31 December 2007

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! Elianna Ray is 11 months today. I can't believe we'll be celebrating her first birthday so quickly! At the end of this wonderful, crazy, blessed year I find myself praying for my blogging friends and OCEAN friends... 2008 will be filled with referrals and news of travel to bring Baby home!!! What incredible blessing the Lord Jesus has in store! That space in yourself that is an aching void will be filled with overwhelming joy for your new little love from the other side of the world, and you'll never be the same!

Oh, thank You, dear Father, for taking such loving care of all the little needy ones who are waiting to come HOME to their Forever Families, and for helping each of us mamas and daddies with a burden for the orphans that You have already ordained to be our child through Your grace and mercy!

A big kiss and hug from all the Hausams!
Laurie, Michael, Marg, Ricker, Jackie, Evangeline & "Sugar Ray"

30 December 2007

Christmas Smörgåsbord

All of us local Ortlunds gathered for our annual Christmas Smörgåsbord last weekend. Except for the supremely icky pickled herring (I don't care how spicy it is!), I think it's one of the most delicious meals of the year. We always start with hot fruit soup, and then have limpa with lingonberries, knäckebröd which is like a rye cracker, pickled herring, Risgrynsgröt (rice pudding), cucumber salad, swedish sausages, köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), and red cabbage.

Granddaddy used to be the only one who truly looked forward to eating pickled herring, but now Uncle Nels has at least a taste in his honor -- good man! Personally, I wouldn't touch the stuff unless someone double-dog dared me and it was chased with at least one tall shot of Akvavit!

Grandmother, Auntie Sherry, Uncle Walt, Mother, and Nels have always shared the cooking for this family meal, but I've made them promise to teach me how to make these dishes the right way. So far my attempts have come out sadly sub-par. Sherry makes the best köttbullar in the world. There is no point in ordering Swedish meatballs, even at a five star Scandinavian restaurant because even they, real Swedish chefs "Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue. Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn børk! børk! børk!"... don't make them nearly as delicious!

29 December 2007

A Very Merry McHaus Christmas!

How overwhelming it is to me that two years ago at Christmastime we were rejoicing over the discovery that our beloved Evangeline was on the way and now we've got another beautiful sugarplum baby, too! Thank You, Jesus, for all our sweet angels. What an incredible Christmas this was for our family... Michael and I were dancing around the kitchen before the break of dawn getting breakfast together, putting on Christmas music, and lighting a fire just so happy that we've got a houseful of angels excitedly waiting upstairs to see what Santa left them in their stockings!

This was our Ray Ray's first Christmas and the first one that Evangeline was really excited about so it was a treasured one for all of us. Also it was especially poignant as we are praying for the Hyer family who celebrated a bittersweet Christmas at CHOC with their little Emeline who is fighting what they are now told is likely a losing battle with leukemia. It makes me realize how very precious every single day is with our family. The Lord knows the number of hairs on our head just as He knows the moment we will meet Him in Heaven. Praise the Lord for that! What a gift He is to us... truly THE GIFT which we celebrate at Christmas!

Evangeline checking out all the goodies saying, "Hooray! Fun! Fun!"

Jackie was on the Nice List, too!

Michael and I got a little punchy singing Christmas songs while we were wrapping, so we penned a new version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer... It goes a little somethin' like this: "You know Blistex, and Carmex, and Kleenex, and Qtips, Clorox, and Kotex, and Playtex, and Tampax, but do you recall the most famous household product of all...?" Many versions followed. I know... but, it was very late and we were very, very tired!

I think he likes it!

The xylophone was the most fun present for the girls. They are little musicians at heart!

New Product (RED) clothes!

Celebrating our 18th Christmas married!

A precious little bow-head

Another darling little gift!

Michael & Buddy

Kissing cousins Elianna Ray & Matthew

Auntie Lisa & Santa Baby Evie

The best part of the day for Charlotte was playing with the wrapping!

Our dear family

And this is what we're really like!

Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!

A New Look!

A great big THANKS to my friend, Rebecca!

What do you think?

28 December 2007

Visions of Sugarplums

This year we had the most unusual Christmas Eve on record for us. Usually, I am up at the crack of dawn to get prepared for the evening and then I have to be at church by 1 or 2:00 for the final Vespers' program dress rehearsal. After a wonderful evening with our church family we get home late, have supper, put the kiddies down, and then work well into the wee hours in Santa's workshop preparing for the morning. This year, because we're in the middle of buying a new church home and weren't sure where we'd be for Christmas Eve, our church board opted for a Christmas Sunday celebration program instead. And, I said a big fat "NO" to every other Christmas Eve program request. So, for the first time in... well, forever... I didn't have any singing engagements on Christmas Eve! Imagine that!

This year we enjoyed a very lazy day at home. We cooked, baked, watched a few Christmas movies, napped, and went to the park. Later on, we enjoyed a delicious Christmas supper just the seven of us, sang carols, read the Christmas story in Scripture, and put the little (and big) ones down "uncharacteristically early", and enjoyed our traditional glass of champagne together. Once all our little sugarplums were dreaming of iPods, and Star Wars lightsabers, and piratey things, and dollies, we let Santa do his thing, and went to bed fairly early. Gotta love that!

