Catching Up…

September 25th, 2011

The running thing is still happening. It’s slowed down more than I like due to school starting…just need to get into a new routine. I am signed up to run a 5k at the end of October and there is another one in the works for spring of 2012.

Lexi is in kindergarten now. Finally. She loves it. And I’d like to apologize to parents everywhere for the cutesy, sing-song things I teach your children that they come home saying all day long.

My school year is back in full swing. We are currently stuck in limbo while we wait for the construction on the new building to be completed. The waiting is not sittign well with a large portion of the student body. The words riot and revolt have been tossed around quite a bit…not by the teachers but to describe the students.

It’s been a crazy month…teaching out of boxes, not having all our supplies, no gym or playground. It’s been a little crazy. However, we are moving this Friday. On Monday, we’ll be in our new classroom. We are on the first floor (no more stairs) and kindgarten has a bathroom in their classroom (no more class trips to the bathroom).

I can’t complain about my class though. I’m nervous to say that they are going to be an easy class (every time I think this, they end up being an insanely difficult class). So far things are going smooth. They take consequences well and seem to learn from their mistakes. They work quietly, follow directions and engage in class discussions. Mostly, they seem very excited to be at school.

Happy September
My birthday was on the 22nd. Since September was/is crazy, Kevin has decided that September is birthday month. I’ve been getting a present a day since September 1st. Fun stuff, coming home or waking up to find a present waiting for me. Lots of fun stuff like books, a mixed CD, magnetic pictures of the kids/family, chocolate in various forms…it’s been good.

We finally painted our bedroom and the office. Our bedroom went from 1980′s lavender with a flower border to a deep wine and grey. Kevin’s office went from white tines with about 6 drops of blue to a dark blue and grey. We rearranged the bedroom, finally bought a bed frame for our bed and it looks so much nicer in here. I still have to paint the bathroom and the closet. I’ll get to that later.

Now, all I need is for things to calm down just a bit. That would be good.

World Water Day

March 22nd, 2011

Clean water is the difference between life and death.

4000 children die each day due to lack of clean water.

And so we’ve raised money to build wells.

But there is a problem.

1/3 of all the wells built in the last 20 years are broken.

Today, the solution is to raise $10000.

$10000 will provide training for well mechanics in North India, allowing them to fix hundreds of wells for years to come and turn water back on for 300 people a month.


$20 from 10 of my friends in the next 24 hours.

That’s it.


Blogging for Water

March 16th, 2011


Tuesday, March 22 is World Water Day.

On Tuesday, March 22, the goal is to raise $10,000 in one day.

If you have a blog, sign up here .

Give up a day of posting about the cute thing your kid said or why it bothers you that people still double space at the end of a sentence.

On Tuesday, March 22, join with other bloggers to inspire 10 friends to donate $20.

50 bloggers. 10 friends. $20 each. $10000 in a single day to provide clean drinking water.

You in?

