Monday, August 29, 2016

Foster Pup #9 - Saint

I was fully expecting a week off from foster pups but after the weekend, I got a sweet SOS for a little guy who wasn't adopted and needed a foster family through the week.  It was actually Sawyer's brother Saint.  I was a little worried that he would also be a high needs case, but he actually ended up being one of the sweetest puppies we've had to date! And pretty darn cute too! 

He and I pretty much instantly bonded and he followed me everywhere.  If I sat down, he was right next to me, if I got up, he was right behind me. He would drag his food dish wherever I was and was just my constant companion all week. Even outside, he would stay nearby. 

Eli loves ALL the puppies and is great with them! 

I'll admit this was yet another one I struggled a tiny bit to let go, but I knew I had done my job. A puppy we were told was "shy" easily acclimated to our family and bonded with me. If he could bond with me, he could bond with his new permanent family too! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Gender Reveal!

The whole Keyser family has been quite excited as there will a new little addition joining the family later on this year with Peter's brother Andy and his wife Rachel!  This is especially exciting because they recently moved down from Seattle and are only 5 minutes away now!  

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend several appointments with my sweet sister-in-law and with her being higher risk, she has gotten the opportunity to get quite a few more ultrasounds than a "normal" pregnancy would. Fortunately mom and baby are doing great so we've been able to relax and have had fun trying to figure out this little one's gender.  First she had an ultrasound at 16 weeks and we were hoping we could do the big gender reveal at that point in time.  A whole scavenger hunt for Andy had been planned (as he's newly employed and has been unable to attend the ultrasounds) and in the end everyone would find out together what the gender of the baby would be. Well baby was quite stubborn at that appointment and would not uncross those legs!

Fortunately another ultrasound was scheduled for 3 weeks later and we were sure we would be able to find out again.  No such leg as baby STILL did not want to uncross those legs.  Just in general, baby was quite stubborn and would not show a lot of parts, so they wanted to do another ultrasound a week later.

Fortunately this one went great and baby is looking nice and healthy and it wasn't long before the secret paper was delivered into my safe hands! Peter and I were tasked with the prep work and keeping a really big secret all afternoon. Fortunately the time was short but I had to work extra hard not to blow this surprise! 

Finally we were off on the hunt. It was kind of a this "is the life of Andy" in his hometown where he grew up and everyone seemed to have a good time. Peter ran ahead with the clues to the next stop as we all traveled together to the spots. 

Then it was off to Andy and Rachel's new home where the big reveal would take place!  Peter and I got into position in the soon to be nursery and waited for everyone to catch up.  They got all of Rachel's family on facetime as they didn't live in the area and then they opened the door for the big surprise! 


Pretty sure almost everyone was SHOCKED to see that IT'S A GIRL!!! 

All of our kids were on team pink and are thrilled to have a new baby girl cousin to play with soon! 

We all can't wait to meet sweet Matilda Rose and have her join the crazy Keyser clan!  I will always take a new baby to love and we are so happy for Andy and Rachel to grow their little family!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Datebox 6 Month Review

Earlier on this year I did a review about one of new favorites - DateBox and shared how valuable these date nights have been to our relationship.  I'm back now to share a few more of the fun date nights we've been able to have, courtesy of Datebox.

For those who might not know, Datebox allows us to have a fully unique and planned date night for us once a month. Then we put the kids to bed and are able to enjoy a fun, and different date night than we would normally ever be able to come up with on our own.  Every month we can't wait to get the next box in the mail and plan a fun night in! 

Datebox #4 surprisingly became one of my favorites. I originally got super nervous about it because I noticed we would be taking a little bit of a dance lesson.  I don't dance.  This one included a fun little home made ice cream sundae kit, where we even made the ice cream and then a little "I Bet I Know You Better" game that we played while eating.  And the funnest part turned out to be the dancing. The videos were a little cheesy but we learned 3 different dances and laughed and had a really good time trying to learn something new together!  

Shaking ice cream! 

Dance lesson, actually pretty well done!

Yummy ice cream to close out the evening! 

Datebox #5, was a little bit of a fail.  The theme was Growth and we were supposed to build herb pots and sip lemonaid together and eat candy!  We still had a lot of fun and chatted while we destroyed these perfectly innocent little pots.  

They were a sad little attempt and our seeds never even sprouted. Green thumb fail but date night success regardless! 

And for Datebox #6, we had our first International Date night and took a little journey to Japan.  I will also mention each date night has a fun little spotify playlist to accompany the theme of the night, so that's an added little treat.  This was also a particularly challenging date night, but still a lot of fun!  We attempted to make sushi (with steak instead of fish for us non fish lovers), read some Japanese proverbs and attempted to make origami.  

Peter totally served me with this one as I sat and chatted with him while he served me tea and made me sushi. It was definitely attractive, I must say!   I enjoyed the conversation and the night off from cooking while I think he enjoyed attempting to make the sushi.  

The origami was a challenge and Peter was way better at it than I was, which was not surprising the way our brains work. But another super fun date night for sure! I hope they continue the trend of throwing in International dates here and there! 

