Monday, March 31, 2008

New (old) house

The home we're in the process of buying is a funky little bungalow that was built in 1912. It was added onto at some point, maybe in the 70s, and they did sort of a sloppy job with some of it. BUT it's full of potential and we're totally excited to make a few changes and make it our own! (Yes I know the front porch is blue, and no I don't know why! Eventually we'll paint it. But for now, blue it remains. :) )

It has 5 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a total of 2792 square feet (some of that is "unfinished" storage space in the basement, which is great.) It's in the Platt/Wash Park neighborhood of Denver. Lots of mature trees and old homes. The elementary school is right nearby (less than a half-mile away) and is excellent--high test scores, relatively small class sizes, etc.

I can't wait to remodel the kitchen and spruce the home up a bit. For now I love the moulding on the windows and walls, the hardwood floors, and the fact that this place was built a really, really long time ago. I also love the look of the street and the many trees (sorry, forgot to get a pic of that.) After living in such a new neighborhood for the last four and a half years, big trees make me happy!

Anyway, the house is under contract, and the concession negotiations are about to begin. Our realtor is hard-core...good times up ahead!
Secondary bedroom on main floor.

Breakfast area/kitchen.

Master bedroom.


Home at last

--Whew, got home last night about 9:30 from Denver. We are TIRED. Love how you come back from a "vacation" needing a vacation.

--Truth be told it wasn't really a vacation. We were busy every single day with house/realtor stuff. There WERE some fun diversions like checking out the 16th Street mall downtown, spending Friday evening with Mike and Rachel and their girls, and eating spicy sushi, but ultimately it was a draining weekend. Not to mention I was positively homesick for my older kids, it was HORRIBLE! (Kaitlyn thinks that playing with your older cousin is WAY more fun than being at a home inspection.)

--It was Kaitlyn's first plane-ride, and she did awesome, both coming and going. She got lots of compliments from nearby passengers, who were probably grateful she wasn't screaming her head off. (Thank goodness she's still nursing--it comes in quite handy!)

--We stayed at the Marriott downtown. It was a fun spot with a super soft king-sized bed and a great breakfast buffet with everything imaginable. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was our daily breakfasts.

--There's a house (more on that later, I promise, because really that's the fun part) that we've made an offer on, and it's been accepted. The (extremely thorough, going-over-everything-with-a-fine-toothed-comb) home inspection on Friday was 5 HOURS LONG. Some little things but nothing major. Basically the current owners have not kept up on some stuff, though the house was nicer in person than I was expecting. The neighborhood is quaint and quiet and reminds me a little of the East Coast, lots of brick and trees, very different from our current neighborhood. The house itself is homey and full of charm, even if it is a little rough around some of the edges. (Kaitlyn got bored during the inspection and decided to take a nap.)

--(We also took an accidental tour of Denver's, uh, less-than-desirable neighborhood on Sunday. Pretty sad. And strange to have such different standards of living happening just minutes away from each other. I don't think we'll be frequenting that area, needless to say. Oh and not to worry, it's not anywhere near our house we're buying.)

--One of the funny parts of the weekend was our car rental, which Mike so aptly said looked like a clown car. We called it "puke", because of the license plate (929 PUK). And the fact that it was downright dorky!

--The trip ended in true Brianna style, when I totally FELL onto the tarmac exiting the plane in Santa Barbara. YES! Luckily I made sure Kaitlyn didn't hit the ground, just me. Those stairs coming off the plane are steep! (Kevin was SO disappointed he didn't get to see it, as he was still waiting to exit the plane. Not to worry dear husband, I'm sure I'll do something equally ungraceful before too long!!!!)

--Now I'm home with my kids and we're trying to get back into our routine. Funny how it takes time to reacclimate. (Basically that's all just a nice way of saying my kids have been on edge and fighting like cats and dogs all morning.)

--Today I'm feeling overwhelmed and sad about moving. How am I going to make new friends? Will our neighbors be nice? Will Denver ever feel like "home"? I believe God has led us here, and I know He'll take care of us. But it's always hard leaving the known for the unknown, and so easy to start second-guessing everything. Then you add in the fact that there are so many areas to choose from in the Denver metro area and you start wondering, did we pick the right one for us? Man, I think I need a nap...:)

Kevin and Kaitlyn at dinner downtown.

My city girl, reading the morning paper.

Appropriately titled.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Monday, March 24, 2008

What on earth are we doing?

(WARNING: this is a long and boring post, so don't feel obligated to read.)

