Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer learning

And who says kids can't learn anything over the summer?  Yes, we did have our summer days but some days we'd break up the boredom by pulling out kits, etc. and work on them. 

 I collect kits throughout the year and use them as boredom busters over the summer.  This one was about growing crystals.  This is when they were all getting started on it.  I convinced them to read directions first. 

 I love them looking so studious and ready to learn. 

Alyona taking a magnifying glass.  You had to soak the rocks for a few days in a solution and wait for the crystals to grow.  Loved how Max was reading directions.  Trust me, this man hates to read directions.  We all know how men are with directions.  Sorry for the men reading this but been my experience here.

Nik, sporting the safety goggles.  No, you really didn't need safety goggles for this but comes w/ the kit and anything in these kits the kids think they must use.  

All are so intently involved in this project.  We waited a few days, checked for the blue crystals and they were there.  Talked about it for a bit.  

We've also done a little on CPR as I had received a free CPR kit from some local wellness fair.  Came w/ the dvd and how to do it.  It's this blow up dummy.  Interesting.  That's for sure.  Let's just say if any of you have a heart attack in front of my kids, I'm not so sure they're up on procedure yet.  They're still in the learning phases of it.  But, they have the general concept down and that's what counts.  Trying to work on basic safety stuff like the Heimlich for choking and such.  Asked my kids what to do if someone is choking before we talked about it.  Their answer "slap them on the back!"  Again, still learning all the maneuvers.  Usually here it's not discussed in the public schools till around middle school I believe.  I think it's important for them to know when they're young as well.  Kind of like a mini babysitting class type of thing.  Hey, it's something to learn and an awesome boredom buster.  

More to come.  Still wanting to change things up on the blog a bit but have to wait till Warren comes home.  Hey, I'm not that tech savvy.  He is gone picking up Irina and Nik from his parents' house.  Can't wait to see them.  It is really weird not having all the kids home at once.  Good for them to visit family but still miss them when they're gone.  We are to get back on a school schedule.  Soccer starts this week.  Yikes!  Going to miss Bojan's open house which is okay.  We're way to familiar w/ the school anyhow.  Not too worried, just need to get his schedule.  We're figuring out open houses, soccer practices, cross country practices, & bus pick up times to name a few.  Going to be a very busy week this coming week as the school year begins for all my kids.  It's time though.  We've had a great summer but we're all ready for fall.  Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.  It is sunny here and in the 90's.  We've cleaned up the yard a bit & tomorrow will finish it up.  We want this to be a super low key weekend b/c it is our last "free" weekend until November!  Just saying that sounds insane.  But, after the slow summer days, it's time for fall sports and activities.  Kids have parties, beach trips(remember, live in NC & hot throughout October), soccer games, cross country meets, band practices, Halloween, youth group activities, camping, hiking, etc. 

So bummed...

I forgot my camera this morning.  Today is Saturday.  We had gotten up way too early to get Yana to school for her first ever cross country meet.  Well, invitational.  But, this will give her a feel for what is to come.  We drove w/ the kids (minus Irina and Nik since still at their grandparents)  & a friend came along to go to Yana's meet.  Of course, we were running a bit late.  Those lazy summer days have been firmly implanted in my kids and I'm working on getting them back into a school schedule.  You know, waking up before it's brunch time.  LOL.  Yana's friend had made a sign b/c we were out of posterboard at our house.  Said "let's go Yana."  Go Cleveland.  And of course RUN!  Perfect day for a run this morning as it was overcast.  Trust me, you don't want the hot Carolina sun burning down on you.  We watched Yana run by us and then waited.  The cross country meet is 5K.  We saw Yana struggling on the last lap which is totally, totally expected since this is her first ever meet.  I'm just estatic that she was committed, stuck with it, and finished it.  The kids & us were cheering her on & her team.  Still so bummed I did not have my camera.  Was really neat watching her run through the finish line, sprinting the last little bit.  Yana did well.  She still has lots of training to do before truly ready for the first official meet but coach said she definitely has the ability.  Very proud of her and can't wait for the next meet! 

