Thursday, January 30, 2014

Little Things

Sometimes little things can get lost in the shuffle of taking care of those little things.  I found this note the other day.  Anna wrote it but the girls were 'in on it together'.  From when I was sick a few weeks ago.  I love their sweet intent and how they so wanted to take care of me.  (oh, and how my teaching them that lists and checking things off really works)


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


There's nothing quite like a stop at the library and filling up a little table with books. I love a good book recommendation from a friend for my girls. (thanks Cindy)


Or a book recommendation for me from one of my girls. (Anna was right, I loved this book... anything seasonal, family related, old fashioned, loved it Anna)


And I loved the note that came with it.


I'm reading this for the third time through. I wrote about it back here and still adore it. I know it's because Will Deal who Abbie falls in love with, marries, and builds her life with is just like Scott.

And I love a book this one wrote. Oh this one was silly and so much fun to listen to. The snowman was an "irish stepper" Soooo cute!



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Better When We're Together

This girl is going for the 'most sent home sick from school' award. I think she's got this one in the bag. Here's Monday... sent home sick again

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dating You Five ~ Le'Tara Spa Night

Oh man, this one has been my favorite so far... or at least tied with this date! I knew that shopping and eating out couldn't be all of our dates. This was in fact Scott's 40th birthday present. Some of the dates had to be just for him. And this one sure was it!!!

Welcome to Le'Tara Spa Night (in the comfort of our own home... you know I love the stay at home dates)

I can't show you all of the pictures because well, blush, I just can't. But I will show you the set up in case you want to try this out at home. PS ~ your husband will LOVE this!

So here's how it went.

On January 1st Scott opened his January date envelope. And it went something like this.

The date card with the date description. And then some other things in the envelope that he couldn't open yet. (I didn't want him to read through the Le'Tara Spa Brochure until the night of the date)

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And then starting Monday he had to 'earn' his money. Basically every little extra thing he did around the house got him some spa cash. I know it was super corny but it made it that much more fun. Vacuum the mud room = spa buck, put your shoes away = spa buck and on and on.


On to Spa Night!

The girls went to bed super early which worked out great because Abigail had a cold starting and Anna was wiped from tennis that afternoon.

One ~ First I told Scott he had to put on his nicest lounge wear and shave. Then it was Dinner At The Oasis. (aka.. our family room transformed) The fire was going and I had the ottoman set up with a tray and magazines. I added a side table and some red wine. I played music like this (music) and shut the doors.


I gave him some time to relax while I got dinner ready. (I went earlier to Panera)  I served a steak sandwich on facatta bread, broccoli and cheddar soup and a baguette.


It was at the end of the meal that he got to read his spa brochure.  And choose what treatments he'd like.

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14 16 collage

Two ~ When he was almost done eating (and I knew the girls were faaaast asleep) I got the spa ready.  (aka the girls bathroom... our only tub bathroom)  I set it up like this.


I bought a new spa - like white towel and some spa essentials.




I added in some chocolate and glass of ice water.



I lit a candle (Baker's Vanilla) and got the bath water ready.  Added a small heater to make it spa toasty and brought the spa music upstairs.


This felt a little silly but I must say that he was starting to get really into this whole spa thing!

Lights out, candle lit.


Three ~ I heated the towel in the dryer so that when he got out he would be extra toasty.  I wanted to buy a huge spa white bathrobe (like this one... we were staying over at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC for my 30th birthday... just one month before God filled our heart for adoption... that was one special birthday... oh now I'm getting off track)


but I know that he wouldn't wear it after this night and they're super expensive so I also heated up some lounge wear that he likes (aka new jammies) and after a looooooong time in the spa bath it was on to those treatments he had chosen.  More played more spa music and had lots of oil.  and even though I'm not known for giving more than a two minute back rub I stuck to a long one.  There was champagne in between treatments and well the rest I'll leave up to you to figure out.

I'm wife hero this morning.  Not just for the back rub, foot massage, or steak sandwich but for the silly goofy idea and for trying.  Sometimes we get so busy we forget that we love to hang out together.  That we're in love, and that same love we had when we were first married is still there.


Friday, January 24, 2014

A Bundle of Thoughts

I'm a busy bundle of thoughts today.  Sometimes I think that if I type them here in this place on this blank white piece of paper they'll all form into one happy day.  Or maybe I'll type them to look back at one day.  Things that were occupying my head.  So here we go...

* Anna fell apart last night.  It was b.a.d.  Kicking, trowing, hitting, whatever came in her path. Sobbing, sweating, and screaming.  Pure PTSD in action.  Over homework but it wasn't about the mixed fractions.  She was unbalanced, adjusting to her new schedule and new feelings.  She was coming off of a day when her cortizol levels must have been screaming high trying to get through her first rehearsal, a bus ride.  It's hard for her and she fights each day to feel safe.  Just walking down a sidewalk, hallway, sitting in a chair can be painful for her mentally.  If it's not her sidewalk, her hallway, her chair that she's used to and claimed.  Now before you jump ahead and think, "well you did it to her.  You push her into all of these things."  Yes, I wrestled with that last night.  Every new step she takes in life is going to do this for her.  We're just giving her little opportunities to experience victory over them now.  And her eyes.  She was sparkling when she stepped out of Inter El yesterday.  She was so proud of herself and loved it.  Now that she knows how the walls around her feel in that new orchestra room and what chair is hers she'll be fine.  I love her so but I can't take her pain away.  I just have to help her through it all.  She'll be okay.
* Last night I got a voicemail from another Inter El parent asking me if I wanted to carpool so that I only have to pick Anna up every other week.  Sounded good to me (never done a carpool before).  I especially liked (okay loved) the part when the mom said, "I'm sure you have other things you need to do with your... get ready for this... little one."  Yes, she called Abigail my little one.  I LOVE that because I feel like the days of me having a 'little one' tagging along with me; hand in mine are fast slipping away.  Thank goodness that my first grade looks like she four when she's out and about with me.  Still my little one.  So the voicemail solidified the fact that I'm still a mom with a 'little one'.  Ohhhh that made me happy!

And some random pictures to go along with these random thoughts

Abigail took her first bite of lunchbox fruit.  This was it.. and boy did we celebrate!  Eating is a BIG deal with Abigail!


It was jammie day at school and Abigail wanted to see the back of her hair that I curled that morning.


We had our second bible study.

week 2 4

week 2 3

week 2 2

week 2 1

I love spending this time with the girls. My thoughts quiet in my mind and I soak in all the thoughts they give me. Replacing my thoughts with Gods Word is always good medicine.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Book


Do you know this book?

It's so funny! It makes Abigail giggle and that's even better than the book!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


This viola has been busy lately. It had an audition for Inter Elementary Orchestra. It's an orchestra made up of the best selected from each elementary school in town. She auditioned and while she was practicing for a different orchestra the big brown envelope arrived.

I found this the other day. A simple, random drawing but I love it. It's how she sees herself

vertical photo with splash of color

We are oh so proud of you Anna. Not for 'getting in' but for loving your instrument and finding that one thing to bring you and others such joy.

vertical photo with splash of color

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Dramatic... that was the theme for the photography workshop I'm in right now.  And dramatic this is...


She's wearing my sweater to add that pool of extra fluff to her and a look I was going for... except that it didn't add THAT much extra fluff.  And then she told me she wanted my sweater.  How did and when on earth did that happen that she could wear one of my sweaters?  Granted it's super long on her but looks so cute with leggings.  I am not okay with us being almost (and it's a big almost) the same size in clothes.


Monday, January 20, 2014


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Abigail came home with this on Friday.


And we were so excited for her!

And I noticed this little thing 45 minutes before we had to leave.  "Refreshments served" to an EoE mommy means "how fast can you make from scratch mini muffins so that she'll have a refreshment too?"



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This is what she adds to prayer time every single night so reading this didn't surprise me one bit.




Sunday, January 19, 2014

Last Sunday, a Concert

They both played. That makes me happy. To see both of them shine on the same day.

Anna on the far left and little Abigail on the right.

That face is the first 'look' I ever saw on Anna when she was placed in my arms so long ago.  It's what we call her 'first day of school face'. 


fuzzy but I had to crop one in
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And just had to add these in. For what's better than practicing in your jammies?

2 4x6 horizontal and 1 vertical with line

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Love Letters ~ Portraits In The Snow


Dear Anna Jiang Qian and Abigail Mei,

I don't know how it can; but it does.  Just the thought inside my head as I type 'letters to my daughters' takes my breath away.


How happy I am to be your mama.

You are such big girls now. I'm not quite sure how it happened; ten and six. You were just babies on my hips. I carried you everywhere and all the time. Little Abigail I can still pick you up but you and your big sister are showing me the way now. It's your personalities shining through. I'm learning each day who you are and a little bit more of what you'll become. Each day you give me a little glimpse into the future but you still hold my hand. Oh and your hands still feel little in mine.

And you are sweet. Sweet to me, sweet to your daddy, sweet to your grandparents, and sweet to each other.

You are the best sisters.  I know you will be life long best friends.  You were chosen, put together to be together by God for a special purpose in life.  Although His plan is yet to fully unfold I know that walking in His path today and tomorrow will lead you to fulfillment in life; a happiness that the world can not offer you.  You have each other and forever love from daddy and I.

Sometimes when I look at you I see the difficult events that you have gone through.  Abandonment, newborn months and months in an orphanage, a chronic disease and food allergies.  But you remind me every day that those things make you stronger.  More patient.  They give you a more loving heart.  And a faith in God so great that it's the core of you.  They are parts of your life that I would take away in an instant if I could.  For my childhood knew no pain as you've been through Anna or daily struggle as you have Abigail.  But no one in the world I believe can feel love so deeply as you do Anna and no one in the world has more empathy for others than you little mei mei.

You are both a gift to your daddy and I.  We cherish you.  We love you.  We adore you.

Love, mommy xoxoxo





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