Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas at Nana & Papa's House (part II)

After presents and many trips back to all the desserts, the kids needed to be outside.  Our kids live to be outside so it is really hard for them to stay inside the house for extended periods of time.  So, they did some outdoor activities.

Nik was playing around but finding it difficult to steer on the ice.  No coat. Hey, I'm lucky he had socks on at this point.

Alex enjoying some time on the scooter.  My kids live to be outdoors.  They have a nice covered carport to do this in.  Again, no jacket.  

The guys inspecting Papa's new old tractor.  Can you believe he completely refurbished this himself!?  Amazing work.  Looks & sounds brand spanking new.  

Another view of the tractor.  I forget what year in the 50's it was made.

Max is totally in his element here.  He loves anything mechanical and is quite artistic at it.  Beautiful tractor for sure.  They don't make them like this any more.  It lasted over 50 years before it needed some repairs.  Sure it would last another 50.  BTW, it's a Ford.  American made.  Says a lot I think.  

We will be going for another visit shortly we hope.  Some times the kids even stay here during the summer though not all at once.  This finally concludes all the past Christmas posts.  I know it took me awhile. Shoot, I did four posts today alone. 2 on Christmas, a medical update & an adoption update.  Not too bad.  Maybe I'll be caught up soon.  

Tomorrow we hope to go to church.  Warren is really sick right now but hoping it is short-lived bug.  Poor guy.  Trying to get kids at least bed ready.  They watched Agent cody Banks II earlier today.  We are actually thinking of signing up for Netflix.  Would love input if anyone has used that service.  At $8 a month, definitely cheaper than buying dvd's or renting them.  Is it worth it?  Anyone use it?  We don't have cable so thought this may be an option.  Let me know if any of you use it & what you think.  Time to go.  Too much laughter downstairs can only mean trouble.

Brief adoption update

Thought it was time for one.  As some of you are aware, we are waiting on one piece of paper essentially in order to travel to Bulgaria on trip one.  That would be the I-800A.  Originally, submitted back in October.  USCIS invoked the right to treat Irina as an adult member of the household.  So, addendum to homestudy done, sending in supplemental I done, sending in fingerprint money for her done, and waiting...and waiting... on a fingerprint appointment letter for Irina.  Still NOT received yet.  Yes, they got the money, sent the letter that said that & that the fingerprint appointment would be forthcoming.  Called yesterday as I knew something was not right.  After 24 minutes on the phone, I got absolutely...nowhere!  Yep, nowhere.  Why?  Because they had me in the wrong unit.  Yes, I gave them my name & receipt #, etc.  Told them it's for an adoption, etc.  Crazy.  Last person gave me the # to the adoption unit.  It was 5:05pm on a Friday.  Umm, yeh, no way anyone would be there then.  Lady on the phone agreed.  So, Monday I call again. 

Our adoption agency though is pretty confident that once the I-800A approval is in hand, travel would be coming about a month later.  Now, our officer told us once we have Irina's fingerprints done, nothing else is wrong w/ the application and that approval should be immediate.  Now, can you all understand why I'm SO ready to get her fingerprints done??  We are ready to go.  Yes, even in the midst of winter.  We're ready.  Hoping to hear some news on Monday.  And no, the letter was not in the mail today either.  Fingers & toes are crossed for Monday. 

Just thought you all should know where we stand as after all, this is supposed to be an adoption blog.  thought about changing the name of it since they're not home yet but will leave it for now and just change the blog name after they are home.  Thanks for letting me share.  I know it's not exciting news but at least there is some news.  I promise we're not making this adoption up even though at times it may seem like it since it's taking so long.  Going with the flow.  Wish us luck for news on Monday. 

Christmas at Nana & Papa's House (part I)

Finally, the last Christmas post.  It was Christmas all December long it seemed.  Nice feeling but also nice to get back a bit of routine.  Well, we were supposed to go on December 26th to Warren's parents house.  10" of snow deterred that idea.  So, we went that Wednesday instead.  They only live about 2 hours so the drive is not so bad.  Thought I'd share in pictures and this will probably be a 2 part or 3 part post.

My mother in-law is an artist.  No, really, that's her profession.  VERY artistic in not just the paintings/ drawings she does but also the decorations at Christmas time.  Very bright and festive.  Elegant is the word I'd use.  Versus Chaos Manor where the word is... chaos or whatever you find still survived in the Christmas decoration box.   It is obvious the house is not made for children any more.  That's not to be said in a mean way but just take a look:

That's right folks.  A house FULL of lots of breakables.  Glass, crystal, you name it.  Beautiful but with FAS kids, not the best. I am terrified every time I go in there w/ the pretty displays.  And in case you're wondering, yes, a breakable got drop on the glass table.  Nik did it but nothing got broken.  When I say something is broken in our home every single week, almost everyday, I am NOT a bit exaggerating.  So,you can imagine walking into this environment & my nerves going through the roof softly reminding all my kids don't run in the house like at home and above all else, please don't pick anything up.  Now, their Nana doesn't mind but as a parent you do feel bad if your kid breaks something. 

