So, a couple of months ago, I had an idea that rather than trying to get with the adopted grands' families and not having it happen, we should plan a couple of activities a year that we invite them all to. That will happen and the other times that get together will be bonuses! They all get to spend time together and with us. So, we put our plan in action this past week. We invited everyone to our home for a family home evening/dinner/Christmas party. As most know, we are in regular contact with all five of Kelly's other children, but two of them, only through their mom, as they do not know anything about us. Theirs is a "closed but not" adoption. Their wonderful mom keeps me updated with pix and stories, but the children don't know us. Those two children, have their own family in another state. They live wonderful blessed lives, but for reasons that their parents have chosen, we will not be able to meet them yet. We all feel confident that the day will come that we do, but not yet.
And, so.... I digress... with the exception of the two out of state grands, we were able to gather together in our home on Monday night for a very fun evening! Zaylee's mom had a challenge that caused her to be unable to come at the last minute, but they were more than happy to allow Zaylee to come and join us for the night!
Miki on the front, then Jason's sisters, Lexi and Kayla, Jason, Zaylee, Zee and Grace
WE MISSED QUAYD!!!!
Everyone arrived just after six. I'd set two tables. Jason's folks tease me constantly because for years, we've had spontaneous meals together, but never a sit down, planned dinner. So, they tease me about the fact that they see beautiful tablescapes on my blog, but, we've never even set the table when they come... it's always a spontaneous barbecue in the back yard. So, I'd assured them that there would be tablescaping and I delivered! I set a kids table for ten and a grown-up table for seven, since Miki's big brother is a returned missionary/college student, he joined the grown-ups.
At the kids table, there was snow, snowmen and candy bags with name tags on each so that the kids were seated where they were supposed to be. They were pretty excited for their treat bags! Even my girls made me grin, the next morning, when they took theirs to school for their "lunch"... there was an orange and packages of thin Oreos, so that was their fruit and "sandwich".
I kept the menu simple. Soups, Snowman Salad (which in the summer is known as Frog-eye Salad) and homemade bread that came out of the oven just as they arrived. Dinner was soooooo yummy! Wendy brought one of my favorite things that she makes, her tasty clam chowder. Katie brought a mexican chicken bean soup (not taco soup) but it was brothy and so sooooo good! I made a mushroom, wild-rice and beef creamy soup. All three were so good and we ate most all of it! Everyone, even the kids, wanted to try different ones!
Dessert was my secret recipe brownies with ice cream and hot fudge. I tried to be all "grandma-like" and gave the kids Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes and three cans of whipping cream for them to have alllllll the toppings that they wanted. Talk about sugar buzz!!
The kids went downstairs and played together while the grown-ups visited after dessert for a bit. This was the longest and most intimate time that the families have had together, so it was fun for Doug and I to hear the stories that we've already heard, with fresh ears... but firsts for them. Fun!
After dessert, we cleaned up and gathered for games. The kids played Left-Right-Center with Jingle Bells and the winner got to choose a prize. During that, the grown-ups continued to visit. Then, we rearranged the chairs, put the tables away and gathered in a circle for another game.
I'd made a list of 40 questions that the youngest kids could answer. Miki, the youngest, is almost seven. We divided into two teams and had bells, sort of "Family Feud" style. The first 20 questions were about Santa and his reindeer and elves and such. The second twenty were worth twice as many points, all about Christ and his birth. We actually discussed the answers to the latter questions. The final question was "Name another name for Jesus Christ." Each person gave an answer and all were different. We ended with Doug and I sharing our testimonies and love to each of them and all knelt together for one huge family prayer. It was truly a perfect evening.
The kids got along so well. They were noisy and crazy and loud, but they had fun! We took pictures and Doug and I distributed some gifts before they left. As we went to bed, after cleaning up, Doug and I were both quite pleased at how well things had gone. We are anxious to make this a new tradition for these families.
I wrote on Instagram a hashtag, "#lovemakesusfamily". It's so true. We may not be blood related to these families. We may have never even known them, were it not for these five grands who came to the earth through Kelly, to find their eternal families. BUT!!! They are family to Doug and I and to Quayd, Grace and Zee, in every sense of the word, just as much as any of the rest of our blood-relatives are. It may be hard for some to understand, but it works for us! We are blessed!
Life is good!!!