Friday, February 27, 2009

Hi Paige!

I know you read my blog ... you forgot to clear the history last night : )

I just wanted to tell you I love ya and I am proud of the young lady you are. You've had such a big week. First, you became a citizen. That moment, when Judge Gray said that you were the newest U.S. citizen, I had such a sense of pride.

Secondly, I am not surprised that you were voted class Good Citizen. You ARE a good girl. I don't think I tell you that often enough, but you are. You are so funny, kind, sassy, sensitive, strong, creative, lovable, snuggly, independent, bright, beautiful from the inside out. I am happy that your peers see these qualities in you and voted you for being a good citizen. That means they respect you. Always remember to be kind to others and treat them with respect. We never know what others have been through or the journey that life has in store for them. Love your fellow human and don't judge others. Continue to be a good citizen!

Lastly, boy did we have fun last night making cornbread for your 4-H project!!! I am glad that you told me to just sit and talk to you while you made your cornbread. You made me proud when you said that you needed to do this by yourself, "because afterall, how can I learn if I have my sissy do my work" : ) You are right. Too bad you didn't place on your cornbread today, but I think you had fun and that is all that matters. I am proud of you for coming in 1st place for the recycled project. I love that you think recycling is important and remind me to recycle, when I forget so often.

I don't tell you often enough little one exactly how much I respect you... Sorry for that! I want to tell you now how much I look up to you! I want to be like you when I grow up : )

Sis loves you to the moon and back! Congrats on your big week! Here's to many more : )

PS- If you wonder how I know you read my blog, it's because I'm your sissy, that's how!!! : )

Monday, February 23, 2009


The newest American Citizen
Paige Frances Li




Today was a very important day in little Paige's that has been a long time coming. She was readopted today. We were under the impression that she came home on the correct visa, as our agency wasn't giving us much guidance. We thought through the years, reading things and hearing all that people said, that we were in the clear. When my dad passed away and we spoke with a lawyer, man were we wrong. Since my dad did not travel to China, a readoption was in need. Our post placement worker never said anything. Chalk it up to naivete, I suppose.

What matters is, she's a citizen, she's ours and she isn't going anywhere! Thank GOD!

So you may wonder why I have a picture of a shirt on here. When my dad passed away, we started seeing hearts everywhere...oil spills on our driveway, on the storm door, in our eggs, and today...on my shirt. I washed my blue shirt last night so I could wear it today to look patriotic. When I pulled it out of my closet this morning, I saw a stain. I put my glasses on and there it was. My mom, Paige and I firmly believe that my dad is letting us know he is here. We don't care who thinks we are crazy...maybe we are, but today we felt him all around us. It brought us such joy.

As for the day...HILARIOUS! Sitcom stuff here, folks.

We had to be at court by 8:00. So we get there minutes before and my mom realizes that she has left all of her money in my car (blocks away). We needed money to pay court fees. So, she decided to take the chance to make a run for it...afterall, surely we wouldn't be the first name called, right? WRONG! Paige and I are sitting on the first row and the lawyer walks in and says, "Where is your mom?" Same time he is asking, the judge is calling our name to come up. So Paige and I walk up with our lawyer (courtroom packed with people) and I explain the situation. We wait and wait and wait and... finally, she shows up. We proceed with the festivities.

Story doesn't end there...the court clerk, the one in the pic wearing the pink, is my mom's best friend and Paige's God-Grandmother : ). She told us to definitely bring our camera. So after the judge asks Paige some questions, he says, "I understand Mrs. Brenda has instructed you to have your photo taken young lady" (Mrs. Brenda is our friend). Paige politely says, "yes sir". So we get up on a platform, Paige takes the judge's chair and the lawyer takes my brand new camera. The lawyer says, "Ok, on the count of three...1, 2, 3...3...3 uhhh, I don't think it's working". So, I get off the stand, go down there and low and behold I get stage fright...I can't get the flipping thing to work. So, Mrs. Brenda says, "We'll come back and have a private session another time". The judge laughs and we leave.

We get out to the lobby and my mom and the lawyer are talking and I am determined to get the camera working. After looking, I noticed the battery door wasn't closed all the way. I take a photo and the flash goes off in the lawyer's face. He is blinded and my mom is apologizing and Paige is laughing and I am thinking "YES! It works".

Sooo, we beg for another photo op. The lawyer sneaks back in to talk to Brenda and came out and said that yes we could do it again, but it would be about 5 min.


We go back, the judge let's Paige sit in his chair this time and tells the entire courtroom that she is the newest American citizen and that she will be handling the docket for the day. That got a big chuckle from everyone. This time it worked!

