Monday, August 31, 2009

Chicago-part 1

Well we've got a very busy week starting tomorrow with the first day of school and Will's final adoption court hearing on Wednesday. I thought I'd put up a few images I got from the workshop. One word to sum it up...AWESOME!

We got to photograph professional models which was a first for me...what a treat and what sweethearts they were. Very patient with 10 women in their faces with cameras...

We learned about using off camera flash with pocket wizards, light, exposure compensation, reflectors and using a soft box with a flash. I've got a wish list of things I'd love someday...

Also learned about long exposure times...the below one was shot looking east on the Chicago river with the Tribune Tower and Wrigley building to the left. The bridge you see in the distance is North Michigan Avenue...Chicago's magnificent mile.

More later in the week about Chicago and the fabulous time we all had...the best weekend I've had in a long time meeting up with friends and making new ones. Thank you continue to inspire me to try new things and be a better photographer, I can't say enough about her workshops. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

have you ever said a prayer and it was answered?

6 years ago a 12 month old baby girl was placed in our arms in a hotel room in Nanchang, China. It was a Sunday evening in late August of 2003.

I remember that evening like it was yesterday, I especially recall thinking that she had nothing that was 'hers' really, except for the little maroon and gold outfit she arrived in. But that wasn't true that she didn't have anything...because she already had a mommy and daddy that loved her deeply. We named her Grace Lanli Elizabeth. Lan Li means 'beautiful orchid.'

Every birthday and forever family day we celebrate with Grace is somewhat bittersweet for me.

I can't help but think of her birth mother on those days and what this woman did for Grace by the choices she made...she chose life for her and left her in a place where she could be easily found. Grace was not a newborn but was 3 months old when she was found and I'm certain she was loved and well cared for. I know I'll probably never meet this woman or know her story or her life's circumstances. I can only speculate. I struggle sometimes with the fact that perhaps some one's deepest sadness and loss of giving up a child has been one of my greatest daughter. I hope and pray that somehow her birth mother knows this beautiful little girl that she had is safe, very healthy, happy, incredibly funny, smart and loved.

Happy Forever Family day Grace, our beautiful orchid...which you certainly are in so many ways...we love you dearly!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicago bound...

Tomorrow morning I leave for the windy city for a photography workshop taught by the very talented(and she's a great teacher may I add)...Debbie L. I get to see Debbie, Steffie and Colleen again(we first met at the Michigan workshop in May) and also get to meet Becky and Kerry for the first time and some more folks too. I am more than excited if that's possible...unfortunately Gail has a viral thing going on with a sore throat, aches and mild fever...I've been resting a lot today, drinking hot tea and taking Motrin. I originally planned to leave Thursday but will leave tomorrow if all goes well! Hmmm...wonder if Chicago will ever be the same after this little event...;)

{Have a great weekend...I'll be back next week!}

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, August 23, 2009

they will always be forever friends

8 years ago when we started the process to adopt Grace I'd never dreamed how adoption would affect our family. I think in the early days of waiting for her I thought it was as simple as bringing a child into your home and loving them with all your heart. But adoption is so much more than that. You become this big family...a huge collective family of those who have adopted, been adopted or changed by adoption in some way. We are all trying to support each other, help our children understand their story and birth culture and...and continually spread the word about adoption and what it means to us. For me adoption is also about nurturing the friendship my daughter shares with her friend Julia.

Last week Julia came and spent 3 days with us(she lives 2 hours away).

We first met Julia's parents a month before we traveled to adopt Grace in late August 2003.

They were in our China travel group. Julia and Grace not only have in common that they come from the same SWI and were nursery mates, they share the same birthday...

Julia's mother Michelle and I feel it's important to keep and nurture this special relationship between these 2 girls who are crazy about it each other. Someday we'll return to China and both families plan to go together. Grace sometimes asks me if we'll go back to 'her China,' when she says that she means her city in Jiangxi Province where she was born. William has 'his China' in Fujian Province. We will return to both provinces for a visit.

Grace(on the left) and Julia(on the right, both sweet 2 year olds)... two sisters and best friends . I believe they will be there for each other...forever.

