Not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Gabriella's First Halloween

Gabriella had a very busy day today celebrating her first Halloween. She and Ken went to the Little Gym in the morning, as they do each Friday. All of the students in the class wore their costumes:
Trying to catch the bubbles at the Little Gym:

Playing with the bells at the Little Gym:
Gabriella with her "sister" Ava and cousin Isabella:At around 5:15 we walked to a few houses for Trick-or-Treating. She looked so precious walking around in her little cheerleader costume and carrying her treat bag. She really loved her pumpkin treat bag and would often carry it around the house in the weeks leading to Halloween. While she was walking, she had a smile from ear to ear and was breathing heavily with excitement! She had no clue what we were doing or what Trick-or-Treating was all about, but she was just having fun.This was the first house we visited. Gabriella scored a Tootsie Pop and was thrilled! She wanted to hold that lollipop and even as new candy was added, she kept pulling out that pop. On the way back to our house we put her in her stroller. She was still holding the lollipop. When we got back to the house we realized that she had chewed through the paper of the lollipop and was actually getting to taste the candy!We went to the mall at 6:00 for more Trick-or-Treating.Grammy bought Gabriella a new doll and Gabriella had to give her new doll a big kiss! Gabriella and her cousins:
There is a family in town that decorates their barn fabulously for the holidays. At the end of the evening we drove by the house to show Gabriella the pumpkins. There were tiki torches lining the perimeter of the property and Gabriella was fascinated with the fire. She was also quite interested in the crow in the pumpkin scene.Gabriella and Grandma Floyd:

Happy Halloween!

Gabriella has two Halloween costumes this year. The first is a Daisy Duck costume. But, since Ken is such a huge UNC fan and because Gabriella is unsure of the headpiece associate with the Daisy Duck costume, Ken bought her a UNC Tarheel cheerleader costume. She looks absolutely precious in both costumes!

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Gabriella's current favorite song is "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." She is especially fascinated with the associated hand movements. When she hears the song she automatically begins holding her hands together and rotating her wrists. She will even sometimes initiate the singing by doing the same hand movement and/or "singing" "Daaah Dah Daaah Dah". Over the past couple of days Gabriella has also learned a few of the other hand movements for the song. She will also now move her hands horizontally for "washed the spider out" and puts her hands in the air for "out came the sun," just not necessarily with the right timing. She loves this song and we are singing about the infamous spider a lot lately!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kissing Boys

Ken and I have an issue that we didn't think we would have to deal with for at least another fifteen years! I received a note from daycare on Friday that said, "Gabriella had a great day! She enjoyed playing with Brian. She also was giving him kisses." Oh my goodness! I immediately called my mother, since it is her daycare, and asked her what was going on! She said that Gabriella and Brian were kissing one another all day. I jokingly told my mother that the kissing had to stop immediately or she wouldn't be coming to daycare anymore! When I shared the news with Ken, he jokingly said that he was quitting work and staying home with Gabriella! Naughty little girl...!

Pumpkin Carving

Gabriella's friends Charlie and Ava and cousins Andrew and Isabella came over our house today for a pumpkin carving party.

We enjoyed pizza:
And we devoured cupcakes baked by cousins Stephanie, Andrew, and Isabella:
And then we carved pumpkins. Well, actually, the adults carved the pumpkins while the kids ran around and played!:
After a walk in the early evening, we lit the pumpkins to admire our work:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gabriella's Spanish "Tutor"

From birth up to the age of five, children develop language at a very rapid pace. Gabriella spent the first year of her life hearing only Spanish with the exception of my visit trips in which she was exposed to English. Now, with Gabriella home, all of her Spanish exposure has completely ceased. (Boy, do I wish I studied harder during my five years of Spanish in school!) I want Gabriella to be bilingual for many reasons, but especially so that she will be able to communicate with her foster family as she gets older if she chooses. I felt that I needed to continue her Spanish exposure so that she has more of a chance to retain what she has already heard and learned. So, I hired a "tutor" to spend about six to ten hours per week playing with Gabriella but speaking solely in Spanish. Whether or not this will be enough, we shall find out! The tutor, Marilyn, is a college student and a native Spanish speaker from the Dominican Republic. Gabriella and Marilyn began their first session today at the day care for two hours. Hopefully, someday Gabriella will be helping mommy practice her Spanish!

My Little Bunny

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update on "Sinusitis"

I spoke to Gabriella's pediatrician. He decided that due to the symptoms the foster family described and the fact that there is another viable antibiotic option, we are not going to try Gabriella on the Amoxicillin. Instead, he called in a different prescription. This saves me a few grey hairs from worry about something going terribly wrong.

Sinusitis

Gabriella has had a cold for a little over three weeks now. Her main symptoms are a persistent, congested-sounding cough, a running nose, and a rattling congestion sound at times when she breathes. I brought her to the pediatrician after the first couple of days of these symptoms because I didn't know if there was any cough or cold medicine that was appropriate to give her. The doctor said that there is nothing to give a child under two for cold symptoms but said to use saline drops in her nose. After another week, I was still concerned with the congestion sounds and wanted the doctor to listen to her chest and lungs to ensure that it wasn't turning into Pneumonia or Bronchitis. Everything sounded clear, and the doctor said to give the cold a bit more time to run its course. Her symptoms are still the same, so I brought her in to the pediatrician again yesterday. Due to the persistence of the symptoms he has now diagnosed it as Sinusitis.

Here comes the issue... I was told by Gabriella's foster family that she is allergic to Penicillin and the pediatrician is aware of this. The doctor said that Amoxicillin is the typical medicine to prescribe for these types of illnesses, and many others, but that Amoxicillin and Penicillin are related. He asked me what her allergy symptoms were that led them to conclude that she was allergic. I did not know. He said that only 1 in 20 people who believe they are allergic to Penicillin truly are and he said that there is not an easy test to test for the allergy. He decided to prescribe the Amoxicillin and wants me to give her the first dose tonight at 5:00 PM at his office with nursing staff around. In the meantime, I spoke to Gabriella's foster family and asked about her reaction to Penicillin. They claimed that she broke out in a rash all over her body, which is a classic allergy symptom, but it was within one day of receiving the dose. Allergic reactions typically occur within one hour of receiving the dose. I shared this with the doctor and am waiting on his determination as to whether we will move forward with this trial.

On a happier note, during my call to Gabriella's foster family, Norma and Daniel got to speak to Gabriella. When Gabriella heard both of their voices she lit up and smiled from ear to ear. She clearly recognized their voices. It was very special.

You Know You're A Mommy When...!

You know you are a mommy when you find yourself singing a children's song, out loud, in the shower! Gabriella's newest toy sings a catchy song to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell" - "I am a piggy bank, I have a piggy snout, you can put coins in my top, and you can take them out!" Yes, it's true, I caught myself loudly and proudly singing that song this morning while I was showering and thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, what has happened to me?!"

I had another one of those moments last week when I was given a fundraiser packet for Gabriella's school fundraiser. You know you are a mommy when you have to pass around school fundraiser brochures!

Life sure has changed, but it is such a wonderful thing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apple Picking

It was a windy, frigid 44 degrees today in Massachusetts and we went apple picking! It sure was cold, but we were in great company with our wonderful friends Kathy, Kerri, David, and Ava. Gabriella was bundled from head to toe in a onesie, a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, her winter coat, a hat, mittens, and a blanket over her lap! She could barely move due to all of the layers, but it kept her warmer.
Gabriella loved watching the sheep.
She looked like a little girl, not a baby, standing next to Ava.
On an old tractor.
Our second hayride this season...except this ride was much colder than last week's ride!
Gabriella was sound asleep before we even left the farm!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gabriella Playing

Each morning I leave the house around 8:00 - 8:30 AM for work. Ken doesn't start his work day until 11:00 AM, so he and Gabriella spend the mornings playing before he brings her to daycare. Ken and Gabriella were playing in her playroom this morning with her Dora dollhouse. So cute!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ziti & Sausage Dinner

Gabriella devoured her ziti and sausage dinner. I wasn't counting on her liking the sausage, but she loved it! I shouldn't have been too surprised because she loves just about every type of food. These photos were taken following dinner. Notice her glistening cheeks and hair...I had put butter on her ziti and she was sure to rub her greasy hands all over her face and hair! Every day with Gabriella is filled with laughter and joy. Simple things, like eating dinner, turn out to be an absolute hoot!

Neurotic Mommy: Gabriella's First Tick

Since today is Columbus Day, Gabriella's day care is closed and my parents are away on vacation, yet Ken and I had to work today. Tia Candace is spending half the day with Gabriella and Ken's mom, Kathy, is spending the other half of the day with Gabriella.

I received a call about half an hour ago from Candace telling me that Gabriella has a tick embedded on the back of her neck. Being the paranoid, first time mom that I am, I called Gabriella's pediatrician! They told us to remove it...duh! They were probably taken aback by being called for such a minor thing. But I wanted to know the proper way to remove it, if I should be concerned about Lyme Disease, and what signs to watch for for infection, etc. So I conferenced Candace and the doctor so he could tell her the proper way to remove it and what to do after it was removed. Uncle Steve met Candace at my house to assist with the procedure! They successfully removed it and cleaned it and saved the tick so we can be sure it was not a deer tick. Ken helped me keep a more calm head during this, but after realizing how nervous I got from this simple issue, I wondered to myself how I will handle all of the other typical child injuries. The outlook is not so good, but we shall see...!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pumpkin Picking & Hayride

We dressed Gabriella in a Halloween outfit and went to a pumpkin patch and for a hay ride today. It was such a beautiful fall day and was a perfect day for such events.

Gabriella knew she looked cute with her little cat ears, so she was hamming it up for the camera!
Ken, Gabriella, and I on the hayride:
The hay was quite fascinating!:
In the pumpkin patch:
Gabriella and Ken in front of Ken's ATV:
Playing on the ATV: