Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good-bye Grandma. We'll Miss You...

This morning my family woke to the news that my Grandma (my mom's mom) had passed away overnight. It wasn't a surprise but still it is always hard to let loved ones go. She had failed greatly since we celebrated her 90th birthday last month and her body had quickly begun to shut down. It's difficult for us but it's a blessing for her. After almost 18 years of being separated she and Grandpa are together again in heaven!


Here are a few of my favourite pictures of Grandma...

Surrounded by most of her children and their spouses last month at her 90th Birthday celebration.


My mom, Grandma and Aunt Marg in April of 2006


This one always makes me smile! If you knew my dad and grandma, they always loved to tease one another. It began early on when dad started dating mom and the teasing never stopped. She always had a broom on the front porch for sweeping it and without fail, whenever we were there dad would 'hop on' and say 'Hey Crabby, (his love term for her) it's trying to take off with me!' Or, 'I saw you fly by the other night!' She swat him, shake her finger at him and then give him a peck on the cheek. Sweet, sweet memories!


To make this even more special. Grandma's broom (which Dad had put his name on years ago) was one of the items that was spared when she lost her home to the fire last fall. Just Wednesday my aunt remembered to give it to him so Grandma's broom is safely tucked away in Mom and Dad's van. Somehow I won't be surprised if the next time I go to visit mom and dad, Grandma's broom is standing tall in the corner of their porch.



Grandma loved to laugh and loved to have a good time. When I asked her to pose for a picture last year she felt it would be best if she showed a little leg!


Oh Grandma. I love you and miss you already!! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chrismas Fun and the Big Surprise Revealed!

Oh what a great day it has been! I was up early with the excitement of all that the day would bring! Baking and meal prep was first and then off to Carol and David's to enjoy our traditional Christmas breakfast together. Thanks Carol! I love spending this time with your family!

10:00 found me on the road headed to my parent's home. What an exciting time it was as these 5 amazing kids bounced excitedly around the family room waiting for present time! Before we opened gifts it was a time for quiet listening more bouncing, rolling and jumping around while Grandpa read the Christmas story. Grandma had lots of help with her gifts as Noah peaks to see what this one is. Brooke waiting patiently for her next gift. Shelby was into the excitement too but her very favourite activity was by far taking all the wrapping paper and putting it in the garbage! Here Keenan shows off his new 'Cars' backpack. He'll be all set for school in September. And finally, the big reveal!! Here is Rebecca learning about her Christmas gift! Screaming...
video

This next video is her best friend Victoria learning that she will be coming too! More screaming...

The blur at the end of that video was Victoria rushing upstairs to pack! Guess there's no question that she'll be ready to go next week. This will be her very first trip to Disney and her Grandma (my wonderful friend Sharon) and I are thrilled to be able to see Disney through her eyes!

Finally, this is where Rebecca learned that Victoria was going to be going to Disney with us too!! Yup....still more screaming!


In just 10 sleeps :o) Sharon, Victoria, Rebecca and I will be flying to Florida to enjoy 4 wonderful, fun filled days at Disney!! If the truth were known, Sharon and I did the adult version of jumping around screaming when we found out that this was trip was happening! Emails galore, phone calls and so much excitement. Trust me, this was no easy secret to keep for almost 2 months but we did and we're so glad all the fun of the reveals was captured on video!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you had an extra special day today too!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!


'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful,
Counsellor,
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.'
Isaiah 9:6

God's perfect gift for us wrapped in the form of a baby.

Merry Christmas everyone! May today be an extra special day as you enjoy time with family and friends. As you see and hear the excitement in your children as they see the gifts under the tree. (OK, I confess that this is me too. Note the time...5:55am and I've been up for almost an hour! :o)

And...as we celebrate the true Reason for the Season....JESUS!

Blessings friends!!! I am so thankful this Christmas for each of YOU!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Confession...

Some of you may remember this post from a few weeks back when my wonderful friend Kathy came over and helped me make Christmas cards. We had a great evening together and in just a couple of hours 50 cards were ready to go.

Fast forward 3 weeks to today and guess what's still sitting on the dining room table? Yes, you guessed it. The Christmas cards we made together! Life got very busy (as I know you can relate) and somewhere over the past couple of weeks I had to 'let go' of sending out Christmas cards this year.

