Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo Humbug

Halloween has basically snuck up on us this year. Gee, how could that happen? Let me see: I have FOUR sick kids, I think my mono has made me extra tired this past week, our house is still so unsettled. This bums me out because I love Halloween, and the anticipation of Halloween. Every year we bake Halloween cookies in the shape of pumpkins and little witches, and after trick or treating we watch the Charlie Brown "Great Pumpkin" movie while feasting on candy. Well, my cookie cutters are packed away, and I don't know where. Locating the video will be a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack (or, a needle in our garage that is filled with boxes, one of which contains my beloved cookie cutters.) You get the picture.

This morning I spilled my coffee all.over.the.floor. (Right after Anna spilled her milk all.over.the.floor.) That's when I knew what kind of a day it would be!

Will the Heldt kids be joining all the other little goblins and ghosts this evening for tricks and treats? Only time will tell! (And if you live in Denver and hear faint hacking and coughing when your doorbell rings, I'd advise wearing a mask to answer it. We are a germ factory over here!)

As for me, I think I'll be dressing up as a grouchy, disgruntled stay-at-home-mom. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4 + 4

My little men are growing up. Sigh.

Yosef and Biniam, we love you so much! God is growing you into such strong boys with big hearts and adventuresome spirits. I remember the day you came into our world and changed it forever with your big smiles and sweet, tender hearts. WE LOVE YOU!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

(And let it also be known that I now have THREE four-year-olds. You know, in addition to my 20-month-old. We are blessed! And a little bit tired.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Well that is just SO me

A couple of weeks ago I was at a second-hand store. I had found some shirts for Yosef and Biniam, and had them hanging (not sure why) on the handle of the cart. I guess because I wasn't settled on all of them and I wanted to look through them again. Who knows why I do the things I do?

Anyway, so my cart was sitting there with the shirts hanging on the handle, and I was crouched down by the bookshelves looking through the childrens books. I heard a man somewhere near me saying, "These just look like boys' shirts", and I look up to find him rifling through my cart, apparently thinking that it was a bunch of stuff for sale that the store had put there! Oh my gosh, I was SO embarrassed! But did I stand up and tell him that it was my cart? Nooooo, I continued HIDING until he moved on! (Thankfully he didn't take any of my stuff!)

Three things passed through my mind during the ordeal. First, I couldn't WAIT to tell my mom, because weird stuff always seems to happen to her in stores too. Second, I thought about my friend Jeannett, and how she so would have stood up and said, "Hey, that's my cart!" She's all confident and says what's on her mind, and I love that about her.

Finally, I thought about how the whole thing was simply the essence I would have parted with my fabulous, inexpensive boys' shirts if it meant not having to confront the guy who thought they were free game. If I could avoid an uncomfortable situation. Because I guess that's just the way I am. And now you know, in case you're ever out and see me hiding in the store!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pancakes and Obama and the 1950s

I was just reminded this morning of the four reasons why I very rarely put chocolate chips in my pancakes. (Sorry, no photos, we need new batteries for our camera. Just picture four (happy) faces and eight (sticky) hands COVERED in chocolate!)
Today Kevin is painting downstairs, I've been cooking and cleaning and might, MIGHT, do some painting myself. There's also (always) laundry that needs to be done and other assorted household tasks.

Funny story for your Saturday (and reason for the above photo): When I re-registered to vote when we moved here, I changed my affiliation from "Republican" to "Undeclared". WELL, this has translated into Barack Obama heavily courting my vote these last few weeks. (Which makes me feel so important!) I recently received a phone call from one of his volunteers asking who I was voting for. (Did he like my answer? No. No, he did not.) The next day, there was a knock on the door while I was making dinner. (I hate when random people that I don't know drop in to talk to me!) I heard Kevin (who knows this) answer it, and it was an Obama volunteer (maybe the same guy?), who said he wanted to ask me some questions. Kevin asked if the guy could ask HIM some questions instead. He said no, just me. Kevin THEN proceeded to tell him that I COULDN'T COME TO THE DOOR because I was MAKING DINNER! HA!!! I can SO imagine this person thinking, what kind of weird, 1950s-type-of-couple lives here?! I of course found it terribly, terribly funny.

