Showing posts from December, 2015

Signing off for a while...

There is no easy way to say this.

My beloved father died early this morning. It is a lot to process and we are all grieving. You'll understand if I don't see you here for a little while. We are still leaving for China in a week. It is what he would have wanted. It is what my mother wants.

He was a very good man and I'm going to miss him.

Christmas 2015

We had a lovely, calm, and wonderful day. Just calm family fun, both at home and with extended family. Here are just a few pictures.

TWELVE pairs of new pajamas... there were some for Y. and R. as well.
Ready for Christmas Eve dinner
Jesus' birthday cake
Coming downstairs for Christmas morning
K. and H.
Gretel enjoying her new toy. Midnight got a new toy as well, but much preferred the wet cat food he received.
Christmas breakfast
L. had been telling me she was going to get a guitar. Imagine my joy when I came across this one when I was shopping for something else a couple of months ago. She has barely set it down since she opened it.
B. and G.
TM has really, really wanted a pet husky. This is a fairly acceptable alternative.
The one thing D. requested... the new Rick Riordan book.
H. and the Legos she had really wanted.
L. has a new Superman sweatshirt. 
See what I mean about the guitar?
We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Music, always music

This is one of the lines to describe the narrator's Christmas in the movie, A Child's Christmas in Wales. (That would be the same movie we always watch on Thanksgiving night, after dinner is over.) I have always found it to sum up a big part of my own family's Christmas as well. Singing Christmas carols and listening to Christmas music is something we do a lot of during the Christmas season. We sing each Sunday of Advent after dinner, we sing on Christmas Eve before we tuck everyone into bed, and we try to invite friends over for an evening of singing as well.

This is what we did last night. The H-S family and P. family joined us and we ate cookies and drank eggnog and sang. We have done this for many years, our three families. We have all added children and all of us now have grown children. Some have moved away, some have gotten married, and there is even a quickly growing baby in the mix. I'm sure I'm not the only one of the six adults to find these moments a bi…

Gingerbread... um... creations

Today was cookie decorating day. It was the easiest cookie day I've ever experienced, mainly because all I really did was take pictures and wash dishes. Yesterday, D. made the gingerbread men. He is finding it difficult to fill his time and has been extremely helpful in the baking department. Then, this morning, D. made all of the icing and TM added all the colors and together the filled the decorating bags. These two jobs, the coloring and the filling, are really not my favorite activities and I was thrilled to give them away to the boys. We had successful decorating. Everyone had fun, there were no disasters (at least during the process), and everyone helped clean up.

You can enjoy the photos while we engage in a package wrapping marathon here.

L. and K. playing a game I brought out of storage to occupy the masses while the icing was being made.
TM. and D. working on the frosting.
Ready for decorating.
G. ... waiting and waiting...

D.'s gingerbread Hulk
H. and L.

More shopping

Because actually finishing the Christmas shopping for 12+ people isn't enough, I'm still gathering things to go out of the country a week later. Look at what I picked up today.

These are matching dresses for Y. and R, plus some hair bows. We will be able to bring all of R.'s wardrobe which is wonderful, but I'm quite sure that Y. will come to us with the clothes on her back. It is so fun to be able to finally get these girls some things. I figure they will wear them at the official adoption paper signing our second day in Zhengzhou and at our consulate appointment the next week. They would work for both climates... tights in Zhengzhou and short socks in Guongzhou. (Note to self. Dig out these items to pack.) The beauty of doing this kind of shopping at this time of year is the crazy sales that are on. I really didn't mean to buy dresses today. I was going to save that for next week. But when you find an entire store on sale for $12.99, you stop in.

What I was reall…

God shows up

This is a post about our immense thankfulness. 
When we started R.'s adoption, we knew we could make it work because of her grant. If we were only bringing her home, there would have been no real issues and the small expenses we would incur would be quite manageable. It is a truly amazing grant that the Baobei Foundation has provided for her. Yet, we knew that not only was R. our daughter, but Y. was as well. I truly don't know how to explain the jolt I felt when I first saw Y.'s picture. It was as though my body knew that this face was somehow important to me. I saw her photo at about the same time as R.'s. Two girls whom I felt a connection with. And I knew this was crazy because we knew we were done, and even if we felt as though we weren't done, there was quite literally no money to even start an adoption, much less pay for one. So all I could do was advocate and hope and pray they would find families. I would scan the advocacy lists for news of them, both hopi…

Speed of lightning

Gretel is back to good health which means she is back to her very bouncy and barking self. I have moments of wishing for just a low-grade fever to tone the barking down. Not really. Much. Gretel and the cat have continued to live together with minimal drama.

I was a little concerned about the Christmas tree. We have survived Christmas trees with babies, toddlers, puppies (and a Labrador puppy at that), and even twin toddlers, but thanks to the wonders of You Tube, I was seriously wondering if the tree would survive the cat. Based on all the videos people kept sharing, it would seem that Christmas trees are such a temptation to cats that we would be spending every waking moment either setting the tree back up, or taking the cat out of the tree, or replacing every single ornament on the tree. I was a bit trepidation.

So far, Midnight has left the tree pretty much alone. We have had a couple of ornaments that were batted off, but nothing more serious than the babies, toddlers, and puppie…

Love came Down

In the holiday mayhem that happens at this time of year, it is so easy to lose our focus. This is especially true if we are mothers. There is a sort of unwritten expectation that we need to make Christmas and the Christmas season lovely and magical and unforgettable. We want to feel cozy and connected and full of love and peace and hope and joy. It's what we sing about; it's what we watch in movies; it surrounds us for the entire month of December. Is it any wonder that this season is difficult for so many people?

Yet, when we stop to really think about it, feelings of discontent, anxiety, and even fear put us right in the center of the Christmas story. We forget that at the time of Jesus' birth, it was life as usual for everyone in first century Palestine. And that usual involved living in a conquered country that was part of the Roman empire. Herod, having played his political games well, was named King of the Jews by Augustus, the current Caesar of the empire. He was cu…

Hard Places

Just pray.

Tree Trimming 2015

Today was our annual Christmas tree trimming party. I think the children are getting older because the tree was loaded with ornaments in record time. This is the first year ever that all the decorations have been put up and the boxes put back away before we sat down to dinner. How terribly civilized.

Here are some photos from the day... but remember, I'm using D.'s camera as a stop gap until we finally get one and to say I don't like it wouldn't quite convey my feelings towards it. It is just a big pain to use. And, I don't use it very well as you will soon see. Not that any of you have ever come here for the photography... except maybe to laugh. (Go ahead, it's alright. I really don't blame you.) These were all taken after the boxes were all put away.

I think we'll be able to squeeze in two more stockings, don't you think?
Bad picture #1... but a Christmas tree looks pretty even when blurry, right?
Here's Gretel doing her best calm and quiet do…