4:54 PM

CAUTION:  Long story! (I know some of you don't like to read long blog posts, so I'm just warning those who fall into that category.) If you want to see just the pictures, press the arrow keys.

I know many of you are waiting to see the pictures from the graduation.  First, I want to give you a little background as to why my husband and I "gloat" and talk so much about our son and keep repeating how proud we are of him.

Andrew is a gift from God. A prayer that God answered to us the day he was born.  When David and I were just a year married, I realized I was not a "fertile myrtle" as they say.  I was 26 years and 9 months old and was ready to get married and have a family. I started having this weird feeling since I was 23, that it wasn't going to be easy for me to get pregnant.  Don't ask me why I felt this way, it just was a feeling.  I talked about it alot to David and he would tell me "maybe you shouldn't thing about it so much."  I pushed it to the back of my mind and didn't think about it until David asked me to marry him and we started discussing how many children did we want to have.  I reminded him that I still felt the same way as I did several years before.  We decided we were going to use birth control for the first year and then go from there. Two months before our marriage, I had the birth control pill in my hand. All I did was stared at it and cried.  The feeling was so strong, my heart was palpitating and I was shaking.  I just could not get myself to take the pill.  I knew in my soul I was infertile.  I called him up and told him how I felt and he agreed with me not to take the pill.

We got married and on our first year anniversary, I reminded him I had not conceived. My instincts were right.  We decided to go to a doctor to discuss the situation.  The doctor started documenting any problems I had with my menstrual cycle...etc.  He gave us "tips" and told us, especially me, to relax and not think about it.  A couple months passed, I called him and told him I wanted to be tested more aggressively.  He agreed and scheduled me for a laparoscopic procedure to explore and see if there was anything blocking my tubes and reproductive system. 

1.  Sure enough, they found the beginnings of endometriosis. Endometriosis affects many women and is the number one cause for infertility.  It is also an autoimmune disease that affects the whole body. 2. During the procedure he was able "clean" the excessive scar tissues that this disease causes.
3.  6 months after the procedure, I got pregnant.   I was so happy and thanked God everyday for the baby in my womb.
4.  I was two and half months pregnant for Thanksgiving and started to decorate our home the day after, as it was tradition.  We put up our tree, my little village that I had started the year before we got married and we put up our stockings.  I bought a little stocking, which represented the baby and put it inside my stocking, nice and snug, just like my baby was in my tummy.  I was 3 months with child.
5.  Two weeks before Christmas, on a Saturday, I was cleaning the house when I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen.  I immediately stop cleaning and laid down. I call the doctor and he told me not to get out of bed and if I started bleeding lightly, put a pillow under my legs to elevate them.
6.  3 days later, the pain was so excruciating, I couldn't even walk. I finally relented and told David to take me to the ER. The pain was so intense, it actually "mimicked" full labor pains.  By the time I got to the emergency room, the doctor was waiting for me and they took me straight into a room.  As I was getting out of the wheel chair, my baby left my body

It was a horrible experience. When I got home from the hospital, I first went to my Christmas Stocking and took out the baby's stocking and took it with me to bed.  I went into a deep depression for about 3 months. I didn't want to get out of bed, didn't want to eat, didn't want to go out and didn't want visitors.  I slowly came out of the depression and started to feel normal after 5 months.  No one knows the pain a women goes through when they miscarry a baby.  I'm so glad that now, they have support groups and professional help for these women.

 During those months, all I did was cry and pray to God to please give let me have the honor of being a mother. I asked Him every single day! I promised him if he would give me a child, I would dedicate him/her to Him and I would raise him to know he was sent to earth for a purpose. The child would be loved and well taken care of. 

