Sunday, December 30, 2007


This year was quite a year and it has ended with a magnificent celebration of Jesus and family. I will post some favorites from this holiday season. It covers many of our family traditions, so I apologize for the length...

Trim the Tree

Traditionally, because our tree is real, we wait to trim the tree until the weekend before Christmas. This year, we decorated the tree on Friday evening. We had pizza and enjoyed getting all of the ornaments back out. I thought this year's tree was one of the most beautiful we have ever had. Emily and I are allergic to the tree (bummer). Hannah loves it and gets more joy out of taking ornaments to play with than looking at them on the tree:)

Many years ago, my dear friend, Mary began blessing me with Lenox crosses for the tree, she has never missed a year and now, I have this wonderful collection that I love - the children know not to touch them. This years is called China jewels, how incredibly appropriate -- I just love it!

We received a beautiful Asian inspired ornament from our bloggy friend Connie, that I have already posted, however our family has two ornaments that also represent the addition of Miss Hannah to our family. One is a bear that Emily selected for Hannah last Christmas, assuming she had been born and was waiting for us in China and the other is an airplane that Emily and I gave Daddy last Christmas to celebrate his trip to China.

My absolute favorite ornament is an angel that Emily made in preschool - it is quite large and I was sure there would be no good place to put that beautiful angel, but behold a big gap provided the perfect spot for Emily's precious angel.

My dear friend Lisa, sent holiday greetings in the most special of ways by giving us a lovely ornament for our tree. We loved placing it this year and know it will forever be a reminder of the friendship we have been blessed with.

Jumping for Joy!

Cookie Baking & Christmas Specials Galore!

I usually bake about eight or nine different types of cookies, but this year seemed to go by much quicker than previous years. So, I accepted that so many cookies would not only be daunting, but just plain NOT fun. I want the traditions to be fun, not forced, sooo we settled on four types of cookies and everyone was game for the event. We remained in our pajamas the weekend before Christmas and baked away. In previous years, I had always mixed everything by hand. Needless to say, by the end of cookie baking, my selection of words were not pretty, this year my new best friend (see below) helped out tremendously:)(Thank you to my mother-in-law who agreed to combine birthday and anniversary and spring for our mixer friend!)

Hmmm, I saw Mommy do this...(yes, dad was just behind her out of range, no worries:)

Em, quit mugging for the camera, I think this is done!

Emily selected two recipes from her American Girls cookbook to make herself

We have so many of the special Christmas movies and TV shows, but it is just somehow more fun when they are on regular programming. The girls were watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in these photos. Hannah is a little copycat and she follows Emily's lead.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The weekend before Christmas, Santa always rides the firetruck through each neighborhood to wave to the children. It was very, very cold and raining, so we watched out the window...Hannah was fascinated by the whole scene and she kept visiting the window with hearty, "Santa!" throughout the evening.

My sister-in-law's family has an over 30 year tradition of Christmas Eve gatherings. One of her aunts used to host the fete, but since the year Emily was born, my brother and sister-in-law host the celebration. It is really fun and we feel so grateful to be included. Santa comes to visit with gifts for the children and the adults have a pollyanna. The food is always super yummy and everybody enjoys time together. Emily has earned herself quite a reputation for fleeing the premises as soon as the big jolly guy arrives (usually she dissolves at first glimpse of him) but this year...oh no, she marched up and hugged him, gathered her gifts and even flashed a number of smiles as she perched atop his knee. The entire place erupted in applause. What, Hannah, you ask...she dissolved as soon as he arrived, back to the drawing board!

Hugging Santa!

Gleefully clinging to Dad

After the big party, it is home to read from the Bible and place cookies and milk in their perfect spot for Santa to visit. Emily transcribed a letter to Santa this year. She said she had lots of questions for him (and she did). The letter was adorable and she insisted on putting the treats on the hearth, so he would have them as soon as he got to our home, even though our tree was in the living room this year.

Christmas Day!

What they saw...

Emily and Hannah received about 6 gifts each. Emily's favorite was a Littlest Pet Shop Town and Hannah's favorite was a toss-up between a girly vanity and a moving Poky Little Puppy (Puppy was a gift from the family I work with:) Hannah kept going to stare at herself in the mirror, "HANNAH". She also took great pains to brush everyone's hair.



Impressed with herself!

Emily was more than happy to help

They finally begged me to put the camera away...okay ladies, Mamarazzi gets the picture!


Santa Baby!

I had noted last week that we welcomed into this world, Jameson Foster. He is the grandson of our friends Gerry and Jim (respectfully now known as Gigi and Poppy:). He is the son of James and Christi. Jameson represents the fine art of miracle making by our Lord. At this point, the details are distant memories...but trust me, this child is blessed beyond measure and loved beyond the moon and back. Rejoicing, as this wonderful family enters the new year with their precious boy. We could not be happier for all of you! (Isn't he gorgeous???)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Present

"I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a King, shall I play for you?"

I listened to the words of this song the other day... I have heard them a thousand times, but that day I was struck by the value of this statement. Were He born today, I know that I have no gift even remotely close to what I would want to offer a Savior. None of us do.

And so each day, we strive to "play for Him", living His word and seeking to do good in all the ways that we can. I pray I am playing a good song, melodic and worthy, joyful and full of promise. I pray the same for my family and I pray the same for you.

From our home to yours...Blessings for a very Merry Christmas.

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Visit From Christmas Past

I have seen others post pictures from Christmases past, so I thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane...

