Thursday, August 30, 2007

Piper's been up-sizing, again

Piper, this is not that kind of a picture...

Peeps has a fatty liver. Now, I know for a fact that she didn't eat at Burger Queen in Ethiopia and ordered all of her lattes nonfat at Kaldi's. Apparently, a fatty liver can develop in malnourished children, even though the body should distribute the fat elsewhere. I am not sure what this means, yet. Online, I read that a good diet could reverse this, so let's hope so. We are supposed to get a blood draw today(to check her levels and check another way for Hep((she's been clear 3 times, now)), but Brodan is sick, so we may have to do it tomorrow. I also get to do another "fun pack" on Piper's stools to make sure we have rid ourselves of the evil. TMI, but it smells gone, thank you very much! I really hope everything comes back ok with her blood, because she really needs the oral fungal stuff. I can keep it at bay, but it sure is a boil on my butt.


Monday, August 27, 2007

We are still waiting on the ultrasound results...I have no idea when we get those back. She has her GI doctor's appt. on the 17th...I hope we get them before that! She is on meds for the parasites. Things are changing for the better on poop duty, so I think it might be working, thank goodness. We go on Thursday for a new blood draw. I reeeally hope that everything will be back to normal. We'll see.

Sorry if the first picture really scared you senseless. Thanks to Junie B. Jones for her fantastic idea on how to deal with monsters at night. We were listening to the kids' audio book in the car and she used her horrible school pictures to scare away monsters under her bed. We borrowed this idea and made our own pictures which are taped throughout the boys' room and inside the closet. Are we scary or what?!


Thursday, August 23, 2007


Piper's got a great big brother!

Riding the "horse"....Go Bro! Go Peeps!

Goofy girl...thanks big brothers for teaching her things...

Sweet face...

Medical stuff

Well, Piper does have parasites. She has a double whammy, giardia, and some other one I can't remember. And now the boys are being checked because they have had major bathroom issues for a few days now. The only way these can be transferred to them, is a fecal-oral thing. Well, I wash my hands after changing her diaper, and I don't have it, so it came down to one culprit...the Diaper Champ. Someone is always flipping it back and forth or leaning on it or something disgusting like that. So it is gone. All dirty diapers go outside to the trash there. It is a headache, but this parasite thing and stool-sampling fun is waaaayy more of a headache. I have one boy done, and another sample to never ends!

On a scarier note, they ordered an ultrasound on Piper's liver for first thing tomorrow morning at Dell's new children's hospital in Austin. The words "childrens' hospital" scares me to death. Not one good picture comes to mind. She also has been scheduled an appointment with a GI doctor in a few weeks, too. I think they specialize in liver stuff. She also has to have more blood drawn next week. I really hope that her blood levels are all parasite related. Any other option is not good. It is really frustrating that everything takes so much time. Waiting on results, labwork, appointments that seem so far out. Patience is a virtue that I have never really achieved.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Birth order

Cam is officially signed up for violin. It is the cutest little thing I have ever seen! And it is so cool because it comes in a case that he carries like a backpack. I hope this all goes okay, because 1) it's expensive as all get out, and 2) it involves my involvement on a huge scale. I hope that I have the discipline to keep him on task. We'll see. We rented the violin. Thank goodness you can do that, because who knows.
Brodan was very upset because he didn't get a violin. He didn't understand when I told him that he can when he's 4, but not yet. I felt bad for him. I tried to sign him up for soccer instead (because he loves that stuff), but it's too late. There is only one place we could have done it, because he is too young.

Piper went to the doctor yesterday. She still has a fungus in her hair follicles causing a slight balding patch. The problem is that to treat it, you have to take oral fungal medication. Her bloodwork showed that some of her liver levels were high, and the medication would affect that further. The doctor was going to talk to a gastro-something-something-ologist to check on her levels and what that means. There were 2 that were high, while 2 others that involve liver function were fine. She was unsure what that meant. We are still waiting on her stool sample (ick) results, so maybe there is a parasite we don't know about. Hopefully we get that soon.

Piper is really is ready for potty training, but I just am not yet. We are still adjusting, although well, and I am just not up for dealing with the potty thing yet. Brodan is doing much better now, but it takes a lot of mental stuff and tons of patience to potty train and I'm just not up to adding to the already mental stuff and patience I need to deal with the 3 kids and a language barrier that we already have. Maybe once we get a schedule going with "school" and stuff, I will attempt it.

I have been thinking a lot about birth order. You know, oldest, middle, youngest type of stuff. What does the blogworld think about that? Are they labels they peg us with, in regards to our place in the birth order, right? Are the youngest spoiled? What about oldest? I am the oldest, and they say they are more driven and responsible. I am responsible, but not so driven. I worry about the kiddos and their place. Piper is a pistol and that scares me if she is the youngest and they turn out to be the handful. Is anyone NOT like what "they" say you are in your birth order? Just interesting to me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just some pics

Summer afternoons watching ants on the sidewalk...from the air conditioned's Texas and it's hot!

She has Cam wrapped around her little finger!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We are signing Camden up for Suzuki violin lessons. Much to his father's chagrin, Cam really doesn't seem much into sports, with the exception of swimming(which he can't really do yet) and liking golf the short time that he tried it. That is fine with me, and Dad is really ok, too. He always swore that it would be ok if they weren't into sports, but I think he has to make an effort. I think what really gets him is that Cam is very quick to say something is too hard for him and gives up easily. It is not that he isn't competitive, just not an overachiever, physically, that is. And Dennis is very driven (I am not, on the other hand, but I do have a good work ethic). Cam is very smart and that will take him way farther than any sport will, anyways. And he says that he wants to learn violin, which makes me happy. My sister is a band director and I have always been jealous of the fact that she has that creative outlet and she's good at it. Any creative muscle I may have had has withered away and atrophied because it was never discovered, developed, or even explored.

Even if the kids don't play an instrument or a sport or become writers, or anything else, we of course just want them to be happy. I can see the ease of which parents can get trapped in trying to live through their kids or have them not make the same mistakes. I will have to make a conscious effort to not do that and fight the urge to feel like we have to keep up with what everyone else's kid is involved in.

Things to remember:

1.Let him be him.
2.He's only 4, for crying out loud!

P.S. We aren't those pushy,screaming from the sidelines parents by the way. I have very little patience for people like that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Observations from the poop deck

A few observations.

Piper is somewhat of a novelty, I've noticed. I can not wait until we walk in somewhere and it is not such a big deal. The upside is that she is getting lots of attention and that is good. She has to feel very special and welcome. And we all know our kids deserve that, especially the orphaned ones. But at the same time, I struggle with the fact that she could get very spoiled (she is smart at playing "the role"). And mostly, the fact that it will change on her eventually, and how will she handle that? That's hard. I guess it does happen to all kids, especially little boys. They are cute little babies and then one day, BOOM, they are a little goofy boy. I guess that it is a fine line that we walk as parents where you want the best for your children, you want everyone to like them, you want them to be successful, but you also want them to learn some life lessons along the way. That means somewhere, at sometime, they have to be disappointed, or last, or hurt, or not liked. I think they call it "character".

Another thing I have noticed is the pleasant "look how sweet" smile that we get from people. White ones in particular. I can't really put my finger on it, but it's there. You know, you go to the store with your bio kids and some older folks may smile at them, but most other people, if you get a look, just give the tight-lipped smile out of politeness and move on. With Piper, you get a distinctively different, "awww" smile at her. I am not going to obsess or anything, but I wonder how many different meanings that it has. "How sweet" or "how nice that you did such a thing" or maybe something else? Has anyone else gotten the looks? I have only heard one comment that I overheard when I was behind them at the store and they were between me and the kids in the grocery basket and it was "Well, you don't see that very often!". It was an older Sun City couple, and I just rolled my eyes. Other than that, it is has been positive responses.

