Friday, March 25, 2011

Helping out

thought I'd do a quick post on here.  Today, Max is having someone over & we're ordering pizza.  Max received a giftcard from his grandparents & we may go over to Target later to see what he can find.  He has some ideas in mind.  It's supposed to be a wet, rainy & cold weekend.  Guess we're not working outside after all.  That's okay as we have plenty to do in the house.  A good spring cleaning is in order, patching up the upstairs walls, and laundry.  Afternoon tomorrow, we are taking Max out to dinner for his 16th birthday.  Just the family to our favorite restaurant.  We never can go b/c it's really too pricey for us.  But, this is special.  We go here every time we bring home kids or do something really special.  So, last time we were here was a few years ago with Alyona & Nik coming home.  Now, we're going to celebrate Max's day.  Kids can hardly wait.  Me either!  It's just my favorite place.  We all have so much fun there.  It's a Japanese Steakhouse called Kanki.  Definitely pictures will be taken there.  Capture the fun.  Look on their faces.  Sunday is church & then the kids' grandparents (Warren's parents) are coming for a visit.  Monday is no school.  Busy weekend yet hopefully relaxing.  I'm throwing in a doc visit for me & hopefully can figure something out.  Seem to be getting a nasty Charlie Horse in my leg.  Feels like circulation but we'll see.  Hasn't effected function.  Nothing is blue before anyone freaks out.  Just always better safe than sorry.  I have a feeling it's some type of nerve issue.  Feel fine.  Just leg needs to be checked out.  And, easier to go on weekends when no kids have to go w/ me.  Fortunate we have a place open on the weekends.  Couple miles away.  Let you know how it goes.  We had two great neurology appts. this week so ready to make this a 3rd great appointment. 

Well, we all help out in this house.  Just how it is.  Doesn't matter who you are.  We all chip in with chores.  We all help w/ repairs if needed.  We all just help out from time to time.  So, I'll give you a few ideas of how we help out. 

We help by cooking.  On this evening, we were making baked meatballs.  For those wondering, it takes 7 lbs of hamburger meat.  Very little leftovers.  We then serve w/ rice as well.  Girls were helping to roll the meatballs and place them in pans.  They did a good job.  Well, once I got them to stop making meatballs the size of baseballs.  Notice in the picture how Alaska places herself right w/in dropping range??  

We also help by cleaning up.  Nik was taking stuff up the stairs.  Bucket belongs outside in the sandbox & the ball in it isn't even ours.  Hey, at least he's cleaning up.  

We help by planting a garden.  Alex wanted to help me plant some seeds so I let him.  He's very at ease outside.  

We decided to experiment w/ something new this year.  It is a box that comes w/ enough seeds for 2 sections of the garden.  Box costs $10.  It is a salsa garden & a vegetable garden.  Above is the salsa garden.  Hope they turn out.  Time will tell.  Our oregano & chives have come back from last year & so has some of the cilantro.  Oregano is already enough to cut. Nothing like fresh herbs.  

Just wanted to share a few of the ways they help out around here.  They're pretty good about helping except when you ask them to.  Like right now Irina is outside having to play supervisor as I asked Nik, Bojan, Alyona & Alex to clean up the backyard.  Put toys away & pick up any trash.  Literally, about a 3 minute job.  They've already been out there about 5 minutes complaining that they have to clean up.  Oh well.  Has to be done.  The older kids & I were moving dirt earlier & cleaned up the front yard.  Got to go.  My "supervisor" just quit.  LOL. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Max's makings

Long overdue for a Max's makings post.  For those new, my son Max is always whittling wood & making something or another.  He made the see-saw we have and the bike rack.  It's awesome.  Now, he was feeling a bit guilty about hitting his brother w/ the shovel though it was an accident.  Max knew he couldn't walk.  So, Max was thinking.

Tools in hand and other hand full.  He has that look of I'm not sure how I'm going to make this or what I'm going to come up with.  

A big stick.  At first, I wasn't quite sure what he was going to do.  But then things started to take shape.  A final product was produced.

