Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chatty Girl Gift Exchange

Last night we had our 2nd Annual Chatty Girl Gift Exchange. For those of you who don't know, I have the blessing of being apart of a close group of mom's who have all adopted daughters and son's from China. We connected through our adoption agency prior to traveling to China and the bond we all developed was incredible. Throughout these 2 1/2 years we have maintained intimate connections online and are eager to get together as often as possible. I love these women like sisters and am constantly in awe of how special each of them and their children are to me. This year we did a book exchange and Emily received a book from her friend Kate. She had waited patiently for weeks to open it and was delighted to receive The Perfect Christmas Tree. It is such a special book in that it is Kate's big sister, Emily's favorite Christmas story and takes place in the state where Kate lives. Emily was so eager for me to read it but had to wait until bed time when daddy read it to her. Here are a few pictures of Emily opening her book. Her long hair is a mess which brings up another topic that has been flowing around our house. To cut or not to cut. I have been wanting to grow Emily's hair but she wants a "pretty haircut". Right now, as you can see from the photo's her hair can get rather stringy and she HAS to have a bow otherwise it hangs in her eyes and looks scraggly. So we will see. Emily is very eager to go see Miss Tina and get a haircut but is so afraid to disappoint me as I have expressed how I love it long. And her nightgown in these pictures is a Grace hand-me-down. Emily has been waiting to fit into some of Grace's night gowns and finally after almost 2 years they finally fit and she couldn't have been happier.
We have been super busy getting ready for Christmas. I finished up my shopping yesterday and will spend today wrapping, cooking and cleaning. We treated the girls to the Nutcracker Ballet over the weekend and much to my disappointment they didn't like it. I LOVE the Nutcracker but my girls don't. Mike and I laughed and said that they probably would enjoy a Colorado Rodeo more....go figure. I have some deeper thoughts that I would love to share regarding expectations that parents often have of their children's likes and dislikes and how God sometimes gifts us with children who are very different than we are in order to expand our horizons but I will have to share later as the clock is ticking and I need to get going.
Once again, wishing you all memorable celebrations of Christmas!
Love and Hugs,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Day!

We made it to Florida with an uneventful flight which is something for which to be thankful when you are traveling with 3 kids, 5 checked bags and 5 carry ons. The kids were great little travelers and arrived to our Florida home with so much excitement that they were hard to contain. They spent most of last night getting re-acquainted with toys that they had left behind and I was delighted to see how happy they were to be "home".
As much as we love our life in Colorado, it was good to be back to our familiar surroundings and I was surprised at how easy it was to slip back into my old ways of doing things. I never left our condo today as I had the indescribable joy of spending the day with my sister, nephews and my new neice Bella. My mom and dad arrived later in the day which added to my joy. I cannot adequately convey just how wonderful it was to love on my sister and brother in law's boys and snuggle with Bella as well as have the WHOLE day to just chat and enjoy my sister. I have missed her so much and just didn't realize how much until I was with her all day. It is going to be a FUN couple of months.
Some other things that I have enjoyed today are the beautiful views of the water, being able to walk outside barefoot and a delicious glass of OJ fresh from the orange grove near our house. Oh how I have missed this stuff. It is orange season here in Florida and this grove has the best juice in the world. Outside of a latte, it is one of the greatest things on this earth.
I didn't take any pictures of my day except for my morning treat as I simply was having too much fun but I am sure that there will be lots to share in the days to come.
I haven't mentioned that my friend Sara whom many of you follow her blog is on the final leg of her trip to China. The pictures that she and her husband have shared on their blog have just blessed my soul. Their daughter, Mya is adorable and the joy that is evident on her face as well and the happiness of her mama and daddy is something that will brighten your day so if you need a little blessing of sunshine hop over to their blog and be blessed by the miracle of another precious child finding her mama and daddy.

Love and Hugs,


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Photo's

We are just hours away from our departure for the Sunshine State and before we shut down our computers I wanted to share a few pics from our annual Christmas Card photo shoot. The shots were taken by my sister-in-law at a favorite hiking spot. I love the scenery because it displays why we love Colorado so much. The majesty of God's creation is breathtaking and I am awed by my God's creativity each time I have the pleasure of gazing upon these mountains.
And now we are off to warm, sunny Florida. We are looking forward to thawing out and enjoying family time and catching up with friends. The kids are beyond excited and I am hoping for some relaxing downtime.
Merry Christmas to all of you!
Love and Hugs,

I loved this pic because Cody looks like Grace's protector.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

WOW! Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

Well, lots of fun has been had here at the Minot house since Aunt Cynthia arrived from Florida over a week ago. Cody, Grace and Emily have enjoyed lots of play out in the snow as well as much entertainment by Mike's sister. I have been blessed to have some extra help with the kids while she has been here visiting as well as a treat to sneak away with my husband for a few days of skiing in Copper Mt. where we had a glorious time of re-connecting, enjoying each other as well as hitting the slopes. The skiing was great outside of the crazy snowboarders who scare me to death but my husband was so sweet to hang out with me on the green runs even though he would have much rather head to the blues and blacks so that I could have fun without being nervous.
The clock is now ticking as we prepare to head back to Florida for about six weeks so this will probably be my last post until after Christmas. I have much to do prior to our departure including arranging for Christmas presents to be ordered and delivered to Florida prior to our arrival, arranging for life to resume in Florida as well as closing up our house here in Colorado. Whew!!!! I just get tired thinking of all that has to be done.
In light of the fact that I probably won't be spending much time on the computer in the upcoming weeks. I wanted to wish all of you a wonderful celebration of Christmas. This is such a wonderful time of year to celebrate the birth of our Savior and I pray that your times with family and friends are covered with a sweetness, reverence and peace that comes from experiencing the reality of what a gift Jesus was to us all.


