Tag Archives: growing up

This isn’t just about you…

This isn’t just about you…

Dear Son,

I know you’ve been the one to go to school every day  most of the days for the past 13 years, and you’re the one who passed all the tests and finished the classes, but this graduation isn’t just about you. It’s about a journey, a journey between the two of us.

12_09 (3)You see, my life is sort of divided between the years before you and the years since. You, my sweet son, changed who I am.

I was a wife and a step-mom before you were born. And I like to think my mothering was pretty good. BUT YOU brought out my MAMA BEAR.

The first moment I saw you, the majesty of the heavens paled in comparison to this miracle I made. Oh yeah, Daddy made you too, but that’s a different story.

I stared at you for hours thinking “holy crap, you were inside of me!” The bigger you grew, the more that amazed me. All the sudden one day I looked up at this young man who was taller than both his parents and I said to myself “that was my tiny little Dyl Pickle” and I looked at my hand and remembered how you once sat so small in my cradled arm. Read the rest of this entry


Impossible To Beat


Valentine’s Day really isn’t my favorite holiday, but I’ve said that before.  It just never lives up to those movie-made expectations. I’m always left feeling sort-of bah-humbug. But this year I didn’t have a bad Valentine’s Day…

I didn’t sit around and write 65 cards for my kids to pass out. I sort of hate that tradition because I know where those cards end up. I also didn’t spend 19 hours perfecting the most amazing Pinterest cupcakes ever. Because I also know exactly where those cupcakes wind up. Instead the ZooCrew requested “Fruit Rollup Valentine’s”… AHHHH! The best of both worlds! A cool valentine + a snack for the party rolled into one! I’m loving the Type B personality that has taken over my life. Simple AND impressive: that’s how I roll! (OK, that’s how I’m learning to roll. Better?)

Read the rest of this entry

Daddy Didn’t Know


So apparently my husband had no idea that we give out teacher appreciation gifts! I’m not sure how he missed that. We’ve had kids in school for the past 16 years now. I used to do a Christmas gift, maybe a little something for their birthdays- but add that to the pile of “things I did when I had a few kids!” Now, I run a zoo, so it’s just once a year that I sit down and try to show my appreciation for the people who spend almost as much time with my kids as I do- and if you know my kids, you know these amazing people deserve some appreciation! Daddy should have realized that even if there wasn’t a tradition of teacher appreciation already in place, there would need to be some kind of recognition for the people who help tame our circus!

This year I thought it would be fun to make some edible arrangements. Every single time that commercial comes on, KK asks me if we can order one of those. I looked once- I was going to surprise her, and when I saw the price, let’s just say that fell off my to-do list. I thought “surely they couldn’t be that hard…”

My little ZooCrew was so excited to open the fridge this morning and see the creations they got to give their teachers! One teacher even emailed me a pic of her enjoying it!

Read the rest of this entry

A pony on the side


Out of my seven kids,  only two are girls and they just so happen to be the oldest and the youngest.  Even though my Blondie is all grown up,  I still remember exactly how it happened….

It was midway through second grade when her hair styles stopped being up to me every day.  She started having special requests such as braided pigtails or low pony tails.  Then right at the start of 3rd grade she figured she could do it all by herself.  I let her,  even when she looked a little bit like a page out of Dr.  Seuss.  I had just had a baby,  and I remember crying at how big she was getting,  and at the same time I was relieved that I could close my eyes for 5 minutes while she wrestled with the comb and detangler.  Read the rest of this entry

Bonus Dad


A few weeks ago, I stole my step-sister’s phrase for “step-mom” and blogged about how wonderful my bonus mom has been to me. It was the 31st anniversary of her wedding to my father, and it seemed only fitting to count the many blessings she has brought to my life. I figured I would have written several posts between that day and today, but as life would have it, things in this zoo got a little crazy. I’ll tell you about all those detours later, because I was saving today for a post about the other unsung hero in my life.

See, step parents just don’t get enough credit. No matter how hard they try, they pretty much get stuck in the shadows. Today, my mom and step-dad are celebrating 26 years of marriage, and I think it’s only fair to remember the many good things he brought into my life. I was slow to let my step-mom into my heart because I didn’t want her taking my dad’s attention away from me. On the flip side, I was slow to accept my step-dad because I didn’t want him to take my dad’s place. The reality is that they were both two people who tried to love and accept three little girls from a different marriage, and in their own way, they both helped us all move forward. Read the rest of this entry

When I Grow Up…


I remember when I was a little kid. Every family gathering included a dozen grown-ups staring at me, saying “what are you gonna be when you grow up?” I don’t really remember when I settled on lawyer, but I do know I went along with that idea because everyone was quick to point out that I was an exceptional arguer. If you said the sky was blue, I’d tell you it wasn’t; and if I got you to agree that it was not blue, I could then support the idea that in fact, it is. I’d argue either side and never run out of supporting notions to ramble on about. The more people said “you’d be a great lawyer someday” the more I thought “yep, that’s what I better do.”

Life has a funny way of changing course. When I got older I decided being a lawyer wasn’t truly my passion, and I know in some ways it broke my mother’s heart, but she got over it. After hearing all the lawyer jokes I’ve heard in my life, I’m kind of glad I’m not the butt of those jokes! As my kids have grown up, I have tried to repeatedly remind myself not to get stuck on any idea of who they might be when they grow up, just in case they decide to change directions too. Read the rest of this entry

Sister Act


A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite. -Elizabeth Fishel

This is our mall button, circa 1992, I think! I still have because I am the pack rat, where as she is the purger!

I was about 14 when I answered the phone. Even though I had never spoken to her before, I knew immediately it was my step-sister on the other line. When she came to visit, I was completely taken aback at how beautiful she was.

Then came the news that she was going to live with us! My first thought: “You expect ME to share MY room?”

My second thought: “Her eyelashes are prettier than mine, this isn’t working for me!”

My third thought: “Wait a minute, she likes the mall, this might be salvageable…”

I was the big sister. I had always been the big sister, and suddenly, there was someone a little older than me in the mix. I think I started out feeling a little threatened, that maybe she would take my place, or out shine me, or force me to give up my pack rat ways, but somewhere in the conversations of that little bedroom, came the start of a beautiful friendship! (Once I got over my eyelash envy.)

This weekend I thought a lot about sisters. I have five of them. Two share the same biological parents and three are technically step-sisters, but I don’t really do that whole “step” thing. When you’re family, you’re family. That’s it, end of story, it doesn’t matter if you came by blood or marriage or if truth-be-told you’re a friend, not really an aunt. Family is based on love, not genetics. It’s the people who are there to support us and give us the foundation to build our journey upon. Plus, my step-sisters have been around all my life. My dad remarried when I was 6 and my mom a few years after that, so I’ve got 30 years invested in these “step-sisters”.

Read the rest of this entry