Trysten is 12!

Trysten is 12!

It doesn’t matter how many times I say it or write it, it’s as if my brain refuses to accept it. Alas, it’s true-our oldest is 12.

Last week a few days before his birthday Trysten started saying he wasn’t feeling well. Since he was a tiny baby it’s always been obvious when Trysten doesn’t feel well, his eyes sink in and he gets dark circles around them. Also since he was little, he’s been open to sitting next to me and letting me try to heal him by giving him a head massage. Also we sometimes wear the same sweatshirt.



This 12-year-old of mine happens to be a foodie. When I asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday all of his recommendations revolved around food. It could be said that most of my thoughts throughout the day revolve around food as well so I was happy to oblige.

We began the day at a local coffee shop that makes super legit cinnamon rolls. My system has started staging minor revolts when I consume high fructose corn syrup so I took a hard pass on the roll and enjoyed watching my eldest devour his with gusto.



Trysten went to school just long enough to get all the attention every 6th grader deserves on his/her birthday and then I picked him up (per his request) so we could hang. He chose lunch at the same cinnamon roll place, mostly because our small town of Three Rivers doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of non-Applebees joints but also because their lunch has vegetarian options and Trysten wanted to make sure I would enjoy the lunch as well. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that my kids are getting old enough to start looking out for me in small (and sometimes big) ways. I really dig it.


He wanted ice cream afterwards so we grabbed some to go. It was one of the first days I can remember in this harsh Michigan winter where the sun was shining bright enough to make it hot in the car. We sat in our warm, sunshine-y minivan, eating our ice cream and talking in the Meijer parking lot. What people don’t tell you when you’re holding your newborn baby (or small toddler, in the case of my boys who were adopted) is that no matter how much you love snuggling that little one-it actually gets better. Because soon enough you’ll be having conversations. Real, awesome, true conversations. You’ll be able to get to know those little ones as their own-apart from you- humans and it. is. awesome. Especially when those little ones turn out to be as great as Trysten.

After a little shopping at Mejier we headed home so I could get some work done and he could play a game we were not letting him play until he was 12. 🙂 Despite being allowed to play a game he had been wanting to play for years, he came up soon after and asked to make birthday brownies with me.


Per usual, the son of vegetarians chose Buffalo Wild Wings as the place to have his birthday dinner. Even foodies can’t resist buffalo wings dipped in various high sodium sauces, apparently.


In some ways it’s a miracle Trysten is such a well adjusted child, especially if one looks back at the pictures of his first hours on earth. He was greeted by one bleach blonde, long haired parent and one short haired parent who exclusively wore old baseball sweats for weeks in a row (ironically, that was his dad and mom respectively).


I credit so much of his cool, laid back nature to the fact that he’s loved reading the classics since a wee one. It helps, I do believe.


I’m not sure Trysten gets enough credit for our whole family’s transition to Michigan. Whenever people ask how our kids have handled the move, Zach and I marvel at just how well they’ve adjusted. When I really think about it, I can’t help but realize a lot of credit goes to Trysten. As much as I hate to admit it, eldest siblings have a lot riding on their shoulders (you win Kara!). I have no doubts that if Trysten were angry with us about the move or hated the idea in the first place, there would be 4 other children echoing his sentiments. Zach and I repeatedly joke that if Trysten were any more laid back he would be asleep for all of the hours but it’s true, and some days it’s exactly what this family needs.

I’ve seen so much growth in Trysten this last year. Though I can sometimes see him wrestling with his independence and our rules, he always does so respectively which is something I admire. A few nights a week we have a “make your own” dinner where each kid is responsible for…you guessed it, making his/her own dinner. Though the younger ones often go for leftovers or cheese crisps, Trysten has started venturing out to pancakes, eggs, etc. He whips up enough pancakes for 14 people and then proceeds to eat them all. There’s a chance he’s growing physically as well.


This kid has always been good at making good friends. When he asked if he could invite a handful of boys (as opposed to the 2 we usually allow) to his party I knew it would be fine because I knew they wouldn’t be too much to handle. I’m not sure who enjoyed the trip to Skyzone more-me or them-as it was just so much fun hearing them interact with each other. They continued to be well-mannered gentleman throughout the sleepover-making their parents proud and allowing me to listen to my podcasts in peace.



