Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Yes I'm up (and dressed for that matter) at 4:54 a.m. THAT'S because I'm flying to Texas this morning with some girlfriends, including her and her, to attend an orphan care conference. Can't wait!!!

Shout out to Kevin for taking on the kiddies alone (while still working a full-time job from home), for printing out all my maps and for loading my suitcase into the car this early!

Monday, April 27, 2009

(not really) Wise beyond her years

Anna, to Kevin this morning, while I was still in bed:

"Mommy is tired because of the baby in her tummy. And from dealing with four kids...and you."

Ha! OH how we laughed about that one. I promise I didn't teach her that, and for the record I do NOT badmouth Kevin to the kids (or to anyone for that matter). So in spite of Anna's 5-year-old observations...

The truth of the matter is I'd be lost without Kevin's hard work, support, and sense of humor. Raising a family is intense, and draining, and our marriage is really a partnership. (On a side note I can't hear the word "intense" without thinking of that Flight of the Conchords song "Business Time." Hehehe.) I remember having a discussion as we started the process to adopt, about expectations and the reality of raising so many little ones at once. What that would mean for each of us in terms of parenting and household responsibilities. Both of our workloads increased dramatically but in many ways I believe it was more of a shift for Kevin, since he works hard all day and then comes home to multiple kids, and a generally pregnancy-and-toddler-induced-exhausted wife. I feel very supported as a wife and mom from my husband--which is huge when you have four, soon to be five, kids!

Apparently this has turned into a cheesy tribute to my husband. But he's a great guy. (And not just because when I tell him things like, "I feel like in a year or two God may have us adopt again--sorry", he responds with, "Don't apologize, I'm as adventurous as the next guy!" Though that may be part of it. :) )

Love you Kev! I LIKE having to deal with you!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Well THAT made me cry

So even though I shed nary a tear during the movie I watched Wednesday, there was definitely some cry-age during the documentary we caught on PBS last night.

I've mentioned Catherine Hamlin's book Hospital By the River before. But I had never seen the film. There is an award-winning documentary, A Walk to Beautiful, and it re-aired on PBS' Nova last night. After having read the book, it was amazing to see the actual women at the hospital, to see hope and dignity restored to them. Watch the movie if you ever get the chance. Read the book. You won't be disappointed. (You MAY however want to immediately book a flight to Ethiopia to go adopt some of the waiting children in the orphanage. Even if you're nearly 16 weeks pregnant. With four other children at home. Just sayin'.)

Turns out there's an 84 minute, full-length version of the documentary that I'd love to get, and maybe get some people together to watch it. Wouldn't it be amazing to have some sort of group that regularly met to, say, watch a film like this, pray about/discuss the issue, and then do something physical and tangible for the cause?

So many problems that deserve our attention. Nobody can save the world single-handedly. BUT I think any time a story is told and we become a little more aware, and our hearts open to a particular group of people, somehow that is a small victory, a small part of God restoring our world. Especially when that heart change leads to giving sacrificially of our time, money, prayers or talents.

I've said it before but Catherine Hamlin and her late husband are true heroes. Really. When I read about/watch stuff like this I am tangibly reminded that I don't want anything to do with a "safe", conventional life. I don't care if our little (big) family gets stared at in the grocery store or if people think we're weird or we never have/do X because we want to spend our money and lives a different way. Really. Sometimes I forget, but seeing a documentary like this makes me remember.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

That movie about not leaving your partner behind (or, a window into my strange soul)

So Kevin and I finally got around to watching that movie Fireproof last night. (Courtesy of the Denver Public Library System.) It was all the rage among Christians awhile back. We'd seen Facing the Giants before, so kinda knew what this one would be like. Everyone kept saying Fireproof was great, but knowing myself (and remembering Facing the Giants), I had a feeling I probably wouldn't be too into it.

And yeah, it ended up being pretty cheesy. Kirk Cameron's character drove me NUTS. (I even found myself pulling for that nerdy doctor and Catherine to get together for awhile, just out of spite.) I think one of the points of the film was to reach out to people who don't consider themselves followers of Jesus, but honestly, I felt like the dad's presentation of the Gospel message wasn't particularly grace-filled. Finally (and this is a total side-issue), the movie made a strong point/plug about Covenant Marriage...and I understand the thought behind the movement...but I also wonder about the efficacy of Christians separating themselves even more than they already have by creating another legal category that makes it harder to divorce etc.

Those are but a sampling of my convoluted thoughts. Yes I know I'm in the minority of Christians who didn't love the film. I didn't even shed a tear. It IS nice that a movie was made upholding marriage and the value of fighting hard for something--our society has really lost that I think. The end was kinda sweet too when she showed up at the firehouse and I'm sure God has used the film to minister to many people.

For whatever it's worth, I'm not intending to be critical for the sake of being critical--but when I watch a movie I like to think about it, ponder the deeper themes and evaluate the message. It's art afterall and intended to be thought-provoking. But yes I come off like a jerk when I come to a different conclusion than most about a church-made Christian movie promoting marriage. :)

I'm really wondering, did any blog readers who don't consider themselves Christians see the movie??? What did you think???

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vision and pregnancy brain

So as Angela pointed out in a comment on the previous post, it's been awhile since I last posted. I've taken so long for two reasons:

1.) It's hard to improve upon the Scooba. I mean really. How on earth can anything I share with you compare with a robot who sweeps/mops your floors?

2.) I officially have pregnancy (or placenta) brain. Seriously. My brain shut down a few weeks ago and I'm unable to really think clearly or make decisions. Kevin and I just finished taking a ministry leadership class at church and let's just say my answers to the homework questions were pretty weak.

Not much is new around here. We recently took Biniam to the eye doctor because we've suspected for a while now that he has poor vision. But little did we know HOW poor. The kid basically can't see. Everything's a blur. His brain has no concept of being able to see properly so the optometrist is experimenting by boosting his prescription every 6 weeks for awhile to try to get his brain to "catch up" and essentially reprogram itself. In other words she can't just give him a prescription to make his vision the way it should be, right off the bat. Ugh. Poor Biniam.

He's THRILLED about getting glasses though! Positively thrilled. He should have them in about a week, super-thick lenses and all. We're praying that his brain WILL be able to catch up and that his vision can be improved. That kid's overcome a lot already in his short little life!

Today we picked out Biniam's glasses and hit up Costco, came home and the kids played outside and ate Otterpops. Tonight I have a meeting to go to for From HIV to Home, which I'm really looking forward to. A full but good, productive day I'd say!

Random side-note: I finally got around to watching the series finale of ER, which I'd taped. (No Tivo here, we like to buck technological trends and rather enjoy our antennae-using, stone-age life.) Um, there should have been a warning that pregnant women should not watch. I could've done without the woman's bloody inverted uterus and, you know, subsequent death. Wow. Also, how on EARTH does that one nurse have a 16 year old son?! I swear she must've been 11 when he was born. I loved Dr. Carter reuniting with his wife, and Dr. Green's daughter carrying on his legacy though. (Totally lame that they killed him off, but whatever.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I need me one of these

My friend Shana just posted recently about her beloved Scooba, Rosie. I went to the website. I watched the demo video. And I am in love.

Does anyone else have one? Is it too good to be true? I could watch the demo for hours. The way Scooba picks up that dirt really makes me happy.

We have a lot of hardwoods in our home. Love them, but HATE mopping. So, truth be told, I don't do it as often as I should. But Scooba would do it. It's what Scooba does. Scooba likes to mop.

Sure it's not cheap, but really it's about the same as what our vacuum cost. And I have to manually operate the vaccum.

Anyway, go to the site and watch the video. I think I'm going to watch it again. Because I'm hooked. And I don't know how I can possibly live the rest of my life without this amazing, beautiful robot.

A year ago today...

...we left our home in California and started a new chapter in our lives. I remember taking these pictures and being so sad to leave our house, the first house we ever owned (okay we've still got it but someone else is living there so it hardly counts), the house where I brought my girls home from the hospital and my boys home from Ethiopia. So many memories.

I remember being excited though about the beginning of a new adventure. I'd never lived farther than 2 hours from my hometown before. The thought of trying something new and doing it on our own was pretty thrilling.

A year away and Santa Maria, California feels a little like a different planet. I do miss all the familiar places, we have yet to replace our beloved China Wok and Jaliscos, I don't get to hear the "Food Maxx" theme song anymore while shopping for groceries. Sniff.

Sometimes I still feel really homesick for our house. I wonder if that will ever go away. We were there for over 5 years.
And, one final picture I just had to share: a year ago today, we stopped for lunch for one last time at In N Out. Note the trademark palm trees behind me. Oh In N Out, how I miss thee. (This was in Santa Barbara, which is where we lived the first year we got married. I still miss our familiar places there too. Maybe that never goes away?)

