Thursday, August 31, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Well, we are home as a family. Seems all very surreal still. We arrived home about an hour late last night because of a fueling error for our aircraft in Atlanta. Seems they put enough fuel in for a trip to Europe instead of the 1-hr flight to Orlando! So, after boarding and getting settled, we had to get off and go to another gate and wait for the other plane to get prepped.

Gabriella did very well on the two flights. She slept for a pretty large portion of the time. She really only fussed for probably 20 minutes total for both flights. Phew!

Here are some pics of the journey home.

Mom filling out the customs forms

Hanging with dad on the plane

Hey mom, are we there yet??

Both girls trying to catch some shut-eye.

I like my new toy!!! Lots of things to look at.

Kera checking out the strange new creature that has invaded her house. Sniff, sniff - she smells funny!

Bing is not a happy camper. PO'd in fact.

Getting a bottle in my new room. Gabriella liked looking around at all the neat stuff.

Mom and dad had not eaten since lunch yesterday on the plane(ick!) so we went to Panera. Gabriella loves her new stroller.

Then we went to the grocery store. She fell right asleep in her carseat and it's only a 3 minute drive.

Meeting grandma for the first time!

We are both pretty exhausted and this cold is kicking my butt! I hope it moves on quickly! I was able to take a nap this afternoon while daddy fed and changed and played. AHHHHH. Daddy is now napping.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Goodbye Guatemala For Now

We are heading to the airport in about an hour. We are hoping and praying the flights into Orlando keep running and don't get cancelled because of Ernesto. Just a tropical storm, but still could be windy by tonight. We hope we aren't stranded in Atlanta.

Sorry, no pics today, but the camera attachment is already packed away.

Gabriella already has manners and knows how to share and gave me her cold. Mommy is feeling HORRIBLE - coughing, aching and generally like poop. I want to crawl in bed and stay there all day. It's going to be a long, miserable day, especially if we don't get home tonight.

There are 4 of us FTC families on the flight to Atlanta today, so at least we'll have some company.

Soon we will touch foot on American soil and Gabriella will be a US citizen!!! But, she will always have her Guatemalan heritage. Someday, we will come back to show her where she was born and raised for the beginning of her life.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Enjoying the last day

Well, it's our last day in Guatemala. We went this morning to the artisan's market. Here we are on the cab ride(don't try this at home!!).

Mommy and Gabriella shopping - something I'm sure we'll do a lot of, much to Ferdy's dismay. I promise we'll just window shop- wink wink.

Then, we had lunch with some friends that Ferdy knows from his work travel to Guatemala some years back.

Here is a pic of Seegal and myself with our babes. Seegal is here with her husband to sign the Power of Attorney and visit their new baby girl referral. She is so tiny and absolutely precious!!!!!!!!

Seegal was so incredibly sweet and brought Gabriella this gorgeous little doll.

An FTC "family" photo

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's Official!

She's all ours!!!! We had our Embassy appointment this morning. We were there about 3 hours, though the actual paperwork/appointment was only about 5 minutes. There were tons of people and babies there. You'd think it would be total chaos, but amazingly the babies were all so good.

You can't take cameras in the Embassy, so no pictures from there. But, here are some from before and after.

We went out walking around for quite a while after our appointment. Gabriella can sleep through ANYTHING!! She slept in the stroller through horns blaring, loud trucks and VERY bumpy sidewalks. Then daddy sneezed and she woke up - go figure!

She loved sitting in the bouncy seat looking at the lights on a toy.

Just minutes later:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Love that Smile!!!

So happy after getting a NASTY diaper changed! No wonder she was smiling - I would be too if somebody took that toxic mess away from me....

Advice for the Day

Fine advice, wouldn't you say???? Click on it if you can't read it very well.

Daily Update and Hurricane Prayers!

We went to bed last night with Hurricane Ernesto forecast to hit Louisiana and woke up to it now headed for Florida. Aye yay... Please pray it doesn't come in over Tampa - too close for comfort for us. Landfall a little further south and Orlando will be a target. Welcome to Florida Gabriella!!!

Last night mommy got her first projectile vomit experience. I had just put her down to bed after a bottle and she started coughing. I guess she coughed so much, she started spitting up. As soon as I picked her up, out it all came. Didn't seem to faze her. We changed our jammies and went right to sleep. Of course, that meant I jumped up every time she coughed during the night(which was a lot).

On a much happier note, here are some pics from today.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chilling by the Pool

Here's a pic by the pool today. Gabriella just had a bottle and is zonked out. Started to rain, so we had to come in.

Happy Saturday

Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far. We certainly are!

Gabriella slept all night again - from 9:30 - 6:30! I put her in her crib last night when she was still awake, thinking she would start crying. But, after a few minutes of babbling, she went right to sleep. So far, knock on wood, we feel blessed! The only reason she woke up this morning was that I got her up because she needed her medicine. She is really coughing and completely stuffed up now. Poor thing. But, she really doesn't seem to be feeling too badly.

Sorry about the formatting of this post and the misplacement of captions to pictures, but between blogger and the connection here, I give up!

She's had her bath this morning(and mommy and daddy got their 2nd one of the day!) and she enjoyed it as you can see.

After her bath.

You didn't really think I was going to nap, did you???

Daddy and his pride and joy!

Look ma, no hands.

Friday, August 25, 2006

TGIF from the Westin

Last night Gabriella did sleep all night!!! She coughed a lot all night long though. Didn't wake her up, but kept mommy up unfortunately(the woes of being in a hotel room). She doesn't seem to really be feeling bad because of the cold, just stuffy and coughing and sneezing.

She's had two catnaps this morning. Her fostermom says her longer nap is in the afternoon.

Mommy really has a lot to learn. It was time for a bottle and she was definitely fussing. So, I gave her a bottle and she wasn't drinking anything and becoming increasingly fussy. I kept trying to give it to her - nothing. Well, finally I realize(after 3 or 4 iterations of this routine) that the nipple was stuck closed and nothing was coming out!! Once it was freed up, guess what, she WAS hungry! hee hee.

Just like the last time we were here, she woke up such a happy, smiling baby. What a way to start the day!! Here are a couple of pictures from this morning. More to come this afternoon.

We sat by the pool for a bit today. But, there was a good bit of ash from the volcano that was around and so we left when we kept getting flecks of ash all over everything.

Right now, I have her in her crib after her bottle hoping she'll nap for a while. She's playing for now.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Together Forever - At Last!

I promise I post more tomorrow, but I know everyone was dying to at least see a couple of pictures.

We are finally a family forever!

Gabriella is fighting a cold - poor little thing. She has a runny nose and a cough. She saw the dr yesterday and no fever or anything. So, he gave her some medicine and we'll just keep an eye on her. But, despite being a bit under the weather, she has been very active and smily all afternoon.

We're very tired since we had to get up at 3:30am and left the house at 4:30am. So, hopefully Gabriella sleeps as late as they say she does(7 or 8am??? really??). We'll see.

Turns out we won't get the paperwork until Monday, so unfortunately we are going to have to stay in the hotel instead of being able to go out and about like we hoped. But, we will just enjoy spending time getting reacquainted.

Without further ado... Here are some pics.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Travel Plans

We have finalized our plans. We arrive in Guatemala on Thursday, Aug 24 and will have Gabriella at 3pm on Thursday afternoon - FOREVER!!!! We come home on Wednesday, Aug 30 around 10:15pm.

We plan on updating the blog while we are there, so follow along.

Color of the Day - PINK!!!!!!!!!!

The post we've all been waiting for.... It's official - we have PINK!!!! Our Embassy appointment is Monday August 28 at 7:15 AM. Since baby drop-offs are only during the week, we have to be in Guatemala no later than Friday. So, we are scrambling now to find out the most economical way to get there and see if we can use our miles for a free ticket or not. We may have to go Thursday in order to do that.

Gabriella will be in our arms forever by Friday afternoon at the latest. We are so thankful.

Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Blessings From Afar

Gabriella received gifts this week from two wonderful ladies using the same agency to adopt their little princesses.

Michelle is waiting on her referral. I expect it will be any day now!!!!! She sent these adorable clothes:

Tricia is still paperchasing. She sent this beautiful bracelet she made as a PGN gift!!! The little charm on it is a tiara. Fitting for a princess(I sense a theme here). Sorry the lighting isn't so great - I tried everything.

Click on the pictures and you'll see them much better.

I'm so lucky to have made some really great friends through this process. We'll always share a special bond. Someday Gabriella will be touched by how many people followed her journey and cheered her on.

Gabriella's "sister" is OUT too!!!

I just had to post the good news that Maegan is OUT of PGN in record time!!! Only 4 weeks!

For reference, here's the pic of Gabriella and Maegan

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monthly Update Pics

Another dose of update pictures taken August 10.

Monday, August 14, 2006

August Surprise Foster Mother Visit

Here are a couple of pics from a surprise visit to our foster mom on August 9.

Belly laughs!

Taste-testing the sofa...

Quite the pouty look, wouldn't you say? I have a feeling that will be one of her favorites to get mommy and daddy to give in!

I'm It

I've been tagged by Tricia to fill out this about myself. So, here goes nothing:

I am .... shier than I seem(really!)
I want .... to have Gabriella home NOW!
I wish .... I could worry less about things I have no control over.
I hate .... that the world is in such turmoil.
I miss .... my friend Connie. She would have loved to meet Gabriella.
I hear .... the sound of the A/C working away to keep up with this heatwave!
I wonder .... what Gabriella will grow up to be (hopefully anything she dreams).
I regret ....
too many things sometimes and I'm working on that.
I am not .... timid to speak my mind.
I dance .... like someone with NO rhythm whatsoever!
I sing .... badly, very badly.
I cry .... easily ~ when I'm happy, sad, mad, watching a TV show, you name it.
I am not always .... as patient as I wish I were.
I make .... great lasagne I'm told.
I write .... in email and my blog but not much else.
I confuse .... lots of people trying to explain the adoption steps.
I need .... to start eating more healthily.
I should .... slow down and take in the small things in life.
I start .... too many hobbies and then lose patience.
I finish .... things at the last minute.

I now tag Kim , Lisa and Sam

Cinco Meses

Gabriella is 5 months old today! Barring any unforseen delays in the last stages of the process, we will be able to celebrate seis meses with her here at home.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What's Next?

We got an update today that the birthmom signed off on the adoption for the final time. She's legally ours!!! So, I thought I'd post what the steps are after exiting PGN:

1. Attorney picks up the file from PGN
2. Attorney arranges the birth mother to come and sign (same week usually)
3. The Final Escritura is drafted
4. The Final Escritura is dropped off to be registered in the general archives
5. The Final Escritura is ready and picked up (48 business hours later)
6. The New birth certificate is requested from the civil registry where your child was born
7. The new birth certificate is ready and picked up (varies greatly depending upon municipality – two days to three weeks, with Guatemala City being the longest)
8. Baby is taken for new passport (this can happen any time between birth certificate and picking up pink slip)
9. The new birth certificate and the entire adoption file of documents are sent for translation from Spanish to English
10. After translation, the file is submitted to the Embassy for pink slip (which takes 2 business days, not counting Fridays, weekends or holidays)
11. Pink slip is picked up at 3:30 - embassy appointment day and time will be printed on the slip.
12. Any time after we have pink slip but before appointment, baby can go to the Embassy panel physician for final checkup and for visa photos.
13. You come for Embassy interview appointment (M, T, W, or Fri, usually 7- 14 days after pink)
14. Next Day – Visa is ready (3:00 pm M-Th; 11:00 am Fri. – FTC will pick this up for you)
15. Next Day – you can fly home

Steps 1-4 were done as of Friday. Tuesday, August 15 is a holiday in Guatemala, so nothing will happen then.

So, here's hoping for the color pink!! The appointments are apparently actually issued on a pink slip of paper, thus the name.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Our growing girl

Here are some pictures from Gabriella's Dr. Appt a week ago(Aug 4). She is now 13lbs 4oz and just over 23" long(I guess she'll be short like me!).

The report says she's very alert and listens attentively when spoken to responds to the different tones of voices she hears, especially to no and is very vocal herself making many cooing noises of her own, she also produces some consonant and vowel sounds,vocalizes her laughter and her feelings of pleasure.

Enjoy the pictures! I hope this is the last dr. report before we have her home!!!!! That smile just lights up my world!!!!! And, if you look closely, she has her ears pierced.