Friday, November 28, 2008

A Week of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving week is very special in our family. Both Libby and Billy have birthdays during this week. Please note Libby's "I'm cool and laid back like my daddy" smile! Every year I thank God for these two. It is perfect that their birthdays are during such a special week of giving thanks to God because these 2 people are the biggest blessing of my life. And this year - I am also thankful for the family that God is expanding in our hearts. Next Thanksgiving will be even more full of blessings! To know how we celebrated this special week - read on:

Every year we flip flop between relatives and spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas with one or the other side of the family. This year we spent Thanksgiving in East TX with Billy's family and at Christmas we will be with my family in SC. 

We started our trip on Sunday Nov. 23 which was Libby's birthday. Here's a picture of her before we got on the road that morning:
 "I'm 3!"

About 6 hours later we arrived at Billy's parents house - They are known to Libby as Grammy and Papa Boots.  This year we were not going to give Libby a traditional birthday party and instead people donated to the Orphans Ticket Home Gala on Libby's behalf.  We were teaching her about giving to others who can not give in return and how this is a way to store up treasure in heaven. We presented her with a jar in which we will add buttons each time she gives to someone who can not give back or does something to obey that costs her something. She loves playing with the buttons and, for her age, is understanding the concept very well. We added 3 buttons for the number of orphans that she helped get "a ticket home" and 2 buttons for the soup cans she gave to her schools food drive. Here is a picture of the jar and buttons we gave her:

Billy's family greatly participated in donating to the Gala, but they also wanted Libby to have some cake and a few presents on her birthday. So when we arrived we had a mini-party to celebrate Libby's life. She was showered with some precious gifts and she had a blast blowing out candles and eating cake. Billy's family was so generous and thoughtful. Here are some pics of the celebration:

For several weeks before Libby's birthday she'd been asking to have a birthday crown. So we found one for her celebration.

Blowing out the candles on the cupcake birthday cake.

Libby's only young party guest - her cousin Brooke. They had so much fun together this week!
Grammy and Papa Boots bought Libby Candy Land and another board games, stickers, a jogging outfit and more. 

Wendy, Robbie and Brooke bought Libby some great books and a gift certificate to the Mud Hut and more! We -all the girls - went to the Mud Hut the next day and we each painted something special. We had a blast doing that together. Brooke and Libby both LOVE to paint. Grammy is going to have to ship us our final products because the Mud Hut needed more time to fire them up and give our items that final touch. So when we get them in the mail we will take photos and show you. We used the gift certificate at the Mud Hut and then Grammy surprised us and paid for the rest. So sweet!

The next day Grammy took Libby and I to IHOP for lunch and then the mall. She paid for Libby to have her picture taken with good old St. Nicholas. Libby did GREAT and took the most precious picture. When asked what she wanted for Christmas she softly told St. Nick that she wants a dollhouse! (good thing Costco has a cute one!) Grammy let Libby ride all the coin machine rides in the mall - a dream come true for any toddler. And she pushed Libby around in one of those car-shaped strollers that the mall rents out - making Libby laugh her head off as Grammy pretended she was going to crash into a wall and then would - at the last second - veer off to the right. 

Grammy, Papa Boots and Wendy and Robbie purchased a seriously awesome play system as part of Brooke's Christmas and had the help of Shane to put it all together. They worked extra hard to finish it before our arrival so Libby could enjoy it with her. They spent a good part of their time together playing out there and all the girls had a picnic together too. The weather was fantastic! Libby became quite the rock wall climber!

The 26th of Nov. was Billy's 42nd. birthday! We made a special present for him at the Mud Hut, but since it wasn't finished we also bought him a couple of his favorite movies and presented him with some special cards. Libby insisted on helping her daddy unwrap his gift.

BC and Winky bought a big Cookie Company birthday cookie for us to enjoy that night and they also gave Billy a beautiful frame to put a family photo in. On Thanksgiving Day we got a really great photo that we will put in that frame. Here it is:

On Thanksgiving Day we gathered with all of the family - cousins, uncles, grandparents, etc - at Nini and Papa's assisted living home. We had a terrific dinner provided by Hawkins (the assisted living place) for FREE! Hello! They fed about 17 of us for free and had us all set up in a room to ourselves. That was so generous!

We took lots of pictures and tried our best to get some cute ones of Libby and Brooke together. We didn't have to try too hard because they are both so precious.

Grammy gave both girls matching PJs for Christmas. The evening of Thanksgiving turned into a Christmas celebration between Brooke and Libby. They started dancing and posing for us in all the excitement. So cute!

Papa Boots gets some slobbery kisses from his granddaughters.

Libby tries to take Grammy down with some well rehearsed UFC moves.

and then it was time for more presents! Brooke and her family gave Libby 2 board games and some really cute Fancy Nancy items. I personally love Frenchy - the Fancy Nancy dog!

One of the nights in Longview we drove out to Santa Land to see some beautiful Christmas lights. We visited the gift shop at the end. I have been looking for a good Nativity scene to display in my home and use to teach Libby, but they are all so pricey. Well - wouldn't you know - the gift shop had the PERFECT Nativity and we were getting ready to purchase it when BC and Winky announced that they were buying it for us! We love our Nativity and can't wait to bring it out each year and think about their kindness. When we arrived back home we set it up immediately. Here's a couple of pictures:

Honestly - the pictures don't do it justice. It is much prettier in person. 

I think I have posted way more pictures than should be allowed in one post. But hopefully you've enjoyed them all. This was a special week and I am truly grateful to my Lord who has fulfilled every desire of my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
God Bless


Monte and Missy said...

We've been visiting your blog ever since we found you on AWAA's blog. Love to read about life with Libby and Aria's upcoming adoption. We are anxiously awaiting our Abigail - LID was 10/22/07 and no referral yet. Seeing your family is encouraging - thanks for every on of those pics!

Holly said...

And here we were in Marshall! Wish I had known. We DID enjoy your new CD on our trip. Tabor, 5, knows many songs by heart now.

You are a blessing!
Praying for His blessing upon you all.

The Reeds said...

Georgia "from" Karamoja here-

I've still loved keeping up with you guys and I follow someone else's journey I thought you might enjoy. It's a photograher's blog that I follow and they just got their daughter this past month from Ecuador- it was sooo touching. I was weeping and it reminded me of when you guys got Libby. I loved "being" on that journey with you.

Though you might like this!
God bless!

Angela said...

Hi there!

I found your site (and your music) this morning and have enjoyed both! I love your song "Go to Everyone." I found you this morning because another blog I follow posted a video of her church's worship band singing your song. Thank you to you and your family for being willing to obey the call, as you say, to go and tell. And for inspiring the rest of us to do so as well. Blessings to you this Christmas!

PS Congratulations on your adoption of Libby. She's just beautiful! A friend of a friend of mine has adopted several children from Ghana and Ethiopia. I have loved reading their stories and you might enjoy as well -

Merry Christmas!