Friday, August 29, 2008


Alaina's first birthday is on Sunday. This week has been full of preparations. Packages have been coming in from family in the States. Extra house cleaning. We had purposed to just have a few close friends over as she isn't really old enough to get the idea of her birthday and all. Well, it has all gotten blown way out of proportion. People ask us normal questions like when is her birthday. Then they ask the normal question of are you going to do a party or anything. I answer yes we are just going to have a few people and before I get the whole thing out they state that they are coming. I don't feel that I can say well we just wanted to keep it small etc. and so I'm looking at this as a wonderful opportunity to show hospitality. So now I've got like 50 people coming on Sunday from 2-5. I have managed to let people know that its not going to be a regular party with games and all. Just some food and a cake. Now I just need to get more food and more cake. Perhaps I'll bake some cakes instead of buying. I had ordered her a princess cake from the cake people on post. I ordered half a sheet cake. It's golden cake so I could bake a chocolate one and then there should be enough. And I already have cake mix and frosting in the house so it wont cost any exta. Otherwise I'm having my 7 quart crock pot full of lil smokies (beef) in barbque sauce, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, 2 varieties of chips with zaziki for dip, Corn chips with that dip you make with Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes, coke, coke zero, tea, water and juice boxes for the kids. I thought the juice boxes would be a lot easier and less mess so though it may not be as frugal as possible it works for me. If anyone has any more suggestions please let me know. I'm now worried that there wont be enough. I just wanted the day to be special for my little girl. Tomorrow we go to have professional pictures taken. Some of her for her first birthday and some family photos. So, today I need to get our outfits chosen and ironed and all ready to go.
The picture above is of Alaina after opening her first birthday present from Tia Fran. (My sister)
So many have come in and there will be more at the party so we decided she needed to start opening one a day or she would be crazy and not having fun. She loves her new toy as you can see from the big smile on her face.

The Pictures Below

I see now that I neglected to describe the pics below. Alaina had gotten into the baking cabinet. This didn't bother me as she often does and likes to play with some of the things. There isn't anything in there that will hurt her. What I didn't count on was that the jar of red colored sugar sprinkles had been previously opened. She finally figured out how to open it and then proceeded to dump in on the floor. At that point it was her goal to get as much of it as possible into her mouth. So I snapped a few pictures before I cleaned her and it up.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Is Your Personality Type?

You Are An ISTP
The Mechanic

You are calm and collected, even in the most difficult of situations.
A person of action and self-direction, you love being independent.
You seem impulsive, surprising, and unpredictable to outsiders.
You are good at understanding how all things work, except for people.

In love, you tend to be very easy going and flexible.
The only thing you can't stand for is someone trying to change you or your life.

At work, you can stay completely calm under pressure. You handle stress well.
You would make an excellent pilot, forensic pathologist, or athlete.

How you see yourself: Logical, flexible, and unconventional

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Indecisive, flippant, and disrespectful
The problem with this one is that I don't think I handle stress well and I don't think I'm calm and collected all the time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guess Who's Walking!

Alaina that's who! She took her first steps on Sunday. 3 of them to Momma.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Settling Down In Our New Home

