Friday, August 12, 2011

What are you hiding?

I know I recently posted about Digby but not about the puppies.  Of course, we can no longer call them puppies.  these are dogs for sure.  Yet, very mischievous still.

 Still mischievous indeed.  This is one of Warren's shoes.  Yes, it's destroyed.  Just like my shoes were destroyed right before our trip to EE.  We still have two very active chewers. 

 Yet, they try to hide like they did nothing whatsoever wrong.  This is Alaska hiding from that shoe.  Incidentally, she is also hiding the spot where she has slowly taken the stuffing out of this recliner.  Yana keeps sewing it back up but it's not holding.  By the end of the year, they'll be nothing to sit on but springs at this rate. 

This is "King Kota" as we call him.  Kota even has eyes that elude to the fact that he is trouble.  What's he hiding?  Nothing at the moment.  That's only b/c Max had just taken the socks he was chewing up away from him.  

Dogs are getting big but seem to have stayed at the same weight for awhile now.  Don't think they're getting much bigger.  Kota and Alaska are SO active.  We truly need a farm to let them run to their heart's content.  They get taken out enough for sure and walked.  However, they have that Australian Shepherd mix in them that says RUN.  And, when they see a door even cracked, they push their way through and bolt.  Kids go get them every time but it is truly frustrating.  Since we're planning on moving, not sure we want to fence in the old side that needs to be fenced in.  Yet, not sure we can even sell the house in this market.  Going to give it a shot regardless.  Meantime, dog issue is them escaping every chance they get.  

Dogs are all healthy and I do believe Digby got over the heart worms he may or may not have had when we adopted him.  He's lost a bit of weight too which is great.  He came to us on a diet strictly of table scraps and being tied up all day long.  So, this is a change for him to have all this freedom.  

Just wanted to let you know dogs are doing great and they really do help the kids.  Lots of love to go around.  Kota is still working on his attitude when new people come over.  Last party, he was able to be out the whole time.  Had NO issues whatsoever w/ any of the kids that were over.  Just one of the adult males.  And, they themselves have lots of dogs so he really paid Kota no attention.  Not sure if it's the scent of all the other dogs or what that makes him bark non stop.  It was during our pool party last weekend.  No issues w/ all the kids that came over.  And, there were 9 extra kids here.  Working on him slowly at big gatherings and when guests come over.  Alaska and Digby have no issues whatsoever w/ other people coming over.  

Got to go.  Going to Secretary of State's Office today for Authentications.  Wish us luck.  After that, picking up our receipts that we lost when we all got eye exams.  Then, I think Warren and I are going out for a late lunch together.  We have gift certificates from my parents earlier this summer.  And, since 3 of the kids are gone, should be fine.  Plus, I haven't let them play video games in forever.  If I say they can while we're gone,they won't move. LOL.  Want to do something w/ the kids tomorrow but not sure what.  Still thinking about it.  Well, enjoy your Friday.  More pictures and updates to come. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's wrong w/ this picture?

Okay, so I will never hear the end of it once this gets posted.  I'm taking a chance. 

I thought we all needed a little humor.  This one may get erased soon.  He was playing around w/ the kids and this is what happened.    They were trying to put together the ladder ball game that Alex was given for his birthday.  I think this is a sure sign my husband needs a break from Chaos Manor.  picture is so blurry b/c I had to snap it quickly.  Hey, you have to have a sense of humor in this house or you won't get very far.  

Not much else happening today.  Today is Thursday and we just have a lot of errand running to do.  Already got a true and accurate notarized at the bank.  It's sad when the people at the bank say "boy, you two sure look tired."  Umm, yep.  We sure are.  This week has been a tough one and we are in the lacking sleep department.  Hate it but know it's temporary so I shouldn't complain. 

