2016: Resolutions and Goals

January 6, 2016

2016-resolutions Happiest of new years to you all, friends! I’m still finding it hard to believe that we’re starting another year, and clearly getting off to a slow start. Of all the years, this one snuck up on me.

We made our first trip as a family of three up to Maine to visit my family for Christmas. Maya was a trooper on both flights, sleeping almost the whole way both directions. She met lots of extended family for the first time, and learned that she’s going to be getting a baby girl cousin to boss around in May! It was both an eventful and restful trip for us, and my family spoiled us all rotten. We’re very excited to have seen a little snow, even if it happened after Christmas.

We really soaked up the time in Maine while we were there, and I had a surprisingly easy time hanging out and not thinking about the year ahead. But once we headed south, the wheels started turning again. For the last three months, I’ve mostly been operating in survival mode since Maya arrived without much notice! I kept writing for the Irish Independent every week (somehow!), and I even had a few articles in a local magazine (called Local!) here in Houston (you can read the issue here!). But my usual hustle mode totally fell overboard once Maya arrived. I could barely plan dinner let alone plan goals for the coming months.

Now that Maya is in a relatively predictable schedule, my brain is starting to shift into gear again. I’ve let myself warm up by thinking about the coming year, both in terms of a main focus and a few resolutions. 2015 was a year of plotting and planning and courage and bravery, all to make our dream of starting our family happen. We bought a house in Dublin, relocated to Houston, met our little Maya at the hospital, and spent three months enjoying her and pinching ourselves that our big leap really worked. We were more flexible than I ever thought we could be – we weren’t even there for the closing on our house, we tried our best to make our Houston home homey for as long as we need to be here, and we managed to whip up a nursery while the newborn was already in it!

As we’ve found our stride in the last month or so, we’ve realised we want the next year to be about listening to what’s in store for us next. I mentioned to friends the other day that I feel like Michael and I were on this big project with God for the last five years to start our family, like the three of us were constantly working toward that goal, listening for what our steps to our family should be, and following God’s lead wherever that took us. Now that we’ve accomplished that project, there’s a new freedom in being able to listen for what’s next for the three of us – for Michael’s career, for my career, for where our home will be and when, and even for whether we add a fourth member to the mix this year. It’s so exciting to feel like we just get to listen and be guided, and that anything could happen in the coming months. And that no matter what does happen, right now, just as we are, is exactly enough.

But the listening theme is in the smaller, day to day, as well. I want to make sure I’m really listening to Michael and Maya, and making time in our new busy-ness to listen to what they’re saying (or cooing!) as well as what might be underneath those sounds. And I want to listen before I open my mouth to respond, which I’m guilty of not always doing, both to Michael and others around me.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a new year without a few old-fashioned resolutions, though, would it? So, here are my more specific goals for the year, more personal than usual, but that’s the season we’re in at the moment.

1. Fund Maya’s adoption

This is a tricky one, that’s a little odd for me to even talk about publicly. But you’ve all been so heartwarmingly supportive, I want to share with you with the nitty gritty. Because we got Maya so quickly after arriving in Houston, we weren’t in quite the position we had hoped to be financially. Later this spring, we will need to pay a sizeable fee for her adoptive placement as well as considerable legal fees. We have already been on the receiving end of so much generosity that it feels strange to be in a position to need even more. We have applied for several grants, and are saving our pennies as quickly as we can, but we also have a profile on an adoption fundraising site. If you were so inclined, you might have a peek. To say we would be grateful for your generosity would be a giant understatement.

2. Blog again!

I miss being here more than once a week – or in some cases last year, once a month! My regular exploring routine came to a standstill in early October, but Maya is just about old enough now to be toted around on a few local adventures. I also have a whole chunk of posts from Dublin that I was hoping to share all autumn, so you’ll see those as well, however anachronistic they may be! I’m also considering writing more about our experience with infertility, as well as the brass tacks of going through an adoption. I’d love to know if that’s something you’re interested in. For that matter, I’d love to hear what you miss or what you’d like to see more of. I could use a little direction as I get back to the drawing board.

