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Friday, July 31, 2015

Court Date, July 30th - Day 20

Yesterday was our court date.  We spoke to several different folks who had already appeared in court, read blog posts about it, and prepared for it the best we could.

Our facilitators met us at the house where we are staying at 9:15 a.m., and we followed them to the disctrict where we were to appear in court.  We arrived about 11:45 and were scheduled to be in the court room at noon.  The  judge was out and we were told that we may have to wait a bit for her to be available.

While we waited, we were introduced to our translator and found out that he had put a rush on translating some documents regarding our state's adoption laws that were requested by the judge.  We are thankful for "R", and his willingness to quickly put in the extra work that was asked for.  Without his  extra efforts, we would have waited at least another month to get our bonding date.

As it turned out, we were brought into the courtroom right at about noon.  After some preliminaries such as reading the purpose for the court appearance, the judge asked me some questions.

1)  Why did I want to adopt?
2)  Why did we choose Poland?
3)  Did I feel that the bonding was going well?
4)  How are our other children responding to their new sister?
5)  Did I want to continue with the adoption?
6)  What name do I want DD to have?

Then she asked Mark questions 1,2,3, and 5 from the above list.  She also asked him for confirmation about his salary and if any changes had been made to our financial situation since our information was submitted.
The Courthouse 

Our judge was very patient as "R" interpereted for us, and we are thankful for her kindness.

Twenty-five minutes later we were directed to wait in the hall while the judge made her decision regarding the adoption.  We were prepared for a court time anywhere between one and three hours, and the look on Sasha's face when we walked out less than thirty minutes later was priceless. :D

Less than ten minutes later, we were brought back into the courtroom, and the judge ruled that DD is ours. :)  We were told that our appeal time will be three weeks and were dismissed to wait for a short time in the hallway for a copy of the judge's decision. We checked over the information there to be sure it was accurate and headed for our vehicles and home at about one o'clock.

Everyone was hungry, but familiar options for "grab and go" food is limited, so we waited until we were close to home before grabbing McDonald's for a late lunch/early dinner.

We ate and since no day is complete right now without it, guess where we went?  You got it - the park! Everyone was cooped up in the car for several hours and needed to burn off some energy.

 Riding is hard work too, so we headed for bed a short time later.  We were all exhausted and DD actually let us sleep in until 6:35 this morning (Friday).  Woohoo!

Iron Sharpenth Iron - Days 18,19

I have not been very good at getting posts up this week, but I will try to catch everyone up over the next couple of posts.

Tuesday we got a jump for the van we have, so we are once again mobile beyond our walking abilities. Yay!

I don't think I will ever again take for granted the ability to communicate and read English for my shopping needs. Mark dropped me off at the grocery store on Tuesday afternoon, and I began the experience of getting groceries without an interpertor for the first time.  In Poland, very few items have any English written on them, and if it weren't for the pictures on the packaging, I would be completely lost.  Google translate only works on my phone if I have WiFi, so it is great at the house but no help whatesoever outside of the house.  The cashier spoke no English, but thankfully, VISA is a universal language and requires minimal communication to use. It is definitely necessary to shop with a sense of humor. Mark went to Dominium Pizza and brought home dinner:  three cheers for calzones, pizza, and ice cream after that shopping trip! :D

My latest shopping disaster.  This lid is blue instead of red like the milk.
At home this just means different fat contents in the milk. Not in Poland!
I got it home and went to use it, only to find out that I bought six liters of  buttermilk!  Ha ha ha!

We topped the evening off with a walk to the park to play and bat around a ball on the ping pong table before heading home to get everyone in bed.  It rained a little bit while we were getting DD settled, and a double rainbow was clearly visible for several minutes. :-)

Wednesday found Mark taking all four kiddos to the park while I stayed behind to vacuum and mop the floors.  The house we are staying in has a large area rug in the living area and an entry rug at the door.  Everything else, including the bedrooms, have either wood, laminate, or tile flooring which requires mopping.  Have you ever tried to mop that much space with six people walking around on it?! It doesn't work well, hence, the trip to the park to get everyone out of the house.

While DD took a nap and the other kiddos watched cartoons for a bit, I tried my hand at making a Chocolate Cream Pie.  I did try some, and it's pretty good. It is just missing the whipped cream which I have not seen at any stores here.  Why didn't I just make it? excuse is that my Kitchen Aid is several thousand miles away, I have no whisk here, and trying to whip cream with a fork was not my forte.

