Friday, December 3, 2010

New Blog look-- working on it

Winter has set in here at Chaos Manor and figured the blog best change with the times.  Bare with me as I'll get colors and print worked out over the weekend.  Still want to add some items on the side bar and such.  Time to change things up a bit.  Hope you like it when I'm done.  LOL. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Meadow Trip w/ pics (part II)

We drove home, about 20 minutes only.  Went inside and laid out a little candy.

The non-perils are my favorite.  That and the peanut butter cups.  Shoot, it's all good candy.  Neat how everyone has their favorites though. 

Alyona enjoying her choice of a sour worm...yuck!  I hate the sour stuff but my kids all love it.  

Everyone enjoying some candy while they watch Frosty the Snowman on tv.  What could be better?  Even the older kids were watching it though not pictured.  

Even the puppies were tired.  Great day and wonderful evening as a family.  And no, I have no idea why those dvd's were poured out all over the floor.  Anyone in this area really does need to try out Meadow Lights. 

Meadow Trip w/ pics (part I)

Last weekend we took our annual outing to Meadow Lights.  Meadow is a small town here.  We go every year to see a light display, sit w/ Santa and get old fashioned candy all in one stop.  Thought I'd share our little trip in two parts.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

This is what you drive up to.  Click on the picture to see more.  Middle sign says Celebration of Lights.  Just really beautiful at night.  We go right at around 5/ 5:30 to avoid the lines which in turn helps our kids regulate better.  

Nik and Alex goofing off while we wait in line to get the train tickets.  Tickets are just $2.00 a piece for the train ride.  Well worth it to see the lights and pick out our favorites.  

Just one of the displays.  The girls were trying to guess which displays were new as they seem to add new ones each year.  

A rose between two thorns.  LOL.  Look, do you see it?  All three girls actually sitting together, smiling.  Priceless.  

After the train ride, we stop by Santa's House.  Can't take pictures inside as you have to pay for pictures.  Alyona and Nik both sat on Santa's lap.  Alex did not want to. He's 10 and still believes.  However, he said he was scared of Santa.  Warren asked why and Alex said " I'm nervous b/c Santa knows all the things I've done this year."  What's that?  We finally got an honest answer out of him!  Too funny.  

Next stop after Santa is everyone's favorite...the old fashioned candy store.  Yep, aisles and aisles of candy.  I let each of the kids pick a bag and then we share it all when we get home.  Nik was asking for approval of his selection.  

Kids checking some old items out.  They find exploring new things so intriguing.  Love it.  

Blurry picture but it was the end of the trip.  Plus, bags were full of candy and they were wanting to get home to eat it.  

Ready to head to the car & find this.  A dead bird.  Boy on boy does this ever cause a commotion with our kids.  Poor bird.  

We had a really good time.  Kids behaved and were patient.  Place wasn't crowded and the weather couldn't have been better.  Just a really nice outing.  We always tell the kids if they can handle the little trips, we can start taking longer and longer ones.  This is what we started to do this past year.  Trying to work them up to being gone and being out of sync for a week.  We're getting there.  Very excited about that as we plan to take them traveling more once the new kids are home.  Getting ideas of what they want to see in America.  More pictures to come.  Just had to share a little of where we go and how much even the simple things can be enjoyed. 

Stressed to the max

Who is stressed??  Me.  I'll admit it.  I'm stressed.  I'm human.  I think though for some reason that adoptive parents feel they shouldn't admit that.  Well, I'm debunking any myths that we don't get stressed or exhausted.  Just as any other parent on this planet does from time to time.  Well, this seems to be my time.  Only reason I am typing today is that the "littles" are sick today w/ a fever and are at home w/ their dad.  Though I feel bad that they are sick, it was a very much needed break for me to catch up with the 1001 things I have to do.

