Valentine Week 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008
Wow this week flew by! So many little things happened that I wanted to blog about and then I remembered that I need to wait until Sunday. So, I will warn you this is a long post and there are a lot of photos. This is my scrapbook so it is hard to leave stuff out.

I want to thank all of you who e-mailed me or commented below on Thursday to wish me a Happy Valentine's day. I was touched that people thought of me even as I was not blogging:)

Kate and I met some special friends this week for lunch. I wanted to take Kate
here to get some casual Chinese New Year and Valentine photos. I have never used one of these places as I am not a big fan of indoor, staged photos with props but we gave it a try. The people that worked there were amazing. They spent more than an hour trying to get Miss Katie Ru off of me and trying to get her to smile. Here are some beginning photos.


As you can see, she was clingy and grumpy and mad. She glared at the sweet and patient photographers. I was a little embarrassed of her reaction but now I think the pictures are kind of funny because they are so inconsistent with Kate's personality. She does not even look like herself in those photos.

They finally got her to warm up a tiny bit and we were able to get these.....





I was next to her and we were singing "Head, shoulders, knees and toes." Kate is doing the "mouth" part.


After the photo shoot, we met Michelle and Josie for lunch. Michelle was ahead of me in the adoption process and our social worker put me in touch with her. I cannot tell you how helpful she was with my paperwork. I had already done all of the paperwork for Korea (which was quite different) and then Korea changed their policy and would not place girls with families who had not adopted from Korea before. So we could either re-apply for a boy (and get at the end of the line) or switch to China. I was so overwhlemed at the thought of completing another dossier. Michelle gave me a big pep talk, told me exactly how to do it and even walked some of my final paperwork though Washington DC for me. I was amazed at all of that kindness from someone I had never even met! We did finally meet shortly after Josie came home and I enjoyed it immensely.

Michelle is the kind and generous person who gave Kate this special gift when she first came home. This was only our second meeting (we don't live very close) and Michelle's first time meeting Kate. I loved having lunch with them and cannot wait to get together again. Michelle and I could have probably talked for days. She wrote a far better descritpion of our lunch here.


Josie was so cute with Kate (holding her hand and reading to her).

The week was filled with Valentine celebrations. Harry's school has a "no siblings" policy. That is, when a parent comes to volunteer or go on a field trip or anything, they may not bring siblings.

I understand the policy but it irks me. Harry wanted me to come to his Valentine party so badly. He asked me over and over if I was going to be there. I am the room parent so I thought I should be there. However, I did not have anyone to watch Kate at that time of day. Harry has definitely felt a little"squeezed out" since the adoption so I decided I needed to be there for him. I packed Kate up in her Mei Tai carrier and signed into the school, went to the classroom and began helping. Luckily, no one said a word to me except how sweet and cute Kate was! I felt awful for breaking the rule but I would have felt more awful breaking Harry's heart. I volunteered a lot at the school last year and I have hardly been there this year due to the no sibling policy. Here are some pictures from his school party:


My sweet hubby surprised me with this lens for Valentine's day. I have been bitten by the photography bug (although I truly have NO idea what I am doing). I wanted this lens because it is supposed to be a great portrait lens for kids. Will let me use him as my practice model. And really, who could go wrong shooting that handsome face? Clearly, I still have no clue how to use this new lens and would love any help or suggestions from you photographer types (Kris, Chris and Deb, Connie and others---you all know who you are). But here are my first practice shots.


Will's left eye was itchy and allery-ish which is why it looks smaller and irritated in these outdoor photos. He is such a good sport.

My creation

An indoor shot of each of my sweethearts with the new lens.

In addition to my awesome new camera lens, my husband planned a special dinner with some other husbands in our neighborhood. He had this idea two years ago for a surprise progressive dinner where the husbands did all of the planning, cooking, table settting etc... It was incredible. When I woke up that morning he handed me a letter explaining that I would be having lunch with two of my friends, then spending the afternoon at a spa. When I returned home, I was supposed to get dressed up for a special dinner. We had appetizers at one home, my husband cooked Osso Bucco for the main course at our house and then we had dessert at another home. It was the BEST Valentines ever.
Last year, the hubbies did their own individual things. You can read here what Dave did. However, this year Dave decided to initiate the progressive dinner again. We invited two new couples and once again it was AMAZING! There was no spa or lunch and I think the women helped a little bit this year since it was on a Friday. We had a great time. Here is just a sampling of what our men prepared:

Appetizer course:

Pomegranate martinis and mojitos (which contributed to a slow Saturday)

Thinly sliced and seared beef tenderloin with Yukon Gold potatoes.

