Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Soooooo tired

Why, oh why, does he have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning? Why can't he sleep until 7 or later like his sister? Why do we have to be so tired that we both have colds and can't seem to get rid of them? Oh well....the joys of parenthood. They're worth it.

Gabriel had his intro with the Dr. yesterday and the only thing we need to watch is his weight. He's only 18 lbs 12 oz. He should be closer to 21-23 according to her. Eh, I'm not worried about it though. I think a lot of it is that she's using the American growth scale, not the Central American scale. He's probably just going to be a skinny kid. He's fairly tall though - 31.5".

Donavyn rolled over for the first time yesterday! We're so proud of her. It was really funny. A couple days ago we were playing in their room and she kept trying to roll over and just couldn't get quite over. I told Zach that she was going to do it while we weren't looking. We would put her down, look away and look back and she'd be over. Yup, that's how it happened. Zach went to get more diapers out of the laundry room and I was changing Gabriel and when he came back she had rolled over. She hasn't really enjoyed tummy time lately, but she LOVED it after she had put herself on her tummy.

Donavyn has her 4 month well baby check today. She is getting so big. I'm going to have to put away all of her 3 month clothes now. *frown* I was looking at pictures of Amy's twin boys and remembered Donavyn being that small. I miss it, but I'm also so excited to see how she changes all the time.

Oh, Zach reminded me to share about the acid bath we give Gabriel 3 times a day. Yeah, we're mean parent's aren't we? He LOATHES to have his face washed after he eats and just screams. We use a baby wipe and as soon as he sees me grab it, he starts squirming trying to keep me from getting him. It was really fun this morning since he had oatmeal, yogurt and raspberries. Boy did he love the raspberries! Since he hates it so much we call it his acid bath since that's what it sounds like.

I'll try to get more pics up soon. I'm a little tired and this cold is kicking our butts.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Love!!!



I am so thankful that 31 years ago you were born and that God has blessed me with you. You are an amazing husband and father. I hope and pray this birthday is your best ever and that all you dreams for this coming year come true. This year is going to be a LOT different than the past, but filled with even more love, hugs, kisses and laughter.



We have shared a lot of laughs and there is no one that can make me feel better when I'm down like you can. You are always there to offer a hug, encouragement or just a silly joke or funny face.
Momma K and Pops, thank you so much for raising such a respectful son. You did a wonderful job and I couldn't be happier than I am with your son and the family we have made together.




Zach, we love you more than you will ever know and wish you the happiest of birthdays!

Your loving wife and darling children

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!


I just wanted to take a moment to say happy birthday to my wonderful, amazing mom. She is a source of great strength, comfort and encouragement to me. She inspires me to be a Godly woman, wife and mother. I will always remember going to the table for breakfast on school days and she would be there reading her bible and praying. Her example has made me realize that I want my children to see that in me.

She is the most humble woman I know and I thank God for choosing her to be my mom. I wish we were close enough to celebrate with her, but luckily she will be here soon and we will have plenty of time together.

I love you, mom and I pray you have a wonderful birthday!

Gabriel and Donavyn wanted to say Happy Birthday to Grandma, too!

frvg v gvcffcvzctn5frjhbvcaaaaaaa

Look who's the big 4 months!



I'm starting out with her 3 month picture since I got a little busy and forgot to post that one. See how big she is getting? Man....
Oh, and her 4 month sign says "Can you believe I'm already 4 months? Momma and Daddy can't either!"

Our sweet little girl (as she sits here on my shoulder falling asleep) is now 4 months old. The time has flown by already. Before we know it she will be a teenager trying to avoid time with mom and dad b/c they are SOOO uncool. Yeah, right, we're going to be the coolest parents EVAH! Don't all parents say that?

Donavyn has been a blessing to our lives. One year ago we thought we may never have children biologically and yet here we are. Who knew that our lives would be this blessed just one year later? We have gone from no children to two in no time flat.

Donavyn is a sweet, cuddly baby. She is daddy's little girl through and through. She has been since day one. She loves her momma too though. As I get her up in the morning I sing "You are my Sunshine" and continue with it as I change her diaper. She wakes up with a smile and that is a GREAT day to start the day.

She loves to be talked to and cooed at. She is a very strong girl and loves to watch big brother play. She likes to play in her exersaucer (as long as she gets picked up after about 15 minutes for snuggle time). She is THIS close to rolling over and is persistent as all get out. She likes to talk to our Christmas bears (we still have them up since they are a source of great entertainment to her) and I think she's going to be a lot like me.

She's our princess and always will be. We love her and are extremely thankful for God bringing her to us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Umm....

Why didn't anyone tell us we would get NO rest during the day and that by 6 p.m. we would be ready for bed? This is the hardest job I've ever had. I don't know what I'm going to do when Zach goes back to work. He helps SOOO much. I'm so blessed to have him as my husband and the father of my children. I've had countless friends tell me how lucky I am to have him and that if I ever don't want him anymore to let them know, because they would gladly take him for me. Yeah, right. Like I'll ever let him get away! He's MINE, MINE I tell you! *snort*

Ok, so can you tell I'm a little tired? I think Zach is rubbing off on me some. When I get tired I usually get cranky...he gets silly. Tonight I'm a silly tired mom. And it's not even 9 yet. Luckily Gabriel is still up - Donavyn is already in bed (WOOHOO!) - and we're trying to hold off on his last bottle until at least 9 so that he may not wake up during the night.

He didn't sleep much today, so he's been a little cranky and clingy. Plus I think he's got a little bit of a cold. I've got an appointment with my Dr. tomorrow, so I'll ask her what I can do. I have some infant cough and cold meds, but I know they have since stopped recommending that for children. I seriously bought it a week before that report came out. What the deal, yo?

Ok, geesh, I've really got to get to bed. I think Gabriel is ready for his bottle now. Poor thing's coughing up a storm and starting to whine, cry, scream, and rub his eyes. So it's only 15 minutes earlier than we thought. We're getting closer to the schedule we want to keep. Probably only a few more days or so. The boy ate like a champ tonight too! He had more than he's had yet! That makes momma happy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

We made it home (finally) yesterday morning. Sorry we didn't update then, but we were all exhausted and were trying to get Gabriel settled into the house, used to the dogs and playing with his toys. The house he was great with, the toys he LOVED (especially the singing dog and helicopter), the dogs....well...that took a little time, but not too much. He whined a little as the dogs came downstairs and tried to sniff and lick him, but we would inch him closer and closer to them. Now, he was just pulling on Morgan's tail and she just sat there looking between him and me like, "Ugh...kids...what're you gonna do, huh?" Oh, and Snowflake is even more patient with him I think. He grabs the skin around her jaw and eyes (almost poked her eye this morning) and she just sits there and takes it. I think it's funny that Snowflake seems to favor Gabriel (and vice versa) while Morgan favors Donavyn (and vice versa). When I made this observation last night, Zach just said, "Good. That will make things easy when I tell them to take the girls for a walk." Always looking ahead, that husband of mine. Gotta love him - I know I do.

We're going to go to the Tricare office today to get our insurance taken care of. We'll go downtown too, to finish getting some Mr. Potatohead (or as we like to call him - Spud) things taken care of before we FedEx him back home to Conley's class at school.

I'll leave you with a lot of pictures from our trip. Ok, maybe not a lot, but some to tide you over at least. I have a lot of catching up to do too. I have pictures from my baby shower to post as well. You just wait for that one!














Sunday, January 20, 2008

Well....America is now one person bigger

Gabriel is officially a US Citizen. As of about 10:30 a.m. Central time. Customs was a breeze. We had to go though the Immigration line and then get escorted to another waiting room. There were a LOT of people there, but luckily we got seen very quickly. I am sure it's because we are US citizens, but we were a little concerned for a while.

The kids were pretty good the first leg of our trip. Of course they sat Zach and I together in one row and there was someone else already in our row as well. They can't allow two lap babies in one row since only 4 masks drop down, so the man in the aisle seat next to Zach was nice enough to switch places. Of course that left me sitting between two men who think they get BOTH armrests. Oh, and the guy in front of me decides to lean his seat ALL the way back so I'm squished and holding Gabriel - or as we like to call him El Fuego (fire). Man, was I sweaty by the time we got here. He did sleep some though and was good for the most part.

