Last week, Little Miss went in for ear tubes. She is 13 months old. She has had a chronic history of ear infections since she was born. In fact, her baseline has pretty much been congestion since birth. We have done the “wait and see” approach before, as well as have used antibiotics — both with limited success.

Brae also had ear tubes placed when he was 18 months old. He was never quite as consistently congested as Sienna, but did have a chronic history of ear infections. Again, we did the “wait and see” approach, and used antibiotics. Again, both offered limited success. But, the ear tubes were hugely successful for Brae. He had one ear infection after the tubes were inserted, but that’s it. The tubes were functional for a full 18 months.

Sienna’s most recent bout with double ear infections resulted in 3 weeks of antibiotics. And they only cleared up one year. After the last meeting with the ear doctor, he recommended Sienna was a good candidate for ear tubes.

We decided to go forward with it.

The surgery itself was pretty uneventful — just about 15 minutes under general light anesthesia. The doctor confirmed she had yet another double ear infection, so I feel it was good we had the tubes put in. Little Miss did great coming out of the anesthesia (contrast to Brae’s bloody murder screams), and all she wanted was food (of course. That’s my girl).

Although I was hesitant, at first, to have the surgery when she’s at such a tender age, I wish now that we had them put in even earlier. The girl has changed . She no longer has a consistent runny nose, cough, etc. She’s no longer fussy — at all. While her walking was a little wobbly before the surgery, she is now full steam ahead with walking. You can just tell that she feels so much better. Praise God for little plastic ear tubes!

As an aside, it’s curious to me how two children, not genetically related, are both prone to chronic ear infections and were both good candidates for ear tubes?

My research shows there may be two environmental culprits: 1) school/day care and 2) milk.

First, children who are in a school or daycare-like environment tend to generally get more colds, which can result in more ear infections. This makes sense. As a product of daycare myself, I can say that the course of colds I got when I was younger has strengthened my immune system. Since I started kindergarten, I’ve rarely gotten sick, and I’d like to thank all the snot-nose kids in my daycare for that! (Now go blow your nose!)

Second, apparently kids who drink a lot of cow’s milk get more ear infections. I have to say, my kids both like milk, so this makes sense as well.

I’m not advocating that ear tubes are for every child. Certainly not. Personally, I think the wait-and-see approach serves most kids the best. If that doesn’t work, I think the next step is to see if antibiotics help. If, however, ear infections seem to persist without much relief, I think tubes offer a very viable solution, and I’m thankful they are available . . .




You may have seen the US Supreme Court upheld “Obamacare”. What you may not know is what this does to the adoption tax credit.

In the overhaul, Congress boosted the $12,150 federal adoption tax credit by $1,000 starting this tax year. It also is refundable, meaning you’ll get the credit whether you owe taxes or not.

Good news for families wanting to adopt that may have been stymied by the cost.








Sienna had her 9 month checkup today. The highlights:

  • We have a lovely, larger than life daughter. She is 20 lbs, 8 oz. That is the 85th percentile. [When Brae was 9 months, he weighed 19.5 lbs, which was the 40th percentile for boys].
  • She is 29 inches. That is the 95th percentile. [When Brae was 9 months, he was 28.5 inches, which was the 60th percentile for boys].
  • She has 8 teeth, with two more on the way. [When Brae was 9 months, he still only had 2]
  • She is extremely strong. The doctor noticed that even on her first day of life when he remarked that she had very good muscle tone. She can pull a tall TV tray (with food on it) across the floor. This is particularly troublesome when the food on the tray belonged to Brae and he was trying to eat it.
  • She has been crawling since 8 months, and has been pulling herself up for the last several weeks. She is just starting to do some cruising. I think she’ll be walking by age 1.
  • She loves her pureed food, but solids not so much. When I try to give her something small, even Cheerios, she will often gag. The doctor said she has a very strong gag reflex. If she’s still not readily manipulating solid foods in her mouth and swallowing by age 1, we may need to see a specialist.
  • She’s a great sleeper and napper. 12 hours at night, and 2 naps during the day of 45 minutes – 3 hours.
  • What I can gauge about her personality so far: she’s extremely physically active and curious; she loves her brother; she’s a friendly child, but is not effusive or gregarious like Brae; she loves baths; she loves being outdoors; she really does not like it when Brae takes away her toys.

Love this girl.








Sienna was dedicated at our church this last Sunday (I will post about that awesome dedication next week). But the event got me thinking about Brae’s dedication when he was just shy of 3 months old.

It was January 2009. It was Sanctity of Life Sunday. Our church asked us to give our testimony about Brae’s adoption.

As I was speaking before the hundreds of people in the congregation, I got to the place in the story when Rachael (Brae’s birth mom) and I talked about her decision to not abort.