(Random evidence that apparently you CAN be a 1950s-throwback-traditional-kind-of-gal AND an Obama supporter):

And for the record, we're really NOT the Denver version of June and Ward Cleaver. (Note that I listed June first, without thinking. Ha! Can't you so picture Kevin and I dressing like this every day?) Our division of labor may play out pretty traditionally, and truth be told I LIKE being barefoot-and-pregnant (well maybe not barefoot since my feet get cold!), but both of us are really involved in parenting, we both do a ton around the house, and we make all our decisions together. I DO like to play the, "That's man's-work" card however when a job comes up that I don't want to do. I DON'T let Kevin play it the other way though. Hmmm. He loves to say how it's a double-standard...Shhhh, don't tell, but I think he might be right! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Updates from around the house

Here are some pictures of what we've been working on. First, some of our new appliances. Our kitchen cabinets are still pretty bad, but the appliances make everything look much nicer! And best of all, they work so well! (We're planning on resurfacing the cabinets, but it's not at the top of the priority list for now.)
No picture of them, but our front-loading washer and dryer are great too! Things are coming along slowly but surely with our home. God is teaching me patience in a major way, and that is good! So many things are taking longer because I was sick, and now Anna, Kaitlyn and I are sick with some cold thing. Anna has it worst, poor thing!

Before we moved we gave the twin bed back to our wonderful friends, that we'd been borrowing for Anna, and my parents gave me MY twin bed that I grew up using, for Anna. Since it was old and a little yellowed, and because I didn't want brass bedknobs, I decided to refinish it. I couldn't find bedknobs for it that weren't brass or wood, so I just painted them a sky-blue color, and painted the headboard and footboard white.

Then I made her a duvet cover out of some fun sheets I found at WalMart (and they can also be found at Jennifer's house. Angela, I still can't figure out how to thread the bobbin so I just used the thread already in there, even though it wasn't the exact color I wanted! Ha!) Anna's room is painted a greenish color called "Sassafrass Tea". Nothing on the walls yet (how sad) but that will be coming! The bedroom also still needs baseboards, a finished door, closet doors, the brushwork completed, and the trim around the windows painted, but those are all just details, right?! (The lighting in these pictures is pretty bad--it was nighttime.) I found that green bookshelf at a flea market, and the wall-hanging sitting on it (that still needs to be hung) on clearance at Target for $3--and it totally matches the bedding!

Yosef and Biniam's room is painted, but much to my painting-husband's dismay...I don't like the color. Turns out "Basic Beige" is too light and too boring for my boys' room. I'd thought about doing some sort of blue, but their bedspreads are blue. Sigh. Anyway, I'm sure there will be many more pictures forthcoming!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Preschool and I should maybe commit this quote to memory

Kevin and I have never sent our kids to preschool. We feel like children are little for so short a time. I want them to just enjoy being a part of the family. Going to the grocery store, playing with their baby sister, playing independently, being HOME. We've always felt this way. I never foresaw myself needing to give a defense for this position, or that it was somehow controversial--I just thought some kids went, and some kids didn't. No big deal.

Anyway, recently someone (who happens to be in a teacher credential program) asked me where my older three attend preschool. I politely said they don't go, that they're home with me. This person literally gasped, half-laughed and said, "They don't go to preschool?!"

During Yosef's evaluation, it seemed clear at two different points that one of the evaluators sees parents as somewhat incompetent to raise educated children. This made me wonder how many well-meaning experts have essentially disempowered already-intimidated parents, making them feel like they can't in any way contribute to their child's education. Hmmmmm.

I truly have NOTHING against public schools, or preschools. Most kids I know have gone to preschool and I think that's great! But this idea that kids NEED to be away from their parents earlier and earlier seems really wrong to me. I know all about the research touted by proponents of early education--but there is also research demonstrating that the early benefits of preschool are not necessarily sustainable over time. That's no reason NOT to go, but in my mind it's definitely reason enough to not HAVE to go.

