Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Republic Day

These photos from our 2007 trip are a big contrast to the festivities for Republic Day this week. Click on the link below to see the celebration.

India just celebrated Republic Day, honoring the anniversary of the day their democratic constitution was signed. My sister Alicia sent me a link to some photos:

I loved looking at these pictures because some of them were taken at a site we visited, on Rajpath near the India Gate and other government buildings in New Delhi. The celebration sure makes the area look different than when we saw it -- it was relatively empty except for the area right by the Gate, where there were tourists, vendors selling things, and even a snake charmer. I just love all the colors that India is awash in -- which are much more evident in the Republic Day photos than in ours!

On the adoption front, I'm hoping that we will hear something soon about the new CARA guidelines, which were supposed to fully take effect in January. I am hoping and praying that the process will begin moving faster once everyone knows what the new process entails.

I have been feeling pretty discouraged this month as the days tick by. I wonder if we will even have a referral by summer, or if our travel will be 18 months away or longer. Now that I'm on the dark side of 40, I feel even more urgency because I don't want to be a fossil by the time this girl graduates from high school!

On days when I have a little more perspective, I can remember that God knows who our daughter is and has planned for her to enter our family in His own time, and I feel a little more peaceful. But the other days are just sad, wondering when it will finally happen.

In the meantime, I've been watching as Anya Rashi's cribmate Devi becomes a big sister. If you'd like to read Julie's fantastic posts about their travels in India and first days with Treya, click on "A Princess Born of India" in my blog list.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A little rambling

I usually take a few moments around my kids' birthdays to record some things about them. Because Anya Rashi's birthday is so close to Christmas, I often find myself waiting until after the holidays to do it . . . so here goes!

At your 4-year-old checkup, Anya Rashi, you were in the 94th percentile for height and the 75th for weight. I still can't believe it! I know that so many of your crib mates are very petite, but you are going to pass me up in height by the time you're 14 at this rate! When I see you next to the kindergarteners at school, it looks like you should get in line with them. :o) You are wearing size 4 and 5 clothing, and size 11 or 12 shoes.

You have some charming habits and games right now. You have an imaginary friend called Tiny Bug. When you waggle your index and middle fingers on your left hand and talk in a high-pitched voice, we know that Tiny Bug has made another appearance. The photo of you wrapped in a blanket is evidence of your delight in saying, "Wrap me up like a burrito, Mama!" After you're folded up in a blanket, your next command is, "Now eat me up!", followed by fits of giggles. You also like to play a guessing game in which we take turns giving clues so that the other person can guess which character we're thinking of.

You love to listen for different letters in words, and spot letters on the page as we read books. Your favorite this week is Charlotte's Web, and you laughed out loud tonight when we read about Wilbur trying to spin a web. You loved reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas in December, and can recite much of it by heart.

When you've done something that's not allowed at our house and hear that you're going to have a consequence, you say, "I am the only who has the good ideas at our house." You also love it if you're frowning and I say, "I have to fix your face," and I use my thumbs to pull your eyebrows from a scowl into a happy face. Both of us end up smiling then.

Your favorite bedtime songs are Jesus Loves Me, Take Me Out to the Ball Game and You Are My Sunshine. You like to sleep with your "fuzzy" blankie and a collection of your tiniest stuffed animals. Last night you made up a "love song" for your brothers at bedtime, and sang about how much you love them. (It's always nice to hear that amidst the "You didn't ask to play with my toys! MOMMY!")

You are still holding onto a few sweet little kid pronunciations. The way you say "mother" and "brother" sounds like "muvver" and "bwuvver." You also still suck your thumb when you're sleepy or have unoccupied time (such as riding in the van). You've figured out how to roll your tongue into an "o", and you've also taught yourself to skip. You are trying to learn how to raise just one eyebrow.

Just now, you're working on a bead project, and out of the blue you said, "Isn't it exciting to get our baby sister?" Yes indeed . . . it will be very exciting.

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You may be wondering about the foot photos . . . I just wanted documentation that my 10 year old son has feet that are almost as big as mine! And that's saying something -- I do not have dainty, demure feet. Aaron's feet are almost as big as my size 9s!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas surprises

Our Christmas was FULL in so many wonderful ways, so much so that I'm not even sure how to write about it. Peter had the week off between Christmas and New Year's Day and it was such a treat to have him home. This afternoon, he went back to work for our Saturday night service, and right in the middle of a craft project, Anya Rashi burst into tears and wailed, "I want my Daddy!" So I guess she liked having him home too!

We spent Christmas Day with Peter's family up in northernmost Wisconsin. The kids were thrilled to walk on the frozen lake at Aunt Anne & Uncle Nick's house, and Anya Rashi helped feed their chickens. The boys went out with their 17-year-0ld cousin Jack to help check his traps; he was hoping for ermine, but they found nothing. We had a great day tromping around in the snow, playing games, making snow angels, and enjoying a wonderful Christmas dinner.

The next day was our turn to host my family. Instead of the traditional turkey dinner, we opted for Italian, and had a feast of two kinds of lasagna, great fresh bread, olives, and salad. I did make pumpkin pie for dessert -- some traditions you don't mess with! My parents surprised us with a family gift of the Wii, which was a huge thrill for Aaron and Nathan. I love looking around my living room and seeing my whole family together.

Two of the best surprises were gift-related. About two months ago, Anya Rashi fell in love with a Princess Jewel fishing game. She talked about it for weeks, hoping she would find it under the Christmas tree . . . and her brothers got it for her! She was beside herself, and hugged Aaron and Nathan, who felt like heroes. The best moment, though, was when Peter opened the gift Anya Rashi chose for him. We were at a store when Anya Rashi spied a gift at the checkout counter and said, "I HAVE to get that for Daddy! He will LOVE it!" So we did . . . and Peter laughed so hard when he opened it: it's a Jesus keychain that lights up like a flashlight. She was right -- he does love it!

We got together with friends, went sledding, had a dinner date at a fondue place, and Peter's parents took us to see a huge light display in a city near ours. We spent New Year's Eve with some good friends -- a former co-worker from my museum days and her family -- and have had a quiet day at home today.

One unexpected thing happened Christmas night, when Aaron accidentally ate something with eggs in it. I don't write about it often, but he has severe food allergies to eggs and peanuts, and each reaction gets stronger. We work really hard to avoid those foods, but sometimes even our best efforts fail. This was the first time Aaron was actually frightened, because he felt his throat getting tight, and he thought he might have to use the EpiPen. (This child hates needles to the degree that he once had a filling done at the dentist with NO anesthetic!) Thank heaven my sister, who is a doctor, was sleeping over at our house and could watch over him along with us. She had her stethoscope in her car, and saved us a trip to the ER by listening to his breathing and helping us figure out how to adjust his medicine doses after he vomited.

He was fine by the time 24 hours had gone by, but it was really frightening. Most of the time, I try to ignore the reality of how dangerous everyday food can be for him. The next day, I was in tears because we thought he'd been exposed again -- and I got on the phone with a grocery store to find out the ingredients in what he'd eaten. Over the years, I have found one positive thing about his allergies: it has reminded me over and over how fragile life is, and how blessed we are to have our children for whatever time God allows us to have. His allergies are an exercise in trust for me . . . trusting the school, trusting other parents, trusting the leaders next year at summer camp, and ultimately, trusting that God will protect him, allergies and all. Wish I were better at that.

Last night, I'm happy to say that we were surprised in a great way: our friends' Christmas present to Peter and I was the proceeds of their autumn rummage sale . . . to use toward our plane tickets when we fly to India. I was in tears all over again at their support and kindness. They and their kids folded all the bills into little paper airplanes (so cute!), and stuffed them all into a zipper bag made by a fair trade company in India. Every part of that gift was so thoughtful! We are so blessed to have them helping us and cheering us on as we wait. I can't think what we ever did to deserve friends like we have . . . but I sure am grateful for them.

My only New Year's resolution for 2011 is that I'm determined to find out who our next daughter is!! I realize that it's not a real resolution, because it doesn't depend on me at all (believe me, if it did, I'd already know!), but it's the thing that's foremost on my mind this January 1st. Happy New Year!