This has been an absolutely insane week.

So I thought I’d give you a little peek into what’s been going on over our way and some randomly fun stuff, too!


First of all…THANK YOU for all your support and sharing and voting for our video for BolderBOLDER! Voting goes until Sunday evening sometime so if you haven’t yet voted, it’s not too late!


Head over this way to see my post about it and get the link for the video.


Also, Ben was in Chicago this week and of course one evening while he was gone, our boys had the BRILLIANT idea that Laith jump off Anton’s head… resulting in me trying to figure out whether or not to lug all the children with me to the ER by myself {way after bedtime}.

Thank goodness for friends who work in the hospital world and can rush over to our house!


So, the next morning we headed to the specialist and the consensus was he tore ligaments in his little foot.

So on goes the boot. He’s crazy excited. “I never want to take it off!” He says. Boys are weird. Or my boys are, anyway.


It was put on yesterday, and already today he’s running around and was even able to participate in the Olympics program his Jr. Kindergarden class performed before the graduation ceremony.



We’ve had nutty weather here in Denver this week. Gorgeously sunny mornings and suddenly a storm sweeps through, leaving the ground white with ping pong sized hail and even a tornado path or two.

But even with this strange weather, I’m still readying myself for spending every day at our neighborhood pool and eating mounds of watermelon and ice cream.

I stumbled upon this printable the other day…which is truly the best of both worlds!

ice cream cones

Head over to design eat repeat for the free printable!

Melissa has tons of other incredibly fun {free!} printables on her blog. Head over and be inspired!


So the Denver Post was at our house yesterday. Yep. The Denver Post. Crazy, right?!

It seems everyone is hearing about Abreham and the “fast legs God gave {him}.” So they’re running a story to come out on Monday, in the Sports Section {from what I understand}.

Denver Post

After the most wonderful couple hours with him yesterday, writer John Meyer is a new friend.

Neither of us knew the other loved Jesus until perhaps a quarter way through the interview. But once we realized we had such common ground, he turned off his recording device and we chatted freely about His goodness and John’s prayers on how God will use him in his profession.

He’s a remarkably inspiring man whom I would love to know more.


Sometimes I have the terrible habit of reading more than one book at the same time {which at times becomes confusing}. Right now one of those books is Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist and I am enjoying it immensely.

Do you remember years ago when Under the Tuscan Sun came out years ago?

I don’t mean the movie…the book. Sigh…oh that book. It inspired me. It called me to cook and enjoy the process of it and enjoy every moment around the table. Maybe with an extra glass of wine, taking the time to notice the bouquet or hints of chocolate and cherry.

But to truly enjoy the life that is lived around the table and the goodness of God through it.

bread and wine - shauna niequist

Well, that’s what I’m reminded of in this book. It’s beautifully written and makes me want to sit in the coziness of my reading chair with something decadent in hand. You need it. It’s amazing.


Ok, Elsabet has just woken from her nap and we’re headed out to the gym so I’ll leave you with this one last thing.

Let it Go {from Frozen} …Africanized!

Featuring Alex Boyé & One Voice Children’s Choir. And it’s incredible.

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{click here for the video}

Our kids can’t get enough of it…and to be honest, I can’t either!


Enjoy your long Memorial Day weekend! I know we sure will! xo

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My sweet friend Hollis is expecting a baby soon and we wanted to celebrate her and her love of Colorado. So we put together a mountain inspired baby shower. And it was so fun to do!

hollis invite

{I changed the invitation enough to delete personal information – my address, rsvp info, etc}

I had seen a fantastic wedding invitation on Pinterest that inspired me to play around on Illustrator and make this {if any of you find it, let me know so I can pay credit!}.

I wanted mountain…without being snowy and winter-like.


I searched through our Christmas bins for my faux trees and scoured the house for anything with wood and texture.


I didn’t want to decorate with Broncos items, yet highlighted blue and orange in addition to all the greenery to play off our town’s favorite team.


How fun is this blue plaid suitcase?! I makes me want to go on a mountaintop picnic.


Though I wasn’t technically going for wintery…my sweet neighbor was generous enough to let me borrow a bunch of vintage skis and ice skates, which really pulled it all together.

I found this moss at Walmart, of all places. It was a bit messy, but so perfect.


All my flowers came from Costco…and weeds in my front yard {I’m not kidding}.


Birch from our Christmas bins, blue mason jars and repurposed soup cans were also perfect to play up our theme.


 I slightly freaked out when I found these birch straws. I’d intended to find them online, but never got my act together. I stumbled upon them at Party City instead!


I thought I’d add a little detail to the stems of the champagne flutes.

I’d bought canvas ribbon months and months ago for another project {which I’ve never gotten to} so I used it here, along with grey satin ribbon on some and white and orange striped grosgrain on others.



I used these stickers {from the dollar section at Target} rather than wine charms.


