Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A girl and her ice cream

Yes friends, I came out into the kitchen one morning to find that my two-year-old daughter had taken THREE CARTONS OF ICE CREAM out of the freezer. And was eating them.

Note the wild grin on her face. And the wild hair on her head.

Kaitlyn is insane. And I love her to pieces.

Monday, March 30, 2009


This morning I officially enrolled my daughter in school for next year.


Now granted, she'll mostly be homeschooled and she'll only "go to school" on Mondays. But still. Still she'll be starting a whole new adventure that includes time away from me and from home. She's ready. I'm thrilled for her. But I'm not sure if I'm ready.

It all kind of hit me while I was sitting there in the meeting. Next year I will have a school-aged child. A kindergartner. Every Monday morning I'll drop her off somewhere and leave her there for six hours. She'll make friends and do her own thing and it will be so good for her. But I still say it's a little bittersweet. :)

All of that being said, I am SO EXCITED about this school!!! They offer so many wonderful opportunities, the teachers are excellent, they get to go on fun field trips and do fun things, and it's so family-oriented. Really I am looking forward to it, and I feel so blessed to be able to send my daughter there once a week and homeschool the rest of the time.

It was also super fun seeing some of my friends' kids there this morning, and meeting up with some friends at the meeting whose kids will start next year.

(And it was SO CUTE when Anna and I got home today--you'd think she'd been gone for weeks, she and her brothers acted like they'd missed each other SO much. I have a feeling they'll all be inseperable for the rest of the day!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Support From HIV to Home!

If you're anything like me, you LOVE Lisa Leonard Designs. I own several pieces and adore them. I also know Lisa in "real life" and she's wonderful!

Anyway, go here to bid on this fabulous necklace that Lisa has donated to From HIV to Home. It's up for auction and it's for a great cause!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Consider it brought

Yeah, we're in the middle of a huge blizzard. I'm loving it. The snow just keeps coming and the wind is blowing hard.

Kevin's on his way home from work--he opted to leave early because the weather isn't getting any better--and it's taking forever. I'm glad he decided to head out when he did.

At any rate I'm quite pleased that we finally got a good old-fashioned snowstorm! (And was it really just a few days ago that we sat outside in short sleeves eating lunch?! Gotta love Denver!)

Bring it

We're randomly supposed to get lots of snow today. (As in, 15 inches.) I'm all for it, because this winter was WEAK.

When you move from California to Colorado, people become very concerned. Californians fear snowy climates.

Well, all I have to say is that this past winter was boring. We got about five inches of snow at one time, at the most. Yes it was a bit chilly, but we had some 75 degree days too. I love the seasons. But I felt a little robbed because the winter seemed mild to me. I just kept wondering, is this really what all the fuss was about???

So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!!!! (Right now there is just a VERy light dusting on the ground. If this is all we get I'll be ticked!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't know that I'll be having lunch THERE again...

The weather was BEAUTIFUL yesterday, so after church we went out to lunch. As we were leaving, I was carrying my purse in one hand and holding one of my sons' hands...and Anna was holding onto my knit-fabric pants as we walked through the parking lot...and the next thing I knew she'd tripped and fallen. PULLING MY PANTS DOWN WITH HER.

I really, really hope that people enjoyed my shockingly-white upper legs. And my ratty old undies too. It was quite a show. With a five-year-old's screaming to attract peoples' attention.

Good thing I don't take myself too seriously! I just hiked up my pants, held my head high, and beat a hasty retreat to the car.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My baby is 2

On March 7 Kaitlyn turned 2.

Kaitlyn is feisty, independent, self-assured, and nutty.
When she was born one of the labor and delivery nurses said that she had a Kaitlyn too. And THEN she said this: "Kaitlyn's are sweet. But they're ornery."

How prophetic those words have been!!! Kaitlyn brings such a different dynamic to our family and I love, love love it! She is a fighter, pushed through too many infections in her first year for me to count, and came out on top. She works hard to keep up with her older siblings--so hard, in fact, that she's actually been running the show around here for awhile now.