There was no shortage of food or desserts.  All very yummy.  Oh, Yana's hair.  The 3 girls decided the night before would be an excellent night to braid their hair & let it be frizzy the next day.  Not what I wanted them to do but they were cooperating so well I took advantage of it.  Hey, the hair wasn't as upsetting to me as said teenage daughter above wearing slippers to their house instead of shoes.  Yep, she was that lazy not to take off the slippers to go for a visit.  URGHH!!!  I did not think to check their shoes.  Believe me, we have to do a clothing check before we leave for certain events. 

Two of them goofing around before opening presents.  BTW, those glass balls sitting on top of more crystal/glass is what Nik eventually knocked over. 

Can you tell the kids were getting restless??  Max trying to get out of the chair.  Nik climbing up on the sofa.  Bojan plotting for I'm not sure what exactly.  And yes trust me, he's plotting.  I know the look.

Alyona modeling off her new clothes.  Very pretty.  She loves it. 

Kids opening their presents.  They were quite pleased with it all for sure.  

I know it's blurry but maybe you can see the excitement on Alex's face.  Inside all the boys' new wallets was money.  This is great for them but not so great for mom & dad.  LOL.  FAS children (as most children do) have trouble deciding what they want.  I swear I thought I'd never get out of Target when we went.  But, this also teaches them about taxes and saving and spending too.  Some of the kids had other money that they combined it with.  

The kids did well at their grandparents' house.  Nothing was broken and no meltdowns.  Though I could tell at the end it was getting tough for them.  When our children get out of sync, it takes days to recover.  They thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent visiting w/ Nana & Papa.  We're trying to work out a date to go back again.  Weekends are so hard b/c it throws them off for returning to school on Monday.  So looking for some long weekends & then of course Easter break is coming up.    Kids did well and even got many wonderful little surprises as far as presents go.  Cute slippers from their aunt Lisa & Uncle Tim.  Alex has worn his out already.  Seriously.  Alyona swears hers are boots instead of slippers so wants to wear them out all the time.  More pictures to come. 

Medical updates on kids

Thankfully, it's been quiet on the medical front for a bit.  But, I figured I'd do a quick update.  With adoption, many dx's are life long and those new to adoption need to realize that.  One day I may actually give all dx's and explain what each one means.  However, that is a post in & of itself.  For now, just give a run down of what is happening with them in their medical lives.  Again, thankfully it seems relatively quiet for right now.  At this moment in time.  As we all know, that can change in a heartbeat.

I'll start with the boys.

Max is extremely healthy and doing very well.  He just had his neurology checkup and FULL blood panel done.  Some of the antipsychotics my children are on are very potent drugs.  They get blood work drawn every few months to make sure that it is not affecting the liver nor cholesterol.  Last time, Max had borderline cholesterol issues.  This time, it's all back to normal which is great.  These meds are working for him and when you do a med change in this house it is beyond hard.  Bottom line though, Max is very healthy and meds are working.

Bojan is healthy & doing well too.  However, he has many more physical issues than most our kids.  Bojan just finished a surgery this fall for his clubfoot.  The original doctor he had for years never really quite got it right.  Remember, this is the same on that did Alyona's botched surgery job.  We switched to someone at Duke Orthopedics and got someone who finally really seems to know his stuff.  He was able to really fix up Bojan's leg this past fall.  Only thing left know is to internally rotate his left leg back into position.  As it sits now, his leg is completely out to the side.  We needed a break from surgery as did Bojan. This last surgery was rough,our house is not wheelchair accessible and Bojan is not a little boy to lift around any more.   So, next surgery we'll need to schedule but will most likely be around April time frame.  His prosthetic leg is beyond too small.  I mean really, really small that he can barely walk.  They are trying as fast as they can to make it but this takes time to get it right.  We were hoping for yesterday but they said another 2 weeks.  Bojan's eczema is pretty rough.  Gets this way in teh winter.  Kid is almost raw at times.  Mostly on his clubfoot & some patches on his face.  In winter, it sometimes will look as though you slapped him on the cheeks.  Lotions & ointments help but not all the way.  And of course getting a boy to remember to put that stuff on is another story.  Otherwise, he's good. 