Why would we move?
If you think it's totally random that we're leaving (especially since people never really move away from the Central Coast), we HAVE known for a long time that we wouldn't live in Santa Maria forever and ever. Just a temporary place to be where Kevin could keep his job in Santa Barbara by commuting, and so I could finish school at Cal Poly SLO.

Over the last few years God's been stirring our hearts to do something new. We tossed around different ideas, even considered moving to Africa to do some sort of humanitarian work. But we didn't really feel like that's what God had for us right now. (Maybe someday.)

One conviction we really came to have was living in/near an urban area. We'd been really impacted by some of Tim Keller's stuff, and having transracially adopted children, we felt that we wanted to raise them somewhere a bit more diverse than California's Central Coast. (If you live here too then you know it really wouldn't take much.)

Kevin's cousin and then his brother moved their families out to the Denver metro area awhile ago. In looking at the different cities across the country, we decided Denver seemed the best option. It was affordable for us, there were some good schools, lots of living options, we had family there, there's a huge Ethiopian immigrant population and therefore some cool cultural opportunities, it's more diverse.

All along the way we've prayed that God would open the doors if this was the right thing, and close them if it was the wrong thing (He tends to be good at that!) Kevin was able to find a job opportunity. We randomly stumbled across an amazing church in downtown Denver that is committed to so many of the things God has been showing us, and reaching the city with the Gospel. Things at Kevin's current job have slowed down, and he's ready for a change. Commuting's getting too difficult, especially with four kids. Living 35 minutes away from church has gotten really old. Basically, things have started to feel like they're winding down. It's time to move on.

Why would we move to Denver itself?

When we visited in August we planned to buy a home in a suburb; there are some super nice ones there, and having a family, it makes good sense. Our realtor did take us to one neighborhood in the actual city of Denver however, the very last home we looked at with her, that I totally fell in love with and was my favorite. It was built in the 1900s in a historic old neighborhood filled with brick bungalows. We never really further considered too seriously that neighborhood (except for me nagging Kevin on a regular basis that I wanted to live in an old bungalow. But it was farther from his potential job, the school wasn't quite as good, etc.)

WELL, flash forward several months, and we had to face the idea that if we moved to one of the suburbs, our kids would not regularly be exposed to people of other races, socioeconomic classes, etc., and that is a huge value for us, and part of why we were moving in the first place. Not to mention a lot of the homes WEREN'T overly close to Kevin's workplace.

SO we started looking elsewhere and found a suburban-type neighborhood RIGHT BY Kevin's office (as in 2 miles away, a recovering-commuter's dream!) and assumed that's where we'd buy, based on proximity, and that we'd somehow find a way to expose our kids to other types of people. BUT God slammed THOSE doors shut because every home we looked at there had floors that were sloping and buckling because of expansive soils. Lovely! (And, now what???)

Meanwhile I was still obsessed with the older homes and that neighborhood in Denver, so I still longingly looked at them on, and one day there was a relatively large home whose price had dropped to our price range. It zoned to an extremely good, highly-rated, diverse school in the Denver Public Schools system. We realized that somehow, this neighborhood and house made the most sense, and that when we felt like God wanted us "in the city", He apparently did. (This part of Denver isn't really high density or overly urban-feeling. It's a desirable neighborhood that should hold value well. And it's so full of character, I love it!)

SO that has been our journey. I'll share updates about the house itself another time, in part because this post is way too long already! And hardly any pictures either, that is brutal!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day in the life

waking up
chocolate chip pancakes
kids on mommy and daddy's bed
napping babies

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some news

Life has been a little surreal here at the Heldt homestead for the past few weeks. This is because...

We're moving! To Denver! Sometime next month!

It honestly doesn't feel real yet...because nothing is different...hasn't really sunk in that life is changing in a major way! I don't know whether to be excited, or sad, or something else (?)

Kevin's been offered a great job with an engineering company near the Denver Tech Center. I'm so proud of him! He's a hardworker and a good engineer.

If you know me in real life, and didn't know this was on the horizon, ever since we moved to Santa Maria (a little under five years ago) we knew we'd move sooner or later. We didn't know where but piece by piece we've been figuring it out. Kevin doesn't want to commute 67 miles anymore, we want to live in/near an urban area, we want to be close to some cultural opportunities for our boys, we want to go do something new. Maybe later I'll share more of our thought process, how we chose Denver.

We're both TOTALLY excited about living in a city for a lot of reasons. (And yes we do know it snows there, and that it gets cold, and that there's no ocean. :) )

Kevin, Kaitlyn and I are flying to Denver next weekend to find a home to buy. We're planning on making an offer on one today actually, contingent on us seeing it when we go. Our realtor looked at it for us earlier this week. (Oh and we're moving to Denver itself, not a suburb.)

