Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 31, 2012 - January Rewind

This month was surprisingly busy for us and I can hardly believe it is over.  I have not been in picture-taking mode at all, so the pickings are slim, but here are a few shots of our January.

First, we rang in the new year in Dayton, Ohio with Uncle Mark, Aunt Carrie, Matthew (almost 15) and Nathan (12 1/2).  It was really fun to play games at their house.  During an epic game of Hide-and-Seek, Nathan won "Best Hiding Spot of 2012" when he sandwiched himself between the mattress and box spring in Matthew's room.  My favorite thing to do was sing classic rock hits on the Wii Guitar Hero.  I loved it that when I proclaimed our band's name to be "Chick Rock" because we were singing Joan Jett, Matthew said dryly, "I would so not be in this band."

Next stop: Silver Spring MD to visit Auntie Tine, Uncle Kevin and Baby Zoe (also Nene and Pops were there)!  The bad news is that this is when the plague struck so I have absolutely no pictures of being at Auntie Tine's house.  We did take a field trip to the Museum of Natural History where we checked out dinosaur bones (Noah was good at pointing things out!), mammals and butterflies. We loved seeing Auntie Tine's house and playing with Baby Zoe...but we really hope that next time everyone is much healthier!

When we got home from Auntie Tine's we had a few days taken up by Noah's surgery.  Then our good friends Omar, Domenica, Luke (4) and Maia (2) came to visit us from New Jersey.  We had such a great visit despite the fact that Noah was not 100% and Omar was also a tad bit under the weather. Omar is both a teacher and photographer and took some amazing pictures of our family (mostly Grace and Noah.  Please check out his pictures of us here and his general photography website here.); we are so grateful for the photo shoot!

A few days later as we got ready for Noah's birthday party, we had a bit of snow, which Grace happily helped shovel with her Far.

Bibi & Jen came from NYC for Noah's birthday, Brooke & Dave came from Connecticut and Auntie Meghan's gang came over too.  Noah's 1st Birthday also turned into celebration of the Patriots' big win and the kickoff to Super Bowl countdown.  While Noah might not have cared, it did add a lot of excitement to his birthday party!  

PHEW!  Did you get all that?!  

I think we're hoping February brings a slightly slower pace and maybe some more news about our future.  Although we are a bit antsy to move on with our lives, we are also grateful that we were able to see so many loved ones this past month.  What a great way to start a new year!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 27, 2012 - Sleeping Beauty (or Foodie)

Last night was a historic night in our family.  Noah slept through the night FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.  7:45 pm to 6:35 am.  That is almost 11 hours, which he has never been even close to before.  


I know we've been a little bit out of touch lately.  Mostly I'm just too unhappy with our lack of official news about our future and so I haven't been online too much (I won't even tell you how many emails are waiting to be answered in my usually immaculate inbox)...so I will try to catch you up on Noah's news right now.

On January 11th, Noah had surgery to remove his adenoids.  It was a very routine and brief procedure that went very well.  Everyone was fascinated to learn about our life in Africa (I think they heard there was an African family in for surgery...and then they saw US and...well...maybe they were a bit disappointed?) and we were beyond pleased with the care we all received from hospital staff, doctors and especially nurses.  Children's Hospital Boston is the best in the world for a reason.

Noah looked like this before his adenoids came out:

And like this after his adenoids came out:

He was in the hospital for a little over 24 hours.  The only thing that ended up being slightly complicated was that he had a nasty stomach bug before the surgery and continued to have it afterwards.  This means that they kept him quarantined from other patients, and so we had a private room in the hospital.  It also means that even as they were discharging us from the hospital, he was still vomiting and having diarrhea!  YUCKO!  From start to finish he had it for 8 days (other members of my family also got this plague...it was violent and nasty...luckily, Kristoffer, Grace, and I were spared...my theory is that we have some serious antibodies and/or parasites from Kenya that fought off this American bug) and we felt really bad for him.  The bug did not interfere with the surgery or his recovery from the surgery though.

We were told that it would take 2 weeks for him to be officially recovered and for us to necessarily notice an improvement.  For the first couple of days he still snored and was not sleeping any better (due to the virus? post-op pain? habit?).  He also had a horrible, horrible, horrible stench coming from his mouth and nose. But everything started to improve within a few days and once that stomach bug went away.

He started doing longer stretches of sleep and Kristoffer was usually able to get him back to sleep without him nursing from me.  He also started eating without choking for the first time in his life.  He is now self-feeding all kinds of food with no problem at all, whereas before he was choking on absolutely everything - sometimes even smooth food!  So, we've been really happy about the better eating and better sleeping.  We felt comfortable training him to put himself to sleep without nursing now that we know he can breath well (remember, before up to 70% of his breathing was obstructed).  It took three nights of him crying a bit before he started putting himself to sleep with no problem at all (at bed AND for both of his daytime naps...seriously, this is unbelievable!). 

Then came the true gift.  Last night, 2 weeks and one day after his surgery (at the ripe old age of 340 days!) he went to sleep at night and woke up in the morning with nothing but (what I assume were) sweet dreams in between.  A M A Z I N G.

And so begins a new life for us.  Of course this doesn't mean that he will sleep that well every night for the rest of his life or anything...but it does mean that he will be able to rest and grow so much better than before.  His sleeping coupled with his new ability to eat are a recipe for a healthy boy!  

I know I am biased, but Noah is just the sweetest, most charming little guy I've ever known.  He is so happy - always smiling, laughing.  Curious beyond belief and getting into everything with a glimmer in his eyes.  His favorite toy after all his Christmas and birthday gifts is the remote control to my parents' TV.  He is obsessed with it!  He is an explorer.  I suspect in the near future he will be an instigator with Grace.  All he does now is sleep, eat and play.  He rarely cries.  He rarely fusses (except now when he wants more food!).  His sounds are getting more and more expressive.  He hates to sit still (oh, how I dread our next plane rides).  He can take steps on his own but is not yet walking.  His super-crawling is just too fast! 

Having that surgery was the best thing to happen to him and I think us too!  We will all be so much happier and more rested as we head into the next chapter of our lives.  

More on that soon.  I promise.
For now, I am off to get a good, full, wonderful night's sleep.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 22, 2012 - ONEderful!

Happy, happy, happy birthday...sweet baby boy.  Your first year has been both challenging and fulfilling.  We have been inspired by your charm and loving nature...your huge smiles...your giggly giggles. You may have had a rocky start, but you have been a true fighter and remind us every day of how blessed our family is.

We love love love you, buddy!  We hope you enjoyed your first birthday and wish you many, many more throughout your life.  Here are just a few shots of our little guy on his big day!