Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

December 29, 2011 - Testing

This blog is a test. I am trying to determine whether I need the keyboard Kristoffer got me to go along wit my iPad or not. It is a cool accessory, but is not that small or cheap. So if I feel I can comfortably write a blog without making too many errors or without being slowed down, then I think the keyboard will go back to Best Buy and I will use those funds to buy cool apps and a nice case for it.

So far I only made two errors that I think were related to writing on an iPad versus a keyboard, and so I think the keyboard will go. Love it - and we'll see how it helps with toddler air travel tomorrow when we fly to visit my brother's family in Ohio. I've loaded it up with toddler friendly apps!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27, 2011 - Christmas Cheer

We had a VERY Merry Christmas!

The festivities began on the 23rd when we visited my Aunt Nina's house for a lovely dinner with some of my aunts, uncles and cousins (on my dad's side of the family).  Grace was psyched to hang out with her Godfather, my cousin Reid, and his brothers, Ben and Jon, were also excellent playmates.
On Christmas Eve we went to my Aunt Judy's to celebrate with my mom's side of the family.  We had a lovely dinner and went to a really nice Christmas Mass together.  Grace was very well-behaved and Noah didn't do too badly (although did end up in the sound proof baby room).  I especially love going to church on Christmas Eve, as a reminder of what the holiday is about.

We had time for a picture of all the smaller (second) cousins together...
...and for a family photo too!
Noah and Grace got into some brand new Christmas jammies and we headed to my sister Meghan's house to wait for Santa.
Auntie Meghan and Uncle Tim's tree was ready...
 ...and Molly made sure to leave a special note for Santa with snacks for him and his reindeer (and a picture of herself, of course).
Noah's first Christmas pile was generous... was Grace's.  There was a lot of fun in store for them on Christmas.
Grace and the big kids were waiting patiently to come downstairs in the morning (OK, really Grace and Noah woke up in the basement before the big kids and Nora...but we snuck Grace upstairs to wait with the big kids so they could all come down together!).  
Noah was very happy with his Busytown Activity Center.  
It was a hit with Grace and Nora too!  
Grace got her beloved CAR SHOES!
But perhaps the biggest "hit" of the day was a special gift Kristoffer got Grace. He called it "instant joy."  For $10 at Staples, he bought Grace 30 feet of bubble wrap.  When she opened it - she was so excited!
She didn't open another gift for about 30 minutes, and all morning and throughout the day she kept going back to her bubble wrap.  It was hysterical!  She is a serious bubble popper!
The big kids had a fun Christmas morning as well and during the last few days have been super sweet with Grace and Noah.  Molly is an especially good helper!
There was a lot of fun playing with cousins and new toys during the day. 
It was really nice to be home with Nene and Pops this Christmas.  
We think they had a great day too!
We actually hung out with Auntie Meghan and the gang until today.  It has been a very fun, long Christmas weekend.  And, I think this happy little boy enjoyed his 
First Christmas very much!

We hope everyone else's Christmas was as special as ours was.

p.s. an extra special thank you to my sweet Santa who delivered that shiny, new amber necklace (above) and a shiny, new iPad! Wowee!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22, 2011 - Hold the Phone

Eleven months old? No way!

In the past month Noah has changed a lot.  He has two new teeth sticking out, he says the word "hi" with a bit more regularity and purpose, and on December 16th he took his first official steps.  He is not walking by any means, but he can take one or two steps (usually towards me!) when he really wants to.  He continues to be great at waving and clapping, loves music and dancing, and wants to be with the big kids when possible.  I'm also happy that he is still a bit of a Mama's boy - still looking to cuddle with me pretty regularly! 

Despite his sleep problems and the fact that he must be very tired, he remains so smiley and sweet. He is really a charming, happy boy.  He is not strange with strangers but also has favorite people that he loves, including Grace, regardless of how she treats him.  He increasingly tries to emulate exactly what he see her do, and his actions indicate that the wheels are turning fast inside that little head of his.

