Sunday, March 16, 2008

The saga of Maria, Part II

February 15:
We got up bright and early to make our appointment on time. Hector picked us up in the hotel lobby at 6:50, and we had to be at the embassy by 7:15. Completely uneventful at the embassy ... Maria was quite unimpressed with the importance of her big day! The best news of the day, other then making Maria an official immigrant, was that she was now used to her new mommy and daddy and managed quite a few smiles for us. The medicines and lotions she now had seemed to make her feel 100% better, and she decided she likes us pretty well. She is just an absolute doll, and starts smiling all the time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Maria's homecoming, Part I

Feb. 12:
So I told my cousin that I could absolutely get packed early this time, since of course I know what I'm doing the 2nd time around, and will get plenty of sleep before getting up early to fly to Guatemala. HAH! I decide I absolutely MUST see Maya before leaving her for 8 whole days, so I leave work and go home and pack Maya's clothes and snacks and head to Gran's house. I stay there long enough to give her a bath and put her to bed, but she wants Gran to lay down with her. So I sneak out and head home to, ahem, START packing things for Maria and myself. On the way home, Eric calls and asks if we have a second diaper bag to take to for Maria. Um... no ... hadn't even thought about it yet. So off to Target I go.

While there, I also decide to get a couple more outfits for Maria, as I still have no clue what size she wears, but am betting on 12 months. And since we're taking my laptop, I also stock up on a large bag that can double as a purse and a laptop carrier (complete with laptop sleeve). So another $100 later, I head home at 10:00 and start packing. Luckily, I DID have most of my things stacked and ready to pack, just had to organize Maria's things and fit it all in as few suitcases as I could. We ended up wtih 4 suitcases, and 3 carryon items. geez. And I thought I packed light....

Feb 13:
So around 1:30 a.m., I do finally head to bed and manage to get about 1 1/2 hours of sleep before getting up at 3:00 a.m. to head to the airport around 5:00. We leave home about 15 minutes late, and within a couple of miles from the house I remember I forgot to take my extra stash of cash, which I had saved to buy some jade jewelry for my girls (well, ok, and for mama!) So back home we go and then finally get to the airport and start checking baggage. The flight was uneventful, and we get to our hotel room about 1/2 hour before the att'y and his assistant/interpreter call and say they are downstairs with Maria! yay!!! I'm finally, finally, finally about to get my baby girl!! I am just as nervous at this point as I was when getting Maya.

So we rush downstairs and I honestly didn't have time to get emotional like I did last time. They had me that adorable baby girl, who is crying quite earnestly, and they tell me she is in "desperate need of a diaper change." So I rush upstairs and change her and come back down. Then they ask for our packet of paperwork that we need to take to the embassy. Back upstairs I go, Maria in tow. By this time, Maria is not only still crying, she is sweating profusely. Seems they dressed her in an outfit I sent to her in a package the Conley's brought with them in December, and the little fleece top is sweltering hot in GC weather. Her little face is drenched with sweat and she's quite red from the heat and the crying. We finally finish with the att'y and are able to stop by the gift shop and pick up some formula for her. Once we get back to our room we are finally able to take some of those darned hot clothes off of her! But she continues to cry, and cry, and cry. By that evening we are really worried that she might have a fever and be sick, as she will not eat much and will not stop crying and seems to still be quite hot. We head to the baby lounge and find someone with an ear thermometer, and her temperature is normal. So we decide to wait until the next day, when we will take her to the Guatemalan doctor anyway for her medical release that needs to go to the embassy with us.

Maria slept sporadically throughout the night, and continued to sweat! But she was one of the two cutest baby girls I had ever seen, and we were so completely in love with her already. I just wanted to cry with her and do SOMETHING to ease her misery!!

Feb 14:
Daddy needed some sleep after the long night, so after breakfast, he went back to bed and Maria and I left to window shop and go to the baby lounge. While downstairs, I thought daddy needed to buy "his girls" a little something for Valentine's Day, so we stopped at the jade store in the hotel and bought matching jade heart pendants for the girls and a larger one for mommy! We'll just show daddy later how generous he was to all his girls....

