Family holiday photo: take 1

Take 2

Take 3

Take 4

Take 5

Take 6

Time to give up.


I'm back.

We survived another trip away. This time only 3 things went majorly wrong. I will not be a whiny Wendy though. I'm grateful for so much--family most of all. Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.


How To Kill Your Husband
Today I am taking part in what I am sure will turn into a murder. David wanted oyster stew this week. The man got a wild hair and started craving the stuff. Him mom always made a pot of it during the holidays, and he just wanted to eat it again. David asked me to pick up the ingredients at the store today, but he told me he'd be happy to make it. I wasn't to worry about it. He's so kind.

Turns out I had a little more time on my hands today than I was expecting so I decided to be nice and make the stew for him. It was then that I ran into an ethical dilemma. Make the stew and give him a heart attack in a bowl, or throw the ingredients away and suffer his disappointment. I made the stew.

I am an enabler. And possibly worse... a murderer. I need to go sit down.

A stick of butter.
Heavy cream.
Bacon fat.

This will not end well.


Even More Thankful
Yesterday we spent the morning at David's school putting together Thanksgiving dinners for students and their families. There is a wonderful organization at the school that raises money throughout the year and helps the kids who are living in poverty. There is a food pantry at the school, funds for clothing and school supplies, and money for these kids to pay for extra curricular activities. David is very proud to work at a place that cares deeply for its own.

This year over 100 Thanksgiving dinners and food items were organized and set up in the gym. We went to help with the loading/delivery process. Families could come to the school and pick up a dinner, or staff was there to help deliver the food to those that needed it. I brought my camera, but my kids were working too hard for me to capture them together in one shot. Did they groan and complain that we were going to donate our time to this on a Saturday morning? Absolutely. But once we got to the school and they saw how they could help, they got down to business and worked with joy. I was a proud mama.

As the morning drew to a close, we took a dinner with us to deliver. David had the address, which was a pay-by-the-week motel. Picture something very sad and then multiply that by 100 and you'll get the idea. David knocked on their motel door and the kids unloaded all the food from our car to hand to them. A family of four was in there, and David knew the students. By name. My kiddos were very quiet as we pulled away, as the severity of the situation sunk in. David and I had to blink back tears for the drive home.... Life is hard enough without the added burden of poverty and despair.

If you have not read Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich yet I implore you to do so. It will radically change you. And be thankful for everything you have. Which, unfortunately, is something I am still working on.
Driving to the high school on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Carver and Z take a quck break in the process to run on the gym floor.

Lily loading up a cart to make another delivery.


Our Thankful Tree

Once we turned the calendar to November, we began our thankful tree. I love watching it grow. I love what my kids say. I love that they don't try to impress anyone with their ideas--like a Miss America pageant contestant hoping for world peace. My kids are thankful for things that are close to them and make them feel good. Like dogs and snowboarding and... bread. Not bread in the I'm-thankful-we-have-food-to-eat sense. But bread in the I-love-carbohydrates-and-things-slathered-in-honey-and-butter sense. Very real.


Wordless Wednesday


This was what I came home to last week. When we leave our house, we keep the dog in the kitchen eating area and close the doors so he can't roam the house. We're pretty strict about where he's allowed to be and what he can and can't do. However...

He managed to jump up onto the table. And then couldn't get down. He was up there for a good 2 hours until I came home and found him. (You'd take a picture, too. It was hilarious.) Have you ever had days like that? Where you look around and think, "How did I get here? Where do I go now?" I do. And often. This is one of those days. We've been sick, sick, sick. I'm way behind on every chore and piece of paperwork you can name. I'm supposed to be training for a half marathon and I've completely lost my desire to run--not to mention the giant setback of our stomach flu. I'm not ready for winter. I'm not ready to be a mom of a 7, 9, and 12 year old--but there's not much I can do about that.

How did I get here?


Laughter and Joy and Zinabu is Now 7

Without my knowledge of how it happened, nor without my permission, my baby turned 7 yesterday. Z, you bring so much laughter and joy to us. Thank you for calling us your family and for loving us with an open heart, even when it was so tough at first. We love you.


Hooray for vacation. We took advantage of the Veteran's Day long weekend and drove to Breckenridge for a family getaway. We were in much need of one. Breckenridge slopes open for the season this weekend, and David and Carver were hoping to get a few runs in. I was looking forward to just being together as a family, staring at the gorgeous scenery, and sitting in a hot tub. (I am very easy to please on vacation.) Here's what's happened so far.

It is 5 degrees.
Carver got the stomach flu.
David got the stomach flu.
The entire city of Breckenridge lost power last night.
I scraped the car up against a cement post in a parking garage. I am afraid to even begin to think about how much that's going to cost. (A lot.)

I bet you can't wait to come to Colorado next summer and vacation with me.


I've Got A Golden Ticket
Don't you want a Golden Ticket? If you're reading this, consider yourself an honorary recipient. I'm thinking about next summer. The summer of 2011 when we are having a blog/reunion/campout/whatever here in Colorado. I'm a tad jealous after reading about another blog par-tay. I won't name names, but Bridget and Rebekah know who they are.