Such an easy and inexpensive way to not drink each other’s refreshments!


In the beautiful glassware, we poured sparkling juice and french lemonade…


…and the most beautiful pitcher of chilled mimosa.


I’m not a big fan of shower games so instead I provided onesies and appliqués.

We had such fun designing and ironing on words and inside jokes, and all sorts of creativity that’s bound to make the mama-to-be smile as she stretches them over her little boy’s head in a few months.


 I also set up a diaper writing station inside apothecary jars. Friends had done this for me during one of my pregnancies and I still laugh at some of the silly things I read upon them during middle of the night diaper changes.


Goofy, dumb, and clever…it didn’t matter. I remember smiling through the exhaustion and countless diaper changes of those first few months.


On the coffee table {like the kitchen table, turned buffet}, I unrolled wrapping paper rather than using a runner or table cloth.

And in the center, I reused the {easy} spring centerpiece + repurposed box I’d made for Easter and simply put more wildflower looking blooms inside.


Toys were put away in our family room and set up as the spot where we’d sit and eat and open gifts. My boys had gone searching for rocks to add to their collection a few days prior, so I snuck a few from their stash.

Love this big one next to the fresh flowers and fur rimmed tray we have left over from staging our house for sale several years ago {not sure why I kept it…never thought I’d actually have another purpose}!


 I stacked more of my friend’s vintage skis {that I may not give back} in the corner, along with a thick throw.


 The table was gorgeously full and we were so busy eating and laughing that I forgot to take more photos. Sadly, because my friend Jessica made some FANTASTIC munchies. She also recently had her own children’s book hit the shelves…check it out!


What a fantastic afternoon we had.


So fun to honor such an incredible woman and her second baby.

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Earlier in the week, I wrote a post on Abreham and all the doors that are opening for him through his newfound love of running.

And I teased you a little about some fun news coming…

Well, this is the news!


A few weeks ago I posted this photo on Instagram, as our new friend Patrick from BolderBOULDER set up his lights, microphones, and cameras {and rearranged our house a little}.

We had SUCH fun with him as he followed us around for a couple days.


Our family has been selected to be one of three highlighted for the upcoming BolderBOULDER race on Memorial Day.

And the Video just went live a few minutes ago.

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So here’s the deal…

We need you! And we need your votes {please}!


 This has already opened some pretty amazing doors for Abreham as he’s been invited to Media Day, where he’ll get to meet some of his Ethiopian running heroes who are flying in for the event, and a few others he has been watching and learning about.

He and Ezekiel have also been asked to ride in the Press Truck, which is the car that leads the race with all the cameras on it, so they have front row seats for the International Race {after they’ve run their own}.


 The boys have been training really hard and are so excited about the big day. Moreover though, they’re excited that the winner of this contest gets to have their video played on the Jumbotron {big screen} in the stadium where the 10K culminates and over 50,000 people will see it.

When we told Abreham this he smiled and said, “Maybe we win and people see video. It touches their brain and it touches their heart, maybe then they adopt.”

And that is our hope. We want to win, not for us…we want to win because we are thrilled to be in a position to be able to raise awareness to adoption. And adoption of these amazing older kids.

Here’s the link {click here}. We would be honored if you’d share it with anyone and everyone {and you can vote more than once}!

note: you must be at a computer to vote. not sure why, but the link doesn’t work from mobile devices.

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It’s no secret that Abreham loves running. Well…now, anyway.

If you ask him why he likes running, he’ll tell you “because God gave me fast legs.” But when he came home 10 months ago, it wasn’t this way.

A running 1

 He of course didn’t speak English yet, so he couldn’t have told us so, but he didn’t understand the point of running. A boy from his village named Tamrat would run to school each day and Abreham tells me he didn’t understand why he would make himself tired when he could ride a sheep, donkey, or camel to school like he did.

Can you even imagine riding a sheep to school??

When I asked him about how far away his school actually was, he thought for a moment and said, “our house to King Soopers {our grocery store}, and home. One. Our house to King Soopers and home. Two. Our house to King Soopers and home. Three.”

What? Seriously?? That’s a long way!


When I mapped how far our house was from our neighborhood market, I realized he lived 10+ miles from school. Walking…or riding a pack animal would have taken hours! No wonder Tamrat ran {and was tired at school}!

When Abreham came home and school was about to start, we knew we needed to get him into a sport or some activity to meet students, begin making friends, work on english, and a slew of other reasons.

He spoke no english and had played no sports before, so that limited us a bit.

A running 2

So we chose track.

And slowly he fell in love with it.

In August, a mere week or two after coming to America, we had signed our older boys up for a week long Speed Camp. Abreham seemed into it, so we put him in at the last minute, too.

