Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Family of 10

We are now a family of 10 and it's going quite well, even better than we expected. The younger children and picking up some Bulgarian words and the Bulgarians are slowly learning English (Michael is doing very well and is motivated to speak English so he can communicate with friends and a pretty girl; Sarah isn't really trying to learn English (other than "yes" and "no" and "thank you."); John has a few phrases down but doesn't seem motivated to understand much more English).

These two have formed a solid brotherly relationship. John has confided his past in Michael, which shows the trust John has in Michael. It was poignant to hear that Michael cried when he heard of the hard things that John has gone through. Tender hearts, for sure. 

Our weekly trip to ALDI. 

Michael ensures that we eat shopska salad at least once a week. And he insists upon making it, himself!

John had an optometry appointment. We have ordered him some glasses. 

This boy is serious about his posing. 

My kids love to swim!

Michael had a Bulgarian translator attend his optometry appointment. I didn't even know that was a possibility for their medical appointments. 

Sarah found our stash of barbies! 

These boys got some new jeans. Michael likes the shredded look. 

Because of John's past, I believe that he wants to flex his muscles to exhibit strength. It is sad to hear of the things he has gone through in his short 14 years on the earth. I know that those experiences can make him stronger and empathetic to others. 

Anna has stepped up to helping her siblings to learn karate in her class. All three of the triplets attend with Anna. 

We have quite the tomato harvest! And the tomatoes keep coming...

An hour before Michael left for a scout campout, he was figuring out his new pocketknife and he sliced his thumb! Thank goodness for super glue!

My three scouts!

Michael's self portrait on his vitamin pill box. 

With the boys gone, we had a girl's night in! I braided Sarah's hair, we painted nails, ate cookies, and watched FROZEN. 

This is Silas' drawing of Tyler and me. 

Recent temple trip. We love the youth in our ward!

Anna loves Barkley Boo!

A rare photo of John when he was younger. Isn't he adorable?! I love those cheeks. 

Michael knows how to melt my heart. Tyler asked me this week is Michael is "for real" or not. Seriously. 

Calvin made this at scout day camp. He is so proud of it and I love having it on the table. With ten people, we need some napkins. 

John helped me finish up the snickerdoodles. He did a great job! Добра работа!

Anna is doing well, enjoying her summer. She misses her close friend, Elyzabeth, who moved away in July. She spends time working on writing her stories and attends karate. She had the opportunity to be on a swim team this summer and enjoyed that. 

Michael continues to amaze with his level of maturity and thoughtfulness and his understanding of English is really coming along. Michael has skyped with some sister missionaries from Temple Square, one of which is from Bulgaria. He displays a high level of humility, openness, and simple faith. He has already expressed an interest in being baptized and serving a mission. During a prayer, Michael prayed that Sarah and John would be open to embracing the gospel. When the sisters asked Michael if the Book of Mormon was true, he said that his parents believe it is true and he trusts us. He is eagerly reminding me of the time and date of his next skype session. We are thrilled with his overall reception to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want him to have his own spiritual experiences and to gain his own testimony. Michael and Sarah continue to be like oil and water. I hope they will learn how to get along. 

Sarah has softened since she came home. Initially, she was stubborn and had to be reminded over and over to do things, like chores. Now she wakes up and checks the chore chart and goes to work. I still need to check her chart to ensure she completes them all before lunchtime, or she misses out on afternoon fun activities. She is affectionate. She is empathetic. She sometimes acts like she is the mom - instructing the younger children to do this or that. She does have a natural mothering quality. Sarah is also enjoying her skype sessions with the sister missionaries. She is especially interested in temple sealings and being a forever family. 

John loves walking the dogs. He is often up and outside before I even come downstairs. John likes to bathe Barkley. He also enjoys cleaning out the cars. He works hard at anything I ask him to do. Sometimes he will become angry and say things that I don't think he means. He has made two friends at church and that has been great. He also enjoys karate and riding his bike. He wants to swim often, too. He is generally very happy, but in a more quiet way than Michael. 

Keith has had a low-key summer. I think he is eager to be back in school soon. He enjoys riding his bike and swimming and reading his books. 

Iryna enjoys sharing a room with her other two sisters. She loves being in YW. On Sunday, they asked her to read a sentence and everyone was very patient and kind with her as she struggled to pronounce some of the words. I was proud of her for not melting down when she could have. 

Calvin enjoyed his day camp with scouts. He enjoys playing Batman Wii with John. Calvin also enjoys riding bikes and swimming - if the water isn't too cold. 

Silas has a sweet relationship with Michael. I learned that Michael has a younger brother in Bulgaria and he is the same age as Silas. Silas snuggles up to Michael often and if Silas is struggling, Michael will comfort him and help him. It's adorable. Silas would ride his bicycle non-stop! He loves to be outside. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Birthday to Iryna

Happy Birthday to my beautiful girl, Iryna! She is now 13 years old - a teenager! She asked for homemade doughnuts for breakfast and fish sticks with french fries for lunch with chocolate brownies for her cake. We love this girl so much. She is an important part of our family. Iryna is kind, empathetic, hard-working, strong, and wants to do what is right. She has a lot of faith in her Heavenly Father and frequently prays for His help as she battles her daily struggles due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She is a warrior and we are so happy to celebrate her big day today. We love you, Irynka!

Iryna likes to eat apples, grapes, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Her favorite cereal is Raisin Bran. She loves to play baseball with her brothers and basketball. Iryna enjoys helping others and wants to work hard. She has a testimony of Jesus Christ and often feels the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, June 04, 2017


Silas and I were having a conversation a couple of days ago. We were talking about Michael, Sarah, and John in Bulgaria and how in just a few weeks we are bringing them home. 

Silas asked, "What about their mama?" I replied that their mamas weren't taking care of them. "What?!?! That's not what mamas are supposed to do." 

I love that Silas knows the role of what mamas should be doing in caring for their children. He seems to have forgotten (at least for now) how his own mama didn't take care of him, as she left him in the hospital after being born. I am thankful to be a mama to five (and soon to be eight) and it is such a privilege to me. And I am further thankful that Silas has attached to me as his mama. :-)

Friday, June 02, 2017

Temple Trip with the twins

My dearest friend, Shellie, mailed me this Matryoshka shirt! Isn't it cute? So thoughtful of her.

Love these kids!

Tyler and I took Anna and the twins to the temple last weekend. We had a wonderful time together! We took family names and did baptisms and confirmations. I love being in the temple with my family.

We finally planted our garden! We planted peppers and tomatoes and herbs.

Anna loves Maggie Moo. 

First swim of summer!

So thankful for this man of mine. He's the love of my life!

We are getting Rosie all fixed up, by cleaning her out, steam cleaning the carpets and seating, and putting in a rear view camera to help me back up! So thankful for Tyler working hard to get Rosie ready for our new kids coming home.