August 31, 2010

Chicken on the other side road

Imagine a major New York city street, at night. Now imagine that there are no crosswalks, no stop signs, no stop lights, no police directing traffic, and you are in front of the emergency room entrance of a hospital. And there is just the ambient glow from the roadside food stands and restaurants, no street lights. That would be the spot where Pollo and I decided to cross the road tonight. Why did the Chicken cross the road at this particular juncture? Why, to get food, of course. But once on the other side, after collecting her food surprise to go (I honestly had no idea what was in the bag until we got back to the room and was pleasantly surprised that it was everything I ordered), the Chicken now had to cross back to the other side. Thank God for two nice strangers, a slow motorcycle, and a giant city bus. Without their traffic direction and help, the little red stroller would still be frozen on the side of Calle 70.

August 30, 2010

Two Chickens and an Egg

1.4 miles in the rain with a stroller, up and down the stairstep sidewalks that line the streets here. That is how far I walked on Saturday night after the Chicks left, to get an arepa juevo, or a fried egg encased in an arepa (which is pretty much a cornmeal pancake). I had company - the sixteen year old granddaughter of our translator. She insisted that I need to try this food, and that there was only one place to get it. So we walked. And walked, and walked and walked. I must also add that AMP left implicit instructions to only walk to the right of the hotel, for safety reasons. Don't you know, we walked left. But can I tell you, that it was sick good, and it only cost 1000 mil pesos (or 50 cents). Pollo refused at first, and insisted on eating only the bread roll covered in coconut that I bought for him at the next door bakery. But of course, the last bite wasn't mine, he was destroying it by then. I now understand why Moms have to eat separate meals - I haven't finished an entire meal on my own since I left the states - those children are stealing all my food! He almost started an war though, when he wanted this one. Unfortunately, he is awful persuasive - I think it is the dimples.

August 29, 2010

The What Ifs

Pollo and I woke up this morning, and by 10:30 we were both out of sorts. The three other chicks are gone, and Pollo keeps asking for his "Papi" - we just miss them. Plus, Chicken Little and Chicken Nugget are time fillers to say the least - Mommy, not so much. I stared at him as he was listlessly splashing in the kid pool - we had already eaten, colored extensively, and played in the pool as much as we both wanted- and I had no idea how to fill the rest of the day. I wasn't scared like I was a few days ago, when AMP was pretty sure that a panic attack was in the making. No, this was more the "What if" thought process. What if this mosquito that just bit me has dengue, What if "x" happened to him in the past, What if I can't explain this situation or that one, What if, What if, - I was definitely going to the bad "What if" place in my crazy Chicken head sitting in that tiny kid pool with my son.

As I was carrying him back to our room, I suddenly heard music (that sounds corny, but is true), - it was church music, and my kind of church music on top of that. I stood there, dripping wet and holding Pollo, looking for the source of the extremely loud worship music. A man in the hall, noticed me and said "spanish, spanish, spanish," I shook my head and he said "iglesia". I motion asked if Pollo and I could go in, and got a "Si". Of course I decided the beach ball and Curious George swim trunks were not proper church attire. Quick costume change and we were tucked into the back row (score!) 5 minutes later. Unfortunately, the music finished up right then, and the rest of the service began. Now, I can hum along with anything during the singing, but I suddenly realized I was sitting in a tiny hotel conference room with 40 people, who were having church in Spanish, and I brought my three year old. And then like magic, everyone turned completely around in their seats and stared silently I don't know if I have yet mentioned, but I don't like to speak in front of more than 2 people at a time. It is my one true phobia (AMP would differ on the exact number of my phobias, but I would insist this is at least the primary one) to have people look at me or be on stage or to speak to people. So then, the guy behind says, "They want you to introduce yourself." What?!?!? I started muddling out something to him, and he said "No, stand, and I will translate." Heaven help.

After that disaster, I was left in peace to piece together what was being said with my improptu translator in the back. The pastor started preaching very dramatically, and I could only pick out a few words here and there. Then my translator started whispering what she was discussing - and to make even more of an "Did you see that crazy American with the baby?" scene- I started crying on the spot.

I have been in church almost every Sunday of my life and I could probably tell you about 10 sermons I have heard over that space in time - I am just not always the best listener or the best at remembering. But a year ago, our pastor preached a sermon that really got AMP and I. We had started Pollo's adoption process, but I was still dealing with some of the "What if's". What if we can't overcome his past, what if his medical issue is too tough, what if it is too hard on our family? Classic Chicken, I was wandering bad down the What if path, when Pastor T preached a sermon on completely trusting God, even with the things you value the most in the world. It was based on a part of the Bible that I knew, but frankly thought was just plain weird, and apparently a lot of other people think so too, because in all my 30 years in the church, I have never heard a sermon on this bible story until he preached it last year. I have kept reminding myself of this sermon, anytime I got chicken throughout the year. And today, I heard the same sermon again, in Spanish. So somewhere out there, God is reminding me to not be scared, and that my little boy is going to be awesome and live an awesome life, and that I will have trust God with the What ifs.

August 28, 2010

Three Chickens fly the Coop

They are off! There were some tears, (only Mommy and Chicken Nugget made it through that hurdle unscathed), and a lot of frantic packing and resorting, but AMP, Chicken Little and Chicken Nugget should be arriving in Bogota soon to catch their midnight flight home - who's jealous of AMP? By himself, with two small children, who blatantly refused to take their naps this afternoon, on an 18 hour journey home that involves 4 airports, 3 planes, 2 carryons and 1 princess backpack, not to mention customs, and that 12 am flight departure. I think I got the easy part of this whole deal. Pollo and I are all cozied up in our massive, new hotel room after a great meal and an adventure-filled evening (more on that tomorrow).

We had one hang-up, and that was, Where, Oh Where, do you turn on the water for the bathtub? We both searched and pondered on this question for a good 10 minutes at bathtime tonight, both of us even peeking down a little dark cubbyhole under the whirlpool tub, ( I feel certain more than a lizard calls that place home). Finally, I made Pollo put his clothes back on, and we trooped downstairs. No English is spoken at the desk tonight - how does one explain this problem?

Me: "No agua in bano."

Blank stare

Me: Pantomining shower (this involved lots of happy fingers making fake sprinkles), and all while saying "No" and shaking my head. Then I followed up with a sweeping long vertical motion with both arms, and saying "bathtub" very slowly (I am sure that part helped).

Now that everyone was clear that we were speaking about the tub, I used Karate Kid wax on, wax off motions while shaking my head no emphatically, to indicate there were no knobs to turn on the tub - perfectly clear, right?

I am pretty sure the nervous little fellow who followed me upstairs tonight while muttering "bano" to all his colleagues, was quite certain that I either wanted a bath drawn (American Princess), or had broken the toilet (I hope not to jinx myself on this one).

