Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A trip to Monserrate

Yesterday morning we had to speed up our morning as we were going to Monserrate at 9:30. It usually takes us all morning to get in two feedings, a nap, breakfast for us, showers, getting dressed, picking up the room, and getting the diaper bag ready. Not today! We're on our way to living a normal life and getting her ready by 6:45 and out the door.

Carmen, the hotel concierge, picked us up, as well as Patty & Sam, and two French families from the other Zuetana (there are two). I had Murphy strapped into the Snugli, which she doesn't mind. She just doesn't like to stop. Driving or walking that is. So when our driver got stopped for speeding, she got a little squirmy. We finally made it to the bottom of Monserrate and then rode a train to the top.

Monserrate was built in the 1600's. It is 10,000 feet above sea level. (Bogota itself is about 8000 feet above sea level...Denver, for example, is 5280 feet above sea level.) So not to disturb the harmony of nature, a cable car takes you to the top of the hill.

At the top of the hill, the sanctuary looks over top of Bogota.

In the sanctuary, there is a statue of the Black Virgin, and was dedicated by the Spaniards. She is supposed to bring fertility to those who visit and good health to your children. Rob and I wondered if we should have been here in 1998 when we first started trying to get pregnant!

There is an image (statue of some sort) of Jesus with the thorns on his head, cuts on his back from the whips, laying down in pain.

There weren't very many people there when we were there but services are held regularly and even weddings are held in the church.

As you walk up to the sanctuary, there are also the 14 stations of the cross.

Many people climb the trail to the top of the hill while others take the cable car. We were told not to climb the trail as bandits hide in the trees and rob those who walk by. I guess on Sundays many, many people climb the trails so it is safer. In addition, as penance people climb ON THEIR KNEES to the top of the hill and to the sanctuary. Once you get to the top of the hill, there are granite stones to get to the sanctuary. Imagine climbing on your knees on that stone.

The view of the city is beautiful. We were so high you could see the fog moving in.

Beyond the sanctuary there are vendors selling Colombian items as well as many Catholic things. We bought Murphy some gifts to give over the next 18 years. We also ate a chococlate covered coffee bean which really made me crave a Friday morning latte! :)

They were starting to decorate for Christmas while we were there. It reminded me of the city workers putting decorations on light poles in town.

There are so many pretty plants and flowers. This plant is absolutely white. It looks like it was spray painted.

It was a little cooler at the top but I was comfortable in a hooded sweatshirt. Rob had short sleeved shirt on and he was fine.

Murphy was so good. She likes to be outside and like I said, she likes to move. She got hungry about the time we got to the vendors so she ate a little and then was good.

When we got back to the motel, we ate and went to the store to buy diapers. Rob's mom sent the rest of our stuff here, which includes Rob's pillow and more diapers. It isn't here yet so we had to buy some. I think what we got was the cheapest of the cheap.

We also stopped at Artisan, a shop that has many Colombian gifts or trinkets. She got a little cranky while we were there (I wasn't walking fast enough) so we went back to the motel. She never really got over being grumpy and she wouldn't go to sleep. We had an idea it was going to be a long night. She screamed bloody murder for about 20 minutes. During this time, the power went out in the area and the motel staff brought us a candle. We thought the knock on the door was either an offer of help with the screaming child or a request for silence. She finally sat in the bouncy seat long enough to calm down then Rob held her until she fell asleep. That was about 6:30. We went downstaris to eat, came back upstairs, still no electricity. So I went to bed. It was about 8:00. She woke up at 10:30 for a bottle and again at 2:00. She woke up again at 6:00 this morning and was a totally happy kid. We went downstairs for breakfast and she started to fuss a little. So we came back up here, fed her, and she's been sleeping now for almost two hours. We don't have anything planned for the day so we're going to walk around the area. Rob didn't go the other day because he wasn't feeling good. He is feeling better now, though. I'm getting a cold. Murphy's eye is better. We're still giving her drops but it looks back to normal now.

Today we are going to walk to Exito, Colombia's version of Walmart and then tonight we are going to a Halloween party at the other Zuetana. We aren't dressing up and I didn't buy anything for her. I did see a cute outfit on our area tour the other day.

One last picture of Murphy & Daddy!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Power outage

There was a power outage last night so I couldn't post anything. I'll post today!

Monday, October 29, 2007

We're still here and we're fine!

I know I didn't blog yesterday. Sorry about that. It was a pretty uneventful day. Rob was still sick, Murphy still had pink eye. She wore her Charger jersey and helped San Diego win!

(She's showing her muscles, too!)

It rained all day so we didn't even leave the motel.

Is this a proud daddy or what?

And one more just because she's so cute...

She fell asleep early (around 6:00 or so) so we woke her up for a bath and bottle. It didn't help because she was awake twice last night. She must be going through a little growth spurt because I bumped up her formula to six ounces instead of five. She's been snarfing down five and wanting more. The orphanage told us she was drinking six ounces every four hours. I don't believe that for a second because up until yesterday she hadn't finished six ounces yet. She's an early riser which will help when we get home as Rob and I are both out the door before 7:00.

