Merry Merry!

Telling Santa he wants a pony (because Mommy jokingly told Santa that). Awesome Santa told Eze ponies are pretty messy on the sleigh 🙂

Mommy showing a leery Eze how it's done.

Presents!!

Merry Christmas, everyone! May your days be merry and bright!!!

Far Too Many Words…

This blog has far too many words, it’s time for a picture post.

Playing a hunting game at his friend Eliana's birthday party at the bowling alley.

The whole goofy bowling gang.

My favorite puppet

Three of my favorite people on earth. Congrats Graduate Riss!

Ho Ho Ho

Last night I went all Suzy Homemaker and made White Chocolate Peanut Butter for my co-workers.  Dave was pumped that the recipe made more than I needed and I had to leave some at home. He promised to try and not eat it all while I’m at work today. (I’ve got my eye on you, Reebs).

Tomorrow morning Dave is taking my parents up to the airport, then delivering goodies to all of our landscaping clients who live up in the Twin Cities area. So Ezekiel and I will have the morning to ourselves tomorrow. We might have to go out on a little Christmas Eve date. What to do?

Ezekiel is a full-blown believer of Santa Claus. One night before bed I told him a story about my sisters and I having a slumber party and waiting up to catch Santa in the act (true story). I told him that when we came upstairs after hearing a noise, I saw a black boot attached to a red pant leg flying up the fireplace chimney (false story). His eyes were huge and he completely believed every word I said. Now he tells many of the people we see that “My mommy SAW Santa Claus once!” I’m kind of a big deal.

Big Agency Small Agency

For our first adoption, we used a small well-respected agency out of St. Paul, MN. They have a long history of adoptions in the Philippines (they were one of the first agencies there). At times, we were kind of wound up I was a nut job during that adoption. Being a first-time parent AND first-time adopter, I was on an emotional roller coaster. Not through the whole process, but there were times that I convinced myself things were going wrong. Like when I was sure that our dossier had fallen out of the airplane on the way to the Phils. Each step of the way, we had one (amazing) contact for pretty much everything. Karin. She’s awesome. Organized, knowledgeable, personable, in touch, an adoptive mom herself. Exactly right for the line of work she is in.

This time around we’re using a large well-respected agency that is out of state. They also have a long history of adoptions, from many countries, but especially Korea. We feel comfortable that they know what they are doing, we like the processes they have in place for child placements, travel while in country. The thing is, they are so large that we have already dealt with at least 5 different people throughout the process. I’m always a little confused about which person I’m supposed to be e-mailing/talking with for different questions I have. At times it can feel impersonal, receiving form letters, wondering if everything is being communicated correctly, and feeling like we’re on our own to navigate these new seas. Don’t get me wrong, there are many many good things about the large agency too. For adopting from Korea, we are glad that we are with them. They process so many adoptions, that they are almost always exactly right with their predictions for travel. We get wonderful updates on Simon almost monthly. There is a large community of people to communicate with on their forums for any type of question you might have.

I guess it boils down to how much personal contact you want throughout your adoption process. In the beginning, I would have said that Dave and I would have been fine with it either way, we’re tech-savvy and can figure out most of the extensive and/or weird forms adoption requires. However, now that we’ve experienced both, I have to say we are fans of the small, personable agencies. There is just something knowing that you’re going to get the same person when you call or e-mail, and that person knows exactly who you are and where you are at in the adoption process that makes it all seem more do-able.

ThanksChristmas?

I can’t help but feel thankful this week, as Christmas approaches. I think that’s the best part of all of the holidays as I get older. They cause me to pause life for a moment and think about all of the things I’m thankful for. My thankful list right now still looks a lot like my thankful list from Thanksgiving.

