Sunday, December 30, 2007

More Christmas Pictures and Adoption Update

Well here are a few more Christmas pictures. I have been really busy this last weeksince I had to drive to Raleigh (3 hours away) for the 2nd time in a week! For international adoption documents you need to get a state seal called an apostille on the documents. This is done at your state capital's secretary of state's office. It is basically a state seal that says that the document has been verified by the state. (So they have checked out the notary or whomever certified it, etc.) Whatever state that was done in needs to apostille it. We have had to send some of them to Sacramento (like our marriage license) and this is the fourth time that one or both of us have made the trek to Raleigh. Once we mailed them, but that takes longer. I went up on the Friday before Christmas to get the (hopefully) last of our paperwork taken care of and unfortunately they made several errors in the apostilles and I had to go back as soon as they reopened after Christmas (Thursday) to get them redone. Luckily I was able to speak to the supervisor and we will get a reimbursement for all our troubles. (In about 6 weeks of course :D). Hey, you take what you can get.

I have also been really busy getting ready for our New Year's Eve party. We are hosting a murder mystery party for our church small group. It is a 20's theme and I think it will be really fun. I post pictures of Kev and I in our costumes soon.

The tree. I really need some drapes, don't I?

Kevin tries on his new beanie while opening his stocking. Can you believe that beanies are called toboggans in North Carolina? Where we come from a toboggan is something you ride in the snow... not that there is snow where we come from.

Me holding my favorite present. Well, the box my favorite present came in. My favorite present was taking the picture. Isn't it lovely? ;) Now we will have pictures of our kids that aren't blurry and/or yellow.

Some of the aftermath. Keaton really likes to tear up wrapping paper so it always looks like a tornado rolled through when we are done unwrapping.

It is really tiring though. Little dude takes a nap.

I will spare you most of the Christmas morning pictures since I am not a morning person and they are not very exciting anyway.

Here is one more though...

My village. I get a new piece or two every year and this year it kind of outgrew the space. I didn't get to use all my trees, lights, and bushes because it was just too crowded. I will have to find a larger space for it next year. I am thinking there will be more space for the cords on the air hockey table, but then it will be upstairs. We'll see.

Doing dishes after Christmas dinner.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends. We had a very nice Christmas, though not with much family this year. First off, Merry Christmas to the family and friends that we usually spend time celebrating with but will not see this year: Dad, Barbara, Maya, Kevin, Noah, Maggie, my adorable nephew Henry, Jeff, Melissa, Bill, Charlotte, Phil, Shirley, Brandon, Lelah, Sarah, Gene, Baby Eleanor (well this would have been the first), Emily, and Kyle. We missed you today and talked about you all! Hope you had a great day if we didn't get a chance to wish you a Merry Christmas on the phone!

We had such a good Christmas. We went over to our neighbor's house last night for our annual cul-du-sac, out of staters party. We get together every Christmas Eve (this is the 4th!) with our neighbors who are from out of state and have a party together. The food and conversation are always great and the kids are always SO excited. It has been a real blessing to have such wonderful neighbors here in North Carolina.

Then we got to deliver the gifts to a family that our small group "adopted" for Christmas this year. A single mother of four who goes to our church had a hard year and we were able to give them some special surprises to help them celebrate the day today. It was such a privilege for us and I had too much fun shopping for them. What a sweet family. The kids were all in bed (we went over about 11:30 at night) and they were surprised I am sure to see what Santa left them when they came down stairs this morning.

We unwrapped our traditional Christmas pajamas and slippers last night before bed and Kevin gave me one of my presents so I could use it on Christmas morning... a Nikon Digital SLR camera! It is amazing and it will be so nice to take to Ukraine! He really spoiled me this morning as well. I got a bunch of nice things from Gap, lots of bubble bath, bath bombs, and salts, DVDs, etc. I got him a rolling garment bag, nice dress clothes for work, running clothes, a running watch, cologne, and all kinds of other wonderfully boring things that I am sure no one really wants to read all about. ;) We slept in this morning, opened our stockings, got breakfast in the oven, opened our presents, and ate while we watched a new DVD Kevin got me. Then we picked up the mess we made and Ryan (Kevin's brother) came over. We played Clue and got dinner ready and then we stuffed ourselves and played more games and opened presents. It was such a nice day.

