Saturday, December 18, 2010

A peanut shower & foot stapled

The other day, we received our wonderful gingerbread house.  Well, of course it comes all packaged up.  What on earth do you do with all those packing peanuts then?

You have a peanut shower of course!  Do they look like they're having fun?

The three boys participated & I snapped shots.  Why?  Because I knew dog gone well when I told them to clean it up later that Alex would claim he had no part in it.  And, that's exactly what he did.  Ha!  Proof kiddo.

Alex & Nik are literally rolling in it.  I think this would make a great gift, don't you?  Next year I think Santa needs to just cover the house in 'snow.'  

Well, Bojan broke his foot...again.  URGHH!!!  Max decided he could fix it for him so I said fine.  That was before I knew what his plans were to fix it:

Yes indeed.  Max stapled Bojan's foot back together.  Nice, huh.  Even nicer is how Warren decided to fix it.  Take a look:

Is there anything a man can't fix without duct tape?  I think not.  Bojan goes back to the prosthetist this coming week for his casting of his socket.  Just seems to be taking forever to get this leg.  He's really at the point of not being able to walk.  Hopefully soon.  He can't put it on all the time at all.  Need to go this weekend for him to pick out material for his socket.  

I had written a whole other part to this post but decided to post it separately.  Today is now Saturday. I started this yesterday.  Was feeling a bit under the weather so didn't write.  We're cleaning house today & kids are hanging out with friends.  Yana spent the night last night at a friends.  Today, Bojan is spending the night at a friend's house & possibly Alex as well.  Alyona wants a friend to come over here and play and we'll probably do that at some point.  Need to get groceries first.  We were very blessed by someone at the school.  They wanted to remain anonymous but gave us a $50 gift card to Foodlion!  Food is one thing that is always so, so appreciated here.  As you can imagine, we go through an immense amount of food.  Immense amount.  LOL.  Gift card came at a great time.  Going to go buy some milk and stock up on breakfast supplies.  We ran out of  breakfast foods earlier this week & kids are tired of toast and so am I.  LOL.  I try to budget & stick to it.  But, during Christmas time and all the baking we do for school parties and such, it just doesn't seem to make it stretch.  So, again, this came at a wonderful time.  Don't get me wrong, we have food.  I just MUST stick to a budget in order to do this adoption & re-adoption of Irina (so far, it's cost us $1200).  That alone was unexpected & threw that budget into a tailspin.  Though we try to do every one of our adoptions alone financially by borrowing from retirement or loans, this time it is much different.  We have indeed borrowed from retirement.  However, unexpected expenses have come up that we have HAD to do.  Mostly, house related.  So, getting a gift card is a really big deal as it helps keep costs in check so we can continue forward with the adoptions.  BTW, immigration never called me back.  Anyhow, got totally sidetracked on this post.  Just wanted to say that the gift card will go to great use.  In January, a good chunk of fees will be due & travel will be forthcoming...pending Mr. Immigration man approval.  So having help financially in the form of gift cards, donations, etc. really makes life a little easier.  The stress of worrying where the money will come from.  Somehow,some way it always seems to find a way.  God orchestrated?  I can't answer that.  They have always said "God will provide."  I believe He does.  How else could we explain the massive amount of work our home needs & repair costs of things broken being slowly provided for.  An unexpected donation from the church helped to cover the unexpected costs of Irina's re-adoption.  An unexpected new washing machine from my parents took care of that needed appliance.  An unexpected monetary gift from my parents took care of our back door repair costs.  (remember, silly putty holding it together)  An unexpected box of sweet potatoes from a neighbor.  A big box of them.  An unexpected gift card from the school for groceries.  Just saying things are happening.  No, our adoption is not funded by these things but it sure does help.  Recently, we also received a donation in our paypal account specifically for the adoption.  A friend offering her employee discount for a childrens' shop.  She suggested buying some new clothes fro the orphanage.  And, we may do that.  Every single bit helps.  All adds up whether for the adoption or for the house repairs.  It all helps.  Warren is picking up two new mattress sets for two of the kids that someone was getting rid of.  Unexpected once again.  Someone brought bags full of clothes for the boys the other week.  That helped immensely.  The abundance of giving to our family is almost too overwhelming at times as I feel I'm not doing enough.  All we did this season was a food drive.  Yes, it really did help the family & they were very grateful, but I feel we could do more.  Once things settle here, I know my heart has been touched to do more.  Not sure what yet, but sure I can find a way to pay it forward.  10 kids or not, I sure can find time to pay it forward.  The generosity toward our family this Christmas season is very humbling.  Makes us stress a little less b/c somehow, some way we know the adoption expenses will eventually be taken care of.  BTW, we're still paying on Yana & Alex's adoptions believe it or not.  They are the only ones left we're paying off.  I will leave this topic b/c I know you all must be bored by now.  Just wanted everyone to see the wonderful Christmas spirit that has been bestowed upon our family in various ways.  Thanks to all even though many of them I have no idea who they are.  I just know they are angels among us.  Thanks to all who have made a difference.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

