31 May 2007

big accomplishment

This morning mommy tackled her first non-afro hairstyle. Previously the neighbors had braided Patience's hair, and mommy fixed a few braids as they came loose. This hairstyle is 100% mommy's handiwork for better or worse. Not including breaks, it took between 1 and 1.5 hours, but that's not too bad for a first try at box twists on a squirmy little one. It's so hard to style her soft, short hair. There is much room for improvement, but it's not too bad (if I do say so myself).

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recent photos

Here are a few random pictures from the last month of our lives.

Our first trip to a playground.

Garty revealing the true narcissist within.

Spinning around at Gram's house with their new cousins.

Hanging out.
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25 May 2007

hooray for hepatitis

2 months ago, we never thought we'd be excited to learn that Peter has Hepatitis A. However, when the doctor called today, we were absolutely thrilled to hear that he doesn't have anything more serious. We were starting to fear the worst. We have always chosen not to get the Hep A vaccine despite our travels in the developing world. We knew it was a risk, but we were willing to take it. When we picked up Garty, he had Hep A (unknown to us at the time). As sanitary conditions weren't optimal in Liberia, we must have contracted it from changing his diapers. I say we because when I got sick last week I had all the textbook symptoms of Hep A. I never went in for a blood test, but we were pretty sure I had it. Now we're positive I do. Peter just has it worse.

Why is Hep good news? With 2 trips to Africa in a month, it's one of the least scary things to get. Hep A almost never has any complications or long term effects. Like the flu, there's nothing that can be done about it except to wait it out. Today the doctor said no Tylenol, no alcohol, and no fried or very fatty foods until our livers have completely healed in 6 weeks or so. That's really not too tough to follow. The other reason we're happy is that it's highly unlikely that we could have passed this on to anyone outside our family. We love you all and were worried about having something unpleasant to share with you. The good thing about Hep is that we could only give it to you "when an infected person does not thoroughly wash his/her hands after going to the bathroom." Shouldn't be any worries there. We've been washing and disinfecting like maniacs since we brought our cute babies home... just in case. Most sources say that it's almost never spread through casual contact (i.e. office, church, etc.) I even have gloves for the few occasions when I'm touching other people's food... just in case. Although you're most contagious 2 weeks before your symptoms appear, which means we're both long past that point now.

So please thank God with us that Hep is the worst news we received. Peter really turned a corner today. He hasn't vomited for over 24 hours. Hopefully we'll both be up and about soon. There are so many of you we still want to see. However, we won't be offended if you're scared of us for a while and don't want to see us yet.

check out Dateline

It probably won't shock anyone to hear that we're passionate about making a difference in the lives of orphans. We just received an email from a friend who told us that Dateline NBC will be sharing an our long special about 3 sets of twins that were once separated in different Russian orphanages. Now they are in the US with their forever family. You can check out the story "From Russia with Love" this Sunday, May 27 at 7pm. More details are available here. If you're really inspired by the story and live fairly close to us, there are a few Russian orphans coming this summer who still need host families who are either interested in the possibility of adoption or willing to introduce them to potential adoptive families.

24 May 2007

bits of news

The most exciting news at our house is that after waking up at 5:20am to use the bathroom, Joshua fell back to sleep (with me on the floor beside him). Then they all slept until 8:45am!! As I was lying half awake on the floor hoping they'd play in bed for another hour, the church bells down the street struck 9. I was sure it was an error or I was only dreaming.

No word yet on Peter's bloodwork. Please pray with us that it comes back Friday so we're not stuck waiting until Tuesday. He's still in really bad shape and getting progressively weaker. Although after eating nothing but 2 pieces of bread and 2 bananas since Monday, today he decided that he really wanted a Subway roasted chicken sub. It's been in his stomach for almost 3 hours now, so we're pretty happy.

My mom spent the day cleaning and helping with the kids so I could run some necessary and long overdue errands. This was by far my busiest day since I got sick on Mother's Day. We'll see if I'm really doing better or if I pay for my ambition tomorrow. On a positive note, I ate more today than I ate the past 3 days combined. I hate to see my wonderful diet end, but I'm tired of feeling sick whenever I open the fridge.

