Friday, May 27, 2011

Please, please remember to....

bag it for the orphans!  I know many of you might be going out of town to enjoy a relaxing weekend.  Or even staying home relaxing by the pool, taking in a movie, etc.  For the cost of just two 2 liters of soda, you can do an amazing thing.  YOU can make the difference in hundreds of lives in 2 different orphanages in Bulgaria.  You can give these children hope.  Give them some basic necessities that we take for granted.  I am trying to raise funds to do this.  Just $2000 is what we need to make this happen.  May seem like a ton of money but really, it's not.  It is just a ONE TIME donation of $4 by 500 people or a ONE TIME donation of $2 by 1000 people.  I know there are many of you out there like me that have a couple hundred friends on facebook.  Or just folks you know.  I know there is going to be a lot of fun going on this weekend.  I know it will not be happening in the orphanages I am going to.  They really do need our help over there.  Please help us help these orphans.  Just $2 or $4 can seriously change a life.  As you look at that meal that you ate out, can you please consider just a little extra to go to the orphans.  Most of you will never even miss it.  Better yet, check your couch cushions, go through the loose change jar, check the floor of your car.  There is always money laying around those places.  That is change you would have never ever done a thing with to begin with.  We have only raised $80 thus far for the 2 orphanages.  This is just not enough.  I'll be honest.  It just isn't enough to even make a dent in hundreds of kids we are trying to help.  Read my first post a few posts back.  It is the post from May 23rd.  Title is Bag It for the orphans.  We were asking people to just bag their lunch for ONE day for the entire year instead of eating out.  Just ONE day.  that's it.   It really can mean the greatest difference in the world to these children.  Thanks for taking the time to read.  Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's happening

Thought I'd update on a few things.  Just so you know, the last 2 to 3 weeks before you leave for an adoption trip are always filled w/ last minute paperwork, chaos, and things you'd never thought you'd have to do.  But, you find a way to get it done & quickly realize whining about it will not help.

Our situation is a bit different however.  We've had more than enough hurdles to jump over for sure.  We are having more thrown at us.  Some more serious hurdles than others.  Money is a biggie right now and I do need a separate post on that.  There is another hurdle w/ some recent medical info we just received.  I obviously can not say anything but just saying lots weighing on our minds right now as you can imagine.  End of school is fast approaching.  Alex did not pass his EOG's  for reading.  Not even w/ remediation.  However, he's moved onto 4th grade anyhow as we held him back last year.  Teacher thought it best to tell him he passed as he tried so hard.  I agreed but had VERY mixed emotions about the whole thing and lying to him.  Essentially, we are indeed lying to him.  Part of me wants to say no, you didn't pass Alex.  Sometimes that is just life.  You try your hardest but things just don't work out.  But, I didn't. Being his emotional state the last few months had wrenches thrown in it due to the investigation that drug up old memories, I let this one go.  He had his moment of great satisfaction that he passed from trying hard the second go around.  I was more proud that he gave it his all.  I mean seriously, it's taken us a lot to get Alex to the point of trying so hard to succeed.  Yana passed her math & reading EOG but failed Science.  She re-took it & guessing she passed as teacher never called me.  Bojan passed all his tests.  Alyona failed both reading & math.  Don't even get me started on the stupidity of the school system.  Okay folks, if a child is considered moderately mentally challenged, do you really need to give them a test on grade level?  DUMB people!!!  Makes the kids feel stupid and like they can't do anything.  She can't read the questions.  Seriously, Alyona can barely read.   1st grade level at best.  So how on earth do they expect her to read these questions and take the 4th grade test?  Makes no sense.  More on school later as well. 

This morning we went to get fingerprinted.  PIcked up Irina at school b/c she's over 18.  Went to the courthouse & then downstairs to the jail.  New experience for Irina.  BTW, Irina has a US passport.  She does not have a driver's permit as she hasn't passed the test yet.  Took it 3 or 4 times so far.  She's going to re-study she said while we're in Bulgaria.  Originally, the lady said she can't take the passport as it's not a valid ID.  Hmm, I thought it was.  She took it b/c she knows us & trust me, I greatly, greatly appreciated that.  I never realize just how delayed Irina is until we are out in public.  Sometimes it just hits me.  I don't say that to be mean or anything.  I'm just used to her being her but she definitely stands out when we go out somewhere.  You know how little kids ask a lot of questions to people they don't know?  Well, that's Irina too.  Thankfully, the folks today were friendly.  After fingerprints, we knew we wouldn't have enough time to drop off Irina back at school.  So, dropped her off at home & went to the doc for our medical appts. 

We needed updated medicals & need them for court.  They will be hand carried over there w/ us.  The doctor was gracious enough to squeeze us in today.  Knew my blood pressure would be  high. Who's wouldn't at at time like this?!  Sure enough, it was.  She agreed to take it at the end of the visit as well.  Took it then & it was normal.  Doc told me to relax a bit.  A little hard to do right now but I'm giving it a shot.  Past few days I've been just exhausted.  Adoption will do that to you.  Also, been dizzy w/ vertigo.  Found out today I have a sinus infection w/ it hitting the ear as well.  Antibiotics it is for 10 days.  I'll be done just in time for the trip but hey, at least I won't be miserable on the plane.  Grateful she caught that.  I'm still covered in poison ivy.  Won't seem to go away.  Doc said it's not infected & takes time.  Just don't want to be in Bulgaria and them think what is wrong w/ her arms?!  Warren had his blood drawn.  Guy has great blood pressure (can you tell he's the cool one here?  Or maybe it's b/c I'm the one doing all the paperwork & arrangements.  ).  Doc is just checking his cholesterol.  So, we seem good to go for the trip.  

Didn't get home till 1:20.  That was not expected.  "Littles" came over then & Warren went to work.  Irina stayed home.  School they are just watching movies she said.  Nice.  Your education dollars at work.  More things got done today & that's always a good thing.  Been a long day for sure though.  We're staying here this Memorial Day Weekend.  It's T- 16 days.  Oh, I now have an IEP meeting the day before I leave.  No, my life is not dull thank you very much.  Let's see what else?  Bojan's leg is still messed up. Prosthetist is working on stuff for us.  Long story w/ Otto Bock.  URGHH!!!  Don't give adult components to kids if the kids are active kids.  They will tear that knee up.  Nik's implants have intermittent problems that we need to go get worked on.  Again, one thing at a time is tough.  Found a pet sitter for our reunion trip.  Booked reunion lodging.  So, that part is done.  Bulgaria trip is booked.  Need to find the sitter still but may have someone.  Know more tomorrow.  Need to sleep but first have more papers to fill out.  Hope we can get stuff done this coming weekend.  Grocery shopping is definitely on this list.  We are switching to totally all fruits & veggies.  Pretty much there now anyhow.  There aren't too many boxed things here.  Going a step further though & no crackers & munchies now that are boxed.  Let you know how it goes.  Many reasons we are doing this.  Get into them later.   Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  If you're in town, do stop by.  Door is always open here for sure. 

Thoughtful Thursday

I think it's been awhile since Thoughtful Thursday post.  Had a lot going on so that's the excuse I'm using.  Go w/ it please.   For those new, this is a time when I share something I've caught the kids doing during the week or such.  When you have behaviorally and emotionally disturbed kids, they do tend to get in trouble a bit more than most.  So, we try to find at least one thing positive they've done.  No matter how small, it still makes a difference.  We had a few group items this week that I thought were thoughtful so was going to throw those out there first.

 I know, you're thinking how thoughtful of them for getting beads all over the living room floor. Nope, that wasn't the thoughtful part.  Guess?  Come on.

All the kids decided to make necklaces for me to take to Bulgaria for their new siblings.  They thought of it on their own and I was really surprised at how much time they spent doing this together for 3 siblings they haven't even met yet.  Love can cross oceans, can't it?  I'm not even going to explain the whole mess in there or all the misplaced furniture.  I was just happy they were working together.  For someone else!  Now, that's thoughtful.

