Thursday, February 24, 2011

Signs of Spring

Slowly, it is heating up here in NC.  We've had a few days in the 70's but staying mostly in the 50's & 60's.  Chilly.  Okay, I know some of you in the negative degree range are laughing at that statement but when you are used to many months out of the year when it is high 90's & 100's w/ 100% humidity, you would say it too.  Despite my desire to really want to plant things, I must wait to make sure the last frost has past.  Should be soon but not taking chances.  However, I found a plant at Lowes the other day that is hardy in the low 30's as well.


Doesn't this just scream spring?!  It almost looks fake but those are indeed the real colors.  I wouldn't know how to doctor anything on photos as it is.  LOL.  This plant is filled w/ flowers waiting to bloom & should bloom all spring until I get my hibiscus or geraniums in there.  


Terrible shot I know but gives you an idea of what it looks like.  Just very spring like & I love it.  I can hardly wait to plant my flowers this spring.  And the garden.  We've been prepping the yard & cleaning up so should be ready to go when the time comes.  


Another thing I've been doing lately is planting a few things in the house.  These are just chives but we love to snip them at the table to put on potatoes or chili.  Plus, makes a nice little decoration.  Easy to grow & grow fast & keep growing after they are cut.  Cheap garnish.  


Another sign of spring is little pots filled with flowers.  There are 4 pots here.  Mini pots.  One for each of the "littles" to watch grow.  We've been talking about flowers & such & this is great for them to learn.  There will be daisies, marigolds, sunflowers, & forget me nots.  Should be beautiful.  I also planted some peppers, parsley, and basil indoors to start.  I'll obviously move the peppers outdoors in a few weeks.  Herbs will be inside.  This dining room is more like a sunroom area.  Easy to grow which makes it nice.  


More signs of spring are more kids outside enjoying everything.  Alyona is attmepting a handstand.  Since her botched surgery job, she can't put her hand out flat so she curls it up to do these.  Trampoline is still one of the best investments we made for these kids.  Activity is so, so important with FAS kids.  Really is & does make a difference.  One of the "littles" will be attempting this shortly.  


Another sign of spring is a little girl in a cute outfit.  Or, at least I think it's cute.  She wore it to school last year w/ NO issues.  This year, she got in trouble last week for wearing it.  Apparently, instead of 3 finger rule for straps, now it is a four finger rule.  URGHH!!!  She doesn't have a pile of clothes & I don't have funds to buy more for her just b/c the school is being ridiculous.  I really wouldn't send my elementary kids in something inappropriate.  And let's face it, NC is HOT towards end of school year.  The less clothing on them, the better.  Especially some of my kids that have temperature regulating issues.  I haven't even talked to the school about this yet as I'm still too mad.  I know rules are there but if you wore it last year & now this year it's banned?  Makes no sense.  So, do you think it's inappropriate b/c of the straps??  Just curious.


I know I really never have pictures of the "littles" on here but couldn't resist just this once.  This is definitely a sure sign of spring!  We all decided to eat outside for lunch.  Found the picnic table at a yardsale last year for $5.  Think we got our use out of it.  It was the perfect sunny day for a picnic & learning about growing flowers in the sunshine.  After this, they took to the playground.  Another sign of spring.  
There are more signs of spring around here but those were a few above.  Just got Nik's processor back (it broke) and they programmed it wrong...URGHH!  Just means a trip to Chapel Hill for Warren which stinks, especially, with the price of gas.  Tomorrow is Friday.  can't wait.  Need to get going as I'm filling out a grant application.  Long one.  More on the adoption costs & what's happening in an upcoming post.

