Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's a small world

Sorry if the title of this post has you humming the theme song from the most random amusement park ride ever created, but...

At church on Sunday, a woman approached me and introduced herself, saying she recognized me from my blog! Okay, so I'm admittedly embarrassed to have a blog--not sure why, maybe I don't want people to know I'm a nerd (which, let's face it, I am, although it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a blog). Mostly it's because I don't want them to think that I think that what I have to say is so fascinating or important that I feel the need to broadcast it to the masses. Either way, I don't tell people that I meet or know in "real life" that I have a blog (unless it comes up), so it is funny when I meet someone who says, "I read your blog!"

Bekah is SO sweet, has an ADORABLE daughter and a PRECIOUS son (who is from Ethiopia--that's right, THREE Ethiopians were in attendance at our church on Sunday!) And now I have another great blog to read!

They were just checking out the church on Sunday so I don't know if they (or we for that matter, since we're not members and apparently remain noncommittal, plus we'd like to try out some other churches) will be going regularly, but either way I made a new friend and hopefully we can get our kids together at some point!

So go take a look at their blog and wonderful family!

Friday, September 26, 2008

My man

Okay, so I got home from taking Yosef to another evaluation this afternoon (and a trip to Wal Mart), and this is what I found:

3 napping kids
spotless dining room table
sparkling and shiny fridge and dishwasher (they'd been all icky from delivery)
computer all set up in its new spot
chili cooking in the crockpot (which I was supposed to have turned on earlier but forgot)
last night's episode of the office (that we missed) cued up on the computer

Um...I have the best husband EVER! Wow! What a blessing. Really. He works hard all day, comes home and, well, keeps working. And all this after being up late modifying and installing our beautiful new dishwasher.

Now I'm off to go spend some much-needed time with him, watching the presidential debate (we recorded it.) Can't wait!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Aren't these great?

Check out the new AHOPE bracelets for sale! For a $10 donation you can buy a stainless steel bracelet that features the AHOPE logo, the first name of a child living at AHOPE, and the Amharic word for "hope".

Each bracelet serves as a reminder of a special child at AHOPE and will surely raise awareness about HIV+ orphans around the world.

To order, email Marissa at ahopestore@gmail.com with the quantity desired and your mailing address. (She will respond with an invoice via paypal. You can also let her know if you'd prefer to pay by check.) Shipping and handling is $2.50 for up to 3 bracelets in one package. (Thank you to Lisa for posting about this originally and letting me copy her!)

I need to tell you that when I visited AHOPE back in February 2006, it was an obscure place filled with children who seemed to have little hope for a future, much less a family. Today, just two and a half years later, this place on the other side of the world is gaining exposure, dozens and dozens of children are being adopted, and the story of the orphan living with HIV is finally being told. These kids are finally seeing that they matter.

Won't you consider being a part of this story? Order a bracelet (or two!) today!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My friends just got home from Ethiopia last night with their new daugher and son, Addie and Tony! Are they not just the cutest family?!

And I am EXTRA excited because now Angela's blog has gone public, so you can get to know them too. I have been so blessed by Angela's friendship since moving here. (Lots of playdates, some trips to McDonalds, and girls nights. Fun!) Just one of the blessings that has come from blogging! (Angela found me through my blog that someone had pointed her to before we even knew we were moving to Denver. Between Angela and Jennifer, it's been pretty amazing having friends before I even got here.)

Okay now go visit her blog!

It's 3 a.m. and I must be lonely

Remember that song? (I heart all things Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20.)

Sadly, the song is autobiographical, because that's when I got up this morning. 3 a.m.

With a sick, crying baby. That had thrown up. I cleaned her up, gave her some more tylenol and remade her bed, but she was too feverish and restless to go to sleep. I rocked her, walked her around, then she wanted down. She made a beeline to where Biniam was sleeping and stood there, lay her head down next to him, and started drifting off. Can you tell she loves her brother?

Then she proceeded to charge over to the play kitchen and start, well, playing kitchen. Hmmm. I scooped her up and took a gamble by laying down on our (white) couch with her. Where we proceeded to lay, with her drifting in and out of sleep, and me watching the news and reading, until everyone else woke up for the day. She hasn't thrown up since, thank goodness. And after our shower this morning, she was running around the house with toys, laughing, and watching cartoons. Nothing keeps this kid down!

