Sunday, March 29, 2009

The call...

This week has been hectic...It's cheer week! This week they had try-outs for the 2009/2010 cheer team for school and they also had yearly try-outs in competitive cheer. She was on the squad this year but that doesn't mean you have a spot the next year. I hate that they were in the same week. After school, she had cheer clinic from 4:00-6:00 where she had to learn a group cheer, a choreographed dance, and they had to make up their own indivudual routine with tumbling and jumps in it. WOW!

Then from 7:00-9:00 she had clinic at the competitive cheer gym. All that and school. My poor baby was exhausted. I asked her, are you sure you want to do both? Are you going to be able to keep up your grades and do both? Of course, not to my surprise, she said, I want to do both and I will keep up my grades. She did last year so I need to trust her.

Savannah was particularly nervous about the school cheer try-out. They could only have 16 people on the squad and a lot of people were trying out. They had a mock try-out so the girls would know what to expect. It was so secretive. They would not let the parents in the hall or in the building period during try-outs. The only people that can be at try-outs were the judges and the coaches. The judges were NCAA judges. OMG, NCAA judges, that is crazy. I forgot we now live in TEXAS!

Anyway, she worked really hard. The day of the try-outs, I went up to the school to help her with hair and the "uniform" they had to wear. I prayed with her and wished her luck. I then left and couldn't pick her up for 3 more hours. They had to stay until all the girls were done. She was #15.

After try-outs, I brought her home. She thought she did well but was very nervous. So the way it works is that if you make the squad, you get a call at your home number the same night as the try-outs. So she got home and I had some food ready for her. She waited and waited by the phone all the while getting more nervous and nervous. Meanwhile, her cell phone keeps ringing. It's some of the girls calling to say that they have made it and wanted to know if she got a call yet. No, no call yet she would say. The more calls she got from other girls the more nervous she got.

She was talking on the phone to another girl who had made it on her cell phone when the house phone rang. She screamed, gotta go, it's the school!!!!!!!
Rick and I watched as she got THE CALL! This is how it went: (close to it)

Coach: Hi, is this Savannah

Sav: Yes, this is her (she is smiling and so nervous)

Coach: I wanted to call you and congratulate you, You are on the 2009/2010 Cain Cheerleading squad.

Sav: Thank you! (she tried to act calm on the phone but she was freaking out to us in silence so we would know she made it.)

Sav: SCREAMED-YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!! (she couldn't hold it in anymore)

Coach: (Laughing)

Coach: See you at school for the celebration!

Sav: Thank you Coach H! Bye

She was freraking out! I yelled with her so she would know how excited and proud I was of her. Rick and I kept hugging her and then she had to call EVERYONE she knew in the next few minutes.

We then had to go back up to the school that night for a celebration. On the way back up to the school, Savannah was getting calls from some of her friends wondering if she got the call because they still had not gotten the call. She said yes.

We pulled up to the school parking lot where the current cheerleading squad greeted her with hugs and purple flowers. (school colors)
We went inside and she got more text messages from her friends that asked her: Are there 16 girls there? She was afraid to tell them that Yes, there was 16 girls there, and that they would not be getting a call. She was so sad. I felt really bad for them. After breaking the bed news to htem, she went on to the celebration.

At the celebration, the new squad performed for all the parents what they had learned. It was so fun! They were all glowing!
They then all went to one of their friend's houses to have a slumber party and celebrate.

She also will be made competitive cheer but we will do not know what level yet until next week.

Her competitive uniform.

We are so proud of you Savannah, not only for making the squad, but for having the courage to try-out and for doing your best! We love you Savvy! XOXO

Lilypie Waiting to adopt Ticker

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Random Rant...

My 13 yr old Savannah, is on Spring Break and her cousin is in from MO visiting for the weekend. So I will give you one guess on what they wanted to do today...Go to the MALL. This would be our first big outing with the baby. I kid you not, I didn't
even know how to use/open the stroller. Don't laugh, I ended up figuring it out.

We went to the Galleria, a big mall in Dallas. It was so crowded because of Spring break I guess. So we planned a fun Girls day. We started by going to Savannah's favorite restaurant in the mall, a mexican place. I love mexican too, so no problem.
Savannah and I shared fajitas and Paige ordered quesadilla's and Ayana ate cheerios. The bill came and it was $55.00!What the heck!!!!! The cokes were $ 1.75 each with no refills. When did this happen? Has food always been this expensive? I guess I didn't know becasue I don't usually eat at the mall. Ok, next time we eat at the pretzel stand. What? They like

So Ayana is still in a good mood, I think she likes riding in the stroller. Savannah needs summer shorts and some jeans. She is in that awkward size where she is no lnoger in kids/junior sizes but she is too little to wear adult sizes so it can be hard to find things that fit her.