So here it is my friends. The Christmas card that should already be in your homes but alas is sitting on my table. Sorry!

If you're wondering about what the inside said, well, let's just say they're not quite ready to go for next year either. Still need to decide what to write on the inside.

For all of you who sent beautiful cards and precious pictures of your little ones...THANK YOU!! I have started adding magnets to the back of the pictures and have one side of the fridge dedicated to friends and thier little ones. It's also my inspiration and encouragement montage and I love it! Thank you!

Merry Christmas friends! I am thankful for each of you!!

PS ~ You can act surprised next year when this exact card show up in your mailbox! :o) I have 366 days (since 2008 is a leap year) to get them addressed and mailed out. Can I do it? I hope so but...I'm not making any promises.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Celebrating 21 months Closer to Hannah!!

As another wonderful Christmas season is upon us I celebrate being another month closer to my daughter and yet at the same time I can't help but ache that once again Hannah will not be in my arms this Christmas. It's an empty ache that some days I can almost feel physically. The ache of a mother's heart longing to be with her child. How I wish that it were different yet I know that this too is all part of God's perfect plan for Hannah and I. Maybe 2008? Maybe 2009? God knows and I continue to trust Him.

I love you sweet baby girl and look forward to our first Christmas together as I share with you the reason that we celebrate Christmas!

'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.' Luke 2:11

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Taking It For a Test Drive!

When John and Norma bought a 26lb turkey for Christmas this morning, one of her first questions to John was whether or not it would fit on the BBQ. (Mmmm...never tried BBQed turkey but I'm sure it will be yummy!) Anyway, she got this pic at work today. LOL!! John took it out for a test drive and it looks like it will fit perfectly!

Christmas must be close if we're already test driving turkeys!

5 more sleeps...5 more sleeps!

Christmas Light Adventure!

Joy-Lynn and I decided a couple of weeks ago after our 'digger pictures adventure' that it would be fun to take her girls out to see a nearby neighbourhood that is famous for their beautiful lights. Given that Joy-Lynn and I tend to take the fun, adventurous route together, normally it's just the two of us. This time we decided to have fun with her girls and the fun began moments after we left the house. This little sign was on the street that we intended to take to the next town. Did we turn as requested and go via the highway? Ummm...nope. We just went by to see how it was. No problem at all. The road was great and I'm guessing it will be open soon. Her oldest daughter was a little surprised by her mom's driving though as a little 8yo voice pops up from the back seat, 'I don't even know you!' Oh yah...the fun had begun! LOL! It was so neat to hear the girls gasps of wonder and squeals of excitement as they saw the houses come into view one after another. Here are a few of our favourites. This was her oldest's favourite! Absolutely beautiful!!
videoAn evening with us would just not be complete without...ice cream! It may be 6 days before Christmas with snow on the ground and a nip in the air but it's always ice cream time for us! (As soon as Joy-Lynn told the girls about our adventure her middle daughter talked about the last time Miss Ryan came over and brought ice cream! Tonight's ice cream fun....



Thanks for another great time Joy-Lynn! I love your idea of making this an annual tradition and look forward to the day when Hannah's little voice is ooooing and awwwing along with your girls!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Know I Can!

This beautiful ornament, which I believe is gracing many of our trees this year, was a Christmas gift from my wonderful friend Deb. You remember Deb. She's my 'Hmmm, how many bags will she carry?' friend! :o) Thank you Deb! I love it!! It is a daily reminder that I am exactly where I should be in the wait for Hannah and that in God's perfect time He will bring she and I together.

I also wanted to take a moment to thank all of those who have (or are are going to) participate in the 'Christmas Tree Challenge!' It has been wonderful to have so many people share there trees with us! I love how not only do you show pictures of your tree but also share your stories about favourite decorations and traditions around putting up your tree...or trees. Right David?

It won't be long now and we'll all be sharing our stories of Christmas day and all the fun and excitement this wonderful day holds. I have a gift to give that I'm SOOO excited about!! I'll be blogging it here for sure so stay tuned for the fun (and screams of excitement) of Christmas Day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!!!

What a beautiful day it was yesterday as we had a day full of snowy goodness!! Much time was spent outside shovelling, shovelling and shovelling again. Somehow snow in December, the week before Christmas is fun to shovel. Ask me again in February and my response might be a little lot different!

