Monday, December 31, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Know You Want More...

But, I just don't have that update you are looking for right now. ;-)

We are waiting for a new Birth Certificate for Luciana. I don't expect it until the end of the first week in January, though sooner would be just fine with us! I am surprisingly calm waiting for this next step and have accepted, for now, that there are certain timeframes for these last few steps, and I can stay busy getting ready for baby girl as I check each one off the "checklist"!

So, that's the one to be looking for... Birth Certificate. It will have OUR last name on it... isn't that cool!?!?

In the meantime, I will be back soon with a Christmas post. It was a really nice time with family, and we have more family to see over the weekend. Then, I will be back with a few pics of Sam tearing into his loot!

If you are antsy for a really good "feel good" post, pop over to see my friends Steph and Jason as they spend this wonderful holiday with Eli! Little Pea

Much love.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Motherbridge of Love

This was sent with a congratualtions and I knew right away that it was meant to be shared. Click below. This is very sweet, but tissues are advised.

Thank you, Brita.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Get Your Checklist Out!

Luciana is legally our daughter!

Luciana's birthmother signed the adoption decree, and we are legally Luciana's parents! Ohhhhhhhh, that feels so good! Of course, as you can imagine, knowing the heartache of her birthmother makes this a bittersweet moment. We just pray she is comforted knowing that Luciana is coming to a family who already loves her with everything they have.

This journey is long, and it is hard, but the rewards are so huge. It is amazing what moments like these do for our spirits. We are just grinning ear to ear and saying over and over, "She is ours!".

For now, let's just say WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!

Love, love, love!

(Okay, okay... what's next? Waiting on Birth Certificate to be issued with our last name. Refer to Checklist. We are getting there!)

33 Moments in One Day

Yesterday Keith and I spent his entire birthday day together. It was really such a great day. We shopped (mostly for Luciana!), went for coffee, had a lovely lunch, and a great walk around the Old Port. It was a beautiful day to be out and about, and I was reminded all day long of what it means to be married to your best friend.

Given that the rest of our life is an open book to the world, why not take a minute to gush about my husband? ** Cheesy ALERT! ** So, here they are... the 33 times Keith made me smile, made me laugh, made me proud, content, and grateful... on his birthday...

1) I love the way you made Sam beam when you opened your morning present. He was so proud of finding that Rubix cube for you!
2) I love how appreciative you were for the breakfast I made you despite the whole house smelling like bacon as a result.
3) I love that you patiently listened as Sam explained "how" to take him to the bus, what to do and say when the bus comes, and how to wave to him.
4) I loved having lazy coffee with you in our home.
5) I loved bumping into you all around the house during my morning routine when you are usually at work.
6) I admire that you were excited to shop for our daughter on your birthday, that you truly want nothing for yourself, and that you always put us first.
7) I loved your careful consideration of the best diaper pail for the nursery.
8) I adore that you cheered on my attempts to compare prices and use coupons! You were so proud of me!
9) I so enjoyed sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee with you at Starbuck's and taking time to just talk together.
10)I love that you thought it was a great opportunity to get your hair cut while I set off to buy the entire pink section of Old Navy.
11) I loved it when you gushed over little lady bug shoes.
12) I am amazed at our ease of nonstop conversation while spending every second together.
13) I am still smiling over our lunch together downtown. Didn't it feel like we were getting away with something to be eating lunch in "the city" on a Tuesday!?!
14) I loved playing the "new store" game with you in the OP.
15) I so appreciate your commitment to finding the "right" calendar for my nursery project.
16) Even more, I really appreciate your patient response when we later discovered it was not the "right" calendar.
17) I appreciate your humor with the driving incident. hee hee
18) I loved watching you sled with Sam when we returned home. You two are such pals.
19) I adored both of your bright pink cheeks when the cold finally forced you in.
20) I love your appreciation and excitement for your lack of big surprise gifts.
21) Thank you for thanking me over and over for a special day.
22) I loved putting our son to bed together.
23) I really enjoyed our sushi on the couch dinner.
24) I am in awe that we find days this simple to be the most special.
25) I am grateful of the way we laughed over the ridiculousness of "the process".
26) I am thankful for your accepting of my need to stalk guatadopt during commercials of Clash of the Choirs.
27) I loved dancing around to the tunes on your gift bag from your mom.
28) I love that you replayed your birthday messages from your family with a huge smile on your face.
29) I love that you tried to ignore your phone today.
30) I loved ending our day beside each other on our loveseat.
31) I am thankful for your birthday because it gave us this lovely day together.
32) I am thankful for any day that means we get to laugh together, talk together, be quiet together... just be together.
33) Thank you for a special day. Happy Birthday.
Heart, me

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy 6 Months & Happy 33!

Happy Birthday, Luciana! I sure do wish we even had a 5 month picture to post, but updates do not seem to be a strong point of our agency, so we will have to melt over the same sweet 4 month face as we think about our baby girl turning 6 months old today. We wonder what new things you are doing, how you are changing, what makes you smile... and we know that very soon, we will have you home to discover each new surprise and hold you in our arms every day. We love you!