We left the meet & Yana wanted to stay w/ her team & also encourage the boys' team.  We left and since energy was low, what better way to kick it up than w/ a dozen donuts from Dunkin Donuts.  I think it's been at least 2 years since we had Dunkin Donuts.  Now, I know why we never get them...they are too stinkin' good!  We enjoyed our impromptu stop & headed home.  Warren and Max went to take the trash off & then pick up Yana from school.  After that, we are doing a bit of work outside & inside the house today.   We'll be working on the blog some too so don't worry if it goes on & off today.  Yana is still working on getting her room back to her room since Kyle left for college.  Later this afternoon, Warren goes to pick up Irina and Nik.  So, no big plans this weekend.  We're still mulling over going hiking tomorrow or not.  Pretty quiet weekend & very happy about that as we have so, so much going on & places to go in September and October.  And, two birthdays during that time.  Much more to come the next few days.  For now, we're just going to relax and enjoy our weekend.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend as well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dog days of summer.....

are coming to an end.  School starts next week.  Our carefree, no schedule, do what we want summer days are coming to an end and quickly. 

 Here's Nik going for a swim.  I remember when he couldn't even touch the bottom.  Can't wait to have everyone swimming next year. 

I've got to work on Alyona and her "cheesy" smiles.  No doubt about it though, she's a fish in the water.  LOVES to swim.  All my kids love to swim.  

 Days of mowing grass are coming to an end.  I think Max will actually be disappointed about that.  We still haven't gotten around to sanding that bench or painting it.  Oh well, that's what lazy summer days are for , right? 

 Days of packing up to go to grandma's house are coming to an end as well.  This was Bojan packing.  You remember, right?  Kid was going for a week and he decides to bring 2 shirts and 9 pair of shorts.  Yes, I made him repack.  He insisted he take his backpack.  I think it was b/c the entire family somewhat threatened him if he took one of the "good" duffles and ruined it.  Let's just say Bojan has a history of spilling and being clumsy.  Not clumsy b/c he can't help it.  Clumsy b/c he is typically goofing off at the time doing one of his comedy skits. 

 Watching movies during the day are coming to an end.  When I blew this picture up, I realized the floor.  Yes, the puppies had chewed yet another thing up.  Some days were just plain too hot to go outside.  Soon, I'm sure we'll be complaining it's too cold.  

Days of eating whenever we feel like it are coming to an end.  I enjoyed our late night dinners, after a swim.  Alex decided he wanted the rest of Nik's salad.  What Alex didn't know was Nik put a pile of pepper on his b/c Nik likes spicy stuff.  Alex's face says it all.  

Days of playing ball outside are coming to an end.  I know what you're thinking....yard of the month, right?  LOL.  Yes, we have totally given up on having a nice yard as long as we have kids.  They play ball in the yard, ride their bikes in the yard, etc.  There is just no way we'll have grass unless we get astroturf. 

Yes, these dog days of summer are surely coming to an end.  In our house, we absolutely LOVE summer time.  Just a great time to us.  We love the no scheduling, relaxing feel of it all.  Hate to say goodbye to summer but we have wonderful fall things coming our way.  Like 3 new kids, soccer games, track meets, day trips, camping, hiking, cooler weather, riding bikes more, etc.  Many things to look forward to.  Getting cooler and baking.  Though we'll miss summer, I will say we had a great summer.  Lots of swimming, trip to Hershey Park , trip to Knoebels Amusement Park, Trips to museums, movies, playing with friends, having lots of pool parties, getting to know each other more & what their dreams are, eating lots of ice cream, eating lots more ice cream, and too many other things to name.  Though we'll miss summer time, I know we have much to look forward to this fall.  Already counting down the days.  Hope you had a wonderful summer.  Those dog days of summer. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Updates abound

Lots going on here as usual.  So figured I'd update.

