Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just really, really cool

I forgot where I saw this but you HAVE to check out this site.  It's just really neat and I don't know how this man does it.  It is a guy that makes pancakes for his daughter.  Not just any pancakes though.  These are truly artistic creations.  I looked through all the old posts and you just stare and think how'd he do that?  Really, I'm lucky if I don't burn the darn things and this guy is making ferris wheels!  SO COOL.  Check it out.  Here's the link:  http://www.jimspancakes.com/ .  I just couldn't resist sharing.  Umm, no I'm not even going to attempt despite my kids pleading.  I tried a St. Patrick's Day theme one year and it went horribly wrong.  LOL.  I'll stick to my round pancakes.  I am definitely not Martha Stewart and definitely not a Jim.  Go check out Jim's site.  I just have never seen anything like it and thought it was the coolest thing.  Piece of advice:  Do not show the kids!--- they'll definitely want one. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

He's at it again....

drawing that is!  Yep, Nik is back in school so we will have sporadic drawings posted on here done by Nik.  For those of you new to this blog, Nik will either end up a Stephen King novelist or in some serious therapy.  Last year's classic drawing to remember was his rendition of Humpty Dumpty.  He had Humpty Dumpty on a wall...being pushed no less off the wall!  Then, at the bottom, he had an egg splatter on the ground.  IF that wasn't enough, he then had Humpty Dumpty getting fried by the sun. Yes, these are the kinds of drawings he does.  Won't even get into the decapitated kid on the swingset last year.    So, to keep up w/ tradition on here, we have a segment called Nik's drawing's.  So, let's begin.  These are rather mild compared to last year.  I think he works up to it.  LOL. 



Okay, this is the same picture.  Just couldn't fit it all in one shot.  I honest to goodness don't even know how to begin with this one.  There are aliens shooting at someone who is angry and standing on top of the police car.  There is a guy crawling to the police car.  LOL. A guy on the roof is being sprayed w/ something .  Aliens and people on the ground are shooting.  Way too much in this picture to even figure out what is going on.  


As you may have guessed, a gigantic pumpkin is in the background.  Someone is in a tall building on the right.  A green monster and a mad pumpkin are chasing after a person on the left.  


Okay, the blob in the picture is a monster.  The thing w/ the evil face is the monster's face.  The things inside of this are "parts" of people he told me.  A few heads and arms for goodmeasure.  Someone is also falling on the right side of the page.  


Nothing scary here.  This is Nik and his birthday party.  The things on top are streamers.  He labeled himself as Nik at the head of the table.  All his friends sitting with him.  Birthday cake there and then a table FULL of presents.  I think this is called wishful thinking.  LOL.

Those are just a few of Nik's drawings so far.  As I get more, I'll post.  Can't wait till he really starts his creative drawings.  Those do get very interesting.  Apparently, he's been drawing some to his friend Jaxon at school.  His mom told me yesterday there is always someone being arrested or something.  Go figure.  My son and his drawings.  One day, I know we'll sit back and laugh about it all when he's older. 

Flabulous to Fabulous

Well, it's Friday. It's been a crazy week and a surgery thrown into the mix to boot.  However, w/ all the ups and downs this week, I still managed to lose 2 lbs.  It's nothing to write home about but hey, it IS losing so I forge forward.  To be honest, I really thought I might have gained this week.  I have been keeping up w/ calories and think that helps.  It made me think twice when at the hospital.  I had only had a banana that morning but it was a trailer full of junk stuff.  I ended up getting gatorade & a pack of gum to tide me over versus going for that Tastycake I so desperately wanted.  LOL.  But, that tells me I'm becoming more aware and that's a good thing for sure.  I have not worked out everyday this week and that is bothersome to me.  Yet, I have worked out.  So, when all is said & done, I will have done cardio  four times out of the week.  I would like to shoot for 7 times but in this house, it may not happen and I will just have to accept that and change it when I can.  For now, I have lost 2 lbs.  I plan to do the same for next week as well.  I like keeping a calorie count for sure.  Well, need to get going.  Think Warren will take the kids tomorrow.  We'll see.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nik's present

Nik's birthday was Oct. 3rd.  My parents sent him a present and it got here the day before surgery.  Nothing like a little excitement before a surgery.  See if you can guess how he felt about it. 


