Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring forward... are you prepared??

May sound like a simple title, right?  Well, for those of us w/ FAS/RAD kids, we know exactly how much this means to our families.  We prepare and prepare some more.  Some of those who have not experienced RAD or FAS during the time change or any change for that matter, have no idea what I mean.  Okay, when ever there is any change in routine whatsoever, children w/ these types of disorders tend to get disregulated(not even sure if that is a word) and have trouble adjusting.  This happens to us every year, twice a year when we change the clocks.  This past fall was a nightmare!-- they had clocks changing, full moon and Halloween all on the same night!  Kids were atrocious that evening.  It was nuts.  Thankfully, we currently just have the clock change here.  Drives our kids bonkers b/c time is such an abstract concept anyhow and we all know FAS kids have tons of challenges w/ any type of abstraction, including time.  So, explaining this is hard and we get all kinds of issues of not wanting to go to bed.  They just don't get it.  But, we'll muddle through. 

Are you prepared for other things?  When the seasons change, we try to check our smoke detectors.  One has just been replaced from Max breaking the other one.  Really, you don't want to know.  So, just have to check the upstairs ones tomorrow and should be set. 

Are you prepared for other things???  What you ask?  Anything really.  Okay, I used to live near the coast.. hurricane area.  I've been caught in an eye of a storm and never, ever want to experience that horror again nor the aftermath.  We also have a nuclear power plant a ways a way but you just never know as anything is possible.  After last month and smelling the fire(remember, the one Yana had so nicely going in her room to hide a paper and then put it "out" w/ a comforter on top?), I really wanted to make sure we were prepared.  I've watched a neighbor's house burn down in the last house we've lived.  I've been through various disasters and know from experience, it's better not to need to use it than to need it and not have it.  A person can not live off a bag of m & m's but for so long.  LOL.  Yep, hurricane lesson learned on that one.  Anyhow, we've decied to make a "bug out" kit for all our kids and us.  Old back packs filled w/ basics for about a week.  It is a pain to put together but I think it is worth it in the end.  I'm working on the girls' backpacks first and will move on.  Here's what I've started:


Again, just the basics.  But like I said before, it is better to have it and not need it than to be in a disaster and wished you'd had just one thing of water.  I never want to go through that kind of thing again.  BTW, the bag of m & m's I got from my boss & neighbor.  LOL.  I literally had nothing in the house or nothing prepared as I was working non-stop at the time and no one thought the hurricane would move this far inland.  Usually, they disapate afer they hit land.  Umm, not this time.  Hard lesson learned but I vowed to get prepared this year.  It's a slow start.  We have much more to put in those packs.  But it is indeed a start. 

Tell you all about our wonderful visit tonight from a friend I met online.  SO nice to finally meet some cyber people in person.  I'm not sure if I ever told anyone or not, but years ago, we had someone try to steal our story & our kids' photos & use them for profit to get money.  It was insane to say the least.  FBI called in & the whole nine yards.  That is why for years we never put the kids' picutres back up or wrote much about them.  Some people thought we did not exist.  Yeh, right.  You can't make up this family!  No one could make up the stuff that happens at Chaos Manor.  Really.  Anyhow, very nice to meet other cyber families.  Tell you all more tomorrow.  Long day and we lose an hour sleep tonight due to clock changing.  Springing forward into something fresh and new.  Lots happening here next week.  More about our visit tomorrow, Upwards, and RAD.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, March 12, 2010

TGIF

Wahoo!!!  It's Friday!  Of course, no time to veg out.  Cooking dinner (chili lime chicken, sweet potatoes and asparagus) and then getting ready to take Nik to a party tonight for one of his classmates.  He is thrilled.  He has gone to quite a few parties.  So yes, you can be deaf and make friends in a regular classroom.  They are learning to sign to him so that definitely helps.  His party is at 7:00pm.  Kind of late but since we dont' have to be up early tomorrow, we're going.  Kids have basketball so can't wait.  Only 2 games so very excited that we won't be there all day.  Since we are not going to be, we are then going to have dinner w/ a new friend who has  a child very, very similar to Alex.  Can't wait.  Always nice to meet someone who may have some of the same struggles as you do.  Not many "regular" parents experience some of the adoption related issues & dx's.  Let you all know how it goes. 

Sunday, we may take the kids to some museums downtown here.  It's supposed to be rainy so that would be perfect.  We'll see.  Just kind of rolling w/ the punches this weekend. 