Happy Birthday, Keith!

I love this man! I truly consider myself to be a very blessed lady to have been lucky enough to spend the last 13 years with Keith. We have grown up together and changed together and loved each other in the craziest of times. Watching Keith become a father has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life and I beam knowing how lucky my children are to have him as their Dad. I wouldn't want to be on this crazy ride with anyone else, and I am so happy that I get to celebrate my amazing husband today!

Love, love, love.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas In Guatemala

There are so many great accounts of how Christmas is celebrated in Guatemala on the web, great articles about the history and traditions, and tons of beautiful photographs to check out. I thought I'd copy one of the more condensed outlines I found to share. This comes from a site called Enjoy!

Christmas in Guatemala
Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

In Guatemala, the folklore relating to the Christmas celebration is very rich and full of details. One will find many families building manger scenes, representing the town of Bethlehem. These manger scenes sometimes are so large they occupy a whole room of the home. Mountains, rivers, desserts, lakes, and valleys, along with figures of the holy family, wise men, shepherds, and animals are created out of natural materials like moss, colored wooddust, sand, pebbles and tropical leaves called "pacaya."

It is the tradition of the Guatemalan people to go to church on Christmas Eve and then visit family and friends. At the exact stroke of midnight, when everyone has returned home, much like the New Year's celebration in the U.S., the "Christmas Embrace" is shared and young people set off firecrackers. Traditionally, everyone eats a dinner of delicious "tamal," made of corn and rice, filled with turkey, prunes, raisins and a sauce made with local spices, which has been cooked for at least eight hours. Tamal is packed in banana leaves and tied with a dried weed. It is served with white bread and a slice of lemon, accompanied with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.

The Christmas celebration in Guatemala continues well into the early morning hours of Christmas day. At midday on the 25th, people will again set off firecrackers and attend church. Children are very much an important part of this special celebration.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holidays In Guatemala

I've been thinking a lot about what Christmas will be like this year. We are, of course, beaming with joy for the blessings of this year's Christmas. Getting approved by PGN was the only gift we wished for. We know that Luciana will be home soon, and it makes this holiday that much sweeter. We are reminded of our First Christmas with Sam, and we are sentimental thinking of my brother and his wife enjoying their First with Jaiden. Luciana will spend her First Christmas with Magda and her family, and in a way, I am trying to convince myself that is where she should experience this magical holiday. (That's not to say I wouldn't prefer her home and would move heaven and earth if I could have her here today, but I am doing everything I can to get through missing her.) We will have the rest of her Christmas', but this may the only one she spends in Guatemala, and the only one with her first family. I ache for her, but I have to find a way to be okay with missing her for this special time of year.

I decided to look into what is going on in Guatemala during this Christmas season, and thought I'd bring my discoveries back here to share with you. I thought that I had a general idea of Guatemalan traditions and celebrations, but it has been fun to learn more!

The following is a brief article I found online.
Source: St. Mary

Day of Our Lady Guadalupe

"Guadalupe day, December 12, is Mexico’s most important religious holiday. On this day people from all over Mexico travel to the chapel Tepayac Hill in Mexico City, where the mother of Jesus is said to have appeared before an Indian peasant named Juan Diego back in 1531. Mary told Juan to go to the bishop and ask that a church be built on the hill so she could be close to her people. The bishop, needing proof of this vision, asked Juan to have a miracle performed by Mary. Juan returned to Tepayac Hill and found roses growing where there had only been cacti. Juan wrapped the roses in his tilma (cape) along with a picture of Mary to show the bishop. He was convinced and the chapel was built.

Huge fiestas are held all over Mexico and Central America to honor the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Throughout the day, people come to the church to pray. Many of them pin milagros (which means miracles) near the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. These small silver or tin objects are shaped like hearts, arms, or legs, and symbolize the giver’s thanks for a cure."

Check out great pics of children in traditional clothing at this years Virgin of Guadalupe Celebrations on December 12 in Antigua. (**Top photo is Erin and Azucen@**)

A Special Gift

So, get this! As I was opening the last of my gifts at the shower for Lucy girl, Bobbi handed me one last envelope. It was a gift from Steph! Sneaky ladies! I was truly so surprised, and really very touched. We have all become such a support to each other in our little blog family, so it just felt so good to have her make "an appearance" on that special day. Honestly, I just laugh when I think of what signing up to be a Secret Blog Pal at the very last minute has meant for the friendships that have grown from it. Anyway, I have to share what the clever Miss Steph sent along... because I just have a feeling that there are a few of you out there who might enjoy this as much as I will.

durable, chewable, photoboard books

How fun is that?! I get to write a story or choose from a story line that Custom Story provides, and *POOF* Lucy will have her very own custom book! I can't wait to check it out and promise to share the final product. Thank you, Stephanie!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Wonderful Celebration

I made myself a promise that I needed to complete my "thank you" notes before I could post about my shower. The last note has been written, signed, sealed and delivered with love. Here are some pics from the brunch my dear friends and family threw in celebration of Luciana. It was such a special day and Keith and I are both incredibly thankful for the support and nice gifts to welcome Lucy home with.

