Friday, July 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Looking Up

This may be one of my all time photos! We stopped after school to play at the park and decided to try flying our new Barbie kite since the wind was pretty gusty. Maya didn't want to at first because she thought the kite would blow away. And I can't blame her because each time we read a book about kites, they do fly away. (Piglet, Curious George, and Super Duck all come to mind) But once we tried it, we had a lot of fun! It was one of those perfect, unplanned afternoons that you hope you always remember.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day we went to the cemetery to visit my dad's grave and to the Memorial Day Parade in town. By the afternoon it was pouring, but we had a nice start to the day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wings of Fancy

Today we hung out with some friends and visited the "Wings of Fancy" butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland. The gardens are 50 acres and include meandering paths past a Japanese tea house, fountains, a child's garden with a play house, a labyrinth, a rose garden,and for right now a butterfly pavilion. The room was smaller than I thought, but the butterflies were everywhere. They would land on you, so you were required to shake off your clothes and look for "hitchhikers" when you left. In the photo above, the butterflies are on a birdbath filled with pieces of fruit. My PBJ wanted me to hold her at first. she wasn't sure if she liked all of these butterflies flying around. She started to warm up when I let her use my camera to take some pictures of the butterflies. She took the shots below:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Home at Last!

This is my peanut sleeping in her crib at home for the first time. We flew home from Guatemala on May 1st, getting home pretty late that night. Maya was (and is) a pretty laid back baby, she adapts pretty easily to travel. My biggest problem on the flight home was that she was scared of changing tables in the bathrooms. My theory is that she associated them with getting shots at the doctor, because she had the same reaction when I first took her to the doctor here. She also had some ear pain and cried some during the flight. We upgraded the first leg of our return flight to first class, which turned out great because the only other people sitting there were 2 other adoptive parents who understood the crying. The extra room, private bathroom, and a little pampering from the staff helped in the stress of her crying so much on the flight. The customs part wasn't so fun. In Charlotte, we had to give paperwork to the immigration people and go sit in a room for a very long time. We were really worried we'd miss our connecting flight. The worse part was that the people working there didn't really tell us anything. Just led us to a room and said wait here. They separated us from the other adoptive families who had to wait in different places, so you were kind of isolated. It was really weird. Luckily we did make our connection once they "cleared us", I have no idea what was involved since they told us nothing. I was able to feed Maya some baby food before our second flight, which we were not in first class. My brother came to pick us up from the airport. Maya was not a fan of her first time in a car seat, but the drive was 45 minutes in the dark so she got drowsy pretty quick at that point. It was around midnight when we finally reached home. I showed Maya some of her toys and she played a little on the floor before drifting off to sleep. I don't think I got any sleep that night, which started the lack of sleep part of being a mom. Home at last!
P.S. I must say "home at last" a lot when we come home, because Maya now says "Home at Last!" every time we arrive home. If I say it first, she yells at me and says, "No! Me say it!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This is the 2 year anniversary of our "gotcha day". Two years ago I traveled to Guatemala to finally bring my sweetie home. I actually flew to Guatemala City on April 20 and toured for a few days first, which was something I didn't do at all on my visit trips. I had three tourist goals: the Mayan ruins at Tikal; Antigua, Guatemala's first capitol and UNESCO World Heritage Site; and Lake Atitlan. I was able to accomplish the first two of the three. Then, finally, on April 26, 2007, Maya was placed in my arms as my daughter officially. We stayed in Guatemala at the Marriott for several more days for our Embassy appointment and to receive the papers needed to travel home, and also one of the days we were there was a Guatemalan holiday so we had to wait one extra day to travel home. May 1, 2007 I began the journey home with my daughter. It is hard now to remember back to a time when Maya was not in my life. I truly believe that we were always meant to be each other's family.
Beautiful Antigua and probably one of its most recognized landmarks, Arco de Santa Catalina.
I would have loved to make it to one of Guatemala's big markets like the one in Chichicastenengo. This one in Antigua was small but nice.

The grounds of the Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo

One of the temples in Tikal
This was the stairway up to the tallest of the temples in Tikal. I am very scared of heights (i get shaking and dizzy) but I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go up.
Here is the view from the top. Trivia: This is a view in the movie Return of the Jedi
Lake Peten-we drove around this lake from the airport in Flores to get to Tikal.

The volcanoes we could see from our room at the Marriott hotel. Guatemala had 33 active volcanoes.

One of my favorite photos of Maya from my pick up trip. I don't have a photo of just me and Maya from our gotcha day so this has to do. an aside: Guatemala is an incredibly beautiful country. It reminds me a lot of Hawaii in it's terrain and vegetation. I definitely want to spend more time there in the future!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pretty in Peeps

This was our creation for the second annual Peep show. What I learned from this: Marshmallow Peeps are really heavy in this quanity. This was supposed to be our "test" photo shoot, but ended up being the finaly product. I entered a poster size version of this in the actual Peep show.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bento #3

Bacon, marshmallow teeth, cheese and green onion eyes, grape tomato nose, all on top of scrambled eggs. Okay the marshmallows are a little strange with everything else, but they made good teeth.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bento #2

Another bento: octopus hot dogs, cheesy broccoli and cheese star, popcorn, grapes and fruit treat mix. This one was for lunch at daycare.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bento #1

During one of my favorite past times, reading adoption blogs, I came across this blog: Do They Have Salsa In China? The author of this blog introduced me to bentos. I was not aware of this Japanese phenomena until reading her blog. If you go to the main page, and click on Bentos you will see some her photos of her incredible bentos. I thought Maya might enjoy bentos as well. You can read a definition of bentos here. The bento above includes fishsticks, penguin container with ketchup inside, rice and veggies, apple, grape, and mandarin orange skewers, and cheese hearts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

PGN Out Date - 2 years later

Two years ago today, I found out I was out of PGN. In the world of Guatemalan adoption, that was the biggest deal! PGN (Procuraduria General de la Nacion) was the attorney general/court system that Guatemalan adoptions had to go through. (I will talk about this in the past tense because the Guatemala adoption process is changing. Guatemala is currently shut down to the US for adoptions, and when/if it ever reopens the process will be different from what it was in the past).

Anyway, you could be in PGN for months, and kicked out for various reasons and then had to go in again and wait for more time. I was kicked out three times. Each time you had to redo a document and then be resubmitted. Depending on how long it took you to redo the document, get it notarized, authenticated, state certified, stamped by the Guatemalan Embassy in DC, translated to Spanish, and resubmitted, months or more could be added to your wait. Here is an example of a kick out reason: I was once kicked out because the person assigned my case said the police clearance letter was not in my file. The thing was: it was in the file! So I was kicked out just because they did not "see" the document that was in there! Some times the kick outs were for crazy things! And this is typical of the process at the time. This was one of the reasons I got so paranoid about my documents as I explained in this post.

March 13, 2007 I got the email stating that I was out of PGN. My adoption was out of court. There were a few more steps before it was final. (For example: The birth mom had to sign off for the final time. In Guatemala, the birth moms had to sign off on the process 4 times, and could change their mind up until the last time!) But the PGN out was most important because that was what was holding up the whole process and that was the step that could be 4 months for some people and years for others. After your PGN out, everything else happened in a more step by step order.

I have to say that I did lose faith during my long wait. At one point, my agency had assured me that Maya would be home before Christmas (something they had no way of knowing, I realized later). That fact was what got me through a lot of the wait. Once it was clear that was not going to happen, and then January, February, her first birthday, March started to go by, I started to worry it was never going to happen. Buzz on the Internet was that Guatemala was close to closing to adoptions and who knows what would happened to people in the process. You can believe that the email telling me I was out, was the best email I ever got! I jumped around the room, cried, said prayers of thanks, and blared Richard Smallwood's song "Thank You" so loud I am sure the neighbors had to have heard. Below is this incredible praise song. It is perfect for moments in life when your heart is just so full of thanks there is no better way than to express it through song (and loudly too) It's also inspirational for every morning. I'm thankful each day that I was given the gift of my beautiful daughter! All those parents out there know what I am talking about, especially those touched by the incredible gift of adoption!

