It was another whirlwind Christmas at our house! We fulfilled an annual tradition on “Christmas Eve-Eve” in our house, driving to 34th Street in Baltimore to see the displays the homeowners there have assembled every year since the 1947 classic film Miracle on 34th Street debuted. A great start to the annual Christmas festivities.
When we got married, Fred’s mom assigned us Christmas Eve dinner as “our” holiday (his oldest sister Lisa has Thanksgiving with her husband … we’re still waiting for his other older sister Kathryn to get hers. [Hey Kath!]) Then Christmas Day begins with just the four of us here, a brunch at Fred’s mom’s, back to our house to host my side of the family, and then the end-of-day hang-out with friends so we can decompress and review the highlights (or funniest moments).
This year’s biggest surprise for the twins didn’t actually involve spending money. They’ve been dying to watch the Star Wars movies for quite some time now, but we thought they were a little young. Then this year they managed to check out every Early Reader book on Star Wars the county library system has to offer, memorized all the characters, and saved up their allowance money jointly to buy Lego Star Wars for the Wii, thus gaining knowledge of much of the plotline of the series. And for his final oral presentation at our co-op, Bear gave a persuasive speech about why he should be allowed to watch the Star Wars movies. And he had good points. Read the rest of this entry
So my big future-plan this Christmas – I’m going to El Salvador!
Read the rest of this entry
If you’re working with a good adoption agency, they’ll have up-to-the-minute information on what each country wants to see from your dossier. But in case you ever want to double-check what you’re hearing, check with the U.S. Department of State.
The requirements your agency gives you should at least cover everything listed here.
Also useful for checking the status of currently-”closed” countries (we keep an eye on Guatemala, ourselves, since our twins were born there).
Some of the best pix from this past (fantastic!) snowy almost-winter weekend:
Nature-Made Finishing Touches on the Christmas Decor
Read the rest of this entry
I get this question a lot. People have a vague idea that “adoption is expensive,” and the unknown dollar figure dissuades some from looking into it before they even talk to an agency.
So here it is - how much our adoptions have and will cost, and I also hit up a friend for the cost of her domestic adoption, since ours are both international. But one quick item before I continue: even if you know someone well enough to ask him or her their answer to this question, please, please, please watch your words and never ask “so how much did they [the kids] cost?” The process costs money; the children are priceless.
Needed to mention that since I’m not the only one I know who has gotten that “off” question – by people who meant no harm, but really…
That said: Read the rest of this entry
Well, we’ve completed our Kindergarten Nativity Set project! And because my guys are too wiggly to sit through all the Bible passages that make up the story we celebrate each year, I paraphrased it for them and then added the pictures of the characters we just finished making. I’m dying to write a more humorous version because some of these characters (ok MOST of these characters) are truly funny-looking. But that’ll probably have to wait till next year when we pull this all back out.
For now, though, here’s the story of the First Christmas, foreshortened a bit by this Mama who’s about done spending time with hot glue and toilet paper tubes!
The Christmas Story
(Taken from Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2: 1-40, Matthew 2:1-21)
During the reign of King Herod of Judea, God sent an angel named Gabriel to the home of a young woman named Mary who lived in the town of Nazareth in Galilee.
He said to her, “Greetings, highly favored one! The Lord is with you.”
Read the rest of this entry
I took delivery of new end tables for our living room today, and it hit me that our taste in home furnishings has taken a sharp turn in the southwesterly direction.
When Fred and I got married, we thought the look we’d go for was “Early American.” Rugged enough for him (our dining room chairs weigh as much as the boys do) yet not so masculine that it looks like no women live here. Well, woman, anyway. I’m it.
Think Amish farmhouse. But with lighting in the top of the hutch – so “Amish plus electricity.”
Then we found a few oil paintings we loved in Guatemala on our pick up trip to adopt the twins. So “Amish plus electricity plus crater lakes, Maya marketplaces, and 15th century Spanish architecture.”
Moving from that room (and yes, we left it just like that for now) … Read the rest of this entry
One of my sisters’ and my favorite Christmas memories from growing up was pulling out the absolutely hideous nativity scenes we made when we were in Kindergarten (clearly at private Christian school!). Amy’s Peanut-Baby-Jesus and my Construction-Paper-Cone Mary made it front and center of the “Kid Tree” each year. Then when Lori’s Styrofoam-Cup Angel joined the gang, we had our tree-topper. (No IDEA why my parents relegated all that goodness to a remote location while the “Family Tree” got Living Room status!)
I’m homeschooling the twins this year, but I didn’t want them to miss out on the humor of looking back on their 5 year old handiwork. So this Christmas season, we’re building our own extended Nativity scene, a little bit each day. We read part of the story every morning (2nd time through the whole thing, already); and then we build whatever we decide we want to work on. And when we’re bored with it (or the paint’s still sticky and we can’t move forward till it’s dry), we stop.
Today was King Herod & his soldiers (mostly because the boys couldn’t wait to make spears). Tomorrow? Who knows. But I’ll be sure to post the complete masterpiece when we’re done! Read the rest of this entry
When we began our current adoption process, we found ourselves working with two separate agencies. Our placement agency – the one connected with El Salvador – is in Kentucky. But we were required to get our homestudy done by an agency here in Maryland.
So we have a second agency this time (last time we used one for everything). And with a second agency comes a second set of personalities and some extra expectations to meet.
So as I mentioned in my prior dossier checklist post, I compiled a checklist table in Word for both agencies’ paperwork requirements. I laid it out so I could check off each stage for each document (since many of our homestudy docs had to be notarized prior to submission) And then I highlighted the items on each list that were duplicates, so I could collect them simultaneously.
It took us two months to get everything submitted – not bad considering how many of the items involved waiting on government entities. When our homestudy report “expires” this Spring, we’ll have to re-submit a portion of these as part of an updating amendment we’ll be required to submit to El Salvador to remain in good standing there. Read the rest of this entry
Anyone who has ever dined with our family knows we lay claim to one of the pickiest eaters known to childkind.
For the last nearly-three years, we’ve let that slide for the sake of building our relationship with our son, fostering secure attachment, majoring in the majors, and all that. But we’ve reached a point now at which we’re asking our little man to muscle through something new (or something he usually refuses) at least one night a week. At all other times, our rule is generally that you may stop eating whenever you’d like; you just don’t get snacks between meals unless you’ve finished the prior meal.
Now while our little son (who shall remain nameless but whose cover is pretty much blown in the picture below) has a remarkably good attitude about this new change in our mealtime policy, it truly is hard for him to eat certain things. Primary among his nemises: vegetables. Any veggies, really. The only one he feels safe with is raw baby carrots. Just raw, not cooked. Read the rest of this entry