"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Bah Humbug Christmas

I admit that I started off this Christmas as a very unhappy little expat wife.  There were even a few tears.

Pity party, table for one! 

I had so many plans this Christmas.  Normally for birthdays and special occasions, I just ask for more money for my orphans from Nick.  But this year, with Isla getting older and finally starting to “get” it, I wanted Christmas decorations for Christmas.  I was so excited about them! I hadn’t bought any since before Isla was born, and I had so much fun putting them up. I had big plans for Santa (yes, we decided to do Santa, but that’s another story for another day), Christmas movie marathon, cookie baking and decorating, and then we were going to bake a cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to him!  Nick had saved one day so that he could take off for Christmas.

But then we had a catastrophe! Nick got put on a problem that he needed to fix and had to work, and not only that, go to Moscow.  Thankfully Isla and I were able to go with him, but I was so bitterly disappointed about this. I mean completely unable to put it into to any kind of perspective.  Please don’t tell me about orphans who don’t have families at Christmas or soldiers who are away from their families at Christmas.  I ran through all of those in my head, and nothing helped.  I was just plain old bummed.

Unfortunately this Christmas season in general has been sort of a sad one for me, and I am sure many other people.

  • Reece’s Rainbow Angel Tree isn’t doing well, last year we managed to get each any every child to their $1000 goal.  This year, people just aren’t giving as much.  If you have a few minutes and a few dollars, could you please stop by the Angel Tree and bless on of the babies that are at the bottom of the tree?  You can find it HERE.
  • And of course my heart is aching about the Russian adoption ban.  The last I heard yesterday, Putin had not signed the bill into law, but he fully intends to.  My heart is breaking over this.
  • And of course the Newtown shooting has everyone down.  There will be so many families missing a piece of their hearts this Christmas.

What a great attitude I have had during the season where we are supposed be celebrating the savior of the world! I know, I am terrible…  Christmas evening, I kept tearing up, and I just couldn’t muster up a whole lot of happiness.

Last Sunday at church, my pastor reminded me of one of my favorite verses in the bible -

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

And he went onto point out that our joy would be complete on that day.  Without ever having experienced any sadness or misery, we could never know full joy.  But one day in the fullness of Christ’s return, we will experience full joy, having experienced the pain of our pasts and yet knowing it is fully behind us!

I’m trying to remember and choose joy this season.

I think Nick could sense that I was a little down on Christmas.  He came back from work and suggested something that I decided to give up on last year – that we go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate Christmas!  Yes, my husband wanted to take ME to a fancy restaurant!!!! I knew this was a once in a life time deal – so I decided to say YES, YES, YES!

Nick took us to Chicago Prime, and since we went early, there weren’t many people there.  Actually, everyone there was American or British with small children and doing exactly what we were doing – trying to make the best of a holiday away from family.

I got to order my favorite fancy meal – Chilean Sea Bass and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  (I know mashed potatoes aren’t fancy, but I love them with fish!).  Then we got Sundaes and I asked for extra chocolate sauce – when the bill came we realized that the extra sauce cost $10!!! Whoops.  Oh well, Merry Christmas to me…

Yummmmo…

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Managing a smile Smile. I was way underdressed compared to the rest of the clientele.

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My two sweeties – have I mentioned that I am so grateful that Isla and I were able to come with Nick so that we could spend Christmas together???

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Isla enjoying her sundae!

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Walking back it was sooooo cold.   I realized this year that I hate cold, dry climates, and that I love hot, humid climates. If I never live in a cold climate again I will be fine with it! (Side note – when we called my mom Christmas day, she kept going on and on about how gorgeous Texas was, 75 degrees and just perfect… thanks mom, really needed that!)  Moscow is so dry that we are constantly causing static sparks wherever we go!  At night we are so awesomely romantic that we actually cause real sparks in our bed…  I’m kidding (…or am I?) but it is kind of weird to just turn over in bed and set off dozens of little electrical shocks.

Isla is so funny in the cold.  She likes walking in it, but makes the funniest faces and buries it in anything she can find. Sorry for the poor picture quality.

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I am so glad that we are all together this year on Christmas Eve and Day, even if we weren’t exactly WHERE I would have liked to have been.

We are still in Moscow and we leave tomorrow to head back to Novo.  Here are a few more snapshots of our week here.

It takes quite a lot of effort to dress up little Hanna Andersson models!

1 Dressed Up

And the result?  She looks like a a little pink marshmallow cream puff – everyone in Moscow wears black or  maybe brown, she has been an adorable little bright spot!

2 Marshmellow

We’ve all gone swimming, even Mommy!  I really hope that one day we can move somewhere where she can take real swimming lessons…  she loves the water and is fearless.  Of course she jumped in without floaties AGAIN, almost causing a heart attack in both her parents.  Thankfully we made it to her very quickly!

3 Loves the pool4 So Sweet5 Gooberlicious

We haven’t made it out much because it has been so cold, but then it got less cold and it was just dirty and slushy.  This is Isla’s favorite spot in our room to sit!

6 SNOW 26 SNOW!

We have met Daddy for lunch on occasion. Some street elves gave Isla this hat, which she promptly put on Smile.

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There have been a lot of street performers out to celebrate the coming New Year.  I love mimes, but Isla as turns out… not so much!

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And of course… we also had a visit to the Doctor to check up on little Two Baby.  But that one will get a post all its own… Spoiler – it was amazing!!!! Smile

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