I shouldn't complain.  Yet, also feel sometimes it is good for a person to do so.  Good to be able to vent some of the frustrations you have.  We tend not to do that here as our kids have several disorders.   Adding stress to them or saying how you really feel some times is not in their best interest.  So, I'm blogging about why I've been so stressed lately.  A few things stand out.  We have a house that really & truly does need quite a few repairs.  And though we could do it ourselves, with the things that happen in this home and them needing constant supervision, it just never works out the way we need it to.  I don't know how long the "silly putty" stuff by the back door will hold.  Roof seems to be okay for now.  Only leaks now w/ very heavy rains.  Stressed that we need a new washer though trying to get this one to work.  Need to get the van looked at and I know for a fact we need at least two new tires.  Stressed knowing our heatlhcare will be doubling for us in January and big jump in co-pays for us.  Multiply that by 9 folks.  That definitely equals stress.  Did I mention I HATE this new healthcare overhaul?  Okay, said I'd steer away from politics on the blog so won't go there.  Just know that it will not benefit us at all.  We had a wonderful, wonderful plan at Warren's work and now, well, it's changing royally and we'll have to make decisions.  Not go for certain things I'm sure.  Some appts. will over ride other ones just due to sheer cost alone.  So, stressed about how we'll afford to go to the doc. I know I shouldn't, but am.  Stressed about finishing Christmas shopping and much has to be done tomorrow.  We have relatives coming here on Saturday.  All day.  Lunch and dinner together and opening of gifts.  Will I have enough to buy all the teachers stuff.  Though they requested items for the classrooms, it's still money.  I have many teachers for my kids.  Most likely, I'll have to go the homemade bread route and cards and hope for understanding.  I think last count I had 36 teachers that are involved w/ my kids.  And those are main teachers and not counting the high school ones.  Bus drivers, etc.  You feel guilty b/c you want to give a gift but sometimes that just is not always a doable thing.  Stressed about upcoming homeschooling some of my kids.  Stressed about what the school has done to some of my kids.  Not being able to work out as usual.  Umm, that may be part of the stress problem.  LOL.  Lots on my mind.  Wondering what my kids across the ocean are doing.  The I-800A approval stuff.  The re-adoption stuff.  The list could go on for days.  Stressed that I hate my house on the outside looking like Sanford & Sons.  Just trying to find solutions to many problems all at once.  And in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing major.  I have NO sick children, no kids w/ major diseases, etc.  We have jobs, we have a house, etc.  I really am trying to look on the bright side.  So much good is happening and has happened and I need to focus more on that and not the stuff I can't get done all at once.  Easier said than done.  I feel like I am just physically and mentally drained.  Exhausted would be a good word.  Stresses of puppy training.  Between puppy training and potty training, I'm frankly tired of bodily function of children and animals.  LOL.  I thought about not posting but I think folks need to see that I'm human too. Not superwoman.  Don't have it all together though I wish I did.  Not crafty at all.  Try, but fail each time.  Shoot, just ask any of my kids about the gingerbread houses over the years.  I attempt at Christmas and sometimes Halloween.  Kits and no kits.  Each and every single time it ends in laughter b/c I just have never ever made one.  Kids found a beautiful Ginger bread house at TJMaxx and said "mom, here's one that you can't mess up."  Lady behind us got a kick out of that one.  I wanted to buy it so badly but couldn't b/c it was $50.  However, that would have ended my quest for the perfect gingerbread house each year.  Stresses seem to becoming from every angle.  All in all, handling it pretty well.  Just want to handle things a bit better. 

I know this is not the bed of roses post of the year.  Yet, I actually feel better just writing this down.  And no, this is not all that's happening here.  Stressed about Max failing.  Though I know I need to let him fail.  Appliances here are breaking down left and right.  My daughter is still sleeping on the floor though we desperately want to get that bedroom ready for her and her new sisters.  Normal stuff that people go through every single day.  I have to get 3 references.  Means bug the people I've already bugged for Irina's re-adoption stuff.  Just the list is long and I want just one day w/ nothing to do.  Seriously, that's my Christmas wish.  I know it won't happen but I can dream.  Thanks for letting me vent a little.  I know there is more to say but think you are bored enough.  Now, off to Wally World this evening.  Need some things for this coming weekend for when guests come.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Red face & Christmas decorating

I'll start off with saying our reputation of being on time in church is tarnished ruined.  Why you ask?  Because of things like this:

Hard to see in the picture but his face is all red.  from what you ask?  Nik told me twice that Alex had hit him with the ball which is totally believable.  Alex decides to tell us that the bike fell on Nik.  L-I-A-R!  Then we have to stop and explain to Alex for the 100th time about lying.  (this is common for RAD & FAS kids btw).  Since all but one of mine have these disorders, it gets hard some times at telling who is telling the truth.  This was only part of the issue this past Sunday.  I won't even get into Irina having no dress shoes whatsoever or kids missing clothes.  At a certain time, you just give up and go as is.  Thankfully, we have a very understanding congregation who doesn't care what we look like.  Red face and all. 

After church, we came home Sunday and got to work a bit with decorating.  We have several trees and some are indoor & some outdoor.  I used to work in a florist shop & get 75% off the wholesale price.  So yes, we did get a $700 tree for I think $75.  It was 10.5 feet & gorgeous.  However, when our water heater broke under the house, all decorations for every season were destroyed.  Happens.  