Christmas 2006
We were waiting for Hannah, no referral yet. Emily was sick with Fifth Disease this Christmas and missed her pageant at school. The rash remained for three whole weeks!
This was the first year Em wanted to see Santa. We went very early in the season (like the first day) and had breakfast, visited Santa and had our Christmas photos taken all in the same day - it was a great girls' day. I remember sitting waiting for our pictures and Emily jabbered a mile a minute about how grand it would be when her sister was here for Christmas, oh, she was so right!

She does NOT look convinced, does she??

Christmas 2005
This would be the last year my whole family would do the annual tree trip. My brother's children are getting older and in 2006, they opted for a fake tree. I think I actually cried when they told me - this has been a loved family tradition. Emily was three and a half and a lamb in her Christmas pageant (I have that on tape) We were just past our DTC (October 2005). Emily loved Christmas this year - still hated Santa, but loved everything about the traditions.

Looking at the snow...

Decorating the tree in our brand new great room

Emily was a huge Toy Story fan this year

The last time our whole family would cut trees for Christmas (we still do this:)

Christmas 2004
Still reeling from the losses we experienced this year, it would be four short weeks after Christmas that we would attend a meeting at a local adoption agency that would chart our path to China. Emily would not even look at Santa, let alone wait in line to see him.

Doing crafts at the annual Christmas Eve party (in their jammies, no less)

Christmas 2003
This is one I will never forget - I was pregnant with our second child and was horrendously sick with the pregnancy. The doctor tried to find a medication to stop the constant sickness, but the only one that worked rendered me unable to drive or lift, so I went without because Emily was a toddler. I found very few pictures of this Christmas and I am assuming it was because I had a hard time holding myself up, let alone a camera. I recall making a full sit-down dinner for my husband's side of the family, a true monumental task,given how I was feeling and I was disappointed at the lack of graciousness that was at the table that evening.

Christmas 2002
Emilys very first Christmas! Yes, she was a binky kid...she would have one in her mouth and carry one in each hand just in case. I thought we would have to send her to college with one, but alas when she was two, she told me they were for babies and gave them all to me to put away.

She adored Santa this year

Celebrating my dad's birthday the day after Christmas, Em with Nan

Annual Christmas Eve Party

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Prayerful Thursday - Warning - it's a long one!

Well, I love that the Christmas season is in full swing. I don't love all the sad news we have received this season. My computer crashed several nights ago, and I have just received it back this evening. I have three prayer requests to send out there to any and all prayer warriors... I will try to keep it as short as possible (and not too confusing)

First, my father-in-law has begun an infection (cellulosis)since his knee replacement and is having trouble maneuvering, not because of the knee, but because of the infection - prayers for healing, so he can get back to the therapy and get back on his feet (he really wants to get back to work) - good attitude:)

Secondly, I have a second cousin, whom I adored growing up. He and his brother were just the sweetest boys, who turned into great men. They are younger than I and I can remember summers at the swim club with them. They are the sons of my mom's cousin. The younger of the two has been diagnosed with cancer. I do not wish to offer details but would offer that he and his wife are expecting their second little boy and he has radiation ahead of him and some heavy-duty intervention to get well. I would love to have people praying for their entire family as they go through this difficult time and as he heals.

Third and certainly not last, I love my aunt. She is a good aunt and is the mother of two of my dearest friends, my two cousins. My aunt's sister and brother in law live far away and are both pastors in a community church. They are magnificent people who live out the calling that Jesus gave them years ago, every single day. Well, several months ago, my aunt's sister began having these headaches and attacks - not normal headaches, imagine a migraine and then magnify the pain about 100 percent and that is what she has been experiencing. She never knows when one will hit and it has really impacted her life. Okay, now fast forward to a few weeks ago, "sister" is having these attacks and now "brother-in-law" is having trouble taking care of himself, not acting right...doctors say he has had a stroke. Several days later, they confirm a brain tumor. He endured a surgery today that the doctors were reluctant to perform, and though most of the dangerous matter was removed, radiation and chemotherapy are in his immediate future. Their illnesses will change life dramatically given their calling. The whole family is in need of intercession, please pray for each of them ,their children and grandchildren, my aunt and uncle and their children, the church and the congregation. Personally, I'd like to see a miracle here!

To catch up a little, Emily had her Christmas pageant last Friday night, which was a lot of fun. She loved it and has been humming "Oh Come all Ye Faithful" and "Go Tell it On the Mountain" for a week:)

Hannah has been struck by whatever bug Emily is still struggling with and we are living in neb-land. When Hannah came home to us, she sounded like a growly bear when she breathed and she now has that lovely sound back, BUT she is HERE this Christmas, so we are thankful. On a cute note, Hannah looooves her yogurt...she dropped her spoon at lunch the other day, so I reach into the drawer for another and when I turn around to hand it to her...

She has it all under control!

Updates: Some have asked about our friend, Sam. Sam is doing well. His attitude is unmatched. He has great difficulty on treatment weeks, but seems to be plugging along. The prayers are welcome, helpful and comforting.

Emily's teacher's husband is home! He has a lot of therapy ahead of him, but the doctors are hoping for him to be 100% by February. Yippee - they say it could have been so much worse with how severe his stroke was. We are grateful for her good news.

Our dear friends Gerry and Jim became grandparents on Wednesday evening, Jameson Foster weighed in at 8 lbs. 2 oz. and is (as his grandmother says) gorgeous!(Pictures will follow!) *Many of you will remember, Jim accompanied dear ol' dad to China to bring home little Hannah.* Jim now says Hannah has a lovely boy to marry:) Congratulations Jamie and Christie! Congratulations Jim and Gerry - we are so happy!!


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