Saturday, April 16, 2011

pod people & painful world (FAS)

Weird title to be sure.  However, you'll understand once I explain.  The latter is a serious topic.  Pod people though, not serious.  This morning, my kids (yes, MY kids), actually got up on their own, ate, made their lunches, AND even cleaned up the whole house!  I was stunned.  No yelling, no waking the dead, no screaming the bus is here, none of that.  It was literally peaceful.  Completely peaceful.  I said when they got home do you think we can do that everyday?  I said it was so much more pleasant.  They agreed.  Now, whether this anomaly will ever happen again has yet to be seen.  But I was beyond estatic this morning.  Even got to do a little weightlifting and stretching, followed by a cup of tea.  Just such a nice change of pace around here in the mornings.  See, typically, Alex will have to be woken up at least 5 times.  No one can find anything despite it being laied out the night before. They want me to sign things the last minute.  I refuse as they know this is a big no no here.  You get the picture.  Chaos Manor lives up to its name in the mornings.  So, having it all normal, was wonderful.  Nice change.  So, as you can see, the pod people visited us.  I so want them to come back.  They even remembered to feed the dog!  Please let this happen at least once more.  I'll let you know but not holding my breath.

Onto the more serious issue around here.  Irina has reached a point this year where she recognizes the implications of her disability of FAS.  I wrote about this some time ago so won't re-hash everything.  Just know, she's having a tough go of it.  Her sister is NOT helping matters any.  Not one single bit.  It is no secret Irina has gained a lot of weight in the last few months.  This is all due to the stress of school.  Even doctor has said that.  See, they put her in an inclusion class as they do everyone in high school.  I will indeed be having a post on that soon.  It's horrible, horrible, horrible for these kids.  They get made fun of, they don't have any friends b/c they don't fit in, they get singled out by the regular ed kids and the list goes on.  If you all are wondering why we haven't pulled her out to homeschool her yet, there are a few factors.  First being, we have something hanging over our heads since February.  Still can't disclose it but it is a factor in all this not being able to homeschool her yet.  We also want to get Irina a little more stable medication wise.  We had a recent visit w/ her doc and though we didn't adjust anything, another ENT added quite a bit more.  And even normal meds that folks would add & think nothing of it, does have an effect on some of my kids w/ their reactions to their other meds.  Not sure if that made sense or not.  Recently, Irina's OCD has gone a little haywire.


Now, most of you wouldn't think this is a big deal.  There was nothing wrong w/ the cabinet before.  It just wasn't organized enough for her.  This type of stuff happens if she forgets to take her medicine.  She also scrubbed the refrigerators out the other day.  She focuses on the kitchen all the time.  Not sure why.  Her room looks as though a minimalist lives there.  It's hard to watch at times.  She'll get new clothes with the tags on them and won't wear them.  Why?  Because she is afraid she'll get them dirty. Yes, we do have a washing machine but with someone who has OCD, the rational part of things does not come into play. She does have issues with her OCD.  It's not as serious as some folks w/ this disorder but it's not nothing either.  It's the reason she had to have her own room.  It's the reason we couldn't allow her upstairs this past week while we were renovating the rooms upstairs.  The paint alone was driving her crazy b/c the kids would spill it on the floor.  We had to move everything to one room.  So, our rooms upstairs looked like this:


Alyona's area while we were painting Alyona, 'R', and Summer's new room.  To Irina, this was filthy dirty b/c mattresses were loaded up on top of one another.  Her fear of dirt is hard to take at times.  God knows we all suffered her wrath when the bird flu epidemic happened.  We had to finally take the lysol away and cleaning products.


The hallway upstairs while we were cleaning & working on the room.  Irina couldn't stand it.  She told us we could better organize it.  Umm, no.  There is no place to put it.  It's a temporary thing but in a person with OCD, this is an issue.  She wants things in their place ALL the time though when you have a major project to do, this isn't possible.  



This is the boys' room.  We had to move it all into the front bedroom.  Our next step is sorting, getting rid of things and consolidating.  It's a process and takes time.  Irina can not be part of it.  When she is, she wants to immediately throw everything away.  We have had VERY important documents thrown away b/c they were left on the kitchen counter, where we leave all our docs till they are filed.  Yes, OCD can affect the entire way of life around here.  We deal with it. 

That was only part of why we haven't pulled her from school.  Like I said before, it is so hard w/ FAS kids being "stuck in the middle."  Don't fit in with the "normal" population nor the special ed population.  Makes it so hard on them.  This is why we feel it is vital for them to meet others like them.  There is a local support group but it's not the closest thing for us to go to.  They meet once a month.  Irina had a really great time the time she went.  Met another girl she enjoyed spending time with.  There is an FAS Camp in October.  It's in Florida.  We really desperately want to go for the kids to connect to others.  We're trying to find a way to make it work somehow.  Unfortunately nowadays, everything takes money, including a trip to FL.  I can only imagine what gas will cost in October.  With a pending adoption, we are limited in what we can do.  Yet, we feel this is really going to become vital for Irina.  She feels like she's the only one.  I need her to know she's not.  And no, just telling her doesn't help.  You know kids. 