They couldn't even wait to get in the house!  Met the UPS man and that was it.  LOL.  They were ready to tear it open on the front lawn.  


Nik was just as excited as could be at this point.  Any guesses as to what he received as his present?


Umm, the look says it all.  


All the kids helping to put it together.  I think they were just wanting to take their turn w/ Nik once it was put up.  


So much happiness a toy can bring some times.  All ages just having fun w/ the race track.   The race track is still on my floor in the kitchen.  And, it has been a wonderful distraction post surgery.  

Just had to share.  Nice to see a happy face amongst all the surgery pics.  More of Nik's drawings to come in a later post.  Some updates on Alyona in regards to school stuff.  Met w/ her teacher today.  So many tough decisions to make as a parent.  Least she has a great teacher.  Trouble is, we have to think of her future and teacher even agrees she's caught "in the middle."   I'll explain more in another post.  Tomorrow Nik is home from school but think we'll go to school for about an hour to visit w/ Alyona and her science experiment.  Good night.  Hope Nik sleeps the whole night tonight.  We all need some good sleep.  We had a wonderful meal this evening and I'll post about that tomorrow.  Truly are angels among us. 

Surgery update- recovery

Today is Thursday.  It has been a rough day for Nik but he's managing.  I did end up giving him one dose of tylenol w/ codiene today.  His bandage has fallen off his head and well, I improvised w/ an ace bandage.  Poor kid looks like a scene from a Halloween movie.  He didn't sleep comfortably last night but who could w/ that thing on your head.  He did sleep.  Woke up at 5am crying.  Gave him some meds then too.  We kept things quiet today.  Nik is still shocked at the sound of silence when he takes his implant off.  He's getting used to it, not terrified of being silent any more.  Just still getting used to it.  He keeps his implant on till the last minute when he has to lay down.  We are also getting used to him not having any hearing on that side.  All in all, doing okay and as expected for just having surgery.  I "may" go to the school w/ him for an hour tomorrow for Alyona's science fair.  We'll see how it goes.  

Nik's classmates sent him a box in the mail!  Very sweet of them all.  Filled w/ goodies to keep him busy.  It even had 4 juice boxes and he immediately gave 2 of them to the "littles" that were here today.  Had puzzles, markers, notepads, etc. for him to do.  He's been working on the spiderman puzzle.  Just was a really sweet gesture.  We also have someone coming over tonight to cook us dinner.  Can you believe it?!  It actually couldn't have come at a better time.  I'll be honest.  I am just plain exhausted this week.  I know it's from lack of sleep & all the doc appointments we've had but it is truly exhausting.  So, having someone take that load off really made my day.  I can hardly wait. 

More happening here.  Will eventually get caught up on this blog.  Well, probably not.  But, I'll give it a shot.  LOL.  Enjoy your week.  Warren is taking the teens to the Fear Farm maybe tomorrow.  I may do some one on one time w/ one of the girls this weekend.  We'll see.  Think I'll take Alyona.  Do a little shopping.  She wants to spend her tooth fairy mouse money at the dollar store.  Easy trip and top it off w/ an ice cream and some conversation.  Got to go.  Still need to pick up this place.  More to come. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nik's surgery (part II)

After Nik helped to take the iv out, we were on our way home.  Nik was definitely ready to go home.


Nik loved being in the wheelchair b/c then he was "like Bojan" as he told me.  Nik was rather disappointed when we were not loading this wheelchair in the car to take home with us.  


On the trip home.  Drugs definitely still in his system as you can see.  He had trouble falling asleep this way so I switched places w/him and let him lay on my lap.  He is really scared about being totally Deaf.  He knew this would happened and I explained it to him as best I could but he is a bit afraid to now take his implant off.  May be tricky at bed time for sure tonight.  It will be his first night ever spent with no sound whatsoever.  


Don't know exactly why I took this picture.  He just looked very much at peace sleeping with his hands folded.  


