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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh NO!! Bad Mommy!

So today I had planned to catch you up on the last couple of busy days (reconnecting with old friends, family meals going down and coming up--inside joke) or playing tag since I've failed to think of 7 strange facts about myself (or maybe I just can't narrow it down!). However........our life got rudely interrupted.

I was in the middle of laundry and packing (can't believe I'm packing already, after Ethiopia I swore I'd never look at those duffels again) for our trip to KY when disaster struck. Yes, I'm being dramatic for my readers' benefit. It was nap time for Mari and I was looking forward to 2 hours of prep without chasing a crawler...she was very tired but a little resistent to sleep so I decided to rock her...usually this only gets done at night but we had such a nice time in the rocker last night I figured I'd treat her to a midafternoon rocking. Just as she was settling down to sleep (in other words, I was relaxed and not holding real tight) she arched back and flung herself over the arm of the chair (this happens frequently but usually in the middle of a fit and I'm ready). I grabbed for her and caught her left wrist and heard a "lovely" POP. She of course started screaming bloody murder. I knew I had just popped her elbow out (nursemaid's elbow) but of course was very worried that maybe I had snapped her wrist. I got her settled down in her crib, gave her some motrin and was just starting to think maybe she was okay. Then she would try to move in her sleep and her limp left arm wouldn't let her pull her blanket up and she would start screaming. So off to the ER.

Luckily we know everyone there, so they were all sympathetic. My mom came and that made Mari a little happier (actually she was just fine as long as you left her arm alone). One of our great NP's Bob (who just happens to have two little Guatemalan kiddos) popped it back in place with just a little cry and things were all better.

We are now home, fed, afternoon nap completed and all back to normal. Mari is crawling around on that arm, reaching for things, etc. We will see how she feels about the rocking chair at bedtime! Mommy might be a little scared of it.

So Mari is better, I still feel horrible but at least she didn't hit the floor head first. We are hoping to head to KY in the morning (depending on the looming ice storm tonight) so I probably won't be blogging again until Monday night.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So happy together...

No pix tonight, too tired. Weird day, schedule all messed up, lots to catch up on from the last couple days but just too tired tonight (Mari just went down, 2 hours later than usual). But I wanted to post.

4 weeks ago (minus the time difference) I met Miss Mari for the first time. It is kind of surreal to think that that much time has past, it seems like yesterday. But it also seems like we've always been together. I think I was completely emotionally detached in Ethiopia; overwhelmed by the situation, surroundings, etc. It has all hit this week...while I have loved every minute of being a mom, it is really starting to sink in (in a great way). There is nothing better in the world than to walk into Mari's room first thing in the morning (after listening to her happy babble in the baby monitor) and being greeted by the biggest grin in the world. I just know that if she could talk, she would be saying "good morning Mommy!" I wish I could bottle up that first look in the morning and open it for a "pick-me-up" any time during the day.

Tonight,after our somewhat strange day, Mari buried her head in my chest, gripped onto me and just sighed a happy little sigh. Oh the bliss! Then when she started get her tired whimpers, I went and filled her little bath tub. I couldn't hear over the running water but when I came out of the bathroom, she was crying and calling "mamamamamama!" That is the first time I have heard her say MA! (And not from a lack of prompting!). Of course, as soon as she saw me she stopped (and grinned) and I haven't gotten her to say it again. But M's are in her vocabulary now!

Then, when I decided it had to be bedtime (since it was already 2 hours later than normal), I took her into her room and rocked her to the lullaby CD. We usually do this when she is already tired and cranky; most times she will fight me until she goes to sleep...we have never made it past the second song, she can drop off pretty quickly. Tonight, she fought sleep but didn't fight me. We were well into the 4th song on the CD but it was very pleasant, just rocking and staring at each other. Very peaceful.

So now I'm going to bed. Feeling tired but very good.

Monday, January 28, 2008

3 Weeks Home and My Baby's Back!

It is unreal to think that we have been home for 3 weeks. It seems like just yesterday I was fretting about flights and packing and freaking out but yet it seems like Mari and I have been together forever. I thought I would miss some aspects of my old life...laying on the couch with no one to worry about, eating when I wanted, only doing laundry once a week, etc. I don't miss any of just seems natural knowing that there is someone else in the house, someone that needs me. I'm surprised that I have adapted so well to that...I was worried that the "24/7" part of the deal would be the hardest. Thankfully, I was wrong. The only thing I miss so far is the ease of going we ran errands, several which involved literally driving across the street from the last one. What a pain to have to get in and out of a car seat (yes, a carrier type seat would be ideal for this but why invest in something that she will outgrow very quickly). It is also quite a challenge to shop for groceries with an is getting a little easier since she can sit up better--our first couple trips to the grocery store, I had to keep one hand on her while shopping...let go and kaboom!

