Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Friday, October 20, 2017

A post about Michael

10 months ago, we met our oldest son in Bulgaria. On the first day that we spent with him, it was clear from his body language that he wasn't certain about us at all. I have later learned that he was irritated to spend a day with us, as he had already made plans elsewhere. He was wanting to wear a red sweatsuit and spend the day with a girl. I am thankful that he relented to spend some time with us.

It has been almost 4 months to the day since we picked up our son, Michael, from the orphanage in Dobrich, Bulgaria. I remember everything about walking into his orphanage, eager to see his face again. I had a bag full of clothing for him to wear and it seemed like it took him forever to come down to the director's office to greet us. I later learned that he was cleaning his room and sweeping the floor. I would soon see how hard he works in our household chores.

The next day, we went to pick up John from his orphanage. I had several fidget spinners to pass out to the children and Michael was only too happy to participate. From the beginning, he showed his desire to serve others - especially his new family.

Fast forward to today: I cannot imagine life with my oldest son. Michael is a hard-working, dedicated, spiritual, service-oriented, compassionate, intelligent, affectionate, clever boy. He is my shadow - following me from room-to-room when he is at home. In fact, being home is his favorite place to be. When he gets off the school bus, he races home because he loves being here. During dinner we will each share our high and low from the day. Michael's high is often "being home."

Last weekend, I posted this on Facebook:

Tonight is a scout campout. Michael is such a mama’s boy. He just sent me a text on Tyler’s phone (Tyler, John, and Keith are also on the campout) and Michael said he misses me and he is sad that I am not there to tell him goodnight. I always kiss my boys goodnight and tell them that I love them. After fourteen years of not having that, I think he is missing it tonight. #lovebeingamama 

Two nights ago, I was sitting with Michael and I was running my hand through his hair for about ten minutes. Realizing that he might not want it, I asked him if he liked what I was doing. He emphatically reassured me that he loved it and wanted me to continue. Again, after so many years without physical affection, he loves to receive it from me - and I am only too happy to provide that for him. 

Micheal likes to talk. We have daily conversations and he will often say, "Mama, I want to talk with you later today." He has an understanding heart and enjoys talking about all sorts of topics. He greatly enjoys learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talk about Bulgaria, our family, his future, anything. 

Michael is such a big kid, but he has a tender heart. He has been my easiest and quickest attachment from our Bulgarian adoption, which is so interesting considering how wary he was of us when we first met him. I am thankful that God pricked my heart when I saw his picture so many months ago. He is attentive to me and has learned my daily habits. Adoption can be such a beautiful thing and it has certainly been so with Michael. Not only is he easy to love, but our personalities mesh together beautifully. I am so thrilled to call him my son. Thanks be to my Father in Heaven for sending him to me. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Family Beach Day

We took a drive to Virginia Beach this past weekend. Sean and Roxy drove down with us and we had a wonderful time. Anna decided she didn’t want to go so she went over to a friends house. We absolutely love the beach, but it’s getting too cold, so this will likely be our last time this year. We look forward to returning next spring.

Sarah + Георги (a boy she likes in Bulgaria)

This handsome man is so happy at the beach! He caught a few waves, too!

Sean and Roxy - their first time at VB!

Poor Michael couldn’t get in the water, due to his cast, but he had a happy outlook and enjoyed spending time with Barkley and talking with me. I want to note that Michael is very attentive to me when I walk down to the beach and back to the van. It is rather steep and the sand is soft and moves easily. He won’t let me walk down or up without him. I am so thankful for his devotion and kindness. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Family Photos 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Priesthood Ordination

Michael was given the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of teacher on Sunday. I am so proud of him and his decisions to follow God’s commandments. 

John and Sarah are still meeting with the missionaries. John requested to meet with the Elders and they have some Bulgarian-speaking translators that assist via skype. Sarah meets with the Sister missionaries and skypes with Yoana (a gal from Bulgaria who emigrated to the US) or Diana - the Sister missionary from Bulgaria that served at Temple Square and has been teaching my kids for the past few months before she went home. One special note is that when Sarah was skyping this past week, I met Diana’s father - who was in the room with Diana - and he said that he had met us when we were in Sofia. He was at the church building on one of the days that we met with the local elders there. Such a small world! Additionally, Diana knows Dima Kalyonov, who was in the branch in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, when we were there to adopt Calvin and Silas. Dima is currently serving a mission in NY, but he and Diana were at the MTC in Utah at the same time. We love having such beautiful connections to the saints in Eastern Europe. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

General Conference

I’ve said it before and I will say it again that I absolutely love General conference weekend. Sean and Roxy came down to visit us and spend time with us. We enjoyed all of the talks and playing games and eating food and spending time together. The triplets did not understand the conference talks, of course, but I was surprised at how well they behaved. I am very proud of them for easily accepting our faith and family traditions. 

The best blueberry muffins ever!

Halloween Party

Every year, we have a family Halloween party. Everyone dresses up in their Halloween costumes and we play with beanbags that we throw in a jack-o’-lantern, we play candy bingo, and we throw rings on a spider. Then we watch the Garfield Halloween special on the TV. We eat lots of candy and have lots of fun. The only difference this year, is that we added three teenagers to our family who have never had a Halloween party before. Halloween is not celebrate in Bulgaria! John was especially excited about decorating the house. He even took some decorations up to his room - which looks really cool, I might add. We still have the trunk or treat/chili cook off, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating on Halloween left to go, but I am certain that Michael and Sarah and John are big fans of this holiday already! #whocanblamethem #candycandycandy

These girls have some spooky Halloween shirts!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Broken bones for Michael

My second born in the wilderness fractured two bones in his hand a couple of weeks ago. He was venting some frustration at school and punched a toilet seat, which resulted in the fractures. Today he went from a splint to a cast. The next four weeks will be interesting!