Saturday, November 19, 2011

What's wrong w/ this picture? (Bulgarian style)

Thought it would be interesting to start a post w/ some of the  things that might have stuck out.  So, here goes.

It's hard to see what' wrong here.  You can't see the roaches in the picture but trust me, they're there.  Warren calls this our RV kitchen.  There is a tiny 2 burner stove..on top of the fridge.  Dorm sized fridge.  See, only one side of that white part is the fridge.  part of the right.  Didn't keep stuff cold either.  

 You might think nothing is wrong here.  Until you realize these 3 have way too much energy for this late at night. 

It's our mini machine as we call it.  You could fit about 5 articles of clothing in it & then dry them on the rack for about 4 days.  not kidding. 

Apparently, the doll liked Nutella.  We had to scrub down the doll b/c this was her favorite.

Toothbrush in the tub.  Lovely.  Another orphanage habit to break...brushing their teeth in the shower.  Gross.  This was Reni's toothbrush.  

 What's wrong here, why my new kiddos don't like Nutella.  One of my favorites!

This is where we have to keep drinks cold...outside.  Not in the fridge.  

Ahh, classic.  Juice on a couch that isn't ours.  Got to love it.  Apologies to the next people staying at this place.

More pictures left to come.  Very sleepy now.  Finish some things on here tomorrow.  Recapping our trip in pictures. 

DAY 11-- part II (trip home)

Back to the story.  We were going to be boarding to RDU.  Explained to the gate keepers that we are a family of 5 and they had us in 5 different seats across the plane.  They said oh the people on the plane will fix that.  fine.  Except, it wasn't fine.  Now, keep in mind, I was about to lose it here.  I am one plane ride from HOME.  We had been up for close to 30 hours straight w/ kids going crazy and running all over the place.  We were beyond exhausted.  I was almost delirious I think.  I get on the plane & said "okay, who wants to sit by the 4yo?"  "Who wants to sit by these 3 kids?"  NONE of them speak English & they've been awake for almost 30 hours now.  Yes, yes I did say that.  I head to one of the seats.  They had us in 3A, 18A, 4F, & 2 others.  The one guy took Summer.  SWEET, sweet man!  An older guy that truly wanted to take care of her.  Bundled her up, asked the stewardess for a pillow for her, etc.  Just great.  Thanked him later.  I was able to get another guy to swap so that I could sit by Reni.  It all worked out in the end.  Now to go, right?  W-R-O-N-G.  They kept coming on the plane saying whoever is going to Colorado Springs on this flight is on the wrong flight.  Despite ALL of the plane saying we are all indeed going to Raleigh, they didn't want to believe it.  Truly weird.  Something else was wrong but at this point, I can't remember what it was.  Only a 50 minute flight.  Wahoo!!!  Except we left super late.  Stewardess was telling me this was the 2nd time, same flight, same day w/ screw ups coming out of Dulles.  She said how in the world do you separate completely a family of 5 w/ 3 not even speaking English?  Many were saying some things on that flight.  Words of encouragement to us.  Nice to hear.  Maybe we just looked distraught at that point.  LOL. 

We land.  We were HOME.  Our driver was there to pick us up.  We even got all our luggage.  No screaming.  They were all too tired at this point.  We go home.  Mailbox is decorated, house is decorated.  We had called ahead to avoid a dog fiasco.  Yeh, fiasco happened anyhow.  Kids were all waiting outside to greet us.  Sight for sore eyes for sure.  Alaska practically mauled me over.  She was SO happy to see me.  Love that dog.  We still had Kota locked up at this point. 

Kids did not want to leave the van.  Terrified of the dogs.  Great.  We knew it would happen but doesn't make it any easier.  I will leave it here and continue later on about the homecoming and what we did today.  For now, need to get some pictures up here I think.  Way too long w/out any on this blog.  Much more dialogue and things to come for sure.  Tons to say.  Half of it I don't think you'd believe if I told you.  So have a wonderful weekend. 

DAY 11-- Engleeski??? (the trip home--OY!)

Oh my oh my do I have a ton to say.  Over the next few days, I will be recounting our trip w/ honesty.  I will admit, this blog has been cakes and roses.  our trip was NOT cake & roses and I want others to understand this.  Especially, those adopting older children.  I will explain what exactly happened, why it happened and more importantly, how we as parents handled it.  I first want to explain our trip home.  Aka...the trip from you know where.  LOL.  In all honesty, we needed three adults per these 3 kids.  I know you are thinking but you have 7 at home.  Why?  Well, mainly b/c it was like trying to herd cats or catch a greased pig.  When you have everyone from airport passengers to airport personel to security telling you "boy, do you have your hands full!"  or "boy, those are really active kids."  Then you know, something is happening.  We were told this everywhere.  Thank goodness many took pity on us. 

