Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I thought it was high time for a thoughtful Thursday post.  Trouble is, I haven't been keeping up w/ the good the kids have done.  But, I'll give it a shot here. 

this is Max & Yana in their bathing suits cleaning the front porch!  They were swimming in the back & decided to do this.  No one asked them, no one told them it was a mess, they just thought the porch was dirty & needed a good scrubbing.  It was hot this day and I was really surprised they took the time to do this.  Very thoughtful of Yana and Max for sure.  And, much appreciated by parents.  

Irina has been very thoughtful to Alyona lately.  She knows Alyona has a few friends and that Alyona is lonely some days.  So, Irina has made it so that Alyona can feel included.  Irina has let Alyona "spend the night" in her room and has been doing Alyona's hair more often.

Bojan and Alex were quite thoughtful when Alyona nearly drowned.  (Remember, Nik pulling her down like Stitch??).  Bojan & Alex said we can make you feel better & proceeded to do their "coconut dance."  Very thoughtful of them to get their sister's mind off the situation and make her laugh.

Alyona has been thoughtful by trying to help me out more.  "Mommy, can I help you w/ that?"  Things like that are more commonplace for her now and that is quite an accomplishment.  

Nik was very thoughtful when he thought Alyona was hurt.  (she wasn't but that's beside the point as he thought she was).  anyhow, Nik came over to her and rubbed her back.  Very thoughtful especially for him.  Nik has a hard time expressing certain emotions and he used to laugh at people when they were hurt as he didn't understand.  Now, he is thoughtful to go over show concern and want to make them feel better.  

I see a lot more good in the kids lately.  I will say that transition week after school was hard but now it is flowing smoothly.  Nice to see the good come out in my kids.  Thanks for letting me share.  Talk to you all on Sunday!   Now, we're off on our trip. Other than gum in my clothes, it has been fairly smooth. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nik's audiology appt.

Warren took Nik to his appointment today.  I'll get to the point.  Bad news is there is NO WAY possible to insure the current implant.  Long story for sure.  Put it this way, at one time we had three implants.  The one he has on his head is the one that was assumed lost in the woods.  Then, it was found but only after it had been written as a loss and replaced.  Hence, no more records of the serial #.  So, can not be insured.  Calling AB and seeing if there is any way possible around this mess as it is an unique case.  IF this one is ever lost, the replacement is around $8,000.  As you can see, we're trying everything possible to get insurance for it.  Especially, at this house. 

Alright, now for the best news.  They are doing pre-qualifications for a SECOND IMPLANT!!!!  I can not tell you how excited I am for Nik.  We should pre-qualify and it is a process and no, don't know how long.  Just know it is a step in the right direction.  Poor kid has literally been begging for a second implant for months now.  Months.  He got re-mapped today on the current implant as well.  Very happy as this can be a huge difference in Nik's life & future.  Just had to share this.  

More going on but will share once home & when there is more time to write.  Oh, & not thunder outside.  Enjoy your week everyone.  I know we will.  We'll probably write a post tomorrow & then nothing else until Sunday.  Going to try to take lots of pictures and hope to see some great things and do some great things. 

The Nerve!

The nerve of some people.  Alright, Warren got a phone call last night here at the house.  It was a roofing company.  They were trying to tell him they could take care of our roof since there was such bad weather. They'd just file a claim w/ our insurance company and it would be paid for.  Okay, granted, our roof IS leaking and our roof IS old and does indeed need deperate repair.  however, we refuse to go against just plain good moral judgement to get something for nothing.  We think it is just ripping people off and in the long run, that does no one any good.  I just can't believe the nerve these people had to even suggest to fraud our insurance company like that.  We have State Farm and they have been nothing but good to us.  We've never had a problem w/ any claim we've had.  Never.  The people there are great too always ask us when our next adoption is.  LOL.   It really irritated Warren that people would be that dishonest.  And you know some people I'm sure are going to jump at this offer.  Shoot, given our roofing situation, we could have.  However, we will not go against our morals or good judgement for the sake of getting something fixed for free.  No matter how much we need that repair.  It is not fair to the people who have worked hard at the insurance company and do an awesome job.  Just had to vent on this one. Till later....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting trip ready

