Welcome to our blog. Thank you for taking the time to come learn more about us. I hope you can get a feeling for who we are.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


I have been trying to listen to my body more when I eat. Turns out my body wants whole, fresh foods. With calorific dressing. Such a yummy lunch today. Left over steak, tomatoes from my garden, romaine lettuce and this yummy, delicious dressing to top it all. Intuitive eating never tasted better!

What do you like to eat? Have a favorite meal?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Naaman Moment

In 2 Kings in the Old Testament, Naaman, who is a Captain of the guard for the soldiers of Syria has a situation. He has leprosy. He has a problem he needs fixed. His wife's KIDNAPPED servant suggests they appeal to the Prophet Elisha, the spiritual leader of the ENEMY.

Catch those words? One could easily understand if there was animosity there. But there wasn't too much because Naaman followed the suggestion. The King of Syria wrote to the King of Israel and Naaman took a massive entourage to visit Elisha. Elisha sent a servant out with directions. The directions were simple. Wash in the Jordan River 7 times. Naaman was kind torqued off that the Prophet would not come out to meet him himself, and insulted that the "fix" was easy.

Then enters the smart servant. He says "Why not give it a try. What harm could it do?" So he did. And he was healed. Naaman must have had some amount of faith, or at least a desire to believe in order for that to have worked.

Image result for Naaman

Here is how it applied to me. Recently someone, who has succeeded where I wish to succeed, gave me a piece of advice. A simple piece of advice. Publish more to my blog and focus more on us on my social media accounts rather that stressing adoption every single post. I thought "who are you to tell me what to do. You're young, you don't know what it's like to wait.." Wait. She doesn't know what it's like to wait. Maybe I should listen.

I say I am willing to sacrifice, I claim I want it more than anything. I profess my deep desires. Which are all true. But what am willing to SHOW the Lord I am willing to do? How much good is it to say "I know I spend too much time on my phone and not being a great mom, but I will be better when we get another one." It's like when my son asks for a tootsie roll. I tell him no because he hit me. He says "I won't do it ever again." and expects he will still get the treat. I believe the Lord said faith precedes the miracle, not the other way around.

When we adopted Panda we had been struggling, then I remember a distinct shift in my heart. Things started to fall into place. We didn't know that's what it was until after we adopted. I have been striving for that same shift of feeling. But I'm not there yet. You can't manufacture a change of heart. It has to be real.

I'm not going to announce drastic monumental changes to my life in this effort. But I am going to listen to the whisperings that say "What can it hurt to try?" I'm going to try and ask myself if my actions show faith or simply expect rewards. But the best thing is when I succeed, it doesn't necessarily mean we will end with a baby girl, like I want. But no matter what, I will end up better in my faith and my ability to listen to the spirit. My relationship with My Heavenly Father and my Savior will increase.

So again, I ask, "What can it hurt to try?"

Saturday, April 7, 2018


What's better than a comfy t-shirt? Nothing! Unless that comfy t-shirt happens to help a friend. We just launched the "Lucky Little Panda Shop"! We have these super cute shirts!

My very talented cousin Hannah designed these shirts for us. I am so lucky! I can't wait to have one of each for myself.

Aren't they cute!!!

Our shop is here. Come around and shop. Then share!! Each t-shirt gets us $10 closer to our adoption.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A piece of our puzzle

Many people ask "How is the adoption coming along?" The real answer is it is not a process. The application is a process, and we are approved. He have a valid home-study and we are ready to adopt. There will be lots of waiting and then

Something will happen. That's the way it was for our little Panda. One day we were childless, the next day we were parents. It was wonderful!!

We have been just personally sharing and asking friends to look out for us and keep us in their prayers. This week we took another step. We are working with an agency. Children's Service Society of Utah has many expectant women considering adoption and, after praying, we feel this is a good move for us. However, agency adoptions are more expensive than private. 

This is where you all come in. So many people have expressed a desire to be of some help. Now you can!

For a donation of $20 we will put your name on a beautiful walnut puzzle my brother is cutting for us! (It will be bigger than this - 324 pieces or more if people donate more!)

When you "buy" your piece your name will be hand lettered by my talented sister and this puzzle will be framed and hung in our home. We will always have the reminder of the amazing friends who have helped us. 

Your reward? A happy conscience. And possibly a Lifetime table and chairs!!
For each person who donates you will be entered into a raffle to win this:

Or this:

Each valued at $200 or more! (I know a guy.)

*The raffle entries are for local pick up only. We cannot ship to you, but you are welcome to come visit us. 
*Each person gets only one entry, regardless of how many puzzle pieces you buy. This also means if you buy all 324 pieces, you are guaranteed to win one of them. Because your name will be the only one in the raffle.
*One person cannot win both. Each person is limited to one prize. But we can hook you up if you'd like to buy one of these sets for yourself.

One more thing I need from you: Share the life out of this post!! Share! Share! Share!

Love and prayers and puzzles are going to get us there, I just know it!  

