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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Rio Dulce

I'm finally getting the chance to post these fun pics of our road trip to the Rio Dulce. I guess I've been kinda busy. So, when Dave arrived in Guatemala he rented this 11 seater, toyota, eurovan thing. It was great!! Each kid got their own row, and the boys took turns sitting next to the baby and entertaining her. It was about a 5 hour drive to the Rio, and the only excitement we encountered on the drive was navigating through Guatemala City. The countryside was beautiful and surprisingly varied. It was so fun to be out on our own for the first time as a family of six. Soli took to traveling really well, and it was fun to give her a little taste of what life is like in our family. We are constantly taking little (or big) road trips here and there in our life here in the States. We spent three nights (including my birthday) at the Tijax Jungle Lodge where Dave had his boat docked when we first met almost 12 years ago. The dock looked just the same, but the grounds had been improved significantly. Where there used to be nothing but jungle there were now two restaurants, a pool, two jacuzzis, and about a dozen darling jungle bungalows. It had grown perfectly to accommodate our new and improved family. At first, being back there was a bit of a head trip for both of us. Dave kept having the impulse to retreat to the privacy and solace of "Morgenstern", while I found myself drawn to the travelers crowd seated at the bar. Then we would both be pulled back to reality by one of four children running around with our names on them. The "twilight zone" only lasted a few hours and then we settled into jungle life: sipping Mojitos poolside while watching our kiddos diving for Quetzales, traversing the swinging jungle bridge, cruising the docks drooling and dreaming, and, of course, "fishing" for turtles off our back deck. It is definitely up there with one of the most memorable and meaningful getaways we've had as a family thus far. Enjoy the pics.

I'm just lovin' this Daddy guy! He's the coolest!

Soli cozying with Mommy after traversing the jungle bridge.

On my birthday we took a drive out into the countryside to the Finca Paraiso. In the middle of the jungle there is an amazingly beautiful, hot waterfall pouring into a cool, fresh water river. We spent the afternoon swimming, soaking and relaxing. It was great day.

You can hardly see them, but Dave and the kids are swimming near the rocks on their way to the hot waterfall.

This is the exact spot where I cut Dave's hair the morning after we met. See the yellow hull of the sailboat in the background? That's where Morgenstern was docked when I first met Dave.
Good times, good times.

Twelve years...

...and four kids later.

I know, girl. I can't get enough of him either.

Looking out over Lago Izabal from El Castillo. Lots of great memories on that lake...

Tijax Jungle Lodge -- I highly recommend it.

We hired a boat for the afternoon one day. He took us on a mini tour of the Rio stopping at El Castillo and the restaurant where Dave and I met. It used to be called Hollimar, but now it's called Pizza Bravo. Not quite the crescendo we had expected but still fun to see it. That is the bridge from Fronteras in the background.

After two months without him, all the kids were really glad to log in some Daddy time.

"Fishing" for turtles with jungle vines and bagels off of our little deck.

And Emerson caught one!! Isn't he cute?

Daddy caught one, too!

Happy birthday, Mommy!

Our little "jungalow".

The inside.

Daddy and Baby, chillin' after breakfast.

A few kids and a few palm trees. What else is there, really?
In front of El Castillo.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

We're home!!

"Now that's a full house."

I'm dead tired, but I wanted to ever so quickly post an update to let you all know that we are home!! We did it!! I can't believe it. Dave was able to pull some strings and get us home with him. He was so was very sweet. So we were able to get Soli's visa yesterday at 11:30 and we were on a plane to Miami by 3PM!! We had a wonderful overnight visit with Gramma and Grandpa on their boat in Miami and then we were on our way to San Francisco first thing this morning. My parents picked us up at the airport and we are home!! I'm so happy to be here. As sad as I was to pack up my little casita in Antigua (I cried half the way to Guatemala City after handing over my keys) it is such a relief to be home. Our house is so cozy, and even though we only have one bathroom (which my husband beautifully remodeled while we were gone) it seems huge to me!! The kids are unbelievable happy to be home, too. They each ran straight to their nearest friends' houses. And our friends and family are just amazing. We've been showered with love and warm wishes from the minute we got home. Our refrigerator was stocked, our doggy was fed, and everyone is so excited to meet our little Miss Soli. As for our beautiful baby girl, she is taking it all in. She is a total Mama's girl and holds on to me tight, tight, tight whenever a new person comes around. She is completely intrigued by this strange creature they call a "kitty cat". And I think the "kitty cat" is equally intrigued by her. We're just so happy to be home and so incredibly thankful that we were able to come home together. I'll be posting pictures of our trip to the Rio Dulce and Volcan Pacaya just as soon as I can...As always, thanks for checking in! I'm off to sleep in my own bed. ~Heather

What am I forgetting?? Oh yeah, Antigua.

Soli couldn't be happier about going home.

A very early morning in Miami!

Hurry Mom, buckle me up. We gotta get going before they change their minds!

Home sweet home!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Adoption Update...

The coveted pink slip.

Dave and I spent all day in Guatemala City today with our attorneys, and we were able to make some great progress. We got Soli's passport, picked up our pink slip (finally), and saw the embassy doctor. Sadly, we were delayed about a week in getting our embassy appointment, because our agency didn't send the copies of our passports that they were supposed to. Errr. This means that Dave will likely have to go home without us. Ughh! Can you believe that? He arrived last Monday to bring us home and was scheduled to stay two weeks, which should have been plenty of time to complete Soli's adoption. He's scheduled to fly home on Feb. 12, but really has no flexibility to stay longer with Valentine's Day being one of the busiest days of the year for our business. Our embassy date is for February 13, and we can pick up Soli's visa on the 14th after 3:30PM. We have a request into the embassy for an earlier date, but unless they are able to get us in tomorrow it really won't make a difference. So it looks like Dave will be flying home solo, and the kids and I will follow Thursday or Friday of next week. Bummer. But I'm really trying to keep perspective. There is a family here at our complex whose file was sent to a special sector of PGN for further investigation. Unfortunately, this sector is closed for anywhere from 2-12 months. So, essentially, their adoption is at a complete standstill for an undetermined length of time. They had to return their baby to foster care, and they are now home in the States without their son and with very little answers. So, we really have nothing to complain about. We have been very lucky. Our adoption has gone smoothly and we are on our way home. It'll just take a little longer than we anticipated. I think Dave is disappointed not to be able to bring us home himself. Poor guy. But the kids and I will be fine. We still have some things we want to do before we go home, anyway. Not to mention the homework that still needs to be completed. We're keeping our chins up. We'll keep you all posted. Thanks for checking in. ~Heather

Coleman Reaches Double Digits!!

I can't believe that my first born is now officially a tweenager!! Where have the last 10 years gone?! It makes me so sad to think that now we're on the downhill slide towards college. When he was nine I could say we were only half way there. Now we've gone further than we have left to go. So sad. On the bright side it is darling to see him becoming a little man. He wants, so badly, to be just like his dad and with any luck he will be. He had a fun birthday celebration starting with a pinata and fireworks with his friends on the weekend before his big day. On his actual birthday day he opted to open just one present and save the rest for when Dave was here. Then he and I went out to dinner just the two of us. We went to the Las Palmas restaurant here in Antigua and we had a great time. He was a real delight to spend quality one on one time with. I need to do that more often with each of my kiddos. Anyway, here are some pics of his day.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. I love you. I'm so proud of the young man you are becoming. Love, Mama