Some of the presents that we got this year have to do with our adoption! My best friend and her husband sent us several of her favorite childhood Christmas books with a special note I am going to tape inside about them. (Aw.) Ryan got us travel books on Ukraine and a Ukrainian recipe book which will be great to incorporate some traditional Ukrainian recipes into our family's diet. Kevin's parents gave us Best Buy gift cards so that we can buy the video camera we were hoping to get before we travel! We were very spoiled by everyone who made or bought and sent lovely cards and gifts and sweets for us this Christmas! We have such nice family, friends, and neighbors. Thank you all!

Okay, let me see if I can download some pictures from the new camera so I can share some of our pictures with you. (You do not even want to know how many pictures I have already taken. I was shocked, but the camera is so quick that you take about 10 pictures in the time it took to take 1 on our old camera!)

In front of the tree last night in our Christmas pajamas. Keaton was going to wear the antlers but took them off and ran away. We were going to take the picture without him but he ran in with the antlers in his mouth and plopped himself right down in front as the camera clicked. We were laughing so hard!

Okay, I will have to add the rest later. It is way too late and the computer is moving very slowly.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Rush

I finished student-teaching on Friday! (Hooray!) I thought it would be bittersweet but mostly it was just sweet. :) I am not a morning person and this second school was nearly 40 minutes away with morning commute traffic. I was only there for three weeks and my cooperating teacher was great and the kids were adorable but I didn't get attached to them the way I did with my 11 week placement so thankfully it wasn't as hard to say goodbye. I am going to visit my 11 week placement class next week and I can't wait to see them!

My body thanked me for finishing by getting a huge cold that kept me in bed all weekend. It was wonderful to sleep and sleep and not worry about getting the laundry done because I didn't have to be anywhere come Monday morning. Of course I am now in mad Christmas mode. We have places to be all week and I have to finish the shopping for the gifts that need to get in the mail and be sent to all our friends and relatives who live in California (and Kevin's grandparents who are now in Texas). I hope to have everything off by the end of the week so that I do not have to pay for quick shipping. Then I can relax a bit. Did I mention that we have our tree decorated but haven't finished the other decorating yet? This was supposed to be done last weekend but I was asleep!

On the adoption front, the SDA (State Department of Adoption and Families - or something like that) in Ukraine put out the quotas for 2008 and the American numbers have declined. I am just hoping and praying and trusting that we will still be able to adopt in 2008. There is still a lot of unknowns and we won't know much until they officially reopen. That should be February but even that can be unpredictable. We are updating the paperwork in our dossier that has or will expire during their close and we will be sending it to our facilitator (in Ukraine) in about a week or so. Please pray that it is done correctly and that our dossier will be accepted by the SDA for a 2008 appointment. We are hoping to travel this summer. So many unknowns, but we remain faithful that we will be put there at just the right time to be matched with the kids who were meant to be ours. :)

All our leaves are now gone but here are some pictures we took this fall. Enjoy! (Did I mention it was freezing last week and this week we have broken record highs? It's no wonder I am sick! It was in the 80's yesterday and the high for Saturday is 45. Bizarre.)

From the day we drove to Grandfather Mountain and had the unfortunate run in with the fog:

Keaton had so much fun bounding through the leaves that he was a blur in most of the pictures. I am thinking that since neither one of us is very good with our camera that we may need to get a new one before we go to Ukraine. I am guessing the kids will move around a lot too. ;)

Our own fall colors:

The trees in our front yard looked like the were on fire. The colors were even more vivid than they are in these pictures. This is one thing that I LOVE about living on the east coast. Look at that view we had out our front door!