Thursday, September 27, 2007

The three amigos

Lately, my oldest three kids cannot get enough of each other! Just about every night now after we've tucked them all in, we'll hear a noise and discover Anna has snuck down the hall and climbed into bed with one of her brothers. She is constantly wanting to play with them, cuddle with is adorable!

It's been really interesting having three kids that are essentially peers (Anna's 8 months older). When we first brought the boys home, there was a marked difference between them and Anna, but now it's kind of like having triplets. They love to hug each other, play together, serve food to one another, get into trouble's almost like every day is a party!

I'll be honest and say that the prospect of having three kids so close in age sometimes worries me a little, just from the standpoint that I don't want a child feeling lost in the crowd, attention starved, etc. One of my biggest prayers for my children is for them to feel valued and special and loved individually, by us as their parents.

And God has been amazingly faithful! The kids love each other, would be lost without one another, and have honestly never shown signs that they are jealous of mom and dad's attention or love. So far I'm loving the fact that these kids will grow up as friends and peers. We're really careful about guarding their space (for example, if someone's wanting to play alone or something), and not being pushy about them interacting--that seems like a recipe for disaster.

Anyhow, I feel so blessed by the fact that my kids like each other, and look forward to the years ahead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What we're up to

Last Thursday we hit up the library program in the morning and then drove down to Santa Barbara, picked Kevin up from work, and headed over to his uncle's home in Santa Barbara for a visit. We got to see his uncle Galen, aunt Sharon, cousin Tanya and her sweet little girl Zoe, who's Yosef and Biniam's age (we missed you Woody and Megan!) It was neat to see everyone and the kids had a ball playing the organ and watching the fish and deer on the walls sing. (Anna is STILL talking about the singing deer!) All of the pics on this post are from our time there.

Even though we don't get to see any of our extended family near enough, they are so wonderful and we always have a good time!
Saturday morning we all got up and piled into the van to go to yard saling. We never do this but on a whim we decided it might be fun. For some reason there is nothing quite like sifting through other peoples' junk! When all was said and done, we scored some cheap movies, a pretty white rocking chair for Anna, and I found this cool creamer bowl thingy.
Last night I went to the Salad Supper at church--every time one comes around, I'm tired and debate whether I should go (plus I'm always really late because Kevin doesn't get home till after 6, and it starts at 6:30), but then I'm glad that I did. I fed Kaitlyn right before I left and therefore was able to just go by myself! I'm so glad my husband is so great with the kids, and so willing to feed them dinner and do bedtime and everything with them, like it's no big deal, even though it's a lot of work.
Tomorrow morning I think I am going to attempt to go to our church's playgroup, and then tomorrow night is the debut of Santa Maria Growth Group 2007/2008. Woohoo! I miss the Gibsons and the Hawkins'. I suppose that means I need to clean my house!
Thursday morning Anna has the library program and then that evening, we will be glued to our TV watching The Office season premiere. Hooray! What will become of Jim and Pam????
This upcoming weekend our dear friends Darin, Lara and Caedra are going to be in town and we have some plans in the works with them. And next week, Kevin's parents are coming to visit. Life is busy but good! (Oh and Kaitlyn's x-ray results came back completely normal, so her hips are okay!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Kaitlyn's 6 month doctor's visit (or alternately titled, leaving my kids with strangers at the hospital)

Bright and early this morning we had Kaitlyn's checkup, and I took all the kids with me. We talked beforehand about what would be expected of them (holding hands in the parking lot, obeying mommy, not getting into stuff in the exam room.) And the kids did GREAT! Good listeners, they were patient, they played nicely, yay!

Kaitlyn weighed 15 pounds 12 ounces and is 27 inches long (average weight but very long for her age he said). He also ordered x-rays for her hips today. (He's been monitoring them because he has suspected something might be amiss ever since she was born.)

SO, me and my gaggle of chilren (all holding hands, with Kaitlyn in the bjorn) trekked across the street to the hospital. Got to the radiology department to check in, where I was asked if I had someone else with me because the other kids weren't allowed in the radiation room. I told her I was by myself and she basically said too bad, I should come back tonight when my husband can watch the kids. WELL, maybe if they didn't close at 6 pm (Kevin doesn't get home till after 6) that could work. I told her nope, my husband commutes and literally can't get home in time. Then she suggested Saturday, but I'm sorry, heck if I'm going to have to wait nearly a week for my daughter to get an x-ray she needs.