What happens with Irina and a good majority of FAS kids from what I've observed, is they reach a certain point in a friendship and the friends "outgrow" them.  See, we've been told & seen the research that FAS children tend to be around roughly half their chronological age in the social and mental area.  And typically, these kids are all over the map.  Some things they are age appropriate on, somethings not.  Sometimes they act quite immature.  So as you can imagine, it is hard to maintain a friendship while the friend is maturing & the FAS child is not quite there yet.  Irina had many friends throughout elementary, middle school.  However, when high school hit, those friends fizzled.  The one friend she had left this year to another state.  That is when Irina realized she really didn't have anyone.  She is a great girl, just does some things that are a bit different.  And in high school, that's hard.  She's also having a hard time dealing with issues in her high school.  Trust me, it's not the best school around here.  Not by a long shot.  It's hard for her to be around all the fights that occur in that school.  Hard for her to be around the drugs.  Hard for her to be around the sexual nature of teens at that age.  She had one girl try to lick her!  Yes, I did get on the school's case about that one.  Too many people she sees are pregnant yet vice principal said that wasn't a big deal in the school.  What?!  How can someone in charge not think that is an issue in high school?  I guess b/c there are so many fatalities at that school for driving.  Maybe the pregnancy part seems insignificant.  Don't know.  Just know she is very confused.  WE've spoken to her about many of the issues and she has confided in us a bunch of how she feels.  She said she doesn't want a baby and asked if waiting till she was 27 was too late.  I said not at all.  That's a perfect age hon.  For someone with FAS who is also mentally challenged, these real issues in high school are hard for her to wrap her mind around. 

Irina can hardly wait for the new kids to come home.  I know it will actually help her.  She loves helping and feeling needed.  Who doesn't?  But this will be different.  She has already said she'll help teach them and show them things.  I think it will truly boost her self-confidence.  I'm also going to get her back into helping me cook more.  She used to love doing that.  We are also doing more family activities.  Irina is very happy we're going to Deaf Camp this year.  I mean really, really happy.  She is also helping me think of trips we can take to learn some things.  I've also asked her to help w/ what she wants to learn this year.  We're going out job hunting this coming week for Irina.  Again, something she'll be limited in as she can not do much with money or anything that requires memory (waitressing). 

As a parent, I'm trying to find a balance with helping her and yet letting her discover things on her own.  Tough place to be in...in the middle.  Another issue we have is the county we live in is horrible for adult services or any transition services.  I was told a few years ago by mental health to leave the county if we want to have a chance with our children.  They said there is nothing here & we have multiple kids w/ challenges.  Yet, now the economy is such that you really have a tough time selling a home.  Not only that, heard from several surrounding counties that it's not much better there either.  So what do you do?  We've been researching trying to find solutions.  Nothing has come up as of yet.  We want what is best for Irina and for her to reach her fullest potential.  I know she is able to do a lot on her own.  Yet, in many areas, she still needs help.  Warren and I are always there for her.  Always have been and always will be.  I just want her to enjoy the last 2 years of high school. 

We are learning as we go with Irina.  She is our first child with FAS.  This is a new area for us in parenting...the late teen years.  If anyone has suggestions, please send them our way.  I have learned a lot over the years of how to handle things that come up during the elementary years and middle school years.  But this is new for us and we're learning to navigate it.  You are taking someone who constantly needs an "external brain" to think for them and trying to teach them to think for themselves and help themselves.  we've explained to her that everyone has rough spots in life.  Everyone.  Don't care who you are.  It's how you handle those rough spots that makes a difference.  I take comfort in the fact that she is able to communicate with us, she does still live at home, she is trying really hard to take our advice (not all the time, she is still a teen you know), and she has a wonderful heart. 