Memories!!! My family never does things the easy way...we always have something to laugh about : )

No matter what, we love our girl and are tickled about her special day. She requested an "American" meal for lunch. Hamburgers, coke and apple pie...thatta girl!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I have a new baby!!!

No, not THAT kind of baby (however, I am currently searching programs and think I have found one or two!!!). I bought a new camera!!!! WAAAA HOOOO!!!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know a few things about me:

1. I dig my sister!
2. I dig my blogger buddies.

I just splurged and bought the Canon 50D. Oh my, it is a huge upgrade from my old camera and I have tons and tons to learn, but I cannot wait. I am shooting some pics for a Mommy and Me celebration this weekend and I cannot wait to try it out.

Just had to share my excitement with others who understand the addiction : )

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lifeway Photoshoot

Here are the pics that the photographer took of the kids for the Lifeway Photoshoot. I thought they turned out awfully cute. I really, really love the pic of Paige blowing a kiss. I am going to beg the photographer for a copy of that pic.
To see the rest of the shoot go to:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good friends equals good times!

We got the honor to see sweet baby Coby get baptized this past Sunday. He and his Na Na looked sooo precious in their traditional outfits. He was so cute during the service...he was truly the sweetest, happiest baby and just showed his precious personality.
Afterwards, we went to celebrate with their family. It was such a great time. We had some yummy appetizers and a little bubbly to toast this monumental occassion. Of course, the mamarazzi/sisterazzi was out in full effect. I love this pic of Annslee and Paige. I think they are so cute. Paige loves her like a little sis.
IMG_2013-Edit Of course, with these two, there is ALWAYS their fare share of silliness and outtakes : )

Paige is not a "baby" kinda kid. Some kids beg to hold babies and lug them all around...that's just not Paige. I put Coby in her lap and snapped a few pics. When I was finished, she looked at me and said, "That wasn't so bad. He's a good boy" : )
IMG_2035-Edit I, of course, held this angel from above as many times as I could get my hands on him. Laura let me feed him his bottle and he even obliged and nustled into my arms and relaxed while I rocked him. You just don't know what being around him and his sissy do for this girl who would LOVE to have a baby! He makes me want to hop on the next plane to Vietnam and bring home a baby boy. COME ON VIETNAM...Open back up and let singles bring home children!!!
I am seriously wanting to adopt right now...badly! I knew it would hit me one day and it has hit in a biiiiggg way! I mean, look at him...isn't he perfect???
What a blessing this family is to mine.
Lala and family, We Love You Guys!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Funny Valentine!







h9 Sweet girl made my mom and I breakfast for Valentine's Day.
This was our menu! Sooo sweet!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Father/Daughter Breakfast

It's funny how kids minds work and what is important to them and how they perceive loss in different ways. I'll never forget the day of my dad's funeral, Paige leaned in close and buried her head in my chest and said "I'll never get to go to daddy/daughter breakfast again". Of all the things to be thinking about on the day we laid my dad to rest, but that was important to her. That statement opened my eyes to the things she was feeling. It broke my heart.

Today has been one, that I had been dreading, for an entire school year. It was going to be another slap in her sweet face that she didn't have a daddy on earth anymore. Of course, like we tell her, she will always have a daddy...he's just in Heaven.

Throughout this year, we have developed an incredible friendship with a special family. The mom and I are great friends and I adore her. Their daughter and Paige have developed quite the big/little sister bond and Paige would stand up for this angel if ever need be. She loves her. They have this precious new baby boy that will melt your heart in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. He is THAT cute. Then, the dad. The dad is a very friendly, outgoing man. Not one of a ton of words, but is gentle and sincere. Paige took to him like nothing I have ever seen before. When we are out at functions, she is either hanging out beside him, sitting in his lap or jumping up wanting to be held. He has thrown the football with her, teased with her, laughed with her and has been a special friend.

Paige woke up awfully excited today, because it was the Father/Daughter breakfast. You see, she got to go, because her special buddy wanted to take her. She didn't have to dread this day afterall. It was a morning filled with smiles, good conversation and (hopefully a decent breakfast). Paige showed off her special buddy and her special buddy obliged in the sweetest of ways. She took him to meet her teacher, show him the building....poor special buddy is probably exhausted right now.

Special buddy is the daddy to these wonderful kids and precious mommy!

We love you guys more than you can imagine. I know this might have just been a little something in your eyes, but in the eyes of our family, it was the one of the biggest somethings ever. Our heart is full today and we know that my dad would thank you from the bottom of his heart for loving our girl!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cancer Free!!!!

Our prayers have been answered in the GREATEST ways...God is SO good!!!

We just returned from the top cornea specialist in the South, possibly the U.S. and we have such good news!!!