So anyway, in my last post I alluded to the fact that Miss Mari was a little cranky. I thought the "honeymoon" was over. The "honeymoon" in adoption is classified as a period where the kids are super good and easygoing because they are afraid that their new situation is not permanent. Once they feel comfortable that they are staying put in a secure environment, then they test their limits and bring out their "other side." I thought this only applied to older kids until this weekend. Mari was very cranky the last two days (I should preface this my saying this is a proportional crankiness because she is never fussy, so her moodiness is probably very mild compared to a lot of other 10 month olds--but it was a big personality change). She would not giggle, barely smiled, wouldn't talk, didn't want to be held but didn't want to be let go of, etc. etc. She was just starting to snuggle and enjoy rocking before this change and then this weekend, she went back to her old ways of arching her back and pulling away from me, often only getting solace by lying quietly in her crib having "alone time." This is hard to know what to do...should I give in to the "alone time" because this seems to encourage the independence and discourage the "need" for me. Or should I force her to stay with me until she calms down, encouraging the "need" to have me help her but possibly building resentment. I'm kind of just meeting her in the middle. If she is only slightly fussy and resistent, then I wrap her up tight and try to calm her down; if she is all-out screaming and arching away, then I give her alone time. She has lived the last 9 months calming herself, getting herself to sleep, and feeding herself (at least the last couple months)...I think it is perfectly natural to need some alone time. She has never in her life had 1-on-1 attention for 24-7 and it is probably overwhelming. Last night, we got so tired of each other's crankiness that I packed her up at dinner time and heading to my parent's house. She enjoyed the change of scenery and faces, I enjoyed a home-cooked meal. We both left happier.

Enough of my dissertation on "Jill's take on the post-adoption cranky temper-tantrums."

With all that being said, the personality switched back today. My giggly, sweet, funny chatterbox is back. I should mention that we were having some problems with constipation (boy does she plug up easy!) that are resolved. She never acted like she was sick or in pain but I'm guessing she wasn't feeling as well as she could have. Nothing like a good poop (or 6 or 8) to make you feel better. Sorry for the poop stories...just trying to keep up with the Mumblerrrs! I should probably defend myself here (since I'm a nurse and should understand these things better) and mention that Mari has prunes every morning for breakfast and straight, undiluted pear juice 1-2 times a day. I think it was the addition of bananas to our menu right after carrots that did it...we moved on to peaches and are back on track. It seems that the key to pooping is eating "P's"...prunes, peas, pears, peaches. Green beans are also good and, per my pediatrician, ground up Wendy's chili (we haven't resorted to that...we want poop, not explosions!).

So Mari is back to being cute and cuddly. She ate fine all day without her post-feeding tantrums that had returned. She ate 5 veggie puffs without my help and didn't choke on any of them (okay, she ate 4 and the other one just disintegrated in her hand). She might have said "kitty-cat." We were playing with the cats and I was saying "kitty-cat" over and over and she whispered "tit-tat" and laughed! I'm taking it. Our first words..."tit-tat."

She also tried a new trick...she was on her hands and knees and straightened her legs so that her butt was up in the air and her weight on her toes. Very impressive given the fact that she has no interest in standing up. She did enjoy herself when I showed her how to stand up in her crib holding onto the side rails...probably not too smart on my part but oh well.

I think that is all that is new. We are gearing up to head to KY this weekend to visit family (as long as the weather holds). Usually, travelling with an infant for the first time is a daunting task...after spending a week in Ethiopia with an infant I had never seen before (not to mention being a first time parent and having to take everything with me) I am not too frightened. There are at least 100 Wal-Marts between here and there, should I forget anything!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Growing Up!

So things are going pretty well here on the home front. My maternity leave is quickly winding down, three weeks left. The time is flying by...wish it would have flown this fast BEFORE, during all the waiting and waiting and waiting.

We went to my brother Todd's turkey plant on Wednesday (not really his plant--he just counts the turkeys and the money they bring in).

Thursday we ran all over town. We dropped our paperwork off at daycare and met some of the caregivers, we made a couple other stops (including seeing Grandma at work) and then headed to Wal-Mart. Mari loves Wal-Mart (super stimulating!) but she was so tired that she slept the entire time. Since I don't have a carrier-type car seat, I had to prop her up in the front of the cute, snoring all through Wal-Mart.

Thursday Mari turned 10 months old. Nothing exciting happened, it was actually a not great day. Two days of schedule interruptus and we were both a little cranky. Mari would not go to sleep but was too tired to play (very unusual--she can fall asleep at the mere mention of naptime). She also wanted nothing to do with me and the rocking chair...this was especially hard because she is just really starting to get cuddly and want my affection, so this seemed like a setback. So we both went to bed crying and exhausted.

Friday was a much better day. We went to Lowe's to order new carpet for Mari's room (this was originally Ollie's room and we have some "puppy chewing issues" that needed to be resolved--we were waiting on the installation special!) and got to see Granddad and lots of his co-workers. My previous feelings from the night before were washed away. Mari used to flirt with anyone, talk to everyone and charm the socks off people. I think she was used to seeking attention anywhere she could get it. Now she is subdued around strangers, not scared just quiet. As soon as we would walk away, she would start babbling to me and smiling. I think she is finally comfortable with knowing that I will give her the attention she craves and doesn't need to seek it from anyone that is around (maybe I'm reading too much into this--developmental pysch and sociology of the family were over a decade ago!).

After getting home from Lowe's, my friend Heather came over to hang out. Mari was sweet and cute (as usual) and Heather brought us some really neat things. We now have bowls that suction to the highchair (and I mean suction) so, one day soon, we can start feeding ourselves. We have a great new play blanket that has a waterproof back that will be wonderful for trips to the park. And Heather also brought me another set of sippy cups. I'm using Gerber transition bottles and sippy cups. They are triangular shaped for easy holding (Mari is a pro at holding her own bottle) and then you can add handles that adjust to three different angles, and sippy tops that you can exchange for the nipples. All the parts are interchangable so you can transtion to a sippy cup. So here is my blonde moment of the week--I had tried the sippy top a couple weeks ago but it was a disaster. Mari ended up choking on the juice and it poured all over her, so I figured that she just wasn't ready. When I opened the new package and started dismantling the sippy tops to wash, I realized that I had never put the valves back in the other set after wonder Mari was soaked! So I popped a valave back in, handed her the pear juice and away she went...guzzled out of the sippy top without a second thought. SO SAD!! She's growing up!

We spent the rest of the day having a good time. At bathtime, Mari finally figured out how to splash around and play. This led to a meltdown when I tried to take her out of the tub. Oh well. (BTW...the funny looking thing on the tub is supposed to hold inflatable rings like a stacking toy but they were cheap and wouldn't inflate, so I threw them away. It makes a good handle for Mari to hold on to. Just wanted to clarify what it was; it kind of looks questionable!)

Today, Mom came over and we ran a few errands and then Lesa brought Madi over this afternoon for a playdate. Chad joined us later and Madi was watching her Daddy very closely as he planted kisses on Mari. So cute! We made it through the day with only one fussy patch...after dinner Mari got mad because the food was gone (this used to be an issue but we have since worked through it, until tonight!). This probably had to do with the new food we added--banana yogurt. SUPER YUMMY! We made it through bathtime without pitching a fit when time to get out. She also went to sleep before the first song was done on the lullaby CD and I was able to get out of the rocking chair, turn on the light, change her diaper, cut her nails, and put her to bed without her waking up...that's tired!

Hopefully tomorrow will go as well! Whew, that ended up being a long post! If you are still reading, enjoy some pix!

My new sneakers! I stand up so much better with them on.

The doggie loves me...he just won't let me pet him yet.

Mickey cat wanted my Cheerios something bad!

Sammy cat likes to lay down beside me and I pet him...Mommy says not to pull chunks of his hair out but he doesn't mind.

Here is my first taste of meat...I think I might be a vegetarian. I gagged until I threw up. Mommy tried to get me to eat chicken and beef but they were both yucky. Mommy videoed me but was nice enough not to put it on the blog. She says that we will try again in a couple weeks...ugh!

If you have stuck with me to the is a video treat. Mari loves to be "woofed" at but seems quite worried at meowing. On the other hand, Mari can perfectly mimic Mickey's meow...I actually spun around to tell the cat to be quiet the other day and it was Mari. She sounds just like him!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Playing Catch Up!

So what have we been up to? A little bit of nothing, a little bit of everything.

Friday, cousin Madi came over for a little while to play. The girls got along great rolling over each other, stealing toys, grabbing each other's hair, etc.

Saturday, we ventured to Wal-Mart and bought some shoes! Mari was great and let me try on pair after pair. We decided on size 2's. They were a little roomy but since she is not even standing up yet, they will fit great once she gets to walking. We bought a cute pair of brown suede dress shoes and a pair of pink furry winter boots (they were on clearance!).

Sunday, we got up early and headed to church with Mom & Dad. Mari was awesome, just quietly taking everything in. It did, however, throw off her eating and napping schedule and it caught up to us that evening. She did really well until suppertime and then it was downhill after that.

Aren't I cute in my "going to church outfit"?

Monday was a great day. We played at home all day, ate heartily, had our first true diaper "blow-out" (this was the first time we actually had poop outside the diaper...I know we've been lucky, most everyone else has had this experience on the plane ride home). After her bath (which she loves) I guess she was just so tired, she "snapped." This is the only way to describe her meltdowns. She is giggling and laughing one minute and then screaming like you are cutting off a limb the next minute...and I have no clue what triggers these. They don't happen often and never last long (2 minutes in the rocking chair and she was sound asleep but it was 90 minutes before her normal bedtime).

Today had been a good day so far...she actually played on her blanket in the living room while I spent an hour on the phone with tech support working out some flaws in my new cable/internet. She has gotten less emotionally clingy (I can leave the room or go to the mailbox without a meltdown) but she has gotten more physically clingy, wanting me to hold her and snuggle. This is a great thing (makes laundry a little harder but who cares) and the first physical signs of needing me.

Mari's Milestones:
  1. I can crawl, really crawl. Everywhere, anywhere, especially where you don't want me to be!
  2. I no longer have food meltdowns. Mommy lets me play with empty cereal bowls and spoons before and after I eat, so I just gnaw away on those.
  3. Here are the foods I have mastered...rice, barley, oatmeal cereals (LOVE oatmeal); squash, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, pears, prunes. Next on the list Mommy has planned MEATS! And then bananas and apples!
  4. I successfully put 1 sweet potato puff in my mouth today by myself (still have a little trouble with the fine motor skill part of it) and I actually chewed it instead of swallowing it whole like last week. Mommy says if I keep doing a good job, she will give me Cheerios and maybe some banana chunks (after I pass the banana baby food test). I can't wait to sink my two bottom teeth into something!
  5. I love my pets. The cats come and check on me and sometimes I get to pet them...I really like to pull their whiskers best. The doggy doesn't like me to touch him but he comes and looks in my crib every morning when I wake up. He can't quite see over the bumper pad so he whines until Mommy picks him up where he can see me.
  6. My newest trick involves my highchair. Mommy always tells me "arms up" when she snaps the tray in place...I impressed her yesterday when I raised them up on my own. She was so excited, I keep on doing it because she thinks it is so funny.
  7. I now say "da" when I see the doggy coming...Mommy thinks this is a good sign. I also say "na-na-na" (but mostly when I'm pooping!) and I'm starting to say "ba." I refuse to say "ma" but I can say "ta" and "ka". Mommy thinks I'm good at these sounds because my native language is so staccato and rhythmic; I have learned the hard sounds before the soft sounds. Hmmm...

Here is Mari chilling with her bowl and spoon.

Close-up of curls, after shampoo and Burt's Bees Apricot Baby Oil (ohh, my head smells SO good!)

Look, I can read! (Don't tell her the book is upside down...I don't want to discourage her reading habits!)

Well, I'll leave you with one last piece of news (permission given by the parties involved). My parents are expecting GRANDCHILD #3!!!! My oldest brother Todd and his wife Diana will be welcoming their first in late summer. It is so exciting!! Babies, babies, babies. Mari says she hopes it's a girl. I'll take whatever but it sure would be nice to know what to do with all this pink stuff that is too little. Congrats!!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It's snowing (and snowing and snowing). We haven't had a good snow in a LONG time. So I just had to go out and enjoy it and give Mari her first looks at the fluffy white stuff. Don't worry, she has fuzzy socks on with her warmest fleece sleeper, gloves, snowsuit that has over-hand sleeves, and her furry hat I knitted. She is sitting on a snowman cookie tray (that would probably make a good snow-saucer when she's a little older!).

My first "taste." Yummy!

Getting ready.

Let's go already!

Mommy likes the snow too.

Me, my house, and SNOW!

