30 January 2008

for the love of food

This blog is about our family's life and ministry, but I couldn't pass up the chance to share about some free culinary opportunities that are approaching. This Saturday, February 2 Auntie Anne's is celebrating Free Pretzel Day in honor of their 20th birthday. (Does anyone else remember when Auntie Anne's opened and find it impossible to believe that it could have been 20 years ago because you couldn't be old enough to remember anything from that long ago?) You can get a free original or cinnamon sugar pretzel. Cinnamon sugar pretzels aren't raspberry tarts fresh from the patisserie, but they are really yummy. Please go and eat a pretzel in my honor since we're completely unavailable all day. Then on Tuesday, February 12 IHOP is celebrating National Pancake Day with a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes for every customer. I've never eaten at IHOP, but I'm guessing a pancake house must have decent pancakes. They're asking that you consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network if you go. Oh, and make sure you tip well. Having been a server at various points in my life, it's important that I mention this detail. The deal runs from 7am to 10pm, so you could go in the evening if you can't drag yourself out of bed early enough to go out for breakfast. (I'm telling myself that, not you. We have great disdain for mornings around here.) Now go forth and eat free food!

29 January 2008

surgery scheduled

Yesterday after 2 hours at the ENT (mostly spent in the waiting room as we waited to see the nurse, then to take a hearing test, then to see the doctor), we scheduled Joshua to have surgery on his eardrum on February 26th. The actual surgery takes 10-30 minutes, depending on which procedure the doctor needs to do when she gets in and gets a better view of the hole. It's the anesthesia that makes it a several hour process. I fear that the most painful part of the process will be that Joshua can't have anything except clear liquids from 11pm the night before until the surgery at 11 or noon. Who are they kidding? Joshua not eat for 12 hours? Maybe if I invite the medical staff over for dinner they'll realize that they need to rewrite the rules for my kids and schedule surgery first thing in the morning.

25 January 2008

health news

Garty and Joshua saw their nephrologist Tuesday about their kidney disease. It was wonderful to have Joshua there to go first because Garty saw how everything worked and then didn't scream through the entire appointment! Great progress. The trip to Philly is much less exhausting when I (Becky) don't have a screaming child for the appointment. For the first time, nobody needed bloodwork either, which was a huge help.

Joshua checked out really well, and Dr. Tuchman doesn't want to see him for 6 months! What a blessing. Garty, however, checked out with high blood pressure and will be starting ACE inhibitors today (as long as I get to the pharmacy). We are really discouraged, since we were desperately hoping to keep them both off meds as long as possible. Keeping blood pressure under control is a huge factor in long term kidney health with this disease, but the meds themselves can affect kidney function. Not to mention that all meds tax the liver, and this disease most often causes liver damage as well. Basically, helping in one area can hurt in another. We really do trust Dr. Tuchman, so we're moving ahead. When he saw how upset I was about starting blood pressure meds, he assured me that it's a low dose and promised to check in a year to see if there's any chance of taking him back off. In the meantime, we have to go for bloodwork in 2 weeks to make sure the ACE inhibitors aren't affecting his kidney function. That will be all kinds of fun.

In other drama, Joshua and Patience had the last of their catch up vaccinations today. We took "candy" (fruit leather... It's great to have clueless kids!) for them to eat if they were brave and didn't cry. As Joshua and I sat on the table waiting for the nurse, he was holding the candy, chatting happily, and I thought we might make it. When the time came though, he still fought the nurse and I, wailed his Liberian wail (haven't heard it for a while... didn't miss it either), and even tried to kick her several times. That boy is freakishly strong when he snaps. The only difference from our first visit 9 months ago was that he stopped as soon as it was over instead of wailing for an additional 10 minutes. Patience, on the other hand, took 5 shots in the arm with only a few whimpers and walked out with her candy and lots of praise from Mommy.

Joshua goes to the ENT about the hole in his ear Monday. The doctor was hoping it would close on its own, but Dr. Tuchman showed me the hole Tuesday. It's definitely not closing. Based on what the ENT said last time, it looks like we'll be doing another hearing test and then going for a different test (I don't remember what kind anymore... ultrasound, MRI, EKG... they've all started to sound the same) to see if there is a cyst or anything else causing the perforation. If nothing shows, they'll put a paper patch on the hole. If there's something inside his ear, I don't know what's next.

It makes me laugh sometimes to remember that we requested 2 "healthy" children on our adoption application. It's a good thing they're so cute!

23 January 2008

disturbing is an understatement

We have learned a lot in the past few years about the brutality of the Liberian civil war, but several disturbing articles have been brought to our attention in the past week that really struck me again. Former president and warlord Charles Taylor is currently on trial for the atrocities he is alleged to have supported in Sierra Leone, the same kinds of atrocities he committed in Liberia. At the same time, Liberia's "truth and reconciliation commission" is hearing horrific testimony regarding acts of war during the recent conflict. I don't recommend reading these articles while eating. It's terrifying to imagine the life our kids would have lived if they had been born just a few years earlier. It's a wonder there is any peace at all in West Africa after what those people have experienced.

21 January 2008

weekend summary

January 18. Still singing "Feliz Navidad" loudly and repeatedly for a large portion of a 45 minute car ride with Mommy. Several lines have severely altered lyrics. January 19. Mommy leaves home and doesn't return for over 30 hours. Maybe she snapped. Maybe Daddy had previously planned a weekend escape.

15 January 2008

where did our baby go?

