Surviving "Sandy"

October 31, 2012

The last 48 hours have been unbelievable here in the Northeast!
Sandy arrived with a vengeance Monday evening and we were glued to the television watching what was going on in NYC and all the cities in New Jersey along the coastline. By 8pm she made her way to PA and the wind gusts were something like we have never heard before. Around 10pm, we lost power and all forms of communication with the what was going on. Even our cell phones were not working..... I am guessing some of the towers were effected. The girls were pretty scared and to be honest, I was too, but I tried to keep it together for their sake. We had everyone sleep in our room that night just in case we had to make a quick escape.

Finally everyone fell asleep and when we woke up in the morning most of the winds had died down and the rain slowed down considerably. No one in the area had power and their were power lines down in the streets, trees on buildings and homes, and debri everywhere. Luckily our home did not suffer any damage..... we lost one tree in the front yard, but that is nothing comparison to what the families in NY and NJ have suffered. My heart is just breaking for these people.

Sarah Window Light Silhouette BLOG
As much as losing power is an inconvenience, I will admit is was nice to be at home as a family with no distractions from the outside world and no electronics. The girls spent a good part of the day coloring and playing together. They also declared it a PJ day and stayed in them ALL DAY LONG:)

Sneaking in on her sister Storm BLOG
And yes, Reags does not believe in PJ bottoms.... we put them on her, and she takes them off. She is stil into the "less is more" theory when it comes to clothes...... good grief I hope we can get her out of this stage soon:)

Reags Looking up at Sarah Silhouette BLOG
Sarah wanted to go up to her room to play with some of her stuffed animals, so Reags folllowed her up with a juice box in hand and a case of some serious bed-head!

fingers in her mouth again STORM BLOG
They did a little "reading" in Sarah's favorite pink chair. It's a good thing those two fingers do not require power...... Yep, she is still at it!

Hugs on the chair upsidedown BLOG
Then the silliness broke out and they flipped the chair backwards on the ground and the sisterly love came out in full force.

Show me your silly face BLOG
Then it was a game of "Show Me Your Crazy Face".... and Sarah always gets Reags to let out some big belly laughs.

feet in the air storm BLOG
Once they were up on the bed, I knew where this was headed..... JUMPING!

Jump Jump Sarah and Reags Storm BLOG
And jump they did for about 20 minutes straight!
I figured it was a great way for them to burn off some energy and it worked like a charm.

Laying in bed Reags Storm BLOG
An hour later and someone decided it was time for a nap:)

I was grateful to have yesterday with the family and it was sort of like old times following the girls around with the camera capturing them in their element or their every day moments. Now that they are both in school full time, I don't get to do this often and I totally miss it!

Around 5:30pm our power was restored.
I could not believe it as we were expecting to be without for at least a few days, but of course we were overjoyed.
There are still a lot of families around here without power and the schools are all still closed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone still suffering from the repercussions of "Sandy".....especially those that have lost their homes.

Not too sure what kind of Halloween it will be around here and I doubt that Trick or Treat will take place tonight, but we are going to do our best to make it special for the girls. Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween and please be safe out there!

Favorite Photo Friday - "Celebrating 40"

October 26, 2012

40th bday brunch IG photo
I thought I would share just a few photos from our weekend getaway!!
(most of them were taken with the iphone or a point and shoot just to document the occasion)
I could not have been more excited to be spending and celebrating my special day with my husband and fabulous friends.
The day started off with a fantastic brunch in Philly at a very cool little spot called Jack's Firehouse Cafe!
The food is pretty amazing and the mimosas and bloody mary's weren't too shabby either:) The weather was absolutely perfect and we spent the afternoon walking around the city so Derek and Marla could see some of the things that makes Philly famous!

40 Cheesesteak Taste IG
There are a lot of places that are known to have great cheesesteaks in Philly, just start asking around when you get to town.
You will get varying answers and suggestions, but the two places known by everyone are Pat's and Genos. They are located in the same intersection directly across the street from one another and both places always have lines wrapped around the building!
We prefer Pat's, so that is where we took Marla and Derek and they gave it the double thumbs up!!
While we were eating, I took a picture of the competitor across the street:)

40th bday hoopla BLOG
After a day of walking around, we headed out to another great little restaurant in the Old City area that was recommended by my cousin, Positano Coast! My cousin Nicole and her boyfriend joined us for an incredible meal and some bar hopping that took us into the wee hours of the morning! Can you tell we just had a little bit of fun?

40th bday me and pat BLOG
This picture was taken before the "fun" started and I am so glad..... at least now I have one cute picture of me and my hubby together to mark the occasion!! So glad Marla brought the purse sized point and sure came in handy!

Aunt Marla Uncle Derek and the Girls BLOG
The next morning we were all a little sleep deprived, but anxious and excited to meet my parents along with Dita and the Darlings(thanks Dita for making the two hour trip just to see us for a quick meal...LUV YA and so glad you were able to make it) before we had to take Marla and Derek back to the airport to head home! While we were waiting for our table at Maggianos, I snapped a few photos of Reagan with Marla. It was the first time they have seen each other since we stepped off the plane from China exactly 2 years ago.

Me and Aunt Marla BLOG
I think this photo really says it all! I love it!
In a short weekend a lot of great memories were made. As always our time together seemed to pass by entirely too quickly. It was very sad to part ways on Sunday afternoon, but we are looking forward and already planning our next trip together.

Thanks Marla and Derek for making the trip to Philly to spend the weekend with us and for making my 40th extra special!
We love "youz guys"....(it's philly twang)
And special thanks to my parents who kept all three kids for the entire weekend so we could have a little getaway.....don't know what we would do without you xoxo!

the long road

Favorite Photo Friday - "Happy Reagan Day"

October 18, 2012

Smiles on the steps 2 blog
A lot can change in two years......

Holding onto the WI Fence with a smile BLOG
We have watched a personality emerge that at times seems larger than life.

Leaves in the Alley BLOG
Our girl shows us every day that she can be very independent and wants to do things for herself.

Leaves in the trench BLOG2
She has turned into quite the little lady and is definitely a girly girl.

WI Fence Angle BLOG
The baby that was placed in my arms went from crawling, to walking, to running, to "I can barely keep up with this child" in no time at all.

What are you looking at Nicky BLOG
All of that baby chub that I so dearly loved has fallen away.....

Leaves in the trench BLOG
and a little girl has appeared.

Bottom Step Red Leaf BLOG
In my opinion, God could not have created a more perfect blend of sugar and spice.

WroughtIron Stairs with a Smile BLOG
In all that has changed, there is one thing that has remained constant.....

Wrought Iron Staircase Windswept Hair BLOG
and that is the love we have for this child and the way she touches the hearts of all of those around her.

Two years later and at times I feel like I still need to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming.
Our lives have been richly blessed by the miracle of adoption, not once, but twice!

Happy Forever Family Day Reagan.

If anyone wants to take a glimpse back at the special day in Changsha, China, click HERE.

I will not have time to post again tomorrow, but have provided a link below for Favorite Photo Friday.
This is a very special weekend..... My friend Marla and her husband Derek are meeting Pat and I in center city Philly.
Marla came to China with me two years ago and getting together in October is starting to become a tradition. In addition to "Reagan Day", their 21st wedding Anniversary is tomorrow and my 40th Birthday is on Saturday. Then on Sunday we will also meet up with my friend Dita and her Darlings, along with my parents, Nick, Sarah, and Reagan for a special brunch. Needless to say we are going to do some major celebrating! In China we celebrated our special days with Snickers bars and red wine that we drank in our hotel room from plastic mugs.
I think we are going to be doing it up in a more grand fashion this weekend:)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.... I sure hope 40 is FABULOUS!!!

the long road

Favorite Photo Friday - "Random Instagram Moments"

October 12, 2012

It has been a while since I have done what I like to call an IPhone Photo dump, so I thought today I would share a few of my fav everyday moments captured by my iphone and edited with instagram.
IG breakfast BLOG
During the week, breakfast is usually something quick because we are rushing to get everyone up and out on time, so on Sunday's the girls usually look forward to a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. This particular morning they were just a little anxious for their breakfast:)

IG Fall Location BLOG
A beautiful location just around the corner from our house. I have been eyeing up this spot for a photoshoot for quite a while. I have to place a phone call since it is a private property, but I am hopeful this might be the backdrop for an upcoming session:)

IG Sisters on teh way to school BLOG
Reagan decided she wanted to walk Sarah into school one morning last week. I love that she is clutching her snack in one hand and holding Sarah's hand with the other. These two are something else!!! They truly take advantage of every last moment they have together in the morning before the say goodbye and go their separate ways for the day.

IG lancaster Farm BLOG
I am sure this will come as no surprise to anyone, but I have been putting in a lot of road time and have been traveling all over the try-state area. I was in Lancaster and it was a GORGEOUS day. As I was driving down the road I noticed this farm and the perfectly rolled hay bales against the blue sky really caught my eye. I shot this one from the car window and instantly fell in love with it.

IG Dentist BLOG
Reagan had her first dentist appointment and she was (surprisingly) a wonderful patient!!! I had visions of holding her down in the chair because there are days when we practically have to do that to brush her teeth. I don't know why, but she just HATES it.

Another shot getting out of the car on the way to school. Sarah was pretty excited about her ruffles and sparkly shoes this particular day, so she posed for a quick shot before she walked into the building:)

IG Just Hanging Around BLOG
This is definitely one of my favs...... Having Reagan on the soccer field for an hour watching Sarah each week presents its own challenges. She is a mover and a shaker and keeping her busy, happy, and off the playing field is never easy. Pat was trying to hold her during one of the games and the holding turned into swinging her. And then the swinging her turned into letting her flip upside down. If you can't tell from her face, she LOVED IT! She thoroughly enjoyed "just hanging" at the soccer field that morning:)

Well, that is all have to share today. The camera has not seen much action this week. There are seriously just not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. Have a wonderful Friday and a terrific weekend!! Be back soon:)

the long road

Sunday Snapshot - "Hand Me Downs"

October 7, 2012

Fall Morning Walk Matte BLOG
The leaves are just beginning to change and the Fall temps have finally arrived in these parts, so last week I was forced to begin going through the girls' closets to make room for the warmer clothes.

Butter Cup in Colorful Coat BLOG
I saved almost everything that Sarah has worn over the years in big rubbermaid containers that I have stored in our basement.
Last Sunday, I took a stroll down memory lane as I picked through the container of Fall/Winter sizes 2T and 3T.

hands on hips biting lips BLOG
It is funny how I remembered almost every outfit and the occasions that she wore them.

Picking Weeds in Her Colorful Coat BLOG
This sweater was one of my FALL FAVORITES when Sarah was little. She wore it when we visited the pumpkin patch with her cousins.

a leaf for you Mommy BLOG
I really hated to say goodbye to all of their pretty summer dresses, but I will admit that I am ready for the warmer and much more cozy clothes of Fall and winter.

Holding onto the fence Colorful Coat BLOG
Now the part that really upsets me.....

Waving to the bike rider on the path BLOG
My baby girl is growing up right before my very eyes.....too fast!!!

Climbing over the fence BLOG
I tucked Sarah's clothes neatly into rubbermaid containers where they will wait for Reagan to grow into them.

Grassy shoes and Wet Jeans BLOG
Then I get to Reagan's clothes that she has outgrown.....

shot from above wooden bridge BLOG
I am most certain our family is complete, but I cannot bring myself to get rid of her clothes or pass them on.
For now, they are also packed away in the basement by size and season. One day I will be able to part with them, bur for now, I need to hold onto them and the memories of the past two years.

Hard to believe it has been almost two years since I stepped off the plane with her in my arms. She has grown and matured so much these last few months and the traces of "baby" that were there 6 months ago are now gone. My beautiful baby has turned into a little girl with a personality as colorful as the sweater she is wearing. Bittersweet feelings for this Mama.

Camera: Canon 5d Markiii
Lens: 85mm f1.2
The settings for this series varied a bit:
From F1.4 to F2.0
SS 1/640 to 1/1250
ISO 100

This series was taken at 9 o'clock in the beautiful morning light.
Photos were processed with Perfect Color at a reduced opacity from Florabella's new Colorplay action set.
I also added a slight haze and texture at the end.

Ni Hao Yall

Make sure you pop on over to my friend Stef's blog to see her adorable crew and more Sunday Snapshots.

Favorite Photo Friday - "Picking the Perfect Pumpkin"

October 5, 2012

Heart Jeans Fingers Crossed BLOG
Last Sunday we hit the pumpkin patch.

Pulling my Sister COLLAGE
I pulled the girls up the big hill in the wagon, but someone insisted she was big enough to pull it out into the field.

Pumpkin Searching Collage
Reags stopped the wagon when they saw an area that looked good and they both started to wander through the field.

Pulling the wagon to her sister BLOG
It didn't take too long before Sarah spotted one that she liked.....

Trying to Life COLLAGE
but it was a little bit heavier than she could handle, so she called in the "big guns" to help her hoist it up into the wagon.

It takes teamwork BLOG
A few giggles and a lot of teamwork and they got that pumpkin up off the ground and into our wagon.

Bright Sun Pumpkin Picking COLLAGE
After all that lifting, Reags needed a break, so this time, Sarah pulled the wagon back out of the field.
We were now on a mission to find some baby pumpkins!

Passing with a pumpkin BLOG
Baby pumpkins are more exciting to the girls than the big full sized ones. They go wild over these little ones.

Hand in the wagon with the pumpkin BLOG
They kept putting them in the wagon one at a time.

Reaching in the wagon COLLAGE
And before long, we had an entire wagon full.

Hearts up her leg Sarah in the background BLOG
31 to be exact!!!
I tried to convince the girls to put a few back, but they were not gonna budge, so we made our way to the check out counter.

hay bale corn maze blog
The girls enjoyed a quick run through the maze while I was paying for our pumpkins, we had a little snack, and then called it a day!!

The girls had a blast, but they sure were tired from all of that pulling and lifting!!
We only live a few minutes from this farm, but the girls were both fast asleep by the time we pulled in the driveway!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful week!
It has been sort of rainy and miserable here and I came down with a an upper respiratory thing. It started as a sore throat and now I have a terrible cough and no voice. Good thing it is Friday!!! As always, I am looking forward to a weekend and hoping it will be somewhat restful.

Enjoy your weekend~

the long road