Gentle Water

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Movie!

Here's a new Lo video... Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Movie #2...

So much going on, lots of new photos & video....we thought, 'why not make another Lo movie?'

without further what-have-you....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New friends, family &adventures

Nothing too exciting to report... Lola is doing great. She constantly amazes us with her ability to smoothly adjust to pretty much any new situation with ease. We went to a surprise birthday party a couple weeks ago, and a few people (probably parents) kindly suggested that we take Lola out of the room for the moment when everyone yells surprise; babies hate that kind of stuff and get scared, they told us. We guessed that she would be cool with it, and she was. Barely budged when 50 people yelled surprise and the DJ switched on the music. At this point, I think a bus could crash through our front window and she would calmly sit and watch it happen.

Lo has still had a little runny nose and gets the occasional cold, but is overall very healthy. She's putting on more weight and growing taller too. At last check, she was almost 27", and weighed 16 lbs, 10 oz.

Starting to say 'mama' and learning other new sounds. Oh, and we now have a full set of 4 teeth in front. It looks cute, but the 'fun' little nibbles on fingertips arent so fun anymore.

Still no crawling. She's working on it, and will get there soon. We are happy for her, but also fear what life will be like once we have to chase her. Its nice to know she's immobile right now.

Here are some photos:

Lo and her new B/F Mason

Cousin Jack and Lo

Cousin Zoe and Lola
Did this REALLY work?? All three cousins sitting still and looking at camera.

Fun in the sun!

Playin with toys makes Lo happy

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Settling into actual "life" w/ Lo

Not sure if anyone is still reading the blog, but if so, here's another update...

Lola is still doing great. She is settling into a schedule now that the holiday chaos is over. She's regressed a little with her sleeping habits - we're back to one or two wake-ups per night, but nothing we can't handle.

Tal went back to work on Monday (1/7), which was hard for her, but its just another step back into reality. On Tuesday, 1/8, Mark and Tal both had meetings at the same time, which meant that Lola took her first trip to Day Care at the Wolfpack, an awesome home care operation run by a great woman named Ana.

We thought adjusting to daycare would be hard for Lola, but it turned out to just be hard for us. Lola immediately took to the gang -- new buddy Lucy, new boyfriend Cole (aka 'the bulldozer' for his clumsy, overpowering hugs) and a great little caretaker friend Nina -- she is 3 years old and takes on a mom role at the place; when Mark came to pick Lola up at the end of the day, nina helped gather Lola's blanket and toys, put Lola's hood on (it was cold) and gently pulled the cover over Lo's carseat. its an amazing gang of little people that will be a ton of fun for Lola.

Everything else is going well - she's had little colds, but evidently that's just what kids do. she's progressing every day. her little giggle has been expanded into an actual 'laugh' once or twice. she seems to be recognizing her role in conversations/interaction - she smiles if she makes people laugh, and listens intently when others talk.

Santa treated her well. as expected, she loved all her gifts but mostly enjoyed wrapping paper and ribbon and boxes. next xmas should be even more fun when she 'gets it'.

all for now.. here are the latest photos:

Glamour shot from the car-seat

Playing w/ uncle Andy & aunt Krystal

Uncle Andy took Lo to ger her first ink, a sweet full-leg tribal tattoo.

** Since we've got some very concerned feedback, we'd like to formally state that this is not a real tattoo.
Mommy says no tats until she's AT LEAST 5.

Lo and Mark on Christmas

Tal, Lo and Grammy

Lola's first trip to the Headlands.

Both grandmas, a grandpa and a santa hat.

Lola and Lucy at the Wolfpack day care. Ana (the caretaker) sent us this
photo to calm us since she knew Tal and Mark were a mess after
leaving Lo for the first time. Lola had a blast.

Monday, December 10, 2007

CBS evening news story aired tonight!

If you were not able to watch the CBS evening news, but you would like to see the story on Lola you can visit

Happy Holidays!!!

Updates from the homefront

Hi all -
Just wanted to give a quick update on Little Lo, and her new American lifestyle.

Everyone is adjusting to our new lives together. Tallia and Mark are doing pretty good. We are a bit tired and have a little cabin-fever. Its such a production to 'go out' that we find ourselves staying in pretty much all the time, unless we NEED something. and even then, we try our best to put off any excursions until the last minute so we can consolidate everything into one trip.

