Welcome to Rob and Candy's Blog

We are going PINK- we are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We'll be sharing our journey to adopt our daughter!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Igor goes to art school

After months of talking about it, Rob and I finally enrolled Igor in art school. Igor has painted numerous canvases. He loves to paint and seems to be gifted in this area so we thought Igor would love the idea. When we mentioned the class to Igor he was really upset, he really wants a break from school on the weekends. We explained it won't be the same as school, he will get to draw and paint for 90 minutes without Henry interrupting. He agreed to try one class.

This morning I took Igor to his art class. The teacher reminds me a little bit of Ms. Joya, his nursery school teacher, except she is more animated. She uses the following words: nurture, imagination, create, explore, sensitive.... I knew Igor would love the class. The teacher plays classical music in the background while the children draw a picture to warm up their fingers then they paint or draw with charcoal or pastels.

Today Igor started painting a green meadow with a brilliant orange sky. I was really impressed. The teacher helped him match the colors for a striking contrast. She said that Igor is painting in the Picasso style- meaning layering of colors. I'm not a fan of Picasso's painting but I don't think Igor's painting will look anything like a Picasso. I cannot wait to see the finished piece next month.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This and That

In my last post I used the phrase "orphanage dust". I didn't make the phrase up, I wish I was that creative but I'm not... I am pretty sure I read it on Apryl's blog last year.
The orphanage dust bunny is still here but it's no longer the size of Kansas. thank goodness.

I went to the doctor- great news, I do not have a hernia!! I have torn a muscle in my stomach. The doctor said it will heal on it's own.

Henry is still having tummy troubles which is now causing him to scream in pain. This happens during the day and in the middle of the night. We are all very tired. I think the medicine Henry took made the parasite angry but it didn't kill it. Rob took him to the doctor yesterday. Henry will do another round of medicine for giardia. In the mean time, my mother-in-law bought us medical gloves for bathing and changing Henry. I wasn't sure if we'd like them but I LOVE them. They keep our hands clean (although we still wash our hands) but there is much less chance of us contracting giardia with the gloves on.

My friend and blogger pal Susan has started making body butter for her son. She inspired me to make butter for Henry since his skin is so dry. I didn't have Aquaphor but I did have Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream so I decided to modify Susan's recipe.

I mixed 6 oz of raw Shea Butter and 3 oz of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream in my KitchenAide and wallah, the mixture is like body butter and it keeps Henry's skin from getting ashy. I love it. Thanks Susan for the recipe!

While I'm on the subject of things I love, I thought I'd share two products I really enjoy. Other moms might like them too?? I LOVE the Kiddopotamus Place mat check it out if you have a toddler! We received this at Igor's toddler shower and it's an item I have treasured (it's the simple things!). Henry uses it daily. It's portable so you can take it with you to a restaurant but we use ours at home. Why do I love this product?
  1. It sticks to the table so Henry cannot slide the place mat with his food on it.
  2. The surface of the place mat is not slick so the plates/bowls do not slide
  3. It has a scoop to catch spills
  4. It's durable
  5. It's easy to clean
My other meal time favorite are Munchkin bowls. They are dishwasher and microwave safe they come in cool colors AND they are BPA free. They have a tall angled side to help Henry keep the food in the bowl while he is scooping out his food.

Igor keeps reminding me that Henry's birthday is this week! We will celebrate this weekend. Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Orphanage dust

Please read this blog (at least the first two paragraphs) then come back to read my post.... It's important that you read this mom's perspective before you read what is next.. so, if you skipped the blog, please Click here now.

For over 18 months we have prepared our hearts and mind for Henry. We have tried our best to prepare Igor. We were not sure how Igor would deal with a sibling but we've talked to him, prayed, read books to him, let him be part of the preparations, he was paired with younger child at his nursery school, etc. We did what we could to prepare him for a family that included one more.

Igor was adopted at age 3 1/2, so he has still spent more time in an orphanage than with us. Occasionally we deal with remnants of "orphanage dust" that seems to creep up when we least expect it. We knew that Igor might regress a little bit when Henry arrived but how can you prepare for that?

