Saturday, December 25, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

For the first time since 1882, our area had a white Christmas!!!! It was very exciting, especially for the kids who constantly asked, "can we go outside yet?". Although it snowed for most of the day, it was not a very heavy snow, so it took a while to build up. It was nice and wet though which made it great for snowball fights! We ended up with approximately 1-1/2 inches. Not much, but enough to make it fun!

As you can see, Michael was very excited!

When we first went outside, Lily just stood and looked around with a serious expression, not sure what to do. We showed her how to pack the snow and throw a snowball, and she was soon running with her brothers having fun. At one point we saw her clapping her hands together trying to catch the snowflakes - very cute!

Our rather sad looking snowman! Yum!

Merry Christmas!!

As excited as the kids were for Christmas, they actually slept until 7:30, which was really nice for their parents!
Just like my parents did to my sisters and I when we were kids, we make the kids stop and sit on the stairs for a picture. They could barely sit still, and were pushing each other out of the way to get downstairs once we said 'go'!

The boys ran straight to their stockings, while Lily just stood and looked, not sure what to do. I brought her the stocking and she immediately began opening the didn't take her long to catch on! Her favorite stocking gift was the Princess band aids. She talked about them for days :)
After the stockings, daddy passed out the gifts from Santa. The kids took turns opening one gift at a time. You're probably wondering how we keep them from just ripping into all of their gifts? They actually do really well taking turns. (we do it quickly) They get really excited to see what their siblings get.
All the kids asked for pillow pets. Alex was very excited to get a frog, as that's his kindergarten class's mascot.
Tyler's favorite animal is a panda so he was very happy with his pillow pet. He also really loved his Zhu Zhu pet and cat piano.
Michael is our funny one opening gifts. He'll get so excited about each gift, that he's not interested in opening any more. We have to push him to keep opening! A real football helmet is what he really wanted from Santa, and it didn't leave his head most of the day!
Lily loves to open gifts, and got equally excited about each one. Her favorites were her Dora doll, microphone, and of course, her princess band aids!
Lily's big gift was a doll house. All the boys helped with this one. (note the helmet!)
Ruben was very excited about his chip clips. He finds these in his stocking almost every year, as chip clips seem to disappear into a black hole in this house!

What???!!! Is that snow??? Could it possibly be a white Christmas?? More to come..........

Playing of the kid's new games. I remember playing this with my Dad as a kid, so it was fun to be playing it with my own kids.
We stayed in our pajamas all day, and had such a fun time as a family. Just being with the kids and enjoying their excitement........they are such a blessing to us. And of course, having Lily home and watching her experience her first Christmas was a real joy!
During this time we also think about our extended family spread across the US, Mexico, and the UK. We Love you and miss you all ! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

The kids have been bouncing off the walls all month, and on Christmas eve day they were even more excited as Grandma and Grandpa had arrived, and they knew they would be opening gifts that evening. All day long I heard "Is it time to open presents yet?"!

Earlier in the day we decorated sugar cookies for Santa. Lily wanted to make pink cookies for Santa.
There was a lot of eating of the decorations!
The red tongue gives Tyler away!
The finished product

Late that afternoon, we went to Christmas Eve service at our church. The service ends with the lights dimmed, candles lit, and the singing of Silent Night. It's quite beautiful.
Then it was home for our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner of tuna spaghetti and anchovy spaghetti...........yum!!
Our family
The kids with Grandmas and Grandpa
After dinner, the kids went out back and put out the reindeer food for Santa's reindeer. They had each made a bag of food earlier in the day.
This is one of my favorite pictures! Isn't it precious?!

Finally...............presents!! The kids opened the gifts they received from their Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles.Lily loves anything to do with her kitchen.
Michael doing his Iron Man moves!

The Hess trucks were a big hit again this year.

Now we'll see how long it takes the kids to go to sleep tonight! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Lily is taking her first gymnastics class. We want her to get used to being in a class setting with other chidren her age. For now, I stay in the room with her. At the first class, she wanted me close at the beginning, but I was slowly able to back away. She did very well listening to the teacher and following the other children. By the end, she would look back to check in with me, but she was letting the teacher be the one to help her.

After the class, she kept talking about "Lily's school". She was very excited to tell her brother's about her school.

Lily with her friend from the neighborhood, Maddie.
On the balance beam. She was very brave as she is scared of heights.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The First Time We Saw Her Face

A year ago today, on a Sunday evening at about 9pm the phone rang. The caller ID said "private number", which could only mean our agency coordinator in California. X is wonderful and always working for her families.....even on the weekends. Of course the nerves immediately kicked in as I answered the phone. She told us she had a file she wanted us to review. This little girl's special need was not on our list, but she thought we might be interested. Although this little girl was over 2-1/2, the information in her file was more than 2 years old. Reviewing files is very difficult. We would see these beautiful, special children, but often their needs were more than we felt we could handle. It is VERY difficult to say no. We had already said no to a couple of files, and I dreaded the thought of having to do it again, but we knew our child was out there. Just 2 weeks prior we had seen a file of a little girl with old information in her file, and she ended up having an undisclosed special need we were not comfortable with. I was just praying that this was not going to be the same type of situation. Ruben didn't even look at the file right away. He was to afraid of making a connection with a child, and then having to say no. Fortunately, our agency coordinator had dealt with this orphanage before and she was able to call that night and get us an update. It appears that this little girl's file had been written when she was 5 months old, and then because of some computer changes, was set aside and forgotten. It was discovered in December of '09, and entered into the system where our coordinator, who is always reviewing the list, found her! After hearing that there were no surprises in her file, we just knew she was going to be ours. We still were going to have her file reviewed by a doctor the next day, and the orphanage promised to send updated photos, but..........we knew!
As sad as it makes me feel to know that she had to wait longer to find a family, if there wasn't a computer issue, she would not be our daughter. We know God's hand was in the discovery of her lost file and the timing of her file being published. We're so humbled to see him working in our lives.

The first picture we saw of Yu Feng taken when she was 5 months old

As promised, the next day we received updated pictures of our little girl. She looked scared and oh so adorable.

On Tuesday, 12/15 we sent our LOI (Letter of Intent) to adopt our daughter Lily Sara YuFeng.

The Santa Call

Santa Claus called tonight to talk to the kids!
Alex talked first and was very excited and animated. He told Santa that he wanted a DSi and a dog. He also asked Santa to bring his brother Tyler an extra present since he had been sick. (I love sweet brother moments!)

Tyler was quieter and didn't say much. A lot of smiles, nods, and yea's.

Michael told Santa that he wants a real football helmet and a StarWars helmet. His 2 favorite things.........sports with balls, and Star Wars!

Lily just stared and looked a little nervous. She listened and didn't say a word, but she was happy to tell us later that she talked to Santa!

Friday, December 10, 2010


There's nothing cuter than little kids in sleeper pajamas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


The kids kept asking about seeing Santa, so we surprised them one afternoon, and had Daddy leave work early and meet us at the mall. We decided to make an evening out of it and see Santa, play in the play area, and have dinner at the mall. I love that the kids are still young enough that dinner at the mall food court is a huge treat!

Lily had seen Santa from a distance and knows that he brings presents, but she was a little leery about being up close. She did sit on his lap, and didn't cry, but she was quick to jump in my arms when it was all over. This was also the first year that Michael didn't cry!!! He actually ran right up and even smiled!

The gang
Alex always has a lot to say to Santa :)
At the play area

Tyler standing on TOP of the tunnel! This is the first time I've seen him climb up and balance on the top!