I feel grateful for the boys in my life.
David, Carver, and Zinabu. My awesome boys. Dude on the bench? I have no idea who he is.


It's my favorite time of year. That's a solid fact, right there.

I love summer. I love when my kids are home all day. I love hot weather--not just warm, hot. I love swimming and staying up late and popsicles and watching my kids figure out what to do when they're bored and going on vacation. I especially love the absence of cold, dark, freezing mornings and long days of little daylight and chilly temperatures. I'm so not down with that.
Our digs at Yosemite National Park. Let's hear it for tent 635!

This summer has been no exception. I've been able to run more. We took an epic road trip through 3 national parks. The kids are so self sufficient at a pool all I have to do is bring a good book for me and throw food at them every once in a while. Carver has a phone now and makes plans for himself constantly--he just tells me where and when. I watch the Today show. Lily and Zinabu are thrilled and over the moon to have no schoolwork. I confess I am on their side and feel just as happy. No reading logs to track, no field trip forms to pay for and sign, no driving to multiple school events for three different schools on the same day, no cleaning out mushy sandwiches from backpacks on Sunday night, no math tests or math homework (it's not a coincidence that I haven't cried a single tear since the last day of school and math homework).

As the kidlets have gotten older, school has become harder. It's almost a full-time job juggling their work, schedules, and needs. Homeschooling Lily (while definitely the best for her) just adds to the chaos. My house used to be clean, we used to rarely eat out, I used to mail out thank you notes on time and never, ever, ever paid a bill late. Things are different now. Paperwork piles up, a bill gets lost in the shuffle, appointments are made by the skin of our teeth, and Subway is our go-to meal when we won't be home at night.

I really miss when these babes of mine were all in the lower elementary grades, when school meant kissing them good-bye in the morning and afternoons meant playing at the playground until I had to go make dinner. Talk about living the dream!

So I approach August with trepidation and a little bit of nausea. School is going to kick into gear here in a few weeks--with Cross Country officially starting for Carver before that. I've got doctors appointments to make and school supplies to buy and schedules to figure out and meals to plan and last minute house projects I'd wanted to get done in May to actually start... I feel the panic creeping in and dread the homework and late nights.

Can I get a summer do-over?



Oh, my sweet Lord, where do I begin?

Um, this. Pretty much all the time.

Zinabu really hasn't changed in the past year. He is still super inquisitive and super talkative (that's a nice way of saying he has to process out loud with words every single thought that passes through his brain) and super particular about not drawing attention to himself. For example, he still won't wear clothes with any writing on them, lest someone look at him and try to read his T-shirt.

He is also hi.lar.i.ous. David and I, more often than not, can be found trying not to laugh out loud in his presence at the ridiculous things he says. Sometimes when he's trying to be funny, but lots of times when he's just making regular conversation.
He picked out Pringles for a reading reward at school. The boy loves him some salty snacks.

Zinabu has a sweet heart, though. This past year two of his good friends got into a little trouble at recess and he was sick to his stomach all night long thinking about it. He hated that they had made a bad choice, and he hated that his buddies were facing consequences. He hated the conflict and wanted peace on Earth right that very minute.

He is also waaaaaay more determined than I am. He doesn't like to give up easily, and there are times when I want to throw up my hands because I can't answer his question or figure out how to fix something that he refuses to let me quit. Case in point, this photo of him when we went hiking. We were in Yosemite and it was just the two of us on this hike and it went straight up for what felt like hours. My knees were screaming at me, and every twenty minutes or so I would say, "Zinabu, we should really turn around now." He would look at me like I had just suggested we eat snakes for breakfast and say, "Pleeeeeaaaasssseee, Mom, let's keep going. I really want to make it to the top." Thanks to him, we did.

Don't let that railing fool you. It was only there for about 15 yards, to keep people from
plummeting to their death off the ledge.

Zinabu loves to learn, and school is easy for him. I don't say that lightly (because I have two others who do not find school easy in the least) but I'm glad that school won't necessarily be a struggle for him. If his school switches to uniforms with writing on the shirts, then we've got problems.

Zinabu is a doll, loves to help, loves to make sure I'm not getting too tired, and loves one-on-one time with David or me. We work hard to give that to him, because it fills up his love tank to overflowing and yet it's such a simple thing.

Zinabu, I'm so torn! I love watching you grow up, but please slow down!



Lily. The middle child. The only girl. Easily frustrated with others. Passionate about certain issues. Wicked sense of humor. Shy.

Just. Like. Me.

Lily is pretty similar to me, and it means the things that bother her also bother me... but it also means that we can sometimes butt heads. This is real life, and I don't blame Lily for this. I blame my own faults and failures and immaturity. But this is also one of the parts of Lily I love the most. I grow as a mother every minute I'm with her. She makes me be the best I can be, and when I'm not willing to give motherhood my all, she is the mirror that reflects it back at me. We should all be so blessed to have a child like that in our lives.

This past year has been a rough one for Miss Lil. As Abraham Lincoln said, "The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion." We are all rising to the occasion. Yes, there are days we want to pull the covers over our heads and pretend all problems can be solved with chocolate covered peanuts and denial, but most days we are fighting the good fight and are there for one another. I know Lily can do this. I wouldn't expect any less from this spitfire.

Lily at Sequoia National Park

Lily is going to be a 7th grader this fall, and she is an amazing 12 year old girl. While this year has been hard, many things remain unchanged. She. Loves. Animals. She's finally old enough to volunteer at the Humane Society, and once school begins this fall we will figure out some times for her to work there. She will continue with our district's online home school program, which allows her to be home as much as she wants, but also offers class days where she can attend P.E., art, music, and her regular subjects and just hang out with peers. She will also be in the same building where David's new job is going to be, and I think she's pretty excited about that.

