when I said the people at the Target pharmacy know me by my first name? And the girl with the Cheshire Cat tattoo always distracts me? Well, I went to Target today to get a prescription filled for me and they all broke out in cheers that I was finally getting a prescription! I. am. not. kidding. Hooray for me!

Let me back up. One week ago Zinabu was on his third week of coughing and it was starting to sound even nastier than it had been, so--being that it was Saturday afternoon, of course--I took him to Urgent Care. The doc prescribed some breathing treatments, so we went to Target to get them filled. Then Carver had his appointment with the allergy clinic because he's been having some brand new asthma symptoms. This was the day after David went into Atrial Fibrillation again (though the good news is it didn't last). Carver had to have the entire work up and we learned he is basically allergic to everything in Mother Nature.

Literally. The poor kid tested positive for every single bush, weed, tree, shrub, grass, and leaf.

So he got prescribed a boat load of meds to start getting his asthma under control.

While we were at his allergy appointment and I was blowing on his back to make the itching from the skin test go away, I started to not feel so good. I think my body was just plain exhausted from dealing with doctors. I'm a little weary of it all. That night my throat felt scratchy, and two days later I felt like I had swallowed barbed wire. I went to the doctor today and got a prescription for some pain meds so hopefully I can sleep.

Fast forward to this afternoon at Target. The cheers for me and my little prescription. The name of the pharmacist is Carter, and he asked me if I was drinking plenty of fluids. I also have laryngitis and cannot speak and he promised to ask me only yes or no questions. Awfully kind of him. But then Cheshire Cat girl rang me up at the register. I should know her name but I never look at her name tag... I'm always staring at her tattoo across her chest. She wanted to know how we pronounced Zinabu's name. Then she asked if she could ask me about adoption. She was so incredibly sweet, and she shared with me that she is unable to have biological children so she plans to adopt too. I smiled at her and told her it's a great way to grow your family. But she then she asked me if I was running "a mission or something." To which I laughed out loud. Honestly, I have only three kids. Do I look like I run a mission? She cracked me up. Maybe it's my haggard face every time she sees me.

I think she felt she was helping me out when she handed me my Vicodin.


Why We Have A Wheelchair in the Back of the Car 

Is this not the best. picture. ever? Lily and her best friend, Bailey, right after their orchestra concert, looking so sweet and beautiful. And just to the right is the annoying little brother who can't leave well enough alone and just stay put.

I love this photo. Because it's just so real.

We are beyond proud of our little girl, who faced some personal demons last Wednesday night. Not only did she step up to the plate (so to speak), she hit it out of the ball park.

Tuesday is Lily's birthday. Do you know what she wants for her birthday? A wheelchair. Yes, this is the same child that wanted crutches for Christmas two years ago. But now she wants a wheelchair. She wants to train her dog, Buddy, to visit sick kids in the hospital and she wants to get him used to walking alongside someone in a wheelchair. So you bet your bottom dollar we got her one. Craigslist to the rescue again! David went to pick it up and it's in the back of his car until we can give it to her on Tuesday.

I'll be sure to post the pictures. I just can't stand how great she is!


Book Review
How long has it been since I posted a book review? Too long, I think. Here's what we're reading these days.
It's almost summer, and we started our "reading biographies aloud at the dinner table" tradition.  We started with Jimmy Carter--for a few reasons. He really is a great man, he became governor of Georgia (Carver's home state) in 1970 and called for an end to segregation. In 19-freakin-70, people! Obviously he went on to become president, but what he has continued to accomplish in his life after the White House is nothing short of stupendous. We are loving this book.
David is reading this four-novels-in-one book by John Updike. I can tell David is gearing up for summer, because whenever he has a little time off he reads this (he's been plowing through for a few years now) or The Power Broker by Caro--another gigantic tome. I'm not sure how he is able to pick up a book that he left off with months and months ago, but he does. 
David (and I) are both starting to read this. We're planning a summer trip to D.C. and we NEED HELP making the trip and museum after museum fun and interesting for our kids. I'm sorry if your kids are super well-behaved all the time and love learning about history all day long and you can't relate to my dilemma, but my kids like a museum for a good 20 minutes and then they're hungry. 
I saw this at the library and grabbed it for me. President Obama gets thousand of letters from people every day. He responds, personally, to a few each week. This book is about ten of those people, their stories, and how they impacted the president. 
My kids are kind of in-between books at the moment. Lily is still reading nothing, Zinabu is listening to audio books, and Carver has two books he needs to read for an end of the year assignment. He's looking forward to being able to read lots of fun stuff this summer.

