Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday

I know I've missed a thoughtful Thursday and a Flabulous to Fabulous friday post but it has been one zany week.  But, glad to know we've made it out alive and ready for the weekend!  Even have the watermelon to prove it.  LOL.  Well, we have some cleaning to do for the party tomorrow at our house.  We are having a cook out with some other families in the area that have some special kiddos too.  Can't wait to meet some new faces and hear some awesome stories.  Always gives us a new perspective to talk to other parents.  Very refreshing. 

Today we were getting organized.  Checked on some last pieces of the puzzle to finish this homestudy once and for all.  So hard to wait when you want to be done yesterday.  Adoption teaches us patience for sure.  Not that 7 kids won't teach you that anyhow.  We were all doing stuff when I decided to glance at Bojan's classroom letter.  Well, I thought it started at 5:30.  Nope, ended at 5:30.  It was 3:20.  When does this orientation start you ask?  Why 3:30 of course.  Tell them to throw clothes on that aren't so dirty...they'd been playing outside..... and get in the van.  Only took 3 w/ me. 

Bojan meets his teacher.  Well, one of them.  Remember, we have this "team" approach now.  My tongue is bleeding from biting it so much right now.  Anyhow, she was nice and interesting tidbit is her husband is from Serbia.  Bojan thought that was cool b/c frankly, you don't meet many folks around here from Serbia.  Maybe he can pick his Serbian back up again.  Asked the teacher about the classes and read her letter.  Then, I figured I'd ask.  I said "is this class an inclusion class as there is no mention of that on here."  Well, this block is indeed an inclusion class.  So, the school never thought parents should know that I guess.  In NONE of the handouts she gave.  I just nodded and continued to fill out the paperwork but thinking inside very loudly.  If it really isn't that big of a deal, how come they feel they shouldn't have to inform the parents what is going on?  I just don't get it.  I really don't.  I know Bojan will excel in any class he's in, I really just don't think having teachers walk all around the room while the other one is teaching is a good idea.  Another parent today told me the same exact thing. She said her child is going to be totally distracted.   Again, we're going to go w/ the flow b/c we really have no choice as of right now.  Though, I know homeschooling again appears to be in our future.  Bottom line out of the meeting was she is a nice lady the few minutes I met her.  I was bummed that she won't be his soul teacher.  Just a teacher for a certain block of time.  Was also kind of bummed that she wanted a $16 binder for class.  Sorry, can't do that.  I think a binder in elementary school is kind of goofy anyhow.  They are kids.  Not middle school kids yet, not high school kids yet.  Don't understand why the teachers keep trying to prep them for an older world when they are just kids.  It used to be elementary school until 6th grade.  Now, it's 5th grade.  Used to switch classes in high school & middle school.  Now told this year they want to switch classes in elementary to prepare them for middle school.  Where is the logic here?  Let them grow up naturally at their own pace.  Allow them to be kids for once.  I just don't understand the rush and when  I mention it I get well it's better for testing scores. 

Memory lane here.  I remember going to school and having enthusiastic teachers that taught until the last day of school.  Yes, we had testing but we sure as heck didn't take the test booklets home a month to practice prior to the test.  We didn't have test practice sessions nor could we retake the test at the end of the year.  However, with such great teachers, we learned and took the test and moved on.  No, we didn't switch classes or have state of the art computers to help us.  It was knowledge and creative thinking of the teachers.  Great teachers.  I think they have great teachers today but feel they are greatly under utilized due to rules that have come about of how they are to teach & what they are to teach.  Sad really.  Every year it is something new to help w/ test scores.  Every year.  Oh,they need more computers, that will do it.  Oh, they need a team teacher approach, that will do it.  Oh, we need more class time, that will do it.  No, it won't.  They just need to let the teachers do the job they were meant to do & capable to do. I whole-heartedly believe we have wonderful teachers here who could work w/ kids to reach their fullest potential.  However, I feel they are really held back by the administration that they are required to follow.  What to teach, how to teach, etc.  I believe in our kids and our teachers and just think what is happening in the schools is ashame.  They always try and come up w/ some newest and greatest thing.  How about going back to the original way of teaching.  I think our generation learned a great deal.  Do you know I had a teacher tell me the other night that the kids don't really need to do research any more or learn how as they have google and everything on line now.  I was shaking my head.  BTW, this was a high school teacher at West. 

Sorry to have rambled but Warren & I believe education is extremely important for a child.  It is their path to the future.  We take every change seriously and try to do what is best for each of the kids.  Orientation is again on Monday night.  I have a call in to fix Yana's schedule.  No call back yet but waiting.  School starts next Wednesday.  I would lie if I said I wasn't nervous about this year.  However, I will face it with an open mind(as best I can), and give things a chance.  yet, I will be ever so vigilent if things start to go wrong.  It is my job as a parent to help my kids reach their fullest potential no matter what the school setting is.  Have a wonderful weekend.  I'm looking forward to some great parties. 

