Saturday, August 30, 2008

She speaks!

At 17 months old, my baby is talking! Up until about three days ago, Kaitlyn was only saying the words "mama", "dada", and "no." Suddenly, she's picking up about two new words
a day! Here is her current vocabulary:

bye bye
night night
uh oh
iwannit (her version of "I want it")

For awhile I've suspected that while Kaitlyn WASN'T talking, she COULD if she wanted to. See the thing you gotta know about my littlest girl is that she is all about the spite. Yes, spite. This is a child who, if you're trying your darndest to make her smile, will tuck her chin to her chest, purse her lips, and do everything in her power NOT to smile. On the phone last night when I told my dad that Kaitlyn was saying more words, but will only say them on her terms, he replied, "I have a feeling she'll be doing MOST things on her terms!"

Oh-so-true. I love my baby girl and her spunky personality. Watch out world!

Because I have a feeling that when Kaitlyn speaks, you'll be listening.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dinner time

Injera, Shiro Wot, and salad.

Even Kaitlyn eats spicy foods.

Learning at a young age how to eat Ethiopian-style. She loves it, because it's very hands-on and messy!

This is by far the most work I feel like I do all day. Between the meal planning, prep, cooking, serving, serving some more (my kids are pretty big eaters), and cleanup...yeah, it's a lot of work. :)

In terms of meal planning and shopping, I go through spurts of being organized, but then I end up disorganized again (more often than not, darn). I'm so inconsistent! One thing that IS consistent though is that in a family of six, we have to have SOME sort of meal each night.

I do have grand plans to get a system going and get more organized (once I'm feeling a little better). Here are some of my random "meal habits":

--In general we typically don't eat red meat more than once a week. (And it's usually super lean ground beef in tacos or chili or spaghetti sauce.)

--We have a vegetable with every meal.

--I like to make Ethiopian food every now and then and am SO happy to live near an Ethiopian market where I can buy yummy injera to go with!

--Before we moved we were having fish about once a week, either tilapia or salmon. I've been so out of my routine that we haven't had it much since we got here. But I'm making fish tonight, yay!

--I will sometimes substitute tofu for meat, or make tofu recipes.

--I use ground turkey too--in tacos, spaghetti sauce, and chili. When it's seasoned you really can't tell the difference that much (in my opinion) between turkey and beef.

--We generally eat whole wheat pastas, and brown rice, because they're healthier than the non-wheat alternatives.

I'm not that great of a chef, but hey, we get by. :) I LOVE "Everyday Food" magazine and I also own the cookbook, which, unfortunately, I haven't used yet.

There are two big things about dinner that we live by, I guess. One is, I make what I want to make. No one has to eat it, but that's it until breakfast. (None of my kids are picky eaters so no one ever skips the meal, though of course some things are liked better than others). The second thing is, all six of us sit down to dinner together every night. I know in the years to come there will be sports and friends and activities from time to time, but I think in general, for us, it's really important for us to have structured, sit-down dinners where we're all together enjoying each other's company (and hopefully the food too!) Yes, it can make for noisy, messy mealtimes, but that's okay.

What are YOUR dinnertime routines? What kinds of things do you enjoy making? Do you have any tried-and-true recipes?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Figaro! Figaro!"

Al Gore, as seen this evening right here in my very own town. I'm not sure if this is at the DNC, or if he's performing in some sort of patriotic play? Perhaps "An Inconvenient Truth: the Musical"?

Feel free to comment with your own captions. (Oh and just for the record I honestly have NOTHING against Al Gore, I just thought this photo was too great to pass up!)

Lunch time

So...what's for lunch?

Pretty much every day it's PB&J sandwiches. (Yes friends--we are a two-peanut-butter-family. I give the kids all-natural peanut butter, and Kevin insists on eating the sugar-filled stuff. I won't even tell you the kinds of breakfast cereals he buys! :) ) The kids also usually have cheese, and a vegetable.

