Friday, February 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday {#22}

1.)  Now that we're through with LOST (sniff, sniff), we've begun cycling back through another favorite of ours, Frasier.  Oh my goodness, I love this show!  We usually watch an episode before going to bed.  And, it's hysterical.

2.)  I've been wondering lately what evangelical authors wrote about before it became vogue to attack the modern American church.  It seems just about out there these days is laying out the problem (materialism, nationalism, greed) and giving the solution (give more, care more).  Are people recognizing a valid problem in evangelicalism, or do we attempt to reinvent the wheel with each new generation of evangelicals?  Don't get me wrong, I've read some great books in this genre, and I DO think we will ALways need to fight our own greed and inclination to insulate ourselves from the pain and suffering of others, but a particular book I recently read got me thinking.  In part because it was written by someone advocating sacrifice and trading in your high paying job for service to the poor, yet this particular person is currently pulling down a 300k-a-year salary.  Isn't it easy to point a finger at others and say, "THEY're not giving enough of their money away, or helping the least of these", while we're totally doing the same thing?  Let's be honest: what percentage of us are actually selling off all of our posessions (furniture, clothes, IPODs, cell phones, fancy gadgets) and sending the profits to fight Malaria?  While I do think a life of intentional poverty is a particular call for some (monasticism for example), I DON'T think the intention is for all of us to live that way.  And I DO believe in the virtues of frugality and simplicity, but with all the finger pointing going on, I just really have to wonder how much is cloaked in hypocrisy.

3.)  Homeschooling lately has been so discouraging.  Partially because I've been so sick and we've gotten out of our routine, but also because I feel stressed out that my sons are not reading fluently yet.  I know it's just Kindergarten, but I feel very uneasy about the whole thing.  It's hard being a mom sometimes!  I really do believe it's still the best option for our family right now, and I know in my head that sticking my kids into a huge classroom full of other kids and distractions isn't going to automatically get them reading, but it's tempting to believe I'm doing it all wrong.

4.)  Speaking of homeschooling, I'm reading George Mueller's biography to the kids right now.  (Alternating between learning about the saints, and reading missionary biographies that I can get behind.  :)  )  Anyway, the book is good, but I can't help but feel like George always brushes off his wife's concerns.  And this wife doesn't like that!  :)  I know he's wanting to do all this stuff for God, but he also vowed before God to love and honor his wife.  Something I'm liking about his story is his reliance on God--abolishing the practice of pew renting, for example, and trusting God will provide for his needs another way.

5.)  Does anyone else get extremely angry when their child makes strategical mistakes while playing a game?  Maybe that's just me.

6.)  Today for History, we read about the bull-jumpers of Crete.  And in the corresponding children's encyclopedia depicting said leaping-over-bulls, the people were not wearing clothes.  Um, SERIOUSLY?!  No wonder most of them didn't live past the age of 20.  Yikes!

7.)  A dear, sweet friend is bringing me soup today.  I am SO excited.  I love me some soup.  So I need to go get my shower taken before she gets here.  Happy Friday!

Do your own Quick Takes.  Link to Conversion Diary.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nostalgic night out

I'm prefacing this post by saying that oh my goodness, I am a nerdI know that.  If you didn't, you know now.  As you're reading this post, feel free to refer back to this top paragraph, in case you get confused.  :)

Several months ago I found out that an old favorite singer of mine from childhood, Kathy Mattea, was coming to Denver.  She was going to be playing a mere 12 minutes away from my house.  And I knew I just HAD to go.  My husband wasn't really interested, plus that would have meant finding a sitter, so I just bought the one ticket.

See, here's the thing about me:  I LOVE concerts, and I have no qualms about going to concerts alone.  In fact, I've been to many a show by myself, mostly at the California Mid-State Fair , or sometimes at the local university's performing arts center (also in California).  If I wanted to see someone, and no one else I knew did, I would go on my own.  I figure you go to enjoy the music anyway.  There's nothing like sitting peacefully and hearing your favorite songs live, and you certainly don't need a buddy with you to do that.

I've seen Kathy Mattea in concert several times before, the last time being when I was 15.  So, it's been fourteen years.  I also got to meet her after that particular show.  She was seriously the nicest lady ever.  Super sweet, down to earth, and extremely witty. 