It's been strange dealing with all of this and not really talking about it with anyone or blogging about it. We didn't want to say too much in case it fell through. Our family and close friends have known for awhile, but otherwise we haven't discussed it much. I think I'm excited but feel really sad to say goodbye to friends and family.

We're both excited about living close to Mike and Rachel and their girls, and Woody and Tanya and their girls. I'm thrilled that our kids will get to play and grow up with their cousins!

Okay that's enough for now. I'll keep you posted on any further developments. But yeah, we're moving to Denver. (Pictured above.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Little known things about me

Four jobs I have had in my life:
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (no I didn't eat the chocolate all the time)
Taco Bell (haha, I actually liked it better than RMCF b/c my bosses didn't hate me! Even if I did have to wear a chili pepper nametag and a dorky hat.)
Assistant in the Ag Ed department at Cal Poly, SLO (good job but the receptionist intimidated me so I dreaded going)
Office manager for Assemblyman Abel Maldonado (best job by far, and I "got" to meet lots of strange people who had nothing better to do than bug the government)

Four movies I've watched more than once:
You've Got Mail
When Harry Met Sally
UHF (haha, this movie is hilarious)
Pretty Woman

Four places I've lived:
Creston, CA (one of my favorite places in the world)
San Luis Obispo, CA (another favorite spot)
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Maria, CA (currently living here)

Four TV shows I watch:
The Office
(wow I guess I'm stuck in the '90s of NBC!)

Four places I have been:
Ensenada, Mexico (on a cruise, so it hardly counts)
New York City (can't wait to visit again)
Boston, MA (oh how I love New England!)

Four favorite foods:
bbq'd anything
ethnic anything (Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Ethiopian, Italian...)
deli sandwiches/salads (especially from High Street Deli in SLO!)

Four places I'd rather be right now:
taking a nap
tropical island with a drink in my hand
anywhere with Kevin
New England

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
at some point having my sons potty trained
watching my kids grow
a white Christmas :) (how's that for being deliberately vague???)
having a few days with Kevin next week to recharge without the older kids!

Four places I love to shop (Mostly just window shopping):
Pottery Barn
Anthropologie (when we lived in Santa Barbara I LOVED wandering around that store!)
Target (does it get any better than this place?!)

Okay, if you want to do this survey on your blog (I think we've all probably done it before but oh well!) consider yourself "tagged." :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Home with your kids

Confession: sometimes I feel like my day is really, really long! Kevin is away from home for 12.5 hours on weekdays...and I occasionally find myself wondering what other at-home moms of little ones find to do all day.

What are your schedules like with your kids? I'd love to hear how you all are doing this thing we call mothering.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Simply Saturday

No plans today, just being together, making blueberry pancakes, drinking coffee, being lazy. I love quiet Saturdays at home with family!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nothing to blog about

--As you can see by my title, I don't have anything to say.

--I feel tired tonight--could it be my twin three-year-olds running me ragged? Boys have a lot of energy, especially boys who don't want to sleep at naptime, and who share a room. It drives me nuts that they won't just lay still and be quiet on their beds for two hours, but then I think that for them, that might be expecting too much (when they're in there together). I'm going to split them up during naptime from now on. That always does the trick.

--For some reason I feel lately like I can't get into a good routine with the kids. Not sure why. And the time change has really thrown me for a loop too.

--I've recently discovered a fun magazine that I LOVE looking at--Cottage Living. (I like to pretend I live in a historic old cottage or bungalow with lots of wainscoting and crown moulding...instead of a Santa Maria tract home that I've never taken the time or money to decorate the way I'd love to.)

--I also recently discovered that it's a good thing we don't have cable or satellite...When I visited my mom and dad while Kevin was out of town a couple weeks ago, my mom and I stayed up until 1 a.m. watching all these shows on HGTV.

--Okay, that is all. Like I said, I really don't have anything to say, but for some reason, I'm blogging anyway.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"I don't have a family"

Happened across this blogpost today. Thought I'd share.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And it begins...

Anna started her new 4s and 5s Sunday School class on Sunday. On our way home from church, out of the blue, she earnestly asks me if she can bring her own Bible to Sunday School next week. Because all the other kids bring THEIR own Bibles. And she didn't have one.

WOW. Could I have felt ANY worse that my kid was Bible-less? (And are these kids even able to read yet?!)

Then she brought it up again tonight. I assured her that next week she could take one of the two small kids Bibles we have, with a handle for carrying. Nope, she told us we HAVE TO GO TO THE BOOKSTORE to buy a Bible like the OTHER kids had, "with Jesus and his friends on the cover."

