About Me

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

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Well I was just called and informed that my paid leave has been approved!! thanks for praying wooo hooooo!

prayer update on paid leave

the document has been sent to Aetna. they haven't received it is of yet. please pray for a favorable decision towards us!

Please pray today!

My paid leave benefit from work has still not been approved.  I am eligible for this "bonding leave" benefit and thought it was all set before I left for my trip.   I will refrain from typing out the entire long story since there is no way I could possibly do it w/o being ugly.  The details matter less than the fact that I, we need your prayers!  We want to invite God to get glory in this situation by publicly asking Him to intervene for our family in this matter.  I am very frustrated of course since I began this process 6 weeks b4 I left for Uganda and here it is 6 weeks after I left work and they are still saying they don't see a connection between what I am doing and adoption.  If my case manager can't see the connection, I don't get approved for paid leave.  Today (09/29/2011) is the last day she will take any new documentation [before denying the claim and it going to an appeals process which is awful from what I hear] My lawyer's office in Uganda is typing up another letter which WE HOPE is what she wants.  --It all feels very arbitrary.--  I should be getting that this morning from him and then sending it on to where it needs to go.  All I can say is PLEASE PRAY HARD.  None of this makes any sense to us, but we are not the ones with the power to decide.  Ask God for intervention for us.  Not only for our finances which will take a hit if the last 6 weeks will remain unpaid but most of all for the boys who will not be able to have their bonding time with me and will have to start their daycare schedule 6 weeks before they would have otherwise. Thanks for your support and love.
~Hayden and Garak's Momma

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dish one izh mostly about Hayden

Hayden is very verbal.  He is learning SO MANY new words and very quickly now that all he is hearing is English.
The boys respond to being called Garak and Hayden and are even starting to refer to the other boys as Garak or Hayden.  When referring to themselves, they still almost always use "Johnny" or "Benny."

Yesterday Hayden asked to see "Momma Johnny" so we looked at pictures of her and "Momma Benny" and then he asked to GO and see her.  I told him it was too far away and he seemed ok with that answer.

When he wants a turn at something that Garak is doing he says it's "Johnny Time"

Also he is much quicker and more coordinated than Garak is so I will often let him dress himself while I dress Garak etc. So he has started regressing to get more attention. "Forgetting" how to do things he's been doing all along so that I have to help him as well etc.

Garak refers to Gramma Brimer as "Mamma Grimer" It is SO adorable!

We were finally able to talk with Katie and Meredith on the phone and Aunt Heather. That was fun!

"papples n peana buddy" is their favorite snack!

much to Momma's delight, Hayden loves to play with language... it's like a dream come true for this ex-language teacher. Once he figures out the correct way to say something he immediately starts inserting other nouns into the phrase to make it funny.  It is so cool to watch his mind working at mastering his second language!
:) he exhibits all the traits of a first born, cautious, bossy, manipulative etc.

here's a sweet story:
The boys and I went to a funeral today.  A family we know from small group lost their son/brother/uncle [I think he was around 30ish years old].   When it was our turn to go and give hugs to the family I got down on the boys' eye level and explained that "Mommy's friend is crying.  So we are going to give hugs and say we are sorry."  He wanted to go and say "sorry" to them. So we did and he and Garak gave lots of giggley, snuggley hugs to cheer them up.  Hayden made a point of going back to the mother and sister of the deceased, looking them in the eye and telling them "shorry."  I am so glad we went.  And so was everyone who got a hug (which were most of the people I talked to).

At the funeral Garak was asked to give a "high five" by several people.  Later today we went up to the cat and asked for a high five. She obliged him by batting at his hand with her paw!  He was too afraid to ask for another but he did get quite a kick out of her response.

Monday, September 26, 2011

1 week home in pictures

the artist at work: thanks to his new easel!

future heart breaker: we call it "Blue Steel"

Image 1: a game we play at mealtime "here Mama, have a bite"

Image 2: "ha ha too slow!" he ate it right out from under me! then I act upset that I didn't get a bite. they both think it's hilarious and try to feed me pretty often during meals. It's even cuter when Garak does it bc he is SO slow at pulling the bite back to his own mouth and then he just throws his head back and giggles.

Mama's boy!

It's official, no one could be cuter than this!

how's life in America? pretty good.

beautiful baby at the beach

burying Uncle Brian

sand angel! oh when we got home we took a shower in Mommy's shower w/the detachable sprayer on full blast massage getting all the sand out of that hair!


future Polo model?

