Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anxiously waiting...

...the arrival of my mother. This trip has so many firsts attached to it for her. I can't wait to experience them with her! John and I did a lot today in preparation and even used our oldest son to help, our youngest son tried to undo what was being done, but he's one. We'll let it pass for now.

I haven't taken pictures of Malachi's room all finished, but posted a picture of Simon's room on Facebook. Not only did I paint this week, but we had curtains made for our first floor. They're thin-ish, wispy curtains that weren't too expensive and really add a lot to our first floor. It's amazing what projects get done when you're about to have a visitor. I think we're done with projects though. We have about 14 months left to enjoy the work that's been done, and enjoy it we will!

Quick update...Malachi seems to still be recovering a bit, his appetite isn't what it normally is. But he hasn't been sick since the other night, and no sign of seizures either. His neurologist said that stomach bugs can aggravate/cause seizures so we shouldn't worry.

So far no one else is puking, and no one has the throat/ear infection Simon had a while ago. Interesting that things that should be so contagious aren't making their way around the house.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vomiting and a Seizure

I'm tired, so I'm going to bed in about five minutes, but I wanted to put down in the blog a bit about today.

Malachi's teacher called at 2:30 and asked if I was the one picking Malachi up. I said yes and that I was getting ready to leave. She told me that since lunch he'd been complaining about an upset stomach, and had been crying for Mommy for a while. When I got there he wasn't playing with friends, he was sitting in a chair waiting for me. I talked a bit to his teacher and we went home. Right after I'd opened his door and grabbed his backpack he said "I don't feel good" and then proceeded to puke in the backseat of the car. Throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening he puked another five times. He can't hold down anything.

We put him to bed before 8:00 after about an hour of being puke free. We brought an extra crib mattress that we have in the house into our room and put it next to our bed so he wouldn't have to walk across the house to tell us that he got sick. I came downstairs to watch T.V. and John stayed upstairs to play a video game. I heard John call out Malachi's name and go into our room and then heard silence. I knew that since I didn't hear the door close, or crying and puking it meant seizure, but since I didn't hear anything I didn't want to jump to conclusions. John made his way downstairs and told me that in fact he did have a small seizure. Not a partial, just a short grand mal. No drool, and quite short. Neither of us is very surprised really since his little body and mind have been under a ton of stress since about 3:00 today. Not only has he puked six times, but he has no nourishment because he can't keep anything down. Poor guy. Luckily he did wait long enough to puke the last time that his medicine should have been digested.

John's going to email the Neurologist in the morning and give him the details. I had already emailed his teacher and told her that he wouldn't be in school. I have a work thing tomorrow, I guess I may not be able to make it to. Of course, after a night of rest, all may be better.


I wrote my Senators today. I've never done that before. Sure I used someone's letter and then made it my own, but I still went through the effort. I had to. The House of Representatives passed HR1, and if Senate passes it we'll have a 16% cut in our pay right now. If the President is going to freeze everyone's pay for two years that's fine. If Senate is going to shut down the WHOLE government because they need to then fine. But HR1 only applies to Foreign Service Officers - and only those overseas.

My question is why? Why pick on one of the smallest groups in the U.S. Government? Some of us are serving in expensive countries, some of us are serving in dangerous countries (and yes I understand we get compensation for those specific things, but...) and cutting our pay is going to make a lot of people angry. And if you're cutting pay then there's a chance it will be difficult to get some Officers and their families to go overseas.

I know that a 16% cut in pay is going to hurt in Costa is NOT cheap here! So please write to your Senator. Tell them that you'd like them to NOT pass HR1.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Could I BE any more sore?

Answer...probably, but right now when it hurts so much to sit down I can't think I could.

I've wanted to paint rooms in our apartments for a long time. When we lived in Dallas we weren't allowed, so it was an unrealized dream. When we arrived in San Jose I found out that if we wanted to paint the house that was fine, but we'd need to have it painted back - SOLD! The living room and dining room were painted less than six weeks after moving here. I've thought for the last 10 months that it would be really nice to have the bedrooms painted as well.

With #3 coming the desire to paint has gotten stronger. So this past weekend Malachi, Simon, and I went to EPA, a Superferreteria (think Lowes), I had the colors for Simon and the baby's room picked out, and I asked Malachi what he wanted (WARNING: Never let your 5 year old pick the colors, unless your 5 year old has an uncanny way with colors). We bought the paint, and some painting tools and took them home. We originally had plans to go to the beach on Monday (was that just yesterday?) with our day off but with the highway closing none of us wanted to make the trek.

So Monday turned into painting day, a.k.a. killing Sara's body day. I started at about 7:30 a.m. and I taped and primed the walls. Then once that was dry, I had John help me put tape up to mark where the third color (the horizontal stripe) would go. Then I painted the two main colors in both of the rooms. In total that was one coat of primer in both rooms and four different colors between the two rooms. With all of the bending, squatting, standing, stretching, taping, and painting my body was so over it by the end of the day, which was shortly before 6:00 p.m...I think.

I was so, so happy that we had already scheduled a masseuse to come. By the time I cleaned myself up, John was half way through his massage. I started reading The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison. When I reached page 25, the masseuse was ready for me. I had an amazing one hour massage and shortly after went into a deep sleep until Malachi came in this morning at 5:40.