3. Travel again

Each year, Michael and I look ahead and plan weekend trips and longer summer vacations, usually based on his basketball schedule. After moving to Houston, we made plans to go to New Orleans, Austin and a few other weekend trips. I was supposed to travel back to Dublin and spend a few days in Oslo — the very same week Maya arrived. I had a funny feeling about going, so I cancelled my trip. Thank goodness! Needless to say, all our other travel was happily scrapped in lieu of caring for our little lady, but I know Michael is really itching to travel again. We’re heading to Colorado next week for a little skiing, and hopefully we’ll make it to Austin for a weekend adventure later in the spring.

4. Print photo books

This is one of those languishing goals that might take an intervention (or, God forbid, a technological breakdown) to actually get me to accomplish. I want to do it every year, and then I get stuck at first step choosing photos from the 25,000 on my computer. I need a plan. Or a Task Rabbit person!

5. Get a freaking alarm clock

Last year, one of my resolutions was to get my phone out of the bedroom, which was brilliant. I would recommend it to anyone. I got much better sleep, and my body got used to being able to fall asleep much more quickly. Then we moved away from my alarm clock, and I’ve gotten back into the habit of bringing my phone to bed, and into the even worse habit of scrolling through Instagram after feeding Maya at 4am when I can’t fall back asleep. So today, we are investing in a freaking alarm clock. And maybe one for Michael, too!

What’s on your list for 2016? Big goals? Small goals? No goals? I’d love to hear.

Missing a Dublin Cosy Christmas

December 23, 2015


The Powerscourt Centre in Dublin, last year at Christmastime

Surprisingly, I didn’t miss Dublin until last week. It’s been a busy few months getting used to being a family of three and trying to keep us all growing and thriving, and honestly the weeks go by in a blur. I’ve missed my friends, and occasionally missed our routine and the bright light in our old apartment, but the real Dublin homesickness didn’t kick in until a few weeks ago when Christmas season arrived. I miss Dublin Christmas. In fact, I recently asked a friend if she could give Dublin Christmas a hug for me while she was home. I think (hope?) she knew what I meant.

So, today, a few things I miss about Dublin Christmas that you can do if you’re there now or visiting!

  1. Butler’s hot chocolate – More here and here , one of my favourite treats in Dublin.
  2. Powerscourt Centre – Did you know that in the Powerscourt Centre, there’s a lady who sometimes plays the grand piano? Year round, but it’s especially lovely at Christmastime. I like to spend a good long time in Article, picking out Christmas gifts
  3. Grafton Street Busking – Grafton Street is usually too much for me during the daytime at Christmas because it’s insanely busy. But I love strolling down Grafton Street in the evening, when the shops are closed and the Christmas lights are lit, listening to the buskers play Christmas songs, sometimes poorly. And bonus points if you catch Bono! He usually comes out on Christmas Eve to busk and brings a friend or two. I’ve never caught it, but it’s fun to see the videos on YouTube!
  4. Hot whiskeys and Irish coffees – Whole cloves in the hot whiskey, fresh cream in the Irish coffees. Perfect when the weather is howling and wet.
  5. Mince pies – This is one of those complete nostalgia items on the list. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a full mince pie (not a fan of raisins!), I usually just nibble the crust around the edges. Classy, I know. But I miss mince pie season, and I miss that they’re a staple at this time of year.
  6. Christmas Eve at the pub — I hesitate to include this, because every year I complain that the only Christmas Eve tradition Michael cares about is going to the pub with the entire neighbourhood. But there is something especially lovely about going to the pub on Christmas Eve with the whole neighbourhood. It’s actually so nice to see so many people you know – if you can get in the door! Our pub is always packed and very hot and sticky. Our pub gets decked out with hilariously tacky Christmas decorations and the fire is always blazing. Come to think of it, the fire is rarely not blazing, even year round!

