Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas is just 4 days away!!!

Yes, you read it right!  Just four days away.  Nik has been counting down the entire month of December.  Each day brining more & more excitement.  He can hardly contain himself.  For those adopting older children, the joy of Christmas has just so much meaning once they are home.  They missed out on all that childhood excitement at the orphanage.  At best, they used to get a piece of fruit and a piece of candy for Christmas.  So, when they are home for the first Christmas here, they don't know what to think.   Traditionally, each of our children has a pile of presents to open but not overly excessive.  All our orphanage kids opens each one and takes time to admire it before moving onto the next package.  Okay, this is with the exception of the older kids who've been home for years and know that they will be able to go back and play w/ each one later.  LOL.  But, when first home, they just all want to look closely at each and every gift.  Nik now knows about Santa and is into Christmas full force.  He is literally jumping up and down every morning as he gives me the update as to how many days left until Santa comes.  Our kids get a stocking(usually necessities like socks & underwear), an individual pile and then a group gift.  Group gifts past have been a moonbounce, trampoline, Wii, etc.  Something the entire group can play with. 

This year I was estactic about what we are trying to do for Christmas.  Now, I'm terrified it will go horribly wrong & I'll ruin my kids' belief in Santa.   We decided this year, no presents.  Just a stockign.  Instead, the kids will open up a box on Christmas morning.  In it will be clues of where we are going and what we will be doing.  I know some of the kids will absolutely love this idea.   The biggest concern I have for Nik.  Remember, he is Deaf and there is only so much I can explain to him.   I know they will have the best time once they know where we are going.  We rarely stay at a hotel just due to the # of us.  We go camping.  So, hotel alone is a treat.  We're staying in a resort.  $250 rooms for $35 a night instead.  Yes, I'm a huge bargin hunter.  We're going to stay right on the beach in SC.   I have tickets then to go to the Ripley's Museum.  They LOVE Ripley's stuff & have all always wanted to go.  Also, goign to the Ripley's Aquarium.  Again, they love looking at sea life and such.  We are also going out to dinner( a rarity here).  The final thing we're doing is going to a medieval dinner w/ a joust and all.  I know the kids will be estatic about this one.  It will be a trip of fun, things to see & do, and just time together.  When we asked our kids what they wanted for Christmas, their lists were 1 to 3 items long.  That's it.  Not joking.  That's when we decided maybe a Christmas vacation would be the thing to do.  Hope so.  We are spending the exact same amount of the vacation as we would presents.  Tonight, we're tye dying t-shirts for the trip.  Usually, when we go somewhere, we try to have everyone where the same color.  Even some of the older kids would not be able to tell someone where we are staying, cell phone # or even their total address.  Though now almost everyone at least knows their home address.  Anyhow, since they do have disabilities and would get in total panic mode if lost, we have all of us in the same color shirt so that we're easy to spot.  This proved so beneficial on our DC trip.  Older kids were not happy until it proved very effective when we got seperated in the metro area.  They found us easily...a sea of red shirts.  Comments the whole day there that they wished their family had thought of this idea.  We don't do it everyday on a vacation, just when I knwo there is much potential to get lost in a crowd.  So, we're tye-dying but not telling the kids why.  Just telling them it's for a Christmas project so they won't be so bored.  Girls will have purple tye-dye and boys green tye-dye.  I'll definitely take pictures and hope they turn out. 

Inside I'm struggling with whether we should have just done presents or gone on this trip.  Once they open up the gift, we'll explain it all and tell them they'll have to pack up the next day.  We'll have one free day before the big trip.  On Christmas Day, we may even take them to the theater as they won't have gifts to play with.  Now, before you say anything, keep in mind what they've gotten from relatives...thus far.   From my brother Chris and wife Mindy, they each got new pajamas AND a new Wii game.  They LOVE it!  All have worn the new pj's each night since.  LOL.  From my sister Heather & her husband Kevin, they received 5 brand new movies!  Again, they love it.  From my mom & dad(you saw the aftermath from the post mini-Christmas below), too much to name.  Girls received new MP-3 players and clothes, etc.  Max has a skateboard that he's actually taking care of this time!  The boys all got gigantic Nerf guns and Alyona a baby doll.  The list goes on and on.  So, they have received presents this year for sure.  Another reason why we decided on the vacation instead.  Just hope we did the right thing.  First time we've ever tried something like this.  Taking kids with mental, emotional, and behavioral issues anywhere proves interesting.  Overstimulation is a big problem for all of them.  Hence, why I've kept most activities to one or two items per day.  Preparing for a trip like this w/out them knowing it has also been difficult to say the least.  I will let you all know how this turns out.  I want it to be a Christmas to remember as all my kids came from orphanages and have limited times to remember in their past.  I always want these times to be special.  Keep you posted.  Later, I'm hoping to post pics of the kids helping make stuff today.  It is the simple things that they did not get to do in the orphanages w/out a mom or dad that they get to do now.  Like tye-dye and make cookies.   Simple stuff means the most.  Especially, to kids missing their families for so long.   Though we can never make up for their lost time, we can provide them with the environment of normal(for the most part-LOL) parents who do simple things with their children.  Not because they have to, but because they want to.  I'll have pictures later tonight I hope.  That is ifthere is not fighting over who gets to put what sprinkles on. 


  1. Oh my goodness - what a great idea!!!! Please let me borrow this for next year! I think it is the best gift ever! Our kids LOVE vacations and we do not have many! Large families are very hard to organize and afford! I really get so much inspriation from your family! Thank you for sharing your wonderful Christmas plans!

  2. Myrtle Beach for Christmas. Now, that's a real present. We normally take our family to MB every summer and stay in a nice resort and check out the fun things to do in this tourist destination. We have been to Mideaval Times and had an absolute BLAST so I hope you all get in a winning section and the knights are awesome. The food is really good too! I would recommend taking them to the Bass Pro Shop if they like fish because they have wonderful salt water fishing decorations and I would imagine it would be beautiful at XMAS time. Barefoot Landing is a great family shopping complex and they even have white tigers there. Fun place to walk around. I think it is wonderful that you all are skipping the presents and doing something as a family and I applaud you for it. I often tell Warren what a "special" person he is and now I see how "special" his wife is as well. You two are truly "special" people in this world and I look forward to helping out in some way with your fund raising events next year. I wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas, A wonderful family Christmas vacation, and a Blessed New Year. Can't wait to read about your new daughter.