Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Train Station

With thousands going to the mall the day after Christmas we decided to go to the train station.  No need to get on a train, the experience of seeing the trains and hearing them is good enough for us!  Patrick and Eliana love trains and the San Juan Capistrano train station is a very scenic place to visit.  It is a favorite among those who make their living taking photographs.  All in all it was a fun family day relaxing in the cool air.  No video this time, only a large collage of photos.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Chirstmas Eve 2012

"How it is."  That is the theme of the video attached to this blog posting.  It is a raw, (basically) unedited video showing life in the Turner household.  Lots of energy from two wonderful kiddos.  The video starts with Eliana in a gorgeous dress because she wouldn't stand still for a picture.  But with the world of smartphones these days all things multimedia are possible.  Patrick may or may not be a typical four year old, but he is full of energy and enjoys dancing to Handel's Messiah or Bach's Magnificat or any other high energy music.  I see Vivian and I as ring leaders of this circus.  Before Patrick and Eliana arrived we had many ideas of how kids would act, think, behave... and well, let us just say that kids will be kids whether you like it or not!  Unpredictable is a word that comes to mind.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Life with kids is priceless, especially during this Christmas season.  This is a time when we are asked to remember that the redemption plan began with Christmas.  For those who put their faith and trust in Jesus who died for our sins on Easter, the promise is that we will spend Eternity with God instead of without Him.  That is the meaning of Christmas and we look forward to our birthday party for Jesus tomorrow.  Bring on the cupcakes!!!

2012 Update from Jim Turner on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Active Winter Sports

Active winter sports in southern California are quite different than other parts of the county.   Instead of downhill skiing, cross country skiing, mountain climbing with ice boots etc we have 84F in November.  So a little basketball, soccer and cycling from a toddler variety is in order.  These two kids are growing up quickly so it was time to capture a few moments of video with the kids.  With the help of my Nokia 920 and a beautiful sunny thanksgiving week the following video is the result.  I fully realize that this is the type of thing that parents and relatives enjoy but others not so much.  Regardless I am forever thankful that I get to record these types of memories in video format with such ease and create a timeless memory since I am told that they will be driving and graduating from high school in the blink of an eye

Hope you enjoy the video

ActiveSports from Jim Turner on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It is not about the bike!!

I had time recently to reflect on the meaning of my bicycle rides in various parts of the world (what they did for me, what memories were there, etc.)  Some of the years included milestones in my small world of cycling.  I recall one year where I rode multiple 100-mile bike rides.  On the year of my 40th birthday I rode the alps in Switzerland, France and Italy.  The next year I rode the mountains in Northern Italy for seven days.  These were some epic days: the beauty of the mountains was amazing and the fellow cyclists were supportive and fun.  I marvel that my weekly ride was up and down the beautiful ocean-lined coast of Southern California where people spend thousands of dollars to vacation.  I could go on but by now you are wondering what the point is.  The point came to me today when I went on a bike ride of about 1/4 of a mile (maybe even less.)  But there I was riding down to the end of my housing tract with clip-less pedals and tennis shoes on my mountain bike while pretending to race against Patrick on his tricycle.  It was one of those priceless moments when I realized that it is not about the bike; it is not even about me.  It is about the beauty of a father/son moment.  I am sure there will be others but I have always looked forward to bicycle rides with Patrick and Eliana and this was the start.  The excitement of going over speed bumps (which we call "bump bumps,")  the thrill of seeing Patrick pedal that tricycle hard to "keep up" with Dad,  the fun of just spending time together.  It makes me more than thankful that God through his providence chose to put Patrick and Eliana in our lives.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I feel as if I have been telling adoption stories nonstop for the past 4 yrs +. It started before Patrick was born and continued through today. I am grateful for the chance to tell the stories of Patrick's and Eliana's adoptions and all the transitions that we have gone through together as a family. Last Wednesday August 22nd was Eliana's adoption finalization court date. Even though it seemed like a mere formality, it was a major transition point. It is the point at which she became a legal Turner. Nothing changes in our eyes: she is still ours, we still love her, we still pay all the bills, we still can't imagine life without her. But nonetheless, it is another major milestone in her life.

I have often thought that this would be the final transition in the adoption story of Patrick and Eliana but I can tell that is far from the truth. Now we begin the slow process of revealing their birth stories to them. Patrick already knows that he and Eliana are adopted, but his ability to process the information is not quite developed. As they grow older, more of their stories will be told and parenting will become more exciting everyday.