PS - there is just a knob in the shower that makes the knobs in shower run the bath - obviously!

August 27, 2010

Forth and Back

We are back in Barranquilla. After AMP and Pollo made the forth and back trip yesterday (yes, AMP is insisting that the phrase should be "forth and back" instead of "back and forth". I am insisting that he is a nerd, and he might need a timeout from NPR). We all piled in the van this morning and left Cartagena Bliss and headed back up the Caribbean coastline to Barranquilla to begin Phase 3 (the waiting game).

We drove right pass the the public restroom where there was an incident on the way down. No details, but let's just say, I did might have "broken" something (yes Jo, I have a problem), and then rushed out and jumped in the car. The driver kept saying something to me "spanish, spanish, spanish," so I responded "Si". Always a safe answer, and I needed him to drive away before I was discovered. As we pulled away, AMP said, "You really gave them money, because that is what he is asking you?" Of course, I didn't! So, not only did I "break" and run, but I didn't pay. I slid down in the seat a little as we drove back by today, and fortunately no one in the bus had to stop to use the restroom, or I might have been busted!

One sign we are in Barranquilla - When we dropping our bags in the room after checking in, I hear a shout. Guess who's back? New hotel, new pet lizard. We are definitely back from forth.

*Please admire AMP's blurry picture of Lizard Pet #2, it took some amazing calisthentics to get this close.

August 26, 2010

How you make magic

This vacation, oops, I mean adoption, has been the longest time we have been together uninterrupted as a family, and it has been hysterical! I truly think I fell in love with Chicken Little all over again today (Girl's day was a blast, and Boy's day at the doctors was a little tougher). Anyway, these are some of the things we have overheard lately. Of course, I am quite sure Pollo is saying a lot of insane things as well, given the facial expressions that are accompanying what he is saying - he is probably getting a way with murder, at least until the full language switch happens.

Chicken Nugget, "Sissy painted my toe red!" she indignantly exclaimed as we examined her new boo-boo on her toe

Chicken Nugget, "Daddy, you hit the right key, you get a sticker!" when AMP kept telling her to stop hitting all the wrong keys on his computer while he was working.

Pollo, "Tank.....eww", his version of thank you.

Pollo, "No compainin!" to Chicken Nugget when she was whining to AMP and I

Chicken Little, as we three listened to the audio tour of Cartagena Cathedral describing Sir Francis Drake's invasion of Cartagena in 1586. "Drake was not a nice man!"

Chicken Little, "So, you are sure that pirates are ex-stink like dinosaurs?" Palpalable fear of Captain Hook that day - especially after we saw the statue.

Chicken Little, "I know how you make magic, you mix pink and purple!"

Chicken Nugget, "Piggies in the potty, Piggies in the potty,....." over and over again, while holding the other McDonald's toy.

Chicken Nugget, "I pooped my pants,...oh I just tooted." all in a desperate attempt to not go to sleep tonight.

Chicken Little, "Mommy, does Hannah Montana love God?" Another desperate attempt to avoid sleep and start a conversation at 9 pm.

And the funniest of all is the chirping of the new bilingual Chicken Nugget, as taught by loving older brother, Pollo:

"Mommy, you need your 'patos?" (shoes)

"Papi (!), I want agua!"

"One, two, three, quatro, cinco!" as her and Pollo jump around

"Daddy, is this comida?" as AMP wheeled in the room service cart

"Un Mas, Un Mas???" (begging for one more turn through the McDonald's playyard)

August 25, 2010

Feliz Cumpleanos Pollo!

Party Checklist - for the birthday celebration of your precious 3 year old son, whom you have only known 3 weeks, but of course you want to make it special.
  • Transportation to festivities - It is literally down the street we are on, but too far to walk. So, we all pile in a taxi to go to "McDonald's". It is massive, possibly the largest one I have ever seen, so I thought there would be no trouble directing the cabbie to the restaurant. Wrong. Apparently, AMP and I have ridiculous accents, and when we speak English words, that translate directly to Spanish - complete incomprehension ensues. "Hilton" has been a nightmare, until just yesterday when I figured out to say "Heel-ton" and the cabbie got it right away, the very first time. "McDonald's" was just not happening for any of us, as we started to go the wrong way down a one way street. Lightbulb turns on, and I dragged out a Magna Doodle, and AMP wrote, "McDonald's" on it. He shouts, "Oh, McDonalds" clear as day, and away we go.

  • Party Setup - Children play happily in the giant playground while I set up the stuff and arrange the food as AMP brings it over. All is well until I, in one fell swoop, knock over all three of the kids drinks on the floor. Chicken Nuggets repeats the trick during the meal, but of course, that was only 1 cup. So of the 4 drinks the poor girl had to clean up around us, it was Mommy - 3, Chicken Nugget -1.

  • Menu - McDonald's is an obvious choice for an red-blooded American child, but our red-blooded Colombian child didn't touch the hamburger, the fries, or even the amazing chips- ahoy ice cream thingy that the rest of us devoured. (A petition should be started immediately to add that to the American menu! ) He only drank the apple juice, that somehow turned out to be apple soda.

  • Party Hats - AMP and I realized about 10 minutes into lunch, that only he and I were wearing the hats, and were eliciting some quite strange looks, which isn't unusual, but we both decided to ditch the hats immediatly.

  • Happy Birthday Balloons - Resounding success. Every child that entered that McDonald's playyard took home a balloon, whether their parents wanted them to or not, and then of course, I started to have some ideas (AMP classified them as paranoid, but I beg to differ) that we needed to make sure that all balloons got out of the upper playyard, because you know that a child might bite a balloon, pop it and then choke, (that is what they told me at the dentists office) and what about latex allergies? (AMP's point on the development of latex allergies only after long exposure and primarily in the medical field, thus probably precluding children under the age of 3, was a point well taken)

  • Toy Story Book with both English and Spanish storyline and sound effects- Last minute addition from the "Heelton" bookstore, but best gift ever in Pollo's opinion, and quite possibly the loudest. The cellophane that it was wrapped in was actually only being used as a buffer to block the tremendous sound of speakers on the side. No parent in their right mind would buy it after hearing the unwrapped version.

  • Buzz Lightyear figurine - Carefully selected and trucked down here as the present of choice, despite some parental misgivings that it was marked down at Target for a reason. Buzz is now safely tucked in with sleeping Pollo, but unfortunately, Buzz is still shouting intermittently, "I am Buzz Lightyear, I come in peace."

*His actual birthday is tomorrow, but we had scheduling conflicts in our terribly busy daily schedule, of beach, pool, eat, sleep, pool, eat, bathe, and big sleep. No, seriously, of all days, tomorrow was the day that he has doctor's appt scheduled with his regular peditrician, in Barranquilla. So today, we partied like it was the 26th!

