Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After

It’s the day after Christmas
And all through the house
The toys are piled up--
Nerf guns, toys balls and Marcie’s zhu zhu mouse

Dad’s working hard
To clean up the mess
And Mom’s on the computer
Working- or trying her best.


“Dear Santa, I like to be nice to my family. I like to cook cookies for you and and apple for your reindeer. Sincerely, Casey.” [And we didn’t help Casey with the spelling at all.]

”Dear Casey (and Marcie and Tate), Thank you for the delicious cookies. Dasher loved the apple. Next year please leave milk. Love, Santa.”


Casey’s reaction to his gifts from Santa.

And Tate and Marcie’s gifts from Santa (below):

IMG_3771 IMG_3773 Playing with new gifts Christmas morning:


IMG_3794 IMG_3795 IMG_3805

Some of the ornaments Marcie made for the tree:


After the gift-opening and breakfast, while Tate was napping, Casey was playing Donkey Kong Country and Marcie and I were making Christmas ornaments, Jason climbed up on the roof to see what caused our leaking during the storm last week. The culprit was a couple broken roof tiles. He laid some plastic down, and even though it’s kind of a bummer of a way to spend Christmas, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. The rain that was supposed to arrive today came early, and it rained throughout the night. But no leaks. After we spent most of the day lounging in our pajamas and playing with new toys (and baking and making ornaments and fixing the roof), we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa S’s house for a Christmas meal. This was the view we were greeted with:


It took a long time to get through all those presents, too. But good food, good company—what more could a person really want?


Jason’s parents were incredibly generous this year—as they are every year. This year, we asked people who were having trouble thinking of gifts for us to donate money to one of our favorite charities. We didn’t think anyone would do it—but Jason’s parents did. I got a lot of really great stuff this year. Some boots, a nice bag for work, a beautiful locket engraved with the words Forever Family, but I think the donation to Eagle’s Wings China (a group foster home located in Jiaozuo City in Henan, where Tate is from—the organization we actually visited while in China) was the best Christmas gift I received. I get emotional still, even now, just thinking about it. I really, really wanted to donate more money to them this year. Every little bit makes such a huge difference to them. (And to other organizations like them in China, including Philip Hayden Foundation, which is the organization that took care of Tate.) But dropping down to a single income and paying for an adoption have really spent us. So to know that money went there anyway . . . well, I just don’t really know how to put into words how that makes me feel. My eyes pool with tears, I get a lump in my throat. I feel so . . . so very, very grateful.

I hope everyone reading this, likewise, had a magical Christmas with their families—and that the magic and joy carry you through the new year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope your day is filled with lots of giggles and hugs, laughter and play. And, most of all, love.

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas


Christmas always sneaks up on me when I'm working full time leading up to it, and this year was no different.  Even though we’ve been doing Chrismassy things all month.  For example, this year, for the first time, we went to Christmas in the Park, which our town holds when it lights the town Christmas tree.  It was actually a super warm afternoon (just before the big storms hit).



Then, last week, we had our annual Christmas party with our our good friends, and we took all the kids to the area nearby known for its spectacular light display.


And, of course the kids made a gingerbread house.  It even stayed standing up this year!


And Jason was good about keeping me posted in the last few days of the week.  For example, yesterday, the kids made and decorated sugar cookies with some dough I prepared.

December 2010 007

Today we went for a morning walk as a family to grab some last minute groceries (and Starbucks).  At Starbucks, one of Casey’s art projects from school was on display, so of course we had him pose with it for a photo.


Then we visited with my brother and his family.  Tate and his cousin are just three months apart in age.  Isn’t she a cutie?  (You already know I think he is.)


(Sorry that last picture is a little, uh, revealing.  Darned scoop-neck shirt.)

We also went to mass.  Despite arriving 40 minutes early, there were no seats.  So we sat outside.  In the cold.  Brrr.

The kids are watching A Christmas Story now—and in about 10 minutes, we’ll attempt to ready them for bed.  They know Santa won’t be here until they are asleep.  And they know not to wake up before 6:00am.  (A time they picked out!)  So we’ll see how the night goes.  Tate had been waking up nightly for about 10 days there—and today I discovered he’s broken through two molars.  No wonder the poor kid can’t sleep!  (He’s also learned to blow kisses, play peek-a-boo by covering his own face, and he uses the signs now for “more” and “all done” with regularity—he’s a regular boy genius!  I’m so excited he can communicate with us—it only took us three kids to get to this point!)

Hope your Christmas Eve has been full of sweet smells and time with family.  And may all your Christmas wishes be fulfilled!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Role Reversal

I’m back at work.  And I’m busy.  I think both of these things are good.  It’d be hard to be back at work and not be busy.  I’d spend all day wondering what the kids are doing.  But I don’t.  It helps that (1) Jason has become our own version of Mr. Mom; (2) I like my job; and (3) I get little photo text messages every day or two that look like this:

December 2010 iphone 007

With Casey, he was such a tiny infant—he didn’t even really understand that he was going to his grandmother’s house instead of staying with me.  He just knew that he was being well-fed, well-loved and well-snuggled.  With Marcie, I was in law school, and I had to start back in school pretty much a day after we got back.  I didn’t have a choice by to take her, kicking and screaming, to her grandmother’s house.  I knew she was well-fed, well-loved and well-snuggled.  And I knew she was fine a few minutes after I left, but boy- those transitions were heart-breaking.  (And, let’s be honest, if she didn’t cry when she separated from me, I would have been bothered by that, too.  It’s a lose-lose.)

But with Tate, he doesn’t go anywhere.  He sticks around our house with his dad.  He sees his brother and sister at the same time every day (and his little feet kick out when they get home, he’s so happy to see them!).  Of course he is well-fed, well-loved and well-snuggled—but all without that awful transition.  And when he hears my voice or sees me come home, he screeches and crawls right on over to me, demanding that I hold him. 

Yeah, I’m missing out on stuff.  He learned how to wave last week.  And finally started doing the sign for “all done.”  And he starting to stand without holding on to anything.  I will probably miss his first step.  But thank goodness for smart phones (what did we do without them?).  And I know the whole family is better off with Jason home.  Homework gets done the right way.  Meals are eaten at a reasonable hour.  The house isn’t an embarrassing disaster if someone drops by (at least not usually).

Of course, it’s only been two weeks—and I’ve already come down with two eye infections, a cold, and some weird esophogal cramping thing.  Tate decided this past week that he’d spend at least an hour each night- in the middle of the night- wide awake.  And Casey likewise has been waking in the middle of the night and slipping into our bed.  I blame the latter two lack-of-sleep issues on causing the former (health) issues.  But I’m chalking all of it up to this being a time of transition.  I sure hope I’m right. 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas

Certainly it is, commercially speaking:

Santa 2010 001

Don’t they look old?