Wow! Has is really been only a little over a week since I’ve updated? It seems like tons of time has passed. Reality is that we’ve been having a lot of FUN (for the most part) and that has kept me from getting on the computer much and doing any updating.
The Friday before Christmas was Cackie’s last day at school before the Christmas break. Her class party was that afternoon, so I left work a little early and went to enjoy with her friends and their parents. Mayhem is truly the only way to describe the feeling in the classroom! Nineteen 3 year olds enjoying treats (i.e., sugar) doesn’t make for much quiet. I sat with Cackie while she enjoyed her snack plate (sliced turkey, cheese, cookies, cheetos, cupcake & grapes…yum!) She sat down at a table off to the side and was shortly joined by 3 of her boy buddies, such a flirt already! The kids were all super excited about Christmas and Santa’s impending arrival. Alex was fascinated with Santa coming down the chimney and exclaimed to me that he saw a house earlier that week with 3 chimneys! The chimney thing must be something that the class has talked about a lot, earlier that morning I caught Cackie in front of our chimney saying “Santa, you come down chimney… OK?”
After we got home from her party we stopped by Holiday Ham to order some items for our Christmas brunch. We had thought a lot about how we wanted to spend Christmas day and decided that we definitely didn’t want to spend it in the kitchen. So, we figured that a nice big brunch with munchies for later in the day would be a nice change of pace. It turned out really well and the whole family enjoyed it. We’re seriously thinking that it will be a family tradition from now on.
After stopping to order our brunch, we took Cackie to Michael’s mom’s to spend the night. This was a huge help to us to relax and get some things accomplished on Saturday. The Tigers were playing in their bowl game, so we ordered in sushi and watched them get beat L while wrapping some presents.
The Saturday before Christmas we had a party at our house for our FCC “family”. Michael made a couple of pots of chili and friends brought the extras. It was nice, easy and relaxing to spend the evening together. We even had a surprise birthday celebration for our friend Angela! The kids played together really well, they did get into a few confrontations but that’s to be expected with 3 year olds. It was really great to see them all together and watch their developing personalities. I can’t wait until we have Owen home and he can join this great group of kids. I look forward to watching these kiddos grow up together!
The Sunday before Christmas my sister and I braved a trip to Walmart. It was pretty crazy, but not the worst I have ever seen. We were able to get just about everything we needed for our Christmas brunch and even picked up a couple of last minute gifts. The rest of the day was spent getting things ready, baking cookies and wrapping gifts.
On Christmas Eve I had to go into work for a couple of hours, but Michael & Caryn were home with Cackie getting ready for the big day. I started getting a headache after I got home and spent a lot of the afternoon sitting and watching TV, something that I rarely do and it was quite nice to just relax. Late that afternoon we went out and picked up some movies and had a cozy little lasagna dinner. While the lasagna was cooking we took Cackie outside to put out her “magic reindeer food” to help guarantee that Santa and his reindeer would make a stop at our house.
My parents got here around 9pm and we were all glad to see my dad moving around pretty well after his knee surgery. Cackie finally fell asleep around 11 – 11:30 and we were all ready to crash by that point.
Christmas morning Michael & I got up around 7:30 and started getting things ready for our brunch. I’m sure we weren’t super quiet, but Cackie was still able to sleep until just after 8. She stayed in her room quietly for a while until she begged us to come out. The first thing she exclaimed to her Aunt Caryn when she woke up was that Santa did not come in her room because she didn’t see him! When she did come out of her room she was more excited about seeing the table loaded up with breakfast treats, especially the grapes. She hardly paid attention to the mound of presents under the tree in the other room!
Around 9 am Michael’s Mom & stepdad arrived at the house and we let Cackie dive into unwrapping her presents. She had a blast, but didn’t quite understand that she couldn’t open each toy as she unwrapped them. After she was finished we had our brunch and Michael’s Mom & stepdad left. At that point the rest of us unwrapped the remaining presents under the tree. By the time we finished it was 1pm! Cackie and Dad laid down to take naps and the rest of us napped in the living room or just puttered around with things. We had a wonderful rest of the day, just hanging out and relaxing. In the evening we watched a couple of movies and actually got to bed much later than I had intended.
All in all it was a pretty great Christmas and we’ve pretty much decided that we’ll do a Christmas brunch from now on, a lot less stress and more relaxing…exactly what we need.
On Wednesday Michael & I had to go back to work. Caryn was here to help keep Cackie occupied while her school was on break and they both have had a great time together. On Thursday we went out for sushi and ended with everyone’s favorite cheesecake tempura!
Yesterday we went and applied for Caryn’s passport. Hopefully it will come back as fast as Cackie’s did. Last night Michael, Cackie & I went over to his Mom & Stepdad’s to exchange our presents with them. After Cackie went to bed we sat and watched a movie, something we never seem to do anymore.
This week I’ve also gotten some more news about Owen. The American volunteer in Tianjin (I’ll call him AVT for simplicity) saw him on the 26th and said that Owen rushed him along with a whole group of kids when he arrived at the orphanage. His comment was that he didn’t have much to say about Owen because he seems to be a pretty normal kid in a pretty normal situation. I asked about Owen being in the “kindergarten” class even though he’s not yet quite 3 and found out that some children start “kindergarten” early, depending on when their birthdays fall, etc. AVT says that Owen is the same size physically as most of his class, so we feel that he’s probably like Cackie and on the bigger size.
Hearing all this about Owen has been wonderful. It’s so good to know that he’s doing well and is a happy boy. We are starting to put together things for another care package. I’m hoping to get it out in the next two weeks so that he receives it in time for Chinese New Year on February 7.
That’s about it for now!