 Any hints of what these are for??  Well, for any trip we take we make shirts for everyone.  Last time it was purple tye dyes for the girls & green for the boys.  We were going to do another tye dye this time but honestly, didn't have time nor money.  So, these American flag shirts(front of it) seemed fitting for a trip to D.C.  Best part, only $3 a piece.  I wrote everyone's name on the back since the shirts are dark colors.  That way, some of the kids get ahead of us, we can call them back easier.  You may laugh but the older kids learned quickly last year at the D.C. metro of how easy it is to get lost in a crowd.  And, w/ FAS memory issues, this is a serious problem.  Last year, even the older kids could not remember the hotel we stayed in.  And, we tried to drill it into them over & over.  So, having the same shirts helps a bunch.  We only do this w/ big, open spaces.  Hikes & such no big deal.  So, pictures will be easy to spot us.  Kids don't mind too much either. 

For those who don't know, we are going on vacation shortly.  It is for the Orenburg Adoption Reunion.  We leave on Thursday morning and will be gone until Sunday.  During that time, I will do NO blog entries.  I need a break.  So, I'll probably write once more tomorrow & then call it quits until Sunday evening.  Here's a glimpse of the itinerary.

Thursday-- leave here around 9am after eating breakfast.
                -- travel & eat lunch in the car.  (an adventure in itself.  LOL)
                -- get to the hotel and swim for a bit.
                -- go out to Olive Garden (leftover giftcards from Christmas..hooray!)

Friday -- wake up & eat a big breakfast in the hotel
            -- go down to D.C. & take the D.C. Ducks Tour.  (this should be a riot!)
            -- out to lunch at Foster's Grill (thank you
            -- back to hotel for a swim
            -- go to Walmart to pick up stuff for sandwiches for dinner in the rooms.

Saturday-- head to Bull Run Park at around 9:00am
               -- spend all day at the water park & reunion festivities.
               -- back to the hotel for a quick change and off to dinner
               -- 5:00 pm -- meet my family for dinner at Famous Dave's Barbeque
               -- back to hotel for a good night's sleep

Sunday-- depart hotel hopefully at 9am (if we're lucky) to head for the trip home.
            -- arrive home, unpack & do ALL laundry from trip.

Tomorrow is packing.  And more packing.  We washed the van today & cleaned it out.  something we do before every trip.  It's then we noticed the nail, screw or whatever piece of metal it is in the tire.  Yep, tomorrow we will be headed to Just Tires to get a patch or a plug for the tire.  I'm taking however many kids are at the house at that time & going up there.  I'm guessing they'll get us done quickly.  LOL.  Small waiting room for sure.  Then to the bank & maybe to Wally World if they are all semi- behaving. 

Lots of fun packed into this vacation so hoping all goes well.  Taking a chance here as usually the most the kids can make it is 3 days before all falls apart.  We've learned that over the years.  This is four days and we've told them prove it here and we'll go longer next time.  We'll keep you posted.  There should be lots & lots of pictures when we come back.  But, priority when I get back is to finish up this dossier & get it sent off.  Apostilling is no big deal here as we live right near the capitol.  Going to drop off the medical doc letterhead tomorrow so I can pick up as soon as I get back.  Should have ALL my dossier docs ready next week.  Wahoo!!!  We'll see.  Much happening.  More later.

The Glitz & Glamour...what's it really worth

Okay, I'm not sure how to really begin w/ this one.  I just know I saw this on yahoo news and am perplexed on many levels.  The main level is how is this "news."  Since when does someone spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a car count as "news?"  I don't get it.  But, someone did.  Here is the article I'm talking about:

