Adopted Joy Our Family's Adoption Journey Into Joy Mon, 28 Nov 2022 01:46:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Adopted Joy 32 32 Tis the Season… Mon, 28 Nov 2022 01:46:39 +0000 …to put up the Christmas Tree!

There’s almost nothing that can be said to add to the story these pictures tell. This is us. Throw some Manheim Steamroller music on and enjoy!

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Black Friday Walkabout Mon, 28 Nov 2022 01:43:19 +0000 [Guest written by Paul]

Traditions, it is said, annoy the younger generation. So it is with the traditions that I have started. One of these is to go for a walk, as a family, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Really, the kids hate it, but that matters not. This year, we started by driving to the Park and Ride by Christown Mall, and taking the light rail from there. Our first stop was downtown Tempe (and Tempe Town Lake – which is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars). At the lake, we walked around until Ruben needed a bathroom, which is to say about five minutes. After that detour, we decided just to head back into downtown Tempe, since the lake is boring anyway. Once in downtown Tempe, we walked around until Ruben was soooo hungry, that he absolutely couldn’t continue, which is to say about five minutes (see a pattern here?). Happily, there was a Taco Bell nearby (which sadly serves only Pepsi products – absolute swill all of them), and, after permitting an inordinately large charge on my card, they gave us all the food we desired (except for Efrain, who, for some reason, was so angry at the time that he refused all food and drink). Being thus satiated with cheap, greasy food, we headed back to the light rail station, and hopped on a train to downtown Phoenix. Our first stop (after looking at the 30 plaques of bola ties where we got off the train) was the Basilica, where Laurent is employed as a cantor. We wanted to see the inside, because this church is (easily) the most beautiful one in the state. Sadly, our whole army got inside the back door, only to discover that a mass was going on (OOPS!). Fortunately, there are inner doors that were closed that kept that disaster to a minimum. After sneaking out of the Basilica, we fooled around in the grassy courtyard outside, before heading off to the large, ornate courtyard surrounded by old city hall, new city call, court buildings, and the Orpheum Theater (I like to call that the Opium Theater). Goodness, this post is boring, I better wrap this up. After Efrain removed Ruben’s shoes, and after I put them back on, we wandered off to the light rail station near Renaissance Square, hopped on the train, and returned home.

Laurent’s Pics:

Paul’s Pics:

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Sweet 16 Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:20:19 +0000

On Thanksgiving Day of 2022, our Natalie entered her 16th year!

In honor of this very important observance, I wish to offer a Birthday Acronym:

Natalie is:

N – Naturally Nonsensical

A – Always Argumentative

T – Tiny Titan

A – Astonishingly Annoying

L – Lavishly Loving

I – Inordinately Impudent

E – Exceedingly Effervescent

If I were to go on through the rest of her name – Gianna Cecilia Heidmann – I could perhaps more fully capture the nuances of her personality, but this should do to give you the essence.

A while ago I purchased a nice big double-sided portrait backdrop pop-up with a vague idea of learning a little more about studio lighting and getting some more formal style photos of my kids in the process. I got a stand, I thought, to hang it on, but when I popped it open and put up the stand I realized I need another stand and a rod from which to hang the backdrop. This studio stuff is always more involved than I expect. Anyway, with Natalie’s help, I figured out a way to prop it up without the extra gear, did a little experimenting with the lighting and was able to get some birthday photos. I learned quite a bit in the process, and recognize that I need more light and I’ll have to save up for that. But I’m happy to have started!

Here are my first attempts at studio portraits.

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Thanksgiving 2022 Sun, 27 Nov 2022 22:56:36 +0000 What a year it has been. With more bouts of sickness and hospital stays than I would prefer, including the last 2 months of almost non-stop flu in our house, we are finally through the worst of it, as far as I can tell, and oh, are we ever thankful. Here’s a brief sampler of other items on our grateful list:

  • All of the kids are thriving at Great Hearts this year, including Ruben in Kindergarten, who was very doubtful about the whole thing
  • Natalie is a junior SVdP volunteer and a consistent helper on Tuesday nights
  • Ellie is moving through her second year of RE toward confirmation and first Holy Communion
  • Our vehicles are all in working order
  • We have more than enough food to eat and to share
  • We are warm and clothed and not at war
  • Laurent bought a house and it is right in our neighborhood, so she and Geneva, and their THREE kitties, live right up the road. We love having them so near!

Our celebration this year was a little smaller than in past years. We missed Ana, Jose and Mark, due to illness. Efrain spent some time with Big E last weekend, and Malinda is due to have another baby any day now so she’s not doing much partying. And Jon and the cousins had plans on their side of town with friends. But Paul went and picked up Grandma and brought her back, and we got to see Megan and Patrick for a wee bit before they had to be off to further festivities on the Groft side of the family. Laurent and Geneva had Ruben and Ellie spend Wednesday night at their house, and they had fun making cookies and pies and getting sugared up before coming back in the morning. I was able, with good foresight and planning, to get everything ready before Thursday morning so that I had a very relaxing day and was just able to focus on being in the moment. After dinner and a little bit of clean up, we went over to the girls place for dessert and filled their cozy abode with our crazyness for a little while. Then back home for a couple of hours, before the kids went back for a fun time around the fire pit in their back yard under the party lights.

