Friday, November 30, 2007

Complete Randomness...

I've taken some pictures in the past week that don't really warrant their own posts, but I wanted to share anyways. So enjoy my collection of complete randomness...

Ian and I made tissue paper turkeys for the table centerpieces on Thanksgiving. It was more involved than it looked and I don't think we'll be making them ever again! They turned out cute though and I just loved the way that they look like they are having a conversation (we didn't purposefully pose the heads that way, it's just how they ended up).

Later on that day we made some "Gooey Gunk", a concoction of glue, borax and water. It's one of Ian's favorite activities so we made a batch. Greg serendipitously discovered that air blown into the stuff results in a bubble so that is the new sole purpose of gooey gunk play, how big a bubble can be made! Greg and I decided to try and use two straws at once thinking we would both contribute to one large bubble. As soon as the two bumps started to emerge, we both started to snicker. I was thinking gooey gunk boobies, Greg was thinking gooey gunk booty, at any rate Ian luckily didn't see anything but two bubbles and was looking at us like we had lost our minds. Shame on us! Oh, gooey gunk also takes the shape of anything you place it on. Greg was trying to make a face print in that last picture. All I could think of was that squid guy from Pirates of the Caribbean. Gooey gunk is good fun!

On Friday we cut our Christmas tree down, once again from our side yard. When we moved in here, there were these small evergreens scattered over the side lawn. We were going to cut them down until we thought, we could have free Christmas trees for the next few years. This is the third year we've been able to do this, and we have one more year left. They are perfect little trees, but they are so sharp!! It was truly painful decorating this thing! That look on Greg's face in the picture where he's carrying the tree is pain, pure pain....

As we unpacked the Christmas ornaments, Ian remembered that he had made several in school last year and decided that he had to make a new one this year. He went away and came back with an ornament he made out of pipe cleaners and feathers he found in his craft bucket. It was really cute that he wanted to make something new and I've been really good about leaving those feathers hanging on our Christmas tree right in the front. All I can say is watch out Hallmark, your Keepsake ornaments are goin' down!

Lastly, this happened before Thanksgiving. I was making out the grocery list and I left the room to go check something, I can't remember now. But I came back and Ian had added an item to the grocery list. I busted a gut when I came back and found what he had done. It was so cute and yes, I did humor him and bought him some ice cream.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So Far So Good....

I wrote our program coordinator today to see if our package got there in time to go to Guatemala with the two ladies from our agency who left yesterday (I'm assuming this will mean new pictures as well, stay tuned!) and to ask how our case is progressing through the PGN. She informed us that our package is on it's way to Ana and that so far we have not received any previos (kick outs). This is good news! So I gave in to temptation and allowed Greg to call PGN today to see where we are. He was told we have been on the second reviewers desk since November 17th, and she said on average you are with the second reviewer for 5-6 weeks. You are then passed on for final review and sign off with Sr. Barrios. So, so far so good, we're inching along as expected. Of course, this doesn't mean a heck of a lot, as honestly, we could get a previo at any time, and I would venture a guess that the second reviewer would be most likely place for this to happen. I'm trying not to go there, but we have to keep it real! If we were issued a previo, we would be re-submitted back at the first reviewer so the wait starts all over again. So please pray for us, we want our girl home!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Retail Therapy, Day After Thanksgiving Style

My two neighbors and I joined the day after Thanksgiving sale mayhem again this year. We left our toasty warm homes at 4:15 in the morning to stand outside at Toys R Us for what seemed like the longest 20 minutes of our lives! The line was snaked out into and around the parking lot before the doors were opened at 5am, it was crazy! For pure curiosity, we asked the very first person in line what time they got there. She responded 11:30pm!! She sat in her car until about 1:00 when another person arrived where she then exited her car to wait outside in line. That's 4 hours waiting outside in the freezing cold! I hope it was worth it! I am so glad we didn't need any of the hot items (I don't even know what they were), I fear I would not do well in that situation. You would likely find me crying underneath the nearest display. At any rate, we did really well. I personally saved about $80.00 at Toys R Us which I am thrilled about, and my neighbors saved a bunch as well. After Toys R Us we hit Wal Mart (which was our first stop last year), what a difference just an hour and a half will make in the craziness! Wal Mart was so peaceful! No real spectacular buys there, but we did get quite a bit accomplished. We then hit Walgreens and Ace Hardware, wish I could tell you my finds at these stores, but some of the recipients read my blog...sorry guys! All in all it was a very productive day and was a lot of fun, I'm so glad we had removed the back seat of the van or we would have been in trouble! Here's a picture of our accomplishments!