Sorry this was such a long post.  Just know that others have felt the same way at times with their older FAS children.  What makes it difficult is that every single child with FAS is different.  We have to teach them things in life a bit differently but the main thing here is that they can indeed be taught.  I was told years ago by the head of special education(who just retired this year) that Irina would never pass a second grade level.  I was told many, many horrifying things back then.  Point is, I chose not to believe them.  I took them with a grain of salt.  I wanted my daughter to reach her fullest potential.  She has gone further than anyone predicted.  Yes, we did things a little unconventional for quite some time.  We treated her like everyone else.  No special therapies.  Though we did do a quick stent of pyschological counseling when her & Max first came home.  Everything else, we tackled on our own.  I do think she is better for it.  I was never out trying to find the latest and greatest thing to help her.  I was letting her experience life.  Do activities such as gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, trips, etc.  Subtly teaching as we went along.  I guess I'm writing to tell and to vent at the same time. I'm frustrated I don't have the answers.  I know that's okay.  I do know.  I've spoken to many parents over the years regarding special needs children.  I know a lot of us second guess whether we've done this right or that right.  Should we have gotten that therapy or this therapy.  I mean all kinds of questions we ask ourselves.   Bottom line is we question ourselves b/c we want the best for our kids.  Irina will become a productive member of society.  I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever about that.  For now though, I must help her get through the last two years of high school. 

Need to go.  I could go on forever.  Keep in mind, these are opinions based on MY kids & MY experiences.  Yours may vary.  They vary b/c every kid w/ FAS/FAE is different.  I have 6 with this disorder and can tell you without a doubt each is different in how the disorder effects them.  I welcome suggestions.  We love our kids and want to help them in any way we can.  Maybe some of you have ideas in the friend area.  Mean time, she is having a fun evening w/ family downstairs.  She was discussing earlier what kind of job she wants.  So, she is looking to the future.  That is always, always a wonderful thing when it comes to a teenager.  Have a wonderful weekend.  BTW, we survived the storms here. 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Max's birthday celebration

I know I wrote about part of what he did.  Well, our going out was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.  So, we had to do the family celebration the following weekend.  April 2nd, a Saturday was the day we went to go celebrate Max's birthday.  Happens to be 'R's b-day that day too.  Anyhow, we headed out to the mall.  Something, we really hate to do. 


One of the main reasons we hate going to the mall.  Yes, that is one of those height limit  bars.  This is the view from inside the van.  Umm, no, we're not going to make it.  Though a little too late for that now, huh?  BTW, there is NO parking on Saturdays at the mall.  


Ahh, chopsticks and boys.  Obviously, the restaurant must not have had my boys before.  They can find all kinds of devious uses for these seemingly harmless utensils.  While they waited, they replayed seens from the Karate Kid where he was catching flies w/ chopsticks.  What drove me insane was them later eating rice...one piece...at...a...time.  


Warren and Irina.  Hard to believe she's 18yo.  Seems like yesterday.  


Kids thought the smiley face in the rice was cool.  Oh, they had no problem telling the chef that their chicken was WAY better than dad's or that my mom could never could like that.  Yes kids, now's the time for more honesty.  LOL.


Some of the kids anxiously awaiting the rest of their meal.  And, really enjoying the show that the chef puts on.  It really is a neat show.  We absolutely LOVE Kanki!  


Notice the people at the table behind us.  They are delighted in the fact that I have kids w/ an uncanny ability to catch whatever flies through the air.  I think all but one of my kids caught the pieces of chicken the chef tossed up in the air.  People behind us were cheering them on and couldn't believe they could catch them all.  I'm not.  As much popcorn that flies through my house & into mouths, it's no wondering they can do this.  I did not even attempt it.  


They sang Happy Birthday to Max in Japanese & he got a small bowl of rainbow sherbert.  Caught him in the act.  


Nik thought the statue was very interesting.  He asked me to take his picture.  He really is a camera hog.  Catch them now b/c when they become teens, they don't want their picture taken.  


Okay, to us this is just simply delicious.  We very much enjoy ginger dressing.  We bought an extra jar to take home.  Yes, we love it that much on salad.  My kids had asked to have salad the following week just to eat the dressing.  It really is good stuff.

All in all, Max had a good time with all of us and enjoyed his birthday meal.  Kanki is our favorite restaurant.  It is the first place we take new kids to when they come.  It's amazing to see the look on their faces when the chef does his show and tricks.  Another reason my kids can't wait for their sibs to come home from Bulgaria.  LOL.  It was just an awesome time w/ everyone together.  We went in early afternoon and it was very pleasant.  It had been years since we had gone.  Still hard to believe that Max is now 16yo.  Time sure does fly.   The referral picture I have of him of that little giggly boy is a memory for sure.  He's now a young man.  Toddler no more.  We are very proud of who Max has become.  From the kid who was head banging & having night terrors when he came home, to a kid who is artistic and very mechanically inclined.  Can't wait to see what the next few birthdays have in store for our young man.  Thanks to all who wished him well on March 27th.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

URGENT NEED!!!!

