Thursday, December 30, 2004

2004 Holidays

One thing that was different this year from last year was that Tom was at home/school/work and Trish was working full time.
Despite all this activity somehow the food got made, and the presents got purchased and wrapped.
An early Christmas present came in the form of Tom’s brother and sister-in-law Jim and Beth returning home with their two adopted children earlier then expected. We really enjoyed having our new niece Kayla and nephew Jamie with us on Christmas Eve at Mom & Dad Riley’s.
Their adoption from Kazakhstan in the beginning of December has manifested so many blessings from our Heavenly Father. Theirs was one of the fastest adoptions the coordinators had ever seen, by the Grace of God.
The families gathered at the airport to welcome them back and I know I was crying like a baby when they arrived. My cup overflowed (right down my cheeks) at the joy my heart held for Jim and Beth and their new family.
As usual, Christmas was typical in the fact that we hosted a Christmas Day Open House with a buffet Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for our family and friends.
One of the things we liked best about hosting the open house is the small moments we steal during the day. Thomas and I look at each other and wink, then just listen to the din around us. Children playing, family talking, people laughing and enjoying each other company.
One of the things that bless our life the most is our Parents. We enjoy that Trish’s parents hang out with Tom’s parents, as friends. Their friendship makes the holidays so enjoyable.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

September 2004

With a year of planning behind us we were about to embark on a wonderful family vacation to Disney World in Florida.
However, our life is usually fraught with challenges and nothing is done easily. So amid a Hurricane we drove the family to Florida. On the tail of Frances we arrived to stay at a very beautiful travel resort that our Vacation Club made the arrangements for.
The Riley’s were joined by the McBreen’s (Hugh, Joanne, Elizabeth and boyfriend Mike) on their trek to asail the hurricane and all were determined to have fun.
Well, the Lord smiled upon us for our vacation week fell neatly in place between two hurricanes. The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely trip.
Our accommodations were grander than we had anticipated, and we were only one exit away from most of the attractions.
You could frequently find Anna snuggling up to her “Vacation boyfriend” Mike. This relationship was handled quite well by Elizabeth, Mike’s official girlfriend. She didn’t mind taking a back seat to her 4 year old niece.
We visited many attractions together but also spent some time apart exploring our dissimilar interests.
Surprisingly, Trish and Tom found the Dr. Seuss Landing quite fun. This could have been that it was empty because everyone else was on the thrill seeking rides. We decided to give the priority to the children’s interest and it paid off big time.
Also, the Magic Kingdom had reports of a Miss Riley stalking Cinderella. She’s a slippery one. Though we attended the Princess Breakfast and saw all the other princesses, Cinderella continued to evade us. We finally found her and many of her friends together in Toon Town.
Further, this just in, per Zach the Epcot Ball has been Officially renamed Micky’s Ball, and as usual Trish was hot on Mary Poppin’s trail.

As an interesting turn of events, shortly after returning from our fabulous vacation Thomas learned that his company was downsizing and he was laid off.
We traveled to D.C. to ponder and pray in the House of the Lord, and ask for guidance.
We decided that we would shake things up a little. After staying at home to raise the little ones, Trish returned to the full-time work force to become the bread winner while Thomas returned to college to pursue his Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Education.
Though Thomas had a full time course load (6 classes), he also became a full-time homemaker, and freelance Drafting Consultant, which only left him 3 hours in the day for sleep.
Both Trish and Tom have learned a great deal from their swapping of tasks.
“We have a better appreciation for each other and what we have a talent or endurance for. We are grateful for that learning experience” ~Trish & Tom