Yana went to freshman orientation & of course is excited.  That will wear off quickly two weeks after school starts and the homework begins.  LOL.  She, Irina and Max will be going to Cleveland High School.  No, we are nowhere near Ohio. Our town just can't decide what to name itself.  And yes, I'm being serious.  Some call it Cleveland, some 40/42, some old Cleveland School, some Garner, some Clayton.  But, all of us call it home.  I always say 40/42.  Weird b/c you can say any of these names and everyone knows where you're talking about.  We all stopped by the dollar store to grab some gummy bears for a science experiment.  Since I told them we can't eat the gummies, I bought Reeces Peanut butter cups package.  $1 for 8.  We are home now taking a short break.  Start up some more school work in a minute and then we have to go take Yana to get pictures done.  Was going to take all of them to the park but that's a no today.  Maybe tomorrow.  Everyone is so funny b/c since it's not in the low 100's now, they all think it's in the 70's.  High 80's.  So, nice enough to go to the park and not burn your hands.  our local park has something for everyone.  Warren is off work tomorrow so he and I might do something.  For now, once we get some school stuff done, we need to get other things taken care of.  More to catch you all up on.  Will once not so many kids are up.  Have a wonderful week.  Normal pictures to come.  Again,not sure how long this picture will stay up as my husband may take it down quickly.  LOL. 

Orphanage donations--- update

Thought it was high time I update how the orphanage donations are going.  They're going great but we have WAY more to go to fill up the two suitcases we want to fill up. 

Now, I had received $185 worth of donations to spend strictly on the kids.  I took $85 the other day b/c I hadn't received any girlie things, I decided to purchase some.  This is what $85 got me believe it or not.  Make up is not cheap, even at Walmart.  But, this little bit will go an extremely long way over there.  Hoping we get some more girlie donations.

Now for what we've received so far as school supplies go... a bunch!  People have been fantastic about the crayons and markers.  I am so thrilled b/c I can not wait to give them these crayons and markers and construction paper.  I currently have half a suitcase full of donations of crayons, markers, paper, pencils, colored pencils.  That is a lot.  There are a couple of puzzles.  I still have yet to pick up the donations at our local donation site. And, Warren has to pick up some items from work.  I do believe we'll have enough to fill one suitcase.  Would love to get some puzzles, games, etc. for the other suitcase.  I'll have to take a picture of the one suitcase we have so far so you can see.  Being able to color during winter time will be a wonderful thing for these children.  I thank you so much for all the school supply donations to the children of Bulgaria.  We are still collecting till the end of August.  I also know many, many stores are having items for 1 cent, 20 cents, etc.  A dollar can go a LONG way.  And locals, I can easily pick it up for you. Not a problem at all.  Feel free to spread the word.  Thanks to everyone who is making this possible.  Being able to help contribute to the development of a child is priceless.  Allowing them to use their minds and get creative is so helpful to them. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I miss my kids

Okay, it's finally hitting me.  I really miss my kids.  Yes, I miss Max and Bojan but they're not the ones I"m talking about.  BTW, it's quiet w/out them.  LOL.  Seriously though, I miss my kids in EE.  Oceans apart, day after day, night after night is getting old.  I miss Logan's contagious smile.   I miss him trying to tease his sister when he didn't think we were looking.  I miss him helping his sister out & being the great big brother he is.  I miss Logan.  I miss R.  I miss her sweetness.  I miss her being whiny(okay, not so much) trying to get what she wants.  I miss her hugs.  I miss her face when she puts Big Red in her mouth.  She HATES it.  Yet, loves gum so would chew it anyhow.  I miss that.  I miss R.  We had such a connection with these two kids I feel like they were ours from the get go and now someone just took them away.  Oh Summer.  Our little girl needs us.  She does.  How I want to just swoop her up.

I'm crushed.  I know it's all part of the process.  Trust me, I've done it before.  Try hosting a few kids for 24/7 for 7 days and having to put them back in the van to return to Russia.  I did that too.  It is SO hard to say goodbye to your kids not knowing when they will be in your arms again.  It's hard.  Not going to lie to  you all.  I'm feeling it this week.  I'm not sure why either. I mean shoot, I have enough distractions here.  I know how this all works.  I do.  Doesn't mean it gets easier with time or w/ a certain number of adoptions.  When you know they're your kids, you have to leave them behind, it hurts.  I've tried not to think about it much.  Tried is the key word. But today, it got to me.  I was in the pool w/ the kids and had the "littles" with me as well.  Yana and Irina were at the mall w/ a friend.  Alex wanted to race me.  I won!  Okay, a little bragging as I truly thought this 11yo son of mine would kick my butt in a swim race.  Didn't want to tell him that though.  LOL.  Anyhow, I could just picture Alex and Logan having this same race.  Smiles galore.  I could picture the girls playing together w/ friends.  I want them home.  Yes, being selfish. I don't care.  I want them home.  I'm very ready to complete our family and enjoy these times together.

