Monday, April 30, 2007

Scenes From La Digue II

Whoa, hold on a minute....sorry everyone. I thought this post went up this morning before I left. Sorry to leave you hanging. We had to go to Port today to take care of some mission paperwork and business with the Department of Labor. Sounds fun, right? Fortunately our friend Shelly Tlucek (who works with John and Beth McHoul) was available to watch the fearsome foursome while I was running around. Port seems so much more enjoyable when you're not toting toddlers around. I guess all things truly are relative. We're home safe and sound, accomplished all of our goals, and are about to rest on our laurels. We're anxiously awaiting the reunion with the rest of the Tribe tomorrow afternoon.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

4 Little Livesays

This one's for Mom. They posed especially for you, and wanted to send you a picture. Figured all you stalkers would want to see too. ;)
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mr. Mom's Kitchen

I'm not Swedish, but I attempted the chef thing again today all the same. In between the laundry loads and folding and taking delivery of the monthly food order and loading it in the warehouse and managing the children - I knew better than to try and accomplish anything else. I have a list of "to do" items a page long that I thought I could get done while Tara was gone. Hopefully I won't need any sleep during the next 48 hours, and then I will meet that goal.

Since the kids pretty much just eat all day long, I decided to stay in the kitchen and keep them happy and do some experimenting. For breakfast we had a potato, sausage, and Spam skillet with green peppers and hollandaise sauce. I loved it, the kids did not. I basically threw anything I could find in a pan to fry as an excuse to eat the sauce I have been craving. Maybe I'm pregnant, too. I found a recipe to make the sauce, and it was close enough for me, but not necessarily all that good. I still liked it, the kids... well ... let's just say it's a good thing we had cereal around. While waiting for the mid-morning snack requests to come in, I made some salsa. Now that did turn out good. It's a good thing Tara is coming home soon, because this domestication thing is starting to feel weird. We made pizzas for lunch (with store bought crusts...we'll have to try making them next time), and grilled some Teriaki Beef Tips for dinner. Yeah... that wasn't such a hit with the kids either, so we supplemented with hot dogs.

I have one last experiment to try to get ready before the girls return...hopefully I have time to get it figured out. After my fried rice disaster from earlier in the week, I'm a little gun-shy and want to test my skills beforehand. Some people asked for recipes a while back - that is really asking a lot. I just started cooking and feel a little weird enjoying it - until I start wearing a skirt I don't think I'll be getting into recipe swapping with you ladies out there. All I've been doing is thinking of what I love to eat and looking up recipes on the internet, and then searching for the easiest one that I can find the ingredients for.

That's enough of that. There were also camera questions posed earlier that I will get to on a later date...I'm not sure how this blog comment/question thing I'll just answer in a post later on.

I'll be working on my to-do list tomorrow, or at least wishing I I don't plan on blogging. Have a wonderful and blessed Sunday. I wish I was going to New Joy church in Minnesota tomorrow with my girls.


PS- That is my face behind the mustache and nose and case you were wondering. I didn't want all that hard work to go unnoticed.

Laundry Day

Ok, I did fall behind on one thing - can you guess what it is? Here's the deal. It's all been washed and dried, but not folded. It's kind of like an experiment at this point to see how large the mounain can get. Hope came home last night and said, "Oh, that's still there?". Ouch. So I enlisted her help in folding it all today. Wish us luck.
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Friday, April 27, 2007

Richena Francois

Yesterday another baby girl came here in need of help.
Her name is Richena Francois, 5 months old, born 11.11.07 - weighs 9 lbs - 22" long.
Her mother died shortly after giving birth - she was 40 years old. The baby's older sister, Philomene, is caring for her. She is around 28 yrs. old and has two other children - eight and two. They lived in the mountains but came down looking for help. They will now stay with their uncle, in Barbancourt. We started her on formula and gave her baby supplies from some Love Bundles - also bottles and a diaper bag. She is very small for her age and has only been fed flour water up until now. She is malnourished and will probably have long-term affects from the lack of nutrients early on. She is alert, though, and ate very well while they were here.
I've begun working on plans with Lifeline to start some other programs to raise funds specifically for formula for these sick babies who aren't old enough to be in our regular feeding program. I'm sick of not being able to help them - and worried that some are dying before they ever get old enough for us to help. So far the plans are coming together - we found that it costs too much to ship formula here based on the weight, so buying it in-country is the best option. I did find a contact now who can sell us formula by the case at a greatly reduced rate, so that is a blessing.
Family news - I'm back at home safe and sound with all four little ones. We had a nice dinner with Chris and Leslie and packed up the traveling circus to bring it back to La Digue. The kids are very happy to be back together. They're bouncing off the walls and giggling like, well, little kids.

Scenes From La Digue

The boys and I have had a busy few days - with no time to write. I'll buy more time and post more pictures...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Super Dad

I have not had internet access too much over the last five days. When I did it was for four minutes at 11pm at night, I lack motivation to blog at that time of day. I am now all caught up on Troy's blogging and activities. Apparently he does not really need a wife, he can do EVERYTHING all by himself. I keep waiting for him to melt-down and complain but I get the same upbeat emails and phone calls as what you are reading on the blog. He is the total package. I'm amazed at how well he is doing. For the record, I will NEVER EVER EVER stay in Haiti without him for two weeks. Never. Not with six kids, not with four, not with two. No way Jose.

Once, I was there without him for one week. I hated it. I whined and complained. Let's just say Troy is a much better person than I am --- and leave it at that. I am a big baby.

We slept in four states in four nights and drove over 2,000 miles so we feel we've accomplished something. We're just not sure what. :) We had a nice time with everyone we stayed with and had a few hours over dinner to catch up before running off to the next location. THANK YOU to all of our wonderful hosts for the meals and nice beds and running water. All accomodations were superior and our comment cards have been filled out with only rave reviews.

We really liked Taylor University, so it is also added to the list of possibilities for Britt for January. I think it will be a hard decision for her to make. I have kept my open public weeping to a minimum -- it has not been easy but I found a few techniques that helped me hold it together when in large groups of touring parents and kids. Weeping in the car has been free game - for all of us.

On other fronts, things are being accomplished. I finally got Hennepin County to clear a ticket that did not belong to me. It was like being back in Haiti as we were directed from one counter to the next and all around for two hours before someone finally made it go away -- but, you know, it's the government so you certainly cannot expect them to be efficient or quick. Heavens no.

I visited with the Dr. who delivered Noah. He won't let me deliver seven the old fashioned way. I threw a small fit and attempted to argue with him but it fell on deaf ears. A C-section has been scheduled in October ... how anti-climatic is that? I actually told him "I am going to cry now." But he did not care -- apparently that trick has been tried on him before. The only other thing of note, he is impressed with my rotund gut ... even went as far as to say "you sure pop out early." This, coming from a man who sees hundreds of pregnant ladies a week -- since all things are a competition I am hoping to receive my award for being too round the fastest, in the mail soon. It feels good to win.

I am finding the kids the stuff they need. Isaac's feet grow two sizes a day so we just bought him every size from 2 on up to men's size 13 to cover our bases. Hope needed a couple of small things, and Noah wanted another pair of jeans ... as it is now he has two pairs that we wash daily to keep him happy. He has something against shorts. The whole thing is weird because when we moved to Haiti he would not even wear clothes, now he wants to wear jeans only. Phoebe really only needs diapers, we'll see what kind of space we have once we pack up what we have. Troy had limited requests, I feel like I need to find him something wonderful, but I have not figured out what that would be. He does have some deoderant and razors coming his way ... how is that for excitement? Oh -- and steak. I am going to attempt to bring back loads of USA red meat. If our flights get cancelled I need to know who wants beef in Miami, I'll head over and we can grill it up so we don't have to toss it.

We've got a few more appointments to cover, more adoption paperwork to chase down and a few remaining items to purchase. We're also helping Matt and Dad move some stuff to their new house this weekend. Britt had high hopes of a round of golf with Grandpa, but that seems like it may be out of the question with all there is to do. We have a bunch of stuff stored here that we need to get organized and find a new home for it.

I'm ready to head back to Haiti where you don't have to make so many decisions and choices everday. I have to believe that for someone who comes to America for the first time it would just be exhausting to decide so many things. When you are used to one road you can travel on from point A to B and one place to get your food and one way to do almost everything, it is mind-boggling to come here and have SO MANY choices ALL THE TIME. Decision making is tiring work.


PS- I loved reading all the encouragement and props Troy is/was getting for his superior work of mananging the mission, the children, the blog and the dog ----- but let it be said here and now ...

HE IS MINE. Eat your heart out ladies. ;-)

Random Pictures

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Real Quick-Like

This is just for the moms and worriers out there. We're home. We're fine. All is well. I found help with the boys, which was good since the rest of the day was a (insert high falsetto voice) NIGHTMARE. But right in the middle of my frustrations and misery today I think I heard God say:

"Hey, idiot - don't get all worked up. You're still doing better than 99% of the people you live with on that island."

Thanks, God. I needed that. It helps to keep it all in perspective.

I may blog later, I may not.


Pictures from the Canteen

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Two Tickets to the Gun Show

That was my favorite blog post of all time. Probably due to the amount of work involved and how fantastic my pipes looked.

