Thursday, August 30, 2007

The official end of summer

Yesterday was the first day of school....officially. The kids were back. It was weird starting the year with only three. I kept waiting for the other bus to pull up. I have to admit heart's not in it this year. I'm there. I'm excited about the new curriculum we have. I loved reading the "Pigeon" books (by Mo Willems) to them and seeing them crack up when pigeon doesn't get his way. I can't wait to see them get excited about dinosaurs and Johnny Appleseed, but mostly I want to be in Guatemala.
Two of my students from last year are returning this year. My new student had a very short honeymoon---in time out by 10:00. After slapping me a few times and giving my arm a little nibble, he settled right in and had a GREAT afternoon. He did tell me though (as tears and snot were streaming down his little face) "I'm going home and I'm taking my school supplies with me." I almost cracked up. All in all, it was a good first day.
We sure do miss you, Jess. Enjoy your time with your new baby and then get back here!!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Videos of Guatemala

Someone on the adoption forum posted some videos she found on YouTube. As I was watching them, and remembering how much I loved it there, I thought that maybe you guys would like to see them also. The first one is of Antigua. Antigua is the oldest city in Central America and it used to be the capital of Guatemala.
Disclaimer: You may want to turn down the sound on your computer. Since I speak very little Spanish, I'm not holding myself responsible for any of the lyrics or things said in these videos.

You will see the inside and outside of a beautiful, pale-yellow church. Here is a little information about the church that I found on the internet:

La Merced
The original church of La Merced was built between 1543 and 1546. But was reconstructed and renovated several times after being destroyed by a series of earthquakes. La Merced as it stands today was completed in 1767 and is an excellent example of the baroque style that was dominant in Antigua in the 18th century. Some repairs to the church were made in the 1850s. Next to the church are the ruins of the convent. In its central courtyard, the largest fountain in Guatemala can be found. It was build in the 18th century and measures 27 meters in diameter.

This second video is of the town where Andrew was born: Mazatenango. Again, I found this on YouTube. It's basically two people on a scooter as they ride through the town. Andrew's birth family is not from this town, but they are from one very close-by. It is not a tourist area, though, and I don't think that there are many pictures of it to be found.
Edited to say: The people on the scooter are a boy and a girl. The boy took the video and wrote the song that is in the background. The song is called Bonita y Bella and so I originally thought it was two girls on the scooter.
The original poster of the video commented about Mazetenango and Suchitepequez, with some interesting information about the area.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I just saw a commercial for Restasis and the woman in the commercial almost had me feeling sorry for her because she couldn't produce her own tears. Poor thing had nothing to cry about. Then I thought, Hey. I used to go days, even weeks without producing any tears. That chick doesn't need Restasis. She needs to ADOPT!!!!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

I need a good book

Anybody read a book recently (or not so recently) that they loved? I need something to take my mind off this waiting and I'm at the end of my reading stack. Anyone have a suggestion??

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good news that I was afraid to post.

Once you've had one "take back" in the adoption process, trusting good news becomes very difficult. This past few days has been a bit of a roller coaster.
Last Thursday, I was told that the birth certificate was done and I was being submitted for pink that day if my facilitator could get to the front of the line before the Embassy closed. If he couldn't get it in on Thursday, he would submit it on Monday (they don't accept paperwork on Fridays). I already knew, because I stalk the forum, that window #10 would be closed this week and they would not accept any paperwork. On Monday, my agency called to say that I had not been submitted on Thursday, I was right about the window being closed this week and they would submit me next Monday. I know that in 6 months, waiting an extra week at this point will be a distant memory and maybe even forgotten altogether, but right now it seems like FOREVER. Yesterday, I got a phone call telling me that I HAD been submitted last Thursday and my agency had the DNA authorization. See why I was afraid to post the news? See why I feel like I'm on a roller coaster? So, bottom line....Andrew's embassy appointment could be sometime in the next three weeks. I'm trying very hard not to do too much 'ciphering' in my head because that can lead to some big disappointment, so I just keeping saying '3 weeks' and trying not to pinpoint a date.
I'm trying very hard to get my classroom ready for whoever is going to be subbing for me, but I keep catching myself just standing in the middle of the mess staring into space. This could be a long three weeks.
If you need me on Saturday and Sunday, I'll be doing all the deep cleaning in my condo that I promised myself I would do right before Andrew came home. Feel free to call me and interrupt. If you know me, you know that I HATE cleaning.
And, since several of you said you log on here just to see pictures of Andrew, here are a few you may not have seen:

A toothless grin:

I miss that sweet, little face.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Is this thing on?