Quiet time right now so going to get off this computer.  Writing a post about RAD and will have that up some time this weekend.  Well, need to get busy here.  Very short post.  Somedays, that is a good thing.  Somedays, you don't want much to go on.  I welcome a quiet weekend and do hope I get one.  Hope you all have a great weekend too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

This will be brief just b/c I'm tired.  Honestly, taxing day.  I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  Basketball, time w/ dinner guests, and working on the house some.  Nothing exciting, just want to mello out a bit.  May take the kids to a museum but not sure.  Wanted to hike but weather is not supposed to be that cooperative.  Later in March, we'll do the hike.

Just wanted to recognize some real thoughtfulness I've seen in some of my kids.  So, here goes a few.

Irina-- Knew Warren had a long day at work so decided on her own to make him coffee.  Very sweet and Warren appreciated it very much.

Max-- Played w/ one of the little toddlers I watch during the day.  Now, the little one asks when Max will come home.  He didn't have to play with him, but Max has a very gentleness about him w/ little kids. 

Yana-- Really took care of Alyona this week after surgery.  REally showed her kind side and was making her comfortable.

Bojan-- Asked me several times this week if there was anything he could help me out with.  No reason why, he was just being nice.

Alex-- Now, this one surprised me.  I was coming down the stairs, & Alyona was crying due to the pain of her surgery.  Alex was standing there, grabbed her towards him and put her head on his chest to comfort her.  Amazing, I know.  FYI, empathy IS possible w/ kids w/ RAD.  Takes time.  Lots of time.  Anyhow, I was impressed w/ this though didn't say a word as I knew Alex would not want me to. 

Alyona-- She tries to help with the toddlers if she comes home and they are still there.  In fact, when she was home w/ me after surgery, the next day she helped me babysit.  We even went outside to play next door and she pushed the 4 month old baby very gently.  Even though she felt bad(the pain), she was willing to help out.  Very thoughtful.

Nik--Was concerned about his sister having surgery and was making sure she was okay. 

Those are just a few short things I noticed around this week.  Have a great week!

What's in the box??

Nothing significant really.  But for us, we are thoroughly going to enjoy it.  During an adoption it is always very difficult and hard to justify any purchase made.   Really, it is.  We live very modestly as it is here.  No cell phones, no cable, no papers delivered, no big tvs, no ipods here, no going out to dinner but once in a blue moon, no new stuff (a rarity at best), no memberships anywhere, no kids buying lunch at school and the list goes on. Think you get the picture.   When doing an adoption and deciding whether or not to make a purchase, for us the answer has always been no.  Period.  Kids are more important.  Well, this past weekend we had to make a judgement call of what was "wanted versus needed."  I was at the point I thought our health was being affected.  Let me show you what I mean.


This is part of our old grill.  We actually had two small grills we used.  I tried to scrub them clean despite Warren and Max telling me they "burn" off the junk each time.  Here's the after of scrubbing:
Yes, this is the AFTER folks.  Not doing any photo tricks.  Wouldn't know how to yet anyhow.  All my pictures are genuine..rust and all.  LOL.


Yes, this grill has no bottom to it.  Why you ask?  Because it rusted all the way through.  To clarify though, this is the older of the two grills.  My husband would truly be unhappy if you all thought he was cooking on this particular grill.  No, it was this one:



This is the grill we used to cook on.  I can assure you, it is in the SAME condition as the other one, just not as severe.  And yes, there is rust peeling off underneath. I told him part of the tax money HAS to go to buy a new grill.  After years of cooking on these two old grills, it was time.  I just was at the point I was afraid to invite anyone over for burgers let alone eat any ourselves.  So, last Sam's trip we did it.  That is what is in that huge box.  The out of the box looks like this:


This is our new grill.  Fit for a family of 12, don't you think?  This is the grill covered up.  Folds open on the top.  Takes 2 propane tanks.  Yikes!  The kids could not wait to cook on it.  So of course we had to have burgers on the grill that evening.  Sorry for the background mess in this shot.  We were startting to clean out the garage. 