Anyway, the ticketing for the Denver show was general admission, and I wasn't sure how early I needed to get there to score a good seat.  SO, armed with a bunch of coughdrops and a roll of toilet paper for my nose (I have bronchitis, remember), I set out, uh, a bit early.  And let's just say I got there, and no one else was really there, and I got asked if I was there to work the show.  No, I assured the man (who works for the venue, NOT for the artist), I was just there early for the concert (because, let's face it, I'm an idiot). 

This is when he fairly assumed I was some weird groupie or something.  He wanted to know if I liked country music (a very little bit, I told him, but Kathy Mattea is more folk anyway), if I wanted to meet her because HE had just been tidying up the green room blah blah blah (I can wait until after the show, thanks, and I'm not really that impressed with your job), and then he ended by telling me the good thing is I had plenty of time before the show to "get plastered."  (The thought of getting falling-down drunk at a Kathy Mattea show struck me as quite humorous.  Too bad he was serious.)

Finally they started seating people, and I did get a great seat, thank-you-very-much.  And as people started trickling in, I began to look around, and noticed...I am literally the only person here under 55.

That is not an exaggeration.

I'm not joking.

This is not an incidence of me using hyperbole to make a point on my blog.

Without a doubt, every.single.person.there. was a senior citizen.  Except for me.  I guess Kathy's demographic has changed, because back in the day when she was a little more commercialized and mainstream, there was a pretty wide variety of ages at her shows.  Not so much anymore.  Most likely because her latest album, "Coal", was a folk project to bring awareness to the practice of coal mining in Appalachia.  Lots of covers of old folk artists' songs.  Which clearly attract an older set of fans.

I felt like I was on the set of A Mighty Wind.

And let's face it, I'm perpetually stuck in the '90s with the pop-influenced "Love Travels" and "Walking Away a Winner."  Anyway. 

Age be darned, I have to confess that as the lights went down and she came out and strapped on her guitar, I was filled with excitement.  

When she busted out "18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses", and we all got to sing along, I was in heaven.

And when she was taking requests, and a man behind me kept calling out the name of a song that isn't hers, I wanted to crawl in a hole.

***I also spent the entire two-hour show trying not to cough, and discreetly blowing my nose.  My apologies to those sitting around me who will now always associate her music with the scent of cough drops.  I'm well aware that when she sang the song "Black Lung", I could have totally gone onstage and demonstrated.

And afterwards, yes, I went and met her like the true getting-there-two-hours-early groupie that I am, and it was super fun getting to tell her I've loved her music since I was a little kid.  She really is a very friendly, kind person and it felt like I was seeing an old friend again.  I had to ask some people I didn't know to take our picture because, well, I was there by myself.  :) 

So yes, I had a fabulous time, and I have to say that the venue was AMAZING!  She performed in a super old church (over a hundred years old) that was originally a Christian Science church, but now belongs to a nondenominational church who rents it out for shows.  It was just gorgeous inside.

Yep, my night out rocked.  In spite of my bronchitis, and in spite of my uncomfortable shoes, and in spite of the awkward guy who wanted me to get drunk at the concession stand.

Music is timeless.  And next time I'm dragging Kevin along!

(I just tried to find the old picture of Kathy and I, but couldn't.  Darn.  And I may or may not have fallen down in the garage looking for them.  I DID however find photos of me chugging Mountain Dew at the grocery store, stuffing my face with ice cream in Kansas City, and posing with my various 4-H and FFA projects.  I'm thinking I need to do some "blast from the past" posts soon!  That, and I need to work on my balance.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Responsibility vs. extended adolescence

I read this article today. 

And found it positively fascinating.

It's about men, but there could surely be an analagous article about women.

The whole extended adolescence thing never appealed to me (in myself or in others.)  I enjoyed my childhood, but readily embraced marriage and motherhood at ages 20 and 22, respectively. 

No, I don't think that was too young.  In fact, it is one of the best decisions I ever made.  I don't feel I missed out on anything (barhopping?  roommate drama?  fleeting career success?), and I believe my life has had great meaning at every stage.  I married my first boyfriend, the first man I ever loved.

Certainly not everyone is meant to marry before they can legally drink, but something seems amiss when a large portion of adults are more or less dating around and completely uninterested in any sort of serious commitment.  Life is about fun and hooking up and partying and maybe being in a relationship, but not a relationship that is actually GOing anywhere.

Some people are freaked out by the idea of marriage, but I was more afraid of the scene I just described.

