Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Move over Rudolph

There's a new reindeer in town!

Isa took her first stroller ride yesterday and needed to be snuggly warm. And, of course, all the fashionable babies this season are wearing fuzzy reindeer suits!

Another good night of sleep with 6+ hours in the first stretch. For the last couple days, she's taken a nap at 7 a.m. (we're up no later than 5:30- blech!), so I got to shower this morning without an audience and even got to blow dry my hair. It was wonderful.

Today my friend Catherine came over with baby E, who is only 3 months old but about the same size as Isa. We went down the hill and had lunch. Isa had just been fed before we left and that, in combo with all the new and interesting things to look at, meant she sat happily on my lap for the entire time. In Ethiopia, Mom and I had to take shifts eating because Isa hated to be sitting down. One person ate their salad while the other walked around the living room with Isa, then we switched so the other could eat and so on for each course. Glad that the trend hasn't continued now that we're home!

I must admit that I'm getting to be rather good at One-Armed Mom manuevers. I've learned that it's easiest to set up the bottle ahead of time- i.e., scoop out the formula into the bottle ahead of time so that all is needed is the water and a good shake- but in a pinch, I can make an entire bottle from scratch while holding a crying baby on my hip. Scooping out the formula is the trickiest part and I will admit to a fair bit of formula that landed on the counter rather than in the bottle.... Darn bottles with their narrow necks. I'm pretty sure that Dr. Brown is a man and never had to actually scoop the formula into his clever little bubble-reducing bottles!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Life with Isa B

Sorry for the delay in posting. Not surprisingly, life has been interesting since we got home on Wednesday afternoon!

When we checked Isa out for good on Monday the Toukoul doctor said she'd had a high fever and was vomiting over the weekend. That explained why she was so sluggish the first couple days that we visited. The baby we saw on Monday was entirely different- active and happy, smiling at everything.

As you can see from the pictures, she likes to stick her little tongue out. She also LOVES the bunny that Auntie MoMo got her. She can spend half an hour lying on her blanket just talking to her bunny!

Isa was such a trooper on the long, long travel back to Seattle. She pretty much slept, woke for a bottle, then slept again for both the 17 hour flight from Addis to Washington D.C. and then again for the 6 hour flight from D.C. to Seattle. The only (minor) glitch was when we boarded the plane in Dulles. Almost as soon as we were seated I could tell that she'd just filled her diaper. Let's just say that her diapers could be quite pungent. We pulled away from the gate and stopped. The pilot announced "sorry folks, we have a sensor problem." All I could think was "No- get the plane in the air so I can get my baby back to the bathroom and change her!!!!" Mom was waving around the diaper garbage bags to try and cover the scent. We apologized to the man next to us and luckily he said to go ahead and change her right there.

Honestly, I hit the baby lottery. Isa is just the easiest baby. She sleeps well in her crib, eats well and in between is happy, happy, happy. I'm hoping this isn't just the "honeymoon" period! She is still eating every 3 hours, almost like clockwork, which makes night a bit tiring for me. I somehow avoided any jet lag and feel much more rested than I truly should right now. Could just be the adrenaline of being a new mom.... Thursday we stayed in our jammies all day being slugs. She took a 3 hour nap at 10:30 and a 5 1/2 hour nap at 3 (so did I!). After that, we were in pretty good shape. I've even figured out a routine for getting a shower every morning.

Well, Little Miss has now woken up, so that's the end of this post! :)

The light quality isn't great in this clip, but you can see a little of her fabulous personality. Hope this works......

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Almost Home!

Sorry to be MIA for so long. We didn't have another chance to get to the Internet until now.
Our Embassy visit went well and we actually got the visas earlier than anticipated (they came Friday while Mom and I were away). So, all is set for the babies to come back home.
Mom and I went to Dire Dawa on Friday to see where Isa was born. It was wonderful to get out of Addis for a bit and really see Ethiopia- the countryside and the people. It was a long, hot drive and when we got to Dire Dawa the hotel was less than stellar. We'll give you all details when we get home (since I only bought 15 minutes of Internet time) but it was pretty gross..... Meeting with the SOS EE office in Dire Dawa on Saturday morning was worth the drive and the primitive conditions, though. I was able to see a picture of Isa from when she first came into care at about 2 weeks old. It was very emotional for me to be there- all I could think about was her birthmother and how difficult it must have been to leave this beautiful baby with the hope that someone would take care of her.
That afternoon we went to Harar which is an ancient, walled Muslim city. We were lucky enough to secure a great guide and saw the entire city. We even went through all the markets, which was amazing. Of course, I have lots of pictures to show you all once I'm home. (In response to John's question- no pictures here because I didn't know I'd be able to find high-speed Internet like this, so I didn't bring the cord to load pictures. I promise to post LOADS of pictures when I get home).
We checked Isa out for good this morning. When I dropped her off on Thursday night, she clung to me as I passed her to the nannies. As I drove off, I could hear her wailing! When we got there this morning the nurse said that she cried alot over the last several days. She is much more active than she had been the first couple days. I think she was just withdrawing because of the shock of all the change. She is alot more alert and moving around now. Hopefully she'll be a good sleeper tonight. :)
Porter- we saw your sweetie this morning and got lots of video and some pictures. Isa was mad that I was holding her and promptly threw up all over the nurse! Couldn't get her to laugh on camera, but lots of smiles. She is a doll!!!! Jesi & Joe- your little ones are at Toukoul II, so we are going to try to get over there tomorrow morning to take pictures and video for you guys.
We'll be home Wednesday afternoon. The time here has been amazing, but I must admit I'm looking forward to being home. Lots of details to post once I'm home, but for now, I'll say goodbye!
Katie (and Isa!!!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hello from Addis Ababa

