Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back to the Real World

Hi all,
I have returned from the American Birkebeiner Weekend in Hayward, WI. It was a pretty great weekend with perfect conditions for cross country skiing and for being a spectator at the events. My 7 year old nephew, Luke, did a 5K race and his 5 year old sister, Annika did a 2.5K race on Thursday and they both did fantastic--their parents used to walk along with them but this year they couldn't keep up running. The kids were all smiles as they crossed the finish line with Aunt Mary waiting there and cheering them on. Every kid that finishes the race gets a medal so it is fun for all--there were 1300 kids in race this year--amazing to watch.
Their parents competed in the actual American Birkebeiner on Saturday--it is a 51K race that starts in Cable, WI and finishes on the mainstreet of Hayward, WI. Once again the conditions were great and they both had a good race. The kids and I waited at the finish line and were able to see both of them finish. This race has over 4,000 participants with many world class elite skiers competing--it was really great to watch. My sister always worries about my experience and feels bad that I just come to babysit her kids but I have a great time with them and it is always a fun vacation for me--a great break from work and daily life.

While we were in Wisconsin, my parents were at my house. My Dad was back for his second round of chemotherapy. This time did not go so well for him as he was very nauseated for a couple days afterwards and couldn't eat. He has already lost a lot of weight so this is a concern for us. Our prayers right now are for his appetite to come back and for the next round of chemo to go more smoothly.

No news on the adoption front--just wanted to let you know how my weekend went.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Got my shots!

I had an appointment with our "travel and tropical medicine clinic" today. I went in not expecting much because I work in healthcare and have my hep B, tetanus, pneumonvax, and flu shots plus I had chicken pox, measles, and mumps as a child but....that didn't protect me from getting more shots today.
The appointment was quite informative--I was impressed with a part of my clinic that I didn't even know about before. They gave me information on general travel topics (like jet lag) and on Kazakhstan itself.
Vaccinations they recommended for Kaz are Hep A and Hep B, influenza, tetanus/diptheria, measles, pneumococcal, varicella, and typhoid. They also recommended a rabies pre-exposure vaccination series--yoiu still need treatment if exposed to rabies but it is much less and easier to have done in other countries. I got my first rabies exposure shot and my first Hep A shot today. I also got the pill form for the typhoid vaccination because it has better protection and lasts longer than the shot.
I also got prescriptions for cipro (for travelers diarrhea), ambien (in case of bad jet lag), scopolamine patchs (for air or motion sickness) and a prescription for good compression stockings for the long airplane ride.
They loaded me down with tons of good information--more natural treatments for jet lag, diarrhea, etc to do before resorting to pills, a book called "Travel Health Companion", and countless phamplets on things like checklist for things you should carry with you, heat exhaustion, safety when traveling, pretravel planning for a child, international adoption medical needs, food and beverage precautions, health care abroad, and some general information on Kazakhstan.
They gave me a catalogue for travel medicine--information and products for safe travel. The website for this is if you are interested.
It was a really great visit and I recommend a travel clinc to all of you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm back

Hi all,
I'm finally back to my blog. I have read others more than I have posted on my own. I am still addicted to reading other's blogs and love to hear the stories and learn from all of you.
Note to Suzanne from CA--Thanks for the great food posts. There are many great gourmet and healthfood cooks in MN also but I do not come from a line of them. I come from a typical midwestern farm family of cooks where meat, potatos, great breads, and desserts are the norm. No fancy ingrediants in my family's kitchens. But I do love to read about your delicious sounding meals and would love to try them. I have expanded my tastes to include the gourmet and love to find good restaurants but haven't perfected my cooking skills to include too much. I can sure give you recipes for lots of good comfort foods like meatloaf, cheesy potatoes, and tator-tot hotdish (casserole to all those not from MN).
To update you on my Dad--he is doing much better. His lungs are improving and he responded well to his first round of chemotherapy. He and my mother have gone back home and will be there until Feb. 20th when he returns for his next round of chemo. I however will be out of town so my brother will come to go to all their appointments with them--one of the perks of a big family.
When they return, I will be off to the winter wonderland of Hayward , WI. A small little town that holds a world class cross-country ski race every year--The American Birkebeiner. Teams from all over the world come to compete in this 58K race. I could let you all think that I complete this race but actually I am a Birkie Babysitter. My sister and brother-in-law both have done this race for many years. My sister took three years off to have babies and has been back at it for the last 5 years. Since the babies, I go along with them and babysit the kids. The kids are now 5 and 7 and both enter the children's barnebirkie--a much shorter race but impressive all the same.
I take the kids and we wait at the finish line for their Mom and Dad to arrive and cheer them on. My sister's favorite moment is when she spots us and can say ski over to say Hi to her kids just before crossing the finish line. We have a great time.
The small town grows about 10x during that weekend and is full of activity and excitement--I never enjoy winter and snow so much as during that weekend.
I spent last weekend with a group of girlfriends--six of us spent the weekend at the retirement home of one of our friends in Northern WI--deep in the woods and very secluded. It was terribly cold (-4 F) and kind of snowy so we mostly stayed in. We ventured out on Saturday to visit a town 30 miles away and got lost on the way--it doesn't seem to matter when you have good company in the car with you. Finally after going by the same country bar twice, we stopped for directions and made it to our destination. Other than that one outing, we ate, drank, and talked all weekend. It was so fun.
Nothing new on the adoption front. Last news from my agency was that my dossier is still at the MOFA. I keep hoping for word any day that it will move to the MOE.