Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas, 2008

We had a wonderful Christmas in Eugene visiting our families and are now safely home. The roads have been plowed (except for the inches of ice still layered on our street), suitcases have been unpacked and we are ready for the New Year! Here's what we were up to this Christmas:

Isabelle was her usual helpful self on Christmas Eve at Grandma Janet's house, helping organize the vegetable tray. At Grandma Barbara's house Isabelle helped my Aunt Bonnie set out treats. While most people spread Christmas cheer over the holidays my family sets all goodwill aside to play our annual game of Spoons, which is a highly violent and aggressive version of musical chairs. Isabelle must have remembered this game from last year because as we sat down to play she said, "I think we're going to need some band-aids." Luckily no first-aid was needed, but I did break blood vessels in my hand as my own father wrenched a spoon out of my grasp. In the end there were two. Grandma Barbara and three-time champion, cousin Warren. For the final match the skeleton gloves came out to even the playing field. In the end Warren was the victor by a landslide and will hold the title for another year.
Almost bedtime on Christmas Eve.
Do you think Isabelle was excited?
Christmas Day finally came and Isabelle got to open all those presents she'd been eyeing.

Back at Grandma Janet's house we got to meet Isabelle's adorable cousin Ella who lives in Georgia.
A new laptop toy from Grandma Janet and Grandpa Wayne!

A treasure chest filled with dress-up clothes from Great-Grandma Nancy and Aunt Bonnie!

The day after Christmas Isabelle really got to enjoy her new toys. Santa brought her this Barbie rock-star guitar.
I think Isabelle's favorite gifts had to be her new Tinkerbell twirly pajamas and slippers. Here she is dancing and twirling to Hannah Montana.
Time for a rest with Grandma Barbara
Putting a puzzle together with cousin Mark at Grandma Janet's. Isabelle thinks he is the most wonderful boy ever!
Coloring with cousin Ella

It's always fun to dig through Grandma Janet's kitchen drawers.
Isabelle and Ella
We wish we lived closer so these two could get to know each other better!

Opening presents

Isabelle is definitely on her way to becoming a rock superstar if this mosh pit display is any indication.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We're heading to Eugene but wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here are a few more pictures of our snowstorm that just won't stop. As long as we're safe and cozy, we're hoping for a white Christmas!

We ended up getting about 10" of snow! (So far)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Disappointing News

We heard from our caseworker today that we did not pass court last week and they are not yet sure why. It is very common to not pass the first time but we are still very sad about the news. We have a second court date scheduled for January 23rd, which seems like a long time from now. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Our first snow of the season finally arrived here in Washington! What a beautiful weekend we had playing outside and staying cozy by the fire. We even had a late start this morning at school and another one is scheduled for tomorrow. The forecast is for more snow and freezing temperatures all week so I'm sure we are just beginning our winter. It's supposed to be a balmy 17 degrees tonight so it's definitely time to break out the long underwear!

This year Isabelle really had fun in the snow.
Snowball fight! She may be little, but we show no mercy!

Barney the snowman
Judging by the look on Jason's face, it appears he's met his soul mate.
The best part of a snow day is warming up by the fire. You can't tell but the fireplace really is on - the flame just didn't show up in the picture!

"Candy canes can make your teeth stick."

Eating Snow

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Happenings and Court Date this Week

I'm a bit behind with my posting because, not only is it the hectic holiday season, it's also every teachers favorite time of year - report cards and conferences!
We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend this year. Isabelle was my little sous chef and helped me prepare much of the food in advance. While I was hoping that my roasted turkey or Mom's wonderful stuffing would have been Isabelle's favorite part of the meal I realized early on they were no match for milk served in a wine glass. Who knew that stemware was the secret to digesting copious quantities of Vitamin D?
We were also able to take Isabelle to see her first performance of the "Nutcracker". There is a wonderful book of the "Nutcracker", based solely on the ballet, that we read prior to taking her so she was well-versed in what she would be seeing onstage. She sat quietly through the entire performance, leaning over once to whisper, "I wish I could be a twirly girl on that stage."