Hello all,
We made it safely. It was a long, long flight but Ethiopian airlines is wonderful. My sinuses decided that it was the right time to become completely stuffed, so my head felt really crummy by the time we got in. Doing better today, but I can definitely feel the change in altitude.
We were late taking off in Dulles, so we got into Addis late. We headed straight to the guesthouse for lunch and unpacking. We met the other family traveling on the same flight and staying at the guesthouse while we were waiting in Dulles. They're very nice and it's comforting to have others with us to talk with, etc.
After a delicious lunch, we headed over to Toukoul to finally meet Isa! They brought in the twins for the other family and they were very cute. A few minutes later the nanny came in with Isa. She is even more beautiful that her pictures. The most gorgeous, huge eyes!!! I started talking to her and smiling right away. Before I even took her from her nanny, she was laughing back at me. :) She's smaller than I had expected, although I think in line with the update information I've gotten along the way. Guess I'm just used to babies like Evan and Elliott! Her legs are starting to get nice and chunky. She is a total dream.
We all hung out with our babies for the next couple hours in the Toukoul visiting room. None of the babies cried or even fussed the entire time! By the end we were all tired from the excitement (and long day of traveling for the adults). All three babies fell asleep and it was tough to keep my eyes open as well.
This morning we met with the lawyer to complete our Embassy paperwork. I'm at the Hilton right now- I confirmed our flight out and am at the business center while the other couple is checking out the spa to book some R&R later in the week. After this, we head over to Toukoul to pick up the babies. All the Grandmas stayed at the guesthouse this morning, so we'll bring the babies back to the Guesthouse for the rest of the day. Hopefully everyone will be just as happy and mellow as they were yesterday. If so, we very well may check Isa out earlier than planned. I'm just not sure that I can continue to give her back each day!!
For Jesi and Porter- I'll ask Melat today about seeing your little ones and hopefully be able to send an email later this week to let you know if/when I do get some updates for you.
Okay, my internet time is about to run out, so love to all!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The last pre-Isa post I'll ever write!

The journey to finally meet Isa B begins tomorrow night!

I think the only thing left to do is pack my clothes/toiletries and get my house in good shape. The donations suitcase is nearly full and Isa's suitcase is DEFINITELY full. I'm pretty sure I grossly overpacked clothing for her, but I like to think that I'm just being prepared. The inside of her suitcase reminds me a line from Steele Magnolias- "It looks like someone threw up Pepto Bismol all over the church." Apparently Isa's colors are also "blush" and "bashful."

I washed bottles last night which was quite a chore. FYI- the Dr. Brown's bottles are wonderful for keeping baby's tummy happy but they are a PAIN to wash! There are 6 pieces to each bottle- the bottle, 2 pieces to the inner air channel thing, a travel disk to keep the bottle from leaking, the screw cap and the nipple. Bah! Who has the time to wash all of that?!?! Or perhaps the problem is the fact that I bought the huge starter pack and went to wash them all at once.... I must admit it was really funny to have a pot of boiling nipples on my stove. Mmmm.. tasty.

Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes! Keep checking the blog while I'm gone. My fabulous sister (now known as Auntie MoMo) is going post updates from emails for me. I hope to hit an internet cafe every few days while we're in Addis Ababa. No pictures until I get home due to the dial-up, so you'll have to wait a bit longer to actually see the cuteness that is my girl. I promise to take as many pictures as possible for those of you waiting for updates on your little ones and send hellos to the folks at Toukoul from those of you who are already home.

Monday, February 4, 2008

T-minus 4 days...

...and counting down!

Packing has begun. Diapers and bottles are in-stock. A few loads of laundry remaining. Carseat installed (although I do need to have it checked by some hunky firefighters, as Porter was so kind to remind me!). I have neighbors lined up to get my mail. Really not much on the to-do list right now, which is lovely.

I somehow, last week, moved past the stress I had been feeling about all of this. (And those of you who know me IRL know just what a stress-ball I was!) The gi-normous to-do list slowly whittled down everyday. I finally was left with things that really didn't NEED to be done prior to leaving. I started the fun tasks, like finishing out her nursery. All of a sudden I realized that I wasn't worried anymore- any anxiety that I was feeling was purely excited anxiousness. I think I'm more shocked than anyone else at just how calm I am right now! Me- calm! 4 days before I leave to meet my daughter! Who'd 'uv thunk it????

Isa's "big brother" Squiggy has yet to get excited about our impending addition. I think he's going to be offended by the new, adorable, noisy little one around the house. I expect a fair bit of kitty pouting. Anyone of you with a cat will know exactly what I mean by that! Of course, the fact that I'll be around during the day very well may offset that annoyance. He's been pretty lonely these last many months with all the hours I've been working. A nap on the couch with me while Isa sleeps may be enough for him to forgive my "lapse in judgement". Well, at least for a little while..... So, here is my furbaby, showing excellent toe-fluffage as his Auntie Mollie forces him to wear his Christmas antlers. Can't you tell how much he loves them?

Did I mention that I leave in 4 days?!?!?!?!?