Lola is doing even better. We're hesitant to really describe how good she's doing, so as to make sure we don't jinx something. Really, though, we have been SO fortunate with everything about her. As far as we and our pediatrician can tell, she is in great health. She's eating really well and now is only getting up once or twice a night. Last night she slept from about 9:15 until 6:30. No complaints there.
Her sleeping and medical ease is overshadowed by her insanely easygoing personality. We've taken her out to a couple work events and holiday gatherings, restaurants, shopping trips, etc. She handles it all with no problems. Loves meeting new people, sits politely at dinner tables, doesnt fuss or cry or anything, so long as we keep the bottle ready.

I'd love to chalk it up to our awesome parenting, but we know that its just a combination of luck and her previous life experience in the orphanage. The orphanage setting (we think) taught her the magic of good manners -- being quiet and cute gets you a lot more than the opposite. Plus, she's not weirded out by odd noises and can sleep through pretty much anything.

Of course, we KNOW that a day will come when she is a screaming, wild, terror-diva, but for now we are enjoying it and soaking up as many long nights of sleep as we can.

This has been such an incredible journey. We've finally had time and energy to start looking back and reflecting on the whole thing. Its pretty incredible, but for now we're all just super happy and enjoying each other.

We're taking Lo to see Santa today. So far, she's been pretty unimpressed by Christmas, although the blinking lights on the tree are pretty popular.

We owe many of you call-backs and return emails, and we are super sorry that we've been unable to respond to everything so far. Please dont take it personally -- you are just as important as that dirty diaper; its just that when we have to choose which one to tend to, one option leaves our home smelling like soy-formula 'waste' and one doesnt. You do the math. We promise to get back to all of you soon.

*********Please check us out on the CBS evening news with Katie Couric TONIGHT. It runs at 5:30 on the West Coast, and later in other areas. Check your local listings, as they say.**********
Lots of love from our home to yours. And happy holidays.
Here are some new photos...
Lola practices 'sitting up' in her room

Three great additions to our home: Lola, the boppy and the taggy blanket. Thanks to Vietnam, Sam and Townsleys

3 weeks in California, she already loves sunbathing. (For all you parents, and others with general common sense: yes, this was a staged shot and no, we did not let Lola sunbathe.)

"My daquiri is melted and I still havent seen that Caprese I ordered. If I don't see that pool boy in the next two minutes, I am calling a manager."

Learning to stand. Crawling may not be in the cards - seems much more interested in getting up on two feet. We'll see.

The new look we're learning; cool and unaffected. Total Marin snob already. (Note a jealous Bosco sulking in the distance. Life is hard w/ a little human sister)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Marin IJ

Today's Marin IJ has a very nice story on the adoption.

It is on the front page of the online version today:

After today (Wednesday), it will be available here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New photos from home

We're all having a nice time settling in at home. Lola seems to be feeling better and now is sleeping for most of the night -- just one or two wake-ups, which is totally managable.
The dogs and Lo have now been introduced, and everyone seems pretty cool with the new arrangement. Lola thinks they're OK and isn't scared or bothered by them at all. Bosco might be a tad jealous, but generally is doing well with her. Pali has a not-so-bright look on her face (as usual) and has impressed us greatly with how gentle she is around Lola, since she is usally a zany freak and jumps on new people.
Here are some new photos:

Lola's hair seems to be growing fast here in the US. must be the shampoo.

(OK, not new hair, Bosco is taking a nap on her head)

Grandma Toni and Lo

Dueling Grannies

Uncle Mike knows how to become popular fast - food.

Auntie Ang says hi to Lola

Friday, November 23, 2007

part 2 tonight

part two of the news story is running tonight on bay area abc news (channel 7), at 5 o clock. we'll post the link to the online story when its put online.

update*** The story ran tonight. Here is the new link:

here are two new photos -

Lola getting her Thanksgiving dinner. She also got one fingerful of baby-food turkey, even though she isnt quite supposed to be eating turkey yet.
(Dr. Chung, if you are reading this: sorry!)

