Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bronchitis, Pneumonia, and The Crud...Oh, my!

I have been fighting this cough and drainage for more than 6 weeks. I went to the immediate care the day after Christmas. The results...bronchitis.

Nate has had congestion since Vietnam. The pediatrician put him on allergy meds, but they only slightly helped. He went today for his 18 month check-up. He was so congested I knew he wouldn't get his shots. He listened to his chest and said he has pneumonia. Poor thing. Even sick he is smiling, chatting away, and playing.

John has the crud. He is coughing and has sinus stuff going on.

Rachel seems to be healthy... Hope she stays that way~

Monday, December 29, 2008

John and I took Rachel to a UK game. She had a blast. She really enjoyed eating a huge ice cream cone, had her face painted, and yelled for the team. It was her first time to see the CATS! GO BIG BLUE!!

Nate and Rachel ate the big piece of chocolate Santa left in their stocking. It was gone by 7:30am. They look drunk. Rachel's had a pretzel dipped in chocolate covered in M&M's. While Nate enjoyed a cookie covered in chocolate with sprinkles. He actually just ate a few bites, but Rachel ate all of hers.
They were Santa's little helpers in these outfits. Rachel enjoyed her presents, especially her headphones that go with her electric keyboard. Nate loved his truck that he can ride and push.
Nate learned that all he had to do was give a little whine and someone would pick him up. He ate so much and enjoyed eating everything!
He goes to the doctor tomorrow for his 18 month check-up.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nathaniel and Santa

We got together with the families that traveled with us to China in 2004. The girls had a great time playing. Santa came to visit and passed out presents to all the kids. He said the parents were all on the naughtly list and had nothing for us...

Nate was content on Santa's lap. He didn't really smile, but wasn't upset like I was expecting.

Monday, December 8, 2008

3 weeks...

Although it is a few days late, I thought I'd give a 3 week update.

  • Nate loves his sister. He follows her everywhere and gets so excited when we pick her up at school.

  • He is 20 pounds. His face is full. His bug bites are almost gone.

  • His legs are short. He needs 6-9 month pants and 12 month shirts.

  • His hair is getting thicker and shinier.

  • He is a fast crawler and loves to crawl between your legs (especially while Momma is cooking dinner).

  • He is able to go from a sit to standing position and is climbing over objects (mostly his sister).

  • His teeth are strong. He nipped me, but really bit Rachel. He left teeth marks.

  • Can give the sign for "more" and will say "m" at the same time.

  • He can say, Momma, Baba (for Papa) NO!(also shakes his head), hi, bye, n-(nose), Mmm (Mei Mei), mama (moo for cow), ieieie for EIEIO in Old McDonald, and numerous other babbling sounds.

  • He'll do this little dance when he hears music. It is a side to side thing with head movement.

  • HAS SLEPT IN HIS BED THE PAST TWO NIGHTS (well, most of the night anyway)


  • Loves her brother.

  • Likes to feed Nate and help take care of him. She loves to have him follow her around.

  • Like to be fed by us. (especially after brother bit her hand)

  • Has grown. She was wearing 3T when we left for Vietnam, she is now in 4T and had to have elastic loosened on several pants.

  • Is working hard in school.

  • She loves to write. This is amazing considering the turmoil it caused at the beginning of school. She loves to make lists, copy words, and write messages.

  • Loves to do her advent calendar each morning. Gets so excited to tell how many days are left.

  • Tolerates the abuse her brother inflicts upon her (I looked over the other day and he was beating her head with a wooden spoon). She didn't get angry, just calmly told him to STOP.

  • She is a great daughter and sister!

I took Nathaniel to the DR this morning. He is coughing and really congested at night. He was put on allergy medicine. His throat was really red, but didn't have strep. I hope it helps him breathe (thus leading to him staying asleep and not needing to wake his parents up so much). One can dream, anyway!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I have always appreciated naps. My Dad has always taken a nap. At work he would close the door to his office and down he go...on the floor. It would only be a short one, but one he found very benificial.

I still encourage Rachel to take a nap/rest time, but often she just rests. That is okay. Nate tends to want to fight nap time. He is getting better, but isn't consistent at this point.

Rachel had to come home from school for the second time this week because of throwing-up. (only one time Monday and so far just once today). Nate has been whiny the past two days. He wants to be held, then he wants down. He just whines and grunts. Not sure if he is teething, or if it is a cold. Momma is tired!
However, at this exact moment-

Nate is asleep!

Rachel is asleep!

I think I will join them!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Best Day Ever"

Those are the words Rachel said on Thanksgiving Day. We had eaten our Thanksgiving feast, and decided to go outside to play. Nate was in his swing and Rachel was pushing him. (Pushing Nate in his swing was something she had been looking forward to doing for a long time.) John, his sister, and I were talking when she announced, "This is the best day ever."
Just goes to show that the little things are what it is all about!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

From our family to yours...

We have much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 24, 2008


There are many things we are learning about Nate as he adjusts to being home.
  • Beating on anything with his wooden spoon.
  • Smiling.
  • Music- he just loved the music at church yesterday. He also sings in the car. His fingers will swing back and forth.
  • Playing "patty-cake"
  • Okra- I steam it in the microwave and put it in his soup or noodles.
  • Fruit- fresh fruit is prefered over canned: banana, watermelon, pear, apple, grapes
  • Following Rachel everywhere she goes.
  • The laundry basket. He likes to be pushed in it. We also turn it upside down and have him push it. It is great for building upper body strength.
  • Going barefoot.
  • Talking- he is making new sounds all the time.
  • Swinging in his swing outside.
  • Most of all he loves being center of attention.


  • Most everything that is cold.
  • Wearing his hats. He will wear one while outside, but wants it off as soon as he is inside or in the car.
  • Lucy, our dog. He will watch her, but not get anywhere close to her.
  • His baby bed. He is not used to sleeping alone and will have nothing to do with his bed.
  • He hates having his diaper changed!!
  • Will not keep his shoes and socks on his feet.
  • Did not care for spaghetti. Not even eating just the noodles.
  • He doesn't like small stuffed animals. He makes this hissing sound and throws them. I guess it goes back to the issue of them looking like rats. The regular stuffed animals are okay. He really loves to wrestle with the monkey Rachel got him.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sister and Brother

Nathaniel is very careful to make sure big sister doesn't get too far away. She is teaching him many things. They love to brush teeth together.
Nate is still waking around 3am wanting to play until about 5am. It is exhausting, but we are managing with the help of Tam and Katie (John's sister and niece).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flood pictures

Here are the much delayed pictures from the floods of Hanoi. I look back on these pictures and realize how fortunate we truly were. These were taken from inside our van. As you can see, we were right in the middle of the high water. Our poor van driver was a wreck, as was Mrs. Lam (our in country agency person). The most interesting picture, to me, was the one with the man and his motor scooter on the bicycle being pulled through the water. We saw some pretty inventive methods for traveling through the water!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can you say JET LAG???

I will have to say that Nate is doing well. He is exploring his home. He is sleeping. He is eating...everything! He loves playing with his sister.

Rachel is taking most things in stride. She had such a busy day on Saturday and was tired yesterday. She stayed in her PJ's all day. I asked her if she wanted to get dressed and was fine in her pajamas. She has read books to her brother, fed him and sang songs to him.

I am the one having trouble with jet lag. I slept 3.5 hours yesterday and then couldn't get to sleep. I woke up at 5:30 with Nate and then couldn't get back to sleep. He only woke up one time. He took a good nap this morning and then a short one while going to get sister at school.

They are having a great time playing this evening. Banging on pots (need to get some earplugs), climbing in plastic tub and wrestling with each other. I had to feed Rachel a banana like I was feeding him. Anyway, life is good! Even if we are sleep deprived.

Pictures later this evening.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Plane arrived on time! Once we got out of the Hanoi airport, everything was smooth sailing. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We had an 8 our layover in Dallas. Bob, my brother, and his wife picked us up and took us for a shower and out to eat. It was the best salad I have eaten in a long time!

It is so wonderful to be all together. Rachel is doing great with her brother. She feed him potatoes and carrots for dinner. She played on the floor with him and helped me give him a bath. It was so great to hold both by children last night.

He slept better than I expected. We all crashed at different times, but everyone slept and feels good this morning. This morning has been wonderful. We are all playing and visiting this morning. Nate is enjoying banging on this drum that Kari Lynn got him. He also loves the monkey Rachel got him. However, the best is everyone just hanging out. Tam and Katie have been wonderful. They are taking great care of us.

More later....

Friday, November 14, 2008

T- minus 4 hours

Give or take. We are packed! Suitcases are ready to go. Nate had a shower and is in his pajamas. He is staying right with us. He senses something is up because he won't let us out of his sight. It has been an amazing journey!
Please continue to keep us in thoughts and prayers.

See ya' in the good ole' USA!
John, Mary, Nate

Sights, sounds, and sensations of Hanoi!

We enjoyed walking the streets of Hanoi! Home will be so quiet! The constant sound of scooter horns, varoius street smells of pho being cooked and eaten along the sidewalks by people who are deep in converstaion as we passed by. The sidewalks are great for parking cars, scooters, bikes, driving on, eating on, and ask Mary what else she saw!

Hanoi believes in fresh food! Fruits, veggies, meats, dryed seafood ect. are sold on the streets. We will always remember the aromas, especially Mary!

I felt safe walking the backstreets away from the tourist areas. Whether it was pouring buckets of rain as when we first arrived, or the dark nights streets, mini-streets, and alleys winding thru the city. There are busy streets, very busy streets, and very, very busy streets that we crossed by feeling the flow of the city and walking in the "steady feel" of the traffic. Some of the super times we enjoyed was away from the main streets and back on the small streets checking out the shops away from the tourist areas.

Riding in cabs around the street lit lake at night was beautiful with the bright, full moon sitting above the Hanoi architecture and watching the traffic and people flow by.

We have had a blast but we are ready to get home. We appreciate all of the people who played important roles in making this trip to get Nate possible! Two governments, lots of paperwork, ornery officials located in many parts of the world, floods, flat tires, etc did not stop us from having an amazing journey! Thanks!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane!

We have Nathaniel's visa. We are on track to head to USA tonight. Our plane leaves at midnight. We have a lot to pack and actually bought a large duffle bag to help us get everything home. (John has done a lot of shopping).
It is amazing how fast time has flown. The kids are all so different than they were a week and half ago. Smiles, jabbering, running (Nate's crawling) all over the place. They are coming into themselves with non-stop personality. Rosemary loves to see what she can get into. She gave Nate the biggest kiss yesterday. It was too cute! She comes running over anytime he cries or fusses. At our Embassy appointment he started fussing and Rosemary came running with a cookie for him. Sarah is walking all over the place and just smiles this most adorable grin. She is so lucky to have her big brother Eddie. He really watches out for her. Maylin is quiet when we are out as a group. She loves her pacifer. She has the most expressive eyes and eyebrows you have ever seen. Nate loves to smile and loves to show his teeth off (all 16 of them) when he smiles. He is pulling up all the time and will be running everywhere in no time. They are all just so precious!

We can't wait to see Rachel! We talked to her this morning and she is too excited to talk. Just does her blah blah blah. Nate will look at her picture and give her kisses. I have been working on getting him to say Mei Mei.

Our flight arrives around 5:50pm on Saturday. We are traveling American Airlines flight 1566 (Dallas to Louisville). We will visit with Bob and Jen (My brother and SIL) on our long lay-over in Dallas. It will be great for them to meet Nathaniel.
Those of you who would like, feel free to come to the airport! We look forward to seeing everyone!
We still have some shopping we want to do and maybe visit the Temple of Literature. And of course we have of packing left to do!

See ya' in the USA!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nathaniel has a passport

A day in Hanoi. Today we went to pick up Nate's passport and then had his SOS appointment. His SOS medical exam was a good deal different than when Tatertot had hers. They were more thorough. Nate weighs just under 19 pounds.

We went shopping this evening. We found some nice shops. This man is a "famous Vietnamese author", according to his grandaughter. He was in a store where we did a some shopping. John and I had a shirt made. The man had picked out a tie for John and gave it to him. Said it was a good tie for him.
These men were playing Vietnames checkers near the red bridge. We crossed the bridge and went into the pagoda. It was the same bridge we went over last night where I saw a rat. Nathaniel really enjoys riding on Papa's shoulders. It is something you don't see in Vietnam. Several people have taken their picture.

Hard to believe we have just a few more days in Vietnam. We saw another family tonight that just returned from Thanh Hoa with their daughter. She is a special little girl and it is good to know she is finally with her family. Hope all the Thanh Hoa families soon have their little ones. As well as all the families waiting to bring their little ones home!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Halong Bay was a great adventure. The limestone rock formations were amazing! We boarded the bus at 9am. It was a full bus. One family had a son 16 months old, while another was traveling for their daughter today. After a 3 hour van ride, we arrived at HaLong Bay. Beautiful!
Getting on the boat was tricky. We had to cross over 2 boats to get to ours. It was a nice boat. Nathaniel enjoyed the boat ride. The boat went out to were the rock formations were. We ate lunch on the boat and then toured a cave. It was a hard climb up to the cave and many steps down. It was about 45 minutes long cave tour. John bought Nate this plastic monkey. He just loves it. I think it is scary.

Nathaniel and the other boy were great on the trip, but it did get long. They were hungry and tired! Nate also decided to talk. The people on the bus were provided with a long trip!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We are exhausted, well Nathaniel is full of energy, from our day trip to HaLong Bay. It was a great experience, but made for a long day. I have some great pictures but will do that tomorrow with update on how things are going. Got to get the boy a bath and ready for bed. Sure hopes he sleeps because Momma is tired!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Museum Ethnology

Today we ventured out with the Driver family to the Museum of Ethnology. It is a fairly new facility with both indoor and outdoor exhibits. As always, Nathaniel was quite the trooper. We saw exhibits of the many ethnic groups and relics from all areas of Vietnam, including Thanh Hoa. We found the shop there to have some neat items at a great price. We also tried out the cafe. We ordered 2 soft drinks and strawberry icecream (3 small scoops) for about 3 dollars. Nate didn't know what to think of the icecream. Good, but a little too cold. These girls wanted to have their picture taken with John.

He is getting to be all arms while we are out eating. At dinner, he managed to spill a cup of green tea all over the table. He was pounding the spoon against the glasses and banging his chopsticks on anything he could find. When we got back to the room we gave him a bath. He seemed to really enjoy it and was ready to play when he got out of the bath. We are going to get out early in the morning and see some more sights. I also have some places I want to go to for shopping.

Friday, November 7, 2008

20 things about Nathaniel

1. The is ticklish (all over)

2. He has strong opinions and freely shares it.
3. Hates his face being cleaned.
4. Loves his bottle.
5. Laughs a lot
6. HATES his stuffed animal panda. He backs up and fusses. John thinks it reminds him of a rat??
7. Sucks noodles down just like his sister.
8. When he is happy, his feet go wild (Rachel was also like that)
9. Loves to pound on things. Chopsticks on the table is his favorite.
10. Is a thinker. Studies things hard.
11. He is a trooper when we go shopping.
12. Watches everything.
13. Hates to have a poopy diaper. Throws a terrible fit until it is changed.
14. Sleeps with his arms and legs spread out.
15. Mimics. Loves to watch what we do and then tries to do the same.
16. Loves chocolate and anything sweet. The nanny gave him 2 tootsie rolls while we were at the orphanage.
17. Has a mouth full of teeth. Molars too.
18. Is pulling up on the chair to get Momma to hold him
19. Is a grazer when he eats.
20. Great little boy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thanh Hoa Thoughts

Thanh Hoa Province, located south of Hanoi, near the coast, is dotted with limestine, granite mountains. The orpahanage, located near Thanh Hoa City, is very simple, yet filled with love for the children. A sign to Sam Son Beach is located on the road to the orphanage.

