Saturday, December 31, 2011


We celebrated New Year on Bulgaria Time---- so everyone is now off to bed (I'm following shortly!)

Thanks for the happy thoughts and prayers--- I had my first full night of sleep in 4 weeks last night (thanks Jacob!!)

It was another good day today--- Martin got to take a couple of car rides (he was a bit disappointed that there was not more traffic on the road---especially big trucks (his fave)). Deyan got a haircut----nothing too drastic, but be no longer looks like the Biebster or a Beatle.

Shaslik for dinner--- (in honor of our Eastern European New Year) Wheel and Jeopardy and BED!

Here are some pics that Emily has snapped over the past few days--- We will take more tomorrow and get them uploaded asap!

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Past my Bedtime!

It is 8:30 and it is bedtime!

The new guys are doing GREAT-- an unexpected treat is Jake is also at the top of his game--- he loves playing with Deyan and Martin and has been as good as he has ever been--- Good Job Baby Bear!

I have been on Jake Duty since our return--- he gets up during the night--- Rarely do I get more than 4 hours of sleep straight --- I never thought I could do this, but I am making it--- thanks to God for the strength to go without a good night sleep--- That has ALWAYS been my biggest weakness--- and be it age and wisdom--- or age and body changes--- or God's will -- It has gone okay!

Even with all the difficulty this may well have been the best 2 weeks of my life! Watching Deyan smile in his swing---martin give "high fives" and bust out laughing every time or watching the boys fight over who gets papa this time--- Wow Am I lucky!

I'm in love with the new guys and with all of my wonderful family!

So Blessed

Please if you feel a calling to adopt or know someone who does---- Help to bring the babies home!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Week Update

We had a bit of a scare (okay a really BIG scare) on Christmas Day--- Deyan was very lethargic and appeared to have a seizure of some sort--- very rigid and non responsive.

To the ER right away with concerns about refeeding syndrome.

Good news--- all the labs were fine so no worry about pushing too much food--- bad news: it does seem as though he had some sort of neurological event. He is totally fine now--- We will follow up with our doc and keep an eye out for any strangeness..

Aside from that---

Deyan and Martin are doing GREAT! We are pretty good at keeping them on schedule---they are really good about keeping US on schedule.

Food has been a bit interesting-- Deyan ALWAYS wants to eat whatever we give him. Martin is picky-- one day he only wants yogurt (spiked with pediasure and fiber ) Today, he would only eat some home made beef veggie soup with bread-- Both boys are growing--- each has put on a pound in a week!

Interesting that my lap has become ground central for turf wars between Martin, Deyan and Jake--- I am honored that everyone wants a turn with papa! Especially Jake and Martin who generally do not like to be held. They are pretty good about turns and I have been quite pleased that Jake has been trying extra hard to have "nice hands" with the babies.

Not much else to talk about---- we are spending a lot of time just getting to know each other-- Lazy days over the Christmas break--- great times!

OH! Some blood work came back today--we were "shocked" (not)  to see that both Martin and Deyan have Down Syndrome--- Deyan is quite anemic--- Martin is healthy as a moose.

More when I can--- until then some random pics from over Christmas--- pardon the fuzzies and oddities-- no time to edit and make pretty!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us--

and this Blessed Christmas indeed God is with us---

We grieve for baby Jordan that he cannot be in our arms, but praise God that we have been given the chance to hold his brothers Deyan Emmanuel and Christopher Martin--- 

Thank you God-- We are Blessed

Friday, December 23, 2011

Home Almost a Week!

We continue to settle in with the boys-- They have both been great!

Jake continues his struggles with a lot of pain and SIB, but both new fellas are pretty much settled in!

It is interesting to see more of "the real them" as they get more comfortable with us..

We did have a bit of drama this evening as 15 carolers appeared at the door as we a each had a kid in a different stage of sleep---- I am ashamed to admit that for a fleeting moment I thought--- how terrible these people were to come here while we try to settle the boys----whoa Scrooge- settle down- Only one other time in my life had actual carolers come to the  door--- Thank you kind neighbors! Your song was sweet!  Merry Christmas!!!

