On Christmas afternoon sleet began coming down steadily and quickly covered the trees and the roads. The airport was shut down which sadly prevented my sister from catching her flight to our house. That evening the sleet turned to snow and we were treated to a rare White Christmas. The next morning we woke up to this beautiful sight.
Our front porch.
Trees bent over the road in front of our house.
Central Arkansas received 6-12" of snow... Louie was thrilled and spent most of the next few days outside.
The plum tree in the middle of our backyard had died this past year. The weight of snow and ice caused the whole brittle tree to fall over and snap off at the base.
Katie enjoyed the snow too, but mostly wanted to be outside when we were. She tends to want to be close to her people at all times.
"I wish every day could be cold and snowy. It's so comfy out here" - Louie
Natalie's first snow
She was concerned about getting her boots "dirty", but we soon convinced her that snow is clean and fun to play in.
We made our first snowman with great difficulty since the snow was not the type that sticks together well.
A very snowy Happy Haus
We were so fortunate that we didn't lose power as 260,000 other people in Arkansas did. We had already had our power outage turn right before Christmas.
Everyday when Natalie gets home from school I let her watch one 20 minute episode of Ni Hao Kai-Lan while I am getting dinner ready. She likes to sit on the kitchen bench seat so that she can be near me. At this time of day Natalie is usually hungry and tired and therefore a bit cranky. She wants to be left alone to watch her show in peace. It was getting to the point that she was being quite rude to Gary when he said hi to her and asking a question about her show. I had a big talk with Natalie about being nice and sharing. A few minutes later Natalie called her Daddy over and patted the seat beside her. He sat down and she grabbed his hand.
Natalie looked up at me smiled and said "Mama, I share Daddy" (meaning "with" Daddy). She was so proud of herself for sharing her Kai-Lan show. Since this incident it has become a normal occurrence for her to invite her Daddy to sit with her. I am so proud of the way she listens and applies lessons she learns.
Late last year we had our one year follow up visit with our super sweet social worker. She wrote up a glowing report about how well Natalie has adjusted to us and how much progress she has made. This will be our final report to be sent to China. We hope they are reassured that we are giving Natalie the best care possible and that she is as loved as any child could possibly be. When they entrusted us with her they gave us the most precious gift imaginable. My heart overflows with gratitude for every single day we have together.
Natalie giving our social worker a High Five.
Our little bookworm
After we left the cafe the three of us had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.
Wiggle Worm :)
Natalie especially loved the lobster bisque and my salmon. I think she would be happy to eat seafood every day.
We didn't take many pictures during our Christmas celebration, but we got most of it on video. I'll post a little movie later. In the meantime, here is a small glimpse of our second Christmas with Natalie. Gary, Marm (one of Natalie's grandmothers), Papa (one of Natalie's grandfathers) and I had a wonderful time watching Natalie open her presents. She had so much fun opening and playing with her new toys. Natalie also happily filled the role of my sweet little Elf who helped me distribute presents to everyone else.
Natalie's favorite ornament. Every time she saw it she would say "Ni Hao Panda".
Natalie getting her second favorite gift which was a Cinderella castle.
Playing with the new toys... I think I was as excited as Natalie was.
Marm and Papa gave Natalie her favorite gift which she at first called a motorcycle.
When you shop at Amazon.com please click on the above logo to do your shopping. You will be supporting LWB, an organization that provides many orphans in China much needed surgery, food, education and love.
"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.