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, July 31, 2009

You Know You Have a Problem When...

Do you know those silly e-mail quizzes in which you fill out random facts about yourself and share with their friends? Well, my sister filled one out today. One of the questions was "Yesterday's Best Moment." My sister's response, "When my niece threw herself on the kitchen floor (of a house Steve and I were looking at) because my sister wouldn't let her pet their cat ... loove it!" It's true. And to make matters worse, there were other people looking at the same house simultaneously, so we had an audience. These "tantrums" are becoming a daily occurrence and I am grasping at straws trying to figure out how to nip it in the bud.

They look like this...:
Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Day Out

We had another great day with Aunt Kathy and Ava.

We started off the day by stopping at the school for some pizza at a "Hawaiian" Pizza Party.:
Then we went to the Children's Museum.
Ava has always LOVED the make-up / face painting at the Museum, but Gabriella has never really been that into it. Ava was more than willing to paint Gabriella's face and and Gabriella was a very willing participant.:
Gabriella was proud to show Aunt Kathy and me the make-up that Ava put on her!:
Then, for the first time, Gabriella thoroughly and very willingly applied her own make-up!:
This was Gabriella's first time applying "make-up" and I was sure to document every second of it!:
Look at the concentration...:
...and precision!:
Wow! Great work, Gabriella!:
Then she discovered the mirror! She was too short to see the mirror while seated, so she decided to stand on the seat. I never let her stand on a seat, of course, but I was fascinated and mesmerized by how into it she was!:
A beautiful masterpiece!:
Gorgeous!: Let's hope she doesn't apply this much make-up when she is getting ready for the prom when she is a teenager!:
Silly girl!:
Then the girls played dress-up. Again, Gabriella usually doesn't usually participate in playing dress-up as much as Ava, but Gabriella really got into it today.:
Two beauties!:
Ava and Mimi (Aunt Kathy)!:
Posing!:
Little Viking!:
My treasure!:
I LOVE this picture. Ava was using her TONGUE to knock over the blocks and I was right on time with my camera to catch it! Too funny!:
Here comes than tantrum! It's time to go!:
Enjoying a snack during the ride home.:
Another fun day with fun people!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dora Is in the Toilet!

Gabriella is at the age in which she is into EVERYTHING and needs eyes on her CONSTANTLY! She is always managing to get into things that is not supposed to be in and doing things she is not supposed to be doing. She is certainly acting her age...TWO..."Terrible Two!" I certainly wouldn't call her terrible, but she sure is a handful!

Last night Ken went to use the toilet and guess who was in there...Dora! Poor Dora! Ken got to fish Dora out of the toilet! When I was little I flushed a paper cup down the toilet on Christmas Eve and my lucky parents had to call Roto Rooter out on the holiday! I denied doing it, of course! They can't prove it was me! :) So my parents said luckily Gabriella didn't flush it and luckily it wasn't Christmas Eve! My parents are thoroughly enjoying watching me experience things with Gabriella that they experienced with me. They are especially enjoying Gabriella's stubbornness and her need to do everything herself in her own way since that is how I have always been!

"Hi Mama," "Hi Baby"

Whenever Gabriella says, "Hi Mama," I always respond with "Hi Baby." So now she says, "Hi Mama" immediately followed by, "Hi Baby!" It is so cute and so sweet!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grammy's and Grampy's House

I am having ceramic tile installed throughout a majority of my house. While they were installing and grouting the tile in the center of the house Gabriella, the dogs, and I stayed over Grammy's and Grampy's house for two nights because we couldn't walk on it for about 48 hours. My parents have a Great Pyrenees named Sasha who weighs over one hundred pounds. He is enormous. Gabriella must think he is a horse because she tries to "ride" him. He is so tolerant of her climbing all over him!

Birth Mother Search Today (The Result)

Victor was unable to locate Gabriella's birth mother today. He spent the day searching and knocking on doors with no luck. He contacted a local radio station in the town and they will be running an announcement five times a day for three days with her name and Victor's contact information. We'll see if anything comes from that. Gabriella's foster family said that they had previously had her address, but cannot find the piece of paper that the address was written on. Hopefully, for Gabriella's benefit, and the benefit of the birth mother herself, I do hope something develops. But if it does not, I will try to accept that it was not meant to be. I am glad we are trying, though.

Birth Mother Search Today (Continued)

We have Gabriella's birth mother's cedula number (kind of similar to a social security number) and hometown information, but that is it. All birth certificate related affairs in Guatemala are now handled by a central agency called RENAP. RENAP is new and went into effect while Gabriella's adoption was underway. There were still a few towns that were not under the new system while I was adopting Gabriella. Mixco (close to Guatemala City and far from El Estor), where Gabriella was born, was still not handled by RENAP while I was adopting Gabriella. I would assume all towns fall under RENAP now. But, I digress. So, Victor is currently in Gabriella's birth mother's hometown of El Estor and went to the RENAP office to look up her cedula number, find her birth certificate, and find her address. RENAP, of course, did not want to help Victor find the information. The RENAP worker wanted money to help, so Victor paid him. They also needed a typed letter to explain why we needed to get in contact with this person. Victor typed a letter with a "not so true" reason for his search and gave it to the RENAP worker. The RENAP worker finally looked up the cedula number and Gabriella's birth mother and birth grandparents do not have addresses listed. El Estor used to be very small and birth certificates typically did not list address. They used to go by "the second street after the park in the brown house." The area is apparently growing and now they use addresses. The RENAP worker suggested Victor go to two particular villages to check, so he is on his way there to look. There is also apparently a radio station where Victor is going to have announcements made, "searching for person (name), please meet in front of such and such Catholic Church." Victor is planning to spend about four more hours there and then head back for a long ride home. Guatemala is not a very safe place and Victor is "the new guy" in the area and everybody is watching him. He said that it is a pretty remote place and it looks like there is money in the area, people are driving nice cars and riding nice bikes, so he is curious where the money is coming from. My philosophy as of late has been, "If it is meant to happen, it will." So, I am handing this up to God and if it is meant to happen, it will. I will repost later with our findings, or lack thereof.

Birth Mother Search Today

Victor, my friend in Guatemala, is on his way to search for Gabriella's birth mother in El Estor, Guatemala. At 9:30 AM he was about two or three hours away. He hit the road at 3:00 AM Guatemala time this morning which is 5:00 AM Eastern. He has the letter I wrote her with photos and he will call me when he gets there so that he can make sure all of my questions are asked. I am busily and anxiously thinking of everything I want to know and all of the pictures I want. My goals are to find her, let her know Gabriella is well, get some questions answered, and possibly have continued contact with her. I am nervous and excited and am preparing myself for all possible outcomes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Queen on Her Throne!

We have not yet begun potty training because Gabriella is not quite ready. I am certainly thinking about it, though, and am working to prepare her. I read her potty books, we watch potty DVDs, and when Gabriella shows curiosity I place her on the toilet to "try." She has yet to actually do anything in the potty, but will sit on it. Tonight, as I was getting her ready for her bath, she wanted to sit on the potty. While there, she decided she needed some reading material to help her pass the time!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stephanie's Bridal Shower

Today we went to cousin Stephanie's Bridal Shower. Stephanie is my 1st cousin and Gabriella's 2nd cousin.
Gabriella spent a little time getting "warmed up" before she felt comfortable enough in the new place with some new faces. Once she felt comfortable, though, she was very silly!
Gabriella had fun watching the gifts being opened, snooping through the packages, and running around with her cousins.
Gabriella with her favorite "Tita!"
We enjoyed delicious food and fabulous cake. Gabriella tried to enjoy this strawberry in a single bite!
Crazy toddler in a bag!:
The famous red sequinsed pocketbook also had to make an appearance, of course. Gabriella collected lots of dollars in her purse in exchange for kisses!
Gabriella with her cousins:
It was a great for Gabriella to be able to spend a fun time with family today.