It has been many years since I've been convinced that we're going to have a white Christmas but I think it's a given for this year. Yeah! I love a white Christmas!!

The weeks before Christmas are also filled with shopping for most of us I'm sure. I love the excitement of being in a busy mall...as long as I can find what I'm looking for. Friday night a couple of weeks ago my friend Deb and I headed out for supper and then a night of shopping. This picture may look like my shopping was very successful but in reality it's just a fun pic of niave me! :o) Would you believe I didn't buy a gift that night? What happened was that she bought one gift and when we got to the cash of the next store I offered to hold her first bag. Guess I forgot to give it back. It quickly became a game to her (and I was totally oblivious!) that each time we got to the cash of the next store she'd innocently ask if I could hold a bag for her while she got her wallet out. Well...it took me 6 stores to catch on that I was carrying every single thing she'd purchased and she was walking around empty handed! We howled when I finally caught on to her game! LOL! So glad she didn't feel golf clubs or a new microwave were on her gift list this year! I might have caught on a little earlier if they had been....or not!!

The following morning I was up bright and early and headed out to Toy's R Us at 7am. On the way I picked up a yummy Tim Horton's Candy Cane Hot Chocolate. Ahhh...the perfect combination for a wonderful time of buying gifts for my niece and nephews. Hot chocolate and a toy store!

Finally, this pic just makes me smile. This past Saturday my friend Sharon and I spent a wonderful day of shopping together. She and I have taken a day to Christmas shop together for the last number of years and I always love that day together! We were a little later this year but it was such a wonderful day together and I'm glad we were able to find the time. When we went back to her place for supper she told me where her gifts were hidden this year and I just had to take a peek for myself. Yup! The gifts are all tucked safely away in the bathtub of the spare bathroom! LOL!! Creative gift storage 101. Now, lets just hope someone doesn't decide to take a shower with out looking behind the curtain first! Love you Sharon! I'm so glad we had Saturday to spend together and shop for the ones we love.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Tree 2007!

Well, I'm finally able to post that I met my own Christmas Tree Challenge and I am so glad that I did! Just taking the time to put it up, play with the branches, check the lights and then carefully place each ornament was a wonderful experience. It's amazing how 1 (large) decoration can make such a change in the way my home looks. This year I put the lights on a timer so that when I go downstairs in the morning the tree is beautifully lit and a treat to see. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Saviour and King, Jesus Christ and I am excited that the celebrations of His birth are beginning to take place!

I wanted to share a special ornament that was lovingly placed on my tree for the first time this year. Last December Rebecca and I went to Disney and we bought this beautiful Mulan decoration. For some reason (probably because I didn't unpack my suitcase until after Christmas!) she didn't make it onto the tree last year but this year she holds a place of honour, front and centre on the tree.

I wanted to say a special Thank You to all who chose to participate in the Christmas Tree Challenge. Not only has it been wonderful to see all your beautiful trees but I hadn't anticipated reading all the stories that go behind the decorations and themes of your trees. I have linked to all those who have participated so far and they're listed on the link above.

I love my tree, the colours and theme of it but I will happily let all of that go to have a tree that's decorated by precious little hands so that all the decorations are about a foot from the floor and all in a clump! Oh, now that will be a beautiful tree!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Accepting the Current Reality

This week the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CC*AA) once again sent out referrals to families that have been waiting a long, long time to see their precious baby's face. Congratulations to all those who received their referrals!

This batch of referrals covered 6 days (files logged December 9-14, 2005) which makes it 9 months in a row that referrals have been in the single digits. I decided that I needed to do what is best for me in preparing my heart for Hannah's referral and totally recalculate my 'guesstimation' date based on only the past 9 months and not the months prior to that when the CC*AA referred larger numbers. It was not an easy thing to do but I was finding that each of the previous months when I would recalculate using the larger numbers plus the current smaller ones, my heart would sink as my guesstimation date got further and further away. In turn, it was a tough couple of days each month as my heart adjusted to Hannah seemingly being further away rather than closer.