Okay, let's back up to the night before.  Logan was giving us a very difficult time.  So, we separated him from Reni & put Summer in w/ Reni.  They were going to sleep.  Logan was not.  Not a bit.  So, he decided to avoid sleep even longer.  How you ask?  Why by pulling a tooth that was totally not ready to be pulled.  So, it bled....for 2 hours.  Night before the big flying out trip.  URGHH!!!  Of course then the girls wanted to get up and see it.  They finally all got to bed at midnight.  Had to be up at 4am.  Do you think they all were cooperative when getting up after only 4 hours of sleep?  NOPE.  So, made for a fun morning.

Made it to the airport.  And we have trouble on the tarmac.  On the plane ready to go and the announcement comes on.  Trouble w/ the left engine, we're leaking oil.  Now, normally I wouldn't be worried but you know our next stop was the transatlantic that we MUST catch or we'd be stuck in Deutschland.  Don't get me wrong, I used to live there for 3 years and love the country.  But at this point, home is all I wanted and longed for.  Once the mechanical issue was figured out, an hour later, we were off.  I asked the stewardess and she said if necessary, they do a direct transfer to the plane for us.  Relief.  Didn't need that though as we forgot about the hour time change between Bulgaria & Germany.  We got to Munich.  Had about an hour and a half before we had to board.  Warren took Logan to the bathroom.  Can't let him go anywhere alone & more on that later.  Well, even in the bathroom you can find something to do other than use the toilet.  Like say crawl under every stall before dad can catch you & lock ALL the stalls in the airport bathroom from the inside.  That was not one happy dad when they came out of that bathroom.  LOL.  Kids were all over the place. You know it must be bad when the people are all wondering if we are on their flight.  Yes, I said that out loud in the airport.  Met another couple that had just adopted 2 Ukrainian older boys.  Who were quietly sitting in their seats.  Mine were all over out of control.  It was horrible!  This is where Logan decides he should bolt.  I told Warren to let him go as they could stop him at passport control.  We weren't sitting far from the passport people.  Instead, I ask the couple who JUST met us to keep an eye on the girls while I help Warren corner Logan.  Yeh, we looked like we hadn't done this before.  I have dealt w/ RAD, FAS, PTSD, ODD, ADHD, and a whole other list of acronyms.  However, if you are in another country, you are unable to parent as you would at home.  It is not really possible.  Again, I will explain all in detail in the next few posts as adopting older children is challenging at times.  Anyhow, we actually made it onto the plane to cross the Atlantic.

Did the kids sleep?  Warren sat w/Logan.  I sat w/ the girls.  Neither of us had it easy.   Anyone ever try & change a diaper in those tiny airplane bathrooms?  Now that takes talent!  I would have taken a picture but there was no room for a camera.  LOL.  Bad enough I banged my daughter's head when trying to lay her down.  She was squirming and there was a slanted ceiling.  She thought it was funny.  Reni of course has some major urological issues going on.  So, that means going the bathroom every few minutes.  Thank goodness no one was sitting by her.  One guy passed me & said " Your daughter left the door open again."  URGHH!!!  Yes, she uses the restroom(even on the plane) w/ the door wide open for the world to see.  Got to love it.  It was a very long flight.  I think 9.5 hours.  I felt like a kid asking the stewardesses every few seconds, "are we almost there yet?"  See, on the way over to Bulgaria, I left my only watch on the airplane.  Totally bummed.  So, asked everyone what time it was the whole time.

Many other things happened on the plane but I won't recount them all.  Landed and it was off to customs/ immigration stuff.  We landed in Dulles.  You go through passport control/ immigration & hand them your unopened packet.  LONG line and I know my son was saying some not so nice things to people.  Thankfully, no one understood.  See, Logan spent the entire time trying to find someone who spoke Bulgarian.  I had told him the whole time that once we reach Germany no one would speak Bulgarian.  he didn't believe me, kept telling me no.  He learned quickly there was only English here and that his words of putting people down and saying not so nice things had no meaning to people here.  Again, I will have more on this later in a post and explain the why of it all.  Just know, it became eye opening for him there. 