50 before 50….just a quick update

January 1st, 2011

I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago. But several years ago I did make a list of 50 things I wanted to do before I was 50. Since it’s the first of the year, I thought I’d see how far I’ve gotten on the list. Anything in bold is something that I’ve completed. (and yes, I’m just coping and pasting this post from previous years and updating.)
50 things I want to do before I’m 50
In no particular order
1. Travel to at least 2 foreign countries I’ve been to Mexico, England, El Salvador and Ethiopia.
2. Become fluent in ASL
3. Finish grad school I didn’t actually finish but I finished all the parts I wanted to get done, so we’ll call it good.
4. Get a second dog
5. Read all the books I own (if this is going to be accomplished I need to a) stop going to the library and b) stop buying books)
6. Hang curtains in my house I’ve got curtains in both the kids’ rooms. Our room is next on the list.
7. Get my dog his CD or CDX title (HAHAHAHA. Speak has joined the Dog Union and has decided that all union breaks will be taken during either training sessions or competitions.)
8. Earn my play therapy certificate
9. Take a pottery class
10. Participate in the 3 day walk for breast cancer (seriously considering signing up this year – need to find someone to walk with me to keep me accountable)
11. Take a photography class
12. Learn to knit (and as an added bonus, I taught myself how to crochet this Christmas)
13. Eat fruit 4 times a week
14. Go to Hawaii – I don’t know if I really want to do this anymore…maybe I should change to “dream vacation”
15. Build a bookshelf (does assembling one from IKEA count?)
16. Learn to play guitar or piano (one step closer to this one…got a piano for Christmas!)
17. Work towards clean water
18. Go camping in Colorado (again)
19. Go horseback riding on the beach (see notes on #14)
20.Take a cooking class
21. Learn self-defense
22. Make a new quilt for our bedroom – I haven’t done our room yet but I’m counting Lexi’s quilt and the quilt for the baby.
23. Help build a Habitat for Humanity house
24. Visit the 4 continents I don’t live on. (I’ve got 2 of the 5 covered. Africa? Check. Europe? Check. And I only want to go to 6 of the 7 continents because I really don’t want to go to Antarctica.)
25. Train a dog to be used for pet therapy (See Dog Union) Although, later on, I may get a dog that would be better at this. There’s also the possibility of puppy raising.
26. Teach my children sign language
27. Stop worrying about money
28. Write letters to friends (instead of e-mailing) on a regular basis – I was so much better at this a couple years ago.
29. Join a book club
30. Go to Disney World
31. Plant and maintain a garden (Maybe I should start small. Something like keeping 1 houseplant alive)
32. Be able to say I never owned a cell phone (I’ve owned 2 since I wrote this list. The responsible parent in me won out.)
33. Finish building my Macquarium (I sold this at a rummage sale)
34. Work as a dog trainer I’ve taught Level 1 & 2, Canine Good Citizen, & Junior Trainers
35. See Kevin’s book for sale at Barnes N Noble (he’s got 3 for sale on, yay!)
36. Go to Alaska – Went summer of 2010
37. Stop procrastinating I’m getting much better at this.
38. Keep up with my blog (did you see the month of November?)
39. Get 8 hours of sleep a night (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
40.See U2 in concert (again) – we were so close. They are coming to the Twin Cities this summer. Kevin was sick when the tickets went on sale and so we missed our chance. D’oh. Next time around)
41. Go to the Olympics
42. See a show on Broadway (Saw Stomp)
43. Volunteer at the Humane Society
44.Start a Kindergarten program at my daycare I don’t work there anymore. I’m counting this as done because I teach kindergarten.
45.Figure out a way to get that damn Arby’s ovenmit off television I didn’t do it but he’s been gone for a while now.
46. Adopt (Have you met Milo? and Yeshumnesh?)
47.Watch less T.V.
48. Continue to own only 1 car We had 2 for about a year, maybe less, but we are back to just 1.
49. See a Red Wings game in Detroit
50.Own a house with a fireplace. Our house has 2.


Okay, so 23/50 items are completed. And 32/50 years are done. However, I made the list when I was about 26(?) so it’s not a bad ratio.

2010 in Pictures (and a few captions)

December 30th, 2010

January 2010

Lexi Coloring

Ready to Mail

The earthquake that tore through Haiti spurred Kevin and Lexi into action. They opened up Color4aCause and Lexi drew pictures for people who donated to help in Haiti.


It's my ponytail, and I like it!

It's my ponytail, and I like it!

Lexi fell in love with the book Stephanie’s Ponytail and insisted on wearing one of each of Stephanie’s ponytails. At the same time.


Lexi's Circle Cakes

Lexi's 4th Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Lexi. This year’s theme: Circles.


February 2010

Found Dog

This guy wandered into our garage. While we tried to locate his owners, I named him Steve. Super-friendly, super-sweet. Took most of the night, but he ended up back at home.

(Good example of why you need to microchip your dog – he got out and slipped his collar.)


My New Hat

I taught myself how to crochet. First thing I made? A new hat for Kevin.


March 2010

Lexi & Milo

Milo & Lexi

Milo in a Box

We celebrated a full year home with Milo. Hard to believe how tiny he was just a year ago.


The Book Arrives

Reading My Book

Kevin wrote a book about our adoption and the profits helped fund a well in Ethiopia.

(The full amount was raised by September 2010.)


April 2010

Milo's Baptism

Milo's Baptism

Milo was baptized in April. Loudest baptism ever. Lexi ran circles in the front of the church while we talking and then Milo proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs during the actual baptism and prayer. As you can see, he completely wore himself out.

There are no pictures but it’s also the month we decided to start the adoption process once again.


May 2010


The Red Wings were in the Playoffs.

More importantly, Milo learned to say “GOAL”


June 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday Kevin!


Waiting for Yeshumnesh

Barely two months after we started the process to adopt we got very unexpected news….a daughter!

(We were thinking our next child would come home summer of 2011.)


July 2010

The Mohawk

$100 was donated to charity:water if Kevin got a mohawk. He did it the same week I was in Alaska meeting our preteen daughter who would be mortified to hear her new dad had a mohawk.


