Dec 31, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Happy last day of 2012! I pray that each of you were blessed with a meaningful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! December has been FULL here at El Roi… full of fun friends, lots of parties for the children at Refilwe, presents and lots of time carved out for me to love on the babies! 

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere feels different and so it takes some convincing to even help my brain register that it is in fact December. There are no festive, cozy drinks warming on the stove or fragrant pines decorated in lights and tucked into living room corners.  The malls here have had Christmas decorations up since October and without the luxury of TBS’ 24 hours of “The Christmas Story” it takes some real effort to muster up the Christmas spirit.  

For me Christmas with the babies this year included putting up a Christmas tree made from crayons, white printer paper and prestick (sticky, removable adhesive): 

wrapping Christmas presents and setting them under aforementioned tree:

hosting dinners on Christmas Eve & Day for some friends including Ryan, Max and Abel:

doing many Christmas themed photo shoots: 

baking pumpkin pies and preparing Aunt Alexa's Potato Casserole at 4am:

and working the 48 hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas so that my Staff could be with their families (here is what a night of 3am bottle prep looks like):

Thankfully I had the help of my dear friends Megan and Emma to help give me a couple hours of rest and keeping me company for many of those long hours:

December also included a return visit from my new friend, Mingni on her way out of Jo-burg:

 watching the sunflowers that Cynthia planted for me in October bloom:

enjoying the perks of living on a farm including donkeys in my driveway:

watching our small babies getting bigger and bigger:

spending some down time with good friends:

and enjoying getting to love on so many precious babies:

One of the newest challenges and joys has been understanding the responsibility of parenting a toddler. I have been apart of many, many 2-year-olds little lives but I have a new understanding and respect for all the mommies out there after spending a few months being the primary caregiver of one strong-willed, beautiful, smart, sweet and helpful toddler who says my name at least 100 times a day! Our girl is teaching me the joy of everyday hugs and kisses, the patience required to have the same conversations or read the same books countless times a day, the diligence to discipline even when it is inconvenient or taxing (I have said many times "PLEASE don't make me give you another time out!), the humbling effect of having a little mirror who mimics every facial expression and impatient phrases mumbled in frustration and the honor of watching new behaviors and character traits emerge in someone who is changing everyday! She is such a good big sister, who loves to help care for our littles... happy to put empty bottles in the sink or try and shhh and pat someone who is fussing. She really is teaching me so much about what being a mommy means! Here she is "reading" her Bible Book to two of her siblings: 

I am honestly really looking forward to 2013, excited to see all that God has in store for His kids in our home and in this kid's life! Thank you for the countless ways you've encouraged, blessed and provided for me tangible reminders of God's love and care in 2012. I love you and am thanking God for you today! Be blessed!

 Love from Nicole and the babies and El Roi

The Journey of Surrender

It is a pretty spectacular thing: watching a family be born right in front of your eyes. To see years of prayers answered in a moment. ...