Friday, April 22, 2011

I dare you...

With a few boys in this house, we seem to have games of I dare you to do... and you fill in the blank.  Thought I'd run through a few 'I dare you ' events that took place lately.  Hope you enjoy them.  Some I can laugh about, others no.

Though that looks like one of the cutest pictures I've seen, I'm almost positive Nik was daring him to drink the bird bath water.  He didn't but looks that way.  Nik really is sweet to "his buddy."  

I dare you to....

to find a cuter pup than our Kota!  Isn't he just sweet looking.  Ahh, that's why they say looks can be deceiving.  Kota is very playful still. Wish we had even a bigger yard for them to run in.  They keep jumping the fence still.  Trying to find solutions for that.  Just yesterday, Alaska broke the choke chain. Yep, a metal choke chain.  

Nik & one of the littles were responsible for this act of painting.  We were painting the door panels and left the paint of porch not thinking much of it. I'm sure Nik was thinking to himself:  I dare you to paint that.  BTW, this was AFTER we cleaned it up.  

What could be wrong w/ an innocent meal such as this?  when one of the boys pipes up & says "I dare you to drink that."  
Irina helping to make this elixer for Bojan.  Notice the hot sauce there?  She is dumping in a packet of Ramen Noodle seasoning.  YUCK!!!  Is he daring enough to drink that mess?

Yep, he was actually daring enough to drink that junk.  Max is eagerly awaiting a turn as well.   Alyona is wondering how in the world can they drink that stuff.  I

Max taking his turn at the dare.  All the kids around the table were laughing and screaming gross.  Again, my boys will do just about anything.  I kind of like that mentality though.  They're definitely not afraid to try anything new.  What a refreshing way to think.  Wish they would apply this more.  But, glad they have this adventurous spirit no matter how much it makes the rest of us gag.  LOL.  Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Lessons need to be learned

As a mother with many children that have come from troubled pasts, lessons abound to be learned.   That was made very, very clear yet again this weekend.  Now, I am not going to blame anyone but since our "situation" happened, we have had to contend w/ major PTSD issues and some other RAD behaviors.  However, our kids know for a fact I don't let them blame any wrong doings whatsoever on any of their disabilities.  (though frankly, not many know all their dx's).  I expect them to take full responsibilities for their actions.  The past few weeks have been a bit rough here though we've tried to get back to normal.  Well, someone stirred up that pot yet again last week & so many of my children were re-traumatized.  Still, no excuse.  We taught them better than that.  We taught them morals, responsibility, love, pride, trust, etc.  Until this evening, there was only one of our kids that still had issues w/ those things.  Or so I thought.

Alex has a past that I will not go into detail on.  Some of his history will remain private.  Just know it was horrifying.  We had worked for years turning his issues around and with fantastic success.  Last week, my RADish took a turn in the wrong direction.  Those w/ RAD kids know this happens.  Just very hard when you see so much progress for so dog gone long and it is taken away in an instant.  I'll cut to the chase.  When something goes missing in this house, typically, all will suspect Alex.  Now that may sound terrible but you would have to understand the track record here.  Yet still a huge step forward compared to years ago.  This weekend, Irina had money missing.  Shockingly, Alex had a brand new book from the book fair along w/ other trinkets from there.  Problem w/ that...Alex had NO money to purchase said items.  Irina, Yana, Bojan, and myself started asking questions to Alex.  Of course, the lies have to come.  He can't keep them straight & we'll call him on it.  You have to remain calm even though you know he is blantantly lying to you.  He couldn't keep anything straight.  Saying a boy gave it to him. Then it was a girl. Then two people.  The list goes on as the story & the lie got bigger.  I told him to stop.  Not say a word and listen.  Told him I would contact the teacher Monday to get the real story & that he had to find the book he bought.   He was not allowed to do anything but locate that book or go to bed.   The screaming, the wailing of tears of how he is the victim here.  Doesn't help w/ the girls adding their 2 cents worth.  Anyhow, this continued for a l-o-n-g time.  Finally, he came downstairs and stood in front of the couch.  He said I did it.  I said "did what?" Alex proceeded to tell us how he stole Irina's money.  This was a huge step as this is the first time Alex ever admitted to taking something that wasn't his.   His punishment is to work it off and Irina is his supervisor.  He will get paid for his work & it will then go directly to Irina.  He can not keep the book either.  Was purchased under false pretenses.

I do think Alex learned a lesson but I still think he has a long way to go. I also think that his PTSD reared it's ugly head again after this past week due to our "situation."  We did everything in our power to NOT let this happen.  We had documents in place.  We did our homework.  Told the kids what to say... you know... ask to call your parents immediately.  One of them DID ask.  Anyhow, I'm just frustrated by all that has transpired over the last few weeks and the damage it has done to the kids by dragging up their past.