We've only been home two and a half weeks and we are still in the honeymoon phase with Henry but so far I haven't seen his orphanage dust. The orphanage dust that has settled into our house is not Ethiopian but Russian.

Igor loves his little bother, he plays with him and he is kind to his little brother but our family is in transition. This issue is not with Henry but with Igor. Igor likes order, routine, he needs things to be constant. Right now there is a lack of order in our house. A new order is being established in our house and Igor is unsettled. The orphanage dust in our house is a dust bunny the size of Kansas. It's going to take time to get all the dust out... but we will love Igor through the cleaning and reordering process.

No school today!

There is no school today so let the sledding begin!


This is Henry's preferred method of sledding... nice and easy!
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Igor likes to go a little faster.

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Henry being brave with daddy


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow, blood work and Igor returns

It's snowing outside! I wish Igor were here because he pines for snow and it rarely snows here. Igor will be home tonight!!


This morning Henry was up at 4:15 AM so we had plenty of time to play in the snow before we went to the hospital. Henry was not impressed with the snow. He stared at it, walked in it, then decided he wanted to go back inside where it was warm.

After a few pictures I made a few calls to the hospital but no one answered.

I gave up on reaching the Goth Guy because we really needed to get Henry's blood drawn today. We decided to take Henry to the Women's and Infants Hospital. Because most of our town shuts down when it snows, I wasn't sure if there would be anyone at the lab. We were able to get rock star parking which is a rarity at the hospital. When we arrived at the lab no one was at the desk but we waited until a nurse arrived and registered us.

There was a sign saying only one parent could go in with the child but Mary, the phlebotomist, said she wouldn't do that to us, we could both go in. Mary is a grandmother and loves little children. She was a sweet woman with a gentle touch. She quickly took Henry's blood... there was some crying and gnashing of teeth but they were able to get the five vials of blood! As soon as they took the needle out we gave Henry a bottle and all was right with the world. Henry fell asleep in the car before we got home.

This morning the pediatrician confirmed Henry has giardia. I am so glad they found it! It can be hard to detect. I think Henry will feel so much better once the giardia is gone.

Monday, January 19, 2009

TB test and a Hernia?

Over the weekend I did something to my stomach. I have bulge less than an inch long and some bruising just to the right of my belly button. It doesn't hurt, it burns. I scheduled a doctor's appointment for this afternoon but 3 hours before the appointment the doctor had an emergency call so I will go Thursday. I looked online (always dangerous!) to see if I could self diagnose (also very dangerous!). One google search and "hernia" came up. Of course, I immediately pictured myself having a hernia operation AND trying to deal with a son who is a barnacle! Not to mention the number of stairs in our house.... So what did I do? I went to work in the yard because once my hubby finds out I have a hernia, I'm sure I'll be on restriction. It's January- we need to prune the apple trees, weed, get ready for a truck full of mulch this spring, etc. Ah, but really, what are the chances I have a hernia? I'm guessing really,really small. I did a lot of yard work, just in case.

This afternoon I took Henry for his TB test. One of my favorite nurses did the test. The burning pain on my stomach drove me to ask her about hernias. She shut the door asking to see the spot. After she saw the bruising and felt the bulge she said, "Let's get the head nurse in here." So here I am in the pediatrician's office having them look at my tummy! Have I no shame??? Well, clearly not! The head nurse comes in, takes a look and then says you've torn something, do you have an appointment with a GP? She tells me that it doesn't look like a hernia but I need to have it looked at this week. So, I don't have a hernia, whew!
I've got to go google "tear in the stomach muscle".... uh, just kidding...

One last thing, remember- When lifting heavy objects (such as your 25 lb child) it is important to lift correctly, with knees bent and your back and abdomen straight.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

No luck and Igor takes a break

The Goth Guy was off on Friday so I wasn't able to speak with him. The lab is closed on Monday so I will try again on Tuesday. If I cannot reach him Tuesday we will go to the Women's and Infants Hospital to have Henry's blood drawn.

