Friday, July 30, 2010

birthday and beach days

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Today is my Happy Birthday to me. :)
It wasn't my best year and it wasn't my worst.
Thankfully we all get to start over again with each new day and year that goes by.
I believe the coming year will be a good one and I'm excited to see what it brings!
And who knows, maybe there will be a few surprises along the way.

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On a very different note, the 4 of us leave for a vacation to Mexico in 2 days!
My two will be on the beach with their pails and shovels,
and of course playing and swimming in the water. There's just something about spending a week in abundant sunshine and listening to the the sound of the ocean that takes all stress away.
Dan and I are looking forward to views of the turquoise blue Caribbean
 with a refreshing beverage in hand.
It will be wonderful to have some time away with our family.
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These were taken almost exactly a year ago in Mexico. Grace has changed so much in a year. Will too.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ China on my mind

You know, China is always with me...and in my thoughts often.
 Right now I'm reminded of it because this is the time of year we traveled for both of our adoptions.
We were there in very late August - early Sept. of 2003 and late July of 2008.
 For Black and White Wednesday,
 I decided to choose pictures from both trips and write some of my impressions
about this country that means so much to me.

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Summers are hot and extremely humid.
Grace was born in Jiangxi Province and it's known as 'the oven of China.'
I couldn't agree more. :)

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China's culture is one of old ways intersecting with modern or new ways.
Cities with so many cars, trucks, bikes, motorcycles and buses all traveling somewhere.
And crazy drivers.
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(Pudong District skyline on Huangpu River in Shanghai)

It is huge modern cities, like Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou with so much new construction and cranes building high rise buildings.
It is opulent wealth and abject poverty.

(Boats on the Yangtze River)
China 4

It is the famous Yellow and Yangtze Rivers.
It is a countryside so beautiful and lush with mountains like
I've never seen anywhere.

(Tengwang Pavillion, Nanchang)
China 2
It is tea and it's beautiful ceremony.
It is delicious food and some exotic,
unusual delicacies that I was a little afraid to try.
(Though my husband did)

China 10
(Green walkway to pagoda in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province)

It is noisy, congested streets,
and the serenity and peace of a nearby temple or one of it's beautiful parks.
It is colorful art and clothing, beautiful music and architecture.
It is the color of red...and it's everywhere.

China 11

It is an old pagoda next to a new skyscraper.

China 9

It is bikes...many bikes.
China 3

It is shopping and stores,
many Western ones like Walmart and others.
It is huge signs and advertising everywhere.
It is bartering to buy something wonderful.

(Fuzhou City, Fujian Province)
China 8

It is the lion,
the dragon and the phoenix.
It is Buddha.

China 7
It is many, many people.
It is family... Moms and Dads with children, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers and Sisters.
It is minimal personal space when you are out in a bus or public place.
Sometimes people stare because they are curious about where you are from.

China 6

It is thousands of years of history and tradition colliding
 with a new China wanting to be accepted and part of this world.

(Shamian Island, Guangzhou)
China 5

And finally this rich,
vibrant country of China is the birth place of my two youngest children.
I thank God and China every day for this gift.
 One I can never repay other than to honor their birth place and people.
I tell my children I'm Chinese too, because my heart is.

And I can't wait to return someday.

the long road

It's Wednesday, so hop on over to The Long Road to China to see many more black and white pictures...

Sunday, July 25, 2010


'If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.' ~ Frank Lane

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sunflwrs 2-2

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I love the above quote because it speaks to me personally on many levels, especially in the past year.
I can also relate it to our recent storms and rain this Summer. Thankfully today has been sunny and beautiful.
I took these today at one of the community gardens in Madison.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ 2 years!

'With love and patience, nothing is impossible.' ~  Daisaku Ikeda

will 2yr portrait WM

'All things grow with love.' ~ unknown

will 2yr portrait blw WM

William Michael Yousheng has been with us as a family now for exactly 2 years.
In a way, it feels like he's always been with us.
Two years is such a short time looking backwards, but for him it's half a lifetime.
We have watched Will grow and change a lot over the past couple of years. Thanks to quite a few people along the way... Mike and Deena and many others at the Hidden Treasures Foster Home in Fujian Province, our pediatrician, his surgeon, his teacher Carrie, his OT, Speech Therapist Betsy, and supportive friends and loving family...Will is a wonderful little boy.
He is happy, inquisitive, creative, funny and sweet.  Children are always a delight but 'fun' children are extra special.
We have been blessed with fun children. Oh, there will be the occasional challenging moment now and has it's trials and tribulations after all.
Will has brought a new light (and sound) into our lives. He dances to his own music  (literally and figuratively) and sees the world in his own way. Will thinks deeply and asks great questions. I'm looking forward to watching him grow and mature. The only constant is change.

As I was finishing this post on the computer, Will stopped to say good night to me before Dan took him upstairs to bed. He said, 'I love you  Mommy' and gave me one of those big hugs that he's known for, the kind that touch your heart. I replied, 'William, I love YOU and thank you for being my son.'
What a gift this lovely little boy is to our family.

the long road

Please go over to Lisa's blog, The Long Road to China to see many more black and whites.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday snapshot ~ a boy's life

will bkyrd 1 WM
William (age 4 and a half) is all boy.
Yes, I know I've mentioned that many times on my blog
and that hasn't changed one little bit.