I know, Alex's eyes are closed.  Irina and Aelx were peeling off the stickers and really checking out this monster grill.  They read it cooks like 126 hotdogs at the same time.  Warren is happy that he can now eat w/ us instead of cooking the meat two separate times on one small grill.  We grill out a lot here in NC.  In fact, we're doing it this weekend again when a fellow mom comes over w/ her son.  When you meet another family that deals w/ RAD/ FAS, you gain alot of insight and sense of belonging.  Knowing that you are not alone in these issues is very comforting.  Allows us to exchange ideas.  I can not wait to meet her in person and looking forward to a nice chat over some bugers on a new grill.  No rust.  LOL.  

So, that was our nice big box surprise.  Kids are all dying to help dad cook on the grill.  Usually, he'll have a mini sous chef w/ him "helping."  Sometimes, way more help than he can handle.  But, he takes it in stride.  I know this was difficult for us to buy but could not take the rust any longer.  Again, hard not to feel guilty on any purchase during an adoption.  We do not buy new hardly ever.  Sometimes though, we feel it is necessary and I just felt the family's health was going to be at risk if we kept on.  Though, we've seen campground grills way worse.  Yet, we didn't use them.  

Anyone local, we are going to have a cookout soon.  We used to do them yearly and had so much fun.  Got to get back to that.  Got to run.  Dealing w/ one child that I just grounded, another who got in trouble from middle school...not doing a major project.  URGHH.  On a lighter note, Alyona had some awesome grades and did excellent on her spelling w/ NO help!  Nik is recognizing all kinds of sight words.  Yana is really turning things around.  Her grades are awesome.  So, there are some great things happening.  Just seems some bad ones are tainting all the good that is happening.  Max and Alex are really going to have to get their act together.  Bugs me w/ Max b/c he was doing so, so well.  Beyond excellent and even got out of self-contained.  However, now he is not doing the work.  URGHH.  What happened in that short time?  Very frustrating.  We're coming to a crossroads here and trying to keep him on a great path.  Sometimes, being MMR has it's drawbacks.  Yet, we've always tried to push our kids that are mentally challenged.  Have we pushed too far this time?  No.  He is just being lazy and I'm hearing my neighbors of 8th graders saying the same thing so maybe it is the age.  But, I can't take that chance.  I have to make sure he can stay focused.  Want him to know academics take priority in this house.  BTW, he was supposed to be registered for high school tonight.  Did he tell me this was this evening?  No.  TEacher called me today.  Too late for me to make plans.  Boggles the mind sometimes.  

Got to run.  I have not done cardio in so long.  However, I have been doing stretching every morning along w/ yoga and weightlifting.  So, though no cardio, I'm at least fitting something in there.  As busy as I am, I have realized that I must take time to exercise and destress myself.  The yoga really does seem to help me on the right path during the day.  ooh, it's late and Survivor is on!  Yes, a dumb reality show but hey, it's something to watch.  Enjoy your evening.  Maybe a thoughtful Thursday coming later. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thanks

I just wanted to take a moment to truely say thank you for all those that support us and our adoption journey.  It really does make things easier.  I get messages on and off this blog.  I read everything for sure.  Some of the comments are just from the heart and some have even had me in tears.  This process is long and hard, taxing on the mind and soul.  What makes it more bearable is people like all of you that actually care and understand what we are doing.  I can't say thank  you as that is not a big enough word to encompass how I feel.  Means the world to me.  I am happy that some children have found homes when I shared about them on here.  I'm happy that some people take comfort in this blog who have similar situations w/ family as ours.  I'm happy that people are kind to our family and our children through the good & bad of it all.  I'm happy that some have considered adoption by reading this blog.  I spoke w/ a lady on Saturday at an Upwards basketball game at Church.  I know in my heart this blog and what we are doing will make a difference.  Albeit small, one child is difference enough in my opinion.  There was one blog that had a saying that I just can not get out of my head.  It was anonymous but try to paraphrase as best I can... "Adopting a child will not change the world.  But for that one child, the world will change."  How true is that?!  How amazing is that put into words and actions?  I think it is awesome.  There are 24 followers on this blog and that in itself blows me away.  I was excited when I was up to 4.  LOL.  I know 24 doesn't sound like a big number, but it is 24 people that care about adoption who will most likely spread the word to other families.  One life touches another.  After this set of adoptions is done, I really want to do something useful.  I've always wanted to do some type of grant set up for others.  I will obviously continue advocacy work for the kids left befhind.  But I can't help but think there is something else bigger than me that I can do w/ others to help the orphans of the world.  Not sure yet, but the wheels will be spinning in months to come.  Just b/c we are done after this set of adoptions, does not mean we will stop thinking about the children left behind.  One of our favorite quotes is from Lilo & Stitch... "Ohana means family.  And family means no one gets left behind or forgotten."  We plan on not forgetting those left behind.  Right now though, focus has to be on getting our three children home to those that love and want them more than they can ever imagine.  The faster I get home w/ the children, the faster we can help others left behind but not forgotten.  Again, thanks for all the support.  We will need help in these upcoming months and will talk about that a little later.  Emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually.  Right now, dinner to serve and paperwork(adoption) to do.  I'm so ready for this next chapter in our life. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happenings in pics

Thought I'd give a happenings around the house post via pictures.  Enjoy.


I don't know what is more disturbing here...the fact that they are peeling sweet potatoes on the floor or the fact that Nik is using a peeler. Either way, they helped out a bunch.  We recieved this box for free from a gracious neighbor.  Irina and I actually went sweet potato picking this fall and got 2 garbage bags full.  They keep for about 8 months.  Plus, here the farmers let you go to the fields and scoop up as many as you want when they are done harvesting them.  It's awesome.  Helps that are kids love sweet potatoes.  


Alyona saw I was looking at the camera reviewing pictures and she wanted me to take one of her.  So, here it is.  And look, nothing on the floor but the water bottles!  Miracle.  I dont' know why none of my kids want to match.  I swear they have clothes that do indeed match.  They all have their own sense of style and I'm just glad I don't have to dress them anymore. 


This is Nik in one of our new toys.  A neighbor(thanks Lindsay!) gave us this play tent.  They have had the best time w/ it.  Alyona, Nik & Alex even fit in there at the same time.  Like clowns coming out of a clown car.  Don't know how int he world they got in there together.  


This is Nik at the game just being goofy.  We had a great time last weekend at the game and even got to speak w/ someone about adoption.  For future adoptive families, the best thing you can do for the children left behind in the orphanages, is really talk about adoption when you get home.  Even years after your kids are home, your story can have a profound impact on many others.  It really is a wonderful thing.  You don't have to adopt over and over again.  Just by sharing your story will usually touch someone and another chlid could be rescued.  Our kids will even speak of adoption on their own.  We do not prompt them at all.  We've always left it up to them.  But, since we've been in the paper and done a few adoptions over the years, people just know.  Okay, kids are screaming outside on the trampoline... time to go!

Where in the world...

are the Boyds goin??  I figured I would spend some time telling you a little about what our future plans are for the next 4 to 5 months.  As you all know, we've been busy with basketball.  And though I considered doing the Miracle League Baseball with them this season(we've done it twice before), I think we are going to not have any sports or activities for the next few months.  This is two fold.  One, we need to get them adjusted to the idea of 3 new sibs and have some calm for a little while.  Trust me on this, we've done it before.  Second, we want to do a lot more things as a family and just throwing baseball in there, won't quite work.  So, basketball season will finish up and then we are going to start a few adventures.  It is March.  In March, we finish up the last of our basketball games, go on a hike in a local forest, and get the yard ready.  In addition, we will go to one or two museums in downtown Raleigh.  

April.  April brings us Easter.  I see candy overload.  Kids have spring break in April as well.  So, we are planning on going camping in the NC mountains in about mid-April to meet up with some friends of Warrens'.  Can't wait to go and kids love to camp.  We'll spend an entire weekend there.  We are also working on taking the kids to the Battleship or Aquarium on the coast.  We all love to visit the Aquariums and may throw in some history with Fort Macon and a walk on the beach while there.  There is also a local event at UNC medical center for CI users.  Big family picnic w/ all kinds of things.  So, if the camping trip is not the same weekend, we will go there as well.

May.  May brings us our usual.  And we love it!  We go to a Deaf Camp(in a preious post) in Roaring Gap, NC.  It is located in the mountains.  Over Memorial Day weekend, we also go to the Asheboro Zoo in NC. 

June.  No definite dates on anything as of yet but we do know we'll take a few day beach trips.  We only live an hour and 20 minutes from the beach.  So it is very easy to do.  We may, and I say "may," take a trip to SC again and say at a campground on the beach.  Not sure about that one yet.  I do know we are taking a trip to Washington, D.C. area at the very end of JUne  for an adoption reunion.  It is the Orenburg Reunion.  Kids adopted from Orenburg, Russia attend.  We hold it at a different state every year.  We have no idea where we will be staying yet.  First, we'll find out where exactly it is and go from there.  I may be asking some of you where a good place to stay is. 

So far, those are some of our tentative plans.  You have to be flexible when in the midst of a foreign adoption b/c you are on their time table, not your own.  We don't mind though.  We're ready for anything.  I know many are thinking how can we do all these things while doing an adoption.  Life goes on and doesn't stop.  As for the money part of travel, ALL is either free to do or very low costs due to our memberships or vendor discounts.  Our biggest cost will be going to D.C.  We have family all over that area but b/c we are doing the adoption, they won't let us stay with them.  And that's okay.  Would have helped w/ costs but to each their own.  We move forward and don't dwell on the situation.  I'm a great bargin hunter and sure I'll find something again.  I just think it is important to keep up our kids' heritage and culture whenever possible.  Connecting w/ other adoptive parents also is very comforting.  Especially for us as our family is not really too supportive.  Anyhow, I think our family is going to have an awesome time these next few months to connect and enjoy some activities together.  As a big family, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a good time.  Many, many fun things are out there that are free. We take full advantage of that. 

Just wanted to keep everyone posted on what was about to happen the next few months.  It will be busy but a fun kind of busy I hope.  FYI, Alyona is downstairs w/ ice on and some pain meds.  Why?  No b/c of sugery but b/c one of my other kids accidentally hit her in the surgery site.  This has happened to my kids on several surgeries.  URGHH.  Next surgery, I'm duck taping them all together until the person heals.  Alyona is going to school tomorrow.  I may go to the school on Thursday as it is to rain that day.  Go visit the kids for lunch.  WE'll see.  Nik has a party Friday and is thrilled.  Basketball games are on SAturday.  Got to run.  Whole wheat spaghetti w/ homemade marinara sauce tonight.  Yumm.  more info to come.  Quick note, mini dossier was notarized yesterday and sent off for apostilling today.  I know, nothing big, but it is something that is done and in the adoption world, that sounds pretty dog gone good.  The word...done. 

Mini dossier was sent off for apostilling today.  Wahoo.  Slowly working on the big one.  Not too bad compared to Russia's dossiers in the past. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring is in the air

Okay, we are ready for spring.  So ready, I even turned off the heat this past weekend.  There are just small hints of spring around here.  Some of the are below.  Hope you enjoy. 

 

Yes, I'm one of those people that has a doormat for every season.  Pathetic, I know.  Just think it adds to the season.  I buy them at the end of season sales for usually 2 or 3 dollars.  I actually just bought a fall one.  Anyhow, this is to welcome in not only guests but spring.  And to keep as much dirt out of this house as we can.  I swear there's enough dirt in here on a weekly basis to fill a sandbox.  No joke.  We sweep about twice a day and vacuum once a day.  Crazy.

 

Even Bear is getting Spring fever.  He loves to be outside still.  He really is the best dog you could ever meet.  Shoot, he even turned a "non-dog" person into a dog person!  Just an all around great dog.  

 

Ahh, hints of spring.  Bright, yellow crocuses.  Love it!  We have a few spreading out.  Next, will be the daffodils and tulips.  The yard is beaming w/ color in the spring and summer and I just love it.  Hoping to do a lot of yardwork this coming weekend to spruce up what we call the island in our yard.  Huge area that has many azaleas and hydrangeas.  Yes, I'll take some pictures for sure.  

 

This is another thing we will definitely enjoy for spring.  So, what do you think is in this giant box?   Something we will use years to come for sure.  Post about it next time.  For now, just thinking about how it will be almost 70F degrees here tomorrow.  I will be taking the kids I watch outside for sure.  We got some new playsand this past weekend so it will be enjoyed.  Well, need to go finally.  I think I'm catching up on posts this evening.  Let you know what is in the box tomorrow.  That and what we are planning the next few months.  Well, besides wanting to go to Bulgaria.  We all know that one.  Take time to enjoy your week everyone.  It is supposed to be just gorgeous outside this week. 

School happenings...

Well, we all know how Alex is doing in school so let's move forward to some others.  But before I do, I will tell you Alex's teacher was beaming the week before last about how much progress he had made thus far this year.  So, like I said, there is definitely hope. I just need to ignite that fire and passion in him for learning.  Onto some other kids.  May do some with pictures so here goes:

 

Okay, I just love this kid!  Nik drew this for me.  It says "My mom make me smile."  I asked him about it and he signed I love you to me.  I love the size of the heart he is holding up for me.  I guess that is our house behind him.  Love it.  Yet, on the next page there is a fire breathing dragon eating someone.  umm, what happened there Nik?  LOL.  Typical kindergarten boy drawing dragons on one page and telling mom he loves her on another.  I won't complain about this one.  