Deyan (Heavy D) continues to rule the "sweet and cuddly" world (though he does think it is great fun to bite unsuspecting adults to get a reaction from them). Deyan is now officially a climber. He prefers to be up on the chair or couch--- though he is not yet adept in getting himself down. He is eating from a large syringe and his intake is great and with less air than spoon feeding, his tummy is smaller. He loves to play the clapping game and he loves to give random and unsolicited kissed (on the lips) and hugs.

Martin (Marty Moose) is a shy, timid, and very scared little boy--- he loves to be carried and to play caboose. He loves tickles and for you to babel back to him. He is quick to laugh, but also very hand-shy-- He loves to watch anyone work --- He loves to fold laundry and help to pick up toys. He travels the room picking things up and placing them atop window sills and counters so they are not on the floor. His food intake has really slowed. We have tried to make his food similar to the orphanage, but he is unconvinced. He still loves "Puddis"== Pudding in a container and sometime Frutties (yogurt) . His favorite food today was a couple of hard rolls made mushy in milk...

Thus far we could not have asked for nor expected such an easy transition... Huge thanks to Emily and Marie and to the little guys (James, Joey and Matt)..

Each day we learn. Each day we get more comfortable with one another. Each day we try to shower all the kids with love.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Stand by for a few pics from Sunday...

I promise to get more up as soon as I can.

Both boys have been GREAT since being home. Martin is a bit plugged up on the hind side and a wee bit grumpy but pretty good. Deyan just sits, smiles, and snuggles--awwww

The "home boys" have really taken to Deyan and Martin, especially Joey who has claimed Martin for himself (they are inseparable). Even Matt has really enjoyed the newbies. I'm thrilled with how well it has gone so far.

We are still working on settling into a routine. Everyone (me included) has been to bed before 8 each  night. The new guys woke up in the middle of the night one night, but other than that have been sleeping really well. No bedtime fits for Martin. Mary lays down with him and he is out in less than 5 minutes--- no SIB (YAY!!)

Actually, Martin's face is almost completely healed. He will try to bop himself from time to time, but without much resolve and he is easily redirected.

We are trying to do little or no TV--- not easy with Jake--- just quiet family time with all of us together---

The only exception for family time is doctor time---- My insurance changes to an HSA Jan 1 and we are trying to get all the initial screening stuff done before then--- So far, both boys seem to be healthy.-- Mary has them at GI and Cardiology right now (hence I have time to post)-- More medical updates as we get them.

I have had a lot of folks ask "So how was that flight?"

Actually, the boys did better than the airline workers!

Check-in was easy despite the really snotty lady at the counter for Bulgarian Air. They whisked us to the front of the security and immigration lines-- Immigration did not even ask for the adoption papaerwork.

We had time to feed them before getting on our flight to Rome--

Ahhh the flight to Rome--- Marie had Deyan---- I had Martin--- Deyan was GREAT! Martin? NOPE--
He was scared, angry about his seat-belt and confused by what was happening. He YELLED--- SCREAMED-- BLOODY MURDER for about an hour. Poor guy. My comforting phrases in Bulgarian just made him even madder.  (sorry seatmates). About halfway into the flight he calmed down.

We landed in Rome 45minutes late and headed to our next flight--- Going through security and again pulled to the front of the line-- they ask for my boarding documents for the next flight--- I do not have them. In Sofia they said I would have to get them in Rome--- In Rome, they said I have to get them in Sofia--- GUESS WHAT?!?!? I'm already in ROME! Finally after pleading for a couple of minutes they decide to let us go--- (FYI if you connect in ROME-- make sure you get your boarding pass before you arrive at the transfer security.---ALSO Rome is a SUPER easy connection--- Despite our problems, this is a MUCH better place to connect that Paris or Amsterdam--- you can get from plane to plane in 15 minutes---easy-- one escalator, one short tram ride and you are at the G gates (where all US bound flights depart)

The delay from Sofia meant that our Atlanta flight left with out us---thanks to really nice Delta folks we got on an Alitalia flight to Newark.

Martin and Deyan were both AWESOME on the long flight. Martin watched "Toy Story" 4 times and sat still loving every second of the flight!

But bad news--that flight was also late (2 hours late) and again no boarding docs because of the flight change---worse yet, we are on a paper ticket--- still worse--- They did not complete the paper ticket properly in Rome.. We met up with a "friendly" Delta agent in Newark---- actually the Delta desk people in Newark were the rudest, meanest, most uncaring people I have ever encountered in any customer service capacity--EVER -- there are a lot of great people looking for work---- really Delta-- FIRE these miserable people or we will fire you.

