kaluga park

kaluga park

Friday, December 30, 2011

What a Christmas!

We have had such an amazing year in 2011!  Our girls are growing up to be sweet little ladies, like their precious Mom, and we have my little man with us too.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Gathering with our extended families was a real joy this Holiday season as we were able to introduce sweet Vasa to everyone.  He did well meeting and playing with his cousins, Aunts and Uncles. 

Christmas was a new treat for Vasa too.  He adapted pretty quickly to the process.  He would wake up each morning with the girls and hunt for Alvason, our Elf, he loved looking for Baby Jesus everywhere and for Santa.  We met with Claire's god family and he was shocked to see that Santa, better known to us as Uncle Dennis.  Vasa jumped to be held by Uncle Dennis and repeatedly told everyone that he was Santa.  Uncle Dennis has a longer white beard so he fits the bill. 

As Christmas day approached Vasa and the girls helped Claire bake cookies, cakes and other fun Holiday treats.  He was happy to sit on the counter and lick spoons and beaters.  He is a natural, just like my girls, when it comes to baking and eating the leftovers.  I think all the kids were happy with their gifts from Santa and from all the family.  As usual, it was a bit over the top because we are lucky to have such great relationships with our extended family and everyone is so giving.  We were able to enjoy time with my family at my Mom's house and with Claire's family at Gigi's river place. 

DD and Vasa both received glider bikes from Santa and DD rode her bike through the house almost all day.  Unfortunately, it was raining so she was regulated to the house with her riding but it didn't slow her down at all.  Allie got a poor man's Smart Board, or a Udraw for the Wii, and she spent several hours drawing and playing her game that came along too.  Ava received a ditigal camera and took nearly 50 pictures documenting all that happened on Christmas day.  She also took pictures of Claire's decorations which will help for next year when it comes time to put it all out again.  Vasa played on his bike but complained that it was broken because he couldn't understand that he had to balance the bike on his own.  He is used to riding his two firetrucks and car which have four wheels so it was a bit of a challenge but after watching his professional sister DD he is getting the hang of it. 

Our Christmas with my family and Claire's yielded great gifts as well.  Clothes, toys, projects and loud trucks all came home from our time together.  I think most of our loot has found a home in each bedroom and everyone seems to be delighted.  Gigi took the girls shopping on Wednesday of this week to spend their gift cards and just like her Aunt Jill, Ava Kate, stayed out nearly all day looking for just the right pair of shoes...maybe even more than one! 

As I reflect on 2011, I am amazed by the changes we have seen in our family.  Our Father is so gracious to continue to bless us with health and togetherness.  Claire's amazing Dad continues to get great results from his post cancer reviews, Claire's sister, Jill and her husband JD are well, their boys continue to grow strong and more incredibly smart each day, Gigi is happy to share her free time loving on her six grandchildren taking them out to eat and to the movies,  my folks are happy and enjoying retirement - mom cares for her mother, plays with our kids and gets to finally have down time to read and rest while Dad does whatever needs to be done for others and sings with his group of old guys, Jay and Kaci are settling into their search for the perfect child via adoption and we pray with them through that journey. 

Of all the changes that have been apart of our 2011, I continue to thank my heavenly Father for the peace that is my wife!  She is such a solid and anchoring part of me.  I have never known a more loving, caring, sweet hearted person than Claire.  For almost 18 years now this brilliant and beautiful girl has been an incredible gift to me.  She is an amazing example of Christ in my everday.  It is because of her heart for Him that we have been afforded our little Vasa.  She listened, even in the face of my concerns, to her heart as Father led her toward adoption. 

As a Dad, I am trusting that Father will continue to expand my heart and lead me to be the man he created for my four children and for my wife.  He has shown me what it is to love outside myself.  While this is against my flesh - which strives for everything selfish - Father keeps reminding me that I am not my own and that His plans are always perfect! 

My girls and Vasa are incredible gifts to me that I am becoming more and more in love with each day.  Claire and I have discussed the tension that is very real between our selfish nature and the progressive nature of Christ which is slowing rooting deeper in our hearts.  It is from this Christ like nature that I pray I live each day.  It is from this ever expanding heart that I love my children and seek Father's heart for them. 

I am a blessed man!  Christmas this year has been like no other and I hope and pray that 2012 brings Claire and I deeper into His heart!  Thank you for those who have been in prayer for us during our exciting & wild 2011 and through the past 6 months as Vasa has grafted into our family!  We could never express how vital your prayers have been for us.  I am the proud Papa of four incredible children and the luckiest man alive to have Claire as my wife and best friend!  Love to you all!    

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