Monday, December 31, 2012

Owen's Christmas...Did He End Up the Naughty or Nice List?

This year Owen was all about Santa. He even wrote his Santa letter two months before Christmas. You'll notice Barry helped him.
Dear Santa Claus, 
My name is Owen V. I am trying to be a good boy this year. I just started kindergarten  My teacher's name is Mrs. H. I am trying to learn lots of things in kindergarten. I am also helping my mommy and daddy keep the house clean and take care of my baby sister, Emma. 
If I make it onto the "good list", I would really like to have the following toys for Christmas: 
  • Lego City Police Dog Catcher
  • Lego Dinosaur Helicopter
  • Lego Dinosaur Home
  • Lego Dinosaur Truck with seat on top and a guy on top with a hat.
Owen V.
We reminded Owen often about Santa's elves watching him. He wasn't too worried about it so we told him we'd take away a Christmas present instead if he didn't stop antagonizing Emma. The sibling fights have already started now that Emma is crawling and getting into Owen's toys. Hearing "No Emma" endlessly, followed by her screeching and crying as he tries blocking her or carrying her away, is enough to drive anyone crazy. My suggestion, to move his toys into his room and to play with them his room's door shut has so far been ignored. He also wants to play with Emma's toys, which is fine, until Emma notices and wants to play with it now. We remind him she's a baby and does not know how to share her toys.

At work they held a fun event for the families called "Milk and Cookies with Santa". They had milk and cookies to munch on while you waited for your turn to visit with Santa. They even had a professional photographer (a co-worker's wife) there to take your picture with Santa. Owen was super excited all day to come see him. He hopped on Santa's lap without a second thought and told him exactly what he wanted. Emma on the other hand instantly bawled.

So the question at hand, "Did Owen end up on the naughty or nice list this year?" I think this picture gives it away.
Owen with his Lego "Police Dog Catcher"
Owen also got Yoda slippers, Marvel Superheros Sticker book, Angry Birds Hot Wheels Slingshot Track, stuffed Zebra with red fleece blanket, V-Tech digital camera, Erector Motorized Set, Yahtzee Jr. - Toy Story Edition, Candy Land, clothes, Fisher-Price Trio Boat & Airplane kits, Hot Wheels cars and mini Monster truck.
Owen showing off his Yoda slippers and his Christmas pajamas (Angry Birds)
Owen said this was the happiest Christmas ever!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Emma's First Christmas

Emma has added such joy during this Christmas season. Watching her experience the sights of Christmas has been so much fun. We decorated our tree and the living room while she napped. It was a 2 1/2 hour nap so we were done decorating by the time she woke up. Her reaction was priceless. Her mouth went into an O shape and out came "Ooooo."

Emma left the tree alone for the most part especially since we didn't put any presents under it. I use ribbon as the garland and this year started it about 1/4 of the way up our 9 foot tree. Before we started hanging ornaments, I told Owen anything below the ribbon was the Emma-zone, where she'd be able to reach, and not to put ornaments there. That really decreased Emma's interest level with the tree and didn't look bad either. Emma loved crawling up and pointing/touching at a particular light. Barry tied the tree to our banister and it's pre-lit, so we had no worries about her pulling it onto herself or pulling off a strand of lights.

This Christmas I decided to let the kids open a present each week. Their first present was a holiday outfit for church, a half zip sweater for Owen and a red dress for Emma. Their second present was an ornament for each of them and the third present was a book. Then on Christmas Eve, Owen and Emma opened and wore their Christmas pajamas. I thought Emma would love ripping the paper off the wrapped presents. She went wild with pulling the tissue paper out of the gift bags instead.

Emma got pretty spoiled by everyone. She got stuffed animals (teddy bear, bunny, kitty), dolls (Baby Princess Ariel and Rapunzel), books, clothes, a Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Kitchen, a quilt, a pink & purple wagon, sippy cups and cinnamon animal cracker treats.

What just happened!?! Emma wasn't quite sure about the camera flash.
New books from Santa (P.S. Emma is wearing her Christmas pajamas)
Emma's present from Owen

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Cookies with Chef Owen

I made Christmas cookies with Owen a few years ago. He helped some and did enjoy watching me. It sounds crazy but at the time he didn't like cookies (crazy I know!) Owen has since developed a love of sugary goodies and can now help make them.