If you would like the opportunity to try your own Datebox or even just learn more, Use THIS referral link to get your own Datebox for $10 off! I know it has been a wonderful thing for our marriage, helping us to grow and think "out of the box" a little for our date nights! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Foster Pup #8 - Sawyer

We got our newest little foster pup pretty quick after Miss Shirley left.  This little guy felt like our first "special" case.  Lets just say he was TERRIFIED! But I wanted to win Mr Sawyer over! 

The first night he was super nervous and didn't even want to leave the kennel. I felt so bad for him but gave him his space. 

I put him next to our bed in his kennel as I do with most of the fosters as I've noticed that keeps them from crying all night. But for him I was hoping that would help him get used to me.  The next morning we made some additional progress as he made his way halfway out of the kennel.  I could tell that he BADLY wanted to trust me! 

And then finally success, as he melted with some physical attention. Poor baby! 

My patience with him all week paid off.  He was still super scared and wasn't too fond of the kids but begged for my attention when the kids weren't around. 

He even relaxed enough to rest in my arms!  I knew it had been a succesful week, even if not necessarily easy with him when I dropped him off and said goodbye and he wiggled his little tail at me and wanted to kiss me.  The lady at the shelter even commented that he loved me!  Heart melt!  I am thrilled to know that Mr Sawyer found his family this past weekend and that maybe my work with him helped him be more secure and ready for his family. I hope that he will continue to improve and gain confidence with his new family! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Malachi's Surgery

We experienced something new in our family a few weeks back when Malachi needed to go in for minor surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids.  This was something we've been trying to avoid having done for the last few years and tried some more natural methods before resorting to surgery.  But after more tests and research we determined this was the best thing for him in the end, even though it was hard on his mama!

There were some additional concerns that made the procedure a little bit more risky for him than a normal situation but after many chats with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist we came up with a game plan that I felt okay about.  

He was in good spirits before surgery even if he was a little bit nervous.  I was surprised at JUST how nervous I was as his mama though. Our kids being in pain or needing an operation is scary and entrusting one of the most important pieces of my heart to a medical team was not so easy for me to do (hence why it took us 2 years to take the surgery route).  He had his brave face on all morning though and crushed the whole operating rooms heart when he uttered "I'm scared" right before they put him to sleep.  

Fortunately this was a quick operation and before long he was in recovery and back in the room with us.  He was very disoriented and wanted to go home. He calmed down once we were with him and able to snuggle with him.

And then he was a champ and was quickly on the road to recovery!  

Within an hour or so we were on our way home and I was in shock at how well this kid handled it all as I remember the surgery being much more rough when I had it done. 

We were told to expect him to be very drowsy for a couple days and not really wanting to eat or drink. We were also told between 3-5 days the pain would peak so we were prepared for the worst. 

After a short little nap he was up and moving around. We actually spent most of the first week trying to keep the kid down. He was eating like a champ later on that afternoon and never once complained about pain!  

I was really impressed with his recovery. I do possibly contribute that to a couple factors. #1: Because of his added risk factories they used a different narcotic for the surgery than they would normally use. They gave him a low dose and one that would leave his system quickly.  I think this allowed him to get through the post surgery haze quickly and in turn eat and drink a little bit quicker and be active which allowed his body to recover and heal quicker.  
#2: Because his surgery wasn't because of illness, they only had to remove most of the tonsil tissue and not all of it. Our doctor said that typically kids recover quicker and have less risk of bleeding or infection with this approach.
#3: We kept him medicated around the clock. We rotated Tylenol and Ibu every 3 hours for the first 5 days, even waking throughout the night to give him another dose. He did briefly complain of some back and neck pain (which they told us to expect) and immediately we would give him an ice pack to try and help those areas. This pain seemed to subside within the first 48 hours.  After we seemed in the clear with the first 5 days we were able to wean him off the meds completely.

All in all I think this was a very succesful and necessary surgery.  He says he can swallow food better now and he's sleeping better.  He also had excessive drool and was determined that was causing some speech problems. Immediately we have noticed the drooling has stopped, his voice sounds less gravely, and his breath is better.  He also always seemed to have a white coating on his tongue and he was thrilled to notice that his tongue no longer has that!  We are also hoping as he's had major dental work done because of bacteria that possibly that will improve as a result too!  We are very pleased with the outcome thus far and will continue to make progress as he begins speech therapy next week! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

6th Gotcha Day!

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to celebrate another Gotcha Day for Malachi. The day has been more special these past couple years and has grown more into a family day as LB came home one day before Mal's Gotcha day! 

As a fun way to celebrate, we took the kids off to the zoo for the day! 

                                      They all had a blast and we had fun watching the kids have fun!

After some fun at the zoo, it was home to celebrate in our typical Ethiopian food fashion! 

Our little Ethiopian was thrilled to dress the part and eat the yummy food from his culture! 

Gotcha Day, or family day or whatever we want to call it is a wonderful reminder of the blessings we have been given in all of these children. We love having the opportunity to celebrate Ethiopian culture and of course spend time as a family together!  What a fun day making memories we had!