Friday, January 21, 2011

Cookie power

Ever notice cookies can stop fighting in an instant?  Cookies have such magical powers at times.  Like when you have a house full of kids and don't know what to do next b/c it's icy outside.  Or when some are working on a craft and others want a turn.  Or cookies have the power to just bring smiles to pretty much everyone.  Oh, if only we had cookies all the time here.  But, we don't so I'm just going to give you a glimpse of the magic of cookie making power the other day. 

Ahh, some of our bakers hard at work.  There were two sheets, a bunch of dough, and about 5 helpers at the time.  Lots of licking of fingers & frankly I didn't want to eat the cookies after watching that.  

Okay, my original idea was to roll out the dough & then do the cookie cutters.  As you can clearly see, that did not work out too well.  It's like peeling off gum off of your table.  

Nik making some cookies.  He really seems intense and into it.  

And what is better on a sugar cookie than globs more of sugar?  This batch was Nik & one of the "littles" I think.  Usually we make our own dough but some days it's nice to scoop some out of the bucket & let them have at it.  

Wish I had pictures of the finished product & all the smiles.  Yes, cookies definitely have magical powers when it comes to kids.  Go make a batch or two today.  No regrets.  Just be sure to work it off later.  LOL.  Well, more to come.  I have Alyona's IEP meeting today.  I like her teacher and we're all on the same page so should be a pleasant meeting.  Great news!  Warren just called & they were able to get in & out to get Irina fingerprinted early.  Now, I'm going to email immigration man and let him know it was done early.  He told me to do that.  So, even more vital to get this fundraiser in high gear.  I have this feeling that things are going to fly in February.  I'm READY!  Bring on the craziness of it all.  We today are one step closer to meeting our kids. 

Flabulous to Fabulous

I must admit, this is not a proud week for me on this weight loss journey.  I was so excited last week, motivated, got into the groove.  This week, nothing.  I have not lost even a lb.  Disappointed as I should have made time. Granted, I wasn't expecting to lose more than a pound this week anyhow but that's not the point.  I have kept up with the water habit, taking the vitamin C & D, weightlifting, & stretching everyday.  I went to put in my cardio DVD and it's lost.  Happens in this house.  Still looking for it and hoping Irina didn't throw it away in her cleaning rampages she goes on.  I tried to get fresh air everyday.  That was successful.  I love being outdoors.  Trouble this week for me was finding time.  And of course, finding the DVD.  I couldn't find the DVD the first night & was determined to do something.  Since no one would go walk w/ me & I don't walk alone at night, I ran our staircase.  Hey, at least it was something.  I'm really longing to do outdoor activities so know this week will be the week.  This past week was very hard to get any bit of fitness in frankly.  2 kids sick w/ the flu, heat pump not working, Irina "losing it" over schooling, Nik freaking out at the dentist & not getting the work done, & countless other life moments.  Yet, in the same token, it's in these moments that I know I need to be more healthy & fit to be able to better handle them.  With literally one thing after another happening here, it truly was hard to find time.  I know we'll all have crazy weeks like that and it's okay.  Just didn't think it'd happen on my second week.  Today it's sunny & gorgeous outside.  Plan on doing quite a bit out there today.  I would LOVE to go on a hike tomorrow but have to see what trails are open & if Alyona and Bojan are recovered enough from the flu to do it.  I know we are going to the bonfire tomorrow evening.  Really, I can't wait.  Good food, great company, and relaxation.  Kids love going to the farm and hanging out w/ friends.  May take pictures, may not.  Might just be having too much fun to tote around a camera.  LOL.  I think my struggle this week was finding balance to fit in fitness.  I fit in somethings when I could but it is not what I wanted.  I wanted to stick to my schedule and workouts.  Just didn't happen.  I am here to tell you though that next week, I am going to report great things.  Hey, I guess not gaining what I had lost is a good thing.  Enjoy your weekend and do make sure to get outdoors.  I am a true believer in getting fresh air everyday. Hence, why we don't live in NYC.  More later. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Have you all forgotten??

About these wonderful beauties we have?

Say it isn't so.  Just look at that cute towel hanging up.  Can't you imagine it on your child or handing it to someone as a gift?  Think of the smiles it would bring.  So much imagination.  You can use them everyday when you bathe.  Take them to the beach after a hot day laying in the sun with the goosebumps as you come out of the water.  Think of your little princesses wrapped up in this:

Now that would be a really cute picture!  Love it!  Orders are only going to be taken until January 31st so I really need some help getting the word out.  Give them this link:  towel fundraiser .  That will take them to the post & show them the different designs and how to order.  Great selection and so much variety.  There is something for everyone on here.  Girls and boys.  PLease help me spread the word.  We have a long way to go to reach our fundraising goal.  Thanks so much for all the support and well wishes.  Feel free to post anywhere and everywhere.  We're posting on the blog, facebook, local websites, etc.  I'm sure there are some great sites to post on that I haven't thought of yet.  If you think of some, send them my way too.  We need to get these children home.  Immigration is tomorrow.  After that, this process is going to seem to fly.  I want to make sure that the funds are there for travel to Bulgaria.  I know this will not only help us but put some smiles on some kids w/ their new gift.  Nik is always flying around the house w/ a towel.  I can just imagine him as a superhero in his superhero towel.  This was my reminder.  And please hurry, we only have till January 31st to sell them!  Just email me & let me know what you'd like to purchase.  Locals, we take cash as well.  Others across the US, we have a paypal account and checks as well to make things easy.  Thanks so much for all the help w/ the fundraiser. 

