Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One Year - Gyunay's 1st year home

One year ago today, I carried Gyunay out of the orphanage forever.  A staff member poured water on the steps, and Nathaniel and I walked through it.  (They explained that it's a Bulgarian custom for good luck.)  Gyunay was understandably scared. We were nervous, relieved, and anxious to get him back to the apartment.  We were praying that he would learn to love us.  Nathaniel went all over Sofia looking for soup, because it was lunch time and they told us that he always had soup for lunch.  The one thing they specifically said he was never given - pork - was the first thing he ate for us that first lunch in the apartment.  He picked the ham out of my salad and ate it all!

When we got Gyunay, we were just starting to see glimpses of his happy and mischievous nature.  He was unsure about us and everything new around him.  He was also pale, with thin, scraggly hair and an uncertain smile.  He had no idea how to walk up or down stairs.  He had no idea that "Mama" and "Dada" weren't just our names.  He had no concept of danger, whether from cars or ovens or strange animals.
1 year ago - see how unsure he is?

Now, he's a vivacious, happy, full member of our crazy family.  He loves having 2 big brothers and a big sister to pester.  He had never been around animals before; now he plays with the dog and chickens regularly.  He's a mama's boy who also loves his daddy dearly.  He's put on about 6 lbs, and about that many inches.  


When we got Gyunay, we obviously knew that he had one arm.  We also knew that he had had past lung problems, was a very early preemie, had only started eating solid foods a few months  after he turned 2, could say a few syllables but essentially no words or phrases (just "no" "Mama" "da" (yes)  "Dada" and "more"), and was developmentally delayed due to institutionalism.  Now we know that his lungs are fine, and he can eat, run, and climb stairs like a champ.  He still has delays, and we now know that his speech issue isn't just a delay but a disability, probably apraxia of speech.  We also know that he will overcome this.  In his referral, it said that he was a fighter and a biter.  He is, and so much more!  He doesn't bite very often now, but he does pull hair something awful when he's mad.  He can throw a tantrum like a typical toddler, but he also bounces back really fast into his happy self.

None of us can imagine life without him.  He is so greatly loved by all of us, and he loves us all fiercely.  He knows he belongs with us.  He fits right in with all of his grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  He charms people everywhere we go, and although he loves others' attention, he sticks close to his family.

We still have milestones to work on - speech, potty training, learning to share.  He's 3 and a half years old.  He still acts more like a two-year-old, developmentally speaking, but he's come such a long way from where he was!  We knew he would thrive with our family, and he has.  He's amazed us so many times.  This is a kid who can conquer obstacles with a smile on his face.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:12

Monday, January 25, 2016

Back to Normal?

Well, it seems like things will be heading closer to normal around here.  Of course, Lydia's sick, and Nathaniel's been out of town during all these snow days, so I'm not sure how normal.  There is school today, so our schedule should return to a semblance of normal, anyway, although with Lydia home with me and Gyunay.  Gyunay will like that.

My one-winged snow angel.  This kid sure loves the snow.

It's supposed to get quite warm today.  The chickens would like it if the snow melts.  They just stand in the doorway and "bawwwk" at it, like it will go away if they keep complaining.  

Friday, January 22, 2016


Our weather forcast for today was rather frantic.  There were changing reports, but the last I heard yesterday was forcasting ice, then lots of snow.  Luckily, we missed the ice.  We did get snow, and the kids enjoyed another snow day.
The snow started out as these little pellets.

 The kids really love the snow.  They hate the cold, but they love snow.  Gyunay begged to go out all morning, but it was really windy, so we waited until after nap when the wind had calmed down.

Malachi took a picture of me and one of himself.

Lydia took this one.  

We have about 6 inches of snow in our yard right now.  It may snow more tonight, so we'll see how much we end up with!  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review - Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

This book starts with Christy Reed seeing her sister's house burn down, presumably with her sister inside.  Two months later, a letter addressed in sister Ginny's hand arrives.  If Ginny didn't die in the fire, where is she?  Author Irene Hannon takes the reader on a twisting ride as Christy and FBI agent Lance McGregor try to solve the mystery before more tragedy occurs.

This suspense novel was fast-paced and held my interest, although it was a bit longer than it needed to be.  The characters are likeable, with interesting backgrounds.  It did seem like they felt really comfortable together really quickly, but given the circumstances, I overlooked this.  The story is told in third person, but it varies on focus between Christy, Lance, the killer, and the killer's relative.  I enjoyed the shifting viewpoints.  This is the second in a trilogy, which I realized early on, but it is a stand-alone novel.  This is the first novel by Irene Hannon I've read, and I think the next one in this series looks interesting as well.

