Chinese new year, referral and cotillion

Sunday, February 2, 2014
Normally, I would spread these out over 3 posts but I know my habits and time constraints lately and so I need to just get it done.  This was a busy weekend for our family. Friday was the start of Chinese New year and we always celebrate as a family.  I'll start there.

As luck would have it Friday was a"free dress" day at Kate's school.  She chose to wear her Chinese silks.  In the past, she has always worn them to school at the start of Chinese New Year but I can predict a time in the near future where she will stop so I am glad she did.  I got one quick snapshot before she left for school.


Then, on Friday night, we went to a local restaurant to eat and see the lion dance.  Harry had a lacrosse game which he was going to skip to be with Kate.  But at the last minute one of Kate's best friends was available to join us (we only had a reservation for 5) so Harry happily went to his lax game.  It was all good.  It was very, very dark in the restaurant.  I should have brought my external flash.


I love the expressions on Kate and her friend's faces here.



In past years, Kate has been very afraid of the lion dance.  One year, she even made her own at home to avoid the restaurant.  So, it was extra special to see how excited she got this year.  She loved it.



She even gave the lion red envelopes for the first time.

Kate's face lit up the second she heard the drums and then her smile got bigger with each lion.  But she really got excited at the end for the dragon!



excuse Will's squint....he hates the flash.


You can see from Kate's smile just how much fun she had.
  She LOVES Chinese New Year and I love her enthusiasm!!!

Saturday was the 7 year anniversary of the very first time we ever saw sweet Katie Ru's face.  Although her name then was Lu Dan Ru:)

Each year, I take a few photos of Kate and her referral photo.  My plan this year was to take Kate to a park and do them outside in her Chinese Silks since her referral anniversary falls on Chinese New Year this year.  But our weekend was crazy busy for other reasons too and we never made it to the park. The weather was very overcast so the light indoors was terrible too.  But the fact is I am trying hard just to be more in the moment of real life and less worried about the pictures of life.  So, I want to capture the memory but I am less willing to jump through hoops to get it. Make sense?




I love her kissy faces.  She did the ALL the time as a baby.

Then Kate began asking the questions she asks every year about being in the middle of the street and about the walker....

But this year she asked how we knew she was a girl because she thinks her hair line in the referral photo looks JUST like Daddy's!

So Dave jumped in the pictures and the interaction between them was adorable...




Then Saturday night was the cotillion for the girls school.  Will was invited over Christmas break when this sweet young lady showed up at ur door with cookies that spelled out "Cotillion?"  It was a milestone for Will as well because we bought him his first tuxedo.  We had rented before but since he gets invited to a lot of these dances, we decided to buy one.  It just seems so grown up to own a tuxedo. I simply cannot believe how grown up he is now.

Will's date, Nicole had the pre-party at her house.  So, her parents graciously invited us all for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and photos before the dinner dance.  I love how parents here do this.  These years are so fleeting and I really enjoy these special nights.  It is fun to see the kids all dressed up and on their best behavior.









We really should have done all the photos outside before it got dark, but it was humid and the girls did not want to mess up their hair by going outside.  I LOVE this shot because Will's date was the only girl who actually came out right away.


 Luckily, the rest followed for this shot...



Harry had another lacrosse game on Saturday so we did not see much of him.  It is the season so I am sure I will be posting about lacrosse here soon too.  Hope you all enjoy your Superbowl festivities.  I'll be back this week with another catch up post.


  1. Your photography is amazing! I loved seeing all the sweet pics of your daughter celebrating Chinese New Year. And those shots you took at the pre-dance dinner…amazing! I loved all the candid shots you captured. Enjoy the Super Bowl weekend. Too bad that silly groundhog saw his shadow!!!

    1. Thank you Valerie. I really appreciate the kind words:)

  2. Beautiful memories, as usual. I especially love the cotillion pics. It's lovely to see young women dressed appropriately. I see far too many formal pics with the neck and hem lines way too revealing. Will's date had an absolutely gorgeous dress. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. I agree RC…All of the dances Willl has gone to so far, the girls have dressed very appropriately. It is so nice to see. I also think Will's date looked stunning!

