Saturday, July 3, 2010

Laugh attack

In the D.C. trip post part II, I was talking about a video of Nik and Alex.  I'm hoping this works.  If not, I'll try something else later.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.  Makes me smile every time I've watched it.  Look at these two and you tell me they would have been better off spending their lives separately in orphanages.  One of them tied down to a bed for the rest of his life.  Can you tell me that?  I highly doubt it.  These two were destined to be brothers.  No doubt about it.  Alex & Nik are very close.  Alex asked to sit by Nik in the van.  Yes, Alex has his moments as does Nik.  but, for the most part, they get along.  Take a look:

So, what do you think of my laugh attack boys??  We had just passed a sewage plant.  This was at the tail end of a laugh attack that lasted around 10 minutes.  You can see Nik holding his stomach at times from laughing so hard.  At the end Alex says "I think we've had enough fun."  I think so.  Have a very Happy 4th of July Weekend.  We're taking it easy as the kids & I have all had guests all week long.  Today is a massive house/ yard cleanup/ shopping / etc. day.  Swimming in the pool later & watching a few new movies.  (btw, Walmart has a bin of movies for $5 a piece if anyone is interested).  Nice and easy day.  Isn't that what summer is supposed to be??  Enjoy it.  We are.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

D.C. Trip-- Day Four (part II)

Well, hope you all like the new look of the blog.  Just needed a summer feeling w/ all this hot weather.  Sometimes, it's just nice to change things up a bit.

Alright, onto the rest of the trip.  We ran into a ton of traffic coming home but still managed to keep level headed.  Bellies were full thanks to Aunt Elsie & Uncle Bob.  Well, we finally got into North Carolina.  That's when the chatter  bickering increased.  Little things at first.  Then... the unleashing.  It was maddening to witness.  Truly thought Yana and Alyona were going to rip each other apart.  Geez.  For such a tiny thing, she sure can hold her own and tends to instigate a bit too.  Afraid this was heading down a RADish road, I began to video tape.  Yes, yes I did.  It was not a pretty site.  I'd share but sure that is something you'd rather not see.  Just know, they didn't get physical.  Lots of hand gestures and in your face kind of stuff but nothing physical.  Oh, unless you count what happened before the big fight.  Alyona was being what we call a "gnat" and bugging Yana.  Yana proceeded to elbow her in the face.  Broke the glasses.  Well, bent them.  That was pretty much the last straw.  Warren pulls off the interstate.  This is where we stopped off:

Keep in mind, we're on I-95, still in the high 90's outside.  Turns off the van, windows still up.  Only about 45 minutes from home & want to desperately get there.  Car goes silent.  Warren says we're not going anywhere until he hears something.  You'd think at this time some would pipe up and apologize.  Did they?   Oooh no.  Not even close.  They then start fighting.  Mostly Yana and Alyona. But then Irina sticks her nose in it and Bojan has to add his two cents worth.  I'm video taping still at this point.  Wanted them to see themselves later.  We put them on silence until we get home.  Everyone is grounded from video games(they had just gotten a new Wii game from my parents).  We also needed to think of how to get the two sisters a little more bonded.  Still working on that one.  LOL.  Car was quiet once again.  And, it was off to make it home.  Nik signed to me that Yana and Alyona were bad & they were fighting.  Yes, I know.  Can't hear but sure picked up on stuff.  He told me they were not going on another trip.  Nik, acting as the parent.  Just what we needed after a long evening.

Well, evening wasn't over yet.  We passed some sewage plant.  Remember, the kids were on silence until we hit the front door.  Well, this is what transpired next:  Alright, I've tried everything and can not get this video to upload.  Warren told me he'd work on it tonight.  So, do check back tomorrow for the video.  It's Nik and Alex.  You can't help but to laugh along.  Just an absolute laugh attack and think it came at the right time after the others were arguing back and forth.  Too many in close quarters.  Need a bigger van...maybe a tractor trailer will help??  LOL.  Ironically, I can remember fighting in the backseat w/ my sisters when we were younger. Oh well, it happens.  But, when you see the video, that will do nothing but make you smile.  And, we could all use a good smile at this point.

Trip, except for about the last two hours, was fantastic.  We learned a lot on it.  A few things we learned:

1)  Punch bug game is a bad game to introduce.  It is now banned from our car.

2)  Always pack water wherever you go.  You will be thirsty in 90 some odd degree weather. 

3)  Kids can eat more than their weight at a breakfast buffet. 