Posing on the back porch! Can I get ANY cuter?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mari Movies!!!

Thanks to my high-speed internet capabilities now, I can now upload videos! So here are some Mari Movies!

This first one was taken at the Hilton in Addis Ababa on January 4. "Ah-Dah" is her favorite phrase and she is just now starting to add in other sounds.

This one was taken today. It features her "happy shake" which she will do for twenty minutes at a time. However, turn on the camera and she gets shy. Notice the distractions...Sesame Street to her left, the dog chasing his Dingo...just too much going on to act for the camera.

Here are some more new long post though. I stayed up to watch Idol and now I HAVE to get to bed because I know the princess will not sleep in two mornings in a row.

Note the fleecy gloves we bought today (it was COLD). We actually put them on in the checkout line at K-Mart. She loved them because she loves to chew on fleece. Yes, they have paw-prints on them.

My first taste of peas..not too impressed by the taste but I still ate them. At least I didn't pitch a fit when they were done...I was happy they were all gone.

I still won't take a pacifier but I'm certainly trying them all out to make sure.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Yes, we're still here!

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days...I now have upgraded to digital cable with super-speedy internet (and I mean speedy!) and I also have DVR!!! As my brother says, "Welcome to the 21st Century." This is something I had set up before going to Ethiopia, so now that I'll have an easier time blogging, I promise trip details. I'll probably just do another blog and link it to mine, that way it will be in order and separate.

So what have we been up to? I left off on with us sleeping all night...that is not the case every night but the awakenings are only for a "comfort" bottle (still no luck with pacifier--4 brands, sugar, milk, fruit and still ain't having it!) instead of for playtime.

So Friday morning, we travelled into town to visit Mom and her co-workers...Mom got to babysit Mari while I popped next door for some groceries. After going home for a nap and lunch, we headed to the pediatrician's office for our 1st "well-baby" check-up. Mari is 26 inches long (shorty!) and 17.4 pounds. This is short and lightweight on the growth chart, but when you put them together--yeah, kind of chuncky! She was still wheezing and rashy but overall better. She got 5 shots plus a PPD (TB test), they were also going to prick her for a lead level but since they had ordered a bunch of other labs to be done later, they decided not to assault her and just added it to the list of labs to get. The pediatrician is on top of things and has done a lot of research since our visit on Tuesday. She has a family member that adopted from Ethiopia earlier this year who just happens to be a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist--so my doc is super-excited to take on Mari.

After the doctor's visit, we spent Friday evening at our friend's house with the first meeting of what will be a little play group. My niece Madi was there and Mari met her newest buddy Will...Will is several months older and QUITE the character. Here is a great picture of him "reading" to the girls.

Mari made herself at home on Madi...good thing she didn't mind!

Saturday we went shopping at Target and got a few essentials we were lacking. Then we to a baby shower at work where Mari got a piece of cake (thanks Leisa!). She did not actually eat any, just made a HUGE mess.
She fell asleep before leaving and slept through going home, changing into a sleeper and then into bed. Sunday morning was a lazy day...Mari never made it out of her sleeper! Bad Mommy! I wanted to switch her bathtime to nights instead of mornings, so why change clothes? Sunday night (after two skipped episodes of applying the cream to Mari's rash) I noticed that her dry, scaly patches look much better. So I'm going to skip treating them for a few more days and see if that helps--if not, back to the cream. I started using Burt's Bee Apricot Baby Oil....OMG does she smell delicious!!!
Today was cable day, so we just hung around home. Several neighbors brought us gifts...super cute outfits! We also made friends with the cats (see pix--these are NOT posed)...the dog is still unsure but getting more relaxed. Mari thinks he is hilarious and is dying to get ahold of his tail, but he is quicker than she is.
Mari's Milestones:
  1. Mari can now sit up totally unassisted, nice and straight. Scary what a difference a week makes.
  2. Mari can sit in her highchair and play without screaming for food.
  3. Mari can SOMETIMES finish eating without screaming for more (doing MUCH better).
  4. Mari can bounce her jumparoo like crazy...she finally understands what her feet are for.
  5. I can leave the room without Mari getting upset...just don't be gone too long.
  6. MARI CAN CRAWL...almost. She can propel forward by pulling her knees up, launching face-first, pulling her knees up and launching forwards...she's getting quite good.
  7. Mari understands how to push the buttons on her toys to make music...before there was no correlation between the buttons and the noise. I am already sick of Farmer Tad and his "you've made a match" song and we've only had the toy since Saturday.

Well, more later. Posts will be much better now that I can upload pix so much faster!

Yes, I love my giraffe!!!!!!!!!! Isn't she cute????????

Friday, January 11, 2008


Hope I'm not jinxing us but WE DID IT! Not only did Mari sleep real night time hours, but she slept the whole night! 7:45pm to 4:45 am, then she played until 5:30 and napped until 6:30. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No bottle in the middle of the night, no playtime at 3am. Just sleep!!

Okay, off to get a shower so we can have a full day...Mari already has eaten breakfast, had a bath and is playing in her jumparoo. I'm a little behind on myself but who cares?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hanging on tight!

I'm going to try to post while the little diva is napping. We had a total meltdown yesterday evening but I was ready for it. I refused to let her sleep from 3pm to the middle of the night again, so at 5:30pm I woke her up. Oh the agony!!! She screamed through her cereal, she cried through her squash, she wimpered through her bottle (notice--she still ate, nothing stops her appetite) and then finally she turned on the charm. We played for a couple hours and them back to bed by 8pm. Did it work? Yes and no. She slept less but the hours were better. We were up at 1, 3, and then 5:30 for good. But in the meantime, I was able to finish unpacking, do some more laundry, straighten the house. I even got to eat a real dinner (okay, I warmed one of my frozen casseroles but still!) and watch TV. So I fell asleep in the middle of Project Runway but I finished watching it at 3am.

Here are some pix from the trip and homecoming. I have a lot more still in the camera from the last two days which I will try to upload later (including some really cute pix from our meltdown last night--I know, I'm so mean!). I promise that trip info is forthcoming but first I need to catch up on some emails (and of course that depends on the princess who I now here stirring...short nap!).

I love the closeups! My first set of rings--never leave home without them.

Coming home from the airport. "Didn't mind the carseat since Uncle Chad left Cousin Madi's mirror in the car for me. I don't know who that girl is I'm staring at but she's pretty cute. And everytime I talk, she talks too!"

The first meeting of the cousins. Ebony & Ivory!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm SO tired!!!!!!

Well, we've been home 48 hours now....gosh, I'm tired! Mari got a LITTLE off kilter yesterday. I thought we were getting our time switched but she had me fooled. I put her down at about 3pm for a nap, figuring that she would get up and have dinner and them maybe sleep halfway decent at night. WRONG! At 7pm, I realized that she wasn't getting back up and, since I was so tired, I just went to bed. And, yes I went to sleep. She woke up sometime around 9ish for a bottle and fell asleep about 3 sucks into it, I changed her diaper and actually put her in a sleeper (she was still in her bibbed overalls) and back to bed. She woke up at 1am wide awake and happy as could be. So we played until about 4 and then she slept until 6:30am.

So this morning I decided we were going to work on a schedule. I did a little reading last night (or early this morning, whatever time it was) about eating plans and such since we are so off course. I fed her rice cereal, squash (yummy!) and she finished up with some formula. The meal did not end in a hissy fit as yesterday's did, so maybe I finally filled that fat little belly! Then we had a bath and lotion and cream for the rash (which is already looking better!) and fresh clothes. She then played and played and played. She had a bottle and a nap around 10:30 and then was up playing again. We took a stoller ride around the neighborhood, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Lunch was cereal and formula followed by more playing. Then my Dad came over and we went to Lowe's and Wal-Mart where I bought more baby food so we can start expanding our options slowly. She finally fell asleep on the way home (which is where we are now). I'm hoping that the lack of sleep throughout the earlier day does not affect her getting up for dinner and playtime...I want to have her up at least a couple hours before bedtime. Wishful thinking but maybe!

So how are things going you ask? Well, Miss Mari has developed an attitude. When it comes to feeding, Momma can't get the food shoveled into her fast enough, she giggles and laughs as long as you keep it coming but, hesitate a moment, then there is a meltdown. Yesterday we were having meltdowns when the cereal was all gone but today I was armed with a bottle that topped off the meal and prevented the meltdown (BTW...the highchair is so much easier than propping her up in the hotel bed!). She also has an attitude about me leaving the room. I guess it shows good progress that she freaks if I'm out of her sight but sometimes you have to pee! I can't even turn my back without her wimpering. We made a little progress today in that she let me wash bottles in the kitchen sink (which she can see easily from the living room floor where she was doing tummy/rolling time) but I had to keep a running conversation about nothing going! She also is great with the crocodile tears, she cries the moment you turn your back but when you look back at her, she grins and giggles...oh, so cunning! She is going to be a little diva.