Thank goodness there was no traffic coming home.  We stopped off at Wendy's (& no, despite pics, we do not always go there.  LOL).  Got Nik a small coke as we don't have soda at home except for parties.  Just milk and we were out of juice.  Soda on an after surgery stomach seems to work a bit better.  Got Nik settled in to rest.  He was groggy most of the afternoon.  

Overall, he's doing well.  He tells me he hurts but he's not crying hurt so we're still okay w/ pain management.  I did just give him a dose of tylenol w/ codiene.  Other than him trying to swing on the swingset this afternoon, we've managed to keep him inside.  It's very, very difficult for my active kiddos to have to sit still.  Yes, even after surgery.  Tomorrow, I have the "littles" as well here.  Lots of bead making and some spider making to be sure.  May even make some banana nut bread for good measure.  Need to keep all 5 kids occupied while still keeping Nik still.  Going to be an ultimate challenge I'm sure.  

Nik is still very nervous taking off his implant.  He is not used to the silence at all and is asking when they're turning it on.  He can feel the implanted device part and is happy about that.  What is bothering him is the fact that when he takes his current implant off, he is Deaf completely.  This is very new for him and will take quite the adjustment.  I do not know how it will be to take it off of him for bed tonight.  This is the first time he actually wanted to sleep w/ the implant on.  This was while we were in the car.  So, surgery went well and recovery, thus far, seems to be fine.  Other kids are okay.  Alex had a major, major meltdown this afternoon.  It was over homework but probably a mixture of that and Nik's surgery.  Alex is alright now.  

Warren and I are working on various plans right now.  Warren is taking the kids out either this Friday or Saturday night to the Fear Farm.  Should be fun for them.  He's taking just the teens.  We'll take the younger ones somewhere another time.  I don't "do scary."  I'm out.  Big chicken.  Yes, I'm admitting it.  Kids make fun of me all the time.  Rest of the weekend we plan to just work on the house.  A lot.  

Adoption front.  Got the new child abuse clearance letter done and should be in my hands tomorrow.  If it is, it will be apostilled on Friday.  Working on the medical letter situation.  All that then goes to Bulgaria again. USCIS prints are on the docket for Oct. 26th.  Wahoo!!!  My gut is telling me travel will be in November.  Just this gut feeling, nothing more.  Call it wishful thinking, call it hopeful, call it whatever, but my gut is telling me November.  Thinking, hoping, praying November anyways.  

We are getting ready for Christmas thinking at this point.  No trip this year.  Too much travel going on and frankly, too expensive.  Kids will get presents this year but very limited to what they will get.  Just the way it is this year, kids understand that, and told them to pick one thing they each really wanted.  Nothing is obnoxious or outrageously expensive which is wonderful.  They have also asked when their new siblings are coming home.  They are anxious for us to go for sure.  Pictures once we go on the first trip will make it much more real for them for sure.  Can't wait.  

We have much more going on for October.  Many more post-ops and appointments.   A few IEP meetings.  2 Halloween parties.  One for the teens and one for the elementary school kids.  Also, a party at a friend's house we're going to.  (kids don't know about this one yet.)  It's an annual event, we love it and have a wonderful time with friends.  It's next weekend.  Halloween is also coming up.  So, lots going on for sure.  

Thanks to those who called to check on Nik or wrote me.  I do appreciate it very much.  He's doing fine, playing with his racetrack.  Got to go put him to bed now.  A real trick as he can't sleep in his bed.  Nik & Alex sleep together but kick each other in the head.  So, Bojan is downstairs still in a bed in the dining room.  Nik is now on a mattress in Irina's room on the floor.  Can't wait for normal sleeping arrangements again.  Good night.  Very long day.

Nik's surgery (part I)

We are officially bilateral!!!  Nik's surgery was today.  He was quite the trooper and made me take pictures as we went along this journey today.  So, picture time w/ updates is the best way to go here. 


This was before we left this morning.  You can tell it's still dark outside.  Nik was playing around w/ the cast Bojan had cut off yesterday.  Today ALL the kids were up & out of bed early.  Never do they do this on a normal day.  We left early & Max was to get everyone off to school & then a neighbor take him.  Only thing Max forgot was to let the dog in.  Luckily, it was a cool day for Bear to be outside.   


