him-I love that about him.

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I celebrated 13 years of marriage to this guy. Even in my darkest moments he’s been my harvester of light, what a lucky thing it is to be his wife.

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The kids started another year of school. It’s already been a trying year in many ways so I’m just constantly praying we get through it with our grace and sense of humor still intact.

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We talked our good friends the Korandas into coming on one of the busiest athletic weekends of the year. Declan Zachary handled it like a champ and I was a smitten kitten getting so much time with him, his mommy and daddy.

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I had the distinct honor and pleasure at being asked to be Ian’s Godmother. Until he has questions about God I am assuming my role is to just spoil him with chocolate, candy and more kisses than he could ever want. I take this very seriously.

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Zach and I tried acri-yoga after watching a few videos that looked easy enough. This is as far as we got before Zach told me I was about to expose my breast. This wouldn’t normally be cause for concern but since Trysten was capturing this glorious moment, Zach thought he would save poor Tman a year’s worth of therapy and just stop. The idea crossed my mind to put on a bra but I kind of have a strict policy about not doing that while at home so we scrapped the idea altogether. Maybe 2016.

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Zach taught the oldest 3 to shave. Since both Zach and I are legit at growing facial hair-it’s no wonder Trysten already had a decent amount at 12. (Truth is he was born with it. Zach’s first words to me when Trysten entered the world from the womb were, “He has your sideburns!” Bless) Now if someone could actually get them to wear deodorant every day I would feel a lot better about their future prospects.

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Trysten and Tomas went out for the middle school cross country team. They worked hard all season and both did really well. I could genuinely care less how they rank as long as they give it their all when they are out there and they did that-it was a fun season!

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The Jake and Leslie Klipschs, Isaac and Papa Frank came up for a weekend where the men went off to the Notre Dame game and I got 7 uninterrupted hours talking with Leslie. The next day we took everyone to the Notre Dame campus. Watching these cousins together is just too much of all the good things.

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We went trick-or-treating with the Dawson and Klipsch cousins as well as the Smitty besties. It was the first year my kids, Oliver and Eli and the Smittys went off by themselves to tour the neighborhood when the adults got too cold. I got to go with my niece Landry and listen as every. single. house told her she was the cutest they had seen all day. It’s true-she’s 100% ridiculously cute.

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We celebrated my brother-in-law Frank’s birthday with his adults only party again this year. Zach and I went as Doc Brown and Marty McFly and the birthday boy went as his own spirit animal. See if you can tell what the other Klipschs were…

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I also talked all of the Dawson side into coming this year too! My brother was a legit Wolverine and my sister-in-law as Steve Bartman went over super well in a house full of Cub fans.

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My father-in-law was elected as Davenport, Iowa’s new Mayor! I was so happy we could be there and the kids could watch the whole process unfold that night. He will undoubtedly be the best Mayor that city has ever seen. Grateful as always that I married into that crazy group of justice seekers and public servers.

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I got to work with Leslie on our 7th Water Party together. I’m so proud of how she’s taken over since my move to Michigan and made it bigger and better than ever before. This year the event raised over $35,000. That is beyond my comprehension as I so vividly remember the first year sitting up at midnight counting the $10,000 in cash with Zach. I am grateful for every penny then and every penny now. We have the most generous friends and family of anyone I’ve ever known. I always go through Leslie withdrawals after the event because I’m so used to spending an insane amount of time talking and texting with her leading up to the Water Party. I’m just really lucky to count her as a best friend.

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Not sure if you heard this or not but we all went to Ethiopia. 🙂 I’m ready to go back.

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Barbara Streisand and Hagrid just continued to be off the charts adorable on the daily.

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We had such a fun time cheering on our Iowa Hawkeyes this season! Though they lost to our current state, we are excited to see them dominate the Rose Bowl tomorrow!

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The bigs had their band performance (Trysten on drums, Tomas on trumpet) and the littles had their Holiday music concert. Binyam had a speaking part for the first and probable last time of his life. He went as Harry Potter and was nervous as hell. I was beaming and crying and waving like the fanatic I am. Proud mama heart burst moment for sure.

