We took the kids to see the new Annie the weekend before Christmas and I was a little worried because the original Annie was one of my favorite movies from my childhood and remakes are never as good as originals. But, this movie was different enough, that it was lovely in it's own way. The main actress is amazing and she really makes the movie! For other adoptive parents, be warned, there are a few hard scenes, ones that portray some of the heartache our kids go through when they don't have families, thankfully I'd been forewarned and we had a few conversations with Little Girl before and after the movie. I think those conversations, although never easy, bringing up that dialogue, stopping from the busyness of life to acknowledge the pain in our child's past, is ultimately a really good thing.
Now, as a bonus, my kids are singing the song "It's a Hard-Knock Life for Us" when we have family chore time!
2. I really need to capitalize more on the before Christmas clean-out.
As it turns out, the statement, "We don't have room for anything new, so nobody is opening any gifts until we get rid of some things," is a really motivational mantra to encourage my kids to actually part with some of their things! Unfortunately I didn't have time to figure this out until Dec. 23rd, so the cleaning out that we could do was limited, but we did fill a few bags. I just love our playroom game shelves all organized by size of the game boxes! Notice there is no before picture with them all just crammed wherever there was space!
3. Taking a Christmas Eve picture of 4 kids plus 1 dog in front of the Christmas tree will not produce a picture where everybody is smiling at the same time, but oh how cuddly they all look!
4. Christmas morning is definitely a time to just ignore the mess.
I think I already knew this, but I love our Christmas mornings at home, no stress, nowhere to be, time to reflect on the BEST gift of Jesus, seeing the delight in our kids as they open gifts from us, and enjoying time together as a family.
5. Getting the 11 year old a camera for Christmas was a really good idea!
It's so hard to buy for kids as they get older and we are still resisting the iPhone thing for my middle school son, although he'd still really like one. His Christmas wishlist was pretty pathetic and no help, with things like new shoelaces on it! Honestly, poor deprived child! When I saw the list in November I was like, "If you need new shoelaces, I think we can probably get you some before Christmas!" I was at a loss for what to get him, but then I thought of the idea of his own camera, a DSLR (which my husband and I don't even have), because he's gotten very interested in photography and he's taking a photography class at school this spring semester. Well, he loved it, and I love that he is learning a real skill as he plays around with lighting and lenses and shutter speed.
6. With all the racial issues going on in our country right now, this happy scene I discovered in my foyer brought me great joy.
My 6 year old daughter wanted a doll bed for Christmas and after she opened it, she promptly set it up and snuggled two of her dollies in it. I just think this is what the world needs more of, people of dark skin and light coming together as family.
7. I'm so glad we started the Christmas morning tradition of homemade doughnuts years ago!
And the doughnut holes? Even better, because you can justify eating several they're so small!
8. Hilda the Hippo, although tested on lions and bears at the zoo, is not actually an indestructible dog toy!
This year I researched to find a stuffed toy to buy Madeline, our goldendoodle, one she wouldn't be able to de-stuff in just a couple days. I had high hopes for Hilda the Hippo after watching the view about how the toy was even tested on zoo animals and even paid more that I typically pay for a dog toy, but sadly Christmas night, Madeline was able to rip both ears off the hippo and soon got all the stuffing out of Hilda's leg! If I can ever get it uploaded, I have a funny video of Madeline wildly pulling stuffing out of the hippo. I'm thinking I should send that video to the company that made the toy!!