And the best part is that Christmas in Dublin lasts for a few weeks after the holiday officially happens! So you’ll be able to enjoy at least some of these even after Christmas. I always miss that when we’re in the States for Christmas as well. But we have a strictly enforced Stephen’s Day code wherever we are. Movies and leftover Christmas cookies only, please!

Are you planning a visit to Dublin? If you’re looking for a place to stay, try Expedia to book your holiday visit. 

The Art of the Surprise with Marks & Spencer

December 17, 2015

george's street christmas dublin

I think I’m doing possibly my worst ever when it comes to Christmas gift shopping this year. I love coming up with the perfect gifts for family and friends, and for Michael. I don’t always come up with the best gifts for every last person on my list, but I usually have at least a few gifts I’m dying with excitement to give.

This year, errrrrrr, there was a little blip in the run-up to Christmas in the form of a teeny tiny, squirmy little munchkin. And my brain just took a break from having ideas. In fact, I think it’s still only working at about 65% capacity at the moment. So, I’m playing catch up, brainstorming useful and lovely gifts that I can order online and will hopefully arrive in time.

There’s a whole list of things I’m missing about Dublin at the moment (a slice of which I’m hopefully going to share tomorrow), but one of them is the routine I had for filling in my last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. The first year I was in Dublin, I ducked out of the rain into M&S and found the best little screw driver set for Michael’s stocking that we used at least weekly for the last seven years. So unglamourous, but so useful.

For those of you still in Dublin, Marks & Spencer has a little inspiration for those of you with brains working at close to full capacity. They’ve captured the art of the surprise in this little video and it nearly has the gears starting to turn in my brain again!

And while you’re in there, pick up a pack of mince pies. They’re the only ones I enjoy!

This is a sponsored post from Marks & Spencer, and all thoughts remain my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that make From China Village possible!

Happy Friday!

December 4, 2015


Two posts in one week! Well, I’m even impressed with myself! I have to give some credit to Maya for taking a few more naps during the day so I could get a little work done. Thank you, baby girl! Those are Maya’s little toes kicking away in handmade, knit socks from my friend Julie. Knit socks. Socks, for crying out loud! They are the cutest, but very hard to capture when Maya kicks her little feet constantly.

This weekend, I’m going to sneak away to get a little work done, and the three of us are going to try to get a little Christmas cheer going on! It’s been dry and crisp and bright blue skies here, so we’re going to have to get creative! Also, I hope we can squeeze in some tacos. Houston tacos are always a good idea.

Here are a few things from around the internets for you, just like old times!

Love this feature on a all the inhabitants in single block in New York City. I love the graphic of everyone coming out their front door!

The refugee process from the point of view of a refugee who has been through it. Don’t even get me started.

These are great and thoughtful holiday gift ideas.

Twenty-six things you should do each year to invest in yourself. Some of these are really nice.

I hope you have a happy, festive weekend. See you next week!

How to Holiday in Houston

December 3, 2015


I’m actually no expert in how to holiday in Houston, since we’re only new here, but I’ve made a plan. I figure if I don’t make a plan now, Christmas won’t start until we get to Maine five days before the big day!

It’s so strange living in a place that’s relatively warm (or scorchingly hot) year round. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been in a warm climate for more than a few weeks or a summer. September in Houston was boiling, October was humid and a million degrees the week we got Maya, and since then it’s been mostly 70’s and 80’s with a sprinkling of 60 degree days here and there. It feels like we’re living in a twilight zone of perpetually over-heated autumn. Heck, even Thanksgiving was high 70’s and 99% humidity!

The trees are a little less vibrant than they were in September, and some have even turned brown, but it really does not feel like Christmastime.

So, I’ve decided I’ve got to make a list and a plan to celebrate the holiday season for the next few weeks before the season is over. We also have the added excitement of celebrating Maya’s first Christmas – and introducing her to as much sparkly cheer as she can absorb at the ripe old age of two months.

