Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas fun

I love making things festive for my kids. They're enjoying the Christmas season so far--we had so much fun decorating our (fake) Christmas tree a few weeks ago, complete with hot chocolate, popcorn, and the classic movie "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

I've been loving baking, too--fudge, chocolate mousse pie, triple-chocolate peppermint trifle. Mmmmmm.

Anna, Yosef and Biniam sang up front with their Sunday School class this past Sunday. Totally cute, and Yosef actually sang part of the song during the third service. (I'll post pics later I think.)

We haven't done our Christmas cards yet. Will we do them at all this year? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another day, another specialist :)

This morning (whose bright idea was it to schedule these appointments so early--oh wait, it was mine!) Kaitlyn and I met with Dr. Johnson, the immunologist/allergist we've been seeing. He took one look at Kaitlyn's skin and also pronounced it Atopic Dermatitis! He also feels confident that it is to blame for the multiple infections. He ordered blood work that will pinpoint what she's allergic to food-wise, and blood work that will see if she's zinc-deficient. (We had her blood drawn after our appointment so we should get the results in about a week. She was SO GOOD, hardly any crying at all, just at the very end.)

He said that there are really rare immune-deficiencies out there that would make someone prone to staph infections, but that he doesn't feel like he wants to get into testing for those (pretty invasive) because people who have them have repeat respiratory issues, pneumonia, etc., and Kaitlyn's healthy as can be. Not to mention, he said that now we have an explanation for the staph that fits.

Dr. Johnson's biggest concern is Kaitlyn's weight-loss. He said if she's not vomiting and doesn't have diarrhea then he really doesn't know why she'd fall off her growth curve. Some possibilities he threw out there were a fast metabolism, her getting ready for a growth spurt and needing more calories than maybe she was getting. Or, food allergies.

So, that's that. We'll wait for the results of the blood tests. It felt good to have the immunologist confirm the dermatologist's findings, and I'm so happy that we did some more testing. I'm experimenting with some Burt's Bees products and so far am happy with them. I guess I still feel worried about the weight loss, but she eats so well, is developing fine, has eight teeth, and never stops crawling around and playing, so I'm resting in the fact that for now, she's okay, and we'll keep our eye on it.

Thank you so much for all your kind words, prayers, and thoughts. We are blessed!!! (Oh and I just thought I'd share some pics of my sweet baby girl.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Atopic Dermatitis

According to the dermatologist, that is Kaitlyn's diagnosis and accounts for all of her health issues lo these many months. This morning Kaitlyn and I met with Dr. Stewart who looked at her, listened to my stories and concerns, and said Kaitlyn has EXTREMELY sensitive skin, horrible allergies (probably tied in with food), and the reason for the repeat staph infections in the diaper area is that because Kaitlyn itches so bad, and scratches, the staph gets in there. She really wasn't surprised/concerned by the repeat skin infections and in fact prescribed a topical antibiotic to keep on hand in case it happens again and seems necessary. She said she didn't think we needed to do the orals so much, just topical.

I told her I was most concerned by the weight loss, but she really wasn't too worried about that either. I kept reiterating that Kaitlyn lost a good 12 ounces which is a big deal for a baby, but she said that that can be tied in with allergies/eczema as well. During the visit Kaitlyn was babbling and bouncing around and the doctor said she looks healthy as can be and therefore really doesn't suspect a zinc deficiency. The doctor asked me if Kaitlyn was pretty active, and I said yeah, she's always been squirmy and wiggly and loves crawling around. The doctor said her own son was big at first, then lost a bunch of weight and remained pretty small for his age, so it happens. Plus yeah, apparently allergies can affect weight gain or something.

I asked about Kaitlyn's foot, and Dr. Stewart said that honestly it sounds like Kaitlyn just has really, really sensitive skin. She prescribed an ointment for the eczema. She said it can be difficult to pin-point what foods I'm eating that might be aggravating it, so pay attention but not obsess over it. She also thought Kaitlyn should outgrow it.