While Joshua and Patience were playing, Joshua said it was time for prayers. They held hands, closed their eyes, and Joshua prayed, "Thanks for good food. Papa sick. Mama sick. Amen." That pretty much sums up the theme at our house. Our poor kids don't have one fully functioning parent between them, but their attitudes and behavior have risen to the occasion. This weekend they're going to meet some of my relatives as well as meeting all their Bowersox aunts, uncles, and cousins for the first time. It should be a fun time after a pretty strenuous 2 weeks.

23 May 2007

health update

Well, Peter's sick now. He's been ill for a few days and getting progressively worse with vomiting. He's headed to the doctor at 4:30 to see what's going on. We're not sure if it's the same thing as I have or if he picked up something else on one of his 2 trips to Africa. I'm doing much better, although my appetite and energy level are still almost nonexistent. Evidently they may not come back for a while. (It's a great diet plan. I lost 4 lbs in a week without vomiting!) Garty's bloodwork was encouraging. We're headed to a specialist at St. Christopher's next week (8:30am on a weekday in the city... yuck!) to see if there are any long term concerns. We appreciate your prayers for all of us, especially Peter as he is really miserable. Having been equally miserable last week, I want desperately to be able to fix everything for him. On the up side, the kids have been unbelievably well behaved over the past week and a half of having only partially functional parents. I almost always doze off during Garty's nap times, and the older 2 just play around me. On 2 occasions I woke up to a (frighteningly) quiet house and discovered that they had curled up and fallen asleep as well! The house is still standing, and my mom is coming tomorrow afternoon to clean and make it livable again. So that's life 6 weeks after becoming a family of 5. We have some cute new pictures to share as soon as one of us sitting up for any length of time.

19 May 2007


Every victory with the kids seems to be matched with a behavioral setback, but overall the momentum is moving us forward. Here are some exciting recent milestones at our house (at least for us). * Garty has been crawling in earnest for over a week now. He didn't mess around. When he decided he wanted to move, he was immediately moving at high speed. He'll often get up on both legs and do a bear walk through the house, as if to say, "Crawling is a waste of my time, but I haven't totally figured out the walking thing yet. * Joshua and Patience have both said "I love you" to mommy and daddy a few times. We get lots of kisses. * Garty finally put an O in his own mouth this week at the dinner table! After much clapping and carrying on from us, he decided it was worth the show to keep working at it. He won't put anything else in yet, but he shovels in the O's now. * Joshua will now go upstairs alone to use the bathroom. The two oldest together will stay in a room and play while we go to other parts of the house. Mommy can even take a shower alone when Garty is napping! * We finally found a routine that has the older kids sleeping until 7am almost all the time. Later would be nice, but this is a huge victory for now! * So that's all the excitement in our world. Oh, how times have changed!

16 May 2007

mommy might make it

We're cautiously optimistic that Peter will not have to quit working at Worldlink to care for the kids. I still have a low grade fever and an annoying and somewhat painful cough, but most of my other symptoms have disappeared. Because Peter was off on Monday after being away last week and my mom came Tuesday afternoon so I could take a nap, today was a pretty exhausting day of being "on" nonstop. Every time I tried to lay down for a few minutes to rest on the couch, something would happen that required my attention. So I'm about to crash, but we wanted to let you know that we appreciate your prayers for the health of our family. It will be a while until we know anything about Garty, but we're happy I'm 80% functional again.

15 May 2007


Did we mention that Joshua and Patience are weird... really weird? Once or twice a day they get wound up and do this crazy routine that they find incredibly hilarious. We haven't caught it on video yet, but here are a few quick photos from yesterday's weirdness.

