Saturday, December 26, 2009

These are the things that made my Christmas........

~Remembering our Lord and Savior at Christmas time~

~Last year we began a Christmas tradition as a family by reading about St. Nicholas and the gifts of gold he brought the poor (and this tradition carries on today). We do this Christmas morning after the boys have received their Santa gifts and before we exchange gifts to each other. This year we read about the secret of the three gifts Jesus was given by the wise men. Each king brought the infamous gifts, but the Angel Gabriel stopped each of them and asked if their gift was something of the essence of themselves. At that moment their gifts turned into something very undesirable...something they knew they couldn't leave with Jesus, their newborn king. And the Angel responded each time, "what better place to leave it?" And each of the men left with burdens lifted and a clean slate.

Our boys understand that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and so now we can explain that our gifts that we give to each other are in His honor. We incorporate the story of Christ, of course, with our gift-giving. Each of our sons receives a gift of Gold (their St. Nicholaus gift), a gift of Frankincense (something that would be precious to them--an item that we feel describes them), and the gift of Myrrh (something that they will be able to use every day--a more practical item). I love this way of bringing Christ into our craziness of the season and it's a quiet, peaceful time. I LOVED when my usually, ungrateful 9-year-old said, "I LOVE everything I got!!". yay!!!

Even though I received the most gorgeous handbag and the TV for my kitchen I have been wanting for years.......this was MY favorite thing. You know when you get a gift that you didn't even ask for and you know that some thought was put into it? Or the person who picks it out just thinks of you? Well, my sweet husband found this book for me. It brought me to tears--it just describes me and where my heart is right now. I couldn't really have asked for anything more.

We made these little "mice"--from chocolate-covered cherries, Hershey's kisses, and choc. chips. These are for Santa every year as well as some home-made chocolate chip cookies---we only filled his milk half-way since Rice Milk is the only kind of milk we have here--does he like rice milk?? Hmmm..... Good 'ole St. Nick took care of it. :0)

This is my favorite picture of the day--my nephew, Jace--my younger brother's son. He loves to come to our house and play with the kids' light sabers, although he's only 2 and doesn't have much control. :0) Zachary drew his name and this was the first thing we ALL agreed he'd like---styrofoam and all. :0) Do you think he loved? Oh, HE LOVED!!!! He started in on our Christmas tree, so we had to move him to the hallway where he'd be safe. Talk about how BIG things come in small packages!

And the usual fun pictures of family.......
sister, Kim, and her daughter, Shayna.

my mom, Gail, and baby Mckenzie (my little brother's youngest) on her first Christmas

little brother, Clay, and his "mini-me"

The boys and their cousins, Haley and Jessica.
We had Dic's family at our house for Christmas eve and my family for Christmas day. Here is our extravagant night of pizza after a great service at our church--always wonderful. The kids were part of a play--or actions to the story of the birth of Jesus. My whole family attended. Lovely weekend.
Thank you God for giving us your son, not just today, but every day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

AND WE"RE OFF!!!!!!!

So a decision has FINALLY been made...adoption agency chosen--yay!!!! And now begins our journey to go here, and more specifically, here to bring our little girl home.

We listened and God spoke...Hallelujah!!

What a Christmas gift!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

crying AGAIN!!!!

Is it strange that I cry every time I read another blogger's story about their African adoption? Every comment I leave says how I'm in tears about their stories. What a great thing when I'm so emotionally wrapped up in the fact that within the next year (or two) we will bring our little girl home. I love those little faces that are already "home" and have an idea of what it took to get them there. These people are all so fascinating to me. It's this blogging thing....
I LOVE my blog......I love the fact that I can connect with soo many families that I don't even know, but have something in common with. I love the fact that I can connect with people that I do know, and maybe don't even talk to anymore, and everyone in the world can know what I'm up to on a given week, if they really care. :0). I love that I can write anything that I want and express my feelings about anything that's important to me and I will always have it to go back and look at. And I can post things like this that I think are REALLY important......

Luke got a stool and just stood up on it. When I asked what he was doing he said, "I just wanted to see how big the nails were". Just outta the blue.
This little boy just wants Jesus for Christmas.

And again, I'm crying.......
I even cry at my own blog! :0)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Decision Time!!!

Because of these girls.....

And the impact they have made on our family.......

I am vowing that by THIS WEEKEND we will make a decision about our adoption. WE are emotionally ready and we have been waiting to decide which agency we will choose and whether she will be from Uganda or Ethiopia. So stay tuned.....