I guess I feel cautiously optimistic about the diagnosis. I tried my darndest to convince Dr. Stewart that my baby was on death's doorstep, but she just kept saying that these things are the result of bad eczema/allergies, and that staph infections on the skin are to be expected if a baby's diaper area is scratched up badly enough (which Kaitlyn's had been. It was awful.) Tomorrow we'll see the immunologist, who I'm sure will order more invasive tests and I'm going to request he test for zinc deficiency. But if everything comes back normal, then it looks like my kid just has a nasty case of regular old eczema.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Little things...

...make me happy. Like:

1.) My Martha Stewart Living arriving today. Can't wait to put my feet up later and enjoy!
2.) I've got red potatoes boiling, fish marinating, fresh lettuce for a salad. I love when I take the time to prepare a nutritious meal for my family!
3.) Receiving Christmas cards from dear friends and family.
4.) My kids enjoying a movie, currently "Cinderella."
5.) Kaitlyn's smile and the fact that she zips around this house like nobody's business. Man I love that kid!
6.) Kevin just now arriving home...and the fact that he's off work from now until January 7th.

Off to hug the husband and finish dinner prep. Have a happy Friday night enjoying the little things!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas and Africa

Christmas involves gift-giving, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to buy for loved ones, co-workers, and those people who already have everything. I wanted to share a few unique gift ideas with you that are not only pretty cool but more importantly help Africa.

1). AHOPE Blend Cofee

A Washington-state coffee house makes this special blend of fair-trade coffee. $12.95/pound, and $1.50 goes to the charity AHOPE for Children, an Ethiopian orphanage caring for HIV-positive children. What a perfect gift for a coffee-lover, and a great way to raise awareness for this wonderful organization. (I'm currently sipping some right now and it's wonderful!)


This website offers a variety of items from Ethiopia and Ghana, as well as some related books. All proceeds go directly to Adoption Advocates International's humanitarian projects. (AAI works in Ethiopia, Ghana, Thailand and China.) Anything from this website would make a wonderful gift for an adoptive parent, adopted child, grandparent, or the internationally minded. Fast shipping, too. (For those of you with children from Layla House, check out the amazing new book "Faces of Layla." A must-have--we just purchased ours recently and it is BEAUTIFUL.)

3). Our Day to End Poverty: 24 Ways You Can Make a Difference

This book comes highly recommended and makes a neat gift for a socially-conscious family member or friend. $14.95 from every penny goes to humanitarian causes.

5). Amani Ya Juu

Means "higher peace" and is an amazing sewing reconcilation project and home for women in Africa! You can purchase fair-trade items that these talented ladies have made and know that your money is going towards helping marginalized women in Africa work towards peace. (They hail from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, and Somalia). I love the passport purses and the kitchen items! Their children's toys are adorable too!

6). Donations

Why not consider tacking a donation on in addition to a gift you're giving, or in lieu of one for that person who literally has everything and has a passion for humanitarian causes? Check out these cool gifts you can give in someone's name!
International Justice Mission--works to free people around the world from violent forms of injustice. Has been featured on both Oprah and Dateline. See their 2007 Gift Catalogue and give gifts like Advocacy or Aftercare.
AHOPE for Children--facility in Ethiopia that cares for HIV-positive orphans and assists families in caring for their HIV-positive children at home. With a minimum donation of $25, a card will be sent to the recipient saying a donation was made in their name. Besides a one-time donation you can give the gift of sponsorship of a child (for one year, $360), or choose to provide a school uniform and school supplies, holiday gifts, a new chalkboard for the classroom, etc.
Heifer International--their motto is "Ending hunger, Caring for the earth." Through this wonderful charity you can give the gift of an animal to a family in the world that will help provide sustenance for them. You can give heifers, ducks, water buffalo...the list goes on.
World Vision--you can provide anything from the share of an alpaca ($15) to education for a child.
(Some of these charities are faith-based, and some are not. Please don't let that deter you from giving either way--they are each doing amazing work and helping those who need it the most!)

Thanks Al!

