Yeah. I know. It's February. As I was looking back through our pics, I came across a bunch from the summer that I never posted... and DAGNABIT! It's my blog and I want them in here! Besides, now I can see some lovely weather... (our snow melted a TON on Saturday and we were all thrilled -- grass! We could see our grass! -- but then it snowed another couple of inches today. Sigh.)
Sometime during the summer... I think it was in July. Maybe June.... the embassy organized a little tour of a Rose Oil factory. Now, Bulgaria is a very rose-y country. It produces about 70% of all the rose oil in the world. Yay, Bulgaria! So, even though it was during a period when Z was out of town, and it was about 2 hours away, I was super excited to go on this tour. There was a small bus (there were fewer than 20 of us, I think), but I drove our little gang, because of all the carseats, and I wasn't sure I could guarantee good behavior for 4 hours in a bus-full of other people. In fact, I was sure I could NOT. Anyway, above, the lady is showing us how they used to extract the rose oil, back in the olden days.
Here are the present-day extractors. And that's that. After seeing both these methods, we all bought some ice cream and watched the children watch ducks. It was a really, really, really short tour. The lady from the factory had told us that our tour would be before the last harvesting of the roses.
It wasn't. That's okay, it was a gorgeous day, and a gorgeous drive.We stopped at a little dairy outlet place, and some people bought cheese. Maeve liked this huge motorcycle that blessedly did not fall and crush her. Bran, Nuala, and Alex liked poking a dead, flat toad in the parking lot.
The "adults" liked snickering at this sign. For those of you not familiar with Bulgarian, you will now know a very important phrase. The words in red, beside the demure dairy maid, read "Too-k eh Mlyakoto". That means, "here is the milk." Ahhh, Bulgaria!
THEN, we stopped at a restaurant with its very own fish farm behind it. That was super fun for the kids, of course. Here we have Bran, Maeve, Nuala, and Alex, their little friend who happened to be there, too, much to their delight. It was a fun outing! I'll just imagine roses on the bushes.
And now... Pancharevo! Pancharevo, the somewhat-local-hot-springs-turned-big-pool-with-slides-and-a-big-tunnel-thing has made it onto the blog before. I think when Grandma Buttons was here in November... but it's lots of fun in the summertime. And more crowded.
We went a few times, and once was with our good friends from church, who live down in the city. Here are Ivy and Maeve. Super cute. Ivesters is four months younger than Maeve, and they really like each other.
Mia, Ivy's big sis, in the easy-to-miss orange life jacket, and Nuala and Bran, in the shallow end. This was the summer that Nuala saw her friend (actually, Alex, from the Rose Oil tour above) swimming around without her life jacket and declared she was going to do that, too. And she did. She was able to keep herself up and flounder her way around the "deep" end awesomely (and of course with me right there)! Then Bran had to do it, too. They were really good! Now they're in official swim lessons, which they love.