Zach had a guy in front of him that decided to push his seat all the way back too. Zach ended up asking him to move it up.

Can I say I just LOVE Continental? They are the only airline I know of that still serves meals on their flights. We got a ham, egg and cream cheese croisant and fruit and a muffin. I only ate the croisant b/c that was the easiest to eat when squeezed and being slept on.

Ok, Zach just got back with some food for us. I'm so glad for the USO. It makes our lives so much easier. Gabriel is crawling around and we don't have to worry about our luggage or anything.

Love you all! Next stop, Seattle, the Anchorage, then HOME!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

That's it...I'm takin my boy and goin' HOME!!!

This is officially the last post from Guatemala!!! We're leaving tomorrow morning at 7 am...which means that we'll be leaving the hotel at 4 am...ugh...but we're going home and that's the important thing.

We read all your comments and basically came to the same conclusion that God wanted us to have a few days off so yesterday I did what I promised some of you. We went down to the pool and I had a Mojito in the sun for you guys!!! Then we took them both swimming and it took Gabriel a few minutes to figure out what all that water was about but then we had a hard time getting him out of it. We even sat in the hot tub for a bit. Gabriel loves swimming and the water.

Hopefully he'll like flying just as well. Here's praying that he does. And in any case the flight can't last forever so even if he doesn't fly well it'll be over eventually.

Ok ok...Gabrial wanted to post so here he goes...

xq az v m, ugyungt y89;823, d.;' p,lfzx/.

Roughly traslated means: "I'm going home tomorrow!! and I'm gonna be COLD!!!"

Ok need to go finish packing and then try to get some rest because we've got an early morning...

Love you all and thank you so much for your prayers...They were definately essential in our surviving this trip without losing our minds...

Next time you hear from us we'll be in the states!!! and yes we'll post pictures as soon as we can...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Since Delinda asked...

In case you didn't see the comments, Delinda (one of my sisters) asked what Gabriel and Donavyn think of each other.

You know....it may sound strange, but it's almost like they've always known each other. As soon as they saw each other they just looked at each other and smiled like they were seeing a long lost friend. They like to look at each other and smile and they sometimes get excited and sometimes just look at each other.

Gabriel is surprisingly gentle with her. Well, most of the time anyway. He tries to play with her. He likes to clap his hands and then he decided to clap her head. She was fine with it, she just looked at him like he was crazy.

Yesterday at one of the nap times, Gabriel was sleeping on the bed (and you saw in the previous post about how fitful he is of a sleeper) and Donavyn was sleeping on my chest right next to him. Zach was asleep on the other side of the bed, so Donavyn and I were left with about 18 inches of space on a king size bed. Tell me how that's fair. Anyway...as Gabriel is trying to wake up, he starts sitting up, looking around and then falling head first into the bed - HARD! You guessed it, he fell right into Donavyn's head. She had a little bit of a bruise and a bump last night, but both seem to have gone away already. They both cried pretty hard. It may have been the first time it happened, but it certainly won't be the last. Zach and I had to fight off laughing at that realization. You can't laugh while your babies are hurt, ya know.

This morning, they both laid on the bed for a while and Gabriel kept gently touching Donavyn's hands and feet. Then he would try to jump head first off the bed, but momma and daddy are quick. This time. He did fall off the first day, but didn't quite hit very hard because Zach caught him by the leg right as he was hitting Zach's shoe. He cried, but he was more scared than anything.

We got some video of him in the bathtub last night. Zach was playing with the water, trying to get him to join in and it took a while, but he finally did. It was so fun to see him play in the tub. I think it was the first time he's done that because he couldn't quite figure out how this thing he couldn't really see could make a splash. It was rather funny to see his face. I'll post it when we get home. I've got to get video of Donavyn getting ready for bathtime too. She's a hoot. She loves the pre-bath routine. Seeing herself naked in front of the mirror and then dipping her foot in the water. You'll just have to see it.

I guess that's all for now. We are in the family play room right now and then we are going to go down the the pool after the morning nap. He's usually ready for his nap by now, but he's still going strong right now. He'll fall hard soon, I'm sure.

Ok, Love you all. I'm going to go play.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's in our hands

FINALLY! We have Gabriel's Visa and passport with us now. Thank you, God! Zach went with Pedro this afternoon to pick up the Visa and got all the paperwork done. He said it went really well and that he was the first one to get called up to the number 7 desk (where they hand out the package and visa). The package consists of a lot of information in a manila envelope that we have to hand over (unopened) to immigration in Houston. If it's opened, Gabriel is stuck and won't go anywhere. Bummer too cause we all know how nosy I am. *snort*

I've got a question: How in the WORLD can a 10 month old boy take up an entire king size bed? I'm telling you. I'm going to have to try and video some of it. The boy moves around more than any child I've ever seen. I think that's why he doesn't like his crib. It constrains him too much. I think he would have slept just fine last night if he hadn't bonked his head on the crib. I think I'm going to leave some comments to the hotel letting them know that for relatively cheap, they can get some nicer crib mattresses (these are about an inch thick) and a better bumper (it's basically two pieces of fabric sewn together). You'd think that since this is a 5 star hotel and most of their business comes from adoptive families that they would spend a little money to make it nicer. However, from the business perspective, I can kind of understand why they don't. They already have the money coming in, so why bother spending more just to make the customers you will already have in any case happier. Oh well. It won't affect us again.

Oh, Donavyn is trying her hardest to turn over. She won't even bother trying to go from her belly to back, but she is SO close to going from back to belly. It's so fun to watch her try to do it. She's making my abs hurt just watching her flex for so long at a time.

We did go back to the Continental desk again to see if there were any open seats before Sunday and we were willing to pay another $200 because that would be cheaper than staying here another two nights. Alas, they did not. Unless of course we wanted to pay the price for first class seats and I'm sure the other passengers in first class wouldn't be too happy with two babies up there too.

Ok, I'm going to go feed Gabriel now. He's getting fussy and had to climb up my leg to get me to pick him up. We love you all!

Thank you God for such wonderful friends...

I've said it once and I'll say it forever!!! We absolulty love our friends. No scratch that...we absolutly love our family!!! Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers. I was able to go to the Embassy this morning and got everything worked out. When we go to for our appointment they have to send a bunch of things to Washington D.C. for verification. That's why we can't get the Visa the same day. They normally get a reply later that day or early the next and are able to issue Visas the next afternoon. However due to a system glitch they didn't receive our verification in time to have the Visa printed and issued. I found out this morning that everything is in order now and I'll be able to pick up the Visa this afternoon at 3:30. Pedro will be coming to pick me up and I'll go in person just to make sure there's no more problems.

I talked with the Marriott front desk before I left and she wasn't sure that they would have space for us but she would talk to some people and see what she could do. Well after I got back from the Embassy, Beth and I took the kiddos to breakfast and then talked with the front desk to see if we would be able to stay. They told us that everything was taken care of and we will be able to stay in the same room until our flight on Sunday.

I think we may go talk to Continental this afternoon after I have Gabriel's Visa in my hot little hands and see if an earlier flight is even possible. They were able to get us out on Sunday because they said that that was the earliest they could do it. Maybe things have changed and it won't hurt to ask.

Thank you all so much for your prayers. You all had us in tears reading your comments (yeah me too...I'm man enough to admit it). This was a valient effort by Satan but he fell short yet again. Thank you for helping us weather this storm.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's that saying?

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched? Yeah, you see where I'm going with this? Umm hmm.... there is one of two things going on: 1. Satan is REALLY trying very hard to get us down, or 2. God is testing us. I'm not sure which it is, but it's been hard not to let it get us down. Oh, I suppose I should tell you all what's going on, huh? Well, Pedro (our agency representative) went to the Embassy to pick up our Visa and somehow they couldn't find our name in they're database. So Zach will have to go back to the Embassy tomorrow morning to see what is going on and try to get this taken care of. Yeah, we were supposed to leave at 7 am tomorrow morning, but instead, that's the time Pedro will be picking Zach up.

