Sunday, November 30, 2008

7 Months Home.


Xia 7 months ago
22 months old
10 pounds.


Xia last week
2 1/2 years old
19 pounds.


Diezel 7 months ago
22 months old
12 pounds.

Diezel last week
2 1/2 years old
22 pounds.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Leftovers

I don't talk about it much, but I love to cook. I like to try new things out on my family. And yes, my kids are required to eat it, if they want to eat that is. Tonight I created a dish with leftover turkey.
I chopped up:
1 apple
1-2 stalk of celery
1/2 onion
1/2 green pepper
2 cups fresh green beans
some mushrooms
some fresh thyme, rosemary, and basil
I sauted the ingredients in olive oil and fresh garlic
I added a splash of white wine
pepper to taste

Cook until it seems right. Then add organic chicken broth/or leftover turkey stock and your leftover turkey. I also added cream of mushroom soup. Simmered it.

In seperate pan I cooked rice.

Then I combined them in a baking dish, topped with smoked provolone and fresh parmesean. I baked at 350. for 10-15 min. or until cheese was bubbly.

It turned out great.

My Two Front Teeth.

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. Do you remember that song? That song brought new meaning to me 18 years ago when I lost mine doing something stupid. Since then I've been paying for my choices with a smile I'm embarrassed of. After several attempts/surgeries to repair the damage done, and after running out of a dentist's office(in the middle of surgery) screaming,"She's the devil". No joke. I ran out crying and hid in Adam's car. He talked me into going back in. I then got a flipper(a tooth attached to retainer) to get me through my wedding. They told me it would last six months. Well 14 years later I still have it. Needless to say I built up an extreme fear of the dentist chair and the fact we were so dirt poor I could never afford to have the work done kept me at a safe distance from the chair. I never stopped longing to have my smile back though, but staying away from the dentist for so many years hasn't exactly helped improve it any. Okay, now stop right there. Would I want fear to stop my kids? No. Would I allow them to neglect themselves? No! Then what are my actions teaching them? This is the Christmas. The Christmas I get my two front teeth! I met with a dentist last week. He seemed confident, which I appreciate. So on Dec.8th I head to the chair! He told me it will be a long process spread out over 6-9 months and recommended I take Valium the day of my first procedure. So, I'm getting my two front teeth for Christmas!



So the tooth on the right to the visibly missing tooth is fake and the other front tooth is cracked all the way down and being replaced as well.
I guess I'm sharing all this because I'm both terrified and excited.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful

I love this time of year. Even more after this past year. The Lord took me on a journey. A journey to gratitude, a journey beyond myself. That's where it all starts really, beyond yourself.

Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 92:1

92:1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

Psalm 97:12

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 105:1-2

105:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!

Philippians 4:6

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.



Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seeking

We are needing to make some difficult decisions this week. There are no simple answers or solutions. I pray that God gives us the discernment needed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Friday and That Means.....

It's time to give $10. for Water4Christmas!

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours every day to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Additionally, collecting water puts them at greater risk of sexual harassment and assault. Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old.

Today I saved another $50.00 at the gas pump and I already invested it here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shock.

Even though I knew this day was coming, I'm still in shock. The first wave of Gadese's medical bills arrived. Over $14,000 thus far. I think a mistake was made. I will go next week and speak with the hospital. I know God will take care of it all. I'm just a little shocked.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bonding


Mother and daughter, here by the grace of God.
Beautiful.



Diezel and Xia, here by the grace of God.
Beautiful.




Turkeys, here by the grace of God.
Beautiful.

What?
Okay, I know seems out of place, right?

Bonding: The process that a child goes through in developing lasting emotional ties with it's immediate caregivers, which is seen as the first and most significant developmental task of a human being, and is central to that person's ability to relate properly to others throughout its life.

The biggest blessing so far from choosing to home school McKayley and Faith has been the amazing bond that has grown between us. I truly believe because and by the grace of God that I chose to listen to His call for us this has happened. To me these turkeys (Thanks Crispy for the great link on your blog and the amazing home school resources) represent the bond that continues to grow with my girls.