August 24, 2010

To Space or Not to Space

How much time does a space in your passport cost you? In the case of one AMP deChicken, the space that shouldn't have existed between de and Chicken, but that had been lying there undisturbed for the last 7 years, cost us 6 days. We were supposed to have our documents submitted to the court for processing on Aug 11th, and once the presence of that mysterious space reared it's ugly head, we actually didn't get submitted til Aug 17th.

Today is a week and, in my crazy spreadsheet in my head that is constantly recalculating, that is just about the earliest we could possibly hear from the court (not realistic, I know. Realistic says at least another week.) If we don't hear anything from the courts this week, then AMP and the girls go home on Saturday night and Pollo and I stay, for the duration. AMP is out right now, buying the tickets that will take them to Bogota on Saturday, to catch their flight home. I realized the other day, that for all of my travels, I have only spent about 7 hours overseas by myself, ever. Now I know, I will not be by myself - Pollo will be with me. However, while he is a strapping young man, and very pleasant company, he isn't taller than my knee, and doesn't speak much English. But, I keep reminding myself, this is going to be just another example of how tough this Chicken really is!

But if anyone could pray - I would really appreciate it.

August 23, 2010

Embracing the Carribean

Yesterday, we got Chicken Little's hair braided on the beach. While I was sitting there, watching the process and waiting for AMP to return with money for the braids and for the Cokes we drank on the beach, I ended up getting swindled into a massage. Somehow, a "No, no, that is fine," translated to start massaging my feet, and ended up with Mommy flat on her stomach, being massaged by two women head to toe, and keeping one peep eye on my child. They kept saying "much stress" and shaking their heads with a concerned look on their face. Seriously? I am laying in the Carribbean with a Coke in one hand, getting a massage, and I don't have to do Chicken Little's hair for a month? Trust me people, this is the way to spend maternity leave!

August 21, 2010

What goes down, must come back up

We have done some crazy stuff before. Usually, it involves AMP saying, "Let's do....." and blindly charging ahead. Being the chicken in the family, I scramble along behind, thinking "This might not be a good idea??" and trying not to be scared. I generally prove myself to be tougher than AMP thinks I ever could be, and of course I love all the opportunities to prove his low expectations of my "toughness" wrong - just love 'em. Yesterday might go down as the prime example of this scenario. We wake up with one more day in Old City Cartagena, and it is AMP's birthday. So, I say, "Whatever you want to do, totally fine!" Famous last words.

He decides that we should all visit Castille de San Felipe, the fort on a hill that was built to protect Cartagena after everybody kept ransacking it and taking all the gold. As he gathered the strollers and the children and the sunscreen, I tentatively asked, "Do you think there are stairs? Like a lot of stairs?" I trailed off as I saw the "Toughen up" look go across his face, and we all piled into a cab. As we arrived, my inner monologue sounded something like this (a little edited for my more sensitive readers):

"Dear god! That is huge"

Quick glance at AMP, who is happily buying tickets and fending off hat vendors - He doesn't look scared. I start frantically applying sunscreen to all three children. Please remember that it feels like 100 degrees in the shade, and there is no shade available....yet.

We charge up the hill,which turns out to be a series of ramps up. I trudge along behind extremely proud of myself for not huffing and puffing. We get about half way up to the top, and are stopped by a man who is starting a small tour in English. We join the group, and he mutters something, about pirates and soldiers, and 2500 meters of tunnels running under and through the fort. That sounds cool....until he charges down one of these tunnels, and everybody follows fearlessly, including AMP with Pollo in one stroller, and of course, Chicken Little is at the front of the group, already disappearing around a turn. So, I collect myself, pop a wheelie to get down the stairs, and calmly push Chicken Nugget into the dark.

Imagine if you will, a small dark tunnel, no higher than your husband's bald head, covered with mold, and more humid than outside, because somewhere, about 525 feet below you, is the sea. There is a nice brick floor, but it is kind of slick, with all the humidity, and after 350 years of use.
So we walk along these dank little tunnels and see where the soldiers slept, and then we go to see how they escaped if the pirates ever got in the fort. I turn the corner with Chicken Nugget's stroller and see the most narrow, vertical tunnel you can imagine going down that doesn't require a rope or a ladder. It is so narrow I can't stretch out my arms without my elbows scraping the sides of the wall (this actually works to my advantage later).


But, AMP has already charged down with Pollo and Chicken Little is already at the bottom, so I took a deep breath and start the slide down.

"At least this is the worst of it"

It wasn't, because at the end of this tunnel, was another tunnel, equally steep, and quite long. And then another, .....and of course, then another. By this point, there is some very sketchy water swirling around our feet - Did I mention I was in wooden soled flip flops - great for traction! Thank god the Steve Madden label on the sole came off half way down, the stickiness was the only thing holding my right shoe on the whole way up.

We stopped only when the guide said "From here on you have to swim." I realized then - it was the escape by sea route that we were exploring with our strollers, and I now found myself 1 meter below sea level. Not sure when that happened, but probably sometime during our Indiana Jones style descent in the belly of the fort. Just as a note, the thin blue tube at our feet was pumping out the sea water so the tunnel we were in wouldn't flood to our necks. Then, to top it all off, 2 shirtless workers with flashlights arrive from further below in the tunnel where they are repairing a leak.

"About face! Where is the elevator up?

But alas, it was back up the 45 degree angle tunnels. I almost decided to take a new job, join the workmen and stay down there, but there was Chicken Nugget, staring up at me so sweetly, so... I started to climb. A very nice, retired gentlemen offered to go behind me to make sure and break my fall - he got a stupendous view as I pushed that stroller up those 4 tunnels. The wheels kept jamming on the sides of the tunnel, and at one point it was so slick, that if I hadn't quickly thrown my elbows out to the side, we would have both taken out that nice, retired gentleman. AMP kept calling back, "How are you doing?" I very politely said nothing, as I couldn't breathe, much less talk. My inner monologue at this point can not be repeated.

I got serious kudos from the entire group when Chicken Nugget, the nice, retired gentleman and I emerged from the dark. But this is my advice. Never take your 3 children and 2 strollers to explore 300+ year old tunnels to the sea in a developing country. Not unless you want to have 50 people ask to take your picture on the way out- "Look at the stupid gringo who took her baby into those creepy tunnels!"

August 20, 2010

30 - Four Years Later.

My husband tries to ignore his birthday every year, and every year I try to make a big deal of it. For his thirtieth birthday, I bought him a PSP (they were cool and new then, I don't know now), we ate barbecue and went and saw Talladega Nights in the theatre (still his #2 favorite movie, only replaced by The Hangover). We were childless, with no immediate plans to have a family, and were thinking about buying matching jet skis and taking sailing lessons. 2 weeks later, we decided to adopt.

