Elvis is alive!


We Did It!

Survive, that is. Zinabu gave Lily his cold for Christmas, and then managed to catch a new one. So despite more runny noses, we were all in good spirits today. I caught my breath and had to bolt to the kitchen to cry only 8 times today. Whenever Z didn't know I was watching him, the tears welled up and there was this ache in my throat. Last year he celebrated Christmas in the care center. This year with us.

He had a tremendous Christmas. The dinosaurs and the Lightning McQueen car and the Backyardigan Band-Aids (yes, I think Band-Aids make a great present) and the puzzles and the toys, toys, toys! Pure bliss. Carver and Lily were equally thrilled and happy and hopped up on too little sleep and too much wrapping paper. We had a white Christmas, too, with light snow blowing all day. Tonight was dinner at my mom's where the children all quickly fell apart, but still got lots of snuggles with Nana, aunt and uncle, and the dog. This kids are now nestled in their beds, coughing and wheezing and sniffing... but happy.

I am so, so glad to be Z's mom.


It's A Conspiracy
One of our fun family traditions is to put the kids in their pajamas, hit the donut shop, drink yummy coffee, and then drive around our city and look at the most extravagant Christmas light displays. It's a lot of fun, and since this was Zinabu's first time we really talked it up. So imagine his horror when he got his donut! He angrily yelled, "IT HAS A HOLE IN IT!"


Do NOT...
think you'll be able to get your holiday shopping done the week before Christmas because your youngest will get the cold of the century and you will not be able to leave the house for 5 whole days. We escaped to the library today and Zinabu about coughed up a lung--so all the other showered and coordinated, matchy matchy moms stared daggers at me and probably assumed I am a 2-pack a day smoker and that's why my child sounds so putrid.

So tonight, at 7:30, I left the house and tried to do all the gift cards for teachers and odds and ends for the kids and my brothers and great-great-great aunt somebody, but heaven knows I can't forget her. Tomorrow is the last day of school, which I LOVE, since it keeps my kids busy until right before Christmas so they're still in a good mood when the big day actually arrives. We will get our Christmas tree this weekend (no, Anne, you're not the last family to put one up). I will probably need to do a little yoga and deep breathing this weekend because I hate clutter and as pretty as Christmas is, there's only so much red and green and mistletoe I can stand in my living room.

Just 5 more days.


The best way I can describe the last 48 hours is SNOT. We (or Z, I should say) is swimming in snot. He is in the middle of a monster cold, and even though he could blow his nose perfectly fine last week, the cold seems to have wiped that ability away. He can't figure it out. He didn't sleep last night, and I really can't blame him. He felt awful and couldn't breathe. Just now he said to me, "Bud are you doing wid du combooder?" Translated: What are you doing with the computer? So I'm stuck at home with Z and Z is stuck at home with me. To be honest, it's a nice respite before the frenzy of Christmas. And I somehow made it though last week with packages to ship and school plays and teacher luncheons, etc. So I can tidy up my house a bit, and watch Christmas cartoons with Z, and just be a lump. But by the time David gets home tonight I'll be bolting for the door. There's only so much snot and CandyLand a mom can take.

Notice in the above picture that his cold has not slowed his appetite down one bit. He's shoveling in my turkey chili like I'm threatening to take it away from him.


Homicidal Bunny
This post is in loving memory of Beautiful the fish. He was a good fish. He was a brave fish. He died a senseless death by a rabbit. It seems that while we were eating breakfast this morning, Bun Bun knocked over the fish bowl (on a table in Lily's room) and Beautiful lay gasping for breath on the hardwood floor.

So here's to you, Beautiful!
and here's to me not having to clean the dang fish bowl anymore.


It's very cold right now, so the kids have reverted to animalistic behavior. (Lily covered herself in tattoos, as well.)