Here’s what’s on my list:

  • Take Maya to see Santa at Tiny Boxwoods cafe. They’re having their tree-lighting this week, so I’m going to dress Maya up and see what she thinks of the bearded man!
  • Go to the Lights in the Heights. Our neighborhood has a whole evening dedicated to spending time looking at the light displays on all the beautiful houses. I’m planning on giving you a little neighborhood tour one of these days, but the houses went insane for Halloween (giant spiders everywhere!) and it’s already starting to glow for the holidays!
  • Have hot chocolate at the Houstonian Hotel. Each evening during the festive season, the Houstonian has performances by local musical groups, accompanied by hot chocolate and cookies. Their lobby is all decked out and they make giant, intricate gingerbread houses. A good excuse to get a little dressed up for an evening, even if we’ll have Maya in tow.
  • The Heritage Society does candlelight tours of the historic buildings in Sam Houston Park, not far from where we live, and there’s an art market to check out as well.
  • Sip a festive drink! I can’t really stomach Starbucks, but once every holiday season, I really like to pick up a peppermint mocha an sip it while doing a little Christmas shopping. How people drink those regularly, I have no idea – so much sugar!
  • Get a wreath. Check! I picked up a balsam wreath at Trader Joe’s today and it just needs a festive ribbon. I also picked up one of their grape vine wreaths and I’m tring to figure out how to decorate it for inside our house.
  • Choose Christmas pajamas for Maya. We’re spending Christmas in Maine with my family, and I want Maya to have some holiday PJs for Christmas morning. My sister has already picked up a few holiday outfits for her so she’ll be fancy all day!
  • Make a tree! Because we’re not staying in Houston long term (famous last words, ha!), there’s no sense in stocking up on Christmas decorations that Michael will definitely never let me lug back to Ireland. But I do want some sort of tree with battery-powered LED lights. Numbers 5 or 6 from this list are what I’m thinking for our very small apartment. (Update – that photo above is from my work in progress!)
  • Take regular family walks around the neighborhood to check out the lights. It gets dark around 5pm here, which is relatively late compared to Ireland, but I want to take advantage of the evenings by getting some fresh air with Maya.
  • Watch Love Actually (watching it as I type!) and The Holiday. Any favorite Christmas movies? We always watch A Child’s Christmas in Wales, the Dylan Thomas poem in movie form, and my sister and Michael always fall fast asleep five minutes in. Ha!
  • Bake holiday cookies sooner than later. Or just eat all the mini chocolate stars from Trader Joe’s. Yum yum!

What’s on your holiday cheer list this year?

Our Biggest News Yet: Welcome Maya Catharine!

November 25, 2015


Well, friends, it happened. It really and truly happened. We’d like to introduce you (kind of, and I’ll explain that below) to our daughter, Maya Catharine Westbrooks.

On October 6th, I closed my eyes and clicked publish on a post about beginning our adoption journey here in Houston. I was finally able to explain to you all why we hadn’t made it back to Dublin yet after our summer travels and I went to sleep that night feeling that a weight had been lifted after the beans had been spilled. The response from you all to that post was so encouraging and heartwarming. Michael and I could actually feel the weight of all of your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes from around the world. They felt strong and powerful.

The next morning, not twelve hours after I published that post, we got that magical phone call from Kim, who runs our adoption agency. It’s known in the agency that Kim will always start these phone calls by saying, “We have a situation.” I had actually received two phone calls like that in the previous two weeks, about situation with children who just weren’t meant to be ours, for various reasons. But this phone call was different. I’m not even sure Kim said there was a situation. I think she might have said “There’s a baby.”

Our baby.

I knew it, I knew in my bones that she was ours from that very minute. And she was. And she is.

I barely held it together on the phone as Kim explained that the baby girl was in the NICU and she needed a family. She had been born a few days earlier to a mom who wasn’t equipped to keep her. Her birth mom had already signed her over to our agency and left the hospital.