I do *try* to change things up a little bit from time to time. Here are some foods that find themselves on the Heldt family lunch menu every now and again:

PB&J sandwich
egg salad or chicken salad sandwich
cheese (either cheddar, monterey jack, or mozzarella)
green beans
Annie's organic shells and cheddar (sometimes I add chicken and grated parmesan cheese)
apple slices
turkey slices
avocado (could they BE any more expensive here? Lower cost of living, hmm, the jury's still out on that one.)
cottage cheese
carrots + hummus or ranch dressing

Of course, now I want to know what's for lunch at YOUR house!
**Oh and the above picture was yesterday's lunch--peanut butter and jelly sandwich (wonderful HOMEMADE jam, thanks Jennifer!!!), peach yogurt, cold green beans (yes, my kids love them cold.) And yes it's an awful photo...I'm not a food photographer, and have never claimed to be! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Breakfast time

What do your kids eat for breakfast?

I try to change up what my little ones eat in the mornings. Generally they each have a banana, and I alternate between the following (though not equally, since some are much healthier than others):

cream of wheat
whole wheat toast + butter
french toast
whole wheat bagels + cream cheese
biscuits + butter and honey

Twice a week they have an egg with whatever else they're eating, and I do add ground flaxseed to pancakes, waffles, and biscuits. Toast probably finds itself on the menu most often for us, although for the first two weeks I had mono, it was cold cereal every day.

So what's for breakfast in your home? I'm always looking for ideas!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I won!

I love this crafty blog. And I entered a giveaway for one of these awesome notebook covers. Anna loves to draw and color and is constantly begging for paper to doodle on. What a fun idea!

And...I WON! Not only that, but as it turns out she made me one with rollercoasters on it...and Anna LOVES rollercoasters. Perfect!

Anyway, yeah. As you can plainly see, I'm excited. So head on over and check out Joy's Hope!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Being an at-home mom is great

I pretty much devoted my entire morning to the all-important task of browsing Etsy. So fun!

And I'm wanting to know, what are your favorite Etsy shops???

(I'm mostly on the lookout for fun odds and ends to decorate with, stuff for the walls, etc.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Soup's on

Over the last couple of weeks I have totally reawakened my love for soup. Especially lentil soup. This afternoon I'm having organic cream of broccoli soup. The weather is overcast, there's thunder off in the distance, and I'm about to enjoy my bowl of soup. (Oh and I think it's all about the actual bowl. I have these bowls I LOVE from Anthropologie. They just make it taste better somehow!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday thoughts

I have become a rather dull blogger. This post is the best I could come up with. Seriously.

They finished our carpet today. So our floors (minus the downstairs bathroom floor) are finished. I thought I'd feel relieved, but I think I more feel overwhelmed by all the other things that need to happen now!

My doctor called today to tell me that my blood test did indeed confirm mono. Congratulations to me!

The Democratic National Convention is almost here. I don't THINK it'll affect us in our particular neighborhood, but you never know I guess. (We're about 10 minutes south of the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field.) I really hope I run into some sort of celebrity though, like Oprah! I would love to meet Oprah!

I had a totally awkward conversation yesterday with a man who pastors a reformed church near our house. (As in, you can see the church from our house. It's really close.) They've had these neighborhood Saturday parties this summer and Kevin took the kids to one last month. (Read: free ice cream and a slip-n-slide.) Recently an elderly man came to the door with a flier for another one. WELL, yesterday the PASTOR shows up at my door and is completely awkward saying he met my family last month and wanted to make sure we got invited to the next party (which is this weekend I believe). I told him we did, and we'd see what's going on, if we could make it. (I left out the part about my mono--didn't want to scare him.) He just kept standing there, fumbling around for ways to make conversation. It was awful. I feel like we have big targets on our chests saying, "POTENTIAL CONVERTS! POTENTIAL CONVERTS!" and like he's really pushing to get us to events. For that reason, combined with the fact that I guess at the last party, a mentally impaired churchgoer dumped a bucket of water on my kids and husband while they were LEAVING, causing my kids to cry...we will most likely never attend their church. :)

I have read some things lately that come down pretty darn hard on the church. I wonder if this is really a fair, informed assessment, if perhaps we need look no further than the mirror for someone to blame for the world's problems?