Escargot , blue cheese and mushroom tapenade on endive leaves

Oysters Rockefeller

Gourmet Cheese plate with olives

Crab toast points

Main course:
Light salt tasting with Sourdough bread (photo of the salts)DSC_0122
Baby spinach salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Slow Cooked Local Organic Beef Shortrib
Sweet Potato with Carmelized Onion (this was to die for!)
Orzo with garlic, parmesan & spinach
And a surprise mini cheeseburger to keep it casual

Dessert Course:
Grand Marnier Creme Brulee
Fresh peach tart with Mascarpone cream and Vanilla ice cream
Port wine
A box of incredible handmade dark chocolate truffles from here for each couple to take home!
The men really outdid themselves. The food was great and they waited on us hand and foot. Candles were lit everywhere, the drinks flowed and so did the laughter. It was a great evening with friends and sweethearts. The husbands all gave one of the guys an old photo from childhood and they made a banner, menus and a wine label that said Four Grapes Cabernet ...Sassy Vineyards. I would post it but two of us were not exactly thrilled with the photos our husbands chose so I thought it be best to leave that private.

My creation

Our progressive dinner party.

Yesterday Kate and I were invited to the most incredible Valentine party ever. A friend of a friend does this every year and she kindly invited me and Kate this year. The photos speak for themsleves but the party included , hair styling, fingernail painting, dress-up, fairtytales, yummy delicacies, and everything girly you could possibly imagine!

My creation
My newest little Valentine!

And is a funny conversation from the car this week that I don't want to forget:

Harry: Mom, Grace won the math race at school. Girls are just smarter than boys.
Me: Silently smirking with surprise and amusement.
Will: They aren't smarter, Harry. They just mature faster.
NOTE--As you know blogger is not spell checking and I am a terrible typist so please ignore any errors.


  1. I love the progressive dinner idea. It looks like you had a great time!

    What a fabulous V-Day party you and Kate went to. The decorations were adorable.

    The conversation between Harry and Will is hilarious! Will is such a smart boy!

    Have a great week! I look forward to checking in every Sunday!

  2. Hi!
    I am the bad friend that forgot to email you on Valentine's day!!! :) Happy Belated! It looks like you had an amazing first one with Miss Kate! I absolutely love the Girly Party idea!! And, that husband of yours needs to put out a book on how to spoil your bride!!! It would truly be a best seller! Now you know I have a birthday coming up, so I am going to have to hear more about that lens! The pics of Will are truly model worthy! He is getting more handsome everyday! And, I love all the other fun pics too! I can totally relate to your comments about the mall photos. But, it looks like they got some good ones! So much to catch up on! Thanks for the Sunday update!

  3. Oh Kim, I love all the pics. You hubby is so romantic-- can he call mine and give him some tips (haha just kiddin) Kev is romantic in his nonromantic way. Anyway, Dave is very thoughtful!!

    I am experiencing the same issue with my boys school. I have been room mom for years and volunteers a ton and have been there for years and this year they also started a no sibling policy and I have hardly been there at all. It is so sad and depressing and the boys really lose out. Just figures that we wait for MIa for year and the year we get her they start this new policy. I get why they do it but it makes volunteering very hard (trying to find a babysitter midday is not easy). Anyway, Im with you on those sentiments.

    Love your new lense and love the valentines pics of Kate in the Gymboree tutu. Mia has the same one and it is so cute on her-- as it is on Miss Kate.

    Your boys are as cute as always and I love your long posts. I wish we lived close and could get the girls (and boys) together to play. I think our kids would really enjoy themselves (parents too). Anyway, love the post and cant wait to see next weeks.