Goofing around

After all the serious stuff about schools and what to do, I figured some goofing off is in order.  So, here's a few shots of some plain goofing around.


No idea what these three goofballs were doing or laughing about.  I seriously think my boys could have fun in the middle of a desert.


Alyona has wrapped up Nik like a cocoon and dragged him all over the house.  The stupid things my kids do for fun never ceases to amaze me.  


Another 2 of my goof balls.  These two love to tease each other but have fun doing it.  Very close.  What the change from a few years ago when Yana couldn't stand to look at him.  Seriously, she couldn't.  See, in Russia they are basically taught to look down upon certain disabilities.  So, Bojan's missing leg was quite an issue for her.  Was hard to take her out places b/c she'd make nasty looks at people in wheelchairs and everything.  Now, she doesn't even blink an eye at people w/ differences.  For 8 years of her life, she was raised to think one way.  Wasn't accepting of any differences.  At all.  Today, doesn't make a difference what you look like, what your disabilities are or anything.  See, a family can make a difference not only to a child but to the many people they will cross in their lives.  

More to come later.  Just busy today and we have Bojan's orientation tonight.  Not worried about that one really.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  We have a party to go to and are hosting a party this weekend.  Fun is sure to follow.  Then, a nice long nap on Sunday I hope.  Church is having a family retreat weekend so we're going next week to church again.  Time to make some calls and get backpacks filled up. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Orientation....NOT GOOD!!!

I will start w/ Yana's orientation as I did not go to it.  The wonderful county doesn't have the common sense to put orientations on different nights versus the same night, same time.  Well, one was 5 to 7 and one was 6 to 8.  Impossible though to go to both, trust me, we've tried before.  Anyhow, a friend took Yana.  Yana picked up her schedule.  Doesn't have an idea of the bus time yet but I ran into their bus driver so no big deal.  If I didn't know so many people, it would have been a big deal though not knowing when the bus was coming.  So, Yana has absolutely no electives on her schedule she told me. Schedule is wrong. I will have to spend tomorrow fixing it.  Now, a bigger problem is Yana was told she will have someone sitting next to her, a teacher, the entire time.  She is mortified & rightfully so.  Part of their inclusion bit apparently. I'm going to verify this tomorrow but I see no reason why she'd lie to me and she has no idea what inclusion is or what may happen this year.  I never told her about it.  So, came as a shock when she was told she'd have someone right there.  In addition, she has a boy in her class that harassed her last year, cusses even more than a sailor and is a general trouble maker that is very touchy feely w/ the girls.  I do NOT want him near her, the school was indeed aware of this and yet he is in every single class of hers.  What in the world?!  Are they trying to get me to call the press at this point?  I'm coming pretty dog gone close. 

Onto Max.  This is the orientation we went to tonight.  Cleveland High School.  A new school.  I could care less that it is a new school.  We've been to several new schools in this county as they tend to shuffle the special ed kids around here.  We've been to five new schools.  Just has lost the wow factor on us by now as the newness of school is not what counts.  It's what is taught.  Bottom line.  Go in and there really is no signage on what to do but we figure it out.  Asked someone why there were no arrows, vice principal told me b/c the printers had broken.  Really?  At a brand new facility?  And if so, just use marker on paper.  again, no big deal as they had people telling you where to go.  Except, those people didn't know where to go.  Not kidding folks.  Well, we found one lady who was directing who knew where to go.  The others did not.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt as it is a new school.  Went to homeroom.  Max's schedule is as we expected...messed up.  So, I have to go downstairs to student services and wait in line. They tell me to email a lady about it and she'll get back to me.  NONE of Max's teachers were aware that he has an IEP w/ mods.  None.  This is his first year out of self-contained in a few years.  Going to be an adjustment.  I did like the teachers I met though.  They were great.  Found out from one that they are doing away w/ OCS and going w/ total inclusion.  Really?!  Shocker as we were NOT told this and this is what program Irina is.  I can not take much more.  I really can't. 

