Monday, December 28, 2009

December 26 - Mateo's Homecoming

Mateo came home two years ago on December 26! What a joyous day that was! The sun shone so brightly that afternoon in Bogota, and the anticipation we felt was just as bright. I can remember every detail of that day and recall with ease the uneasiness I felt about actually becoming a mother.

When Amparo brought Mateo out from the back room of her apartment, the only thought I could think was, "This is my baby!" Jose and I went from being a couple to being a family in a matter of minutes. There was such a strong feeling of awe in the room - this little baby boy, Mateo Fernando, was now a Cogua, and everyone present celebrated with such reverence. I don't think I will ever experience anything like that again in my life.
When I first held Mateo in my arms - even though it was only a minute or so before he was swept away by his Daddy and the rest of our family who joined us to receive Mateo - I felt so overwhelmed. Joy, relief, awe, disbelief, happiness, wonder. This was my baby - the little boy I had prayed for. I didn't want to share him with anyone, and at the same time, I was so proud to introduce my son to our family. I know Jose had many similar thoughts and feelings.
Now I look at Mateo and I am filled with the same joy and pride and awe. This sweet little boy is my son - the one I prayed for - our "gift of God." Not only is he full of energy and vitality, but he is also affectionate and empathetic and a great includer and lover of people. To celebrate his homecoming, Jose and I took him to see Disney's "The Frog and the Princess" in the theater. It was the first time we took him to the cinema. As we sat watching the movie, Mateo nestled between us on a booster seat with a big box of popcorn, Mateo spontaneously looked over at me and gave me a big kiss, then turned and did the same to his Daddy. It was precious. There is no greater sign of love than those spontaneous moments of genuine affection.
Mateo Fernando Cogua - our son. We're so glad you came home to us!
Mateo llego a casa hace dos años el 26 de Diciembre! Que dia tan alegre fue ese! El sol brillaba muy fuerte ese dia en Bogota, y la anticipacion que sentiamos era probablemente tan fuerte como los rayos del sol. Yo puedo recordar cada detalle de ese dia con facilidad y el sentimiento raro que tuve de convertirme realmente en una mama.Cuando Amparo saco a Mateo de uno de los cuartos de atras en su apartamento, el unico pensamiento que yo tenia era "Es mi bebe!" Jose y yo pasamos de ser una pareja a ser una familia en cuestion de minutos. Habia un sentimiento muy fuerte de admiracion entre todas las peronas en ese cuarto - este pequeño bebe, Mateo Fernado, era ahora un Cogua, y todo los que estaban presentes celebraban con mucha reverencia. Yo no creo que voy a experimentar algo parecido a eso otra vez en mi vida.
Cuando yo tuve a Mateo en mis brazos - aunque fue solo un minuto mas o menos antes de que me lo arrebatara su papa y el resto de nuestra familia que nos acompañaron a recibir a Mateo -me senti abrumada. Alegria, descanso, admiracion, incredulidad, felicidad, asombro. Este es mi bebe - el pequeño bebe por el que habia orado. Yo no queria compartirlo con nadie y al mismo tiempo, estaba muy orgullosa de presentarle a mi hijo a toda nuestra familia. Yo se que Jose tuvo muchos pensamientos y sentimientos similares.
Ahora veo a Mateo y estoy llena de la misma alegria y orgullo y admiracion. Este pequeño y dulce niño es mi hijo - el que yo habia pedido en mis oraciones - nuestro "regalo de Dios." No solamente es un niño lleno de energia y vitalidad, pero es muy afectivo y empatetico y le encanta incluir y amar a toda la gente. Para celebrar su llegada a casa, Jose y yo lo llevamos al cine a ver "La Princesa y el Sapo" la pelicula de Disney. Era la primera vez que lo llevabamos al cine. Mientras mirabamos la pelicula, Mateo se arruncho entre nosotros dos en una silla elevada con un paquete grande de maiz pira, Mateo espontaneamente me miro y me dio un gran beso y despues voltio a mirar a su papa y le dio un beso tambien. Fue precioso. No existe una seña de amor mas grande que esos momentos espontaneos de afecto genuino.
Mateo Fernado cogua - nuestro hijo. Estamos muy felices de que vinieras a casa con nosotros!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

This was a Christmas to remember... Not only did we get 13 inches of snow between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but we also had a slumber party with Grandpa and Grandma, had lots of laughter with family on Christmas Eve playing Wii, and enjoyed opening gifts on Christmas Day with Aunt Nelly, Emma and Bobby.