    Chrsity :)

  4. Wonderful post! The photos are beautiful I think you've got a great eye for photography. Kate eating the M&M's is just too cute... a girl after my own heart. Sounds like you all had a very special week, the progressive dinner is a fabulous idea. Have a wonderful weekend.


  5. Worth the wait, great post! You captured such gorgeous photos. I would hire you on the spot to do a photo shot of my four.

  6. Oh what a great week you had! So excited about the new lens, I have that one and love it! You will have fun playing around with it! I can't believe how grown up Will looks in those pictures!
    Ok, Mr. Dave really out-did himself, I am amazed at the menu! How fun!
    That party looks like a blast! I can relate to a little girl who never leaves the treat table!
    I bet you had to use lots of self control this week, there were so many fun things to blog about! Way to go!!! Till next week....

  7. You are right...those first poses don't look like Kate. But they sure remind me of some of the looks I got from Olivia in China!! I love the one of her by the chair. It's so sweet.

    I'm glad you went to the party. Maybe it will be a good example and the school will change the policy. Ben's school was like that for a few years. It was hard because I'd always volunteered. Looks like Harry was thrilled to have you there and that's what's important.

    I'm so impressed with your progressive dinner! What fun! And Kate's party sounds like a little girl's dream. I may have to keep that idea stored away for the future!

    I hope you have a wonderful week. I'm already looking forward to next Sunday! Are you finding it difficult not to post or are you finding more benefits from doing it weekly?


  8. oh the dinner does sound wonderful!!!!
    Oh poor Kate just did not care for the portrait visit did she? Your pics of her are always so beautiful anyway...
    I am just like you just experimenting with my camera. Chris told me to do AV mode and put the fstop between 3.5 and 5.6 and thats what I do.
    I think your first shots look marvelous.
    It looks like you had a wonderful week.

  9. LOVE the idea of the prgressive dinner... Great thinking...
    LOVE all the photos...
    What a WONDERFUL and busy week you have had..
    Have a Great Week...
    Can't wait for next Sunday to get here...

  10. Oh my word, I cannot believe all of that happened in ONE week! You have been BUSY!

    So, the grumpy pics of Miss Kate made me LAUGH! As did the conversation with your boys.

    Your Valentines Parties looked so hubby did the SAME thing for me this year. (NOT!)

    Glad you got together with such a terrific friend, too. How nice for all of you.

    Take care, Kimber. Have another beautiful week and I look forward to hearing from you next Sunday.

  11. Its been a long week without you.

    This looks like a dream week to me!

    Have a great week.

    The pictures are all awesome!

    Also, you are right about Michele she is a great lady!


  12. How fun......... I so look forward to your posts on Sundays.... What a special week... All the photographs are wonderful and the portraits of Will.... I am sorry to tell you this Kim but you are a NATURAL! They are beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You need to give yourself some credit. I am so impressed and proud of you. I loved the pics of Kate's photoshoot.... it showed the "spicy" side of her... they are too cute.
    So glad you strapped Kate on and went to Harry's party. I know it made his day and I say good for you!
    How special that Dave did all of that for his bride.... He is such a good guy.
    I miss you friend and think of you often.
    God Bless You

  13. OH my!! I do not even know where to start commenting!

    Well...your hubby certainly outdid himself on V-day! What special evening with dear friends!

    I adore your pictures of your peanuts....and love the new lens! Just beautiful!
    Miss Kate is as precious as ever! SO cute that she was not thrilled with the photo shoot at the studio! Chelsi was always that way as well....I bribed her as much as possible! hee-hee!

    I hope you week is so very blessed ....and I'll look forward to seeing you next weekend! :)
    I do miss you!!
    Love & Hugs my friend!

    p.s. if you can....would you email me and tell me what photo imaging tool you use...I am downloading Picasa now....and already have HP Photo shop...but not happy with HP and haven't tried Picasa yet...I am in the process of learning how to do these beautiful pics....and really have no idea where to begin!
    Thank you!!

