31 January 2009

Our Sick Little One

Don't you hate it when kids get sick?

I do, especially when they can't tell you what is wrong... exactly where it hurts...

Please pray for our little Mary Michelle. She has a severe cold, that developed into croup, and now has such thick congestion that she is having a hard time clearing it out of her throat and upper respiratory passages, so much so that we had to take her in to the clinic on Friday night due to her difficulty breathing.

We'd already been to the doctor earlier in the week, and had her on some medications for the croup. Last night they added respiratory therapy which consists of massaging and tapping on her chest and backc to loosen secretions, stimulate the respiratory system in general and cause coughing, plus having her on oxygen for a period of time.

This therapy started last night, and after about 2 hours we were able to return home to try and get some sleep. Then we were back at the clinic for another session first thing this morning (in fact, I picked up the therapist - who is blind and went to French School here in Niamey as a child - to ensure that he'd be able to get to the clinic for her treatment), and will return again this evening as well as having two more sessions tomorrow. At that point, her doctor will re-evaluate depending on how she is doing.

Frankly, we don't mind sharing that this is all quite scary and much more than a little exhausting. No matter how many kids you have, it is frightening to see them not doing well... If we were in the States, she would probably have been hospitalized last night... and then we'd be trusting in the medical system to make our baby better, and I know would feel confident that modern technology and science would soon have our baby back to good health.

Under these present circumstances, we are hoping and praying that this combination of a traditional therapy with oxygen and a few medications added in will do the trick and do so as rapidly as possible. But it makes me realize all the more just how dependant on the Lord we really are, especially in those moments when Mary is struggling to breathe, for every single breath we take. Why is that so easy to forget...?

We are encouraged to say that after her second therapy session, her breathing rate has slowed some, she was able to take deeper breaths, and she seems to be struggling a little less. She is still very congested and she continues to have a difficult time coughing that out because of how thick it is and how tired and weak she is. But we are praying for this same sort of improvement after each of the three additional sessions presently scheduled.

Please pray with us.

29 January 2009

Quotable Quotes from the Jon-man *GRIN*

When Jonathan woke up the other day, he was fever free for the first time in 5 days, so I asked him how he was feeling.

He looked up at me, grinned, patted himself down, and said...

"I feel just fine, Mama!"

27 January 2009

Home Sweet Home

Finally... Thursday, January 22 arrived... the day we were scheduled to fly back home to Niger and the rest of our family... but that day didn't start off too well. In the few days before, Jonathan, Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle all began to get sick. At first, it was just head colds, but Elsie's progressed into a fairly bad case of croup and I had spent most of the night using steam and holding her head up so that she could breathe... wondering if she was too sick to get on a plane for 8 hours and fly half way around the world. So we called her doctor first thing Thursday morning and they felt she needed to be seen. Fortunately, after a thorough check up and two different prescriptions, we were given the OK to go ahead and make the trip instead of postponing until the next week.

While Gampy and Uncle Rich loaded the van with our 9 pieces of luggage, we bundled the kids up in their removable layers (since we were going from a Michigan winter to the Sahara Desert), gave hugs and kisses goodbye to the aunts, uncles and cousins and then departed for the airport.

While I was greatly looking forward to getting home, I was dreading the getting there part. After all, I was traveling with three small ones, our full quota of allowable luggage with no time to waste in Paris to make our connection... So I'd been asking many - family, friends, our churches - to please pray for us on Thursday and Friday as we made our voyage. Surely, we felt God's presence all along the way with us, and sensed the power and grace granted as a result of those prayers.

We had bulkhead seats on both flights (for anyone who has traveled with a lap child, that bassinette in the wall in front of you is a huge blessing... it was so nice to be able to lay the little peanut there... especially at meal time with a 4 year old and a 2 year old on each side, trying to navigate an airplane meal... or when both littles decided at the same time that they needed to use the bathroom). The stewards and stewardesses with Air France were incredibly kind, gracious and helpful - anticipating needs, chatting with the kids to help them feel comfortable and accomodating whenever they could. They even stuffed a large bottle of water and several sweet cakes into my backpack for the kids to eat/drink while we waited for our next flight. Since my wallet "disappeared" somewhere after security in the Detroit airport (I almost panicked when I realized we were traveling with NO money or credit cards), I was thankful... and I didn't even have to ask.

As we exited the plane in Paris, I was surprised to be met by an Air France employee who escorted us from our arrival gate, through security (where we received priority attention) all the way to our departure gate. He pushed one of the strollers and carried one of our bags the whole way, and didn't leave until he'd pointed out the bathrooms and seen that we were settled into our seats to await the next flight. God was certainly taking care of us!