When Kevin and I started dating, it was really more of a courtship.  I was 19, and he was 20, and we started pursuing a relationship to see if we should get married.  Once Kevin decided we should, he took my parents out to dinner (unbeknownst to me) and asked for my hand.  Maybe that seems ridiculously serious or even desperate for two kids in college, but it was quite the opposite.  Both of us were independent people, but we felt we were at a place where we could consider such things, and thought that we'd found something pretty great in each other.  And partly because of our commitment to chastity, we would not have dated/courted if we weren't within striking distance of wanting to marry.

Nearly nine years of marriage in, I'd say that yes, we found something incredibly priceless.  I'm especially glad that we found it when we did.  I think people have this idea that it's objectively best to wait as long as possible to marry, but I'm not so sure about that when  you consider the fact that the divorce rate has gone up right along with the average age of marriage.  Neither of us set out to marry young, but when we met, we discovered that it was time.

Where do we all end up in life, anyway?  Most of us--not all, but most--wind up married and raising children.  I think it would behoove us to prepare our children for that very thing, for the responsibilities that go along with it, and encourage them to pursue the virtues they'll need to be a good spouse/parent.  That doesn't mean they'll marry super young, or at all, but it's good training just the same.  Mostly I think it's about living life with purpose, intentionally, and becoming the person of virtue that God wants you to be.  The vocation of marriage (which includes parenthood) is the crucible God designed for many of us, through which to make us holy. 

Don't get me wrong: I DON'T think anyone should "rush" into marriage OR take it lightly (I certainly didn't), but I do think we should perhaps examine our priorities and how we're raising our kids.  Good food for thought, no?

Monday, February 21, 2011

From my couch

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here.

And still fighting for the health of my poor, sad bronchial tubes.  :)

By God's grace I was somehow able to rally and throw my daughter a birthday party on Saturday.  I was dragging, but it was so totally worth it.

Then that night I also may have, um, gone to a concert.  Yes, I know, brilliant when you're fighting off a nasty illness.  But I'd bought my ticket months ago, the show was less than 15 minutes away from my house, and I knew I'd regret not going...even if it set me back a little.  (Which, coupled with the party earlier in the day, surely did.  Because yesterday I felt like death.  Whatevs.  It was worth it.)

But I've since resumed my position on the couch, I snuck TWO naps in today, and my cough is better than it's been in awhile.  SO I'm hopefully back to making progress. 

Sadly I've been neglecting my poor blog, I guess because I've been short on inspiration.  (I know, you're just DYING to hear all about my wracking cough, and my favorite type of chicken noodle soup, and about how I slather vaseline on my nose at night to keep it from getting too sore from all the blowing.)  All it takes is being sick for awhile to discover that the internet is a horribly dull and boring place, TV is completely and utterly worthless, and it's depressing being isolated from civilization for weeks at a time.  I am a textbook introverted-homebody, but OH my goodness, this is getting a bit ridiculous.

It reminds me of when I had mono in 2008, although the nice thing about that was, we lived in a new town in a new state, we didn't know too many people, and we really had no commitments.  But now I feel like I'm constantly missing out on things, which I am, and we DO have commitments, which I'm either blowing off or attempting to fulfill in my sorry state.  Yesterday for example three of our kids were invited to two different birthday parties.  So we divided and conquered and I actually took a shower and got ready, because I hate disappointing my sweet kiddos. 

I truly do believe God gives us the grace we need for the task at hand.  I'm so happy I got to have a celebration for my daughter's seventh birthday, and that I dragged myself out of the house for the concert--which was wonderful even if I was the only person there under 55--I will share more about soon.  I'm glad my kids got to attend birthday parties for their friends yesterday.  I've been so frustrated that I'm basically spending February as a partial invalid (I say partial because, let's face it, on the couch or not I still have five kids to wrangle), but when I think about it, there have been some bright spots too!

The best part of today, for example, was teaching Mary Lu how to play peekaboo.  Picture her saying "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" really loud while covering her MOUTH, not her eyes, with her sweet little hands.  Precious.

Anyway, I hope you're having a wonderful, bronchitis-free week so far...and if not, I HIGHLY recommend the fresh, hot chicken noodle soup from Whole Foods. 

It's ALmost worth being sick just to have it. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

I have bronchitis.

The frequent cough. 

The hoarse voice. 

The exhaustion.

I also have a little girl who is supposed to be having her seventh birthday party on Saturday.  Her very first drop-off party.  With sweet friends and family.

Not sure if that's happening now.

I'm resting like crazy, trying to kick this thing.

I'm much better today than I was yesterday or two days ago, but I'm definitely not 100%.

Then there are some new friends we've been trying to get together with for dinner.  Who I've already had to cancel with on account of sickness.  Who now I'll have to put off indefinitely.  Awkward.

I had to blow off my volunteer commitment to lunch duty today at the kids' school.  We all stayed home.  I know I put the school in a bad position (even though I let them know yesterday), but I couldn't find a replacement, and I literally couldn't go.  I've been stressed out about that all day long.  (I'm a hopeless people pleaser.)

And my boys missed singing their Spanish song onstage today.  That makes me so, so sad.

I don't like being sick, especially indefinitely.  I don't like having to cancel commitments, I don't like not showing up to stuff, and I don't like having to make a decision about whether or not to go through with my kid's birthday party they've been looking forward to.

Basically I'm a big huge whiner today.  You'd think that having five kids, I'd be a little more capable of rolling with life's random punches.  In the grand scheme of things this is SO not a big deal.  At all.  But still I'm bummed.  I think primarily because I don't like disappointing other people.  Ugh, I have issues!  :)

Anyway, if you hear faint coughing in the distance, it's probably me, and you can say a prayer that I beat this thing in the next 24 hours.  Totally realistic, right?  :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

5 years ago today

Yes, that is me in 2006 meeting my little boys for the very first time!


And here they are now.

Yosef and Biniam are athletic, smart, silly, kind, handsome boys.

As different as night and day, but twins just the same.

So proud to know them, much less be their mama.

And I met them five years ago today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Me and my Valentine: through the years

Today marks my eleventh Valentines Day celebrated with Kevin, our ninth being married.

I love being married!

There is no one, NO one, I'd rather be with.  Not even close.  We're best friends, and our relationship has only grown over the past several years. 

I pretty much knew when we started dating that we would get married. 

When I look back on those days, I have such fond memories of joint trips to the grocery store, the occasional dinner out, walking downtown, laughing hysterically, seeing each other at church.

Now our days are spent raising kids and going to work, respectively, but we still do plenty of laughing.  I thought it would be fun to re-visit each of our Valentines Days with a photo of us from that time period.  It's always fun to look back!

2001.  Our first Valentines Day that we were dating, Kevin surprised me by going in to my work long before I got there to leave me a pretty plant on my desk and scatter lots of chocolates around etc.  He also bought and filled out an entire box of Winnie the Pooh valentine cards and scattered them all over my desk and my car too.  That night he made me dinner and dessert, and sang me a sweet song he'd written for me.  (This photo was taken a few months after VDay that year, but it's from the same era, so we'll call it good.  :)  Look how young!  And how curly my hair was.  Yes, it's naturally that way.  No, I  never really do it curly anymore.  But I should.  It's fun!)

2002.  Our second shared Valentines Day is one I'll ALways remember.  We were engaged, and two days BEFORE Valentines Day I got to my car after class to find Kevin standing there with a dozen red roses.  I was so confused!  Basically, he had class late ON Valentines Day so had thought we'd celebrate early.  Hmmm, part of me didn't like that as much (who wants to sit home on the actual February 14th when you have an eligible date?) so we went out twice.  Ha!  Chinese food on February 12th (Golden China, to this day the best Chinese restaurant I've ever been to), and then an Italian restaurant (right next to the Palm Theater, can't remember the name) on V-Day.  Again, above photo NOT taken on Valentines Day, it was from a couple of months before.

2003.  Our third Valentines Day we were married, and Kevin got us reservations at The Harbor restaurant in Santa Barbara...yum!!!  I ordered the macadamia nut-crusted halibut with the coconut cream sauce and felt super fancy.  (Photo from our actual wedding day.)

2004.  Our fourth Valentines Day we spent at HOME with our precious newborn little girl, born just four days earlier!  I think we took a walk around the block, her first trip in the stroller.  I remember being new parents and being paranoid that something was going to happen to our precious baby outside.  That was our best Valentines Day yet, for sure.  (This picture was taken a week before Anna was born, so a week or so before V-Day.)

2005.  The fifth Valentines Day I don't remember as well.  I am sure that we ordered food in and enjoyed a cozy night together at home, once we put the baby down.  Love that.  (This photo is from a cruise we took to Mexico around that time--well, technically seven months later, but who's counting?  We were literally the only sober people on the ship.  And my eyes were bright red because of all the cigarrette smoke.  I guess we didn't get the memo that we were supposed to be partying like it's 1999.)

2006.  Our sixth Valentines Day we were in Rome.  Yes, Rome.  Sitting in a re-fueling airplane.  While Italian employees went up and down the aisles vacuuming and calling out "rubbish?  rubbish?"  I told Kevin as we sat on the runway that we'd always be able to say we spent Valentines Day 2006 in Rome, and we laughed.  Then the plane took off again.  We were headed to Ethiopia.  To pick up our sons.  Another incredibly memorable February 14th.

2007.  The seventh Valentines Day I was quite pregnant with Kaitlyn, and I remember taking our three little kids over to the neighborhood park.  I'm sure that night we did our standard take-out food after the kids' bedtime.  One of our favorite dates for sure.

2008.  Our eighth Valentines Day together we all got fast food.  Simple, but that's how we roll sometimes.  Oh okay, that's how we roll MOST of the time.  :)

2009.  The ninth Valentines Day Kevin bought me a pound of Sees Chocolates, YUM!, and we all went out to dinner as a family.  Love.  (I was actually pregnant in this photo, with the baby we lost.)

2010.  Our tenth Valentines Day, last year, we went out for Chinese food after church and spent the day together, relaxing at home.

2011.  This year, we're all still recovering from our nasty colds and so the day will be low key.  But I get to spend it with my Valentine (well, once he gets home from work), and it doesn't get much better than that!

Happy Valentines Day to my special Valentine, Kevin!  We've enjoyed some amazing years!  I love you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blogging: mundane or inspired?

Do you have a blog? 

If so, is it just as hard for you to come up with things to blog about as it is for me?

Goodness, some days (most?) I feel like I have positively nothing to say.

Maybe that's when I'm trying too hard.  I don't know.  I have to admit that when it comes to other peoples' blogs, I often prefer the mundane, random-ish posts to the more planned-out ones.

Sometimes it seems I have nothing to share.  I don't craft, my home is nothing special, and I don't like controversy enough to post my assorted opinions.  (Goodness knows I have them!)

And who is my audience, anyway?  What is my blogosphere niche?  My blog has grown considerably in the last year or so and I'd like to continue growing it.  I admittedly love blogging.  There.  I said it.

But NOT because I have grand things to say, but because it's such a wonderful way to connect, and I DO want to be available as a resource to people.  I love when I get emails asking me about:

medical needs adoption
Down syndrome
openness to life
life with a slew of kids
historic Christianity

So maybe that's my random niche.  :)  I don't know.  But I love that we're connecting and dialoguing about important--and even some fun--stuff.

I used to see myself as an adoption blogger.

In other words, that was the main thing I'd try to blog about.

I even reflected on this somewhat recently.

But I've come to see things as much broader than that.

A huge part of my heart, to be sure, but NOT necessarily the main thing I choose to focus on.

Now don't get me wrong, I want people to adopt waiting children.  Desperately.

But the choice to pursue the adoption of a child with medical needs, or developmental delays, or who is older, does not happen in a vacuum.

No, it is the result of a complex worldview, and of hope, and of the meeting of various desires and convictions.

It's so much more dynamic and, well, living than that.

What better way to reflect the entire process than open up my life to you?

Not to mention, I want you to know me just because, and our adoption (or the receiving of the gift of any of our children), cannot be understood out of context.

So those are my ramblings for today.  All of this to say that I'm going to try and do a better job of being inspired by the simple things around me, and do more sharing about the mundane, and maybe giving little glimpses into my fun thrift store finds.  :)

And for starters, how about this:  last Sunday I was at the thrift store, and found the game Seinfeld Scene It, in mint condition, for $2.99.  Oh happy day!  I came home SO excited.  Kevin and I have already played it several times.  We are both too good for it (yes I'm bragging, because it's not too much of a challenge, being that apparently we're Seinfeld scholars), but it's FUN.  And if you live in the Denver area, you are hereby cordially invited to come over some time and lose--er, I mean, play.  :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday {#21}

1.)  We are still a house full of sickies.  Ugh.  Yesterday all three of my biggest kids were too sick to go to school...which meant they missed out on exchanging valentines.  SO SAD!  Thankfully though, with five children, we always have a quorum for a party, so they seemed satisfied with us having our own Valentine's Day party here on February 14th.  Whew!

2.)  Yesterday was of course also Anna's birthday.  We made cupcakes (even though she said she felt too sick to eat one!), and otherwise just lounged around trying to get well.  No doubt the highlight of her day was opening gifts from grandparents after "dinner" (all the invalids wanted was a partial tortilla.  I'm not complaining!)  Lots of clothes, books, and a Calico Critter house.  The best part of MY day was surely Anna being so excited any time someone around here wished her a happy birthday (which, in our family, is OFTEN), and then telling her birth story that evening and looking at photos of when she was born.  I was young and my face was swollen and red but I was blissfully in love.  (And if I wasn't so terribly lazy, I'd scan the photo and show you.  Maybe someday.)

3.)  I'm currently reading a library book that smells oh-so-strongly of cigarrette smoke.  Good thing I'm almost finished with it--I've always been really sensitive to second-hand smoke, it makes my eyes itch, etc.  But I'm devoted and committed to sticking with it.  So, smoke be darned, my task-orientedness is winning out.  (Extra ironic that it is an interview with the Pope.  I find this amusing.)

4.)  For dinner last night I had some Lucky Charms.  I NEVER, ever eat junky cereals.  Kevin buys them for himself.  The kids don't eat them either.  BUT, I wasn't feeling well, so Lucky Charms it was.  And it was such a fun treat!  Not bad when you're sick.

5.)  I'm getting my annual calls from the Cal Poly Psychology Department this week.  (Read about last year's call here.)  Every year now some girl from the department calls, most likely on her fifth Red Bull of the night, asking me questions about my university experience, inevitably leading up to begging me for money.  (Yes, begging.  It always culminates in begging.)  I love when it comes out that I didn't actually graduate, that my time at Cal Poly was not the very best part of my whole entire life (though I had a good time), and that I'm not using my degree-I-don't-have because I' at-home-mom.  It's HILARIOUS because they don't have a great script for someone like me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm polite and all that, but NO one could match the enthusiasm of these people, and it's downright awkward when they PRETEND that it's cool that I'm "just" a mom.  AND, notice that at the beginning of this paragraph I said "calls"--yes, I'm getting multiple calls, one a night, because I'm sick and just not up to answering the questions.  So I hang up.  Kevin thinks this is incredibly rude.  But I used to be a telemarketer, and to be honest, I preferred a hang-up to having to awkwardly find a way out of a conversation.  You just go on to the next call.  When I'm feeling better, I'll answer the person's questions.  I'm rather looking forward to it!

6.)  We've had some snow lately.  A bit of a storm, in fact, with the wind whistling and the snow blowing.  I love it!  I'm looking forward to Spring and Summer, but I'm NOT one of those people jealous of 70 degree February days in Florida or California.  I LOVE seasons.  I love how hot summers make you long for cozy winters, and vice-versa.  I'd never want to go back to living in a super mild climate.

7.) My kids are definitely on the mend--the VOLUME in this house this morning is the loudest it's been in days.  It's hilarious.  So glad they're starting to feel better, but I have to admit I enjoyed the quiet too!

***Do your Quicktakes.  Link to Conversion Diary.  Have a happy Friday.  :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


My oldest is SEVEN today.  Seven.

Which means that seven years ago today our lives were changed for good.

In the best.possible.way.

We fell head over heels in love with this girl from the moment we knew she existed: June 22, 2003. 

See, it happened to be our one-year wedding anniversary when we learned she was on the way.

Incidentally, the best anniversary EVER.  Hands-down.

My first-born was a great, undeserved, profound gift from God. 

She has been a delight from day one. 

She taught me how to be a mom.  (I was only 22 when she was born!)

She laughs really hard and gives fantastic hugs. 

She is a fabulous older sister with a great capacity for compassion. 

She loves Jesus and wants to follow Him. 

Anna Elisabeth is a joy.

And a total goofball.  In case you didn't know.  :)

So, a Happy Birthday to my beautiful seven year old, Anna Beth!  I love you, sweet girl!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

First steps!

I'm so excited to share that a week and a half ago, little miss Mary Lu took her VERY FIRST STEPS!  Woohoo! 

It was so, so special because dear friends were over (two wonderful couples we are blessed to know).  And the 7-year-old son of one of our friends set Mary down, on her feet, and told her to walk, while my other friend (pictured above with Mary) held out her arms.  And, well, Mary walked!  SO exciting!

