Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

I know I am overdue in posting our Christmas updates, but as you can all likely understand – mama is wiped out!  I LOVE Christmas, and thankfully I usually arrange to have the week after Christmas off as vacation, because I need some time to relax!

The weekend before Christmas kicked off the festivities with our neighbors annual Christmas party.  Tatiana has adopted them as part of her family – as she refers to their dogs as “her dogs”.  She was super excited to see everyone (especially, yes, the dogs) and we had a great time.   Here is the Christmas Princess ready to go to the party – SHE picked out the shoes and the tights.  And she’ll quickly correct you if you call them “red shoes” – they are to be called RUBY SLIPPERS, please!

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The morning after was the Children’s program at church.  T did really well through most of the service – even though it was a longer one.  She LOVED hearing the children sing (and may have to join them some day!) and liked going outside to give Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus their presents to celebrate Jesus' birth and showing spirit of caring for those who might need help at this time.   And of course, she was super excited to show off another pretty dress.  The girl loves dresses and tights…

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The week seemed to fly by, mama was busy selling chocolate milk, juicy juice and coffee mate and praying she’d sell enough to hit the big December # (and she did! woo hoo – thanks Michigan distributors!!) and Tati still had school.  Wait.  What?  Yup – our school was one of the few that had school the week leading into Christmas.  Wednesday was the last day – so the morning class had a “party” (arts and crafts, snacks and a sing) and the afternoon class got to wear jammies, watch a movie, eat popcorn and play Christmas bingo.  TONS OF FUN!   Here’s a quick peak at the morning’s party:

IMG 085 IMG 076  IMG 082 Top left: Tatiana with Mrs. Jex (teacher); Top Right:  Making homemade “snow globes”; Bottom:  hangin’ on the class rug

Finally, it was Christmas Eve!  It seemed like we were getting ready for so long… “Red Elfie” (Elf on the Shelf) was here everyday in December and we had a cool advent calendar to help count down the days.  We had some family over Christmas Eve night and had a great dinner – very traditional menu in our family containing:  ham, potatoes (that form may change year to year), baked beans (a MUST, my grammas' recipe) and some form of Jell-O.   And of course lemon meringue pie.  Don’t ask.  It’s a long story and completely mandatory.  You could loose a finger in this family if you steal someone’s LM pie. 

Christmas Eve Pictures ~ IMG 114  Helping mama get ready for family to arrive….

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With cousins Riley & Ashley

I didn’t think T would EVER go to bed Christmas Eve night – she gabbed and sang until 10:30pm!  Christmas excitement had taken over.  In all the festivities we forgot to put out the cookies for Santa and the reindeer feed they made at school.  Thankfully, Santa and his reindeer still paid us a visit…

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Christmas morning

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After all the present merriment from mama, Santa and then Gramma Darlin, we went over the Great Grammas' for some more family fun.   IMG 188IMG 195

Now… can you tell why mama is tired?  Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Year’s to you….

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WANTED: Little Brother

So… here it is.  I am FINALLY going public.  See, I have had this deep dark secret brewing since March of this year.  Yes, you read that correctly, I said March.  As in almost 9 months ago. 

If you think back in time earlier this year, to March, Tatiana and I were celebrating her 1 year home anniversary.  Things were seriously picking up again, movement wise in the region that Tatiana was adopted from (Vladivostok) and so I thought, great!  No time like the present to get this thing started.  Let’s do this! 

And then *IT* happened.  Torry.  Hansen.  Outrage.  Fear.  Hysterics.  Anger.  Everything.   Why did she have to be single?  Why did she have to adopt from Vladivostok, the same region I adopted from?  And best of all, why did she do what she did?  Alas, we’ll probably never know the answers to that question… but needless to say my “Road to Vladivostok Version 2.0” came to a screeching halt.  I think you can still see the skid marks. 

But as many of you know, the world of adoption is usually not finite.   So it was time for Plan B.   A second dossier was prepared (#2 this time around for those of you keeping count, #1 was on it’s way to Vlad when this all happened!) for another region.  Tick tock, tick tock… the summer was slow with little movement.  Thankfully, T and I were busy, busy with lots going on to keep my mind off what was going on or NOT going on for adoption.

Just when I had put the timeline out of my head in September, a new referral popped up in yet a DIFFERENT region.  Isn’t it always when you least expect it?  So, off I went, full speed ahead with yes, dossier #3.   I think I am almost expert at this now right?

I don’t want to be-labor the story here, but suffice it to say, that referral for a variety of reasons was not meant to be.  It still makes me sad to think about, because for two months I thought of this little face as my future son, a solid match for brother-land.  

The story doesn’t end on a sad note, however.  Chapter 4 – Plan D, perhaps, is in full swing, and today, I have officially accepted the referral of a sweet little face.   Again, just when I thought the door was slamming closed, a little window was opened – highlighting another path.  The ironic thing is, this happened the same week that my dear friend Kim, who I have known for (WOW!) 26 years, approached me to ask if she could use my “wait” experience (and the frustrations of that wait) from Tatiana’s adoption in her sermon this past Sunday at church.  Kim is becoming a minister and I was beyond honored to be a part of HER journey!  

I don’t know all the details yet – when I’ll be traveling etc., so bear with me during this exciting time.  It feels odd and yet a relief to FINALLY be sharing all this news.  There are so many reasons I haven’t posted publically about journey #2 yet – but mainly because the waiting can be so difficult that sometimes it’s easier to keep it to yourself than have to explain it to so many people.  I can’t keep it quiet anymore.  I just can’t!  I realized that partially when I read another friend’s blog, who is also going back to Russia for adoption #2 and I found it so cathartic to read her thoughts on the process.  Sometimes it MAY be easier to keep to yourself… but sometimes it’s easier to share the load! 

Keep us in your thoughts, please!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thankful For This Face…

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Two cute little turkeys:  Tatiana and her cousin, Mary IMG 011Yum!  Let’s eat!

IMG 012Tatiana and Gramma Darlin

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Having fun on Thanksgiving…

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    Just a small little family gathering!  

Yes, once again, I am a slightly behind in my updates.  Here’s some of our pictures from our “intimate little Thanksgiving gathering” – just me, Tati and 85 of our family members!  I love our Thanksgiving tradition.   Our gathering is my maternal grandfather’s entire family.  Since he was 1 of 7 brothers, you can understand why we need to rent a hall.

I think with literally the exception of 2 of my 40 years, I have ALWAYS attended this gathering.  I look forward to it every year!  When my cousins (and 2nd cousins, etc!) and I were little we would run around our gathering place (first a library basement and now an American Legion hall) like a bunch of wild animals.  NOW it’s our kids turn.  It’s so funny to watch. 

Tatiana had a BLAST playing with her cousins.  The timeframe was rough (we eat @ 1pm), so Miss I Love My Nap started to get a little cranky later in the day, but overall she thought the day was pretty cool. 

Enjoy your holiday season!