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!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I have been thinking about Africa, Ethiopia, orphans for a while now. I really feel the need to do something but it is easier said than done since I have a toddler who demands most of my day.
I needed to do something that only takes a minute so I wrote UN officials. The letter encouraged them to press the government of Sudan to immediately reverse its decision to expel humanitarian aid agencies (more about Darfur below). You can join me- click here. The letter is already written all you have to do is add your name and address. I know the situation is Sudan is complicated. Will my letter along with thousands others change what is happening in Sudan? We won't know unless we try.

In Darfur alone some 4.7 million people rely on aid. The agencies' departure will leave 1.1 million people there without food, 1.5 million without medical care and more than 1 million without drinking water, the United Nations says. "The very life bridge to the people of Darfur is threatened now ... so this creates a new kind of hell for the people of Darfur," U.N. World Food Programme executive director Josette Sheeran told AlertNet.

Monday, April 27, 2009

camping out & more painting

This summer Rob, Igor and other extended family members are going on a two or three day hike. Igor's never slept in a tent so Rob thought it would be a good idea for them to sleep in the backyard a couple times before the big hike. Friday night Rob and Igor slept in the backyard in Rob's tent. Igor loved it! He says he is ready to go hiking.

On Saturday, Igor went to art class and painted a picture for EstaMae. She hasn't been feeling well so we thought a small cheerful painting would bring her some joy. We decided to drop in on her Sunday afternoon. She was so excited to she us and finally meet Henry. EstaMae was delighted with Igor's gift.

Henry felt right at home.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The results are in

Henry's doctor called with the results of the allergy test. Everything came back negative. hmmm... The doctor thinks that Henry had giardia for a very long time and it has caused some damage to the small intestines. She thinks over time the small intestine will heal itself. We can take him to a pediatric GI for further testing to continue to search for a more concrete answer but have decided that we will wait it out for a while longer. We have decided to keep Henry on a dairy free diet for a few more weeks to see if it helps (so far it hasn't). Henry continues to gain weight, he is generally a happy, loving child who is thriving.

Yesterday Rob and I heard Henry squealing in the family room. His happy and hurt squeal sound the same so we weren't sure what was going on. Igor popped up from the family room saying, "I'm tickling Henry's feet and he likes it!" Then Igor vanished and we heard the squeals once more. My sweet boy is learning to love his brother.

It's time to say good-bye to spring and hello to summer. It will be 90 degrees for the next few days! Henry and I spend about 5 hours outside each day. We go on walks, play in the yard, look at flowers, watch caterpillars and the clouds in the sky. Yesterday Henry and I were watching the clouds and I felt an intense sadness for Igor. When he was this age he was still in an orphanage, rarely if ever let outside, never hugged or held. I am so grateful that Igor is our son and is here at home with us.

Henry and I have been very busy planting seeds and watching them grow. Henry loves to water the plants and feed them sand. Henry has discovered the rain barrels. He loves to collect water in his buckets and wash his scooter and wagon.

I am working on a raised vegetable garden. I think I will net the entire area to protect it from deer, rabbits, squirrels, turtles...
do you see our first tomato??

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 23

Do you know someone with autism? If so, check out Every child has a destiny.
April 23 is a cooperate day of Fasting.

Fasting to Turn the Tide
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6, NIV)

“Declare a holy fast ; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.” (Joel 1:14, NIV)

Fasting is a powerful tool of prayer. Consider fasting in some way today as you pray that the tide will turn and autism end.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Henry and I have a routine. Each day is pretty much like the previous day unless he has a doctor's appointment or I need to grocery shop. Some days it's a little boring to do the same thing as the day before but Henry loves routine. He knows what's going to happen next and I think it helps him feel safe and secure.

Yesterday after Igor returned home from school we went to a neighbor's house to play. Igor and his friend "N" were riding their scooters. Everyone was having a great time until Igor wiped out. Igor scraped his arms and it was bleeding, otherwise he was okay. After we cleaned up Igor's wounds we went home. Igor was shaken up, his arm hurt/bleeding and he was crying. Igor really wanted to be comforted so I put both boys in my bed so we could cuddle until Rob came home from work. Since both boys are in bed I decide to read them a few books. Henry starts to cry. He cries until he is wailing. Henry gets out of bed and heads for the stairs. Now Igor is crying because I am chasing Henry and not cuddling with him. Then it hits me, Henry is crying because he thinks we skipped dinner! The routine is- play outside, come inside, eat dinner, play, read books in mom and dad's bed then get ready for bed.
I pick Henry up and say over and over, we are going to eat dinner, it's okay. Henry is still crying but no longer wailing. Thankfully Rob arrives home!! I quickly reheat leftovers and dinner is served. Henry is very happy eating his dinner- we are back in the routine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dairy-free, Church, Painting, Easter

Henry has been on a dairy-free diet for a week. He loves almond and soy milk so it's been an easy transition. Last night Henry had a melt down because Igor had a grilled cheese sandwich and he didn't. Henry is really good about food but he always surveys each plate on the table to make sure he isn't missing something on his. If he is, he makes sure I know about it! My mom found a "veggie cheese" that she likes so I will buy it for Henry and try to make grilled cheese sandwiches with it.

Henry is eating much more food than he was two weeks ago. I'm not sure if that is diet related or he is going through a growth spurt. Time will tell.

Tomorrow he gets his blood drawn again for allergy testing.

A friend of mine is from Ethiopia. I recently learned her mother is a pediatrician. I asked her via email and pictures about Henry's skin. Her mom said it can be one of three things- a fungus, a skin bacteria or dry skin. She didn't think it was a food allergy although she said that the medicine for ringworm and/or giardia could have caused the discoloration of the skin. She said if this was the case it could take months to clear up. The doctor said to put Vaseline on Henry's face every night before he goes to bed and then wash it off in the morning. I had thought Vaseline was a "no-no" but she said it was fine. So I have been putting Vaseline on his face nightly. We'll see if it makes a difference.

Igor enjoyed his time with Papa and Babushka. Babushka is teaching Igor how to play ping-pong!

Here is Igor's interpretation of the LL Bean catalog cover. I think he did a fantastic job!

Henry went to church on Easter Sunday! I stayed with him in the nursery. He was a little overwhelmed but did great. Monday and Tuesday Henry assumed the barnacle position. He wanted to be as close to me as possible. My legs are burning from carrying him for two days straight. I am so glad he thinks of me as safe person.

The boys on Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lab results are in.. sort of

The doctor called yesterday. She said she had good news and bad news. The bad news is the lab did not process the food allergy panel and they no longer had any blood to test. We have to go back next week to have Henry's blood drawn again. The good news is one of the three stool samples came back negative for worms and parasites/giardia, all the other tests results were within normal ranges. (the remaining stool sample results should be in at the end of the week)

I asked the doctor about the link between lactose intolerance and giardia. If you google (always dangerous!) the topic you will find articles from Georgetown University to the Mayo Clinic that state giardia may cause a period of lactose intolerance. Henry's doctor spoke with a pediatric GI at the University and did some research herself. Both doctors agree there is no research that proves the link between lactose intolerance and giardia. hmmmm... I did find a few websites that say the link between gairdia and lactose intolerance hasn't been medically proven but anecdotal evidence indicates there is a link. Many giardia fact sheets say of to 40% of people with giardia develop a temporary lactose intolerance.

My gut says go with the anecdotal evidence. We have taken Henry off dairy and we'll see what happens over the next 2 to 3 weeks. The allergy test the pediatrician is running is not for lactose intolerance but for the milk protein. Removing milk from his diet cannot hurt him. I will make sure he receives the daily recommended dose of calcium. If we see a positive difference we'll keep him on a dairy-free diet for up to 6 months. The dermatologist said Henry's pigmentation issue was a food sensitivity issue. The medication she gave us has not helped. We'll see if milk is causing his skin problems.

I made almond milk this morning. Henry loved drinking it and didn't seem to notice a difference in his oatmeal. I have two batches of almonds soaking so we will have plenty of almond milk on hand for the next day or two. Rob and Henry walked to the grocery store this morning and picked up some Silk. It's the brand my sister drinks. We'll see if we can get Henry to drink it.

I am wondering what I am going to cook for dinner each night. Igor is a vegetarian (his choice) and now Henry is off dairy. If you have some kid friendly non-dairy vegetarian foods let me know! I found a couple of non-dairy recipe websites so I will be checking them out this weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break

Sunday after church we drove to Papa and Babushka's house. This was Henry's first road trip. He did great in the car and at their house. He loved the toys and all the new things he could touch. We brought the pack-n-play thinking he would be comfortable sleeping in his bed but he was really scared to go to sleep. It makes sense; strange house, strange smells, strange room... why would he feel comfortable just because his bed was the same? We were able comfort him and get him to sleep both nights by sleeping with us. My in-laws were great. They conformed to Henry's eating, napping and sleeping schedule. Really, who wants to eat dinner at 5PM besides Henry?