1. At the 6 month mark, I conceived again.  I was happy, but boy was I scared!  I did not want to go through what I had gone through before.
2. For the first three months I was tensed, I tried to not do much.  The doctor saw me every 3 weeks and labeled me "high risk."
3.  I was so skinny,  at 2 1/2 months, we were able to hear the heartbeat!  I was so happy, but still cautious.  I had severe morning, noon and night sickness. Always throwing up.
4. Once the "risky" months passed and I entered the 4th month, I started to relax.   My belly was growing and I was the happiest person on this earth.  Every night before falling asleep, David and I would put our hand on my belly and prayed for the baby and thanked God for the precious gift that was growing inside of me. 
5.  Everything went well until I took the glucose test and the test showed I was borderline diabetes. In order for it not to become full blown, I was told to lay off the sweets. Oh more Christmas cookies...grrrrrr.
6.  At the 8 month visit, my blood pressure was really high and they found protein in my urine. PRECLAMPSIA!  Very dangerous for the baby and the mom.  I took it very easy because the doctor explain to me what could happen.
7.  Because of the preclamsia, my water bag broke 2 weeks before my due date.  I was going to have the baby.  I had a pretty intense 7 hours of labor. No time for epidural. The pain was excruciating.
8.  9:20 am, on Saturday, March 9th, my baby boy was born.  When I saw him, his hands were in the air and he was screaming his lungs out.  I was sobbing!  All I could say was, thank you God, thank answered my prayers.
9.   The feeling I felt as I was holding Andrew David, was the best feeling in the world. Instant love. Instant gratitude to my God for granting me this wonderful gift called: Motherhood.
10. While Andrew was doing fine, I was very sick with Toxemia. They couldn't control my high blood pressure and the protein in my urine was very high.  They knocked me out with drugs and told my husband I was very sick and no visitors were allowed, only my parents and his parents.

Now that you know, how hard it was for me to conceive and how sick I got from the pregnancy, you should better understand, why Andrew is so special to us.  He was a good baby. Started sleeping through the whole night by 6 weeks. Cried only when he was hungry, tired or just a little irritated.  He was the best toddler.  A very well behaved one at that.  Terrible twos?  What is that? A very smart little boy and so lovable! I thanked God every single day for my gift.  Andrew went to pre-school and then entered Multi-Cultural Magnet, in Bridgeport, for full day Kindergarten.  One thing his kindergarten teacher would tell us was that Andrew seemed to get distracted a lot. She said he was a very well behaved child, but while she was giving her lessons, he would put his head on the table, play with the pencil, play with his paper and drew pictures on all of his schoolwork....etc.  We decided to have his desk emptied of everything.  He would only get a pencil when the assignments were to begin.  Still, the teacher said he would find something to distract him....his shoelaces.  As far as his school work was concern, he was up to par and doing great.

In first grade, he had an awesome teacher, who had been his aunt's teacher when she was younger.  Mrs. Taylor loved Andrew.  She also notice the same behavior his kindergarten teacher observed. He wouldn't necessary sit still or look like he was listening to what she was teaching.  Yet, when he turned his work in, she noticed he was listening because the work was right.  The one area she was concerned was reading.  He showed no interest when they went to the reading circle. He would go under the table and just play with the table.  Yet, she would ask Andrew a question about the story or stories and he would answer the questions right, which meant he was listening.  She tried to figured out why he wouldn't sit still or at times just laid his head on the desk. One thing she keep telling us was, he loved to draw and his drawings were every where, even on the school work sheet.  She asked us if he was getting a good night's rest, at what time we were putting him sleep...etc.  She also asked about his hearing.  All our answers were positive.  He never asked us to repeat ourselves, when watching tv he didn't have it super loud...etc.  The one thing we notice was his nose was always runny.  We had mentioned that to his doctor and he checked his ears and nose. Doctor said he probably had allergies. We got a reading tutor for him. And at home we double up the book reading time.  The teacher also told us to get his vision checked because Andrew at times would complain he couldn't see the chalkboard.

In second grade, his teacher was a great teacher, but much more strict than the other ones.  Andrew seemed to have matured a little more in being able to sit still and not get as distracted as before.  His reading was still not up to par.  This particular teacher did not LIKE that he drew on the school work. She kept complaining to us.  In one of our teacher's conference, I got a little irritated because I asked her..."is the work he is handing in correct?" She answered yes.  I proceed to tell her that Andrew always loved to draw since he was a toddler.  Drawing seemed to relax him and he would always give me all his drawings.  My husband and I were very surprise at how good he was. He was very detailed oriented with his drawings. I would bring his drawings to work where I had a friend who was studying child psychology and she would praise the pictures.  She said "Andrew is very secured in his home life.  In his drawings he always showed that he was loved by both his parents and family. He always drew us 3 holding hands. I told the teacher...this was his outlet! She wouldn't budge and said she was not going to accept work with drawings on them.  I was so MAD!  We spoke to Andrew and he promise he wouldn't draw on the paper. (He had the saddest look on his face when he promised us.)  He did good for a month and went back to drawing.  It was such a tough year. I had him tested for ADD, special ed, every test they give a child to determine if they had some kind of disability.  He was not hyper...all I could think of was, maybe, dyslexia.  In the meantime, his first grade teacher, Mrs. Taylor, always asked us how was he doing. One day she stopped us in the hallway after a teacher's conference and showed us an article in a teacher's publication.  She said the minute she read it, she thought of Andrew. We took it home and read it.  The article was about, children with reading problems and problems with "sitting still" most likely suffered from enlarged adenoids.  Flare ups would cause some hearing lost, tearing eyes and a runny nose and most likely suffered from sleep apnea, thus being tired at school. Wow! Yes, this sounded like Andrew, how didn't we notice this!  We immediately set up an appointment with the doctor and explain to him everything that was going on.  He checked his adenoids and noticed that they were enlarged.  He set us up with a ENT specialist within a week.  At the ENT appointment, the doctor could not believe how enlarged his adenoids.  He said they were twice the size of adult adenoids. He administered a hearing test and did some other test.  He told us that Andrew basically was hearing, but hearing very muffled sounds and confirmed that he definitely suffered from sleep apnea.  I immediately started to cry and told the doctor, Andrew never complained that he couldn't hear. Never complained about anything, not even about his runny nose.  He set up a date to extract the adenoids and the tonsils.

After the operation, Andrew's hearing was better and his reading improved drastically. Unfortunately, it was not enough to bring him up to par with the school districts recommendation reading levels.  We were call him for a meeting with the principal, social worker, child psychologist and his teacher.  The teacher's recommendation was to have him repeat 2nd grade so he could catch up with his reading abilities.  I WAS SO DEVASTATED!  I FELT LIKE A FAILURE AS A MOTHER.  All I did was cried. Both the social worker and child psychologist who had tested Andrew for all the possible learning disabilities could not accept that a child with a high IQ, no learning disability or behavioral problems, would be kept back because he reading level was a couple of numbers low.  The principal had his hands tied because it was a "MAGNET" school and had to go by the rules for every child, no exceptions.  The only other solution was to drop out of the magnet program and return to the neighborhood school and get passed to 3rd grade.  I was mortified that they were actually telling me the "normal" neighborhood schools were not up to par and that the magnet schools were accelerated. My husband and I said this was such an injustice to every child that went to public schools.  We made our decision and decided Andrew would repeat 2nd grade and stay at Multi-Cultural Magnet School. The beginning of the school year was so hard because all of his friends moved on and he had to repeat the 2nd grade.  I can't go into how emotionally draining this was for me, as a mother. Failure is all that came to mine.  His second, 2nd grade teacher was the nicest teacher ever. His was a gentleman, a small gentleman in height and the kids loved him. He literally came down to their level. Andrew loved Mr. H.  We spoke to Mr. H and explained to him everything that had happened.  God knows everything because, Mr. H was the best teacher that Andrew could have at this time of his life. Mr. H embraced his drawings on the school work. Encouraged his loved for drawing...etc.  Andrew thrived in his class.  No complaints that he wasn't listening, that he didn't sit still...etc.  I truly believe, his first 2nd grade teacher was "crushing" Andrew's artistic passion.  I thank God for Mr. H everyday and for Mrs. Taylor who never gave up on Andrew, knew he was a smart child, and there had to be a reason his reading was not up to par.

