Tuesday, August 31, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ seven years

There is only one happiness in life - to love and to be loved.
~ George Sand

Grace ffday

Can you tell that's her?
Can you see she still has that beautiful mouth, the same eyes and those elegant long fingers?
We met her exactly 7 years ago and it seems like yesterday.

7thff day color WM

I can remember every single detail.

The moment she was brought in the room.
 How it was so quiet...there were no sounds (or maybe it just seemed that way?)
Time stood still for a few seconds.
That first little sweet smile, and how she reached out to me.
I took her in my arms and it felt like she'd always been there.
 I didn't want to cry because I thought it might scare her,
being aware of what she'd been through that eventful day.
My tears of joy came later.

7thff day blw 5 WM

Her life and ours have changed immensely since
that late Summer evening in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province.
Grace (Fu Lan Li) is everything and so much more 
than we could have possibly hoped or dreamed.

7thff day blw 1 WM

Today is Grace's Forever Family Day.
 It's the day she joined our family.
For us it's a marker of time(perhaps) and a day to show how much she's loved and cherished.
We don't have a big celebration with gifts or a cake.
It's a quiet family observation of that day 7 years ago.

7thff day blw 3 WM

And on a personal note, it's also a day for us to honor her birth parents.
People who we will sadly probably never meet.
 I hope and pray they know she's loved and safe, smart and healthy.
And oh so happy.
Grace is the definition of grace completely.
Poised, serene, kind, elegant in form and manner,
and strong in character.
A treasure.
And a gift from God.

7thff day blw 2 WM

Grace's name ~ Lan Li, means
'Beautiful Orchid.'
It was her given name by the SWI and I can't imagine a more fitting one for her.
Our beautiful orchid who is Lanli.
7thff day blw 4 WM

I shall be called by a new name,
embraced by a fresh pair of arms,
but I shall come and go,
the eternal me.

~  Rabindranath Tagore

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

~  Max Ehrmann - Desiderata

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

~  Matthew 18:5

the long road

Please hop on over to Lisa's blog,
The Long Road to China for many more black and whites.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

{birthday party}

Last Saturday was Grace's birthday party.

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 Grace waiting for her guests.
She's been eagerly anticipating this party for most of the Summer.
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She invited 10 little girlfriends and everyone could come(they ranged in age from 6-8).
We went to Build-a-Bear, and each child picked out an animal(Grace chose a Panda, no surprise as she collects them).
There were 5 little girls that chose ponies, they were popular.

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The animals had a fabric heart put inside, then stuffed, then the girls cleaned and brushed them.
After that, they picked out an outfit or accessories.
We had a specific budget. The girls were great about it.

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Then home for cake (the purple bear was Grace's choice), our good friend Carla made it for her.
It was delish.
The tiny bears alongside the cake were white chocolate(tinted blue), and they were a hit.
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11 little girls plus Will at the table.
He loved it!
Fun party and wonderful kids, they really had a great time. And we did too. :)

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And next Wednesday we start school...where has the time gone?!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ last few

These are my last beach pics I'm putting up I promise.
We've been crazy busy with life and Grace's recent birthday party(which I'll post about on Friday).
So here are a few more of my favorites.
Then you won't see any with a beach theme until mid February
when I'll post one for fun, because I'll be sick and tired of the snow and cold. :)

mexico grace pettirun WM

Grace running on the sand in her white petti-dress.
I think the movement of her skirt looks like the nearby wave coming in.

mexico chairs WM

Chairs that were used at an early evening wedding on the beach.
They looked so pretty sitting there with ribbons blowing in the ocean breeze.
 We managed to get a glimpse of the wedding party and guests after the ceremony as they were going back to the resort .
Grace was delighted!

mexico grace parasol WM

And the top of her blue and white parasol as she looked out at the ocean,
 this was shot on the last day we were in Mexico.

mexico grace parasol bw WM

And converted to black and white.

It's Black and White Wednesday again,
please say hi to Lisa at The Long Road to China(and see her beautiful baby daughter Reagan).
And check out many more black and whites!

the long road

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's hard to believe we've been home for 12 days...
Grace and Will keep asking when we're going back.
We swam every single day and they miss that very much.
These are from when we went into the nearby town of Playa del Carmen
one afternoon for some shopping, a long walk and lunch.
I captured things that caught my eye whether it was colors or patterns or just something that spoke to me of Mexico.