It was so special for me to have my Mimi at this shower. She wasn't able to be at my wedding shower or baby shower for Sam because she and Papa were living in Florida. This was her first baby shower! Ever! She just loved seeing all the little things, and it was so fun for me to watch her enjoy it all. She is just so ready to get her hands on this baby... aren't we all!??!
Thank you all for a lovely day together. Hoping our next big gathering is a "Welcome Home" party!
Much love.

PS- Thank you, Laura, for snapping the candids. I notice you managed to find a way to stay out of them!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Can We Get An...

O! Can we get a U! Can we get a T! What does that spell? OUT!
We are OUT of PGN!!!!!

After a whole day of self control, I broke down and called PGN at the end of the day. The woman I spoke with told me that we had been approved!!!!!!! APPROVED!!!! I know I cried, and I think I screamed. I can't believe this feeling! We have the official word from the Guatemalan government that we are approved to be Luciana's family! This has been such an amazing day! I have not received word from our agency yet, but that will come soon!

This dreamy day was nothing like I pictured it. Keith is out of town for work, so I had to call him 4 times before he finally picked up to hear the great news. I was rewarded with the cheers of a room full of people who had been working on audits all day... how great is that? My parents were in the air somewhere between Florida and Maine, so they got the news in a New York airport. Sammy was with me and was truly happy and emotional, but was off to a friend's for dinner to leave me in my pacing, grinning state for the next 2 hours!

I was totally alone... but never once felt like it. There were so many phone calls with friends, and an especially sweet call with my Mimi, and as much as I missed sharing this with Keith, it was a night of celebration and love. (I even received a special delivery HUG in the midst of my frenzy of phone calls!)

Luckily, my book club full of close friends was scheduled to be at my house tonight, so there were many cheers at our news! AND, many more of those much needed HUGS!!!! Even a few tears! This baby is so loved! I was even reassured that my first attempt at sewing a teddy bear wasn't too bad... I love my friends!

I have so much to share... but, I am wiped out! After several phone calls and a lot of disbelief and shock, I must go to bed!

Tomorrow promises a better post to share this amazing moment... and maybe some pics to show our cheer! Tonight, going to bed with a big old "my baby girl is coming home" smile on my face!

Much, much love.


While we are waiting on those three little letters, I am happy to share that some of my favorite blog buddies have heard the word and are OUT of PGN! Check them out, take a peak at their gorgeous babies, and wish them well as they begin the countdown to becoming Forever Families! Can you think of a better way to celebrate the holidays!??!

Oh yay! They are all jumping for joy this week, and can you blame them?!? WOO HOO!

Congratulations Happy Families!

Now, if Senior Barrios could just pick up that pen, I would love to make our next post all about Luciana and Eli... that would be a Christmas wish come true!

PS- I was planning to call PGN tomorrow. Should I call today? Hmmmmm.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fav Foto Friday

I just snapped this shot of Sammy for the Holiday Card. (sneak peak!) It was right before school and he was watching PBS. I kept taking pics and he was cracking up! His best friend, Trav, and I had so much fun thinking of ways to make him smile that we barely made it to the bus.
Oh, the little things.
And... this was taken less than an hour after we first held Luciana.
All I want for Christmas is:

Love, love, love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When This Process Is Hard...

Well, it is always hard, isn't it? But, you see, the thing is that we adopting families know that... we know the rules, we signed on for this, we understand that we chose this... we read the terms and clicked the "agree" button. So, when it is hard, we can act like adults, swallow hard, and push on. At times, we have hard days, we reach out to others who comfort us and reassure us, and we pick ourselves up and go on with our day-to-days because we are expected to, we have to, of course. We resist (well, not always... we are human) the urges to crawl under the covers because we are in PGN limbo, or eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's when Barrios seems to be on vacation, and we live life preparing for the child we love to come home. We make attempts to pass the time learning about our child's culture, getting rooms and homes ready.... we get busy. We experience the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows, but we do it because it was our choice... and we are in love. Those are our babies out there. What you don't know, what you don't see, and what you don't hear is: This. Is. So. Hard.

To love a child in another country being raised and cared for by another family, or in an orphanage... it is, simply, just hard. And do you want to know what we know? We know that it could be harder. We know that other people adopting have it harder, wait longer, have more heartbreak... and it is still hard. We even know that some people aren't as fortunate to even be able to adopt. Do you want to know what else we know? We know we are blessed, we know we are lucky, we know that in time this will all be over, our babies will be home, and this will all just be part of the story of how we became a family. We know. Trust me.

Every day we wish we were stronger.

Still, every day, every single day... we smile and laugh, we say a little prayer, make a little wish, and "let it go" in whatever way we can that day. We smile while telling people about this experience. We remain hopeful, and excited, and grateful. We do all the grownup self-talk we can fabricate to get through each day of missing our daughter or son... but we are not 5.

