Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happenings at Chaos Manor

Oh my so much is happening at Chaos Manor.  I had 2 days off and got some things done but not enough.  Not nearly enough. I have 2 "littles" today & think I"m going to take them to the bounce house.  Looks like it may rain so we'll see.  Thought I'd fill in a little of what's going on.  You saw the list.  It's growing.  And that's okay.  As long as I remember to do one thing at a time and not stress.  Not stressing is not in my nature though so this may not work.

We must pack for Camp Cheerio today.  Must find the Halloween costumes for the spooky dance tomorrow.  Yana said she'd wash the van and Bojan & Max are going to vacuum it out.  We always clean out the van before we go on a trip.  We also have to get supplies for camp.  Everyone brings drinks and such to share for the workshops.  Going to have Warren stop by Sam's on the way home from work today.  That should take care of Cheerio stuff.

Next we have an insurance issue that MUST be resolved.  Speech therapist can no longer come out here.  Says insurance only pays for 30 visits.  Umm, we're unlimited.  We've had this conversation before w/ insurance.  Apparently, you have to still prove you're deaf.  Okie dokie.  We can do that.  In addition, Warren is in LOTS of pain.  I really do feel for him.  He has two cracked crowns that have leaked. He needs two dental implants.  Trying to figure out how we can do it.  Cost:  $7640!  There is no way we can.  It's sad that the price of two teeth is more than what we pay for a car.  I was shocked to say the least.  We are calling the local dental school here but the lists are usually long and no guarantee you'll get in.  His have already started to get infected dentist said due to the leak.  Dentist can't see him again till June.  We are trying to ask anyone and everyone for some options.  We don't have the money.  I'll be honest.  Just not there.  Neither is the adoption money yet but that is a whole separate post to come.  This tooth thing is so bad, he's seriously considering going to Costa Rica to get the work done.  For a 1/3 of the cost (including airfare).  There has been someone local who's done it & he'd do it again.  Equipment and all the same they said.  Who knows.  We just know we can't do almost $8K when all is said and done.  So, suggestions are welcomed for sure. 

This morning, apparently Nik filled Bojan liner w/ water.  Liner already had holes in it.  It ripped.  He's down to one liner that also has holes in it.  Once it rips, it's no good.  Air gets in and there's no seal.  Can't put the leg on.  Just another thing to add to the to do list.  Nik tried to play innocent and use the tears.  Umm, didn't work with me.  Nik also broke one of my salt shakers this morning.  URGHH!!!  It was not a banner morning for him.  Bojan's knee is also leaking hydraulic fluid.  He has an appt. on Tuesday.  We like the true knee better for sure.  This adult knee I just don't think was made for such rough & tough kids' play. 

My main thing is finding a travel partner so I can officially book the tickets.  There are two other ladies that are checking on stuff today to see if they can go.  That would be a relief to have this figured out today & book tickets.  One less thing on that list would be wonderful.  Not holding my breath though.

Just got a call.  Nik's in pain from the implants.  Something's not working right.  No idea what.  Trouble shoot when he gets home.  He does not want them on.  When this happens, typically there ends up being something wrong.  Hope the AB folks are there this weekend as no way I can get them fixed today.  We have ONE spare processor.  Never dull here, that's for sure.

Much more going on but too busy to write about it all.  Just ready to relax tomorrow and take a mini break.  Get home we have to find Yana a nice dress for a formal.  Can you believe it?!  A formal in 8th grade?!  I think it's a little much but I don't run the show.  LOL.  A generous lady gave my girls some clothes last night.  MUCH needed for the teens for sure.  Her daughter went onto college so had gone through some of her clothes.  Came at a very right time for sure.

Max loved mowing the grass for the church last night so think that will become a regular thing for him.  Fantastic!  Opened up Max a bank account yesterday.  Comedy of errors and the lady was laughing the whole time.  She said "and how many teens do you have?"  Hey, at least someone was laughing.  Next, we'll open one up for Irina.  With Max having odd jobs here & there and a bank account open, I think he's set.  Next one is Irina to focus on for sure.  So, getting her a bank account on Monday.  Hoping to let her get some applications in too.