Somehow Isabelle finagled her way into sitting at the grown-up table while Darla, Eric and I were relegated to the kids table. As you can see, she couldn't even put the milk down long enough to take a picture.
On our way to see the "Nutcracker"
Isabelle and Papa
After the show Isabelle enjoyed taking a bite out of the mouse king.
On Saturday we got our Christmas tree. Isabelle
is definitely getting used to the decision-making process that is involved in choosing the perfect tree. However, she didn't seem to mind trudging back and forth through the mud puddles as much as Jason did! Isabelle in her Rudolph hat
Isabelle is currently practicing being patient, waiting until after dinner every night to open a door or window on our Santa's Workshop Advent calendar to see what surprise might be inside.
What could it be?
"Oh my goodness! It's a sticker! Could my life get any better?!"
While we are very excited about the holidays, and are busy preparing, we are also thinking a lot about Baby M. this week. Our court date is on Friday (Thursday night for us) and we are hoping we make it through okay. We know that most people do not make it through on the first try but please keep us, and everyone else who has court, in your thoughts and prayers this week. We probably won't know the results for a week but we'll keep you posted - literally!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

...unless your name is Jason. With the holidays fast approaching I begin to think about all the things that need to be done around the house to make it festive and cheerful. For me this means Christmas lights on the house and lots of baking and cooking. Alas, for Jason the consequences of holiday merry-making are putting up the Christmas lights (yes, they must be straight) and cleaning up the kitchen after I've used every dish in the house. At least he had a little helper this year!

Isabelle and Jason working on the first strand of lights. Note the happy smiles - as if Jason has been counting down the days to these joyous hours he will spend testing hundreds of tiny light bulbs to find the one causing the whole strand not to work.

Five hours later. What happened to your smile Jase? And where did your helper go?
Jason is so lucky to have a wife who knew he would need some time away from those Christmas lights. Just look at this refreshing break I'm giving him!
I'm sure that after washing these dishes Jason was rejuvenated and ready to head back up to the roof.
Please don't feel too badly for Jason. He will get to enjoy all the goodies I made, including this new recipe for cranberry-pistachio biscotti. Besides, doesn't every man love to help around the house?

Monday, November 17, 2008


Since the end of September all Isabelle has wanted to wear are twirly dresses and all she has wanted to do is dance (at least in the privacy of her own home). As soccer is quickly coming to an end we are in need of a new Saturday activity and Isabelle has requested ballet lessons with her friend Laney. Some of you may remember Isabelle's short-lived dance career this summer at The Little Gym. She preferred to watch from the doorway and never did one dance step. While skeptical as to how a new dance class would turn out we dutifully signed Isabelle up for a trial class in ballet and creative movement. What a difference a few months, preschool and a best friend can make! Isabelle blew us away with her direction-following, grace (for a three-year-old) and enjoyment of the class.
Isabelle's class is at the Turning Pointe Dance Centre, which is definitely a step up from the Little Gym program. Isabelle loved the big dance studio with wall-to-wall mirrors to watch herself spin, twirl and leap. She also really liked running into the dressing room with the other girls to change her clothes after class and was very adamant she do this by herself with no help from me. If Isabelle continues to like dancing she will be in a recital in the spring!
On another note, I am quite excited about Isabelle's dance class as I can now spend Saturday mornings enjoying my coffee while I watch Isabelle's class, rather than spend Saturday afternoons chasing after soccer balls in the wind, rain and cold!

Striking a pose

Most of the girls in this class have been attending since September. We thought Isabelle was doing a pretty good job of keeping up! In these videos we are watching through a window so there is a lot of background noise. The girls were hearing music as they danced.

We really like the instructor, Erin. She was very patient and gentle with the girls.

I'm sure Isabelle thought she was in Heaven during this segment of the class. She was the only one of the girls who followed the teacher's direction to twirl across the floor. Little did Erin know that this is what Isabelle lives for. She probably just thought Isabelle was very comfortable with solo routines!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Have a Court Date

I spoke with our caseworker Christy today and we are one step closer to bringing Baby M. home! A court date has been set for December 12th but, before anyone gets too excited, there are some stipulations. There is a new process in place for approving adoption paperwork which involves a second branch of the Ethiopian government. Because of this many families do not make it through court on the first try and need to be rescheduled for 1 1/2-2 months after the first date. We are being cautiously optimistic that we make it through the first time. That would mean we could travel as early as the first of January, making winter break from school that much more fun! We are also prepared to wait until February or March if things don't go our way in December. Everybody keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

High School Musical

Today Isabelle went to her first movie in an actual theater. So, which show would she choose for this momentous event? Perhaps one with adorable fuzzy animals or a talking dog? No. After viewing several trailers online Isabelle chose High School Musical for three reasons:
  1. Dancing
  2. Singing
  3. Even amongst the preschool set Troy is "totally awesome" (alas, her words)

I do reconcile the choice with the fact that HSM was given a G rating, compared to Madagascar's PG. And really, who doesn't love a wholesome musical every now and then?

Isabelle also decided that today was the day she really needed to have her sparkly pink purse with her.
I took this before the movie started. Later, Isabelle was totally rocking out in her seat.

My very independent girl with her very large bag of popcorn.

We don't have anything to worry about, do we? :)