Now, once I figure all this stuff out, I have to get moving on the homestudy wrap up.  I have a call into my guardian to make sure she wrote the letter.  She wrote the reference letter but need to make sure of the guardian letter too.  This is imperative yet I've got dozens of imperative things to do.  Tonight after this, I'm writing 2 teachers, fixing 2 schedules, going to Walmart(no milk), working out, filling out more papers, writing 3 birthday cards, doing laundry, etc.  The list is lengthy and Warren can help on some.  Bring on the chocolate.  Went to the doc today b/c I've been sick for about 10 days but no time to slow down.  Allergies are turning into an infection.  Told me I really need to get back to my allergist.  URGHH.  Thought I was off all that stuff.  Oh well.  Just been a long day and Nik decided he should flood the bathroom w/ the bubble bath soap.  Okay, I'm going to go get some candy.  LOL.  Then, I will be super busy.  No one call me please.  Well, except for the one person I need to call me.  Long,long day.  I know these days happen and it really isn't too bad when you look at the big picture.  Just when you have a few of your kids begging and I mean begging to be homeschooled, you have to stop and think.  I'm going to have them write a letter to the schools and school board so they can see how real children feel about inclusion and having a teacher single them out by "helping" them in a regular setting.  I know in some instances inclusion is good.  But done this way where it is emotionally and socially hurting the children it is not a good thing.  I want a solution.  I really do.  I want to know the right thing to do for my kids. I do.  Just going to take some time to think about.  Got to go.  Too much to say & fingers are tired.  enjoy your evenign and promise most posts aren't this down.  But, this is real life we live at Chaos Manor and these things will happen.  You will have ups and downs. It's how you move back up that makes the difference. 

The Schools Here

Many who know us know that we have always been unhappy with the school situation in our county.  Always.  It has been nothing but confrontations for the most part during our IEP meetings.  Not all, but most.  Took us a year to get Nik an interpreter.  Took a year before they believed Irina needed help.  Most of the time in this county, unless you have an advocate or hire an attorney, you are stuck.  Put it this way, this county does not even recognize dyslexia as a learning disability.  This is 100% true folks.  Was told in a meeting and have a friend fighting for her son right now on the exact same issue.  The whole county in regards to special needs children is a mess.  Many, many here are taking their kids out to homeschool them.  We did this too and may be doing it again.  Alyona sat in what was basically a glorified daycare the year before last.  Her 2nd grade year was a literal waste.  In fact, an outside advocate came in for another child and found that the children's actual academic learning time during the course of a day was...get this.... 28 minutes!  Yep, no wonder she wasn't learning a thing.  So, as you can see but just these short,short examples, we are disappointed, angry, unhappy, and concerned about this county's school system when it comes to our children.

This year is no exception.  We(special ed parents) were somewhat, imo, not thought of whatsoever.  The JCPS didn't care what we thought or how we'd react to changes.  Didn't tell us it may be coming.  None of that.  We were sent out teacher assignments instead.  We'll start with Nik.  NO mention whatsoever of his interpreter being in the classroom.  Nothing.  This scared us b/c we thought, oh no, what happened to her.  Emailed the teacher and called.  She wrote me back saying she wrote the letter before she was given the class list & knew who would be in her class.  I can accept that.  And glad she wrote me back.  Wished in the general letter though that she wouldn't have assumed all 1st graders are 6yo.  But, that is just my pet peeve.  No big deal.  Remember, Nik will be 8yo in October.  Just makes it sound like my son wasn't included & probably a bunch of other 7yo's in the class.  Again though, not a big deal just a stupid pet peeve of mine.  She was nice about getting back to me and that I appreciate greatly.  Told a new letter will be given out at orientation introducing the interpreter.

Next is Alex.  Alex is repeating 3rd grade.  I get a welcome letter that he is having 5 teachers.  What?!  Call and leave a message.  Teacher calls this morning to try to calm me, I was rather, umm, worked up about it and she is great and bringing me back down.  Anyhow, she assured me he doesn't have 5 teachers as the paper says he does, just 3.  Okay.  Tries to explain that he's having inclusion again which she knows I hate w/ a passion.  Also explains that he'll be being pulled out for some other things.  The whole thing is frankly confusing and really, we don't need this many teachers.  I went to school, had one teacher, they taught, I learned, moved on.  Not here.  It's just getting carried away I think.  Too much time trying to figure out what will work best and miss the point of what they can learn.  Too much focus on an end of year test. 

Now we come to Alyona.  Alyona is in a self-contained classroom.  Was doing well.  They have decided to split up the class and NOT tell the parents.  Yes, I know they are not obligated to but common respect would have been nice.  I don't even know what grades will be in her room yet.  These are not big classes so at some point I thought the teacher may have called to tell us about such a change but that did not happen.  I have had her teacher for years for a variety of my kids & they have excelled under her instruction.  They have now taken that away and I have no idea why or what happened.  Apparently she is teaching more of a life skills type class now but no one knows b/c no parents have been told.  I found out this summer that there was a possibility of splitting the classes but found that out from another parent, not the teachers.  Never finished this earlier but yes, her old teacher is now indeed a lifeskills teacher.  So that is why Alyona would not be in there.  And that is fine just wished parents would have been told earlier. 

