if you offer, they will bounce!


What's In A Name?
As Lily continues to dream of dogs, and David and I concede that there will most likely be a four-legged friend under the next Christmas tree, I can't help but think of dog names. Here are my top three:

1. Mr. Darcy
2. Edward
3. Harry Potter

Lily's top three:

1. Cookie
2. Brownie
3. Spot

I am determined to sway her.


So, so sick. Not sure how this happened, but he's a sickie poo. Poor baby. Bummer, too, as it's a gorgeous day outside and he can't enjoy it. Meanwhile, Zinabu is entertaining me with tales of "who did what" at preschool today. For example:
Patrick and me played police and we caught Dominic but Dominic got mad at us and he pretended to shoot us and then he didn't want to play anymore and he cried so me and Patrick told him we wanted to play with him and we told him we'd play something else and then Dominic was our friend again.
If only my life were so easy!


Bad Blogger!
That's me. A bad, bad blogger. I've been meaning to write, but by the time I get to the computer I'm too tired. David and I had the Academy Awards on last night while doing other things, and watching Slumdog Millionaire take home all the big prizes made me feel like even more of an outcast in society. Haven't seen the movie and probably never will... Oh well.

Best thing that happened this weekend? Kids got on the jumbo-tron at the Colorado College hockey game. They always do, as I truly believe they are the only African Americans in the entire arena and it always looks good to put our kids up for the whole audience to see. But Carver, Lily, and Z loooooove it!

Worst thing that happened this weekend? Getting a call from a friend who said, "My cousin is moving to town and I know you're going to sell your house soon so we were wondering if we could come by? We'd love to look at your house. We can come by in about 3 hours, does that work?" I should have said no. But of course I said "sure," even as I looked at the breakfast dishes and the piles of laundry and the recycling overflowing under the kitchen sink. A massive cleaning epidemic ensued.


Recently Overheard

Zinabu: Mom, I didn't wear underpants today.*

Me: Uh, okay. I bet that was uncomfortable.

Zinabu: Heeee heee heee.

(Note to self: check Zinabu for underpants.)

Zinabu: Hey goldfish, do you miss your friends? How about I eat you and then you can be with your friends. The ones I already eated. They are in my tummy and they are calling for you. "Oh, GOLDfish" they are saying. First I will bite your head off and you will go down my throat and into my tummy. Then I will bite your fins and then all of you will be inside my tummy with your friends. How does that sound, goldfish? Then I will go to the bathroom and you can all go swimming together down the drain.

Me: Ahem!

*Vivi, looks like our kids have something in common.


Bear With Me Here
After a lot of thinking and praying and facing reality, I have come to the conclusion that I just can't do it all. Especially while David is in his doctorate program and still a high school administrator. Someone in this house (me) needs to be well-rested and on the ball most of the time. And that leads me to the tough, tough decision to close my jewelry business. I'm actually posting this to give me the courage to go through with it because I don't do this lightly. I worked so hard to build it up and make it successful. But at the end of the day, when I look at my children, they need a mom, not a small-business owner.

I think if David's job were not so time-consuming, if he wasn't also taking classes, if we weren't trying to pack our house and get it ready to sell, if I didn't have 3 kids, if we weren't cleaning out my mom's house, if I didn't volunteer in Carver's and Lily's classes... If, if, if. But none of those are going to change anytime soon, so the ONE thing I can control is my business.

What's hard about giving it up? The positive feedback I get from it. The feeling of personal achievement. The knowledge that I can create something that someone else will buy. Something that is strictly by me and for me. It's positively addicting. But trying to fit all of that in on top of my family that is stretched to the limit just won't work anymore.

So while I am so sad to put aside a part of my life that was creative and fulfilling and exciting, I know deep down that I have to. I do not want to look back on my life and regret not having done everything I could for my kids. I can just tell they need more of me these days. They are fighting more and impatient more and grumpy more often than not... and it doesn't help for me to say to them, "Not now, I have to fill an order" or "Not now, I need to ship this package to Canada" or "Not now, I need to check Etsy." I want to give them all of me that they deserve, even though it is so hard sometimes. Making breakfast and playing Transformers and helping with homework won't give me the same glorious satisfaction as selling bulk orders to Australia, but I recognize the priceless value of being available to the people who need me the most.

