Thursday, December 17, 2009

Normal

We heard from Ephraim's doctor this morning (a few days earlier than expected) and all his blood work came back normal. So that is good news. The only bad part is that we still have no idea what is going on with this little body. So now we sit and wait to see what the doctor wants to try next.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One Year Ago...

One year ago today we received a phone call about a little boy who was about 7 months old and weighed about 16 lbs. The best part was we got to see this picture and the rest is history.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Testing

We went to the doctor on Friday to talk to him about Ephraim's continued problems. We were there for almost an hour. Questions and answers went back and forth between the doctor and me until we have a testing plan lined up.

So today we went in for round 1 of testing.. blood work. Ephraim is getting to be such a trooper with all of this blood work being done. The great news today on the blood work is that they only had to poke him 1 time!!! Normally when he gets blood work done, he clots so quickly that they have to poke him again. So yeah for the 1 poke today!!!

People are laughing at me because I am praying that they find something with this blood work at the same time that I'm praying that they don't. Please pray with me on this too.

I should hopefully have all of the results by early next week

Monday, December 7, 2009

And The Doctor Results

Well, the doctor office called while TJ and I were away for our anniversary. (go figure) I called them back around 10 this morning (giving them an hour to get through their weekend messages.) I talked to the nurse and the doctor wants an even stricter diet than before. So here it is now.

No milk- both liquid and in products
No soy- both in liquid and in products
No juice- thankfully we can have this in products :-)
and now... no rice milk

His fluid intake is water and Nutramigen (which by the way is VERY expensive). Solid food is whatever we can find without the above 3 ingredients.

Doesn't want to do any further testing for food allergies as he doesn't think he has them. I still believe he has a food allergy or intolerance to something (my prediction is still the soy)... This taking away yet another food ingredient is making this diet very difficult.

In January he goes to the doctor for his last round of shots... I think between now and then, I will keep a diary and give it to him at that time. I know it will only be a month, but when we first started taking away foods in June... they told me that I should start seeing improvements within a few days.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Need Some Opinions Please

Ephraim is still having nasty diapers. His allergy test on soy and milk came back negative. I talked to the doctors office on November 23 and told them what was going on. They said that the tests are not 100% accurate and it could be an intolerance instead of an allergy (which then it wouldn't show up with that test). She said that she would talk to the doctor and nurse and figure out what the next steps would be.

I called back yesterday (December 2) at 1:30ish and said I was still waiting for a phone call on what the next steps will be for Ephraim and asked to speak to the Nurse or Doctor directly. She said that they are both with a patient, but would give them my message.

It is now December 3 at 4:20 and I still have not received a phone call. What do you think that I should do? How often should I be calling the office when it isn't a life threatening condition?

I want to get to the bottom of this... more for Ephraim's sake than my own.

Thanks for your time.

one of these days

One of these days I will actually be able to post pictures and tell you about things going on this week... but in the meantime, you can imagine your own story about life in the this household. If you want, you can post a comment about how you think it is going :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I was hungry...

I was debating on posting this since I don't want to bost about something we did... but I truly feel that the Lord was at work on this, so I have to tell you about this amazing story.

My life group (what my church calls a small group or bible study) decided to take on some service projects during the session year. The first one that we decided to do was put together a food box for a family during the Thanksgiving holiday. One of our group members uses Food Angel Ministries and they had a box of food for a good price. So we decided as a group to purchase one of these boxes.

We looked and looked for a family and nobody was speaking up until the day before Thanksgiving. A member of our church told us that we should call Love Inc. So, I gave Love a call but they did not know of any families at that time. The person who normally handles the food give-a-ways was on vacation, so they could not contact her to find out if there was a family in need. They told me to contact Mary ** at an agency called ACCESS.

I called Mary and got her voicemail. I was thinking that she was probably gone for the day and won't hear back until probably Friday (11/27) or Monday (11/30). Well, that night, she called back and told me about this family of 9 that needed some food. I'm thinking... 9 people, we only have enough food for a family of 4!!! I told her that I would contact the people in my group and see what we could do. Well... our group decided to go out and buy more food with all of the Thanksgiving deals that were going on. We got enough food so this family would have enough food for an extra meal. I called Mary on Monday morning and told them that we would help out this family. They gave me a name and number for a lady name Emily**. I also found out that Kim ** could deliver it on Tuesday (12/1) at the earliest... otherwise it would have to be during the weekend. Kim and her husband were storing the food at their house, so we kind of had to go on their schedule

So, I called Emily ** and asked if she would be around tomorrow (actually today now) so we could deliver some food for her and her family. I thought I gave her a heart attack on the phone because she was so overjoyed that we had food for her. I talked to her a little bit more and I found out she was feeding her kids water since Sunday!!! That's 2 days without food. I could not imagine (and I was feeding my kids lunch while I was talking to her)

I called Kim ** and told her the situation and asked if there was any way we could do this tonight. She said that she would do her best to find a babysitter for her kids and get out of work early. She even ran to the store and got some more food, so we could make a hot meal for them. I posted on my facebook page about this family, and I had people call me up saying they had some food for this family too. TJ and I ran around during the afternoon collecting food from different families.

By the time that we got all of the food in the back of the van... Emily would have enough food to feed her family for a few days, maybe even a week!!!

Once we got to Emily's house, we found not much around. Windows were broken and covered with plastic, a whole room of the house completely empty. She had what looked like 3 kids still in diapers. It was really sad, but it still brought smiles to our faces. There was this little boy who was around 3 years of age that got so excited about having milk. We were trying to pray for this family and this little boy was jumping around and yelling about this milk. It was so cute.

I wish you could have all been there and experienced this with me. I'm not the best storyteller and probably lost a lot of the details from last night. But God was definitely at work yesterday by us finding babysitters at last minute for both TJ and I and Kim's family, getting all of this extra food and being able to deliver it yesterday instead of waiting until today. Praise the Lord.

The bible verse... "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat" came to my mind last night while laying in bed. Thank-you Lord for giving us the resources to go and help this family.

**All names have been changed for their protection

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The little things...

Most mornings I get woken up by Micah climbing into my bed or Ephraim practicing his animal sounds in his bed. However, my favorite mornings goes like this...

The door to the boys room closes and the light switch goes on. Then I hear Micah take a bucket of toys and pour them into Ephraim's bed. Ephraim giggles. Micah climbs into Ephraim's bed and they play. I get to listen to them laugh and squeal for about 20 minutes before they start calling my name because they want to eat.

So not only do I get to stay in my nice cozy bed for 20 mins longer... I get to hear the little laughs, giggles and squeals of my little boys having the time of their life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

So they told me...

Here how my typical week goes

Monday: Clean the house. TJ always has his guy friends come Monday nights, so need to make sure the house is clean for them and enough snacks and pop in the house to satisfy their needs.

Tuesday: Bring Micah to speech school and Ephraim normally has either OT, PT or a doctors appointment on this day as well. Tuesday night is my one day a week that I get out of the house and do an out of the house job.

Wednesdays: Work at church in the morning and teach piano lessons at night. I normally go grocery shopping this night as well

Thursday: Pick up TRIP order and Micah has speech school. Sometimes Ephraim has OT or PT.

Fridays: Our day to have fun... we either stay home, go on a play date or go to the play group our county put on.

Saturday: I typically have a craft show (now that Christmas is almost here, won't have one every week, so that should slow things down)

Sunday: We go to church and have a family day. Go to TJ's grandma after church, my parents for lunch and TJ's parents for dinner.

And I was told that since I quit my full time job I would have more free time, but you want to know what... wouldn't trade it for the world. I absolutely love my time with my boys.

Yes, they annoy me just about every day with their hitting, crying, screaming, jumping, running and drawing on my walls.

But...

I get my daily hugs, kisses, drawings (even if they are on my walls), and lego airplanes.

Yes, I don't get as many books read anymore now that Micah doesn't take a nap.

but...

I still get 20 mins of quite time where I start a movie for Micah and sit on my bed and read.

So even though they told me that I would have so much more free time and I don't... I get so much more time with my boys.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Out of the mouth of..... MICAH!!!

While getting in the car today to get this weeks TRIP order, Micah had one of his conversations that he has a couple times a day.

Micah: Mommy... Baby (Ephraim) is 1, Me is 2.
Me: Yup... very good Micah.

However today he didn't stop there like he normally does.

Micah: Daddy is 3
Me: Really... how old is Mommy?
Micah: Mommy is 5

I should have stopped while I was ahead.

Me: Oh, and how old is Nama (Grandma)
Micah: Nama is 5
Me: Oh really and how about Papa (Grandpa). How old is he?
Micah: Papa is 5.

So not only do I feel the same age as Grandma and Grandpa... I must look the same age as well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Update on Bone Marrow

A while back I posted a post about how I was a possible bone marrow donor for a person who had cancer. Well, I received a letter a few weeks ago that I am still a potential match!!! That's the good news.

Now the good or bad news

In that letter it mentioned that at this time, this person is unable to receive a transplant. Because of this, further testing is on hold. They mention that there could be 3 reasons why this person is unable to receive the transplant.

1. He/She could have gotten better with other treatment(s)
2. He/She could be have chosen to try another form of treatment(s)
3. He/She could have gotten worse and therefore is unable to receive a transplant

So if you could continue keeping this person in your prayers, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whats going on

I'm sorry that I have not posted anything for a long time. I have been very busy these last few weeks.

Ephraim has had many doctor appointments. We had one yesterday to follow up on a procedure that he had done a few weeks ago. We have some complications from that... so now we have to go back next week to see if they are clearing up. Tomorrow we have an appointment with a developmental doctor to see how far he has come since coming home and to see where we have yet to go. Next week Tuesday he has physical therapy. His therapist is going to be so happy because he started walking last week!!!

Micah has been growing leaps and bounds. In mid August Micah got a parasite (still have no idea how or where he got it from) and lost weight from it. Since he is already small for his age, the doctor wanted to make sure it was related to that and not something else. So in mid September he asked that we come back to get a checkup. Thank-fully he gained all the weight back that he has lost, so the doctor was very happy about that. They also decided to check how tall he is getting since we are at a new doctor. I did send them all of Micah's information from his previous doctor, but they wanted to check for themselves. He was 3 inches taller from his 2 year appointment in May!!! There is just one concern that we have for Micah. He talks up a storm, but most people do not understand what he is saying. A lot of the time, TJ and I cannot even figure it out... so one day at Ephraim's occupational therapy, his therapist mentioned to get Micah assessed for speech. So now we have his assessment on Monday.

Lastly, in all of this busyness of doctor appointment, play dates and just having fun with my boys, I have been busy testing soap and candles to sell. My candles are not ready yet, but my first batch of soap is. I started an Etsy website... so if you are interested, check it out at www.amaraheve.etsy.com.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthday fun and upcoming wedding

Saturday was my birthday and my family decided that they would go up to Big Star for the day and have some fun on the beach that we normally cannot do during the busy summer season. A few of the other families that have places up there came to... so I felt like I was having a big birthday party (I can pretend it was all for me). The only bad thing about pretending that all of this was for my birthday was that I am afraid of heights... so I did not participate in the activities. At least everybody else had fun and I did enjoy riding in the boat and spending time with friends and family.


Also, this weekend Micah and TJ are in a wedding... doesn't Micah just look adorable in his tux???

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meal time is getting better!!!

Meal time is finally getting better around our house. No, I still have to deal with Ephraim's special diet, so that part isn't easier.

Before he would eat everything in sight. Ate from the time we sat down until we took it away. We had to take it away from him because he would eat everything we made... as long as there was food on the table, he had to eat it. He would even throw fits if somebody was eating and he wasn't. It was very hard and tiring for TJ and I as we were constantly hearing him cry, scream, throw things around, lay on floor, hit... just about everything you could think of a little boy doing during tantrum time, he did.

This week it was almost like something clicked in his brain. He actually STOPS eating, even if there is food on his plate!!! I actually caught him today putting his cookies on top of his head. I tried to snap a picture of it, but he laughed and they fell off. He did not even eat them after they fell off his head... he just crawled away and started playing with his toys.

I still deal with him crying and screaming as I am making the meals, but at least we have the most important part (in my opinion) finally happening.

Friday, September 11, 2009

update

I have been without my main computer for the last couple of weeks and therefore could not get to my pictures. Now that I have it back, I am getting an error message every time I try to upload some pictures. So, be patient while I work on getting pictures uploaded for you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Almost Speachless Thursday.

The animal that decided to make a home in my flower garden. Still trying to catch it, like our fresh veggies in our garden instead of the food we left in the live trap.
Ephraim trying to enjoy the big slides with the big kids



Micah going downt he slide

Standing by the stroller



riding the car




Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm trying

I'm trying to do better in posting updates, but it is very difficult with everything going on around here. I'm still working on getting my business up and running. Ran into a few more snags these last couple of weeks. Praying that they get all figured out and can still meet my projected "open" date of October 1.



Micah is doing well. He was sick a couple of weeks ago and we are still having the residual of some nasty diapers. He is also fighting some bad diaper rash. The doctor took him off from milk for the time being. If his diapers do not go back to normal by next week, we need to call the doctor back for some tests.




Ephraim is developing well. His therapy is going well and he is cruising along furniture and even can stand unsupported for a few seconds. I think he could go longer, but he things it is fun to go crashing to his butt of fall into me or TJ. He is still on the no milk and soy diet. As of right now, we are still tentatively planning an allergy/intolerance test in September.




TJ has been very busy at work. He is putting in very long days and by the time he gets home... is very tired. Even though he is really tired from work, he took the boys with him this evening so I could get some stuff done. Plus, the boys really enjoy spending time with daddy, so its 2 plus's going on there.




I will do my best to try to post something at least once a week... even if that is just pictures. Here is some from this past weekend. We spent the day up at my parents place at Big Star

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Prayer Request

Ten years ago (almost to the day), I signed up to be a bone marrow donor. I figured the phone call would never come. Its been 10 years, its been to long. Well, this week I received a phone call. There is a 22 year old that is in need of a transplant and I am a potential match.

They are doing testing on the blood sample that they took 10 years ago. If everything comes back good on that, they will come and draw a "fresh sample." They say it could take up to 60 days for the testing to be complete on the frozen sample. In the mean time, I just sit and pray.

Please join me and pray during this time for this 22 year old. Also, pray that a match is found for them, either through me or another donor.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Results are In!!!

The results came today for Ephraim's MRI. They say they were normal. Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tomorrow's the Big Day

Tomorrow is when Ephraim gets his MRI. I don't believe anything is going on with his head, but the doctor wants to check it out. Says his head is large (off the charts) and his soft spot isn't closing. Just wants to figure out what is going on up there.

Most likely we won't know any of the results until later, but I will post as soon as I know something. TJ and I believe it will probably be a week or two before we actually know the results since the doctor and specialists will want to check out the results.

I also called Ephraim's dermatologist today since the spot on the back of his neck is not going away. It does look a little better with the treatment that we have been doing, but it is still there. At our last appointment he mentioned that he may want to do a biopsy of the spot if it is still there after a month of this other treatment. Well, since Ephraim is going to be out for the MRI, TJ and I thought that maybe the dermatologist will want to do a quick biopsy at the same time. I am still waiting for an answer on that.

Keep us in your prayers tomorrow that everything goes smoothly.

Monday, July 27, 2009

This Weeks events

The beginning of this week is going to be rather uneventful, which I was hoping to be a little busier before the upcoming MRI for Ephraim on Friday. As I don't think the doctors are going to find anything, I still sit here and think about the possible outcomes. I am not sure when we will get the results, but just a few little prayers on Friday would be greatly appreciated.

This coming weekend is also the day the Ephraim gets baptized. That will be at the 9 am service on Sunday at Fair Haven Ministries for anybody who would like to attend. The address of the church is 2900 Baldwin St in Hudsonville.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh The Wonderful Things Mr Ephraim Can Do

Oh the wonderful things Mr Ephraim can do, he can sit up.

He can roll around. How about you? Can you roll around?

He can stand up holding onto somebody.

He can sound like a rooster... Cack A Doodle Doo.

He can sound like a train... Choo choo.

Mr Ephraim can do it. How about you?

He can wave bye bye, he can go SOOOO BIG.

Clap Clap Clap Ephraim is excited. Clap Clap Clap. Ephraim goes YEAH!!!!

He can scoot around and around and around and it is very very hard to to move like that!

Mr Ephraim can get STANDINGso very very slowly with the assistance of a big big sofa. Like the movements of a little boy who is learning so much.

Maybe You can too. I think you ought to try.

Oh the wonderful things Mr Ephraim can do. Why don't you try to do them too?

Let's review:
Sit up
Roll Around
Stand assisted
Sound like a rooster
Sound like a train
Wave Bye Bye
Go SOOOO BIG
Clap clap clap
Scoot around
Lastly Pulling himself to a standing position by the furniture!

And that is that!

Sorry, could not resist trying to write this to Ephraim's and Micah's favorite book "Mr Brown can Moo Can you?" by Dr. Seuss

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Date Night

Since coming home from Ethiopia, TJ and I really have not had a date night. Probably because we are financially drained from the adoption and all of Ephraim's doctor appointments and diets that he has been on. When we do have money in our "fun account" it is spent doing stuff with the kids. Like most new parents, we probably do not spend enough time with each other. We would talk about it, but then decide to take the kids with us instead. This week we did have some quality us time without the kids. TJ's cousin offered us some tickets to the Picnic Pops Thursday night. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves. If you have not gone to one of the Picnic Pops concerts, I would strongly encourage you to go. Its fun, relaxing and very family friendly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July and another test scheduled

I hope everybody had a great 4th of July. We did. TJ had Friday off from work so we spent the morning at the park. The boys had a great time going down the big weee (slide) as Micah would say. Ephraim also learned how to wave bye. It is really cute as he uses both hands and faces them towards himself.
Saturday morning we left to go to my parents place on Big Star Lake. I have been going up there for as long as I can remember and always enjoy my time up there. Micah went tubing again, we did not get pictures this time, but here is one from the first time he went. He had a great time.


We went to the fireworks at night. They were really cool. I like watching them over the water because you get the extra effect of them reflecting off the water and the echo around the lake. They had one cool one this year that they shoot onto the water and then it goes. At first we thought it was a bad one and was praying that nobody got hurt from that one, but later we found it it was supposed to do that. Micah enjoyed the sparklers that we got him as well.


After the boys went down for bed, I walked out by my parents neighbor's place as my parents were there watching the end of the NASCAR race. My brother and my mom had Kyle Busch in their little friendly competition that they had going on. For you NASCAR fans, you know how that ended and my mom and brother lost their bragging rights for the week.


I got to bed a little later than what I normally do, and I just CRASHED that night. I was woken up about an hour later by a loud boom and then a cry. Come to find out, Micah fell out of bed. He was sharing the bed with my brother and at first he wanted to lay back with my brother, then he was scared to lay back down. So my brother moved out of the room and my mom and I moved in. Needless to say, I did not get any more sleep and my mom got very little. I think TJ was the only one that had a half way decent night sleep because he now had a bed to himself.

Sunday was very relaxing. The boys ended up taking almost a 5 hour nap that afternoon. So by the time we got home and unpacked. The boys were still talking with each other in their rooms, TJ and I just went to bed at 10. I never felt my head hit the pillow.

Monday was back to our normal routine of the day. I did end up getting a call from Ephraim's doctor and he does need to get an MRI on his head. I could not talk the doctor our of this appointment, so that is scheduled for July 31. I'm sure everything is going to be fine since Ephraim learns something new just about every day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What a day!!!

Last night I was not able to sleep at all. Don't know why that is, but it seems like the nights the kids both sleep through the night, I am awake for hours just laying there. Last night I actually got out of bed and was productive and sent out some e-mails (surprised I have not received comments on what time I was sending e-mails)

This morning I dropped Micah off at a good friend of mine and she too him and her boys to Playworld. Sounds like they had a great time.

While the Micah was at Playworld, Ephraim had another doctors appointment. This is to see how he is growing and to figure out what to do about his nasty diapers. Last week Friday the doctor called to see how the new diet was going (he put him on that around time of my last post). I told him that the nasty diaper frequency was down, but not much else has changed. He thought that was really good and said to slowly start introducing soy milk back. That was a disaster in itself as the frequency started to go back up and he started to spit up a lot. (this was after his first glass of soy milk). Today, I asked the doctor if there was any way possible if we could get a allergy and/or an intolerance test. He agreed to the test, but says to get the most accurate results his immune system needs to be better. So we are holding off on the test until September so we can get more vaccinations in him and get healthier since he was just getting over a sinus and an ear infection that he had last month. He mentioned at the appointment about putting him back on formula, but this time on a special formula that is really high in nutrients to help him grow. He was going to talk to his partner and give me a call back.

He then checked out his head. The nurse noted that his head circumference was off the charts. The doctor also noticed that his soft spot was still open. With the nurses notes and the soft spot being open he is concerned about whats going on "in his head." He took some more measurements just to be sure that the nurses notes were accurate because he says kids his age can move around not creating the best measurements. 5 measurements later and still getting the same thing, felt sure that his head was actually that big. Now, TJ and I have not noticed his had getting big, shirts go over his head the same as they did when he got home, so this was news to me. The doctor is going to check with a neurologist and see what he thinks, but we may need to get a CT.

Since we do not have Ephraim on dairy, he cannot have yogurt to help with the bloating of all the pasta that he is supposed to be having. We also have to start him on probiotics. That stuff is cool... just pour a packet in his rice milk or water and he is good to go. It is on the expensive side, so I will be checking out to see if I can find some coupons for it.

While at Walgreen's to pick up the probiotics, the doctor office called to let us know to put him on the rice milk for sure and to give us the appointment time for the nutritionist. He/She will be working with us to make sure Ephraim has a well balanced diet since his diet is so limited.

A little while later, he called back again and said that he was able to sit down with his partner and does want us to put Ephraim onto this expensive high nutrient formula 3 times a day. He said this stuff is about $30 to $40 a can and he has some samples at the office for us to help us out. (what a great guy) He also had some more questions for me. He was asking about Ephraim's legs. After we left it was bugging him that Ephraim could only army crawl and not really use his legs. He asked about his legs and I told him that he LOVES to stand and puts a lot of weight on them. This made the doctor very happy and said he was ripping up the order for some x-rays of his legs.