Anyway, I read the following words by Ruth Beechick not too long after the above incidents occurred, and the first part had me laughing (okay, so I confess that I love sarcasm. Even if it's rude. What can I say? And in the interest of full disclosure, the above picture is of my kids playing a computer game! Ha!):

Curriculum for a 3-year-old? How about a loving home life that is
somewhat orderly in normal household routines? Add plenty of playtime
which is mostly free exploration...and only sometimes guided to new
activities. Add the outdoors...That sounds almost perfect to me. The
normal home life will include some books and reading...Language learning?
Family and friends are always teaching that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That's Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn is, by far, my most "physical" and, let's face it, assertive child. From very early on she could navigate stairs safely. And bossed her siblings around. She makes SURE her wishes are known (and doesn't always require words.) Her first words in fact were "no" and "iwanit" (or translated, "I want it.") She is a sweetie, but don't be fooled, this kid is also one tough cookie.

And at 19 months old, she has decided she's done with her crib. Done. D-O-N-E done.

Two weeks ago we'd put her down to sleep, and the next morning she'd somehow managed to heave herself over the side (the crib is at its lowest setting, too) to come happily wake us up. At 5 am. Over the next week or so, we kept putting her back in, but then she ended up with nasty bruises on her legs from her maneuvers to get out. Lovely.

So now she's sleeping on her crib mattress, on the floor in her sister's room. Wich equates to us putting her down for bed at night, only to make multiple trips back downstairs to put her back to bed. Because she keeps.getting.up.

But that's just Kaitlyn. And we say that a lot. To explain, for example, why when she tired of riding on the old-fashioned merry-go-round at the park, she just up and decided to fling herself off while it was still moving. And didn't really care. Just brushed herself off and dashed away to go conquer another part of her world.

Because the girl has ideas, and she's tough as nails. And I really, really love it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quick clarification

I have gotten several emails lately (in addition to one incident this summer that happened "in real life") from people who think my Ethiopian sons have HIV. Just to clear things up, I'm hereby going on record as saying they do NOT have HIV.

I'm sorry if I've somehow left room for confusion. While HIV is CERTAINLY nothing to be ashamed of, out of respect for my children, I also don't want people out there believing something untrue about their health. I feel bad that my blog has already somehow contributed to this. I wasn't going to post about it (I don't want to give the impression that HIV is something I'm wanting to distance my family from, because I do NOT feel that way), but it's been happening a lot lately so I felt I needed to say something.

While I volunteer occasionally for AHOPE for Children, if you look back through my posts you will see that Yosef and Biniam came to us from Layla House, not AHOPE. I have written a fair amount on this blog about HIV and HIV+ adoption, but from the standpoint of an advocate, not an adoptive mother. HIV and AIDS are profoundly affecting our world and it's something we should all care more about. It's also something easy to ignore in our comfy middle- or upper-class American lives.

As for the incident this summer, when I was working at the Mile High Music Festival, Kevin brought the kids by the booth one evening. Someone working for a nonprofit in the booth next to us was sitting there. At one point Biniam had some of my bottled water. After Kevin and the kids left, this person spoke up and said, "I just wanted to let you know, your son drank out of your bottle. I don't know much about how you catch HIV but I wanted to let you know." Um....right. I quickly told him that, first of all, my kids DON'T have HIV, and then proceeded to educate him on how HIV is--and is not--spread.

I do know of some aMAZing families who have adopted HIV+ children. If you would like to talk to someone who has done this, email me and I can give them your contact information.

Okay, that is all. Now back to our regular programming! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

KCOY/FOX 11 News story

A local news station recently contacted my dad wanting to do a story about their humanitarian work in the classroom. They filmed it last Friday, and the story aired this morning. Click on "Tech Savvy 6th Graders" on the left to watch! My sons even got a little shout-out at the end.

Go Creston Elementary 6th graders! You're making a difference!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Girl power

At church right now we're going to a Sunday School class on the role of women in the church, throughout the Bible, etc. It's being taught from a perspective that happens to be different from the one held by our prior church (egalitarian vs. complimentarian--check out those big words I learned!) Today was the first day and it was quite interesting, and the teacher did a GREAT job, even if I didn't necessarily agree with everything. (I'd heard all the standard arguments for complimentarianism before, but never for egalitarianism. So this is good. It forces me to think and helps sharpen my own views. Not that I purport to have it figured out!)

Meanwhile I started the book Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson yesterday (how timely). A slightly different perspective. :)

Kevin brought up an interesting question at dinner a couple of weeks ago (yes, we do still attEMPT to have stimulating conversations around the table, in between all the milk spilling, loud giggling, and requests for more food). He wondered how we would talk to our daughters about their futures--how do you balance the subject of career and "be all you can be" with the roles of wife and mother? And are these at odds?

