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Monday, August 31, 2009

What I know when I'm 41... kinda


So I made Tess a tutu. I know, it's a bit cheesy. But I was SO above this when my big girls were little. I was in my twenties then , and I was above hair bows and frills and anything pink and of course tutus. But now I'm 41, and I there's probably more of life behind me than in front. I'm embracing my inner little girl, (who wanted, by the way, nothing more than a pair of black patent leather shoes and frilly socks! I think the thought of a tutu was so far out there that it never even entered my mind. ) and I just did it! I made Tess a tutu! I don't know much more now than when I was in my twenties... except I really do like tutus and a realism that I don't really know even what I think I know. I think that's ok. I'm not sure.

Today is Tess's birthday! Tess is 2 years old. A little run down on how she is doing. She is such a sweet little thing and still looks at me with those big full eyes and sees through to my soul like no other child. When she smiles, her whole face can get scrunched up. She walks, or rather gallops, around with the cutest little skip/jumpity when she bounds from room to room. As GrandDaddy might have said, maybe it's the hitch in her giddy up! Even the way she bounds around exudes joy. Things can still scare her so quickly. But running to me with arms wide open makes me feel so good, for this little one that wouldn't even look at me for months. Tess still gets occupational and speech therapy once a week. It's still a journey. There's still a long path to travel. But SO much progress already that it is an easier road.

Happy happy birthday sweet Tess. You've helped me re-prioritize my life. I have a better understanding of what's important, and that's made me a better me. Thank you, Tess. Thank you for your smiles and your giggles and your love and so much more. I know I needed you more than you needed me. Lucky mama.
Now that we've come home from the cabin, Papa and I decided that it was time for the babes to sleep in their own room. For attachment purposes, and because MANY a nights out of no where, they regularly woke up with night terrors, they slept at an arm's length of our bed. That's almost 1 full year with 2 babies in our room. I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. So now that the nightmares have lessened and they're older, they've moved on to their own room and 2 twin beds. About a week into this new venue, I tiptoed to check on them, only to find that again Tess had crawled over my pillow barricade to be by Jude's side. She wanted to play rather than sleep. There they both were, sitting up in a dark room facing each other about 1 foot apart, taking turns, leaning in to give each other a kiss. Lean in, get a kiss, giggle, giggle. Lean in, give a kiss, giggle, giggle. Again and again. Oh MY! The little smack of lips against her brothers cheek. I cried as I stealthily hid behind the door. Is there a word fuller than joy or bliss or rapture?


I read through a post from a year ago, before we had T&J and commented that even though they didn't have parents yet, at least they had one another. Born in the same hospital, transferred to the same orphanage on the same day, and often crib mates, T&J haven't slept under different roofs since the day Tess was born. They will always have one another. And now they have parents too! But it is me that is the lucky one to have them in my life.

Happy birthday baby girl! I love you!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If Martha were Vietnamese-- Nước Chanh & Gừng










































In case I haven't mentioned it, it's still blazing hot here in the desert. Hot, like get into your car and feel your thighs melt into the seat-hot. Hot like Patch wants to fry on egg on the back patio, and it's a possibility-hot. Hot like Papa insisted we get a black car and this may be grounds for divorce-hot! It was 116 degrees on Friday as I waited at the bus stop for the kiddos. Did I say waiting... I meant melting!

When the kiddos get home from school, I like to have a snack for them. These days, anything that's cool makes me mother-of-the-year in their eyes. So last week Livy and I made Nước Chanh & Gừng, or ginger lemonade. I found the recipe in my Vietnamese cookbook. Not sure it is a traditional Vietnamese drink, but I do see it very frequently on the menus in Vietnamese restaurants and really one taste and who cares! It is so yummy! Like regular lemonade but with a punch of ginger in the end to spice things up... but in a cool refreshing way! It took a little prep work ahead of time (during nap time of course)




The babes helped out course!




































































Livy squeezes lemons and limes into the ginger syrup.













Jujube "helps" by putting the ice cubes in. I think many were licked before they hit the pitcher. Ya, I know that's wrong, but we're building immune systems!


































TaDa! Can I drink it now mom or are you just gonna keep taking pictures of it?!




