Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mark This Day

Mark down this day as the day Joel willingly took (assisted) steps on his own! The fact that he's moving his own legs and putting one foot in front of the other is such huge progress for him. He still hates every second of therapy, but it sure is paying off for him. We are SO proud of him.

In other news around here, Raymond is still waiting for an operation. His breathing wasn't really good enough to go under anesthesia and the surgeon was fully booked, so he's taking frequent breathing treatments now while we wait to go to Lusaka. We're hopeful that we can take him on Monday and have the operation on Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, he's hanging in there.
Raymond with Auntie Vi
I've been enjoying the company of some friends from my supporting congregation in Austin! Steve and Janice Fuller arrived a week and a half ago, and I've kept them busy! Janice has been loving on the kids and helping Abbie catch up academically. Steve has been helping us build a bricked-in play yard for the kids to run wild in without scattering like the little chickens they are. He's also been teaching an educational psychology class at the college three times a week. They have been a blessing to so many, especially me.

Janice and Abbie hard at work

Steve working with Cray, Royd, and Charles on the play yard

Steve and Janice with Paula, Irene, Mercy, Jacob, and Marissa

Besides bringing themselves and all their love, they also brought so many special things for me and the babies from them and others from the congregation! The kids have LOVED the new additions to language class, and I've been gaining weight by the minute with all the fun treats they sent me. I am so, so grateful to any of you who helped provide all this goodness for the babes and me!

One item they brought that the kids loved are new blocks. They have done so well with them!
Lizzy Macguire

Please continue to keep Raymond in your prayers as we prepare for the week ahead. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Milestone Monday- Video Version

Hello everyone! Today, I've decided to do a video version of our milestones from the last couple of weeks. 

First of all, Deacon's laugh is as cute as it gets. I never get tired of hearing it.

Petra is talking up a storm. Well, it's more like she just squeals, but it is constant and sweet as can be.

Christopher's crawling is pretty great. He kind of slithers, gets up on all fours, flops, slithers again, but it's oh so cute to watch him roam around his little world.

Lisa is walking! It's taken her awhile to bite the bullet, but she finally did and loves the freedom it brings. It does mean she's now a double threat in the ornery department.

These girls continue to provide me with constant entertainment. They are inseparable, and you can't call one without them all flocking. In this clip you'll see evidence of Tracy and Marissa walking, and Maya standing alone (although she's taking steps, too), and Paula just chillin' like she does. Paula's by far the fastest of the four, but not walking yet.

Here's the aforementioned belly patting by Rita. It's short, but gives you the idea. She's perfection.

Here are Princess, Prince, and Lisa on an average day. This will give you a taste of how incredibly busy Princess is, how passive Prince is, and how verbal Lisa is. They are a precious gang.

Thanks for loving our babies!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


For awhile now, I’ve wondered if Raymond had hydrocephalus.  His eyes have always done interesting things, and his head appears very large. The older he gets, the more evident it is that there is a problem. Yesterday I took him for an ultrasound, and they found increased fluid on his brain. The next step is to take him to Lusaka to get a shunt put in to relieve the pressure. 

The neurosurgeon wanted me to bring him today so he could operate on Monday, but Raymond has been sick with pneumonia for the last five days. They wouldn't be able to operate on him in the condition he has been in, so we decided to wait a few days and see if he stabilizes. In the meantime, we have him admitted in our local clinic and he is on IV antibiotics.

Thankfully, today his fever has gone away! If he stays without fever, I will probably take him Monday or Tuesday for observation and then the operation. 

So, please pray with us for no more fever and for the pneumonia to be completely gone so he can have the surgery he needs. We want to see our little Raymond well!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Milestone Monday

Well, hello again friends. Want to see what we've been up to lately?

Nickname: Deaco
Milestone: sitting and rocking a cotton hat
Name: Dillon
Nickname: Deeleelee
Milestone: perfected the art of trying hard not to smile
Name: Anna
Nickname: Annababy
Milestone: rocking a horse all alone
Name: Lisa
Nickname: Lili
Milestone: Standing alone*
*It only appears that there are tiny hands holding her up. She really does it alone.
Name: Louisa
Nickname: Weesee
Milestone: shakily sitting alone and being the sweetest thing ever
Name: Chileleko
Nickname: Chile
Milestone: Cruising (in girly PJs)
Name: Christopher
Nickname: Topher
Milestone: crawling and flirting with all the ladies
Name: Leo
Nickname: Shupa boy
Milestone: Correctly answering the question, "Where are your teeth?"
Name: Lizzy
Nickname: Lizzy Maguire*
Milestone: Dancing like a madwoman**
*Seriously. Even the other babies call her that.
** Video to come.
Name: Owen
Nickname: Oh-wee
Milestone: Scooting around on his belly and being perfect
Name: Richard
Nickname: Ricardo
Milestone: Sitting alone*
*He looks like he's in pain, but I promise he wasn't.
Name: Cathy
Nickname: Kah-tee-tee
Milestone: Shutting and opening any door within a 50 ft radius

