Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day is a holiday that my family didn't celebrate growing up, but I have decided to make new traditions with it for my own children, as I do have Irish heritage. 

Four of my lil' leprechauns!

Wearing my lovely Irish earrings, which were a gift from my best friend, Nichole, who brought these back from Ireland for me. 

The leprechaun's dyed the milk green! And we had lucky charms cereal for breakfast.

I made a 12 layer rainbow jello!


We had Irish beef stew for dinner. I also bought some rainbow goldfish crackers and skittles to put in their lunches. 

An unrelated activity to St Patrick's Day - however it occurred that evening - was a get-together with some fabulous spanish-speaking ladies! We had a great time chatting, laughing, and eating some sumptuous Mexican and Peruvian foods. Yum!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Shall we dance?

In the past few months, I have had both Calvin and Silas evaluated for speech services. Both have paperwork stating that they qualify for speech. I have advocated that Calvin receive speech services in his school, but the school said that any speech struggles he is having does not affect his social or educational needs at this time. So I am needing to pursue speech services outside of school.

Next week, I am meeting with Silas' IEP team to discuss the need for speech services for him. Silas' speech needs are greater than Calvin. I am hopeful that the school will see that from his report and after testing him for that.

Tyler has been in China this past week. Whereas it has been challenging being a single mama for a week, it doesn't compare to the 6 month deployment last year. However, Iryna has been diregulated every day that he has been gone. Combine that with a head cold that I currently have, I have been much less patient and understanding with Iryna than I need to be. We are trying to work together to help her regulate herself. Some friends have suggested biofeedback and neurofeedback - which both may be the same thing? I will look into it for Iryna. I know she needs something to help her, but I'm not sure what. I am thankful that our relationship has grown into the one we have today. We are both dedicated to each other and we both love each other very much. What a blessing, because otherwise her behaviors would much more challenging for me to tackle on a daily basis.

Last month, Anna mentioned that there would be a youth Valentine's Dance. I remember that I tried to not show much excitement in her interest to attend said dance. We went to Ross and found something pink for her to wear. She asked me to help her with her makeup and hair - which was so fun to do, although I was really sick with a cold at the time.

Anna said she wasn't intending to dance, so we talked with her about how to politely turn down someone who might ask her to dance. Tyler went along as a chaperone, to be there if Anna started getting nervous or if she wanted to go home early. As soon as Anna entered the gym, she was overwhelmed by the 100+ kids there. Thankfully, her friends from church ran across the room and pulled her away. Her friends knew that it was her very first dance and they had found a table with a chair in the corner, just for her, because they knew that she would want to observe from the sidelines. I am so thankful that she has such understanding friends!

Partway through the dance, Anna noticed a boy. She said that he was very polite and kind to everyone. When someone spilled some water on a table, he quickly helped to clean it up. Anna expressed her interest in him to one of her friends, Marissa, who then went over to tell said boy that Anna would like to meet him. This boy came over and asked Anna to dance - to a fast song - and she said yes! A youth leader went out to the hallway to tell Tyler - so he could come see for himself!

Sure enough, Anna was ON THE DANCE FLOOR, with a BOY, and smiling! After the fast song was over, the girls were instructed to toss one of their shoes into a pile and the boys were told to pick up a shoe, locate that girl, and dance with them. The boy that Anna had been dancing with, K, dove into the pile to find Anna's shoe! They ended up dancing for a few more songs and having a nice time together.

It's amazing to me that Anna wanted to attend the dance, went to the dance, met a boy at the dance, and is now counting down the days until the next dance. What a huge turnaround for my girl with social anxiety! I am really happy for her.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Greece to Bulgaria

This morning we packed up after breakfast and headed to Bulgaria. We stopped to pick up some Greek cream pies on our way out of town. They are seriously SO good. 

 

We were in a hurry to leave Greece due to the farmers going on strike against some government tax hikes. They have been blocking roads so people cannot travel and in the past they have blocked the border to Bulgaria. We wanted to be certain to get back to Bulgaria so we can make our flight back home. And after seeing many tractors out on the roads, we were so thankful to cross the border into Bulgaria this evening. 