I had a busy day at work today and came home with a headache and nausea, but I decided to do the second coats in Malachi's room before dinner anyway. Out of breath and with a worsened headache and nausea I sat down at 6:00 p.m. and after a bit went for the Panadol (acetaminophen). Pizza was delivered about two hours from ordering, and was enjoyed by the whole family. The kids went to bed, and I've been watching recorded episodes of Chuck and Castle and writing this blog during that. Now...I'm ready for bed.

Good night.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Love a 5 Year Old's Mind

Setting: John and Malachi reading The Dangerous Book for Boys

Malachi: Can we go to Mars?
John: umm....Mars is really far away
Me (to John): Probably not in our lifetime, but maybe in his, (to Malachi) it's more likely you'll go to the moon buddy.
Malachi: I'd rather walk on the moon

Holiday Weekend

This long weekend we made a lot of plans, and so far I've been having a great time.

Friday night John watched Simon while Malachi and I went to Multiplaza (the local mall). There's a place there, full of large bounce house like activities, where you can drop off your child to play while you go shop. can take your child and watch them play. If they're under 4 you can go play with them. I had to sit outside and watch, but after he had a pretty good time. At first he didn't really know what to do or who to play with, and a little boy then yelled at him, and that certainly didn't help. Finally he watched another little boy do something, to which Malachi copied and then continued doing for 10 minutes, over, and over, and over. He eventually found a little girl to play with and spent the remainder of his time with her.

After about 40 minutes I told him it was time to go eat dinner. He wanted McDonald's, and since I've recently been on a no McDonald's kick I said no. However, I don't know if I picked something that was healthier for us. I took him to Oui Oui Crepes, he had a nutella crepe and I had a banana and chocolate crepe. After he stuffed his mouth full, didn't chew properly, and started chocking he got the hang of eating the crepe and enjoyed it. His came with M&M's which he thought was pretty special. After that we went home and he went to bed.

Last night John and I went out on a date. We were supposed to go to a movie and then dancing with some friends, but our maid told me when she got here that she had to leave early. She wanted to be home by 9:00, she had a good reason but I was pissed. I told her when we scheduled for last night that we were going to be out late. The dancing didn't start until 9:30. I didn't say anything to her about it for a couple of reasons. One, I didn't know if my Spanish was good enough to convey what I was feeling, and two, I didn't want to let my anger rule what I said.

I was determined to not let my anger towards P ruin what I could have with John. We had a good time at the movie, and then headed home. I told P before we left that we already had tickets and that the movie will be done around 9:00, and we'd head straight home. We did just that, and when we got home Malachi was still up...not good. Malachi shouldn't have been up that late! She knows that he goes to bed by no later than 8:00 on the weekends, she's babysat enough to know that. sigh Next time I guess I'll just have to be more thorough in giving her directions for the evening. Or...I could arrange for someone else to babysit.

We have some more fun plans for today and tomorrow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Test Results and a 1 Year Well Check!

Malachi's test results came back normal for an epileptic. We have digital and hard copies of both of the tests for the future if we ever need them. The neurologist didn't add a second medicine or increase the dosage more than what he already did last week. He's still hopeful that Malachi will grow out of the seizures. 

Simon's well check went really well. He's 22 lbs and 24 inches long with a 19 inch head. He's just over 90% for length and just over 50% for weight, which is common at this age because of how much he's moving around now. He of course has the big Emery (my mom's side of my side) head, I've blessed both my kids with that. He passed his exam with flying colors. The scar from the growth removal is healing really well as well. recap - both kids are doing great, and I've had Dr's verify that today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Deep Breath

My deep breath took place over 10 hours of sleep, and an 8 hour shift at work.

After even a short time at work today I felt so much better. I talked to a friend for about 20 minutes about where we'll be next (don't know...). That with the knowledge that it's now been a week since Malachi's had a seizure, the large amount of crying done over the last two days, and all of the prayers and good thoughts sent my way, I think I'm finally getting better. I know I am.

Thank you everyone for your constant support and prayers. Maybe I'll start blogging about other things tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Hit

My body has taken another hit from the stress. I won't go into don't want them.

My husband missed an important work event tonight because of all of this. My mood is getting darker and darker.

On the upside, I found out that I AM in fact going to D.C. for training next month. I'm going to be gone from my family for seven days, but I'll be happy to be in the States again.

Dear weather gods,

Will you please make sure that there isn't too much snow while I'm there, I'll be carrying around a big belly and don't think I'll be able to not slip on snow and ice.

Thank you,


Monday, February 14, 2011


Today I had a breakdown. Not that I haven't had a few in the last eleven days,  but this was like a real breakdown. First came the stress cry that I got under control after only about five minutes (that's a really long time to cry), and then my body and especially my brain only did what was necessary. During the kids' naps I went to my "happy place." I was somewhat blissfully happy for a little bit because my brain wouldn't allow anything else. Then I returned to reality and fell into some crying, although this time instead of being in the "privacy" of the car with John and Malachi, I was at Malachi's school with all of his friends and their parents for the Valentine's Party/Presentation. It was very hard for me to control myself there. I almost wasn't able to do it a few times. My husband was gracious enough to make dinner (well he usually does, but I think he could sense my utter lack of willingness to do it) and after the kids went to bed I drew a bath, lit some candles, and read a book (my "happy place"). I've made it known that sometime soon I need dinner and a movie out with a girlfriend. I'm sure I'll get that with no contest.

