Sunday, December 31, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!

Well, our first Christmas as a family was wonderful! Fun, hectic, full of memories, presents and food! Little Miss Kelsey had a great time and Kurt and I loved making her first Christmas extra special.
We started out at Church on Christmas eve morning and Kelsey was an angel in the Children's pagent. She decided while sitting with me in the sanctuary that she didn't want to sit there with the other kids, so she toddled off (I tried to hold her back, but lost!) She ended up in Pastor Brooks' lap for the rest of the kids' pagent.
Then we came home and Kelsey took a nap while Mommy baked some cookies. Then we got dressed and headed off to my sister Janet's house for our traditional Christmas eve celebration. We celebrated and exchanged gifts with my Mom, Aunt Audrey and Janet and Michael's family (kids Alyssa, Mikey and Marina) We ate antipasta, macaroni and meatballs, shrimp (not Kurt) and fritas (our favorite Italian treat!) then of course, loads of desert!
During the evening, Kelsey made one wardrobe change from her red "Santa dress" to her pj's. I bought Kelsey, Kurt and myself matching pj's for Christmas morning, a tradition I'd like to keep :)
By the time we made it home around 10ish, we were all beat! Kelsey went to sleep right away and our tree was all set up, so Kurt and I went to bed early and fell dead asleep.
The next morning, we all woke up early and Kelsey experienced her first Christmas! As you can see, there were a lot of toys, but the big gifts we kept in the family room/office (her radio flyer wagon, a bean bag chair and her mega bloks wagon) Kelsey really loved her toys and I think she was a little overwhelmed at all the stuff. Kurt and I have been opening up a few toys each night so she can see and play with everything at least once and then we'll put some aside for later.
We had our traditional puffed apple pancake breakfast and then began cooking for our next Christmas event, dinner with Daddy's family! Lola, Uncle Rich, Aunt B, Cousin Peter, Jocelyn and Dylan came to dinner! More fun and more presents forKelsey! She had just woken from a nap and was a little cranky until I brought her downstairs and she saw her Lola, well she was so happy to see Lola and everyone else!
We had ham (Daddy's favorite) sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, roasted asparagus and creamed spinach. Plus tons of dessert. Aunt B (Liz) made a whole bunch of yummy cookies and we had a ton of leftovers! I was sad to see Christmas end, but a little relieved it went so well. Kelsey could have been overwhelmed and fussy and cranky, but she wasn't. She truly enjoyed the 3 huge events in less than 24 hours. I was concerned it would be too much for her and she took it all in stride. I was and remain so proud of her!
Kelsey had a great time with her Daddy's family and took a real shine to Dylan. He's 15 and was very sweet with her!
I think Kurt either videoed this part of the night or took photos with Lola's camera, I don't have any photos of the evening Christmas event on mine! :(
The big hit of the holidays was calendars I made on for our Moms. I personalized each month with lots of photos of Kelsey and they were really special. Everyone really seemed to enjoy them!
On a personal note, I want to say thank you to my very own Santa, Kurt. I loved spending this first Christmas together as a family. You are the best husband and Daddy ever! I loved everything about our weekend!
The one tradition I didn't get to keep this year was my trip with my girlfriends early in the am on the 26th for the next day Christmas markdowns! First of all our fav after Christmas place, Treasure Island closed, and Shawn left early Tuesday for a trip to see her family and I had to work, so we skipped it this year. I was pretty bummed to go back to work the day after Christmas, but NEXT YEAR...the tradition will go on!
I hope all my readers (all 3 or 4! :) had/have an extra special holiday! And if you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, all the stores are having mega sales!
JoAnn, Kurt and Kelsey

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wow! What a Month!

This happened
This happened (twice!)
The Tree was put up and decorated!
Kelsey did NOT cry when she saw Santa! Mommy was proud!
The last month has flown by so quickly!
We've spent it:
creating some adorable holiday cards (in the mail as I write this!)
Meeting Santa
Celebrating Advent dinner
Making 200 dozen cookies for our church's annual cookie walk and a YWCA event
celebrating my Mom's birthday with our family
Christmas shopping!
Christmas planning....decorating and having fun!
Cutting Angels for our YWCA event, Hanging of the Greens
Creating the Hanging of the Greens event and running it (Dec 11)
Another ear infection for Miss Kelsey!
Another cold for Miss Kelsey!
Another cold for Mommy!
Another cold for Daddy!
Our Angel Face is a petrie dish of germs!
Mommy and Daddy working up a storm
Kelsey now feels confident enough to walk most of the time now...the first time she really walked (not just baby steps) it brought me to tears and I was so proud of her!
Christmas cards are starting to pour in from our China travel group and Kelsey loves all the photos of the babies! She holds them and walks around with them.
Our good friend Rachel (Auntie Rae-Rae) gave Kelsey a magna doodle toy and our girl just loves it!
One exciting piece of news...Kelsey's going to be an Angel in the Children's Pagent at Church Christmas eve morning. I can't wait to see our Angel Face become an Angel for real!
On a sobering front, China has put forth a new set of criteria for new adoptive families to meet before being approved for new adoptions. They are fairly strict and I wonder if this eliminates all possibility of a Chinese brother or sister for Kelsey. We're no-where near ready for this (perhaps never) but to have zero choice in the matter is sad. Many of my fellow adoptive parents (who adopted very close to the time we adopted Kelsey) have compressed their timelines in order to try to swing another adoption before the new rules go into effect. We won't do that...but I have faith that if there is another child out there for us, we'll find him/her.
I know that China is looking out for their children the best way they can, and they should be applauded for their care and concern. It's just sad to know that many people's dreams ended this month....
Work is going very well, but its strange to have little festivity (no holiday parties or luncheons in this non-profit world) so we've been making our own. I am about to complete my 3 months of employement (hello benefits!). The company I worked for before this is such a distant memory...and I worked there almost 6 years! I tried to remember my phone number the other night and couldn't! :)
Kurt made his annual trip to Chicago and his work is going very well too. HG really appreciates him and I am very happy that they do! He's such a dedicated hard worker, and he's reaping the rewards he is due!
I can't wait for Christmas morning! I can hardly believe that THIS is THE YEAR that we celebrate Christmas with our daughter instead of being a couple. Kelsey understands the concept of presents and toys, it will be so interesting to see her interact with the warehouse full of stuff she's getting! (Mommy was very indulgent this year!) We'll take lots of photos and hopefully video of the raucus event!
Have a joyous Christmas with YOUR family. Celebrate whatever you believe in and your family most of all!
Love, JoAnn, Kurt and Kelsey