Sunday, May 31, 2009

Two More Babies Coming From Tigist's Orphanage!

This weekend I held a baby shower for our friends Brandi and Travis Akins. They'll be picking up their 2 babies (twin boy and girl about 18 mo. old) and they are, how cool is this, coming from Tigist's orphanage. This is a dynamic couple, whose love for children and adoption are so beautiful, it is inspiring. They have 4 children now and just passed court on Friday. So these 2 precious twins are now part of this family and I cannot wait to meet them in about 5 to 6 weeks!

Their shower cake. Do you know how hard it is to find black baby figures to put on a cake? Hard!

Some of their family and friends.

Aren't they adorable! And the kids too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Can See My Garden Growing!

I am so excited ... this morning I peeked outside my office window and saw little green leafy things coming up out of the soil.

It was my lettuce and spinach popping out.

I felt like a little kid! So I ran out to see what else was there and I saw a tomato.

and a bell pepper ... they were so cute!

This is one of my 4 types of basil ... Boxwood Basil. It smells heavenly.

The strawberries are filling out, but I still see no berries since the birds have eaten the 2 that we had. I don't know what to do about those birds!

We love visitors ..."A Few Reeves!"

Well, back in California, we were surely blessed to have become a part of Faith Community Church in West Covina. A year or so before we moved away, Ps. Jim's brother Ps. Bob started a church in Brea called The Cause (spoiled I must say by the worship services and their quality as well as the sermons being absolutely awesome).

Ps. Bob's son (Josh) and his wife and baby, (Elizabeth and Ashur) came to Highlands Ranch in the past few days to just get away from their usual stomping grounds. So they visited Rhaeda and Jesse (another Faith Community transplant) and us as well. It meant a lot to us that they came to visit us ... we felt as if their folks were here too. We absolutely adore Josh's parents, Ps. Bob and Sherry.

Elizabeth, Josh in background and Ashur having blanket time on the floor. What a lovely couple this is. We can't wait to have them back.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Denver's Hidden Gems ... "The Soiled Dove"

This is an underground jazz club where there really is not a bad seat in the house. On a personal note, it is almost vital that I have the best seat in the house. That is just how I like it and I do my best to make that happen. David found us exactly that for this date night and I was so pleased.

I would have to say that this venue might be my favorite in all of Denver's city (but yet to explore the others at length too).

We went Saturday night after having dinner at the Bombay Clay Oven in Cherry Creek North. Our seats were absolutely perfect (there are probably 6 best seats in the whole place and we had 2 of them ... go David!) I was full from dinner and sooooooOO sleeeeepy, so I ordered coffee. David had tea. It always cracks me up how I imagine having a nice glass of wine, but end up realizing how tired it'll make me so I rarely have a glass of wine out and about. I have to have my diet coke in the restaurants instead of wine. They have this little button light that when you need something, you flick on the light and the waitress comes over. How genius is that? Every table everywhere should have something like that.

A picture from the inside stage right.

Candy Dulfer ... click on the picture cause (girls only) you have to see how adorable her shoes were. She is just so cute and so talented.

The place was packed once the show started.

The rest of her band was really fantastic too.

Her shoes ... from the side. Still cute and she can STILL play better than Kenny G!!!! Imagine (sort of) Prince on Sax, if he were a girl and IF he was that gorgeous. Candy is 40 years old, but looks 28, I swear. She was very entertaining without being very "full of herself" like some artists.

She signed CD's afterwords until late. She just must have wanted to go home so bad after the show, but I think it's really nice when they do this. She's been playing sax since she was 6, so clearly this is a passion for her and it shows.

Denver's Hidden Gems ... "Bombay Clay Oven"

Bombay Clay Oven ... Indian Cuisine in Cherry Creek North. Denver, Co

I look forward to dining al fresco in the Summer time too.

The service was good, but it is hard to live up to most of the American service expectancies (can I use that word there???). I think you would all agree that service from different cultures are usually different and less catering to the customer. We sat in the corner booth, which was so very cozy with our shoes off.

The cozy booths where you have to cross your legs to sit down or spread them out along the seated pillows. It was fun to sit in a booth where your shoes had to come off and you sat around about a dozen pillows. I'm glad I just had my toes and fee attended too. And my husband's socks did NOT have holes...good for us!

My handsome husband ...

me ....

I forgot to take a picture of our food ... (bad blogger), but I was so full and satisfied I did not want to go out afterwards, which is what we did. We ordered Chicken Tikka Masala with Veg Samosa, onion baji and Naan...they offer different levels of spiciness (mild, med, hot). We ordered the naan in a basket variety and it was a lot actually. I still have leftovers in the fridge, but I would only order the basket if we were with 2 other couples. It's interesting how when we decided to go out, and you were to ask me if I would rather stay home or go out, I would choose to stay home where it is warm and cozy and my comfy clothes are a closet away. But always, I'm so happy to be there when I'm THERE! Downtown Denver and the Cherry Creek area have so many hidden gems.

