Friday, December 30, 2011

Granna & Pappa's House

 Jaron & Justus riding the rocking horse.
 Jacob built this "latter to heaven" a few months ago at their house. He wrote on it "we can follow his footprints to heaven".
God blessed us with a wonderful Christmas and we are so thankful for all our family.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pangeo Coffee

 CHECK THIS OUT! You get $2 off per bag if you use my discount code "CoteFamily". I think it would make a great christmas present.

The Pangeo Coffee Story
Pangeo Coffee began with almost being arrested in the Addis Ababa airport with contraband coffee.
Not exactly. But there’s a story…We’re dedicated humanitarian aid workers, helping some of the poorest villages of Africa, Asia and the Middle East with sustainable development. We’re also coffee nerds. We help villages learn how to transform themselves out of severe poverty. We help them learn and apply proven development principles and techniques. That way, they can get for themselves things like clean water, enough food to grow and eat, dramatically reduced disease and death, small businesses they dream up and launch, schools they help build with their own hands, and so on. It’s exciting work.
Now, to the story…
Just like the villages, we need to be sustainable. We each secure our own various means of funding to do this work. As we prepared to head to Ethiopian villages again in February 2011, a friend and supporter of our work gave us an idea. “You guys will be in the world’s most amazing coffee country,” he said. “Let people pre-order bags of the famous Harrar coffee to fund your airfare, then get the coffee when you’re in Harrar and bring it back.” In fact, he decided to come with us on the volunteer trip.
Being eager to fund our airfare, and not too bright, we jumped on the idea. We put out a quick email, and in record time 200 bags of coffee were spoken for by supporters, friends & family.
So we went to Ethiopia and took our volunteers to help work in our villages near Harrar for the week. We saw great progress and enthusiasm in the villages. Then we went to one of the reputable local coffee dealers we know, bought 200 bags of roasted Harrar beans, and loaded them into our truck. But then the thought fully hit us, “We have to get 200 bags of coffee HOME!” (That’s TWO HUNDRED half-kilo bags… we looked like drug dealers.) So we filled SIX massive duffle bags with the coffee, split them between several of us, and said the famous airport-kindness-please prayer. Amazingly we checked-in trouble-free. Until just before the airplane boarded.
Over the departure lounge speaker came an official-sounding voice calling one of us: “Mr. Jeff Power, Mr. Jeff Power, please come to the counter.” Who, me? An airport security official then grimly walked me (Jeff) down several floors, through multiple security doors, into the bowels of the airport. Luggage was being whisked by conveyors at high speed in every direction. He marched me over to a screening station where one of my duffles had been pulled aside. A scowling Baggage-Screening-Woman-Official awaited me. I thought fast on my feet… I know a little Amharic (the Ethiopian language) so I greeted her in the feminine evening singular. She cracked a tiny smile. “What’s in the bag?” she demanded. “Coffee,” I said. “A lot of coffee.” OK, that was stupid. “It’s for the friends and family who support us in our work with poor villages.” OK, yeah, I played the “humanitarian aid worker” card.
“Open it,” she said. So I did. Yep, there was A LOT OF COFFEE inside. Basically I had put one pair of jeans on top of 40 bags of coffee. Smart. She scowled again (I think she also grinned a bit) then sent me away with a wave of her hand. Mr Security Man led me back upstairs. “She must like you,” he said. “Why do you say so?” I asked. “Because you’re only allowed to take four bags out of the country,” he replied.
OK, I knew we were probably pushing the limit, but… OH. MY. WORD. We had no idea!
Our flight home was filled with excitement, we cleared US customs fine because we were under the price limit, and we delivered the coffee to the gracious supporters, friends and family who had basically paid for our trip by drinking it. And the idea for Pangeo Coffee was hatched on the spot.
Oh, and the name? Pan=across, geo=the world. We’re working to help villages across the world.
So… we invite you to deliciously join with us in our village work (and help keep us out of jail) by purchasing Pangeo Coffee through this website. We import (legally) the truly finest coffee beans in the world from where we work in Africa and Asia. Those beautiful beans are fresh-roasted by our premier roaster here in Denver, and instantly shipped to you for your uninterrupted coffee pleasure (every month, if you’d like). And when you drink it, you’ll know you’re directly supporting our village-transformation work in some of the poorest places on earth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Overruled: Government Invasion of your Parental Rights (Official Movie)

Family Portraits

 Surrounded by my handsome men!
 Me and the boys
 Daddy and the boys
 Just the boys
 Justus 1 year old
 Jonah 3 years old
 Jaron 6 years old
Jacob 9 years old

Friday, December 09, 2011

Sheltered from the Storm

I have always heard about Christian families with children that were "sheltered" or homeschooled and never let out in the world. Stories of how they grew up and got away from God made me think "I'll never shelter my kids".