First off I've been so blessed by your kind words, prayers, offers to watch my kids--thank you all SO MUCH! Kaitlyn's responding to the antibiotics (though of course not thrilled to be woken up around midnight to take them--this every-eight-hours business is brutal!), and the best part is that FINALLY, after MONTHS of battling an insanely itchy, red, awful diaper rash, it is responding to the steroid cream the doctor prescribed! It still itches her, however, but it looks better than it's looked in several months. I can't believe it, like I can actually see SKIN there now and not just red.

I've been doing a TON of research online the last couple of days, looking at immune disorders, obscure syndromes, etc. and thinking about Kaitlyn's symptoms in hopes of compiling some questions for when we see the specialists next week. Every syndrome I've found just doesn't seem to fit Kaitlyn very well. Recurring staph infections are a common symptom for a lot of them, but they all pretty much include lots of symptoms that quite frankly she DOESN'T have...strange facial features, repeat pneumonia, lung problems, heart problems, low T-cell count. In fact, for pretty much all of them, the most common indicators are things she DOESN'T have.

What I DID find, however, was something called atopic dermatitis (most common type of eczema)...for which she literally has EVERY symptom. Including recurring bacterial infections that are happening right where the aggravated, itchy skin is. Our pediatrician told us that her diaper rash that she's had for months is not itself bacterial, that a bacterial infection will hurt but not itch. He also said that he believes the bacteria is reinfecting that area because it's always so raw and ripped up. He tried treating it with anti-fungal creams a few times, but it didn't respond to them AT ALL, so now he's prescribed a steroid cream and it's totally responding. (Turns out atopic dermatitis is often treated with steroids.) Kaitlyn also has scaly, rough patches on her arms and legs, and currently her cheeks, and she's had cradle cap for months also. Guess what, those are all symptoms of atopic dermatitis. I have a history of allergies (pollen, pet dander, eczema), and we have some allergies/asthma in our families--and guess what, those are all indicators of atopic dermatitis. My pediatrician also is thinking about a possible zinc deficiency--which, indeed, can bring on dermatitis. Kaitlyn has EXTREMELY sensitive skin, always has, very susceptible to breaking out in a rash from detergent, heat, certain fabrics...also an indicator.

SO, I am about 99.99% convinced that even if there is some random immune problem going on, she has nasty eczema. I'm not sure why she's lost weight, although zinc deficiency can cause this (you can have a deficiency in spite of a proper diet--it can happen during periods of rapid growth, therefore it can happen to infants because they grow so quickly.) It can also cause your immune system to be suppressed. The weight loss does coincide with when she started crawling/eating solids and I wonder if maybe I wasn't feeding her enough solids or something weird like that? Although she's fallen off her growth curve, she is currently right about where Anna was on the growth curve. At any rate the weight loss makes me feel very concerned (the pediatrician too.) Though goodness knows that she eats/nurses a lot and has energy to spare!

Anyway those are my findings. I kind of feel like a dork doing all this "investigating", but I'm thoroughly convinced that YOU are your child's best advocate and just because you didn't go to medical school doesn't mean you can't be informed and play a large role in your child's healthcare.

Oh, and I'm so grateful that Al Gore came up with the internet! What would we do without this amazing contribution of his??? (Hee, hee.....)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I didn't check this box!

When you adopt a child, there's a form you fill out, placing a check-mark by special needs that you would be willing to accept in a child (and you feel like a real jerk while you're doing it too!) You can say whether you would consider a child with scars, deformities, developmental delay, HIV...the list goes on.

When you give birth to a child, there are no boxes to check. Provided everything goes well, you carry the baby for nine months and become a mother to the child God gives you. And you expect that this beautiful, wrinkly, cuddly baby will thrive and be well.

This past weekend Kaitlyn began showing more signs of infection, and her itchy diaper rash had still not gone away (and had become even more aggravated the minute we put Aquaphor on it), so today I took her in to see our pediatrician. He'd taken a skin culture during the last infection and we discovered that while it was indeed a staph infection, she is NOT colonized or infected with methicillin-resistant staph (or MRSA), which is very good. HOWEVER, she has yet another infection. AND she's lost weight and fallen off her growth curve.

