Friday, April 1, 2011

Just because...

Just because I came across this picture I thought I'd share.  Alyona had a field trip to Camp Flintock awhile back. They were able to learn to write with quail feathers.  Take a look at what she wrote:

They practiced writing the letters & then wrote a sentence.  Just look at what my girl wrote on the field trip!   I love mom.  How sweet is that?!  I just love it when they do stuff like this out of the blue.  Shows just how much they belong in this family.  Her writing is also getting much better.  I know this was written w/ a feather but I'm talking about her regular writing.  So many positive changes.  Can't get enough.  

Just thought I'd share.  Been going through photos.  A few have caught my eye that I'd forgotten about.  Got to go.  B/c now the loving one I'm talking about is downstairs arguing w/ her sister.  Oh yeh, back to reality that they are true sisters.  LOL.  Be back later. 

Fearless can crash....

This happened a few weeks ago but I was going through some old pictures so figured I'd post.  As you all know, my kids love to play outside.  They are fearless.  We have hills in this neighborhood and they love them.  If there were a circus & they were asking for volunteers to walk hot coals, I honestly think my kids would volunteer.  Seriously, they are just fearless.  Well, sometimes the fearless part will indeed catch up to you.  I tell them to be careful, use good judgement but let's face it...they're kids.  That's not always going to happen.  Well, Bojan came hunched over to the house one day.  I said what happened.  Oh, it's okay, 'B' fixed it.  Now, 'B' is the "littles'" brother.  I said "let me see anyhow please just to make sure."  This is what I saw:

This is how his friend fixed Bojan's back.  I then said "did you all clean it out first?"  No, mom but we put bandaids on it.  I see that Bojan.  He was not too happy when I had to peel them all off in order to clean out the road rash.

As you can see, it's not too bad all things considering.  I really was shocked it wasn't worse when I heard what he did.  Bojan came home & said he told his friend "Stupidity has consequences."  (it's from a movie apparently).  Bojan then proceeded to get on their zipline.....feet first.  Remember, he's an aka & can only feel w/ one foot.  Fearless one went down the zipline feet first!  He landed in a pile of pinecones, sticks and bricks.  Yet, seem to end up w/ a few scrapes & a bruised ego.    Why my son chose to go down the zipline upside down I will never understand.  I thought as they get older, the decisions are supposed to become better and reasonable.  Guess we have a ways to go.  Good news is he was back up going again in a short time after this.  BTW, he's 12yo.  What decisions will he make as a teen next year?!  I do love the fact though that Bojan is willing to try just about anything.  Those considering adopting a child w/ a limb difference, I am the first to tell you it does NOT slow them down.  Nope, not even one bit!  

Not the best pictures in the world but thought the story was worth telling.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Have a wonderful weekend.  We're cleaning up and girls & I are going to yardsales.  can hardly wait!  After all that, we're going to Kanki for Max's b-day lunch that he didn't get the chance to get last weekend.  We're all very ready for it.  Right now, kids are watching Cat in the Hat.  Having salad & bake potatoes for dinner this evening.  They all of us are just going to relax for awhile after such a busy week.  And I'm determined this weekend to find at the very least the boys some Easter clothes.  Have Alyona's dress.  You bargin hunters will love this.  It was a $330 dress (tags still on) & found it at a thrift shop for $30.  It is pretty but no one in their right mind would have paid a couple hundred for it.  Alyona loves it of course.  She is my girlie girl.  Love it!  Not too many other parents get to dress their almost 12yo little lady in size 6 dresses & have them love it.  How lucky can I be???  Hope my other two little ladies coming home enjoy being girlie girls too.  More to come. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bad, awful day