  3. Great post Kim! I'll have to get the name of the restaurant from you. I loved the dragon dance!

    1. Sure. I was going to see if y'all wanted to join us but you need to make reservations several weeks in advance and it was too late to get a large table. We should pan ahead next year. It would be fun to go together:)

  4. Every photo is a lovely memory! The last photo of Kate and her dad could be a painting..or you could give it the Waterlogue treatment! The young couples are so beautiful and making great memories. Thank you for sharing these moments! Ann in Austin

    1. Thank you Ann. The lighting was awful for those photos of Kate and Dave so I had to work on them in Photoshop a little bit but I love the emotions they convey. They were being so cute together that day. They are priceless to me. They have a very special relationship. Hope you are well.

  5. I noticed the Lu in Kates original name. Is she from Hefei by any chance?

  6. How fun that the restaurant did the lion dance and the dragon dance ! We went to the city chinese festival and it was so packed it was hard to see. I love that dad jumped in the photo. Funny, everyone though Avery was a boy on the plane which I thought was funny given she was wearing a ton of pink.

    1. I think they all look a little boyish in the beginning. Avery is just darling. HOpe all is going well and you are getting some rest.

  7. i love 172 things about this post, not the least of which includes:
    how precious kate is
    how i smile everytime you speak of her wonderment regarding her "in the middle of the street status"
    the fun dinner
    will owns a tux
    will's date is wearing the most gorgeous gown i've ever seen
    & that she was the one in the early group photos
    oh....& i love dave swales.

    1. I agree. I love those same things. I LOVED Nicole's gown. So stunning. And it might seem weird to you but Kate's referral photo truly is one of a kind. None of them are out in the street. It does always make people in the adoption community laugh. ANd Dave…well yes I love him too.

  8. What a great update! Love Miss Kate's photos with Dave and the restaurant too! And wow - Will sure grew up - he looks so handsome and his date is stunning! So fun to have the parents there! Have a great week!

  9. so much fun to catch up. kate's referral photo gets me every time...

  10. Beautiful teenagers! I was no where near that elegant when in high school!

    The pics of Kate and dad are just so sweet. Love them.

  11. love the all boys + Will's date picture. She must be a go-getter as well as drop-down-dead gorgeous. Good for her!

  12. Hello! My high school prom is approaching soon! Your son's date looked stunning!! Do you happen to know where she got her dress? I absolutely love it!

    1. Sydney. I do know where she got it! It is from a store here in Houston called Tootsies. It was soooo gorgeous in person. I wish I had a reason to buy it. Let me know if you track it down!

  13. Tell Kate that the little girls she met at the pool in Florida this summer love her Chinese New Year pictures! Blessings!

    1. That will make her smile. She adored your girls! I wanted to send you some pictures (althoughI am not sure I got any great ones). I need to see if I have your e-mail. Happy Chinese New year! Kim

  14. First of all I love those Chinese New Year pics!! Secondly I am so glad and happy to see those pictures of some beautiful, classy teenagers!!!

  15. Happy Forever Family day sweet Kate. Would love to know the Chinese restaurant you ate at in Houston. My hubby works at the firestation on Dunlavy and Richmond. Looks like you have had a blishful and busy month. Blessings from North of Houston.

    1. It is actually a Vietnamese restaurant called Vietopia at Buffalo and West Park (just south of 59). They have one of the best lion dances. But lots of the restaurants have them here in town. The only thing I have found is you need to make reservations a few weeks ahead of time because they book up.

      That is so cool that your hubby is a firefighter. I have so much respect for firefighters. It is such a demanding profession and so selfless.

  16. What exciting happenings!! I love the pictures!

    I have to tell you that I am going to start helping a new-to-Richmond young interior designer two days a week and her company still has Houston clients! She would like me to join her for trips, so if it works out, I will let you know- would love to meet up!!

  17. So wonderful!!! I also love how all the young girls who attended the dance with that group wore age appropriate dresses! I swear the dresses I am seeing girls wear in my area are just way to blingy, short and show too much up top!!! Your son looks handsome in his tux! Love when kids dress in formal wear. Also love Kate's interaction with her father! Adorable!


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