Saturday, May 31, 2008

This old house

Our home is still a construction zone. Most of the basement subfloor is up now, and Kevin's working on the rest as we speak. We're getting estimates on having hardwoods added to part of the main floor, had the bedrooms, basement and playroom measured for carpet, and are getting ready to order it. Today I'm hoping to get some more painting done (ugly walls drive me crazy!), and weed an area of our backyard, so I can get my vegetables planted.
Yesterday the kids and I went to KMart and picked out some plants for our yard. We'll be planting tomatoes, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers and orange peppers, and some basil, to start with. If all goes well maybe I'll add something else, but for now that seemed like plenty. :) I've never had a vegetable garden before! I was inspired to do this because I got tired of spending over $2 for one tomato at the grocery store, and how nice would it be to have access to fresh veggies? My kids love love love to water plants so I also think this can be fun for them. I'll post some pictures of my garden when it's planted. (And before I've killed it.)
I'm also thinking about Anna's bedroom. I'm going to paint her bed white, get four glass doorknob finials for the posts (at least I hope so, the bolt is connected to the bed, and it looks like most knobs are ALSO connected to a bolt), and then I'm still undecided about her bedding. I think the Simply Shabby Chic line at Target is so cute, but then maybe I want to do something more funky. That's where the trouble comes in, because I can't find anything in the "funky" category that I like. And for the life of me I can't decide on a wall color. For the boys I'm also pretty undecided, although I already have bedding for them that I'll be using.
Here is our nearly-nightly reward for all our hard work. MMMMMM, ice cream. That's my butter pecan on the left, and Kevin's cookies and cream on the right, both with some brownie thrown in for good measure. Kevin and I share a last name, but we do NOT share the same taste in ice cream. So we are a two-ice-cream-family. And as of last night we are all out, so a trip to the grocery store is now in order.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The new church

We'd been at Grace Church in SLO for like 10 years, ever since the beginning of our respective freshman years at college. We knew lots of people there, some who we'd known ever since we first started attending, and lots of friends we'd gotten to know since having kids together. We were involved, it was comfortable. It is really weird (and sad) to leave a church like that! In some ways we felt that we weren't necessarily a great fit there anymore, but it is an excellent church, and it was home, and there were so many amazing people there, and the teaching was solid.

I randomly found this church in Denver long before we even moved, called City Presbyterian. We had at some point been impacted by some of Tim Keller's teachings (and I always think of Troy when I think of Tim Keller!) about Christians doing God's work in the city, and were amazed by how much love this church was pouring into Denver. We went there last August and it was nice and small, the teaching was all about the Gospel, people were nice. Anyway this is where we've been going since we got here.

It's been such a huge paradigm shift for me personally (Kevin too, but he grew up in a Lutheran church, so less-so for him.) The way the service is run, the way church life goes, it's different from any church I'd ever been to. Not bad, just different! It is taking some getting used to (I've never attended a church where the pastor wears robes for example, where infants are baptized, or where communion is real wine and they have alcohol at church events--no Baptist influence here apparently!), but I find myself eagerly looking forward to our Sunday mornings there. I love their values and desire to love and help the broken.

One of the big changes is that they have family worship time. The children come with you to the service, are there through the singing and some of the liturgy (also something new for me), and then leave with their teachers to go Children's Church. They're there during the sermon, then come back right before (weekly) communion. Everyone goes forward for communion, then the pastor prays for your kids up front if you want them to.

It's taken our little crew a few weeks to get into this groove. But we LOVE it! I love that my kids are in the service with us, and see that we take communion and that they are prayed for. I love that last week they were in the service to see someone be baptized (also my first non-immersion baptism I've ever witnessed.) SO, while it has taken some work, stern talkings-to, and some giving out of consequences like not allowing the kids to have a fun snack during the snack-time (oh the horrors!), they were excellent last week, so things are improving.

I'm sure we'll try out another church or two (one of which is the church a friend goes to), and we're not for sure settled there or anything, but for now we are enjoying City Presbyterian. They meet downtown on a college campus, right across from Invesco Field and the Pepsi Center. (They're currently a PCA church, but about to switch denominations to the RCA or something.)

