slide show

Sunday, February 28, 2010

An eternity & an instant

Two years ago, on this very day, we saw this face.

Half a world away, on a computer monitor, we fell in love with our daughter.
She was almost 5 months old in this picture.
When the person you love is half way across the world and all you have is a photo of them, you study every tiny fragment to learn all you can.  I immediately noticed those gorgeous bow-tie lips and her broad nose, that little scathe mark between her eyebrows.  And of course those eyes.  Those big dark soulful eyes.  I wondered what size that big shirt was and where that stuffed turtle came from.
It would be 7 more months till we would hold her in our arms... 7 months that felt like an eternity.

And now two years have passed for our wonderfully glorious special daughter... two years that feel like an instant.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Knot Dress - The Sequel

Sunny helped pick out the fabrics, so pink of course is in the mix 'cause she says every princess needs some pink.  I added pockets this time.  Tess goes around all day putting her treasures in there.  Paper clips, erasers, wrappers, barrettes, ribbons...
Someone asked... it takes me about 1 day to make.  Not a whole day, maybe 4 hours when nobody is bugging me, which never happens., so it's so much more than 4 hours.  
Again, the pattern in on this blog and is quite easy to follow if you have a little sewing know-how.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bad influence

What happens when you get 3 toddlers together for a photos?

It starts ok. I check my ISO.  Aperture.  Try to learn to focus.  Take a test shot.

My depth of field and focus are way off.  And in a flash, Tess decides her bum is her best asset.  Jujube gets ready to launch himself down the stairs.  Tori sits sweetly and smiles for the camera.

Then it goes bad.  Notice Tori still sits while my rug rats take off in opposite directions.

And it gets worse.

So here's how bad a photographer I am.  I brought my camera and somewhere between finding two week-old sippy cups of milk under the car seat, and breaking up a vicious bout of hair pulling... I forgot my memory card.  Head hung in shame!

So Kim let me borrow her camera.  She was in Scottsdale visiting, and adopted Tori from VietNam from the same agency we did at the same time.  Both our adoptions were full of so so much bureaucratic crappola and led to excruciating delays.  It's good to bond with folks that know the road you've traveled.

A camera is a lot like your car.  Driving someone else's just isn't the same.  I had to adjust the seat, I couldn't find the headlights, and I flipped on the windshield wipers when trying to turn on the blinker.

Tori, Kim's daughter is the same age as T&J.  These 3 share the same mother land, similar histories.  Someone asked, "Are they triplets?"  I was so tempted to just say yes and walk off.  Why else would there be 3 Asian kiddos in the same place at the same time?  Kim was sweet, "No they're all just around the same age."

The resemblance between Jujube and Tori is so striking to me.  So typically Vietnamese with those full cheeks, gorgeous almond eyes, and cute little chin.

Thanks so much Kim for the visit.  I'll try to remember my memory card next time!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Knot dress attempt

I've been drooling over Matilda Jane clothing even before Tess came home.  It's criminal how expensive it is.  (My grandmother would've said that!)  This gorgeous girl (also from VietNam) has the most fabulous wardrobe, including shoes, ever!   Thanks again Norah for the awesome photos and all the inspiration.

My friend Kim made these cute skirts for her daughter.

Sherri sewed up a storm for PC when she was preggos.

And that's how it happened... I got inspired.
My sewing machine had no less than 6" of dust on it.  Thanks to my home ec class in jr. high, say circa 1982, I sewed a lot of my own clothing.  I was never really good at it, but it was cheaper on my $10 a week allowance.  But I haven't sewn clothing since my oldest was a baby, 16 years ago.  I wondered if it was like riding a bicycle.

Papa was a little concerned about the wack-a-doodle fabric combination.
After some surfing, I found this pattern for a Matilda Jane "knot dress" look-a-like.  Note the paper pattern for the bodice copied directly from the site above.  I've never really been that creative.  I am however a good thief and steal other's ideas frequently.   Let's just call it getting inspired.  Sounds better that way.
I threw some dinner in the crockpot so I wouldn't  really have to worry about dinner.  (Machaca-a Mexican shredded beef, for burritos which was so easy, and the kiddos devoured it.  Thank you, Krista for the recipe!)  Then turned on the IPOD for some intense dancing to keep the babes occupied till lunch.  And off to sewing.

The older kiddos literally gathered around the table in awe to watch this new fangled contraption, as if they had never seen a sewing machine.  There were mistakes, and my seam ripper got a work out on a couple occasions.  But they weren't fatal.

As I was pressing a seam open, Boo and I had this conversation.
Boo:  Mom, you don't iron.
Me: (a little defensively) Yes, I do.  See, I'm ironing now.
Boo: No, I mean like in 2009.

He's right.  I don't iron.  At least not last decade.

But look how cute it turned out!  As soon as Tess put it on, she started swinging her hips back and forth.  It was SO worth all that seam ripping to see that skirt sway to and fro.
Even the back is so so cute!  Sunny requested a dress with this back for her next.
Livy said she needs more pics on the blog.  Hang on to those legs warmers and shoulder pads!  Evidently crimping is back in.  Who woulda thunk?
I did change a few things from the original pattern like adding the little apron and how the straps attach at the sides, but I'm quite proud of my efforts!  Proud enough to go back to the fabric store and make another!

