Thursday, October 31, 2013

And it's off

Our second stage dossier is waiting for the DHL truck to pick it up & send it to *it's country of destination* :D  I thought I'd have it out yesterday, but in a stroke of brilliance, I decided to check the email over ONE MORE TIME. Good call, as I missed one tiny detail, that 2, not 1, notarized, apostilled copies of the POA were required. Not like our attorney didn't try, either. It was bold face, all caps, and underlined. The down side was yet ANOTHER trip to 1111 East Broad, and a bit of ribbing from the SOC folks, whom I assured yesterday I wouldn't see again before next year. The upshot was I did get yummy chicken salad two days in a row.

I am sure most have seen this, but if not, Miss Brandi has a family committed to her. She is among the last of the older children, still eligible for adoption who was still waiting for a forever family.  My friend Susanna, over at the Blessing of Verity, has been tirelessly advocating for her, and finally, her day has come!!!!  Please help raise the initial $5300 for the Myers' commitment fees. She shares the same cerebral palsy diagnosis as Penny does. I was not able to see her when I visited, though I'd hoped to. Given that I've never seen a photo of her upright at all, and with the general conditions of some of the older children I *did* see, my guess would be that's she's every bit as fragile as Penny, maybe more so. That said, she's also several years younger than Pen, and much like the old time is money analogy, time is healing. The sooner she's safely in Myers' home, the sooner this time can be redeemed!!! Please consider supporting their adoption in any way possible & please share this post or this one from Susanna's blog! Thank you!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just a a note to say


(You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.....)

Home again, home again....

Jiggity jog, right?

Laura and I arrived a good half hour early on our flight home. It still took ninety minutes to escape check out of the airport. I've come to the conclusion that I don't do well with a 40K to ground level descent in 30 minutes flat. To prove this, I dry heaved most of the ride back to the 'burbs.  A good night sleep, yummy breakfast, hot shower, and fatty cup of American joe basically revived me (ahhh, $5bucks PSL!!! I missed you greatly, though my wallet did not.)

Mr. P & the kids had two big surprises for me. One was a wonderful hour long massage, and the other was an elliptical machine for my birthday. Yes, I know the stereotypes, DH purchases exercise equipment for wife =instant death. Rest assured, I've wanted one of these beasties forever! It is the one work out thing I actually enjoy. This one does a million or so neat tricks, and if I were actually cool enough to own a real iPod (I don't, stop laughing...right now, STOP LAUGHING!) it would synch to that too. I've gotten onto it several times now, and have not hung a single item of laundry off of it (yet.)

I made my way back to the vahhhh-spa on Saturday. Several of my patients were still there, despite my 2 week absence.  "Placement issues" being the understatement of the century. While at times I am certain my locale of employment would be indistinguishable from a lunatic asylum, I actually missed it, and it was nice to get back into the swing of things and catch up with the staff.  The only not so funny for me (funny maybe about me, if you find irony funny) adventure really was Saturday night. Now, as back story, I was riddled with DO NOT EAT advice upon going to BG. Don't eat (including but not limited to...) water, fresh veggies, fruit you can't peel, anything from a street cart, any salad, ...... Yeah. Opps. I think I blew the first 4 or so within 24 hrs of arrival. Let's face it, I went to EUROPE, not the African bush. And I survived. Just fine, I  might add. And the 1 lev, not technically a food cart, just food passed through a window onto the street was seriously good. (And its two blocks from where all the DF families stay in Sofia, just FYI.)

Fast forward to Saturday night.  I've got the munchies and frankly what sounds good is a bag of Lays. But I can hear my provider's voice in my head lecturing me on junk food, so I opt for the garden salad out of the fridge. (Kitchen blesses the residents, and by default, me) with the left over meals at the end of the day.) So I pick the good salad. Not sure if it was the salad or the dressing that was bunk, but either way I was insanely, bring up the toe nails sick in 15 minutes. Ahem....apparently the don't eat this rules extend as far as the resident's fridge somewhere on southside. I felt better by Sunday AM, and at least in Laura's opinion, this was very funny. You can bet your boots (and a few other things) that next time, I'm totally going with the Lays. After all, now I have an elliptical!

