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Best Worst Picture Taker Ever

Well, apparently I’m not fabulous at keeping up with my blog while living overseas, spending quality time with our girl, exploring a beautiful city, and skyping daily with my kids back home…and finishing my book.  And getting food poisoning and turning inside out (I bite my thumb at you, goat cheese! Fie! Fie I say!).  Poor, sad neglected blog.

You know what I am fabulous at?  I am fabulous at bad picture taking.  I posit that I am the best worst picture taker ever to post photos on a blog. I am stunningly awful.  And you’re in luck, dear blog reader, for I am about to take you on a delightful tour.  My life in bad pictures, with most of the people taken out, because who wants their photo posted on a blog without their permission?  Travesty.

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to this pumpkin:

And this one:

And took off for Latvia for our A– pumpkin.  We’ve been living in a sweet apartment with a beautiful view, but I don’t have a picture of that.

We went to the museum of decorative arts and saw cool stuff like this:

Despite my mad computer skills, I couldn’t get it to go sideways, so maybe just turn your head.  A– took this photo and clearly possesses my rad skills.

We went to a honey tasting at this yummy shop and decided that our favorite honey was made from bees that liked raspberry blossoms:

For the beginning of Advent, we attended a Christmas concert at St. Peter’s cathedral, where the acoustics made the music dance around the room.  This church is very old and very beautiful, and this is the only picture I have of it:

A– took it.  Good thing one of us thought to snap a picture.  When we weren’t outside snapping photography worthy of National Geographic, we entertained ourselves inside.  This is what bonding with a nine-year-old girl looks like:

And this:

We made so many bracelets that we could open up a shop, or just wear them all at once:

We also decorated the apartment with all these lovely paintings:

Our dear friends had us over for a delicious Latvian meal for American Thanksgiving.  We tried eel (tastes like fish, only fishier) and these cabbage rolls, with which I wanted to marry and have Cabbage Patch Kids:

For dessert, she made chocolate sausage, and instead of little pieces of pork inside like I expected, we were delighted to discover tiny bits of cookies and gummies:

I want to fly a rocket ship and declare to the universe how delectable this sausage is.  Favorite sausage ever.  And she anticipated my undying love for the sausage by preparing in advance this take home sausage:

And now it’s gone and I feel a little cold and lonely and like I don’t know how to survive without it.  “I can’t live, if living is without you,” Chocolate Sausage.

We’ve had a lot of other yummy meals here, and enjoyed restaurant week.  Of course, instead of taking a picture of my award-winning food, I snapped this winner in the bathroom:

These mirrors gave me a nice view of my forehead.  I am Frodo in a nation of Ents.  I am a fuzzy little mouse in a land of Baltic supermodels.  But it’s okay.  I may not have poise or height, but I have my professional photography career ahead of me.  Here’s the one I took when we ate in a dungeon:

See how I adjusted the light and used All the Proper Editing Tools?  I’m awesome.  We started at street level and crept down the stairs into an old wine cellar from 1293.  Seriously, forget Medieval Times, this thing is furreal.  We ordered Large Hunks of Meat and waitresses in period clothing brought us our feast.  Candlelight served as the only lighting in the restaurant, as you can see by my photo.  Clearly.  The whole evening was out of a delicious movie and I didn’t want to leave.  So much history and oh so very romantic.  At one point the restaurant was at ground level, but it’s so old that over time it became buried below the current streets.  They discovered it about 50ish years ago, and voila, we’re eating back in time.

I could not bring myself to eat in a restaurant that sounds like “Let us puke.”  Of course, in Latvian, it’s a very pretty word for the lacy ice pattern you get in window panes.  In English, not so much:

We’ve done other things besides eat excellent food.  We took a printmaking class, where I discovered that I am as gifted with printmaking as I am at photography.  Look at my hubs rock the smock:

Even though it’s very cold, this is a lovely time to visit Latvia, noted as the place where they decorated the first Christmas tree ever.  As you’re putting up your trees this month, say a little thank you to our Baltic friends for inventing it.  Riga is filled with Christmas trees right now, and we’ve had a blast walking around the city finding them.  Some are modern art installations and others are more traditional, like this one:

All over town, we find Christmas markets with artisans selling handmade crafts and souvenirs.  Lovely smells waft about, like mulled wine simmering over fires, fresh gingerbread, and fresh hay.

These sheep make some less-than-lovely smells, too, but A– loved to feed them:

Daytime shot:

Sometimes we get so cold that we have to duck into a coffee shop for a soulful cup of coffee.  Soulful, I tell you.  Full of soul.  People, gas station coffee in Latvia is better than five-star restaurant coffee in the States.  I’m sorry to have to break this to you.  It’s true.  They brew an excellent cup of joe.  Joe would be proud.  Anyway, at this particular coffee shop, Daddy and A– got all cute and cuddly and then she got shy when I tried to capture it with my lightning photog reflexes:

And we have had several epic snowball fights.  Here’s our snow angel:

From the top of St. Peter’s cathedral, we enjoyed a brisk wind and breathtaking panorama of Riga.

After the first big snow of the season, their beautiful birch trees bowed with the weight of the heavy snow.  I’ve been to Narnia.  I’ve seen Aslan, and he’s on the move.

And here’s me at the top of the world.  That’s what it felt like.  At the top of the world, staring into the open Baltic Sea, I stood on top of a sand dune covered in snow.  A snow dune, if you will.

One glistening, glorious surprise in the midst of this whirlwind trip abroad is meeting another adoptive family.  Today, the other mom and I successfully slid past home plate together.  That may be a record in mom dating, even for me.  In two weeks time, we met on a tour of the city with our kids in tow.  We went out as families several times, then earlier this week she had me back to her place.  Today, we managed to meet sans children for liquid chocolate bars at a fancy chocolatier.

Fourth base chocolate coma mom date.  I’m in deep, deep like.  And yes, I may have shared a couple of poop stories and for sure we’ve full frontal hugged it out on several occasions.  I definitely went too deep too soon on a number of topics, but I think there’s an out-of-the-country exemption clause.

We’ve done many, many other fun things here, but do I have pictures?  No, no I do not.