Monday, March 31, 2008


Some people have asked me, "Why blog?" or "What's a blog?" The simplest way to describe it is a personal journal that everyone can see and leave comments on. But really it's more than that. When I started this blog, I wanted to let friends and family know about our adoption journey to China to get Nate. Ever since I've started blogging, the blog has connected us with many people who we might never have met, and re-connected us with friends we have not seen or lost touch with many years ago.

Just last week, a friend of ours who we had not seen in 10 years, came across our blog. She and her sister were actually teens in our youth group when Don was a youth pastor in the late 90's. Now, she is a professional photographer and is absolutely AWESOME. Her specialty is babies, children and families and I wish we lived in Arkansas because I would love to have her photograph Nate.

The photos on this post are ones that she's taken. Check out her website at: Amy Kelton Photography. The photo of the baby in the bowl is her nephew. She loves going to people's homes to photograph their kids, which I think is awesome because the children are more comfortable in their own homes, especially adopted children who are just learning to develop trust and trying to bond with their parents.

I emailed her about photographing adoptive families and she was very excited about that! So if you live in or around Arkansas, give her a buzz. She has a passion about her work and they make very special memories for families.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I love going on picnics. When Don & I were dating he took me on romantic picnics.....sparkling cider, cheese and chocolates, nice tablecloth with candles, china and crystal glasses. I think he felt he had to out-do himself every time and wore himself out for good. Honestly, I would've been happy with a bolonga sandwich! I just love being outside eating lunch. They were beautiful and creative picnics though and it was fun while we were dating.

Today I took Nate on a picnic and to the playground. The weather is perfect for it now and I'm taking full advantage of it before the desert heats up. Nate's discovered that playgrounds are really FUN and he gets upset every time we have to go home. I remember those days! Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again for a day and just run and play with no worries.

But then, that's what Disneyland is for. hee hee!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Gee mom..thanks for the yummy chicken salad sandwich for dinner. Oh and I love my curried carrots too!


I recently finished creating several new collections of artwork. Some of them have garnered interest from a few manufacturers and my agents are drawing up contracts for a couple! Yea!! Nearly all of my art is created in Photoshop. I love that program because you can do so many funky things with it. These files are massive. Just one of the butterfly images is 165 MB!! Below are images of my recent art....just click on the image to see a larger size.

I went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens a couple years ago and took a bunch of butterfly photos at one of their exhibits. I never know exactly how I'm going to use something but eventually, they ended up on these designs.


The shells were some that I collected years ago. Every year, when I was a kid, we had a shell box that my family took with us and we always added to the collection. I still love to comb the beach looking for shells so that's how this art evolved.


The southwest art came about because I don't really like much of the sw art I see out here. I wanted it to have more of a travel feel...sort of Route 66ish but more modern. The images are all from photos I took out here in the desert.


It's really interesting to me how I got into this business to begin with. God had everything to do with it. In fact, our church motto this year is "Try God's Stuff and See What Happens". After we moved to Tucson, I could not get a job to save my life....and I NEVER had a problem getting an art job before. Every job led me closer to my goal as an Art Director, which I eventually achieved, but moving to Tucson was a reality check. Finally, I sent in an app for a graphic designer position...a demotion that slashed my salary in half. For whatever reason, the company decided to hire me and I began working for a manufacturer in the gift industry. I have to admit though, that I could not understand why God opened the door. Instead of being grateful at first, I was frustrated. After awhile, I decided there must be a reason why I was here and started being a little more appreciative of the work I had. Funny thing is....God knew EXACTLY what I needed. I learned about the licensing industry from the manufacturer's viewpoint, their marketing decisions and the type of art they look for. I also met my future agent through them right before I left to pursue my fine art, just 8 months later. So within a year, God blessed me with more than just a foot in the door, he gave me wisdom and insight to the industry that was to become my career....all through an open door that I was reluctant to take.

