Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Day!

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we all went to my parents' house along with my sister's family and the sister missionaries. We started with our traditional Mexican FEAST (so much food!), and then had a family talent show.  My favorite talents were our beatboxing/dancing kids (see pics) and my niece's hilarious practical joke.  She had each younger cousin come into the room alone, and had them repeat a series of phrases designed to get Santa to come faster.  At one point they were instructed to stand up, and right at that moment, her dad would slip a sopping wet folded towel onto the chair.  Each time, the child would shriek and jump up.  It was so funny!

After the talent show, my dad handed out adult and child quizzes to test our knowledge of the Christmas story.  We all learned some new things, like why it was necessary for Mary and Joseph to travel for their taxes and the census.  This wasn't Roman law, but Jewish law - they had to travel back to their ancestral home.  

We ended with opening the gifts from my parents.  It was lots of fun!  

My cute sister with her creeper husband (just kidding, J!)

Lily and her idols.  She can't wait to serve a mission just like them!

French braiding torture

My Daddy-o

Beck is all about the presents

Don't we have a photogenic family?  Stunning, just stunning!


Zoe being creeped on by her uncle J ;o)

Waiting for the talent show to start

Huddling up before the beatbox/break dancing show

Beatboxing buddies

Jackson doing his thing

Jackson playing "Jolly Old St. Nicholas"

Sofie playing "Families Can Be Together Forever"

Maizie playing "Silent Night."  The tongue helps.

My niece, K, doing her rump-soaking talent ;o)

The next victim

Wet hineys!

Lily fingerspelling at lightning speed

My beautiful mommy

My mom and I playing "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful"

J singing a Christmas song he wrote whilst sitting atop Zoe whilst she texts.  Wait - he didn't write the song whilst sitting atop Zoe.  You know what I mean.

Playing the handbells along with Grandma - "Little Jesus"

Zoe's talents are texting and sneering  ;o)

Happy Sofie

Time for presents!

Article 5 pick-up and Russian adoption news

Today we got an email from the consulate in Guangzhou saying that our Article 5 is ready for pick-up. This took about a week longer than it should have, and basically eliminates the possibility of our traveling before our agency's Hague accreditation expires.  I'm sad about that, but trying to have faith that getting transferred to a new agency will go smoothly and not slow us down or cost us more money.  Barring any major unforeseen issues, our daughter WILL be coming home.  My heart is heavy for all the families being affected by the Russian adoption program closure.  We have several close friends who are in the middle of Russian adoptions of kids with Down syndrome, and most of these families have already made at least one trip and have met their children.  I can't imagine the heartache they are experiencing now.  It's so tragic that President Putin would choose to put his ego above the lives of innocent children.  There is already too little room and too few resources for the existing orphan population, and now that there will be no children leaving, things will only get worse.  (Also included in the bill he's to sign is a stipulation that would eliminate assistive funding from American NGOs, so there will be less money for many more children.)  These orphanages are not good places now.  I can't even bear to think of what they'll be like in a year's time.

We are fasting and praying for a miracle.  I hope you'll join us.

A whole lotta catch-up (ketchup?)

I've neglected my poor little blog.  Here are a few highlights from the month of December.

Earlier in the month, Zoe and Ethan got to go to Winter Formal.  Yes, Ethan is only 14, and every year we debate about what to do with these dances.  We finally decided that a) since we live in a small community and there are no church dances, and b) that the kids go in big groups of friends and not alone, we're OK with it.  And in small-town fashion, there are hordes of parents there to supervise (gawk?) and it's really not at all the same as the formal dances I went to as a teen.  Anyway, maybe we're rationalizing, but that's our position - for the moment.

Also very exciting has been the progress on our kitchen this month.  We now have the cabinets, fridge, freezer and microwave drawer installed on the west wall of our kitchen, and the hutch is mostly in in the dining room.  I feel like we may finally finish!  The hutch was rebuilt using our original blueprints, although originally there were two hutches.  Ours is also taller than the original, but otherwise very similar.  I'm excited to get it stained and get the glass and hardware installed.  

One of the 1910 hutches
The new single hutch

That's what nearly 10 foot tall cabinets look like! 

Our microwave drawer can heat up 4 plates of food at once!  A dream for me!  
Then came all the Christmas programs and concerts - 5 of them to be precise.  Unfortunately, the pictures from the older kids' events aren't that great because all I had was my iPhone.  I also spent most of the time recording and didn't take many pictures.  I wish I would have!  At least we have the videos.  
Jack saying his part

Pretty easy to spot the Whicker kids  ;o)
Cora, singing her heart out!

Cora the Christmas tree
My little kindergartener, Beck

Beck saying his part
Lily on the piano.  Can I tell you how much I love watching my deaf daughter play the piano?

And now on percussion 

Loundia getting set up for her choir pieces

Ethan is barely visible behind the tall blonde kid on the front row on the right side.  

It's blurry but I love this picture!  

Jonah on drums.  He's amazing!

In the next post I'll include pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  :o)