Anyway, as I lay there in the terribly-early morning hours, holding my sleeping baby and listening to her breathe, I reflected on the fact that I'm really quite blessed to be her mom, the one God chose to hold her and rock her and care for her when she's sick. I heard something on our trip, on a Christian radio station, about womanhood and motherhood and what to do with your life once your kids move out. It was a conservative, traditional, evangelical Christian program so I was extra surprised to hear how they perceived motherhood, and the advice they gave to women to prepare for having an empty nest. Talk about missing out on the blessings God is giving you! It was horrible! If we're constantly resenting our kids and the way they've forced us to give up all of our wonderful dreams and aspirations...then maybe we're not seeing children, or ourselves and our roles, through God's perspective.

I can't say it's FUN when all you can smell is vomit, or when you've been up for 7 hours by 10 a.m. BUT, I'm realizing that God has actually used my sons' adoptions in many ways to show me that mothering is a GIFT, that these four children He's given me are GIFTS, and not something to be taken for granted--which I do, all too often.

But, by His grace, not last night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Wisconsin souvenir

1 child with the stomach flu

Yes, Kaitlyn apparently has a 102.6 degree fever, and just projectile-vomited all over her booster chair and then in the sink. (The girl has skills though--not a bit got on her clothes or the floor. She didn't cry either. Tough as nails I tell you!)

Ugh. Praying none of the rest of us get it. Gave her some tylenol and put her down to sleep. I'm also praying there aren't any throw-up episodes in the middle of the night. Because that's never fun.

And thank you, by the way, to the generous Wisconsin-ite who shared this lovely parting gift with us. I thought we made it home without any souvenires, but alas, I was wrong. Next time, I'll gladly accept some cheese curds or just a tshirt with a cow on it instead.

Our visitor

The refrigerator delivery-man is here. Right when he's in earshot, Anna announces that he is beautiful. Biniam corrects her to say that he's handsome. A couple of minutes later, Anna proceeds to loudly point out that he's strong, and that he has big muscles. Just now, she said she loves him.

Ummm....yeah. I'm officially embarrassed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wisconsin trip in numbers

16 hours driving each way
4 kids
0 DVD players/DVDs viewed in the car
1 wedding
1 viewing
1 funeral
0 "accidents" from recently potty-trained child
5 states crossed
1 day mostly spent sick in bed
1 polka band
1 chicken dance
1 mullet
1 person who thought Anna and Kaitlyn were twins (?????)
4 happy meals for dinner last night
1 paranoid mother stressed out that her kids were not eating healthy enough on said trip
3 kids fishing for the first time
1 son playing some strange polka instrument
2 hotel employees who told us our kids weren't allowed in the spa
1 box of beef sticks for sale in the Wisconsin hotel lobby (!!!????)
4 Heldts that were greatly missed
6 very grateful people returning home last night after having driven straight through

Even though we haven't lived in Colorado terribly long yet, it's funny how being away in another place makes you feel glad to be where you are. Wisconsin was BEAUTIFUL (the foliage, that had begun to turn for fall, was just amazing), and so was much of Iowa, Minnesota and some of Nebraska, but I'm so happy to have this little corner of the world we've carved out for ourselves, in a city and closeby to stuff.

I'm also always amazed when I visit another state by how DIFFERENT people and regions are within our country...I saw so many old men in overalls on our way out there, and cowboy boots, lots of people smoking, the craziest mullet I've seen in my life while in Wisconsin (I tried discretely taking a picture of it...only to discover our camera isn't working...Kevin told me it was God punishing me. I told HIM that anyone with a mullet that wild is WANTING to be photographed.) Then there are the midwest accents, the different style of eating (BEEF STICKS for sale in the lobby! Yet another thing I wanted to photograph, but alas, the camera.)

SO glad we went. I got to meet so many Heldt relatives and see some of Kevin's family I haven't seen in years. It was the kids' first funeral and viewing, too. They did well and I think it was good for them. They weren't afraid at all--it was Anna who, after being at the funeral home for only about five minutes, declared she wanted to go "see" great-grandma-Heldt. (Which we all did, and which the kids didn't bat an eye about.) It was also Yosef, Biniam, and Kaitlyn's first wedding. My first midwest-style wedding with tons of beer, live polka music (no DJ, or "Funky Cold Medina"...these guys were hardcore) and insane polka dancing up in the Wisconsin northwoods. I've never seen anything like it! It was pretty wild. (I'll have to get ahold of the picture that proves I danced a polka with my polka-loving father-in-law. He can really cut a rug! As for me, well, I'm a California native. But it was fun! And quite the workout.)

Now we're back home, tired but glad we made the trip. Good memories were made and good times were had. Guess now it's back to trying to knock this mono, and working on the house. Our friends are getting home from Ethiopia with their two new little ones tomorrow night...I cannot WAIT to meet them!!! Our new fridge is arriving tomorrow and we should be getting our new dishwasher in the next few days. A busy week ahead for sure!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My girl

My little girl is growing up. Last week we were in the unfinished (old!) part of our basement and I asked Anna to turn the light on for me.

To which she replied,

"I'm not scared of the dark, Mom! I got JESUS!"

God is working in her heart each and every day. If something goes wrong or someone isn't feeling well, right away she goes to pray for them. She loves singing the doxology. And she quoted scripture to me in the car on the way to Target the other night in reference to something we were talking about. She is falling in love with Jesus.

How amazing to see God at work in my child's life! I am rejoicing!

But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God."

Luke 18:16

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Roadtrips, Santa, and household appliances

There is so much going on right now.

This is because yesterday we made the (hopefully-not-going-to-make-my-mono-worse) decision to take a roadtrip next week to Wisconsin (for a wedding and a funeral.) And because the ancient, icky dishwasher that came with this house started leaking downstairs onto our nice, new carpet (in addition to its other assorted issues). Newsflash: as of yesterday, the Heldts do not have a dishwasher. (Well we do, it's just sitting outside on our front porch ready to be hauled away. Good riddance!)

Soooooo, yesterday afternoon we first made a family outing to the thriftstore (I heart the Denver ARC) to try to find a couple of long-sleeved, collared shirts for our boys and a suit-coat for my pallbearer-husband. We didn't find any of THOSE things (well I DID find ONE long-sleeved shirt, which I bought)...but I DID go nuts in the children's book section. Most of the books there are in excellent condition and they were all 50% off yesterday. I picked up five of the eight books in the Little House on the Prairie series that look brand-new, each for only $1. And an assortment of other classic "chapter" books for kids. Anna found two books, a My Little Pony and Barbie book. She wanted them. Kevin said she could choose one. She claimed she couldn't choose just one, so instead picked out a book published by Hallmark about Santa Claus with really ugly pictures. Hmmm.

Then it was on to Sears for a new dishwasher. Where we proceeded to also purchase a new fridge, stove, and front-loading washer and dryer. AHHHHHHH, it is hard dropping that kind of money in one place! But it WILL be nice to have:
--a stove with more than two working burners
--a fridge without broken shelves and that maintains a consistent temperature
--a washer that doesn't stink
--and a dryer that dries a load in less than, um, 90 minutes.
(Had I mentioned the fantastic archaic appliances we inherited when we bought this house?!)

After making this assortment of purchases, we hit up Hacienda Colorado to use our "free appetizer" coupon (sometimes it pays to still be receiving mail for the old homeowner). Then it was time to head home and go to bed. Because it was after 10 p.m.

Today I will be doing some painting, more laundry, and hopefully making a trip to KMart and Target. And I need to buy some paper goods...no it's not very "green" but, well, the Heldts currently do not have a dishwasher. And there are six of us. And I'm a little bit lazy. :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Remember Poppy? Yeah, he lives here.

Yosef is now potty-trained, more or less. I generally remind him to go throughout the day, he wears a diaper for naptime and bedtime, and everyone is happy. This morning though we were busy trying to clean up and move a bunch of things downstairs to the basement, and I forgot to remind him.

So he peed.

All over my white couch.

My slipcovers are currently in the wash. They needed to be washed anyway, but I've got a million loads of laundry to do today already, so it wasn't exactly a priority.


(I made Yosef help me do the laundry...you know...natural consequences. Problem is...the kid loves to help and has quite a servant's heart. You would have thought I asked him to go with me to Disneyland. Oh well!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

One big, (usually) happy family

Thinking lately about larger-than-average families. (Which I guess we're considered, even though I know lots of people with 4, or more.) I don't have any siblings so I have no real reference point on what it's like to grow up with brothers and sisters. My kids are obviously being raised with siblings, and if God sees fit, one way or another they will have more someday.

