Saturday, December 6, 2008
Family Get Togethers
A lot has happened in just 2 short months, and there’s been little time to write!
A few short weeks after we arrived home, the grandparents started to visit. Three and a half weeks later, we were back to being just the 3 of us. A week and a half later, it was Thanksgiving Day, which we spent in North Carolina at Grandma Joan’s house. The following night, we went to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville to kick off the Christmas season. The Grove Park Inn is one of America’s most beautiful hotels. The main building is built of stone and has a roof which reminds me of those in the Cotswold area of England. I love the 2 enormous fireplaces inside, the Arts and Crafts style furniture, and the view overlooking the city of Asheville. Every year, The Grove Park Inn is host to a gingerbread competition where children and adults all over the country bring their amazing culinary creations to compete in winning the $3000 grand prize. The hotel decorates tons of trees down the same halls, each one different than the next. We took Anya into the very crowded main lobby at 8 pm to see the hotel’s largest tree be lit, preceded by Santa’s arrival. Anya immediately knew that Santa Clause was very special, and ever since then she’s been to pointing him, and Christmas trees, in the books we read.
In the days following, we began a new family tradition of baking and decorating to get into the spirit of Christmas as a family. Anya really enjoys watching us cook and bake, so she put on two potholders that made her look like a small lobster with oversized claws and helped us keep watch on the cookies baking in the oven, with the light on, of course.
Decorating the tree was done while Anya was napping, so that when she came in, the tree was ready to be admired. And touched. Ornaments were grabbed. The word ‘no’ was used regularly. A small fist punched the tree in objection. Since then, we have been learning the ‘touch with one finger’ rule, which I learned second hand from my aunt. And, it satisfies everyone, most of the time.
In keeping with the season of miracles, Anya herself has given us gifts of hope and joy. Two days ago, she started going to the bathroom in the toilet. She is making amazing strides in her language skills. We understand her saying ‘all gone’, ‘baby’ (second word), ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘b-bye’ (first word), and ‘dog’. It amazes us how much of what we say she understands. She responds with words and actions. I also have a little helper now. Anya helps by bringing the laundry into the laundry room, sweeping the floor (she is very adept at holding the dustpan without anything falling out), setting the table, and putting things where they belong.
What do we get a kick out of most with Anya? Probably mealtime. When the food comes, she squeals loudly in excitement and does a little jump in her chair. Somewhere in Russia, there was an immaculate conception on our behalf, because that is exactly how Trav and I react when we see good food too.
We’ve been celebrating ever since we brought Anya home, and it’s a great gift to spend all our holidays together, as a family. We couldn’t ask for anything more.