So, here's to Santa Maria and many happy memories. (Not missing the weather so much however. Did you notice the crazy wind in the above pictures????)

Monday, April 13, 2009

So good to be "out"

Thanks so much for all the well-wishes! We're super excited about Kid #5. And it's SO NICE to be out with the news. I felt SO STUPID keeping it from people for so long because truly, it became rather obvious.

I'm sure it seems weird to some people that we'd keep it a secret. When we first found out I was pregnant, back in January, we were THRILLED. And a little shocked. Excited, but worried. (I'd just miscarried, afterall.) So we decided to wait out the first trimester before saying anything. Because for us it's really stressful having to go back and share sad news with people...and hope everyone gets the memo. Over a month after my first miscarriage (four years ago), someone came up to me at church and happily congratulated me...and I had to tell them I'd lost my baby over a month ago...and it was awkward. Plus, being the introverts that we are, we're pretty private people anyway (I know, why on earth do I have a blog?), so we're not really busting at the seams to make a big announcement. Mostly because half the time you end up having to defend your decision to have another child once you have more than about 3 kids. That gets old pretty fast.

I DON'T want to give the impression that I somehow think it's less of a baby or something until it makes it to the second trimester. That couldn't be farther from the truth. We've prayed so hard for this baby ever since we found out we were expecting. I'm in love with this little one and I was in love with the last little one even though he/she didn't make it.

Kevin thinks it's fun having a secret just between us. I do too until my shirts stop fitting and I have to come up with dumb excuses to turn down alcohol at friends' houses. I remember we told people pretty much right away when we found out we were expecting Anna. I miss that, but for us, this just works better for now.

And if anyone is wondering if we're "done" after this, I hope not! :) Most likely we'll adopt again in the next few years and I'm sure there will at some point be another pregnancy in our future. We don't really ever see ourselves taking permanent measures to prevent pregnancy and we also don't see ourselves reaching a point where we'll say, "we're for sure never adopting again". There are SO MANY children waiting for families. And children are a blessing. Motherhood is a gift. God put medical-needs adoption on our hearts when we adopted the first time and that desire has really only grown. I don't know what the "right" number of kids for us is, but God does, so I don't have to. :)

All of that to say, I really am so glad that people know now! It's much easier to be excited, and now I won't be self-conscious about my disproportionately puffy stomach. :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009


They say a picture's worth a thousand words, right? :)

I'm so happy to (finally!) share the news that we're expecting a sweet little one in October! I got pregnant a mere TWO WEEKS after we lost our baby. I don't pretend to understand everything that happens in this life, and I feel incredibly humbled and blessed that God has given us the gift of this precious baby, especially in the midst of such loss. It is beyond comprehension.

I had an ultrasound last month, and got to hear the swish swish-y of the heart beating yesterday. We find out the sex at the end of May. Everything is going so well, and while the past few months have felt like a bit of an emotional rollercoaster--sadness, pure joy, processing through it all--I am THRILLED, positively THRILLED, to be on this journey. (Yes I know my stomach is huge, but the doctor assures me there's only one baby in there.)

Five kids...BRING IT ON!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Life's a party

So one fun thing about having four kids: every day is basically party day. Even the mundane activities become exciting and filled with lots of giggles and craziness. Yes it can be chaos. Sometimes utter madness. But it can also be classified as partytime. No matter where we go or what we do, my kids have have multiple-someones to wrestle/laugh/scheme/dream/cuddle/get in trouble with!
(They were dancing to some really LOUD music in a restaurant in these pictures. And having a mighty fine time!)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spontaneous naptime

Sometimes you're so tired, you fall asleep right where you are.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Simple things

I don't know if you'd heard about this, but the day after the Superbowl, Denny's was offering free Grand Slam breakfasts all day. SO we decided to take the kids bright and early in the morning--everyone in pjs except for Kevin, who had to head to work right after.

The kids got SUCH a kick out of going out to eat in their pajamas. Kaitlyn even wore her slippers. They had a ball waiting in line, then sitting at the booth and devouring their huge meals.

I don't think I'd been to Denny's in years, and let's face it, it's not the best :), but we had so much fun and the kids were beside themselves. (Okay so was I, that's a lot of food for free!)