A really nice woman bringing in her elderly mom for an x-ray timidly offered to keep her eye on the kids in the waiting room (offering me her driver's license as collateral, ha!), which was super sweet, and I decided that would be okay, but that option ended up falling through because her mother was transferred to some other radiology place. But still I sat in that waiting room, determined to get Kaitlyn in there. I just kept praying that God would provide a way for us to get the xray done. Meanwhile as we waited and waited (gotta love a crowded hospital, but at least my kids were behaving and not going sideways) a (very normal-looking!) couple, probably in their late-sixties, came in. Within two minutes the grandfatherly man was putting stickers on his forehead and making all my kids laugh. They loved this guy! He had a thick New York accent and thought my kids could do no wrong. After chatting with him for awhile I told him I had no clue if we'd even be getting our x-ray today, because of the older kids. "Don't worry about it, we'll babysit" he said. (On a side-note, I'm totally blessed to know lots of sweet mommies I could call to come sit with my kids in a jam, but again it was totally the principle of the thing, we were already there, and I'm anxious to know once and for all if something's wrong with her hip.)

WELL, the radiologist came and called Kaitlyn's name and immediately the grandfatherly man and his wife said, "Okay kids, come on." When Kaitlyn and I returned (we were seriously in there for less than 10 minutes) we could hear gregarious laughter coming from the waiting room. All three kids were playing some game where they were underneath the chairs, and the receptionists were cracking up, and told me I should take this couple home with me because they were great babysitters. I was SO THANKFUL that the Lord provided normal, kind, entertaining people when I needed them. I was totally uncomfortable leaving my kids semi-unattended around random people I didn't know (and seriously prayed nonstop for my kids during the x-ray), but the receptionists and other people waiting were watching too.

Finally, the kids were just so dang good all morning that I took them to McDonald's for lunch. They loved their food and getting to play on the playground. What a day!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mis cosas favoritas

A made bed
No matter how messy the rest of the house is, when my bed is made, all is right with the world.

Ethiopian cross

From Ethiopia of course, this reminds me of my sons' homeland and our amazing time there. Plus I think it's pretty cool-looking!


I always had terrible skin, prone to break-outs. After getting married I saw the infomercial and decided to give this product a try. IT IS A MIRACLE. IT WORKS. I LOVE IT.

Packet of documents from our adoption agency

This fat stack of papers and photos is all we have of Yosef and Biniam's first 16 months of life. Information about their birth family (including names), medicals, development. These papers and what they represent are pricless.

Winter wear

No, there's nothing special about this particular GAP pea coat and scarf, but they represent my long-time affinity for wintry clothing--cozy coats, matching scarves and hats, cute sweaters and gloves. Sadly, I do not currently live in a climate conducive to this type of clothing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First attempt at ethnic cooking

So tonight I cooked my very first Ethiopian meal! I made Siga Wat and Yesinde Injera. I used Mary's recipe for the wat (thanks Mary!) and got the injera recipe from my Exotic Ethiopian Cooking cookbook. It was SO YUMMY and I'm thrilled I finally got to use the berbere I bought down in Little Ethiopia when we went last February. The injera made with self-rising wheat flour is not nearly as good as teff injera, but it was really easy to make, so it works. Yosef and Biniam finished theirs and Anna ate most of hers, so we'll call it a success! I'm so glad my kids (and husband) like spicy, ethnic foods!

Oh and I set the table with our Ethiopian tablecloth and we rocked out to an Ethiopian music CD. A good time was had by all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Heldt/Perruzzi road trip

Friday night we road-tripped it down to Temecula with my mom and dad for my grandparents' 25th wedding anniversary (my mom's dad and his wife). Fun! My parents came down Friday afternoon and then we headed down to Santa Barbara to pick up Kevin from work. After dinner at Baja Fresh we all piled back into our van (which was at capacity, YEAH!) for the rest of the drive.

We stayed at my aunt Julie (my mom's sister) and uncle Pete's home in Temecula. Their backyard feels a little like a resort with a pool, spa, and lots of palm trees. We had so much fun playing in the water, sitting in the sun, and relaxing. Pete and Julie are TONS of fun--and the kids love them! Julie (huge Johnny Depp fan) gave Anna a Jack Sparrow tattoo on her hand (which made Anna's day), Yosef got to water the plants with Pete, Kaitlyn got to take a nap while Pete held her, and Pete gave the kids a tour of his red Corvette (okay Kevin got one too). Late Saturday afternoon we all headed over to my grandparents' house for the party.