Today was a really busy day. This morning I took her to breakfast and Rob slept for a while. When we came back up, she took a small nap and we got ready. Cecelia came here and got our paperwork for the lawyer. She also brought dresses that were made by mother's whose children are in the hospital. I bought two:

After Cecelia left we talked to the Willrett's for a while, who are here adopting their third child...a boy, and biological sibling to their second daughter. Then we headed off to the grocery store. We got some peanut butter, jelly, bread, crackers & 7UP for Rob, some chips, formula, soap, and a SNICKERS! :) We've held off since Rob isn't feeling good and we'll eat it later.

Murphy loved the walk. I think she slept more over the weekend because we were cramped in this little room all weekend. Today she was wide awake most of the day. We ate dinner and Rob came up to sleep while Murphy and I went for a tour of the area with Carmen, Patty & Sam, and a couple from Germany adopting three year old twins. She took us by Poblanos, a Mexican restaurant that she said is good, and Jacques, which she said is great. We haven't been there yet but at least I know where they are. It was really cloudy and almost cold and yet Murphy got a little color. Her cheeks are red. She stayed awake until about a block from the motel. If I didn't mention it already, we are staying at Zuetana. You can look it up on the Internet if you're interested. Anyway, Rob still wasn't feeling great. I left Murphy with him and went to the bank. Yeah...funny story about money...we thought we were going to be smart and bring more cash with us and take it to the bank to convert. The reason being is that we're charged $5 per transaction on my instant cash card. So we get here and find out that the exchange rate for actual US dollars is about $10 per $100 worse. Not so smart now, are we? Just as I got back, there was a welcoming party for the German couple I mentioned above, a family from Kansas City who has two boys and adopted two more and a girl, and the Willrett's. There was even a Colombian band that played and we wore poncho things and ate cake and drank pop. Murphy didn't even cry when the band started up. I thought it would scare her but it didn't. She hadn't slept much today with all of our outings, so I figured she'd be pretty tired. I tried to take her to supper but she was crabby so I brought her back up with Rob. I did two loads of laundry and am now going to bed.

Oh, I forgot, the motel has activity mats and bouncy seats available to use but no one had told me. Murphy has a new favorite:

There isn't a battery so it's a manual bouncy seat but she knows how to make it work!

Well, it's time for bed. We have a trip planned for tomorrow so I won't post right away then either. Murphy's asleep in her car seat, Rob's watching the Packers/Broncos game, and I can hardly keep my eyes open. So have a great night!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

We have pink eye!

Our first illness. At least we can handle this one. She was really cranky yesterday and was awake for an hour and half for her bottle last night. (She's been doing it in an hour but she cried more last night.) She awoke this morning with a crusty eye and it was red and swollen. We asked the front desk if they would call the doctor and when she arrived she said that Murphy has pink eye. She prescribed drops (which Murphy loves-NOT!) some cream to put in tonight (I'm sure that will be pleasant) and some saline for her snotty nose. I'm sure that will go over well, too. She isn't as congested today as she has been. I sat in the bathroom with her last night with the shower on hot and that seemed to help. The doctor also told us that Murphy was supposed to have had her four month shots on Thursday. Why wouldn't they have told us that on Tuesday or just given them to her themselves. But like Rob said, they would have had to pay for it rather than us. The doctor cost us $50 today and the medicine today and Tuesday (for reflux and iron) was about $50 total. The doctor will be back on Wednesday to see someone else but she wants to do the shots after we're done with this medicine. Rob says that his eyes itch now but I'm sure he's fine.

We were going to go back to Pepe Ganga again today and buy an activity mat but by the time we found out the doctor was coming it was 2:00 and we didn't want to leave and not be back by 4:00. They were closed at 5:00 so we'll have to go tomorrow.

We've been working on Murphy's neck muscles...pulling her into a sitting position, laying her on her stomach, sitting her up propped in pillows...she's seems to enjoy it. For a while at least. Her attention span is about the same as her dad's.

We're going to try to hit Jacques tomorrow, Karen. You've got me craving chocolate! There is also another store...Artisan I think...that we're going to try to hit. Although it is Sunday tomorrow and Rob will be glued to the football channels tomorrow afternoon. Murphy will wear her Chargers jersey.

Neither of us is still feeling great. We've been using tap water to brush our teeth and we've decided not to do that anymore. We didn't get out at all today and that was one thing we wanted to do every day. I think it will help us feel less cramped and get us some exercise.

One of the other girls that left this week had posted on her blog that she was tired of not being able to throw toilet paper in the toilet and I thought "How horrific!". And now that I'm having to throw tp in the garbage, it still doesn't thrill me. So the next time you throw your tp in the toilet, think about just how lucky you are! :) And brush your teeth in the sink without using distilled water. I remember when I went to school in Germany I drank the tap water and my roommates said I would die if I drank the water. To prove their point, they fed a plant tap water and it died. I started boiling my water after that. I won't even try it here.

The temperature has been about 65 each day (and is expected for the next ten days) but it feels warmer. Rob and I guessed it was about 75 yesterday. It's beautiful in the morning and then rains in the afternoon. There is a 60% chance of rain every day until November 5. By the time we get ready and are ready for an adventure it's usually the afternoon and that's when it starts thundering.

