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Same Couch… but now there are five instead of three

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I’ve posted before about our dear friends the Uhrigs. One of the things that make these friends so extra special to us is that we became fast friends in 2002 (when Braydon and I had recently relocated to New Jersey from Boston), and then — by total sheer coincidence (or, as we ponder it, perhaps by no coincidence at all?) — we both began adoptions at the exact same time (January 2004). Ben, Kyle and Owen are six months apart and came home within six months of each other in 2005. Just a couple of weeks ago we were on the edge of our seats as Stacey traveled to South Korea to bring home Ben’s new baby brother, Tae. We are privileged to have made some close adoptive-family-friends along our journey, and I’ve just got to say that every child that comes home feels profound for us each and every time. It brings to the surface so many thoughts and emotions — many of which are still raw, and all of which run deep. These pictures were taken on the Uhrigs’ couch; the top one is from a few days ago, the bottom one is from New Year’s Eve 2006 (the boys were all 2 year olds). Welcome home Tae!

Philly with Auntie Sabrina & Gamma

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We got back from Christmas late on Saturday the 27th. After a 10+ hour drive in the car, we went straight to bed, got up the next morning, and got back in the car to drive to Philly. It is only 90 minutes to center city, but the thought of being in the car for another 3 hours round-trip was enough to make us all want to squirm out of our seatbelts. Meera, especially, was not thrilled with the idea! But it was well worth it; we had a great day with Auntie Sabrina and Gamma. We met them in Chinatown for dim sum. Kyle and Owen truly love being in any big city (I wonder where they get that???!!!? – ha!).
Braydon and I love dim sum, but for everyone else it was a first. The food was great and the experience was lots of fun for all. Owen’s favorite dish was the pork dumplings (Braydon agreed). Kyle’s favorite was the broccoli rabe (Meera too– we let her gnaw on a piece and it occupied her for at least half our lunch). Gamma and Sabrina both liked the stir-fried noodles the best. My favorite was the eggplant. The fried tofu and the shrimp were other favorites too. K & O, especially, liked playing with the shrimp as well as eating them (since they were cooked whole with the heads still on).
We had to get Kyle a smoothie after dim sum. We had never brought the boys to Chinatown in Philadelphia before, but have brought them to Chinatown in NYC several times. Kyle remembered that after lunch the last time we were in Chinatown, NYC we had bought smoothies on the street. He loves smoothies — they are one of his all time favorites. And smoothies seem extra good in Chinatown no matter what city you’re in. Owen had to have one too. They both chose strawberry. I love this picture of Sabrina with the boys.
After Chinatown we went to Sabrina’s beautiful apartment. She had bought a gingerbread house making kit to do with K & O. It was the perfect afternoon activity. And, as Sabrina called it, the perfect “challenge” for an Auntie to do with these two wild nephews (!!!). In the end they did manage to build quite a nice gingerbread house (and Owen managed to eat quite a large amount of icing).
Aunt and niece love-fest.
Braydon, Gamma, Owen, Kyle before we headed home. Gamma gave the boys a puppet theater for Christmas. They love it.

Top Ten: Readers’ Favorite Posts from Our 2nd Year of Blogging


  1. The “Adoption Stuff” Post (…and the controversy it caused!)
  2. Top 10: K & O In Unsupervised Moments
  3. The Hypothetical Game (boys in tutus)
  4. Happy New Year! (Heather’s Pregnant!) and then, in May, finally… Meera Grace is Born! Birth Stories… by Heather, by Braydon, by MorMor, by MorFar
  5. K & O become Big Brothers— especially: Pinky and Thumb and “We’re Your Big Brothers!” and Kyle’s relationship with Meera and Owen’s relationship with Meera
  6. Quotes from K & O— for example, this post and this post
  7. Braydon’s Videos (see sidebar) & Braydon’s Posts— especially: “Steel Gossamer” and “Home Coming” and “Forest of Kitchens”
  8. J-M Trips and Travels— vaca’s from this year of blogging include Arizona in Nov; NH in Dec; Sand Key Florida in Feb; Baltimore in April; PA Haiti Reunion 2008 in July; NH in Aug; Meera’s CT Baptism in Oct (note: photos from our trips are always posted in multiple posts immediately following the Trip Post)
  9. Baracko!!!!
  10. French Kissing in the Grocery Store

(To see all of the favorite posts mentioned click on ‘comments’ from this post)

Thanks for reading y’all! Cheers to another fun year of blogging!