 

I'm not exactly what is going on here but figured I'd snap a shot of the girls.  It appears as though Yana is choking(playing) Irina and both are smiling about it.  They are holding up a picture Bojan drew for me this week.  It has a heart shaped necklace around her neck and the big pink heart reads " Bojan loves you."  He was so proud to give it to me.  Bojan does have such a tender and sweet heart.  Not just for me, but for everyone.  He will be a great dad one day.  


 

You know the project folks.  Yes, Yana had to carry around a "baby" egg for a week.  Let me give you another perspective here so you can really see how she did:

 

Yes, this is baby egg "suffocated" in tape.  Oh, btw, this is the 3rd egg!  She "killed" the two others.  She was not watching them and they fell off the table.  One at school and one at home.  This egg is all cracked up as well.  Umm, child abuse?  Needless to say, she is not fit to be a mother....yet.  LOL.  She set the alarm for 2 o'clock as she was supposed to but then only turned it off.  She didn't follow through and "feed" the baby or care for it.  We thought about sending it to school in a coffin for a grade.  Umm, we'll revisit childcare in a few years w/ her I think.  Poor egg.  Maturity needs to set in for sure.

 

This is Alyona post surgery.  She said "mom, I can't smile, remember?"  She's a little swollen.  She did throw up once home tonight.  Codiene does that to her at times.  Hoping no more.  She has since eaten a PBJ sandwich & ramen noodles so hoping for the best.  In retrospect, yogurt was not the best choice earlier.  We have Pedialyte on hand at all times here just due to dehydration issues w/ her at times.  So, no big deal.  She is doing great and loved being able to pick any movie she wanted.  She watched Madagascar, Max & Ruby and Sleepover(to be like her sisters she said). Slept on and off.  She may or may not go to school tomorrow.  We'll have to wait and see.  Oh, have to tell you all this.  On the way to the doc today, Warren accidentally hit a bird.  She screamed "Daddy, you can't do that!  God made that bird!"  Too funny.  We had feathers all over the front of the car.  We were driving down the highway and a bird just flew in front.  Happens at times.  Nothing intentional for sure but just funny how Alyona reacted.  Very sensitive to the bird.  This wasn't a school happening so to speak but she wasn't at school b/c of the surgery so figured I'd include a picture.  More info coming tomorrow as I have so much to catch up on.  Tell you everywhere we are going soon and about when everything is happening.  More to come tomorrow so stay tuned. 

Chaos Manor happenings

It is Friday and the week has seemed to fly by.  I'd like to say my children all behaved excellent this week and that there were no major issues.  however, I said I wouldn't lie on here.  I'll go into just a few things slowly.  We'll start w/ some normal stuff and work our way up the line.

Bear.  Bear is our 12yo flat-coated retriever.  This is Bear:


 Typically, these dogs have a life span of about 10 years.  Bear is starting to show his age for sure.  He lays outside and lets the squirrels and birds go about their business all around him. This dog used to catch the squirrels and birds.  Really, he's caught a squirrel.  Hard to do.  Bear is covered in tumors.  We are hoping they are still all benign.  Haven't been back to the vet yet.  Need to go soon but really dreading it and guess that is why I haven't made the appointment as of yet.  Bear is also really starting to shake a lot more.  Not seizing, but shaking.  He whines quite a bit more now.  Hurts to watch him sometimes.  He still has life left in him and we're going to let him live it.  Just very hard to watch your dog age.  This is what started happening to Aspen before he passed away and I guess that is why I'm concerned.  Bear is an awesome dog & when his time does come, he will be forever missed.  For now, we are just enjoying Bear.  Might take him to the vet soon and ask for some medicine to make him more comfortable.  He has Cushings disease as well.  Yet, this dog is still very calm around all the kids in and out of this house.  Loves to be petted and still can smell food if it is left on the table.  You could not have asked for a better dog.  Ever.

