Saturday, December 27, 2008


Sorry for disappearing...I just KNOW all of you have spent your Christmas thinking about my blog and wondering why I haven't been posting...:)

Anyway, we are in California again, spending precious time with dear family and friends.  It's been 8 months since we left, and coming back has been a little surreal.  This doesn't feel like "home" anymore...though I'm not sure Denver does either...hmmm.  Anyway, we're so happy to be here and are about to head out to hang out and play games with Mike and Kristen!  (Boys, Kristen and I will NOT be beat at Pepper.  We will not.  I am sure of it.)

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas.  I'm sure I'll share more about our time here once we get home!   

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Number of the day

I am so, so excited to share that today's number of the day corresponds to...the number of children we have! Because we're having a baby!

I'm about 8 weeks pregnant. I had an ultrasound yesterday and got to see the sweet little baby, and the heartbeat pounding away. Everything looked good, though the baby was measuring small (interestingly so did Anna, and by about the same amount), and apparently I have a subchorionic hemorrhage. Bummer. Usually they resolve on their own without causing a problem, though sometimes not, so of course we're praying that everything will be fine. The doctor DID say she wouldn't expect the baby (SHE used the word "fetus", but I will say baby) to have such a good strong heartbeat if something was amiss, so that is good I guess.

So far this has been the easiest of my pregnancies, although I am SO TIRED and pretty emotional too. Thankfully I'm not sick, but the exhaustion and grouchiness are no picnic either. :)

Normally we wouldn't share our news until later (for various reasons that maybe I'll blog about later), but I am seriously showing (and gaining weight, ugh) already--as in by about 10 a.m., I look 7 months pregnant. And my mom, who must have radar when it comes to such things, was suspicious when she called yesterday only to have Kevin answer the phone and say I was at the doctor's. :)

Anyway, we're so excited about this latest blessing! Please pray with us for this sweet little one!

Monday, December 15, 2008


A friend of mine just posted this on her blog. I love what Dawn has to say about creativity and independence. (And her kids are really cute! :) )

The degree to which I care about how people see me affects how I parent. And I think it is so wise to give kids the freedom to express themselves in this way. ALL FOUR of my kids are SO different from one another...including my twin sons...and I want my home to encourage and enhance their individual personalities and differences, not suppress them. I don't want four little Heldt clones running around! Kevin and I decided really early on that our goal as parents is NOT to mold our children into who WE think they should be, or into people just like us. Instead we want to take who Jesus made them to be and train them up to be the best they can be. Anyway, I just really loved what this post had to say and thought I would share!

Here are a few pictures of some "interesting" getups that Anna has come up with over the past few years (I suppose this is more in the category of "dress-up" as opposed to choosing an outfit for the day...but you get the picture. :) ):

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sweet success

Well today went SO much better than any day in recent history, nap-wise and kid-wise. For TWO FULL HOURS my home was quiet. And peaceful. I celebrated by having some eggnog and cookies all by myself in the middle of the day. And then I went and cleaned my kitchen. :)

Tonight is "TV night" in our household--meaning it's the one night during the week where we watch a half-hour TV show. I heart "The Office"!

So yeah, in case you missed it,

quiet kids + seasonal sugary delights + sparkling countertops = a great day!

An Oprah moment?

I love when Michael Scott refers to something as "an Oprah moment."

Anyway, I think I may have just had one. Lately I have really felt overwhelmed and discouraged by the fact that my three older kids don't really nap anymore. (Biniam WILL nap, but not in his room with his brother). I really needed that couple of hours in my day where my home was quiet and I was off-duty in terms of mediating squabbles and fielding the requests of small children.

Add to the lack of napping the fact that my kids have not been getting along too well lately. :( Anyway, I was im'ing about this with my sweet, wise friend Angela yesterday and she had some great ideas!!! (Angela has four little ones too!)

So this morning, I directed each of the older three kids to choose some toys and go play in their own spot. Anna and Yosef each went to a different bedroom, and Biniam ran around with Kaitlyn. SO nice, my home was actually fight-free and I felt like I could breathe. And starting today, I'm reinventing naptime around here. It will now be called "quiet time" and I will set a timer for 2 hours. Biniam will nap in my room, Kaitlyn will nap in the girls' room, Yosef can play/look at books quietly in the boys' room, and Anna can play/look at books quietly in the main room of the basement. When the timer goes off, they can get up, but not until then.

We'll see how it works. Thank you SO MUCH Angela for the wisdom and for contributing towards my Oprah Moment!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jesus and the stranger at the library

Today the kids and I were checking out books from the library (after digging our van out from under large amounts of snow and ice). As we turned to leave, a woman behind us also checking out books literally scoffed at me and said, "Boy you've got your hands full." Now I've heard this (millions of times) before, but the scoff and hostility were new. I think the unspoken words were, "How could you be such an idiot--you're really in for it."

So I just kept walking, pasted a smile on my face and called over my shoulder, "Actually, they're blessings and a lot of fun." Really, what do you say? I wanted to ask her why it mattered and why she was so worked up about it, but of course I didn't. (I bought the paint, people. This is who I am.)

Apart from the invasion of privacy/distaste for strangers scoffing at me, I think what really bothers me about this is the fact that my little boys had no family to take care of real future. It's sad but true. If all of us adoptive parents had said, you know what, our lives will be too


so let's NOT adopt, my goodness, where would these children be?! Where would we be? Who would be caring for the orphans? Most adoptive parents are not independently wealthy or otherwise childless. Most are busy, many have larger-than-average families, many (if not most) are single-income households. They're just regular people who love children and on some level care about "the least of these" that Jesus talks about.

And so when someone is visibly upset by me having my hands full, I want to sit them down...tell them about Ethiopia...what I saw...what my sons lost...why I and so many others don't count the cost that way. I want to say that Yosef and Biniam are worth it. You might not know it, but God knows it. And I know it, because I'm their mom. I wonder if the woman today knows that she is of inestimable value to Jesus.

Maybe, maybe someday I'll actually have the guts to initiate a conversation about Jesus' plan for my life, and His love for the world, right on the spot with a stranger. But for now, I say a few words and thank the Lord that by His grace I am living a life more exciting/challenging/fulfilling than I could ever have imagined. And I thank Him that He has given me four precious children to love. A huge responsibility, yes. But it is extraordinary. And I want people to know.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Walmart: 1, Me: 0

Sunday night. Englewood WalMart.

About to get in line, I realize now would be a good time to pick out a new paint color for Yosef and Biniam's room. I choose a fun turqouise-ish blue.

Then I stand around the paint counter waiting for someone to come by. Finally, I'm able to snag an employee...who says she can help me. I ask for a gallon of the paint in eggshell. She takes the paint chip, heads back to where all the other paint chips are and starts hunting around. Huh. Then she heads back to the counter and pulls out two huge binders. Starts looking through them...mutters/asks something about eggshell...says she needs help. Calls for assistance.

I stand at the counter waiting...and waiting...and waiting. Finally a man shows up. Asks what the problem is. More muttering about eggshell. He asks me what I want. I say a gallon in eggshell. He proceeds to tell the woman that paint comes in different finishes. Ummm...???

Then he can't figure out how to get paint to come out of the tubes. They keep trying...can't figure it out...he mentions he's a carpenter and not a paint mixer. Ummm...???

Finally they get it to work. Mix it up. The paint is a pastel version of what I want. Way too light. The lady tells me the people who are supposed to be working at the counter are somewhere else. The man says the people who normally work in the paint department never mess paint up. WHAT?!

Then the man ASKS ME HOW TO MAKE IT DARKER. I shrug and say, "I don't know" through a smile and clenched teeth. He announces that he's going to add more blue. He adds it. Mixes it. I tell him it still looks too light. He says nope, it's good, and hands me the gallon.

Fuming, and wondering if it's just my imagination that it's too light, I walk away. Typical me doubting myself. And I bought.the.paint. HELLO?! I am sooooooooo frustrated with myself. At home Kevin looked at it and agreed that it was much, much lighter than the sample. Needless to say, I'll be returning it. And giving the manager an earful about random employees mixing paint that have no business using the machine or assisting customers. I just could not believe it.

So yeah. WalMart kicked my butt. My head hangs in defeat. The end.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In which he is observant about gender roles.

Biniam, to me: You're a lady, because you make breakfast all the time and stuff.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Maybe my life's NOT that chaotic...

I'm sure most of you have heard of this family before. My sister-in-law recently emailed me the link to their website--I'd seen them on TV but didn't know a whole lot about them. Wow. They amaze and inspire me. I am so intrigued by their lifestyle and cannot imagine having so many children so close in age.

Because on a typical day I usually feel stretched pretty thin. I tire of the daily grind of preparing meals, keeping up on the dishes, changing diapers and breaking up arguments. Sometimes I (gasp!) feel sorry for myself and wonder, why is motherhood so hard? I'm realizing that I used to really rest in knowing that in the middle of the day, every day, I'd have a good two hours or so all to myself. Now that my older three don't nap anymore, I'm having to really adjust my expectations. We still observe "naptime", but they get antsy, and truly, even when they don't, it's just not the same. I'm embarrassed to admit that this alone has made life hard lately. I definitely have an entitlement mentality when it comes to naptime! (Am I REALLY considering homeschooling? I'm starting to wonder...)

Being a work in progress, while I know what I BELIEVE about life and kids, it can be terribly hard LIVING in light of it all! I'm blessed with four amazing, precious gifts from the Lord, I'm married to my best friend, and my life is ridiculously easy compared to most women in the world. It's probably time to start trusting and seeking God more, and start thinking about me, myself and I less.

It might FEEL like I'm always doing laundry and that there are untold numbers of children tugging on my sleeves...but let's face it, we Heldts are no Duggars. :) And with that, I'm off to go take a shower and get out of my 4:00 in the afternoon. Ah, the glamorous life of a frazzled-SAHM-to-four!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thursday thoughts

It's 17 degrees outside at my house right now. It's snowing. And windy. And I love it.

I just recently finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I loved The Kite Runner, and I loved this. SO tragic and beautiful all at the same time. How does he do it? I am terribly picky about modern fiction (and therefore rarely read it), and I adore this man's books. He writes the human condition and the complexity of relationships so, so well. And Middle Eastern culture and history is positively fascinating. I have developed such a heart for the Afghan people after having read these books.

Speaking of modern fiction, I have yet to see Twilight. You may not believe this, but the last film I saw in the theater was...wait for it...The Passion of the Christ. Remember that one? It came out in the spring of 2004. (I had four kids in Don't judge.) Now that we are finally sinus-infection-free in our household, maybe I can sneak away to see it. (Jennifer, did you end up seeing it yet? If not, wanna go?)

Last night I went to a jewelry party at my sister-in-law's home. SO fun! I am really loving living near the Mike-and-Rachel-Heldts. I got a big hug from my little niece when I showed up! My kids are still talking about "Aunt Rachel's pumpkin pie" and the other day Kaitlyn saw a picture on Rachel's blog and and yelled out, "AUBREY!" She knows her cousins!

Okay, that's all I think. It's still 17 degrees out, still snowing, and probably a good thing that I'm a natural homebody because I can't imagine going out into the elements today! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Does it get any better than cookies and eggnog in the morning? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


December 1st was World AIDS Day. I didn't do a post about it yesterday because I couldn't think of anything to write.

I do have two kids whose lives have been forever changed by the AIDS pandemic. Because of the HIV virus, my sons have lost their mother, father, sister, extended family, birth country, the list goes on. To say this is a tragedy is an understatement.

And to think that even amidst such horrible loss, my sons are technically, sort-of, some of the "luckier ones." They weren't born with HIV, they didn't starve to death, they weren't relegated to a short life of begging on the streets or living in the sewers. Instead they found a family.

International adoption isn't the solution to the AIDS crisis. What happened to Yosef and Biniam's family just shouldn't happen. Period. I'm so, so incredibly blessed to have them as my children and yet I know there is another woman out there who wishes she could have kept her splintered family together. Who knows her daughter will not grow up with her younger brothers. Who would surely give anything for her husband to be alive to take care of them. How different her life would be!

Yet God is just. He will make all things right. Maybe not in my lifetime, but it will happen. There is hope. He wants you and me to be part of it...we can live out our lives in such a way that we are showing mercy, love, and justice to those who need it the most. Here are some simple (yes, I said simple) ways to take action:

Educate yourself about what HIV is and isn't, then spread the word
Sponsor an HIV+ orphan at AHOPE
Consider adopting an orphan that is waiting for a family
Contribute towards another family's adoption of an HIV+ child through From HIV to Home

And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Monday, December 01, 2008

One of those days

Yeah, that was today. Life felt overwhelming and frustrating. Nothing in particular happened to make it feel that way, it just did. I was impatient with my kids, was not overly productive, and had to go out this evening to make some exchanges at KMart. I'd put some homemade burritos (that I'd previously frozen) in the oven before I left, overestimating how long they'd take to cook. And came home to find them burnt. We ate them anyway.

Meanwhile I'm blowing off my bookstudy tonight because I don't feel up to making the drive, and I'm still recovering from having sick kids and being sick myself. I forgot to tell people I wouldn't be making it. Shoot.

I guess at least I'm not alone? Poor Kevin went out at the end of the workday to find that his car battery had died, and then when he finally made it home, he stepped in dog poop ON OUR LAWN on his way into the house. And no, we don't have a dog. In part, because we don't want poop on our lawn.

Let's just say that in about ten minutes you will be able to find both of us watching old episodes of The Office in our pajamas, consuming large amounts of ice cream. (My word verification is "bolis." Doesn't that sound like a disease or something? So I guess instead of being disgruntled, I should just be glad I don't have bolis!)

Blog Template by