Thursday, December 31, 2009

Belated Christmas with Grandpa and Meemaw

Grandpa and Meemaw Neild came down to Kentucky to ring in the New Year and brought a few more presents from Santa with them.

Essie, Mommy, and Chloe in aprons hand-made by Meemaw

Grandpa Neild helps Essie put together their cardboard castle (which only took an hour)

Essie and Grandpa cut apples for some pie

Chloe and Meemaw color the castle

More from Christmas in Illinois

On Christmas morning we headed over to Gigi and Great-Grandpa's house to open presents with Grandpa Dan & Grandma Melanie, Aunt Buffy, Uncle Keith & Aunt Sharon, and cousin Jacob.

There were an inordinate amount of noisemakers in the girls' stockings. Merry Christmas, mom and dad.

Great Leap Frog toys to help learn our letters!

Fun indestructible cameras from Aunt Buffy! They take real digital pictures!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Essie, Gigi, and Chloe

Essie, Great-Grandpa, and Chloe

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in Illinois

We traveled to southern IL for Christmas to visit with Matt's grandparents and some extended family. Since our family has doubled in size since last Christmas, we opted to stay at a local hotel. The girls spent Christmas Eve with us at the hotel, but spent Christmas night at GiGi's (Great Grandma's) house. Grandma Melanie and Aunt Buffy were real troopers to keep our girls overnight, especially since they were too excited to go to sleep when they should have. =)

Reading "The Night Before Christmas" with Ababa

Stockings hung by the ironing board(?) with care

Chloe checking out her stocking-she insisted Santa had not visited us while we slept

Essie showing off her Princess Tiana lip gloss

Essie trying to figure out why her CareBear is talking to her

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lawnmowing in December

So after the snow melted, it was about 50 degrees on Tues. As we always say, "if you don't like the weather in KY, just wait a few hours and it will change." The girls decided the lawn needed a trim.

Sunday Snowball Fight

I have to say, I'm a pretty laid-back mom. When the girls started throwing snowballs on Sunday after church, did I run out of the house screaming at them to not get their Sunday dresses dirty? No! I grabbed the camera to document their first snowball fight.

Essie getting Ababa

Chloe getting a good shot in, see it (look to the left)?

Essie trying to get Mommy

Essie has some arm-look at her snowball in the top right

Ababa being a good target, much to the girls' delight!

A quiet Saturday

After a busy week, we spent a quiet Saturday at home, trying to stay warm. The weatherman predicted 1"-3" of snow which turned out to be our predictable dusting that melted by noon.

Essie & Chloe

Essie pretending to be mommy-reading Adopted For Life by Dr. Russell Moore (an excellent read)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

David Phelps Concert

On Monday night we drove over to Ashland, Kentucky, with our pastor and his wife to see one of our favorite singers, David Phelps in concert. The concert was held in a beautiful downtown theater, and the music was wonderful. Here are a couple of pictures, and for those of you who don't know David, a YouTube video clip of him singing "O Holy Night" a few years ago:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feliz Navidad

On the way home from church, the girls heard the song "Feliz Navidad" for the first time. They loved it.

Church Christmas Program

Sunday night was our church Christmas program, which Matt wrote and directed. The girls, of course, stole the show with their rendition of "Away in a Manger".

Essie, Jenna, & Chloe

Children's choir sings "Away in a Manger"

Matt sings "O Holy Night"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

We (Finally) Wish You a Merry Christmas

For the last couple of years, the song below has been our story - waiting here while our children wait a half a world away. This year, as we celebrate our first Christmas with our girls, the song has even more beautiful meaning.

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn,
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town,
Where the forgotten are
But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights,
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow
But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
And we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life and prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Our Christmas Newsletter

The Year That Was...

Wow! What a year! In March we travelled to Ethiopia to bring home twin 3-year-old girls, Esther Ruth and Chloe Grace. Since then life has been more fun than should be allowed.
While we were in Ethiopia, we were able to travel 12 hours outside the capital to visit the village where our girls were born. We met their birthfather (their birthmother died giving birth to them) and some of their extended family—an experience that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

Some highlights of the year include going to a parade and riding the Sky Lift to Natural Bridge on July 4th, visiting great-grandparents and extended family in Illinois and New York, a Curious George 4th birthday celebration for the girls (their birthday is September 4th), a trip to the Louisville Zoo after finalizing the adoption in our local court, going to the Blue-White scrimmage in Rupp Arena, a spontaneous Sunday afternoon drive to Cumberland Gap National Park on an unusually warm November day, Thanksgiving in Indiana with the entire Neild fam, Essie’s first snowball during an early-December snow, and the girls’ first Christmas season complete with lights and goodies and new stories about reindeer, snowmen, and mean old Mr. Grinch.

It only took the girls about 3 months to pick up conversational English, which is pretty good considering they did not speak any English when we met them. The trip home from Ethiopia was long and exhausting, but the girls loved the ride in the airplane. It has been fun to see the joy of discovery as they continue to be amazed by the new world in which they live.

Matt is working as the Office Manager for the Jessamine County Public Library and serves as music director at our church. Amy continues to love her job as an adoption caseworker. It has been great that she can work out of our home most of the time, so she can be there with the girls. The twins did not qualify developmentally or financially for our local preschool, so they are home all day.

We want to thank all of our family and friends for the prayers and encouragement that they have offered over the past year. The adoption process was long and, at times, frustrating, but we would not trade our girls for anything. Merry Christmas!

Essie & Chloe's Corner

Essie and Chloe have adapted so well to their new home and culture. We have absolutely no room to complain. They are very into the Disney princesses (Cinderella is their favorite). Essie loves spaghetti, Chloe is a big fan of pizza, and they both love just about any kind of fruit. Corn-on-the-cob is also a big favorite with the girls, because they remember eating it in Ethiopia.

The girls also love music. When they first got home, we had just bought Bart Millard’s CD “Hymned Again”, and that is their favorite. Chloe loves “I Saw the Light”, and Essie loves “I Stand Amazed”. They both really like the songs “Power in the Blood” and “By and By” by Selah. And yes, they are already huge Kentucky Wildcat fans. They recognize Coach Cal and Coach Brooks by name on TV.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Neild Family Photo

I had to post this picture because, well, its my family. Plus the girls love to look at it. Yesterday, Chloe said, "I likes that picture." I likes it too.

Scott & Jennifer Schaetzle, Andy & Caroline Neild, Amy & Matt Kinnell, Kelly & Jeremy Jackson
Grandpa & Grandma Neild with Chloe Kinnell, Hunter Schaetzle & Essie Kinnell

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Preparations

In the spirit of Christmas, the Kinnell house has been a flurry of activity. Yesterday I (Amy) thought I had a great idea of having the girls use tissue paper to decorate Christmas trees for the grandparents. Unfortunately, I forgot that 4 year olds attention spans are about 2 minutes long. We finished up the trees with a lot of help from me and Ababa, but I know the grandparents will love their trees.

Essie & Chloe
This morning the girls woke us up with squeals that it had snowed, but honestly, it wasn't more than a dusting. Essie got to make a snow ball out of it and declared it was indeed cold. Ababa did better occupying the girls today by making butter balls. The girls enjoyed squishing the dough in their fingers and the cookies turned out great! We capped off the day by attending Old Fashion Christmas for not as long as mommy would like to have been there, but again 4 year olds attention spans are not that long when its only 30 degrees outside and there was a large group of people.

Love Essie's face in this one

Love Chloe's face in this one

Essie after testing the fruit (or cookies) of her labor

What a mess!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Since we were all together last week, we took the opportunity to snap some family photos. Here are my parents with the grandkids.

Cousin pics

Here are some of the cousin pictures.

Chloe, Hunter & Essie

Tuesday, December 1, 2009