Please do not interpret this post to be anything about working moms versus stay-at-home moms. It is not. This is strictly about me and what is happening at my house and what I need to put aside in order to make our family work a little better. I have 2 custom orders to fill and ship off today, and then I'm done. I'll pack up my supplies and write "on hold" on the box. Maybe I'll open it again in 5 months. Maybe I'll open it again in 5 years. Or maybe never. I don't know.

And as I have been saying a lot these days, thanks for listening.


The Weekend

I think David and I are both in agreement when we say that the past 10 days have been positively brutal. Turns out a lot of people get divorced when one spouse tries to get their doctorate, and have a full-and-a-half time job, and have a family. It has been terribly rough. We didn't see one another for more than a few minutes here and there the entire week. We are stretched way too thin, and it doesn't help that the kids are stretched thin, too. When there's not enough of mom and dad to go around, their responses are not pretty.
Our dyslexic/dysgraphia kiddo started occupational therapy for handwriting. It's a 12 week therapy course and we should see some improvement by the end. The therapists do a lot of fun activities to keep the kids motivated, meaning they do not all sit around a table and practice handwriting for an hour and a half. They do muscle strengthening and fine motor skill workouts, and practice forming letters. Our child, more or less, has to relearn how to write. I was having a pity party about the co-pays and extra work for our already wary child, but then you see some of the other children that need physical therapy, and I quickly shut my trap. We are blessed.

Carver had his big 4th grade science project to wrap up this weekend. We built a sling-shot out of PVC pipe and launched balls to see how far they would go. Do you love the cape and gloves he's got on? Apparently all in the name of science. To be fair, Carver did a lot of work on the project, but there's just no way 9 and 10 year olds can do this on their own, so it was Mom to the rescue.
Having kids in elementary school is a riot.


I had 2 things that I really wanted to get finished this weekend.

1. Our taxes.
2. Pre-order the Twilight DVD.

Guess which one I accomplished?



If your brother is taking a bath
Then it follows that you take your rabbit in to visit him.


I took 2 minutes and walked through the house and snapped some random photos. In no particular order:

He's really only a threat to himself.

Bun Bun, giving kisses

Two milk cartons, painted red and just waiting for Carver and Lily to make them into Valentine holders.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s permanent spot on our refrigerator.

Our upstairs toilet with a plunger in it. It's currently clogged because a certain Ethiopian has not learned to use toilet paper in moderation.

Zinabu thinks it's funny to leave plastic spiders or snakes on my pillow. He really believes it scares me.
Lily's current dog choice: dalmation.


Be My Valentine

This is the box of valentines Lily picked out. You can understand why, with the dog and all. Well, Carver liked them so much he picked out the same box. I am very curious to see how "puppies and kittens" goes over with other 4th grade boys, but I gotta hand it to Carver. He picks what he likes.



My mother is so going to kill me. But this is too fun. I don't have any new pictures of the kids, and you don't need to see any more pictures of me, so here is a blast from the past: my mother the vamp. There's a good chance my dad took this photo, and you can see by the ring on her finger they were engaged. She sure knew how to pose!

This one is classic! This was her "professional" look. She taught 5th grade and wore dresses and heels to work every day. Don't let the smile fool you. This woman could raise one eyebrow and give the death stare to any student who misbehaved. (She can still do it, too.)
I'm meeting with the contractor today to discuss the final house plans, and I think they'll get started ripping things apart the first week of March. Today we had a hurricane. Li-ter-a-ly! We get these crazy storms over the mountains that bring 75mph winds. It was horrible today. Poor Carver and Lily walked to school and almost died. Lily walked backward to keep the sticks and sand out of her eyes. Carver came back to the house and got his ski goggles to wear for eye protection. Who knew walking to school could be so hazardous?


Me and The Kitchen

Two things you must know about me. I love to bake. I hate to cook. I think if I lived alone and every night I could make whole wheat pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil for myself, cooking would be nice. But there are 4 other people who live here and sometimes I feel like all I do is feed the masses and wipe up the crumbs. I have one meat-and-potatoes husband, one child who eats only "less" food: odorless, colorless, and tasteless. I have a child that I swear has a tapeworm sharing his digestive track, and another child who starts crying if you look at her wrong while we're all eating. Fun, fun times.