What can I say, we are good at what we do!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, the turkey's been carved, our family has departed and I've once again stuffed myself way over capacity. We had Thanksgiving with Greg's family this year and it was a very nice time. I'm still anxiously waiting to hear from Greg's mum to verify the gluten-free dinner I prepared was indeed gluten-free. This is the second gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner I have done and I'll say that I have all the respect in the world for the people who live this way every day. I'm sure it's something you get used to but I was a nervous wreck! The counters were wiped down early this morning and "the boys" were warned against touching my counter tops or they'd be in serious trouble! I literally broke down and cried when Greg asked Ian to carry through a cooling rack (that recently held gluten full chocolate chip cookies) and he deposited it right on top of my gluten-free cookie sheet (I bought brand new disposable ones so I didn't have to worry about any contamination from my stones and cookie sheets!). Ian looked at me like I'd lost my mind (clearly I had), and just kept saying I'm sorry mumma, I'm sorry! Poor kid. Anyways, there is so much you have to think about when preparing gluten-free food from the ingredients themselves, to what you cook them on. The only thing that was not gluten-free was the gravy, even then, I had full intentions of making that gluten free as well but Donna said she doesn't eat gravy anyways, so I just used the jars Greg brought home the other day, it was 10 minutes before serving time and I was spent so that was much easier!

I have so much to be thankful for this year.

My loving husband who takes so much from me. My emotions are consistently on the edge of late and I never know what to expect from myself. Looking at it from the outside must be a scary place to be! I'm so lucky to have him keeping me sane and loving me all at the same time!

My amazing son who I just thank God for every day. It's never a dull moment with him, and he is really shaping up to be a great kid. He's still 6, I need to remind myself just about every day, but he really is a good boy.

My daughter, can you believe I'm saying that? We are so fortunate to have been chosen to be her parents. I can't wait until next Thanksgiving where we can be celebrating her first Thanksgiving with us!

Our other family members who have all been so supportive of everything we have been through in the past few years. We are so lucky to have you all so close by, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Our friends, old and new. I never feel alone, it's just amazing, so thank you...

Lastly I think one of the things I've learned this year is to put things in perspective. Yes we have had our struggles through the past few years, but we have our family, we have a home, we have the means to feed our family, and we feel safe. I think about Ana's birth mother today, and of the fact that these things we take for granted are likely not true for her, and because of that she made the decision to send her child to a place where she would be safe and not suffer due to lack of food or shelter. I am so thankful to this woman for allowing us to raise her daughter. It is a gift without measure, I hope I get to thank her personally some day.

I said to Ian today, "Ian, what are you thankful for?"
he said "you and daddy, Ana, God, my friends, and Milo"
a few minutes passed and he chirped up again "oh and the nerf gun Uncle Shawne brought for me!"

He is six, isn't he?!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How Much Can Cammie Fit in a Gallon Sized Ziplock, part II

The mission: Fit the following into a gallon sized ziplock baggie:
1 velour Christmas outfit, 2 pairs of knit pants, 2 long sleeve knit tops, one long sleeved onsie, two pairs of Christmas socks, 1 Glo-worm lullaby toy, and 1 teether book.

Mission Accomplished!

With only minimal nerve damage to my fingers, lets just say that these bags have the double zippers, but both are not currently zippable (it has not yet exploded, so we're good).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Medical Updates...finally!

We have been anxiously awaiting a medical report on Ana for some time. We were informed a couple weeks ago that both September and October were going to be issued together. Well, we finally received them in the mail today, so here's how Ana is growing:

September - 9 pounds 8 ounces, 22.4 inches
October - 11 pounds 12 ounces, 22.8 inches

She seems to be gaining weight well, but I don't know about the length, less than a half inch in a month? I don't know if it's a mistaken measurement, or just one of those strange oddities in babies growth patterns. Anyone out there have any reassurances to ease my concerns? It is so hard to not have her here to know exactly what is going on. I can't even be sure that she has recovered from the bug she was fighting when we were there. Almost 4 weeks later, we're still not 100%, (yes the saga has continued past our luxurious date night at the hospital, more on that another time though) so I would love to know how she is feeling! I have e-mailed our program coordinator to ask the hogar director how she is doing though I don't know what kind of information (if any) I'll receive. We take what we can get in this process!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Retail Therapy