Adoption front--  Waiting to hear from EE.  Ths country's process is much different than our previous adoptions with Russia.  Takes time.  Trying to be patient but as you all know, once you meet your kids, you just want them home to enjoy family life and experience new things together.  I figure we have way more than half this journey behind us so I should be super excited that there is an end in sight.  I believe the next step is to get some signatures from the MOJ.  However, I'm not positive on that as this is our first set of Bulgarian adoptions.  After that, then the judge assigns a court date.  After court, you then wait about 2 weeks to a month for them to process paperwork.  Then, you go to pick them up and bring them home!  That's.  Right now, we are in a holding pattern awaiting a court date.  See, in many EE countries, they take an entire month vacation for the month of August.  This country is the same way.  So, this is their vacation month and not much will happen in August.  That's why you can understand why I want September to come so quickly.  Sorry, no real new news.  One of our children to be has a birthday soon though I can't say when.  I know we can't celebrate together this year but reassuring that next year we'll be able to.  I think that is what keeps most adoptive families going...the thought of what's to come w/ their kids.  The fun times to share, the memories to make.

School-- All the teens are going to Cleveland High School this year.  And no, we don't live in OH.  We'll have 9th, 10th and 11th graders.  All have IEP's.  I was called this week by central office & they told me we'd meet soon.  I told them we need to meet before school starts for these 3 IEP meetings.  Shoot, Irina doesn't even have a schedule yet.  So, things need to be taken care of.  There were a lot of things hanging in the balance at the end of the year & we need resolution to some of those issues.  Irina now does not want to go there.  I told her give it a month as this is a less violent school than the last one she was at.  Hoping it will be good for her.  Max liked it.  Yana usually adjusts easily so not so worried about her and school.  Just her and focusing on school.  LOL.  Bojan will be going to middle school.  6th grade.  He now officially has no IEP.  He'll get his schedule this coming week.  At school.  He also will start band.  

The younger kids will be home w/ me.  That would be Alex, Nik & Alyona.  Nik will be back in speech therapy a couple times a week.  Alex will be in 4th grade and Alyona in 5th.  However, I've been giving them a few things to do here and there and realize just how far behind they are.  See, in school, they keep them on grade level despite them not being able to do on grade level work.  Part of the stupid no child left behind act.  Hate it but I won't get into it right now.  They just push them through.  That is why Alyona can not read but very simple sentences at 12yo and also can't do basic addition.  Alex is struggling w/ simple multiplication.  Was told last year he could do it.  Umm, no.  So, we are focusing on teaching them at where they are, not where they should be.  I want them to fully understand concepts and such.  Want them to enjoy learning and I hope we accomplish that this year.  Nik will be focusing solely on vocab.  

School pyschologist called today and asked if we still wanted Nik tested as it was in his IEP. I said yes.  Never hurts.  We also had a brief conversation of what may be available to him as a homeschooler.  Rules always change so checking it all out.  Happy though that they still want to cooperate.  That is a really good thing.  School starts for everyone next week.  I'm sure it will be like waking the dead the first week though.  No more sleeping in.
Dogs-- Digby is great as usual.  Pups are still escaping though less.  Another pair of my sandals became victims to Kota.  Now, why did we crate them this past time when that happened?  Well, besides the fact that we have no crates right now, MY KIDS WERE HERE!!!  I was not happy.  Alex, Bojan and then Kyle were here.  So, Alex and Bojan just let the dogs chew up sandals, a hat, and some other stuff.  Why you ask?  Because they were so intrenched in a video game.  URGHH!!!  So, no video games for the rest of August.  I can't believe they did that though.  I really can't.

Medical-- nothing to report at the moment.  Everyone is healthy which is fantastic!  No checkups due, no appointments coming up.  All shots up to date.  Very thankful.  Hoping to keep everyone super healthy so when we bring the new kids home, we'll be able to address doc appointments w/ them and get them the necessary vaccines they need.  That and eyes checked for sure.  Just glad for now our family is healthy.