The other night I made this recipe and it was amazing. Too bad the pan I used had a tiny crack in it and dripped chicken grease all over the bottom of the oven. Chicken grease on the bottom of your oven is a no-no, because it makes all your other food that you cook taste like, you guessed it, chicken grease. Soooooooo.... I thought I'd run the oven cleaning cycle early the next morning.

And that's when the oven caught fire. But the oven door was LOCKED because the SAFETY LATCH kicked in because I was using the CLEANING cycle and all I could do was watch helplessly. So billowing smoke filled our kitchen--smoke that had the distinct odor of chicken grease. It was 7am and I was trying to pack lunches and make breakfast and we had to open all the windows (and a few doors) and turn on a fan and the kids were crying that they were freezing and I reluctantly had to send them to school smelling like a house fire.

It truly is a wonder anyone ever let me parent. Truly.


3 Things I Learned Today While Cleaning Out My Mother's Basement

1. My mother is never, ever, ever allowed to buy any more rolls of wrapping paper. EVER. Good golly, Miss Molly. It's Party City down there...

2. My fear of spiders makes me jump around like a nut case if my fingers even brush against something and I don't know what it is.

3. Zinabu carries on long-winded conversations with me when he realizes I am stuck in one room and not going anywhere.

While my mom is overseas I promised/volunteered/got stuck with cleaning out the unfinished part of her basement. This is what we are converting into two bedrooms for the boys, and it seemed as good a place as any to begin. It's really not that bad. It's a large room with a lot of stuff in it, but I'm learning it's mostly empty boxes and they're all spread out. So once you actually get your hands dirty, it's not too bad. My dad (and I am my daddy's girl) hated clutter and always kept things pared down and tidy. My mom is more of the philosophy, "Let's just put it in the storage room and I'll deal with it later." I have to confess I get a little thrill at being able to sort and purge and toss. I'm weird that way.

Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to bring my camera with me so I have no photos yet. I must do that, because I'll never have another chance like this to do so many "before" and "after" photos.

I also finished up meeting with Jackie, aka "The Kitchen Cabinet Lady" as I've dubbed her. I bet I was her easiest client to date. We're keeping the layout of the kitchen the same, and I knew what cabinets I wanted, so wham, bam I'm done. I have gotten over the guilt of how much it costs to renovate a kitchen. That horrible, horrible guilt when you know there are children starving in the world and you are plunking down obscene amounts of money for new cabinets. Really, it made me feel gross. So I can't defend what we're doing. All I can say is we want to do all the work now so we never have to do it again. And now that I am past the guilt, I must say I am really looking forward to those cabinets.



Weekend? What weekend. That went by fast. I logged onto my blog and saw the last time I had written was days ago. I was going through withdrawal!

Yesterday I said good-bye to my mom as she left for a two-week trip to Israel. I confess it did not go well for me. We are very close, and I don't like sending her across the world on airplanes (you should all know by now how I feel about those things) and to places where bombs explode. She's not supposed to be near Gaza, but still! Since my dad passed away, I cling a little tighter to her.

I don't blog about my mom much because, well... she reads the blog. But since she is out of the country for two weeks, I can take this moment to dish on her a bit. She's a lifeline to me. The person I call when things go wrong or need to chat or need to vent. She raised three children: boy, girl, boy. As I have a boy, girl, boy under my care, she makes a darn good parenting resource for me.

When my dad died a few years ago from a brain tumor, there was the trauma of the illness and then the death. It was just too much for her. She has not been the same since. I often tell my close friends, "When my dad died, I lost my mom, too." She was so altered by the grief (and she has every right to be--it was hell) she is a shell of what she used to be. I still glimpse the "old" mom I remember from before, but for the most part she functions on auto-pilot and does her best to get through each day. That is why we are moving in with her. I want her to have a life again.

I hope she has a great trip. I hope she comes back full of life and eager to do more. But I'm also glad that we're one step closer to being with her full-time.