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ho, ho, ho (Isaac’s first encounter with Santa)

We had an action packed weekend with the littles. Family night on Friday night. A Christmas party benefitting Wiphan and foster care on Saturday morning. Gigi took the older two to the Fox Theatre for the Nutracker…and Richard and I thought it’d be a good idea with JUST two kids to go Christmas shopping (HA! HA! HA!). Our shopping spree only lasted 1 hour and ended at an Italian restaurant since food is more exciting to Frankie baby and Isaac than being drug around from store to store. (Now someone tell me why we thought taking 2 kids 2 and under would be easy??? THEN…finally SUNDAY came–our much needed day of rest and we all 6 vegged out, took naps and watched snow flurries come down (a rare occasion in the South!)

We are truly enjoying this Christmas season with our Isaac Temesgen finally being with us. Oh how we LONGED for him last season…and it’s so fun to watch his little face light up as he sees new things like Christmas lights and sings Christmas songs…he is QUITE the dancer!!! He had his first encounter with Ho-ho at the Elphick’s Christmas party…

Isaac liked this old hairy man just fine—BUT FRANK…once again cared NOTHING for him and the ONLY way he was going to get in the picture was if momma joined him!
Don’t you think these pictures are a good representation of their feelings on the big guy?! (Can you tell that Isaac Temesgen is actually SITTING on Santa’s LAP…and that Frankie baby wants to R-U-N?! He is like GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!! This is so not cool!)

Now, we don’t make a big to-do about Santa at our house over Christmas–as we like to keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus’s birth. If our kids ask us what is true–we tell them. Last year, our inquisitive child with the biggest heart in the world asked us so many questions and begged us at age 5 for the truth…”Is Santa OR Jesus real? Which one do you believe in? If Santa is real, then why would God grant Santa special powers and not others?…” The list of questions went on–and we answered each and everyone of them truthfully and Biblically. Now, Laney–she has heard these conversations of course…but she has the most grand imagination and she told us, “Santa can be real if you want to pretend he is real…so I am believing he is real…” and her sweet little imagination can do just that. In fact–when she saw these blog pictures she told me that THIS Santa IS the real Santa! And guess what she is asking for?? Once again–the SAME things that her big brother is!!!

This girl MELTS my heart!!!
I love how different each and every one of my children are…Laney has such a precious, kind spirit about her–she dreams big and has a heart of compassion…oh don’t you wonder what she’s thinking here?

Parker kept looking at me and smiling–but he still chose to sit in Ho-ho’s lap and tell him he wanted a skateboard, a teepee and a stuffed elf. The children always get THREE gifts to symbolize the gifts of the Magi…and having that long-standing tradition they never ask for more. They narrow it down to three…and some times it changes here and there–but it’s always 3. Parker once told me, “Baby Jesus got three gifts–so it wouldn’t make sense for us to get more on his birthday.” Well said don’t you think? Parker is now 6, and I love that he’ll go with the flow and we talk about not spoiling the fun for other children whose parents like them to believe in Santa. AND if he wants to believe he is real…he can if it wants to–but to always remember that the reason for Christmas is Jesus’s birthday and everything else can be a lot of fun–but it’s really about knowing the baby in the manger and searching for Him and living for Him.

As if life isn’t crazy enough–my kid’s school has this fun little stuffed animal that “gets” to come home with you for a weekend. You take pictures of him EVERY where he goes with you–and you document your entire weekend together. AND sinse preK and kindergarten do this—and since most preK and K kids can’t read or write or take pictures or develop them or drive to the photo store to get them…then GUESS WHO gets do all of it. Okay, so the kids LOVE it…but seriously–who does all the work??? SO–as if we aren’t crazy enough–we got to document a stuffed animal’s adventures all weekend:).

Seriously–the kids do love him and his name is Buddy the dog…and if you ask Frank now what he wants for Christmas all he says is “Buddy”. If you see a dog that looks just like this while you are out shoppin’…lemme know;).

I imagine if we talked a lot about Santa that Ho-ho just might become the focus of Christmas for our children…and it’s hard enough in our world to make Jesus the light of the world. Laney ran in the door today from school and asked to hear the story of Jesus again…HE is the Christmas story and it reminds me to look for Him in all things around us. I can’t wait to share a new tradition of our family that will BEGIN ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! I’ve got a few more finishing touches and details to finish up–but if you are like me you just hate when Christmas day is over…and really–it should just continue on and on. After Jesus was born, the wisemen began their journey to find Him…and our journey should be like theirs–seeking Him out no matter the obstacles that are put before us and traveling together through this life to be with Him.