I must admit, though, that I really did miss our Vespers service, and next year I'll happily get back to our normal Christmas Eve routine. But, for just this year, it was an unusually laid-back , relaxing, beautiful day!

Christmas Eve supper

Singing carols

Ready for Santa!

27 December 2007

Christmas on the Island

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did. In fact, I can't think of a happier Christmas. The greatest joy for Michael and I was just watching the kids playing. It was a zoo here, but a delightful one. Now that the house is back in relative order I'm wading through the hundreds of pictures we took in the last few days.

On Sunday we went down to Balboa Island, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Christmastime on the island is always a special treat. Growing up there my family never missed the boat parade all bundled up with a carafe of hot cocoa. Happy memories. Michael and I take the kids down to the island often, buy a cinnamon roll or a pecan sticky roll and coffee from Cinnamon Roll Faire, and walk around the island, but this time of year it is especially lovely with all the beautiful decorations.

22 December 2007

A Special Christmas Dinner

What a delightful family Christmas dinner we enjoyed with our folks and siblings, and our grandparents, Papa & Grams! Especially since Granddaddy's passing this summer, we realize how precious every single night such as this one with our grandparents is. They are such a dear presence in our lives. Thank You, Jesus, for Papa & Grams!

21 December 2007

Mercy Me & International Adoption

This is so cool! Mike (of Mercy Me) and Abby Scheuchzer recently adopted their precious daughter Millie from Kazakhstan through All God's Children International. Their new album contains an insert about their adoption experience.

20 December 2007

A Must-Read Article on Gospel Truth About Adoption!

* Take a minute to read this. *

Big thanks to Keva for this well-worded article by Russell Moore about what adoption means. Oh, how I have wished for his eloquence when confronted with offensive questions and "interest" by people who just don't get it! Bravo, Brother Russ!

Let It SNOW!

Beautiful Lake Arrowhead is one of our favorite SoCal places to go for SNOW! We don't get any of the gorgeous white stuff here in Orange County, so we all get so excited -- like we've never seen it before. "Look! Over there! By the tree! It's SNOW! HOORAY!" In Arrowhead village there's a great place for yummy Belgian waffles and hot chocolate, we have a snowball fight or two, build a snow man, take a boat ride on the lake, or go ice skating, and head home exhausted.

This was Evangeline & Elianna Ray's first snow experience and they had a such great time. Evangeline got the hang of making snowballs right away, and she calls it "fmow" just like Ricker did when he was little. So precious. For Marg, Ricker & Jackie it's like going to Disneyland. They can't get enough of it -- at least until they need to warm up at the chalet...

Jackie: "40 degrees is really cold, Mama. I like it more like 65 plus. 72 is my favorite. But, I love snow, too. It's just a little c-c-c-cold."

Here are some fun snaps of our snow trip last weekend:

18 December 2007

A Little Bragging...

At the American Home Christmas bash, I had the privilege of watching Michael truly shine. He started this Little Engine That Could company from scratch five years ago and Poppy quickly partnered with him. Together they've build a terrific business with a great team and the Lord has continued to bless their hard work. Now they run the largest company of their kind in Southern California! The Christmas party was a gas! These people are like a big, hysterical, quirky, and noisy family!

17 December 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

Our awesome nephew, Lincoln, turned four and we all celebrated what a fantastic little guy he is!

13 December 2007

Visiting Santa at His Beach House

Santa was his jolly ol' self as we visited him at his home in Newport Beach on Monday. I'm so grateful that the older kids still find it fun and exciting to see Santa and tell (fib to) him that they've been little angels all year! They were great sports for both of the girls and made visiting Saint Nick a very big and fun deal. Man, we've got some great kids!

Papa & Ray Ray by the BIG tree.
This year Fashion Island is sporting the biggest Christmas tree in the Nation at 115 feet!

Mama & Elianna Ray

Getting very excited!

Alright, I'm not waiting one more minute!

Ray Ray absolutely LOVED Santa, and clapped and sang while sitting on his lap. Meanwhile, Evangeline who yells, "HI, Sata! HI, Sata! Hey, HIIIIII, Sata!" (sic) at every single Santa that she sees until he responds with a little wave, couldn't muster a smile for the big moment. Oh well. I think she was a little overwhelmed. Once we left, she talked about him all day long!

Here's the official shot with the girls

and all five Hausam babies with The Big Kahuna!

11 December 2007

A Very Gingerbready Christmas Party!

Here are a few pictures from the Orange County Ethiopian Adoption Network Gingerbread House Christmas party last Saturday. We had a wonderful time with you all, and we so appreciate your sweet friendship!

Susan building the Clark house

The Sherrell Family (minus Kidus who will be home SOON!)

Amanda & Andrew with Cadence Mekdes Richey (and their little bun in the oven, too!)

Julia & Clare

My unfinished house (with two Scotties!)

Ray Ray & me

The McClure Family

The Christiansens

The Paschall Family

If you would like to see all the pics, you can check out our family photo galleries. Leave a comment or guestbook message for the password if you don't already have it.