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Friday, July 31, 2009

Guess It's 9 Lives Were Up


So, last nite the husband (who is AWESOME, thanks for the super great birthday, baby! I'd marry you again in a heartbeat!!) goes to let the dog in before we go to bed as I straighten up the blanket and stuff (read: empty Starbucks mocha frappucino ice cream container that we had eaten out of with 2 spoons like savages after the Things were in bed, mmmmmm) on the couch. He goes to our back sliding door that goes out onto our deck, our deck which is like 15 feet up off the ground of our fenced in yard and faces a big rolling cow field and nothing else. Said husband had also been asleep on the couch, a most unusual occurrence (not), so he was in a little bit of a groggy state. From across the room I hear a bewildered "oh! what the..?" and he shuts the sliding door, then he flips on the light, looks back out and says.............."there's a dead cat out here!"

um, WHAT?!?!

At this point I cannot fathom what he is talking about because how and why would there be a dead cat on our deck and also our little annoying, I mean endearing, feline was sitting by the couch doing nothing productive as usual, but being alive so that automatically disqualified her from the situation. So I go to look and sure enough, there was a dead cat right on the deck. SO GROSS! And moderately creepy. I ask the husband what we should do with it, after we poked it with a shoe to make sure it was really dead, even though there was not much question about it's deadness really, but it seems like the proper thing to do, you know, just in case. Yep, dead alright. We stood there discussing how it got there-the dog we guess? It was not "disturbed" in such a way that would indicate he was uh, playing, with it but unless it fell from the sky or walked up to our deck and died--which we doubted b/c it seemed to be quite dead, if you know what I mean, as in "not recently walking" dead--then our disgusting,er, faithful canine must have gifted us with it-he will never lick me again, I'll tell you that. Anyway, we decided the best course of action was to get a shovel and put it up by the curb for the town to come pick it up in the morning because we didn't want to bury it and have the dog dig it up (sorry cat lovers, I know this is disturbing--try being the one discussing this plan at midnight) so my husband went to get a shovel. He came up ready to do the deed and get on with going to bed but I said "WAIT! we have to take a picture." He looked at me like I had said I wanted to eat the dead cat and asked "WHY would we take a picture??" "Honey, for the BLOG!" I responded as in, duh!!! Yeah, it's true, I love you guys that much that I wanted to be sure you got the true experience of our hoppin' nightlife around here. Welcome to the family, y'all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This is MR. Jody here and I've seized control of my lovely wife's blog (even changed the password for the day so she can't delete this post hehehehe). I want to make sure that everyone knows that...


So make sure you pass on your birthday wishes - let her hear it! Here's a photo from birthday surprises past (that's tiny little Thing 2 in front of her...ahh memories):

Altogether now...

I love you, babe.
I hope you have a great day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Fun

We had a stupidly busy week last week and the blog posting just didn't happen (nor did the laundry-sorry family! and everyone else who had to smell us!) so a brief re-cap of the week: got Thing 4's superhero helmet, had a fun time in Named Charlotte with a friend who had moved away, lived at rehearsal for the upcoming musical, and finally had a free weekend to just have fun with the kids and my sister's family and then the husband and I had our first date of just the 2 of us in a REALLY long time. It was GREAT, and our newest little Thing did very well at her first time being without mom and dad. It is an incredible blessing to have a sister nearby who also happens to be my very best friend-I love you, Tracy! Thanks for everything you guys do for our family-it never goes unnoticed, and we OFTEN thank the Lord for you all!!!
Anyway, some pictures of the fun:

What is this martian hat you put on me, Mom?

A 2 headed monster (one head very nicely decorated, I might add ;) )

Swings are the best invention EVER!

No wait, COUSINS who are best friends are the best invention ever!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Questions and Answers

Let's talk about my head, shall we?

Erin asked:
Will you get the cool custom airbrushing?

We will be decorating her contraption in such a cool fashion ALL the babies are gonna want one. And maybe even their parents, too. Because nothing is cooler than a big plastic helmet.

Theresa asked:
Can they make her band hot pink?

No, they all come in white, but WE can make it hot pink, or blue, or green, or swirly....the possibilities are endless!

Sarah asked:
How obvious is it, Jody? I mean, did you notice it on you own or did a doctor have to point it out?

VERY obvious, and we had it pointed out to us the day after we got home as something to "keep an eye on" by the doc we saw the morning after getting back in the country and were told to really try to work with repositioning her at her feedings, sleeping times, etc. But, honestly, it got put on the back burner when we were working on her breathing issues (not her head on the back burner b/c well, that wouldn't be right and all, but the thought about it) One day shortly after getting out of the hospital we were at the park. I was swinging her in the little baby swing which afforded a great top view of her little head and I looked down and went "WHOA! that's not a normal shape at ALL!" and felt the "oh no..." feeling growing in my stomach. We doubled our efforts of repositioning and trying to keep her out of car seats/bouncy seats as much as possible. As an aside, she also has a condition called torticollis which means she has a shorter, tighter muscle on one side of her neck which causes her to hold her head at a tilt. This is very often present in children with plagiocephaly-they tend to lie in the same position all the time b/c of the tight neck muscle, which causes the flat spot to get worse, and it is kind of like a chicken and egg thing. A lopsided egg, that is :) Anyway, when we were on vacation her torticollis was VERY pronounced (she tends to tilt way more when she is tired or somewhere unfamiliar b/c it is most comfortable and therefore comforting to her. We were really getting concerned and were anxiously awaiting our next doctor appointment to talk to the doc about it.

