November was kind of a blur! So many things happening and on top of maintaining a normal schedule we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Romania and I was preparing to go to the states for a month!
Jen and I, along with Steven, Haley and one of our interns, took a little trip up to the mountains to visit our former staff, Florenta and her husband. She was helping Haley prepare for an upcoming conference on autism and working with special needs kids, so we decided to make a weekend of it. We visited Dracula's castle and shopped, of course. We went to Mark and Florenta's church. Probably, the highlight for me, though, was hiking through these huge rock canyons. It was absolutely beautiful! God never ceases to amaze me with his stunning creations!
And then, we celebrated Thanksgiving! Romania doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but as a H2H family, we do! We make all the fixings, invite all of the kids that have been through our transitions programs plus our current kids, staff and former staff. All in all, we were about 75 people! Try that for a family Thanksgiving! This year for Christmas, we decided that we wanted to help the kids focus on "giving back"! So, at our Thanksgiving gathering, we introduced the idea that we wouldn't be exchanging gifts with one another, but, that the kids would bring a gift of food, clothes, or toys for a poor, needy family. We made a tree with removable, paper leaves with suggestions of things they could bring and the response was good!
Finally, a few days before I flew out for the U.S., we celebrated Emi's 3rd birthday. Jen, Corny and I took Mariana, Emi, Alina and Ruthie to the movies. For the little ones it was their first time at the movie theater! They did great watching the movie "Planes"! We had McDonald's for lunch and finished the afternoon off cake!!