The verse from Proverbs comes to mind: "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." We were recently put in contact with an American family who lives and works in Warsaw.  They are in the process of adopting as well and graciously opened their home to us for dinner tonight.  We met a second adoptive family in their home as well.  All three families were able to spend time getting to know one another and eat tacos (not a Polish meal at all, but delicious!).  It was great to speak English to other adults who are in the adoption arena with us, and all the kids have a great time playing together.  It was a refreshing time to meet with other Christians and eat some good, American...Mexican? food. Mmmm!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Poland, Days 15-17

Saturday we were excited to have a vehicle to borrow for a few days.  We were also brought some fans and some Polish cash from another family who was here and went home. (Thanks again!)  The fans were very welcome, for Saturday was hot and sticky (though not as bad as it is at home) and no air conditioning means hot and sticky in the house.  There have not been many days like that: today is a cloudy, cool 70*.

Yesterday, Mark took the three older kiddos to church while I kept the youngest girl home and afterward, they went to a store to pick up a few toys for DD.  We were really unsure what types of things would be good for her, so we did not get much before we left home.  We also felt like she needed a few more things to occupy her time here during the down times.  Right now there is quite a bit of down time, and boredom is setting in for the kiddos.  We have cut back the amount of tablet/TV time that they are allowed to have to the limit they have at home, and there is not a lot for them to do.  As mentioned in the previous post, we have found four different parks within a 30 minute walking distance with various activities at each of them: the closest park is only three blocks away.  We head to the park at least once a day, and sometimes multiple times per day.  I hope they do not all go into withdrawals when we get home and no longer go play at the park every time they turn around. :D  Whoa..way off topic!
Ping Pong table at the park

The park three blocks from the house. :-)

 Mark and the kiddos came home with some four piece puzzles, a stacking toy, some large Legos, plastic blocks, and ping pong paddles and balls!  One of the aforementioned parks has a cement ping pong table, and all we need to bring are the paddles and balls.  DD has loved the puzzles, stacking toy, and Legos, and we have been working on teaching color names with them while we play.

Today, we got ready to head to the grocery store, only to find out that the van would not start.  Grrr!! The battery is dead.

How we felt about it.

We are not even sure why it is dead: no doors or lights were left on that we could find.  Mark moved the van into the garage on Sunday to keep DD from playing with the wheels and getting her hands, face, and clothing filthy (true story, several times), and it worked fine.  One of our facilitators who speaks the best English is out of town for a few days, but we called him.  He was already out of the area, so we are stuck until tomorrow when we hope to get a jump. This left our oldest son and I to head to the grocery store with the pink polka dotted stroller in tow as a makeshift grocery cart. We only shopped for a little bit, but it gets heavy when you have to carry it home. On the plus side, I remembered to bring the shopping bags with me, so I did not have to buy any more plastic grocery bags.

I need to go fix dinner, but here are a couple of random pictures from this past week.  

Play Doh creature made by our facilitator when
he was here with us for the second social worker visit. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Michelin and Josefow in Pictures

We are staying outside of Warsaw and since our arrival have taken multiple walks around the area.  Following are some photos from Josefow which is about a 25 or 30 minute walk from Michelin where we are staying.

Our street after a thunderstorm

This is the view from the porch off the dining room after the same storm. As mentioned below, our yard is also surrounded by a fence which has been great for keeping DD in the yard when we play outside.

Mark found Park #4 within walking distance, so we went there for a bit today.  It was hot and a bit humid, so we did not stay long.  Most of the parks have had great shade, but this one did not.

This turtle swing is huge! It fits all four kids without a problem.
All the parks have an exercise area. :)

Michelin train station

Roundabouts are everywhere.

The pizza place (Dominium Pizza on the left in red lettering) we
ate at one of the first days we arrived in country. 

Bikes are everywhere, and they are allowed on the sidewalk. :)

City Counsel building in Josefow

 You don't find "cookie cutter" neighborhoods here.  They are all different styles, and all of them are surrounded by a fence and locked gate.  Many of them are decorative but also designed to keep the uninvited out.  Many folks also have dogs. 