Taken from Vietnamese Home Cooking for Everyone (by Andre Nguyen-who cooks at my FAVORITE restaurant down the street and is VN food to die for! If your in our neck of the woods, ask for directions.)

Recipe:

1 oz fresh ginger
1 c sugar
1 c water

2 lemons
2 limes
-Put babes down for nap.

-Peel and slice ginger root thinly. Crush in a mortar or garlic press.
-In a saucepan, add sugar and water and bring to boil. Add ginger.
-Cook 30 to reduce till syrupy. Remove from heat and cool.
-Fight car pool mommies in school parking lot and pick up kiddos while cooling.

-Squeeze lemons and limes and mix juice with ginger syrup.

-Serve over ice cubes.
-Pour yourself a glass and threaten kiddos not to touch YOUR glass, or it'll disappear before you even get a sip! Pour kiddos their own glass (plastic).
-Bargain with older child who did not help with project, but who has homework done to tidy up kitchen in exchange for her own glass of ginger lemonade that she does not have to share. (not having to share in the crazy 8 house is a highly coveted reward!)



I found it far too sweet and strong but easily watered it down with some extra water. I think I'll add more ginger next time too!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jujube and the Red Chair



Did you notice that Jujube almost always has his mouth open... usually with a cheesy grin? His speech therapist says it's most likely due to the fact that he had no solid foods till we got him at almost 13 months old and has little muscle tone in his mouth lips. i.e. a bad habit of leaving his mouth open! The result? Aside from lots of reciprocating smiles, is a constant dribble of drool. Oh what I would have given to wipe this little drip off his lip when I took these pictures. Obviously, I've become immune to seeing it. Guess I'll just have to remember that it is just these little imperfections captured in a photo that I'll really appreciate when he's grown.
Thanks for letting me borrow the chair Granna!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beatrice!

See the below post re Pho Ga if this doesn't ring a bell.
http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/if-martha-were-vietnamese-beatrices-pho.html?zx=c953302d744361da
Isn't she just the yummiest! From reading Michelle's blog, Beatrice is just starting to toddle all over. Oh my, she just makes me smile all over!
Michelle & Beatrice- Lucky Baby! Lucky Mama! Lucky Family!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Photo Gallery-- Heather

This is my sweet and wonderful childhood friend, Heather. Heather is drop dead beautiful! Always has been! And as tough as that it to grow up with especially in the tumultuous preteen years, she has a fabulous soul to boot so it was easy! She has these gorgeous fine English features. She's gonna just kill me, but she doesn't have a stitch of make up on in these pictures and look at her! And, more importantly, she's even more beautiful in her soul.


Heather and I grew up together in a podunk small town in the Arizona mountains where life was simple and beautiful. Heather knows where I come from. She grounds me. She sees through all the smiles and tears and the outside materialism and knows my core. Heather and I hid in her basement and played barbies together way after it was cool to do so. In 7th grade, Heather and I got ready for our first dance together and she was the first person I told when I had my first kiss. I think every woman needs other women in her life like this, ones that know you from the earliest ages and know your roots. They keep you real. Heather does this for me.



And this Is Wylie. We, and I'll say we Heather, waited a long time for Wylie. God often has a plan for His beloved that we don't understand. Heck, a plan that we often don't like at all! But He knows just the right time to do everything. Heather is really good at getting all this. I'm not.



In this case He knew just the right time to unite a mama with a baby. Shouldn't every baby come in to the world with someone that loves him as much as Heather loves Wylie? I want it to be this way for all of His children.

And by the way... aren't those the cutest piggies that you've ever seen?

Thank you, Heather, for being so beautiful, then, now, and all the time in between. It took a LOT of pressure off me in high school!























Monday, August 24, 2009

If Martha made Vietnamese-- Beatrice's Phở Gà


This weekend, we made phở gà. Mmmmmm. A few posts ago, my on-line friend (that's pretty pathetic hu? Maybe I should think about joining a bunko group!) and fellow adoption mama, Michelle, offered to share her recipe for phở gà. Translated it pretty much means chicken noodle soup but of course Vietnamese. And as with all phở, it's largely all about the fresh toppings... basil, mint, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, bean sprouts, lime juice squeezed in! Maybe that's why my kiddos like phở so much, because they get to "assemble" their dinner at the table, and I mean who doesn't like that! As Michelle reminded me, purists say phở is only made with beef, but there are plenty of chicken varieties like hers out there too, but probably not as yummy! Michelle's is from scratch and just as she assured me, it was very easy to make and tasty too ! Everyone loved it! If you want to be daring and try a Vietnamese dish, this is a good one to start with.