Flash forward 4 hectic years later. We find us ourselves celebrating his birthday by:

  • Pushing 3 small children around a fort in Cartagena, Colombia (that is a post unto itself - you will just have to wait until tomorrow, but believe me, it is a doozy! Only AMP could talk me into this one)
  • Skipping the Inquisition Museum, (too many questions, and one or two nightmares would have arisen from that, even though we were both desperate to see it) to see the very mundane Gold Museum
  • Eating mac and cheese and a barbecue sandwich (somethings don't change about that man!) at a cute little deli where they put the Happy Birthday song over the stereo system in the whole restaurant when our brownie with a candle came out (you can still embarrass someone on their birthday - no matter where in the world you are)
  • Taking a horse drawn carriage ride through the streets. From this vantage point, AMP and I could see that night life existed, and then we returned to our hotel, read "Buenas Noches, Luna" and tucked our children in bed - lights out by 8:30.
  • Sending Birthday Boy back into the streets to take a night picture of a really cool church and to get me a coke, and finding out when he returns that even though he was offered on the street everything ( and I mean everything) that Colombia is infamous for, and in typical AMP fashion, he turned into the Big Chicken and ran back to the coop as fast as his legs could carry him!
I don't quite know what happened to our lives, but I like it, and I think he kind of likes it too. So this is a South American Happy Birthday post to the father of my three crazy kids - I can't believe he went on this adventure with me - I am just so lucky he did.

August 19, 2010

Paradise in Hades

It truly is amazing here- if anyone gets a chance, you have to visit. We explored and wandered today, with our two strollers and our other child begging for a stroller or even a back ride most of the day. The cobblestone streets, the balconies with the bougainvillea, the brightly painted houses, it is simply paradise. However, it is hot as hell in this paradise. Lonely Planet on weather, and I quote: "It's so hot here, the homeless often beg for not for money, but for limeade. Temperatures usually hover around Hades, but the sopping wet humidity is the real killer." So we took Lonely Planet's advice and siested with the chicks from 1:30 to 4:30, after we got ripped off at Hard Rock. I know it is touristy and seriously a joke with prices, but honestly, AMP would have gladly given the shirt off of his back for a small taste of America, so we paid for it and enjoyed every minute of it. Then tonight we ate local, and indulged the homeless drink of choice. We ordered a round of jugos and limeades for the whole family. Given the cup it came in, AMP and I both preemptively lunged at the cups to taste test (our kids are crazy enough without being drunk!) but it was fine and ridiculously good. And of course, AMP didn't quite beat Chicken Little, she definitely got to that drink first! After spending a hard day of chasing pigeons, banging her knee on a the wall of the fort (she weaseled a stroller ride out of that one) and sporting a sweat mustache for hours, she deserved whatever was in that drink!

August 18, 2010

Old meets New

We are constantly shifting between the Old and the New - and it can get interesting. Adding a new child AND a new language, makes for some confusing parenting. Today, I called Chicken Nugget by Chicken Little's name, and also gave her instructions in Spanish - not surprising that she ignored me, but they all do. If only I could keep them and their respective languages straight, things might be a little easier.

Also today, we moved from the New World to the Old World. We had to check out of the Hilton for 3 nights because there was a big conference coming in. There was a scary moment yesterday, when I realized, we actually didn't have reservations anywhere....for tonight. I was a little nervous just taking the girl at the Hilton's advice, since she kept saying her friend worked there, and I needed to remember there were a lot of stairs. And only a double bed. But the only other room available in the city was close to $400 a night (no wonder it was still available), so we went ahead and booked it, sight unseen. The Chicken came out in me for sure - the Hilton was just so comfortable and easy - very American. However, a scary 10 minute cab ride away from our room at the Hilton resort by the ocean, with it's wifi, and scanner and conferences is a quaint little world that I believe gives Venice a run for its money. We checked into the Casa India Catalina, and it is hard to explain how amazing it is. There is no hot water (well, there is a heating element on top of the shower head that is supposed to heat the water, but actually just gave AMP a nice jolt), and the wifi works in only the two corners of the room, and then sporadically. The stair railings in the pictures should give any parent a heart attack and we think there is a missing stair up to our sleeping loft.

But all of that aside, I don't believe I have ever stayed in a cooler hotel. There are giant wooden doors, with no outside handle-one of the three employees has to let you in. Every frame of every door, every countertop, the benches - all are made of rough hewn wood. There is amazing Spanish art on the walls, and a peacefully pool in the center of the courtyard - perhaps to peaceful for our children to disturb. We are on the top floor (seriously, the China suitcase was stuffed and the poor guy had to drag it all the way up!) We have a small kitchen, a sleeping loft upstairs, and a beautiful balcony. AMP and I came to the quick conclusion that is this room, in this city, is retirement heaven. As I type this, I can hear the horses clopping past our window.

When we arrived today at 1:30, we quickly dropped off the bags and ran out to get lunch for the kids. The simple lunch restaurant on the corner, with no menus, and barely any English, might have been the best meal for the price that AMP or I either one have ever had. There was barbecue brisket (stupendous), barbecue chicken (AMP's top pick), rice and blackeyed peas (this southern girl was in heaven), fried plaintains, and the best chicken soup I have ever had. Poor Pollo stuffed himself - not only was it amazing, but he goes crazy when we get him real Colombian food - not pizza, like the other two want. I have made AMP vow - no more pizza for a week - and that is crazy talk coming from me! So finally, after two weeks in Colombia, we have found the best food, for next to nothing. We are both in heaven! Out with the New - in the with the Old! Except we are going to keep both the Old and New Kids.

August 17, 2010


I was jealous of a little girl today. She was sitting on the edge of the big pool and her grandfather(?) had just handed her a cup of chocolate ice cream with a cookie in it. She sat there peacefully enjoying her sundae in the sun, while I flailed after my children and tried to convince them that the granola bars I brought to this country from Target where as great as the ice cream sundaes floating around us. Oh wait. My kids didn't even notice - that was me I was trying to convince. I tried not to stare, but like we have talked about - there has been a lot of Corn Flakes, and a lot of children eating Mommy's food. I did finally stop staring at the little girl (she might have been getting a little uncomfortable) and took my little Pollo to the bathroom, again. I saw AMP a minute later, and justed blurted out something random about yummy chocolate ice cream and a little girl, and then we scattered like the wind to collect and control the ninos.
10 hours later, we are sitting here quietly in the room while the kids sleep, and I of course request that he make his nightly trip up to the lounge to smuggle us some Coke Zero for our Mad Men party that is about to start. A few minutes later, I opened the door to AMP and this:

Now I don't have to be insanely jealous of any little nine year old girls tomorrow at the pool.

Pollo Update: Tonight, he feel asleep with Sissy. No rocking, no crying, no nothing. Just climbed in bed with Sissy and then after comforter negotiations ended, they fell asleep. I am beyond stunned - I was prepping myself for another year of bedtime wars and night- night strategic planning like we had with Chicken Little. I don't want to jinx us, but this could be something!