Name: Memory
Nickname: Memo
Milestone: sitting AND stacking rings AND having the best cheeks and dimples around

Name: Martin
Nickname: Martini*
Milestone: Tricks on his scooter
*Zambians often add an "i" to the end of words ending in consonants. This is not a reference to an alcoholic beverage.
Name: Russell
Nickname: Chalema
Milestone: removing his mattress and throwing it out of his bed every nap time*
*This is totally endearing and not at all frustrating.

Name: Petra
Nickname: Doesn't have one (yet)
Milestone: sitting alone and being a little slice of heaven
*To see how far she's come, read here
And this week's "Wow! Look how far they've come!" award goes to Rita! 

She is unbelievably fat and crawling all over the place now. She never stops moving, even in her sleep. When her shirt is off after bathing, she loves to pat her HUGE belly and laugh. It's pretty precious, if I do say so myself. 

I am heading to Lusaka tomorrow to get some routine blood work done and do some shopping for the Haven. Ordinarily I don't love trips to Lusaka, but I am SO EXCITED to be going this time because we are going to see Les Mis!!! I just finished reading the book, and I didn't think I would get to see the movie in a theatre. So I'm just beyond thrilled for a night away and to see a movie I've heard so many great things about. I hope you all have a great Monday!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Friday

One question I get fairly often is, “What do you do every day?” 

While every day looks a little different, here is what today looked like, which was fairly typical for a Friday.

7:30-9:30 Tonga class with Ba Halale, in which I read a story in my grade 3 Tonga book about hygiene and cleanliness, and in which we studied a new case of nouns.

9:30-10  I made rounds at the Havens and caught up on what happened since last night, who is sick, which family is visiting, etc.
Katie's uncle visits faithfully, but isn't married and can't take care of a 3 month old baby by himself while he works. He is in the process of finding a family that will be able to raise her.
10-11 I took Busiku and Joel to physical therapy. 

11 Lunch time at Haven 2. Today it was nsima and kapenta, tiny dried fish. On kapenta day, I don’t sneak too many bites of their food. Now on cabbage day…

11:30ish I helped the aunties get Haven 2 kiddos bathed and changed and down for their afternoon nap.
Believe it or not, they always settle down and all take a good 2-3 hour nap.
12-12:30 Bathed and bottle fed our four littlest at Haven 3.

12:30ish I started language class with some at Haven 3...

...only to be interrupted by a message that one of our baby’s ARVs (HIV medication) ran out today. Made a trip to the clinic to refill his prescription. 

13-14 Home for lunch with Helen. I don't bring a baby home for lunch every day, but most days. It’s not always her, but usually just whomever is in need of a little extra attention. Today I ate an egg salad sandwich and an apple. 

14-15ish Folded nappies (cloth diapers) and rocked babies at Haven 1. This is a time I practice my language with the aunties as we sit with the babies.

15ish-16:30 Language class at Haven 2 They start begging me with, “Tulayanda kwiiya!” (we want to learn!)as soon as I get back from lunch and they get up from their naps. 

16:30 porridge feeding at Haven 1

17:00 supper feeding at Haven 2

17:30 porridge feeding at Haven 3

These feedings at all three houses sometimes seem endless, but they are also some of my favorite times of the day. We sing to and with the babies, we teach them things, and I get to keep tabs on who is not eating, who is acting strange, who needs a little more one-on-one, etc.

18:00-19:00 I usually head home sometime in there after a quick meeting with the different house parents to debrief about the day, what all happened, who may need attention in the night, etc.Some nights I go home with a baby. Tonight I took Memory with me. She came home, played, and took a nap on my chest while I wrote some e-mails, then she came with me to our Friday night singing at the Merritt’s house. 
We went back to the Haven about 21, just in time to check on Leahndrea who was having some diarrhea today. She hadn't had any since I left at 18, so I’ll sleep well tonight!

Now I’m home. I got to Skype with my mama, ate some supper, worked on a Tonga lesson, and I just finished bringing Patrick (the night watchman) his tea and locking up. When I lock up on Friday nights, I almost always hang a note on the door that says “Please do not knock. We are resting.” That usually keeps the knocks on the door quiet until at least 8 or so on Saturday morning, the morning where I really try to relax, do nothing but catch up on business or read. 

That was what today held for me. I hope your Friday was blessed as well!