Schools are closed Monday and Tuesday so Igor decided he wanted to go to Papa and Babushka's house for a vacation. He is growing up too fast! I didn't know 6 yr old boys needed a vacation from their parents. Or maybe he needs a vacation from little brother? I asked him what he was going to do while he was at his grandparents house. Igor replied, "I'm going to take a long rest, take long baths, eat and play." Inside I was chuckling - take a long rest? Has my son turned into an old man? I have to give him credit, he thought it out, he knew he wanted to go and his grandparents were more than willing to have him stay with them so he's on vacation until Tuesday. While Igor is gone I have a few hours to myself while Henry is napping. I have missed my alone time.

I thought we were on the verge of a great sleeping streak- Friday night Henry slept from 6:30PM until 7AM the next morning!! Last night he woke up at 2AM and was up for the day at 4AM. I hope tonight he will sleep straight through.

We haven't had much of a language barrier issue. When Henry wants to play outside he gets his shoes and points to the door. When he is hungry or thirsty he smacks his lips. On Friday he decided he was interested in books so I have added reading books to our routine. Yesterday Henry started waving me over so I would sit down with him. When he is upset he yells- MAMA, MAMA! to express his displeasure. Generally, he is a very happy little boy. We are so grateful he is our son.

Friday, January 16, 2009

doctors, blood and finding the Goth Guy

Yesterday, Igor and I took Henry to the doctor for his IA medical evaluation. We were scheduled for one hour and ended up being in the office for 2 1/2 hours! The doctor was able to confirm that Henry's ears are all cleared up. Woo-hoo! She said to keep Henry on a bottle for one more month, not because he needs it but because it's familiar. Henry has gained a pound in the last twelve days, so she was very pleased. Now, I can put on my work-out chart that I am carrying around a 25 pound boy.

She gave us the kit to collect "samples" so they may determine if he has any parasites. We dropped them off this morning. They couldn't do the TB test because the office will be closed on Sunday so the next step.. blood. I am not sure if I should insert circus music here or sad dramatic music, both probably apply. A former NICU nurse and 2 Physicians Assistants tried to draw his blood with no luck. Henry cried his little eyes out! I got the job of holding Henry down- ugh....The receptionist had to take Igor out of the exam room... you get the picture. The former NICU nurse told me that we will have to go to the hospital to get Henry's blood drawn. She said, "You want the "Goth Guy" at the hospital., he's the best." She could not remember his name. They gave me some formula, I paid the bill, scheduled the TB test for Monday and went home exhausted.

At home I shared our time with the doctor with Rob and mentioned that I need to find the Goth Guy. Rob shook his head- how are you going to find the Goth Guy? I didn't know but I figured it would all work out.

This morning I called the hospital and was transferred several times. I finally spoke with a nurse who suggested I call the Women's and Infant Unit of the Hospital since Henry is 23 months old. She gave me the number but before she hung up I asked her if the Goth Guy worked in this unit. She said he worked in her department but they don't make appointments you just show up and get one of the phlebotomists on duty. I explained my situation then she whispered, "His name is xxxxx. Call him at the following number xxx-xxxx between 12:30-1:00 to talk with him directly." Now we are getting some where! So, in 2 hours I will call to see if he will draw Henry's blood.
More to come...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This week

For our anniversary Rob and I had a fantastic candle lit dinner with our two boys. Faye brought over a wonderful meal which included candles and a candle sticks. Igor insisted that we turn off all the lights and eat by candle light. I think Igor be a romantic?


Henry continues to adjust to the time. Yesterday he woke up at 4:30 AM and this morning at 5:30 AM! He does wake up around 2:45 each morning and demands to co-sleep with us. For now one of us sleeps with him in the guest room from 2:45 until he wakes up for the morning.


The Christmas tree and all the decorations are finally down! It took few hours each day while Henry was sleeping but it's finally done!


Every other night a dear family from our church bring us a meal for dinner. I have not cooked since returning home and it's been awesome. It has allowed me to focus on the Henry and Igor!