Was it your regular doc who found it or a intl doc? Did he/she see it at your first appt?

At our next doctor appointment with our regular family doc, I asked specifically for him to check it and he basically told me what I was fearing-it is a very significant flat spot, it is really not going to correct itself, she will always have the flat spot/lopsidedness which could be covered up by her hair later in life and we can either live with it, or our only real option for treatment is a helmet. He supported either decision and said he was happy to refer us to a specialist if we wanted to have it looked at and he gave us a few days to think about and look into our options. Our pediatric pulmonologist had pointed it out, as had a friend who is a nurse, as well, so it was not like we were seeing things, but whether or not to treat it was really the question we had as it is no small decision. Anyway, the next day was our 1st post placement visit with the social worker and she, truly very kindly and gently, asked "so, what are you all going to be doing about her head?" She told us she noticed it immediately when she came in and knows for sure at the big adoption clinic near her (she is 3 hrs away from us) they would immediately refer Zoe to be evaluated and treated b/c it really looked, to her, pretty severe. She really was great and talked through the pros and cons of it with us and we knew from our own research that if we did it, we would want to go to the clinic in Named Charlotte. So, that very afternoon, I called them and asked them 50 million questions and then set up an appointment for the next week. At that appointment, they do all sorts of measurements and pictures (where they completely slick her little hair down so they can really see it-she looked very, um, lovely, with it all combed absolutely flat to her head, her little torticollis-y head cocked to the side b/c she was in a new unfamiliar place, and her tongue hanging out b/c she does that ALL. THE. TIME.--and drooling, which she also does ALL THE TIME, for good measure. It was a vision of pathetic-ness, poor thing.) Anyway, after all that, one of the physical therapists came in to go over all the data with us and show us the photos. It was quite obvious that the treatment was absolutely necessary if we wanted her head shape and ear and eye alignment to be normal, and while it will not affect her ability to live or anything, the problems it would cause if we did not treat it now when it is treatable far outweighed the negatives of not treating her. So, we will be picking her little helmet up in a week and will get her little noggin right where it needs to be!

For the record, I know it seems like all the sudden there are several babies that have come home with this problem (there have been 5 that I know of in the last year, including ours-but really that is a very small number considering how many have come home in total) and a lot of you fellow adoptive parents are feeling concerned about your own little ones. If you are worried about your child's head, check with your doctor, but it is not something that happens to every baby and yes, it happens from too much back time, but can also happen in utero from positioning or as a result of the torticollis. It is not at all an "Ethiopian baby" thing nor a Hannah's Hope thing, specifically-there are lots of US-born babies with the same issues as there has been a huge increase in the number of cases of plagiocephaly since the launch of the "Back to Sleep" campaign in 1992. I wanted to state that we this is not something we are doing just to make our girl look pretty, it is not just a cosmetic thing and we really truly would not even consider it unless we thought it was severe enough to merit this treatment b/c quite truthfully, it is wildly expensive and not at all convenient as we have to drive the almost 3 hours to Named Charlotte and back every other week for her adjustments as she grows. So, do your research and follow up with your doc if you are truly concerned, but please don't worry about it if you have not thought it was an issue before :) Hope this helps clarify things for y'all--I know in the blog world b/c it is so public, it can seem like it is something "everyone" is doing, so I just didn't want to cause any undue panic :)!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hey Dante, I have a New One For You

I have an addendum for The Inferno. It is called dry socket. It can also be confused with biting down on a very very angry yellowjacket or being cracked in the jaw with a Louisville Slugger. Repeatedly. And it usually occurs no matter how carefully you follow post op instructions and on a weekend when the dentist's office is closed. And your dentist goes to church like a good little Christian man should which means he is unavailable for most of the day. (But, he still meets you at the office on Sunday afternoon anyway because he is a kind and merciful man, who happens to go to the same church as you.) However, in this place of torture, by nighttime, the other side of your mouth feels the same way when it is too late to call and bother the nice dentist man again, and another night must be endured till the office opens. Yes, you forgot one, Mr. Dante. I have been to this circle, and it is the worst of them all.

(and for the record, I am not just going for drama here, people-I birthed 3 babies completely epidural-free and have a pretty high tolerance for pain-this is different. Different in this instance=VERY VERY BAD)

Friday, July 10, 2009


I got my wisdom teeth out today. You may commence feeling sorry for me now, please.

I am working on getting questions about the band/helmet answered in a post I will probably put up tomorrow or Sunday. If I can feel my face again by then, that is......