And 'cause the the title probably doesn't make sense to anyone, Beatrice is Michelle's daughter. Isn't food more about sharing the flavors and love and passing down part of ourselves to others and most importantly our children? In this case, since Michelle and I both are pasty white mamas and have gorgeous children from VietNam, it's also so much about our children sharing a part of themselves with us. Ironic isn't it. Full circle. Thank you, Beatrice! (Maybe we need a pic of B, Michelle?)

The finished product above

Above-Can't keep Tess's hands out of my soup! Better give her some noodles of her own


That's my 6 year old wielding chopsticks... with SOUP! That's too cool! I couldn't do that till I was 15.
No, 25.
No, 35.
No, I still can't but that doesn't stop me from trying! Did I mention how impressive that is seeing as how you probably couldn't' tell how Caucasian he is? I understand that you may be shocked by this ethnic revelation.






















I could just dive into those eyes! Tess loves her rice noodles too! Is it in her genes?





























Phở Gà (From Michelle and Beatrice)

1/2 chicken
1 cinnamon stick
Whole anise (16 points-ish)
4 whole cloves
1/2" ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 T fish sauce
2 t sugar
1 t salt
12 c water (enough to cover chicken)
4 scallions cut vertically
Simmer chicken at least 45 min (or hours) in the above. Remove chicken, let cool, and de-bone. Add meat back to pot. Ok, not really! Just get some boneless skinless breasts and/or thighs and use them. De-boning the whole chicken, (although it adds such wonderful flavor and is surely the best way to make phở gà) is time consuming and just plain' ol' oogy! Or if you really want the extra flavor, sweet talk your dear husband into doing it for you. Then add-
2 T fish sauce, 2 t sugar, and 1 t salt


Prepare 1/2 lb of rice noodles according to directions on package.  (rinse in cool water, then soak in hot water a few minutes.  Don't over cook.  Rice noodles cook very quickly compared to Italian wheat noodles.) 


Put 1 serving of noodles and thinly sliced onions (yellow/white) in an individual serving bowl.

Add your favorite toppings including bean sprouts, white pepper, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, lime juice, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, sliced chilies.


The cinnamon stick anise, ginger, and clove, which I resisted for so long, is an absolute requirement and {similar to bay leaves} are not to be served or eaten.   The layers and smells of chicken, cinnamon, anise, and ginger, simmering all together fills the house and makes me appear to be quite a talented chef.  If your the kind of person that's never tried cooking Vietnamese fare but wants to give it a go, find your local Asian market. One stop, and it's all there! If your in my neck of the woods, your choices are Me Kong or Lee Lee's in Mesa and Chandler and will have everything you need, and cheap too. If anyone tries one of the recipes, PLEASE let me know how it went!


Thank you, Michelle! Anyone else have a recipe to try?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo Gallery-- My Big Girls in B/W



At 13 and 15 I remember being the most gangly, chicken-legged, stuck-in-between girl and young woman, awkward teenager ever! I could show you pictures, but let's not. Just picture a pimply girl who didn't quite know what pretty was, but still awkwardly tried and never really got there. Some things never change.
How is it that my big girl's generation seems to be missing this awkward stage altogether! Doesn't seem quite fair. They're more poised and graceful. They know fashion and help me understand it. Even in this transitional stage, their skin is still creamy even with the inevitable blemishes. Maybe it's my mama-rose-colored glasses, but they are so pretty! They're even confident! How'd that gangly chicken girl end up with such beautiful daughters?
I took these pics on the front porch of our cabin, directed the girls with the same instructions and am amazed that their personalities still come shining through! Even though the images are so similar, the "feel" is so different. That's Livy on the top, 13 years old, came from the womb an old soul, full of wisdom and tenacity. One of the most compassionate yet bull-headed people I know! And Sunny, on the bottom, 15 years old, born on Thanksgiving day, flourishes in the lime light, confident, and ready to celebrate and love life.

