Sunday, September 28, 2008

Look, there's Geoffrey!

We were in Toys R Us yesterday buying birthday presents for two parties Grace is invited to attend in October and guess who walked by....Geoffrey! Luckily, I had my camera and we took this one shot! Grace points to everything! She can't talk but she certainly makes her desires known.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Night Lights

Grace went to her first high school football game last night. High school football is a pretty big deal around here and even more so when it is homecoming weekend. The weather was nice, so I decided it was a good night to take Grace with me.

There was so much going on - the lights, two bands, cheerleaders, fans shouting and using noisemakers in the stands, and the team on the field....I am not sure what she thought, but she clung to me much more than she usually does. Okay, she really never clings to me, being an independent child. So, the fact that she was holding on to me at all was pretty significant. But, I think she had a good time. The cheerleaders and the band members were so sweet to her, taking pictures and showing her their instruments and pom-poms. We stayed until halftime so Grace could see the band perform. And when we finally left, she was really tired. She went right to bed as soon as we got home!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A sign of things to come?

It was 76 degrees and sunny today so it is hard to think about winter. Earlier this week, one of the other moms at daycare gave Grace this cute winter coat her daughter wore last year. The chocolate brown coat has embroidered flowers on the body and hood. It is 18-24 month size and I thought it looked too isn't, though. Grace kept pointing to it, so tonight I let her try it on. We went into the big walk-in closet so she could see herself in the full length mirror.

I think she was pleased!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our day in court

Grace legally became my daughter on January 18, 2008 in Guatemala and became a United States citizen the day we flew home together in March and landed in Houston.

Today was another important day (how am I ever going to remember all these dates?). It is the day that we finalized her United States re-adoption, legally changed her name, and applied for an Ohio birth certificate. Other than the name change, the rest was optional although highly recommended. This way, Grace will have a US birth certificate and won't have to go through the trouble of going back to Guatemala in the future should she need an original birth certificate (like to register in school, apply for a marriage license, etc.).
It is only the beginning of this round of paperwork, though. Now we have to get a social security card, a new certificate of citizenship, and a passport (okay, that last one is not necessary, but if she has one it is another proof of identity and citizenship and we are free to travel wherever and whenever we want!)Nana and Big Daddy came to court with us this afternoon where we appeared before the judge. There were three other families adopting children at the same time. The judge and clerk were very sweet and took time with every family, allowing as many pictures as we wanted. We went up to the front of the courtroom twice - the first time to talk to the judge about Grace and to affirm that I still want to adopt her (do you think anyone changes their mind at this point?) and then again near the end to put the county seal on the adoption decree. It was pretty cool to do that! Grace was as cute as can be the entire time. Kellie and Dawson sent us 4 American flags and Grace waved hers almost the whole time. And Nana gave Grace a huge lollipop....just like she got when Poppy adopted her 59 years ago!We also realized a funny coincidence about this date....One year ago today, my mother and I were in Guatemala for the first time, meeting Grace who was 4 months old. Yesterday, we looked back at all the pictures from that trip and remembered how tiny she was.

Grace - September 22, 2007 (4 months old)

Grace - September 22, 2008 (16 months old)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

These shoes are made for walkin'

Another example of how fast Grace is growing is what I call "the shoe situation". Since the beginning, buying shoes has been a challenge. It seems Grace is always between sizes and in a couple of cases she has grown out of shoes before she even had an opportunity to wear them! This is because I just thought they looked too big and by the time I decided to try them on her...they were too small. I am sure we have about 10 pairs to donate to charity.

The good news is, Grace has a few new pairs of shoes that are perfect for fall. These are one of those pairs....extra special Nike Mary Janes given to us by our good friend Maura. Maura is an amazing mom of three boys so I am sure she had fun choosing something girly when she bought these. She told me this weekend that occasionally she gets a pass to the Nike factory in Oregon and can get styles that are not normally sold in stores. These adorable Mary Janes are an example of this special opportunity. Thanks again, Maura!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How's the view from down there?

This is Grace's latest trick. She has done it several times this weekend and thinks it is so funny to see me through her legs. It must be interesting to look at everything from a different angle.

I think we might have a little gymnast on our hands. Grace loves to climb, do belly flops on pillows she has thrown on the floor, and hang off the side of the bed. Lately she has also been spinning around in circles until she gets dizzy and I have seen her try to pull herself off the ground using the end of the kitchen table!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dont' blink...

...or turn your back on a toddler.

This is the kind of thing that happens!
Grace found the toilet paper
and the entire roll ended up in the hallway and dining room!
As you can see, she had so much fun playing with it
and then when she was done....Grace just walked away.
It was even stuck to the bottom of her foot!
I convinced her that we needed to clean up
and for a couple of minutes, she thought that was a good plan.

We got it all in the wastebasket, but....
Taking it out again was much more fun!

What? Is that a problem?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Summer Dog

Summer was a great dog. I can't believe she has been gone a year now.

