Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A happy goodbye

That's it. We will be finding Biniam a new eye doctor. In hopes of sparing my blood pressure. :) Suffice it to say that we have been jerked around one too many times, it's costing us money, and it's impossible to advocate for your child's health when an office is utterly incompetent. (Total side-note, but I also really don't like the cartoons/shows they have on in the waiting room. I think they're inappropriate. But that's just me.)

Biniam's glasses broke a couple of weeks ago and so we've been taping them up each day for him to wear around the house. All because the office insisted they didn't have any frames at any of their offices to fit his still-intact lenses. Because we were ALSO told that he'd need a new prescription at this visit, we held off on purchasing new glasses. I found out today that the doctor is NOT giving him a new prescription, and their office DOES have those frames in stock...IN HIS SIZE. So we just wasted a lot of time rigging up glasses, and I was given some false info that nearly cost us a bunch of money.

The good news is that his eyes have definitely improved, and he should have his new glasses Monday.

As an added bonus, I will leave you with one final, very awkward story from our visit today. The eye doctor referenced us being on Medicaid. I said that we weren't. She said, "Oh, well I just assumed." No clue what that was about. But it didn't make me feel very good.

So farewell, All About Kids Vision. My blood pressure and mental health will be better off now that we will no longer be seeing each other. :) It may take me forever to find a non-pediatric optometrist who will see a 4 year old, but it will be worth it....

(Not sure why I felt the need to rant on my blog. I don't like seeming grouchy. I'm actually in a very happy mood. But this doctor was just too, too much. So I thought I'd share!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tribute to MJ--and the Lincoln Towncar

I know everyone is posting about Michael Jackson right now.

But I have to share this story.

Because Michael Jackson and I have a special connection.

Back in 2005, he was on trial in Santa Maria for allegedly doing some bad stuff. Which is where we lived. And one sunny day in June, the verdict was about to be read.

I happened to be on my way somewhere with my sweet little Anna. In our 1988 Lincoln Towncar. (You can read about one of our adventures here, and about her demise here.) And we exited the highway onto Main Street.

There were helicopters circling above me. People coming outside of various businesses and watching the street. Fans running past my car with signs. I couldn't figure out why.

Then I looked in my rearview mirror. And there was Michael. And his entire motorcade.

They'd been driving right behind me alllllllllll down Main Street, and continued to do so until they turned onto Miller, at the courthouse.

That's right, my Lincoln Towncar was part of the procession. Someone saw it on the news. It was hard to miss.

After they turned onto Miller, I parked at the mall and me and Anna found a spot outside the courthouse to observe the mayhem. Like tourists.

We saw all the Jacksons exiting, the releasing of the doves, and the cheering fans. Big doings for sleepy Santa Maria. (Which one should not underestimate--it's home to strawberries and Tri-Tip.)

So that will always be my big MJ memory. I loved his music of course, but I'll ultimately always associate him with my looking in my rearview mirror and with people running next to my car cheering. (I bet that he wished he was riding in the roomy Towncar, as opposed to his big black SUV.)

Both legends from the 1980s. Both gone now.

RIP Michael Jackson.

RIP Lincoln Towncar.

In all seriousness I was really sad to hear of Michael's death. He was so broken and while I believe he longed for peace, I don't think he ever found it here on earth. I really do hope he has found it now.

Blogging shame

My blog has been so, so lame lately. I can never think of anything to post...because do you really want to hear about how I just ate too many oreos, or about how I wasn't able to sign up my kids for swimming lessons through Denver Rec due to the high demand (wasting over an hour of my time at the rec center with a bunch of rabid moms participating in a lottery)? Probably not. :)

I'm getting really excited about our baby. It's been over two years since we've had a new little one in our home and I seriously can't wait!!! She already gets lots of hugs and kisses every day from her older brothers and sisters. I scored an adorable Pottery Barn Kids crib bumper at a second-hand store for $1 and I'm looking forward to eventually setting her room up. Yosef and Biniam share a room, and Anna and Kaitlyn share a room, but the new baby will have her own, at least for now. (FYI my kids LOVE sharing rooms and actually begged to do so. It's really cute. My girls will be devastated when the baby is born and doesn't sleep in their room.)

I can't believe Anna starts Kindergarten in about two months. The main thing we'll be working on I think is handwriting and then just some fun, simple math, telling time, etc. She's already reading so she'll continue with that as well. I'm not sure how this homeschooling thing will look yet, but my philosophy is that home should be a place where we grow in knowledge and wisdom and that learning should be a natural part of life. (I really look forward to studying history together, probably starting in 1st grade. I love history!) Anna will be in school all day on Mondays, and I know she'll love it. Especially since she already knows several kids in her class!

See? I told you I didn't have anything to say. But, half the time that's what blogging is all about!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Baby update!

So today I went for my OB visit/ultrasound. And...

My placenta is now far, far away from my cervix!!!

And the cysts on her brain are gone, which is really neither here-nor-there, BUT she's still looking and growing great, no issues, so she appears to be just fine! I love the ultrasound tech at the office. She told me she HATES telling patients about the cysts, because they're so common and NOT a problem, and patients end up worrying, but feels like she's required to.

The baby still appears to be a girl, which was pretty obvious today (she's none too modest.) She's currently hanging out in the breech position but that's fine for this early.

At any rate I am SO GLAD that things are going well, and I haven't quite wrapped my mind around the fact that come October, we'll have a baby in the house again!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just kidding

My ultrasound is TOMORROW. Not today. I seriously think I'm losing my mind...I knew my appointment was on June 26th, but for some reason I also had it in my head that it was today, Thursday. Then I saw that today was the 25th, I went and checked my calendar and sure enough, yeah, it's tomorrow. Wow.

Don't you hate when you do that? Now my whole day is thrown off, and I was all geared up to go. Kevin didn't take a lunch to work today because he was planning to come home at lunchtime to watch the kids.

My brain seriously shuts off when I'm pregnant. But anyway, yeah, I'm going to the doctor's office tomorrow. Thank goodness for calendars!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Twilight" at last

So I FINALLY saw the movie Twilight. It was fun to watch, though I couldn't take the scenes seriously where Edward was zooming around through the forest etc. (Couldn't take those scenes seriously in the books either though...it's probably no surprise that I'm not a big fan of the fantasy genre.) The funny thing is, I actually liked the movie Edward better than the book Edward. I know, I know, that is probably weird. But the movie version was kind of awkward and even on occasion funny, and the book version was just too cheesy/serious for me to handle. I liked Bella in the book way better than in the movie though.

That's my movie review for the day. I have an ultrasound tomorrow so I'll get to see my baby girl again. By the way she's been kicking and thumping around, I'd say she's grown some in the last 4 weeks!

Monday, June 22, 2009

7 years!

Our wedding day seems like a lifetime ago--and I guess it kinda was, considering the fact that in those 7 years we've had 4-soon-to-be-5 kids and moved to a different state. You take a lot of flak when you get married at ages 20 and 21 respectively, but whatever, it was by far the best decision I ever made. Not to mention, it was definitely what we were supposed to do. I'm certain of that.

And I love being married. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Kevin and I have tons of fun together, we laugh a lot, and have great conversations. Not to mention he keeps me sane--not an easy task I am sure!
So here's to 7 years with my bestest friend! Looking forward to many many more!!!
And happy anniversary to Andy and Jeannett! (I am convinced that 4 pm on June 22, 2002, with red roses and a strapless gown, was the way to go--I mean look at how awesome we all are! :) )

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

When I got married at the ripe old age of 20 :) , I knew Kevin would be a good dad someday. (Maybe because in college, he was WAY better at doing childcare at church than me. As in, the kids actually LIKED him. And something tells me that his negligence did NOT lead to a 3 year old blind boy spilling his water all over his sandwich. Um, yeah, that would be me. That would also be me watching the clock, counting down the minutes until the moms would come pick up the kids.)

But nothing I could write here would really express how much I appreciate him and all he does. Parenting in our home is truly a partnership and he takes a lot of responsibility for raising our kids. He's tons of fun, so willing to go the extra mile to make things special for the kiddos, and an expert in the mundane--bedtimes, nail-clipping, diaper-changing, comforting, cleanup, etc.

I feel SO blessed that we're on the same page when it comes to parenting--whether it's discipline, our philosophy on family and kids in general, etc. Kevin shares my passion for adoption, is excited about homeschooling...it's really remarkable to look back to the beginning of our marriage and see the journey God has taken us on. Neither of us got married thinking we'd adopt someday, or homeschool, or that we'd have a bigger-than-average family. They say you change a lot in your 20's, and we have--but we've changed together. God is good. And faithful.

Interestingly, our marriage has only grown stronger since having children. Life is busy and full, but we continue finding joy and love and laughter in the somewhat-organized chaos. I really don't know what I'd do without Kevin as my husband and the daddy to my kids!!! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Proud mama

So I'm so, so excited for Anna. I picked up some Kindergarten curriculum yesterday, that we get to have on loan/use through the school she'll be attending one day per week next year.

Included in the curriculum are some readers, at Kindergarten level. (Anna begins Kindergarten in the fall.) Today I pulled them out and she wanted to read them. And blew through all of them. And comprehended the point of the stories. Yes, all of them. She's never attended a day of preschool in her life and she's doing SO WELL with her reading.

Anyway, I'm feeling encouraged in some of the choices we've made. I've had people nearly pass out when I told them my kids don't do preschool. And don't get me wrong, I don't think academics or intelligence are the point of life or the end-all/be-all, it's just exciting to see my daughter thriving, and thriving in a life that primarily revolves around home and family.

I've definitely been AWOL this week, thanks to a malfunctioning computer--and VBS. I now have even more respect for all the public schooling parents out there. Because the pick-ups and drop-offs and early mornings every single day with four kids still in carseats is exhausting. I'm dead serious. The kids are having a blast though and I'm looking forward to the VBS open house and lunch tomorrow. Then we get to go to a birthday party in the afternoon and see good friends.

I had a blast on my retreat, I didn't feel the need to tap my forehead once, and I came away with some new friends. Apparently I AM still capable of being sociable and personable when I have to be! :)

(And now I'll leave you with what I currently hear Kaitlyn singing from her bed: "Barack Brianna, Barack Brianna..." That's one I hadn't heard before!)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yesterevening's events

--Participated in a wonderful webinar put on by From HIV to Home. If you are at all curious about the adoption of HIV+ children, I'd really encourage you to sign up for the next one. It's done through the phone and computer, and you get to feel really important, like you're on a business conference call. (Okay maybe that's just me.) Jennifer does an amazing job and it's super-informative. Kevin and I both participated.

--During said webinar, we put on a video for the kids in our bedroom. We'd taped "Extreme Home Makeover" (a favorite of theirs, even though they never watch it) a few weeks ago and they hadn't seen it yet. Sometime near the end of the webinar I asked Kevin to go check on the kids since they seemed awfully quiet. Turns out the makeover show we'd taped had just ended and they were watching whatever TV show had come on after that. Which included soldiers shooting people in Africa over some diamonds. Wow. What can I say? GREAT parenting. They were totally unfazed by it, but we felt HORRIBLE. I don't even like my kids watching cartoons where people fight, much less dramas with people getting shot in the head. I guess now they know the grim realities of diamond mining. OR they think that some really bad stuff went down after the makeover.

--A former classmate of Kevin's competed on Jeopardy last night (and lost.) In fact, it's the same guy who narrowly beat out Kevin for 8th grade valedictorian--I guess he had a couple more A+'s than my husband. Crazy overachievers. (Does anyone else miss Ken on Jeopardy? He was awesome.)

--Alllllll evening I was craving ice cream. And m&ms. And Mike and Ike's. Sadly, we had none of the above. Kevin had taped the basketball game and was up late watching it while I was reading, and sweet man that he is, went to the store at 11pm to get me my butter pecan and candy! He's a good guy, that Kevin.

--So I'm reading an amazing book, God Grew Tired of Us, by one of the "lost boys" of Sudan. And loving it. It's excellent and I really recommend the read. There's also a documentary by the same name, that we've seen the first half of, and will be finishing up soon. Super compelling and heartbreaking, but what an amazing testament to God's provision and the tenacity of the human spirit.

--Yosef peed in his bed. Darn! He'd not had any accidents in a long time, but this morning he and his bed were rather wet. I need to get his bedding washed before I leave tonight.

Okay that's all. I'm really looking forward to the retreat this weekend, but I have a bunch of stuff to get done first. Starting with getting my kids settled for naps! Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let the tapping commence...

because tomorrow I'm going on our church's womens' retreat. I don't really know very many people going. Thankfully my good friend Karen is, otherwise my introverted self would REALLY be panicking right about now!

(Oh and the tapping is in reference to a tactic people apparently use when they're nervous. Compliments of my fabulous friend Jennifer.)

I really am introverted. I like having friends, but I get nervous making friends. I'm really shy, especially in groups, and I think I'm a difficult person to get to know. I also think I give off a bad impression and I've had people think I'm stuck up. But really I'm just intimidated by new social situations and don't want people to think I'm an idiot. So instead, they think I'm a snob. :)

Anyway, I hope I'm not that loser that just lurks around while everyone else has a gay ol' time. But I might just be. (Especially if I drop the word "gay" into conversation like I did just now.) I'll be bringing a book, for sure. And my tapping finger will be ready...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Self-esteem boost

Last night, as I was tucking Anna in, I told her I was so happy that she was my daughter. She told ME she was so happy that I was her mommy. Then I gave her a hug and a kiss. Sweet times.

That's when she said she wanted to smell my cheek. So she did. And proceeded to say,

You kinda smell like a vacuum cleaner. While it's running.

Wow. What more can I say? Kevin assured me that I did NOT smell like our vacuum, but regardless, there is someone out there who thinks I did. So I guess if the next time you see me you're suddenly inspired to clean your floors, you'll know why.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Pregnancy reflections, whining etc.

I'm so tired of hormones. They drive me C R A Z Y.

I get so tired in the afternoons. And feel so grumpy.

And I'm TIRED of feeling tired and grumpy.

I'm craving alcoholic beverages like it's nobody's business. Someone was talking about rum punch on Sunday and I nearly started drooling. I can't stop thinking about margaritas. Or pina coladas. Or midori sours. Even BEER sounds good...and I HATE beer!

My abdomen is growing--and so is the rest of me. Why does everyone else look cute when they're pregnant but I just feel like a big blob of flab?

Dinner doesn't appeal to me AT ALL. I'm hungry for breakfast. And lunch. But come dinnertime, I don't want food. I hate that.

I've had horrible heartburn/indigestion with this pregnancy. My prenatal vitamins make me nauseous.

On the flip side, I love feeling my baby girl thumping around in there. I love thinking about who God made her to be, and how precious she already is to our family and to God.

I am feeling more at peace about this pregnancy and the ultrasound findings from a couple of weeks ago. The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the baby being fine. But above all I know that this is the daughter God is giving us. Whoever she is, however she enters the world, she's our daughter and is just the way she ought to be. I love her already.

So yes I'm horribly grouchy, overly emotional and ridiculously tired. But I am experiencing joy nonetheless. And everytime I feel those kicks and punches I'm reminded of the strong baby girl God is bringing into this world and into our lives. (And wondering how long it'll be before one of those kicks causes me to pee my pants. Probably not long.)

So ultimately life is good.

And It'll be even better when Kevin gets home with Chinese takeout.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Homemaking = hazardous to your health

Is anyone else a complete and utter klutz when they're pregnant? Or just in general? I am totally uncoordinated, but when I'm pregnant, it gets worse. Today I TRIPPED AND FELL. In my own home. (Not to worry, the baby is fine. So is my pride for that matter, because I just don't take myself too seriously and have had my share of spills over the years. Many of them in public. I'm usually the first one to laugh.)

Anyway I was vacuuming the boys' room this morning and went to move a rocking horse...tripping over the vacuum...and falling. Yosef saw it happen and didn't even laugh--he just said, "I've got it, Mom!" and came over, grabbed the horse, and moved it for me. I love his sweet heart!