I received an email tonight and it is of the utmost importance.  There is a little boy in Eastern Europe that needs a family and FAST!  He is going to be moved to one of the mental institutions and this is not such a good one (as if there is such a thing).  This is near & dear to my heart as Nik was headed to such a place is what I was told when I was over at his orphanage.  Just look at him now.  Amazing transformation.  The same can be said of this little boy.  He is in a country that I can't disclose but can tell you I have had LOTS of experience with in regards to my own kids.  I'm sure by that cryptic clue you can figure it out.  LOL.  This country would require two trips.  There is a $5000 grant available for him.  He has limb differences in his legs.  He will need medical attention once home but apparently, development is good.  He is the CUTEST little boy.  A smile that will totally melt your heart.  I am not allowed to post the pictures on here due to country regulations.  Please, please pass onto others.  I'm copying the blurb about 'Jack.'

URGENT NEED!  Jack gets transferred to an institution in August!  He needs a family right away! $5,000 Grant available!  This is an international adoption.  Jack was born in November of 2004.  He was born at 34 weeks weighing 4.4 pounds.  His mother did not receive prenatal care. Jack is a cheery young boy with a sweet smile.  He has many disabilities including arthogryposis of the lower extremities, hernias, hip joint dysplasia, scholiosis and hemangiomas to name a few.  This little guys legs are stuck in a criss-cross position but that doesn’t stop him from getting around using his upper body which is very strong.  Jack is very small and will continue to stay small for his age.  At 5 years 2 months he was only 26 ½ inches tall and weighed  22.2 pounds.  We are not sure that they are measuring his legs in his height because he can’t straighten them.  We have excellent developmental information on him as well as detailed measurement history.  Jack has very good upper body dexterity. Jack will never have the chance to get an education or the medical care he needs where they plan to move him.  He will never get released from the institution so, this will be his life sentence! This special boy needs a family with a huge heart and a wheelchair accessible home so he can learn how to be independent.  A family adopting Jack must have access to good medical care or a Shriner’s Hospital because Jack will definitely need some medical intervention when he comes home.  If you think you could be Jack’s forever family, please contact Kids To Adopt at 360-695-1704 or email us at kidstoadopt@yahoo.com.  

Thanks so much for taking the time to read about Jack.  He only has till August.  We need a family for him and fast.  If you'd like any more info, please contact the above #'s or write me at boydbunch@gmail.com.  I can only imagine how far this kiddo can go once home to a family.  Please, please help him find a family.  Once in the mental institution, he will remain there for life.  No chance of a future.  It is urgent he find a home.  

 

Hanging around

Haven't done a random hanging around post in awhile.  Just pictures here and there.  Wanted something simple today.  More pictures to come but the hectic week has continued.  Have a post regarding this past weekend and all this church did for us.  But, still working on it.  So, in the meantime, some just hanging around pictures. 

Alyona, just hanging around outside.  She really is getting big.  Well, big in Alyona terms.  

Got to love the redneck couches.  To haul anything, we have to take the seats out of the van.  It's a royal pain but we need a towing kit for this van like we had on our old one.  However, not in the budget at the moment.  So, we do this.  Bojan was making himself comfortable outside while holding a  broken rake.  He decided to make some weapon out of it later.  My boys are either ninjas or jedis most of the time.  


Max after unloading all this wood.  I think he's contemplating what is his next task.  Max worked super duper hard the entire weekend.  He will make an awesome employee for sure.  Been told that too by people who've hired him for odd jobs.  One of my girls will need to adopt Max's work ethic.  She doesn't like to get her hands dirty.  Umm, that's not going to help you get your first job kid.  Should be interesting for sure.  Oh, Irina is going to apply for some jobs this weekend.  Can't wait.  She wants to work & I now think she's ready.  
Notice that we have chairs and couches in this house.  Notice, none of our children or visiting teens for that matter care to sit on them.  All sit on the floor.  Never understood that.  Nik is showing us his trick.  Future contortionist.  Kota is in the background and just zonked out.  


Nik, very proud of the weapon he made.  Mix of star wars and nerf guns.  Scope and all on it.  Could barely pick the thing up.  

Those are just some hanging around pictures.  More stuff to come this evening.  Just got a letter from environmental health saying we have to have the septic system checked by the county.  They do this every so often.  My neighbor just had hers done.  Keeping fingers crossed all goes well.  Our tank is not sized for our size family.  We get it serviced every year to every two years b/c of that fact.  Had it taken care of in December & they said all was good to go.  Hoping the county says the same thing.  Nothing else too new right now.  Irina has an IEP tomorrow.  If they can't answer the question I originally asked, they I'm out the door.  Got to go.  Still have Max's celebration to post and all the help we received this past weekend.  Bojan goes to the prosthetist today...again.  He went yesterday.  His knee is totally shot.  AFter a week.  Company thought they were trying to use it on another heavier patient.  Umm, nope.  He's 150 lbs. below the rated capacity.  He's just very hard on parts.  Remember, he's the one who busted 2 carbon fiber running legs.  We are serious about letting him test parts.  Has to be Bojan proof.  Enjoy your week.  It's Wednesday.  Can't wait for the weekend already.  Spring break coming up. 