Now, as exhausted as we all were in Dulles, somehow, some way, they found energy.  And lots of it.  Now, you know we have a huge line to go through after you land.  Then, you are ushered into yet another long line to wait for security after you put the luggage back on the conveyer belt.  Okay, so in the second line waiting for security, Summer decides that the red box was just way too tempting.  And I'm not talking about the movie rental.  The man behind me in line and myself literally jumped at Summer grabbing her arms screaming no.  Why?  B/c my dear child would have shut down Dulles in a heart beat w/ the pulling of the FIRE ALARM!  Crisis averted.  TSA guy told us we didn't have to take off the kids' shoes now.  Good.  Trouble was then Logan refused to give up his jacket.  Warren practically had to wrestle the jacket off of him.  Yet, he took his shoes off.  Go figure.  Then Summer was upset b/c we took away her precious back pack to go through the scanner.  Oy.  I think the whole line thought she was hurt or something.  Then laughing when she got it back out the other side.  Nice one kiddo.  Nice.  Now, by this time I'm literally sweating bullets.  Remember, I have no sneakers left due to the puppies eating them.  In addition, I wore snow boots...fur lined.  I actually enjoyed taking off my shoes through security & was secretly hoping those suckers would be confiscated. 

Went to find our gate.  It had changed.  No biggie.  Decided all of us needed to use the restroom.  Asked Warren if he was okay so I could run in & run out.  I came out to find him spread eagle w/ one kid one end of his arm, one kid on the other and another behind him.  I said what in the world happened?  I was in & out in not more than 2 minutes.  Apparently, in the middle of the Dulles Airport, Reni & Logan decided it was time for a good old fashion wrestling match between sibs and decided to take each other out!  Right then & there.  Separated them.  Went to Wendy's as we were all starving.  Thankfully, a friend gave us a financial blessing before we left for this trip.  Wendy's at the airport is more expensive than any Wendy's I know.  Got the kids chicken nuggets & french fries.  Didn't eat them.  URGHH!!!  I ate a chicken sandwich.  All of us drank something.  The air coming across the Atlantic in that plane was so dog gone dry.  Anyhow, go back to our gate. 

find others at the gate going to RDU.  One was from the flight from Munich.  Let's just say they got to see all the chaos.  Her and her husband had so much pity on us at that point offered to get Warren Starbucks.  LOL.  Sweet of them.  Summer lit up the crowd yet again.  Geez, that kid.  Everyone loves her hat.  I finally started to feel sick.  Maybe it was from all the dramine in my system.  I'm not a great traveler. 

It was time for us to be called to board.  My poor kids were asking at every airport if it was America.  No kids, America is more than an airport.  Okay, we tell the people at the gate about our tickets.  Then it begins.  I'm tired.  I will finish this in a bit AND have pictures I promise.  Been a long day & will explain that as well.  Much more to come for part II here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DAY 10--sweeping a couch, spongebob, & apartment envy

Today, we all slept in a bit more than usual.  Okay, so not what I'd consider sleeping in.  Original plans were to go to the zoo but that didn't happen for various reasons.  I was actually looking forward to it.  So, we cooked eggs, toast, grapes and salami for breakfast.  Then, headed off w/ another couple to walk down Victosha, the main boulevard here.  Nice shops.  Can't go in w/ the three kids we have with us.  It's all too new & shiny as Warren puts it.  They want to touch everything in site.  So, walked and came to an open park we went to a bit.  It would have been gorgeous in the summer as it has many fountains.  None now.  Oh, the city is bustling w/ Christmas window displays and they started hanging up lights and decorations all over.  It is really pretty & bet even more so in the evening. 

On the way back we all stopped off a little sidewalk stand that sells pitas.  They weren't too expensive.  It cost us about $12 for 5 of us to get one of those and a bottle of water each.  Not bad.  One thing I see us working on is respect for disabilities when we get home.  Of course, I have a feeling some of my kids will be able to teach him that just fine.  It is evident that he was never given guidance on how to treat others with disabilities.  Logan will make a face and say things to people in wheelchairs or w/ canes or limps, etc.  Surprisingly, Bojan did the same thing.  I will never forget the look Bojan gave a man in a wheelchair in the zoo after we were first home.  You'd think that someone also w/ a disability would not do this.  Again, usually this is taught by parents and if you do not have parents to teach you, it will be difficult to learn.  So, we will be giving this lesson of respect once again.  Just hurts to see when you witness it. 

Came back to the apartment and put Summer for a nap.  Awhile later I hear something. Go in there and that sneaky one turned on the tv and was watching billards.  Nap over.  We managed to find Sponge Bob on tv.  Yeh for Spongebob in any language. 

