Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012....

was beautiful and wonderful!

It was our first as a family of four

Ethan loved the excitement and presents

He loved having family and friends here -- and all the attention that came with it!

Aiden was genuinely excited with EVERY gift he recieved

It is such a blessing to be able to experience Christmas with our kids and "see it" through their eyes

We were so very luck to have Jeremy, Emily and Beck stop by for a bit so the Changchun buddies could see each other -- such a treat!

It was truly a blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Hectic Week and a Half

We're in the midst of a pretty "big" week and a half. As noted in the previous post, last Saturday was Ethan's baptism. We were blessed to have almost the entire family at our house for a couple days and we relished them. We had an incredible time! Now, we are finishing up the semester at school (which involves semester test study guides, last minute late work being turned in, semester tests, correcting semester tests....), yesterday was the four month anniversary of Ethan's Gottcha Day, tomorrow is the 1 year anniversary of his referral (assuming the Mayan's got this one wrong -- haha!), and the biggest event of course is the upcoming celebration of Jesus' birthday -- CHRISTMAS!! Whew.

Now, I have to say, I am surprised by how calm things are at our house. If you know me, you may describe me as being, well, a teeny bit high-strung, a scosh tense at times. And that's during "normal" situations. With all that's going on during this time and me just recently returning to work and trying to find the new normal with that, one would imagine that I would be wrapped pretty tightly right now. I'm not. Who'da thought? Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age. Maybe being a mother of two is calming me down. Maybe I'm starting to see what's truly important. OR, and this is far more likely, I'm so tired, overwhelmed and shell-shocked right now, I'm numb. All of this has kind of crept up on me! I am mortified to admit that I didn't realize that yesterday we hit the four month mark with Ethan until I saw somebody else's post of facebook. I had planned to "bargain shop" for Ethan's baptism supper -- you know, keep an eye open for deals? Well, that went out the window on Tuesday when I realized I had only a few days to prep. Huh. Then, semesters were here, and I didn't have my tests done, but I managed to get them thrown together (thank goodness I've been doing this a while; I'd have fallen apart if I had been this woefully unprepared and in my first few years in the profession). Luckily, we're keeping Christmas pretty low-key. Also, totally out of character for me, about a month I bought all the food for Christmas that would keep and stored / froze it. I now need only buy a few perishables. Anyway, let's face it. So what if the house isn't spic and span? Who cares if the food isn't haute cuisine? Does it matter if the boys' gifts don't get wrapped until the day before or wrapped well? We will be together, we will go to church, and we will celebrate the birth of Jesus. We will celebrate the gift of family. THAT is what's important!

Happy Four Month Anniversary Ethan, our incredibly happy, outgoing, sweet, funny, smart, gentle lil guy! We love you!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ethan's Baptism

I have been horribly remiss in updating the blog. Life has intervened. To be more accurate, I'm trying to figure out this whole working-mother-of-two-thing. Yes, I know it's ONLY two, but ach, there IS a learning curve I'm discovering. A lot has happened since I last posted centering largely on Aiden and his new hearing aid, but that deserves a post of its own, so I will have to return to that another time. This post is dedicated to Ethan's baptism as my none-too-creative title indicates.

The baptism weekend started Friday night when I went to the airport to pick up Michelle and Drew from the airport. Turns out, I'm not a fan of NOT being the one being dropped off or picked up from the airport. ;) I was happy to go get them, though, and feel blessed and honored that they came all the way back from WY for Ethan's special day. Mostly we are grateful she agreed to be Ethan's godmother!

We got back to the house late, around 11:00. We stayed up and talked and both boys woke up around midnight (maybe because I took Michelle and Drew into look at them and maybe monkeyed with the boys a bit--hmmmm) and stayed up for a while, so Michelle and Drew got to meet Ethan and see Aiden for a while. We didn't get up til around 7:30 Saturday, and I got to start prepping for the rest of the day. The big concern was weather. We were supposed to get freezing rain and snow, especially farther north of us. This wouldn't have been overly concerning except Grandma, Grandpa, Grandma Jan, AND Dave, Jennie and family (who had come over from West River and spent the night in DeSmet Friday night) were coming from where is was supposed to be the worst. Fortunately very little of the freezing rain developed and everybody made it down. The only exception was Grandma Jan who didn't want to risk bad weather and the dark, and we can't blame her, but we are sad she couldn't be with us.

Dave and Jennie brought a TON of food for lunch: taquitos, egg rolls, guacamole, shrimp and more. It was a great snacky kind of meal. (Actually, the amount of food they brought supplied us with snacks after supper and lunch today!) We had a great time talking and finishing getting ready. We left on time and Mass was very nice. Father Mason is wonderful and gave a very nice homily. After Mass, we had Ethan's baptism. Sean and Michelle were godparents, and Ethan loves them both. He was more than happy to have either of them hold him, so it went smoothly. Having the water poured on his head bothered him not even a little bit, but he did seem to think having a bunch of us form the sign of the cross on his head was a little odd. He thought the chrism / oil was strange, too, but he took it all in stride which is amazing especially when you consider he was over-tired and hungry. We even managed to get some really good pictures of him smiling (thanks Megan's friend Morgan for being photographer extraordinaire). He looked amazing in his white Chinese silks!

When the baptism was done and we had taken a few pictures, the whole crew (plus Father Mason) made our way back to our house. And a crew it was! There were close to 25 of us; we filled two entire pews during church. :) When we got home we had pork loin, served two ways, corn, mashed potatoes and jello salad (thank you, Mom, for the taters and salad!). Fortunately it turned out very well, but we had JUST enough. It was ALL eaten -- and that was 8 1/2 lbs of boneless pork loin!

After supper and a very light clean up, we all sat around and talked and laughed and had a wonderful evening. The boys had a heyday and are going to hate to come back to reality. They were spoiled rotten with all the attention and playmates. I am never happier than when I have a house full of people who are well-fed, having a good time, and laughing! My heart was full to bursting!

Michelle and Drew left late morning when Jenny and Andrew came to get them to go to a family Christmas gathering; Mom and Dad headed to DeSmet around noon; Dave and the kids left early afternoon -- half time of the Vikes game more precisely. We are now back to a quiet (relatively speaking with two small boys around) household. It is something of a let-down (but it must have worn me out; I just realized I am still in my jammies at 6:30 -- ooops), but I feel content and beyond blessed after such a beautiful weekend....and we will have Christmas in just eight days!! Thank you, God, for such a fulfilling and heart-warming weekend.

Newly baptized!

Not sure what to make of this whole process

A final blessing

Ethan with big brother Aiden, godmother Michelle, Mom, Dad, Father Mason, and godfather Sean

Godparents and parents with Ethan

Ethan, Dad & Mom

Post-baptism family gathering

Dad and Sean talking with Father Mason

Relaxing and talking while waiting to walk through the food line