Monday, August 2, 2010


I just got this pic today (funny timing).

This is the exact face Gita makes when you ask her to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star... right before she yells, "No!"

I knew I liked her for a reason!

Growing Faster than Weeds

Gita not long after she moved to Kathmandu.

Gita in the late Spring with Michael (look how long her hair is!).

Not sure when this was taken, but I'm guessing Fall since her hair is still quite short.

Valentine's Day 2010

My Christmas present to Gita.

Michael has been updating me here and there about Gita and I'm happy to report it's all good news. She has lots of friends in Kathmandu and is enjoying school. It's been almost exactly a year since I've seen her, and she's aged years. She's actually looking like a 10 year old. It's amazing what substantial food, friends, an education and some TLC can do, and it's shocking how apparent it is in the pictures Michael sends. Go back to my first posts from Nepal and look at her pictures there, then scroll back to the ones above, you can see for yourself...

Cheers to good health and friends!

A Pool Present

As our wedding present to the Kids of NOH, Justin and I rented a pool in Kathmandu for a day of swimming, friends and a special lunch. We heard the party was a hit and all of the kids had a great time. Swimming was the one thing we were missing at our reception! I just wish we could have been there...

A HUGE thanks to Michael for doing all the planning and dirty work to make it happen.

Happy Wedding to Us!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

You're Famous! Driftwood Dash on YouTube

You're famous!

Not really, but there are probably lots of sweaty pictures of you on the slide show...

Check out the
2010 Driftwood Dash on YouTube!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Run Times!




Take a



to find


finish time.

Participant Times

  1. Bryan Hoon #245 @ 20:47 –First Place Male Finisher
  2. Chris Boone #244 @23:30
  3. Scott Thorsteinson #211 @ 24:20
  4. Nate Pigza #219 @ 24:27
  5. Dave Kempe #227 @ 24:53
  6. Sonya Fry #254 @ 25:04 –First Place Female Finisher
  7. Trent Taylor #259 @ 25:22
  8. Kyle Fox #208 @ 25:42
  9. Emily Ness #252 @ 26:15
  10. Angie Yarbrough #229 @ 27:41 –with Shasta, First Place Dog
  11. Mical Bryant #230 @ 27:48
  12. Kristy Thorsteinson #212 @ 27:59
  13. Tyler Freed #240 @ 28:49
  14. Jodi Rivard #204 @ 29:09
  15. Meagan Freed #241 @ 29:30
  16. Beth Najarian #214 @ 29:50
  17. Lindsay Leisner #226 @ 29:59
  18. Name? #260 @ 29:59
  19. Andrew Leisner #225 @ 29:59
  20. Jeff Coffey #249 @ 30:22
  21. Dean Johnson #203 @ 30:40
  22. Mike Haukenberry #206 @ 30:52
  23. Ryan Monson #238 @ 31:25
  24. Patty Haukenberry #205 @ 31:25
  25. Colin Grice #210 @ 32:28
  26. Kara Handy #209 @ 32:28
  27. Danea Stogsdill #201 @ 33:19
  28. Joe Suver #217 @ 34:59
  29. Brandi Dipold #239 @ 35:47
  30. Meagan Stogsdill #202 @ 40:12
  31. Cheryle Diamond #216 @ 40:12 (one lap)
  32. Jen Bonner #213 @ 40:12 (one lap)
  33. Sandy Stapleton #215 @ 40:12 (one lap)
  34. Kelsey Waring #232 @ 44:30 –First Place Big Kid
  35. Sarah Waring #231 @ 44:30
  36. Keana Callon #256 @ 46:55 –First Place Stroller
  37. Bart @ Bri Iaia #261 @ 47:37
  38. Debbie Suver #218 @ 51:55
  39. Lisa Hutchens #207 @ 51:55
  40. Carre Avery #247 @ 51:55
  41. Jared Nimick #248 @ 51:55
  42. Mariah Gordon #233 @ 51:55
  43. Jessica Pigza #220 @ 58:30
  44. Linda Popejoy #242 @ 53:30
  45. Mandi Highland #243 @ 53:30
  46. Cori Turner #255 @ 53:55
  47. Mark #258 @ 53:55
  48. Melissa #257 @ 53:55
  49. Ann Cameron #253 @ 53:55
  50. Cregg Handy #222 @ 56:15
  51. Nancy Handy #221 @ 56:15
  52. Rebecca Latham #236 @56:50
  53. Kathie Thompson #237 @56:50
  54. Ken Root #223 @ 57:00
  55. Joni Root #224 @ 57:00