I guess the initial conclusion that we came to is that we will encourage them throughout their lives to pursue their God-given passions, to use their gifts, and make the most of the time and seasons God is giving them. Maybe that will mean college, career and a family later. Maybe it'll mean marrying young (utterly and totally biased here but I highly recommend this! :) ) and not fully pursuing those things. We will esteem motherhood and the blessing that it is. And I pray they lead a life that is rich and full and filled with the joy of living out God's call, whatever that is!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday thoughts on books and such

These pictures were taken outside of an old brick church in Wisconsin, after Kevin's grandma's funeral. I love how Kaitlyn's hanging onto her big brother's hand in the top one!

Over the past couple of months I've read some great books, mostly on parenting and education. You know, because I've got those four kids up there from the pictures. :) I just finished up Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. It was EXcellent. And really confirmed some things I already felt and thought, and gave some insight into things from my own childhood. It also suggested ways to stay connected to your kids and promote attachment that I had never really thought of, and that we hope to implement. (Like, starting each morning together just cuddling and talking, etc. That way you don't start off the day's parenting by telling your kids to do this and that and rushing around, while they may not even feel all that connected to you. We really feel like we could benefit from this on Sunday mornings before church, since we're always running around getting ready, and honestly I DON'T feel all that connected to my kids, which makes it harder to deal with them if they're wiggly during the service.) The book also talked about how important GREETINGS are--when your child wakes up, when you reunite after you've been apart for any reason, etc. Both of these things were under the category of "gathering your children". Good stuff.

I also recently read A Thomas Jefferson Education. It was fantastic! Really interesting and totally made me think. I learned a lot about why things are the way they are in education today and in our country at large. A lot of it actually related to what I read in Hold On to Your Kids. I loved how it suggests that teachers can inspire, but students have to educate themselves.

Then there's this author Ruth Beechick who writes a lot about education, and I'm loving pretty much all the books I read by her. She was a teacher for many years and has so many good insights and techniques. I checked out The Three R's from the library and found it so useful I ended up buying it.

Next I'll be reading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I'm also waiting on some cookbooks from the library too, that a friend recommended about cooking naturally and simply(most of the books are from the Mennonite community), and baking your own wholegrain breads. Yes, I'm actually looking into these things. :) Isn't that SO granola of me?! I'm not making my own cleaning products yet--so Jeannett you still win--but apparently I'm on my way. (Does anyone out there bake their own bread instead of buying it? I'd love to hear about it!) I just love the idea of living a simple life...everything today is just so complicated and hurried and impersonal and "more-is-better". Ick. We buy so many of our things second-hand now and I am so, so happy.
I'm also happy because my kids have not watched any TV or videos--literally--in about a MONTH. I relied so much on the TV (which about killed me) the whole time I had mono. Yet I just don't think we could have survived without it. But I hated it, and it has been so great seeing the kids spend their time reading, coloring, listening to books-on-tape, and playing creatively. Oh and they do lots of talking (and a little bit of arguing) too. :)
How are you spending your Saturday? We're home, doing work on our house, Kevin has a fantasy sports draft this afternoon (oh the joy!), and I'll probably do some cleaning and reading (but maybe not in that order). Happy weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What in the world?! (or more politely titled, "A Product Review")

So a company sent me these trading cards to review on here. They're called Bella Sara and this is what the website says: Welcome to the World of Bella Sara, a magical place full of beauty and joy where you may activate your Bella Sara trading cards and collect horses in an online stable. A safe world of fun and adventure lies just beyond the stable gate, with games, puzzles, and activities for you to enjoy with your favorite horses.

I opened up the packs of cards with my excited, over-eager-because-toys-came-in-the-mail kids jumping up and down in front of me. I figured the cards would just have cutesy horses on them.

Um...yeah. The pictures are all magical-looking, and each card has this fanTAStic new-age-ish saying on it. Stuff like, "Look at the sky. See the art that NATURE creates" (emphasis mine, of course.) "I give you courage. Now release your fears." (Actually, I don't think a black horse named Thunder can do that, but whatever.) Or, "Make your own choices, and let others make theirs." (Um, right. Although...I think I might save this to hand out to nosy parents at the park!) And I just LOVED these: "You have the freedom to make your own dreams come true", and "You have the power to control the way you react."