I know you guys are reading this blog because I see the numbers on my little counter go up every day, but I have no idea who's reading. I'd love it if you left me a comment so I know who's hanging around. You never know, I might say something really nice about you for the whole world to see if I know you're one of the 'regulars'.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Primos is Spanish for cousins. Andrew has four cousins---my beautiful nieces and nephews. I can't wait for Andrew to meet them. My sister-in-law just sent me new pictures. (Thanks, Lisa!!)
Here are some of my favorites.

Graham, Amelia, Jolie and Bennett

Bennett and Tennessee Tuxedo

My brother, Dan, and the kids

Cutie-pie Amelia

This picture cracks me up!

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Itchy Itcherson

If I were Jerry Seinfeld, I'd open tonight's show with, "What's up with all the bugs in Chicago this summer?"
They're killing me! First we had the cicada invasion. They were nasty. Luckily, I was in Guatemala during most of the week that they were flying around. The noise drove me crazy, though.
Now, we have itch mites. You don't know they're biting you. The bites show up 4 hours after you've been bitten. They itch SO bad. I have one bite on my leg that I have scratched so hard in my sleep, I've bruised my leg. They leave big red welts and then get other little bumps around that welt. Last night, I woke up at 2am itching and scratching. I got up and put hydrocortisone cream on the bites, but it was still 3:30 before I got back to sleep. Andrew may as well be home if I'm going to keep these kind of hours!!

Just in case you're one of those people who loves this kind of stuff, here's a website for you complete with a video: itch mites

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Friday, August 17, 2007


Kathy and Nicholas invited me to the Shedd Aquarium today. I LOVE that place. Nicholas said "fish" pretty much the whole way there. He liked watching them swim around in the tanks, but wasn't quite as thrilled about the dolphin show. Maybe he knew they aren't fish, so he wasn't interested. I was, though. There is something so calming about watching the dolphins swim with Lake Michigan as a backdrop. I could sit there for a long time.

Kathy and Nicholas

First time seeing the dolphins:

Walking on water:

Aren't they beautiful??

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A baby with a new name!!

I just got the call from my agency. Andrew has a new birth certificate, and he now has my last name!!! Birth mom has signed off for the fourth and final time and I am being submitted for pink today or Monday. I'm still not sure about the exact time line because of the new DNA testing, but it should be 3-4 weeks from now when I go to pick him up. I really have been trying to keep busy today, but this just made it much easier to concentrate and relax!!

Here are some pictures to show how happy Andrew is about officially having the same last name as his grandparents:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Tom Petty sings that "Waiting is the hardest part", but he's wrong. 'Not knowing' is the hardest part. Tomorrow will be two weeks since I got the call that I was out of PGN. There are quite a few steps between getting out of PGN and getting home. I just wish I knew which one of those steps I was on. If my agency called and said, "Andrew will be home on Sept. 10" (or any other random date), I would be better able to handle this, because then I would only be waiting; not waiting and wondering. I could PLAN--which is one of my favorite things to do. I'm trying to stay busy and not worry or obsess.
I thought that a lot of this adoption journey was about patience, but it's not. It's about Trust. Trusting that things will work out the way they are supposed to. Trusting that Andrew's lawyer and facilitator are doing everything they can to get him home. Trusting that birth mom will sign off for the fourth and final time. Trusting that the embassy has the paperwork they need and that they will move things forward.
Patience is a hard one for me. Trust is even harder.
At any minute, my agency could call and tell me that things are moving along and Andrew will be home soon and all of this anxiety will melt away. I don't want to waste what's left of my precious summer time and energy on purposeless anxiety.

