Monday, December 29, 2008

Where were you on April 29th?

I dont know where I was either...but my daughter was born that day in China!!!!! News and a photo to come!

We are getting close!

I just wanted to share with everyone to be in prayer about our adoption this week, because the internet is abuzz with news that China has completed matching children with families who have their log in date of 2/28...ours is 2/27! Hopefully we will hear from our adoption agency this week....keep you ears posted to this blog!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brander Family Christmas Letter 08

Where do you begin with all thats gone on in a year? Our initial months of 2008 were faced with packing up our lives at the Linden House, and remodeling at our current home on Washington Street. As some of you may know, the house is over 100 years old, and the extensive remodeling (plumbing and electric) were already finished by previous owner. We needed to renovate the original servants quarters on the 3rd floor and add a shower to the bathroom on that floor. We also had to rebuild the fireplace and remove a bunch of wallpaper. We moved in at the end of February, and it has felt a lot like putting on your favorite pair of sneakers. The house just fits.
Tom has continued keeping up with his busy practice, and the increased activity level of the kids (more on that later). He and I both find it a challenge to have a conversation without an interruption, or to find a few hours alone to talk about something other than the schedule. We have found that most of our conversation some days is relegated to text messages, but at least we are on the same page!
I am busy most days trying to keep up with the laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping. I have also tried to get myself back to my desk and try to get the creative juices flowing with my Stampin Up business. I dont do workshops any longer, but take orders and make custom cards as time allows. Tom and I have also begun working out with a personal trainer a few times a week and it has been fun as well as challenging.

Caila is almost 15 and a Freshman at Cornerstone this year. She had a terrific spring track season going to state for Long Jump and accomplishing her personal best at 14 feet 9.5 inches. She spent a month of the summer serving at Life Action Family Camp where our family goes for a week every summer. This fall she played volleyball for the JV team and at the end of the season went up for a spike and landed on the side of her ankle. She has been going to therapy now for about a month, and just last week dropped a 25lb weight on the other foot breaking her toe. She manages to get around quite well, and is still able to cheer at the boys basketball games! She is an excellent student and will be going to Guatemala this January for her Winterim class in Spanish.

Nick is 13 and in the 7th grade, as well as managing to pass me up in height. He is playing basketball again this year for Cornerstone and has now gained the reputation as "The Beast under the Basket". He's gaining skill and stamina for the game and is fun to watch. He has also taken off in his guitar skills as well...electric that is. I can recognize some of what he is playing ! I just wish that the floor didnt vibrate whenever he practices. Nick had a great fall playing football for the McLean County Cougars and played defensive tackle and left tackle.

Ben also played his first year of football with the McLean County Cougars. He is 11 this year and in the 4th grade. He played running back for his team, and learned how intimidating it can be when you have the ball and a wall of tackles is headed right for you. He got a lot of bruises but never lacked enthusiasm to jump right back in and practice the next day. He is doing well in school and often has us laughing with his latest antics. I imagine he will eventually take up some form of Drama in junior high because he is always doing something crazy.


Maren is 11 and in the 5th grade. She made the girls cheer squad for the 5th and 6th grade, and the year of cheer classes has really paid off. She looks great and knows her cheers! You can tell when she is out there how proud she is to be cheering on her school. She has been busy this year adding people to her facebook page, and you can usually find her chatting online with her friends or on the phone....and sometimes both. Shes a perfectionist about her schoolwork, much to Ben's dismay! She also has a dramatic streak in her and tried out and made it in a part in the christmas program again this year.

Well if you were paying attention to all the details above, we have a high school cheerleader, a 7th grade ball player and a 5th grade cheerleader. Thats a LOT of basketball games! Ben has become my shotgun passenger in the car lately shuffling people from one practice/game to another. He wont be alone for long because we anticipate in January or at the latest February to recieve our referall from China for our adoption. It will be 3 years in February that we have been waiting for word to the child (most likely a girl) they have matched to our family. Why so long? No one really knows, and I would need another blog to explain it...but make sure you keep up with us here to get the latest. We may all be traveling to China together to go get her this spring! I guarantee our letter next year will be a lot more fun! Have a warm and loving Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Some musings on Christmas....

Its that time of year....and it started earlier than I remembered in the past. I know I saw christmas items being set on shelves when I went to buy halloween candy. Somehow every year it seems to fly past me quicker than the last. I was recently thinking too about the underlying ideas we have about Christmas. Not about the cutural traditions we have like trees and gifts. More about how realistic I am about Christ's birth. I don't think I have really thought about what it meant to really be born in a stable. To be born at the time of the census. Thousands of people were converging on a tiny city. There were probably many people without rooms for the night in that stable with Mary when she was giving birth. She didnt have her mother, or aunts with her to help her in childbirth...let alone a doctor. This was her first child...and she was sharing a stable with strangers and animals. Oh...and the animals! I have never set foot in a barn or stable yet that had animals living there and smelled good. They have often been dusty smelly places with mice and cats and ...well it was enough to make me want to go home and shower later because I still smelled the barn on me later. Mary had no place to shower or wash her face, much less Jesus. Yet this is how God chose to come and live among us. Not in a palace on a hill or as a ruler..but as a baby, born into chaotic times, to a young inexperienced mother and a timid new father. Among His creation, and with His creation, as His creation. It makes me wonder what God really thinks about this world and what we perceive as "ideal". God's perfect plan was not our idea of "ideal", and yet it was. God with us. Emmanuel. Right in the dirty dusty chaos of our lives and hearts, to give us hope and love and life. When you think of the story of Christmas this year remember who it was that came and how he came to save.