Dining Room Dish

Okay, I thought I'd try something new.  Like listening at the dining room table when they are talking.  LOL.  We always eat dinner together every night or at least almost every night.  Just a rule really.  Every single time something crazy happens or something out of the blue is said.  Each night we have plates.  Of course.  Well, there are 8 green ones & 1 red one.  The person who gets the red plate has to tell their high & their low of the day.  Umm, this never goes over that well when the person getting that plate is angry or had a rough day but we do it anyway.  Reason we have 8 the same color & 1 different is there were only 8 the same on sale.  We've been doing this for awhile now & kids seem to respond.  Anything that gets FAS kids recalling things is a good thing.

Sometimes at the table there is talking.  Sometimes laughter and sometimes yelling unfortunately.  hate to admit it but it happens when they do something stupid.  And trust me, they do.  So, thought I'd do a Dining Room Dish every once in awhile to share some things said here & there or what transpired.  Tonight, Alex goes to sit down at the table.  Sees the plate of roast, baked beans, & garlic bread & proceeds to ask " Do we need to use a fork with this?"  We don't call him neanderthal man at the dinner table for nothing.  This kid would gladly forgo any & all eating utensils and do just fine.  Normally we would not have baked beans w/ a roast but I had leftovers that needed to go.  Shortly after that, Alyona pipes up " I want to be a vampire when I grow up."  Warren said "that would really suck."  got to love the stupid humor at our table.  BTW, Alyona was totally serious.  Before this for years, she wanted to be the tooth fairy.  I know more went on but that's all I can remember off the top of my head. 

Hope you enjoyed this segment of Dining Room Dish.  More to come later tonight I hope.  Right now, getting kids ready for bed & chores done.  After that, I'm filling out a grant application.  Deadline:  March first.  Umm, next week.  I'm used to pressuring deadlines.  Enjoy your evening.  We seriously can't wait till the weekend.  Been a long week.  Going to maybe take kids to the theater tomorrow.  We have a wonderful cheap seats theater here.  $2.50 a seat & I have a buy one get one coupon.  May see Harry Potter.  Then, with high hopes, sleeping in on Saturday & then repairing the house a bit.  Just a great low key weekend I think.  Got to go get some paperwork done. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Max's artwork

It's been awhile since I shared Max's artistic ability.  Found two drawings from this week so thought you might want to take a look. 


You'll have to click on it to make it larger.  I am really not sure what this thing/ man is.  You can tell he wasn't done w/ it as there are eraser marks on it.  The shadow on the bottom is my camera & not from Max.  I think it shows detail in his talent though.  Still trying to convince him to make me flowers one day.  


You'd have to ask Max what kind of engine this is.  I have no unearthly idea.  Max really does like drawing.  His art teacher says he definitely has a talent for it.  He's even ahead on his classwork & sketches for the class.  As of yesterday.  So, that it wonderful.  

Once I find his portfolio, I'll put some of his other works on here.  These were just two laying on the table.  I know he wasn't finished with them but you get the idea of what he can do.  You should see him draw the Iron Giant.  Amazing.  Really amazing.  More to come.  Figured we'd had enough waiting posts.  Gee, 3 posts so far in one day.  Maybe I am catching up after all.  LOL.  Have a relaxing evening. 

Waiting pups Wednesday

I know I used to do a waiting child Wednesday & will get back into that next week.  However, thought it was high time to give some attention to some local puppies, dogs & cats in much need of a loving home.  These are such cute animals.  I am totally in love with "Willow."  I really am.  I know we can't but boy, doesn't stop you from looking.  I'm sure he'll be swooped up this weekend at the adoption fairs.  Reminds me a lot of our Alaska.  He's a mix between an Austrailian Shepard & St. Bernard.  Cute is an understatement!  For locals, you must check them out.  Great organization & wonderful fostering they do.  We have brought home our two dogs from there & a friend of mine brought home her dog a few years ago from there.  Great people & obviously, we are very happy w/ our pups.  Here's the site:  Paw Prints .  Take a few minutes to look.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed.  Those thinking about adopting a dog, now is a wonderful time.  We will have 3 new kids & 2 new puppies in the same year.  Though I would LOVE to take one more puppy in, we are full.  So, passing on the information to others who may be missing that little guy or gal running around and loving them.  Thanks.