I'm still not sure I've hit my stride here in Colorado. Not sure I hit it in California either for that matter. Maybe I'm just weird!

Kevin's been working so hard getting the house ready for the floors that we hung out last night for the first time in forever. It was heavenly. Really. I've missed him! (By hung out, I mean I lay comatose on one couch while he sat on the other keeping Kaitlyn happy while we watched Frasier. But we were together dangit!)

The last two days I've done a horrible job of drinking water. Shoot. That was the one order from the doctor. (And I don't think caffeine-free pepsi counts.)

I wonder how long my spleen could be swollen. I want to start getting stuff moved in...but I also want to avoid severe internal bleeding. Priorities, you know?

My oldest daughter will start Kindergarten in LESS THAN A YEAR. What?! Where, WHERE, did the time go? How can I possibly send her off for 2.5 hours every morning, 5 days a week? Have I taught her the life-lessons she needs to know??? Being a mom is hard. My last year with my firstborn fully at home. I want to cherish it.

I have so many little projects to work on. I spray-painted a mirror (what I thought was a nice soft apple-green) to hang above my couch, only to have the color turn out HIDEOUS. (NEON gave me flashbacks to fourth grade.) So now I need to spray-paint it black instead. Grrrrr.

That's all for now. This weekend I'll be resting and praying for an Oprah sighting. Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Non updates

Boy you really don't have much to blog about when you spend your days watching "Seinfeld", "The Office", and the Olympics. I'd love to say I'm using this time to write cards to friends, or to read the classics, but I basically have no energy or desire to invest in such pursuits! Instead I sit on the couch and laugh, because really, those two shows are just so hilarious. (As for the Olympics, come on now, what is going on with some of the gymnastics scoring? And the ages of some of those athletes?! Oh and I think I have a crush on old man Bella Carolyi. Is he not just the sweetest guy? Kevin and I both think his wife totally looks like she could be named "Madge" and play in a bowling league. I TOLD you, I don't have much to blog about!)

Being the anal "must-get-to-the-bottom-of-this" person that I am, I HAD to research my teenage illness. I found some interesting things, like mono is not just passed through saliva, but also through coughing and sneezing. Most people by adulthood carry the virus, it occasionally reactivates in the body (showing no symptoms), and so the going thought is that it is the HEALTHY adult population spreading the virus. Also, the reason mono is less common among adults is that by the time you reach adulthood, you should have been exposed to it, and now carry immunity. Darn. (Kids get it often but it goes undetected since their symptoms are often very mild.)

So thanks to the healthy adult out there who decided I should finally be exposed. I REALLY appreciate it. And to everyone I knew growing up, for never exposing me to the virus and helping me build immunity.

Our carpet is being installed tomorrow and Thursday. I can't do any heavy lifting because my spleen might be enlarged, so the carpet man is graciously coming tonight to help Kevin move furniture so he can tear out the carpet himself. How fun, hanging out with the carpet installers for two days. Don't worry, I won't let them drink out of my glass or share my pudding!

Speaking of pudding, I'm off to make some. And then go watch Seinfeld. And maybe some Days of Our Lives. Have a great day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Letter to a long-lost love

Dear Joe,

Oh, how I miss you. It's been four long months since we last convened. I know I'm the one who chose to move, and I knew I'd miss you, but I just didn't realize how MUCH I'd miss you.

What I wouldn't give right now for a nice cold glass of Dixie Peach. No one's Naan compares to yours, and I have yet to find hummus that tastes REMOTELY as good as the kind I'd receive from you. How will I make my Thai stir-fry, or where will I ever find yummy raspberry sparkling lemonade? I've tried other places, but they're not the same. They are simply (not-so) cheap substitutes.