Alex is yet another healthy boy we have.  Very physically fit for sure.  He is starting to show a little pudge  as Max did at this age.  Max slimmed out as I'm sure Alex will.  Trust me, it's not because they are sedentary.  LOL.  The meds & hormone changes is what you have to look out for.  His meds are working & recent bloodwork was perfect so he can remain on the same meds.  Always a great thing if they are working right.  Alex still gets overheated very easily but it's winter so we're fine.  Some FAS children do have temperature regulating issues.  He's one of them.  He bundles up a bit in the house.  Wears a hat inside and a snuggie now.  Alex hasn't complained about his broken bone much lately so that is good.  He has an unique thing w/ his bone in his upper arm.  Like a hook that grew out of the regular bone.  Well, one year it broke off.  Remains broken but ortho said to leave it as is unless it really bothers him.  It is not doing any damage and is just one of those odd things.  There is a big long name for what it is called but honestly, I couldn't even begin to tell you let alone spell it out.  Alex is growing a lot lately.  He is 10 years old so it is the age to do that.  His allergies are pretty rough lately but don't want to drug him up too much w/the other meds he's on.  So, got him his own "netti potty."  Yep, that's what Alex calls the neti pot.  A "netti potty."  Sounds gross when he says it.  Hoping it helps a bit.

Nik is a very healthy 8yo boy.  He is now bilaterally implanted w/ CI's.  He is beginning to really localize sound much better now.  Doing very well w/ both implants and really likes them.  Great sign.  He gets private speech therapy at the house 2X a week and in school 4 or 5 times a week.  Still, can not talk.  Concentrating on sign more and more as that is his primary form of communication.   Nik's doing well w/ ASL but is not reading.  Trying to figure out what to do about that part.  Medically though, Nik is very healthy.  His asthma is well under control w/ the singulair and we haven't had an attack in a long time.  Not even one nebulizer treatment this winter!  His eczema is almost non-existent now.  Now, his vision needs to be checked again soon. He's do for his annual checkup.  Well, over due. He & Alyona have to go to a specialist.  Nik has some pretty poor vision but seems stable at the moment.  We'll see in a few weeks.  Last word was it doesn't look like he has RP(retinitis pigmentosa) & isn't going to be going blind.  That is wonderful news for sure.  Again, have to get checked out again soon.  Nik is a very medically healthy little boy.  Growing boy I should say. 

Now it's the girls' turn to see what is medically happening with them.

Irina-- Irina is growing into a beautiful young lady.  Trouble is, she has gained over 40 lbs since September when she started school.  Thyroid is fine.  Doctor thinks it is stress from school & so do I.  Going to work on getting her back to healthy once she is homeschooled soon.  Her asthma is under control as well as allergies for the most part.  Her OCD is through the roof lately but we're working on it.  Hey, at least the house is getting cleaned.  Irina will need a sinus surgery soon.  Again.  Apparently, while she lived in the orphanage she had a horrible fall which caused some damage to her nose.  She has had 2 surgeries thus far & will most likely get another this spring.  Want to wait till after our first trip to Bulgaria for obvious reasons.  Otherwise, Irina is pretty healthy.  She has made a health plan up and is working on some things. 

Yana-- Yana is pretty healthy as well.  Her weight is in check & she is going to try out for track so she's trying to stay physically fit.  Her migraines seem to be better now.  For awhile, she was getting them almost daily.  Now, they are just once in awhile so that is wonderful for sure.  All in all, very healthy. 

Alyona-- Alyona is another that seems to be doing just fine.  Her ASD has had the all clear.  So, no more heart stuff.  yeah.  Her eyes are not the  best.  She has really only one good eye.  The glasses are mainly to protect the good eye even though that eye needs help too.  None of her vision is 20/20 even w/ glasses.  She has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia(ONH).  She needs to go back very soon for her annual checkup. Great news is that her vision seems to be stable.  So, at least not detiorating.  Her arm still has permanent damage.  Gives her trouble at times but she has learned to work with it.  We still have major food battles with her.  Alyona would be best to eliminate sugar but still have not eliminated it completely.  Alyona has finally outgrown the toddler sizes and I'm thrilled.  She's in a size 6 or 6X.  It's great.  She grew.  No other medical stuff going on.  Alyona has even gained weight.  Still not even 45 lbs. but getting there. 

I think that about covers them.  I don't mention the FAS or RAD or mental health stuff on this as that would take forever.  There are always issues with that and we work on them.  Only Nik right now has speech therapy.  No one else is doing any other therapies.  We've tried mental health therapies and such but they never seemed to be what our kids needed.  One day I'll write more on that type of stuff.  For now, thought a brief medical update was due.  I'm just thrilled that I have very healthy children.  Got to get going.  another post with pictures is forthcoming. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Magic from Nana

Bojan got a package from his grandmother the other day.  It's my mom  & they call her Nana Babooshka which she hates.  LOL.  Babooshka means grandmother in Russian.  BTW, she grew up in a house that was Russian Orthodox & Methodist.  Trust me, we know all about the Russian Orthodox faith & traditions.  I digress.  Bojan received a package in the mail.

