to China for Clementine – my favorites: Shamian Island

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Yesterday marked nine months since we met Clementine. We didn't celebrate with a cake or a photo session. Our girl is still deep in the recovery stages of open heart and slide tracheoplasy surgery. I've shared a lot of the last few weeks on Instagram and I'm not sure yet if I'll sit down and blog about it because it was so very hard, y'all. I walked through an open heart surgery with Isabelle shortly after she came home, and thought I had an inkling of what it might be like. I was wrong. I just thank the Lord He went before, beside and behind us, in a mighty way. I … [Read more...]

a mama’s gotta do…

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School's out. Which means I have all of my babies, from the littlest to the biggest, home. As must as I wish it were otherwise, this is rare. Due to Zach's college schedule, sometimes this phenomenon only occurs twice a year. Which leaves a mama with only one thing to do. Insist on taking pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Thankfully, I knew a place we could go where the kids can actually have fun in the process. Even better, it's free. And we picked a day that had a questionable forecast, in order to miss the crowds, and arrived just … [Read more...]

the year of the sheep

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We wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year on Thursday - the official first day of the Lunar New Year. Didn't happen. Then we hoped to celebrate on Saturday. Nope. On Sunday Chris took the boys to church and I kept the girls home since we had three still recovering from fever/nausea/rash. And we were finally able to get the party started. The girls and I began by pulling down box after box of keepsakes gathered during eight trips to China. We looked through it all. Pearls and jade bought for the girls. Chopsticks and tobacco boxes purchased for … [Read more...]

Happy 11th.

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Sophie Lu is 11. And, among many other things, she's a girl who knows her mind. So when it came time to pick a menu and shop for party accessories, I just got out of the way. She chose a local burger joint with the best sweet potato fries, ever. Chocolate Trifle, covered with chocolate chips. Pink party accessories. And mustaches... for everyone. I like this girl's style. Happy 11th, Sophie Lulu. I love you and the strong, beautiful young lady you have become. … [Read more...]

2014 in review: 24 of my favorites

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It's become a bit of a thing around here, I suppose: going through my pictures at the end of the year and plucking out a few favorites. It's laborious. It's time consuming. But I love it because it's a chance to look back at the year, as a mama, and see how my babies have grown. Cherish important milestones. Remember sweet moments. I don't love it because it's a chance to look back at the year, as a photographer, and see how my photography has grown. Or not. *ahem* But whatever. I am still clicking away. And perfect or not, these images tell the story of … [Read more...]

christmas 2014

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It was noisy. It was chaotic. It was wonderful. And the best part? Having this little one home. Be still my heart. To have her here, with us this year, was the greatest gift we could have ever imagined. But the kids wanted toys, too For some crazy reason. Tallula got a Frozen snuggle-thing. Whose one-size-fits-all sizing is evidently for much larger kids. But with Elsa's face on the front, does it really matter? Vivienne got the Bright Eyes Kitty. There were 3 Bright Eyes designs and 4 of my girls wanted one. Lula lost. Thankfully Lula is easy-going and … [Read more...]

Christmas cookies

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This Christmas we are paring down. 1. because we want to 2. because we have to Last year we pared down a lot. And it was good. But the Lord has continued to open our eyes to the all ways He has gone before us. And continues to walk alongside us. There is nothing that we need that we don't already have. Really, what could a box contain that could compare to having Him? Beyond spending less, this year we are going out less. Like not. at. all. None of the usual Christmas festivities or outings, all in an effort to keep our littlest peanut as healthy as … [Read more...]

to China for Clementine: the silks

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Years ago, it became the tradition to buy your new child a set of silks, and take a picture of them on the "red couch" at the White Swan Hotel (the hotel where almost all the new adoptive families stayed) on your last day in China. Poppy was the last of our kiddos to follow in that tradition. The White Swan closed its doors in 2011. No more red couch. When we travelled to bring home Tallula in 2012, I still wanted a picture of my girl in her silks. I just needed to find a new backdrop. So we bought her some silks, and let her run loose on Shamian … [Read more...]

I’m gonna miss ’em.

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So what does a mama do, when she should be packing for China? She ventures into the fall-colored woods with her kiddos and takes pictures of their sweet faces. Because she's gonna miss 'em. Crazy to me that I'll be leaving in a little over 24 hours. And I'll be away for 2 whole weeks. Away from all these shiny little faces. All these busy little hands. All these noisy little feet. I am *almost* missing them already, and I haven't even left yet. Almost. Thankfully, they're not feeling the same sappy sentimentality over momma leaving. Because … [Read more...]

orphan sunday

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Today is Orphan Sunday. We watched a video in church that was created to celebrate all the children who have come home to families in our church through adoption. Some from Ethiopia. South Korea. Alabama. And a few especially adorable ones from China that, when their faces flashed across the screen, might have made me tear up a little. Especially their faces before they came home. It's not that they didn't have a roof over their heads. Or clothes on their backs. Or food in their belly. It's that they didn't have parents, a mama to snuggle … [Read more...]