Fun Fun with Aunt Cynthia

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shower for Sara and Mya

Sweet Mya.....COMING HOME SOON!!!!

The girls minus 4 who had to leave early and Kelly who was taking the picture
Same group without me.

Of course there were some tears ofjoy

Sara reads "I love you like crazy cakes".


Some bling!

A little girls gotta have a tea set.
Warm footy jammies for these cold Colorado nights.

Isn't she beautiful...just glowing!
LOTS of adorable clothes including this precious pick quilted vest. TOO CUTE!

A noise maker...TOO FUN!

Sara and her friend Connie

Nichole, Sara and Beth
The table set for tea.

Yesterday my friend Beth and I had the most wonderful opportunity to celebrate my friend Sara as she is just a day away from traveling to bring her sweet Mya home. We hosted a Christmas Tea/Shower at our house and were incredibly honored to be able to give her an afternoon to bask in the joy of becoming a mommy again and for all her friends to lavish her with gifts and goodies for Mya. I love to entertain and open our home to friends but combining this love with the celebration of the adoption of this precious little girl who will soon know the love of a mommy and daddy is just beyond words. It was a beautiful Colorado day and Sara and the girls and I enjoyed some yummy food, laughter, and most of all a time of just sharing in Sara's joy. I am posting a few pictures for you to enjoy. What delight filled my heart as I looked at these photo's and saw the deep joy on Sara's face. She is just so beautiful and I am so grateful to call her my friend.
She and her husband Bill are departing for China tomorrow and you can follow there journey to Mya here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving and Snow!

A few days before Thanksgiving...what a cutie pie
I just love her!

OK, explanation needed....Emily found my lipstick and decided to give it a try.

My snow bunnies

Our backyard looking like a scene from NarniaLooking out our front just snowed and snowed and snowed

Snow accumulation on the spa

Emily having a hard time walking in the snow

Ready for the snowboard

Throwing snowballs
What joy!

A little blurry but I just love her face!

The beginnings of a snowman

Mike starting the snowball fight

Cody gets into it

Look at this Florida boy shoveling that snow

Our snow covered house

Oh how I love Thanksgiving. It is my most favorite holiday. I love the warmth of sharing yummy food with friends and family and having a day to focus on all the things I for which I have to be thankful. Our Thanksgiving celebration was made extra special this year because we spent the day with our wonderful new friends Sara and Bill. What joy filled our hearts and our homes as we gathered around the table in our new home creating new memories that I will cherish forever and as the day drew to an end and we watched Sara, Bill and their boys back out of the driveway I was overwhelmed with gratefulness at the goodness of God. I am in awe of how HE went before us and prepared a way for us to connect so deeply with these new friends. I am amazed at how God has eased us into such a beautiful friendship with this family. As Sara and I spent time cleaning up the dishes, talking over chocolate pecan pie and coffee and mulling over the After Thanksgiving Day sales ads in the newspaper I couldn't believe that I have only know this precious girl for 4 months. The comfort with which I share with her makes me feel like we've been friends for ages. And the icing on the cake is that we get to share intimately in the homecoming of their daughter Mya, a beautiful gift to Sara and Bill and a little girl whom our family has grown to love. Check out their blog here and following their journey to bring Mya home. They will be leaving soon..YAY! Sara and Bill, thanks for making our Thanksgiving so special!
Thanksgiving Day ended with a special treat for us Florida folks...SNOW! What a delight it was to open the door and see the driveway covered with the white stuff. It was just a perfect ending to a perfect day. And it wasn't the end to our SNOW....we awoke to more of the white stuff on Sunday morning and it continued to fall throughout the day on Sunday leaving us with about 10-12 inches. We loved it. Of course we had no-where to go and spent the day snuggling by the fire, watching Christmas videos and of course having some fun outside. Mike had his first taste of shoveling snow....not sure that he liked that aspect of Colorado living but we were blessed by our neighbor who used his snowblower to give us a head start on the snow removal and made the shoveling easier. The kids absolutely loved playing in the snow although they were disappointed that it was too powdery to make a snow man. So far the the snow is still hanging around and there is a prediction of more snow for tonight....just in time for a visit from Aunt Cynthia, Mikes sister who is arriving from Florida on Wednesday. The kids are so excited to have her visit and are looking forward to spending some time with her. She will be here visiting for about 2 weeks and just after she departs we will be heading back to FL for about 6 weeks. We had hoped to spend Christmas here in CO however we needed to head back a little earlier than expected. I am looking forward to spending time with my family and reconnected with our friends although I will miss all of our new friends here in CO. I have longed for my sister so very much and can't wait to have some extended time with her and spend some time getting to know my new neice. Our early departure means that I won't be decorating our house for Christmas which is something that I love and will miss however I did take advantage of having a fireplace for the first time and decorated my mantle and "hung our stockings by the chimney with care" and I dressed up my dining room with some Christmasy touches as well so it does feel like Christmas and we have a neighbor who has every inch of her yard decorated so she makes up for what we don't have. Thankfully, my sister and mom will be decorating our Florida house and will have it all ready for the kids (and me) when we arrive so we won't have to spend Christmas without a tree.
Before I close I would like to share a two links of some terrific friends who are holding raffle/give-aways to help raise money for a precious family who recently traveled to China and were unable to bring their daughter home. They are now awaiting another referral and I am happy to be able to share in helping them raise the funds to return to China. Both Sarah and Denise are showcasing some very cute check them out!
As always, thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did. Here are a some photos of our snow and a couple of Emily taken right before Thanksgiving. I couldn't believe it but Sara and I didn't take any pictures of our Thanksgiving Dinner.
Enjoy your preparations for Christmas!