Saturday, December 26, 2009

christmas videos.

Mrs. Claus, apparently a teacher herself, wrote a "note" to Caroline on a new handwriting pad she got in her stocking. Caroline was absolutely mesmerized!
i got andy a Flip video camera. I'm testing out adding video to the blog. Sorry the videos aren't great, we're just figuring it out.
I filled a "grown up" bag of mine with all kinds of baby supplies for Lucy. It is amazing how much more they like something if it is real mommy gear.

Schulz/Farrar Christmas

"Glory to God in the Highest. Peace on earth, good will to men!"
The Christmas "pagent" was great fun to think about and dress up for, but not as much fun to practice. So, they just dressed up as an angel and mary and smiled :)

Christmas eve church service and dinner here with Gramma/Papa and Kathryn/Andy.

Deer are all over the neighborhood, but we don't see too many on our street. The last two Christmas mornings we have, though. We've also seen bunnies on Easter mornings, twice. weird.

It was amazing how Santa built a swing!
Kathryn made bedding for two doll beds that she bought and painted. They are beautiful! They match the girls bedding and both dolls slept well last night next to their mommies.
Kit Kitredge, American Girl. Our new best friend.
Santa really pulled through with the baby bjorn and shopping cart. Lucy has had her baby attached to her since yesterday morning. She got a new baby from my mom that cries when her pacifier comes out. It's awesome.
He is in boy heaven with the tool bench and the slide and the little basketball hoop.

ALL he wanted to do was play outside with the football/basketball/soccer ball...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Zilker Tree

The Zilker Park tree is an Austin landmark, at least for me. As a kid, every Christmas my family went down to spin underneath, drink hot cocoa, and look at the nativity scenes. My brother asked Liz to marry him there, I love that. If she had said no, that would have really put a damper on the experience!
The tree is just a tall pole with colored lights coming down. I love the way you can see it from Mopac over Town Lake.

Taking my kids there the other night was a blast. I got to watch them run in circles, get dizzy, fall down, and eat kettle corn. Now there is this entire trail of lights, which, mercifully, due to "budgetary restrictions" of the city, was scaled way back.

A funny conversation looking at the displays:
Lucy "Why is there a bear there? That's not Jesus."
Caroline: "No, Lucy, it could be, a bear is really strong and so is Jesus"

Look at that HUGE bag of Kettle Korn!

Spinning and Spinning

The girls and Jack, our neighbor

I do love Christmas in Austin.
I love being in the hill country, and only a few miles out of downtown.
I wore a tshirt and flipflops to HEB today to buy stocking stuffers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Hacking at the mud puddle

I LOVE watching Preston play. Playing in mud, running up and down hills, throwing balls, sticks, food, anything that can be thrown . I've finally figured out he HAS to be outside. We both need him to be outside, or he will destroy the house and possibly my sanity.
While the girls took a nap today, we walked 2 doors up the hill where they are building a house. Preston loved stomping in the mud, throwing it, painting it on the wood...

falling asleep...

Gingerbread Landslide

My neighbor Amanda always says if she hadn't done structural engineering (PhD style), she would have been a pastry chef. She makes amazing creations like Volcano cakes that erupt for her son's birthday. I should have called her before I attemped the premade Gingerbread House with the girls... It was standing for about 7 minutes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home of Hope

I found out 2 important things yesterday.

First, the orphanage where our little boy is coming from: Home of Hope. What a beautiful name! It was started a few years ago in Kigali, by a church in Canada, and is run by the Sisters of Calcutta (Mother Theresa) There are 140 children there.

It is all starting to feel real now. Just this fact of knowing where my baby is coming from kept my mind spinning all night. (that and Lucy up with "phantom tooth pain" :) and Preston up with real tooth pain)

Second: Andy is going there in 4 weeks!!

He and 3 others from our church are going on a scouting trip to determine if Home of Hope and this ministry: Africa New Life, both in Kigali, would be good fits for our church to partner with long term. I had to race around yesterday to have his expired passport sent off for expedited renewal.

I am beyond excited. Our good friend Natalie is on staff stateside with ANL here in Austin.

Andy may get to meet our son! I ran across this description of the orphanage this morning. My mind is again reeling. This family, the Greers, adopted from Home of Hope this summer. You should see how their son has blossomed here in his new home. She and 4 other women have started a nonprofit to help the orphanage, sounds like they really need it!!

"Ever since Peter and I left the Home of Hope the last day with our precious Myles Mugisha , we have been haunted by the images of the children we had to walk away from. To finalize our adoption, we were in Rwanda seven days. Three of those days we had to return Myles to the orphanage by 5pm every evening. Peter encouraged me not to enter the orphanage until the final day that we had our son and could take him home.
The last day came, and we carried Myles down to the orphanage room where he spent about 5 months of his life, to say "goodbye." As soon as we entered the hallway that led to the different rooms of age-grouped children, I was hit with a smell-mix of dampness, wet diapers, and musty unopened windows. There really is no explaining it. When I entered Myles' room, I saw dark aqua walls, the smell of urine-soaked mattresses, rows and rows of tiny bassinets, each one holding a child, an orphan with a story, a child who needed/s a home. Most of these tiny beds had a string across the top with dangling toys for the babies to look at. The only empty bassinet was the one that had held Myles for those months of waiting. It was the length of his little body, no wonder he still, at 7 months, had no idea how to turn on his side. After spending some time visiting with the babies in the room, and trying to control the depth of anguish I felt for the orphaned children in the room and for the 2-3 care takers who were trying their hardest to feed, clothe, bathe, change, and care for the 35 infants in the room, we left to look into the other rooms of the orphanage. Next we walked into the 12-24 month room. Oddly enough-and I've never experienced anything else like this in my life, but I have NO memory of this room. I believe that it was too hard to see these children and my memory is blocked. The other room that I remember was full of 2-5 year olds (I think) and there were many rows of cribs, 2 children to a crib. I took in the room for a moment: nothing on the walls, not toys to be seen, nothing. Nothing. There is so much more to write, but the end result is how we felt when we left. As we backed out of the Home of Hope driveway, I vividly remember waving to a small group of 2-4 year olds--and remember especially a bright-eyed little girl in a worn yellow dress, smiling and waving to us as we left. While we were so happy to be leaving with Myles, we were leaving many many more.
Coming home: I shared with my friends the grief we felt (and many other families feel) for those children left behind. What can we do? How do we start? My friends Christina and Heather, right away, responded with: "we can." A month and a half after we had settled into our new life with our baby Myles, they began talking about the action plan again. "We can do something." Even if it's sending an excersaucer for the infant room, which I got approval for...Myles had very little muscle tone in his legs from non-use.. The sisters at the orphanage and I found a small spot in the infant room where an excersaucer would fit perfectly. My mind went back to the children waving goodbye to us, standing in the dirt outside the Home of Hope, they weren't wearing shoes. "We can" send shoes. We can work together, with the help of others who have same-heart-desires for change."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

They're gone. My monkey who knocked her front teeth loose last year,twice, got the final verdict from the dentist. They've got to go. Lucy thinks she looks great! The dentist promises me her mouth will look less cavernous in a week or so. yikes
Lucy is so proud and ran screaming into my bed at 6:30 this morning that the tooth fairy had left her $2.
My sis in law, Liz, was babysitting last night and prepped her for the big event with the tooth fairy pillow and took the pictures. I think she has eye-shadow on. One of the perks of Aunt Liz. She comes with books, crafts and make-up!!!