Why am I saying all this?  No idea.  Just need other parents going through this part of the process to understand it is not easy. Once you leave on that plane knowing it will be months before you see them again, you seem to long for them more.  Shoot, it's only been almost two months since we've seen them but it feels like an eternity.  I need to send Logan his birthday card.  I know we'll have many more birthdays to celebrate together.  But oh, how I really want them to be home now to do that.  I know this is all part of the process and it is supposed to be for the good but it does not make it one tiny bit easier.  Nope.  Not one single bit.  The wait is hard on the kids, especially when they're older and know what's happening.  The wait is hard on the parents wanting their kids home.  The wait is just hard.

I guess I just needed to whine a little today and say I really miss my kids.  I know the time is getting closer.  And that's fantastic news.  I never thought I'd want to wish a month away, but I'd love to just skip to September and get the ball rolling here.  Not going to happen and life goes on.  We wake up early tomorrow for Yana to go to cross country.  Come home, pick her up.  Go to the bank.  Take her back for freshman orientation.  Come home.  Eat lunch.  Take her back for cross country pictures.  Wait there.  Come home.  then it's errand running.  So, as you can see, life keeps moving whether you miss your kids or not.  We focus on the family here but never ever forget about our family in EE and how much we love them as well.

Warren is taking off work Friday.  I think we both need a break.  We have a gift cert to Red Lobster and I do believe we should use it.  We'll see.  More to share but will have to wait.  Thanks for letting me whine some a lot.  I know others miss their kids as well.  Waiting sucks.  Especially, for such an impatient person as myself. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nik's makings

I know I usually do Max's makings but thought it was time to showcase something Nik does.  Though, I know I show his drawings.  He hasn't drawn all summer.  But, doesn't mean Nik hasn't made anything.

 This is Nik w/ one of his creations he made out of kinex pieces.

He told me he made a wheelchair.  I said stroller and he said no.  Wheelchair.  So, not sure why as Bojan hasn't been in a wheelchair for a long time.  But, I thought it was pretty clever.  He sized it just for the doll.  Nik is definitely following in his brother's footsteps.

Today is Tuesday.  We've been home.  Did some school w/ the three younger ones.  Then, Yana and her friend wanted to study so they did.  I guess it was contagious.  LOL.  Poor Warren has had a rough, rough night.  He had to go into work in the middle of the night.  Got home at 4:10 am.  Left at 6 something to take Yana to cross country.  I didn't even know he'd left.  So, long day for him for sure.  He's leaving work now and kids & I made baked meatballs for dinner.  Hoping he can join us.  I was supposed to go to a mandatory parents' meeting tonight.  Umm, if Yana does not tell me till the night before, I can not make it.  Wrote the coach explaining my daughter a bit.  Told him from here on out I need a hard copy schedule please.  

Cross country will be interesting.  Glad she joined but trying to figure out this whole schedule mess.  Like me trying to pick her up when I still have to be at home for when my friend comes to pick up her daughter.  At the same time. It's going to get interesting is all I'm saying as her entire schedule seems to conflict w/ everything we do or have planned for September and October.  URGHH!!!  I don't want to decide to have to pick one kids' activities over another.  I've always managed not to have to do that in the past.  This year, that may have to change.  See, we're adding in sports from school for the first time this year.  New territory for us.  Sports in the past have been either YMCA or Upwards.  Like I said, nothing about her joining as I think it's fantastic and we have encouraged this.  However, now having to really think about things in advance.  We want to be able to see her in some meets.  Giving it time to work it all out.  Mean time, still need to sign up the 3 youngest for soccer.  Trying to decide on Upwards or a special needs team.  Have to decide this week so I can sign them up.  

