Am I making this too complicated?
Don't worry about all the technical stuff, having a good eye can be a thousand times more useful. A good exposure means nothing without a good subject. The technical stuff is for people who are interested...if your not, just leave it alone. There are a few tips you could use, ones you would only have to know what they are, and not even understand why they are, that will make your pictures better overall.
The Auto Focus in the Z2 is well worth the price over point&shoot digitals. If your children are between the ages of 1 and 18, the extra zoom will come in handy while the kids are outside playing sports and whatnot. The focus speed is also imporant there, kids don't hold still, no point&shoot on the market will capture kids nearly as well as the Z2 will. Don't be scared of the unkown, or you will never learn.
I had a couple come in to my work tonight, they were trying to decide between 3 point&shoots, and the Z2. The husband definately wanted the Z2, but the wife was scared that it was too complicated for her(she was also scared that the N 2100 was too complicated too...). I tried to explain, but some people don't know when to listen. All you need to know is where the power button is, what the "AUTO" means, and where the shutter button is... Anyway, buy from a reputable dealer, one where you won't have any problems returning it if you decide it is too much of a camera from you. My personal suggestion is to buy local, but thats just me