Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lima: last day in Peru

Well our last day has proven to be one interesting day. I'm currently sitting in the Lima airport right now with the rest of the group and our day did not turn out as planned. This morning began early and one person was losing their innards from both ends. We flew to Lima and have had the whole day to kill, so we had arranged a group tour of the city and the gold museum. Throughout the day we were quickly dropping like flies. Before the tour was over we had people losing it from both ends on the bus and the rest of us are super queasy. We are all taking cipro to kill whatever is ripping through us. The ones hit hardest are trying to recover in a hotel room before we fly out and the rest of us are being careful with what we eat and downing our drugs. What a way to end the trip. But we did get an upgrade in our seats on the plane, so that's good. I can't wait to see our boys tomorrow morning!

Machu picchu: day 2

I slept like a rock last night! We got up this morning to a lovely breakfast in the same restaurant by the river. I love the water here. There are rivers and waterfalls (natural and man made) everywhere!! We caught the bus and headed back to cusco with Hubert for our 3 hour personally guided tour through machu picchu. To say it was amazing doesn't even cover how wonderful it was. The things these people were able to accomplish in their day and age is imoressive. To think that it was virtually covered, to the point of not being able to see any of it except one temple, is incredible. I am so grateful to Hiram Bingham for his sharing this treasure with the rest of the world. It is no wonder that this place is one of the 7 wonders! My favorite spot in the city was the sun temple, and Justin like the condor temple. After our tour we had a little time to explore in our own. We hiked to the Incan bridge. This bridge was cool but almost more impressive was the inca trail on the side of a cliff. We were joking that you better trust whoever you were traveling with or you just might go over the edge. Hubert was able to answer all my questions about the Incan society and I really feel like I now have a deep knowledge of that culture. I will never forget my experience t machu picchu .... Ever!!! On a side note, I had alpaca for lunch today.

Machu picchu: day 1

Wow wow, wow, wow, wow!!!!!! We woke up at 4:15 this morning (groan!) to start our adventure to visit machu picchu. I discovered that the rooster that's been crowing every morning likes to begin his day at 4:30am. Our group boarded the bus, which took us to the perurail. This train was beautiful and even had windows in the ceiling so you could see the full mountains. I thought I might be lulled to sleep between the rocking of the train and the spa-like music they were playing but apparently the sights that the sacred valley has to offer are too exciting to miss. This country is beautiful! The train dropped us off at kilometer 104 to begin our all day hike. The hike was amazing and the knowledge of our guide was equally impressive. This is probably the most strenuous hike I've ever done, and yet it is by far the most rewarding hike I've ever done. On our way to machu picchu we past 2 Incan villages. One of those villages was winawayna, where we ate our lunch. What a breathtaking place to see. The view that this particular village has to offer is literally breathtaking! I could easily imagine the Incan people farming those terraces. I can't believe how big this place actually is. We were hiking terraces of the winawayna that haven't been uncovered for about about 10 minutes before we could even see the village! The incas must have been in such good shape! I can't even tell you how many stairs I hiked up today. I almost felt like I was a contestant on biggest loser huffing my way through the insane challenges they have the contestants do. The orchids were equally fascinating. All along the way we were able to see so many natural orchids growing. I loved it! And the bug type animals we came across ... So cool! We experienced every possible weather this rainforest ha to offer, from hot and dry to rainy and cold, and even rainy and warm. I peed in my first hole today as well. Surprisingly it wasn't that bad and I even found it easier than hovering over the seatless toilets at the school in urubamba. The hike was amazing and it kept getting better and better and better, finally ending at the sun gate to machu picchu. You round a corner on the mountain, climb even more Incan stairs to the top of the peak, where there are stone gates. After this incredible experience just imagine the feeling of walking through those gates and seeing the breathtaking view of machu picchu below. The sight of this wonder literally took my breath away! We continued to hike down and spent only a little time in the ancient city because we are going again tomorrow. What a discovery this treasure is. I have no words to express how I felt standing there and eing what these people accomplished. We boarded the bus and drove to the town below. Our hotel was overbooked so we got bumped up to their sister hotel and let me tell you .... We scored! This place was incredible! By far the most beautiful place I have ever stayed, hands down. The rooms were exquisite and the views were even better. My sweetie booked us a very special date night. We we had a sauna in a grass hut outside. The inside were covered with eucalyptus leaves, candles, a rocke fire pit in the center and some wooden beds to lay on. We talked and drank fresh lemonade that they brought to us. Then we hurried and ate our yummy meal in the window restaurant with our group and boogied off to a couples massage. What a romantic night we had!!! I even got to talk to the boys tonight! This may be one of the best days I've ever experienced ever!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Urubamba: day 4