Keep us in your prayers during this time. I am so glad to know that Christ does not give anything that we cannot handle because I sure couldn't handle this without Him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another New Diet

Last week Thursday after Ephraims tests came back clear again, the doctor put him on "No Milk" diet, thinking he was lactose intolerant. I went to Costco with my cousin and picked up a case of soy milk and diligently read every label of the foods that we were making. The afternoon after changing the umpteenth dirty diaper, I decided to call the nurse back and find out when I should start seeing results from this diet. She said that I should have started seeing results by now and said she will talk to the doctor and call me back. Within 10 minutes she called me back (did I ever say I like the speediness and caring doctor office this is. LOVE IT) and we have changed his diet again. This time we have to have him on no milk, soy, and juice diet. We have to load him up on fat- so the good stuff Cheddar cheese (said that is fine since it is very little milk), potatoes and white flour. Basically anything starchy. I am to call them back on Thursday. If this diet works, we will slowly introduce him to foods again. Please pray that this one works!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A little setback

I received a phone call from the doctors office Monday night, but I missed the call and by the time I got around to it, it was after 5 (they called at 4:50, so it isn't like I waited all day) This morning, I called right after the doctors office opened and found out that the doctor wants Micah to get a x-ray and come in and see him again in July to be sure the pneumonia cleared up. I don't know what changed the doctors mind about this appointment since Friday he said everything is all good and I don't need to bring him back until his 3 year check-up, but I am happy that the doctor is being so thorough with my children. Now we just wait for the paperwork to come in the mail so we can go down to the x-ray. I just have to remember to put it in a spot where the boys won't find it and loose it before July comes around.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Update

We had Micah's follow-up appointment today for his pneumonia. Doctor said everything looked and sounded really well, so we are done with medications and now we just pray it does not come back. Doctor gave him the clear to not be seen again until he is 3 (except for a quick brief moment for is final Heb B shot in 5 to 6 months).

Ephraim needs more lab work done. We have been dealing with nasty diapers now since getting him from Ethiopia on April 22. I will spare you the details, but the doctor is not liking what he is seeing but nothing is showing up in his lab work. More tests were ordered and I am now to the point that I want something to show up so we can start treating.

Sunday we took Micah and Ephraim to Grand Haven to visit my grandparent and another couple that we traveled to Ethiopia with. We surprised them with this visit, however, we never saw the couple we traveled with. It was raining most of the morning on Sunday, so we were wondering if they just went home for the day. While at Grand Haven, we took Micah and Ephraim's 1 and 2 year pictures. We had a great time with our grandparents and it looked like Micah and Ephraim enjoyed themselves too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

We are home!!!

Micah was discharged from the hospital this evening. His pneumonia is starting to clear up and we just need to finish up with some oral medication for a little over a week. His fluid intake is still down of what the doctors wanted to see, but we did not want them to hook him back up to an IV for the night hoping he will drink more for them the next day. They are optimistic though that once he was in the comfort of his own home and the effects of the IV wore off that he will resume his normal fluid intake and stay hydrated. It will help that he does not have a high temperature anymore.

Thank-you for your prayers and if you could please just continue over the next couple of weeks until his pneumonia is completely gone, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our first hospital visit

Micah has been admitted into Devos Children's Hospital. His temperature ended up spiking really high this afternoon and he was not taking in hardly any fluids during the day. They took some more x-rays of his lungs and his pneumonia has gotten worse. The doctors described it as his first ones as being like walking pneumonia and now he has full blown pneumonia.

Hopefully we are not here very long, but prayers would be appreciated.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Sick Little Boy

Sunday morning we woke up to go to church and Micah was coughing most of the night. TJ and I decided that I would just go to church (since I had nursery duty) and TJ would stay home with the boys. We were thinking that Micah was just starting to come down with allergies since when my allergies are bad, I cough really bad in the mornings.

After church, we packed up the car and headed to my parents place on the lake. He was a little crabby when we got up there, but thought that was because it was his nap time. We laid him down and let him nap. He woke up really crabby and not himself. Was always cuddling with us, and just did not want to do anything. That night at supper time, my mom said that he was just feeling warm. We decided to go home and my parents neighbors gave us some Motrin to help with the fever.

When we got home, we took his temperature and it was 103 under the arm!!! We called the doctor right away, but they assured us that he was just fighting something viral and to call us back if it reaches over 104. We woke up every couple of hours and took his temperature, giving him more Tylenol as needed. All day Monday he just laid on the couch and watched his movies. (I did feel like a bad mom having him in front of the TV all day, but he was sick so I let him)

Monday night his temperature still ranged int he same area 101 with Tylenol and went up to 103 when it wore off. We decided to take him into the urgent care room since it just did not feel right to us and with the persuasion of our parents.

Come to find out he has bronchitis and the starting stages of pneumonia. Poor little guy. This morning my dad came over to watch the boys so I could get his prescription filled and got him some new movies. Hopefully he gets better soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm sorry

I am sorry. I promised you that I would continue filling you in about our trip. I still promise to do that, but its going to take longer than I originally thought.

Since being home, we have been busy adjusting to being a family of 4. That is doing very well. Micah is our big helper. He lets me know when Ephraim is up from his nap and even wants to help feed him. That needs a lot of supervision as he just likes to shovel it in as fast as he can.

I addition to adjusting being home, we have been spending a lot of time at doctor offices. Our poor little Ephraim has an ear infection and a sinus infection. We are on our second medication trying to fight the ear infection. We also have other problems that we are still working on figuring out. We also have had an appointment with Early On. We will be starting some therapies with him to help him get caught up with other kids in his age group. One of the things we need to work on is getting him to feed himself and eat solids. This has been a struggle for us as he just does not put things into his mouth. Very unusual for a baby. I have been giving him graham crackers and leading them to his mouth to show him how to eat them. We have not had any luck on it until TODAY. He ate his first graham cracker without me guiding his hand to his mouth. I just had to take a picture of this moment

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Our trip- day 1 -3

Now that I am home and starting to settle in, I will start posting about our trip some more. I am sorry to everybody that our pictures we did try to post while in Ethiopia did not come through. I'm breaking it up into days since it will be a long post if I did everything in one. It was an amazing trip.