But then I got married and had children of my own. My fears for them and motherly instincts to protect them took over. I don't want our boys to be ignorant of all the "bad stuff" that happens every day. As they get older we tell them age appropriate things to warn them. They are all aware of the harmful things this world has to offer and how it's not pleasing to the Lord. We do not hide things from them. They understand that we strive to be different. We want the world to know we are christians and we want to follow the directions in the Bible that God gave us to live by.

My hearts desire was always to homeschool and I actually did that for a few months with Jacob. But I was always nursing Jonah and Jaron was having therapists come into our home twice a week too. It just wasn't good timing and Jacob was begging to get on the bus that went by our house every day. So I decided to let  him go to the local elementary school for kindergarten and he loved it!

That way I could focus on Jaron and his speech and feeding needs and continue nursing Jonah. There were a few things that we were not pleased with during Jacob's first year. He was bullied on the bus before they started having assigned seats. His kindergarten teacher yelled all the time. And the school celebrates halloween and santa is everywhere at christmas time. Two things we DO NOT celebrate in our home.

So we let those things go and hoped for the best. Jaron turned 5 and was ready for kindergarten. My fears for him were 100 times greater because he was born with a cleft lip and I didn't want anyone to pick on him. But I overcame my fears and let him go. I worried everyday if he would eat his lunch and hoped he would behave. Jaron is most likely ADD and he has trouble focusing on anything. He did have to move his (behavoir) clip everyday in kindergarten.

He also was bullied on the bus. And I think it was during 1st grade a kid on the bus told Jacob to stick his middle finger at his teacher. Then in 2nd grade he asked me how to spell the "F" word. I wanted to crawl under my bed. I cannot imagine little kids 7 years old talking about that. Then this year Jacob said that the kids at school told him if he puts (bunny ears) 2 fingers behind a girls head that means he wants to meet her in the bed at 2am. OMGOSH! I asked him why would he want to get in the bed with a girl and he said "that means you have to kiss". WAY TOO MUCH INFO for a my 9 year old.

With Jaron's required one on one attention and all the garbage Jacob is coming home telling us. We have decided I should homeschool our boys next year. I am done nursing Justus and as he gets older I'll be getting more sleep too. I think about it every day and wish I could keep them home. We believe we can shelter our children from the world but we can still warn them about the sin that's out there.

God gave us our children to raise in His will and all we can do is our best while we have them at home. I want to do my best and sending them to a school not knowing all the info their being told doesn't feel right. I don't want them to feel peer pressure at this young age or be misinformed about relationships before we are ready for them to know. As their parents its our job to teach them about a man and a woman not the school.

So say what you will about us "don't shelter them". We are doing what we feel is pleasing the God. Keeping them safe as long as possible. They will not be ignorant when it comes time to move out into the world. They will be prepared and armed with God's word to overcome anything they are tempted with.

I know homeschooling will not be easy and some days I might want to quit but it will be so worth it.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday to Justus!

This picture tells all their personalities so perfect. Jacob on the left is blowing the candles for him (always helping) Jaron is watching Justus because he loves him so much (drinking a kids boost because he will not eat cake) Jonah is staring at the cake because he CANNOT wait to get his hands on it. Oh and that's Pappa in the middle. :-D

 Well our baby is one ALREADY!?!?!? I feel like I just had him last month. He is done nursing and taking whole milk fine. He is eating more baby food but still gags some so he's not ready for table food.
 He is pulling up on everything and then he lets go with his hands to "balance" so I'm sure he'll be walking soon.
 He can say "ball" and "dada" and "mama"

He loved the bow on his gift more than the gift.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I am thankful...

...for my family.

We are all so different but I love them all. My siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents. Our lifestyles and beliefs are not all similar but that's ok because if everyone was like me the world would be a boring place. God created us all different and as I get older I am learning to appreciate people's differences.

We decided kinda last minute to take a trip to Florida and spend Thanksgiving with my dad and his side of the family down there. Because there are 6 of us now we didn't want to bombard their house with all our stuff. So we chose to get a hotel room right down the road even though he REALLY wanted us to stay with them.

We like our bedtime routine with the boys and they need that structure even when we aren't at home. So we spent most of our days with the family and went back to the hotel at night to get them bathed and in the bed by 8pm. Being in one room with everyone sleeping can be difficult for me.