Z has made some important progress lately. I don't think we always realize an issue he might be having until we see a breakthrough. For example, in the past whenever Z got hurt, he might whimper a tiny bit or grit his teeth, but he rarely cried. He was very stoic. But just this week I noticed that when he's fallen or gotten bumped, he collapses into wails and tears. It's a beautiful sight, as he feels safe enough to let go of his tears and let them fall. And he also knows that without a doubt if you get an owie, Mom cuddles you and kisses it.

It's the little things!


Know any Ethiopian snowboarders? I do. Doesn't he rock?


All I Want For Christmas...

is for all the gun and ammo stores to shut down.


Zinabu is such a little stinker! (Aren't all kids?) His favorite game is Tease-Daddy-And-See-What-Happens. He also enjoys walking up to anyone in the house and blowing raspberries in their faces. We are trying to curtail that behavior, but it's a tough one.
We are now approaching 10 months since Zinabu's joining our family. It seems impossible that 10 months have gone by. How did that happen? And yet time is the greatest healer, the best medicine, the one element to bonding that helps the most, so I have to say I'm grateful for those 10 months. We have friends that just adopted a young girl (see my previous posts) and as happy as I am for them, I admit I am grateful to be done with the major transition Zinabu had!
Have a fabulous Saturday.


So it's been about 7 months since my last P&P reading and as I have not found any other books to lose myself in, I cracked open my old favorite and will spend the next several nights lost in England with a man of good fortune.

And it's with great excitement that I started reading Harry Potter aloud to Carver. We have a rule in our house that you HAVE TO READ THE BOOK BEFORE YOU CAN SEE THE MOVIE! And as he's now 9, I think he's ready for book #1 and the movie over the holiday break. It's incredibly fun to read it out loud to him. I get to do voices and everything.

Z, on the other hand, still stands by his love of dinosaurs. He has 3 books right now that we read over and over and over again. Once in a while I try to sneak in a Curious George or Make Way for Ducklings, but unless there's a flesh-eating giant lizard on page one, it's a no go. What's a mom to do?


Happy Hanukkah!
A happy Hanukkah to our friends the Boyds and the Samuels. The Samuels just returned from Ethiopia with their 3 year old girl. She is doing well, and her eyes about popped out of her sockets when she heard me speak to her in Amharic the first time. They live 3 blocks away from us, and we are so excited to have another Ethiopian child in our lives.

We're in the final countdown until the Christmas play at Lily and Carver's school. C is in the choir and should do a bang-up job. L is in the play and has a VITAL role. She is Elf #4 and has to say, "Yeah, you're the tiniest tree we've ever had in this lot." Personally, I feel that civilization as we know it depends on her line, but maybe that's because I'm her mom. Perhaps I've lost perspective.

This time of year is full of many incredible memories for me, as it was a year ago right about now that we officially switched from our old agency to CHSFS. I was cringing at the thought of (bad) legal action from our first agency, scrambling to re-do all our paperwork, update our homestudy, have papers notarized for the millionth time, and basically wondering if we would ever see this Ethiopian adoption through. I'm so glad we did.

And because Heather can't wait any longer to see some of my amazing Christmas card photos, here they are:


Just You Wait!
Wait till you get our Christmas/Holiday card this year. I attempted a nice photo, but quickly gave up. What I wound up with is nothing short of hilarious. I'll get them printed this week and start mailing them out. And I'll post the photo as a "Blog Holiday Card" in a week or so for all my blog friends.

We had a great weekend with Jessi--our Air Force cadet that we host on weekends. She loves kids and we love her. It's fun to have another person in the house that can contribute to adult conversation.

And in Zinabu news, it's all about meat-eating dinosaurs. All the time. And he makes sound effects. I just love him.



I Used My Brain--And it still works!

I have a friend that had an extra ticket to an author lecture series at Denver University. So we headed up to Denver last night, ate Korean food, went to hear an amazing author speak, and got home late. All that and my brain could handle it! So even though today I was back to laundry, dentist appointments, cereal, and playing with Matchbox cars, it's nice to know my brain is still functioning when I really need it.