I received this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.  

Snow Day

Here we are on our second snow day of the year.  (The first was last week.)  This snow is powdery, so it's good for sledding but not snowballs or snowmen.
Nathaniel brought home 2 new sleds yesterday, so now we have 4.

That's Elijah running up the hill to the right.  He didn't want his picture taken today.

Lydia even helped me shovel snow for a while.  Here she is in her "snow blanket".
It's only 19 degrees, so I only had Gyunay outside for half an hour.  Lydia came in 10 minutes later.  The big boys lasted a while longer, mainly because I told them that they could "skate" on the small pond only when Gyunay was in the house.  They seemed to enjoy that.

Monday, January 18, 2016

At Home

Today, the kids had the day off for Martin Luther King Day.  It was really cold outside, so we all stayed in (well, except for chores like chickens).  The three big kids took advantage of Gyunay's nap time to paint some wooden snowmen that I've had for some time.

They had a really good time, and their snowmen turned out really cute.
Lydia's, Malachi's, and Elijah's snowmen

Monday, January 11, 2016

Making Pasta

I decided that it was a perfect day for pasta a la carbonara, so I made some fresh pasta.  I tried to get it done during nap, but I had too many projects going and was not done when Gyunay woke up.
He quickly got his apron and tried to help.  He loves to wear his apron while cooking with me.  Mamaw made this apron for Elijah when he was about 3.

Yum.  I'm looking forward to dinner!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

First Snow of the Season

It's very cold, so they didn't last long, but the kids were eager to go sledding today.  I had hot cocoa waiting for when they came in!

Book Review - A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason

I've really enjoyed my latest book, A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason.  This is the first book I've read by this author, and although it is the second in a series, I felt that it was a completely stand-alone novel, and although I'm sure it would have been nice to read the first one, it wasn't necessary to enjoy this story.  The book is set in New York in 1914, when Maggie Montgomery comes from Ireland with one brother to visit another brother's family.  There are lots of characters to like in this story, but I am especially fond of Adam O'Leary and Maggie.  They are the main characters, and they are well-written, with realistic desires and flaws.  Adam's past landed him in prison for three years, and now he is trying to prove himself a changed man.  Maggie sees his worth from the start, but many others do not.  The many characters have complex pasts and interactions, and I enjoyed that.  Another romance, between Maggie's brother Gabe and heiress Aurora Hastings, blooms during the book, and although I did like both characters, I felt sometimes that their story was a bit of a distraction from the main storyline.   I was glad that the author didn't try to write phonetically the characters' Irish brogue, as that can be hard to read, but I was glad that she often acknowledged that they had an accent, or "Irish lilt" as it is put in the book.  There were also many details that firmly placed the story in its time frame of 1914, which I always appreciate.  There was plenty of drama and an unsavory character from Maggie's past, so the story had plenty to keep the reader interested.

I recommend this historical romance.  Although I received a copy from the publisher Bethany House for the purpose of writing a review, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Now, I have mentioned before that Lydia loves fabric (http://barefootkentuckymama.blogspot.com/2015/09/fabric-and-bacon.html), but I should probably admit that she gets it from me.  My sewing area is in my bedroom, and for months it has been a fabric explosion.  Mamaw gave me some cash for Christmas, and I went to this cute little resale shop that we like and bought a shelf for my fabric.
Of course, this is just the regular cotton fabric.  My flannels and knits are in the two tubs to the right in the picture below. 

It's amazing how much bigger my room looks.  Nathaniel jokes about being able to actually see the wood floors we spent so much time installing.  There's still miscellaneous fabric on the sewing desk (left of machine) because I've always got several projects going at once, but it's really nice to have the fabric organized.  And I now have my thread organized, too!  (Rack on wall - thanks Mom and Dad!)  

And did you notice the little white frame on the new shelf?  Years ago, my aunt Karen sent me a card that I loved.  I've saved it and planned to frame it for all these years, and yesterday, I finally did it.  
The photo isn't great, but you get the gist.  I absolutely love this, and it is so me.  It makes me smile.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year's Day!

I'm a bit late on posting any pictures from Christmas, but today is the eighth day of Christmas, so I'm still within the Christmas season!
This little man enjoyed his first Christmas.  He especially loved his backpack, which he is still wearing for hours each day.  Despite everything being new and different, he did great and really enjoyed himself.

As usual, family pictures are a challenge for us!

I loved cuddling with these little guys in a quieter moment!