Sam is 5. He has been planning and dreaming and hoping and loving right along with us. He is a child. My first baby. He has amazed us at every step of the way in this process. He is the superhero he has always told us he wanted to be when he grows up. He does not doubt. He does not question. He does not pour over timelines, or pace when anxiously waiting for updates, or get stomach aches when a government is not really sure what they plan to do with their adoption program. He trusts. He believes with all of his heart that God has this in the bag, and that his Mama and Daddy will bring his baby sister home. He tells us what WE need to do to get ready for HIS baby sister. He giggles at the site of her picture, he swoons over video of a trip he desperately wanted to be a part of, he studies the best high chair and doesn't ask for anything for himself when we go to pick it out. In the same breath, he has zero patience for SANTA! But this, waiting for his sister, he is calm.

So, when tonight, at dinner, he asked if his baby sister would be home before Christmas so that we could all finally be together...

This is hard.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It Came, And It Is Here To Stay


This is the view from our back window. Brrrrrrr! It doesn't look like much, but it was a decent "first snow". Enough for a SNOW DAY! Sam was outside for 4 hours sledding and snowboarding! Miss Lucy is in for a big surprise when she comes home!

Wishing you all Happy Holidays!
Much love.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I figured this was on it's way... so, here we go:

I've been tagged by Bobbi!

4 jobs I have held:

-Teacher (K, 1, 2, 3)
-Waitress... I am a horrible waitress

-Cashier at Filene's Basement during the Holiday Season!
-Mom (sigh)

4 movies watched more than once:

-Pretty Woman (ditto, Bobbi)
-Fried Green Tomatos

-Anything John Cussak was in in the 80's/90's
-4 Weddings and a Funeral

4 TV Shows I watch faithfully:

-The Office/Grey's Anatomy (depends on whether I am with K or friends on Thursdays!)
-Friends reruns

-Kitchen Nightmares/Hell's Kitchen
-LOST (it's not just my state of mind!)

4 places I have vacationed:

-Italy, Ireland, Scotland (same trip)
-Arizona (after driving there from Maine!)
-Dominican Republic (honeymoon)
-Bar Harbor last summer, camping with friends

4 Favorite Foods:

-chicken, broccoli, & feta pizza
-fries (love 'em, but avoid them... unless "researching" w/Sarah)
-My Dad's french toast w/ secret ingredient
-a perfectly grilled steak

Places I'd rather be:

-Florida... loving up my new baby niece

-Greece (why not?)

Hobbies I have:

-Reading (alone or w/ Sammy)
-Snapping pics

-shopping... hee hee

So there. Those of you who know me will probably not find any of that surprising. For the rest of you, now you know me just a little better. Hope you still come around! ;-)

Steph, you knew it was coming.... TAG! And, Tracy, I think you should get in on this, too. It's a good distraction while we all... you know... wait! Have fun!

Much love.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fav Fotos Friday

Better late than never. These pics are from the day we picked Sam up at school after being in Guatemala with Luciana. We had not seen him in 9 days before this moment! He was walking down the hall with the other students and didn't really notice us. When the teacher stopped the line, she told everyone to wait. Then, she looked at Sam and said, "You. You can run!" And he did... too big backpack bouncing along behind him. The moment literally took my breath away and I was on my knees in tears ready to grab him! We hugged for so long until Keith said, "MY TURN!" Ha! It was a great reunion. Sam, being the ever practical child that he is, informed us that while we were away, everyone was getting their houses ready for Halloween and we were not ready. We pulled into to a local nursery, loaded up the mums, pumpkins and ghosties, and we headed home to get ready! It was a great day after a long hard night.
Enjoy the pics.

Much love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Once We Are "Out"

PGN is often referred to as the final step in Guatemalan adoption, but that is not exactly true. In anticipating getting "OUT " of PGN soon (please, please!), Steph and I spent a little time today mapping out the remaining steps in what we hope is a clear and simple checklist of sorts.

I hesitated to post this, because we are not "OUT" yet, but if "what is next?" is what you are wondering, then here you go...hope it helps!

* Adoption Decree Signed -the child is legally now the child of the adoptive family. Yay!

* Birth Certificate Issued -the child's first and middle names unchanged, but with the names of the adoptive parents.

* Passport -Guatemalan passport (although the child is adopted by US parents, he or she is still a Guatemalan citizen).

* Submit to US Embassy -requests approval for an orphan visa to enter the US.

* DNA authorization (orange slip) -The DNA sample is compared with the first sample drawn several months ago, and it assures the authorities that the baby has not been switched with another.

* 2nd DNA test

* Final Medical Exam -Child gets an exit physical by an Embassy-approved doctor.

* Pink Slip Issued -It basically means we get to start packing our bags!

* Travel :)

* Embassy Appt -bring child and all the papers back to the Embassy, pay the visa fees, present the I-600 and I-864 forms, show your tax returns, plus current letters of employment, and come back later that afternoon for your visa and sealed packet of documents.

*Do the happy dance!

* HOME FOREVER!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What Does It Mean?