And in other news, Zinabu has hit rock-bottom with socks. We figured out he'll wear Lily's socks if they're inside out. They still bother him, but if we tell him to just try it for 5 minutes then he usually gives it a go and moves on. Another friend of mine who is a teacher told me that kids who have issues with tags on clothes or difficulty with the way clothes feel are often gifted and talented. So maybe if we muddle through the socks issue, Z will wind up at Harvard someday. Brilliant.


Target, Thy Name is Evil!

Don't you hate when you go into Target for just one thing and come out $100 poorer? I actually went in to return something and still managed to drop a chunk of change! It's because I had no kids with me so I could actually wander around slowly. I guess that was my downfall right there... the wandering... slowly.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Three years ago, I was frantic over what my kids ate on Thanksgiving. It's the kind of holiday where the soda flows freely and there are sweets within reach no matter where you turn. So I learned to chill out, throw caution to the wind, and let my kids eat whatever. Today Carver had white food: a piece of white meat, bread, and Sprite. Oh, and a sugar cookie. Lily and Z did much better. Z had green bean casserole for the first time and pronounced it "Yummy!' Zinabu also had an entire can of orange soda (be still my heart).

I had a fantastic day with my family, my cousins, and all the significant others. My cousin Casey even dressed up as Santa and surprised the kids. We managed to wrestle the tired lumps I call children into bed after a long day and I am happy to say I'm right behind them.


Let's Hear It For...Corn!

I don't know about your neighborhood, but around here we are seeing Christmas trees in living rooms and inflatable snowmen on lawns.

What the heck happened to Thanksgiving????

I feel more strongly than ever--after seeing the first Christmas commercial on TV the day after Halloween!--that we need to preserve Thanksgiving and hold off on the red and green decor until December. Carver and Lily had school today and I baked cornbread, brought cornmeal in bags for them to look at, popped popcorn, and gave a very inspiring talk to a class of 6-year-olds about the Pilgrim's first feast. Perhaps I changed a life today and made, in some small way, Thanksgiving more meaningful to someone. (sigh)

On another note, Zinabu has stinky feet. He is going through what we hope is a very short phase of not liking socks... or shoes... or tight pants... or sleeves... or clothes in general. (Mindy, help!) He is refusing to put on shoes but will submit to Crocs when we go outside. We'll see how that works out in the snow tomorrow. So he keeps wearing rubber shoes and no socks and I smell things growing.


What Doesn't Belong?

So I found THIS in the backyard this afternoon--2 kids, one rabbit, one umbrella, and a box of glittery makeup. I didn't know what to say!


My Sanity

Because we have had the most gorgeous fall EVER, I have been able to remain sane with the aid of a baby jogger. I love Z dearly, and I spend a lot of time laughing with him--but the kid does not ever, ever stop talking. So usually around 1:00 in the afternoon, when I need a little quiet, I strap Z in and off we go. I can walk for an hour, and so far Z has remained happy. I admit to using bribery at times, but mostly he just likes to look at the scenery. He's really fond of finding sticks to stick in the spokes of the wheels, but he hasn't lost a finger yet.

I am SO looking forward to Thanksgiving. A big hurrah always meets us at my Uncle Jim's house. It's threatening to snow (so much for the weather) next week, and I will be beside myself with anger if it ruins our plans to drive to his house. I might need to stock up with a little extra food in case our feast day is a snow day.


Proof of a Good Time

Are you tired of watching Z dance? More video of his "activeness." Someone find this kid a mosh pit.

Look at that face! And he hasn't even EATEN the cake yet!