This weekend, my very good friends and neighbors Marcia, Nancy and I went to the big town o' Nashua for some retail therapy. We left at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning and shopped all day long before retiring to the Best Western in Nashua for the evening. Yes I know, we were only 40 minutes from home, but part of the reason for this little getaway was to really get away! The room was huge with two queen size beds (with no children in them and oh so perfect for jumping on, ask Nancy), a large bathroom (with no little boys to pee on the seats), and no worries at all except for are we going to be able to stay awake long enough to see Saturday Night Live (which none of us did by the way). We had a dinner and a breakfast that we didn't have to cook, and a steady supply of snacks including Marcia's famous chocolate pie (to die for!) and peanut butter M&M's (the official girl's weekend pick me up). Oh, and don't forget about the two separate trips to Annie's for pretzels! I taught Marcia and Nancy how to crochet, (have you started your scarves yet girls?) Marcia brought her Arbonne stuff and we all did masks, and Nancy taught us how to apply eye makeup on Sunday morning. It was all so girly and fun! We came home with a van full of stuff, and probably an extra 3 pounds each after all the junk food. I do believe both Nancy and Marcia were successful in their quest for the perfect fitting jeans, and I got some really great things to send to Ana in her Christmas package (pictures soon!). Next up, the day after Thanksgiving sales!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Roller Coaster Ride Continues...

Man, the ups and downs are absolutely insane. I was so relieved yesterday with the news of the shift to April for the Hague implementation. I hadn't yet posted the information that was available on that was equally wonderful. This is what that site had:

We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted a new legislative proposal which;
- I
ncludes a strong 'grandfather' clause,
- Designates April 30, 2008 as the effective implementation date of the Convention,
Allocates $5 million Quetzales ($650,000 USD) for the creation of the Central Authority
- Allocates a percentage of the total government budget for child welfare services
- Creates a new government entity to act as the Central Authority in Guatemala,
- Provides for private non-profit accredited entities to provide services to children,
- Allows single potential adoptive parents to apply for adoption,
Creates a functional process by which children can find a permanent, safe and loving family.

The new legislation is scheduled to be introduced to Congress early next week. In line with our mission of advocating for the right of each child to a permanent family, Joint Council will continue to work with our colleagues in Guatemala towards a positive and child centric implementation of the Convention.

It really sounds like the members of Congress are really trying to work towards what is in the best interest of the children and should be commended for doing so. I really felt like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. It was apparent that all the calls we had all made, and all the signatures on the letters that resulted from our calls had really caused the Guatemalan officials to kind of take a step back and think about how best to implement the new adoption law that would make them Hague compliant. The newest maddening news though is this, taken from

"US Consul General John Lowell is once again attempting to interfere with Guatemala's rights as a sovereign nation. He is apparently requesting a meeting with all the Guatemalan parties in Congress in an attempt to strong arm them into not delaying Ortega and the Hague."

What the heck is going on?! I'm thinking largely emotionally here, I'll admit it. I do want that January 1st date pushed back for personal reasons. But logically, the Guatemalan Congress has realized that it needs more time to pull it all together. Why institute a law, with many cases in process and no clear plan on how to deal with those cases, with a new President coming into office, and an unclear vision of how the whole thing will work? If implementation can be put off and done more smoothly, then kudos to them for realizing this ahead of time! The US Department of State seems to have been wanting adoptions to cease from Guatemala for some time. All the "warnings" about not starting an adoption dating months back, the September 25th grave warning about the possibility of in process adoptions being halted at the first of the year, and now trying to stop the Guatemalan congress from giving themselves time to execute their transition to Hague compliance smoothly. Are they afraid that given these extra few months people will try to pursue new referrals? It would seem to me that if they really wanted to slow things down that they would simply stop approving the I-600A's (you can't proceed without it in your dossier paperwork), yet they continue to approve them. Maybe they just don't want to be the "bad guys", yet that's exactly who they are coming off as. I am just so frustrated with all this. It really seems like this process is a constant one step forward and two steps back. I do plan on contacting our Congressional leaders once again to ask for their support regarding this new information. has a nice form letter that can be used if you are interested in doing the same.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

And the Good News Continues...

I made my daily (okay, maybe more than daily) trip to and what I saw still has me smiling! Remember that law, the Ortega law that was waiting to be passed in Guatemala to bring it into Hague compliance? But the one that would render adoption from Guatemala nearly impossible? The one that was due to become active January 1st, and has had many adoptive parents waiting in fear not knowing whether their adoptions will be completed? My impression has been that this law has many amendments that were planned on being voted on this month (November 14th I had heard). One of the amendments is a grandfather clause which we are all praying gets included in this law. I open this page every day hoping there will be good news regarding this. Well, this is even better than a grandfather clause!