Onto Warren.  He has been working a bit lately.  Right now it is 7:20 & he's stuck in traffic.  However, he's been getting home around 7:30 or so.  Also, he's working some Saturdays now.  He got a call around 6 something this morning.  Yep, you were up whether you wanted to be or not this morning.  LOL.  Oh well.  For his hours being a bit off now, I have somewhat convinced Warren he is not superman and can not do it all.  Especially, with 7 special needs kids in this house & things going "haywire" w/ our FASers at times.  (umm today Max was drilling holes in the playground set when I came outside.  Dont' ask).  So, we are going to have someone build the shed & fix our windows that are getting to be a structural problem at this point.  The garage clean up, room building and organic garden are still things we are doing on our own.  But, with Warren working more and me working now and things just happening, we need help.  Warren hates to ask for help so I'm asking for him.  Next Tuesday they will start to finish the upstairs.  Wahoo!  We'll actually have a functioning bathroom upstairs.  With 10 kids, 1 working bathroom was NOT going to cut it.  This bathroom was started in the summer of 2004 just in case you were wondering.  We've given it long enough I think.  Once the upstairs is done, that means the entire inside of the house is offically finished.  Now, the next thing being built will be the shed outside.  Then, Warren & I & maybe some help will move everything out of the garage & into the shed.  Though much will have to be sold, tossed or given away.  After this, the garage will slowly be turned into a room for the girls.  I can hardly wait.

Now, Max has been busy but not in a good way.  He is way "off" this week and don't know why.  Meds are okay so I have no idea what the problem is.  I didn't think there was a full moon but will check.  Yes, believe it or not, it will indeed affect our kiddos.  Crazy, but so true.  Another thing that makes them all out of whack is the stupid time change.  Messes them up for about 2 weeks till they adjust.  Happens every year.  Twice a year.  Thought it was only my kids until I spoke w/ others on an FAS forums group and they have the same issues w/ time change and full moons.  Something adoption agencies will NOT tell you about FAS.  LOL.  Anyhow, Max has been taking stuff apart around the house.  It's quite maddening.  We're working on it.

Yana is finishing off her punishment sentence(grounding) for her RAD rage.  I know many of you do not understand what that is but turst me, you don't want to experience it.  She hadn't had one in forever.  It happened again a few weeks ago and we told her she was grounded for a month.  Well, for the last couple of weeks, I've been showered w/ kindness and notes of love.  Trouble w/ RADishes, you don't know if they are genuine or not.  Oh how parents of kids w/ RAD long for these types of things to be "real."  But, these children are very clever and great at manipulating.  So, as a parent of a child w/ RAD, you have to be extra cautious.  This time though, it seems to be genuine.  According to the teacher and since she doesn't know about RAD or stuff, this helps.  Yana has actually requested to be tutored afterschool to improve her learning.  Her grades are great but she has so much more to learn.  As do most kids adopted at an older age from institutions. She did this on her own w/ NO prompting whatsoever.  She told Warren and I that she was going to work extra hard and read extra at home to try to get out of the special needs class and into a regular class next year.  And, when she tried out for soccer and didn't make the team, she did not have a fall apart RAD reaction.  She was calm, set a goal for next year, and has been working on it.  If that is not progress, I don't know what is.  So, though it was a rough a few weeks ago, the progress made has been leaps and bounds.  She has been helping out, even helping Alyona w/ homework!  Those two are like fire and gasoline and now they are closer.  So, to all those w/ RAD kids going through a rough time, I've been there and there is hope despite how incredibly hopeless it may seem at the time.  Yana has shown a lot of growth in many areas. 