Okay, okay, okay! After some gentle persuasion from Steph, I called PGN today. Do you know what the nice lady on the other end of the phone told me??? She told me that we are WAITING TO BE SIGNED!!! Do you know what that means? It means that we are with the final reviewer in PGN!!! He, Senior Barrios, can choose to look at our file any day now and sign us OUT of PGN! Please, please! Pick up that pen Senior!

I am beside myself. I don't know what to do. I just pacing and puttering and my head and heart are spinning! We are a big step closer to bringing Luciana home. (*Anything could still happen to set this back, but I am just not going there unless there is a reason!) I am on pins and needles with excitement tonight. It will be difficult to not call PGN every day... I am not even sure if I can do it.

So, what does it mean? What happens next? Well, for that I am going to need to go back to my paperwork and look up the final steps. Then I will do my best to give a clear step-by-step of what needs to happen to bring us home as a family of four!!! Family. Oh. I love that.

Any adoptamoms out there know how to explain the final steps in easy, user friendly bullets?
Much love.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The People We Meet

Do you ever just stop to think about the people we meet? Really, it is pretty amazing. Just look around your life at the people who make up your day-to-day, browse down through the contact list in your cell, peek at your address book, pull out a photo album... or, just look around you.

Today alone I was touched by more people than I should be allowed to have bless my life. What's the quota on amazing people in one person's regular day?

As my regular day was ending in it's regular way (which I love!), I was trying really hard to be grumpy and feel bad for myself about missing Luciana and other stuff... and I just couldn't. I mean, I just could not. What right did I have to be grumpy when I had been lifted up all day long by lovely people just being who they are and making my life the amazing life it is.

So, now, I am sitting here feeling all warm and fuzzy about the potpourri of characters that make up my days, and I am just grateful for the people I have met... childhood, college, work, neighbor, family, blogger, stranger become pal... thank you.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sadly... For Sale

In order to off set the costs of our next trip to Guatemala, I have decided it is time to part ways with my most beloved camera and sell it. We have not done any personal fundraising to help with the mounting costs of adoption, and it is starting to hit... so, this offer is my attempt to lighten a little of the finances. Their can not be a price put on our love of Luciana and we will happily plug away at the costs of bringing our daughter home, but while this camera is sitting here longing to be loved, I figured it was time. I love this camera, but I don't really need it, so I am putting it out there into to our little blog world in hopes for finding it a loving home, preferably where it will be treated with the TLC it deserves.

For Sale:
Hasselblad 500C/M
A12 filmback
A24 filmback
80mm lens w/lens hood
150mm lens
Polaroid back
prism viewfinder
waist level view finder

I have a couple flashes w/ battery packs, expired film that is fun to "practice" with, a few camera bags, and a Canon Rebel G (film) that I can throw in for the right family.

Everything is in good condition with a few worn spots on the exterior that do not take away from the gorgeous quality of the images created by this amazing medium format camera. The 150 mm lens may need to have it's glass replaced eventually. Though I will desperately miss the "thunk" of capturing an image with this beauty, it is time to make room for our newest addition!

If you are interested, you can mention it in comments and I will navigate you to an email address to discuss an offer.

While I am at it, any photogs out there looking for studio equipment? I have some items that might be of interest that I could be willing to part with. Lights, canvas backdrops, sofbox? Let me know. I know I could take this to Ebay, but I just felt compelled to share these gems with my blog friends first!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome To The World

Welcome to the world Jaiden Elizabeth!

My brother and sister-in-law welcomed 6 lb. 2 oz. sweet baby Jaiden into the world this morning at 10:10 AM! Love, love, love! We are thrilled for the new family. I am so anxious for some pics of my itty bitty niece, but I can find it in my heart not to push the issue as she is less than 12 hours old. (Still, these moments do make John and Katie feel very far away.)
Well, we are floating high today with all this baby news to celebrate!

Congratulations John and Katie!
Much love.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

5 Months Old.... Already?

(Just under 4 months old in the picture.)
Missing her terribly.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Early Holidays

I was just visiting Terry's post and saw the fun she was having in getting ready for the holiday season and I just could not resist joining in!

Click Elf and have a good laugh at our expense!

And, after you have nearly wet your pants, why not go "Elf Yourself" ?

HAHAHAHA! Much laughter and much love.

Fav Foto Friday

New Pics and Medical Update! Good timing for FFF!

My agency just sent Luciana's 4 month medical update and pics from her check-up. The pics were taken two days after we left Guatemala. She is wearing one my favorite outfits. I have been anticipating these pics for weeks, but they were delayed for some "technical difficulty" reason. It is just so nice to see her sweet face. Luciana will be 5 months old in 2 days and I am hopeful those pics will come a little sooner. Maybe we can take her 6 month photos ourselves! A girl can hope, right?

4 month weight: 12 lbs, 8 oz
4 month length: 56.5 cms/22.2 in.

Here's my girl with everyone's favorite green wall!