Just got to get stuff done this evening.  Yana goes to practice bright and early tomorrow.  Pick her up and then she and Irina are going to go w/ their friend shopping.  I have the "littles" tomorrow.  But, not till 10:15.  So, going to be a busy day I'm sure.  I was originally going to go a few places but w/ the 5 I'll have, I'm going to say no.  LOL.  Tomorrow night, is orientation for Bojan.  He's not here.  So, not going.  I"ve been to this middle school enough times.  I know how it works.  I'll pick his schedule up sometime next week.  No biggie.  Thursday, is going to be nutty.  Yana has practice and then orientation till noon.  Pick her up and then they want pics at 2. Just a lot of back and forth.  Just also hard I guess for me to want to take them to the schools that I can not really stand them going to.  BTW, IEP people still have not called me back.  Someone in central office said they'd also sit in on the meetings.  Depending day of meeting, an outside doctor would like to sit in too.  Keep you posted.  

Got Bojan's trumpet.  Can't wait to see his face when he sees it!  I do hope he enjoys band.  Yana has really taken to cross country.  I want that same passion for Bojan and music.  Bojan is the only one of our kids that can carry a tune.  Not pushing.  Just encouraging and hoping for the best.  We dont' force our kids to do one activity or another.  But love it when they find their "niche."  Much more going on these next couple of weeks and do promise an update at some point.  Have a wonderful week.

Need a hero-- another blog

I've followed the story of Anya as I'm sure many of you have over the years.  I know different sets of people read different blogs.  Maybe there is one reader here who has an idea of how in the world to get Anya home.  For those that don't know, Anya was shot this week in the leg at point blank range.  Looking like she may have an infection.  Doc in Kemerovo is doubtful she'll ever use that ankle again.  Now, many of you know in EE, if you're even mildly disabled, it is a death sentence.  This family has been trying to get Anya reunited w/ her sister who was adopted by Keri years ago.  They have been trying for years to get her home.  This child is likely to die if she is not brought home to the States.  Family is looking for any and all suggestions, contacts, etc.  You can read more on their blog:

Thanks for looking.  More to come later.  sorting out some homeschool stuff and really need to get it done. 

Monday, August 8, 2011


Digby has been with our family for a couple of months now.  For those new here and who don't know how Digby is, let me introduce you...

This is Digby.  We are not sure how old he is.  Vet said most likely a couple of years old.  See, Digby was our surprise dog.  As in surprise, we got another dog.  We went to drop off pet donations one day at Petsmart, same place we got Kota & Alaska from, and they were holding another adoption fair.  We were just going to look around. NO intentions whatsoever.  I mean shoot, we just had gotten the two puppies not too long before that.  But he was laying there.  Dirty, furry and laid back.  For some reason, the entire family was drawn to Diggs.  And, the rest they say is history.

This is Warren's dog.  Can you tell??  Digby howls when Warren gets home.  Follows him everywhere.  When it gets late in the afternoon and Digby knows Warren is coming home soon, Digby insists on going outside and waiting for Warren.  RUNS after the car when it pulls in the driveway.  Unreal.  The dog is the most loyal thing I've seen. 

Yes, this is our mellow fellow.  His name is Digby.  Nickname is Diggs once in awhile.  He listens, he's sweet and just loving to be around.  He puts up with the puppies which is more than I can say for us.  Digby now plays with Alaska and Kota.  He still is hopeful food will drop but will eat his dog food.  See, Digby was a rescue dog and came from a bad home.  They only fed him table scraps and he was tied up 24 hours a day.   His teeth are bad on the bottom which is most likely from trying to chew off the chain.  Now, he has no chains.  He is let outside whenever he wants but LOVES to sit on the couch on on his dog bed.  Sleeps in the room every night w/ us on his bed.   We have absolutely no regrets by bringing Digby into our lives.  This dog has fit perfectly into this crazy family at Chaos Manor.  Just wanted to share a bit about our Digby.  Still loved to pieces

What's wrong w/ this picture?

