I was tagged by Melodie to list 5 things I am thankful for. Of course I could list 500, but I will go for 5.

1. My sister-in-law Diana. (Not to take away from my other 5 sisters-in-law, but Diana is on my mind today)
2. My children. Especially my "difficult" child. I am a completely different person today because of motherhood and I am glad.
3. My husband David. I don't talk about him much on the blog because he deserves some privacy and he does not need me blabbing about every little thing he does. But, in essence, he rocks.
4. Clean water. This is a basic need I take for granted every time I turn the sink on. I want to appreciate every drop I have because so many families in this world do not have it.
5. Twilight. It made my week really nice.


Starbucks Did Something Right!

Those of us who have adopted from Ethiopia have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks. There was the human rights issue where Starbucks fought to own the brand name for Ethiopian coffee. This would, in essence, cheat Ethiopian coffee growers out of a lot of money and was in no way fair or ethical. Recently Starbucks caved, so I no longer have to feel uber-guilty when I crave a peppermint latte. As for Starbucks' other issues--like their carbon footprint or contributions to obesity, well, I'll leave that up to you to wrestle with.

{But} Starbucks is making a major move in the right direction this winter. On Dec 1, World Aids Day, buy any hand-crafted beverage and they will give 5¢ to the Global Fund to help save lives in Africa. Totally amazing and completely wonderful! Do you have any idea how much money could be raised on that day? I am also pretty sure that for the rest of Dec. and into Jan, when you purchase certain drinks, Starbucks will contribute a portion to the RED campaign, which is set up to provide life-saving medicine and support to AIDS victims in Africa.

So mark your calendars and tell your friends. Buy some hot drinks on Dec. 1!



So I was getting a little kerfluffled that so many people I knew (Heather) were seeing Twilight once, twice, three times and I hadn't yet. Being stuck in the house all day with a sick kid, and knowing I would be stuck all day in the house tomorrow with a sick kid, I batted my best chilly-willy eyes at David and he shooed me out the door to the movies. I went to the late show, after the kids were in bed, and I had a fairly empty theatre, which was nice because I was hearing rumors of audiences screaming and wooing over a certain vampire. Fortunately, my audience was perfectly subdued. Here are my thoughts for those of you who care (Heather).
Edward--perfectly cast
Bella--perfectly cast
Jacob--gag, cough, sputter, what were they thinking???
Special effects--well it was a low-budget film and they looked kinda low budget
Favorite scene--when Bella walks into the science classroom and the fan blows her hair. Edward's reaction is priceless.
Baseball scene was great, exactly how it was described in the book, but why was Emmet wearing velour?
Bella at the Cullen house was also great.
My advice (for anyone besides Heather still reading this post): do NOT see this movie if you haven't read the book. It will look so cheesy. If you know the book and know what Bella and Edward are thinking about--what all the characters are thinking--you will really enjoy it.
I loved it. Heather, please comment!
What Do You Guess?

A guessing game, if you will. How many ounces of fluid will pour out of Zinabu's nose today? He has a {monster} cold and has very poor nose-blowing skills. It just leaks out of him. Poor kid. He feels miserable, but I am having a nice snuggly day with him. I'm going to make some soup and hot chocolate and all kinds of other yummies that are fun to eat when you have a cold


What Does It Take...
for a girl to get noticed around here? Apparently I either need candy bars taped all over my body or I need to walk around topless and THEN someone will take note.

No one noticed my hair.


All right, I don't look anything like this, but I did go get my hair highlighted today and had a blissful hour to myself. Does wonders for a girl's spirit.


Someone Had A Good Birthday!

Zinabu was thrilled with his cake, his presents, and all the love he received last Friday. He was slightly disappointed when he learned we were not giving him a huge bash at Chuck E Cheese with 100 guests, but he got over it.

Life around here is good. Carver had a cold last week, and Lily has it today. She gets to stay home from school and hang out with me. The kids are very excited for Thanksgiving break next week, and I am too. I love Thanksgiving! I think last year I posted a rant and rave that Thanksgiving is now the forgotten holiday and that I, for one, was not going to stand for our country celebrating Halloween and moving right on to Christmas. I might have overdone it with my enthusiasm, though, because anytime we walk into a store and encounter Christmas decorations my kids yell, "Boooooooo! Too early!"

This weekend we are meeting with the contractor we've decided to hire to go over price (gulp), timeline, and other details. Does anyone else besides me have a very hard time justifying the price of all new kitchen cabinets when the ones already in the house are perfectly functional?

Somehow we are surviving David's PhD classes. I don't know how, but we are.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.


Happy 5th Birthday, Zinabu. How can you be 5? HOW???? I was going to pick a mushy love song for this slide show, but I knew you wouldn't like that. Instead, I found a song that talks about your favorite food. I know you'll love it.

Today we celebrate you and your incredible life. Your joy overflows to everyone who meets you, and I am so blessed to be your (second) mama!


Delayed Gratification

I don't espouse a lot of parenting advice here, as I am so far from perfect it would be laughable for me to give other people tips about how to raise their kids. And I have always made gagging noises when I read blogs where the mom goes on and on about what works great with her kids, as if there is some magic elixir we should all be taking to have perfect children.


