Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009



My Mom & Dad arrived on Saturday and my younger sister, Claudine, got here on Wednesday night. My Mom is a whirlwind of activity so we've been busy all week. Josie and Maddie are absolutely thrilled to have their grandparent and aunt here with them. Grandmom & Josie baked cookies on Tuesday:




(a Maryland crab cookie in honor of Aunt Claudine!)

We also celebrated James birthday last Saturday. Boy, is he getting old!!



Here's one last photo of Maddie directing Grandmom on how to stuff a turkey ;-)



Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ortega Wildfire



Yesterday we had another California 'first'. We had just picked up Maddie from school when we noticed some purplish, brown 'clouds' off to our left on Antonio Parkway. The further south we drove, it became clear that what we were seeing was not clouds but smoke from a wildfire in the hills. This is how it looked as we travelled south:



Being the adventurers that we are - and having our camera on hand - we followed the smoke to the Ortega Highway.



We weren't the only ones. I pulled over on a turnout on the winding Ortega Highway, trying to determine the location of the fire. Kind of a useless act because there are no cross roads on the highway. It runs straight through the hills with nothing on either side of the highway... So we just followed the highway and soon began to see the planes and helicopters fighting the wildfire.



Finally, we came upon the staging area for the firefighters and the actual origin site of the wildfire.







It is truly amazing to see the power of these wildfires out here. They seem to have a life of their own, destroying anything in their path. This fire was contained, but not extinguished, around 11 o'clock last night. It was started by a downed electrical line around noon yesterday. In that short time, the fire consumed 250 acres. There were no injuries or property damage. You can read the whole story HERE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Not Just the Smile...



After seeing the Halloween photos I posted here and on Facebook, my friend Donna suggested I should do a post about how James and Josie have the same exact smile. It's so true.

It is rumored that the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) goes to great lengths to match each child to a family with similar characteristics. I know many adoptive parents who are amazed by how well this matching process seems to have worked. We would love our children no matter what, but it is so incredibly fascinating to see ourselves in them. Obviously, James & Josie have the similar Asian features. But, it's downright scary to see how their gestures, facial expressions and overall temperaments are exactly the same!

I went through my photo archives to see how far back I could spot these similarities. I was totally surprised to see that they have been alike since the very beginning! Thanks, Donna for suggesting this trip down memory lane! See if you agree that our Josie is the image of her Dad:


This photo was taken when Josie had been home with us for just a few days.


This photo still cracks me up, nearly 3 years later!


You can see here that Josie also has her GungGung's smile!


Here, it's the look in James' eyes that I see now in Josie...

And finally, this is a series of photos I took of James and Josie while we were on vacation in 2007. Me, Maddie, James and Josie were enjoying the sunset as our ship departed Piraeus (Athens) Greece. Maddie and I still love looking at these photos and marveling over the absolute love you can see in their eyes:









Monday, November 2, 2009

Scenes From Halloween


The Princess & her Dad




Josie and her friend, Katie



Trick or Treating:










I'm still waiting for Maddie's photos from the party she attended on Saturday night. She went dressed as Madonna (circa 1980's) and won for best costume!