I found out today that he's been doing research and is pretty well convinced that she has a rare syndrome where some part of her immune system is being suppressed. We're going to be visiting two specialists in the upcoming days: a dermatologist and the immunologist (again.) He says he's never seen anything like this and is completely perplexed, and is anxious to get more specialists on board to discover what the problem is. I'm not looking forward to the bloodwork (is there anything worse than holding your baby down during a blood draw?) but I AM looking foward to getting some answers...sort of.

The truth is I'm terrified. My little girl has not been fully well in eight long months. Not only has she not been well, but we don't know what the problem is. Not only THAT, but I'm now afraid to find out. Will it eventually be life-threatening? Is it serious? Am I equipped to deal with this?!

As I was sitting in the cry-room at church on Sunday with two other moms, I reflected on the fact that each of our babies has a health issue to deal with: one baby will need heart surgery, the other has spina bifida, and Kaitlyn most likely has an immune deficiency. It made me think of the Bible verse about Jesus and the man who was blind from birth. "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." God has beautiful plans for these precious babies and He has made them just the way He wants them. He will give us strength and courage to mother them and love them and to meet whatever need they may have. May I rest in this peace that only comes from above!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


We went off to Missions of Charity, Mother Theresa’s orphanage...It was a scary place….there were dead bodies in body bags near the medical clinic and an area for children that housed hundreds of kids, many of whom were mentally retarded and ill with complicated childhood illnesses and deformities. It was a very hard place to visit and almost impossible to imagine that Des was there for even a month.

My two little boys lived there. For several months. I just recently came across this quote in an excellent article by an amazing woman who has transformed the way HIV-positive orphans are cared for in Ethiopia. We didn't visit this particular facility when we picked up our sons; it's hard to get an appointment and it's overflowing with orphans dying of untreated-AIDS, very sick with all sorts of secondary, opportunistic infections. I knew very little about it, and was thrilled when I saw that Dr. Aronson had visited, and I read on, anxious to know more. And then my stomach dropped.

I can't wrap my mind around the fact that this was my kids' reality for many months. My crazy, happy, healthy little boys who love Sunday School, pancakes, big trucks, and the movie "Sleeping Beauty". I'll probably never be able to fully process this part of their lives, and maybe that's for the best. Thousands of miles away, it all seems like a dream, like maybe they weren't actually really there. But I know otherwise.

I feel unbelievably grateful to Adoption Advocates International for the amazing, unparalleled work they do at Layla House. Because in a place like Ethiopia, two orphaned babies like Yosef and Biniam have no future. That's not me being dramatic, or exaggerating the truth to make a point. Our boys just happened to be in the (extremely) small minority of orphans who end up in the right place at the right time and therefore avoid starving to death or living an abbreviated life of begging or prostitution on the streets. God provided for them and I love to think of the amazing plans He has for their lives.

I recognize and am grateful that Missionaries of Charity was there for my little boys when they had nowhere else to go. I strongly believe they're doing an amazing work in a third-world country caring for multitudes of children dying of an incurable disease, and that these nuns are devoting their lives to this end, with not nearly enough resources. But I'm glad my boys eventually tested negative for HIV, were moved to Layla House and that they joined our family. It's what their birthmom had wished for, and every day I pray that I might live up to this calling, especially when I read words like the ones above. They make me thank God for His provision...and hug my sons a little tighter.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Theology + bodily functions

Anna: How did God make our poop?
Mommy: Ummm, I'm not sure.
Anna: He wore gloves, so poop wouldn't get on his hands!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1st, was World AIDS Day. Yosef and Biniam's birthmother is HIV-positive and we sponsor two precious sisters at AHOPE who are also HIV-positive, ages 5 and 9. We got to spend a day with the girls (and many other children with HIV) when we went to Ethiopia. SO, AIDS is something that we think about often. Tonight at dinner we talked to the kids about how today is World AIDS Day, and Anna said our mealtime prayer and prayed a special prayer for Yosef and Biniam's "first mommy."