We arrived home to Germany on Thursday evening July 31st. Alaina's 11 month birthday. The next day was a matter of unpacking our suitcases and putting things away and continuing the process of unpacking the house. Saturday we decided to take Alaina out to the PX in Graf. to get the things she needed that we could not have gotten ahead of time. We also went to the commissary as no grocery shopping had been done since June. Alaina did exceptionally well in both stores. We got enough baby food and diapers to last a while. We bought her a high chair with a tray as I have decided that is better that the kind that pulls up to the table where she can grab everything and throw it. We also had already discovered the need for a diaper pail with a lid. Those of you with children will understand and are probably nodding and smirking right now. It was a long day so we topped it off after we got everything we bought into the car by going to the food court and enjoying some good Taco Bell! We ran into some good friends there who had also adopted from Guatemala. It was really good to see them and talk with them. Alaina chose this time to pee through her outfit so I was thankful I had brought along an extra outfit in the diaper bag. It was while we were eating that we discovered she likes diced tomatoes. She in fact prefers them to Cheerios.Anyway, we have settled into a good routine. Alaina is generally a very happy baby and life is good. We thank God for bringing her into our lives. She is so precious.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Yesterday was so relaxing. Church was really good and we all just took it easy. Today however is a different story. I woke up just before 7am. I would really liked to have gone right back to sleep, however I have discovered that if my day is to be successful at all, I must get up an hour before she does. This gives me time to shower and dress and do my hair and makeup. I also can usually get the bed made, my Bible read, and possibly fold whatever was in the drier overnight. Since I don't move too fast in the morning, all of this may take me longer than it does you. So, this morning, I got up at 7. Alaina generally gets up anywhere between 0730 and 0830. If she isn't up by 0830 I get her up or it will throw our whole day off, but I digress. OK, so, I got up at 0700. Showered, washed and conditioned my hair. (when you have long, coarse, dry hair like mine you only wash once or twice a week. If I wash more I end up looking like foo foo the clown) I even managed to shave my legs! Woo Hoo! Got it all done. Hair, make-up, Listerine, clothes. I put a load of whites in the washer, and stripped the bed. I then realized that I could not make up the bed because the other set of sheets is in a closet in Alaina's room. (Note to self: pull out sheets on Sunday night before she goes to bed) Then I changed the towels in the bathrooms and gathered anything that needed to go downstairs. 0830 Alaina is still asleep so I go in and wake her up. I wonder if she's thinking that she's landed in some sort of crazy people family where they try so hard to get you to sleep and then go and wake you up from it. lol I figure she can make it up at nap time. So Alaina up and changed and dressed. Hair done. We gather up our things for downstairs and head down. Breakfast for both of us. Clean up from that and unload, reload and run dishwasher while baby works on puffs in high chair. 0900 bottle time. 0915 She's had enough and is ready to greet the day, play with toys and pull things off shelves. 0915 - 1330 I read and answer emails and get things ready for lunch for her. We watch some olympics as the View was discussing vaginal rejuvination. I'd just die if those ended up being among her first words. lol I find myself absolutely amazed by the things people will discuss on these talk shows. So we watched the olympics as we went through our morning. Mommy washed bottles and got some set up for her etc. 1330 Lunch time. Introduced cottage cheese to her. She wasn't impressed. Sweet potatoes were much more palatable. 1400 bottle time. Baby doesn't want to sleep. It takes a good half hour or more to get her down. 1430 - 1630 Put clothes from washer into dryer and start load of towels. Clean up from lunch. Set up for supper. Make all preparations that I can ahead of time. Set table. Make brownies. I have been craving them lately. I believe this is a sign of PMS and every woman knows that it is an absolute sin to ignore the God given chocolate cravings of PMS. Therefore, the brownies. While they are baking I check email, update my to do list, check the blogs I read and blog myself. I also work on invitations for Alaina's birthday party. I watch olympic rowing of some sort while I do this. Germany is doing well in this one. The housemeister did not come as promised today. The puddle on my bathroom floor leaking from the toilet tank is growing better. They wonder if they can come Wednesday from 2-4. No they can't. They will need to find a better time but find one before the floor collapses beneath the toilet. My neighbor is having the same problem. Hmmmmm. My plans for the rest of the day in no particular order are to actually make supper. Clean up from it. Set up for breakfast, get Alaina up from nap, change at least 2 more diapers, set up for her bath and give it unless hubby gets home in time to give it. Feed her supper. Bottle and bed time for her. Book reading for her. Proverbs 18 for all of us. Fold clothes that are in dryer, put towels in dryer, fold those, set up iron and ironing board for tomorrow, get consignment store items ready to go for tomorrow, get Alaina's outfit ready for tomorrow and pack up diaper bag.