Now, Alex.  He is the reason I had not been writing on here.  Alex has hit a rough patch and just stalled out.  He's not moving forward at all.  This happens.  It's happened before and we'll get through it.  He had a horrible week at school.  Got in big trouble at school and then came home and lied about it.  Yep, bigger trouble when we knew what he did and then lied about it.  Other kids were even encouraging him to tell the truth.  ALL of them have gotten that except for Alex.  URGHH.  You'd think he'd learn by now that lying is NOT acceptable in this house.  Nope.  He hasn't learned.  He also did not do homework last week.  He was doing so awesome in school too.  Just drives me bonkers.  Inside, Alex is a good kid.  He really is.  You just have to dig for it.  And dig deep.  He is only 9yo and maybe some of these things are just regular boy things happening.  In fact, I KNOW that some of it is b/c his classmates' parents share similar stories.  Yet, I know it is different w/ Alex due to the lack of cause & effect thinking he has due to the FAS.  So, we have to really make it sink in.  Alex is now under what we call "prison camp" in this house.  He is treated like a prisoner...no privleges, no special treats, NO fun, and all punishment chores unless he is doing homework or eating or sleeping.  Alex was devastated that he has prison camp now.  Reality sunk in.  All our kids, we just have to threaten prison camp and viola!... behavior changes.  It is VERY rare one gets prison camp status.  But when they do, you can rest assured the violation was severe enough to warrant it.  Does Alex know he's in trouble?  Yes.  Does he understand what he did was wrong?  Yes.  Does he understand just how bad it was?  No.  Does he think this is fair?  No.  However, with children w/ RAD and FAS you really need to make changes early on in life for them or it will mean nothing later on.  I refuse to let any of my kids end up a statistic.  I used to think there was no hope for Max.  Look at him now!   --doing side jobs, out of self-contained class at school, excelling in art, very compassionate, etc.  A transformation that we did not expect.  So, being that Alex is only 9, he has much, much hope for a great future and I need him to see that he's worth it and WILL make it.  Many wanted to give up on Max years ago about Alex's age actually.  We did not and look at him now!  He has had such a positive impact on everyone.  You can not cure RAD or FAS by any means.  That's fact.  However, you can make it so the children grow into respectable, productive adults.  Does it hapepn all the time?  Absolutely not. But, you can't give up b/c when it does hpappen, it is a glorious thing.  More on all that later. 

I really just wanted everyone to know last week was hard.  But, we made it through and will continue to do so.  So, so many things happening here and I will fill you up on upcoming items.  For now, just had to let folks know I had to concentrate on Alex last week.  I said I would be honest on this blog and have been.  Do not worry, none of my teens have our blog address.  They do not read it nor do their friends.  This is our life.  FAS and RAD are part of that life and anyone adopting needs to be aware of those dx's.  It can happen to anyone.  It really can.  However, you can also live a full life.  Sure, some days will drive you insane, but that is when you grab that 3 Musketeers bar and sit down and watch a funny show.  Or take a very, very long walk.  I prefer the 3 M bar so that is why I now have Flabulous to Fabulous Fridays.  LOL.  I aslo started Yoga back up this past week.  It helps.  Though when Nik is grabbing at my arm while I'm in some pose, that does not help.  Will talk more later on the happenings here.  This was the not so good stuff.  It is life here at Chaos Manor.  It is real life.  Now, time to get some good posts in soon! 

Alyona's home-- surgery done

Sorry I have not been on lately.  More to come later.  For now, a quick update on Alyona.  She had her oral surgery this morning to remove the complicated upside down tooth.  It is something a bit rare.  It was growing upside down, root & all.  In addition, it was SO close to breaking into the sinus cavity, something had to be done.  So, it was decided it could not be put in the proper place & needed to be extracted.  appointment was at 8:30am and we got home around noon.  Of course, we had to stop for a post surgery treat.  A McDonald's milkshake.  She ordered chocolate.  She ate a banana in the car.  Alyona was a bit dizzy but that was to be expected.  She is on some heavy drugs to help w/ the pain.  No play for about 3 days they said.  She may or may not go to school tomorrow. Depends upon if she's still on codiene.  Recovery should be great and then onto the orthodontic part of this.  FAS(fetal alcohol syndrome) has many, many birth defects that are possible with it.  Dentist said she was really close to having a cleft palate.  I really don't know how they can tell that but apparently, they can.  Now, next surgery for her will be a tonsillectomy for the tonsil stones she gets.  We've done quite a few tonsillectomies in this house including mine.  One surgery done in this house.  We usually average about 5 to 6 surgeries a year in this house.  Last year we lucked out and only had two.  Anyhow, just wanted to let everyone know we are still alive and Alyona is doing well post surgery.  Very proud of her.  More updates to come later.  Warren is getting ready to take trash to the landfill.  Fun, huh?  Just kidding.  We've been on a mission lately to clear the clutter in this house so lots of spring cleaning and getting rid of stuff.  We're then going to take care of a broken windshield.  When Irina is home, Warren and I are getting the mini dossier notarized... finally.  Had some bumps last week.  A big bump named ALEX.  URGHH.  Again, tell more later.  When you have children with RAD and FAS, sometimes things go a little crazy and they take priority.  That is why I haven't written lately.  Concentrating on Alex for sure.  More back to normal here I hope.  More posts to come.  Enjoy your week.