So, that brings me to the next child.  The unexpected one.  The one who rarely ever gets in trouble.  The "goodie two-shoes" at school.  Even one of the girls' friends today said "but he NEVER does anything wrong."  Well, that all changed the other day when we went to the store for Max.  I won't go into detail but Max & Bojan were looking around electronics.  Bojan asked to go around the aisle to look at books.  He's 12yo so Warren said fine.  Warren went around the corner to check on him & first words out of Bojan's mouth were "I wasn't going to steal it."  He had it under his shirt.  It was obvious his intentions.  I can not even begin to tell you how we felt.  This child does not have RAD.  Not that that would make a difference but a part of me has gotten accustomed to Alex doing certain things due to his RAD/ FAS issues.  Bojan was clear out of left field. NEVER expected it from him.  Never.  So, so disappointed.  Really am.  We didn't even have the words for him in the car.  He too is punished for a very long time.  No, don't know how long yet.  But stealing in this home is unacceptable.  period.  I do not care who you are or where the stealing took place.  So, Alex & Bojan are having to work off their debt.  Though Bojan didn't officially take the book, those were indeed his intentions.  It was obvious.  So, we treat it as such.  I told him he's getting older & I have a decision to make as to what I allow him to do.  I said you just blew all the trust you'd built up over the years.  I lost the trust I had in you to do the right thing.  Alex due to his background did steal as a survival technique back in Russia.  Bojan did not have that background or that issue to contend with.  So the why of all this is really bothersome to me.  I want to understand why he did it.  All he can come up with is I wanted the book.  Bojan has never seen any of us steal.  Bojan has grown up knowing right from wrong.  We are still trying to piece together why in the world he thought this was okay.  We are just really torn. 

Now, some would say why post?  I think it is important for others to know that PI kids do have serious issues that follow them for years.  We always have watched Alex like a hawk just due to his previous experiences.  Never had a problem w/ him in a store...ever.  Bojan has always known right from wrong.  Is the only one not effect by FAS or FAE.  Blows my mind he would do something of this magnitude.  It hurts b/c we've always taught him better than that.  I have heard other parents talk about this issue and always cringed hoping I would not have to deal with such things.  I think what hurts us as parents is we constantly teach them right from wrong. 

wow, I started this back on March 25th.  Bojan and Alex are done being grounded.  I can honestly say I don't think Bojan will ever even think about doing something like this again.  And, after talking to many parents about this of "normal" kids, I've found out this is not uncommon & most kids once caught...ends it right then & there.  I think that is the case w/ Bojan.  One gentleman told me his brother was Bojan's age when he tried the same kind of stunt.  His Dad made him go to court & sit & listen to cases all day long.  Kid never did anything like that ever again.  I guess bottom line is all kids need to learn right from wrong. In some children, such as in kids w/ RAD and FAS, this may take longer to learn as their brains are wired differently.  As parents, we just need to stick to our guns and make sure we are constantly setting examples and constantly teaching right from wrong.  I pray that this was one of the last teaching lessons we will need.  However, with 10 kids eventually, and most w/ mental health issues, reality is we will most likely have to address this again.  Just wanted to share how we handled it and where I think we are.  Hate posting posts like this but then again, this is real life.  It is something we must address and handle.  I do believe we did that.  You just never know and that's the hardest part. 

Strawberry fields (part II)

Time for more berry pickin' pictures!  Kids did have a great time that day and we were able to take 2 of their friends to share the experience.  And of course, eat some berries.  Here goes some more.

Nik very pleased with the selection of strawberries.  He enjoys eating them as much as picking them. 

 Bojan trying to find some berries.  They all want the giant berries.  I just told them all, we just need red ones.  Bojan is on a hair cutting strike of sorts.  Though we've all said, please get a hair cut.  He thinks he looks cool.  Umm, no son, just shaggy.  All the girls in the house are trying to convince him to cut it.  I think this may have to be an ambush.  He has hair that stands up in the middle like a horn.  He says it's unique.  Not the word the girls & I use!

Some of the bunch heading out.  Notice Bojan's leg.  It's not right.  He broke the hydraulics after just a week.  The knee does not work at all with him.  Working on the problem.  

Now, what is wrong w/ this picture?  Oh, yeh it's not MY kids helping.  URGHH!!!  This is one of Alyona's friends from her class helping to load up the van w/ the berries.  Alyona looking on.  

And the strawberries made it all the way home.  9 buckets full.  We ate an entire bucket the first day.  Wish we could do this again.  I still have some berries left to cut.  Nice haul though.

We have eaten many delicious strawberries over the last week.  I'm going to freeze some today.  We had strawberry shortcake yesterday.  Warren is not as thrilled w/ all the berries as he hates strawberries.  The kids & I are okay w/ that though... more for us!  LOL.  We did have a good time picking berries and it had to have been the best day to do it.  Just was gorgeous outside.  

More to come. I have 10 kids here today.  Good practice.  We still have not decided what to do this weekend other than Easter Service on Sunday.  We still need to head to the zoo.  Teen update forthcoming.  Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strawberry fields (part I)

Haven't heard that song for ages but thought it was a good title for this post.  This past Sunday we loaded up the kids and headed out to go strawberry picking.  We had our kids and then 2 extras for the day.  Thought I'd share our adventure with you all.  And of course, some pictures too.

And this is how we always know we're there.  Cute little strawberry by the front.  We go to a place called Porter's Farms and nursery.  Not too far from our home and good berries of course.

3 of the boys walking to find a good spot.  Do you think they have enough strawberries in these fields???  They seem to go on forever.  It is still really early in the season so we didn't get the giant, giant ones but trust me, we got some really tasty strawberries.

Warren and Nik searching for berries to fill up their buckets.

Alyona, trying to smile but the sun was in her eyes.  It was such a gorgeous day to pick strawberries.  Not too hot and not too cold.  

Alex & Nik posing for the camera.  At this point in time, I've come to realize I honestly could careless what the boys wear any more.  It isn't for lack of trying.  Just not worth the fight.  Hence, why Alex is wearing the Halloween shirt and Nik is wearing someone else's shirt.  And I'm pretty certain one of them probably wore it the day before as well.  Boys.  

Yana, showing me the creature she found.  A little lady bug.  My kids can find insects and critters anywhere we go.  

I love how Yana seems to be doing all the work here while Alex just stands and waits for her to hand him berries.  LOL.  

Alex posing again for the camera.  He really is growing.  

My oldest showing off one of her big berries she picked.  Just look at that clear blue Carolina sky.  

More to come.  This is part I.  Too many pictures for one post.  Plus, need to get more done around here today.  All kids are inside as it is really wet & gloomy outside.  It's 3:17 and I can honestly say they've reached their limit of indoor captivity.  LOL.  All of them are so used to playing outside for hours at a time.  Hope it is sunny tomorrow.  Got to go.  Hide & seek has started inside and that will not end well I guarantee it. 

Thoughtful Thursday

Not sure how long it's been since I've done one of these.  But, finally figured it was time.   And, it is actually Thursday.  So, here goes nothing.  For those new, kids with behavioral issues and mental health issues spend  some time getting redirected or talked to or even yelled at some times.  Just the way it is, especially if they're doing something unsafe.  So, it is nice to sit back and try to think of something nice they've done throughout the week or something you've caught them doing.  It will make a difference in them.  Trust me.  Plus, they really light up when they hear it.  Usually, we call this proud moments at the dinner table & do it on Monday nights.  But, here, I call it Thoughtful Thursday.  I've been busy w/ 13 kids this week so I haven't been paying a whole lot of attention but will try my best.  so, here goes.

Irina--  She went to a friend's house w/ Yana.  They all made a dessert.  They came back down the street and called me into the bedroom.  Irina said we have to give some to mom.  Just thoughtful of her to think of me when she was somewhere else and then come home and deliver it! 

Max-- he saw Bojan struggling w/ his leg & offered to hold his bucket for him.  Very thoughtful of Max.

Yana-- She was comforting Alyona here.  Alyona had gone on a spinning ride at the park and got scared. Thought it was rather of thoughtful for Yana to tend to Alyona.  Remember, those two are typically at odds.  

Bojan-- This was so incredibly thoughtful.  I couldn't really believe it.  He came home and had a candy bar for me and for Warren.  He bought them with his own money from a friend selling them for the fundraiser.  Bought me milk chocolate and Warren dark chocolate w/ almonds.  Our favorites.  Just sweet of him for sure.  

Alyona-- Something so simple but Alyona came up to me when she knew I was just exhausted and not in the best mood.(boys had been fighting)  Alyona came up to me, gave me a giant hug and said " I love you so much mommy."  I really needed that thoughtful moment from her. 

Alex--I was really surprised w/ this thoughtful moment.  I really was.  Someone was in the house and didn't get any of the snack bags of chips I had taken to the park.  Alex piped up and said that's okay, he can have mine.  I must admit I looked twice to make sure it was indeed Alex that said that.  Very thoughtful, especially for him.  Remember, Alex used to hoard food so this act was really wonderful for him.  I was proud, I must say. 

Nik-- Not sure if this counts as thoughtful b/c it has jealousy in it.  Nik was jealous that I was holding one of the "littles."  He came up beside me, holding onto me and telling me that he was MY baby.  Very sweet despite the jealousy factor at the time.  Oh, and he has been much better w/ sharing this week regarding toys w/ one of the "littles."  

Some thoughtful times indeed I caught.  I will be on the lookout more this week for some moments.  It is really fun to do and even when things look bleak as most FAS parents will tell you they experience at some times during the month, it helps lift the spirits.  Hope you all enjoyed the thoughtful moments my kids had this week. 

IEP first for us

We've felt like it many, many times before.  I think every parent has.  At least every parent that has to contend with an IEP meeting.  I've had many an IEP meetings.  Too many to count.  All 7 of mine have IEP's.  I take that back.  Bojan finally no longer needs an IEP as of a few months ago.  So, 6 of them have it.  I've dealt with resource classes(pull-out), inclusion, regular ed, and self-contained.  I've seen it all and most likely, experienced it all.  I can't stand going to these meetings and I'll tell you why in a minute.

Getting back to original thought here though.  Today was a first.  Though I didn't get to experience it first hand, Warren told me about it.  See, we have asked for the ENTIRE year if Irina would be attending Cleveland High School next year or West Johnston.  She is districted for Cleveland.  That's where Max goes. We like Cleveland.  They keep us informed of what's happening w/ Max.  They listen.  They make suggestions.  We make suggestions.  They listen.  Did I mention they listen?  They care.  The staff actually says hello when you walk in the front office and doesn't ignore you.  The school isn't a mecca for crime such as drugs, stealing, assaults, etc.  Yes, I'm sure it goes on.  But not to the extent of Irina's school.  Shoot, West Johnston got so bad w/ stealing that they had to go ahead & install cameras.  It's just sad.  So, we like Cleveland, feel welcomed there and feel like they are actually trying to make the kids succeed.  We knew w/out a doubt that if Irina was not going to be going to Cleveland this coming year, that we would homeschool her.  Period.  We asked ALL YEAR LONG.  Same question.  Said we need an answer.  At the meeting, asked in the beginning again.  They did not know.  Ahh, a common theme here...ignorance is bliss.  No.  Unacceptable at this level of academics.  Period.  Plus, superintendent and us go back from 2005 when I wrote a letter to the DPI after getting no response from him.  So to say I have no confidence in the man is accurate.  Meeting people said that they would not have an answer until most likely two weeks before school started.  Are you kidding me?!  Two weeks?!  Now, what makes things even worse is that there IS NO SELF-CONTAINED program any more at WJHS.  That being said, there really is no reason they can't have them at Cleveland.  They claim it is b/c the OCS program is only at West. However, I've seen absolutely no benefit of this program to Irina.  Plus, it has her in inclusion classes that are well above her level.  She even told me that she puts any answer down b/c she understands none of it.  Yet, they pass her every single time.  She has much ability to learn yet they are not teaching her.  Horrible examples at best.  Her job coach got fired.  Ironically, I told them this was a waste and she was learning nothing at job training.  They deny, deny.  Shoot, that woman was even on the phone coming out of the grocery store.  How do I know?  B/c I could have run her over!  I slammed on the brakes as she was not paying attention!  She didn't even know it happened.  URGHH!!  She was fired from job coaching b/c she was always on the phone.  Lovely example for the kids.  I could tell  you all the things that happened to Irina at West Johnston this year but really would be a waste.  I am all out of fight w/ these people.  She is done when this semester ends.  Done w/ JCPS system.  Forever.  She will be homeschooled and she WILL learn.  She did before when she was homeschooled.  I was naive to think high school would be different.  It wasn't.  It was just as I anticipated for our daughter in special education.  Trouble is, we have many more following in her footsteps.  She will be a trailblazer and will learn so much more than the school could have ever taught her.  Shoot, the head of special ed told me when she first came home that Irina would never pass a second grade level.  So not true!

Now, the reasons I hate IEP meetings.  There is some sense in the meeting that it is more important for the team to be right than to be honest.  Seriously, it does not matter about who's 'right.'  It matters about the child.  Period.  Doesn't matter what others think. It is about the child.  Nothing less, nothing more.  Simply how the child can best succeed in school.  It is not right for professionals to leap across the table at a parent (yes, it happened at my very first ever IEP meeting).  It is not right for teachers to make assumptions about your child.  IT is not right for a meeting to last for hours w/ out a break.  --wears the parents down & I do think that's the goal to be quite honest.  It's not right for the schools to have troubled equipment every single time.  There are endless things not right about these meetings that are supposedly to help the child.  It took me almost a year, a YEAR, to get Nik an interpreter for school.  And during that time, they were lying to me about finding someone.  Lying!  I know b/c one of the people contacted me.  Btw, before that they wanted him to go into the self-contained classroom with Alyona.  Umm, he's just deaf, there is absolutely nothing wrong w/ his intelligence.  I couldn't get an FM system for Yana who has severe CAPD.  I couldn't get the school to be honest when asking why Max seemed so frustrated w/ math at home.  They said " oh, you don't have to worry, he's getting all A's."  I kept complaining to them that something was wrong. They assured me it wasn't.  Hmm, I pulled Max out in 6th grade to homeschool him & realized he couldn't even do basic addition!  Keep in mind, I'd been saying something was wrong for years, yet they'd send me work home that showed he did it.  Trouble was, it was group work.  He wasn't doing it at all.  URGHH!!!  Caught him up and sent him back to school in 8th grade.  He has a severe math disability.  Why oh why can the schools just not listen to the parents when they feel something is wrong?  It blows my mind.  Now, I'm sure I will get backlash on this one for sure but at this point, I don't care.  I have no intentions to make friends at the schools.  My only intention is to get my child a proper education.  I personally do not think that is happening in our school district.  And apparently, neither do a lot of other parents as the homeschooler #'s here are huge.  Waiting lists for homeschool classes are long.  I don't honestly know how I'm going to do it, but I am going to try to homeschool all of them this coming year.  I may keep 2 kids in school but not sure yet.  I feel after giving the school district ample time (I do feel 11 years is ample enough time!) to help my children learn, I should move on and try it myself for awhile.  Fact is,Irina learned not a thing this year and I'm questioning Bojan's education right now.  Though all A's & B's, I asked him a BASIC math question the other night at dinner.  Asked all of them that were standing there.  It was simply taking one date & subtracting it from another.  Not Irina, not Yana, not Bojan could do it.  No one.  I was totally saddened.  They also don't know what many historic things mean.  Or geography.  Praying I can infuse a little knowledge into them after we start homeschooling. 

I just don't understand what happened to the system.  This post is already long.  I have another IEP coming up.  Can't remember who that one is for.  We'll see.  I hope that in other parts of the country, public eduction is better than it is here.  I don't know what ranking we are in the US now.  I know it was around 48 or 49 years ago.  That should tell you something.  And, I can honestly say I don't blame the teachers.  It is a system they have to follow & get lured into thinking is better.  You know, years ago, no one complained that not everybody got a prize in school.  No one complained we had 25 to 30 students in a class.  No one complained when the teacher disciplined the child & not w/ some stupid tally mark.  No one complained when we had a wonderful Halloween festival and the whole school costume.  No one complained when we walked to school, not took the bus when you could see the school from their house.  No one complained about the amount of homework.  You did extra stuff, did your homework, had dinner w/ the family & went to bed.  No one had to sign 2 to 3 pages for you to go on a field trip.  And above all ,no one worried that the school wouldn't teach the child.  I attended NC Public Schools.  Warren attended his entire life.  School was different then.  But a good different.  Not everyone had to win.  No one got a prize from the treasure box.  You were recognized for hardwork.  No one got 5 chances to turn something in!  Seriously, you fail here, you keep going till you don't.  Teachers were allowed to give you a 40 if you deserved it.  here, they are NOT allowed to make below a 70, no matter what the grade is.  It's sad really as some very smart students have learned how to work the system.  When I went to school, if you forgot your lunch, you didn't eat lunch.  You also remembered it the next time.  They are not allowed to do this now.  They didn't send your child home for every little thing back then either.  Alyona was sent home for a few bumps on her hands the other day.  Nik was sent home for the bruise he had when he fell on his handle bars.  They swore it was ringworm!  LOL.  Umm, no.  They write an incident report for any little bump or bruise from the playground.  I went to school, you went home & told your parents how you got that bump or bruise.   I digress.  Point I'm making is they are getting sidetracked from teaching and worrying about every other little thing.  Or, at least that is my opinion.  This was more of a vent post if you couldn't tell.  Thanks if you mangaed to make it all the way to here.  I won't bore you further.  Thanks for listening though.  Maybe the schools can take cues from you all. 

'No Problem' !!!!

Came across this information and thought I'd share.  I think it speaks volumes of what all our kids can accomplish in life if given the opportunity.  There are many orphans out there that folks just  pass by.  Read this.  And then think again before passing them by.  They CAN indeed do amazing things in life.  The big whoopla surrounding the royal wedding and what everyone is going to wear.  I really wish the major news media would cover stories like these.  Enjoy.

no problem!

Got to go.  Just 12 here today so I lucked out.  All are watching a movie right now & waiting for me to put in the strawberry shortcake I'm making.  It's raining out so definitely a movie day.  Hope you enjoyed the article.  More to come later this afternoon. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring is in the air

And the flowers are starting to bloom.  I love it like this.  Trouble is, doesn't stay this cool for long.  NC has hot & humid weather usually starting in May.  Today, it's about 90 outside.  Humid but nothing like the summer humidity.  Yikes.  Anyway, thought I'd share a bit of the beauty starting in our yard.  Or, at least I think it's pretty. 

We have a few different varieties of azaleas in the yard.  Azaleas are shade loving shrubs so they do well under our trees.  Love the hot pink ones.

Just another variety of azaleas in our yard.  Usually we will have put mulch down by now but really have to save money for the adoption.  So, the new red mulch that would usually be here makes the azaleas pop a little more.  No biggie.  Just wait till next year.   Doesn't take away from the beauty of it.

The trees start to fill in and provide shade.  It's very nice.  Love looking up while in the hammock.  Oh wait.  Stupid squirrels ate our hammock!  URGHH!!  We all are begging for a new one.  Haven't found any on sale yet.  

This really is my favorite plant during spring & summer.  The blooms never seem to end.  I get 2 hanging baskets for the front porch every year since our front porch is all shade.  The bright pink & purples really pop.  

Window boxes here are filled w/ impatients.  They're just .99 for a 6 pack and they fill out.  So, just $2 for window boxes.  I think they turned out okay.  And, this is just the beginning.  Later, they'll be taller and fuller.  Can't wait.

We have many varieties of hostas in our yard.  Shade loving plants.  Nice and bright to any shady spot in my opinion.This was from last year.  Grew nicely.

Just another color.  I love having different shades of green in the hosta garden.  These are pretty small plants compared to my ones that are a few years old.  

This is an iris getting ready to bloom.  I have yet to weed & work this part of the yard.  It's a bunch of iris' there.  

That's a little of spring coming up here.  I have more but that's enough for now.  Trying to clean up a bit around here.  We had a great time at the FAS support group meeting last night.  I will talk about that later this week too.  It's so sad that so many with special needs have such trouble with the  NC Public School System.  yet, a relief to know we are not the only ones.  Kids had a good time playing outside.  After that, we were too tired to come home & cook.  Impromptu dinner out.  Was great!  Remember, our kids are on spring break so we really had no set time to be back.  All in all, a good day yesterday.  Okay, still a lot left to do.  Park I pictures coming up and our experience w/ the most generous group of people from Turner Memorial Baptist Church.  Can't wait to share.  Enjoy your day.  I have no "littles" today so able to get much more done. 

How to entertain 13 kids...

water day at your house of course!  Yesterday it was about 88.  Kids are begging to swim but we do not open the pool until Memorial Day Weekend.  Gives it a chance to warm up.  But, we do have a slip & slide & a sprinkler.  We put the sprinkler to use yesterday afternoon. 

Yana setting up the sprinkler for them.  the little kids could hardly wait.  Nothing like that first drop of water on you during a hot NC day.  

Nik, stopped just long enough to get a picture taken.  In the background, we have some bug collectors.  NC has all kinds of interesting bugs...yuck.

I think Yana may have been having a little fun w/ the little kids as well.  She's just one big kid.  LOL.  

Alex is not in trouble here or sad.  He's overheated.  A common thing for him during the weather here in summer.  Alex has one kidney & I'm not sure if that is part of the issue or what.  Reason I say that is another person mentioned that to me once.  Normally, we keep him wrapped in a wet bandana.  So early in the season, I think we all forgot.  He was fine.  Just takes him a second or two to cool down and he's back to normal.  anywhere we go, during the summer months, we always, always have extra water for Alex.  Many times, we end up just pouring it on him to cool him off.  All bloodwork and such have always been fine.  Just one of those things.  

Alyona after running in the sprinkler.  All girl...laying out in the sun.  At our house, we have a basket full of sunscreen by the back door.  Even neighborhood kids know the rule of sunscreen on before going out in the pool.  Front yard though, we kind of forgot it.  Yet, no one burned yesterday.  But, no one was out long either.  Since our family is outside a lot and in the sun, we do believe in sunscreen.  It's a wonder that I'm even Vitamin D deficient.  (mine is severe). I'm always in the sun.  Don't know how Alyona and Nik survived all those polar nights in Murmansk.  

Nik, soaking up some rays w/ the girls.  

They ran like wild yesterday in the sprinkler.  Nice to watch.  Some did that, some collected bugs, some watched a movie, etc.  Before this, they had gone to the park.  Separate post.  Today, I'm getting ready to hook up the slip & slide.  Another day of sunny days and having fun.  Great to see.  Now, time to go serve some lunches and then it's outside.  Alyona went to get a friend up the street.  Our house, there are always kids here.  So really, 3 more isn't going to be anything new.  LOL.  Can't wait to meet my kiddos and bring them home.  For now though, playing w/ my kids & taking them places is wonderful.  Got to go.  Hungry crowds.  Hope your days are as pleasant as mine lately. 

Chaos Manor

Yes, that is the nick name for our house.  As someone once told me though, you should embrace the chaos and not let it consume you.  So very true.  I didn't write yesterday b/c we have just been going and going and going lately.  Trying to make plans for what is coming up and promise to tell in a few days.  For now, getting lots of organizing done.  It's spring break here so there are typically around 13 kids here everyday.  I am responsible for 11 of them.  7 are mine.  I will tell what we all did yesterday in a bit.  For now, this is how I feel:

Yep, feeling crazy lately.  LOL.  This btw, is Nik's latest thing.  I try to take a picture and he makes a crazy face right before I shoot it.   What a goof ball.  Anyhow, lots going on here to say the least.  I will have many more updates to come today.  Playing catch up in other areas around the house today. It's spring break.  We had fun yesterday and I'll have a post about that too.  We went to the park.  We went strawberry picking the other day as well.  Lots of little things we've done.  End of year is coming, summer is already starting here, and a trip is forthcoming.  I have to make airline reservations but am waiting as it is NOT OFFICIAL yet.  I have travel dates but we still have to wait for one piece of paper regarding our "situation" till we get the all clear.  So frustrating and this will indeed all make sense once I'm allowed to explain it all.  Just know it has nothing to do w/ our adoption agency or the Bulgarian  agency.  It is a personal thing but must be cleared before we travel.  Still awaiting the all clear.  This situation was supposed to be resolved on March 24th.  As you can see, we are well past that date.  So, I'm hesitant to make arrangements.  I just am not patient.  I'm learning though.  enough of that.  Much, much more to come and of course, some pictures of my kiddos.  Oh, before I forget, last night at the restaurant I asked Nik what he wanted for dinner.  He said hamburger.  didn't sign it, but said it to us.  I understood what he was saying.  As did most of the family.  It was just exciting.  It's the little things that matter at times.  Goodness, I have SO much to say but must first get some things done around here and calls made.  Busy day but a good busy.  Stay tuned.  LOL. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Manic Monday

Title is appropriate.  It's spring break for the kids...not for me.  Though 2 of the "littles" are not here, 4 other kids are.  So, 13 kids here today.  Luckily, it's beautiful out today.  We're hanging out at the house.  Tomorrow, taking 11 to the park (all the van has room for).  Wednesday, it is slip & slide & sprinkler fun as it will be about 90 outside.  Thursday, I'll have to do errands so we'll do some crafts here.  Friday is rainy & cold again.  So, movie day that day for sure.  It's spring break week here so kids are off of school.  If you're wondering how I can write during the day.  I just made all the kids come in as they've been outside all day.  Plus, Nik & one of the "littles" dump all my rocks over.  Among some of their finds were a few fire ant mounds, termites(I think), and a giant spider.  Max killed the giant spider. 

Max helped plant some more azaleas.  Bought  3 of them for $6.  They looked dead but they've already come back to life.  Again, you don't have to spend a lot on landscaping.  The $2 boxwoods I bought the other day from the side of the road were $15 a piece at Lowes for the SAME size & type.  Bargin hunter, I know. Or frugal or whatever you want to call me.  I will take a picture in a few weeks of what it looks like once all have grown up & out.  Alex has been working off some of his time owed as well.  Slowly, things are getting done around here.  I was actually able to get a birthday card out on time for a change.  Fees were paid to our adoption agency today.  More real by the minute.  Also wrote a note of encouragement to someone today.  May not seem like much but over the last few months since our situation started, I had let little things fall through the cracks and the situation consume me instead.  Finally, came to trust and have faith that things will work out and truth will prevail.  In doing so, have been able to relax a little more and get back to some sense of normalcy.  It's been nice.  Though Chaos Manor isn't always normal, helps if mom is. 

No appointments for this week.  I think we can actually make the FAS support group meeting tomorrow night.  Hope so anyhow.  Warren and I haven't even done any Easter shopping yet.  Really, it's not what it's about so I guess I kind of leave the shopping till the last minute.  Doing the same thing we did last year most likely.  We had a big bin filled w/ many outside toys and such.  Not sure if we'll do that or individual baskets.  I unexpectedly am watching another child just for this week(spring break).  So, that pay will go to help w/ Easter.  You'd be shocked at how much a candy rabbit is.  Multiply it by 7 & you can see why we steer away from all the candy over Easter.  Not making the sunrise service.  I can tell  you that already.  We will definitively make the Easter Service at 11 on Sunday though.  Planning on going to the zoo on Saturday too.  Kids may end up at their grandparents house this week too.  We'll see.  Checking schedules.  Been busy.  Kids are counting down the days till Camp Cheerio.  They are beyond excited.  It's so refreshing to go there.  I can't even begin to explain it.  Being w/ others that understand your trials and tribulations with your special needs kids is priceless.  That's why we really are going to see if there is any way possible to go to the FAS camp in FL this October.  Time will tell. 