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Just before leaving for Ethiopia Trysten tried out for the 7th grade boys basketball team and made it. They went on to become conference champions. Man were they a fun team to watch.

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Trysten and Tomas had their first semi-formal middle school dance. Tomas was true to his nature and asked his girlfriend what color of dress she was wearing so that he could match her. He could be found trailing a few feet behind her wherever she went. Trysten was true to his nature and translated loosely “semi-formal” by wearing basketball pants and a t-shirt until I begged him to at least wear jeans and something that didn’t stink of puberty and hard work. He and a few of his buds went stag with plans to tear up the dance floor seeings they had no ladies to tether them down.

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While the older 2 were at the dance, the younger 3 were painting snowmen for the elementary PTA. Dailah took her job seriously, as she always does when it comes to creative outlets, and the other two were mostly there for the cookies.

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Dailah chopped off her hair. She told me she was ready for an adventure and had read about donating hair to kids with cancer who lose theirs. I asked her on the way to the appointment if she was nervous, “Nope just excited! You’ve got to think about the worst that can happen and if it’s not death or lots and lots of pain then there’s no reason to be nervous!” I love that about her.

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On Christmas Eve the kids made a fort that took up the entire “fun room” for the second year in a row. This one had separate rooms and everything. Christmas continues to feel so magical with these kiddos. As they get older I appreciate even more how close they all are and how often they want to be around just each other. My most common prayer is probably that they continue to be best friends throughout their lives.

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We had a truly great Christmas both here and in Iowa celebrating with grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousins. So much so that I didn’t take very many pictures. 🙂

While Trysten fights off the pneumonia that has been plaguing me for the last few months (I legit broke a few ribs coughing so hard. My cough is mostly gone but the pain in my ribs is redic. Avoid that at all costs.) the other 4 are at Winter Camp at Camp Eberhart.

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I think after writing the post about being lonely some might think I don’t like living here but it’s even more obvious after looking through the pictures of the year that my life here is full of goodness. I think if nothing else, the moments when I’m lonely only make it super obvious that overall our time here has been overwhelmingly happy and great. This year has been one full of growth for all 7 of us and with that will surely come some growing pains in every sense of the phrase. But at the end of the day I get to kiss the 5 sweetest, kindest, funniest most beautiful children in all of the world and cuddle in next to the funniest, most loyal husband out there. What more could I possibly ask for?

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Happy NYE everyone. May you find peace, happiness and insurmountable joy in the coming year. Thanks for reading. Love to you.

Tesi

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The goings on

Some of my favorite moments since we last spoke…

We’ve been getting lots of bonding time with my nieces and nephews. Dailah, ever the little mama, takes it upon herself to walk the babies when they need it.

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Before it became common to experience -45 degree windchill here in the ole’ Ioway, this was how Trysten chose to shovel our drive. Good ole’ Iowa born and bred, baby.

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The kids got to meet a few Santas. The first was just after I was asked if I was a daycare provider. Good times.

 

 

 

 

 

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The theme for the big 3’s Christmas was definitely sports. They each have their favorite teams and will argue to do the death on which is better. Surreal that they know stats and game times. Aren’t they still 3-years-old?!?!?

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We toasted to Jesus, each other and joy.

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Speaking of sports…

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I was also able to capture this priceless reaction when they opened their new Xbox One.

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Dailah was more interested in Nutcracker goodies (she was able to go to our local dance company’s production with her grandpa) and American Girl Doll accessories.

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Even more than that? Hanging with her bestie (and cousin) Elihu.

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We got to visit friends from California when they were back in town. Kyle’s niece was born 1 month before Trysten. They’ve spent time together through the years. If they ended up married it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. 😉

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We hosted Ethiopian Christmas at camp. Tariku helped me make loads of Doro Wot, shiro and the like. This is how we combat teary eyes from cutting so many onions. Love my special time with him!

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Have been spending lots of time with good friends. Dailah can’t get enough of sweet Lucy and we can’t get enough of sweet Lucy’s parents.

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Camp hosted it’s very first winter camp. All 5 kids went (and stayed 3 nights) which meant we had our first New Year’s Eve together sans kids for the first time in 10 years. Man, I just really love this guy. Editor’s note: let’s just take a moment to thank the dear sweet baby Jesus that Zach has shaved off his ‘stache. 

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Basketball season is upon us again. So much fun coaching both teams. These 4 constantly ask to be benched at the same time. Best friends, cousins and siblings. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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We had a wedding! Zach officiated the wedding of one of his oldest, dearest and best friends. I was honored to serve as a bridesmaid. The kids made us proud on the dance floor that night and then Zach and I got to spend the night in a hotel room by ourselves thanks to his parents. It was a spectacular night!

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We got to celebrate the 4th birthday of this little Princess Sintayehu. Hard to believe the little one in which Jake and Leslie yearned for so many years is already 4 years old. She is hilarity and spunk and energy and joy and I just couldn’t possibly love her more if I tried.

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The days pass quickly and yet each one is marked with enough love and life to make me the happiest mama/auntie out there.

iPhone photo dump

Do you guys only remember what’s happened the last few months by looking at your phone pictures? No? Just me.

Binyam is the slowest at all of the things. But eating? Eating quite literally takes the cake. Probably I’ll die waiting for him to finish dinner. In the below picture all of my other cherubs were finished eating, showering and brushing teeth. They are quietly reading in their beds. If he weren’t already skin and bones I’d give up. (Note: it’s not always this bad but it’s pretty bad).

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My boys turn all activities into wrestling. Soccer, basketball, walking-it all ends the same. And everything is done shirtless.

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I love road tripping with our animals, I love our animals. There, I said it. They make me so happy.

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I mean, I might love them a little too much but come on! Look at those faces when they smell my peanut butter toast!

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My niece Landry is so. stinkin. cute! I also might love my nieces and nephews a little too much, it’s true.

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Zach and I are coaching the kiddos in basketball. The games are early Saturday mornings. If you ever see me before noon (and sometimes after) I will have a coffee mug in my hand-coaching or not.

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Did I mention we were Siegried & Roy? Mmmmk.

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The day after we were S&R we were godparents of this amazing boy, Elihu, who happens to be our nephew. I pretty much cry every time I look at this picture because I love him so much. And I can’t help but think those two bow-tied men are the best.

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I’ve blogged so much about these two cousins who look like twins and act like best friends but it must be said again-I LOVE their relationship. I love how much they love each other.

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My almost 11-year-old still lays on my shoulder to read his books. The day he doesn’t do this is the day I will disappear under my covers and not come out for weeks.

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Tomas and I got to be on a radio show (to air this Saturday) to talk about Wine to Water. I sometimes take for granted how unbelievably kind this child of mine is to everyone but most especially to me. Afterwards he said simply, “You were amazing mom! Everyone will want to come to the party now!”

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The ladies I got to hang with in celebration of Wendy’s almost baby. They were first my sister’s friends in high school and, mercifully, they are now mine as well. What a blessing.

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Love these cats too. They snuggle together all day err’day, how great is that?

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I mean, seriously, it’s a little ridiculous how many pictures I have of my animals.

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I love this man. I love that he lets my crazy flag fly on the daily.

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Zach was a pretty amazing athlete in high school (still is truth be told) and is on his high school’s hall of fame. The kids were beside themselves when they saw his picture.

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Photo Dump

 

 

Zach trims Hagrid’s hair. We are too cheap to spend $45 on a dog’s hair cut, so it gets sub par trims regularly. No idea why it’s as adorable as it is.

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Trysten ran into a door while playing hide and go seek. I’d say monthly I text my sister (a pharmacist) and one of my sister-in-laws (a PA) with a picture and the question, “Stitches or no?” We decided to try butterfly band aids on this one and it seems to be heeling fine-ish.

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Zach makes this amazing spaghetti squash alfredo dinner. The man has lost about 25 lbs in the last few months and has taken a new interest in healthier cooking/eating. Everything about this picture turns me on.

