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.


Off Again
We're taking off today to spend the night with friends at their cabin. I'm looking forward to a little time away with my family. It's getting very chilly here at night... and the mountains are seeing lows in the 30s. We will run the kids ragged and let them get filthy-dirty! We will eat caramel popcorn and grill chicken and lick our fingers and smile a lot. We will hike and swim and, hopefully, sleep well. I'll post pictures when we get back. In the meantime, make yourself a batch of caramel popcorn and snuggle with someone you love.

1 batch air popped pop corn (about 8 cups). *I always double this recipe and find that the caramel (below) easily covers 16 cups of popcorn.

3/4 cups brown sugar
3 T corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt over low heat till melted. Cook 3 minutes. Add vanilla and baking soda and stir. Mixture will become bubbly and fluffy. Put popcorn in large, greased baking pan and pour caramel mixture over it. Stir to coat. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes to coat evenly. Cool and eat!!!!


And The Winner Is...

I made Lily look "pensive" for this photo. She is such a firecracker and spaz at home, but out in public she is shy and quiet. I spent the day at school with Carver and Lily, going back and forth between their classrooms to help out. At the end of the day there was an assembly, and the principal passed out awards for good behavior. Lily won the "Good Citizenship" award, and had...to...walk...up...to...the...front...of...the...gym...in...front...of...the...whole...school!!!! A year ago, I don't think she would have been able to do it. I was proud of her for winning the award, but I think I was even MORE proud of her for mustering up the courage to walk up front and accept the award. Isn't it amazing to watch your kids be brave?


Non-stop. All the time. Everywhere. Everything. He talks and talks and talks and talks. This morning, as I was combing my wet hair, Z stood in the bathroom with me and began telling me about lions. What they eat, how they growl, their fur, etc. This went on for a good 10 minutes. Finally, after feeling like I'd done an adequate job of giving him my attention, I turned on the blow dryer and dried my hair. His lips kept moving. 10 minutes later, I turned off the dryer and he was still going strong. How lions hunt. How lions can't run as fast as cheetahs. How lions eat meat. And on and on and on. It's really amazing to watch him. And sometimes he learns the strangest words. I think Carver taught him "Chewbaka" (sp?). He throws that one out left and right just to make himself laugh. The kid is a marvel.


A Letter To My Children
Dear Carver, Lily, and Zinabu...
When you are 16 and ask for a car, or when you graduate from high school and ask to backpack through Europe, or when I am old and you are choosing a nursing home for me, please remember this: I sacrificed everything to take you to the library this weekend to see spiders. I just want you to appreciate the trauma I inflicted upon myself so that you could experience a little science. When my skin erupted in goosebumps and I thought surely I would lose control of my digestive system, I held it together and stayed...for you! All for you! Do not forget your mother and her extreme love for you.

Yes, it's alive...

Carver watches a spider spin a web.

Lily pets "Fang."


Not much new to post... we're just getting by with our day to day routines. I've started my weekly Bible Study, and Zinabu attends the kid's program. He's doing incredibly well and loves it. He's also a favorite with his teachers, so I'm sure he's well loved. David leaves tomorrow for a 4 day trip--and he's taking our laptop with him. So even though I haven't posted on my blog for a week, it'll be another several days until I can post again. That's fine with me. I started this blog as a way to let out-of-town family members keep up with our adoption news. It blossomed from that, but now that the adoption drama is all done, there are days I just don't know what to write about. I mean, please, do you really want to hear about the fact that I'm running low on Windex and I need to clean my windows? Thought not. If I'm able to post in 4 days that I survived on my own with 3 kids, that will be a major accomplishment! Have a great weekend.