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Very First Chistmas

Oh my, this sweet day was almost too much for the hearts of these two parents.
A first Christmas for two little ones who were so filled with wonder and awe at each moment, each new aspect of ‘Christmas’; they stared at lights, brightneing their wide little eyes, touched paper-wrapped boxes, smiling and nodding when we told them it was for them, but not quite understanding yet. 
Snuggling in blankets, bellies full, burdens off their shoulders, hugs and family. Sometimes Andrew and I just caught each others eye and smiled.
As we drove by a run down house with three blinking lights, “WOW!!!  MAMA, PAPA, FINLEY LOOK!”
Their sweet joy is contagious, their thankfulness humbling. 

Reading a story of two teenagers, about to become parents, ill equipped, poor, and traveling, but about to have the most beautiful, humble birth.
 The boys played drums, and did a lot of wrestling by the fire while Maria and mama made peppermint cookies.

We tucked the littlest in bed, who fell asleep, his warm cheek on my chest, as he stared into my eyes, smiling.  He was SMILING as he fell asleep, and when his eyes shut tight, sleeping, he let out a sweet sleep giggle–our little stowaway, our hidden treasure.

These three read a story about cookies and mice sent from a sweet friend named Charlie who also escaped a life from an institution in Russia.

But wait, what was that?  Did you hear it too?

Wide eyes looked outside, was it the reindeer?

Just one more cookie before bed, two more hugs.

“What’s tomorrow?”


“Stinky toes!” -Finley.  He has turned into the family comedian, Maria laughing at everything he says, which of course, he loves, and keep the jokes rolling.

Maria and Finley spend all their time in the backseat of the car laughing together, just laughing while we drive.

Andrew and I discovered a new family tradition: Baked French Toast….oh my gosh, we need to go on a jog.  We couldn’t handle how good it was, and you make it the night before to be ready the next morning.  With all the kids tucked in bed, we ripped bread, poured milk, sprinkled cinnamon, it was so fun, it made us feel like legit parents 😉

The next morning, when we heard them stir, we peaked into their rooms to wake them up, ready for this special day, this day that memories are made of, and we were greeted with smiles from sleepy faces.  Finley had created his own style, but he was SO, SO excited to wake up!

And had a BIG breakfast of cantaloupe, french toast, juice and bacon.  In fact, the french toast was the first ‘solid food’ Elijah ate, go buddy!

Then it was time for something called, “Stockings!”  Maria thought they were so funny, we were having so much fun.

Splat balls form the Farmer’s Market.

Then Maria gave her gift to Papa,

“A WHEEESK!!!” for our pancake guy!

Special gifts for mommy too.

Since we had just completed a Russian adoption, we had known it would be a ‘small’ Christmas, two gifts for each child.

Finley got something to read.

Elijah got a special truck, and a little ball.

“Oh guys, you shouldn’t have”

Andrew got a Sevenly shirt to support Reece’s Rainbow!

Maria got a Samantha book with paper dolls which she and papa played all afternoon (Because her papa is so, so sweet)

But oh my, the Uribe family got our kids the sweetest gifts, dropped them off before Christmas, and they were the sweetest, nicest things they own.  Beautiful art supplies for Maria, wooden toys and puzzle for the boy and nice, new clothes that fit perfectly.  We felt very overwhelmed by their sweet generosity.  

It’s funny, the adoption road makes Christmas so magical not just for our kids, but for Andrew and I as well since we had lived and loved hand-me-downs, and today, ‘special toys!’ ‘new books!’ we ended up playing and reading along with our kids for most of the day, and in the past few days as well.

At nap time the kids slept and slept, Finley slept until it was almost dark, then we loaded up for Christmas dinner at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Maria got grandma a matrioshka.

Maria jumped around for joy, while the boys focused on pushing toy cars, and sneaking candy canes.
Brightening up the whole room

A lamby all his own
Sevenly clothes to support Reeces Rainbow with a Reeces Rainbow angel

“I love Christmas”


And my sweet little girl gave a gift to Tanya her doll, and I gave her her first sewing lesson.  Thank you to Gena for the amazing American Girl magazine, we got the idea from there, and I taught her to sew.  She loved it, I love her baby wearing skills too 😉

She wrapped it and placed it under the tree just for Tanya, who now sleeps with it every night.

We had one of those Christmases that will last a life time in our hearts, I cound’t even begin a list of things that I am thankful for, except to say everything.
 How is this even our real life?  Thank you God, for it all.

Oh Santa, you’re so weird

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

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  • Kimmie December 28, 2012, 7:53 am

    So blessed, but you know that 😉


  • Tim and Heidi Huber December 28, 2012, 3:57 pm

    Oh, your posts make me cry sometimes. I just came across your blog as you were bringing the children home from Russia. Your family is lovely. You are lovely. And you share that love with people you don’t even know — all the way in Kansas.

  • kate December 28, 2012, 4:33 pm

    Merry Christmas!

    I have a video from the first Christmas Lexi was home (age 6) retelling the Christmas story. She was happy and hoped she would get some chocolate the next day.

    The following year I had her tell the Christmas story again…and OH the joy and excitement! She KNEW what was coming and she could hardly wait.

    So, get ready–you have so many wonderful Christmases ahead.

  • Kathleen December 28, 2012, 7:47 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Merry Christmas!!

  • Jennie December 29, 2012, 12:30 am

    My goodness, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger more genuine smile than Maria’s in all of these pictures! I can only imagine how beautiful it was in person 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  • Rebecca Higgins December 29, 2012, 11:46 am

    Beautiful! What a blessing!

  • Jen December 29, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Perfect day. Love how Elijah is getting so chubby!

    I read a bit ago about the decision that was made about Russian adoptions. I’m heartbroken even more, praying for mercy for all the babies and children.

    And, I’m stuck by something I read in a previous post about the adoption process and how it was the Lord’s prompting, timing and provision that got it “done”. I remember how you had written something about, if it had been up to you and Andrew to figure out the logistics that you wouldn’t have two precious children in your arms. That takes on a whole new depth now. Praying more will still be able to be ransomed- and for supernatural change to come over the president, that future adoptions would not only be opened back up, but that the process would be even easier. Mercy dear Lord

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