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Weekend Recap: Christmas Approaches





Friday Favorites: My Favorite Things 2019


Oh my goodness!  Can you believe it? The year is almost done!  That happened way too quickly!  But I'm not complaining.  It's been a great year and I am looking forward to 2020.  I'll talk about that later.  Right now, I want to share some of my favorite things from 2019.  I have a TON of new favorite things, but I'll limit them to just a few joy-filled categories!

          
I do not own the rights to this video.

Weekend Recap: Top 6





Hi everyone! Here’s hoping you had a wonderful weekend. It was certainly a mixed bag for us. We went from having fun while Christmas shopping to having one very uncomfortable four-month-old who couldn’t sleep. I’m sharing those and a few other things in this Weekend’s Recap.

Christmas Recap 2018-Part I

What an absolutely beautiful Christmas season it has been. This holiday was just beautiful. There was so much love, so much fellowship, and so much genuine enjoyment and merriment. What a blessing it is and was to be with family. The Friday before Christmas, I grabbed the kids and we went to Walmart so that the kids could buy each other Christmas gifts.

The rules were simple. You have $20 to spend for a total of three gifts—one of each of your siblings. Guys, it was such a beautiful process watching the kids walk through the store putting serious thought into each other’s gift. I allowed Bug to go off by himself and then come back to me with his concealed in his cart. I took baby A. and Honeybee with me and the girls had so much fun selecting gifts.

Super excited to find this gift for her brother

Christmas funs

Hi everyone!  I apologize for falling off the map.  It's been pretty uneventful in our household though we did just celebrate an awesome Christmas.  There is always something so great and special about spending time with people you love and celebrating the true reason for the season of Christmas.  (We even bought a Happy Birthday, Jesus cake).

Christmas is an a great time for our family.  This year was the first one where we were able to celebrate with our Honeybee as a legal (official) member of the family.  No worries about pictures that my mother couldn't take because of confidentiality agreements.  No plans for social worker visits.  No.  This time we just enjoyed spending time with each other.

We started with Christmas Eve.  Every year FatherWinter's family has their annual Christmas Eve fellowship.  There's tons of food, gift exchanges, and fun memories.  This year, because NanaWinter is ill, we decided to host the event at our home.  Enter 24 people, massive amounts of food, special memories for NanaWinter, and a great time that didn't end until 3AM Christmas morning!



FatherWinter and I still had gifts to wrap, so we were up for another two hours wrapping and placing gifts.  It was a great time, but meant we were exhausted.  No one moved until 10AM Christmas morning.

I like to do Christmas brunch.  So I made our Baked French Toast Casserole, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Cinnamon Rolls.  A really great meal but I felt a little twinge in my stomach that was a foreboding of things to come.

Fast forward to 3PM and we still hadn't opened gifts.  To his credit, Superbug was very patient.  He knew there had to be a good reason.  He was right.  A bit later Superbug's birth father, FatherPharoah came to visit.  For the record, I love his visits.  They are a testament that blended families do work.

FatherPharoah came and he and FatherWinter embraced.  We all chit chatted, caught up on life, and then began opening gifts so that FatherPharoah could be present for all the gift unwrapping.  I think that's an important time and Superbug was so pleased to have him there.  Then Superbug gave FatherPharoah a gift he'd purchased for him (thinking he would mail it to him).  As always, his timing was perfect  FatherPharoah loved the gift Superbug gave him.

After gifts were opened, we invited FatherPharaoh to go downstairs and have a yummy meal from the feast leftovers.  The fellas then played a few games and then it was time for FatherPharaoh to visit other family members.





Honeybee's First Christmas

Our Christmas tree by day...
The Christmas season is finally at an end in our household.  It was a wonderful holiday and we were very, very thankful that Honeybee was here to celebrate with us.  As is the tradition in our family, Christmas Eve was spent at my sister and brother-in-law's home (FatherWinter's sister).  We all gathered for a Christmas Eve dinner and to exchange gifts.  Because there are so many of us, the family has established some guidelines to help with the gift exchange.  We only give gifts to the children age 0-21.  Three people have your name, so you receive three gifts on Christmas Eve.  Honeybee received a closet caddy for all her accouterments (which was sorely needed), a Gloworm to keep her company as she sleeps, and a Learning Dog that identifies body parts and ABCs.  She LOVES this gift.  She has played with it over and over again.  What is so special about the gifts is they were from a first time giver.  Our nephew (FatherWinter's brother's son) aged out of gift receiving and gave for the first time.  All of his gifts were from the heart.  They were perfect.  He is in school right now, but is working a job and still finding time to do for others.  He will be a great man one day.  I look forward to seeing the contributions he brings to society.
A Christmas tree is beautiful in the evening...

After we left my in laws on Christmas Eve, we came home and SuperBug and Honeybee were tucked in for the night.  I gathered the wrapped gifts and deftly placed them under the tree.  Then, I retired with FatherWinter.  The next morning, we woke up and SuperBug began his household chores while I prepared Christmas brunch.  After brunch was prepared, SuperBug's birth father joined us and we ate, enjoyed each other's company, and then opened gifts as a family.

SuperBug has been hinting for quite some time that he would like an electric scooter. I mentioned it to my mother in passing and next thing I know I'm picking a package up at the local store.  Leave it to my mother to spoil her grandbabies :). SuperBug also loved his other gifts especially the Nerf foam shooters.  He, FatherWinter, and I all have one and have had great fun sneaking up on each other planning our attacks.

Our Honeybee enjoyed opening her gifts as well.  Her favorite part was tearing the wrapping paper.  As mentioned in one of our previous posts, Honeybee has minor developmental delays.  Nothing major, but enough that our pediatrician has recommended different activities we could engage in to help Honeybee to progress on her milestones.  With that in mind, we focused on toys that would help Honeybee with her fine and gross motor skills, hand eye coordination, and problem solving.  So far, so good as Honeybee has truly enjoyed stacking her new blocks and knocking over her train.

After Christmas gifts were opened and exchanged and wrapping papers cleaned up, we allowed SuperBug to play with his gifts while I began Christmas dinner and FatherWinter began assembling some of the gifts the family received.
Collard greens, macaroni and cheese, turkey, stuffing, baked beans, green beans, candied yams, cranberry sauce, all prepared in the kitchen.  While things were preparing, I came down and assisted FatherWinter with some of the more intricate pieces.  It wasn't too long before we got the scooter constructed and up and running for SuperBug.
FatherWinter assembling SuperBug's electric scooter
Later, after our guest had left for the day, we sat down with Superbug and discussed why we celebrate Christmas.  It is a discussion we have every year, but we let him tell us what it means.  We listen to his answers, correcting if needed, and enjoy discussing what he would tell someone who asks why our family celebrates Christmas.  Faith is truly important to our family and we don't take it lightly.  We look forward to being able to share the Christmas story with Honeybee and letting her explain to us why she celebrates Christmas when she gets older.  After spending some time together and enjoying the family moments, we all decided to catch up on our sleep for a while.  We realized we were all still pretty exhausted from the Christmas Eve celebrations.  We hadn't gotten home before midnight and I hadn't gotten in the bed before 1 and wasn't sleep until 1:30ish.  We were all up by 7, so a nap was certainly in order. After about a 90 minute siesta, everyone was up and ready to eat.  We had a wonderful meal, finished eating, and sat in front of the television to watch more Christmas movies.  It was the perfect way to end our day.

Our Christmas weekend was rounded out with the building of a new gaming area in the basement for the family, a visit from Nana Winter (who famously spoiled her grandbabies), and a birthday phone call to my honorary father.  NanaWinter came bearing gifts and bought new outfits and toys for her grands and sweet treats for FatherWinter and I.  Finally, today was the last Sunday of the year.  We went to church service where I sang this afternoon and enjoyed the fellowship of the family one more time.

As I sit here even now,up much later than I should be, I am extremely happy with Honeybee's first Christmas.  I took a ton of pictures.  I look forward to being able to construct a little photo book for her that she will get to look at as she gets older.  I have the same thing for Superbug.  My plan is to present the book and photos for each child on their 18th birthday or their wedding day.  I am looking forward to 2015 and a date that will allow us to move forward in Honeybee's adoption.

She had an amazing, amazing Christmas.  I am so very thankful that she got to celebrate it with us, her forever family.  I pray she gets to enjoy many, many, many more.

-WinterMommy

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:10-14King James Version (KJV)


The last visit of the year

Merry Christmas for Honeybee's social worker
Earlier this morning, Honeybee and I were visited by Honeybee's social worker for her last visit of 2014.  As usual, we chatted about how things had progressed with our Honeybee, how big she has gotten, how she is dealing with the RSV and breathing treatments.  We spoke about how she is becoming such a big girl and how she is progressing in those minor developmental delays I wrote on a few weeks ago.

Honeybee smiled, played, laughed, and had a great time.  She showed off her new skills of waving and picking up cheerios.  Afterwards, we discussed the progress or lack thereof in Honeybee's TPR hearing. FatherWinter and I are certainly looking forward to the day where we can call Honeybee our daughter and it be true in every form, not just our heart.

It was a bit of a disappointment to acknowledge that during this Christmas holiday, we still have the moment of worry.  This will be Honeybee's first Christmas.  I hope it won't be her last with our family.  I must admit thoughts of the upcoming TPR appeal hearing do not fill me with a warm and fuzzy.  Still I trust that God will have His way in all things.

I find myself thinking of her birth mother a lot today.  I wonder if she is thinking about Honeybee.  If she wonders what she looks like, how big she has gotten.  Does she imagine what she would be getting her for Christmas?  Does she cry from missing her?

I wonder if every holiday will be like this.  Will every moment have me thinking of Honeybee's birth mom and the emptiness she may be feeling?  I wish I could reach out to her and let her know that I think of her often, that I am loving Honeybee with every breath in my body.  Right now, we can't communicate.  It'a frustrating, but I understand the reasons.  Still I hope she knows that someone is thinking of her in the most positive of ways right now.

In a thoughtful frame of mind...
-WinterMommy

Christmas Concert

This past weekend, it was my joy, honor, and pleasure to participate in our church's annual Christmas concert.  It was a wonderful opportunity to honor the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  It was a beautiful program and an awesome and amazing day.  There were several selections that were sung, but my favorite was one from one of the other music ministry groups of our church.  The young woman singing the song is a truly a beautiful person inside and out.  As she sings this song, you are truly ushered into the season of Christmas.

It was a wonderful blessing to participate and I was equally blessed that our daughter was able to attend. While she did need to receive a breathing treatment while at the church, she did enjoy the program.  I hope one day, if it is her desire and God's will, that she will be in the choir stand too...singing praises to the King.


Finally, the great news of thee evening is Honeybee seems to be doing a lot better.  Her cough is pretty much gone and, while she is still congested, it is no where near where it was and the breathing treatments are helping.

Let's keep fingers crossed that we are beating this thing!

-WinterMommy