Trying to catch up on so many half started posts.  Not happening.  Especially, today.  Ever read the book 'Grover's Bad Awful Day?'  Well, that was MY day today.  Seriously, it was.  Not horrific but just care not to repeat it.  It started w/ Max missing the bus b/c he didn't get up.  My bloodwork came back normal which is now good and bad.  Explain later.  4 "littles" were here w/ some serious cabin fever as we haven't been able to leave the house in 2 days.  Rain & one has a broken arm.  So, limited on options.  Only so many movies, crafts, school work, and imaginative play you can do.  LOL.  2 puppies who escaped the fence...twice.  Irina comes home & tells me she has to be there at 5:30, not 6pm.  URGHH!!!  She also says she needs a ball.  Umm, no can do.  All lost in the woods.  Don't ask at this point.  Warren calls to say he's going to be late.  Fine.  Meet me at the school.  Irina gives me the schedule for the performance tonight.  tells me it's going to be longer than when she originally told me an hour.  Again...URGHH!!  ALL my kids have homework.  They get home at 4:15.  I'm rushing them along.  Making sure everyone has meds, etc.  Tell them to eat something, anything at this point as I was just now getting the turkey in the oven.  No time to peel potatoes, do that when we get home.  Go out in the pouring down rain.  Lovely.  Forgot my window has been down for 2 days!  yep, van is soaked on the drivers side so run in to get beach towels.  Get to the school and we load in to wait. 

At the school, waiting.  Waiting w/ hungry kids, tired kids and kids that should be doing homework instead.  I will try & skip the many little things that went wrong.  Trust me, there were plenty.  The media equipment kept feeding back and hurting Nik.  Now, Nik has limits on his processors. They are NOT supposed to allow but a certain amount of sound.  That is my easy lingo.  I don't know how to say what the audiologist say.  Anyhow, this went on & on.  Well, it did it one time and Nik screamed terrified and in big time PAIN!  Took him out in the hall.  He told me his ears "popped" inside.  Said his ears hurt. Now, he has an eardrum that is intact.  Don't think the device is fried at this point but something really happened that wasn't supposed to.  He obviously refused to put them back on which was fine w/ me.  He was scared too.  So, convinced him to sit on my lap.  We went to an ASL show that Irina was in.  Warren took him during intermission outside to try to fix the implant & trouble shoot outside in a quiet area.  Irina came out & wanted him to put the helmet in the car.  He did.  Between the entrance & the van, they lost Nik's glasses.  Yep, brand new glasses.  See where my day is headed now??  Went back in.  Sat through the rest of the performance though kids were not ready to sit still.  Keep in mind, Alex is zonked out every night at 7pm just due to the meds he's on.  It was NOT going well at this point w/ everyone ready to go and hungry.  Me included. 

Had to leave and drive home. Umm, I'm severely night blind.  No choice.  I made Warren go ahead in case I happen to not do so well.  Irina & Yana were my "side eyes."  We don't live far.  Remember, this would NOT have been a problem had Irina given me all the facts and right information.  Another FAS issue in this house often.  Though, I know a lot of other kids that do this too.  Tell the kids in teh car what they'll be doing when they get home.  Yana & Nik had potato peeling duty.  Irina, kitchen.  Me, side dishes & turkey.  Bojan & Alyona bath.  Etc,. etc.  Potatoes went a little crazy and I burned myself when the mixer was turned on.  Did the same thing again a few minutes later.  Dinner was just one thing after another.  Yana and Irina were not getting along & critiquing each other on every little thing.  Told everyone to just go to bed after dinner.  I mean shoot, it was 9:30 already.  Yana ended up ripping the implants off Nik's head & hurting his head.  Yes, she is now grounded too.  URGHH!!!  What was supposed to be a relaxing time out turned into just one bad thing after another w/ a downward spiral effect.  It's not over yet either.  Irina's alarm clock broke.  Alyona is complaining her throat hurts & feel she'll be staying home tomorrow.  WE'll see.  May be getting strep.  Her tonsils are swollen.  I need some sleep.  Going to try to go to bed at a decent hour.  More stuff happened but I promise you, you wouldn't even want to know the rest.  Our back door is leaking again.  Still need to call repairman back. 

Tomorrow is a new day.  I know it will be better.  In the grand scheme of things, this was not that bad.  Could have been much, much worse.  I know that.  I do.  But when you have everything seem to be happening at once & one "situation" hanging over your head & nothing resolved yet, it just feels like a bad, awful day.  Thanks for letting me vent.  Now, I can move forward, do some paperwork and prepare for what I hope will be a better day.  Hey, it's not going to rain tomorrow so I'm already happy!  Nik's implants are working and he's tolerating them fine.  However, he says his ears hurt.  Waiting till morning and also calling audiologist to see what happen to that so called safety.  Have a great evening and promise more interesting, not so whiny posts coming.  Though, I do think everyone deserves to whine at least one day out of the year.  Don't tell my husband or he'll disagree & say I definitely whine more than once.  LOL.  Good night!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hanging around, having fun

With all the seriousness going on around here lately, I love catching glimpses of the kids, well, being kids having fun.  Using their imagination or simply just being a kid.  Thought I'd share a few from the past few days.