Thought it would be interesting to share a random picture & pick it apart. 

Oh so many things we could point out that are wrong w/ this picture.  Besides the fact that my son doesn't match, seems to have a dirty shirt on, the main thing is he's drinking out of the milk jug.  The good news is it appears to be empty this time.  Did you catch the "this time" part?  There are dishes all over the counter and tire foam cleaner in the kitchen.  Why not put it next to the cantelope kids.  An empty soda can on the other side of the sink that is supposed to be in recycling.  Corn on the cob laying there instead of in the pan where it was supposed to be boiling.  And my notebook  that is never ever to enter the kitchen for obvious reasons is laying right there.    Not too bad though when you first look at the picture.  And hey, obviously if I were to really care about all this, I would have tidied up first  before taking said picture.  Just thought you'd get a kick out of Nik drinking from the jug.  

Pictures to come.  I've been lazy lately about taking pictures.  Plus, we have truly had a bunch going on.  I surely can't use that as an excuse b/c there is always something going on here.  Hoping for a semi-quiet week.  Though, as I look at the market tumble and the world falling apart w/ everything from wars to riots in London to famine in Africa to too many other things to name, I know it will most likely not be a quiet week here either.  I used to work for Merrill Lynch(brokerage firm).  Let's just say I'm thankful not to be in that line of work any more.  Especially, this week.  For now though, I have the ability to get some things done around this house, get organized and start homeschool w/ the three younger ones.  I have no right to complain not for one solitary second this week about anything.  If I do, slap some sense into me.  When you turn on the news and see all that is happening in the world, no matter how big you think your problems are, they probably pare in comparison with what is happening around you.  So though I thought the Tang spill was a big deal, I have no right to complain about that when there are people starving and dying out there.  Hoping I can convey this same message to my children this week.  Okay, need to go b/c there are some boys downstairs that seem to be creating problems of their own.

Manic Monday & proud moments

Been a busy weekend for sure but not too bad.  Friday we mostly cleaned up.  Later that evening we went to a dinner at church and to pick up Irina of course.  She was away at church for the week for Missions Week.  While there, we heard nothing but compliments on Irina.  We also heard compliments on Max when he worked the one day w/ them as well.  We heard Irina was working like crazy and not stopping.  That she came out of her shell.  She was very welcomed there and did fantastic. Apparently, the crew leaders would argue as to who would get Irina on their team as she was such a hard worker.  It was very, very reassuring to hear.  Made us proud of her for sure.  Irina said she wants to participate in youth group more this year and go for the next Missions Week.  Max also now wants to participate in Missions Week next year.  After dinner and a presentation, we were getting ready to leave.  They asked us if we wanted some leftovers and we said sure.  Had no idea we'd be blessed with that much food!  It was unreal and very appreciated.  Van was full of leftovers that will definitely get eaten at our home.

Saturday, we just hung out in the morning.  Lunch time we had our FAS support group pool party here.  There was even a new family that came to learn about FAS and such b/c they suspect their son may have it as well.  It was wonderful b/c adults could chat inside and kids could swim outside.  If you've seen our home or the pictures, you know the dining room over looks the pool w/ a row of windows.  Can see all.  Just was great to be able to talk while the kids were playing outside or upstairs.  All the kids did wonderfully.  Could not have asked for better.  Company and food were wonderful.  Have even talked about doing this again sometime as you can use the pool here till the end of October typically.

After the party Saturday, we took the kids to Walmart.  There were 9 that went w/ us.  Older ones of course are allowed to look on their own. Max bought a computer.  A laptop.  He's been saving up and this was tax free weekend to boot.  I'm very proud b/c he had a goal to save this money and stuck to it.  Really showed some maturity in the decision making process as well.  Just thought it was worth mentioning as FAS kids struggle in this area greatly.  Max was beaming w/ his first big purchase of saved up money.  He's learning.  he really is.