To donate, simply click on the "Donate" button at the top of the right column. Or Here!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Peanut butter world ice cream is back

Grey/favorite dessert. These grey ballet flats are my go to for church these days. They are comfy and dressy. Favorite dessert: this. Remember when I was watching Grantchester and eating this stuff? Yeah, still love those two things. 

Icy... or not.

Icy/animal at the zoo. Icy is not our winter this year. Today, in mid February, we took a walk with no jacket. I like it, but I sure would love more moisture. When you live in a desert the water is super needed. Zoo animal? Elephants! When we lived in China we took a trip to Thailand and I bought a painting from Charlie, for which he gave me a kiss. Daniel has a special love for pandas and I have a special love of elephants.

(I'll try to post the videos of our walk another time.)


 Brown/nickname. Brown is what my kitchen has been. All the cupboard doors and drawer fronts are in my garage half way through the process of getting painted. I am nervous and excited. They are going to be white. My goal this week will be to prep the inside parts prepped for painting. Nickname: neither Daniel nor I have a nickname really. But our son? You all know him as Panda. Our son was given that nickname because of how much we love pandas. I call him hat on social media in order to give him some privacy and allow him some anonymity. When he is older and learns to understand how public social media is, he can decide for himself how much of himself he wants to share. I am his biggest and most ardent defender and I feel protecting him is right for him. 


Deal breakers. I like genuine people. I like honest people. I like people who follow through and do what they say. When it comes to birth mothers I know these are some of their fears. Daniel and I are aware of this. Although Panda’s birthmom has chosen to remain distant to us, I honor what I told her. I want her to know her trust was not misplaced. And unfortunately, in adoption, agency costs can be deal breakers. But I know that good agencies exist and those costs are to help birth mothers in the ways they truly need. 


Juicy/favorite sound. Crab. I looooooooove kind crab legs in clarified butter. I went with Kristy out for a celebratory lunch today and loved my crab! Favorite sound: rain. I love a rain storm. Hearing the water hit roofs, especially metal roofs, is so relaxing for me. 

The Temple

I am going to combine these two together. Heavenly/tradition. On our blog I talk about family traditions. But I love the tradition of returning to the temple regularly, especially when we are in need of fortification, reminders, and spiritually communing with our Father in Heaven. I took that opportunity today. I had a free afternoon and my mom took Panda so I could have a peace filled afternoon to myself. This will be my week’s check off of self-care. I got what I needed. I felt fortified against the storms of life, against the lies that Satan tells, and ready to proceed with hope and faith. 


Low/favorite type of music. Low: voices. I have always loved a good baritone singing voice and deep talking voices. Something about the depth in those sounds reverberates and gives me goosebumps. Favorite type of music? Classical. Some classic opera pieces are truly transporting, but I have always loved the stories you can hear and feel in classical music, especially those composed for ballet. So much modern music isn’t music to me so much as rhythmic noise and repetitive words. Classical music is on a higher plain of composition. 88 keys on a piano can do so many things!!


Favorite drink

Curved/favorite drink. Curved: these cookies. But actually my first thought was my body. Women are made of curves. And I may not be at my best, but I love the abilities my body does have. I cannot bear children, but I can love. Favorite drink: lemonade. I love the Wendy’s strawberry lemonade, the new pink drink flavor of watermelon lemonade, and the best, Chick-fil-a’s fresh squeezed lemonade. I think the secret is they put in some sort of addictive substance. It’s probably just the sugar.

Wanna see my fridge?

Sweet/in my fridge. This is my fridge. Not too bad I think. I try to manage the amount of stuff so it isn’t ever super full or has tons of stuff crammed into the back. These two things are my favorite in my fridge right now. These g2g protein bars are very yummy and have oodles of protein. The VitalBiome is aPlexus probiotic that does a million good things. Sweet- um, anything with sugar in it? Hehe! I love sweets. I’m currently working on curbing that. But I have to pat my own back for a second about this cake I made for Panda’s birthday. 

My best bike ride ever

Part two of yesterday: high. This is not a picture of me high. There was a 1 year period, from August 2011-August 2012 where I had over 65 different flights. Between traveling around Asia, trans-Pacific, and around the US that I boarded a plane, I think, 68 times. My body got so used to flying that I now cannot stay awake on flights. I love travel and I love air travel. Panda and I are flying to Virginia in April for my birthday to spend a week with my Grandma Arave. Panda has been lots of places too. First, we flew him home from Austin, Texas, where he was born. Then that fall we flew to Virginia and then to California for a trip to Disneyland. The next spring we flew to Maine to spend a couple weeks with my sister. That trip home was a nightmare with a cancelled flight and an airline who couldn’t get us home sooner than 3 days later, but he was a trooper. I am nervous to fly this time, as he has become so independent, but a leash and a kindle fire ought to help. 

Yer a wizzard Harry

Yesterday’s: high/favorite holiday. I’ll start with favorite holiday. Halloween. Hands down. This last year we had a party with probably 30 people at our house and I LOVED it! The clever food, the costumes, the decorations and the prep. I have as many Halloween decoration buckets as I do Christmas. It’s totally a voluntary holiday. There are no high expectations. It’s only what I set for myself. Panda as Harry Potter was pretty stinking cute.