And it's less than 10 MINUTES from our more 35 minute drive to church. Now THAT is nice!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recent scenes around our home (and the greater Denver area)

Relaxing on the porch Playhouse time
Growing up so fast
Baking cookies with Mommy
Watching Daddy and Adam rip out the subfloor.
Balloon animals at the Denver Aquarium with cousins Megan and Zoe.Kaitlyn apparently not as interested in the fish as the rest of usAnna and ZoeYosef, Biniam and Zoe petting the stingrays.Anna back at home telling Grandma and Grandpa all about the snakes she petted!
Biniam, Anna, cousin Aubrey and Yosef at the Denver ZooCousins holding hands
As we attempt to settle in here and make a life for ourselves, we're having a pretty good time, and our kids are transitioning well. (Rough going for awhile behavior-wise, but they're pulling out of it.) So far they enjoy time with their cousins, the occasional weekday lunch with Daddy, and our weekly playdate with some families who have children from Ethiopia. I'm enjoying getting to know some new friends (we girls even went out to dinner, just the four of us, Tuesday night!), time with my sister-in-law (truly a saint for not killing me when I was 40 minutes, yes 40 minutes, late to the zoo!), and shopping, which is always fun even if you don't buy anything. :)

We are falling in love with our city. I'll post about that soon.

And in completely unrelated news, I'm excited because I'm reading a great book right now, "In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories" by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda, and also just checked out two from the library that I can't wait to start: "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Housseini and "The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Five things

What I was doing 10 years ago today:

--I was 16 and in my junior year of high school
--Working at Taco Bell to earn money for a trip
--Raising my pig for the California Mid-State Fair (FFA all the way baby)
--Driving the same 1988 Toyota Corolla we drive today
--Living in Creston

Five things on my to-do list today:

--Meet up with some sweet friends and their kids for a playdate at the park
--Hang out with a girlfriend from college
--Tidy up the house (hard to keep things neat and orderly when you're living out of boxes!)
--Hopefully get some painting done
--Empty the dishwasher

Snacks I enjoy:

--Flatbread and hummus
--Red seedless grapes
--Cookies and milk

Things I'd do if I was a millionaire:

--Pay OTHER people to finish our home!
--Give a bunch of money away to AHOPE
--Buy the Pottery Barn "Claudia" bed
--Take a family trip to Ethiopia
--Save up for future adoptions/trips to Africa

Places I've lived (in order):

--Creston, CA
--San Luis Obispo, CA
--Santa Barbara, CA
--Santa Maria, CA
--Denver, CO

If you've read this, you're tagged! :) Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Motherhood my way (or, my long manifesto)

I don't feel like I rant on here too terribly much. But people, it is time. You know, just in case you run into me and my family in Denver at lunch on a Sunday afternoon--that way, I can spare you the trouble of feeling the need to clue me in on what I'm doing wrong!

Background: Panda Express (gotta love coupons), after church, we're asked by a fellow customer if we "brought the whole neighborhood." No, Kevin explains politely, these are our children. Flash forward a few minutes to me and the kids sitting outside while Kevin is ordering the food, and that same customer is leaving. She approaches me and asks if I have someone come in to give me help so I can go out by myself. No, I say politely, I enjoy spending time with my kids and we like to do things together, as a family. The woman assertively informs me that I need to get help because I NEED TO GO DO THINGS FOR MYSELF, otherwise IT WILL BE TOO MUCH FOR ME. Well, I say, God gives me the strength to do the things I need to do, and I love being a mother. Okay, have a good day she says, and finally leaves.

Wow, what a great start to a lunch out. I cannot even begin to say how vulnerable you feel when a complete stranger sizes up your life and situation, and GIVES YOU ADVICE because surely, SUREly she knows better than you what you can and cannot handle. SO awkward! It's one thing if someone is concerned or wants to encourage you, but honestly this lady had a total air of hostility about her. Why, I have literally no clue.