Mary is still so small for her age, and even though she meets all her milestones, she seems to meet them a little later than expected.  (Except for crawling, which she did incredibly early.  So weird.)  She is just wanting to soak up being a baby, I think--and that is probably not surprising considering the way she is constantly doted on by her older siblings.  :)  Anyway, it made those first solo steps that much more special I think!    

So proud of my little Mary Lu Lu!

Friday, February 04, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday {#20}

1.)  My sister-in-law has been visiting from California, thus the lack of blogging due to the fun we are having.  I'd hoped to take her out to do some things around Denver, but due to the yucky, freezing cold weather and snow, we've mostly been hanging out around here.  Playing cards, acting as referees to my many small, tired, overstimulated children, and eating frosted animal cookies. 

2.)  Yesterday it took us nearly TWO HOURS to make it home from picking up the kids from school.  Yes, what is normally a 35 minute trip amounted to almost 120 minutes.  Ouch.  All on account of the weather, I suppose, though there is no reason the traffic should have been that bad.  There WAS a bit of entertainment along the way, however, when a semi-truck driver holding up an extremely profane, sleazy sign began honking at my afore-mentioned sister-in-law (sitting in the passenger seat.)  Sheesh!

3.)  Tonight we're going out for Ethiopian food.  SO excited.  Yum!

4.)  Doesn't Target have the sweetest Valentines Day decor???  Oh my goodness.  So, so, so fun.  I am loving Target these days.

5.)  I have all these ideas about getting on a schedule--getting up at a certain time, getting ready for the day, etc.--but it is SO hard to be motivated enough to implement it!  I think I'd enjoy it, but I can't imagine voluntarily rolling out of bed before 7:30.  No, I am not a morning person. 

6.)  My daughters like wearing dresses and skirts.  No matter the weather.  Thank goodness for warm knit tights!

7.)  I scored a 6-light brass chandelier on Craigslist last weekend for only $12!!!  Woohoo!  Now if the weather would just get warm enough so I could spray paint the heck out of it!


Do your quick takes.  Link to Conversion Diary.  And have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Conference re-cap

Well friends I did indeed survive the conference last Saturday.  :)

Not only survived, but enjoyed.

I came away refreshed, encouraged, inspired and challenged.

It was so fun listening to, and meeting, Kimberly Hahn.  I have enjoyed her books, and her husband's books, for the past couple of years.  (Scott Hahn is a formerly-Protestant-but-now-Catholic-apologist.  Kimberly Hahn is a formerly-Protestant-but-now-Catholic author and speaker.  You can read about their reconciliation to the Catholic Church in Rome Sweet Home.)  We are regularly saying, "I read such-and-such in Scott Hahn's book".  SO, it was pretty neat meeting Kimberly in person, and she was so nice and gracious in spite of my blathering on about how I appreciated her book and how she and her husband have been helpful to us on our spiritual journey, yadda, yadda, yadda.  She even was willing to take a picture with me.  (Don't mind the ladder in the background--I assure you we weren't doing home repairs!)

I also really enjoyed the session led by a local priest.  His talk was excellent.  All about Jesus entering into our mess.

And I'd never actually heard the "Hail Mary" recited before.  It was said several times over the course of the day.  And it was beautiful.

In spite of my social anxiety fears :) , I was incredibly blessed by some wonderful, friendly women.  A huge THANK YOU to Cynthia, a sweet blog reader here(!), who went out of her way to connect me with her friend Marie who was attending the conference.  I'd no sooner gotten my coffee and muffin and was wandering around (awkwardly, I am sure) looking for a seat when I heard someone, Marie, calling my name!  She and her sweet friends squeezed me in at their table and spent the day with me.  They made me feel so welcome.

AND I met someone that, along with her husband, we are planning to have dinner with soon.

All in all, an incredibly encouraging day.  To be surrounded by so many women who are completely and utterly devoted to their vocation as wives and moms, to hear practical wisdom from Godly people, and to see the sheer number of sweet babies and pregnant women, it was really quite wonderful.  I'm sure I'll share some of the things I took away soon.  I feel a little like I'm still processing it all!

(My enjoyment of said conference may or may not have been enhanced by the fact that I arrived home at the end of the day to a completely vacuumed house, happy, clean kids, and a pristine backyard.  Best.husband.ever.  He's so good to me!)


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