I do believe Elise found her favorite holiday! Thanksgiving is all about the food, and well so is Elise!! She is so funny when it comes to food. I think some of her "love" for food is just a natural thing, but sometimes I think it has a little to do with her orphanage stay. While I know she wasn't underfed or malnourished, I'm sure meals were limited, there wasn't an endless supply of food. You ate when it was given to you and when it was gone, it was gone. Now, Elise eats ehen its given to her, but when it's gone, there is more! And believe me, she wants more! She always cleans her plate, and then usually finishes what her sister didn't eat. So, needless to say, Elise was ecstatic over the Thanksgiving spread at our house! We hosted our first major holiday in the new house with all of my extended family. It was so much fun! Tons of food and good times!! We feel incredibly blessed to be in a new, bigger home, have all 4 of our kids under one roof, Tom has a great job and we aren't living in separate states!! None of those things were true last year on Thanksgiving! We have a lot to be thankful for! Thank you Lord for your provisions over my family!
This is the face of one happy girl with a VERY full belly!!
Christmas is is my favorite holiday. I love decorating for Christmas, I love seeing the look on my kids faces on Christmas morning, I love the snow (well only on Christmas), I love the traditions, and most of all I love the reason for the season! Christmas was especially special this year. We have Elise!! The long awaited and anticipated daughter whom we prayed for is finally in our arms this Christmas!! While decorating for Christmas I found a Christmas ornament that I bought in 2006 which said "Baby Girls 1st Christmas". If you know our family, you know I don't have a daughter that was born in 2006, however I thought I was going to. That was the year our paper work was logged into the CCAA. I was sure our baby had already been born, and that was her first Christmas. WOW!! Was I in for a surprise when she didn't come that year, or the next, or the next...... It was a long wait, but she is so worth the wait! I love her to pieces, she fits into this family like a glove!! God definitely knows how to put families together! She was created for us!
We had a lot to get done this Christmas! We took a quick trip to Gatlinburg TN to have a small mountain cabin style Christmas with Tom's family! It was so much fun. It was way to short of a visit, but so worth the time to travel down there! Tom's step-dad had not met Elise yet, and neither had his brother, whom we haven't seen in over 2 years! It was a great time!!
Making a gingerbread house with Nana
Nana & Popa with the girls
Uncle Pete playing guitar while Solomon (his son) Elise & Emmie watch
Family pic on the deck of the cabin
Christmas Eve was filled with cookie baking! We painted cookies for Santa, a tradition that was started by my mom. I painted cookies every year at Christmas, and now, my kids have done it every year too. It was really fun to watch the girls paint cookies! Elise was so excited, she had her tongue sticking out and a big grin on her face the whole time! We also visited Santa, the girls were not impressed! Elise cried and Emmie didn't look happy! The picture is priceless!! Finally we topped off our Christmas Eve by going to the Christmas Eve service at church! It was a short family service, so the girls stayed with us, and so did the boys! My parents came too. It was nice to spend some time worshiping! After all, Jesus is the reason for the season!
Christmas morning was GREAT!! We opened presents, ate candy and went to church! The boys said it was the best Christmas ever! They got dirt bikes for Christmas!! They've been begging for them for a very long time, and Tom has desperately wanted to get them. So, all the boys were happy!! The girls got a power wheels vehicle and their very first American Girl Dolls!! Finally, I got to buy girl things for Christmas! Seeing the girls with their biddy babies made me happy!! It was a great day! We celebrated with my family that evening where the kids got even more gifts!! My mom & dad spoiled them rotten this year!
All in all it was a great holiday season. It was very busy and went by way too fast, but was wonderful!! We are so blessed to have such great family and friends surrounding us! The last few years have been a struggle for us. Emmie's heart issues, trying to get Elise home from China, Tom taking a job 4 states away, living separate for a year, not knowing where we would end up, what state we were moving to.... It has been trying to say the least. But, God pulled us through. We are now settled (we think) and couldn't be happier with the way everything has turned out. God has a plan for our lives.... One thing I've learned, is to step away from the drivers seat, and let God do the driving!