I've put off these sad feelings for weeks, telling myself there are other places I can go...but today I was struck with a horrifying thought: the holidays without Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. Some would argue I am better off without you, being that I always eat the whole box in a day or two, singlehandedly.

But the heart wants what the heart wants.

Sweet, sweet, dear Trader Joe, PLEASE consider a move to Colorado. It doesn't even have to be to Denver...I can drive to Pueblo if I have to. But come. Soon.

Forever yours,


Friday, August 15, 2008

Who have I been kissing?!

Well folks, today I headed to the doctor because I was starting to think that I might have strep throat. Turns out I DON'T have strep throat at all...I have mono.

MONO! What in the world?! I told the doctor that only teenagers get mono, but he laughed and told me that no, anyone can have it. This doctor got quite a kick out of it actually, and seemed to be rather amused when he informed me that I'd be sick like this for at least another 2 weeks. Sweet. My tonsils and glands are utterly swollen (I didn't realize how swollen my glands were until I was waiting for the doctor to come in and I discovered the big bumps on my neck.)

And my husband's reaction to all of this? "Who have you been kissing while I'm at work?" Just the four kids, dear, just the four kids. Between taking care of them and keeping up on dishes and laundry, I can assure you that I have no energy left for secret daytime kissing!

So at age 27, I'm officially a shut-in, highly contagious, and somewhat bed-ridden for the next 14 days or so. Oh and now that I'm infected with the notorious teenage "kissing disease", I guess it's time to pull out the Clearasil and Sweet Valley High books!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bad boys, bad boys

If you wake up in the middle of the night with a raging fever, you might just discover that COPS is on. And maybe you'll watch it, because the bloody guy that got beat with a baseball bat reminds you that you're still doing relatively well in the grand scheme of things.

(Kevin informed me today that I am the quintessential 45 year old man, what with my viewing choices. What can I say? It's slim-pickins when it comes to channels we pull in with our antennae. And it could definitely be worse--the other day my choices were basically some teenie-bopper show with Jennie Garth on the CW, or something in Spanish called Enfarto. 'Nuff said.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I know they were trying to sell something, but really

So I saw a commercial the other day that got me thinking. Yeah, yeah, most commercials are obnoxious or ridiculous in some way, but this one really bothered me.

It was a mom talking about how she wants her teenage daughter to succeed, and all this and that, and it basically builds up to, "That's why we buy back-to-school-clothes at such-and-such store, so she can feel good about herself." Then it shows the daughter confidently walking up to a table in the cafeteria and asking some girls (maybe the "cool kids"?) if she can sit with them, and they of COURSE say yes...because look how nicely the girl is dressed! Are teenage girls not already struggling enough?! They're dealing with hormones, and self-esteem, and weight issues, and who knows what else. And THIS is what we're telling them? And their parents?! "Just drop some money on nice clothes, that's what being a good mom is, and THAT'S how you equip your child for success." Lovely.

Don't get me wrong. I want my kids to thrive and to look put together and feel good about their appearance. But I can assure you that I am more concerned about instilling in them values like, God looks at the heart, and that we should be good stewards of our resources, because there are some people who don't even have enough FOOD.

Maybe a better choice for the girl would have been to, instead of seeking acceptance from the popular table, seek out some kids that maybe no one else wants to sit with. Or find friends who like her for her.

ANYway, I know I read a lot into it. But the commercial bugged me. And I have a blog, so why not get on my soapbox and share. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

He knows me so well

I just have to tell you the caliber of husband I have. I'm still sick, and not cooking dinner like I normally do. Late last week he surprsied me by bringing me home a Jamba Juice, which, having grown up going to the original one in SLO, I think is the best smoothie place EVER. And then Sunday night I was hungry, and I was also wanting a thermometer to be able to take my temperature (our kids broke our other one, that is a blogpost all its own), so Kevin set out on the errands.

Not only does he come back with dinner and a milkshake, he also bought me a Butterfinger candybar at the drugstore.

Be still my heart.

Do you know the last time I had a whole Butterfinger like that? It's been many, many years. TOO many years.

Some husbands would buy medicine. Others would go to Whole Foods. But MY husband brought me a Butterfinger. Which I ate. All of it. In about three minutes. Laying on the couch. I felt like a king.

The great thing about marriage is, that while you might not have that "excitement of a new romance" thing going on, you get to spend your life with someone who knows you better than you know yourself. So they know what you need, even if you don't ask for it. And if you're really lucky, they'll bring you a Butterfinger when you're sick!!!!!
(This beloved candybar DOES contain 4 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. So really, it should be in the health-food aisle.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yin and Yang

So that's what I'm seriously contemplating changing my sons' names to. I kid you not, as we enjoy a phase where one boy is kind, obedient, and generally all-around pleasant, the other one goes through a phase of being defiant, or grumpy, or just all-around difficult. Then the phase passes. And at some point they'll switch.

What is up with that? Maybe it's a twin thing. Does one child's positive behavior prompt the other to act up, or vice-versa? My boys crack me up. Just when I think I have them (or any of my kids really) figured out, they surprise me.

And yet as crazy as these three-and-a-half-year-old boys are, Kaitlyn is the true fire-cracker in this household. Yeah. She pretty much runs things around here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let the games begin

4 kids
The Olympics
Sleeping bags and pillows in front of the TV
Everyone together

Really, truly...does it get ANY better than that?! At some point Yosef asked, "Anna, do you love me?" to which Anna replied, "Yes." And Biniam said to Yosef, "I love you, too."

Being a mother to these four little ones is profound. I'm so grateful for moments (sometimes even series' of moments) of clarity when I know--really, really know--this to be true. Because then the morning comes and the craziness (and whining and testing and mess-making) ensues and I start questioning, what on EARTH am I doing? Can I really do this? Am I what these kids need?

But yeah, during those precious moments, there's nothing else, just joy and simplicity in knowing that there is love, and lots of it, in our crazy family of 6.

Oh and as far as the Olympics go, this time around we get to root for TWO countries, the USA of course and ETHIOPIA! Woohoo! The above picture is of a Coke can in the Olympic Games Collector's Series, and yes, you are seeing it correctly, that is the Coke logo written in Amharic! Yeah! After seeing these on Angela's blog and at Jennifer's house, I had to go to the store and buy my own 12-pack! This can is currently on display on the windowsill in my kitchen.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I just wanted to say that I have been so blessed by the amazing friends I have made here in Denver so far. (FYI it's tough moving away from your girlfriends and I miss California, and my life there, a lot.)

This is a picture from sweet little Ryan D.'s 4th birthday party a couple of weeks ago. In the background you can see me, Angela (Ryan's mommy), Jennifer, and Katie. We all have Ethiopian adoption in common, and we all live decently nearby. My kids love playing with their kids at playdates and sometimes we even have mommy nights! Yeah! (I "knew" Jennifer and Angela before we even moved to Denver, through blogging and email.)

The wonderful thing is that even if we didn't have the Ethiopia connection, I would want to be friends with these amazing ladies.
Kevin and me and Angela in the foreground. I'm making a dumb face.

Katie and JenniferJennifer, Greg and KevinDon and Katie

***I stole all these photos off Angela's blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Yes friends, I finished Breaking Dawn, the final book in the Twilight Saga. I was really not feelin' it for much of the story (fellow rabid Twilight fans, please don't hate me), but by the end it totally had me again and can I just say, what a wonderful story! December just cannot come soon enough!! (For the uninitiated, that's when the movie comes out. And I will be there. Opening night. At the theater. Even if I have to go alone!)

Meanwhile, I woke up today with a sore throat, splitting headache, and sore neck glands. Ugh. Guess I can't complain though--for some weird reason I, and the rest of my family, stay MUCH healthier here in Denver than we did in California. Isn't that strange???? We don't really do anything differently, and yet we never get sick. Interesting.

In other news I'm about to order some phonics books to work on with Anna this year as we get ready for kindergarten. My goal is to have each of my kids reading before they start school. Anna can already read a TINY bit but we still have a ways to go. Very exciting!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stuff that makes you think

Today Erin posted this on her blog. Totally worth reading if you're thinking about adopting, or even if you're not, read it anyway. I found it convicting, and hard, and ultimately, very true:


I have several "used-to-be-blog-but-now-are-real-life" friends with kids from Ethiopia. Something that used to always feel like a novelty, like having children who come from a seemingly distant continent on the other side of the world, now just seems very "normal". I also know families (some online, some in real life) with children who have HIV. So even the idea of someday adopting a child with a special medical need doesn't seem so unique anymore.

And what does it mean to be a family, anyway? What is God's purpose for men and women and how do you or I fit into it?

God's been changing my answers to those questions ever since my first child was born. Sometimes slow and subtle, but sometimes sudden, and seemingly without warning. I think I'm in that place now where, if you ask me how many kids I "want", I just plain don't have an answer. As many as God wants us to have, I suppose. (I know, I know, that's kind of a vague answer.) We don't actively prevent pregnancy, and there are so many children who go to their cold metal beds every night praying for something that most of us take for granted: a mom and a dad, someone to love them.

On Sunday at church, I was so convicted and encouraged and inspired by a sermon that, among other things, talked about no one truly wanting to be converted...we look for churches or groups that fit the way WE look at life, and don't leave room for God to change our hearts and ultimately convert us. That was pretty mind-blowing for me. It can be scary to have God take you places you never thought you'd go. Do I really WANT to be changed? Do I really WANT to let go of what's safe, comfortable and "typical" to follow after Jesus? I love John Piper's idea of not wasting your life. But I doubt that it is ever easy. Or always accepted by others.

Lots of thoughts swirling around in my head. On a side-note, do you know that this has now been the longest we have gone without adding a child to our family, either through birth or adoption, since we've been married??? Weird. I'm not pregnant, and we're not starting the adoption process again yet or anything--but I find myself looking forward to both! In spite of the fact that the six of us are living in 1500 square feet of space right now, still completely unsettled. Like I said, God continues to re-shape my vision of family, and life. And that's a good thing!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Assorted summer pictures

On the 4th of July we went up to Broomfield to watch the fireworks with Angela, Marrty and their kids.
Kaitlyn was BY FAR the most into the fireworks, out of the Heldt kids. She just kept pointing and "talking". Here she is, enjoying the show and eating an oreo.
Found Yosef like this at naptime one day...fell asleep sitting up, cocooned in a quilt. (This is his current "bedroom", a couch in what will be the kids' playroom. He doesn't seem to mind.)

Panda Express after church.

Kaitlyn making her "I'm too spiteful to smile" face. Love that crazy little kid!
Anna loves to help Daddy order and bring the food.
Stylin' in a fireman hat at the fireworks show.

More pictures to come later. Life is busy and still a bit unsettled. Our hardwood floors are done, and carpet goes in in a couple of weeks. This past week was filled with lots of fun things, like going to Summer Conversations at church Sunday night, dinner with church people Tuesday, meeting Tanya and the girls at a great park with lots of fountains Wednesday, a playdate with Jennifer and her kids yesterday, and going to little Ryan's fourth birthday party last night. Tonight Kevin insists we're going to a free Third Day concert in town, but I have my doubts about the youngest member of our family and her desire to attend. Guess we'll see!
Tomorrow morning is Angela and Marrty's walkathon. Again, if anyone would like to support this amazing family bring their kids home, let me know!

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