Having a landscaped yard is common in Poland.  There are flowers and greenery everywhere, and many of the homes have beautiful yards.

Fence covered in greenery.

Town Hall (I think) in Josefow

A red circle around a sign means "do not".  This sign is a speed limit sign meaning "do not go more than 30km per hour".  

Packing List and Travel Suggestions

A big question I have asked and heard asked about in preparing for travel is, "Do you have a packing list?".  Most folks that I know have never left their home for 6+ weeks to go anywhere and especially not to head overseas for that length of time and want to know the experience of those who have gone before them.  I hope the ideas here are helpful.

Most international flights have a baggage limit per ticket.  This is usually no more than two suitcases totaling 50 lbs. for checked baggage plus one carry on and one personal item per person. We used Adoption Airfare to purchase our tickets and because we had humanitarian aid tickets, it allowed us  the option of bringing quite a bit more luggage than that.  I recommend that if you use a travel agency to book your tickets, you ask them about the baggage allowances. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you have more options than what is the standard.

Most of the suitcases we took to Poland.
 This photo dismissing one big suitcase, one carry on,
the ukelele, and the personal items we took.

We chose not to bring a lot of extra luggage, attempting to pack lightly but bring what we needed for the trip.  We brought one suitcase per person (5 suitcases), a stroller for DD, two carry ons, and one personal item for all five of us.  The personal items were backpacks with some things to do for each of the three kiddos, and we kept them light enough so each child could carry his/her own carry on. Mom and dad did not want to end up carrying all the kids' stuff too. :D  The two carry on items included a change of clothes for everyone in case our luggage did not make it to our destination on time, our camera, laptop, iPad, and some snack items.  

To save on drink costs in the airport, we also included empty water bottles (purchased at Walmart) in the kids' carry ons.  Security will allow you to carry them through, and you can fill them up at a water fountain on the other side.  Drinks are served on all the flights, so this is just convenient if you have children who want something to drink while you wait for your flights.  Food is available on the longest flight (we were fed two meals, and snacks are often available upon request), so the carry on snacks are again just for the waiting time in the airport and to save the cost of snack foods for everyone.  Airport prices are high, so we kept a meal there as something special to have, and then our children were not expecting us to buy something to eat/drink at every connecting airport. It also allowed us to meet their needs without breaking the bank.

One last suggestion before I write the list:  if anyone in your family plays an instrument that can travel with you, bring it.  This might include a guitar or anything easy to carry on the plane.  Mark plays several instruments, and he brought his ukelele.  Music is a universal language and can be a great ice breaker as well as an opportunity to bond with your new child/children.   This idea was actually not mine but was suggested by a fellow adoptive parent (Thank you, Michelle!), and it has been great.

Without further comment, here is a list of what we packed:

  • Clothing for a week  for each person including the child(ren) you are going to get (Try to bring things that will dry pretty quickly: you probably won't have a dryer.)
  • Shoes - A couple pairs for the adults, to keep it simple, one pair per child
  • Toiletries, make-up, face wash, brush, hairspray, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo,etc.
  • A few extra towels/washcloths (There were only three in the place we are staying.)
  • Ponchos/umbrellas
  • Electronics, may include a laptop, iPad, tablet, Kindle, phone, etc. 
  • Bibles
  • Address book for friends and family back home
  • Empty journal to keep track of your days - Even if you do not normally journal, take a little time every day to write in it.  You will be tired or not want to bother, but you will be glad later that you took time for it.
  • Paper (notebook), pens
  • Hangers 
  • Laundry bags
  • Heating Pad
  • Reusable Shopping Bags - If you forget, they are cheap to buy, but bring some plastic bags from Walmart or Target.  They make great trash bags if you need one.
  • Medicine - any prescription meds that are needed regularly, cough drops, Allergy Meds (for children and adults), Anti Diarrhea Meds, Antibiotic Ointment, Tylenol (for children and adults), Dramamine, Antacid, Daytime and Nightime Cold and Cough, Vicks' Vapo Rub, First Aid Kit that includes some bandaids and basic medical supplies (We got ours for about $6 at Walmart.)
  • Travel scale to weigh your luggage 
  • Vitamins
  • Snacks - Gummies, granola bars, peanuts, instant oatmeal, peanut butter (hard to find here!), chocolate chips (hard to find), Crisco (if you use it - not available in most stores), tea, instant coffee,fruit and grain bars, Cheerios, Goldfish, Truvia, Starburst, Skittles, singles to go (flavor add ins for water), etc. Anything quick and easy for you to grab is good. 
  • Paper plates, napkins, plastic silverware 
  • Diapers/wipes if needed (This is optional.  They are easily available here, and we did not bring them but purchased them here.)
  • Flushable Wipes
  • Neck Pillows (for the plane ride)
  • Clothes Pins, tape, scissors, paper clips, Sharpie
  • Basic sewing kit with black and white thread and a needle for small repairs such as buttons
  • Play Doh, puzzles, crafts, crayons, coloring books, paper for drawing, pencils, pens,  books (they are heavy, so if you have readers, consider a Kindle or Nook for electronic books), card games, travel games such as Checkers (anything to help keep your children occupied throughout your stay - there is likely to be down time when you need to keep them busy)
  • Foster family gifts- We live near the ocean, so we bought salt water taffy and a post card for our in country facilitators.  We got a post card and mug of our area along with salt water taffy that was in a gift bag for the foster family. Gifts do not have to be expensive or elaborate.
  • Small backpack and age appropriate toys for the child/children you are going to get
  • Spices/seasonings that you use regularly for cooking (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cinnamon, basil, garlic pepper, etc.)  You can get some spices here, but having some with you will be helpful for the first few weeks while you are learning the area a bit.
  • Zip Lock Bags in various sizes
  • Measuring spoons (You don't want to be converting your measurements for everything you want to cook. It is nice to have the familiar measuring spoons around. :-)
  • Scraper and dry measuring cups
  • Recipes - Bring copies, take photos on your phone, or bookmark online recipes that you use a lot.  Keep it to recipes that have basic ingredients or things that are easily substituted. It will help you with ideas for meals while you are in country. :)  
A few cooking things I wish I had brought:
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Meat thermometer
  • Timer (if you don't have on on your phone or some other electronic device)
  • Spatula (the one here is about 1/3 of the size that I prefer to use)
  • Tongs
  • Serving Spoons, especially a slotted one
Everyone's list is going to vary based on needs and preferences.  Though we brought several things to do, I think that we could have (maybe should have?) brought more.  I don't think you can bring too much to keep the kiddos occupied, so bring anything you can think of.  Your sanity may depend upon it. :-)

One more idea...

Take photos of all your luggage, a distance shot and a couple of shots that are close up with the brand name visible.  This will be good information to have if your luggage gets lost.

If you have further recommendations, or have already traveled and have a list that others may find helpful, please feel free to share the recommendation/link in the comments section.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Week Later

It has been one week since we were given temporary custody of DD, aka "gotcha day".  Bedtime has become so much easier than the first few nights, though it is not always quicker.  She is a fish and loves anything to do with water, including bath time.  I am asked multiple times a day for her kapiel (bath).  Unfortunately this love of water also translates to the water in the toilet.  :(  I know now why the bathroom door stayed closed at the foster family's house: as long as the door is closed, it is "out of sight, out of mind".  If the door is open, there is water, and it becomes fair game.  She makes silly faces, has a huge grin, and a michievous streak a mile long.  Sometimes it is amusing, and sometimes....not, and there are good days and difficult days.

We have been reduced back to childhood as one word or two word phrases are heard regularly in Polish and English.  "Walk" is a favorite word because it means that we are going out away from the house.  Don't say that word if you are not planning to follow through with it.  Phrases like "walk through the house" are banned for now. :D "Nie jesc" (not to eat), "goracy" (hot), "wiecej" (more), and "tak" (yes) are also heard often, and I find myself using Google translate all the time right now, trying to remember the correct phrase for what I need to say.   A phrase we hear from her quite a bit is  "daj mi" (sounds like "die me", meaning "give me") which is her way of asking for something (not necessarily in a demanding way).  DD does not have a complete Polish vocabulary, but she understands what is said to her which is extrememly helpful.  No awards will be given out for our heavily accented Polish, but it gets the job done. Communication is probably the top frustration right now, for her and us.

DD was up again before 6 this morning.  The early sunrise - the sky begins to lighten about 4a.m. - combined with some noisy neighbors have contributed to early rising by all of us.  I am not sure what the neighbor is building, but about 6am we heard the sound of an electric saw...again.  This has happended several time since we have been here, and with no AC, the upstairs windows stay open pretty much 24/7, so it sounds like he has camped out in the room with his noisy friend. (Who begins sawing at 6a.m..?!?)  Between the whine of the saw, the slamming of car doors, the motorcyle that is revved early every morning, the train whistle, the barking of dogs, and the carrying voices of neighbors conversing, there seems to always be something going around us.  I miss my quiet neighborhood. <3  There is little we can do about the rest of it, but we put a light blanket over the window to try and keep the sun from shining in so brightly.  Maybe tomorrow we will sleep in until 7!

There is an apple tree in the yard that is full of green apples, and there are as many green globes on the ground as on the tree.  For the first two nights we were here, I heard a muffled banging that sounded like someone was right outside the window.  I got up to look and never did figure out what the noise was, but the next morning while standing outside on the porch, I heard it again.  Every time an apple fell from the tree and landed on the bins or driveway under the tree, it made the noise I heard the night before.  Mystery solved!

It's time to get the kiddos ready for bed.  Good Night!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

(Mostly) Shopping and Food Bloopers

The first day we arrived in Poland, we bought some paczki from Lidl. (Lidl is a small grocery chain that originated in Germany and is a competitor of Aldi) We were so excited to see that the paczki that I have made at home is just like what they have here. That is a treat that we will be happy to eat often while we are here, and though I do enjoy baking them, right now I can have one without putting in all the work to make them. :-)

Paczki purchased in Poland

The second time I stopped to go to Lidl for a few things, I had our translator leave one of the boys and I at the store while he took the rest of the family home.  I forgot that at Lidl, you have to have a zloty (worth about $ .26) to unlock the cart.  You get the coin back when you return the cart after shopping, but I did not have any zloty on me, only American coins.  The American trying to unlock a cart without the coin must have been very amusing to those who were watching me.  Then Cole and I were walking around the store trying to hold all the things I needed to buy. By the time Sasha came to pick us up, we were holding quite a bit.

Very important if you want
to shop
with a cart at Lidl

Polish Zloty

Yesterday some of us went to a Tesco (similar to a Walmart, but the one I went to this time is smaller and pretty much has only groceries) and Lidl to shop for the week. Because I cannot read any of the labels, I am slow in my shopping and grocery shopping becomes interesting because I am unfamiliar with what items are available that I am used to buying.  Our Lifeline representative here has been very helpful, but we have had some very comical moments.  I like to bake and make things such as biscuits, bread, and pizza dough from scratch, and for this trip, I had several baking items on my list.  One of those items was shortening (Crisco).  For several minutes, I tried to explain what I was looking to buy.  He put the item into Google translate, and the translation/definition that came back for shortening was "to shorten". LOL  When we finally were on the same page about what I was looking for, I found out that they do not have it here anyway.  Another item that I struggled to describe was baking cocoa which we did find at Tesco.  Yes!

I discovered that a bottom part of the our refrigerator gets really cold.  I bought everything to make tacos, had the meat cooked and ready to go, and went to cut up the tomatoes.  I found out that the lettuce was frozen and the tomatoes were hard as baseballs.  Have you ever thawed tomatoes or lettuce?  Yeah, not very tasty.  Guess what we did not have for dinner that night....

Did I mention that we are cooking on an induction stove?  Yay for You Tube because this was another "first" for us that was interesting for the first couple of days.  It takes a little getting used to to not be able to take the pan off the burner without the burner turning off.  Since the pan and the burner work together to heat the contents of the pot or pan, using the right pans is important for this type of cooking as well.  The way it works is really interesting, but it is not the same as cooking on gas or an electric stove top.

I was really concerned when I saw the oven temperatures for the first time.  They only go up to 300*, and I thought "I am not going to be able to cook much very quickly in this for long".  The joke was on me, for I finally realized that all the temperatures are in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.  It was back to my handy iPhone ap to make conversions.

We have tried a new food - currants.  They are pretty sour, so eating them plain it ok, but they would probably make great tasting muffins or syrup.


We have still been keeping close to home over the last few days, so there is not much to write about our activities, but we have spent lots of time on the outside trampoline ( I think everyone here has one in their yard; it is like a swimming pool for folks in the south.), going for walks in the neighborhood or to the local store for smaller grocery items that we run out of, playing with balls outside, coloring, Play Doh, drawing, playing in the sprinkler if it is not too cool, and whatever other activity we can come up with to keep a very active three year old busy.  We forgot what it is like to have such a whirlwind age in the house; they never stop moving!  We did walk to the park last night and today, about a 15 minute walk, and will probably do that again regularly.  Between the time it takes to walk there, play, and walk back, it is a big help in breaking up the day.

Panoramic photo of the park

We had our second visit today with the social worker from the National Adoption Center which went well.  She is easy to talk with, and we feel that it was a positive time.  Because it is not in Warsaw, she will not be present at our court date, but she does need to write up how things are progressing with DD, and her report will be included in all our court documents.

Thank you again for all your prayers throughout this process.  We appreciate all your support.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Adventures Across the Pond

We have been here for a week now, and are in our third day of our bonding time with our new DD (darling daughter).  There have been some challenges, but we seem to be making some slow progress in the right direction.  Several months ago I read on an adoption blog that when their newly adopted children were feeling stressed, they put on a DVD in the children's native language.  Yesterday, we felt that DD was feeling very stressed and decided to try it.  We found some Ollie cartoon in Polish, turned them on, and she perked right up.  We let it run as background noise for a few hours, and it seemed to relieve her tension so much that it was like having a different child in the house.

We have stayed close to home for the last few days but hope to venture a bit further out next week.  There is a park a couple miles from where we are staying that we could walk to or take the train.

Yesterday I made Rice Krispy treats.  You cannot buy marshmallows here like you can at home; those that I found are not white but multicolored with pink, yellow, and white on them.  The Rice Snaps are very similar to Rice Krispies from home, but the different marshmallows make them a slightly different flavor.

I also discovered that you have to peel hot dogs before cooking them. :D  The things you learn...

We have a washing machine where we are staying, but dryers are not common and there is not one here.  The washer is about half the size of what I normally use, so to keep up with it,  laundry is being done about every other day.  Everything goes outside onto the porch railing to dry.  I have not seen anyone else with their laundry hanging outside, so I don't know what everyone here does. I definitely miss my washer and dryer. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

First Days in Poland

We flew out on Friday, July 10th, headed for Poland.  The flights were uneventful, but the kiddos loved the video games and TV options on the flight from Atalanta to Paris.  The flight was about eight hours, and they spent every one of those hours doing one or the other...or eating.  By the time we arrived in Paris, everyone was extremely tired, and the the layover in Paris and flight from Paris to Warsaw were spent sleeping.  All of our luggage came with us, and we are grateful we are not missing anything.

We were met at the airport by our Lifeline representatives, dropped off our things at the house we are staying in, and headed for the grocery store.  I was pretty tired and trying to come up with a decent grocery list for a couple of days off the top of my head while unable to read any of the labels (making me extremely grateful for pictures on the labels) and unfamiliar with the amount of money I was spending.  It was probably extremely comical to our translators to watch this shopping trip, but I was not thinking very clearly and just wanted to sleep. :D  On top of that, when I got up to pay for it, I was using a credit card with one of those chips in it.  Though the card is not new, the card with the chip is new to me, and it was the first time I had used it.  I put it in to slide it twice and pulled it right back out again, only to have the cashier take it from me, and do it herself. She had a sense of humor, and through the translator, I found out that she said I was just teasing her.  Oh well...

Sunrise in this part of the world happens at about 4:30 AM at this time of year, and it is not completely dark until close to 10 PM.  We are slowly adjusting to the time change (six hours ahead of EST), but such an early sunrise causes sunshine to stream through the window very early. 

We have enjoyed exploring this area a bit on foot.  The temperatures for being outside have been great so far, with highs in the 70's during the day and 50's at night.  We were given some information by another family who stayed in this house before us, and that has been a big help in finding things here that are within walking distance.

We had our first visit with DD today, and had a great time with her! We spent a couple hours at her foster parents' home and will go back again tomorrow before gaining temporary custody on Wednesday when she will come back to the house with us. 

Our Ride To Paris

Grillin' For Dinner
This train station (below) is down the road from where we are staying.  
You can hear the whistle blow every time it goes through