Friday, July 30, 2010

Old pictures found...

As you know, I'm cleaning out some old files & pictures.  thought I'd share a few I've come across.  Memory lane so to speak.  Hope you enjoy some blasts from the past.


This is from August of 2008.  This was Max, Alex, and Bojan receiving trophies from the Miracle League Baseball team they played on.  I know Alex's hair looks hideous.  Don't know why we didn't get it cut before the ceremony.  


Bojan & me during my sister's wedding back in 2005.  Bojan danced the night away that night.  A fun time for all.


Yana and Irina a month after Yana had gotten home.  they adjusted to being sisters very quickly.  They are standing on the deck that is now our dining room.  Boy, have they grown up since 2004!


The kids in a museum back in Nov. of 2008.  Still blown away how much they've grown.  

   
A picture of all of us from Nov. 2008.  It was toward the end of the evening so Alex was really tired.  You can tell.  


The kids w/ dad on one of the company's family days.  They put on a wonderful festival and it is free for all employees and family.  Kids are here enjoying a cold ice cream break.  

Those are just some of the old pictures I found.  Thought it was fun going through them and seeing just how much the kids have changed in the last few years.  Both in body and mind.  Hope you enjoyed some blasts from the past.  now, back to organizing. 


Flabulous to Fabulous

And here I thought I'd be proud this week to write this post.  I'm truly bummed.  I gained a lb.  193.  Last week it was 192.  I get that the body goes through changes and this is believe it or not normal.  However, when you see it on the scale it does hurt the feelings.  As for my workouts, I am more than proud of what I've done.  In the last week, I have stretched out every single day.  I have done weight lifting every single day.  Though the weight lifting is a very short one.  I have alternated every day between 50 laps in the pool or a 25 minute cardio workout on a Biggest Loser DVD.  I also am keeping a calorie journal.  I wanted to get down to 1200 calories per day but it seems to be hovering around 1400 a day.  URGHH.  I'll get there though.  So maybe the celebratory cake for Max & Irina wasn't such a hot idea yesterday.  LOL.  I have yet to go on my walking in the evening.  Just hasn't worked out thus far. I am determined to go tonight though.  I want to do the walking in addition to the cardio or swimming.  I know there will be ups and downs in this weight loss journey & it has indeed been a stressful week.  Still, like the adoption, I'm anxious to get this moving along.  Hoping next week will bring more results as I'm adding walking and taking closer calorie counts.  This will be worth it in the end.  Have to go.  Time for lunch.  enjoy your weekend folks.  And, get out & stay active.  Max & I just finished organizing and cleaning his room.  Alyona is sick w/ an upset stomach so we have to stay home today.  Gives us a chance to get some real organizing done for upstairs.  Irina and Yana are at the beach today w/ a friend.  VBS starts on Sunday.  Should be tons of fun.  Just going to be a super busy August but that is a good thing I think.  We love it.  School is right around the corner. 

A new path

We are trying to take a new path in our eating and some other habits around the house.  Going organic is what we'd ultimately like to do.  For everything.  Going natural for some things.  We are starting small.  Very small.


Many of our kids have sensitivities to things.  We'd like to go to some more natural products and are s-l-o-w-l-y making the switch.  This is Goat milk laundry detergent.   It's only a four pound container.  Now, it is $24.95.  However, I have dated it to see how long it lasts and compare it to the regular one we buy at Sam's for $21.  So far, this is lasting.  It only uses one tablespoon per load so it does seem to go far.  If it lasts at least a month as the other detergent we use does, we'll keep using it.  It will definitely make it and then some.  In all actuality, it will last longer.  So, it will become a staple here.  As well as that little stain stick to the left.  It actually gets out old chocolate stains!  Yes, it was tested...over...and over...again.  We've been using the Meyer's dishsoap and love that too.  Some products like Clorox wipes need to stay.  The natural version of the wipes are awful.  But Warren and I would rather give the little bit extra we may pay for some of these products to the local small business who make them versus some of the megastores.  It is a slow conversion though as you can clearly see the Walmart generic right next to it of fabric softener.  

