Such a great Thanksgiving week. We split our time between home and Breckenridge, and it was just about perfect. Mom and I cooked, I'd already made the pies, and my sister-in-law brought the lovely mashed potatoes. We keep holidays pretty casual 'round here: as in... roll out of bed, throw on some clothes, and get down to the business of hanging out and eating. Hope yours was equally wonderful.
Carver making his "stupid" face while Lily poses perfectly. Z, not paying attention at all, spoons up more potatoes. David is in the background shooting daggers at me for taking pictures while he waits to eat.

Ahhh, there's that winning smile.

Back in Breckenridge, at our favorite sledding hill. The weather was gorgeous. Tons of snow. Lots of fun.



Ahhhh, it's just a few days before Thanksgiving. It's one of my most favorite holidays. Despite the dark mornings and evenings and colder weather, I do love this time of year. The 8 weeks between Halloween and Christmas. It's exciting and busy and packed with activities. We have plenty to do and still carve out plenty of time to do nothing.

This year we have much to be thankful for. I am so, so thankful for good doctors and the scientists who discover new medication. I'm thankful for those people who have gone before us and been in medication trials--to have gone through the side effects and reported them so we can know what to expect. I'm thankful for technology that is constantly on the cutting edge of finding cures for diseases and illness, that get us one step closer to having health and wellness. I'm thankful for a medication that has Lily feeling the best she's felt in years. We are beyond grateful. We are humbled.

I am also grateful to be Zinabu's second mom. We just celebrated his 10th birthday, and every day that he grows a little bigger and I get a little closer to the day that I have to let him go to be his own person, I am so thankful for today. Thankful that I still have time with him. Thankful he still lets me snuggle him and kiss his curls.

I'm thankful for my legs and feet, that continue to carry me through long, hard runs. I'm thankful for my marriage that is the hardest and most rewarding relationship of my life. I'm thankful for friends and food and shelter. We had a pipe leak from our kitchen to our basement, and it wreaked havoc on our drywall and carpet. We're talking thousands of dollars of damage. But it happened the same week that the typhoon struck the Philippines, and all I could do was be grateful that we still had so much.

So much. Ridiculous amounts of so much.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Would you believe me if I told you I actually forgot about my blog? Pathetic, but sincerely true. I've been coasting along these days and have remembered some amazing things, but the blog has not been one of them. I've remembered appointments and bills and birthdays and laundry and maintaining everyone's sanity, yet the little ol' internet gets put on the back burner. Sorry about that.

We've had a great fall. Carver's first high school cross country season was spectacular. We watched him grow and mature in ways I wasn't even expecting. And he's a good runner. I'm secretly thrilled that he's falling in love with the sport. So much so we're running a half marathon together in just a few weeks. This photo is Carver with some of his teammates, and they have become tight, tight friends. High school is hard--not gonna' lie. The homework is ridiculous, the hours my extroverted child puts in at school between student government and sports is exhausting, and the new responsibilities are frightening. And yet, it is such an exhilarating time of life for Carver I am completely thrilled for him.

Lily is continuing to enjoy doing school from home. It just plain works for her. I love the freedom she feels with her online homeschool program, and I like that she's learning at her own pace and speed. She's able to work way ahead whenever she wishes, and she does. There are other days that she slows down, which is exactly what she needs, as well. Her health is stable, and for that--above all--I am grateful, grateful, grateful.

Zinabu is turning into a little man, and my heart is breaking a bit each day as I watch my youngest grow up too quickly. It feels unfair that the years go by so fast, but that I have him in my life at all is a blessing of the greatest magnitude--how can I complain? He turns 10 today! And he's celebrating by taking a train trip to Seattle with David. They are off on their grand adventure, and he was the most excited child. Ever. I think he loves travel. I think it's going to be a big part of his life.

As for me, I'm just hanging on for the ride. That's how it feels most days. I'm still working part time and still living most days in my van. I'm still happy to get a run in first thing in the morning, and I'm grouchy when I don't get enough sleep. I feel a bit frozen during this period of mothering--frozen in the sense that I'm stuck in the busiest years of parenting and unable to contribute much to anything else. There are days I feel bad about that. I read about all the amazing things my friends are doing in their lives and I don't come close to their philanthropy or brilliance. But I'm here for my kids when they need me, and for now that's exactly where I should be.


Under Water
So... the last few weeks have been interesting. Between the weather apocalypse and the back-to-school apocalypse, I feel a little unnerved. I'm pleased to say that I've stayed on top of 9th grade, 7th grade, 4th grade, my job, and every single form, paper, article of homework, lunch, school supply, meeting, appointment, and general there and back drop off and pick up. One of these days I'm going to institute a medal of honor for parents and caregivers who get their students to graduation. It's real life, people. No joke. And I'm not even the teacher. The kids are surviving, enjoying, and dealing with their respective schools and responsibilities. I've declared the 2013-2014 school year to be "The Year I Let Them Fail"--as in, they forget it or lose it or misplace it or don't do it so be it. Apparently it's all the rage among child psychologists, so I'm seeing what happens in our sweet cherubs' lives when it hits the fan here at home. To be fair, I'm not that much of a helicopter parent, but I've done my fair share of rescuing at times. No more. Hear my battle cry to my children: Go out there and mess up! It's good for you!

As for the weather, well... I feel that Colorado has been given the raw end of the deal this year. I'm sure you'd agree. We're pretty speechless. It runs the spectrum of totally horrified by the loss of life to selfish tantrums over trails and parks washed away in the blink of an eye. I feel trapped in the house after days and days and days of rain. Heavy, scary rain. Rain that is so loud it drums on the roof for hours without letting up. I ran this morning in the dark, damp, muddy, splattered neighborhood and felt sick and tired of it all. This is a catastrophe that will take years to recover from. There just aren't enough words.

Things that make me smile, though, include Zinabu at the dinner table trying to talk in a British accent. He's terrible at it and it is precious. Carver's constant hugs and late night talks with me about life. Lily's health and peace and continued love of dogs. There is still good in the world. I'll keep embracing it.


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.