Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's a Thanksgiving MIRacle!

Bonus points to anyone who can identify that quote.

After I got up this morning, I began peeling apples for an apple pie...and all of a sudden I could SMELL THE APPLES. I have my sense of taste and smell back, people!!! JUST in time for Thanksgiving! I was SO thrilled that I danced around and shouted to everyone that I can indeed smell and taste again. If you think I'm weird and overreacting, well, I haven't been able to taste my food in over.a.week. So yeah. I'm rather pleased.

This morning we had a fun breakfast of cinnamon rolls, an omelet, and fruit--in the family room while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which my kids are loving (and my husband is hating.)

Later this afternoon the plan is to head down to Castle Rock to Mike and Rachel's house for Thanksgiving dinner (health allowing. Although, now that I can taste again, it'll take a lot to keep me home! I'm on antibiotics--my doctor confirmed yesterday that yes, my sinuses are quite infected. Ugh. My head and face are still pounding, but whatever. I can taste. And I had chocolate milk this morning to celebrate.)

I am bringing mashed potatoes and apple pie this afternoon. So back to the kitchen I go! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Doctor time

Yesterday afternoon I took Anna and Kaitlyn to the doctor, our first time going here. A friend from church had recommended this particular office, which is a group of doctors who practice both traditional and homeopathic medicine. I was so hopeful when we moved here that we could get into a great practice...our situation in Santa Maria was not the best, and we literally only had one option that was covered by our insurance. The doctor himself was good, but the office was HORRIBLE and it definitely affected the kids' care, IMO.

So how was the appointment? Well, we got there in the afternoon...and didn't leave until darktime. The doctor was with us for SO LONG! I couldn't believe it, it was GREAT! I've NEVER had a more thorough or relaxed appointment for my kids, ever. He spent time just chatting with the girls, investigated every little concern I had (even though some of them had nothing to do with the reason for the visit, such as Kaitlyn's pigeon-toed-ness), it was fantastic. He didn't just dole out prescriptions without really looking into the issues. That is huge for me.

All of that to say, my daughters and I--yes, all three of us-- have sinus infections. Lovely! Anna's on antibiotics for hers, Kaitlyn is not, and they're both taking some extra Vitamin C and Zinc. I'm calling my own doctor today. Because I'm tired of feeling like I have a migraine on my face, not tasting my food, and feeling downright awful. If I cannot taste stuffing tomorrow, I will cry. I will literally cry.

Anyway, so glad to have such a great doctor's visit. AND that my girls are on the mend! Oh and the above picture shows how the girls passed the time waiting for the doctor to come in. They look pretty happy considering they were both running fevers at the time!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are big families hip?

Check out this article. Pretty interesting.

I can't imagine living in a time/place where large-ish sized families are "in". Mainstream American culture is definitely not oriented that way, though certain segments of the population may be (Roman Catholics, Mormons, certain groups of Christians.) I'm not a part of any of those groups. (Although I think I'd make for a decent Catholic. No, I'm not converting, I like the Protestant, Reformed Christian church I go to just fine. I'm just sayin'...)

The author talked about how and why her reasoning for having a big family differed from what one might expect. I loved reading her reasons, so now I want to know...why do YOU have a large family?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sister time

With all the colds around here, the girls were resting and looking at magazines together. SO sweet! (Shortly after we moved Kaitlyn into Anna's room on her crib mattress, Kaitlyn apparently decided that wasn't good enough for her, and now either shares, or completely takes over, Anna's bed! Fortunately the big sister doesn't seem to mind!

Tomorrow I'm taking them to their new pediatrician's office, as they've been sick for well over a week. I'm SO thrilled about these doctors we'll be seeing--it's a group that practices both traditional AND homeopathic medicine. YAY!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We're getting senile

Kevin recently got us a DVD to watch from the library, Oliver Stone's movie about 9/11. I saw it when he brought it home and said, oh, that looks good! We turned it on last night, and about thirty seconds into it we both looked at each other and said, "Haven't we seen this?!"

