Saturday, November 13, 2010

Random pictures

Time for just some random pictures around here w/ no meaning whatsoever.  so, here goes. 

Everyone just goofing around.  They are trying to hold Warren's feet so he can't move.  I don't think anyone is really winning here on this one.

Don't know where they got this idea, but they were teaching each other how to dance.  

Doing pretty well for never having a lesson, huh?  Sometimes they can be sweet.  

My ridiculous sons.  Max goes all around the house in the wheelchair and Bojan hangs from the bottom of it.  That prosthetic leaning up by the coffee table is WAY too small.  So, he gets his cast cut off this Tuesday and doesn't even have a leg to stand on.  No pun intended.  Literally NO leg to stand on.  Working on the problem.  Kids dying to walk again & it may unfortunately be weeks to get him up again.  We were in process of making him a new socket before he got surgery.  Now, have to start it all over again.  I look at this picture and realize just how empty this house is without our Bear.  

Those are just some random indoor pictures.  I'm sure there's more I'll find.  Today, we didn't go to Peacehaven.  On top of having to deal with Bear's passing yesterday, Warren and I were up all night sick as dogs.  Thinking it was the restaurant we ate at.  Who knows though.  Much better today.  So, we stuck around the house and have been cleaning and just watching movies too w/ the kids.  Some days, you just need a veg out kind of day.  That day is today.  We've taken care of a few little things but nothing major.  Next weekend we have decided to go to either the zoo or an educational forest.  We'll see how the weather is.  If it rains, going to the museums.  Fun family weekend next weekend.  Have to also start thinking of our Christmas wish lists for the kids.  We are definitely going to have to get creative.  Have a wonderful weekend.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Homework at our house

Parents around here have often ask how we handle the homework situation.  Well, we don't.  The kids do.  It's their responsibility.  We'll remind them of course but ultimately, it is up to them.  Here is what a typical afternoon looks like after school:

We tried a homework room once & that was a major failure.  They all prefer to work together at the dining room table.  here, there are 5 working on homework.  Irina and Max get home much earlier so many times they are finished by the time the others get home.  Then, Irina likes to help either Nik or Alyona do their homework.  Yana likes to help Alex when he has trouble.  Bojan is totally self-sufficient w/out help needed.  Other than being told to shut-up at the table.  I swear if the kid ever had to have his jaw wired shut, he'd go insane.  Bojan literally can't stop talking.  He's like a tv...always on it seems.  

This is Nik thinking.  Well, maybe.  He may just be sniffing the pencil for all I know.  Anyhow, most will do their homework.  They are made to do their own work.  I won't help anyone unless I've seen they've attempted to do it themselves first.  Alyona is most guilty of this.  I've been told many things regarding my FAS kids and I refuse to believe most of it.  In this house, if they can do the homework, they will do the homework.  Now, this week due to Bear's happenings, I never got around to helping Nik.  I'll do that this weekend and write an apology on Monday.  It's first grade.  I'm sure they'll understand.  

After school, they come home, eat a snack and get started w/ homework while I cook dinner.

Lately, they've been loving this snack.  It's just nachos w/ refried beans, scallions, lettuce and tomatoes.  For some reason though, they are loving it.  They said mom, take a picture.  I said why?  Please.  I guess they thought I'd forget how to make it or something.  LOL.

2 nights a week Nik has speech therapy as well at home.  After homework, they go and ride bikes, play in the yard till dinner.  Always outside.  No tv unless it rains.  And frankly, they don't miss it.  Neither do their friends as they are usually over here too playing.  

