Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

Wow! What a year 2013 was....and I can't believe it is already over!  We had some great moments of fun and sad moments as we had to say good-bye to sweet family members.  For our last post of 2013, we wanted to reflect on the good times we had this year so Byron, the kids and I have made a list of our favorite moments of 2013.

#12 - Byron and I celebrated 15 years of marriage on June 20th. We hired a babysitter and headed to Downtown Denton for a super nice dinner and window shopping. 15 years with my best friend...I am totally blessed!

#11 - Going to the Texas State Fair. What a fun time!
#10 - Dad Serna's retirement party. It was so nice being able to celebrate everything he did in his professional life. What a man!

#9 - Memaw and Papaw's Anniversary dinner. This would be their last anniversary together. It was a sweet time to celebrate 60 years of marriage.

#8 - Selah lost her first tooth! She is growing so much!

#7 - Our family vacation to San Antonio. We had SO MUCH FUN!!

#6 - Selah's dance camp. It was so precious to see her dancing!!

#5 - Gabe plays Simon Peter!

#4 - Getting a new piano. I have wanted a baby grande piano for as long as I can remember...and in April we found a bought a used one. All 5 of us have enjoyed playing the piano and our house has a perfect front room that seems like it was built just for a piano!

#3 - Becoming home owners again. In late October our landlords gave us notice that when our lease was up they would not be giving us the option of renewing because they were wanting to put the house on the market. That left us with a big decision - do we start packing up or should we buy the house? We had to spend a lot of time in prayer. Moving would mean we would need to find a house asap, spend money on moving costs, etc... not to mention a new home study for our adoption. Buying would mean we would have to use some of the money we had set aside for adoption costs on a down payment. After much prayer we did decide to buy the house. The landlords sold it to us at a great price and had some major repairs done. We ended up being able to come to closing with less than the downpayment due to the great lender we had...God blessed us all around. We are still needing about $7,000 - $10,000 for our adoption, but are trusting that God will provide in His way and timing. 

#2 - NO MORE DIAPERS (well, until our Little One gets here). That's right - Mig is completely potty trained - even at nights!! YAHOO - Big shout out to our little guy!

#1 - Adoption Approval and process!! Our big excitement of the year has been our Adoption Approval in May, our Home Study approval in October and all of the ground work we have done for the adoption of our little girl. Now we look forward to 2014 with great anticipation as (hopefully) this new year we will be matched to our little one and be able to travel to China to bring her home. 

Happy New Year!
The Serna Family

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Card Pictures

Every year we send out Christmas photo cards. I had a really hard time deciding how to do our annual Christmas Card pictures this year. I didn't want a picture of all five of us because our family just isn't complete right now...by trying to get a family picture I felt like we were leaving someone out - which we are. Our little girl isn't with us yet, but she is so much already a part of our family. As I was hanging stockings Mig insisted we hang a stocking for "Little Sister", too. I found a tiny stocking to hang and as I was hanging it, Mig said, "Mommy, I really miss Little Sister". Isn't it crazy how we haven't met her, we don't have a clue who she is, but she is already loved and missed. My mom and Dad G. even bought her Christmas gifts. Third Day has a song has been my favorite Christmas this year, because that is exactly where we are right now. You can click on the lyrics to be directed to the video.

So, this year I had a hard time figuring out how to incorporate that gap in our family. I wanted to represent our other daughter somehow, so I bought 4 battery operated candles. The kids each held one, and then we set the 4th in front of them to represent our little one so far away. 

For the card I used a digital scrapbooking kit from Journey 2 U designs - an awesome kit with LOADS of Asian/adoption themed elements. 

I felt really happy with the outcome. We were able to do our traditional card and included our missing piece. This picture was a keeper, too - even if it didn't make the card.  

Next year there will be another precious little face in our Christmas Card pictures. For now all we can do is "pray that God will come and hold her in His arms
And tell her from our hearts we wish you a Merry Christmas".

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One Step Closer...

One step closer. This has been my mantra through the whole adoption process. Have you heard the song "A Thousand Years" from the Twilight movies? Each time I hear it I think of our adoption. The lyrics are so perfect "I have died every day waiting for you. Darling, don't be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years, I'll love you for a thousand more. All along I believed I would find you..." and then the tag line...."One Step Closer". Brings me to tears. Every. Time. If you haven't heard it, you can listen to it here: 

Yesterday we took another step closer to our sweet little girl. We headed out to Fort Worth at 7:30 am, in the freezing cold weather, over ice covered roads. We have been iced in since last Thursday and I have stressed all week over whether or not we were going to be able to make it for our appointment. Luckily, the roads were clear enough that it was pretty safe to drive them. We arrived at the United States Citizen and Immigration Services office about 30 minutes early to be fingerprinted. The office was sterile and quiet. The workers there were almost as cold as it was outside. We were just part of their daily routine there and yet, it was a step toward China for us. They rolled our fingers one by one on the cold glass and then we were finished. 

We spent the rest of the morning as a family. A family of five - soon to be six. We strolled one of the malls we used to shop when we lived in Fort Worth. We drove by the hospital where Mig was born and went to eat at our favorite restaurant in downtown Fort Worth. Then we drove to our old apartment building. It was fun reminiscing! We headed home and went about our day. Byron went to work, the kids and I did school - but we are officially ONE STEP CLOSER!

Now we wait to get our approval, which may take up to a month. Once we have that we will send it, and our finalized home study off for more seals and approvals. When that is finished we will send our competed Dossier (a collection of a whole bunch of forms and paperwork that define us) to our agency who will then review it, translate it, and send it off to China! We have come so far and still have a ways to go - but each step is a milestone and a celebration!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Wonderland

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning!!

I made the kids wait until after their spelling and math tests before they could go play in the snow. They had a blast!!! They went sledding in my laundry basket, threw snow at each other (it wouldn't make snowballs), made some snow angels and got wonderfully rosy cheeks!!

Hope you are all staying warm and cozy and enjoying some fun Texas winter weather!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Lego Birthday

Gabe's had an awesome birthday! He decided last year that for his 8th birthday we would go to Lego Land in Grapevine. So on Saturday morning we bundled up and drove to the Grapevine Mills Mall.

When we entered we were taken to the Lego Factory where guests were able to help in the "lego making". 

It was really a lot of fun! There was an indoor jungle gym for the bigger kids and huge soft legos for the little ones. 

There were awesome lego displays including famous Dallas/Fort Worth landmarks and scenes from Star Wars!

We also enjoyed a 4-D movie theater (with snow!) a princess karaoke area and rides!

After Lego Land, we ate lunch at the Rain Forrest Cafe. Then we headed home for birthday cake!

It was a fun family day centered around our oldest blessing!