Every once in awhile my paranoia gets the best of me and I start wondering, what's truly best for kids? If I only had ONE child, or even two children, what would I be doing differently? How would life look for them, compared to how life looks now?

As far as parenting goes...not a whole lot different. I wouldn't be signing up my one or two toddlers for lots of activities outside the house. I honestly don't think they'd have more toys than these four have amassed (which have all pretty much been such gracious, generous gifts so far.) We'd still have the "go with the flow", laid-back-about-some-things-but-anal-about-others parenting philosophy. The big thing parents of two kids wonder about parents with more kids is, how do you pay each of your children enough attention? So far I've found that...it just doesn't work that way. The family takes on a dynamic of its own. Children play with, and love on, each other a lot of the time.

Even as an only child I really wasn't raised with lots of fancy entertainment/activities. I loved my childhood, and I grew up playing creatively and often independently. Out in the country (which I did, and still do, love!) Of course my parents were totally involved with me and would play with me (such fond memories of funny games my dad would make up, like "bucking bronco", "tower of doom" and "the button game"--which he now plays with MY kids!, and of playing Barbies with my mom. Oh okay, I'd get mildly annoyed when she'd play Barbies with me because she only wanted to rearrange the furniture in the dreamhouse). Interestingly I think my childhood, even though I was an ONLY child, is very similar in certain ways to the childhood MY kids are having. Simple, lots of time for creative, independent play, and very integrated with what mom and dad are doing. (For example, the kids go on errands, shop at the grocery store with me, go out to eat with us on the rare occasions we go out. That's how I was raised. My parents really didn't use babysitters. Neither do we.)

Really...the main difference between the life my kids currently have and the life they'd have with fewer siblings is...they wouldn't have each other. Kaitlyn wouldn't have Biniam "reading" Bambi to her. Or Anna praying for her baby sister's diaper rash to go away. Biniam wouldn't have Anna giving him a huge hug when he's not feeling well. Anna wouldn't be encouraging Yosef to not be afraid of the basement because "God is with you." They wouldn't share so many late-night giggles, or have such elaborate dress-up games of "Snow White". Fewer hugs, fewer kisses. Granted, they wouldn't know any different. But the life that kids lead in bigger-sized families is far from a deprived one. (Which is quite evident right now as Anna and Yosef are running around hand-in-hand playing "Cinderalla." Biniam's somehow part of the game too, though I'm not sure what part!)

Anyway, just some thoughts I've had lately.

***Yes, that is a picture of my young sons wearing princess dresses. And heels. But one of them is also holding a walkie-talkie and a nightstick. And that is really manly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just to clarify I'm not running for the hills...

Yosef and Anna with their friends at Ryan's birthday party.

Sisters and brothers rolling around on the nasty old carpet pad before Kevin ripped it out (and Kaitlyn showing some crack.) It's really a shame they don't like playing together...:)

I wanted to share the reasons why I'm rethinking the whole school thing (you know, because I'm sure you're all just DYING to know the thoughts rattling around in my neurotic, indecisive, I've-got-four-kids-and-mono brain).

See, I USED to want to homeschool part-time. But then my twin boys came home, and then we had a baby, and I began to wonder why I'd ever really wanted that. But, lately, as I've watched Anna reading her books and as I've been thinking about our family...the desire has come back. I think.

Where we lived in California, there weren't any public or charter schools that offered free, part-time enrollment for homeschoolers. Here in Denver, there are. It's through the public school district, one full-day per week, and you can check out various curriculum for free.

ANYway, I'm not scared of public school, there's a good chance my kids will end up doing that (you know, when all this blows over and I'm no longer delirious), I think they can get a great education there (in more than just academics), etc. etc. We are very blessed to live in a country that provides FREE EDUCATION to all--regardless of socio-economic level, performance, or whatever. We are very blessed. God is there, working. I believe my kids can experience Him just as easily in a public school as they can at home. Truly.

So my reasons for wanting to homeschool part-time are: to avoid extensive homework and burnout, to continue the tight sibling relationships my kids have with eachother, to have a more relaxed family atmosphere, to promote close friendships and community with them and other kids (more on that in a minute), to expose them to great literature, to experience first-hand their milestones. I LOVE the idea of having a "schoolroom" and great books all around and of cuddling on the couch reading our books together.

