30 September 2008

Piper has been so thrilled lately to meet some new friends! When Kris was here last week we met up with another family whose blog I have followed for a couple of years, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting Chris & Deb and their stunning daughter Sophie, the girls seemed to get along famously and Piper has been begging for another playdate all week!

This past weekend we had a colleague of Mike's over for dinner (with her charming husband and super cute daughter Ellie!).Ellie is a year younger than Piper, but they seemed to very well together. Piper so desperately wants friends to play with, but living where we do, we haven't had too much interaction with children her own age, hopefully this is a sign that this is changing!
hmmm...both girls live in Minneapolis...we live in the burbs....
I think we need to move!

29 September 2008

On Sunday, we visited one of our favorite little independent book stores in Minneapolis...it's a cute bookstore, perfectly designed for little ones, from the cats, roosters and chinchillas that reside alongside Harry the Dirty dog, and Pippi Longstockings, to the wee purple door within the larger grown up door that opens to admit only the pint sized lovers of the written word.
Once there, we gave Piper a mission, to find a book...any book...her choice...
at one point, a new addition to the Charlie & Lola family caught her eye, but then...she saw this book, and asked to see it...perhaps because there is a little girl on the cover who looks like her? or perhaps because she recognized the illustrations(she has another book illustrated by the same person)...but personally I like to think because it spoke to her from the shelf...whispered, "pick me, choose me, love me"(sorry, I snagged that line from Grey's Anatomy)
This is Piper's new favorite book...by Archbishop Desmond Tutu! It's self explanatory, but speaks of the truest love of all...it doesn't judge you for your path to GOD, it embraces all the children..no matter what color, religion, size or shape.
This...while simple in text..is pure in every sense of it's message.
Piper, enamoured, sleeps with God's Dream under her pillow.
Now isn't that the best review you could hope for.

28 September 2008

Sarah Palin may lie, but numbers don't. Her record speaks for itself:

2007: the year in which Sarah Palin first obtained a passport
312: the number of nights during her first 19 months in office that Palin charged taxpayers a "per diem" totaling $16,951 for staying in her own home -- an allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business

$500 to $1,200: the fee that Wasilla charged rape victims to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams, after the city cut funds during Palin's tenure that had previously covered the exams

$150: the cash payment offered by the Palin administration to hunters who turn in legs of freshly killed wolves gunned down from airplanes

3: the number of times during her first few weeks as mayor that Palin inquired with the Wasilla librarian about banning books

3: the number of months after the censorship discussion that Palin fired the librarian

100: the approximate number of Wasilla residents who rallied to support the librarian, prompting Palin to withdraw her termination letter

0: the number of foreign heads of state Palin has met(prior to the rush on the UN this past week)

0: the number of commands Palin has issued as head of the Alaska National Guard

2: the number of times in Palin's ABC News interview that she said the word "nucular"

0: Wasilla's long-term debt when Palin took office in 1996

$18.6 million: the long-term debt Palin racked up by the time she left office in 2002, amounting to about $3,000 per resident

$50,000: the amount of city funds Palin used without authorization to redecorate the Wasilla mayor's office, including adding flocked, red wallpaper that made it look "like a bordello," according to a former Wasilla City Council member

33: the percentage by which Palin increased the budget of Wasilla during her tenure, despite billing herself as a fiscal conservative and champion of smaller government

25: the percentage by which Palin raised the local sales tax in Wasilla to pay for a sports center, despite claims that she cut taxes

$27 million: the total amount of federal earmarks Palin secured for Wasilla's town of 6,700 people while she was mayor, thanks to the help of a Washington lobbyist with ties to indicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and convicted felon Jack Abramoff

3: the number of times John McCain specifically criticized earmarks requested by Sarah Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla, citing them as examples of wasteful spending

$453 million: the total amount of earmarks Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund for Alaska projects over the past two years, despite McCain's insistence that she hasn't sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress

$506.34: the amount of federal earmarks Alaska residents will receive per capita in 2008, the highest level of any state

$223 million: the earmark secured for the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" that Palin initially supported before opposing

$223 million: the amount of money designated for the "Bridge to Nowhere" that Palin ultimately used for other projects, rather than returning it to the federal government

20: the percentage of domestic energy that Palin claims Alaska produces

3.5: the actual percentage share of domestic energy Alaska produces

0: the number of people in America who know more about energy than Sarah Palin, according to John McCain

$600,000: the loss at which Palin sold the governor's jet after making a show of placing it on eBay. It was eventually sold to a Palin campaign contributor who paid $2.1 million (more than 20% less than the original $2.7 million purchase price).