After dealing with over 40 minutes of "customer no service", we finally convinced them to fix our ticket--- The lady was going to refuse to ticket us because of the error that Delta made in Rome-- she said we would have to go back there and get it fixed---WHAT?!?!?

To the gate--- another delay-- the boys are getting grumpy now (20 hours into their day)- We finally board. Marie and Deyan--- James, Martin and me--- both little guys sleep the entire flight (yay)--- VERY tight connection in Atlanta--- Marie, James and Deyan run ahead--- my airport running days are over----Martin and I do what we can. ahhh Made it--- last people on the plane-- Martin is just about asleep when we hit some nasty bad air--- he is scared and starts into his "Martin fit" again--- after 5 minutes or so he calms.

Thanks to the SUPER nice flight attendant--- the blanket, bottle of water and kind words really meant a lot after the day we have had!

11:15pm and Touchdown! We are the last people out of the airport. Mary is waiting (the rest of the kids were bummed, but too late for them) It is so good to see her---- both boys seem to remember Mama---- Lots of hugs and finally we are a family!!!

Again--- More pics are on the way and I will post updates over the next couple of weeks

Thanks for following this amazing journey!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Made it HOME!

Ahhh it is so good to have the little guys home!

it was quite an ordeal getting here--- late aircraft, missed connections and lots of grumpy airline workers--- getting settled in with the boys right now--- if they decide to nap today, I will post all the fun details!

Thanks for following along!


Friday, December 16, 2011

A final farewell from Bulgaria

Ahhh. All the boys (james included) are asleep. They are all breathing in unison aside from an occasional snort. It took Martin about 30 minutes to totally calm himself but went right to sleep after that.

Then the fun.  The first try to get him in the crib and I had a bad back spasm.  Had to twist as not to drop him...... Awake. Happy, but awake. Try #2 a mishap with the room lighting.   Oops repeat   third try seems good.  It is so sweet. He won't let go of my hands when I lay him in the crib.  Hopefully a bit of trust is forming. 

We will wake in 7 hours and travel for 22 more to get home.  Hopefully a quick post Saturday night and the full scoop with a ton of pics and video on Sunday.

Wish us luck!


Our Last Day in Bulgaria--- Home Here we COME!

Greetings from the Restaurant at Hotel Budapest-- Eating in shifts worked great yesterday--- so I'm first then I order the boys' dinner. Marie and I feed them while James eats--- then Marie comes down while I get them to bed--- Too bad it took most of the week to get it nailed!

It was a great day today-- and we actually did almost everything we wanted!

Martin woke up just before 6 and Deyan followed right behind.

Down to make their breakfast and get a quick cup of tea--- Martin was SOOOO happy to have his breakfast mash. Deyan---- well not so much.

Bath time! Martin on the steps time. Car watching time.

At 11:30 we started to the traditional place for lunch. A nice but cold walk and we enter the cute little place-- Deyan was cool with it- Martin wanted out NOW! I left some cash and Marie, James and Deyan Stayed for lunch-- I started back with Martin... Man it got cold and windy in the past 20 minutes--- some drops of rain too.

Poor little Martin. He stopped at every parked car wanting to get in.-- We just had some fruities for lunch and walked the steps.

WE decided the best use of our time and remaining Leva was to do a tour. The Hotel arranged for a GREAT Driver (If you are touring ask for Dmitry the cabbie--- good English, immaculate cab and Cars 2 on the DVD for the kids (well for James).

I'm so glad we did the tour. My impression of Sofia was that it was dirty and run down--- Nope--- the city center is great-- just the used car parts section of town where we are (and between here and the center) is dirty..

Marie got her Starbucks, we got to see all the major sights for 80 Leva for a 2 1/2 hour tour. Martin LOVED it--- Deyan took a bit of a nap.and did okay.

One last run to the Billa for wipes and more fruities for the plane--plus "real" fanta and some milka for the guys at home-- ad 2 2 liters of Shumensko--- still makes me laugh

Thanks to the folks here at the "Pest" for lovely gifts for the kids and a nice treat for us! We leave tomorrow at 5:30am--- 10:30pm home time. A long day for the little guys.