Happy 4th Birthday, Z!
Today Zinabu is 4. I am grieving that I will never (unless he## freezes over!) have another 3 year old. And we only had him at 3 for half of the year. But Z is beside himself with excitement, so I can't be gloomy for too long. He's watched Carver and David have birthdays recently, so he knows what this is all about. David took him out for a cinnamon roll breakfast, and Z is bouncing around the house like a freak pogo stick. It's a loooooooooonnnng wait till 5:30 tonight when David will be home and we can open presents. I'll post lots of photos later.


Girls Night Out
While David took the boys to a college hockey game (by the way--it was Zinabu's first and he loved it), Lily and I spent a little girl time together. I can usually tell when she needs it. She starts saying things like, "I don't want to live in this house anymore!" or "I am sick of brothers!" You know, small clues like that.

So we hit Starbucks, where we indulged in Peppermint Hot Chocolate (seriously people, it's really good!), and we played a few mean rounds of Go Fish. Then we were off to a nail salon, where for the sum of $3, she got to have her nails painted. The hardest part of the evening was choosing between lime green nail polish or silver sparkles. She went with the sparkles and I have to agree, it's a winner.

I think the toughest part of having 3 kids is making sure I spread myself 3 ways and spend enough time with each child. Hands down, Z gets the most of me. So I try to make sure I'm investing quality time with C and L. And this is the biggest reason we are not adopting any more children. I don't think I am capable of being a good mom to 4 or 5 kids. I applaud those who can.


Just when I thought his English was so impressive! What a goofball.


Zinabu Rules

Other than a freak snowstorm, we have had a gorgeous fall. Yesterday it was almost 80 degrees so the kids got to play outside in shorts--reminiscent of summer. Lily, when she's in the right mood, is Zinabu's best friend. She was feeling especially generous (must be all the Halloween sugar) and she drew this picture.

It's a lion with a crown on it's head, and above it you can see "Zinabu rools." I know Lily was just being nice, but as far as Zinabu is concerned, she got it right. In his 3 and a half year old mind, he rules the house, the neighborhood, the city--heck, the world! He'd like to announce his bid for president.



Welcome to my boring life. Why haven't I posted? Well, let's see. What do you want to hear about first? How about cleaning up the rabbit poop? Or what about the 6 thousand loads of laundry I did? No, no. Wait--how about the snotty nose I wiped? Yeah. Good stuff.


The Obligatory Halloween Post!

We survived! I, especially, had the longest day of my life as I had a tummy bug and was stuck home all day with Zinabu--who was bouncing off the walls and asking every 2 minutes if it was time to go get candy. Really... the concept that you ring someone's doorbell and say the magic words "Trick or Treat" and they hand you candy!!!!! It was like it was too good to be true for him. He had to see it to believe it. At the end of the day, he was very impressed and I think he has a new respect for our neighbors.

Z's costume has a very long tail behind it, and he liked whipping it around. Lily was a hula dancer--with a fleece and gloves, too. Carver, obviously, was a Ninja Turtle. He will dress up for Halloween until he's 23.

And now I am home with 3 huge buckets of candy and I'm trying to stay busy so I don't eat it. Help!


It's Final!
We finalized our adoption with Zinabu here in America. It's really a validation of the adoption from Ethiopia, but it allows us to get a new birth certificate for Z--and apply for the necessary Certificate of Citizenship. Most importantly, it was a celebration for our family! With both Carver and Lily, we had a court celebration. A very kind judge asks us some questions, and we get to talk about what a blessing each child is. Then there is an official pronouncement that our kids are officially and legally and irrevocably ours. What was so fun this time around is that Carver and Lily were old enough to understand and witness the event. It was priceless to me that they got to see how adoption works in the courtroom! Zinabu was so happy, as it meant he legally took on David's middle name as his first name. We will continue to call him Zinabu, of course, but the symbolism is there.

I am a very blessed woman.

Outside the courtroom.

After finalization with our judge.