That's about it for homework.  Things will be changing in January quite a bit.  We know we're pulling Irina and Max out of high school.  Contemplating pulling Alex too.  Was going to pull Alyona as well but I really like her teacher & we think alike so feel she's where she should be.  Though w/the current regulations, I will have to pull her out in middle school or she'll be in a life skills class. Umm, she is definitely not a life skills candidate but that would be her placement due to current changes here in education.  Inclusion.  URGHH!!! is all I'll say about that one.  So, in January, it will definitely look different for after school stuff.  Then next year, I may pull Yana and Bojan as well.  The high schools here & middle schools are just not the best.  Frankly, they stink.  I've given it a shot for many years now and have seen nothing but decline.  Do you know NONE of my children have ever read one of the "classics" in literature?  None of them. I think it's ashame that they can't even tell me who Shakespere is.  Shoot, the younger ones didn't even know who Christopher Coloumbus was.  History is dwindling here, so is science.  In this county, if you are "labeled" special ed (whether it's a little or a lot), you are not required to take science or social studies.  No lie.  I was stunned this year when I found this out for Alex.  Stunned.  So, that may shed a little light as to why we want to homeschool most our kids.  That and around here, names like retard, Asian, etc. are thrown around to my kids.  Figured I'd like you know some of our motivations for wanting to homeschool them.  Warren and I have decided to do some more day trips/ learning trips with the kids soon.  Feel it will help everyone.  

Just wanted to share a little of homework time at our house.  Nothing special.  Just getting it done.  Takes some of mine longer than it should but that's okay.  I'd rather them go slow and get it than to rush through and get left in the dust.  Enjoy your weekend.  We are already starting to organize.  More pictures to come b/c I need something more cheery on here.  Plus, we haven't done pictures on here in awhile. 

Life goes on

I won't discuss this mornings events as it was just too hard.  Suffice it to say, tears were shed.  What I loved though was the fact a complete stranger during this time we were outside, came over to the car and gave me a hug & shed tears too.  Just was a sweet gesture.  The morning was very difficult so we actually ended up staying away from the house all day.  When you are used to your dog being there to greet you with a tail wag every time you walk in the door and he's not there, well, it's just tough.  So, we spent the day trying to keep our minds "occupied." 

Went to the lawyers office to drop off a marriage cert & homestudy.  Remember, this is for Irina's readoption in the state of NC.  Trying to get it done before she turns 18 at the end of December.  For those in the adoption community, please, PLEASE, learn from our mistakes.  ---go ahead and readopt them right away.  Despite us having a will, if something were to happen to either one of us, NONE of the children would receive death benefits despite an active will on file.  It becomes kind of null & void w/out the readoption process in place.  I too am learning.  Yes, still learning new things in the adoption world even after 10 years.  Readopt.  Enough said.  After that, we went to lunch.  Funny, so did the lawyer.  Same restaurant.  Came home very briefly to pick up a bill.  Went to pay and then look for a frame mat for the pictures we had just taken last weekend.  Got great frames at yardsales awhile back.  Really nice but needed a mat.  Umm, did you know that the photo industry stopped making 10 X 13's for awhile?  Well, apparently learned something new today again.  Lady told me now that stuff is digital, they are coming back.  Must be, b/c that's the stupid size I have now that I can't find a mat for.  She said they are not making the mats but will be soon as that size is "coming back."  So, we improvise as any parent would.  Buy a size bigger & make it work.  Went to TJMaxx after that as we had a small gift card to use up.  Trust me, if we don't use them in our house right away, they get lost.  Seriously.  Finally found a toilet paper dispenser the boys will not be able to rip off the wall as it is free standing.  Drives us bonkers.  Oh, even got the kids a Christmas present as a group.  It is this gigantic tube of gum.  I mean huge.  See, our kids are obsessed w/ gum.  Seems as all orphanage kids I have met so far have been.  So, this will be a sure hit on Christmas day.  Gum.  Told you, my kids are very simple. 

We came home & got the girls ready to leave.  They are going to a pilgrimage at church this weekend.  HOpe they do well there. Gone the entire weekend.  Wahoo!!!  Did I say that out loud??  Dropped them off & came home.  Now, they're all watching a movie together.  Bojan's field trip went well today.  Alyona's teacher wrote me a great note and we are on the SAME page.  How awesome is that?!  No troubles w/ Nik's teachers either.  Bojan's IEP needs to be totally eliminated.  Setting up a meeting for that.  Otherwise, we're good w/ him too.  Now, Alex's situation will discuss another day.  We may pull him when we pull Irina and Max soon. 

We have decided not to go to Peacehaven tomorrow.  We are mentally and emotionally drained right now.  Trying to sell a bunch of stuff on Craigslist anyhow so that we can get some funds in for Christmas.  Had a lot of expenses lately that we're unexpected.  New set of windows, Bear, girls' youth group trip(though I think that is a good worthwhile expense), lawyer(totally unexpected), insurance for implants, & quite a few others to name.  Things happen and we understand that.  Just lately, it's been happening all at once.  So, trying to clear the clutter anyhow and sell a few items we don't use.  Boys will be all officially moved to the front bedroom this weekend.  Step I will be complete.  Also, hope the patching will be done this weekend.  That allows us next weekend to paint the new girls' room.  Can't wait.  I really can't. 

I know this was a boring post.  My brain is fried.  It really is.  Alyona has just realized Bear is gone forever.  It will be like this all weekend....hitting different kids at different times.  We'll lean on each other and be grateful for the many happy years we had with our teddy bear.  Have a great weekend.  Maybe I'll get some shots of the boys new room.  Well, not "new" but you get the idea.  And a before shot of the girls' new room. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Beloved Bear

Oh, so many things I want to say.  I know I wrote a post a few days ago but feel if I don't write one now about Bear, I'll never be able to write one again.  Bear will be with us a few days more.  Bear is dying.  There is no other way to put it.  No sugar coating it.  He is suffering and we can't allow him to go on like this.  Bear is 13 years old.  I guess we should tell the Bear story that we never told before.  So, here goes. 

Warren and I got married.  I had a dog named Aspen.  He was my dog from college that I had rescued from an abusive situation.  And no, I will not go into that.  When we got married, Warren was working and I was working.  We thought Aspen might be lonely during the day without us there.  We thought about a puppy but that is about it...just thinking.  Never acted on it.  Well, one day Warren and I decided to go to the local fairgrounds here to look around, spend some time together.  NO intentions whatsoever to actually get a puppy.  We both worked.  We didn't have time.  We had a dog.  So what on earth possessed us to get a dog that day?  Bear.  Plain and simple...Bear.  One look and Warren was hooked.  Bear was a tiny little thing(ironic, huh?) but chubby.  Cutest puppy in that little box.  though I had my eyes on a German Shepard in another area, Warren was set on this dog and wasn't letting him go.  We assumed he was some type of mutt.  BTW, he's a flat-coated retriever.  Bear had the softest fur.  Puppy smell.  We were so, so unprepared for another dog that we even had to stop by the pet store on the way home for supplies.  LOL.  Brought him home, Aspen sniffed him and turned away.  Umm, is this going to work honey?  Took some time but it did work.  Very well.  Aspen and Bear became great buddies.  They played together, slept together, etc. 

Soon after Bear got home, we knew we were in for a wild ride.  Aspen was older and more settled.  Bear was all puppy.  He chewed everything in site.  Our bed, my shoes, furniture, etc.  One year, Bear even ate Christmas!  All of it.  Well, dummy me wraps up a Hickory Farms Beef Stick and put it under the tree.  Bear opened that up and then decided anything else in wrapping paper would test good including Barbies.  It was nuts.  Bear has given us way too many great memories to count.  He swam in our pool.  Bear was protective of our family and our kids.  No harm would ever come to anyone here if Bear was around.  You could be rest assured. 

Bear went with us on our honeymoon even.  This dog is special beyond anyone's realization.  Bear has helped us through some really tough times in life.  He loved going for walks.  He loved chasing squirrels in the yard.  Caught a few too!  He used to NOT like any other dog in our yard.  Would attack them.  Over the years though, he's mellowed and will let other dogs in the yard but not in the house.  That is his turf.  Bear loved his ears being scratched.  Loved it.  Bear hated getting a bath.  He'd rather wallow in the dirt.  Bear loved laying outside taking in all the happenings in the yard.  When younger, Bear would play stick with the kids.  He also had his "nappy."  That's what we called his old stuffed animals.  This big dog loved his stuffed animals.  He'd have a stuffed animal in his mouth and greet us at the door.  Looked so silly this huge dog w/ a baby stuffed animal in his mouth.  

Bear was a survivor.  Remember, we have 7 children, all with issues.  Things are bound to happen.  When Bear was just 4 months old, we thought he was dead.  He was hit head on with a pick up truck in front of our house.  I scooped that puppy up and layed him on the concrete sobbing.  He got up!  We scooped him up again and ran to the vet.  He made it.  He survived the pick up truck collision.  What a dog.  Bear also survived Yana breaking his leg.  Not intentionally.  She took him for a walk and he chased a squirrel into the woods.  She yanked on his leash to turn him around yet never realized his leg was stuck in a hole in the tree.  His leg was very badly broken and in a cast for a very long time.  Yet, Bear survived.  Bear survived being poisoned by Irina.  She dropped an industrialized size bag of chocolate chips.  Bear ate the entire couple pound bag!  yet, he survived.  Threw up a lot that evening but survived.  Bear is such a trooper.  He's survived countless hours of the kids playing soccer around him and accidentally hitting him.  He survived being shot with a bullet in the tail( not by us mind you).  He survived the kids dropping countless things on him as they're carrying stuff upstairs.  Through all this, Bear has NEVER EVER once bit any of our kids nor the kids I care for.  Not a once.  He has always loved everyone in this home. 

Bear has always been there to greet you at the door with a tail wag.  Bear was distraught the day Warren was gone for work over night.  That dog laid outside in the pouring down rain waiting for him to come home.  Now, where else can you get that kind of faithfulness?  I could tell countless Bear stories.  I don't think anyone in this home could love a dog any more.  Bear will be remembered for his unwavering love of this family, his gentle giantness of sorts, his doggy smile and tail wag every time the school bus pulled up at the driveway, his tearing open of Christmas presents in his Christmas stocking every year, and too many other things to name.  I can not even begin to describe what this dog has meant in our lives. 

It is with great sorrow we have to say goodbye to a wonderful family member.  Our teddy bear.  The one and only.  This dog will always have a very special place in our hearts.  He has added so much joy and love to this family.  It was an honor and a pleasure having him as our dog.  I don't even want to think of what tomorrow will be like.  There will be no pictures.  Just us alone with Bear saying goodbye to one of the best dogs to ever live.  He changed the lives of many children in this household.  Love is such a little word for the feelings that we hold dear for this dog.  Love doesn't even begin to touch it.  We may not be up to posting much in the next day or so so don't be surprised.  Our hearts ache already for what we've witnessed with Bear over the last day.  I think many hearts will ache for the loss of such a great companion.  We love you more than words can say teddy bear. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Catch up post on the weekend

Lots to catch up on.  First thing I want to say is thanks for all the kind words about Bear.  Bear is actually doing quite a bit better.  That day was scary as he whimpered and yelped all day.  We are hoping he had the doggy flu or something.  He's back to his old a point.  He struggled terribly this morning just to get up on all fours.  Bear will not be with us forever but hopefully he has a few more months.  Trust me, he'll be spoiled rotten by then.  LOL.

I guess I have to go back to our weekend.  Alright.  Friday was a tad crazy.  No hair bows for Alyona so we improvised.  Girls told me about 10 minutes before we were to leave that they had NO dress shoes.  Umm, what?!  How'd that happened?  Stains were coming out of nowhere on brand new clothes.  kids wanted to wear something different and the whole 9 yards.  don't know how we did it, but we actually pulled it off.  We actually were off to get a family Christmas portrait made.

This was on our way to the mall.  Alyona was freezing.  We always carry spare blankets in our car all year long as some of our kiddos have temperature regulation issues related to the FAS.  No, a kid is not missing in the picture.  Since I watch the "littles,"  I keep the carseats attached.  Makes it easier than redoing them each & every time we want to go somewhere.
We took the picture at the Picture People. Had a wonderful lady work w/ us.  She said we were a really fun bunch.   Kids were for the most part cooperative.  I had a coupon...of course.  So,we were able to get a few sheets to give away and a big one to keep for the house.  Since they were good, we decided to stop off & go out to eat as we rarely do that.  Went to Logan's.  It's one of our favorite places b/c 1) it's reasonable 2) you can throw peanuts on the floor(kids LOVE this part!) 3) we can sit in the back where it's less stimulating & 4) the staff treats us fantastic each & every time.  So, that's where we ended up at about 8:30 on a Friday night.  Crowd died down so it was perfect.  For those new here, FAS children don't do the best with a lot of stimulation and crowds.  Makes them antsy and thus, an uncomfortable meal for everyone.  So, going at "odd" times helps immensely.  

No one even got ketchup on their nice clothes while eating.  All the kids did so well.  We came home and ate the rest of the take home boxes while watching Toy Story 3.  Busy evening but a nice one for a Friday evening.

Saturday, we cleaned the house and went to Wally World for a few things.  Caught Halloween stuff 90% off. Though you can't really see them in this pictures, I got all the kids glow sticks.  they rode their bikes all over the yard in the dark.  It was fun to watch the glow sticks coming down the yard. 

Thank goodness we live in a fairly private area b/c we look so redneck when we grill out.  LOL.  Who else grills by a lamp plugged into the garage?  Meal was great though so we could careless how it was cooked.  So, Saturday was pretty productive as well.  And, we even got an extra hour of sleep w/ the time change though you definitely couldn't tell.

Okay, so Sunday morning Alex woke up wearing this.  Umm, think it's a sign we need to turn on the heat?  Alex is one of our kids that has temperature regulation issues though too.  We did turn on the heat.  Later that day, the kids complained it was too hot.  You can't win.  

this is Nik's idea of getting ready for church.  Shirt on backwards and playing around in Bojan's wheelchair.  Nice.  Real nice.  Yana is petting Bear in the background.  He's not doing so well.  CAlling the vet tomorrow, Friday.  We're not sure he'll make it till Christmas.  I really HATE this.  I HATE it very much.  We lost our last dog two years ago in November.  He was "my" dog since college.  Hate that feeling.  He cried in pain tonight walking to the door.  We can't watch him in pain for much longer.  It's not fair to Bear.  Calling the vet tomorrow and asking what they might be able to do for pain.  We fear his time is drawing near.  I can barely write that.  Every time I leave the door I say "Bye Bear, you be a good boy.  Mommy loves you, we'll be back."  Every time.  So much so, now the "littles" say "you be good boy Bear.  We love you.  Be back soon."  Hurts, it really hurts and we haven't even made a decision yet.  Just know it feels all too familiar to how it was with Aspen.  

More to come tomorrow.  Kids have off school.  Social worker will be here.  House is a mess.  I give up.  Adoption event this evening was nice.  Nice to connect w/ other families.  Max is driving tomorrow for Driver's Ed.  Need to get going.  Enjoy your evening. 

Nik's activation

For those new to cochlear implants (devices that help the deaf hear), you get surgery and then about a month later, you get the device turned on.  This is called activation day.  Nik was activated on November 1st.  Earlier than the month mark but I think part of that was simply due to timing and the other part that he knew exactly what to expect.  Nik was literally counting down the days every single night before activation day.  He was so incredibly excited that he actually switched processors to try to get his old one to work on the newly implanted side.  It doesn't but he tried.  His old implant needed repair. 

Nik saw the Fedex truck & RAN up to it.  Remember, he was totally Deaf for 2 days and was just waiting for sound.  I told him it was coming on the truck.  Well, he saw 2 boxes & was estatic.  He thought they'd sent him his new implant as well.  LOL.  Poor kid.  Nik just wanted to hear.  Times like these I know we made the right decision by bilaterally implanting him.

Nik, anxiously awaiting to be turned on to hear.  He can hardly stand the wait!  And this does not nearly capture his happiness at all.  So much more.  

Okay, I couldn't get the shot I wanted but oh well.  You'll notice his old implant is hanging down so he can't rely on that one.  Just the new one turned on.  He takes one of those balls, holds it to his head and then puts it in the container once he hears it.  SO funny as he was trying to "cheat."  LOL.  He looks at the computer.  He knows that's how they program it.  He was so, so excited once he heard that first sound.  Shaking his hands for the sign hear.  I can hear!  He kept saying in sign.  Very awesome to watch his life change before our eyes.  Very exciting.  

What I didn't get a shot of was his pain.  At first, all of us in the room that something was drastically wrong.  I dropped the camera so that's why there's no shots.  Sorry, but Nik was more important than a picture.  They turned it on at first and he was just in pain.  Curling up, crying, signing it hurt.  Clearly, in pain.  We adjusted quite a bit and after awhile, the above is what you started to see.  YOu have to remember, before this, he was deaf and before that, he had AN and heard nothing but chaos and snow.  I think clear sound was just overwhelming for him to take.  

Takes a bit of time to get all adjusted and in the beginning there are many sessions scheduled to adjust the implant.  He went again this week.  

you think he's happy with BOTH his Advanced Bionics implants???  I think Nik should be on the cover of that box as an endorsement.  How about you??  

Nik continues to do well w/ the implants.  So well, he wakes up in the morning and kisses the implants and puts them on his head!  It's just so great to witness.  Yes, it is a very tough decision to make.  Very tough.  And, he is a total communication kiddo.  But, it is so obvious he loves to hear.  

While in the waiting area, we met a dad desperate to get his son hearing aids.  But, he couldn't afford them.  So, we decided to donate Nik's hearing aids to this little boy.  The father was so grateful and we are hoping it works out that he can use them.  If he can't, they will be given to another family.  This is a kid that has old hearing aids from Honduras.  Very old ones.  Nik's are digital Phonaks.  So, would love to see that kids reaction when he hears for the first time clearly.  I'm sure it will be similar to Nik's.  Sheer delight!  Thanks for letting me share.  Got to go.  Going to an adoption event this evening at Warren's work. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MRI results, mall, & a chance meeting

I know I promised a different post but I'm working on it.  Today was a little busy.  Warren took a vacation day.   Poor guy.  He never takes a real vacation day.  They are always used for the kids and their medical appointments.  So, today he took Nik to his speech evals and audiologists.  I stayed home & got Bojan on the bus, which was late.  Then driving one of the littles to preschool.  Came home and went to a bounce house place w/ one of the other "littles."  While there, met a lady who has been trying to "find" me.  Don't know how she found out about me really but usually these things are beyond my earthly knowledge.  Anyhow, she has a friend here that is doing hosting for kids from EE.  She can't remember the country.  They have found homes for 12 of the 14 of them.  She has a friend who wants to speak w/ me as they know nothing about this "syndrome."  I said what syndrome?  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Umm, I think I can help you with that and what an incredibly small world!  Can't wait to chat with her and help her.  Apparently, this is a very sweet young lady.  13 years old.  Who knows, maybe I'll get to meet her.  I have a heart for FAS kids as you already are aware.  To know that she is one of the two kids waiting is heartbreaking.  I told this other lady I would be happy to speak with the family hosting and also get the message out about her if that is what is desired. Keep you posted. 

Came home, and did stuff before picking up the other "little" from preschool.  Warren came home late that afternoon.  Tell you all about Nik's appointment in the coming post.  Have to tell you though about Nik's mall visit.  Now, we don't usually go to the mall. 1) too expensive and 2) too much stimulation for our kiddos.  Well, Warren had 2 hours to kill between appointments so took him to the mall for lunch.  Warren said Nik was all big eyed on all the Christmas decorations.  Yes, up already.  Well, Nik had tooth fairy mouse(explain later) money.  Saw this huge display of various gumballs.  After careful consideration, Nik picked the gumballs on the top of the display.  Of course.  Warren said he held him up above his head while Nik got the quarter in and the gumball out.  Squealed w/ delight that it was his favorite  Then, they walked around.  Went to a store & saw clothes in the window and signed Irina.  Went passed a jewelry store and he signed mom.  (good kid!).  Went passed a store w/ lingere, gothic clothing in all black, etc. and signed Yana. Umm, I think I'm in trouble.  LOL.  They had a fun time at the mall. 