The kid loves to laugh and loves to talk. Won't tell you ANYthing without adding your name onto the end, to make sure she's being heard by you. ("My diaper's wet, Mama. I have a cookie, Mama. Kiss my owie, Mama..." Makes you acknowledge and kiss even the tiniest owie. Even though she's tough.as.nails. She knows who she is and some people think she's shy but really, she just likes to take it all in first. She can also be very, very, very serious.

SHE LOVES SHARKS. Really. They are her most favorite thing.

Aside from her daddy. Whom she ADORES.

And vegetables. She LOVES veggies. She ALWAYS eats them first and often asks for seconds before even TOUCHING the main course.

I love my baby girl. I guess she's not really a baby anymore, but she sure seems that way to me. During her first several months I remember praying so hard that God would heal her and that she'd be spared from the constant pain and discomfort. Now, you'd never know that she struggled so much and I can see what a strong little person she is.

Happy birthday sweet Kaitlyn! Mommy is so proud of who you are and who you're becoming. Our family would not be NEARly so fun or exciting or joy-filled without you!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A sad day for Ethiopia

Haregewoin Tefarra passed away today.

Read There is No Me Without You for a glimpse into her life and into the impact she's made.

And I dare you to not be forever changed for having read it.

Exciting new opportunity

I am so excited to share that I've decided to accept a volunteer/staff position with an amazing organization, From HIV to Home! It was founded last year by my amazing friend Jennifer and aims to:

partner with in-country, community-based HIV+ orphan care sites
and connect waiting HIV+ orphans with adoptive families.

Pretty neat, huh? During my journey over the past three years or so, this is something I have become quite passionate about and I feel truly honored to get to be a part of it. I'm the Campus Relations Coordinator and I cannot wait to see how it all plays out. Not to mention I'll get to work with some pretty great people, some of whom I've worked with before.

As many of you know I was previously volunteering with another organization (that is doing vital, amazing work in Ethiopia), AHOPE for Children, but there have been several changes in the last few months and I'm not really doing that so much anymore (save for tying up some loose ends.)

At any rate, I'm excited. I cannot tell you the brokenness I feel when I think about the many HIV+ children living without families in developing countries. It is heartbreaking. I also cannot tell you the joy and hope I feel when I see some of these children being united with families through adoption. I am blessed to know many of them personally. Orphan care and the issues surrounding it are complex, but at the end of the day, if I can make a small effort to make a small difference, I want to do it. We all can do something. Really.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. (I am hesitant to even blog this since I haven't technically done anything yet!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sometimes you need to have fun

We were out of diapers AND wipes as of Friday afternoon, so after Kevin got home from work we went to Costco and then to Chili's for dinner. (We had some coupons and really, who likes to cook after you've been out running errands?!)

My kids LOVE eating out. They are so great to take because they sit in their seats, eat their food, and have a good time. All four of 'em.

Friday night they were apparently so good that the waitress kept commenting about it and then said several other customers were saying the same thing. YAY! It can be really hard being so conspicuous all the time and so it's nice when your kids are noticed for something positive.

Anyway, I'd felt so drained that week, and I realized that taking the kids out to dinner really, really helped. It helped me to appreciate them and have a great time with them. I love eating out (we really don't do it all that often) so it's something fun for ME that includes the kids. Because they generally do so well at restaurants it's not stressful in the least. In fact, it's actually pretty relaxing.

Totally boosted my spirits and reminded me that it's really important to pursue fun things with my kids, especially if I've been feeling discouraged. Because I'm always reminded what amazing little people they are and how blessed I am to have them as my children!!!