Sometimes it's fun to do random stuff like go out to eat at a greasy restaurant in your pajamas. Or, like my kids are doing right now, play with sidewalk chalk out in the sunshine in the backyard. I think we keep things pretty simple around here. And I love it!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Jury duty dilemma

SO, I got a summons for jury duty. It's for Monday. I called after 5 pm yesterday and it says all jurors have to report.

Ummmm...I have four kids. And, you know, a husband who works so we can all eat. There are no exemptions from jury duty in Colorado unless you have a doctor's note stating you care for someone who, because of medical reasons, has to have you there at all times. Hmmm, I don't really fit in that category.

There is a free daycare apparently for kids whose parents have "court business". BUT, Kaitlyn has a cold, and they don't accept kids with cold symptoms. AND, excuse me, but I don't leave my kids in random daycare situations that I don't know anything about--government sponsored or not.

So this leaves me with two options:

1.) Haul my kids down to the Denver courthouse at 8:30 Monday morning...try to find parking that most likely I'll have to pay for...go through security with all four kids...see what happens.

2.) NOT show up, and when I get the inevitable threatening letter in the mail saying I-might-owe-hundreds-of-dollars-for-shirking-my-civic-duty, I'll say hey, I have four kids including one with a cold, what was I supposed to do?

I'm currently leaning towards #2. I'm all for supporting our nation's justice system, but sorry, jury duty isn't practical for at-home moms whose husbands actually have to be at work, and who don't feel comfortable leaving their precious children with strangers.

So we'll see what happens. Either way it's not good...but at least this way I get more sleep on Monday morning...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dentist time

I recently took all four of my kids to the dentist. It's a pediatric dentist in a newer area of the city that really caters to families and kids. Therefore, by the time we left I was comPLETEly overstimulated..was it the video games? Or the "passports" each kid got where they got a sticker at each station? Was it the videos playing? The toys they got to choose at the end? The stuffed animals? The goody bags? Yeah, I was exhausted by the time we got home. My kids behaved great and I was so glad to get these appointments out of the way, but part of me just longed for a boring old office with a couple Highlights magazines and Dr. Seuss books in the lobby!

I know they're trying to make it fun and exciting for the kids, but to tell you the truth, this is part of what's wrong with our society today IMO. The idea that kids need lots of fancy bells and whistles to entertain them and for them to behave. Also (and this is the last part of my rant, I promise!), while I believe dental hygiene is very important, I don't like how it can be really off-balance. The dental hygienist was instructing me in what snacks I should feed my kids ('cause, you know, after five years at this I must not be able to figure it out) and informed me that even if something's healthy, if it can get caught in their teeth, they shouldn't eat it. That I should be giving them cookies for a snack. Ummmmm...sorry, I'll take my chances with healthier things. See what I mean? It's like all that matters are your teeth. I think my kids' energy levels and nutrition matter too. Quite frankly, those things matter a little more to me if I'm honest.

But don't worry--I didn't tell the dentist that. :)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

After the storm

So this is what our backyard looked like after the big storm came in last Friday. (I love the icycles on the garage.) Since then we've had some more crazy weather. Monday morning it was coming down really hard but after a few hours, you'd almost never know it, the sun came out etc. And yesterday afternoon we had a majorly windy snowstorm that included thunder and lightning...crazy! I am definitely enjoying it, but looking forward to pulling out my flip-flops too! (Which, in my former life, were worn year-round. Not so much anymore!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My crowded lap

My kids LOVE to be read to. Love love LOVE it. And I love reading to them. It's great.

A nearby second-hand store has TONS of children's books, lots of classics, things I remember from when I was little, and they're CHEAP. And generally in really good condition. Anytime I come home from there, the kids run to meet me at the door and start pawing through the bags to see what books I brought home.

This particular Saturday was no exception. Reading to them can be a bit tricky though because as you can see, seating is a little tight. And there are generally two rules:

Kaitlyn HAS to sit on my lap.
No exceptions. Sometimes she insists on bringing her own book to look at, so then there are two books in my face.

Biniam can't see worth a darn, so he's always straining to get close enough to the pictures.
(Yes he needs glasses. Yes I need to get him to the optometrist. Yes we've been inundated with medical appointments and so it hasn't happened yet.)

Needless to say, I can get to feeling a little claustrophobic when reading to the kiddies. But they'd sit there for hours. They always beg for more. They love to be read to and don't care about having to share Mommy's lap with three other kids. They treasure this time, and so do I.

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