We just apostilled our second post-placement report back to Bulgaria for Stefan. I'm afraid the pictures were on Virginia's phone, which got smashed last week, or I would share some. I'll see if I can get them once she gets her new one (but 5 years on an iPhone 5 subject to 5 kids was a really good run, and I applaud her).
But if anyone still checks on our very-quiet blog, please know that you are appreciated, and the volume of the blog is inversely correlated to the volume of our life. And it's been very full. I will give you a brief rundown:
We moved! Not far, but to a property that's just over an acre, with a great big grassy fenced yard and an even bigger back lot for the more able and responsible kids. There are citrus, mulberry, and China berry trees, and on the vacant lot just south of us, a peach and two plums, which we have permission to pick. The peaches are at their peak right now, and the lower branches are bare...up to about kid+stool height. Go figure. The move means that Ana will switch districts for next year, so we're navigating that. God has blessed us with very kind and understanding school contacts, and we just need to press on.
Stefan (and everybody but Ana, really) has grown a ton. Pants that were rather...gangsta...on him are now quite respectable. He is adding words, which is great, but it totally overloads his brain and wrecks him in the evening. If he's learned a new word, expect the rest of the day to be rather testy. His brain gets tired and he gets crabby (I understand, mine does too, just with different things - sometimes much less significant). The boyos are big and busy and love the space. Choupinette loves the bunnies and chickens - until they get too close, or try to eat her picnic food, or try to climb into the car to go to church with us. The chickens are funny.
We remain so thankful for our friends the C family who have come alongside us and walk with us, sharing the considerable burden of our busy family. And my work is very busy, yet I remain thankful for the great degree of flexibility that the university affords me. There's much to be thankful for.
We look forward to visits with friends & a wedding this weekend, and our housewarming/house-blessing party on Memorial Day- if you're in the Chandler area, let us know if you'd like to come!
I leave you with the prayer of the last elders of the Optina monastery - it is a morning prayer, and I am thankful it is in the regular morning prayers of my prayer book (though I confess a failure to memorize it yet, and thus ensure that I can actually say it anywhere I happen to be on a busy morning...)
O Lord, grant that I may meet all that this coming day brings to me
with spiritual tranquility. Grant that I may fully surrender myself to
Thy holy Will.
At every hour of this day, direct and support me in all things.
Whatsoever news may reach me in the course of the day, teach me to
accept it with a calm soul and the firm conviction that all is subject
to Thy holy Will.
Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions. In all
unexpected occurrences, do not let me forget that all is sent down from
Grant that I may deal straightforwardly and wisely with every member of my family, neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone.
O Lord, grant me the strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day
and all the events that take place during it. Direct my will and teach
me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive, and to love.
For perspective on the men who composed and employed this prayer, the Wikipedia article on the monastery is helpful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optina_Monastery