We started out at Grand Rapids airport and met up with another family that also lives in the Grand Rapids area. We found out that we actually live about 10 minutes from each other, so that was a lot of fun. We flew first to Chicago and then to Washington DC. In Washington DC we met another family that lives in the Detroit area. From Washington DC, we flew to Ethiopia. Our flight was late taking off by 2 hours. They say that is how long it took to get everybody on the plane, but I thought that was kind of weird. We landed in Rome for a quick fuel stop and cleanup of the plane and then we were off. We finally landed in Ethiopia around 9 their time. Went through customs and immigration to get our visa's and met up with our contact.
We rounded the corner at the airport and there was hundreds of people crowded in the lobby waiting for their loved ones to come home. It was an amazing sight and wish I had a camera ready to take a picture of it. We got everything packed up in the van (it took 2 van loads to get everybody to the hotel) and off we went. We got to the hotel around midnight their time.

After we checked in and got everything up to our room, our contact took us to pizza. I thought the pizza was very good, but you did not know what you were ordering. We thought we were ordering pepperoni and cheese and it came out with green peppers and olives.
The next morning was interesting. I was woken up by a goat. No, there was not a goat in my room licking my face, but it was making the neighing sound from the neighbors. I later found out that it would be Easter dinner.


That evening we went to an authentic Ethiopian restaurant. We got to experience their food and some dancing. It was a lot of fun seeing the sounds and tasting the food. I enjoy their food, but TJ would rather eat it with a fork then with the injara. It does have a bitter taste, but their food is spicy enough that it covers it right on up (in my opinion)


Driving around town is something you cannot describe. There is such a variety of housing and wealth that it amazes me that people can live that way. You would have a rich mans house right next to the slums. I would just stare out the windows in amazement whenever we drove around town.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EPHRAIM!!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

week 1

We have been home for almost a week now. It has been an adjustment becoming a family of 4, but it is slowly coming a norm for us. Ephraim is becoming stronger every day. When we met him for the first time a little over a week ago, he could barely hold up his head and struggled to roll over. He now rolls over with ease and can hold up his head very well. He was 17 lbs 2 oz at his doctor appointment on Wednesday. He is not even on the charts for his weight, but we are very eager to see how quickly he catches up to other kids his age.
Micah is doing well with his new role as "big brother." He helps out by giving him some toys to play with and giving them back when he throws them off his excersaucer. He is growing big also. He was 26 lbs at his doctor appointment on Wednesday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

We are finally home!!!

After our flight being cancelled in Chicago we are finally home. We rented a car to get home since the earliest flight they could get us on was at 10 am the next morning and that was stand-by only. Thank-you for everybody who was praying for us and to those who wanted to welcome us home.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flight to Grand Rapids has been cancelled.

We are in DC

We made it safely to DC. Ephraim went through 7 outfits in the 15 hour plane ride, so we had to repack the diaper bag once we got to customs before checking our bags again. Hopefully we have enough to get us home otherwise we will have either a stinky baby or one in just a diaper.

I called home and talked to my mom, sounds like there could be some severe storms in Michigan and we are praying that our flight is not cancelled or delayed. We just want to get home.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the airport if you decide to come.

Ephraim is sick

Today was a long day.  Ephraim is sick.  He has a stomach bug of some sorts where he was getting very bad diarrhea and going through 2 diapers and his clothes each time.  TJ and I had to send some clothes to get clean so we had something to wear home tomorrow.  We talked to our contact and he told us were the pharmacy is to get some Ethiopian style of pedialight.  It smells just like lemonade and he loves the taste.  He took 4 small bottles of it so far today and he looks a lot better and the color is coming back to his face. 

 

Now you are probably wondering why he has to wear 2 diapers at a time.  His legs are too small for size 3 diapers, so we need to wear size 2 diapers, but he is too long for the length of size 2, so needing size 3.  It looks rather funny, but it works better than just 1.

 

We also had our embassy appointment today and got our final approval.   We can take Ephraim out of Ethiopia and into the United States after tomorrow.  Our flight leaves tomorrow at 10:15 pm and we start the long journey home.   We miss Micah a lot and can’t wait to see him on Saturday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gotcha Day

Babies 00039.JPGEthiopia 4 09 251.jpg

 

We got to bring home Ephraim today.  He is such a content little boy.  I picked him out right away from all the children playing in the common room today.  He was laying on a mattress, drinking a bottle wearing cute giraffe pajamas.  The nanny picked him up and I got so excited that I just ran over and grabbed him from her.  TJ was preoccupied by a little girl that just crawled up to him and wanted him to pick her up.  It was really cute because she did not want to be put down and always came back to him when somebody else took her from him. 

 

The previous days we were up north.  We have been without internet or electricity since Sunday. The north was very nice and was a nice break from the beggars on the streets in the city.   Even though the country folk were poorer than those living in the city, they were so content with their life style that they did not beg for food or money.  They loved getting their picture taken and viewing themselves on the video camera.  The sightseeing in the north is amazing.  When we get home, we will post pictures, but the internet is still sketchy today that I don’t know how many I will be able to post.

 

Well, it is bed time over here, so I will hopefully be able to talk to everybody later.  Micah, we miss you very much and can’t wait to be home with you again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wake up calls and dancing

Sadula Lodge 00018 copy.jpgThis morning’s wakeup call was  a goat.  It took me a while to realize what was making that weird sound.  At breakfast the neighbor had a goat tied around a tree.  Later today, I found out that it is a tradition to slaughter your own goat and cook it up on Easter.  So, I will most likely lose my wakeup call after Sunday. 

 

This morning, we just lounged around to try and combat the jet leg.  In the afternoon, we confirmed our flight home, exchanged some money into Birr and went shopping.  I found new outfits for everybody for Ephraim’s baptism.  It was fun to barter with the vendors. 

