Saturday, October 23, 2010

The sun is shining

Well, it's Saturday & all that "stuff" that happened earlier in the week is history.  Today has been wonderful and so have the kids...thus far.  LOL.  Last night Irina went to a friend's birthday party & spent the night.  Yana went out w/ her friends at the skating rink and came home.  Max went down the street to a friend's house after his friend was here for awhile.  Rest of the night, we just all hung out relaxing and watching movies.  It was a pleasant change for sure.  To relax.  Today, the girls and I opted to sleep in a tad bit and not go to yardsales.  We made pancakes and boy, they are definitely NOT Jim's pancakes.  I gave that link a few days ago.  The guy creates amazing pancakes.  Umm, mine were lucky to be round.  I experiemented w/ making Halloween cupcakes.  I'll have pictures later for you all to laugh.  Includes one decapitated bat.  Kids were cracking up and doing all kinds of stuff.  Think I'll stick to simple round pancakes. 

Finally got going and went to a birthday party.  Had a nice time over there and are back now.  Getting ready to head to Walmart to fix Alyona and Nik's glasses.  Thankfully, they know us and fix our glasses all the time due to the year warranty.  It's wonderful as Nik breaks his all the time.  Alyona's glasses usually get broken by her brother Alex. URGHH!!!  Alyona and Nik both have very bad vision and I'll explain that in another post in November I'm sure.  That's when they're due for their opthalmology check up.  They can't just go to a regular optometrist.  Other than the glasses fix, we're not doing much else today.  Just trying to catch up on mounds of laundry and relax a bit.  Warren still plans on taking the girls to the Fear Farm b/c Max doesn't want to go.  However, one of the girls is starting not wanting to go now.  So, we'll wait & see tonight how that goes.  Tomorrow, it's just church in the morning.  House stuff during the day & baking.  Almost forgot I have to bake!  Play rehearsal for little kids at 4pm and 5pm youth group for the teens though we may not attend as we're leaving for our annual party.  Can't wait!  Pumpkin carving party and lots of friends to boot.  What could be better?  Sun is to be shining the entire weekend and it has brightened moods around here.  Finally feel a sense of calm and finally feel like we're on the right track.  What a difference a day makes. 

Starting to get the kids thinking of their Christmas lists this year as it will be a challenge.  Irina has already said I really want you to bring those kids home.  When are the kids coming home?  Question I can't answer.  Boy do I wish I could.  Anyhow, they are getting gifts this year but obviously it will be a very "slim" year w/ all the adoption expenses going on.  -- more on that later.  I was very please though w/the repsonses at the dinner table the other night. 

Nik-- a bag of candy corn

Alyona-- a stroller for her baby doll

Alex-- a bag of candy corn (he told me that he has enough toys anyhow)

Bojan-- spy gear

Yana-- clothes

Max-- doesn't know

Irina-- guinea pig

I honestly was expecting a very lengthy list.  However, my kids still live off that orphanage mentality that less is more.  They are happy w/ what they have and estatic if they are able to get something new.  It's refreshing really as some of their friends I've asked & their lists are computer, new cell phone, ipod, etc.  I can't imagine spending a couple hundred dollars each on my kids for Christmas.  Financially, we can't do that but I also personally think Christmas should be celebrated for the reason it was first started.  I like just being together and keeping things simple.  It's really nice.  Though, I too admit it is fun opening a present you weren't quite expecting.  Trying to think of a group gift we can give the kids this year that won't cost an arm and a leg.  Last year we all went on a trip.  Can't do that this year.  I was thinking of gift cards to various local places for them to use throughout the year.  We'll see.  Anyone w/ ideas, shoot them my way.  Would love to hear them. 

Movie is playing downstairs and everyone is just chilling.  Think I'm going to join them.  Actually, I'm trying to finish writing up a letter to the orphanage doctor of where Bojan is from in Serbia.  I have to write that and a birthmother letter as well.  Someone is going to hand deliver them when they go to pick up their son in November.  Also, have to get a photo album together.  I have been beyond neglectful in this area and am ready to catch up with everything.  Just have such a new outlook on things this weekend.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Might be a redneck if....

You have reindeer next to your Halloween cat.  Yes, our Asian redneck was at it again.  A few of you may remember from a few weeks ago the kids riding in the trailer Max was pulling w/ the mower. 

We picked these reindeer up at a yardsale last weekend.  Max put them together.  However, wasn't until later that evening that I realized they were out there in the front yard.  Lovely.  As if the yard isn't trashed enough w/ kids' bikes.  LOL.  