Why what household would be complete without at least one tacky Christmas decoration?  Ours happens to be a light up farting Santa.  Don't even ask.  It keeps the kids, neighbors and guests laughing their butts off every single time.  BTW, this whole batch of pictures has a smudge as I didn't realize there was a print on the lens.  

Starting to go through some boxes.  

Yana trying to fix the lights.  Poor girl literally worked hours fluffing the tree & putting up the lights.  I used to do this w/ the florist shop for big offices.  I could careless if I ever decorate another tree.  LOL.  Seriously, when you decorate tons of staircases, and 25' trees you just have had enough.  So, when Yana volunteered, I gladly accepted.  

Max getting stuff from under the house.  We have NO storage and have no choice but to put it in here...the wet, mildewed crawl space.  We have a bunch of natural springs in our yard so that's why it's always wet.  Each year we throw more and more away.  Hate it with a passion but have no other choice till we solve the storage issue.  Warren gave away a classic Volvo PV544 (okay, so I don't know the #'s).  The guy who came to get it last year said he'd give us a storage shed after the holidays.  He never contacted us again.  We were really looking forward to that shed.  Oh well.  Mean time, this is it for us.  I have no idea what will become of some items that are currently in the garage that we'll eventually convert to a room.  Going to get interesting for sure.  Some of the kids may be storing pumpkins under their beds.  LOL.  

After decorating a little while, we took the kids to play rehearsal at church.  

Some of the kids practicing the church Christmas play.  Nik is a sheep, Alyona a townspeople, Alex is the Innkeeper and Bojan is the narrator.  Alex told the director he is not an innkeeper but a hotel manager.  Nice one kid.  I'm sure they had the Marriott when Jesus was born. 

Nik loved sitting right next to the speakers to listen to them.  He also would put his hand on them to feel the vibrations.  See the implants only allow sound to go up to a certain level.  Kind of a protection mode thing.  Again, technical terms for me are not my thing.  

Alyona practicing her lines.  With her severe memory issues, it is really hard for her.  She has one or two lines and is really working on it.  Going to practice with them all tomorrow and Friday evening.  

Well, that was Sunday.  A rough start but ended okay.  More to come tomorrow.  Lots going on for sure at our house. Nothing bad just incredibly busy.  So, don't be surprised if there aren't as many posts as usual.  Family life takes priority for sure.  Enjoy your week. 

Happenings at Chaos Manor

I'm not even sure where to begin.  It just has been busy.  I will tell about the past weekend in another post.  For now, just the basics.  Trust me, that's enough.

Adoption Front-- Homestudy update is in the mail to me today.  Should have it by Friday & then I'll over night it to USCIS.  Pray they don't make Irina also go through biometrics as well as that would add more time to the whole thing.  Once this I-800A is done, we can get the dossier submitted and get the "official" referrals.

Medical front-- Alyona and Yana were supposed to go to the dentist yesterday.  Well, the "Littles'" sister was sick here that day and Yana & Alyona were coughing.  Rescheduled that one for later this month.  Trust me , girls did not mind one bit.  Yana has had a cold for awhile but otherwise, doing fine.  Everyone is relatively healthy.  Nik went to audiology this morning and there was a huge gap at 2000Hz.  Don't ask me to get technical.  That's Warren's department.  They adjusted both implants and he's fine.  Then, Alex & Max had their neurology appointment.  They go due to their FAS and ADHD.  Meds remained the same and they don't have to go back until June now.  Every 6 months now which is awesome as we've been going every 3 to 4 months.  Bojan is walking.  Still very unsteady but that is due to his very, very, very small prosthetic.  They casted him for a new liner and hoping it comes in soon.  After that, he'll get casted for the new socket.  All a process.  Warren went to the same chiropractor I go to.  Interesting stuff that Warren never knew.  He should be able to help Warren quite a bit which is wonderful news.  Warren can barely turn his head & hurts for him to walk.

Home front-- Should say home repair.  Warren fixed the two leaky sinks.  He also fixed the pipe in our bathroom in the wall.  Now, we just have to fix the wall in there.  The boys' room needs to be patched and painted to turn it into the girls' room.  It's crazy b/c it's just chaos and really thought it'd be done by now.  Should have known better.  Maybe in January we can have a painting party.  Anyone up for it??  LOL.  Need to replace the back door. I'll have to take a picture.  It literally has this silly putty type stuff crammed in there to keep in from continually leaking into the house.  Heat pump was just serviced this week.  Old Faithful is still running.  May not be the most energy efficient thing but for 20 years old, and still running, we are extremely grateful.  I won't go into all the details.  Let's just say this house needs a good overhaul.  In addition, since we would not be able to sell our home due to the local markets, we need to be able to add on somehow some way.  thinking of creative ways to do that.  Hey, the house keeps us warm (for the most part.. plastic sheeting over the fireplace & windows makes for lovely decor) and dry (again, for the most part.  As long as there is not a hard rain).  In other words, it needs a good week of repairs.  Unfortunately, still trying to find that week and the money to do it.  LOL.  Looking into refinancing.  Time will tell and open to a few suggestions. 