But, we love either growing some of our own stuff or buying in bulk from the local farmers.  So much fresher too. That being said, we are still a big family and still need to shop where things are cheaper.  So, it is a mix in our house for now but the intention is maybe down the road we would be able to convert to more organic for everything and more natural products.  We do enjoy making our own stuff and you won't find too many boxed items in our home.  Well, popcorn and cereal mostly.  Cereal is very limited though.  We will be attempting to make our own bread soon.  Umm, we'll have to see how that one works out.  I'm kind of skeptical.  Fortunately, we have kids that don't mind trying new things with us.  If they go horribly wrong ( my kids will testify to a made from scratch broccoli and cheese soup I made that looked & tasted like vomit), we can all laugh about it later.  Plus, if it does indeed go horribly wrong, we end up going out to eat.  Since it is a rarity we go out to eat, kids think it's cool and the made from scratch gone wrong meal is soon forgotten.  LOL. 

Years ago, all our grandparents used to cook everything from scratch.  We are trying to do the same thing and forego some of the modern day conveniences that are so easy to get hooked on.  Warren loves to cook & I love to bake.  So, not bad.  I did try homemade bagels once.  Did I say once?  I meant to say attempted once.  Again, trial and error and that's okay.  It also teaches our kids it's okay not to get everything right.  It is okay to fail and laugh about it as long as you keep trying.  We'll keep you updated on how we do on some of this stuff.  Are we going to extremes?  Absolutely not.  Kids & I love candy way too much to not have it in the house.   But, we will attempt to be healthier piece by piece, meal by meal.  And for us, we feel homemade meals are the way to go for sure.  Read a label and you'd be shocked what is in some of this stuff.  I've heard of some trying specialized diets w/ their FAS kids.  We don't do that here.  Though we do try to do more fresh cooking.  Once you get used to it, it does not really take any extra time to prepare.  Especially w/ so many helpers.  Alyona likes to call herself the sous chef.  Too funny.  Keep you posted on how all this turns out. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I'm not sure I have many for this week. Honestly, I haven't been paying that much attention.

Irina--Constantly making sure everyone this past weekend had enough to drink during the work of the windows.  She wanted to make sure everyone stayed cool and even made this huge vat of tea.  Gallons and gallons of tea.

Max-- Helped the guys w/ the window work.  Max also was thoughtful enough to help Irina out w/ driver's ed.  They are taking the same course and he's been quite helpful for her.

Yana-- Has many times over this week asked if she needed to help me with anything.  Randomly too.  Very thoughtful.

Bojan-- Knew Max was working on the neighbor's yard and Bojan volunteered to pick up Max's room for him since he knew Max would be tired when he got home.  What a thoughtful brother. 

Alyona-- Helped the people she stayed w/ on Saturday pick up their yard.  Geez, wished she'd help us pick up our yard.  LOL. 

Alex-- Gave Nik some silly bands when he saw Nik didn't have any.  Thoughtful to think of his brother and not be selfish.

Nik-- This was sweet.  I had just finished yelling at Nik & discipling him.  I was going on what Irina had told me.  Well, felt horrible when I found out it was NOT Nik who was in trouble.  I explained to him I was sorry for yelling at him & that it was IRina who told me.  Even though I yelled at him, he new I was upset about the whole mistake and came up and hugged me.  Then, he told me we need to call the police on Irina b/c she was bad for telling me the wrong thing.  LOL. 