Not much else going on right now.  Well, there is but frankly just too much for me to write about.  We're all thrilled about tomorrow.  Though it's supposed to rain this weekend, that will not dampen our spirits.  With news of an unsubstantiated investigation, officially being allowed to book tickets to meet the new kids, and sense of relief, I think we'll all be able to really enjoy ourselves and finally unwind a bit.  It's been a very hard, trying few months.  Time to breathe in some mountain air, sip some hot cocoa, take in the view, meet up with friends and enjoy!  And that is just what we intend to do.  I'll post pictures on Sunday evening from the trip I'm sure.  No internet there so no posts Friday or Saturday.  Hope you all will enjoy your weekend as much as we will.  May have another post or two before tomorrow but after that, I take a break too.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The muddy muttley crew

Well, those past few posts were quite a bit to digest I'm sure.  CPS investigation behind us, to do list that is ever growing, and much more made for some long reading.  Thought I'd break some things up a bit then get back to the adoption stuff later along w/ our upcoming family Deaf Camp trip this Friday! 

Guilty dog #1 of the muttley crew. Kota is looking at the camera.  No, his fur is not supposed to be black.  Pups escaped one evening and had too much fun.  

Guilty dog #2 of the muttley crew.  This is Alaska after her escapade.  Where did her beautiful white fur go?!

A little closer view of the escapee.  Umm, that color was bright green.  

A closer shot of Alaska.  Yes, that is supposed to be white fur.  What stinks about all this, besides the obvious dog, is the fact that they did this at 11 o'clock at night.  Warren ended up giving them both a bath this time & then got a cold shower as they used all the hot water.  He did not appreciate the puppies that night one bit.

Ahh, there's my pup with the beautiful white fur.  She does come clean.  Though she was chewing some plastic toy up on the stairs.  That's what those black pieces are on there.  What a dog.  She is definitely not as innocent as she looks.

Look, totally different color!  He comes clean too.  His fur is so unique.  You should feel it.  Just very different.  Even the vet comments on how different it is.  

This is part of the muttley crew too.  However, this is our mellow fellow.  He's absolutely perfect!  Seriously, he is.  Very sweet natured.  Quiet.  Goes outside and comes right back in.  No maintenance, nothing.  Just a big ol' loveable fellow.  Sometimes he looks at the pups like what in the world are they thinking.  The vet said maybe Digby can teach Kota a thing or two.  I sure hope so.  he's been a great fit into the family for sure.  Wow, who'd have ever thought 3 new puppies and 3 new kids in a matter of months.  Yes, we weren't thinking and we like it that way.  

Another one of Digby's favorite spots.  He adores Warren.  I mean, this is Warren's dog without a doubt.  We are so glad he found his home w/ us.  Vet said she thinks he's younger than what the rescue people that.  Strange as he has such an old soul.  We'll never know exactly how old he is or when his birthday is and that's okay.  Alex had 5 different birthdays when we found him in Russia.  Why should our dogs be any different?  They're part of the family.  And this family has quirks here and there.  

This will be the first weekend ever that we've ever left any of these dogs alone for an extended period of time.  Praying it goes well.  Dogs are all healthy.  Vet gave us advice on what to try w/ Kota and his barking.  A water squirt bottle.  And it works!  Geez, wished we'd have done it earlier.  More posts to come.  Adoption stuff and tidbits.  Right now, need to get other stuff done. 

To do list before trip 1

you would not really believe how this to do list keeps growing.  Since we had our investigation, we obviously have to add a bit more to things to make sure everything is crystal clear as to what exactly transpired.  I'm working on that.  Still waiting on the state's official written letter to me.  I was told over the phone the outcome & said I'd get a letter.  thought it would come today but hopefully tomorrow.  Mean time, here's some of the to do list.

