Friday, July 11, 2008

Tia Claudia

This is definitely overdue. Inexcusably, completely and totally way too late in getting posted. I have somehow lucked into having a true angel come into my life. Here's the story, in brief. My mom had the incredible fortune of working with this amazing woman, Claudia, while here in Southern California. When Claudia heard that we were adopting from Ethiopia, she was so excited for us (and we really didn't know her then other than brief "Hellos" here and there). When we got our referral for Olivia and Ezra she SHOWERED us... utterly SHOWERED us in kindness. She gathered up her niece and nephews hand-me-downs with her sisters' help and gave us a ridiculously amazing haul of wonderful things to use for our kiddos and to take to the orphanage and donate when we traveled. She got me a great Mother's Day present for my first Mother's Day and an incredible necklace that I LOVE for no reason at all! I've never known a more loving and giving person.

Now, what's seriously cool to me is that my children have the amazing fortune of getting to call this fantastic woman their "Tia." She's going to help me teach them some Spanish (ok... she's going to teach me some too!). She's come over a few times to just hang out with me and give me some adult conversation time during naps and has cooked incredible, yummy, and AUTHENTIC Mexican food. To top it off, when she heard we were going to Colorado she volunteered herself (and undoubtedly does NOT understand how much she's volunteering for!) to stay at our place and feed and love the doggies for us while we're away. No easy task considering what it takes to feed our pups... and medicate Chloe! Ugh.

There is really no way to thank her for everything, as her love and friendship couldn't have come at a better time for me. With my mom moving back to Colorado a few weeks ago and my very short list of local friends disappearing from my life (sniff, sniff... wish I understood what happened there... am I that boring or do I just suck that badly?! ;-) ), Claudia has been a lifesaver. During a time in which I would otherwise have no one else close by, she rose to the challenge of being an incredible friend. THANK YOU TIA CLAUDIA! Ezra and Olivia are so blessed to have you in their lives and to be able to call you their Auntie. I am even more fortunate to be able to call you my friend. You rock! :-D

A HUGE surprise

Wow, I'm still reveling in the news and it's been 5 hours since I heard! My brother is on leave RIGHT NOW! He's been serving overseas (location left out for privacy reasons) since December and is now on mid-tour leave! I'm additionally thrilled because we will MIRACULOUSLY be in Colorado next weekend while he's on leave! We are traveling for my dear friends' wedding and he will be just returning from a week spent relaxing at the beach with a friend of his. The timing is perfect! So cool how things can play out like that! Now I just have to decide if I'm up for flying home alone with the kids so I can stay in Colorado a bit longer to visit more... Joe has to come back still on Sunday as planned due to work, but I could enjoy more of his precious time if I think I could manage to handle the flight home alone! (I definitely know I COULD handle it... but don't really dig the idea since it'd be such a handful!)

Hallelujah! What incredible, amazing news. Zak hit "boots on ground" in his duty station the DAY our precious angels were born. I'm not sure what the significance of that is exactly, but I still think it's pretty incredible. My brother is an amazing man that makes us unbelievably proud. I am still loopy with excitement about getting to see him and introduce him to his niece and nephew NOW! It had looked like he wouldn't be meeting them before his tour of duty is up... which would be December at the earliest! Holy smokes! Time to run out and get t-shirts made for the kids that say something cheesy and embarrassing about their amazing Uncle Zak! Yes, I am my brother's biggest fan and he is totally awesome. ;-) I just have to keep reminding myself he'll have lots he wants to do while in Colorado so hanging out at our parents house with me and the kids may not be the ONLY thing he'll be doing... bummer. ;-)

Yep... next weekend our whirlwind visit to Colorado just got a LOT busier!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Going green... a challenge to all!

Joe and I have aspired to be green-living individuals since the beginning of "us." However, there are admittedly WAY too many things we do that are NOT green. We try to do what we can, but we often feel ourselves falling short. I'm happy to admit though, that we have taken two big steps to being a bit more friendly to good ole' Mother Earth.

First, diapers. We have been using G diapers since the early days of having the kids home. We've had our G's here since before we even brought E&O home, but they were a bit big until the wee-bots put on a couple of pounds. So, once the G's fit, we've used them consistently. What's super cool about the G diapers is that it's a great hybrid between a disposable and cloth diaper. No plastic or other nasty chemicals & components. Just good stuff that's kind to the behind. The flushable liners are FLUSHED down the toilet or they can be composted... nothing for the landfills! However, we still felt like we should do more. The G's flushables still use a good bit of water with every flush and are made from trees and such... so still sucking up natural resources.

The next step for us... CLOTH. Yep. I said it. CLOTH diapers. I'm stealing the idea from a good bloggy friend, Tara. She also used G diapers on her adorable little hunk of a man, Malak. However, this genius of a tree-huggin' girl (LOVE it Tara!) made cloth inserts for her G's. They are soooo cool and have apparently been no big deal. She does a diaper load of laundry about every other day (using MUCH less water than flushing that many inserts), and that's it. Oh, and no leaks so far! Sounds good to me, so we're taking the plunge. In true form, I'm sticking with what works. I've gotten the master plans from Tara and I'm copying her cloth inserts. I can't tell you what a tough time I had finding the hemp online (due to the earthquakes in China causing issues with supply), but it's finally on it's way, along with microfleece, microfiber, and a couple other handy items to get us going. Get ready folks, I've got another project to get busy with! My poor, neglected sewing machine was put up in mid-March as I wrapped up baby projects (ok... ran out of time to finish many), and it's been calling to me ever since.

Our other step in "the right direction" relates to Joe's wheels. Joe started with a new company in an incredible position a couple of weeks ago and was left carless since he used a company truck with his previous employer. After LOTS of discussion and weighing pros/cons, we took the plunge and got Joe a diesel. Why, you might ask?! Great question! We're going to use BIOdiesel in it! Joe's new-to-him Touareg TDI will be run with biodiesel. This has been a dream of ours for a long time and we're FINALLY going to be able to act on it. Not only is biodiesel free from nasty pollutants (the exhaust smells like french fries!), it's also MUCH cheaper than regular fuel. It's not "hassle-free" and there is equipment, supplies and GREASE (think the nasty crud they get rid of after making your french fries) needed to make it, but the results will be totally worth it.

As for other green things we do on a daily basis - run our A/C as little as possible, turn off lights when we're not in the room or they aren't needed, keep the windows covered to keep the sun/heat out on hot days to further reduce our need for the A/C, low-flow shower heads, toilets that use less water, we do NOT buy bottled water (think of all the bottles people go through- hear me peeps - Nalgene. If you don't know about them, Google them. Great bottles loved by MANY), recycle anything we can, and minimize trash (avoid using paper towels - use reusable rags instead for clean ups). I'm sure we could do much better in each area I've listed but we really do try.

So, there you have it. Our newest two green moves. How green are you? I'd love to hear what others of you are doing to reduce your carbon footprint and give back to the world around us! If you have any tips/tricks on being green that you'd like to share, please do!