It's All In A Name

We recently had dear friends visit (whom I adore so, so much!) and because we hadn't seen them in 3 years, they had not yet met Zinabu face-to-face. We keep in touch through email and our blogs, so Annamarie was surprised when she heard me say Zinabu's name aloud. It occurred to me that I need to give a phonetic pronunciation of Z's name. The emphasis is on the second syllable: zi-NAAAAAA-boo. It isn't ZI-naboo. So I'm sorry if I've had you all reading and pronouncing his name wrong for the last 2.5 years.
What's on my plate today? Well, David is in Breckenridge for 4 days so I am supremom on call. I also get to keep the dog from licking his nether regions for the next few days while he heals from his surgery. I'm thinking cereal for dinner.



You are looking at the woman who is responsible for a certain puppy's discomfort.
Guess who got fixed today?


Every Home Needs One

Perhaps you recall that in our old house I had painted and framed a large chalkboard on our living room wall. It started as a place for the kids to scribble on, but once Carver and Lily were both in elementary school, it took on the role of weekly spelling word reminders and creative masterpieces. (Insert desperate cries of, "Please don't erase it, Mom. I worked so hard on that rainbow!) It was a sad day when I painted over the old chalkboard in order to get our house ready to sell. Well fast forward to our new house... it was only a matter of time until I could get my hands on a paint brush. We have an eat-in kitchen that you enter from the garage, so when you first walk in, the above wall is facing you. It was just screaming "chalkboard" at me. When I went to the home improvement store to get the paint, I discovered they also sell magnetic paint! Call me crazy, but I just can't pass up such a delightful invention. So I painted a few layers of magnetic paint on the wall, and covered it with a few layers of chalkboard paint--in chocolate brown, my favorite color. The magnetic paint is great, but it's not strong enough to hold up pieces of paper. A big disappointment, because I was hoping to display the kids artwork here. But you can put magnets on the wall and they'll stay. I'm on the hunt, now, for kid-friendly magnetic poetry. That should be fun.
I always love walking by the chalkboard to see what the kids have written recently.


A Letter To My Future Daughter-In-Law

You'd better be good to him, and I don't mean maybe!


Yesterday was a big day in our household. Lily got braces! Bless her heart, Lily has a few medical issues she's had to grapple with in her young life, and a mouth full of dental drama just adds to her plate. This girl is going to be tough, for sure, but David and I have to work extra hard to raise her self-esteem and get her to see the incredible value her life has despite the obstacles in her path.

A year ago I asked the dentist why her permanent incisors (the teeth on each side of your two front teeth) had not grown in yet, despite the fact that it had been months and months since she lost her baby teeth. Also, her front teeth had an enormous gap between them that was just growing wider--like Moses parting the Red Sea. The dentist did an x-ray and then pulled me aside, as if to comfort me while he broke the news that I will be shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars to an orthodontist. No permanent incisors exist in her mouth. He said it happens, though it's more unusual for both to be missing. We found an orthodontist we really liked and discussed our options. What David and I decided to do was get those braces started as soon as possible so that her front teeth could be moved together before kids teased her about it. Lily calls her front teeth her "special teeth", and adores the fact that she can fit a straw between them to drink. She was a superstar at her appointment, and picked blue for her color. Braces without colors is just sooooooo 1995. But I have to hand it to Carver for being a great big brother. Lily asked him to come to the appointment with her, and he sat by her chair and watched in fascination (remember, this is the kid who wishes he could blow stuff up) and kept saying things like, "Oh cool, Lily!" or "Lily, it's looking great!" and even "You're doing a good job, Lily." He held the mirror up at certain times so she could see what was happening in her mouth, and just made her feel good. To be honest, I felt very unnecessary, except to write a big fat check to Dr. Johnson.


Weird Things I've Said Today

What did the dog just eat? What was that?
Is it too early in the morning to watch Harry Potter?
I can't fly because I just can't, Zinabu!
No, you can't build a ramp with firewood.
Why are you wearing your bathing suit for breakfast?
I don't know why ticks exist.
Just try the stairs, Buddy. Just try.
I don't think you can make a living riding your scooter. Sorry.
Eating oatmeal all day long isn't very healthy.
What was that sound? Was that Zinabu?
We don't need napkins tonight. Just eat.



It's been very Four Weddings And A Funeral around here. Lots to celebrate and also some tragic news.
  • My birthday was very uneventful and proved to me that I do mind getting older, even though Oprah keeps telling me I shouldn't care. David bought me presents from England. Went to Amazon UK and paid in pounds (recalculated to dollars). He is fantastically brilliant and had my birthday gifts shipped across the pond straight away. Oooooh, he's just so lovely.
  • We had air conditioning installed, which doesn't matter much to me but David is quite over the moon about it. He's a happy man, and thus he does nice things like let me go see
  • the new Harry Potter movie. Another cause for celebration! All of you who don't care, just go away. But for me it was spectacular. I need to see it about 16 more times in the next few weeks.
  • And finally, we are winding down the baseball season. Zinabu had his last game and Carver's team has one left. Lots of good memories made and many fun evenings spent watching the great American pastime.
In sad news. a dear family friend that I have known since I was 7 passed away today. From Melanoma. He was my age and leaves behind a wife and 5 year old daughter. His mom, Bev, is my mom's best friend. It was a horrible death. Completely disgusting. As awful as you could possibly imagine.

I am tired of cancer.


Just so you know...

Buddy arrives on Sunday. Stay tuned.


A little more of this...

And a little less of this. please....

