We had a great Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we all got dressed up to go to a Christmas Eve church service.
My last-minute/late night nightgown and pajamas sewing left my laundry pile dangerously neglected. It may have been a record, in fact, of most-laundry-ever. So I dug through a mountain of clothing in search of tights and Christmas dresses. Then I immediately threw them in the wash. I pulled them out of the dryer without a minute to spare (literally).
Afterward, I insisted on taking our obligatory family photo. Man, it is very very hard to get a family photo where everyone is looking or not making a silly expression. For instance, this seems to be a new favorite of Tia's.
She just looks kind of skeptical of the whole thing. And here she is with it again!
She is the sweetest girl! I read a quote on adoption last month and it really resonated with me. "A child born to another woman calls me Mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me." Yes. I feel that so acutely, especially at this time of year. Tarikua is such a loving and gentle soul! I am crazy about her and we are so lucky to have her in our family!
Recently Tia discovered my name is Rachel and has experimented with calling me Rachel. I told her that anyone in the world can call me Rachel but only 5 people can call me Mom, so I'd really prefer that she stick with 'Mom'. ;)
This year was Hazel's first Christmas, which made it extra special.
We went to a Christmas Eve children's church service in the afternoon, but the kids really wanted to go back for the candlelight service late that evening. I couldn't resist taking a few iphone photos of my Christmas elf, fast asleep on Dan's shoulder as we were settling into our pew in the very back row.
She finally woke up, just as it was time to leave.
She is a love! I really can't even put into words how thankful I am for her... and for each of our children. I was telling Dan just today how my heart is overflowing with gratitude.
And look at how strong Hazel is getting already.
She is 4 1/2 months old and I think she will be crawling soon(ish).
Today is Dan and my anniversary. (11 years!)
Usually we call it our un-iversary because it always gets supremely overshadowed by Christmas.
But not this year. My cousin, Kayla, flew in from Wisconsin on Christmas day and is staying with us for a few days. She made it the most special anniversary yet. She kicked Dan and me out of the house (with Hazel) and took all four kids grocery shopping(!). She went on to prepare the most amazing, surprise meal in the world! She bought me a bouquet of roses that were nearly identical to my wedding bouquet. Then she bought a deck of cards and had each of the four older kids write something (or tell her something so she could write it) that they loved about us on each of the cards, giving each child a suit (hearts, spades, etc). And she's only 25 years old! What a capable, creative and thoughtful young woman! We were so amazed... and so very grateful.