It's been quite awhile since I've done a Thoughtful Thursday post.  For those who are new, I do this b/c as parents of 6 kids w/ FAS/FAE, some times it is hard to find that glimpse of sunshine each week.  But, we need to do that b/c our kids are good kids.  FAS effects behavior immensely for those who don't know & so the kids will tend to get in trouble  more than their peers.  So, in this house we try to find the good thoughtful things the kids may have done during the week.  I'll start with oldest and work my way down.

Irina-- she knows Warren has not been sleeping much & had just a rough few days lately w/getting up with a sick child or puppies or kids doing the orphanage rock in the middle of the night or whatever.  Irina has made him fresh coffee right before he comes home everyday.  Very thoughtful of her.

Max-- Max took it upon himself to put plastic over as many windows as possible b/c we were losing lots of heat.  Remember, the house is around 20 years old.  Wind literally blows right through the windows.  Very thoughtful of him to do. 

Yana-- Yana offered to babysit for a neighbor.  I'm on the fence of whether to let her or not.  Let's just put it this way...children are not the chosen career path for Yana.  She's not mean or anything, that's not it.  Just needs a little more experience I feel.  But, thought it was extremely thoughtful of her to volunteer her service.

Bojan-- Bojan was completely done w/ homework this week early.  So, he offered to help Alex & Alyona out of the blue.  He could have used that time to play or what have you but Bojan chose to help his siblings.  Very thoughtful. 

Alyona-- Alyona has been trying to help with the puppies more and more lately.  She has also been playing with the "littles" when they are here and helping out with them quite a bit. 

Alex-- Nik couldn't find a hat one day for school.  So, Alex offered the hat off his head for his brother.   Wonderful act of kindness for sure.

Nik-- Nik really wanted to get his interpreter a gift.  He was very adament about it so he made a pile of pictures for her, wrapped them and stuck a bow on it.  Very thoughtful of him for sure.  Later, let him give her another gift..from a store.  He was thrilled to put a bow on that one. 

Always look for the good in your kids.  Despite almost all mine having major mental, emotional, and behavioral issues, there is always something that was thoughtful for the week.  Always.  Sometimes you may just have to look harder than others. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Unexpected Gift!!!

Oh, there is a lot to say here & I truly don't know where to start.  Sometimes words are said that once out, you can't take back.  No way to say I'm sorry, no way to take back what was said, and really not much way to "fix" it.   What then?  Time.  Simply time.  Well, time and forgiveness.  I won't go into all the details of what happened a few months ago.  And, some may not want me to share all this but feel it is necessary.  Families all have spats.  I don't care who you are.  There is going to be an occasional disagreement that goes too far.  It happens.  What happens next is actually more important than the argument itself.  Forgiveness.  Forgiveness can come in many forms.  I have forgiven but never really took any action to rectify the situation.  Mainly, I've simply been too busy.  I know that is a sorry excuse but I have started a letter 2 months ago & never finished it!  Well, my sister actually took the first action to help things along.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So, here's one:

Now, to some, this may be just a gingerbread house.  To me, it is SO, SO much more.  My sister thought of us and really cared.  She knew all the gingerbread house struggles we've had over the years & made it something special instead.  Gave it a different meaning.

Isn't it gorgeous?!  We LOVE it!  More ways than one.  This is not just a gift.  This has deep, deep meaning toward repairing a relationship that was struggling.  I was hoping we could reach a point where communication would be restored.  I think as sisters we need that.  I know for a fact one of my family members had a spat w/ their sibling when they were adults as well.  Now, you would have never known that unless someone told you.  As now, they are both close.  I do hope in the near future it will be the same for my sibling and I. 

I know this is just the beginning but it is a starting point.  Hope others don't mind me sharing a story of hope.  Never lose hope.  Part of being in a family is going through ups and downs together.  Whether adopted or biological.  It's simply being part of a family.  What makes a family truly special is that you can actually get through the times, not dwell on it and move forward.  Now, if I can keep the kids away from it, that would be the real Christmas Miracle.  Don't know if my sister reads my blog any more but just in case, thanks a bunch.  

Have to go.  2 hour delay for school tomorrow.  Mine are already out of whack.  URGHH!!!  I plan to get some stuff done this evening.  Lately, I've been on this organizing mission.  Even dumped out this black cart in the dining room that holds all kinds of crafts/ school supplies.  Well, we've been wiping up glitter for days now.  seriously, the dogs are covered in it.  Will try to finish the post from this past weekend.  Tomorrow.  Right now, much to do and phone calls to make.  We are cutting it close on the re-adoption stuff so need to check the status. 

Santa, sipping & sheep

This past weekend we had the church play rehearsal and the play itself.  So, Saturday morning we had to be up bright & early to be there at 8:30 am.  No, we didn't make it on time.  Don't ask what happened.  Never ends.   It's getting to the point I think I'm going to send them to bed dressed in church clothes so that we're ready to go.  Yep, we may actually make it on time then.  LOL.  Anyhow, we had  play rehearsal in the morning. 

Bojan is practicing his lines.  He had a big speaking part as he was one of the 3 wisemen.  He was rehearsing really well.  All the pictures are kind of fuzzy so bear with me.  

After singing and rehearsing, the kids had a wonderful surprise visitor:

Santa Claus!  Kids were all thrilled.  Alyona went up first from our bunch.  Shy but she managed to list all the baby doll items she wanted like a baby bottle, baby diapers, etc.  Thought she looked cute in her Mrs. Claus dress.  Oh, and she asked for a snuggie.

Alex was daring enough to go to this Santa.  LOL.  His list remains the same...candy corn and a snuggie.  The Santa was a little perplexed I think w/ all my kids wanting a snuggie.  Alex is 10yo.  He is definitely on the edge of whether or not to believe.  Hate it when they outgrow the magic of it all.

Nik was literally jumping up & down but when he got to sit on Santa, he was super nervous.  Too cute.  He too has kept w/ the same list & was signing as fast as he could.  

Nik enjoying the candy cane Santa gave him.  

After a long morning of practice at church & breakfast with Santa, we came home & made some of that rich cocoa my mom gave us for Christmas.  Topped it off with some whip cream.  Yumm is all I can say.  Was nice to warm up with chocolate.  

While enjoying that hot cocoa, Warren used Irina's head to figure out where to stitch on the sheep's ears for Nik's hat.  Irina didn't mind as she was distracted by the chocolate.  And, in case you're wondering, Warren's grandmother taught him how to sew. I do not even know how to hem pants.  Sad, but true.  I can not sew.  I have no desire to learn how to sew.  However, I for some reason would love to learn how to crochet.  Time will tell.  