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saving money

As parents to 7 kids, soon(NOT SOON ENOUGH!!!) to be 10 children, we get asked all the time how do you do it?  How do you afford that many children?  Well, it's not the kids that cost you the money.  Really, it's not.  It's the lifestyle you live.  But, we made that lifestyle choice.  We chose to have this many children.  I don't really believe a whole lot of people originally go into a marriage & plan on having a family w/ 10 kids in it.  Not many folks anyway.  And not us either.  Our "plans" were indeed to have a family but I think both of us were more around the 2 or 3 kid mark.  I mean,shoot, we got married, both of us had jobs.  He worked where he still works...# 1 company in America for family, and I used to work at Merrill Lynch.  No, I won't give out stock advice.  LOL.  We could go out to eat if we wanted to.  We could go into a store  and buy something if we desired.  We bought a hot tub years ago when first married.  Could we do that now w/ our kids?  No way!  Yet, we wouldn't want to either.  Well, not going to lie.  Sometimes it would be nice not to have to worry about the budget or money. 

We still get to do all sorts of things.  Yes, we're on a tight budget.  However, that doesn't mean we sit at home and do nothing.  I think that is a common misconception of people.  We take our kids places.  There are many things to do out there that don't cost money.  Join local groups to find out in your area where they are.  I think you'd be surprised.  Most states have free local museums and free state parks to explore.  There are also community farms that you can help out at.  Our kids are not deprived by any stretch of the imagination. But, they do know how we save money. 


Some of the kids looking at what we just brought home from yardsales.  The girls and I go to yardsales when we can.  This last one we went to, we caught a learning store that had gone out of business & then sold all their stuff at the yardsale.  So, $30/$40 toys still new in the box for $2.  not bad.  yardsales are a huge part of how we save money for sure.  


Another yardsale find that the kids absolutely love.  It has gotten much use .


Alyona enjoying her yardsale find she picked out... a baby carrier.  

So, yardsales and consignment shops are really big ways we save money.  We also do craigslist but really not that often.  I also occasionally do shoppping online at Zulilly.  If you've never heard of it, it's great.  Just check out Zulily.  


I can get some great deals on this site.  Though, you must shop around.  Some deals are much better than others.  I try to buy some toys that last.  They have played w/ this cookie set and cake set I got every single day.  Both my kids and the "littles."  


You have to budget & save money in every aspect of your life when you have 10 kids.  That includes landscaping of your yard.  We found someone selling plants on the side of the road.  $2 a plant.  Awesome deal.  I knew they were root bound but that is fine.  Doesn't take long for that to go away.  I just check to make sure the stem at the bottom is green and all is good.  Even if a plant looks dead on top, if the bottom is green, it can come back to life.  We buy all our plants super duper discounted.


This is one of our hostas just starting out this season.  They typically will get around 3 to 4 feet across.  It's kind of in  a triangle shape.  I round it up and take whatever was cut off and put it in another part of the yard.  I do this w/ the hydrangeas as well.  I reuse the plants we have b/c they are constantly growing.  Do it every year.  I know it's slow but it's free!  


Saving money includes staying put.  We'd LOVE to move but financially, a better choice to stay and not lose money on the house in this economy.  Instead of moving when we brought new kids home, we just rearranged the house to make it work.  House was originally totally unfinished upstairs.  Now it is.  Our dream would be to add on a garage addition w/ a transition apartment above it as some of our kids will not be able to live independently.  Again, that's a dream.  

Another thing we have to watch closely to save money is food costs.  We don't go out to eat too often.  When we do, it's either a special occasion or we received a gift certificate.  And none of my kids seem to mind this either.  In fact, if we have something unexpected happen and we have to eat out for a few days in a row, the kids will always ask when we are going to be eating at home again.  They are just more relaxed at home I think.  


We also experimented last year w/ a garden.  The above is from this year's garden.  Pepper plants.  It's trial and error for sure.  And despite what some think, we don't have ramen noodles everyday either.  We pick sweet potatoes for free here after the farmers have harvested their crops.  Sweet potatoes can last around 8 months if kept in the box.  It's great.  We also buy produce from the reduced racks.  Since it is eaten the same day, there is no waste and no spoilage.  My kids & the ones I watch go through 2 bags of oranges a day, around 12 apples a day, and grapes(they're expensive so limited on when I can get those).  We save by going strawberry picking and freezing what we get.  Bread we buy at Big Lots for $1.20 a loaf versus $2.79 a loaf for the SAME EXACT thing.  Just as fresh.  Natures Own.  We do use coupons but not much as we stick to mainly fresh fruits, veggies and meats.  Not many coupons for those things.  