Those are some of the thoughtful moments  I could think of off hand. Honestly, this week has been so busy I haven't given it much thought.  Don't remember if I told you all or not, but in order for Irina & Max to work, I need to get them their passports so that I can then get the wording on their SS card change so it doesn't make them sound like illegal aliens.  Passport office only has certain hours.  Apparently, there are a lot of people getting passports as the soonest I can apply is Wednesday.  AND, just found out the prices went up 2 weeks ago...URGHH!!!  For now, just getting Irina and Max theirs as they need it for employment.  The rest of the kids we will get later this year.  Warren & I will also attempt a trip to vital records to get all of them a US birth certificate.  No folks, the paperwork does not end when you adopt them.  We have never readopted our kids in our state.  We've never had an issues w/ schools, medical stuff or anything else for that matter.  All have accepted the foreign birth cert.

The reasons were doing some of this stuff now is for SSI.  Though we could have applied for this years ago, our personal belief is if we can raise the kids w/out assistance, we would.  I am not saying it's wrong to receive disability for the kids, it's just we don't feel it is right for our family.  We have awesome insurance and have always been able to get whatever therapies they need.  Currently, Nik gets speech therapy 2 times a week in our home.  So, we've never seen a need for us to apply.  I know others who definitely need the SSI in order to get therapies for their children.  Again, nothing wrong w/ that.  Don't want anyone thinking I'm somehow against SSI.  Though many out there think we get stipends or disability for these children, I can assure you, we get not a dime.  Well, as some of our children grow and will be adults soon, we know the SSI will be vital to them.  Mainly, Irina.  Most likely, she will not attend college and not get a job that pays all that well.  Adults w/ devel. disabilities will get paid less just due to the type of job they are able to hold.  For this reason, most receive SSI to help w/ that.  We were told by our neurologist to do this NOW as it is harder to get SSI after they turn 18yo.  I'm also told that to qualify, they base on income.  Told this income is divided amongst how many you apply for.  So, even though normally, I wouldn't bother applying for but just Irina, it apparently would help her out as well & qualify her better if we applied for all of them at the same time.  But, who knows.  There is so, so much misinformation about SSI it drives us all nuts.  So, once passport stuff & SS cards are straightened out, we will go to the SSI office and apply.  This will be vital for Irina to have w/ whatever job she gets so that she may attempt to live independently.  I do know that some of the kids in Alyona's classroom receive SSI disability.  I do know Irina's friends receive it as well.  So, I see no reason why they'd deny those two.  At this point though, we can only speculate.  Just never thought my kids would be on SSI.  Yet, it is a step toward their independence as well.  They will be productive members of society for sure.  Though we've had special needs children for years, there are still many, many things we are figuring out.  Dealing w/ Irina being 18yo this year is a big one.  We have to figure out what will help her into adulthood once she is done w/ school.  She is going into 10th grade this year so has a little time.  Just want her to reach her fullest potential.  If she needs SSI to do that, then so be it.  We will help her.  That is our job as parents.  Just hope we are doing it right.  LOL. 

There is a ton of info out there on all the things that happen once they are adults.  I try not to pay much attention to it all.  I want ot be open minded and not stereotype my children.  Hope that makes some sense.  Yet, I listen at the same time and try to learn from other parents who have adult disabled children.  It is hard w/ FAS kids as adults.  They tend to need supervision but are very capable of doing the jobs.  We're trying to figure out how we'll balance it all as well as how are kids will balance.  Time will tell.  Got off on quite a tangent, didn't I. Sorry about that. 

They PASSED!!!!

Irina and Max passed their driver's ed test!  For those new, this seems to be difficult for kids w/ developmental delays as the test is not modified at all.  As it shouldn't be.  I did NOT help them one bit.  I wanted them to do this on their own.  100% on their own.  And they did it.  Irina & Max passed their tests.  VERY proud of them.  Irina was studying her heart out every night.  She made an 84% on the test.  In addition to that, her project got most creative.  Had to do w/ drinking and driving.  She is passionate about drinking as she has FAS and knows how she got it.  Max failed the test the first try.  Just barely didn't pass.  Told you not to rush through it.  Did it the second time and made a 92%.  He received most prettiest/ detailed in his class on the project.  There were 41 in the class & both the kids not only passed but received recognition for their projects being creative and detailed.  So, for those saying their kids w/ disabilities have limitations, I say bologna.  They can do it.  And do it well.  Now, next week(most likely), Irina will be taking the driving portion of driver's ed.  Watch out!  First assignment once they get their license...go get mom a candy bar.  LOL.  We are actually making a cake tonight to celebrate.  Alyona already helped me bake it. 