I also had an incident with bacon grease (ewwwwwww) this morning, which splattered on me and hurt some sensitive areas. I am so not joking. I now don't recommend making breakfast in a flimsy spaghetti-strap pj shirt and sweats. It may be TMI, but people, it hurt.

I DID have a great time at the park with good friends, we got home and my nappers napped while my non-nappers played outside. Now everyone's awake, there's a diaper to change, Kevin's on his way home, and I need to finish vacuuming the playroom and our bedroom. I'm looking forward to a quiet evening at home, and my monthly trek to the flea market tomorrow. (Okay not such a big trek, it's just down in Littleton.)

They say life as an at-home mom can be dull, but I don't know, there's been a little too much adventure around here for one day! At least it gives me something to blog about?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Well that was terrifying

Let it be known that as I was stepping out of the shower and drying off just now, a HUGE MOTH flew at me, then suddenly disappeared. "IS IT ON ME? IS IT ON ME?" Suddenly it flew OFF of me (so yes, yes it was on me) and I enlisted Kevin to catch it and set it free outside.

I detest moths. And all bugs, really. Though I must say I've never been attacked by one while in such a vulnerable state!

Today I cleaned the house and took the kiddies to Target and Costco. Tomorrow I'm meeting some girlfriends at the park. Most of this past week I've been utterly EXHAUSTED, completely emotional/grouchy, and very hungry. (Gotta love pregnancy!) So it was nice to be good and productive today, and I'm looking forward to a great time with friends tomorrow!

How was that for a random blog entry? Ah, a day in the life. :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Heldt Family Clinic :)

They're twins, but oh my goodness, they could not be more different. They are so the odd couple. One is focused, task-oriented, mellow and neat. The other is quirky, flamboyant, outgoing and messy. It's rather entertaining.

Being a mother is really quite fascinating. Sometimes it feels like we have a research clinic where we study things like sibling relationships and family dynamics. I have two sets of biological siblings and neither set is alike--my daughters have very different personalities from one another as well, which was evident from birth.

The great thing is, everyone has a niche in our little family and we really do seek to affirm each individual personality. It can get tricky figuring out how to parent and discipline different types of kids, but it's also super rewarding and a beautiful picture of how God made each of us unique. Not to mention, I get to know and hang out with four very special people!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Women's health?

So does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with modern medicine and technology? I mentioned in my last post that my baby girl has some choroid plexus cysts (CPCs) on her brain. (Fluid pockets basically.) Which in and of themselves aren't bad, but some studies in the past showed a VERY weak correlation between them and Trisomy 18. Now doctors are saying CPCs are a NORMAL part of development for babies (as ultrasound technology gets better, they're seeing them more) and unless your baby has other abnormalities (heart issues, clenched hands that don't open, etc.), it's fine. Some docs don't even mention the cysts if they're isolated (which my baby's are). My doctor did though, and offered me a referral to a perinatologist for a level 2 ultrasound and amniocentesis. Um...no thanks!

Really I think there is some messed up stuff in the medical community. SO MUCH is done on the basis of liability. My doctor says she isn't worried about my baby being born with a fatal chromosome abnormality. Still she had to tell me about the cysts and offer me an invasive test that results in miscarriage in 1 out of 200 cases--simply for my own "peace of mind". Sometimes I wish I had a midwife who didn't do ultrasounds or view things from such a starkly medical perspective, but I am so not down with some of that movement either.

I honestly do really like my doctor, but in my opinion, there are just too many tests/services offered that end up freaking me out and making me worry. Thankfully she TOTALLY respects my going the more natural route (I didn't even do the AFP screening), but for whatever reason offers a lot of extra stuff. I've read through several forums online and women are rushing in for amnios and genetic counseling--when all the latest research shows that CPCs are normal, far more common than once thought, etc. But they're scared and want to know "for sure".

Pregnancy is supposed to be natural, right????? Let's just say I'm both dreading/eagerly anticipating my ultrasound next month. Hoping the baby will still be growing on target (she has been so far), that the cysts are gone, and that the placenta has started shifting. Then I can hopefully take a deep breath and actually enjoy the joy of pregnancy!

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