Brae was a mere several hours old. It was Halloween night. Rachael and I were in her hospital room. It was late and it was dark. Brae was asleep. Rachael was in the bed, and I was on the couch beside her. We’d just finished a long, wonderful conversation about her life and dreams. Then, the conversation turned to when she found out she was pregnant, and what decision she was going to make. She and her longtime boyfriend were having problems and she did not think they would stay together.

Me: “Did you think about abortion?”
Rachael: “Yes.”
Me: “And what did you think about?”
Rachael: “I decided that I was not going to abort this child because it was not the baby’s fault. Getting pregnant was not the baby’s fault. I was not going to punish this baby for something I did. That’s when I decided that God had placed this baby in me as a gift for someone else. I was merely the vessel.”

I told her that she’d had three options, and she chose the most unselfish. She could have aborted him, and he wouldn’t be here. She could have said, “I’m going to keep him because he’s ‘mine,’ no matter what his life may look like. But, she did the most loving — she carried him for 9 months, gave birth to him, and said “I love you so much, I want a better life for you.”

As I was sharing the testimony, Tygh was holding Brae up on stage. Then, all of a sudden, when I got to this part of the testimony about Rachael choosing life for our son, Brae got the BIGGEST smile on his face. The crowd erupted with laughter and tears.

So, on Sunday, as we were driving to church to dedicate Sienna, I thought back on this story. And I decided to text Rachael:

Me: “I don’t think I ever told you about Brae’s dedication. When I was giving our testimony and got to the part where you told me you were going to choose life for Brae and not abort him, Brae got the biggest smile on his face. We have it on video.”
Rachael: “I’d love to see it.”
Me: “Ok. I will send you a copy.”

I have a copy of Brae’s dedication and I’m going to send it to her.

She will see living proof that, even as an infant, Brae was ecstatic that his birth mom chose life for him.








— Sienna’s top toofers are coming in — one has broken through (the girl now as 3! At 6 months!). Their arrival has not been nearly as easy as her bottom toofers, and suffice it to say I have not had a lot of sleep the last several nights.

— Sienna is sitting up like a champ. Her neck is still getting better, and the PT has now released us from any more appointments. It’s been a long 4 months of sometimes 3 doctor appointments a week. We will continue to go to the chiro appointments, but I’m hoping those will taper off, too.

— We went to the family cabin in the mountain for the long NYE weekend with Tygh’s sister and her husband and their 19-month-old son, who is Brae’s cousin brother. He is also adopted, and Brae adores him. It was so great to get away with some family and ring in the new year together (even if we were in bed the second after midnight).

— Here are some fun pics through the eyes of Americana: public sledding down a random hill off the highway = mass chaos. I alone witnessed three separate incidents that probably all require some kind of medical treatment.

Last week, Brae also attended his first professional basketball game with Tygh. Tygh’s company has courtside seats, so he took Tygh and a friend of Tygh’s and his 5-year-old son. It was a complete blast that Brae is still talking about (and wearing his jersey to bed each night). If you know my son, he LOVES basketball. It didn’t get much better than this!

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We had Brae’s three-year appointment today.


— 75th percentile for weight
— 70th percentile for height

Dr. observations:

— He was very impressed with how well Brae talks.  Brae was the typical clown and had the dr. in stitches the whole time.
— He was very impressed that Brae is bilingual.
— He said Brae is very intelligent,very outgoing and sociable.

(Okay, seriously, don’t ALL doctors say ALL these nice things to their patients? I can’t really imagine a dr. saying, “Gee, your child is pretty dumb…”)

— He gave us some good tips for battling the bedtime temper tantrums.
— Brae showed off his Spiderman underwear.

Cute Brae story: This morning, as we were rushing around the house to get to the doctor, I put Brae in his bathroom in front of the mirror.  I gave him his toothbrush with toothpaste on it.  Brae really wanted to call Daddy on the cell phone and tell him that he wanted to go golfing with him.

Me: “Brae, here, you brush your teeth and I’ll go get the cell phone.”
Brae: “No, Mommy.  You brush the teeth and I’ll go get the cell phone.”

Hmmm…. he must have seen great grandma take her teeth out one too many times.








Brae story:

Whenever Brae has had a boo-boo, I’ve always kissed it and magically it just gets better. He really believes in the healing power of my kiss.

So, it was no wonder when the other day, he slipped on the hardwood floor and went straight down on his bum. He picked himself up, pulled down his pants, and his underwear (yes! underwear! not diaper!), and called out my name. “Mommy!” I came rushing down to find him backing his bum up to my face. “Mommy! Kiss my butt!”


At last week’s physical therapy appointment, the therapist said that if Sienna’s neck has not dramatically improved by 6 months (1 month from now), she would recommend a physiotherapist and possible Botox injections in her neck.

Seriously? Injecting Botulism in my daughter?

I think we’ll be getting a new physical therapist.