Our last day of work is done! There was a little girl that had a mouth full of completely bombed out teeth. She was 8 and mom got chewed out a bit because she just let's this little girl eat candy like its going out of style. She needed to lose all of her molders but then she wouldn't be able to eat. The doctors collaborated and decided that they would only take out the two adult molars and pray for the best. What an experience it was taking her teeth out! She totally freaked out and ultimately we had to take her off the table to calm down and it took forever because she would start hyperventilating and spaz out. To be fair that is how I feel when I go to the dentist so I do understand that it is a scary thing, but she had puss oozing from her gums and her teeth really needed to be taken out. So I was one of the 2 people holding her hands, someone else was speaking to her helping her breathe normally, and a 4th holding her legs still. Everything ended up fine and hopefully she won't forget what it felt like and she will start taking care of her teeth. The neat thing is that a local Peruvian dentist was working with us today and she spoke with the little girl and her mother. Hopefully they will listen to her and see the importance of dental hygiene. It is fascinating here. One of the teachers told us how much he appreciated us coming because we are addressing the issue of dental care. He said that he was never taught the importance of caring for your teeth and he has bad teeth because of it but that it has only started to be taught in the last 25 years, but it is a slow process. If the parents were never taught they may not value the importance of it and they won't teach their children and the cycle will just continue to spiral. One of the most special experiences we have had while here happened at the end of the school day. The entire school, teachers and students, lined up outside and thanked us for our work. It was so touching and I am tearing up again while typing this. Then each individual student came through and thanked us individually. It was amazing! We ended the day by going to one of our translators homes. What a "cultural" experience that was. His home was amazing and so not typical of a north American property. He took us on a tour through his backyard where he roasts his own coffee and his brother does steel work. During the tour I look up and see a human head in a cabinet. Yes folks a real human head, no eyes, a full head of gray stringy hair and his mouth with teeth wide open. We asked Jorge about it and he told us that it was his wife's grandfather. No he wasn't joking. He was quite proud that they had her grandfather watching over them. We are waking up at 4:15am tomorrow to start our matchu picchu experience. What a great trip!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Urubamba: day 3