You wouldn't think one little baby could add so much work. I'm mystified.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Travel Day

We got up at 0330 Wednesday morning at the hotel in Guatemala City. Took our showers and got ready to go. Got Alaina up, changed and dressed and saw that everything was packed. We checked out of the hotel and took the shuttle to the airport. We waited in line for over an hour to check our bags in. Then we were told that the flight would be two hours late because they got in late the night before. I assume that has to do with the number of hours a flight crew is required to rest between flights or something. Eventually we got on the plane. It was not crowded so we were able to move over to a row of 3 seats and Alaina could move around some. We fed her on the plane and she did well. Then we touched down in Miami. Alaina was officially a citizen!!! We celebrated with her, but hurried to get off the plane and through imigration and customs etc. so we wouldn't miss our connecting flight to Frankfurt. Well we were delayed at immigaration. They were not as pleasant as they might have been. By the time we got to the counter to get our boarding passes we could have made the flight but they wouldn't escort us through the lines to get there on time and then of course Luftansa was also on strike so they were short handed. So, then we had to wait and try to get another flight. It was a mess, but we finally got on a flight to Dusseldorf. We only waited in the airport like 8 hours. I was so glad I had packed extra food and diapers than I thought we would need. Did I mention that Alaina got attacked at the Miami airport? Alan had run on ahead to hopefully get us on our plane and Alaina and I were waiting in line to get on the elevator. (she was in her stoller) There was a lady in front of us with an airport employee. I noticed that she seemed to have some sort of skin problem but the lighting was poor and I paid little attention untill...The lady backed up without looking and backed into Alaina's stoller. She turned around and hit her on the foot and leg, yelling at both of us. I moved to protect Alaina and let her know quite loudly that she backed into us and she doesn't need to hit my kid. She didn't hit her hard enough to leave a mark but with that wierd skin I didn't want any rash or anything to develop either. And for the love of mike who hits a baby? The airport lady said that she is crazy etc. She did seem to be escorting her somewhere but she should have kept better control over her if she is unstable. The lady is lucky Alan wasn't there. He would not have responded as well as I did. Anyway, the evevator came and I warned a new couple that had come up not to get on with her as she was loco. I hope I spelled that right Jungle Mom. So the transatlantic flight went well. Alaina caused very little disturbance and was kind enough to poop only in airports where her diaper could be disposed of better. We let her know that we appreciated it. We got off the plane in Dusseldorf and waited at the entrance to the plane for our stoller. They had taken it and put it with the checked luggage. This meant that we had to carry her through the whole airport. This was not good. She is heavy and we had carry ons. Then, we waited to get on a plane for Nurnberg. They gave us a hard time about what flight we could take because of all the mix up in Miami and we waited quite some time before we finally got the boarding passes. Oh I forgot to mention that for the big flight they were very kind to us and only charged us for a lap ticket but they gave us a 4 seat row all to ourselves. Ok so waiting for the trip to Nurnberg they told us that there would be no drink service on board and provided us with warm drinks to take on board with us. Well, when we got on board they did have drink service so that was interesting. But, they made a big deal over Alaina and she went to sleep after we took off and slept all the way there. When we landed in Nurnberg, Alan played a very unkind trick on me. It was already about 36 hours since we had started at the hotel and neither of us had had much sleep. He said, "Well, we're in Frankfurt. Now we just have to get to Nurnberg and then we can get in our car and head home." I didn't recieve that bit of false information well. So we get our bags and wait as Alain gets the car and we head out to it. Alan had not installed the car seat before he left for Guatemala. It was raining and we were tired and it took quite some time to figure it out. Turns out it wasn't right but we made it ok. We retured home to a house I had never seen and a town I had never been in. Alan had gotten quite a bit done as far as setting things up. Only the kitchen and decorating remained and a little rearranging, but not much. We got some take out pizza and fed us and Alaina and we all went to bed. Until Alaina decided that she was not happy about being put in a crib in a different room. We let her cry it out and within a few days she was fine with it.

So that is our story. I'm sure I've left a few things out but that covers most of it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back To The Guatemalan Adventure