And what I love about my new Denver city, is that we went at peak time on a Sat. night on the main freeway ... absolutely NO traffic. We arrived in 15 minutes and parked 4 cars down in front. This is not what I'm use to coming from the Los Angles area. David and I had a really great night out while our teens put Tigist to bed and the house was not on fire when we arrived home. Thank God!

Afterwards, we went to see an amazing female saxophonist Candy Dulfer. I'll write more later under another Denver Gem post.

If you live in Denver I would encourage you to check out not only this Indian restaurant, but many of the hidden gems that you drive by or see on line.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Big Shoes to Fill

So playful ...

Tigist seems to really like trying my shoes on. She is doing very well. Our friend Brandi Akins (here is her blog ... she's adopting twin boy and girl and picking them up in just a few weeks) does preschool out of her home. So we put Tigist in 2 times a week and she loves it. They do craft time, play outside, lunch, they learn shapes and numbers and colors ... she absolutely loves it and it is so good for her to go outside of the 4 of us now and expand her territory!

Her 3rd birthday is August 9th, which you all know is the day we met her in Addis Ababa. I cannot wait to prepare her birthday party ... her first!

Friday, May 22, 2009

My New Vegetable Garden!

Well, first we had our healthy pancake and egg breakfast out on the deck to start our day of gardening and wading in Tiggy's little pool. The day was gorgeous and perfect for outside activity after just 3 weeks ago of over a foot of snow .... who'd have guessed!

Below are before, during and after pics of the garden...

Breakfast on the deck

The day before, we took a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens for inspiration. They have a beautiful veggie patch that got me excited.

Beautiful tulips ...

Our friends, Rhaeda and Jesse moved here to Highlands Ranch from where we use to live in Chino Hills area. It is so cool to have familiarity of people near us now. They went to our church Faith Community Church in West Covina. They have 2 kids (shown here) and a baby boy on the way.

The far right shaded area was all grass until we took some tools to it. (Funny, I say "we", but I did little work on this prep and Brandon, Evan and David did most of it. A long-lasting Mother's Day gift that will keep on giving. It took the entire weekend plus another half day to prepare the soil. We rototilled the grass off. Then tilled again and again while leveling off the area to be bordered by wooden posts to create this Raised Vegetable Garden. Because we need a minimun of 6 hours of full sun, this was perfect as that is exactly what I get here as far as sunlight.

There was some math involved (thanks to David's incredible gift of calculus and algebra) and lots of muscle and patience.

This is the side of the house where Tigist's window is and my office window. So now I can see my beautiful garden grow while I fulfill orders and work in my office. It is now a beautiful site to see.

Many hours of leveling, You can see the morning sun shades it until 10am when the sun starts opening up onto the garden.

Tigist came out each day in a different bathing suit. I'm still going through donated clothes and she still has not worn probably even half of them. It is fun to dress her in the morning and actually Brandon is the one who dresses her a whole lot of the time. Now, each night we tuck her in bed, we walk to her window and say "Nite, nite garden."

"Tigist, the water goes IN the pool!"

David and I decided to call our garden Tiggy's Garden. While we were digging up the ground, we both had thought of at the same time, the hard work we had put into the 6,500 gardens we (along with 80 other people from our church) built while serving in Botswana, Africa in 2003. We would go home to home (if you can call them homes) asking if people wanted spinach and cabbage gardens. We would give them as many 12 veggie plots as they wanted. We worked our fingers sometimes raw and came back to our hotel so tired and dirty ... but in a really satisfying way. The days were draining and full of unbelievable evidence of God, that we would fall into bed and fall fast asleep in anticipation of what the next day would bring.

So ... we felt it perfectly appropriate to recognize the "full circle" we've come in the adoption of Tigist and planting veggies again. I couldn't bother planting the cabbage, but the spinach is perfect and so we made sure we incorporated that into this full circle of a garden honoring "service, our faith, adoption, Tigist and her new life full of hope and opportunity". Just like these seeds, seedlings and plants.

So here is the Vegetable Garden raised and leveled. The posts are wide enough to sit at the edge and the middle posts are doubled so I can sit while weeding and harvesting the yummy veggies. The area surrounding the bed is really ugly for now, but in the next week or two we will put some sod and flowers and David is building me a cute little step area in the front middle section.

This is what is planted in these 5 sections ....