Ha! We HAD seen it, maybe about a year ago. But apparently didn't remember. Wow, we must be getting old! (Needless to say we turned it off and watched National Treasure 2 instead!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some questions on a Friday

Jerry Springer: Real-life guests, or staged actors?

Organics: Worth the money, or total rip-off?

Twilight series: Great fiction, or over-hyped?

Libraries: Useful resources, or too much trouble?

Babysitting: Easy way to earn some cash, or equivalent to torture?

High school: So much fun, or a necessary evil?

Big yearly vacations: Definite musts, or costly extravagances?

Regular date nights: Essential for a good marriage, or impractical and overrated?

Church: Kids worshipping with you, or in Sunday School the whole time?

Sesame Street: Educational, or ridiculous?

Jim and Pam: Should definitely get married, or getting married will ruin the show?

Donuts: Sugary delights, or fatty stomach-ache-inducers?

Caffeine: A must in the morning, or something you avoid?

Feel free to share an answer or two, or you can answer them all! Yay for about-to-start weekends!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Better Living Through TV...

Unfortunately, when I'm sick, I rarely want to read. Normally I LOVE to read, but when my head's pounding and I don't feel well, I much prefer to watch TV. So this week I've been getting caught up.

Too bad there's never anything good on! We don't have cable or satellite, though we DO have a little antenna so we pull in some stations, like the major networks, FOX, the CW, and PBS.

I think I'm maybe just not a TV person in general. There are certain stations I know I could get really into, like HGTV and probably some news/history-type channels, but other than that...yeah, not so much. There are apparently all these shows on the networks that I literally have NO clue about. Are people watching them? I'm only 27 and I have no idea what's popular. Basically I'm totally caught in the '90s when it comes to TV. The only current show I watch is The Office. I also love some of the old shows, like "I Love Lucy" and yes, "The Honeymooners." (Laughing out loud picturing Ralph, as the "chef of the future" and Ed doing their live infomercial..."Yes, it can core a apple"...that's what that picture is from. And the only one I could find had lame writing on it, oh well!)

And really, what on earth is the deal with these flashy, mind-numbing Inside Edition and Extra-type shows? The other night I wanted to crawl through the TV and ask Miley Cyrus, who the heck IS Hannah Montana anyway (an alter ego? fictional character? result of a multiple personality disorder?), and why is it that every time I see you I can't get "Achy Breaky Heart" out of my head?!

The older I get, the more I realize I am a big, huge nerd. Pop culture drives me crazy. I am going to be that really un-cool mom that has no idea what my kids' friends are talking about. (Okay, I probably already am, since I have no idea about popular kids' shows either.) I'm like a grouchy 80-year-old in a 27-year-old's body! Maybe I need to locate my Abnormal Psychology textbook and make some sort of diagnosis....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random haps

My mom and dad (in California) send the kids packages of goodies from time to time. Here are the kids with the latest bounty: Anna got princess undies, and the boys and Kaitlyn got shirts. Anna SQUEALED with delight over her gift, and Yosef apparently loved his shirt so much that the next time we went somewhere, he brought it along for the car ride!

Nothing is new around here. We're STILL fighting these colds. Think lots of coughing, fevers, nose-blowing, and TV.

I'm reading a GREAT book right now, How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis Schaeffer. It's great! I'm learning about history and art and it's also making me think more about what I want to teach my kids. (Like, history and art. Other things too though.)

