Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I've moved!

For months now I've been intending to move my blog....time has not been my friend, but FINALLY I have my new blog up and running. You may find me @

Monday, October 17, 2011

Everything always happens in batches

Why does life always get busy in batches?

I'm excited to have life slow down a tad bit this week.
(big deep sigh)
In the mean time, I have pictures.

This week we had two photo friendly activities.
Peekaboo had her homecoming dance
We held our Fall Recognition Night for Activity Day Girls.

First- Homecoming.

Peekaboo was very excited for the homecoming dance this year. She really wanted a long dress so that she would be different. Homecoming is usually much more casual and short dresses are the norm. As a family we all went out and helped her shop. JR and I were not as enthusiastic as she but we still had fun(ish). Her friend Abby also came along. She found the perfect black dress right away but the price was not budget friendly, so on we went. The girl's enjoyed finding silly dresses to try on (check out those wedding dresses). I loved this beautiful blue dress she tried on but I was the only one....eventually she found a pretty pink, budget friendly grecian style gown. She said she had an "OK" time at the dance but really, I think her favorite part of the whole experience lay in finding the perfect dress and then getting all dolled up and posing for pictures.

Now on to Recognition Night. I actually can't remember how many years I've been a leader in Activity Day Girls. It's truly fuzzy. It's maybe 6 or 7 years. So that means I've done 12-14 Recognition Nights, somewhere around there. The program has gradually grown and expanded over the years. I try to have the girls do as much of the program as possible. This year the girls conducted, gave talks, conducted the music, performed a special musical number "We are different" and gave the opening and closing prayers. They did such a wonderful job. I had 18 girls earn awards for their FIG. I award a charm for each of the goals completed. Out of the 18 girls who were being awarded 15 showed up. I awarded over 100 charms. It was a fun evening. In addition to all of the girl's hard work, my co-leader created a darling slideshow and my other co-leader played the piano, and another was in charge of food.... I couldn't do all of this without all of the help I get. I love serving in the Activity Day Girls program. Recognition Night is a lot of work, but always worth it...but, now I need a nap (or 3)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Becoming a family

As an adoptive parent, our family's milestones are different than other family's. Do you remember when you realized you were pregnant with your first child? I remember where I was that August day when I got the call that a committee of social workers had voted that my hubby and I were the perfect family for an adorable little two year old girl. I'd waited at home all day on pins and needles for the phone call but I was positive that it wouldn't go our way (others hadn't), When the social worker called to give me the good news my momentous first words were "you're kidding", she then spent several minutes explaining that she wasn't kidding.

Another big milestone was the day that the adoption was actually finalized-9 months later. Usually adoptive parents are permitted to be at the signing of the adoption decree but our social worker discouraged it, so one day we came home from a fun family day and found a big packet of papers in our mailbox...It turns out that we'd been legally Peekaboo's parents for several weeks. The date of our finalization was June 10th, and we were at the Oregon Coast that day, as a family. While digitizing some of my old negatives I found the photos we took that day. Our first official finalized family photos...and we didn't even know it then.

Here's another milestone. The day Peekaboo was finally blessed and given a name. A tradition in our church. It was a big deal. We held the blessing at our home and invited friends and family. It was pretty tight in there. I remember nothing much from that blessing because I started to bawl the moment my husband spoke her name. We only have this one picture of the day because I didn't realize that I was out of film in my camera.
Here's one of the of my favorites. Peekaboo kept her distance from my hubby, a lot.... she bonded initially with me but didn't focus much on my Johnny... I took this picture because it was a time when he was working on the computer and she walked up to him and wanted to be on his lap. We had other pictures of them together, but this is the first where she 'chose' him. It was a special moment.

Creating a family is an intricate, delicate experience regardless of how it is formed. What are your memories of your milestones for your family?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pico De Gallo

Gee, I sure hope I spelled the title correctly.
this is one of those posts that I'm mostly doing so that I remember.

Our tomatoes this year are yummy! This year I'm not ready to can our surplus so I tried to think of a favorite option. My answer was pico de gallo. I found a recipe to make pico de gallo (peeko-de-guy-Oh)several years ago and I make it each summer. It's always a huge hit. I tinkered with the recipe and made my own variation. The pico can be frozen although I don't know for how long since we always eat it so fast. We love to eat pico de gallo over top of spice fish or salmon, personally, I like it with poached eggs.

Here's my recipe: for future reference
4-6 small early girl tomatoes or 2-3 larger table sized tomatoes- chopped in nice big pieces
1/2 cup white onion (or even a walla walla sweet)- diced
1/2 cup red onion- diced
1 small jalapeno or 1/2 of a large (I like to scrape the seeds out of one half, and leave the seeds to the other half)- finely dice
3-4 garlic cloves (to taste) finely chopped
1/2 cup diced cilantro
1 tsp salt (optional)
3 tbs sugar (or splenda- optional)

Mix everything together and then let the pico sit for at leaste 2-3 hours, best after 24 hours....This recipe is so fantastic with a little black beans and salmon...yummmmmmm!