 

That evening we went to a traditional Ethiopia restaurant for dinner.  It started out with a hand washing.  Then our food came and we ate.  This “plate” was for 5 people.   Sadula Lodge 00054 copy.jpg You rip off a piece of the injara and use that to scoop up whatever portion you wanted to try.  Everybody ate off the same plate.  This plate was all meats, but I shared a plate with our contact since he cannot eat food made from animal products until Sunday because of Easter.  Our dish was very spicy bean.  It reminded me of a bean dip you would have at a party, it was really good.  I really enjoy the Ethiopian cuisine, but TJ still begs to differ on the injara.  After dinner they played music and had dancing.  The show was amazing.  Part way through the show, there was a coffee ceremony.  I could do without that as the incense gave me a small headache and TJ got a migraine.  After the coffee ceremony, our contact ordered us a drink that was made from honey.  It was very potent stuff as I only drank 2 small sips and had to stop. 

 

Today was fun and I learned a lot about Ethiopian culture.  I hope that I will be able to continue some of the traditions that I learned today.

We are here

We started Micah's birthday by going to the airport. TJ and I left Wednesday for Ethiopia. We met another family from the Grand Rapids area who are adopting a little girl. We flew to Chicago and then to Washington DC. At Washington DC we met another family how is adopting a little boy. We started boarding our plane in Washington DC a little after 8:00 pm. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 8:30. At 10:30 we were finally leaving the gate, which did not put us into Ethiopia until 9 pm (which is 2 pm at home). It was a long flight, but it went very smoothly.

Customs and immigration went smoothly as well, just a very long line. Finding our luggage was a trick. They did not post what carrousel our baggage was on, so we had to wander around until we found one of ours. Eventually we found all 8 bags. We took all 8 bags and had them verified with security to make sure we had our own and started the journey to find our contact. We rounded the corner to the airport lobby and there were hundreds of people in the lobby. This weekend is Easter in Ethiopia, so a lot of people are coming home to visit family. We finally got everybody to the hotel around midnight.

Since midnight is around dinner time, our contact took us out for pizza. It was fun ordering the pizza because we thought we were ordering pepperoni, cheese and onion but came out with green peppers, cheese and black olives. The flavor was amazing. I absolutely loved it.

We are now in our hotel and about ready to go down for the night. Sounds like we are going shopping tomorrow. Since it is Good Friday (or Holy Friday as they call it) not much is open and it is more of a day to relax, so our contact is picking us up at 2 to bring us to the market.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Test

Just testing how to e-mail posts to our blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Bags are Packed...

Our bags are packed and we are ready to go. They are all weighed and measured and fall below our required size and weight limits. We have cans of formula, baby blankets, baby clothes, and medicine all for the orphanages in the country, in addition to all of our clothes and thank-you gifts for all those who have helped care for Ephraim. The hardest person to pack for was Ephraim. We have not received an update on how big he is since the beginning of March, which at that time, he was put on a special diet because his weight was low. I probably took way to much for him, but we should have at least something that fits.
Now, it is just getting the last final touches at home done before we leave. We need to finish putting Micah's bed back into a crib. We transitioned Micah into a big boy bed back in January and keep telling him that his old bed is Ephraim's. He is doing really well of putting things onto Ephraim's bed when we ask. I think he understands that the crib is no longer his bed.

We leave on Wednesday for our long flight over to Ethiopia. We are both nervous and excited to see our son. On top of it, I am feeling a some anxiety of leaving Micah for 10 days. I know Micah will be in good hands with my parents while we are gone, but it is still very hard to leave him behind.
For those who are interested in welcoming us home we arrive into Grand Rapids on April 25 @ 6:24 PM. (United flight 7691). I don't know if our blog will be updated while we are gone, so I wanted to give you that information now. Thank-you for your continued prayers and support during our adoption journey.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Micah's birthday (observed)

Micah turns 2 on the day we leave to bring home Ephraim. We decided to hold his party last night instead of waiting until we got home. Micah wanted Elmo at his party, so my dad made an Elmo cake and some cupcakes. He did a great job.


Micah was also a lot better this year. Last year, he got the flu shortly after everybody got to our house. Everybody except my grandma got sick. This year... healthy. YEAH!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome Home Daniel!!!

On Saturday afternoon, I was able to go to the airport to welcome home Justin and Mari from Ethiopia. They go to my church, so I have gotten to know them over the last few months.

It was so exciting to sit at the airport and wait for their plane to come in. Even though it was a little delayed, my excitement for them made the extra time just fly by.

My plan was to just be a "fly on the wall" and take pictures of the wonderful homecoming, but their friends and family really did not allow that to happen. They asked me to join in the celebration. It was a great time.

Daniel is so adorable. He just sat there and stared at everybody and everything. I even got to hold him for a little while. One of the friends or family members took a picture of me holding Daniel. I hope that I can get a copy of it someday. He is such a peanut.

Welcome home Justin, Mari and Daniel.
Here is Justin and Mari as they came out of the terminal. They are welcoming home the family they traveled with (they also adopted a little one from Ethiopia)
A family photo

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Out of the mouth of Micah

This morning Micah was up at 8 am (surprisingly after not getting to bed until after 11 last night). He came running into our bedroom and then all of a sudden stopped and said "I'm stuck"

Now this baffled my husband and I because we were thinking, what could he get stuck on between our bed and his bedroom. My husband sat up and looked at him saying: "well if you let go of the door jam, you won't be stuck anymore"

Micah said "oh" Let go and ran to our bed to give us our morning hugs and kisses.

He definitely gives us our laughs

Friday, April 3, 2009

Some new pics of Ephraim

A family just returned from Ethiopia with their child. Their child was in the same orphanage as Ephraim and she took some pictures for me. Some of the pictures are cropped to cut out other people's faces since I don't have permission to post them on my blog. Enjoy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Not all SPAM is bad

So, I somehow got on this e-mail list that daily inspirational quotes and recipes are sent to me. The inspirational quotes are a wonderful thing to get half way through the day. Its a little pick me up, but I have also been looking forward to the daily recipes. I have only been getting them for a little over a week now and decided to make my first one yesterday. It was a hit!!! My family loved it.

