Wednesday, October 31, 2007


For Nate's first Halloween, we went to friend's block party where they had live music & a potluck. It was a lot of fun and Nate had a good time listening to the music and getting a lot of attention. We had this afro wig that was originally for Don but looked much better on Nate. ha! Then we dressed him up in his Halloweenie p.j.'s & his beanie bat hat. I thought it would be cute to take his photo in front of the hay bales & pumpkins but he was mad because I took his snack away when I sat him there. His ladybug friend is Lauren, my good friend's daughter who I collaborate with on various freelance graphic design projects. Hope you had a fun night!

Monday, October 29, 2007


We have officially entered the next phase of parenthood. It's hard to believe that just 3 months ago, Nate was crawling, drinking out of a bottle & we were carrying him around in a Hip Hammock. Now, he's walking & climbing everywhere, can't stand to sit very long and would rather push his stroller, started signing back to us, claps, waves "hi", will pet the dog gently when you say "Be nice to the dog" & climbs up into his car seat by himself. Things that were out of his reach, no longer are. I look down at my laptop for 2 seconds and he's walked into the laundry room to pick up the dog's dish!

He'll point to the birds we feed every morning and say "Durd!" or he'll look down at Harvard if he gets too close to his highchair & say "Dit!" (We tell Harvard "Git!" if starts begging around the table). He's totally mimicking everything we do and gets very frustrated, sometimes downright mad, if he can't get what he wants or if something doesn't work the way he wants. Like if he sits on his toy and he's trying to pull it up but can't because he's sitting on it! He's so darn curious about everything and as his confidence has grown, he's not afraid to try new things, open things...basically getting into everything! He's also cutting tooth #8.

It's an exciting as well as challenging phase. We know that certain things we do & teach him are critical at this point because he's processing things and learning so rapidly. Just when we got used to his behavior, it changed and now WE'RE having to re-learn again. ha!

Today we went to this nice outdoor mall here called "La Encantada" and had breakfast at A.J.'s Fine Foods. Then we walked around the mall's courtyard for a bit. Nate had his squeaky shoes on and walked quite a ways...further and longer than he mostly does. One good thing about squeaky least you always know where your kid is! At one point he fell down and a lady walking by stopped to help him up. He looked up at her and held out his hands for her to pick him up! That is VERY unusual since he's normally very particular on who he lets hold him and it's almost never strangers or women! We think he might have thought that she looked like grandma. After a few moments, he realized that this wasn't who he thought it was and reached out for us to take him. It concerned us a little because we're not used to him doing that and we realize we need to keep an eye on him now that he's more mobile.

He's getting better about being around people at church. Stays in the nursery now and plays the entire time. The little girls at church LOVE him and are constantly hovering around him, trying to pick him up or hold him and it drives him nuts! He'd rather walk, play ball or explore. Not too interested in being held anymore. I started playing bass on the praise team again so I'm glad he's enjoying being in the nursery now.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Living near the Saguaro National Forest is really kind of surreal. For all you out-of-towners, here's a little view of our hometown. We took a scenic drive through Gates Pass in southwestern Tucson. It's in the Saguaro National Forest and for many people, the sight of thousands of Saguaros makes you feel like you're on another planet.

Arizona has a lot of what I call "Tall-Tale names". Places like "Bloody Basin Road", "Sore Finger Road", "Dead Man's Wash", towns named "Mammoth", "Bumblebee", "Show Low" (named after a guy won the land in a card game), "Why" (yes that's a real town!) Names of things that non-locals can't pronounce like "Mongollon Rim" (MUG-ee-on) or "Tempe" (tim-PEE). I picture a bunch of cowboys in the 1800's sitting around a campfire, telling embelished stories about the area and coming up with these names. I mean, what must have happened to someone to name a place "Sore Finger Road"??!! It's definitely a fun and interesting place to grow up.

When I started college, I couldn't wait to get out of Arizona. I was born & raised here and wanted to see something else for a change. At that time, I met my future husband and because I was starry-eyed in love, I followed him to college. Now you would've thought I'd "get out of Dodge" to some place kind of exotic & totally different like Hawaii or California or New England. But noooooo....I followed him to Oklahoma & west Texas! Not that there's anything wrong with that....but when you have no car & no money, I felt like I was confined in a cage. It literally drove me nuts not being able to get out & go exploring! Plus there wasn't anything interesting close to the colleges...scenic or see. I remember sneaking out of the dorm room with a couple of friends one night to stay out past curfew and then climbing the wall to get back in the dorm. Can't remember what we did that night but I remember thinking it was ridiculous to have a curfew in college. Just another way to break the humdrum confinement I felt I was locked into (of course that was back in '87-'90 and the colleges are much different now).

Suddenly I started missing the mountains, the cactus, the sunsets, being close enough to drive to the ocean in a weekend. We did manage to visit Dallas & San Antonio which were some of the highlights of my college years. I loved San Antonio's river walk and I regret not being able to see Austin. Now that we've been back to Arizona for over 13 years, I told Don that we have to live at least close enough to drive to the ocean for a weekend. ha! We finally went to Rocky Point, Mexico for the first time about a year ago (Puerto Penasco). I've heard it's lost some of it's charm as a fishing village because condos and resorts are taking over the beaches, but it was still a fun place to see. And it's only 4 hours from us!

These are some recent photos we've taken of the Saguaro National Forest, Gates Pass, a hot-air balloon over the mountains near our house, sunset in our backyard and a video through Gates Pass.

Aaaahhhh...can anyone say ROAD TRIP?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


This week we took Nate to a cool playground not far from our house....uh...I mean, NATE took US to a cool playground. ha!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Ever since Nate turned one, it's like we have a new little boy living with us. His personality changed..literally...overnight. The first month & a half with us, we experienced all kinds of mood swings with him. After he turned one, it's like someone turned on a "happy light" in his brain. Suddenly he started laughing and giggling at EVERYTHING. Even stuff he'd cry over before. Sometimes, he just bursts out giggling for no apparent reason (at least to us). It then occurred to me that we didn't really know what his true personality was until now. He had been through so much transition and change...strange and new scary places with people speaking a weird can anyone show their true colors during a time like that?

It's so great to see him now....walking, laughing. He is so aware of things. Takes everything in and processes it. He's very slow to approach...does not like people instantly in his face but will warm up to you if you let him get used to you on his his time. He figures out routines quickly and sometimes we wonder what more he could do? How much are we stifling him? He amazes us every day with the things he understands and grasps.

People have asked us, "Has he said any words yet?" The answer is "no". Oh, he babbles and verbalizes constantly (and loudly) but you have to remember that he heard chinese words for 10 months and suddenly he's hearing nothing but English. Any words & sounds he had started forming in his mind have to be re-learned. He does understand some words & phrases when we talk to him. It's amazing what amuses him. He found this giant leaf at a mall we were at and got a kick out of it!

God has totally blessed with the perfect gift. People are amazed at how well he "fits" us, our personalities and our lives. He was definitely worth waiting for.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Today we said goodbye to my parents before their long trek back to Georgia. They stopped in California for a week then came back to our house on the way home for a few more days. It was nice to see them again and they totally spoiled Nate rotten (naturally). We managed to get a group shot before they took between Nate's crying & crankiness because he skipped a morning nap. Gotta be quick with the little guy! This photo was taken on our deck overlooking the desert landscape. We saw quite a few wildlife this weekend while my parents were here...a coyote, roadrunner, rattlesnake and a bobcat with her kittens! We were out driving and I saw this huge cat run across the road. It's a strange feeling when your mind says "cat" but what you see looks much bigger. I backed up the truck and next to the road was a bobcat & 3 or 4 "kittens". I put kittens in quotes because they were the size of a full grown cat! It was our first bobcat sighting and unfortunately we were so awestruck that we fumbled around the car for the camera and by the time we got it, the cats were darting under a fence. Too cool!

Sunday, October 14, 2007



Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Aaaaahhhh Ramen noodles...sustanance food in the ol' college days!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


The frat boys....Nate and his friend, J.J.


My husband loves to cook.....which is a good thing because I don't. The thing is...he experiments when he cooks, throwing in a little bit of this..a little bit of that. Somehow he ends up with a dish that's worthy of being on the reality show, "Hell's Kitchen" and looks just as presentable. Whenever I experiment, MY cooking, on the other hand, resembles what my good friend Mary calls "It" dishes. You just don't know what "IT" is or what's in "IT"!

So the other night, he pulls out some Ahi tuna steaks, infuses them with cilantro and wraps them in roasted green hatch chilis before grilling them. Not only do they taste awesome but he goes further than that and delicately arranges them on a bed of couscous and strategically places 3 grilled asparagus spears on top of the tuna.

I should have taken a picture. Mmmmmmmm. :-D

Friday, October 5, 2007



1. These are some funky gianormous "Converse-type" slippers that Don got me.

2. Don put his ski sock on Nate's head. Reminds me of Ralphie in "A Christmas Story". ha!

3. Future D.J.

Monday, October 1, 2007


And what a great day! Our little guy turned 1 and had a blast celebrating his birthday. Despite the looming storm clouds, they turned out to be a blessing because it really cooled down the day for us. My parents came over from Georgia on Friday and are spending the week with us, getting to know their new grandson. We loaded up the family and headed out for Jerry Bobs for breakfast. Nate woke up late this morning and by the time we got there, he was starving so we went ahead and fed him. We had a big day ahead of us.

After breakfast we went to the Tucson Zoo to kick off his birthday. The weather was awesome and although several of the animals were snoozing after their morning meal, we still had a great time. Nate has been watching his Baby Einstine Animals dvd so it was fun to show him all the animals in real life. However, I think he was really more interested in the fact that he's discovered how to push all the buttons on his Jeep stroller.

For lunch we braved the crowd at the newly opened In-N-Out Burger near the zoo. We managed to secure a table inside and the couple next to us happened to have 3 grandchildren all adopted from China! In fact, one of their granddaughters was adopted the same month as Nate. We were probably all in China at the same time, although I think she might have been in a different province. They were heading to D.C. to visit them at Thanksgiving and it was great hearing about their children's experiences.

After keeping Nate awake on the ride home, he crashed for a good 2 hour nap. Then it was birthday time! He got a bunch of cool presents and enjoyed every one of them. I think the squishy sports balls were his favorites. Grandma Ramos made him an elephant blanket that he would stuff in his mouth and drag around the living room like Harvard does with his blanket. ha! I made him an airplane cake (chocolate of course) and we put him in his chair and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. He looked at us like we were crazy, not understanding what was going on. Then Don lit his candle and he laughed and tried to touch the flame, like I think every 1-year old tries to do.

We put a piece of birthday cake on his tray and gave him free license to "go to town" eating it. The funny thing is, we've trained him so well to use a spork, that it took him a few moments to realize he could eat it with his fingers! Even then, he would carefully scoop a little bit of icing with his finger and eat it. I've never seen a kid be so "clean" about eating cake! There was hardly anything to clean up. ha!

After the celebration, the sugar rush kicked in. He was the Energizer bunny..just having a good 'ol time until we finally put him to bed (a 1/2 hour late). He must have been tired because he fell asleep without a fuss. Check out the new photo album called "Nate's 1st Birthday Month". I've added a ton of photos to it and many more to come. Will also upload new videos soon. Nate is very active now and verbalizing more every day. He talks constantly (and loudly) at home...not so much at church. He's still very leery and hesitant around all the curious people and opens up much more at home. He's learned to climb, stand and take several steps on his own. He's figuring out more and more things every day.

Sweet dreams to our little 1-year old "hotpot"!