4)  5 hours may not seem like a long trip, but add 7 kids to it, and it's an eternity.

5)  Kids can go to bed on time if you wear them out enough. 

6)  If it is in their head, they will say it out their mouth.  Watch for these moments.

7)  Brothers and sisters CAN get along.

8)  2 bathrooms, 20 minutes to get ready & 9 people takes some creative thinking.

We learned way more than this obviously.  We had a great family vacation and seriously can't wait to go again.  Hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did.  Other places we'll be going this summer are the beach, a train ride, some local museums and the zoo. 

Things are going well at home.  The sisters are now going to be baking all day tomorrow together and then taking our orders and serving us all.  Though I must say, there was some real bonding going on today and I was rather impressed.  yana and Alyona (you know, the same exact two that wanted to tear each other apart) were sharing music on the mp-3 player together.  Sharing the same set of headphones.  AND, Yana carried Alyona on her back all the way home on the walk.  While she was pushing one of the tots in the stroller.  So, I think they are back to normal.  Chaos Manor is jumping lately. There have been a minimum of 12 kids here everyday.  Not bad and not too many incidents.  Everyone seems to be getting along.  Plus, this is good practice for when the 10 of them are here.  I still have energy at the end of the day so I guess I'm doing okay with it all.  though, my yoga has fallen to the wayside.  Plan on picking it back up.  Will try to update more tomorrow. 

We'll try to get the laugh attack video up tonight.  You have to hear this thing.  Nik and Alex are just too funny.  You can't help but smile when you see it.  Can't wait to share it.  Enjoy your weekend everyone.  More to come later. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

D.C. Trip-- Day Four (part I)

And...another day to get up and go. This was our last day here.  So, we ate breakfast and headed out so we could get on the metro and ride.  It' s free to park on Sundays btw.  Kids were all excited b/c we were going on the "train."  Yes, that enthusiasm wore off quickly.  Had to switch trains.  Made it to Union Station (where the trains actually go to as well) and found our ticket booth for the D.C. Ducks Tour.  Tickets were pre-purchased but no guarantee of a seat.  Luckily, we got there and were able to get on the 11 o'clock tour.  So, we wasted some time before we had to go.  Talked to a nice couple in the lobby.  Took some pictures of some great architecture.

These are just some of the statues in union station.  You'll notice they all have shields.  When this building was built, the architect had all the statues nude.  There was such outrage that the artist was ordered to cover them up.  That is why there are now shields in front of them.  This building was massive and you just don't see great artwork or sculpture any more in American buildings.  Was a nice change to see.  

We tried to take a few group shots.  Do you think we got everyone smiling?

Umm, no.  Never can seem to get a group shot.  We did the best we could.  Anyhow, it was then time to get on the Duck Tour.  Was it overcast?  No.  Was it hot?  Understatement of the year.  Felt like the high 90's.  We were unable to get into the Duck for the shaded part of it.  This of course is a real problem for Alex as we know.  So, I put his bandana on him and soaked it w/ water.  This was going to be a long hour and a half for him.  And, we were off!  This is what we road in:

Most of us were in the very, very back of it.  HOT.  No water on board for us.  I had only brought one water bottle and was using it to keep Alex cool as I could.  We got to see a lot of sites and learn some history along the way.  I won't bore you w/ all the pictures of buildings, statues, or the Smithsonian.  But, then we were ready to splash into the Potomac River.  

Great views on the Potomac.  This was in front of the Pentagon I believe.  Flags are everywhere in D.C.  Our founding Fathers would be proud.  (maybe not proud of some things happening in our government now--LOL)  But proud of how the city turned out.  It does have it's beauty. The tour guide explained many things and did it w/ humor as well.  We were able to see many historic sites on this trip and learn a little too.  Just nice sailing on the river on a sunny day.  A new experience for us all and great to be able to do it together.

The above are the teens all enjoying a ride on the river and through the capitol city.  At the end of the tour, we all got quackers.  Lovely.  Just what you want to hear on the ride home to NC.  Of course, we got one too.  Must admit, it is kind of addicting using the quacker.  Had fun and the whole boat was quacking back to Union Station.  Captain Jim even quacked Happy Birthday to the birthday girl that day:

We finished up the tour and were parched.  I mean beyond thirsty and hungry.  Got back to the car and not really anything to eat.  A few cheesesticks we shared.  We all had a bottle of hot water.  Had to get gas as there was NONE.  Hoping we'd make it to a gas station and we did.  Attendant said there was a McDonald's about a mile down the road.  Great.  Figured we'd at least get a drink before the long haul home.  Plus, you never know when you'll run into traffic in this city.  We got there and realized we had Aunt Elsie's giftcards.  They could not have come at a better time.  We were all able to refuel and re-hydrate when we needed it most. Kids even got to try some new things there.  Younger ones were happy to get a happy meal of course.  I must have been practicing for more kids as I accidentally ordered an extra Happy Meal.  We saved it for Bear. 

That was probably a record breaking lunch.  We left at 2:42 pm.  Yes, I looked at the clock.  We get on the ramp, get speed up and come to an utter stop.  You guessed it...traffic.  D.C. traffic.  NOT fun.  We were ready to be on our way and instead sat for over an hour.  Kids were antsy as it was.  Only so much you can do to occupy time standing still.  And for some reason, none were tired.  URGHH.  Of all days.  We eventually started moving again and were on our way.  Things were going pretty decent and we were discussing what we liked best, what we did well, what we could improve on, etc.  Well, they it starts going south.  And I don't mean south to N.C.  More to come in a bit.  Stay tuned for the last part of our trip home. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

D.C. Trip-- Day Three (part 2)

After visiting w/ all the Orenburg folks, we were off to the hotel.  It was so refreshing being with other adoptive families who have been through the same type of experiences with their children.  Nice to meet new parents as well.  Seeing how well all the kids are doing once home to loving families is just such an impact on a person.  Really makes us think and allows us to see many other kids thriving.  These are the types of events that I wish the Russian government could see.  Not the hyped up adoption stories gone wrong.  There are very, very few of those compared to the tens of thousands of adoptions that have gone right.  And what's great is that these kids are not thought of as our Russian adopted kids.  When we all get together it is just these are my kids and this is what they are up to now.  Even shared w/ others regarding the "trying teen" years.  LOL.  Again, nice to be around other families that share a common thread. 

Anyhow, it was off to the hotel to change.  We were only 4 miles from the hotel so didn't take us long.  Kids were zonked by this time.  But, we all managed to get enough energy up to shower and change for dinner.  We headed to Famous Daves BBQ for dinner with my family.  Trouble was google directions were not the best and we were not anywhere near knowing where we were going or what we were doing.  However, we got there so no worse for wear.

Kids were thrilled to see everyone again.  My parents were there, my sister & her family and my brother & his family.  And, my Aunt & Uncle came as well. I have pictures but I always ask permission first before posting other people's kids even if it's family.  So, no pictures of relatives.  Sorry about that.  But, I will ask & post them at a later time if possible.  Meantime, enjoy some shots of my kiddos.

Nik and Yana enjoying some wings.  The food here was fantastic.  

I told Irina to give me her best sad face shot.  I think she did.  

Huge birthday cake for Alyona & Alex.  My parents had surprised them with it.  Very sweet of them.  Candles and a candle that worked like a sparkler.  Pretty cool for sure.  Alyona had already received her gifts.  Alex got a scooter and all of them got a new Wii game to share.  Kids were very excited about it all. BTW, the scooter is up and running at home and the kids have had a lot of fun with it.  

This is her second giant birthday cake of the day.  I think that smile is permanent on her face.  

Horrible shot of us all but figured I'd put it in here anyhow.  Don't know why Max has a monster claw on Nik's head or why Bojan is not looking.  Most of our hair is a mess but hey, it's life and we were so,so tired by this time.  

We had a relaxing dinner and tried to catch up a bit.  My Aunt Elsie and Uncle Bob gave us a nice surprise.  It was McDonald's giftcards.  I will save this for a story later where they come into play.  For now, just know those were giftcards were given at exactly the right time.  My parents treated us to dinner and cake.  Delicious & very much appreciated after a long day.  We talked a little.  I talked mostly to my brother as he was sitting next to me.  It was a nice visit.  I learned my sister is pregnant again w/ her second child.  I congratulated her and wished her well.  I was excited for my sister.  I know she's wanted another chlid for awhile.  Glad they are able to add to their family.  So, once again, we're on this "pregnancy" journey together.  She's belly pregnant and I'm "paper pregnant" as we call it in the adoption world.  It was this way before four years ago when she was first pregnant and I was in process for Alyona and Nik.  Two different paths but the end destination is truly the same...formation of a forever family.  Whether through birth or adoption.  End result is the exact same.  Glad we were all able to catch up if even briefly.  Hopefully, next time it can be a little longer.  We said our goodbyes, a few more photos and off to the hotel.  

What better way...

to pass the time in a hotel room....

then to have daddy spin you around and around in a chair.  He loved this.  Of course afterwards he told me his belly hurt and he wanted to throw up.  No, he didn't throw up but the thought of it was enough for me.  We all settled down in the room and started to pack up.  Took some things to the van and we were ready to go tomorrow morning.  A wonderful day all around and very tired children that evening.  What more could we ask for?!  More to come later on.  Day Four, the final chapter is the next post or two.  Lots and lots to say in that one for sure.  Right now, I have my boys outside looking for big sticks.  They watched Avatar yesterday.  I was cleaning out my drawers today and found St. Patrick's Day tattoos.  A whole big bag full of them.  I said boys, you can put these on and be warriors.  They were elated.  So, they are covered head to toe in tattoos.  (yes, even the boy I sit for).  I made them think of new warrior names.  Now, they are finding huge sticks/ branches in the woods.  I told them they can paint them anything they want to.  --Warrior Spears.  Everything is better w/ a cool name you know.  LOL.  We'll see how this ends up.  Could go well, could go horrible.  I don't have the tots today so we can do this w/ the older ones.  Stay tuned for Day Four of our D.C. trip.  

Monday, June 28, 2010

D.C. Trip-- Day Three (part I)

After a good night's sleep, we were up and adam.  Sort of:

Alex didn't quite want to get out of bed.  He eventually did.
Anything wrong w/ this picture?  No?  How about this one:

Poor thing put the bathing suit on backwards.  And yes, this is not photoshopped.  She truly is this skinny.  Not emaciated but very, very skinny for sure.  Docs say it's fine but she's just so dog gone tiny.  We fixed her suit and were on our way.

We had to go pick up the cake for the reunion.  We were bringing a cake to celebrate Alyona's birthday.  I based the size of the cake on the # of people attending the reunion.  However, we could have used probably about half of that cake.


Picked up the cake and it was off to the Orenburg Reunion!  The whole reason we were having this trip in the first place.  It is for all the families that have adopted from the Orenburg Region of Russia to get together and share stories, life experiences, etc.  It was absolutely wonderful!  A different family hosts every year.  This year, a park/ waterpark area was chosen as the hosting site.  Great choice to say the least and we could not have asked for better weather. 

A peak of the waterpark we were going to be spending our whole day at.  We had to pay and it is a certain amount for kids 48" and under.  That part was fine.  What breaks my heart every single time we do something like this is Alyona is indeed 11 years old.  However, she may have a form of dwarfism.  She is not even on a growth chart.  Nik is starting to pass her in height.  Passed her in weight a long time ago.  Trouble is here, she is an avid swimmer and can do anything in the pool the other kids are.  So, her brother, same exact age, is able to go on the big waterslides while she is not b/c she is little.  What are we going to do when she's 16 and the same size?  When she wants to go to her friends but they go somewhere that has a height requirement.  Will proof of age help?  What do other parents do in this situation?  Anyone ever run into this before?  We're supposed to carry a birthcert in the car w/ us at all times in case we get stopped and she's not in a carseat.  I understand if this had rides and there were a danger of slipping out but this is a waterslide.  Just gets to me a little b/c I see how later down the road this will be a huge issue for her.  No pun intended.  We will cross these bridges when we get to them. 

Waterpark didn't open until 11 so we had time to kill.  And, this is what Bojan decided to do with his time.  He's getting bigger by the day.  Bojan, not the bug.  

A picture of the top of the waterslide.  Some of our kids are up there waiting to go down.  Warren tried to get a picture of them coming out of the waterslide but it never did quite work so I'll spare you those shots.  Now, there was this kid section that kids, teens and even adults had the best time with.  Take a look:

This is SO MUCH FUN!!!  There are all kinds of things on and in it.  That big bucket on the top fills up and spills a thousand gallons of water on everyone waiting below.  You have no idea how much we all laughed at this thing.  You had parents shooting kids w/ the massive water guns as they go down the waterslide of this thing.  It was just really, really cool.  Warren was trying to figure out how we could build one in our backyard w/ all that excess water we have.  LOL.

This is Nik, Alex, Max & Irina waiting for the water to come pouring down. 

This is the after of the water coming down.  

A view of how it looks from the front coming down.  Water everywhere!

You can see more of this amazing structure here.  Bojan is on the left pulling that rope for water to pour on him.  We let him keep his leg on for this part.  Squeaked like crazy for the last 2 days but worth it for him.  It's dried out mostly.  No rusted parts.  Our tin man survived.  LOL.  

No idea why this picture is distorted.  Not sure what happened to it.  But, it's Alyona waiting to dump water on herself as well.  

I typically do NOT label my children.  Hate doing it.  But, for safety reasons, I did this time.  It started out w/ orange marker on his arm saying his name & that he's deaf.  Well, that was not seen too well and after some lifeguards thinking this kid is just not listening to them, I decided to do this to him.  After that, no more issues.  I also spoke w/ as many lifeguards as possible to say please ignore his screams & that he is a very avid swimmer and can tread water forever.  Most the time I was with him but being in a strange place w/ so many people, I did indeed label my son this time around.  I told him what it said & why I was doing it.  He was fine w/ it.  Frankly, he didn't care what I wrote as long as he could play in the water.

Irina and Alex enjoying some time together.  We all took a break from swimming for some great lunch at the reunion.  We all went back into the pool for awhile.  That is until the lifeguard whistle blew and everyone had to evacuate the pool.  I was on the island with some of the kids when this happened.  I told them all to wait.  Last time it was a kid drowning so I wanted to make sure we didn't slide into the water and create more chaos.  Was it a kid drowning?  Was it a kid hurt?  Why no.  It was a kid that vomitted all in the pool.  YUCK!!!   So, protocol was to get everyone out and clean up.  Shock the pool and re-open in an hour.  It was getting later so we felt it a great time to wrap it up and leave.  We said our goodbyes and thank yous and we're on our way back to the hotel to then get ready to go out to dinner.

Loaded up and ready to go home.  Well, onto our next adventure... dinner with Nana & Poppop.  Stay tuned for the next installment of day three. 

D.C. Trip-- Day Two (part 2)

Well, we ended with lunch.  Then it was onto the hotel for the rest of the day. 

Do you want to guess where they put us?  On the very end down the hallway so there is no one on one side of us.  Smart thinking on their part.  We had adjoining rooms which we love.  Made it easeier for us.  We came back to the hotel after lunch, watched a little tv so our food would settle and then headed back out to get some dinner supplies from the grocery store.  We did this b/c we realized the pool didn't open till 5pm on the weekdays.  Got some chicken for dinner, plums, and chips ahoy cookies of course.  Had water back at the room.  On trips, we usually bring about 2 cases of water w/ us.  Helps.  After the grocery store, back to the hotel and time to swim.  We have a pool but apparently a "different" pool that is inside is much cooler.  So, it was time to swim.  Some shots below from the pool.

Alyona is realizing this pool is a little cooler than ours.  Her expression says it all.  She did get in though and no stopping her after tha.

My kids also discovered the hot tub.  This was before they discovered the jets.  There's a fifteen minute limit for being in here which is good.  Gives them enough time to enjoy it and get out.

Nik, our camera hog.  Nik hasn't seen a camera he didn't like.  Always smiles.

I think they had fun, don't you?  After the pool, we headed back up to the room for dinner.  They ate all the leftovers from previous days and then some chicken.  We all vegged out for awhile watching some mindless tv.  We don't have cable or satellite at home so we all really just loved flipping through channels.  

Somehow, they all make it work...sitting, eating and watching tv after a long day of fun and swimming.  What more could you want?  No one was fighting, no one was yelling, it was nice.  

Irina, just goofing off for the camera.  This was actually taken the next morning. Have no idea what she was doing here.  Hey, I'll take happy anyday though so I'm not complaining.  All in all, we had a fun day.  Though it did not start off as we anticipated, we ended up having a great time.  The kids adjusted to the change of plans very well.  I was extremely proud of them for that.  All went to sleep around 9 or 10 that night too.  Now, why can't they do that at home?   Next post will be Day Three-- the reunion.  -- the whole reason we came on this trip. 

D.C. Trip-- Day Two (part 1)

Day two we all got up and enjoyed a great breakfast buffet.  So many choices, the kids really didn't know what to go with.  They know the rules though so they were good about getting at least a piece of fruit with breakfast.  You know, to go w/ that delicious muffin.  LOL.  The hotel was nice but definitely not arranged to feed the # of guests they have staying there.  They kept the food coming but it was just the arrangement of it all could have been better.  Everyone was talkking about it.  You meet such interesting people when you have to wait in line.  One family staying there had 8 kids, another family was helping their daughter choose colleges, another had adopted from Korea, some on vacation and the list goes on.  Just nice when people can all just casually talk over waiting in line.  No pushing, no rudeness, just a nice to be here kind of feeling.  Anyhow, after breakfast, we went back to the room to get some things to take.  We were originally going to go to the D.C. Ducks tour.  Even went to the metro parking lot.  Umm, Friday.  I forgot.  Truly, I did.  Commuters going to work, tourists going into the city and we made an executive decision to delay this part of the trip until a less crowded time.  Some of our kids don't do well in crowds.  We turned around and after explaining to Nik that we'd do something else versus going on the boat & train, he was okay with that. 

We went back on the highway & decided to go here:

yep, the Smithsonian Institute's Air & Space Museum.  It was hot out so air conditioning inside was going to feel pretty good.  We waited for Dad to park the van and wasted time while he did.

The bunch waiting for Dad.  BTW, I saw many of these shirts in both blue and red while visiting D.C.  They do seem to make a patriotic statement of sorts.  

There is a live feed from air traffic control in this tower.  We went to the observation deck first.  What you don't see here is Alex falling apart.  He is terrified and I mean terrified of heights.  I thought keeping him in the center of it all would help but it didn't.  He broke down in tears.  So, one of us stayed w/ him and tried to distract him.  We knew the planes were on approach and wanted the other kids to see the landing.  Alex survived but couldn't wait to get in the elevator to go back down.  Happens.

So, bye observation tower & hello ground.  We went back downstairs and into the main hanger with all the planes.  Tons of airplanes and much history to go with it.  It was not crowded at all and worked out really well for our kids.  

The kids of course loved the stealth plane as it was the same as the one in the Transformer Movie.  Wonderful.  No concept of what the plane does, just know it's in a movie.  I promise we tried to teach them some history while in this place.  Here are Bojan, Alex & Nik by the plane.

They had a little Cessna plane for the kids to try.  This is Nik & Alex giving a go at it.  The lady would explain all the controls & what they did...not that these two were listening to all that lecture.  They find the control that moves the wings or the rutters and they were golden.

This is Alyona & Bojan taking over the pilot's seat now.  

This is Yana and Max.  I was NOT happy with them right after this picture and actually glad the lady gave them a "talking" to as well.  They were very rough w/ the controls and I made them get out.  She said they didn't have to but I cut it short.  They knew better.  I was just disappointed it was the older kids that did this.  I thought for sure it'd be the younger ones but no.  Irina didn't want to get in so that's why she's not in a picture.  Warren was explaining to the kids all the stuff and names of things.  Warren used to fly these planes and really does miss it a lot.  A hobby that I hope he can take up again one day.  

After a long day of walking around the airplanes and such, we decided to head out to lunch.  Before I go anywhere, I always check out  We are able to get $25 gift certificates for $2.  That definitely makes the meal more manageable in terms of costs.  This is a casual burger place.  Good is an understatement.  VERY good burgers.  And huge!  Needless to say, we had boxes to take back to the hotel of burgers and fries.  

We actually timed lunch well at 2 o'clock as the restaurant was not crowded.  It's the best time to go for our kids.  Almost all have lack of impulse control or cause & effect thinking.  Believe it or not, things will come out of their mouths that shouldn't.  So, we have to be cautious of how we handle things.  Yana reminded us of this fact once again.  Yana is a loud talker as it is.  Of course, they're teens so her & Irina are checking out boys(teens) when they come & go.  This is totally normal and I understand that.  What is NOT normal is when you speak loudly and say "oh no, his hair is ugly."  Downside of the restaurant not being crowded was you knew exactly where comments were coming from.  Nice lecture in the car on that issue on the way back to the hotel.  This is Yana and Bojan.  Two that are also close believe it or not.  Yet, they tease each other to death.  Drives me bonkers.

Irina and Alyona.  Sisters through and through.  Everyone had a great time at the restaurant.  The food was awesome.  Really good after a hot day of walking around.  After this, we headed back to the hotel.  I will write the second half of day two a little later.  We're playing catch up at the house right now cleaning up and doing laundry.  We have two additional kids here today so not bad at all.  We may go swimming later.  Supposed to be near 100 today though.  Hot.  Right now, all kids are watching a movie and sorting clothes while doing it.  Day Two...first half wa really a good day.  Other than the one comment at lunch from Yana, there was no bad behavior, no odd comments, no meltdowns, etc.  We did great, had a great time.  We were all able to enjoy ourselves and I think that is key when on a vacation of kids of varying ages and disabilities.  More to come later today.  Hope you're enjoying seeing what we did on our trip.