Did You Know...
that 9 of 10 kids living with AIDS are African?
Did you know you can help? Buy a RED product.
A Hallmark RED greeting card. How easy is that?

A motorola phone wrist strap.

My personal favorite... the onsie from BabyGap.

Freeline skates. I saw a video of someone using these and they rock!

An African-print bag available through Hallmark.

A RED t-shirt from the Gap (as you can see, it doesn't need to be red in color!)
Not to mention laptops, watches, cologne, sunglasses, purses, bracelets, ipods, dresses, etc! So there, you have no excuse not to go shopping this weekend and buy a little something for yourself and help save the life of an African living with AIDS. Retail therapy at its best.


Summer is finally here. And I mean FINALLY! It is 84 degrees today--with gale force winds, but I'll take it. It was 45 yesterday with drizzle. Honestly, people, Colorado in the springtime will just about put you over the edge. And then all of a sudden, it's hot and you can finally put the jackets away.

The past few days I've been entertaining 5 children, as my friend Ali and her husband are in Cancun. Am I a good friend, or what? We had 2 of her kiddos here for 3 days and I tell you it was one assembly line after another between meals, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc. Today I am back to just my brood, and we celebrated by hitting a huge park and splash fountain that's free and fun and makes Carver forget he's 9 going on 15.

Here are some photos from our camping trip. Did I mention it was cold?

Lily and Z rock climbing

Zinabu talking and yakking away as usual.

Carver and me trying to stay warm.

*Diana: it goes without saying we are eager, eager, eager to see you in MN. soon. But I thought I'd say it anyway. Toodles.


This & That

It's looking like it just might happen. Obama as the Democratic candidate. I've got fingers, legs, eyes, ears, and arms crossed. I am so excited about it I can hardly stand it!!! The first black president, a democrat, a compassion for the poor, and getting troops out of Iraq. It's like Christmas has come early!

We had a good time camping. At least we're all still alive, and that's saying something. Is there anything cuter than an Ethiopian eating a s'more? Zinabu l o v e s them.

Right now we're trying to iron out our summer plans. We had been planning a trip to Minnesota but it has become more and more difficult to figure out how to make the dates work. David's mom has not yet met Zinabu, and we NEED that to happen. Also, it is so important for us to get to the massive picnic attended by all the families who have adopted from Ethiopia through our agency. We're still trying to sort it out.

I just want happy kids, warm weather, a chance to sleep in, good visits with family, and no broken arms. Is that too much to ask?


School Is Out!

Carver and a few friends on the last day of school. I refuse to believe he will be in 4th grade next year. Let us not speak of it.

Lily (on the left) and some of her friends. They are so darling together I can't even stand it.

And a silly video of Zinabu. I am not kidding when I tell you that he would sit and talk to the grass while he watched it grow. He talks and talks and talks... I was finishing up my lunch when I realized he was aimlessly conversing about the fact that he thinks he's faster than me. Sorry it's dark, but watch at the end when he realizes he's lost the argument.

It is supposed to be one of the coldest weekends in a while, and of course it is the weekend we are scheduled to go camping. I am currently tearing the house apart looking for wool socks. I hate having to pack GLOVES for the kids for a weekend away, but it is what it is. Hope your weekend is wonderful.


List of 10

10. The number of books I have piled on my nightstand and am trying to read. Could this be the root of some of my issues? Trying to do too much? Hmmmm...
9. Nine o' clock. My favorite bedtime--for me.

8. The number of recipes I want to make in this book, but I am too intimidated by how pretty she is. Should someone who eats that much pasta be this beautiful??? Not fair!
7. The number of apples I have in the fridge right now. That should last us about 3 days.
6. Number of years left until Carver can apply for a driver's permit. Just kill me now.
5. I have 5 sisters-in-law.
4. Number of people who are expecting babies very soon--Anne, Chandra, Deirdre, and Heather.
3. In the last 24 hours, the number of people who have told me they are pregnant! (This has to be some kind of record!) K., A., and C.
2. Only two more days of school left!!!!
1. One very quirky behavior of mine... I actually love watching cartoons with my kids. It's hard for me to get things done when I allow them TV time because I want to watch, too.


Happy Again

So if you dared to return to my blog after that last whine-a-thon, then more power to you. I appreciate the encouragement... And I have to say that it's not terrible here. Just some days can be more psycho challenging than others and it doesn't take much to turn me to a blob of insecurity. We had a great weekend with hot weather--which included a track meet, popsicles, the wading pool, planning a camping trip, books, tag, and all the other things that make childhood fun.

On Friday I joined Lily's class for a field trip to the zoo. Our zoo here in town is pretty rockin'--with very hands-on exhibits and kid-friendly environments. Here are a few photos.

Lily feeding the budgies.

The aroma in one of the buildings was a bit too much for Z.

If Lily could have taken one home, she would have.

The zoo is actually set in the mountains. When we left, we drove past a resort and golf course and saw this!

Please notice the golf cart in the background. I think the men were actually a little peeved that they had to abandon their game. Also note the WIRE FENCE between me and the bears. And if you listen, you can hear Z whisper, "They're so BIG." He was putting no faith in the wire fence.