Re-adoption front-- Irina's re-adoption process is still moving forward.  We met with the DSS social worker today.  Her name is Kelly and she is really nice.  Like her and felt comfortable with her.  She found a mistake on some of the paperwork from the attorney so hopefully that can be fixed quickly.  Remember, we have to have this done before she turns 18yo.  For those in the adoption community, this is NOT just for re-adoption.  This is to play it safe for IRina to receive SSI once she is 18 & considered an adult.  All paperwork from the past will have to be in order including this.  I won't go into the long-winded explanation.  Just know, we would not be doing this if not necessary.  It was another $200 to the state this time.  The sw will come out to the house next Wednesday.  Apologized in advance for the look of the home as of late.  It truly looks like a combat zone.  We have been on the go so much that it really has been tough finding time to keep all in order.  For the most part it is.  Just not all. 

School front-- I really don't even want to discuss this right now.  I have to get my ducks in a row again to homeschool some in January.  Irina is stressed out to the max.  They are giving her 'A's despite her understanding NONE of the material.  Yep, that's inclusion.  At least here it is.  Hopefully, it is different where some of the rest of you live.  But!  I just don't get it.  Poor special ed teachers are being pushed aside when they should be in the forefront of the classroom teaching the kids they best way they know how.  Not walking around a regular ed classroom like an "extra."  More on that later too.  Max is failing.  Again, it's inclusion.  My FAS kids are not surviving this whole inclusion thing.  They really aren't.  Sad part is Max is such a smart kid and has so, so much potential.  However, if I keep him in this system, he is doomed to fail.  Yana is doing okay.  Waiting till the end of the semester though.  Bojan should be OUT of special ed and they have him in it.  Should have been out at the last meeting.  However, found out from another friend of mine who works with the schools sytems that they were told to NOT withdraw any students before December 1st.  Hmm, can we say money???  I'm not positive but can almost guarantee it has to do with headcount and money.  Why else would they knowingly keep him in a classroom he doesn't need to be in when I specifically said take him out!?  Don't get that & most likely will not keep my mouth shut about it tomorrow at the meeting.  IEP meeting tomorrow at 9am.  Also, discussing the unjustice regarding
Bojan's placement on the bus due to his walker.  Stupid, stupid people.  BTW folks, these are the same people giving kids are hard time about chapstick of all things.  I'm telling you those from out of state are truly fortunate not to live in this school district. We would give anything to move.  Have no desire whatsoever to homeschool.  Just feel it has become a necessity at this point to save their academic career.  I was told last year Nik would most likely be reading by this year and I could see that.  Now, I have severe doubts about that.  One of us reads with him every night.  Well, almost every night.  Weekends, not so much.  Anyhow, I don't see the progression I saw in him last year.  I know I will be told differently at the meetings. I always am.  However,I have to do what is in the best interest of my kids based on what I've seen in their work.  And poor Alex.  Geez.  The transitions for an FAS kid are very tough.  Proven NOT to work for them.  Yet, he's got nothing but transitions. He has five teachers at last count. However, even that is changing, you just don't know. 

I have to stop talking about the schools or I'll get upset.  I have seen firsthand what this school system has done to my two oldest.  I refuse, refuse to let it happen to the rest.  That means I will make a lot of enemies along the way.  So be it.  Word of advice to other parents of special needs kids:  you will have to fight and fight some more for your child's education.  Don't let them talk you out of it.  shoot, took us a year to get Nik an interpreter.  Took them over 9 months to test Irina.  They would not accept our private testing done.  The list goes on.  I won't even tell you all what happened to one special ed kid in this county.  Let's just say the "special tent" was NOT so special!!!  Takes years for kids to over come certain things.  Years.  I could spend all night and day just typing all the things that have happened in this county alone to the special ed kids here.  Really 20/20 could do a show.  This county doesn't even recognize dyslexia as a learning disability.  Trust me, I've had a friend fighting for years with an advocate that was hired.  Again, I'll stop here with it.  Can you tell I hate the schools here??  And just an FYI, it is NOT the teachers!!!  Not a bit.  They are caught in a crossfire.  Crazy, truly crazy.  Okay, better post next time. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What have the pups been up to??

