Monday, March 31, 2008

Our First Day Together

These photos show us playing and swimming... a lot. We had a really good time. The water was warm, the sun was perfect... and I managed to get sunscreen on everyone... except myself. I got fried. I pushed the raft around with Lucas on it... trying to lure him into a pool time Siesta... and in the meantime, put Cooper to sleep in the baby float. I guess it was my dazzling conversation.

The kids have no fear... and I think if we let them, they would have stayed in there forever.

Sara was subdued when we weren't in active pool play. She has to have so many emotions rolling around in her sweet head. I can only imagine...

I also can tell you that I appreciate the thoughts and the prayers. If there is anything that I know for sure... it is that there are people praying for this sweet girl. Her heart must be breaking... and full of joy - all at the same time. She shed some tears, which is heartbreaking for me to watch, but at the same time... I think it is good that she cries to get some of this out. Please continue to pray for her, as she tries to adjust to a totally new life, and 3 little siblings that think she hung the moon!

Ali has been quietly supportive. She has met Sara before - and they bonded so well on our visit.

Rachel (aka Chatty Cathy) has talked to her non-stop. (NOTE: NON STOP....) And when Sara doesn't answer... which was most of the first day and even some of today, she just goes right on with the dialogue as if Sara HAS answered.

McCaleb... have I mentioned that he is the sweetest child on the planet??? He tells me every day how much he loves me and that I am beautiful. Now what Mom doesn't love to hear that??? Well... he follows Sara around saying: "I love you Sara." And even when she walks off... he just tries again later. It was so hard the first few times... but he told me that he knows she is just sad. Such a smart boy, too.

We ended the day with PIZZA. Sara loves pizza... and I thought it would be nice for her to get her favorite. We watched the BEE MOVIE. (Thanks Jane!!!) And then it was off to bed... because 5am was fast approaching.

Going to the Hogar

You kind of have it in your mind... how things are going to play out when there is a really big event in your life. LIke... the first time we ever laid eyes on each of our children... I didn't sleep at all the night before, trying to picture what it would be like. It was worse than Christmas as a child. You go over what you think will happen...and you have it all orchestrated in your mind's eye.

At breakfast, Jane and I talked about exactly how Sara would act when we would open the front gate. We knew how things would play out... Sara would see us... and she would throw her hands up to her face and cover her mouth... and she would have this great big grin on the whole time!!!

We told the kids... this is what will happen. ALI EVEN AGREED... because she has been with me on the last visit trip, and she saw this first hand.


First of all... Susana met us on the sidewalk. We didn't expect that, so it threw us for a loop. THEN... when they opened the gate, I think Sara was expecting to see Jane only. So... when she saw all of us standing there... instead of the big grin and her hands flying to her mouth... she turned and ran away!!!! (Seriously... I never even got her photo... NOTHING!!!)

It wasn't long until I figured it out. She came running back with her bags packed and she was ready to GO!

As you can see from the photos I have... she was no where to be found. I think she ran from person to person saying good-bye, and I only saw her in Susana's office when we met to go over paperwork.

She was ready to go. That is for sure.

These are a few of my favorite photos from the hogar... with some of the children that WE TRULY LOVE! We are praying for these families and these children... that their cases move along so that they can all come home SOON!!!
(PS... I have not posted any of the small babies that I have, because I did not ask permission... but I sent them on to their parents. If anyone else knows of one I need to take... please email or leave a comment!!! ASAP!)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Flying to Sara...

Getting Ready To Leave Cincy... Uh Oh... Flight DELAY!!!! The POOR lady behind Tim that got to hear AWESOME GOD at the top of the kids' lungs... also ended up next to Tim on the flight. Bless Her Heart.

It was quite the ordeal getting flights booked and accomodations made...for a family of 5 soon-to-be-six. However, we finally got our arrangements made, flying out of Cincinnati.

Thank you to TIM AND KELVIN... for instilling such high aeronautical values in my children. They ALL grab the saftey instruction cards FIRST... and study them endlessly. They know what to do when there is a sudden drop of oxygen in the cabin... and also that your seat can also be used as a floatation device. (PS... and Kelvin... AGAIN... thank you for the face wiping skills, which I have on video... even here in Guatemala.)

The flight was pretty easy... we didn't have to arrive at the crack of dawn... so it made for a relaxing morning drive to the "Queens City".