Added to that list is my new beloved Kindle (I’ve already read two books on it, and now Dave has it so he can read The Hun.ger Games <— SO good!), and the fact that I have a job right now. I loved being a contractor, but with the downturn in the economy, it’s been hard for contractors to find projects right now. I now have this permanent job with people I truly enjoy working with, and great benefits. The drive stinks, and I keep waiting for that wave of “I made the wrong choice and turns out I hate this job” feeling to roll over me. Instead I feel peace each time I think of the fact that I’m able to provide for my family and use my skillz in my work place.

I’m still smiling from the memories made with my family the weekend before last. Awesome BIL Jay took pictures of the fam, and sent out a sneak peek so my mom could use it on her Christmas cards.

LOVE

Some Ezekielisms from the past few weeks:

Me: Ezekiel, you are such a bright boy!
Eze: Such a BROWN boy!!

Eze: (on a 15-minute “phone call” using Dave’s old cell phone) Hang on, it’s time to eat so I have to go. I’ll text you later on my cellephone (rhymes with telephone).

Me: Eze, what should we buy Daddy for Christmas?
Eze: I know! A Batman cave (this would be what he got for Christmas from my brother and SIL). And then we should make a bridge that connects my cave to his cave!!! (Just what Dave always wanted)

This morning Dave and Eze were leaving to go out to my parents’ house to play with some different toys and get out of our house for a while. Dave called for Gus (my parents live in the country, so Gussy gets to roam free out there). Gus didn’t come, so Dave asked Ezekiel to help look for Gus. After a minute or so, Ezekiel said, “Oh, Gus is in my room!” Dave saw the bedroom door is shut, so he scolded Eze and told him it’s not kind to lock Gus in any room. He went in and there was no Gus to be seen. Then Ezekiel said, “Oh. Wait. He’s in my closet”. Sure enough, as soon as Dave opened the closet door, Gus came out, tail a-waggin’. Poor Gus. He will do anything his boy tells him to do, he’s such a good dog. Dave put Eze in a time out and had a stern conversation about treating others (including dogs) with respect and kindness. I have to admit, I was giggling a little when he called me at work to tell me the story.

Three Years

How is it possible that three years have flown by this quickly? Three years ago at this very moment, Dave and I were meeting Ezekiel at the orphanage in the Philippines. We’ve gone from meeting a little boy who did not like us AT ALL, to a little boy who is madly in love with us, lives life to the fullest, and is one of the brightest boys I know. Each time I tell him stories about his adoption, he just can’t believe that he didn’t like us. That he was an angry little boy. It’s just so opposite of what he is now. It’s amazing what lots of love, good food, love, boundaries, love, and consistency will do for a kid!

I got home from work and an evening out with friends, and Ezekiel ran over to me when I was in the kitchen. He started talking really fast about the plans for his Adoption Day that we’ll celebrate tomorrow (even though we met him Dec 14th US time, we celebrate it on the 15th since it was the 15th in the Philippines when we met him). He is pumped to eat Outrageous Garlic Soup, cupcakes and (his favorite part, he so informed me tonight) for “Mommy and Daddy to sing ‘Happy Adoption Day to you, Happy Adoption Day to you…'”.

I love that he is just as excited about celebrating his Adoption Day as we are each year. This weekend when we were spending time with my family, he said at one point, “I’m so glad I adopted you, Mommy”. Be still my heart. I love how true that is. We adopted each other and taught each other how to live, love, laugh.

Happy Heart

Yesterday was SUCH a fun day. Between my little sister’s graduation, a celebration at a hibachi grill, family pictures, Christmas with my side of the family, and games and wine with my siblings and older nieces, I don’t think I could pick a favorite part of my day.

My younger sister — that smart little lady — graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Art. We made lots of cat calls and ensured she could feel our pride with each mention of her name. Loudly. After the graduation, we went to a hibachi grill in the town the college is located and had our huge family surrounding the grill. Some of us ordered sushi (mmmmmmm…), but we had the opportunity to enjoy the fun of the hibachi grill guy. I wouldn’t say that Ezekiel would necessarily agree that it was an “opportunity” to “enjoy” the fun. As soon as the first flame went up in the grill guy’s show, Eze jumped off of his chair and backed in the corner while covering his ears with his hands. It was pitiful and cute, every time the flames would come, he’d run and hide, either in the corner or under my parents’ chairs. He wouldn’t even come and eat his food until the grill guy was finished and gone.

Being a firefighter might not be in his future 🙂

We went back to our house to grab Christmas gifts for our celebration later that evening, and Eze played tour guide for my older sister’s husband who hadn’t seen our new house yet. We headed out to my parents’ house after that where Ezekiel and I (attempted) to nap. He told me he wasn’t tired through many tears, and promptly zonked out. Neither of us slept very long, though, before the cackle of my family playing games reached our ears. I got up after about an hour and Ezekiel said, “Boy that was a short one, it sure is loud up there!”

Post-nap, we played some games with my family, and then the little kids headed out to sled with Auntie Yaya, Uncle Jay and Dave. I pretended that my boots didn’t fit or some such nonsense to avoid having to go out in the frigidity and risk getting snow down my pants. We ate our traditional soup-for-Christmas-Supper, and then took family pictures by the Christmas tree. My brother-in-law Jay is a very talented photographer, so he set it all up, and had it on a timer, so we were able to stuff the whole family in for a few shots. Everyone (who lives in the United States) was home for the weekend, so it was nice to get an almost-whole-family picture. The next time we take family pics, it’ll be with another little man in the shots. I can’t wait for that day. We also took individual family shots that I can’t wait to see.

After pictures, it was time to open Christmas gifts. Ezekiel’s reaction to my brother and his wife’s gift to him was priceless. It was this huge Bat.cave. He looked around and exclaimed, “Is this for real?!?!?!?!?!” And just kept oooohing and aaaahing over its awesomeness. He got a bowling set that he really loves too, and even had my little nieces pretending they were at a bowling alley and there was a screen with their names on it telling them whose turn it was.

After I opened my gift from my parents, I was a little confused. I opened my box and there was a new microwavable baked potato cooking bag in there (my old one was all tattered and old). I dug in there to see if there was something else, but it was empty. My older sister sitting next to me got the same thing. Dave said my face looked grumpy. I’d like to think I’m not that shallow and greedy (?), I had been hoping for a Kindle for a while and Dave knew that. After everyone else was done opening their gifts, suddenly my mom walked over to my sister and me with a small box in each of her hands. Matching Kindles for us. Yay!! I was so excited, I danced a little jig. Another awesome gift that we received was handmade pot holders from my mom. Why are they so awesome? Well she put one pot holder in each of our stockings, so that as a couple we would have a set of potholders. I pulled mine out and it was yellow and green. Dave pulled his out and it was yellow and purple. Perfect for our Packers vs. Vikings family 🙂

After we put the little kiddos in bed at my parents’ house, we came upstairs to enjoy some wine our older nieces bought us, and play the game we’d bought my dad – Sour Apples To Apples. SO much fun! We all had a great time, and likely kept the kiddos awake longer (and embarrassed our nieces) with our jokes and cackles.

We are giving my siblings-without-kids an opportunity to sleep in before heading back out for more fun. Ezekiel has asked us approximately 78 times this morning when he can go back out and play with his Bat.cave. Then Ezekiel has a Christmas program at church this afternoon. My heart is happy today.

Pirates vs. Jesus

Yesterday Dave was standing in the kitchen when he heard Ezekiel playing with his pirates in the living room. He peeked around the corner and saw that Ezekiel had also gotten his little stuffed nativity set down from the window sill and had incorporated them into the play time. Dave went about cleaning in the kitchen when he heard Ezekiel say, “We are pirates and we don’t LIKE you, Jesus! We are going to shoot your manger!!!” After a couple of seconds, Dave heard the wise men come to the rescue and save baby Jesus.

I love my boy and his imagination.

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