On the Way to Alaska

Nicole and I arrive in Alaska.

Abby & Yeshumnesh

Met Yeshumnesh for the first time.

At the Airport

Nicole and Yeshumnesh waiting to board our flight home after a long week in a hotel room in Alaska. There’s really only so much Hannah-Montana a person can take.

Family Photo!

Finally home. The whole family together.


August 2010

Mall of America w/ 4 Kids

This month we a) learned how to parent a preteen and b) introduced Yeshumnesh to the insanity that is the Mall of America.


Opening Presents

Happy Birthday Yeshumnesh.

Presents in the morning.

Going to Fasika's

Heading out to Fasika’s for dinner.


Milo's Mess

Oh, and Milo discovered how much fun it is to shred a whole roll of toilet paper into the toilet.


September 2010

Yeshumnesh's First Day of 6th Grade

The required First Day of School picture.


Ethiopian New Year

Ethiopian New Year

Ethiopian New Year Celebration at Phalen Park.


Abby's Birthday

Happy Birthday to me.

Mark Horvath Talking to Ka'e k'e

This is the second year Mark came to visit on my birthday. One of the most selfless people I know, Mark travels the US interviewing people who are homeless and letting them tell their story.

Milo & Mark

He hung out at our house for most the afternoon and I’m amazed at his ability to tune out the insane noise level.


October 2010


Opening Presents

Happy Birthday, Milo! This year we celebrated Milo’s birthday in Green Bay with his Great-Grandma.


<Halloween 2010

Halloween Part 1. Lexi and Milo getting ready to Trick-or-Treat at Byerly’s. Lexi went as Princess Tiana (I made her costume) and Milo was a hockey player.

Halloween 2010

Halloween Part 2. Trick-or-Treating at the Mall of America. Kevin, Milo and I were a hockey team, Yeshumnesh was a 50′s girl, and Lexi was still Princess Tiana.


November 2010

Writing Love on Our Arms

Writing Love on Our Arms

Writing Love on Our Arms

<TWLOHA Day: Love in English & Amharic

We wrote love on our arms.

Milo still asks for me to write on his arm when I have a marker.


Madden Family 2010

We went to Kansas for Thanksgiving and a pre-Christmas.

In this photo

Back row: Emelia, Thomas, Tom, Tyler, Briean, Abby, Milo, Pam, Tamera, Carl, Kerry

Middle Row: Liz, Alaina, Yeshumnesh

Front Row: Colton, Lexi, Kayden, Wanda, Bill, Kevin


December 2010

Decorating Our Christmas Tree

Lexi learned the joys of self-photography.


Decorating Our Christmas Tree

Getting the house ready for Christmas.


New Piano

My Christmas present from 2009 arrived this month.


Twin Cities Blizzard of 2010

Huge, giant, freakin’ snowstorm. 5th biggest ever. Biggest in 20 years. 17+inches of snow. On a Saturday.

For the 3rd time this season. (I’d just like a snow storm to fall on a weekday.)



Our Christmas cards this year. Yes, they included Kevin with a mohawk, much to the horror of a certain pre-teen who shall remain nameless.

Christmas #1 was in Kansas. Christmas #2 was at our house. Christmas #3 was in Green Bay.


We're Married>

Kevin and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary.


So that’s our year. How was yours?

The Day We Saw Your Face

December 2nd, 2010

December 2, 2008 – 5.5 weeks old – 5lbs. – Rahimeto Keyredin
First Pics of Milo
First Pics of Milo

December 2, 2010 – 26.5 months old – 25lbs – Milo Rahimeto

Milo Painting
Milo Painting

Happy Referral Day, Milo-boy.

Meeting Milo – Day 3

March 20th, 2010

Friday, March 20th.

We woke up and walked over to the main guest house for breakfast. (When we traveled CHSFS had two guest houses. 1 main house that hold about 8 families and 1 smaller house around the corner that holds 3 families, we were in the smaller one.)
small guest house

So we ate breakfast around 8 and waited for the van to bring us over to the offices around 9. We were getting a basic orientation on Ethiopia in the morning and then meeting our kids in the afternoon. When we arrived at the offices we were told that the offices had no power so they were running on generators and would have to cut the orientation short. It was a bit of a disappointment until we realized that meant we would leave for the care center that moring, spend time with the kids and come back in the afternoon for more time with the kids. Really can’t complain about that.

