About Me

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Maine, United States
Happily married for 14 years- celebrating the reality that our children are home

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

how I was almost eaten by a camel aka: our day at the zoo

this was a great day filled with many fun, new and interesting things not the least of which was my being chased into lake Victoria by a camel who was trying to bite me. [as we approached the beach I mentioned that I thought it was odd that the camels were loose] I was running at my top speed and his teeth were just a few inches behind my head when I looked back at him. It was pretty hilarious if not horrifying...lol.  dad was unable to capture it on film but he did watch it happen and took this after shot. I am sure he would love to tell you the play by play if you get the chance to ask him about it.  good times.

the beach at lake Victoria at the Zoo

Chimp house. the boys were afraid of that fake gorilla and thought it might be real.  the woman w/J is Harriet, the housekeeper (and the jewelry maker) where we are staying, behind me is her son

Where to next?

Benny meets the ostrich

tired baby

lunch at the zoo

the monkey's were loose running everywhere

Super baby!
J's bff, junior. is the housekeeper's son and loves to help me by playing with the boys. I told his mom today that I wanted to put him in a suitcase and bring him home. what a great kid! he recently turned 13

not sure why I couldn't turn this but it is a great shot dad took.
I may put all the zoo day pix onto fb at some point so you all can see the entire set of animal shots etc. there are some great ones of lions etc. but this gives you an idea of our day

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

giggle fest

those he loves he chases...rings quite true for me today. I loved and chased my son Johnny several times.  I caught him every time and he ran again every time. It was not exactly a fun day for Momma because of his consistent defiance until something really funny and wonderful happened. it started at breakfast when we had a time out before breakfast began. "Woolida Momma" was repeated quite a lot by myself (and Benny trying to remind his brother to listen to Momma).  I would say it was time for food, bath, getting dressed or whatever and would say "no" and then give a "chesire cat smile" as Grampa has called it and then start to RUN!  but after nap he wanted to be held and cuddled in his soft blanket while enjoying a leisurely snack and then the best thing was at bath time when we were pretending to drink tea out of plastic bath toys and I was pretending it was too hot to drink and spilling it back into the tub.  They got to the point of giggling hysterically where neither one could breathe for several minutes.  All 3 of us were genuinely laughing.  It was so cathartic.  Something special happened today.  I was Johnny's mom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

boda-boda boys

The baby in front is Benon our neighbor and the boys' little friend. his dad, Ronald, was letting the boys sit on his boda-boda

no power

the power went out around 9pm yesterday and has not come back on all day. laptop battery waning. having a good day. more later if we get power again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

the gift of music

As I have mentioned once or twice, my boys LOVE to sing. we sing everything. we use music to cue them to what we are doing next and what we need to start doing.  we sing together literally all day long. but we have not, until today, listen to recorded music together.  this was an amazing development. J lit up with delight when I played ringtones off my cellphone and we all danced and jumped together.  we also watched a few babyish videos off of youtube which was like magic.  J is very interested in learning his colors.  B is interested in running and throwing things.  Just to illustrate the developmental differences, I will tell a quick story. 
Today I thought of a new station we can add to our already existing playdough and coloring/drawing stations.  We have these little domino-sized blocks they come in 5 colors.  I set up a game where they need to sort them into colors.  Johnny LOVED it and tried very hard to sort them correctly and say the names of the colors.  Benny watched us for a minute and then started swinging his bag of blocks around and then dumped them on the floor and starting running around the room...lol.
Johnny is really so into cleaning it is amazing.  He is in love with cleaning up.  He slammed his brother's hand in the toy box today because he was so eager to clean up a toy that Benny was still trying to play with... hummm. we will see how this develops. 

Dad just reminded me of a cool thing that happened today at church.  it was a church where they call up the children and pray for them during the service. so I walked the boys up to the front to join the others.  we were in the last row and the church was Very long so it was pretty conspicuous since I was one of 4 white people in the room walking the boys up to the front.  I crouched down when we got near the front and told the boys they should go up to the very front but they were resistant. two ladies who worked for the church took their hands and walked them the last few feet.  It is not as if it would have been possible for me to have drawn any MORE attention to myself just by having walked to the front.  I was trying to just wait by the side but the vicar thanked me personally for bringing my children to church and invited me to come up and join the children in front.  I thanked him and started to kneel with the children but he said "will you pray over these children for us" and he handed me the microphone that he was using to lead the service with thus far!  That was more than a bit unexpected but I did get to pray over the entire church's children. What a privilege!