About a week and a half ago, Mike (Kevin's brother) and Rachel came over with their cute girls Aubrey and Ainsley. They brought wonderful birthday gifts for Yosef and Biniam--who are obviously loving them! Sadly, this was the first time Rachel has seen our house! I am hopelessly neurotic when it comes to showing people my house when it's so unfinished and not particularly clean, because why would you clean when people are coming in to do flooring etc. etc. I AM SO VAIN! Really, who cares? We are so blessed to have a roof over our head and food to eat. We are also so happy to have bought this house, in this neighborhood, in this city. A home can become such a status symbol and I think this is maybe worth a blogpost all its own. Hmmm. :)

Okay, I think that's it. Now back to The View!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I had so much fun reading all of your guesses! I'm so excited to report however that we now have our answer, left as a comment on this post, from a very reliable source :) :

It's a clay figure, made by an elementary-age student, of a flightless bird made famous by a book whose title begins with the words, "Mr. Popper's ______s."The child who made the figure is now an adult, a mommy, and the person who shot the photo! :-)

John at Sonlight

Thank you John for clearing this up!!! Now I can get back to my daily life and return to a sense of normalcy. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Right there, on the left. Do you see it? (Click on the picture to see it bigger.) I think it may be a disfigured hand. Which of course is fine, but so strange that it's randomly in the photo!


Do any of you have the 2008 Sonlight Curriculum catalog? If so, what is in the picture, on the left-hand side of the books, on page 5? I can't figure it out and it's driving me crazy. I think it's maybe a hand, but I'm not sure.

Thank you for your assistance in this regard. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

...and Saturday night

Four sick kids
Snow White playing
I'm sick too
But Kevin is healthy
So he got to go to a party tonight.
But life is still good, because I beat Kevin at Tekken twice today. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday night

Kids are asleep
I just beat Kevin at a card game
Now I'm off to try to beat him at Tekken
Life is good

Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

We woke up this morning to SNOW! And it's still coming down! Needless to say we have four VERY excited kids (and two very excited adults) around here!

(If you live in a snowy climate and and are wondering what all the excitement is about, we just moved here from California. :) )

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quality control

We finally got our dining room chairs last Friday. They required assembly, and as you can see, Kaitlyn was intent on supervising.

One thing is for sure: this girl loves her daddy! For a kid who was basically attached to me for the first several months of life, she sure gets excited when Kevin comes through the door at night! She adores him. And has a hard time leaving him alone when he's home! (I don't think he minds.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This too shall pass

Lest you think parenting is easy...

The last four months or so have been really difficult for Biniam. He seemingly woke up one morning a different child--trading in his typically sweet and easygoing heart for an unhappy and somewhat rebellious one. We struggled and struggled, remained consistent with discipline, but it all seemed to be in vain. We just could not figure it out and felt so frustrated. It made daily life really hard.

One morning at my church's moms' group he got TWO TIME-OUTS from the babysitters there for not sharing, and fighting over toys. WHAT?! He was even having a hard time at home getting along with his siblings--including Kaitlyn, who he adores. Meanwhile I spent a lot of time feeling like a horrible mother and feeling guilty for the frustration I'd feel towards him and the situation.

At some point I decided to try a different approach. I was reading Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers at the time--SO timely. While remaining consistent with discipline, I would spend lots of time cuddling with him. We'd put him down for bed and naps in our bed. I felt he had some sort of heart issues going on--whether it was attachment related or not, I don't know, but I figured it wouldn't hurt. He was obviously going through a tough time. He was either being difficult, or when he wasn't, we were too wiped out to proactively engage him. So I hoped doing a few extra things would help.

And then at some point a few weeks ago, he went back to being his normal, wonderful self! I am so, so happy. It had really worn us down. I don't know if our reaching out to him and really making an effort in the area of physical closeness made a difference, but I'm just so glad that phase is over! At my moms group this past Monday he didn't have any timeouts and seemed happy to be there. He's loving on his baby sister again, full of smiles, and has a genuine desire to please.

I'm sharing this with you in case anyone out there is feeling discouraged like I did, questioning your parenting and wondering if things will get better. I just kept thinking, he's such a sweet, good kid, what is going on?! When will I have my son back? I know children test sometimes. I also know that Biniam's first year and a half of life was so far from optimal. (Being relinquished by his mother, illness, hospitalization, moving between three different orphanages and then between two different sets of adoptive parents.) I've never used that as an excuse or a reason not to discipline (children need structure and boundaries), but from time to time I DO wonder if some behavior might be the result of deeper heart issues that stem from insecurity and loss. Obviously he was working through something.