A beautiful day, all in all.

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Halloween 2022 Sun, 27 Nov 2022 22:23:54 +0000 Better late than never? I’m not QUITE a month overdue so we’ll call that a win. Halloween this year involved just 5 of my hooligans dressing up and going around the neighborhood begging for loot. We had Supergirl, Venom, Mysterious Goth Lady, Moon Knight, and once again, Skeleton Girl.

You know how it is with picture time – it’s always a tossup as to who will cooperate. Some of them, I’m lucky they just stand still like a stone, while others are absolute squirrels. I’ll leave it to you to judge who was whom, below:

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Winding Down a Weird Week Fri, 28 Oct 2022 15:09:16 +0000 Seven days ago, I was treated to an ambulance ride to the Emergency Room, when my heart rate went all out of whack and wouldn’t settle down. I’m not going to say it was fun, but it was better than sitting in the waiting room for eight hours. I had three blood tests and four baby aspirin and they finally sent me home around 11pm with strict instructions to see both my primary care doctor and a cardiologist within the week.

I learned about troponin, which is the test they repeated three times.

“Troponin is a type of protein found in the muscles of your heart. Troponin isn’t normally found in the blood. When heart muscles become damaged, troponin is sent into the bloodstream. As heart damage increases, greater amounts of troponin are released in the blood.”

Since my levels were 18, then 35, then 32, I guess that is considered high. So, Monday, while I had a child home sick from school, I also had to see my primary care doctor. Then Wednesday, I had a different child home sick, and saw the cardiologist, and had three zoom-parent-teacher-conferences; then Thursday had the Wednesday child plus another child home sick, plus I had to go to the school mid morning to pick up a third child who threw up in class, plus two more zoom-parent-teacher-conferences. And that brings us down to Friday, and I have the one who threw up in class home again, plus 3 more parent-teacher-conferences this afternoon – which thankfully Paul will attend since they are in-person.

What did I learn at the cardiologist, you ask? Well nothing too interesting, I still have to go in for a heart ultrasound, which isn’t until the end of November, so early December I will find out what that reveals.

All this to say, I haven’t been taking any pictures this week. I’m mostly trying to de-stress. Oh, but all the kids conferences were glowing reports, so that was very encouraging for everybody. So thankful for the good people at Great Hearts who are working hard on our behalf to educate our kiddos.

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Life’s Little Messes #3 Sun, 16 Oct 2022 01:42:36 +0000 Saturday: Chore Day! It was an odd one today due to a couple of factors: 1) being fall break, the kids have had time to do some cleaning throughout the week, so their rooms and the main area were almost a non-issue today, and 2) a few of the chores that needed to be done outside were cancelled due to the inclement weather. Therefore, everyone was actually done by mid-day! Woohoo!

I spent the morning directing the worker bees (mostly Ruben, who does excellent work if you can keep him on task) and snapping a few pics of the goings on.

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Life’s Little Messes #2 Sat, 15 Oct 2022 01:57:33 +0000 I guess the inspiration is flowing! Once I’d posted album #1, I just kept shooting.

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Life’s Little Messes #1 Fri, 14 Oct 2022 20:19:57 +0000 Taking on a challenge is hard for me, especially the ones that require you to do something specific every single day for x# of days. I’ve always been a bit of a flibbertigibbet and forget almost immediately what I’m supposed to be remembering. But, I am trying something as vague as possible in hopes that I will just take more pictures, and the challenge is to find something around the house that I can photograph. I’m going to call this the Life’s Little Messes challenge, because there are so many from which to choose around here! 🙂

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Portrait Session #1, 2022 Mon, 10 Oct 2022 15:43:42 +0000 So, yesterday was the first time I have officially been out of the house (not including driving kids to school) in weeks. I came down with the gunk – (you know, that thing that all the kids bring home from school at the beginning of every school year) and it took a while to clear it out. But, I’m BACK, baby!

Wonderfully, I got to attend mass with the family, and then go to Grandma’s to pick up Xavier and Alyssa, who were with her for the weekend.

I decided to take advantage of her light while I was there, and try my hand at some portraits. I learned this trick from a pro who was offering tips on how to set up when you don’t have a studio or fancy lights: set your subject in front of a light reflector for a backdrop, facing outdoor light such as a window or open door. How hard can it be, I thought? 😀

Since Grandma’s house has a wonderful big sliding door right by her dining room table, it was a perfect set up. The only down side was trying to wrangle unwilling subjects. But you know what? Life happens, and you shoot what you’ve got.

So here are the best of the best I shot yesterday, with my Viltrox RF 85mm 1.8 (I got one before Canon lowered the boom and stopped 3rd parties from selling RF mount lenses – lucky me!).

I’m actually pretty psyched to try more of this, and learn how to manage light better, use some interesting backdrops, etc. My house is very full so I have to be able to sort of create a pop-up studio that is easy to set up and take down, but I’m looking forward to learning more and doing more in this area.

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