Since we met him, Garty has always had a particular cry that he uses when he's throwing a tantrum as well as a whiny cry that he uses when he wants attention (interrupted by silences while he listens to see if anyone is responding appropriately). Now, however, he has definitely reached toddler stage. He has started stomping his feet so we can't miss the fact that he's throwing a tantrum. Sometimes he also throws himself down to make his point clear. Recently when he was angry at his siblings he spun himself around and slammed his face into the side of the door frame. Another time he tried to throw himself on the ground but missed and hit the corner of the coffee table. Both incidents looked rather painful, but it was hard not to laugh since he brought it on himself. This afternoon Garty was so unhappy about wearing his boots that he had to come in from playing in the snow and sit with his sick Mommy because Daddy was tired of hearing all the whining. Tonight he decided he didn't want to eat his dinner and started spitting it back at Peter. As Peter was telling him that he would get his hand smacked if he spit his food out again, Garty made a face that made Peter laugh, seriously diminishing the threat of punishment. The good news is that the toddler/terrible 2's stage only lasts a month or 2. Right??!!

14 January 2008

crisis in Kenya

We should have posted last week to request prayer for our friends in Kenya and the stability of the nation during this difficult time, but we figured we're better late than never. If you haven't been following the situation, Peter wrote a Prayerlink that summed up the situation well as of a week ago today. Although the violence has lessened over the past week and things have been a bit more "normal," the issues are far from resolved. You can check out this Wall Street Journal article for the very latest as of a few hours ago. It indicates that this week could be another tumultuous one. Please pray for God's hand in this situation.

03 January 2008


I just want to point something out to those of you who have been around for a while and remember the picture from last December of Joshua and Patience looking at their photo albums upside down. In yesterday's post I included a picture of Joshua in his new superman costume... looking at a book upside down! What is it with these kids?? It's pretty cool to see a year's worth of physical growth in our kids, even if they're still challenged in other areas.

02 January 2008

happy new year!

We've been off doing Christmas things for the past few weeks, but we're back and ready to overwhelm you with lots of pictures of our fun. We know you're all wondering how the expanded Bowersox family celebrated the holidays. Well, it's possible you don't actually care, but we like to pretend that we're the most interesting part of your world. Either way, here's the summary. All of the links will take you to our web albums filled with pictures to help you waste time.

I was determined to avoid a chaotic and commercialized Advent, so I finished the last bit of Christmas shopping at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving. I say that mostly to brag but also to say that it was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. Even with baking orders to fill, the addition of a new tutoring student 2 nights a week, and my grandparents' move out of their home (which led to a major cooking spree on my part while my relatives were all in town), our first December with our kids was relatively peaceful.

We kicked the month off with a trip to cut down our own Christmas tree. Growing up on a crowded street with concrete and asphalt everywhere, we wanted the kids to learn to appreciate nature by killing a tree with their own hands. I also read that local tree growers are more likely to have organic trees that aren't spreading pesticides throughout your house. My hopes were dashed when we pulled into the farm and parked next to a large shed that had "Danger: Pesticides" plastered all over it. At any rate, it was a fun adventure. That evening we decorated the tree and celebrated with our kids' first mugs of hot cocoa.

We celebrated Advent at home with an advent wreath that we lit each Sunday, along with nightly readings of an advent-themed Bible passage. We also started a fun tradition of putting the Christmas cards we received each day in a bowl on the table. After dinner, we read the cards together and prayed for the people who sent them. If you sent us a card at the last minute, you might still be in line for a prayer. We got seriously backlogged in the mad rush at the end. If you didn't send us a card, we're not offended, but you missed out on a prayer.

The second weekend of December, we took a Sunday night drive to check out Christmas lights. Unfortunately, it was raining, so Joshua kept putting his window down to unfog it. Much to our dismay, the kids loved the giant blow ups. However, Mommy did manage to brainwash them by continually saying, "Look at those pretty WHITE lights!"

The third weekend in December, we attended the Christmas party to beat all Christmas parties. As if decorating a large tree and consuming lots of food and beverages isn't enough, the highlight of the party is that Santa comes and brings gifts to all the children (all 30 or more of them)! We aren't doing the Santa thing at home with our kids, so we had an interesting time explaining to our kids before the party who Santa is. We didn't want to tell them Santa was coming to our house, but we didn't want to tell them that Santa isn't real and have them blow it for the rest of the kids at the party. It was quite a fine line to walk. After my long, carefully worded explanation of Santa, Joshua still had to ask, "Is Santa real?" I deferred to Peter who replied, "Lots of people believe Santa is real. But he's very busy, so sometimes he sends people dressed up like Santa to help." At any rate, all 3 of our kids ran to Santa when their names were called. Many of the little kids screamed when they got near Santa, but Garty was thrilled to sit on his lap. Of course, who wouldn't love a man who brings Chicken Dance Elmo? (Me, that's who. The batteries have already died from excessive use, and I conveniently don't have the right size to replace them just yet.)

The days surrounding Christmas were filled with lots of family gatherings with immediate and extended family. I didn't even try to upload the mass of pictures I have from all the different gatherings, but I did upload some from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We spent Christmas Eve with my immediate family, Christmas morning at home, and the rest of Christmas with Peter's immediate family. A great time was had by all until the dust settled on the 26th and we had to find a place for all the presents.

So after one final day of running around yesterday, today we returned to normal life. I had to wake Garty up at 10:30am. He must be trying to recover from all the fun. I only wish I could have slept late with him. Joshua had a smooth transition back to school. Patience enjoyed coloring and going to Trader Joe's. Peter had a full day at work.

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