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We had a fantastic few days with the Z family visiting this week.  Have I mentioned how much we love these guys?  It’s amazing to me how deeply our friendship has grown over the last year since Jamie and I first started e-mailing back and forth about photography and our concurrent adoption processes.  We met through our respective blogs and I can honestly say that their friendship (along with several others) is DEFINITELY one of the best things born out of my whole wordpress experience.  I feel so blessed that our paths crossed.  The time we spent in Liberia picking up our sons at the end of the year was very bonding to say the least — it was just a crazy miracle that it worked for us to travel at the same time. 

Jo and Kendra are only two months apart in age and have been writing letters back and forth ever since we visited the Z’s in March.  Joanna was thrilled to see her pen-pal in person again and they had a lot of fun jumping on the trampoline and swinging and sliding together.  Henry and Micah are close in age as well, and obviously have the special connection of having been born in Liberia.   I wish I would have gotten some video of their little drumming session.  They stood on either side of the Djembe that we brought home from Liberia and jammed out.  They kept looking at each other, smiling and laughing hard — I hope they keep the special bond they share as they grow.

We all talked and laughed a lot and played some cards and croquet and took a couple of walks out back.  Ryan, Sarah and Zoe came over for dinner one night, and that was fun.  The next morning, Jamie and I went international and headed to Canada for breakfast — it was great getting some time by ourselves to talk freely.

Believe it or not, I took very few pictures, so I don’t have many to share.  Jamie took a couple photos of the boys together in the wagon that turned out really cute and I hope she posts one. 

Here are a few of the ones I did get as documentation that they actually were here 🙂 :

Jamie did talk us into posing for some “couple” portraits (Yeah, right!  With her talent, there wasn’t much convincing needed! Well… maybe just a teeny bit on Peter’s end…)  Of course the photos she took are utterly amazing — she’s my inspiration.  You’ll have to check out her blog some time in the future to see her talent; I’m not going to post them here since she’s the master and we were simply the subjects… with the exception of this teaser, ’cause I can’t help it.  I love this picture because Peter and I grew up walking this road back and forth to each others houses in high school.  It made me feel like a kid again to be walking it hand-in-hand with him. 

Thanks again, Jamie and Corey, for driving ALL the way up here!  We’re looking forward to the next rendezvous — whether it’s at our place or yours! 🙂

We had such a great trip, even though we came home to a foot of snow STILL!!  The weather was so mild and warm and springish in Seattle and Oregon…  I sorta forgot that it was still winter back home.  Ugh.  I feel like I’ve gone back in time. C’mon spring!!!!

The kids were so good on the road and we enjoyed the time together while driving.  We sang silly songs and told stories… and then while the kids slept, Peter and I were able to talk about some directional issues that we have been praying about — we didn’t make any major decisions, but we certainly had some great discussion!

Here are a few of my favorite shots:

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This was literally five minutes down I-5 after leaving my parent’s house on Thursday.  And she said she wasn’t tired!  🙂

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Henry discovered lollies on this trip!  They kept him entertained for miles! (Yes, I know… what am I doing feeding candy to my kids??  I actually found these organic all-natural lollipops at Traders Joes — so they aren’t ALL bad!  🙂 )

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This one was a little too sour for his taste, I guess!

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We had the BEST time staying at the Z-treehouse for the weekend.  These guys rock.  Seriously, we love them so much and feel like we have been friends forever.  Our kids loved their kids and they played together so well.  It was just an awesome, memorable visit all around.  We were able to go to their adoption group meeting on Friday night — it was a treat to meet everyone there and gave me some good ideas for starting a group up here.  We also really enjoyed going to church on Sunday and getting to see Corey in his element.  He’s a fantastic speaker and pastor. 

Of course, Jamie and I had so much fun taking pictures of our kids together!  We were often passing our cameras back and forth — and just had a blast laughing and snapping away!  🙂  She ended up with some really great photos of the kiddos — check out her post to see those…  She inspires me to keep practicing!

That’s their house in the picture above.  The picture does not do it justice.  It’s gorgeous and they built it themselves. (Like actually built it with hammers and saws! 😉 ) We literally built our house ourselves, too — so it was fun swapping building stories.  🙂  Their hospitality was amazing — I only wish we’d been able to stay longer!  It’s nice that we don’t live too far apart.  We already have plans for a visit from them in the spring. 

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Such a beautiful family — we love you guys!!!

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Kendra and Jo hit it off so well — they raced around the house and “cooked” things in Kendra’s play kitchen and had spontaneous giggle fits about the silliest things — in true three-year-old fashion!  Joanna is really excited about having a pen-pal. (Yep — real, old-fashioned lettersl! 🙂 )

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There’s Jamie leaning over the railing, trying to get a good shot of the kids… she put it well when she said that they didn’t stand a chance.  Poor kids, between the two of us — it was absolutely true! 

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The boys took turns pushing each other around on the fire truck.  Henry made fire truck noises and Micah smiled the whole time.  He is the smiliest little kid!!  They are both so mild-tempered; they just sort of loved on each other the whole time… MUCH more laid-back than our girls!

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We went out for a walk after dinner — I wish I had been able to take some video of Henry in the wagon with Micah!  He was laughing soooo hard!  Cracked us up!

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And, yes, we did manage to get a couple pictures on the other side of the lens.  We told Peter that he had better make us look gorgeous.  Ha!  🙂

Fast-forward a bit… We stayed at my sister and brother-in-law’s place in Portland on our way home.  It was so good to see them again.  We’ve really missed them since they moved.  They are such cool people.  I love that my sister has always been and still is one of my best friends…

The good news is that they are going to be moving back to Spokane later this summer!  Hallelujah!

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I love this picture because of the little munchkin at the top of the slide in the background!  What a smile!

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We took the kids to a playground near my sister’s house.  Henry was so tired, he fell asleep on the short drive there and slept in his car seat at the park until I finally woke him up.  It was just too much fun for him to miss!  All the playgrounds around our place are still covered in snow…

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Yeah, he had so much fun.  I’m glad I woke him up — even though he was crabby later…

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They loved seeing their Aunt Sissy and Uncle J.  Peter’s brother also showed up for a few minutes at the park, so they got to see Uncle Drew as well.  It was just a great afternoon.  🙂

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A couple shots from the drive home.  It was a gorgeous day and that drive along the Columbia River is always stunning.  Peter and I just kept saying “wow!”…

So now we are home; unpacking and re-acclimating to the snow!

It’s been a long week so far.  Henry is really, really sick.  We took him to the doctor a couple days ago to run some more tests because his Malaria test last week concerned them and they wanted a blood culture.  He has been runnning a fever since Monday and throws up pretty much anything he eats or drinks (always on me, of course!) He’s not sleeping well, he has a terrible barking cough and a slew of other cold/flu symptoms.  I am really anxious to hear back from the Clinic about his tests…  Peter has been gone on another install — so I have been trying to juggle a sick baby and a needy, insecure three-year-old.  Poor baby… I feel so terrible for him.  He is just miserable and I am trying everything I can think of to make him more comfortable.  If his fever continues through the night, I will start him on antibiotics tomorrow.

To top it off: the washing machine isn’t working, so I have puked-on clothes piling up in the corner… and our phone line has officially been declared “unfixable” until spring — so I still have no phone… and then a few days ago, our computer crashed!  Completely.  It’s not good… any time the words “corrupt files” are used, it can’t be good.  I am just hoping that the hard drive is okay because all my photos are on there.  (ALL MY PHOTOS!!  DID YOU GET THAT!  AHHHHH!!)  So with Peter in Cda with both the laptop and his cell phone, I’ve been stuck here in radio silence until my mom drove up this afternoon to give me a hand and she lent me her laptop.  I’m sorry if you tried e-mailing (or calling!) earlier this week.  I told Peter, “No one is going to believe me — no phone and no computer?!?”  But I’m really not making it up!  Sometimes rural life is definitely more of an inconvenience than a blessing.  There are days when I would trade the view and the silence and the mountains behind our house for the ability to run out and buy dinner when I don’t feel like cooking and the assurance of consistent electricity in the winter and a bloomin’ phone connection!  Oh well… I guess we can’t have it all. 

I did get to go out Monday night with a few of my closest friends to celebrate my birthday in Canada while Peter watched the kids.  We live close to a quaint little Canadian ski town nestled in the mountains (think Switzerland) with some great shops, coffee joints, bakeries and restaurants.  The ski hill is fantastic too — some of the best back-country powder in Canada!  I am really looking forward to getting knee-deep in the stuff one of these days!  Ahhh… THAT will be a great post!
But anyway, we went out Monday even though my birthday was back in November… We always appreciate a reason for a girl’s night out and since my birthday kind of got lost in the shuffle when we went to Liberia, it was the perfect excuse!  I actually ended my twenty-seventh year on the plane somewhere over the Atlantic (which was a little confusing — did I turn 27 when the time zone we crossed mid-air was at midnight?… or when my watch passed midnight since that is the time zone in which I was born?? Hmmmm…)  At any rate, Peter and I had a great time in Brussels on my actual birthday — AND I had a great time on my honorary b-day Monday.  Thanks, girls!  Since I can’t share a picture due to my current computer situation, you’ll have to check out my best friend’s post for the visual effect.  🙂

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We had a good weekend.  Peter worked a few hours at the shop finishing up a side job that is an answer to prayer since we will be able to use it toward the adoption.  We also finally built the deck out back off the addition – yay!  It turned out well and I’ve loved sitting out there the last couple mornings with my coffee before Jo wakes up… it is so quiet and peaceful.  We still have to finish the rockwork up to the edge of the deck and build the pergola over the top so I can plant wisteria to grow over it for shade.  But its nice to have another place to sit outside besides the front patio.

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We went to our little county fair Friday night with our friends, Ryan, Sarah and Zoe. We had a great time.  We have “farm” animals at home, but it was still fun to take the girls to see the ones we don’t have… and of course, to eat the fair food — ah, there’s nothing like calorie-laden, atery-clogging, deep-fried fair food!  And of course, it’s a sugar-overload waiting to happen… ice-cream, cotton candy, snow cones, kettle corn, carmel apples, candied peanuts — whew! its a good thing we only go once a year!  🙂

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 I was in 4H as a kid and raised lambs to take to the fair… so it always brings back a score of memories (mostly good ones…) when I’m at the fairgrounds.  Joanna had a great time, of course.  It was so funny — halfway through the goat barn (which was the first barn we visited) she suddenly burst into a rendition of Old Macdonald Had a Farm — completely spontaneously!  We all started laughing.  She kept singing it the whole evening and on the way home started adding verses.  She sang about the “mean scary lion and bear” that Old Macdonald had on his farm… I guess she’s paid more attention than I thought to my warning her to stay in the yard lately due to the bear and mountain lion! — Poor kid must think every farm has a mean, scary lion!  🙂 

We enjoyed the pig barn particulary because the girls were sooo funny to watch.  I think Jo was a little tramatized by the intensity of the pigs (I don’t think she has seen any this close before.)  They are smelly and LOUD  — especially when an army of them are housed under the same roof within feet of one another.  (And they are rather strange-looking creatures when you really stop to think about it!)  This particularly lovely porker, Petunia, was quite the model — I swear she knew I was taking a picture of her!  She gave me her best piggy-pose:  

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All in all Jo and Zoe had a good time.  They got balloons and stickers and saw creatures great and small.  This is a particularly appropriate shot: can you tell they were on a fair-food sugar high? 

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A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

Photography Website:

Contact Me:

sunfreckled@gmail.com
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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