On the health front, fungus control is very successful, I am happy to report! She has had 6 of her shots and her TB tests, now. We are currently working on the stool sample thing, to check on parasites. Let me tell you, I am soooo over this poop stuff. It is disgusting. For this test, I need 3 days worth of samples! And there is no easy, clean way of doing it either. One funny part, though, is that I had to Saran Wrap the toilet to "catch" one of our samples, but Brodan used the toilet before I could tell him about it. I guess this point in my life, with all of their ages, I should just make peace with poop. Otherwise, it could just be a crappy time. Ha.Ha.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What a stinkin' trip

Warning: This post contains graphic poop talk.

So we went to the doctor's office today. Piper has gained a full pound in one week! That is great! She still doesn't register on the percentile charts, but her head does at 25% which is great, too. The doctor said that with malnutrition a lot of times what happens is weight drops, then height, then head size, which of course, means brain size. The fact that her head is on the charts is a good sign as far as that goes. I knew she was smart already :)

We have scheduled our first post placement visit at the end of September for our 3 month follow up with the wonderful Connie Conrad, at Texas Adoption Homestudy, our social worker. Yeah, she reads my blog, but I swear I'd say it anyway, Connie! We also need to get started on re-adoption, the whole lawyer-court stuff. The word "lawyer" makes our wallets shudder...

This week we found ourselves in a few more outbursts, fits or whatever. I think it is sinking in that this is the new deal. There is no going back. It kind of comes out of nowhere, but seems to go away just as fast. I can't imagine getting dropped off in a new country forever with a smiling nice woman who says things you can't understand. And then she brings in all these boys who keep trying to get in your face and take your toys, only you don't know they will give them back. Poor baby.

Good story, but graphic-kid-poop story, so reader beware. So the other day, we go to visit my grandmother in Houston. Dennis gives me the whole, "Don't go by yourself, blah-blah" story. I go,"I'm a big girl-don't need no stinkin' man, blah-blah". We get there at noon, nice visit, and leave at 3:10pm. No sweat. At 3:45 we are stuck in the middle of stop and go Houston traffic and Cam starts screaming that he has to go poop. Yeah, not gonna happen. We're stuck. "Can you hold it a minute?" He says he can. And then 3 minutes later he screams that it's too late. He had diarrhea. I was gagging and Brodan's yelling that it stinks and it takes me 10 minutes to get off the road! Only to find us in a warehouse district-y type of area. Luckily, I brought a change of clothes for everyone. Well, I wasn't prepared in the wipes-department. I used them all trying to clean him up, meanwhile it is everywhere, in all forms, I'm grossed out to say. Now, I am hot and sweaty, it stinks like a sewer, and I am worried we are going to get murdered in the isolated parking lot where no one can find us. Maybe my kid's stink will scare them off. Ok, now we need to find a store where I can buy some ziplocs to put his clothes in, some wipes to replace the others and finish cleaning him up, and anti-bacterial wipes to clean the car. And a drink, 'cause Mama is dying of thirst. 20 long minutes later, we get to a stinkin' HEB. 20 MINUTES! There is a pile of poop on my floorboard! Arrrgh.

So we are that stinkin' family where the kids have no shoes on and we walk into the bathroom because now Brodan says he has to go. "Hey, Britney, how'z Sean Preston and Jayden?" I make Cam wash his shoes in the sink (barefoot) and set Piper down (barefoot) and deal with Brodan having the same issues as his brother for another 20 minutes! WHAT IS HAPPENING???

Fine, we get done, and we buy all the stuff we need and go back to the car where a pile of poop has been baking in the 104 degree heat. Is this never going to end? No. Because I leave HEB and drive 20 minutes BACK THE WRONG WAY INTO HOUSTON. How dumb can I be? Well, I am losing it now, and am holding back tears, trying to tell Dennis what a nightmare the ride home is and I am THISCLOSE to checking us into a hotel. And what does Dennis say after "Do you want me to come get you", he says, "I told you not to go by yourself!" Don't even make me go there!

