Friday, April 2, 2010

Time for take off!!!

Well, we're all packed and ready to go.  Miracle we're actually ready to go.  Was busy yesterday trying to make brownies, cookies and cakes for the cookouts.  Laundry was another story.  But, everyone pitched in and we got it done.  Easter Bunny came early to this house.  I'll have to get some pics up soon.  It was just easier to do it before we left.   I did not put much thought into it this year.  Easter just seemed to sneak up on me for some reason. Thought I had more time.  Oh well.  It's done and that's what counts.  We wanted to give our kids a group basket filled w/ outdoor items and such.   My kids live for the outdoors so I knew it would be a hit.  Of course, had to throw in some chocolate.  Think they enjoyed a nice suprise before the trip take off. Have a wonderful Easter Weekend. 

We are looking forward to time away.  I will post on here Sunday about our trip, adventures we had and of course pictures.  For future adoptive parents, these are the times you focus on...NOT the process.  Yes, we are in the midst of an adoption but we are also an adoptive family living our lives.  We don't put anything on hold during an adoption and I think that is important for others to know.  It is also important for the kids.  Adoption is hard for everyone involved.  There is no paperwork on this trip, no telephones to be answered, no school, no work, just us and friends having a good time.  Hiking and revisiting nature.  I think that is important during spring anyhow.  Tends to give you a new perspective.  Need to go.  Literally.  Car is packed and despite some craziness going on this morning, we are ready for take off.  Talk to you all on Sunday & can't wait to share our adventures.  Happy Easter from the Boyd Bunch!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

Today is Thursday and also April 1st.  April Fool's Day.  I honestly forgot so did not do anything to the kids today.  Bummer.  Maybe next year.  Thought I'd do a quick post on Thoughtful Thursday as I need to get ready for our trip.  This was a tough week so this may be hard.  Here goes anyhow:

Irina's thoughtful moment this week was actually captured w/ a picture.  IRina was helping Alyona w/ her homework w/out even being asked too.  Irina can relate to alyona very much so b/c they both struggle academically.  Thanks Irina for all your help!

Max-- Max made hotdogs for us all even after his long field trip to Tryon Palace.  

Yana-- She made sandwiches one morning for all the kids.  She knew I was having a horrible day after the horrible night we had.  She took the pressure off me by taking a step up to help everyone get ready for school.

The above "flowers" were picked by Bojan for me!  Very thoughtful of him to do.  Bojan knows I love flowers and picked these up out of the yard after school.  Very sweet and thoughtful for sure.  

Alyona-- Alyona has been trying to always say goodbye to me and Warren every morning w/ a kiss and a hug.  Very thoughtful of her to think of us as she used to just run out the door.  Love it! 

Alex--He helped Nik one mornign get ready for school as he saw Nik was running behind and wouldn't be able to catch up w/out help.  Very thoughtful of Alex to do. 

Nik-- Nik had an Easter Egg Hunt yesterday at school.  He was picking up eggs, reading the names and then giving them to the kids they belonged to.  He was helping them out.  Very thoughtful of him.  And, he can read!  Had to add that one in. 

Hope next week there are some thoughtful happenings around here.  Kids are out of school next week so it may be hard.  I will try to spot the thoughtful moments throughtout the week though.  Have a great week.  I need to prep dinner and go to Alyona's Egg Hunt today.  Yikes!  I'm late.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring happenings around Chaos Manor

I figured I'd tell some spring happenings in pictures around here.  A fundraising post to hopefully come later on tonight.  Sit back and see what my kids have been up to in this beautiful spring weather we've had. 

This is "minnie mouse" (aka Alyona), showing how she can make big bubbles.  No sleeves on of course.  She loves bubbles. One day I hope to get her one of those bubble making machines. Maybe for her birthday in June.  

We all help to prep the yard.  When you are surrounded by trees, you're going to have leaves to rake.  All of us were out that day raking.  This is Alex and Irina taking their turns.  

Okay, so Warren will not be happy w/ me for putting this picture up.  I'll ask for forgiveness later but I thought it was a sweet picture.  Alyona loves her daddy for sure.  We have a hammock in our yard and everyone loves it.  

Yes, I know it looks like Sanford & sons out here.  Sorry about that.  We are working on a solution for the mess.  Limited space for sure.  Well, it is nice out and Max loves to create things.  People will give him stuff to tinker with.  Some things he can get back working again, some he can't.  Here, he is making a ship I think out of wood.  He is allowed to use tools but only if we're out there.  He does get creative. He's made his brothers swords and knight shields in the past.  And wands of course.  They love it.  