August 16, 2010

OCD Pollo

They warn you in adoption classes, and in your homestudy, and in every book, and on every website that in the child's transition process into a family, different behaviors can occur. Everything from hoarding food, to catatonic states, to abject screaming....there are lists a mile long with really legitimate reactions to joining a new, and sometimes (in our case) very strange family. We were concerned for a while that Pollo was OCD about washing his hands, and with flushing the toilet, until we remembered that Chicken Little did this exact same thing. Okay, maybe AMP said it as a joke on day 3 after his 15th trip to the bathroom that morning with Pollo, and being the slightly paranoid person that I am, I started looking up OCD in adoption, until AMP busted me - always be sure to close your search windows when you are done with them. Anyway, we both agree now that Pollo is OCD, but it isn't about washing his hands, or flushing the toilet. Like I mentioned earlier - he is obsessed with praying. However, it has reached an epidemic state as of today. Tonight, at the Guadelupan Lady Mexican restaurant, we practically had to stop between each chip to pray - Chicken Little kept complaining "I don't want to pray anymore!". Once this morning, in the pool, he started throwing a complete fit because we couldn't understand what he wanted to do. We went through the list: bano, eat, play in Chicken Little's big girl pool, even go down the water slide with Papi, until AMP realized he wanted to pray again? So there, in the baby ball pool, we all joined hands (a must), closed our eyes, and blessed the agua and all the people around us - and commenced with a resounding "ah-men"!

August 15, 2010

Signs that you are just Plain Fancy!

  • Upgrading from slimy Ball Pit to pint-sized Ball Pool. Same balls, totally different experience - at least for AMP and I it was. The wee ones might not have noticed the difference at all.
  • Eating breakfast in the Executive Class Lounge - so fancy and even free! Until one of your flip-flops breaks and you must limp out of the lounge in a very non-fancy, barefoot way.
  • Meeting a Very Important Person who worked (high-up) for both Tele Mundo and a former Mayor of New York City and discussing the fabulousness of NYC's Upper West Side with her for half and hour, then excusing yourself to take your children to the bathroom, only to stare in the mirror and see mascara dripping and smeared all around your eyes, and your hair, literally standing on end - seriously, how does one "swim pretty"?
  • Relaxing in the same Executive Lounge with your oldest child, both drinking sodas (bad mommy), eating cookies (bad mommy!) and playing on the Ipad and Ipod respectively - so fancy again! AMP and two little ones awake from nap and come up to join you for more cookies (double bad mommy!!) - fancyness all around!Until, on your way out, one of the hotel staff hands you the VIP's card from above, and they say "she asked me to give this to you." Neither the staff person nor the VIP knew either your name, or even your room number - and you are staying in a 10-story resort. Your family definitely doesn't stand out at all!
Here is a Coke Zero (that is all we can drink down here - AMP is DYING for a Mountain Dew -so very fancy!) toast to being not a bit fancy, having an extremely "conspicuous family", and loving every single minute of it!!!

August 13, 2010

We bought the book

Being the materialistic girl that I am, I always start and end life's adventures with purchases. The final part of every trip, consists of me double checking that I both got everyone I ever knew a token present (this can backfire on me) and making sure that I have enough trinkets as well. One item that AMP and I always buy, is a coffee table book. We legitimately have a coffee table book from the Parthenon replica in Nashville, TN, because we stopped there once, and heaven help us if we hadn't bought the big picture book. So, today we ended the Barranquilla portion of our trip - we bought the book. And not just the pretty Colombia picture book that we bought the other day. The 25lb, picture of every pretty house in town, and every park in every season book, that is totally going to max out the weight on our luggage. But now, my son will have some nice pictures of his birth town, and I think that is well worth AMP breaking his back carrying it through the airport - because of course, he isn't going to check it - we might get....fees!

So Part One of our trip is done. We arrived in Barranquilla on the afternoon of the 3rd, and tomorrow afternoon we leave. We have spent the past 10 days in the Hotel Majestic, and it has worked for us. Here are a couple pictures of the room (we never managed to catch a pic of the lizard - he's in here - somewhere).

This is the dining area/kids bedroom - though it only looked like this about 2 minutes of everyday. From 3:04 to 3:06, immediately following the cleaning ladies departure, and then it would dissolve quickly - notice that Chicken Little IS in this picture, at least her feet are.

They have a really nice pool area downstairss, in a center courtyard, with an alligator fountain. Pretty much every morning was spent with me ferrying Pollo back and forth between the beach ball, the ladder so he could get out and jump like Sissy, and to the bano. Chicken Little now knows how to do a perfect cannonball, a great back flip in the water, and how to flirt with Italian young men in the pool (actually not kidding on this one). Chicken Nugget, on the other hand is a little seahorse - she treads water through the pool perfectly upright and screaming bloody murder if Mommy comes near her to check and see if she is drowning or possibly assist her in anyway. Here is Chicken Nugget posing on the alligator - I have really great pics of the three of them on the alligator that I am dying to post, but must wait.

Anyway, adequate space for the 5 us. Pretty much every dinner lately has consisted of cereal around this table, as the kitchen doesn't open until 7pm, and Pollo has some medicine he has to take with food at 6pm. I vow to never again touch Frosted Flakes, and Corn Flakes might be next on the list. The best thing about meals is that now Pollo is obsessed with praying before the meal - he wants to say "ah-men". We usually have to stop the meal several times to re-bless the food - which might not be a bad idea after all.

So, we spent the last 10 days here meeting Pollo, and spending the first week getting to know him. This last Tuesday we had an official meeting by the pool with the social worker, the child pscychologist, his nutrionist, our translator, and our lawyer, and of course all three loco ninos. This rather formal meeting, with snack and drinks even, was to make sure that all was going well in Pollo's transition, and that we were all happy together. I didn't have to say much - the three kids pretty much made our case for us, as they terrorized the entire pool area together. Now, our case has been submitted to the court here in Barranquilla - and we wait. We are choosing to wait in nearby Cartagena, at the Hilton resort on the end of the private peninsula in the Carribbean, with three pools, and a playground. I am suffering so much on this maternity leave - honestly!

Next time from paradise!

PS. - I updated some of the posts from the trip with pictures that I finally just downloaded. I realize now, that I am not taking near the pictures I took with the first adoption - I don't know if it is the setting, or the three crazy chicks running around and over me!

August 12, 2010

A rainy day in a foreign hotel room

That means no pool. So AMP and I face 4 pm with a bleak stare. 4 hours left until bedtime, and we had already gone to the mall, eaten McDonald's happy meals at the food court, gone food shopping at the grocery store, been to the notary, and taken 2 hour naps. We had a suitcase half filled with toys and books, and of course, the tv signal disappeared today. And for the cherry on top, AMP was having "issues" - the kind you get from foreign water, if you know what I mean.