Max-- I thought it was sweet when Max decided to teach Yana and Irina how to work the lawnmower.  He is a very, very patient young man.  


This was Nik & Bojan at the doc's office.  Now, I had just taken Bojan for his TDAP booster for middle school & then found out Nik's vaccine for the implant was finally in.  So, took him back.  Well, Bojan knew Nik was scared of shots so volunteered to go with him. I thought that was really thoughtful.


Alex was one of the brave & thoughtful souls to volunteer.  See, every year we have to have 2 volunteers to go in & retrieve all the things Nik & a "little" threw in the pool.  This year, dinosaurs, rocks & torpedoes were amongst the treasures found.  See, we can't really run the pump or vacuum until the pool is cleared of debris.  Net can't get it all.  So, Alex volunteered for the job.  And no, the pool is not this nasty all the time.  It clears up quickly once all is removed.  


Let me explain how this is thoughtful. In our house we have this problem of pencil sharpeners always disappearing.  Hence, never any sharp pencils.  Well, one of Max's friends recently gave him a pencil sharpener.  Nik thought he was helping us out by sharpening the pencils.  Trouble is, with FAS, you just don't have that "stop" button.  This was the end result.  But thoughtful of Nik to be thinking of everyone & sharpen all the pencils.  And yes, this is normal thinking for Chaos Manor.

Irina-- Irina was helpful throughout our Family Deaf Camp trip.  We really appreciated all her help getting the kids ready & helping clean up. 


Mixed thoughtfulness on this one.  Yana made tea.  However, read the sign.  Only for people who are workin'.  Hey, she was thoughtful to think of the people who were working outside.  Why the tea couldn't have been for everyone...not sure.  LOL.

Alyona-- This one is hard because she is having a very tough time lately.  She has been sweet & playing with the "littles" though & helping with them.  We are hoping for Alyona's attitude to change soon.  More on that later.  There is a direct parallel with her attitude & school.  Much more happening at Chaos Manor.  Going to get our FBI fingerprints redone this morning.  You know, in case they changed over the last few months.  Then, medicals.  Then, sending off some pictures to Serbia.  Reservations are made for PA and the family reunion.  Getting things done bit by bit.  Got to go. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sweet message

 I recently received an email regarding our newest addition, Digby.  Thought it was very sweet of her to write to be able to fill in a little of Digby's history.  I know even more that it was the right decision to adopt him.  Wonder how long he was nameless.  How long he wandered the streets.  How long he longed to be off the chain.  Just wanted to share.


My name is Angie and I am the animal control officer that originally picked up “Digby”.

I was forwarded your e-mail by Tonya and I felt the need to reach out to you. Thanks so much for giving a great dog a wonderful new home!

I first saw Alexander at a house in Clayton. He was just lying in the front yard, watching the world go by. I noticed that he did not have a collar on, so I stopped to make sure that he belonged there. No one was home that day, so I left a note. The next day a gentleman called me back and stated that the dog ( he did not even have a name L) was a stray that had showed up a year and a half ago. He said that he felt sorry for him, so he fed him and left a bowl of water out. This man did not even know if xander was a boy or girl! I explained to him that he needed to be neutered and vaccinated and that town ordinance stated that he had to be fenced in or kept inside. If course, that would have required something more than the basics…so I was asked to remove “the dog”.

Everyone needs a name, so that was the first order or business. I knew this dog was special…So…I began calling rescues. No one could take him, they were all full! SO… I called Tonya. Tonya is a lot like me, she has a problem saying no. J Tonya made room.

I was glad to hear that he reached out and grabbed your hearts! Sometimes, love just chooses us doesn’t it!?

Kiss him for me and good luck with him!

Adoption paperwork

Yep, I'm living the nightmare.  Docs expiring and must get things in order BEFORE we leave.  And, our complicated CPS investigation adds a whole other level of chaos to things.  So, here is what we have to do in regards to paperwork like in the next week.  Not kidding.

