It’s hard to believe that Sam and I arrived in Minnesota four weeks ago. We had thought this would be a much shorter visit, but we’re thankful to have been able to get all the medical care Sam has needed. In my previous post, I shared that Sam was scheduled to get his tonsils and adenoids removed and that the ENT would also check his ears at that time. Surgery went well and we’re incredibly happy that Sam simply needed a new set of tubes to fix his hearing. Praise God!

We moved out of our hotel and into a house we found on Airbnb two days before the surgery. My mom was in town, so she helped us move everything. It would have been tough in an Uber! It was so much nicer to come back to a quiet house instead of a small hotel room for Sam’s recovery.

Surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids is known to have a rough recovery. We stayed one night in the hospital and were released the following day after Sam ate a tiny bit of food. Pete’s parents come to help us move out of the hospital back into our little house. They took me to the grocery store for plenty of kids’ Tylenol and to fill the fridge with soft foods for Sam’s two weeks of healing.

Those first few days at the house were hard. I made sure we stuck to scheduled Tylenol and lots of cuddles to keep Sam as comfortable as possible. He didn’t want to eat much and fought hard every time I gave him meds, but we made it through.

We watched lots of Fixer Upper and Disney Jr.

Six days after surgery, Sam was playing and begging to ‘go.’ I was happy to get out, too. We took an Uber to the mall and explored for a few hours.

We spent most of our time looking at toys at Barnes and Noble. We even found a couple books to take back for Ella! We were both happy to be out for a bit. The weather is so cold here, we can’t just head out the door for a walk around town.

Unfortunately, though, the night after our outing, Sam woke at 3am with a small amount of blood in his mouth. I knew this could happen at any time during his two weeks of healing, so I called a cab and took him to the Emergency Room.  We discovered one of his scabs had come off, so the surgeon cauterized the area again. Later, the room was filled with doctors and residents for morning rounds when I asked the question if this would mean we’d need to start our two-week countdown over before we traveling back to Kenya. I already knew what the answer would be, but when the attending said yes, I cried. I was exhausted. After a week of challenging healing with Sam, a night of very little sleep, and being half a world away from Ella and Pete, and I didn’t want to have to start over. After some really good sleep, I felt much better. The wait has been long, but Sam’s health is so very important.

One more night in the hospital and we were able to head back to the house.

The week of healing after the second surgery was far easier than the first. Praise God. And we had visitors! My friend, Kim, came for lunch, and then my mom, brother Jake, and Pete’s sister, Kristin, all came for the weekend. It was wonderful to have the company!

On Sunday, we watched the Super Bowl with Auntie Kristin. It was pretty exciting knowing the game was just an hour away from us!

Sam was really into JT’s halftime show. (And yes, so was I.)

On Monday, Kristin took us around to run errands and then we found a great indoor play area. Sam played and played and played while we sat on a bench and drank coffee. A lovely way to spend the morning.

We then stopped in at the clinic so the surgeon could take a look at Sam’s healing. Everything looks great! Know what that means? We get to fly home next week!! My mom and dad came to town yesterday to see us one more time. I squeezed in one more trip to Target with my mama.

It’s been four long weeks, but it’s all been worth it for Sam’s health. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and sending sweet messages. Please continue to pray for our travels in the next week. We’re so excited to be with Ella and Pete again!



An Unexpected Trip to Minnesota

It’s true! Sam and I made the long journey from Kenya to Minnesota one week ago. Not at all something we planned so early in our first term in Kenya.

Why are we here? A couple weeks ago, Pete and I took Sam to another mission hospital in Kenya to see an ear specialist who was visiting from the U.S. We had noticed some changes in his behavior that made us think he may not be hearing as well as he could be. We discovered during the appointment that Sam does indeed have decreased hearing in his right ear. Because of his past ear issues, we prayed about it and sought counsel from our mentors before deciding it would be best for me to take him to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

We arrived in Minneapolis on Saturday, Jan 14 and took a shuttle van to Rochester. Monday afternoon, Sam had a hearing test and Tuesday morning, we met with the ear specialist. He agreed that Sam does have hearing loss, which may be due to a plugged ear tube. He’ll be able to take a closer look tomorrow morning when Sam is under anesthesia. The ear doctor referred us to his colleague who specializes in working with people who have Down syndrome. He recommended Sam have a sleep study to determine if he has sleep apnea, something that is very common in those with Down syndrome and can be very hard on the heart. We were squeezed in for a sleep study on Wednesday night and discovered Thursday morning that Sam definitely does have sleep apnea. Therefore, he has been scheduled to have his tonsils and adenoids removed tomorrow morning, January 22. Pete’s parents will be staying with us at an Airbnb rental house for a few days following his surgery. I’m so thankful they’ll be able to help! And my parents have been here in the last week to keep us company and take us shopping. We will stay in Rochester for two weeks following Sam’s surgery, and then we hope to head right back to Kenya. This is a long time for us to be away from Ella and Pete!

I’ve been told this procedure comes with a painful recovery, so will you please be praying for Sam in the next few days? We’ll be stocking the freezer with lots of Popsicles and Jello, and we’ll have plenty of movies available. I’ll post again later in the week with an update on how Sam’s healing is progressing. Thank you for praying with us!


Merry Christmas From Kenya!

card from Photo Affections


After many years of dreaming, we’re thrilled to be sending our Christmas greetings this year from Kenya! Though it feels quite different from what we were used to in Minnesota, we’re fully enjoying the holiday season. Here the temperatures are in the 70s, we’re surrounded by green grass, and most stores in the city have only one small aisle of Christmas treasures. We’ve spent a lot of time observing how our new friends celebrate during this season, and we’re looking forward to joining them at the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning church services to celebrate the birth of our one true King.

As you celebrate Jesus’ birth this Christmas, we pray you will experience His love in an entirely new way. May you deeply feel the joy and hope of this incredible season!

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Pete, Angela, Ella and Sam


A New Tradition: Gingerbread Houses

One of the great things we’ve discovered in living here at Tenwek is that there are some pretty fantastic traditions we get to add to our holiday season! Yesterday we participated in the annual making of gingerbread houses. I found a great recipe and printable template here and constructed Ella’s base for decorating the night before.

Continue Reading

Design by: Bumble + Buzz Design // Copyright © The Mango Memoirs