Sheesh, where do I start? A few weeks ago, I took the kids to visit Santa. Kai and Anna Grace couldn't get on his lap fast enough. Thank goodness that there wasn't anyone in line before us. Anna Grace wasted no time in telling her new bearded buddy that she wanted a "kitchen to cook in and a dolly". Kai, my sweet little man who is always thinking of his siblings, made sure to tell Santa that he wanted a "red car, AJ wanted a truck and Anna Grace a dolly". He also made sure to tell Santa that they had all been good. Umm....ok. Yeah, they've been good.
I'm not sure if Anna Grace had been exposed to Santa or not in China, but she wasted no time in realizing that this chubby old man is a good thing and he will come when she's "sheeping" (sleeping) and bring lots of "poisants" (presents). Too cute! She's doing so much better. She's cute as can be and she and Kai have an infectious giggle that just makes you laugh listening to them.
AJ is just adorable and all boy. He HATED Santa up close but talks about him all day long. He can't go by a Christmas tree or any decoration without bursting into a "Mama!!! Shanta!!! (Santa)" My baby boy is growing up so darn fast. I wish I could slow him down. He is also talking up a storm....all of them are.
Kai is into the "why?" stage. At first, I thought it was just soooo cute how he'd ask "Whyyyyyyyyyyy?" about everything. But, I must admit, it's getting tiring. Especially when I'm trying to get him to hurry up and do something and there's always a "why?" response! UGH! My answer is always "because I said so" and his response is always, "Oh!" He seems satisfied with that, for now at least.
I've had a few of you ask me how Amanda is doing. She is doing great! She started the 8th grade at a new school this year and her grades have been excellent. She still has those teenage girl hormones that flare up once in a while, but overall she's a great kid and we are so very blessed to call her ours. If I could just get her to keep her room clean on a daily basis, life would be good!
Speaking of Amanda, I have been so darn excited about her "big" gift for Christmas. For months now she's been driving me crazy to go see Hawk Nelson, a Christian teen band. Well, I finally gave in and looked up the info on their tour. God is so good. They are playing in Orlando (about 3 hours away). But what is so amazing is that they are playing at the Revolve Tour.
I attended the Women of Faith conference two years ago and it was amazing! Well, since then, they've decided to offer the same type of conference for teenage girls, ages 13-18, and Hawk Nelson is one of the bands playing. So, not only will she be going to listen to the band, she'll be spending two days with girls her age listening to God's word and topics that will hopefully continue to keep her focused on Christ. I was so excited. I bought 3 tickets, one for her, one for me and one for her to take a friend. Well, the little sneak saw my Christmas list on my desk and next to her name it said "revolve". She, of course, started snooping and found out that I got tickets as a Christmas gift. I could smack her. She doesn't know I know, so I should now have it backfire and not give her the tickets for Christmas and just wait till right before the concert in February. I'm thinking about it.
That's about it with the kids. This is the first year that we will not be driving to Miami to see the rest of the family on Christmas day, and I'm pretty sad about that, but I think it's more important for the kids to wake up on Christmas morning and enjoy their first real Christmas day without having to spend the day driving. Tito will be up next weekend to see us, and Christmas Eve will be spent with my Mom, my aunt and cousins and my sister and her family celebrating the traditional Cuban Noche Buena. We have the traditional pig roasted in the backyard that has been sitting in a garlicky homemade marinade called mojo. The late night feast includes white rice, black beans, salad, yuca with lots of mojo and cuban bread . Yummy!!!
We also have made it a tradition over the years to have a cake in which we all sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. I speak daily to the little ones about the "reason for the season" and I think they clearly understand that it's Jesus' birthday we are celebrating, and that somehow we get the gifts for him. That Jesus is a pretty awesome guy, huh?
After the cake, we then at midnight open gifts from each other. We will be back home probably around 3 a.m., sleep a few hours, or until the kids wake up, and then see what Santa brought while them while they were sleeping. It's a long day and night, but one that we build so many memories that we wouldn't trade it for the world. Christmas Day for us is something of an afterthought, gastronomically speaking, as that's when you eat the Noche Buena leftovers.
I have lots of pictures to upload before Christmas and I also want to share about a few Christmas miracles that the Lord has blessed us with, so please check back soon. I promise to post again before Christmas.
PS. I wanted to comment on some of the good news some of you have shared with me in the past week or so. I am beyond excited that these beautiful babies are making their way into their Mama's arms! 2008 is going to be an awesome year!
Tina....wooohoooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! A Dec. 4 LID means that you're almost down a month already. Teddi will be in your arms before you know it. I am so happy for you.
Dianne....it's just weeks now before the world gets to see beautiful Baby M. I know it's been an agonizing wait, but I promise you, it will be so worth the wait once you have her in your arms.
Peg.....a little girl?!!!!! Praise God! I absolutely love the name, I had a feeling that J. would choose that. Congratulations, Grandma. God is so good!!!
Monica.....first, Lily Mei is so darn cute, how could you stand it?