hard but we learned some things

today has been a hard day.  now both boys are sleeping soundly for nap time.  there is a traceable cause and effect for everything that has happened and so I am not concerned but I am tired.  it seems it all stemmed from B not taking a nap yesterday.  because of that and J's short nap I put them to bed quite early.  I fed them before we ate and bathed and put them to bed and then we adults ate.  this was the first time I had done this. one result was good. momma actually ate her dinner all in a row while it was still hot and was able to have tea and cookies afterward with the grown ups.  another result was that after sleeping for 10.5 hours, the boys woke up at 5:30am.  this was a bit sad for me but what can you expect. that was a pretty long sleep for them!  it was still dark so we cuddled a few minutes but they were really ready to be awake.  so we did our little routine except that Momma wasn't really awake all the way so I was not really doing my usual think-one-step-ahead-of-them-activities-coordinator thing that I usually do and they started trying to entertain themselves which went very badly.  once again no fault of theirs for the fact that I chose to put them to bed early and didn't have enough things ready to do this morning, but there were a few knock down drag out fights (which were kind of adorable in a way if you could have turned down the volume). 
after a crying timeout for both boys on separate beds with the light off [yes it was still dark an hour after they woke up], we hit the reset button just as if we had just woken up.  had another snack on our soft blanket with our stuffed bunnies and then Momma had set up 2 "stations" [think kindergarten classroom] 1 was for playdough and one was for drawing and coloring. they were on either side of my bed on the floor. I sat on my bed and had warm-ish tea while they each played alone at one station.  this was the ticket to happiness it turned out.  they must be sick of each other...lol.  they after about 10 mins we switched sides of the bed.  about 25mins was spent happily playing alone. then we cleaned up while singing the "clean up song" from Barney and friends which they both sing with me and love to out things away in their toy box/drawer.  it was pretty admirable to have gotten up at 5:30am and not have breakfast or leave our bedroom for 2.5 hrs. {side note: luckily for everyone involved, we are the only ones staying in the guest house so we didn't disturb anyone else.}
btw: I seem to recall most toddlers that I know not eating very well...mine have to be cut off after they have eaten more than the adults at the table... hummmm. [in case you think I am mean and not letting them eat enough, J ate for breakfast today the following: a banana, 3 bites of pineapple and a few pieces of watermelon, 3 bowls full of porridge (cream of wheat) with milk and sugar and 2 entire large slices of french toast with syrup and was asking for more.  he could barely walk right he was so full.]
then we went to church were they were very good. I could not really understand anything that was said but at least we were on an outing which took up the entire morning and we ate lunch after we got home and then baths and naps.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

family resemblance

this is how they eat. as you can imagine I am reminding them to sit down on the mat about 50x per meal

when we first arrived, the Ugandan housekeeper asked me if we picked Benny out because he looked like me.  I found that an odd question but she was serious. she said we have a similar facial structure.  you can judge for yourself if there is ever a picture of me taken with them.  I have taken almost no photos at all this trip. too busy living it to film it I guess.
oh and for the Proch aunties Sarah Hannah and Molly - I was looking through the family photo book with Johnny yesterday after nap and he flipped to the page with you all on it and said "aunties!" and I replied "yes aunties" and he came back with "auntie wange!" [my auntie] which I though was pretty darned sweet!

today was a long and bit trickier day.  Dad was gone w/our host doing ministry from 9:30ish am til 6pm.  Mamma was on duty all day.  Only J took a nap today and J cried whenever B did anything he didn't like or wasn't planning on.  B slapped J whenever he was unhappy with anything that he did.  good fun times. 

they are very cute when they share with each other.  for example: when playing with playdough, which we do every morning after snack, there is only one of a certain toy used with the playdough.  each boy wants to use it the entire time so they use it once and the other boy starts immediately please please please please until the other one relents and grumpily tosses it as his brother *rinse and repeat* for the entire playdough time. but please is truly the MAGIC word to them. you must relent if the other one say it. no exceptions.

another thing I have noticed which I am sure is not new to any parents out there.  it doesn't matter if the 2 boys each have an identical item in their hands they will still want the one the other has and fight to get it.  totally bizzare to me but hey, I'm not a 2 year old.  I am finding that when I say "no this is just how it is so have this one or nothing" they are starting to believe me so they will take what they have.