Monday, November 17, 2008


I love this lotion for the twins skin. It is insanely expensive ($16.50), but well worth it. It has lasted over 2 months and that's daily application on two toddlers. Their skin looks and feels beautifully creamy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm not Afraid to Admit....

Thanks again to Brandi, I have been tagged to share information about myself. I find that the more people know about me though, it tends to either intrigue them or freak them out. So here I go once again, opening myself up to the possibility of judgment in the name of a game, called; Tag-Name 15 things you're not afraid to admit.
Let me start by saying, "Even though I'm a pretty open person. I have a lot I could hide or be fearful of admitting, but then that would defeat all God's work in my life." Since 15 things is a lot, I'm going to divide them into 5 categories.

Category 1 ( feelings)
1. I'm often lonely. I have very few friends.
2. I love the feeling of being lost- like when I'm hiking or driving.
3. I feel very loved by my husband and kids.

Category 2 (Physical characteristics)
4. My butt is metamorphosing. It is no longer rounded, it now is more the shape of a flank steak. it stretches from my lower/mid back and ends at my upper thighs.
5. I now have a mustache that requires shaving.
6. I really am considering plastic surgery on my stomach. My muscles were ripped apart at age 22. The stretch marks go from my little girl parts all the way three inches above my navel. I have struggled with this for 14 years now. I'm tired of it looking like ground meat.

Category 3 (weird things)
7. I love to pick my toenails. I know, gross.
8. I dance all the time. Yes, the white girl does funky chicken at the disco dance.
9. I refuse to use my cell phone when I'm checking out of a store. I rarely use it in public.

Category 4 (past)
10. I started using drugs when I was 10. (obviously I quit)
11. I have been arrested more than once.
12. I used to get suspended from school because I refused to wear shoes.

Category 5(misc.)
13. I'm a lot stronger than I look and have great stamina.
14. I use to sell Amway-Love their skincare.
15. I set our bathroom on fire when I was 8.

I'm not going to tag anyone, I find most people don't like to play. It's so disappointing to tag someone and check their blog incessantly, only to find they never play. Even though I love to read what other people write. Oh well... So if you want to play. Leave me a comment so I can read yours.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Steroids and Surprises

Adam surprised us and came home a few days early. I was so excited to see him, I could have cried. It was perfect timing. I had been up all night with coughing toddlers, and I had a fever with aches all over. He took one look at me and sent to back to bed. Thank you Lord! The next day Diezel's breathing got pretty bad. He ended up at urgent care. He is on steroids, breathing treatments and antibiotics. He went back to the doctor today. His pulse Ox is still hovering around 93%, not bad, but not great either. Christiana is still on her antibiotics and continues to improve everyday. We are just so thankful to have Adam home!





And Now For The Real Reason You Read My Blog:




Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Going on Here? Part 2

This is part 2 of this post.




I now give you exhibit C


This is me yesterday after 4 hours of consecutive sleep, a shower, a little make-up and my hair actually brushed.




And finally I give you exhibit D.


Notice the hat covers the hair in need of some serious attention. The sunglasses cover very nicely the eyes that won't recover after the amount of sleep I get. They also cover the over grown and unruly eyebrows:)

Problem solved! Good as new.
and yes, I'm still smiling:)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Money in My Pocket.

A strange but exciting thing happened to me today at the gas station. My tank stopped pumping at $58.36! I am so used to the usual $140 fill up every week. I know, I know- I don't want to get started on the sheer absurdity of that amount of money or the size of my car. Yes, I own a huge mega van. Remember I sold my smaller vehicle to pay for Gedese's expenses. Anyway, I started doing the dance. (For those of you new to my blog, the dance is something that is done when I'm overwhelmed with happiness) You do the math- that is $81.64 in my pocket. That is huge. Then a thought hit me. Wait-I was planning on spending $140. I budgeted $140. So really this savings is "extra" money. What do I usually do with extra money? I know I should save it, but in reality I find a way to spend it on things I justify needing. Not this time. I gave it.

Statistics show that Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas every year. Experts estimate it would cost 10 billion dollars to give the whole world clean water. This has become a national campaign to see if we can change these statistics. To swing the pendulum from consumerism to compassion.
To see what happens when we come together and buy Water for Christmas.


I know I'm not the only one who saved money on gas this week. Won't you get involved too, and if not Water for Christmas; Then something. Anything. There are needs every where that God wants us to meet if we will only open our eyes.

My friend Amy is selling bracelets at Etsy to raise money as well.

It has been really hard for me to get behind causes and help raise money due to past experiences. I am incredibly slow to trust organizations now, but every thing I can tell from Charity Water and the people that support it-I believe it to be a wonderful way to help. And because of my belief in this cause, I was willing to publicly humiliate myself with the dance post from above.

Only God Knows When Our Time is Up.

I read this news article on Fox.com. I had to share it.

A grieving widow in Brazil was killed by her husband's coffin while on the way to bury him, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The hearse in which 67-year-old Marciana Silva Barcelos was traveling was hit by another vehicle while en route to the cemetery, local media reported. The hearse was hit from behind, causing the coffin to slam into Barcelos' head.

Her husband, Jose Silveira Coimbra, 76, had died of a heart attack the night before while at a dance.

The accident happened about 70 miles south of Porto Alegre city in Brazil's southernmost state.


It's kind of poetic, you know?!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What's Going On Here?

I give you exhibit A.


That is me this time last year.


Now, I give you exhibit B.



This is me tonight.

I know a lot has happened this year, but...Seriously?! Wow!

Who Am I?

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who Am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love, and watch me rise again
Who Am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

I am Yours
I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Casting Crowns

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Strength

Isaiah 40:31

31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

4 More Hours

UNTIL I GET TO PICK UP GADESE AND CHRISTIANA!!!!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Screams in the Night!

Nothing ruins a good night sleep like a roach crawling in your pajamas.

I don't know if I'll ever recover.



NASTY!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In Love With...


The Infection Has a Name.

Omphalitis is the medical term for infection of the umbilical cord stump in the neonatal newborn period. While currently an uncommon source of infection in the newborn in the United States, it has caused significant morbidity and mortality both historically and in areas where health care is less readily available.

Epidemiology

The current incidence in the United States is somewhere around 0.5% per year. There does not appear to be any racial or ethnic predilection.

Clinical manifestations

Like many bacterial infections, omphalitis is more common in those patients who have a weakened or deficient immune system or who are hospitalized and subject to invasive procedures. Therefore, infants who are premature, sick with other infections such as blood infection (sepsis) or pneumonia, or who have immune deficiencies are at greater risk. Infants with normal immune systems are at risk if they have had a prolonged birth, birth complicated by infection of the placenta (chorioamnionitis), or have had umbilical catheters.

Clinically, neonates with omphalitis present within the first two weeks of life with signs and symptoms of infeciton (cellulitis) around the umbilical stump (redness, warmth, swelling, pain), pus from the umbilical stump, fever, fast heart rate (tachycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), somnolence, poor feeding, and yellow skin (jaundice). Omphalitis can quickly progress to sepsis and presents a potentially life-threatening infection. In fact, even in cases of omphalitis without evidence of more serious infection such as necrotizing fasciitis, mortality is high (in the 10% range).

Microbiology of omphalitis

Omphalitis is most commonly caused by bacteria. The most common bacteria are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus, Escherichia Coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The infection is typically caused by a mix of these organisms and is, thus, a mixed Gram-positive and Gram-negative infection. Anaerobic bacteria can also be involved.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually made by the clinical appearance of the umbilical cord stump and the findings on history and physical examination. There may be some confusion, however, if a well-appearing neonate simply has some redness around the umbilical stump. In fact, a mild degree is common, as is some bleeding at the stump site with detachment of the umbilical cord. The picture may be clouded even further if caustic agents have been used to clean the stump or if silver nitrate has been used to cauterize granulomata of the umbilical stump.