And what would spring be w/out daffodils popping up all over?  We love the pops of color.  Spring at Chaos Manor is wonderful as the windows are open and just a renewed sense of wonder happens.  My kids and I are usually outside most of the time and so our other neighborhood kids.  We'll take some pictures once all the flowers are up and blooming.  Need to get going.  Lots to do.  Just wanted to share a couple of pictures of spring w/ you all.  Have a wonderful day.  Go out and enjoy it for sure.

A New Day

What a difference a day makes, right?   I have given myself some time to calm down and think through my own mess.  Somewhat ashamed of my vent post.  My life could be so, so much worse and I was selfish in whining about what was going on and all the lost money.  I do apologize for that.  Guess it did me good to vent about it though b/c now I feel great.  Tired, but great.   Poor Warren is sick as a dog.  Trying to stay as far away as possible.  Want him to get better and none of the rest of us to get sick before the trip.  We are going to Charlotte this weekend.  Originally, we were going to go camping.  Well, it is going to be 90 degrees and w/ Alex and his issues of over heating, we decided to stay in a hotel.  Good thing I can find great deals.  I can get us a room for roughly the same price as the tent site AND it comes w/ breakfast!  Very happy about that.  Haven't reserved anything yet as we have to see where exactly our friends are located in Charlotte so that we pick the right side of town and don't spend so much time driving.  Kids are excited.  They are aware we have to clean the house today and pack tomorrow.  We have strict routines when we go on trips for the kids to follow and us stay organized.  Packing & organizing for 9 people to go away for a few days is like planning a strategic battle.  It's nuts!   It's supposed to be sunny and beautiful all weekend long.  Can hardly wait.   Now, we have gift cards that we saved from Christmas to go out to eat w/, free breakfasts from the hotel, and dinners at friends' houses.  We also pack lunches to take w/ us.  So, this will save us a good chunk of money on food.  We are also not planning on going to any amusement parks as the funds just are not there w/ everything that has happened.  It is beautiful and we hope to go exploring some. I'm sure they'll have some great trails there for us to hike maybe on Saturday.  Who knows.  We are playing this trip by ear and I think that will make it so much more fun. 

Today, I get to go to the school for an Easter Egg Hunt w/ Nik's class.  Should be fun.  Immediately afterwards, I have an IEP meeting for Alex.  We are going to retain him this year.  So, he'll be in 3rd grade again next year.  Teachers have said the progress this year has been amazing but he is just not ready for a 4th grade level yet and I whole-heartedly agree.  I don't like pushing my kids forward if they are not ready.  So, next year I'll have kids in grades:  1st, 2nd(think I'll put 'R' in this level), 3rd, 3rd(new son maybe in here or 4th, won't know till he's home), 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, & 10th.  Little Bit will stay home w/ me and learn.  I may still homeschool some this coming year, just too early to knwo yet.  Looking into some things. 

It is beautiful outside.  Just gorgeous.  I'm doing some yard cleaning today before goign to the school for the rest of the day.  Alyona's surgery has been scheduled for May.  Trying to get any and all things done before we bring the other kids home.  We do this w/ every adoption.  Just makes it easier as we have to concentrate on the new kids and adjustments.  WE've done this w/ every adoption.  We make sure we have plenty of time w/ our new children who will need us most once home.  What we do w/ the other kids is explain this to them each and every time and they become the"big helpers" as we call them in this house.  It does work.  That , and we'll make sure we have a little one on one time w/ each and talk about the new sibs and new changes in the house.  For some, it is helping us cook for others a ride in the car w/ one of us.  Just b/c your focus is on the new children when they first get home, you can NOT forget about the other children who need you just as much.  It's a balancing act for sure.  It starts even before they get home.  My kids have already started looking for clothes for their new sibs and making room for them.  For new parents to adoption, little steps go a long way.  Off to do some things today.  More to come. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Max!!!