Just for a quick update: Malachi's EEG went well. The Dr. will got the results to both tests tonight. We're apparently meeting with him on Thursday at 2:00 but were only informed of this through the Embassy nurse who was informed by our neurologist. I was supposed to bring him the previous test results (the ones done 19 months ago) but when I went to their office today it was 10:00 a.m. They don't hold normal office hours here...anyway, I digress. So he has nothing to compare them with because I have to work the next two days. Oh well. He'll tell us that there was nothing on the MRI and the EEG and we'll tell him that's what happened last time.

Simon's still teething the 8th tooth, which came in one day last week, but other than that, he's great. Thank God. #3 is moving a ton and I can even now feel him punch and kick at the same time. He's strong too, it's starting to get a bit...uncomfortable. Less than half way to go!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sort of Seizure Free

Malachi had a few partial seizures this morning. We kept an extra close eye on him today since the last grand mal he had was precluded by a partial. Thankfully though, there was no grand mal.

We stayed at home all day until 7:00 p.m. when Malachi and I went to the store to get a few things. Then we had a good time staying up until 10. We watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition, talked to John's parents for a while, and then did dishes together. Those things with the grocery shopping and getting ready for bed equaled the three hours that we had to keep him up. He's been very excited about staying up late and getting up early, we'll see how excited he really is at 4:00 a.m. when John gets him.

Tomorrow's test will be very different. It's only going to be 30-40 minutes long and they want active and sentient brain activity so he will be falling asleep at some point. He also won't be so restricted. He won't be able to move around a lot, but he won't have to redo parts of his test because he moved. The Dr. should get the results from the MRI tomorrow, best case scenario is that there's no change. I don't know when he'll get results from the EEG. Last time we did a short EEG like this there was no seizure activity on the test. Even when we did the long test there was no seizure activity. So we'll see if they can find anything this time.

John missed work on Thursday and is going to miss part of the day tomorrow, but we'll bring him to work when we leave the hospital. Malachi's not going to be in school in the morning but we're going to the Valentine's Day Party at his school at 2:00. We still don't know if he'll be going to school on Tuesday. We have much to discuss.

We'll let you know how tomorrow goes.


On Friday night, February 11, 2010, John and I headed to the hospital to begin the process of bringing our son into the world. We had been eagerly awaiting his arrival and we were so excited to know we'd be meeting him the very next day.

I had a few prayers to God about Simon's birth and every one of them was answered. My epidural wasn't as good as with Malachi's labor and delivery, but it did help a bit. The labor started on Saturday the 12th and he was born at 1:54 p.m. (EST) and weight 8 lbs. 4 oz. and was 21 inches long. He passed all of the newborn tests and was cleared to be with us.  He cried a lot that first day, but was amazing to us. His blood work and eventually his skin showed that he was jaundiced. The doctors said it was because our blood types conflicted. So he spent the remainder of our time in the hospital in the UV bed getting his tan on. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of this. He was pretty cute laying in the bed with his eye protectors on.

We were released on Sunday afternoon and went home to introduce Simon to his big brother. Our good friend Sam had watched Malachi the whole weekend and welcomed us home with a clean apartment and welcome home signs and cards for Simon.

The first few days we were definitely in our honeymoon phase. We loved our new life with our two boys. Simon didn't wake up every two hours because of the jaundice - and he had a big appetite, I couldn't keep up with it and had to supplement. I was also supplementing because the jaundice wasn't going away the way we'd hoped it would.

Finally the jaundice was gone, and so were we. Simon handled our travel to TX like a champ, sleeping the whole way on the flight from D.C. He met our friends in Dallas, and then after a couple of days in Houston for Daddy's work, he slept through another flight to Costa Rica.

He adjusted the best out of the family to our move, only showing a little bit of stress here and there when the parents were stressed out. Simon adjusted to having a nanny and a mommy who works part time (although sometimes the mommy has a hard time leaving in the morning).

He's grown and developed at a rate completely new to John and I , and was wearing his brother's 18 month clothing at 10 months (partly because he was huge, partly because of clothing shrinkage). Before that, his development (laughing, smiling, cooing, talking, rolling, sitting, etc.) seemed a bit early if not right on time. His first tooth came in at 5 months, 3 weeks, and his next tooth came in a few days later. His next two teeth didn't come in until he was eight months old, and he's slowly been teething since then. He now has eight teeth and it seems his first molar is forming and going to come in.  Learning to crawl was difficult for him because of our tile and wood flooring that offered no traction. He did the army crawl for a long time and finally mastered crawling at about ten months old. Shortly after that he started to "cruise" around our furniture and now will take a couple of steps between pieces with confidence, but no more than that.

In January of 2011 Simon enjoyed his first ever vacation in Minnesota. The cold didn't seem to bother him nearly as much as it did his mother. He met his Grandpa on his mommy's side for the first time as well as many extended family members and some friends that mommy's had for many years (one friend mommy has had for almost 27 years). He really enjoyed flying and was just like his brother was at that age.

He prefers to crawl than practice walking. He's talking up a storm now, saying a ton of words in both Spanish and English: Mama, Papa, and Hola in Spanish, Hello, Hi, Mama (the difference is in the accent), Dada, Ow, Uh-oh, and possibly more.

