Saturday, January 18, 2014

2013 - What A Year it Was!!

I'm obviously a little late with my 2013 post.  I've been a "little" busy and I was trying to decide if I would do a 2013 post or a first year together post.  Since I'm now late for both and they pretty much coincide, here it is:


  • I honestly can't tell you what happened between January 1st and 12th.  I know I worked for a week or so but the rest is a blur.  There was some strategic packing and that's about all I know.

January 12  to March 7

  • January 12 - I got on a plane and left my old life behind.  My mom met up with me on the second leg of my trip.  It's a good thing she did or I may not have gotten on the plane.  
  • Janury 14 - I finally met my little girl.
  • January 20 - I got to meet Claudia for the first time.  Her parents and I had walked through the process together.  It was so nice to finally meet her and to have them at the hotel with us.  
  • January 22 - I agreed to move forward with the legal process and become this little girl's mother.  
  • Colombia is kind of a blur.  We spent a lot of time waiting for the phone to ring and as much time as possible hanging out with other families.
  • Daily walks quickly became a part of our routine.  
  • Jason and I got really brave and took our girls to the Children's Museum.  I was so impressed with how well they handled our girls.  
  • We visited the orphanage briefly and I got to meet Sara's BFF.  
  • We had several adventures with Jason and Claudia---including getting caught in the afternoon rains in their matching strollers.  
  • We ate out a lot.  
  • We got to meet Gracie and her family.  
  • We spent a lot of time hanging out at the park.  
  • Sara got her US visa on March 6.  She spent the waiting time chasing pigeons.  
  • Leaving meant saying goodbye to some great people, including our facilitator.
  • Sara did very well on the flights and became a US citizen when we landed in Atlanta.  
  • We finally arrived home March 7.  We were tired but happy and so excited to see so many friends and family at the airport.


  • My mom came to Chicago when we arrived home so she got to spend some time reuniting with Sara.  
  • Sara had a photo shoot done by my friend Katie of 5 Boys + 1 Girl = 6.  She did such a great job with Sara and I will always treasure these photos taken during her first days home.  
  • We made our first trip to NY to see my family.  I'd say the admiration is pretty mutual.  
  • Sara had her first eye doctor appointment in March.  She was not impressed with the dilation process.  Not even McDonalds french fries could console her.  
  • We celebrated our first Easter together in March.  A sweet friend invited us over for dinner.  I tried to get Sara to eat one green bean.  The gagging and crying was impressive.  


  • I had to go back to work in April.  Sara started school and the babysitter on the same day.  She handled it much better than I did.  
  • Sara got her glasses in April.  They weren't quite the hit we hoped they'd be.  
  • Tia Janelle came into town for a wedding.  Sara loved meeting her and loved the wedding.  
  • Sara made her first trip to the zoo.  She loved it.  


  • We did our first 5k together.  I walked.  Sara rode.  It doesn't seem quite fair that her time was a second shorter than mine.  
  • May brought our first Mother's Day together and Sara's dedication.  She acted exactly the way I thought she would.  Exactly. 


  • June brought the end of the school year for both of us and a summer of adventures and traveling.  
  • We spent a week in NY to see my brother graduate  from high school and visit with friends and family.  
  • Sara is a huge fan of water and spent as much of her summer as possible in a swim suit.  This includes the weekend we spent in Michigan with my friend Becky and her family.  

  • I'm not usually an over-patriotic person but the 4th of July meant just a little bit more this year with my new citizen.  
  • Sara was in her first wedding on July 5th.  She was incredibly crabby moments before the ceremony but turned on the charm and did a great job.  She danced the night away with anyone and everyone.  
  • July brought on an epic road trip.  4 weeks.  8 states.  Thousands of miles and countless hours.  Our first stop was in OH.   I got to meet a great family that I had gotten to know online during our adoption processes.  It was so nice to spend some time with another mother who just gets what my life looks like now.  
  • We went camping in Maine for a week. Camping for us means lots of people in an RV!  Sara got to meet my dad's entire family and got to spend some quality time with my family.  
  • We ended up with an "extra" week in NY so we went to visit Circle C Ranch.  It was fun to go back and see just how much hasn't change in the last 20 years.  
  • The extra week also meant a little extra cousin time.  


