Friday, December 28, 2007

Annual Christmas party?

Again, Russ and I are starting a tradition and calling it 'annual' when it's only happened this once!

Before I share the pics, let me offer a little background. Russ was employed by our church several years ago as the youth leader. He started as a junior high guy and then moved up (along with the kids we spent so much time with) to senior high. After three years we felt God calling him to pursue his music full-time. However, this was not the end of our time with these 'kids'. We have been blessed to still be apart of many of their lives. All of them are in college or beyond at this point so we hardly get to see them during the year. Some of them were away for the summer so they didn't get to meet Eliot yet so we threw a Christmas party in hopes of a chance to steal some of their break time from them!

Eliot found a couple new girlfriends and reunited with his basketball buddies. He LOVES the college kids! He got a little bossy with some of the girls as he would grab a book, point at one of them and then point to where she should sit and read to him. Of course, they didn't seem to mind. They were all quite impressed with Eliot's dance moves and B-ball skills. The funny part for me was after Eliot went to bed, I caught several of the kids playing with his toys. I was highly entertained by that.

If we were ever curious about whether or not Eliot is a good sleeper, last night tested it out. He went to bed without a peep even with 20+ college students filling our not-so-huge-house! Several of the guys teamed up on Russ, trying to wrestle him to the ground (sidenote: Russ can still take them with little to no problem! So, by default, if I can still win while wrestling Russ and he beat those guys, then I am clearly the winner of all of them, right?), some weird game that involved other physical violence broke out in the living room, several rounds of MadGab were played and then a heated game of Pit finished out the night. None of these listed are quiet and all of them happened right outside Eliot's room. However, not a peep was heard.

We had a great night. It was such a blessing to visit with all these 'kids' again. It's odd to us that they're so far along in life as our memories of them started with braces and needing rides to everything. It's weird to them that Russ and I are in our 30's and got married when we were close to their age. My girls that I led in small group for years blessed me by reminiscing about our repetitive prayer times so many years ago with our struggle in the desire to start a family and comparing that to now. Just another opportunity to look at where the Lord has taken us and thank Him. I'll leave you with a few snapshots of our night!

Eliot started a pillow fight with Dana!

Some of the girls! Again, I can not believe this group is in college!

Eliot loves Mary and Robyn and kept giving kisses to Mary!

Jessica Busse was able to join us on her trip home from Honduras. She lives there now (check the link to her blog from our page)as a missionary and was a youth worker alongside us with this group of kids.

Lauren was home from Texas and is a great MadGab reader if you ever need one!

Just for fun! Mainly to gross out the kids...

Mary spent a lot of time getting all the fish safely out of their pond. Job well done, Mary!

This picture just makes me laugh. These were Russ's junior high guys that were shorter than me when this all started. Now they make Russ look short! Eliot's eyes get so big when he's around them! He's intrigued with the giant people and they have become his b-ball buddies.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

one more today?

this extra post is brought to you by: eliot's really long nap!

After blog hopping a little this afternoon, I've read two blogs about people in Guate for the holidays to visit their little ones. This increases the already strong feelings of nostalgia that have been going on all week. Last year we were at Hotel Casa Ovalle in Antigua. While it was just the three of us, we weren't without family. The Ovalle family that runs the bed & breakfast was so kind to include not only us but all the other guests in their holiday festivities. We ate tamales, had a visit from Santa and Merlin (Guate tradition; I'm not super sure about the details...), had champaign on the terrace watching the 10 different fireworks displays all around Antigua. While it was a Christmas situation we didn't see coming, I was incredibly homesick, and we had no money for presents, it was one of the most unforgettable times we'll have. Our hearts were so full.

Russ brought me all the Christmas cards that had been delivered to us before he flew down. So we covered our hotel room with pics of family and friends. Russ also bought tons of random cards and went around to groups of friends and made them all send me a holiday greeting. Our small group from church got a copy of The Night Before Christmas and wrote little notes to Eliot in the front cover. Russ snuck my stocking down in his suitcase and filled it before I woke up on Christmas. We went out for a special Christmas Eve dinner with Jackie, her ninera Evelyn and Solei, our fostering buddies. Antigua, a normally beautiful landscape, was covered in white lights and Christmas decorations making it seem picture perfect.

Merry Christmas! (Part 2)

So, that being said...we were just the 3 of us Christmas morning! It's so different to wake up Christmas morning when you have children! Russ and I were definitely more excited than Eliot, he wasn't sure why we were so giddy!

We started a new tradition (can it even be a tradition yet?) of giving each other new pj's on Christmas Eve. We gave Eliot his stocking first and that seemed to take his whole attention the rest of the morning since it was full of his favorite snacks. The favorite of the morning seemed to be the Magnadoodle. Who knew?

(Russ's new Christmas job...)

Russ got 'Dad slippers'!

After Eliot's nap we headed over to our St. Louis "family" for the afternoon, the Seibels. Eliot was intrigued by Jeff's toys and as always, the Cuck-coo clock!

featuring Pablo...

Jeff's remote-controlled helicopter is flying over Buddy, the dog!

"I don't see any mistletoe, Dana..."

Just missing sweet Erin!

E was trying out sitting like a big boy at the table. He's so silly!

Merry Christmas! (Part 1)

A few weeks ago we had both sides of the family here for Eliot's baptism (entry still coming, I promise!) so we went ahead and had Christmas that weekend with them, or Elno as my brother Lyle called it. (Don't ask...)

While we know it's rare, our families get along really well. So, it wasn't odd to share Christmas with them all at the same time.

Uh...there's a lot of pictures and they're not in any order! Enjoy!