Me: bad cold
Carver: bad cold
Zinabu: bad cold
Lily: getting the bad cold
Buddy: giardia (imagine the worst and then multiply it by 1,000)

It's kind of disgusting at our house, so be glad you're not visiting.


My Boy, And His Other Half

As an adoptive parent, I carry a lot of baggage. Actually, the baggage belongs to my kids, but I carry it for them until they are old enough to learn about it, talk about it, process it, and deal with it. It is my job not to blab their personal information to the world until each child is comfortable with their birth stories, birth families, and situations that led to their relinquishment. You'd be surprised what perfect strangers ask me... in the grocery store... in front of my kids. As if my kids don't have ears. It's actually horrific. I am aware that by being so obviously an adoptive family we stand out. But I am always taken aback at the buttinskis that feel it is their right to cross 500 yards of a parking lot to ask if my kids are siblings.
Anyway, when kindergarten started for Zinabu, we met the cutest little twin girls. Piper and Mia. Piper is in Zinabu's class and Mia is in the other kindergarten class. Yesterday both kindergarten classes combined for an activity (I was there helping) and Piper and Mia sat across the room from each other and spoke in a secret hand language. It was adorable and amazing. I watched them for a bit and had to bite back a few sobs because Zinabu is a surviving twin. His twin brother passed away at 5 months old. I do not know if he was a fraternal twin or an identical twin, but he was a twin nonetheless. Last night as I was making dinner Zinabu and I were talking about Piper and I felt the little tug on my heart that told me "This is the time to tell him." Zinabu has known that he had a brother that died, but I never explained that it was a twin. Really, he had no context for it and I tell my kids information as I feel they can deal with it. Zinabu had a lot of questions. But he also passed over the conversation pretty quickly. This is what each of my kids have done when we've had such "adoption" talks. They take in what I tell them, ask a few questions, then move on. It is in the days and weeks to come that the kids process the details and begin to grieve. I don't know what it will be like for Zinabu. Yes, it's hard that there is a set of twins in his grade as it shows him what he lost. But how blessed he is to have been a twin in the first place. I share this with you because I'm sad, and this helps me process. And now that Zinabu knows, I feel comfortable telling others in small doses.
My heart is so longing to know Zinabu's brother. I wonder what his personality would have been like (aside from the obvious that he would have been the quiet one). I wonder what Zinabu feels as a surviving twin. How does it affect who he is? I don't have the answers. But I do know that I am blessed, blessed, blessed to be his second mom.


friday night

(vintage sunglasses, circa 1980--they were my dad's)
Friday nights here are unpredictable and boring. David has the lovely job of chaperoning a dance--oh the joys of being a high school administrator. So he's off watching teenagers trying to suppress their raging hormones and I am home with three children trying to suppress their need to drive each other bananas. The first week of school was fantastic. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better start. I love, love, LOVE public education and love our elementary school so much I could cry. Our kiddo with dyslexia is doing well. We are setting them up to succeed and then (hopefully) going to step back a little bit to see what they can really achieve on their own. Most importantly, they need to learn how to communicate to their teacher by themselves when they are feeling overwhelmed or unable to do an assignment. Zinabu survived his first week of kindergarten. He's a little tired and probably constipated from having to squeeze his mouth shut all day to keep from talking, but other than that he's wonderful.

And many thanks for all the compliments on my hair. Really. Those comments will get me through many a grouchy day. Yes, I chopped my hair off. I got so tired of staring at magazine covers of models with long locks, mocking my thin, stringy hair. Why (even now) am I still so concerned about my hair? I confess, I am. I know it's shallow and stupid and there are other things in this world to worry about, but my hair is a constant disappointment. So I cut it off--to make it easier and, hopefully, to not think about it as much. Perhaps when I'm 80 I won't care so much what I look like. Is it possible?



*This is what the "first day of school photo" looks like if you let your husband take the picture and he is all verklempt with emotion and not caring at all if his wife is in a good light or if all the kids are actually smiling or remembering to stand a little closer and not include the back porch and wait to press the shutter button until the youngest is finished flapping his yap and turning the flash on or taking more than one photo just for the heck of it.
So, this is our first day of school photo.