Trying to play catch up with posts.  Have a few things to share with everyone.  Just now, getting caught up and it is a very busy time of the year at home.  Tomorrow, the kids all have a 2 hour delay for school.  Throws the whole day off.  We're in for cold, yucky weather tomorrow.  More to catch up on and more to tell.  Working on stuff.  Right now, need to go read to Nik.  Oh, today, I totally & utterly forgot an IEP meeting I had for Max this morning.  It's rescheduled for Monday at 7:30 am.  Much to discuss at that meeting for sure.  Hoping for a positive outcome. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Too much chocolate???

This post is from weekend before last.  That was Sunday.  The day after my parents were here for the early Christmas celebration.  Kids were beyond exhausted so we did not make it to church that morning.  We got up and were anxious to get cooking.  Why?

My mom had brought us Williams & Sonoma chocolate-chocolate chip pancake mix.  Now, as a self-proclaimed chocoholic, this is a true gift.  She also brought hot cocoa which we didn't have the same day.  We didn't want to over do the taste of chocolate.  She also got these cute spatulas.  I absolutely LOVE them.  The red & white one is big enough to flip over anything w/out breaking it.   The gingerbread one is awesome to get a hold of small foods or hard to reach places.  This is all we use now.  

These have got to be the thickest pancakes I have ever made.  LOL.  Some of the kids liked them, some didn't.  They were very, very rich.  Kids ate them later as snacks.  Definitely enjoyed.  Now, the hot cocoa...yum!  

Nik decided to draw a letter to Santa of what he wanted.  Irina labeled it for him.  A camera and a remote control spider.  I feel I'm going to be creeped out by that spider.  

Lots more going on.  More to tell but so much to do.  Got to go.  Making 2 photo books for Bojan's birth mom.  MOre on that too.  Chat soon.

Christmas came early!!! (part III)

Time to finish this post up as this is from two weekends ago.  So, any guesses on that surprise in NC?? 

You guessed it.  We got SNOW in NC on December 4th!  Truly an unusual event for here.  Max made  snow ice balls.  He was mad that I wouldn't let him throw them at anyone.  Doesn't Max look like an old man in this hat??  

Alyona getting ready to go out that same day.  In her new coat.  Notice the half done job on the porch?  One has holly berries in it and the one on the left does not.  Today is the 14th.  Is it done yet?  Umm, no.  My life tends to go this direction some times.  And, that's okay.  We go with the flow here.  That's why there's a Fall doormat with a Christmas wreath.  Oh well.  

This is a redneck attempt at a snow angel.  He ended up all muddy on the back.  Sad part is, he wanted to get all the sleds out.  My kids love snow.  

After an afternoon of playing in the snow & visiting w/ family, my parents took us out to eat.  We went to one of our favorite places...Logan's Roadhouse.  Kids love it b/c they can eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor.  LOL.  Nik was fascinated w/ the vibrating call button.  Kids did really well having to wait that long.  Other FAS parents can imagine the Christmas stimulation, the out of routine day, the snow, the excitement, the waiting at the restaurant and well, it could have turned out differently.  Talked w/ all of them in the car before we even went in.  They did just fine. 

The chefs at Logan's are so great.  They will make the fire go way up for the kids watching.  Obviously, my kids are mesmorized by this.  

My parents that treated us to the spectacular day we all had.  My kids call my Dad Poppop and my mom Nana Babushka.  Babushka is the Russian word for grandmother.  My mom hates that name.  Remember, my grandfather(her dad) was Russian Orthodox.  They know too many of the real "babushkas."  

They both will kill me for posting this picture but I'll suffer the consequences.  My kids love the yeast rolls here.  They are super soft and just great before a meal.  