The years continue to speed by with regard to mothering this son of mine. Though I absolutely loved our time together when he was young I’m just not sure I’d trade it for the moments when he comes up and throws his arm around me now. Sometimes to tease me about my (rather beautiful) opera voice or because he’s upset and just needs a little reassurance. For all the times we spent oooohing and aaaaahing over his first words, I still maintain talking to him now about our shared passions or passions I will never understand (I’m lookin’ at you NBA2K15) is infinitely more fun.

Happy 12th birthday Trysten Zachary, may you continue in this next year to be the kind, independent, funny, hard working young man you’ve shown us in your previous 11 years!

Love you.

Christmas 2014

This being our first Christmas in Michigan and away from family the pace of life seemed altogether much slower. Had we been in Iowa there would’ve been a lot more dinners and lunches involved whereas this year we were able to really just have so much more time as a family-it was really kind of nice!

Christmas Eve we decided to make our delicious homemade pizza but add a Christmas twist-we did them personal pan style! I even bought sausage and pepperoni (blech) for my meat eaters and spoiled myself richly with 6 different veggie varieties (when we normally do family pizzas it’s cheese and more cheese 😦 )

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Hagrid, dressed in his Christmas best, helped keep an eye out for Santa.


We actually got a FaceTime call from Santa! Usually he stops by my parents’s house when we are there but since we weren’t making it back there this year he made a special call just for the kiddos. I was actually excited to hear from him too, he’s a pretty special Santa!


For the last handful of years we have done something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read for our gifts for the kiddos. I really can’t say enough how much I love this particular form of gift giving. They also usually get 1 present from Santa and stocking stuffers as well. This year I wanted to add “to give” so on Christmas Eve we told the kids their budget from us and they got to pick where that money went. We let them look through the websites of various nonprofits we believe in and they got to direct their money to a specific place. It was rather fun seeing where they chose, each unique to their personalities. Binyam just gave to where Dailah gave, which is true to his personality throughout the year. 😉

A few weeks before Christmas we draw names for each other and then spend one night shopping at Target for that person. We duck in and out of aisles and try to hide from whoever it is we are buying for. It’s really fun! We open those on Christmas Eve and I just love seeing what the kids choose for their siblings (and for Z and me, of course) there are no rules so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how thoughtful the gifts have been.

The kids had spent the few days prior building a fort big enough for all of them to sleep in on Christmas Eve. The excitement was palpable and we could hear giggling on and off all night.


Z and I always set a time that is the absolute earliest the kids can wake us up on Christmas morning. 6am (oy vey) was the winner this year and at 5:59 I started hearing giggles and shrieks downstairs from the fort. At 6am we heard them all sprint upstairs and then high five, hug and more screams. Christmas mornings will continue to stand as my favorite moments as a parent-all snuggled with Z in our bed listening to pure joy outside our room. It’s all the proof I need that I’m the freaking luckiest in the whole world.


Tariku might be my favorite to watch on Christmas morning. He always keeps his emotions so close to the chest that only those who know him best can tell if he’s excited or sad or angry. But even my Chooch can’t hide his sheer bliss on Christmas, I tear up just thinking about it. Love him.

After we opened presents and ate our Jesus pancakes (this is what they are called on Christmas, obvs) we headed to Davenport for the Klipsch family Christmas.

First thing’s first (I’m the realest), Sintayehu gave us her preschool program in its entirety and I had to keep snapping pictures so people wouldn’t see me crying. I remember when Leslie called to tell me of Sinta’s referral and how she was nervous about a potential heart defect (that proved to be nbd). Looking at her on Christmas day it was quite clear the only defect she might have is a heart that is far too big for her little body and a joy that shouldn’t have to be contained in small stature either.


Her fellow Ethiopian cousins remained riveted-smiled when they knew she wanted it and clapped in between each song. (Julius was obviously equally impressed)



Though I’m partial to gifts I will say it took me a second just now to remember what the gifts were because I’ve been so grateful and focused on what a blessing our extended families are to me. And what a blessing they are to my kids.

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Even Trysten (who typically just wants to hang with his older cousins) had some good heart to hearts with Julius, made me remember how great he was with little ones when he was a little(r) one.

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Oh my nephews and niece. I love them so much.

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Papa Frank and Mimi Terre got each of my kids an electric scooter, they are pretty frickin cute riding through camp I must say.

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The next day we celebrated my nephew/Godson’s 8th birthday and my sister (in-law’s) 28th birthday. I have 0 pictures of that except for this one of Z and Dailah playing the piano together. We’re going to say it’s because I was doing really well at living in the moment but it probably had more to do with the delicious bagels and coffee that were being offered. 😉


I got to have lunch with my friend Alex (who gave me this ornament-so cute!) I would spend more time trying to find someone like her in Michigan but after agreeing with me that our lunch portions were too small and then ordering a 2nd meal (each) I knew it was just never going to happen. Someone who loves Harry Potter, food and sarcasm as much as I do is a once in a lifetime find.