Horror, help and hanging around

One day I'll actually make a tongue twister up w/ some of these titles. Quick bits.  Irina is taken an exam today which counts for nothing.  Still don't get that one.  Max is cleaning his room.  Once done, we will take him to get his permit.  Nik's appt.s been canceled.  Bojan gets his new leg at 4pm.  He is fever free & feeling good.  Only thing really left w/ him is a nasty cough.  Alyona is asleep again, spiked fever, etc.  She takes longer to recover normally so not a surprise to us.  I'm playing catch up w/ a few things today.  Onto pics.   Horror first.

One of Nik's quickie drawings.  Nik is holding a gun, shooting at me!  Horror, I tell you.  Police car by the side there.  Now, he's showing me this laughing the whole time, yet wanting me to draw him in some horror story.  I said no.  Now, you all may be worried.  I'm not.  You can tell he's joking.  What I really wanted to show you is what he did for me.  A thoughtful Thursday post indeed.  It was my birthday last Sunday.  I was on the couch.  He came over to me and sings Happy Birthday (in sign of course) and hands me his drawing board.  We have a bigger one than this one above.  On it was a cupcake w/ a candle & a bunch of hearts.  Gives me that & a hug & kiss.  Very sweet.  The above depictions truly are just messing around b/c he likes it when I pretend cry.  Btw, he does this to Alex too.  Two people he's closest to.  Alex & I.  He always draws Alex as the criminal & him getting arrested by the police.  Next time, I'll take pics of the sweetness too so you can see what I mean.  Just don't want anyone thinking he's a psycho kid w/ a deathwish.  FAR from it!  Very loving & sweet demeanor Nik has. 

Alyona loves to help out.  No idea why she's washing in the prep sink though.  Oh well.  We told her to let it soak.  She insisted on using an SOS pad to get it clean.  She's standing on a stool so she can reach the sink.  Alyona & her sisters are on this kick lately about braiding their hair & letting it out to make it wavy.  She really is a great little helper.  

Gee, should have tied all these to Thoughtful Thursday post.  Here is Max helping one of the "littles" w/ a craft.  We had bought it on 75% off clearance at Walmart.  It should have stayed at the clearance aisle.  LOL.  quite a pain but Max has wonderful patience w/ that stuff.  Glad he was here for this one.

did I ever tell you all how wonderful Max is with his siblings??  Well, he is.  Alyona thinks it's cool to just hang around w/ big brother Max.

Or, trying to reach the sky.  She thinks it's cool to be picked up by one arm.  BTW, I absolutely hate, hate, hate this shirt.  He got it from someone and loves it.  I try to find it so I can throw it out.  Kind of a running gag we got going on  as I can never find where he puts the stupid shirt.  The background in this picture is the way I sort papers.  It's either risk them getting stomped on or they end up w/ food on them from where I sort on the table.  Catch 22. I think it's safe to say Max doesn't mind playing w/ his sister.  

Well, need to go tend to Alyona.  More pics to come.  Just thought I'd post a few.  2 more posts coming later on.  Like I said, today is a catch up day.  I even think Bojan can go to school tomorrow.  Wahoo!!!  He's getting his new leg today.  Can hardly wait.  Pictures on that one for sure.  He's excited & so are we.  He's leg has been too small since the summer.  The difference in the socket size is unreal.  We're all still amazed he's able to walk.  Stay tuned for more to come & please, please let everyone know about the fundraiser.  Thanks a bunch.

Gnome has a home

Need something  a little less wordy.  LOL.  Too many serious posts lately.  Time to lighten the mood.  Pictures tend to do that.  This is more of a silly picture.

Yes, it is a travelocity travel gnome.  Yes, it's in my kitchen.  Yes, it was a silly impulse buy at Lowe's Hardware.  And yes, we use that many kidney beans for a few batches of chili.  We saw this gnome on clearance at Lowes...$2.  For some reason it called to us.  You always see the gnomes all over the countries in their commercials.  I think this gnome should travel.  He's actually not heavy at all.  Maybe he should go to Bulgaria w/ us to see the sights.  Hey, I'm thinking about it.  I think we bought this ridiculous thing b/c it does represent travel.  We know we're traveling soon.  I think looking at this silly think just makes us think that we'll be traveling too. Anyhow, that's how we ended up w/ this ridiculous thing that is now in my living room on the end table.  Not w/ a can of beans.  So for now, our gnome has roamed from Lowes to the kitchen to the living room.  Not too exciting.  We really have to get him out more.  More pictures to come...of the kids, not the gnome.

Updates & some issues

Goodness, where to start.  Bojan & Alyona were dx'd w/ the flu.  Both on Tamiflu.  Both still running fevers but controlled w/ Tylenol.  Alyona literally laid in bed until 5:30 today.  I made her get up to eat.  Otherwise, we'll have other issues w/ her.  Bojan is coughing like crazy.  Other than that, he feels okay.  Not spectacular but better than before he said.  Hoping tomorrow we turn a corner w/ them.  Warren stayed here and worked all day from home.  Well, except for when he took the kids to the dentist.  Get to that in a minute.  Got Alyona & Bojan's school work when I went to pick up Nik.  They had everything ready for me.  Told you, I like the kids' teachers.  It's the school rules & stupid stuff that comes down from central office that I despise.  I wasn't feeling up to par but no flu, just overtired I think.  So, Warren took Irina & Nik to the dentist.

We go to a wonderful children's dentist.  Nik & everyone have always done fantastic.  That is until today.  Irina got sealants.  Nik was to have 1 cavity filled(his very first one) and two teeth pulled to make room in his mouth.  They put the nitrous oxide mini mask thing on him and went beyond ballistic.  Warren said he really freaked out.  Way overboard of anything he'd ever seen.  Now, he has never ever had a bad experience and was looking forward to going.  No needles at this point either.  It was just the mask.  Simply don't get it b/c he LOVES the masks at his surgeries.  He even came home from all this & told me how the mask smelled like ice cream.  Asked him if it made him dizzy.  He said no.  Asked Nik why he was scared and he didn't tell me.  So, he is to be rescheduled & both Warren & I will be there to see if we can get him put under this time.

Took Nik back to school & I went to the chiro.  Almost didn't go as I was simply exhausted today.  Made a bunch of appointment phone calls for the future.  Warren was still working.  I caught up on all laundry & other stuff.  Needed to be done.

Now, the issues I mentioned.  Irina.  You know she was supposed to take an exam today but missed it.  Now, stupid thing is NOT even an exam for a class she has.  The state changed the laws AGAIN, (as if this state isn't in the news enough for their stupid school decisions), so now my 10th grade special needs daughter has to go & take a 9th grade exam even though it won't count.  Umm, what's the point of that one school officials?  Oh yeh.  To cause the kids quite the headache, anxiety and other stuff that comes w/ all this.  They are very worried & not just my kid.  Remember, these are all MMR kids mostly.  On an occupational track, not a diploma track.  Makes no sense.  Anyhow, Irina got totally upset b/c the test is on reading & has 80 questions.  She knows she can't retain what she reads.  Well, they fail(even though it doesn't count), then they have to take a remediation class for 5 hours on Friday.  Sorry, she MUST get fingerprinted.  This is not even for a class she has mind you!  URGHH!!!

Okay, brings us to the next issue.  My plans were to homeschool Irina this semester.  Frankly, I don't want to.  I'm being honest here.  But, w/ yet another teacher being charged w/ criminal charges at her school it probably should be done.  She was begging us today to be homeschooled.  Broke down.  And I mean totally, totally broke down.  Warren & I knew right then & there that there must be more to this wanting out of school so badly.  Sure enough, there is.  Irina is terrified to go to her own school.  She doesn't feel it is safe.  Let's face it, having it on the news every so often doesn't help matters much.  A few teachers there have been arrested for inappropriate things.  Drugs are rampant.  Fights are rampant.  IMO, this high school does not represent this community the way it should.  Shoot, they have a bench outside the school dedicated to all those that die there in car crashes.  SO many have died at this school.  1 more this week from a car crash.  High speeds, etc.  Few were truly accidents w/ no fault of the drivers.  Well, from what I've read.  It's ashame.  I know other high schoolers that go there that are afraid to get their licenses b/c it's so bad.

Anyhow, Irina does not feel safe at her school at all.  Apparently, drug deals go down on her bus all the time.  Lovely.  First time I'm hearing all this btw.  Now, what she is most afraid of is someone is going to come after her for telling.  She told someone's sister that their brother was selling drugs on her bus.  IRina is afraid this guy is now going to come after her after he is out of the "safe school."  Safe school here is where all the delinquents or behavioral kids go.  They stay for a couple months & then are released back to their school.  We asked Irina if she told school officials.  Of course not.  She's afraid of retributions.  URGHH!!!  Now, I have to call the school & figure out what to do.  And no, the boy did not get sent to this school b/c of this.  Instead, he was sent there b/c he exposed himself in the classroom.  This kind of crap goes on all the time at school here.  Everyday, Irina would come home & tell me some stupid story or incident.  Fights galore in the halls.  Yes, you'll have fights in high schools.  I'm not naive.  However, this seems to be excessive & not being resolved.  They told all the kids in the beginning of the year that theft was so bad there, they had to install cameras.  Many have their items taken.  IRina always carried her books all day long b/c she was afraid of stuff being broken.  I don't want her to live in fear.  Period.  She has to get out.  Yet, since she would go to a different school next year, would be best if she stayed there the next 4 months.  I just don't know what to do.  Will talk to some of her teachers tomorrow & explain the situation.  See what they say to do.  I'm really tired of all the drama.  Shouldn't be this way in school.  Especially, high school.  Our intentions are to homeschool them.  Most of them.  Irina is sometimes difficult to work with though.  The FAS will get the best of her at times.  Incessant talking is one of her characteristics.  For those who think that that is not that bad, come here for a day.  You'll see firsthand.  Don't know.  I really don't.  I've homeschooled her before.  She did really well.  However, she has changed quite a bit over the last few years.  I love her and don't mind schooling her.  Just not sure I can do it at this point in time.  Yet, know it is critical to her health as well.  People give her junk all the time she told me today & she can't get her brain to say no.  Her words, not mine.  This too is part of the impulsivity side of FAS.