8pm arrives. They entertained themselves for 4 hours...all by themselves. Three new siblings, playing hysterically together -we both kept to the edges of the room, silently motioning to each other, but careful not to interrupt. There was one casualty along the way - one Happy Meal toy had it's own "issues" with foreign water!

Mad Tooth Fairy Skills Update

All is well - She still believes! She just told me, "I can buy soda or candy!"
And we wonder why her teeth are falling out at such a rapid rate.

August 11, 2010

Mad Tooth Fairy Skills

So, Chicken Little and I had been arguing some last night before bed, and after many tears on both our parts, agreed to just go to sleep and try again in the morning. Before I went to bed, I made a renewed vow to myself to try hard to engage her in a positive manner, and gave myself a large, encouraging pat on the back that I was making a nice step forward in being a truly amazing parent. I then found one last stray American dollar in the corner of my wallet and tucked it beside her bed.
Sun Sets.

Sun Rises.
I stretch in bed at 6:15 am as AMP takes Pollo to the bathroom, and Chicken Nuggets snores away. Chicken Little comes in, looking for AMP:
Me: "Good Morning Sunshine!" Extra positive, I remind myself, with a smile ear to ear.
CL: "Where's Daddy?"
Me: "Did the tooth fairy make it last night?"
CL: Big, happy smile breaks across her face as she runs to check. She returns, holding the American dollar, with a confused, but very happy expression. "Mommy, the tooth fairy came!" Pause, and then,
CL: "Why did the tooth fairy bring me America money, Mommy?"
Me: So excited for our vastly improved interaction thus far, I respond, "Because I found an extra dollar in my wallet!"
Very long pause as we both ponder the implications of this statement.
CL: "You gave a dollar to the tooth fairy? You saw the tooth fairy!?!"

So there I am. Do I tell my beloved daughter, less than one week into the trauma of a new sibling, in a foreign country and only two lost teeth in, that Mommy is indeed the Colombian and the American tooth fairy? or do I just start describe some Spanish Tinker Bell-like creature and hope for the best? I freeze and utter the first words that come to me.
Me: "Wait for Daddy."

So we wait and I pantomine frantically over Chicken Little's head as she asks AMP,
CL: "Daddy, why did Mommy give me an American dollar?"
After a brief side bar, AMP pulls this one out.
AMP: "The tooth fairy got a flight delay, and asked Mommy to do it for her." What???
CL: "I don't want Mommy's dollar, I want real Colombian tooth fairy money!"

AMP then, in his infinite wisdom suggests that we wait yet again for the Colombian tooth fairy tonight, and Chicken Little eagerly agrees and hands me back my dollar- that ironically enough has an American flag on it of all things! I then shoo them both of out of the bathroom, muttering something about having to use the toilet and start frantically digging through, you guessed it, the trash can for the tiny, little tooth that I buried under a diaper and three paper towels last night (I still don't feel clean, over twelve hours later). I then discretely tuck it back into the ziploc bag, utterly grossed out, but before she even went down the path of "Where is the tooth?" Who's thinking preemptively?

Fast Forward to now. Small, disgusting tooth in its nice baggy is removed from under Chicken Little's pillow, and is replaced by Mommy with not a 1000 peso bill, but a 2000 peso bill. The Colombian tooth fairy is praying very fervently that all goes well in the morning, and asks that you do the same!

August 10, 2010

Colombian Tooth Fairy.....

.... is a day late and a dollar short. Chicken Little's tooth suddenly fell out yesterday with only one day of warning notice. Last night was a pretty tough night in the Coop, and of course, Mommy and Daddy forgot about the tooth fairy. So we woke up this morning and found no dinero under our pillow. Chicken Little was a touch upset. AMP and I quickly informed her (playing perfectly off each other in our morning pre-caffeine comas) that the tooth fairy takes a day and a half to get down here, just like we did on the planes. We also added that the tooth fairy might show up with pesos, because heaven knows we don't have a single US bill left between us. So here's to getting a 1000!!! pesos for your second tooth!

August 8, 2010

Pollo Especial

My little boy is amazing!

Day 4.5 with "Mamma", and "Papi" (Chicken Nugget is now calling AMP Papi) and life is so good. Here is a non-comprehensive list of the different ways my little Pollo rocks!
  • Bear Hugger - Mamma ventured out of the hotel room twice today (still on the mend from the Waka Waka, honestly feel ridiculous for saying that). One time Chicken Nugget went with me, and AMP stayed behind with the two big kids. I was gone for a total of two minutes, since Chicken Nugget and I are pretty slow together. When they opened the door for us, I was attacked at the knees with a hug by one adorable little boy, saying "Mamma!"
  • Mighty Hunter - In the pool, he suddenly shouted "Papi, mira!" and when AMP looked down, a tiny little hand was killing the bug crawling on Papi's hand!
  • Abject Tickler - Chicken Nugget earned herself a timeout today, and after I had sat her in the chair for timeout, Pollo came over and started tickling her endlessly. We tickled her neck and he kept tickling her feet - there were even two or three zerberts (blowing on the belly). Needless to say, that was an extremely effective timeout. Way to go Big Brother!
  • Sweetheart - I have been singing some songs to him, just a couple songs that I used to sing to Chicken Little when she first came home, like "Mamma loves Chicken Little, Daddy loves Chicken Little...." and so on through the family. As I was singing it last night and tonight, he was singing along with me in parts!
  • Chatterbox - In Spanish for sure, and he can now say "Ok", "our last name", "Sorry", "Apple Juice", "Good Job", and most importantly "Poo Poo"!
  • Budding Intellectual - Last night at dinner, Chicken Little started reciting 5 little monkeys, which is currently the favorite story among the girls. Pollo watched the 4 of us reciting it for a minute, then jumped off his chair and ran into the bedroom - he returned....with the 5 little monkeys book and a big smile!
  • Family Man - We sent down a shutterfly book a few months ago, with pages about each member of the family, our house and extended family, so that he could become familiar with us a little bit - we had done the same thing for Chicken Little. When I was making the book, I had gotten almost to the end, and had two more pages to fill. I wasn't sure what to do with these pages, so I did a ton of scattered pictures of all of us across the pages. I never saw the book done - we just sent it directly here through the agency. Apparently, the book was a huge hit. It goes with him everywhere around the hotel room throughout the day, and he wants to look at it every hour or so, particularly around bedtime. Every single time he flips through it, he is looking for the two pages at the end. When he get there, he points to the pictures of himself and smiles, and then gently touches all the faces in the pictures. Once, Chicken Nugget tried to take the book, and I feared for everyone - that is Pollo's special item, and he falls asleep with it every night!

August 7, 2010

The Waka Waka de Shakira

I should pre-warn you. This post is written by AMP, so lower your expectations.

It all started yesterday in the ball pit...

