Monday, January 25, 2010

Next to nothing weekend continued

I know this week I'm going to have a few topics that will simply be writing.  RAD, FAS, having a deaf son, children with limb differences in particular.  So, even though they're boring, pictures seem to brighten a page between such serious topics that will be forthcoming.  So, let me share a few.



How did I get so many teen shots this past weekend?  In NC, you really don't have much of a winter season.  Put it this way, our pool stays open from May until October here.  No snow.  Well, rarely ever.  If it does snow, just a dusting and the entire city shuts down.  Anyhow, this is Yana.  The kids and I always wanted a hammock.  Went to end of season sales at Target last year & found this one.  Warren hooked it up between the two trees and here you go.  The kids love hanging out here & listening to music.  Some of them read. I lay there sometimes and just look up.  Wonderful views as when you look up into the trees, it feels like you are in the sky.  Kind of neat.  I'll show pics w/ leaves on the trees one of these days.  No shoes on & it's the middle of January.  Again, this is just one of the things we did on our do next to nothing weekend.  Does Yana look relaxed?




Okay, so this birdhouse is in bad shape but wanted you to see it anyhow.  Irina made this a few years ago at Deaf Camp. The squirrels have since chewed around the hole but still functional.  And, we have birds that make nests in there.  My kids make projects all the time. Thank goodness we have a yard big enough to put them in.  So, if one day you see a paver that looks like a snowman holding up the fence, you'll know Alex made it and it is proudly displayed.  We do not live in our house like a museum.  We have kids' stuff hanging up all over the place.  There is no fancy artwork or expensive vases on the wall or in the yard for that matter.  Instead, we choose to display what our kids have done.  Irina made this and it has been great to have in the yard these past 2 years to house some birds.




This is our house.  Well, the front view in winter.  In summer, much more beautiful.  In this shot, Max had just finished cleaning out the gutters.  Hence, all the leaves on the front walkway.  In a few short weeks, the ground is filled with bright green grass and gorgeous flowers around the front.  The house is very deceptive as it really doesn't look that big from the front.  For us though, just the right size.




This is of course our camera hog.  Nik is always wanting to be in a picture. Always.  I try to capture him naturally but is so hard b/c he always wants to smile for the camera.  Oh well.  He's so dog gone cute I have to take the picture.  This is Nik on top of a tree that was going to fall onto our house this past spring.  It was so bad that when the tree guy got here, he was on the phone to the clients he was supposed to do the work for the next day asking if they could wait.  Why?  Because ours was so far gone, he was truly afraid it would fall on the house.  It didn't but we lost a wonderful big oak tree that day.  Notice...no shoes on Nik either.  I don't even know why I bother to buy shoes for my children.  Frankly, we don't buy many b/c they never wear them.  In summer, they want to live in $1 flip flops.  No kidding.  We buy decent, nice sandals but no... flip flops are top choice.  Hey, they're saving me money so I shouldn't complain, right?  Life with kids is never dull.





Just so you didn't think we did nothing at all this past weekend, here is Max.  For some reason, he loves to use the leaf blower.  As you can tell, we have a pile of leaves just due to the sheer number of trees in our yard.  In NC though, you want trees for shade due to the extreme heat in the summer.  Again, middle of January and Max is in shorts!  Hey, at least he has shoes on. 



Well, there are still some signs of winter.  Our berries that become bright red in winter time.  I love these and use them in all my garland and wreaths during Christmas time.  Nice not having to buy stuff and having it come from your own yard.  All our fresh flowers come from our own yard.  And this spring, we want a good chunk of our food coming from our own yard.  We'll see how the gardening goes this spring/ summer.  We did a small test last year and this year are ready to get a big garden going.  Have to wait though as it is way too early.  with all the dead grass & leaves in our yard, it was nice to see bright berries.  I love color so it is hard in winter not to see any.




Warren checking out the pool.  It was frozen last week by a couple of inches when we had a cold snap here.  Sooo, the kids thought it was "neat" to throw rocks on the ice.  URGHH!!!  I was NOT happy.  We couldn't get to the rocks & they sank into the ice when it melted.  Couldn't get them out w/ a net.  Currently, Warren counted 7 rocks in the bottom of the pool.  Very frustrating.  We'll get them out soon.  We're shocked the water has stayed so clear this winter considering we haven't even treated it yet.  Going to this weekend but still suprised.  Warren and I would love to have an inground pool for the kids in the future.  We both grew up with one and it was always such fun.  Also, good therapy for some of our kids.  My grandfather used to put in swimming pools for a living.  He owned a swimming pool business.  So, summers, I would go help.  Not as easy or as fun as it originally sounds.  LOL.  Lots of hard work.  In the meantime though, we have this pool and kids and I are in it everyday during the summer.   People may think my way of teaching the kids to swim is cruel.  But remember, PI(post institutionalized) kids are quite different.  Many, were lucky to get showers at the orphanage and definitely not exposed to baths all that often.  Fear of water in some cases is to be expected.  They cling to me like leaches when first in the pool.  It is like torture for them.  I swear the neighbors must think we are skinning our children alive w/ the screams.  It is all I can do to pull them off of me.   here is what I do though.  I walk them out to the middle of the pool where they can't grab onto anything.  Yes, they are in life jackets at first.  I manage to get the child peeled off of me w/ another child's help.  I walk away and they are screaming in the middle of the pool.  Not drowning, not in trouble.  All of us are standing around them.  When the screaming cries of terror stop(and they always do), the entire family is there clapping & screaming with joy.  The child then discovers they are indeed NOT drowning and that they actually like the water.  From there, I can not get them out of the pool.  I have done this with Alex, Bojan, Alyona and Nik thus far.  We did something similar with Max as Max wouldn't leave the steps of the other pool.  It was inground & a shared community.  So, couldn't very well let him scream there.  Ever since I discovered this worked with Alex, I did it with all the other kids.  They were never in any danger.  They just had to realize that they were going to be okay in the water.  With FAS kids, you can tell them a million times they are okay but they still won't "get it."  They have to learn by doing.  Hence, the swimming lesson.  Max, used to touch hot things despite us saying it's hot, you'll get burned.  Nope.  He learned soon enough at a family reunion.  He put both hands right on the grill after we had told him it was hot and not to touch.  The water thing has to be learned basically the same way.  Now, all my kids are avid swimmers.  We have races together in the pool.  None have to wear a life jacket.  Any fell in, they could get out.  Now, you would not have believed that if you had witnessed the screaming swimming lessons when first home.  They all laugh about it now.  My kids love the pool and can swim very well.  My methods are not normal but I tried normal and it was not working.  Then the whole FAS connection finally hit me. They have to actual experience that they will be okay.  Mom & dad will be there for them.  They will not drown.  They have people there to help them if need be.  With bio kids, you can teach them love and safety of a family over the years.  So they believe you when you tell them nothing bad will happen to them in the water.  With FAS kids, this is not the case.  They have to experience that it is okay.  Do I plan to do the same with the new kids coming home?  We'll have to wait and see.  I always first see if they'll go on their own or with a little encouragement.  Take it from there.  Here is a picture from the pool in the past.  Do they look traumatized? 




This was from 2 years ago so that is why 2 of them are still in life vests.  None of them were wanting to get out of the pool.  Here's another of Bojan from '08:




Bojan was one of our original "leaches" as well.  Would not let go of me until I peeled him off of me.  Now, you can see he is extremely confident in the water.  No fear whatsoever.  He can not wear his prosthetic in the pool. They make swimming legs but insurance does not pay for it.  We were able to get a grant for his running leg but swimming leg will have to wait.  Meantime, he just takes it off in the pool and is perfectly fine.  Can swim like a fish.  And amazingly, he can ride the boogie boards and "stand" on them.  Just because he's missing a leg, does not mean he's missing out on life.  That's for sure.

Well, that post was totally sidetracked.  Oh well.  With so many serious topics coming up and our big fundraising push of a post coming up, I wanted some pictures up too to let you all know what we're up to.  This week is a light week for me.  Wahoo!!!  Not a one appointment...yet.  That can change with the day around here.  Trust me.  We have Upwards Basketball practice tonight.  Cleaning up and organizing mostly.  We have discovered a rotting space on the house this past weekend.  Not a good sign.  It has to be repaired immediately as it will affect the foundation and rear of the house could go.  So, Warren will be seeing just what is necessary to fix that.  Have to do that first before even beginning on the room for the girls or the sheds that need to be built.  Again, we are used to rolling with the punches around here.  Enjoy the day.  It is the middle of winter in NC and i have the windows open today.  Got to love it.  More posts to come. Fundraising is becoming top priority now.  We HAVE to get the money raised in order to bring the children home.  More on that later.


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