What else is new? Well, the poop is back on, the chili was not needed. Pear juice and 4 lovely diapers later!! Ugh! She also peed on the changing pad...just not quick enough I guess (Mom pointed out I should be glad she's not a boy!). She got her first hair brushing/combing really didn't need it but I want her to get used to the feel of it. She loved the little head massage and now her curls are all fluffy and soft (pix later). She has taken to squealing high pitched...happy or mad, you have to check her face to know (I have read other blogs that say their Ethiopian kids squeal/scream too). She absolutely won't take a pacifier, just seems clueless. I know this is a blessing that I won't have to break the habit later but she has to suck on a fleece blanket to sleep and that just doesn't seem safe. But I'll save that battle for another day.

Well, I better go get some housework and stuff done (I still have one bag from Ethiopia to unpack'll wait) while Princess is snoozing. More pix later and I'll give a detailed trip account with pix once we are little more settled.

To tide you is my favorite picture so far.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Health Update

Just a quick update. Mari is sleeping and I still have a mountain of laundry to fold and put away.

Took Miss Mari to the pediatrician this morning. She is still wheezing slightly and there are some "residual crackles" in her left lower lung indicating that she did in fact have pneumonia. This is the area that I was feeling the "rubbing" sensation (yes, I failed to take my stethoscope to Ethiopia but it probably would have only made me more worried). Given the fact that all the babies at HOH had runny noses and coughs, it was probably RSV induced. The good news is she is already 100% better and we are not going to treat any further unless she gets worse. She has some dry scaly patches on her torso that have not responded to lotion, so we are going to try a little anti-fungal cream but again, no biggie as it doesn't seem to bother her. She also developed a rash overnight that is probably an irritation because I switched soaps (stupid me!). So we are starting over with Dove. The constipation is an issue again so prune juice time!!!! pediatrican has a family member from Ethiopia and she said that they have found with the older children that Wendy's Chili is the closest food to anything from Ethiopia. I love Wendy's Chili and I don't remember anything tasting like that! But she said, if the prune juice doesn't work, try pears, then grind up some Wendy's Chili and feed her!!!!!!!! Who is going to change that diaper? NOT ME!!

After the pediatrician's vist, we stopped by work and did insurance stuff. (I may have found another family that is going to adopt from Ethiopia and they are looking at CHI!!! Would be wonderful to have someone close to share this with.) After showing off for some co-workers, Mari fell asleep in the car and is out cold. But it is almost her bedtime on Addis time. Hopefully I can get her up and playing later and get her clock rescheduled. She slept from 8pm-3am and then, after playing for an hour, slept until 6:30. So we are well on our way to changing around...just a little cranky about it!

Monday, January 7, 2008


Alright, I know everyone is dying for pictures. I have been up for about 40 out of the last 48 hours...Mari is asleep and I'm hoping she stays that way for a few hours at least. The only thing on the menu tomorrow is a doctor's visit in the morning (her wheezing is MUCH better since getting out of the smoggy air but we are going to play it safe). I'll fill in all the blanks later but here are some Mari pix.


We are home!!! I promise, promise, promise some pix later on. Too tired and too much to do. Mari was AWESOME during the 18 hour flight. No fussing and lots of playing. She slept in the bassinet for the whole 8 hours from Addis to Rome and then several more times after that. We splurged and upgraded to 1st class (actually fairly affordable considering) and it was worth every penny. So much more comfortable.

Mari has been bathed in her own tub, in fresh clothes and playing on the living room floor with my mom and dad. I've had a luxurious bath and Mom is washing my clothes (THANKS!!). All the family is coming over tonight for meet and greet. BTW, she was a little afraid of the dog at first but now she just giggles at him (she is a very giggly child).

So off to finish unpacking and rest...I promise more later.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Coming home!

Sorry I have not been posting much. The internet is difficult and slow and, to be honest, I'm pretty much too tired to do much more than function. Things are going pretty well and I'll try to catch you up about the last several days...I'll post more later when I'm home. Which BTW will be Monday now...we are finished up here and, with Monday being a holiday, there is not much open to do and Christmas was celebrated at the HOH today. For those of you who have children at the HOH, they are beautiful and very well-behaved and getting wonderful care.