Chicken was feeling a little sick before we went to the mini-amusement park here in Barnaquilla, Colombia; but when coupled with the stress and semi-legitimate paranoia of having to wade through a ball pit in sweltering heat to get our son who needed to go to the bathroom, her symptoms were getting worse (BTW, if we hadn't hauled him out in time, I'm certain that the employees would have just kept admitting kids as I drug my dripping child from the pit, and I'm also sure that he would not have been the first kid to have peed in there).

This morning, she woke up in a near-vegetative state. Sore throat, pounding headache, the works. The hotel arranged for a doctor to visit in the room and our adoption agency's translators came by to assist. The doctor quickly announced that it was a virus that is common in this region called "Waka Waka"--I kid you not, you can't make this stuff up. Our translator agreed and said "Of course, you know 'Waka Waka de Shakira.'"

Now I am a well-known NPR aficionado (read: nerd), so I don't know much about popular culture unless it is covered by my friends on All Things Considered (they just did a piece on the BeeGees); but I did watch the World Cup while in Germany (lots of stories about drunk Germans), so I saw the Waka Waka video. FIFA used it as a theme song. There were "Save the World"-type videos with African kids and everything.

Which brings the story full circle...Shakira is from Barranquilla, Colombia. Everyone here is enamored with her. So, did she name the song/dance after the local flu virus? Somehow, it doesn't make me feel better to know that my wife is sick with the Waka Waka de Shakira; that just sounds dirty.

Update: Chicken responded well to the drugs the doctor prescribed, which made me want to title this post "Colombian Drugs are Great!" But even in an infirmed state, Ultimate Chicken still wields the veto power.

August 6, 2010

Chicken Shock

So today, AMP and I experienced a touch of culture shock. You would think
at this point in this summer, when we are in our sixth foreign country
between the two of us, that we would fine. That is not to sound conceited,
and this is not to complain. But today we got our butts kicked by Foreign
Country. It isn't Colombia, which is extremely more developed than Ethiopia
was. It is just Foreign.

We have been dealing with a money issue for several days-apparently here you must have only a four digit PIN for the ATM. Of course we have "extremely strong", much longer pins, so the ATM was out as a means of getting cash. Our translator sweetly took us took Bancolombia, and an hour later, we had cash. And two hours later Bank of America had declared our card stolen and turned it off - and we could only turn it back on a Bank of America branch. The nice lady on the phone couldn't seem to understand why we couldn't get to one in the next few days. Just as a note, we had called and let them know we were leaving the country for Colombia. So access to money, which I have never had trouble with outside the US (not even when my wallet was stolen in China) has been extremely complicated. We have also had issues with food - and not how the food tastes, or what is available, because the food is awesome (barbecue meat and rice - hello perfect diet!) and is plentifully available. It is not, however, very cheap. We have been alternating between the hotel food, and the mall food court, and for example, our meal at McDonalds two days ago was $50 US! A little confusing.

With that background, we get to today. AMP went to the supermarket, and the food court to get lunch while I watched the kiddos. The youngest two were sleeping peacefully, and Chicken Little and I were doing hair (her hair of course) and that process can be slightly nervewracking for both of us. Then her favorite DVD, Peter Pan, got stuck and apparently
is quite scratched. I start feeling a strange tickling in the back of my throat, and then a dull headache. hmmm. Then AMP appears banging on the door, with several bags of food and supplies tennis shoes on? His new flip flops that we bought last weekend at Marshall's (not a good advertisement for my company's quality) had broken mid-walk to the mall. There was laughing in the streets apparently at the Gringo with Broken Shoe. Unfortunately in the mall, there were no size 11 shoes. So AMP walked home with the diapers, yogurt and our $52 US lunch (3 hotdogs, 2 hamburgers, and french fries) with his feet crammed into untied, brand new size 9.5 Puma sneakers. He is obviously a happy camper at this point. Anyone one at home a size 9.5? They are all yours when we get home! Just FYI, he couldn't fit into them with socks on, so wear at your own risk!

So there we are, both in fabulous moods, when the wonderful guide an
d the translator's granddaughter arrive to take us to the park. One cab with two of my children sitting on my lap later, we arrive at an amusement park/recreation park, where two people are making out intensely, (thank god Kidist didn't notice). The kids loved the amusement park (Pollo did look slightly scared a few times), but AMP and I spent the afternoon riding minature trains and carousels, and then came the ball pit. I have issues with ball pits in America. I know it's odd, but they seem dirty and the last time we were in one, there was a GIGANTIC spider in it, and the time before that, Chicken Little peed in it (Sorry to anyone who has been to Fantasyland) . So here I am, in the sun, in Colombia, in a GIGANTIC ball pit, and I am wondering, what else is in this rather slimy ball pit besides my children. Then I see a mosquito bite on Pollo's face and another little devil headed for Chicken Nugget and visions of Yellow fever and malaria begin to dance in brain. Remember please, that I may have a fever, and it is possibly 110 degrees in the shade. We decide to end our time at the amusement park and get some pizza before heading home.

Pizza is fine and Chicken Little proceeds to entertain us with some dancing to 70's music videos that they were playing in the pizza parlor (there were no lights in this restaurant, and Chicken Little was trying to catch the bugs crawling on the window in an empty water bottle. We all pile back in a cab after one cab rejects us - there are four adults and three children for one cab, so I could maybe understand why. We arrive at the hotel and head upstairs to calm down and cool down. I am headed to the mini-bar for water, when fabulous little Pollo says, "Mamma mira!" He is pointing at our pet lizard, which we haven't seen since our first moments in the room, three days ago, but who is still apparently with us. Joy.

So we are being complainers today, but it would be much easier to do this in your own home. Two incidents, however, compensated for the whole day. In the pool this morning, where we all had a truly fabulous time, Pollo jumped off the side into the water and when I went to give him a high five, he also puckered up and wanted to give me a kiss! Momma melted. Second, at one other point in the pool, while AMP was holding him and playing with him - Pollo stopped, stared at AMP and said "mi Papi." Papi melted. We have the three best kids, no matter where we are!

AMP's Baby Weight

AMP has apparently gained a little weight in the adoption process, which I
didn't really notice, until the other day. It was our first day in
Barranquilla, and our guide and our translator took us up to lunch at a
nearby shopping center. We all walked up and checked out the supermarket,
and then tried out some authentic Colombian mall food. It had rained while
we were in the mall and had flooded the streets, so we decided to take a
taxi back to the hotel. I should say that the taxis here are tiny, like a
Honda Fit. Anyway, the translator, the guide, the two girls (stacked up on
my lap) and I all piled in the back. AMP went around and climbed in the
front seat. The taxi driver took off and drove about 5 feet before he hit a
speed bump and bottomed out. Grind, grind, grind and lots of reversing back
and forth got us nowhere-we were completely stuck. The cab driver then
turns, grumbles something in Spanish, and motions for AMP to get out of the
car. A little bewildered AMP climbs back out-and voila, the cab is no
longer stuck!! The 5 of us in the back and the cab driver collapse in
laughter and AMP gets back in car, muttering something about a "gringo
maximo" or to translate-"Fat American"!