  14. Wow, what a week. Dave needs to write a book on how to romance your wife! The pics of Kate are adorable...where did you find the bow?
    Have a great week~

  15. Hi Kim! I actually mailed my thank you for the book and card on a Chinese New Year postcard and that was with the Valentine's cards which I subsequently found belonw the center console in the van this morning...I knew I had stamped and addressed that pile of mail, it will just be arriving late!! There were other important letters in there, they are all late:(

    It looks like a spectacular week - so glad there was so much joy! I love that you packed Kate up and went in for the party - I think that was a completely love filled choice. I bet Harry was thrilled.

    I love the picture of Kate next to the chair - you can see those beautiful little legs peeking out from her dress, such a kissable little cherub!

    And your photography is stunning - best wishes with the new lens.

    Have a happy week!

  16. Wow! Wow is all I can say! What a busy week! Worth the wait until Sunday to read!
    Being a teacher, we also have the sibling rule and I really believe it's simply so things don't get out of hands (more siblings than classmates) and I am glad you took Kate!
    Love all that you shared!

  17. Wow...busy week! It sounds like you had a great week of love with all of your Valentines!! I love the picutres of Kate Emerson with bare tootsies...adorable!

    Do you mind if I ask what brand of Mei Tai you have? Do you like it? We tried a Baby Bjorn sling for Lia and it was just disasterous! I am looking for a functional, yet pretty (:-)) Mei Tai for our second daughter.

    Thanks for any direction or advice you might have!

    The pictures are just fabulous...good luck with your new lens!


  18. What a fun week you had! I love all the pictures! Have fun with your new lens!

  19. Kim,
    The pics are GREAT. I **Love** the progressive dinner idea; I will have to "mention" it to the hubs:) Kate's tutus are simply darling!! so glad that you were able to go the Valentine's Party with Harry!! See ya next week!

    p.s. the grumpy pics of Kate will be very valuable one day!!

  20. Kim,
    I've been missing your posts (!) and was looking forward to hearing about the Valentine's surprise! Sounds like you had a wonderful night :) Your pictures turned out very well. Of course, you have very cute subjects! Have a good week!

  21. No sibling rule? That's so stupid. Good for you for going anyway!

    The dinner your husband and others planned sounds amazing! I'm glad you had a great V-day!

  22. Looks like you had a delightful Valentine's! The Girly party looked especially sparkly & fancy fun! Your Valentine Date was very special as well. Thanks for sharing about your holiday. Have a good week.


  23. Hi Kim~
    It's been so fun reading all about your week, so many wonderful things to share!
    Some of Kate's studio pics are so funny~ I do love the one where she's sitting back on her knees looking up, that's darling.
    What a wonderful decision you made going to Harry's party and he obviously was thrilled by the smile on his face! :)
    I'm so impressed with the husband's dinner plans and menu~ so many wonderful things, how sweet of them to make it so special!!
    LOVE the car conversation~ just precious!!
    Happy Valentine's Day to your family. :)

  24. What a great Valentines dinner and party for Kate. I love the Girls are Smarter quote!!! Have a great week and I love the pictures.

  25. Hi Kim,

    Sounds like a perfect week. Kate looks adorable in all the pictures, and I love how she is always dressed impeccably ... and your boys are so handsome and both seem to have wisdom well beyond their years. What a blessed family you are!

    Have fun with your new lens this week - I can't wait to catch up next Sunday!


  26. What a fun week your family had! Great party ideas! i LOVE ALL OF THE PHOTOS... the boys are just as handsome as can be, and Kate's grumpy face is a keeper. Photos sure to be used for years to come! I think that schools are missing a wonderful opportunity when they do not allow younger siblings... we used to live in California, and they welcomed the little ones at my boys' school. It was great for the whole class, and there were always parent volunteers at the ready. Not so where we live now. A shame, I think! Anyway, have a great week... look forward to seeing what you have for us next Sunday!

  27. What a great week! I think your photos with the new lens look great!

    I like the picture of Kate standing by the chair.

    I love reading your blog and can't wait until Kate and Lily can play!


  28. That is an awesome idea for the progressive dinner your hubby had!! What a great guy!!
    Your week sounds busy!


  29. Kim.

    I had a feeling your week was going to be packed and picture-filled. I was right!

    Glad you had so many nice things happen to you this past week. Looks like the love was flowing many directions in your household and with close friends.

    Good luck as you get to know how to use your new lens!


  30. I have been looking forward to your post all week!! What a fun and romantic Valentines Day you had!!! You are very blessed!!

    LOVE your new camera lens and can't wait to see what new fun pictures you post of your gorgeous children!

    As you can see, I am experimenting with my blog look... it may change every month and return to a very special look again in the future.

    Happy Valentines Day a little late!!

  31. I meant to tell you how great the pictures with your new lens!!!!!
    They lok awesome!!


  32. Oh wow, the dinner that your husband and all of those guys made for you and your friends sounds absolutely wonderful!!! My mouth was watering just reading the menu. I also totally loved the girly party that you and Kate attended. She and my Mallory would have had fun eating those M&M's together. I also love the pics of Miss Kate. She is precious even when she is grumpy. Those will be priceless one day. I loved all of your Valentine's pictures. I will have to say that your blog is quickly becoming my favorite. You have exquisite taste and such a sweet heart. Looking forward to next Sunday!!!

  33. What a beautiful posts with beautiful pictures. Your children are precious. Kate is beautiful! I look forward to reading your posts! I'm glad you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!
    God Bless,
    Jie Jie to Maura Xiao Mei

  34. Kim,

    Your portrait photos are great. I've heard photographers call the fixed 50mm the "nifty fifty." I guess many who shoot portraits swear by it.

    And that Valentine's party looks amazing. How nice that you and Kate got to go. And good for you for going to Harry's classroom.

    A good friend and I saw "There Will Be Blood" yesterday. (We're trying to see some of the Academy Award-nominated movies before the Academy Awards.) I'll spare you my thoughts on the movie but the little boy who stars in it looks so much like your Will and Harry! I kept thinking it through the whole movie.

  35. Kim,

    My first comment! As I told you, this blog is like a wonderful book, and I look forward to reading each chapter.

    Beautiful pictures!


  36. What a wonderful post! I think you did a great job with the new part to your camera!

    What a beautiful family and I also love the grumpy pics of Miss Kate!

    P.S. Good job taking her to his party anyway!!

  37. Glenys glares at the photographers too. We have to practice when I know pics are coming, like on Feb 28th.


  38. You posted photos of all the foods I gave up for Lent. :-) Just kidding. What a fun filled week & what a treat to read this post.
    Terri (daisybox)

  39. Great shots! You do a wonderful job with the camera.....
    Out of the mouths of babes!
    That dinner must have been so sweet!!! I think you have a very romantic hubby!

  40. What a fun fun week! I took mae to one of those photo places her first year home for some casual christmas shots and they could not figure out why I wanted just a plain & simple background! They looked at me like I was an alien!

    Yummy dinner!

    I get the "rule" but at the same time if the "rule" keeps moms from being able to help then you have to take another look!

    Have a great week! You are better than me - I did not give up anything for Lent this year! Lent snuck up on me quickly and the sad thing is I teach 4K Sunday school!


  41. Kim, the pics are great and Will is SO handsome and Harry is just too darn cute. Kate's looks of "I'm doing this but not happy about it" are priceless. You are a great photographer. I'm researching that lens and passing on hints to Jim. A wonderful post as usual!

  42. Wow! It sounds like a wonderfully perfect week and Valentine's celebration! I love that the husbands went so far out of their way to make such a nice evening for the girls and lucky you that your guy is the one to initiate it! My hubby is great, so very sweet, but his mind just doesn't work like that. ;)


  43. What a great week. I have the itch BAD for a new portrait lens. I have been hinting big. I want it before we go to the beach! Have a great week!

    I have been thinking about your email about the gluten and wheat. Of course, I haven't done anything about it. I've got some questions, so I'll contact you.

  44. What a wonderful idea for a progressive dinner. It sounds so creative and fantastic.
    I love the photos of Kate, even the melancholy ones. She is always lovely.
    And your new lens takes some great shots!

