Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Sunday, October 31, 2010

And Yet Another E.R. Visit

This time our trip to the ER did not involve broken bones or stitches, it was for Madison and her migraine.  She has suffered with migraines since she was 4 or 5 years old when she started getting headaches and over the years, they have progressed to migraines.  Typically if we can Ibuprofen into her the moment she complains of pain, we can stop it, but not yesterday.

Marc and I had just left to take the dogs to dog class and she called to say she had blind spots in her vision and a headache that came on with the flip of a switch.  We turned around and came home, but it quickly became apparent that she would need more than I could do for her at home.  In addition to her visual disturbances and head pain, she also had tingling in her left hand.  Now since I suffer from migraines too, I was sadly familiar with these symptoms.  10 years ago I had a migraine so severe that Marc thought I was having a stroke and called an ambulance.

They hooked Madison up to an IV and infused her with a cocktail of pain relievers, benadryl (for the sleep affect) and an anti-nausea medicines.  Soon she was drifting into a moderate sleep and no more had her breathing become relaxed and rythmic than the nurse pops into and gives her shoulder a good jiggle and loudly demands of Madison to note her pain level from 1-10.  Hospitals suck at letting people rest!  Her headache went from a top of the chart pain to a tolerable 2 and we were sent home.

She slept most of the afternoon and early evening, but when she did rouse, she still complained of her head hurting in her right temple.  Now I know from personal experience that migraines seem to move around and often, at least for me, last a good 24 hours and then I am left with what I call a 'hangover' headache.  By that I mean the headache just rambles and seeks to lurk in the recesses of my brain, ready to spring back to malevolent life at any given breath.  The ER doctor who reminded me of Duggie Howser since he wasn't much older than Madison, was insistent that if Madison awoke with the headache still in play she would need to come back and have an MRI or CT scan.  Being the hypochondriac that I am, this made me feel sick to my stomach....and then, she did wake with the headache.

Her vision was fine after the ER and she was no longer vomiting, but yet her head continued to throb.  When she woke this morning she was feeling better, but still not herself.  I think several factors are in play causing her problems, first and foremost being she has had a head cold and is still significantly congested.  Also even with all the IV fluids they filled her with, she did not have to go fe peepee for 12 hours!  She also has what several other people have right now which interestingly enough is a severe headache with vomiting that last a couple of days....viral...that's my guess.  And lastly, the infamous hormones of a young lady.  Add to that the stress of trying to wrap up our school year, and somewhere in that big 'ol pot of stess is the perfect recipe for a migraine.

I am enormously grateful that we are blessed to have a wonderful open adoption with Madison's birth mom, Angela and birth dad, Darryl.  The questions that are asked in the doctors office/ER always bring to light how important one's genetic history is in situations like this.  In fact, Angela called yesterday just as the doctor was coming into the exam room.  Unfortunately, Madison comes by her headaches thru a genetic link to Angela...and me too.  How odd that both her mom's have the same migraine issues.

She is moving around right now in preparation to go trick-or-treating dressed as a girl from the '80's.  When she approached me about the idea of being a big-haired girl from the '80's she knew I could help her since she has seen my high school and  college pictures from the mid to late 1980's.  Sadly, I knew just how to give her mall bangs and dress her in shoulder pads, skinny GUESS jeans with zippers in the ankles, high top Reeboks, and lots and lots of bangles and BIG earrings.  Like totally, OMG, she looks like a total valley girl!

I am happy she feels better to be up and on the move, but Halloween is definetly not my holiday.  I have nothing against it, I just hate going door-to-door asking for candy.  For God's sake, if my kids want candy, I'll buy it for them myself.  Marc tells me I'm a kill joy, so he will be taking them into town tonight while I put a bowl of candy on the porch and enjoy some peace and quiet by myself.  Oh I relish an hour or two of Q.U.I.E.T!

But tomorrow is the start, at least for me of the best time of year.  I adore Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love to plan Thanksgiving dinner, look forward to holidays with friends, family and good food. Oh and let's not forget that tomorrow they begin to stock the store shelves with Christmas candy.  Oh joy!!!!!  My favorite candy are the extra creamy milk chocolate jingle bells. 

Before I end, I have to add one last intersting tidbit from yesterdays long episode spent rubbing Madison's head, none of which I begrudge her, it just happens that it was during that time she told me her thoughts.  I was trying to help Madison visualize herself doing, being, feeling her best and happiest.  I tried to help her by telling her how I see myself on a beach hearing only the sounds of the waves when I have a migraine and it was then that she shared her happiest place.  She said she is happiest when she is riding her horses and taking lessons at Karla's.  She pictured herself riding and feeling free and happy on her new horse.  Her thoughts brought to light how happy it made me to hear that is her greatest pleasure.  This especially since the ER nurse asked me Madison's age and if there was any chance she was pregnant!!!!!  After the ringing in my ears stopped and I said NO, I realized that sadly for some, that is reality.  So dear daughter, enjoy your horses for ever and ever and stay clear of those boys until at least 45!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Y'all know that Jerome, otherwise known affectionately as number 4, is the happiest soul on the face of the Earth.  He defies all the educated statistics that dictate he should be burdened with a ton of attachment issues, PTSD, and other negative behavior due to his abandonment in an orphanage in Port-au-Prince sometime during his first year of life.  By all rights, he should be one messed up little dude!