The market located in Thanh Hoa City next to our hotel is tin and tarp roofed. The seafood is very fresh! Everything is available in the market! It is like an outdoor super Walmart! We enjoyed walking around, shopping, and meeting the people of Thanh Hoa, who are very friendly!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here are a few pictures from the Thanh Hoa hotel. I was laughing at the market we went to. I had a short sleeve shirt on Nathaniel with a blanket over him. One lady fussed at me for not having long sleeves on him. She took me over to where they sold long sleeve shirts. As we were walking, another lady pulled the cap off his head and took blanket off and motioned it was too hot... This happened several times.
He likes to ride in the carrier. He slept most of the time we walked the market. He is a real trooper!

Back in Hanoi

We are back in Hanoi. We had to go the long way back to Hanoi, but it only took 4.5 hours this time. The rain is still falling. We got to the hotel around 10:00. We are all tired.

The G&R went off without a hitch. When the ceremony was over, we got back into the van. Well, the driver told Ms. Lam that there was a nail in the tire and he took it out and threw it in the bushes. I think that was the last straw for Ms. Lam. I don't know if she was laughing of crying. We decided to take the van to get the tire checked out. It was quite funny, but not surprising. Ends up the tire was fine so we took off for Hanoi.

The kids did great! Nate had a small stinky diaper, but was much better than the 2 we dealt with earlier in the day. He and Rosemary have had opposite problems today. We got to to the hotel with one wound-up little boy. He was ready to play. We played on the nice soft bed. (The hotel in TH was great, but boy was the bed hard. It was just a box springs. Yes, a box springs.)

We start paper work in the morning and will try to do some shopping. I still can't get video to upload, but will get some pictues when I can. Time for bed!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Market day

There is a little "walmart" market next to the hotel. It is full of everything you would want. All the families ventured over there this morning. John bought some rugs and I got Nate a pair of shoes. The shoes were 30,oo0 dung. (less than 2 dollars).

We ate lunch at the building next door with the Driver family. We all ate plates of shrimp. They were delicious, once you got past the head still being on them. It is cool seeing these 2 tiny eyes looking at you.

Nate is continuing to do well. He isn't walking, but is able to crawl some and is trying to pull up some and walks while you hold his hand.

We leave for the G&R in soon and hope the rain allows us to take the short way home.

See you in Hanoi!


Pictures and video are not posting. I will try later or back in Hanoi.

Day 1 with Nathaniel

The boy we met yesterday is becoming more at ease. It has been a great day, despite not having our Giving & Receiving. We ate breakfast and then went to have passport pictures taken. It was at a professional studio. The TH 4 tolorated the experiencel. We came back to the room so Ms. Lam could try to schedule our G&R. Nate took a bottle and a 2.5 hour nap. John went out to the market beside us and did some shopping.

Nate woke from his nap happy and more relaxed. He is full of smiles and giggles. At breakfast and lunch, he sat and let us feed him. However, this evening he was all arms. Reaching for this and pulling at that. He loved the chicken and corn soup with rice. He also enjoyed eggs at breakfast (so did Momma).

We hung out in the hotel waiting for word on our G&R. It is scheduled for late tomorrow afternoon. It should take about an hour. We will then head back to Hanoi. The condition of the flooding will determine how long it takes. It has rained more today. Regardless, it will be a late evening and a hard trip for the babies.

Nate came to life this afternoon. Check out the short video and see his personality come to life.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We have Nate!

We wanted to let everyone know that Cuong is with us. Due to flooding, it took us 6 hours to get to Thanh Hoa. The travel was delayed due to horrible flooding. (more about that in a later post).
Nathaniel is doing well. He is sleeping at the moment. He didn't take his night time bottle, so we will see how long he sleeps.

He is a snuggler.
He loves to be held!
He has a strong grip. He holds on with both hands!
He is ticklish on his belly. That was the only smile we got.
He is making eye contact and learning to play with his Elmo phone.
He does have some congestion, but with all this rain, so does everyone.

After the initial grieving, he is taking everything in.

We were told that our G&R could possibly be tomorrow. If not, it will be Tuesday.

Enjoy the pictures! We are pooped!!