Friday, July 27, 2012

 As excited as I am about the start of the Olympics in London, I can't let this day pass without remembering that four years ago today we had just met the future-love-of-our-lives in a city called Nanjing, China.
We don't celebrate this particular anniversary per se, since her adoption is still a bit of a sore subject for Q, who still remembers the visceral loneliness of having no parents. But every year at this time I revisit our photos from China. 
This first photo was taken by the director of Q's social welfare institute, Ms. Tang, who was good enough to document the pre-adoption days for us on film. This kind of care and attention from an SWI is fairly rare, so we are fortunate. This is a photo of Q seeing our photos for the first time, thanks to a care package that we were allowed to send while we were waiting for permission to travel to China.
Another pre-adoption photo that was sent to us by the director during our wait. Q used to hold a hand up in front of her mouth, presumably to prevent people from touching her mouth while her cleft was still open. She continued to do this until after her first surgery. 
 The room in which Q spent most of the first year of her life. I can now recognize that that's her in the second bed back.
 Several of the best days of our trip, prior to meeting our daughter, were spent in Beijing with our wonderful tour guide, Leo (both of us, oddly, wearing contrasting orange stipes). We could not have hoped for a better introduction to China than Leo who, despite his youth, was extraordinarily smart, open and informative. He really did China right for us. We had such a blast with him in Beijing!
 The beautiful Ms. Tang herself, with Q on adoption day. We are so grateful for all she did for us, and all of her very open and caring communication before, during and after the adoption.
Me about to walk into the adoption office on the day we met Q. 
 Ms. Tang, me, Q, and our Nanjing guide with the adoption certificate moments after the official adoption ceremony.
Mike and Q at the French café in Guangzhou, waiting for the final steps of our adoption journey.
 A vegetable market in the backstreets of Nanjing.
Learning to be a father: Mike feeding Q in the French-colonial streets of Guangzhou.
A Chinese magazine stand in Beijing, just hours before the start of the Beijing summer Olympics (and yes, customs was hell-on-wheels that day at the Beijing airport...six HOURS of hell-on-wheels, followed by nearly 30 hours of air travel back to the US)
 And...our girl today. 
How far she has come. 
How far we have all come. 
And, as you can clearly see, what an amazing job our surgeon has done! Major props to Q's genius of a plastic surgeon, Stacy Folk M.D., and also to her speech specialist, Theresa Snelling, MA, our ENT Tyler Lewark M.D., our pediatric dental specialist Scott Smith DDS MS,  and the rest of our brilliant team of cleft specialists.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

 Who else is excited for the start of the London Olympics?
In a Union Jack skirt by The Trendy Tot and two tees from my Café Press shop
Q and I most definitely are!
Can't wait for the opening ceremonies!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

...and speaking of my resale site, I just posted a bunch of new clothing, including a few children's pieces, although those are going very fast!
I will post more kids stuff when I unpack fall clothes, probably closer to the start of the school year!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

 This blog is about our life as a family unit, and our joy in life. In this blog, I try to stay away from politics, religions, world news, because that isn't what this blog is about. But, obviously, something happened in Colorado today that has touched the world. 
It's no secret that this is a difficult time for most of the world. This is a difficult time for our country, but also for so many other countries. Virtually no one is unaffected. These are uncertain times, these are frightening times. And so each new blow seems to echo far more loudly than before. 
What happened today was yet another shattering event in what has been an unusually difficult year for our state. Colorado is usually a happy place - a level place, a place that often feels very distant from strife. We have a beautiful, temperate climate. We have lovely living conditions. We have, in the past, had plenty of jobs, plenty of opportunity, a terrific real estate market. People here are, as a whole, athletic, outdoorsy, easy-going and full of good will. But this year, we have suffered from extreme drought, killer wildfires, economic distress (like the rest of the world), and senseless violence.
I don't have any great words with which to address all of this. 
But I thought that today would be a good day to (finally) post a few of our photos from the 4th of July, which we spent in Vail with our extended family. 
From my viewpoint, this has been a time to reflect on what we have done wrong as a nation, and to try to recapture what has been so great about our nation in the past, and focus on that. It's time to rally, sacrifice, honor and rebuild. It's time to change the ways in which we have gone wrong. It's time to learn once again from our rich history, and figure out how to get back on a better path. 
In that light, I'll post these pictures from the celebration - here in Colorado - of our nation's difficult beginnings.
Let's remember the strife from which - and why - we were born as a nation. 
Let's remember that progress comes only at a cost. 
Let's remember that progress is a process, not a destination. Let's recall that none of us is perfect, that we are all flawed, and that no one of us has "the answer".
Let's struggle, and give things up, and learn to live a different way, and learn to sacrifice for this amazing planet that we are fortunate enough to inhabit.
 Let's make it happen, in spite of the odds, in spite of the horrors that sometimes face us, because all these children need hope. They need to have a beautiful world to live in. They need to know love and hardship and sacrifice and the triumph of the human spirit over all of that.
 As a nation, we are very privileged. Yes, even now. Even now, as a nation, we have virtually no concept of that which other nations have suffered.
 This is my daughter, who was abandoned after only two or three days of life, because her birth family couldn't afford to take care of her needs. She knows this. Oh, she does. She doesn't like to discuss it, but she is well aware. She now lives in a country where her medical needs are marginally more manageable. But she understands the fragility of her position in this world. She thinks about it every day. Every day, she worries that some circumstance might come between her and the stability that she has tenuously achieved.
 Our nation has been a great nation, a proud nation, a headstrong nation. We have much to be proud of, and we also have much to regret. We have triumphed against the odds, but we have also forgotten ourselves and become greedy, careless, wasteful.
 All is not lost. We are a scrappy people, we Americans. We can come back. We just have to really want it.
So let's remember. Let's recall why we became a nation to begin with. Let's remember how much we gave up, and how hard we fought. Let's acknowledge that we got lazy, got greedy, felt entitled, and lost our way. Let's fight, sacrifice, rise above, and once again become a nation that we can all be proud of. 
What do you say?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

 There was a cool spell between heatwaves - a spell of monsoon rains between droughts.
It was lovely.
I wish we would have another!

In L'atelier de Marie et Rose-Alice "cache-coeur" dress and homemade garland.

As the kickoff of the London Olympics approaches, I have been working on a series of illustrations on a British theme. There are four now, available as a set or individually in my illustration shop!

If I have been quiet on the work front lately, it's because I have been working on some exciting, large-scale projects, including new works for Anaïs & I, paper dolls for an upcoming collection with a new designer (TBA soon!), and an absolutely marvelous book. But all that is for another time. For now...nose back to the grindstone!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

 First Friday on our local Tennyson artwalk.
 Homemade buttermilk pie at the banjo circle.
 Historic Tennyson, where the trolley used to run, and where the barber shop looks just as it probably did fifty years ago.

 The wonderful windows at Proper barber shop, the hipster side o' the street.

 Q gets yet another tattoo. I think she's kind of an addict.
Lemonade stands, organic popsicles and live music. Gotta love our 'hood!

What: First Fridays Tennyson ArtWalk
When: The first Friday of every month
Where: Tennyson between 38th-44th, the old Highlands region of North Denver
in Le Vestiaire de Jeanne
Summer drifter....on free days, Q and I do a lot of wandering. Drifting. Drowsing in the parks. Sometimes is't nice to just be.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

 This summer, Q has had the great good fortune to attend several weeks of camp at the Glenmoor Country Club in  south Denver. This is her asleep in the car on the way down. These long, active, outdoor summer days can be exhausting for a four-year-old, particularly one so in love with the world that she has trouble sleeping past six for sheer anticipation of what the day might hold.
 This post is from her grandma, Susan, who introduced us to the wonderful camps at Glenmoor, found Q's beloved pink golf bag for her, and just generally made all this possible.
 These are the days to remember for a lifetime...the warm, giddy, gilded days of summer, full of laughter and the clink of ice chips on a hot day, the plashing of sun-browned legs in the pool, and the camaraderie of a new sport.
Interestingly, although she has always loved to swim, and enjoys tennis well enough, golf has surfaced as Q's favorite sport this summer. She just adores it. When she wakes and asks, "What's after this naptime?" (her morning refrain) and I say "golf", she will literally jump for joy. 
 I love that she's had this opportunity, the chance to experience something new, to learn alongside peers of various ages, to try out yet another new sport.
 It has been a glorious summer for her. 
We can't thank grandma enough for this opportunity!
Competing in a game of golf trivia on her last day of the week.