Pre Z

I realized this week I've reached a marvelous point in our lives. I have a very, very hard time remembering life before Zinabu. Of course I remember the baby, toddler, and young elementary school years with Carver and Lily, and I remember trips and holidays before he was with our family. But the day-to-day stuff. He's just so immersed in our lives, it takes my breath away to think there was a time when we thought two kids were going to be it for us.
This photo is three years old, but it's a delightful foreshadowing to the relationship Z and Lily were building. I'm convinced that when they are old and gray, they will be some of the only people that truly understand each other. Z gets Lily and has such compassion for her. And Lily--deep down--knows that he is her best friend. Yes, there are days when they are at each other's throats. But most days they stinking adore one another.
It is very difficult to remember a time when Lily was the baby of the family and not a big sister. She was born to be a big sister. She's crazy good at it. And how is it possible that Z was just a glimmer in our eyes when we were kicking the tires of the idea of a third child? How did we go from there to here?
I guess you could say our little family is part miracle.


Me and My Minivan

It's that time of year again when I spend half my day in my van. Lots of driving hither and yon, lots of sharing the radio and personal space, and lots of weird conversations with Zinabu. I just can't complain about any of it, because I know there will come a time in my life when I won't have this and I will miss it. This was our fist week of school, and I have to pat all of us on the back for surviving--especially Carver. My high-schooler.

He's done so much to set himself up for success and I couldn't be prouder, but the whole week has been overwhelming for both of us. Tomorrow is his first cross country event, so bless his heart he can't even sleep in. I think we're both running on adrenaline at this point.

Zinabu is content because there's not a lot of change for him. Last year was the new school jitters and having to make new friends and--this year is a breeze. He loves stability.

Lily has jumped into 7th grade with gusto. I'm extremely proud of her. Because she does an online homeschool program, she can work ahead if she desires... and she has. I'm thrilled to report that Lily is feeling great right now, and we are grateful to the tips of our toes that she's getting a respite from some tough medical issues.

I feel overwhelmed with joy over the blessings of my children. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We've walked through all of those seasons (as all families do) and it's amazing to see what we're made of. It's also tremendous to do the work of figuring out who my kids are meant to be and to support them as they navigate the dark tunnels of this world. The pressure to be who the world says they should be versus who they want to be. To teach them, as Einstein said, "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."

I treasure these days.


Lightning Hopefully Won't Strike Twice

I've been off the grid for a few day because our house was struck by lightning and we lost a few electronics, including our internet service. Bummer. It's being fixed as I write this so I hope to be back in business soon! The Xbox did not survive. Carver is in the seven stages of grief right now.


What We're Reading

I just finished Wonder, and I can't say enough great, great things about it. Such a quick but deep read, and the main character... Oh. My. Goodness. Go get this book. GO GET THIS BOOK. Seriously, stop what you are doing right now and buy this book. Clear your schedule for 24 hours and read it. Commence weeping. Then, if your kids are old enough, read it with them and talk about it. We're reading it aloud at the dinner table right now. It's definitely a game-changer. It's the kind of book that everyone should read immediately.

I just started Kathine Switzer's Marathon Woman and although I'm only 25 pages in, it's grabbed me. She's a very good writer, and you just gobble up each word. She's the woman we can all thank for starting and revolutionizing the women's running movement. She snuck her way into the Boston Marathon in 1967, was threatened with physical force to drop out, but she kept going. Whether you like running or not, I still think this book is a must-read because she paved the way for all women. I know I take for granted how accepted women athletes are today, but in her day that just wasn't the case. Women were told not to run--for fear their uteruses would drop out of their bodies or they would develop too many facial wrinkles. Whatever. But that was the prevailing attitude not so very long ago. So whether you run, play basketball, practice yoga, or stick with a workout DVD in your basement, you're riding the coattails of Switzer.

I confess I don't know what David's reading at the moment. I think he has an audio book going, which he falls asleep to each night. Probably the same chapter over and over.

Carver is finishing up Lord of the Flies, which is another book he had to read this summer for school. A bunch of boys living on their own on an island. What's not to love?

Lily is reading some book about dog breeds... Sigh. I fear she will never break out of the animal care genre.

And Z is up to his neck in his favorites. He keeps rereading all his Rick Riordan books, but we're also reading Jennifer Murdley's Toad, and it's nice to have a book we can do together.

Can't wait to hear about what's on your nightstand!


You ARE A Good Mom

See this photo of me? I love it, because it's proof that I can be a good mom sometimes. And there are days when I need concrete, solid proof--because a lot of the time the evidence points in the other direction.

The mountain of laundry that I willingly pass by every time I see the laundry room.
The fact that I haven't cooked a real dinner in 4 days.
The complaining from children that I am supposed to be raising with good attitudes.
The fact that school starts in a week and I haven't even rounded up school supply lists, let alone supplies.
The amount of TV that's happening here just to get me through the end of summer vacation.