Here's an article that I'm sure I've posted before, written by a wonderful author and fellow adoptive mom of Ethiopian children from Layla House. Definitely worth the read!

What Will Become of Africa's AIDS Orphans?

And here's another one written by the head of World Vision. Good stuff.

Samaritans in the AIDS Crisis

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Home (sick) for the holidays

Hope everyone's having a happy Thanksgiving! We're holed up here in the germ-o-sphere that is our home. (Originally had plans to have Thanksgiving with my parents, but had to cancel for obvious reasons.) Kaitlyn came down with our flu yesterday morning but seems to be on the mend. Yosef and Biniam remain healthy--somehow, knock-on-wood. There will be no turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy or pumpkin pie for us today. There WILL be much resting, consuming of jello, and watching more mindless TV.

Honestly I feel really thankful this year...thankful for little Kaitlyn and what I can only describe as the sheer joy she brings to our home. For the way God watches over her, for the way she smiles and plays and is the sweetest little baby in spite of how ill she's been for the last several months.

I'm thankful for my two little boys and that God's plans for their lives included us. I'm really enjoying getting to know Yosef and Biniam better and better and seeing their personalities develop. I'm continually in awe of where they came from and how God has provided for them in spite of what was a very bleak past. They crack me up and I can't wait to see what God has for their futures.

Thankful for my little Anna she really coming up on four years old? I feel like we figured out this motherhood/baby thing together--when I found out I was pregnant I'd been just married a year, I excitedly left the Cal Poly campus for good after getting my pregnancy confirmed at the health center, no clue about babies or raising kids but madly in love with the little girl God was giving me. I love her sense of humor, sweet spirit and huge heart.

I'm thankful for my husband Kevin. He's a great man, amazing daddy, and my bestest friend. We have so much fun together and I love how at the end of the day, no matter the vast amount of laundry, dishes, or children :), we're on this adventure together. He keeps me grounded and sane. Probably because he makes me laugh.

I've decided I'm really thankful for hope. When I look at the more difficult things in my life right now, or in others' lives, the one constant is that God is in control and I can put my hope in Him. I won't see all things put right in my lifetime, but eventually they will be.

Anyway, I hope you all have a truly blessed Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and hope.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Well as of 3 am this morning, BOTH KEVIN AND I HAVE THE STOMACH FLU. It is just awful, definitely the most sick we've ever been. Anna's still a little sick too. Yet somehow we're still alive...and thanking the Lord that we have two bathrooms.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The good stuff

In spite of Anna's being sick, we've had fun this weekend. Saturday morning I took Yosef, Biniam and Kaitlyn to a friend's birthday party in SLO. It was so fun! Anna was really disappointed that she missed it, but she had lots of fun at home with Daddy. (Anna tells me that they played a chicken video game and "Don't Spill the Beans.")

Later that evening I decided to involve the kids in a cookie-making project. We all made my friend Lisa's chocolate chip cookies...yummy! My kids love to help me bake (and eat! Great recipe Lisa--and I feel oh-so-healthy eating them! :) )

Today we stayed home from church and I got started on my niece's Christmas present. I'm making her a little apron using this tutorial. Yes people, I actually DO own a sewing machine--I just haven't used it in two and a half years! I'm not particularly crafty, but I'd like to do more, and these aprons are just so fun. (Rachel I guess now you know what Aubrey's getting!)

I love simple family days where I'm reminded that this is what life's about. Way too often I find myself wishing that this or that were different, but ultimately, it doesn't get better than this. It really, really doesn't.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Not ten minutes after our growth group Biblestudy left on Wednesday night, we heard panicked screaming and crying coming from Anna's room. We ran (yes, ran!) in there to find that she'd just thrown up! She had a fever, threw up again a couple hours later, and had a couple more times where she thought she was going to but didn't. Needless to say, Mommy is pretty sleepy! Ever since then she's had a fever and been vomiting on and off using the nifty basin thing we gave her. She keeps a cup of water in her room too and manages her illness quite well, if I do say so myself! (She's three going on about twenty three I think.)