NO CANCER!!! Not only, no cancer, her scarring on her cornea has improved by 30%! We have been putting steroid drops in her eye and it has been clearing up the fog on her eye. The doctor said to increase the amount of drops we are giving her and she may be able to regain a little vision in the eye ( that is up in the air, though ).

She also said that if things stay status quo, then at age 14 or 15, we can revisit transplanting. They don't like to do it at this young of an age, but if they are going to do it on a teenager, they like to do it before driving age so they can have a good working eye for driving ( good thing, huh? : )

Thanks for all of your prayers!!! God heard them, we felt them and they worked!!! We are celebrating today. I feel like two tons have been lifted from my if I could just lose two tons of lbs. : )

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Editing and software

Several of you have left comments and sent me some emails asking what editing software I use and how I get my pictures to "pop", as well as what presets and actions are.

I am not an expert, by any sense of the word. I am one of those people who learn by "playing". I also like to read tutorial books. I particularly like to read Scott Kelby books. That said, this is usually what I do to treat my photos:

Software that I have: Photoshop elements 7, Photoshop CS3, Lightroom 1 and Lightroom 2 upgrade.

I generally run all of my photos through Photoshop CS3. I have purchased many "actions" from different places, so many times I don't do any manual editing, I just run the photo through several actions. If I don't use an action, generally the first thing I do is play with levels and curves. I also add some vignette, as I love that look.

If I run my photos through lightroom (which I know many photographers d0) I use "presets" which are like actions. I purchased Pixel Fairy Presets and installed them into lightroom. I'll import a photo into Lightroom, run a preset and then tweak the balance, hue, saturation, etc...until the picture looks the way that I want it to.

Seriously, editing is my FAVORITE part of photography. While I enjoy the process of composing photos and taking them and looking for cool angles and locations, I become giddy when it comes to the editing process. I realize that most photographers feel completely opposite, but that is what makes photography a great art. There are all kinds of fun and exciting things you can do.

I hope this answers some of your questions.

One emailer asked me what my favorite look is: My favorite look is urban shots with a "Pop" of color. I like to really pop colors with levels and curves and I also love, love, love to use the burn tool.

Happy editing!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Princess In Training Presets

Guys, you really need to head over to the Pixel Fairy Princess' website and order her set of presets. I just played with this photo and I love it. I will be spending hours and hours playing with these amazing presets. Thanks Deb!!! You rock!

debbies preset

Friday, February 6, 2009

Model for a day!

I have been back at work 1/2 day for some of this week and as of yesterday I just didn't feel up to it. So, I left plans for a sub today...good thing, because we had an exciting surprise waiting for us. A company saw Paige's picture on a photographer's blog and the photographer contacted us and said that the company (Lifeway Christian Resources) was needing models for a national campaign to possibly get churches interested in their company. Paige was in a video for them when she was five. It was a video on how to run an effective VBS. She was thrilled to do this, so we thought, what the hay. : )

I knew that the location was quite urban looking (however, we were in a SMALL town square in the country of middle TN. : ) and I just HAD to take some shots of her prior to the real photoshoot. I have to say, I am a little giddy about how these turned out. I used some new techniques that I have been tinkering with in photoshop while I was laid up in bed. I was dying to try them out. I must say, by the time we got home tonight, I was POOPED!!! I am going to send this through and then hit the sack. I have many more on my flickr acct., so if you feel so inclined you can click on any of these pics and head on over.

I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend!!! I promise to visit you all and see what you have been up to this weekend!






Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Back in the saddle again

After lots and lots of sleep....and sleep...and more sleep : ) I went back to the dr. yesterday. I am now allowed to go back to work for 1/2 days. Today went well, except for that by the end of the day, I felt like I needed to get a ride home, because I could barely keep my eyes open. I just called my mom and spoke with her on the phone to keep me awake and drove on home.

It's crazy, because once I have showered and crawled into bed, I feel fine to watch some TV or chat or play a game with Paige, but as soon as I stand up, my head starts swimming. I guess I am just regaining some strength.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, emails and facebook messages. You guys are great. We are doing well. Paige returns to another doctor next week. Her spirits are good right now and we just keep praying and knowing that she is in good hands. Thanks again for the support!!!! Mmmmwwaaahhh!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Have you ever been in love?

I love that song by Celine Dion! Every time I hear it I think of Paige. She is our dream come true!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

Paige is PUMPED and ready to root on her team, the Steelers. We wish we were cheering for the TN. Titans, but maybe next year. She was invited to go over to Annslee and Coby's house for the party. I am SO sad that I am not feeling well enough to attend. Laura, take some pics for me : )

Hope you all have fun on this SuperBowl Sunday!!!