Now I should never have an excuse of what to make for dinner.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm so lucky

TJ’s grandma finished the blankets today that will be Ephraim’s. They are absolutely adorable. She made 2 identical ones so when one is in the wash; he will still have one. We also got so spend some time playing at grandma’s house. Micah loves going there and he has this strict routine that he has to do just about every time we go. First to the cracker cupboard to get some crackers, then say hi to the 2 bird pictures, eat a few crackers, turn on the tv and then ask for some milk. It cracks my grandma and me up just about every time, but the Lord gives you kids to make you smile.

As I was sitting on the couch watching Micah do some puzzles, I was thinking how lucky I was to have what I have. A loving husband and 2 wonderful sons. The Lord has provided me with so much stuff, I cannot ask for more. I decided to check my e-mail and my quote of the day was there. “There is no one luckier then he who thinks himself so.” - Germen Proverb. Is that not so true. You can always think that you neighbor is lucky because their grass is greener, have more “toys” or wear designer clothes all the time. However, if you’re just happy with what you got, you are the luckiest person around.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tickets are purchased

We purchased our tickets today and we leave on April 15. The same day that Micah turns 2. Purchasing our tickets was a huge ordeal. We wanted to go and visit our Uncle S and Aunt K in Europe before going to Ethiopia, however, since Ephraim will still be an Ethiopian citizen, travel visa's are required if we have layovers in other countries. Tickets were outrageous for having a direct flight home with a stop in Europe on the way, so we were looking into see what was involved in getting a travel visa. After much talk with our travel agency, adoption agency, and emails to different European embassies, we decided to just take a direct flight. It was too much of a risk for us to do otherwise.

So now, we are packing and planning the birthday party for Micah.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ephraim Ashenafi

I would like to introduce you to our new son Ephraim Ashenafi. He is 10 1/2 months old. Thank-you for all of our prayers and support during this time. Now we just need prayers for safe travels while we go to Ethiopia and bring him home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 more days

This week has been a long one so far and it is only Wednesday. Ephraim's court date is Friday!!! I am hoping that we hear the results from the court hearing in the morning, because I do not know if I can handle waiting all day for the results. History has shown however, that it comes later in the day. So, do not expect a posting before 5 at night. If everything goes well, we will be able to post his picture, but Ethiopian rules do not allow us to do that before hand.

This week has had great weather. Micah and I have been spending a lot of time outside and enjoying the beautiful 65 degree weather and sunshine. Unfortunately today is cooler (in the 40's) and predicting rain. On top of that, we can not go anywhere because a service man is coming to look at why our new washing machine is vibrating so bad. They have precision time predicting on when they will be here and told me anytime between 8 am and 5 pm. (being a little sarcastic there).

I do plan on planting some seeds today in my flower pots. Should be all ready to go outside come May (as long as my brown thumb does not kick in) I'm not the greatest with plants, but I do try really hard. Hey, my Christmas cactus has 6 flowers buds on it right now and my orchid has 2. Must be doing something right.

There are about 14 families getting their son's and daughters from Ethiopia this month. Please pray that they have safe travels.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who let the dogs out!!!

We had our next playgroup today at the local public school. The theme was Clifford. We sang, danced and listened to a book all about Clifford. We even got to make a messy craft of painting with balloons. Micah had a great time. His favorite part was eating the puppy food and treats. Ok, it really wasn’t puppy food and puppy treats. They were coco puffs and cookies shaped like puppy bones, but they had them in dog food bowls so it appeared like you were eating puppy food and treats.

Micah did a lot better this time. No tears!!! He picked out his marker to write his name with and actually participated in some of the dancing. No pictures today, forgot my camera again. Hopefully next time I will remember my camera.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cookbooks for Sale!!!

Good friends of ours are raising funds to become full time missionaries in Romania. The other young couples small group at our church has put together a cookbook and the proceeds from the sales go to our friends ministry. Please check out their blog at http://weloveorphans.blogspot.com/. It talks about their ministry and how to purchase a cookbook if you are interested.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Off to Timbuktu

Since starting my new business, I have been getting lots of boxes full of packing peanuts. Micah loves to play with the peanuts and I just let him because he is so happy doing so. Well today's shipment was big enough for him to play in the box. He is having a great time!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

What a good book!!!

Micah has been wanting to go to bed with a book. I sometimes hear him during the night mooing like a cow or barking like a dog, but I just let him go because he is staying in his room. (plus its 3 am and I really do not want him to know that I am also awake at 3 am). Today for nap time was no exception, he had to go to bed with a book. I went to go check on him to make sure he was sleeping and I found him like this...

Must have been a great book!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dinasours

Last summer I learned that there was a monthly playgroup for kids in our area. Today we actually were able to go. The first time we tried, the school did not have power, so the group was cancelled. He was really excited when I told him about it last night because it was pajama day and he was able to stay in his pajama's. He loves his pajamas and sometimes wants me to put them back on half way through the day.

We got to the school and we were wondering if they were still having it. There were no cars in the parking lot and the school was on their mid-winter break. Micah was really bummed and kept on trying to walk to the school. Eventually some cars came and somebody was brave enough to go and check to see if the group was still meeting.

We walked into the school and Micah was getting more and more excited. However, once we walked into the room and made a name tag, he thought I was leaving a cried and ran out of the room. I encouraged him to stay and told him that I was staying too. We read a book "How Dinosaurs go to bed" and he just loved it. He also got to make a picture using dinosaur stamps and a head band. He also made a necklace with a dinosaur on it, but he ate most of the fruit loops before I was able to take a picture.

At the end of the group they sang some songs and danced around. Micah was not to sure of that, but he did watch everybody and laughed he I tried to help him with the motions. Maybe next time he will participate a little more with the signing.