We've had a few hours to kill since then and have done some packing and cleaning up.  The kids took it upon themselves to start cleaning up.  I was really proud of them.  Never asked them anything.  They just started helping.  Trouble was, they wouldn't stop.  Went through 3 rolls of paper towels.  And probably at least half a bottle of windex.  It was a frist for me to see kids sweep the couch. 

All are excited about tomorrow.  I know they have no idea just how long the travel is or how tired they'll be.  So, I let them be excited & happy.  They can yell at me when I wake them at 4am.  LOL.  Praying for an uneventful trip.  Really, I need not an ounce more of drama. 

We are waiting for our visas now & then we are getting take out & heading over to our friends' apartment for dinner and conversation.  Giving them all baths this evening and hoping to get them to bed.  It is time to go home.  It is time for a routine.  These children are used to a strict routine at an orphanage.  We have upset that routine and go day by day.  It will be nice to get into a routine and settle into life.  This coming week is Thanksgiving.  We have oh so much to be thankful for.  Our new life, our new journey is beginning tomorrow.  We will be traveling all day.  I will post again on Saturday.  There will be tons of pictures to view.  I can not wait to share our entire experience with you.  Our adoption journeys are coming to an end.  It has been an adventure these last twelve years.  We are headed for a new chapter in our lives as a family.  So excited.  So many things I want to do as a family. 

Please think of us tomorrow as we head out and travel with three children.  One is grieving her loss.  This is normal.  I do not know how yet this will affect her travel.  Pray for smooth travel and peaceful minds as I know some of my children will be scared of this experience.  It will not be easy.  I'm not going to sugar coat the travel process.  We have one in diapers and two others wearing Goodnights at night.  Yet,  nothing to take w/ us on the plane.  (no Goodnights here).  I have diapers packed for Summer.  Hoping it will all work out.  Some people at home are helping us out w/ diapers, wipes, and Goodnights once we get home.  All medical appointments we have next week.  Next week is extremely busy. 

My kids at home have been prepared as best as possible for what is about to transpire.  We have done this many times before.  We know how to prepare our kids.  However, there are NO guarantees until you place old and new together and start your life a new.  It takes time to mesh.  Everyone has to find their place in the family.  It takes time.  I will chronicle the adjustment period once home as I feel it is important for future adoptive families to understand it does not really begin until you arrive home.  The real work.  Much more to say and much more to come.  Now, off to dinner w/ friends we've met since here.  Next time you hear from me, it will be on American soil. 

Okay, never finished this one.  Typical of me.  We went to hang out w/ the friends we met here.  Went & picked up Pizza Roma and went to their apartment for dinner.  They even got dessert for us from the local bakery!  SO glad I didn't stay by there.  I would have gained 10 lbs by now!  Really good pasteries.  NOw, I must say, I had some apartment envy going on.  Sad, but true.  Warren calls our kitchen ,the RV kitchen.  2 tiny burner stove, dorm sized fridge, freezer that literally fits 2 ice cube trays and doesn't stay cold.  No dishwasher of course.  Their apartment had a pretty good sized full refridgerator, a dishwasher, a 4 burner stove and even an oven!  Apartment envy for sure.  Not to mention a tub w/ a shower enclosure.  LOL.  Hey, we all consider it part of the adventurue.  Though I can't say I'll miss that part of it.  Even though there are just 5 of us here, cooking was a trick.  But, we did it.  We got to say our goodbyes and will be seeing them next year at the Bulgarian Reunion in Ohio.  Great that all hte kids can get together again.  Great way to end a long stay here.  Have enjoyed our journey but very ready for our next chapter.  I will be honest about the transition period once home.  We've done this before but I know others haven't.  Having people tell what goes on, explaining why it's happening and giving solutions, may be helpful to others coming through the process of adopting older children. Stay tuned as this story is only just beginning.  Pictures will be posted Saturday.  Friday is 19 hours of travel w/ 3 kids.  I know, you all are thinking I'm being punished for some reason.  LOL.  I'm not.  it is the only way home and we are going to make it.  Airport travel and all.  Wish us luck.  Next post will be Saturday.  Our survival guide for travel.  I'm assuming we'll survive travel w/ the 3 musketeers.  See some of you tomorrow! 

DAY 9-- Groundhog day

Yes, it's beginning to feel like it for sure.  We've been here over a week and are truly ready to go home.  Like any place int he world, nice to visit but you just don't want live there.  We got up.  Yet again, Reni was holding out for pizza for breakfast.  No, we didn't have pizza for breakfast.  Normal breakfast food. Then, we headed out w/ friends to walk around the city and see the changing of the guards and find the underground souvenier mall. 