When I became a mother those nights of deep sleep and never hearing a noise were over. I hear everything now! So every time one of the boys coughed (and there was a lot of this going on) I got woke up. I was worried Jaron was going to fall off the bed so I jumped every time he moved around in his sleep. Jonah was against the wall in the bed with Jaron because I pushed the bed over to the wall for him. And I seriously considered pushing our bed against theirs so Jaron wouldn't hit the floor. Jacob slept on the couch and he did hit the floor twice in one night. Justus was in a crib provided by the hotel right beside our bed. We got the efficiency so we had a fridge, microwave, sink, and stove. It was just the right size for what we needed.

Driving 500 miles with 4 boys was something I dreaded but after lots of research online for travel games I was actually excited for all the things I had planned. I made travel journals for each one of them. They included a map of our trip and all the cities we would drive through. A map of the US so they could color in states as we passed cars with that states tag on it. Coloring pages, blank pages, black paper (for white chalk), travel bingo, homework pages, and their own pack of crayons taped to the inside pocket. So there would be no fighting over crayons. I made a treasure bottle full of rice with little things hidden inside. (the lid glued on tightly of course) And I had a new pack of pipe cleaners. We told knock jokes, played virtual hide and seek, listened to music, watched movies, took naps, ate snacks and lunch and let them spend some of their hard earned money in the stores we stopped at to fill up.

It was fun and we didn't have a whole lot of melt downs but the ride home was more dvds and less games. I tried to keep things going but we were all exhausted. Ready to get home to our house and our beds.

So we had a good Thanksgiving and it was nice to get away and see some family....

but as Dorothy says "There's no place like home"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What A Weekend!

It all started when I thought someone stoled my WIC envelope with vouchers for free baby formula inside. I couldn't find it anywhere and I panicked! I called Walmart cause that's where I always shop and they said it was not in lost and found. So since it was after 5 and WIC was closed for the weekend I had to put that in the back of my mind and wait until Monday to call them and report it.

Then today I went to Walmart and stopped to get gas on the way home and after filling up the van would not crank! I had Justus with me and just one cold item (frozen stauffers lasagna) so I called Chris and he had to put the other 3 boys in his truck ( one without his required car seat) and come help me. So after he hooked it up to the jumper cables and gave me a charge it was fine.

I got home and stuck the lasagna in the oven and with just 20 minutes left the power went off!!! OMGOSH! So after a phone call to the power company and no luck relighting the pilot light on our new ELECTRIC start oven we decided to take the core temperature of the lasagna and it was 130 so I think it was pretty done.

After lighting every candle in the house because Jonah was panicing and Justus was about to panic, we sat down at the table as a family and had our lasagna in the beautiful candle light.

Then we noticed the power company out there diligently working so as it got dark we got the flashlights out and tried to make the best of it. Daddy hung a flashlight from the ceiling fan so they could play Disney Wheel of Fortune.

I boiled water to make a warm bottle of formula for Justus because he is finished nursing. Oh yeah I didn't tell you. Yeah he's done. My supply got really low so I gradually weened him and pumped less and less throughout the last 2 weeks. He is doing great on the formula too by the way. Something I was worried about.

After the games it was time for every ones nightly milk and then we brushed teeth in the candle light. The house was starting to get cold so they all put on their "zipper pj's" and we read the Bible and said our prayers and the boys got in the bed. Then after 3 1/2 hours without power every light in the house came on simultaneously!

All this while Me, Justus, Jaron and Jonah are sick with cough, runny noses and congestion. I hope we get some sleep tonight.

Friday, November 18, 2011

There's a first time for everything....

Jaron likes to dress up and "get in character" so this day he asked for me to make him a shield and this is what we came up with. And he had a sword Jacob made with Popsicle sticks and snow boots and a bike helmet. None of the others have done anything like this so this is a first in our house.

Oh and Jonah figured he could play hockey with a golf club and a wooden hamburger from the "food drawer" None of the other boys have ever done this either.

 Jonah decided the other day to do some "homework" and I had a Thomas book he could use to trace numbers and he did all the numbers 1-10 without my help and very good. That was a first for him.
 Justus tasted a wagon wheel learning to handle other textures without gagging. His first time...He didn't like the puffs or the yogurt melts though.
 And I finally decided to cut his hair. The curls were cute but had to go because it was just too frizzy. So here is a before picture...
And here is Justus after his first haircut....He didn't even cry.

Oh and another first in our house.....Chris tasted that dried mango I confessed to being addicted to in a previous post and guess what....HE's ADDICTED TOO! He said it should be illegal.