Rainy Days

I love rainy days. Well, I suppose my love for rainy days correlates directly with how much time we’ve spent inside recently and how occupied my kids are.
But, in theory, they are lovely. The rain on the windows. The excuse to stay inside.



Most photographers dislike rain. The poor light, needing to stay inside.


But, I love it.




It seems to transform everything. Everything is new, covered in rain drops. And of course, to quote Les Miserables, “rain will make the flowers grow”.

To the Middle of Nowhere!

We had a beautiful day last Saturday. 80 degrees and sunny.

We went on a little road trip. To the middle of nowhere. Because, where else do we go?

We didn’t plan on this playground, the fun kind with a wooden castle and tire swings. We stumbled upon it, in a little town of 700.

It also had a pirate ship and a sandbox with dinosaur bones. And, we had it all to ourselves.

Our real destination was a park that was on the Oregon Trail, Alcove Springs, known as a camp of the Donner-Reed party.

We did some hiking and some geocaching. Our legs will tell you that Kansas is not flat.

Turkey vulture.

Little spiky things. That’s the scientific name.

Lena found this rock that looked like a butterfly.

And, the day ended with the sun peeking out behind the clouds.

Just Yes

I follow lots of organizations on Facebook, among them several orphan hosting programs. A wonderful woman started commenting on my blog back in 2010, when we were adopting Reed and Lena. She was adopting, too– a girl who she had hosted the previous Christmas. Hosting has been on my mind ever since and many of my adoption friends hosted since then. And, of course, we started to get involved with the program over Christmas, when we hosted Andrei, one of the chaperones.

Following a hosting organization on Facebook is dangerous. Scrolling through your feed and BAM. There’s a photo of a child in need of a host family. Or, a fact about orphans:

“In Eastern Europe, of the orphan ‘graduates’ each year:
1 in 3 are homeless.
1 in 5 commits a crime.
1 in 10 commit suicide.”

We started looking into it. I kept waiting for the “no”. I asked questions from the program and talked with friends who had hosted. Meeting all of my questions and doubts with answers, everyone kept saying “just do it!”

We were ready to say yes, when we were told (earlier this week) that we’d need all of the money, nearly $3,000, by May 1st. Okay, I guess that’s our no! But, the coordinator said she’d double check and nope, it was June 1st!

We have so many questions. Where will the money come from? Can we parent a pre-teen? How will this affect our summer plans?

Talking with my friends who have hosted, there seemed to be two themes: 1. Live Boldy. 2. God will work it out.

Both of these are a reminder to me… I want to live the kind of life which, when I die, leaves no doubts that I lived fully and completely. There is a quote by Erma Bombeck “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” I want to use everything that God gives me– all of the compassion, all of the love, all of my gifts, to the best of my ability. And, I want to teach my kids to do the same. To teach them how to listen to God, use their gifts and how to love others.

We said yes. Just yes. Not “yes and we know this is how it will all come together”, but “yes, we trust somehow it WILL all come together”.

Meet our girl.

For safety purposes, we will not be sharing her real name on here. Instead we will be calling her “Птичка”(pteeshka) or “Birdie” in English.

So, our most common questions:

Why host?

Hosting is an opportunity. The most important reasons are to give them a connection to a family, to build relationships and to learn about God. Many (but not all) of the kids are also available for adoption, but are at an age where they wouldn’t usually be considered (pre-teens and teenagers). People are more likely to say yes to sharing their home for 5-6weeks than permanently, but once they get to know the child, they might adopt them. Even for a child who is “host-only”, it’s the opportunity to learn English, get a healthy experience of family life, learn about God, and even just travel outside their own country! You can also read more on New Horizons for Children’s FAQ page. I particularly like the answer to “Isn’t it cruel to send them back?”

How can I help?

Thank you for asking. 🙂 Hosting is expensive, of course, because traveling is expensive. Passport, visa, airfare, etc.  I am selling prints and having mini-sessions to help cover the hosting fees. If you are interested, please check out Moose Prints. New Horizons for Children is also setting up a link for us where you can donate even if you don’t want to purchase a print. All donations are tax deductible.


Real Life with Kids

I recently found the blog, Kids Were Here. It’s many lifestyle photographers sharing bits of real life with kids, signs that their kids had been there. I found this inspiring and a new way to approach the discoveries that my kids leave behind.

This is what real life is like around here and some of the discoveries I’ve made in the last week…

After School Traditions

We almost always hang out on the school playground for a bit after school. Reed always asks, and Lena and Gus enjoy it, too. But, Gus has us started on a new tradition.

Each day, after school, he asks to open up Lena’s lunchbox. She happily agrees, and then the two of then go through everything.

They finish it off together.

She never eats her cookie, so it’s always his.


I felt a bit silly, continuing to pack this cookies in her lunch which she obviously doesn’t like, so I thought I’d replace it with a bit of chocolate. I knew this wouldn’t fly with Gus, who has started to look forward to that cookie each day. So, I packed them both– more sweets than I’d ever give her for lunch, but I knew she could be trusted. And, I was right– it’s always there, ready for him to find.