God, I love these young women! I mean exactly that. "Heavenly Father, I love these young women!"

Crazy 8 Highlights-- Karma

In hind sight, this is funny! Only in hind sight.

Yesterday Sunny is going to do charity work and asks if she can bring a friend along. I pick her up from school with "said friend," only to discover that "said friend" is of the male persuasion. So they get in the car and I drive them over to the Boys & Girls club only to discover that it was closed that day.

Now wait a minute... back up... So I drive them... ya that's it. Stop there.

Understand that "said friend," let's call him Mr. D, is approx 6'2" and 175 lbs. wearing a dress shirt, tie and khakis. No way was I going to ask Mr. D to crawl over the seats of my soccer-mom SUV and between dueling car seats. This is no "boy" sitting next to me. Mr. D is nearly a "man." (Uh oh! What implications does that have for aforementioned teenage daughter?! Too much for this brain to process. Erase. Erase.)

So we return home, and they eat some popcorn and play some pool and sit on the couch and talk. I know 'cause I was stealthy watching everything, because this is my first born, and I don't have parenting down pat like I do with my 4th or 5th child. I steal away and text Papa with my revelations, but in a more concise manner, "There is a MAN in our house!" Almost immediately, the phone rings. It's Papa. "Are you OK? Do I need to come home?"

Realizing Papa has likely interpreted my text all wrong, but not wanting to commit a mortal sin and embarrass my daughter in front of Mr. D, I tell Papa, "All is ok! Can't talk right now. Will text with details." And I follow up with the text, "It's just Suny's male friend from school."

Brief interruption... did I mention how lame I am with technology! Unbeknowst to me, my cell phone is now dead. But, and I don't know how this actually happens, it's still on. I know how lame it is that I can't tell when my phone is on or off.

So Papa never gets the message re no boogie man is in our house!

The next thing I know, a neighbor shows up at my door looking around with big eyes, hesitant to come inside, and asks, "Is everything ok?" It is only at this point that I put all the pieces together.

Papa, who has dropped everything at work, hopped in the car, and rushed over to "take care of business," i.e the nonexistent boogy man, now pulls up looking quite frazzled. Leaving me to explain all the details.

I'm not sure if Mr. D ever knew what was coming for him or not. Sunny says she told him. She said Mr. D thought we were "cool," so I think not.

An old friend says this is all karma for the crudge we put our own parents through. That's probably true. If it is, this may be the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If Martha were Vietnamese-- Gà xào xả ớt and a favor!


First a service announcement and a favor-- Papa set up a new home computer in my office for the whole family to use. With 3 kiddos that regularly are required a computer for homework, it gets congested. So now we have an extra. Lucky Mama! And with our business downsizing thanks to the glorious economy, no purchase needed. My kind of price range! BUT now that I look at the blog from a new screen, Holy neon pics, Batman! Looks like I've run all my recent photos through the neon car wash! Pretty sure the images are gonna jump through the screen and eat me, alive, for brunch! I can't tell if it's my computer screen that's warped, or the new one Papa just set up. Could you PLEASE tell me if the pics you see require sunglasses to view? If a few hundred of you say so, than I'll know it's just me. Please. I'm SO embarrassed Aunt Shug! (and not to call anyone out, but especially you Mary and Beth. I know you're new here and just wanted to see if you got on ok. Hi! How you doing? How're the kids? Bet you're having better weather than we are right now!)
(Like there are really a hundred people that even read this gibberish!)

We now continue with our regularly scheduled program...

Translated I think it's chicken fried with lemon grass or something like that. Toddlers are crawling all over me this very minute making it hard to concentrate! Never-the-less, this one was SO SO tasty and easy and will definitely be regular at our house. There wasn't a drop left when the dinner was done. (And I was hoping for left-overs!) I already bought the ingredients to make it a second time.