1: the number of private tanning beds Palin installed in the governor's mansion after taking office

1.5: the approximate number of hours Palin spent on a refueling layover in Ireland, which the McCain campaign cited as part of her foreign policy experience

0: the actual amount of time Palin spent in Iraq during a 2007 visit to the region, despite the McCain campaign's claim she had visited the Iraq battle zone. She never made it beyond the Khabari Alawazem Crossing in Kuwait.

2006: the year in which Palin declared she favors abstinence-only education and that "the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support"

2008: the year in which Palin's 17-year-old daughter was impregnated by a self-described "f***ing redneck," who wrote on his MySpace page "I don't want kids" and "ya f*** with me I'll kick ass"

9: the number of U.S. Geological Survey studies concluding that the habitat of Alaska's polar bears is threatened by global warming, which Palin discounted as "insufficent evidence" when she sued the Bush administration to overturn its decision to list polar bears under the Endangered Species Act

5: the number of colleges Palin attended over six years before graduating in 1987 from the University of Idaho with a major in journalism

500: the number of Fortune 500 companies Sarah Palin is not qualified to run, according to McCain adviser Carly Fiorina

50: the number of days after Palin announced she "will fully cooperate" with an ethics investigation into the "Troopergate" scandal that the McCain campaign announced she was "unlikely to cooperate" because it had been "hijacked" by Obama operatives. The probe was unanimously authorized by a bipartisan panel of eight Alaska Republicans and four Democrats.

28: the number of days prior to accepting the vice presidential offer that Palin said she couldn't entertain the idea "until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day"

15: the number of minutes McCain and Palin spent together during their only meeting prior to the interview in which McCain offered her the vice presidential slot
to me, these numbers are scarier than ANY math quizz I've ever taken.

26 September 2008

I told Paisley that there are still people out there that are thinking of voting for McCain/Palin.
She wasnt too impressed.
Now, you don't want to disappoint the kid do you?!


It looks like Mummy will have to eat her words, seems a bedazzler might be in our future? One of the coaches approached me after Pipers gymnastics class to ask me if I would be interested placing Piper into the 'fast track' program when she turns four. I'm not too sure what that entails, but I fear a bedazzler and glitter might be in our future! I'll have to wait to see what this all means, but in the meantime, Miss P is really enjoying her weekly classes and we have no intention of stopping unless she stops enjoying herself. Let me ask you though, just when did my little baby turn into such a graceful little girl?

I guess this is taking my focus away from finding the right school situation for Piper, I'm still hitting roadblocks on getting 'early entrance' to Kindergarten next year. Looks like we might have to wait until 2010 before she will be admitted, until then, we will keep her in activities like gymnastics and Chinese School to keep her stimulated.

24 September 2008

Fact: My 3 year old daughter has had a passport for longer than the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party and more scarily, she has clocked up more airmiles and more visits to different countries than Ms Palin.
Shocking isnt it.
Perhaps Piper could run for second in charge, her understanding of foreign policy is pretty damn good for a pre-schooler!

For just $12 you can help a child stay warm this winter by donating to Love without Boundaries! This is one of our families favorite Charities, and we have the utmost respect for all the work they do for orphans in China. This project is especially close to our hearts since winters here in Minnesota are HARSH, and we know how important warm coats can be for our own children. Please consider a small donation, just $12 for the coats for children charity drive. If your company matches donations, please be sure to fill out the appropriate paperwork, and your donation will DOUBLE! We are lucky that Mike's employer has this policy, so for each $12 we donate they will match it 100%...now there's a brilliant two-fer!
LWB also has a crib drive, for $75 you can purchase a crib for children living in Orphanages, a safe place to sleep is one of those essential things we tend to take for granted...every penny counts, every person CAN make a difference.

23 September 2008

Faeries in my GardenWould you like to come in for a spot of tea with the Pixies & Sprites?

perhaps some dandelion cupcakes will tempt you?

I do so hope you'll stay.

all photos by the talented Kris!

22 September 2008

I'm a little confused?
Let me see if I have this straight.....
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, and you're a maverick.
* Graduate from Harvard law School, and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a constitutional law professor, spend 8 years as a state senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state senate's Health and Human Services Committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs Committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl [I thought she was a sportscaster?], 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, and 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
* If you advocate teaching responsible, age-appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control [and educating kindergartners on how not to be the victim of a sexual predator], you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence-only sex education in your state's school system, with no other option, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, much clearer now.
Brought to you by the letters WT&F and the color BLUE

Sunset on Lake Harriet

This is my first 'sunset' shot taken this weekend at Lake Harriet. We arrived just as the sun was setting and were able to catch a few nice shots. I still have to learn so much more about my camera and lens, I can only hope that someday I can be a tenth as good as Kris or Chris! Seriously, those two have some mighty talent!