Meat we also save on.  Catch things on sale and you're good to go.  We buy turkeys when they are .69 a lb. and keep them throughout the year.  A huge turkey for $7 is not a bad deal.  I try to keep total dinners for $1 or less per person.  Most meals end up being between $5 to $9 for the entire family.  Breakfasts here are super cheap.  Yes, it does still cost a fortune to feed us but thankfully, we budget well.  

having a big family doesn't mean you have to miss out on things.  You just have to learn to budget better is all.  It's also not about what you want, it's about what you need.  Big difference.  My kids have a social life and go plenty of places.  This weekend is the big airshow and we are hoping to go.  It's all free.  We go on vacations every year.  When we went to Mrytle Beach, we got $250 rooms for $35.  Camping helps too.  You just  have to take the little bit of time to look.  Enjoy finding bargins.  We save the money for the important things like med costs here or medical expenses.  So, when people tell me they can't afford that many kids, yet are driving that Mercedes SUV or the like, I tell them think again.  We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination.  But we are very rich in many other ways.  Adoptions are expensive.  Not going to lie about that.  But raising kids doesn't have to be.  You can still experience life and new experiences with your kids.  It may not be Disney World, but whatever it is, I'm sure it will bring a smile to our kids' faces and that's what counts.  My dream is to one day take all the kids on a Disney Cruise.  HUGE dream as I know it costs an arm & a leg to do that.  However, I also know that once a year, travelzoo has a deep Disney Cruise discount around September or October.  Ends up being $200 per person!  Still would be too much for us w/ all the adoptions (takes us a few years to recover) but it would be an awesome dream come true for sure.  An experience of a lifetime.  Mean time, in the next few months my kids will experience an airshow, strawberry picking, a zoo trip, trip to the mountains for Deaf Camp, a reunion for Orenburg, a beach trip or two (we only live an hour & 20 minutes from the beach), a possible trip to Ohio, visits w/ their grandparents, camping, and I'm sure quite a few other things I left out.  So, not Disney but definitely some fun times for sure.  So, that's what I have to say about saving money.  Not much but hopefully it explains how we can have 10 kids and do okay.  Didn't even get into the used car bit but I just think that's common sense nowadays. 


Pampers for a purpose

A friend sent me a link and I'd love to share a blog post with you all.  Pampers is reading the entries on Facebook everyday.  The word can easily get spread around and in turn really do some good for the orphans worldwide.  All you have to do is share very briefly your story.  Check it all out and you'll see what I'm talking about.  I think it would be awesome if everyone shared the need that these orphans have for something as simple as diapers.  Please read & see what you can do.  This requires NO money, but rather a few minutes of sharing your story. 

Happy birthday Pampers

Thanks so much!

I'm supposed to be....

Today is April 12th.  I was supposed to be on a plane today headed to Sofia.  I was going to arrive April 13th.

I'm supposed to be on a plane today.
I'm supposed to be feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety.
I'm supposed to be thinking of my 3 kiddos nonstop as I sit in the seat.
I'm supposed to be missing my other 7 at home already. 
I'm supposed to be thinking of all the things I'm going to say to my new kids.
I'm supposed to be smiling non-stop.
I'm supposed to be clutching onto the toys I'm going to give them.
I'm supposed to be practicing my Bulgarian.
I'm supposed to be worrying about if I packed my toothbrush.
I'm supposed to be staring at their pictures over & over again.
I'm supposed to be ready to start the next chapter of our lives. 

Yes, I'm supposed to be doing so much more than I am today.  I'm hurt by it all.  Hurt by our situation and how it all came about.  Ready for truth to prevail.  Which, btw, was supposed to be around March 24th.  I know there is a reason for everything. I do.  Just hard to accept when you are so very ready to complete your family and take that journey across the ocean.  Is it odd to miss the kids you haven't even met yet?  I felt the same way when I was waiting to see Alyona.  Couldn't understand the delays.  However, had we traveled when we were supposed to to meet her in June, we would have never met Nik and never adopted him.  We met her and Nik in October.  So though we were "supposed" to be there in June, years later, I'm thrilled that I wasn't where I was "supposed" to be.  I'm praying it is the same thing today.  That I will look back a few months from now and be very excited that I was not where I was supposed to be.  We are praying our situation will be tied up SOON.  The wait is very draining on mind, body & soul.  So today, though Max is home sick, I'm watching 4 "littles, I have yet to buy eggs for Nik's class that I was supposed to get Friday, I still feel I am right where I'm supposed to be for this moment in time.  Does not for one instant take away the hurt I feel today for wanting to be on that plane.  Pray for a quick resolution to our situation so that we may get to travel.  Our travel dates will be re-issued as soon as this situation is cleared up.  We can do nothing on our end but wait.  And, as most of you are aware, I am the most impatient waiter alive.  I'm learning my lesson for sure.  Need to go.  Kids are loving Alyona's new room.  Me too.  Can't wait to share with you all the generosity of folks that came this past weekend.  More to come.  For now, back to imaginative play, making sure Max is okay, and trying to do everything in the world to keep my mind off Logan, 'R', and Summer.