Today I am feeling like I have a bit more energy tonight. Today I was doing oral hygiene information again but the day was such that I really kindle hopped around doing lots of jobs. I assisted two other dentists, held hands, and held one of the cutest children I've ever seen! (this one had a diaper and was clean). It was so sad to go into the grade one class. They were extremely enthusiastic about learning, but their mouths were unreal! I wanted to cry! I don't think that any of them have ever brushed. I'm not exaggerating either. Our group doesn't have the time to do fillings on baby teeth, or milk teeth as they call them, so we leave them since they will fall out anyway. We can't do too many extractions either because it can affect how the adult teeth come in if you pull them too early. If the child needs a filling on an adult tooth, or they are feeling pain in their baby teeth then we can do the work. These little 6 year olds had such bad teeth that we couldn't do anything about, I just wanted to cry! Putting the fluoride in their mouth I was really hard, half because I wanted to cry and half because I wanted to barf (the smell was horrendous). Today I was able to spot the wild alpacas on the mountain by myself. Justin was in triage today while I was helping out in the area and I have to say that I think hearing him speak to the locals in Spanish is so sexy! This probably isn't surprising but there is one little stray dog that I really want to bring home with me. He has been there all week and I am so in love with him. The locals were laughing at me while I took a picture of this little stray. Tonight we had a very cool experience. There is an American woman who lives here in urubamba who helps our group. She had us over to her adobe and rock house for appetizers. Her house and property were amazing. She lives across the street from a world famous ceramist. Pablo started working as a street artist in peru and now his work is even in the smithsonian. Justin and I bought some beautiful pieces and some traditional Peruvian pieces. The ceramist also has a pet monkey that I got to pet. This monkey only wanted to be loved. If I ever stopped petting this sweet little monkey he would rub up on the bars begging for more. At one point he even lifted his arm so I could scratch in his armpit. Dinner was a traditional Peruvian meal, and yes .... I ate a guine pig! it was alright. It didn't taste bad, it just had a lot of little bones in it. All in all it was another great day! Memorable experiences: getting two kisses on the cheek from little girls, thanking us for coming. Things I'm really grateful: my children. I miss Evan and Landon so much! I didn't get to talk to them last night and I had a nightmare! I didn't get to talk to them today either :-( our schedule has just been crazy and we aren't near any Internet when they are awake. Mom, how're you holding up?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I wrote a blog titled urban a day one. I can't see it and am afraid I lost it, even though I saved it. Can you tell me in the comments if you see it anywhere on your normal computers? If you can't I will write it again but I am sad because I don't know if I'll remember all of the details. :-(

Urubamba: day 2

Another long day at work! My sunburn still looks horrible but it doesn't hurt very much right now. I decided I needed to figure out how to cook the white line on my head after the fourth or fifth batch of locals ( and my father in law were laughing at my burn. One very cute little boy came up to me and said something in Spanish that I didn't understand. When the translator came to interpret she said "he says that your head is purple". I had to laugh a little becaus he was not the first local to say that. Too funny. I did figure out a method that is starting to even out the color on my head a bit but it is too hard to explain without a picture. Today I worked in oral hygiene information. We would teach the kids how to properly brush and floss, hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste to everyone who came through and put fluoride on kiddos teeth before they got treated. It was awesome and I really enjoyed myself. There were some down moments where I would wander and do some other jobs too. I held this sweet little kethchewin (again I don't know how to spell it and cant really look it upright now) baby while her mom was getting work done on her teeth. This baby girl was the sweetest thing but broke my heart a little bit. She, like many of the babies that have come through so far, didn't have a diaper on and smelled like you would expect a baby with no diaper to smell like. Unlike many of the other babies, I don't know if this girl has ever had a bath in her life. The American woman who lives here full time and who has been helping us suggested that maybe we could was this little girls hair. I told her that I would be all for that. She asked her mom if that would be alright and she gave her permission. It was a bit of a battle, but we rounded up some soap and washed and braided her hair. She looked so beautiful and it made such s difference! Probably the most memorable thing that I did today happened was while I was assisting Justin again. HE LET ME EXTRACT A TOOTH!!!! It was awesome and I felt very cool. Immediately after that he was working on the same man and the next tooth he did was unbelievable. I feel so badly for that poor man because he seriously went through hell and back today. His tooth was so hard to get out. It kept crumbling and everything Justin go t a hold of it it would budge at all. Finally what ended up happening was I was assisting While Justin and his dad both tried to get this thing out. This poor man was in so much pain and I just kept praying that his tooth would come out soon. They ended up opening up his gums completely and when they finally got the tooth out it was clear why it didn't want to move. The root on this thing looked like a crab claw and was giant! Brian even took it out to show it to all of the dental students so they would be able to see it. We were smarter about a ride home today and sent someone to get a large taxi. We shoved the 25 of us into a van that should fit 18 and drove back to the hotel. Dinner was at a pizza joint and was so so so yummy!!!! We walked around down town a bit and called it a night. A memorable moment today was walking to the "bus" at the end of the day and seeing a plaque on the wall that says the school was built by the church of jesus Christ of latter day saints, otherwise known as the mormons. Sooo cool, our church built the school we are working in! Something I am grateful for in my regular life ... Diapers!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cusco ... (uh huh uh huh uh huh uh huh uh huh)