In adoption news, our I-800 is winging it's way to the USCIS lockbox. It should arrive today, tomorrow at the latest. We have half the docs for our 2nd stage dossier sign/notarized, and should have the remaining two by midweek. next week. My goal is to have all but the I-800 (I have no earthly clue how long it takes to come back) in country by November 1. I think that's do-able. I miss my girls. I want them home, as soon as God's will allows.  A real, last day in country post with photos is over due, and I will work on it shortly.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

And the Very Next Day.....

That lady came back!!!

This morning we met our social workers and walked across town to the local soccer stadium & track. Big, grassy....FENCED! These ladies are brilliant! I was doubly impressed that one was wearing very cute heels....over cobblestones and relatively poor excuses for sidewalks at times.

We arrived and 'lil miss had me make several laps, alternating walking hand in hand with carrying her. we also sat for a bit & checked out the nifty octopus musical toy Daddy picked out. If you push its tentacles, it says the colours (in your choice of English, Spanish, or French!)
I don't know about this.....

We did thoughtfully tell her foster dad how to shut the silly thing off. Fair being only fair. *I* found it irritating about 5 minutes in. And I know what it's saying!

The visit, though due for about two hours, ground down at the 90 minute mark. Little Miss, unable to express something, of great importance, or else just plain tired, was stick a fork in me done, and pretty well melted down. We decided there was nothing gain & plenty to be lost trying to push it any more, and to do so was patently unfair to her & her foster family. So, amidst crying, wailing, and possibly some gnashing, we called it a morning. My best guess, though I was too chicken to ask, was that she was asleep before he left the parking lot. (6 kids later, I've seen this once or twice before. And it transcends cultures.)

The afternoon visit, which included the visa photo session, began equally rocky. Her photo, which at some point, will be looked upon fondly and with some ribbing at her expense, is a tear stained glory. Our fearless guide, while not a dad himself, as shepherded literally hundreds of families and little ones. He got to be in charge, and we successfully obtained embassy approved shots. Go team!  Sniffles and gulps subsiding, we wandered over to the swings and quietly swung and allowed her to get her bearings again. The rocking seemed to do the trick, and Laura & I chatted with another mom in the park, who is Bulgarian herself, but lives in the states. You don't hear much English in the public park, so it was a real blessing. One of those moments that feel like God just hugged you.

Eventually joy won the day, and we canvased most of the park area, part of the plaza, munched down a Milka mini-bar, and played with some hair. Paying much closer attention this time to the timbre and mood of the visit, we wisely called it a day when she began to act tired. I was able to bring her to her family's car, and the visit ended on a happy note. 

 Ring around the Papa, best game ever!!

 Happy trails, little one. Momma will see you in the morning.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Catching up, New town, More Love!

Our final day of visits with Penny took a bit more time to work though. The orphanage staff was gracious enough to allow us two visits, on a Saturday. This might not seem big, but apparently it's unheard of. I did well to keep it together during the morning visit. Penny was more alert and awake, occasionally peeping her head up over my shoulder to look out the window.

We came to the conclusion  that 1) Penny likes some stretch time 2) Daddy picked some really fun toys out. The ball being, unquestionably, the biggest hit.
The second visit of the day was unspeakably harder. She was having some tummy ailments, which I guess are to be filed under better to know than be surprised, but it was heartbreaking to watch her. 2 hours of tearless sobs. No position comfortable, no matter what, no consoling. I know, O Lord, that thy judgements are right and that thou, in faithfulness hast afflicted me." Psalm 119:75 
I don't know...I do know, or least understand physically, the whys. But like so much of this journey, the how's remain in question. Holding my child, whom I must leave in this place, watching her seize in my arms (again) with tears streaming down my face and trying to stifle my sobs, lest I upset her more. And this, apparently, is normal. Normal for here. Normal for now. Normal to our shame, Church, because it shouldn't be normal at all. Paul identified himself as chief amongst sinners. I will tell you, before setting foot here, I should have self identified as chief among the ignorant. And I was sure I knew; sure I was prepared.
Laura found a vending machine across the street and brought me a medicinal cup of cocoa. Our fearless guide patiently waited for the sobs to subside so I could drink it, so as not to wear it in the car, (or for his car to wear it, first bump we hit, which is pretty reasonable on his part.) The drive to the next town was pretty. We went up into the foothills, which opened up to a huge plain. The area is all farmland. Interesting sites included a group of biplanes for crop dusting, which I wasn't fast enough to catch a picture of (we'll try again on the way back) and finally, some cows.
 The plains on the way