Two of my goofballs

I've always said my kids could have fun anywhere.  Truly, they can.  They could have fun in the middle of a dessert, I swear.  So, no surprise they can have fun at a doctor's office too.  Well, not really a doctor but a prosthetist office.  Same kind of thing to me.  Here's a few of my goofballs.


Bojan explaining to Nik something is wrong w/ his knee.  Really, I just think Nik was waiting for Bojan to do something stupid.  didn't take long for them to start goofing off.


And let the goofing off begin.  Imitation.  Nik really has grown.  


Nik, trying to be cool.  On his head...Bojan's sleeve to his leg.  Yuck!  They were goofing off before this picture, dancing around.  Told you, my kids can have fun anywhere.  More pics to come. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

projects

My kids have been busy lately with school projects.  Now, if they can do them on their own and don't want help, I let them.   Give you a few.


This was one of our kids' assignments.  Had to draw a plant and label it.  He came up with this on his own.  Not sure why he used tape instead of glue but whatever works.  Any ideas who it was?  


Alex did it all by himself!  This is a big step for Alex so I was rather proud.  I honestly did not even know he had a project.  He wanted to do it all himself.  And, he did.  Great to see the pride in him.  


Okay, so he'd be mad at me for showing you this as it is an uncompleted piece.  This is Max.  He finally drew himself!  I think it's awesome.  He'll finish it and can't wait to see when it's done.  He did this off a photograph.  Kid's got talent, that's for sure.  


Okay, though Warren won't tell anyone, he is a phenominal artist.  Kids know this and they also know that mom sucks at art.  I mean truly suck.  Stick figures are about all I can do.  Warren was trying to help Bojan.  We all were trying to help the kid.  Why?


Yep, poor Bojan inherited my art skills.  I don't say that to be mean.  Everyone has their own talents and Bojan is more musically inclined.  Bojan was trying to draw a wolf from that book in the left corner.  Warren was trying to help him fix it a bit.  I like the fact that Bojan was taking it all in stride.  He started the project and we told him we'd help but he wanted to do it on his own.  Once almost done, then he asked for help but it was way too late for him to start over.  So, Warren tried to help him fix it & the other kids looked on.  He did well on it so wasn't really a big deal.  Told him next time, ask for help a little earlier. LOL.  He agreed profusely.  

There have been more projects but that's all I had pictures of at the moment.  I love the fact that my kids want to and do the projects on their own.  They all know we're there to help them if they need it but I love the sense of pride they seem to have when they show me their completed project.  

Much more to come in the next few posts.  Going to get caught up in here but life took priority. I'll be back w/ more info.  Much more info.  Kids available for adoption, some projects, etc.  If I didn't work during the day, I'd be able to catch up but that doesn't happen here.  LOL.  Must work. 

Manic Monday

I have so incredibly much to catch up on.  This past weekend was beyond incredible and just inspiring really.  A whole separate post on that after this one.  You'll find this week I'll be doing a lot of catch up posts.  Last week Nik went to the dentist.  Got the one cavity filled and the dentist was awesome!  Originally, we were driving back to school.  Well, he had a reaction to the laughing gas and so we headed home instead.  Warren had taken off that day.  Nik was later doing okay.

After that, Bojan went to get his knee fixed.  We did that and he even got a cover for it.  Cover lasted a day.  He's rough on equipment and parts.  Very rough.  We are going to ask for his old knee back.  We really do not like this new hydraulic knee at all. It's an adult knee and we just don't think it's doing him any good.  It's broken...again.  Frustrating b/c we are not even close to his prosthetic doc. Bojan is very hard on his equipment.   That's good though b/c it means he uses it.  Calling today.

Had Nik's IEP meeting last week.  Took the 4 "littles" with me.  Interesting meeting.  Told them I may have no choice but to pull them from school.  Nik met none of his IEP goals this past year.  Some I agree were out of reach.  however, some were not.  He's got a great team but I think a little more one on one at home would do him good.  put it this way, the kid counts down every week how many days left till school is out for the weekend.  I think at 1st grade, that's sad.  He should be enjoying school.  Not counting down the days till it's over or fake being sick not to go after the dentist.  (I think he was faking once I told him he was going back to school).  Major decisions on their schooling coming up.  Getting organized for homeschool next year.  Just trying to determine who's going to be at home and who's not.  Time will tell.