Also got to take the whole family to my bestie’s house to see her and her family (obviously) but perhaps maybe even more so her new puppy. 😉 Life without my bestie can be really, really hard sometimes. I’m grateful Z gets along so well with her hubby too because we forget about everyone else when we’re together. There’s a lot of catching up to do.



My family all came into town Friday night. Usually we spend Christmas in Altoona but because my sister is due any minute (seriously God, let her deliver already!) we thought we should bring Christmas to Kara and Matt in Davenport. Friday night was remarkable because I asked Tariku if it would be ok if I snuggled him and he replied, “You can lay your head on my lap.” This is pretty big for the child of mine that abhors physical touch and touch wherein he can’t escape when it feels too BIG is just unheard of. Hagrid and Barbara Streisand saw an opening and both came to snuggle as well.


The next morning my boys talked their uncles, dad and grandpa into playing some outdoor football. Though I believe the older men ended up enjoying it, I do believe my kids were beside themselves with happiness and will be thus making it an annual thing. (Right outside the door is the furthest I got-it was coldie out there!)



My Landry Mae usually prefers her mom/dad or my parents over me but I was able to keep her on my lap with the promise of white chocolate covered pretzels. And really, who wouldn’t bribe this face!


Of course there were presents involved here too. Man I love those little humans.


Sunday we drove a few hours away to celebrate with my mom’s side of the family. Z and I talked on the way there about how lucky I am to have both of my grandparents. When we walked in (a little late mind you) both of them were playing cards and drinking whiskey. I think they are on to something! One of my cousins and his family from Australia were able to make it this year, as well as a cousin from Kentucky and one from Nebraska. (My grandparents with their grandkids/spouses. Only missing 1 in Kentucky, 1 in Chile and 2 in Iowa.)


And their great grandkids! (missing 5)



My Dawson family.


I’ve been around long enough to know that it is a true blessing that I genuinely look forward to seeing every one of our family members. If you are one who has too many painful memories associated with the holidays or hates them because of how hard various family dynamics can be understand that I think of you often and don’t take one second of this for granted.

My favorite Christmas tune continues to be O Holy Night, the last verse consistently bringing me to tears.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever
! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

I hope beyond hope you were able to find some joy this Christmas, if not then might I wish you peace for the new year?

Much love,


on chores

I’ve always been a big proponent of “encouraging” our little cherubs to do their fair share of chores around the house. Since they were little they’ve been responsible for cleaning up after themselves and as they’ve gotten older their list of responsibilities grows as well.

Last week I decided the oldest 4 were old/responsible enough to really help me cook. For Trysten and Tariku that meant measuring out ingredients and doubling them, also chopping produce. They basically did the whole thing with me supervising.

For Tomas and Dailah that meant me helping them measure it out but them cutting produce and actually depositing ingredients/stirring them.

I never cook anything really fancy though I chose dinners that were a little more advanced than say-Tombstone pizzas (which the 4 of them have made on their own before).

I was shocked at how excited all of them were to cook with me. Though they’ve helped me in the kitchen before they’ve never been quite so responsible for dinner. Not only were they geeked up about cooking for the family, they were thrilled to get some one-on-one time with me.

Trysten and I covered the most, probably. He’s typically quiet around people but you get him one-on-one and he’s positively chatty. We covered topics ranging from boobs to drugs, minecraft and puberty. My relationship with Trysten is so awesome, I’m so thankful for where it’s at right now.



Tomas typically just giggles incessantly when we have some alone time, he really is that precious. This time though I had ulterior motives-namely I had to get him to realize how vital choosing good friends is. Because this son of mine is so sweet, he tends to believe everyone is just as sweet as he is. As he’s gotten older the kids who love to manipulate have done so with my sweet Tomas. It scares the hell outta me. So I told him, “My friends from elementary school are still my friends. They have seen me at my best and my worst and they would still argue with anybody who tried to trash my name. If your friends wouldn’t stand up for you and if they try to talk you into trouble, they are not right for you-move on. Find friends who will put as much energy and love into you as you do into them.” Today I got a note in his planner that he’s much improved in school from last week. They are listening, mamas! Side note: Tomas was actually the most skilled chopper!