Max made a cane for Bojan.  Sanded it & everything & made it flat at the bottom.  Put a tennis ball on it so as not to scratch up the floors.  Bojan was excited.  They were trying to pose in this picture.  The rest of the weekend, they pretended to be yoda with that stupid cane.  I'm tired of Yoda's voice right now.  I"ve said it before & I'll say it again.  These two truly are very close brothers.  It is amazing to watch.  Inseparable.  Max had an opportunity to get his own room a few years ago but gave it to Yana instead.  I now know why.  He & Bojan stay up the night making either stupid movies or re-enacting movies.  Brothers through and through for sure.  

Just wanted to share more of Max's creativity.  More to come over the weekend.  He turns 16 years old on Sunday!!!  Yikes! 

Thoughtful Thursday

Gosh, I've been so busy I need to take the time again & find the thoughtful things that occur throughout the week in our home.  With multiple children w/ severe mental, behavioral and emotional issues, sometimes it is difficult to think of all the good.  Having a thoughtful Thursday allows us to think of the very thoughtful things my kids have done throughout the week.  We must get back into our proud moments that we do every Monday at dinner.  We've slacked off lately w/ all the chaos.  Slowly we are adjusting back to normal.  This Monday, we'll have to get back to that.  Kids & us miss it. 

Anyhow, this has been a wonderful week of thoughtful things done by my kids.  thought I'd point a few out.

Irina-- Irina has been great at keeping everything clean.  I know she has OCD but she really has been going out of her way to help things stay put and stay clean.  Just thought it was nice of her to do that when she didn't have to. 

Max-- Max has been very thoughtful at helping his brother Bojan since he's been in the wheelchair.  Picking him up, etc.  Just nice & wasn't even asked to do it.

Yana-- Yana has been helping the younger kids w/ homework.  Now, this is huge.  Yana is usually more into anything all about her.   Can we say teenager?  You know, where they think the world revolves around them.  So, I thought it was incredibly thoughtful for her to be helping her younger sibs w/ homework. 

Bojan--  Bojan knew I was nervous about an upcoming event & situation.  My kids were nervous and I was counting on Bojan to help keep them straight.  Bojan realizes most of his siblings are delayed in some capacity and not really capable of certain things such as conversations that are understood.  He looked at me & said "don't worry mom, I'll keep things all straight and true."  I was so relieved.  Just was thoughtful that he was concerned about me. 

Alyona-- Alyona threw a fit one morning arguing w/ me before school.  About a jacket.  Well, she came home that day & apologized to me for what she'd done that morning!  This is huge for her.  Her severe FAS puts her usually forgetting just about anything that happened during the day.  I was very proud that she remembered & that she was thoughtful enough to say she was sorry to me.  On her own!

Alex-- Alex saw Alyona struggling w/ her hair one morning.  Her radial articulation makes it hard to work her hands at times.  He offered to help her put the barrettes in.  He did. She came down & both asked how she looked.  It was definitely not how the girls of this house would have done it but both of them standing there, I said it looked beautiful & Alex had done a good job. 

Nik-- Nik keeps coming up & kissing my hand and giving me great big hugs.  He's always been a cuddle bug but just has been thoughtful to have that during this difficult time.

My kids are really thoughtful.  I think this is especially important to recognize if you have kids with issues.  Allows us as parents to stop & think about how incredibly sweet they are even if there are times when they are not so sweet.  FAS and RAD parents could fully appreciate what I'm saying about that.  Lately, my kids have really shown me a lot.  Their personalities are each unique but precious to each one.  Lots of diversity at our house and I love it that way.  Hope everyone is having a great day.  Try to find a thoughtful thing your child has done today or this week.  You might just be surprised. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blast from the past (drawings)

Thought I'd stir it up a bit w/ a blast from the past post but w/ drawings.  You all know Nik got into Showcase of Stars a few weeks ago for his artwork.  He drew a boat.  Not his standard drawings for sure.  So, thought I'd share a few I found last year. 

This was one of Nik's drawings.  Love it.  He was giving me a heart.  My mom make me smile.  Well, that definitely made me smile!  He wasn't killing or mangling me in this one.  LOL.  We know his "twisted" Stephen King style.  