Many things are going on in Chaos Manor.  Some good.  Some not so good.  We are working on making reservations where we need to go for various reunions.  We had committed to our annual Orenburg Reunion which we try to attend every year and really enjoy. It's for June 25th.  Last week, an invitation to a family reunion that same day came.  Very hard choice indeed.  We're mulling it over this week.  We will most likely keep the Orenburg Reunion for various reasons.  One being, that Irina is 18yo.  There is much about her past that is still a mystery and this connects her in a small way w/ others.  At this time in her life, that is vital.  In addition, the other reunion is further away and we truly want to attend the FAS camp for the first time in FL in October.  They do it every year and this would be an awesome opportunity for our kids.  Plus, found cheap lodging.  It's important when you have children w/ various disabilities to connect w/ others who have some of the same issues.  We have found deaf camp an invaluable resource for us.  I feel the FAS camp will be the same.  But, to go to that, we'd have to save money.  And the family reunion trip would knock that opportunity off the books.  Hard decisions b/c it is family.  However, already had an offer for some family here to go camping together this summer.  That would be awesome.  More on all this later.

We also have to make decisions of what kids are going to my in-laws over spring break.  This is tough as we want them all to go.  However, two are still in very serious trouble for something serious they did.  Again, lots of catch up posts to follow.  Just been super busy this past week. 

Okay, started this this morning.  Busy day.  Very busy day.  Picked up Alyona from school for a tiny rash on her hand that she scratched the crap out of.  Why?  Because it is a way to get out of school.  URGHH!!!  BTW, she did NOT scratch a once when she got home.  Kids.  Now, Max is sick as of tonight.  Fever hovering around a 100 and he feels rough.  Poor guy though has been working non-stop since Friday.  I think he really just pushed himself too much.  We'll see in the morning.  I think it's a combo of exhaustion and school stress and allergies.  Won't know till the morning.  Doubt he'll be going to school tomorrow.  Had a visitor this afternoon in regards to our "situation" that is still not resolved.  Trying to be patient but honestly, this has been going on since February 25th.  Time to wrap it up folks and let us get our travel date re-issued.  Again, won't disclose the situation until it is officially over.  Just know it has really put a kink in our plans and our childrens' lives. 

Still moving stuff into Alyona & her new sisters' room.  Can't wait to share it all with you.  I promise tomorrow.  Just can not believe how busy we were today.  More to come w/ pictures too!  For now, I need to decompress, watch Castle (LOVE this show) and catch up w/ Warren a bit.  Just one of those manic Mondays for sure.  Where's my Nutella when I need it?!  Stay tuned for more. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Please Watch Tonight

I have been super duper busy this week & weekend.  I do promise to catch up but Warren must do work on the computer for his job so I'm not going to be on here again till tonight.  Now, we have had such a productive weekend and I can hardly wait to tell you all how we have been blessed this weekend but a group of selfless people of all ages.  The hearts of these folks...wow!  More to come on that.  What I really need to tell you is to watch Dateline at 7pm.  Here's the trailer:

Baby House # 10

An older child is going back to Russia.  My older kids will be watching this.  I'm not even sure what all it will entail but I do feel it will be of great importance for them to watch.  It is vital for many of these children to know where they came from and why we feel it is so important for them to get out of institutions.  I've shown my older ones just where some of their sibs were bound to end up.  They were horrified by it all & asked if we could go back and get some of those kids out.  See, Irina and Max were going to be kicked out of their orphanage at age 13yo.  They had nowhere else to go after that.  On the streets.  No job, no money, no family, no shelter, no food.  So young.  They lived in a remote area of Russia and there were no options.  This information came straight from the coordinators there & a local teacher who spoke English and filled us in on many aspects of orphanage life there.  Irina and Max would have never survived. 

Yana and Alex were next.  they were not headed to institutions but w/ out Alex's vital mental health meds, he would not have survived over there either for very long. 

Bojan we were told was kept at the baby home b/c they didn't want to send him to the institutions.  Perfectly capable of things but he was born over there w/out a leg.  That is seen differently in Serbia though views are changing slowly.  When we were there, it was different and told they didn't want Bojan to go to the institutions.  At the time, I did not know what that meant.  He's very bright though lately I'm questioning his common sense!  (it's the age.  We'll survive.  LOL). 

Alyona & Nik were going to go to the institutions in Russia as well.  So, we feel it's important for them to see where they may have ended up.  It will be interesting to see what they think and more than that, how they feel.  And yes, they are old enough to understand it and handle it. 

I will be watching.  Can't wait to hear what others will think of the show.  Got to go.  Much more to come.