Before he came home to us, we talked to professionals, read everything we could get our hands on and gleened what we could from the internet regarding RAD and related attachment issues.  We prepared for the worst case scenario with him.  We visited our boys twice in Haiti at the orphanage before we brought them home and saw him as a sweet, engaging child who did not like to follow rules.  He would laugh when we told him to stop touching the computer or to put the candy away.  Even though he was called La Petite Bandit, he exemplified a joy of life that was unmistakable.

When he came home what we saw was a remarkably different boy.  He was compliant, joyful, willing to please and appropriately shy of strangers.  Yes, he remains friendlier than most kids his age, but he has definetely learned social parameter and skills that work in our society, not in an orphanage.  We always wondered if his happiness was just the 'honeymoon' phase of adaptation or if this was his true personality.  Well, we feel confident that since he has been home now for 19 months, this is indeed his true nature.

The best way to describe Jerome is to say he is a happy soul.  How he survived the severe illness he was afflicted with at his first orphanage, in addition to the lack of nurturing care and adequate nutrition, leads me to believe this kid does indeed have some specific purpose to serve in this life.  God gave my son a joyful soul, a kind and loving heart, and the ability to be loved after such such tragedy is evidence of his Maker's handiwork.

Now, Jerome also has a way with words that makes me laugh.  These are some things that I heard Jerome singing/talking about this week:
The other morning I heard him singing with the radio in the bathroom...which is a habit of his, to take the radio into the bathroom....singing at the top of his lungs;  I love my life, I love my life, I love my life!  Guess he was reveling in the freedom of being able to go potty alone!

Yesterday he was pretending the swiffer mop handle was a microphone and he was dancing around the kitchen watching his reflection in the oven door singing; I love my life, I love everything I have, I love my family.....even Madison!  HAHAHAHAHA   I particularly like that one!

Today driving home from the grocery store I was listening to Broadminded on Sirius/XM.  They were playing a "Name that scream" game in which people could call in to identify famous screams from such movies as the Shining, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.  From the back seat I hear Jerome ask Richnigthder, "Why's that broad screaming?"  Oopsie!  Seems he's heard how the ladies on the channel refer to themselves.  Gulp!

Another thing that makes me scratch my head besides cheap shampoo is seeing how heavy my boys' Haitian accent still is.  Last week we visited the Watkins and Dorcheus families in Montana and I was really suprised to see how slight their little boys' accents were.  I'm wondering if it's possible because their boys are 2 and 3 years younger than my boys?  I don't know?  All I know is that I understand Jerome's slower acquisition of language due to his horrible start in life, but Richnigthder is one smart cookie.  He speaks well, but man does he have a heavy accent.  So what's the deal?

And speaking of funny kids, the Watkins kids are freaking hilarious.  Peterson who has a known appreciation of a woman's body copped a little feel on me and then had me busting a gut laughing at his "How would you like a little hot love?" comment.  Best thing about the Watkins kids is that they have no idea they are so damn funny.  We had a lovely mix of kids and they all got along!  Now I just have to keep the pressure on them to join our adventure at Haiti camp next July in Minnesota AND to get Kristi to commit to joining me on the mom's get-away in Orlando in March.

Friends are family you choose along the way and we have been blessed by many great friends met thru the adoption world!

Monday, October 11, 2010

oarring on the wrong side of the boat

My dearest friend Jan tells a funny story about her mother, a family reunion, a lake, and a canoe ride that involved an inept attempt at rowing across the lake.  Jan's mother sat in the back of the canoe and happily told Jan that she was, and I quote, "Oarring on the wrong side." 

I'm not even sure if I'm spelling 'oarring' correctly, but nonetheless, you get what I'm saying.  Today Marc is home since it is Colombus day and of course being the diligent federal employee, he gets a lovely three day weekend at home with his fun family.  From the moment I got up today I have felt as though I have been oarring on the wrong side of the boat.  It's one of those days when nothing seems to be going right. 

Thomas is struggling with school work that he knows, Madison is not working effectively as she keeps butting into everyone elses business, Adam actually just finished his day and Jerome went off to the doctor with Marc since he has a headache.  Hmmm, a possible remnant of his ear infection from last week or so??  My kitchen is a disaster, the laundry is piled up, the horse stalls need cleaning and even though it's just Monday, my week is already jam-packed.  When and how do I get everything accomplished?

Hence, I feel as though I am sitting in a boat, "oarring" on the perpetually wrong side, going no where fast!  Does anyone else feel as though this is happening to them too?  I just can't seem to get anything done.

Madison has another dressage lesson today at 2PM.  She will not be riding our mare as she had to go to the vet this weekend with her right eye swollen shut.  Seems she either had a nasty bee sting or possibly even got kicked by one of the other horses.  So, one horse on the slightly sick-and-injured list.  That means Madison will be riding one of the trainers horses.  We are still trying to decide on a new dressage horse for Madison.  So far, she has test ridden a Tempel Farm Lipizzan, an Andalusian and a kind of ordinary Thouroughbred mare. 

She..and I...have fallen in love with the Lippizan, Acatina.  Unfortunately I am not sure I want to shell out a substantial amount of money for her at the front end of her training.  She is a gorgeous and comes from the premier Lipizzan farm in the United States.  Not only is she trained for 1st and 2nd level dressage, but is going nicely over jumps.  I have fallen for this horse like I did for my horse, Tommy 9 years ago.  Sometimes when you meet a horse you love, you just know it!  Unfortunately, Acatina carries a hefty price tag that I am uncertain of dolling out right now.  I have to decide on this quickly as the trainer will be hauling Acatina back to Chicago on Wednesday to return to Tempel Farms since someone is flying in from the West Coast to view her.  Once again, I feel as though I am 'oarring' on the wrong side of the boat.  Either that or I am rowing into a stiff wind!

What I really need right now is a lemon, some salt and some Tequila and then damned be the boat or the oar!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Richnigthder's first communion today

I find it hard to believe that my second to youngest child, who's only been home with us for a mere 18 months, who was just baptized 16 months ago, made his first Holy Communion today.  My sweet little Richnigthder has had so many new experiences in his relatively brief time with us.  I am in awe of how well he has adjusted and adapted to a completely new and foreign way of life.

Last year at this time we were preparing for his first birthday party ever as he was about to turn 7.  The Haitian community here in town held a get-together and had a party complete with massive soccer ball shaped cake.  Our dear friends, Mike and Tifanni Watkins and their children, Aurrora, Peterson and Adlerson drove 15 hours to join us for this big event.  Now with his 8th birthday approaching, we will be heading to Polson, Montana to visit them.  They have just returned from a week long mission trip to Haiti and we all look forward to hearing about their experiences and most importantly, sharing time with their great family.

Where does the time go?  My kids are growing up and seeing them grow, both physically and educationally is a wonderous thing.  Richnigthder has matured so much and still works at relinquishing control and just being a kid, but my sweet little boy, the one I prayed for everyday since I saw his picture and said yes to his dossier, is becoming an outstanding young man. 

And just soz ya know, having a 13 year old daughter aint all it's cracked up to be everyday! there's a challenge!!  :) Fortunately she is only unpredictable and moody while she is awake!  Tomorrow she will be blissfully happy as she has her dressage lesson, which is immense fun for her and work for me.  I have to not only load the horse and drive her there, but pack the living quarters of the horse trailer with goodies, drinks, games, coloring books, etc for the little boys in an effort to keep them occupied while she is training.  I am thrilled she continues with her passion and drive for riding, but as her new instructor pointed out, her Arabian mare she is riding now, will only take her thru her training phase and then she will need a new dressage horse. 

Great!  We have 2 nice reiners and now she'll need a new horse?  All that translates to is M.O.N.E.Y!  Got love kids and their expensive passions!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Scent of Charred Pumpkin Bars

Madison and I have to be in attendance at our church's youth group table at the local harvest festival tomorrow.  Pastor Paul asked me to bring a pan of bars and 3 pounds of sloppy joe's.  Sure, no problem.  I like to bake and cook, so no biggie!

The kids and I got home from the library today where Madison and Thomas were each doing research for their compositions.  I sent the kids out to play in this glorious weather and began to bake.  I made a double batch of pumpkin bars; one for the church youth group and one for us.  They were a gorgeous shade of autumnal orange and the scent of them baking enveloped the house in an aura of Martha Stewart. 

My oven tends to cook a little on the hot side, so I always reduce baking time, which I did today.  Sadly I burned the hell out of both pans of bars.  The heavenly scent of baking pumpkin bars dissipated in a noxious cloud of charcoal when I opened the oven door.  I guess the smell of burning bars always lures kids back inside where they greeted me with their lovely sentiments of "Gross, what stinks?" and "Yuck who's cooking firewood?" I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids, at least that's what I'm telling myself right now.

The kitchen widows are open now in an effort to air out the offending smell.  I am sure that even the neighbor 1/3 mile away can smell the mistake now.  Honestly, I don't know why the oven cooked them so quickly, but what I do know is that I will be venturing back into the kitchen in an effort to redeem myself and my ability to make basic pumpkin bars.  Crap!  I hate it when I make the boo boo and can't blame it on one of the kids!