All of that to say, as a mom I want to not simply modify behavior, but ultimately reach my child's heart. If it means staying in our pjs all day and cuddling on the couch reading books, so be it. I also want to say I don't share any of this with the intent of disparaging my child. He has a beautiful heart, he's sharp as a tack, and I love him to pieces! Mostly I feel sad that he was going through something so difficult and wasn't able to express what it was. And sad that my impatience and frustration so often ruled the day.

Have any of you experienced tough phases with a child? How did you deal with it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Telling their story

Tonight I will be giving a short talk and sitting on a panel at CU Boulder, for an event called "Hear Their Cry." I'll be sharing about AHOPE for Children (check out their new website!) and the work they do, in addition to giving my personal story about my sons. It's always an honor to represent AHOPE, but also a bit nervewracking too. I wrote up some talking points, and am now working on putting some photos together.

If you think about it, please pray that peoples' hearts will be moved for these children, as we seek to be part of the solution to the world-wide orphan crisis. The story of the HIV+ orphan will be told, and heard, tonight. Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 10, 2008


My day had started off like this (and yes I use that much cream in my coffee--don't you?!):

But then it got a little better with some of this:

And it's hard not to feel festive when your street looks like this:

So in spite of illness, we did indeed make it out trick-or-treating on Halloween. We had Snow White, a pirate, a fireman (who kept telling people he was a policeman), and a gorilla. :)

And my wonderful husband was indeed able to locate It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, so we were able to top off the Halloween festivities like this:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A woman's place (or, Joy's can of worms)

My wonderful friend Joy asked in a comment what I thought about women staying home with their children. Apparently during the course of the past election, John Piper made this statement in a video regarding Sarah Palin's candidacy for Vice President:

I personally think that it would have been better for her to stay at home with her disabled child, both for the good of the family and as a model for moms... I don't think, Biblically, that a woman should be commander in chief.

First off I need to tell you that I don't agree with all of his views on gender and the Bible. He teaches that there are some vocations outside of the church that women should not have, period. Based on his above qoute, the President of the United States is one of them. I strongly disagree. God raised up women in the Bible as leaders (Deborah and Esther come to mind) who had great strength and influence over men. Anyway, we have to realize that John Piper holds a very conservative view on womanhood and gender roles, that extends beyond the church. Personally, I find some of his teachings in this area to be demeaning towards women. (He has a book he wrote with Wayne Grudem called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.)

(I also take issue with his need to qualify that Palin's baby is disabled. I'm not sure why that bothers me, but it does.)

ANYway, in thinking about womanhood and motherhood, I love Psalm 127:3-5:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,

the fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are the children of one's youth.

Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

I do believe that God's general desire is for us women to raise our children. Some argue that women can do it all, but SHOULD they do it all? I do have many friends who work outside the home and they are FANTASTIC mothers. How can I judge what is God's specific will for their life in this area? I think it is first and foremost a heart-issue: are we believing that motherhood is a gift? Do we treat our children like burdens? Or blessings? Do we engage with them? Are we being good stewards of these blessings from God (when it comes to nutrition, training them, shaping their minds)? Do we care more about prestige or the pursuit of the American dream than we do about the role God has given us? I'm sure there are at-home moms who don't hold to these values, and many "working moms" who do.

I know without a doubt that I am called to be home with my children. I believe this is honoring to the Lord. I CAN'T decisively say what anyone else is called to do. As for a woman with children, working in government, again, I think it goes back to those heart issues. There are pictures all over the web of Palin going to meetings wearing (or nursing) her baby. Her husband's supposedly home a lot. According to them they have a huge support network of family who help out too. I don't know these people personally, but I DO think it is POSSIBLE for God to call a mother to public service. Of course, this whole discussion doesn't really speak to John Piper's criticisms because the root belief there is that women should not be in these governmental positions at all.

