Just another boring day at our house. You know, where Zinabu sucks on a lemon (his favorite treat) while I finish cooking dinner.


(shaking fist angrily at cancer)

What are the odds? Really! What are they? You could almost laugh.

I met my sweet friend Ali almost 6 years ago, the week she found out that her mom had ovarian cancer. It was one year after my dad had died from a brain tumor. We connected in so many ways other than cancer, but I was there for her during a dark time. Fortunately, her mom has had good results from her treatment and has been doing well. Until the last few months. Little things have been off. Her memory. Her mood. Her health has deteriorated significantly. And we find out... the cancer has come back full force. And she has a huge brain tumor. She is going to die. Most likely very soon.

Ali and I went to a movie tonight and on the drive home she broke the news to me. She said, "You're the last person I've told because you're the one person I was afraid to tell. I knew it would be hard." I pulled over and we cried and hugged and just marveled at the craziness of it all. She explained the radiation treatment they're trying and I shared with her that my dad had done the exact same treatment.

And Ali asked seriously, "How did that work for your dad?"

And then we both burst out laughing, because it didn't work for my dad. And we laughed until I almost wet my pants. And then we cried again.

Where the hell is the cure for cancer? Where? Because if I have to go through 10 more years of politicians yelling at one another and stupid wars and wasted resources, there had better be a cure for cancer at the other side of it all. Something to make it all worthwhile.

I'm just saying.


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "I sure wish Cathy would write a post about her hair."

I'm freaking you out, aren't I? How did I know what you wanted? It's a gift.

Well, fear not, loyal readers. You get what you asked for. And after my last controversial post about the corrupt "gifted and talented" system which is slowly eroding our society, I thought I would post about something completely lame and uncontroversial.

Ergo, my hair.

If you've been reading my blog you KNOW that I am attempting to grow my hair long. To wear in a ponytail. In London. In the spring of 2012. And I want it to look something like this:

I am hoping to avoid something like this:

A year ago this was me. My hair was short. And I love it short. Especially when I'm running a lot.

10 months later, this is where I am now.

Longer, but still so far to go. It took a while for the back to grow out and catch up with the sides. I am finally at the point where I can just let it go and see what happens. I wonder what it will look like in another 10 months?
It's okay that you really don't care. If I were you, I wouldn't care either.


Um, seriously?

This is freaky. I am actually asking David to hold me down so that I can't climb on my soap box, but I'm shouting anyway. Gifted and talented? For kindergarten? Let the kids be kids, for goodness' sake. How insane. And how privileged. And how wrong we are as parents to buy into the hype that our 4 year olds need to be "ranked and rated" to somehow achieve more. Blech.


David's brother Doug was visiting us last week. He drove out on his motorcycle and then he and David went camping together. Before he left I took some photos of the kids on the cycle. I have NO IDEA where Carver learned this "I'm so cool I don't even need to smile at the camera but just look smug" look. Geesh. Give a mom heart failure, why don't you. More interesting, though, is what the orange arrow is pointing to. We had asked Zinabu not to touch the motorcycle.


No question about it. We are having this for dinner. Can you say "uh--may--ziiiiiiing"?

I have a confession to make. I am tired of my kids. And what's worse, they are tired of me. This has been a long week. They wake up at 6:30, eat breakfast, and by 9:00 they're bored, hungry, and whiny. I hate being overscheduled, so I don't jam-pack our day with activities and events, but we need enough structure to keep from giving each other the evil eye. Next week everyone is enrolled in day camp (can I get an amen) and I get to do fun things like clean out closets and take unused items to Goodwill. Really. That is fun for me, so stop your snickering.

One thing that has gone very, very well this summer has been reading the biographies aloud at the dinner table. So far we've finished Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson. Tonight we start Albert Einstein, and waiting in the wings is Harriet Tubman. It has provoked fabulous conversations--we've talked about the Ku Klux Klan, physical disabilities, being brave, having courage, life not being fair, determination, and how to do the right thing. The kids hate when I finish a chapter and they have to wait until the next day to find out what happens next. David and I read aloud to them every night at bedtime, but the biographies have a different feel to them. Obviously, it's educational, but it's has to do with learning history together. It's been a lot of fun.


Wordless Wednesday... (don't even ask!)


To V or Not To V...

After doing some research and lots of thinking, I was seriously considering going vegan. Living without meat is hardly a sacrifice, since I don't ever crave it or think about it much. And I already drink soy milk, love soy yogurt and ice cream, and think fruits and vegetables are supposed to be a huge part of what you consume. But I cannot give up cheese. And I think soy cheese is gross. Have you ever tried soy cheese? There must be someone out there who enjoys it, but it's hard for me to swallow. I am currently addicted to Feta cheese and can't get enough of it. The photo above is a picture of my favorite sandwich: grilled tomato and feta, with a dash of olive oil and pepper. Yum-o! And it doesn't help that friends post cheese ideas like this on their blogs. Can't wait to try it.



If you are wearing a giant orange cowboy hat and crazy pajamas, then it must be time to wrestle your sister.


Carver Comes Home Today!!!!!
Can you believe it? I did it! I survived!


Super sweet kid with killer smile seeks someone to listen to him talk all day long and have answers to questions like "what would happen if I ate a knife?" or "do you think mountain lions like cotton candy?" Serious inquiries only.


The Calm Before The Storm

David and Carver had a boys getaway together--they camped at one of our favorite campgrounds, which is also just a few miles away from the camp Carver is attending. I drove up Sunday morning with Z and Lily to help them pack out, and then while David drove home with the two youngest, I stayed with Carver. We had 3 hours before we could check into camp, so we went fishing. Fishing is Carver's new favorite hobby. He loves to tinker and fiddle with things, and attaching hooks and bait and sinkers and bobbers to a fishing line just thrills him. While he fished, a butterfly landed on his hand. We sat on the pebbly shore and admired the view, chatted, and relaxed. When he'd had his fill of fishing, we drove the dirt backroads to his camp (we'd never been before). The gates opened at 1:00 and we were a little early, which turned out to be a good thing because after we had checked in and finished paperwork the line of people waiting for their turn was enormous.
I don't know why, but I think I had imagined that I would pull up, unload Carver's duffel bag and find Carver's counselor, and then be shooed away. Which was completely stupid of me because it took an hour to check him in. Duh! I had to fill out more medical paperwork, liability forms, transportation forms, and on and on (in addition to what I'd already filled out and sent to them weeks ago). It was incredibly well organized, but certainly overwhelming. He was deemed "finished" and then we went to find his cabin. His cabin is adorable, and there are two counselors and six boys. What a great ratio! He scoped out where he wanted to sleep, poked around, and then we looked at each other like, "Now what do we do?" There wasn't anyone else in the cabin (because the counselors were all working at various stations and greeting people at the front of camp) so we walked around and explored. There are tons of places to play, and a beachfront on the lake where you can swim. There's a blob, zipline, waterslide, horseback riding, canoeing, rifles, archery, and just about everything else you can imagine at a camp. Since we don't allow guns at our house, Carver is freaking hyper interested in the rifle range.
We wandered over to a grassy field and found a few counselors who were playing with kids who were all checked in and their parents had left. I asked Carver if he wanted me to stay longer or was he ready to get his camp experience started. He was ready for me to go. Since we had already had lots of talks about what camp would be like, I didn't have much else to say to him.
I hugged him, told him I loved him and I'd pray for him, and walked away. Good thing I was wearing my big, dark sunglasses. I bawled. Completely lost it. I looked back once and waved. I saw him wipe his eyes. I called good bye and gave him a big smile. And that was it.
I imagine last night was hard. He does not know a soul there, and being gone from home for a week is a big deal. But I know that by today, after he got that first night out of the way and now that he's probably made a friend and knows his counselors and is playing outside, he'll be fine. He's our most outgoing, extroverted kid. But as a mom, this is grueling. This transitioning to letting go; having a child that you used to do everything for... and you used to be everything to them. By leaving him at camp for a week, I am essentially cutting some of the cords that bind us together.
And I don't care who you are or how independent you want your kids to be--that is hard.


Just Being Honest

Lately, our kids have been going at it with each other. Over nothing.
He touched me.
She looked at me with a weird face.
He tried to take my napkin.
She won't let me brush my teeth first.
I thought it was my turn to feed the dog.
I can't stand it when he hums.
And on and on and on. David and I are stumped. We've tried just about everything we can think of to curb the insanity, but so far our kids are completely determined to be miserable together. I love blogging about the cute things my kids say and the sweet pictures when they're all smiling at the camera, but I've got to keep it real. This summer has been rough. I'm not sure if it's Carver, whose transitioning into being a pre-teen and is annoyed by anything... or if it's Lily, whose short temper is stretched too thin right now... or if it's Zinabu, who really is a hyperactive pest sometimes. I am sick of breaking up fights and tiffs and arguments over nothing. So if you're in a season where your kids are all getting along, then please be thankful.
Carver and David left this morning to go camping, and then on Sunday I am taking Carver to his camp for the week. I do know that with 3 kids, one is always the odd man out. Taking one child out of the equation means the other 2 always get along. I don't understand why. It's like an advanced math problem that I'll never solve. But I do hope that with Carver gone for a week, Z and Lily will have a good time together, and that all 3 kids will miss each other enough that they'll be grateful to be reunited.
One can only hope.


Wordless Wednesday


friendship [frend-ship] n: promising your friend Ali that you would not go see Eclipse until she returned from vacation and you could go together.

regret [ri-gret] v: promising your friend Ali that you would not go see Eclipse until she returned from vacation and you could go together.


Greetings from our little corner of insanity. This has been a weird week. We've been sick. We've been stressed. We've been overwhelmed with a few details. And let's just try to go camping this weekend to add to the drama. Once we get there, I love camping. But the getting there is no small feat.

I am making a public announcement that I love World Cup soccer. I can't get enough of it and I have been guilty of screaming at the television while my children look at me with horror. So camping preparations will have to be put on hold tomorrow morning while I watch the Netherlands and Ghana games. You know, you've got to have your priorities lined up.

And speaking of camping, I'm putting the official call out to my Ethiopia families that we're going to have a get-together in Colorado next summer. All are invited. We can find a cabin/cabins with room, kitchens, beds for all... and if you want to pitch a tent you can do that too. So Sarah and Carrie and JC and Chandra, Christina and Tesi and everyone in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois start thinking ahead.