OK, I better go. It's 6:30 (I don't know why it says I post at a different time) and it's just about time for supper. Rob had fried something today (chicken maybe? Something with a big leg.) and I had cheese and tomatoes. It was probably my least favorite meal since we've been here. We're still chowing down the fruit snacks we brought for the kids in the mother's home. We better get rid of them soon or they'll be all gone.

Have a great night!!

She's still a happy baby...especially when she isn't wearing pants.

She likes her bath!

The nurse that recognized her at Pisingos.

Los Pisingos

Rob and Murphy relaxing

Murphy holding a bottle (she dropped it as soon as I took the picture but it made for a good picture!)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Today was a busy day.

We got up this morning and I didn't feel very good. At the time I thought it was the flu, but now we're thinking I'm dehydrated. I'm nauseated, I have a headache, and my body hurts. I didn't go down for breakfast but Rob brought me a piece of toast. I talked to my mom and dad this morning. They've been combining so I haven't gotten a hold of them before today. We had to get ready quick because the attorney was supposed to be here between 9-9:30. We didn't want to be late so we waited and waited and she showed up a little before 10:00. She gave us the papers we need to take to the Defendor of Minors. We were also supposed to be ready for a driver at 10:30 to take us to Pisingos and speak with Murphy's caregivers. He was actually early. I wasn't feeling good and probably shouldn't have gone but I did and I thought I was going to be sick the whole ride over. Let me tell you...these drivers (even the 85 year old one we had today) drive like maniacs. And they don't use air conditioning. I had Murphy strapped to the front of me and had to keep rolling down the window to get some air. And then we'd stop and the street vendors would start walking toward us. So I'd roll up the window. They would walk away and I'd roll it back down. Plus, Murphy likes it when the car "goes". Stopping...not as much so. Once we got to Pisingos they took us into the same room they presented her to us, along with two other couples, a man (I don't know his story) and then another guy who worked for an agency. We watched a video about Los Pisingos and the care that the kids get. And then the orphanage's doctor, Vanessa something, came in (Rob says she was hot) and talked to us about massages and other medical stuff. She asked if we had any individual questions about our child and I asked her about Murphy's spina bifida and how they knew. We couldn't see anything wrong but obviously we have no idea what we're looking for. She showed us the hole on Murphy's back. It's just inside her butt crack and is about the size of the tip of a pen. She said that had hair been growing out of that hole she would have had a much more serious case of spina bifida. One of the other couples that was there had a daughter that was about five years old and they said she had the same thing. They had never gone in and closed that hole but the doctor said we could do that when she's about a year old. She said we should be sure that nothing leaks out of that hole. It about made me cry thinking of my child being sick. The protectiveness is kicking in already. As we were leaving we were told to ask at the front desk when we could come back and tour the orphanage. They said November 1 at 10:00. While we were standing there a nurse came up to Rob and Murphy and said "Maria Jose!". She seemed so happy to see her. That was a special moment for us. She was loved before we got here and it was very evident watching this nurse.

As we left, the driver, Anival, told us that we had to go to the notary. Cecelia told us we weren't going until Monday. So we had to come back to the motel and get the papers that the attorney had given us. So I got back to the car and he wanted our passports. So I rang the bell and they let me back in (it's gated with razor wire up on the top) and as I was getting our passports Rob came in and said Anival wanted all the paperwork from Pisingos. I forgot to mention that we are supposed to carry a paper from Pisingos that says we basically haven't kidnapped Murphy. Anyway, we got back in the car and headed to the notary. We got there at 1:00 and they were closed for dinner. I'm still not feeling well so I had the window down and the wind blowing in my face. That's quite unusual for me. The only other time I can remember doing that was when Rhonda and I would have our orthodontist appointment at 8:00 and he'd squash our hair so we'd ride back to Hecla with the window down to help fix our hair (this was the 80's you know and lots of hairspray was involved). So anyway, since the notary was closed we went across the street to copy our passports and then walked back to the notary. By this time the line was quite long. PLUS we had to pay for public parking spot. There was a lady with something blocking the spot and Anival had to honk the horn to make her move it. Then we had to pay her. Seemed odd to me. So while Rob and Anival waited in line I stood off to the side (or sat when I could). We finally got to the front and we had to sign and fingerprint, sign and fingerprint. We paid and Anival said the papers wouldn't be ready for an hour. So he took us back to the motel and said he'd bring the papers to us later. We came upstairs and I laid down. Rob was on duty for the rest of the day (actually most of the day) and he was broken in early. I don't know if she's getting a tooth or what but that's our guess. Plus they had her on iron drops so she hadn't gone to the bathroom since Wednesday. She finally pooped today and it was a nasty one. We've decided to hold off on the iron. The doctor said she really only needs them until about three or four months. So between the constipation and possible teething she was C.R.A.N.K.Y! And I'm not feeling well so Rob didn't have a good afternoon. He now thinks that I won't be able to handle this on my own when he comes home. I think I'll be fine. He finally took her downstairs in the carseat and she cried and then laughed then cried and finally fell asleep. Rob wants me to say that he exhausted all possibilities of what to do to make her happy (or sleep). It's been two hours since then and she's still sleeping (and it's 8:22). Rob said he's half tempted to wake her up and I told him not to go there. I still didn't feel good so he went downstairs for supper and brought me toast, a salad, tea, and now some bananas. He wants me to say that he's a wonderful husband (and he is!). He ate lasagna without tomato sauce. We didn't eat dinner because we were out so we ate a couple of fruit snacks that we brought for the kids at the mother's home. I think we might run out before we get there.