The still infamous Humpty Dumpty picture!  people pushing humpty off the wall.  Humpty falling & breaking into pieces.  To finish him off, the sun is frying him. BTW, those people are not just hands, hands w/ forks to eat the egg!  Yep, a little Stephen Kingish my kiddo.

This is an Alex drawing.  Well, really an Alex apology.  It reads "I am sorry that I threw the processor on the shelf.  I know that you want to hear and talk.  I feel bad for you that you can't hear."  That was the translated version.  The older kids were laughing at this drawing.  I think you can figure out why.  

Just thought it would be cute to share a few memories from last year at this time.  Hope you enjoyed the blast from the past.  

My days are blending together

I wrote on here Monday last. Still no resolution to our "situation" & things seem to be getting more strange as time progresses.  Continued prayers for truth & resolution would be wonderful.  Encouragement for our kids during this time as they have really had a rough few weeks.  Our PI kids have been through SO, SO much before they even came to America.  Having them go through traumatizing things again makes your heart ache.  Really does.  Our situation was supposed to be finished up tomorrow.  It's not.  We need this done so we can be re-issued our travel dates so please be thinking about us if you can.  It's hard knowing your kids are across the ocean and you can't get to them.  That's all I can say about that. 

The school & I are not in agreement right now & that is causing some tension.  I canceled the IEP meeting.  It is rescheduled for Friday though I'm honestly not sure I can sit in that room yet w/ all that has transpired these last few weeks.  I feel very hurt by the school.  I'm not sure we'll ever recover & know that b/c of what has happened our kids will most likely have to be pulled from school & homeschooled in order to protect them.  It's sad as I really did enjoy them going there.  It was peaceful.  It was reassuring while they were in school.  It was pleasant.  It was so many things but my perspective has not shifted and not sure there is ever any going back.  Again, I can only speak of a few things right now & will have to explain in detail one day.  I just can still not disclose it all. 

Alex had a hard time yesterday after school & didn't even go to his running club.  He loves to run.  His nickname in our house is "Dash."  You know, from the Incredibles movie.  Kids came over after school & about 10 of them were outside playing kickball.  Kept trying to nail me in the face w/ the ball as I was on the front porch.  URGHH!!!  Anyhow, it stays light out later & is great to have everyone playing outside & enjoying it.  Some usually are playing a game of kickball, some on the trampoline , & Nik & one of the "littles" searching for bugs.  Spring is in the air.  Love it!  Lots of plans coming up soon. 

Tomorrow is Thursday.  Yana goes to the neurologist about her severe migraines lately.  Irina follows at the neuro for her normal checkup for her FAS & OCD issues.  It's a pediatric one but she's seen Irina for about 10 years now.  She said she'd keep seeing her if we'd like for a few more years despite her being 18yo.  That's awesome.  I've planted some things in our garden and hope it turns out this year.  We love a garden & really honestly wished we had a greenhouse.  One day maybe.  We go through so much food it would be nice to have one on hand.  For now, grocery store it is.  We go to local produce stands once they open.  Next month we'll get to pick our own strawberries which we absolutely love to do.  This year though, I'm hiding some & freezing them. Last year they ate ALL of them.  Mind you, we had 9 full buckets of strawberries.  It was crazy. 

Max's b-day is Sunday.  Sweet 16!  Can't believe it.  More on him later in the week.  More to come on here.  Pictures for sure.  I miss the pictures.  Oh, and Nik is reading!!!  Holy Cow!  It's so neat to listen to him read.  He is so dog gone proud of himself.  It's beyond fun to watch.  We all watched at dinner tonight as he read.  He gets stuck on some words but not bad at all.  Got to go.  I have about 5 hours worth of work tonight & it's 10pm.  Yeh, not happening.  Need about 2 days off one week.  Not happening either.  LOL.  Doing what I can to finish stuff up.  ALL towels go out tomorrow.  If you have not received yours yet, I thoroughly appologize.  We got caught up in something way beyond our control.  WE are finally starting to get back to normal.  Well, normal for Chaos Manor.  Okay, Alaska just carried out a roll of toilet paper.  Time to go.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brief update & prayers

Just to let you all know, tomorrow(Tuesday), is a big day.  I have a big IEP meeting for Alex.  I don't want it to be confrontational.  I really don't.  Just want what is right for Alex. 