Earlier in the week I bought brand new white shirts for everyone. I had high hopes of getting a family picture in Babushka's flower garden. I thought we could take pictures Monday after Henry's nap. On Sunday, a quick check of the weather indicated rain and then snow flurries on Monday and Tuesday. New plan-take pictures as soon as we arrive. No time to change into our new white shirts!

We have our favorite college "gear" on.

Yesterday, Igor and I colored eggs.

This morning we had an in Easter Egg Hunt inside where it was nice and warm. Henry and Igor loved searching for the eggs.

Igor in motion

This afternoon we returned home without Igor. He is currently on vacation at Papa and Babushka's house. There were snow flurries today so Rob and I loaded the car while Henry and Igor played inside. As soon as Igor realized we were packing the car he ran outside yelling, "Don't forget Henry!" We all had to laugh.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Henry, tummy troubles, Igor's drawings

Henry continues to amaze me. He loves to ride his three wheeled scooter around the block.
His daddy taught him that every puddle is his own personal water park! Henry cannot walk by a puddle without getting sopping wet.
If you ask Henry a question and the answer is "NO!" he vigorously shakes his head and waves his hands in the air. When he does this I stifle a laugh because it's so funny.
He eats everything except two of Igor's favorite foods; beets and cucumbers.
When he hears the dryer buzzer he taps his ear, grabs my shirt and pulls me into the laundry room. He also taps his ear, as if to say "hear it", when a helicopter or airplane flies over the house.
Henry loves sitting in the car. He doesn't want to go anywhere, he just wants to sit in the car. The other day we had our snack in the car which was parked in the garage. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. He was happy so I was happy. I know some day I won't want to sit in the car eating a snack but for right now I'm okay with it.
Henry still loves to spit. It's something he did in Ethiopia. We've tried to get him to stop spitting all together but sometimes he has the urge to spit. I needed a compromise so I have taught him to spit in the toilet instead of on the kitchen floor. He can go for days without the urge to spit then something happens and he is spitting in the toilet 5 or 6 times a day.

Henry continues to have tummy troubles. Yesterday we had to clean the carpet, the floor, Henry, etc... poor little guy. I am a fan of probiotics but they seem to be making his tummy worse. It makes me wonder if the giardia is back. I guess we'll know soon enough. We were able to fill and deliver the remaining stool sample kits to the lab this weekend. I hope to hear something soon!

Igor continues to adjust to having a little brother. Honestly, he wishes that he was still an only child. Heavy sigh. I am so grateful that Henry is so sweet and laid back. I'm sure he understands when Igor rejects him but Henry keeps trying to play with Igor. The other day I heard giggles coming from the other room. Igor was chasing Henry around the dining room and Henry was laughing. I peeked in, Igor looked like he was having fun! what a sweet, sweet picture! My hope is one day soon Igor will let Henry into his world.

Igor is really enjoying his art class. The other day a LL Bean catalog came in the mail. He looked at the picture and said mom that's a beautiful picture. He took the catalog to art class on Saturday. He told his teacher that he wanted to paint part of the catalog cover. She was very supportive! I think it will take a couple of weeks to finish.

The previous few weeks at art Igor has focused on drawing houses with colored pencils. I have looked back on the numerous houses Igor has drawn. All of the houses have red curtains and light (yellow) shining out. Here are two of his latest drawings:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Doctor's visit

We have been home with Henry for THREE months!! I cannot believe it! We are so grateful he is part of our family!

This morning Henry, my friend Riana and I went to the pediatrician's office for Henry's blood to be taken. They are doing an allergy panel, CBC and a few other tests to help determine why Henry's pigmentation continues to change and why his tummy still has troubles. It's so sad to watch your child cry and cry while they are trying to find a vein! While they were drawing the blood Riana had the privilege of holding Henry's legs down while I held down his arms. ugh... The good news is they were able to get the blood samples they needed so we did not have to go to the hospital! AND Riana brought a cookie with her so after the nurses were done Henry enjoyed a treat!

The bad news- I came home with these...

Yes, the specimen kits are back in our home! Nine of them need to be filled this time! ugh.... Some of the samples must be delivered to the hospital within 2 hours of being "filled". The lab is open 24 hours so we, I mean Rob, can deliver them night or day.
UPDATE- Rob took the first sample to the hospital this afternoon. They said they will be able to run all but two of the tests with the one sample. WOOO-HOOO! I only have two more vials to fill.

Here is Henry wearing his new helmet!