I know basketball players are wealthy and most(not all) tend to live a somewhat extravagant lifestyle.  Yes, somedays it would be nice to be that wealthy, go into the mall and buy my kids some new clothes w/out thinking of the costs.  Do I long for that day?  No.  Do I care how rich someone is?  No.  this article is perplexing me on another level that I think ALL adoptive parents think of every once in awhile when they hear of something of this nature happening.  People wasting money.  Now, I know some will argue this is definitely not a waste.  It's a car.  People can spend their money how they want to bottom line.  Yet, this gets recognition and countless donors who donated to grants for orphans get zip for recognition.  I know they do not want the recognition, for that's not why they do it. They do it simply to rescue the orphans of the world.  However, if it were made public plastered all over yahoo news, maybe more plights of the orphans of the world would get more recognition.  People would know the little faces left behind in cribs to rot.  Versus staring at some Rolls Royce someone bought for her husband b/c he won a game.  No, I'm not trying to downplay a NBA Championship Title.  I just wish maybe for once someone would do a human interest story.  There are children laying bedridden over in Eastern Europe.  No human being should be in that situation.  No one.  Knowing Nik was headed exactly to that place & watching him swim, play, laugh and learn makes me think of these institutions more and more.  And for once, I'd love someone famous or rich make a donation to one of these places that help children like ours.  I do know there are a lot of celeberties that do a tremendous good w/ their money.  However, there are many, many more that don't seem to unless it is a spot on tv somewhere.  When I see someone spending $443,000 on a car, I think that could have easily have just saved 22 lives from imminent death.  I know I will probably get a lot of slack for writing something of this nature.  And even questioned publishing it.  I'm sure I could take the $443,000 and turn it into a million.  Shoot, Oprah's done that experiment w/ $100 before.  I know it's harder in this economy to accomplish such a feat but it IS doable.  Bottom line, I feel there is a lot of human good in the world.  I also see a lot of greed and waste and that really bothers me.  Shouldn't.  It's not my money.  People can spend as they wish.  Maybe though, if someone did a story, a GOOD story on the news, more giving to the orphans can be done.  I remember years ago when the major news networks covered the plight of the Romanian orphans.  Many, many were adopted afterwards.  Or when they covered the Serbian Institutions, more interest was peaked about international adoptions and the grim situations that these kids face.  My kids would have faced that same fate.  Many of them.  Makes me cringe every time I think about it. 

I guess this was just on my mind after seeing it.  Knowing full well what that money could do for so many orphans.  They could get a work program started for the older children that will never get a family.  Therapies could be started.  New shoes for some.  I just see how much good could be done.  Yes, this car put a smile on someone,s face but nothing like seeing a child smile after receiving their first NEW pair of shoes ever that are not too small for once.  I've seen that smile.  I bought Yana and Alex their first pair of shoes that fit them when we hosted them one summer.  It was heartwrenching to see Yana's toes all curled under b/c the shoes were literally 3.5 sizes too small.  I shouldn't complain yet I don't feel like appologizing for complaining aobut such an issue.  I want to see other "news."  Relavent news.  Human interest story news.  Okay, time for me to accept all the backlash I'm sure I'll receive on this post.  Thanks for listening to me babble.  More posts later.

Alyona's birthday -- part II

Time to get to the rest of the birthday stuff.  Well Friday we woke up and Bojan was violently sick.  I mean, really, really sick & won't go into describing it to spare you the details.  LOL.  He gets this way some times and really have to figure out the stomach issues.  We just make sure he doesn't get dehydrated.  Keep 2 bottles of Pedialyte on hand at ALL times for him and for Alex (Alex's adrenal/ kidney issues).  Otherwise, bojan gets dehydrated from throwing up so much that he needs 2 of those IV bags to get him back to normal.  and for us, we try to avoid doc offices as we have enough appointments there as it is.  We were tending to Bojan and had 5 other kids staying over that I was watching.  don't worry, their parents know about Bojan & that it is NOT a contagious thing.  BTW, Bojan was swimming after lunch that day and eating like crazy.  Once we make it through teh first few hours with him, it is clear sailing.  Anyhow, back to Alyona.  All the kids that were here decided to help decorate. 

Kept it simple w/ girlie colors.  Balloons on all the chairs, tinkerbell centerpieces, streamers hanging from the doorways.  

I think she is thinking about what she is going to wish for.  Oh, she's in her pj's b/c they just finished swimming that night.

She's very proud of herself right here for sure.  After this, they enjoyed cake.  Trust me, they'd been snacking all day long and didn't  need any other junk.  LOL.  there were 5 kids that ended up spending the night so we had 12 kids here.  Practice for sure.  They watched a movie after the cake and then "settled" for bed.  and I use the word settled loosely.  Maybe got ot bed around 1.  And, since Warren was on call this weekend and had to be to work very early Saturday, it made for a rough day for him.  But, we all survived it.  

