After school today we are having Lily's birthday party.
She wanted to invite everyone in her class. All 26 of them.
I figured at least 10 of them would not be able to come.
I figured wrong.
And now I am pretty much screwed.


* David and Zinabu in Ethiopia, April 2007
I was not there your first three and a half years of life.
I don't know when you were born.
I don't know when you first smiled.
I don't know if you are a surviving fraternal twin or an identical twin.
I don't know what your first word was.
I don't know when you walked.
I don't know what your favorite lullaby was.
I don't know what your first bath was like.
Your first wish.
Your first laugh.
Your first joke.
Your first taste of food you didn't like.
Your first taste of food you loved.
Your first jump.
Your first game.
Your favorite color.
Your first owie.
Your first bad dream.
Or your second. Or your third. Or your fourth.
But I do now. Happy 3 year anniversary, my darling.



Yesterday I drove up to Denver to visit Deirdre and Bridget. Deirdre and I had met before, but it was the first time I was able to meet Bridget. Deirdre is freshly moved into her new house in just about the greatest neighborhood in Denver. They are sneezing distance from city zoo, museum of natural history, and fantastic parks. You almost want to stab her with a fork, but she and Greg are just too darn likable and cool that you can't help but be happy for them. She opended her home up to me and Lily and Z, and Bridget came with her daughter/fairy Elia. Elia is darling. I don't think I can convey to you enough how special the adoption community is to me. They're family. International adoption is like running a marathon, every single day, for months--sometimes years. How can you not bond with the other families that are enduring the same thing? Not to mention we speak the same language: home study, social worker, dossier, referral, wait time, travel date, Homeland Security, fingerprints, application fees, court date, travel visa, post placement reports, and on and on. There is something comforting about speaking that language with others who know exactly what you are saying.

Deirdre made food and I ate. The kids played so well together. Zinabu and Sidamo actually spent the entire time on the floor playing checkers and chess. They were like two old men at a park. Hysterical! They were so serious, so involved, and so determined to outsmart the other with their strategy. Nora and Elia passed through and made sure they had our attention. And Lily... well, Lily spent all her time with Deirdre's dog, Saffron. It was hard to tear her away at the end of the morning.

You can find Deirdre's muffin recipe here. I ate a lot. I won't give you an actual number, but it was not pretty.

After we left and started our journey back home, here is what my kids said.

Lily: "I love the name Deirdre. It's so pretty. I am going to name my next dog Deirdre."

Zinabu: "Mom, you'd be proud of me. I didn't say anything I wasn't supposed to say. Even though I wanted to say it."

Such a good day.


Here we are, just two gals in a minivan... off to see the ear, nose, and throat doctor. The errands I run these days. They're thrilling! Lily was pretty pleased to see Gummy Worms were just 39 cents at Walgreens. When we left for the doctor, it was raining and slushy. As we got closer to the doctor's office, the slush turned to snow. While we were in with the doctor, the snow turned into a blizzard. We had a hard time driving home, but Lily entertained me with tales of Drew at school.

Drew is a boy. Drew is in her 3rd grade class. I think Drew likes Lily. Drew wrote Lily a note. He told her "your skin is a beautiful brown like a Hershey Kiss."

He luvvvvvvvs her. Lily, the private, shy, and over-emotional girl that she is, was not impressed. She cried.

Oh, the drama.

After a tremendous co-pay to the ear, nose, and throat specialist, we were told that Lily has nosebleeds. Duh! He gave us some treatment options, the homeopathic ones being best. He also told us she has a significant deviated septum and surgery is a likelihood when she's a teenager. Oh glory.

The kids didn't have school today (teacher work day) so the weather is nothing but a chance to be lazy. Right now Carver and I are snuggled up watching a movie, Zinabu is playing with his action figures and yelling things like, "Shazam!" and "Chopper!" and "Kryptonite!" and Lily is playing with the dog.

Happy Friday.


I'm having a hard time blogging because I'm having a hard time seeing... and breathing... thanks to spring allergies. This is a new thorn in my side. Spring used to be a pleasant time. Right now I look like I have pink-eye and a serious sinus issue. Good thing David pledged to love me no matter what. He left this morning while I was still in my crazy pajamas (a Harry Potter t-shirt and too small sweat pants) and blowing my nose in between 100 sneezes. I wanted to call out, "Wait! I can be pretty. Just give me an hour!" But he had to leave for work. (Note to self: try to look pretty when he gets home tonight.)

Ina Garten's ears must be buzzing because I've been cooking every single meal from her recipes. I have avoided the scale, especially after last night's lemon cake, but the food is good therapy for my itchy eyes. So far the sauteed zucchini and Indonesian chicken have been my favorites.

I am struggling through another editing project. It is painfully boring but it will help pad the vacation fund. Big plans there. BIG plans. Fortunately one of the cable channels has been airing Sense and Sensibility every day, so I keep that on in the background and cheer for Colonel Brandon and boo at Mr. Willoughby. The lines I've memorized keep me alert, especially when I use my British accent. A little Austen makes the time go by.

So our big travel plans, while years away, are to visit London. Though that involves a lengthy plane trip, I can NOT wait. David and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary next year, and two years from now we have "big" birthdays. What better way to celebrate than to hop across the pond. So for now, more boring work projects to fund the trip.

My other goal? Grow my hair out one more time and wear it in a ponytail as I ride the Underground. Think I'll be able to do it?


Checklist for Monday

Disrupted sleep because of allergies (me and the kids): check
Mediocre lunches packed: check
Watched dog stare and growl at a blank wall (is something living back there???): check
Wore pajama top under my sweatshirt while driving kids to school: check
Wore pajama top under my sweatshirt IN school because Z wanted me to stay: check
Washed a load of laundry and forgot to add detergent: check
Put off massive work project: check
Pretend that I have a lunch date with Mr. Darcy: check
Continue living in la-la land: check


Assume The Position

Saturday mornings are sacred around here. We try not to participate in any activity that requires us to be somewhere before 10:00 am. Actually, we try to not participate in any activity that requires us to be anywhere on a Saturday, but sometimes that cannot be avoided. Saturdays are the one day of the week we are all together and can just chill. No worries. No stress. No expectations. I love it.

It's also the one day the kids can plop down in front of the TV without permission. I expect it of them. I expect them to zone out and just relax. I expect them to be mindlessly entertained while I drink coffee and read the paper.

No one takes this more seriously than Zinabu. (see above photo for evidence)


There just aren't enough hours in the day to appreciate all of Zinabu. I have stories of this kid that would knock your socks off. He is goofy and wild, but combine that with his smart-as-a-whip brain and you've got a wicked cocktail of crazy.

This is what he was doing this morning. Reading the grocery circulars. He saw that chicken was on sale and was hopping up and down in excitement.

Zinabu is going to enjoy his play date with Sidamo next week. They can browse the grocery circulars together.

The other night my mom put Zinabu to bed (love living with my mom!) and he was a little sad so she began singing to him. Sweet lullabies and gentle words. He interrupted her and asked, "Do you know any songs about the Grinch?"


And in keeping with "Strange But True Medical Mysteries" that my children continue to experience, I was helping Z brush his teeth a few weeks ago and screamed when I saw that his permanent bottom teeth are growing in behind his baby teeth. He has teeth in rows. Like a shark. He is shark boy.

Which means many more hours in the orthodontist's office, as well as a huge part or our take-home pay. It's hard to tell in the photo, but those new teeth are a good half inch behind his baby teeth, which are still in his mouth and are not budging. We talk in whispers about "the dentist pulling his teeth" when we think Z can't hear us.

It sound bizarre, but given all the crazy medical drama my kids have, I would welcome someone just falling out of a tree and breaking their arm. Sounds delightful. But no. Next week I am taking Lily to the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist because she has severe bloody noses, up to 5 times a day. She is a walking Red Cross donation center. She's already had surgery once to cauterize her nose. Perhaps a second procedure is on the horizon?

