Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Havensong LOVES Beyblades!

    This was Havensong's first Christmas home. She loved it. She had a nonstop supply of treats and nonstop hustle and bustle. She thought it was so much fun and I loved seeing her enjoy it all. We had my niece Brittany and her family visiting from California. Her baby, Liam is ADORABLE. It was so nice having them here with us.

 Brittany made us yummy Indian food. It was so good we are still talking about it. In fact, right now at 12:18 in the morning.... I am wishing I had some. Especially some NAAN!
             I think my favorite moment was how thrilled Havensong was over the Beyblades we gave Chase. They were a big hit. The adults spent HOURS playing with them. I thought Havensong's face was going to crack in half she was smiling so big watching them!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Singing At Our Wedding

          We had a great time celebrating our 20th Year Anniversary. It's a huge milestone and deserves to be treated as so. We had a great week on Orcas Island, and finished it up with a lovely night out for dinner tonight. We went to The Fork restaurant at Agate Bay. It was perfect.

 Afterward we drove to the mall and (Alison, brace yourself) Scott made us DOUGH CONES to eat while sitting in the parking lot! After our wedding we went to the Mall and had dough cones and shopped before we did anything else! So Scott thought it would be a great way to relive that moment. We then took our dough cones into Wood's Coffee. The barista was amazed when she realized what we were eating. I reminded Scott that everyone is always envious of anyone eating a dough cone. :) I think Tayler should serve them at her wedding. They are a true staple in this family!

      Scott and I exchanged gifts. I adore Beatrix Potter.  He gave me her complete library. I read him my favorite story, The Tale Of Two Bad Mice while we sat there, eating our dough cones and drinking our coffee.It's about two little mice who sneak into a doll house while the dolls are out for the day. Oh how I laugh when they get so angry over the little fake ham and try to burn it up in the red crinkle paper fireplace. I spent hours reading these stories to Tayler when she was a baby. For Scott, I gave him twenty little gifts. One for each year with a note attached on each gift telling him why I fell in love with him. One reason I fell for him was his great voice. I had the cassette of us singing at our wedding transferred to a CD for him. When I picked up the finished product from Current Media, the guy at the counter said, "This song is so cheesy but so awesome." I agree it is dated, but I got teary eyed  when I listened to it. It brought back so many memories. Scott and I sang this song in the car while we drove all around Phoenix. Yes, I cringe at parts, but who cares about going flat?! We were young and in love and singing for our wedding day! ( I need to send out a big thanks to Beau for getting the audio file on my blog.)

          We aren't done celebrating yet. In August we are going to Ireland and Scotland to watch Beau compete at the World Championships with the RMM Pipe Band. I know that will be so memorable. I can't wait to trot all over the UK with Scott!

           It has been a wonderful, difficult, rewarding, beautiful, challenging, amazing two decades. We have learned so much. We have grown so much. I feel marriage reflects a picture of God's steadfast Love for us. Scott and I were talking tonight at dinner about this. What is most wonderful about God? Too numerous to list...but I am thankful for His unending, steadfast love. It's that anchor that holds us in the midst of crashing waves. That anchor is the only thing keeping us from hurtling face first into the frigid waters. The romantic emotional part of marriage will eventually turn to steadfast love. It's comforting, lasting and true.

True...I love that word.

And now we march to twenty-one.

And I am too tired to edit this post. I have to crawl into bed. Forgive me for any typos...gnite.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mountain Lake

           Today was our day to hike around the lake. Scott got up first and made a great breakfast for us and then we got ready to head out. I decided to wear my long underwear for the hike even though Scott told me I would be way too hot. I thanked him for the compliment but insisted. I so disliked being cold and the thought of being far from the car and shivering was just too much. So, I wore a tank top, long underwear, knit pants, a sweatshirt, my ear muffs and my jacket. I came downstairs and waited for him to get ready. In about forty-five seconds I was suffocating so I threw open the door of the living room so I could get some cool air on me. He told me again, "YOU WILL BE TOO HOT." I just looked at him and shook my head no.

        We arrived at the lake and started up the trail. I felt just right. We went up the first hill and I started to feel a tiny bit warm. We went up the second hill and I was asking myself how I was going to go four more miles like this. We finished the third hill and I was taking my shirts off and tossing them to Scott. He was now the one shaking his head. He was nice though and tied my long underwear around his waist so I wouldn't have to carry it.

      The woods were beautiful. The different layers of green looked more like a storybook than real life. The fresh air felt energizing and again we seemed to be the only people for miles around.
     We decided to take a little break on the edge of a cliff and have a snack. Scott brought cheese, crackers and almonds. The clouds were hanging low above us but by the time we were done eating the sun had broken through and we sat there happily soaking up the warmth. Well that is until we heard an animal bounding towards us at full speed. I screamed as a huge dog stopped right behind us, his breath on our necks. A dog isn't so scary, but when you feel as if you are alone in the woods the last thing that registers in your mind is a dog because dogs are usually with people. I was thinking mountain lion. Honestly, I am thankful I didn't jump right off of the cliff. We went from quiet and calm to me hollering my head off in a split second. A few seconds later a lady came bee bopping down the trail with headphones in hers ears and calls the dog. "WELL, HE IS SORT OF ON A LEASH!" she yelled. That ended our little picnic lunch. Scott dusted off the cheese that went flying, popped it in his mouth and back to the trail we went.

             After we finished our hike we drove to the top of Mt. Constitution. On our way up we saw this adorable little tree in the middle of a lake, covered in ice. It looked so out of place that I gasped when I saw it. Little did I know it was a small warning of how cold it would be just a few miles up the road,

            The view at the top of the mountain was breathtaking. We climbed to the top of the steps and took in the view. It was so wonderful. But it was so cold. Like can't move your fingers cold. Like can't crack a smile cold. We stayed there as long as we could and then ran back to the car and drove down the mountain. It was a great day.

                        We ended it at the local tavern as the only customers there, split a burger and played pool. This has been a perfect getaway. I so miss the kids and am looking forward to the rest of the Christmas season, but Orcas Island has been very refreshing. I have had fun just hanging out with Scott. We've had a lot of laughs and have made great memories.

 Scott noticed this little message on a log as we were hiking. I think it was put there for us. To honor our twenty years together. It's been work, but I am reminded of something a lady told me not long ago. She was in a wheelchair in a nursing home. Her husband had passed but they had been married for over sixty years. She looked me straight in the eye and said two times in a row with complete assurance in her voice,
"Marriage is hard, but it is good."

Happy Anniversary Scott. Here's to Everafter...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Orcas Island Anniversary!

We began our Anniversary trip on Monday by catching the Anacortes Ferry to Orcas Island. We enjoyed the views of the islands and each other's company very much. I adore my children, but it was nice having a full conversation without interruption. I mainly talked about the kids, but that is beside the point. Here is our first picture of the trip. Look at excited to relax!
 (Please ignore the fact that I look exactly like my mother in this picture...not that that's a bad thing.)

 We are staying at North Shore Cottages on Orcas Island .
It is so beautiful and serene here. Our cottage is called Blue Heron and is set in the woods overlooking the ocean. It feels like a house you would find in the Hobbit or a Disney tale. There is a spiral staircase, geometric windows all in stained glass, swirls of lights in the ceiling and carved woodwork at every turn.

    The first day we walked around the shops in town and admired the views. We then decided to eat dinner at Mai Lan's Cafe. Mai Lan rents a kitchen in the basement of Oddfellow Hall twice a week.  She came to the United States in the 70's and has raised her five kids on the island. She is a FABULOUS cook. She was so sweet and had quite the personality. She said there were a few adopted girls from China on the Island who came in frequently. They think she is"Mulan" all grown up.( She seemed to think that was great fun and even showed us her warrior "moves.")  I can honestly say, she made the best chicken teriyaki I have ever tasted. The chicken was so tender, it almost didn't  seem like it could really BE chicken. Everything about it was so wonderful. She sent us home with free egg rolls in honor of our anniversary. They also were the best I had ever tasted. I kept telling Scott to hurry and eat more or I would eat them all. We will definitely go back there to eat when we return. The county won't let her post a sign, so she keeps it on her car at the end of the road. Hey, it worked for us!

    Today we drove all over the island and looked at the sights. We walked around Rosario Mansion and went to Moran State Park. We have decided to camp there with the kids next summer. We went into an art gallery in Olga and drove to Doe Bay. We ended up at the local tavern to split a  burger and play pool. I had never played a full game of pool in my life. I felt like an idiot trying to hold the stick, but I managed to beat Scott by accident. He took a video of my most amazing shot.... 

Overall, it was just a good time.

 The funny thing to me throughout the day, is we were the only people in every establishment! It felt like all of the shop owners and waitresses were open and waiting for us to enter the door. It almost felt eery. There are Christmas decorations and music, but no other people!