Day one he was skeptical but really enjoyed it. And he was relatively fast, though pretty awkward. He laughed with Ezekiel the whole time, Ben and I were excited to see a smile on his face as he began bonding with his little brother. Day two, he was tired but still worked hard. Day three and on however, he wouldn’t take part. He wouldn’t go out onto the field, wouldn’t even lace up his shoes.

Instead, he hobbled around and repeated a thickly accented word “hospital” to me with fear in his eyes.

Ben and I continued to show him how to stretch, run hot baths with epsom salt, and tell him in simple english that he was simply sore. He’d spent a year of inactivity within the grounds of the orphanage. There was lots of playing, but not to this level. Not enough to keep him from becoming incredibly sore when he began to finally get some exercise.


And so he really thought there was something seriously wrong with his legs.

We laugh at that now.

Once school began and he won every track meet in the mile distance, we all realized that um…this kid can RUN! He eventually won Districts in his event and became known in his incredibly large middle school.

This kid who fell asleep in class because he had no idea what the teacher was talking about, becomes not a weird new kid who speaks no english and essentially has no idea what’s going on for the first quarter of school…but rather “the fast kid.”

A running 3

The kid everyone tries to beat in gym class but cannot. The kid who gets encouragement and pats on the back for winning yet another track meet, and poses for photos as he stands at his locker trying so hard to figure out this lock combination thing.

He becomes known.

He has an identity aside from being the orphan from Ethiopia.

And that’s HUGE.  Really HUGE.

Now we spend our Saturday mornings as a family waking early, driving around Denver for various 5K races. We have a wonderfully generous friend who’s a running coach and has created for him a training plan.  With the winters in Colorado being so cold, we never pushed Abreham to train. It was only bits here and there, we wanted him to love running without pressure.

Several months ago, we began looking for a running mentor for Abreham. Someone who had African ties and found the most amazing man, Roberto Mandje who ran in the Olympics a few years ago for one of the African countries. Its who he is though, that makes him really amazing. He and his wife have become like part of the family and they drive to see Abreham at various races, come to our house for dinner, and give him tons of encouragement.

A running

My incredible husband is the type of guy who researches something to the point of exhaustion so he can know all about it, especially if it’s something the kids are interested in. He wants to know it all so he can help them, so he can bond with them through it. And this has been so for Ben and Abreham.

Ben continued to Google around, looking for information on training and the best American cross country or marathoners. And he stumbled upon Ryan and Sara Hall. Ryan has posted the best-ever American times in the Half Marathon and Marathon and has represented the US in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Sara was the 2012 US National Cross Country Champion and Gold Medalist at the Panamerican Games in the steeplechase.

So Ben emailed them about our son.

Turns out they’re outstanding people who love Jesus and even started an organization called The Steps Foundation, which amongst other things, provides micro loans to blooming entrepreneurs in Africa.  And they have a particular love for Ethiopia and it’s people.

We have seen firsthand how micro loans work and the impact they make, and trust us…IT WORKS.  A little bit goes a long way {see the woman making us Sambusa on the side of the street in this post. She had a micro loan. It changed her future}.

Abreham was so excited as Ben told him about these two remarkable runners and inspiring people, the good they’re doing in Africa, and that they would be at BolderBOULDER {the 10K he’s been training for that’s over Memorial Day weekend}.

Not only that, but also that he gets to spend time with them because we’re having dinner with them after the race.

So…sweet boy that Abreham is, he decided he wanted to use this race to help kids back in Africa by partnering with The Steps Foundation and has raised $1,ooo so far thanks to the generous support of people like all of you that see a need and go after it {feel free to check it out here}.

He’s in awe that people would give money for others like they have.




We have some other REALLY exciting things going on that I can’t wait to share with you later this week when I get the green light to do so.


Stay tuned for that!!

Thanks to all of you who have been on this journey with us. It’s not been an easy one, but I’m so excited the Lord is so good and we’re in a really, REALLY good, happy, joyful, season as a family.


///// Want to learn more about Abreham? Here are some more posts. /////

. Meeting Abreham . It’s Not Always Peachy . Learning to Trust . also click on Adoption .

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printable mothers day questionnaire

 all about my mom

If you’re like me, you find what your kids say to be {{ absolutely }} hilarious!!

And you’re likely looking for another gift idea for Mother’s Day. I love last minute and free gift ideas because face it, we’re all a crazily busy toward the end of the school year.

{I know…I had you at Free and Last Minute}



click here for mom


click here for grandma


click here for nana

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What do you have planned with your family on the big day?

We’re doing a Mother’s Day 5K {the kids are making signs for me…so cute} and Ben was planning a fun picnic with all my favorite things and a family trip to the zoo…BUT it’s supposed to be really cold and maybe even snow here in Denver. {sigh} But no matter what we do, I’m sure it’ll be great.

Happy {almost} Mother’s Day!!

take joy-signature-new-pink

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