All in all, a very enjoyable day.  I was nervous at first as we all haven't been together for so long.  however, it turned out better than I could have imagined.  We all got to laugh again and think we all needed that.  Well, need to get going.  It's Tuesday and we are way behind on our to do list.  We did buy Irina her early birthday present today... a new bed.  She is thrilled.  It comes Thursday.  She's had the same kid's bed for almost 11 years now.  It has been repaired more than it's fair share & honestly, don't know what's holding it together at this point in time.  Bojan went to Duke today.  He's out of the AFO and the boot.  Wahoo!!!  Surgery will be in 4 months.  That will hopefully be his last surgery on that clubfoot.  Maybe.  enjoy your evening.  It's chilly in here.  Warren is putting plastic over the fireplace as the living room is like an icebox.  Wind blows right through the fireplace and all the old windows.  Some times, I swear it would be warmer to live in a tent.  LOL.  Great news is we have very warm beds w/ lots of comforters on them.  And, can't be too cold b/c my teenage son decided to turn the air conditioner on.  URGHH!!!  He had the air conditioner on AND the heat at the same time.  Again...URGHH!!!  Stay tuned for more happenings at Chaos Manor. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas came early!!! (part II)

Had a busy day but trying to play catch up on last weekend's happenings.  You saw part I w/ the opening of presents.  After presents were opened, my parents took Warren & I to Lowes to pick out a new washing machine!  Much, much appreciated.  No more mildewy clothes, no more towels shoved under the machine since it leaked so much, no more running it many cycles to try to get it to work.  Relief. They also gave us cash which is going toward fixing our door rot in the back.  After Lowes, we came home & kids were playing w/ presents. 

Easy bake over.  Always a wonder for kids.  Now, Irina was the genius that decided no directions were necessary to make the brownies.  She also decided one pan was enough, not two.  What do you think happened?

A soupy mess.  Notice the drip?  Even the inside of the oven was full of batter.  Lovely.  Just lovely.  They loved it though.   

Yana teaching my cousin's little girl how to shoot a nerf gun at her brother.  

After some playing, some of my other relatives came over too.  We all had lunch together here.  Pizza and some homemade Ukrainian dishes.  My uncle went to a Russian Orthodox church that was doing a fundraiser.  We had kilbasea, perogies, & I forgot the name of the other.  cabbage w/ meat.  It was all good.  

What would a family gathering be w/out a pup pooping on the rug.  URGHH!!!  Had to throw out the rug as it was a shag one & no way to get it clean.  Puppies are lucky they are cute as otherwise, they'd be dead.  LOL.  I think that's why all puppies are so dog gone they can avoid trouble.

Alyona trying on her new coat from Nana.  So happy she got one as I had no idea she didn't have one!  There is such a gap in size between her & the teens.  The boys always have hand me downs but not so much w/ Alyona.  She loves this coat & works perfectly.

Kota all tuckered out after all that Christmas paper unwrapping.  

After all that, we settled down for some conversation and goofing around.  What I had forgotten to tell you was that morning, just as my parents arrived, a lady arrived to pick up a Christmas Tree we were giving away.  Honestly, we are trying to clear out the garage for the future room of the girls.  She was recently laid off, single w/ a 6yo little girl.  Had no way of getting a tree this year so she was thrilled with it.  While she was here I ran up and loaded up 3 grocery bags of shoes from Alyona.  This lady was beyond appreciative.  Well, my dad went & gave her $100 as well and said Merry Christmas.  Warren said it was all she could do to hold it together.  Was happy that the little girl was now going to have a Christmas.  Not only that, happy that someone on Craigslist actually could use the item we gave away versus turning around and selling it.  

After lunch, we had a great surprise in the state of NC.  Any guesses??  Next post will definitely be that.  For now, I have a state department to write.  Immigration being called tomorrow.  Got to go.  Almost 10:00pm and I haven't finished nearly half the stuff I needed to.  Have a nice evening.

Manic Monday

It's Monday already.  We have been rather busy today.  I'll share about this past weekend tomorrow.  Tonight, I need to finish up the early Christmas post w/ pictures from last weekend.  For now,  a quick thing on what's happening here today. 

Alright, I had the "littles" and Nik today.  Nik was home sick w/ what I'm guessing is strep throat.  Taking him in this evening.  If he's not better. 