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14 May 2007

health concerns

I know many are waiting for pictures and fun updates about the kids, so I hate to be a downer. However, we could really use your prayers around here. We will be taking Garty for follow up blood tests on Wednesday to see if he might have some chronic health concerns. It's all vague enough at this point that we don't want to talk about details, but please pray for him. Also, I (Becky) came down with a fever and chills yesterday afternoon along with extreme exhaustion (Happy First Mother's Day to me). I had a bit of an upset stomach yesterday, but that hasn't been a problem today. (I have lost my appetite though, which should frighten anyone who knows me well!!) My temperature is slowly climbing... currently 102.3, and I've developed a bit of a cough. Normally we would assume that I have the flu or some kind of bug from the shere exhaustion of caring for the kids while Peter was away, but these are also classic signs of malaria. We faithfully took our meds in Liberia, but that's no guarantee. Unfortunately, malaria often goes undiagnosed until it's really severe and potentially life threatening because the symptoms line up with a ton of other illnesses. Sorry to babble on, but the point is please pray that whatever is wrong will be diagnosed and clear up quickly. I'd selfishly appreciate prayers that it clears up between now and when I get to the doctor for a blood test because I'm incredibly, irrationally phobic about needles, and I'd like to avoid getting stuck. And if you've seen us recently, don't panic. You can't get malaria from hanging out with me.

I'll leave you with the highlight of my Mother's Day. I'm supposed to say it was Peter's incredibly sweet effort to give me a full day off without worrying about the kids. I did appreciate that SOOOOO much, but the real highlight was when I was sitting on the floor feeling miserable and watching the kids play with the kitchen set our friend graciously handed down to us. They were being very imaginative and realistic as they pulled food in and out of the oven when Joshua said, "My baby's crying," and then proceeded to reach into the microwave and pull out the baby. Who would have thought that hanging out in a microwave would be upsetting to a child?!

09 May 2007

news from Uganda

Peter is enjoying the conference he is participating in over in Uganda and the opportunity to meet some wonderful folks from Africa and the US. Unfortunately, he has missed big chunks of the conference sessions because he has been having intestinal unpleasantness... enough said. It started last Saturday when he was packing to leave, so it isn't travel related. He would really appreciate your prayers for his health because tomorrow he is participating in a panel discussion during one session and then leading a workshop for 100+ people in the afternoon. By the time you read this, he might already be finished since Uganda is 7 hrs ahead of Eastern time, but I'm sure God would consider your belated prayers anyway. Please pray that he is healthy enough to make it through his entire presentation and that he will communicate clearly and effectively. Friday he will be spending the day with some of Worldlink's partners and then departing at 10pm to arrive home on Saturday.

07 May 2007

traumatic day

Today started off really well. Joshua and Patience went to Trader Joe's with me while my mom watched Garty at home. Having never been to a grocery store before, they were completely enthralled. Joshua pushed the cart and helped unload at the checkout while Patience wandered behind.

This afternoon was a different experience entirely. The older 2 kids had their first pediatrician appointments, and Garty needed to have blood drawn. My mom took Garty into the lab for his bloodwork while I chased Joshua down the hall when he decided to run away. He screamed as if being tortured for several minutes when I caught him. He finally decided to stop screaming and get undressed to be weighed when he saw how much fun Patience was having with the nurse. Meanwhile, I could hear Garty wailing. They couldn't find a vein, and they ended up needing 3 people (my mom, nurse, and doctor) to keep him still and draw enough blood. When it was over, Garty recovered pretty quickly and went home for his nap. Joshua and Patience behaved pretty well during their exams. Then the doctor left for a while and Joshua decided he really didn't want to stay for anything else. When the nurse came in to give vaccinations, Joshua freaked out. I had to use my body weight to hold him down while the nurse held his legs for 4 shots. He screamed terrible screams like I've never heard before and was crying for Peter. His screams got Patience screaming, so she was a mess before her turn even came. When it was all over, I was able to calm Patience fairly quickly, but Joshua continued to scream for 10-15 minutes. I just held him and rocked him to try to calm him. I finally got him dressed. We took a bathroom break and then went to the lab for bloodwork. This experience was also traumatic, but the kids actually handled it much better than the vaccinations. Joshua ended up getting poked 3 times because they couldn't get a vein. They got Patience on the first try after feeling her arms for a while, but they weren't able to get as much as they needed for all the tests they're going to run. They're hoping the lab will make it work so we don't have to do it again. Oh, and did I mention that I'm irrationally paranoid about needles? On a positive note, the kids got a ton of stickers due to the extended ordeal. Joshua came home with 8 stickers plastered all over his face.

