Friday, July 22, 2011


"The cheapest place I have found to get wipes is Target," she says, giving me the 'new Mom' tip.

"Noted," I reply.

We are sitting at the kitchen table. We are hoping that certain sleeping people in the next rooms are really sleeping, soundly sleeping, no catnaps. We are both tired and we could both use a break. A good long nap would be nice--for everyone.

I tiptoe to the first bedroom door and peek in, holding my breath as if my babies can hear the rush of air into my lungs. I listen for the telltale deep breathing of sleep, I watch their chests rise and fall. Yes! They are asleep.

I tiptoe to the next bedroom door and peek in, still holding my breath.

Ahhh, again the sweet deep breathing of true sleep.

Naps, it seem, are going well.

The thing is, I am talking to my mother about wipes, the ones she uses for my father.
I am peeking in on my own babies but also my own father, who is 'down' for a nap.

It is surreal.
It is cruel.
The life cycle coming full circle, my father so much like a baby now.

I return to the table and tell my mother that yes, they are all sleeping. We can take a much needed rest.

I don't think she ever imagined she would be sharing shopping tips for things like wipes with her daughter. I know I never imagined it.

But it is what it is.

We took the babies home so that I could get my precious photo of them small, with my Dad.
He barely noticed them.
He certainly didn't want to have them lay next to him, he certainly didn't take note of their coos, of their tiny hands reaching for him.
He maintained his classic blank stare and then asked for an orange.

But I'm glad I took them home. I did it for me.

Life can be so strange, I often wonder what might be next.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Uh oh.

Well, it seems Mr. MTL brought something extra back from Ethiopia.


Yikes. We'll have it confirmed but he's already started on treatment, which isn't a big deal (simple treatment) but he feels pretty crummy.

See, it's 102 degrees here but this afternoon he was piling on the layers. I said "That's it! To the doctor!" He thought his fevers were just lingering from all the crud we've all had. My fevers stopped two days ago for the most part but his kept coming back.

Malaria is not endemic in Addis so it isn't common to get it there, nor is it required to take anti-malaria drugs prior to traveling there. But another couple who were there during our first court trip also came home with malaria so it isn't impossible.

Today, Mr. MTL had to leave us (!) for three whole long hours, which marked the first time I'd really been alone with them since getting home. And it was hard. Hard hard hard. It seems I don't have enough hands, which I forsee is going to be a big problem in three weeks when Mr. MTL is back at work for good.

But we all survived and somehow everyone was fed, we played outside in the baby pool, diapers were changed, and yes, there were some cranky babies here and there because if there's one thing a baby doesn't understand it's "Just a minute, I'll get to you right after I tend to your brother/sister." Yeah, they're not quite getting that phrase yet.

So send us good vibes from quick healing, and yes, that is mostly a very selfish request on my part so I don't lose my right hand for very long :) But I'd like him to feel better, too!

PS To the anonymous commenter who gave me advice about the rockers...those are Eames rockers! As in, classic nursery rockers since 1948, so hardly a 'trend.' They are uber comfortable and we love rocking the babies in them. So no, I won't be getting some clunky wooden rocker or, heaven forbid, a glider rocker. Our Eames rockers rock, plain and simple.

PPS No offense if you like clunky wooden rockers or glider rockers, but they're just not my style.

PPSS I am sorry I am not commenting. I am trying to read your blogs. I am with you in spirit. I am mostly reading blogs on my Iphone in between everything else and while I think Iphones are a brilliant invention, they are not comment friendly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This post brought to you by Diet Coke.

Ahhh, Diet Coke. Sweet elixir of life, especially right now. I'm not a coffee drinker but I do find I need a little Diet Coke. Or a lot of Diet Coke. Can someone please define what a lot of Diet Coke would be?

We have been to the pediatrician's three times in seven days. I'm very thankful that our clinic has a weekend sick clinic as we have visited it twice. Our son ruptured his eardrum. His fever was nearly 104. I was a wee bit panicked and luckily have a best friend who is a pediatric nurse and calmly told me exactly what to do. Whew. At any rate, sick babies are tough. Sick babies are tougher when you are sick. Seriously, I had a fever for two days. And I never, ever get sick! My sister said: correction, you used to never get sick. Ha.

The babies are lovely. We go out in the Bob Stroller every day--not to jog but to walk, but soon, soon we will be running. But with both adults sick we decided to give our babies some rest. And really? Who would think having babies would be the easiest diet I've ever been on...down about 7 pounds since we left for Ethiopia and none of our illnesses were GI related. I think it's the "I never sit down anymore" effect. I'm sure it will pile back on when I'm more in my groove instead of frantically running from room to room trying to get everything done. And while many have given us the advice of letting housework go by the wayside right now, I just cannot. I need to clean. So I keep cleaning as soon as they're asleep or playing with the mister, etc. etc. I must say that our house looks like a small preschool because of having two of everything--something we swore would never happen.

But I am not complaining.

I just need some more Diet Coke.

Enjoy the picture!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

At last.

We are here. We are surviving. A couple of days ago I would have written the words: barely surviving, but each day is getting better. Warning: this post will contain some complaints about the rigors of taking care of two infants. And like most IFers who cross over (however they do) I feel some serious guilt ever letting out a complaint here. However, in a nutshell:

The sixteen hour international flight was nothing short of the most excruciating experience of my life. It was my labor and delivery for sure, unmedicated all the way. You see, we stupidly expected to board the flight with two bassinets reserved which would allow the babies to have a real place to sleep, which in turn would give us a chance to sleep.

No such luck. Despite getting to the airport over three hours prior to our departure as instructed, the bassinets were already all taken. At this point we proceeded to tell the ticket agent to reconsider and change his answer. Ha ha. Which meant we boarded that sixteen hour flight with two sick infants with nothing to do but hold them the whole time. And they screamed. And they thrashed. And they were miserable. And I cried within ten minutes of taking my seat. I think I have some post traumatic stress related to the flight.

Our stopover in DC was only moderately better because, despite being extremely tired, the babies wouldn't sleep in the hotel room. I cried some more. So did DH.

When our DC to Austin flight was delayed we all freaked out a little more, and yup, more crying. It was the last flight to Austin and there was no way we weren't going to be on it. DH had me calling our travel agent and he promised to "pay whatever it takes to get home tonight"...I think he would have chartered a private jet at that point. Luckily the flight made and although it was overbooked we made it on board and landed in our hometown.... only to discover that DH's parents (who had our car with our carseats) were stuck in a horrible traffic snarl outside the airport. I had actually seen the lights and sirens from the air as we landed. They hadn't moved an inch in over an hour. So we made a camp on the dirty airport floor and waited some more.

Oi vey.

We made it to our first night in our own home at 1:00 am and proceeded to sleep 3 hours. Which made our grand total of sleep about 3 hours 25 minutes in three days.

Yes I know sleep deprivation is part of the deal. But suffice it to say we were overwhelmed. There were tears. There were moments of sheer panic, dread, and fear.

And then.

My dear sweet Pablo dog took a turn for the worse. He has been in kidney failure for a while, he is quite old, and we knew the end was near. But yet he persisted.

He is the only living creature besides DH who knew the depth of my IF pain. He patiently sat with me while I sobbed so many times, he gave me little nudges and licks but mostly he was just there, abiding with me in my darkest moments.

I'd like to think he held on just in time to see the human babies make an appearance in our lives before he finally felt he could let go and have a sweet release from this life. I loved him like a human and he will always, always be my first son, my original boy. But having to say goodbye to him the first day after we arrived home was excruciating and my heart is still broken.

These last few days have been a whirlwind. Every day gets better. I feel like now that one infant would be a breeze. Oh yes. But we are making it, bit by bit, breath by breath, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute. They are starting to recuperate, we are getting well, too (seriously--I haven't been sick in years, but every single baby in the orphanage was sick so it was inevitable), and we are starting to find a little groove.

I have so much I want to say about our experiences in Ethiopia. About the orphanages. About the donations. About the surreal day I clutched my baby girl to my chest as DH clutched our baby boy to his in the back of a very old Toyota (there are no car seats in Ethiopia) as we made our way on the muddied, nearly washed out roads towards the US Embassy, where we raised our right hands and talked through glass on a little phone to an anonymous worker on the other side, and in five minutes they were ours....I want to talk about it all but for now, I will just leave you with a few photos for your viewing pleasure:

First pedi visit, my Mom came to help for the day (in case you're wondering who is behind the stroller)
Bob Stroller. No, we haven't used it, besides strolling in the house (it's over 100 degrees here) but check out my daughter's evil glowing eyes!
View from the top, bath time togetherness!
My sweet boy Pablo, in his healthier days.