Warren & I loaded up 3 kids and took them to my ortho that I thought would be about a 15 minute appointment.  Umm, no.  Not a chance.  Got out about an hour and a half later.  Great surgery!  No torn meniscus.  Bad news...arthritis of the knee.  Got an injection today of a steriod and it's supposed to help.  Hope so.  Can do cardio again tomorrow.  Drove Nik to the house as the speech therapist was coming over.  Then, went to drop off the "littles" as their mom had already been to our house I said I'd take them home.  while there, we get a call saying Alyona has cut her hand & is bleeding all over.  She'll need stitches is what we're being told.  Now, I take all this w/ a grain of salt as you have to remember the source it's coming other kids.  Got home & it is NOT a deep cut.  It's just a knife cut from where she tried to cut an apple.  Bandaid was fine for it. 

So, busy day.  Tomorrow, my sister is having her baby boy.  I wish her well.  I think we've only seen her current son, 4yo, about 3 or 4 times maybe.  She lives in another state so I guess it's hard to get together at times.  Hope we get to see them one of these days.  Our kids get out of school early.  Yeh, maybe we'll actually be able to pick the house back up for the social worker on Thursday.  Yeh, wishful thinking, I know.  I swear, there is a magnet for clothes hidden under the floor.  That is why the clothes are so attracted to the floor.  That's the story I'm going with.  Need to go write more report card responses. BTW, Bojan got Student of the MOnth. Don't know what for.  He doesn't remember.  Yet, he remembered to tell me that his friend burped in his face today at lunch.  Yes, I am aware where his priorities are.  LOL.  More to come tomorrow. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Manic Monday

It is indeed a manic Monday.  So many things happened this past weekend.  For those wondering, Bear is still up in the air.  For those who have no idea what I'm referring to, go back two posts.  Sunday, Bear perked back up and seemed like his old self.  this morning, not so much.  I will call the vet tomorrow.  Part of me fears calling the vet.  I think you can all figure out why.  But, Bear is not yelping right now or whimpering.  And, he went outside a bit more today so there is a big plus.  Hoping he keeps moving forward. 

Yesterday, we all had church, cleaned the house a bit more and then it was Christmas play rehearsal at church and youth group.  Busy stuff.  Today, we had a meeting w/ the SSI people.  We could not even apply as we are out of income range to qualify for anything for Irina.  Now, she turns 18, she will qualify IF they say she will.  Ahh, more to it.  She applies in January I am told.  Then, it will take 3 to 5 months to review her case.  Still not sure what in the world takes that long.  Our income will NOT be taken into consideration when she is 18.  That is great news.  Also, told none of our kids would qualify for any SSI now due to our income.  Not even when we have the 10 kids.  I still don't know how other families are getting it, I'm really stumped at this point.  I've had many folks write me and tell me they receive it.  And if you think we live in a mansion and eat cavier, think again.  LOL.  Yes, wonderful income but our cost of living & feeding everyone & especially all the medical expenses, is extremely high.  I even asked about a medical waiver which many told me to ask about.  Umm, nope.  Told we won't qualify for that either.  Just don't get it.  It's not that I want SSI now for the kids, it's that I'm worried they won't get it later as adults when they need it. That's what I have been told many times... that if your kids don't receive it as kids, it is near impossible for them to get it as an adult.  That is my fear and that's why we're fighting so hard to get Irina set up.  I'll keep you posted the next few months to see how this plays out as I'm sure there are many of you in the same situation. 

After that appt., we went to the lawyer's office, w/ 3 "littles" in tow.  They were great and I bought them each a Wendy's Frosty.  Well, they were free.  In October they had Halloween coupon booklets.  Buy 10 for $1.  We did.  Got 4 free today. They were good too!  Anyhow, signed papers at the lawyer's office for Irina's readoption.  That is going really well and rather fast.  Forgot the marriage cert today.  Got to get that to her and the homestudy...from 10 years ago.  Umm, that may be a bit difficult.  I'll give it a shot though.  DSS will be calling us w/in the next few days.  Fine.  I'm sure by then the house will be a demilitarized zone again.  LOL.  Oh well, we tried. 