Well, got started late and missed the on the hour changing of the guard.  So, headed underground.  Very neat place really.  We did not last long under there kids were rowdy.  There was a huge protest going on above.  Stayed far away yet my son thought he should attempt to yell at the protesters!  Umm, no sir.  Not a good idea, especially, since I had no idea what they were protesting about.  Later found out it was about drilling for natural gas in north east Bulgaria.  Headed over to where the guards were.  Neat ruins inside.  We explored a bit.  Warren, Logan and Reni got to see the changing of the guards.  They said it wasn't that great.  We didn't miss much.  Still, something different to see. 

Walked back and had lunch.  Summer refused a nap today.  Cranky little girl.  Had to go to the embassy later for the visa interview for the kids.  It is the last piece needed in order to go home. Nothing major there.  It's pretty straight forward.  Found it interesting though that we were never asked for our passports.  We were asked to bring them but that was it.  Of course, speaking only English, we pretty much "look American."  LOL.  You can't take anything w/ you in there.  No electronics whatsoever.  Understandable. 

Came back to the apartment and made them some soup and rice.  Pizza girl didn't want any of course.  LOL.  I swear Reni could live off pizza the rest of her life if you'd let her.  We love pizza too but not for breakfast, lunch & dinner.  It was a really quiet day and not too much went on.  Good to have those days every once in awhile.  These have got to be the cleanest orphanage kids we have ever adopted.  Hands down.  They want to take baths at least 2 times a day.  Want to wipe their hands after every bite.  Want to windex everything in sight.  This all sounds good but trust me, it's not as much help as you think it is.  Try Irina magnified.  Those who know Irina know what I mean.  IRina has severe OCD & even takes medication for it.  These guys don't have OCD but have just been taught cleanliness.  Which is good.  My other kids did things similar.  Now at home, I have trouble getting the boys to take a bath.  Here, I have one that will take a bath for all four of them!  Balance.  We'll have to find balance.  Sorry but not enough hot water at home for everyone to get 2 showers a day. 

Bed time was rough.  Summer goes down fine.  It's the sibs that want to goof off at night till 1am.  Just makes for a late night.  So, all in all, a pretty quiet day.  Tomorrow is our last day here.  We are very ready.  More to come.  Trying to catch up on some posts.  There w  ill be TONS of pictures this weekend as we'll be able to load them up.  Wait till you see these cuties!  Stay tuned.

Day 4-- Another Gotcha Day!

I know I still owe day 3.  But, I must take care of the kids so blogging is definitely not a priority.  The kids are and getting them transitioned into routine here.  Today is day 4.  Warren just called me and is on the way back to Sofia w/ Reni and Logan.  Today he went to bring them home from the orphanage.  Aka...gotcha day!  There were tears shed but he said normal tears such as we had with Yana's orphanage.  The kids sounded so excited in the car.  Can't wait to see them.  I really have missed those two. 

I have been at home today w/ Summer.  Oh before I forget, sorry no pictures but Warren forgot the piece that plugs in to upload the pictures.  We'll have to wait till we get home.  Reason we didn't go w/ Warren is the people here that organize all this thought it best if she wasn't in the car for another long car ride.  Great suggestion b/c truly, it would have been too much for her.  Right now, she's napping.  Everything is very new to her and when you have a child that has been in an orphanage, it takes time to adjust to new surroundings, new sounds, new people.  Been trying to comfort her today and play with her.  She is sweet as sweet can be but oh so nervous. Again, for those new, this can be a normal reaction.  You have to delicately work through it.  Tonight should help quite a bit b/c she'll be surrounded by her language once again w/ Reni and Logan.  Summer will be fine.  This is such a big change for a little girl.  Best thing for her is she knows that she is very loved.  And that, we can easily do. 

Now, the apartment is big like I said and love it.  The only problem we really had was the roaches in the kitchen but took care of that w/ some spray under the sink.  Apparently, someone else had stayed here too & suggested the spray,..thank you!  Trust me, hard to cook if you have a critter crossing your counter.  LOL.  So, we went out to eat w/ Summer last night.  She was very nervous but did just fine. She has the biggest, most beautiful brown eyes. Love them. 

Tonight, we took all the kids out b/c it was so, so late to cook.  Went to Pizza Roma as suggested by other adoptive families that come here.  Delicious!  Hit the spot.  And the best part was seeing the 3 of them together.  It really was wonderful.  They belong together.  They do.  More to come tomorrow.  Need to get going.  We're out numbered!  Wait, we already are

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DAY 8-- definition of priceless

Today was called a "free" day.  However, with kids, there is nothing free about it.  We decided to play it lazy today and just do what came up.  So, we lounged around in our pj's all morning.  Well, that was until we got a phone call.  We got a phone call telling us to let housekeeping in around 12:15.  Mind you, it was like 11:35 in the morning.  So, running full power to get all of us ready to leave the apartment.  Now, those who know us w/ the 7 at home, know we're always, always late for everything.  And I do mean everything.  Don't know why we can't get our act together but we just can't.  Someone forgets a shoe, someone forgets to go to the bathroom, jackets inside, you name it.  We're just plain late.  So I consider today a big accomplishment for us procrastinators.  We were ready.  What happened?  They didn't show up till after 1pm.  LOL. 

We left and walked around the block.  Decided to stop at Pizza Roma.  Logan got a platter big enough to feed a horse.  And, he ate the rest of my salad.  Great appetite to say the least.  During our walk, we stopped off and picked up gloves from a street vendor.  Nothing expensive whatsoever.  We didn't bring any and we've been walking around a lot w/ cold hands.  Let the kids pick theirs out as all the same price.  I brought jackets & hats for them all but no gloves.  Yeh, not going for mother of the year anyhow.  Hey, I checked the weather.  No snow at our house, we don't wear gloves.  Shoot, my kids don't wear gloves even when it snows b/c they think it messes up their snow balls.  LOL.  After lunch, came back and put Summer down for her nap. 

Bit later, friends came over.  I know it sounds odd to say that when you're in Bulgaria but this really is like a big camp ground where you meet and greet people.  Just no tents.  We walked around and even found a little park for the kids to play on.  Was pleasant to walk and great to talk to others w/ the same experiences.  Back to the apartment for dinner.  Made the kids hot dogs per request & Warren cooked us rice & chicken.  Which conveniently the kids ate too.  Got to love it.  Warren is tired of cooking on what he calls his RV stove.  Let the kids play games on the computer they have at the apartment. 

We are doing okay.  Day by day.  It is a learning process for all.  I will explain more in detail what I mean by that when I get home.  We've adopted all older kids for the last 12 years and I plan to share my experiences so that others can know what to expect with older children.  It is a much different experience for them than a baby leaving.  Even a toddler.  We've adopted 4 at toddler age out of the 10.  Just too much to write for now & well, we do have three kids here to take care of.  Blogging is not priority.  Hence,the slacking lately of blog posts.  Kids are adjusting...slowly.  Biggest change we've seen is in Summer and it is so wonderful to watch.  The definition of priceless:  Dancing with your baby girl to Christmas music (Mary's boy child) while she's holding on tight & giggling.  All while in an apartment in Bulgaria.  You just can't get much better than that.  That was what she did w/ me today.  Summer is sound asleep right now.  Her "collection" is growing and it is hilarious.  She has to carry it everywhere w/her.  I promise a picture review once home.  Stinks b/c we cna't load them.  So many good shots.  Okay,capturing the moment shots.  Not so good as I stink at taking pictures. 

Tomorrow we have our embassy interview.  That is our last puzzle piece needed before coming home.  Yes folks, we are getting oh so much closer.  Feels so nice.  We are taking the kids to see changing of the guards.  I think they will get a kick out of that.  In addition, walking around and seeing some sites.  Our interview isn't till the afternoon so we have plenty of time to see things.  In addition, it gets the kids out and exercised and not stuck in an apartment all day long.  Plus, I want them to see some of where they came from.  Tomorrow night, we'll cook some soup & toasted cheese I think.  Thursday is the day before we leave.  We may just have to go out one last time.  It is a "free" day as well.  Sorry but watching three kids there is no free about it.  You are constantly in motion.  My free days at home (insert laughter here) would consist of a nap at the very least.  Anyhow, going to the zoo on Thursday & really excited about that.  Want to wear the kids out.  If I can get them super tired the day before, maybe, just maybe they'll sleep on the plane.  Yeh, wishful thinking, I know.  Hey, I have to at least give it a shot, right?  Much more to come tomorrow. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

DAY 7--hot hospitals, pb & j & a chocolate surprise

Woke up & was refreshing knowing today is day 7 and that we are leaving this week!  Very excited about that.  We had to go get passports this morning for the kids.  That took a bit of time.  Very hard to keep 3 kids still in a crowded place.  And of course, if we go somewhere someone inevitably needs to use the bathroom...just like home.  Despite me telling them to go before we leave here.  I do believe the bathroom doubled as a smoking lounge of sorts.    As an American non-smoker, it is so hard to go to a smokey room.  Finished up & went to the apartment for lunch. 