1.  New child abuse checks-- need 3 of them since Irina is now 18yo

2.  Homestudy amendment-- since we were found innocent

3.  New medicals-- for Warren & I

4.  New FBI checks-- for Warren, me & Irina

5.  POA-- for court

6.  Complex declaration--

7.  Application to the MOJ-- who we intend to adopt

8.  I-800-- to be filled out ready immediately when we come back (hear these are taking a long time to process...URGHH!!!)

9.  I-864W-- to be filled out ready immediately when we come back (need to fill out 3 of them of course)

10.  Emergency contact info-- given to agency in case something happens while we're in country

11.  Travel plan agreement-- given to agency releasing them from anything stupid that you might do on your own. LOL. Or for things beyond their control such as weather or flight delays or stuff like that.

This is all the paperwork I'm currently working on.  I've sent off the child abuse check forms & agency is handling from here.

Agency is handling the homestudy amendment. 

Doc office was gracious enough to ignore the next available appt. of July 7th and got us in tomorrow!  Did you hear that?!  Tomorrow at 11am.  So, new medicals can be hand carried over there. 

Fingerprints are being done tomorrow & sent off to the FBI.  Praying it goes fast & here when we return from Bulgaria. 

The POA, declaration, and application to the MOJ will be hand carried over there as well.

emergency contact & travel plan agreement have already been sent to agency. 

The I-800 and the I-864W will be filled out & waiting for our return.  I think I got it covered.  Working like mad but thinking we've done it.  3 kids equals a bit more paperwork.  Two sibs and one unrelated.  2 different regions.  More paperwork.  Got to love it.  Step by step.  Only way to go with this stuff. 

Been working on this stuff all day today.  My back is in severe pain.  Not sure what I did to it.  Chiro appointment on Friday.  Been looking for campgrounds in PA for our family reunion.  Can't find any.  Can't afford a hotel (have to have 2 rooms).  Looking into any and all options.  I would hate to have to cancel but if we can't find a place, we'll be stuck having to cancel.  See, w/ the CPS mess, the school stuff, the IEP's, the doc appointments, the adoption trip stuff, the paperwork, etc., I have not been great at reserving a campground.  There is apparently some kind of Nascar race that weekend so booked.  We'll work it out somehow. 

Still looking for a sitter for our kids.  If you know of anyone locals, please let me know.  Many are spreading the word and I appreciate that very much.  We have very much to do but little by little we'll get it done.  The kids are so very worth it.  They are worth every penny spent redoing documents, every headache acquired by this process, every misstep, every date change, every frustrating moment, and anything else you can name.  They are worth it!  Soon, we will see the kids.  they are more than a picture.  They are real.  They are children waiting to experience life.  We intend to give them the best life we possibly can.  Now, I must go work on doing my stuff on this side of the ocean so that I can reach that side of the ocean as soon as humanly possible.  There is new news we recently received.  Just know those kids need us more now than ever.  I will disclose things a bit later.  I know, I know, that seems to be a theme on this blog.  Not intentional but has to be that way for now.  Just as the CPS case.  Could not disclose till it was done.  There is new info I'd like to share but will not for a little while yet.  Say a prayer for our kids please.  They really can use that right now.  The poem kisses in the wind is very appropriate.  Got to go.  More later.  Max is going to go mow at the church tonight.  Having the other kids help me clean up a bit & then off to Wally World for some supplies.  Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blood & Fire & Nanny Service

Nothing like those two combos in a single day.  But hey, in Chaos Manor, anything is possible. 

 Nik came to me dripping blood.  Looks like he's studying it.  Notice we never finished that paint job on the door frame.  Blue painter's tape is a nice added touch.  Don't worry, Nik was no worse for ware.  

 Doesn't even look real but it is.  When his nose bleeds, it bleeds a lot.  This was just the after effect.   He and Max have this same issue but no idea why.  Never forget when Max was first home & it happened to him while in the car w/ Warren on the way to work.  Kid is screaming, Warren looks back in the mirror & sees a kid covered in blood.  He had no idea what had happened.  Lucky there wasn't an accident on I-40 that day.  After that, we were never scared w/ the amount.  Just kind of weird it's him & Nik. 

Obviously, I did not catch the fire part as we were too busy putting it out.  Nik came along and decided we were not going fast enough w/ the tacos and he wanted to help by getting things ready.  He put the torilla shells on the stove....still in the plastic.  You can take it from there.  He really had no idea what he had done.  Oh well.  Lesson learned.  

It's Tuesday and been a very hectic day.  Glad it's half way through.  Still a ton to do.  Main thing now is finding a driver for our return from the airport.  It's at 12:46 am on the 21st.  Know of anyone, please send them our way.  We have a driver for there.  

Main issue we have right now is finding a sitter.  Feel like Steve Martin on Cheaper by the Dozen.  Today's phone conversation.  Nanny Service:  How many kids do you have?"  Me:  7  Nanny Service:  "How many again?(as if she'd heard me incorrectly)."  Me:  7.  Nanny Service:  "phew."  Nanny Service:  "Do any have special needs?"  Me:  "Yes, but it's not really a big deal."(trying to downplay any thought she had)  Last Nanny Service we had come to the house, we had 5 kids.  Obviously, much younger back then.  They at first thought they'd need 2 nannies for the 5 kids.  I told them if me as 1 person can do this job then them as professionals can do this job w/ 1 as well.  Lady said the kids were fantastic!  They always are when we are gone.  Kids behave better when parents are gone.  It's this honeymoon phase w/ a new person.  So, we're on a dire hunt for a sitter while we're gone.  I'm running out of time.  It's crazy.  Didn't need the added stress.  I know it will work out but still not easy.  Suggestions for people, please let me know.  Thanks.  Got to go.  Redoing child abuse check forms this evening.  Oh, did I mention that I can't find my I-800A?  Still looking. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bag It for the orphans!!!

Odd title but I'll get to it in a minute.  First, I want to show you something from a previous trip in '06.  End of November time frame.  Actually, this was October.  Let you soak in the pictures a minute, then we'll talk.

 Ahh, Nik & Mom.  this was outside their orphanage.  Look at the rocky, bumpy streets.  Rusty metal.  Not the best place for kids to run around.

 This was the front of their orphanage in Russia.  Run down, falling apart.  I know that part is hard to see, but trust me, it's falling apart.  Limited on funds.  Limited on resources.  Limited on time.

This was their playground.  not the kind you see in America, is it?  Yet, they smile and do the best they can with what they have.  Well, I think we can help them do just a bit better.  Let me explain.

Orphanages do not have money.  That is just a FACT.  Unless they have humanitarian aid coming in, no money.  And, the older kids' orphanages tend to suffer more.  And when I say older kids, typically it's 7yo & above.  Kids.  They are just kids, like our kids.  They have no choice as this is the situation they were given.  However, we DO have a choice to help.  One thing we notice when we go to orphanages is their shoes.  Too worn, too lose, too dirty, too ripped, and beyond too small.  When we got Yana and Alex, their shoe sizes were 3 sizes too small!  Can you imagine. Think for a moment folks.  I'll use me as an example. I wear a size 8 women's shoe.  Can you imagine fitting into a size 5?!  no way.  Many develop issues w/ walking b/c of the foot problems from the shoes.  Shoes, socks, underwear & basic necessities are what these orphanages are lacking.

We are going to two separate orphanages.  One is an orphanage for older kids. One is for the younger kids, where our Summer is.  Can you imagine the expression on their faces if we were to go and buy each child their OWN pair of shoes that fit?!  The joy of it all.  And socks too.  This may sound impossible but I don't think it is.  I have no idea how many kids are at each orphanage yet.  Guessing a couple hundred.  I would like to give $1000 to each orphanage to purchase the basic supplies such as shoes, socks and underwear.  Or, if they deem there is a great need, we will do that.  We wanted to collect socks & underwear and take them over w/ us.  However, weight limits on luggage and immigration inspections would delay us nowadays.  Don't want anything confiscated and not get to where it's needed.  So, going with cash and purchasing there.  That way, we know all the money is going where it should and the kids are getting what they so desperately need. 

$2000 to raise in a week may sound like a huge amount.  Let's break that down  a bit more.  You can get 1000 people giving just $2 a piece.  Or, 500 people giving just $4 a piece.  Just 4 dollars!  You won't miss that folks.  Seriously, you won't.  Please consider bagging your lunch one day this week instead of eating out.  I know fast food places now cost $6 or $7 for lunch anyhow.  Donate that to kids that would LOVE something that they can walk in that is not broken, or too small.  Something that doesn't remind them of the orphanage hurt they feel each & every day that they don't know the love of a family.  You won't believe how far $4 can go over there.  With the help of just 500 people, at a one time donation of $4, children in 2 separate orphanages will be able to get some much needed basic necessities.  So one time this year, please consider bringing a bagged lunch from home instead of eating out.  Instead, take that money and let's help some orphans get the basic necessities of life.  I promise to take pictures of the smiles.  We did this years ago except on a smaller scale for Alex's orphanage.  They were very appreciative.  A little can go a long way.  Please consider helping the Bulgarian orphanages.  Whatever comes into our Paypal account this week will indeed go directly to the 2 different orphanages. I wish we had it but this CPS investigation has cost us a ton.  And, we didn't do anything wrong.  HOwever, paperwork has been redone & found out today we may have to do a homestudy addendum.  More money.  We are stretching like Elasta Girl on the Incredibles but have run out of stretch.  Now, need the help of you villagers to help the orphanages in Bulgaria.  We also can take checks if you'd like. Our address is at the side.  Or we have a bank account w/ an adoption fund set up.  Whatever you can do to help the kids over there would be wonderful.  I know we can change lives and all you have to do is bag your lunch one day this year!  That's it.  One day.  Thanks so much for all your help.  I have recently found out some information and let's just say this orphanage needs our help.  We can do great things together and change the lives of many.  In turn, this gives the children hope.  When the older kids have hope, they don't give up as easily on their life.  They will steer away from the begging, the stealing, the lying, etc.  So if you don't think your little donation matters, think again.  It can mean the world to these kids.   If you can not donate this time, please help spread the word.  Many of you I know have a couple hundred friends on facebook.  I know we can reach hundreds that may be willing to give $2 or $4 for the kids.  Thanks!

Manic Monday

Another weekend gone.  How'd that happen?  I crossed a bunch more things off my list but so much more to do.  Don't know how I'll get it done but know I will.  Did I tell you I seem to have lost misplaced my I-800A?  Can't find it.  That's now on my to do list.   Anyone think OCD doesn't have a profound effect on others best think again!.  URGHH.  Irina obsessively cleans the counters.  important papers we've started hiding elsewhere.  Well, they cleaned the house this weekend and rummaged through the coffee table drawers.  Yes, this is my life.  Everyday.  Got to love it at times.  Other times, I think we'd be better off as hoarders.  LOL.  Those folks seem to know where everything is no matter how high it's piled up.