Thought it was time for a little puppy love.  So, here goes.  Figured I'd show a little bit of what these little puppies have been up to lately.  If you think it's never dull here w/ 7 kids, then try adding 2 new puppies to the mix.  I think we're getting into practice for the new kiddos.  LOL.  Show you a little of what they are up to.  I'm too busy chasing them along w/ the "littles" helping me chase them, to take many pictures of their antics.  Hope you get to laugh at our expense. 

This is what I found the other day while walking in the kitchen.  Potted plant that has been here for years.  Practically shredded.  I went to get a broom, came back and found this:

Do you think he's the guilty party??  Not so sure.  I think they both had something to do with it.  Both are diggers.  

See, a digger.  Alaska has found a wonderful place to our garden.  Fortunately, there is nothing growing right now.  She was even successful at getting out the biodegradable pots.  Of course, hard to yell at a face like this.  You can click on the pictures and make them larger. 

Kota likes to take his bowl when he is finished into the living room to well, chew it.  Yes, the floor really is that dirty.  Believe it or not, vacuumed several times a day.  I'm guessing he knocked over that dust buster as well.

All shoes fall victim to these two.  Right now, they are enjoying the flavor of Alex.  Even the "littles" shoes are not exempt.  

I love this picture b/c they look so mean.  They're not, they just look it.  Yes, they also go after the wicker furniture too.  Nothing is safe from the duo destructors.  

I'm truly stunned our germaphobe let her do this.  Alaska now runs to the dishwasher when it gets opened.  Now, Bear didn't do this too much but Aspen did.  For Aspen, all we had to do was say they're clean and he'd walk away.  Have to teach Alaska that next.  LOL.  And yes, she is getting way too big already to fit on that door.  

Those are just a few, and I mean a few, of the things the pups have been up to.  We have been incredibly busy lately and I'll have to have a catch up post tomorrow.  Seriously, seriously busy.  More to come.  Much more.  Adoption update, Christmas update, medical updates, school updates, etc.  Just the last few days have been insane for me.  More to come tomorrow.  Hope you at least got a few laughs in with these pictures.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in pictures

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures simply b/c we were too busy eating and catching up. 

I still don't know why my kids prefer to peel potatoes and sweet potatoes on the floor.  We have all that counter space & a dining room but this is where they end up.  Hey, it gets the job done so we don't complain.  

Early morning, Alyona still in pajamas, and both are shucking corn for the Thanksgiving Dinner.  Was worried about it being so late in the season for corn on the cob but it actually turned out well.  

Warren preparing the turkey.  He tried something new and it worked out well.  We didn't get a big turkey this year but still had leftovers.  Trust me, there was plenty to eat even with me forgetting to put the cranberry sauce out that Irina requested.  She of course reminds me after Thanksgiving.

After full bellies, time to sit and socialize for awhile.  Or sleep.  

Or, time to study some Black Friday wishes in the paper.  LOL.  Kids really enjoy making wish lists.  Still, they have the list that they originally gave me.  Still amazes me that they keep things simple.  I really do think mine have a sense of where they came from and just how much they have.  Very thankful for that kind of understanding.  Though I must say, they all seem to lose sight of that occasionally.  

Time to pose for a quick picture.  Warren's parents came and his sister and her family.  Not all are in the picture.  Just our family(minus me as I'm holding the camera) and Warren's parents.  They were on their way to TN and glad they could come by for Thanksgiving.   Kids surely enjoyed Nana Pat and Papa being here.  

Time to get started on some Christmas decorating.  Kota and Alaska decided on taking care of the Santa hats for us.  Nice, dog slobber to go on your head at the parade.  

Alaska was not the happiest with us when we put the hat on her head.  She is not going to be one of those dogs that likes to dress up.  Poor thing.  We recently did something we have never done before.  We bought each dog a Santa costume.  Yep, we did.  We have never, ever dressed up our dogs before.  Yet, I couldn't resist.  Definitely going to get a picture in the costumes.

Well, that was our Thanksgiving.  Pretty quiet for the most part.  We got some things done.  We also ordered a few Christmas presents for some of the kids.  Lots of good deals.  When buying for a crowd, you do have to watch the budget very closely.  We have done a lot of other things over the weekend.  tell you more about things in a catch up post.  Got to take the kids to church play rehearsal and then youth group for the teens.  Tomorrow is a normal week for them at school.  Lots of appointments and things to do.  I take Alyona and Yana to the dentist tomorrow morning.  Busy day.  Tuesday, Nik goes to Audiology and Max & Alex go to neurology.  Have an appointment w/ DSS this week as well per Irina's re-adoption stuff.  We also have family coming this Friday.  For those I have not written back yet, I sincerely appologize.  I'm working on it.  Got to go.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.