I still miss her every day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Growing so fast

Today was a day of doctors' appointments. The children's hospital in our area has a special center dedicated to adoptive children. And it specializes in international adoption. The first time I went there was in May 2007 when I received Grace's referral pictures , video, and background information from my adoption agency. The lead doctor (who is an adoptive parent herself) reviews all the information potential adoptive parents receive and makes a recommendation on the health of the child. Of course, there are no guarantees as the information we get is so limited, but it was reassuring to have a professional with tons of experience, who has traveled to Guatemala, and who has seen thousands of babies come home, tell me she thought Grace was a healthy baby.

When Grace came home in March we went there a few days after her arrival for an initial medical checkup and bloodwork. We then returned at the end of April for a 3-hour medical and developmental assessment with the doctor and two different child psychologists. It was very thorough and enlightening to participate with Grace in a play-based assessment.

So, today we went back for our 6-month follow-up visit. This time, I had no worries. We have been together for over 1/2 a year and every day I see something new she can do. I have seen her fine and gross motor skills rapidly develop over the last several months, I see her communicating in her own way, I watch her observe her surroundings and respond to things I say. Although the medical information is important, I was mostly excited to meet with the child psychologist who would be doing her developmental assessment again. The last time she was slightly delayed. Nothing more than I had expected based on the cultural differences in Guatemala. I truly believed this gross small motor delay was from lack of exposure rather than a disability. But today I found out for sure.

On some areas of the assessment she is now at the 16-18 month milestones, especially in her receptive language. She didn't do any of her "tricks" for the doctor, but I think she could tell what Grace was able to do just by watching her maneuver around the room, play with toys she has never seen before, and interact with both of us. Right now our only area of concern is the formation of words. Grace really isn't doing this. We think that maybe it is because she has been concentrating on gross motor during the last few months. That was the area of delay in the spring and ended up happening when speech "typically" happens. Since they are both huge areas of development, most children do not do them simultaneously. So, language is going to be our focus for now. First we are going back on Friday for a hearing test and then I will start to try some of the tips I got today. They told me that by the time she is 18 months old Grace should have 10 words she uses consistently. That sounds like a lot to do in 2 1/2 months!

As you leave the parking lot and head to the elevators in the children's hospital there is this huge, colorful mural on the wall of the hallway. It is floor to ceiling and 3-dimensional with parts of animals' bodies sticking out, texture for fur and hair, mirrors embedded in the wall, etc. Grace loves to touch it as she goes down the hall so we have to leave extra time to do this on our way in or out. Today was the first time we have been to this doctor's office since she learned to walk so it was even more fun!Notice the bandage on her left hand...She had two vials of blood drawn from that spot and a TB injection! After she stopped crying, Grace made sure to show everyone her bandage in the elevator and on our way back to the car. So cute!

We also went to see our pediatrician this afternoon for Grace's 15-month check-up and some immunizations. Poor baby got 3 shots! We also found out that she weighs 21 pounds and is now 31 inches tall!

When I was in Guatemala last September, I bought a few gifts I planned to give Grace in the future. One was a jumper that, to me, looked like a first day of kindergarten "special" dress. I also bought her this embroidered top that caught my eye in one of the markets.When I purchased both of these things, I couldn't imagine Grace ever being big enough to wear either one of them and certainly never figured it would be this soon. The other day, I took them out just to look at them. And, good thing, too. The top just fits her perfectly right now and the jumper is likely to fit her next spring around her 2nd birthday....not the first day of kindergarten like I thought! Now I wish I had brought more home with me or that I could go back for a visit. I would shop a little smarter this time, now that I know my girl and how she has grown so fast!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where in the world is Nana?

Can you guess where Nana and Aunt Phyllis are this week?
Hi, Nana! Hi, Aunt Phyllis! If you are reading this in Venice, Mommy and I miss you and we are jealous that we are not there! Mommy loves Italy, you know. I guess for now, I will just play with my toys until I am big enough to travel with you. When do you think that will be? Maybe next week?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mommy's little helper

Boy, was I grateful for a little help around the house this week! It has been a busy start to the school year with teachers returning last Monday and students a couple of days after that. I haven't been at work late, but the 5:00AM mornings are already killing me! So, this week, I hired a cleaning service and was thrilled to come home to a clean house yesterday. If you know me, you know that I clean a little every day. There are certain things that have to be done daily - like the kitchen countertops - and some things I do every couple of days - vacuum (because of Daisy's hair!). But, there are some cleaning jobs I hate to do and therefore avoid....scrubbing the bathtub and washing the hard wood floors, to name a couple. I am not sure if I am going to have the cleaning ladies come again but it is very possible that I might just have them come and do those jobs that I would rather not do myself!

And today I got some help from another "lady"....Grace likes to help me do the laundry. She stands in front of the open dryer and I hand her one article of clothing at a time from the washer. I tell her, "Put it in" and she does then holds out her hand for the next thing! It is so cute and I think it is never too early for her to learn that we all contribute to keeping the house running. She is in this stage right now of taking things out of boxes, drawers, cabinets and then putting them back in so helping with the laundry is a natural fit. When all the clothes are in we close the door and watch them go around!