Yep, to make it even more trashy, Max left his weight bench on the front walk way.  Nice touch, huh?  I've always told my neighbors our house is here to make yours look really good.  LOL.  No matter how many times it gets picked up, there is always something laying in the yard.  Usually bikes & balls.  This time, reindeer and a weight bench. 

On a totally different subject, some of our garden is still hanging on.  Still getting some peppers growing and quite a few cherry tomatoes.  I've also gotten to top a few salads w/ radishes. Chives are still doing well along w/ cilantro and oregano.  Should all die out this weekend I have a feeling as it's supposed to get near freezing at night.  

This was just a no nonsense post really since the last one was so serious.  Have a great weekend and stay tuned for more pics of our weekend.  7 kids, lots of parties and sugar.  Should be interesting to say the least. 

New look for blog & a parenting mistake

Now that summer is over and the seasons are changing (in more ways than one), I thought I'd experiment w/ some fall colors.  Over the weekend I'll get it to where I want it so bear w/ changes here and there.  I need  a fresh look.  These past few weeks have been tough in many ways.  As a parent to 6 children with FAS, times get tough for sure from time to time.  Well, October was one of these times.  Emotionally, mentally and physically have been exhausting.  I have a few posts coming that will explain a bit more.  Anyhow, want to change things up a bit so figure I'd start w/ the blog.  LOL.  I want to add pics of each of my kids on the sidebar w/ a description of them.  Holding off on the descriptions as Irina and I had quite a disagreement last night.  Some days it's hard as I know her chronological age is 17.5 but her mental age is not.  Some things she is an appropriate age for, some she is not.  As a parent, I must know the difference.  Last night, I forgot that and she ended up storming off to her room crying like a 7 year old.  You know, the 7yo that she is mentally.  It all started at the dinner table.  I said things I shouldn't have and so did she.  It was not our proudest moment.  I know this happens in families.  Arguments are going to happen.  that's part of life and in my heart I know this.  Just sometimes I wish I could do better. 

We have a house full of children w/ pretty severe mental health and behavioral issues.  I think it is safe to say every once in awhile, there will be a break down.  Communication won't work.  Talking it out won't work.  Time will.  So, this afternoon, Irina and I will come up w/ a plan.  For our kids, you have to give them time.  Then discuss.  They are all caught up in the here and now that it is very difficult for them to process additional items(like a plan) when one is upset or stuff is going on around them.  We learned this long ago w/ our FAS kids.  Many say you have to punish as soon as an FAS child does something or redirect their behavior.  I personally try not to do this and I'm sure that statement in and of itself would cause quite the controversy in the FAS world of parenting.  Our theory is when they are so upset, they lose control.  There is NO way of talking any sense into them.  None at all.  It's hard enough to get them to calm down so reprimanding them for behavior is not going to work.  Frankly, neither will redirecting at that point.  Irina has been off kelter since she started school.  She hates it and I don't blame her.  She will be homeschooled.  There are reasons we are not pulling her out immediately but are not saying right now.  It has absolutely nothing w/ the new kids coming home or travel to Bulgaria.  (some have speculated this reason).  I can not stand having her go to school and feel the way she does.  I have been in touch w/ a few people over there, they know my feelings and what is going on w/ Irina.  They have taken care of one situation but there are still many left to deal with.  In the meantime, it has made her a nightmare at home.  Hey, not sugar coating anything as I think other parents of adoptive children need to know what may lie ahead for them.  IRina can not help it.  This is who she is.  But the stress of what is going on at school is almost too much to bear.  We may have to pull her out w/in the next two weeks and just fight for her records.  Long story and just not up to telling it right now.

What matters is making her feel reassured that everything is alright.  It is not the end of the world.  Luckily, she does have a few friends.  It is very hard for children with FAS as they can not easily make friends.  They are socially not their chronological age.  Irina has a 12yo friend, well, now 13yo, that she hangs out w/ sometimes.  This helps.  Yet, so hard for her to go to high school w/ chronologically on age peers when she is clearly not.  She does not fit in w/the "special ed" crowd and yet doesn't fit in w/ the "normal" crowd.  Stuck in the middle.  I hear this all the time from parents of kids w/ FAS.  Just didn't realize how true it becomes until the high school years. 

So, anyhow, this all came to a head last night.  All the frustrations of the last few months.  with her and with me.  We both yelled at each other.  Both said unkind things.  Irina came home from school this afternoon and apologized to me as I did to her.  We're working on a plan to help each other.  Phrasing it this way helps our kids to know that they are not the only ones w/ faults.  Adults have them too like it or not.  We both feel better today after talking.  Hoping it stays that way. 

Just wanted to say why we need a fresh look.  And I mean in a few areas of our lives.  Over the years we've gone through ups and downs with our children.  As every single parent has.  We are finally getting to the point of getting over the down part of this coaster ride we're in with them recently.  Looking forward to some of the upcoming events in our home.  Gatherings, birthday parties, driver's permits, school events, mini trips, homeschooling, etc.  Lots happening.  More posts coming later.  We have some cool stuff going on this weekend.  A birthday party we're attending tomorrow.  Tomorrow evening teens are going to the Fear Farm w/ Warren.  Sunday, we're going to a pumpkin carving party w/ a bonfire.  So, fun weekend w/ friends and I think that is just what we need.  Sometimes I feel adoptive blogs out there only tell the cheery side of families and life.  I truly don't feel life is all roses.  There are definitely thorns thrown in there from time to time.  When I started this blog, I wanted to be honest.  Well, this is an honest post.  My oldest daughter and I had a fight (not physical but still a fight w/ words).  Both made mistakes in what we said.  Both are healing today from what was said.  We take a walk everyday together after school.  We go to yardsales together.  We do errands together.  So, lots of chances to talk.  That's a good thing.  I know other mothers have disagreements w/ their teen daughters as well.  I've talked to quite a few over the years.  Yet, somehow that does not make me feel any better whatsoever. B/c this is my daughter.  My girl who needs lots of help emotionally and mentally.  I thought I was doing a decent job of that but question myself now.  If I were doing a decent job of that, I would have never yelled at her last night.  I still need work.  No flabulous to fabulous post today.  Just didn't even think to get on the scale this morning.  Been thinking about Irina all day.  She's fine now.  She's getting ready to go to a sleepover at a friend's house for a birthday party.  Irina seems no worse for wear.  I guess for her healing takes less time than it does for a parent.  So, bottom line is this is all par for the parenting course.  You may make mistakes along the way.  Learn from them and just do better next time.  We're all human.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  I'll be sure to take pictures at the parties if we think about it.  We may just be having too much fun to care about taking pictures.  LOL. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday (angels among us)

I know I usually do something on my kids but thought I'd do something different for this week.  This month has been hard.  Not going to lie to you all.  It's been tough between surgeries, recoveries, adoption stuff, immigration stuff w/ Max & Irina, school situations, deciding to move(after the adoption), Bear possibly having a stroke, and the list could continue if I let it.  Everyone in life has ups and downs.  This has not been our greatest month but we've had many little moments to shine through.  There have truly been angels among us.   Some of those angels came from Nik's class this year.  They knew he was getting surgery so they decided to come over and cook us dinner the day after surgery!  Now, truly, I did not think I needed this.  However, I realized I was much more tired than originally anticipated and appreciated the help more than they'll ever know. 

they made us spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad & dessert to go with it all.  We even had the pleasure of two of the ladies & their kids staying for dinner.  It really was nice to have company and be treated to a great meal after a long week.  Thanks so much to Mrs. Clark's first grade class.  They rock!  Very compassionate group of people for sure.  Quite a thoughtful act.

We had even more angels from Nik's class.  They knew he'd be out for a couple of days.  So, they sent him a care package to keep him busy at home.

Do you think he's excited about his package??  So many goodies and such thinking amongst the people who put it together.  Not only snacks but puzzles, markers, coloring books, etc.  Lots to keep a little boy busy.  The necklace he is sporting is something I let the "littles" and Nik make.  had to keep 5 kids busy during the day while keeping all inside.  Yes, the package came at the right time.  LOL.  Nik was so sweet as he opened the package he saw caprisuns.  Well, he took one and immediately gave the rest to the "littles."  No hesitation whatsoever about sharing.  Very thoughtful kid.  

His classmates gave him well wishes and even drew pictures.  Very sweet.

Nik was really enjoying all the goodies he received from his class.  Once again, some angels among us.  BTW, I love that song!-- "Angels Among Us."  Just had to share a little of this joy on this thoughtful Thursday.  So happy Nik is in such a welcoming and caring classroom.  