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Named Charlotte

We have been making several trips to Charlotte, NC lately, to be explained in a minute, and the first time we were going, my 2 yr old was a bit confused:

"Mama, we goin' to sha-lots?" she asked

"No, honey, not to Charlotte's, to Charlotte, North Carolina" I responded, knowing she meant her friend Charlotte's house.

"We gonna play with sha-lot?" she again inquired

"No baby, we are going to a PLACE named Charlotte, in North Carolina, just like we live in a place called Blacksburg in Virginia." I explained

Blank toddler stare....then "we goin' to play at sha-lots?"

"No, we are going to a place NAMED Charlotte, not to play WITH Charlotte, your friend." I explained, again.

"We goin' named sha-lot?" she asked.

"Yes! you got it, we ARE going to a place named Charlotte!" I respond, and then she ran off to tell the big Things, "We goin' named sha-lot!"
...and thus she continued to call it Named Charlotte (sha-lot) all day long and still calls it that, as do the rest of us now for that strange reason that we all do when a cutie kid gives something a quirky name that just sticks (some time I will explain why my mom is called "Woofie" by all the grandkids....).

Anyhoo, on to the reason for the trip to Named Charlotte. Our little Thing 4 who just recently joined our family needs a medical treatment and the nearest place to obtain it is in Named Charlotte. You see, our beauty is a geometry lover it seems as her sweet little head is shaped just like a parallelogram. From spending a lot of time in bouncy seats and lying on her back in the transitional home before we met her, she has developed significant positional plagiocephaly, a condition in which the skull forms on a diagonal or other abnormal shape rather than the correct round shape. It is not a life threatening condition in any way, but it does cause some significant issues with facial symmetry, jaw alignment, eye alignment, and ear alignment, all of which will only grow more pronounced as she gets older. Some babies start to develop flat spots from being put to sleep on their backs or spending time in car seats and bouncy seats, but if caught early, it can sometimes be corrected by changing up positions and increasing tummy time, time in things like bumbo seats, baby wearing, exersaucers, etc-just whatever will keep pressure off the same part of the baby's soft little skull all the time. While the awesome ladies at Hannah's Hope take great care of the children, they are limited in their ability to hold all the babies all the time and so they do have to put them in different things often that so they can take care of everyone. And fortunately, due to several cases of children coming home with plagiocephaly significant enough to merit treatment, the folks at HH are changing things up a bit to include tummy time and bumbos-we saw that while we were there in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, those changes came too late for out little lady and our early efforts at repositioning her to try to re-shape things on our own were not enough, so now she will be sporting a fabulous DOC band for the next 3-4 months. This is a partial helmet that she will wear 23 hours a day (it is off for bath time and time to clean the helmet) and it will be custom formed such that the spots that are already prominent will have the plastic part covering them so they cannot push out anymore, and the areas that need to even out with the "bulging" parts will be open so as her head grows it will fill in those spaces that are uncovered with the hard helmet part. Make sense? Clear as mud? Go to the DOC band website to see one and it will make a little more sense. This was a tough thing for us as we did not feel like tackling another tough medical thing and just want to get on with being a family together without any big drama, but ultimately it is needed for our sweet girl or she could face serious issues later in life that are much more difficult to treat. So, after a lot of research, discussion and prayer, we did our digital scan for our band today-a horrible experience that will get its own post, oy-and will pick up the band in 2 weeks after they custom make it for her little noggin. After that we will need to go to Named Charlotte every other week (did i mention it i s 2.5-3+ hours away depending on traffic??? good times in the car....) to have it adjusted as she grows and hopefully will be done with the treatment sometime this fall, when she will reveal her perfectly round head :) Of course, we think her head is just perfect right now, but we do think the fact that her ears are so misaligned from the plagio that if she ever needed glasses they would have to cut one arm a LOT shorter than the other to be a pretty significant issue, so a DOC band it is. This is just the overview of the whole process and Autumn has written a pretty detailed post of the band here on her blog if you want to know more or you can go to the website for the band if you REALLY want to know more. We just wanted to include you in our family fun in Named Charlotte and let you know why our sweetie will be sporting a fab new accessory in her up and coming pics :)

ps- If you have questions about anything with this condition/treatment, ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our 4th

Almost all smiles, but one little lady a little more interested in eating the flag than waving it. We'll let it slide, she's new here :) Mommy and the oldest Thing were in the parade this year representing the summer musical we are in (yes, it is true, we are in the community theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, my favorite musical in the entire world, feel free to snicker at that thought if you know me, but I love it enough to endure the mockery) so Daddy had the other 3 ladies ready to catch as much candy as possible. We were blessed with a beautiful day with a nice breeze which was GREAT when the parade had us literally running for parts of it to keep up!! We followed the parade with a cook-out at my sister's house where with her family (6 kids), our family (4 kids) and some friends (3 kids) we had a nice baby parking lot:

And we finished off the night with fireworks, which mezmerized our little lady--so much so they almost put her right to sleep:

All in all , a great day and we are once again proud and blessed to be Americans!!