This renovation will never end. I don't know how my mom did it. She's lived like this for months. There are so many little loose ends to tie up, I'm pretty sure we'll be celebrating the holidays with our contractor. To add to my horror, we now have cable TV (yes, we're really moving into the 21st century) and I found out there is a show called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant." So one of these days I could just wake up and have a baby fall out of me with no warning or preparation. Exactly what I need.

I think the kids are beginning to adjust to the new home and routine. It sure hasn't squelched their creativity. I found this note in Carver's room:

I don't know what the infraction was but Lily must have learned that paying off your big brother goes a long way in keeping the peace. She taped a dime to the note. Does she have ties to the mob I don't know about?


The school where David works went through a large renovation last year, and he was in charge of a lot of it. The day the staff helped clean out storage units, he discovered a few old, unused maps. David snagged the map of Africa and brought it home, and I tucked it away knowing I would do something with it someday.

The giant blank wall in Zinabu's room, just begging for an old school map!

The giant map... this was a conundrum. I didn't think I'd be able to afford a custom framing job, and I didn't want to just tack it to the wall.

The solution: two large frames that were pretty inexpensive but put together could hold the bulk of the map.

The result? Not bad! Zinabu wanted to know immediately where Ethiopia was located and the area he used to live. I used wall decals to spell out "Africa" and "Zinabu" above and below the map. Sorry the picture is blurry--someone would not sit still!


The Sandbox

We have had a sandbox for the last 8 years and we were so spoiled by it. True, I've had a fair share of sand clean-up in those years, but the hours my kids have spent playing together digging and creating are priceless. Our new house has a very woodsy landscape. There's no grass but there's plenty of great places to play--but we were sorely missing our sand. David and I walked around the property several times, looking for the perfect place to build our new sand utopia. We decided on a sloping area off the back porch. We made it a family project and all worked together to dig trenches for the lumber, clear the foundation, and spread sand. In reality, David and I worked a wee bit harder than the kids, but everyone helped in theory nonetheless.

Clearing pine needles and rocks. Zinabu is "misting" us when we got hot.

Three musketeers pretending to work.

Our new house is in a very quiet, private neighborhood where there are no children but tons of retired couples that have fallen in love with our family. Here are Charlie and Kathy talking to David. Charlie loaned us his 6 wheeler to haul the 1 ton of sand we bought from the street up to the sandbox. Our new neighbors are wonderful.

The hill from the street up to the sandbox that we were going to have to traverse with wheelbarrows. God bless the invention of the 6 wheeler!

One ton of sand only goes so far. We plan to add more in smaller portions as we are able.

A quick break with a surgical glove. Don't ask.

Breaking in the new sandbox! Anyone want to come play?


How It All Went Down

I am so behind in blogging I don't know where to start. Maybe I'll post our 4th of July pictures next year... not to mention more pictures of our new house and the big sandbox construction project. But alas, *Buddy made his way into our lives and I'll share what happened.

We told Lily a few days ago that we would begin our active search for a dog on August 1. We have some camping trips planned in July and Lily has day camp at the zoo all next week, so we figured August would be better timing. Lily immediately went into planning mode and begged and begged us to just "take a peek" at dogs at the humane society. We looked on the computer together, and although they had lots of black lab mixes, there were no yellow labs--which is her first choice.

On a whim I typed in "Yellow Labrador puppy for sale" in our city, and one popped up. Buddy. He is 8 months old and big but housebroken (bonus). His current owners adopted him from another family that bought him as a brand new puppy. They didn't realize what they were getting into (doesn't anyone research what it's like to have a dog?) and soon were in over their heads. So family number 2 took Buddy at 5 months old. Family number 2 is looking to sell their house in the near future and possibly moving, so they wanted to find Buddy a new home. Insert my search the other day and voila!

Because he's a purebred and because she was selling him so cheap, I figured I needed to at least call her and do some investigating. I went to meet him yesterday, and even though his size overwhelmed me a bit, I could tell this would be a great dog for our family. I paid her a deposit and worked out a deal where she'll hold him for us for about 10 more days. I'm thinking around July 20th we can bring him home and surprise Lily.

Lily has saved and saved and saved her money and purchased a dog cage, balls, leash, collar, toys, and food and water bowls. Now David and I just need to distract her for the next 13 days because all she wants to do is talk about dogs and research dogs and look at dogs.

Rest assured I will take photos and video of the grand event. And Aunt Diana, please come visit soon. Buddy the dog will be eager to meet you.

*Buddy comes with his current name. I don't know if we'll change it. Lily will have to decide.


*Buddy the lab



Each of our kids has had at least one major meltdown in the last week--all the stress of the move, missing their neighborhood friends, and watching mom and dad unpack endless boxes has made for some miserable little children. Yesterday is was Lily's turn. In the midst of her trauma, I asked if she wanted to bake cookies and lo and behold, she snapped right out of her funk. We made the most delicious batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I'm beginning to think that our old oven at our old house wasn't super accurate in the temperature department. My mom's oven is almost new and acts like it! Also, my mom has this incredibly handy-dandy device that I bet you've never heard of: a kitchen timer. Yup. Isn't that fantastic? At our old kitchen, I would throw a batch of cookies in the oven, look at the clock, and think to myself, "Take 'em out in 12 minutes." Turns out a real live kitchen timer is super accurate. Hmmmm. Go figure.

My mom is good that way. She has stuff like that in her house that I've just never gotten around to buying. I mean, honestly, I do not write "buy kitchen timer" on my Target list. My Target list consists of items like new underwear and heartburn medicine. I just don't have time for all them high-falutin' things that make life easier.

Anyway, the cookies were yummy and Lily hasn't cried since.