This is Alyona & her best friend Angel.  They are stuck together like glue.  I'm glad they found each other and are once again in the same class next year as well.  We had pancakes & bacon for breakfast.  Despite just a few hours of sleep, they look happy here.  After this, some went home, and some didn't.  The kids that didn't, helped us clean up and organize the mini fundraiser.  It was a great day overall and I do think Alyona really enjoyed her birthday.  Next big event up is the vacation this week.  After that, 4th of July.  After that, Alex' s birthday.  I will have tons to share these next few weeks for sure.  made all kinds of appointments today.  Now, I need to get a referral for Yana as Raleigh Neuro won't accept her back in b/c it has been longer than 3 years since she was seen.  Lovely.  So, when we get back from vacation, we'll be doing some doc visits.  

hard to believe Alyona is going to be 11yo.  Seems like yesterday I met this tiny little 7yo.  Time flies.  Alyona kindly reminded me that she is only 2 years away from being a teenager like her sister.  She's been wearing her bathing suit top as her "bra" now since they don't make bras that small.  LOL.  Why is it they want to grow up and I want to grow younger?   More to come.  Hope you enjoyed her birthday as much as she did.  Nice little celebration.  We all though HATE the one gift she got.  Remember, there was a lot of "rookie" mistakes during that shopping trip.  I had no idea it was  a motion sensor doll baby.  Stupid thing starts crying at any movement and it freaks us all out.  Batteries will have to disappear in that thing for sure.  have a great week.

Alyona's birthday -- part I

Okay, Alyona's birthday is actually June 27th (this Sunday).  But, since we are travelling that day, we decided to have her party a week early.  So, this past weekend, that is what we did.  However, wanted to share w/ you all that she already has received a present from her Nana & Poppop.  Very cute stuff too I might add. 

Okay, you think she's the least bit excited here??  She loves sunglasses.  She got quite a few clothes in this bag along w/ sunglasses, flip flops & a headband.  Talk about styling.  she thought she was hot stuff for sure.  

Still haven't figured out to turn pictures around.  I'll have to ask Warren.  Here she is in just one of her new outfits.  Cute, huh?  I think she's enjoying it, dont' you?  This was her gift from her Nana & Poppop (my parents). 

Since it's still early, she hasn't received any other gifts yet.  But, that is b/c her birthday isn't until this weekend.  When we went to Walmart to buy supplies, we let her spend $20.  For our kids, we give them $35 to spend & a party.  Hey, parties add up quickly.  Well, I had found some baby dolls on sale for half price so I had already spent 15 on her. Hence, why we let her spend $20.  Sent her w/ Max to the toy aisle and told Max she could NOT spend over $20 including tax.  Umm, was it really smart to send two FASers to go do this task?  No.  but, you have to encourage independence when you can.  Ended up being over $25 but we let that go.  Just tried to teach them to really look at the tags, match up the items & think about tax.  Hard concept for anyone for sure.  Children with FAS truly struggle with the concept of money.  We are still working on it quite a bit.  Remember, the only one not affected by this disorder is Bojan.  Reason I write about FAS on here quite a bit is b/c it is our life from day to day and a big part of why we do things a certain way.  Plus, I know there are other FAS families struggling out there.  It is a disorder that effects so many yet very few have heard of this.  And I believe most that have heard of it are in the adoption field.  Shoot, our doctors had no clue when we first got home.  Education.  By doing this blog I feel I can help get the word out about what FAS is and what it is like to live with children effected by this disorder.  Also, dispell some common myths about it in the process.  And, to show others life can be a new kind of normal.  So, hope you all don't mind me throwing some FAS stuff in here from time to time.  

Alyona had a great time recieving her gift from Nana and also getting to pick out her toys at the store.  We did not realize Max allowed her to pick out a noise toy until we got in the car.  URGHH.  For such experienced parents, we sure did make a lot of rookie mistakes that shopping trip.  LOL.  Live and learn.  Off to wash the car w/ the kids.  You know, b/c it is only in the low 90's right now & hasn't reached the 100's yet here.  I'll have part II of Alyona's birthday celebration coming up.  Got to go.  Enjoy your day & stay tuned for part II. 