The first part of December I mentioned to Owen about making Christmas cookies with him. Two weeks ago, while Barry was up ice fishing, Owen, Emma and I finally had time to make those cookies. We made Aunt Mandy's recipe for sour cream sugar cookies. Owen helped from start to finish. He wanted to do it all measuring and pouring into the mixer.

Emma loved watching and playing with the cookie cutters. While we were rolling and cutting out the dough, she kept sticking her fingers in the dough. One time she even pinched off a bit and ate it before I could stop her. So we ended up moving her. LOL. I finally wised up and used wax paper to roll the dough out instead of flour. You just lightly wet the area and set your wax paper on down or you could tape it down with masking tape.

Tastes even better than dough!

So hard to resist not eating the cookies before frosting

Owen helped frost and decorate them too. He had fun making different designs with the sprinkles. I loved every minute Owen, Emma, and I spent making cookies. It will always be a wonderful Christmas memory for me and I hope Owen feels the same way too.

Even harder to resist eating them after frosting

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giving Thanks: Adoption

I've been meaning to get this post done for weeks now. With Thanksgiving now a memory and November, which is National Adoption Month, now gone too I figured I better get this posted now since adoption is at the core of the gratitude I feel this season.

Saying that this year started completely on the wrong foot would be an understatement. After 4 years of waiting, 2 failed adoptions, being emotionally abused twice and suffering some financial loss due to travel expenses twice, we felt like closing the door on our dreams to grow our family. Fortunately before the adoption scam we had decided to sign up with Everlasting Adoptions, an adoption advertiser. We decided we couldn't waste the 2 year contract we already paid.

I know God has particular people enter our lives to act out His will. I am so thankful to Carol the owner of Everlasting Adoptions. She played an integral part in bringing Emma to our family. I don't even want to think how life would be now had we not had her involved. The sections she had us write for our  new profile had us include bits of information about us that I don't know if we would have included otherwise. It was those bits and even the look of the profile that resonated with Emma's birth family and ultimately helped them decide we were the right family.

Even though Emma's birth family found our web site because of our own networking and marketing efforts, our new profile listed the Everlasting Adoptions number. It was Carol who answered their phone call, rallied for us, and got the ball rolling. She is so personable, so caring, and a great listener which also resonated with Emma's birth family. She provided comfort and reassurance for both sides during a trying time and kept communication open until our adoption agency took over. Carol even continued to check on us until we were on our way to back home to Idaho.

I cannot express how grateful I am for Owen's birth parents and Emma's birth parents  They became instruments in God's hands as they answered our many, often tear-filled, prayers by placing their newborn babies in our arms. I am in awe of their bravery in holding fast to their selfless choice amid the pain. I came across the singer Katherine Nelson as she is part of my favorite bands, The Nashville Tribute. She just came out with a new album called Born Brave. It includes the song Whats Mine Is Yours that I'm simply love as it encompasses the feelings of adoptive couples and birth parents perfectly.

Sorry this cuts out near the end but here are the lyrics.

Counting down days since nine months last summer 
From the baby quilts to the sunshine light-switch cover 
All the plans she made 
Wall-papered dreams she made for him someday 

Doctor hardly glanced her way, shut off the monitor 
As he walked out the door said “You’re young, there’ll be others” 
No sirens or loud screams 
No rushing or comforting 
It was just over 

On the longest road toward home 
She parked in the church lot and cried 
And said 

What’s mine is yours 
It’s always been 
What slips through my hands has your fingerprints on it 
I’m letting go 
Though Heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open 
What’s mine is yours 

Teenage girl clinging to the gates of mercy 
Holding the weight of the world and her newborn baby 
Trying her best to be brave 
Wrapped in hope giving him away to a longing family 

When her courage met their eyes she saw 
Somehow her baby was born to be in their arms 
And cried 


In this life we come and go and say goodbye 
But there’s more than we can see with our own eyes 
And when my faith’s a thread-bare blanket and I can’t take it anymore 
I remember 

What’s mine is yours 

I’m letting go 
Though heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open 
What’s mine is yours 

I'm so grateful for our little family!