He's had two colds and one infection (throat and ear) but otherwise has been healthy over the last year. He's a bit of an attention hog, and cries even if he's fallen just a little bit. He's certainly the baby of the family. But he's amazing, and we're so happy he's in our lives.

Simon, we love you so much. Happy Birthday (a day late).

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I feel like today was a victory. As much as possible we treated Malachi like a normal five year old boy, and he was seizure free yet again. I wish I didn't react every time he trips, or makes a jerky movement but every move he makes that reminds me of a seizure makes my heart do two things, stop and then race.

John said that they decided to do the MRI with out contrast and would refund us $300 from the $800 that we paid. However, the Dr might decide we have to go back and do one with contrast anyway. I hope not because that would mean that he would need an IV and try putting a needle next to Malachi, it makes him freak out. Today during the preparation the MRI technician pulled out a syringe that had a needle to measure the sleeping medicine for Malachi. We all thought it was going to be a shot and he was crying so hard, he was so scared. He stopped as soon as he was told it was only for measurement.

My wonderful girlfriend did come sit with me, and I needed her at times. She gave me a big hug when she arrived and it was perfect, I needed it. Malachi walked out five minutes short of two hours after I left the imaging center. I was so happy to see him walking out of there, and he had his mind on one He'd been fasting so he was so hungry. He had a snickers bar and a box of orange juice for breakfast.

Today was a pretty normal Saturday after that. We napped, hung out, went out for dinner, did a bit of shopping, ate cupcakes (the last three items will be discussed more in the next blog post which will be dedicated solely to my amazing 1 year old), Skyped with Grandma and went to bed a little late.

Tomorrow we're hoping for a chill day, and then we have more testing again on Monday.

The Waiting...

Malachi's MRI is going to take two hours. John's in the room with him holding his hand. I can't be there because of the pregnancy, but I don't know that I'd want to be there right now. I started crying when his head was being strapped in, the technician asked if I was ok. I had my back to him and nodded, I'm not going to cry on his shoulder. I might not have been the best patient's mom, but I wasn't all that impressed with him. In his defense he did try to calm Malachi down when he thought there was going to be a shot. Malachi just wasn't accepting it.

I'm so thankful for a good friend who is willing to come sit with me. Yesterday when talking to a (different) friend I told her that I felt like there was a lot of pressure (metaphoric) building up in me and that I felt like I could blow at any minute.It would be really bad if that happened while I was in the cafe at the hospital.

I'll let everyone know how our day goes tonight. Have a good Saturday all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keeping a 5 year old awake... easy until about three hours after their bedtime. Malachi started crying he was so sad that his dad's video game wasn't over and he wasn't playing with him yet. After he calmed down and finished wiping snot all over his face he looks at me with all seriousness and says, "I'm not tired yet." It took a lot of energy not to laugh pretty hard at that.

Here's the goal for tonight, keep him up until 11:00 p.m. and wake up him at 5:00 a.m. I'm not that excited about getting up with him at 5:00 but John's taken over on the keeping him up part so I'll get to go to sleep soon.

Our activities tonight to keep him awake have been, watching The Phantom Menace, playing a game, baking cookies, and now he and John are watching Wipeout that was recorded last night. Tomorrow morning, I think cartoons will be sufficient in keeping him awake. He has to fast though so I'm going to have to sneak a breakfast in there somewhere so I don't eat in front of him. We'll leave for the hospital at about 7:30 and begin our morning of testing.

The test is two hours long, so John and I plan on looking for some wi-fi and working on our bid list. So far what I've seen is pretty encouraging. Unfortunately we can't go to Algiers though because no kids over 5 are allowed because of inadequate schooling. That surprises me though, I would think they would have great schooling. It's possible that Americans aren't allowed at their schools though.

We're deciding what our priorities are for our next post, and mine is a good school for Malachi. I've decided that while house help and working would be great, I can do without for a couple of years. If I'm not working I'm much more likely to work on finishing my bachelors in who knows what after the kids have gone to bed.

Simon's rash is 100% gone and he seems to be taking the Zithromax really well. I hear laughter downstairs which is the best sound ever.

Good night people.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seizure Free Today

Today I was on edge, but Malachi had a good day - no seizures.

When we woke up today we just chilled, Malachi woke John up at about 5:30 and I woke up at about 6:15. Simon slept in until 8:00 and we decided we should start moving for the day. John got Simon out of bed and I was taking care of Malachi. I was doing makeup in Malachi's bathroom when he was showering (it's hard for me to be too far from him right now) and I heard John say I should come look at the pattern on Simon's face. Here I thought that he laid on a stuffed animal for a long time, but when I got into our bedroom where they were I noticed the rash that was on Simon's torso last night had spread all the way up his head and his eyes were a bit puffy. We assumed that it was a reaction to the medicine he was taking for the infections.

I finished my makeup and called the Embassy nurse to inform her that the whole Roy family was coming to her office this morning because of Simon's rash and because we needed her to confirm with the neurologist what was going on today. I fed Simon a bottle, got Malachi's backpack with a snack and some homework together (felt like I was so prepared), and we left for the Embassy.

