Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter is back!

Santa Claus was nice enough to bring the kids sleds last year for Christmas and then the darnest thing happened, winter decided to skip by us leaving us without an opportunity to put the sleds to good use.  Thankfully, winter looks like it is going to make it presence felt this year, and yesterday we took full advantage of the conditions and bundled the kids up from head to toe and hit the local sledding hill.  Can you guess which kid was the most daring of all?

This guy was a mad man.  Time and time again flying down the hill without a care in the world.

That's not to say his two older brothers weren't doing the same, because they were.  Each of the kids had a blast.

At the end of the adventure, they each seemed a bit too eager to take a shot at me with a snowball.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Russian Officials Must Reconsider

Much of the last week has been spent celebrating Christmas with our family, and over the course of the next week or so we have other celebrations including our annual visit from Grandfather Frost.  For those that may not know, Grandfather Frost is to Russians, what Santa Claus is to us. 

Grandfather Frost never misses our house.  He knows there is a young Russian born boy that was one of the lucky ones and was taken out of a Russian orphanage and welcomed into a family that loves him beyond comprehension and he never fails to pay us a visit reminding us of the land where Lleyton was born. 

Lleyton came into our lives late in 2007.  It was this time 5 years ago that Sara and I were between our 2nd and 3rd visits to Russia, eagerly anticipating getting back there and bringing home the boy of our dreams.  That boy is just like the thousands of other children currently living in orphanages in Russia who did nothing wrong and deserve a shot at joining a family like ours.  The needs of those thousands of children just like Lleyton have been disregarded now that Russian officials have banned Americans from adopting from their country. 

I don’t feel like I can adequately describe the feelings Sara and I are having in wake of this news.  It physically pains me to think of those children, to think of those families just like Sara and I five years ago that are not going to be able to bring their children home, to think of the people that have dedicated their lives to the making a difference in the lives of children in orphanages throughout Russia.  Each of those thoughts are weighing on me. 

To say I am upset about this ban would be an incredible understatement.  

When I get home from work this evening my children will run and give me a hug as I walk through the door, each of them having joined Sara and I to form our family through international adoption.  If this ban remains in place, the likelihood that a child like Lleyton in Russia right now will ever have a dad to run to when he walks through the door is extremely slim. 

Something needs to happen.  

Join me in hoping that those children in Russia who yearn to be part of a family, rather than being sentenced to live in institutions, get that chance again. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family Traditions

It’s a busy, yet really enjoyable time of year around our house thanks to the holidays. We set out over the past few years to establish traditions during this time of year that the kids could both look forward to and hopefully look back fondly on. In the past we had hoped to make the jaunt to a Christmas tree farm so that I could show off my muscles and cut down a tree for the family. Well, this year we made that happen, but my vision of it was a bit skewed. After searching through rows of trees, one better than the next while the kids did their best to stay within eyesight, we found the ONE.  It was like a scene out of Christmas Vacation as a light shone down upon the tree that was meant for our living room.

Thus, it was my time to shine.

I wielded the saw that was provided when we arrived at the farm and took the ground as the kids looked on in amazement (I didn’t actually see those looks, but I am certain they were there). I slowly but surely began bringing down the mighty pine. The slowly soon outweighed the surely, at which time I let Sara take over as I looked on in amazement. Thankfully, for my psyche, she allowed me to the be the one that made the final few passes before exclaiming “TIMBER!”. 

These two jumped in and were willing to help bring down the perfect tree as well.

As one tradition began, another one continued, as we took to decorating the tree together while I did my best to sing over the very talented Michael Buble. The kids love my singing.

After all of the decorating had taken place, and the tree was adorned with pictures and lights and ornaments, things settled down a bit before a new friend showed up. That friend being our newest Christmas tradition, The Elf on the Shelf, or better known in our house as Fisbee. Santa’s little helper has been closely watching over the kids each day and flying back to the North Pole by night to report to the big guy himself on the kids’ behavior. By the looks of what’s on the other side of the locked door in our basement, Santa has been pleased with what he has seen.

Here’s some of the things Fisbee has been up to around house.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Anatomy of a Good Family Picture

As I was scrolling through dozens of pictures looking for blog worthy ones for an upcoming post about our Christmas tree I came across these three that I felt exemplified how I go about getting decent pictures of our little ones. 

Behind every blog worthy pic, there are many more non-blog worthy pics. 

Trying to get the group together.

Parker looks like he has about enough while Lleyton tries to corral the his very active younger brother.

The one we were hoping for!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Look who's 6!

Six years ago today on what was almost assuredly a bitterly cold day in Samara, Russia Georgiy Valeryavich Ivanov was born.  You probably know him better as Lleyton. 

That's right, our little guy is 6!

Time flies. 
As usual, Sara worked her magic and created a fantastic birthday cake, and this guy loved it.