So Wednesday...this was of course a great day with Mari because it was "gotcha day." I, however, did not sleep at all. Mari has a bad cough (getting better but still yucky) and was coughing and wheezing all night...she slept through it, I didn't. So by Thursday morning, I was already tired and stressed.

Thursday...we went over paperwork with Tsegay and then Ephrem (our beloved driver) took us on a tour of the city. We went to the Lion Zoo (more on that later) and the National Museum. Then back to the HOH for a traditional Ethiopian meal. It was better than the one that I had tried back in the States but still not really my cup of tea (or coffee in this case). Then we went for our visa appt. We had to wait about 45 minutes in a hot, hot, hot room filled over capacity (saw 3 other adoptive families there that we met on the plane). The interview took 30 seconds, 2 signatures and we were done. On the way back to the HOH, we hit a pedestrian...she wasn't hurt. Silly traffic here--MORE on that later! By the time we got back to the Hilton, I was exhausted. Mari was screaming with a belly ache (very constipated--also fixed now!) and I pretty much had a little breakdown--close to 40 hours with no sleep, what do you expect? But we both got settled down with Dad's help and slept the night pretty good. By Friday morning, I was much better

Friday...we traveled to Numan orphanage to meet Mari's birth mom. The drive was about 3.5 hours through some truly African terrain (thatched huts, camels, mountains, gorges). The meeting was very nice and I even got to meet Mari's sister. I won't give out a lot of details (that stuff is private) but it was a great experience and we will definitely keep in touch through the agency. After a good lunch (which I started feeling sick in the middle of--everyone that knows me, knows my stomach!) we traveled 3.5 hours back in the blazing hot weather (yes, it is HOT here). We hit another pedestrian (different driver) and again, no injuries. Crazy driving! When we got back, Tsegay was armed with Mari's passport, visa, and packet of "do not open" paperwork!!! So we headed back to the Hilton and cooled off and played. Dad went out with Ephrem to find dinner and came back with hamburgers and French fries from Burger Queen (no joke--and they were good). We slept pretty well although Mari woke up a little fussy. We checked with the airlines and found that there was space on the Sunday night flight and there was no charge to transfer. So we are leaving Sunday night at 10:15pm.

Today we dropped Mari off at the HOH for one last day with her beloved nurse Alam and we headed to the Mercado (market) with Almaz. After some HEAVY negotiating, we survived the crowds and headed back to the HOH. We had lunch at the HOH (I think they are a little disappointed by the way we eat);neither myself or Dad can eat a lot when we travel and they seem surprised that we pickat our food. It is really quite good but I don't trust my stomach. Anyway...we headed back to the Hilton and started packing.

I have prepared my gifts for the staff at HOH and we will head there tomorrow to say our goodbyes before Ephrem takes us to the airport. Mari is upstairs (hopefully asleep) playing with her grandpa...she has become extremely mobile but only in reverse, still needs to figure out the forwards part!

I'll post more once I'm home&...looking so forward to getting back to the states. This has been an unbelievable experience but also very draining, physically and emotionally. I pray that my stomach holds it together for 48 more hours and that Mari rides in a plane as easily as she does in the car.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Amari is with me!

I have to keep this short and sweet...internet is difficult, maybe pix tomorrow...we will try a different internet cafe.

I met Mari (calling her Roza right now as she responds with a grin immediately) at about 9:30 this morning and we have had a great day. She is super good and at first very solemn (they said she is very serious). But after getting back to the Hilton this afternoon, she has been grinning and playing and TALKING (yes she is a chatterbox!). She eats well although has yet to eat as much as they say she does. All the 9 month clothes fit with extra room...she appears to be about the same size as Madi!

Mari is very near up on all fours and scooting on her belly but hasn't put them together. She rolls everywhere but has less control sitting up on her own...feeding in a hotel room is fun (wish I had had room for the boppy).

Well, I better go. Grandpa is babysitting (it is 8pm and Mari is fed, bathed,
and in bed asleep) and he wants a turn to try emailing...he has had more trouble than I have. I am very exhausted and overwhelmed, it has been an emotionally draining day.

To all my blog buddies and CHI groupies...met all the kids today and will try
to get more info tomorrow. They are all adorable!

Love to all my family!!! I miss you very much!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Arrived in Addis

We are here...plane ride was fine, long but really no sense of time right now. Feeling good but VERY tired. Waiting on pizza at the Hilton...taking turns on the internet, very slow but okay. I will write more tomorrow but have to eat and get to bed. Mari awaits tomorrow! Miss everyone very much and can't wait to get home but doing fine here!