Friday, 20 December 2013

Cheater-Pants Post

This is a cheater-pants post because I'm a new mom and I ain't got the time (seriously) to sit and write posts and take pictures right now. We're watching other moms do fun Christmas cookies and parties and cards and I'm over here like, "I kept my kids alive today."

Since Mark ran back to the US the morning after Thanksgiving to see his dad in the hospital I've been running, running, running. In my week as a single parent of 4 I found that:

-I cannot sleep more than 6 hours at night not counting middle-of-the-night feedings. There aren't enough hours in the day to get things done so I have to borrow from the nighttime!
-Laundry never, ever ends. The washer and dryers here take about twice as long as the ones in the US so I'm half as efficient as I was (and to enlighten you; I am NOT laundry efficient).
-Plan, plan, plan. To get things done in a timely manner I have to lay out outfits for everyone the night before, set alarm reminders on the phone, make school lunches the night before, and even set out the toaster, Nutella, and bananas for breakfast to keep me on track!
-You might be an idiot to try and drag out Christmas decorations during all this chaotic time. ("you" means "me" in this case).
-I need lots of precious friends. People walking me home, helping me put kids to bed, doing my laundry (I know I just admitted I'm still behind despite the help, just some raw truth there). Caedmon's teacher even came and picked him up one morning for me when I had to get him to school and Nessie to her Highland Dance medal test at the same time. SO precious and SO telling that I'm not a great single parent!

So all that being said I'm telling y'all I'm going to do one giant post with lots of pictures and a few captions and say that's me done blogging for December!

Thanks for your understanding.

I'll do better when my 4 are grown and out of the house.


AirBear all dressed up (and hating it) at one month old.
She is a miracle and a living testament to God's goodness. 
We treasure each day.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Meeting Sally-Pink *Airdrie Abileen Anderson* Part 2

 If you're just now joining us and love a good 'ol birth story scroll down to the previous post and start there. If you just came to see pictures of our sweet girl and would rather avoid all the birth terminology and details then stay right where you are because we have pictures galore of our Airdrie-girl!

Airdrie Abileen Anderson came in to the world a bit reluctantly on Thursday 24 October. She was delivered by c-section and had some immediate troubles. We didn't know it at the time but when they rushed her over to the other side of the room they were "giving her a little help" meaning emptying her lungs and giving her oxygen. We later saw that her 1 minute Apgar score was a "5" and her 10 minute score was a "9."

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Meeting Sally-Pink *Airdrie Abileen Anderson* Part 1

 It's been a while...Mark and I have lived several months in the past few weeks!
This post will be extensive, but full of pictures for those who enjoy the break in my ramblings! Also, I'm including birth details using words like "cervix, dilation" and "birth canal." If this doesn't suit your taste exit while you still can and visit our FaceBook page for the benign details of the past weeks. :)

Monday, and Tuesday October 14-15 my parents along with my sisters, Jillian and Catlin flew in to Aberdeen so they could be a part of what we thought was birth week! I was scheduled to be induced at 4pm on Wednesday, October 16th.

There was general shenanigans and fun as the aunts and grandma and papa revealed they had all packed in their carry-on luggage and all other suitcases were FILLED with presents from America! We had cake mixes, candy, Pumpkin spice---everything, maple syrup, Italian and Ranch dressing packets, and Halloween goodies.

Grandma also brought over a tin filled with buttons for the girls. They love this and love to scatter buttons ALL over the house!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Happy 7th Birthday Caedmon!

Last week we celebrated Caedmon's 7th birthday! I can't believe 7 years ago how much my life changed and how I instantly fell in love with a little boy I had never met but known for 9 months. Truly I believe that through our children we get a glimpse of the Father's great love for us. 

Love this picture--Mark seeing Caedmon for the first time.

Here's some highlights from the day:

On Thursday night Mark and I stayed up to finish Caedmon's Lego cake. I love doing cakes for my family, it's fun. No matter what the cake looks like they love it! 
It would NOT be fun to do for a living, plus you have to be a whole lot more polished and professional!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


She's turned! No version needed today, Sally Pink turned by herself sometime in the night. 
Thanks for all the prayers, we have a midwife doing a house-call Friday to make sure baby girl is still in position, other than that we wait until next Wednesday when it's induction time!

Momma and little spinning Sally Pink.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

8 October Scan and News

In our scan today we found out some good news and bad news:
First the cyst and brain deformity are the same with no changes. This is the news we've had since June, we just have the name "Dandy-Walker" now to attach to it.

Next the good news: the ventricles that allow the spinal fluid to move freely around the brain are normal looking and are not showing any signs of blockage. This means there is not hydrocephalus (water on the brain). While we're not out of the woods from this condition it is a good sign that it has not occurred.

The bad news: Sally Pink has turned herself breech. Baby's should not do this at 37 weeks of pregnancy because of their size--the Anderson girls have not gotten this memo apparently. We had a few options and have chosen to have an external cephalic version (or version) done. A version takes place in the hospital with careful monitoring of the baby. A doctor will come in and essentially turn the baby with his hands so she is again head-down. This all sounds so familiar as exactly 4 and a half years ago I went through this with a little girl named Caithness! I'm grateful for that experience as we face a nearly identical situation now.

Tomorrow morning we will go into the hospital and have this done. If the procedure is successful we will induce Miss Sally Pink in the afternoon next Wednesday, October 16th. If the version is not successful we have opted to go with a Caesarean section. While attempting a breech birth is possible we feel that in light of the circumstances surrounding this precious girls' birth that a safer route would be a c-section.

Once Sally Pink gets here her cord blood will go for genetic testing to determine if her deformity is a result of a chromosomal problem. The first test they will do takes around 3 days to have results and will only check specific chromosomes. The complete test results will come back in usually 3 weeks. This means we have another month of possible uncertainties. We will continue to ask you, our dear family and friends, to keep lifting up our baby in prayer before the Father.

As Mark and I made the nearly 2 hour drive home from Aberdeen today we were discussing and processing all that has occurred. I told Mark I haven't felt "peace" in a long time, since June as a matter of fact. I feel as if I'm living in a dream--and not a good dream either. But then what if my view of what peace is is skewed?
I think my "comfort zone" is what I sometimes consider to be peace. Everyone is happy and healthy, there's no storms of life or trials...isn't this what I considered to be peace? But Mark said, "what about the peace that passes all understanding" (Philippians 4.7)? True peace, God-given peace, isn't about our comfort zone. It isn't about life going exactly the way we planned, it's about a peace that can only come from God and His Holy Spirit in us. True peace should "pass all understanding."
It's easy to have peace when all the world is as is should be. But when you hear the words, "We've found a spot on your baby's brain..." "The cancer has returned..." "There isn't a job available at this time..." that is the time that our faith is put into action. We find peace, not in the comfort of easy living, but in spite of the trials that surround us.

So above all, pray for a miracle with our baby girl, and next please pray that our family continues to seek peace that passes all understanding.

Mark & Jordan

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Latest with Sally-Pink

Today we went in to Aberdeen Maternity Hospital to see Dr. Fairly an obstetrician for another ultrasound and the results from our MRI in August.
First, the MRI confirmed to us what the ultrasounds have said all along. Our baby, whom we fondly refer to as "Sally-Pink" because those are the chosen names for her by her big sisters, has Dandy-Walker Syndrome (DWS).
In Sally-Pink's case this means she has a complete separation of her two cerebellar hemispheres and there is no connective tissue (vermis) between the spheres. The cerebellum is the back portion of your brain that is responsible for coordination and motor skills among other things.
With DWS there is a huge spectrum of severity and there is no way for us to know until after birth and possibly months later the degree of her handicap.

In the scan today Dr. Fairly confirmed there is no change to Sally-Pink's condition, but also that the rest of her brain looks completely normal and both her head and body are right on track as far as growth is concerned. This is good news for us as most of the time with DWS being caused by a chromosomal abnormality there is another malformation present in the body.
This is tentatively hopeful as 2 out of the 3 chromosomal problems most likely to cause DWS are "lethal" meaning she may not survive long after birth. We still are not and will not be 100% certain of this until the she is born, so please keep praying specifically about this.

We also saw a neonatologist today who talked about postnatal concerns and possible problems with us. Like I mentioned before there is no way the Dr's can pinpoint or even give us a range of Sally-Pink's handicap, we will just have to wait as she matures.
The greatest threat is hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. Because Sally-Pink still has a cyst present near her cerebellum this can block the cushion of fluid surrounding the brain leading to swelling and pressure on the brain. While this is a dangerous condition it is easily detected (by measurements of the head and ultrasound) and treated by a shunt.
The neonatologist also essentially said the science of the brain is inexact. Meaning that when God created this amazing, super-duper-duper-duper-duper (in Nessie's phrasing) computer of an organ He made it so that it can and often does compensate for loss or problems. The brain is incredible and can overcome great odds--to us: God still works miracles in what He's created!

What we did find out today is that we are going to meet Sally-Pink a little sooner than we originally thought. There is an increased risk for stillbirth with babies who have problems who are allowed to go full-term or beyond. Therefore Dr. Fairly is going to do one more scan in a fortnight (that's 2 weeks for all our American friends) and we will then schedule an induction for the next week. I will be at or around 38 weeks pregnant. Because I've had 3 natural births previously I will deliver with a midwife (obstetricians are not commonly used for antenatal care or deliveries in the UK) in Aberdeen with a neonatologist present. As with my past pregnancies I have gestational thrombocytopenia which means I have a low platelet count. It's never been an issue except a C-section isn't ideal when there's a risk of bleeding. Natural is the best for me and should be fine for Sally-Pink. We are excited about this and meeting our precious daughter so soon even in our uncertainty of the future.

Please continue to lift us up in prayer, specifically that this is not a chromosomal abnormality and that the cyst doesn't cause any problems.
In our household we are praying for a miracle--those who watch our story unfold can't help but see that we serve the One True God and He is mighty to save.

Most of all throughout all this, however God choses to write this story, that our family and this precious baby girl will glorify Him.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Our New Car!

The Anderson family is now the happy owners of a new car! 
We went to Elgin yesterday to pick it up while Caedmon was in school.

And while it may look like a minivan it's actually classified as a "people carrier." Ha!
Ours seats 7 and is a 6 speed, diesel and gets around 45 MPG.
We're feeling blessed by this and it's here none too soon with baby Anderson around 5 weeks from making her appearance.

The Anderson girls waiting for our new car to be delivered, we're excited!

Our car!

Tray tables, my favourite feature!

Mark likes the gear shift because it "feels like a truck."

Plenty of space in the boot for our double pram!
(translation: Plenty of space in the rear for our double stroller!)

All the seats swivel. Caedmon's favourite feature!

Plenty of space for our growing family--a blessing!

She's loving it!

Another cool thing--the dash opens for storage, on both passenger and driver sides.

The luggage racks on top can be adjusted--right now I think of them as in "spoiler mode."

Ok, so it looks like a minivan. 
But it's what we need and we're grateful for it!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Let's Get Some Messages!

"Messages" are groceries, FYI. I don't use the term without thinking about it first but my friends here do!

Whilst shopping today I thought I'd give y'all insight into what I get to see and shop for one morning a week. I took along a camera and tried to ignore the curious looks as I focused on meat, produce and dry goods!


First off, it's SO apparent we live in Scotland as you can find SO many Scottish products, and quite honestly it's pretty cool they market their own products so heavily.

Scottish Pork
Yum--Mark can do a mean pork chop on the grill...

Scottish Beef
It's a REALLY big deal here. I'm sad to say I don't purchase this as Scottish beef is grass-fed and I think has a bit of a gamey taste. Give those poor cows some corn!

The bakery section:
Open air, you can smell the stuff you want to buy!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
I treat myself to one of these gems each time I'm at Lidl's (Lidl's, a German store like Aldi)

Mackie's Ice Cream
Scottish ice cream tastes very, VERY buttery!

A "Breakfast Pack"
Top left going clockwise:
Scottish breakfast link sausage; black pudding (blood sausage); Scottish recipe Lorne (beef sausage with a little seasoning) and hash browns!

A Haggis!
This is EVERYWHERE, although to get a really "good" one the local butcher may be your best bet. Haggis is a sheep's stomach stuffed with oatmeal and ground sheep's heart, liver and lung.
I'm. Not. Kidding. And my husband and children LOVE this.

Scottish Salmon
A salmon lovers dream!

Walkers is THE brand of crisps (chips) here. 
These are the classic flavours:
Cheese & Onion, Ready Salted, Salt & Vinegar, Prawn Cocktail and Worcestershire Sauce

Hard Gums?
Maybe gum drops? I didn't realise they were so American. But I don't like gum drops there so I probably won't like them here!

This is a BIG thing here. My dear friend loves it on her toast. I can't reconcile the creamy, smooth texture of liver with a meat product...

Black Eye
Another Pudding (pudding here is "sausage" or "dessert"!) This is beef sausage with black pudding. Notice the brand: "We Hae Meat" (We Have Meat)!

Haggis Pizza
Pizza with haggis on it (not in the stomach sack, of course, it has a ground sausage texture). Caedmon wanted this for supper tonight.

Goose Fat
Well then...

From Scotland, see the cool jugs they come in? It's to better fit in the tiny refrigerators here.
YUM, we go through nearly 4 gallons a week (blame the pregnant lady).

Channel Island Milk
This is 100% Jersey and Guernsey cow milk. It has a cream top and is nearly yellow because of the creaminess. It's also Mark's favourite milk in the whole world (Even more so than Promised Land Dairy products in the states). 
I should've taken a picture of the nutritional information as that would give my reasons for hardly ever purchasing this!

Check out the flavours:
Blackcurrant, Rhubarb and Gooseberry!

The Yogurt Section
One of my favourites. You have never tasted better stuff than this--and the variety is AMAZING!

UK grocery stores always have an outstanding cheese selection, no matter how small they are!

They CAN be found here! And we ALWAYS have these in our quesadilla-loving house!

Cheesey & Ham Macaroni
Proudly advertising that it's Scottish!

The Fabulous 3
Indian food to the UK is like Mexican food to the US. It's a BIG deal here. 
Korma, Tikka Masala and Jalfrezi are the biggies. 

Frozen Peas
There are more peas than any other frozen veggie, with the exception of...

Potatoes cut into big fries are a staple.

Yorshire Pudding
They're a for reals thing-- a pastry.

This one is self explanatory. 

We eat this here at the Anderson household!

The cereals are by and large healthier, less sugary, less flavoured and have less colouring than American equivalents. 
A lot of them also have chocolate in them.

Sandwich Baguettes
Another Anderson staple. These 4 packs for £1 rock my world. 
They also smell fabulous.

Chocolate Chips
Teeny bag, big price! We love bags of Nestle choc. chips from the states.

Chicory & Coffee Essence
This is a first for me to see, but it was by the vanilla extract and has a kilted man on the label...

Cake Mixes and Canned Frosting
Those of you enjoying the $1 Betty Crocker mixes, don't take them for granted. These babies come out to $3.50!
Another family-import from the US we cherish!

Chocolate Spread
They have some peanut butter here, but this is WAY more popular.

Cadbury Chocolate Spread
My sister, Jillian, and her husband are addicted to this.

Meringue Nests
I've often wished for these when I was in the US. They are little 'nests' made from meringue and you can put all kinds of loveliness into them!

Maple Syrup
The ONLY options--the real deal (the stuff on the left is full of carob syrup and is not the same) cost $9.47. (thanks mom and dad for sending us over Mrs. Butterworths!)

Baxters Soup
Made just down the road from us in Fochabers. It's all yummy stuff.

The official pop of Scotland. It tastes like Big Red, but not really.

It's juice, but needs to be diluted with water. (ask me how I know, or rather, ask my kids)

Scottish Specialty Crisps (chips)
Flamegrilled Aberdeen Angus, Haggis & Cracked Black Pepper and Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper 

Caithness Biscuits Home Made Wee Oatcakes
Yay! Love seeing that girl's name on things! 

Baxters Sliced Beetroot
Another must have over here. 
(I'm not a beet fan, so it's not in our kitchen.)

Scottish Jam
Scottish strawberry (the Scottish strawberries really are tiny and sweet over here!) and orange marmalade
(because "jelly" is Jell-O over wonder Caedmon's peanut butter & jelly sandwich gets some looks at school lunch time!)

Whew! Ok, that was our jaunt through the store. Getting messages took me a bit longer today, but I thought y'all would enjoy the trip with me!