Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Just Adore My Book Club!

Every other month we meet for our book club at one of our homes. And everyone's home is beautifully decorated. I'm always inspired...

This is my Book Club. These are really fantastic women who all have something to offer the group.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan ... our chosen selection

These were actual shoes that Rhonda (the host) had at her home. Those chinese shoes belonged to Rhonda's great grandmother. Her mom thinks that a visiting missionary brought them to her years and years ago. They were only about 4" long. Unbelievable!!!

The table was set with beautiful china.

This is what these girls do every time we meet. The night's theme is always set to the theme of the book ... clever, huh!

Rhonda, our host tonight. I hope people don't expect us all to play piano when we host!!!

We had a wonderful night. Always great conversation! Thanks Rhonda.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

California Trip Day 18 - Sunday

Being away from David on Father's Day was a bummer, but we are postponing celebrating today by a week when I return home.

Today was our 4th day with Mesfin and his family. And being that it is Father's Day, I thought the beach with his kids would be a fond memory. We walked through Venice Beach for an hour and then headed to Santa Monica for some fun on the Pier and the kids playing in the sand and the waves. These kids get along so well, I am so pleased about that.

While staying at Charmaine's in Hollywood for 4 nights, the boys and I would eat breakfast here at Mel's Diner on Sunset Blvd. before heading to Burbank to pick up Mesfin and kids.

Venice Beach ... Ocean Front Walk. This is where I hung out for 15 years from 17 years of age on ... I'd skate from 10am till it got dark then head home. Ohhhhh the single life!!!

I love some of the old architectural structures still left original here in Venice Beach. There are even the Venice Canals that have gondolas going thru them where some of the homes are.

Mahalet and Emnet ... Santa Monica Pier.

Walking on Santa Monica Pier. That would be Malibu Beach in the background.

There was a Memorial Tribute going on here in the sand with hundreds of these white wooden crosses representing fallen soldiers. My guess is that they were Fathers who were lost in the war ... being that this day was Father's Day. It was beautiful, yet sad.

Underneath Santa Monica Pier. Here are the 4 kids. I love these pier pictures.

The kids played in the water and waves for a couple of hours.

Emanuel and his pez

I love this picture of them just sitting together. Happy Father's Day Mesfin. You are an amazing father.

He'd run to the water, then run away when the waves came back up.

All 4 of the big kids are in the water right behind Emanuel running ... see them?

Then the current became pretty strong and the waves bigger. I started to look for Brandon and I couldn't see him at all. I began panic mode for a few minutes thinking where could he have gone and I was thinking he went under the water by the current and couldn't come back up. Outside I looked calm, (like the ocean) but inside I was freaking out. Then he tapped me on the shoulder. I had no idea he came out already!!! Oh, my nerves!!

Mahalet and I made these sand hills with water and sand. These are so much fun to make.

These flip flops have walked for 30 days in New York. Evan and I walked at least 10,000 steps a day as Evan and I explored all of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Cony Island. I never paid $32 for any kind of flip flops, but these were the most comfortable I've ever had and I still wear them.

Checkers and Chess is played near the pier all the time for as long as I've been going to this beach. It's a place people just come to meet their friends and have some fun.

We ended the day at Bob's Big Boy Hamburgers restaurant. This is in Burbank where Mesfin is staying.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We Passed Court!!!!!!!!!!

She is officially our daughter. I wish I could whisper in her ear how her life is about to get really blessed. Actually I received a beautiful picture of my friend Genet who is now in Ethiopia with "T" in her arms and they are cheek to cheek. It makes me so happy to see a friend holding our daughter. I wish I could post it!!!! And I still can't post her name until she is in my arms.

We could travel anywhere between last week of July to the 2nd week of August. It can't come soon enough for me. She is still chunky with full cheeks and still has hair (I'm so glad it is not shaved yet ... I hope they don't do that).

We can't plan travel until we hear of an embassy date (could take 2 weeks) then travel about 3 weeks from then. I have so much to do to tie up loose ends here and buy her mattress and get some more of my Mom friends to pass on their outgrown girl clothes to me. My friend around the corner is loaning me a white crib, which is just what I was hoping for because her crib in the orphanage is white so I want to keep some familiarity for her.

So much to think about and plan ...

Monday, June 23, 2008

No News Yet About Passing Court!

I've got my cell phone, my laptop nearby and my fingers crossed ... I'm just waiting for my agency to pass on the news if we've passed court or not.