Once there the kids and I went to the Health Unit and John went to the Front Office (Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission and their admins), to inform the admin of the Ambassador that he might not make it on the trip this weekend that he was supposed to be control officer for. It turns out the Ambassador and DCM were in a meeting, so John went to talk to them and they were very supportive and understanding.

He joined us at the Health Unit where the nurse had agreed with what we thought about Simon and was trying to get a hold of the Pediatrician to see what he wanted to do about it. She took a look in his ears and confirmed that both of them were red and a bit swollen. The Dr. decided on Zithromax for three days - good. One problem solved.

While we were sitting in the reception area of the Health Unit, the Imaging center at CIMA called John's cell phone to make an appointment for Malachi's MRI, with contrast. We made it for Saturday morning. Throughout the day there were emails and phone calls and much confusion about what was going on. Finally John got a call from the neurologist mid-afternoon who said that we could do an EEG on Friday morning or Monday morning. They decided on Monday morning because the night before both tests he needs to stay up a couple of hours late and get up a couple of hours early. With this setup he gets to rest on Sunday.

So, in conclusion. No blood tests are going to be ordered right now, an MRI is scheduled for Saturday, and an EEG is scheduled for Monday. I need to bring Malachi's records from all of his other tests that were done a year and a half ago. I may do that tomorrow, or I just may wait until Monday since I'll need to pass the time during the EEG. Simon is doing much better, the rash is almost completely gone. Dad is sleeping happily next to me, and I'm going to turn in pretty soon.

What a crazy life we live.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 Seizure Count up by 2

Today when we picked up Malachi from his friends house after work we fell as he was trying to get into the car and when I looked back I noticed his eyes looked a little strange, and then he blinked, got up and answered our question of whether or not he was ok (he said yes).

Tonight shortly after he finished his sucker (he loves those btw Grandma and Grandpa), we were watching TV and he started making a noise. Neither John or I thought anything of it, but I glanced at him anyway and told John he was having a seizure. We got him on his side on the couch and let it run its course. It was about a minute long and even though I think it was a grand mal (now called tonic clonic) his body wasn't in it. It was just his head and face. His mouth was moving as well, and he was making a gasping like noise.

After he was done seizing he did a lot of groaning and he moved around a lot. By that I mean he got off the couch and was trying to walk. At one point he was sitting on the floor and moving forward. He certainly didn't seem alert at this time, and he continued to groan. Simon was around for all of this, and I'm sure he didn't know what to make of it. I think he wanted to play with Malachi during the seizure. Afterwards Simon still wanted to play with Malachi. Simon was grabbing hair and even was going for his eye lashes (he loves eye lashes). Malachi didn't notice because he was in the postictal state and was basically asleep.

Malachi in sleeping and John calling the neurologist.
John did get him to respond verbally to a question after he was all done moving around and had been still for a couple of minutes. We then let him go to sleep for the night. Every once in a while he would make a noise that sounds a bit like a hiccup.

John called the neurologist on his cell phone and explained the situation. The Dr said that tomorrow we need to go in in the morning and that we'll probably go see another Dr at another hospital. The first Dr., Dr. S. said we might need to add a second medicine. We'll see what testing is done tomorrow, hopefully it's not traumatic for Malachi. We'll both go to the appointment if our nanny is here before hand, I'll wait with Simon and then take a taxi if she's not.

Malachi's going to sleep with us tonight because I think it will wake John up if he starts seizing again since he usually makes noise. I think I'd sleep through it, but maybe not tonight.

We'll keep everyone updated on how he's doing tomorrow, and let y'all know what the Dr.s say.

Ode to P

This week's topic for the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup (WSDBR) is house help, advice and stories and what not.

I have to admit that when John got the "call" to the Foreign Service in May '09 I got very excited about the possibilities of house help. We already knew we wanted to live in hardship places in order to get Student Loan Repayment Program (also known as SLRP (pronounced slurp), and that meant that we'd be in a place that would make house help affordable. I loved the possibilities open to me...I mean, come on! Who wants to do house work?! Yes, yes, you and you like doing it - but you're rare! I hate, and I mean hate doing housework.

Then the time for packout came, and I felt really weird having someone come pack all of our things. And they had to pack ALL of our things. Partly for security and safety (of them and our things) and partly because they have to fill half a box with paper, even if it's stuffed animals (that is a Sara exaggeration of course - but they use so much paper!). I did get them donuts, and I was nice to them, but it was so weird to sit around that day and watch them do work I could have done.

When we lived at Oakwood it felt like living in a hotel sometimes, one of the reasons being that we had maid services every week. It felt weird at first, being home and having someone else clean the bathrooms, change the sheets and towels, clean the kitchen, and vacuum for us. But it didn't take long to get used to and was a huge blessing in my life because of the pregnancy and then baby.

When we were posted to China we knew that we'd have an ayi (house helper) and were really excited. When our post changed to Costa Rica, we were a bit uncertain about house help, but were excited to learn that it was affordable after all. At first we were a bit lazy about hiring someone. We were just enjoying our new life. And then after about a month we knew...we just knew that we had to hire someone.

