In keeping with my going-on-three-years tradition of recapping the year, let me wish 2011 adieu with the following. In 2011...
:: we finally brought Laina home! On the night of May 19th, for the first time, we had all three of our children under one roof.
:: Jeremy became an elder at our church
:: Iain became a full-fledged reader
:: we went to FL five times, TN twice, PA once, and AL several times
:: we had or were guests for 25 of the 52 weeks.
:: Iain turned five, Cory turned three, and Laina turned one
:: I was on a panel with other elders' wives, about marriage. Fun!
:: We started homeschooling
:: Laina learned to walk (and sit, and crawl, and speak...)
:: We camped out three times. Well, once we stayed at a hotel and spent the days at the campsite. Can you blame us? We had been home with Laina for a week!
:: I went to the Created for Care adoption retreat and loved it
:: we got fingerprinted, what, four times?
:: we continued (and are continuing) our work with Kids' Church. I got to meet with the director of Northland Church's kids program--what a blessing!
:: we updated our home study and did two post placement reports (and the adoption paperwork just keeps coming!)
:: we spent time in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda!
:: I wrote. Not as much as I wanted to.
:: Jeremy played drums. Way less than he wanted to.
:: I passed off the moms' play group, along with other church-related responsibilities, and took on a very few extra
:: Jeremy did several shows with OakTree
:: we were away from our boys for 23 long days
:: and I was away from all three kids for eight more
:: our church threw a baby shower for Laina :)
:: we led a small group
:: I spoke at our women's group
:: we had a baby celebration in Orlando with the Access218 Band
:: the boys started going to Timothy (co-op thing)
:: we haven't slept nearly enough
:: I fell in love with the music of Sara Groves
:: we felt the massive relief of not waiting anymore
:: Jeremy worked a lot :)
:: we did a lot of the work that comes after you come home and the adoption is over. The journey is just beginning.
:: after almost two years of waiting, we held our baby girl in our arms for the first time on April 28
:: we celebrated our seven-year anniversary with a trip to Starbucks, though neither of us likes coffee, because we didn't want to leave Laina and it was just down the road
:: speaking of Starbucks, I learned how to make a darn good chai tea latte
:: we spent our first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of five!
:: I went to Africa. Twice. Still unreal to me.
:: we dedicated Laina to Jesus
:: Jeremy and the boys camped out in the living room for two nights
:: Laina and I visited Alison and Avivah (and family) in Pennsylvania
:: we saw our baby girl's face for the first time, on the evening of April 14 (will never forget that night!)
:: we waited. For the first three and a half months of the year, we waited for news from Rwanda. Then we rejoiced for the rest of the months!
:: Jeremy discovered Fanta Fiesta in Rwanda. Uganda doesn't have it. Sad.
:: we learned a lot about attachment as we worked to help Laina learn what family means
:: we grew a lot as parents
:: Cory learned to write his name
:: The best moment of 2011? See below.