As soon as I got off the phone with Kim, she texted me a photo of the sweetest little bitty baby girl with one of those hospital issue hats with a bow. She was fast asleep, bundled up to her chin and had the sweetest turned up nose. I hope I never forget the moment I got to see my daughter’s face for the first time, it was wonderful.

Of course, Michael has been in school when I’ve gotten these phone calls, and usually I wait patiently until he’s free so I can talk to him. This time, I didn’t wait. I drove the ten blocks to his school and texted him from the parking lot that he had to come outside right away. I certainly wasn’t about to text him that we had a daughter. It was too important. Michael believed that teaching the class he was in the middle of was also quite important, so he wouldn’t come outside. Honestly, if he had left his class, his students might have burned the building down. They’re a little unruly, so I do see his point. But at the time, I was not happy. So I went to the gym and counted the minutes until 12:08pm when he could come out for his lunch break.

And at 12:08, I was reminded that Michael is the worst for those moments when you want someone to jump up and down and cry and have a big old show of emotion. He just doesn’t work that way, especially when he’s in school mode. So, I left him to process the news (and, poor thing, go back to work!) and headed home to shower and get dressed. Oddly, choosing what to wear to meet my daughter felt really important! I spent the rest of the afternoon in a daze, wandering aimlessly around Target trying to figure out what we should bring her in the hospital. I settled on a few swaddle blankets and little outfits, and then dazed myself home to put wash and dry and fold and re-fold, marveling at the teeny tiny size of those little clothes.

It was possibly the longest afternoon of my life, waiting until Michael was out of work so we could meet her. When we arrived at the hospital, our friend Debs was already there and had gotten our nametags all set and was waiting in the room to take a video of the moment we met our little girl. I’m so grateful (on about a million levels) for the support Debs has given us for years leading up to this moment, and I’ll be eternally grateful that she captured those first moments with Maya. Without that video, I’m not sure either of us would have believed it really happened when we got home that night! It was just too surreal!

We had loved the name Maya for a long time, and after holding our Maya for a little while we decided that she did indeed look just like a Maya! Her middle name is Catharine, named for my maternal grandmother, who is fiesty and strong-willed, smart and industrious. All qualities we want Maya to have as well. My grandmother is also quite small, and we think Maya might end up on the diminutive side. We don’t think she got the Westbrooks height!


I’ll take a break here to let you know that at some point, I’ll be able to share that video and lots of photos of Maya. But for now, we aren’t able to share her image on social media or online. We will have Maya in our home for six months, and then we will get a court date for the final adoption. At that point, we’ll get a new birth certificate with our names and hers on it. While both Maya’s birth parents have signed her over to our agency, this is a rule they have for this interim period and we’re making sure to follow every rule to the letter so that we don’t jeopardize anything.


Now back to the good stuff.

We spent a few hours in the hospital that first night holding Maya and staring at her, and then trying to reach as many family members as possible, both in Maine and in Ireland, to tell them the news. It took us a few days before our immediate family members were all in the loop. Those were very, very fun phone calls and Facetimes to make. I wish we had those recorded as well.

Maya was in the NICU because she was born with drugs in her system. Her birth mother admitted to using drugs and drinking alcohol while she was pregnant, and she had no prenatal care during her pregnancy. Maya had some withdrawal symptoms, mostly extreme irritability, during her first few days. My heart breaks that we weren’t with her for those first hard days. But miraculously, Maya is developing perfectly normally. She improved quickly in the NICU and was released a few days after we met her. I was with her during the days in the NICU and the nurses were so kind. They called us mommy and daddy from the moment we walked into her room. They told us they had prayed for a family for her in her first hard days. They said she cried until we came.

Maya is now just over seven weeks old and chunking up beautifully. She was born with a full head of hair and it’s growing fast, as are her cheeks! She no longer fits into her newborn clothes, which is quite sad, but also feels like such an accomplishment for us all. She has started cooing and smiling, and this week she discovered she likes to poke her tongue out at everything and give it a lick.