The inclusion also makes her feel so low.  Okay, before I go any further, I will preface this with saying inclusion is different in every state.  I can ONLY speak for my kids & my experiences in my state.  Other states have inclusion classes that get it right.  Not here.  Inclusion is where they place the special needs kids into the regular classroom.  Umm, to do regular work as well even though knowing full well, they can't do it.  Makes them feel so, so stupid.  IRina told me "mom, I wish I was still in self-contained."  I said why.  She said "at least that way I don't feel so dumb all the time."  From our experience, the whole inclusion garbage this year has been a horrifying experience for these kids.  And not just my kids.  Have heard from other parents around Johnston County.  They put the middle schoolers here & high schoolers here in inclusion classes.  What business does a kid have w/ an IQ of 58 being made to take Algebra?  Duh people!  Makes them feel even less of a person.  Irina feels that she can't do anything now b/c of inclusion.  Algebra, literature.  And, what is the point of putting them in said "regular" classes if the other kids constantly make fun of them?  In addition, the special ed teacher calls them all out of the classroom.  IRina said "mom, they all know were special needs when she does that & I hate it."  Nice Johnston County.  Nice way to make the special ed kids here feel.  Class act, huh?  I don't think so.  Sorry, a little venting going on here w/ what has happened this last semester.  BTW,her job coach got fired too.  So, basically I have no confidence whatsoever in this school, yet question my ability to help a high schooler mid-way through 10th grade who was not on a diploma track to begin with.  Don't get me wrong.  In some states, inclusion is fine.  Works well.  I just think here they haven't thought it through & it is really having a negative effect on the kids it's trying to help.  In the self-contained classes, she had friends, was full of life, enjoyed school.  Now, with inclusion, there is none of this.  It has changed her & I must say, not for the better. The kids here are cruel.  Teachers will say they stick them with people they know won't make fun of them. No, but they sure do make them feel low.  Guess I just needed to vent.  I worry for Irina.  For her future.  Her academic future.  Her future in life.

I will most likely take her out of school to homeschool her and worry about all the details later.  Yes, I have the certs for homeschooling & all that.  I'm talking about details of matching what I teach her to where she'll be next year for the new school.  For this semester, I won't have to teach her much.  Shoot, all she is listed as having for this upcoming semester is math, science, teen living, & KC (some study hall type thing).  So, only 2 subjects.  Umm, I think I can handle that.  LOL.  And I'm going to teach her math she can use in real life w/ her abilities.  not algebra that is beyond her comprehension.  I guess why I'm so upset is b/c I want things to change. I want my kids to succeed.  I really think we have such great teachers here but the rules that they are given to abide by make it extremely difficult to teach.  Oh well, a dream.  A dream to change the system. 

so, that's what's going on a bit here.  Worried about Irina.  Hoping the fundraiser grows.  Worried about what scared Nik so badly.  Okay, no more of the dreary post.  But, again, life has ups & downs.  Just being honest w/ what is happening.  It is not always cut and dry here.

Oh, forgot about this morning here.  No heat.  Great news though is that we have an awesome HVAC repairman.  Honest.  Really, one time he charged us a quarter for a part!  This time, he talked Warren through the troubleshooting problem.  Told him how to fix it over the phone.  Warren fixed it, repair guy never had to come out & no money spent.  how awesome was that?! 

Time for bed.  More to come tomorrow.  Can't wait for tomorrow.  Taking Max & Irina to get their permits.  Watch out.  Hoping we can go to a Marbles Museum(that's a hands on museum here) but probably not w/ the flu kiddos still w/ a fever this evening.  We'll see.  I know this post may cause some controversy.  I"m okay with that.  I have to stand up w/ what is right for Irina and my other kids.  For them, inclusion is not working as it was originally intended and has caused some major self-esteem issues here.  Changes need to take place.  Some teachers have told me this too but privately.  Both in this county & in Wake.  Teachers here are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs which I do understand.  I just think the disconnect between parents and administration that make the rules for special ed is huge.  Something has to change and soon.  I have too many other kids in the system for it not to change. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two with the flu!!!