Anyhow, busy next few days but a good busy.  We're getting some things done around the house.  Painting, fixing stuff, etc.  Pups are driving us nuts right now.  REally nuts.  They keep escaping.  We've tried a fenced in yard.  They jump it.  We've tried keeping them in the house.  The little kids let them out.  We've tried tethering them to one of those pet stakes in the yard.  They bolted & broke it.  We need a higher fence is the bottom line.  We'd try the invisible fence but 1) they're expensive and 2) I don't think it'd work w/ them.  So, working on a solution still.  Otherwise, pups are doing well. 

Got to get going.  Working on a late dinner.  Very late dinner.  Pork chops on the grill, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.  Yum.  We were hoping for strawberry shortcake for dessert but did not get to it yet.  We went picking yesterday.  Had a good time.  Took 9 kids w/ us.  All did fantastic & we got some great berries.  Yet another post.  LOL.  More to come for sure.  Originally, I thought I'd never have enough to write about on here.  Now, I don't have enough time to write it all.  Lots happening in the upcoming months for sure.  Lots to share as well.  For now, time to go and try to get things done.  Speech therapist just got here.  Talk to you all later.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alyona's new retreat

I know I still have not gotten the post up about the group that came to help us.  I do promise that one today.  Thank you is just not enough.  Turner Memorial Baptist Church was amazing and I do plan on writing about that very soon.  Yes, today soon.  We have had a bunch going on the past few days so trying to find the time to write is hard.  That and the power was out some yesterday due to all the storms and tornadoes around here.  We were very fortunate to say the least.  Especially, since we need a new roof.  Anyhow, I had to just show you some of what Alyona has been enjoying.  The "littles" are in heaven as well.  It is such a girlie room.  I can not wait to have 'R' & Summer see it!  Thought I'd share with you a bit of her room.  Keep in mind, you'll see some ladders & such as I took the pics when we still had stuff in the room & on the floor.  Here goes:

You walk in the room and this is what you see.  Long hallway.  Their towel hooks are on the left wall.  Lollipop rug on the floor ahead w/ a small dresser.  Behind the ladder there is a set of bunkbeds.  Hard to tell in the picture but the room is definitely all pink.

Cupcake hooks of course.  There's 3 there for the 3 girls that will be sharing the room.  All my kids have towels w/ their names on them.  Trust me, best investment you'll ever make!  Saves on all the "it's not mine" issues we have if they were on the floor.  Since getting those towels years ago, no issues.  Girls have pink ones, boys have blue ones.  I keep it simple here.  

In that corner, there are bunkbeds.  What girlie room would be complete w/out cupcake bedding?  Love it!  This was one of the generous gifts from the group that came to help us out.  Just beautiful isn't it?  

When you walk in the room, past the cupcake hook wall, when you turn left, this little nook is there.  More dressers and a little desk area.  Desk was from a yardsale of course as was that flower lamp.  Still working on this area.  You can barely see it on the right but that is the closet.  

You can see the closet on the left.  Window is still taped w/ painter's tape & none of the walls stuff is up yet.  This is their little play are which they love.  Alyona's bed is there.   Nik is hiding something. Not sure what.  Toys are on the left.  There is also a cabinet behind the closet that has toys in it too.  The shopping cart by the bed was the best investment.  Sturdy & kids play w/ it everyday.  We're hanging up the curtains today.  can't wait.  

Closer shot of Alyona's bed.  Fit for a princess for sure.  She had first choice of the comforter she wanted.  You should have seen her face light up.  Wished I'd had a shot of that.  

A view from her bed.  You can now see the little cabinet for toys there.  Again, another yardsale find.  $10.  She loves it & so do I b/c it hides the toys.  And, fits perfectly there.  Where the bunkbeds are, the ceiling goes way up.  It's an odd shaped room but I think we made it work just fine.  Alyona loves to spend all day up there playing w/ her baby dolls.  

So, what do you think of our girlie girl room?  Think the new two girls will like it as much as Alyona?  Hope you enjoyed the tour of the girls' room.  Maybe over the next few days I'll do IRina and Yana's room.  boys are currently in their room working on it.  Got to go.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Much more to come.  Next post is most definitely the one about the church group that came to help make this dream for our girls come true!