Wow. Needless to say my kids will NOT be keeping these, they're going in the garbage bin as soon as I'm done writing this. (The cards, not the kids!) There was some disappointment, but I told the kids that these cards didn't say the best things, that God wants us dwelling on things that are lovely and pure and true.

So there's my review. I may not get any more review offers, but hey, at least I'm honest. :)

The cold, hard truth

Mommy: Anna, I think I could just sit here and cuddle with you all day. I love cuddling with you!

Anna: Me too. But I like to PLAY better!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My sweet boy

I took Yosef to some screenings, through the (free!) Child Find program here in Denver, to have him evaluated for a learning disability. He has always been very bright, but has struggled with learning his colors. It's really strange, and I thought it would be a good idea to rule out some sort of issue. (Mostly because if he DID have some type of processing problem, I wanted to know how to best explain things to him etc.) First he had a hearing/vision evaluation (which of course went fine), and then he had two more screenings for speech/learning delays.

Well, turns out they thought he was extremely smart and well above what they would expect for his age!!! Yay! (I was so proud of him, especially considering that his first year and a half of life were far from optimal). They couldn't believe his long attention span, or social abilities, or the way he was able to communicate.

But he couldn't name one color. Not one. :)

They said to give him about 6 more months (it's possible he just has some sort of mental block in that area) and if he still can't identify them, to take him to an opthalmologist to be tested for color-blindness (which is the other thing we suspected).

Anyway, it was great to know that "the system" thought he was above-average developmentally/academically...this precious boy who spent his first 16 months or so in THREE different orphanages, including one filled with extremely sick and dying children. Yet today he is thriving, both emotionally and developmentally.

The Lord is faithful!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I'm talking about our neighborhood park today. And I love our neighborhood park. We hit up the library program at 10:30, checked out some books, and then hit the playground. Where literally every.single.parent. went out of their way to strike up a conversation with me that began with, "Are all those kids yours" and was closely followed by exclamations of, "Wow", or "You have a lot to do", or "What do you do for carseats" (??????????) !!!!!!

Honestly...I was so annoyed. Why can't we play at the park like everyone else? Why are these people not picking up on my antisocial vibe? Funny too how my four kids happily playing somehow gets more attention than the kid running around screaming (and shaking his fist) at everyone else's kids, or a dad's big black dog named Wrigley that kept slobbering all over me and my purse??!!! I also loved how when the guy asked me about the carseats, and told me how that must get expensive (wow I guess I should have thought of that before we had all these kids!) he proceeded to inform me that HE TOO has 4 carseats--so BOTH of their cars have enough carseats for their TWO kids. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I left slightly disgruntled. Not that anyone could tell. I am that person that smiles and acts really sweet even though on the inside I'm fuming. :)

(Oh and the above picture doesn't have anything to do with this post, it was taken in Wisconsin. It's one of the few recent pictures I have of all four of my kids! And in order of descending height to boot!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well isn't that the truth

Last night I was spending some much needed (by both of us) one-on-one time with Biniam as I was tucking him in. He said he wanted me to tell him a story, of when he was a baby. I started out by telling him (as I have before) that when he was a baby he lived in Ethiopia, in his first mommy's tummy with Yosef. That's when he enthusiastically interjected,

"Yeah! She had a big belly full of babies!"

(I cannot fathom what that 9 months must have been like for this dear, dear woman...but I have a feeling that with Yosef and Biniam in such close proximity to each other, it could not have been easy!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It was, um, 37 degrees on the way to church this morning. Then it got up into the 40s, and is back down to 37 right now. It's also snowing, but barely, so you can hardly tell.

Did you know it gets really cold here in Colorado??!! Oh my goodness, my hands are refusing to thaw out...and to think it will get much, much colder than this in the months ahead!

The seasoned Colorado-ans don't seem to mind however...someone came to church in shorts today...and I just saw someone out walking their dog. I on the other hand will be staying inside, thankyouverymuch! (Maybe a year or two from now, I'll be wearing shorts in 37-degree weather???)