I have perfected the art of running around like mad and accomplishing as much as possible in the ten minute breaks where no one is crying, fighting, needing food, pooping, or needing to be wiped after the aforementioned pooping. I actually started crossing things off my list in the last two days.

I would have preferred to keep the girls with me here, if it weren't for the full day I have planned tomorrow in Port-au-Prince. Hope and Phoebe actually don't add any work to the equation. The extra care for the baby is cancelled out by how well Hope looks after her insane brothers. She is like the voice of reason. I don't let the boys go outside to play alone - unless Hope is with them to stand defiantly with her hands-on-hips and say things like: "Are you supposed to be putting that in your mouth???" and "You know Dad said not to go down there. Do you want me to tell him what you're doing??" She's the best. Hope was very excited though for the chance to stay with Chris and Leslie some more - probably so she doesn't have to babysit the boys - so they're back on the beach again for the rest of the week.

Just me and the boys. Heading for Port tomorrow. Praying for help from above. The problem is I have at least two appointments in offices that are full of people who won't be toting children or wearing shorts, or any number of other things that will make us stand out. The last time I went to one of these offices, I sat in the waiting room for three hours. Yeah, Noah will LOVE that.

The Stateside Ladies are doing well, albeit a little road weary - from the sound of things. I miss them tons and can't wait to see them again in one short week. The way things have been going here - that time will fly by for me. I hope the same is true for them.

I'll try to post something serious tomorrow and not more pictures of my physique.

The Pacifier

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Daily Dose

Here is the house that Hope and Phoebe have been staying in:

Ok, it's not, but this one is very near Chris and Leslie's lovely home. Leslie has been feeling under the weather, so I kept the girls with me here. Please pray for her quick recovery. (Not for my needs, of course - come on - give me a break.) Although I do need to arrange something before Wednesday, when I have to go to Port. I was planning on finding alternate care for the boys as well, because of the people and places I need to go and see. Not your most kid-friendly appointments, if you know what I mean. Ok, maybe just not the most four kid-friendly ones.

The five of us had a good day, filled with some tickling, dog walking, spreadsheeting, diaper changing, and babysitting. The babysitting was of our employees - the children were fine on their own. I actually got a fair amount of work done today - as I finally succeeded in coordinating an all-four naptime. I had at least two hours of quiet and no demands for juice, fruitsnacks, bottles, or diaper changes. I made the most of it and caught up on emails and work. I was shocked at how much can be accomplished with uninterrupted time. Phoebe and Hope seem to be totally scabies-free, at least for the moment, so I should get them out of here as quickly as possible to keep them from being re-infected before the other girls come back. As far as I know - the dog is not pregnant, so I'm claiming success on all fronts at this point.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Got Your PF Chang's...

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This afternoon I ventured out-of-doors with the fabulous four. All by my lonesome.
I knew it would be hard to believe so I had Rusty take this picture. See how healthy
and happy they all look? Of course as soon as this was done they started fighting again,
but at least I got the proof. We went to Kyona beach (the deserted ghost-town one) and met up with Rusty and Cheryl Merritt who run the orphanage in Bercy. ( The kids had a fun day running and swimming and being rowdy with their group of younguns. I had fun talking to other grown-up-type people. Tara and the girls are safely in Indiana and in the care of the Fulton family. I called them and got to hear they were eating at our favorite restaurant - PF Chang's. So...even though the kids just had mac and cheese for dinner...I'll be cooking Kung Pao chicken for myself to make it even.
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Out of the mouths of babes...

Hope, explaining a movie scene in 'Chicken Run' to Isaac-
"Yes, they loved 'chuthers - that's why they kissed, 'cause they want to have a baby with 'unchuther"
(For those of you without children interpreting skills, unchuther means each other.)
Remember that girls - no kissing unless you want a baby with unchuther.
Isaac has also been sharing his words of wisdom with me - explaining at length how chickens who are made of clay cannot fly, and many other deep insights.
We had a funeral here this weekend for a man pictured above - from the local church. Ike can't get over it. His question-asking motor is on overdrive. I'm having a hard time keeping up.
Our fun so far today has included reading Bible story books, doing laundry, and cleaning up the house.
I didn't have it in me to load the whole crew up and head into Port this morning. The latest addition to the fun we're having is that I have a large dog in heat to deal with now, too. Ugh. Fortunately there aren't about a million diseased-looking dingos in the area running wild. Oh wait - there are. And at least she is so compliant and is really easy to keep on a leash. Oh wait - she's not. I'm keeping her roped up on the porch for now where I can hose things down to facilitate the cleanup.
Phoebe and Hope are doing great, I'm not taking them back up to Chris and Leslie's until tomorrow, we're having too much fun all together.
The stateside Livesay's made it to Illinois safely last night, are sharing in a church this morning, and then will be heading for Indiana. Thanks for all of your prayers...I can't believe it's been a week already.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I was right...haven't done a thing today (Except for managing the fearsome foursome). It's actually been really nice. Tara and the girls began a road trip today, please pray for safe travels.