The house was really dirty, and I just couldn't keep up with the floors, which is weird, because if there's one thing I actually like doing in the house its floors. There's something so satisfying about it - I think it all started when I got a brand new Oreck vacuum for a wedding present from my in-laws. I just loved making the fun patterns on the carpet...I digress. I contacted our CLO to ask for some recommendations, and to plead with her to make the appointments because John was busy at work and my Spanish was laughable. She was nice enough to do so, even though it's not her job. She made two appointments for that Saturday and we eagerly awaited meeting our new maid...well we hoped we would.

The first person came in that morning and told us she traveled three hours to get there and was only looking for part time work with no kids involved. NOPE! Sorry. She left after 10 minutes. I felt kind of bad that she came so far for nothing. Hopefully she likes being crowded in unairconditioned busses for a really long time.

The second person came that morning and was really nice. She lived close and was great with the kids - who were great with her. We liked what we heard and she liked what she saw. We told her we were going to check her references and get back to her. We were really excited to find out that one of her references was a former FSO here in San Jose. Unfortunately he was on vacation the next week and didn't answer our emails for a couple of weeks, which made me really sad because I wanted her right away. Eventually he emailed us back and said that she was great for the house and with the kids. SOLD! We called her and asked her to start the next Monday.

She originally started at Part-Time with the understanding that she would move to Full Time either after I started working or at the New Year. I quickly knew that I couldn't live without P and that I wanted her at my house all the time. All.The.Time. My husband agreed to more hours when I wanted them, and shortly after I got my job, we moved her to almost full time, and a few weeks ago made it official that she's here full time.

I LOVE having house help. She takes great care of my kids, and loves them. I had some jealousy issues for a while, but I know that my kids are in great hands, and they always prefer me over anyone else.

P is amazing and I don't know what I would do without her. There are some challenges to having someone else do the work you used to do (I didn't it rarely, but I did it, and to my own standards). Your standards might not be the standards of the maid, they might not fold the clothes the same way either. I've learned to not care though - she's doing it and I'm not. Don't get me wrong, I will tell her if I want something changed. For instance, she wasn't cleaning the whole toilet, just the seat and the inside; I've asked her to clean the whole thing.

As previously mentioned, I can't imagine my life without her. And yet, right now I'm imagining my life without her because we may be living in a place where we can't afford an amazing house helper at our next post. Unfortunately she has a son and won't be able to come with us where we go next. I can only hope that we get Manila - because then everyone (John and I) get's what they want.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Children (all 3) Updates

Written Monday night:
Malachi got into the neurologist today at 2:00 p.m. I picked him up from school, which he wasn't very happy about (partly because he's afraid to go to any Dr. because there might be shots, partly because his friend told him that he was going to his house after school - wrong! Not even if there was no Dr. appointment would that happen), and we got to the Dr's office to early, so we walked to a nearby play ground.

We got to the office before John, who joined us about five minutes before the appointment was supposed to start. Fifteen minutes later a woman came out (I'm confused about this. He's a Pediatric Neurologist and her son was sitting alone in the waiting room...), and we were told to go in. He asked us about the event (his English isn't great and my Spanish isn't great, especially in the realm of medical terms, so he and John did most of the talking together), getting very specific, and I felt a little foolish getting into the position that Malachi was in, but once he got an idea of what happened he did a physical exam.

Written Tuesday night:
The physical exam was passed with flying colors, and the Dr. determined that we just needed to increase the amount of medicine that he's given. He gave us a Rx and scheduled an appointment for April (some Dr.'s here schedule their own appointments and then have you inform the receptionist when the appointment is) for another check up. He reassured us that Malachi's "attack" shouldn't cause us any concern, and we should proceed normally (although, who am I kidding, as much as I want to proceed normally, I'll always be watching out of the corner of my eye to see him, and straining my ear to hear him, and occasionally calling out his name if he's too quiet).

Then the best part of the appointment, the announcement that no testing was needed - not even blood tests! So...not only was he fine, but we didn't have to poke or prod! That's definitely the best part. We (Malachi and I) were dreading news of blood or other tests. There were cheers from the two of us!

We left the office, and celebrated the amazing results of the afternoon, and Malachi's great behavior by getting lunch for John and I and dessert for all three of us! Last night I was exhausted and even though that was the case, I didn't go to bed early enough. I did spend a great evening with my wonderful husband though.
Today at work, I was so tired. I had two meetings this morning, the second one running until almost 12:30. By the end of that I was very hungry and almost laying down on the table because my body was so heavy and hard to support. In the afternoon, I chose to go to a meeting just so I wouldn't fall asleep at work.

We left work a bit early so I could make it to an appointment that I had at 5:00 p.m. When I (finally - they always run really late) got into the office, and switched to English after the greetings so I could speak my mind better, I started with I'm exhausted, and he said I look it - I believe him.

We talked about my few questions, and he did the exam: measure the belly, take the blood pressure, listen to the heart beat, weigh the big fat preggo. I say big fat preggo because I gained 3 1/2 kilos this month!! For those not familiar with the metric system that's 7.71617918 pounds! That's way too much for one month and he said the only reason he's not killing me is because so far I'd lost almost that much. My net gain in half the pregnancy is only half a kilo.

I think I may have eaten a few too many Thin Mints this month (who am I kidding, I've had almost five boxes worth in five months...and that's not a joke).

I go in again in about five weeks and get to have another sonogram! I love seeing the baby! I also love that they're not as rigid as Dr.'s in the States about how many times I have to go in. It's cheaper this way.