Me-- what's going on with me?  Well, I'm trying to learn a little more Bulgarian and a little more ASL.  Working on it every night.  I like to be able to speak at least a little bit when we pick up our kids.  We did the same all the times we went to Russia.  Helps the kids feel a little more at ease.  And of course ASL is for Nik.  The big news or at least for me, is I"m joining jazzercise.  See, I got this promotional card in the mail.  You know the ones.  Join and will wave this or that fee.  Well, this one seemed a bit different.  Never hurts to call.  It is actually a 12 week program geared to weight loss.  You agree to take a before and after picture...yikes!....and you get the fees waved for a bunch of the stuff.  You have to meet certain criteria which I did.  I'm thrilled b/c I need this for sure.  I"m one of those people who if I have an appointment and schedule, I'll go.  If left on my own...well, anyone's guess.  This holds accountability & you'll work w/ a nutritionist as well.  It is supposed to start this coming week.  I'll do a Flabulous to Fabulous post every Friday and at the end, gulp, show you the before and after pictures in hopes that I will have lost some.  Time will tell.  I need this though & truly am looking forward to it.  I really can not wait.  They have flexible times too.  The new me in 12 short weeks. 

More to come. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back in time

We decided this past weekend to go back in time.  Where'd we go?

Well to the NC History Museum of course!  We were trying to get them to hold up #'s 1,2, 3 and 4 w/ their fingers.  Yeh, that didn't work as you can see.  

Okay, not sure why I couldn't get the space between pics but oh well.  Alright, first pic is of them learning about how they make pottery in NC.  Kind of cool & a bit later they got to make their own ornaments just as they would if they made pottery.  Next is Irina and Alyona learning about the different animal skins they used for various purposes.  This is one of the structures the Indians would have lived in.  Part of Warren's heritage is Indian but not sure which ones.  I'll have to ask.  He knows much more of the history of course.  

 Nik, milking a cow.  My kids were stunned at the scheduled they had the first few hours of early morning.  Schedule is behind him.  I said maybe we should do that.  "But Mom, that would suck!"  

Alyona trying to pick up a pail of water.  Look at the muscles on her arms!  Wow!  They were all surprised at just how heavy this was.  

 It is a sad day in time when you see the toys you used to play with in a HISTORY museum.  LOL.  Yes, I saw toys in there that even my younger brother(by ten years) used to play with.  It was amazingly eye opening that I too am getting older.  But, I'll always be a kid at heart so I can't complain. 

This is Alex really taking in all the sports memorabilia.  He is our sports nut for sure.  Was bummed that he didn't see soccer up there.  We saw basketball, football, golf, etc. but I don't remember soccer.  We'll have to go again to be sure.  

 This was something the kids saw & thought was cool.  They said they wished Bojan could see it.  We'll have to take him back to see it sometime.  It's a prosthetic arm from quite a long time ago.  Wow, have they come far!

I absolutely adore antique furniture.  This was the Thomas Day collection.  Beautiful pieces and they just don't make it like that anymore.  Press board nowadays.  This is the real stuff.  We have some antique pieces in our home but not nearly as many as I'd like.  Even the kids liked it.  Hmm.  

We had a great time at the NC  History Museum.  I know we'll go again one day.  So much going on.  Much to do.  Just wanted to catch up on some pictures recently.  Hope you enjoyed them.  More to come tomorrow. Special Ed department called yesterday.  Right now, need to go get a few odds & ends from Wally World.  Milk, eggs, that type of thing.  So strange w/out Irina and Nik here.  Same last week when Bojan and Max were missing.  When one of us is gone, it's just not the same family.  Got to go.  Kyle leaves on Friday.  I know we're all going to miss him.  Yet, I know he'll do fantastic in college.  Hope he stays in touch.  We've learn a lot about Deaf culture and sign and such this summer.  Enjoy your week.  Tomorrow, I will  have some updates on things.  Just been seriously busy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Supporting our sister

As most of you know, Yana is now doing cross country.  I think it's great.  Can't wait to go to the first meet.  Well, the other day, she had pictures.  We decided to wait because we assumed it would be short.  No.  It wasn't.  But, we're there to support her as a family.  So, we waited.