(And in the name of having fun, yesterday afternoon we all went to the zoo and got to spend a long, amazing, uninterrupted time with the gorillas. One of them was really mad because another adult there was provoking him--it wasn't us, I promise! Anyway it was SO neat, but I felt SO bad for the gorillas. What a lame existence--instead of roaming free, they have to live in an exhibit where weird people come and gawk at them all day. It just seems cruel. After the zoo Kevin wanted to take us out for Ethiopian food, yay! Super yummy though slightly more stressful as you sit at mesobs not tables and you're there a long time, so the kids DID get restless--they weren't bad, just restless. :) But the food was great!!! We hadn't had it since January. Wow I guess we ate out twice this weekend. That is definitely NOT the norm!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

My busy week and a link

If I owe you an email or phone call, and if you've noticed I haven't been posting much: I am behind in just about everything right now. The past week has been filled with kids' doctor appointments, getting caught up on immunizations etc. etc. And the appointments just keep multiplying...Yosef and Biniam now also need to see the dermatologist, and Biniam has to go to the eye doctor, and have a bunch of labwork done...and all four kids are going to the dentist in about a week and a half...whew!!! I am totally cool with medical appointments, I got used to them when Kaitlyn was so sick her first year, and they make for great bonding/"special date with Mommy" time, but they definitely wear me out too.

I've admittedly felt a bit overwhelmed with life in general lately. A little "in way over my head" and I'm beginning to doubt the logic/wisdom/sanity in my decision to homeschool next year. (The constant drop offs and pickups with multiple children in tow don't sound too hot either though. What's a mom to do?!) Also I feel like my kids haven't been getting along the best lately and I wonder if homeschooling rather than public schooling would exacerbate the problem. Do they need more individualized space? (Yes I coined that term.) Or is it just a phase? Sigh.

Anyway today I read the following post that I related to in so many ways. I think it's really challenging and thought-provoking. So I'm sharing it, instead of coming up with something to post myself, because I'm frazzled. :) Have a great weekend! (Thanks Mary for posting the link!!!)

Why my life is better since becoming open to life

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wanted: makeover

Lately I feel like I need some sort of a makeover. Not sure why, just feeling all around frumpy and boring. (This COULD have something to do with the fact that I'm horribly behind on laundry and therefore my clothing options are somewhat limited. Maybe.) I'd thought I'd try growing my hair out a little, but as always happens when I attempt to do that...it looks awful while it's growing out and I wear it in a ponytail all the time. Not to mention it's so thick and wavy that I always conclude I have no business having medium-to-long length hair anyway. And then I cut it. Which begs the question of why did I grow it out in the first place?!

What a strange post. But I guess that's blogging, giving the masses a peek into your peculiar, semi-to-non-functional brain! :) Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 09, 2009

City or country?

Well glad to know it's not just me that feels strongly about my Mexican food. :) Thanks so much for all the recommendations!!! Can't wait to try 'em.

Can I just say how much I heart living in the city? This morning I drove through downtown, past the state capitol building, past the US Mint, various museums etc. I love the energy and the people and the big huge buildings. Our neighborhood isn't in a super urban area but we're only 10 minutes from downtown, and I love that. We ARE within walking distance of a historic old street filled with quaint shops, boutiques, bakeries, pubs, coffee and ice cream shops etc. I love anytime we get to go there.

This is the biggest city I've ever lived in, by far. And I've decided that I'm both city AND country, but NOT in-between-y. I grew up on 12 acres and LOVED it. I love the idea of living in the country. But I love living in the city too. I DIDN'T as much like living in towns that weren't near any big cities but weren't rural either (we lived in Santa Barbara, SLO, and Santa Maria when we were in California). So I think if we ever wanted to move out of the city, it would be to live on a bunch of acres or something. But I don't see that happening, because we are quite happy here!

It's been nearly a year that we've been in Denver and it cracks me up to think we made an offer on this house sight-unseen (hey, we could rescind the offer once the house was inspected if we wanted) in a city neighborhood we didn't know a ton about, save for some research I did. Okay, I did a lot of research. But still.

Turns out that so far, we couldn't be happier with our choice. Really. The house has been a lot of work but we've added some value to it and the location is great. The neighborhood is wonderful and we feel like the "culture" of Denver is a good fit for us overall.