What's on your shelf, these days?


Night of the Notables
Every year the 7th graders at Carver's school have a project called Night of the Notables. Each student chooses a notable figure from Medieval or Ancient history and spends a month researching, writing, and presenting their figure. The hard work all culminates in one evening when the students dress as their notable and must be "in character" as their notable. Parents and family roam the school meeting different students and listening to them as they answer questions about who they are and their accomplishments in history.

Out of all the figures in history, Carver chose Jesus. We know a lot about Jesus around here, but it was uber cool to watch Carver dig into his radical teachings, outreach to the poor and women, and his impact on society.

When the big night came, we all went to Carver's school to participate.
The scene in the cafeteria. Lily and Z are at the bottom of the photo, wondering where to go next. My mom had the best time of all. We lost her about five minutes into the evening. As a former teacher, she was in her element.
Carver as Jesus! We lucked out with the costume--an old sheet from Goodwill. I especially loved his hair
that night. Jesus was proud, I'm sure.
 (If you look close, you can see Carver was chewing gum. Rock on, gum-chewing Jesus. Rock on.)

Carver's best friend, Lyndon. He was Mohandas Gandhi. Can you stand it? Oh my gosh, I love him so much.
 It was such a cool evening, and despite how much work it was, Carver loved the entire project.


I can't wait to post the photo of Carver as Jesus.
Today is the anniversary of Columbine.
Zinabu has been sick for 7 days.
Our dog learned how to unlatch his crate from the inside and has been coming upstairs in the middle of the night to sleep with me.
Only five weeks of school left.
My adoption update of Zinabu is due to the adoption agency. Five years since he arrived!
I am overdue for a trip to Denver to visit Deirdre and Bridget.
I'm not exercising nearly as much as I should be.
I can't wait for summer!


White Girls CAN Dance
Friday night our elementary school held a sock hop. It. Is. Adorable. The kids spend two weeks in P.E. and music class learning a variety of dances--everything from the hand jive to the Electric Slide. Then they have a 50's style sock hop and get to dance the night away. They dress up and have a hula hoop contest, too. I learned a few very important things on Friday night.

1. Lily's friends can dance.
2. Lily... not so much.

Lily is incredibly athletic and if she put her mind to it, she could easily excel at several sports. Lily loves music and has always hammed it up when we're dancing in the kitchen. However, Lily is more reserved in public, therefore she does not leave it all on the dance floor. While Lily's friends showed their "moves like Jagger," Lily conservatively stuck to the running man and hopping from left to right. She likes to play it safe.

Lily with her friends Maddy and Bailey.

Lily about 2 seconds behind in the YMCA motions.
  I was mostly happy to see Lily having fun at school. It has been the most difficult year for her in so many areas, I was thrilled to watch her smile and giggle and just be a 10 year old girl. After the dance, Lily's friends spent the night and kept the party going. One of these days I'll get her to loosen up, I just know it!


I know it looks like we all dressed alike in blue T-shirts, but I swear we didn't plan it. Cross my heart.
One of the best parts of our vacation was food. Not so much while we were driving, because even though I packed lots of snacks and things to eat, food on the road is just plain gross. But while we were at our beach house (more on that later) we could eat what we wanted. You know I'm a stickler about pretty healthy food around here, but when I'm on vacation I break out the fun food. We ate ice cream every. single. day. Not vegan. Not healthy. And truth be told, sometimes we had it twice a day. We consumed lots of calories. Lots of breakfasts that involved vast amounts of syrup. Lots of meat for the family and lots of California rolls for me.

I can sum it up in one word: yum!

For me, vacation means I shouldn't spend more than 30 seconds a day planning what we're going to eat.  Everyone still got their quota of fruit and (some) vegetables, but it was heavenly to just eat what we wanted whenever we were hungry. And Galveston has really yummy pumpkin pie ice cream downtown. Lily and I both agree.

Now that we're back home it feels good to eat normal again, but I'm still going to work on re-veganizing myself. Wee bits of dairy are finding their way into my diet these days. Well, they're finding their way in because I'm putting them there, duh! But other than that I'm back to meal planning and pushing the spinach and cauliflower and making sure everybody is ship shape in the nutritional department.

At least until our next family trip.


You Know It's Bad When...
the pharmacist at Target recognizes you and knows you on a first-name basis. Since October, Lily has been on 10 different medications. It's a lot, not to mention the co-pays. Some days I feel like I just open my purse and watch the money pour out. The pharmacist at Target is a young, hip-looking lady with the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland tattooed across her chest. I always feel like I'm staring at her clavicle when she gives me instructions for medicine.