I have been reminded on multiple occasions that I shouldn't blink because if I do, the kids will be filling out college applications and getting married before I know it. I am therefore encouraged to enjoy every possible moment, good and bad, happy and sad, so that when we shoot them out into this world as arrows (Psalm 127:3,) we realize that we have taught them well, trained them as much as possible, and enjoyed every last moment of their lives with us.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eliana's First Birthday

Well there you go. Just as quick as that we have finished the first year of Eliana's life. During the year it was often slow but looking back it was a speedy year. She is turning into an amazingly fun, opinionated and playful little girl. Not walking yet but crawling at full speed. She is also into technology which works for me. Her first place to go is the stereo equipment when the cabinet door is open! I can remember so clearly when she was born at 3lb 6oz and when we took her home from the hospital at 7lbs+ and now she is a 20lb plus little bucket of love. It is clear to me that the most important aspect of her little life, outside of the sovereignty of God that brought her to us, is the support of our family and friends. Her birthday party today was a total demonstration of friends supporting friends as some stored food, others cut vegetables, others transported items, others help setup an clean up. Too many to list here but we thank you all for everything that you are doing to make Eliana and Patrick's life that much more special. Enjoy a few pictures from the festivities today and may you have a happy and safe 4th of July. Maybe she can teach her brother to enjoy fireworks!!! Thanks for reading

Eliana's First B-Day Party from Jim Turner on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Ironic that the last post was on Mother's Day but really nothing more than that. No reason other than it takes a lot more work with 2 kids than 1. With the normal schedule that leaves less time to write down thoughts or publish videos. But fret not, Father's Day is here. Giving the option of doing anything I wanted today, I took Patrick and his friend Justus to ZooMars, our local petting zoo, after teaching 18 3yr olds at church. After finishing Zoo Mars and Cold Stone creamery we dropped Justus off at his home and heading back to our house. But it was not over yet. Patrick and I went off to the Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center to enjoy the another hour or so in the pools there. No special dinner just a bath with both kids and bedtime. That, however, is the best Father's day recipe I could envision. Now if Eliana would just go to sleep :) Here are 4 minutes from our ZooMars experience if you are inclined to watch. Thanks for reading

Untitled from Jim Turner on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Nothing says "Mother's Day" like family.  It is after all what puts the mother into mother's day.  So to that end and without much linguistic bantering about, here is a family video of the fun our family has had in the past months.

Enjoy...and "sing a song" (you will have to listen to get that reference!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Zoomars 2012!!

Animals are fun, no make that super fun.  And even if you are in stroller the whole experience was a success for all.  Vivian was at the Bren rehearsing for Easter Sunday choir and so I had the fun adventure of taking both of the kids to the ZooMars petting zoo.  I love hanging out with the kidos on a Saturday morning (well anytime actually!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Life is ....

You can fill in the blanks with all of the cliches that you have heard over the years ( I prefer " a box of chocolates") but one thing is for certain, it is the personalities of our kids that make it very interesting.  As we strive hard to teach them what they should know, develop a schedule, etc.  it becomes very clear that what worked with one will not work with the other.  There are those things that work with both kids but the moment you try to put them in the box that "should work" they will soon jump out as if to say "try again".  It is what stretches the patience to its breaking point sometimes.

Patrick is a very energetic, loving, enthusiastic and a little compulsive.  Sometimes we have to stop and clean the soccer ball before continuing.  He doesn't like it when Eliana moves the blanket that she is sitting on so that it becomes "messy".  If he is not ready to go to bed, getting him to stay in his room can be a challenge.  He is ready to tell you exactly where and what you need to be doing and what he needs.  We love him more than I can imagine and there is nothing I would rather do than come home and "play trains" or "go to the park"

Eliana has all of my stubborn traits.  We are kindred spirits in that way.  She is also amazingly happy and joyful, talking without words at every turn.   This little 3lb 6oz premature child is growing like a weed and will soon be playing "rough house" with Dad and Patrick.  I can't wait! Unlike Patrick who loved cuddling with mom or dad, Eliana loves to squirm and is not fond of sitting still.  She could stay in the bouncer for a long time.

One thing is for sure...when you mix the 2 personalities you get a God given amazing result.  Already the brother and sister adore each other.  Patrick looks longingly at the video monitor and whines to mommy "Mommy, Eliana is still sleeping".  Eliana can be fussy but when she sees Patrick (the human pacifier) all is well.  For Eliana, as long as Patrick is in the room, life is good.  For Patrick, the ultimate pleasure is to have all four of us together, but as a consolation prize he loves have his little sister around.  Even if she is just sitting there watching him.

I think they made a word for what I described and that word is "Family".  It is a wonderful gift that God has given us and I want to cherish it every moment of every day, even when "no" is the most common word I hear and "I want..." starts every phrase.

Know what I mean??????

