I’ve fallen a smidge behind on the blog. I really wanted to write about Reagan turning 6 but I know that will require some time and I (same as everyone I’m sure) just haven’t had much of that. I hope I can get that done before next week when Christmas kicks into high gear. The kids are curled up on the couch with hot cocoa and the 1958 version of “Jack Frost” (thank you netflix), and David is zoned into something on his Ipad so I thought I’d take a second to just at least write about our Thanksgiving.
This year we did things a little differently than we typically do. Every year all the men in David’s family take a week long duck hunting/fishing/camping/not my kinda thing trip to their river house (and when I say that please don’t think plush cabin overlooking the water. It’s….well very…um….well they like it…). This tradition has been going for over 20 years with no end in sight and it’s something these men talk about ALL year long. So, they head out the door in most recent years right after Reagan’s birthday party and come home for Thanksgiving dinner and then back out until the following Saturday. I love that they have that tradition BUT it throws a little kink in my Black Friday plans now that we have little ones running around. 😉 So, this year we came up with an alternate plan that really worked well for all of us.
Anyway, long story short my best friend (who happens to be David’s sister) and her family (whose youngest daughter is Reagan’s best friend) moved to Chicago 3 years ago. This year no family was going to be able to make the trip up and it’s her favorite holiday. This combined with the thought of another week all alone with the kids (on a holiday) started me thinking of ways to make a Thanksgiving trip up to see them. Win/Win situation for us both. We really prayed about Reagan and I making the trip up for the week and it seemed impossible. Crazily enough we ended up finding a killer deal on airline tickets but put us flying in early and staying until the saturday after. It worked though so we booked them.
This put Reagan and I in flying into O’hare the Monday of Thanksgiving, and David leaving for the river the Saturday before us, so Dawson headed out to my parents for a few nights sleepover with his grammy and grandaddy and then camping with the boys the 2nd half of the week. It was our very 1st holiday not being together but we all had a great time despite being apart.
*Please forgive my terrible iPhone photos. I didn’t even bring my camera on this trip!*
One of Reagan’s favorite things about flying is layovers. She loves exploring airports and the fact that on trips I let her drink Sprite. Oh the little things in life. : ) We made it to Chicago around dinner time Monday night and the girls were thrilled to see each other! The grownups stayed up late and caught up. It was worth the trip to just get some face time in with Tracey. Nothing is better than an in person conversation…not even Skype!
Tuesday was another relaxing day. Their girls had school that morning and so Reagan dominated their playroom and Tracey and I chatted over coffee. The girls got all dolled up later in the afternoon and had a “tea party” complete with yummy banana and blueberry pancakes.
David sent me this picture from previously mentioned camp house. I know this sounds horrible (and I almost didn’t say it here) but I was having terrible dreams about Dawson falling into the water at night and no one could find him. Terrifying, right? Yes, it was. I begged my parents not to take him anywhere near the water and I begged David to put a lock on the camp house door so he couldn’t get out at night. Paranoid? Maybe but what else was I supposed to do. I worried myself sick in the days prior to the trip. Anyway, I drove David crazy and I guess he wanted to make sure I knew he was protecting my..I mean our baby.
On Wednesday, Reagan and I got to go to the girls school and help with the 1st grade and 2nd grade Thanksgiving breakfast. They were very excited to introduce us to their class mates and teachers. It was fun!
One of the neatest parts is that the 2nd grade teacher taught elementary school in Korea for several years and her husband was the principal at the school as well. As if that wasn’t enough the city that they taught in is the city Maddox was born in!! I kid you not! I had chills (and so did she) when she told me that! I have never heard of another baby that was born in that city in our adoption circle (Of course they exist I just haven’t heard of any) and I had never heard of anyone who had traveled there either. She gave me lots of great tips on how to get there from Seoul, and she even went as far as to say that she has several friends there that are fluent in English and if I let her know before we travel she will see if they can help us out when we take our trip into the city. AMAZING! This is one of the concerns we had about traveling out of Seoul without a translator. Answered prayer! She was so excited for us and kept coming over to share thoughts, ideas and tips. She even taught me how to make rice the “Korean Mama” way. It was incredible.
After we left the school we hurried home with the kids and then I headed to O’hare to meet my friend, Courtney. Her daughter, Emme, was to be escorted in that day and it just worked out perfectly that I was able to sneak over there and be there for the big moment. Courtney and I had the same referral date (Date you are matched with your baby) and she got her acceptance packet in the week before we did and received one of the last emigration permits of the year. We’ve been on this long road together and it was bittersweet to see her journey to her daughter end but I was SOO happy for her. I did not take any pictures but oh my word, Emme is so precious. She had on the sweetest Red shoes, and the cutest little haircut. I videoed the union for their family and was holding back tears as they saw her in person for the 1st time. It makes our upcoming trip seem so surreal but my heart flutters thinking of our moment like that.
Thursday was Thanksgiving and of course we indulged in all our favorite foods. We went around the table and each of us named 5 things we are thankful for. It was soo sweet to hear all the girls say theirs. I (of course) got a little choked up saying mine. We ate, and ate, and ate. Then Tracey and Bryan headed out to serve lunch at the men’s home where Bryan is the dean (he would die if he knew I wrote it that way!) and the girls and I took a nice, long, luscious nap! It was divine. True to her self, Reagan woke up first and she and I got to curl up on the couch and talk about why we were thankful for the things we listed. It was a sweet time for us. I’m so glad we got this week together. It was such a blessing to have some one on one time with her.
Friday was a big day. We took all the girls ice skating! It was SO much fun and the girls did GREAT! Hannah left asking for lessons!! : ) I was proud of them all. I on the other hand ripped my favorite jeans thinking I was Michelle Kwan or something.
Afterwards, we went to Giordano’s to eat which I had been looking forward to the whole trip. This place serves up some AMAZING deep dish Chicago style pizza! YUM! The girls wanted to do something fun for Reagan’s birthday since they weren’t able to celebrate with her back home and so when we got home we had some yummy birthday cake!
The kids went to bed and the mamas headed over to Wisconsin to an outlet mall that opened at 9 for Black Friday shopping. It took about an hour to get there and it was a fun drive! We hit some great sales and almost cried at the craziness in Kohls and then headed back home. I was so excited to get to do a little shopping on Black Friday since I typically can’t work that out in my favor! It was fun girl time!
Back home with the boys:
Apparently this was Dawson’s first time eating deer sausage. Gag. David said he really liked it.
Dawson figuring out his sleeping bag.
And he’s out. I’m so glad this is a “guy thing” Nothing about this appeals to me! : )
Dawson gets ready to go on a fishing trip with daddy!
Out on the river!
The boys had LOTS of fun camping.
Saturday saw us packing up and heading home. We made it to the airport and through security in record time! We finally found the play area at O’hare and had a few minutes for Reagan to play.
Then we found Garrett’s popcorn (thankfully just one terminal over from ours). Reagan scored a ton of samples after the cashier scared her. He kind of growled at her or something just being funny and she almost started crying. He felt bad and started giving her popcorn. Very strange. We loaded up and headed home!
It was really a great week for everyone but by Saturday we were all ready to be back home under the same roof and together! We are so thankful for the way things fell into place and that we were able to share Thanksgiving with our families even if our “family” was spread all over the world. Next year, all 5 of us will be together at one table giving thanks! I can’t wait!