That time of year.  Bojan and Alyona just tested positive for flu.  They were just given their first dose of Tamiflu.  That stuff is expensive!  First time we've ever gotten it.  Last year, only Alex got the flu.  Years before that, no one.  None of us have ever gotten the flu shot but me.  However, I am allergic to eggs.  Horrible, horrible reaction and couldn't use my arm for 6 months as well.  With our kids having had so many vaccines in the past between Russia & the U.S., we have never gotten them a flu shot.  That may change this coming year.  Who knows.  Right now, trying to keep everyone comfortable, fevers down and hydrated.  I will say my throat hurts but hoping it is just some sinus stuff.  BTW, the doc said this flu is lasting around 12 days.  Lovely.  Pray for no more illness here.  Bojan was looking forward to getting his new leg Thursday.  If he stillhas a fever, he can't go.  His fever is 103.  Alyona's is 104.  Thank goodness for those snuggies!  Gave them all noodle soup today & kept them drinking.  Honestly, never ever thought it was the flu or I would have never had the "littles" here today.  Usually, I can spot these things & dx quickly.  I was really surprised when Warren called & told me.  Ironically, Warren took off Thursday & Friday.  He's hoping no one else gets sick or him either.  Vacation days being sick would not be fun.  He plans on doing quite a bit of work around the house. 

Onto some other brief things.  The increase in healthcare costs has become a reality for us now.  Tonight's little flu episode was $85 between medicine and visits.  Would NOT have cost us that much last year.  Ahh, more budgeting.  Hey, keeps me on my toes.  I'm just relieved we have a place where we can get treated and be on our way.  They were gone about an hour & a half for 2 to be seen & get medicine.  To me, that is not bad at all.  with no appointment.  Enough about all that.  Just was curious if anyone else's healthcare coverage has changed since the new laws and such. 

Fundraiser is in high gear.  Please, please if you can help spread the word.  With some unexpected delays today, I am trying to get back to everyone.  Will do some more after this post.  Very excited about it all.  I love these towels and do hope more kids get to enjoy them as well. 

Max finished the fence today.  that's the good news.  Bad news...Alaska can get out.  Kota can't.  She can.  She takes a running leap to the old fence and wiggles her way through it.  Honestly, it's neat to watch & should catch it on video as we may win an AFV for this one.  seriously.  Can't believe she fits through those holes & I will take a picture of it tomorrow.  If I remember.  Trying to find a solution as we truly can't afford to buy any more fencing.  So ideas, shoot them our way.  It's only the old fence she can get through. 

I didn't even do homework tonight.  Really, never crossed my mind.  Teachers must think I'm lazy at times.  Funny, b/c I did school with the "littles" today.  Haven't gone to get Max or Irina their permits yet.  Hoping to this week.  We'll see how the flu progresses.  Don't know what I'm doing w/ dentist appointments tomorrow.  This is just insane.  Don't want to expose anyone to this mess. 

Can't find my workout dvd today.  So, all I did so far this evening was weight lift, stretch, run the stairs.  Doing yoga after this.  No cardio tonight & I really hate that.  We did find Nik's implant that he magically lost downstairs tonight though.  Under the tv stand.  I was looking for my dvd at the time.  Reason for everything. 

Oh, got the electric bill & am still recovering from almost passing out.  LOL.  Everyone locally is complaining big time.  Biggest bill EVER.  My poor speech therapist has a little smaller house than us and her bill was a couple hundred more than ours!  Locally, many folks are discussing this topic.  We're all used to high summer bills, NOT winter.  No more snow thank you very much.  Time for spring & opening of the windows. 

Okay, too much to do to be on here.  Quite the bits & pieces post.  Dentist appointments tomorrow, 2 doc appts. on Thursday, an IEP meeting on Friday & countless stuff in between.  Can the flu hit us another time...please?  Not the best timing.  But hey, it never is.  Hope all your homes are free of illness.  Please help me spread the word about our towel fundraiser.  It really will make a difference in three lives.  Well, really 12 lives.  More to come in the next few days but want you all to know if I'm not as prompt writing back or writing a post.  Kids come first. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kicking it off!!!

I am thrilled to announce our fantastic fundraiser!  Starting today, you can be a part of helping to bring 3 orphans home to their forever family and at the same time, you can get something very useful for your children.  If you don't have any children, then a very lovely gift for someone who does.  What is it you're wondering?  What kind of cool gift can I get for my kids or as a gift for someone?  A thick, cozy hooded towel, personalized of course!  All kinds of colors for boys or girls.  These would make wonderful birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, baby gifts, or just because you're special gifts.  And the best part is, you don't have to give them right away.  They will store just fine and not go bad as a cookie would.  (schools here tend to do those cookie fundraisers that's why I mentioned it).  Let me show you the colors first. 

Just look at this energizing electric blue.  What a bright way to start the day.

A perfect pink for a precious princess.  I think little AND big girls will love it.

Or maybe a beautiful purple for your princess.  My teens would actually love it.  Though they remind me they're not young, you'd be suprised!