They can go around kissing babies and touting the economy is still fundamentally strong, but they will never know the powerhouse lobbyist that is my Minnesota Snowflower! I don't even think Kris could refuse the directives of this three foot poneytailed whirlwind.
Piper put her Auntie to work beautifying our neighborhood with some essential yard art.
I guess she has some kind of superpower, because Auntie Kris gave it her all....

I could almost hear swearing, but not quite, Kris is a gracious guest!
"What? Al Franken too?!"

"Nice one Auntie Kris!!!...we'll make you a democrat before you know it...you can catch it through kissing y'know!"

The world's cutest Community Organizer!

20 September 2008


and...she's smiling!

Kris might tell you that it's because she's holding one of the cutest little Obama lovers in Minnesota, but I think it's because she has found political salvation! (she may or may not endorse this message!) Today, without too much coercion, I got Kris in the car and over to Democratic Headquarters...my quest, and phase one of Operation 'hanging chads no more'. Kris actually cracked open her wallet in support of Obama!(oh yes she did!!!)..her financial support was greatly appreciated by the Democratic team, and pictures will follow of her new conviction!

17 September 2008

Got Melamine?

So I guess it's not just dogfood that has melamine in it...I just got an email from our adoption agency that let us know that the formula Paisley had in China, 'Sanlu' has been recalled for having melamine in it! You thought it was worrying for animals to be eating this!...try finding out your child has been exposed to it! I don't even let my kids eat trans fats(which is one step away from plastic anyway), or coloring, or flavorings..but the truth is she could have been exposed to this little nasty...it's like drinking milk and eating the bloody bottle afterwards! I do happen to think our BPA free bottles were good for something, but if Paisley has ingested 11 months worth of formula with this stuff in it, it would be like eating the contents of my tupperware cupboard which is just plain wrong! This does speek volumes about what needs to be changed with the way foodstuffs are produced in China...very scary! If you dont think you are affected, turn over some of the goods you buy at the grocery store...you'd be surprised how many things are grown, processed and packaged in China! Recently I watched a documentary that stated 80% of China's food/produce would not pass either EU or USA(lower than EU) guidelines! EIGHTY PERCENT! That the contaminants in the soil can be 8-20 times higher than what we consider 'safe'!!! Things must change!
Read more here
Now I have to call the pediatrician to see if a new test is necessary to determine if Paisley has been affected.

Guess who turned up at our house today...for about the tenth time this summer...Animal control! Yep, someone has a bee up their arse about our dog Olive...I think I know who is calling in the complaints...a new neighbor behind us that moved in...three months ago...guess when the complaints started?...three months ago! Now we've lived here 3.5 years and never had a single complaint or issue. Our dog is only outside when we are home, she is crated when we leave the house and quite frankly I am getting PISSED OFF! Yes, she barks...but not more than your average dog, she'll bark if someone rings our doorbell, or if the UPS man delivers a package to the neighbors house, but if she is outside(remember she only goes out when we are home) and starts to bark at the postman, UPS guy etc we will open the backdoor and ask her to come inside, total bark time....um...never more than 60-90 seconds max! All the calls are anonymous, no formal complaint..which is also pissing me off, because we have called the City to ask for mediation because quite frankly having so many 'police' visits to our home is becoming tiresome. I'm so sick of this. Also, just a note, the Animal Officer has sat in our cul de sac numerous times and never heard anything, she has also asked all our neighbors and they have no issues, it is the new people behind us I'm sure! Well, if they don't have the decency to make a complaint or agree to mediation then frankly I say 'bark and let bark'!

15 September 2008

You have no idea how excited I am that my friend/soul sister Kris is coming to visit in three days! NO IDEA! My wonderful friend and honorary Aunt to Piper & Paisley is coming to stay for one glorious weekend! Have I told you how excited we all are?!!!
I have known Kris since the beginning of our journey to Piper, she is one of the most inspiring people(not to mention wonderful photographer) I have ever met, and I am honored to call her a friend! Piper(and now Paisley) has been blessed beyond belief with such a fantastic and adoring Aunt, and I will be forever grateful for her kindness and compassion. I just hope she'll love Minnesota enough to move up here! Who wants to live in Florida anyway?! counting down the days...three more sleeps!

14 September 2008

look whats growing in my garden!
Quite possibly the most unique snowflower in the Universe.
Today I took Piper outside to take a photo for the annual 'Qujiang' calendar. We are lucky to be a part of a wonderful group of families from around the world who have adopted from Piper's SWI/orphanage. Each year one of the ladies puts together a calendar of many of the children. Piper hasn't had the opportunity to wear one of her Chinese dresses in a long time, luckily I had one or two stashed away for moments like this.
If I might say so myself, I think she scrubs up pretty good.

12 September 2008

“Or, you know, maybe someone needs to remind Sarah Palin that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.”
Noone has said it better lately than my friend Katie...her insight is truly how I feel, and why we should discuss politics as much as possible. Politics can define how we live our lives, how we are perceived by the rest of the world. We have the ability to make the world a better place...by standing up and speaking out, hearing each others views, making commitments and compromises for the better good! It still irks me rotten that the discussion isn't open in this country like it is in the UK and Europe, politics and religion are off the table for so many! What a shame, I've never lived in a place that these topics aren't up for discussion on a daily basis...it's also strange to me that American politics ARE discussed feverishly around the water cooler and dinner tables of millions of Europeans & Antipodeans...but not here...no, that wouldn't be appropriate?

10 September 2008

Go sell crazy someplace else!

of course she's qualified..that's a rifle on her shoulder..a pre-requisite for Republican VP's!

Today I was in our local Supermarket and came across this magazine...Holy Mother of God! Are we really serious people? Is this all you can come up with for a potential VP of the most powerful country on the PLANET? Isn't there someone else? Bueller? Bueller? Please don't tell me this gun waving broad from the nether-regions of the country(sorry Alaska, but you aren't exactly the heart of the country!) is the best and the brightest the Republican (guuch guuch..Gollum cough, please excuse me) Party has to offer? What is disturbing me more than anything is that anatomy is seeming to play a part in people choosing which ticket to vote for...hey, I'm all for equal opportunities, but seriously Condi Rice is a better option, and she's black AND wears a bra!(double whammy) C'mon people, this is scary scary scary...not even Batcat will be able to help us if these jokers get into office!

for your viewing pleasure some nice juicy twofaced spin from the Elephants(my hero John brings it!)

disclaimer: if you are a republican, turn away now...oops, I guess I should have put the disclaimer at the top.


Piper is mad mad mad about Batcat! It's hilarious, she is pumped up on this obscure superhero that resides within her favorite TV show 'Charlie & Lola'...this isnt a whim by the way, Piper has adored these little British imps from the time she was uh...probably two years old. I'm totally cool with it, it could be something far more obnoxious..so I encourage her, and let her relish her relationship with Charlie...and Lola, and Soren Lorenson(Lolas imaginery friend), Lotta, Marv and Sizzles the dog too...and of course, her newest fav...BATCAT.
This is her redition of her superhero.
medium: black marker and paint

"Batcat the super cat.
He's a super-dooper, super cat.
Well fancy that..a hero cat!
He flies and fights for kittens rights,
and saves the day in every way.
Batcat is a super cat,
he really is a super-dooper cat.
A hero cat..well fancy that!
Lets lets lets hear it for BATCAT!"

05 September 2008

Thank You Katie!!!One of my dear friends in England sent something special for Piper & Paisley this week...the cutest matching long sleeved t's I have ever laid eyes on! They say "I love ponies, poppies and pink....but not peas" very very sweet!!!

In her package was also a copy of the Charlie & Lola magazine that isn't available here in the States, and guess what the magazine had a special on? BATCAT! Piper's favorite!!! We are so excited to make the finger puppets! Piper has requested 'Batcat' as her Halloween costume this year...wish me luck making that one! We also got some lovely lollies and I got an organic cotton shopping tote which I have already used and love!

Thank you so much Miss Katie, I can't believe how kind you are!

03 September 2008

Last days of Summer

Piper loves our neighbors...and enjoyed spending many hours with the girls this summer, we're lucky to have such lovely girls living across the cul de sac! A, B & D have always played a big part in Piper's life, and we cherish them dearly.


We saw your face for the very first time! Teresa from CCAI called in the early afternoon to let us know that she had our referral...the sweetest little face we could have imagined appeared on our computer screen, a tiny photo of you, dressed in red...freshly shaved hair, and pouting lips!

A few days later we got another two photos in the mail along with all your information...we couldnt believe how wild your hair was back then, just like Daddy's.

we feel so incredibly blessed and honored to be your parents.

How lucky we are to have you in our family Piper Lily Hannah!

"my extremely most proper first day"

Yesterday was Piper's first day of preschool...well, not her 'offical' first ever first day (she attended pre-school 3's last year for six months)...but...since this is a new school and a new year...this is IT! We had planned to have a nice family breakfast together before taking Piper to school, but Mike's new alarm clock miraculously forgot to beep(turns out our resident rocket scientist set it for 6.15PM, instead of AM!)so we all got up rather late, and ended up getting dressed and fed and out the door in 25 minutes, which frankly is a bit of a miracle if you know us!

Of course, I had to take a few hurried shots of the 'school girl' before departing.
Piper got her Charlie & Lola schoolbag last Christmas and is completely STOKED to be using it at last!!!

I dropped her off, put her thermos of milk in the fridge, helped her with her locker and nametag and she never even looked back when I said goodbye!
On the way to school if she will be doing "adding up and subtracting?" - funny kid.