We have Bojan who is out of special ed.  However, he now has a "team" approach as do the other classes in this school.  I'm not happy about it as how can you then hold any teacher accountable for their job as they are now sharing the job of teaching your child?  It makes no sense to me.  I think this is a bad idea.  I really do.  Bojan was doing just fine the other way.  Kids were learning in that school.  Now, we have a "team" approach to teaching.  Really?!  Teachers have been reassuring me all morning but I'm not buying it.

What else I found out today about the new rules is that if your child is labeled special ed, they do NOT have to take social studies or science.  What?!  They want to pull Alex out during those times and give him extra reading help.  Umm, NO.  I will set up an IEP once school starts and Warren and I will have a nice chat regarding this whole mess.  And sorry, but it is a mess.  You don't eliminate science & social studies from a child's curriculum to teach them to read more.  Now, his resource teacher says she is going to try to include some science and social studies in there but not sure about that. I'd rather have it learned the normal way w/ the other students if they're so big on this inclusion idea.  URGHH.  Don't know if the rule they told me about was a federal or local deal.  Just know it came from a teacher's mouth.

I don't even know what mess we're getting into w/ Max.  Find that one out tonight.  I'm sure he'll be assigned teachers and not a one will have a clue that he has an IEP.  Not speculating but this has happened before on several occasions.  Again, waiting to find out tonight.

Then we have Yana who is out of self-contained.  We'll see how she does this year.  I'm actually not worried about her academics.  Just her social life and the whole boy issue we have going on.  that is not the school's responsibility however, it is ours and we're working on that one.

Finally, we have Irina.  She is labeled as OCS.  It's an occupational track versus an academic track.  The high school teaching academics to these kids is a big joke.  Not kidding.  I was appalled last year as my daughter was doing literally basic addition like 3 + 5.  Not kidding folks.  Yet, in middle school she was doing basic algebra.  School said, well, we have to review and then we'll get into the other stuff later in the semester.  REally, you only have till December.  URGHH.  IRina learned NOTHING new last year.  Nothing.  Well, I take that back.  She did learn to fill out an application for a job.  Anyhow, they are doing total inclusion at the high school level.  As if these kids w/ disabilities don't have enough to worry about, now they have to worry about others laughing at the way they learn.  Don't say it won't happen b/c it happened to Irina last year.  The teachers say they'll go around the room to every student but have to focus on the ones that are "their" students.  Yeh, that won't single them out a bit.  They are stuck at the old high school though being moved to the new one next year.  Why the transition students that don't do well w/ change, I don't know.  Frustrating is an understatement at my feelings right now.  Really is.  Had to share and gain insight from other parents across the nation.

We are at a crossroads and do feel we will eventually pull all the kids from school.  All of them.  Right now, we have to plan how to do it, how we're going to teach them and what we're going to teach them.  I feel academics in schools are being short-changed and that it is all geared toward what's ever on the stupid end of year test.  Ashame.  Many great points of history too are being lost.  During February, my kids spend barely any time on the presidents.  Truly sad.  To show you how pathetic it is here I just asked my 14yo, 15yo, and 17yo when the Independence of the United States took place.  Not a one could tell me.  I said when is Independence Day.  They said July 4th.  I said what year did it begin.  I got, 19-something, 1965 and 1962.  Lovely.  Just lovely.  I digress.  You can tell by this post I'm thoroughly upset about the school situation.  I like the teachers, hate the county we're in.  Seems issues are coming from the top on down.  who knows.  Just know Warren and I have some very tough decisions coming up regarding school for not only the kids here but the kids coming home.  We have to do what is best for everyone.  Working on it.  More to come on the outcome of orientation tonight.  Stay tuned as I'm sure the saga will continue.  LOL

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grass & gorillas

Time for something different for sure. 


Grass was incredibly overgrown in the back yard.  Partially b/c we have a drainage problem  Partially, due to laziness.  Hey, I believe in honesty here.


How can you mow if the mower is broken?  URGHH.  I had asked Bojan, Alex & Alyona to go pick up the backyard so the older kids don't mow over something.  They did it and then I asked them to go look again as it is tall grass & you most likely missed something.  They did.  Should have obviously had them go out a third time.  Maybe that would have done it.


Once grass is cut, it is raked up and spread on the bare spots.  Alyona is helping w/ that task.  Why she took her flip flops off, I don't know.  


Cleaning their room, they found a gorilla mask. It stirs up the animal in them all.  They look calm here, right?


And now, the gorillas attack!


After Nik was on the receiving end of the first attack, he decided to get even w/ Max.  This is Nik "attacking" Max.  Max is a great big brother pretending, don't you think?  

Yep, my kids like to goof around for sure.  I think some of that I'll miss when school starts.   Though, I can assure you, some of it I will not miss. 

