Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!!

Thank you to Tree of Life Adoption Center and Hopscotch Adoption Agency for sponsoring our  Reunion Breakfasts!

Thank you to the  Dolbier Family for sponsoring one of our host sites for the weekend!!

Thank you to the Saltgaver Family for sponsoring the craft activities!

Thank you to the 74 attendees, 26 of which were Bulgarian adoptees!

Thank you to all of you parents, soon to be parents, one soon to be grandma (Dede) and one soon to be Aunt (Delores) for driving up to 10-11 hours or even flying in for the weekend!

Thank you for traveling from: Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and California!

Thank you to our two "Expectant" Mommies that attended!!

Thank you to those of you who could only join us for one day or even just a few hours, but made so much effort to come out!!

Thank you to those of you who donated potluck items on Saturday!  Dinner was wonderful!

Thank you to the nice campers across the way who let us use their gas grill!!  I am sure our grill team appreciated it!

Thank you to my mom that helped me to prepare each family's bag, the s'mores, pack the car and make the nacho meat.  Thanks mom!

Thank you to all of the little ones who played hard, made friends, got dirty, made crafts, and made the whole weekend worth it by putting so much into their good choices and behaviors!

Thank you to all of those people out there who volunteered to help with meals, crafts, scavenger hunts, or to make trips get ice and wood (thanks Steven and Josh)!

Thanks to our new Bulgarian Friends Nikolai, Acia, Anna G., Maria, Dora and Roumen!  Thank you for bringing your beautiful children out, teaching us about the rich history of Bulgaria, singing Bulgarian songs, teaching us to dance the Horo and bringing such wonderful Bulgarian dishes to our potluck!

Thank you Anna R. for sharing your adoption story and your trip back to Bulgaria as an adult!

Thank you to those of you that were able to stay until the final moments to help me clean up our main site and even my camp site... the grocery mobile was no easy feat to organize... and for those of you still wondering... yes, I was able to fit it all in... even my kids' bikes! :)

But my biggest thank you goes to my friend Viviane, who was my partner in planning this event from the very beginning, but who was fortunately/unfortunately unable to share in our weekend and joy because she was bringing her baby boy Rex home today from Armenia!!  Thank you Viviane for so many hours of hard work, sending hundreds of e-mails, planning every detail and putting your heart into this event!!  I can't wait for next year's to celebrate your Armenian son and your Bulgarian daughter who will also soon be home!!

Thank you to everyone for everything...  I am so grateful to have met you all in person, built lasting friendships from the experience of walking the same road.  Thank you for sharing my love for my daughter's birth country and your adoption stories with me!!

Can't wait to see you again next year!!!!!!!

Hugs to you all!!


P.S. If I have forgotten a thank you, I didn't mean to... I think you are all wonderful and I am so thankful for everything and all the efforts that were put in to have a successful event (especially during a 100 degree heat wave)!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Pictures!

IF you did not send me a family picture... please bring one (that will not be returned) to the picnic/reunion! It is a special project.... and you don't want your littles to feel bad that they don't have a picture.... PLEASE do this... PLEASE put the pic in your car so you don't forget it.  E-mail me that you will bring it with you.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Potluck Dinner Sign-Up

Yvonne and I are excited about our potluck dinner as a group on Saturday evening. As of the current headcount, we will have 41 children and 30 adults in attendance. So far, families have committed to bringing the following dishes:

Bulgarian Dishes
Banitsa - Stefanov Family
Tarator - Stefanov Family
Musaca-Kotzeva Family
Banitsa-Kotzeva Family

Hummus with Pitas & Pita Chips - Villemure Family
Chips - Plance-Boman Family
Veggies/Dip - Richards Family
Cheeses - Larsen Family

Hamburgers/buns (20-25)- Dolbier Family
Hamburgers/buns (20-25)- Jarboe family
Hotdogs/Buns (40)-Villemure family
Condiments for Hotdogs - Larsen Family

Shopska Salad - Parks Family
Pasta Salad - Balfour Family
Potato Salad (gluten, egg, dairy free) - Rieben Family
Romaine & Strawberry Salad with Vinaigrette - Rieben Family
Broccoli Salad- Brooks Family
Corn Salad- Brooks Family
Chicken Salad with Almonds and Fruit- Montes Family
Baked Beans - Villemure Family
Watermelon- Richard Family
Watermelon - Rieben Family

Cupcakes - Balfour Family
Cookies - Larsen Family
Brownies - McCulle Family
Cake- McCulle Family
Bulgarian Flag cake - Plance-Boman Family
Cookies - Richard Family

Bottled Water/Soda/Caprisuns-Cox Family
Soda/Lemonade/Apple Juice - Sallot Family

Please send us an email (viviane8 or yvonne.villemure @ or leave a comment here on this blog to let us know what you intend to contribute to the meal. We will add your dish to the list as soon as we hear from you so that other families can know how our potluck dinner is shaping up.

Schedule of Events 2011

FRIDAY 7/22/2011

3:00 pm and after: Arrive/set up/settle in/explore the park (please provide your own dinner)

6:00 pm: Introductions, meet & greet, and icebreaker activities for the kids

1) Musical trees
2) Waterballoon toss
3) Three-legged race
4) Feel the Difference challenge
5) Симеон казва -Simon Says
6) Decorate your reunion t-shirt

7:30 pm: Campfire, smores (provided), Bulgarian and other stories and songs

SATURDAY 7/23/2011

8:00-10:00 am: Breakfast at the group camp site (provided)

10:00-10:45 am:
1) Scavenger Hunt - kids of all ages
2) Balloons & Bubbles - kids not wanting to do the scavenger hunt

10:50 – 11:30 am:
1) Adoption Q&A – adoptive parents and prospective parents only
2) Adoption Discussion/Trust Exercise – preteen/teen adoptees only
3) Beading Crafts – kids of all ages

11:35 – 12:00 pm: Bulgarian Song Lesson – all ages

12:00-1:00 pm: Lunch (please provide your own lunch)

1:00-4:00 pm: individual family time to explore the park, for little ones to nap, etc.

4:00 – 5:00 pm:
1) Minute to Win It – kids ages 8 and up
2) Interactive Story Time – kids ages 5-7
3) Interactive Story Time – kids ages 0-4

4:30-5:00 pm: Set up the reunion potluck dinner

5:00-6:00 pm: Dinner

6:15-6:50 pm: Learn to write Cyrillic letters

6:55 -7:30 pm: Learn to dance the Horo

7:30 pm: Campfire, marshmellows (provided), Bulgarian and other stories and songs

SUNDAY 7/24/2011

8:00-10:00 am: Breakfast at the group campsite (provided)

10:00-11:00 am: Thanks and farewells and clean-up

12:00 noon: Checkout

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Items your family won't want to leave home without.....

items you won't want to leave home without!

Lawn or bag chairs!!

1. Sunscreen
2. Bug Spray
3. Beach Towels
4. Pot Luck Item for Saturday's Dinner
5. Cups/Plates/Utensils- Think green try reusable plastic picnic ware!
6. Aloe (if you sunburn)
7. Bandaids/other First Aid items or OTC items- (I will have a basic first aid kit if needed.)
8. Cooler
9. Flashlight
10. Sunglasses and/or baseball caps
11. Any prescription meds... not sure if the pharmacy in town can help if you forget them.
12. Meals for Friday, and Saturday for lunch.
13. Yard Guard (great to spray around the area of your tent before putting it up.)
14. Tarp and rain gear (just in case).
15. Water shoes or flip flops for the showers.
16. Can opener and/or bottle opener.
17. Water- there will be l ice water available in a 5 gallon picnic jugs. (you will need cups)
18. Floaties, life jackets, etc for the lake
20. __________________________

Please provide more ideas for this list...

What To Do At Hueston Woods

If you don’t want to rest during the downtime from the reunion, Hueston Woods State Park offers many wonderful activities to enjoy as a family:

1) Golfing: The park has an 18 hole, par 72 course and a driving range. For more information, visit:

2) Hiking/Biking: Enjoy 12 shorter hiking trails of easy or moderate difficulty as well as the Bridle Trail (18 miles) and the Mountain Bike Trail (12 miles). Bikes can be rented at the park. For details, please call 513-523-1316 or 513-726-4100.

3) Swimming: Soak up some sun and make a splash at the 1500 foot swimming beach on Acton Lake which has a bath house and concession stand.

4) Boating: Boat rentals, launch ramps, public docks and fuel are available to explore the 625 acres of Acton Lake. (Note: Some are wheelchair accessible.)

5) Fishing: A valid Ohio fishing license is required to fish for largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, saugeye, bluegill, etc. on Acton Lake.

6) Disc Golfing: Bring your own equipment to use at the 36 hole course at no cost.

7) Nature Center: Enjoy bird and flower walks, slide talks, educational/hands-on displays and fossil hunts. Open 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

8) Bird-Watching: Look for the park's 150 species.

9) Paintballing: Three full paintball fields and a target range await your visit. Group reservations are available. Open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Bring your own equipment, or you can rent it there. Call 513-664-3500 or e-mail:

10) Horseback Riding: 18 miles of bridle trails are available for those who can bring their own horse.

11) Mini Golfing: Located near the marina, you can enjoy this activity from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm for $3.00 per person.

15) Archery: An outdoor range operated by the park is open to the public, but you must bring your own equipment.

16) Fossil Collecting: Hueston Woods has an abundance of Ordovician fossils and allows collection for personal use at two areas. For more information, visit this site:

17) Volleyball court, basketball court, horseshoe pits, playground… boredom is not an option!

** If interested, Saturday night there is a movie showing at the campground which is put on by the park and has concessions available.