Participating in Spirit

  • Justin Nimick
  • Laura Handy
  • Dawn Taylor
  • Lee Howard
  • Chris Nimick
  • Will & Denise Stocking
  • Justin Lagers
  • Diane Rodman
  • Bryan Brown
  • Andrea Johnson

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

$1800 Worth of Thank You!

You volunteered.
You donated.
You walked.
You ran.
You sweat.
You won prizes.

You raised more than $1800 to improve the lives of needy children in Nepal!


A huge thank you to all of our sponsors and everyone who participated and donated to the First Annual Driftwood Dash 5k! Justin and I appreciate everyone's support and enthusiasm for this event. We had a great time running it and hope everyone had an even better time participating.

Those of you who know me know I don't cry easily. While I was in Nepal I faced pollution, poverty and forces of nature I couldn't have imagined and never shed a tear, but the tears snuck up on me as I added up all the donations. Never having been to Nepal or volunteered for NOH it might be hard to imagine what this money will do, but I can tell you that it will go far and every penny is greatly needed and appreciated.

Thank you again for your participation and support. The Second Annual Driftwood Dash will be even better! Start training for next year...

In Gratitude,

PS. Run times and a photo/video slide show to follow in the next few days. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Driftwood Dash 5K Run/Walk

Hi There!

I hope you will consider joining us for the First Annual Driftwood Dash 5K Run/Walk on April 17th, 2010!

ALL profits benefit Nepal Orphans Home (NOH), a not for profit organization committed to improving the lives of ex-kamlari (slave caste) girls and other orphaned children in Nepal.

I spent a month in Nepal last summer volunteering for NOH and came back determined to help this organization grow. The poverty in Nepal has a crippling effect on families and children and I saw first hand how the volunteers and employees of NOH change lives. Read my blog (below) to learn more about my trip to Nepal and Nepal Orphans Home.

I hope you'll be able to join us in April!

My Best,


Date: Saturday, April 17, 2010

8:00 am: Late Registration & Packet Pick-Up

9:00 am: Kids Run
9:30 am: 5K Run/Walk
10:30 am: Raffle


Pre-Register by April 5, 2010: $25
(includes event t-shirt)
Late Registration after April 5, 2010: $20 (no event t-shirt)
Kids: Free!
Donations: Of Course! You don't have to run to make a contribution.

Where: Driftwood Point Park
Since the park has no official address (I know, really?) follow these directions or drop me an email and I baby step you there.

Take Sumner-Tapps Highway to Driftwood Drive, follow until you end at the park.

It never occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to attach/link a PDF to my blog, but apparently I can't (or just don't know how). So, if you want a registration form drop me an email and I'll shoot one over to you!

Other Stuff:
  • All entrants will receive a raffle ticket to win great prizes from our sponsors. Additional raffle tickets will be sold at the registration table for $1.00 or 7 tickets for $5.00. All proceeds from the raffle go directly to Nepal Orphans Home.
  • Since this is my first year organizing this type of event, I didn't want to get in over my head. Therefore, this event will be UNOFFICIALLY TIMED. It's not the Boston Marathon so I didn't think anyone would be too upset. However, your unofficial times will be posted here after the race.
  • Oh, yeah and the Driftwood Dash isn't exactly a 5K...but it's really close.
  • Mt. Tahoma Fitness -Lakeland, Auburn, WA
  • Edge Hot Yoga Studio, Puyallup, WA
  • Puyallup Playcare Center, Puyallup, WA
  • Forest Canyon Coffee, Lake Tapps, WA
  • Salon Bella Dea, Auburn, WA
  • H & S Printworks, Puyallup, WA
  •, Pierce County, WA
  • Driftwood Point Home Owners Association, Lake Tapps, WA

Come out and run (or walk) with us. It's a good time for a great cause!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finally, an Update!