When we checked in... they assigned us seats... Tim up front... me in the rear... and the kids... scattered in the middle. Ummmm.... I don't think so. So the very nice lady at the gate rearranged us all so that McCaleb and I were in one row, Ali and Rachel were right behind us, and Tim was across the aisle. It worked out really well.

We arrived in Houston (late... after a 1 hour flight delay) and met up with my friend Jane and her son Tanner! It was so great to get to meet them finally! Jane and I have been talking for almost a year...and she was able to give us a LOT of photos of Sara from the beginning of her stay at the hogar... as well as fill in some of the gaps for us! She has also spoiled me so much with TONS of photos of Sara and her friends... but ALSO with phone calls from Sara while she was there visiting her children. So this trip is so very special for us because we get to bring Sara home, we get to meet Jane and Tanner and spend time with them... and we get to have Lucas and Cooper with us at the hotel, which are two of Sara's dearest amigos!

Here are some fun photos of our journey... the flight... and breakfast the morning we went to take Sara from the hogar for the very last time!!! Jane and Tanner are with us... and they got to watch the Hanks kids PACK AWAY SOME FOOD!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tooth Fairy... Come On Down!!!! (...finally...)

Well... for those of you that might have thought I was up for "Mother of the Year"... I can promise you that I am not.

Ali has been working on a loose tooth for quite some time. Can I just say it has been OVER A MONTH? One day at the office, she was picking at something in her mouth -

ME: "Ali... you need to keep your fingers out of your mouth." (note: ewwww)

ALI: "But there is something bugging me."

ME: "What is bugging you??"

ALI: "Something stuck to my tooth. I can't pick it off."

ME: "Let me see....."


ME: "Ummm, Ali. You aren't going to pick that off your tooth - it's new tooth. You know what that means??? You are going to lose a tooth!!!!" (note: don't say "lose" to a child that borders on obsessive compulsive)

ALI: "Really?????" (temporary excitement wears off - fast) "But I don't want to lose it...."

ME: Big sigh. (note: think before you speak, Jennifer) "It will be OK."

Okay. Right. That was a MONTH AGO. This poor tooth was so loose... but once the new tooth started really coming in... it tightened back up. We have explained, lectured, bribed, begged, had the dentist talk to her, given her lots of PIZZA and things that you have to BITE INTO. Nothing. Finally... I told her that if she didn't start to wiggle it - I would. (I really didn't want to be the one to cause her any pain. I wanted TIM to do that... Aren't I nice??) So for the past week, she has really been working it. I explained that you have to wiggle it until it hurts just a little... and each day will get a little better.

Well... I have watched that tooth flop around every day this week. I couldn't believe that it was still there!!! I kept asking Tim to check it... and I hated her going to bed thinking it would come out during one of her head rocking episodes... and she would swallow it.

This morning... I was getting breakfast ready. I look over and she is flicking her tooth with her tongue. (Remember... there is a new one right behind it... so this is really not a good look.) So when I take breakfast over... I say - "Let me just wiggle and see how loose it is today..." She opens her mouth and I reach over with my thumb, and before I can get a full WIGGLE OUT... her tooth flips back at me, over my hand and lands on the table. You should have seen the look on Ali's face. Trying to recover really fast, I said... "Well, look at that! I guess it was ready to come on out!" I scooped up the TINIEST TOOTH I HAVE EVER SEEN... and went to get Ali a paper towel.

There was no crying. Just two little tears at the corner of each eye. I don't think it hurt her... but she was as shocked as I was that it just flew out of her mouth!

We rinsed with some salt water, then of course some clear water... who could eat breakfast with that salty taste??? Ali went back to the table and ate her blueberry muffin.

Right before we left the house - she said, "Can I see the tooth? Did you find it?"

She has been so worried about losing her tooth. She even wrote a special note tonight to be sure the Tooth Fairy doesn't KEEP her tooth. But just to be nice... she drew a picture at the bottom of the note - and TF is allowed to keep the letter.

What a funny girl!

She didn't really get it out fast enough for me to post a really good toothless shot... but she still looks absolutely adorable. All in all, she handled this very well.

I just still cannot believe that the tooth came out when all I wanted to do was a wiggle-check. Poor Ali, didn't even get to pull her own first tooth... but she was a super good sport about it. Mother of the year? Me...? I don't think so!