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I mean, seriously…

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Summer has officially started! I LOVE having the kids home full-time (most of the time). Their picture on the first day of school (top) and last day (bottom). This is as close to Pinterest-worthy as this blog gets so Pin away people. 😉

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Bridget was in Chicago for a wedding and I successfully talked her into swinging by on her way home. Though I wish it was for longer, sometimes you just have to be around a person to feel better about life-she’s one of those people.

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The kiddos.

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My big 3 do their own laundry. They each get a little basket and when it’s full, start the process. I love this system and it really has worked for us all…until baseball season. They’ve collectively decided it doesn’t make sense to wash the uniforms when they will just be getting them dirty the next day (who can argue with this logic? Not me). It’s reached a breaking point, though, and I’m really suppressing the Tes(i) by not doing their laundry for them. They are still ridiculously cute, though.

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A camp counselor from the last few years (one of the favorites for sure) was at camp a few days ago and said, “I want to babysit your kids, how about Friday?” Um, yes. Any chance to spend alone time with Zach is treasured and right before summer camp is an almost necessity. Love him.

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Yesterday was a super fun event Color the Quad (basically a Color run in the Quad Cities). Some of the money raised went to Camp Abe Lincoln and so all of the counselors got to be the ones spraying the children runners with color. Zach got to start the event so the whole family went and the kids ended up getting to be part of the fun too. This community is just so awesome.

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After the running was over it became a free for all with my kids and counselors.

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Binyam definitely go the worst of it. This kid who constantly has snot on his face had blue snot the rest of the day. Gross. When Tariku saw him he exclaimed, “Binyam you look like the guys from Bodies Revealed!” And it was kind of true.

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So cute.

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After the Color the Quad we went to the Farmer’s Market. Besides some local spicy cheese curds (a request from Tomas) and salsa (a request from Zach) we bought this-a bow tie for Hagrid. It was almost a necessity. Almost.

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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.

where we’ve been

Binyam got fitted for a brand new foot brace. His left foot is as perfect as it’s going to get, but the right one still has a kidney bean shape. Because of that his foot is often sore at the end of the day. The orthaped doc thought this brace should help the situation until his next surgery (when he’s done growing, so we have awhile). 

Family picture. Come on, love them so much.

Until last year my parents owned a house on a lake. It was awesome. It’s been a little weird not having that to go to this summer but a few weeks ago they took the boat out on to another lake. Dailah hit her stride immediately.

Here’s a little factoid about me, I was originally born in a town called Pleasantville. Seriously. And they have an amazing pizza place. Hadn’t been for many years but I was able to take my kids there a few weeks back and it was just so cool. Something about those moments of full circle that I love.

Love going to my parents’ house. Because they are so good about doting on my kids that I get to put my feet up and just revel in their joy without thinking about how many loads of laundry I’ll have to do when they’re done.

The kids and I headed to my parents house for a week of camps. The 4 boys had wrestling camp (which Trysten and Tariku loved, the other two felt “eh” about it).

That same week we also took the kids to an old school ice cream shoppe. Felt like we were going back 50 years (in a good way). Delicious soft serve ice cream. Tomas hates ice cream so he got a slushie instead which insisted was the best ever.

The same week of wrestling camp was art camp. These 4 got to participate in that. It was really, really cool.

Dailah made this self portrait.

Tomas’s (if you look closely you’ll see he made himself into a hot air balloon with his head being the balloon. Love it.

Trysten chose to make a comic strip instead. It’s pretty rad.

And because Trysten chose it, so did Tariku. Another rad comic strip.

We got to dog sit one of my friends’ dogs. It was a small dog. We are used to only big dogs. She was really cute, especially when we decided to put her in a costume.

Lots of baseball games. Abe came with us to the last one, which he loved. (Pic by Dailah)

The kids’ team. They didn’t have a real winning season but they learned a lot and had such good kids/coaches. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

The boys with 2 of their coaches (dad and grandpa).

While the kids were at camp (more on that later) I got to have long lunches with friends. I am so, so blessed by these relationships.

The hubby of my friend Chrissy got promoted to Lt that week so we went to a party store and decorated the crap out of their house. Totally fun.

 Oh, did I leave a cliffhanger last time? Ok, I promise next blog. 🙂