Since I'd been up all night, I laid down to close my eyes for a few minutes... while Rebekah held the baby and Jon and Elsie sat in their strollers and played with the toys in their carry ons. Rebekah woke me up 45 minutes later - they'd called for our flight to board! Just about that time, the mother of one of our missionary friends, who was also on the flight, showed up and helped us navigate everything onto the plane... and kept prompting the flight attendants to make sure all of our needs were being met. :-)

Arriving in Niamey, once again the flight attendants and airport staff were incredibly helpful, helping to carry bags and just woken up children down the steep stairs used to exit the plane. On the bus ride from the plane to the airport, a kind gentleman offered to help get the kids into the immigration department, even reading passport and visa/residence permit numbers while I filled out the immigration paperwork for all 5 of us.

Safana, our houseworker, had persuaded the security folks to allow her to come back into the airport to help us (normally everyone has to wait outside), and the airport staff enjoyed observing the kids' delighted reactions at seeing one of our favorite persons! By the time we had cleared immigration, our porter had already collected all of our luggage (same guy we always use, so he knows us and even recognizes our luggage tags!), waved at the customs officials as they oohed and awww-ed over Mary's full head of silvery blonde hair (I did have to convince one of the ladies that if she really wanted to keep Mary, she'd have to come and talk with Mary's daddy first, since he'd never yet met his baby), and walked out of the airport to see the rest of the family.

So, all of that to say - Thank you to the Lord for providing us with a "so much better than I ever could have dreamed or imagined" trip! And thanks to so many of you who remembered to pray for us. We surely felt the power of those prayers. We are so thankful to be back together - it has been delightful to let everyone meet Mary Michelle, to hear our gang exchanging stories and experiences of the past 3 months... even to hear them fussing at each other again.

And... after having shoveled snow almost every 3-4 days for the past 8 weeks, I'm delighted to announce that I'm happily back to the full time job of keeping the Sahara Desert from moving into my house!

16 January 2009

~ School Picture Day ~

Guess which ones are our kids... and is it too obvious that their mother wasn't around to help pick out their clothes or do their hair?

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies ~

One cold wintry morning, Rebekah and Jonathan were wanting something to do, so I sent them to the kitchen to make cookies ~ and then documented their adventure in the kitchen just for fun... and per the request of their "baaba" in Niger.

And here, we see Mary Michelle's contribution to the kitchen activities ~

14 January 2009

Wordless (but not soundless) Wednesday - Gimpses of a Christmas Program

Before you try to watch the video, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the sidebar and pause the music in the playlist.


My sister and her family were over visiting last night, when my brother-in-law asked if we'd mind listening to a message given to youth that he'd heard on Sermon Audio. The title definitely catches your attention:

If you have about an hour, it is worth the listen. Click on the title to follow the link.

08 January 2009

Amazing Trivia ~

Well, it definitely doesn't qualify as "amazing..." but... borrowed this from Jenni at One Thing (who "lifted this from Mama Hen over at Long days, Short years"). I, too, thought it looked like fun and, more importantly, required very little effort - and thought maybe I'd be able to convince Tim to participate. We'll see about that! Please feel free to copy it... and let us know... we want to read what you've been up to, too!

Just boldface (I italicized, too) the items that you HAVE done, and leave the rest normal….

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (Can you outgive God??? - I don't like this question, either...)
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped - and don't ever plan on it.
12. Visited Paris (I guess flying through several times doesn't really count as a visit, eh?)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - very unfortunately
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (Can moms take sick days even when they are ill?)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (if getting around the bases on errors counts...)
32. Been on a cruise (but only on rivers and lakes - not a big ocean liner type cruise)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught (teaching, to be more precise) yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa, & live there, too.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China (I sooooo want to... some day.)
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60 Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (delivered them once, but have never actually sold them myself)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving - another one of those things I have no desire to even think about doing.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar - YUCK!!!
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (ew!)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (lol)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sweet "Study" in Siblings (at least SOME of them)...

Aren't they sweet?
~And, just in case you were curious and wanted to know~
Mary Michelle Elysabeth
is 5 weeks and 2 days old.
She weighs 9 pounds, 6 ounces
and is 21 inches long.
She's doing well!

06 January 2009

Long Awaited Photos from Jonathan's Birthday~

This is two years in a row that Jonathan has chosen a "cars" theme for his birthday - our little guy loves matchbox cars, trucks, trains... and is teaching Elsie Mae to love them, too! What a BOY!!!


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