 Yana, getting ready for pictures that day. 

Alyona found a comfy spot to sit in the shade.  Did I mention it was hot out?  

Alex, not wearing his cooling vest.  URGHH!  He kept complaining it was hot.  Hard for him to do hot days but he manages.  He found some shade too at the concession stand.  Found out it would cost us $60 to go to ONE high school football game.  yikes! I was hoping to go.  When I grew up, the games were FREE and you paid for concessions sold by the booster clubs.  Now, it's $5 a head to get in.  Would be nice if we could have supported the local teams but $60 is something we can't swing PER game.  Hoping her meets are free or we're in trouble.  

Nik, all smiles.  Of course.  This kid almost always smiles.  This school & everything is brand new.  Opened last year.  In this area, they are always building new schools but never factor in community growth.  It's ridiculous b/c the kids in this area tend to be constantly changing schools.  

Irina, Alyona and a friend.  Alyona was goofing off making rasberries.  Nice kiddo.  It's nice that my kids can go and support their sister w/ minimal complaint.  Hey, we were all sweating by the end.  So, we went home but first stopped off for some soda to enjoy once home.  We all voted and thought we deserved it.  LOL. 

Yana in her cross country uniform.  So, we will all go to her meets to support her just as we went to all the Upwards games for the younger kids.  Will be interesting to see her run.  She has committed herself to this team and so glad she's following through.  Yana seems to be enjoying it.

Updates coming tomorrow on a bunch of items.  Just been a bit busy lately for sure. More to come tomorrow on many things.  I totally missed a manic Monday update.  Updates tomorrow. 

Deaf baby available!

Just became aware of a situation in EE.  There is a deaf baby boy available for adoption.  All I know thus far is he has a conductive loss.  He will turn 1 in September.  Otherwise, a healthy baby boy.  They want a family to be able to travel in mid-September.  So, a homestudy ready family is needed.  They will put together a mini-dossier so that they will be able to travel in September.  This precious one has a wonderful chance at a great life here but is destined to despair if he stays in his country.  Disabilities, such as deafness, are not looked upon kindly.   If you can be this little baby boy's parents, please, please step forward.  He is in a country that I am VERY familiar with.  Good majority of my kids from there.  And...there's your hint.  This little baby needs a family to help him reach his fullest potential.  It is endless at this young age.  If you know of anyone interested, please don't hesitate to contact Katie at Kids To Adopt.  Their website is .  It will have contact information on there.  And from my understanding there may be 2 other deaf children available in the same region.  Not sure on that though so don't quote me.  But the deaf baby needs a home and they want to work quickly.  This country is a two trip process though some choose to make 3 trips versus waiting for the mandatory wait period after court.  This little one is precious.  Please help spread the word as soon as possible.  September is right around the corner!  Thanks.

Discovering Talent

Bojan is going into 6th grade.  Middle School.  Now, it is no secret Bojan has physical disabilities.  We've had him in soccer and basketball and such.  Bojan can not run.  Not saying it to be mean, just telling the facts.  It's not the prosthetic that gives him a hard time, it's the clubfoot.  See, Bojan came to us at 6yo.  Though he had a corrective surgery in his country, it was not enough.  He's had a few surgeries since being home.  However, they can only fix so much.  This never really was an issue.  But, once you hit middle and high school, you want to belong and many boys do this by joining sports.  This really isn't an option for Bojan w/ limited running ability.  Let's be honest.  He knows this. However, he's also known that we don't accept anyone's disability in this house as an excuse.  Find something else. 

 Bojan, did just that.  He found something else.  He discovered the trumpet.

Bojan holding the trumpet for the first time.  Others looking on too.  

Moment of pride.  this is his trumpet.  His turn to shine.  I do hope he keeps up with it and practices.  I really do. 

