Piper’s Friends Playground Fund

Posted July 17, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Uncategorized

Hi Friends!  With Piper’s first birthday coming up, we have done a lot of thinking about what is important to us.  We realize how much our friends and family mean to us.  We would have never made it through the past few years without you!  We are having a big birthday party and welcome home celebration for Piper to see her new friends and to meet some that she hasn’t had a chance to meet yet. 

Piper has more of everything than she could possibly need, so we have decided that in lieu of of any gifts for her birthday, we would love for you to please help some of the friends she left behind in Vietnam.

We have started a playground fund for the Relief Center in Vietnam where Piper spent the first nine months of her life. Many of the children living there will not be adopted, and will grow up at this center.

The Relief Center is a place that is very full of love; however there aren’t many toys for the children to play with.  Please consider making a donation to help us build a playground for her friends back at the Relief Center in Vietnam.  It is our wish that her new friends here will join together to help the friends she left behind find joy and the art of play.

Please visit our website for more information.


Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,

Darren, Nicole and Piper

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the orphanage…

[sweet girls]

[their current playground]

[love these boys!]


afternoon at the park

Posted July 2, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Uncategorized


[my little love]

[treasure hunt]

[slidin’ with Nana]

[love this thing!]

[what a thrill!]

vietnam favorites part 2 – Hanoi

Posted June 25, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Uncategorized


[a group of nuns visiting the Temple of Literature]

[the gardens in the Temple of Literature are so luscious and green]

Temple of Literature –  This is a short walk from the Horison Hotel.  It was a great place for taking pictures.  Also, Craftlink is about a block away which is a bonus!

[view from our taxi as we were trying to leave the lake one evening]

Hoan Kiem Lake –  A great place to walk around and spend a morning or afternoon.

[the empty water puppet stage before the show began]

Water Puppet Theatre –This looked very interesting, and the older kids seemed to enjoy it.  We were only able to see a few minutes of it because Piper was having NONE of the sitting still part.  I ended up walking up and down the block with her in the sling waiting for the show to be over. 

Hanoi Street Food Market –Quite an adventure, and not meant for those with weak stomachs.  Great photo taking opportunities.  Not so great smells.

[showing how the soldiers were locked up in the prison]

[prison yard]

Hoa Lo Prison (aka Hanoi Hilton) –This was very interesting.  So much history there, and it’s a nice mellow stop.  We didn’t have much time to hit the shops around it, but it looked like there was some interesting stuff.


Mediterraneo – (#23 Nha Tho Street, Hoan Kiem District)  Our FAVORITE non-Vietnamese place to eat in VN by far.  The owner is wonderful, and the food is delicious.  Very relaxed and they have an upstairs with a small patio too.  It’s also on a great street for shopping.

Paris Deli – (13 Nha Tho Street) This was a fun little place for lunch when you felt like something french or American.  Darren gave the burger rave reviews considering it was a burger in Vietnam.

[The delicious buffet at Brothers]

Brothers Cafe (26 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, tel: 04/733-3866 dinner reservations recommended for large groups)  We had a wonderful Vietnamese dinner here!  There was a great buffet with a ton of choices.  I think there were even mashed potatoes and a few things that the kids seemed to like. 

{The Green Tangerine is beautiful and romantic…]

Green Tangerine – (48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem District, tel: 04/825-1286 dinner reservations recommended)  I had great expectations of love love loving this place.  I don’t know if we just didn’t order the right stuff or what, but it was not close to our favorite place.  I really wanted it to be because so many people seem to love it.  If we get to go back to VN again later this year we will give it a second try.

Bobby Chinn – (1 Ba Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, tel: 04/934-8577 dinner reservations recommended )  We didn’t actually make it to this restaurant, but it was on our list of places we had wanted to go so I had to keep it on this list.


Craftlink – (43 Van Mieu Street – there is also a main office across the street from this store.  I don’t have the address, but don’t forget to look for it too.  A lot of the same stuff, but a different selection.)  Love this place!!!  A wonderful not-for-profit shop to buy handmade gifts for great prices.

Old Quarter – You could spend days walking up and down the streets around here.  Tons of good shopping!

Nagu –(20 Nha Tho Street) Very cool stuff.  We bought Piper a handmade silk teddy bear there.  (It is also across the street from Medierrano and Paris Deli)

“Brocade Shop” Red Rose Craft – (24 Nha Tho)– The Sapa clothes shop where I bought Piper some traditional clothing from Sapa. 

Trang & Anh Silk – (No. 3, Ly Quoc Su) Handmade Contemporary Silk Kids Clothes.  Very cool stuff!

La Do Re – (31c Ly Quoc Su) I recognize this sign, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I bought there.  We wouldn’t have taken a picture of the sign if I didn’t like it for some reason though. hmmm.

Thu Do – (24 Nha Tho) I bought a bunch of stuffed animals from Sapa here.  They had a great selection for very low prices.

Castalia – (7b Ly Quoc Su Street) a  fun dress shop!

Vietnam Quilts –  (16 Hang Tre) This was quite a trek on foot, but they had some very beautiful quilts.

vietnam favorites part 1 – HCMC

Posted June 25, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Piper's Adoption Trip, Uncategorized


Here is part one of the long-promised tips for my friends who are traveling to VN to get their babies later this week…


[candles at Notre Dame]

‘Ho Chi Minh City Tour’ –We did sign up for a city tour through the Duxton entertainment desk (different from the concierge).  The name of the tour company was Hoi An Express.  It was $36 per person + tip and was well worth it.  We typically avoid tours, but this was a great way to hit a lot of sites without having to do much thinking.  (This was towards the beginning of our stay in HCMC and we had only had the babies for a few days…)  We went to the General Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, a Chinese Temple, the War Remnants Museum and a few other places. 

[Darren and sleepy P at the zoo]

Saigon Zoo –The zoo is a great way to get out of your hotel room with your new baby, but still be very low-stress.  Piper fell asleep right after we got there and we ended up riding the zoo train 3 or 4 times because it was the coolest place there was.  It was boiling hot and humid, but it felt good to get out and see the gardens.  It was pretty cheap, and I am sure that older kids would love to see the animals and ride the carnival rides.  You can walk to this from the Duxton, but if it’s hot, I would take a cab for sure.


Underground (69 Dong Khoi Street, District 1)  Yup, an English pub was Darren’s favorite place to eat in HCMC.  Marginal ‘American’ pub food and beer tasted really good by this part of the trip.  You will also get a good chuckle from the waitresses outfits. 

Pho 24 –This is like the fast-food of Pho and is pretty good and very cheap.  They are all over the city, but the closest one to the Duxton is 1/2 block away.  Go out of the hotel and head left towards the Tax Center.  It will be down a little way on your left.

[an amazing feast by the Saigon River]

[I liked this picture until I just now noticed that I don’t think that guy is wearing any pants]

[up-close of man sans pants!]

Saigon River Center –No one in our group ever figured out what this place was really called, but it was beautiful.  It was a beautiful outdoor restaurant and events center on the river.  We were told that a lot of weddings take place there, and we actually saw a few brides and grooms getting photos taken while we were there.  Our facilitator and his wife took us and treated us to an amazing feast.  Delicious food just kept coming and coming… For those of you traveling soon, you could ask Quoc and I am sure he could figure out where it was.  It was quite a bit out of town, and the bus ride seemed to take 45 minutes or so.

Italian – We ate at a really good Italian restaurant several times that was recommended by Kelly.  (Darren thanks Justin for the suggestion!!!)  It was just across the street and to the left from the Duxton.  You can ask the front desk to call ahead and make reservations for you so that you won’t have to wait. 

Shopping: (the part Kristin has been waiting for – Sorry Brett!!!!)

The Tax Center –This is located just a few blocks from the Duxton.  Exit the hotel and turn left.  It is down 3 or 4 blocks on your left.  It is full of good shopping and has a grocery store on the upper level.  We had a hard time finding the right formula there so we ended up asking Quoc to get some for us somewhere else, but they seem to have just about everything else that you would need.  There is also a Highlands Coffee there that made Darren very very happy.

Ben Thanh Market –This is about 10 blocks from the Duxton, but I would recommend that you take a taxi.  It is a huge open air covered market where you can find anything.  The day we went it was SO HOT and humid that we thought we were going to die inside so we bought fans and were a little anxious to get out of there.  I suggest that you go to this market either in the morning or late in the afternoon/early evening when it is cooler.  Remember to barter, barter and barter some more.  Walk away if you have to.  They will come running after you!

Side-note: I know there are several other markets around town that are more ‘local’ markets and sound great in theory because of the experience.  It was suggested to us that we NOT go to these markets with our babies because there is a higher instance of diseases and other local  bugs that our babies may have never been exposed to and won’t have the immune systems to protect against.  I don’t know how true this is, but we didn’t test it.

(ok – the good stuff now – drum roll pleeeeezeeee…)

Nkids –Fabulous dress shop where I went crazy!  There are 2 locations.  The first is on the East side of Le Loi near the tax center.  (44 Le Loi Avenue, Dist. 1)  If you are walking down Nguyen Hue towards the tax center from the Duxton, go to the end of the Tax Center at the intersection of Nguyen Hue and Le Loi.  Cross the street to the far side of Le Loi and go left.  The store is a little bit down on the right.  It is NOT clearly marked Nkids (it says Nihn Khuong) so you have to really look for it.  Trust me, when you see it you will know you are there.  The second location (189 Le Thanh Ton Street near Dong Khoi) we saw is also close to the Duxton.  It is a few doors down from…

D & H Hand Embroidery – (89 Dong Khoi Street) I went a little crazy here too.  Great linens and more children’s clothes!

a little yard work

Posted June 22, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Uncategorized

Yesterday we did a little yard work and planting.  I know it’s late in the season for planting, but better late than never, right?  It feels like we are just now finally getting adjusted and are finding our ‘groove’ as a family.  Although everything has been great with Piper, it still seems to be taking a while to start being productive after such a big change in our lives.

[taking a break for a game of peek-a-boo…]

[my little helper]

[the girl loves dirt!]

[the face that melts my heart]

[Such a good girl playing with her toys.  She is fabulous at entertaining herself – we are very lucky!]


Posted June 21, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Uncategorized

[this beautiful thing is my cousin’s daughter, Amelia]

[On Friday, we went to watch Amelia’s dance showcase at the Colorado School of Ballet.  It was the end of her intensive training week there.]

[Piper’s FAVORITE thing is dance, so she was in love.  She watched intently as the big girls danced and clapped at every single intermission.  This dancing stuff is serious business to her.  I am pretty sure we will be going to a lot of dance recitals in the coming years…]

[Piper dancing with Nana on the fancy floor after the showcase was over.  That tongue is constantly out lately!]

my little cutie

Posted June 20, 2008 by oneblogfor2girls
Categories: Uncategorized

[P didn’t get what was so funny last night.  She had NO CLUE that an O was stuck to her nose.  I love this girl.]