Sunday, March 30, 2008

Antigua

I have been wanting to write this post since we returned from Guatemala. While we were there, we had the opportunity to visit Antigua, a small city that used to be the capital before it was moved to Guatemala City. Antigua retains the spirit and flavor of the "old Guatemala" and we had an amazing day exploring. We took a van ride from Guatemala City with two people who worked for the World Health Organization and are traveling all over Central America promoting anti-violence. The streets are all cobblestone so it was a little difficult moving the stroller around, but we would not have been able to see as much without it.

Some pictures from the day:One of the things that struck me in Antigua was the rich colors everywhere -on the buildings, in the market, and woven into the textiles that Guatemala is famous for.
Before we left for the evening, we were lucky enough to enter the Plaza Mayor right before an Easter procession. My mother and I have traveled a lot and have seen some amazing things that represent the local culture of the places we have been, including a cremation in Bali and the catacombs under Paris. What we saw in Antigua that day was people really living their faith. And Grace slept through all of it!

We did have some time for fun pictures too:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Friday was a busy day for Grace! We took Daisy to day care and then Grace had her first doctor's appointment with Dr. A. He was such a nice man and took a lot of time with us, answering questions and making Mommy feel better. Poor Grace got 4 injections, but Dr. A. sent the nurse in to give the shots so he wouldn't be the "bad guy". It was fast, but Grace screamed. Even with that it was much easier than what Big Daddy had to do at the last doctor's appointment when Grace had 5 vials of blood drawn!

Then, later that evening, Catherine came by to babysit. We took this photo since she is Grace's first babysitter. Again, Mommy was nervous but Grace and Catherine hit it off just fine and it seems like they had a good evening together. And, Grace even went to be bed early - at 9:15! Mommy doesn't plan to leave Grace too often but it is nice to know we have a reliable young woman to take care of Grace in the future! Thanks, Catherine!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This one is for Aunt Phyllis

Hi, Aunt Phyl! Grace and I know you look at the blog every day, so we took these pictures this morning just for you! We think spring is coming and it was warm enough for capri pants today so, of course, Grace had to try the new outfit you bought her! She looked adorable ....but oh so serious!Look how great she is doing on her rocking giraffe! When Grace first tried this toy she couldn't balance at all. Now she can balance with her feet on the floor and her hands on the ears or handles. When she feels it moving backward, Grace instinctively "corrects" and moves the toy forward again. I'm impressed!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Investment Advice

I know the stock market has been dropping tragically this year, so I wanted to offer this free investment advice to all my friends and family out there. If you invest in any of these companies you are sure to make money because I think Grace and I are single-handedly improving their net worth with our purchases alone:
  • Gerber - We buy Gerber rice cereal, Graduates vegetables, fruit, and those delicious combo meals of meat or chicken and mixed vegetables that are the oddest orange, brown, and yellow colors. Grace LOVES the wagon wheel and puffs snacks and I ALWAYS need some on hand to help her stay quiet when she is getting cranky. These are especially good in the back seat of the car!
  • Huggies - What would the world be without Huggies diapers and wipes? I can't tell you how many wipes we go through in a day. They are great for everything from what they are made for (diaper changes and sticky hands) to wiping baby "ick" off the car door, cleaning the countertops, and wiping Daisy's muddy paws.
  • Nestle - Grace is lactose intolerant and had been on Nestle NAN formula in Guatemala. I brought one can back with me figuring I could get more here. Then I found out that NAN is only available in Latin America. I figured we could wean her off the NAN and move to any soy-based formula available here. Nope. That didn't work. She hated the Similac and some other brands I tried. Luckily, she has taken to Nestle Good Start which is the closest we can come to NAN without traveling back to Guatemala.
  • Bounty - I use as many paper towels in a day as I do Huggies wipes!
  • Windex, Fantastik, and whoever makes Rock Doctor Granite Cleaner - Yes, I have an issue with clean counters, tables, windows, and mirrors. I am constantly cleaning fingerprints and doggie nose prints! Daisy hasn't figured out that she can't get the food from the bottom of the glass table so her nose prints are under there too!
  • Spray and Wash - Everything gets a spray before it goes in the laundry basket. I have been doing more laundry than ever before, but it still sits for a day or two before I have enough to make a load. This is compared to once a week or more, BG (= Before Grace)!
  • No Slippy Hair Clippy - My parents have told me that when I was little people mistook me for a boy because I didn't have much hair. They used to tape bows to my head to stop that from happening. Maybe that is why I am obsessed with bows for Grace. No Slippy Hair Clippy makes the cutest ones but they are expensive so I am a little neurotic about not losing them. It doesn't matter, though, because Grace is a magician and can make them disappear in the blink of an eye. So, I am sure I will be back on the website replacing favorite ones until she is old enough to tell me she doesn't want bows in her hair. Then, I'll be selling them on eBay!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy 10 months, Grace!