Recipe-- from Vietnamese home cooking for Everyone (by Andre Nguyen)
10 oz chicken cut into bite size pieces
2 T corn starch
1 T veg oil
2 t salt

Cooking sauce-
2 T chopped lemon grass
1 T VN soy sauce
1/2 T fish sauce

1/2 T sugar
1 t chili flakes
1 t chopped garlic
1/2 red onion
16-20 Thai basil leaves
1/4 c coconut juice


--sprinkle chicken with salt and cornstarch
--Combine cooking sauce in a small bowl

--heat oil in wok, saute chicken over medium heat till lightly browned
--add cooking sauce. Cook for 1 minute
--Stir in onion, basil, and coconut juice. Cook 1 minute
--post photo of finished product on facebook page and wait for praise to boost self esteem

The red onion, as opposed to another kind is a must. Adds a great texture and is so pretty. I also added more coconut juice as I love to soak French bread in the juices. You could serve with rice noodles or rice, but I prefer French bread the best!




onions and basil just look yummy!



in the wok, and almost done

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Granna and the Storm





































































I've been blessed with wonderful in-laws. I know this is not a little thing! I hear my girlfriends, who are not so lucky, talk. And I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority. Granna and Stormin' (aka Grandpa) love all our kiddos so much. They started their own adoption journey long before we were even a twinkle in the universe. And they seem only momentarily stunned (and who wouldn't be!) with the addition of each of our little ones. Here Granna helps Tess put on gloves, (Tess LOVES gloves!) and I LOVE this picture with her infectious smile. I didn't show it to her at first, thinking she might not like the glasses or hair, (I can't STAND ANY picture with me in it- I get it Granna!) but she is SO pretty here as always, and her smile in this picture is so her and so perfect and just the way I always see her in my mind's eye. And Stormin' gets right out there and throws the ball with Jude and plays golf with Patch and says the cutest little things about his grandchildren and... generous in so many ways. Stormin' always tells it like he sees it. I like that.
PS-Granna says I can feel free to use this picture of her for all my advertising. Advertising? Hu?
Wanted--A couple more hours in each day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Photo Gallery-- In Motion

Just couldn't pick which picture of Patch I liked best, so you got both!


If you haven't gotten the pleasure of spending time with Preston, you've missed a delight! Preston is a hoot! His red hair was appropriated placed there. God must have been thinking, hmmmm, how could I really let the world know what this boy is all about just at sight... red hair! He is charismatic and gets all out of life it has to offer. And a teddy bear to boot! Here he is being... Preston!




And Kylee... see I DID get a picture of you no matter how fast you ran of tried to hide. And see how cute you are! You look so pretty in pink and having fun too! Thank you sweetie!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hi Michelle!

Oh NO! There's someone with Vietnamese heritage reading my egocentric blather! Hi Michelle! Now I'm really embarrassed! I'm sure Anthony and you have tasted far far better Vietnamese cuisine than my Caucasian attempts. (Can you see me sinking in my chair? Feels like I just got caught cheating on my chemistry test in high school again! Who remembers Mr. Kaminski anyway?) What I would give to be in Anthony's mom's kitchen and just take it all in! I'd take notes! I'd take picture! I'd ask to be adopted!

Well... hmmm... I didn't make it! I just took pictures of it! I'll get Papa to write it down for me and get it to you.

I'm trying to learn all I can about VietNam, but as a soccer mom in AZ, it's hard. I so so wish I had more readers that knew about Vietnam and it's fare, then they could correct what I am sure are my many inaccuracies and teach me more about this culture, and the food, and the country and...!

My next recipe is xào xả ớt. (Might have the accent marks wrong) I actually made that one this afternoon. It too was yummy and with french bread to soak up all the juices, it was divine.

YES! You forward me the recipe for pho ga, and I'll cook it and show you how it went on the blog! Sounds too fun. I'm a little too excited.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If Martha were Vietnamese-- Bánh mì and my ever expanding bum

Bánh mì (pronounced ban me) is a Vietnamese baguette (think hoagie roll but French! Yummy for the carb lovers. Gotta LOVE the French influence here! Anyone salivating yet?) On the streets of Sai Gon and Han Oi, when folks are retuning home from work, we saw bicycle street vendors, impromptu road side stands, and women selling baskets full the small loaves to take home to their families. Come on, you gotta love any culture that brings home fresh food every day! Not having refrigeration enables this of course. Bánh mì is also the name of a type of sandwich made with this type of bread. It is made up of thinly shredded pickled carrots and daikon, and also cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and meat, including roasted or grilled pork or Vietnamese ham, (kinda like spam/pate pressed meat stuff. Not a fan yet, but I'm trying.) and it also has mayonnaise and mint. And although I'm not sure if it's proper, I love to add Nước chấm, the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce, just 'cause I love it on most everything! Again, not sure that's proper. I may be putting A1 on my jelly doughnuts there!

Bánh mì is generally served in small eateries and and phở shops. It's a staple, like our hamburgers. Like phở, it's cheap and portable and available all over, thus it's appeal. Not to mention yummy! And it's pretty readily available here in the US too if you can get to/find the Vietnamese community.

One of Papa's goals since we've come home from Viet Nam has been to perfect this delicious French-Asian fusion comfort food. So this weekend, we headed to our favorite Asian market, Mekong, and loaded up with supplies. Speaking of which, a trip to the Asian market is so fun in its own right! But prior to this weekend, Papa's attempts at Bánh mì have largely come out dry and uninspiring. But this weekend, with Sunny's help of course, our budding chef, it was perfected! I am inspired! It was gorgeous and made me drool! I had one for lunch. I had one for dinner. I had another when no one was looking. I wanted one the next morning for breakfast, but thought my family might convene an intervention! It was bliss on a plate! Papa's learned to pickle the dicon and carrots just perfectly. Don't miss the jalapeno! A little spicy, but not much cause all my kiddos love it too. Papa's grilled pork has just a lovely marinade. Did i mention i really like Papa's Bánh mì! My ever-expanding bum is evidence.

Hmmmm, wonder if I can go find myself some more leftovers to make me another.
I like Papa best in the background looking a little exasperated in an sea of soy and fish sauce! As much as I like the Asian market, I am a huge fish out of water and look it!
Patrick helps out trying to find the ingredients.

Isles and isles of noodles! Picking the right one is daunting. We literally look for the one with the elephant on it! It's the only way I know we get the right one.


Gotta leave you with a bowl of phở. We've mastered it, at least according to our Caucasian taste buds. And yes, for you foodies, I use the phở cubes! I don't make my own stock broth either!
Hmmmm... maybe I should have started at the beginning, with phở, the true staple of the VN diet? And so yummy too! Do you want a phở tutorial next?
(Boy that fork and spoon look dirty!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Crazy 8 Highlights--Major Appliances



  • Patch has been trying to break the world record for # of golf balls collected... really. No, I have NO idea how many that would be, but he's up to 135, all lovingly fished out of the lake on #18. Just the mental image of the effluent rich scum on his feet and legs is enough to make me oogy. Let's not think about that. Then of course the babes get into them and scatter them everywhere. Just what we needed, 135 golf balls rolling around the house, under every sofa table and credenza. And if I have to go under there, I discover hiding dust bunnies, which out of respect I try to ignore! And they scare me! I love Boo's face in this pic behind Patch, like his wheels are spinning figuring how he can get him some of that action!
  • School started this morning. Yes, in AZ we start early. We get out early too.
  • In a momentary lapse of judgement/sanity (which rarely happens?) I lost track of T&J, then strangely got side tracked, (which also rarely happens! Let me live in my bubble, OK?!) and found that they cooperatively unloaded a dishwasher full of dirty dishes onto the kitchen floor. Being the eternal optimist, gotta love that they are advancing into cooperative play!
  • The boys, trying to help me out, (how sweet are they!) reloaded above said dishwasher, and started it. The only problem, sadly discovered an hour later and an hour too late, (and don't get me wrong, I could care less which way the silverware is loaded!) was that they loaded it with dish soap. I'm sure all you mama's out there have had this scene played out in your own homes. If not, picture stereotypical movie scene with heaping mounds of foamy bubbles spewing all over the kitchen floor. I periodically mucked it up till the cycle was complete. Eternal optimist says... kitchen floor is sparkling clean! Nobody tell Timmy of the warped cabinetry please! Perhaps strange and unusual vision of sparkling kitchen floor will throw him off!
  • Sunny tricked Granna and me into hemming her uniform school skirts (picture proverbial parochial plaid) at least 3" higher! Ohhhhh, bad teenager! I told her I hope Sister Mary Yardstick catches it! I think Sister Mary Yardstick would give a far more fitting punishment than I would! Can Sisters still flog children?
  • Patrick has an obsession with making and eating a peanut butter=mayonnaise sandwich. I think no commentary needed here.
  • I talked/emailed with our adoption caseworker this week. She's such an awesome lady, (did I mention that she ROCKS!) and I love love love to keep in touch with her just to chat. She has so much wisdom on so many things. She says there may be some distant hope that VietNam adoptions may resume next year, although it would be a far different, longer, more cumbersome process. Wouldn't surprise me at all if VietNam never wanted to deal with those mean crazy Americans ever again. We had also heard that 2011 would be the earliest US/VN adoptions would start up again if ever, but maybe special needs adoptions would open prior to that. Since adopting a special need's child would be our objective, this could be good news for us... someday. Our home study expires in Sept. We're still debating about having it renewed.
  • Sunny thinks I should just be done with it and dye all my hair grey. Do they even make that color? Strangely, I'm considering it. Thoughts?
  • I opened the washing machine this morning to do the laundry and found a load full of nothing but Papa's underwear. A whole load! So this's how he operates in our absence! Is this TMI? It certainly is TFI! (too funny information! Come on! That's funny stuff!) btw- he said it was ok that I put that in print! I asked and everything. It's that kind of marriage!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Paradise Found