I will never, ever forget Zinabu's first day with us here in our home. Because he was very much on Ethiopia time, he fell asleep at 4:00 in the afternoon and woke up at 3:00 am. I got up with him, and...really...it was amazing that Zianbu didn't panic. I was a new person to him, he was in a new home, with new smells, and we had to tiptoe around and whisper so we didn't wake anyone else up for another hour or two. And he spoke no English. He desperately needed a bath, so I filled the tub with warm water and bubbles, and I dumped the bucket of bath toys that we keep in our bathroom into the water. Zinabu climbed in, and very methodically picked out the plastic dinosaurs and threw them onto the bathroom floor. He didn't like them at all, and he was making faces at me like, "What are those creepy things? Geesh!" He wanted no part of them.

Since then, he's made a complete turnaround as far as dinosaurs are concerned. I didn't push them, but we have lots of leftovers from when Carver was a little younger, not to mention lots of books about dinosaurs. Zinabu slowly grew used to seeing them around and eventually expressed more interest in them. Well now it's one of his favorite subjects. Even when he brushes his teeth, he likes to foam at the mouth and roar--showing his teeth to me like a T. Rex. And don't forget--for Halloween Z is going to be a Stegosaurus. He is very concerned he might hurt me with his spikes on his back, but I told him I'll survive.

Have I mentioned I think this little guy is pretty cool?


Let me preface this post with a little background. In the African American community, hair is a big deal. A really big deal. How you care for it, how it looks, and what products you use on it all reflect a personal emphasis on its importance. And the importance of caring for black hair is not something to be taken lightly. If I don't know what I'm doing with Lily's hair, it would very much break off and fall out. It's so fragile. Also, if I don't take good care of Lily's hair, then it reflects back on me--and it is not a good thing. People would look at Lily and see an unkempt head and then look at me and come to the conclusion that I am not a good mom. For myself, there are many days that I grab a baseball cap and shove it on my head and don't even think about my hair. Or on a day that I'm just too plain lazy to really care, I pull it back in a clip and call it done. But with Lily, I can't get away with that. Her hair is gorgeous but very demanding. It's never a "quick" brush and go. It moisturizer, combs, oils, sprays, clips, bands, and styles--braids, twists, parts, sections, and poofs. If I put as much time into our taxes as I did on Lily's hair, the IRS would hire me. Being Lily's mom--and caregiver of her hair--is a huge privilege. So I was so disappointed in myself yesterday.

The kids had a day off of school for parent/teacher conferences, so we hung around in our pajamas and just played. By afternoon it was almost 80 degrees, so I decided to take the kids to a playground. I looked at Lily's hair, and figured it was "good enough." Two ponytails that were a little frizzy, and her hair looked dry, but I thought, "Who cares?" We got to the playground and were there for 5 minutes when a beautiful black woman arrived with her 4 daughters. That's right: 4. And every girl had their hair perfectly coiffed and styled. I felt like yelling, "Hey, I know my child doesn't look so great now, but I REALLY work hard on her hair ALL THE OTHER days of the year." I also felt like the uneducated white woman who has no clue how to do a black child's hair. It didn't help that Carver really needs a haircut and looks like a Furby.

Needless to say, I spent most of this morning on Lily's locks, and she's back to her gorgeous head of hair.


9 Years Ago Today...

I became a mom. It was 9 years ago that a baby boy flew on an airplane from Georgia to Minnesota, where David and I (and a ton of family and friends) waited eagerly at our church. The director of the adoption agency had a smooth flight, held our baby boy, and landed in Minneapolis around noon. She was picked up by friends, and driven to where we were huddled, eagerly awaiting this arrival. I remember feeling like I was going to throw up. I remember it was a beautiful fall day, with leaves on the ground. I remember looking at David and thinking, "What have we done?" I remember standing there with a diaper bag, as if I had a clue what I was supposed to do with it.

And then he arrived. They pulled up in a blue minivan and we hurried inside where we could hold him in private. Friends and family gave us some space, and our escort walked in with the tiniest bundle in her arms. There was a thatch of black hair, and then the most beautiful brown eyes... and the sweetest little face.