Please keep us in your prayers for a calm and uneventful flight!

Well-- one last Shopska salad and one last Shumensko----

We have a TON of Pics-- just have not been able to get them up---Check back over the weekend--- I promise I'll get them up!

Next stop HOME!---well Rome-- then Atlanta-- then home!



Did They Sleep?

Yes...yes they did. Martin woke about 5:50. The commotion woke Deyan around 6.  Wow a full night sleep. Yay

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quick Thursday Night Update

Both boys went to sleep great at about 7:30.  Too good to be true? Tune in tomorrow to see. 

Nighty night (i hope)


Long Time No Post!

Who ever would have thoughts that 2 little boys can run 2 1/2 adults ragged!

Actually One Martin!!! Deyan is a super easy little guy!

Main issue with Martin is his SIB-- When he is tired, bored or angry he pops himself-- When we picked him up he had a huge gash on one side of his face--- a smaller one on the other side-- plus one scabbed over bite mark on his arm. Everything looks so much better in just these few days-- But he needs to be in arms reach all the time to keep him safe. It is especially bad around bed time. He cannot be put into bed and left. He must be held until sleep comes--- then I can put him down in his crib.

The great news is he is starting to really like being held and rocked. The first night he was so scared. He raged for nearly 3 hours. Night 2 about an hour--- last night he was unhappy with being held but it was angry screaming from time to time-- He calmed down after about 10 minutes and fell asleep---- unfortunately our bed time timing was bad and when Deyan came in from his bath Martin woke.

We sat and talked and sang-- with an occasional "request"  from him to get down-- until 2am. We both fell asleep in the chair. I put him into bed around 3.

He really is such a sweet boy when he is firing on all cylinders-- He loves to give hugs and sit with you-- Hopefully when things settle down the SIB will depart!

The boys slept in until about 7:50 (YAY) except that we need to be up and out to the medical appoints. Marie ran down to get their food--- diapers changed and ready with 10 minutes to spare!!! Go "Team"!!

Doc appointment was easy and it would have been quick without the long line. Not to get political, but this was a private clinic but very similar to government sponsored care in England. Has anyone factored in lost productivity time of government sponsored health care. An appointment that would have taken less than an hour at home was well over 2--

Marie played with Deyan while Martin and I walked up and down the steps in the stifling hot building--

Once we got into the docs office it was great--nice older fellow who was good with the boys. Another 20 minutes for paperwork--- pay and OUT! Just enough time to get the boys lunch in the room before our embassy appointment.

It is always so nice to get back onto American Soil. To see 110 current plugs. Everyone at the Consulate is TOP NOTCH. What nice and efficient folks. We had a bit of a wait, but the interview process was a snap. It was much quicker and easier that Serbia or Ukraine (and what a nice new building!)

Cab ride back to the "Pest" for a quiet evening--

Side note--- Martin LOVES car rides. WOW...he sits with his hands in his lap and watches the world go by---- He now tried to get into any taxi with an open door!

Many thanks tor Marie and James--- I am now at the restaurant eating my first meal since breakfast 2 days ago!-- Shopska Salad, pork wrapped in pork and Shumensko-- We will eat in shifts tonight just like we do for breakfast

That is pretty much it for today-- we hotel bound Tues and Weds and discovered the fun things to do here at the "Pest"

Let Papa hold you up to the window in the room and watch traffic as papa describes the different vehicle types--- his fave is the "spider trucks" that haul away illegally parked cars.
Go outside the lobby and get a street level view of the same game
Walk up and down the stairs (actually he prefers to walk down and take the elevator up)
Do "pretend" laundry--- fold and unfold shirts and towels
Eat Puddi (brand of Pudding)
Eat Fruti (brand of yogurt)
Make fun of Papa when he coughs

bath time
Bath Time
Dance the Robot while chewing on Marie's Ipod cover
Cuddle and squirm on the bed
bath time
Lotion Time
Play with his spikey Ball!

Sorry for no pictures--- I will try tonight IF Martin decides to sleep!


Actually Marie wants Starbucks, I'd like to try to take them to the traditional Bulgaria place up the street for lunch (Gotta try sometime) and maybe try to go back to the Christmas Market---

Little or none of that is likely--- but it's a plan!

Again, sorry for the delay is posting--- it has been very crazy-- plus this dang cold and cough that won't go away!

Waaa poor me :-)

Love Papa!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What a day.

Just a quick update from my phone. Quite a day yesterday. Big people and little people are all sick.  Cough cold yuckiness.  Martin still has lots of trouble settling down   almost 3 hours of drama. Deyan was up til midnight too. 

Hoping for a better today with some time for a real post and some photos.

A weary papa

Monday, December 12, 2011

First Day with Both Boys

first--- gotcha pics from Martin today!


It was super to see Toni and Martin today as they whisked us form Sofia to Blagoevgrad to get little Martin. We arrived just after 9 and after some papers were signed they brought Martin down to me--- I was on my knees and he RAN right up to me--- Does he remember or am I just someone new to pick him up---either way,  I'll take it. Just as I suspected, Marting LOVED the car ride--- Carseat---sure-- as long as he gets to watch trucks, busses and cars zoom along. 

We met Marie, Didi and Toni's mom at the passport office and there is where we experienced the first of (I'm sure) MANY "Martin Moments"--- I am nearly deaf in my left ear but not only could I hear his screach--- most of the long dead in Bulgaria had to cover their ears--- WOW was he pissed off! (I do not use that term lightly) --- Maybe we should really call him Screech!!

I took him back to the car while the rest of the guys got Didi's pic done.

upon our return the boys get to officially meet!

We romped, sang, played and danced in the room then I headed out to the Kauffland for :little dude" supplies--- A bit of cab drama (as in, I could not find one--- thanks for helping Toni) and back to the hotel with chicken breasts stuffed with a variety of things (pickles, cheese, ham, dill...) and baby food--

Frolic Time

Bath Time! and lots of food--- Martin does not want to eat---Deyan wants to eat for 2 (after not being hungry yesterday and this AM)

Then things got ugly

Martin missed his nap---does not like our food and I probably picked the wrong time to work on airplane skills--- at about 5:30-- he totally lost it--- screaming, beating the snot out of himself (but a welcome change no aggression to me)

so he raged---and raged  and raged--- Thanks to great advice form home, at about 7 I got the lights out and held him a big chair in the corner of the room--- Sang to him in Bulgarian "Dobre Martin, Dobre Martin Lecka Nosht Lecka Nosht"------ screams (but no more hitting) and a "short:" 2 and a half hours later he was calm and drifting---drifting-- drifting--- BAM--asleep

Through all of it Deyan continued to be his sweet little self---what an amazing calm and gentle soul! He actually fell asleep during Martin's fit---

They tell us that Martin wakes at 4am---just after 10 here now so it is bed time--

I will try to post a couple times a day this week--- but it will depend on the cooperation on Mr Martin!



Gotcha Christopher Martin

Poor little dude is all gashed up again.  He did run right up to me when he stepped off the elevator. We are making the 2 hour drive to Sofia. Will post more from the hotel.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Evening Update Just Me and Deyan!

sorry for the ramble--- this post was written over the past hour working on getting the little one to bed!

Deyan's normal bedtime is 8, but he started asking to go to bed at 6---- it is now almost 7 and he is still having trouble getting to sleep. He is exhausted--- all the excitement and no nap for the second day in a row--

I game him a melatonin and a jar of peaches--- we'll see... I'd rather he stay up for awhile, but I fear the 'point of no return" where tired turns to manic.

His current state is dancing "the robot" in his pak n play!

Thanks to Indian TV stream SAMMI for streaming ESPN2-- for some reason my local radio station (an all talk station) does not premit you to listen to their stream outside the US---- Music stations? I understand the rights issues--- but spoken word? Way to think globally--NOT!

While Marie sat with Deyan trying to get him to nap, James and I went exploring the neighborhood looking for shaving supplies and Doeners for lunch -- not as good as Germany but pretty darn close. We found a tiny shop where the Turkish owner makes his own bread and turns his spit by hand--

It is so quiet here--- I HATE IT QUIET-- you would think it would be a blessing to have some nice downtime-- but all I want to do is scoop up Deyan and play with him--- he NEEDS to sleep-- we can play tomorrow.

