Category Archives: Holidays

Happy November, the month of thanks!  I wish I could say I’m unequivocally thankful, but I can’t do that right now.  I think the pending holidays are dragging me down with the knowledge that, for the first time in seven years, Csaba won’t be with us.  I really can’t fathom that and I wish I could just lie down and sleep through it all.  But that would also mean sleeping well into the new year because of Csaba’s birthday in February and the anniversary of darkest day of my life…March 9.  So, next summer would be a good time to awake I guess (obviously though, that can’t happen).

So I pray that God will give me the strength to get through it.

With E and P, I have to move forward.  I have to trudge on and make sure they have great childhood memories and that I NEVER take their presence in my life for granted.  So we did participate in the Halloween dress-up & trick or treating this year, even though I constantly found myself reflecting on last year’s Halloween.  While not ideal circumstances then (Tom had just flown back from his second trip to Latvia and was sick as a dog), I would prefer that an infinitesimal amount over how it all feels now.

Ok, shake it off (thanks Taylor Swift, now I have that song in my head).

Here are pics from this year’s Halloween.  Some were taken a week ago at the Elizabeth “Trick or Treat Street” festivities and the last few were taken last night when we went to an adjoining neighborhood for candy collection.  It was fun and different because, here in the country, it’s impossible for kids to walk miles and miles to each house.  So some good people from our country market got together with folks in the neighborhood and had four hay wagons for kids to ride and stop at various (read: willing) houses.  It was the first time doing this and some valuable lessons were learned:  wear a winter coat, a hat, and gloves; bring a blanket to sit on because that hay is very pokey; and maybe some hot chocolate in a thermos (with a splash of Bailey’s) for the adults would be good.  Next year I’m all over it!  Tom is off hunting this weekend so my friend, her son, and her grand-daughter who live up the street were able to join us (thank you Cindy!).

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Good friends.

Good friends.

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This is a miniature horse dressed as a witch. Adorable!!  I want.

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P asked this “alien” where his spaceship was. I think he was serious.

My Elsa (and yes, I know there were hundreds of them this year)

My Elsa (and yes, I know there were hundreds of them this year).

The Sinclair dinosaur in front of the store was dressed as a horse this year.

The Sinclair dinosaur in front of the store was dressed as a horse.

Hayride time!

Hayride time!

Today is a national day of mourning.  We mourn the loss of life experienced on 9/11/2001 when evil people attacked our nation.  We mourn the loss of American freedoms we had before that horrific day, and we mourn the soldiers who have given their lives to continually fight against the evil of that day and on.

But we also can honor the people who continue to fight, the people who give everything they have to keep us safe and secure.  All the soldiers, veterans, firefighters, policemen, EMT’s, and other first responders deserve our respect not only on this day, but every day.  I personally want to thank them all for their service and sacrifice.

We started the day with an amazing Patriot Day assembly at the kids’ school where we commemorated 9/11 with a color guard, men and women in uniform, and a reminder of why this day exists in the first place.  I’m proud that my kids are in a school that does this!

The school also decided that today was a good day to dedicate the benches that were donated by our old neighbor, his family, and his optimist club.  Two beautiful benches were constructed on the playground with plaques in remembrance of Csaba.  They are so beautiful (I want one at our house!).  The former third grade class who knew Csaba also surprised us with painted rocks to put around the benches.  It was so moving, and I’m glad I had my camera with me to capture it all…

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Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this wonderful memorial.  It means the world to our family!!

This year we splurged a little for E to celebrate her birthday.  Last year I wanted to do a “pony party” at our new home for her fifth birthday, but we ended up being in Latvia for P’s adoption and it was celebrated with a store-bought tasteless cake (since Europe doesn’t sweeten their confections like we do here in America), after dinner in our rented apartment.  Tom would argue that it’s the best kind of birthday – being in a foreign country – but a five year old sure doesn’t think so!  However it is very special in that she had both brothers there to celebrate with her (for what is now the only and last time).  I wish I had more than a grainy phone photo of that moment…

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So much has changed.

Anyway, this year I chose to throw her a spa party at a completely girly place called “Sweet and Sassy”.  She invited four good friends and they enjoyed a time of pampering, making their own lotion and sugar scrub, and of course (homemade!) “Frozen” cake and presents.  It was a lot of fun, with the best part being that it was only 2 hours and I didn’t have to clean up! :)

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My first ever attempt at sculpting something out of gumpaste!

 

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Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  Hope it was special!

It’s so strange to think about how different this Easter was from the one I posted about 2 years ago.  We missed C this year so much!!  I snapped a lot of photos of the kids because I know, more than ever, how important it is to do that.  You just never know what life will throw at you.  On top of that, I didn’t get any photos of Easter last year…the last one we’d celebrate with C.  Then suddenly we have an entirely new dynamic this year and it just seems so unreal.  I’m still trying to process everything.  Does any of this make sense?

Anyway, we had a decent Easter this year.  On Saturday we went to a neighbors house to hunt for Easter eggs and then Sunday we had two families over for lunch and festivities.  I was really wonderful, despite the cloud hanging over me that I should have had 3 baskets to stuff and 3 kids in family photos.  It’s such a nightmare to have to adjust to all of this and to have this inner turmoil just bubbling under the surface in the midst of all the holiday frivolity.  It will just never be the same, I fear.

Okay, on to photos because I’m truly at a loss as to what to say anymore…

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Crazy how fast this year has gone!  Last year at this time we were in the throes of adoption paperwork for P, as well as getting ready to re-host him again for Christmas.  I also remember doing all the seasonal activities with the kids, like going to the pumpkin patch and Halloween trick-or-treating, and wishing P was with us.  It seems like yesterday and yet here we are, P is home and we just have one more trip to Latvia to finish this adoption.  Yay, the end is in sight!

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Our visit to the Pumpkin Patch

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Finished product (they had a little help)

Halloween night was a bit of a chaotic scene.  Tom was returning from Latvia and his plane got in at 4:30pm.  I went straight from picking the kids up from school to the airport where we had to wait an hour and half for him to get through customs and all that jazz.  Fortunately I had the foresight to bring the kids’ costumes and trick or treat pails so that we could go straight from the airport to a neighborhood.  I say “a neighborhood” because living out here in the sticks means there is no trick-or-treating to be had.  I planned to go to the neighborhood next to us where they had a hay wagon set up to take kids, all at once, door to door but we had to meet up with them at 5:30pm and that was not happening since we were at the airport.  SO some nice friends of ours in Parker invited us to join them in trick-or-treating after we had finished getting Tom.

Now, this was all just bad timing.  Poor Tom was exhausted…as many of you know International flying takes a lot out of a person so I was truly between a rock and hard place.  The kids really were looking forward to buckets full of candy AND this was P’s first time to do this.  On the other hand, there is my husband who is clearly miserable and just wanting to go home.    Aack.  We live so far out of the way that there was just no time to drive him home and then return to our friends to trick or treat.  Dilemma dilemma!

So of course Tom said he would be fine and that he would tough it out.  I mean, how could you resist when the kids looked like this?

(this was teaken at Chick-Fila after trick or treating...time had not allowed dinner OR proper photo taking) :(

Let me introduce you to Iron Man, Merida from “Brave”, and a Star Wars Clone Trooper (this was taken at Chick-Fila after trick or treating…time had not allowed dinner beforehand OR proper photo taking.  Halloween fail.)

I will say Tom was a trooper.  Just as we were walking to the car to go TOT, he got sick all over the road.  I felt horrible so he stayed in the car and followed us door to door all stalker-like while I walked the kids around.  :-/ Here’s hoping next year isn’t quite as eventful!!