Lily is my night owl. When I am yawning and crawling to bed, she is just getting going. She also loves her some bling. Hats, scarves, bracelets, and bling a-ding-ding.

Lily in the middle, literally and figuratively.

She is starting to notice that I am not so into the bling, and more than once has asked, "Are you going out like that?" (Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?) However, she is incredibly fun to shop for, and she is delighted by the smallest things.

Her favorite subject in school has turned from math to science. She's excited to see how things work and fit together, and having her do the bulk of her schoolwork at home now, I get to learn with her. I can't wait to see where her mind and interests take her, and even though she's growing up way too fast... I love the days she's home with me.

Just us girls.

Love you, Miss Lil.



Carver after his 8th grade graduation

Seeing how I haven't blogged in months and months, I thought I would take a day to write about each of our kids and give some updates about their current lives. For Carver, I think I can sum up everything with one statement: He is about to start high school.
It's true. My baby is a high-schooler. Is it scary? Absolutely. Is it exciting? Totally. Is it going to be easy? I doubt it. Is it going to be memorable? For sure.
I wasn't too worried about our kids moving on to high school because they were all going to attend the school where David works, but the bottom dropped out of that plan this spring when our district reassigned David to a new school and some bigger projects, which left me reeling with shock. All of a sudden, I was petrified of high school. The safety net I'd been relying on was gone.
But Carver is ready. This happens as your kiddos get older. They move through these incredible transitions but they're usually ready for them. Carver certainly is. He's done with middle school and ready to move up in the world.

Carver and friends
He's the most extroverted person I know, which I'm still trying to understand because he's pretty opposite of me. Case in point: He was home from camp for 5 whole minutes before asking me, "So what are the plans for this week?" Always planning, always going, always wanting to be with friends... I'm trying to cherish every. single. minute. I have with him because as soon as he gets his driver's license, I don't think I'll ever see him again.

He's so thoughtful and caring, as well. He's learning how to give of his time for others and come out a better person afterward. He's pushing himself a bit too. He'd rather play outside than worry about straight As, but he is learning the positive effects of studying and working hard for school. He's getting tall. I'm 5 foot 7 (and 1/2) and he's going to pass me any day now. He's learning he's a good runner and he's going to be running Cross Country for his high school this fall. I am so excited for him.

Carver with ZInabu

He likes girls. He's afraid of girls. He has a million friends that are girls. Girls make up a big part of his day. But he still likes me, and I'll take it. I don't have to work too hard to foster a good relationship with him because he's so easy. My relationship with Carver is so natural, so smooth, so real and wonderful.

He's 14 with the world in front of him. I know parts of growing up will be tough for him, but mostly I'm so excited to see where he's going to go and what the world has in store for him.

I love you, Carver.


What We're Reading

We're halfway through summer and I've read only a smidgen of what I intended. The rest of the family is probably in the same boat. So many books, and so many lazy evenings sitting on the back porch goofing off. Too many books, but not enough rainy days to snuggle and read. I still succeed at promptly dozing off in bed at night when I try to read. However, there have been some small successes.

I read a review about this book by Jeff Chu. I was fascinated by the topic and curious about his question, How can so many people who call themselves Christians and believe in the same God have such opposite views about homosexuality? I'm a third of the way through, and I like his candor and writing style.

An easy-to-read little book on treating your family schedule like a business. Nothing I haven't read or learned before, but still good to read so I am motivated to stay on top of our crazy schedules. For me, reading books on organization is like drinking really good coffee. I love it, and it comforts me, and I can't imagine life without it. I'm weird like that.

Every month I get the latest Runner's World and dive in. I confess I don't have a subscription--I get them from the library. But I look forward to each issue the way Carver is looking forward to his first date. A lot of the information is repetitive, but it keeps me motivated and it helps me continue to set running goals for myself.

I am waiting for this little number to arrive in the mail after the printers run off enough copies for the entire world to read. It's the latest book by a little known author named Jo Rowling. Perhaps you've heard of her?

Carver is currently reading Animal Farm, because it is required for 9th Grade Honor's English and he has to have it done by the time school starts. I can't say he's super happy about it, but I hope some of the message of the book makes sense to him.

And this is Zinabu's current book. He adores fantasy, and even though I try to steer him toward more realistic fiction, he keeps coming back to all things dragon. I guess for a 9-year-old boy, dragons are pretty much awesome.

It's hard to believe we are mid-way through July and summer is speeding by faster than I want. I need more time for books!


1,000th Post

I'm back.

And it's my 1,000th post, no less.

I know this because when I logged on to Blogger (logging on consisted of me failing multiple times because I'd forgotten my password so I had to reset it and then log on), there was a little section with statistics for my eyes only: number of page views, number of followers, number of blog posts.

I kid you not--it said 999. It was meant to be that I start blogging again.

I stopped blogging for a lot of reasons. Lack of time, lack of happy-go-lucky news, lack of interest in blabbing about myself and my family, and lack of daily routine. Routine went out the window last year when I had three different kids at three different schools.

But a funny thing happened. I began to miss my own updates. Once in a while I would scroll through old posts and exclaim, "Oh yes! I remember that day!" It's amazing how quickly I forget the silly little stories, the odd sayings, the weird happenings, and the happy times.This digital journaling we call blogging that holds endless memories and photos and stories is actually the best way I know how to document my whirlwind life. So for no other reason than to keep on journaling about my children's childhood (for better or for worse--let's be real, folks!), I am going to keep on blogging and just see where it takes us.

P.S.--I've missed you!