Any chance Max has to use a pocket knife, he's going to use it.  

Everyone seeing just what Bojan had received for his gift.  BTW, my parents were recently in Las Vegas and visited a magic shop.  

I think Bojan is very please with his new magic set.  As is everyone else in the room.  

They are all mesmorized by the instructional video on magic tricks.  Do you know how tired I am at acting surprised at the same magic trick 7 times over???  Oh well.  They have really enjoyed this nice surprise.  Forewarning:  If you come to this house, be expected to see a magic tricks... 7 times over.

Need to get ready for a few things tonight.  De-cluttering a basket full of paper stuff.  And I mean full.  Kids are excited as a few other kids are spending the night.  Plus, a major snow storm may be hitting on Monday & Tuesday here.  With ice.  That equals major shut down for this state I'm sure.  Schools have already talked about being closed on Monday & Tuesday.  Lovely.  I love it though as we really do have fun here on snow days.  It's so rare & I think that is what makes it so fun.  Going to try to call immigration now.  Wish me luck.  The final Christmas post is next.  Just takes awhile to write.  Bojan is w/ Warren & Max getting his new leg today...hopefully.  Bojan will have to learn to walk w/ this one all over again as it's new componetry and system works differently than before they told us.  Bojan wanted his brother Max to go.  I told you these two are VERY close.  That's good though.  For those who ever questioned Bojan's adoption being too soon, after the others & that it wouldn't work out, well, I think we can say now that those statements were myths.  He has bonded w/ everyone in here.  Including the sister that used to hate him!   Yep, he & Yana are buddy buddy now too.  For those new to adoption, always trust your gut.  Not the opinion of others.  Now, to just wait for the snow this evening.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bojan & Warren's mini b-day

Both their birthdays are on January 5th.  Each year we add the candles together & have both of them blow them out.  We had 61 candles on there!  Yes, now you can figure out Warren's age. 

I was digging through the drawer to find all these candles.  Obviously, we did not have 61 that matched.  Hey, it worked.  

Candles are a blazing!  Have you ever seen this much fire on a cake?  

I thought this was hilarious.  I'm not sure which kid did it first but I was laughing while Warren was giving a smirky look.  Got to admit though, it is kind of funny.  So much fire to produce heat.

They both managed to blow out all the candles.  We all really enjoyed the cake.  It was chocolate cake courtesy of Irina and my homemade icing.   Everyone had some and all of us had some more for breakfast this morning.  Yep, I served chocolate cake with oranges for breakfast.  Thank goodness they weren't doing one of those nutritional journals for school this week.  

More to come on Bojan's gift from Nana...hint is in front of him.  And the final Christmas post with the grandparents.  Those two should be tomorrow.  I have the "littles" tomorrow so a later post.  And, I think 4 or 5 kids are spending the night tomorrow night.  I'm tired already.  Have a great weekend everyone.  We're having more cake so I know we will.  Good night.

Thoughtful Thursday

I'm only doing the girls this week for Thoughtful Thursday.  Honestly, I did not pay much attention to the boys this week .  I know I should have but things have been chaotic around here & finally settling back down.  So, here are some things I recognized the girls doing this week. 

Irina-- helped me to finish making some scarves w/ the "littles"  It was a lot of work putting the beads on the end.  She offered to help which was very sweet.  She could see my hands were hurting.  I have arthritis in my knees & I'm pretty sure it's a matter of time before it goes to the hands as my mom has it too.  Her offering to help w/ those tiny beads was wonderful. 

Yana-- Irina was talking about a bad accident where 3 people were seriously hurt.  Yana said I'm going to pray for them.  I thought that was very thoughtful of her and showed some empathy for sure.  For those who know RAD, that is a huge step.  Huge.

Yana also allowed Nik to sleep in her room when the other kids were spending the night since Nik felt so left out.  Very thoughtful of her.  

Alyona-- Wanted to help play w/ the "littles" so that I could cook dinner.  Thought that was sweet of her.  She also wanted to make Daddy & Bojan a cake for their birthdays.

That's it for now.  Next week I'll have the boys & girls for thoughtful Thursday.  More pictures to come.  I have one more Christmas post to do.  I think I'm almost caught up on here.   Only have one "little" today so it's different.  Quiet.  Too quiet.  He & I are doing boy things since the other 3 I have are girls & well, he gets out voted most of the time.  So, "his" day to choose.  We've played Star Wars together, made pizza (homemade), and played dinosaurs & play dough.  After lunch, think I'll take him somewhere maybe.  Got to go.  Enjoy your day. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fake cake & lightbulbs

Still playing catch up on some posts here.  Thought I'd do Irina's birthday.  She was really looking forward to her friend coming over but at the last minute she couldn't. So, we went ahead and had some cake anyhow that evening. 