Dreaming of Vacation

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The boys in Jamaica, Spring 2005
The boys in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Spring 2006

Tonight at the dinner table we were dreaming aloud about vacation. Braydon and I were talking about various islands of the Caribbean that we’d like to explore. Owen was talking about “our family — Mommy, Papi, Kyle and Owen — going on a big airplane on vacation.” Kyle was talking about “on vacation we be going in the ocean, deep in the water with the fishes, big waves, salty in the eyes!” It was sweet family vacation day-dreaming together. It was fun. At one point I said to Braydon, Kyle, and Owen: “Hey guys, so, do you want luxury or adventure?” There was a pause. Braydon thought about it. Owen looked up with a blank face, then ate more lasagna. Kyle turned, looked me in the eyes, and said: “Luxury and adventure!” :) NOW THAT’S MY BOY!!!

This time of year Braydon and I always start dreaming of vacation. We have an annual tradition of vacationing in the spring — after the school year ends. We started this when we were both in graduate school and we had no money. We’d save and save and store up our loose change and plan and scheme for how we could do a vacation on the cheap. Then we’d hit the road for the 18-hour drive in a car with no air conditioning to Charleston, South Carolina. I remember it was a really big deal for us one year because my dad gave us his Mobil card and said he’d pay for our gas money. We stayed in a super cheap but very clean no-frills Hampton Inn hotel — we chose it partly because it was really inexpensive (since it was located relatively far from the beach) and partly because it served a “continental breakfast” (cereal and milk) as part of the room rate. We used to eat that breakfast in the lobby with the truck drivers every morning before we’d head off for the day. We’d pack our own food and eat on the beach for lunch. We used to bring $200 cash with us for the entire week. We had that and only that, and we made it stretch for all of our dinners and all of our spending money. We’d read books and nap in the sun and get really tan. We’d unwind from the year and plot our future. We talked about the high’s and the low’s of the past 12 months and all that we hoped for in whatever was to come in the next year. It was a little slice of heaven. And we’d come home refreshed and loaded with good memories.

We began to diverge from that Charleston vacation trip as soon as Braydon graduated with his doctorate. He got a “real job” that paid seriously good money… and that spring we took our annual vacation up a notch. We still went to Charleston, and we still drove the car with no air conditioning, but we stayed in a fancy resort. The place had nice rooms and a beautiful pool and it was right on the water. We got a taste of the good life and we liked it. Our first really incredibly divine vacation was the following year — to the Dominican Republic. Next we went to Riviera Maya in Mexico. Once we both had finished our doctorates, and were both making good money, our spring vacations just got better and better. We went back to Mexico a couple times, we travelled cross-country through France, we went with friends to a couples-only resort in Jamaica. In our late 20s/early 30s we travelled quite a bit throughout the year, but those spring trips remained our major milestone yearly event — a cornerstone of each passing year. We always did the same thing— we’d read books and nap in the sun and get really tan. We’d unwind from the year and plot our future. We talked about the high’s and the low’s of the past 12 months and all that we hoped for in whatever was to come in the next year. It was a little slice of heaven. And we’d come home refreshed and loaded with good memories.

Now that we have the boys we’ve kept our spring vacation a constant. Our first year, when the boys were just barely 12 months old, we went to Jamaica. And then last year, the week after they turned two, we went to the Turks & Caicos Islands. We are currently in the throws of major research to figure out where we’ll go this year. It’s different now. Instead of looking for resorts with spas or golf courses or scuba centers or cigar bars we’re looking for “child-friendly” with kitchenettes and washing machines and safe beaches and room service. All new needs now, but I still love the process of figuring it all out just as much. It is a fun decision to make. A luxurious and embarrassingly blessed position we find ourselves in. Ultimately, though, it really doesn’t matter where we are because this year we will do the same thing we always do, regardless of location: We’ll read books and nap in the sun and get really tan. We’ll unwind from the year and plot our future. We will talk about the high’s and the low’s of the past 12 months, and all that we hope for in whatever will come in the next year. If all goes well, it will be a little slice of heaven. And we’ll come home refreshed and loaded with good memories. All four of us.