Medical stuff & checkup for Mom

I figure I always tell about the kids & their appointments, maybe it is time to share one of mine.  I am followed by a cardiologist every 6 months to a year.  Before anyone gets nervous, it is precautionary.  See, my family heart history is not the best & as my cardiologist says "I'd rather treat you now then crack open your chest when your 50."  Umm, I agree w/ that one!  So, I've had stress tests done before, nuclear medicine stress tests done, etc.  My next stress test is August of this year.  I want to blow them away on that one.  Can't wait.  Been swimming & trying to exercise so should be a good one.  High blood pressure & high cholesterol unfortunately run in my family genetics.  My dad was a fit Marine his entire life, jogged everyday, etc.  Peak of fitness.  Yet, was on medication for bp & cholesterol.  My cardiologist said sometimes you just can't escape genetics.  And, so that's where I am.  I also have the high bp & borderline high cholesterol.  I'm on meds for the bp which my doc calls a nothing dose.  It really is a nothing dose.  Today, bp at the cardiologist was 120/ 70.  That is FANTASTIC for me!!!  I was so thrilled.  That means it's normal.  The exercise really has helped.  given my family history though, he refuses to take me off anything.  bummer.  Hey, it works, don't mess w/ it.  My echocardiogram was perfect.  So, very healthy, happy heart.  Cholesterol will be checked in December.  I'll try some dietary changes for sure to see if it helps.  I am really pushing to NOT go on cholesterol lowering drugs.  Time will tell.  So, wonderful heart checkup today for me.  Better yet, doc could see I was in pain I guess.  Wrote me the script for what is one wicked sinus infection.  Very thankful for that as this headache is really holding me back today.

As parents of special needs children, we have to make sure we are healthy as well.  We get regular checkups.  All bloodwork and such is perfect.  No issues except losing the weight.  Working on that one quite a bit.  In fact, Warren & I are having a contest to see who can lose the most weight every month till we reach our goal.  We're still kind of thinking what the winner will get at the end of the month.  Thinking of the winner picking out a place for a date night.  Good, small goal to start out with.  He's trying one way to lose weight and me another.  Hey, it's healthy competition if anything & will definitely do us both some good.

Now, onto the kids' medical stuff.  We have some issues going on that we need to resolve.  Health issues.  Nik goes in this week for audiology.  Hopefully, it will be to say he needs another implant.  Truly, he does.  The kid is literally counting down to this appointment, jumping up & down b/c he thinks he's getting his 2nd implant.  No lie.  I've tried to sign to him that the doctors are thinking about it.  I told him to make sure he tells the doctors he WANTS the second implant.  Dog gone kid acts shy when he goes in there & it ticks me off.  They need to see how he desperately wants this & is begging for it.  Seriously.  I'm thinking of recording him tomorrow & letting them see it.  Maybe that will do it.  Nik is doing all the pushing here, not us.  They need to see that for sure.

Alyona needs to go back to endocrinology.  We never did go back & it may give us confirmation she has a form of dwarfism.  We'll see.  I don't think the dx will make any difference quite frankly.  So, hers is a last on the list when we get around to it type of appointment.

Bojan.  Alright, Bojan's is priority & I've actually been calling new ortho clinics all morning trying to find one.  We have gone to the same place for years but doc is being ultra conservative & mean time, Bojan is in pain.  Not acceptable.  See, bojan has a doc that his done his surgeries for years w/ complete success.  However, same doc really, really messed up Alyona's arm & even caused permanent damage.  I explained to him she is highly complicated.  This has caused him I think to be ultra conservative in his thinking on Bojan.  Anyhow, he went last week & said to wait two months.  Umm, why?  Nothing will change except more pain.  Bojan has a severe clubfoot that was never corrected correctly in Serbia.  It has had so many surgeries that there is really hardly any place that doesn't have scar tissue.  Hence, not much more you can do to it.  He can not stand flatfooted on it at all.  Toes are curving over one another.  It's curving in.  Tried a brace, didn't help.  Bojan has requested we amputate his foot & frankly, it is the best option at this point.  He can't flex it, can't really run.  The stump of his amputated leg is having issues too.  They did an x-ray and sure enough, the bone is getting closer to the bottom of his leg.  See, Bojan has a lot of great "padding" on his amputated leg & makes it great for weight bearing.  Now, the bone is getting further down.  This is why he has been in more pain on that side as well.  BTW, told this is unusual for congenital amputees.  So, working on finding a team of doctors to work on him here.  After this issue is resolved, we'll work on his stomach issues too.

Yana.  She has been getting migraines for years.  Well, they are progressively getting worse where she'll vomit w/ them.  When she first started having them years ago, they did the routine checks, MRI, etc. and found nothing.  Now, it seems to be much worse in severity.  Don't know what they'll do this time but they do need to figure something out here.

Irina.  Irina has had major, major sinus & nose surgery just last year.  Well, it's messed up again.  She whistles when she breathes.  Now, we have to figure out what is going on.  Currently, I am calling & making appointments for those who are more severe.  So, Bojan & Yana are top priority right now.  Nik just happens to be going tomorrow so he is being checked off the list here.  But, been calling all morning trying to help bojan find someone.  Hard, really hard. 

That's what's going on medically w/ the kids right now.  I know we'll be able to help get all issues resolved over the  next few months.  Only one really concerned w/ is Yana as it just seems odd.  Especially, since just a few years ago all was deemed clear.  However, she has grown & gone through puberty so maybe hormones could effect the migraines??  Have NO unearthly idea as I'm very unfamliar w/ migraines.  Learning.  Just thought I'd update on the medical stuff.  With special needs children who came from orphanages, you have limited medical data & you have no idea what will pop up over the years.  We tackle it one or two at a time and move forward.  So, signing off so I can get busy calling while the kids are outside in the pool.  Enjoy your day.  Alyona's b-day party post is next. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fundraiser results

Oh, so much to say.  Tyical, huh?  LOL.  I'd love to tell the story in pictures.  I still can't believe we pulled it off.  After Bojan being violently ill Friday, 15 kids here, Alyona's party, spend the night w/ 12 kids here, & getting ready for the fundraiser, I'm shocked we even got to do anything.  But, we did.  Girls got up early w/ me after all of us had about 5 hours of best.  We made tea, chilled drinks, made a menu, etc.  And,  still managed to make pancakes & bacon for breakfast.  so, some pics from the day.

We were starting to set up here so enthusiasm was high.  As was the temp.  It was in the high 90's that day.  H-O-T is an understatement.  We had to keep running into the house to get ice cream out of the freezer as it melted in the cooler..full of ice.  

This kid was hilarious.  We all got a kick out of it.  Bojan would jump up & down & wave every time a car went by.  I must say, the majority of cars stopped.  We have wonderful neighbors and very, very kind neighbors at that.  One stopped by that I didn't even know lived in the neighborhood  a few doors down.  Their daughter was in Bojan's class!  Small world.  

I was proud of Alex.  Remember, Alex's body can't handle heat too well.  He keeps a bandana around his neck or head all during summer.  The bandana we wet.  Helps keep him cool.  Alex would get red quickly and overheat and we'd have to send him in.  Poor guy.  Couldn't have picked a hotter day to do this.  But, alex did survive & was happy he was a part of it.

You can tell by the balloons that were just blown up, just how hot it was outside.  They deflated very quickly.  

Irina just relaxing in the heat.  You had to this day.  

Everyone helped out.  Max was sitting down in this picture.  There are 2 "extras" here.  Two friends of the kids wanted to help too so they did.  All the kids did such an awesome job.  I couldn't believe they tolerated the heat so well.  

After a long day of selling ice cream & then cooling off in the pool, it was definitely a good time for a nap.  Nik and Alex always sleep together.  Yes, they are that close.  At first, Alex is always distant w/ new kids coming home.  Then, their relationship develops & this is what you get.  Two true brothers once again. Still don't understand how Alex is in a sweatshirt & blanket on him.  Almost a hundred degrees out and this kid is all wrapped up.  Crazy.  For a couple hours in the hot sun, the kids made $80.  They still need to learn the concept of money as they said "now can we go get them & bring them home?"  Yeh kids, just a little short.  However, I think it is wonderful the dedication they had to help bring their brother & sisters home.  One day, hope the new sibs will look back on this event w/ great admiration of what these kids did for them to come home too. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Fun in pics

I have some pictures laying around so thought I'd do a summer picture post.  Hope you enjoy some of our summer fun around here. 