I took some pictures today but I'm going to post them tomorrow. That would require energy that I just don't have.

Have a great night!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Four months old today!

Murphy is four months. She celebrated by going to sleep last night at 7:45 (Mom shortly after) and woke up at 2:00 for a bottle, back to sleep around 2:45 and woke up for the day at 6:30 or so. The previous night's lack of sleep caught up with her.

It takes her a while to wake up. She moans and sighs and stretches and makes lots of noises. But when she wakes up, she's a happy camper.

She didn't take a very long nap this morning. It takes us pretty much all morning to get ready ourselves, get her ready, feed her, get her back to sleep, and then get ready for dinner. We organized our room a little while she was sleeping. She likes to sit in her carseat ONLY while we're downstairs. Either in the dining room or in the sitting room. She's so content but the minute we come upstairs she wants out. Dinner was a potato soup with rice (and chicken for Rob) and some sort of spinach thing for me. They know I don't eat meat so I get lots of sauteed vegetables and lots of spinach. We also had avacodos (Rob didn't care for them). I don't mind them but I HATE guacamole. Right, Donna? :)

Before lunch we walked to Pepe Ganga which is a store with lots of baby stuff and now lots of Christmas stuff (made in every country other than Colombia). We saw a Dominos Pizza and a McDonalds on the way.

Yes, I'm very excited about this. So is Murphy, as you can tell. I wonder what the people at McDonalds would say if I asked for two hamburgers, no meat!

After dinner we came up to our room and thought she'd take a nap. Little do we know yet. She drank part of her bottle so fast it ran down her chin. She didn't even have her mouth closed. I think she was hungry and tired. So she finally fell asleep and I took a short nap while Rob checked his email. The maid was cleaning the room next to us and Rob said she was really loud. Then the phone rang and woke her up completely. It was Cecelia telling us she was on her way over. She said that we will meet the attorney tomorrow at 9:30 and then will go to Pisingos at 10:30 to meet with Murphy's caregivers. She said that our meeting with the Defendor of Minors isn't until November 6. We were really disappointed about that. Usually it happens the week after you get your baby. But the D of M is going to be gone next week so they pushed it back. I don't know why they just didn't assign us to another D of M, but whatever. After Cecelia left, I tried to get Murphy back to sleep. She fell asleep fine but as soon as I layed her down, voila...wide awake. So Rob took her and she fell asleep again and didn't wake up when he layed her down. It's been 40 minutes now so I think she's out. Hopefully since it's a later nap she'll be awake longer tonight (and sleep through the night!).

She still likes the TV.

You'd think they're watching something really interesting. I think it's a Spanish version of Sponge Bob Square Pants called "The Cubidos".

Rob rigged up a bouncy seat for her.

She really is a good baby. We know when it's feeding time, she's only pooped twice (Rob about ran away when he was changing her diaper and figured that one out), we just know she doesn't like to be up on your shoulder and she'd prefer to face out, even when you're trying to feed her. She has wandering eyes.

So we are enjoying life as a family. As we get more settled in I'll take more pictures of our surroundings so you can see how we're living. Until then, one more picture of us. There are more on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More pictures!

I'll post some here but they're all over on the right under "Flickr".

Part 2

OK, so we walked into Los Pisingos and waited for a few minutes before they escorted us us into a small room to the left of the reception desk. A woman named Edna came in and Cecelia told us that she is taking over the presentations since Rosa died. This was LSS' first presentation since then. Cecelia took our video camera and went out the door. We knew she was coming because Cecelia was taping. I started to get a little teary eyed and then when Edna walked in the room, it was over. I thought I'd be a babbling fool but I guess not. Edna placed her in my arms and we just looked at her and looked at her. She stared at Rob. And I mean stared. Rob wanted to hold her so he took her and we just kept talking to her and she just kept staring at Rob. He was quite the baby hog while we were there! Edna brought in some paperwork for us to sign and some medical notes. She is taking something for reflux and also iron drops. They also want us to do some exercises with her daily. We have a meeting set up on Friday to meet with her caretakers. She really stunk and Edna said "I think we need to check her diaper". Of course Rob didn't step up to take care of this one, although there wasn't anything there. We headed out and Cecelia and Ernando brought us back to the motel. Cecelia had the motel order her medicine and she explained the exercises to us. She left and we came up to our room and just held her. This was only around 11:30 so the morning had gone by quickly. She was a little fussy so we gave her the bottle they had given us and she drank that and took about a 20 minute nap. You could tell all day that she was really tired but she just would not go to sleep. We went downstairs around 1:00 for dinner...I had a salad and Rob had porkchops. After we ate, Rob changed her "wet only" diaper and we put pants on her. Rob actually dressed her and put her shirt on backwards. We needed to exchange money and buy some formula so Deb Springman took us to the bank and the place to copy our passports (to carry so our originals don't get stolen). Murphy rode in the carrier we have for her. She did NOT like facing me. While we were at the bank I turned her around and she was a happy camper for the rest of the trip. We weren't, though because it started to pour. And it didn't quit. So after Rob exchanged money, we just waited in the bank. We needed to be home by 4:00 for the welcoming party and by this time it was around 3:30. So we made a dash for it across the street, under canopies, and made our way home. Around 4:00 we went downstairs and Carmen, the concierge at the motel (really the party planner) was stuck at the airport picking up someone else. So they said they'd call. We ended up going back down around 5:00 and had cake and strawberry pop with Deb, Carmen, a couple from Germany adopting a little boy named Daniel, and some of the women who work at the motel. Murphy was getting to be very hungry and very tired at this point so Rob held her and she finally fell asleep. We brought her upstairs and laid her down and she woke up. She is just such a light sleeper. My ankle cracked once and it woke her up. She'll be sound asleep in our arms and the minute we put her down she's awake. She loves to watch TV, though. They must have had the TV on at the foster home she was in. Her head turns to watch it. I had her in the carseat and was playing with her and she would laugh and laugh...until I got out the camera. Either the digital or the video camera. And then she would just stare at the camera. Grandma Karen finally has a willing subject! I would even slide the camera to Rob and he would slyly turn it on and she still knew. Supper was supposed to start around 6:30 so we went down shortly after. They said it wasn't ready yet and to come back at 7:00. So we came back upstairs and tried to get her to sleep. Still a no-go. We went back downstairs and she sat in the carseat for quite a while and really seems to like it. I think she'll like her swing as well. Toward the end of supper...salad again for me, pasta and chicken for Rob, rice and raisins for dessert...she started getting cranky. So we brought her upstairs and changed her into pajamas and tried to get her to sleep. I think it was just such a long day for her and so many new things, she just couldn't sleep. I think it was finally around 9:30 when she fell asleep. We were up at 11:30, 12:45, 2:00, and finally 5:30 she woke up for the day. I took Murphy down to breakfast at about 7:00 and Rob stayed in bed. He slept for just a little bit and then we came back upstairs with a bathtub. She tried to sleep again but as soon as I layed her down she woke up. When I got up at 12:45 with her I had quite the laugh. When she goes to sleep and then wakes up, she stretches her arms out and gets this awful grimace on her face. It was so funny that I laughed out loud. After Rob came back from breakfast, we gave her a bath. The water here is either really hot or really cold so we had a hard time finding a temp that was warm enough without being too hot. Her whole body just shook she was so cold. She didn't cry until I accidentally splashed water in her face and then the fun bath was over. We changed her into her clothes and fed her (she is totally on a no-schedule plan right now) and then she acted sleepy so I rocked her and layed her down. Sure enough. Eyes wide open. So then I sat on the bed and held her and then just layed her down on the bed next to me. That was over an hour ago! Woo Hoo! I think she is just exhausted. And for being as tired as she was, she was still such a good baby. So she's stretched out on the bed in Seamonkey's "victory pose". Rob and I have both showered but we're still waiting to brush our teeth and dry my hair.

SO...what has our first day as parents been like? Well, we've learned that she likes to grasp fingers, she doesn't like to sit up on your shoulder, she likes to see out, she likes her butt patted when she's going to sleep, she's very attentive to the environment around her, she takes REALLY big stretches when she wakes up, I don't think it seems real yet, she doesn't smell overly "baby-y", she doesn't like to be cold (the crib is by the window and it's pretty chilly), Rob talks more baby talk to her than I ever thought he would (he even used the word "precious").

The motel is nice...the staff has been very friendly, the meals are good, we aren't far from some of the stores. Everything in our room has a cost. A small bag of chips (the size of fruit snacks) is $1, sweetened condensed milk is $1 (I'm not sure what you'd do with it, though), five liters of water is $2.50. Our room is small...much smaller than the pictures on the website. The family from Brookings left this morning, as well as the husband from Watertown. There is a French family here and a German family here, as well as Patty from Watertown and her son and us. The family from Minnesota that was supposed to be here on Sunday isn't coming until this next Sunday I guess. So it's pretty quiet around here. Maybe they'll let us switch rooms since some of the others are opening up.

Well, it's been another half hour and she is still sleeping. She is a little stuffed up, so the doctor is going to come later today to give her some medicine.

So that's as much as I know for now. As soon as she wakes up we're going to pick up the room and finish getting ready and go to the store. Dinner is at 1:00 so we'll need to be home around then.

Congratulations to RHS' boys cross country team for placing second at the state meet on Saturday! Football team, we are sorry to hear of the loss last night but are proud of your season. Volleyball players, good luck at districts next week.

Have a great day and I'll post more again later on today. (Tom & Jill...I know I have some emails out there...I'll get back to you later today, as well.)

Love you and miss you...

Rob, Dana, and Murphy

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We're still running on adreneline!

OK, I'll start with Saturday. We packed most of the day. I went to the clinic for my last hepatitis shot and then we went out for supper with Rob's parents. We got home and packed some more. For dinner I ran to Subway and one of the other organists was there. I was supposed to play for church but just didn't think I was going to have time. So I conned Linda into playing for me. This way, we'd also be able to leave earlier. I wanted to see my grandma on Thursday when we went to Aberdeen and that didn't work out so I planned to go on Friday when we went. That didn't work out either. So I was going to go up on Saturday. Since we decided to leave early on Sunday we just thought we'd go to Aberdeen first and see her then head to MSP. I went in to work for a while and Rob did some homework. We went to see my grandma, got some money, ate at McDonald's, and then headed out. We still needed to find some pants for Rob (and some for me, too). We got to Jason and Ann's, ate lasagna, and went straight to the mall. Target didn't have anything but they said the mall was open until 9:00. This was at 6:00. So we tried to go to Penney's and they said "we're closed". After some begging and pleading, they let us run around the store and look. They didn't have anything long enough so, dejectedly, we went on our way. We had already looked at Walmart in Aberdeen and didn't find anything but we thought we'd try again. Lucky us...we found Rob four pair and me two. So then we were set. By the time we got back to Jason and Ann's, I was ready for bed. Monday morning we were awake around 5:00 of course. We didn't get up until 5:30 and then Jason took us to the airport. We got there around 7:15, paid for three of four overweight bags, got to the gate, ate McDonald's and drank Starbucks, and got on the plane. It was really quick. We didn't leave on time, the flight to Houston took three hours, so we got in late. We had to go to the other side of the airport and since we were late to begin with, we only had about an hour to wait at the gate. Again, we had to wait and then the flight to Bogota was five hours. LONG! We were supposed to get in at 8:50 but it was about 9:30 before we got there. We got our luggage and went through customs and met our driver, Henry. He took us to the motel and we learned a thing or two about driving in Colombia. Stop signs, for example, aren't always obeyed. Neither are speed limits. So we got to the motel, unpacked, and went straight to bed. We woke up FREEZING in the night. And then of course we were awake around 5:30. We didn't know what time Cecelia would be coming for us and we didn't know what time breakfast was. So we listened for a while until we heard someone in the hall. We went down to the dining room and Patty, the Watertown girl, was there. We talked to her for a while and drank some REALLY strong coffee. Well, I drank a half a cup with a whole bunch of cream and sugar and just couldn't drink the rest. We also had granola cereal and some sort of little corn pancake that you eat with butter. And fruit. While we were eating Cecelia called and said that the orphanage would be ready for us at 9:30 and that she'd pick us up at 9:00 and that we needed a bottle, blanket, and outfit to exchange for the ones they'd be giving us. I was prepared for the blanket and the outfit but not the bottle. The only thing we brought was the Playtex kind with the drop in liners and I really hated to give up one of those. We got ready and Cecelia called to say she wouldn't be there until 9:30. So we ran to Pomona to see if we could buy a bottle. Pomona is a grocery store so they didn't have one. Patty's husband, Arne, walked us down there since we had no idea where we were going. The sidewalks are all cobblestone so as I was walking down the sidewalk in my heels, a heel caught in the cobblestone and pulled my shoe off. I kept walking while my shoe stayed in place! Oops! So we got back and waited and waited and finally Cecelia came with her son, Ernando, the driver. Traffic was awful and it took us forever to get to the orphanage. The day was really nice. I was even warm. They didn't have the A/C on so Rob was pretty hot. (Temperature wise, too! :) ) When we got to the orphanage, they wouldn't let Ernando drive all the way in because there were kids out.

OK, that's all I'm going to post tonight. We JUST got Murphy to sleep. Since we met her at 10:37, she's slept for less than an hour. And we're exhausted. So I'll fill you in on the meeting tomorrow. We have a low key day planned. We need snacks in our room and something to drink.

More tomorrow!

Here she is!!

I swear, this is the first chance I've had to post! We have a welcoming party for her at 4:00 so this is just going to be one quick picture and then I'll write about everything tonight.

Love ya all!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Busy packing, no time to write!

It's been a whirlwind this week. We're busy packing today. We're going to MSP tomorrow to stay with the Shantz's and then will fly out on Monday morning at 9:00. I've been fairly calm the past few days. Still waking up between 4-5 and not overly tired. I'm not sure when it's going to hit me that I am. I still have to go in to work because I haven't cleaned off my desk or cleaned out my file cabinets. They're pretty messy and no one would be able to find anything (although I can).

We're excited to know that a family from MN is traveling on Sunday and getting their baby on Monday.

I'll try to post again before we leave but it might not be until Tuesday morning. We don't get to Bogota until late on Monday night. Maybe I'll try in the airport in Houston.

We love all of you so much. Our family, our friends. You will never know.

Wish us luck!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The visa is on its way!

The consulate sent it FedEx today. So I must have done something right.

I'm still pretty overwhelmed. I feel like I did when I was in college. Especially after I graduated the first time and went back. I could stare at those books for hours without actually opening them. I spent about an hour upstairs just looking at the suitcases. I have packing lists, but I just don't know what to take! It will help after we go to Aberdeen and get a few more things.

The days are getting long, though. Once 5:00 a.m. hits, I can't sleep. I was at work by 6:30 this morning. And I've been working until 6:00 or so. So I'm pretty tired but I just can't sleep. Hopefully tonight is a good night!

One Week!

Yesterday was an exciting day! We heard from LSS that we could leave on the 22nd. That's only a week away! So I took a long lunch and completed our visa packet and sent that via FedEx. Let's just hope I did it right. Our plane leaves out of MSP on Monday morning so we'll go on Sunday afternoon. When I got home last night I packed some stuff in the travel bags we bought...the kind where you suck the air out of them and make them really flat. I put in quite a bit of stuff and it filled a half a suitcase. We need to make a trip to Aberdeen to buy the rest of our stuff...I need more bottles and liners, a pack of diapers, some more clothes...So much to do!! I'm really pretty freaked out. There is so much to remember. I need to find the Lorie Line tickets and give them to my parents. That wouldn't be good if I had the tickets and I was 3000 miles away! I slept well until about 5:00. Then my mind started racing. After all the waiting and waiting, now it's rush, rush, rush!!!

At this time next week, we'll be getting ready to see our girl!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

She's ready for the Superbowl!

I know you're all jealous.

I went to SF this weekend with my mom and my aunts. We shopped and ate and played games. I found some more clothes, some gifts for the Colombians who will be helping us, and also some baby bedding. Oh, and a digital camcorder. I've been saving every check we've gotten so that I'd have money ready to go. I didn't want to buy it too early because I knew we wouldn't use it.

My mom had the blood test done to check for the breast cancer gene. The poor geneticist probably thinks we need to have more than our blood tested. So now we wait three to four weeks for the results. If they come back positive, it doesn't mean that Mom's siblings will test positive, nor does it mean that all (or any) of her kids will. If David tests negative, his kids won't be carriers either. Not that I want any of us to test positive, but my broken girly parts are doing me no good. Take them and get rid of them before I get sick. I don't need them. If I (or any other woman) tests positive for the breast cancer gene, the chance I would get ovarian cancer is 80%. So like I said, take them. I don't need nor want them. We did have our picture taken with this poor man. I'm not sure why. That's my mom's doing.

I did get the actual translated version and the doctor said she looks very healthy other than the lack of fusion in her vertebrae. So we'll figure out what to do with that when we get her home.

We are getting ready to leave. I haven't heard back from LSS so we haven't made reservations yet. I actually haven't heard from them since Wednesday so I'm really antsy. We're trying to think of all these things we need to think of before we leave. We still have to go through the garage. But the house is clean, there aren't boxes sitting around, the sheets are in the crib (which Rob put together today!). My sister is law is going to paint the baby's room while we're gone. She'll need quite a bit of primer to get rid of that PINK.

Oh, I forgot. I bought a shower head so now we can actually have a decent shower. I couldn't get enough water out of the old shower head to wet my washcloth. Now that's pretty bad. PLUS, last week I had to break down and turn on the heat. It got down to the low 30's and I just couldn't make good on my yearly plan to hold out until November 1. I haven't made it yet. Next year. I can feel it. So we tried to turn on the heat on Wednesday night. When it doesn't turn on, is that a sign you're supposed to hold out until November 1? Rob's dad came over and they still coudn't figure it out. Thursday I called the heating guys. In the meantime, I felt really giddy and light headed at work. I thought I'd had too much coffee and that the excitement was getting to me. No, that was actually the gas that was leaking in our house. I came home quick for dinner on Thursday and could smell gas really bad. So I walked very quietly into the house (walking fast activates the gas you know) and got the mail and got out of dodge. I didn't even turn on my cell phone just in case it created a spark and the whole house blew up. The heating guy got the furnace fixed and now we have heat. I'm still a little giddy but at least now I have a good reason. And I'm warm.

Well, it's after 9:00 and I'm really tired. I'm not ready to go to work tomorrow but I don't know that I am on most Monday mornings. Have a great week! Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have plane reservations!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We have results!

Although we don't understand them. Yesterday we heard from the social worker that the MRI results were in but needed to be translated. She hoped we'd hear by noon today. So of course I've been on edge ever since. Yesterday after I got home from work I called the travel agent and put a hold on airline tickets. I should know better than to expect "tomorrow morning" really doesn't mean "tomorrow morning". By mid-afternoon we finally got the results that said "lack of fusion of the posterior arch of the sacral bone, there is no evidence of medular or sacral rooths malformations". It really didn't explain anything about the tethered spinal cord. So we requested the Spanish version and also the actual MRI. LSS doesn't have the MRI so they had to request it from Colombia. I have emailed the international adoption clinic in MSP but she isn't responding. So I called the local clinic and to see if they could help. They didn't think the response was very clear either. They're the ones who wanted the Spanish version and also the actual MRI. After I received the Spanish version, I also found an Internet based translator. This is what the original letter said (don't mind the words that don't make sense...they didn't translate):

The exam I am practiced in sequences sagitales and axial of T1 and T2 observing:

It lacks of fusion of the subsequent arch in sacrum. The height of the bodies vertebrates and of the spaces intervertebrates this conserved. There is not desalineamientos. In all the segments studied the channel oseo is of normal dimensions, the bag dural and the raices not not a single presetan alteracion. The holes of conjuncion are free. The articulations apofisiarias are normal. there is not compressions sacoradiculares.

The medula spinal distal and the structures of the ponytail have a morfologia and intensity of senal conserved. There is not focal wounds.


It lacks of fusion of the subsequent arch in the sacrum. There is not central malformations or sacoradiculares associated apparent."

So, can anyone explain that?

What we did find interesting is that the doctor said she's 13 pounds five ounces and 23 1/2 inches long. My girl likes to eat! On September 7 she was less than nine pounds. So her 3-6 month clothes probably won't fit long.

Hopefully we'll know tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Goodbye My Friend....

This has been an emotional week. After we moved, we noticed that Billy's movement seemed a little slow. We thought he was just aging. Plus, he started throwing up every once in a while, which wasn't really out of the ordinary for him. Last weekend we realized that Billy hadn't eaten very much and he seemed very weak. We thought he was weak because he wasn't eating. We started giving him Nutrical (which he normally didn't like) and he snarfed that down. He was drinking a lot all weekend. Rob started feeding him one piece of catfood at a time and he ate it. Monday I made an appointment at the vet and he told me that it didn't look very good. I was really surprised about that because he'd been drinking so I didn't think it could be his kidneys. It was. The classic signs of kidney infection are drinking excessively, depression, loss of hind leg mobility, and throwing up. He had all those, but we thought it was all because of other things. The vet recommended we put him to sleep. I called Rob and asked if he wanted me to bring him home for the night or if Rob wanted to come to Aberdeen. In the meantime, my aunt and uncle came to the vet's office and comforted me. Billy was still himself in so many ways. Just weak. So I decided to bring him home and spend the last night together. That night I did some research on the Internet and called a friend of a friend who is a vet. She recommended that we try fluids and antibiotics. We went through this with Bob in 2001 when we moved to Elk Point. She was so depressed that she got down to one pound. I took her to Sioux City on my way to work every day and the vet gave her fluids during the day. This went on for about three weeks and he told me to take her home and make her comfortable. So we did and she ended up eating Rob's yogurt and cheese and lived another five years. So on Tuesday, I went to the vet in town and got a bag of fluids, needles, and antibiotics and learned how to administer everything. He seemed better that day. Rob came home from work and Billy was laying with him. All of the sudden, the worst smell I have ever smelled came out of Billy's butt. Worse than anything that's ever come out of Rob's even. And Billy started meowing. Which usually means he was going to throw up. So I started chasing him with napkins. He farted again and bloody poop came out. So as I'm trying to clean it up, he ran away to another spot while Rob sat in the corner gagging. As you can imagine, that didn't go over very well. He kept telling me that he wasn't going to be able to do diapers. Like that's gonna happen. So anyway, after Billy was finished pooping all over, he felt better. Wouldn't you? We had a prayer service that night so when we got home, he still had a light in his eyes. He layed with Rob for a while and I went to bed. When Rob was coming to bed, Billy started walking (normally again) to the kitchen to eat. Oh, he'd started eating again on Monday night. All of the sudden he stopped and laid down. He was real wobbly after that. Rob brought him into the bedroom and put him on the bed and he started the awful meow again. So he put him on the floor and he quit. On the bed, awful meow. On the floor, quit. He finally quit so Rob laid him down in between us while he was getting into bed. As he got into bed, Rob said "Did he pee?". Sure enough. He had. And it soaked everything on the bed. So Rob held him as I cleaned it up and got new sheets and blankets. Billy didn't get off the bed all night and slept between us. Wednesday morning at about 5:40 he started meowing again. I picked him up and ran into the litter box. He couldn't stand so I held him up as he went to the bathroom. Rob came out and we knew he wasn't getting better. We cleaned him up and held him for a long time. I went to work and Rob stayed home with him. I called the vet at 8:00 and went home to get him after that. Rob didn't think he could be there. I came home and we cried and held him for a while and then I knew I had to go. So I drove down the road and as I got to the stop sign I noticed Rob behind me. So they gave him a shot that made him sleep. I didn't realize that was all it did so I thought he was gone. He came back in and asked if we were ready. He gave him the second shot and that was it. He was gone. Rob hadn't planned to go with me to my mom and dad's to bury him but then he decided he couldn't not be there. He showered and got ready and we went to the farm. We buried him next to Bob. We're glad we waited and tried the fluids. The vets had told us he probably wasn't in pain on Monday. By Wednesday I think he was getting there. So we knew we couldn't help. He was our cat. But he was Rob's cat. Bob was mine. So I knew exactly what he was going through. We wanted to hold out hope but we didn't want him to suffer.

So for the first time in 11 years we came home to an empty house. Wednesday after we got home from work we went for a long walk to stay away from the house. Thursday night we went out to eat with Rob's parents. As much as we love spending time with them, we needed the distraction from what was going on. And as much as I know they love spending time with us, that's why they did it. Rob went to the football game but I stayed home tonight. I haven't gotten anything done this week around the house so I really wanted to be home. I still find myself talking to Billy. As I went to bed the last few nights I said aloud "Come on, Billy Boy. Let's go to bed". And then caught myself. And on Wednesday when I brought stuff in from the car, I propped the door open and right away I thought "I better watch that Billy doesn't get out". At night I listen for the sound of his toenails on the hardwood floor or his collar on the water dish. I need to put away the litterbox and his food and water bowls but I can't do that yet. As I cried to my mom on Monday I said "these were the only babies I had when I couldn't have one of my own. They comforted me as I cried and as I prayed for yet another procedure to work". And she said "maybe God gave you these kitties to bring you to the baby. Now it's the baby's turn.". And my friend Marcy said "maybe God wanted a kitty". I'm pretty sure God is a cat-person. :)

We're doing OK. It's been difficult but it helps to know that he isn't sick any more. We also know Billy and Bob are together and that makes them happy.