The title is for all of my 409ers!!!! (anyone who isn't a 409er, your won't understand ... Sorry :-) What a day, what a day!!!! I almost don't even know where to start. After going to bed too late we woke up too early to return to the Lima airport. We hopped onto a small plane and flew an hour Southeast to cusco. (I can't help to think of my college years while I'm am here. One of us owned the emperors new groove and jenn even learned to master the Lammas dance). That movie makes a lot of sense now that I know a bit more of the history. Of course there where no evil old hags changing kings into Lammas ( or so I think) but Cusco was the naval of the Incan nation. Everything revolved around cusco and it was a city for the kings. I was caught off guard with how immediately the altitude affected me. I am taking altitude sickness meds which will hopefully be more effective when I wake up in the morning. The traditional coca tea actually helps me a lot. As a group we did an all day walking tour and learned so much history about the area, while seeing the sights ... Amazing! I had no idea what to expect from cusco and I was blown away ... I loved it!!! After our walking tour we did a bit of driving to see "sexy woman" (which isn't what the temple is actually called but how it sounds and I can't spell it So you get what you get with our poor Internet connection). The people who occupy the mountains today follow the Incan tradition of building their fields on the slopes of the lush mountain side. Every day they hike up the mountains to harvest their crops. I think that is amazing! Visited 2 traditional markets (which is one of my favorite things to do ... Period. Our hotel is quite lovely (nicer than we all expected) and I am so beat tonight!!! I packed for any weather but was expecting cold and rainy.what we got today was a blessing from god!!!! It was hotq and sunny the entire time! I had shorts which I changed into but did not have sun screen. Normally this wouldn't be a problem for me but the combination of the wicked high altitude and the altitude medication I got FRIED!!! The best part is that I was wearing a bandana and didn't realize that it was not off my forehead in all of that sun. I now have a very distinct line across my forehead. I was getting changed into pj's and Justin sarcastically says "I can't tell which parts of your body were exposed to the sun ... Oh wait ... There they are!!! Then he couldn't stop laughing. In addition to me becoming a zebra my stomach has decided to punish me. I'm pretty sure it is till just altitude sickness mixed with sun exposure but I'm not going to complain about it too much. I'll take being a zebra with an upset tummy any day if it means I get to experience the things I've gotten to do so far, and have a surprise sun day!!! And to top off the whole day?! I got to see my boys on FaceTime tonight :-) Tomorrow it is off to work.
I'm sorry I've been MIA lately but What can I do about it now. Today I was braver than I've ever been before. I said goodbye to my babies and flew to the other side of the world with my hubby. My mom is a doll and is stepping in a surrogate mother until I will get back. I miss my kids!!!! But from what I've heard so far they are having fun and that makes me so happy!! I will post as often as I can find wifi for our phone but because I'll be on the phone I probably won't post pics until we get home. I spent all day on airplanes today. I stepped off the airplane in Lima Peru,which is my first time in south America. I can't lie, at first I was a little nervous, but now .... I am laying on our hotel bed, listening to a very loud Latin dance party across the street, while basking in the warmth and humidity that this evening in Peru offers. I couldn't be happier than I am to have this experience right now with my Justin.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It finally happened

This blog is hard to write.

There are two moments in Evan's life that I have always known would come.  The question was when would they happen and how would he feel about them.

1) When Evan truly understands what being adopted means.
2) When Evan truly understands what it means to have SMA.

We have always taken a very honest approach with our children.  I never want to lie to them.  If they ask me a question I'm going to give them an honest answer (age appropriate, but honest).

Three days ago Evan's teachers called me at home to tell me what happened at school.  For two days Evan had been telling people that he was excited for his birthday because he would be able to walk.  After a couple times of hearing this the teachers asked him why he thought that.  His answer was that you are a baby when you are four, but when you turn five you are a big boy and big boys walk.  It was his birthday wish to walk on his birthday, so he knew that he would be able to walk.

