Adopted Joy Our Family's Adoption Journey Into Joy Wed, 15 Jan 2020 06:49:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Adopted Joy 32 32 Just an Ordinary Sunday Afternoon Wed, 15 Jan 2020 06:49:49 +0000

It is in the ordinary that we find the sacred.

An ordinary Sunday afternoon.

A few precious moments stolen away for a lunch date with my husband.

Big sister bringing her wee baby to visit his young uncles and aunties.




Good gifts sent from above.

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Sunday Lunch with Grandma Thu, 09 Jan 2020 03:25:46 +0000

On the last Sunday before vacation ended, we went to mass and then met up with Grandma down at the El Pollo Loco by Arizona Mills. We used to meet there all the time to hand off the kids for overnighters with Gpa and Gma, before they all got too busy with college and jobs and such. They still go down and visit Sun Lakes on their own, though, and I love that. I hope the new grandkids can do some overnighters with Grandma, too, now that we don’t have to worry about DCS regs anymore.

I snapped some pics with my fancy new camera, and was reminded of what a noob I am and how difficult it is for me to achieve clarity and precision with both indoor lighting and subjects in motion. Still, cuteness happens whether I’m technically prepared or not, so here you go. Sunday lunch cuteness!

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Freestone Park, 01/01/20 Thu, 02 Jan 2020 20:04:32 +0000

In keeping with our New Year’s Day tradition, and in light of my new camera, we took the family on a little walkabout on Wednesday afternoon to Freestone Park over on the east side. We’d never been there before, and it was a fun little excursion. There’s a lake, lots of ducks and geese and other water fowl, some pretty waterfalls, and a little amusement park with rides. The carousel and train were a big hit – as was driving the toddler sized Chevy.

The skies were cloudy, so I didn’t have to fight with harsh lighting and could concentrate on testing my camera settings.

I experimented with action (Ruben, ducks, carousel in motion), aperture priority (portraits), and landscape (not a lot of zoom at 105, but not bad considering). I do look forward to getting a longer zoom lens, but this is 24-105 is nice for what I do a lot of, which is people pix. I need to work on everything, but especially shutter priority.

Also, I tried to step back in my editing a smidge (on some here, not all), since it’s fun to see what comes out of the camera clean… but I can’t squash my inner artist. If I have a vision, I’m gonna play with it!

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Christmas Riddles Thu, 02 Jan 2020 05:54:37 +0000

As every Christmas approaches, I am once again driven mad by my husband’s requirement that I stay within the budget for family gift giving, all the while going to extravagant lengths to buy something special for me. He also likes to make it difficult for me to open my gifts – duct tape is nothing. One year he bolted my gift between two pieces of plywood (and then duct taped the whole thing).

This year, though, he outdid himself in every way. He sent me on a scavenger hunt for clues, buried in riddles he penned for the occasion. Here is the hunt on which I was sent:

First, I opened a nicely wrapped box, inside of which I found this riddle:

If gifts you seek then do beware,
The journey’s long with many a scare.
The first stop along that way,
is not far, perhaps a day.
It is easy at first, not even dark,
for what you seek – is an ark.

It wasn’t too hard to figure this one out…

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Next clue, taped to the back:

See now, see now, that was not hard,
five pounds of sugar, and six of lard.
The easy part’s done, now it gets tricky,
even too hard for that blue-eyed Micky!
Visages, visages, all in a chunk,
overlooking the old man’s bunk!

Portrait collage of our children, hanging on bedroom wall.

There I found clue #3:

Poems are fun, poems are neat,
with many meanings, they can’t be beat!
If booty you seek, you must persist,
far to the north, into the mist.
Seek out doggerel, from the past,
There find treasure, that will last.

By now, all the children were racing to help me find the next clue, which was found on the back of this framed piece of nonsense, an old Heidmann family oral tradition handed down through the generations we have hanging on the north wall of the living room:

Clue number 4 went like this:

Which is better, which is more?
Is it the journey or is it the score?
To find the next, you’ll need the former,
think back, before that corner.
Think small, it is quite little,
‘bout the size of a small toy fiddle.
Look back, to the very first,
to she who rescued the cursed.

It took me a bit (I got stuck on “small toy fiddle”), but one of the kids figured it out:

Clue #5:

Dancing children, in the street,
Dancing children, to the beat!
Dancing children, in the house,
Dancing children, scare the mouse!
Dancing children, in the garden,
never again to ask for pardon…

This one was easy!

The Last Judgment winged altar
by Fra Angelico
Children dancing in paradise.

Clue #6 – also easy!

It is over, it is done,
the work complete, the battle won.
The tree gave death, but play the fife,
for now this tree – gives life.

The Tree of Life

And on the back was taped this message:

Catch me, catch me, if you can,
I’m the fat and bald old man!