We took the time to learn a few basic things about Ethiopia. How to say “thank you” (amesegnalehu) in Amharic, because when you are picking up your child, you have about 4028 people you want to thank while in Ethiopia. We learned that Ethiopians will pretty much drop what they are doing to welcome a guest. We learned a few things about the region our kids came from. We learned how to greet people (selam). We met the social workers. Then we got back in the van and headed to the care center.

Before we went to the care center we made a quick stop to drop off two families at the school to meet their children.

Finally, we were on our way to the care center.

The care center was an embassy center

Milo’s room was on the top floor.

The picture is of our group turning in cameras at the guard shack. Once inside the care center, we couldn’t take any pictures. It wasn’t too big of a deal because they had their video crew there filming the entire thing. So we have our first moments with Milo on video.

Before we went inside we had to switch our shoes to crocs that were only worn indoors to help keep the floors and carpets clean. They were very stylish and way too big for me. I opted to go barefoot. Although, I almost always opt to go barefoot.

We waited in the living room area to be called one by one to meet our kids. I wasn’t nervous just anxious. The 10 minutes or whatever it was we had to wait felt like forever. He was up four fligths of stairs and I couldn’t just go up and see him. We were the last or second to last family to get called. The camera guy and socail worker walked us up the stairs…it was funny because the camera guy tapes the entire walk up the steps. And pretty much all I could think was “don’t trip in these giant shoes, on camera.”

So we walked all the way up to the fourth floor, to Milo’s room. And walked into a room of babies that I recognized. I saw my friend’s daughter. I saw another families twin boys. And then the social worker pointed to a bed and said, “here he is.” We stood there holding this tiny little baby who in turn just sucked his thumb and stared at us. I don’t actually have words to describe it. We flew half way around the world. We were standing on an entirely different continent and a complete stranger was saying, “here he is”. He was ours.

After a few minutes in the baby room, we took him down stairs and hung out for a while. Milo barely made a sound. He just stared at us, sucking his thumb. And then fell asleep while we were holding him. The worst part was walking him back up the stairs and handing him back to his nanny. That’s when I got all teary eyed. I’d waited 12 months to see his picture and then 4 more months to buy tickets. I’m finally in the same room as him and I have to leave him.

We went home, ate lunch, discussed how tiny and cute he was and then got back on the bus for an afternoon of hanging out with the kids. This time around, I got smart and brought the sling with. And true to form, he sucked his thumb, stared at us for a while and then fell asleep, this time in his sling.

2009 Photos: A Year in Review or An excuse to post a ton of photos

December 29th, 2009

Here’s our year. It’s not even close to everything that happened this year but it was a good year.


Now that we had our referral and the holidays were over we started to get things ready for Milo’s arrival.

We built new shelves in the closet, put together bunk beds and put up the crib.

Closet Shelves Building Bunkbeds with Papa On the Top

Lexi got a much needed hair cut.

Lexi Pre-Haircut Lexi Post-Haircut

And we got ready for her 3rd birthday -  she requested a “W” cake for her party. (In case you’re wondering. This year she wants green circle cakes. Nope, no Elmo birthday cakes for us.)

Licking the Cookie Dough Lexi's Birthday Party


We passed court! Milo was officially, legally, 100% ours. We also got his birth certificate and a travel date.

Playing with a Nanny


We started to get ready for our trip to Ethiopia. We borrowed the three biggest suitcases ever.

Our last photo as a family of 3. About 15 minutes after this was taken we headed off to the airport.

And we were off.

Packing Lexi Family Photo On the Plane

This was the first day we were able to bring Milo back to the Guest House from the Care Center.
Kevin, Abby & Milo!

And headed back home.
A boy from our travel group. We were all waiting for our connecting flight in DC. He held Milo for a while.
And friends we met at the airport. They went through a different agency but live in St. Paul. Our kids are about 2 months apart in age.

Hanging in the Dulles Airport Hanging in the Dulles Airport

And we are officially a family of 4. Lexi met us at the airport.

Meeting Milo


Lexi decides to sleep on the floor. She did this for several weeks. And she and Kevin did a lot of work for Start Seeing Art.

Lexi Asleep on the Floor Front Street Rec Center Mural by Unknown

Our first Easter as a family of 4. And Lexi enjoying being the big sister.

Hendricks Family at Easter 2009 Lexi Holding Milo

Kevin and I (and the kids but they are always barefoot – we’re lucky if they have pants on) went One Day Without Shoes.

One Day without Shoes


I braved it and drove to Green Bay, by myself, with both kids. My sister was there and we took the kids to Bay Beach. Cheapest, greatest summer entertainment for kids under 10. I love this picture because I have the same picture of me at about 3 years old riding the same ride.