Made PBJ sandwiches & those were a hit.  And, even had chips to go w/ it.  Bigger hit.  Played with the kids some and waited for our call to go to the medical exams.  All part of the process of exiting this country & entering the US.  Certain rules you must follow.  Waiting in the medical building was hard.  Think about it, 3 kids, nothing to do but stand there.  However, for some reason this brought out a totally different side of Summer that we had never seen!  It was awesome to watch her giggle & play around w/ me.  Yes, with me.  I can tell you now when we get home all her brothers and sisters will spoil her rotten from loving her so much.  She is just that dog gone cute!  Lights up a room for sure.  After waiting for so long, we decided to take them outside for a short walk.  Medical clinic must have been like 85 degrees inside.  Remember, I'm always cold.  I was sweating in there.  Quick checkup by the doc.  Super nice doctor btw.  And clean place.  Really clean.  The Russian clinics seemed so dirty.  Nice to see the health care places here are very clean.  Have to tell you something when they were talking about Reni's name.  Saying American names are strange and such.  They looked perplexed when the doc said it means flame in America.  I can't speak Bulgarian but can understand more than people think.  So, I spoke up and said it's not pronounced fire.  LOL.  I didn't want them thinking we were naming her fire.

Left the clinic and got back about 7.  We were all hungry so I made spaghetti & bread for dinner.  They ate it up.  We all did.  Topped it off w/ soda.  Gave baths and all of us watched Disney's Kick Buttowski in Bulgarian.  All of us laughing our butts off.  For various reasons, I'm sure.  Reni & Logan love it when you dry their hair.  Surprisingly, Mr. Sauve takes longer.  LOL.  We were all very tired so just mellowed out some.  Summer was dead beat tired.  Now, Warren & I are catching up on emails and such.  First night since the kids actually went to bed w/out a huge fuss.  Love it!  Tomorrow is a free day here so not sure what we're doing.  Hoping to meet up w/ more families later this week.  Only 4 days left!  Missing our kids at home terribly.  And my milk.  Oh, before I forget, Warren was helping clean up.  He decided to clean up the chocolate on the floor.  Picked it up only to realize it was a big piece that had dropped out of the diaper.  Poor guy.  We're all doing okay and finding our new normal. 

DAY 7-- what we miss

When you get to be a week into one of these adoption trips, you start missing little things at home here and there.  A few things come to mind.  Thought I'd list a few. 

1.  The kids at home (obvious one)
2.  English
3.  Smooth streets
4.  A washing machine that fits more than 5 pieces of clothing. 
5.  A dryer to go w/ that washing machine
6.  A roach free kitchen (hate cooking w/ those buggers)
7.  Burgers on the grill at home
8.  My show Castle
9.  Not living out of a suitcase
10. Drinking water from teh tap
11. Paying in dollars so I know what I paid
12. Parking spaces (they park anywhere here)
13. My dogs
14. My bed
15. Milk.  I want 2 gallons when I get home.  LOL.
16. Garbage bags bigger than a mini can.

So many more things.  Basically, you start really missing the little pieces that make home home.  We are almost finished w/ DAY 7.  Not long now and we'll be flying out of here.  Yes, I will miss some things about the culture and country here for sure.  People are wonderful here.  But sitting at my own table, looking at my whole family & drinking my big glass of milk just seems priceless to me right now. 

Day 6--Walking w/ kids (for real this time!)

Today was Sunday here.  Last night we had the privilege to finally meet a cyber friend in person along w/ their son.  They had just gotten off the plane.  Brave.  I look like a drowned rat after a long flight & they looked wonderful.  Must get secrets to that next time.  Kids and us had dinner at home last evening.  We can't afford to eat out every single meal w/ five of us here.  Plus, we don't want the new kids to think we go to restaurants at home all the time as we don't.  Summer went to bed quickly.  Tired little girl. 