And an uproarious chase ensued, leading out into the back yard and around the outside of the house, till the children captured him (ain’t no way I could keep up with him anyway – they were my happy surrogates) and brought me the final answer, which he’d been carrying in his pocket:

Dad is sad, he has been beat,
now he must bear the heat.
Pay he must, for mom’s new gift,
even tho’ its hardly thrift.
Live he will, in his new soddy,
paying for Mom’s Canon, full body.

Nettie’s new
Canon EOS 6D Mark II

He didn’t actually have it in a box, he had me sit down and order it right away, so I had to wait a smidge, but it was so worth it. I’m up and running, learning as I go, thankful for Youtube tutorials – there are some amazing photographers out there who are pretty danged awesome at teaching newbs like me!

Anyway, once again my sweetie made my Christmas very merry. Love that guy!!

First portrait with new camera, taken 12/31/19.
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Christmas 2019 Wed, 01 Jan 2020 04:32:10 +0000

This Christmas season has been another year of managing to celebrate the wondrous gift of Christ to the world in spite of various family members being ill, including myself. I could go on and on about how down I felt, not being able to play hostess adequately on Tuesday for our West End celebration, or decorate the house the way I would like to, or-or-or… but in the end none of that mattered anyway. All that mattered is that for a few precious hours, I had my whole family, including grand-baby and bonus fam, under my roof, and blessings and joy flowed freely.

I ended up going to Urgent Care first thing Christmas morning, and let’s all make sure to thank the medical teams that tirelessly work through holidays to help us when we’re sick! I certainly was grateful for their help that day!

As soon as I got home we jumped in the van and made our way to Grandma’s house for the annual Heidmann Christmas. More blessings, more joy. My few pictures here I have edited to reflect the feelings of warmth and love I hold as I treasure these memories.

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Happy Birthday to Jeff Wed, 01 Jan 2020 01:48:32 +0000

December is a month of many celebrations, including the birth of my oldest brother and oldest friend in the world.

Big brother Jeffie and baby Nettie, in Chicago.

We’ve been around the world together, living in Canada and all over the US, and traveling through Europe with the Concordia Orchestra. Through moves, college, grad school, doctoral studies, roadtrips, weddings, babies, quartets, trios, and that “Duet with Eyeglasses Obligato” — and epic theological/spiritual/philosophical discussions – so many adventures we’ve been through together!

Doug (7), Nettie (12), and Jeff (15), playing together in Uncle Dick, Aunt Sally, and cousin Erik’s home in Topeka, KS.
I was home from PBI for Christmas, and Jeff was home from NYC.
Family Road Trip! Taking Jeff to New York for grad school.
With the Uncles and their firstborn niece, Laurent.
This had to be either Chicago or Dallas.
Jeff on the porch in Chicago.
April 17, 1993, Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral, Fargo, ND.
Petrified Forest, Arizona, maybe 2009ish.
With my bro, 2010ish.
Jeff, last month, photo cred: Mom.
Happy Birthday, Jeffy.

So thankful we’re still best friends.

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A Long Awaited Arrival Tue, 31 Dec 2019 14:29:25 +0000

All year we have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our newest family member, and I am delighted to report that on October 25th, sweet little Patrick James Groft was born to Megan and Andy. He was instantly adored by his many, many cousins and aunts and uncles on all sides of the family, and the adoration hasn’t let up since. I was blessed to have a little photo shoot with him in early December, and can’t wait to do more!

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Pumpkin Time Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:07:33 +0000

For someone who loves autumn as much as I do, I’m painfully negligent of fall traditions. I can count on one hand and have fingers left over the times I’ve done pumpkin carving with my kids over the years. The whole thing seemed too exhausting when there were only four… with seven more, I couldn’t even comprehend it.

Lucky for them, Megan came to the rescue today. After she helped manage the kids at their chores, I provided pumpkins and she provided oversight for a pumpkin carving fest. It was a glorious golden mess!

Fuzzy phone pics of a few of the finished faces:

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An Unusual Birthday Mon, 07 Oct 2019 20:38:31 +0000

I’m almost a month late in blogging about Xavier’s birthday and I plead crazy time as my excuse. Just wait till you hear. It’s been ridiculous.

So, Xavier had his very momentous 12th Birthday last month, and we gathered to celebrate on the 15th. It was the usual plan – church with Mama Ana and Papa Jose, then back to our place for party snacks, music, and a BBQ. Xavier likes Cheesecake and Pumpkin Pie, so I got those instead of cake.

We’re back at the house, got the music cranked up, everybody is having a great time and noshing on all the crunchy things. Megan offers to take Efrain and go pick up Geneva while we wait for Laurent to get finished with her second mass. Awesome. I love it when a plan comes together!

