It’s amazing to me how quickly the element of a magical experience can dissipate, leaving you in the throes of a magic hangover where we all wander like zombies, falling asleep late, sleeping in late (for some), all sense of routine and schedule thrown out the window. Gone is the tinkling of sleigh bells, the little red Elf has flown back to her wintry home, Santa came to town and left us with a mess of paper and stacks of “stuff” that now has to find a permanent home on a shelf or in a closet. It is incredible how much anticipation and breathlessness is compounded over the course of a month, only to completely disappear as soon as in-laws and cousins board the planes or buckle in for the drives home. The tree is gone, almost all traces of the wondrous, magical day is packed into bright red plastic tubs, correctly labeled and snapped closed to ward off any creatures that may think my 18″ Santa’s beard is a great place to rear their new family.
Our December month was certainly a magical, wondrous experience here – the whole “magic of Christmas” that has been somewhat lost the past couple years as our bio kids grew older, was refreshed in full-force with a 7-year-old experiencing Christmas for the first time! He has loved every bit of it, and the older kids have really enjoyed playing the role of encouraging excitement for someone else other than themselves. Imagination ran wild, many times running the gauntlet of targeted, fire-balls of questions aimed to prick any potential holes in the glittery facade. We decided to let the imagination run, pretty much on it’s own, answering Wesley’s questions with leading questions or thought-provoking questions, encouraging him to come up with an answer for himself. I can see him being a lot like his older brother, and next year we will probably have the pointed, “tell me the truth. Is Santa real?” And, when we get that question, as we did with Braeden, when the truth is asked of us, we tell it.
I found an awesome book this year, called “God Gave Us Christmas” by Lisa Tawn Bergren and David Hohn
it does a fantastic job of relating Santa, God and Christmas all together in a way that even Wes could understand. We read it many many times over this season, I highly recommend it!
We were able to have many “first” experiences this Christmas, first presents opened, first trip to the Zoo at night to see the Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo, first 2.5 hour Star Wars movie in the theater, first Christmas cookies made, first gingerbread house, first ornaments handmade, first family Christmas gatherings, first taste of Anise Cookies (secret family recipe…he loved them – he’s a keeper LOL), and most memorable of all – FIRST SNOW!
Helping make daddy’s famous Christmas morning cinnamon rolls
Gingerbread houses with Aunt Noelle and cousin Lucie
Ornament making with Aunt Laura
Christmas Jam session with Uncle Reid, Grandpa Steve, and Spencer!
On Christmas Eve, despite the weather forecasters’ predictions of rain and blah, it started snowing while we were in our morning Christmas Eve service! It was quite incredible – We were inside singing O Holy Night by candlelight (another beautiful first, accompanied by a wash of fresh tears for a mama so thankful to be holding candles alongside my Haitian son and his Daddy, brother, and sisters), and we walked out of church to a wintry wonderland of snow falling, white powdery fluff on the ground, and grinning, giggling Wes, who couldn’t even believe what was happening! We drove home as fast as possible, busted out the snow gear and he proceeded to play in the snow for probably close to 6-7 hours over the course of the day, even into the dark with his cousins when they joined us for Christmas Eve dinner! It was an incredible gift for a first Christmas, and the kicker was that it was still there when we woke up on Christmas morning, giving us our first White Christmas in a very, very long time!
On the 23rd, we brought home our newest FURRY family member, 8-week old Maggie, a chocolate, standard-sized Australian Labradoodle. She was met at the front door with screaming Wes who couldn’t believe we got a puppy all our own, and teary older three, who were just completely melted at the sight of her. She has fast become everyone’s newest obsession, and the way that everyone is coming together to care for her and play with her is very sweet! She is highly entertained by our 2.5 year old pup Ollie, who thinks she is the best thing since dog food, and has to be put in isolation at times just to leave her alone! 😉 Bella, our 11-year old grumpy grandma dog, on the other hand, thinks she is the worst thing to happen to this family since Ollie came home, and refuses to give her the time of day, avoiding her like the plague! LOL
Wes handled Christmas gifting like a champ, we gave him a quick intro on how to be polite with gifts, even if it is something you don’t want, like underwear or a barbie (he thought that was funny), and after a couple awkward go-arounds with his first gift or two, he figured it out. We decided we would see how he was transitioning with American life before we made any decisions on Christmas and whether or not we were going to eliminate gifts this year, or change our normal routine for Christmas morning or gatherings. He was doing so well, that we decided to proceed as normal, being prepared to be flexible should we see anything questionable arise. We got through everything with zero issues, other than a tiny bit of normal kid crabbiness due to late nights and overstimulation. He was excited and a bit nervous to see how Christmas in America played out – it was very different at the orphanage, but I think he was satisfied with the result, and decided he might like to stick around to see how next Christmas goes…the countdown has already begun. haha 🙂
We’ve had a very nice break from the constant sports and practices and coaching, although at this point everyone is very ready to get back into their normal routines, needing their friend-time, and workouts, and court-time. This morning Wes woke up super excited because it was sunny outside (how come it is sunny in December??!!) and is already chowing through breakfast so he can “practice” shooting baskets on the sport court outside before he goes to his playdate later today!
We are continuing to see a blossoming of his personality, now coming up on 7 months home, he does continue to wrestle with the challenge of unknowns – but he’s learning to try something, (or be asked to try something) new before he makes a decision as to whether or not he likes it.
Praying for a fantastic new year for all of us, and all of you – please continue to keep in touch and ask questions, and we’ll continue to update here!
I’ll post pics in a few min from my phone!