It took us 6 hours and 28 minutes to get home. It is a 3 to 3 and a half hour drive w/ stops. Dennis had to take the car to the car wash at 10pm at night to detail the thing.

Road trips and plane trips are over for awhile.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hairy situation

Piper has learned a new trick. If she says "Caca" and tugs at her pants, she can prolong going to sleep. Smart like a fox, this one!

Helpful hint: This is rather embarrassing. As a mother of an Ethiopian American, I have products in my house that I have never tested before. You know, regarding hair. I happen to have pretty wavy and curly hair (although I was in my late 20s when I all of the sudden got it) and I am a (please excuse me) product whore. Sooooo, I decided to try some Carol's Daughter Hair Milk in my hair. Well, what works for one, doesn't necessarily work for another. I looked (esp. the next morning) like I did the time I read in Seventeen magazine that mayonnaise was good for your hair. Pretty ridiculous. I am Caucasian, hear my hair fall flat.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Who you callin' little?

Our little tomboy wrestling w/Grandpa, Dad, and the boys:

And playing John Madden's video game (I think that's his name), with big cousin, Michael:

But she can be a real girl, here with Granny:

I am so amazed at how well Piper is adjusting. She has what is really just typical tantrums for her age...probably most stemming from the frustration of communication. Her understanding of what is being said or implied is pretty remarkable to me, though. She seems to understand so much. Today she signed and said the word cup(thank you Baby Wordsworth...why couldn't I have thought up that Baby Einstein stuff?) So now she says Mama, Dada, cup, hello, bye-bye, all gone, and she signs cup,milk, and more. Good stuff coming from someone who has had to change languages 3 times(Oromo up to 17 mos, Amharic for 5 mos, and now English).

She had a huge breakdown this morning so I am not sure what that is about. For about 45 minutes everything was just wrong and she cried and cried. I wonder about grieving.

Ok...this is the 3rd time in 2 days that I have sat down to try and blog...a little different around here!

Piper stayed in her Sunday school class this Sunday, but Granny was her teacher and the 2 girls who helped gladly carried her everywhere she wanted. Gonna have to watch that girl...she will have everyone working for her if we don't watch it! She loves to just point and when we make her get whatever it is, she gets so mad! She did ok, but next week will be the real family in there this time! I honestly think she'll be fine. She has no problem as long as she is entertained!

Camden is doing wonderfully with her and Brodan is too. Bro was having a little regression this past week ("hold me-hold me", wetting his pants, etc), but was still kind and playful with her. Dad went back to work today, and it is already better! I think as close to normalcy is what is best. I think Dad secretly was excited to get out of here and go back to work...dealing with kids all day every day is not his thing. Don't get me wrong, he is a wonderful father and husband. He is very affectionate and plays with the kids, but he's just not wired for full time kid duty! No stay at home dad for him! Plus, he screws up my schedule! We got a system that can't take too much variance or it all falls apart!! BTW...Thank you Dennis for doing multiple loads of laundry for me rock!

We still have a couple of souvenirs that need placement, and I need to buy Piper a life book or baby book and a neat box for the clothes and necklace that she wore on Gotcha Day, and then things will be back to status quo, thank goodness.

We also need to get crackin' on her post placement and readoption. I guess that will be this week's big project to start some point. Maybe.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Little things!

I am so excited! Piper just signed "milk" to me...and more than once! Yay!

At least I have succeeded with one of my kids!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Maybe I should put all winter things away in a box, huh?

My sister, Sara, came to meet her newest niece. She is the musical talent in our family. Maybe Piper and the boys can catch it from her...wish it was as easy as this fungus. We went to the Mayborn museum in Waco, which is the coolest kid museum, no matter what the ages!

Here are the boys having fun