I am so thankful for the journey that the Lord had guided our family on…and as I rocked Isaac to sleep last night I thought about how DIFFERENT our lives really are. I have to confess–just 4 years ago things that were important to me are DRASTICALLY different than what is important to me now. Orphan care really changed my perspective. Four years ago…my goals were different…how I wanted to spend my time…what I thought I “deserved”. I realize I don’t really “deserve” anything…yet the Lord has blessed us—and much of it is because through His guidance and power and through seeing Him more we have changed our goals, our life purposes, the way we want to spend our time…the things we LONG for are so much different. I am so thankful that He continues to change our hearts and what we desire…and how thankful I am to travel this life now with many like-minded families who will do anything for His calling…even if it means saying yes to changing your family, your sleep, your time, your comfort…thankful that we are just starting to get what LIFE is REALLY about. I pray the world never changes me–but Jesus does more and more.

And two more pictures to go on…Isaac Temesgen won’t just go to anybody…but I’m so thankful for those he does want to love on him. His Gigi…

And my friend Christy…

Christy was hands down one of our BIGGEST cheerleaders during our adoption. I can’t say all the ways they helped us because I know she wouldn’t want me to–but she and her hubby were used greatly to press us toward God’s calling for our lives. SUCH AN ENCOURAGEMENT!!! Truly–during our adoption…when life was CRAZIEST for us and we were probably more emotional and on a roller coaster ride than EVER is where our friendship was truly born. One thing you will learn during a life journey like adoption is who your tried and true friends are as they journey this with you! I mean, seriously–who wants to support someone after a YEAR roller coaster…phone calls every month saying “you won’t BELIEVE our new number!!!” or upon coming home being patient as you nest in a cocoon with your new one…but this girl—she was so excited for every stage and this friend is the picture of the word SERVANT. You wonder how I’ve done everything I’ve done with doctor visits and such and 3 other little ones…well—here is a friend I couldn’t have done it without!!! People always say that adoption is NOT for the weak…and that you better have your thick skin on—truly I think back to our journey and some of the hardest things that were spoken to me during that time was by other Christians and some times friends—BUT God is always, always faithful–and He will also provide friends like these to love you through it, support you while you are home and be there for you when it’s fun and when it’s hard! Christy is one of those behind the scenes people who is always serving and I just had to take a minute to brag on her a bit (you do read this DON’T you Christy…and thank you for picking up my kids today so I didn’t have to wake the babies up!!!) And in the end…I think Isaac Temesgen sense’s her authenticity too…don’t ya think?!

Hope you all are enjoying the season!!! Please keep the THOUSANDS of children in foster care in your prayers this season…and the millions who long for families all over the world. Pray that the Lord will comfort them during this season…and that He will even open homes and hearts to be there for them and love them…

Chasity - December 13, 2010 - 8:04 pm

Andrea~ I always love your posts! And I know (at least I know my version) of what you mean about LONGING for Isaac last Christmas. Just yesterday a simple jewelry commercial with a mom rocking her baby on Christmas Eve made me burst into tears just filled with longing for the babies we are journeying toward. To think of them out there somewhere in Africa as orphans and us here this Christmas is heartbreaking…yet I know this is part of the process..part of God’s plan from the beginning of time…He is faithful. He is mighty to save, and so we walk with Him into the days ahead as we celebrate our Savior’s birth and journey toward the little ones He is leading us to.

Jennifer - December 13, 2010 - 9:37 pm

Awww I love you posts and pics, but that Frankie makes me laugh. I hope he gets a Buddy dog.

april - December 13, 2010 - 10:39 pm

i love all your pictures and think its great how your kids ask all the questions about santa and jesus and im excited to hear what your going to do with them for the day after Christmas! also…love Isaac’s little tummy…oh so cute!

Elle J - December 14, 2010 - 1:54 am

Lovely, Andrea! Your Laney’s heart, Parker’s wisdom, Frank and Isaac’s adorableness … wrapped up makes a forever and amazing blessing for you! Merry Christmas!!!!!

Bobi Bobbitt - December 14, 2010 - 11:33 pm

WOW, Andrea! You have done it again! This post was so right on for me today, I know that God used your words to touch my heart! I can so relate to so much of what you said! Especially about hurtful things from “so called” friends, as we begin this adoption journey, I am so glad that God has placed a couple of true friends to support me along the way, it means so much! And we also do the three gifts from Santa, so fun to hear that y’all do the same thing! Have to say it again.. I LOVE THIS POST and my sweet “BLOG WORLD FRIEND”… I am so blessed to have you as a part of my life!

jessie - December 15, 2010 - 1:16 am

haha I remember in first grade we had a stuffed koala and one time I got to bring it home for the weekend. Best weekend of my life up to that point!
I really like the idea of 3 gifts! Will have to talk that one over with hubby and see how he feels about that!