August 5, 2010

Day 2 - Settling in

I want to post a recap of the last few days, but truthfully, I am exhausted
and need to go to sleep, so I can wake up with the chicks at 6am tomorrow.
I'll try to do it tomorrow. Today went really well-he is starting to settle
in. He loved the pool this morning-and kept trying jump in like Big Sissy,
who was Big Sissy of Impressive and Scary Diving and Flipping Abilities.
Chicken Nugget pretty much followed Pollo around all day chirping "Hi
Pollo", trying to hug him and trying to blow on his belly. Pollo is
figuring out his place in this crazy family so well. He gets sad
periodically, but is not inconsolable, and will laugh and giggle along with
the girls most of the time. He loves to play with cars and balls-typical
boy and this causes some crazy racing back and forth in the suite. Still
potty trained-Am I the luckiest person in the world? He called me Mommy
several times today and said his second English word this afternoon -
Monkey!!!-while looking at a book my friend gave us last week. He slept
with us last night, but I rocked him to sleep tonight, and right now we
have him laying down with Chicken Little, so let's see if that flies. He
slept last night with the firetruck we gave him. Sorry, we can't post
pictures of him yet, but here are the girls the night before we got him,
eating dinner at the hotel by the pool.

August 4, 2010

Pollo is Perfect!

I am currently sitting in a chair, in a frigid cold hotel room, with my fabulous son sound asleep on my lap. He is simply amazing and today went better than we could have ever imagined!
He is really smart, seems to understand and even listen to what we are saying and our instructions. He is having an awesome time playing with the "Ninas", and is truly adorable in every way! He was laughing with us with in the first half hour. He called AMP "Papi" and wants me to pick him up and hold him when he is sad. When he and AMP were playing, AMP at one point stood up to go get the ball that had rolled across the room. Pollo started yelling at him in Spanish, and all the women in the room started smiling and told AMP, "he is saying Don't go!" The three kiddos are having a great time playing together. He doesn't speak any English at all, but pointing and wild gesturing seem to do the trick for the most part. He is a, dare I say it and jinx myself royally, potty trained! He is all boy - He loves to play with the firetruck we brought him, and loves to throw the ball around. He has a little accordion that his foster mother said he loved to play with, and boy, he loves that thing!
He does miss his foster mother a lot, and he asked for several times, but that is to be expected. He is just amazing, and I love him so much already! My girls were also amazing, Chicken Little was just giving and understanding with him and with the whole unruly situation today - She turned on her charm and had the whole ICBF office in stitches. Chicken Nugget went without a nap all day, and was still amazingly patient and sweet. I love my three children, and I really love that they are now all together, here in the crazy coop!

Note: We have been advised to not post pictures until the adoption is finalized by a Colombian court. Unfortunately, this will probably take three weeks. For those of you who haven't seen pictures, you will just have to trust me, he is a very handsome little boy.

August 3, 2010

The last night before Pollo joins Happily Ever After!

Tomorrow afternoon at 2pm we meet him. And while I have a hysterical story from today that I am just dying to tell, it will have to wait. I am beyond excited and nervous and scared and strangely peaceful about tomorrow. We have been praying for him and his transition, and I know and appreciate that a lot of other people are praying for him as well. I am trying not to go into full Chicken mode, because while I am nervous, AMP keeps reminding me that "They smell fear." Just pray that I don't frighten him - big, scary white woman, in weird capri pants, who seems to cry a lot. And definitely pray that AMP doesn't have one of his infamous snot bombs (for those you who know him, he is a ridiculous cryer, so the tears are inevitable, but the snot bombs are crazy and could send our little son over the edge.) I firmly believe his two new fabulous sisters will help tremendously with the transition (even the lawyer here mentioned that after meeting them for 5 seconds). So putting all fear and worry aside, tomorrow is going to be one of the best days of my life! I can't wait to see him play with his sisters, I can't wait to hug and kiss him, I can't wait for him to see his Daddy, and I can't wait to post a picture of the new Happily Ever After!

Labor continues in Bogota

Labor Pain #7: Nine plus hours on a two planes with Chicken Little and Chicken Nugget. Charming, sweet, well behaved children overall, but there were a few moments. Like when Chicken Little decided to eat the tictac that had dropped on the floor, andwhenChicken Nugget became obsessed with the idea that "Man took my 'troller!" and seemed concerned she might never get it back, so she repeated her claim, over, and over, and over, and over.....
Labor Pain #8: Customs and Baggage claim at 10:30 at night in a foreign country with the same two small children from - need I say more?
Epiderural Wearing off!
Labor Pain #9: Getting the news that our appointment to get/meet/slobber, squeeze, kiss and tear all over Pollo was put off until Wednesday afternoon. That one hurt.
Labor Pain #10: That sinking feeling that I had forgotten about, the one were you realize you are not in control of the situation, and no matter what, right now you have to trust someone else's best interest to take care of you and your family. I felt it in Ethiopia when I realized that I had not been in control of Chicken Little's story up until that Friday morning when I met her. I had to trust that her family had made good decisions for her up until that point, and that the agency was taking care of the process. I felt it with Chicken Nugget, when I realized I had no idea how to give birth/take care of a tiny baby, and that I needed to trust that the doctors and nurses would make the right choices for our care. I felt it again today when they moved the appointment, saying we needed a day to settle in the country with the girls before we get him. I will have to remind myself that I just might feel that feeling again in the next 6 weeks and that it is okay.
So, with less than 8 hours of sleep in 2 nights, we are heading back to that airport in the morning to head out to Barranquilla.

And just on a "pat my own back" note: I packed for 6 weeks in a .......carryon bag. Additionally, Chicken Nugget is also packed in that bag! Who's a rockstar? And nobody better judge my pictures from this trip, where I am in the same pair of capri pants in every single picture.

August 2, 2010

Labor pains....and we are off to airport!!

Labor Pain #1: Realizing that my debit card was locked in the manager's office at Dunkin Donuts until 7am Monday morning
Labor Pain #2: Being told by one guy at hotel reservations that the hotel we wanted was absolutely not available, after spending an hour on the phone to get to him. 45 minutes later by another agent that it absolutely was available??
Labor Pain #3: Staying up until 3 am packing,cleaning and running around in a general chicken-like state
Labor Pain #4 Wake up at 6am to load up 4 suitcases, 4 carryon's, and two strollers in the minvan, before heading back to DD to pick up debit card
Labor Pain #5: that darn HOV lane starts moving like lightening the minute I get irrevocably out of it.
Labor Pain #6: Realizing that the insanity of children traveling with us now, is about to get exponentially worse :)
At the airport in Houston and off! Next time from Colombia!! Pollo, here we come!