Oh goody.



I don't know if "delishiest" is a word, but it sure suits my day. Making strawberry shortcake with Lily and reading mindless fiction on the sunny back porch. Gah. This warm weather is spoiling me. It's so fantastic. Yesterday I was a little aggressive and did yard work--all day--and by last night I was a walking zombie. The kids pitched in, then would disappear and make forts or play games, and reappear in need of food and water. One thing I love about my mom's house is that the yard work is not nearly as hard as our old house. So working my tail off for one day was hardly a sacrifice. It felt good. My only job left is to build a garden box with lumber and fill it with black dirt. And since I'm not attempting seedlings this year, I don't have to worry about that for another month.

After church, all I *had* to do today was go to the grocery store. Lily and I stumbled upon vats of strawberries and we cooked up (ha, ha!) a scheme to make strawberry shortcake from scratch. I then spent the rest of the afternoon listening to my kids playing in the trees while I read drivel outside. It... was... heavenly.

Tomorrow I will post a picture of Zinabu, our shark boy. (There's a story there.)


We are rockin' the nice weather. It snowed yesterday (yes, you read that right), but today and the next week are slated to be bee-you-ti-ful. We're taking no prisoners. We will leave no stone unturned. No bug unprodded. No puddles unslplashed. No bikes unridden, skateboards unollied, sidewalks unchalked.

You get the picture.

Hard to believe but summer is right around the corner. Time to start figuring out how scheduled we should be so the kids don't kill each other we want to be to have a happy, fulfilling summer.

David and I were idiots last night. We had to run a super fast errand and came right back home and then I realized we didn't even stop to get ice cream. What married couple with kids gets a chance to leave the house at night for a boring errand but doesn't take advantage of the moment and get ice cream??? Us, apparently.

And in a hilarious "Recently Overheard" report, I heard this from the neighbor boy in a conversation with David.

David: "Hi Nick! How are you?""
Nick: "Are you the dad or the grandpa?"



What Happens When Someone Yells At You

Every day I take Buddy to a nearby field to play fetch. It's at the bottom of our neighborhood. In theory you could walk there, but since in theory I have as much time on my hands as a shoe elf I pop the dog in the car, zip down there, park, throw the ball, and come home. It's a nice little system. (By the way, I highly recommend getting a lab. They love playing fetch so much it takes just a few minutes a day to wear them out and make them head over heels in love with you.)

So anywhoooo, I drive down to the field today, park by the curb, and proceed to exercise the dog. Five minutes later the grumpiest man of the universe (I know this because he was actually wearing a hat that read "Grumpiest Man of the Universe." Ok, he wasn't but he should have been.) pulls up, gets out of the car, and hustles over to confront me. I have just picked up Buddy's digested breakfast, so you can just picture me holding a bag of dog poo as this man is huffing his way over to me just as fast as he can move. He hollers (yes, hollers!) "IS THAT YOUR CAR????" Well, since there is no one but me around for a mile it's quite obvious that it's my car but maybe he's trying to set me up. I tell him it is. And he hollers some more. "YOU CAN'T PARK THERE. THIS IS A PRIVATE STREET. A PRIVATE STREET. DO YOU HEAR ME? A PRIVATE STREET!!!!"

Clearly, it is a private street. So I tell him that I just live up the road but he cuts me off and hollers "IT'S A PRIVATE STREET! NO PARKING!!! PRIVATE STREET!" He stalks away and takes his time easing himself into his car, buckling his seat belt, and glaring at me one more time. I, on the other hand, burst into tears. I would suck at any kind of career that involved raised voices or confrontation. (Oh wait. Isn't that motherhood?) People yelling at me always makes me cry and makes me feel about 2 inches tall.

I went home and allowed myself the delicious time to plan revenge. To plot nasty get-back-at-the-grumpy-man tricks. David even told me to call the city and make the man pay to post a No Parking sign on his street since there isn't one there right now.

And then I moved on.


Happy Easter!


Lookin' Good