When I was growing up, whenever I was sick, my parents always pampered me and made me feel so cozy and nurtured. This is something I really want to do with our kids, too. So Thursday I made Anna a special "bed" on the couch, where she got to eat her breakfast. I made jello, she watched Cinderella, talked on the phone to Grandma Perruzzi, and got lots of rest. She's always been a great patient--no whining, in good spirits. Kaitlyn gave her lots of smiles that day, and Wednesday night after Anna threw up, Biniam woke up and wanted to pray for her. So sweet!

At any rate, we're making the most of it and enjoying the extra cuddling, vegging out, and watching way too much Seinfeld!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kaitlyn's health...again

Okay so a few days ago Kaitlyn broke out in yet ANOTHER bacterial skin infection (number four, to be exact, but who's really counting anymore?) We met with the immunologist yesterday to go over her bloodwork, and her immune system is healthy as can be! She's developed amazing responses to the vaccines so it would appear that it's not an immunological disorder. I expressed my frustration with the whole mess and he was totally understanding, but did say he thinks very highly of our pediatrician (who he knows) and said he'd send his kids to him if they were young. He also said that he knows that "Joe" (funny to hear your doctor referred to by their first name) will know the right thing to do. That made me feel a LITTLE better.

After our appointment with him we headed to our pediatrician "Joe's" office where he took a culture (hooray)--we'll hear back in a few days. He recommended a special soap to put in her bathtub and we talked about antibiotics, etc. The danger with these skin infections is ultimately if it gets inside her body--into her GI tract, etc. (people have recently been in the news for dying from a MRSA infection.) He seemed to know a lot about antibiotics and said that methicillin-resistant staph often basically have to be blasted with combinations of antibiotics to get rid of it. He put Kaitlyn on some strong stuff and for a longer duration, so we'll see. Meanwhile she's happy as a clam and seemingly unphased by the whole thing (until you go to change her diaper or give her a bath, then she cries and wants to itch, poor thing.) I hate that she has to be on antibiotics in the first place, but MRSA is a huge deal and it's not something to mess around with.

Lately I've found myself completely exhausted, emotionally drained, and weary of this whole thing. I sometimes find that I'm angry with myself for not being able to make it go away; it's like, I'm her mother and I'm supposed to protect her! But she is so happy and full of energy these days, and that makes me feel hopeful and encouraged. I was just telling Kevin today that she is so just "one of the kids" now, playing in the toy basket, cruising all over the house. It's hilarious! She can also pull herself up to standing, though remains unable to get into a sitting position--quite interesting. She's loving solid foods these days, but still loves to nurse too, so I'm not too sad.

I'll be sure to post an update when the results come back. Thanks to all who've been praying for my sweet baby girl--this has been (and continues to be) a long road, and I know God will use it for good in the end. I confess that entrusting my children to Him is really difficult for me, but He is faithful and loves my kids more than I can imagine.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Since very early on in the adoption process I somehow (not remembering how!) started getting to know Shelley. It's been so neat seeing their family grow, reading their blog and emailing back and forth (except I don't have as much time for either these days!) I love knowing there's another young, big family out there and that we're not alone. :) Anyway I read this post today and it captures so much of what I think and feel.

Somedays I just wish I could be normal

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Iraq's children

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.---James 3:17-18

I believe I'm a Christian first, and American (a distant) second. Lately I've felt terribly sad that so many Iraqi men, women, and especially children have been maimed, killed, and displaced on account of actions my country has taken. I don't care to debate whether we should be there or not (honestly I have no clue, if I did I guess I'd be working at the pentagon or as an advisor to the president!). However, I feel terrible that our Iraqi brothers and sisters are suffering and scarcely anyone mentions them. For some reason I get the impression that it's unpatriotic or unChristian to care about people from Iraq.

As Christians I think Christ compels us to care, and to love, and to remember that the kingdom of God looks and works differently from anything here on earth. In God's kingdom, we love our enemies, love our neighbors, give food and drink to those who need it regardless who they are or what they believe.