Saturday, March 3, 2012


How much does God love us? It is one of those incomprehensible attributes of God. Yes, we can understand love to some extent but when you really ponder some of the outcomes of His love it can get overwhelming. I guess we could choose to dwell on questions of "Why do bad things happen to good people?" but that is just avoiding the real question which is "Why do good things happen at all?" After all, we have done nothing to deserve them. And that is the real crux of the matter, isn't it? God's demonstration of love shown by putting our our family together was not by chance, not because we are good people or because we somehow deserve this family, but by design before the earth was even created. Whether you think the earth is billions of years old or thousands of years old you have to admit that is a pretty cool fact to ponder. I love this family more than it makes sense. The love of a family really doesn't make sense at its messed up core. After all, we make mistakes pretty much every day and every day we find something else that we could have done better. We also find something else that another family member could have done better. So why love? We love because God loves us and that is the only reason that allows it to make sense. We have the ultimate example of love on Easter which hopefully won't get lost in the Easter bunnies and the Easter candy but will shine through to a really messed up world. Here are some pictures of the recent photos taken at Alta Laguna Park in Laguna Beach that I absolutely love. Enjoy!!
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Most of life is about perspective. The more we have of it the easier it is to understand a situation, react to a problem etc. And just to give you perspective I am writing about a situation where the mom (Vivian) is home during the day and the dad (me) is at work. That is not to say it is the only possibility but it is the one I have the most perspective on. Sorry for the long intro!

In the case of parenting perspective is king. Knowing the job of a mom helps the dad understand how to interact with her when he arrives home and knowing the stress of the workplace helps the mom react to the dad when he arrives home, etc. All that being said, I am going to state my thesis as the following..."A mom with more than 1 kid has a much harder job than any work situation I will ever encounter".

My story.

Yesterday was stay at home and have fun day since it was MLK day and not a work day. We had a baby sitter lined up for a few hours and all was going to be great. But then the stomach flu with in all of its wonder hit Vivian around 11pm the night before. Thus ended the potentially fun day. But I was super thankful that I had a day off to watch both kids and let Vivian suffer in peace. I love our kids and they are both wonderful, cute, etc but when Eliana is teething and Patrick doesn't want to take a nap, the day gets longer and longer. I am not complaining here because by all accounts we are very blessed. My point is that there is nothing that I have ever encountered in 20+ years of working that compares with the energy that it takes to deal with 2 kids on the "not so good days". It is not one specific part of the day that throws the day off but a series of little things adding up to never getting time to sit down for 10 minutes and do nothing. But here is the thing...for mom's this is the rule, it is common place. I think that if Dad's could take a day off and deal with the kids at the neediest for 1 complete day (i.e. midnight to midnight with no one sleeping through the night) their perspective on what their wife has to deal with would change. No matter what kind of high power, high paying, stressful job you might have, I have never seen a spreadsheet scream at me or have a complex problem whine at me. They just sit there until they are solved, nice and politely. Fellow employees can be an issue but at the end of the day they don't go home with you. I am not saying that this knowledge will create total marital bliss but I will take anything the work world can throw about me over 2 emotional, teething, not sleeping, needy kids. The former just doesn't compare in terms of energy expended.

Let's all be thankful for the moms!

Thanks for reading

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Complete Family

It is not as if our family wasn't complete before Eliana arrived but in one sense it wasn't quite finished. I can tell you that two is a wonderful, great and final number. The video at the bottom of this blog article is complete with the sights and sounds of our family at the end of 2011. Unlike other videos that I have made which are a collage of pictures this one only has 1 picture and the rest are videos showing the kids in action. When you watch the video, set it to full screen and turn the volume to high. Not only will you hear the sounds of Eliana and Patrick but the music in the background is a very beautiful piece of choral music.

La rose complete
( Rainer Maria Rilke, from Les Roses)
J'ai une telle conscience de ton etre,
rose complete,
que mon consentement te confond
avec mon coeur en fete.
Je te resprire comme si tu etais, rose,
toute la vie,
et je me sense l'ami parfait
d'une telle amie.

The Perfect Rose

I have such awareness of your being,
perfect rose,
that my will unites you
with my heart in celebration.

I breathe you in, rose, as if you were
all of life,
and I feel the perfect friend
of a perfect friend.

The connection with this piece of music is that our family is now very much complete with our little rose, Eliana. And with the understanding of Ephesians 1:5.6 " even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." it becomes even more complete.

I can't begin to express the love that I have for this family but I do know this, it is nothing on the scale of the love that God has for us. Eliana is now 16lb 5 oz and growing like crazy. If I didn't know she was born premature I would have no way of knowing. She is a very happy, opinionated, joyful and strong little girl. Patrick continues to be a joyful, high verbal, 3 yr old with a love for trains, paints, cars, balls, Little Bear, Jonah, Busy town mysteries and of course, Curious George. His favorite place is usually the park and is great at allowing me to take him on runs in the stroller even if it means getting to the park 30 minutes later.

We didn't send out a Christmas letter this year and probably won't get around to it until next year but after you see the video you will know why! So don't write us off your list just yet...we will be back eventually as we learn more about navigating the waters of raising Patrick and Eliana.

Thanks for reading