At this point the occupational therapist stepped in.  She asked him how he came up with this.  Evan told her that he had just figured it out and wasn't that so exciting?  Kaylie just said to him, "well you know Evan, your legs might not be ready to walk when you turn five.  His teacher said that at that point he sat and thought about it for a second and said "don't worry, I will still be a happy boy, even if I can't walk."

Though I was in tears on the phone I was grateful for the heads up and decided that I would be aware but not bring it up unless Evan wanted to talk to me about it.  I wanted him to be able to process things on his own time frame.  Little did I know it would be so soon.

The next day, out of the blue, Evan asked me if he would be able to walk on his birthday.  I asked him why he was thinking about it and he said that he wanted to walk.  I told him that he probably wouldn't be able to walk, and asked him how he felt about that.  He thought about it and said that it made him sad and he didn't want to have SMA anymore.  I told Evan that I felt the same way but that it was alright.  I reminded him about his friends, whom he ADORES!!  I reminded him that Ishan was 10 and couldn't walk but that he is still pretty darn cool.  He is a master at sword fighting, and loves video games just like Evan.  I reminded Evan how much he loves Ishan and told him that he is just like him.  Then I reminded Evan that he was made exactly the way God needed him to be.  I told him that he is perfect because God made him.  I asked him if he would be able to remember that and he said that he would try, but he might forget sometimes, but not to worry because he would still be a happy boy.

Fast forward to that afternoon.  While sitting on the toilet Evan told his teacher that he had really sad news to tell her.  He said that he wouldn't be able to walk on his birthday, but it was alright because he has some friends just like him and they can't walk either.

Now today at lunch we are eating our food and Evan tells me a story.  He says, "Mom, do you remember how there was a man who couldn't see and Jesus put mud on his eyes and healed him? I like that story."  I told him that I liked that story too.  Then I asked him if we got to see Jesus come again would he like to ask Jesus to heal him.  He said yes and then says, "I know!!!  Lets pray for Jesus to come and visit us.  Everyone fold your arms."  All I could say was beautiful prayer, and it was.

I just want him to know that he can still do whatever he wants to do.  I want him to know how much he is loved, and I want him to know he is of value.

all boy!!!

This poor boy ....
he has had a rough week.

But we are healing so thats good.

He decided that it was a great idea to jump from the ottoman to the wooden toy chest.  Well, the ottoman didn't want to stay put so it slid backwards sending his face hurtling towards the corner of the wooden chest.  His face was literally stuck to the corner and I had to take him off, which was accompanied with a sucking sounds of his face coming off.  

I immediately knew that it was deep!!  I could tell!!  THANKFULLY my friend was available and she came over and drove Landon and I to the urgent care so Justin could stay with Evan at home.  

The wait wasn't long (thankfully!) and the doctor debated whether we do stitches or gluing.  He told me about a study that was done about the debate on the two when it came to face wounds.  In a year there was practically no difference.  He suggested not putting Landon through more trauma and glue him.  I agreed and there you have it.  Landon sat so good for the doctor and listened to every word he said. The glue came off yesterday and the bruising is almost gone now.  Landon looked pretty sweet for a while though.  

waiting in the urgent care

that night after gluing ... right before bed.
the next morning.  It is hard to see in the picture, but there is MAJOR swelling in his poor face.  The only way you can really see it is the droop in his nose and lip.

of course Landon decided it was a great idea to get into my makeup.  Not my crappy make up, but my nice stuff.  It was all over him and the couch!!!  Thankfully he did it on the other side of his face so I didn't have to scratch his ouchies.  (He was in sooo much trouble, hence the tears)
hello bruise and puss!!!
again hard to see just how dark the bruise got.  It was all around his eye and stretched down his face in a triangle.  

We got to go to an indoor play park.  Landon wanted to bring his friend, Prycen.  These two are fairly twin like and sooo cute together.  I know the picture has Landon doing the headlock, but they really are fairly evenly matched.  Prycen had just had Landon pinned.