I just loaded up on apple cider, and marshmallows for hot chocolate at our neighborhood grocery store. Cold-weather essentials. I really AM loving the seasons...our street is SO pretty right now with all the big, beautiful trees and colorful fall leaves...

But winter is coming, people. It's coming. I have a feeling that we Central-Coast-of-California-transplants are in for something downright shocking in the months ahead!!!!!!! (And we can't say we weren't warned--Californians get very concerned when they hear of other Californians moving to cold snowy places!!!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friends + zoo

Wednesday morning we went to the zoo with the homeschool group we've joined. Too fun! Jennifer and her kids are in the group too, and when Anna's headband came off, Jaso decided to put it back on her. Here is Jaso in action, and the girls with the end result:

Wishing I also had pictures of the kids riding the carousel (okay, really I just wish I had a picture of Kaitlyn screaming when the thing started going. Needless to say she spent the rest of the ride being held by me!)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kids helping other kids

This news story is about a project my dad's sixth-grade class is doing this year. The students build websites for organizations and individuals for a donation, and all the proceeds go to the humanitarian work that Adoption Advocates International does for orphans in Ethiopia.
Ever since we began the process to adopt three years ago, my dad's class has participated in a humanitarian project in Africa--first buying bicycles for children in Kenya, then last year sponsoring a child in Ethiopia, and now doing this.

I'm just beaming with pride, of course. Go Dad!

Pretty cool that students at this little country school are learning web design while also gaining an awareness of the global orphan crisis, international adoption, and the AIDS crisis affecting much of Africa.

And if you want a website to support this awesome program, click here!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday morning

(This picture has nothing to do with this post, but I just love it, and I haven't posted pics in a long time!)
I was up late last night. Now I'm tired. :(

So many things on my to-do list too. Like going to Costco to buy some things, including soap, which we are out of. (Poor Kevin went off to work today smelling like vanilla bath gel! Ha!) My kids need baths, there is laundry to deal with, a bunch of stuff I cleaned out of the van that I need to put/throw away (nothing like a roadtrip with four kids to generate a lot of junk)...on top of, you know, feeding my kids breakfast and lunch. :)

Do I sound overwhelmed? I feel that way. I think we'll benefit SO much next year when we have a child in school and therefore more structure built into our lives. Although I have to say I've loved these quiet, lazy years of just being a mom to my kids, schedule-free. (Okay I guess I can't say they were TOTALLY lazy, I mean I do have four small kids!)

A sweet friend from church is wanting to bring us dinner tonight, what a blessing! Then later Kevin and I will watch the debate. Surely it won't be as entertaining as the last one (because Sarah Palin's not involved), but it should be amusing just the same. Mostly because Obama's such a great orator, and McCain gets so annoyed, and for some reason I find the whole thing hilarious. :)

Also hilarious is the fact that I ate a bunch of M&Ms while writing this post. At 9:30 in the morning. Wow. That is just sick. And less hilarious--the fact that Kaitlyn just got into my makeup.

Happy Tuesday!!! :)

Monday, October 06, 2008

New friends, new book

My friend Angela, who lives about 30 minutes north of me, has these magical powers of coersion. She somehow convinced me to join her homeschooling group, that's centered up north in the Broomfield/Erie area. They have occasional field trips, big group meetings about once a month, etc. (Plus I'm wanting to meet and connect with other moms, being that I just moved here. AND explore the idea of homeschooling a bit more.) Last Monday night I drove up to Erie (40 minutes away) for the first bookstudy meeting. And these women were so nice to me and just so wonderful! They have kids from all over the world too--pretty cool. Anyway, I kinda assumed I wouldn't be a regular attender of the every-other-week study group because these days 40-minutes-away feels pretty far. (We're so spoiled now, having most everything right nearby!) But then I checked out the youtube video by the author of the book today, and was mentally saying "amen!" to pretty much everything she was saying.

So I'm off to Erie again tonight. :) And Jennifer is coming with me (she also joined the homeschool group on Angela's reccomendation--I tell you, it's magic!), so the drive up will be wonderful!

Anyway, has anyone out there read any of Sally Clarkson's books? I'd never heard of her. But what I heard today really resonated with me as a mom!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday church musings

So I'm going out on a limb here and saying that I think--I THINK--we are maybe starting to feel more at home in the church we've been going to since we moved here.