Much love.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nursery Montage

10 Hours, 4 Friends, and a Pizza

That is what it took to paint this beautiful nursery for Luciana. The only thing in the room at the moment is the crib, so you will have to use your imagination. The border that Kim designed and stenciled in three seperate layers is beautiful. It looks so simple, but I can promise you, it was anything but! Laura, Kim, and Barb made recreating this room so enjoyable and special, and I think it is lovely. It is hard to tell in these images, but the walls are a really pretty cream... almost a pale yellow. I am excited to think about prints and window treatments next! Thank you, ladies!

Much love.

PS- Montage to follow, but Mimi and Papa were very anxious to see the room as soon as possible!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Count Down to Jaiden

My BABY brother is going to be a DADDY! It is just babies, babies everywhere in our family right now!

My wonderful brother, John, and his amazing and sweet wife, Katie, are expecting the arrival of Jaiden Elizabeth any day! I have been beside myself waiting for this baby! It has been so wonderful to share in planning for our daughters together through phone calls and emails. John and Katie are making a wonderful life for themselves in Florida. We miss them terribly, but are so proud of them.

Keith and I have been blessed with a smart and super fun nephew and a sweet little diva niece, both children of K's sister, Debbie. We adore Jack and Maggie, and miss them terribly as well. They are brilliant children, if I do say so myself, and Sam adores his cousins. Now to be looking forward to a new cousin for Sam is just so exciting! He is very excited to be the big cousin this time.

I talk with John or Katie several times a week. Their anticipation of this baby is so sweet. They are just feeling so ready to have her home and in their arms! I love to hear them share all the things they have done to get ready for Jaiden. She is already such a loved baby. I feel so thrilled to watch two such loving people begin their journey to be a family.

I was very fortunate to be able to see a few minutes of their LIVE 3D/4D ultrasound last week! There were some "technical difficulties", but we saw her sweet face and little fingers! It was so cool, and just made me all mushy with love and pride for those crazy kids. Our family is feeling very blessed.

John and Katie take such good care of each other, and I just know bringing Jaiden into the world will bring them closer than they could have ever imagined. Love!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fav Foto Friday

A day late... I know.
My aunt just sent me this pic. My family at Christmas visiting Nannie and Grampie.
Can you guess what decade??? I have great pics like this of K's family, but no scanner. Sad. I'd love to show young Keith, too. Deb? Any pics you could send? (hee hee) The great thing about seeing ANY picture of my brother is that Sam is convinced it's of himself!
Much love.
***edited to add: I just looked at Kerri's blog! She has an old school foto this week, too!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Politics, Nursery, and Registering... OH MY!

So much to tell, so little time... before my house is full of 4 children who need me to get them on the bus! If you will please allow me to be brief, I will reward you at the end of this post! (wink, wink)

Politics: Good news from Guatemala! Please note that the following announcements have not been made "official", but all signs point to that happening.

Several reputable sites have reported that the Hague deadline will be moved from January 1, 2008 to April 2008. This is great news for our family because we feel confident that Luciana will be home before April. January was making us a little nervous. This is also great news for so many in-process families. In addition to this date change, it also appears that our (YOUR) voices have been heard and that an amendment to allow in-process adoptions to continue to completion will be made to law. Thank you.

Check out the following links to get the real deal:

I will admit that some of it is still a little confusing to me. As this was just released yesterday, I am curious to see how it will pan out. For now, we are taking a long awaited deep breath. Thank you all for your support, well wishes and prayers that have brought us this far. We feel so much more encouraged for the future of many Guatemalan babies. Let's get Lucy HOME!

Nursery:. It is time! We have started picking colors and pattern designs for a "custom border" by my very talented friend, Kim. My dear gal pals, Laura, Barbara, and Kim are hunkering down with me on Saturday and we are not coming out of that little room until it is done! Well, we probably will come out for obvious reasons, I'm not unreasonable... but you get the idea! We are going to be busy ladies! I promise pics of the whole process!

Registering: We did it! I think we may have a few things to add/remove, but it is done! I recently told Stephanie that registering added to the surety in my heart that Lucy is coming home and that we need to get ready. With each little item (and a few big... ha ha!), I could picture her using it, in it, on it.... the point was, I could see her here, in our home, in our arms.

Good things are happening.
Much love!

PS- Happy Re-Adoption Reese! We are so happy for the Party Of Five Family!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Things Sam Says

This was just too funny not to share:

When being told that he would need to wear a sweater one cold morning before school, my exasperated son replied, "MOM! I can't wear that! I will be as hot as a hippo in a steam bath!" If you could only know how serious he was, you would understand why I had to use all of my strength not to crack up! What??? Where did that come from? Oh, this child makes my days joyful!

It is amazing what you can Google. This is for you, Sammy.