Lola telling Cheryl Jennings "Thanks" for running her story

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Real update

OK, the brain seems to be functioning again.
So, yes, we are HOME.
Walking through the door last night was an amazing feeling - the final steps of a long, hard and great journey.
Travelling went very smoothly - Lola was perfect on the plan. We built her a little 'nest' of blankets on the floor on the first leg of our journey, and from Taipei to SFO, she had a little bassinet affixed to the wall in front of our seats. She seemed to be very comfortable and slept for much of the flight. Even the people sitting near us, at the end of the flight, told us how good she was.
Before we left, we were told to anticipate the possibility of a long wait at immigration - possibly up to a few hours. Luckily, we were first in line at the 'new immigrant' lane. We nervously approached, hoping it wouldn't take too long. The immigration officer seemed nice and started flipping through paperwork. Quickly, we noticed that it wasn't taking any time at all. Even when he said "she wasn't put into the system properly", he just shrugged his shoulders, and put her into the system (go figure). That delay meant instead of 3 or 4 minutes at immigration, it took us all of about 7. Then, he stamped her passport and said, "its official, she's a US citizen." You can imagine how nice that was to hear.
All the worrying, waiting, stressing and anxiousness dissolved with one quick 'clunk' of the passport stamper. She's ours for good.
We're all home now, safe and sound. Visiting the pediatrician (who was SO helpful, answering emails from nervous first time parents while we were in Vietnam) later this morning for a routine check-up.
Thanks again to everyone that posted comments on the blog. The trip was very challenging at times, but getting on the blog and seeing comments from home was enough to keep us going. We literally grabbed the computer right after we woke up each day to see the new comments.
Also, thanks for all of the great presents that we recieved at the shower. Coming home last night and having EVERYTHING we needed waiting for us was so nice.
Here are some new photos:

Perfect little angel on the plane:

We don't look like much, but we are finally back home.

House-sitting & airport pick-up duty has its perks - Wags gets the coveted "first hold"

"What the hell was all that talk about a 'land of opportunity?' I've been
here 5 minutes and i think im going to be squished to death."

Lola seems to have Grandma Betsy's approval.

2 days before thanksgiving, Haley (who happened to be at the airport, leaving for Colorado) reverses out of airport security to come meet Lola for a few minutes! We hope she made it back through security and got home.

All for now. We'll sort through the ample stock of photos and post some more later.

Lots of love,

Mark, Tallia and Lola

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


we're here, and it feels beyond great.

very tired, and not smart. hope to update w/ more photos and travel stories after doctor appt. tomorrow morning (everyone is healthy - just standard post adoption visit)

- - - update - - -

we just found out that the story ran on the news tonight. here's the link:

How do you say, "holy crap, we lucked out again!" in Taiwanese?


The little Giants Fan!

We are missin our buddies! Lola and Bryce

We're halfway home.

We successfully got onto the plane in Hanoi -- upon arriving at the airport, we learned that if we upgraded to business class we would secure our seats to Taipei, so we snapped up that opportunity so as to avoid the stress of 'stand-by'.

Sure, it was nice riding in the fancy seats and sneering at the commoners in economy seats through our little curtain, but mostly we are just so excited to know that we are officially on our way HOME! (* note: if the sarcasm wasn't obvious, i should mention that we'll be on the other side of the class curtain on our next, longer flight. ho hum)

Little Lo's health seems to be holding up well, and she was fantastic on the plane. didn't cry once, no smelly surprises. i'd go on more, but don't want to jinx flight #2.

Once again, our joy gets deflated a tad with exhaustion from long days and stress, but we are super happy. can't wait to see everyone back at home.

we arrive in sf tomorrow afternoon and then visit the nice folks at US immigration (apparently this can take up to two hours!) one last time.
Once Lola's passport is stamped there, she is officially a US citizen and will finally be our daughter under U.S. law. We can't believe it.

again thank you for all the love and support and the wonderful comments on the blog. It kept us sane for 16 stressful days in Hanoi!
almost there.....

Love to all! Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Cheryl Jennings from ABC may run the first part of our story early so watch ABC Channel 7 for us every night at 5:00! :)

Lola can't wait to meet you!

Monday, November 19, 2007

What would kenny rogers do?

know when to hold 'em... know when to fold 'em....

we're gambling again. this trip has been one long sequence of irrational, risky decisions, so we figure, why stop now? we seem to be on a hot streak, so we're gonna ride it out.

Were heading to Hanoi airport and hoping to get on a plane with our stand-by tickets. hopefully the gods will continue to be amused by our lack of common sense, and will give us one last little gift - 2.5 seats on a 747.

we'll update the blog in a few hours -- either from Taipei airport with good news, or from some Hanoi hotel. cross your fingers. - mt&l

Just waiting for airline tix!

After weeks of being the subject of much talking, hoping, thinking and celebrating -- we finally have the Visa in hand!

Thao, a very nice assistant with our agency just delivered these from the US embassy. Feels great to have them in hand:

The mysterious 'sealed envelope'. We honestly dont know what
it is; just that we dont open it, US immigration does when we get
back to the states

Outside of Vietnamese Passport - looks like the Camera focused on
the pretty flower instead of the passport. oh well. you can
see it in person someday. you'll love it

Inside of passport.

Jack-pot! These things are like the Holy Grail in

our hotel. And Little Lo's got hers! So, so, happy to have this.

p.s. - Carol, if you are reading this, please tell Bosco and Pali hello and we will be home soon. we miss our little pups very much.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reminding ourselves how lucky we are

"We are so lucky to have been approved."

That's pretty much what we keep telling ourselves as this trip gets frustrating for little things.

Lo has been having a tough couple of days -- started having trouble sleeping on Saturday night, then last night (sunday) she developed a fever and really seemed to be uncomfortable. A little Tylenol got her fever down for the night, but we took her in to the doctor this morning (monday) and they diagnosed an upper-respiratory infection and bronchitis.

It sounds bad, but that's pretty much par for the course with all the adopted kids in our hotel - they've all had it, but Lola's just came on later. So she's got medicine now to help her, and is finally getting in a good nap, which she really needs because she's had a really hard time sleeping.

For the first time, Little Lo is actually crying -- like, actually "im in some pain here mom and dad, please help me" kind of crying. For the first week, she'd given a token fake 'cry' when she wants to eat. We all know its fake, but since it seems to be working for everyone, we just go along with it. kind of like the 12 year old that still 'believes' in santa, since believing in santa has some nifty perks. anyway, the 'real' cry is pretty much the worst sound in the world; our heart breaks when it comes on, so we hope to get past this illness fast

Also, our travel plans aren't progressing as quickly (or, more specifically, concretely) as we had hoped. Its still possible that we could get home tomorrow, but we are relying on "stand-by". and by 'stand-by', we mean 'stand-by in the Hanoi airport with a sick infant'. good times. there are a number of back-up plans like flying down to Ho Chi Minh City and then to SF, but its time consuming to arrange - for some reason, the airline needs to contact the SF office to make changes, and the SF office is closed during business hours here. so its a lot of leaving messages and then hearing back 24 hours later. we're trying to be positive, but the possibility of thanksgiving in Hanoi is feeling moreso each hour.

finally, our Hanoi family -- the others in our travel group -- all leave this afternoon, so we're losing the local 'support group' that we've gone through everything with. we've all gotten to know each other well over the past couple weeks, so it will be hard to see them go.

With that said -- although there is a lot of stress going on, we still bump into other families here at the hotel that are stuck here indefinitely and not certain about their adoption status. All things considered, we're in pretty good shape and are so happy to at least know where we stand with Lola. She's our little angel for good, even if we are stuck in Hanoi with runny noses for a few days more.

We will learn more tonight, when our travel agent contacts the airline's SF office at 8:30 pacific time, 11:30 at night here.

anyway, to summarize, today has been lame, but overall we are super lucky and a happy family gettin' through it together.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quick note

we heard from Cheryl Jennings that she is planning to run the story about our adoption on Thanksgiving day at 5:00 p.m. (in Bay Area) on Channel 7 (ABC). Tune in if you are interested!

A long but fun day

Words can't describe how much more relaxing and fun life after Visa approval has been. We are just beyond excited that we got approved and know that we'll be coming home soon. Just a great, great, great feeling.

Today, we got up early and headed off for a day-trip to Ha Long bay.

Ha Long Bay is a beautiful bay on the coast, about 3 hours from Hanoi. The bay is full of 3,000 little lime-stone islands that pop out of the water (see photos below). Our tour guide tells us that in Vietnamese legend, a dragon was sent from the Gods to Vietnam to protect the country from invaders. The dragon then gave birth to a bunch of little dragons (the islands) and left them there to protect the shoreline.

It was a long ride to get out there, but well worth it. Its a beautiful place - gave our travel group a perfect opportunity to finally relax for the first time in weeks.

Along the way, we were speaking with our Vietnamese tour guide who was telling each of the families what their baby's name means. After we went through all the babies, Tallia asked what her Vietnamese name meant, and Phuong (our guide) told us that it means 'a Vietnamese person that leaves the country, but comes back'. So it was fun to learn that Tal's return was meant to be.
Lola was great on the trip. She does very well in the car, and magically timed her diaper-presents to coincide with great opportunities to offload her stink-bombs. She dealt with the long ride, the boat trip, the cave adventure and being held by a number of Vietnamese ladies like a real trooper. We are very lucky to have her.

In other news, we heard from our travel agent that we are on the "wait list" for a Tuesday flight home, which would be ideal. He is working hard for us to get us on that flight -- we'll see what happens.

We will post updates on travel as soon as we can. Here's photos from today: