Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall Beauty

It has been late in coming, but fall is finally here!
The unusually warm weather had in October seriously confused some of my plants.
Yup. That's a hydrangea blosson. My bush usually blooms in late May and early June. This year I am enjoying the flowers again in November!
I have had fun taking photos of all the little beauties of fall.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Aquarium Life

I have always loved aquariums. Maybe it's because Kansas is a looong way from the ocean. Maybe it's because it's a lot easier to actually see marine animals there than in an actual ocean (safer, too). But I think mostly it's because there are so many strange creaturesat aquariums and well, I like weird animals.
Tropical fish and corals are just so beautiful!
Starfish are so much more interesting seen from underneath.
Lionfish - elaborately frilled and venomous.
I think a lot of ocean creatures look like something Dr. Seuss would have drawn.
Sea cucumbers are just...strange.
It's Nemo and his dad!
I have no idea what this unfortunate looking critter is, but he does have some fabulous eyes!

The jellyfish were incredibly beautiful.
And now for my favorite marine animal, the moray eel!
I am aware that no one else is a fan of eels. In fact, most people are repulsed by them.
I know that they are covered in slime and are an ugly shade of bile green. I know they have needle-like teeth and a second set of jaws (all the better to drag their prey into their gullets). I know they shock fish (and people) with their own personal electrical current and eat poisonous critters, which then makes them poisonous. I know they lack fins and scales and have a weird hole in their sides instead of gills. I know that pretty much everything about them is creepy.
But I love them anyway. They're kind of disgusting and completely fascinating - an irresistible combination. I liked this eel so much I had my picture taken with him. Cheese!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gotcha Reunion

Ten years ago (10 years?!!!) on Halloween, baby Yang Guo Dan was handed to me and just like that we were a family.
That was an amazing day!

When we went to China, we traveled with seven other families. All of us were adopting baby girls. All of our babies were from the same orphanage and 7 of the 8 had been born within a month of each other. During that trip, I had prayed that Katherine would be able to stay in contact with at least one of those families. I never dreamed that she would be able to maintain relationships with all seven girls. But she has. We have. We are deeply bonded to the families who were in that room in the Adoption Affairs office in Guangzhou, China that marvelous day. And our daughters share a friendship that began in their earliest days, before any of us knew them.

We have planned reunions every year since we came home, usually in the summer. This past summer we decided that we wanted an extra reunion to commemorate 10 years of familyhood. We chose to meet on November 1st, the anniversary of the day we all had sworn before the officials in China that we would love and raise these babies as our own. That was the day the girls' adoptions became official, truly their Adoption Day.

Six of the families met in Jenks, Oklahoma (a suburb of Tulsa) and went to the Oklahoma Aquarium.
Then we went out for dinner. We had Mexican food - not quite the same sort of meal we shared in China, but there was the same sense of comraderie. I had taken pictures and scrapbooks and everyone spent time poring over them.

We talked and laughed and the younger crowd took selfies.
One of the moms had had a cake made... we posed the girls around it.
Emily, Hannah, Sophie, Brooke, Jada, and Katherine...
typical I-don't-want-to-pose tweens, friends for all of their lives,
and six families' greatest blessings.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat 2014

Tonight was our church's Trunk or Treat party. My girls are always far more excited about this event that they are for actual Halloween trick or treating!

Katherine was a wolf this year. She has been obssessed with those creepy werewolf hands for months.
I miss the days when she was a ladybug or Thomas the Tank Engine...
At least Rachel still wants to be cute. She was an adorable kitty!
Complete with a tail.
Trunk or Treat was full of games...
and food...
...and candy. Lots of candy.
The girls collected their loot.
And helped pass out goodies.
And spent lots of time socializing. Because Trunk or Treat is FUN!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I am not a big fan of the long stemmed cut roses that you see in florist shops. They're okay, but nothing to get worked up about. But the rose bush in my backyard is a completely different story. These roses brighten my day every time I look at them. They change colors as they open, from gold to orange to faded pink. They are glorious!

See why I love these roses?

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way