For the rest of the day, the kids were really clingy and fussy and limping from the pain (real or imagined) in their legs. Joshua made it clear that he never wants to go to the doctor again. A lot of the behavoir they displayed tonight was reminiscent of the first 2 weeks we were together. I think the whole experience must have them feeling insecure again. We cuddled a lot before bed, and I'm hoping we all wake up better tomorrow. My arms are sooo sore from holding them through all their struggling. I'm hoping that's a reflection on how hard they fought and not how out of shape I am.

We'd appreciate your prayers this week as we deal with Papa being away. Other than today's fiasco, the kids seem to be handling the separation alright. The older 2 have been having some problems wetting themselves. It may be a random coincidence or it may be related to Peter's departure. It's a fairly common problem with kids who are frightened in these kinds of new circumstances, but I'm hoping it's nothing to be concerned about. Please also pray for Peter in Uganda. I'll try to post tomorrow about his trip. I'm pretty worn out at this point and don't have the energy to do it.

06 May 2007

very full week

We haven't had much energy for blog posts or anything else recently, so here's a quick summary of the past few days.

Wednesday evening we (meaning Becky) decided that we missed Rita's free ice day as well as Ben & Jerry's free cone day, but we were not going to miss Baskin Robbins' 31 cent scoop day. We ate a quick dinner and headed out for the kids' first taste of ice cream. As we suspected (and secretly hoped), they weren't too fond of ice cream because "it's coooold!" Patience ate half a scoop, but Joshua turned his over to us pretty quickly. Garty never tasted his. We just wanted an extra cheap scoop. As a bonus, the fire company had a truck there, and the kids got to climb behind the wheel and "drive." This was extremely exciting for one little boy who is obsessed with all vehicles.

Thursday while Peter was at work the rest of us ventured out to our friend Michelle's house for a few hours. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea when she invited us, but I'm glad we went. Michelle is also an adoptive mom, so it was nice to hang out with someone who has been there and done that.

Friday we went to Worldlink to have a picnic lunch with Daddy. We managed to distract a good portion of the staff of the company that hosts our offices. The kids have no concept of a job, but they were excited to see where Peter works.

Saturday we drove Peter to the airport and sent him off to Uganda for his conference. He will be returning next Saturday. We all hope he'll still have a sane wife at that point. So far the kids are handling it alright.

Today we stayed home and were visited by Grandpop, Grandmom, Uncle Phil, and Aunt Meg. Grandmom was brave enough to spend the night and stay through tomorrow. She'll probably sleep really well tonight.

02 May 2007


Here are a few favorite pictures from our 2 weeks in Liberia.

favorite Liberia pics

01 May 2007

a day in the life

Today Garty had his first visit to the pediatrician. 2 hours after our arrival, Mommy checked out wondering how she will survive numerous other visits over the next month. The only concern was that his liver and spleen were larger than normal, so he will need an ultrasound of his abdomen in addition to his kidney ultrasound and another test that we'll be scheduling as a follow up to his problems last fall. Please pray that nothing serious is going on in his big belly. Of course, we still need to do bloodwork and stool sample testing as well. Daddy is the lucky winner of 6 little vials that need to be filled by our 3 kiddos and returned to the doctor on Monday when Joshua and Patience get checked out. Mommy isn't sure what she'll have to do to balance out this deal, but she really doesn't care as long as she can avoid that job.

On the way home from the doctor, Joshua announced that he wants to drive the car. An explanation of traffic laws was insufficient, and he seems committed to pursuing his first joy ride. We're considering better places to store our car keys.