Lots to do today and much to catch up on.  A few posts I've started and stopped.  Will get to things when I can.  Chaos Manor is beyond busy right now.  2 parties this weekend we're all attending, a Fear Farm visit for the teens and Warren, church, youth group, play rehearsal, house repairs, and weekend clean up.  Hoping things will slow down a bit in November.  Have a feeling that's a dream but we'll see.  Enjoy your day everyone.  It's beautiful out.  No matter where you are, remember " This is the day that the Lord hath made, let's rejoice and be glad in it."  Some days, it's hard to find the good in the day.  Yet, I feel everyday has a tad bit of good in it.  You just have to look really hard some times to find it.  Especially, amist chaos.  -- more on this a bit later too. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Post surgery pics

Thought I'd share a few pictures here of Nik & how he's coming along.  As you know, Nik had his second CI surgery on October 13th.  2 days after surgery this is what he was doing:

Yep, climbing up the ropes on the swingset w/ one of his buddies.

Was he supposed to be climbing up here?  Umm, no.  Thankfully, I did not take the picture of him riding the skateboard down the hill the day after surgery.  Why?  Because I was too busy chasing him on said skateboard and screaming at a deaf child that literally can't hear me.  URGHH!!!

Ahh, something a bit more on the ground...sand.  Yes, play with the sand son.

They wrap his head up pretty good after surgery.  Well, it all came off so this is my improvised wrap which I must say worked much better than what the surgeons had put on there.  Future parents of CI users, this is the way to go for surgery...ace bandage & some tape.  Max wanted to use duct tape.  Typical man.  LOL.  I opted for the medical tape.  This bandage did not fall off even once.  Maybe all those sports medicine classes I took in college came in handy after all.

Yes, disgusting but all part of the process for those following the CI surgery.  These are the steri strips that held him together.  The doc gives you this solution to help them come off.  We were finally allowed to wash his head 6 days after surgery.  Used baby shampoo of course.  Didn't bother him a bit.

For a life changing device, this is all that shows.  This will also fade in time.  The other side has.  Can't even tell hardly.

Nik has healed beautifully and he is just so excited to get the second processor on his head.  He has even tried to put this one on as the magnet does stick to it.  They are not cross wired though so it won't work on opposite sides.  Can't wait till he's activated.  November 1st is activation day.  Wahoo!!!  All doped up on Halloween candy & ready to hear.  Very exciting.  Well, much more to come.

Alyona's Science Fair

We've had so much happening the last few days, I haven't even had the chance to catch up w/ last week's stuff.  Crazy few days and hopefully have a catch up post at some point.  This is about Alyona's Science Fair that her class held.  Keep in mind, she is in a self-contained classroom setting so they do things a little differently.  I have a whole post I'm working on about all the school situations.  I really like Alyona's teacher and how she is doing things w/ their learning.  Kind of like what we did in homeschool here.  Pick an unit and combine many facets of learning in it.  Math, science, spelling, etc.  Works for Alyona and many of the kids like her.  Anyhow, they recently spent a few weeks on a plant unit and displayed what they did all over the classroom.  The kids grew some things too.  Little party followed.  Here are a few pictures from it:

Alyona w/ one of the "littles" I watch.  Yes, the two year old is almost as big as my 11 year old.  LOL.  They love playing dress up as soon as Alyona gets home from school.  Alyona can hardly stand the wait of getting two younger sisters in this family.  I think she's ready.  

Doesn't help that we're trying to keep sugar away from our FASers.  Too much temptation.  So, we let them dig in at parties.  Sure enough, Alyona did not eat her dinner that evening.  This btw, was when Nik took the camera for awhile.  I was trying to distract him from his pain as this was the day he was being weened off the codiene.  

Another Nik picture.  This is Alyona's work.  She disguised her pumpkin as a flower and then wrote about it.  She did an excellent job for sure.  Very nicely done and was proud that she came up w/ FULL sentences on her own.  Quite the accomplishment.  

Alyona's class w/ some of their work.  Again, Nik took this shot.  They all did a superb job as well as the teachers.  Love it.  Do you see where I'm going to have problems soon though???  Alyona is one of 2 girls in her class and the other girl is getting ready to move to another house, different school most likely.  Alyona will be the lone girl and hate that for her.  Please Bulgaria, we need to get there soon!!!  

