The first photos are from the Saturday photo shoot with Tyler. Julia and I were so sick with the flu. Coughs, fevers, stuffy noses. It was a pretty short photo session. The flu went through our whole family but we're finally on the mend. For Christmas, I bought myself nesting cookie cutters and finally got to use them for Julia's birthday cake. The girls really look forward to making the cakes. Julia's was made from sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes. I baked them first so they were soft enough for her to eat. I also pressed ground venison into the stars for the little girls and into the large flowers for the adults. So yummy and fun! Dinner ended with a phone call and cousins singing "Happy Birthday."
And just like that we have a one year old! Although, since she is no where close to walking, we get to enjoy her sweet little baby-ness a while longer. She will not let me spoon feed her so she only eats what she can feel herself. Avocados, sweet potatoes, cooked beans, the inside of peas, pears, bananas. I need to try baked apples. She's not a fan of canned peaches. I don't feed her any grains, eggs or dairy because of my allergies. She still nurses about four times a day. She really like the sippy cups too, but she only really gets that if I leave her with some one.
Julia is very serious about her thumb-sucking but I know we need to end that habit in the next couple of months. I will sew socks on her p.j.'s like I did with Amanda which means I need to do it before the weather warms up. I figure if I wait until next fall it will take longer and be more traumatic. So probably by March. Until then we'll enjoy that little bit of sweet peace when she lays down and pops her thumb in her mouth.
After our impromptu sliding party, Mike took Amanda to my nephew's hockey game. Then she came back for a quick dinner and I took her and Julia to a friend's birthday party. We were told it was a princess ball but if we didn't have any dress-up clothes not to worry because they had a very large bin of stuff. I did have one dance costume so Amanda wore that. I was expecting a bunch of little girls playing dress-up while I hung out and chatted. Ha! The little girl's dad had his d.j. equipment set up. There was stuff to make princess crowns. One of the auntie's was doing face painting. Some of the adults were in gowns too. It turns out the mom has quite a collection of prom dresses for the girls at the residential facility where she teaches. So I found a dress to wear too. (And wished I had brushed my hair after the sliding party.) They had "formal" photos and a grand march. It was really a lot of fun. The birthday girl turned six and most of the attendees were cousins. Dads, aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa were there too. Some of the girls, like Amanda were a little shy and wanted to stay close to and dance with their moms so it was such a fun experience for everybody.
This was the first birthday party Amanda had ever been too. She was a little surprised by the amount of gifts. When we were coming home Amanda said, "She got too many presents!" I said, "I know that's a lot of stuff to take care of and keep cleaned up." Amanda responded, "Yeah! What is she going to do with all that stuff?" I said, "Maybe she'll give some of it away."
And she did. A couple days later she helped her mom clean out the dress-up box and sent a bag of clothes to us. They were well loved and some needed a bit of stitching. (Which was thrilling for the girl too. I helped them each stitch up one of the dresses.)
Except for when they are eating or sleeping, these girls have been in dress-up ever since the bag arrived on Thursday night. They are so excited. The only thing they had for dress-up before was a bunch of silkies which they used very creatively, of course.
Afterwards, we went to a special Christmas Eve service and living Nativity. They actually bring animals into the service as they read the account of Jesus's birth. Next year, we'll send a few adults early to save us some seats up front. The girls were bummed they couldn't see the animals better but they were really bummed they couldn't see "Baby Jesus." After the service, we went outside to see the manger animals. There were highland cattle, sheep, goats, a donkey and a camel. Years ago, I attended this service and they were able to bring the camel in the church too. He's too tall now.
On Christmas morning, we opened this set of blocks and played together for most of the morning. We're still establishing traditions with the girls and I don't know if we'll even get to the big pile of presents thing. We never bought much for the boys because we had so many relatives buying stuff for them. Thankfully, my side of the family has stopped exchanging presents.
Mike's mom still likes to shop for the kids so we typically open some of their gifts the day after Christmas. Then we went skating and brought my niece home with us. Her birthday is the day after Christmas. "The easiest to remember and the easiest to forget," her mom said. She loves the fruit and veggie creations and so we looked around to make one for her. Apple, Cuties, twisty candles and toothpicks. :)
A couple of weeks ago, I came to speak to her Girl Scout group about caring for curly hair. After they saw Ana's yarn twists, they all wants one. So, I did one twist in each girl's hair. My niece wanted me to put her all her hair in yarn twists. She was a little shocked by how a head-full of red yarn twists looked. They looked a little better all pulled back but she still didn't want me to show her face. She was going bowling with her family after she left my house. I texted my sister-in-law and told her she might want a hat. She left them in for about a week.
The official family party for my side was on Friday night. I was a little worried about how we would all fit at my mom's. The last few times, I had been there it felt like we were all tripping over each other and that wasn't even including my cousin and her five kids. But it went really well.
My cousin and I talked about getting together the next day for sliding at her mom's house. So in the morning, as I was getting ready to go, I sent a text to my mom, sister and sister-in-law, "I'm heading to [my aunt and uncle's] to go sliding if anybody wants to meet us." My mom's response was, "Should I bring skis?"
When my cousin's husband got back from hunting with their oldest son he said, "I didn't know we were having a sliding party." She said, "I didn't either." Ha ha! Good times! Great memories! We kept the party outdoors and headed home when everyone was getting cold and hungry.
Sofia found something to eat.
Here's me making a point to get in front of the camera on occasion.
Tali is so TWO these days. We're hoping her disposition will magically change when she turns three next month.
Mike's been on vacation mostly since Tyler got home on the 21st. It been fun and I've started lots of messy projects. Now I need to start getting serious and put the house back in order for when he goes back to work on Monday. It's been a great holiday season and I can hardly believe it's almost over.
We are a Christian couple joyfully answering God's call on our life to welcome children into our home. We have two boys, Tyler and Tony, and adopted our first daughter, Amanda, in August of 2007 and a second daughter, Christiana, in July of 2009. Talitha joined our family in February 2010 after a surprise pregnancy. Julia was an even bigger surprise in January 2012.