Friday, April 20, 2007

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Here is a picture of Isaac doing what Paige refers to as 'chillaxin'.

We had a nice visit with his birth-mother today. I'll post pictures later. She was the only one from the family who came, which is too bad. I guess last time when we couldn't make it - Isaac's birth-father was there and some other siblings we haven't met. I would have liked to see them.

He is very sweet to her and really does seem to enjoy seeing her. Today he kissed her on the cheek and said "I love you!". She just stares and stares at him like she's trying to catch everything and keep it in her head to remember.

Isaac can be, okay always is, very random. Today he asked questions ranging from chickens' flying ability to claymation to animal husbandry to shark infested waters to birth-mothers - specifically just how many birth-mothers everyone in our family has - including Peanut. That's the short list. I did the best I could to answer everything, but had to include a lot of "well, I don't know, buddy." At one point I was bordering on using an answer I learned from my dad...When Isaac asked me why some chickens can fly and some can't and why they don't swim under water...I almost said "Just to make you ask questions." I'm saving that one for a more difficult ridiculous question. I'm sure it will come.

Phoebe and Hope are back with us, we just got home and are partially reunited. The boys and girls were all very happy to see each other again. Tomorrow we'll test how long that can last. I'm glad to have them all here, and have absolutely no expectation of accomplishing anything this weekend - so it should be a success.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anpil Ti Fi Malad

We had a lot of visitors on Thursday. Many women came with their sick daughters. We helped in whatever small ways we could. It was especially hard seeing the twins and wondering if they will make it. Please keep each of them in your prayers.

This is Mayeta and her daughter Oldina. Oldina's father left Mayeta before she was born. She lives here in La Digue, has no other family, and no job. We started helping her a few weeks ago with vitamins, peanut butter, and some clothes. Oldina is too young to be in our feeding program normally, but has been coming to eat in the canteen. It was good to see her, she has been growing and improving. When they first came her hair was orange from malnutrition and she was very weak.

This mother's name is Natalie. Her daughter is Jesnerline. Jesnerline is a year old. She also has no father. She appears to be anemic, and has not been willing to eat for two weeks. We're hoping vitamins and some iron fortified cereal will help her get stronger and start eating again.

Magalie brought her daughter Lovedarline here today to see if we could help with a rash or something on her head. It appears to be a fungal infection similar to what Phoebe had. We were able to provide money and transportation to a clinic to get medicine. I'm praying it helps. Lovedarline is very sweet and smiled for her picture, which is rare, but otherwise seemed miserable.

These twins were born about twelve days ago. They were brought here by two of their aunts. Their mother was sick during the pregnancy and too weak to come down from their home in the mountains. Someone was supposed to bring her down on horseback today to find help and go to a medical clinic. According to the family, they don't think she will live. The twins are named Micailine and Micailda. They weigh a total of eight pounds twelve ounces - combined. I've never held such tiny babies. I was scared to break them when I layed them on the scale. We are providing formula for them to eat. I was relieved to hear that the family already brought them to the Zachary's clinic in Cazale - and they are apparently healthy so far even given their low birth-weight.

This last little girl is Judline with her mother Juditte. The mother is the older sister of baby Lovely - who Britt treated for jaundice and we have been providing formula for. Judline is very sick, has been suffering with fevers and diarreah for a week now. We're hoping to find a way to provide formula for her and get her medical help if she doesn't improve quickly.

All of these mothers have stopped breastfeeding, either because they got sick or their own malnutrition kept them from being able to provide milk. A common problem in Haiti - even among doctors and nurses - is the belief that if the mother is sick she should stop breastfeeding. We usually don't see the babies until the milk is all dried up and the child is starving. It is very sad. We've seen that one of the biggest needs in this area (and possibly all of Haiti) is to provide baby formula to help in these cases. The child mortality rates in this country are staggering, and I wonder how much of that could be overcome by education and the availability of affordable baby formula. Unfortunately, we don't currently have the means in this mission to meet that need. We do have some funds designated for this purpose, but it always runs short.

So that was my day up until noon. The rest of the day was kind of a blur. After seeing all of these sick children, it was hard to be patient with the Pastor's Committee I met with this afternoon - especially since they showed up an hour late for our meeting. It was easy, however, to explain why this mission can't fund all of their churches and schools and meet every need - I just told them that I saw a more pressing need in finding help for the children that are dying around us.