Maybe Scott rented out the town just for us?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Favorite: A Fine Frenzy

        Alison Sudol is the leader of A Fine Frenzy. It is currently the music I play while I drive, walk and write. Her lyrics are so whimsical and pretty. She introduced herself to the world in 2007 with her album One Cell In The Sea. It was met with rave reviews and established her as one of the most talented songwriters and singers around. Her band name reflects her love of literature, as it was taken from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Well, no wonder I love her music....she is  inspired by such beautiful words. Her Album, Bomb In A Birdcage highlighted her upbeat style and was also a big success. Her songs make you stop what you are doing so you can hear what she is saying. The melodies are lilting and lovely. I am excited to hear her new album coming out in the Spring. Here is a song from her Christmas album, Oh Blue Christmas.

I think she only has one official video, and here it is...

I love her song called, makes me well up with tears at the most inopportune times...(treadmill)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Worm Niche

      In science we are studying different ecosystems. We are currently learning about the layers of the forest and all of the animals and plants that make their homes there. On the forest floor you will find worms in abundance. Well, that is what the book told us. Our mission for the day was to make a worm niche. We were going to recreate a worm habitat. It sounded easy enough.We gathered our jars and oatmeal and went outside to hunt for worms. I was dreading it a little bit, but I kept reminding myself that I was the same little girl who once dug for worms and put them on hooks for fishing. What was the matter with me? It was no big deal.

     Autumn and Chase grabbed the shovels and started digging in a dark patch of soil. Nothing. Where were they?? Napping? Did they hear us coming and scatter? I took the shovel and dug about three feet down. Nothing. It was a little, dirty, worm ghost town. I could see this science experiment quickly going south, like all of the others. The kids were getting discouraged and moral was slipping fast. The baby was even digging, but she too struck out.

"OK!" I yelled, "Let's go over by the garden. Surely that is where worms hang out."

    The soil was rich, dark, and worm free. Nothing. We had now been at it for an hour. I recalled SELLING worms to fishermen when I was a girl, and I knew I never worked this hard. What was I doing wrong and why weren't there any worm hunting tips in that book we had just read? I told the kids to get in the van. We were going to Dave's Sporting goods to BUY some worms for our niche. It would cost money yes. but we would save a few earthworms from a certain death and for that, I told them, it was worth it.

     We walked into the store and asked the lady at the counter if we could buy some worms. She pointed to the refrigerator. I told her about our bad luck but she didn't seem to care in the least. She even looked at me like I was mildly annoying her. After she charged us, she suddenly became a wealth of information. She said,

   "What you want to do, is turn on the sprinkler about an hour before you go out. The worms will all come to the top and you just scoop em up by the shovel fulls."

Autumn looked at me and said,

 "She tells us that after we just paid? Wouldn't that have been helpful information about ten minutes ago?"

     It didn't matter. We went home and made our worm niches. We layered rocks and oatmeal and dirt in the jars.These would be the happiest worms in Whatcom County. We were to watch them daily and sketch the changes.

      Over the next few days we checked on our worms. They chose to stay in the direct center of the jars. We never saw them. After a few days a slight film of mold appeared on the top of the dirt. I grabbed the jars, marched out to the garden, dug a little hole and dumped the worms in. They were on their own now. We gave them a second chance, and what they did with their new lives was up to them. We were on to other things, like making our own water cycle. No live animals involved.

   A few days later we were up in Canada watching Beau with the RMM pipe band. It was rainy and cold. Autumn pointed at a pile of worms wriggling on the ground and smiled at me. She pursed her lips and just shook her head.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


      Yesterday was a brutal day of homeschooling. It was the kind of day when I send SOS texts to Scott from the kitchen table while I am teaching. He sends me messages back telling me how great I am and keep at it, and those kids are so BLESSED to have me and promises back rubs later in the day. I tell him they are trying to overthrow me and to please start teaching them Math. He always says yes but it's always me with the flash cards the next day. Still, he's a smart man and knows to not tip my scale in those crucial moments.  Most days are not this way. I love teaching those little cherubs and usually things really click. We read great books and go from subject to subject happily. They sharpen their colored pencils and create fabulous notebook pages and shade in rivers and oceans on their maps. They sketch in their nature books and write beautiful poetry. They clap out their helping verb chants and practice their spelling words together and I beam with happiness. Sometimes I have to drag them away from the book basket because they are so interested in the material.