Calling all NC State fans in this area.  What a magnificant fire engine red.  Wow, is all I can say.

Now, these are just glimpses of the colors of these beauties.  First digest the colors that would brighten any bathroom or bedroom & make bath time oh so much fun.  I'm going to tell you a little about the specs of the towel.  These towels are 100% cotton.  They are full-sized bath towels measuring 30 X 54 inches.  That is a great sized towel & will definitely help to get you dry. 

Next we get to see the wonderful things that get to happen w/ these towels.  These are hooded towels.  They are also not small towels.  Remember, 30 X 54.  I've saved the best part for last...the monogrammed designs!  Wait till you see these creative things.  I absolutely love them.  They can get monogrammed w/ letters, an elephant, an octopus, an ice cream cone, butterfly, princess crown, or superhero emblem.  Below, I'll give you just a few examples.  Remember, you can create your own.  That is the sheer beauty of all this.  Being creative for your kids or the kids you know.  To not keep you waiting any longer....

I know some of you know some great little guys would love to become superheros after a bath.  Can't you just picture them all wrapped up running around w/ their superhero towel?  This is the monogram that would go on as a superhero.  Obviously, you pick the letter for your child.  This would look great on the blue or the red towels

The two pictured above are sweet for the precious girls in your lives.  There are 3 color options for these princess towels:

Pink towel w/ turquoise letter (first picture above)
Pink towel w/ purple letter (not shown)
Purple towel w/ pink letter (also pictured above)

Ooh, almost good enough to eat!  These are the ice cream cone towels for the little girls who may not be into princesses.  (btw, I was one of those girls as a kid).  anyhow, great option.  

Purple towel w/ pink ice cream & yellow cone (pictured above)
Pink towel w/ purple ice cream & yellow cone (not shown)

Now, time for our animal selection which I think all will enjoy.  Here goes.

Makes you just want to jump into spring, doesn't it?!  color options:

Pink towel w/ purple wings & green center (shown)
Purple towel w/ pink wings & green center (not shown)


What fun ideas going on here!  There are lots of options for the octopus so let me go through them all.

blue towel w/ green octopus (shown)
crimson towel w/ blue octopus (shown)
pink towel w/ purple octopus (shown)
pink towel w/ green octopus (not shown)
purple towel w/ pink octopus (not shown)
purple towel w/ lime green octopus (not shown)


Time to bring in the elephants.  Isn't this just darling?  Time for your options once again:

Blue towel w/ green elephant (shown above)
Blue towel w/ red elephant (shown above)
Red towel w/ gray elephant (not shown)

And now time for some of the show stoppers that have that personal touch.


I absolutely love being able to personalize things for my kids.  I really do.  These towels allow you that opportunity for sure.  Now,for the options on these towels:

Blue towel w/ green circle/ yellow block letter (shown above)
Blue towel w/ yellow circle/ green block letter (not shown)
Blue towel w/ green circle/ orange block letter (not shown)
Blue towel w/ orange circle/ green block letter (not shown)
Purple towel w/ pink circle/green block letter (shown above)
Pink towel w/ purple circle/green block letter (shown above)

Can you believe just how cool this fundraiser is?!  I told you it was the best.  I would love for you all to be a part of this.  Please feel free to pass it onto anyone who may be interested.  I would love to see us sell 100 towels.  I know that sounds impossible but we have millions of people living in the US.  Someone is bound to need a towel. Right?  Plus, these are really great quality from what I hear.  Others who have done this fundraiser said they were surprised at just how big & nice & fluffy the towels are.  Those who've purchased said they are definitely not just for toddlers or babies.  This is an item that can grow with your child.  Not something you'll use one time & toss.  This towel can be used for years by your precious little ones.  Let them be superheros and princesses as long as they can.  

We are kicking this fundraiser off today.  It will run until January 31st.  2 weeks to get your personalized towel for the child in your life.  I think these are just darling.  On the last day, I will place on large order.  Payment is due at the time the order is placed.  Payments can be made via cash, check(my address is on the sidebar), or Paypal (you can use credit cards w/ them).  Please email me directly at  Put towel fundraiser in the subject line.  

Once the large order is submitted, these ladies get to work, doing it all by hand!  Can you believe it?  The quality you will be receiving is incredible.  There is a story behind it all which you can check out at:  the (Cover)ed website

The towels are each $25.  Once you take out shipping costs, we'll receive about half of that.  So, everything raised from the sale of our towels goes directly to rescuing 3 orphans.  Making them orphans no more, but family.  Our forever family...complete.  Please feel free to pass this onto anyone & everyone.  Word of mouth is what we need.  These truly are some great gifts for children.  Or, for someone having a child.  I can't wait to see the looks on the faces of the kids that receive them.  Thanks for being a part of what I hope will be a successful fundraiser in helping us get to our children.  Oceans apart, but touched by the heart. 

Cold hard truth

Cold hard truth is we can not afford this adoption.  Let me explain and maybe you all can help.  And I don't mean financially.(well, if you can)  Need to pick some brains.  Our other 7 adoptions have always been done on our own for the most part.  We never really did fundraisers b/c we knew we could borrow and pay back.  Btw, we are STILL paying back Yana & Alex's adoption.  However, we don't mind.  We went into this set of adoptions thinking we could do it all on our own again.  Well, due to many setbacks and challenges in the beginning(reference letter delay mainly), we now have to pay more.  I'll explain to a point.  I can not explain everything until after the adoptions are finalized so please bare with me.  For those new, we had quite a bit of trouble obtaining some family references.  I'm not going to re-hash anything and I can understand everyone's reasons.  I do not blame anyone.  Each person has their reasons and I respect that.  Due to this we had to find an alternate solution.  Both placing and homestudy agencies were wonderful in this department and can't thank them enough for their understanding.  Once it was figured out, we got the ball rolling again. However, that caused major delays.  This in turned ran us into the dollar losing value at a drastic rate.  Since some of our fees are in euros, this meant some of our fees went up due to the flucuation of the dollar.  While we were trying to find solutions to a few problems, Irina was getting older.  Well, we all know where that led...another delay due to immigration treating her as an adult.  Which, costs us more money.  Airfare during this delay time has also skyrocketed.  So, even though it started simple as getting some family reference letters, the delays then have a domino effect.  Everyone in adoption needs to understand that.  Yet, I'm firmly a believer that everything happens for a reason.  For had we traveled when we were supposed to for Alyona, we would have never been able to get Nik. 

Everything happens for a reason.  Period.  I really do believe that. Even the good and the bad.  I also believe we need to do what we can and exhaust all avenues before asking for help.  I think we've done that.  We can not get a home equity line of credit due to the housing market being beyond down.  Home values have plummeted in this part of the country.  At least in our area.  though much better than some other states are faring in this country so shouldn't complain.  So, can not borrow from there.  We have borrowed from retirement this go around.  That' s how we've been paying for fees thus far.  However, over $5K worth of house repairs have come into play.  And these were NOT cosmetic repairs.  Won't even get into the roof needing replacing that we've held off on.  We have also had a yardsale last year to try to raise funds.  Not that successful w/ that one.  I have been babysitting for four young toddlers.  So, we looked into loans, borrowed from retirement, got a job, sold stuff and many other things all before we've asked for help.  We are now swallowing our pride and asking for help.  How much is needed?  My  best guess would be around $15K to be on the safe side. If there were any extra leftover, that extra would go to all the medical appointments for the kids when they get home.  Which due to the delays & them not getting home in 2010, now costs us more as well.  Our copays are now $30 a visit.  For us, that's a lot as we have so many specialists visits when they first get home in order to get the help they need.  Remember, all 3 of these children are special needs.  Our insurance has also gone up but so has everyone else's in this country so that's neither here nor there.  Anyhow, if there did happen to be a surplus collected than what is needed, it would obviously go toward all the upcoming medical care.  LOTS of neurology visits to come I'm sure.

So,this brings me to the next part of our adoption journey...fundraising.  We must do it.  I truly believe everyone has a calling in life of sorts.  Funny, as that is what our pastor discussed in his sermon yesterday at church.  I feel everyone is here to share their gifts.  Some teach, some volunteer, some donate time, some donate money, some rescue animals, some adopt, some mentor, you name it.  The list is long.  Our passion, our calling if you will, is indeed with the orphans of Eastern Europe.  I can't explain it.  Especially, since after our first plane ride home w/ Irina and Max I declared I am NEVER EVER doing this again!  LOL.  Yes, I did say that. 

I figured all we need is 1000 people to donate just one time of $10 to get us really in a good position to have some money for an upcoming first trip.  No, I don't have a date but Irina is getting fingerprinted this week & last time I talked to Mr. Immigration man, he said approval would be very, very quick as the rest of the docs are fine.  And being that Irina has obviously not committed a crime, I'm assuming it's safe to say her fingerprints will pass just fine.  Let's think about this $10 deal if you will.  A little thing of icecream is now $7 where we live.  Chip bags, on sale mind you, are 2 for $7 at most places.  For not much more than bags of chips, you can help rescue an orphan.  I thought about how much it was for us to go out to eat yesterday.  $107.  Now, we did have $100 worth of giftcards but still, think of what that could have helped had we not had the gift cards.  Any of you going out to lunch nowadays I know it costs a fortune.  Just one time, that $10 can really help these kids get home. No more waiting, no more delays.  We are getting so close that I don't want money to be a factor.   I know it's a lot of me to ask someone else help me get my kids home.  People say well, if you don't have the money, you shouldn't get the kids.  We HAVE the money to raise our children just as we have all our other 7.  We just don't have the $35K to$40K it will cost to get them home.  Put it this way, had we chosen the fertility route of treatments where each round is $25K, insurance would have paid for it.  Had we had to birth our children, insurance would have covered it.  There is no "adoption" insurance.  You truly have to want these children and be motivated to do what it takes to get them home.  Could we have gone the fertility route?  Absolutely.  Years ago.  We chose not to as there are so many orphans in the world that need a home.  I'm asking if some of you could pack a pb & j sandwich just one day instead of a fastfood lunch.  Use that lunch money to help 3 children find their forever family.  Please. Just one day, out of this entire year.  They truly are worth it. I really feel 3 human beings are worth the price of having to eat PB & J just one day this entire year. 

If the idea of just giving $10 away is not that appealing, I totally understand.  We also have a magazine fundraiser at the sidebar that has some proceeds going toward our adoption.  There are wonderful magazines. Tons to choose from for every genre you can think of!  Great gifts any time of the year and something people will enjoy receiving.  Do go check it out.

The BEST fundraiser we currently have is something I think everyone will love & truly deserves a post on its own.  Awesome, awesome towels!  Wait till you see this idea.  It helps not only get our kids home but will be an unique gift idea for the kids in your life.  I can not wait to show you all.  That is the next post coming up.  It is awesome.  Can't express it enough.  I was so honored to be able to take part in it.  The women that do this really are a gift to adoptive families.  Please come back and take a look at the wonderful gifts.

Hope you did not mind me being honest in this post.  As hard as it was for me to write, that is nothing compared to the wait we've had to endure.  I know everything happens for a reason and everything is in God's timing.  However, does not make things any easier for us nor the kids waiting on their forever family.  Please do tell me what you think of all the wonderful towels in the next post.  Wait till you see these things!  Will be an unique gift for many kids out there.  Plus, for every towel sold, we receive about half.  I know it sounds like an outlandish goal, but I would love to be able to sell at least 100 towels.   Again, more to come in the next post & you won't want to miss it. Stay tuned for more. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bits & pieces

Today is my birthday.  Great day.  We went to church this morning.  No major incidences other than me realizing Alex was wearing no socks & had a huge hole in his pants.  URGHH!!!  My kids have decent clothes so how come they always want to revert to the just found it on the floor look?  After church, we went out to lunch.  We went to the Olive Garden.  Decided to grab a menu and was stunned at what prices have gone to lately. Yikes!  So, told the kids they had to order the $10 or $11 items.  There was nothing lower.  That gave them around 7 choices.  Then, we get to the table & kids' menus are cheaper so let the older kids bump it up to $13 which gave them quite a few more choices.  Now, for those who don't know, this is sometimes difficult for FAS kids.  Sure enough, too many choices. URGHH!!!  Should have kept my mouth shut & stick to the first decision made.  Oh well.  Live and learn. 

We all picked and what great choices.  Warren had calamari for the first time, Irina and I had chicken parmagiana, Max had portebello ravioli, Yana some type of ravioli.  All great choices and HUGE platters of food. HOnestly, do they really think people could eat all that?  I gave my spaghetti to Nik after he'd eaten his kids' ravioli.  My chicken(came w/ 2 pieces) to Bojan.  Needless to say, we ate enough for 2 days.  Fantastic meal and kids did really well.  They had trouble ordering (older kids did) but I helped them w/it and we're working on that.  Mean was great.  We had received gift cards to Olive Garden for Christmas from my parents. They wanted Warren & I to use it for date nights but it is truly hard to get away from the kids w/ the types of issues they have.  So, decided a family meal would be just as great a gift so that's what we used them for. 

We came home fully expecting the dogs to have had an accident.  Nothing.  They did fantastic and nothing was chewed up.  Then, Warren & I went to Lowes to get some fencing.  See, some of our yard is fenced in.  We never had the chance to fence in the rest & now w/ the puppies it has become imperative.  They are runners.  Max did a great job w/ helping put up part of the fence. He's going to finish what he can tomorrow.  He loves working & I love putting him to work.  LOL.  Max also will finish the spakle job as he was working on the fence stuff today.  Irina, Max & I will then help to paint the room later this week.  Move in Alyona next weekend.  Now, that should be very interesting. 

Tomorrow I take the dogs to the vets.  Can't wait to see how much the puppies weigh now.  Big is all I can say.  I woke up early, early this morning wondering why I was so warm.  Apparently, Alaska CAN jump up on the bed as that is where I found her this morning...on top of my legs.  What a dog.  She is spoiled rotten is all I'm going to say about that one.  We are working on the word 'shake' for them now.  They know sit & pretty much know come unless they are blantantly ignoring us.  You know, like the kids do. 

There is a BIG fundraiser starting tomorrow.  I can hardly wait!  You'll love this one.  something that would make a great gift for the kids you know in your lives.  Something they can use for a few years.  Makes great birthday gifts, holiday gifts or just because gifts.  I'll definitely have more up tomorrow & really need your help spreading the word.   VERY excited.  I'm also going to try to arrange for an Applebee's fundraiser night in February.  Slowly but surely, I think we'll get there.  So, please stay tuned for tomorrow's fundraiser & do help me spread the word anywhere and everywhere you can.  Have a great evening and much more to come.