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.