Well, this post is obviously a little late.  Max turned 15 years old on Saturday.  I could hardly believe it myself.  Max is our introvert so very low key for his birthday.  He came to us when he had just turned four years old.  He actually celebrated his 4th birthday in Ireland w/ a host family.  He was so little when he came home but has grown into quite a young man.  He just shot up this past year.  Getting muscle and giggling at girls.  Well, he's really lost that baby giggle he used to do.  Now, he tells me what girls are "hot."  I think he secretly likes the fact that he has two teenage sisters that bring their friends over all the time. Definitely works to his advantage.  LOL.  Anyhow, we made Max a cake on Friday b/c we knew Irina wouldn't be here on Saturday.  Her best friend has the same exact birthday and year as Max.  I make a simple box cake w/ homemade icing.  I make whatever the kids request.  I used to work in a bakery for a few years so they know I can make "specialty" cakes w/ designs on them and such.  However, Max just wanted a simple cake which was awesome for me.  We all sang and wished him well. 

I have no idea why Max was making that face.  And yes, I do realize my two other boys do not have shirts on.  Ironically, a rule we enforce here is no shirts at the table, no service.  Don't know how I forgot that this go around.  So, Max has 15 candles there.  How do you think he's going to blow them out?

Yep, he put them out with his hands.  This in turn fascinated his younger sibs to no end.  They all thought Max was "cool" and "awesome."  Now, I know what some of you other FAS parents are thinking.  Trust me I really do.  Monkey see, monkey do.  It is only a matter of time.  So in the future when you see a post about burnt fingers, you'll know exactly where the idea came from.  Now, awhile back we had gone shopping and asked Max if he wanted to spend his money then.  For all our kids, we always give them the option of us picking something out or them.  The older kids always take the cash option.  We give them $35 and then throw whatever party they want to.  Since we have a pool, Alyona, Alex & Yana always have a pool party.  Nik has an outdoor party too.  We keep the parties simple and let them have firends spend the night if they wish to.  My kids also recieve presents from their grandparents.  Well, I was shopping and saw something Max might like despite him already receiving his present.  He has been helping around the house a lot so thought it was justified.  Here's what he got as an additional gift:

Probably can't tell what it is but it is an art set w/ paint.  As some of you already know, Max is our resident artist.  So, gave him a new art media to use.  Paint.  He usually does sketches and perspective drawings but this should add to his portfolio.  He has 3 canvases that have something on them that you paint.  Then 2 canvases where he can sketch something and then paint it.  Once done, I'll frame them for him to hang on his mini art gallery wall at home.  

Next day we had an awards ceremony for the kids at Upwards.  Tell you about it later w/ pics.  This is all Max.  AFter the ceremony & after we dropped off Irina, we let Max pick a restaurant to go to.  He picked Cracker Barrel.  We all had a great time w/ some great food.  Not often you go out to dinner w/ this bunch.  Many reasons and the first being cost.  Love it when family gives us gift cards to restaurants.  It helps for sure.  Anyhow, they have this little pyramid peg game at the table.  The kids all enjoyed it.  

All of us tried to get this game where you jump pegs to where there is only one left.  Yana got it once.  Was a wonderful way to pass the time.  Alyona enjoyed coloring too.  After we were done w/ our meal, we passed through the general store.  They have games and such from yester year.  It's great!  Well, kids were good and we decided to splurge a little.  Very little.  Got them each candy sticks. They were 10 for $1.  And of course, we couldn't go home w/ out the peg game, slinky or the worm w/ the invisible thread.  It is very refreshing to know my kids get just as excited from this stuff that is a dollar or two as they would from fancy electronics.  We have found over the years, orphanage (PI) kids actually thrive better if they don't have all the "stuff."  So, there are no tv's except in the living room.  No cable.  No ipods here.  No cell phones here.  And guess what?  They are no worse for wear.  They really enjoyed looking around the store and playing checkers outside while waiting.  We used to be afraid somewhat of taking our kids out and unexpected behaviors you sometimes get.  That fear is gone, we handle whatever may come up and enjoy the outing.  Key to all that:  staying firm in what you say.  We have literally loaded up the van, fighting started and we got right back out and didn't go.  That never happened again.  cAme close, but didn't.  So, Max enjoyed going out very much.  He and his dad are goign out to lunch...just the boys.  That is in a few weeks.  So, Max is are laidback, simple 15 year old who I know will be dating in the next year or so.  Scary for me.  That and driving this summer!  Just had to get a quick post in about a birthday this weekend.  Next birthday...'R's.  Yep, she is in Bulgaria right now & hers is coming up this week too.  Wish I were there to give her a birthday hug too but I'll be patient.  For the rest of her life I"ll be able to make her a cake and give her a big birthday hug.  So, though I wnat Max to now stay 15 & not turn 16 next year, I also know next year I'll be ableto celebrate birthdays w/ ALL my kids. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

There's a reason for everything...

right??  I just don't get it.  I honest to goodness thought we were having a bad day before.  Umm, no.  Got a bit worse.  You know, every single morning I wake up, go outside off the back porch and take two really deep breaths in and out.  While doing this, I say "this is the day which the Lord hath made, let's be glad and rejoice in it."  It's from the book of Psalms and don't ask me for the specific verse.   You all know I stink at memorizing those #'s.  Everyday I say this & do this.  Rain or not.  Sun or snow.  I look at the woods and just start to think.  Today, I am finding it hard to find the rejoicing part I'm supposed to be doing.  Financially, this day has been beyond a nightmare.  As you know, the tally from the implants now stands at $16,000.  Tack onto that total the $400 we just spent for Warren's car to be fixed and it still did NOT pass inspection!  Don't ask I don't even care to know why at this point.  The roof leak, tack on another $6700 for that, if we go for the cheap stuff.  Wait, we're not done yet.  The van needs some work.  I'm sure that is a couple hundred dollars as well.  Alyona will need another surgery soon. Thankfully, that is paid for.  Max & I will need new glasses, guessing around $200 a piece.  I still have money on my account but Max does not.  Have to build a shed so we can build the room for the girls.  $2000.  This is like a Mastercard Commercial gone bad b/c I'm trying to find the "priceless" piece at the end and can't.  LOL.  You can all say well, at least you have your health.  Well, Warren was home sick today coughing and hacking his head off.  I'm almost afraid to call and ask how much insurance is for 2 in Driver's Ed.  YIKES!!!  Yes, I did take on a job of babysitting to help fund the adoptions.  So, we now have roughly $24,000 worth of unexpected expenses that are NOT adoption related.  Yes, things happen in life and usually, we can run w/ a $1000 repair here and there.  But come on folks..$24K!  Really?!  In this house, I'm usually the optimistic one.  Today, I think I just needed to vent.  I will NOT give up on this adoption whatsoever.  Yes, this is a roadblock.  But, this is also a moment that I'll be able to look back and learn from.  It is always darkest before dawn, right?  Please let dawn come soon.  Please.  I will post later about fundraising and maybe you all could help.  Spreading the word about this blog, about the magazine fundraiser as well.  I will think of something.  Right now, going to concentrate on dinner, go for a walk to clear my head and breath a sigh of relief that none of us are in the hospital, everyone is trying hard, and we are a loving family.  There, after all that ranting, I found the good in all this.  Now, we are going to go do a  work up on all that has to be paid out or fixed.  One step at a time.  Shoot, during Alex & Yana's adoption, we didn't know how we were going to do it either.  We were supposed to move into a new house(well, old house but new to us) but found out last minute by our insurance guy that it was infested by termites.  Had 2 days to find a home and also lose the escrow money we had put in the house.  It also happened during an adoption.  Bojan's adoption we had someone steal $3000 dollars from us.  But through all these times, the adoptions still went on as planned and the kids came home.  That is what counts.  Times are going to be rough in life.  There is no denying that.  So why think that it would be any different during the time of an adoption?  It's not.  Why?  Because it is life.  This is honest, raw life.  I know my posts are usually a bit more upbeat but I had to be honest today.  It is not me at my best.  But what I will do is tell you whatever solution we find for this.  Remember, we still have yet to come up with the adoption money.  We've come up w/ some, but need much more.  I do have faith that this will work out.  Thanks for listening to me whine.  More on funding the adoption later, solutions to our unexpected expenses, and of course some much needed pictures.  I have to take pictures b/c I do have some cute kiddos!!!  I do like the one of Nik in the mohawk earlier.  Check it out.  Have a great evening.  Thanks again for letting me vent. 

What do your kids do...

on a rainy day??  Thought I'd give you an idea of what some of mine did this past weekend.  Sit back and have a laugh hopefully.  Here goes.

This is Nik styling his new "do" that Irina did for him.  He wanted to be cool like his older brothers and all the hair gel.  This is what they came up with.  
Yep, time for a haircut.  

The girls decided to do some makeup work to Bojan.  Umm, I don't think their future career will be makeup artists, do you?   They actually first did Max.  I dont' even know how he let them.  Have a picture of him as well but they actually made him look like a girl.  He'd kill me if I put it up here.  Amazing the things that boys will let girls do.  It wasn't just his sisters that were doing the makeup.  Max has this crush on one of Yana's friends.  Well, she was here to and they all participated in the makeup madness.  

This is another event that takes place in our home on a rainy day.  I know they're still in pajamas.  This is Nik and Alyona having a teddy bear fight.  Notice the teddy bears are about as big as they are.  Don't know if you can see it in the background or not but the kitchen drawer is on the counter.  Yana broke it.  Again, repairs in a house filled w/ FASers are much more common.  Warren fixed it but it has to dry now.  

This is Max trying to workout a bit.  He LOVES this new thing.  He drew a picture for our handyman so the handyman could put it onto a tattoo.  Well, the gentleman "paid" him by giving him this apparatus.  Max LOVES it and it already has gotten much use in this house.  You can do pull ups, sit ups, and push ups.  Everyone has given it a try.  Even mini mouse has tried it.  See:

Alyona wanted to try her test of strength too.  She can't hang on long due to her messed up arm but I snapped a shot real quick.  She loves to do what her sibs do.  

So, that was a little of what my kids do on a rainy day.  I'll post some more stuff later.  Right now, calling roofers and figuring out where to get $6 to $8K from.  I'm NOT giving up though and that's a promise.  Off to get stuff done.  Have  a great week.  More to come. 

When it rains...

it pours....literally!!!  I will write more later today.  I'm ready to explode and scream right now all at the same time.  The implants are gone forever.  He has ONE left that can not be replaced & is NOT able to be insured.  We have an FASer that keeps proclaiming his innocence in all this but Nik told us yesterday Alex pulled it off his head and threw it in the woods.  Why?!  We just don't get it as we've told him there is no more monetary rewards.  Don't know why.  we've explained it a dozen times at least.  Not sinking in.   So, $16,000 is G-O-N-E forever.  We're crushed.  Now, after we digested all that, we woke up this morning ready to start a new day.   Usually I'm pretty optimistic.  Max came in the room.  Think we have a problem.  Really?  What could it be?  We go around the corner and find this:

Yes, that is water dripping down.  Starting catching w/ these:

Two buckets after warren drilled a hole in the frame to let the water leak out.  Not to add salt to an already opened wound here but looked around the room and found this:

This is a door that was installed LAST year.  It was $1200.  It is no longer under warranty.  We had to replace it b/c our OCD daughter paniked and kicked in the door and busted it.  Yes, she should work for the swat team.  Future adoptive parents need to think of additional costs to a child, especially those w/ mental health disorders.  This stuff happens here all the time.  Last year, we had to replace the pool liner.  Don't ask.  Anyhow, the door is leaking now too.  This could not have come at a worse time.  Seriously.  We are calling roofers today but it will most likely be about a $6K to $8K job.  The state is still holding our tax refund.  We did as they asked..we proved our family exists.  NC is one of the "broke" states of America.  They don't have the money to give back.  The adoption stuff is adding up way too quickly as you all are aware how that goes.  Yet, I awoke to a song that I like.  I think it is called Calling All Angels.  anyhow, the line I awoke to today was "I won't give up, you don't give up!"  Ahh, the piece of inspiration I needed.  I'm NOT going to give up as my kids are depending upon me to bring them home.  So, we are going to think of a plan but are truly going to need some help.  I will post about fundraisers later today.  Any and all amounts will help.  Hate doing this but I'm not going to give up!  Just can't.  Much more to come.  Bojan is kicked off the bus the next 3 days.  Furious at him.  So much has happened in just the last 48 hours that it will take me a few days to catch up.  Then this morning as I'm digesting the roof leaking, I hear about the bombing in Moscow.  My sister lives there.  They are all fine.  So that was at least good news that they were okay.  I have to get going.  Warren needs the computer as he's home sick today.  Poor guy has been sick all weekend and has gotten worse.  He was supposed to have an early dentist appointment but had to cancel.  He has not slept all weekend and sounds horrible.  I will write more later for sure.  Right now, trying to take one step at a time.  you know what they say "Life hands you lemons, you need to make lemonade."  Well, I think my fridge will be full of lemonade by the end of all this.  Have a great Monday.  Ahh, and I haven't even told you all everything that has transpired the last few days.  More to come. Much, much more.  Any locals that know of a roofer, please send me their #.  Having a hard time locating someone.  BTW, I love having a day off.