Tariku is also one of those who isn’t necessarily an over sharer lest you get him on your own. During our kitchen time he told me about a kid in school who usually gets made fun of for being stupid and how he answered a question no one else knew during class. Then Tariku gave the kid a hug and almost cried for him. I’m not worried about Tariku’s ability to make friends, his ability to discern true motives is years ahead of where it should be at his age. No, for Tariku I only worry about my heart. Because one day he’s going to grow up and leave my house and I’m not sure how I’ll ever recover.




Dailah is never one to shy away from conversation, no idea where she gets that. 😉 We just had a great time being together. I’m so aware of how I used to get so frustrated with math (and still do) and don’t want to put that whole, “Girls are bad at math” thing on her. I made her do math the whole time we were cooking. She definitely has a fixed mindset and gets easily frustrated when things don’t come naturally or quickly, I think cooking with her will be good for us both to push past our comfort levels and just enjoy it.



Binyam isn’t quite ready to do full on cooking but on his days with me he’s responsible for setting the table, serving the food and clean up.

Zach and I believe very much that this big family of ours is a team. That’s how we’ve got the kids to buy into their chores as well and why they don’t ever complain. Also, they are old enough to get the correlation that if they want to do more fun things (stay up later, read more mature books, etc) then they have to prove they are responsible enough for it all. Only way to do that is by playing a bigger role in the family!

What about you guys? Do your kids do chores? Which ones do they love? Do they typically do them shirtless like mine? 🙂 

Day 5: Magic Kingdom

I was so excited to show the kids Magic Kingdom because we all know it to be the quintessential Disney experience and it did not disappoint! Even though it was the 5th day straight of balls to the wall activity (is that an ok phrase to use on a blog? Whatever, it’s my blog I can do what I want I want.)-the adults kids did great!



First stop was Fantasyland because we found starting with easier rides made the kids more aggreeable to go on the rest of the rides. 🙂

Rides we liked in Fantasyland:

Mickey’s PhilarMagic, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and The Barnstormer

Ones to avoid, particularly if there are long lines:

Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight

Next, to Liberty Square. The only thing we did there was the Haunted Mansion, which we enjoyed! I remember doing The Hall of Presidents when I was younger and liking that as well but we didn’t end up having time. If you or your kids are history geeks, I’d check it out!


Tomorrowland was one of our favorite stops! We loved the Tomorrowland Speedway (particularly the 3 bigs as they all got to drive their own cars) and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Perhaps our favorite, though, was Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor!

The laugh floor ended up being the Monsters, Inc characters on screen with actual improv actors behind the screen, so they played and interacted with the audience. At one point they asked which kids knew who they wanted to be when they grew up. Our most excited child got chosen.


When Tomas told the character he wanted to be the po-lice (he says it like they do on the Wire, even though he’s never seen the show it’s incredibly endearing) the character told 2 jokes about police:

Why did the police officer carry a blanket with him all the time? In case he had to go undercover.

What did the squirrel say to the 9-1-1 operator? *In a song, matching rhythm of “This girl is on fire” * This squirrel is on fire! 

Then the character asked what Tomas was for Halloween last year. When Tomas responded “football player” the character told a joke about football players.

I’m not just saying this-it was hysterical! The adults did not have high expectations but it surprised us all and I got many belly laughs from it, not to be missed for kid and adult alike!

We would avoid: Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Stitch’s Great Escape.

*Sadly, Space Mountain was not working while we were there but I remember loving that, so make sure you get there.

*There is a really cool garbage can with a person in it that moves around Tomorrowland messing with people. It’s hilarious, try to find it!

We ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for lunch and it wasn’t good. The veggie burger was gross and it was the one time Tomas didn’t finish his (and 3 of his siblings’ meal). Try something else instead.

We went to Frontierland after that and really loved Splash Mountain! We didn’t get super wet which was just fine by most of us. Also loved Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, even Dailah and Bean which is a pretty high endorsement.

In Adventureland the kids loved checking out Swiss Family Treehouse even though they’d never actually seen the movie. The littles, who were joined at the hip most of the week, also liked rides like The Magic Carpets of Aladdin because they aren’t scary enough to require an adult to sit next to them. They felt like big kids going on these no problemo.


The only ride we didn’t like was the Pirates of the Caribbean. Nothing baffled me more than what Disney did with the Pirates franchise (more accurately: nothing. They did nothing-complete lost opportunity). In both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, the Pirates rides were super disappointing. I have so many ideas on different ways they could take it so if you work for Disney, hit me up- I’m cheap. 😉

And now for my favorite part of the whole day! CINDERELLA’S ROUNDTABLE! We had booked the reservations for Cinderella’s as soon as we knew the dates in which we were going to be at Disney. If you learn nothing from me, learn this: if you have a girl, call Disney right now and get a reservation. Even though Dailah is 7 and was one of the oldest girls at dinner, she really really loved it. Truth be told, my mom and I did as well.

Also of note, every other girl in the room had what we dubbed “the princess treatment”. This included full make up, hair and costuming done to princess standards. Because I am a shit show firm believer that Disney Princesses are ruining girls’ self esteems everywhere just for fun and not something to model oneself after,  we did not have Dailah partake. Also because it cost $200. Mostly the last one.

Besides, I think she’s the most beautiful person I know just as she is.


When you enter the castle you are greeted by none other than Cinderella herself.


One of the things I loved about Disney World is the professional photographers throughout the park will take pictures with your camera. They are everywhere and take pictures with their expensive equipment then give you a card that stores all your professional photos during your entire stay. They are sweet enough to ask if you want to get in the picture every time too.


I gotta say, the food was amazing. It’s pretty embarrassing how many pictures I have of the food I ate throughout the week but I love looking through them and remembering. Anyway, I started with an appetizer of cheese! Cheese! And the good kinds too! Then I ate some veggie gnocchi and a dessert that changed my life.


Anywho, during the dinner 4 of the princesses move throughout the castle. Right when Dailah saw them she said, “I wish I still had my long hair.” Oy vey. Much to my delight, 2 of the princesses commented on how much they loved Dailah’s hair and wished they could go for that cut. Redemption!

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Dailah also ended up getting their autographs too, which was precious.


Being the only girl in a crew of boys, Dailah has no problem thinking of herself as a princess on the daily but it was really cute how much she enjoyed everyone calling her princess and of course we loved our girl time. My mom and I even commented that Zach and my dad probably would’ve loved being there too and I saw that they were giving little boys swords upon their arrival. It has the potential to be fun for the whole family.

Our men ended up eating at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Zach was disappointed as there wasn’t anything good to eat as a vegetarian but everyone else seemed pleased with the options.

Magic Kingdom is definitely one of the parks at which you could spend multiple days but there was simply no time for that. Figure out what stuff at parks are must sees for your aged children and then see all the other stuff if you have time.

Day 1: Hollywood Studios

Originally I had planned our week to get more and more exciting as the days went on (with Magic Kingdom and Harry Potter world being our last 2 parks). I hadn’t heard as much about Hollywood Studios so I thought it’d be a good place to start. Interestingly, it ended up being the kids’s favorite Disney park.

A few notes about Disney parks: we went at the perfect time of year so we honestly had no lines. The longest we waited in a Disney line was probably 15 minutes. We scheduled Fast Passes-more on those later as well-but didn’t end up using most of them just because the standard lines were so short.

First spot we went in HS was Animation Courtyard. My scooter broke down soon after entering the courtyard so Zach took the kids on Voyage of The Little Mermaid, which they enjoyed, while my parents and I tried to fix the scooter (didn’t work-had to get a new one later that day).

My kids were at perfect ages for this kind of trip, I kind of loved that they were past the age of wanting to meet every character and get their autographs. Character lines were the longest in the parks so we ended up just getting a picture the first day with two of my favorites.

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Next was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Let me say now, we thought it was supposed to be a tame ride. It was a bit more than that, which was evidenced by Binyam’s facial expression in the photo they took during the ride. Hilarious. That said, the ride is fast, has loads of turns and is mostly completely dark. It definitely made all of the kids skeptical about the rest of the rides, assuming they were all equally terrifying. That said, it was thrilling and Tariku actually decided to go on it again.

Everyone went on the Tower of Terror-and loved it-except Dailah and me. She was beyond over the scary rides at that point so it was just easier to skip it altogether with her.


We also went to The Magic of Disney Animation which was so-so.


But everyone loved learning how to create their own animated animal-Winnie the Pooh for us.


Other rides/events we loved:

Toy Story Midway Mania-this ended up being the favorite of all the kids, a ride we came back to time and again. (Even multiple days!)

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Muppet Vision 3D, Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage. And of course FANTASMIC! Which is a nightly show that is not to be missed!

Rides not worth the time, particularly if there’s a line:

The Great Movie Ride and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.


We ate lunch once at Studio Catering (good!), Pizza Planet Arcade (ok) and Rosie’s All-American Cafe (great veggie burgers!).