The town in tiny. The hotel (there's 1) was hosting a wedding reception. Lots of partying, and unfortunately, no eating here. The café downstairs had ham sammys, +/- cheese. We decided to venture further afield. The first place we tried turned us away, maybe they were having a party too? The second place, which seems to be a bar/disco sort of combo, was a success. Yeah!!! I had what must have been the world's largest shopska salad and was blissfully happy. The hotel is nice...our bathroom would be a Tennessee fan's dream; and orange and white glory! But it's big, and has a functioning heated towel rack.  You could do far worse.  
We spent Sunday morning, after discovering breakfast is sort of optional here (the wedding was rocking well past midnight, so maybe we were the only people up at 0900 local time.) Chocolate cake, while tempting, seemed like a bit much sugar, even for Americans. So we settled on fancy coffee (and you know, they have syrups....I just can't figure out how to get a shot of it into my coffee) and the instant oatmeal Laura wisely packed. There is a church in town, but for the life of us, we couldn't find it. So we listened to Alistair Begg & watched some praise and worship music, and called it church. In the afternoon we wandered about the town, meeting at least one friendly local, and his fairly friendly (arguably too much so, insofar as Laura was concerned) dog. These folks were urban homesteading before it was cool. No lawns, but gardens and orchards galore. Pretty cool.  We came back, muddle our way through order tea solo (Laura got warm milk *gag* so I thought better of it and ordered a bottle of juice right out of the cooler.) Dinner was again around 7, and there was yet another special event (Wedding the preceding night, pretty sure it was a wake at lunch time, and a rollicking party last night; no idea what the occasion, but they partied long....and I slept not so long :( ) In the revelers' defense, I was so nervous, it could have been perfectly still and I might still have slept lousy.
War memorial

Laura looking all European chic :-D

 Some of the fabulous backyard orchards
This morning we skipped the restaurant all together, and headed to the corner grocery, which has yummy warm rolls filled with Turkish delight, chocolate & hazelnuts, or "marmalade" which tastes suspiciously like apple butter. Coffee at the café and we were off to the social services building. Which was where we thought it was (the only governmental looking office on the whole plaza....with national, regional, and local flags flying, which was sort of a give away.) We met what may well have been their whole CPS staff, including the director. Nice folks. We let our fearless guide chat it up (who's one of those innately suave types, can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, both sincerely and charming all at once.) I had her photo book put together, and am again thanking God for the stroke of insight to do those. Covers about 50% of the questions you'll be asked anyway, and an easy sort of ice breaker. Second good call was including a picture of Ellie dog. These are dog people, by & large. *phew* We waited, sweaty palmed and slightly hand wringing, to the amusement of the staff, what seemed like a life time, for Julie (called "Fanny", a diminutive form of her birth name) to arrive.
And finally....
She arrived. While I had tons of ideas about what Penny was like (some accurate, so not so much), I frankly had no idea what to expect here. She's perfect! (Mom bias) Cute brown pony tail, lashes again most women would die for, bluish-green eyes much like mine. Apparently likes her glasses about as much as I do mine, and sees possibly less than I do without mine. Her foster family, a wonderful older couple, explained she needs a sedated full ophthalmological exam. Not sure if it's a funding or a consent issue, but she's not had it. She hold everything close to her right eye, which seems to be the stronger of the two. For all of that, she fast on her feet with a steady gate, though I doubt she has fabulous depth perception. We quickly discovered her true love, however. Hair! Pull on it, flip your head down, and attempt to untangle mine (kiddo-it is, in fact, impossible.) She gave it quite the college try though.
We headed off to check out the swings and little park near the municipal offices. She loves to swing, and the swings here have real, fixed seats. She doesn't hang all. Remains to be seen if we'll be replacing ours or she'll learn to hang on. ^_^   We took a lunch break and were able to come back for a second afternoon visit (yeah!!! Another prayer answered.) We hit the same park, and discovered 1-she's quick, 2-I'm pretty quick too, if I do say so myself, 3-everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, will go in her mouth (*gag*), and 4-both she and I will sleep together tonight, even if the partiers in the restaurant bring the house down, lol!
 Making sure this new lady's gonna push me on the swings.....

Rocking Miss Laura's super sparkly scarf!

 I am sure I can untangle this mess.....



(And Momma's just as happy!)

 Hi there!

Wanna know a secret?

 We can both wear glasses together, you know?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
James 1:17 NKJV

IT'S THE LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Cherished Chad Hidden Treasures Auction ends tonight!!!!! This sweet boy shares a room with my Penny. He is fearfully & wonderfully made, and needs his Momma and Daddy so badly. I know, I've begged & pleaded in every post. Please forgive me and go support his family in raising his ransom. He's so unique and seems to leave an indelible mark on the hearts of everyone who meets him. When we realized that he was Penny's roomie, (connecting his real name with his RR nickname) everyone (from our fearless guide to the director herself~~) lit up. He is joy personified in about an 18 month old sized body. There's very little to shine about in that place, too much hurt, pain, and loss for too many years to just shrug off. But nevertheless, he SHINES.

         PLEASE head on over and find something you'll love-for someONE you'd love,  I promise!!!


Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sight seeing and Other Adventures

So, this morning was our big day to go get Princess P's visa photos done. The staff had her dressed in one of her new outfits, capri leggings (crazy Americans) included. Once safely tucked in our get-a-way facilitator's car, we clipped on the contraband hair bows too ^_^ Now, in the staff's defense, she saw those bows and had her mouth open baby bird style. Nei! So those could not stay in unattended. As an answer to prayer, the sun was out and the breeze minimal. It was still 5*C (41*F, thank you NOAA calculator I just googled.....) but nicer than it's been the entire time we've been in country. So we made a bit of a field trip of it, and strolled about the plaza area. We saw several old buildings and fountains. Also stray dogs and fat pigeons, but those are less photogenic.
Momma, Penny, & Mrs. Laura posting

Close up!!!  

 Thawing out & check out the hair bows :)

Looks like a church, but apparently an art gallery.

 Pretty girl, in front of pretty flowers.  (And yes, I was vain, next to such loveliness, and ditched the dratted glasses. :( 6 months 'til contacts, wish me luck in compliance. I am proud of the fact that I was actually looking at the camera...that I couldn't see.)
We got back, thawed out (we had her snuggled in a la bunting style with Laura's big poofy jacket, but she was still chilly) and generally enjoyed snuggling.  When it was time for her nap the staff pried her out of my arms let me settle her in...AND I got to meet Chad!! My goodness he's cute! We had a fun (quick, but fun) high five game & I was in total awe of how fast that boy can move!!! Dollars to donuts says he keeps the nursing staff hopping.  Sorry, no pics :(
We tried out a new lunch spot, adjacent to the photo place. I was able to get a couple of enlargements of the visa photo, which was surprisingly lovely for a 1x1 head shot. I was happy to have a "real" picture of her. The new lunch spot was yummy, and we laughed ourselves somewhat stupid over lunch whilst watching cheesy VH1 80's versus 90's videos on the big screen. Yeah, we don't get out much. Afterwards, Mr. P. successfully got the sound working on Skype again, so Momma got to say good morning to everyone at 2:30 in the nearly teenager's dream ;) All is basically quite on the western front. Special thank you to Stormy, who's helped us hold down the fort this week!!!
Our afternoon visit was punctuated by meeting the Government social worker (not to be confused with the facility's worker...who presumable also works for the government, so this seems redundant, but I digress....) Actually a lovely older lady, who I gather has had Pen on her case load since her birth. She as much said she thought Penny wouldn't make it at times, which broke my heart (again) and yet I am so thankful to God for His hand of mercy over her.
We also:
Tried on other nifty hairbow from Bri S. (I got it in a Hidden Treasures Auction, hint hint--not hinting GO BID...there's something you surely need....or don't need but will love anyway)
Got a letter from a little girl who's prayed faithfully for Penny (To her momma, Katie-you seriously have no idea how this 'letter' has touched people!) 
And visited with her nurse

Unfortunately, she did have another seizure, which delayed dinner some, but when able to eat, she ate with gusto.  I again, and again to her deep consternation, got to be the no fingers down the throat police.  Then it was bedtime, and time to settle in....
This dress actually did prove a lot shorter than I though. For whatever she lacks in width, Penny more than covers it with length!!! All the meanwhile, Mrs. Laura had about the cutest 18 mo/2 year old?? little cherub just flirting up a storm with her. After yesterday's little swarm, and then him (and he had a couple of counterpart cuties with him), I am beginning to thing everyone needs one of these little guys in their life!!
I was pretty well starving, as was everyone else, so we headed back and tried new and interesting (if not entirely accurately depicted in the menu) dinner items. Also, just for my kiddos, I broke the water rule and had
 I think I like their version better than ours. Beginning with and not limited to the fact that it isn't DOT orange.......
The feeding video turned out better than anticipated, however it will not load or function here :( That was just a mean tease....though I promise I tried to load it....just gave up after 10 minutes......
Two prayer request, one unspoken, and one plainly spoken: Please pray we are able to have two full visits tomorrow.  The other I'd rather not get into, but the Lord knows, and can make a way for it, if it is His will, at this time. Thank you & good night from BG ;)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3, More visits with Penny

We arrived a smidge early (go me, not late!) This is no small miracle, as I once again woke at random fall asleep four hours after that...and then had to be up in an hour after that. Blech. Thank goodness, they have no kidding around coffee.

Our visit this morning began well. The really kind nurse from the previous evening was on, and she was eager to get us settled. Penny seemed comfy, though I can't say for sure if she recognized me or not. We attempted to snap a few pictures, but Penny had a seizure. You know, I'm a nurse. I've seen plenty of seizures. But when it is your child, in your arms, and you are powerless to help them, it is a horrible feeling.  :( I vetoed any further snap shots, as I have no idea if the light on the camera could be exacerbating the situation or not, and I surely wasn't taking any chances. In spite of this, we got in a good long visit, and then were able to meet the orphanage director. She's very nice, though I truly have no idea how it is that one is medical director, chief of staff, and chief administrative officer all in one. This would be 3 positions in the private facility in the states....(and at least 6 at the vahhhh spa ;) )  She was able to get us some more info, and promised to track down a few odds and ends that I am hoping to get a hold of for Penny's medical file. We are also *nearly* certain, that Penny's room mate is Chad, who's auction is RIGHT NOW (shameless plug....our family loves this little guy and are so happy he is coming home too!!!!)

The orphanage is getting a bit of a make over!! The lobby has fresh paint and several of the upper level classrooms and nurseries will too. Those rooms have fresh windows and flooring, and a ramp for the main entrance is in the works too.....that's quite the grade, so I don't envy whomever gets tasked with figure that one you'd need to start from the other side of the street!!!  We were shown two of the rooms that will be renovated...and met a whole passel of 18 month olds who swarmed us!! Pat pat pat the legs...and the skirt, and the bags, and the hand gel on my purse, NEI! :D Too cute. It will be nice for them, when it is all said and done.

Our afternoon visit was briefer. Penny had another seizure earlier, so I think we were on close observation...or else I looked shifty or something, b/c the nurse watched us like a hawk! She was groggy, but I think she recognized me (and seems to love our facilitator!) We had some good snuggle time, and then---IT WAS SUPPER TIME! Princess P does not need to be asked twice to eat. I was able to feed her. I learned a lot feeding her (slowly....I'm fairly certain our nurse could have fed the entire ward twice over at my rate....silly American) and she ate the whole bowl clean. After this, she was as bright eyed as I've ever seen her, real life or photo or video. Unfortunately, that was go home time. Still, I am thankful. For some much info. For seeing some of her health "record" play out, and being able to recognize some major issues that seemed to not be there, but are need to know. For the director who is really, really trying to make improvement. For the nurses caring for her...even the ones keeping a close eye on slow feedin' Americans, lol!

A few prayer requests:
  • For Penny's health-getting a mixed bag of info here. She is much better than she was, but she still has several major health concerns we need to get sorted out, quickly.
  • For our pictures tomorrow-please pray that she tolerates our adventure out.....and that the weather is something, anything nicer than 40, drizzly, and cold.  (oh, and that I can convince folks that the leggings we brought are, in fact, capris.....really, they are "short" on purpose. ;-) ) They'd actually fit her in the waist.
  • For funding to come in abundantly for the renovation work, and for a particular formula need.
  • For the baba situation, which I do not want to get into publically. Just pray over it, Jesus knows the need.
  • For any other SN children, particularly older children, to have their files know, identified, and ACTIVE with the MOJ. And please pray in advance for their forever families. In that swarm of 18  month olds, there were several who clearly had some SN's. Let us be vigilant, on their behalf, to pray them into homes just as soon as they are eligible for adoption. So that never again are families bringing home 21 pound teenagers. We serve a God who is mighty to save; let's be His hands, His feet, His wallet, and His voice for these least of these.

Should the weather cooperate, we'll try to get some nice outside pictures of Princess P. tomorrow where there is no chance of flash.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day Two & meeting Penny

After only one random wake up, a second Benadryl, a better wake up, and a scrumptious breakfast, we were met by our fearless facilitator/ guide/ interpreter and headed off to the town Penny lives in. The drive was beautiful, lots of farm lands (though no "farms" i.e.: homes/homesteads as I'd think of them) and beautiful countryside. The drive up into the mountains was a bit rougher, with a LOT of fog (for the local readers, makes Afton Mountain look like mist!) This was God's gift to me, as the drop off's on the side of the road were steep. I'm no fan of heights. 

We arrived in the city (small sized, but definitely city, not town) and found her orphanage. Finally meeting her was a bit surreal. God provided so much more than I could imagine though. First and foremost, she allowed me to hold her. She's not bigger, but certainly a lot stronger, and more mobile than I'd have thought from her medical reports. She can move all of her joints, though clearly the arm up by her head is the position o'choice. Her fingers are super long & graceful, and she's got eye lashes that would put any Cover girl mascara model to shame :) Much like I used to do Miss Sarah's hair many years ago, it was pulled up on top, Pebbles style!! (and she has enough hair to pull up!) We got to sit up, lie down and watch her show off turning (and trying with reasonable success to sit up-scaring me nearly to death), and watch her eat. See one, do one, teach one, tomorrow is my day to try feeding her! I am not sure how much she cared about the toy I bought, but she certainly liked Laura's camera. Shiny, pretty, and directly to the mouth it goes. In many ways, like a 4-5 month old baby, as though she were in a state of suspended animation. But she is completely aware of what's going on, watching everything.

We found our hotel (for future traveler's to the area-yeah, WiFi in the rooms now!) It's pretty, set out from the city by about 15 minutes or so. Lunch was pizza-the small will feed two of us for two days, with salad, and Kaufland, which might be BG's answer to Walmart-with better coffee.

 The clouds banking over the mountains as we left Sofia. Pretty neat looking!

Miscellaneous shots of the country side...and tractor dealerships because I'm a redneck like that...

Street banners from Penny's home town.

Now, here she is, holding my fingers. She had a much stronger grip than I'd have figured. This could be due to the fact that this is the preferred sucking hand.
This one is during our first meeting. She had already gotten a hold of my finger. It's funny, in a small world sort of way, as the flannel used to make her bib is the same exact flannel my dear mother in law has used to make a baby blanket for Baby Grey.
I was able to get a few video clips too. Unfortunately for blogging purposes, I'm chatting to her using her "real" name, thus pretty well negating any possibility for publishing. 
After Penny's dinner (lil miss certainly liked her food!) we made our way back to the hotel, had a fun dinner with our facilitator (chatting food, customs, and politics), and I'm certain now it's bed time. I mean, it's at least 8 o'clock local time right?!? Somehow, I think I managed to be jet lagged in reverse.  Happily though, we figured out the heater, as the forecasted overnight low is a balmy 33* (and no, that ain't Celsius!)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Arrived & Day 1 in Sofia

We survived our trip over, making all of our connections and apparently better time through baggage claim & the currency exchange than the average. Go us! I slept all the way from Germany to Sofia, a much needed power nap. We got checked into our hotel and, after getting freshened up, Laura & I decided that we must NOT go to sleep now.....bad form at 2:30 pm local time. So we wandered about Sofia, scoring some tasty pizza en route. These are some picks
View from our hotel room-That's looking down, and the historic downtown region would be to your left.

Not certain of the name of every place, but we did see a 16th century mosque, the largest Sephardic Jewish Synagogue in all of Europe, and an Orthodox cathedral that was the site of a terrorist attack against the then king of Bulgaria in 1925. All in the space of about 5 blocks!! The statue has a gold face, but don't let the colouring deceive you-NOT sunny, and not warm. That's me up there, quite grateful I packed a fuzzy fleece jacket. We snagged some 1 lv slices of pizza (that was seriously good, cheap eats),  got some good exercise in, and talked to everyone at home on Skype.  Now, at the crazy late hour of 7 pm, I so think I am calling it a night! Tomorrow, we travel to visit Princess Penny! Please pray for us, for favour, and for the Holy Spirit to just go ahead of us every step of this trip! Thank you!