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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meeting Sam and Eli

My phone buzzed early on Friday morning with a text message from our friend Sherra. They were on their way up to Nashville and would be traveling through Memphis and wanted to know if we wanted to meet up. Of course we did. We haven't met the twins yet.

One of the most amazing things that God allows us to do is to help build families through the miracle of adoption. A few years ago, Sherra stumbled upon our blog and commented that she would like to find out more about our experience.

Over time, Abbey and I had the opportunity to start helping with independent Taiwan adoptions. One of the first families we called was Sherra and David Williams. That conversation ended up with their adoption of Jack Everett.

The Williams came home wanting to go back. One of the unknowns for families who are totally reliant upon adoption to grow their families is how they will be able to continue after that first adoption. Will the country stay open, will the program work, etc. Abbey and I know this full well as we had to search for several agencies before we could do adoption number two.

So, when our Taiwan contact told us that the ministry was expecting twins, Abbey and I both thought of David and Sherra. The Taiwan ministry agreed and soon I contacted David and Sherra to see if they would be open to twins. They had a 9 month old at the time mind you. They were cautiously optimistic but ultimately said they definitely wanted to adopt these boys.

Things unfolded and the Williams were able to adopt Sam and Eli. That means that they have a crazy cute family as well.

We were thrilled to see them and catch up with them. They are doing wonderfully.

We are so blessed to know them.

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Christmas at Pop and Lola's House

The boys eagerly awaited the arrival of Aunt Ava and Uncle Brookie, because they knew that we could open presents when they got here.

They patiently waited to be given the go ahead to open presents. They were excited to open the gifts. We have realized this year that for Reed we should have just wrapped lots of empty boxes because the thrill for him was tearing into the papers. He didn't even pause to see what was in them.

Oddly enough, one of the things that he really liked was his annual ornament that Pop and Lola always get him.

Tuck really loved his first present. So much so that we forgot to open his other presents for a little while.

Nash is always so sweet how he appreciates everything that he gets. He is very thankful. He has very good manners.

Will, who is always smiling, was excited to see what he got in his presents. He loved getting his own remote control car. He really racked up on remote control cars. He got three of them.

He also enjoyed the simple things like hot wheels.

Brooks enjoyed unwrapping presents as well. He thought it was fun to see what the big boys got.

The boys got to open their big present from pop and Lola when we got to their house the other day.

They got iPod touches. Yes, we have fully entered the world of digital with our kiddos. Our house is now equipped with a MacBook, two iPhones (with service, we have others), an iPad, three iPod touches, and I hear from a little birdie that I'm getting Apple TV. I hope that the Apple folks got nice bonuses this year.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

At some point in the night Santa slipped in the camper and delivered the Christmas presents. Thankfully, Enna and Poppy's camper has a fireplace.

Santa left a little cash for the boys' big present (a kid sized sofa for their game room) and then left the other presents. The boys got several things they had asked for and several things that will be useful for them.

We have realized that our boys just don't go crazy over stuff. Every year we get closer and closer to just scrapping the presents and going for a vacation.

After the presents were opened we headed to Uncle Bobby's for Christmas breakfast. Aunt Aly fixed a nice spread.

After breakfast the boys played with Joshi for a bit, then Abbey, Tuck, Will and I went to Durant to visit some family.

We saw Uncle Mitch, Aunt Betty, Ginny, Danny,Baby Maddox, Timothy, Lamar, Aunt Kathy, and Ben. It was great to get to to see them all.

Will and Ben really hit it off. They had a lot of fun together playing restaurant.

We left the boys at Uncle Mitch's while we went to the cemetery. I haven't been back since Trae's funeral. It was an emotional experience, but I am glad that I went.

Soon, Reed called and said we needed to come home to open more presents.

The boys were excited to get some new Wii games and some nerd guns and other things. I think they find most of the thrill in just opening presents.

Aunt Aly fixed another good meal and we enjoyed time with family.

Enna and Poppy out together a prized gift for me and Bobby. A selection of Trae's tools. They will be a great reminder of my big brother.

Joshi came out to the camper to spend the night with us then we went to a yummy breakfast place on the day after Christmas. It was time for goodbyes and head to Memphis for Christmas with Pop and Lola.

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'twas the Night Before Christmas

This year, Christmas was a completely different celebration for us. Losing my brother in June, we knew that it would be a tough holiday. So, we decided to really shake things up. Instead of staying at my parents house for Christmas Eve, we left Santa a note and told him we were heading to Poppy and Enna's camper.

We went to church with Bobby and family and then had dinner at the Mexican restaurant. After dinner, we went to Bobby and Aly's house and let the kids play a while. They love playing with cousin Joshi.

We headed back to the camper and let the boys open their first present.

You might have expected Christmas PJs, but not for our boys, they needed the monsters. We even got them monster feet slippers. The boys were pretty excited. Reed thought that a present meant more than clothes though.

From getting to stay in the camper, to new PJs, the boys were over the moon excited.

We finally got them snuggled in next to Enna and Poppy and then Santa had to do a few things before bed. Once everyone was asleep Santa quietly delivered his goods and was out like a flash.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stringer Family Christmas

It has been a very long time since my mom's side of the family has gotten all together. It's not because family get togethers haven't happened, it was more because we didn't make them a priority.

The loss of my brother has been so tough, but it has also taught us the importance of family. So, when the opportunity came up to get together I was ready to jump at the chance. I really wanted my mom and dad to come to, since they have had trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, and that is very understandable.

My mom's siblings and there families were all there. It was exciting to see everyone and how much everyone had changed. I was trying to think back of the last time that I had been with all of them at one time and it had to have been before my grandfather died while I was still in college.

We spent the day nibbling on the massive spread of food, drinking coffee, and catching up. I am one of the oldest cousins, well, now that my brother is gone, I am the second oldest cousin, so most of my cousins were either in elementary or junior high the last time I really visited with them.

It's funny because when you have Facebook, you seem more connected with those you love, but you realize the little things that you miss when you are visiting face to face.

The boys even realized that they really love some of their beautiful cousins they didn't even know that they had.

Of course, they were thrilled to hang out with their first cousin Joshi.

And I loved being with my little brother Bobby.

Will, the flirt, made his rounds. Reed was super impressed with Cooper's hunting pics. Tuck was quite the ladies' man, and I could totally see Nash following in his actor cousin Jim's footsteps.

It's been too long and I know that we will make it a priority to get together sooner this time.

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