Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The best plans...

Well -- I had the best of intentions of getting a post up here everyday. I was well on my way. But then we checked into the Embassy Suites in Detroit and had our computer completely hacked into and kind of destroyed. So, then Ed spent the next night and couple of days trying to fix our computer... so that's where we are. Technically we are back in Milwaukee. We had a great trip, and I haven't taken enough pictures to prove it. But hopefully I can still recreate some of our trip.

Looking forward to hopefully sledding today on our new sleds!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A side food note and a celebration.

I just realized that it was one year ago today we received the call that we were "officially" matched with our kids! For one year these kids have been in every thought and part of our lives. Now, here we are with them in WI, watching Harry Potter and playing video games - driving across the country, getting totally sick of them and loving them to pieces....

Also, I just wanted to respond to everyone that asked about the Natilla recipe. I SO wanted to put it on here, because it really was a good recipe, but I didn't have time to do it before we left home. It's so easy though, so I'm sure any one on the internet would be good too. In Saint Paul we buy our Panela at the Burrito Mercado. They have a small selection of Colombian foods there. I'm sure there are other places too, but that's the most convenient for us. In regards to cooking other Colombian foods, we have made Ajiaco Bogotano and Arroz con Pollo. We have tried a couple different recipes for both and have not had total success with either. I think they have tasted good, but the kids always say it tastes "not the same". We still need to try making Arepas and Arroz con Leche, but other than the Natilla, it just seems hard to make it taste like it did in Colombia. If anyone knows of a really good authentic Bogota recipe I would love to try it - Pamela really misses the food a lot!

Anyway - I think that covers the food questions :)

On the road.

Dec. 23rd. Day 5.

Packed up, headed out. We made one stop for McDonalds (it seemed wrong to not go to Culvers, but we didn't find one).

Then this was our day... (there's two dogs in there too!)
Half-way to our first destination! Spent the night with my family, on our way to Abuelita Denise's tomorrow in MI!

What a boring day!

Dec. 22nd. Day 5.

Everyone wanted to play with their new toys today. So instead, Kim and I took the kids to see the 8th floor Christmas display at Macy's. Kids love to see slowly moving dolls rather than play video games...
So MANY escalators! This was probably the best part of the show for the kids.

In front of the singing trees! The kids aren't bored at all...

Santa's workshop - hey at least they looked at this one!
Afterwards Kim provided relief to all by pulling treats from her bag - she's a real Christmas miracle :)
Drinks were provided for us.
Here I told the kids to give me their best bored face - so of course, only the boys obeyed :)
Yeah! Everyone got hot chocolate afterwards!!
Hanging out in the skyway in downtown Minneapolis.

Last night we headed over to the Glovers for Christmas with them. It was just really wonderful. Lots of presents and food and love. Afterwards we all went to see the 3rd Narnia movie in 3D! I hope all my children have a Eustace Scrub moment in their lives - that they would realize that no matter how hard they try they can't get rid of their sin and ugliness by themselves, that only God can come forward to remove it for them. All in all, another great Christmas day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the 4th day there were presents.

Dec. 21st. Day 4.

Today we celebrated Christmas as a family! Pamela requested Natilla, a traditional Colombian Christmas dessert - so the two of us decided to try to make it as a surprise for the rest of the family.
Here, I am grating the panela - not an easy job, like my smile would lead you to believe...

I was so happy and surprised when it really started turning into a custard, just like the recipe said it would!

It was actually pretty easy, and Pamela said it tasted just like it did in Colombia! Win!!
Here's Pamela, bringing it out as a surprise after dinner. We all enjoyed it, but I think Pamela (whose new name is going to be Panela) had at least half the dish :)

I made my mom's italian sausage and pasta for dinner - although Sami just had the pasta - it was delicious!

After dinner, Ed read the Christmas story from the Spanish Bible. It was really fun and special to hear it in Spanish with our children.
Presents!! Everyone really appreciated what they received and we all had a great time. I know I have more pictures of Sami and Sebas with their presents, but I'll have to find them on our other camera some other day... who knew watching kids opening presents could be so tiring??

