Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A White Christmas and More...

This Christmas was truly a winter wonderland here in Sweden. We had snow every night for about a week before Christmas (not too much just a little)... it got to +1C on Christmas Eve (enough to make it mushy)... then on Christmas night we got a lot more! The picture above (Samuel had just gotten Andreas with a snowball to the face) and the ones below were taken on Dec. 26th. Sam was sick, but we had to get out and play because it was suppose to get to +4C on the 27th and 28th. It did just that, but we had so much that it didn't melt it all. Then it got really, really cold again, so now it is as slick as snot! Yes, you read that right, I hope Prof. Lauter is proud of my backhills analogy.

Today, we drove up to the house on the ocean. We will spend New Years here, since we are sick and can not be around anyone else at the moment. Tonight, poor Andreas cannot even speak his throat hurts so much. I have a little, but so far I am the healthy one. Sam is much better and has his normal energy back... very hard for us when we have depleted enery. It is now negative 16 outside. For you Farenheit lovers that is 5 degrees. Yes, it is a little cold. However, it is beautiful and amazing. I will try to get some pictures on here of the sunsets and the snow within the next few days. I can never do them justice but I will try (I will make you proud Cydil!).

Blessings to all,

These pics made me think I was in Narnia... except for the occasional car.

Crazy Boys!

This is our church and home. It is an historic building here in Alingsas.

Monday, December 28, 2009

When we picked him up

This is the video of when we picked him up. The music isn't so good, so you may want to watch with the sound off (we had great songs, but Youtube stated that one of the songs on there was illegal, even though we had the CD). One of these days we will fix it. Enjoy, Samuel will also be watching. He loves seeing this video.

Blessings, Laurie

Then and Now... 4 Years of Blessings

December 28th is a special day in the family. Not only is it Viktor's birthday (Samuel's cousin, Happy Birthday Viktor), but it is the day that Andreas and I landed in Nepal and received our baby boy in 2005. We received the call on December 21st that we could finally go to Nepal and bring Samuel home. All of Samuel's papers were signed and stamped on December 25th (besides Jesus, that was the best Christmas present ever!) We flew out of Lexington, KY on December 26th and arrived in Kathmandu on December 28th. Exhausted, excited, amazed, delirious........we signed all the papers we needed to, went to the orphanage, and took him back to our hotel with us. He was a little scared, but we all took a nap and he soon warmed up! He has been with us since that day, never to be called an orphan again.

We say a special thank you to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in Nepal for all of their work with the children in Nepal and the adoptive parents. We also say a special thank you for all the children's home workers, caretakers and adoption lawyers. You have a special job and we thank you for doing it well.

This picture was taken during the adoption process. He is about 9 months here. He cannot sit up, but he can army crawl.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him. This was taken in the hotel room a few days after we picked him up.

Samuel today. He is such a big boy now. Amazing how things change and yet stay the same.

Now Sam has a camera...we will start blogging some of his pictures soon.
Now as we remember how wonderful it was to pick up Sam, we wait for Jane. We are so excited for the time when we can go back to Nepal and pick up our little girl. Our son is especially impatient right now, he continually states that he wants his sister. We pray that all of you in the process of adoption are given a special patience and peace to endure the wait. I can promise all of you that it is well worth the pain and agony of the wait. The moment they are in your arms, the pain disappears and the joy continues on.... May you all trust Jesus to get you through.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Part I

These pictures came out in the wrong order, but at this point I will deal with it. The internet connection is really bad today. These are pictures of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at our house, just the three of us.

Sam and his new things.

Opening gifts.

The lego Airplane directions that he received. Which he was happy with. He actually saw these a few days before Christmas. Mom and dad accidentally left them out. Samuel thought he was just getting the directions to the legos because mommy and daddy couldn't afford the whole set (which is very true). However, what he didn't know is that we were given a huge box of legos by a friend who didn't want them because he sons were older (about 15 to 20 sets of things were in the box). So a month of so before Christmas Andreas and I poured out the bucket seperated the bits by color and started building. It was a labor of love. Scroll down to see Christmas Eve and Christmas Part III you will see the ending of this process. When Sam finally did get the legos to the directions he asked me how it happened because we said we couldn't afford them. So my response was, " Jesus gave us what we needed so that we could give you the legos." (very true... thanks Jesus for using Dana).

Samuel in front of our Swedish Christmas tree. For all of you Americans reading this, yes, I know it is a Charlie Brown tree. This is what you have in Sweden, I am learning to deal with it (well I do complain a little, I miss my full beautiful trees).

This picture was taken in the middle of December when we first put our tree in. First we cut one down from our land in the woods, but it was too fat to get in the house (or at least move in the house once it was in there). So then we bought a cheap one, there is a reason it was so cheap. Now a few days after Christmas I cannot even sneeze in my house... there are more needles on the floor than on the tree!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Part II

These pics are from Christmas Eve lunch at mom and dad's house. Cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great grandparents all come together to say Merry Christmas, have some good food, sing a few songs and generally harass one another (in a friendly way of course). It is also a good time for the great grandparents to see there whole family together. Mormor (Margareta's mom) is always visibly touched when these gatherings occur. It must be a tremedous feeling to see your family together with 4 generations. What a blessing to still have Mormor and Morfar with us.

this pic is a little fuzzy, but so sweet of Samuel.

Here is Mormor in Olle's new retirement chair. I believe she deserves this seat in the house.

Brothers. Andreas...why aren't you smiling?

Farfar and Farmor with their grandchildren. This maybe the best Christmas present ever for them.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Part III

This is Christmas Eve night (the time for gifts in Sweden called Julafton). Samuel opened the directions to the lego airplane in the morning and was overheard telling himself that it was "okay that he only had the directions, he would buy the pieces later". How sweet... we actually thought about not giving him the plane because he was doing so well with the directions. However, the picture below is the beginning of the present opening and he is very excited. (even though he was running a fever he was doing so well). You can also see Viktor (Samuel's cousin) received a stove... or is it a new garage for his cars?

This is Sam when he saw that the Lego airplane was actually in the box! I love the joy on his face.

This is the most amazing hug ever! He put all of his joy and thankfulness into this hug and it was very rewarding for mommy! I will never forget the feeling of this one hug... amazing how the little things really matter.

Viktor with him mom and dad (Johan and Emma). Viktor looks like he is having more fun with the ribbon. (we are all at Johan and Emma's house).

The whole family. Left to right...Johan, Viktor, Emma, Olle (Farfar), Margareta
(Farmor), Samuel, Laurie and Andreas. It is not easy getting everyone to look at the same time as the timer goes off. Needless to say after about 4 of these the kids were done.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Every year we go to the amusement park close to Farmor and Farfar's house (Andreas' parents). It is traditonal for many families this time of year to go. The park wraps many of it trees in thousands of lights and makes the whole place beautiful. They have special kiosks where people sell gifts and special foods and of course we must get a waffle with jelly and cream on it. Some of the kids rides are open, but it is too cold for the adult rollercoasters to be open. Samuel loves this place. We went with Farmor and Farfar and had a wonderful time. We all rode on one of the kids rides with him and watched his excitement as he saw the next wonderful thing. He even had a woman stop him and give him a stuffed car from one of the games. It is so wonderful to see his excitement. I hope next year we can add a sister into the mix and have two children having a wonderful time.

I pray that all of you are having a blessed season of rememberance and tradition. Take a moment to stop and think about why we have Christmas and the fact that the Biblical story really did happen. It's not a myth, but reality. Oh, to be a sheperd when the angles filled the sky and sang of Christ's birth, to go and actually bow before this baby... may we all know the reality of Christ as a baby and as our Savior. Merry Christmas.


Sankta Lucia... Saint Lucia

Here is a holiday that is interesting to all of my American family and friends. This is called Saint Lucia. It is a big deal here in Sweden. Saint Lucia originally came from Italy and I am not sure how if made it here except that it is about bringing light (which at this time of the year everyone really needs). Saint Lucia day is always the 13th of December and older girls even advertise themselves to be elected to be Lucia in a specific area. She wears candles in her hair and holds one in her hands also. Her girl helpers hold candles and the boy helpers wear (what I call dunce caps) cone caps and hold stars. The big churches hold Lucia concerts were Lucia and her helpers sing traditional songs. It is quite beautiful.

Well, the little kids have to have their fun also. Below are pictures of the Lucia festival that we had at Samuel's preschool. When you are little the candles in the hair and the hands are somewhat dangerous so they are switched to battery powered lights. Also, the boys don't have to wear the dunce cap, but can be little Santas or Gingerbread men (pepperkaks gubbe in Swedish). Well, since we don't do Santa, Samuel was a gingerbread man and a very cute one at that. He loves his little outfit, he asks to wear it quite often now. All the parents sat in one room while the kids came in singing. Then they sang a few songs for us, then we had snack (of course). Andreas couldn't come because of work so his dad came instead.

Notice the dunce cap boy to the left, I wonder if I can ever bring myself to put Sam in one of those caps. I might be too American to do so, those were the caps that school teachers (way back when) use to put on kids when they were misbehaving and made them sit on a stool in the corner. Sam is of course showing off in this picture. Andreas and I think we may have a class clown later in life. He loves to make people laugh.

Snack (fika) time.

Samuel was the only gingerbread man. I am glad he felt special being that one man.

Samuel with one of the many Little Lucia girls that morning... notice out the window it is pitch black. Just to let you know.... it's 8 in the morning when this picture was taken.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gingerbread House, Pepperkaks Hus

One of the fun things we decided to do this year is build a gingerbread house (in Swedish it is a pepperkaks hus). No I did not actually bake the gingerbread. I didn't have that kind of time. However, the wonderful store has kits (which I love). There was still some cooking involved. I even learned a thing or two. The first thing is that you can actually cook sugar (without water) and it will melt. Never really thought about it, but hey, it was pretty cool. Second, it makes a great glue, but you definitely don't want to get it on your fingers. It burns really bad! Sam was dying to get in there and help us glue it, but I was terrified that he would burn himself. Nothing like a little danger to make a Christmas tradition special... The pictures below are the beginning of our project and end results. Sorry that there are no inbetween pics, between the danger of the sugar glue and trying to get Sam not to eat the candy we had our hands full. It was fun and Sam seemed to enjoy it. At the end of the season we will break in and eat it, but for now it is decoration... unless the dog gets to it first!


We both have aprons on, it makes it more official!

The two exterior decorators.

The oh-so professional glamor shot of the Gingerbread house with advent candles! I'm trying Cydil!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Superhero is This? Any guesses.....

Not sure what he was going for. We had to ask him to explain, but he couldn't. So here is a Superhero with his trusty sidekick Kelty the Golden Retriever (scary I know). So I am welcoming guesses of what superhero he can be...

Samuel says he is Spiderman, don't think I ever saw Spiderman with a sleeveless outfit, maybe it is a new trend.

Thanksgiving Pictures As Promised

Giving directions while cutting one of three turkeys. This man is multi-talented.

Packed house of 65 people coming from 15 different nations. Standing in front you see Kunal from India talking with Joachim from Germany.

Time to eat.
Someone asked if Andreas' mom was his sister. She really liked that!

The food was Amazing.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Thanksgiving To Be Thankful For

Sorry, there are no pictures quite yet. I will get those for next time. This past Friday we had an International Thanksgiving at our church. We started last year and had 26 people and maybe 6 countries represented. This year we had 65 people and 15 countries represented. It was really cool. I cooked for 3 days. I baked 4 pumpkin rolls, a triple helping of greenbean casserole, a huge portion of Sue Lauter's Cranberry Jello casserole, devilled eggs, stuffing, gravy and three turkeys! Yes, it was a lot of work, but I planned well so I was not stressed and all was done by the time we needed to eat...thank you Jesus! Then everyone that came brought something that was ethnic to their country. We had great food, wonderful company and a lot of fun. Many of the people that came were not "church people" so we pray that seeds were planted during this time. It was the biggest outreach this church has had in quite a while. Please pray with us for the people that live here.

My husband was wonderful. He helped me set up the whole church (which was quite the job), put together a very fun trivia quiz (very typical Swedish) and a nice power point, helped me in the kitchen whenever I asked, and was a wonderful host and technical supervisor for the evening. He really is an amazing man! We also had wonderful help from some of the church members that were there. They really showed what being the body of Christ was like and I appreciate them all very much.

The church was almost at it's capacity with all those people so we will be praying about next year and what we should do then. However, it is a wonderful problem to have! I pray that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the Lord met and blessed you where you were and with those you were with.