Friday, February 19, 2010

PC & The Attention Hog

My nephew, PC, is 4 months old now and is just the happiest little guy!  He has a quick smile and is so easy going, which is a really good thing when you're the 4th kiddo in the family.  And I think he's gonna be a real looker, (do people still say that any more?) with that creamy skin and those big dark eyes.

Here's what happens more often than I'd like when I take photos for someone, and my little ones are around.

For most of the shoot Jujube had accessed his Swiss-mountain-climber roots, and mistaken my back for Mnt. Kiliminjaro.  He just couldn't stay out of the action no matter what bribery I tried.   (I'd like to say I'm past bribery.  I used to say this when I only had 1 or 2 children.  But now I'm not.)  Toward the end, Jujube figured he'd get more attention in front of the lens.

Hmmmmmmm, wonder how I can get me some of that attention?
Maybe offer PC some of my carrotts?
Here baby, have some yummy crunchy carrott!
Help me steal some of the lime light from this baby, Tess!
Maybe if I could just squeeze in this little tiny crack of space and get in the picture...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boogie-beach monster

Before we headed back home, we went down to Mission Beach for a quick visit.

It was the first time the babes had been to the beach and ocean.  It was so sweet watching both Patch and Livy because they were both so excited to show the babes the beach and the water and shells and seaweed.  I decided to sit back and let them.  They were the proudest brother and sister there ever was.  And I think the pictures seem to capture this, and for me, that's what the camera is all about, capturing not just the image, but the flavor of the moment.  So when I look back I can not only see it, but taste it too.

I was sorry that our beach visit couldn't have been for longer, but as it turned out, a huge storm had blown through, and it was chilly and blustery.  Jujube was still on overload from the D-land trip and not feeling well. So he stayed clung to Papa the entire time, lest the boogie-beach monster come and gobble him up.  And let's be honest with ourselves, at Mission Beach this can be a real possibility.

Then this happened.

So we cut our beach visit even shorter.  I guess Jujube was right 'bout that boogie-beach monster after all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


A sweet little smitten valentine-

Boo's smitten with her.  That's the best way to describe it!  He's only 7 years old, and he has been smitten with her for quite a while now.  Over a year.

So after months of asking, I finally relented, and Grace came over to our home for a play date.  I think Boo is one of Grace's buddies.  Grace is more than a buddy to Boo.  He had this happy glassy-eyed smirk on his face the whole time she was here!

I picked them up from the bus stop, and they sat in the back and read a book together.  They took turns reading, and she helped him with the hard words, like emu.

They both giggled.

They played on the swing set and climbed on the wall.

Have you ever seen shoes this cute!  I love taking pictures of shoes.  I think that sometimes they tell the story so much better than any picture of someone's face could.

You know, I just didn't have the courage to tell Grace's mom that I am a anal-retentive soccer mom who is a bit a deprived of adult company and uses a blog to keep my memories fresh and fill a void for adult companionship.  I didn't have the courage to explain that Grace is now a running character in the aforementioned blog and ask if I could please share her daughter's picture with my cyber-space bloggie friends.  I think that may have come across a little weird and pathetic, and she was one of those gals that I'm sure had a pedicure recently.  So sadly I am not going to show you Grace's picture.

But let me say that she is as cute as a bug in a rug!  And giggles and jabbers away and always has a quick smile!  Not to mention those shoes!  I can see why he is smitten with her!  Heck, I'm smitten with her!

But when loading his backpack, I found this note he wrote to her.  It's a little tough to read through the crayon, so here's what it says,

love, Boo.             to, Gras.
I like you so much.  I like you more then enething in the world.  I hope tobay is the best day ever. 

Happy Valentine's Day!  Savor the love in every little thing!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Oh the birthday celebration was just divine!  The birthday girl, our Aunt Mickey, was completely surprised.  And when you're celebrating your 80th birthday, I think that's a bit risky.

Here is the birthday girl getting kisses from her brothers and sisters.  So many brothers and sisters and cousins and great great nieces and nephews!  The babies, the chicken dance, the old photos, the balloons, and the mashed potatoes!  Did I mention the mashed potatoes were divine?  Oooops! I got sidetracked again.  But they really were delicious!

I wish the party could have lasted longer, and I could have talked to more folks that I had no idea who they were.  Aren't reunions always like that?

So here're some pictures mostly for family.  If any of y'all want me to send you a file of the pic, just let me know.  If you're one of the folks that I promised black-n-white and soft focus, and didn't come through... then... hmmmmm... put on your sunglasses and squint.  I'm proud to be a member (if only in-law) of such a beautiful and beautiful-in-spirit family!

Photo disclaimer-  Full florescent lighting.  Not even a hint of natural light except in the beginning when the door opened.  Waffled between 1600 and 3200 ISO.  Did my best.
I'll pause for a moment to point out cousin Michelle, Mickey's daughter, who led a shocked Mickey in the door as we yelled surprise.  First of all, knock my socks off and wowza!  Michelle's gorgeous!  But more to the point, Michelle just, I mean just, got back from serving a tour in Iraq in the U.S. Air force.  You'd think she could've come back just looking a bit more haggard from the harsh effects of war, if only to make the soccer moms in the world (or even just the party) around her feel better about consuming all those yummy mashed potatoes.  Michelle's my new hero.  
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