  45. I'm not sure why but you have crossed my mind a couple times today ... just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

  46. Love all the new photos you took with her new camera lens. You always take great pictures.
    I thinks it great that you took Kate with you to Harry's V Day party. Our school has the same silly rule but every once in awhile they allow it. Enljoy your week ahead. :)

  47. Wow, Kimber! Lots of great things going on in your neck of the woods. Kate is so lovely, even when she is 'glaring'! I have that same glare. It can be very powerful, I've noticed!! Hope you have a great rest of the week.

  48. I would also like to know about the carrier you chose? I am now worried about the Bjorn I bought. I would also love some easy instructions for blinging my blog. I love the work Danielle does, but it really isn't in my budget now.
    Thanks and have a great week!

  49. Wow, you have been busy!!!

    The photos you took with your new lens are AMAZING! That is the same lens I have but I haven't gotten great shots like that with it yet! And I haven't even attempted B/W yet. Also- the Automatic focus doesn't work (or maybe I don't know how to make it work)? So I have to manually focus which is so hard! But oh, that Will- what a handsome subject, you are right!

    As far as the photo shoot w/ the professional photographers- well, now you know why I never attempt those anymore with Sophie Lu! These girls are so much alike! Still, Kate looks beautiful- even when she is pouty! :)

    Great post, as usual!
    Shana :)

  50. all I can say is "Wow" to everything! ;)

  51. I'm late posting my comment, I did check on Sunday - what a wonderful week you had! So glad that we were a small part of it! Wow! how our girls are growing and changing!! Little Miss Kate is a sweetie - can't wait to see her in action with her brothers! Much love to you all - hope to see you all soon! xxoxoxox

  52. HI Kim,

    What a fun post. I miss your everyday posts, but one big one is so fun too!

    I LOVE those shots of Kate. She was in quite the mood :)

    The progressive dinner sounded wonderful. We did that a couple years ago on New Years Eve, it was so fun!!

    Your boys are so handsome, and Will is looking so grown up!!

    Hope you have a great week


  53. Oh MY! I love that your husband took the initiative to show he's appreciative ;)

    I looove the pictures of Kate and the M&M's.

    I especially love the pictures of Will in the B&W collage...stunning.

    You lead a very charmed life, my friend.

  54. Busy busy! It all looks so fabulous. You are quite the photographer, I would like to learn more myself. So glad you and your family had a very Happy Valentine's Day. Love all the photos.

  55. Kim,

    I mentioned you on the latest entry of Your impecable taste inspired me...and I wanted to give you credit!!!

    Hope you are having a great week...can't wait until Sunday to hear all about it!

    And I know you might like this just as much as I did...Spell Check WORKED when I published my latest post...of happy day!! (when did it happen that I became so reliant??)

    Best wishes!


  56. What great pictures Kim! What a great hubby for getting you a new camera lens. I need to check into that one since I have a Nikon too. :) Kate looks like she had a wonderful first Valentine's Day!

  57. I have been so busy that I am just now catching up!!! Looks like you all had a blast at the girly Valentine party and looked like so much fun and the goodie baskets way cool!!! The dinner looked fabulous and it sounds like it was an evening of great fun and fellowship. The pictures are GREAT as always and I am interested in hearing more about this lens. Guess I'll have to go and read up about this. Kate's pics are too cute as always and I just love the pouty face!!! Even though I didn't get to wish you a HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, it looks like you had a great one!!!

  58. Love, love, love the photos!!!
    What a GREAT post!!!!
    looking forward for next sunday!!!

  59. Okay - those are absolutely wonderful images! You should be quite proud of yourself! My favorite is the one of Kate and that lip - OMG - how do you refuse that child anything!

    Dan is working all weekend and so I will try and give you a call tomorrow. Feel free to brush me off if you are doing something with Dave and the children.

    Less than a week now - can't wait!
    Ladybug hugs,

  60. Hi Kim,

    I was wondering where you bought the little outfit that has the pink tutu, pink leggings and the white t-shirt with the pink heart on is tutu cute :-)...just like all of Kate's always find the cutest outfits. Paul and I and now adopting a little girl and I have to learn where to find cute girl clothes. I'm already having fun shopping :-)

    Have a great week,


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