Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Year in Review

It's that time again - I can hardly believe it.

The year is coming to a close, and it's time to reflect.  I have so much to share - so much to be thankful for.  I'm just going to dive right in...grab your coffee and sit with me for a while.

Something is happening inside this boy that is so beautiful to watch.  He's not just growing - he's flourishing.  He's not just changing - he's being transformed.  So often, Jake and I look at each other - amazed.  We say that he's turning into a 'real boy'.  The way he talks (yes - he is starting to talk) - the way he communicates - the way he loves - the way he plays - it all resembles something like a real little boy.

 Growing - changing - flourishing - so very beautiful to watch.  So blessed to be a part of it all.  It brings to mind a verse we have sang many times over the past month....

"...wonders of His love, and wonders of His love - wonders, wonders of His love..."

Jake and I direct the Christmas program at our church each year - and this year we used a compilation of our favorite scenes from The Andy Griffith Show - and we turned it into a Christmas program.  Every year we love being a part of a new cast of people who are willing to sacrifice a whole bunch of time and energy around the Christmas season.

If you're not up on your Mayberry characters - you're looking at Otis Campbell (sitting), Barney Fife (stooped), and Andy Taylor (in background).

How do you determine whether your Christmas was successful?
Did you break your budget?  No?  Success.
Are your kids grateful?  Yes?  Success.
Did you spend loads of time with people you love?  Yes?  Success.
Was your heart filled with joy as you remembered the very first Christmas?  Yes?  Huge success.

Our Christmas was quiet - simple - mostly homemade - and filled with joy and love.

I have to throw this in here.  See these two beautiful girls?
Don't let their adorableness fool you.  They're both BRATS!
Turns out, sitting in front of them was a poor choice, because
Meanies.  Payback is coming.  When you least expect it, little girls!
Our gift for Carter was SO fun to give.  Jake has been working on it since Thanksgiving.  It started out like this:

And Christmas Morning, it looked like this:

We were a little concerned that with all the time we put into it, Carter wouldn't be interested at all.  HA!  He loves it.  He mixes, scoops, washes his hands, dries dishes, bakes, saut├ęs, and broils like a pro.  And when he gets tired of that, he sits in front of the little refrigerator and opens - closes - opens - closes - opens - closes a few hundred times.

Needless to say, mommy likes this kitchen, too :)  It keeps Carter very busy!

I'm sure you've seen things like this floating around Pinterest - we got our inspiration {here} and {here} and {here}.

Moses is sick.  It started the week before Thanksgiving.  He was not interested in food - SO unusual for this hog of a dog.  From there, he declined gradually until about 10 days before Christmas - he absolutely looked like he was on death's doorstep.  We called the vet and thought we'd be saying goodbye that same day.  They gave him meds and sent him home, assuring us that he would be just fine.

Just a few days later, we were back at the vet.  This time she was certain there was an obstruction, so she performed an exploratory surgery.  Guess what?  No obstruction.  Just gas - which led her to believe THAT was the problem.  For a good week, he was slowly improving.

Which brings us to today.  Again, he is declining - and I have such a heavy heart just writing this.  I don't know what our next step will be.  But I am finally trying to prepare myself for the worst.

And that's all I will say about that.

She has just weaseled her way into my heart - I can really say that I LOVE having her here each weekday.  She usually is here Monday - Thursday from about 11:00 to 5:00, and usually all day on Friday.  Haleigh and Carter are buddies - they play together, they follow each other around, and when Haleigh isn't here - Carter lets me know!

She keeps me laughing all afternoon with her silly sense of humor, and her ability to say just the right (or, wrong?!) thing at the right time.  My favorite?  When we're grocery shopping, and she pushes Carter in the cart - and she cups her little hands around his cheeks and says 'Hi little buddy' in the most tender way.  Or when they're riding in the double-cart at Target and I catch them holding hands.  Makes this mama's heart melt.

Rachel still comes to play with Carter - usually one afternoon a week.  I love the break, and I think Carter does, too!  She is such a sweet young lady - and we are so blessed to have her in our lives!

She is more than a 'babysitter' - she's a true friend.  We sure do love our Rachie!

Everyone tells us how much bigger Carter looks.  We don't see it as much, of course, because we see him every day.  It wasn't until I looked at his Christmas photos from last year that I realized the AMAZING changes that other people are seeing!

Last year:

I can still see some hopelessness in his eyes & there's still some orphanage grime (or actually, at just 6 weeks home, a LOT of orphanage grime!).

Last year:

Such a little baby!  So unsure of his surroundings!!

This year:

Big boy!  In love with life!

This year:

He looks like he's a well-loved, cared for, cherished & adored SON, doesn't he?

God sets the lonely in families, indeed.  Praise Him!!

I had so much fun making our Christmas Cards this year - I have to share them here!

Praying your 2013 is filled with much joy - peace - revelation - blessings - hope - and loads & loads of love.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Reflection - good stuff!

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