Saturday, November 28, 2009

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

In an effort to avoid black Friday shopping with my crazy, er, determined sisters and sister-in-law this year, I volunteered to host the first annual cousin camp out. I thought it might buy me a few more hours of sleep. Stop laughing. Here's a list of participants: Jaxson, 7; Lexi, 5; Kaylee, 5; Logan, 4; Kaycie, 18 months; Bridger, 6 weeks. Here they are.

(Kaycie was already asleep)

Yeah, they look all sweet and innocent now... Here's a rundown of how our night went:

8:00pm - Mommies, a couple of daddies, and one terribly unfortunate uncle arrive. Mommies put baby Kaycie to bed and feed baby Bridger.
8:10pm - Mommies are grouped together over my kitchen counter finalizing the strategy. This year it was complete with an excel spreadsheet and assignments for specific areas of the store.
8:15pm - I'm laughing hysterically as Kate gives the final "marching orders" complete with warnings of never leaving a man behind, and instructions on how to "move up in the ranks" (they are a military family).
8:20pm - The parents leave to do a little recon on where sale items are going to be placed in the morning.
9:30pm - The kids and I make popcorn and hot chocolate and settle down to fall asleep in front of Finding Nemo.
10:30pm - Kaylee is asleep.
10:45pm - Logan is asleep.
11:30pm - Jaxson is asleep.
11:45pm - Kaycie is awake and not happy.
12:00am - Lexi is finally asleep; Kaycie, still screaming.
12:30am - Feed Bridger, Kaycie still screaming.
1:00am - Bridger is asleep on his blankie, I'm rocking a still screaming and nearly hyperventilating Kaycie.
1:30am - Kaycie finally falls asleep.
1:35am - Bridger is awake with an upset tummy.
2:00am - After rubbing his belly for awhile, Bridger fills his diaper and goes back to sleep.
2:35am - Logan wakes up confused at where he is and asks if he can watch a movie under his bed.
3:00am - Lexi falls off the couch.
3:30am - Feed Bridger again.
4:00am - I finally get to go to sleep.
4:48am - Bridger is awake. Again.
5:15am - Rock N Walk Bridger in the front room while listening to one of my neighbors leave for, presumably, more shopping.
5:35am - Lay Bridger back on his tummy on the floor. He falls asleep, but his tummy is still upset so he's crying in his sleep.
6:30am - Feed a restless Bridger again, and this time he finally falls into a restful sleep. Just my luck.
7:15am- Kaylee's awake.
7:50am -Logan and Jaxson are awake.
8:10am - Kaycie and Lexi are awake.

Glad I picked the option that allowed me more sleep... :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

It's Thanksgiving. This year, I'm thankful for this little boy in Haiti.
His name is Fabrice. He's Collin's friend. In fact, I'm pretty sure he looks after Collin at the orphanage. This last visit in October, Fabrice taught me a lesson that is particularly meaningful at this time of year.

It's sort of a tradition, on the last night in Haiti, to order pizza from Domino's. Yes, there is a Domino's Pizza in Haiti. It's astronomically expensive, but it's there none the less. This time, when we were done eating, I noticed Fabrice walking around the tables and picking up the pizza crusts off of every one's plate. (It's apparently an American thing not to eat the crust.) When he'd finished collecting crusts, he put them on top of a leftover pizza that no one had touched yet. We asked him what he was doing. He informed us that he was taking the pizza back home to his friends. My friend told me that in the six times she's been part of "pizza night" in Haiti, it never once occurred to them to take the left over pizza back to the orphanage. They generally just gave it to the hotel staff.

Thank you, Fabrice, for teaching me about love and generosity and taking care of the ones you love. I'm grateful that you are there to look after Collin when I can't. I'm grateful that, when you come home to live with your incredible forever family, you'll only be down the road where you can continue to be a great example to all of us. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where's The Beef?

When we're in Haiti, we eat at the restaurant located inside (and outside, where I met all of my mosquito buddies) the hotel. It's safer that way. The menu selection isn't huge, but everything I've tried so far, I've enjoyed. I didn't get to try the fried tarot root that my friend Brent ordered, because Collin took it away from me and gobbled it up. He apparently REALLY enjoyed it. Wanna know what else he enjoyed?

Hamburgers. Yep, the restaurant serves hamburgers and french fries. Who knew?
He didn't care much for the bun, the lettuce or the tomato. Nope, this boy wanted meat!

It's a good thing too, since the patties were about the size of his head.

He also liked the french fries. Although mostly because they were a more efficient way of getting the ketchup into his mouth. It's a little sweeter there, I don't know why. My favorite dish so far? Haitian spaghetti. Yummy!! Collin likes that a lot too. Wanna know something he didn't like? Banana's. Go figure...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Show Us Those Pearly Whites!

Now admittedly, I don't know much about how things work in an orphanage. There are somethings that I didn't even think about, like where do you keep enough clothes to take care of 68 kids? I'm sure there's a closet or chest of drawers somewhere, but I didn't notice one when I was there. Other things that I found out accidentally, like how you bathe 68 kids at one time. It involves a little bucket line where they dump water over them, scrub them down and then dump rinse them off. Sounds like fun huh? There are other things that, although they amaze me, I prefer not to spend too much time dwelling on. Like this for example... How do you teach 68 kids how to brush their teeth? Where do you keep 68 toothbrushes? And how do you keep them all separate? Yeah, let's stop thinking about that shall we? One way or another, they apparently do. This is Collin and Nathan as I was unpacking. Collin grabbed my water bottle, and proceeded to show me how to brush his teeth.
Luckily, the concept of turning the water bottle upside down to get the water out, has so far escaped him!

Every morning (and some nights, when he wasn't too sleepy; hey, cut me some slack, I'm still new at this) we went through the process of brushing his teeth. Twice. The first time so he could eat the toothpaste, and the second time so we could actually brush his teeth. Even got the top ones, sort of, after a semi-ridiculous game of charades to get him to open his mouth...

We did a pretty good job, don't ya think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Collin Update

I got an update on Collin this week. It's pretty much a recap of things I already knew since I'd just been to see him, but since this is someday going to serve as Collin's baby book, I thought I'd post it anyway.

I know, he looks thrilled doesn't he? There's actually a story behind it. The picture was taken while he was sitting on my lap. Chareyl was trying to make him laugh, he was not only completely uninterested, he decided that she was getting too close to his momma. He had a tendency to swat at anyone who threatened the "mommy, baby bubble". Here's what we know:

Report of the month: Oct. 2009
Name of the child: Olivier Danial
Date of birth: Dec. 25, 2007 (This is new, apparently I have a Christmas baby!)

Physical Development:
Height: 31 inches Weight: 18 pounds
Head circumference: 18 inches
(Date Measurements Taken: 10/21/2009)

Up-date: Olivier was in Catholic care before the parent trip because he had not
been feeling well, he did great at the clinic and was doing great when his mom arrived in Haiti. Olivier is quite the little mommy’s boy so it is a good thing she was able to visit him on the trip. Olivier is developing well, does age appropriate activities. At this time he shows no sign of serious illness.

File Process: File in Haiti waiting submission to IBSER.
Tia was able to sign the log book with civil court while on the parent trip October 22, 2009 she also was able to give copies of her passport showing entrance into Haiti to visit her son.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sweet Dreams

One of the things I love most about my son (Hmm, I wonder how long it will take to get used to saying that) is that he is so cuddly. I'm told that he's been that way since he was born. Collin has been at the orphanage since he was about a month old.
One night during our last visit, Collin woke up at about 2:00 in the morning. Now I can't imagine that much happens when you wake up in the middle of the night in an orphanage. Especially in an orphanage with 68 other kids. I was curious to see what he would do, and if there was a particular way he comforted himself. Side note... if you know me, you know that my emotions, ALL of them, are in some way attached to my tear ducts, keep that in mind while I share the next part of the story. I could see Collin sit up next me in the bed and look around him. Then I felt his little hand pat my cheek. Bring on the water works. I did manage to whisper "Mommy's right here" before the flood started. With that, Collin crawled back onto my chest, nestled his head into my throat and went back to sleep. Being a mommy is AWESOME!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've Turned My Son Into A Fruit Loops Junkie

I can just see the "Mother of the Year Award" now. Collin has never had fruit loops before. I knew we were going to church while we were there and he's never sat through that before either. I thought it would be a good idea. After the first block of meetings, I tried to put the lid on the fruit loops so we could go to the next set of meetings. And apparently, that's where I went wrong. Five very loud minutes later Brent, Lori, Brent's mom and I took a screaming, fit throwing Collin (I had given the fruit loops back because of that whole "why would you take food away from a starving orphan?" argument, but apparently the damage had been done) Jess and Nate and walked back to the hotel. At least he's got some fight in him right? That will come in handy during the foreseeable future while I'm trying to get him home. :) For the next five days, the second thing he would do everytime he woke up (the first was to snuggle with mommy, LOVED THAT!!!) was to point to the shelf the fruit loops were on and look at me with his big brown puppy dog eyes. Did I give in? You be the judge...

I know, I know, but seriously, could you say no to this face??

I rest my case.