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Colorful tile on an arch over gardens.

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The market with all kinds of things for sale, an old building, and cool hotel sign.

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A basket of silver bracelets.

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The port of Playa del Carmen where the ferry to Cozumel comes and goes.
And me and my Gracie girl.
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And more pictures of the market.
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Every year at the beginning of Summer
I think we have so much time ahead of us and it always flies by!
It's been a fun one.
Can't believe school will start for us soon. (Sept.1)
 I think we're about ready. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

favorite foto(s) Friday {beach time}

Mexico beach dgw WM

As I write this post and put some of my favorite beach pictures up,
 it's overcast here in Wisconsin and pouring rain.
So these sunny pictures make me feel like I'm right back in Mexico again.
Mexico will sand WM

All are really snapshots but each has some little detail in them that I love.
The above shot with 4 year old Will in the ocean with sand on his face...

Mexico will sdy feet WM

and his cute little Fred Flintstone feet.

Mexico palm tree WM

Yes even a palm tree gets captured. I have a thing for palm trees.
Maybe because they are pretty scarce here at home.
There's something about them that I love, probably because it means I'm seeing them because we're at a tropical location.
And that usually means we're on a vacation.
Mexico grace kite WM

8 year old Grace flying a kite...

Mexico lifeguard tower WM

And finally this lifeguard tower...I captured it because I loved the shape and color.
While I was cropping this picture I noticed the seagull sitting on top of the flag pole.
I took MANY pictures while we were away, will try and keep it short and sweet and not wear out the beach theme.

And have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

black and white Wednesday ~ a week of sand and sea

(These were taken at our resort south of Playa del Carmen, on the Caribbean side(Eastern) of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
A little bit of paradise in my opinion.)

Mexico beach color grace  WM
"For whatever we lose
 (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea."
~ e.e. cummings

Mexico shells WM
"Today is a smooth white seashell,
 hold it close and listen
 to the beauty of the hours." ~ unknown 
Mexico grw sand  WM

"Enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things." ~ Robert Brault
Mexico will foreground  WM
I love the above quote.
 Having just spent a week with some of my most favorite people in the world
 I can relate to enjoying or cherishing the little things.
Like listening to the waves, finding shells, writing in sand,
and holding hands.

Mexico grw holdhands  WM

Every evening before sundown we went to the beach and walked.
I believe as photographers(and mothers or fathers), a big part of what we do is observe and watch.
 I'll speak for myself and say I thoroughly enjoy that part.
Simply watching my children play, explore and learn.
And hearing them laugh.

Mexico beach color grw WM

Some evenings I brought my camera, sometimes not.
On the evening these pictures were taken, the sky was spectacular
 and the sun reflected brightly off the 
I was fortunate to capture the 2 littlest loves of my life, walking near the water
with that glorious sky above.

Mexico grw blw  WM

I feel like the black and white version captured the beauty of that sun lit sky well too.
Check out Lisa's, Black and White Wednesday for many more
pictures and her post for today.
And Happy Wednesday!

the long road

Friday, August 6, 2010

{birthday girl}

(This is a scheduled post to mark Grace's birthday.)

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Dear Grace,

You are 8 years old now.

 The last year has flown by...and I wish the time would slow down a little. To me, it seems like you are growing up way too fast.
You've had a wonderful year and Daddy and I are so proud of you.
You'll be in second grade very soon.

grace 8 bday WM

You love school, your teachers and always try your best at everything.
You are a gentle soul with a loving, kind heart.
You have many friends and are probably the happiest child I've ever known.
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You are the best big sister to William. He loves you dearly.
You are a true girly girl in many ways, but I also love that you can play hard with the boys.
You have a great sense of humor and laugh often. And we never tire of hearing that beautiful sound.

We can't wait to see what the future holds for you, our sweet Gracie!
Happy Birthday.
with much love,
Mommy and Daddy

grace 8 bday 1
Of the many pictures I've taken of Grace, this series is probably my very favorite to date.
© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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