The big thing that is happening tomorrow is my kids are being put through another interview.  I still am unable to really say for what.  Sorry.  Just know it is not a good thing for them.  This will be just as hard as before & my kids could really use prayers of encouragement.  The last time this was done to them on February 24th, it sent them into a PI tailspin.  It was beyond hard and they were traumatized for weeks.  I have finally been able to get them back to normal and laughing and playing again.  This may all change tomorrow....again.  I hope it doesn't.  I hope & pray my wishes are respected for the sake of my children.   Just wanted to share what was on my mind and how incredibly hard this is for me.  A parent is supposed to be able to protect their child at all times.  I feel helpless not being able to do so.  It is beyond my control.  I do have others helping me try to get others to understand the complexities of PI children and how something like this does indeed have a long term effect on them & can regress them. 

Pray for a resolution and truth.  That is what we need right now. More to come tomorrow afternoon.  Results of our IEP meeting and updates on how my kids were affected.  Thanks for all the support out there.  I have not had the chance to thank everyone individually yet.  Trust me, it means the world to us.  Enjoy your week. 

Manic Monday

Lots to do this week for sure.  Please pray our "situation" is finished up this week and we can get our new travel dates once again.  Just pray for truth and encouragement.  That would help immensely.

We have a few appointments this week.  We have Alex's IEP coming up which should be very interesting to say the least.  I do not agree at all with how they are teaching him.  Parents of special needs kids have to fight tooth nail in this county.  I hate it.  I really do.  The system is broken.  They try and "fix" it every year w/ something new & improved.  It never works.  Never.  Enough of that.  I'll have a separate school post one day.  I've always said it's not the teachers but the system.  In most cases, the teachers hands are tied.  such as in Alyona's case.  B/c she is in self-contained classroom, she is not allowed to fail.  Can you believe that?!  What is that teaching her for real life?  Nothing. 

We have an appointment with Neurology for Yana and an appointment w/ the dentist for Nik.  He's having his first cavity filled.  This is the appointment that I was a month early for last month.  I also can't wait to hear what the neurologist has to say about Yana's migraines.  I have a feeling she'll have to be medicated for them.  Hope not but pretty certain w/ the severity and frequency.

There is something else happening w/ our kids that still not at liberty to disclose.  Something I'm very nervous about b/c it had such a negative impact on them last time.  PI kids come with lots of baggage and people interacting with them need to be respectful of that.  I pray that they will be this week.

We're working on fixing up the yard and outside of the house this week. Starting to come along.  Kids were great at helping.  Not sure what we're doing this coming weekend.  Our April, May & June are getting packed.  Hopefully, we'll be able to also throw a trip to Bulgaria in w/ that! Lots going on.  Having to take & pick Bojan up from school till the wheelchair bus can get him.  Hoping that is tomorrow.  Picking up some clothes today for the teens that someone is selling.  girls are excited about that.  Trying over the next few weeks to make sure that everyone has some clothes to start the summer with.  And in NC, summer weather typically comes early.  Tomorrow, it's in the 80's.  So, working on that.   I have kids that really grew this past year.  They really do need some new clothes.  Some are just so dog gone hard to buy for.  Alyona is beyond skinny and nothing fits her.  She finally outgrew toddler sizes last year so I was thrilled.  Gives her more options for clothing a little bit more age appropriate. 

Not much else going on.  Warren was sick as a dog Thursday & Friday.  He believes he had food poisoning and I'm beginning to think he was right.  Not sure how but who knows.  Glad he's up & about & back to work today.  Dentist just called & re-scheduled our appointment.  No biggie.  Go with the flow.  I let you all know if anything happens w/ our case.  Like I said, please pray for resolution and truth this week.  IF things are cleared up this week, we should have another travel date issued which would be a dream come true.  We are so close & to have a wrench thrown in an adoption at the last minute is really tough.  Survivable, but tough.  We have faith though that all this will be cleared up SOON & we can get on w/ seeing our new kiddos!  Can't wait.  More to come this week.  Keep you posted on our travel status and will speak about our situation as soon as I am able. 

enjoy this spring day.  It's sunny here so the 2 "littles" that will be here today are going to be outside playing.  May have them help w/ the garden too.  Alex was very content helping me this past weekend starting the garden.  We really do need more acreage and a farm.  Not happening but that's what we need here.  My kids really do thrive outdoors.  They love it.  I think being raised indoors most their young life in an orphanage gave them that desire to want to be outside and love the outdoors.  Glad that they have that love of nature. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer Warriors needed

I've seen this in a few places in the adoption community.  There is a family that recently got back from EE.  I believe Ukraine, but not sure.  They adopted two girls.  The one girl is 3yo.  When they got back to the apartment to undress her, they then became aware of her grave condition.  When the parents landed, what should have been a trip home to reunite w/ their children, was instead a trip to the hospital to try to save their new daughter's life.  This little girl named Carrington is 3 years old and 11 pounds.  Doctor's said her body was preparing to die.  She will be there for weeks while they try to save this precious one's life.   The pictures are truly heartbreaking.  Someone has set up a blog to help follow them on this journey.  Here is their blog:

I'm sharing as this family needs all the prayers they can get right now.  I can not imagine rushing to the hospital right after getting off a transatlantic flight.  It is just a sad story.  More testimony that the orphans of Eastern Europe need our help. 

Sunday update

Well, figured I'd throw in a little update today since a bit is happening here.  Letting the kids stay up late last night was big mistake # 1.  It was not a pleasant morning to get ready.  Max claimed he owns NO pants.  I know, I know, totally not true.  He should have said he doesn't have any clean pants b/c he failed to put them in the laundry.  But, you and I both know a teenager will never say that.  Yana helped him find something to wear.  Surprisingly, it was Bojan and Max that had difficulties getting ready for church.  And yep, I'm totally blaming them.  Why?  Because they had the tv on upstairs instead of getting ready.  URGHH!!!  Boys.  Before all this though, I was not up to cooking breakfast this morning.  So, the kids were treated to donuts, grapes and I did make sausage.  Not the breakfast of champions but they all sure enjoyed it.  And frankly, so did I. 

Left for church.  Awesome message today about serving and it came in loud and clear.  Loved it today.  Really did.  While there, we saw & heard the story of the Hoyts.  Now, I've heard and seen it before but it was eye opening for some of my children.  This is the dad & son team that do marathons.  The father was told to put his son in an institution when he was born due to his severe CP.  Father said no.  It is amazing to watch these two race.  PLEASE WATCH! I've seen this before but you can tell many in church today had not.  It's an inspirational story & really reminds me of the many times we were told our children weren't worth any thing.  Far from the truth.  I still feel every life has a purpose though sometimes, we aren't sure what that purpose is.  Trust me, eventually you will know.  This is a video worth watching.

After church, a nice man named Tommy came over to us and handed us a gift.  Told us to take the kids out to lunch.  We were very grateful for such a wonderful treat!  As you know, taking 9 people out to lunch doesn't happen too often.  Well, I knew crowds would be a little too much & the wait at some restaurants so went to a place called Cookout.  Burgers and such and fantastic milkshakes.  Every time we pass this place the kids want to stop.  I think we've only eaten there 2 or three times in the past few years.  So, told the kids we'd stop & they thanked us.  I told them to thank the wonderful man next time they see him.  I do hope they remember.  We had burgers, fries, hushpuppies and washed it down with a milkshake.  And folks, these are real milkshakes.  The good kind.  It was a very enjoyable lunch and made for some great reflection on what little things you can do for other people.

Shortly after arriving home, we got a call.  A call from the local church in Benson who will be helping us transform Bojan & Max's old room into Alyona, Summer, & 'R's new room.  VERY exciting. They will also help us fix the back steps that are falling apart.  I can not express how grateful we are for this.  Our life sometimes gets hectic with the children and the needs they have.  If we have to talk one out of a meltdown for a few hours, than that is where the priority is.  Whether you were fixing something falling apart or not.  The kids & their needs do come first here.  It is part of their healing to know mom & dad will stop everything in order to be there for them when they need us.  Something that all our kids did not have before coming to our home. So, the repair work around here  or even just changing of rooms becomes a task almost impossible to complete alone.  To have a team of people be able to come & help us out so that we can in turn concentrate on the children when they get home is simply a blessing.  It's huge.  I hope that one day I will be able to pay it forward for them. 

Warren then took Bojan for a re-check of his leg at Urgent Care.  He really didn't need to go but following protocol.  $20 co-pay later to say what we already's fine.  We've seen enough wounds and surgeries here to know if something were out of whack.  Oh, the church loaned us the wheelchair for Bojan.  SO very thankful.  See, Friday ,we went to a medical supply place & they were not in network.  Went Saturday & others were closed.  Relieved we found a solution.  God will provide.  While Warren went to Urgent Care, I dropped off Nik at a b-day party for a friend of his.  Nik didn't want me to go home.  He's nervous since I told him I was going on a plane to Bulgaria.  He needs to know though that I'm coming back so this 2 hours is great practice.  Kids have a few friends over downstairs watching Jungle Book 2.  Would not watch it again.  We didn't like it. It's not a cartoon one.  Anyhow, I think they're all exhausted from working so hard yesterday as now they're watching Old Dogs.  No one is hungry from the big lunch we had.  So, may just eat spaghetti tonight instead of the grilled fish we were going to have.  Who knows. 

Anyhow, prepping for a HUGE week this week.  Need some prayers for a resolution to our situation  & truth.  That way, we can get necessary things done so that we can get travel dates re-instated.  April, May & June are packed full of activities so I'm kind of glad that we can focus on other things in March.  We can hardly wait to get to our kids in Bulgaria.  Kids & us are going to pick out some pics next week to make photo albums for the kids over there.  Want them to get to know us all.  We're all thinking of gifts we can get for them too.  Please, please let me go when I'm supposed to.  This week is very pivotal in that decision.  Pray for resolution and that all falls into place.  Got to go pick up Nik in a few minutes.  More to come tomorrow, I'm sure.  Keep you posted on events about to happen this week. 

Just for fun

With all that is going on, I have to remember the little fun we have from time to time.  So, thought I'd share a few pictures.

Just for fun one night, Dad decided it was high time for homemade milkshakes.  He made mint oreo milkshakes.  Yum is an understatement!  Loved them.

Just for fun, we had our milkshakes in the living room while watching Chuck.  Yep, it was a school night.  Yes, we have furniture in the living room.  Yet almost all my children choose to sit on the floor while watching tv.  Go figure.

Just for fun, Alyona & Nik created their own little fort from her bed & some sheets.  Picture is blurry but they're still cute.  Great imaginations at work.

Just for fun one day, I let Nik & one of the "littles" play video games after school.  This was a FIRST!!!  I never do this on a school day.  It was really yucky outside and figured one time, why not.  Can you tell it made his day?

Just for fun, my kids sometimes climb the great oak trees in our yard.  Despite mom & dad saying not to go that high!  This was Yana one day.  BTW, there is a limit to how high they're allowed to go.  She was NOT listening this particular day.   Proof was on the camera when she told me she didn't go that high.  LOL.  

My kids do a bunch of things just for fun.  And, for that I'm grateful.  Why isn't that one of the jobs of a kid?.... to have fun?  It's the little things that make a difference.  More pictures to come and more tidbits of things here and there.  With all the chaos happening lately, we are trying to get everything together.  We have much coming up this week so trying to prepare.  Have a relaxing Sunday.  We're going to church this morning and then home to finish cleaning up & prepping the yard.  I'm taking Nik to his friend's b-day party this afternoon & Warren is taking Yana & Irina to Youth Group.  Tomorrow starts a whole new weekend a praying it is a resolution to what is going on in our lives & what is our hold up.  Please pray that a resolution is reached this week & we can then get travel dates re-issued.  More to come on what all is happening these next few weeks.  I'm just disappointed that at the moment it does not include a first trip to Bulgaria.  Time will tell though.  This week is pivitol.  Have a great day everyone.  Get out and do something fun.