I can't believe our baby is almost one year.  I hope to treasure this last official month of his babyhood, because I know that someday soon I will really miss these sweet baby days.  Today's pictures feature Pops' old cell phone (which I put through the wash by accident so it no longer works) and the TV remote control.  It still looks like he's going to be a gadget guy!

 Scenes from his first week in America...


*Note: the sleep study went well. He had a terrible night so they should have gotten a lot of good data. And when it was all over, he was still smiling!  We are really hoping his surgery gets scheduled for next week or ASAP.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21, 2011 - Sweet Dreams

Yesterday Noah had a doctor's appointment at Children's Hospital with an ORL specialist (that is Otolaryngology which is a fancy way of saying an ear, nose and throat doctor). We got this appointment because of Noah's sleep issues.  Basically since he was about 5 months old (or earlier, I suppose), he has had some kind of sleep apnea where he stops breathing for up to 8 seconds at a time in his sleep, often many times throughout the night.  The poor kid has never had a REALLY good night's sleep!  In Nairobi an x-ray showed that his adenoids are enlarged, but the small treatments we tried there didn't help.  

So we saw this specialist - an experienced, Irish doctor who is the head of the department - and he could tell through a camera up Noah's nose that his adenoids are obstructing 60-70% of Noah's air passage.  We also learned that his eating issue - choking on everything! - could be related. The doctor prescribed a sleep study to determine what is going on throughout Noah's body when he has apnea and then he will remove the adenoids. We were hoping to get all of this done ASAP since our next international travel is looming in the new year.  Luckily, when I called the sleep lab at the hospital this morning they let me know that they had an opening for tonight.


Noah is asleep in a hospital crib next to me right now.  He has about 25 different wires attached to his head, face, chest and legs (note: he was not thrilled about this).  To keep him from pulling the wires off, his whole head is wrapped in gauze so he looks like he has a head injury.  Poor little guy.  There are cameras and microphones in the room and every move and bodily function is being monitored until 6 am tomorrow.  Kristoffer is sleeping in the room next door since they don't have a full house tonight, because I didn't want to come in with him by myself but only one of us is allowed in the sleep lab.  (Grace is at home with Nene and Pops; she got to help Nene make Christmas candy all is definitely well there.)

We hope the study gives useful and accurate information - the technician said a LOT of parents report that their children sleep unusually well for their study, and we really hope this is not us.  It sounds crazy, but I hope he has one of his worst nights so that they can really see how serious the situation is. Sometimes he wakes up 10 or 12 times a night.  We also hope that they are able to schedule the surgery as quickly as possible so that this boy (and, ok, us too) can start getting some really good sleep.  We are all tired!

He is 11 months old tomorrow and his first Christmas is just a few days away.  I hope the little sleep he gets tonight will be full of very sweet dreams...and even though I hate to put him through the upcoming surgery, we really look forward to getting his adenoids out!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011 - Ode to Air France

Oh Air France, how I loathe thee,
You really are such a tease.
Our trip started out so great,
On our first flight the children slept straight.
The 4 1/2 hour layover in Paris wasn't so bad,
In fact, my husband bought me a massage - that made me so glad.

But then...

Our second flight was delayed for over one hour,
And we started to wish we could have a shower.
I was promised that I was sitting where Noah had a baby seat,
Only to find out that was not at all the case - what a treat!
Our seats weren't all together and this made me sad,
But the nice girl next to us gave her seat to Grace & Noah's dad.
8 hours on a plane with a boy on my lap,
Who couldn't sit still and barely took a nap.
But finally, finally, finally we landed on the ground,
And were happy to be in Boston until our luggage couldn't be found!

What's that you say, you lost 8 of our bags?
With almost a 6 hour layover you should have read the !@#$% tags!
ARGH, I tell you...between this trip and the last
We will NEVER FLY YOU AGAIN because you are surely not fast.