  • We spent a week in Mexico and California with Anna visiting with old friends and reminiscing about our time living there.  We even got to spend a couple of days with Tia Janelle.
  • Sara turned 5 in August.  We spent the day at the San Diego Zoo with Tia Janelle, Tia Anna, and Jonathon.  She got ice cream with a candle after dinner.  She was a little overwhelmed by all the attention.  
  • We had a small birthday party at the house with some friends.  She has since mastered the ability to blow out candles but all she could do at her birthday was blow her bangs up.  
  • My little munchkin started Kindergarten a week after her 5th birthday.  


  • We went to Fair Oaks farm to use a groupon before it expired.  She loves all things animals.  It was our first big day trip with just the two of us.  
  • Sara got invited to her first birthday party.  She was NOT a fan of laser tag.  She made it about 37 seconds.  
  • We celebrated 6 Months Home on the 7th.  
  • Sara had her first dentist appointment in September.  She did so well and her teeth look great. 
  • Sara was involved in a preschool sports program at the park district in the fall.  She loved the soccer unit.  The rest of the sports weren't quite as fun in her mind.  
  • A brand new Gigi's Playhouse opened in Oak Forest in September.  We are so lucky to have such a great resource so close to home!  


  • Sara was a flower girl in my friend Megan's wedding in Florida in October.  We flew down for the weekend.  She got to experience the beach for the first time and we spent most of our weekend in the hotel pool.  It was interesting to travel with pretty much just the two of us.  Sara did so well at the wedding.  It's amazing how grown up and well-behaved she can be when you put a pretty dress on her.  
  • We made a trip to Indy to visit with my dear friend Anna and to dress shop for her upcoming wedding.  Sara LOVES dress shopping.  Mom's not quite as big a fan.  
  • October brought a lot of drama with school and eventually a new placement.  (And a pretty cute school picture!)  
  • We went to a local pumpkin patch with a group from church.  Sara loved every single moment of it.  She had a hard time transitioning between activities.  She just wasn't convinced that any thing else could be more fun than what she was currently doing.  She was an absolute mess at the end of the day.  There is still straw in my car.  I'm still trying to figure out why no one else had children that were quite as dirty as mine.  
  • We really didn't celebrate Halloween.  I just didn't think Sara was ready.  She did get to wear a princess dress to school, though.  I spent the next several weeks trying to explain to her that she couldn't wear one every day. 


  • We spent Thanksgiving in NY with my family.  This always means lots of time with Nana, Grandpa and the Uncles and visits with the cousins.
  •  We also got to play with the VanHalles while we were in NY.  It's so fun to watch Claudia grow and change.  Maybe some day these two girls won't be afraid of each other.  


  • December brought our first Christmas season together.  I was VERY excited and we started celebrating pretty early.  Sara loved everything Christmas.  She especially loved pictures and figures of Santa.  She's not so sure about the actual guy.  
  • Sara got invited to attend a Princess Ball and my dad just happened to be in town that weekend for work.  (He's never been here for work before!)  Sara loved it.  Dad claims not to but I know he did.  After all, he was the grandfather of the belle of the ball.  

  • December brought the first real snow.  Sara loves it as long as it doesn't touch her skin.  I actually thought at one point that she had broken her arm while we were shoveling.  It took me a while to figure out that some of the snow had fallen into her sleeve and that was the source of the screaming and wailing.  
  • We spent our Christmas break with my family in NY.  Sara just loves being around all of my family and they certainly love her.  
  • 2013 ended in Maine.  We knew my grandmother wasn't doing well so my dad, brother, Sara, and I went up to Maine to visit and to spend New Years with my dad's family.  New Year's Eve was uneventful to say the least.  (I think we were asleep before 10.)  I'm so glad that we got up there, though, and got to see Ma one last time.


  1. This is beautiful, as always, Natalie, thank you!!

  2. I love this Natalie!!! Sara has a wonderful, blessed life.

  3. Can you please email me to help me with my Columbia adoption process. I would just like reference for country before starting