Fifteen minutes later we get a call. Megan has been in an accident and needs rescuing. Apparently there were a bunch of homeless people who started acting crazy, running into the road with shopping carts. When the car in front of Megan stopped to avoid them, she couldn’t stop in time and hit them. Off Paul went to the rescue, with Grandma along as well. Although Megan said she and Efrain were both fine, I was freaking out because of course, my daughter who is 8 months pregnant with my grandson has just been in a major auto accident!!!!

Nonetheless I kept myself together and continued managing the partiers at home. Laurent went to pick up Geneva after mass, brought her back, and everyone had a nice relaxing time while Paul assessed the mess at the scene of the accident. We figured we would wait with dinner until everyone got home. We figured wrong, because everyone didn’t make it home. As she sat with the ambulance guys Megan began to experience some cramping, and it was decided to be safe she’d best go to the hospital. So Grandma went with her, while Paul brought Efrain home. At that point, it was so late that there really wasn’t time for a BBQ before Paul had to take Ana and Jose home. So we brought out the cheesecake and pie, sang Happy Birthday, and opened presents.

It was not at all the way we planned, but I think Xavier was pretty darn happy with his 12th birthday. He got just what he’d wished for (following a long standing Heidmann family tradition for 12th birthdays!).

Paul had to leave right away to take Ana and Jose home, then go pick up Grandma from the hospital and get her back here so she could drive back to Sun Lakes. Meanwhile, Megan was kept at the hospital overnight so they could work on getting her contractions to stop. It took quite a while, but by the next day she was able to get home.

Then began some extra driving for me, as her car was totaled in the crash. By the end of that week she was able to get a new car, thankfully.

That lasted less than two weeks, and then it got a crack in the block, and once again she was out a car and I had extra driving to help her get to and from work for a while. I am not complaining at all, I loved having the extra time with her – but you can see what I mean when I say things got crazy up in here.

I’m hoping she will be able to just rest at home with her new baby soon – she needs a break!

Anyway, back to the birthday boy: although he adamantly refused a photo shoot initially, I managed to make a sweet deal with Xavier, and he posed for me yesterday at Sun lakes. So, happy boy, happy mom, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my son. You are so special to me and I am excited for you to use your new present next time we go up north!

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Labor Day Weekend (5) Sun, 29 Sep 2019 16:45:51 +0000

Sunday morning we were hoping to go to mass in St. Johns, then do a scenic drive, but that plan was abruptly curtailed when we discovered, late on Saturday, that there was something very, very wrong with the van. It started when we were up in the mountains, when I heard what sounded like a clattering in one of the wheels. It seemed to improve as we picked up speed, and we made it back to the ranch without any mishaps. Unfortunately, it got much worse that evening, and it became clear that we would be going nowhere on Sunday if Paul could not figure out what was wrong.

He was able to borrow some tools from our neighbor, Gene, and Sunday morning got down to business trying to diagnose the problem.  After we got home, Paul described what happened in a Facebook comment this way:

“The parking brake cable hooks up to a little lever on the rear caliper. That little lever snapped off, leaving the cable hanging there. After that, the parking break broke, periodically locking up that rear wheel. That meant I had to creep into town, throwing it into reverse to unlock the wheel whenever it locked up.

Of course, the shop was not open on Sunday, and Monday was Labor Day. We had to rely on the good graces of our neighbors to assist us in so many ways – with tools, with rides into town, and with contacting the mechanic, who agreed to come in Monday morning to give it a look see. Thankfully he was so generous as to fix it on his day off, by taking out the brake parts so it would no longer lock up and we could make it safely home. Like many people, he was interested in why we have such a big van, and he was so delighted to hear about our family, he insisted on charging only $20 for the job. Paul wouldn’t hear of it and gave him more, but wasn’t that cool of him?

In the meantime, since there was nothing to be done for the van on Sunday after he dropped it off at the shop, Laurent brought him back to the ranch and we had an afternoon spent outside running around, and some shooting up at the range under ominous skies that threatened, and then delivered on their promise of rain. While we were indoors, there was some fun with rope the kids had found lying on the ground down in the mud canyon on a previous trip. They played tug-of-war until the old fibers, deteriorated by sun and rain, finally broke. When the rain cleared, there was a little more shooting before an early supper.

Another unfortunate event of the weekend was that my recliner chair broke, meaning I would not be able to sleep at the ranch Sunday night. The up side was a night at the hotel with Laurent and Grandma, complete with the blessing of a shower.

Once Laurent delivered me back to the ranch, she then took Paul into town to meet the mechanic, while I stayed with the kids and waited to find out what was going to happen. We packed and swept the cabin, and then relaxed for a while. We were all very happy to see Paul back with the van so soon, and were able to load up the trailer and leave by noon.

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