Finding a church is really, really hard. So many variables, no place is perfect, not to mention there are two of us needing to agree on somewhere! Plus, the city of Denver doesn't really have that many churches for how large it is. Yet we feel like if we're living in Denver, we should be attending church in Denver (ie, not driving to the suburbs for church.)

ANYway, the church we THINK we might be settling on is really great in so many ways, but a new experience for me in others. I have never attended a church that has membership or is a denomination before. (This one is RCA.) I would say it's the least conservative/Baptist-y church I've attended. Lots of other differences too. But I'm loving having the kids in with us during worship time, the fact that they get a blessing during communion, and honestly, the liturgy stuff is awesome. I LOVE having these responsive reading-type thingies, following the church calendar, singing the doxology every single week--we've even incorporated that into our dinnertime prayer and our kids love it.

We have yet to attend the membership class or anything...I feel so noncommittal about becoming a member at a I'm signing my name in blood or something! But we won't go to a church for years without becoming members, that's just silly. :) The people we've met there are really nice, and I've started going to the mom's group that meets every other week. (As in, I've gone once.)

The last church I attended, I was there for 10 years. Prior to that, I'd been at my church for 18 years. Starting over is hard. BUT, God is faithful, and He is God, no matter where we are!!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

A mother's instinct

Is it wrong if, upon seeing my son drop and break the dirty dish he was carrying from the table to the sink, my only thought was, "One less dish to clean"???????????????

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Great quote, great book

"The child's instincts to keep close to us can get in our way and frustrate us. We do not welcome the work of attachment when it is seperation we crave, whether for purposes of work, school, sex, sanity, or sleep. Our society is so topsy-turvy that we may actually come to value the child's willingness to seperate more than her instincts for closeness. Unfortunately, we cannot have it both ways...We should be thankful for the assistance attachment provides in holding our children close...We need to learn to parent in harmony with this design rather than fight against it."

Currently reading a wonderful book called "Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" (thanks to Lisa for the recommendation, and to the Denver Public Library System for being so totally awesome. Oh, how I love thee and thou limitless availability of free books.) It's written by two psychiatrists and is just plain fascinating. SO insightful, and is making SO MUCH sense to me. Talks a lot about attachment too, which of course being an adoptive mom (and somewhat of an attachment-parenting subscriber) I am very interested in.

Basically the book talks about how today there are all of these "experts" who we parents turn to for advice and in the end, behavior modification. But that ultimately, it is our RELATIONSHIP with our child that will matter most in terms of discipline and our ability to parent. And to maintain a healthy relationship, we need to make sure our kids are more parent-oriented than peer-oriented.

I grant that I was a Psychology major in college who had big dreams of becoming a family therapist :), so I probably tend to love books like this anyway. But I really think this book is an EXCELLENT resource for parents and I'm even finding it helpful in explaining some of how I acted growing up. For adoptive parents who have done their fair share of reading about attachment already, it delves into another side of the whole thing.

So if you're interested, go read it! And let me know what you think.

(Oh and I find that having four children, I DO find myself filling--although also probably needing!--the role of family therapist rather often. That, and policeman...can't say I ever wanted to go into law enforcement, though!)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No, not really.

Our new stove was just delivered yesterday. Before leaving, the nice deliveryman asked Kevin, "You babysittin' these guys?"

To which Kevin proudly replied, "No, they're ours. They're our sons. From Ethiopia."

And that's when he answered...

wait for it...

"Oh, so it's a Brad and Angelina kind of thing."


Quick-thinking man that he is, my husband came back with, "Nope, we were first. They copied us."

Times like these remind me why I can't stand celebrity gossip, nor the utter fascination/disdain that we commoners have for rich famous people. And, it's true, we began our adoption before news EVER broke about the more well-known adoption (though they received their child first, since the news didn't come out until they were about done.)

Anyway, we're probably nothing like Brangelina. And I just wanted to clear that up, in case you thought otherwise. (Quick clarification--I think it's great that she has adopted these children, and raised awareness about these countries. It's not the celebrities who annoy me, it's the obsession our society has with them, and the consequent idea that anything we do that is related to something they did, must have been inspired by them. There really are a lot of people out there who don't hang on every word of People magazine and who do things for reasons of their own, dangit! :) )

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