Today, I will do something constructive and/or fun and trust that everything is going according to God's plan.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

7 months old! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Andrew is 7 months old today!! I hate that he is getting older without me, but happy that we are on the home stretch and hopefully, he will be home before his 8 month birthday.
Happy 7 month birthday, baby!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Andrew's room is DONE! Actually, I still have a few Noah's Ark pictures to hang, but I'm waiting for a book I ordered to come in. I'm so excited that it's finished. I can't wait to see his sweet little face in the crib (at 3 in the morning!).
I forgot to mention that the lamp on the table by the crib will not be there soon. Grandad is carving an ark and making a lamp out of it for Andrew. I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Medical Update and Pictures

I got new pictures today. Woo Hoo! I love picture day! My little gordito is now 17.9 lbs; 26.5 in. Yikes! I have GOT to start lifting weights.
Note to self: Go buy tiger balm for sore muscles.

Look at my belly!!!

No more horizontal stripes for me!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Happy Birthday, Uncle Dan!

My brother turned 40 today. He's not that excited about it. I am. I'm not the only one in my 40's anymore!
I can't wait for Andrew to meet his Uncle Dan. It sounds weird to even say that, "Uncle Dan". I've never called him that before.
My brother is a wonderful person. I don't tell him that enough. He's very smart and funny--and very often, both of those things at once. He works hard and takes good care of his family.
He can be a serious, responsible adult and then turn around and be as silly as a 5 year old; which his kids love. He's a good person. I wish we lived closer to them so that Andrew could know him better.
Here's my favorite picture of him with one of his sons.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


The name of the blog is "Just the Two of Us". I chose that name to highlight the uniqueness of being an unconventional family and because very often it will be just the two of us. But that title does not mean to exclude the huge numbers of people who are also our "family". I have never experienced so much kindness and generosity as I have in the past six months. I am truly amazed by the love and support that I have received. I have wonderful friends and family. I knew that already, but recently I have felt it in a way that I never experienced before. You guys have made me laugh often and made me cry just as often. Each time I open a card, email or gift, I am overwhelmed by the love that has been shown to both Andrew and I during this time. He is one very blessed little boy to have so many people in his life who already love and care about him---I am twice as blessed because I have you AND him. Thank you all so much for everything you have done and said throughout this process. I would not have wanted to go through this without all of you there cheering me on.
I posted on song for you on my playlist: 'Kind and Generous'

Friday, August 3, 2007

It hit me

Today, as I was driving to the grocery store, I was listening to my Adoption CD. The song, "On My Way" by Phil Collins came on and I started bawling (and smiling at the same time). It hit me. My little boy is coming home! Yesterday, I just felt relief. Today, I feel pure JOY.
I've added the song to my playlist just in case you want to smile and cry with me today.


The CUBS are in first place!! That hardly ever happens! Andrew is a HUGE Cubs fan. (He just doesn't know it yet.) Here he is sporting his Cubs outfit.
Granddad bought him a bunch of "Philly team" outfits, but they won't fit him until next year. Good thing, Granddad, because there will be no Phillies shirts this year!

Woo Hoo! The Cubs are in first place!!

Mommy, this hat is too big for my little noggin.
I wonder when it will fit? Maybe "next year".

I can sleep peacefully knowing that
the Cubs are doing well.

I love the Cubs and the "Bears".
Don't worry Mommy. I'm going to be
home in time for the Bears' season--
and I'm bringing Curly home with me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


We are OUT of PGN!! (for real, this time) My social worker called this morning to give me the good news. Andrew should be home in 4-6 weeks. There has been an extra DNA test added to the end of this process as of yesterday, so that may add an extra week to the process. It still looks like he should be home by the middle of September.
Even with the mistake made a month ago, I still consider myself very fortunate to be out this quickly. Many people have cases in PGN for months. Andrew is 6 1/2 months old right now. I feel very blessed to be able to bring him home by 8 months.
Thank you, God!!!
Look what our friend, Tara made for us. She posted it on her blog and I wanted one too! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more


Someone on the adoption forum showed us this amazing website today. Instant Sketch You can download a picture and it will make a pencil sketch for you in a matter of minutes. Of course, I did about 5 of them right away. Here are three of my favorites: