Archive for December, 2011

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2011 in Pictures

Remembering the year fondly . . . .


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Almost Out

Our bed tent saga continues. Just when we think we have Chloe safely contained in her bed, she finds a way to escape. We have used the Nickel Bed Tent for several months, repairing its holes and rips as we go. Chloe is so bound and determined to fight her way out. It sometimes cracks me up . . . it sometimes makes me want to cry. But it always keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure.

Here’s a funny little video of her attempted escape a while back. Seems she got half way out of her tent, but couldn’t get the rest of the way out. Nor could she get herself back in. Funny stuff. But, of course, it could also have been dangerous. That’s why we are on quite the quest to find a safe sleeping solution for Chloe.

Meanwhile, enjoy a comical video at her expense! LOL!


A Word for 2012

While I am not a jump-on-the-bandwagon type girl, I am jumping on the bandwagon.  While I am not one to join in on the latest thing, I’m joining in on this latest thing.  While I am usually one to watch others follow along while I just roll my eyes, this time I am following along.

I’m joining up.  I’m doing it.  Even though everyone else is doing it.

I am picking a word for 2012!

A theme.  A goal.  A focus.  One that I can revisit often during the year, reminding myself to keep up the action and the meaning of the word.  One that I can share with you throughout the year and share how I am doing with my word and with my focus.

I’ve been doing some thinking . . . some reflecting . . . and I have my word.  I have chosen my word for 2012.

Check back January 1st for the big reveal . . . . and meanwhile, why don’t you join me in picking a word for 2012.  It’ll be fun — everyone’s doing it!!  🙂

Pretty Brown Baby

Being a transracial family is sometimes a funny thing. It is sometimes a tricky thing. It is nearly always a beautiful, fun thing. And it is certainly something we always celebrate!

Zippy likes to be able to ask me who is the cutest black boy in the world, knowing I will say him. I can’t say he’s the cutest boy in the world if Paul or Elliot are listening, but I can always say that he is cutest black boy in the world.

Recently Zach and I read a book of poetry together. He had to read a poetry book for a school project.  We chose a book that we already owned but had never read completely. It is called Make a Joyful Sound: Poems for Children by African American Poets. It had a variety of poems — some about different shades of skin, some about famous African Americans, some about pride and freedom, and some about African culture.

But Zippy has a favorite poem from that book that he asks me to recite to him each night at bedtime.  And he also insists that I touch and rub his soft little face while I say it to him.

Pretty brown baby

Fat and fine.

Love you. Love you.

All the time.


Make A Joyful Sound (pob)

Chloe’s Chef

Chloe has difficulty chewing and swallowing and lacks motor planning and coordination for eating food.  She eats only pureed food.  To make sure Chloe receives the nutrition she needs, she eats baby food oatmeal mixed with Pediasure for her meals often.  She will also eat table food that has been blended.

At home, she doesn’t often eat the food that we eat; she just says, “No,” and waits for the oatmeal and Pediasure.  We are still hoping that she will eat more and more of the foods that we eat.  At school, she eats a school lunch.  It depends what is served for lunch whether she eats much of it or not.  Some days she eats most of it; other days she doesn’t eat it at all.

An aide at school, Mr. D, blends her lunch for her each day.  I loved a conversation that I had with him one day during Chloe’s lunch time.  He told me that he blends her lunch and looks forward to choosing how and what to blend and deciding which things to blend together, etc.  He said that he enjoys cooking and that he considers himself Chloe’s personal chef!  How cute is that?  Instead of dreading the messy job of blending the food and cleaning the blender, he looks forward to it and considers it an honor to do so.  He enjoys it.  And takes pride in it.  When it’s blended, he critiques the texture and then watches to see how well Chloe eats it.  It makes me smile to know that someone enjoys serving my child.

Our conversation also included his talking about how he loves to see what the kids know.  Even those who at first glance seem not to be grasping a concept, he loves to realize that they do, indeed, know.  He talked about how so many of the kids simply communicate differently, and he realized that so many times it is just up to us to figure out how to support the kids so that they will show us what they know. 

It was encouraging to talk to him.  Our conversation was filled with hope, passion, and a fresh energy for supporting children with disabilities.  I pray that his mind remains fresh and exciting and that he keeps on supporting children who benefit from it.

Ten years and Two days ago . . .

(This post is a day late since I spent the day sick in bed yesterday.  Sorry, baby girl.)

WARNING!!!!  CHILD BIRTH STORY TO FOLLOW!!!  But I think it’s rated G.

Four score and seven years ago . . . .

Oops.  No, that’s not right.

Ten years and two days ago, Christmas day 2001, we spent a fun day celebrating in our home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Elliot was barely 2 years old, and Zippy was a mere 7 months old.  My parents and one of my brothers came to spend Christmas with us since we couldn’t travel — I was due to have my baby girl any day now.  I was very much, very big with child.  In fact, I was in labor for a good part of the afternoon and evening.  Nothing real big, but I could tell things were happening.

The funny thing about being due right around Christmas is that you don’t know if 2001 is going to be the baby’s first Christmas or if 2002 will be the baby’s first Christmas.  Those 1st Christmas outfits either need to be newborn size or 12 month size.  The 1st Christmas ornaments either need to say 2001 or 2002.  Tricky.  It was Zippy’s first Christmas, and I guess the way it all ended up, he didn’t have to share the day with his baby sister.

My brother and my parents went to their hotel sometime in the evening.  We put the kids to bed and went to bed. I woke sometime in the middle of the night and knew the time was close.  I woke Paul and told him I was going to take a shower –how vain!– and then we needed to go to the hospital.  When I had Elliot 2 years earlier, it was a very fast delivery, and I assumed this one would be similar.

After my shower, I called my parents and told them it was time.  They headed back to our house to stay with the boys.  They were staying close by.  And the hospital was very close by, too.  Closeness was ideal since we were actually in the middle of a blizzard.  Yes!  Lots of snow and wind to drive through.  My girl was going to be born in the middle of a blizzard!  She had missed Christmas, but was making it just in time for her first snow!

My parents arrived, and my sweet dad wanted to hold hands and pray for me and the baby before we left.  What he didn’t understand was that I had planned this thing down to the wire, and I didn’t schedule time for prayer!  I told him he’d better make it a quick one or that they’d have to do it without me!

We arrived at the hospital barely in time for me to get my epidural.  As soon as we were a little bit settled, the doc came in to administer the epidural and asked Paul to leave the room for it.  It’s always unsettling to be asked to leave the room when someone you love is about to have something done, but this doc didn’t want anyone in there for the epidural.

While receiving the epidural, I felt a pain that was very unfamiliar — it was big and hurt and felt just weird.  I told the doc so.  Right in the middle of receiving the epidural — you know the hold-your-breath-and don’t-move-a muscle part?– the pain intensified, and my water broke.  Wow.  What an embarrassing mess.

Immediately the attending doctor noticed that there was meconium in the water.  Laymen’s terms:  the baby had pooped and was possibly breathing the poop, which isn’t ideal.  Bummer Number One.

When the epidural was done, they laid me back down to check me, and surprise!  The baby was crowning. . . .well, no . . . not exactly . . . that’s not a crown. . . . that’s really more of a tiny little baby butt. . . . she’s breech.  Bummer Number Two.

Unfortunately about that time, I started shaking uncontrolably — a common reaction to receiving an epidural, but it looks and feels ridiculous.  I was shaking so badly I feared that I might just quake right off the bed onto the floor!  Bummer Number Three.

Remember Paul . . . out in the hall, waiting?  Yeah, he came in the room at the same exact time that the emergency team came in.  So picture this:  Your young wife shaking with amazing convulsions surrounded by teams of docs and nurses and a tiny little incubator and tiny little stretcher . . . the room filled with excited movement and preparation.  Things looked serious and scary.  Yeah, Bummer Number Four.  Poor guy.

I tried to look natural through my convulsions, smiling and reassuring my poor husband that everything was really better than it looked.  I could tell he was in a panic.

“It’s just a funny reaction to the epidural.  I’m totally fine.  And they just learned that the baby is breech so they brought in the NICU team to be here incase it’s needed.  And they’re all here and ready in case I need to have an emergency c-section.  It’s totally fine.  I promise.”  <smile.  shake.  shake.  hold on to the bed for dear life so as not to shake onto the floor.>

The doctor gave us a choice of doing a c-section or going about as planned.  I opted for keeping on keeping on since I had a 2-year-old and a 7-month-old at home — not the optimal time to be recovering from surgery.  Let’s do this thing.

So we did.  After only a very short time, the baby came out butt first.  Then her little legs.  Then her body and shoulders.  And then her precious little head.

She didn’t have the best of scores when she was born, but she was okay.  Seems like they took her away maybe because they couldn’t get her temp to rise.  I don’t remember much about those details because I was still laboring like crazy.  For some reason (I’ll spare you the details because they don’t matter, and I don’t really know them, and I have a terrible memory to boot!) my body wasn’t cooperating.  It was going on and on like I still had some major delivery to make or something.  The contractions were absurdly painful.  And the doctors had to give me medicine to continue my contractions to try to get the rest of my body to start recovering and behaving.  So I lay there for another hour or so contracting and in so much pain!  Ugh.  Not my best hour.

My precious husband came in the room holding a little baby burrito with a little hat on her head.  “What are we going to name her?” he asked in a sweet whisper.

“Get her out of here and quit asking me questions!” was my rational, loving response.  Yeah, I told you it wasn’t my best hour.

I think it was in that hour that Paul named the precious burrito Chloe Annette, a name we had talked about and agreed on earlier.

Seems like I yelled at Paul a few more times and let the doctor have it a couple of times, too.  I guess I needed someone else to join me in my misery.

Finally, things started to calm down and I was able to start recovering.  And I allowed Paul and Baby Chloe to come back in the room.

I held that little bundle and looked at her sweet, pink face.  And she looked just like my father-in-law!  Seriously!  The nurses were telling me it was time to nurse her, and I couldn’t get my father-in-law’s face out of my mind!!!  Funny!  And a wee bit awkward.

Once I got over the additional hour of excrutiating pain and got over the whole father-in-law thing, I was able to completely and totally fall in love with my new baby girl.

What a precious angel!  My Snow Angel — born in the middle of a blizzard 5 hours after Christmas.  What a perfect gift!

I can’t believe she’s 10 years old!  Wow!  Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

Happy Birthday, Chloe!

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