Recently Overheard

Zinabu, Mr. Popular, has had 3 birthday parties to attend in one week. I'm considering hiring him a personal assistant to keep up with all his comings and goings, not to mention making sure he doesn't wear the same thing twice to all these gatherings (sarcasm, people). I was driving to the store--again--to buy a birthday present--again--and I said offhand, "I'm glad you're not invited to 10 parties.
He piped up, "Why?"
"Well," I responded, "that would be a lot of presents to buy and that's a lot of money."
"Then get to work and make some money, Mom!" (insert sound of whip cracking)

This kid can be so sensitive at times, and so very annoying at others.


Hello winter. You always make Halloween and trick-or-treating a challenge. Looks like costumes with long underwear, hats, gloves, and scarves this year.


Strange, But True
What follows may just be my strangest post to date. Every day I make the kids their lunches. None of them are real big on school lunch (well, except Zinabu who will eat anything) but if I pack their lunches at least I know--for the most part--what they're consuming. Except for the time I was helping out in the lunchroom and I saw from across the cafeteria Carver trading his organic-whole-wheat-super-expensive graham crackers for a Ho-Ho. But that's not the point. For as long as I can remember I've sometimes cut their sandwiches with cookie cutters, so they can eat their food in the shape of a heart, or a star, or whatever. I recently found this contraption.

It cuts the sandwich in a perfect circle, then you press the button and it crimps the edges so the jelly (or whatever is in between the bread) stays inside. It's actually very cool.

Perfect circle.

Perfect sandwich.

Round, slightly domed, a masterpiece. Except they remind me of something. Oh yeah... nursing pads. The kind nursing mothers stick in their bras to stop leakage.

So every day I send my kids to school with nursing pad-shaped sandwiches.
I'm such a good mom.


He's Growing On Me...

He requires way more attention than I think he deserves, but he's a sweetie. This is what he does all day while I'm working...sits at my feet and stares up at me with a smarmy expression on his face. He occasionally licks my hand and moans with delight over being in the same room with me. Go figure. The kids positively adore him, David has a running partner, and my mom just might love him the most. So he's done his job--worming his way into all of our hearts.


I feel so blessed that we had a fantastic weekend together as a family. I'm still fighting off some kind of crud, but the weather was so beautiful I just couldn't stay inside. On Saturday we drove to Denver to visit the zoo and to meet someone that we contacted through craigslist. More on that in a bit.

In the reptile building. Very cool--especially the vampire bats, which my kids thought were great.

No trip to the zoo would be complete without standing around for 15 minutes looking for the elusive tiger, who is always asleep in the shade out of sight.

Swimming polar bears.

My mom came with us and treated us to lunch (she's the best!). On this tray you will see what she and David ordered: foot long sausages. My mom is the size of a bird, but as she said to me, "I'm really hungry." She and David packed them away with no problem... they even finished at the same time. Can you see why David likes her so much? I just watched in awe.

Carver had some birthday money burning a hole in his pocket, and he'd done some extensive research on Freeboards. They look like a large skateboard, but they have 6 wheels and mimic a snowboard. You can carve down a hill and turn 360 degrees. They're crazy expensive, not to mention hard to find. Not many people own them or even try them. We found a college student in Boulder who wanted to sell his, so he met us in Denver (at the zoo) and Carver bought his very own Freeboard. Carver is actually very good already, which surprised us because we were told it takes a long time to learn how to master it. Too bad it's not a sport you can do in high school, because he's got some real talent.


And So It Begins...

The Halloween costume drama. Let me first say that I love Halloween. I love a society that says to its children "dress up and visit your neighbors and get free candy!" What could be better than that? We fondly remember Zinabu's first Halloween. He was still mastering English, having only been with us for 6 months, and he was floored that you could ring a doorbell, say a few words, and candy would be bestowed upon you. He thought the whole event was too good to be true. I'm not big on scary costumes, because they usually completely cover your child's face and you can't see who the little cherub is under there. I LOVE when my kids create their own dress-up ideas. Do you remember last year? Lily was a "bug worker at the zoo" and she wore a khaki vest and baseball cap, to which she attached her own drawings of insects. Not the most popular costume on the block, but unique and creative. The problem I encounter each year is that my kids' creativity runs wild and every hour--sometimes every minute--they change their minds about what they want to be. At some point I have to give my kids a deadline and tell them they have to decide on their costume so we can actually start creating it. I'm thinking this weekend is going to be our deadline. Here's what's on the table so far:

A dog that can fly. A hairy dog. A pumpkin. A cat. A knight. A werewolf. An eagle. A superhero. A dog walker. A cat. A skateboarder. The headless horseman (great, Carver, like I can really pull that off). A bear...

and it goes on and on.


In defense of all the stay-at-home moms that find themselves in questionable attire from time to time, I feel the need to explain. For example, I am at this moment wearing exercise pants (grey and stretchy) a light blue running shirt, red hoodie sweatshirt, brown down vest, and sheepskin boots. No small feat, I assure you. I threw my workout clothes on when I got up because I went to the Y after dropping the kids off at school. The hoodie went over the clothes to keep me warm. Turn out it was colder than I expected this morning and while pumping gas I added the down vest I had in my car for extra warmth. Ran an errand and came home with wet tennis shoes. Took those off at the door and slipped on the boots. Haven't changed yet. Now I do admit I have my standards. I will NOT drop off or pick up the kids at school wearing pajamas. That is a big no-no. But cropped stretch pants and sheepskin boots? Heck yeah!


Here is one of those "moments" I captured on a whim. The camera was already on the counter, and I just pressed record. Z didn't know he was being filmed. We were practicing reading his kindergarten words. He is, in a word, nutty.

*when your child's skin is dark brown, and there's not much light in the kitchen, this is what happens--a shadowy figure with eyes.



Did you ever see the movie Anne of Green Gables, where Anne and her best friend Diana danced together--quite a few times. There is something so sweet about two girl best friends. My mom and Zinabu were playing the piano and Lily and Bailey cut a rug. What started as a waltz turned into some kind of jazzy twirl, and they giggled the entire time. They warm my heart.


Did You Ever Have One Of Those Days
where you try to be Snow White and sing and trill with joy and help your children get ready for school and make a delicious breakfast for everyone and even add a Hershey Kiss in the children's lunch boxes just because you love them and then the dog barfs on the floor and you don't have time for a shower and one child remembers at the very last second she forgot to do her math homework and is convinced her teacher will never forgive her for it (so not true) so she is wailing in panic and trying to do it in the car and the youngest announces halfway to school that he "didn't put on his seat belt" so you pull over and yell (yes, yell) to "Get buckled!" and then the oldest asks to go to the skateboard park and could I please remember to pack his skateboard, helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves in the car and can we please, please, please invite 700 of his best friends to come along and then you remember you didn't eat breakfast so you go back home and pour a bowl of cereal all over the counter because one of the kids is collecting Box Tops for school and there are holes cut in all the cereal boxes...

Did you? 'Cause I just did.



Carver is eleven. His birthday was yesterday, but I am only now able to say the number aloud. Eleven. More than a decade. Two years away from 13. I don't swear, but if I did, this would be the perfect time. Your oldest child turning 11 deserves some kind of expletive because I am not ready.
He is, of course, completely over the moon about being a year older. He's got birthday money burning a hole in his pocket, he's got a big party tonight with friends, and he thinks he's the next big thing now that he's no longer 10.
He shares his birthday with an incredible man. The world is a better place for Carver to grow up in because of this man's work. (Check out The Carter Center in my sidebar links.) Two Georgia boys celebrating another year older on October 1.