Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Miracles and Magic...whalla!

Click here to watch PART ONE of the Arndt Family Holiday Video.

Click here to watch PART TWO of the Arndt Family Holiday Video.

This holiday season has been so wonderful. God has blessed us with immeasurable moments we don't ever want to forget. It's Izabella's second Christmas with us, but her first one really understanding the meaning of Christmas and the Magic of Santa Claus.

It's been such a magical time of creating new traditions and sharing our old traditions with her. AND best of all--It's been full of surprises like:

• when our sweet friends (that are more like family) Shayna and Matt invited us to join them in the company suite for a production of "Disney on Ice"

• and simple surprises like the day it snowed for the first time and "stuck" and Izabella had the "idea" to ask "her" God to help it snow FASTER so she could go out and make a Snow Angel and a Snow man!

• the way she surprised us all with her performance at her first Christmas Program--with a bow and a curtsy at the end of each performance.Thank-you Katie for coming to your cousin's program--and bringing your video camera--this first time mom--forgot to check the battery--you saved the day--I'd be crushed if I didn't catch this performance on video for her and to share with family.

• the way we felt as her parents, "my heart so full of pride and appreciation" as we watched her perform.

• the fun of Izabella making her first Gingerbread House--and arranging a playdate with "family" (this is huge for us as we live hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles from our family) to join her.

• when my husband is over-the-top cooperative at our, very COLD (freezing infact) "self-timed" family portrait session, where he ran back and forth to the camera for us, and even took an extra set of photos of Izabella and Mom when the first round we had our eyes closed in all of them. This is NOT his favorite thing to do--it's mine--and I always capture some precious moments of Izabella and Dan, but miss having some special pictures of Izabella and I. This was a huge gift for me. I treasure those images. As a result it was so much fun to finally design our family Christmas greeting card. I have waited to do this for so long--and last year I was too sick to get it done.I have designed so many families greetings--and it's special to do so. I've even designed cards in previous years for Dan and I and the girls. But this year I took the time to do our family card--and it was a milestone of sorts for me.

• how Mom & Dad just beamed with joy on Thanksgiving Day, as they had their whole family with them, only missing one of their 6 children, and only 6 of their grandchildren weren't there (who couldn't make it home from Texas and the grandchildren--one is serving our country at this time of war--and three are in training to do so).

• the way I ate up the fun decorating the tree this year--with Izabella's help. Even Dad didn't mind doing it this year. And I think it has to be one of the most beautiful tree's we've ever had.

• the joy of hanging 5 stockings on the mantel!

• the blessing of a "perfect" heart visit to the cardio doc. A huge blessing. Izabella says, "Doctor say, I'm fine." A miracle we don't ever take for granted.

• sitting at the counter preparing our greeting cards for family and friends with Izabella. She surprises me with all she can do. She figured out how to "stuff" the cards herself, and watching her run her little tongue along the seal was precious. I have video--but not downloaded yet. Another post.

• the un-expected tear in my eye, when Izabella opened a her surprise package of princess treasures--including her first pair of "ballerina" dancing shoes! What a treasure--from her Aunt Michelle and Uncle Ken.

All these little surprises and more are captured on video in this movie. It's a VERY long movie. But, full of all things Izabella--and after watching it again--gives you an idea what our beautiful life is like with her in it--Over the Moon Amazing and full of surprises--everyday!

Merry, Merry Christmas Everyone. I hope your days together are blessed immeasurably as well!

I will close with a very special story that I don't want to forget. During Izabella's time in the orphanage, her caretakers there shared, she had a special friend. A little boy named Ta Meng. Since we returned home, I have tried to get word of how he is doing. I have emailed the orphanage, posted on the Xian CWI yahoo group in search of his family, with no word. Then one day, I was moved to drop everything and try the yahoo group again. And we were blessed with a much anticipated update. But the news was not good. Little Ta Meng has been suffering for a year longer than Izabella with a parasite and scabies--he is not well. The miracle is, he does have a sweet woman in China advocating for him to get him into foster care, where he can recooperate and get back on his feet. So, our prayers at night started to include a specific prayer for Ta Meng. We always pray for ALL the children. Last night Izabella's prayer went like this:

"God. Thank-you for making Ta Meng feel better. And bring Ta Meng family back." Just before she prayed she said, "I got my family back. " A sweet way to say, "I had a family, I lost them, and then I got a family back." She then went on to say, "Mommy where Ta Meng live?" I said, "In China-where you used to live." She said, "Where do I live?" I said, "You live in America now." She said, 'I want Ta Meng live in America now. And, I, I, I, want Ta Meng ride pony. He hold on like I hold on." I said, "Yes, I want Ta Meng to live in America and ride a pony someday too."

On that note, I will close by praying for a miracle for Ta Meng--that he get well and find his forever family--very, very soon. Hang in there Ta Meng--listen to the words God whispers in your ear, and take comfort in His promise. It will all be ok."

Miracles and Magic--it's the reason for the season!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Part 2: Decorating the Tree

Izabella was so excited to decorate the tree this year! She said, "Hurry, hurry! We have no Time! Santa is coming! And I have to put the star on top!" She's so much fun this year.
Here's a few photos of our decorating time together.

NOTE: Little Santa's Helper Izabella, Sadie the Reindeer, and Montana and "Ahhh...the --Who Cares Santa!"

Take a picture Mommy! I love how she touches my face, everytime we take a picture together. The only way to get her not to do this is for me to hold her hands--like on our Christmas Card. She's always done this--since our early weeks home. It's definately an Izabella thing. :) And I hope she never stops.

She helped me put on most all the ornaments. It was so fun!

And took her job very seriously. While Daddy watched football.

Christmas Part 1: Gingerbread House

Izabella's cousin Katie (the creative cousin) came over to make a Gingerbread house with Izabella. They spent a few hours..and as you can see it's a pretty amazing gingerbread house.

Izabella said, "I want to do it again!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Surprise! We Won! We Won!

Remember that amazing 30-days of Give-Away's I told you all about recently? Well, Praise God we won! We won!

A precious soft, blanket made by Mamaeant --an adoptive mom--designed like the flag of China.  The woman who makes and sells them was determined to make a blanket for her daughter from Ethiopia, so she taught herself to sew.

And in the process found other mamas who wanted the same special blankets for their internationally adopted children.  To help them feel more connected to their birth country.

Izabella is running around the room saying, "We won a blanket, a china blanket, yeah! And then she had to draw me the blanket too! She's not too excited is she?

We are so blessed!