The real trouble we had was w/ Alex.  Total meltdown.  See, Alex does NOT understand money at all.  He still thinks that magic debit card is never ending supply of money.  Hence, why he doesn't have one.  Well, that and he's 11.  Alex thought he could buy a Walmart MC for $3 and then in turn buy other items.  We explained how all this work but by this time of night, his thought processes are toast.  He couldn't take it any more.  Meltdown. Mostly crying and just totally confused.  Yes,he'll be working on math quite a bit w/ me this year.  Funny as the schools told me he understood math.  Ha!  I want them to come w/ me and explain math as Alex is having a meltdown in the middle of the check out lane.  Anyhow, had Alex go w/ one of the other kids and get his focus off the cards in the checkout aisle.  Left WallyWorld and went to try to pick up a movie we've all wanted to see...Soul Surfer.  At Redbox.  They were out of course.  No fear, it was still really hot out and hadn't had slushies for quite some time so slushies it was.  Unexpected treat and at .69, you get out cheaper than ice cream or any other stop for that matter.  Headed home and got everyone settled.

Sunday, we ended up missing church.  Weren't the plans but frankly, we were all extremely exhausted and I had a sinus headache that was a killer.  Plus, Warren had to take Max and Bojan to his parents house for the week.  Hope they behave themselves.  I checked their backpacks. Geez, at 12 & 16 you'd think they could pack.  Bojan packed for the week 2 shorts and 9 shirts.  Max had randomly grabbed underwear from the room.  Yeh, I would have liked to have seen him put on Nik or Alex's one day.  LOL.  That would have been a riot.   And this is why I check behind them.  Bojan didn't tell us he was out of medicine.  Called it in.  No biggie.  They all made it and Warren drove back home.  He is very exhausted right now. 

Today is Monday.  Lots to get done for sure.  I started homeschool w/ the 3 younger ones today.  This first week is going to be very laid back.  Going to get into is slowly.  Mostly reviewing some things this week and getting their minds back into the game.  Nik & Alyona worked on reviewing addition.  About ten pages worth.  I was surprised actually.  Alex worked on multiplication.  After a lunch break, we're working on geography and maybe start history.  May wait till tomorrow for history.  We'll see.  PE is a must here!  Swimming it is.  I'm also having them help me plan what they want to see as far as field trips go this year.  We will be studying the Wright Brothers in September so I'd love to go camp at the beach and visit the memorial one weekend.  We'll see.  We have a limited flexibility right now due to Yana's cross country.  Yet, I don't want one kids' activities affecting all of us.  So, we'll see where this leads.  New territory.  sure we'll work it out.  But, her meets are all at 4:30 in the afternoon and only one home one.  We'll figure it all out in time.  I really want to take the kids exploring various things that they'll be studying. 

Tomorrow, we take the FBI clearances in for apostilling.  Wish us luck.  Cleaning up a bit today.  2 of the "littles" from last year will be in kindergarten this year.  So, they won't be here.  1 of the other "littles" will definitely be here so I need to incorporate her into the homeschooling routine as well while still doing some fun stuff for her.  It's all about balance this year for sure.  More to come.  Yana's been practicing cross country.  She loves it and glad she's doing it.  We bought Bojan his first trumpet.  Warren is bringing it home today.  Irina, Max, Yana and Bojan will be doing youth group too.  So, keeping busy.  We're all caught up health wise.  Now, if we could catch up on sleep, we'd be good to go.  Warren may take a day off this Friday.  I do think it would be good for him.  He needs some rest but on a day off usually ends up trying to catch up around here.  Yana will be gone this coming weekend and Max & Bojan returning.  Irina and Nik will then go to their grandparents house as well.  It will be Nik's first time going.  I would love to go somewhere w/ the kids this weekend.  Have to see what's happening around here for sure.  Also, I am determined to go to the beach this year w/ the kids.  May have to do it w/out Yana at this point due to cross country.  We'll see.  Hope not as I'd love for all of us to go.  But, as the kids get older, they all have different activities and such and want them to be committed to it.  Much more to come.  Just have to go get everyone lunch and then it's a little geography time.  Got to run.  Enjoy your week.