friends, fun and free food

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Honestly, we have had the best couple of weeks. I had one day of exhaustion in the middle of this week, so sweet hubby told me to go out with Meredith, and that definitely revived me. :)

Yesterday was so much fun. I had a chance to meet up with my friend, Mary. She is absolutely wonderful. I always go away from getting together with her completely encouraged in the Lord. She is such a blessing!

While Mary and I were having coffee, the kids played with their cousins. Around noon, we all headed over to the cousin's house for sweet Abie's birthday party. Isn't she precious?!

The girls had such a good time.

Grace is looking for every opportunity to wear her Christmas dress, and a tea party was just the occasion.

After the party, we went to Zoo Lights. My parents bought us tickets for Christmas (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and it's the first time that we've done this. What fun!

It was really beautiful.

There weren't tons of animals out, but these penguins were sure cute.

And the sealife in Tropical Discovery amazed us all.

I kept thinking about our sweet R. all evening...wondering if she'd be rushing ahead with the big kids, or tentative and close to me (like Grace) while around all of those animals. My guess is the latter, and that's fine with me. I've already missed out on so many years, I'm going to want her to stay close to me all the time!

So silly...

After the zoo, we went to Chipotles because some friends gave us bogo gift cards for Christmas. The cash register at Chipotles was having problems, so the manager gave us all of our burritos for free. So that made our entire day totally free and a complete gift! We were so grateful!

Thank you, Jesus (and precious friends and family), for such a wonderful day!

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Last night, on the eve of the anniversary of the birth of our Lord Jesus, our pastor reminded us that we are to be a people of rejoicing!

What are we, as the people of God, waiting for?! We have every reason to rejoice now, for the Son of God has come to earth to live among us.

So rejoice with us! Our Savior is born! He is Emmanuel...God with us!
Merry, Merry, Joyful Christmas!!

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a smattering of pre-Christmas happenings

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's been such a wondrful week with the children home from school. I wish that we had a two week break every month! I LOVE just hanging out with my kids!

We started out the week by going to a Christmas play called A Child's Christmas in Wales. It was wonderful and so much fun! Thanks, Grandma, for getting the tickets for us!

On Sunday afternoon, Adam had a violin concert. I hope to get a video up of that soon!
After the concert, we went out for dinner and to look at Christmas lights, but I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take pictures.

The boys went to a friend's house one day and we had a super-fun girl's day. We went to the mall to pet the puppies (an all time favorite activity of ours), ate lunch at Chick-fil-a, and came home to watch Little Women.

My girls are so silly!

We got some great snow on Thursday.

Oh my Lil'! You always make me laugh.

Maple loves to play in the snow.

not so much.

Yana painted some Christmas gifts.

And Lily helped me bake.

We bought a great game called Wits and Wagers Family. It's wonderful because it's enjoyable for almost any age and so easy to learn.

We're looking forward to our church Christmas celebration tonight and family time tomorrow. Monday will be spent at Oma and Opa's house.

Merry Christmas, dear friends!
Christ is born!
Let us glorify Him!

in memory...

Friday, December 23, 2011

of a man whose earthly life ended two years ago today, but whose legacy of love is still making a difference for hurting children in this world.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our precious Father cares about every little detail of our lives. He loves to orchestrate connections between people and to intertwine their life stories with one another. In fact, I think that He takes particular pleasure in creating relationships through unique circumstances that only He could bring about!

Throughout each of our adoption journeys, God has placed special people in our path at just the right time. We have been amazed by the way that our wonderful Father knows exactly what we need, and often takes care of that need through someone whom we didn't even know just a few days (or even hours or minutes) earlier.

In our adoption of R., our dear Father is out-doing Himself. He is bringing together people and places in absolutely extraordinary ways. I am astounded by the many, many connections that could only come about by His intervention.

I wish that I could share each part of every single one of these connections with you. The numerous stories would leave you in awe of the One who finds great pleasure in weaving together every aspect of our lives to create a beautiful tapestry of love. Unfortunately, the stories will have to wait until after R. is home with us. But, for now, let me introduce you to a new friend:  Her name is Kristen.

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through the Ordinary Hero blog, looking into fundraising options for a friend, when I clicked on one blog on the sidebar. I was in a bit of a time crunch, so I literally have no idea why I clicked on that blog. But friends, God knows and He cares...He cares about every detail of our lives.

You see, Kristen is adopting from Ind*a (and Congo!). If that were the only thing that we had in common, I'd still have been excited, as there really aren't that many people adopting from Ind*a. But, there is so much more! (Oh, how I wish that I could share the whole story, so you could see how much our God cares about the details of our lives!) Just know that the story is a good one, and you will hear it one day.

But in the meantime, hop on over to Kristen's blog, pray for the two precious sweethearts who are waiting for her on the other side of the world, and marvel with me in the way that our dear Father connects us with one another at exactly the moment that we need it.

Oh my goodness, isn't our Father wonderful?!

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In lieu of actually sending out a Christmas card this year...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I thought that I'd at least try to take a photo of all of our little lovies together.

Oh, how I love these five precious gifts from God! 

Praying that they'll be one more in the bunch next year!

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It's a party!

Friday, December 16, 2011

We had such a fun time at the school Christmas party!

Our dear friends, M. and C., volunteered to do face painting and the kids all loved it!

 Here they all are...lining up for a turn.

Didn't they do an incredible job?!


These two could be in a traveling comedy show!

 The adults had a good time, as well.

We love you, Aunt Joyce!

We played a rousing game of Simon Says (and I'm not kidding when I say "rousing." You have to be on your toes to win with this crew!)

The kids sang a beautiful song for the teachers...super sweet!

They also created some wonderful food art with Miss M.  Aren't these amazing?!

During the party, the girls in my class had a bake sale for precious Lucy (who will soon be Heidi!).

They raised over $100 for this beautiful girl.

And in other news, guess what came in the mail yesterday!

one step closer...

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