Big day for us ...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

California Trip Day 17 - Saturday

Today's destination ... Mulholland Drive Overlook, Hollwood Blvd., Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive

Overall our day today was really fun. I never get tired of these parts of L.A. I had known since I was young that I wanted to live there for a period and "Play" there. I lived here, worked here, played here, volunteered and made lifetime friends here. I love showing people parts of these areas and miss that I can't just pop over there now that we've moved. But moving was a conscious decision and we are happy with that choice and where we live. There is so much in and around Denver to explore and we have only just begun ...

Mahalet, Emnet, Brandon & Evan ... Standing on top of Mulholland Drive overlook in the Hollywood Hills. The Hollywood Sign is in the mountain upper right area, very small and white.

Hillcrest Drive in Beverly Hills

The kids by the BH sign. As they crossed the street again, they noticed Kobe Bryant in his mercedes crossing before them as they waited. It was so funny cause I thought they said Conan Obrien.

Simon Cowell's home in Beverly Hills

Larry Kings home

Faye Dunaway's home. She starred in Bonnie & Clyde with Warren Beatty

Hollywood Blvd.

El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Blvd. This 1925 theater has so much history, I would encourage anyone visiting here to experience this old theater by going to a movie here. The tickets are more, but it's worth it.

This young girl sang like a pro. It is amazing the number of talented people out there that we'll never find a CD on. She looked 12, but may have been older. Sang like a 30 year old.

The Kodak Theater is where the American Idol finales are held, the Oscars and lots of other shows. I haven't been inside it yet, but I worked the Hollywood Christmas Parade for 13 years as a coordinator in front of it when it was built. Hollywood Blvd. has come a long way over the last 10 years. It's so much nicer and updated. I haven't taken a bad picture of these girls yet. Or the whole family.

Emmanuel & Mesfin with Mickey. Three handsome guys, hey?

This guy was so impressed with Brandon because he knew who he REALLY was. I have no idea, but it was a cross between two characters (Star Wars ... ?? Who knows). The guy slapped him a hi-five and took off his mask and was just in awe that Brandon was the only one ever to know who he really was. I'd love to see Brandon's efforts and knowledge of these characters put elsewhere .... oy vey!


After this photo was taken, Emmanuel screamed at the top of his lungs 'cause Barney was too scary ... I know!!!

Lots of characters on this street. Some never even had costumes on, but were still scary...if you know what I mean!

I think Batman's underwear was showing. How embarrassing!

Me and my guys in front of Manns Theatre, or in my day was called Grauman's Chinese Theater. We stopped and looked at footprints and handprints in the cement. This is another beautiful theater inside.

Marilyn Monroe's star in front of McDonalds

The real star was here ... look closer below at who's name is really on it...

Not engraved in gold, but still ...

So many guys kept wanting to use Brandon's rip-stick cause they'd never tried or seen one. I love these better than skateboards 'cause they seem safer and they are quieter, but gives the kids more effort to move them along.

These characters scared little 2 1/2 yr. old Emanual

I swear I had no idea that spiderman changed mid-sidewalk in plain sight. Wow! And we witnessed it. What a treat.

He's standing in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel which was where the first Academy Awards was held. This hotel too should be walked thru if you are on Hollywood Blvd. It was built in 1927 and the integrity of the hotel is still in tact after recent renovations. I love this hotel and spent a lot of time here at parties after we would be done with the Hollywood Christmas Parade each year. My 50 volunteers loved it too cause we get to eat great food and see the celebs come thru after they were done traveling the route of the parade. I have pictures of the Home Improvement Boys when they were very little, then each year they eventually outgrew me in our pictures. Fun times in this beautiful hotel. And although David and I lived in Hollywood for 5 years, I'm happy to not raise my kids there!!!

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. The only thing we spent on this street was "time".

City Hall, Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

$200,000 cars ...

Cartier ...

Dolce & Cabbana ...

Ferraris ...

We introduced In-N-Out in Westwood to Mesfin's family

This theater is where many movie premiers are held. Westwood is the playground for the UCLA students next door.

The boys were interviewed for a commercial promo spot for Kung-Fu Panda

My handsome guys

The girls were interviewed too. They did great and were some good.

Aren't these girls gorgeous? I was wondering if my "T" will have fabulous hair like these girls.

Then we ate at McDonalds ... with this guy. I guess monsters have to eat too.

They talk on cell phones too ... and chat with other characters

They love attention! Poor Mesfin had to take Emmanuel to the other side of the restaurant so that he wouldn't ever see this guys face. He had red contacts and fangs on. Click on any picture to see it more clearly, cause I saw either blood or ketchup on his fries ... not sure.And very little clothing. Nice ... IF YOU'RE INTO THAT!?