Tuesday, August 30, 2011

black and white Wednesday - 8 years

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

Grace blue dress blw WM
Late Summer is the time of year that I'm brought back to China,
because it was on the evening of
August 31, 2003 our lives changed forever.
In a hotel room in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, 
a beautiful 12 month old baby girl named 'Fu Lan Li'
was brought into our room. I will never forget how easily she came to me
and gave us a shy little smile.

Grace blue dress 3 WM
'Lanli' as we called her in China, would become 'Grace Lanli Elizabeth'
when we arrived home to the U.S.
A joyful, loving and kind little girl, she's many years of hopes and dreams come true.

Grace blue dress 2 WM
The years have flown by and our gift of Grace
led us to adopt William.
When I think about how much our lives have changed in the past 8 years,
it's pretty mind boggling.
The changes have all been good.

Grace blue dress 4 WM
What we didn't know 8 years ago was that it
wouldn't be as simple as a child joining our family,
we would become a part of a very large extended family all
held together with the common thread of adoption.
It's an adoption community of kind and supportive people,
who encourage and help in anyway they can.

'Grace blue dress 6 blw WM
Recently I was asked
why I wanted to adopt in the first place and my answer was,
 "Well, I knew there were many children out there that needed a mommy
and I wanted to be one.
God did the rest."

Our dearest Grace, we cannot imagine our lives without you.

 Gail Grace Guangzhou

Taken Sept. 11, 2003 in Guangzhou
before we left for the U.S. consulate ceremony.
The red shoes Grace is wearing in the picture now
reside with some other keepsakes from China
in a little cupboard in her bedroom.

the long road

Saturday, August 27, 2011

34/52 - Zoe pup

34/52 - Zoe

I think if you haven't had a puppy for many years, you kind of forget what it's like
and how much your life changes.
In my opinion it's pretty similar to having a newborn.
Except that newborns don't chew your furniture, or shoes or pretty much anything that's on the floor.

Zoe is a sweet girl and has a lot of Lab in her we think.
The house training is going well and she's crate trained.
We have found out that she is a huge fan of water, she loves to swim in it, bite it and stand in it.
Several times I've found her standing in her water bowl.
The puppy days don't last long and I'll miss them when they're gone.
She's also growing crazy fast!

(Zoe weighs 22 lbs. now and is 13 weeks old)

Zoe 1

Thursday, August 25, 2011

a sweet celebration

bday party color triptych

Last week Grace celebrated her 9th birthday with 7 of her friends
at the Bloom Bake Shop in Middleton.
Occupying an absolutely precious space in the downtown area,
the bakery has definitely found it's niche.

bday party triptych 2
Annemarie, the owner can really throw a party!
The girls got a full tour of the shop,
learned how to make a batch of yummy chocolate chip cookies (which they each took home later),
and played a game of 'Pin the candle on the cupcake.'

bday party diptych 1 copy
After choosing a name for the bakery's newest  bright green Kitchen Aid mixer...
they decided on the name 'Clover,'
(which we thought was perfect...)

bday party vert WM

The girls then made a little craft project (a pin)
and learned the proper way to frost a cupcake.
It has to have the perfect swirl and Annmarie made it look much easier than it is to do.
After singing Happy Birthday to Grace,
the cupcakes were eaten immediately and declared delicious.

bday party triptych 1

Grace and her friends (love those beautiful smiles on the girls).
What a fun way to celebrate age 9!!

bday party friends WM

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

black and white Wednesday - Summer recital

The beautiful costumes.
backstage dress blw

Hanging out with a good friend backstage. backstage 1-2
Lining up and waiting...there is a lot of waiting. backstage 2-2

And finally...it was their turn!

          backstage blw diptych
These beautiful dancers were photographed on Saturday at the 5pm performance of 'Alice in Wonderland' put on by Grace's dance school. 
It was an honor for me to help the girls with their costumes and makeup.

Find many more black and whites at 'The Long Road to China.'

  the long road

And Happy Wednesday too!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

33/52 - introducing . . .

33/52 - introducing...

our newest addition to our family...12 week old Zoe!!!
I'm sure I'll have many stories about her in the coming weeks.
She won't replace our beloved Molly but we wanted to have another dog in our lives.

