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!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treating with Cousins

Today was Gabriella's second Halloween and her second time trick or treating. I remember last year she really did not quite understand the trick or treating process and I remember that one of the first pieces of candy that she got was a Tootsie Pop. She had been holding her lollipop and riding in her stroller. During the two seconds that we were not looking at her she had eaten through the paper and started eating the lollipop! This year, Gabriella had a bit more of an understanding of the process. She enjoyed dressing up as a bumblebee and liked admiring herself in the mirror. She also enjoyed knocking on doors and getting "treats." She was full of energy in the beginning, got tired after a while and wanted to be carried, and then she got to a place where she was done.

My grandfather has been battling cancer and is sadly nearing the end of his battle. He is currently under the care of Hospice. The family spent the day with my grandfather at his apartment and then we took Gabriella and her cousins, Andrew and Isabella, trick or treating around the apartment complex.

Elmo, a Bumblebee, and a Storm Trooper:
Gabriella loved getting treats!:
When we went outside to go to the next apartment building, Gabriella decided to take a break on the grass and check out her loot!:
This gentlemen gave Gabriella several lollipops...:
...and she couldn't even wait to get down the stairs to have one!:
Then, back for more treats! But, notice that she is in Ken's arms this time. She would not leave Ken's arms because one of the treat-givers came to the door dressed in a very scary costume and the little ones did not like it. From that point forward, she was not interested in approaching a door alone.:
The girls were exhausted and wanted to be carried!:
When we returned to Papa's apartment, Gabriella, Isabella, and Andrew got out of their costumes and dug in to enjoy their treats!:


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

This "STING-ing" cute bee is wishing you a wonderful Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Have a BEE-utiful Halloween!

This little bee is buzzing by to tell you to have a "BEE-utiful Halloween!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Phrases - "Watcha Me" and "See"

Two "newer" phrases that Gabriella has been using often are "Watcha" or "Watcha me" and "See." When she is doing something that she wants someone to see, she will say, "Watcha" or "Watcha me." She usually mainly uses it when she is doing something silly with her body, jumping, twisting, etc. When she sees something or is looking at something that she wants us to see she will say, "See," and then name the object. She is newly fascinated with the moon and will say, "See, moon. See?" And when she says, "I a poop" she now adds, "See?" at the end and she then turns her backside to whoever she wants to show!

Boy

I just recalled something funny that happened during Gabriella's Early Intervention assessment. The assessors asked Gabriella, "Are you a boy or a girl?". Gabriella answered, matter-of-factly, "Boy." Okay then!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hitting

Gabriella and I have been working on a little problem together. Gabriella sometimes has difficulty keeping her hands to herself. The hitting is triggered by her temper, she doesn't yet quite know how to deal with strong emotion and simply lashes out in response to her feelings. She knows hitting is wrong and sometimes even catches herself mid-act and stops herself just before she actually hits. Yesterday, Gabriella was staying with my mother for a couple hours while I was running errands. When I arrived to pick Gabriella up, the first words out of her mouth, even before a greeting, were, "I hit" and pointed to my mother. She tattled on herself because she knew it was not a nice thing to do. Looks like we still have lots of work to do!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Still Nothing in the Potty

At bedtime, Gabriella informed me "I a poop, see?", as is normal lately during her bedtime routine. She said this earlier in the afternoon and started pooping; I had tried getting her on the potty before she went, but it was too late. So, this time when she said it, I quickly got her on the potty. She is into giving commands lately ("Eat," "Sit," "Watch Me," etc.) and while on the potty she instructed both Ken and I to sit! We both obliged, sat on the floor, watched her, and coached her on. She decided to grab a magazine for a little light reading! In the end, still NOTHING in the potty but definitely picture worthy!

My Little Ballerina

Gabriella was listening carefully to Ms. Lynn, her dance teacher, and working hard on her twirls!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2010 Guatadopt.com Calendar

I submitted Gabriella's photos for the 2010 Guatadopt.com Calendar. Guatadopt.com annually publishes a calendar with photos of children adopted from Guatemala. It was suggested to submit one cool weather photo and one warm weather photo. With so many photos to choose from, selecting only two is a very difficult task!

And the winners are...
Cool Weather:
Warm Weather:

Coffee

During yesterday's Early Intervention assessment the evaluators were showing Gabriella various pictures and were asking her to identify them - "dog," "cat," "shoe," etc. Then they showed her a picture of a coffee mug and were expecting her to say, "cup." Gabriella identified it as "coffee!" It was a bit embarrassing because it clearly exposed that mommy is a coffee addict!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The BEST Job

Being laid off from my job (February 4, 2009) was very scary, it was such a loss that I had to "heal" from. I have always been an overachiever, a perfectionist, and have always defined myself by my achievements. My main goal through my twenties was getting as far as I could in business. Then, Gabriella came home AND I lost my job. What a combination, an especially scary one! But, boy, do I realize now, in actuality, what a blessing in disguise being laid off has been! I have been able to completely focus on my daughter and completely dedicate myself to being her mommy and that is fabulous. She has helped me put my life and my priorities into perspective. I believe that God has a plan for everybody. While it was happening, "His plan" didn't feel so good, but I wouldn't change ANYTHING about the series of events that have transpired this year. Being Gabriella's mommy is the best job in the world.

Early Intervention Re-Assessment

It has been six months since Gabriella tested out of Early Intervention. I had requested a six month re-evaluation to ensure that Gabriella was staying on track with her development. Gabriella had her assessment today. Gabriella tested above age range for Cognition and Social Emotional, she tested at age range for Fine Motor and Self Care, and she tested ever-so slightly below age range for Expressive Language, Receptive Language, and Gross Motor. These delays were caused because she was not exposed to the English language until she was thirteen months and she was not walking until she was eighteen months. Her main opportunities are for speech and proper pronunciations. For example, instead of saying "Please," Gabriella says "Cheese" and she calls herself "Daby" instead of "Gabby." She did not qualify for Early Intervention services which, again, was bittersweet. It is great that she is on par developmentally, but the extra help is wonderful. She will be participating in a Speech class led by a Speech and Language Pathologist, so that should be very helpful. The Early Intervention assessors complimented Gabriella on her intelligence (she is very, very intelligent, if I do say so myself!), her memory, and her tolerance and patience during the "testing." I am so proud of Gabriella and so proud to be her mommy!

I a peep, I a poop!

Last week after Gabriella woke up she wanted to sit on the potty. I took off her diaper but left her nightgown on. She sat on the potty, didn't do anything in it, and then got up. So, we both left the bathroom; she still had no diaper on, just her nightgown. I went into her bedroom to get her an outfit and she was in the hallway. Then she said, "Mama, I a peep." I looked and sure enough, Gabriella was urinating on the floor and the urine was puddling around her feet! It was one of those moments that I think I will remember forever!

This week she has started trying a new "trick" at bedtime, also related to bathroom movements! If I am trying to put her down for bed and she is trying to stall me, she will say, "Mama, I a poop. See?" and then turn her bottom to me so that I can look in her diaper. There is no poop in her diaper, but she thinks that this will stall her bedtime routine!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Horse Riding Lessons

Gabriella has been continuing her weekly horse riding lessons and still loves it. She looks forward to seeing Sparky every week and enjoys bringing carrots and feeding the horses after her fifteen minute lesson.
The newest thing that Gabriella is learning is "standing" in the stir-ups. She looks SO cute doing it with her little legs! The first few times I saw her do it, I howled with excited laughter! She makes me so proud:
Ms. Lynn also has her put both hands on her helmet to continue to practice balance.:
Ms. Lynn is also teaching Gabriella how to properly hold "the scarf.":
Ms. Lynn is extremely impressed with how comfortable Gabriella is on the horse and how perfectly she stays balanced in the saddle. She praises Gabriella every week for her great work.:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flower Girl Gabriella at Her First Wedding

Our cousin, Stephanie, married her long-time boyfriend, Jimmy, on October 17th. Gabriella was a flower girl in their Renaissance-themed wedding.

Getting ready for the wedding:
The lollipops made the process a bit easier!:
Her hair looked so cute, but did not look quite the same the 3:00 PM wedding start as it did at 10:00 AM!
Ready to go!:
Gabriella's cousin, Bella, is the bride's and groom's daughter and was also a flower girl.:
Ready for the event!:
Tita and Gabriella before the wedding. Tita served as the Justice of the Peace for the ceremony.:
Me and my siblings, Tito (Michael) and Tita (Candace):
Walking down the "aisle" with cousins Vincent and Dante:
All smiles!:
It was very cold out, but Gabriella tolerated it and did okay for the outdoor ceremony.:
Enjoying the food!:
Gabriella had fun playing on the dance floor with cousin Dante.:
Dancing with Dada (Ken):
Dancing with Steve:
Dancing with Mama:
Gabriella did not have any naps during the day and was wiped out by 6:30 PM. Before we even left the parking lot Gabriella was sound asleep!

It was a real fun time and a great first wedding experience for Gabriella!