As for Piper's idea that Sarah Palin, in running for office, was not a good model for moms, I find her to be, in many ways, a refreshing model for women in general: unapologetically prolife, and living that out by giving birth to a child with Downs Syndrome at age 44, when roughly 80% of the population would have terminated the pregnancy. No matter what you think of her or her ability to lead, the lady is living out her beliefs. I would much prefer to point to her as a role model for my daughters than to, say, Hannah Montana. If we, as John Piper seems to be suggesting, keep women out of most visible leadership positions, I think we'll be missing out on some of the depth and perspective of God's creation. Men AND women are made in God's image, not just men. And we women ought to see other women pursuing their passions and living out their convictions.

Lastly, in reference to that Piper video (and what he said about voting as if you're NOT voting), I would argue that while certainly we shouldn't be in utter despair over an election, God DOES want us doing justice here on Earth, bringing about His kingdom. Brian McLaren has, in my opinion, done a good job of making the case that we need to be concerned with justice and peace and mercy in the here and now. While embracing an eternal perspective, we need to make sure we're not neglecting the state of the world today. (The hungry, the poor, the lost, the unborn, etc.) If we as believers throw up our hands and do not speak out for these groups, who will? If we cease to passionately pursue justice in the name of Christ, who will? To me, that means caring about the election--no matter which way you vote. We should be concerned about who leads our nation and the ideologies they espouse. Just look around the world at various leaders and how they negatively/positively impact their citizens. At any rate, I hope whether you voted for Barack Obama or John McCain, whether you even liked either of them, that you felt passionately about an issue or two that you believe is near to God's heart.

Okay Joy, there is my long, sure-to-invite-controversy answer. The can is open. What do YOU think???? :)

Friday, November 07, 2008

You go girl

I mentioned in my previous post that Monday night, we attended a Sarah Palin rally down in Colorado Springs. SO FUN. Something you should know about me: I am fascinated by politics. When I was 14 my mom and I went to see Bob Dole give a speech. Before getting married I worked for three years for a California legislator. (LOVED it.) In September of 2000, I went to a George W. Bush rally and shook his hand. I took a ton of Political Science classes in college. (It's okay, you can say it: I'm a nerd.) I REALLY wish I had been able to attend some of the Denver rallies (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Michelle Obama have all been in our area recently. But, my kids have also been sick recently. And there was the mono. Bummer!)

So, Sarah Palin. We drove to some airport, to be directed to a parking space by an old guy dressed in red, white and blue. And his fly was down. Oh yeah. All.the.way. Soooooooo hilarious. I would've taken a picture, but Kevin said it would be too obvious. Darn.

By the time we made it through security Sarah's plane had just landed. It was awesome! A few minutes later she and Todd emerged from the plane door waving. (This picture is of me and Kaitlyn with her plane in the background.)

Mrs. Palin was very articulate. I got to hear her say "Joe Biden" live, with that accent she has. Which about made my day, because ever since that Tina Fey skit (of the debate), we have pronounced his name that way, it's just so funny.

Mostly I loved, loved, loved her talking about wanting to have a culture of life in Washington. About how individuals with special needs have been pushed aside, and about how every innocent life should count. She referred to children as blessings, and yeah, it was great.

It's no secret, I love what Sarah stands for. Not everyone does, and that's fine. But she is who she is, and she has more kids than me. So yeah. She was great.
Oh, and these guys were hanging out on top of the buildings. You know, just in case.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

If your man didn't win

I read two fantastic posts this morning. One is on my sweet friend Joanie's blog, and the other is on Randy Alcorn's blog. (He's an author and prolife activist--though I did meet him once, we're just not tight enough for me to call him my sweet friend. :) ) Anyway, I say "AMEN!" to the words these blessed Christians have written.