(Can you see the dirt on his right forearm?)

will bkyrd 2 WM

He loves to play and pretty much anything becomes a toy,
whether it's a tree (to climb) or a stick to play with. Or balance on his head.
He has a vivid imagination...

will bkyrd 4 WM

If he's not playing, he's thinking of what he wants to do next.
Will has 2 speeds...on and off...loud and louder...silly or asleep.
He has a fondness right now for drawing Batman with sidewalk chalk
on our driveway and up and down our neighbor's sidewalks.
And he can write 'Batman' and 'Robin' all by himself now.

will bkyrd 3 WM
He's a happy little guy and we love him to pieces!

will bkyrd 5 WM
The above pictures were taken in Will's big brother Nick's backyard.
 Nick was out of town and Will and I went over to his house to feed his cat(named Blue).
It was so great for Will and I to have some alone time together.

Ni Hao Y'all

Please check out Ni Hao Y'all for more Sunday Snapshot pics!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ my children

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'Play is the work of children.' ~ unknown
playground 2

'Stay a child while you can be a child.' ~ Stephen Sondheim

playground 3

'I choose to be I am!' ~ unknown

playground 4
' To love a child is to receive a glimpse of heaven. ' ~ unknown

playground 5

' The wildest colts make the best horses. ' ~ Plutarch

playground 6

' When I grow up I want to be a little boy. ' ~ Joseph Heller

playground 7
I never tire of watching them fact my favorite pictures are these and one's similar where they're in the present and thoroughly enjoying the moment. And while they are playing, if I'm not playing with them...I'm watching them and I become ages 7 and 4 all over again.

the long road
Happy Wednesday! I hope this week has been good to you.
Hop on over to Lisa's blog at The Long Road to China to see many more black and whites. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summertime and the livin' is easy~

These lazy days of Summer have been awfully nice. We've been blowing bubbles...


Mr. Will plays on the backyard playset often and took time out to show me
his 'big muscles,' because you need them when you're hanging off the rings and trapeze.


And he also likes to be an upside down boy(complete with his sister's sunglasses the same way).
(this was ALL his idea )


I had to show off a little something beautiful that I actually cultivated in our backyard...

And the vehicles get lots and lots of use in the Summer months.


One of our favorite parts of Summer is the food... fresh blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, sweet corn, tomatoes, fresh green beans, and a local favorite... Door County (Wisconsin) cherries. Yum!

(presently Will's fav fruit is blueberries)


Friday, July 9, 2010

{wish list}

If you read my previous post you might remember that miss Grace's 8th birthday
is arriving soon.
A couple of days ago she made a list of some suggestions. There was one item or should I say a couple of items in particular that made me giggle. What a sweet age she is at.


  • a music box
  • new purse
  • sleeping bag
  • picture frame
  • Super Wedding Stylist Barbie
  • Tiger stuffed animal
  • make up set
  • secret diary
  • silly bands
  • an art set
  • music
  • some diamonds (yes, this one was on the list...)


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ my daughter

'From a little girl so very small, how and when did you get so tall?' ~ unknown

In less than one month she'll be 8 years old. We're planning her party which will happen in mid to late August because we'll be gone on vacation on her actual birthday.
Grace has this sparkly crown that she adores and wears around the house often. I recently did a series of pictures with her wearing it and will be using a few of them
on her birthday party invitation.
This image is one from that session a few days ago, she was taking a little break, sitting down and thinking...what of... I don't know. What do almost 8 year old little girls think about... friends, reading favorite books, going to the beach soon, drawing, lip gloss(she's into lip gloss right now), music, her favorite stuffed animals and American Girl dolls.
When I see how grown up she looks here, I think gosh this time goes so fast with our children, and I'm trying to cherish every single moment. She looks like such a little lady to me sitting on the step with her ankles crossed. And I couldn't possibly love her more than I do right now. :)


My black and white for Lisa's Black and White Wednesday was processed with Florabella's Bl/white Truffle action.

Please check out more images from some very talented photographers here.

the long road

Monday, July 5, 2010

snapshots of our 4th

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A little bit of our 4th...

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The 4th of July is one of my very favorite could it not be a fav with getting together as a family, eating great food (barbequeing, yummy corn on the cob, baked beans, watermelon and strawberry pie), and celebrating our country's birthday?

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Dan and I have lived in very large urban areas and now live in a teeny tiny town outside of Madison, WI. Though it took us a little while to adjust to the change, we have grown to dearly love it here. One of our July 4th traditions is to attend this parade in a town nearby. It's small town America at it's best.

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We loved seeing these 2 pups riding in the parade. There were horses, bands, high school football teams, a local politician campaigning, and Ronald Mc Donald carried a gigantic flag. The University of Wisconsin mascot...Bucky Badger made an appearance and Grace and Will loved getting candy from the parade walkers.

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Last night the kids did sparklers...rather Grace did sparklers. This year Will was afraid of them because he knew they were 'hot.' And I have to say that was perfectly fine with me. Last year he had no fear.

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Later we watched a neighborhood fireworks show.... it was a perfect July 4th and we did step back and appreciate all the freedoms that we're fortunate to enjoy. :)

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