For the last few years, since we decided on adoption, I’ve dreamed about that moment. Whenever I couldn’t sleep at night, I’d let myself picture what it would be like to get a phone call telling us we had a baby. Or going to the hospital and meeting her for the first time. The odds of that dream coming true, almost exactly how I pictured it for so long, were very slim. Our agency deals primarily in foster-to-adopt situations with rescue babies and children. Newborns are rare. Newborns that are headed straight to adoption are even more rare. We were prepared for much more complicated situations with birth families and babies coming from very traumatic situations of neglect, homelessness or abuse.

But after years of heartache in wanting to start our family, we got the dream. Finally, after a giant leap of faith and a whole lot of work to set up everything in Houston, this part was just easy.

A few weeks before Maya joined our family, my friend Joi sent me the most beautiful email and reminded me to listen to a song that had been impacting her lately. Little did she know I had been listening to it on repeat for weeks. It has turned into my little Maya song, and I can’t help but cry when I hear it. This is my favourite verse:

From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I change all the pronouns so they make sense for us, but the funny thing is that I feel so strongly that her blood runs through my veins. Michael said to me recently that he felt like we gave birth to her. “She’s never belonged to anyone else,” he said.

There isn’t a word big enough to describe that gift. She is all our Christmases in one tiny little package.

Maya was chosen for us from the moment she was conceived, which, not coincidentally, was exactly the time we made the decision to move to Houston this summer. And over those nine months, God protected her from the trauma of drugs and alcohol while she was being carried by her birth mother. And He split the sea so we could walk into that hospital and hold her in our arms.


In our adoption classes, we learned a ton of useful information. Two things stuck with me, repeating in my head every so often. There is no adoption without great loss. Before we even got to hold Maya in our arms, she had experienced the greatest loss of her life, a loss greater than most of us experience during our whole lives. Giving her up so she could be with our family was also an enormous loss for her birth mother and father. We will forever pray for them that their lives become stable, that they know they are loved and worthy, and that they know our family’s love for them. We will be forever grateful for the sacrifice they have made.

The second thing is what Kim, who runs our agency, calls the “But God” Factor. Maya had no prenatal care and is 100% healthy. For us, there is no explanation for that except “But God.” That the social workers called our agency, when they so rarely do, is so unlikely. But God. That Kim felt called to choose us, that our paperwork was finished so early, that I hadn’t gone to Ireland that week like I had originally planned. But God.

A few months ago, we heard a sermon somewhere (we were in a lot of churches this summer over our travels!) and the pastor was encouraging the church to consider asking God for God-sized things. It was a turning point for me. I stopped praying around the edges of a new member of our family, and began praying directly for that big, God-sized thing.

On the morning we got the call about Maya, about an hour before the phone rang, I was making the bed. I was tucking the sheets in on Michael’s side of the bed when I felt the strongest words in my soul. It’s here. I had no idea that meant like really, right now, today here. I simply thought it was a perfect reassurance that God had chosen a child for us and it was already here, somewhere out there, waiting to be united with us in the coming months.

Little did I know she would be in our arms that evening, part of our family forever.

We can’t wait to share more about her, and more about our experience soon. In the meantime, bear with me as I juggle life as a mom of a nearly-two-month old! Posting will be light, but I hope it will become more regular in the coming weeks.

Our little family of three, pretty much bursting with gratitude at the moment, wishes you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving day tomorrow.

The Prettiest Trash Can Giveaway! Orla Kiely for Brabantia Bins

October 26, 2015

orla-kiely-bin Legendary Irish designer Orla Kiely has teamed up with legendary bin maker Brabantia to create the prettiest trash cans you ever did see! And I get to give one to one lucky reader!