Still am in shock that she is 18 years old.   In her village in Russia, she would not have been alive to see this.  Her orphanage, on the streets at 13 years old.  At 13, she had the mentality of about a 6yo.  Irina would not have lived to see her 18th birthday.  Still amazes me.  She is such a gift and hard for others not to have witnessed that.  I'm not going to lie on here.  Irina does struggle and has come to terms with the invisible disability she has called FAS.  It is hard but she is learning to cope as are we.  Irina has accomplished way more in her 18 years than anyone ever thought possible.  She has turned into a very compassionate, loving, respectful(okay, so NOT to her sisters), motivated, loyal, & responsible young woman.  Very proud of who she has become.  Though in many ways still a little girl, many ways too, grown up as well.  Glad we'll have many more birthdays to celebrate with her.  

These two are very close.  Alyona and Irina.  Lots of similarities.  Alyona was playing birthday party.  Irina helped to do hair.  Wish this picture were clearer b/c I really do like it.  

These are my sous chefs.  They got chef hats for Christmas.  They like to help me cook.  Helps them learn a little too.  We were cooking bacon and eggs this morning.  I think they are ready for Hell's Kitchen, how about you?  

Kids singing Happy Birthday to the baby doll.  Alyona got the high chair for Christmas.  She loves it.  Nik, Alyona and Alex do still play baby dolls & stuffed animals together.  

Why of course you serve fake cake after you sing Happy Birthday to the baby dolls & bears.  She got this cute little cake for Christmas as well.  You can take the flowers on & off of it & it divides into four pieces.  Cute.  One day there will be a shot in my house w/ nothing on the floor.  Yes, still waiting for that day.  Still have our box of sweet potatoes.  Still taste fantastic.  

Those bags on the box and bags of normal lightbulbs.  We HATE those new bulbs for sure.  Stupid twisty things.  2 fires in our house so far b/c of them & one more potential one last week that we caught in time.  It was smoking so hadn't turn to fire yet.  Found out from a relative (used to work for the EPA) that those new bulbs are not meant for light fixtures that hang upside down.  Really?   What the heck are we going to do?  We've already had 3 fires in the light fixtures!  Okay, so 2 real fires & 1 potential.  Should count it as the bulb was smoking & smelling when we found it.  URGHH!!!  Remember, these bulbs are being eliminated in 2012.  Next year.  How long do you think before houses start burning down?  Yep, I predict ours may be one of them if we have no choice but to use those bulbs.  So, stocking up when we can.  We've also found those new bulbs do not last those 7 to 8 years that they claim.  Ha!  Not in this house.  And, it's not the wiring.  Frankly, I'm nervous about the new bulbs.  Found out online that there have been other folks who've had them catch fire as well.  Scary thought.  

Well, slowly but surely getting caught up here.  Only have 2 "littles" tomorrow.  Hoping we can get stuff done around here but doubtful.  I'll figure something out.  Still no immigration letter.  Do a catch up on the adoption post tomorrow.  More to come.  Time for bed.  Puppies are exhausted so that's a good sign we'll get some sleep tonight.  I'm telling you, some nights they are worse than babies.  Crazy. 

Happy Birthday Warren & Bojan!

Just a quick note to say a very Happy Birthday to my husband and my son.  Yes, they share a birthday.  Warren is a year older.  not sure he'd want me sharing his age but he is ten years older than me.  He's probably not celebrating much today.  Later we'll have cake.  Unfortunately, Warren is on his way to Lowes early this morning to get a snake to try to discover what surprise lays deep in the pipes.  Last time this happened, Warren had to take the toilet apart and dumped it out.  Out came a boat.  He thought that was it.  Got it all fixed back up and it didn't work.  Alex then decides to speak up and say "but Daddy, there were two parts to that boat."  At that time, I thought it best to remove Alex from the room.  LOL.  The look on Warren's face was priceless when Alex said that though.  Thought I would crack up but didn't dare laugh.  Can laugh now though.  So, off to Lowes he goes. 

I'm going to story time at the church and taking my neighbor w/ me w/ the other two "littles" I watch some times.  Well, we went to story time and had a good time.  Came home & poor Warren was still here working on stuff.  He discovered one of the problems.  Want to guess what it was shoved in that toilet downstairs? 

No, not the kids or the dog but that stupid remote control spider Nik got for Christmas.  One of those 6" legs stopped up the entire toilet.  Problem solved.  Well, sort of.

Septic guys came out today.  Aren't you glad I didn't take pictures?  LOL.  He said we should have called last year, this was overflowing and we were very lucky this time. I asked him flat out how long he thinks this system will hold up w/ our load.  He said I really can't answer that but you are going to have problems.  Umm, not the answer we needed.  We know we need to do something but can't put in a secondary line, Extreme Homemakeover I'm sure is not knocking on the door any time soon, & we can't move as we'd have to take a major loss just as every other American does in this country when selling a home.  So, that leaves us stuck.  Not in a good position.  For now, it's stable again and everything is fine.  Trouble is, no guarantee how long that will last.  In addition, the lid(concrete) disintegrated.  Literally fell apart as they took it off.  Watched them.  I knew right then & there we are going to have some major problems in the future.  Time will tell.  BTW, this little visit was $500.  

Warren finally got to work & the "littles" & I went back out.  Irina made a cake for Bojan & Warren's birthday today.  I need to make the icing in a minute.  May snow here later tonight & tomorrow.  Feels like snow if that makes sense to anyone.  We'll see.  Should be just flurries.  Immigration letter still did not come today.  I should be able to call in the morning.  I'm worried at this point.  My check has been cashed so that's not the issue.  Again, this is what we're waiting on...impatiently waiting.  I've got to get cracking on homeschool stuff for Irina.  Working on it.  May search for a few online things as well so if anyone out there has suggestions, please do let me know.  I cheated tonight for dinner and just shoved in frozen lasagna from Mrs. Stouffers.  After making two roast beefs last night in the most inopportune time, I was not up to making anything today.  Tomorrow, snow, so homemade crockpot soup I think.  Love the smell they put out.  Still have more posts to catch up with.  Including Irina's birthday, Christmas at Warren's parents, and a few others I'm sure.  I feel better today about what I've gotten done lately.  Was feeling overwhelmed but when I stepped back & really took inventory of what all has been accomplished, well it's a different story.  Got to go.  More posts to follow.  sorry this one was so choppy. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Snowstorm 2010-- play day! (part III)

Nik looks so grown up in this picture.  My baby boy is growing up too fast for my tastes.  No gloves.  Definitely born in Russia.  Loves the snow.  

Alex, at the end of one of his sled runs.  Kid cracks me up b/c he tries so hard to fall into the creek.  We have a drop off on the side of our yard.  Boys.

Max realizing that mom saying you should wear gloves may not have been a bad idea after all.  

Doesn't even look like NC, does it?  Amazing how much snow we got.  More amazing is we might get more snow this week as well!  Can't wait.  I do love it.  Hot cocoa, sledding, relaxing, watching movies after snowball fights, etc.

Nik just loves being outdoors.  All my kids do really.  I'm very thankful for that.  Sun shining down on the snow while you sled.  Really, what could be better?  Beautiful blue skies to boot.  Happy times for sure.

Alyona sledding down.  Notice how our yard is shaded?  perfect for sledding as the ice/ snow stay put for a bit longer than most yards.  We do have the perfect yard for this for sure.  One day I'll have to make a video of them sledding.  It's great.  

Sun shining through the trees and starting to melt the snow.  I think those who don't get snow so often really tend to appreciate it more.  Simply b/c we don't have to deal w/ it long is part of it.  Things shut down, people relax, neighbors come by & say hello, kids hang out and drink hot cocoa, etc.  Simplistic for sure but most enjoyable by a state filled w/ beach bums.  Anyone ever been to one of those beach music festivals??  

More Christmas pictures to come as well as Irina's 18th birthday w/ us.  Puppies are doing great but this past week have been trying us too.  They seemed to be potty trained and then these past few days have decided to pee on everything.  Including our bed as we're going to sleep!  Mind you, we have ONE, count them, ONE pair of king-sized sheets.  Was interesting that evening for sure w/ no sheets & a way too small comforter.  It was Alaska who did it which shocked me even more.  Kota, not to be out done, decides to pee all over his dog bed. Lovely.  Don't know what got into them.  Hoping for a turn around.  Need to get to sleep.  Stay tuned for more happenings at Chaos Manor. 

Poo, patience & people

My oh my is all I can say over the last few days here.  Chaotic is an understatement.  Shoot, just today I have a butcher knife in my hand screaming down the hall at Nik making sure he doesn't use the bathroom.  Why?  Because, as disgusting as this is, the toilet is full of poo.  Now, I thought could have been just the boys & Max could plunge it & fine.  Umm, no.  Went outside....s-e-p-t-i-c system smell.  For those who don't have one, that is NOT a good sign.  We have an alarm for it & it has not gone off so hopefully not a malfunction but just a good cleaning needed.  We try to get it cleaned every 2 years.  Apparently, I forgot to do it last year.  Normal size families get this done every three to 5 years.  Us, every two.  Back to the knife.  Was cutting roast beef up at the time for dinner tonight & speech therapist was here.  Nik goes to go to the bathroom & I try to catch him before we have to mop an entire house.  I think I scared him.  LOL.  He's fine, just at the moment he's not expecting to see mom chasing him w/ a knife screaming not to use the bathroom. 

