Monday, 28 June 2010

2 going on 13

Items of note in this video -

  1. If you are not currently living with a toddler, the music she is singing is "Nice & Easy" from the kids show, Yo Gabba Gabba.
  2. Please note her facial expressions when asked to simply say goodbye or blow a kiss - are you kidding me? I am in BIG trouble when she hits the teen years!

inebriated with joy

A i came across those words in a book recently - "inebriated with joy" - and the phrase resonated with me as i search for words to express having these creatures in my life - that is truly how i feel about being their mother, but more accurately describes how my heart feels when i see the two of them together. it is not an exaggeration to say that amelia is most interested in allison and that allison is sweetest with amelia - joy defined.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

a love letter.

today marks my 20th anniversary with my first, true girlfriend, abby.

we were just girls when we met on a magical hillside in the berkshires. our adventures have been epic. we saw the southern cross together and made a canadian border run. we have bathed in coldwater creeks and california sulfer springs. we could teach road tripping 101.

we have never, ever lived in the same city at the same time and that has never deterred our commitment to our friendship or to each other. our friendship has taught me about unwavering devotion. abby showed me that if you pour yourself wholly into a friendship, the rewards are endless.

i am a better person because of her friendship and love. i keep her in mind as i raise two daughters and hope that they, like abby, are charming, selfless and brave.

twinnie brown - happy anniversary - i was smitten when we met at 14 and that hasn't changed! your beauty, intellect, compassion and kindness continue to inspire me - here's to the next 20! xo, twinnie red

p.s. tradition at 20 years calls for "china" - if you come visit me in saigon, i will take you here and buy you a noodle bowl.

Monday, 21 June 2010

one month

when we bid on posts, both erik and i created "criteria" for ranking.
on paper, saigon/ho chi minh city meets all of our requirements.
every. single. one.

but paper is one thing.
day-to-day living is something entirely different.

so here we are - one month in.

in the foreign service, so many of the factors in your life are outside of your control and i am learning that living in (and enjoying) the moment are the keys to success in this new life of ours.

we are fortunate that we are living in an exciting, safe city in wonderful housing and that erik thoroughly enjoys his work and his colleagues. we are delighted with the food and the abundant sunshine. we have met some wonderful expats and begun to cultivate true friendships. our girls are happy, healthy and thriving.

are we far from family and friends? yes.
is the language a difficult one to learn? absolutely.

do i feel amazingly lucky to have been assigned to this post?
every. single. day.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Fatherhood, Version 2.0

e -

thank you for
our sweet girls


for your never-
ending hard work
for our family.

we love you so,

m, a & a

Fatherhood, Version 1.0

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.
Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.
- Alex Haley

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.
- Welsh Proverb

One of the most powerful handclasps is that of a new grandbaby
around the finger of a grandfather. - Joy Hargrove

We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children

that makes the heart too big for the body. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Papa & Bapa - Happy Father's Day!

We love you and miss you - Alli & Amelia

Friday, 18 June 2010

a shot of beauty

Each week, Alli and I head to one of the flower vendors and pick a new flower for our home. This week, she chose stargazer lillies. To our surprise and delight, they have the most wonderfully subtle fragrance. And the hot pink color? That, my friends, is what we call an added bonus.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


homemade popsicles bring back memories galore - so glad to be sharing this tradition with alli!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Paparazzo with a Vietnamese twist

I knew that bringing my blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter to Vietnam would cause some commotion. I knew that people would want to take her picture and touch her hair. As a redhead, I know firsthand what it is like to have complete strangers lay their hands on you without asking. And while I do my best not to project my personal hang-ups onto my daughters, this was in the back, and sometimes front, of my mind as I mentally prepared for Vietnam.

And so yes, wherever we go, people do take lots and lots of pictures. Sometimes they politely ask, like they did today at the flower shop, and sometimes they do not. When Allison asks why they are taking her picture, I explain that it is because her hair is yellow and they think it is very special. So far, she seems okay with that explanation.

A good deal of the time, people want to have their picture taken with Allison, which depending on her mood can, understandably, be strange and upsetting. But today, she was excited about buying flowers and, in the mid-day heat, was enjoying the cool water mist for the flowers, so she was a willing and happy participant.

As I downloaded these pictures, I was struck by the utter joy in the faces - of the shopgirls who were enamored and of Allison who was knee-deep in a new experience.

Today, like every day, I was reminded how grateful I am for the Vietnamese people - for their kind and warm spirit, their huge smiles and their unwaivering love of children.

Tummy Time

In our house, everyone gets in on the action.....

Sunday, 13 June 2010

sweet dreams

A well-spent day brings happy sleep.

-Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Helping Hand - The Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time, there were two sisters who lived in a magical land far, far away.
One particular afternoon, the older of the two sisters decided she would rescue her baby sister from the cruel confines of her crib.

One must always look good while doing noble deeds.

The following is not a re-enactment. No children were actually harmed in this video.

See, I told you!

The Queen asked the kind sister to stop rescuing the princess from her prison, a polite request to which the sister did not respond well, so........

The moral of the story - no good deed goes unpunished.

The End.

an oasis

today i ventured down a quiet alley in our very busy city and, like alice, stumbled into wonderland.
i can't wait to see what other secrets this city has yet to share.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

this one is for jen

dearest j -

orchids by the fistful for pennies - care to come and pick out some yourself?
xo, q


let's be honest - in this family, it is hard to get a word in edgewise, but amelia sure is doing her best to keep up.....

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Big Ole Fat Rain

The monsoon season is upon us here in Saigon and most afternoons we are treated to an intense rain shower that dumps a ton of water in a very short amount of time - one storm left in its wake a much cooler evening, one storm did not.

The rain itself is, as Mr. Gump says, "Big ole fat rain" and makes the most wonderful sound on our roof, acting as a symphony for the girls while they nap. We haven't yet had a chance to play in the rain, as it has been accompanied by lightening and "under", as Alli calls it.

We are only 1 week in, but so far, I am quite enjoying the monsoons from our lovely perch - please check back in about 2 months and ask again.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Bette Davis eyes

someone get this girl a mascara contract.......

do you think she is up to something???

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

my sweet buddha

asp -
where have the last 3 months gone?

you were born into the center of a storm i didn't think i would see my way out of - i made a lot of deals that week you were born so that i could be around to be part of your journey and each and every moment, you make it all worth it.

you are joy personified and the happiest baby i have ever known - you are a true gift, hand picked by my beloved aunt ruth.

i am so very glad you are mine - we love you so.

xo, mommy

Cam On

Dear Gaga -

thank you for keeping mommy sane on the plane flights.

thank you for the french pastries for breakfast.

thank you for the adventures.

thank you for the swim lessons.

thank you for the off-key singing.

Lots of love, your mini-me and her sister, sandwich