Friday, August 21, 2009

flashback Friday cuteness

I used to do a flashback Friday post pretty regularly and think I'm going to start again for a little while. Join in if you like!
This little bit of cuteness is Miss Grace, these were taken 5 years ago the Summer she was 2!
The below 3 pic collage is her reaction to eating chocolate cake...we were celebrating her re-adoption. Her adoption was finalized in Chicago in August 2004. Will's re-adoption court hearing is coming up in early September.
The Summer has truly flown by for seems like school was just out and we were making plans for all the fun things we were going to do. School starts here on Sept. 1...we've got supplies bought and labeled(we have to do that here) and a new backpack for Grace. Mr. Will isn't sure he wants a new one. Last night I felt the first hint of crispness in the air, reminding me Fall is around the corner...I don't mind 'cause it's my favorite Season. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 17, 2009

fun weekend!

Well the party was a great success...

you can't go wrong with good food, great friends, family and wonderful neighbors..

we had 50 people at the festivities and boy some of them could jump for hours in that Clifford bouncy house!

Even some of the daddies and mommies went in ;)...lots of fun was had by everyone it seems and the weather cooperated beautifully. The bouncy house was delivered Friday and left Sunday afternoon so these 2 have slept REALLY well! Grace and William were a little sad when it left...I can't blame them. ;)

Friday, August 14, 2009


{Checklist for tomorrow's celebration for Grace's bday and Will's 1 year home with us}
  • Bounce house-will be delivered tonight.
  • Balloons and party decorations up.
  • Food ready-pretty much.
  • 2 gorgeous cakes-specially made by our dear friend Carla.
  • House clean and picked's as good as it gets!
  • Great weather forecast-whoo hoo!
  • Getting together with wonderful friends and family.
  • 2 very excited kids!
  • And a good time to be had by all !(pics to come soon...)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer days and evenings

So as I look at the calendar I realize that 3 weeks from today school starts for us! The Summer has flown by. Today I register these 2 for school....

Now that every one's finally healthy here...

We've been outside finding bugs especially grasshoppers, and catching toads (he was released shortly after this was taken). They named him 'Toadie.'

Playing with our cat Jack...doesn't he look pleased in this pic? ;)
Hanging out, sliding and just being plain old silly....

The other night we were out at sunset and I captured this one of Grace. We are enjoying our last few weeks of Summer and hope you are too!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Birthday and our week...

These were all taken last evening as we celebrated Grace's birthday.
My kids have been sick this week with the cocksackie virus(aka hand, foot and mouth disease). I always thought that term sounded not so's a nasty little virus that causes painful mouth sores (they didn't get them anywhere else fortunately)and a fever. William had it much worse than Grace but they are finally doing better...he was truly miserable. The above pic is Mr. Will eating what he's had most of the week...popsicles. They sure do help sore throats to feel better...

Grace celebrated in style with a family party. The gift that was at the top of her wish list was an American Girl doll called Kit...she was thrilled when she opened it. She also got some accessories, a little desk and scooter for Kit and the 'must have' in my book...a doll wardrobe to hold all the clothes and teeny tiny things that I seem to step on in her room! In a little over a week we'll celebrate her special day again with a big party with friends, more family and our wonderful neighbors...she can't wait! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Lovely...never, every change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it?
'cause I love you...

Lately I've been thinking about time...mostly how fast it goes and how I'd like it to stop. now. at least for a little while. Grace is 7 today. The years have flown by at breakneck speed and my baby girl will soon be a first grader. I want to remember these days always...her beautiful smile, sweet voice, laugh and every little nuance of her personality. This has been a year of great change and growth for Grace with the arrival of William and starting Kindergarten. She's met all the changes in her life head on and I'm so proud of her! My wish is that this day and year is everything she hopes for!

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

(pics to follow tomorrow of her day)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

what's new around here?

I feel a little guilty because this Summer I've neglected some of the blogs that I read...and I'm going to try to be better about that. These 2 images are of Grace and her friend Lydia. Lydia's mom asked me to take some of the 2 girls together. They both had so much fun playing and dancing around in the pettiskirts.

They are such girly-girls.

My new best friend below.

What's new around here in my the camera and lens that my extremely generous and thoughtful husband gave me for my bday last week. To say I was surprised was an understatement. I'm ELATED!!!! It's a Nikon d700 and boy do I have a lot to learn about him.(I call it a 'he' for some reason.) He's up and running as of last night and I've taken a few test shots...all I can say is wow! This photography hobby seems to be taking off into a little business now as of last weekend with me having a photo shoot with 2 sisters. I've got a few other people scheduled for photos too. It's very different photographing children that aren't your own... I have lots to learn but am game for it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

water dance

Probably some of my very favorite images and most of these will be framed. She loved the water. :)

© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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