Much love.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"It Must Have Been So Hard"

Today marks three weeks since we left Guatemala. When asked about our trip, we beam and reply with comments like: It was great, amazing, wonderful, exciting. She is wonderful, such a good baby, we just love her. We feel so blessed to have had that time with our baby girl, to get to know her, to bond with her, to discover what makes her smile that big gorgeous smile and what makes those stunning brown eyes twinkle... it was just an unbelievable experience. When we get into the details, people picture it (almost), and most can imagine the feelings of meeting your child for the first time. It really was a blessed week, and, we have the pictures (just a few!) and video to prove it! I think back on that week and it just fills me with joy. Going to Guatemala to meet Luciana changed everything; it changed us and it changed our family forever. Lucy was this real, living, breathing, smiling, right there in our arms loving us back baby girl... and we were in love! We celebrated every moment with our sweet girl. In that little room at the Westin, we became Luciana's parents, and she was every bit our daughter.
And then, it happened... we gave her back to her Foster Mother... and got on a plane... and came home. Just for now, I know. Still, it happened. And for that reason, I have finally decided to take a stab at sharing what that was like. First though, I will tell you this, I will not really ever be able to tell you what that was like... I do not possess the words to make you feel what we felt, or to create the picture in your mind of what it looked like, or to make your heart feel the depth of the hurt... and for that, I am grateful. I don't want you to feel it.
Here goes:
Magda was in the lobby with one her daughters and another lady. I never did figure out who the other lady was, but she had a nice smile. Keith and I had stayed up the night before using Google Translator to write down some things we wanted to say to Magda about our week, and to thank her for being a wonderful Foster Mom. When we approached her, she reached for Luciana, and over the lump in my throat I managed to say, "Not yet." She didn't know what I said, but she knew. We sat down and Keith tried (oh my) to read the few things we had translated. I know you won't believe me, but it was so absurd, that we were all laughing hysterically! Andrea, Magda's daughter, just reached over and took the notebook from Keith and read it all out loud!! It was honestly the best comic relief we could have wished for in that moment! We gave Magda all of Luciana's clothes and a bunch of other stuff. All this time, baby girl slept in my arms. When the time was becoming obvious that we would have to hand her over, she woke up and started crying. So did I. We took the opportunity to give her one last bottle. Keith and I took turns feeding her; memorizing her. She fell back asleep, we kissed her and told her we loved her, and we handed her to her loving and kind Magda.
I have spent a lot of time in my head thinking thoughts that I don't like to think out loud. I replay the moment that she went with Magda over and over. I hate it. I don't know what I would have done differently, but I wish I could redo it. I was so upset that I didn't watch her leave... I didn't blow kisses and smile to reassure her and tell her, "I love you so much, we will be back as soon as we can. You are our daughter and we are doing everything we can to bring you home... " as she walked down the hall... I just turned away. I keep wondering what she must have been thinking, or how often she looked for us before she realized we were not coming back... it breaks my heart. I haven't shared this very much, I just can't think these thoughts out loud... it hurts so much. Instead, I have these really weird days... I wake up everyday and promise to make positive steps in all sorts of directions... today I will... spend special time with Sam, take a walk, go to the gym, pick up fabric and start sewing again, read a book, read my Bible, have coffee with a friend, start a diet, stay on a diet, drink more water, drink less coffee, do something nice for someone else, get ready for baby girl... etc... but, no two days are the same, and I never end the day feeling like I have done one thing well. I am just totally distracted on the inside and trying to put on a good face on the outside. I think I do an okay job getting through each day, but the truth is, I struggle.... I just miss her so much.
I have to end this by saying, we really are okay. We wake up everyday and get to spend wonderful moments with our charming and silly big boy. We are surrounded by the most loving family and friends... even the ones we don't see regularly, we know they are loving us from afar and routing for Lucy's homecoming. We know how lucky we are that our case is moving. And best of all, through the heartache of our parting, I was given an amazing gift... you guys, I am NOT scared anymore! I am not worried. I am not wringing fingers and losing sleep wondering "IF" Luciana is coming home. I am telling you, I know she is coming home. I know it in every fiber of my being, and it has given me the greatest peace. She will be home, and we will be together forever, and that whole goodbye story will be just that; a story. So, in knowing that she is coming home, we have taken what we refer to as mini-leaps-of-faith! We are socializing with friends, laughing all the time, registering, letting our amazing friends and family plan showers, and PAINTING the nursery this weekend! Let's face it, that angel is coming home, and we need to get ready! So, yes, it was "so hard" and it still hurts, but... well, we are okay, and that is a gift.
Much love.

Fav Foto Friday

Won't it be a wonderful day to snap one of them together?!?!

Much love.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Oh, Yippie!

Called PGN today... We are with the second reviewer!
Forward motion... and we are thrilled!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fav Foto Friday Medley

Today's FFF are a random medley of pics that just made me smile and
brought back happy memories. Enjoy.
Lucy looks so peaceful. (miss, miss, miss)
Sam with Ella. He is happiest when he's with friends.

Jacob and Sam's Spy Fort at camp last winter. Kate is in there somewhere!

Much love.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

4 Phone Calls, 2 Hang-Ups, 1 Bad Connection...

All to confirm what I knew... we are still with the first reviewer... which is sort of what I expected, and is really okay. I couldn't help hoping. Maybe next week.

Much love.

*PGN explanation*

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How We Are Adjusting

We have been home for 4 days. We received the "Welcome Home" of a lifetime. Flowers, meals, cards and hugs! We had a reunion with Sam that left us all in tears. We have almost finished unpacking, Keith is back to work, and our regular "everyday" life is beginning to resume. Still, we are missing Lucy terribly. I think about her all the time, and I replay moments we had together in my mind trying to keep them fresh. It was only 5 days ago that we were holding her, but it feels like a lifetime ago, which only adds to my longing to be back with her. On our last night in Guatemala, I cried and cried that I didn't want to leave. I could have stayed... if only I could have had Sam with me. It has been wonderful to be home in so many ways, but I could get on a plane tomorrow just to kiss that sweet girl.
We really are okay, and we are using this time to enjoy Sam, and to jump into getting ready to bring our girl home. We are getting ready to take on the nursery and thinking about registering for a few things... these are little signs of our faith that she will be coming home... soon and forever. We have to get ready!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Off Topic...

I'd like to take a moment to return to your regularly scheduled light-hearted posting.
This is a story I have been meaning to post for awhile, but somehow I got sidetracked. Hmmmm.

A few weeks ago, I bought Sam a new pair of Pj's. They have jets and planes and other super cool flying things. He looks adorable in them. (I realize as I am writing this, there will come a day when S will not appreciate me telling stories like this!) Anyway, the Jammies were a hit. "Wicked cool, Mom!"
One morning, not a morning that I will include on my "Mother of The Year" application, I was... well... on the phone while S was playing. Like any mom, I am fairly skilled at multi-tasking... so, I was on the phone, got S breakfast, made coffee, on the phone, put out his clothes for the day, on the phone, changed over laundry, asked S to get dressed, on the phone. Get the picture? (Lelsie, what were we talking about that morning??)

While I was folding laundry, on the phone, Sam came into my room in tears. He was having trouble getting his Pj top off because the Band-Aid on his elbow (from a nasty bike fall!) was sticking to it and was hurting him as he tried to pull it off. Easy enough, no problem. Prop phone to shoulder and remove shirt gently from pussy elbow. No. Screams and tears. "Moooooommmmmyyyyy! Stop, it huurrrrrtttts! This is an emergency! Call the fire department!" Did you giggle a little? So did I. Poor, precious boy. He had me in a fit of giggles, while on the phone, and I had to turn away. When I regained my composure, he had retreated to his room. Truly, I believed he has just decided to take care of it himself. (He did.... you will soon see.)

I went about my this and that's. including checking the mail, receiving a Kodak photo book, flipping through that, (yes... same conversation going on all along), and then... that realization. It is way too quiet upstairs.

What did I find? My son. Sitting bare bottom at his desk. One half of his Pj top off, draped over his neck. The picture unfolds... sitting, the offending sleeve still stuck in place... (but not for long) as he was worked feverishly with a pair of Friskar scissors to cut the other sleeve OFF. Yes, he was cutting it off. He had taken matters into his own hands, and I can not blame him. When the reality of what I was seeing sunk in, I did what any mother would do: I hung up the phone, and I hugged my boy.

Much love.

PGN Explained **with a little help from a friend**

Oh good! Finally, the clear and friendly explanation of PGN that you have all been waiting for! The only thing is, I can't take any credit for it! Ha! When Emily posted her explanation of PGN, I knew she had it pegged, so I asked her if I could bring you all along to her site to check it out... she welcomes you. While you are there learning the details of PGN, take a little time to introduce yourself to her sweet baby, Nathaniel.

Hope this helps. FYI- We are with the "first reviewer".


My FIRST Fav Foto Friday

I chose these two pics for my first Fav Foto's becuase they
both show moments of the purest kind of happiness.
Our first "family" photo with Luciana and her foster family... joy!
Sam is here with his cousins at the end of a blissful day at Magic Kingdom.
The pic is from last winter, but everytime I see it I just smile.
Hot, sweaty, HAPPY children... what's better?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Look Who's 4 Months Old!

Happy 4 Month Birthday, sweet girl.
You are so loved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Que Los Queremos, Luciana Y Estamos Llegando a Casa, Sam

Tonight we prepare to say a temporary "goodbye" to Luciana and a much overdo "hello" to Sam. There are no words to describe this week, only that we are grateful for each and every moment with Luciana, and have missed Sam terribly. Maybe after some time has passed, I will make an attempt to share more. The trouble is, I don't know how to say "goodbye", and I don't know how to share all of this. For now, we will settle in for one last night with our loving daughter, and we count the hours to holding our strong and amazing son. We could not feel more blessed... or more heartbroken.

Here are a few more moments from our last couple of days in GC.

When we are settled back at home, I will try to share how much we have grown to love this country... the little we have seen, the people we have met, and the surprising adventures we stumbled upon.
And, finally, thanks for all your notes and loves... we raced to the computer each day for your encouragement. I really can not believe this visit is over... she has completed us. We are counting the moments back to you, Luciana.
Adios Guatemala. Thank you for our girl.
Much love.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just Pics

Lucy, you seem sleepy.Going...



Lucina loves getting dressed.

Hi everyone. We miss you!
Check out the hat! Peaches! Thanks Bobbi!

Bathing Beauty. Like the suit, Keely?

Can't wait to meet you all!

Much love.