These are pictures of Alaina here at home in Germany with her brother Smokey. The two of them have grown very close. It was quite hot that day and since there is no airconditioning in Germany I just had her in her oneszie.
So there we are back at the Marriott. It took both of us about 10 days to get over our bout with Rotavirus. Poor Alaina went through a lot of outfits as the diapers were just not constructed to deal with that amount of poop. I have to say though. Even on the other side of it. If pooping were an olympic event, my daughter could bring home the gold. Or perhaps they would construct a special brown medal for that one. Anyway. Alan finally arrived. Boy was he a sight for sore eyes! He even looked taller! I had forgotten he was so handsome. I had been there 5 weeks and missed him very much. That first moment when he got to hold his daughter again was so precious. I loved the look of love and joy on his face. The week that followed until we were able to go home went by so much faster than they'd been going. My world was right now that Alan was with us. I'd forgotten how wonderful it was to have him to lean on. Thank you Jesus for my wonderful husband. He's not always perfect, but he's a perfect match for me. Well, the other interesting things that happened are that our interpreter got us kicked out of the embassy the day we went for our interview. We went back the next day without telling him but he showed up anyway. He almost got us kicked out again! I'll skip all that ensued with him, but the Lord was with us. It was imperative that we get our visa that day. You usually get it the next day, but since we had gotten kicked out the day before we had to get it that day because our plane was leaving the next morning. The first interview guy first liked us because our baby was quiet (the child before us was screaming at the top of its lungs) then it turned out that he is prior military and felt for our situation so he put our case at the top of the next guys list. The next guy turned out to also be prior military and moved our case along so we were able to get Alaina's visa that afternoon. Praise the Lord for His goodness! After that I took care of Alaina while Alan got us packed up and ready to leave the next morning. Then there was the travel day...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I've Gone Batty!

You might think that the title of this post refers to my new daughter. It doesn't although there are times... Our internet was down from Saturday evening until last night so I haven't been able to get on here and let you know what has been going on with us.

Bats. That's what.

Friday night we were all snug in our bed asleep. Alaina was in her own bed in her own room peacefully sleeping too. Praise the Lord for that! I heard our boy Smokey meow. I thought, "It must be about 0430 because Smokey always meows at 0430. I heard Alan get up and thought, "Good" and went right back to sleep. Suddenly I hear him yell out. Guilily I remembered the baby toys on the floor that I didn't pick up before I went to bed. "He must have tripped on one or hurt his foot." thought I. I asked him if he was alright. He said, "There's a bird in here." I looked at the clock and it was 0030. I thought, "Birds don't fly at night. There's no bird. He must have imagined it." Then I saw it fly across the room. I thought," This bird must be sick or something to have wandered in here at night." Then I saw it perched on our wall and thought, "Oh stink. That's a bat. Don't tell Alan it's a bat. He wont like that. Let him think it's a bird." Alan (my hero!) ran downstairs and got the broom handle. He hit it twice and it flew out into the hallway. Having no idea how to kill this thing, but thinking it was dead since it was lying on the floor, he sprayed it with a combination of Glade air freshener and some sort of German cleaner or something from the bathroom. It wasn't dead. It flew down the stairs. Alan went after it. He trapped it down there with the wicker basket we use for umbrellas. At this point I inform him that it is in fact a bat. He'd had his suspicions. We decide to leave it there until morning and deal with it before we get Alaina up. At this point (lol) he realizes that Alaina is not in bed with us. I'm not quite sure why he thought she was as we have never taken her to bed with us unless he thought it was earlier in the evening and I was lullling her to sleep with a bottle. At this point he said, "You were hiding under the blankets! All this time I thought you were protecting her, and you were hiding!" lol This was in response to the laughing comment I made about the manner in which he yelled when the bat surprised him.
So, the next morning we trepidiciously went down to the basket. The bat didn't seem to be there. We found its blood on the walls of the stairway but did not find the bat. I decided we needed to look closer at the basket. Alan held an old cookie sheet and I flipped up the basket while he covered it. The bat was in there and attached to the side of the basket. I took it all out side, put the basket down on its side, took my cookie sheet (yes it got washed and scalded) and watched to see if it came out while moving back toward the house. A few hours later I went out and looked at the basket. It was empty. Not a sign of it anywhere. We decided to throw the basket away.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Howard Johnson's

