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I am afraid I am in danger of becoming a “once-a-week blogger”!!  But at least it’ll be a long post each week with lots of pictures to keep you demanding readers at bay!  🙂

Actually, the truth is, it has been a loooonnng week… I spoke too soon with my last glowing post about how easy it’s been — I should have known better!  This week has been a bit harder.  Joanna’s behavior has gotten so much worse in the last week.  I am starting to wonder if we need to talk to a therapist… Seriously! I know that sounds extreme — but it’s beyond me. We are trying so hard to be loving and affirming — but still consistent with boundaries and her behavior — but she is really being very difficult. She is starting to show signs of aggression toward him (yes, I know… this is my sweet little girl here!) Anyway, it’s a hard one because I know how difficult this is for her, but I get so frustrated by her behavior!  ANY advice would be appreciated!  Actually, I think I just need to hear that this is normal.  Is this normal??? I am reading as much as I can about helping her transition, but so far it has been an uphill battle with only a little progress.  It probably doesn’t help that there have been a lot of other things going on this week…

Peter was away on a business trip and he had meetings in the evenings before he went out of town, so I’ve been flying solo off and on — wondering how in the world I would do it alone all the time!  Wow, I have so much admiration for single moms and so much gratitude for my hubby’s help! 

But the primary challenge this week has been sick, sick kids and a sick husband (thankfully I am holding out with only a minor head cold so far!)  Henry developed a high fever Sunday afternoon that continued for several days.  We were able to keep it down with Tylenol and Motrin — but we were still worried…  not enough time has passed since we arrived home from Africa to rule out Malaria (or something equally lovely)… so we were in contact with our clinic (we sounded like first-timers again!  Even though I am sooo much more laid back in general this time around!)  Plus he was obviously not feeling well and its always hard to hold a crying baby and not really know what to do to make things better.  Then Jo started throwing up Monday night and they were both sick and crying for days.  And to make things even MORE fun, Tuesday afternoon the power went out and was out most of the night — which is usually not such a big deal, but is darn inconvenient with sick kids.  To top it off, the generator we use to power our pellet stove wouldn’t start (something about the spark plug…) and after ten hours of no heat, it got rather cold in our house.  Around midnight Henry started crying SO loudly and was obviously in a lot of pain from what seemed to be constipation (Jo used to have the same symptoms as a baby) so we gave him an enema in the middle of the night by candlelight in our cold house… (And I’m just praying he doesn’t hold it against us for the rest of his life!)  He seemed to feel better after that and fell asleep shortly before the power came back on around two.  Thankfully both kids woke up feeling better yesterday morning, and today they seem to be almost back to their usual selves (although the crabbiness levels are definitely heightened!)   Henry finally had a good poop yesterday morning (I got pretty excited about that poopy diaper!) and he has been regular since then.  

Despite being sick, the kids did enjoy snuggling in bed with flashlights the night the power was out (what else were we going to do in a dark, cold house?? 🙂  We read books and played little games and they really liked the strobe flash on my camera (it looks like there was light in this picture — but trust me, it was really dark!  🙂 )

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Thankfully they were feeling better yesterday because I had to take them to town for Henry’s appointment with our doctor.  This appointment was just an initial exam by our family MD — a “well-baby” checkup.  He then referred us to the nearest Shriners in Spokane to follow up with the CP symptoms.  Henry weighs 18 lbs and is 28″ long — very small for his age (not enough in either category to even make it on the percentile charts!) but the doctor didn’t seem to be worried.  He found a cataract in Henry’s left eye, but other than that, there was nothing that concerned him.  He did say that Henry’s arm was dislocated from the shoulder, but that it was simply because he doesn’t have sufficient muscle in his arm to keep it in place.  He said that there wasn’t much else that he could tell us, so I am really looking forward to getting him to Shriners for an evaluation.   We will have to take him back to the clinic for his bloodwork soon.  I thought they were going to run those tests yesterday, but we will have to schedule another appointment.

Dr. Shannon looked in Henry’s mouth and said “You do realize he’s teething, right?”  Oh my, I felt like such an idiot.  OF COURSE!  That explains a great deal of the crankiness and crying and maybe even some of the fever (although he was definitely sick as well)  And, its not just any ol’ tooth — this is an ENORMOUS molar trying to break through!  It looks so swollen and painful.  Poor baby!  I am going to have to get out my books to refresh other things I should be watching for at this age.  I guess having had one already obviously doesn’t make me an expert on what to expect… He is feeling much better with something cold to chew on and some Ora-gel. 

So between sick kids, absent husband, no electricity and doctor’s appointments, my chances to jump online and write a post have been severely limited…  my humblest apologies!

Here’s a fun Henry picture to make up for my lack of posts!

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My mom came up last night to visit and she ended up staying the night because she locked her keys in the car.  (Which Jo and I were secretly over-joyed about!!)  She slept downstairs on the couch and Joanna thought it was the coolest thing ever to have a “slumber party” with Nonnie!

That reminds me — Ahmad left last week.  (Hence the room on our couch for my mom!)  We took him to the airport to catch a flight to Philadelphia where he will be visiting friends for a couple weeks before flying back to Liberia.  He has called us almost every day since he left.  I think he misses us… and we certainly have missed him (even though it is nice to spend the time alone as a family — especially with Henry.)   Mamieyan also has been calling us fairly often from Liberia — usually in the middle of the night!  She knows its the middle of the night here, but I guess it doesn’t matter to her, she still calls and wants to talk!)  We may have to arrange a better time for her to call!  🙂

I have Christmas tree stories and pics to share — but I’ll have to do that in another post… I think I still have a few more minutes of nap-time left to start writing Christmas cards.  (I can NOT believe it’s that time of the year already!!)

I’ll leave you with this picture of Henry — I love the way it turned out.  He is such a cutie.  I can’t make it down a single aisle at the grocery store without someone telling me how adorable he is — and I completely agree!

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