Using the new calculation I have decided to base my referral thoughts on 5.7 days of referrals per month. I am not asking you to do this; it's just what I need to do for myself. Because of this my current estimation of a referral would be May of 2009 with travel to meet her anticipated as July 2009. Yes it's a long, long way away but I have no doubt that she will be with every moment of the wait and that as always, God's timing will be perfect.

As I updated my sidebar tonight with these difficult new dates there was a silver lining faintly glistening. You know me...I may have to look hard to find it but I'll find the silver lining in most situations. Tonight it was a treat to change the number of LID's before me from triple digits into double digits. There are now 99 days of files to be matched before I receive Hannah's referral. Double digits...I'm into double digits! Considering at the time my file was logged in there were 303 days of files in front of me, 99 is a good thing!

Do I wish things were different? Oh man do I! I've already shed my share of tears thinking of sharing this Christmas and next without my daughter. But, I also know that God is in control and He gives a peace that I cannot explain...it's just there.

'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4: 6,7


I don't know the reasons...but God does.
I don't know when...but God does.
I don't know how long...but God does

And I continue to trust and lean on Him.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Don't Ya Love Your Crazy Friends?

Ahhh...crazy friends! When Joy-Lynn and I get together we just never know what will happen. A normal evening out can turn into an adventure in a matter of mere minutes. :o)

Last evening started out innocently enough. I picked up the babysitter and drove her to Joy-Lynn's, dropped off the babysitter at Joy-Lynn's place and picked her up and the fun had begun before we were even out the driveway. We were headed to a fun evening at a friends house with a 'few' ladies from the church! (I say 'few' because it ended up there was a great turnout and almost 50 ladies showed up! Have you ever tried to play the gift stealing game with 50 ladies?? Let's just say it was interesting and lots of fun.)

Anyway, back to the adventures of J-L and C. We were munching on our appetizers before we were even at the end of her block! Why wait when they're hot and the smell is oh so tempting? After all, if we'd waited we would have had to drive at least 3kms to the party before enjoying them.

We both kinda knew where we were going and only took a few wrong turns. This is pretty common when we get together as it's kinda an unwritten rule that we need to take roads we're not familiar with to see what we can find on our way to a location.

Look what we found last night! Diggers!!! Just a couple of houses away from Liane's there are new houses being built and this equipment was just sitting there. All the other ladies just drove past these temptations but not Joy-Lynn and I! We saw it as a photo opportunity and laughing ourselves silly, took full advantage of it!

My 'Deere' crazy friend Joy-Lynn!



I can fill the 'Cat' part...but who's 'Bob?'





Diggin it Joy-Lynn!





A bucket full of fun!





And last but not least, just a random snowman who looked like he wanted his picture taken...at 11:00pm! We kept hoping that nobody would come out and ask what we were doing taking pics of their home so late at night!

(PS - No snowmen or digger equipment was harmed in the taking of these pictures.)

Hey Joy-Lynn, do you really think it's safe for us to take your girls out to see the Christmas lights next week? Wonder what fun adventures we can talk them into???

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Card Making with a Friend

What fun it was last night when Kathy came over and helped put together Christmas cards. I've made my own cards for a number of years and enjoy doing so but this year was extra fun as we spent the evening together chatting, drinking apple cider, laughing and eating Christmas cookies. Yummy!!

Thanks so much for all your help Kathy! It was great fun spending time with you! Love you lots friend! xoxo

Some here will be receiving the cards so you just get a sneak peek at the back in Kathy's picture. :o)

Christmas Tree update: My friend Deb surprised me this week and popped over to help me carry the box upstairs. Thanks Deb! As you can tell by the size of the box compared to the piano, it's not a box I should handle alone. I did for a few years but after a couple of stumbles on the stairs I promised myself that I'd wait for help to get it up and down in the future. So, we're getting closer. Christmas tree is upstairs. Check! Next, find time to take it out of the box and decorate it. Sounds like the perfect fun for Saturday morning. Maybe it will snow some more? I may treat myself to a Timmy's candycane hot chocolate too. Had one yesterday...oh my! Deeelicious!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Happy Birthday Mom!


We had a great day today as the whole family gathered together to celebrate Mom's birthday. There were lots of little ones around all vying to sit beside Grandma. In all the excitement I didn't snap many pics and those I did are still on the camera so I'll post them later.

Happy Birthday Mom. Hope you had a great day! I love you! xoxo
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