 Look at the look on his face.  Amazement, wonder, anticipation of what is to come.  He will belong with a group of friends in the band.  It is something he CAN do.  We look very forward to seeing if this is a new unfound talent for him.

Checking out the mouthpiece & valves.  We had to search for an instrument he could play w/ missing one finger and having extremely short digits on the right hand.  Never really was a problem till we went searching for something.  So, it was this, the trombone (to fragile w/ the slide for other kids to break here), or the drums (umm, no thank you).  Warren played the trumpet among other instruments for quite some time.  Trying to give Bojan some beginners pointers.  I can not wait really to go to his first performance.  This may be his undiscovered talent.  Who knows.  I just know if you can't do one thing around here, you find another.  No big deal.  This is true for all my kids.  

Another post coming SOON!  About a deaf baby available!  Can't wait to share. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting ready

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time for school.  This year will be much different than previous years as we have some going to public school and some being homeschooled for the first time this year.  Much is need to prepare for it all.

 Max looks a little perplexed, doesn't he.  For those that don't know, Max is our jack of all trades and resident handyman.  Love it!  And, he even reads directions...most of the time. 

The finished product of what Max built.  Sorry for the glare.  We purchased this w/ our gift card and it will serve as a homeschool storage area.  Ignore the stuff in the background.  That was Alex's brilliant idea to clean out the room. URGHH!  He never put it back.  Kids are downstairs right now working on math.  I'll check in a few minutes.  Simple reviews this week to get back in the groove & also gauge where they are.  NOT where the school said they were.  Alex & Alyona are both really struggling and we are are going to work hard this year to build some confidence and learn some things.  Few minutes we're working on something together.  Much more to come. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Three's a Crowd???

I'm here to tell you that three is definitely not a crowd.  We had just Alyona, Nik and Alex w/ us yesterday when we decided to make an unexpected stop.

Stopped off at IHOP!  Kids eat free the month of August.  I know Alex doesn't seem happy but he's just tired.  Alex has a limited capacity of how much he can handle in a day.  He was reaching his max at this point.

Nik has no trouble posing for the camera.  He was thrilled to get chocolate milk.  Gee, if I knew it was going to be this easy, I would have just made chocolate milk at home.  LOL. 

I'm not sure if Alyona's smile is bigger or the pancakes.  Yes, they ordered chocolate pancakes called funny face for obvious reasons.  I can't remember the last time we ever ate at IHOP, let alone pancakes for dinner.  But, it was super nice to have just the 3 of them out w/ us and we may have to make this a once a month or every other month deal.  Go somewhere w/ just a few of the kids at a time.  We'll see.  I will say everyone enjoyed themselves and they were fantastic.  Really was a nice day.  From the museum to IHOP to home w/ a movie.  Just pleasant.  Just wanted to share that three is not a crowd.  Though it does feel really weird with just three.  

Weekend update

Well, thought it was time for a weekend update since I was kind of slack on posts.  Well, we'll start with Friday.  Yana had practice for cross country.  Then, she came home and left for a friend for the entire weekend.  Wahoo!!!  One down.  LOL.  She and a friend went to the friend's grandmother's house.  They have horses and some other things to do & I'm sure they'll go to the beach as it is not far away.  After that, Warren and I had to go pick up receipts from the eye doctor so we could file insurance.  Then, dropped off the FBI clearances for apostilling.  Noticed that the seal at the bottom is starting to come off the page.  Nice.  This should go over oh so well.  We'll see.  Adds a nice touch to the Tang tint. We'll find out Monday.

Next, Warren and I decide we should go out on a lunch date.  We had no kids w/ us.  Went to Red Lobster w/ the gift certs my parents gave us over the summer.  It was delicious and nice to be able to order whatever we wanted.  Nothing even spilled on the table.  Sad when a restaurant w/ many people in it is quieter than your own dining room table.  Very nice and relaxing lunch.  Headed back and went to Wally World.  See, the other day, a friend gave us a gift cert to Walmart and said to spend it on ourselves.  Her orders.  NOT the kids, NOT the orphanages, but you two.  Buy what you want or need.  We went into the store.  It is so hard believe it or not to get into that mindset that this is for us.  We kept saying "well, we really don't need that."  or "it can last a little longer."  Then, we got to thinking, this was her desire, her wish & after all she had done not just for us but for the orphanages, we felt we had to and needed to.

So, Warren asked, what is something that you've wanted for awhile.  I blurted out as fast as I could "bowls that match for everyone!"  See, in a big family, let's face it, it will be rare to have matching dinnerware.  You get what you can.  That, and most of the time they'll get broken.  Hence, why we have totally different plastic bowls.  I wanted real bowls, no plastic.  So, we went to housewares.  Umm, there are no 12 bowls anywhere.  Go figure.  Got four of them and would go back later.  I know this sounds so petty but I was excited about having matching bowls, not plastic ones, for breakfast.  We also got an iron b/c ours has been leaving black marks on clothing, leaks water

and has seen it's years.  Got a bookcase to put all the homeschool stuff on, a filebox, a pillow, doormat, a new rug runner (not dog chewed up), papasan chair and a few other things. It was nice I must say, to purchase some items that have been worn out here for awhile.  Plus, got to shop w/out kids so that was a treat too!

Went home and got the kids pizza.  Had free points so one free pizza.  We all just chilled out that evening and watched a movie.  Saturday, we got up and had a nice big breakfast.  All decided to go to the History Museum here at the state capital.  Only had 4 kids w/us so was quite different.  Learned a bunch for sure.  Came home and took Irina to spend the night w/ a friend.  Decided w/ only Nik, Alyona and Alex to go out to dinner.  Went to IHOP.  We typically don't go out to eat w/out gift certs or killer deals.  Well, only 3 kids w/ us we said let's do it.  Went and guess what?!  IHOP was having the kids eat FREE all of August deal.  Even a better choice for sure.  Came home last night and just vegged out w/ the kids.  Was nice.  Different w/ just 3 kids.  See, we've never had just three kids.  Went from zero to 2 from 2 to 4 from 4 to 5 and 5 to 7.  Now, 7 to 10. 

Today was Sunday.  Went to church for a nice service.  Sermon about compassion.  Found it difficult to have compassion for the puppies when I got home.  My sneakers and my flip flops and cables all chewed to pieces.  URGHH!!!  I know this is a short stage but it seems to be lasting forever.  It will slowly get better.  Slowly.   Max & Bojan came home and Nik & Irina left w/ their grandparents (Warrens' parents).  Yana had also come home today from being w/ her friend.  So, lots of coming and going for people today.

Trying to settle back into stuff.  Max built the bookcase for me and I'm starting to fill it w/ homeschool items.  Making plans for the week.  Want it low key as school for the others start next week.  Need to get back to routine.  And no, no one has called about the IEP's yet.  Lovely.  So much for central office being cooperative.  May have to take it up a notch to the DPI or maybe the OCR at this point.  Never dull.  More on all that later though.  Kids are watching Minute to Win It and I think we need to have a little competition here one of these days.  Would be a lot of fun.  More stuff in the works right now.  School starts soon, "littles" come back, homeschool going on, working on house, and much more.  Stay tuned for Manic Monday tomorrow. 

What's wrong w/ this picture?

Yes, it's time for another installment of what's wrong w/ this picture? 

Oh, just so many things.  I'm not sure even where to begin.  The fact that my son is dressed up in a gorilla mask trying to tease the dog or that he's eating cheese in the living room.  An entire bag full of cheese.  Alex is there holding Alaska back.  See, Alaska and Kota HATE masks with a passion.  The kids know the dogs attack when someone puts something on their face.  The kids do it on purpose to drive the dogs insane.  So, that is just a little of what's wrong with that picture.  More pics to come and a weekend update.  Stay tuned.