Um...isn't she four?! Isn't it too soon to be thinking your mom's ideas are totally dorky? (Come on now, a Bible with a handle--it doesn't get much more practical than that!) So we assured her that we would send some sort of Bible with her on Sunday (most likely one with a handle), and take a look at the ones the other kids have, so we can know what kind she wants. She seemed satisfied, and informed me that she'd ask her friends if it'd be okay if she showed her mommy and daddy their Bibles.

Whew. Something tells me that fifty years ago, parents weren't having to deal with this sort of Bible snobbery!

Easy muffins for kids

Found this great recipe for muffins in a parenting magazine a few years ago. My kids (and I) love them! (I've even got some baking in the oven right now.)

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins

16 oz. canned pumpkin
1 box (18 oz.) cake mix (chocolate or lemon work best)
Flax seed (optional)

Mix pumpkin, cake mix and flax seed together, spoon into sprayed muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for several minutes (I set the timer for 25 minutes and check them, then bake longer if necessary. And flax seed is a great way to get some added nutrition. I put it in all sorts of things--pancakes, waffles, cottage cheese, cream of wheat, and biscuits!)

Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamins, so this is a pretty healthy way for your child to enjoy a treat--and each muffin only contains 3.5 grams of fat. Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2008


Back when I used to work in a California legislator's office, the mailman would bring the mail inside to us daily. Every day I'd ask how he was, and every single Monday, without fail, he'd answer, "Not bad, for a Monday!"

For some reason Mondays just "feel" weird to me! I always seem to be a little out of sorts--the weekend's over, Kevin's back at work, I'm maybe a little in denial about the week starting up again. I have a hard time getting motivated.

So what are your Mondays like? So far today I've cleaned out my fridge, unloaded (and reloaded) the dishwasher, made the kids breakfast, gotten them ready for the day, and figured out dinner for tonight, shredded BBQ pork sandwiches...but not a whole lot else. I think we'll play outside a bit and maybe walk to the park, and I have plenty of laundry to keep me busy--if I can just get going!

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 07, 2008

One year ago today

Happy first birthday Kaitlyn!

We love you so much and are so glad you're our daughter!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pass the dressing, please.

Okay remember this post? How I was gonna attempt to do this? Well, so far I've made ONE smoothie, with romaine lettuce in it. It was tolerable. But then I got to thinking: I love salad, and I love smoothies, but why try to mix them? If I can eat a big salad with my dinner, and I can drink a yummy blueberry smoothie for breakfast...isn't that the best of both worlds? Why suffer through drinking liquified lettuce if I don't have to?

Thus went Brianna's Green Smoothie Experiment. Am I a quitter? Heck yeah! (But at least I'm not drinking lettuce.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Nearly 1

Katie Jane turns 1 on Friday! Can this really be? Has it REALLY been a year since she was born? Where is the time going???

I feel like it's been a pretty hard year, with all of her medical issues, recurring infections, etc. But she's doing well, and is so much fun, and a true blessing to our family. She has brought me more joy than I can describe!!! I remember being pregnant with her and having someone at church (who I don't know) ask if she was an "accident" and when I said politely (biting my tongue, because who really likes being asked that question about the baby you love growing inside you?!) that she wasn't, this person just couldn't believe why on earth we'd add a baby to the mix with three toddlers. All I can say is, I'm glad that we did because I just can't picture life without this little girl!

Whatever you think of family planning, I assure you that timing isn't everything, that blessings come in all different forms, and while I know many probably question our timing and sanity on a regular basis, we, and the Lord, think it's just fine! It can be hard sometimes seemingly going against the grain, but when I look in my baby girl's eyes I know that I am blessed.
Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

just chillin' with our little sister.

Whoever said no girls allowed?! (And check out our shirts--these belonged to our dad when he was a little boy!)

Monday, March 03, 2008

February 10, 2004

Every girl turning four should start off her birthday with a special bubble bath...

With princess soap...

And lighted candles...

And several onlookers...

If your whole family and most of your friends get really sick and your guilt-ridden mom has to cancel your small birthday party, Andy, Jeannett and Henry will save the day...

Daddy will put up the streamers and balloons they brought and you will be so happy...

(Your brothers will be happy, too.)

You'll blow out four candles on some leftover brownies with frosting...

And then your bestest friends in the whole world will eagerly watch you open your gift...

As you find out that somehow the Gibsons knew that Snow White is your favorite.

But the next morning, you'll end up with a high fever, too (and so will your brother).

(And so will your other brother.)


Blog Template by