Nik dressed for surgery.  We were lucky they took us back.  Got stuck in massive traffic jams the entire way there.  Over an hour & a half late.  They called us in the car and said when we got here we'd be bombarded by docs asking us tons of questions really fast.  LOL.  We told them don't worry, we've done this before.  Nik was literally all smiles jumping up and down and so happy to be getting surgery.


Horrible picture of us but Nik wanted to play w/ the camera a bit.  Got to love the wash the hair & go look before a surgery.  


Surgery took longer than last time it seemed but went really well.  Doc did not experience anything out of the ordinary which was wonderful news for us.  He really wanted to keep this implant on.  He's already realized w/out it, he can not hear a thing at all.  BTW, Nik wanted me to take pictures.  The little turkey wanted me to take pics in the OR.  Umm, sorry kid, only docs allowed in there.  


Poor kid was trying so hard to crack a smile.  He wasn't in much pain just really groggy from the meds in surgery.  He did not even throw up.


Nik even wanted to help take the iv out.  He was really ready to go home.  So home was where we headed after this.  Another post to follow.  On my way out to get Nik's antibiotics & pain meds.  Stopping by the chiropractor on the way as well.  More to come.  Hard part right now is keeping him still and keeping the other chaos makers at Chaos Manor still.  Pics to come & update on how he's doing as well.  And, more about the surgery.  Dinner needs to be made though & errands done.  Just had to share how he did w/ surgery this morning. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Life goes on

Despite an upcoming surgery tomorrow, life goes on.  Has to.  With FAS children, everything needs to be consistent.  Routines are key.  So, chores still need to be done, lunches made, practices tended to. 


We have told Alyona to practice in the yard.  This is for obvious reasons.  I do not think she'll be following in my footsteps and playing the flute & piccolo.  But, very glad she's practicing!


I was very proud that she was able to learn this.  I could even recognize three blind mice!  It is very hard for her to cover the holes due to her radial articulation in her right arm and the permanent damage done to it by a botched surgery job.  However, it doesn't stop her from trying and that's what I love.  


this is Nik's current implant.  This is what has changed his life.  Has it changed the fact that he is Deaf?  No.  He was and always will be Deaf.  However, with this device, he is able to gain access to both the Deaf world and the hearing world.  Some people with implants when they get older end up speaking.  Some end up using ASL to communicate.  I really don't care what Nik chooses when he gets older. I just wanted to make sure he had that choice to make.  Growing up with all hearing sibs, I wanted him to have the ability to hear what they say.  We say & sign in this house to the best of our ability.  Nik has gotten better at teaching us ASL as well.  Correcting my signs on occasion.  URGHH.  Tomorrow is a very big day for Nik and what the future may hold for him.  Will I ever be able to hear him "say" I love you?  Who knows.  He signs it to me now and means it.  That to me is more important than him ever saying it.  Though I must admit, those words would sound so beautiful to my ears if he ever did speak them.  Nik's deafness has taught me that words really are not necessary for communicating feelings.  True love comes from within and I thank Nik everyday for teaching me that about life.  Though many changes are coming for him tomorrow, he has always been and will always be "Mommy's little Nik Nak."  Please keep Nik in your thoughts and prayers as he goes through surgery tomorrow morning.  Keep you posted once we are back from the hospital. 

Please pass the bucket...

Bojan's post-op was today.  Since I had no kids here today (a rarity!), I decided to stay here and work on things at home.  Cleaning house, school phone calls, doc calls, etc.  Warren took Bojan to Duke.  Duke already had forewarned me the wait would be long as they overbooked appointments for today.  Bojan got in there feeling great.   Well, they cut the cast off.  Warren said the foot looks amazing.  Real difference he said.  When they cut the cast off, Bojan mumbled something.  Warren asked him twice and finally he yelled "bucket!"  Yep, he puked all over the casting room after seeing his leg.  He saw all the blood and stitches and that was that.  A doctor he is NOT to be.  They took the sutures out and Warren said it was as if you were skinning him alive.  He's never reacted that way before to stitches being pulled.  They did not x-ray this go around so we'll have to wait on that stuff. He goes back in 4 weeks.  The nurse there was really understanding and even said to contact her if we run into a scheduling conflict.  Apparently, she's aware of the adoption.  Small world.  Bojan went back to school despite feeling nauseated.  He hasn't called so assuming all went well.  He now has a bright green cast.  Other one was Carolina blue.  New one to sign.  He still has strict non-weight bearing orders.  Can't wait till that's over.  Nothing else new.  It's still a gorgeous day out.  Teens due home in a minute and then mailing off my sister's baby gift.  Speech therapist comes today and then I need to get Nik his hair cut before surgery.  Got to go. 

Surgery tomorrow

Nik's surgery is tomorrow.  I'm not worried about the surgery persay, just what happens to Nik this go around.  This is the surgery that will indeed make him completely deaf.  100%.  Both ears.  no turning back.  I can't say I'm not nervous about that.  No longer will I be able to scream at him & him be able to hear me.  Even if it is just noise to him at this point, at least he can still hear.  In his one ear, he does have quite a bit of residual hearing left.  Trouble is, it is complicated by his disorder of Auditory Neuropathy.  He can hear but yet he can't. Older adults explained AN as having a tv station on all the time that is playing "snow."  That kind of sound.  I can not imagine that.  I really can't.  I'd want to rip my own head off.  But, not this kid. He gets on w/ life and makes it work somehow.  However, when we saw the change in Nik once the first implant started working, we knew this was something we needed to do w/ both years.  Yet, as a parent, you know you are taking away your child's only source of hearing.  When Nik does not have his processors on, he will be 100% deaf.  He will rely every bit on ASL during those times.  This part doesn't bother me at all.  What bothers me is that at the times when the implant is off now, I can still call him in an "emergency situation" like when a car is coming.  I can't do that and I need to become more aware of that in the future.  We can get his attention now after a bath.  He turns to us, we sign to him and then he does what we need him to.  It will be different now.  We will have to physically get his attention as he won't be able to turn around to us to see what we're saying.  I'm not having second thoughts, don't get me wrong.  I'm just thinking about it.  But, I'm also thinking about the joy he'll have when he does have both his processors on and they're working together.  Amazing the new stuff he'll enjoy.  Do you know what he told me last night?  He only has one more day till surgery and then he'll be able to hear the announcements at school.  Yep, he wants to hear what they're saying on the intercom at school.  Nik is SO incredibly excited about this surgery.  He knows what to expect.  He wants me to take pictures.  LOL.  He knows they are putting the device in but doesn't realize the processor comes a few weeks later.  The external part of the device.  The one that helps him hear.  Trying to keep him grounded in reality that he won't be able to hear right after surgery.  We'll see how that goes.   Otherwise, he's ready for surgery and I'm ready for him to get surgery.  We are hoping and praying this surgery goes a lot smoother than Bojan's did just 12 days ago.  Bojan is at post-op right now.  I have the day off.  No kids here.  I have gotten so much done already and just so happy to have the opportunity to get caught up on a few things.  I will post how his surgery went tomorrow.  Just keep Nik in your thoughts & prayers for tomorrow if you don't mind. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yana's 15th Birthday (late)

I know, I know, her birthday was the 22nd and I'm just now getting around to posting pictures.  I did not get hardly any pictures as well, she's a teenager.  Hanging out w/ friends so mom & dad are not too much in the picture on a birthday.  LOL.  So here goes. 


On her actual birthday, the 22nd, we had a cake for those at home.  Well, no one could wait till after dinner so after school whatever kids were here sang happy Birthday and had cake.  


I thought this picture was cute.  One of the "littles" was trying to blow out the candles.  So, Alyona covered her mouth until Yana could blow them out.  Don't even ask why there are cookies on the table.  Guessing my kids thought what's cake w/out cookies.  LOL.  


This is Yana getting ready to open a present she got from Nana (my mom).  All the kids (& a few "extras) are anxiously waiting to see what's inside.  One day, I will get rid of that roaster on the floor.  I'm actually tired of seeing it in every picture.  


Yana pulling out her gift.  I think she's getting exciting.  


Yana with her new running shoes.  She loves them and definitely something she can use.  She also got a nice sweatshirt and socks from Nana as well.  The younger kids were wondering why there were no toys in there.  LOL.  