There is one area that David and I are sticklers for. Delayed gratification. There is so much pressure in our society to have our kids grow up fast. There is also a growing frenzy of entitlement that I see everywhere--a trickle-down effect from grown ups to children. The "I want it and I want it now!" syndrome. Mortgage loan crisis, anyone? David and I have tried very, very hard to only allow our kids to experience things that are appropriate for their age. So that means no high heels for Lily (have you been in the kid's shoe department lately?) No Star Wars videos for Zinabu (he's 4!!!!!) and no cell phone for Carver (unlike some of his friends). We would both agree it is one of our hardest jobs. Trying to have our kids wait for things is a value that does not feel good to them. Teaching them patience and self-control is the hard road, but we have a job as their parents to let them be kids and enjoy that for as long as possible.

I happen to be a Harry Potter freak. They are probably the best books I will ever have the enjoyment of reading. Once Carver turned 9, I was dying to share them with him. (He still loves when we read aloud to him.) We could have blazed through the entire series in about a month, but he would have missed out on the anticipation of waiting for the next book. He would have not been able to absorb all the great details and clues Jo Rowling leaves along the way. He would have been scared at times and it would have been over his head at others. Carver knows that he has to wait, but we've seen the payoff. Last night I cracked open The Prisoner of Azkaban to start reading aloud to him and you should have seen his face. Pure joy!

Sometimes waiting is a good thing.


Weird Things I've Said This Week!

1. Can you please put on some underwear before you sit down to eat your lunch?
2. What animal did we just run over?
3. I don't know how to say "delicious" in Greek. Sorry.
4. I don't think you should eat 5 pancakes.
5. How about we have candy after breakfast.
6. I don't know why the Wiggles are singing about that, I just DON'T!
7. If you can't settle down, I will make you run laps around the house.
8. Are you sure the rabbit did it?
9. What do you mean you have a book report?
10. Kids in Ethiopia probably don't cheer for the Minnesota Vikings.


I am a very lucky girl, because I am going away for the night with some girlfriends to Breckenridge. Breckenridge has to be one of the top 10 most beautiful places on earth... it is so gorgeous. Good thing they let people like me in for visitation. Although there won't be any leaves on the trees, being in the mountains is breathtaking. I doubt I'll get much sleep (up late talking) ad I'll gain 5 pounds (leftover Halloween candy, anyone?) but it will be so worth it.


The Boys

This is how I found Carver the other night. He fell asleep with his book on his face--just like his mama! He loves to read and we usually have to force him to put his book down and turn off his light. On this night, his exhaustion won out.

And not to be outdone by his older brother, Zinabu went to bed with his Spiderman costume and wore his mask. I had to gently remove the elastic string from his curls and get the mask off so he could sleep better. Too cute.

I don't know how it is in your house, but my kids have NOT adjusted to daylight savings. They are up at 5:00 am, wide awake. They are also having a hard time falling asleep, just from being a little overtired, I think. Not to mention it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, and I look at the clock and wonder what we'll do for another 3 hours each evening. Last night we went to the YMCA and they played on the climbing wall and the huge inflatable pirate ship while I exercised, then we all went swimming together. Did you know they have treadmills now with TV screens on them? This was something new to me and it begs the question: are you really exercising if you're watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 at the same time?


Election Day!

I told you I would take photos. Here we are on the way to our voting precinct. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon, and David left work early to meet us there.

Vote? What vote? Lily is just happy to have the front seat.

Outside our polling place. Z striking a hip-hop pose.

Right before entering the building. Happy faces despite the fact that we'd just lectured them on good manners while waiting in line and while David and I voted. SO many people voted early in our county, there was no line at all to vote. I was pleasantly surprised!

After voting! See our stickers?

Dinner in the basement, in front of the TV while we watched the beginning numbers trickle in.

The media at this point was scrambling to report the numbers coming in. So much to report, we had pollster.com and were flipping back and forth between news channels to see who was reporting what. Two minutes after this picture was taken, the media called Ohio for Obama. And that might have tipped the scales...
And I am now crying for joy!


If you haven't already, do it! VOTE!!!! If you have kids, take them with you. Show them how the process works. Tell them why you are voting for the candidate of your choice. Take pleasure in the fact that you have this right. Be thankful for the people that came before you and fought for it. Rejoice that in 1965 Jim Crow laws were finally made unlawful--and my children have the right to vote when they are 18.

We opted not to vote early. We are making a big deal out of November 4th. David and I will meet at our precinct's polling place after he's done with work. The kids will be with us, and we will gladly stand in line for however long it takes. We will be taking lots of photos, too, documenting the occasion. I can barely breathe for daring to hope that the candidate of my choice will win. It's been 8 years, you know! After we vote, we will come home and watch the election coverage. We plan to let the kids stay up as late as they want and cheer for Obama. And if the first black man is elected president on Tuesday night, I can guarantee you will hear us screaming for joy no matter how many miles you live from us!