Not bad for a field trip!


Warning: Not-So-Happy-Cathy Posting Today

Not-so-happy-Cathy is also interchangeable but not limited to Eats-Too-Many-Carbs-Cathy and Utterly-Sleep-Deprived Cathy, as well as What-On-Earth-Was-I-Thinking-Having-3-Kids-Cathy and Screw-You-People-I'm-Out-Of-Here-Cathy. But today let's just stick with not so happy. This was the week it all came crashing down. The distressing reality that motherhood does NOT get easier with each passing year. Rather, it just gets harder. Seriously. I thought those baby and toddler years were the ultimate challenge, but alas I was so, so wrong. Now that I have three kids who are in the "middle" years, I find myself more and more ill-equipped for what they throw at me, what happens on any given day (example: one child yelling that another child locked them out of the house), and how I am supposed to meet their individual needs over and over again.

So even though I really should be reading some kind of self-help parenting book right now, I chose to use my time in a strictly idiotic way--reenacting "the tantrum."

Exhibit A: you know you're about to hear something you disagree with, so you look extremely disinterested and pretend to be staring at a spot on the wall.

Exhibit B: The eye roll. You hear your mom or dad giving you constructive criticism or some kind of important life lesson, and you show them by rolling your eyes (repeatedly) that you really could not care less.

Exhibit C: The tears. Also accompanied by yelling and howling. Usually after the eye roll when you realize there is a punishment accompanying the above life lesson. A full blown fit if it's a really bad punishment.

Exhibit D: The "I am not speaking to you anymore" look. It is the only weapon left in the child's arsenal, but they use it very effectively and it reduces many parents to jell-o. At this point the parent has to stick with everything they've just laid out, despite the fact that the child is staring daggers at them.

Exhibit E: Parent goes to the kitchen to stuff their face with comfort food and tries to talk them self off the ledge of giving up entirely.

Now repeat that cycle weekly--and on a REALLY bad day, multiple times.
Why do you think I blog? It's my only safe outlet.


A few days ago I mentioned I was looking for a certain video I wanted to share. This is it. It was a little over a year ago that we drove to the airport to greet Zinabu. This video is very bittersweet to me--I can remember being scared out of my mind. Meeting a perfect stranger who was essentially my child! I see Zinabu in this short video clip and cannot help but comment on how incredibly brave he is. He had just left his home country, had flown for endless hours with strangers, could not understand English, was exhausted, was already getting sick with the mumps, and had to meet his new family. Can you imagine?

Although it is hard to see in this clip, Z walked with a definite waddle, almost like he was wearing cowboy boots that were too big for him. His legs had atrophied muscles and he was incredibly bowlegged. Partly from malnutrition, we suspect... It's hard to know. He had a very difficult time on playground equipment when he first arrived, and all his muscles were frighteningly weak. In the past year his legs have bulked up and there are no lingering issues. He has grown almost 10 inches this year. TEN INCHES!!! Amazing what nutrition will do.

So although this video is a milestone for our family, I grieve because it was such a traumatic time for Z and a blatant reminder of how much he needed good food and a family. I am still processing all of it. I feel so strongly about adoption, the call for decent families to step up and give an orphan a home, the need for children all over world to have a decent meal and heath care each day, the reality that too many (millions) die from hunger and preventable diseases...

I implore you to make a difference!


Recently Overheard

Lily: Mom, I am going to marry a black man when I grow up.

Me: Okay.

Lily: I mean, it would just be too weird to marry a white man.

Me: Okay. (Note to self: remember to discuss marriage options are open to all races)

Lily: The problem is, I don't know any older black men.

Me: I certainly hope not. You're only in first grade!!!


This Makes Me Feel Better

I was invited to Carver's 3rd grade classroom for a Mother's Day Tea today. Without knowing about it, Carver paid $1 of his own money to help contribute to the cookies, he wrote an essay on why he loves me, and made the sweetest memory jar with slips of paper inside on which he wrote memories of things we've done together. I loved every single minute of it. Here is his essay, in case you can't hear him...

These are the reasons why mom Mom is special to me. First, she loves me. She makes my lunch for me every day. She spends time with me. I also love her. Next, she buys me things. She buys me toys. She buys my clothes. Also, she buys me candy. Sometimes. Last, she is a great cook. On my birthday she made me cheeseburgers. I love cheeseburgers. She makes good grilled cheese and quesadillas. I think she is special. So you can see I love my Mom.

I come across a little bit like Santa--you know, with the toys and candy. And have I ever once bragged about my culinary skills? Snort! You know I haven't. I LOVE a 9 year old's perspective.


Missing In Action

Haven't blogged in a few days. We are having a hum-dinger of a rotten week at our house, so it's hard to find anything fun to talk about. Maybe we can turn this around and be all smiles again in a few days.


Blast It!

Those Wiggles and their Australian accents! I have just had the 3,000th conversation with Zinabu that the song that sounds like "Wiggly Potty" is actually "Wiggly Party." Its just that with their accents they don't say the "r." Zinabu has lectured and lectured me about potty talk, and I have found myself in a debate with him (remember, he's 4) way too many times.

I'm off to chuck some music out the window.