All this was going on & 2 of the 4 littles were still here, speech therapist, and maybe someone else but can't remember.  I was on the phone to septic guy.  Earliest they can come is tomorrow evening.  Fine.  We've told all kids NO baths, NO dishwasher, NO laundry, etc.  NO running water kids.  Pretend you are camping & if you don't follow these instructions thoroughly, you may end up going in the woods.  LOL.  For now, one working toilet & hope that will remain for the next day.  Keeping fingers crossed this can be fixed.  Now, Max decided he should take a look at it & lifted the concrete cover that is never to be moved...URGHH!!  I was busy at the time and this is one of those lovely impulsive things that FASers do...explore it for themselves.  Got to love it when ten thousand other things are happening around you at the time. 

Patience.  I'm running out.  Seriously.  I want this adoption to move it.  We're at a stand still & now concerned b/c I still have NOT received Irina's finger print appointment card.  They did take my money though so maybe that's a good sign. If I don't have it by tomorrow, I will call.  

Okay, people have said they can not read the blog so I went ahead & changed it.  Got many emails on it & Warren didn't like it either.  I tried to be different & creative but didn't quite work out so well.  Still working on all my resolutions and organization is going well & staying good.  I even answered old email drafts.  Doing more this evening.  So who knows, if you wrote me months ago, I may actually get back to you, guilt and all.  LOL.  I feel bad if I can't answer everyone.  But, as I've said before, kids & family come first.  I am definitely getting much better about responding than I did before though.  If I have not responded though, someone please feel free to yell at me to get my rear in gear. 

Kids are back into the routine of school.  Looks like it may snow a bit this week so we'll see if they get out of routine again.  Remember, even a dusting in a southern state tends to put things in a stand still.  I would love another big snow.  I really would.  It is fun to sled w/ the kids.  I will have more snow pics up soon.  Again, life snuck up on me as it does many in this world & I'm honestly just behind on things. 

Bojan & Warren's birthdays are tomorrow.  yep, same day.  I haven't made the cakes yet & not sure when I'll get to.  The plan was to go to story time tomorrow w/ the "littles," come home & make the cakes.  Well, since the whole house thing is a bit a mess w/ not being able to use water (well, just not a good idea right now), staying here w/ them is not the best idea.  So, story time and then out to lunch.  I'm sure I have kids eat free coupons for somewhere.  Irina is having someone spend the night Friday as well as Bojan.  IRina's friend had to cancel last weekend and she was in tears.  So, this weekend it is & hope nothing happens.  Bojan will have some friends over as well.  I think by the end of the weekend we'll be caked out. 

We have a bunch of things happening around here.  Lots of good things for sure.  Yana is testing boundries right now and we are really staying on top of it.  It's like tonight, she always tries to go in her room at bed time & then stay up well afterwards.  Umm, no.  Bed time is bed time & there is no piddling around and making excuses.  Must be the time of year b/c Alyona is also testing us lately w/ her attitude & stubborness.  She wrote Alex is stoopid all over his homework.  So, Alyona had to write stupid is as stupid does.  2 pages worth.  That way, by the end at least maybe she could spell stupid.  She pulled all her tricks.  The "I'm tired, I want to go to bed."  "I don't feel good."  You name it.  Yeh, doesn't work w/ us.  We know Alyona is extremely mentally challenged.  However, we also know what she is capable of & she is expected to hold up certain standards we set in this family.  Like we always tell our kids ... "you're no different than anybody else."  That's the bottom line. 

I know I've been slacking on the blog writing a bit but like I said,family first.  With 7 special need kids, a few testing boundries right now, it takes a bit more of my parenting time.  That & I'm working w/ Nik and friends issue.  He wants to call friends but school is not allowed to give their # & apparently not allowed to help Nik get their #'s.  URGHH!!!  They are willing to put a note in the folders though.  So, after this, I have to draft up a note somehow getting my point across for other kids not to be afraid to call Nik to play or come over.   Last year I just went to the cafeteria, sat w/ him & his friends & asked them to write their phone #'s down on my paper.  They did, we called & some of them played. 

So much else happening here.  It's like January hit & so did the to do list.  Getting it done though & have some things planned.  Trying to map out the next few months.  One thing I learned w/ adoption, don't put anything on hold b/c of it.  You can always rearrange your schedule.  Life goes on even as the adoptions are happening.  Just when you want to complete your family so bad & have your new children be a part of some of these events, it's hard.  I think about them.  Often.  I'm very ready to go to Bulgaria to meet my kids.  Still waiting on immigration.  I think if adoptive parents ran this process it would go much faster & smoother.  I think once you've been in the trenches of it, you understand it far more than sitting on the sidelines approving papers that have no meaning to you but mean the world to that adoptive parent. 