Boy, I love this kid!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Encounter with the Easter Bunny

We didn't go to the mall planning to take a picture with the Easter Bunny. I guess that is a sign of a new mom - I didn't even think about it. So Grace didn't have on her "Sunday Best" or a cute Easter dress. But when we got there and I saw everyone waiting to sit on the Easter Bunny's lap, I thought, '"Why not? It's her first Easter" and we got in line. We waited our turn while Grace ate a Gerber pinwheel snack and I was worried that if we got up there before she finished it, I was going to be in big trouble if I had to take it away. She looked at the Easter Bunny and and didn't cry so I took the next step and put her on his lap. Oh no! The tears started as soon as her little butt touched down. And, they snapped the picture! Now, it was probably cute, but I really didn't want that to be the way we commemorated this milestone, so the Easter Bunny gave Grace a plastic egg, I asked if we could try again, and this is the second shot. Not bad. I didn't dare ask for another "take" since there were others in line. But, as my mother knows, it is hard to take a good picture of a moving target like Grace. She is always looking at something other than the camera!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First day of Spring?

Is it really the first day of Spring? It sure didn't feel like it here! I always like to think that March is Spring, but it really isn't in Ohio! Outside our window today we saw sunshine (a rare thing this time of the year) but also snow. Grace actually had a snowball in her hand today. She didn't seem to like it much - just looked at it, looked at me, and then dropped it on the ground!

Here she is sporting a new sweater made by Mommy's friend Suzanne. I think she looks pretty cute but Grace is really not a fan of hats and hoods!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bath Time Fun!

Grace didn't love taking a bath the first few times we tried it. I couldn't understand, since her foster mom said it was something she enjoyed and we saw her splash and love the water in the pool. But Summer and Daisy love to swim and both hate baths, so I figured it was just me. Well, fear no more....I figured it out! It was the tub Grace didn't like. Maybe it is too big and she doesn't feel secure. Now that I have been giving her a bath in the kitchen sink she is happy to play and splash for as long as I will let her!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our Amazing Grace


There are so many wonderful things about this 9 1/2 month old bundle of joy, but here are our "Top 10 Most Amazing Things About Grace":
  • Grace has long, chestnut eyelashes that frame her deep brown eyes. They look even longer when her eyes are closed and she is sleeping.
  • She is curious and inquisitive, always watching other people and things that are happening around her.
  • Grace is hilarious when she mimics sounds or movements. She makes a game out of tapping the table, babbling, or grunting if you want to play that "copycat" game with her.
  • She loves to cuddle. There is nothing better than holding her while she puts her head on your chest and sucks her thumb. It doesn't take long before Grace is "cooing" as she relaxes and falls asleep.
  • So far Grace has been an "eating machine", especially when it comes to table food! Forget the baby formula and Gerber jars, Mommy!
  • Grace loves music and dances to her own beat!
  • She has a strong will and a mind of her own. That may not be easy with a baby who can't tell you what she wants, but some day it will work to her advantage. I just know she will do great things.
  • Grace has a crooked toe on her left foot....no, she is not perfect, and I love that!
  • Grace has perfect, soft, beautiful skin and crazy bedhead hair in the morning.
  • Sometimes Grace seems really serious, but within an instant she can smile and light up the room. I'll do just about anything to get her to smile for me!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New friends


I am so proud of Daisy. She has been calm and gentle around Grace. So far, they seem to like each other. The hard part is keeping their toys separate. Each of them wants to play with the toys they shouldn't have! Daisy has been stealing some of Grace's squeaky blocks when no one is looking and Grace wants anything at her level - the floor!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bathing beauty

