Saturday, December 17, 2011

5 years old, 4 years home!

Anya Rashi's birthday is a little unique -- Peter and I first met her and held her on December 12, but we've always celebrated her Homecoming Day on December 16, which is also her birthday. That is the day we flew home and we were all together for the first time as a family of five, under the same roof.

We celebrated all day long! First, she got to bring a treat to preschool. She chose grape-and-cheese kabobs to balance out her favorite Christmas treat: candy canes. Then, our local Christian radio station has a birthday club -- and she received a gift certificate from them for a free meal at Subway. So lunch was extra special too.

The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for dinner. We had family over for the meal of Anya Rashi's choice: Chicken Makhani, Jasmine rice, salad and root beer. After asking for birthday cupcakes for birthdays 2, 3 and 4, she changed course and asked for cake pops this year. She's seen them at Starbucks, and on her cribmate Devi's blog . . . so we tried our hand at them, after finding some instructions online. They were a big hit!

Anya Rashi, you hold such a special place in our family and in our hearts! Your grandma always says our family was like a puzzle missing a piece, and you filled it perfectly. Your Daddy and I love watching you with your brothers, watching as you've spread your wings in preschool this year, watching your very animated face as you talk about . . . well, anything!

I always seem to do a "numbers" game on your birthday -- I can't help but calculate the percentage of your life that you've been with us compared to the time you spent in an orphanage. As of yesterday, we've been blessed to have you for 80% of your life! Kind of goofy, I know . . . but I think it each year just the same.

And now, you are also a sign of hope as we wait for your sister: your sparkle, joy, and enthusiasm -- and the miraculous fact of your presence -- brings us much hope through the long wait for our next daughter. Just by being you, by being here, you give us reassurance about God's timing for our second adoption.

We love you, and are so grateful you are our daughter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The week of Christmas craziness

We're right in the middle of a week-long Christmas crush. I'm an introvert, and too much activity wears on me, so I'm glad the busiest part of our Christmas season is over . . . but I've also really enjoyed the things we chose to do.

Our church's Christmas musical production was last Wednesday through Sunday. Peter is the director, and every year I am amazed at how he pulls a group of people together to put on a show -- acting, singing, lighting, sound, live animals -- that is enjoyed by over 3,500 people. He is one talented man.

Because there is a live nativity included at some point in each year's play, there is a petting zoo before the show. Thankfully, the donkey and camel are not part of the petting options -- just miniature sheep, goats, bunnies, chickens and a tortoise. (Incidentally, the tortoise is just along for the ride and isn't in the show!) It's such a gift to experience it through my kids' eyes -- they absolutely love getting to hold and pet the animals, and then they get to see them in the production. Total wonder and delight!

This year I was sad not to take my usual "date" to the show -- my 93-year-old neighbor, Ann. She is a woman with an amazing life story, and she's been my date for the show every year since we moved here. She was hospitalized Sunday morning with an infection, so for the first time in 8 years we didn't see the musical together. Anya Rashi is fond of her because she gives out Pez candy each time we visit. :o) She's back home now, doing well, thankfully.

Then on Saturday, Aaron and Nathan performed two concerts with our city's boychoir . . .which brought on sobbing fits from Anya Rashi because it's a more formal setting, and she had to wear (gasp!) a dress. After the tears, she gave me the stink-eye and reminded me that she only wears a dress on Christmas Day and Easter.

The boys have a rehearsal tomorrow night because they're singing at services this weekend, along with a few other kids. And also Peter and some choir members are singing at a nursing home tonight.

Through most of this, I am the "hub" of the family "wheel," making sure that everyone gets where they need to be and has food and clean clothes. Until this Monday: then we threw my volunteer work with at-risk young women into the mix -- after putting together 24 gifts, I went with two other volunteers to bring Christmas gifts to some of the women last night. We will deliver another 24 gifts in the next two weeks, but other people are "on duty" those nights.

It made for one crazy week, but I'm glad it was all crammed into the first part of December. From here on out, I am looking forward to some peaceful weeks leading up to Christmas. Any further craziness I experience will involve making cookies, addressing Christmas cards, and wrapping presents . . . I'm looking forward to days of quieter anticipation, all at home, in front of our own Christmas tree. Which sounds just right.