World Vision has worked in Iraq for some time. They have put together these videos that I hope you'll take the time to watch. What an opportunity the church has right now, to reach out and bridge the gap between Christian and Muslim, rich and poor, to put Jesus' love into action. Anyway, please watch these clips and pray for these children (and maybe consider contributing towards Iraqi relief efforts!)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Trick or treat

Another Halloween has come and gone. This year we continued our Heldt family tradition of making and decorating Halloween cookies. Oh, and eating them of course!

On Halloween night the Gibsons (including ADORABLE baby Henry in his sweet bear costume) and my parents came over for pizza and trick-or-treating. So fun! It felt kind of chaotic wrestling four kids into costumes, but was of course totally worth it--our kids had a blast! Anna just could not get enough of the trick-or-treating. She loved ringing the doorbells. My dad did a great job of helping Yosef and Biniam navigate the festivities.
Then we returned home, candy in hand, to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." A good time was had by all!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ahoy mateys!

Gearing up for Yosef and Biniam's birthday party this Friday night--they just turned three on October 28th. We're having a pirate party and our kids are SO excited! Every day Anna asks, "Is the pirate party tonight?" In spite of the fact that I waited WAY too long to mail out invitations, people are actually coming and I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be extra festive because people are coming dressed as pirates if they want to.

I really wanted sweet Kaitlyn to have something "pirate-ish" to wear but couldn't find anything, so I bought these great iron-on transfers at Michaels and ironed a big skull/crossbones onto a long-sleeved white onesie. Would have turned out perfect, except my iron has steam holes on it! I read all of the instructions (which were rather extensive) but it said nothing about that. (I'd never done transfers before, obviously.) SO FRUSTRATING, but hopefully she'll still look okay--I think I'm going to try to doctor it up a little. It's just on the black part.

I've had fun finding stuff to put in the goody bags, like temporary tattoos, gaudy rings, and other assorted loot for kids. My kids' parties are always just big get-togethers at our home--I don't plan games or structured activities at this point. I figure kids this little just like to eat food and run around. I realize this may have the potential to be boring, but my kids always seem to have fun. I also like to do evening parties, because my kids are pretty much exhausted if it's close to nap-time.

Anyhow that's what I've been up to lately. I'll post Halloween pics sometime soon, too. We've been enjoying these yummy Halloween funfetti cupcakes that I made for the kids this past weekend (what is it about boxed cakemix/frosting that tastes so good?! The frosting is actually photography is not my strong suit!)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Were you in the Santa Maria Macy's today?

If so, then maybe you saw me make a complete idiot out of myself!

The "up" escalator was out of order, so I had to take the yucky elevator to the second floor (in hopes of finding some Martha Stewart muffin pans.) Well, when I was ready to leave I got on the "down" escalator (which WAS working) and as I started going down, I noticed the big Martha Stewart emblem above some Christmas stuff that I hadn't seen yet. I love looking at her things and I thought, how hard can it be, I'll just go up the four or five steps of the "down" escalator (as opposed to riding all the way down, hiking back to the elevator, etc.) AND I FELL. My shoe and purse went flying, I somehow managed to scramble up and grab them, and kept pressing on towards that dang Martha Stewart sign. I think I stumbled again (it's all a blur to me now), but somehow I managed to make it up and quickly dashed over to hide behind some merchandise. No one saw me, thank goodness!

Needless to say I'm completely sore--my hand and legs got scraped up, my ankles hurt, and I seriously think I nearly lost a toenail. I guess that's what they mean when they say, "shop till you drop!" (Also needless to say, I really enjoy Martha's line at Macy's--perhaps a little too much.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pre-Halloween fun

Thursday night we got the kids into their costumes and went up to Farmer's Market in SLO. On the Thursday before Halloween they have fun stuff for the kids to do--carnival games (that are actually geared towards toddlers), trick-or-treating at the different stores, huge pumpkins to sit on, etc. It was so fun seeing all the little kids all dressed up, and our kids had a blast! (Anna even randomly wanted her picture taken with these two ladies dressed as witches--I couldn't believe it!)

We ended the evening with a stop at Country Culture for some pumpkin frozen yogurt--yum! I miss living in SLO!!!


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