After we got the phone call, Zach went down to the Continental Airlines office at the hotel to try to get on the Friday flight and they said it would cost us $2000! Either that or we wouldn't be able to leave until next Thursday. So Zach called the Embassy emergency line and they were less than helpful. The guy that answered the phone said there was no one there to help us out, and when Zach asked if there was anyone there working late and he said "No, they're walking out the door." So why couldn't he stop someone to ask if they could help us, I don't know. It's a good thing we weren't in jail! I mean, criminy, aren't we US citizens, isn't the US Embassy here to protect and help it's citizens while in a foreign country? We are SO not happy about this, but what can we do? Just trust that God has a reason. We may never know what that is, but I'm sure there is one.

Oh, about when we get to leave...Zach called the 1-800 number for Continental (of course you can't call 800 numbers on a calling card from a foreign country, so we had to call international direct from our room. Who knows how much that will cost us. Then we had to do the same with Alaska Airlines to change our tickets with them. In the end, we got a flight on Sunday out of here (same flight plan) at the cost of $200. Alaska is charging us $75 for the change, but it's better than $2000 and better than staying here another week. We will get in on Monday morning. If anyone needs to contact us, they can check www.marriott.com/guadt to find the phone number. Our room is 857. Well...hopefully we'll still have a room after tomorrow. They won't be able to let us know until after noon tomorrow if they have room for us or not. I don't know what I'll do if they don't have room for us.

I was doing really well until a couple hours ago and then I just lost it. I just want my boy home, in his room, with his toys, in a comfortable crib. He is great during the day, but he cries out a lot in his sleep. And let me tell you, that boy is a FURNACE. We thought Donavyn was bad, but man, he's 100x's worse. He wakes up every morning sweaty.

So, we have a couple favors. Since we are here and running out of calling time and don't want to charge anymore international calls to the room, MELISSA OR AARON can you please call Heidi at our house or use the number in the church directory to let her know we won't be home until Monday. If she isnt' able to stay at the house that long, just ask her to have Keith or Mary take care of it. In fact, I'm sure Mary will read this too, so this is just a head's up for you. Also, JASON AND BECCA can you either leave more money for parking until Monday or get in touch with Melissa and Aaron and see if they can get the car there for us? Either way is fine. If you guys could just let us know that you got this and what you are going to do, that would be great.

We love you guys. I'm pulling my hair out. Ok, so right now Gabriel is actually pulling my hair out, but you get the idea. Please pray for us. Zach ran into a family at the Continental office here that were FINALLY getting ready to leave after being delayed 29 days here. Oh, goodness, I don't know what I'll do if that happens.

Ok, off to the room for us. We've got some sleepy little ones and they have some tired and cranky parents.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Unbelievable!!!

This trip has truely been unbelievable!!! I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how much we appreciate all of you praying for us. This has to be the smoothest trip we've ever taken. It all started in Kodiak when teh weather cooperated with us getting out early. Donavyn was an absolute dream on the planes. The pressure changes didn't bother her one little bit. We were able to rent a car for the day and had a little mini-vacation before leaving Anchorage at 1 am. The flight to Seattle was nearly empty so Beth and I each had our own row. I took Donavyn and laid down and slept all the way to Seattle. Then one the flight to Houston it was just about the same way...we didn't have our own row but we slept the whole way. Checked into the USO in Houston and just chilled until our flight to Guatemala. When we arrived our luggage all made it too and for once wasn't the last bags off the plane. We walked right through customs, right out the door and into the waiting shuttle to take us to the hotel. When we checked in they said that due to high occupancy they were upgrading us to a better room. We're in the executive tower with a king sized bed!! All for less than we were quoted when we made the reservations. We saw Gabriel the next day and he's wonderful!!! Took to Beth right away and is finally warming up to me too. In fact he's in my lap as I type this.

We went to the Embassy this morning to finallize everything. We had our appointment at 7:15 this morning. We were the first to get seen and we were back in the hotel by 9:30 having breakfast! Thank you all so much for praying that this would be a smooth trip because God has answered all of you. One more hurtle and that's getting home but with all your help we'll make it just fine.

Love you all!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Our last moments....

....as a family of three. Gabriel will come to us tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.! We are ecstatic to say the least.

We are currently in Houston (at the USO) for a few more minutes and wanted to give you the little bit of info above. We're just about to go get some dinner and then head to the gate. Our flight leaves here at 7:10 and arrives just before 10 p.m., so this will be a quick flight.

We have so many emotions running through us right now and we are just so.....I don't know how to describe it.

Funny, we calculated it up yesterday and realized it has been over a year since we started this entire journey and almost 8 months since we got our first glimpse of Gabriel. In that instant knew right then that he was the son God had planned for us. So, this has been just like another pregnancy and I'm not sure which has been/was more difficult. I think they were both difficult and easy in their own ways, but both are SO worth every moment of joy, pain and fear. We love Gabriel and are so blessed that God has chosen us to be his parents and guides.

Ok, I've really got to go now. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts through this entire time. And at 8:30 a.m. Central time tomorrow morning (or around there) we will forever be a family of FOUR!!!

Thank you God for all our our many blessings!

Friday, January 04, 2008

HE'S COMING HOME!!!!

Just a quick update to let everyone know that the loud screaming you heard coming from the Pacific Northwest was from us - shouting for joy that Gabriel will be coming home! That's right, our boy is coming home to Alaska! WOOHOO!!! We could NOT be happier! We got the email - after waiting 6 weeks and sending 3 urgent emails and getting ready to call our congressmen to call them on our behalf - and our appointment is on January 15. We have to go back to the Embassy on the 16th to pick up all the paperwork and we leave on the 17th for home. Of course, getting back here is always a ....well...let's just call it a special treat, so we won't get home until the 18th.

We are going to leave Kodiak on the 12th for warmer weather and my other "sunshine" (I love to sing the Sunshine songs to my little ones). We have our flight and hotel taken care of already, except the flight to Anchorage. It's easier to book two separate tickets for this particular flight. Our flight doesn't actually leave Anchorage until 1 a.m. on the 13th, but I think we may try to get out on the morning flight. The weather is so iffy right now, that I'd rather be safe. The early morning flights almost always get out, but the later in the day it gets the harder it is to get there. This time of year especially. It's supposed to snow everyday up to and including the day we leave, so that may be better. I'm waiting on that to talk to Zach.

We are probably going to use our companion fare we get from having the Alaska Airlines Visa. Can I just say how great that thing is? Sure there is an annual fee, but we have received SO many miles and we get a companion fare each year. SO worth it! We pay almost all of our bills with that and buy everything on it, then pay it off every payday. We try to at least. We got a little busy one month and forgot, so we had a big payment that month, but it was still paid off.

Anyway....sorry there are no pictures this time. I've been going nuts trying to get everything settled. Finding a hotel was a nightmare. Apparently there is going to be a convention with presidents from several countries, so the hotels were booked, but we actually got the hotel we wanted. Thank you, God for hearing our cries!

We watched Facing the Giants last night at the recommendation of a TON of people. * SPOILER ALERT - if you haven't watched the movie, don't read this.* It took a while to get past the horrible acting, but it had a great story and message. When the wife said that she would still love God if she couldn't get pregnant I was almost bawling. I don't know if I could have ever said that out loud when we were going through treatments. I was too hurt and angry and confused. Then I kept crying when the nurse ran out to give her the good news. Did you see how she jumped up and down and hugged the nurse? Yeah, that was me with my Dr. Dr. Walters and I both cried and jumped and screamed together. So it was very cheesy and it's not really one I care to see again, but I loved the message, but they could have done a better job with actors. Oh, and it was totally funny, b/c I told Zach that it seemed like they hired people who were actually those people in real life to act those parts and it was very uncomfortable for them. In the special features it went into who the actors were and I was right! The wife is a real coaches wife, the Dr was a real Dr, and several of the football players really played for the school. It was rather amusing.

Ok, spoiler over.

Ok, must get back to work. I've got a TON to get done.

OH! I have to add, that my good friends Becca, Jana and Lisa are have a quicky baby shower for me this Sunday! It's going to be small and pretty much just a few of us from CraftNite and I cannot WAIT! They are so sweet to think of us. They were going to do a shower for us, but Donavyn decided "she was too cool for the womb" (according to Becca - isn't she funny?) and nixed our plans for that one.

Love you gals!