Happy Holidays to you, Air France, we hope you enjoyed our business,
Because if we can help it, it's the last time you will ever see us!


p.s. The kids were actually pretty amazing on the trip - as usual, actually! Noah was a squirmy worm but never cried and Grace did great until the last hour when she just desperately wanted to be off that plane (and boy did we agree with her)!  We did get our luggage and car seats the next night at 2 am and have been having a nice time with my family otherwise.  Jet lag in the kids seems just about gone and they are both over a brief 1/2 day long stomach bug they had.  Phew!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13, 2011 - Early Christmas

We have taken fewer pictures this trip to Denmark than ever before, and NO video because our camera is on the fritz :( I guess in our stage of transition, we just haven't been that into the camera.  But luckily, some of the pictures we have taken are good ones, and capture some really happy moments we've had with our Danish family.  I particularly love a Danish Christmas and am grateful that Farmor and Hans went so far out of their way to put on a "full show" for our sake this past weekend.  Kristoffer's brother and his family came to visit and we celebrated just as if it was December 24th.    

Leading up to our Christmas weekend, Noah was spending a lot of time with his best buddy Hans, who has helped him get even closer to walking - now only holding one hand!

On Friday morning to prepare for Christmas, Grace helped Far and Farmor decorate the Christmas tree.  Let's just say that the bottom half of Farmor's tree is highly decorated this year :)  
That afternoon, Farmor got tickets for us to take Grace to see her first live show put on by the library.  It was a "Cirkeline Christmas" (Cirkeline is a Danish cartoon character that Grace knows and loves) and was very sweet.  On our way out Grace got to shake hands with one of the characters, Frederick (a mouse).

After the show we went home in time for everyone else to arrive. Noah continued his fascination with Danish beer, and both of our kids loved, loved, loved playing with their cousins for a few hours! 

Uncle Rasmus was also a popular guy :)

Then came a delicious Christmas dinner...
While we waited for the Christmas tree to be lit after dinner - yes, in Denmark a tree is lit by candles, not electric lights! - Grace showed everyone how a Kenyan Simba ROARS...
Then the tree was a glow and we danced around singing Christmas songs.  I always find this to be  a beautiful and emotional tradition, and I loved watching Grace around the tree with her cousins.
We gave out our gifts and also received lovely, generous gifts, Grace's favorite of which were some Cars Legos from Farmor and Hans (note: Grace has never seen the Cars movies and doesn't even know they exist...she is just really into Cars!).
After gifts - yes, there's more! - we played "Pakkeleg" (pronounced pack-a-lie), which is also one of my favorite Danish Christmas traditions.  There are a bunch of Christmas presents (a mix for all ages and lots of funny ones too)  in the middle of the table and everyone takes turns rolling a dice.  If you roll a 6, you get to pick a gift.  When all the gifts are gone, you play for another 10 minutes and can "steal" gifts from other people.  Then everyone opens up their surprise gifts (and can swap if they want).  This year, our family sponsored "Pakkaleg" and it was really fun!  
It was such a wonderful night and we loved spending time with Kristoffer's brother's family; the fun continued the next morning when Noah was awake to open his gifts.

We bustled off to Kristoffer's uncle's house on Saturday for his 60th birthday party.  It was great to see his grandmother, uncle and aunt, and his cousins and their kids.  We tried to get a picture of Oldemor with her 8 great-grandchildren.  THAT was not easy, but you get the idea...

And despite it being a very busy couple of days...this little Christmas boy was still smiling at the end of it.

We have had a lovely month in Denmark (wow! where did that month go?!) and fly to Boston on Wednesday morning for the American leg of our  life in transition.  An American Christmas and hopefully playing in the snow are on the agenda, as well as visits to Ohio and Maryland.  

Please wish us an easier journey to the US than the one we had to Denmark from Kenya.   And stay tuned for our next Christmas updates!