But before we crossed over, we wanted to get one more gyro - since they were so delicious. We tried to get off on a couple of exits, but were thwarted in our efforts. We finally got off the exit by Thessaloniki. We drove around looking for gyros. I silently prayed that we would find some gyros, so we could get back on the road and get ahead of the tractors. 

Tyler and I drove around a couple of streets and then we both felt good about driving ahead to a different street. Wouldn't you know it, we found this gyro shop. And to make things even more amazing - this is the gyro shop that delivered our first gyros when we stayed at the Prestige Hotel! Of all the gyros we have tried, theirs was the absolute BEST! I am thankful for a Father in Heaven who not only helped us find lunch (and dinner!) but to guide us to our favorite shop when we had no idea where it was. #answeredprayers

 

 

 

 
Blue fanta? Can anyone tell me the flavor? #lostintranslation

 

We are now safe and sound in Sofia and should head home in a day or two to the states. 

 
A real shower!

 

 

 
First item of business: ordering a мляко е какао!

I am excited to relax and rest up before our flight home. I am missing my babies in the US and my babies in Bulgaria. 

Observations of Greece

1. Double parking. It seems that many people in Thessaloniki like to double park. I have no idea how people can get out when they are wedged in like that. 

 

2. Pick a lane. Many streets do not have dotted lines to outline the lane. It creates confusion (to us, at least) and people move from side-to-side without blinkers. This morning we saw a driver on a road with dotted lines and he was halfway in one lane and halfway in the lane next to him for a few kilometers. So strange! This afternoon, we were on a street with actual lanes, but we had a yellow stripe going down the middle. What is up with that? Here's a photo:

 

 
This fellow is using his blinker (which we rarely saw) but check out the cars on the right. I am guessing they don't want to pick a lane. 

3. Small houses. We aren't sure what these little houses represent, but we see them often on the sides of the road. Some are fancy and others are not. Many have things inside of them. 

 

4. Gas attendants. Similar to Bulgaria, there are attendants at the gas stations in Greece. They pump your gasoline for you. One man even cleaned our car windows! 

5. Closedowns. Many restaurants and businesses are closed due to the economy in Greece. 🇬🇷🙁

6. Bakeries. It seems that every town has 10+ bakeries. We never have trouble finding baklava, but something savory is harder to find. Greek cream pies were our favorite treat. 

7. Agriculture. We have seen many fields plowed ready to be planted and many fields of trees, which may be olive trees? We aren't sure, but there are many of them. 

8. Trees. So many trees in Athens are hacked down to nubs. We have also seen many orange trees full of oranges. 

9. Gyros are so delicious. We ate five over four days in Greece. We may be obsessed with them. 

 

Parthenon

 Breakfast this morning! 

 
So the elevators in Greece seem to have a door that you open before you get onto the elevator. I also saw one like this in Burgas, Bulgaria. 

 

 
Medusa light?

 
This is posted outside the Parthenon.  

 
Parthenon!

 

 

 

 

 
This was next to the Parthenon. 

 
Another structure next to the Parthenon. 

 
Amphitheater by the Parthenon. 

 

 
We are unsure if we were supposed to be on this road or not. #lostinAthens

 
Yummy street food in Athens. 

 
So many trees here - we *think* this one is an olive tree. 

 
So many beautiful views here in Greece. 

 

 
We found this quaint little fish restaurant right on the Aegean Sea near the Temple of Poseidon. The atmosphere and scenery were amazing, but the food was not. :-/

 
The tiny restroom outside the fish restaurant. 

 
The view of the temple of Poseidon from the restaurant. 

 

 
Temple of Poseidon overlooking the Aegean Sea. 

 
Temple of Poseidon selfie. 

 
More views of the Aegean Sea. 

 
The Aegean Sea was so lovely. It was hard to leave it!

 
We see Greek bakeries so often! We went into one today and were amazed at how many things they have for sale.