We had a dedication ceremony right there, and I don't know who was happier--Diana or my mom. All the photos we have of that day show those two hovering over Carver.

To be honest, it was not an easy adjustment with Carver. I was a new mom who had no clue what she was doing, and he was colicky and mad. But once we found our groove, it was easy see that I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't have changed a thing. And today, when he wakes up in the morning and runs downstairs to hug me and yell, "Hey Mom! I love you." I cannot believe how blessed I am.



We had a bit of a blizzard on Sunday. It was great! Once the wind died down, I sent the kids out to play. I had literally just bought Z gloves the day before (as we didn't have any for him yet). It was bitterly cold, so I figured he'd last maybe 15 minutes outside. Well, he sure proved me wrong! After an HOUR AND A HALF I had to drag the kids in to warm up and eat some lunch. They went right back outside again while they gulped down the last bite! The snow is already melted, and it will warm back up to the 70s again in a day or two, but it was fun while it lasted. Looks like I have another snow bunny on my hands!


Carver and Lily at the hockey game.

Seriously, who is the moron who invented these inflated whacking sticks? They hand them out for free when you walk in the door. I wanted to scream, "What in heaven's name are you doing giving those to a 9 year old boy? My night is ruined!" The hockey game was great, but I spent most of my time apologizing to the people in front of us every time Carver hit them in the head.

Lily at the Air Force football game.

Zinabu, who ate 10 gallons of popcorn.

I'm tired, but happy. Getting out of the house means I don't have to clean it. A huge storm is moving into Colorado tonight--so while it was 80 degrees today, it will probably snow and have a high of 28 degrees tomorrow. Good day for a fire in the fireplace and hot chocolate.


Sports Crazy and Dodging a Bullet

This is a sports weekend. Fortunately for our family, I love sports. Truly, I do. Tonight Colorado College takes on the Univ. of Minn. in ice hockey. David wears his MN sweatshirt, Carver paints his face like a CC tiger, and I hide under the seats and pretend not to know either of them. Tomorrow we go to Carver's soccer game (hopefully at the RIGHT TIME!!!), then head over to the Air Force Academy for the AFA vs. Wyoming football game. We have a friend that plays for Wyoming, and the AFA games are a blast. Then it's off to round two of Colorado College vs. Minnesota on the ice--another hockey game. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous until Sunday, so we're in good shape. We look forward to spending a lot of time together as a family, the great flyovers at the AFA game, the crowds throwing things on the ice... you know, fun stuff like that.

As for dodging a bullet, I consider it nothing short of a miracle that not one of our kids has gotten sick yet this fall. Especially Zinabu. Having no exposure to American colds and flu, I expected him to be sick all the time this fall. But so far so good. I am so grateful. Still, I have the nagging fear in the back of my head that at-any-moment-all-the-kids-will-start-sneezing/vomiting/coughing-at-the-same-time-and-not-stop-for-a-week will hit our family. So I'm crossing my fingers, thinking happy thoughts, and getting ready to cheer loud this weekend.


I've Been Tagged

It has been suggested I share the following about myself from a few of my blog buddies (a.k.a. my partners in crime in this mothering thing). They tagged me and I am more than happy to oblige.

Jobs I've Held:
1. Baskin Robbins
2. Veterinarian's Clinic (I lasted 2 weeks b/c I cried too much)
3. Nanny (a must if you live in New England)
4. Art Teacher to kids
5. Editor

Places I've Lived:
1. New York
2. Virginia
3. California
4. Connecticut
5. Mass.
6. Minnesota (my favorite)
7. Colorado

Food I Love:
1. Pasta
2. More pasta
3. Have I mentioned pasta?
4. DARK chocolate--the really expensive stuff that's almost bitter
5. Avocados

Places I'd Rather Be:
1. The library
2. Asleep
3. Mueller State Park
4. Breckenridge
5. Disney World (all expenses paid by some rich benefactor)

Favorite Movies:
1. Pride and Prejudice--the A&E version (if you don't know this about me now you've been living under a rock.)
2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
3. Any Harry Potter (except #1)
4. Signs
5. Finding Nemo

TV Shows I Watch:
You're kidding me, right? If I'm lucky I catch the weather on the news before nodding off.

Friends I'm Tagging:
I think everyone I would tag has either already done this or tagged me. But I think I can still tag Heather.


Ooooooh! I Like It.

I am fiercely protective of my kiddos. Yes, I know they have to try and fail at things. I know they need to stand up for themselves. But a big part of me wants to "stick it!" to other kids who are not so nice to my precious lovies. So I thought I could install this slide in my backyard. Anyone who LOOKS at my kids in a mean way gets a free ticket for a ride on the skin grater. What do you think?



That's me. A complete idiot. It was my turn to bring snacks and oranges to Carver's soccer game this weekend, and we got there... just after the game ended. Everyone was gone but the coach, and I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I mean, really, how bad of a parent are you when you can't even get to a soccer game at the right time???? With the snacks??? Carver was sad and I was humbled. I had to look him in the eye and tell him I had messed up royally. He cried. I cried. It would have made good soap opera material. Maybe next week we can actually get to the game at the correct time. Yeah... there's a good idea.

The weekend wasn't a total bust. David's sister came to visit. Or perhaps you already heard the screams of "YAY! AUNT DIANA!" coming from our house. She has been a very special part of my life and the kids' lives these last 10 years. Not to mention she traveled with David to Ethiopia to get Zinabu. She was impressed with Z's English--especially one of his favorite words: disgusting. He still says it, mostly, because it's so fun to say. I was just happy to have Diana here. She's a night nurse and I like to say, "I don't know how you do it." I have three kids and she likes to say to me, "I don't know how you do it." So we're good for each other that way.


It's here. It's finally here. We've surpassed the number of days that Z-buzz spent at the care center. It will pass quietly--no big celebration or fanfare. But in my heart, I am weeping tears of joy.

I don't know how to describe how much I love this boy.


Hoppin' Back!

So it's been a little wild here at CathyCentral. We got through a crazy weekend and a pet purchase. Lily, our sweet, animal-loving Lily, has been begging, pleading, and more or less agonizing for a pet. She is deathly allergic to cats, so we ruled that out right away. We have debated the dog idea for months now, but in the end felt that it was too much like adding another child to the family, and for me, at least, 3 is enough. We thought about hamsters and gerbils, but they're nocturnal and up all night. Meanwhile, Lily was doing chores EVERY DAY, saving her money for an animal. We pay horribly around here, like 25 cents to sweep or clean, 10 cents to sweep the garage, and 15 cents to do laundry. This bought us a little time, but with her determination she nickeled and dimed her way to 20 dollars. So without further ado, here is Mr. Bun Bun.

Seriously, who's cuter? Lily or Bun Bun? What won me over was that rabbits can be litter box trained! Woo hoo! And he's small and sweet and doesn't make her sneeze.

Only 2 more days till October 12th. Hooray!


I'm Doomed!

What is this great demise I'm talking about? Dark chocolate peanut butter spread. I swear I was going to make it through life without being the type of woman who sat on the couch--in sweatpants and slippers--and scooped glop out of a tub with her finger.




Bring it on!

I'm betting this little dinosaur will make quite a candy haul this year. He's very, very excited to wear his costume.

We made quite a pumpkin haul, too. Some turned out huge. I can barely lift a couple of them. We lost 4 to some kind of fungus, but the rest are wonderful. Not bad for a few seeds back in June.


10 More Days...

Until we mark a very special anniversary. October 12 is the day that Zinabu will have been with our family LONGER than he was at the care center. It is an emotional time for me, thinking about Z's days and nights without his first family or with us. I especially think of the kids at the care center right now... who have been there for too long. Kids who just want a family.