Her: "You'll want to make sure you take this with food first thing in the morning, okay?"
Me: Staring at the cat on her chest. Is it grinning at me? I nod back at her to show I'm listening.

So it was almost funny (almost) when Carver came down with asthma-like symptoms last week. After visiting the doctor we scurried off to Target to fill yet another prescription. He has an inhaler and will use it before exercising, and we will see if that helps. He has track practice this afternoon and he should know pretty quickly if the inhaler will do the trick. I don't have much experience with inhalers. We practiced a couple of times this weekend, just to see if he could get a little breathing relief and to make sure he understood the pump, breathe, repeat instructions. It's hard not to know exactly what it wrong with your child, and to not know if a medicine will help them or not. I can't tell if he's suffering from allergies or true activity-induced asthma. He passed the breathing test at the doctor's office, but that doesn't explain his shortness of breath last week, each episode occurring after running. I thought the inhaler would really help. How do you know what to do?

Do you ever feel like parenting is just winging it?


Gulf Of Mexico, Volume 2

I am so happy to tell you that we had a fabulous spring break. Fabulous. There was one evening when David and I briefly discussed what we would have been doing in London, but only once. Every other minute was spent with our kids and each other, cramming in some serious family time, enjoying how relaxed we were, and creating great memories. While the car trip was long, I know Carver, Lily, and Zinabu will always look back on this vacation as one of their favorites. They were superb travelers, despite being cooped up for two days each way in our van. On our way home they actually got so slap-happy we thought Zinabu would suffocate from laughing so hard.

We left Colorado reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyyy early on Saturday morning and drove all day to just outside of Dallas. We stopped to play at a park and eat lunch.
 We made sure to drive through downtown Dallas to visit the site of JFK's assassination. It was amazing how small the road is... how close to the president people could be... how different it was back then. Carver doesn't know it, but he's a bit of a history buff and enjoys facts. I especially love this photo of David explaining what happened on that terrible day in Dallas.
 Then I wanted to know what this little cabin was all about and I laughed out loud when all three of my children began to whine that they were tired and hungry and didn't care.

We made it to Galveston the next day, by late morning. We wanted to take advantage of a huge water park that was open. The weather was sunny, hot, and the kids had a ball.

After a day of some hard core water slides and swimming, we settled into our beach house. The views, the fact that our kids could be right on the water, and the fact that we had hour after hour of time just to look for shells was priceless. We spotted dolphins, lots of pelicans, a few jellyfish, and plenty of crabs. It was like Jacques Cousteau was there with us.

So we "beached" it to our hearts content, and we also were able to fit in a couple of day trips to the Houston Space Center and Moody Gardens.

Coming home was hard. Zinabu especially was not ready for our vacation to be done. We still had plenty of fun on the drive home, but I was tired of eating "on the road." Food just got gross after a while.

Thank you, Texas. We loved you!


Gulf Of Mexico, Volume 1
I could bore you with all 129 pictures that I took on our vacation, but that would be mean of me. Instead, I'll start off with our "real" pictures... you know, the ones that truly capture the real family vacation. I'll definitely show you my favorites later this week, but for now please join me on our trip to Texas.
In Dallas after 12 hours of driving. The kids were zombies. They're actually standing on the grass next to the road where JFK was shot, but it took them a while to appreciate the moment. Note the brown spot on Lily's pants from the massive bloody nose she had somewhere after Amarillo.
On a tour at the Houston Space Center. David is trying to keep the boys from touching one another.
We found an old London telephone booth, which was as close as I was going to get across the pond this spring break. Please note that Carver was not happy. Does he look 13 or what?

Typical. I ask them to smile and I get this.

Feel free to caption this. Between the stair step pose, Zinabu's missing body, Carver's face, and David's "are we having fun yet" expression, I am at a loss about where to begin.

I was trying to take a sweet profile picture of my youngest, but he never stops talking. He was actually talking to the stick here.

This photo looks innocent enough, but Lily wanted to be in the picture alone and was mad as a wet hen that Zinabu weaseled in on her turf.

Hilarious. David in seventh heaven with his three pound cajun crawfish feast, Zinabu liberally dumping hot sauce on his  plate when he thinks no one is looking, and Carver watching the both of them, wondering why they eat the way they do.

Perfection. Despite the momentary grumbles, this was our what we spent most of our time doing. It was wonderful!