I've only been a mom for 4+ years, not a super long time, and I am continually finding things that do and don't work for me. It's a journey. I doubt you ever have it all figured out. Well maybe some people do, but I never will! Anyway, for whatever it's worth, here are some of the thoughts that shape what we Heldts do as parents. If it's different from what you do--and at least some of it probably is--that's not me saying my way is right. In the end I think most all our kids should grow up to be decent, contributing members to our society, whether we follow Dr. Sears or Babywise or something else. :)

So like I told the woman at the restaurant, I don't have hired help. I clean my own house (in theory :) ), cook our own meals, and I'm with my kids from the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed. (Praise the Lord for naptime.) Yeah, that makes for a long day and more often than I'd like to admit, a grouchy girl. But being an at-home mom has always been a huge value for us. Neither Kevin nor I would have it any other way. I left college without graduating because the Lord blessed us with a baby. I don't know if I'll ever finish or not; right now it's a moot point because I've got four little ones that need a sane and present mother more than they need a mom with a fancy piece of paper on the wall, or a mom who feels like she "accomplished" something really great in the world's eyes.

I think children are small for a short time, even though most days it doesn't feel that way. :) Most of our time is spent at home. My kids don't go to preschool, though Anna knows all her phonics, her numbers and colors, and Yosef and Biniam know most of them, and they play quite well with other children. The older kids have learned such patience, compassion and gentleness from spending so much time with their baby sister. The relationships and bonds they have built doing day to day life together are priceless. (We DO go on outings, I'm just saying the norm is being home, and this routine works well for us.)

Honestly I don't feel like I sacrifice my life on the altar of motherhood to be home with them. YES I have "other interests", I enjoy adult conversations, and look forward to time with good friends but no I don't feel like being home with the kids turns my brain to mush or is unfulfilling--I feel like it's God's call on my life. I integrate my kids into whatever we are doing...whether it's showering in the morning (yes me and four kids in the shower, good thing it's a good size!), running errands, whatever, I think they are learning about life, God, and the way the world works by experiencing things WITH us.

I've found that for us flexibility and setting standards are really, really important. If something's not working, find a different way. I also think it's easy to underestimate your child in many ways, and for us we've found that having expectations in certain areas works great. (Like, not throwing a fit if you can't go with Daddy to the store--that was last night, eating whatever the rest of us have for dinner, etc.) I think our society sells our kids short way too often. Even very young children can be taught to deal with disappointment, and difficult things, and I think this prepares them for life and builds a sense of security as you nurture them.

Now finally, this one's a big one. No I do not believe I'm depriving my children of a happy childhood by having four of them. Not by a longshot. They beg to sleep in the same room, don't generally like to be separated, and are best buddies with each other. It's a paradigm shift I think. You go from thinking only in terms of how do I invest in this child to make them feel loved to seeing how nurtured, loved and enriched their life is just through day to day family life. I wondered when Kaitlyn was born, how might I meet her needs in addition to those of my three older children? Then I was floored by the sheer amount of love Kaitlyn was born into what with two brothers and a sister who adore her without condition. AND amazed by the patience and kindness the older ones showed in not once getting upset if I needed to tend to my newborn. I obviously can't predict how things will play out in the future. Sometimes I have doubts about what on earth I'm doing. So far though, I love the relationships I have with each of my kids. They are all unique, dynamic, and rich.

Whew, there you have it. Some thoughts on motherhood. I wonder if maybe you can generally fly under the radar with 2 or 3 kids, but if you have only 1 child, or 4 or more, people tend to judge you. I know this because I am an only child and people made all sorts of assumptions about me growing up. And now I have four kids, and people at Panda Express assume stuff about me all over again, and my kids, and our lives. I suppose people judge each other, period.

Thankfully God is bringing me to a place where I am resting more and more in His plan for me, and where He is giving me the strength to speak up for myself and especially for Him. I'm the type of person who avoids confrontation like the plague. But I believe that God wants to use my family and your family and how can He do that if we're always avoiding it? I'm at a place where I don't really have qualms with sharing how or why we do what we do. If a stranger wants to question how I raise my kids, that's fine, they will get a polite and honest answer. I can assure you my kids are happy, carefree, secure, and know that they are loved by us and loved by God. I am so grateful for the four blessings He's given me!!! (And there's no way I'd trade away my life with them for more "me" time. Goodness knows I spend MORE than enough time thinking about me!)

