The Spirit of Adventure

This weekend, we saw the third and final installment of the Toy Story series. It was great. We laughed, we cried - it was everything a Pixar film should be.

When Derek was a little boy, he made short films with a his friend, Andrew. They filmed "aliens from outer space" and "things" in their backyard during the long summer breaks from school. Andrew is now an animator at Pixar Animation Studios. Last October, he invited up to enjoy a private tour of Pixar in Emeryville, Calfornia. It was incredible!! The movie "Up" (one of our favorites) was still in the theaters and throughout the amazing facility they had pre-production drawings and models on display. We weren't allowed to take photos inside (for obvious reasons; that's what memories are for!), but we did snap a few shots just outside.

The entrance to Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif.

Derek and Andrew outside Pixar Studios. Recognize the lamp in the back? It's Luxo Jr. 

Inside the gates... Notice the "Cars" logo on the roadway? Cute.

Okay, we're not stalkers, but we thought this was so cool! We found this Jeep in the parking lot of Pixar  - the owner covered their spare tire with the grape soda button from one of our favorite films, "Up." Here's to the spirit of adventure!

Georgia on my mind...

We enjoyed a week in Georgia before Malinda's little sister got married in a beautiful wedding ceremony to our new brother-in-law, Matt. As a teenager, Malinda spent most summers and winter breaks in Atlanta, Georgia visiting her dad, step-mom and sister, Amanda. We had a great time visiting with family and friends, and playing tourist for a few days before the wedding.

We spent the day at the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world.

One of three Whale Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium. This one was 20-feet-long! The Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the world where you can see these incredible creatures.

Malinda's aunt and godmother was in town from Tuscon, Arizona. She joined us for the day at the Georgia Aquarium.

We enjoyed the season finale of "Glee" outdoors with friends on the lawn at Atlantic Station. The audience cheered and clapped after every musical number. It was great!

Amanda, our new brother-in-law, Matt, and us at the outdoor laser and fireworks show at Stone Mountain, the largest piece of granite in North America! Next, the biggest ball of twine. Just kidding!

Laser and fireworks show at Stone Mountain, Georgia.

We couldn't resist! On the way to the wedding rehearsal, we saw this sign at Hardee's (like Carl's Jr). They've got some pretty expensive burgers in the South!  

Wedding rehearsal: Amanda, Dad and Malinda

Two of my favorite people: Dad and Derek.

The bride is ready to go!

Yay! Amanda and Matt are married!

Us at the wedding reception.

Yes, it was a Karaoke reception. Check out Malinda singing"Livin' on a Prayer" with Amanda's new nieces.

Malinda singing "Summer Nights" with family friend, Andy.

We had a great time in Georgia. It's always hard to leave family, but we know we'll be back again soon. Although we're on opposite sides of the country, we've remained close and talk on the phone at least once a week, if not more. 

And finally... we had to post this last picture - this is Dad and his new puppy, Opal. She's the one with the crazy eyes, referenced in an earlier post. She loves Malinda's dad... and we think he's pretty smitten with her, too. Notice the other dogs in the photo... the two chihuahuas, Celine (dad's other dog) and Dobby (my sister's dog; dad was puppy-sitting for the wedding). I think he was in puppy heaven for this picture. Cute.

Contact/Email Us

You are welcome to contact us anytime by emailing or by calling toll-free at 1.877.300.4788. We also welcome questions about open adoption and the journey we have taken to start our family.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Derek is a huge baseball fan. Actually, he's a fan of most sports including football, hockey, tennis... you name it, he loves it! We go to the ball park regularly to cheer for our favorite team, the San Diego Padres. We love grabbing a hot dog, kettle corn (yum!) and ice cream sundae. Here are some pictures from recent games at the Padres' ballpark, Petco Park.

Malinda's cousin, Jake, at the ball game.

Jake and Derek at the game. Stayed for all 13 innings!

Memorial Day at Petco Park.

Taking a break from the action for a quick photo.

Memorial Day fireworks show.

Puppy Love

This weekend, Malinda traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend her little sister's bridal shower.
It was a great weekend full of “girl time” and lots of wedding talk. As the matron-of-honor, we spent a lot of time together working on last minute wedding details, attending dress fittings and trial hair/make-up. Every girl should feel like a princess on her wedding day, no? And although I was only gone a few days, and had a wonderful time with my with my dad, step-mom and sister, I really missed Derek. In a few weeks, we’ll head back to Atlanta together for the big day – the wedding! So exciting!