All those plus more. Much more. Trust me.

So that photo? Taken by my friend Tesi when I was in Seattle and I was having a little face time with my kids. Don't I look delighted to speak to them? I know, right? It's right there in the photo. Joy and delight and happiness and giggles and love. It's so good to see, because I think we beat ourselves up way too much on a daily basis--I beat myself up on a daily basis--only remembering the negative. Wouldn't it be wonderful to hire a photographer to follow you around for a few days to capture a similar expression on your face? Cause you make that delighted face. You do! Maybe when your sleepy kiddo just rounds the corner into the kitchen while you're having your morning coffee, or when they make it down the slide at the park and look to you for approval, or even when you're just playing a board game and yukking it up together. If someone captured your face of pure delight over your kids, you could tuck that photo in your pocket and slip it out whenever you feel discouraged or less-than. Look at the proof in your eyes and smile that you are 100% in love with being a mom.

Because we are. We just need a reminder once in a while.


My New BFF

I've found a new friend. It's acupuncture. This photo is not me, but it's what my left foot looks like when I'm at an appointment. Turns out I really like it. Like, a lot. And trust me, I'm just as surprised as you.

My first appointment was amazing. I wasn't nervous; I was eager to get my heel fixed. I met with Hannah at the acupuncture clinic and she was literally cute as a button. I kinda wanted to hug her just for the fun of it. Super nice, put me at ease, didn't try to oversell me or claim to solve all my digestive problems with a few needles to my forehead. Instead, she really listened to me and agreed that I had "tried a lot" to solve my plantars fasciitis. She has treated other people with the same injury with mostly positive results. She didn't promise a miracle cure, but she said I was pretty likely to get major relief and hopefully kick this injury to the curb. She also said one treatment would not be a magic cure, but to plan on coming two or three times a week for a couple weeks and then tapering down.

After our consultation, she led me into the next room--the sign on the door said "Silent Room." It was full of overstuffed recliners, white noise, and blissed out people with needles in them. That's part of this clinic's philosophy--community care, available to everyone, affordable for everyone. To keep things affordable you sit in the same room as everyone else. But it was no different than pre-school nap time or getting a pedicure. Acupuncture doesn't need to be done in private.

Hannah told me to relax--which I did. I brought my ipod and listened to a podcast. She put about 20 needles in me, a lot on my left foot, a few on my left leg, and a handful of others on my arms and head. Even my forehead.

No, it didn't hurt. At all.
Yes, I felt the few needles around my ankle because it's just a more sensitive spot.  But they didn't hurt. More like a tiny twinge when they went in.

Hannah had told me that 20 minutes is the minimum amount of time she likes her patients to stay, but adding more time after that doesn't give you any more benefits. It's not like the longer you leave the needles in the better your results. However, it is so relaxing you could stay there all afternoon. No joke, the person next to me was sound asleep!  I told her 30 would be plenty for me, because I had to go home and make dinner. I then closed my eyes and just enjoyed not having to be anywhere or do anything. It went by way too fast!

So here's the crazy part: my heel felt amazing. No pain at all. And I continued to have no pain for another 24 hours. I did run, and it was a pain-free run. I tightened up after the run and was back to some heel pain after that, but not as bad as in the past.

I thought I should rest and not run at all during this time, but Hannah suggested I keep running a few miles at my normal rate to gauge how pain management is going.

I had another appointment yesterday and I have two more this week. I'm so optimistic that my heel will get better that I can almost taste it! And if it doesn't, I have to tell you I will still go for the occasional treatment because it really feels that good. So good it almost makes me not care when I hear Blurred Lines on the radio for the ten millionth time. Almost.



I have an acupuncture appointment today. First time I ever wrote that sentence. I have a nagging running injury that I cannot get to leave me alone--despite stretching, resting, and icing. It's preventing me from increasing my mileage, which is not that big of a deal except with fall right around the corner and darker, colder mornings, I am more apt to stay in bed than get up and run. I need to sign up (read: pay money and therefore fully commit) for a longer race this winter to keep me in shape. I want to get rid of this injury, and I'm willing to try just about anything. So enter acupuncture. I'm oddly curious, not afraid of needles, and there's an open clinic here that allows walk-ins and a "pay what you can" philosophy. They ask for a donation between $15 and $35 per session. Their philosophy is that the more affordable the care, the more often you will get treatment.

I agree.

So at 3:00 today I'll be lying on a table with needles all over me. I'll let you know how it goes.

Today is also hair day for Lily. That means taking out braids (that have been in her hair way too long and her hair has certainly started to lock together), washing, moisturizing, and getting it into a new style. It's a 2 hour commitment at the least. I may need acupuncture on my fingers when it's all over.

Today, thankfully, is Friday. That means David can put to rest another crazy week of job insanity and hopefully rest a bit. He and Z have fun plans tomorrow, and I hope to play, rest, and read.