If any of you locals see them, just give them a congrats.  They'd love it for sure.  I think Irina has actually already told all my neighbors.  Too funny.  I must admit, I was skeptical in the beginning but this is where I loved being proved wrong.  Enjoy your day. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Older child adoption

Some have asked some questions on the previous Stavropol Orphanage post.  For those new, no you are not supposed to post pictures of other children.  However, after over 6 years, there would be no way to really identify those children.  Those children are now preteens in Alex's group and the ones in Yana's group are young adults.  Not really any identifying info I put on them either except their region.  I do know the fate of some as we still keep in touch w/ Yana's Godmother.  She truly has been a blessing to those girls.  Uses her own money to take them to the dentist or what have you.  Been by their side for some cleft surgeries.  She is truly a hero in my eyes and one day, hope to help her out.  I feel to this day she is the one that helped Yana out when transferring to that orphanage.  She calls her every year for her birthday.  Anyhow, normally I do not post orphanage pictures but these are so old, I don't think it matters a whole lot.  I actually think it helps to let folks know these kids exist, they are precious, and they need a home and family.  Older kids, just as much as the young ones.

We have never adopted a child younger than 3yo.  Alex was the youngest at 3yo, almost 4yo.  Yet, every single adoption we started out thinking we'd adopt an infant or young toddler.  I can tell you those of you who are afraid like we were at first that you'd somehow "miss out" on their childhood, not a bit!  We experienced many firsts w/ the kids and they are able to express how they feel about those firsts.  I will never forget the first time Max experienced poprocks gum or Irina ate a candy bar for the first time.  Or when Alex played in the water for the first time or was thrown up in the air & caught by loving arms for a change.  All these things are firsts for us to witness.  Though I have no experience w/ my own babies, I do have experience w/ my sister & her firsts as a baby.  I was 13 yo older than her.  I also do sitting of babies.  I can tell you the firsts when you adopt older children are just as amazing.  I watched my sister take her first steps.  It was wonderful.  But the feelings I had for our son being thrown up & caught for the first time w/out fear, were just as wonderful.  Watching their faces light up as you touch them or kiss them or hug them.  That is something they don't get in the orphanage every night....a goodnight kiss.  Yana was 8.5 years old when we brought her home.  Watching her transform over the years has been an experience we will never forget.  Not going to kid you all.  It was NOT all roses. But to see our 14yo (almost 15yo) now, you can see the person that was hiding inside.  She wants to do early college in high school!  Watching your child learn english for the first time or hear for the first time is just as rewarding I feel as those first steps that I too thought I'd miss out on.  I can assure you adopting older children you will experience many firsts.

Older child adoption is not for the faint of heart.  You have to go in it w/ an open mind and a battle plan.  Hey, I'm not kidding about that battle plan.  These children can test you.  They have a strong mind at an older age and some believe it or not, are set in their ways.  Some will put up a strong front but you can indeed break through.  

this post originally started off w/ me going to tell about how my 7 are doing.  I think I'll leave it as is and change the title.  I have a friend coming over in a bit.  Kids and I are going to do a little cleaning up but keeping things simple today.  Irina and Max want to study for their big test tomorrow.  Driver's ed.  Watch out!  Need to get going.  I will have another post later on how my kids are doing medically and such.  Sometimes my mind wanders and the posts stray.  Oh well.  I'm also digging through some old pics as well.  Who knows what will show up.  Fun  looking through though and seeing how the kids have changed. 

Say YES!!!

Someone posted a video on Facebook from the Dave Thomas Foundation.  Just thought I'd pass it along as well b/c it really does make you think what adoption really means to the kids. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOqx4ggOJWc&feature=player_embedded

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stavropol Orphanage pics (2)

More orphanage pictures.  Boy, it is fun finding some of these for sure.  Can't wait to dig through some more albums.


Alex looks beat in this picture.  Not sure why.  He's on the end  at the right, hand by his head.


This is Alex having a snack.  Notice the shoes...too small.  But, that's how they do things over there.  Just a little different.  He had those same shoes on months later when he came to us to be hosted.  He was a cutie then & still is today.  


This is me w/ Alex in the normal "play area."  It seems to be the place to take future adoptive parents to play one on one w/ their kids.  With our kids though, we had hosted them at our home for a week.  We already knew them which is nice.  After all those months, Alex still remembered us.  


This is Warren & Yana.  They had her "quarantined" in a separate building.  Yeh right.  Does she look sick to you?  No.  Long story w/ that one that I'll post on here one day.  There were no pictures on any of the walls in this building, no lights in the hallways.  Very sparse to say the least.  She was estatic to be getting out of there!


Friends trying to hold it together before saying goodbye for good.  This was the tightest group of girls I had ever experienced.  The entire orphanage was in tears when we left w/ Yana.  Even the coordinator, translator & driver!  


Caretakers giving last tidbits of wisdom & lectures on behavior before they head out the door.  do you think Yana was happy?


And within minutes, a family is formed and ready to start anew.  We never intend to erase their past.  It is part of who they are.  Orphanage life is what formed them into who they are today.  Well, partially.  BTW, that stupid red & white elephant has a story all it's own for another post.  

Thanks for letting me share pictures of the past.  do consider older child adoption.  It is very much worth it.  Just look at the faces of these girls & tell me that they don't deserve a family to share things with, love and dream with?  




Stavropol Orphanage pics

Been coming across some old photos as I'm digging through files and such.  You have to do this when you are looking for photos of your family & home to show to Bulgaria.  In every homestudy & dossier you do no matter the country.  Anyhow, thought I'd share some of the old ones from Stavropol that I came across.  Hope you enjoy going down memory lane.  I just did a post on Yana & Alex w/ Stavropol so figured this fits right in w/ it.  Here goes.


This is a picture of Yana's school class the year we hosted her...2003.  She was 7 years old that school year.  She is on the back row, 3rd from the left.  In true Russian fashion, not many smiles.  I framed & matted it when we got home otherwise, it would have been destroyed.  


This is the only picture Yana has of her biological sister.  We tried to bring her home as well but it was to no avail.  Years ago, we heard her life was that of a typical orphan when they leave the orphanage...desolate, no hope, no future.  It hurts because you can see Yana in her eyes.  We do not know definitively what happened to her.  She was older than Yana by a few years. We'll always wonder the what if, but more than that, Yana will always wonder what became of her sister.  this is why job skills and after orphanage programs are vital to the survival of those left behind.  


This was a very, very tight group of girls in Stavropol.  This was Yana's group back in 2004 when we came to get her.  They did look out for each other.  It was amazing the one holding Yana, Svetlana, taught herself English.  She was phenominal!  A sweetheart.  She was the "mother" of the group for sure.  See, Yana was only the 8th child ever adopted out of that orphanage in the last 30 years.  That's what the director had told us. I was stunned b/c of the great # adopted from Alex's orphanage.  But, it was the younger home.  Svetlana looked at Warren and I & said "you give us hope."  Hope that someone does care and does want us.  You have no idea how hard it is to hold it together when the kids express that to you.  


Another shot of the girls.  Yana is in the pink.  Just really saddens me that very few of us want the older children.  Shoot, I know I was one of those parents in the beginning.  I had set off on that adoption journey for a child as young as possible.  Our youngest ever adopted was Alex at 3yo, almost 4yo.  So,young was never in the cards for us.  Hence, I'll wait for the babies when I get grandkids.  LOL.  Meantime, these older children have a lot to offer and I do hope some of you consider older child adoption.  It's not easy but there are so many good surprises to it as well. 


This was Alex's group.  Some of them got adopted, some did not.  Alex is the little blondie in the light blue shirt.  Mostly boys in his group.


The rest of his group.  It's sad as all they want to do is touch you when you go by.  They were craving that love and affection from another human being.  It's been 6 years since we brought Yana and Alex home and I still have not forgotten the kids left behind.  


Alex eating at his orphanage.  Not the same as family conversation at the dinner table, is it?  these kids are trained very young to be self-sufficient.  


Alex is the little boy looking over the blue rail.  Isn't he a doll?!  I love it when other parents go to the orphanages your children are at and snap a few pictures.  It is priceless.  I'll have more pictures from this orphanage & Yana's .  Just thought it would be neat to share a blast from the past since I just did Yana and Alex's anniversary update. 

Field Day

The other day we wanted something different to do. So, we decided to have a field day at home.  Here's some pics from the home field day.


Well, this originally started out much further away but we found we couldn't get the cups to tip over unless close.  Or, when you bring in the big guns:


Yep, even the big kids participated in the water gun shoot out.  


Alyona, always ready w/ a smile for the camera.  Keep in mind, it was in the high 90's this day.  We'd do two events and have to come in.


Nik had just finished tossing the frisbee into the laundry basket.  This was actually much, much harder than I thought it'd be.  That giant thing on the left is the magnifying glass that has caused us great grief.  LOL.


All taking interest in the cup stacking & unstacking event.  They all try to do it as fast as that kid on the egg commercial.  Nope, doesn't work like that kids.  they did have fun trying though. 


Alex & Nik trying to knock each other off the wood w/ noodles.  Bojan is acting as referee.  Yes, I'm well aware the little redneck workstation has to go in the back area.  That's one of those get to it projects.
I love this b/c in the background you can see Alex's expression of  Bojan just being beat by his younger brother.  Too funny.


Nik, in all his glory!  He had just BEAT the three older boys.  They all have no desire to congratulate him.  LOL.  If you notice, they decided that it was too easy for Nik and put a little piece of wood for him to stand on as well.  Nope, he still beat them. Lessons of humility are always good sometimes.  They had fun and that's what counted.  

Well, that was some of our homemade field day when it was near 100 degrees out.  I told you all my kids all love to be outside.  Doesn't matter that temp.  Alex keeps his wet bandana on and he's good to go.  Afterwards we all had an icecream sundae here.  Yum.  I think today we'll have icee pops just for no reason.  That's a good reason no matter what the weather.  Going to go pick up Irina and Max from Driver's Ed.  Speech therapist comes after that and then time for us to head to the post office to overnight the dossier.  Progress.  Albeit slow, it IS progress.  More to come.  Tons going on this week and truly just trying to get it all done. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saying to think about

You have to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad; love what you got and remember what you had; learn to forgive, but never forget; learn from your mistakes, but never regret; people change, things go wrong, just remember...LIFE GOES ON!
Just had to share something a friend of mine posted.  She "stole" it from someone else as well.  LOL.  But, it was too good not to share.  Hope you like it too.  Very true.


 

Remembering Anya

there is a campaign to get an orphan home from Russia.  It has been circulated for quite some time but I always like to revisit these things every once in awhile so that no one forgets it is still happening.  So, here's the link:

http://vimeo.com/13236441

Just remember Anya.  thanks.

Waterfalls & rivers

Been a busy day today.  I have a list of 27 things that need to get done.  Soo, off we've gone,been back, gone again, and now a short break before we have to do more.  Trying to break it up as well.  I'm pretty certain between today and tomorrow, we can get it all done.  VBS starts on Sunday & kids are excited about that.  Driver's ed is done this week and Irina is still very nervous.  She's working on her project now.  I'll let you all know how she does on Thursday or Friday.  Not sure when they get results.  If she passes, she will be doing the driving part next week.  They do it oldest to youngest.  Not bad. 

Lately, we got some rain.  This is usually a good thing in the south.  However, our yard has some major issues and the rain currently is doing us more harm than good.  Part of our yard is undercutting and eroding away.  Our backyard floods w/in minutes of rain almost to the house.  Figured I'd share a few pics and get some ideas.  Sometimes a fresh eye can do a lot.  A pond may help at this point.  Below are some pics w/ explainations and maybe you all have some ideas of how to fix this problem.


this is looking out the backdoor to the side.  We actually have gutters just need to rehang.  You'll see other shots but when it continues to rain, the yard floods almost to those back steps.  Wanted you to get a visual as to how far up it goes.


If you look in the background, you can see a small "river."  Umm, it's NOT supposed to be there.  Click on the pictures and you can see some of the flooding slowly moving up by the pool.  This is after about 7 minutes of this rain.  When it rains for hours, watch out.  


Just another angle of the backyard.  Yes, I'm well aware the pool was turning green.  It's back to crystal clear blue now.  


A closer view of the little river.  Remember, this is just w/in minutes after the rain falls.   You should see it after a few hours.  


After the little river flows, it dumps into this huge pit that is slowly eroding away our yard.  About a foot a year.  This whole is way too huge to fill in w/ fill dirt or anything else for that matter.  Just look at the rate this is flowing though.


This picture does not do this waterfall justice.  It is GORGEOUS.  You look through our woods and see these beautiful waterfalls everytime it rains.  The white part in the pictures is the waterfall.  There's two of them.  You can click it and enlarge the picture a bit to see better.  Again, I'll have to get a good shot one day b/c it really is beautiful.


This is where the little river drops off into the deep pit in the woods.  


If you look, you'll see the "little river" goes clear across the back yard.  Goes beyond that shrub on the right.  Again, this is only after a few minutes.  AFter an hour or more, you can not see the grass here.  It is covered w/ water.  

Just getting some fresh eyes.  We already have corregated piping in place.  Yes, believe it or not, we do.  Our yard and the neighbor's yard is covered in natural springs.  Even during a drought, we constantly have water running in our yard.  One day I'llhave to take a picture of the creek alongside the property.  That is what this little river drains into.  

So, we have waterfalls and rivers in our own backyard.  LOL.  It would be okay if it weren't causing so much erosion.  Any ideas, go ahead and send them this way.  We have a few but listening to others may help us expand on our ideas some.  Thanks a bunch!  More pics to come and NOT of the yard.  Time to make some baked meatballs.  It's finally below the 100's outside so I feel like cooking again for a change.  Something about 110/115 degree weather that just doesn't get you excited about cooking in a hot oven.  We're back to the mid 90's this month.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

What a weekend!

Heat index was 115 here.  We chose the hottest weekend to have our friends help us install windows.  LOL.  These were windows for the current garage which is to eventually become the girls' bedroom.  This is the first step.  We had a wonderful friend help take all 4 younger kids all day Saturday.  This worked out beautifully as we could focus solely on the projects and not the kids.  Plus, as Nik almost gave us a scare of breaking the brand new windows, it was a relief to not have them here. 

There was much work to be done and took all of Saturday AND Sunday to do it.  But, it got done and then some.  We even finished, yes you heard that right, finished the upstairs bathroom!  Boys are getting their first shower this evening.  Can't wait.  They've had a working toilet and sink for some time but shower wasn't quite there.  All was finished and now is fine.  All the painting done.  All the flooring done.  Warren will hang up the handicap rail for Bojan tonight.  Having 3 full baths in this house is wonderful.  Girls are using the downstairs bathroom, boys upstairs.  Works well for us. 

I can not tell you how grateful we were for having our friends drive all the way to help us out.  We're talking a couple hours drive, help all weekend in the blazing heat and have to get up and go to work early Monday morning.  How is that for AWESOME!!!  I do hope one day we'll be able to repay them for all they did for us this weekend.  I know some are talking about building a house so we definitely would want to help out w/ that.  Thanks again to W., S.,L., K. , and K(from here).  You all know who you are and we truly could NOT have done this on our own.  Wish I had more than thanks for you.  Next time, it's a cookout for sure.  No sweat involved.  LOL. 

In the midst of all this stuff, we had totally forgotten to get Warren's tb test read on Friday.  Called today and they said he'd have to retake it.  It's fine it's just I said I'd have it to the agency.  URGHH.  So, tomorrow, he has to go and take the kids to driver's ed, return the scaffolding, get the tb test and go to work. Then, pick up the apostilles so we can overnight.  Thought they'd be ready Friday.  Umm, no.  Monday, AFTER 11am.  Fine.  I may take the kids to driver's ed in the morning so he could head out to the rental place early.  Busy day. 

I am trying to make sure I have all dossier docs ready.  See, even though Warren can pick them up, we still have to make copies.  I had wanted to do this all Friday but I don't control the apostilling.  I can only roll w/ the punches here and do the best I can.  Hoping to wrap up the last little bit of stuff this weekend some time.  Got the child abuse letter so that need's apostilling now w/ the FBI prints.  Fine.  I have a SOS credit now for apostilling.  Why you ask?  B/c the bank forgot to acknowledge us on the notary part so we have to have it redone.  It was the second child declaration page that states we are pursuing more than one child.  Again, all loose ends.  And, if we didn't work, this would be a cakewalk but you have to fit in work schedules w/this stuff.  Secretly, I had wished Warren could have taken off on Monday & we could finish all this stuff up.  But, he's been busy at work and I've been busy here.  I never did get Max & Irina's passport stuff done & that HAS to be done so Irina can work.  Can I get a few more hours in the day please?  Bear needs to go back to the vet.  he has hypothyroidism.  He needs to go to Petsmart for a bath as we can no longer lift the 125 lb arthritic dog in the tub for a bath.  May hose him, it's plenty warm out for that.  Have to get homeschool stuff for Irina organized.  Have to find out about new high school for Max.  I actually think tomorrow is the last tour day.  Lovely.  Have to finish up the driver's ed thing w/ Max & Irina.  Have to officially sign up for more insurance (life, not driving).  Have to reorganize.  You get the point, I'm sure.  Lots to do.  Have to apply for SSI for Irina.  Found out by neurology that I need to do this before age 18.  Okay, I'll get right on that too.  Tonight I've been trying to detail every single thing into a concise schedule so we can get everything where it needs to be and finished.  It can and will be done.  Kids are signed up for VBS and that starts next week at church.  Cant' wait.  They love it and we love it.  And, we finally are going to be able to go to that church.  It's always been hard for us to go to church w/ some of the kids.  I'll explain one day in another post.  Anyhow, we've always felt welcomed here and feel the kids are able to handle things a little better now so church is more of an option.  Plus, feel the kids are ready.  Again, tons going on. 

We are going to plan a few things for August before kids go back to school.  Share more later.  For now, need to go. 

First, the answers to the last post.  First picture was Nik sweeping up flour.  Why was the flour all over the floor?  Well, we have this huge bakery sized bucket.  HUGE bucket FULL of flour.  Nik decided to step all in it.  Yes, step in it.  URGHH.  Made him clean it all up and had to explain why we don't step in the flour bucket and how it would make our food dirty.  Then, had to go to the store to buy more flour.  Didn't think anyone would want banana nut bread made w/ foot flour.  LOL.  So, new flour.  Now, just have to dump the old flour and wash the bucket. 

Second one was definitely poor Bear w/ gum.  I have no idea which kid dropped gum into Bear's hair but I cut it out.  Again, the most tolerant dog you'll ever find. 

Later I'll have to have some pictures up.  For now, just thoroughly exhausted.  Have a great week everyone.