No matter what you think about the election, God promises to work all for the good of those who love him. While I may not have voted for Barack Obama, I am going to give him a fair shake come January. He'll be my president. Most of America wants him as our leader.

All of us who exercised our precious right to vote took a stand for something. At the outset of this election season I was ambivalent and didn't care too much one way or the other. (Some of this stemmed from the genuine sadness I felt when I realized that I just could not vote for the son of a man from Kenya, the first African American man in the race for the Presidency. As much as I longed to vote for these things, my convictions in other areas prevented me from doing so.) My views began evolving and I realized that if I really believe the things the Bible says, I need to take a stand for my convictions. I became more invested in the election and cast my vote.

Sometimes it's uncomfortable. We attended a Sarah Palin rally on Monday night. (Yes, really. I can feel my readership dropping...) I felt like we weren't the typical Colorado Palin supporters. (Not that we aspire to be!) Maybe it was the cheers that went up when Hank Williams Jr. accused Barack Obama of not liking the national anthem, or the demographic, or the way some people reacted when we said we were from Denver. I liked Palin's message about children with special needs and innocent children in our society, and about small government, but I felt like I didn't identify at ALL with the 3,000 or so other people there.

Bottom line though: even though my team lost, and even if I don't really fit in with Colorado Springs republicans :), I'm glad I took the stand that I did. And more importantly, I'll continue to do so. To stand for life--of the unborn, the poor, the lost, the rich, the Christian, the nonbeliever, the marginalized. And that means my actions--not just words. No matter who is in office, I can plead the case of the orphan and the widow, and seek to live out God's kingdom here on earth. And I will continue voting for people who I feel can best lead us in a virtuous way.

So today I'm wishing the Obama family the best, and am anxious to see how this most historic presidency will play out!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Public Service Announcement (because I love you all so much)

Interrupting the programming of this blog to alert you to some sweet Election Day Freebies. (Yes, I've always loved free stuff--when I was around 4 or 5, I mailed in a postcard I found in my parents' Reader's Digest magazine for a free packet of info on Alberta, Canada. You cannot imAGINE my excitement when the glossy pictures and brochures arrived in the mail!)

Okay, so first, you can go to Starbucks and get a free Tall Coffee! Yes, FREE! Just head on over and say you voted--no proof necessary. (No shoes necessary either. We hit up the nearby drivethru in our pj's!)

Then, stop by Krispy Kreme donuts for a free star-shaped-with-sprinkles donut! You gotta have your "I Voted" sticker for this one.

Next, go to Ben and Jerry's for a free scoop of ice cream. Yes, FREE! All day today they are offering free ice cream, whether you voted or not, as a celebration of the election. (It was going to be tied to voting, but it came out that it's maybe against the law to do that. As in, it might be a felony. As in, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme might now be felons.)

Finally, some Chick-fil-A's are supposedly giving away free food, but I couldn't find much out online. And I guess because it's not coffee, and it's not sweets, I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to investigate further. :)

Alright, my PSA is over. Vote, vote, vote, and then live it up with coffee, donuts and ice cream! (And you'll be so hopped up on caffeine and sugar that you'll have no problem staying up all night watching the returns come in.)

October 28, 2008

Even though most of us were sick for Yosef and Biniam's birthday, we tried to make things festive.

The kids had a blast playing outside in the leaves with Kevin while I worked on dinner, hotdogs with homemade buns. Yum! They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

After dinner we had Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting--my favorite recipe for cupcakes so far, I think. They are really so simple to make and taste SO GOOD. Plus they have bananas in them so I figure there's at least a LITTLE something healthy in there! Thanks Martha!

Then the boys enjoyed opening some gifts.
Very simple, and I think a good time was had by all!
And now I'm off to Starbucks, in my pj's, to get that free cup of coffee for voting. If you haven't voted, GO DO IT, if for no other reason than free Starbucks!!!!!!

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