Sunday, December 20, 2009

Miss MiKaela is now 14- her actual Birthdate was spent playing Santa's Angels with Bonefish Grill... than a little party at the house.. Today we went to the Landing for dinner and dancing...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Remembering Melissa Poley Smith

I have so much to say..and no words to say them...

Friday, May 15, 2009

World of Nations

Every year Jacksonville does a festival called "World of Nations" It is a great way for the kids to learn about other nations. Just a few pictures....

Family in town...

A bit out of order but before we went on our road trip we had family in town. Dave Peck & his gf/my friend Lisa came from Denver... another picture story!

Fun New Orleans

After we drove around the devistation we headed to our hotel on Canal Street. It's nice being married to a Marriott manager...

Our room with a view..

Fun.. looking for signs of home in Good Ol New Orleans

I have endless pictures.. such a tragic and beautiful city...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Austin to New Orleans

Flew to Texas a couple weeks ago to bring Amber home while her husband is in Iraq. On our drive home we stopped in Austin and then spent a night in New Orleans. Two cities on my lists of places I wanted to visit.. again.. pictures say a thousand words.

Austin, Texas

New Orleans

I was shocked when I saw the homes in New Orleans. I do not know what I expected four years after a hurricane that destroyed so much and so many lives were lost..but it was not the reality I found. I must say I am ashamed of us as a country because if this is what it is like now.. it must have been beyond awful then. There are brand new homes next to empty plots. There are occupied homes that still have the spraypaint marking the home had been checked. It is so surreal you can't begin to understand with out seeing it.

This home is blown out. There is no front door nor are there windows.

Before & After (me)

Going by the heaviest I was (when I lived in PSL) to today I have lost over 50lbs.

So.. here is the "now" over 50lbs lighter

I wish I could say there was some miracle cure.. but.. I just don't eat as much...

I'm wide awake and so alive... ringing like a bell...

As a girl I imagined my home having a basement with a dance studio. I could imagine the worn in, yet over waxed wood floors, surrounded by walls of mirrors and echoing music. Empty spaces filled with movement rehearsed time and time again until they became organic. A pirouette here and a kick ball change there, tiny feet learning first position. I could hear the sound of the tap shoes in sync with both each other and the beat.

I so looked forward to those times. In my memories are scattered dance routines. A song in the car will take me back to a parade or a recital. My body loved every painfully repeated step, steps I can still repeat today.

However, the moments I remember best are with the studio empty and the music free… slipping into unrehearsed movement. Allowing the notes pulsating in the air determine which way my body flowed. My heartbeat finding the rhythm which allowed my body to be lost in the moment, letting go of anything rational or dictated and instead ravishing the freedom to feel the music. Mirrored images of me twist and turn until dancing gave way to floating images of me projected thousands of times over in the reflection of reflections. Raw feelings consume me as if I could have dance forever.

Little did I know my worn in and over waxed floors would exist, just not as I had imagined. Our dances not conforming to predetermined motion but with the freedom I loved the most. Little feet that once pushed from inside me now lost among my not so little feet. My reflection mirrored in big blue eyes and faces that are pieces of me.

Dreams are not always realized with childlike perfection, but they are realized in their own way. Ballet shoes replaced by old socks sliding on the floor. Rehearsed steps have given way to the music being in control. Dancing is my reality just as it was meant to be.