Let's add to that FAS day

Well, last post I left off a few things.  Thought I'd post before I forgot.  Our day has been hectic writing teachers and trying to get to the bottom of what happened at school.   At this point, don't even know if Nik has an interpreter or not.  Don't even ask.  I'm ready to spit fire already at the school and don't need more fuel right now.  LOL.  Alyona's situation we were never notified of.  Never told that the stupid county was going the inclusion route and never told many other things.  I am NOT happy & will be at school tomorrow morning.  Already had some words w/ Irina's worker.  Found out teachers were left in the dark too until this week!  Under the new NCLB law, they can no longer teach special ed even though they've done it for years.  It's nuts.  Parents here are beyond ticked off. 

Anyhow, sidetracked.  To add to the delight of our day here, it has been one FAS day.  Already told you of wrong bunks being put up and hair being cut...not by a professional mind you.  I left out the fact that I made some banana nut bread.  Not knowing that this was the same bucket of flour that Nik had literally stepped in w/ dirty feet.  Yep, out went the bread made & out the flour got tossed.  Of course, my kids tell me AFTER I cook the bread. 

Now, to add to the list, Max put bunks up wrong.  Then left the tools out.  Did not know this but should have expected this.  I'm on the phone w/ a PAP(prospective adoptive parent) and Max comes running in telling me Nik drilled holes in his wall.  Lovely.  I don't even want to go in there.  It has just been one of those days.  Hoping tomorrow is a fresh start.  I really do.  I do have some pictures of the kiddos tomorrow.  Need something other than rough news on here.  I think some cute kids will do the trick.  Stay tuned for some of those tomorrow & hopefully some better news of the classes too.  Open House is tomorrow.  I will remain calm.  I will remain calm.  However, if any of the teachers tell a lie, I may just have to say something.  Like, how they are saying they are a "team" of teachers versus saying they are an inclusion classroom.  Yep, I'd have to let the other parents know it is an inclusion class and what that exactly means.  To let you know how great they worked for my kids, Alex is doing 3rd grade again this year.  He had an inclusion class setting for math last year and got further and further behind.  Again, more on that later.  I know some people think it's a good idea.  I am not for it.  Mainly, b/c it singles the kids out who need help, puts all the kids behind in the classroom and the special ed kids slip further and further through the cracks.  Irina will have a minimum of 30 kids in her classroom.  Teacher stressed this is a minimum.  they are expecting more.  Alex will have 5 teachers.  Really, is that necessary???  They are cleverly calling it a multiple teacher approach.  I have kids in regular setting, resource setting and self-contained setting.  I've seen it all.  Not all kids belong in an inclusion classroom.  In some cases, I think it would work.  But not all.  We've tried it, we hate it.  Our kids do not feel included as was the intent of this whole idea.  They feel more different and more singled out.  Sorry, got off course.  I know this is a heavy topic & many even in the special ed community disagree.  You are either for or against it.  There really is no middle ground.  My kids were making progress in self-contained classes.  I will be keeping close watch this semester and even told one of the teachers that.  She was happy I would be and happier that I told her I'd go to the DPI this time versus the principal or central office path.  From what I gather, many teachers are upset as well about new arrangements.  I'm sure this will be an interesting week and will keep you posted. 

Can your daughter cut hair?

Neither can mine but that didn't stop her!!!  Figures.  A week before school starts and Irina decided to cut Alyona's hair.  Yes, I was home.  Yes, I was awake.  But, as any other FAS parent will tell you, there is no cause & effect thinking, no impulse control, and poor judgement involved.  We live in a state of hypervigilence in this home yet this type of thing happens day in and day out.  No lie.  I just don't write about all the little things.  Like how this morning we all went on a "hunt" for our medicals to send w/ the dossier.  You know, the ones already done by the doctor & notarized.  URGHH.  But, my OCD daughter was on the war path again & cleaned house yesterday while we were away at Bojan's appointment.  Sure enough, she cleaned those up too. Thank God she didn't throw them out.  I need to get them sent off.  She cleans up when she is nervous or her anxiety is high.  Well, school starts next week so that is the trigger.  She has cleaned out all my cabinets in the kitchen.  Throwing away an expensive pan though is NOT helping.  It's costing me money.  I have to usually dig through the garbage after one of her cleaning episodes.  Yes, she is a candidate to be a minimalist. 

Anyhow, back to today.  Max has decided to put up the new bunkbeds.  Yes, Warren will test before any children will use them.  LOL.  They are put together wrong, I can already tell but don't feel like fighting about it right now.  But what has driven me crazy today is that Irina decided for whatever known reason known to man, to CUT Alyona's hair.  She looks like a POW.  It's ridiculous.  I'll ask if the hairdresser can fix it.  She didn't do so bad on the bottom part but the bangs are hideous.  There are more "FAS moments" as I call them that have occurred over the last few days but just can't tell all at the moment.  Just know, I have finally decided I can't wait till school starts!  Nik has killed way too many insects lately.  Bojan's sense of humor is getting on my last nerve.  And the list goes on.  I had a great summer w/ them but I can honestly say, it's time for school to start and S-O-O-N. 