Anna the snake charmer

Apparently my oldest daughter loves snakes. Last weekend Kevin's aunt Sharon took us to the Denver aquarium, where I think the highlight for Anna was an outdoor reptile petting zoo. This kid had no fear, was holding, petting and playing with an assortment of boas and pythons.

AND this past Wednesday, a man was at the park with a dog that my kids were petting, and all of a sudden, to their delight, he pulled a snake out of his shirt!

(Just for the record, I HATE snakes, always have, and I refuse to touch them or go anywhere near them. So Anna doesn't get this trait from me! I must say I was pretty proud of her!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Heldts go thrifting

Friday night we Heldts made a family trip to a thrift store here in Denver, recommended by a friend. I'd long since given up on buying second-hand clothes, because the thrift stores in Santa Maria were, uh...yeah. Pretty gross. And I have an aversion to junk. In theory though I think it's great to buy second-hand, so I was anxious to check out some of the places here.

And boy, did we score big-time! Yosef and Biniam were in desperate need of some short-sleeved shirts and Anna needed some shorts, and we found all of that and more. I cannot BELIEVE how many quality items were there, all actually ORGANIZED by size and type. Lots of name brands like Gap and Old Navy and Roxy. Not to mention a bunch of it was half-off the tag price, AND we randomly got free ticket vouchers for the Colorado Crush arena football games, for spending $20 or more. (NO clue if these games are any fun, but I guess we'll check it out, because it's free. :) )

One of our most exciting finds of the evening: an unopened childrens' puzzle of Africa, for fifty cents.

No place like home

I'm pretty homesick this week, especially tonight for some reason. I miss our old house, not because it was my dreamhome, but because it WAS home. I miss our little neighborhood, even though stuff about it bugged me, because that was our path home. I miss "our" Foodmaxx (and the cheesy song), "our" Target, and I also miss the ocean. Basically everywhere that felt comfortable and routine.

Funny how stuff hits you at different times and when you least expect it. I love Denver and so far it is a really, really great fit for us. And it even feels a little like it's our home, but yet it's not truly home yet. When will it be? I don't know. For now, I long for California. And I take small consolation from the fact that we still own our home there, even though strangers are living in it. For some reason that helps!

Most of all I miss family and friends and the dear people who filled our home each Wednesday evening. I do believe the Lord has us where He wants us, but of course no one said it would be easy. I'm resting in His plan for our lives and I know He'll provide for us as He always has!
Hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Children are Starving Again in Ethiopia"

What do you do with something like this? When I see that three year old little girl, I see what could have been my sons--my sons--were it not for God's hand in sending them to Missionaries of Charity and AAI. Stuff like this breaks my heart in general, but especially in Ethiopia, for obvious reasons.

Then I think about the values I want to pass on to my kids, and since moving to a larger area I'm hoping to be able to find more things second-hand, and to spend less on (healthy) groceries. I don't want to be frugal for the sake of being frugal, as if it's a virtue in and of itself, but God has given us a lot, and some people have nothing, and I think He wants us to share. It's a hard balance to find, enjoying the blessings God's given you to enjoy vs. giving money away to people who, without it, literally starve to death.

Anyway I wanted to share this recent news from Ethiopia. The photo is hard to look at and the story is hard to read, but it's real, and it's happening, and the crazy thing is that you or I could get on a plane today and go see it for ourselves. PLEASE think about how you might help a hungry child somewhere in the world today. I can't help everyone, and you can't help everyone, and our government can't help everyone, but each of us can help someone.
(And if you want ideas on how to help, please ask!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jumbled Thursday thoughts

...many people have been blogging about Steven Curtis Chapman and his family today, and so I'm sure you've probably heard, so this isn't news to any of you. I guess I wanted to post about it anyhow.

...Steven has done so, so much for the international adoption community. I know of several families who have received grants from his amazing organization, who have met him, and I think that many Christian families with internationally adopted children feel a connection to what he is doing. (I certainly do.) He lives out his faith and sets an amazing example.

...naturally I was devastated to hear about this tragic accident. I've also been recently saddened because some children have passed away in the last month or so at AHOPE, and then because some wonderful friends of ours have been through so much upheaval and heartache in their adoption process. Sigh. Life is hard. I can only say that I'm glad for the Hope we have in Christ.

...not sure how this fits with the above things but I guess that for a long while I've felt the Lord stirring me to do...something. What, I'm not exactly sure. There are things that have impacted me over the last couple of years. I'm getting to know, and meeting regularly, with dear women who have huge hearts for the Lord, and for orphans. One of these ladies has even just started an amazing nonprofit. Anyway, as we settle into our new life here in Denver, I pray that God will show me what He wants for our family, how He wants to use my passions and resources, and that I may be a blessing to others and an advocate for those who don't otherwise have a voice.

...finally, tomorrow we're going to the zoo with my sweet sister in law and her daughters. It has been a long time coming, and I so look forward to enjoying time with dear family, and to my kids getting to spend time with their cousins!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not David Beckham, but...

Something funny about our new 'hood: we live right across the street from professional soccer players. Yep, some players on the Colorado Rapids pro soccer team are in the house across from us.

AND, Friday night, when Kevin brought home our new (to us) armoire we bought off Craigslist, and I wasn't strong enough to help him move it into the house, he knocked on their door and one of them helped him! (The forward pictured above. His bio says he likes card games, chess, and playing guitar, all favorite pasttimes of my husband. A match made in heaven!)

SO we can now say that a professional athlete was in our home. Exciting times.

Public service announcement

I saw this post on Erin's blog, and wanted to share it with you. This is something very near to my heart, and I believe it is near to God's heart, too. Please take the time to read it and educate yourself about HIV so together we can change the stigma.

Tell Two

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sweet times

This past week, we got to spend some time with my old college roommate Stacy and her adorable boys Kyle and Caleb! Stacy's husband Steve was in Denver on business, so we girls got to play. Stacy and the boys came over and then we walked to the park.

I met Stacy in the dorms freshman year at Cal Poly SLO, we became friends and then lived together in an apartment (with Paige and Lindsey) the following year. She always made yummy cookies and was a blast to shop with! We made many trips to Starbucks and the Gap together. I hadn't seen her in quite a while, so what a treat to get to spend some time catching up at the park while our kids played!

It's hard moving to a new place, so the visits we've had from friends and family so far have really been a blessing!

***And if you've emailed me, or snail-mailed me (Becky--SO sweet, and Jeannett--I'm STILL cracking up at the card!), or written on my facebook wall (is facebook the new myspace? how is it different? so confusing!), I am SO sorry for not responding yet, I'm STILL catching up on emails, and life in general.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A little progress

Slowly but surely we're making a dent in the work that needs to be done on our home. (Amidst four small "helpers", like the one pictured here.) Tonight the carpet installer is coming to measure, and once he does that we can order our beautiful new carpet for the playroom, bedrooms, and downstairs (basement)! (I'd describe it as a mocha color.) This weekend we, maybe with a new friend of Kevin's, will be ripping up the existing carpet and happily throwing it away.

Kevin also just ripped out the awful old woodburning stove from the room that will be the kids' playroom. (You will now see several pictures of this; for some reason I got a kick out of it.) Denver has a great program where you can schedule a pickup for large items like that, for free. Sure beats paying $300 for a professional to come in, take it out, and dispose of it! Kevin moved it out to the alley Wednesday night, and--oh, this just in--now it's GONE! nevermind scheduling a pickup! Kevin also ripped out the tile backsplash behind it, and is going to pull up the tile on the floor this weekend.

We had a handyman come and take a look at some different things, and he will be coming to do all manner of work soon. We're also about to redo the downstairs bathroom; hopefully we can get the bathtub resurfaced and not have to buy a new one. We'll be getting a new vanity and sink, and redoing the tile floor. (Haven't picked out those things yet.)

