Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gabriel's 4 month check up

Got info about his 4 month check up, which was on Saturday. He weighs 14.8 lbs and is 24.8 inches. His head circumference is 16.4 inches, which puts him in the 93-94th percentile for Guatemalan children. On the American growth charts he is at about the 25% for length, 50% for weight, 25% for head circumference, and 75% for lenght/weight ratio. I haven't found a Guatemalan growth chart for anything but head circumference, but I'm so glad that he is on par with American children. I think this will probably help him as he grows up.

Most of the children we saw while on our visit were TINY. There were children close to a year old who were smaller than Gabriel. Some of that has to do with genetics, but a lot of it (I'm certain) has to do with the care they are receiving. I'm so glad I've got a healthy boy!

He did receive some shots: his second dose of DPT and his first of Meningitis. Poor baby didn't look to happy in the pictures we got of him. I don't blame him either. They are on the other computer, so I'll update that later today. It's amazing how much his hair grew in just a week! Man, we are going to be cutting it all the time!

I have my next prenatal appointment next Tuesday and then I start going every other week. Fun stuff. I guess since I'm getting close, we need to start looking at the classes the hospital offers. I can't believe baby girl will be here in about 12 weeks! ACK! SO much to do!

Zach did start painting the nursery this week, but unfortunately it will have to wait a few days for another coat. He found out yesterday at about 3:30 that he has to leave for a couple days to go down to Spokane, WA for some training. If he doesn't go this week, he won't be able to fly until he gets it done. That's ok though. I'm glad he's doing it now and not once the kids get home.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Here's what you've been waiting for!!

Here's a link to the rest of our pictures from our Awesome Guatemala Trip!! There are two albums, one from our visit with Gabriel (the first link) and the other is for the vacation portion of our trip. We haven't captioned the second one yet, but Gabriel's has been done. When you click on the link, if you don't have an account with Snapfish, you can either create one or you can skip that part and just click the "View now" button at the top right of the page.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New equation...

Chicken buses = "Holy cow did he just do that!?!?!"

For those of you that don't know "Chicken buses" are the super cheap transportation around Guatemala and especially between villages. They are painted really vibrant colors and designs and are rather cool looking...until you watch them drive. They are CRAZY!!!! Literally crazy...they treat all road markings and signs as meer suggestions. There are a ton of them on the road and they are all privately owned and as such compete with each other like its the Indy 500. They will pass on double yellow lines, near curves, hills...doesn't matter. They hardly even slow down to pick people up. Which is wierd since the passengers are the ones paying their livelyhood. I can't tell you how many people I saw run up as the bus was pulling away and jump on the ladder in the back. The drivers have a helper that handles luggage, tickets, etc...and they ride hanging out the door. We saw the helper climb to the top of the bus as it was careening down the road to get the luggage ready for the next drop-off. I tell you they are certifiably NUTS!!!! But then again I think every driver here is wacko...they will pass you on the left or right...doesn't matter if there's on coming traffic or not. There were probably 50 near head on collisions today on our way back from Lake Atitlan. I wish I was making this stuff up.

Just had to let you know that part of the trip first. To set the scene a little bit, so let me back up now. I think last time we left you we had just dropped of our Angel on Saturday. Sunday we took a half day tour of Guatemala City. The city is pretty much like every major city but has some pretty interesting history. Many very beautiful churches and palaces and squares. We've got some great pictures to show you when we get home. Then we spent Monday and Tuesday in Antigua. That is by far both of our favorite spots to go. If you ever get a chance to come visit Guatemala be sure you spend at least 2 days or more in Antigua. And stay at Casa Santo Domingo. This place definatly earned its 5 star rating. We spent about 4 hours just exploring the hotel itself. It has 3 museums and a world class chef. Muy Bueno!!

That night our amazing Foster Father Byron came to pick us up at our hotel in G.C. and drove us to his house to see our muchacho poquito (little man) again and to show us that they are taking good care of him for us. He speaks zero english and neither does Mama Ana (his wife). So it was an interesting ride. Luckily my Super Wife spoke enough Spanish that we were able to talk to each other. And it also turns out that his oldest daughter (Katie) speaks english fairly well so was able to translate for us. They live in a very nice condo type house that is in a gated community. It breaks our heart to have to leave him but we can at least rest a little easier knowing that he is very loved and all of his needs are being met. He will be their 6th baby that they have fostered, so they know what they are doing. They are so amazing and we are so blessed that they are in our lives now.

Today we finished our Guatemalan adventure with a trip to Lago de Atitlan

We drove to Panajachel (aka Gringotenango..."The place of the Gringo") Very much a tourist trap but that's where we caught a boat and rode across the lake to Santiago. Very cool place but because a lot of tourists go there you are virtually assaulted by kids and people trying to sell you stuff. And they won't take no for an answer. The only way to deal with them is to completely ignore them but it is very hard and doesn't leave you with a good feeling. All in all though a very nice place to go. Highly recommended.

Well Beth and I are completely exhausted. We've had a roller-coaster ride of a vacation that would rival anything Universal Studios could imagine. With all the emotional and physical ups and downs...but we would do it again in a heartbeat. But we are ready to come home and share some great pictures and wonderful stories with you all.

Thanks again to all of you hoping and praying for us...

Sus amamos!! (We love you all!!)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Two familes + One baby = ?

Answer: One big happy family, part in Guatemala, part in Alaska and all who love little Gabriel very, very much. We woke up this morning, went to bed last night in fact, expecting this to be the hardest day of our lives. While it was hard in many ways, it was also very refreshing and joyous. We got to meet our co-ordinator, Sonya, for breakfast as well as about 4 other families working with our agency. She is amazing and we couldn't be happier to have her working on our behalf.

We did have to pack Gabriel's bags, which was very difficult and we took a family nap today. Of course, today was the first time he has actually taken a good nap and we all slept for an hour and a half, waking up in just enough time to finish packing his things and getting him ready to go back to the foster family. He definitely fits with our family! (see previous post about sleeping late on important days).

The foster family came to pick him up and we took Gabriel down with all his bags and I was near tears the whole time. I was very surprised when the entire family (minus the oldest daughter who came Tuesday) was there with Ana. We met Byron (the dad) and their 10 year old Gabby and two cousins or nieces from Long Island...yup, as in NY. The cousins acted as our interpreter until Marisol could make it (lots of traffic this weekend).

I don't have a lot of time right now to explain a whole lot, because there are several other people waiting to use the computer. Let's suffice it to say that we will get to see our baby boy one last time. Byron is going to pick us up at the hotel after he gets off work on Tuesday and take us to their house for dinner. They want us to see where Gabriel lives and that he is being well cared for with our own eyes. You can tell how much they love him and adore him. It made us feel SO much better! Oh, and get this...the hotel we are switching to tomorrow...they got to church with Freddie, the owner. So our baby boy is already going to church and learning about God.

I do want to share one more thing that Ana told me when they were getting ready to leave. She said, "We already knew he was the perfect child for your family, but after seeing you with him, I now know you are the perfect parents for him as well." She then leaned over, tears in her eyes [both of ours], gave me a hug and said, "te amo" or I love you.

We have seen several families here who are very close with their foster families and I have a feeling that we will be the same way with Byron, Ana, and Gabby. I pray that is the case. Because Gabriel has two moms and two dads who love him very much and want nothing but the best for him. When we get home, I will post pictures of us all. We have a great picture of all of us together. What a great thing for Gabriel to have, verdad [right]?

Love to all of you. We can't wait to talk to you all. Much love and hugs.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

He's so much better in person!!!

Ok so we're finally able to sit down and write for a few minutes. We finally made it to Guatemala after 24 hours of traveling. What an exhausting trip!! We barely made it on the plane out of LAX after waiting in the check-in line for about 2 hours. Everybody was already on the plane and were just waiting for the last few people. We made it though and we got checked into the hotel just fine.

When Gabriel got dropped off we got the chance to meet his foster mother and sister. We could just see how much they love him and it sets our hearts at ease. We still don't look forward to him leaving on Saturday, but we know that God will bring him home in His time. As soon as we looked down at him he smiled right at us and the foster mom (Ana) pointed at us and said, tu mama, tu papa. I know the quotes are missing, but I can't seem to find them on this keyboard (it's a Spanish set up and the keys are a little different).

We've been in heaven with our angel. I wish we could upload pictures, but unfortunately the internet hookup is expensive and the computer in the baby lounge won't let us upload them here either. We promise there are TONS of great photos and even about a 3 minute video of him laughing. Daddy can make him laugh like nothing else. It's the cutest thing ever.

Ok, Gabriel needs to be fed now, so I'm going to go. We love you all and please pray for continued guidance throughout the process.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day today! I'm busy washing clothes and packing for the trip. I can't believe we leave in only 4 days!!! Less than a week now until I hold my boy! I can't believe it! The excitement is really sinking in.

I had a busy day yesterday. I had a Dr's appt and they scheduled me for an "emergency" 1 hour glucose test for later that day. Everything is fine, it must have been the Honey Nut Cheerios I had for breakfast that made my sugars high. Of course I don't eat very well while Zach is gone, so that probably had a lot to do with it to.

Becca had her Change of Command, so she is officially the Commanding Officer (CO) of Fish School. It's a lot longer name than that, but I'm not even going to try it. She even made the front page of the paper. Check out the article. I wish it had a picture on there. She should have one on her blog soon. She better.

CraftNite was last night too and it was a lot of fun, as always, with good food, good girlfriends and plenty of laughs. Not much crafting though. What's new?

Then Jason and Becca invited me to go watch the midnight fireworks with them down at the marina. It was fun. I was really impressed with the fireworks show too. I'm used to music for the fireworks, so that was missing, but they had a good show none-the-less. The photo at the top was the grand finale. Actually, the one below was the beginning of the finale also. I know the top one looks like it was actually dark, but the one below shows what it was really like. See? More like twilight? This was at about 12:30 a.m. too!

Today, we're going to grill out for dinner. It's not as pretty today as it has been for the past week, so I think our gorgeous streak is going away. I hope Guate isn't very rainy while we're there. It's winter and rainy season, but I've heard that July is the least rainy of the rainy months. I'm looking forward to the warmth though. Must remember sunscreen though.

Oh! One more thing....we are going to TRY to blog some while we are in Guate. The Marriott has Wi-Fi, so we should be able to with no problems. We'll share pics here too.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Greenpeace meets Kodiak

As I was driving home on this yet another GORgeous Alaskan night I noticed an interesting boat docked where one of the ferries was when I went past a couple hours earlier. As I got closer I noticed it had a rather interesting paint job and that is said "GREENPEACE" on the back. So of course I pull in to the ferry terminal parking to get a better look. Luckily I had my camera with me and got some shots of the boat. I'm not sure how long they are here for, but they were loading what looked like food on while I was taking pics. I am SO loving my zoom lens! Then I saw the crew coming out of one of the famous local bars on Marine Drive across from the marina. I know it's them because I looked at their website to find out why they are here and there were pictures of the crew and the lady was wearing the same outfit. If you want to know why they are here, look here.

Just want to say too, that I don't necessarily agree with Greenpeace. I think their hearts are in the right place, they just don't go about making their point in the right ways most of the time and end up hurting the environment themselves. It's just not something you see every day and thought it was interesting.