I've done some research on my end, trying to find a campground that would suit every one's needs and wants. Some of you tent it like Eagle Scouts, others of you think living out of a suitcase is roughing it. I thought the Y family camp had the best options, but I didn't like the idea of some of us in cabins, some of us on the other side of the property in tents, and others everywhere in between. It's pricey, in high demand, and overwhelming to think about booking all that--not knowing how many of you are coming and how much space we'd need, etc.

So here's the deal. Please come. All of you. No restrictions. We'll figure it out. I have a friend who has a teeny tiny cabin where we could gather, so we'd all be on the same property in the mountains. But if some of you were willing to come without kiddos we'd have more room for more people. Not to say that kids aren't welcome. Absolutely. But I'm also being realistic. As in, there-is-only-one-toilet realistic. And if all else fails, everyone can come to my house. We have more than enough room--it's enormous, and that's one of the reasons we moved in with my mom. To take advantage of her space.

So if you want to come, start telling me now what weeks WON'T work for you. I'd love to shoot for the first week of July, but I'm open.

Now go admire that Golden Ticket.
Why am I okay about the fact that I am eating Japanese noodle soup at 9:30 in the morning?

Because my youngest often goes through the day with no underwear.
Because my oldest told me at the very last minute that his science project needs to measured by meters, not inches.
Because my middle thinks she is getting a horse for Christmas.
Because my husband will be gone for 15 hours today.
Because the dog has maple syrup in his fur.

Do I really need an excuse?


Want to be a part of a conversation I have almost EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life? Apart from the cyborg voices (which are actually hilarious), and even though I don't have fur on me, this could be me and any stranger on the street. Enjoy.


Zinabu is now free of his troublesome teeth. Remember how his permanent teeth grew in behind his baby teeth and his baby teeth didn't fall out? We went to the dentist this week and finally had them pulled. Tell me if this happens to anyone else besides me, but when Zinabu had to go through something rough, his past and his Ethiopian circumstances come screaming back to me. It's as if he's been through so much already that any additional difficulties seem overwhelmingly unfair. He was very scared to go to the dentist, and he reverted back to his coping mechanisms: staring at a spot on the wall, blinking back tears, and shrugging off my hands which just want to hold him. I hate seeing him go there because it brings back a lot of yucky memories for me and him, not to mention the crappy way he must be feeling. I was able to squeeze his little ankle through the procedure, and he did FINE. He was FINE. The dentist was great. The teeth came out well. And he got a toy from the prize box. But whoa, Nelly, it was a long afternoon.


Assignment: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

1. God (if you count Him as the author of the Bible, then I have to include it)
2. Judy Blume (very funny to write that right after God)
3. Anne Lamott (seriously love that woman)
4. Jane Austen
5. C S Lewis (I still remember my 4th grade teacher reading The Magician's Nephew aloud to us and I hung onto e-v-e-r-y word)
6. Michael Pollan
7. Jimmy Carter
8. Betty Friedan
9. Whoever wrote "What To Expect The First Year" because I pretty much lived on that book after adopting Carver. I had no idea what I was doing.
10. Robert McCloskey
11. Beverly Cleary
12. Jim Wallis
13. Flannery O'Connor
14. E B White
15. J K Rowling (you didn't think I'd forget her, did you?)

Can you tell my favorite genre is children's literature? It just brings back so many warm memories of feeling safe and secure in a book, being caught up in a good story. To this day, few things delight me more than re-reading Ramona The Brave or Charlotte's Web. It's soothing. And other author's on my list helped me define my life choices, philosophies, and faith. It was hard to stop at 15, though. I think 75 might have been a better number.


Whew! Photos found. Thank you, David, for remembering to take a picture while I was sick. A skateboarder, a cowgirl, and a knight. The end.


Happy belated Halloween! I spent the day hunched over the toilet puking my guts out. After 8 hours my stomach finally settled down, but now I'm stuck with a fever, chills, and a body that feels like it was hit by a truck. No clue where I picked up this nasty bug, but I hope no one else in the family gets it. Thank God for my mom, who made dinner last night and got the kids to school this morning. David took the kids trick-or-treating. I was horrified to miss out on that. Just awful. I'm hoping he took a picture of them with his iphone. I was so sick last night I couldn't even talk to him.

On Saturday night David and I went to a Halloween party. He suggested we go as his "worst nightmare."

He's a huge Minnesota Viking's fan, and going as dreaded Green Bay Packer's fans got a few laughs. We had a great time and I even got him to dance a little. That's a rare occurrence.

November was supposed to start 30 Days of Nothing for me. I think I might have to wait for January to do that challenge. Zinabu's birthday is in November, and I'm not ready for it at all. Also, we're going away to Breckenridge 2 different times. Once for Veteran's Day weekend and again for Thanksgiving. I don't feel like I can pull off 30 Days of Nothing without cheating a lot. So I'm putting it off until January. I'm bummed. I love 30 Days of Nothing in November. Our culture jumps from Halloween to Christmas and skips right over Thanksgiving. To me, November should be a time of thankfulness, reflection, gathering in, pausing to reflect, and appreciating all that we're blessed with. We will still do that as a family. (Remember our thankful tree? That's starting as soon as I feel better.) We will not shop for Christmas or think about Christmas or worry about Christmas until December.

And now I'm off to the bathroom...