I had to drag them TO the table and they were glaring at each other and mouthing angry things each time I bent my head to read. It got so out of hand, I even recall telling them all of the amazing things I could be doing if not for educating them all day and to please be a little more grateful. No, I am not proud of that but you can't unsay words. It obviously didn't work because they complained about each thing we did and had full on tears during math. I sat there gripping the edge of the table as I read about conjunctions. I love English, so I get irritated when they fight through the whole way through it. I said through gritted teeth,

" A conjunction is a word that joins two words together. As in, Autumn AND Chase need to zip it."

      We finally made it to Geography and Science. This is when things usually lighten up. They really enjoy these two subjects because they tell me it's so much fun it doesn't feel like work. I admit, I also enjoy these subjects. We are studying North America at the moment so I asked them to please get out their maps.

I leaned down and looked Chase in the eye, my nose touching his and said so calmly and so lovingly, "I am going to use the restroom. I would like you two to behave for the two minutes I am gone from this table."

 He replied very seriously, "You should do that Mom. And we will not fight."

 I was gone no more than thirty seconds when I heard Chase screaming and wailing. Now, when that happens I usually also hear the offending party spurting out apologies and convincing the victim to reconsider tattling. This time however, I heard Autumn laughing her head off. Hard. I opened the door to Chase standing there with a tooth his hand and a napkin in his mouth, which made it very hard to understand his words. Behind him, was his sister bent over busting a gut, with a ruler in her hand.

"What happened?!" I asked, trying to decide who to deal with first.

Autumn dried her tears and sweetly said, "Well, Chase asked me if he could borrow my ruler (LAUGH) so I tossed it to him across the table. ( "THREW!" Chase corrected.) He missed my throw and it hit him in the face. (CACKLE)  He yelled, 'YOU KNOCKED MY TOOTH OUT!' I felt really bad Mom, but then he spit and his tooth went flying across the room!! I heard a teensy...... "ting!" when it hit the floor! (opened mouth LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH)

  I looked at Autumn sternly but I couldn't say a word because I was two seconds from laughing. I know it wasn't nice of her to throw the ruler and it needed to be dealt with, but I was thrown off by their opposite demeanor. Chase was in hysterics, and she was laughing so hard that nothing I said could sway her at that moment. I bent down and looked at Chase's tooth and said, "Well, there is only one explanation..."

Chase got really serious and asked, "What?"

"Autumn is working directly for the Tooth Fairy," I said.

He started to smile and he looked at her and said, "Do you think you could knock out another one?"


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birthday Girl

  Today is our baby's birthday. I was so busy getting ready for her party today that I felt sad I wasn't spending enough time just cuddling her. But each time she walked by me I tried to take an extra second and really look at her. Or kiss her. She is turning into a little girl before my very eyes. When my children have a birthday, I always go over their birth story in my mind. I replay it and remember it fondly and teary-eyed. For the first time, I couldn't do that. I was a bit surprised when nothing came to mind when I tried to think back to Havensong's birth. And that is only because my body doesn't really know that she didn't come from me, so it shocks me that I can't remember. I wanted to know her beginning so badly today...but trying to recall her story was like trying to describe a color I had never seen before, or like trying to find a place I had only visited in my dreams. So close, yet a million miles away.

           The party was starting soon but I wanted a moment to myself. I closed my eyes and tried to force her little history to my mind. I couldn't do it. It almost hurts. I don't want to make some story up in my mind that isn't true, but I need to picture something. Having nothing to go on is harder than I ever knew it would be. It's just that there are so many possibilities... so many questions....the only thing I did know, is that baby who was wrapped in a blanket and placed under that street light was now running through our home, carrying the kitten upside down, sippy cup in hand, piggy tails in place, and turning two. And her guests would be arriving soon and celebrating her day.

I decided to focus on what I did know.... I knew she was our daughter. I knew she had a family who adored her every move. I knew her siblings thought she hung the moon. I knew her dad was wrapped around her little finger. I knew I loved her more than I could ever express.

So, I tucked her birth mother back in my heart and went on with my day. I didn't know if she was thinking of our daughter. I hoped she was....and I hoped she wasn't....the thought of her hurting was hard on me. When I went upstairs and picked up that sweet girl I gave her a very soft kiss on each cheek from two people on the other side of the world. And one on her perfect little mouth from me. Okay more than one.
 And I know one more thing...she loves shoes. I can't believe how well she manages those heels all the while feeding her baby a bottle. That's pure talent right there....
                                           Happy Birthday Havensong...we love you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Favorite: Asian Bistro and chopsticks!