Okay, this is already too long.  Suffice it to say, we are really busy here, some of the kids are "testing" us right now, & the to do list is a mile long.   But, it's one step at a time.  It wouldn't be life if you didn't go through things from time to time.  Right now I'm excited trying to plan out some of our next couple of outings.  First priority is to get Irina's homeschool stuff set back up though.  Her job coach is really giving her a fit for leaving and it's causing Irina all kinds of stress.  I can't wait to help her get back to some semblance of normal soon.  Put it this way, since starting school, she has gained roughly 40 lbs.  Her thyroid is normal, it's been checked.  Doc said it is all stress, get her out.  That's what we're doing.  I figure if I'm getting healthy, I'll help her too.  I think once she is out of that environment, it will go very quickly for her.  Unlike me.  LOL.  More to come.  Great news is Max is turning around big time & can't wait to share.  FAS always has it's ups and downs.  Can't wait to share some of Max's ups lately.  For another day.  Have a wonderful week. 

Manic Monday

Started this post yesterday.  As you can see, life caught up w/ us.  I'll just ush publish & leave it & start a new.  Explain why in the next post.

Goodness, I can't believe it's already 2011.  So, I guess the blog title is somewhat deceiving now, huh?  LOL.  Nothing I can do about it.  This is adoption and no matter how many times you do it, it's always a waiting game.  I swear, adoptive parents must be the most patient people on earth.  Okay, my kids won't say that about me.  Still waiting for that stupid piece of paper that allows us to go get Irina's fingerprints.

Yesterday was a bit busy.  I had let Alyona spend the night on Saturday against my better judgement.  You'd have to understand the situation & it's just too complicated to explain.  We have rules in place at our house & Alyona knows these rules apply even if you go elsewhere.  She also knows she'll get grounded if she doesn't follow them.  Did she follow them?  Nope.  This happens when she gets out of routine.  Common for most FAS kids really.  Maybe not all the same reactions but definitely "interesting" when our kids get dysregulated.  She came home mean and nasty yesterday.  Pushed Nik down.  Don't worry, Nik got plenty even.  I was just disappointed in her for sure.  She knows the one thing that really urks me is for people to treat her like a baby.  Alyona is 11.5 yo.  I don't care if she's "little."  Doesn't make a difference to me.  She can act her age.  I've seen it & expect it from her.  Bojan & her are the same age so not hard to compare at times. I know each kid is different but some things really are age related.  She went to this other kid's house & they pushed her around like a little baby in a stroller no less!  She has reverted to baby sounds, etc.  Ridiculous.  She also went over there & ate nothing but sugar cereal for dinner, breakfast & lunch.  Alyona knows this is a big no-no for her as it causes health issues.  Frustrating.

Then there were her sisters.  URGHH!!!  I let them go to the mall w/ a friend.  No big deal.  Yana had no money.  So, that was easy.  Figured she can't buy anything.  Ahh, but I forgot she can take advantage of her sister who does indeed have money & mental challenges.  URGHH!!! More about that one later.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Blog look-- working on it

It's a New Year and I figured Christmas was over.  Needed a new look.  I wanted something that showed how I want to renew the year, recharge and reorganize my life.  Nothing like water to refresh you and fresh cool colors.  I'm working on it & should have the colors & blog finished in the next few days.  Want Warren to delete some things on the side bar & add a few.  Can't wait till it's done.  BTW, I did manage to de-clutter the entire downstairs in the last 3 days.  Found stuff & really neat finding things you forgot about.  Even found Irina's first pair of shoes I ever got her.  Things are progressing around here.  Slowly but surely.  I have more to share but I still am trying to catch up a bit.  School is tomorrow & I'll have the "littles" again.  Will be great seeing them but must admit the break was nice too.  Enjoy the first week of the New Year.  Just wanted to let you know things will be missing & put back, etc. over the next few days.  I really do want every aspect of my life to be refreshed, renewed & recharged.  Yes, some of those phrases may be redundant.  Oh well.  I'm sure you get what I mean.  No more lazy, no more falling behind, no more forgetting things (okay, so I can't guarantee that one), etc.  Irina even wrote a health plan out & so did I.  We'll be holding each other accountable.  Help me now.  LOL.  Have a great evening and I'll keep you all posted on some changes.

We may have issues

Umm, I think we may have some issues.  Nik comes laughing to me & hands me this :

This is Nik kicking me off a building.  I know the flash kind of ruined it but you get the idea.  I am landing in water w/ a shark waiting to eat me.  Nice kid.  He was laughing the whole time.  Then he wanted me to draw him in various ways.  He also drew me on fire.  Ahh, my nice break of the sweet drawings is now over I believe.  He is back to Nik's old drawings. Lovely.  I'll post more when they become available.  Trust me, he's on a roll lately.  I'm telling you, either a future Stephen King or a therapy patient.  

More to come tomorrow.  Just have a pile of stuff to do. School starts tomorrow so we have much to do for that.  Enjoy your week everyone.