Saturday, May 22, 2010

For gaga...

When my mom's out of town, you all get to see photos of her grandbabies. Lucky you!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


May 15, 2007 is a day forever seared in my memory, for it is the day that a baby girl named Thao Van became our Reagan. That hot, sticky Tuesday morning in a remote town on the South China Sea, we gathered with two other families in a Vietnamese government building to pledge to love and care for the children that had been entrusted to us. The ceremony itself was not remarkable, but it was the culmination of almost two years of praying, paper-chasing, hoping, waiting, and loving a girl we did not yet know. By God's grace, she seemed accepting of us, if not yet thrilled about the idea of leaving everything she had ever known. That first afternoon back in our hotel room she actually smiled and giggled with me in front of the mirror - something attachment experts said might be months in coming. The only hint of the spunky personality that would later emerge was when we tried to bathe her. She'd never seen a bathtub and wasn't too excited about the idea. She quickly calmed down though and even let me cut those few long tufts of hair that had formed a ring around her head, making her look a bit like a little old man. I'd been waiting for months to get my scissors on those! Perhaps if I had known we'd be eating dinner with all of her nannies I would have held off for another day. Even with the language barrier I could tell that they all immediately noticed and were laughing and discussing it among themselves! Throughout that meal they all loved on Reagan a little more, and her primary care-giver, Luc, who had been so reluctant to place her in my arms earlier in the day, seemed like a changed woman. She kept Reagan close, but I actually saw her smile and laugh, and at the end say good-bye in a way that assured me she would be okay and maybe find a way to be happy for the new family we had become.

I look back now at photos of that day, and wonder at the way God chose that baby, in that town, at that time, to be our daughter. Only He knew that behind that content exterior would be a little girl of equal parts sweetness and independence, with a little fire thrown in for fun. It is still such an adventure watching her personality unfold, because it is, in so many ways, a mystery. I know what many of Alyssa's personal quirks will look like in 25 years because she is me. I have an idea of how Parker will mature because he is his daddy. Reagan is just her own little person, and both enjoying and molding her into the lady she will become is one of God's most amazing gifts. Happy Gotcha Day baby!

Monday, May 10, 2010

God created places like THIS

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

Photographs just can't capture the incredible beauty that God created in the Yosemite valley. But that didn't stop me from trying. 400 pictures and two weeks later, and I've been stuck in a black hole full of images waiting to be edited, and frankly - mostly deleted. Next time I'll leave the scenic shots to Ansel and concentrate my lens my favorite subjects and their very handsome Daddy.
Photographic frustrations aside, we had a wonderful time and actually survived two nights in tents. (Or rather, "tents." According to my SIL, Emily, who actually does camp, it doesn't count if there's furniture involved. I say, if the sides are vinyl and you have to lock all your snacks in a bear locker, it's camping. Especially if said bear pays a little midnight visit and leaves the remnants of his last meal outside your "door.")
The kids were troopers and excellent little hikers, though the littlest definitely preferred her backpack. God provided a three-day window of gorgeous weather between snow storms, and the waterfalls were naturally amazing. Danny enjoyed it so much that his list of must-see national parks is growing exponentially.
So what are your favorites? What should we see next?

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Last night, Daddy and the kids trekked way out into the wilderness of our backyard for a camping expedition - tent, smores and all. Much to my surprise, they actually stayed there! Unlike such adventures of my youth, where the fun was in the setting up, and sleeping outdoors (even in the front yard) was much too terrifying, all four of the bunch slept rather soundly until 7:30 a.m. Mama didn't join in on the excitement, except to broiler-roast and deliver the treats, play the role of photographer, and then settle into her own bed with a good book. Happy Mother's Day to me!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A whole new head of hair

So I've never really been the kind of girl that requires a lot of professional grooming. The only manicure I've ever had was for my wedding. Pedicures only happen a few times a summer, and only when I've received a gift card. I've never had a facial or had anything waxed. My hair was professionally cut in 2nd grade (when I somehow thought it would be a good idea to lop off my beautiful locks in favor of something resembling a small salad bowl), and then not again until I think my junior year in college.
Fortunately for me, my sister decided cosmetology was the road for her and Sarah has since become a talented hair stylist. Unfortunately for her, I'm a terrible client. I love the way she cuts my hair. I love the color. I usually just show up, relax, and allow myself to be surprised at the result. However, no matter how beautifully it turns out, more often than not my hair ends up in a bun or pony. Especially in the summer when I'm in and out of the pool on at least a daily basis. It's not that I don't like to wear it down - I do (and so does Danny!). It's the time involved that gets me. My hair has just enough curl that I have to dry it completely in order eradicate all frizz. And that can take 20 minutes or more. Vanity often takes a back seat to more exciting things like laundry and school.
However, my ears picked up when Sarah started talking about the Brazilian blow-out. It's a new-ish straightening treatment that infuses hair with keratin, actually making it healthier and banishing frizz for about 6 months. Danny eventually talked me into imposing on my sister's time and expertise, and I have no problem admitting now that he was right! My hair doesn't look much different - it just looks like I've done it! My hair is as soft and straight with a 5 minute blow-dry, or even an air dry, as it previously had been only after a third of an hour under a hot dryer. I feel like a new woman! I can have pretty hair and get to church on time =). Here's what my hair would normally look like on a hot, hurried summer morning:

Here's that same head of hair after I let it air dry a little and then spent 4 minutes with my dryer (a minute or two more and I probably could have managed to get it to curl under):

Isn't my sister wonderful?! If you live around here and fallen into a ponytail rut, go see her and you too can have new hair and oodles of extra time. Thanks Sasa!