Yana called home early this morning w/ a migraine.  So, now she's home.  I have no littles today so that I can work solely on papers & locating other papers. Got papers notarized at the bank this morning.  See, we have to do additional paperwork due to the whole CPS investigation that was found unsubstantiated.  Since this time, I have learned a WHOLE lot about just what goes on at the school and how words are twisted around.  I was intrigued this weekend by another parent.  Tons of info & am now even more certain I know where the original complaint came from.  I am being told by many to not trust the school.  Hard as we've gone there for so long now.  I know not all are bad, but only takes one as we've seen to spoil the whole bunch and reak havoc on our lives.  So, we are proceeding w/ caution on what to do about homeschooling.  And, since I can't seem to get an answer about Alyona's classroom's possible impending merge, she will most likely be homeschooled as well.  See, last time they merged the lifeskills class w/ the other self-contained class, Alyona regressed...a lot.  We can't have that happen.  There are big time budget cuts here in the schools so I can't blame them.  Just wish I could actually get an answer from someone as it helps parents decide what to do over the summer.  The same is going on w/ Irina's school & her classroom issue.  No one knows where anyone's going to be & no one can seem to make an executive decision to do so.  Central office of special education here has MUCH to be desired.  A new head took over so we'll see if she can change it around.  Meantime, we must prepare.  So, for now, looks like we'll be homeschooling Irina, Alyona, Alex, Summer & possibly Nik.  We're still waiting to see what the DPI has to say about Nik's education.  More on the homeschooling front later.  Sorry I got sidetracked.  It happens here.  Especially, on a Monday.  Much to get back to as far as paperwork goes.  Stay tuned for an important post on the orphanages! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

yardsale finds ( & what we do w/ FAS)

I know some people turn their nose to yardsales but the girls and I LOVE them!  It is fascinating I think to see what others no longer want but that you may treasure.  Doesn't hurt that you save bukoo bucks.  Years ago, there weren't as many people yardsaling as nowadays.  I see many teens out which surprised me.  Then again, great finds abound when out and about.  I'll share a few.

 This is one of our finds.  A simple end table.  Love it.  Not stained or anything.  No chips from the kids either.  Or scratches..yet.  We have an end table that we got free on the side of the road.  It's served it's purpose well but always wished for a new one.  Never been in the budget till now.  $5. 

Max carried it in.  It is solid too!  That's not where it's going.  That's just where he stopped.  Plus, Yana was mopping the floors so it was clear there.

 this was another find.  A new rug for Irina.  We had a pink fuzzy rug in her room but puppies had one too many accidents on it & fabreeze was not going to cut it for our daughter.  Remember, the one w/ OCD in regards to cleaning.  This one was only $10.  So, don't care too much when puppies destroy it.  See that chest by the window?  Look at the bottom of it.  And the wicker in the corner.  Puppies love wicker & wood.  Until puppies are fully out of this stage, absolutely nothing new is coming in this house. 

 This is Irina's new bike.  she loves it!  My girls have needed new bikes b/c almost all our bikes are broken.  They have to share & it's hard when everyone wants to ride together.  We've pieced together & fixed what we could.  Just couldn't afford a new bike.  Period.  Found these beach cruisers & thought it perfect.  See, Irina has issues w/ mechanical things and so figuring out how to work a bike w/ many gears was very hard for her.  She has been riding this bike all over since we got it.  Loves it.  She plans on riding everyday now which will help w/ the weight loss.  The bike is in mint condition.  $30. 

This is Yana trying out the beach crusier she got.  Still need an inner tube on this one.  Both are really nice bikes and now by boys want them!  And, the neighborhood kids have been riding them.  Go figure.  

Our kids and the neighbor's kid saw helmets by the side of the road.  Lady was throwing a whole bunch of things out.  She saw them all struggling trying to figure out how they'd carry everything, including a set of skis (don't ask) on bikes.  So, she loaded it up, came down & dropped it all off.  VERY sweet of her & we got to talking.  She has a daughter in college & one son getting ready to graduate.  She's going to spring clean she said b/c she knows it's got to go.  LOL.  Asked if I wanted anything.  Thankful she came over for sure.  See, we really needed helmets & just can't spend $20 on one for each of them.  Sorry, can't.  So, I usually get them at yardsales and such.  I also do this b/c they tend to destroy them.  Not sure how but they do.  Anyhow, this lady gave us a few helmets in excellent shape & now all the kids can ride at once.