Yana really did enjoy her day of celebration.  Remember, for the first 8.5 years of her life, it was not celebrated.  The above pictures were just from her actual birthday.  For her party, she had some friends over and we then went to Pizza Inn.  She and her friends sat a ways a way from us flirting w/ some boys.  Typical for 15 & 16yo's.  There happened to be a group of boys from some sports team sitting right next to them.  Afterwards, we all headed to Walmart and she picked out snacks and her own movie.  Girls had a slumber party and then a big breakfast.  That was the day we had 17 kids here.  It was a controlled chaos though.  If there is such a thing.  All in all, I think she had a great 15th birthday.  Again, not really too many pics from her party b/c who wants a mom coming to the table w/ a bunch of girl teens and take a picture?  LOL.  Did Nik's birthday and posted pics.  Next birthday up is Irina's.  She just wants us all to go out to a next family dinner.  I can do that!  And, she wants a guinea pig.  Umm, still thinking about the guinea pig.  Enjoy your week everyone. 

Manic monday

As the song says, I wish it were Sunday.  Sunday came and went.  We spent the day trying to get cleaned up and still couldn't get the house done.  Trying though.  Today is Nik's pre-op.  I'm sure it will be fine.  Just takes forever to do.  Nik is feeling under the weather today though.  Hoping it passes or he can't get surgery which would delay activation and everything else that comes with it.  Tomorrow is Bojan's post-op.  That will give us a better idea of how much longer he has in the wheelchair and how healing is going.  Also, he'll be getting a new cast again.  Wednesday is Nik's surgery.  Nik is excited though I know it will be different once he's actually in the hospital.  We'll manage.  Both Warren and I are going this time.  No idea how we're working school on Wednesday.  Going to keep Max home to help load Bojan on the school bus.  Then, if someone can take Max to school that will be great.  If not, he'll just have to miss it and can spend the day catching up on all the work he has to do to pass.  I will write about him soon.  Just too angry still that I may say something I regret.  LOL.  Again, this is NOT lack of knowledge but rather laziness.  URGHH!!!!

Only have 2 "littles" today so not bad.  One is in preschool right now so getting caught up.  Going for a walk in a little bit.  I've had a major sinus migraine all night and it's finally easing off but still is a major headache.  Written the agency about the abuse letter so that should get done fairly quickly.  Once I get it, apostille it and then off to Bulgaria it goes.  Otherwise, pretty quiet.  We're trying to figure out how we're doing Christmas this year as far as gift going goes.  It is going to be beyond tight w/ this adoption going on at the same time.  We still need to raise about $10K for this adoption.  I have a feeling November is going to be really super busy for us.  So, want to get everything else done now.  And, try to keep everyone healthy during cold & flu season.  For those who are curious, I'm still on the weight loss track!  I love the calorie count thing.  Makes you more conscientious for sure.   Can't wait to see how much I lose by Friday. 

Oh, tell me this is not the sweetest thing in the world.  One of Nik's friends from class is coming over the day after surgery.  Well, her family is.  They are cooking us dinner!  Should be a lot of fun.  Nik is supposed to kind of stay away from a good many people the first few days after surgery.  As in school.  So, having a friend come over will be wonderful for him.  He has surgery Wednesday, so keeping him out Thursday and Friday.  He'll go back to school on Monday.  anyhow, this family is going to cook us a full dinner.  Can you believe the generosity?!  The thoughtfulness of it all?!  Now, tell me we don't live in a great neighborhood?  When Bojan got his surgery, the church even visited him at the hospital.  Then, neighbors would stop in to say hello to see how he was doing.  It's just nice having people thinking of your family and knowing they care. 

Not much else right now.  Lots of phone calls and emails to do.  But, first, playing for a good long while is in my future here.  We went to yardsales this past weekend and so she is in 7th Heaven right now w/ a Barbie house and new Barbies.  I literally couldn't pull her away if I tried.  LOL.  I have had to stop typing many times to dress Barbie however.  More pictures coming later today b/c I honestly think I forgot to put Yana's birthday party stuff on here.  Have a wonderful week.  It's going to be spent mostly outside here w/ the exception of Wed, Thurs.  here.