Asian Bistro is my favorite place to eat. It is owned by Wilson and Nancy, a mother and son team. The food tastes fresh and flavorful! My favorite is the Thai have to try it. The owners are so sweet and they know ALL of their customers names by memory. Ok, they struggle with Havensong's name, but so do a lot of people.

     We went there today to celebrate our re adoption. We went before a judge today at the courthouse and filed for citizenship and a Washington State birth certificate for our baby girl. After the judge finished asking us all to swear to take the very best care of Havensong and love her forever she raised her hands and yelled out a cheer. She has quite the little personality on her. After the court session we went into a party room with all of the other families with adopted children. It was a beautiful sight seeing children from all over the globe with their new families.

     We had lunch at Asian Bistro and Wilson and Nancy were so happy for us. They have been part of our adoption process for six years. We have celebrated every adoption milestone at their restaurant.  Today we found out that Nancy was born in the same province as Havensong so we took a picture of them. Also it was Havensong's first try at chopsticks. She did fabulous! Except she left a lot of rice on the floor. Wilson patted my shoulder and said, "No worries, I am a professional."

    They are located in Ferndale off of Main street. If you are in Whatcom County try it out and tell them we said "Hello."

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Small Thank You

         I feel really blessed for all of the pockets of time I get to spend with each of our kids. As hard as it is at times to  be so busy, it does create a lot of good memories. Today Beau was piping at a Remembrance Day service in Coquitlam B.C. It's always effort getting everything together and out the door. And I often get lost while I am driving around Canada. I am getting better, but it is still tricky for me. Autumn decided to go up with us to keep me company while Beau was marching. We made it up there without any problems and even a few minutes to spare.

           I have never been a part of a Remembrance Day ceremony. This day is observed on November 11th in Canada and other countries to recall the official end of WWI on this day in 1918. Hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11 day of the 11th month with the German signing of the Armistice. The atmosphere felt much like our ceremonies at home. It was very moving and heartfelt. I saw tears as the band played Amazing Grace. I saw reverence during the prayers. As the decorated war veterans walked past, the applause lasted a long time. I got choked up as they sang "O Canada" and "God Save The Queen." I felt proud to be a part of it. A lady next to me asked me if I was from the states. (I think I may have had my poppy on incorrectly, or maybe it was my messing up the lyrics to the songs.) I told her I was. She said she was surprised I was there because our country had our own day honoring Veterans and she heard we are were dedicated and patriotic about those kinds of things. I told her I felt just as patriotic standing there on Canadian soil. The war heroes walking past me, and the fallen heroes we were remembering were equally important, no matter what colors they wore or which country they stood for. I was glad to be a part of it.
Besides, my son's pipe band is Canadian, and so we are connected in a special way.
I would like to say Thank You to our Veterans on this day. I think of my Dad who served during the Vietnam War and Scott's Dad who is a retired officer from the United States Air Force. I think of my husband and his eight years of service in the Air Force, including two years in South Korea. He knows full well the sacrifice involved and I always watch his face as our flag passes by him because I can see the pride in his eyes, and in the way his head is always slightly bent in respect. I think of the countless men and women who gave all they had for our freedom. I think of the families who show their endless love and support. I think of those who are gone, but won't be forgotten.

 I feel honored to be able to show my gratitude in this smallest of ways for your indescribable sacrifice.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friday Favorite: Clinton James Photography

Tayler and Kyle had their engagement pictures taken. They turned out so beautiful. I think Clinton did a fabulous job of catching their personalities and their charm. I cannot WAIT to see what he does with the wedding pictures. Here is the link to her wedding blog:
They are having a Vintage theme... I loved it from the beginning but couldn't quite figure out why I adored it so much.

It reminded me of something lovely but I couldn't pinpoint it. So nostalgic, so pretty.

Then it hit me....Tayler looks like both of my Grandmothers in their Glory Days. The dresses, the hair-do, the car...As a girl I would stand on my tiptoes and look at the pictures on their dressers, wondering why women didn't look that way anymore. It was as if the average housewife had just stepped out of the silver screen. They looked so classy and feminine in their tailored tea dresses and heels. Girls these days do not appreciate this type of beauty...they show too much, and look older than their years.
But my girl has a natural gift for glamour gone by....
 And she grabs your attention with her eyes, her smile, her grace.

I thought Clinton James was my Friday Favorite, but I guess it's really Tayler...