Riding the Bugs

Kevin and Lexi wore their Red Wings jerseys to church on Pentecost Sunday. Milo wore his as well.

Red Wings Fans

Kevin’s hair getting longer. In May he challenged people to help him raise $600 for That’s enough clean water for 30 people. If the goal was met by his 30th birthday (a month later) he promised to shave his head. People donated $2300.

How Bad Do I Need a Haircut? Lexi Trying to Carry a Jerry Can

He also walked about 2 miles from the Misissippi River to our house carrying the can Lexi is holding above. The can was full and weighted close to 25 lbs. On a daily basis, people without access to clean water carry these cans close to 3 miles for water. It’s mostly women and children who fetch the water.


We went to White Robin Farm for a family photo shoot. It was a ton of fun. Lexi helped.

Hendricks Family Photo Shoot Hendricks Family Photo Shoot Lexi Taking Picturs

Kevin’s birthday. Before:

Kevin & Kids

And after:

Shaving My Head Bald Kevin

July and August

We took care of 5 kids under 5 for a morning. Two belonged to us and three belonged to a friend. We got out of the house and walked to a park to wear everyone out.

Babysitting Five Kids

But the best part of the year (after bringing Milo home) was flying to Connecticut and visiting our best friends for close to two weeks. We ate out a lot. We played games. Made a lot of popcorn. And just hung out.

The Hendricks & Yenters

Lexi also sat in on one of Uncle Tim’s lectures at Yale.

Tim Teaching at Yale

We saw Times Square and Tim and Nicole took the kids home and Kevin and I saw Stomp.

Visiting Times Square in New York

We met up with other college friends in Amherst and hung out for the day.

More Bethel Picnic Girls Holding Hands

Kevin with two of his college roommates and me with one of my college roommates

The Guys Abby & Rachel

August is also the State Fair. This is Lexi being “State Fair People.”

Lexi in her State Fair Swag


Happy birthday to me.

Abby's Birthday

We also got to meet and hang out with Mark Horvath from

Mark Horath & The Cherry Mark Horvath Ready for Action


Happy 1st birthday, Milo. In case you were wondering, he does like cake and he does like chocolate. Even tried to swipe his sister’s cupcake.

Cupcake Time

Halloween. I cut the jack-o-lantern, per Lexi’s instructions and she decorated it. Lexi was a Green Princess and Milo was a scarecrow. This year, the costumes were made by me.

Lexi's Jack-o-Lantern Ready to Trick or Treat


It was freakishly warm around here in November. This is how warm Lexi had to dress to go rake leaves with her dad.

Raking Leaves with Lexi

Milo became extremely mobile, deciding the quickest path from point A to point B was a straight line, no matter what was along that line.

Milo Scaling a Box

We went to my parents house for Thanksgiving. Every year Joanna and I buy the kids matching Christmas PJ’s and insist on a picture. This year, 3 really excited kids would not sit still so every picture is just a big ball of stripes.

Christmas PJs at Thanksgiving Christmas PJs at Thanksgiving


Kevin tried to teach Lexi to ice skate. She wasn’t a fan.

Skating with Dad

We went to Kevin’s parents’ house for Christmas. Lexi insisted we take this picture after church.

Hendricks Family at Christmas 2009

And of course, present opening.

Christmas MorningGood Use of a Dump Truck

And seeing Papa’s pigeons.

Pigeons with Papa

And hanging out with second cousins. Emelia and Milo were the newest second cousins this year. Emelia is 9 months in this picture and Milo is 14 months.

Second Cousins 2009 Family Christmas

We got back from Kansas to discover there was a lot of shoveling to do.

Helping Daddy Shovel

And on to next year. Here’s to 2010.

NaBloPoMo Post #8: Handmade for the Holidays

November 7th, 2009

When you are doing all your gift buying this year, consider buying handmade.

Here are some of my favorite shops (most are etsy shops):

Future Leaders of Ghana
Gub Factory
Junk Posse
Bean Forest

But don’t forget, the first gift you buy this year, buy it November 13.
$10 for water.


NaBloPoMo Post #6: Two Random Things

November 5th, 2009

1. I just realized that we are leaving for our first Christmas in about 3 weeks. And I haven’t started on any gifts except one. I’m thinking this year everyone is either getting water for christmas or something handmade, just not made by me.

2. Yes, I know the text says it’s true but it’s not. But still, it’s funny and sad and true all at the same time.