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!