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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Christmas Card

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Diapers all stacked up and preschool a plenty
Football on Mondays, guitar at six twenty
Two months in Antigua, but home for the Spring
These are a few of our favorite things.

Ballet and Cub Scouts and Allstars and soccer
Glasses for Coleman and Soli’s a walker!
Evie is five soon, I love when she sings
These are a few of our favorite things.

Laundry and dishes and warm bubble bath-es
Wet sloppy kisses and cho-co-late stashes
Knowing the joy that raising kids brings
These are a few of our favorite things.

Coleman is ten, seems so young yet so grown
Went with his dad and they hiked up Half Dome
Hoping we will be prepared for the “Teens”
These are a few of our favorite things.

Emerson’s seven and keeps us all smilin’
His heart’s made of gold and his hair’s always stylin’
He’s playing the guitar, just reaching the strings
These are a few of our favorite things.

Evie loves rainbows and drawing and soccer.
She’ll tell you about it, ‘cause she’s quite the talker.
She loves playing dress-up with purses and rings
These are a few of our favorite things.

Soli is one, she’s been with us a year now.
Time sure does fly, it’s amazing to see how…
Much our love’s grown and our hearts have new wings
These are a few of our favorite things.

We hope this card finds you enjoying the season
Come see us soon, for any ol’ reason.
Blessings to you, the peace Christmas brings
‘Cause you’re all a few of our favorite things!

Wishing you all our best in 2008,
The Stewart Family

Monday, January 21, 2008

Merry Christmas 2007!

O Tannenbaum!

Emerson was this year's self-proclaimed light expert.

Evie had more fun making "spaghetti" than decorating the tree.

Soli hanging one of the Bodegona balls that we saved from last year's Guatemala tree.

I just love this picture of Soli and her big, beautiful smile. She's a happy, happy girl but capturing her darling smile on camera isn't the easiest of tasks. She reminds me of Emerson that way...

Cutie sisters!

Christmas cookies!! Alas, Cole wasn't interested in partaking in the Christmas cookie baking this year.

And, of course, the all important sprinkles!!

We took the kids on the Christmas train this year which is modeled after the Polar Express. They serve unlimited cookies and hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols as the train tours the California countryside. The kids wear their pajamas and Santa comes to visit each car.

He was the sweetest Santa ever. He even made Dave get up and get a hug!

Check out Cole's new glasses...

Christmas Eve in their new Christmas jammies. When I was growing up we had a tradition that we would get to open one present on Christmas Eve. They were always new Christmas jammies. That's a tradition that I have continued with my kiddos.

Christmas morning!! Santa was here! (That's a sleeping bag... not a mummy!)

Soli got a new doll!

The sleeping bag was for Cole.

Emerson is our very own rock star!

And Evie got a doll, too.

Merry Christmas

A year ago today...

I've been mentally writing this post since the beginning of December, but I'm only just now sitting down to type it all out. A year ago, on December 6, 2006 the kids and I flew to Guatemala to foster Soleil until her adoption was complete and we could bring her home. It was a very exciting and uncertain time for our family. Leaving Dave and going to live in a third world country with four kids, for an undetermined length of time, was somewhat nerve wracking. I took comfort in that I knew Antigua well, and I felt very comfortable there. The house we rented was in a community with other fostering families and was very safe with a locked gate and a 24 hour security guard. We spent two amazing months there and I am so very thankful for the time we spent in Soli's beautiful Guatemala. In early December of last year, as we approached the one year anniversary of leaving for Guatemala, I found myself reliving some of the emotions I had felt the year before. I found myself "nesting" as I had done to get ready for our time away. I was anxious to get dentist appointments complete and Christmas shopping done. I was lying awake at night making mental lists of what needed to be done the next day. And I found myself distancing myself from Dave, I suppose, in an attempt to protect myself from the impending separation (or the memory of it). It was intriguing to have the opportunity to examine these emotions as they came up and link them to the happenings of a year ago. It was like having a window into my own psyche and my own human nature, of which the view is usually obscured (at least from my perspective). I didn't realize that I had been holding Dave at an arm's length last year. I remember that we seemed to be out of sync before I left, but I figured it just had to do with the stress and busyness of the time. But in reality what I had been doing was shutting him out of my life as I prepared to survive without him. So interesting... Anyway, once I became aware that I was pushing him away, as I had the year before, I was able to let my guard down and let him back into my life. And I am so very relieved that we won't be leaving him again this year. Being apart for those two months (we haven't spent more than 10 consecutive days apart since the day we met 12 years ago) made us stronger, both as a couple and individually. A year ago today the kids and I were in Guatemala and Dave was home alone. I'm so happy that we'll all be sleeping under one roof tonight. Thanks for checking in. ~Heather

Evie turns five!!

I can't believe our little Eviebelle is already five years old!! That seems like such a big birthday. She'll be starting kindergarten in the fall, and then I'll be back down to just one at home with me.
I took Evie to the city to see the Nutcracker for her big fifth!

This coat belonged to Dave's Gramma Eleanor. When she passed away my father in law gave it to me. It has recently become my favorite coat. We forgot Evie's coat in the car when we stopped for lunch so she borrowed mine, and I just thought she looked so cute. I loved seeing generations tied together through a favorite coat.

Posing with Maria and the Nutcracker.

For Evie's birthday this year we took her and about 10 little friends to see "Enchanted". Evie helped me bake her cake (or maybe I helped her?), but I told her I would decorate it after she had gone to bed. She woke up bright and early the next morning to see how it had turned out. I had to laugh when she whispered in my ear at 6am, "Mommy, my cake looks pretty, but someone spilled popcorn on it." And, of course, no cake is complete without the sprinkles...all of the sprinkles.

May all your wishes come true, my beautiful birthday girl!

Evie's birthday is on Christmas Eve, so we try especially hard to make her birthday special. One of her favorite things about having a Christmas birthday is getting her very own Birthday Tree. She gets to decorate it herself (this year she let Emerson help) with all things pink and girly. So fun.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


...for the laughter of our children, the strength of our bodies, the beauty of our Earth, the embrace of our families, the changing of our seasons, the kindness of our neighbors, the bounty of our land and the sanctity of our home.

Thanksgiving 2007

Happy Birthday, Rob!!!

My brother in law is 40 today! I really cannot believe how quickly we are all getting older. Shocking...truly shocking. Sorry we couldn't be with you on your birthday, Rob, but we hope you know just how much we all love you.
Big hugs,
Dave, Heath and the gang

Trick or Treat!!

Who's scarier?

Ooey, gooey pumpkin guts...

Evie had this original idea to add "hair" to her pumpkin. It turned out really cute, and she was very proud.

Soli helping sort the pumpkin seeds.

A Pink Lady, a Thunderbird, a Rock Star, a Little Mermaid, a Zorro, and a "Mini" Mouse

Soli's favorite part of her outfit was her shoes.

Evie making her best mermaid face and swimming arms.


The coolest Zorro in all the land.

After the kids came home with their loot we gave them 10 minutes to eat as much candy as they possibly could. The rest had to be turned in to the candy patrol. After 10 minutes they were all sick of candy and they haven't asked about it since. Dave and I were disappointed that no one ralphed this year. Maybe next year...

Emerson with some concoction involving Starburst and far too many pieces of gum.

At the Farm..., yes these pictures are from over three months ago, but I just love them so much that I had to share. The fall lighting was lovely and we had a ball picking out the perfect pumpkins. (Don't forget you can click on any of these pics to make them bigger.)

Saturday, January 19, 2008


We made a trip down to Southern California in October for Dave's 20 year high school reunion. While we were there we visited with both our Grandmas (neither of whom had met Soli yet) and we hit Disneyland! We hadn't been there since Evie was a baby and Emerson was just 3. We had the best time! The weather was perfect, it wasn't too crowded (we went on a Friday), and everything was decked out for Halloween. Pirates of the Caribbean has been redone to incorporate Jack Sparrow and some other parts of the new movies. As a family, our favorite ride was Buzz Light Year. So fun!! Here are some pics of our adventure.

Me and the kids with my Gramma Jane.

Dave and the kids with his Gramma Sarah.

Dave with fellow graduates from Newport Harbor High School.

Me and my beau!

Evie was smitten when Tigger swooped her off her feet in Disneyland.

Evie was so excited to see the Princesses at Disneyland. So she and Soli and I waited in line for an hour (the longest line we waited in) to have our turn taking pictures with the princesses. I was surprised at how starstruck I was when we finally got our turn!

Can you guess which line we're standing in here?

Buzz Light Year is an interactive video game ride. You get these laser guns and you shoot at targets throughout the ride. Your points are tallied in your little buggy. We loved it!

The haunted mansion has been redone (our maybe they just redo it during Halloween?). It was decked out with a "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme. So refreshing and fun!

Splash mountain was another of our favorites. The weather was warm and lovely, so we took advantage of the cool splashes.