P.S. I'd like to show a picture but the pico I just made is already gone. Hopefully more tomatoes turn red soon so that I can make some more. can use canned/drained diced tomatoes. but it's not as good.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do you remember 9/11?

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches so does TV and news footage reminding us all of that awful day. It's funny how the footage brings such strong memories to the fore. I remember that day clearly. It was my daughter's second day of kindergarten. She was 5 1/2 years old. We'd gotten up early as a family to have family prayer. My daughter was getting dressed in her bedroom and I was cleaning our shower. My hubby called me with news that he'd heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the twin towers in New York. I remember laughing, imagining some little prop plane type thing being too stupid to see that tall tower. Of course I was sad for the loss of life but anything devious was beyond my imagining. So, I turned on the news and began to watch and was horrified to realize it was a full sized airplane. I remember sitting there brushing and braiding my daughter's long silky hair while the second plane hit the other tower....I remember the moment when I realized that the world I grew up in was not the reality that my daughter, this precious child chattering and eating breakfast would inherit. I remember seriously debating NOT sending my daughter to school, but I didn't want to frighten her. I remember taking her to soccer practice later that day and standing at the sidelines with all of the other shell shocked parents, all of us wanted to protect our children from the violence that was erupting but we knew we wouldn't be able to. Now, our children are in their late teens and the reality they've inherited is a world of war and fear and division. I feel sad.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Girls Camp IE Miracle Camp!

I believe in Miracles. I believe in small miracles that slowly saturate our lives. I try to recognize these small miracles but sometimes they are hard to recognize until time has passed. Other miracles are more obvious and overt. I want to tell you about some of our miracles lately associated with my daughter's LDS Girls Camp. My sweet girl, Peekaboo, is a handful and a half (maybe even three quarters). She's never been easy or easy going. She has always challenged everything in every way. This past year she has been refusing to attend church or even participate in anything religious (any religion). She's been defiant and unappreciative of the love that surrounds her at home and at church. It's been hard. Her father and I have had our hearts broken so many times that we began to wonder how they could possibly break again, but they did. In the Spring Peekaboo announced that she would not repeat NOT attend Girls Camp this year. Her intent was to do NOTHING all summer long. All of the alarm bells sounded in my head. This was not good. ( Church camp was not the only thing she refused to participate in ) She was shutting out good things in her life (church, vollunteer work, exercise). As a parent it was frightening to see your child shut off like that. I pleaded with her to change her mind. My pleading only provoked long drawn out arguments where I was accused of trying to control her...end of discussion. I tried everything I could think of and got such negative responses that eventually I just had to quit. In the begining of June we were at church and miraculously our daughter was along. She and a friend run up to me and thrust papers in my face and triumphantly say "We're going to Girls Camp!" I think I may have sung part of the Hallelujia chorus in the hallway of church. I ran home and signed those permission slips post haste and e-mailed them directly to the people who needed them...I was not letting her back out. I expected her to change her mind back and gripe, but she didn't, if anything her attitude improved. At one point I took her out shopping for a bathing suit, a taxing expedition under any conditions- add onto that the fact that we needed to find a modest bathing suit that would suit our modesty rules and the camps and we had a potential war on our hands. She kept looking at and picking up suits that were not ok with me and she'd look at me longingly and then put them down. I stuck to my guns and several hours later as we were about to stop we found THEM, multiple good choices...MULTIPLE!!!! Can you say Miracle, all were on sale, all were in our budget range and all of them she loved. I actually cried in the dressing room because I knew that God loves my girl.
So, this week she finally went to camp. She went without tons of makeup. She went in a positive mood. She participated in ALL (well, almost all) of the pre-camp prep activities. She went, she had a good time, she came home with hundreds of usable pictures and she came home happy. To me that is the Miracle. A happy child.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's OK to be cliche

I sent my beautiful daughter and my sweet hubby off to our churches girls camp this year.  I hope they have a wonderful time, I hope they took pictures.  I sent them both off with the admonition to 'take pictures' as I have in the past, let's hope this year's better.
I asked my daughter for certain pictures and certain types of pictures and she looked a little irritated with me...she rolled her eyes and mumbled something along the lines of "I know...." (stop nagging me). 

This brings me to the purpose of this post.  I want to tell you that it is OK to go to an event or an outing with certain photos in mind.  I choose to make a list (physical or mental) before I ever leave the house (or car, or whatever).  It's OK to ask for a group photo (nothing sets the stage of where you are and why you're there better than a group photo).   Here are some suggestions for photos or types of photos you want to take to document your daily life or special events.

1.) group photo
2.) individual photos that establish a place (in front of a sign or with someone think *mini mouse*)- if you have more than one child they will likely want pictures of just themself in a special places.
3.) special groups (think sibling groups, groups of grandchildren with seldom seen grandparents, one on one and a group)
4.) candid photos
5.) photos of family traditions (big ones and little ones......more on family traditions another time.)

Don't be afraid of taking a bad picture.  Just take the pictures.  Go ahead, be a family bully.  Take those pictures!