If I never have a true dance studio I have these memories to drown in and I couldn’t ask for more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This from my mother. Shawn Cooper is my brother. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Brian and I are in the process of bringing home our 6th adopted child from Africa. And we need your help.Rahel is 15.
She lives in Ethiopia.
She has waited a very long time.
She has seen her friends come into the children's home, stay for a period of time, and then leave for their new home. She wishes them well, and smiles for them, and then cries because she has been left behind one more time. Rahel has gone through this scenario many many times. She longs for a family. She needs a family, and as Dave Thomas says, every child deserves a family. She asks the families who come for other children, "Nobody has picked me, will you come back?"
Rahel's parents are dead. As with many children in Ethiopia she has been orphaned by the affects of aids and HIV related diseases that have caused the death of her parents. She has been alone for 5 years. Her uncle took her to the children's home and left her there. Probably one of the reasons she has waited so long is that she was already considered an older child when she arrived. Younger children find homes more easily than the older children.
Please help us bring Rahel home. Most of the work is done and most of the expense has been covered, but we still need to pay for the expense of traveling to Ethiopia to do the final paperwork and also pay for her ticket home. Time is running short for Rahel. To help us Shawn is running a four STATE 45 mile marathon to bring attention to Rahel's situation. If it is possible, any size donation will make a difference. Your help is appreciated. We have learned through our experiences with the children we have brought home so far that adoption changes the world for these kids. They are grateful, helpful, and anxious to see their friends and others helped. All of them talk about becoming doctors like Shawn to go back to Africa and "help the children". Please visit Shawn's blog to see his progress training for his 45 mile run. You will find a link there to make a donation to sponsor Shawn's run to bring Rahel home. Or if you prefer you can mail a donation to Hansen Adoption Fund9201 Old Country WayEvansville, IN 47720 You can also visit Rahel's blog at Thank you for your time. Thank you for helping if you can. Barbara & Brian Hansen

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'll be the greatest fanof your life

Often I can't help it, I have to write. It may not even be to make a point but to put into words what keeps twisting inside my mind. Sort it out on paper, if you will. But papers have long been gone..blogging for 10 years! Man I feel old. Life has been exactly the way it should be. Mundane scattered among the precious moments.

Music has been current outlet. The energy is bouncing off of everyone in the room. Small venue's are, by far, my favorite. With that said.. I am very much looking forward to taking Rielly to her first "real concert" AND the best part is it is an artist I enjoy. Rielly cares about 2 things. Books & Taylor Swift and on May 1st she will get to feel the magic of a concert of that magnitude.

David-Michael has decided he would rather not hear at this time. Because of how the situation occurred I think the timing is not right for him. He said he would like to talk about it again in a couple years.We will follow his lead.

MiKaela is 13... but she is a good kid. I work more lately and she knows how to pick up what needs to be done with out having to be asked. Now if we could get the other kids on that same mindset. MiKaela is on the scholar bowl team and wears lime green skinny jeans. She is honor roll. She is a bold young woman.

How lucky and I and how terribly boring this has turned out to be.

With that said obviously I am in a place where words are in pictures and music. or not... And can I say.. I love my husband. This Valentine's Day he took me to see Edwin McCain. The man that sings our song. Our first dance as husband and wife. When we are in the car and it comes on we call each other. I can't tell you how many voice mails I have of that song playing through a radio. Text messages of lyrics from the song. The lyrics are so familiar it is like saying my address. The beginning notes of the song stop me (and steal my breath) & no matter what is happening or where I am I just feel.. love. I love when it comes on in the car and he grabs my hand and kisses it. Every time. I love this man so much I am sure my heart will burst. I look at him sometimes and wonder how it can possibly make sense that this small town girl and the "big city" boy met across the country. And I knew. It's a sense of recognition. It was right.. so much so at times I was afraid of it..could not believe it.. but so quickly love stomped out any fears I had. We balance each other out in so many aspects it weaves the bonds tighter. Before him I would hear people talk of wanting to shout it from the roof tops and roll my eyes. Now I get it.. happiness is so terrific it has to be shared. I am aware of how wonderful it is. My family makes me feel alive. I am home. Life is good. Times may be tougher and may even get tougher but it is going to be Okay because we are Team Kaplan. We always make it happen. So yes, I am in love. We are sneaking up on 11 years and every day I sink further into love..and when I look to my side he is right there. Everytime.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kaplan's visit the London's in Charlotte, NC

For a girl who loves to write I don't seem to do it as much as I should or would like to.

We went to Charlotte to visit our dearest friends Troy & Mia. Here is our vacation in pictures. Again... Rielly had not seen snow in so many years she didn't remember what it looked like... my little Florida child!!!!

MiKaela loves any kid that is not her little sister.. =) This is the beautiful Carlie Jewel.