Report cards came out today.  I'm still ready to spit fire.  URGHH!!!  Irina did great w/ the exception of math.  Keep in mind, they have her in an inclusion classroom doing Algebra.  Umm, yeh, these self-contained class kiddos last year had issues doing simple addition.  You really think sticking them all in a regular ed class w/ teachers walking around to help them in front of their peers in algebra is a good idea???  Stupid people!  That debate for another day.  Let's just say the county we live in has much to be desired for common sense and academics.  Max.  I don't even want to discuss it.  I wrote about him a few days ago.  Yana.  She's doing well w/ the exception of language arts which is to be expected w/ her delays and CAPD and FAE.  Bojan did pretty good.  All B's.  Alyona is doing fine (in self-contained setting) except for math.  And, her reading is still on beginning first grade level.  She's in 4th grade.  We will have to pull her out after elementary school next year as this school system no longer has self-contained in middle & high schools.  And, w/ her level, she would have to be put in a life skills class.  Not where she belongs at all.  Catch 22 really.  Alex is not where he should be and again, inclusion is the issue and too much transition.  Too many teachers for him.  It's obviously not working so we'll have to find a solution.  Nik is doing fine.  So, majority did well except in the areas that we already knew that they struggled in.  Only one I'm really upset w/ is Max.  His is a direct result of laziness, not lack of ability.  The others truly do have lack of ability in certain areas.  Other areas, they got A's & B's.  So, pleased w/ most of it.  We do feel though it is in the best interest of our children if we start homeschooling again.  I had wanted to wait till the adoption was over but I fear we can't wait that long any more.  Working on it all. 

I'll have to load some pictures up on here and do the next post w/ some pictures.  So, next about our pictures.  LOL.  Lots going on tomorrow too.  Warren took off work.  We have many appointments.  Nik has a speech eval and audiologist appts.  I have an ortho appt. to see how my MRI on Saturday checks out.  I'll know tomorrow if I need surgery or not.  Hope not.  Yet, I really am anxious to get back into doing cardio and working out.  Feel like such a bum lately.  Got to go.  We're having ham, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner.  Can't wait.  We caught the ham on sale so just had to eat it.  Frankly, we all just wanted ham.  This past weekend though we hit some major deals.  I know many of you wonder how we feed this many or how you just do regular things such as Halloween costumes.  You hunt for bargins whenever you're out.  This past weekend, 90% all Halloween stuff.  So, now my kids, all 10 of them, have costumes for next years, supplies for their class parties, and glow sticks for sleepovers/ b-day parties.  Most expensive costume I got was $2.90.  Most were between $1.40 and $1.70.  Kids loved playing w/ the glow sticks for .10 each.  Also, stocked up on turkeys for .68 a lb.  You can't beat a meal that will feel all 9 of us for $7 or less.  So that is how we can do things or feed everyone.  You simply bargin shop when you can.  BTW, when I go to yard sales nowadays, I see groups of teenagers shopping around too!  Kids that used to go to the mall are now going to yard sales.  Yes, times have changed for sure.  But, I think it is also good for the kids to learn that young. 

Okay, enough rambling.  Kids don't have school this Thursday and get out early on Wednesday.  Our social worker was supposed to come today to interview IRina but her daughter was sick.  Remember, we have that immigration snaffu where Irina is now considered an adult here.  Anyhow, she's now coming to Chaos Manor this Thursday.  Yes, praying this time they don't head down the hill in a garden cart headed for the social worker's car.  In case you're wondering, yes, it was the boys!  Homework is calling me so need to go.  Enjoy your evening.  More posts happening soon.  Lots going on that I have yet to even write about. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Blue Rose

This was passed around on one of my groups.  It is priceless and really speaks volumes to me.   Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.  Not very long.

A blue rose

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox.  So, off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen- years-old.  I wasn't in a hurry , so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there.  This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "mommy, I'm over here."  

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by.  His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, "Hey Buddy, what's your name?"  

"My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother, " he responded proudly.  

"Wow, "I said, "that's a cool name;  I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve."  

"Steve, like Stevarino?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.  "How old are you Denny?"

"How old am I now, Mommy?"  he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

"You're fifteen-years-old Denny;  now be a good boy and let the man pass by."

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school.  I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone's attention.  He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.  

Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son.  She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him.  

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God's Garden;  however, "Blue Roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness.  You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God.  

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"

Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God's garden."

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, "God bless you!"  and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don't turn your head and walk off.  Take the time to smile and say Hello.  Why?  Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you.  this could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew.  What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion!