Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Its amazing to think a year ago, we clung to our three photos of our daughter dreaming of the day we would hold her forever, Christmas last year just didn't seem quite right.  What a difference a year makes.  The Grinch got it right, Christmas doesn't come from a store, its about family.  This year we decided not to exchange gifts, we donated to our favorite charities instead, this year we didn't plan any fancy vacations or expensive dinners, we just decided to stay at home and cook together.  It was by far my most beloved Christmas, for so many reasons, but having my daughter here after years of wishing and hoping seemed so surreal.

What a magical time of year, Lottie's first Christmas home was celebrated with her grandparents Lola & GrandT, CeCe, PopPop, Aunt Kelley and Uncle Dan. It was wonderful watching her see the look on her face opening all of her gifts.  Santa was so good to Lottie, she was opening gifts days after Christmas.  Although she is still recovering form her palate surgery a few days ago, it was a wonderful day, and we are so grateful to be surrounded by family holding our daughter in our arms this year. Wishing you and yours the joys of the season.  Merry Christmas to all. 


The Castagnos & Fogartys

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Twas the night before surgery

We made it to Dallas, and checked into our hotel room.  Lottie is definitely aware that something big is going to happen.  Sadly, she was very clingy and emotional in the hotel room.  But given some time she was more comfortable and began to play.  We wanted to keep her up as last as possible, since surgery was scheduled for 11:30am the next day and Lottie couldn't eat or drink past 2 am.  We knew she wouldn't understand and how heartbreaking it would be if she signed or requested food.  We were hoping a late hotel room party would equal sleeping in until 10-10:30am.  We also had bags full of distractions- mostly Elmo toys. 

It was a great football night, as our beloved Ravens were playing the Detroit Lions.  And the game didn't disappoint.  We ate room service and cheered on our team.  Lottie really loves to watch football so it was a great distraction and kept our minds off of the surgery.  Our plan unfolded seamlessly, Lottie stayed up until 2 am playing in our bed and eventually dosed off shortly after her last official feeding. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Month 9

Wow 9 months!  we are getting closer and closer to our 1 year anniversary of becoming a forever family. We could not love this little girl any more, she is our world!  Lottie continues to blossom in front of our eyes, she is talking more and loves playing with various toys.  She is really starting to imitate us, answering play phones and pretending to eat play food.  She continues to love Elmo and is beginning to sing the Elmo song, that goes "La, La, La, Elmo's world"  Lottie is starting to have a preference to toys she plays with, besides Elmo some of her favorites are balls,  small books, and small miniature items-think little gadgets you get in a goodie bag.  Lottie also loves cars and trains. Lately she has been fascinated with birds, and living in central TX, when they say birds fly south for the winter they aren't kidding...she is finding it so fun to see all the birds and signs bird with her tiny is priceless. She has a new fascination with the moon, and enjoys looking out the window each night to point it out for us, of course we are reading Goodnight Moon and this is also becoming a quick favorite, a must read every night.

This month was somewhat uneventful, Lottie is staying cooped up at home to prevent exposure to germs, in preparation for her upcoming palate surgery.  She is starting to miss school and we can tell desperately wants to go "bye-bye" but with cold and flu season being at the peak, we are really trying to keep her in a little bubble.  Literally a bubble- she hasn't left the house in weeks.  If we need to run errands one of us stays home.  Its hard for her now, but in the long run it will pay off as we need a healthy little girl for surgery on 12/17/13.

Lottie is enjoying the holidays and really loves our Christmas tree, she loves to pull some of the ornaments off and hand them herself (thank goodness for plastic holiday ornaments that actually look pretty) She is very gentle with them and so far has only rearranged the ornaments with our permission.  She looks at the tree and will say "wow" over and over again.  We know she doesn't understand the meaning behind the decorations or the season itself, but it is wonderful to see the joy in her eyes over the little things like sparkly ornaments, bright lights, and wrapped packages. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homebound for December

In preparation for surgery, we decided to keep Lottie home a full 20 days before surgery to avoid any illness.  Unfortunately, if she was to get sick, we would need to cancel her surgery and this isn't an option for our growing family.  It was quite the juggling act as we both work fulltime and trying to adjust our schedules and work from home with an active 2 year old was a challenge!  But we did survive- looking back we joke and wonder how we did it!  One day we both had important meetings and needed some help!  Thanks to our friend Brandi, she offered to help watch Lottie and took some real cute Christmas photos!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Are you READY?

Since we are gearing up for Lottie's big cleft palate surgery in 2 weeks, we are keeping her home bound for next two weeks to limit exposure to the cold and flu virus.  Therefore we will have LOTS of free time to update the BLOG!  We are making some BIG changes to our blog as we transition our Lottie Lee Blog into our updated Castagno Family Blog!  So in preparation I am finally getting to all my old posts (that I never posted, for some reason these posts needed to be edited or add photos)- so be ready to see 15-20 old posts!
And of course we will be updating surgery information and sharing some of our holiday traditions throughout the month of December!
This PHOTO may be my all time favorite photo of Lottie Lee

Meeting Santa Claus

Today Lottie met Santa Claus for the very first time, She was extremely shy which we expected, we tried to sit her next to the jolly old elf but she became terrified and began to cry.  We opted for a family photo with Santa. We were the last in line right before the end of the day, so Santa had some time to chat, we told him this was Lottie's first Christmas with us, how we adopted her from China 9 months ago.  Santa looked at me with tears in his eyes, and whispered....that he adopted his three children. It's amazing how adoption surrounds us and God reminds us daily of HIS plan.  I sat there with Santa, silently because no words were needed, we hugged & I thought this is the true meaning of Christmas.  It was magical!
And we told Santa Lottie LOVES ELMO and she showed Santa her Elmo Book, I am sure he will be bringing tons of Elmo gifts for our sweet girl this year.

Wishing you and yours an amazing Holiday Season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Waiting on Baby # 2


Just a couple photos from our mini photo shoot this past weekend at Elgin tree Farm.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving TUESDAY

Happy December! 23 days until Christmas!   We wanted to share two charities that have special meaning to us this year, for those who may not have a charity in mind.
The first charity is a team of surgeons similar to Smile Train who perform surgeries for craniofacial anomalies in 3rd world countries.  The founder Dr. Hobar, is Lottie's talented surgeon and he is a wonderful and Godly man who dedicates his time to those in need.  It is a wonderful foundation! 
The second is from Children's Hope International and the funds are to help the orphanage in Weinan, China where Lottie spent her first 18 months of life.  The orphanage needs more therapy supplies for the children who reside there.  Currently 8 children have been adopted from Weinan in 2012-2013, hoping 14 more children will be joined with their forever families in 2014!