Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let There Be Light!

It's not necessarily a Minnesota thing but an Embarrass thing. Every year there is an ice candle festival in the town of Embarrass, MN. It is an old Finnish tradition to place candles in the cemetary on Christmas Eve to remember and honor loved ones who have passed- as well as to light up the darkest days of winter! We decided to try to make our own ice candles about a week ago. We didn't get them perfect, but we plan to keep on trying! Placed on our little balcony we hope to light them again tonight to celebrate our Saviour Jesus Christ- the light of the world! Our kids also hope they can help Santa find his way here in the midst of the blizzard.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

This Sunday's Snapshot can be a little "off the beaten path". Instead of a family member, an idea was to feature ornaments on the tree or things that we've done this year to make Christmas 09 extra special. Don't forget to stop by Ni Hao Y'all to check out more Sunday Snapshots!

This sad sorry mess is what happened when I took the family Christmas cookie recipe I've been making for about 20 years (and my mom for about 20 more years before that) and used it in Minnesota. No, I'm not blaming Minnesota. I honestly don't know what happened,so I'm blaming the fact that my favorite cookie sheets haven't made the move yet and the new ones I bought, plus a different oven, are the cause.

Not sayin' that this is what's made our 09 Christmas extra special by any means. In fact, I'm still not over the fact that we won't have our traditional Christmas Cookies this year. There's not been one year, ever, that we haven't had them. What I am sayin' is that there's been a few things that we're missing this year. Things that are tucked snug and safe in red and green Sterilite boxes in our basement under the stairwell 987 miles away in Maryland. So we've had to adjust and get creative.

To start we slapped some things on the walls,

and spent a Saturday making some new ornaments.

As we went we forgot we needed some very important things such as a tree topper. This we found at Fleet Farm for only 4 bucks and reminded me so so much of my Grandma Betty's tree star from when I was a kid.The realization that I didn't have any of our nativity scenes sent me on a 3 week hunt for the cheapest one I could find. This quaint little set was found at a Christmas tree!At a second hand store I found THIS for only 3 bucks. It's the Bedford Falls church from my favorite Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life" I can't believe someone actually got rid of this.

Then a few days ago I got a small package in the mail from my mom. I don't know how she finds these things, but a South Korean Santa was exactly what we were missing and I didn't even know it!

That brings me to this poor fellow. One of those ornaments that at one point over the years has lost something. The kids and I always insisted he had feelings and would be dreadfully hurt if he were to not be included on the tree every year. He arrived in the small box I asked my husband to bring back from Maryland when he eventually arrived to stay permanently. I simply said, go to the basement and pick just one box, any box. Don't open it just bring it and we'll all be surprised to see what's inside that we'll have to decorate this year. Yeah, this guy made it to Minnesota too, somehow fitting, huh?

Gee, it was pretty warm that day

So I've learned that we will survive our first Christmas in Minnesota, without our nativities, our angels and even harder our families.
After all, Mary wasn't worried about her cookie sheets; she was just a tad busy giving birth to our Saviour and that I have to remember is more important than the cookies and the decorations we're missing.

At least someone wasn't complaining about the cookies though.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yeah it's cold, but it's fun!

I'm well aware that winter has yet to officially begin, and that it is the first snow (that actually laid around for a week and has since had 3 more inches piled on top of it) but it's still kinda fun.....for now. I can see how the novelty will wear off soon. Perhaps come February?

This one finally got to make use of his August birthday present. He did pretty good. Too bad I can't post the primal scream that he lets loose everytime he pushes off down that hill.

And this one enjoyed taking the "snow down the throat and in the eye" spills. I remember those days.

And this one? Well, this one had trouble with the saucer. Staying on it at least. She never lost her cool even though I did....waiting for that one good run to occur so we could get the heck back inside

We made it back in eventually, removed our steamy clothes and tried to warm our hands under the faucet.

So a little bit o' this..........

......and a little bit o' that

And we were back to normal.

Just don't bring up the princess cup....please

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sometimes I forget........

......I forget I'm expecting.

We're expecting.

Expecting a baby girl.
So this Sunday Snapshot is going to be about our other little girl , the one I've neglected to mention all too often, the one we are waiting to adopt. For more Sunday Snapshots, check out Ni Hao Y'all to the left!

We have no pictures of her, no name and no birthdate, but we will- we're almost 3/4 of the way through our wait now. We've been told that May is probably when we should expect a referral now. In the beginning we calculated February or March at the latest but it looks like late spring. We were not disappointed to hear this news as we are currently living in a teeny tiny town home with only two teeny tiny bedrooms and not a backyard in sight. Not to mention the fact that our adoption savings has now been completely wiped out by our move and dual housing expenses. I'm sure God's aware of this and has adjusted the timeline accordingly. Especially since our decision to adopt came long before we ever knew we were making a huge move like this one. He will provide, we are confident of that.
Even though we don't know who she is yet or have any pictures of her, we have things like these.

Extremely premature I know, but I bought that pink bear back in early summer, about two months into our wait after our homestudy was complete. I had taken our youngest to Boyd's Bear Country to adopt a baby bear as a reward for something, I just can't remember what. Anyhow, while she was going through the adoption process I found this little gem and decided I would buy it and put it away for my second daughter. It felt good and I think it helped to keep her a reality. Then, the night before we were leaving for our big move to Minnesota our neighbors and friends gifted us with the other items you see in the picture.

As I've said before, the wait is hard, but knowing that God is all over this calms us. We know that He knows who she is and that He'll introduce us to her when He's ready.

We can wait for that.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Four Vikings and a Snow Storm

So, as a fundraiser, our awesome adoption agency arranged for families who've adopted (or are adopting) to come and mingle with some of the players and cheerleaders at their Winter Park training facility. I signed the kids and myself up immediately (dad was on business back in MD) thinking I'd make Vikings fans of those boys yet!

The only problem was that it turned out to be at the same time as the first snow storm of the season; and getting there was an adventure! What would've been a 20 minute ride was an hour and a half. My oldest having fun with the camera in the backseat snapped this photo. Twice when stopping at a light, I had to get out and clean off my wipers!

We ended up an hour late but still got some autographs. Cullen Loeffler #46 was the first, Our second was in heaven. Just look at that face.

Even though the boys talked incessantly all day about the cheerleaders they were going to meet they ended up too shy to talk to any of them.

Artis Hicks was their favorite. Our second complimented his muscles and our third couldn't stop laughing about how tall he was.

Here we are with #74 Bryant McKinnnie........

.......and "Victor", her favorite. She chased that guy all over the place I tell ya!

It was a great experience, lots of football activities for the kids to try their hand at.

Our oldest amazed everyone by throwing the football straight into the hole four times in a row.

So Victor moved him back a few yards and had him try again.

He made that one too. They suggested we sign him right away and Victor thought it deserved some major praise.

Their weight room was spectacular, almost made me want to work out. Well, not really, but it was amazing to see all of their "stuff".

Had to get a pic of their showers. See the black tile border (it's really purple)? A few years back the shower heads were actually as low as that border and most of the players couldn't even stand to wash their hair. Under new ownership they changed all that and raised them up about a foot so the guys could stand straight.This picture was taken before they announced that pictures could not be taken in the locker room. So it's only the doorway, but anyhow. We were told that private tours of the players locker room are NEVER anyone. VP of Football Operations for the Vikings Rob Brzezinski who arranges this activity every year allows only families working with the adoption agency to take the tour. So no pics, no touching and everything in the locker room was to stay in the locker room. Imagine my concern walking in there with my three kiddos. Anyhow, it was magic- I mean Brett Favre's deodorant was like, right there; and our second was excited over his half empty bottle of Gatorade on the top shelf. Although if he could've had it he would've drank it. It's not like he would've tried to save it as a souvenir. My daughter kept wandering over to peer into the huge basket of dirty football pants; she found that rather funny.My favorites were the Viking etchings on the bathroom mirrors.
Anthony Herera showed up a little bit later, he had take his son to basketball practice.

In the end I was so glad I braved the weather to get them there, it really made their week, maybe even their month!! As we were plowing our way back home I heard at least one of'em say "I'm definitely a Vikings fan now!"