Friday, January 20, 2012

Adoption Day!

                                                               Christmas Ornament

In March Ryland will have been in our family for a whole year. Today, January 20th, 2012 is his  "signing ceremony" in which all the legal paperwork has been completed and his last name is changed to ours! 

I have been reflecting back on our time with him so far and the adoption process, and I have many things I'd like to take the time to write about. But for today, I just want to say that I am grateful to be his mom, to have the honor of knowing and loving him.

My hope for the first year was simply that we get to know each other and he would begin to attach and trust us. Advancing in other areas would just be a bonus. I truly feel that our prayers were answered--he fits right into both our small and extended family perfectly. He has come to believe that he will stay with us and that we love him unconditionally and he returns that love. 

There have been many challenges-- I am proud of him and every one of us for continuing to persevere through them. I'm so thankful for the  prayers and support for our family, friends, teachers  and Ryland's family members who are still involved in his life. I often remind him how many people love him and it's really true!

It's scary and humbling to become responsible for a little person who has a heart that needs healing. He is teaching me a lot. People say he is lucky to have us, but we are the most blessed to have been chosen for him. 

His smiles and hugs melt my heart every day. He is a boy that is full of energy and curiosity and the desire to be constantly interacting. He is growing in his faith in God's power. He loves to joke and has quite an imagination. He is beginning to trust us to comfort him when he's hurt or scared and help  to handle his anger.   He is having fun making friends and trying new things.

Oh, there are many plans for celebrating in the next few weeks, but today he woke up early, full of excitement. He will have his new name! He will eat pizza and his Grandma will make a cake! He will wear his favorite plaid shirt with a snake on it! He will see some of his other siblings!  (I hope he takes a nap on the drive this afternoon because he hasn't slept much the last two nights)

I have to say I am also very glad to be done with the paperwork and visit for the state--that was a long process!
We love you, Ryland! We are glad to have you as our son and happy to make it official today!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Whipped Syllabub Recipe (New Year's Eve)

When Jessamyn was in 3rd grade, she took a class based on the American Girl books. One day they made several recipes, including this one called Whipped Syllabub. We really liked it and somehow it has become the one tradition we make every New Year's Eve. Otherwise, our tradition is to try a new recipe or activity every year.

Syllabub is from old England, "bub" for bubbles and there are many variations, but most will have some kind of citrus juice, bubbly drinking-either alcoholic or not, sugar and whipped cream folded in.

The following  is the recipe from the American Girl book, but I tend to add a lot more sparkling cider (usually peach) to make it more of a drink than a dessert. Enjoy!

Whipped Syllabub

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar (we added another 1/4 cup or so after initial tasting)
  • 1/4 cup sparkling white grape juice

Beat whipping cream in mixing bowl with whisk until thick (we used the whisk attachment on the stand mixer). Juice the lemons and orange. Add the sugar and grape juice to the lemon and orange juice and stir until blended. Pour the juice mix into the whipped cream. Sir just enough to blend. Should be thick and frothy! Spoon into glasses and enjoy!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A New Year

Our traditional drink of "Whipped Syllabub" on New Year's Eve

The month of  December was full of  family time, games, cooking, crafting, wrapping, keeping secrets, lighting candles, and celebrating. As we turn the calender to a new month and year, I look forward to more simplicity and renewed dedication to the things that are  important, though not as exciting as the holiday season!

This was Ryland's first Christmas with us and we tried to prepare him for each thing that we would be doing. I tried to plan for calm time between his wild happiness and his anxiousness. By Christmas Day he really did settle in and enjoy the day. We kept trying to put ourselves in his place, with everything new--that's a lot to take in.

The girl's had beautiful dance performances in Narnia again. My brother and his wife and baby were here for several days. We had days of crafts and cookies making and tamale making with family. 

One of my favorite moments was on Christmas Eve. We went to church (Scott was playing drums in the band) and the final carol was "Go tell it on the Mountain" which Ryland had learned in his class. He turned and asked to sit on my lap and I was bouncing him while he sang at the top of his lungs and snapped his fingers. All my kids were right around me, happy, together, safe and peaceful.  Jessamyn started clapping and pretty soon the whole crowd was clapping. It was such a moment of  joy in my heart. We walked out into the cold clear night and headed home to light the fire and feast on tamales and dream of "the coziest morning of the year". 

It's been a big year. Adding to our family. Having our oldest overseas. Travelling. Adjusting. I think my word for the year last year was growth and, yes, there was some growing!