Tomatoes (6 different kinds)
squash (summer)
carrots (2 kinds)
bell peppers (yellow and red)
Green Onions

The Herbs are:
Flat Italian Parsley
Peppers (Jalapeno and Serrano)
Texas Tarragon
Basil (sweet, thai, box and Globe)

Green onions, yellow & red bell pepper and 1/4 of this box are seeds that when I planted, did not pay attention to "mark" what I planted. So I'll call this 1/4 of the box my surprise veggie. The box above this one is spinache, lettuce and strawberries (which the birds are enjoying at the moment unfortunately.)

This is my herbs section. David is going to build me a cute step here where I will plant some petunias and tidy up the grass area all around the garden beds. With all the digging, the grass got town up. And behind the birdbach is Tiggy's bench.

The stepping stones help me get in the middle and garden some more.

This is yellow squash seeds, carrot seeds with 2 different varieties and radishes. Above this box are tomatoes and squash

Sadie and Mom's Birthday!

I thought it would be fun and get me to take more purposeful pictures if I started this "Picture A Day". So each day I'll post a picture and write a bit about it.

May 13 is our cat, Sadie's birthday and also the birthday of my Mom.

We shared a mini cake and sang both of them Happy Birthday. It seems I still think of my Mom daily and want to share so much with her. I miss her so much, it hurts to think about not talking to her anymore, yet it's been 6 years. It was so neat that when we adopted Sadie from PetCo, it turned out her birthday was the same as my Mom's birthday, so how special is that?

Sadie has become very comfortable with Tigist around now. Tigist has this unique quality of being very gentle around babies, animals and people who are hurt. It's innate in her and so precious to see. When someone has an "owie" she gets a bandaide if one is near.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Denver's Hidden Gems ...

So I thought it would be fun to find these fabulous gems around town and write about them. The thing I love about Denver is that it is a humble, yet "full of surprises" place to discover really great places to eat, play and hang out in.

Saturday night David and I will venture into town and check out yet another Indian Restaurant and then see Candy Dulfer play her sexy sax at one of our favorite jazz clubs called The Soiled Dove. I use to license and copyright her music when I worked in L.A. for BMG Music Publishing. She was on the Arista label and Arista shared office space with us at BMG. Now and again I'd "borrow" CD's of all of the artists on that label and enjoy new music all the time.

But one thing about David and I for sure is that we love "live" music and this place has really great seating. David booked us the best seats in the house! I'm so excited to get out. I will definitely let y'all know how it went.

Update on my friend Deb ... and her fight with Cancer

Well, back in March, I was on a flight within 24 hours of hearing that my long time friend's bout with cancer was taking a turn for the worst. I packed up Brandon and Tigist (Tigist cause I had to have her with me and Brandon to help me and he was able to do his E-school with a laptop anywhere) and we flew the next morning to LA airport.

A small group of us met up and devised a plan to do some major fundraising to help Deb with her growing bills while she is recovering and undergoing so much for so long. Here is the link ...

At this time she is doing okay. While I was there for about 12 days and saw her as much as I could without tiring her out. I was only able to see her for 30 minutes at a time before she needed to rest again. During the time I was there, she was already improving, but had a night where we almost lost her and she "blue-coded".

She has been through so much and has gone through much pain, it was not good. Deb and I have been friends for 35 years (since jr. high) and have maintained our friendship all this time. It's been an effort to keep a friendship like this going, but so worth it.

Battling liver cancer (originally pancreatic) for 10 years, this is not new for her, she is a fighter. She was in the hospital for over 4 weeks before they let her come home. She's now undergoing dialysis and chemo while staying with her sister. It was really fantastic to see her and her persevering spirit as usual. I left knowing that she was stable and perhaps riding a small miracle of recovery???

While I was in L.A. we took Tigist to the beach for her first beach experience. I didn't get any pictures cause I didn't have my camera with me. She played in the water with Brandon for a really long time and did not want to get out. I mainly stayed in Deb's area to see her as much as I can. Tigist had met many of our friends and thrives when she is with people. We had rented a convertible which was been wonderful when the days are nice. Most of the days we stayed over at Deb's home in Diamond Bar where we were running around a lot. Brandon did as much school as possible, but sometimes cannot get the internet going or his school site ... so a bit frustrating for us.

One night we had a dozen of us High School friends meet up at Deb's to sort of just reflect on her friendship to us as well as our unique bond that we all have over these 30 years since we graduated from High School.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Best Mother's Day Ever!

My sweet, sweet husband took the entire weekend to create my perfect Vegetable Garden. For Mother's Day I got my garden ... I am so excited. I've spent the last couple of days leveling, researching and planting my all-time favorites.

I will post pictures of it in the next day or so. I think I am back on line publicly ... it's all just very questionable, but all in all it's been beneficial. I miss writing and sharing ...

Lisa :)