You just never know where God is going to lead you or how he is going to use you until you "try His stuff and see what happens".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This has been a weird week so far...not bad, just weird. Monday, Don went fishing so I took Nate shopping (haha) What was weird about the day is how compliant he was. We have been struggling over the last few months to get him to walk more on his own instead of carrying him everywhere. For one, he's a big boy and it's too hard to hold him for very long and two, he needs to learn to walk more on his own anyway. So, we've tried to be consistent, firm and loving every time he's tested us on this. On Monday, I took him to the Cracker Barrel for breakfast and automatically tensed up preparing to deal with a tantrum when I told him I wanted him to walk with me. Instead, he got out of the car all happy and walked all the way up to the table with me. Not only that but he willingly walked everywhere else we went that day, reaching out for our hands. He also did not cry ONCE the entire day. That's amazing considering he barely got a nap and had meals later than usual. He was just so mellow.

I finally got around to applying for his social security card too. Kept forgetting about it. After waiting an hour & a half, I brought all my paperwork to the window and the guy kept insisting that I did not have the correct document. I protested, telling him this is all we received but he barely looked at them and I couldn't figure out what he was wanting. He was about ready to send me home when another employee intervened and told him that the document he was holding was what he needed. Then the guy looked at me and said, "This is what I was asking for". I'm thinking...then why were you telling me it was incorrect??!!! ARGGHH!

Then, while I was waiting for him to complete the paperwork, Nate was getting antsy and started running off. I told him to sit down under the counter and stay there until we were done. He started to get up, so I told him "no" and also gave him the sign for "no", which is basically the peace sign and then you bring your 2 fingers down over your thumb. He stayed put until it was time to leave. As I walked out the door, a man asked me, "What were you telling the child when you did this?"...and he extended his arm with his hand clenched in a fist. I couldn't figure out what he meant and thought he was asking if I did a fist bump with Nate. Then I realized what he meant and I told him I was saying "no" in sign language to him and showed him the sign for it. The guy asked me "That means "No"???" if he didn't believe it. That's when I realized I think he thought I was threatening Nate with my fist!! Good grief...I can't even tell my child "no" in public and use sign language without someone questioning my actions. Needless to say, I was glad to leave that office.

Ever since Monday, Nate has been very good about walking with us in public and walking over to one of us to kiss us goodnight before bed (yes that was a daily struggle too which resulted in tantrums). Now that we've overcome this obstacle, another one pops up. This time, he's starting to push our hands away and he gets upset if he sees us sitting together or hugging each other in front of him. He starts crying and tries to push or pull our hands off...almost as though he's jealous that we're showing attention to each other but not to him at the moment. So we have to work on that behavior. He's also not wanting to eat his veggies anymore which results in longer meal times because he can't get down until he's eaten most of them or sometimes a timeout if he flat out refuses and starts crying. The challenges of "training up a child in the way he should go"!

On the good side, he is learning and progressing in so many ways. He and Harvard are starting to become buddies. Harvard will lay on his blanket chewing on his toy and Nate will climb onto him and sit on his back like he's a horse. This doesn't last for long because Harvard will buck him off and Nate just gets up laughing. So Harvard lies down on a different corner of the blanket and the whole thing starts over again. It's hilarious. I can't stop staring at him because it seems that every month, he just gets even more beautiful and adorable.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Oooohhhhh.....we are so exhausted! Don has crashed on the sofa and I am so full of the Easter buffet that all I can do is sit here and type. haha.

Things went really well today. We had 270 people...up from the 150 on a regular Sunday. Awesome! Don started a new series called "Ultimate Treasure-The Book of Truth" and it's all about discovering facts behind your faith. It was a bit of a departure from how we normally do things at Easter..talking about Christ and the Resurrection. During the week, Don was at the coffee shop and someone told him that they were tired of going to an Easter service and hearing about how many ways a man could get beat up (meaning Jesus' crucifixion) and for what? No one ever really explained to him "why". So that struck a chord with us and Don decided that people need to know answers to why they would believe in Jesus, God and the Bible and why his sacrifice is so important to us. Hence the beginning of this series. He received many good comments about it afterwards and a few people had questions for him as well. It was so awesome! Our worship leader sang "Still the Cross" by FFH....a very powerful, meaningful song that I highly recommend for your iTunes and totally tied in the message with the service.

The day was exciting but stressful as well. We always overstress about Easter..trying to make sure everything is "just so" and ultimately, a few snags just can't be avoided. Murphy's Law, you know. Grandma & Paw Paw sent Nate an Easter bunny with a cute card. He had fun finding his Easter basket this morning and all the toys inside. He laughed every time he pressed the button and made the propellers turn. I found his outfit at The Children's Place and thought that all he needed was a golf club to go with it. haha! I was excited to wear my mod outfit I found with my bling shoes. They are "out there" for me because I normally tone things down but I got a kick out them.

Nate also liked hunting for eggs, after he figured out how it all worked and did not want to leave to go back into the nursery. I guess he felt he had to conquer the hunt. After services, we had to feed Nate because our lunch reservation wasn't until 2:15 (his nap time). We were going to drop him off at a friend's house so he could nap but we went off and left his panda at home and he won't sleep without it. So we took him with us with a plan to let him sleep in the stroller.....except we forgot the stroller too. Doh! So we brought his blanket and let him play on it while we ate. Fortunately, it was outside and our table was away from everyone else's so it worked out great. That is until he decided to take off his shoe and drop it over the railing. Ugh! We were 2 stories up so I'm glad it didn't hit anyone!

We went to the La Paloma Resort's Easter buffet and it was AMAZING! A little expensive but we wanted to splurge and have a really nice dinner since we have no family in town. The weather was beautiful and Nate did great considering he had no sleep. We managed to get a few photos of our family in between all the craziness today. It turned out to be a good Easter.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


ME..AGE 2-1/2 ON EASTER 1971

When we were kids, my parents assembled some pretty cool Easter baskets for us. They always had the Easter eggs we decorated the night before, big chocolate bunnies, Peeps, jelly beans and other cool candies. Then mom would wrap the baskets in colored cellophane and they would hide them for us to find the next morning. My favorite part of Easter was discovering the hidden goodies in my basket, dressing up for church that morning and hunting for eggs at grandma's.

I was debating what kind of basket to get Nate this year. We don't allow him to have sweets yet so I can't do those fun and fancy baskets like my parent's made. However, I finally found the perfect solution. I ran across this stuffed airplane basket at Target. You push the red button and the propeller whirls around and it makes a sound like an airplane taking off. Totally cool! Then I got a couple little books, bubbles and a toy car for him to play with. We also have the Veggie Tales Easter dvd that will be fun for Nate to watch.


I had to stop at the grocery store today and Nate saw the Easter Bunny for the first time. Actually, it was his first character costumed person he's seen. Aaaaand.....he did not want anything to do with him! The bunny even tried to give him candy but Nate just turned his back on him and leaned as far to the other side of the cart as he could. I guess he's going to be like his momma. I didn't like costumed characters either!

I'm dyeing the eggs as I write. They have this funky neon food coloring so I decided to give that a shot. Last year, I tried one of those Paas packets and hated it. It was the marbled egg dye and was so messy and gooey. I like the traditional way of doing it with vinegar and food coloring. In a little bit, I'll start making the Easter cookies. Got the dough all ready to go. Yea!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I went to the bank today to make a withdrawal and since I am not wonder woman, I had to put Nate down to do it. Well, the little man did NOT want to be put down, he wanted me to hold him the entire time, so he immediately began crying very loudly and grabbing onto my legs. I'm trying to tell him it's ok and to stop fussing so the teller, in her attempt to help, comes around and wants to give him a plastic filled egg.

She says, "Can he have an egg?"

I ask, "Does it have candy? He can't have sugar".

She says, "No, it just has a piece of chocolate in it."

Ummm....ahem......HELLOOOOOOOOO! I should've asked her if the chocolate was sugar-free. So I very politely tell her, thanks but he cannot have ANY sugar because it affects him like caffeine would for someone else. She looks rather offended that I turned down her chocolate treat but says, "Oh! We wouldn't want that!" Then she tries to offer him the empty egg and a sticker but Nate doesn't fall for bribes very easily. It just made him wail louder. So I just look at her say, "He's not going for it, but thanks for trying," and took the sticker to give him later.

He stopped crying as soon as I got my money and was ready to leave. Naturally.


Before we moved to Tucson, nearly 5 years ago, we lived in California..about 30-45 min. east of Los Angeles (in good traffic that is). It's interesting how you learn to adapt to whatever environment you're in..sometimes whether you like it or not. I had to commute 2 hours every day to work and 2 hours back home. Most of that time was spent in slow traffic or better yet, the infamous traffic jams. I hate just sitting for what seems like an eternity, just listening to the radio so I would actually bring my knitting with me and get a few rows of knit & purl going while I was waiting for traffic to move. Don & I were involved with starting up a church in Simi Valley, so we would drive 1-1/2 hours every Sunday to church, where we also served in various ministries. We actually enjoyed the drive because we would stop in Pasadena on the way and get a Noah's Bagel (same as Einstein's here) and a Starbucks and have time to visit with each other. Living near the L.A. area meant that you almost never got a front parking space and had to leave a hour (or more) ahead of time to get to a certain event in a different suburb. We would go to a restaurant at 8pm on a weeknight and still encounter an hour or more wait for a table. But eventually, you just learned to deal with all these things.

Now that we're in Tucson, we've adapted to the culture out here and often take things for granted. I rarely ever have to get on a freeway to get where I'm going. We laugh every time we score a close parking space during the height of people out & about. There's rarely an hour wait at any restaurant, even a popular chain. The only metered parking and parking garages are downtown. And food is A LOT less expensive here.

I hear people gripe about stuff out here or even at church and it never ceases to amaze me. I think of what we had to do in L.A. just to get to church to serve or even when we lived in Phoenix and served at 4 services each weekend. We were glad to do it and never hesitated to volunteer. Maybe it's because we grew up in churches who didn't do much outreach or didn't have a clear vision or goal but we just couldn't get enough of serving and still can't. Sometimes it is frustrating to me when I hear people make suggestions to change things just so it is more convenient for them while they're serving or attending or complain about petty things that have nothing to do with the big picture.

I guess my challenge to everyone out there this Easter is to remember what's truly important. What Jesus considered important enough to die for and that's making sure we had the chance to have a close friendship with him and with God and life with him even after death. Those things would not have been possible if Jesus thought only of serving when he wanted to, complained about how things weren't convenient for him or didn't care enough about us to die for us. Whether you believe what Jesus did or not, it doesn't matter. His offer of friendship is always there. It's your choice to take it. And it's the best thing ever. I'm speaking to myself as well because like I said...I often take these things for granted or do my own share of complaining.

So if you're serving in a ministry or no matter where you're life with a smile and a generous heart.

John 3:16

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I just added a new post, but because it was drafted a few days ago, it showed up about 3 posts down. So scroll down a bit to read the "I LOVE GETTING PACKAGES..." post.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Today is an absolutely gorgeous day. The rainy weather is gone (although I'm a little sad to see it come and go so soon) and sunny days are here again. Today it's supposed to be 78 and into the 80's the rest of the week. I took Nate outside to play for awhile. That might sound funny but all we have is a natural desert yard, complete with a variety of prickly grass and no fence so playtime is very supervised to say the least.


Nate likes exploring and he is stretching his wings. He can now climb up and down stairs with no assistance. A little scary for me because now I REALLY have to keep an eye on him! He's so proud of what he can do. He's also growing like a weed. Even though he's only 17 months, he can already wear some of his 2T shirts! The pants are too big though...even his 18 month pants are a little big and long. What I don't get is that the 18 month shorts are snug..almost too tight! Go figure. I have all the windows open in the house and will keep that going as long as I can. I hate canned air and love the fresh breeze blowing through the house. Happy Spring Days to you.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Ok so I did drag my behind to the store after all (only because we were out of diapers) and got the rest of the ingredients I needed for our Irish dinner. I don't enjoy cooking but every once in awhile I like to put together a nice dinner. I made corned beef and cabbage, sauteed veggies, white soda bread, and mashed potatoes with buttermilk. I even got out our wedding china and served the dinner on that.

Was it successful?

Well, judging by Don's "Oh this is so good!" and Nate's "Mmmmm"'s, over and over again...I'd say that's a "YES!"