The Way Life Should Be!

There's new Art Space in the kitchen thanks to Auntie Sarah and Uncle Brian!

Daddy's glasses

Don't I look smart?

A new meaning for lap dancing. This was to the Wiggles' "Mashed Potato"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Calling Uganda

You may be wondering if it is expensive to call Uganda.  Well not the way my boys were doing it this morning.  Gramma Brimer came over to visit and have brunch and she had left her house phone in her pocket.  It wasn't getting any connection to the receiver since it was too far away but it was fully charged so it still made a noise when one pushed the buttons.  This was all the boys needed.  Hayden prompty began placing calls to Uganda.
--friends alliwah? [where are my friends]
--Friends? [note: at this point I asked him if he meant Matthew, Johhny, Marly and Natalie and he replied "Yesh!" then he continued to ask whomever he was talking to about everyone from the guest house]
--Tata Herb-u? Mama Ellen-y? an a motocarsh? [our hosts and their van. he LOVED that van!]
--mamma Junior? [the cook]
--Junior and Matthew's a school-u? [his bff's who left for boarding school while we were there]
--Tata Benji, Benji and Momma Benji [the groundskeeper and his family]
--baby doggie Roxie?
--okay bye bye seeyalater
--I love you!

it didn't cost a dime but he was satisfied having checked in on everyone that he cared about from our life at the guest house. LOVE IT!!
Elise & the boys

Norm's w/ some of our dearest friends today at the park

1st look at live Lobsters.  He looked at the menu and pointed at the picture of Lobsters and said "Johhny going eating lobshtah" so later in the meal I gave him a bite of mine and he chewed it curiously and then exclaimed "Lobshtah is yum yum!"  This kid was born to live in Maine!

2 little lobsters

several times I was asked if we could go out in those boats.  these boys need to go on a boat ride!

what a beautiful end to the evening. 10mins to home from here

Also, we are all still sick which may explain why I am still feeling very numb emotionally. I am really still just surviving day to day.  It was kinda bothering me that I wasn't more mushy and weepy and such.  After all this is pretty monumental to be home with the boys in my house!  I was encouraged by the events of this evening when we were putting the boys to bed after a lovely dinner at the Weathervane at Belfast harbor with our friends Josh, LeeAnn and Elise.  Norman was reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein [his favorite book which we noted with a lump in our throats tonight has a handwritten note from 1981 from Uncle Dave and Aunt Heather] with great passion to the boys as their bedtime story.  The tree had her own voice and the boy's voice got deeper as the pages went on.  It was one of the most precious things I have seen to date, quite frankly.  I wish it was on tape for me to watch again.  I do still have feelings.  They are just hiding under the sick and tiredness.  I could feel the tears starting to bubble up under the surface.  In my heart there was this sense of THIS is what I have been waiting for all these months.  Sweet stories at bedtime. The boys' first time hearing daddy read The Giving Tree Yes, I am really home and this is really my life.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

1st week in review

Everyday the boys have taken at least a 2hr nap and have slept for a minimum of 10hrs at night. There have been no tears at bedtime and they climb happily into their pack n plays after bath, story and hugs.  This is a continuation of their habits in Uganda and one I am thankful they have kept up!  They are actually sleeping better here than there!  Momma and Daddy have not quite gotten as much sleep as the boys [can you imagine!] but we have been heading to bed around 9-9:30pm and sometimes resting during boys' nap times.  Mommy is still very tired and not quite adjusted back to this USA reality yet but is enjoying the melding of 2 separate familiar lives around me.  One here at my house and the other from my month with the boys in Uganda. They are melding into a beautiful life.
Sunday -- arrived home exhausted but thankful. ate supper at the Weathervane in Portland. dressed the boys in PJ's there and put them straight to bed from their cars seats [already asleep] when we got home. The car seat received a review of "no thank you" from them and some tears on the first day but they have been fine ever since so that is great! 
Monday -- jetlagged and sick, Norm stayed home w/us. boys and Mommy went to the park w/Gramma Brimer
Tuesday -- jetlagged and sick, Norm stayed home w/us. boys and Mommy went to the park w/Daddy but it rained so we then all went to Perry's Nut house which was really fun!! they rode on the jungle jeep ride and saw so many interesting things! they learned a magic trick from the owner which they remembered how to do the next day...so smart!
Wednesday --  jetlagged and sick but we went to the DR and found out what we have is viral so just wait it out and also that we need to have the boys immunized once they are feeling better.  went to the park and beach w/Grampa Brimer. Ate dinner at our dear friends'/neighbors' [Mark, Luda & Julia] house.  Sarah and Brian arrived around 7:30pm.
Thursday -- it rained all day. we had to stay inside which was hard. the boys kept asking to go out and play.  Sarah and I played with them in their room while Uncle Brian cleaned the entire downstairs!  Then during nap Auntie Sarah and I sorted all their clothes by size etc. and set up their dresser neatly.  After nap, Hayden obliged us with a fashion show of sorts while we tried everything on him for size.  angel baby! he likes cleaning and doesn't mind trying on clothes!
Friday -- Norman worked. the rest of us headed to the Belfast "metro area" and hit up Goodwill and Bell the Cat [where we found Janey of course! so nice to see her!] followed by the Lincolnville beach. boys went for nap late at 2:45. the big guys played Mario cart.
Saturday -- Momma got a break when Norman, Brian and Sarah and the boys headed to town to run errands and I stayed home!!  It was SO nice. I took a very long nap and hope it will speed my recovery as I have a bad cold [so does gramma Brimer. the boys seem to be on the mend] and I slept very poorly last night.  Sarah and Brian said goodbye and headed back to NY via NH to see the birthday girl, Molly Proch, turning 11 today.  1 week ago today we were just getting to our cruising altitude out of Entebbe... hard to believe. Amazing.