Did I ever tell you what a great big brother Max is???  Here he is taking Alyona & Nik for a ride in the trailer.  they love doing this.  They can't do it that often due to the flooding yard problem (for another post).  But, when they get to go, they can't get enough.  Max was a great sport b/c it was 98 degrees today.  hot!  

Brothers through & through.  All from different parts of the world yet all connected.  Amazing, isn't it?  Despite the stupidity(referring to the stunts they pull), the fighting, the aggrevation, they really do love each other.  they'll fight w/ each other but they'll fight for each other just as much.  Trust me, they have stood up for each other at school.  In this picture Max is 15, Alex 9, Bojan 11 and Nik 7.  Bojan & Max are tighter than tight as brothers go.  They actually miss each other if the other spends the night at a friend's house.  Nik & Alex have separate beds yet have never slept apart.  True brothers.  

I hit the wrong button.  So, this part is of the first picture.  Okay, Max is holding Alyona after being drug down by Nik.  Remember, the scene from Lilo & Stitch?  Well, that's what happened here.  Then while Max was holding her, Bojan & Alex decided to make her feel better by doing the coconut dance.  No idea what this is that the boys made up but it made her laugh so I'll take it.  

Next picture is the result of a water gun fight in the pool.  Boys out numbered the girls that day.  Yana tried her best to keep up w/ the boys' team.  She did pretty well at it too.  

They were all screaming for me to take the picture quickly.  Max is holding them all up. Guess that workout is paying off.  My kids love the water & so do I.  We spend a lot of time in the pool.  

I swear my kids need to live on a nature preserve.  Seriously, who can do this w/ a butterfly?  Granted, later it died but still, it was alive when I saw them catch it.  The kids all love to catch bugs & critters around the house.  Yes, they even can spot the snakes though thankfully, have not tried to catch them.  Alyona is enjoying the simple beauty of a butterfly here.

After a long day of summer fun, there is nothing like an awesome dinner.  We get asked often what we feed this bunch.  Really, a variety of stuff.  One of our favorites is mixed veggies & beef on the grill.  We put it over rice.  Each store has a produce rack that is reduced for some reason or another.  I just buy what I'll use that day.  Look at all the colorful veggies here.  Peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, eggplant, celery, etc.  It was a fantastic tasting meal & everyone (except Alyona) loves it.  Best part is, it only costs us less than a $1 per person to make it.  Can't wait till more veggies are ready to be picked from our garden.  Getting there for sure.  That is a small glimpse of what we've been up to this summer.  More to come on the upcoming trip, Bojan's medical issues, Nik's medical stuff, etc.  Just one thing at a time.  LOL.  Till tomorrow. 

Father's Day 2010

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  I think we have the best one right here in this house.  I really do.  The kids love him and it shows.  they all want to have their one on one time when he goes to do an errand.  Our first F
ather's Day ever spent together was at the airport on our way to get Irina and Max in Russia.  There was no way to predict he'd be a dad 10 times over.  He has made each transition of new family members look flawless.  Yes, he has his days too...everyone does.  But, that is a rarity at best.  Kids can't wait for him to come home from work everyday.  They always want to help him cook too.  And, patient man he is, he lets them.  Amazing Dad.  One of a kind.  Kids really wanted to get him something special but told them this year we just couldn't.  Bear's vet bill was way more than anticipated & then a computer dying.  So, we decided on a t-shirt that we do almost every single year.  Here is Nik attempting to hide the shirt as a surprise.

He's not being very good at being sneaky, is he?  And, here is the final result:

The shirt says "My kids walk all over me..."  Then, it has their footprints w/ their names.  Kids had a great time making it.  Trouble was, one of them decided to let the dog out as we were making the t-shirt outside w/ teh paint.  Bear goes right through it.  Fortunately, we were able to cover up Bear tracks w/ other paint.  Never dull, is it.  

Warren had to work this weekend so today we just kind of took it easy around the house.  Nothing special.  Still a bunch to catch up on on this blog & I will as soon as I get the chance.  Kids have been keeping me extra busy since being out of school.  Been nuts to say the least.  Got to get some more stuff done.  Hope everyone has a wonderful week.  It is vacation week starting Thursday for us.  Kids are so, so excited already.  Still making last minute plans.  More to come for sure.