Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Kid's Chattanooga Photo Shoot

My friend Andy was bringing his family and a photographer, the amazing "HollyB" ( , to Chattanooga for a photo shoot. We got invited to fill up her morning slot, and amid showers I finally fulfilled my wish to have a professional photographer document the three most important people in my life! I am so glad I did this and from the looks of the earliest takes it was a success. McP

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

St. Simons Island

This week I have been in St. Simons Island, Georgia for an annual conference. I have been attending this conference for twelve years, and before Alina and Mac were school age we would take them and make it a family Spring vacation. This time last year, at the start of what became a tumultuous year, I took Cal along in a last minute decision that I never regretted. Last year I asked the Jekyll Island Club (the location of the conference varies between Jekyll and St. Simons) for a good sitter for the few hours each day I was involved in the conference. They referred me to Dorothy Carswell, a retired teacher, author and supporter of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. She gave Cal, who was only two and a half, such a good experience I promised myself I would try to take Alina and Mac out of school to see the center and to spend some good quality time together.

What I forgot was how much they remembered about St. Simons, and of all the good times we had there in years past. Around every corner was a memory, and a shared story (Alina: "Daddy, there's where you threw up that time!").

We just got back from three nights there, and it was such a good experience for all four of us. The way I figure, making new memories there is the best remedy! McP

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mac's Book Presentation

This morning Mac gave his book/author presentation, selecting his favorite series "Bionicle" as the books to present. He brought a couple of the action figures as well to add to the event.
All of the children were polite and took turns asking questions, then they each wrote a critique of each presentation.
I can't believe how big my son is getting! I am taking all three kids to St. Simons Island to a conference next week, and Mac is very excited to take three days off school and going to a place where he has many fond memories of our family going when he and Alina were very young.
I am in a constant state of prayer that I am doing everything right in my new role as single-half-time-custody-parent. I have been slipping up to Chattanooga on mornings that I do not have the children to attend the Chapel service at their school. Both Alina and Mac leave their classmates and sit with me! I know that I can't expect that to last long, but they are sweet and seem sincerely to want to spend just a few minutes together in silence before they are dismissed to their classes.
As for Cal, I try to talk to him on the phone each day. He sounds so much older everytime I speak to him. His speech patterns, pronunciation and everything is improving. I miss all of them so much when I do not have them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New...

Over the years I have never enjoyed a car more than the 2000 Volvo S-80 that I have driven for the last nine years. I remember the excitement of buying the car in anticipation of becoming a father, just weeks before traveling to Kazakhstan and doing so.
Over the years, I have always had permanent baby seats in the back seat, and only recently did Alina and Mac "graduate" from boosters with Cal's toddler seat in the middle.
After the divorce, I no longer had access to the big Chevy Tahoe that I would often use on weekend outings with the kids. I decided we needed to upgrade. The Volvo just turned over 160,000 miles and the kids were getting bigger and less tolerant of being crowded together in the back seat.
That in fact was the biggest sales point - I wanted something with a third-row so that I could REALLY separate the three! I finally found what I think we need in a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder.
It was funny to see the children's reaction. The Volvo was the ONLY car that any of them had ever known me to have. "Daddy's car" was the dark green, messy-on-the-inside and increasingly crowded Volvo. I wish I had recordings of all the conversations that took place in that car. Because we would never litter, the floorboards were usually literally filled with artwork, books, candy and gum wrappers. I often found Mac's homework there when the teacher said he had not turned it in!
Cal expressed the first tone of sadness that the familiar Volvo was leaving us. He literally cried! Alina and Mac both shared their favorite memories, but were much less sentimental. I was a bit sad to see the old friend go, but the need was so great it was too important to get a better car for all of us. I had originally hoped to drive the Volvo one million miles!
The kids really love the new car! Cal just kept saying how he loved the new car, and then, as if he realized he was betraying an old friend, pointed out that he still loved the old one too! Alina and Mac are eagerly anticipating the DVD player system I am getting for it. Our Summer vacation should be a lot more enjoyable now!

Monday, March 9, 2009

One more thing from Alina's birthday...

Alina's music teacher sent me this photo today... It was taken on her birthday while Alina was singing the Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" to her class during the "talent share" portion of the week. She learned about Stevie Wonder through her teacher, and had been listening to his songs at home. She asked me to print out the lyrics.
Once she learned the lyrics, she would sing to anyone who would listen. I heard her on the phone talking to her Aunt Carolyn, and she was singing the song. When I picked up the phone, my sister was crying.
I told Alina that the sentiments expressed in the song about a beautiful newborn baby girl were exactly the ones I felt when I saw my eight month old girl for the first time in Baby House #3 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which this Fall will be nine years ago.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Celebrating Alina's 9th!

We started Alina's big 9th birthday weekend on Friday, her birthday. At school she was honored with a special birthday prayer.
After school, Alina was joined by her good friends Larkin and Kate. They rode from school with Alina and her mother to the mall, where they spent a couple of hours getting Alina's ears pierced and picking up some new clothes for her birthday. Then they all were delivered to Little Khan Tengri for the festivities to begin!
Aunt Nancy agreed to help chaperone the all-nighter that Alina had asked she could have. Before lights out, however, we were joined by lots of family and friends to give our girl a great birthday party!
After the all-nighter, I took Alina, Mac and Cal to Sir Goony's and we all enjoyed a round of miniature golf. It was a great weekend!