The song is divided into two parts. This video is from You Tube. I am not the videographer, and I have no connection to the person who posted it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Best Kind of Hugs

You know those hugs that are full body hugs? Ones where little ones wrap their arms and legs around you and hold on tight. I swear those are the best kind of hugs!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dora Live at the Hippodrome

We went to see Dora the Explorer Live yesterday at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the show was really well done. It was very colorful. The sets were great and oversize and Boots flew through the air hanging from a vine a la Cirque du Soleil. The music was catchy and the show was very interactive to keep the little ones entertained. Maya had a great time waving her star when asked to do so, singing along, and saying "Swiper, No Swiping!" repeatedly every time he would appear. Diego even made a guest appearance. For fans of the Dora show, I would recommend it!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


February 28 is the two year anniversary of the day I turned in my dossier to adopt my beautiful girl. In the adoption world, a dossier is a packet of papers that you must compile in order to begin the adoption process. This includes things like inspections of your home, driver's records, physician reports, social worker reports, recommendations, birth certificates, marriage certificates, water inspections, fire inspections, fingerprint clearances... This list goes on and on and on. For each country this list varies, but it is a long list of very specific paperwork you must compile.

For a Guatemala adoption, each piece of required paperwork also had to be notarized and then authenticated at the county it was created in, then taken to the state house and certified that the notary is a certified notary, and then sent to the Guatemalan Embassy in Washington D.C. for their seal. Let me say again, this had to be done for each document. So say, you were born in another state (I was) you would have to get a notarized copy of your birth certificate and then send it to that state's state house for certification and then get it back to send to the Guatemalan Embassy. And say, your documents are notarized in more than one county in your state (mine were), you then have to go to each of those county land offices to get your document authenticated before taking it to the state house. And say, when you take your documents to the state house, that some thing is wrong with a document (that happened too) so you have to do it over again. And for one more example, say the adoption is taking longer than the federal government gives you for how long your fingerprint documentation is good, so you have to go to the federal building in your state and have you finger prints taken again. If you look at all of these instances, you get a glimpse of what it is like to compile a dossier. (Oh yeah, and each of these steps of the way you are charged for these services.)

In Guatemala, we were also told that the government is extremely nit picking when it comes to making sure the papers are not bent, that the dates on everything matched up, that things were only in black ink, and that list went on and on. So it was really hard to hand these papers to people like the county land office staff, who do their jobs just fine, but don't realize that their fingerprints or smudges or bending of the pages mean that effects my adoption timeline if Guatemala rejects that paper and it has to be redone. As a non-detail oriented person, this process forced me into paying very close attention to the details. I had each document in a plastic sleeve in a big binder and when I turned it in and the adoption staff member took each document out to check it to make sure it was complete, I literally cringed as I watched her handle each of my documents. It was like those documents were my baby. When people say they are "paper pregnant" now you have more of an idea of what they mean.

So on this day, after 6 months of paper chasing, I submitted my dossier and started the wait for my child. Little did I know then , that I'd have to wait until May before I got my referral (which means matched with a baby) and got to see her beautiful face for the first time. And I didn't know then that it wouldn't be until the following May that I'd get to bring her home.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Peanut is Three!

Where does the time go? It is hard to believe my Peanut is 3! One of my favorites of the day was when she sat in front of her birthday cake and sang, "Happy Birthday to Me". We lit the candles and sang about 100 times, and after each one she'd yell, "Again! Again!"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Trip to Chucky Cheese

My feet and back were sore from standing for over 2 hours watching Maya ride this Teletubbies ride over and over and over again. But it was worth it because she had so much fun! We went to Chucky Cheese to celebrate a friend's birthday, but Maya had no interest in the eating pizza part of the party-it was all about the games. She got the hang of putting the tokens into the slots and pressing play fast. One funny thing is that they give the kids little plastic cups with their tokens in it. (This made me think of Las Vegas and the plastic cups you get when you are playing slots to hold your coins. Seeing all of these kids with their cups as they walked around, contemplating what ride or game to play next, made me thing we are training the next generation of gamblers here.) Anyway, Maya really wanted one of those cups, but she didn't have one. I didn't know that she wanted one at first, but at some point I figured it out and we found a discarded one for her. She just loved that little cup and wanted to carry around her own tokens, instead of having me carry them for her. It was funny when she rode the rides. She would allow me the honor of holding the little cup, but as soon as she was finished I had to give it back to her. And then there were the tickets. When we found some games that gave out tickets, well that was another highlight of the day. She didn't even know what they were for, but she wanted those tickets too. At then end we had 32 tickets. So she was able to trade them in for 2 packages of Chucky Cheese bath fizzes. They were a big hit as they turned her bath water purple and pink! Maya now talks about Chucky Cheese a lot. She did get to shake his hand after all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sledding Fun