Happy 9th Birthday, Peanut!


We Love School
It was track and field day this week at school. Lots of cheering, snow cones, races, laughter, and joy. When your kids are adopted, you throw your hands up in the air and see where "nature vs. nurture" really falls. One of my kiddos is an incredible athlete and is just plain fast. Trust me, that had nothing to do with me. Strictly genetic. But we have tried to enforce exercise, healthy living, and good attitudes. To cheer for everyone and empathize with disappointment. I think they'll be 55 when they really get the grasp of that, but we make strides every day. One of my kids gave one of their ribbons to another child that didn't have any. Didn't even know I saw them do it. I sobbed. So despite all their great runs and jumps and relay races, I feel like they won it all!

Lily, bustin' it out on the hoola hoop!

Carver, trying the long jump.

Z couldn't participate in Track and Field day, but if there had been a popsicle eating contest, he would have given it his all.



This is Z, on a typical day, dancing in Lily's slippers. Just imagine if I had let him have sugar, too.


Uncle Jack is Here!

Looking for his plane at the airport.

My brothers, mom, sister-in-law, and kiddos. A happy reunion. My brother will be here for just a few days, but it will be a great visit.



I feel a little bit like I've been smacked in the head. I had to have 2 difficult conversations with Carver today. These are the kinds of talks you really only want to have once in a lifetime, but BOTH on the SAME DAY!!! Geesh.

First, he heard me say "Jena 6" and he wanted to know what that meant. I have been following this story for months (click here for a brief summary), but it is just now making national news because of the huge march that took place in Jena this week. I had to tell Carver that there was a fight at a school, and the boys that had white skin didn't get into trouble, but the boys that had brown skin are being punished (at least, that's how you explain it to an 8-year-old). He looked at me as if I'd just told him my name was Poolavez and I'm from planet Yarbyey. The good news was that I affirmed that the rest of the country is saying "This is not fair. This is not right." And that lots of people are marching in that town to make a statement. He was very glad to hear that, and very proud of his African American heritage!

Second, a yucky thing is possibly happening on our school playground before school starts and I had to tell him that, under no circumstances, was he allowed to talk to a certain man. Enough said. I feel very, very angry even writing about it.

Let's hope that tomorrow we can get back to our little utopia of soccer games, cartoons, popsicles, and childhood.



I promised Z that we would stay home ALL day today and that I would play whatever he wanted. So far we've buried giraffes in the sandbox, searched for bugs, captured pirate treasure, driven 1,000 Matchbox cars, pretended to be bitten by poisonous spiders (er, not my favorite), and eaten snacks and lunch. This kid continues to pack food away at an alarming rate. Today he ate 4 pancakes, a banana, grapes, strawberries, yogurt, a whole apple, a whole orange, a veggie corn dog, juice, water, and for dessert...pudding and cheese puffs. You can see he enjoyed eating them in his pretend cave. I have to cut him off for fear he will explode. We are having a great day together, but I find it incredibly hard to ignore the dishes in the sink, the toys all over the house, the unmade beds, and all the other things I could be doing. But a promise is a promise!



Lily: "Zinabu, do you want to be my pet?"
Zinabu: "Okay!"
Lily: "You can be my doggie, and I'll read books to you."
Zinabu: "Okay!"



The Aspen just starting to change color.

Eating and swinging. Lily and Bailey played Indian princesses for HOURS!!! They actually made up their own language.

Carver and Noah in the trees, where they spent most of their time. They emerged only to eat.

Me and my dear friend Ali. She made our weekend a true getaway.

Mr. Stud goes fishing.

David and Zinabu... what you don't see in the picture is the dog on the porch. Z is doing better, but he's still not crazy about the four-legged creatures. He wanted to be up in our arms a lot of the time.

The view from the hammock. I could have stayed there all week!

Blessed beyond measure.