Last Christmas (2008), Francesca was just a newborn baby and the Christmas before (2007), we were eagerly anticipating Mateo in Colombia to bring him home. So this Christmas, I was able to truly enjoy being with my family and cherishing the moments that now are our memories of this Christmas.

Christmas Eve
(From left) Grandma, Uncle George, Uncle Doug, Donna, Ryan, Crystal, Francesca, Jaimie, Jose, Mateo, Aunt Nelly, Bobby, Emma, Jessica, Clint, Elaine (not pictured - Grandpa Jim, who was taking the picture)

Grandpa and Francesca
Mateo and Clint building

Christmas morning
Mateo waiting to go downstairs and see what Santa brought!

Grandpa and Grandma spent the night because of the storm. It was a first for them to stay at "Hotel Cogua" and we had a memorable, sweet time together.

Francesca loves her bugs

Cars and bugs

"Pup tent" t-shirt glows in the dark

Someone looks very excited!

Mateo's new favorite game

Opening stockings
Monsters vs. Aliens - the movie - was what Mateo most wanted from Santa. He even told the Santa Christmas ornament hanging from our tree that was his wish!
Santa brought Francesca "Baby Signing Time" - a video series that teaches babies how to sign. We've already watched it and it is so cute! Mateo is already learning many of the signs. Our goal on Francesca's IFSP for 2010 includes working on sign language to help her communicate.

Christmas Day - Opening Presents

Francesca and Aunt Nelly have a laugh
Francesca admires the Christmas tree

Aunt Nelly, Bobby and Emma gave Mateo a SUPERMAN figurine. You can imagine how excited he was!
Francesca opens her first present on Christmas Day
Grandpa Jimmy Olsen, Mateo and Superman


Mateo helps Grandma open her present...
... she likes it!
Emma opens a present from Edelmira and Jose - GRACIAS! "Wow!"
Como me ven?
Mateo opens his present from Francesca - Diego Rescue Pack
Gracias, Francesca!

Bobby's grill mat

Mateo loves his computer ... now if only we had the right batteries!

Aunt Nelly helps Francesca open a gift from Grandpa and Grandma

She likes it!

Emma's gift from Mateo and Francesca

Daddy's new coat
Yea for presents!

What is it!? A play kitchen for Mateo and Francesca
Mateo and Grandma play in the new kitchen - the first thing Mateo made were fried eggs - huevos fritos - Abuelita's favorite! La favorita de la Abuela Edelmira ;)

Checking out the new Blackberry phones - and of course, Mateo in his Superman pajamas playing with his new Superman.

Clint and Mateo box together

Jose and Jim duke it out

Rolling with Grandpa

Giggling with Grandma

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas cookies

Today Mateo and I made Christmas cut-out cookies together, or as Mateo likes to say these days, "You and me." It was quite the project, broken down into two parts - this morning while Francesca took her nap, we cut out and baked the cookies, and this afternoon, while Francesca took her nap, we frosted and decorated. It was a lot of fun. I think Mateo ate about 1/3 of the cookies while we worked, but it was the beginning of what I hope will be one of our holiday traditions. Of course, whether or not Mateo is still into Superman will be hard to tell.
Adding coloring to the frosting
Putting sprinkles on the first cookie
Making cookies - "You and Me"
Mateo gave Francesca a bite or two of cookie (no frosting)
Colombian gingerbreadman
The finished product!
Francesca is a pro now at eating Cheerios herself (it took her quite a while to figure out how to get the cereal into her mouth). She woke up about halfway through our decorating adventures and watched while we finished.