Zoe is a lab/husky mix who we found through a nearby pet rescue.
Okay, I know I'm a little bit biased...isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

black and white Wednesday - late Summer

Sunset 1
Sunset 2
Sunset 3
Sunset 4 Sunset final

Grace and Will on the beach as the sun is setting, on the last evening of our vacation. 
I have more pics of our time away but will put them up on facebook sometime this week.
Our Summer has flown by, it's hard to believe that September is only
2 weeks away!

the long road

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday snapshot - vacation days

Door County story board 1

So as I look back at the many pictures from our little getaway recently,
I can't help but smile and remember this special place.
I think I'll call it one of the best kept secrets as far as vacation spots in the U.S.
My husband and I started coming up here before we adopted Grace, so this
was a first for our two littles.
Dooor County storyboard 4

There are quaint little villages that have Norwegian, Icelandic and French Canadian influences,
that have names like Egg Harbor, Ephraim, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Bailey's Harbor
and others.
We stayed in Ephraim which is known for it's views of Eagle Harbor off Green Bay,
and it's charming white buildings and stone fences.
You can see why Door County is sometimes called the 'Cape Cod of the Midwest.'

Door County story board 2
Door County story board 3 - Copy Door County Grace Will bench haze
(At historic Anderson dock in Ephraim, WI as the sun is starting to set).

Some of our favorite parts of the trip was our time at Wilson's Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor,
swimming twice a day, the beautiful sunsets, delicious tart cherries, perusing a few antique shops, the food,
 seeing the lighthouses, wine tasting and watching the sailboats on the bay.
The best part...spending time with the people I love the most, my husband and Grace and Will...just us.

Looking forward to returning again soon, someday!

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, August 12, 2011

32/52 - birthday girls

32/52 - birthday girls
They were nursery mates in their orphanage in China and share the same birthday.
We first met Julia's parents in our pre- travel to China group meetings almost exactly 8 years ago.
During the Summer they see each other frequently and Julia's mom and I make sure it's a priority to 
get these best friends together.

These were taken on their birthday at Julia's house. 
Their personalities compliment each other perfectly...we're so happy that the girls have each other!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

black and white Wednesday - a day at the beach

Smile and say 'cheese!'

beach day diptych 2

"Happiness is a summer breeze, sand between your toes, and your best friend by your side."

~ unknown

beach day 12
(Will showing a little of his gymnastics capabilities).

Living in Wisconsin we appreciate Summer, no matter how hot and humid it gets
 because Winter lasts just way too long here.

beach day 3

I'm making a promise to myself to look at these pictures again when I'm shivering in January and February
and longing for warmer days.
They'll help me remember our time last week at the beach
in the quaint little town of Ephraim in Door County, WI.
beach day diptych 3

We brought sand pails, shovels, a raft and Will's fish floatie.
And though they were all used and played with, it was the 2 vintage cameras
that I brought that were the biggest hit.

beach day diptych 1

Even though it was all in fun and not for real as far as them taking pictures,
the element of 'pretend' is still much of Grace and Will's play.
(which I dearly love)
beach day 6
Below is Will just before he went out in the bay (with Daddy of course).
And also one of him as he's taking a little rest wrapped up in his towel.
Swimming (rather kicking with a floatie supporting you) evidently is hard work!

(Will getting ready to hit the waves).
beach day diptych 4
(And Will taking a little snooze).

The Summer has flown by.
Yesterday I registered both kids for school...when I look at the calendar
we don't have much of this season left.

We start school Sept. 1 and I have mixed feelings about that.
I'm going to miss these two being with me during the day.
So we'll be making the best of the time they have left.

beach day 7

It's Wednesday!
See what's going on at Lisa's ' black and white Wednesday' for many
more black and whites and some fabulous photography.

the long road

Sunday, August 7, 2011

31/52 - Door County, Wisconsin

31/52 - Door County

Catching up on my weekly photo project...this one's from our vacation last week.
I walked down to the little beach which was in front of our resort and found these chairs sitting in a row.
The sun was setting in a cloudy sky over Green Bay which is just off of Lake Michigan.

I haven't even begun to go through the pictures I took but will do a couple more
posts this week about where we were and what we did.
We had a fabulous time and came home relaxed and refreshed!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grace is 9

On the other side of the world does she remember and wonder?
 We share a daughter.

I think of your birth mother often but especially on this day...the day of your birth.
I know very little about her except that
she tried for a while to keep you, Grace.
And I believe she loved you very much.
I wish I could meet this woman some day and tell her what you're like.
I know she'd be incredibly proud...

Grace 9 yrs Diptych

Could she have ever dreamed that her beautiful baby girl would become
a sensitive, thoughtful, smart, joyful, compassionate and funny 9 year old?

Grace 9 yrs - 3

Who loves to laugh, play games, dance, draw and create.
Grace is a wonderful friend and sister, daughter and Granddaughter.
Those who meet her, never forget her.
Grace 9 yrs - 4

Happy Birthday!
You are 9.

May all your hopes and dreams come true on this special day...my sweet, sweet Grace.
As we celebrate your day of birth I also honor this woman who gave you life 9 years ago in China,
and say thank you...

© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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