We're hoping baby Abenezer is ready to go from the warmth of Ethiopia to this: winter in the Pacific Northwest. I snapped this photo while driving up to Seattle yesterday to visit friends. And it seems that he may be here sooner than we expected! Mary called today with the surprising news that we have been assigned a court date on January 4th! As our friend Kelly K would say...Holy Crap! It's all wonderfully exciting but boy is there tons to do to get ready.
Yesterday while up in Washington, I got to sit betwixt two of my favorite women in the world, Carolee and Dee. I feel so blessed beyond measure to have these inspirations in my life. These folks know how to live well. Carolee makes me laugh and cry nearly every time I see her, by the little ways she has of doing things like jumping fully clothed into a swimming pool to relieve stress or like the time she made me cry at our Christmas party a couple of years ago by handing me a framed snapshot she had of Rich Mullins sitting on his porch with his dog. She knew that Rich is my hero and she even got to sing with him and everything. Carolee has the voice of an angel.
Dee is the most creative person I know, with a house filled with meaningful treasures and joyful things, like a framed portrait of her chickens. She gave us a basket of gifts yesterday, with stuff like fizzing bath crystals (ooh la la), green fuzzy baby socks, and an adoption-themed baby book. It's a treasure. It's called My Family, My Journey: a Memory Book. She also gave this book to "Ted and his boy," which made both of us cry. We love Dee and Chris.On my birthday, we finally got to try out the local Cajun/Creole place in town, which I was especially excited about. And Ted made me feel very special by splurging on a gift set of Lovely as well as all kinds of art supplies. Amidst all the preparations for Baby Rooney, I hope I have time to get to those... We also found out on my birthday how horrendously expensive diapers are. As Ted would say, Jiminy Christmas! So it looks like we'll be starting out with a big box from Costco and then transitioning to cloth diapers when we get home and settled in. Portland's a cloth diaper kind of town, so I'm sure we'll figure it out.
Christmas was a lot of fun, with Ted getting to change his very first diaper after Christmas dinner. He did great. We're lucky to have Baby E around to practice on--he and Baby Rooney are even the same age, though E is twice as heavy :) Here he is taking a nap on Aunt Lori during dinner. What a sweet snuggler. I can't wait for Baby E and Baby A to play together.
While opening presents Christmas day, it started to snow pretty hard, so all the neighbors ran outside. That was fun fun fun. Here we are with some of our favorite neighbors:
We did our best to include Baby Neezer (as Sophie Breedlove has been calling him) in our Christmas day brunch, so here's evidence of that. A little bit twisted? Or sweet? Weird? Oh well:
By the way, Ted is wearing here the sweater his mom knitted for him twenty years ago. He pulls it out every Christmas, like a good son should.
Finally, we got to do lots of singing and games too, like Apples to Apples: the Bible version...which is kind of trippy. On one of my turns as judge, my adjective was "wide," so despite being offered choices like the Nile River and the land of Canaan, how could I be a good Christian and not pick "the love of God," laid down by nephew Matthew?
Here are a couple of clips of the caroling that went on Christmas Eve. Ted's instructions to the crowd during "Feliz Navidad" is a nice example of what he likes to call his "stupid humor." He's awfully good at that.
And finally, I wanted to put the query out there (for anyone who's read this far) for advice on what the heck to take on this trip. We have a great list from our agency, and I've been reading travel tips from parents who've already gone, but I'd love to hear input/advice about traveling with a 7-month old baby. Any of you who have flown long distances with a baby: What items came in handy and which items just got in the way? I'd love to hear input.