We've put the kitchen cabinets on hold for the immediate future, until we at least get the new flooring ordered and some other things nailed down. We're going to resurface those (instead of ripping everything out) and get new shelves for inside. We have the cabinets all picked out, we just have to measure and order.

I found some throw pillow covers for our couches. I couldn't decide between the chocolate brown or the eucalyptus, so I bought the brown for now and might buy the green later so I can change things up. They are SO. SOFT. I also bought some fun summer-y fabrics to make some additional pillows to go with the brown. (Now if I can just find my sewing machine...)

Tonight Kevin picked up a black armoire that we bought off Craigslist. It's great! Just what I wanted, though I'm going to change out the hardware. And so cool to be giving new life to something instead of buying brand new.

Finally, I'm on the hunt for some bedknobs for Anna's new (my old!) daybed. It has the polished brass knobs that it came with, which I don't like, and all I can find online are wooden ones. I ideally would love to have glass-looking ones. Any ideas???

That's it for now. More pictures will be forthcoming!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's official...

We're now "real" Coloradoans. No turning back now...

(And speaking of Colorado, I just found out another girlfriend from college is going to visit us at the end of May while she's out here...can't wait!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recent life in pictures

An after-dinner walk to Stella's for pastries--Daddy and his girls.
And Mama and her boys.
They build a lot of stuff when legos are the only toys that are unpacked.
Breakfast in bed on Mother's Day--thanks Kev!
Consumerism begins at a young age--Park Meadows Mall.
Boy loves to carry Mommy's packages.
Sleeping sweetly (in the upright position.)
She likes putting potatoes in her shoes.
So does he.
Off to bury a dead, pre-born bird. May "Anna-the-bird" rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New friends

So I was so blessed to spend some time connecting with some wonderful ladies and their sweet kids this morning.

There are two women in the Denver area whose blogs I've read for awhile now, and who I've emailed with, even before I knew we were moving here to Denver. They both have children from Ethiopia (one is waiting to bring hers home!) and so this morning we got together, along with Janee, another mom who is passionate about so many of the same things and who will start the adoption process sometime soon. It was really fun meeting up with people I've only "known" online!

Angela, Jennifer and Janee were so wonderful and I can't wait to hang out again! My kids had a blast too. (Random small world connection for you Lisa--Jennifer won one of your hand-stamped necklaces once! So we talked about you today, and it made me miss you. :) )

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday thoughts

--So far, moving ourselves and four kids halfway across the country has been...interesting.

--The transition has gone better in many ways than I'd expected. And worse in others.

--Better in terms of feeling "at home" here...strangely enough it already feels like we have more of a general life/identity here than we did in Santa Maria. Weird. Way more free time as a family (which is generally spent running errands or painting our walls.)

--Harder in terms of living out of boxes and the kids being more difficult because things are so unsettled around the house. And harder because the distance between us and most of our family and friends is very, very tangible.

--Nearly all our stuff is in our garage and we are totally still not "moved in", because we're having a bunch of the floors redone. I can't wait for beautiful new carpet and hardwoods to replace the icky current carpet. We're about to order it finally, yay.

--The church we've been trying out is a lot different from any church I've ever gone to. It's currently a PCA church, switching to RCA. The pastor (reverend? I don't know what he's called) wears a robe and they say special things when you take communion, and there's a fair amount of responsive reading. Also the theology is a bit different. But it's cool, and we like a lot of it. (And this is for Joy, and all other former SM G3 members--people don't typically use their Bibles in church, the day's scripture is printed in the bulletin and read up front.)

--Today at the DMV I applied for a Colorado driver's license. The lady asked if I needed to re-register to vote at my new address, I said yes, she asked what party affiliation...and I officially broke ties with the Republican party. I am now a "declining to state" person. (When she had asked what party, I started laughing and said "how on earth do you answer that".)

--This afternoon I shopped at Restoration Hardware with all four of my kids in tow. No one broke anything, ruined anything, or created any sort of a disturbance. I had Kaitlyn IN the stroller, and the older three kids had to hold onto the stroller and not touch anything with their other hand. For some reason they obeyed the rule.