SO we start going to every place that has pants and shorts. Ok, I am going to get on my soap box now for a sec. When did the shorts become so short? Like hoochie momma short. We had to have a conversation at almost every store about why she can't wear those shorts. Thanks Abercrombie! Ok, now I have another thing to vent about. Abercrombie! I hate that place! They are so not stroller friendly and they are rude. The people that work their have zero customer service and they gave me a dirty look when I tried to bring my stroller in. The music is way too loud and then they try to charge you an arm and a leg for shorts with very little fabric. Ughh....

Ok, I'm done with that, onward. I forgot to tell you that poor Ayana had a blow out almost every half hour. It went through her clothes. She is on more antibiotics and I think it is upsetting her stomach.
Side note: We still do not have the lab tests back to see if she had Giardia.
Her having blow-outs of course gave me an excuse to buy her a new outfit, or 4 new outfits. :) So cute!
Despite her tummy issues, she did very well.

The girls got their new clothes and I got one thing. I am not buying a lot of clothes until I lose my baby weight. :) I like to call it that becasue i am a stress eater and 14 months of paperwork and a stressfull job had me packing on the pounds, not to mention my hormone issues, but that is a whole other demon.

We ended the day with a trip to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate place where the girls got Cheesecake (flavored) covered apples. Savannah's favorite!

They came home and jumped in the pool, which we heated just for the occasion. They are now in the theatre watching a movie. I think they had a good day!

Sweet pea had a warm bath and after playing with mommy and daddy, went to bed.

I don't know if any of that made sense but that was our day in a nutshell!

Ayana in one of her new outfits

Lilypie Waiting to adopt Ticker

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Big Change....

So I thought I would share something. Before we left for Addis to get our girl, one of the things that we were busy doing in addition to packing, was putting our home on the market.

Through much prayer we feel that God is telling us to sell our home. We will stay in our area, but move to a more modest home. (or a more cozy home as we say in the realtor world)
This is definitely not the market to downsize in but if it's God's will, I won't worry about it.

It's fun showing your home and keeping it perfect when you just brought a baby home!:)

I am excited to see what God has next.....

Lilypie Waiting to adopt Ticker

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another health update

Ayana is 10 months today! I am so happy that she is here. It still amazing me that we have her. I feel so lucky, I can't even tell you. She is so lovely. I get so much joy from having her as my daughter. She is trying to crawl. She more scoots and twirls on the floor. It is hard for her to crawl because we do not have much carpet on the first floor so it is hard to get leverage. She likes to play on her mat on the floor but within seconds she has moved off it and onto other surfaces. I taped her for you to see. I had to stop the tape when she went under the coffee table so she wouldn't hurt herself. Enjoy!

OK, I could go on and on but I will get to the health update.

We took Ayana back to the doctor again today. She has been running a fever. She also has very bad diapers and is very gassy with the WORST smells. She has been a little fussy as she is cutting two more teeth. The doctor has sent us home with 4 tube to do stool tests. He wants to do a "blanket testing" on her stool to see if they find anything. They will specifically be looking for Giardia in one of the tests.Giardia is a parasite in the small intestine. Quite a few of the kids from Toukoul orphanage have had it. We will take the tubes back tomorrow and then it will take 2-4 days for the results.

She gained another pound in one week! Wow! She is now 17.3 pounds! I am so glad she is catching up. If she keeps gaining a pound a week I will end up on some talk show where they are verbally beating up the mother because their kid is obese. lol, just kidding.

In other health news, we got notice from the American Embassy in Ethiopia, that they are reporting cases where adults coming back from the orphanages have contracted Hep A and to please get vaccinated before traveling. Oops, it's a little late to tell me now. I asked the doctor today if we needed to get vaccinated even though we have already traveled. He said no, it's too late for that. We will wait to see if you got it and to look out for the signs and get it tested and treated right away. The incubation period is usually 2-6 weeks. We have been back 2 weeks.

Her right ear was still red so he wants to give her another antibiotic. Turns out, he made an error in giving her Zithromax because he should have prescribe a different antibiotic because she was on other antibiotics at the orphanage. I guess you are not supposed to have taken antibiotics within 2 months in order to give Zithromax so there is a chance that she had an immunity to it. So after we collect the stool sample tomorrow, she will start another round of different antibiotics. Ughh, more fun diapers! We have a Costco opening in our town next month. I can't wait because I have really been going through the diapers and wipes. Did any of that make sense?

In my last post you may have read that she was up to date on all her vaccinations. Well, I was informed by another blogger than we may want to get a Titer test to verify that the vaccinations were not watered down or expired as they sometimes are in foreign countries. The term titer, (pronounced with a long "i"), refers to the strength or concentration of a substance in a solution. Testing vaccine titers is done through a blood test that can identify the presence of antibodies induced by vaccinations. If the levels are satisfactory, the person is considered to have "protective antibody" and is considered to be "sufficiently immune" to the disease. You can argue that no further vaccination is necessary at this time.
I asked the doctor if we should give a Titer test to Ayana.
Here is was his argument why we should NOT test her. First he said that if we wanted the test, he would do it but he did not feel she needed it. He said that the results could show her immunity was low not just because she would not have had the full series of vaccinations at her age or if they showed low because she really did have bad vaccinations, should would be getting another round at 12 months anyway and the chance of her getting exposed now that she is in the states is very low since most everyone is vaccinated. It made sense to me. Why put her through the tests if she was going to need vaccinated again in 2 months anyway.

Speaking of vaccinations, I am going to open a can of worms. A few members of my family are very against vaccinations. One of them has worked very closely with families of autistic children so I can understand her passion. I can't claim to have done a lot of research but from what I know, there is some risk in having vaccinations but there is also a risk in not getting them.
Does anyone know anything factual about this topic that you would be willing to share? I would love to learn more. Everyone play nice...:)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ethiopia: Day 1

Disclaimer: This is my account of our trip to Ethiopia. I'm going to tell it as real as I can. Why blog if you can't keep it real, ya know?

This is the 3rd day of our trip but our 1st day in Ethiopia. We left on Texas on Thursday and arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday.

Saturday, Feb 21st, 2009

11:35 AM- We finally arrived to Addis. The airport is very small. We went to baggage claim and the luggage starts to roll out. We start pulling our bags. But wait, we only have 2 of the 4 bags. We wait, and wait, and wait. Long story short, they lost our 2 donations totes. I was not panicked because I knew they would find them eventually and I was excited to go get my girl! We filed the proper paperwork with the airline for the missing luggage and left. For those of you traveling there, the airport is in the city so it is not a far ride to most places.

Addis Airport

Our adoption agency director told us that he would arrange for our attorney in Ethiopia to pick us up from the airport. I had heard in the past that the attorney sometimes forgot to pick people up. Well, he DID forget to pick us up. Shocker! Later he said that he was never notified that we were coming but I know that is a lie because I personally contacted him just to cover all my basis. As a matter of fact, when it was time to leave, I contacted the adoption agency director in the states, the director of the orphanage in Addis, and the attorney to let them know my flight info, and my intention to pick up my baby girl that day (Saturday)from the orphanage. We intentionally came on Saturday because we had heard from other adoptive parents that the director of the orphanage was off on Sunday and we would not be able to take Ayana, just visit her if we came on Sunday. Well, this was not going to work for me, I wanted her as soon as we got there, so we made plans to come on Saturday. I didn't want any surprises so that is why I notified all three people. I have also read on other blogs that you can't take your child out of the orphanage (permanently) until your embassy date, you can only visit or check them out and bring them back. When I asked out adoption agency about this, they said that this was not true and that the child is legally ours as soon as we passed court. Sounded good to me.

So we are at the airport and this should be the part of the story where we are stuck trying to get a ride or get a hold of the attorney. No, I had a back up plan of course! I had also made a 4th contact ahead of time, our guest house, the Ethiopian Guest Home. They sent a driver. He was there waiting for us as soon as we got there with a sign that said BOYD and a fresh bouquet of flowers for me. Ahh, that was so sweet. This was such a blessing because it could have been very stressful upon arrival and instead we felt very well taken care of. Thank you Getcho!

John and Ayana (Manager of the Guest home)
Getchu, our driver from the Guest home
John and Getchu in the reception are of the guest home.

Almost all the vans/taxi's look like this:

We decided to go to the guest home first and drop off all of our luggage. On the drive there I was faced with all the things I had tried to prepare for. Here is a little bit of scenery from the ride:

It was warm outside. It did not rain the whole time we were there. It was hard to breath. The pollution was so bad and the altitude is high. There is so many people walking the streets. The cars drive like crazy and the roads are bumpy and dusty. Very few roads were paved. Thank God I was wearing my handy dandy patch behind my ear. I am normally very prone to getting car sick but I was fine. I thought we were going to hit numerous people while we were driving. Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way. I swear we grazed several people. I would freak out every time I thought we were going to hit someone but the funny thing is that the people walking about to be hit do not even flinch.
Our driver was great, he knew exactly how to get places and I knew we were in good hands.

We decided not to stay at the Orphanage guest house. I have heard great things about it but we had connections elsewhere. One of the couples at our church own a guest house in Ethiopia.(what are the odds if that?) They also adopted from Ethiopia. We stayed at there at The Ethiopia Guest Home. The vision behind Ethiopia Guest Home is to provide a four-star quality stay, at a reasonable, all-inclusive cost…to benefit orphans in Ethiopia, while giving families a personal, memorable stay.
When we made reservations, it was so last minute so there was only one room left, the smallest room. Bummer...Oh well, there was only 3 of us. It was a small room with lots of Full length windows. It had a queen size bed and a playpen made up as a full bed for the baby. The house is only a year or two old.
When we drove up the home had a gate with a security guard. As we entered the home, John the manager of the guest home was there to greet us. He showed us to our room. John has always lived in Ethiopia and has never been anywhere else. He is very educated and was finishing his last college test the week we were there. He will receive a degree in Business. He was very polite and accommodating.
Our room

We dropped our bags off and I was ready to get our girl.It was finally time. We had been waiting for so long to hold her in our arms and give her lovin!
The guest house gave us a cell phone upon arrival with the orphanage, guest house, embassy and other important numbers pre-programmed into the phone. I grabbed the phone to call the attorney to let him know we had made it to Addis and told him we were at the guest house. He was shocked, he didn't even know we were coming!!!!! OK, whatever!! uh humm, I will keep on with my story...sorry for the distraction.
So anyway, I told the attorney that we were getting ready to go to the orphanage to get Ayana. He said, no, you can't get her today. WHAT????? WHY?????? he said that he could not take me because his schedule was all booked up that day. I said that I did;t need him to go with me, I would have my driver take me. She is legally mine right? He said that the director of the orphanage has to be there to sign the baby out to us and she wasn't there today. WHAT????? That is why we came early so we would not miss her. I couldn't understand him very well, language barrier, but he said something like, the director was sick or off today so we can't go get Ayana.
He then hung up. I Started to lose my breath, what do you mean I can't go get her. Instead of crying, I went into stubborn, fighting mode. Oh no, This can't be happening, what can we do? I am going to get our girl!

So I asked the manager, John, to call the director of the orphanage. Maybe John will know more as he can talk to her in Amharic. She did not answer the phone. I then asked John to call the attorney again for me.

What happened next, I can't blog about, but lets just say through several interesting events, we had Ayana in our arms within a few hours.

To be continued....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ayana Dr Apt-Follow up

We went back to the doctor for a follow up on Wednesday. Her ear infections appear to be gone but her ears are still a a little red but the DR suspects that they are just healing after a severe ear infection. The doctor got a copy of her medical records from Ethiopia and looked over them before we saw him yesterday. Amazingly enough, she is up on all her vaccinations. The only one she was missing is not given in most foreign countries. I don't know the technical name but it is the pneumonia vaccination. He said this is a series of 3 and it will also help to decrease ear infections. She had her first of 3 and let me tell you, she did not like it and she let me know it. She still has some upper respiratory congestion. She also appears to have allergies. Her eyes water a lot and it may explain some of the congestion from drainage. She rarely is able to breath through her nose.

She is teething so bad. She is drooling all over the place. She loves to give me kisses with all the drool. I know it sounds gross, but I can't turn her down. Have you seen her? Today I just started carrying around a burp cloth on my shoulder to wipe her mouth all the time. She is so good, barley cries even when she hurts.

She now weighs 16 pounds, so YES, she gained a pound in a WEEK! Sweet Pea loves to eat! She has filled out so much. She is getting those cute chunky thighs. In two days it will be 3 weeks since the day we first held her in Ethiopia. Check out the difference. Her legs used to be so skinny:

and now...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Travel Tips-Boyd Style

First of all, thank you for all your comments on the last post! I love bloggers, they are so supportive and you all just get it!

I have been asked by several traveling parents, what are we glad we took to Ethiopia? I thought I would make a list as I was lucky enough to have others do the same for me. Disclaimer: This is from our experience only.

We took a whole pharmacy it seemed like and we were so grateful we did.  People at our guest house would joke as they knocked on our bedroom door and say, “Can we come to the Boyd pharmacy?”

I do not have time to make a complete list but I can tell you what a few things that I consider a MUST and I am so glad we had.