Panda Patronas

Black/patronus. This. I saw this on Facebook and had to screenshot it. I only like black as far as it works with other colors and makes them stand out. 

Ferarri shoes

Raw/favorite pair of shoes. This actually should have been Wednesday’s. Sometimes I can’t find a response in my head for the prompts. The word “raw” kept bringing to mind raw meat. Which is not great. And I don’t love raw emotions. I know deep and tender emotions can leave you feeling raw, but I prefer the word “exposed” when it comes to emotions. Then I remembered: sashimi. I didn’t use to like sushi or sashimi. The thought of uncooked fish grossed me out. Then I grew up and moved to Asia. And I’m glad I did. This delicacy here was a salmon sashimi roll. I actually prefer the traditional sashimi slice served on top of a small bundle of rice. I like salmon, tuna, and yellowtail. In this case “raw” is good. Shoes? These babies right here. They make me feel amazing. They make me feel strong, capable, powerful, attractive, and in control. Amazing that a beautiful pair of shoes can imbue so much, but they do and I love them for it. I can even chase toddlers down the church aisle in these bad boys. 

Rain drops

Gooey/favorite smell. (None of these images are my own. But I have been to these places). Gooey - warm gooey brownies is about the only gooey thing allowed in my life. Generally gooey things are messy. Favorite smell: outside. Not just outside, but the pine duff of the mountain floors. And Virginia. The humid south. Anyone who has been there will know what I mean. I love it. I have been to Virginia almost every year for the last 16 yrs. my dad was born and raised there and my grandma still lives there. I try to visit her regularly. I love all the positive memories I have of Charlottesville and the smells of my grandma’s back yard in the evenings are about the best. 


Comical/my collection. Comical - this little dude. He has SOOOO much personality and loves to be happy and laughing. Collections: Daniel collected bells from the Buddhist temples we visited in Asia. We have quite a few. We hope to add to this collection again someday. Me? I collect shoes and elephants and colored glass. All of these things make me happy. Panda collects... Pandas. I think he has nearly 30 of various types. He loves them. Right now he carries around two little ones that are named “Panny” and “Mei mei.” It’s pretty stinking cute. 

We've watched it 75,000 times

Short/favorite movie. This guy popped in my mind at these prompts. He is short. 9% for height. But I love my little guy. His favorite movie right now is Cars 3. Daniel’s favorite movie is a good heist movie. Mine are just about any of the BBC period dramas, with the ultimate being the Pride and Prejudice movie from 1995 with Colin Firth.

All that glitters....

Gold/I believe. I don’t actually like gold. Not as a color anyway. But I have learned that sometimes the shiny things are simply plated. The good stuff needs to be polished before it shines. We all have our faults. I have found some amazing people and their awesomeness doesn’t always shine at first glance. The best people are the diamonds you find in the rough. I believe: in miracles. My son is a miracle to me. The fact that his sweet little spirit made it to us is miraculous. The circumstances surrounding his journey to us are sacred. I saw this sign on Etsy the other day by @sarikodesigns and I want it! Talented woman! This other one hangs in the home of Caroline and each of her beautiful three children are a miracle themselves. I believe there is another miracle in our future. Can you help us? Will you be the angel sent from above to connect or bring us that miracle?

My ride

Yesterday’s was scary/my ride. This was taken 2 years ago when we bought our current ride. We had been in a Focus, which we loved, but it had no space for when we travel. So we upsized to an escape. I love it. I love the color, I love riding a little higher, I love that it has room without being overly large. It’s just right for us. As far as something scary - what’s scary is how quickly time passes. This seems like last week. Nope. I took Panda to swim lessons this morning. I can’t believe he’s 3. On his birthday he said to me “I’m a big boy now. I can do anything.” Yes, my boy, you can. I want you to conquer the world! You can truly do anything. 

Blue glasses!

Bright/our family. I like bright things. When we bought our house everything was some shade of brown. I feel dirty and withered with brown things. I’m slowly on a mission to “de-brown” my house. I was at Ikea the other day and saw these bright cups. I love them. Our family: right now we are three. Our extended families are bigger and praying for us. I like that. Our family, whether it be the family we come from, the family we join, the family we create, or the family like friends we surround ourselves with, are very important to us. These associations build us up, fortify us when we can’t hold strong on our own, and they have our backs. We can’t wait to add a birth family to our family. Sadly, Panda’s birth mother has chosen to remain distant from us, but we still love her. We still talk of her, pray for her, and call her part of our own. I remember when she placed Panda with us I could tell she didn’t have much of a family (biological or not) around. She didn’t know what it was like to be loved for who she is. She seemed hungry for love. I wanted her to feel as loved as possible. I don’t even have contact with her at all, our agency does not know where she is, and I pray she has someone around her to show her the we feel. Family is so very important.