Waiting on adoption

The waiting part of adoption is what any adoptive parent will tell you is the most excruciating part of the whole ordeal.  It's not the gathering of the thousands of pages you need, or the fingerprints taken by 4 different people to prove you are who you are, or all the money involved with it.  No, it's none of that.  It's the waiting that takes the most out of you on this emotional roller coaster journey.  With Bulgaria, we have become the most patient of waiters.  We have waited over a year now.  We are officially approved.  We are to be submitted any day now.  That is a huge step.  See, with every single country we've gone to, we've never done an official referral process.  We have always identified our kids from the get go from a waiting child's list.  The same is true this go around.  Bulgaria has a published special needs list.  Just b/c you pick the children you would like to see become part of your family does not necessarily mean you will end up with those children.  However, chances are highly likely especially if they are special needs children and older.  Anyhow, once submitted, we get our "official" referral.  With that, will come a travel date.  Since this is indeed an adoption blog, thought it was high time to update a few things.  As I mentioned, we will be submitted any day now.  All docs are in order and over there.  We redid our medicals so they would be up to date. They are good for only 6 months.  They are now good until May.  Our I800A approval is good until 2012.  So, we have some time w/ that too.  Most other docs do not expire.  Most, not all.  When you work with Bulgaria, you have an American adoption agency & also a Bulgarian agency.  An NGO(non-governmental organization).  Someone correct me if I'm wrong b/c I'm still learning about Bulgaria.  My terminology may be off.  My knowledge is much better w/ Russia & Serbia obviously.  The Bulgarian agency has said we will most likely travel in April or May.  Banking on April as the most likely travel date based on what others have been through when adopting from Bulgaria.  I am looking very forward to going to Bulgaria in the spring.  Playing with the kids outside, soaking up sun together, walking, etc.  I can picture it which makes the waiting that much more brutal on me.  It really does.  With all my other kids, the wait was so hard too.  This time though, even harder.  I know these kids need us.  I know they need to be home.  I know we can meet their needs once home.  I know we can love them.  Yet, despite all these things, I know we have to wait.  You go with the flow when you do an adoption.  Try not to bug the crap out of your adoption agency even though you want to write or call every day in the hopes of some semblance of news.  For newbies, please don't do that to your agency.  Really, they will let you know if something develops.  Mine always has.  I want to see pictures.  More pictures.  More details.  More than that though, I want to hold them in person.  Hug them, let them know it's okay.  Right now, this is nothing more than words on paper.  When you see them & touch them & hold them in person, it becomes a whole new feeling.  It's real.  I mean really real.  For me, the time it's real is when I'm on that plane taking off to JFK.  That's when it all hits me.  The emotions, the waiting game, everything.  It makes me want to jump out of that plane so fast.  LOL.  Isn't adoption kind of like going parachuting w/out a chute?  Everything is truly a leap of faith.

You keep busy during the wait, especially if you already have a family.  I mean life does keep moving.  Nothing slows down just b/c you're waiting on your child.   However, I think it is a bit different for an adoptive mom.  Bio moms typically will get a baby shower waiting on their new arrival.  Something that gives you a feeling of "it's real" & this child is indeed coming soon.  For adoptive parents, at least most of us I assume, don't have that shower or bit of celebration.  For me, that's okay.  With my first two kids coming home, we did have a shower at my work which was absolutely wonderful!  I was able to get clothing for the kids, toys, etc.  things that I didn't have.  Even though you are adopting kids, most of the time, you are still going to need things when they arrive home.  anyhow, getting sidetracked here.  What I originally meant to say is you have other people recognizing that wait when you are pregnant.  Not many will recognize the agony of the wait you have to endure during an adoption process.  Mostly I think b/c of the unknowns.  Others, let alone yourself, have NO unearthly idea when your child will arrive home.  During a pregnancy, you really do have a pretty good window of when you are going to have your child.