This is Paradise Creek, a tributary to the north fork of the White River, or maybe it's the south fork of the Black River, or the left fork or right spoon of a creek somewhere. Anywho, it's on the Apache reservation, (east side of AZ near NM border for you non-Zonies) and it's paradise all right! It was our last excursion in the mountains before we had to return to the dessert.





What a great day and easily heard God saying, "Look at what I CAN DO!"





We pack in all our picnic fare and Sunny carries in a blanket. Poor thing, she was so sick just a few hours later. Can't tell here.
These wild flowers were growing every where along the creek! Aren't they just glorious!

Livy and Boo made paper boats and had boat races!


Hey look, I think, my boat is winning!






Boo realizing that paper is NOT the best medium for boats. Just makes a soggy mess!














Patch with a cute little snake! Making his mama proud as usual!




Hey look what I caught! Can we keep it? Can we? Hu? Hu? Can we?








Patch and Livy on the great snake hunt of 2009! Maybe we can find a really BIG one!

















Now that's a big snake that Livy fearlessly snatched off the ground just before I stepped on it. That's my girl! My papa would be SO disappointed that I almost stepped on a snake! Sorry Papa, I wasn't looking down! I was tending my brood!

Sweet Tess was havin' NONE of this!

There are huge stands of of Aspens dotting these mountains. Maybe we'll go back up in the fall and see the big turn of colors. I LOVE the ferns that carpet the earth. Hmmmmm... wonder who "Ross M" is?


Really, this picture isn't posed at all! Really! Jujube just wandered in and started picking flowers! Oh my! Couldn't you just eat him up he's so yummy!


Jujube watching Papa fly fish.
I guess I should stop and explain at this point that the babes really did start out the day with clothing on. I'm not the type of trailer trash that just lets my babies wander around with a diaper on and nothing else. I mean really! I'm even the type of mama that brings along a spare change of clothing for my kiddos should there be an unavoidable "incident." I'm also the type of mama that not once, but twice, let both babes on separate occasions, toddle out into the creek and fall in and get completely soaked... thus the diaper. 4 sopping wet sets of clothing. OK, maybe I am the type of mama that lets my babes toddle around in diapers. If it looks like trailer trash and quacks like trailer trash, then so be it. Quack! Gonna have to go get me a trailer though.




















My little hikers!
Tess needs to put on a few more pounds I know. We're working on it!



















Papa caught a little Apache trout just a few casts after this! Look how clear the water is!






Back at the cabin-
One peddles and 1 steers! Maybe I should have been hollering, "Hey kids! Come back inside and get those bike helmets on!"

























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