So, after Antigua we went to the Howard Johnson's. Alan was able to get a special government rate that should have been a little less expensive than the Marriot. I have put a link to the website. The pictures look nice but it says that the internet is free (it's not) the staff was not multilingual at all etc. One really good thing is that my Spanish improved by leaps and bounds while I was there. Well, it was interesting. The place was a bit dirty and then the sewer backed up and the toilets overflowed. Then I got sick. I thought I had a case of Monezuma's revenge until Alaina started having diarrhea. When she had her fourth one and it (excuse me ladies) smelled just like mine and she also had a fever, I took her to the hospital. I knew as sick as I was that the diarrhea would dehydrate her to death. So in she went. It was the most modern hospital they have in Guatemala. As it turned out we both had rotavirus. How fun. Alaina was in for 3 days. They put her in a private room and in a regular hospital bed. No crib. Then they told me I would have to stay with her and watch her 24 hours a day because they were not going to do it. Well, a hospital bed with a mobile child doesn't work. She would fall out in 2 shakes. I was only given a straight chair to sit in and I knew it was impossible to spend several days there, with me sick, and not sleep at all. Plus I would be unable to take her and her IV into the bathroom and I was going a lot. (I lost 14 pounds in Guatemala) So I hired private duty nurses around the clock. Lucky for me they only cost 300 quetzles a day which is about 80 - 90 dollars a day. And they were real nurses not just some lady to watch the baby. So I felt better and was able to go home to the hotel at night and get some rest. The whole hospitalization cost us about $3,000. Can you imagine what it would have cost in the States? I can't tell you how upset I was to discover that had they given her the rotavirus vaccine she would not have had to suffer this. It costs $ 100 and the attorney didn't want to pay it. Had they asked us we would have paid it for her. The morning she was to be released, I moved us back to the Marriott. It is cleaner, nicer, not much more expensive (it turned out the other place gave us the rate without including the taxes which were a lot and made it cost almost as much as the marriott with out the benefits) and they had a baby lounge with swings and bouncers and toys etc. The camera broke down at the HOJO's so no hospital pics. Sorry. These however are more pics from our time in Antigua and the 2 from the HOJO's.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


The 4th day we went to Antigua. It was my intention to stay there at a place called the Chosen Children's Home until her paperwork was completed and we could take her home. It didn't quite work that way. The place had changed owners and no longer offered everything the website claimed. It was also a lot more expensive. When the only other family left and I was there alone at night (the staff left at 5pm) with Alaina I decided to go back to Guatemala City. By the way. The Antigua I am referring to is in Guatemala not the island of Antigua. The pictures below were taken at the place we stayed in Antigua which was quite lovely.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The First 3 Days

I arrived in Guatemala on June 23. The next day the foster mother brought Alaina to me. She told me that they spoiled her and they don't care if we are upset by it because she is their last foster child. What they didn't tell me but I did discover was that they had stolen all of her stuff. All of the clothes we had given her and even her toys. She was 9.5 months old and they had sold her formula and bought her powdered milk keeping the difference in money. I was really unhappy about all of this but didn't see any point in saying anything as nothing could change what had already happened. I did however get rid of the powdered milk and put her back on formula. It was 2 days before I was able to do that, but I noticed when I did that she drank the formula with gusto. She hadn't been too interested in the milk.

Alaina grieved their loss for about 3 days. Just cried and cried. At least she wasn't afraid of me. She just wanted to be held while she cried. Alaina has and outstanding pair of lungs. She is quite possibly the loudest baby I have ever heard. It turns out that there were 7 adults and no children in her foster home. Therefore she was held 24 hours a day. Literally. I do realize that it is the culture for the children to be in charge. They hold them all the time and whatever the child wants is done immediately. Alaina was used to grunting and having her wishes granted. The foster father even held her while she slept. We had asked them not to do this so as to make it easier for Alaina to adapt to us especially in light of the fact that she has so many things to adjust to that could not be helped. But no. The entire time we were in Guatemala we did what we had to to keep her quiet at night for the sake of the other guests. Now however she is having to adjust to sleeping in her bed and not being held while she does it. Please pray for her that she adjusts soon and for me that I make it through this. We do give her lots of love and holding during the day and we are there at night. We just don't pick her up. When she wakes up crying we tell her we love her and we are there for her etc.

In other news. When I got her then she was barely crawling. In the 6 weeks that followed, I gave her lots of floor time and some walker time and by the time we came home she was walking around furniture. Today she took her first 2 steps in her crib by herself. She stood alone in her crib and then a few weeks later she was able to stand alone in her crib so I think it wont be long until she is taking her first steps on the floor.

These are pictures of Alaina the first 3 days.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

We're Back!

We are back from Guatemala and Alaina is home with us! Woohoo! In the next few days I'll be posting pictures and posts about our trip. We arrived home on Thursday night and we are so happy to be here. More information tomorrow.