The infamous "computer barbie". This is one happy girl tonight!

So fun to be dressed up with my girls!
The boys - Sebas' dress shirt needed to be washed today, but I'm sure his "outfit" will reappear tomorrow!
God has been SO good to us. I just couldn't stop thinking about that today. He was good to us last year, when things were hard and we were waiting for our kids and He's good today, when life just seems like it couldn't be better. We are so grateful for what we've been given and the path that God took us down to get us here.
Merry Christmas from the Leberts!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Conway Christmas

Dec. 20th. Day 3.
Today the kids slept in - yes!! Finally around 9:30 I woke them up and we all had our "recess" time and did an exercise video. We did some cleaning and playing and then the three youngest kids spent two hours doing their hair and getting dressed up... Sebas is on Day #2 of "the outfit".

This evening we went and visited Carlos and Priscilla. Of course Priscilla whipped up lots of wonderful treats (banana bread, chicken bites, cookies, hot chocolate...). We watched a little of White Christmas until the boys took over and decided to play video games instead :( Another nice evening with friends. And, thanks for taking pictures for us since I forgot the camera! We love you Conways!!

The Great Lebert Christmas Adventure!

Our first Christmas together as a family is going to be a busy one! We have something planned for everyday of our two weeks off. So, I'm going to try to blog "Colombia-style" during our break. I'm going to try to post what we did every night so that we can remember all the crazy fun we had during this first Christmas together. (I really wanted to save this for our kids... so, you know, feel free to not check-in, if you're not interested in ALL the details of our lives :)

Well - I'm already behind.

Dec. 18th! Day 1. We woke up bright and early to get to church to practice for our church's Christmas program. Samantha, Sebastian and Camila were all singing in the program. We brought along our swimsuits because after that we headed out with the Nelsons to the Water Park of America! It would be nice if I had pictures of this, but I don't. We had a great time running around the park. I think the favorite ride for our kids was the family raft ride - where for sure our girls LOVED watching Kim scream :) Graham proved to be a great shark in the wave pool for Kobe and Sebastian and even after 9 hours at the park the kids still were not ready to go home (but the adults REALLY were). Thanks Nelsons for a really fun first day of Christmas vacation!

Dec. 19th! Day 2. Up early again to get everyone in their best clothes for the Christmas program. Sebastian was totally embarrassed to be dressed up, and spent awhile at church refusing to take his coat off, but by the end of the night he had convinced himself he was the best looking kid he ever saw :) The Christmas program was so great! Jill and Brooke did an amazing job of getting all those kids together and singing and reading on stage. I was really proud of our nervous, shy kids for getting on stage and singing in their second language! It turns out Sami thought she was playing the part of Jesus in the play, but once that was cleared up she did just fine in her role as a shepherd.

We spent the afternoon relaxing and dancing and signing to Christmas music and then went to visit our friends Cassie and Kevin's house in the evening. They have a bunny, so of course, it was awesome to be there. Ed and I really enjoyed seeing our friends too :) We had delicious desserts and drinks, the kids all got a new book in Spanish, we played some Jenga, watched Shrek and Pamela got to advise them on what to eat when they are in Colombia next week! Also, Pamela read the entire book they gave her, while we were there. Sami was so tired when we got home she went to bed with her jacket and gloves still on. But, first thing this morning she came down and said, "I love that bunny". Thanks Cassie and Kevin - we love you guys!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

St. Nick's Day

Growing up in Milwaukee, we always celebrated St. Nick's day. It was so fun to finally get to celebrate with my kids! Two years ago when our original social worker told us we wouldn't be approved to adopt 4 kids, I was pretty down, but I went ahead and bought 4 stockings anyway, in faith that, that wasn't going to be our final answer. It was really special to see our 4 kids names on those stockings this year!