I have been meaning to send the girls our letters since October some time (they were here in July) and it just never happened. I needed to get the photos developed and make a collage, as this is the only way they can take them back to Uganda. So that took me forever...and we don't have a printer right now, so I couldn't print them out. Well, I went to Walgreen's online and put my order in and made a collage for each of the girls--yay--one task accomplished!! Then I looked at the paperwork we got from the International Children's Network (they handle all of the choir's business) and found that they had a Christmas wish-list for the children in case we wanted to send them a gift. We have put some money in our "charity box" and decided this is what we wanted to do with it. So.......I spent TWO & A HALF hours trying to find something special for each of our girls...within a budget...not knowing what the other items they have already received look like. So it took a little while. :0) I got our 12 year-old, Shalom (Sharom), the prettiest dress ever and some tights to match---and found little Berinda , (pronounced Belinda) our 8-year-old, some sweet dress-up shoes and stockings, as well as a Polly Pocket and some toiletry items. Anita (our angel-12 year-old), had already received everything on her list--I can believe it--she makes an impact on everyone she meets. So we sent some money to go towards her big items that can only be purchased in Uganda (like a mattress, blanket, school uniform, and shoes & socks). The items that were not sent as gifts had to be purchased by the ICN and they were grateful (so I sent an extra pair of shoes I found on clearance so they would have one less pair to buy).

The greatest thing about doing all of this was that I felt like I was with them all day long--remembering their smiles and glowing personalities, picturing what their new items would like on, and imagining how excited they will be when they open them up. I had tears all day--some of frustration, but mostly of joy. They have surely made a dent in my life.

I ran home and got all of their items packed into a box (man I wish I had a scanner so you could have seen the picture Luke drew of all of us together in front of their Matsiko van) so I could get it to them quickly. The deadline was December 10th and I really cut it close!

With all of this chaos I vowed to myself that Dic and I would finally come to decision on our adoption and get started. We are ready...we are soooo ready!! I even have some clothes saved for her!

Our biggest hurdle with trying to decide is that Uganda takes one 2 week trip vs. Ethiopia's 1 week trip, and having our boys at home for such a lengthy time would be difficult. Uganda is in our hearts forever and it would be my first choice, but logistically I'm not sure it will win.

So I will pray....and Dic will pray....and the kids will pray.

We'll let you know!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

a little tree-hunting......

brody (nephew), luke and zachary with grandpa jim's tree

tak'n a break for some climbing

my dad, sister, kim, shayna (niece), and cole

oh to live in the Black Hills!

luke and cousin brendan

my brother, casey, and his boys, brendan and brody

me and my brother's new puppy, meadow. she was a little chilly.

my funny funny dad--- remembering tree-hunting with his sister, marilee........she always felt sorry for the charlie brown tree. isn't he funny?

seven out of the eleven grand-kids--what a challenge to get them all on one log!
the weather was beautiful--no wind and lots of sun. the only thing missing was the snow.
all of the trees were found....perfect in every way, but of course, ours is the most beautiful! :0)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Thanksgiving

So there's always the turkey at Thanksgiving............
(this is Cole's Snowbell--the Tom of the bunch)

This was the toddler table......
(Jace-Clay's son, Brody-Casey's son, Shayna-Kim's daughter, and Brecken-Casey's daughter)

more turkey.....
(Luke's turkey--she's real sweet)

And the mommies and daddies........
(Big-Brother, Casey & his wife Allison----little brother, Clay & his fiance', Jessilyn, with their baby Mkenzie)

And the big kids' table...........
(nephew, Brendan ((Casey's oldest)), and our three boys)

lots and lots of turkey......
(Zachary's turkey)

The rest of the family.....minus my dad
engaged in football at this point, I think).

The after-dinner party.......

The games........

The pie........

And the stories.........

So much to be grateful for on this family-filled day. It's kind of like Christmas when we finally take the time to remember Christ. On Thanksgiving people finally stop and take the time to recall all of their blessings. Such a shame, but better than never. I wish everyone could have heard my son's (Cole) prayer before we sat down to feast. He brought tears to my eyes and I know he made us all think. He took his time and remembered to ask the Lord for blessings for others who don't have the necessities and homes to go to. I am amazed and so very proud.
I have much to be thankful for each and every day!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

birth-day celebration

Lego Indiana Jones is the big talk at our house right now......

So the cake was just that!
Lots of fun this year with Zachary really helping with the decorating.

And we had to have the snake pit....I guess Indy's really afraid of snakes (notice his cute little flame to scare them away)......okay, VERY SCARY flame. :0)

I think this was our favorite part (mine & Zach's).....the creepy guy lost forever in our pool with passer-by dude looking on.

This was Zachary's party with the family the weekend before the "bash".
Putting together his new Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Legos we gave him--just in time for the fun cake!

One year older...still can't believe he's 9!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Zachary was born 9 Years Ago Today!!!!

This little boy has made me smile for nine years. He's made me laugh 'til I cried and cry 'til I laughed. Thank you, Zachary, for choosing me as your mom nine sweet years ago.

God gave us this little boy to teach us about patience and understanding. Thank you, God, for answering my prayers.

I am so very proud of this sweet, smart, funny, beautifully-goofy boy for the person he has become.
I love you, Zachie!

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