In the baby lounge, Maria is finally calm for the first time since we got her, and we discover her love of Gerber Puffs! I let her eat as much as she wanted, as she had had very little to eat by this point.

We later go to get her photos taken for the visa, and we go to the doctor to get her medical release. He was an extremely nice man, and took plenty of time with us to answer our questions. He convinced us that we did NOT need to have her immunizations redone in the states, with the exception of the M,M,R one, as she had gotten it too young in GC. He also helped us figure out that our new baby had a probable milk allergy, which explained the severe rash she had, along with some strange looking poops. He also prescribed a low-steroid creme to tackle her severe eczema. We stopped by the Pharmacia Americana on the way back to the hotel and picked up the prescripion cream, along with some soy formula. Within 24 hours, we had a new baby on our hands, and we had gotten several smiles out of her by then. From then on, she continued to improve and had nothing but smiles for us. I know she missed her foster mother, whose name was Maria, coincidentally. But oh, happy day!! Eric was able to make her smile quite often, and she really seemed to like him, so he was much more at ease than he was the first time we were there!

To be continued .. mommy is sleepy!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday, Maria!

Wow, I simply cannot believe how fast time is flying by! I wanted to come and update about our Guatemala trip, all the sights, all the details, all the new friends we made. But now it's Maria's first birthday already and I just cannot keep up with all that is going on in our lives, much less stop to write about it! sigh.

Maria is an absolute doll! She is simply a happy, smiley baby. She loves to watch her big sister, and lights up anytime Maya is in the room. She and Maya appear to be complete opposites, and I just love watching their little personalities develop. Maya is a 100% on-the-go, never stop, early riser, too busy to stop and eat, non-stop LOUD talker. Maria is laid back, quiet, slow eater, and likes to sleep late like daddy. I've already pictured Maya and I hitting the early morning sales on Black Friday while Maria and daddy sleep in.

Maya has adapted amazingly well, and adores her little sister. She is reveling in her big sister role, I think. She has her moments of jealousy, but overall handles it very well. Oh, I MUST mention Maya's newest funny! Before we left, we taught Maya to say Maria's name and where she is from. She is very adept at telling people very matter-of-factly, "She's from Guatemala." So after we got home, we started explaining that Maya is also from Guatemala. She seemed surprised at first, but started answering "Guatemala" whenever we asked where she is from. Fast forward to last week Sunday, when daddy took Maya to Monkey Joe's for some one-on-one father-daughter time. Maya LOVES Monkey Joe's, which is really why we decided to host Maria's first birthday party at a local bounce house. Maya has a great time, as usual, at Monkey Joe's. For some reason, after her trip there, this is how our conversations about national origins now go:

mommy: What is your sister's name?
Maya: Her name is Maria. (pronouced "rhea"...hehehe)
mommy: Where is she from?
Maya: She's from Guatemala
mommy: Where is Maya from?
Maya: I'm from Monkey Joe's

My girl is hilarious!

Since Maria's party is next Sunday, we didn't really do much today. We were going to go out for lunch (just Maria, me and Omi), but I had to finish a spreadsheet for work, and so we didn't make it out in time before Maria's nap. Then we were going to meet daddy and Maya for supper somewhere, but then daddy had to work late at the last minute. So I picked up Maya and we just came home and had mac & cheese for supper, and I made icing for the cupcakes I was going to freeze and use for the party on Sunday. We each had a cupcake, and wore our Elmo party hats, and sang Happy Birthday to Maria. I have a GREAT picture that emphasizes the differences in eating habits of my girls .... which I hope I can find time to download and share tomorrow. Maya just wanted to decorate her cupcake, and she ate most of the icing off of it, but only took about 3 or 4 small bites of the actual cupcake. Maria devoured her cupcake!! It was so cute ... she smooshed it to pieces, like I thought she would, but she also ate as much as she could get in her mouth!

They're absolutely adorable ... and I love both of those girls to pieces!