Monday, March 17, 2008


Our friends, the Scotts, who we saw when we went to SoCal, just sent us a package today. At first glance, it not look like anything to you but in fact, every item means something to us.

We love good green tea and the Genmai-cha tea is their favorite. The packets have brown rice in them to cut through some of the bitterness. I can't wait to try it!

The bunny lollipop and eggs are for Nate's first Easter. We might give him a taste but not enough to send him sky-rocketing. Sugar affects his body like caffeine does for other people.

The pencil with the blue clog on top is because we love Crocs! We got Nate his first pair of green Crocs and I have some Croc flip flops while Don has a pair that look sort of like topsiders.

The frog toy is because our family always has some goofy toy that we're playing with. My dad always has some new toy that he brings out every time we visit. I think it's a Filipino thing!

The oyster crackers are to remind us of Nate and our clam chowder bread bowls that we had on Balboa Island. We ran out of snacks for Nate so he munched on oyster crackers until we could feed him.

They also sent several photos that were fun to look at. Good times!


When I was a kid, I read a story about a girl who dyed her mashed potatoes blue. So, in my infinite childhood wisdom, I thought that was an interesting idea and one day, I dyed the mashed potatoes green. I can't remember if it was a St. Patty's day but it must have been for me to do that. I thought I was being clever and funny but as soon as I put the mashed potatoes on the table, my parents just about hit the roof! "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??!!!!" they exclaimed and looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I thought I was still being clever and funny so I said, "I dyed the potatoes green! They still taste the same, they're just green." Actually I was guessing on the taste but I thought it couldn't be much different than dyeing frosting. Unfortunately, my sales technique didn't work and my parents weren't buying it. I got a good tongue lashing for that stunt and to my surprise, nobody ate the potatoes! *Sigh*

Being as Don is a "Sullivan", every St. Patricks Day we have a traditional Irish dinner. It's one of those rare occasions that he gets potatoes instead of rice. ha! For the last several years we've invited a bunch of friends over to celebrate with us. This year, St. Patty's fell on our day off...translation....we sit around and stare at the tv for most of the day because we're totally wiped out from Sunday's events. So this year we're having the same traditional foods but just relaxing with our family. I made Irish Lamb Stew for lunch and the corned beef and cabbage is simmering in the crockpot. Mmmmm........smells good!! Normally I also make Irish Soda Bread and sometimes bread pudding or apple cake but I forgot to get all the ingredients for the stuff and am too lazy to drag my butt to the store. So we may or may not have those things tonight. However, I do have blackberry cobbler in the oven which sounds pretty darn good to me right now. It's been cold, rainy and bleary out for the last 2 days......perfect weather for a hearty Irish stew! One of these days, we would love to travel to Ireland, stay in a country farmhouse and explore the counties.

Last night we had the sex Q&A and it went really well. I was totally nervous. It's one thing to talk about the subject and another to answer very personal questions and concerns that people submitted. I felt like I wasn't doing a very good job speaking so I am thankful that there were other people up there who had wise comments to offer. However, people seemed to like how everything went and the previously homosexual couple who presented their testimony and struggles were well received. They are a having a benefit concert to kick off their HIV-AIDS ministry in June and several people said they wanted to attend. The Q&A will be posted on our church website soon: and if you scroll to the bottom of the webpage and click on "Listen to Sermons", you can download the sermon you want to hear.

Well, I have to get back to house cleaning and laundry. Keep putting it off and it's become a jungle in our house. I might take a break at some point and knit up a few irish cables for Nate's sweater. Until next post, here's an Irish blessing for you in the spirit of St. Patty's:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


We have a busy couple of weeks coming up. On Sunday afternoon, we're finishing up the Behind Closed Doors-Sex series with a special event. Since we were unexpectedly out of town for the last message, we've had many people urging us to finish out the series with the highly anticipated Q & A. Since we had to continue moving on with the next series, we decided to make it a one hour special event this Sunday afternoon that more people could invite their friends to. We are amazed at the response from people who cannot wait for the event. We've had nearly 50 questions about sex, emailed to Don and we are going to try and answer as many as possible based on what God has to say about what he intended sex to be for a man and woman. We're having movie, fun time for the kids so the parents can attend together. We're also having a couple speak, who used to be very active in the homosexual lifestyle, chose to leave it, got married and now have a toddler. They have a strong desire to start an HIV ministry and are working to get that going. I'm excited and nervous and just pray that God will give us the wisdom and discernment to do this. Please also pray for strength for this couple to speak about their homosexual past. It is a huge leap of faith for them to reveal their past in front of everyone and talk about forgiveness, awareness, and God's grace. We will be posting the Q&A on our church website if you want to listen to it.

Of course after that is gearing up for Easter services. I will be busy playing my bass for the next 2 Sundays, which is a privilege because I love doing it. Now that we will be going to 2 services, I have lost one of my Kids Rock teachers and need to find a replacement. In the meantime, I will have to teach for a month at a time, giving up my bass for a service, to cover the slot. The Kids Rock (ages 5-10) worship is fun and the lessons are so easy. We use Saddleback Community church's curriculum that is super easy for volunteers to do, keeps the kids interested and learning about living God's life. Saddleback is where pastor Rick Warren leads (author of the "The Purpose Driven Life").

Well, I better get going. I've been slacking off on my art and need to get busy again. I think I'm getting Spring Fever.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Left to right:
1. Picnics
2. Starbucks with good friends
3. Hawaii
4. Plumerias
5. My boys
6. Flip flops
7. Harvard
8. Brownies
9. Playing my bass


Friday, March 7, 2008

I've had to put Nate's white sweater on hold. We have a baby shower next Sunday so I'm furiously knitting something special for the new mom, Ashley. Sorry, can't say what it is or post photos yet in case she and her mom are reading my blog. Ashley and her hubby are missionaries over in Africa. Her husband has been serving over there for 10 years and has encountered many adventures..some his dedication to bringing Christ overseas through Frontline Fellowship. They are a special couple with a courageous heart for God and it's exciting that they will have been married a year and expecting their first child soon.

Before we went to CA, I finished knitting up the sweater that Nate's wearing. It's another Debbie Bliss pattern and was very quick to knit up. Like I said, I like fast results! He's almost outgrown it though. I should've made the length and sleeves longer because the pattern is for 12 months and he's wearing 18 months. However, I just found out my brother and his wife are expecting their 3rd boy this summer so maybe I'll hand it down to him.

Well, I'm beat so it's off to bed. Good nite everyone!


I'm totally excited...this week I received my first quilt squares and wishes! I can't wait to see new ones coming in. It's like Christmas. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I know..I know....I am way behind on posts. We were out of town for a few days in California again. Nice to know we've been missed! I just have not had time to blog so now you get to read a big 'ol mungo post. haha.

We went to visit Discovery Church, that we helped start up 5 years ago, and talk to a couple of our pastor friends there. So we decided to make a long weekend of it and stayed in Newport Beach. The first 2 days were cloudy, overcast and FREEZING! I thought the highs were supposed to be in the high 60's, low 70's so we were totally unprepared and only packed light jackets. The sun BARELY peeked out the first couple of days but we went to the beach anyway (maybe that's why Don is sick now. doh!)

We decided to fly to maximize our time and it was Nate's first flight since China. This time, I remembered the Benadryl and he was zonked out the whole flight. Not that it was very long. Express Jet lives up to its name and we got there in just over an hour. We stayed at the Newport Channel Inn. It was a nice little Hilton or Hyatt..just basic accomodations but very nice for $79 a night! The rooms were big with a little play area for Nate and a microwave & fridge. It was right across the street from a great surfing beach and next door to Cappy's Cafe that had HUGE breakfasts (it took me a couple days to realize the kid's meal was the size of a normal adult meal!)

On Friday we ate lunch at Ruby's diner at the end of the Balboa Pier. We always liked Ruby's when we lived in SoCal and we could sit and watch the fishermen fish. A couple of young college girls on bikes stopped us and asked to take our photo for us. They were a little too happy and bubbly and were googoo-ing and gaga-ing over Nate. Seriously, I think they would've been great working at Disneyland. My first instinct was "How much are they going to charge us for this?" But they were just very nice, very happy girls and went on their merry way after they took our photo. After lunch we went to a playground on the beach (how cool is that?!) All of a sudden I felt like a mom magnet. All these moms started gravitating toward me and got all chit-chatty. I almost started laughing because that's never happened before. Usually everyone is too busy watching their kids and in their own little world. It was like what you see in the movies. ha! I never felt more like a mom than at that moment. Don was getting a big 'ol kick out of it too. That night we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner and the waitress was also gushing over Nate. She asked to give him some free coconut ice cream so we went against our better judgment and said "ok". BIG mistake. The kid was up all night...every 2 hours so none of us got any sleep. Not to mention our neighbor upstairs was stomping around, moving stuff around until 1am. Ugh!

We had decided to skimp on taking the playpen to cut down on check in items. I thought Nate would be tired enough to fall asleep on the blankets we brought but no dice. He rolled around, talking loudly, kicking his feet against the wall. At one point, he stood up and started banging on the wall. I thought, "the neighbors are going to kill us!" So finally we had enough and made a bed for him in our suitcase. Yes, that's right. He slept in our big green suitcase the entire trip (no we did not close the lid). Good thing he was still small enough to fit!

Saturday, we met up with our good friends, Chris & Gayle who lived about 1-1/2 hours away. They came down to our hotel and we spent the day at Balboa Fun Zone and the beach, despite the cold. I took Nate on the ferris wheel there, which he loved, but I think the guy forgot us because the ride wasn't stopping. Then I started feeling nauseous going around and around so many times and Nate must have too because he started fussing and trying to get out of the seat. Finally a lady on the ride told the guy to stop it because she had to leave!

After awhile, we headed down to the beach and their 9 yr old son decided to catch a few waves. I am amazed at how resilient kids are. It was freezing cold and this kid was having a blast playing in the ocean. Nate was having a good time playing in the sand and then Don decided to bury him up to his waist. Much to our surprise, he loved it and played contentedly while Don built sand sculptures around him. First Nate had big sand legs, then he was in a kayak, then a plane. Finally we took him out and he got all cranky on us. I think he actually liked sitting in the hole! It was a fun day despite the weather.

The last 2 days were sunny and BEAUTIFUL. Sunday we went to Discovery Church in Simi Valley and really enjoyed the worship. Nate did awesome in the nursery..didn't even cry. We caught up with our friends who are the pastor and executive pastors there. The executive pastor, Mark and his wife Michelle were the ones who recently adopted from Vietnam and who I had asked for prayers for. We spent the afternoon with them and it was awesome to see their kids for the first time and share our experiences together. The boys are adorable and really active. At one point all 3 of our boys were running around our legs and all I could think of was, "I'm so glad I only have ONE!" Between the 3 of them, they are 9 months - 2 years.

Monday was our last day and we spent the morning at Little Corona Beach at the tidepools. It was a gorgeous morning and Nate got all messy, playing in the water and sand. Fortunately, I had another change of clothes for him since we had already checked out of our hotel. We were going to spend the rest of the day in Downtown Disney and then Don suggested I take Nate to Disneyland while he stayed in Downtown Disney to catch up on some reading (he was sick by this point). I couldn't argue with that logic so off we went! I had so much fun. Nate loved the rides and clapped after every one of them was over. He didn't even cry or get scared on the Dark Rides at Fantasyland. The first one I took him on was Pinocchio because the line was the shortest. I forgot how scary and loud that ride was but it didn't seem to bother him. I think his favorite though was the petting zoo in FrontierLand. He got to pet the goats and sheep and was very interested in that. It's funny when you take a child to Disneyland how you view things through their eyes. I was getting overwhelmed and stimulated by all the noise and people and being whisked off one ride to the next. I could imagine how Nate was feeling. After awhile, it was too much for him and he conked out in his stroller. time for mom! It was a fun day that ended all too soon as we had to catch our flight back that evening.

We had more going on than I originally realized so I didn't feel like we had much time to just relax. Needless to say, I wasn't ready to come back home. I wish I could've stayed there another week and and just chill on the beach. But all good things must come to an end. Until next's some photos for you below.




NEWPORT BEACH (love that baby face!)