Treatment

Treatment consists of antibiotic therapy aimed at the typical bacterial pathogens in addition to supportive care for any complications which might result from the infection itself such as hypotension or respiratory failure. A typical regimen will include intravenous antibiotics such as a penicillin which is active against Staphylococcus aureus and an aminoglycoside. For particularly invasive infections, antibiotics to cover anaerobic bacteria may be added (such as metronidazole). Treatment is typically for two weeks and often necessitates insertion of a central venous catheter or peripherally inserted central catheter.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

AARGHHH! Torn.

I'm struggling here. I feel torn and wiped. Adam is gone. I'm exhausted. I start to cry every time I take a moment to stop. I am so sorry about the vagueness of the last post. I only had a few minutes to ask for prayer. I realize so many of you are wondering what is going on.

1. Christiana's facial structure continues to reshape. Every time I see her, I marvel at what God has done. When we went into the c-section the intensity was high. Everyone knew something wasn't right. I was by Gedese the whole time. I never left her side from the time her water broke until Christiana was born. It was such a privilege to be with her. I love her more than anyone could ever imagine. I watched as the incision was made. Gedese was shaking all over. I held her. Then I saw Christiana pulled from her womb. My first thought was, "Dear God, No!" They quickly took her. I was torn, do I stay by Gedese's side or see Christiana. Gedese cried, "Steff, what's wrong? Please see my baby". When I saw her I wanted to scream so badly. My whole body wanted to cry out. I kept telling myself stay strong! Be here for both of them. They immediately went to work on Christiana. She wasn't breathing. Time stood still. I watched them, I watched Christiana in disbelief. Lord, she came here to have a healthy baby. Then I found out, no she came here to live. Her doctor looked at me and said I did a great thing. They would both be dead if they were still at home in Africa. "Me?" no, not me. It was God! I wanted to cry more. This woman, this baby that I love so very much, a stranger until 7 months ago living on the other side of the world, would have died?! Bittersweet reality. When I look at Christiana today, there is no doubt in my mind that God's hand is on her.
2. Gedese has spoken with Alex. I took the laptop to the hospital, so she can call him through skype. I know this is incredibly hard on him. He is praising God that his wife and baby are alive. As far as getting him here. We tried for 7 months and even hired an immigration attorney. When I finally realized it was not a possibility my heart broke. But trust me when I tell you, I will find a way to move this family here. When I take Gedese and Christiana back to Ethiopia in March, I am trusting the Lord that it's temporary.
3. Gedese is with Christiana now. She is able to stay with her. She is fighting an unidentified infection. It started at her umbilical cord and is spreading quickly. They are watching her and running tests. I have faith she will be fine and coming home in the next couple of days. I think they are taking extra precautions given her start in life she had.
4. Gedese is simply worn out. Given everything she has gone through her emotions as are mine are high. She hasn't slept much. After her c-section at 12:30pm on Sunday, I stayed with her until night. When I came back the next morning she was in incredible pain. She told me she was fine. When I asked the nurse when she got pain meds last, she told me Gedese has refused all pain meds. After talking with Gedese I found out she didn't want me to have to pay for them. Bless her heart! I quickly fixed that and had them give her something every 6 hours.

I want so badly to be there with her every moment. With Adam being gone, I just can't. She trusts me and counts on me to be her voice and when I'm not there, I feel like I'm failing her. When I'm not at home I feel like I'm failing my kids. So from morning till night I'm running back and forth in between the two worlds. Torn.


Yesterday, I fell asleep at the foot of Gedese's bed holding Christiana. Gedese took a picture of us. I just want to freeze this moment.

More Prayer Needed!

Gedese is officially discharged, but Christiana has been transferred to the pediatric unit. Gedese is devastated.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Praise Report and Introductions.

Christiana is beautiful! Over night her head has changed shape. So, what they they thought was some sort of frontal cranial fusion(theory #1) is now not even a possibility. The other theory was a slim chance the malformation was due to a traumatic birth(theory #2). Very slim though, because of the severity of the shape. We are still waiting test results to rule out theory #3 of a genetic/chromosome disorder. So, I'll take theory number 2#.
She finally started breast feeding a few hours ago. With her high palette it has been a little tricky to do.


Christiana Alebachew Reta
Born November 2, 2008
12:27pm
7 pounds
20 inches

I have been asked about where to send cards. She is at Boone Hospital in Columbia, Mo. 1600 E. Broadway. She is registered as Gedese Edeto. She will be leaving Wed or Thurs.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thankful

I'm sitting here in Gadese's hospital room watching her sleep with Christiana by her breast. I'm in a completely exhausted state of awe for so many reasons. The last 17 hours have been incredibly hard and filled with many emotions. My heart is swimming in gratitude. I had no idea God's greater plan when we first listened to His call to bring Gadese here to America. Only He knew that her life and Christiana's depended on that one choice made 6 months ago. It is without any doubt in my mind and that of the hospital staff that they would both have died today if they were back in Ethiopia. Praise God for His Mercy!

I know everyone is wanting more information on Christiana. As I know more I will let you know. We should know hopefully in the next few days if her circumstances are genetic/chromosome, or something that will require surgery or simply massive trauma during attempted delivery and uterine environment. I can say, I have already witnessed God's hand mightly upon her. Many of her facial features have already changed beautifully.

I am humbled beyond measure to be a part of God's plan in this way and I continue to be blessed to have you all praying for Gadese, Christiana, her family in Ethiopia and ours.

Peace

Momma has Baby in her arms . . .

. . . something physically is not normal. Please forgive my inability to describe in more detail, but I am not there. Steff said the challenge is chromosome related? . . . and will require some surgeries in the near future to correct. Please pray for God to give the doctors the right sense of direction and compassion for Christiana & Mama Gadese.

Please pray also for clear direction for Mama Gadese, Alex, Steff, and all our family and friends who love them sooooooo much, and are invloved so intimately.

Adam

Prayer time. Please pass it on.

Gadese is going into emergency C-section after all. The doctors are unsure if it is her fingers that they have been "feeling" presenting themselves. The ultra sound was apparently not helping them. Steff seems very concerned and asked me to request prayers from everyone who can pray for her.

Please pray for a completely healthy baby and successful delivery.

Amen
- Adam

7 cm & Going for Natural Birth!

Christiana's fingers are presenting with her head, but the doctor is going to go for a natural birth before defaulting to a C-Section!
Gadese's got a little relaxation medicine too.

. . . Update still by Adam.

Labor Update #2 (Don't cheat! Read previous one first!)

OK, This is Adam again with another update. Good thing Gadese came to America! Looks like Christiana (SP?) is lying sideways in the womb, so apparently the doctor is wanting to do a "C" section. . . bummer.
Both mommies are in good spirits in the hospital.
I Guess that means the baby is definitely coming today!
No 24 hour labor/first time mommy delivery this time.
Recovery will be longer though.
Definitely a hospital stay.
Thank you Lord for watching over Momma and Baby!

Trail of Towels . . .

(Yes, this update is from Adam)
Hello everyone! Alex literally called from Ethiopia, within minutes of her water breaking. (4:30am our time) It shows the incredible bond that God has created between Mother and Father. Across the world his God given protector instinct kicks in, and they are united even though so many miles are between them. We had to tell him "call right back, the baby is coming and they have to go to the hospital, NOW!"
He was crying with Joy when I called him back just now.
. . . So the long "I must tell someone my body is leaking and I'm freaking" trail from her room downstairs up to our bedroom and then onto the bathroom is mopped up and now covered with a trail of blankets, like a breadcrumb path, only this one doesn't lead to "Grandma's house." I'll try to take a picture just cause it's fun!
They left in the not so calm, but definitely cool and experienced hands of Steffany and by this time are probably lying in a bed at the hospital, feeling very excited!
WAHOOO!
As they say in all the good cop movies, "spread 'em!"
Now I'm going back to sleep like a veteran surrogate dad should. This day will prove to be an adventure I'm sure!

Ama sekenaloe.
Adam

There Is Water Every Where!

All over the house! We are going to the hospital now!!!!!!!!!!!
Pray for us!
Here comes Christiana!