J is the opinionated one who desperately wants his own way.  he cries when he doesn't get it.  he is turning back into a baby and it is nice to see him tender and kind of cute after all his toughness.  he wants praise and to please me more than anything.  all I really need is to praise his brother and he will get right in line and request "mamma, gamba good boy Johhny" [say Johnny is a good boy] he also LOVES to clean.  Only my uncomfortably OCD friends/family members have ever liked cleaning this much.  give that boy a baby wipe or a cleaning rag and he is in heaven cleaning everything he can reach.  it will occupy him for an unnatural [in my opinion] length of time.  but anything that takes up time is GREAT. I sure am glad I brought so many baby wipes!!

they both remind me to be polite if I forget to say please or thank you.  even if I want to take something from them because they shouldn't touch it or they are being naughty they  say "mamma gamba puudeeeze" [mommy say please] 

when they are looking for me they call me Mommy.  like if they were outside and I was inside and they are not quite sure if I am close by they call for Mommy...not sure why.

they just sing all day. especially B.  I mean he sings while he plays, eats, bathes, runs, walks, draws, uses the bathroom, as he is falling asleep, in between blows on bubbles blowing [like he will take a deep breath and sing a phrase and use the rest of that breath to blow the bubbles] very cute stuff.

J has figured out how to climb out of his crib...no surprise there. he is a natural born climber.  it was only a matter of time. so this AM at 6am he joined me in my bed.  it was at least another 15-20mins before he was really awake enough to interact.  I anticipate that will be our new routine.  I didn't mind even though it is a twin bed so not the most comfortable to share with someone else.

tomorrow we will go to church for the 1st time since we arrived here. dad will be preaching further away from here but I will go to church with out hosts with the boys. yikes...we will see how that goes.

in all the daily-ness of life please don't forget that it will still take a miracle for us to leave by the 9th of September with the boys.  please continue to pray to that end. the battle is not over just because there is nothing to do but wait.

Friday, August 26, 2011

there may be something there that wasn't there before

I noticed something today that I hadn't before.  A relaxing.  Deeper breaths. more eye contact.  Slower cuddles. More stopping for hugs. leaning back against me instead of wiggling away.  more babyish playing and pretending.  less fighting back when I requested sitting during meals (hooray). there was a genuine enjoying of one another all around today between all 4 of us. contentment was creeping and seeping into our day today in lots of little ways that were so very welcome.  the daily pattern feels safe by now, allowing freedom within it for being oneself and discovering.  watching a bubble float away until it is out of sight and just enjoying that moment for how much fun it was, for example.  each boy was able to slowly enjoy [vs previously wolfing down] an after nap snack with "dolly wange" while cuddled in their soft blanket on Mommy's lap.   this was possible since B slept almost an hour longer than J.  Today we tried 2 new things that both worked very well so we plan to do them again tomorrow.  The 4 of us too an 30min walk around the block-ish area.  Also afternoon was spent with the boys mostly apart which allowed for much more enjoyable playtime when they came back together. 
please pray for good sleeps for all but especially the grown ups.  the boys are napping and sleeping through the night and the grown ups are not napping (well sometimes we are) and rarely sleeping solidly through the night.

beaded jewelry

I keep forgetting to mention it but I will here.  The housekeeper here makes beautiful paper-beaded jewelry which she sells to help pay for boarding school for her 4 children.  If you are interested, please message me here info@brimerpartyof4.com and I can get you some to bring back.  I am thinking that we can use the paypal account set up at brimerpartyof4.com for this.  Thanks.  they are each in the 5,000-10,000 range which is $2-$8 ish

Thursday, August 25, 2011

eye candy of sweetie-boys

horsey rides on Grampa's knees to distract form the fact that lunch wasn't yet ready

enjoying each other

this was my favorite moment of the day. just after nap and snack he was still in need of his stuffed bunny yet wanted to play soccer with us

love love love this one!!

grumpy Benny face after nap

run Benny run!

nice moves still tightly clutching bunny "baby wange" as it is called by both boys

caught in mid swing w/baby wange trying to hit his brother who was using Grampa as a human shield

chasing [nice view eh?]

best photo capture of the trip so far! we let them run wild after dinner to stay up a bit later since they got up so early today. the day ended with a few tired tears but it will be worth it if they get up later tomorrow!!!

also enjoy these videos:

yittle onesh do 'im be yong

Since I started teaching the boys to sing Jesus loves me on Sunday morning, they have been learning it more and more and now are singing phrases of it without help or prompting from me.  It is VERY sweet as you can imagine if you have ever heard a child singing in the right tune and ryhthm some syllables that sound similar to the correct words.  Very sweet baby voices singing truth that blesses mamma's heart and reminds her that "little ones to Him belong" [in case you didn't catch that from the title of this post] so she doesn't worry that there is something she can control about this whole situation and that even when this is all over, the boys belong to Jesus who loves them and not to Mamma and Daddy.
Today on one of Benny's many trips to go "sou-sou" he started to sing "day ah weak but ee is STRONG!" [he shouted the word strong] and then he broke into spontaneous clapping and enthusiastic AMEN's.  They also bow their heads with us before meals and shout Amen when we say Amen at the end of prayer. 

To any of you who have or HAVE had a 2 year old, I ask for your specific an informed prayers for my creativity at meal times as there are no booster seats and it makes meal time difficult.  We are going to look for them but our host seems to think that they do not have them here.  Also I have a rhythm to the day but during unstructured time, the boys can be naughty if there isn't structure there to work inside of and I am trying to see what other structure I can add into our days to help with behavior.  Please pray for my ability to consistently discipline them in a way that makes sense for their level of understanding.

early risers

today I woke up at 6am. only 30mins before the boys. they were not really active until 7ish but they were REALLY ready for breakfast by the time 8:30 rolled around!  I find it hard to believe that it is only 10:30 and I have 2hrs b4 the lunch-bath-nap sequence. They boys and I hand washed all our laundry from the last 2 days this morning in the bathtub.  that was great fun and also quite useful.  Johnny wanted to wear undies today and not a pull-up.  I think he can handle it. we will see how that goes. Grampa is playing with the boys blowing bubbles right now so I have a quick minute here.  I wanted to update you that DAD is getting a taste of Africa himself this trip so far he has preached in a local church and eaten lunch at the Ugandan pastor's home and then yesterday he went to Kampala on a boda boda and ate lunch at a local "restaurant" typical Ugandan food.  He also did some Bible study ministry in the home of a younger local couple yesterday. They work for the family we're staying with.  This Sunday he will preach again near Mukono at a place where the missionary we stayed with last time we came has lined up for him.  it is pretty neat how it is all working out for him as well.  The family we are staying with is SO great!!  It is amazing here at this house.  The housekeeper/cook is SO wonderful and she teaches cooking/housekeeping classes for young girls who want to be housekeepers/cooks for a family themselves so we have a staff of 5 girls who are preparing meals and cleaning up after us and making tea etc.  I/we will have some adjusting to do once we get back home!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pedicures and monsters

Johnny the Monster. he like to pretend he's a monster while he gets dressed sometimes so he'll keep his shirt halfway on his head and growl
Benny the monster who was copying his big brother but was also a little scared when Johnny was growling and he couldn't see his face almost like maybe it was a REAL monster in his mind

playdough self-pedicure

they gave me a pedicure as well a bit later but I couldn't stand up to get the camera since my feet were occupied

my real pedicure! sometimes at bath I will sit on the edge of the tub with my feet in while they play. Today I was pampered a bit by both boys.  they repeated "bouloongie" meaning it feels nice over and over while they poured the water on my feet.

check this out as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VenGUiJfZRE they play pretend a lot.  today they each were talking on a block phone to each other having a long and detailed conversation which of course I could not understand at all, but it was very cute. By the time I grabbed my camera, only Benny was still holding his "phone"

an informed opinion

My lawyer called me this AM.  He seemed confident that we would get the paperwork and be on to the next thing we needed to do after Sept 2nd.  I told him we really need it to be completely ready on Sept 2nd since we have much more to do afterward.  So, he indicated that he would stay on top of it for us to try and make sure it is done on time. [btw: he also looked through the book and "met" our family. he said that we Proch sisters are "very pretty girls" He may have just been complimenting dad since he was looking at it with him but still it was nice to say!] He said that he thought I did very well in court by staying calm and steady and answering without getting emotional and that I said the right things.  He also said that the clerk for the judge was surprised that I was asked so few questions and were not grilled more than I was.  Apparently this judge usually asks a lot more questions and pushes more.  It seems that he usually gets his applicants pretty worked up during his proceedings.  He also said that he thinks it was a very good thing that the head social worker was not present at the proceedings because that may have been worse if he and the judge were fighting about the quality of his work etc.  I was under the impression that it was better if he was there since he wrote the report and his assistant (who was present) didn't really have anything intelligent to say about it.  Also I had spoken with him the night before and he confirmed to me that he would be there.  Interesting how that all worked out.  Also it seemed as if the assistant social worker took the scapegoat role and when the judge was done taking out his annoyance at the poor quality of work out on her, he turned to me.  It seemed like right then a gear shifted and he was done being upset.  He asked me hard questions to answer but nothing like the tone he had with her.  His style is to make you disagree with him which can be a bit intimidating because he has all the power in the room -this is very evident to all present.  For example he would say, "you have no time for children since you are both working. Isn't that right?" or "why are even bothering to continue with this when is clearly such a financial strain for you and your family?" So in response you would have to take the opposite position from what he had said, almost correcting him for misstating your position.  An interesting technique. I could feel your prayers.  I was very calm the entire time.
So don't worry BUT keep praying. We are still many miles from Garak and Hayden Brimer.

hit the reset button

day was a good day. my own need for routine has been a blessing to the boys who woke up today at 6:45 am (boo) and were able to hit the reset button from yesterday's craziness.  We did our morning routine* just like they expected it to be from all the other mornings they have woken up here.  There did not seem to be any after affect of yesterday lingering at all.

I almost didn't know what to write since upon reflection of the day it seemed that nothing earth shattering happened to me today.  No life-altering court date or crazy ride into the big city etc. however being kissed and sung to and cuddled and tackled hugged and depended upon and asked for help putting pants, shoes and socks on and being a pretend monster or baby or the voice of a toy the boys were playing with and asked for help "fumba chapaties" [which is what they call playing with playdough. it means making pancakes] by two sweet, funny, amazing, adorable little babies is pretty significant after all. 
we learned to sing head and shoulders knees and toes today. they liked that a lot.  I really wish we had booster seats here. the boys do not do well on the floor on a mat bc they are not contained and they do not do well at the table bc they are too short...

Benny woke up from nap crying and was a grumpy-rump all afternoon. (Norm will remember that little boy very well from last visit.)  Everything made him pout and cry, it seemed.  But we still had a great day and he was very ready for bed.  You just put him in his bed and he lays down and gets his blanket over his head and he is done for the night. He does the same thing at nap time.
we watched the video of Daddy playing guitar with the boys after nap today. They liked that a lot and were chattering constantly and pointing at the screen. They seemed to be remembering that day as they watched. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

what does a miracle look like?

Some days are better than others and everything is random? OR there is Someone who made us and cares to interact with us throughout our days?  well... I think you know which one I choose out of those 2.  but what does a miracle look like?

is it a miracle that 100's of people care enough about our life to read my updates everyday and honestly stop their life for moments or hours and pray for us or donate money or both when they have so many things to do and think about already--many of which we do not know personally?

is it a miracle that 2 [2 year olds need I remind you] boys who moments earlier were testing everyone's patience and being crazy and naughty sat for hours contentedly while not making a single sound in a courtroom with only my bracelets to play with?

is it a miracle that we played and whisper-sang (by just moving our lips) "i love you's" to each other and "Jesus loves me" during the hearing without disturbing anyone?

is it a miracle that Johnny quietly listened when we told him and perhaps seemed to understand that he has 2 mommies now?

is it a miracle that he only cried for a few minutes and didn't really put up a fight or try to get out of my arms while his auntie walked to the car?

is it a miracle that when the hearing started out on a negative tone a snapfish photobook and some bold unsolicited words from both myself and my father seemed to change the tone in the room?

Is it a miracle that I [who often can't sleep before a big event and have not been sleeping well this whole trip so far] had the best sleep I have had so far on the trip last night -the very night before our biggest day do far?

is it a miracle that I stayed calm all day and didn't cry during the hearing, or at all today actually, even though it was very hard?

is it a miracle that as the hearing began and things were not going well, I managed to remind God that I promised to praise Him whatever the outcome and that I would still trust Him with my life even if this ends in a way that it different than I hope it will be?


Our case was heard

For some reason the boys were singing Happy Birthday all day today at the court house. It was strange and sweet.  They have never sung it before today and I did not teach them to sing it.  Maybe it was an omen?  Symbolic like today was their birthday into our family?  Hard to say.  There were several great things about today.  Some hard ones as well.  if you are considering scanning through this post to get to the part where I tell you if we have custody of the boys or not, you will not find it so just stay with me and I will tell you about the day.
7am- two sweet smiling boys wake up saying "mama, sweeties" which tells me they are ready for morning snack
8:30am- breakfast and trying to figure out our transport for the day's short trip into the city
9:40am- I am told our transport will arrive in 20mins and the boys are not yet dressed and I have not yet showered... Dad takes the boys and I take a shower
10am- we are waiting for our transport looking very "smart" (well-dressed) as the Ugandans say
10:20am- we are on our way to court but our driver doesn't know which court it is we need to get to, so I call the driver who is bringing the guardians and the social worker from Mukono and he gives the driver we are with directions.  WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR
10:45ish am- the driver drops us off at the wrong courthouse. I knew it was wrong because I had been there before last time we were here in Uganda so I called our lawyer and he said the right building is right around the corner which it was. so we walked there. it was only about 1 block away
11am- we arrive right on time (our appointment was not til 12noon but we were told to come early at 11am) and we are shown into a children's playroom/waiting room that is set up for when kids have to wait for court appearances.  WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR!  So we play and wait and eat snacks and hang out with the guardians and the social worker and 
12noon -wait and eat more snacks and then the boys get a bit rowdy and show off and eat even more snacks and then the boys kinda crashed because they had missed lunch and nap and they have had SO many lollypops by now.  Just after the crash we were getting calmed down and having a drink when we were
12:40pm -rushed into the court room WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR! the very fact that the judge is present and wants to see us next is pretty great so we hurry in and quietly file into the room while the judge finished up with the case he was hearing before ours. the boys are quiet and do not talk or play or make barely any sounds for entire hearing! WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR!
1:10pm- the judge switches to our case. picks up our file and says "I have not had a chance to read this yet" so he sits and reads it while the room is totally silent. I will not detail every bit of the proceedings of course but it was intense. He asks probing questions and really cares to know the truth WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR!  He corrects and critiques the quality of the documents filed and educates us all on how things should be done better.  He doesn't seem to hold anything lacking in the quality of the paperwork against me personally WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR!  He has me come and stand before him and asks me some personal questions which I do without fear or flinching and I look him right in the eye while speaking with him.  He wants to know how we will care for the boys since we are both working and so I show him THE FAMILY BOOK which I remembered to bring along WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL FOR! [thankful both for the book and for remembering it] he seemed to soften upon hearing that the entire family is eagerly awaiting the boys' return and that Norman's parents will be there next door to care for them as well. he says he will give us our ruling on September 2nd. Come back then to receive it. THIS WAS EXPECTED.  We knew that we would receive the actual ruling at a later date.  That is how it is done here.  We would like it to be sooner but at least we will have it at all the near future.
3:15ish pm- we are outside of the building calling the driver.  I pay the guardian's driver [he is also the one who took us everywhere when we were her last time] to take them home and use his cell phone because mine will not work.  The entire time the boys are loudly singing Happy Birthday out side on the sidewalk.  I hug the guardians and we all say our goodbyes.  I give dad the look and say "get ready! you take Benny and I'll take the crying one" Johnny loses it wailing and carrying on out on the sidewalk which raised an eyebrow or 2.  We walk away from the car that was taking his auntie away and he calms down after a few lifesavers from Grampa's pocket.  Even though I saved the driver who took us this morning's # into my cell phone, it is not there. So I call the house where we are staying and they call our driver for us and even though I mentioned it was a different court house he still looked for us at the other place before finally picking us up 20-30 mins later.
4pm ish- we arrive back much to all of our relief and delight!  the boys are excited to be back and very wound up from the strange day that have had. 
4:20- we eat PBJ's and head for the tub.  the bubbles in the tub work magic and we feel a bit like we are back to our routine (such as I have established it over these last 7days with them) However I do anticipate some reestablishing of routine tomorrow since they both were given a bit more free reign than they have been given so far.
5:15pm -we eat supper during which the boys roll around on the floor and run around the room instead of eating very much. 
by 6pm we are in full on bedtime routine and with Grampa's help the boys are in bed asleep by 6:30ish where they remain and hopefully will sleep through the night. I certainly plan to.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday's serenade

I hadn't told you yet about how my Sunday was.  I did not go to church with the boys since dad was preaching at some unknown location or length of time and it seemed too unpredictable to bring them along. So I had my longest stretch of time to date with just them and I.  I was pretty worn by lunch and glad for nap time but a very sweet thing was that Benny, who LOVES to sing and does so most of the time (he is SO my kid!) sang a song he must have learned in Sunday School all morning (and I do mean ALL morning) The song was in his language and only seemed to have about 6 words but he repeated it constantly. His singing is always loud and exuberant.  The 1st word was allelujah and then some words I didn't understand and then Jesu and more words I didn't know and then amen.  He expected me to know and it and wanted me to join him so I sang it along with him mumbling the parts I didn't know and singing the 3 words that I did.  That morning I started to teach them the song "Jesus loves me".  Which sounds like "Geejhsus lubsahme" when they sing it.  I was getting pretty worn out and had lay down while they were playing and suddenly Benny came running over and shout-sang into my face "Jesus lubs you!"  I needed to hear that right then.  What a great "church service" the 3 of us had:  good heartfelt singing and the message that Jesus loves me.  What more do you need?

weightless heaviness

this blog post helped me a lot last time we came to Uganda and some of you may benefit from remembering this along with me.  I just re-read it and was glad that I did so.  Thank you for praying for us.  This is it.  Hours to go.  We are not promised tomorrow or anything else but we live in hope.

crocodile tears and a tattered heart

Thank you  all for praying for our sweet baby Johnny.  His poor little tattered heart nearly broke mine today as I watched him watching the Mamma he has know for the past 3ish years on a video clip on the laptop.  He completely changed from the goofy carefree funny happy baby to withdrawn with his fingers in his little mouth and big warm tears running down his sweet face.  It was as if he had briefly forgotten about her and that house and was being snapped back into reality.  At first he just pointed to her and then he asked where she was and then came the tears as he realized that he didn't know where she was.  One of the staff here helped me by telling him that we would see her tomorrow and that after that he would come back here with Benny and I and stay with us.  He had a good loud cry and it was all I could do not to join him.  He kept wanting to watch it over and over so finally I had to turn off the laptop.  He kept pressing the buttons trying to figure out how he could see her again.  poor sweet baby's tender heart.  Of course he can't understand what is happening and he was fine just a few minutes later and never mentioned her again all day.  They say that children have no past and no future.  They know only the present.  But as was said to me earlier, the emotions Johnny expressed today were there under the surface even if he hadn't shown evidence of it and my letting them well up and spill over today instead of tomorrow most likely helped him and all of us.
this thought is on my heart from a blog I follow written by an adoptive mother:

spontaneous sorry's

I was so proud of Benny all day and feeling quite pleased that he had really gotten the idea of being sorry for hurting his brother.  This AM while still in his 1st waking grumpies he swatted at this brother (not actually hitting but gesturing the hit) and he immediately apologized unprompted "sorry Johnny" 'WOW' I thought 'go Benny and go Mamma for getting that through his head so fast!'  Later in the morning...still kinda grumpily eating his morning "sweeties" which was animal crackers [which , btw they have now figured out ARE animals and so now they walk them around a bit and make animals sounds with them before eating them...such fun!] he swung his stuffed bunny [the bunnies are always present for morning snack and then they wait in the cribs until nap] and knocked his brother's bowl of cracker and ans again immediately unprompted he said "sorry Johnny" and then later int the day with an unintentional bump he gave Johnny when they were just playing nicely he also apologized with no intervention from me.  [btw when you say "sorry" to Johnny, he answers "you're welcome-ah"] I was just beaming with pride to think he now seemed to need no further instruction on the matter until later this afternoon.  Johnny was playing around with the hood of his sweatshirt over his face pretending he was a monster growling and crawling around when Benny kicked him in the face and as he was kicking he said "sorry sorry sorry Johnny"
HA! well so much for that theory. It scooped him up and tried not to laugh. He got a time out for that even though he apologized.  It was pretty funny.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

family book

quick note about the book.
when the boys want to sit for a minute they DO like me tell peoples names and point to faces so we have been doing it a bit.  Today Johnny was looking at the book without me and I heard him say "auntie M" and he was looking at Molly's picture!  also he said something like "auntie shawa" and then having a short attention span he flipped a few pages ahead and I pointed at Joel and said "Joel" and he anticipated what name came next and said "Katie" so they are listening and learning about you all
goodnight it is late here
any comments on the format change to short topical blogs versus one long one per day?

what to pray for

OK so our court date is in 2 days.  We are peaceful and confident.  All is going so well here that we have no reason to fear or worry at all.  However, things could still hinder us and I ask you to take a few minutes and specifically pray for:
  1. the heart of the judge to see us as we see ourselves, as a family that cannot/should not be separated again without damage to the boys. 
  2. Johnny especially to understand what is happening enough not to be fearful or clingy to his auntie in front of the judge.  This is a point of concern since he did act that way each time he saw her the last time we were here.
  3. A conversation I am going to attempt with Johnny tomorrow with help from one of the staff here, Midias, interpreting.  She has a little 2 year old boy (named Michael who gladly received the shoes we brought that were too small for our boys and sent back a thank you to us for the gift) so it was recommended to have her help me.  What I am going to try to do is see if I can understand what Johnny thinks is happening as far as myself taking care of him etc. and how he feels about seeing his auntie --if possible of course.  He is a thinker and is always trying to figure things out so this may help him as well if we can talk about it first so he knows to expect to see her but expect to come back with Benny and I again afterward.  I want to respect his feelings on the matter and try to make him feel safe.  As a firstborn, I relate to his need for some control and predictability.
  4. a good sleep Monday night for everyone involved and that the logistics of getting the boys' guardians to the city on time will all happen as well.  
  5. one of Johnny's twin baby cousins who has been sick that it would not be serious and she would be well and that her mommy/Johnny's auntie can come unhindered to the hearing
  6. that the boys would be easy to entertain and keep somewhat quiet and contained (or even take a nap!) while we are at court which will possibly be long and boring for them
at the risk of waking him I had to take this bc it was so sweet

pizza time

we had our 1st pizza today. 2 thumbs up from both boys but especially Johnny who has been a bit picky about some foods.  it was so comforting and delicious to have something so familiar.  Kampala is the place to be in Uganda!  It was a 5 min drive to the restaurant and it was so nice! no photos sorry. it wasn't even messy though at all they didn't even need their bibs.  They napped until we left for the restaurant.  They rested/slept for close to 3hrs at nap today.  Johnny didn't want to get up so I scooped him up asleep in his diaper after packing his outfit into my backpack and dressed him in the car after he sat and woke up for a few minutes (remember no seat belts at all in Uganda). By the time we got back from dinner it was a quick teeth brushing [which they have mastered quite nicely] and off to bed.  Perfect end to a day that started out feeling LONG.

have you even met 2 year olds who don't argue back whine or throw tantrums?  they are so enjoyable to be around.  they were awesome at the restaurant. they have not cried once at bed time or nap time.  they have access to the snack drawer and do not go into it. they ask for snacks through out the day but wait for me to get them and say please and thank you for each one.  I am very blessed.

Grampa's reading time

the boys love to count and read books and Grampa was doing both with them in this video or maybe right before it. at this point they were getting a bit silly

Daddy, jango!

The miracle of a family keeps washing over my spirit in waves.  The truth of it, the we are a family.  Every family is a miracle and children who were not sought out half way around the world are not less miraculous.  However, this is quite a thing to be experiencing.  These boys as each other's brother. Brimer party of 4 truly describes our family.  They love one another so much and really don't like to be apart.  Today we had a brief timeout for one boy and while he was sitting I was playing with the other one just a few feet away and in the 1 minute of separation the boy not in trouble missed his brother.  The sweetest kills me!

And they feel the absence of their daddy.  They want him to be here for snack time, playtime and bath time and bed time.  They mention him quite often.  Especially Johnny, who is always thinking and trying to figure thing out.
Now you may be asking yourself "but are they really bonded after just those 4 weeks in April/May?  How could they really miss their daddy?"  Well, I will tell you how I know.
  • For one thing, we sing A LOT! and we sing each person's name.  Both boys will just be playing and they will be making up songs about our family.  Benny, Johnny, Daddy and Mommy will all be mentioned in the songs.
  • Today Johnny was asking when Daddy was coming here during bath because someone pulled into the driveway while they were in the tub and we could not see who it might be
  • But the sweetest and best indicator is how the boys light up and shout "Daddy Daddy" when ever they look at his picture. They have now started to blow him kisses when ever they turn to a page with him on it in our family book.
  • This is my favorite though and the reason for the blog title: earlier today, we were looking at our family picture book and we turned to the page where Daddy is sitting at the beach (this is Benny's absolute favorite page and we have to find it right away whenever we open the book or he will shout "beach, beach" until we do) so we turned to that page and we said hi to Daddy and blew him kisses and then Johnny got very serious pointed his finger at Daddy's picture and said sternly in his most commanding voice "Daddy, jango!" (Daddy, Come here!)

industrious children w/photo

"play is the work of children" someone once said.  Maybe with my children work is their play.  Here in Uganda there is not much leisure time and innocent childhood.  My boys like to work.  Here is what happened to illustrate that:
Today they were getting a bit rowdy (shocking, I know) and wanted to wrestle w/me and ride on my back.  I tickled them a bit but then I told them this is something they do with only daddy.  Next time I lay down on the floor a bit later in the day Johnny climbed up on my back and wanted a ride and then he remembered and said to himself "no, daddy motocah" and got back down.  Smart baby!  So daddy get ready! They will have a lot of wrestling and boda-boda rides waiting for you when we get home.
We had played with everything that we had and they were needing something tangible to DO and accomplish not just entertain themselves with.  As I was thinking of what else I could do with them, I remembered that yesterday when I washed their bibs Johnny really liked washing them for me and helping with that and was actually quite skilled at it so I filled the wash basin and put some dirty laundry (their bibs and socks mostly) in it with some soap (they call soap "sa-bony") and put them in the bathtub and put the boys in as well and with no instruction needed they washed all of the laundry and then rinsed the soap out and handed it to me so I could hang each piece. They were happy as can be.  They like to do things that matter.  What cool kids I have.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Simple pleasures

chalk artists

washing the bibs. i started to wash them & johnny hopped in and washed them for me very skillfully as if he has handwashed clothing many times before

the PBJ collection

what else do you need?

I've got my brother and a sandwich

life was so different a few days ago

sitting on their hats

good stuff

sweet feet (size 9 we found out today when we got them sneakers)



1st time down a slide...ever

let's do that again!

my turn

big slide

Benny was afraid

so big brother patiently walked him across every time after that

SO worth the scariness of the bridge...wee!