Gita is doing well in Kathmandu (she is the one in blue). Michael says she is well adjusted and making lots of friends. He described her as outgoing but independent, which is dead-on. She recently volunteered to move from Papa's House (the original orphanage) to the new orphanage down the street to help the new girls from Narti get adjusted. Some of her friends and "sisters" were coming from Narti so I'm sure she was excited to be reunited and living with them again. I'm supposed to get a copy of her VERY FIRST report card sometime in the next few weeks. Michael says she is doing well in school and seems to be picking her lessons up quickly. I can't wait to go back and see how much she's learned. When I met her in Narti she didn't know how to hold a pencil, write, color or even draw. It never occurred to me that a child had to be taught how to color and play, especially at nine years old.

Jesse is going back to visit over the holidays and he is bringing all of the children (132 of them in Kathmandu now!) temporary tattoos from me and special gift for Gita. I've written the children letters a few times and they all seem to make there eventually, but sending gifts is out of the question, so I'm very excited.

I'm still working on setting up a fundraiser or two and have two ideas I'd really like to put into action, but the details are still foggy. I'll post my action plan SOON to get these fundraisers up and running for those who are interested in participating.

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy Holiday season!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Just a quick update on Gita. I wasn't able to smuggle her home in my luggage (I tried!), so I've been getting updates on her from Michael. She's too cute not to share...

Gita in her new dress. She could be my flowergirl in that dress!

Gita opening the stickerbook I bought for her before I left. Michael gave her my gifts when she arrived in Kathmandu.

Gita looking through the barbie photo album I left for her filled with pictures of us, her drawing and painting and her friends in Narti.

As you've read I fell in love with a little girl named Gita while I was in Narti. Since returning from Nepal, Gita has been moved from the village orphanage in Narti, to one of the large orphanages in Kathmandu. She gladly accepted the offer to move to Kathmandu where she'll receive more structure, better care, access to healthcare (including braces) and go to a much better school. Michael (the founder of the organization) has sent me a few pictures and emails updating me on her status.

Before moving to Kathmandu Gita's history was documented for her records in the SWAN office. She was newly rescued when I arrived in Narti and this hadn't been done yet. According to Gita she is about 9 years old (the Kamlari girls don't know their birthdays because nobody cared enough to keep track) and was born in India. Her parents came to Nepal when she was a toddler with her and her brother. She was sold into slavery and the rest of her family moved back to India. Boys are rarely sold into the Kamlari system because they become the care-taker and bread winner when the parents become to old to work. Gita believes she lived as a Kamlari for 4-5 years before being rescued by SWAN. Technically she is considered an orphan because her parents left the country (children who are sold anre NOT seen or treated as orphans in the legal system), but it is unclear at this time whether she is considered a Nepali or Indian citizen.

Michael said Gita is loving Kathmandu and has a "bit of magic to her", as she is in awe of her surroundings. When the girls get to Kathmandu they are taken to get a new outfit and Gita chose to buy a white (eek! Who let her buy white?!) dress. She had two outfits with her when she arrived that were both very worn hand-me-downs. The new dress was a special treat and I'm sure the trip to the city was nothing she'd ever imagined. The first three days I spent in Kathmandu about put me in shock, now imagine a little girl who has never been outside her village, seen running water, let alone large buildings, extreme noise and traffic jams. I'm not sure whether to feel excited or scared for her! Jesse (the volunteer I went to Narti with) was in Kathmandu for a few days with her before he went home. He said the first day of school they tried to put her hair into two tiny ponytails, with no success. They finally resorted to one tiny pony on the top of her head. All the girls wear yellow bows to school and Jesse said Gita looked like an excited unicorn with a giant yellow bow on her first day of school. See, she does need me for something. Now who is going to put her hair in two ponytails? They should have let me sneak her through customs.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures and I'll keep you updated on her, should anything new or exciting arise.