  • find new travel partner as other two fell through
  • officially purchase airline tickets (they're on hold right now)
  • find where all the money is coming from (more on this one!)
  • get things for Summer, 'R', and Logan to do
  • put together 3 photo albums for the new kids to keep
  • make video before we leave to show them our life here at home
  • try to fix video camera (may have to borrow one)
  • get memory chip for camera
  • grocery shop
  • reorganize all doc appointments while I'm gone
  • organize all kids I'm watching (Warren will be taking over)
  • purchase gifts for trip
  • purchase orphanage donations
  • make links of love 
  • make reunion arrangements(it's 3 days after I get home)
  • sign up Bojan for Band Camp
  • check out when Vacation Bible School is
  • make sure shots are up to date
  • get Bojan his shots for middle school
  • get Nik his implant shots
  • make sure pups are up to date on everything
  • find a suitcase (ours are all mildewed)
  • make Alyona's birthday plans
  • make Alex's birthday plans
  • make Father's Day gift
  • have Father's Day cards ready to go while I'm gone
  • get Alex's present (already have Alyona's)
  • get pool ready (actually, this one is Warren's job)
  • order money from bank
  • find Irina a job
  • get Yana set up for Driver'sEd
  • find trumpet for Bojan
  • get Bojan's hand looked at (more on this)
  • sell stuff
  • check out homeschool stuff & finally decide on things
  • restart homeschool stuff
  • find cell phone (remember, I have none)
  • get new FBI and Child Abuse checks done as know we'll need for court
  • pay fees
  • figure out when my kids are staying w/ grandparents (Warren's)
  • teach my kids the National Anthem! (they don't know it! URGHH)
See, it's not just preparing for Bulgaria but the three weeks afterwards as well.  It will be one thing right after another.  That is the short version of my to do list.  I'm not counting what I have to to do for this week & getting ready to go to Deaf Camp.  I'm having to hunt down Halloween costumes tonight as this year's theme is Friday the 13th.  They're having a costume party.  Cute but when you have a million & one other things.  Max is out mowing the church's grass tonight.  Someone was kind enough to pick him up and he's volunteering.  No wonder his nickname here is mower man.  Well, got to go make dinner and start on this week's to do list.  We leave early Friday morning.  VERY excited to go to camp.  More to come on everything.  I know I've missed stuff on the list.  This is the starter list like I said.  you know what though, when you're on that plane, thinking about your kids, the last thing on your mind is that stupid list.  You just do one thing at a time, slow down and don't forget to breathe.  Have a wonderful evening.  Still on cloud 9.  My favorite new word is unsubstantiated. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ready for a hunt

Going through some back logged pictures and found a couple.  Thought I'd share one.  More to come later today on what's happening here.  Irina, Bojan & Nik had dentist appointments I took them to last week & they were cavity free.  Max and Alex went today & they were cavity free.  Alyona & Yana go in June.  Hope they have the same results.  Vet came out to the house on Friday and said Digby is most likely a bit younger than they told us.  They originally said 2 to 3yo.  So, for now, we have no idea how old he is.  Doesn't matter to us.  We love him to pieces and he fits in well here. 

Do you think Nik is ready to go hunting w/ this set up?  I do.  Don't you just love a bag of garbage in this shot?  That is Yana's chore btw.  We rotate chores but refuse to rotate until they actually do them consistently.  We've been on this last batch of chores w/ what seems forever.  

He is as proud as can be.  That weapon was heavy too.  Light saber, a scope, a nerf gun, or 3, and much more.  He rigged it up himself.  Hey, he's got imagination.  Even if at times it's a little twisted. 

Hope all is going well for everyone.  Tons going on here but that is typical in Chaos Manor.  Just today I picked up Yana again for a migraine.  She's charting them per Raleigh Neuro's advice.  To me, it seems to be brought on by stress & all the school is  doing right now is stressing them out over EOG's.  You MUST pass, you MUST concentrate, etc,, etc.  Focus, take the test, use your knowledge & you'll do fine.  But the threats(that's the word I'm using like it or not) my kids are hearing are just ridiculous.   No need to keep reiterating the same thing.  If you don't pass, you'll have to take it again.  Then you may fail your grade for the whole year.  Just wears the kids down and Yana's migraines seem to be triggered by stress. She came home and she's perfectly fine right now, reading a book to the "littles."  I'm happy she's fine now but have to find a way to make sure the school doesn't stress her out more than normal.  School has natural stressors in it of course but I have a feeling teachers are adding to it during testing week.  You should have seen the look on the lady's face when I asked for a pre-excused absence slip for Deaf Camp.  They will be missing ONE day... this Friday.  Lady in the office is like "please tell me it's not EOG day!"  I said it would matter if it was b/c I don't believe in those tests.   You could tell she wasn't going to ask me further.  Don't blame her.  Admin knows exactly how I feel about those tests & my kids.  We've discussed it almost every time during an IEP meeting.  We go in circles and for the most part, agree to disagree.

Have a wonderful week.  Our kids have taken to bike riding big time and that's all they want to do now after school.  Working on fixing up some old bikes.  Great week to be outdoors and since my kids are totally outdoors type of kids, it works out well for us.  Stay tuned.  More to come. 

manic Monday (much happening)

Oh my what a busy week this will be.  This past weekend we stayed home and worked on the yard.  Looks decent.  Warren and I went to the outlets and picked up a few items.   Went to the Osh Kosh outlet and were able to find Nik and Alyona shoes.  New shoes for $7.50. See, Kota has been on a shoe eating binge.  He ate 3 pair of Nik's shoes this past week and 2 pair of Alyona's.  He also ate mine but I caught him before I couldn't wear them.  The back part is partially gone but can still wear them.  Anyhow, then we got bread.  We go through 40 loaves a month.  And, since our fridge broke, our supply had dwindled.  Came home and Warren started fixing some of the bikes.  Kids really do need new bikes but just can't do it at the moment.  Adoption fees and repair costs have wiped us out.  (more on that later as we seriously need to fundraise).  Kids went on the bike rides and Alex & Nik crashed.  Just some road rash though Alex claimed his arm was broken.  LOL.  Yes, he has a broken piece of bone in his arm.  Orthopedist can explain it better than me.  Has a long fancy name and all.  yet, Alex thinks that every time he falls, he somehow breaks it some more. No, the break is permanent and piece of bone remains.  Nothing new kiddo.  No cast Alex.  Just road rash.

This week is busy.  It really is.  Many, many decisions must be made.  We leave for Camp Cheerio in Roaring Gap, NC on Friday.  We are all thrilled to be going to the mountains.  We love it and learn so much every year.  Wonderful to see everyone.  So, need to pack.  We're procrastinators so Thursday night it is.  Max and Alex have a dentist appointment this week.  Bojan has a prosthetic appointment.  I need to get Bojan and Nik shots this week at some point.  Speech therapist comes 2 or 3 times this week.   Other than that, good on appointments I think.  No IEP's from what I recall.  Alex has a performance for school on Tuesday.  Singing.  I really do not enjoy going.  I love going & watching my kids but Alex HATES singing so he literally just stands there.  He told me yesterday he was going to do the same thing this time.  He and Max are the only ones that do this.  Drives me bonkers. 

School is a biggie this week.  EOG's(which I don't believe in) and just a bunch of junk going on.  I call it junk b/c really, if the teachers teach all year long, you shouldn't have to "prep" a student for weeks at a time for a test.  Just ridiculous.  We have awesome teachers yet they're not allowed to do their job.  Alex has been prepping since February.  That's the first time I saw stuff come home from school in regards to testing prep work.  I think it's sad.  Kids are taught what's on the test and that's about it.  Schools deny it but it's true.  Ask a teacher who used to work for the school systems and you'll find unique answers.  Soapbox over.  I hate EOG's.  And I am NOT canceling or rescheduling appointments due to that test.  So, I'm sure they'll be mad at me when I come to pick up my kids.  Oh well.  Yana had her EOG Science test last week.  Correct me if I'm wrong but we still have over a month of school left.  How in the world is it end of grade?!  URGHH!!! Times have changed since I went to school here, that's for sure. 

Another decision we must make is who all we are going to homeschool this coming year.  Summer will be home as she's too young for school.  Irina will be homeschooled.  Most likely so will Alex & Alyona for sure.  In addition, we are seriously looking at pulling Nik and Bojan.  Need to first find out if Bojan could still do band in middle school if I pulled him.  Not sure on that one.  So many things go into homeschooling.  Deciding on a cirriculum is hard for me.  I like unit studies better.  But, that's just me I guess.  I like the flexibility they have.  I want to concentrate on geography.  Most my kids don't even know where their own state is that they live in or what country they came from!  I think it's appalling.  Many don't know basic history.  Important pieces of history.  I want history, geography, writing, math, health/p.e., and science to be our main focuses when it comes to homeschool.  I want to tie in a bunch of lessons together.  Travel will play a big part in our homeschool.  they will be given passports(not their real ones!), and get stamped when we go to countries.  We'll study some countries each week.  I was thinking a country a week.  Cover geography, a bit of history, writing, spelling, math(calculating distances), some health & p.e.  At the end of the week ,prepare a dish from that country for dinner.  I did this w/ Irina and Max for a bit and they seemed to enjoy it.  Visuals are real keys for my kids so that's what we'll focus on.  Homeschool has so many options.  But I'll have many on different levels so I need to find that balance for sure.  And, see what extra group activities we'll be doing.  So many to choose from.  Actually, there seem to be more choices here than in school.  I was somewhat shocked about that when I first started to homeschool. That's wonderful for my kids though.

We need to buy airline tickets.  I'm procrastinating.  I want to, don't get me wrong.  Just still waiting on ONE piece of paper.  Our "situation" has still not been resolved as they seem to be dragging their feet.  Told it would be resolved by March 24th.  Umm, I think we've been patient enough considering we did nothing.  Pray that our situation is resolved & truth be told.  Pray that it will not delay our process any further.  We are really anxious to go meet our children.  Though it will be just me and a friend traveling.  Warren will stay home w/ the kids.  Our travel dates are fly out June 11th and return June 21st.  Much to do on that list before we go.  We have to throw in Father's Day and organizing two birthday parties (Alyona & Alex) to the mix.  To say I'm busy is an understatement.  However, just do one thing at a time and everything will fall into place.  And, that's what we're doing.  There is also a reunion right after the Bulgaria trip.  Still have to decide if we can go.  We want to go but with fuel expenses & our airline tickets being much more than ever anticipated, might not be able to swing it.  Time will tell. Well, that and prices at the pump will tell.  I think it's important to go but we also are counting every penny as fees are now coming due.  That is a post in & of and lack of for this adoption.   We'll have the first trip covered but the second may be tougher.  Okay, so we have none of the second trip covered.  Again, another post.

need to go.  Much more to come.  And, I have a camera again so more pictures of the kiddos and a pup update.  Guess they're not really pups anymore.  But they sure act like it.  4 "littles" are here today & it's sunny out.  Time to spend some quality time outside.  Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Gosh, I don't even know where to begin w/ this one.  Today is Mother's Day.  I've had many before this one.  My first Mother's Day was very memorable.  It was almost a year after we had had Max & Irina home from Russia.  I think another very memorable one was about 2 years ago.  I actually took a pregnancy test.  Yes, always that glimmer of hope I guess.  I have always longed for a baby that I'll never have and I realize that.  I'm okay with it now.  But then, it was still hard to swallow.  However, ironically my not being able to have children has in turn given me 7 children, soon to be 10 children.  So, how can I ever complain that I wasn't able to birth children?  Though I may have not gotten to experience some of the slobber, sleepless nights, diaper changing, bottle feeding(wait, did that w/ some of mine) or the like, I think I have plenty of experiences of motherhood to last a life time. 

I do believe that a mother is more than someone who gave birth.  Whether you birthed a child or not, there is more meaning to the word mother.  What is that saying?  "not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my very own."  My kids are my own.  They are my children.  Yet, I share those children w/ another mother & I would be remissed if not to think of her on such a special day.  There are 7 different woman whom I must thank to day for their gift of life.  For without these mothers and their sacrifices, I would not have my children.  I can't thank them enough for that gift.  I gift that I get to love every single day.  I get to experience all kinds of emotions with my children day in and day out.  We get to do things together.  To grow as a family, to love each other.  Yes, sometimes hate each other at times too.  Hey, you wouldn't be normal if you were all hugs & kisses everyday, right?  I've gotten to see my kids go from kindergarten to high school.  I've experience much over the last 12 years of motherhood.  I have so much more to experience though and look forward to it.  Not the most glamourous job at times but one that I would not trade for anything in the world. 

Sometimes, I would love for time to just stand still.  I don't want to watch my kids grow up so fast.  I don't want them to become young adults w/ jobs.  I want them to stay young.  But, if they get to grow up and get to get jobs, I count my blessings that I raised them the right way.  Plus, I want my kids no matter how old they get to always be young and heart.  And mainly, to remember their mom loved them so much that she crossed the ocean  to bring them home.  One thing I can always say is I'll always be here for my kids.  That's what mothers do.  I consider my kids extremely special to be loved by two mothers.  One mother who loved them so much she wanted them to have a better life.  And the other mother who could not have a life without them.  Happy Mother's Day to you all.  Whether it is your first or your 12th, it is special.  It is your day to reflect.  Enjoy it.  Though I must say the eggs  wake up call at 6:45 am today was a little much.  Yet, it meant my kids really do care about me.  Have a wonderful day everyone!