Things I Will Not Miss About This Summer

  • Moving. I hope to never, ever do it again.
  • Carver's insatiable desire to build things. He actually walked into the room and asked, "Mom, can I have some wire cutters?" My friend Annamarie was with me and she can validate this.
  • Getting a dog. Yes, I like the dog. Yes, I'm glad we got the dog. But the first 48 hours about killed me.
  • Hearing "Mom, I'm bored" exactly 11 seconds after we walk in the door after playing like crazy at the playground.
  • Large spiders.
  • Shaving my legs. I mean, if I'm wearing a bathing suit I can only expect so much grace from society at large.
  • Going from the warm outside into a store with air conditioning cranked up so high I need wool socks to keep frostbite off my toes.
  • Looking for appropriate sandals for an 8 year old girl that are neither a) high heeled b) Hannah Montana themed c) bedazzled or d) trampy. I'm still searching.

Things I Will Miss

  • Sitting by the pool, drinking iced tea, watching my kids act like dolphins.
  • Putting the kids to bed when it finally gets dark (10:00 pm) and smelling summer in their hair.
  • Going barefoot.
  • Watching Carver build things, sans wire cutters.
  • The excitement of a new house and new beginnings.
  • Hummingbirds.
  • Cutting up watermelon, dumping pretzels in a bowl, and calling it dinner.
  • Late night chats with David while he watches baseball games and pretends to hear me.
  • Hearing about my kids' experiences at camp.
  • Spontaneity.

What about you?


These Two

They are 5 years apart, but most days act like they're 5 months apart. They wrestle together, punch, grab, jump together, bound, hide, kick together, pull, flop, and blast things together. They love each other. They frustrate each other. They think the other is "annoying" but I know better. They can't live without each other.



Recently Overheard

Zinabu: Lily, you don't love me as much as you love Buddy.

Lily: Yes I do. We bought you way before we bought Buddy, so you've lived here longer.

(Me: Total horror and mentally going over adoption sensitivity training for my children again.)

Right. So besides needing to have a talk with Lily that we shouldn't use the phrase "bought you" when talking about her brother, we are winding down with the last 2 weeks of summer vacation. Where we live, kids get out of school in mid-May and go back to school in mid-August. I am always sad to think about school starting again, until these last 2 weeks of vacation when our unstructured time becomes just plain boring to Carver, Lily, and Zinabu. Getting a dog has not helped because I feel tethered to the house... we can only leave him for so long. Buddy whines and barks non-stop when we're not home. Yeah, he's a superstar that way. And other than the fact that he desires to be the alpha dog in our neighborhood and barks at every living thing that we walk past, he's doing well. Lily is loving her dog, but because we're working so hard on training him to heel and have good manners, she doesn't actually get to walk him. He could pull her off her feet if he wanted to.

Carver has had the best past few weeks building a fort on our property. The contractor has left all kinds of scrap wood for him to use, and he and his friend Nathan have spent hours working on it. They even decorated the outside to make it look as if it had been in a paintball war. It's very...um...colorful. I love watching Carver be a kid. He's still so sweet and playful and still into imaginary play, unlike a lot of other 10 year olds these days. Kids want to grow up way too fast and I think it's a tragedy when parents let them. David and I continue to strive to let our kids be young for as long as possible.

We have 2 quick camping trips planned for the end of August. We have not had one single summer trip as a family. The move to our new house sucked the entire summer up and left us with empty boxes and no quality time. At least we can squeeze in a small getaway before fall and try to make up for lost time. And in 11 days my baby starts kindergarten! It has taken almost 11 years, but on August 18 ALL MY CHILDREN will be in school. Wow.

I need a drink.



This is our backyard and our friendly neighbor stealing the birdseed.


David gone for 4 days.
Buddy has had 6 accidents in the house.
We had 2 hailstorms and 3 inches of rain this week.
Paid good money for something I shouldn't have because I'm a pushover... (why, Cathy, why?)
Forgot to take the wet wash out of the laundry machine so now it's moldy.
Still waiting for the contractor to finish.
Ran out of milk.
Ran out of COFFEE (good grief).
Need a vacation.