Marie and James went to La Boheme at the Bulgarian Opera tonight. Marie was excited--- James--- not so much- Tickets up front are about 10 USD-- try that back home! They will grab diner at the second happiest place on earth "Happy Grill"

Tomorrow plans:

Church--- 11 in English at the Catholic Chapel or 12 in Latin at the main Cathedral

We wanted to go to the Zoo (mixed reviews, but the latest info is that the updates required to come up to EU standards have really made a difference--- We will see--- today was supposed to be nice, but it was cold and misty most of the day--- If the weather is nice we might give it a try.

There is also a Christmas Market next to the Catholic Chapel--- maybe!

Side notes for other families staying at the BudaPest-- 

Do NOT plan on laundry here--- The cheapest thing to wash is 4 leva  for socks and undies-- I did not spend 4 leva to BUY my underwear--- I will  rinse in the sink or Bulgaria will deal with a little stink-- either is fine by me--- it would have been close to 100 USD to wash all our stuff (pants and shirts are over 10 USD each)

also-- the hotel restaurant prices seem to have gone way up from 6 months ago-- a salad and an entree will cost you over 20 Leva--- The Billa at the train station has cheap prepared foods you can get a roasted chicken, sides and a salad-- you could feed 2 for a few days on what one meal costs here at the "Pest"-- OR for 3 leva you can get a doener as big as your head at a great little shop half a block on the way to the boulevard. Enjoy the owner-- he is a HOOT! ---1 doener is plenty for 2 to share!-- there is also a pastry shop next to the doener place-- good traditional Bulgarian meat and cheese filled goodness!

Deyan's First 24 Hours With Us

What a cool little kid--

First--- I have added more photos to yesterday's post if you would like to check them out!

Deyan finally fell asleep last night LATE--- and slept this morning LATE--- I finally talked him into getting up at about 9:15---

We all went down for breakfast. He had coffee cake with milk to make mush--- 2 packs of instant oatmeal and  close to half a cup of yogurt with honey.

The kids want to do the Sofia Walking tour but we were running late. We asked a fellow with a British accent for the time. We got to chatting--- SMALL World--- His wife was from Cincinnati. He is here teaching at American University in Blagoevgrad (where Martin is). He is in Sofia for the Opera tonight... We chatted for a bit and asked him to give our regards to Markus and Sabina--- WOW-- indeed a small world.

Back to the room for a bath---pics are coming at the end of  the post-

Nice and clean and dry we head to the Billa to get baby food and snacks. He was a bit freaked by all of the activity. Marie held his hand while I pushed him in the stroller. Back into the familiar setting of the grocery cart he was in a great mood---dancing to every upbeat song that came on the MUZAK.

Marie carried him back to the hotel--- only about a 10 minute walk.

Lunch for Deyan:

  • Jar of Pumpkin/Potato/tomato food
  • Baby Yogurt supplement
  • 1 whole banana lightly mashed
  • a jar of peaches--

He is in the crib, but not looking too tired-- we see about that nap thing.

Still to go today--- Heading out with James to get Doener for lunch- Marie will hang with Deyan.

Marie and James are going on the walking tour tonight at 6 while Deyan and I watch the Crosstown Shootout!

More later


Here are bath-time pics

Friday, December 9, 2011

GOTCHA DAY for Deyan Emmanuel!


We got him. The first impression is what great care they have taken of him- He has gotten sooooo big!
more in a sec---but first the PICS:

Not sure why the picks look a bit funky---I'll try to play with them later---

Sooo We were up for breakfast at 8 and off to pick Deyan up! We waited in the director's office for what seemed like forever---then there he was--- my goodness. He has gotten taller and really plumped up. So stinkin cute! Thanks to Orphanage "Faith, Hope and Love" for an amazing job keeping our little guy alive and well!

Lots of tears and about 45 minutes later we were on our way. He was not (still is not) sure what to think of the car seat. We stopped at the sea for some pics and to put his hand in the water then started the looooong drive back. 

A stop at the Billa for diapers, wipes and baby food and a change and feeding and back on the road. He blasted right through nap time.

We stopped for some grownup food at a truckstop roadside kiosk---Deyan mooched and decided it was work-out time. He grabbed my thumb and took off running. We got back to the hotel about 5:30 our time and went down for dinner. Deyan had baby-gert and a big jar of salmon and veggie baby food- Loved it!

back to the room for some Skype time then bedtime---HA RIIIIGHT.... he had lots of trouble getting to sleep. Wanted to play the clapping game and be picked up and give kisses. 