auntie Shawa & uncle Blyan

My house is clean.  Like really clean.  As in washed floors and things packed up and taken to Goodwill clean. hooray!!!  My dear Sheesh (aka: Sarah Soules) came to visit me along with her DH [dear husband] Brian and they were such an encouragement!  They both made sense of piles of little boys' things and clothes and tidied up the place.  The boys & I really enjoyed their company as well!! (So did Norman btw but he was at work most of the time they were here.)
Uncle Brian 2 the rescue!

the boys, my dear Sheesh and I at Da BEEEEEch
plz note: Sarah occupying boys while Brian cleans the kitchen!!

happy family

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

da beeech!!

Every time we would look through our family book, the boys would shout repeatedly, "da beeech!!" until I flipped to the page with photos of the beach.  Well, my friends, today we discovered that it is a real place where you can play and throw rocks and splash and where it doesn't matter if you get "meh-chi" (see yesterday's blog for more on that one).  What a thrill!! Here's in the result more beautifully expressed in pictures than a thousand words could write you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

in case you were wondering what we need

I tried to make this easy by having everything be an online store so you could just ship it right to us. We especially want a rug for their play area but anything on here would be great.  They are wearing 3T right now (2T is a bit short on them but they are so thin that the waist of a 2T is too big still) and size 9 shoes. They are both in pull-ups and don't have many accidents during the day. Thanks.


I'm looking for my fairy godmother... I need to de-princess-ify myself.
I have come to the stark realization that I am no longer a Muzungu Princess, but my old self again at my own house where I need to take care of myself.  In Uganda, there were maids who made the food and the beds and washed and dried and returned the laundry to us ready to wear as well as cleared and washed the table and the floors and bathrooms everyday.  I never had to thing about what to buy or prepare for food or if there would be clean clothes to wear the next day.  The most domestic thing I have done in over a month is microwave a cooling cup of tea. OK reality check.  I have noticed already in 2 days that if I leave things out, they are still there when I come back later...what is up with that?  Do you have that problem at your house as well?  I suspect you probably do.  This is a bit tricky.  Too bad I didn't sneak one of the girls home in my suitcase!  Well I have managed to do some laundry today and prepare food for the boys.  I'll call that a win.  We took the boys out to Perry's Nut House this morning and had a great time!  I'm glad my Sheesh is coming to see me [and take care of me I hope!] tomorrow night.

"This Johnny's house!"

All along we have been calling our house "daddy's house" when we looked at our family and home book with them in Uganda. so yesterday we were starting to say this is  OUR house Hayden's and Garak's and Mommy's and Daddy's house.  Early in the morning when I took him to the bathroom (specially designed by my friend, Becky, who also painted the giraffe on the boys' wall) he exclaimed enthusiastically "Momma! Ditch one ijz niy-tch!" [This one is nice]  Late in the morning, we were outside playing and he ran his hand along the side of the house and said "Dady's houch ijz niy-ch" [Daddy's house is nice].  Later in the afternoon, Hayden climbed up onto the couch and said "Momma! Ditch ijz niy-tch" [This is nice] Ditch Johnny's Houch! [This is Johnny's house!] LOVE IT!  In essence:  I'm home, we finally made it. Thank you Jesus!

"I am meh-chi"

So we received a Christian kids songs sing-a-long CD and one of the songs on it is the classic oldie "I am a C. I am a C-H. I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N." If you were raised going to Sunday School, chances are you are singing it in your head as you read this.  So my son, Hayden, who loves to clean, knows the word "Messy" in English very well and uses it a lot!  "Mamma, cho-co-la-bey, meh-chi!" [Mommy come look at this it's messy!]  So when he heard the aforementioned song, he heard "I am messy."  So now he walks around singing to the tune of "I am a C" "I am meh-chi" and laughing about how funny it is to have a messy song.  Pretty cute stuff.  Daddy is giving them a bath right now, much to Mommy's delight, which allows me to have a moment to type this.  As the boys headed up for bathtime w/o me Hayden asked, "Mommy no coming?" but from the giggling I hear, I don't think he minds after all.  Also to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle little star" they have been singing "Wange Wange wange momma. Wange wange wange daddy." [wange= mine/my] gotta love it. more later...

Monday, September 19, 2011

the park at midnight

So being the cruel parent that I am, I woke the boys from a deep sleep to take them to the park for the first time.  For their body clocks it was midnight-ish and I got them up and dressed still half asleep. They were confused and grumpy, crying etc.  I want them to get on American time as soon as possible.  I will let you be the judge if it was the right decision.

Welcome to America tired babies

Friday, September 16, 2011

have visas: will travel

read'em and weep...that's what I did

okay daddy. here I come!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

bye bye, Mamma...

Okay today was a great day. It was just as it should have been. Sad and hard and beautiful and powerful and lovely and sweet and emotional.  How else could the last time you will ever see your biological family be?  Well, we woke with anticipation becuase they knew before bed that they were going to see their guardians.  We were picked up at 9:30 by Alex who had driven us once before.  The boys and I headed out for a big day.  It was a wonderful, beautiful day.  Our driver was very skilled at finding all the back roads with no or little traffic!  We arrived in Mukono at Elizabeth's house. Hayden was excited and Garak was nervous.  I hugged and greeted Elizabeth and Elize (her husband).  THe boys were curious, nervous etc.  Garak would NOT greet either of them.  He was growing more and more upset by the minute.  We waited about 10-15 mins til Garak's gramma arrived and he didn't want to greet her but did gingerly and then went outside.  Johnny greeted her and asked where his Momma was.  A few minutes later she arrived. I thought they would have taken a boda boda but I found out that they walked! with both babies! Garak's "Mommy" came too.  She is the one from the first day (Easter) photo of them waving goodbye to us.  Garak would not greet any of them. He would not look at them. He started sucking on his shirt, hiding his face and wimpering etc.  I picked him up and explained that he was going back home with me and not to worry and just have a nice time with his family, but he could not bring himself to do so.  I sat him with Elizabeth and she explained the same thing but he was beside himself with fear and dread of being left behind again and was not thinking rationally.  I set him on his gramma's lap and he just started to sob pathetically.  I scooped him up and he clung to me in a death grip buried his head in my chest and sobbed.

Hayden, on the other hand, was SO glad to see his family!  He had the opposite reaction.  He enjoyed every minute with his auntie and baby cousins.  He sobbed when we said it was time to say goodbye.  Just before we left, Garak's gramma wanted to pray for the boys and I so we all sat and she started to sing a beautiful Hallelujah.  She got a bit choked up and all the other ladies joined in. I joined in as well after hearing the tune a few times, choking back tears. After the warm up worship she broke into a very emotional and heartfelt prayer for the boys lives and futures in Luganda which I barely could make out but I kept peeking at Jamilla (Hayden's auntie) and she was quietly sobbing and wiping her eyes with the baby's blanket.  Then Elizabeth prayed in English a beautiful moving prayer over the boys and our whole family and the travel etc.  It was so sweet.  I cried a little. We all hugged with the sound of Hayden sobbing as our parting music. They thanked us so much and we all got into the van to leave the compound.  As we exited the lane, the guardians all got out of the van and Hayden lost it completely. He came completely unglued.  Luckily for me the driver strong armed him back into the van and shut the door so he couldn't run out after them.  After less than 10 minutes of screaming and wailing he was fine and wanted me to hold him and we were back to normal.  Hard. sad. done.