I have two friends here, both with adopted children (from Liberia and Ethiopia), that we've had playdates with, dinner with...they are such wonderful families! (Some of their children are in the picture with Yosef and Anna) They're both homeschooling part-time and are also in the same homeschool group that has field trips, etc. The group has adopted children in it from all over the world...pretty cool, huh? So I don't think my children would be hurting for peer relationships if I homeschooled...if anything, they might actually have MORE time to build good, close friendships.

Ultimately I want what's best for my kids and family. Not primarily from an academic perspective, but from a LIFE perspective. Public and homeschool both have a lot to offer in that regard, I think. I read an EXCELLENT, amazing book I'll have to share about on the topic of public school. And what a great place it can be for your child. It resonated with me and the couple who wrote it needs to write more books, because they're awesome.

Obviously I don't have a lot in common ideologically with a some (most?) of the homeschooling community. Maybe I don't with the public schooling community either...I'm not anxious to get my kids out of the house during the day. I have no desire to "go back to work"--ha, that's funny even to write. (And hopefully by the time Kaitlyn is even in school we'll have more little ones!)No desire to schedule my kids in a billion activities. I like that all of us are home each night having dinner together.

Maybe it's the mono talking, but the thought of homeschooling is really appealing right now. And maybe it'll pass and I'll wake up tomorrow laughing out loud, wondering what was I thinking!

(Oh and does anyone have any experience with the "Five in a Row" (FIAR) curriculum??? If so, how is it?)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


So this catalogue showed up at my door yesterday. I swear I have no clue how it got there. It had my name and address on it and everything...hmm. Strange. I've been looking at it ever since it arrived. And growing downright giddy with excitement. (Okay maybe part of the giddiness has to do with Ikea, but the catalogue is exciting too.)

Yes friends, I'm revisiting the "H" word. And thinking-about-possibly-considering...crossing over to the dark side. Ever since I found out there's a school (through Aurora's PUBLIC school system with sites all over Colorado), where kids go one full-day per week and are home the rest. (You can even check out curriculum for free.) And ever since my daughter started reading, and I realized how darn fun it is to be walking alongside her during this journey.

I'm in utter disbelief that I'm even thinking-about-possibly-considering this. I USED to want to teach my children at home. (You know, back when I only had one.) But I always said IDEALLY they could GO to school part-time, and be home part-time. Because I knew for sure I didn't want them JUST at home. I want them to learn to respect someone else's (a teacher's) authority, get to wear a backpack, and have something away from Mom and Dad that is all their own. Some independence. Opportunities to give out Valentine's Day cards and eat lunch with their friends. And to pick out a lunchbox for goodness sakes!

WELL, some of that could be alleviated with this one-day-per-week program. Plus the public school system would still be getting government funding for my kids being there, which is a value for me. Once I'm feeling better I plan to go check out our (excellent) neighborhood public school and then this Denver Options program. I also am attempting to estimate what the cost would be. Where we could cut corners. (Library, anyone?)

I'm not sure what we'll end up doing...Honestly if we DO decide to homeschool, I'll be a little sad my kids aren't in PUBLIC school. Then I wonder if I'm even cut out for this. I WILL say that I'm not one of those moms eagerly anticipating having my kids out of the house all day, every day. (Well, not usually.) I love that Anna helps me make breakfast in the morning, and that we all eat lunch together. I LIKE having company at the grocery store and on errands, even though it makes them harder.

So...the question of the day is (aside from the obvious is-she-losing-her-mind), if you homeschool, what curriculum do you use, and why?

BrEaKiNg NeWs

Ikea. Coming. To Colorado.

That is all. Let the rejoicing begin. (And is the press conference televised? Because I'd really like to watch.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

She's reading!

The latest excitement in the Heldt household is...

Anna is READING! I had read good things about the Bob Books in The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, and saw a set of 18 of them for $9.99 at Costco on Saturday. I thought I'd buy them because I'd love for each of my kids to be reading before they go into Kindergarten.

Well...before too long I'll be going back for the second set! Anna is plowing through them! She's known her phonics for a long time now, and now she's reading. Reading. I cannot even tell you how filled with joy I am to watch my daughter learning and blossoming right before my very eyes. Each day we sit down together with a Bob book. She loves it. I love it.

Someone in a previous post had asked why I want my kids reading before they start school. I guess my reasons are, that first of all, for some kids, developmentally they're READY to read at 4 years old. Anna definitely is. She picked up on phonics pretty quickly, and the reading is coming naturally too. Second of all, I feel that if my child can learn to read at HOME, they can avoid having to learn under pressure. It can be fun, and at their own pace. Then, once they start formal schooling (in whatever form that takes), they'll have a good foundation set. I really recommend The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise for insight into how children learn, and also for book recommendations. Even if you're not a homeschooler, it's a gem. (You can read my disclaimer about the book here. :) )

Ultimately I really want my kids to fall in love with reading. And with good books. And with learning. There's no "right" way to do this, but for us, this is how we're opting to go. And it's so much fun! I'm loving it!

Monday, September 08, 2008

I love a good auction

Yesterday was not a COMPLETE wash in snagging stuff for my house. I've loved these alphabet cards (at Land of Nod and Anthropologie) for a long time, and have wanted them for our new playroom. But after shipping they're $38, more than I cared to spend.

So I've watched for them on Ebay off and on, and FINALLY won them yesterday, brand new for about $20, INCLUDING shipping! Woohoo! (I LOVE the thrill of winning an ebay auction. I watch the time tick down and get quite excited. Have I mentioned I'm easily amused???)

I also finally bit the bullet and bought a "real" butter dish--my $1 plastic one from Albertsons, while clearly a high quality and beautiful item, has a huge crack in it. The new one I bought is jadeite, and so cute!

Can't wait for my things to arrive!!!
(Do you ever buy stuff on ebay? It's for more than just beanie babies these days. :) )

Sunday, September 07, 2008


As you all know, I am a huge Craigslist fan. I have them to thank for my Pottery Barn table, a cute vanity and sink we just bought for the kids' bathroom downstairs, and some old vintage windows that I have big plans for. I also have them (and the Gibsons) to thank for the sale of our old couches. I check it religiously and there are a few items on my list that I'm always looking for.

Yesterday I contacted someone about a sideboard/hutch and table for sale that I loved. I asked if I could come check it out. First she said yes, then she said her son (whose house it is at) was gone all day so I could come at 4 TODAY, that there were a few others interested but I was the first caller so I'd have the first chance. Okay I said. Kevin took out the carseats from the backseat of the van, so I could bring it home.

WELL, about an hour ago she called my cell phone letting me know that they sold it this morning, so nevermind. Ummmm...HELLO?! This utterly violates the code of all things good and decent. All.things.good.and.decent.

So yeah, I got totally rocked. But I guess now at least I don't have to drive down to Centennial in my ill state. I didn't want their lame-o hutch and table anyway! (Okay yeah, I did. I really, really, did. Wahhhhh!)

Friday, September 05, 2008


Here are some pictures (compliments of Angela) from Wednesday night's dessert. So fun! She and Marrty are leaving in a couple of days for Ethiopia so we got together at a restaurant for dessert to celebrate. I already knew Angela and Katie, and had fun getting to meet and know some other ladies a little better. (Angela has really nice friends!)

That's Angela next to me, with the yummy piece of cake.

Don't ask. But in a nutshell, a re-creation of a poem they made me read. :)
More pretend reading.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sleepy but encouraged!

Tiramisu, coffee, and girlfriends. Exactly what I needed last night after four weeks of barely leaving my house (or getting out of pajamas for that matter).

Then when I got home last night, I was greeted by a huge grin from my baby girl (still awake, hanging out with Daddy), and a huge hug from my husband. Who I stayed up talking to until WAY too late about life, parenting, our kids...my heart felt so encouraged. I needed that, too. (Not to mention Kevin totally cleaned up the kitchen while I was out! What a blessing!) I may be paying for the late night today, but my soul feels refreshed, and things look much brighter than they did 24 hours ago.

This afternoon I'm taking Yosef for the first part of a series of evaluations, to see where he's at in terms of cognitive development, processing, etc. While I've been dreading today's particular appointment because I see it as a waste of time (they make your child have a hearing evaluation first, and he can hear just fine), when I told Yosef about it this morning...the boy could not have been more excited. "I'm going on a date with Mommy!" he's been running around shouting. "Where are my shoes?" "I'm going to do my letters at school!" (The evaluation is at an elementary school in town.) So that has completely redeemed the outing for me. I really can't complain when I get to spend the afternoon with such a charming, handsome, enthusiastic little man!

Now if I can just muster up the energy to take a shower and put on something presentable. (And mono, if you're reading this: please do feel free to move on. We've been hanging out now for some time, and while the TV shows, pudding and soup have been fun, I think I'm ready to go my own way.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

God, the world, and dessert tonight.

Sometimes we speak to change the world. Other times, we speak to keep the world from changing us.--Shane Claiborne

This article just came out and it features two pretty amazing families. I "know" both Erin (pictured above with her rockin' family) and Julie (although both sadly only through email!!!) and these women are just wonderful. Great moms, with great families. I got to know Erin through blogging I guess, when she was first talking about bringing her daughter home from AHOPE, and got to know Julie when we were waiting to bring Yosef and Biniam home. Julie had done some evaluations on the boys at the orphanage and so graciously emailed me about them.

So naturally I was utterly shocked by some of the ugly, hateful and ignorant comments people left at the end of the article. Honestly they are not even worth reading. I hate to even give them airtime here.

BUT, one thing I CAN say about the article and comments is this: God is shaking things up. Hearts are changing and people are living like Shane Claiborne's "ordinary radicals", leaving complacency behind. And it scares people. Makes them uncomfortable. Because really, why would a family spend that kind of money, travel halfway around the world, to adopt a child? A sick child? Don't we need to care for our own first? How will this affect my healthcare premium?

All I know is, I read something like this, and the comments that follow, and I struggle with the knowledge that I don't want my heart shaped by the world, and its value system. I don't want my personal greed, fears, and prejudices to rule my life. To affect how I treat others. Instead, I want my heart transformed and my mind renewed and to love the way Jesus did, with truth and without condition. But still I struggle because it's not safe, and I don't know what it will ultimately mean, and I fall terribly short on a daily basis. I just know I want it.

People can say what they will (and, let's face it...they will.) But tonight I'm attending a wonderful friend's party as she prepares to leave for Ethiopia on Sunday, to bring her two little ones home. And we're going to celebrate their family, and the precious, God-ordained lives of her new son and daughter. Who are a living testament to God's grace and provision. Who now have a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister.

So yeah, God is working.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


So, the husband turned 28 last month. I meant to do a post about what we did and about what a stellar guy he is, but like seemingly most things in my life right now, it fell by the wayside. :)

While he was at work that morning, the kids each colored and decorated a card for him (even Kaitlyn!) They helped me bake him some homemade chocolate chip cookies, I made up a big picnic lunch, and we picked him up from work and drove to a park. (I figure if you have to work on your birthday, you should at least have an enjoyable lunch break!)

Each of the kids got to present him with their card, and tell him they loved him. They were so cute!

Then that evening the six of us went to dinner at Pei Wei. Yum! We were there pretty late, so we scored six huge chocolate chip cookies for free! (That ALMOST made up for the waiter asking me if we were "babysitting these little guys". Almost.)

So Kevin, here is your belated birthday blogpost. You are a great dad, a fabulous husband, and by golly it doesn't have to be your birthday for me to tell you that! Thanks for being so fun, hilarious, patient, hardworking, and supportive. You make a mean pot of Pasta Roni, have an uncanny ability to infuse wisdom into any conversation (and help me sort out my indecisive thoughts), and have proven quite handy around our 96-year-old-house. Oh and you make me laugh really hard. Even though you tried to talk me into that $4,000 water softener a couple months back, you're a great leader of our family. The kids could not have asked for a better father. I don't have to tell you how much they adore you. Especially the littlest one, who never wants to leave your side!

Know that even though right now we can't kiss or share soda, I love you so much and am thrilled to be on this rollercoaster of life with you!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dumpster diving

Living in the city of Denver, we have an alley behind our backyard, and instead of having a trash can to take to the curb, we share a dumpster with the neighbors. Sometimes people will set out things in the alley they don't want, but that someone else might want.

A month ago or so, Kevin was throwing away something in the dumpster, and came and told me there were some things in the alley I should come look at to see if I wanted. (Nope, I'm not above snagging free stuff out of the alley.)

I totally scored a set of 8 Pottery Barn plates for the kids! They're blue on top, brown on the bottom, and they have cute little frogs on them! They're in great shape, and the kids get SO excited every time they get to use them.
Three cheers for dumpster diving!

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