• Baby medicines: Babies R US sells a parent’s survival kit that is AWESOME and the perfect size. You can view it at this link:

• Scabies treatment:
I would definitely take prescription cream for scabies (Permethrin Cream 5%). They will appear as little bumps. Ayana had them on her face, wrists and a few other spots. They are very contagious so it is recommended that you and your husband to treat yourself too just to be safe. It is easy, you just apply the cream one time, and leave it on for 8 hours and wash it off. It goes on easy like lotion and doesn’t have much of a smell. For adults apply from the neck down and don’t forget to get between the toes. (those little critters like warm places) On infants, it is recommended to not put it on their face put to treat the entire scalp. That is what we did and it cleared her face right up. Although we did not see any Lice on Ayana, we took Lice treatment medicine with us just to be safe but we didn’t need it because I when I read about the Permethrin Cream, I found out it is active against a broad range of pests including lice, ticks, fleas, mites and other arthropods.

Diaper Rash treatment: As far as the diaper rash, forget all those typical diaper creams. Use Resinol. This is not typically known as a diaper rash cream but it works amazingly. It is normally in the first aid section. It is for skin irritations, cuts, itch, etc… Most stores do not carry it but you can have your local pharmacy order it. It is over the counter. The miracle ingredient is the high amount of Zinc. Ayana’s skin did a complete turnaround in 24-48 hours. I love that stuff! We donated 100 bottles to the orphanage but who knows if they are using it or if they sold it. You can also order Resinol at this link:

Platex Drop-Ins Bottles with Inserts: Even if you don’t plan to use these bottles when you get home I would highly recommend them for the trip. We are now using the Dr Browns wide neck bottle and she had no problem switching when we got home. We took the Playtex 4 oz bottles with inserts, which was perfect for her but may not be enough for your little on depending on how much she is eating. The interchangeable inserts allowed us to only have to sanitize the top of the bottle when needed and we didn’t have to worry about boiling water every time we needed a bottle. We carried bottled water with us in her diaper bag and she was ok with drinking the formula at room temperature. It was so easy! Important note: We used the nipples that it came with which was level one. According to their charts she should have been using a level 2 or 3 nipple but she did fine. In fact, one of the other couples was using a different bottle with a size 3 nipple (appropriate for her age) and she ended up in the hospital from dehydration. She kept throwing up and they didn’t know why. They tried switching her to Soy but that did not work either. I gave them one of our bottles and Size 1 nipple and she did a complete turnaround. It turned out that she was not able to take the milk in as fast as it was coming in the size 3 nipple. So my point is, take a small size or a variety of sizes.

• Take small and large clothes. Take clothes without footie’s. You can always roll up the pants if needed. Ayana was much smaller than she looked in her pictures so all her clothes were big on her.

• Take a ton of Diapers and Baby Wipes- I took 100 diapers and 2 packs of baby wipes. I used almost all of the baby wipes and 70 of the diapers in 5 days. They have a lot of blow outs during transition. On that note, take a extra outfits on the plane. Ayana went through three outfits on the plane due to major blowouts! That was fun!

• Backpack and Baby Carrier- Instead of using a diaper bag, we took a backpack for the trip. This was so convenient. We also use the Baby Bjorn baby carrier all the time, especially in the airport.

Dove soap-We brought baby soap but I will say, we used a bar of Dove soap on her body. She was not bathed very much in the orphanage and needed a good cleaning. The typical Johnson’s baby wash is gentle but maybe too gentle when you are doing an initial good cleaning. (Leah Litty gave me this tip.)

Antibacterial Wipes and/or Purell-Need I say more!

• Receiving blankets. The pollution is VERY bad in Addis. Many of the babies have had respiratory problems, including Ayana, so I thought it was wide to cover them up with a light receiving blanket whenever we went anywhere, especially on a car trip.

• Ear plugs and/or Ambien- It can be very noisy at night in Addis and they have prayer in the middle of the night on the city speakers. I also took Ambien. I was still able to hear the baby if she woke up but it helped me to get to sleep and not care about the noise.

• Emergen-C 1,000 mg Vitamin C- We drank this before and during our trip. We heard of so many getting sick while there. Neither Rick or I got sick during or after the trip. Of course we always used bottle water even when brushing our teeth. We ate at the guest house every day except for one.

I found these two links to be helpful while preparing for our trip. They are other travelers packing lists. I could never put something like this together because I do not have the patience but I am grateful they did.

I will be updating my blog when Ayana lets me, lol, with daily accounts/journal of our trip in Ethiopia and it may help you to hear about the details. I have only done day one so far.

I hope you find this is helpful to someone.