Glad I was able to attend even if for a short while.  Nik was on his second day after surgery and in a bit of pain so we only stayed an hour and went home.  Kids love it when I come to their functions and I think it's important every once in awhile to go.  Lots going on at Chaos Manor.  I will do a bits and pieces post later today and a fill in of all that's going on around these parts.  Have a wonderful deay. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Barbies, baby wearing & bouncing

It's a Monday and I still have a lot going on.  Typical.  I was under the weather today so canceled an IEP meeting.  Hate doing that but Bojan was up last night throwing up w/ a severe headache.  He was fine this morning but made for a very long night especially, after feeling so rough to begin with.  Agency called today wanting to know where new docs are.  Well, homestudy agency sent me the child abuse letter but it did not have our names written as they appear on the passport.  My husband goes by his middle name Warren, not by his first name.  Easy mistake.  But, still has to be corrected and they are great at fixing things and are very timely in that area.  So, I'll have that back in my hands tomorrow or Wednesday.  USCIS fingerprints are Oct. 26th.  Only thing to take care of is redoing the Dr.'s letter.  Easier said than done.  Going this week to sort that one out.  That my friends is going to be one big mess.   Keep you posted as I know others get issues on their medicals as well.  Ours is a date issue.

Going through some pics from last week so thought I'd share.  I'll start w/ the barbies.  What girl doesn't like Barbies?

And boys!  LOL.  Just kidding.  Alex is all boy and was taking all the stuff on the stairs to the proper places upstairs.  Alex loves this hat for whatever reason and wears it all the time.  Even to bed. 

this is Alyona and Nik playing baby dolls.  They love being nurturing.  I'm guessing part of it is due to all the lacking of nurturing they didn't have growing up in the orphanage.  Nik took the booster seat at the dining table and took out the strap.  He strapped the baby doll to himself so he could be a baby wearing daddy.  Of course, their other make believe playing is always dogs.  Go figure.  I think these two will do just fine w/ another little sibling in the house.  How about you?
As some of you know, the girls and I love to go to yardsales and bargin shop.  And, every once in awhile you find something interesting that you normally wouldn't purchase in a store.  Last weekend, we found a pogo stick.  I can't tell you how much fun everyone has had with this thing.  

they have had the best time bouncing and bouncing and bouncing.  You can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.  

Each kid took a turn.  They all still play with it.  Neighbors must think we're nuts with all the outside stuff my kids do.  LOL.  

Tonight, we are planning on attending our very first FAS support group in this area.  Well, NOT in this area but close enough we can drive to it.  And, they let you take the kids.  Big plus as that is the main reason we can't go to most support kids.  Umm, most parents would be able to do that or arrange a sitter but with FAS kids, it doesn't work that way.  I'm looking forward to the meeting and hoping to learn a little something too.  Okay, speech therapist is here.  She comes Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Wonderful.  More pics and updates to come soon.  Just been super duper busy this week and under the weather.

Monday, October 18, 2010

FAS poem

I am a member of a few FAS yahoo groups as so many of my children suffer from this disorder.  It is lifelong and the ONLY birth defect that is 100% preventable.  Yet, many do not even know it exists and hence, it's name...the invisible disability.  FASD affects 1 in 100 infants each year, more than autism, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, and sudden infant death syndrome combined!  Did you read that?!  Combined!  Yet, most people on the streets do not even have a clue what this disorder is or how much it affects the children.  Well, as a member of some of these groups, we've had the privilege of getting to know a few of the adult children w/ FAS/FAE.  It really does put a different perspective on things and helps us to become better parents.  Anyhow, there is a lady on there who has FAE.  She has written a wonderful poem and thought I would share it. 

My mom drank while carrying me inside of her womb,
It almost gave me a one way trip to the tomb.

God reached down with His healing touch in a delivery room one day, 
and with a voice that echoed loud this I heard Him say.

Not today Satan, this little girl belongs to me,
It doesn't matter that she's born with FAE.
In my eyes she like precious gold,
and through her life a story will be told.

Challenges may await her, and others may not understand,
But I created her with my own two hands.

To spread the word both for a near,
so that everybody in the world would hear.

Drinking while pregnant could harm a baby's life,
So, don't take the first sip, and do what's right.

I'll cradle her in my arms all day long,
and continue to sing her lullaby songs.

I'll be her Father and mother and whatever she may be,
Because in my eyes she's lovely, although she's born with FAE.

Written by:

Alicia Roark

I will keep you all posted as to when she may be speaking.  It is some time in February in VA.  Though I've never met her in person, I think she will speak volumes. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another really cool link!

Okay, there are just way too many creative people out there.  Frankly, I'm jealous lately that I'm not one of them.  The cool stuff some of these folks can do makes you just want to say why didn't I think of that?  Here's another link: .  This is just SO cool.  About as cool as the pancakes.  Someone please find me some talent soon.  LOL.  Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  So simple yet just really different.