December highlights

Back to the blogging world after a busy but wonderful month of December. And I'm here to tell you all about it. I know I'm long-winded in a *normal* post, but shut me up for a whole month and then sit me back down in front of the computer with an entire MONTH to catch you up on? Oh my. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea because you will be here awhile.

Here are some of the highlights from this past month:

At the beginning of December we celebrated Ella's sixth birthday. Which reminds me: I've yet to write her birthday letter.

We decorated our home- inside and out- with little white lights. No colored lights at this house, no sirree. And Mark put up the outside lights *exactly* how I wanted them. I love it. And I'm getting quite attached to this whole idea of having a window shelf, rather than a window box.

December 14th marked two years since our Isaias has been home from Guatemala. Our adoption journey to get this boy home seems so very long ago. It's been on my heart for some time to put together a little story book of sorts [in scrapbook form] for Isaias. Like a little scrapbook/picture book we can read aloud to him that tells his story. His journey to us and ours to him. Maybe writing that down here will motivate me to get started on it.

We baked, frosted and sprinkled Christmas cookies, a yearly tradition.

We delivered the gift to Koe, winner of my first-ever blog drawing. It was a delight to meet her. She invited us in for tea, introduced us to the three of her children who were home, gave us a tour of their new roomy home, and her boys invited my children to play with them. Koe and I sipped tea and chatted about parenting, foster care, adoption, kids, and a little bit of life history. It was a very nice visit. [Thank you, Koe!]

We celebrated my grandpa's 87th with a big birthday/Christmas party. The tables were adorned with ham, rolls, jello salads, layered salad, potato salad, and pies of every variety. One year I tried to bring a pasta salad and my mother was so alarmed she practically had a heart attack. If you're going to bring a salad to this family gathering, it positively *must* be a jello salad, a layered green salad, or a potato salad. Period. Mark regularly chuckles at the variety of jello salads my aunts and cousins come up with.
My grandparents had eight children and each of them have averaged 3-4 children and each of their children have averaged about that, too. Plus there are always several families my grandpa invites to join us. Families-- usually Cambodian or Vietnamese-- whom grandpa has "adopted" and who gather around the tables with us. We outgrew my grandparents' house years ago; we now rent a church, or a school. It's a joy each year to gather together and be with this wonderful extended family-- from Grandpa Jake's 87 years all the way down to the newest great-grandchildren, still awaiting their entry into the world from their mama's (my cousins') wombs. I love this family. And I am so full of gratitude for the legacy I have in the faith of my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. This family represents generations of those who have loved Jesus. And it shows.

We celebrated Christmas Eve day with Mark's side of the family, 27 of us, for a full twelve-hour day of festivities, beginning with brunch at 10:00 am, and ending at 10:00 pm with us and three exhausted children heading home. Packed in between were about a dozen or more homemade pizzas, trays of snacks, games of Twister, Hoopla, Catch Phrase, and Quoridor, a couple of basketball games outside, several impromptu wrestling matches involving Mark and his brothers with a few of the braver nephews and nieces tossed in the mix, Christmas gifts-- the highlight of which, in my opinion, were the matching pajamas for all the younger grandkids, from grandma and grandpa-- and the reading of Luke 2 by Mark's Grandma (in Dutch), and another reading by our young niece.

Christmas morning brought our children into our room, piled atop our bed with their stockings. Judging from our stocking contents, Ella and Isaac had been busy this month! Concealed inside were several cards lovingly wishing us Merry Christmases and I love you's. So precious. And then, amidst a stocking full of Snickers bars and kitchen utensils, I found a little white envelope. Tucked inside was a ten-dollar bill, Ella's entire life savings. Given "because I just love you so much, mommy." I have pressed it neatly between the pages of my Bible, never-to-be-spent, so that I can always remember how much my girl loves me, and reflect on how beloved she is to me.

By 10:00 Christmas Day we were at my parents' house. It was a smaller gathering this year as it was Dan and Stef's off-year. [We missed you guys!] So just my parents, Mark and I and our children, and my two younger brothers, Micah and Seth.
Anyway, nice day with my family.. my dad makes a scrumptious brunch, we read the Christmas story, sing songs and pray together, and then open gifts. They had to head off late in the afternoon to yet another family function, so we took the kids home and napped the afternoon away. Then they came over later that evening to finish out the day with some games.

A few days after Christmas we gathered at Mike and Amy's house for our annual Christmas with them. We ordered take-out Thai food, sang songs, exchanged presents, played Blokus. And then we put the kids down and stayed to play two rousing games of Ticket to Ride, ate chips and dip, foccocia bread, drank yummy drinks (thank you, Mike!)Ben and Jerry's ice cream

Let's see... Mark and I got to go on not one but two dates this month.
We took the kids on a Christmas pajama ride , which included a drive through town to see all the Christmas lights. We ate lots, played a ton of games, put together three 1000-piece puzzles. (Puzzles are serious business at our house this time of year. And my man is an exceptional puzzle-putter-togetherer. Or however you would say that.) Ella and Isaac even joined in on the puzzle fun.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas. I love how you are keeping the gift from Ella in your bible....precious.

  2. No colored lights?! In all honesty, I used to be an all white girl myself. Now? White lights on everything except for the fence - it just adds a nice little touch. I also put a mini Christmas tree up in the kids' room this year and it just seemed right to put colored lights on it.

    Great update! I've missed checking in with you and was just about to write and inform you that December was over until you wrote your last post. ;-)

  3. Hi Stacy :) How fun everything sounds! It is SO lovely to have you back.

    I was so blessed to read of Ella's gift to you. What a precious heart!

    By the way, I didn't know our girls were the same age. Miss M was 6 on Jan 1st. Cool!

    Your idea of a book for Isaias is a wonderful one! What a treasure that will be for all of you, and I will be looking forward to hearing more about it as you work on it :)

    Thanks for catching us up! Love, Q

  4. My favorite part was the $10 bill. So sweet... priceless.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yay! You're back! Sounds like you have a fabulous family-filled December. We've had some rousing games of Blokus around here as well. Oh, and I need to write my little December birthday girl a letter too. Thanks for the reminder! Hugs to you!

  6. Sounds like a lot of fun! I have yet to write Peregrine's birthday letter- and his was the beginning of November. Soon, I hope! I wonder if the abundance of jello salads has anything to do with your proximity to Canada. I remember there, that practically no "full" meal was complete without some form of one. And they came up with some strange combinations too!

  7. Hi Stacy,

    I'm so glad you gave us an update. It sounds like you had a wonderful December.

    I love all the games you guys play! We love games too. I want to buy some new ones - maybe I'll look into some you have mentioned. Settlers?

    Have a great week,

  8. That wasn't too long!!
    Welcome back and Happy New Year!

  9. I had so much fun reading this post! Sounds like you had a wonderful memory-packed month. We sure did miss you around here-- good to have you back!

  10. It sounds like a month full of fun memories. Especially that time you had at the Hollisters. They sound like great people! You should spend lots more time with them! But you forgot to mention that you won the game BOTH times we played! You rock!

  11. You've been missed! Glad, glad, glad to have you back!

    I simply LOVE the picture of Grandpa!


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