Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Our First Christmas as a Family
We celebrated our first Christmas together. It was even more special because Vadim, the children's brother, was able to spend Christmas with us. He came with a group of kids through a hosting program and was here for 2 1/2 weeks. It was his first time to fly and his first trip to the USA. He quickly became part of the family. Michael had two Christmas choir performances. Elizabeth made poster sized Christmas cards. The kids loved picking out the perfect Christmas tree and decorating it. All of the kids received so many wonderful gifts from family and friends.
Mom and Dad drove in from Austin to spend the holidays with us. Mom brought each child a jar full of coins. They poured the coins on the table and started counting. Mom made her famous strawberry cake and the kids loved it! I think Vadim ate it for breakfast most days. If you look closely at the picture of Mom, Michael and Vadim, you will see $$ in Michael's eyes!
Our adoption group got together several times over the holidays. We all met one weekend to celebrate Yaroslav's birthday. Natalie and Bill invited everyone over to their house for hamburgers, hot dogs, and cake. There were over 20 people there! Two families who adopted from Svitlana's orphanage drove in from Dallas to surprise Svitlana. Svitlana was truly touched to see all of "her kids" so happy, healthy, and thriving with their new families. Many happy tears were shed as old friends saw each other for the first time in over a year. We had a Ukrainian Celebration one day where everyone brought Ukrainian food. Everyone had a great time and the food was delicious.
Since we are talking about food I will end with this. Vadim arrived wearing a brand new pair of jeans that he bought for the trip to America. He only wore them the day he arrived because my friend June had given me several pairs of her son's jeans that fit Vadim perfectly and he ended up wearing them while he was here. He wanted to wear his Ukraine jeans home so he did not pack them. When he got up to get dressed the morning of the flight he put the jeans on and he could barely button them. He gained some weight while he was here :-). I swear he was an inch taller when he left too. It's amazing what good nutrition (and tons of Christmas candy, Grandma's cake, and Fanta)and love does for a growing boy.