So three cheers for the city! And how about you--are you a city person or a country person or an in-between person?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

?Que es "Mountain Mex"?

So, dinner tonight. Kevin was wanting Indian food, but I was really wanting Mexican, so we decided to try out Hacienda Colorado, which I've heard good things about. We show up, and I order what I almost always order: a cheese enchilada and chile relleno. I guess we've had a lot of Mexican food over the years so I've ordered this many a time, at various places. We're from California, after all.

Well the waitress proceeded to ask me what sauce I wanted: green sauce, queso (which I had literally never heard of until moving to Colorado), ranchero sauce, red chile sauce...and I'm thinking...I want whatever red sauce comes on enchiladas and chile rellenos, I have no clue what it's called, but you can't put queso on them!

When the food showed up, my chile rellenos looked like egg rolls, and tasted that way too. The batter they used and the way they made it was precisely how you'd make an egg roll...huh?

At the end of the meal when we were paying our bill, we noticed on the receipt that underneath "Hacienda Colorado" it said "Mountain Mex." Huh??? Here all along I thought it would be Mexican food, but turns out it's Mountain Mex. What IS Mountain Mex?

SOOOOOO, my question for all you Denver readers is...where can we get good, authentic Mexican food in this city??? This was the second "Mexican" restaurant we've tried in Denver and both times I was disappointed. Am I just a "California-Mexican food-snob"? Are we too close to the midwest to get authentic Mexican food?

!Dicen que no es así, Joe!

We had a blast though. The kids were great and Kevin and I had fun being together at a restaurant. Yay for surprise dates with the fam!!!

Fun night

I just got an email from my husband.
Who said he was leaving work for the day.
And that I should be ready to be taken out to dinner tonight.
And that he'd get the kids all ready to go too.
I'm so excited.
I love sweet surprises like this.
He is so thoughtful.
Now off to take a shower and get ready!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Nothing to say but I'm saying it anyway

I just had a tea party with Anna and Kaitlyn.

This afternoon the kids and I are going to a birthday party. At a park. It is GORGEOUS in Denver right now, LOVing the weather!

Kevin's been at an engineering conference all week up in Longmont. (He just drives back and forth each day.) He was actually one of the presenters. Today is the last day. He didn't come home until 7 pm Monday night...that was too long of a day for this mama! I'm so spoiled living here as Kevin typically gets home around 4:30 each day.

My in-laws just left to go back to California this morning as they'd been visiting since Friday. My kids miss them already!

I'm still undecided on curriculum for Anna's schooling next year. Do I go with FIAR and then Story of the World/WTM or do I scrap those choices and do Sonlight (using the library and only buying the instructor's guide) instead? I might just be the world's most indecisive person.

I am behind in my reading/homework for the class Kevin and I are taking through church. This will prove to be one busy weekend!

A sweet friend just emailed me a recipe for homemade Candy Cane Joe Joes. OH YEAH. Can't WAIT to make them!

My sister-in-law Facebooked yesterday about drinking Dr. Pepper. Ever since then I've been wanting some. I LOVE Dr. Pepper. (And you're right Rachel, it's WAY better out of a can than a bottle! It's good out of the soda fountain too.)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Something ELSE odd about Colorado

So apparently this weekend is the Frozen Dead Guy Festival or something. No joke. There's a town around here that supposedly has a dead man on ice, frozen since 1933 when he died?! Each year the town has a festival where thousands of people show up for various festivities, including coffin races. Interesting.

You also might find it interesting that this positively fascinates me and I am quite tempted to go check it out. I'm weird. My lifelong dream is to tour a morgue (not sure if I'd have the courage to follow through on this...but I'm curious.)

This afternoon I got an evite to a Frozen Dead Guy Days party. Doubt we can go (because we have the kids) but you can be assured that if a magic fairy/nanny showed up at our house at 7 pm Friday night, we'd be there. (And if Kristen lived here I'd bring her along. It seems like something she'd get a kick out of!)

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