Called & Bojan's liner was finally in today.  He could come tomorrow but has the surgeon's appt. tomorrow.  URGHH!!!  Kid needs a leg like two months ago.  He may have to go back into the wheelchair b/c it is literally that bad for him to walk.  His next appointment to get casted is next Tuesday.  He'll hate that as he'll miss the last day before Christmas break. 

Got busy today w/ the miscellaneous gifts for bus drivers and various classes that are doing parties.  Frankly, I think it's stupid to exchange a $1 gift that will break that afternoon.  Just seems like a waste to go to the store & pay more in gas than the gift.  LOL.  But again, just my opinion.  I would love to be a fly on the wall when Nik's class exchanges gifts.  They are wrapping up items for the classroom, trading it, and then giving it back to the classroom.  Umm, yeh, first graders are really going to go for that idea.  I know Nik will most likely get distraught to open a gift, get excited, & have to give it back to the classroom.  I'd rather him simply give a gift than to go through that whole spiel.  Same end result but less stress for the kids I would think.  They are then writing thank you notes for the gifts.  I'm kind of confused on that part as how are we thanking someone for a gift that is going back to the classroom.  Again, just an opinion as I'm not the teacher.  I know there is a reason behind it.  Plus, who knows, maybe I read the paper wrong or interpreted it wrong.  I'll check & then ask his interpreter to please explain he's NOT getting a gift for himself.  I've already tried to tell him but he doesn't want to hear it.  He gets the part that he's giving a gift.  Just not hte part that the gift he gets, goes back to the classroom. 

Years ago when I was in school, we never traded gifts.  We had a wonderful class party the last day of school before Christmas break.  And yes, we were allowed to call it Christmas break.  I remember getting a gift for the teacher.  Yep, ONE teacher.  Not 4 or 5.  Right now I still have that guilt feeling.  I don't have funds to buy for 21 teachers that my kids have.  Even at $5 a piece it would be excessive.  When they had one each, it was okay, but now, this new teaching method has got it to where I really can't afford to get the teachers a gift.  Frustrating for sure as I want them to know I appreciate what they do.  Yes, I can write a card, but just feel it is so insignificant compared to what I know some of these teachers receive.  Anyhow, doing all the wrapping for that stuff. Well, the stuff for their classes. 

Trying to play catch up w/ many, many items.  Writing the State Department this evening.  I'm sure that will be a joy.  Finishing up the Christmas lists.  You all know we received a washer from my parents.  It has been much, much appreciated.  Well, we also received a cash gift from them as well.  That money today has been allocated toward the door repair.  Almost have enough for it.  Remember, this is being held together w/ silly putty (plumber's putty) right now.  Rotted pretty badly:

Currently, that hole is plugged w/ the putty.  Now, the other side looks the same & the beam underneath is rotted as well.  Also, the whole door leaks when it rains.  Has to be repaired.  no choice.  And, in the midst of an adoption, this is never easy.  Adding, Irina as an "adult" member of this household so far has cost us well over $200.  Though that's not much in the grand scheme of the adoption world, it sure as heck adds up.  Sidetracked.  Great news is we are going to get the door fixed & that will hopefully stopped the leak for one & prevent further damage to the structure itself.  If this part rots, the backside will collapse.  We were extremely fortunate enough to receive that gift & be able to fix our door.  Should get done in the next few weeks.

As you remember, we received an anonymous donation from the church over Thanksgiving time.  We thought long & hard and decided what to do w/ it.  30% has been donated to others in much greater need than us.  What is left is being used to get Irina that bed she desperately needs and some Christmas gifts for our children.  That donation has allowed us to feel some relief for sure.  Lifts a big burden for us.  Does help the kids have a Christmas for sure.  We are definitely going to pay it forward in the future.  

Got to get the kids ready for school tomorrow.  I'll have another post up later on to finish last weekend's happenings.  Like I said, just been overly busy here.  I also have been given the opportunity to possibly do a blog giveaway.  It's Christmas time so of course everything is going on at once.  But, the only way to handle that is do one thing at a time and not stress over what you don't get done.  Tomorrow is still there.  More to come!