We woke up this morning and went with friends to attempt to explore the city and find some supplies. We were able to go with friends we've met during this adoption process.  Wonderful when you can meet up.  Took our kids & thier son for a l-o-n-g walk through the streets of Sofia.  And...we all survived!  Trust me, there were times we were questioning whether we would or not.  Saw some great buildings and churches.  First, let's back up though.  Breakfast.  Oh boy oh boy.  See, many times when you adopt older children they are told stories before they leave the orphanage from buddies and such.  Apparently, ours may have been told they could get whatever they wanted when they wanted.  LOL.  We made eggs and toast for breakfast. Grapes too if they wanted and juice to drink.  They sat down and requested pizza and soda for breakfast.  Sorry, not on the menu today kids.  Told them they'd be hungry later if they didn't eat breakfast.  Trust me, they understand the word hungry as they say it all the time to see if they can get chocolate from me.  I can speak basic Bulgarian phrases to them and then we translate to English at the same time.  Catching on quickly.  And, using sign.  Logan tried to sneak on the balcony to get soda.  Yes, it's colder out there than in the refridgerator.  You have to get creative when staying in other places.  Remember, we have 2 fridges at home (American size fridges) and a chest freezer. 

After not eating breakfast, they got ready.  Hey, pizza was not on the menu.  They were holding out.  Kept telling them we are not having pizza today.  I don't think they believed me.  Again, it's a learning process and will take time.  This is NOT a language issue at all but rather a kid being kid issue trying to get what they want.  After 10 kids, I think I got that one figured out by now.  Getting ready was another issue.  I have never seen a boy love his hair so much.  Not kidding.  Hey, he already has better  hygiene than some of the boys at home so we're halfway there.  He shampoos his hair twice and spends longer on his hair then my 3 girls combined at home.  And 2 of those are teens!  It's nuts.  Cute but nuts at the same time.  Joked w/ him & said we could shave his hair and he said no.  Oh, and he uses shampoo throughout the day as mousse.  Cracks me up.  Same token, I can't waste all that shampoo at home either.  Once Mr. Sauve was ready, we headed out and met our friends. 

We walked quite a bit all over Sofia.  It really was so pleasant out and great all the kids could enjoy it.  Beautiful cathedrals here and such.   Some great architecture too.  Had lunch at Subway.  Sometimes something familiar from home feels really, really good.  Again, kids not happy b/c it wasn't pizza.  I swear they'd live off pizza the rest of their lives if they could.  Though Summer will literally eat anything.  Awesome eater.  Despite it not being pizza, they ate the subs.  Well, Reni just kind of picked at hers.  Best part was, on the way home, we found...the super market.  the big one!  You have no idea how important this was.  Getting tired of having no supplies.  So, dropped the guys off, and Reni & I and our friend headed out to the market.  I wished we'd taken pictures b/c it really was a riot trying to cram all that stuff in two bags, a backpack and a huge pack of diapers.  Yes, I need diapers and more on that in another post.  Reni was a big help except she had no concept of all glass jars can't be together.  I was expecting spaghetti sauce all over my bag but it was okay.  Walked home lugging all this stuff.  Got a good way home and Reni trips (vision is bad) on the sidewalk.  She was okay, just then didn't want to carry.  So, I have 2 bags, a large pack of diapers, a very heavy backpack and paper towels all while trying to hold Reni up b/c she is limping.  I was exhausted.  Reni, gets the door, after limping mind you, and runs into the apartment.  I knew it would happen, still drives me crazy though.  Unloaded groceries. 

Rested a bit and then it was off to dinner w/ two other couples.  Pleasant dinner. we're all here on our second trip so was nice to meet up and get to know new people.  One was a first time adopting couple yet had many children at home like us already.  One couple was a second time adopting family.  Nice food and my kids were okay.  Well, except for being mad.  Why do you ask?  Why b/c we were ordering pizza & they did not want pizza.  Yeh, the same kids who asked for pizza literally all day long.  Can't win for losing.  LOL.  Yet, they ate 2 large pizzas and two orders of fries.  Warren and I had salads.  Delicious salads here folks and so many to choose from.  Super nice.  Left the restaurant.  On the way out, Reni tripped.  She has eye issues and has depth perception issues.  This was no surprise to us as we met her in June and knew.  She goes to our strabismus and opthalmologist specialist on Monday once home.  It is our first appointment.  Yes, we feel it is very important to get her eyes checked out and fixed.  In addition, Alyona has this as well so not new to us at all even at this age.  She used to wear glasses at her orphanage so sure she'll wear them again come Monday. 

Now, got home and got kids bathed. Then it was bed time.  Summer literally reached for her bed.  She was that tired.  Warren and I stayed up and cleaned up.  Kids at home had fun.  Our sitter took them to an event where they got to shoot b-b guns and rock climb.  They all had a great time.  We are more than half way done w/ our trip.  Wahoo!!!  Again, nice people here but I miss my home.  More to come tomorrow.  Trying to catch up w/ the blog posts.  Kids were real troopers today going all over the city.  Stay tuned for Day 7.  We have taken great pictures just have no way of loading them right now.  Have to wait till we get home.