We had dinner reservations that night at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, this was the best meal we had all week! Really, really amazing food! If you go to Hollywood Studios, get your reservations here (more on dinner reservations later).

Bean chose a cupcake as his dessert-which came in the form of spaghetti for frosting and a cherry meatball. So fun!


I had a cappuchino with my dessert, Mickey Mouse ears? Fuggetaboutit.


It also rained for a few hours that afternoon but my ‘rents just bought us all ponchos and we carried on as usual. Those ponchos came in handy the rest of the week as it sprinkled a few days and we were able to continue on our adventure no problem! So plan on bringing your own or buying some there if there’s a chance of rain, the rides stay open so there’s no need to get down.

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.




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.



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.



I mean, seriously…



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. 😉



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.



The kiddos.



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.



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.



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.



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



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.



So cute.



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.


Mindless Monday

  • Some bloggers do a “Mindless Monday” and then have really interesting, dynamic and thought provoking material. This is not what this is. This blog is seriously “mindless”. You’re welcome.


  • A few people had follow up questions about my vegetarian post.

Do you pack the kids’s lunches? Yes we do. It looks the same pretty much everyday. A PB&J (with my grandma’s delicious homemade jelly!), a fruit (strawberries, grapes, blueberries and blackberries), veggie straws or apple straws (each kid likes one or the other so they get their choice), and then a piece or two of chocolate if we have it (around holidays usually) or my homemade granola bars. For a drink it’s usually water or chrystal lite. They love it and are bummed if we run out of supplies before grocery day.


Do you make the kids eat vegetarian/vegan? When we’re at home I’m cooking so yes, they eat what we’re eating. When we’re out to eat they can order whatever they want. I feel good about the fact that they are eating with us the majority of the time and are thus eating mostly a whole foods diet.


Do your kids really eat that stuff? Mine wouldn’t get near it! A few of my kids (Tomas and Tariku) are terrific about eating whatever I put in front of them. The other 3 don’t eat quite so quickly with certain things. 😉 The reality is, though, they know there aren’t any options. So they eat enough to satisfy themselves and then they are done. My hubs used to only eat meat and cheese. He hated vegetables and/or anything remotely healthy for you. Now he doesn’t eat meat and cheese and loves veggies. We really don’t want our kids to wait until they’re 30 to discover a beautiful taste palate.


What do you eat?!?!? We eat really well! For the most part I take advantage of our library system and rent new cookbooks all of the time. There are great ones for both vegetarian cooking and vegan cooking. That would be my best recommendation. There are good ones and bad ones. The good ones I put on a list of ones to buy and when I have enough that I’ll be able to get free shipping then I’ll just buy them at once. 😉 Also, there are REALLY great blogs devoted entirely to whole foods living. Google it, prepare to salivate!


  • Semi-Feral Mama wanted an update on our kitty, Mitigu. If you’re a texting friend of mine, you’re super annoyed about my Mitigu updates. I seriously text people pictures of him all of the time. It’s getting a little ridiculous. He is cute and funny and feisty and playful. He also thinks he is a dog which is kind of awesome. My 2 favorite things about him is that he loves snuggling on my chest, particularly when I’m blogging and that as soon as Tariku goes to bed, Mitigu crawls up the ladder and goes to sleep with him. So freaking cute. I will post pictures of him as soon as I can figure out how to do it on the iPad.
  • We are in the thick of sports central around here. The big 3 are on one baseball team again. Trysten is on a seperate under 9 AAU team. Then the 4 littles are all playing soccer (Tomas/Tariku on one team and Dailah/Binyam on another). Dailah is finishing her dance class with a recital on May 18th. The best part about having them so close in age (ok, there are many things) is that they all double up on teams. This means the amount of running around is decreased exponentially, which I love. It is so fun watching them play and love being involved in sports.
  • Binyam, because of his club feet, didn’t walk until he was almost 3. Saturday was his first soccer game (or really any athletic endeavor). He was smiling and laughing and sprinting. It was magic. He is magic.
  • My women’s league outdoor soccer season starts tonight. I am seriously nervous that I might die.
  • Tariku has decided he wants to tell “his story” at school. More on that later. One note: it’s weeks away and I’m already nervous about it. He is so brave.
  • The theme of our family lately has been “responsibility”. “Please be responsible and wash your little brother’s dish out for him”, etc. Some days they totally get it and I pat myself on the back before going to bed. Other days they fail miserably and I consider drinking at noon. C’est la vie.
  • Life is beautiful and complicated and wonderful and best served with friends.