I spoke with Ms. Joya yesterday. She has agreed enroll Henry in her nursery school at the beginning of September. I know, I know, it seems a little early to make that decision but she fills up as early as February for the following school year! Henry is showing such wonderful signs of attachment that I think he will be ready for 2 or 3 days of nursery school this fall. If not, we'll try again next January.


We haven't taken Henry to church yet. I don't want to over stimulate him or infect other children with ring worm. Tomorrow I take him to the doctor. She will do all the medically testing to determine if he has any other ailments. Once he gets the all clear and Rob and I think he is ready for church we will take him.


I still carry Henry around but I Have started to put him down and offer my hand which he gladly takes. I also chase Henry around the house which he loves. Henry LOVES the outdoors. When he wants to go outside he will walk to the laundry room pick up his shoes then point to the door. The language barrier has not been a problem so far. Although, I don't think he speaks Amharic... mostly he babbles. Henry recently discovered the toilet and loves to put his hand in the water.... YUCK! I have to watch him like a hawk because he gets into everything. We are having a lot of fun together discovering new and exciting things.

Igor is engaging more with Henry. They parallel play with trucks and love to wrestle with daddy together.


We are very blessed at our house. Every day gets more "normal".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Our anniversary

Today is our anniversary! I would like to say that Rob woke me up at 6AM with breakfast in bed but Henry had other ideas!
Henry woke up at 1:45 am. I took him downstairs because I thought he might be hungry. He didn't eat a lot at dinner which is unusual for him. No, Henry wasn't hungry, he had a tummy ache. My first clue was the loud rumbling in his tummy. I was certain he had swallowed a small volcano based on noise coming from his tummy! Three diaper changes within 5 minutes confirmed the tummy trouble. Yes, I had to wash the floor again. I cannot wait until his doctor's appointment on Thursday!
You would think Henry would be grumpy because he doesn't feel well but he is the happiest child I have ever seen. After his diaper changes he wanted to play, he sang and danced while I prayed he would fall asleep. Around 3AM he finally slowed down and fell asleep.

A dear woman from our church is making us an Anniversary dinner! She's a fabulous cook so I'm sure it will be delicious. I haven't made a meal this week. Every other day someone from church has brought over a meal. It's been great because I'm too tired to cook and Henry the barnacle rarely leaves my arms.

I have three scaly patches on my body that might be the start of ring worm. I really want to lather my entire body up with anti-fungal cream (think sun screen) but I have restrained myself! I confirmed with the pharmacist that I only need to apply it to the scaly parts two times daily for 3 weeks.

Other than Henry's tummy, the early wake up calls and my potential ring worm- life is pretty good!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sleep & Being a big brother

Did you hear this song this morning at 4:30 AM!! We did!



yes, Henry slept all night!! Okay, 4:30AM may not sound like all night to you but it is music to my ears! Rob and I high-fived Henry for sleeping all night and then daddy went back to sleep.

Getting up early has its advantages. Henry and I cleaned out the refrigerator this morning at 5AM because it smelled like pickles. I found the offending pickle jar and cleaned up the mess. Now the refrig smells like baking soda.

I hate to keep whining about Henry's tummy but I cannot help myself. While daddy was sleeping in this morning Henry had a serious pants explosion and I had to wash the bathroom floor. why do dads miss all the "good stuff"?

Igor gave Henry the sweetest kiss on the check this morning. I wish I had the camera handy. It was a wonderful moment of brotherly love.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Adjusting to life

We are adjusting to being a family of four. I have given Henry the nick-name of "barnacle" because he rarely leaves my side. He constantly wants to be held which is great for attachment and is a real workout! My abs and legs are sore from constantly carrying around a 24 pound child. When Henry does leave my side he looks at me, makes great eye contact and then waves good-bye to me and blows me a kiss. It's so cute! Of course, I follow him because he is into everything!

Henry's nanny rocked him to sleep and I am pretty sure she cuddled with him if he woke up at night. Henry is going to sleep around 7:30PM and wakes up around 2:30AM and then every hour after that until 5AM when he wants to get up for the day. Henry will cry and cry until I pick him up. I can get him to go back to sleep if I rock him. I'm a little bit exhausted. I am going to bed at 7:30 too, it's the only way I can function the next day.

Yesterday Igor parallel played with Henry and this morning invited Henry to play hide and seek. I think that's serious progress. Igor can be very compassionate and caring towards Henry and then he will wish that Henry would leave him alone. Here's a sweet picture of the two of them at the airport.
Henry still has tummy troubles but the doctor does not want to test him for parasites until he has finished his antibiotic. Henry had his second visit to the pediatrician's office. I thought I saw the beginnings of ring worm! Henry does have ring worm so we have started an oral anti-fungal medication. Henry took the medicine two days in a row without a fuss. Today he spit the medicine at me. Good times! I have to agree with Henry, the medicine is nasty. I will add it to yogurt tomorrow. Did I mention that I am itching? This morning I found a dry scaly patch on my body. I really hope I don't have ring worm!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The Orthodox church celebrates Christmas in January! Russia and Ethiopia are two countries that observed Christmas yesterday. Last night after dinner we opened a few presents and read the story baby Jesus.
Rob's parents gave Henry a toy lawn mower. Here's what was going on at our house at 6AM this morning!

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Here's a picture of the two boys before opening presents

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reflections

There are so many things about our trip to Ethiopia that I have yet to process. The poverty, the beauty of the people, the street children.... Some day when I have more than a few hours sleep I hope I can grasp what we saw and turn it into more than words.

Rob and traveled alone when we traveled to Russia for Igor. We didn't have any idea what a travel group would look like. Now that we have traveled with our group, I can say our travel group was amazing. For me, it made the trip much more intimate. Each family adopted different aged children- 10 months, 23 months, 5 years old but each of us had something to offer. Whether it be experience, humility, Christ's love, walking by faith when things didn't go as planned, etc. We were able to share items such as Gatorade powder, anti-fungal cream, encouragement, diapers, bottles, birr, magic anti-nausea pills and the list goes on and on. God knows all the details and blesses us when we least expect it. I thought the blessing would come from meeting Henry but God had much more in store. For me, Robel and our travel group was a gift that I did not expect nor did I deserve. Our heavenly father loves to surprise us with blessings and today I look back and say thank you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tummy troubles

I think Henry's antibiotic is causing tummy troubles. I won't go into the details but something isn't right with Henry's digestion. This afternoon I started Henry on Florastor Kids, it's a Probiotic. I will call the doctor's office tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning if I don't see any improvement. I hope it's not Giardia. I've been bleaching everything in the bathroom just in case. If it's Giardia, I don't want Igor to get it.

Here are some pictures of our sweet boy at the Transitional house.


With Robel

We are home!

We are home! I'd like to say we are unpacked, over jet lag and in a routine but we aren't! That's okay, we've only been home for a day and a half, these things take time.
We are doing great. Henry seems to be adjusting to us. He has grieved for his nanny a couple times which is a good thing.

Igor is so grateful that we are home! He is so gentle and kind with Henry. Igor has requested one on one time with daddy and mommy (and NO Henry)! Igor missed us and wants to spend some time with us alone. My sister is here so one one one time with Igor is possible.

The flight home was just as long as we thought it would be. There were a bunch of families on our plane who had adopted children from Ethiopia. It was so sweet to see all the children. Henry did great on the airplane except for the take off and landings- they were rough for him. He screamed and tugged on his ears. We all were able to sleep for a few hours on the plane! I am so grateful that we purchased a seat for Henry. He preferred to be held but once asleep I was able to lay him down in his seat.

We took Henry to the doctor on Saturday based on the TH doctor's suggestion. I'm so glad we did! Henry has a double ear infection and sinus infection. The poor little guy is sick. The doctor said it's a good thing he has a wet cough because it's protecting his lungs. We have Henry on antibiotics so we should see an improvement in his health by Monday. We have a follow up appointment in 12 days. The doctor wants to wait until Henry finishes his antibiotics to do the health screening and 2 year well check.

Pictures will be posted soon!