Melatonin time --20 minutes later he is zonked.

We have a bunch more pics to upload, but they are on ipods and such-- need to get them uploaded and I will embed them here

LONG but AWESOME day--

Off to bed


Got Deyan

More coming soon.  Here is s pic from the Billa

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Wonderful Day Today!

ahhhhh we are settled in the room for the evening----

the scoop

Up at the Budapest (I never can sleep past 4am on a first night in Europe--- except today got up at 5----back to sleep til 8---crazy!)

One of the best breakfasts in Europe and off for the 6 hour car ride to Burgas.

We arrived in town a bit before 4pm. Into the Hotel Aqua and to the the market for some supplies. Then we were back to the lobby to eat fruit, drink fanta and surf the web-   We got a taxi to church for the Feast of The Immaculate Conception---Side note---Kudos to fellow Cincinnatian Secretary Sebelius  for taking the first step to outlaw the abortion pill that was a "right" under Obama Care on this sacred day---we take a win where we can get one.  Now please stop spending our money to kill ANY babies---

A kind lady gave us candy after mass as we were lighting a candle for our lost little baby Jordon- Hvala!

We were going to walk a bit after mass and spotted some Christmas lights.. hummmm--- ahhh a Christmas Market. I have photos-- but can't load them from here. It was very beautiful! We stopped at Happy Grill/Sushi for snacks and the WC and spent some more time at the market.

A quick cab ride back to the Aqua---we actually almost walked all the way--- and to our free "dinner".  On the menu tonight: chicken thighs in sauce, rice and hot dogs in beans.... Yummmm I'm glad we had snacks at Happy Sushi!

James and I swam for about 45 minutes (nice --but COLD indoor pool) while Marie got caught up on the computer--- back for a nightcap and back in the room for bed.

Tomorrow we meet the team for breakfast at 8 and head to get Deyan. We hope for a brief stop at the Black Sea and a photo at the Burgas sign-- then "home" to Sofia for the weekend!

I will try to post a quick photo from the Orphanage (they have wifi) but will update when we get back and settled in Sofia at the Budapest!



Well hopefully better late than never—

I am  writing from my tiny netbook in the car enroute to Burgas sorry for typos.

Wow I zonked out last night. I don’t remember being that exhausted in a very long time. I guess it is understandable after a long wild day.

We landed in Rome an hour ahead of schedule---6:30am wheels down. Wandered a bit in search of an ATM that was not creepy looking. A quick stop for some water and fanta and oops. No Euros yet and the credit card machine is down—no biggie except Marie took a giant swig of her water—crud--- jail time to stealing water?? Young James to the rescue. He brought along a 2 Euro coin from home. Just enough to make the grumpy Kiosk worker happy (well not happy, but no longer wanting to call Police)

Creepy ATM here we come!

Euros in hand and we are off to grab the express train to Roma! We get off at Termini and drop our bags in a locker. It is now peak rush hour on the Metro. We had to wait for the second train--- first was full. 2 stops to the coliseum. Ahhh Roma! I’ve not been in the Coliseum in years. Marie and James have never been in so we spring for the 12 euro tickets to get in there and the Forum. Good call. Amazing visit--- thanks to Marie there are Pics (Picture boy forgot batteries!)

We ate at a wonderful little trattoria. We got a little of everything and shared--- it was WONDERFUL!

To the train station to get our bags and catch the express back to the airport—Ya know that you can’t use credit cards to buys tickets for the airport express? I didn’t. Did you know the machines that take credit cards do not sell tickets for the airport express? I didn’t. After discovering these small details. I went in search of an ATM—I only got a little $$ the first time as I did not want to effect our daily limit to get Leva later in the day.

We planned extra time to get back in case of drama—whew. We will make it back in time even though it took an extra 45 minutes to locate a way to get tix.

FYI—if you plan on taking the Leonardo Express from FCO to Rome expect a very long walk from the platform to Termini Metro stop--- almost 20 minutes with my gimp foot.