Oh, and real quick...Simon's improving. He's eating more, and sleeping better.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Trip to the E.R. (and it's not who you thought it would be)

At 4:45 this afternoon I got Simon out of his crib so we could leave for the Super Bowl party that started at 4:30 (oops). He felt really, really hot. He had a fever this morning and we gave him Tylenol. He took an extra long nap and then afterwards felt really, really hot.

We took his temperature, under his arm, and it was 103.something which means his internal temperature was even higher. I called the nurse from the Embassy (we've talked a lot this weekend!) and she said teething doesn't usually cause such high fevers (I was thinking it's just teething because all his symptoms are the same as teething symptoms) but to try Tylenol again and to call the Dr. on his cell if it doesn't go down.

40-ish minutes later we took his temperature again and it had gone up! I couldn't get a hold of the Dr. so I left a message, and called the nurse back who recommended I take him to the E.R.

I arrived at CIMA (great private hospital about 10-15 minutes from our house, depending on traffic (up to 30 minutes) or how I drive) and brought him to the E.R. registration. I waited about two minutes, which felt like an eternity, registered, which took about twenty seconds, and was called back in another two minutes. Simon's temp and weight were taken and we were shown to a room. The Dr came in about two minutes later, asked some questions, did a quick exam and said there was swelling in his left ear and throat as well as some white plaque in his throat, diagnosis: infection. She gave me a Rx for the infection, and a pain relief spray for his throat. She also said to continue the Tylenol for pain and fever. I went to the Pharmacy, got his medicine and came home. Total time in the Hospital: approx. 30 minutes, Total Cost: approx $130. I LOVE private medical care and cost in Costa Rica.

We came home, gave him medicine and a bottle and put him in bed. He gave his kangaroo an extra big hug, and barely made a sound when I left.We'll check on him through the night to make sure he's ok, and pray the fever breaks.

I'm going to shower and go to bed.This weekend has been a bit exhausting. Tomorrow morning we'll call the Neurologist and try to get in as soon as possible.

Friends, Public School and Seizure update

My dear friend (yes I feel like I can call her a friend, no I've never met her, that's just how it is in the State Department Blogging Community) at A Daring Adventure is going through an atrocious situation with the Fairfax County Public School system. She closed comments on this entry in her blog and forced me to publicly chide her for being so apologetic to me and the community.

She apologized profusely to me because she hadn't been on the blog to update the Roundup Calendar or announce my topic. I said in my roundup entry that I knew something was wrong, and I was right. To my sweet friend who is going through something horrible, please know that we in the community love you and would (should) never hold you to standards that we wouldn't hold ourselves.

I commend you for your restraint, knowing that I would have a very, very hard time holding myself to. When someone offends us it's damaging, but we dust ourselves off and move on. When someone offends/hurts/damages our children we become a force to be reckoned with. My own son has been singled out in our gated community as one who shouldn't be befriended. Three times he's asked/attempted to play with the children here and they've ostracized him every time. Every time I see the kids playing around the community, I glare and dream about them getting a little too close to the car as I drive out (honestly...yes, then I realize that's crazy).

All this to say, that I understand your tears, I understand your need for restraint, and I completely understand your absence the last week and a half. When reading your post about what your son is going through and the horrible treatment you have received from the F.C.P.S. system, I cried. I cried for him, and I cried for you, who after fighting as hard as you can, can only hold him, and do no more. I know that exact feeling, and it's one of the worst in the world.

On that note, I want to thank those who've given their support and prayers for Malachi and our family. So far he's still seizure free during the day (that we know of) so we're going ahead today as if it's normal. John and I will take Malachi to the neurologist this week, hopefully we'll be able to get in. Here's what will happen:

We'll tell him it was a minor event, over short, full recovery. He'll order blood work to check the levels of medicine in his blood, he'll probably order another MRI and EEG (for which I'll probably shave his hair off because during the last EEG application through his hair was really difficult (read this to understand, it's the story of the previous seizure, hospitalization, tests, etc.)). He'll increase the amount of medicine Malachi receives, or add a second medicine, and send us home. Malachi may never have another seizure again, he may have another one on Tuesday. That's one of the worst parts of this, the not knowing.

I'll keep y'all updated on how things go. And for goodness sake somebody please sign up for the Roundup!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My boy

My wonderful and amazing five year old, who is so smart and so sweet, to no fault of his own, can really make me bawl.

Yesterday on the way to the Embassy to get John I heard a familiar noise from Malachi, and although he makes it on his own sometimes looked back to check on him. He was indeed having a seizure. I was stopped at a light but knew I needed to pull over. I said a very quick prayer and looked over to the lane next to me, it was empty - not normal during rush hour on this road - thank you God! I told Malachi that he was ok and that I was going to pull over and get him out (for myself of course, he was unconscious during his seizure). I did exactly that, there was an empty parking lot very close to me, so I pulled in and without even turning the car off, grabbed my cell from it's uber convenient spot to time the seizure and got Malachi out very quickly. I laid his head in the crook of my arm with his body on his side. I looked at my phone to see the time and to call John. By the time I looked back down at Malachi he was closing his eyes and had stopped seizing. I think total, this event was about 30 - 45 seconds. It was very short, with no drool, and was by far the least traumatic seizure for him. Malachi didn't even cry which is abnormal. He used to scream after a seizure.

John answered the phone immediately, probably thinking I had arrived. I told him Malachi had, had a seizure and then I started crying. Between sobs I told him that it was short and he was already done. I got Malachi to respond to a question of mine, told John to call our Embassy nurse (he couldn't get a hold of her), and that I'd be right there to pick him up. I drove to the Embassy often watching Malachi in the rear view mirror. He was definitely still in the postictal state (Wikipedia: The postictal state is the altered state of consciousness that a person enters after experiencing a seizure. It usually lasts between 5 and 30 minutes...), and I was also in the postictal state (read: bawling, controlling myself, bawling, etc.). John was waiting for us outside and when I stepped out, he gave me a big comforting hug and took over the driving.

Over the course of our drive home (about 25 minutes) he had fully recovered and won the "race" to the door. I was a mess the rest of the night, John was my rock, Malachi was showing no sign of any seizure. He had dinner, watched a bit of T.V., and went to bed on time. I hadn't been able to get a hold of the nurse, but she called at 10:30 after she saw our missed calls. We told her what happened and that since he recovered so well, we'd keep an eye on him this weekend, but would wait to call any Dr. or go anywhere until Monday unless he had another event this weekend.

I had a difficult time going to sleep last night, and when I woke up at 4:45, my mind ran right to last night's events. I couldn't go back to sleep.

I thank God that Malachi's ok. I thank God that I was able to pull over, and that his seizure was so short. I thank God that his recovery was full and that it happened in the "right" amount of time.

So far today he's been just his normal self. I, however, have been a little different. I actually cuddled with him for the duration of a movie. I wouldn't normally do that, but I was just thankful to have my boy in my arms.

What does that do for bidding (getting our next job), you ask? It means that we'll probably be going to a more expensive (read: no house help/working for me) country that has great medical care, some possible countries are England, Sweden, Germany and Australia. We get our bid list later this week and we'll hand it in shortly after that. I don't know how long it will take to get our assignment after that, but I think (hope) we'll know by the end of March where we're going.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekly State Department Blog Roundup

Due to what MUST be internet or Mandarin issues at the Daring Adventure home, Kolbi hasn't blogged since last Wednesday and hasn't updated the calendar.

That said, our roundup is quite small this week. Which is unfortunate, I was looking forward to some funny and gasp inducing stories of life abroad. The assignment was worst/best/most embarrassing stories of life as an ex-pat.

My quasi prediction at the beginning of the week came true. My story DID happen this week. Luckily for me, I'm the only one who actually experienced this story (I think). I can't imagine what would have happened to my corridor rep at Embassy San Jose if the person I was talking to actually heard me.So here's my most embarrassing story:

I recently dyed my hair dark brown. It's a really good change, and everyone has noticed because it's so different from the blonde highlights that I had before. One of the Locally Employed Staff in the military office, which is next to my office, stopped me as I was walking by and asked me (in Spanish) why I dyed my hair. I thought he asked my why I was walking. I had just returned from using the restroom and was a bit speechless. I really didn't want to tell him, nor did I know how to say in Spanish, that I had to go to the bathroom. So I mumbled a response in English that he didn't understand (due to the mumbling, not the English...his English is great actually) and tried to move on. I then came to find out what he was really asking and gave an embarrassed laugh as I gave my answer, which had nothing to do with going to the bathroom.The situation could've been much worse...much, much worse. But thankfully I got through somewhat gracefully and my really embarrassing story is now only shared with my blog readers...which I don't think includes anyone I work with, except my husband...and maybe not even him.

So...onto other best/worst/most embarrassing ex-pat stories.

Spectrummy Mummy (not the living dead kind, but the English kind) hearkened back to two previous posts she had (great thorough blogging, and good usage of your time!) . One gives a great explanation of a horrible American who works for the USPS, the second is a laugh out loud story involving her daughter, a roller coaster, and some watermelon.

SassAndSweet encompassed her worst and most embarrassing moment into a 10 day hospital stay in Tel Aviv with large amounts of pain killers, a garden hose like tube down her throat, and a good friend who went to get her skivvies from home.

Though she didn't specify, I think this is Melissa's (of Just Us fame) most recent most embarrassing story. When I got through it, I remembered reading it originally and feeling for her, thinking this is something that I would totally do.

Sadie at Sadie Abroad, tells a great story from her junior year in college when she lived in Cape Town, involving the Thai language, a wedding and some balloons. Awesome...awesome story.

Sunny at Fabling tells another laugh out loud story about when she was young and visiting a foreign country.

Off assignment:

Congrats to Andrew at The Life Diplomatic who just passed his Spanish test with a 3/3+ and is now going to Mexico in less than two weeks!

Alex at Travel Orders says he doesn't have any ex-pat stories because he hasn't gone abroad yet, but he's very interested in the diplomatic communities of other countries and the differences between ours and theirs.

Someone please sign up for the roundup next week, you can find the calendar here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

30 Years Ago

30 years ago, about two months before I was born, on a different continent, a magical thing happened. Johnathan was born, and it turns out this magical event was the best thing to ever happen in my life.

Life without you would be boring, and somehow...wrong. Thank you so much for the amazing 13 1/2 years we've had together, the three kids you've given me, and the most promising future I could have.

I love you so much. Happy Birthday Babe.