--The people who we bought this house from drive me crazy and I don't even know them. :) We get ALL THEIR MAIL, including wedding RSVPs (for their daughter's wedding) and Victoria's Secret catalogues, both of which come in droves. For now we are stockpiling it all (minus the catalogues, which I promptly throw away--they might make great underwear but don't get me started on their "marketing", which clearly is about more than just buying undies, and geared towards men. Three of which live in my home.) Not only that, our skylight leaks, which they did not disclose, AND they apparently decided to keep assorted keys to assorted locks and refuse to give them to us.

--We picked up Kevin from work at lunchtime today and had a picnic at a park. Kaitlyn was all over the play equipment like a maniac, Anna skinned up both her knees, and Yosef gave another little girl a crazy wagon ride. You can't say we don't know how to have a great time...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Yosef at Layla House, 14 mos. old, from Nazret Ethiopia

Biniam at Layla House, 14 mos. old, from Nazret, Ethiopia

Kevin prayed today at lunch for Yosef and Biniam's first mom, who we know by name. Then Anna said she wanted to add something, and proceeded to pray that their first mom would feel better. After we were done praying Anna started talking about how their birthmom is sick, and and asked some questions about HIV--she wanted to know what it stood for. We explained about immune systems, about how in many places like Ethiopia, people don't have enough money or good medical care, so they are very ill, while the prognosis for HIV in OUR country is good, because we have access to medicine and doctors. Anna then proceeded to say "we could go to the pharmacy, buy some vitamins and medicine, and send them to Ethiopia so people can get better."

It is really, really neat (and extremely convicting) to see such a tender heart in my four year old daughter. I told Anna that yes, we really should put together a care package that we could send to Ethiopia.

Honestly I feel so conflicted about the orphan crisis sometimes. I feel so far removed from the adoption process, the terribly urgent needs of so many around the world. Yes I have two sons from one of the poorest countries on the planet, with a tragic background and who met American soil with nothing but their names and the clothes on their backs. But all of that seems so far away, and distant.

Thursday night we went out for Ethiopian food, to our little hole-in-the-wall restaurant here that we like to go to. (You know the food must be good if actual Ethiopians are eating and hanging out there!) The place is small, and you sit at an actual mesob, and there's Ethiopian music playing and pictures of Ethiopia on the walls. It smells like berbere and the injera is good and sour. We ate our shiro and tibbs wot and drank our honey wine and I felt like some small part of me was "home"...something that I don't feel every day, or every week, or even every month. But for those sixty plus minutes, I felt like some part of me that had been lost, was found, and I remembered the joy, and grief, and helplessness, and urgency that I felt in Ethiopia, and that I felt for so long after returning home. But that I don't feel as tangibly anymore.

I remembered that Ethiopia is real. My sons' birthmom and her HIV are real. Poverty is real. And the millions of orphans left behind are real. May God show our family how to respond.

I have two prayers this Mother's Day: first, for my own sons' birthmother, and second, that we all might find a way to help the world's orphans. No, not everyone is called to adopt a child, but each and every one of us can help. And perhaps we owe it to these children, and ourselves, to ask the tough questions, and consider whether we might have a place in our hearts and homes for a child in need.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

City livin'

So we are starting to love Denver, and are so happy to be in this particular neighborhood. We're in walking distance of some really cool shops and restaurants on South Pearl Street, and decently close to some other places.

Last night Kevin and I were hungry (I'd fed the kids leftovers for dinner earlier but we didn't have time to eat because the handyman and then the home security systems guy were coming over), and he ran out to get us gyros for dinner at an authentic middle eastern restaurant. This place is seriously like a three minute drive from our house. And the food is SO GOOD!

We live really close to the University of Denver (pictured here) and so there are several places to eat around there, like this one. Also pretty cool because in some ways we get to feel like we live in a college town, which reminds me of when we lived in SLO (which I miss). Lots of college-aged "kids" (haha, I must be really old if I call them "kids") at the grocery store, for example.

Anyway, if you live in the Denver metro area, check out the restaurant. It's great!

Blog Template by