Amanda's Bridal Shower in Georgia

Derek can’t get enough of this little town near my dad’s house: Flippen. “There’s the Flippen’ hardware store… and the Flippen gas station… and there’s a Flippen dog!” It was funny… the first time. :) I had to take a picture.

Flippen Hardware Store... always funny to Derek

My love of animals comes from my dad and step-mom. Over the years, they've had a variety of animals including horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats… you name it! I needed a break from all the wedding planning and got some much-needed puppy love.

Dad's newest puppy, Opal. She's got crazy eyes! I love this dog!

"Little People"

We love spending time with the “little people” in our lives including our nephews, Grant and Blake, and our niece, Ava. Our family is very excited and supportive of our plans to start a family through open adoption.

They adore Derek’s parents, their grandparents.

Can't stop the giggles once they start! (Ava and Grant)

Smile BIG for the camera! (Blake)

Road Trip

This weekend, we took a quick road trip to the historic town of Julian in the mountains near San Diego. Once booming with gold rush pioneers, this charming town is known for its delicious apple pies, antiques and specialty shops, horse-drawn carriage rides and old-time hospitality. We had lunch at the Julian Café and Bakery, checked out trinkets and treasures along Main Street, and finally, settled down for a piece of delicious homemade apple pie. Yumm-o!

Julian Apple Pies - delicious!

Enjoying Apple Boysenberry Pie on Main Street in Julian. 

When we got home, we worked in the backyard for a bit and planted a few more veggies including Anaheim chiles (for delicious Chiles Rellenos) and a few more tomato plants. Can’t have too many tomatoes, or can we? Several plants are starting to flower (yay!) and we’re evening getting a few baby bell peppers.

Aren't they adorable?

And the roses are in bloom, too.  Beautiful!

Shake, Rattle and Roll

We spent Easter Sunday outdoors and enjoyed a great BBQ with our large, extended family including grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and a slew of cousins and friends. Earlier in the day, we planted a small vegetable garden in our backyard. It had rained recently and we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate Easter together before heading out to the family gathering. We planted tomatoes, basil, bell peppers and jalapeno chiles. We also planted some new colorful flowers in the front yard.

While at the BBQ, we felt the earthquake that struck Baja California (7.2 magnitude). Although a few hundred miles away, it was the largest earthquake we've felt in Southern California in a long time. It must be part of the deal we have in Southern California: In exchange for abundant sunshine, cool ocean breezes and summer weather year round, we have the occasional earthquake. Totally worth it!

The Kitties

In addition to our great dog, Toby, we have two kitties: Madison and Joey. Madison was only 4 weeks old when when Malinda picked her from a neighbor's litter. They've gone through a lot of "life" together in the past 16 years including the ups and downs of high school and college, first jobs, break-ups, moving, and finally settling down. The kitty who once got into everything, including a 60-gallon aquarium (I'm sure she was only browsing) or falling through the window screen at an apartment only to emerge from an Indiana Jones-style adventure the next day (cobwebs and all), is now content with long cat naps in the sun.

Malinda was a huge fan of the TV show, "Friends," and named our kitty Joey after one of the characters, Joey Tribiani... "How you doin'?" We were told from the family who cared for Joey that he was found on a construction site. He was so skinny when we brought him home, but is now a big, beautiful kitty. He's 7 years old and still has a bit of kitten spirit left in him. We think he keeps Madie on her toes, which is good for the old girl.


What can we say about our dog, Toby? Simply put: He is a great dog.

Growing up, Derek always wanted a dog, so when he finally moved into a house with a large back yard, he decided it was time. We had only been dating a few months when Toby, a labrador retriever, entered our lives. We visited the litter of puppies a few times together before we brought Toby home, or as we called him at the time, "the one with the orange ribbon." (The owner had colored ribbons on each of the puppies so she would know which puppy was promised to which person). Although we literally picked Toby out of the litter, we're certain he picked us. When visiting the litter and playing with all of the puppies, with their perfect puppy breath and soft fur, Toby was the first to run over to us, nip at our hands, lick our faces and push the others out of the way. 

Toby is now 8 years old and our lives wouldn't be the same without him. He is a very sweet and gentle dog who often bathes our cats (seriously) and lets children tug at his ears, sleep on his tummy or test his knowledge of "sit, stay, roll over and lie down." We love taking Toby to the dog park or beach, where his true nature as a "water dog" shines. Sometimes we think he'd rather be swimming than walking on land. Like we said, he is a great dog.