The whole school situation right now is a nightmare.  I will have a whole post on that & what inclusion has done to my kids.  It's right for some but not for all.  I was apparently NOT the only parent in this county to call and gripe & complain about how wrongly we were notified of a changed process.  Teachers that were teaching last year can no longer b/c of new NCLB rules.  It's crazy.  More to come on that topic later though.  more pictures too I think. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Doc visit update

As I said earlier, Bojan had an appointment today at Duke.  One of the best hospitals in the nation.  Umm, except for wait times that is.  I have been to many a doctors appointments w/ these kids and this has been the longest wait for a relatively simple appointment.  Appointment was at 2.  We left about 5:30.  Anyhow, a few docs saw Bojan and got a new x-ray.  For now, leaving the stump alone.  Doc thinks it's his socket.  I totally disagree but I am not the professional here, am I?  We just had his new socket made in June.  I doubt it is the socket causing the lump on the side of his stump but again, I'm not the professional here.  They did not x-ray that leg. 

Now, the clubfoot leg.  He does agree he needs surgery.  However, he's not sure he can fix much due to all the scarring and previous surgeries.  But, he will definitely try and the lifting of the bone on the top part will help.  It will not give him more flexion but will help him to walk.  So, that is good.  Now, the toe that is all crossed over they are not going to amputate b/c they are afraid of the others "filling" in the gaps.  I can see that but previous surgeon discussed amputating that toe.  All in all, I think the surgery will give him the ability to walk a bit better.  Looks like though this may be the last surgery they could ever do on this leg.  And that's fine.  Frankly, Bojan was ready for an amputation this time around but I do understand trying to do whatever it takes to save a foot on a kid.  In a few years, he'll definitely be ready.  For now, it is surgery on the clubfoot leg.

We don't know when the surgery will be.  He'll be out of commission for 6 weeks. Yikes!  He's done it before so not worried.  Need some hand crutches though.  Afterwards, in an AFO for night time usage.  I'm glad something is being done but am very skeptical at the moment that this will change a lot.  But, w/ him falling more and having more pain, something has to be done.  This is our second opinion btw.  The first doc is  a bit nervous I think due to Alyona's botched surgery job he had done on her.  Yet, he has done fine w/ all Bojan's surgeries.  I can see why he'd be nervous though:





This was Alyona's arm AFTER it was out of the cast.  Yes, still broken from where the plates snapped in her arm.


Another view of her arm.  She has permanent damage on this arm btw.


This is infection on the top of her arm.  It was so hard to walk out of the doc office w/ NO protection for her and a broken arm still.  It is a long story for another day but want you to know why we got a second opinion for Bojan and a bit of history on what had happened to Alyona.

Anyhow, Bojan's surgery will be scheduled next week.  Hoping surgery will be in September sometime but there is no telling.  The nurse is on vacation and will call me back next week some time to schedule surgery.  So, we will have 2 surgeries coming up soon.  Irina probably needs another sinus surgery but holding off on that one until maybe spring.  Her OCD is too high to have surgery right now.  Trust me, she's ripped stitches open before.  

Hope to keep everyone healthy, get these surgeries done and have medical calm for awhile.  No surprise appendectomies this year please.  LOL.  Just wanted to give you a brief update on what went on today and what surgeries we are doing.  It has been extremely busy here this week already.  I need to workout tonight still.  School situation is a nightmare right now.  More on that one maybe tomorrow.  Life is never dull here but somehow we manage to tackle one thing at a time and have time for fun.  Okay, so this week probably won't be much fun but we're getting stuff done.  Kids have a b-day party this weekend and we are hosting a party this weekend too.  Have a great evening everyone.

Outdoor happenings

Thought I'd share a few photographs from outside as my kids pretty much live outdoors.  I swear some days we should just pack up and live in a yurt. 


Alex is just hanging out after a swim.  Why he is in a sweatshirt in 100 degree weather, I'll never understand.  But, Alex's temp regulations are always unique anyhow.  This is the favorite spot of all my kids.


Max, helping out w/ some raking.  Well, taking a break from raking.  


Alyona trying to figure out how the airplane works.  I found a new package of airplanes at a yardsale.  The kids had so much fun with them.


Love the wonder on Nik's face in this picture.  Discovering new things for any child is so fun to watch.  Amazing what joy a quarter can bring.  


Max took some of these pictures but love the expressions he caught.  This was Alex after he had just launched a plane.


You can click on the pictures and see a close up.  My kids had the best time with these things.  they love hanging around outside.  Love collecting creatures.  Keeps them busy and keeps them in touch w/ nature.  I think today too many kids just tune out nature and tune in tv.  Constantly hooked up to an ipod, computer, cell phone, etc.  Not my kids.  And as you can see, I don't think they mind.  And apparently, their friends don't mind either as they're always over here playing as well!  Today, one of their friends is over and they all caught a green tree frog.  Currently in an aquarium that is no longer going to be used for fish.  At first kids wonder why we make them drop off their cell phones on the counter when they first walk in the door.  Now, it's second nature, they don't ask why, and run outside to play.  Believe it or not, they call on the land line phone versus the cell if they have to call their parents.  Makes me wonder some times why many elementary & middle school kids have cell phones.  Just my opinion though.  These are the types of choices all parents have to make.  For us w/ children that have FAS, an easy choice.  For other parents, I'm sure it may be hard to weigh the different options and what it means for their kids.  My personal opinion is kids grow up way too fast nowadays anyhow.  I'm not adding to it w/ more responsibility of a phone or computer or the like.  

So, yes, you will probably always pass by my house & see at least one child outside.  Guarantee they are dirty too.  I don't mind one bit.  I'll write later about Bojan's visit to the doc today.

Quick update

Lots going on that I'm having to deal with but wanted to let everyone know that we finally have Nik's CI surgery scheduled.  It is October 13th for surgery.  Can't wait.  We also are going to Duke today to find out more about Bojan and what surgeries he will need and when.  Let you know more on that later.  We have decided to let Irina try school for a month at least.  I told her after a month, I can take her out if she doesn't like it.  Called the school twice and no one is returning my calls.  Called central office...nothing but passing the buck.  Lovely.   Keep in mind, these are not teachers that have tons of students.  This is just for the special needs section of kids.  Will escalate to the DPI on Friday if no one has called me back by then.  I called last week and this week to the high school.  Situation is serious folks!   In addition to that, want to make sure my other kids are okay this year too.  I have 3...Yana, Max and Bojan who are out of the special needs category.  Need to make sure they stay on track.  Max is worried about high school.  He does not do well in crowds. Bojan will be fine if he stops goofing off.  Yana will be fine if she's not sidetracked by boys--LOL. 

Got to run.  Been on the phone all morning w/ schools and hospitals.  Speech therapist will be here soon.  Getting school supplies organized as well as room for upcoming start of the school year.  Have a party this weekend which should be fun.  Trying to think of what we're doing for Yana's b-day in September.  More to come and more to tell for sure.  Enjoy your day.  It's sunny & gorgeous here today. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

The weekend continued

Left off on Sunday morning.  Woke up and made sausage and pancakes for breakfast.  A friend of ours gave us a homemade jar of honey from their bees.


Doesn't the honey look delicious?!  They like the honey & I use it in tea.  However, though they like it, they decided they don't like it on pancakes and prefer cinnamon on it instead.  


Alex was a sport by trying pancakes w/ honey.  Bojan liked them and Max did but the rest of the kids did not.  Always have to try though.  

We went to church that morning.  Uneventful going there.  A bit of ants in the pants during service but nothing herendous.  However, on the way out, we picked them up from children's church.   Alex had peeled off the sole of his shoe during the time he was in there.  Then, he & Bojan decided to push & fight over who was going to retrieve the sole from out of the trash can.  Nice, huh. They go outside & physcialy push each other. URGHH!  I knock Alex up side the head to get him to stop b/c I knew where this was going w/ him.  Once he starts, Alex does not have an "off" button.  Told them they were both grounded & Bojan starts crying like an infant.  Great way to end a nice service.  Service was great, just kids were not on the way out.  

Went home and had some lunch.  Decided to leave 4 of the kids here watching a movie as they didn't want to go and we honestly didn't want them to go.  They had plenty of clothes.  Irina literally had NO pants, 2 pair of shorts and that's it.  Yana's were all too small.  She had 1 pair of jeans and a few shirts.  Definitely had to go before school started, which was just next week.  So, went to some outlet malls here w/ the girls. 


This is only a small portion of the shopping we did w/ Yana and Irina on Sunday afternoon.  We are fortunate enough to live in a place that has an outlet mall.  Great deals once tourist season is over which is about now.  Some stores were even 75% off everything!  It was incredible.  If I can pick up brand new clothing for the teens for just a couple dollars an item, not bad at all.  I even got $75 shoes for $10.  Better than Walmart.  LOL.  We all had a great time and Nik was fine.  Well, once he learned he could trigger the alarm and keep listening to it.  It would ding every time you'd go back and forth in the dressing room. He'd delight every time it went off.  Sales people thought it was cute yet I'm trying to teach him not to be an annoyance.  

Here's some results of what we got.  


This is more of the daughter I thought I'd have.  Some of you remember her history and why she wants to dress so inappropriately.  It was a tragedy what they do at the older kids' home in Russia.  So, was glad that she actually picked this out herself.  Yana was so excited she was modeling all different kinds of combos. 


Goofing around while Yana tries on clothes.  I know why the distilled water is on the floor but truly trying to figure out why Bugs Bunny cookie jar is down there too.  BTW, Irina is not happy that Bojan is as tall as she is now.  


Okay, ignore the socks.  She was afraid the dress made her look like "an old granny."  I assured her it most definitely did NOT.  She's getting there slowly but we are making progress for sure.  A relief as I hated the clothing confrontation all the time.  Yana is entering the 8th grade this year.  Her birthday is next month.  Time flies.  

Tried to catch you up a bit on the weekend.  I'll have more later this week.  Mostly, we shopped this weekend.  It needed to be done.  Did all I could at consignment shops and yardsales but the girls needed more in addition to that.  The outlet shops were a great way to do that.  Even Warren finally got rid of some ratty clothes.  Irina helped him with that and was proud of herself.  Irina calls Warren a "hoarder."  He hates to throw stuff out.  Hates it.  He put up w/ us making him declutter his closet and donate some items that were definitely no longer needed.  Looks great and I think we all are a bit more organized after this weekend.  Next weekend is a party that I'm hosting for some other special families in the area.  Can't wait to meet some of them.  And cleaning the house in time for the start of school.  No, there is no slowing down here.  LOL.  Got to go.  Irina goes to the dentist today and maybe Alyona.  Can't remember.  Enjoy your week.

A weekend in review

I do have quite a few pictures to share over the next few days.  For now, just catching up on the weekend happenings.  Friday, we decided to just veg out a bit at home.  No set schedule.  It was also that day that all of us were not in the museum kind of mood and would save that one for the fall.  So, early Saturday morning Alyona, Irina and I went to yardsales.  Fantastic finds w/ some fun sprinkled in there too.  Came home & fed everyone breakfast.  After that, we decided it would be a weekend of shopping.  I took the teens to a store & Warren took the other 4 to Walmart for a list of things we needed.  For those who don't know, Yana and I have battled for years over her clothes.  She likes to wear things that are way too inappropriate and well, we just don't let her.  Yet, last year  she would sneak things from friends to wear, change on the bus, etc.  Told her if she does it this year, she will be pulled out of school THAT day and homeschooled.  Her worst social nightmare.  LOL.  I mean it though, I do. 
Anyhow, she always graviates towards the worst clothes in the store no matter where we are.  I still said no.  Give her choices of what racks she can pick from.  Irina is easy.  She likes about anything yet is way too conservative for a 17yo for sure.  But, that is just fine w/ me.  Now, if Yana can just get even a smidgen of Irina's taste, it would be a miracle.  Anyhow, came home and settled everyone down a bit.  Since they were decent while shopping and no major incidents, we decided to go to a restaurant for dinner for a back to school treat.  This is where we went:


The kids love going here and frankly, the prices aren't too bad.  The kids love it b/c this is what they get to do:


Yep.  Shelling peanuts and throwing them on the floor.  Just the type of thing my kids need to learn.  LOL.  My kids kept digging down in the barrel so the lady filled it past the top for them.  If I'd let them, they could stand here for hours just eating peanuts.  


Time to sit down and let the goofing off begin.  Teens didn't do too badly.  Had to tell Irina (remember her... the oldest?) to not put water on the knife to see if it would roll off and make a mess.  Going out with FAS children is always an adventure.   It's like opening a cracker jack box.  You never know what surprise is in store for you.  


I guess Nik won at this game as he was playing tic tac toe all by himself.  Alyona played w/ me and I won one and she won one.  Something to entertain them.  


Of course, if bored do something you learned from your brothers.  Take an ice cube from the plate to the cup w/ just a straw.  Lovely, huh?


How can I have serious kids when their dad is making walrus teeth out of peanut shells?  Look quick b/c I'm sure he's going to delete this picture as soon as he sees it.  


Think they can have fun at a restaurant?  My oldest & youngest(so far) here.  Yes, from different parts of the world but yet we're still all one.  


Horrible picture of me as allergies are really taken their toll on me.  However, thought it only fair as Warren is going to kill me for that peanut picture.  LOL.  

We went home after the restaurant and then Warren & I took Nik to Walmart for a movie treat.  Brought a movie home for us all to watch (great $5 bin there folks) and a candy bar for each.  You'd think we were Santa Claus that night.  Went to bed and then up for church in the morning.   More about Sunday in another post.  Need to get things done around here first.  enjoy your day folks.  Only 9 days till school starts here!  Yikes!