Today was our first really good snow, and since it was also a snow day from school, Maya and I had the chance to play in the snow. I have a tiny hill at my house, but it was the perfect height for Maya. She had a ball sliding, making footprints, yelling "No catch me, Ha Ha Ha!" and running away, knocking snow off of plants and tree branches, and asking me to make her a snowball so that she could throw it at me. And I had a ball watching her!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Barack Obama

I can't remember exactly how this started, but when Barack Obama won the election I remember telling Maya about it. About how she is living through such a momentous event in U.S. history. I bought some magazines with articles about Obama and I remember showing her the photograph of him on the cover and explaining who he is. Then, we went out to dinner with my family and I was trying to show them how she would say something-I can't even remember what- but I asked her who the president was to get her to make this other response, and to my great surprise she said "BARACKOBAMA" (In a loud, shouting kind of voice, and all one word) I almost fell off the chair. I had no idea she had absorbed anything I said about him. Maya also shouts "BARACKOBAMA" any time she sees his picture. Which is ALOT, in grocery store lines, on tv, the doctor's office... Well, yesterday Obama made his Whistle Stop Train Tour stop in Baltimore. Maya was so excited to watch her "BARACKOBAMA" on tv. As they showed video of him waving from the train in Edgewood, she waved frantically at him, and was excited that he waved back. I put our names in the lottery to get tickets to the inauguration, but Barbara (Mikulski) emailed and said we didn't get them. But you know, it will be a lot warmer watching it on tv, and Maya will think we are there anyway!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Go Raybens!

Maya wore her Baltimore Ravens shirt today, and apparently kept yelling "Go Raybens" all day long. I'm sure her teachers appreciated that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cookie Time

We never had the chance to make and decorate sugar cookies this Christmas so we made some now. Well, we decorated them anyway, the cookies were the pre-made refrigerator type, but that was a perfect activity for Maya. We had swirls, stars, Wall-E and Eve, and Thomas the Tank Engine. You know, all of the typical sugar cookie designs. I planned to take them to daycare this morning, figuring that Maya and I wouldn't eat them all, but then I noticed that each cookie had a small bite mark out of it. I guess we are keeping them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Knock, Knock

Maya started this "joke" in the hospital when she finally felt like talking. (and not just fighting to breathe) Here's how it goes:

Maya: "Knock, Knock"

me: Who's There?

Maya: Me

me: Me who?

Maya: Mine-a

me: Maya! Come in!

We do this many, many times a day. If you call, she'll probably tell it to you! She has also told the doctor when she went for a recheck. (She also brought her doctor bag she got from Grandma for Christmas and showed him all of her tools. When he asked if she had an orthoscope, she grabbed it out of the bag and showed it to him. I guess it could be a coincidence, but I prefer to think my baby is a genius, and future doctor :) She is doing better. We still have to do nebulizer treatments through the winter, and he told me any infection she gets from here on will likely go strait to her lungs. Hopefully we won't have to spend more time in the hospital this year!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year

Maya and I spent the first 3 days of the new year at the hospital. Maya was having problems with her asthma due to a virus. Her blood oxygen level was too low, so after a visit to the ER, she was admitted. She was such a trooper through the whole thing. She had nurses, doctors, and respiratory specialists coming in all day and night wearing gowns and masks. She also had to wear oxygen and a monitor on her thumb to keep track of her levels. I spent the first night just watching that monitor. It was very scary. She had so many nebulizer treatments, but still her levels were bad. I just kept praying all night that she would be okay. We were finally released today at 6:30 pm. Now it finally feels like a happy new year!