Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Goes Out With a Bang...

...and a splash, and a moan, and a crash, and a pow, and a bunch of other onomatopoeic words! Needless to say, our December has been filled with numerous domestic catastrophes.

A few weeks into December (while Daddy was on a business trip) our garage door broke and wouldn't close (and it even had a bonus - a dead rat caught inside! EEWWW! YUCK!). Thankfully, Richard and Mr. Lowery were able almost close the door and dispose of the rat. After Daddy got home, he had to remove the screen door because it had broken as well. Two doors down. The Saturday before Christmas Mammy came over to help us prepare for our Open House. While she was here the following disasters took place: the washing machine hose detached (causing a flash flood inside our home), our blender exploded with chai lattes inside (meaning chai latte ALL OVER the kitchen), Mama and Daddy's toilet broke (that means six girls and a man sharing one toilet) and two of the drains in our household refused to drain. Add onto this list dog sitting for the Berrys, last minute Christmas preparations, our Open House and Christmas itself, our pre-Christmas December was quite eventful.

Luckily, the washing machine hose was a quick fix as was the toilet. The chai latte eruption only required a soapy sponge, water and lots of elbow grease. Daddy and Pop were able to fix the drains and make the garage door close completely (though it was still out of commission). Daddy called some folks about the garage door and ordered a new screen door. Everything should be ok, right?

Wrong. Katie and I began painting our room (which meant half of it being moved to various rooms in the house) and Daddy continued to work on Fraulein when Mama and Emmy Xiang came down with a 24 hour stomach bug. Katie and I continued to work on our room, I planned a Lord of the Rings New Year marathon while Daddy plugged away at Fraulein. Then one of those "that only happens in the movies" events happened. While putting Christmas decoations away in the attic, Daddy's leg fell through the ceiling in the garage. Yes, he's fine, just a little bruised. Then Katie, Gracie and I came down with the same bug Mama the same time. So, we called people and canceled the movie marathon, and Mama tried to clean the house from the holidays with stuff from our room everywhere and without her normal troops. Later the disinfecting began. Whew!

But today, it is a new day, a new month....a new year. We are all healthy, the house problems are fixed (except for the ceiling) and most of the girls' stuff is in the bedroom. On top of that, Christmas decorations are put away, the house is (mostly) clean, Gracie and Emmy Xiang's room is organized. Laundry is almost caught up.

Being good southerners, we've eaten our black-eyed peas (we were sure to get in all 365 this year!) and enjoyed quite a bit of family time, and rest.

Sigh. God certainly has a sense of humor, but we're glad He's good, and sovereign, and His plans are better than ours. May we remember His great love for us and respond joyfully to whatever He ordains for us.

A Blessed New Year to you!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Snowy" Day

Good friends of ours invited us to share in a family tradition they hold called Snow Day. As stated in previous posts, not much snow flutters our way, so we improvise. Enter white, sandy beaches. With coats and sunglasses (this is Florida) in tow, we made our way to see some snow!

Friends built snowmen and hills to sled on. We took advantage of the fellowship, hula hoops and oreos. And, of course, what would a trip to the beach be without family pictures?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Festivities and Traditions

If you've known us for more than a year, you've probably been invited to our annual Christmas Eve Open House. (And if you haven't, excuse our oversight. Come on over next year!) Each year we invite friends and family to celebrate Christmas with us by enjoying fellowship, food and the famed Christmas puzzle. Though we missed a out of town friends and the puzzle remained unsolved until Saturday, our Open House was the smashing fun it always is. Unfortunately, the camera was shut away for most of the day, so we have only one to share. So, behold the monster of a puzzle:

Of course, after the Eve of Christmas comes Christmas itself. Florida might not be the place to go if you're asking for icicles, snow or a "White Christmas;" however, we know that Christmas isn't about the weather, decorations or presents under a tree. No, Christmas is the time to celebrate the Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ. But, we are so blessed to be able to celebrate and remember Jesus' birth with ornaments and gift exchanging. Our Christmas this year was a blessed one, filled with family, friends and tradition.

Click on the collage to see the pictures larger. (However, we give you fair warning: one of our numerous Christmas traditions is waking up and going as is. No hair brush, no make up, no showers.)

Christmas Preparations

Busy hands stitch gifts...

Taking momentary breaks for hot fires...

And crazy pictures!

A Christmas Recital

This semester, we have enjoyed the opportunity of trading off lessons with our dear friends. On Wednesdays the Elf teaches Jay piano while Rudy teaches Pooch and Princess ballet. A couple of weeks ago, the students had their first opportunity to perform in a family recital. The Elf and Rudy also performed while Ladybug and Bee (not wanting to be left out) read a Christmas poem penned by Bee. Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two years ago today...

...was Emmy Xiang's "birth" (into our family) day - otherwise known as "Gotcha Day." It was the day we gotcha, Peanut!

Everytime I look at the photos from that day I am overwhelmed with emotion - mostly gratefulness to God for allowing us the privilege of adopting a daughter. What an amazing reminder for me of the incredible pleasure He must have in growing His family - the Church (those for whom Christ died). May we honor and glorify Him for He is truly worthy!

Want to remember with us the moments when we first welcomed Emmy Xiang into our arms? Join us tonight as we eat Papa John's pizza (like we did that night 2 years ago in China) and watch our movies from Gotcha Day and our time in China. Unfortunately, Jim's in NJ for a business trip, but he's planning to get Papa John's there. And, you can join in at your house, too! Just place an order (you can do it online!) at, though you can't order a "Big Papa" like we did that night in China, and pull up these posts from that day. Then, with pizza in hand, enjoy the slide show, read the post and comments, and relish in God's grace with us:

I'm so glad we've "got" her.

The "We've Got Her!" post. Sigh.

The "Gotcha Day Details" post.

God is so good.