Grandma Fely (above, standing in the middle) is from the Philippines, and the catered party was all Filipino food-YUM!!!! She had several family members there and they're so sweet and welcoming. (Her neice is on her left and was actually Miss Philippines one year.) There were of course tons of family members there on my Grandpa Richard's side (below)--it's funny meeting so many random people I'm related to.

We hadn't arrived in Temecula until about 12:30 a.m. Friday night, and when we got there my uncle Craig and Suzie (his girlfriend) were there hanging out--and none of us went to bed until about 2:30 am. The next night after we left my grandparents', Craig and Suzie came back over and we all hung out until about 12:30 am--it was just one big party! So fun!

Sunday we packed up and drove to San Bernardino to visit Grandma Helen (my mom's mom), who lives at an assisted living facility. Good to see her and the kids had a ball talking to assorted elderly people, who LOVED seeing them. One old woman just lighted up when she saw that we had twin boys and told us all about how some relative of hers has twins, etc.

Then we began the journey home. We stopped at Chili's for lunch in Glendora, and in Santa Barbara for gas. When we were at the gas station I caught a glimpse of a man and woman (probably around my age) and I told my mom, "I'm pretty sure they're Ethiopian!" As I sat debating whether to go say hi I happened to see the man had on a Haile Selassie tshirt and I thought, that's it, I'm going to be bold. "Excuse me," I said, "are you from Ethiopia?" Well of course they were, and I explained we have twin sons from there, and he was all excited, introduced me to his girlfriend, and asked if they could see the boys. Of course they could and we had a fun time visiting with them. Turns out they were part of the green card program back in the mid-90's. They thanked us profusely for adopting the boys (which is always extremely humbling and we are always so quick to say we loved Ethiopia and it's us who are the blessed ones to have them as sons.)
Got home around 8:30 last night, what a weekend! Super busy but super fun. Had a ball carpooling with my parents and the kids will be completely bored on carrides now, not having Grandma and Grandpa around to entertain them.
I was reflecting that our family and extended family on my mom's side is delightfully diverse and like a mini-United Nations--Uncle Pete is from Denmark, Grandma Fely from the Philippines, our sons from Ethiopia, and Suzie is Japanese (from Hawaii)! Pretty awesome!

Friday, September 14, 2007


As I sat nursing Kaitlyn this morning, the kids headed for the bathroom to get ready for the putting on all sorts of lipstick. I found them COVERED in it, especially Anna, and I also found some lipstick-hand-prints in a couple of places. I am SO MAD, but the sight of their lipstick-faces also made me inwardly laugh and, of course, I had to take a picture. (Thinking that probably sent some mixed messages, shouting in one breath and telling them to smile for the camera in another!)

I seriously understand the whole Tower of Babel thing now...if only I could confuse the kids, give them different languages, so they couldn't conspire together!

Heading down to Temecula this weekend with my mom and dad for my grandparents' wedding anniversary party. Looking forward to visiting my aunt and uncle and swimming with the kids in their pool!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

At least she's honest (?!)

Anna: Is it still naptime?
Mommy: It's supposed to be. Go back to your room.
Anna: No!
Mommy: Why not?
Anna: Because I'm a punk!

We survived!

Well we made it back from our church camping trip Sunday night. We had a blast! Here are a few thoughts on camping:

--it's a lot of work
--it was wise to go simple on the food
--we packed WAY too much food and clothing
--my kids whine, don't obey very well, and throw tantrums when they go days without naps
--i will never camp without an air mattress again
--your kids get really dirty
--seeing my kids splashing around in the water and giggling in their sleeping bags makes it all worth it!!!

So yeah a good time was had by all. My favorite part was on Saturday when the Iunker family took all of us (even little Kaitlyn), and Eden, out on their boat to go tubing. Each of our older kids got to ride with Daddy--the boys hated it, Anna LOVED it! (Yosef and Biniam did however enjoy getting to sit with Mr. Iunker and help "drive" the boat--they loved honking the horn!)The next day Anna went on the taco with Kevin and loved that even more--she kept wanting to go faster!

I'd say our trip was a success overall. We may take another small camping trip sometime in the near future. I've decided camping is fun...but my favorite type of camping will always involve a hotel and restaurants, surrounded by asphalt. :)

The following picture is of Anna digging in the sand with Jason Allshouse. She has really taken quite a liking to Jason (he's an "older boy" at 5 years old!) over the last several months. Later when I walked over there with Anna I asked her what the pile of mud was. "Jason calls it clay", she told me. HA!

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