Even if you’re not in Ireland, I’m sure you’ve seen Orla Kiely’s prolific leaf print all over the world, on bags and clothing and furniture – she even had a line at Target!  orla-kiely-bin-4

Today, I get to give away one of her pretty trash cans to one of my readers.

To enter, comment below and tell me your least favourite chore (mine was always taking out the brown compost bin in Dublin, but here in Houston we have a disposal in the sink! It’s way less yucky!). I’ll announce the winner on Friday and they’ll be contacted by email to give their address so the pretty Orla Kiely bin can be delivered to their door!

Good luck and happy Monday!

Happy Weekend!

October 24, 2015

junk-store-houston Happy weekend, everyone! We’re holed up in the house while it pours down buckets of rain here in Houston. The strangest thing is that it’s still about 82 degrees outside! Not like Irish rain, that’s for sure!

We have some pumpkin-carving plans tomorrow after church, but otherwise we’re relaxing and waiting for the rain to pass. What are you up to this weekend? Any autumn plans? There was a little pumpkin festival at a church in our neighborhood, but it was too soggy for us to go over.

Just a few interesting things from around the internets for your enjoyment, in case it’s pouring buckets where you are, too!

Nuit Blanche Paris 2015 looked really fun.

The beautiful Cooper Lounge at Union Station.

Pep-talk poems for a rainy day.

China will apparently try anything seen on the internet. Tiny mushroom headwear!

Oslo is banning cars. This would be interesting in Dublin!

Sweet potato and coconut milk soup with lentils.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!


Texas Exploring / The Rodeo!

October 23, 2015

horse-rodeo-texas-san-jacinto A few weeks ago, when my brother was here, we went all out Texas with our first visitor. We went to a big high school football game, the Battleship Texas, ate a whole lotta barbecue and tacos, and then we topped it off with a trip to the rodeo. texas-county-fair And this wasn’t any glitzy, fancy rodeo like you get in downtown Houston, this was rural county rodeo at the San Jacinto County Fair, north of the city by about an hour. And it was awesome. We were very close to the action, sitting on wooden bleachers with all the locals instead of up in the nosebleed seats in a giant stadium.

We didn’t spend much time at the fair part because I’m totally allergic to rides, but I did love watching the whole scene.  san-jacinto-county-fair-2 san-jacinto-rodeo-1 san-jacinto-county-fair san-jacinto-county-fair-3 And then we went over to the rodeo! san-jacinto-rodeo I had no idea that a rodeo involved so many different events with so many different animals! And there were even events for kids to participate in, like seeing how long they can hold onto a sheep! That was pretty hilarious. san-jacinto-rodeo-fair I had mixed feelings about the calf-tying event. It just seemed a bit cruel since they’re only baby cows! But We really liked the barrel run, they get those horses going so fast! I don’t have a whole lot of action shots, mostly because it was dark and everything was turning out very blurry. My photography skills have limits, that’s for sure! rodeo-watching Sometimes I’m still surprised that we live in a place where people wear cowboy hats.  rodeo-spectators michael-rodeo-texas cowboy-rodeo-texas Between rounds of the barrel race, there was a guy who came around in a tractor to smooth out the dirt, just like a zamboni at a hockey game!  cowboy-horse-texas-rodeo horse-rodeo-texas cowboy-hat-texas champion-rodeo-texas I haven’t yet been to one of the glitzy, big-production rodeos like they have in downtown Houston sometimes, but if you’re ever in San Jacinto County when they’re having their rodeo, I’d recommend the small town version!

Thank You

October 20, 2015


Just thank you. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement from all the ends of the globe on my last post. I clicked “publish” after writing about our adoption journey and thought, uh-oh. Did I really mean to do that? But I woke up the next morning to the kindest comments and emails, some from people who have never commented before.

Michael and I feel your thoughts and prayers and well wishes. We do. We feel like we have an army of support behind us, lifting us up.

I will be so excited to share the next parts of our adoption process with you. I thought I might share about what you need to get sorted first and fastest. Look for that post next week, perhaps!