At the end of Andrew's second, 2nd grade, David and I had already decided we were going to move to East Hartford, Connecticut.  David and I were youth pastors for 12 years in Bridgeport and we felt God was directing us to move up to the Hartford area.  Another blow to Andrew. :(

Andrew entered Governor William Pitkin School, as a 3rd grader in the fall of 2000.  He made friends in his 3rd grade class and overall did really well at this school.  When he entered middle school, he hit a bump in the road and we immediately got to the core of it.  Again, teachers adored Andrew's disposition, manners and how well behaved he was.  He received the Presidential Award for Good Citizenship among many other awards; including the Superintendent's award for serving the community.  His passion for Art just kept growing and growing. He also found a new passion in music. He became a member of the middle school band and started to play the tenor sax.

In high school, he thrived so much. He joined the East Hartford High School Marching Band and was so dedicated to his studies.  His reading was well above average!  At the beginning of his junior year, he got a part time job at Big Lots. At the end of his junior year, he was inducted into the National Honors Society.  He graduated June of 2010 with honors in the top 50 of his class. (Number of students 387)

He decided to attend Central Connecticut State University to study Art.  He when in as a full time student with the intention of  getting his BA in four years.  But, he wanted to keep his part time job. After his freshman year, we told him to take his time getting his credits because he wanted to work, go to school and still help out at church in the children's ministries.  As he approached his senior year, he decided he was going to do 5 years and get a minor in psychology.  We totally backed him up in his school decisions and told him he was always welcome to stay at home.

I hope you now know why we are so proud of our boy, Andrew.  He has been a blessing to us.  All through his school years, we never had any discipline problems. He continued to get high praise for his behavior in school.  The teachers loved him.  The principal loved him.  He never gave any of them any reasons to complain.  He always attended his classes. Went to school everyday.  The only time he missed was when he was REALLY sick.  There were times, I demanded he stayed home because he needed more rest to get better.  The same was with his job.  He has wonderful work ethics and they love him at work.  He is still working at Big Lots. (6 1/2 years.)  

A big thanks to everyone who encouraged Andrew, picked him up when he needed a ride, helped him in anyway, directly or indirectly. Please continue to pray for him so that God can direct him to the job he wants him to do.  He would love to get his Master's and my prayer is he can find a job that can contribute to his continuing his education. But, most important of all, that he may continue to honor God first through out his life!

 The beauty of owning a Nikon D750 with the 70-200 lenses. 5th row up are Andrew's godparents, Moe and Diana Orozco, a long time friend, Patty and Grandpa Orozco. They are Marcos' parents who also graduated and sat next to Andrew. :)

The stadium was so full, my poor parents were so high up. My mom cannot stand for long periods. They got two chairs for them. :(

 Here come the graduates.Pomp and Circumstance!

There goes my baby waving!

 Connecticut US Senator Blumberg

Connecticut Congressman John Larson

Students having fun and blowing bubbles. I guess their brains are fried.

 And the famous beach ball.....

 Caity Ross! Caity was in high school with Andrew's Senior year and Jacob's Freshman year. She became a "daughter" in our family.

 Caity Leamy!  We screamed her name out and she didn't hear us. Caity is a former youth from church and a good friend of the boys.

And there he goes...marching across the stage to received his well earned diploma

 He texted us this picture...:)

 This girl...uh...she had lights on her hat...LOL!  I believe her parents spotted her quick. :)

 Here comes Vachelle Baez

 There she is! She heard us.

 Such a beautiful girl. Inside and out.  She will be wed August 9th

 Here comes Matthew Panecki!

 And he heard our screams...LOL!


 I believe there were about 1700 students that graduated and the XL was almost full to capacity.

 Here they go...the balloons!

Andrew with his Godmother Diana.

 With his mommy and godmommy

It was so emotional to see my son and my godson sitting together and getting their diplomas together!

Proud mamas!

 Vachelle with her beautiful sister who surprised and come from Virginia to see her graduate.


Vachelle with Andrew.  Both attend the same church.


 My love. <3

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