Maybe that is what is bugging me more than the wait lately...the unknowns.  Not knowing for certain when I'm going, not knowing for certain when they're coming home.  It gets to you.  It does.  I mean I know these are adoptions #8,#9, & #10 for us.  That does NOT make it any less significant.  These last 3 kids are just as important in my mind as my first two kids were.  Feelings of worry, anxiousness, happiness, sadness, all there.  Just like it was for the first two home.  The not knowing exactly when Max & Irina were coming home was awful.  I got a call at work one day to be on a plane in 3 days & in Russia!  Crazy.  Only to have to wait more. Our first adoption, our court date was rescheduled 5 times.  It became a running joke at the office as I'd say goodbye & be back the next day.

Sorry if this was so choppy.  I've had to start & stop a lot of things lately.  Trying to get caught up & back on track.  Today, we went to take Nik to the dentist.  They told us we were a month early... one month early.  Our appointment is March 23rd, not February 23rd.  Wasted gas.  And gas nowadays is more like gold.  LOL.  Don't want to waste it.  Irina went to the doctor.  Blood results should be tomorrow I hope.  Max's teacher called & he's actually ahead in assignments & doing great!  Now, we have a meeting w/ his math teacher tomorrow.  Somehow, I'm thinking that is not going to be as great as the other teacher's news.  But, we'll figure it out.  None of my FAS kids are really good at math.  They try & we try but there is that disconnect.  Just doesn't happen for them.  I have a feeling that is what is going on in Algebra for him.  We'll find out tomorrow.  Yana has been very disappointing lately.  Just a few minutes ago, I laid it all out for her.  Straight shooter.  We found that is what needs to be done with our FASers.  I came down hard on her.  Going to discuss the situation more this evening.  Will fill you in later as I think it's important for others to know the good & the bad of family life when you have kids w/ various special needs.  Again, more on it later as this has become wordy.  Warren is out this evening w/ a few friends.  Glad he can get out.  They chat tech stuff.  I'm out of that world for sure so happy he has friends that can talk about something other than kid stuff.  LOL.  Occasionally, I'll slip out for lunch w/ a friend or something like that.  Been awhile but it's great when we do go.  Got to go.  Made turkey, stuffing, & mashed potatoes this evening.  Waiting for the potatoes to finish boiling.

You have to boil them after my kids cut them on the floor.  LOL.  Again, we have tables, a bar area, counters, but this is the way they like to peel them.  Don't get it but the job gets done & floor gets cleaned up so I shouldn't complain.  More posts to come this evening.  Enjoy your night everyone.  I have so serious conversations happening with one RADish testing the limits. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fixing it up

It's that time of year again.  Spring.  Well, maybe not quite yet but we're seeing tiny signs of it.


Some crocuses recently popped up.  Daffodils are not far behind.  You can see them starting to grow.  Love the bright, vibrant yellows.  After all the browns of winter, nice to see some color slowly starting to arrive.  

With spring around the corner, we have also been busy cleaning out the clutter(ongoing issue really) & making repairs around the house.  Our home is aging, has kids & dogs in and out of it, so it is obvious that little things are going to have to be fixed.  Last week, we had to rip out our back door.  There was no avoiding it any longer as water was starting to leak in the back door.  


this was the start of the process of ripping out the back door & fixing the frame.  We had to see just how much damage we were dealing with.


this was the galvinized steel that was supposed to protect our door.  It was never installed correctly and as you can see, rusted through.  Not good.


This is our door frame.  You can see part of the rot of it.  Took quite a bit to fix it but still cheaper than a new door.  


Kota, just hanging out watching the action.  He's become VERY protective of the family & the kids I watch.  Umm, no strangers are coming in here w/out some words from Kota.  He was hesitant of the workers but the second day, he was fine w/ them.  We love him to pieces.  


This wood is not supposed to be wet.  This side was not as bad as the other side.  We had to dig out the other side of the house itself to get rid of the rot.  It was deep but caught it in time before the real danger started.  It's frustrating when you have to do costly repairs during an adoption but it's just the way it goes.  You can't let the place rot  as it would costs thousands later down the road if this were let go.  So, it's fixed now and that's what counts.  Nice not to have rain come in the house while it's raining.  

Lots of other things are happening here as you can imagine.  Warren is w/ Bojan at the prosthetic doc.  Well, at least I hope he is.  They called me & said there is a natural gas leak & they're not letting cars through.  Warren called from the car & they had to walk quite a ways but they made it.  Keeping fingers crossed that they'll still see him.  Tomorrow, Nik goes to the dentist.  Last time, he was traumatized severely.  Same thing happened to my neighbor's kid the week before at the same dentist.  Now, we've gone here for years upon years w/ no issues whatsoever.  However, recently there have been many staff changes so not sure what may be happening.  Just know we'll be back there w/ him tomorrow to make sure all is alright.  Irina also has a regular checkup tomorrow.  I'm concerned about her.  She is having bloodwork done and I am anxious to hear the results.  Remember, she was supposed to have this done at neurology back in December but her & Warren missed the appointment by 10 minutes.  New appointment is now in March. URGHH!!!  We have a meeting on Thursday w/ Max's math teacher.  Ahh, another time we have to explain FAS and the lack of short term memory they have or understanding of abstract concepts.  Should be fun.  Doubt it.  Art teacher called today & Max is ahead (did you hear that?!), ahead in assignments.  Art teacher is very impressed w/ Max's talent.  Got to go.  Need to figure out dinner and speech therapist is coming soon.  Have a great evening and I'll have more later. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nik's drawings and quick Nik update

Today is Sunday.  Didn't get to church today as Nik has a fever.  I do hope he's not getting the flu.  Hoping it is a quick virus.  He's at 103.5 right now.  Just gave him Tylenol & keeping him hydrated.  If not down in 20 minutes, I'll give motrin.  If that doesn't work, we may be in the ER this evening.  Like I said, wishing for a short-lived virus.  So, keep Nik in your thoughts and prayers this evening. 

Warren just took the girls to youth group.  Parents' meeting there this evening so he's staying there & I'm here w/ the kids.  At 5 we'll get ready for school tomorrow & all that stuff. 


Nik drew this.  I think he's taking after his brother in regards of artistic ability.  There are icicles on the house and all.  Camp fire in the tee-pee.  Though, that might be a bit dangerous.  LOL.  Nik said it is him w/ the snowman in the middle.  the gray stuff is snow.  They are also in the woods. 

Nik's vision is getting better which is wonderful.  He got new glasses and broke them.  We fixed them this week.  So, he can see again.  His implants are working but we have to return one to AB again.  The processor is not working.  Need to call them tomorrow.  He is listening much better.  So much so, enough that I can yell at him for being a jerk sometimes.  The other day he did something.  I was in the kitchen & I yelled "Nik Allen!"  He was in the dining room, out of view, and yells back "what?!"  So, his hearing is getting much better.  Speech is still pretty much only recognizable by family & speech therapist.  But, it is great progress for sure.  

Nik is growing like a weed too.  My baby boy is growing up for sure.  That is a great thing though to watch him transform.  Not much else happening with Nik.  He's on the couch right now pretty much not moving  a muscle.  We spent the day fixing some things around the house.  The gate so the puppies can't get out, the toilet paper holder (the kids break these things ALL the time), and light bulbs all installed.  Little things but things that have needed doing.  Bathrooms got scrubbed.  Carpets cleaned.  Etc.  Just little stuff.  Every once in awhile you need to just get the little things done around the house.  Eventually, they pile up to big things if not done in a timely manner.  Even Alaska got a bath.  She's gone from dingy brown fur back to white fur.  Need to go check on Nik.  Busy week this week.