URGHH!!!  Just wrote a bunch more to this but it didn't post.  Maybe later.  Kids and I had a great time finding things, Warren worked all day Saturday, and we ended the day w/ ice cream cake.  Yum.  Today, we went to church w/ a powerful message.  Went to get suitcases for our trip & a new back pack since Max took mine.  I've had the same back pack for 12 years & used it on our first adoption trip & planned to use it on my last.  But, Max's ripped so he got it.  Served me well & him.  He has since destroyed it.  Yep, lasted me 12 years and my son 1 month.  So, got another back pack today.  Also, a present for one of Nik's friends.   Came home and took Nik & Alex to a party.  Alyona did not get to go.  She was in trouble.  She has been really nasty lately.  Warren thinks her head may actually spin around soon.  LOL.  Last night's explosion from her was b/c we made her go to bed & get under the covers.  See, she was complaining she was cold & wanted to take Yana's comforter from downstairs.  We wouldn't let her.  She has plenty upstairs and a whole linen closet full.  Alyona threw a complete fit and temper tantrum.  Warren held her tight to his chest.  Like a bear hug.  She's screaming about how she hates her sisters and Warren starts whispering to her.  Helps calm them.  He's asking her why she's so angry lately.  Again, blaming on the sisters.  Not the problem.  It's a combination of things for Alyona.  Warren continued whispering to her and talking.  She was calm & then just stood there & hugged him for a few minutes.  Went to bed and woke up a new kid.

You have to remember, w/ FAS kids, there is no "off" switch.  You have to slowly create one w/ out escalating the situation.  The younger kids, we must physically touch them.  For Alex when he's upset, we have to grab him by both his hands and hold them & not let the hands go.  Talking to him the whole time, whispering, till he calms too.  Doesn't hurt the kids.  Gives them a visual.  Though our bodies are apart, even when they're mad, they are connected by both hands.  Alex holds his hands out in front of him.  We hold his hands.  He'll flinch but once he has that contact, it is almost a sense of relief for him.  Never let the kids go till they are calm.  Bojan we don't need to do this with.  However, he does not have FAS.  Nik isn't too bad either as far as tantruming goes.  Now, the 3 older ones w/ FAS/FAE we don't do this with any more.  Seriously, what teen is going to hold mom & dad's hand.  Some we tell to go away till they calm down.  Most will go out to the hammock and sit for awhile.  Then come back and we talk.  NEVER, EVER try to talk to an FAS/RAD kid while their in a tantrum state or rage.  It will not work.  Or, hasn't for us the last 12 years.  You take charge of the conversation.  If they interrupt, you tell them they can talk at the end.  They'll have their chance.  Warren uses a lot of analogies w/ our kids so they can understand things better.  I'm no good w/ the analogy part.  It is a trick to get FAS kids to understand when they are in a mood.  They have this pent up anger & it all will come out.  You can NOT get angry back.  That is key but oh sometimes it is so very hard.  If they're calling you nasty names or breaking something, it is hard not to want to get angry.  But, you can't.  You raising your voice or getting angry w/ them will only escalate their behavior.  They feed off of that.  So for us, it is whispering to them.  They hate it.  They do.  They feel like they must whisper too then and will stop the yelling and screaming.  About after a minute or two, you have them at least in a normal voice that you can talk to them.  Not sure if others out there w/ FASers do this or not but thought I'd share what works for us.  May sound simple or odd but it works.  And in our house, you do what works.  With our teens w/ FAS, we make them write.  Write till they get it right.  See, they write an apology to the person they wronged.  However, they can't bring up the wrong doing.  This is more of how they feel & for them to see what it means to hurt another person.  Once they finish the apology, we check it.  No errors allowed. If errors, they do it again.  See, we know they'll have to do it again and that's the whole point here.  Until the letters are perfect, they are grounded.  They at first think they'll write a sloppy apology, blame someone else and be ungrounded in a day.  They are learning quickly that's not the case.  They are learning their actions do effect other people.  And folks, this will NOT be learned quickly.  Not w/ a child effected by FAS.  More on all this later.  Way past time for paper work.  I have 40 minutes, plan to do quite a bit of paperwork and then go to bed.  I'm beat.  enjoy your week.