Alyona & Nik love playing baby dolls together.  Nik uses the bear.  However, he does not want the poor bear in girl clothes.  He resolved that problem by putting his underwear on the bear.  

Irina and Max enjoying a fruit bar.  Love fruit bars.  Just wish they weren't so expensive.  Fruit bars are gone in this house as fast as they come in.  LOL.  

Too bright but this is Alyona.  Just hanging out at the swingset.  This swingset was made over ten years ago for Max & Irina by Warren.  We moved it from our old house to here.  No plans for it, he just built it as he went along.  Definitely well used.  

I know this is a terrible shot but it was THE cutest thing!  Dancing w/ the Stars was on tv when I came around the corner.  I caught Nik & Alyona trying to imitate the dancers' moves.  I was cracking up.  Too cute.  Took other blurry shots as they were spinning around and all.  Loved it.  then Nik wanted me to be his partner.  LOL.  I obliged.  

Notice the one not in the wheelchair is the one supposed to be using the wheelchair.  Bojan was walking around I'm sure.  Nik & Max can actually do wheelies in the wheelchair now.  Hilarious.  They had a disabilities fair awhile back at their schools.  Let's just say my kids did just fine in the wheelchair obstacle courses.  LOL.

Irina just chilling w/ Alaska.  Alaska is like a rag doll.  She'll go into any position you put her in.  She puts up w/ A LOT from all the kids here.  Kota, not so much.  Both are kid friendly but Kota definitely has limits and will leave the room.  Today I caught one of the "littles" playing dinosaur wars on top of poor Alaska.  She didn't even flinch.  What a great puppy we have!  I think Irina likes her too.

I had another picture but wasn't sure I'm allowed to post.  It was a picture of... well, fake poop.  Our speech therapist gave it to our kids.  Yes, even the professionals know my kids have a sick sense of humor sometimes.  Irina came in during a session & said she had poop on her hands.  I freaked out.  NOT knowing at the time it was fake.  Anyhow, the kids have played and played & played w/ this fake poop for the past two weeks now.  Pretending the puppies did it or the baby dolls.  Who would haev ever thought kids could have so much fun w/ fake poop.  However, it looks incredibly real, I thought it would gross some of you out.  Fooled me enough.  

Got to run.  Wet, rainy, cold day.  Spaghetti w/ homemade marinara sauce tonight.  Perfect!  Irina has a performance tomorrow night we're going to.  It is for her ASL I class.  Should be neat to see.  Speech therapist comes this evening.  Getting quite a bit done but still more to come.  Time to go make flowers w/ the "littles."  wish me luck. 

Clarifying post

Sorry for the previous post.  We do NOT have travel dates re-issued yet.  We absolutely must get our "situation" solved here first before that can occur.  This was supposed to be done last week.  It wasn't.  I am told by someone that it should be wrapped up this week.  That would be wonderful and reassuring.  We have no idea what time frame a travel date would be re-issued once this is done.  This is kind of new territory for everyone from my understanding.  I know not much of this makes sense to many of you but do promise to disclose everything once all this is officially over.  Then everything I've been saying this last month will make sense.  Crazy, huh?  I know, I know.  -- we must like doing everything the hard way.  Definitely not but I think all these trials & tribulations during all our adoptions have made us stronger people and have taught us to really fight & put all your heart into what you need to do.  For months we were being told to not get Yana and Alex.  For months.  Told it was too hard.  They won't do it.  Everything in the book.  Some called us foolish for even attempting to pursue their adoptions.  But, we could not turn our backs on our kids.  Feel the same way about our Bulgarian kiddos.  And I do clearly want to reiterate that this has absolutely nothing to do w/ Bulgarian side of things or even the American agencies.  Just don't want anyone to think that.  They have all been fantastic throughout this whole ordeal.  Wanted to clarify the last post.  Only posted it b/c I am going through all old posts, finishing them and posting them.  Hence, why the blog may look rather choppy on topics this week.  Hope that all wasn't too confusing.  Enjoy your week.  Time for some make believe & crafts.  100% chance of rain today.  Got to get creative.  More later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The To Do List Before Trip I

This adoption notice is so much different than our ones for Russia.  During one of our adoptions from Russia, we got 3 days notice. Yep, three days.  Thank goodness we got notice today, March 18th of a travel date of April 13th.  That is almost a month out.  Despite a month out, there is much to do.  Let's just go over a few things.

-- book airline tickets

--find someone to go with me (any volunteers, PLEASE contact me!  Not kidding.  We will pay for the ticket & costs).

-- reschedule medical appointments

-- schedule spring break items

--make Easter Baskets before I go

-- get Easter clothing for kids for church

-- go shopping for groceries

-- make sure all IEP's are done

-- get garden in order

-- call repairman for back door (still leaks)

-- FUNDRAISE & FAST!!!  More on that later.  We're short.

-- get phone.  I have no cell phone.  Haven't for years but can't take Warren's as it's his for work.

-- make arrangements w/ the "Littles' families"

-- complete paperwork

-- fill out more grant apps

-- buy gifts

-- learn basic Bulgarian

-- make Links of Love & notes for my kids left behind

-- make book for Nik to explain the process

-- make 3 photo books for the kids in Bulgaria

-- tell everyone I know (wait, I can check that one off!)

-- make sure my kids' meds are stocked & ordered

-- send in request to homeschool

-- get in touch w/ docs regarding future Boyd kids' medical issues.  Neurologist will have to be done immediately due to needs.  that takes priority over anything else when we get home

-- find video camera to take

-- and countless other things

Well, this was the post I started awhile back.  Never finished making the list but thought I'd post anyhow as it gives other folks an idea of what adoptive parents must get in order before they leave.  And this is nowhere near the entire list.  Like I said, I stopped once I knew we were not traveling then.  Still don't know when we are going.  Told our "situation" will be finished this week.  Phew!  Please pray all goes the way it is supposed to and truth will prevail.  More to come for sure.  Just thought this would be interesting to post.  I have many more half finished posts & I am determined to finish them.  LOL.  So, you may see Christmas posts here soon...who knows how many are left.  Just thought it may be interesting. 

Accidents, allergies & agony

Tried to think of something catchy but don't think it worked.  Oh well.  We have accidents happen in this home all the time.  Just due to the sheer #of people that are in & out of here on any given day.  So, thought I'd show you some. 

This is definitely an accident.  Irina dropped the entire vat of homemade coleslaw on the floor.  We had just bought it from the church.  Irina was running to get something to clean it up with.  

These kind of accidents happen a lot as well.  We tend to look up one day & see something in the trees.  This time it was a hola hoop.  Yes, it's still there.

Poor Alex has severe, severe allergies.  But, due to the meds he's on, he can not take allergy medicine.  Don't worry, it doesn't slow him down too much.  He muddles through it but the first two weeks are the worst of allergy season for him.  NC is one of the worst states for allergies.  

Agony...sort of.  Nik was trying to be funny.  Stuck his hand in ketchup & decide to pretend he was bleeding to death.  Umm, yeh.  Nice touch at the dinner table, don't you think??  We had fish this night for dinner & the kids LOVE fish.  Not so happy w/ the green beans as you can see.  Nik is one of our kids that also has a flair for the dramatic.  Sitting next to the other drama performer, does not help much at times.  LOL.  

More to come.  I have a bunch of posts started & stopped.  Been crazy busy but playing catch up.  Getting ready to go take Bojan to get stitches out & Nik to get a shot.  Oh yeh, fun evening for mom...NOT.  Bojan vomits when he gets stitches out...don't ask.  Nik screams bloody murder when he gets a shot.  I'm bringing back up this time as I'm sure one of us will have to help the doc.  BTW, our "situation" may be resolved this week so please, please keep those prayers coming.  We need this finished so we may get our travel dates again!  Ready to see my kiddos.  One of them has a birthday in a few days.  Have a great evening. 


That is the bill I just received.  Thankfully, I am one of the millions that has health insurance.  However, I personally think this is part of the major problem w/ the whole healthcare system.  Why in the world are we charging this much for a 12 year old boy to receive 5 stitches.  Yes, just five stitches!  It blows my mind.  BTW, it even states at the bottom of the bill I may be charged by 4 other different people.  What?!  How?!  We saw a nurse & the doc who stitched them up.  ARe they counting the security guard?  I'm not trying to be funny but I really think something needs to be said.  Thought I'd give a break down of the bill.

M/S supply general................$  94.00
M/S Supply sterile supply.......$  52.00
Emergency room general.......$1671.00
Drug spec. id detail coding....$  292.00
Pharmacy other....................$      4.00

It also shows the copay I made on the bill as well but I didn't put that up there.  He did have iv antibiotics though they could have given him the shot.  So just to sit in the room of the ER, it is over 1600 dollars.  Now, the same thing could have been done at our local urgent care facility.  We were torn w/ Bojan exactly where to go.  It is a judgment call you must make as a parent.  Plus, Bojan has had quite a few other surgeries & the gash was right where one of his previous surgeries' scar was.  Yet, had we gone to the other place, charges would have been significantly less.  Are we paying for the convenience?  Is that what it boils down to?  I remember having to go to  the ER one Mother's Day evening.  It was midnight, everything else was closed & I spilled boiling ramen noodles on my lap, burning my thigh.  I knew I needed the special burn cream you can only get by a script.  Only place open was the ER of course.  Hours upon hours later, I saw the doc, got the script & was on my way.  But why again was that thousands of dollars?  It just doesn't add up right.  And the amount of people that charge you is questionable.  I do understand it should indeed cost more for this service.  In my opinion though, it shouldn't cost this much more.  I do believe if things were reasonable, more folks would be able to afford to pay. 

With 7 kids w/ needs, and no supplements or aid received by any source whatsoever, I really do pay  attention to the bills.  Especially, since our premiums just went up in January as did our copays.  One year I called my insurance company for dental & told them I think the dentist I was using at the time was committing insurance fraud.  I said I am OUT of the whole thing, just wanted you to be aware.  For 2 cleanings & x-rays, they were charging our dental insurance company $700.  They knew they'd pay it. I said that was wrong.  Keep in mind, this was over 10 years ago.  That's when we switched dentists.  I used to go to Eye care Associates  and they were charging around $150 for the eye exam.  our insurance would not pay that much.  I went to Walmart for the IDENTICAL exam for $70.  Awesome doctor there too.  We've been going there ever since. I just think some places are taking advantage of insurance companies.  It's wrong in my opinion.  And I know my opinion isn't worth squat.  But I'm very cost conscience b/c I have to be.  Just think places should really think of the costs before charging stuff.  If we're getting surgery, we should be allowed to bring our own tylenol for a few bucks a bottle versus the $15 a pill they charge.  LOL.  Okay, that's my soapbox for the day.  Great news is the hospital is excellent.  Just the bills seem unbalanced to me for 5 stitches.  Anyone else have outrageous or what they think are outrageous hospital bills? 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Manic Monday

Well, it's already the beginning of the week again.  I have a ton of posts half started.  So, this week things may seem a bit out of order.  My attempt is to finish a few of the old posts & then move on w/ things.  That's the goal anyhow.  Whether it happens or not is another story.  Today was Monday & the kids did not have school.  So, I had 13 kids here.   7 are mine.  It was cold, wet & rainy out most of the day.  Inside we had to get creative.  Part of the day was movie & popcorn.  Over the Hedge.  Most watched it.  Had lots of imaginative play going on as well.  For crafts, I had some doing mosaics & some doing bead making of necklaces.  We also attempted a cake.  I say attempted for a reason.  It was made.  Smelled & looked fantastic.  I put it in the freezer to cool so I could ice it faster.  Open the freezer door & out fall the cake.  Upside down butter pecan.  Obviously, we couldn't salvage what actually landed on the floor.  But the part that stayed in the pan.  Yep, they tore into it.  I had to take the pan away.  We were all cracking up b/c it was so dog gone stupid that it was funny.  Ever have one of those stupid but funny moments?  You can't stop laughing.  That was us.  All in all, we had a pretty decent time for being stuck inside most of the day. 

This is a shot of a few of the kids working on mosaics or bead necklaces.  We had oranges for snack as well as popcorn w/ the movie.  We have more beads than you want to know...or step on for that matter.  

One of the "littles" & Nik concentrating on their bead making.  Yes, that is a teddy bear w/ a bandaid on it on the right side.  

One of the "littles' brother" & Yana watching a movie.  And no, she is not supposed to eat in the living room.  Yana changed her hair color this past weekend to a bit darker.  She likes it & has gotten compliments on it but as a mom, I think it was fine before.  Her natural color is very dark.  Her bio sister's hair was actually black.  BTW, Yana always tells me she hates pink.  Really?  Notice the sweatshirt & socks.  LOL.  

Yana took this shot.  Kota taking his taste of the cake that had fallen.  Apparently, even the dog liked it!  I think we can safely say he is a dog and not a puppy any more.  Though to us, he is still so small.  Bear was 125 lbs.  Not sure what Kota weighs now but guessing in the 50's, maybe even 60's.  What drives me nuts about this picture is why did Yana take it & not tell the dog to get down???  Kids.  

busy day w /the 13 kiddos here but it was organized for the most part at Chaos Manor.  Part of the afternoon the boys went outside to work the dirt.  Was shocked how much they'd gotten done.  

Lots going on this week.  Hoping our "situation" will be concluded & we can move on w/ Bulgaria & a travel date again.  Keep you posted.  1 IEP meeting and no doc appts. that I'm aware of.  But, so , so much to catch up on.  More to come for sure.  Just know it is  a very hectic week.   Oh, I do need to go get Bojan's stitches out.  Think I may take him tomorrow or Wednesday.  They gave us no specific date.  Looks very good.  Hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Orenburg Reunion!!!

 As you all know, our first two kids are from Orenburg, Russia.  Well, actually Orsk & Abdulino.  Anyhow, thought I'd copy the info about the Orenburg Reunion this year in case anyone new would like to go.  It is a blast!  They have it every single year.  We went last year to VA.  We tend to make a mini vacation out of it but since it's in NC this year, we're just going for the day.  Do let me know if any of you are interested in attending.  There are new & old faces there every single year.  Love it!  And so do the kids.  Contact me & I'll put you in touch w/ the hosts... the Flynns.  Hope I got the name right. 

Dear Fellow Orenburg Families,

Happy March (yikes, how did it get to be March already??)! I want to e-mail
you some more details regarding the 2011 Orenburg reunion.

The actual reunion will take place Saturday, June 25 in Joanie Moser Memorial
Park, which is located at 601 Lewisville-Clemmons Rd. in Lewisville NC (about
10 mins West of Winston-Salem). Details on the park, as well as
maps/directions are located here:
The park has a great shelter which is reserved for us, two playgrounds,
volleyball area, horsehoe area, etc. It also has a softball field, which I
have reserved for the annual kickball game.

I don't have a time yet, but I anticipate the event being a lunch and
afternoon type thing. I am working on menu, and am thinking subs, drinks,
chips, munchies, dessert. I know we have at least one vegetarian. Anybody
else with special dietary needs?

We have a hotel with a block of rooms reserved for us. The hotel is the
Courtyard by Marriott in Winston-Salem. Website is here:
Phone number is 336-760-5777, and the block is under Orenburg reunion. The
rooms I reserved all have two double beds, and our group rate is $99/nite,
which includes a full breakfast. They do have other room configurations,
including rooms with pullout sofas, just ask when you call. The hotel is near
any number of restaurants, shopping, etc, and about a 10-15 minute drive to
the park for the reunion. The block is set aside for us to make reservations
until June 1, and you can reserve any nights between June 21 and June 27.

The hotel has a nice pool and gazebo area, so I figure we can retreat there
when the reunion itself is over, and cool off/hang out together.

I think that's all the major details so far.

If you are wondering about Winston-Salem, and what to do while you're in town,
here are some quick ideas: We have several cool historic sites, including Old
Salem and Bethabara Park, we have a minor league baseball team - the
Winston-Salem Dash. We're home to several universities. Wake Forest
University has a particularly nice campus to walk around on. We're about 1.5
hours from the Blue Ridge. If you want more ideas, just let me know!

Have to run, but please let me know if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you all in a few months!

Katherine, Corey, Natalia, and Lexie

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet 16

This will be hard to muster the courage to write.  Mainly, b/c I can't believe my oldest son is 16 years old today.  If he were still in his small village in Russia, he would have been dead by now.  In his orphanage, they were released at the age of 13yo onto the street.  He has lived years past that already & lived quite the full life.  Max is filled to the brim with so much potential, it is not even funny.  This kid is going to do amazing things in life.  I can already tell.  Max has an incredible mind and such a kind spirit.  He is beyond excellent w/ young kids.  The "littles" LOVE it when Max comes home & plays w/ them.  Yet, he does well w/ adults too.  He has balance in life & I think that is important.  Max has beat great odds in life.  Going from the life of an orphan to fighting the brain damage he was born with has been an incredible transformation to watch.  He has turned it all around and proven you can do anything you set your mind to.  Max has an eye for art.  He whittles wood and makes fantastic creations for folks.  Remember all "Max's makings" posts?  Those were just the tip of the iceberg of the things he's made around here. He is the household handyman that all the kids go to when something is broken.  They do not dare ask me.  LOL.  They seriously wait till Max gets home from school.  Max's artwork is incredible.  Very cool the stuff he can do.  The kid's got talent!!! Max has talent, art, & limitless potential.  I can not tell you how proud we are of our 16 year old son.  I have a teenager son that has not taken wrong turns.  He has worked hard and it shows.  I do hope that my son is proof that you can take dx's and tuck them away.  You can indeed work with what you have been given and turn your life into an incredible portrait of love and success. 

Max when he was 10 years old.  I don't have photos loaded on the computer before 2005.  Wish I did.  He has grown SO much since we brought him home in 1999.  He was just 4 years old and wore size 18 months.  Boy, even this picture he seemed so little at 10.  Never lost that cuteness factor though.

No one can deny that this is a handsome young man.  Max has really grown into a wonderful young man that would make any parent proud.  He has quite the sense of humor too.

Max had a friend over Friday night & we actually all went to Target as Max had a gift card from my parents.  He ended up getting a Transformer.  Yes, still a kid at heart yet I know many an adult who still collect Star Wars stuff or are trekkies so I best not say anything.  He also picked out a movie that Warren & I got for him.  Earlier we had some pizza and then after Target everyone got home & chilled out w/ a movie & snacks.  Saturday, we got some things done around here but promised to take Max to Walmart to look at electronics.  He ended up buying an mp-3 player.  He did not want an ipod which surprised me but than again, Max is not a "sheep."  He does not usually follow the crowd so it really didn't come as a surprise.  (Yana on the other hand will do whatever is popular at the time)  He looked at the choices and saw what would work for him.  He wanted to play movies and listen to music & this does that for a much lower price.  Remember, our kids are very limited in their electronics access till we know they can handle it.  Max can.  We told him he could buy what he wanted.  He did not want a cell phone which did actually surprise me. He said if he got caught w/ it at school, he couldn't have it at all.  Smart kid, don't you think?  His next eletronics thing he wants is an e-reader.  Max hung out the whole day.

Today, we went to church & they wished him a Happy Birthday.  After that, we were going to go to Kanki but b/c Warren's parents were going to be here at 2:30, we had to make sure we'd be able to leave by 2pm.  Too crowded & the wait was too long for us to make it home in time.  We were all incredibly bummed.  I could almost taste that food.  Gave Max a choice of either coming here next weekend or picking a different restaurant.  We are going next weekend as well as to the zoo pending no major injuries.  We made a stop & picked up something for Max. something he really wanted but I couldn't make for him.  

Max got his ice cream cake!  Peanut butter, chocolate, devils' food cake, w/ chocolate fudge.  And yes, it did taste as fantastic as it looked.

 A little closer view of this piece of Heaven Max picked out.  Yumm!!!  

All in all, Max had a decent weekend.  His grandparents were unable to come but hopefully we'll see them soon.  We are all counting down the days till next weekend when we get to go to Kanki for Max's belated birthday.  Just wanted to say we love you Max!  Happy 16th Birthday & can't wait to see many more birthdays & what it will bring you in life.  You are going to do amazing things in this world.  Thank you for being our son!