The Nepal List

It is only fitting that I post my "final thoughts" about this trip, especially since I've had some time to think about everything and put it in perspective. For some reason a list feels like a good idea.


1. Poverty is nothing we can imagine in the US. It is so much bigger than our version of poverty.

2. Pollution in a third world country is life threatening on a daily basis. Piles of black, rotting garbage lining the street run into the small, local rivers that run through the city every time in rains. Water trucks pump water from the rivers, which are also surrounded by mountains of garbage.

3. Be thankful for garbage services, especially recycling!
4. Respect for living things (including the earth) is cultural and learned.

5. If a woman is sitting on the floor of a packed bus with a newborn infant, you should give her your seat.

6. People in poverty don't have the luxury of wearing clothes to match the season. Wearing t-shirts and shorts in 100 degree weather is a true luxury.

7. Running water is heaven.

8. Smiles and nods go a LONG way.

9. Spend time with your family, no matter what. I realized how much I need them when I was half way around the world.

10. I learned to be truly independent. Relying on a phone call or email to cheer me up did the opposite when the power was out- I had to FIND ways to cope all on my own.

11. You'll care about something more if you actually see and experience it. I've given money to MANY charities in the past, but never really experienced what the money was going towards. Going to Nepal, working in the orphanages, and living the lifestyle makes me care about helping the kids and people of Nepal more than if I hadn't been there.

12. Give time and if you can't give that give money. A little money goes a long way if given to the right cause.

13. Dogs without owners bark more at night. Adopt a dog for everyone's sanity.

14. In countries where they don't eat cow, they eat goat. It's just as gross.

15. There is no Tofu in Nepal even though soy beans are grown just outside Nepal in China. It's too expensive. Being vegetarian means rice, rice, rice, and vegetables.

16. Don't go to Nepal if you can't eat curry. You will starve.

17. Note to self: I don't get sick eating the food in Nepal, I get sick readjusting to the food here when I come back.

18. The idea that teachers shouldn't hug kids (especially elementary school teachers) because they could be accused of inappropriate touching is BS. The kids I worked with wanted and needed hugs every chance they could get. Hugs are therapeutic and some kids need them more than others.

19. It is possible to fit 31 people in a Toyota van. I have proof.

20. Always take Tylenol PM on long flights. Always.

21. Thank God I grew up camping and pooping in the woods. At least I had that going for me.

22. No matter how much you want to take a kid home (Gita!), someone will stop you.

I have so many stories and things to say about my time in Nepal that I find it hard to sort it all out in my head. Overall, my trip was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. When people ask, "How was your trip?" all I can say is hard, but amazing. The environment was harsh and shocking, but the kids were amazing and all of the people were so nice. I went to a third world country and I came back wanting to go back for more. That says it all.

Finally, More Pictures

I've been home for almost a month now and am just now getting around to posting a few more pictures. Enjoy these and I'll post some "final thoughts" about my trip soon. Keep checking back, I'm hoping to host a fundraiser for the Nepal Orphans Home soon. -Laura

Jesse, Aleisha and I cram into a cab to avoid a down poor with Vinod (front seat), Aleisha's Nepalese boyfriend. They are the nicest people I've ever met.

Gita and I trying to hide from the heat in the middle of the day. Narti, Nepal

The girls learn to paint for the first time. They loved it, but many were intimidated at first. Some of the girls took 3-4 hours to complete their art.

I visited the family of a girl I met at the hostel. She was visiting a friend at the hostel and invited me to stay with her in Lamahi, a nearby village. Laxmi's mother is on the right along with her cousin and her baby.

A scene from Narti. The village is minimistically beautiful, but speaks to the poverty level.

As I mentioned before, I got a souvenir. My tatoo means "Lucky One" and is written in Nepali.