We arrive at the airport with 90 minutes or so until the flight. Check the gate information and head for the long chaotic yet surprisingly speedy security line. Then off to our gate at G2. Wait did I say “G2”. Well that is what our tickets said. That is what the first monitor said. We arrive at G, double check the gate and now it goes from H. Argh.

off to the gates—down the escalator, in the tram, up the escalator and find another security checkpoint—with a huge line. 25 minutes til departure. 

This won’t work. 
 Back story—I am possibly the least pushy/nervy person in the world. What to do? The only thing To do…hey, It’s Italy. The line is optional everywhere else. I grabbed the kids and the bag and we walked in front of the first person in line. Said a quiet mi scuzie (sp) and walked through—so grumbles from folks but no yelling or hitting—YAY!

We ran to the gate—but no need. Several other folks also had bad gate info—so we had about 10 min to spare
Onto the plane hot, sweaty and I’m sure pretty ripe from  our airport workout, a day in the city, and the long plane flight prior Settled in for the quick 90 minute flight, I really wanted to sleep—but the sights were incredible. We took off to the west over the Mediterranean-- doubled back and flew over Vesuvius. It seems only a few minutes later we were over the Adriatic with its dramatic coastline and rugged islands everywhere. After landfall, I did manage to sleep. A great smooth flight after a crazy day!
Customs and Immigration in Sofia are a snap and the airport is new, shiny, open and easy to navigate!

The best news of the day? Our bags made it!!! YAY!

Our team was waiting for us and after a bit of fun in Sofia rush hour traffic we arrived at the hotel. Chek in---Check! Plop down luggage? Check!! Call a cab for Happy Grill? Check! We ate a great dinner—sharing a shopska salad, fries with cheese and various grilled meats. (my fave ---I admit it is so wrong—chicken  stuffed with red peppers and cream cheese wrapped in bacon and grilled---oh yea—it’s on a stick.

We walked back to the hotel trying to keep our energy up to skype with the boys. They won’t be home til 10:40 our time.

Trying, trying, trying to stay a…wa………SNORE!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Made It

Sorry this is so short. We are pooped!

A quite eventful stopover in Rome--- Details tomorrow.--- And we finally are settled in the room. 

We leave to go to Burgas tomorrow at 10am.  We pick up Deyan Friday morning. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hello from Atlanta!

Thanks to Catie for the ride to the "dad-port". It was an uneventful flight from CVG to ATL. We were all scattered around the plane on a very full flight.

We have a 3 hour layover here then off to Roma (6 1/2 hours there) and into Sofia tomorrow afternoon.

I decided to spring for Delta Sky Club for a nice place to chill with the boys if we have any flight problems and free food and beverages is not bad either.--- It has not been that long since my last Sky Club stay, but I was bummed to find out there is no more hot food offered.--- stinkers-- Cheese and Crackers and "baby cut" carrots will not work for brunch ---so off to Krystals in Terminal "A" in a bit.-- Chili Cheese Pups here we come!

Any suggestions for 6 hours in Rome? We could take the express train to the center--- about 20 bucks each way-- we would have at least a couple of hours to explore a bit. We could spend a euro and take the city bus to the Lido or tour Ostia Antica --- would love any and all ideas!

Camera boy has no pictures to share yet---

more soon!


Monday, December 5, 2011

quick update

young James (14) is on the road with us----

His mission (besides helping with stinky loads from the boys) Is to take lots of pictures---he is armed with a cruddy 5 year old digital camera and a great attitude---get ready--- here he comes!

pics uploaded daily!


Love --- Papa

Tomorrow we FLY!


tomorrow we fly!

Mary and I spent the weekend in DC looking for some ideas for Jake and his pintching Serbska paws--- we got some good suggestions--- I hope they work--- really

I think we are all packed. --- to remember-- Passports, Credit Cards and ---ummmmm that's it-- the rest they have there. So we are good

The electronics list for this trip is lighter as I will not be working from the road--- so a netbook, ipad, and various personal mp3/ipod touch/android thingies... Kindle--- MAYBE--- but other than the flight over and the car ride to Burgas there will not be a lot of reading time --- so Kindle---- HOME (maybe)

I'm a bit unhappy about the large suitcase that has been thrust upon me--- yes I know it has the goodies the boys "need", but they have lived with so much less for the past 6 years--- why now??? Cuz we can?? Oh Well

next update from the road! (maybe on the mobile version of Blogger so please forgive the typos)