This is from

"Guatemalan papers are reporting that committees of Congress met yesterday on the adoption law. This was NOT the vote on the ammendments. But based on these reports, Guatemala will postpone implementing the Hague until April 1, 2008 in order to better coincide with the US's likely ratification date. Interestingly, one paper quotes US Consul General John Lowell as saying this is unnecessary.

In addition, one paper is reporting that the Ortega Law's effective date will be bumped back to April 1 as well. One story also mentions that one ammendment to be voted on is to permit singles to adopt."

By moving the date of implementation, it would put them in line with the US's plan to be Hague compliant and would therefore leave no time where adoptions are halted because of one country being Hague and the other not. It sounds as though some real thought about the Ortega law itself is being done as well according to the articles. All in all, a really good way to start the day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

We're IN!

PGN that is! Here is an excerpt from the e-mail we just received from our coordinator:
"I hope you're doing well. I just wanted to let you know
that your case went into PGN on Monday. This process
usually takes approximately three months but can
sometimes take five months. We are still seeing that
most children come home approximately 10 months after
As you can imagine we are now trying to gear ourselves up for a very long wait. We are just really happy to have made it to this point. It is the final step on the Guatemalan side of the process and yet another step closer to bringing our Ana home. Please keep your fingers crossed that we make it through PGN without a previo, also known as a kick out, where something is wrong with your paperwork that needs to be fixed. When you re-enter, you reset the time period and go back to the beginning in PGN, we certainly don't want that! It is a common occurrence though, so we need to keep it in mind.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Guatemala has a New President

For those of you that don't know, Guatemala had their election run-offs yesterday and elected a new president, Alvaro Colom and Vice-President Rafael Espada. Here's an article printed today on the election if you are interested. Click here

Here also is some information on the VP Espada, he sounds like a very kind-hearted man!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Our Big Night Out

What did we do you ask? Well what would you do on a Friday night? Go to the movies? Nope... Go out to dinner? Nope... Go to the theatre? Nope... We went to the Exeter Hospital and took advantage of the Emergency Room's two for one deal. Yeah, good times... As many of you know, I have been battling something since shortly after coming back from Guatemala. It started with tenderness in the glands of my neck, then just the aches and pains like you are coming down with something, without ever really developing any symptoms except a slightly elevated temp and chills at the end of the day. Then 4 days ago I developed this rash on my hands, the doctor in the clinic I go to had no clue, and she told me so, sending me on my way with some steroid cream and no real answers. So for those of you who know me (and my tendency toward hypochondria) I of course started to panic, what the heck is going on with me? In the meantime, Ian ended up spiking a fever and has pretty much recovered minus a pretty stuffy nose. Then this past Monday, Greg came down with it (or something). He spent almost the whole week home because he was getting the nightly fever, chills and was also having headaches and neck pain. He decided to call our doctor yesterday afternoon to see if he could get in today (Saturday) to see someone. Well, he gave the magic combination of symptoms (that is headache, fever and neck pain...ahhh meningitis?) and was told he needed to go to the emergency room. So we dropped Ian off with Mimi (thanks again Mimi!) and were on our way.

As Greg explained his symptoms to the doctor, he referenced that I had been feeling lousy for almost two weeks, just trying to give a time frame for what he thought he had. The doctor looked at me and asked if I'd like to get the run down as well. I figured I might as well rule out anything major since we were here already (Greg says I just couldn't let him have his moment). Considering we had recently been in Central America, we were given the works, the room was quickly transformed into side by side vitals, blood draws, IV's and matching johnnies (it was so romantic). I knew as soon as I saw Greg come back to the room with an almost full urine cup that tonight was going to become a competition (this is after all the man that turns donating blood into a race!). I did lose the "Outstanding Quantity of Urine", and "Stuck with the Most Needles" awards (though I could contest and say that I only had to be stuck once because I have better veins). We had equal victories in the "Best Blood Pressure" division. But I do believe I wiped the floor with him in "Bravery while being stuck with a needle" phase (honey you did remarkably better than your last ER visit, but the little squeals this time sealed my victory! At least you didn't feel like you were going to pass out this time!).

We were sent home after 5 hours of testing and were told that our blood chemistries are normal, as were our chest X-Rays, but we need to call today for the results to the remaining lab tests. I'll keep you all posted, but hopefully it's either something that can be treated, or it's something that our bodies will soon conquer! I'm really tired of feeling sick! On the way home Greg turns to me and says "Now do I know how to show you a good time or not?". Yes my love, what an interesting night it was. Next time can we try a movie though?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy 4 months Ana!

Our little girl is 4 months old today.

Happy 4 months little one, We wish you were home with us!
We love you and miss you so much!