Within a three block radius in Guatemala City are several international hotels - Intercontinental, Raddison, Clarion Suites, Marriott, Biltmore, Holiday Inn, and the Westin. For this trip we decided to stay at the Westin for the amenities which included a pool! The weather was absolutely perfect with warm days, no humidity, clear skies and cool nights. No wonder they call Guatemala "the land of eternal spring". We loved sitting outside and eating lunch poolside. But the best part was watching Grace experience the pool for the first time. She had two adorable swimsuits and a blow up float with a flower that Nana brought with her. Grace loved to splash the water and kick her little feet. In the float she was able to move around the pool with ease. It must have felt great to have that freedom!

Home in the USA!

We arrived safely in Houston yesterday after a pretty uneventful flight. Grace did amazingly well for her first time on an airplane and being in one spot for 2 1/2 hours. The people at immigration were very sweet to us and wished us "Congratulations" on Grace's new citizenship.

We have tons of great pictures and more coming every day since Grace is so darn cute! When I have some time (when she is 16, maybe?) I will go back and fill in the blanks of what we did on our final trip to Guatemala.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A bath and a smile


Who needs toys? I'll just play with this towel!


Grace is not always sunshine and smiles. Actually, she has been a little fussy these last two days. After all, her whole life has been changed and we have had a busy 29 hours together - saying goodbye to her foster family, meeting us again, sleeping in a different place, getting up really early to go to the US embassy, and now moving to another hotel. It is alot for anyone to accept without complaint. But, Grace is doing her best and when she smiles she lights up my world!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"Gotcha Day"

Grace when we first got back to the hotel room after saying "goodbye".
First clothing change. She ate her Gerber's verduras y carne and we moved on to clothing change #2 (see below).


Look at me, Big Daddy! I can sit up like a big girl now!

Grace and Nana in the Guatemalan sunshine.

We left the Northeast's cold, blustery weather and arrived to 79 degrees and sunshine in Guatemala City. I got a lot of strange looks walking through the airports with an empty stroller and one woman stopped to ask me if I forgot the baby somewhere! Most people were very sweet and patient with me as I figured out how to manuver it, fold it, go through security, and gate check. But by the time we got to the Guatemala City airport I was a pro!


Today, March 6th, is our "Gotcha Day" - a new holiday in our family. Grace is so adorable. She doesn't seem like she has grown much but she is a different child from 3 months ago. She sits straight up on her own for 15 minutes (at least) and amuses herself with toys, the blanket, the carpet, and anything she can get her hands on. We can see she has more strength in her legs but she is not crawling or walking yet. Her foster mom says she likes the walker so that is something we will definitely use when we get home to help her continue to build her leg muscles. Grace likes the stoller and doesn't seem bothered by the harness. In fact, right now she is asleep in the stroller next to me, which is why I have time to write. I hope she is as agreeable with the car seat!


Another thing that is different is she is eating solid food. Grace eats three times per day, sometimes jarred food but mostly she eats what the family is eating, just mashed up. I was surprised and pleased to find out she likes plantains, mixed vegetables, noodles with cheese and tomato sauce, black beans, chicken and meat! The one thing she doesn't like is sweets! So far today, she has pushed her bottle away every time we have tried to give it to her. Part of that could be because she is off her schedule, so we will keep trying.


Grace's foster mom told me she was their "spoiled little girl" and she cried when we said goodbye. I am so grateful that they took good care of her and truly considered her a part of the family. They showed me pictures of her on their digital camera and filled up two disposable cameras for me to develop at home. Grace even went with the family on vacation to the beach, coming back to Guatemala City just a few days ago!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

...Don't know when I'll be back again. Well, that's not exactly true. We'll be back next Tuesday.

I've been sick for about a week now and I am not feeling great today, but nothing is going to stop me from getting on that plane tonight to go get Grace. As Aunt Phyl said the other day, "One more get up" and I will have her forever. It is crazy to think that the day is finally here. It seems almost unreal. I'm not nervous or worried. I know it is all going to be great and I am even ready for those bumps in the road as we get to know each other. It is so exciting to be able to start our life together!

Mommy's coming to get you, Grace! Just one more day!