Friday, September 16, 2011

Random pictures

Sometimes I have pictures on a camera and no particular post to put them in.  So, they go here.  Random pictures.   No order whatsoever.

 Nik, really wanting to learn how to mow the lawn.  A few more years kiddo.

The older 4 getting ready to go on their church youth group trip to the beach.  I was quite jealous of the beach trip myself.  I wanted to go.  They had the best time and even got to watch the sunrise over the water.  Great times. 

 Max and Bojan hanging out during a soccer practice for their sibs. 

A front view of Chaos Manor.  Big changes may be coming to Chaos Manor soon.  More on that though in a separate post.  Bench is still there that Max made.  And no, we still have not sanded it yet.  I swear this family would be slow even if we were set on fire.  We'll have a list of things to do but the list never seems to end or never gets done.  Like the sanding of the bench.  Anyone else besides me have this problem of unfinished projects?

Alyona helping us get ready for the hurricane.  Hurricane Irene was not at all strong for our area but caused tons of damage to the people up north.  

Some azaleas needing to be planted.   NEVER pay full price people.  We have many shrubs in our yard.  We wait till they are at least 50 to 75% off at the end of the season.  These were extremely healthy plants.  Same place we get our produce from, we get our plants from.  

Few weeks ago it was cleaning day outside.  Irina is taking care of the birdbath for us.  We each have about 2 or 3 items on the list and can usually knock all out in an hour to two hours.  

 Yana helping with outside clean up day.  My kids & their temp regulating issues some times.  How you can be cold when it's 95 out, I'll never understand.  She has lined winter boots on. 

After a day of work, Warren cooked up some grilled veggies & shrimp over rice.  Hit the spot after a long day of work.  No, that's not the normal color of the oil.  Warren made special seasonings to go on this and just used the old bottle.  He comes up with some great combos.  

Those were just some random pictures here and there.  I'll have an Upwards post again but probably tomorrow.  Today, only had one "little."  So Nik loved it.  They both searched for bugs most the day.  Nik did do 18 pages of math this morning so I kind of gave him leeway to play the rest of the day.  Was a light day.  Gray outside and just felt like vegging out.  We only managed to do math and reading today.  And, that's okay. Tomorrow, we have soccer in the morning.  Supposed to rain.  Yuck.  After that, returning shoes to Shoe Carnival that Yana has.  The rest of the day, we are baking.  See, I'm starting a fundraiser this weekend and can not wait to share more about it.  VERY excited and think it will be wonderful to try.  We are the first ones to do it so this should be interesting.  Hope we do well.  Making posters, getting brochures together, etc.  Have a church picnic and will introduce it all there.  Can't wait b/c I do think people will enjoy it.  Shoot, anything you get to eat you enjoy.  And who doesn't love apple pie this time of year?  More to come on this later this weekend.  Most likely, on Sunday.  Next week is super duper busy and I can't even share all that is going on and I'll tell you why on Thursday.  BTW, Thursday(next week) is Yana's 16th birthday.  Yikes!  Where'd the time go?  Enjoy your weekend everyone. 

Flabulous to fabulous

Well, it's Friday and I promised myself I'd do this every week.  Regardless of if I actually did anything I said I would do.  Let's face it, getting started on an exercise routine is just not as easy as it sounds.  I was so psyched a few weeks ago that I could go to this jazzercise thing 3 times a week and then I found out the only times I could go were when soccer nights were.  URGHH!!!  Yet, I was still determined to do it on my own.  Wanted to start slowly. 

Well, slowly has surely been the theme for this weight loss program.  I'm not using this as an excuse by any means but I seriously felt under the weather this week.  If I could take a nap right now, I would.  But, I can't.  Needless to say, I am disappointed in this past week.  I could not get the motivation to exercise the way I needed to.  I did weight lift and stretch out daily so I guess that's something.  I did weed each and every day which was probably a mistake and added to the severe allergy suffering.  So even though I felt bad, I still tried to do something.  And, I've been drinking much, much more water.  However, I did no cardio this week and for that I regret it.  Yet, being that I couldn't breathe, I honestly don't see how I could have had a productive workout.  OKay, so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. 

Next week, well tomorrow actually, I'm getting back in the swing of things.  Continuing the little things for sure.  But, the main thing I really need is to add the cardio.  I know that would really kick me into gear.  Is it bad that I typed this while eating a chocolate chip cookie we made earlier?  Yet, I did show restraint by not eating a whole pile.  Yes, time to go walk the dogs.  So, I'm chalking this up to not the best week but it is  a beginning nonetheless.  Now, if I don't report next week that I've done cardio for at least 4X that week, some one come over and seriously make me run.  Or at least yell at me for it.  Promise, I won't get angry.  I will say thank you.  I need this for sure.  Next Friday, I am intending on reporting in a whole different tone.  Anyone else out there on the healthier me quest?  Would love to hear what you're doing and what keeps you going.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Upwards and onward

Well, it is the start of school season and for many, the start of soccer season around here.  We are very fortunate in this area to have a wide variety of soccer teams to choose from.  Upwards (church affliated), YMCA, and very competitive teams as well.  This year, we decided to play Upwards soccer.  Many reasons for our decision.  We had played Upwards basketball for years but never soccer.  My kids played YMCA soccer for 1 or 2 years I believe.  So, it's been a long, long time and Alex was craving to play again.  And, knowing how one of our new kiddos LOVES soccer & has the same passion as Alex does, we figured we better get into this again.  Can't take soccer away from the boys who so long to play it. 

We like the Upwards concept and just the casual feel of it.  It's not hard core competition which is wonderful and what our kids need right now.  PI kids need reassurance and confidence and I know this program delivers that.  I know we'll be playing for years to come.  The church we are playing at is awesome!  I have met such wonderful people there and their enthusiam is contagious to be around.  I really enjoy the practices instead of dread them which says a lot.  LOL.  Thought I'd share a few pics from one of their practices.  Next post will be on last week's game. 

 Alex taking the ball down the field.  Alex really is in his element. 

 Nik, getting ready to climb some trees.  All the younger kids do this.  A favorite tree climbing spot. 

 Sometimes, they do homework if it isn't their turn.  Alyona is reading here. 

Sometimes, we just goof around while waiting for our sibs to finish their practice.  No issues w/ Nik's balance for sure.  

Alex absolutely LOVES soccer.  I have to find him new shin guards.  Kid is tying them on.  We bought him some this weekend at the Addidas outlet but they were too small.  On the hunt again.  Alex has great control of the soccer balls when he plays and is a real team player.  

Nik goofing off with a towel.  why?  who knows.  

All I know is all of them enjoy going to practice and games.  Upwards is truly a great organization for my kids.  They are not made fun of, they learn to be on a team, they learn skills, they learn more biblical teachings, they learn friendship, and too many other things to name.  We are very grateful for the opportunity to play on our first Upwards soccer team.  Now, Yana wants to be an assistant coach next season!  Isn't that great?!  More on Upwards next post. 

Who is this Nicole???

Okay, so I mentioned in the last post briefly about Yana and her identity crisis.  See, she did this years ago.  Wanted to be called by her middle name, Nicole.  I guess I should go back even further.  Whenever  you adopt a child from overseas, you can choose to change their name.  Different families name their kid different things for various reasons.  I am NOT getting into the great name debate on here of whether it is right or wrong to change their names.  For our personal choice, we try to keep their given birth names if at all possible.  Obviously, Yana, Irina and Alyona kept theirs.  Out of the boys, Bojan, Alex & Nik(yes, even spelled the same as the Russians did) kept theirs.  Murat, we changed to Max.  He has continually thanked us for that one btw.  Out of the 3 new kids, 1 will keep their original name.  Anyhow, we always give them an American sounding middle name just in case they want to change it soon after they get home. 

Back to the story.  Yana back in middle school decided she wanted to change her name.  Yeh, lasted about a week.  Now, she has decided to do it again.  Kind of disappoints me somewhat this time b/c I think Yana is a beautiful name and I don't like the idea that she wants to be the same as everyone else.  Think about it for a moment.  Only one Yana.  Many Nicoles.  Easier to "blend in."  And yes, I'm well aware it's perfectly normal to be like everyone else in 9th grade.  I was just hoping she'd stand up and want to be herself.  Even her friends for years are still calling her Yana as her family is too.  Hoping she'll change it back but not looking like it.  Since this is high school and there are many that don't know her, they are all agreeing to call her Nicole.  Sorry, but I can't get used to it.  Just wanted her to be proud of who she is and proud of her Russian heritage. 

I know there is nothing wrong with this.  But for a mom, it's hard to accept.  They have always been your kids and you always call them by their name.  I guess if I have to lose a battle out of all the typical teenage battles that are out there, I best be happy this is the battle.  I've seen other parents of teens and what they go through.  If this is the biggest issue we have, I'm counting my blessings.  To her family though, she will always be Yana Nicole.  Always.  Just wanted to share my thoughts on all this as I've heard of other foreign born adoptees changing their names to sound more American as well.  Not sure just how common it is.  Just know Yana is not the only one.  Irina wanted to be called Taylor at one point but that didn't last long either.  Now, she loves it when people tell her what a beautiful name she has.  Does anyone else who's child wanted to change their name go with it?  Just curious.  Again, in the grand scheme of things, this should not be an issue.  We're letting her b/c if that's who she wants to be, we won't stop it.  She is American now after all. 

Mini Thoughtful Thursday & brief updates

Don't have much time as this week has been busy.  But, thought it was high time for a few happenings around here.  It's also Thursday.  I haven't been as good about being aware of things this week.  But, two stand out. 

Alex-- we were out at church and Alex stopped Alyona so he could tie her bow.  I thought that was really sweet of him.

Alyona-- I looked outside one day and on her own she was filling up the holes with dirt that the puppies dug in the front yard.  On her own.  Super sweet so no one else would trip. 

Bojan-- Been thinking of others lately.  One of the chaperones from church trip told me Bojan may want to work with other amputees that just lost their leg.  How it would be inspirational as he can do so much w/ his leg.  Bojan was really excited about the thought of that and I just thought it was nice that he may be willing to help others in this manner.

Today, we had an guy come and give some estimates.  I'll have another post on all that.  Getting ready for an IEP meeting for Yana next.  Who has now taken on another identity at school as Nicole.  Again, another post on that later too.  I think since it's raining this weekend, it will be a catch up post kind of weekend.  LOL.  After IEP, home to eat lunch, speech therapist comes, and then a demonstration guy.  After that, cook some dinner, do some more errands and then off to soccer practice today.  Warren took off today so he could help me out.  Glad he did.  It has been a very, very busy week for us but we're getting through it.  Yana has no meets this weekend.  We have soccer games on Saturday but they'll be finished by lunch.  Everyone is healthy for the most part.  Alex & I seem to be battling a head cold/ sinus type stuff but no biggie.  Just draining.  Nothing knew on the adoption front.  I know judges are being assigned today for some so hoping I can be in that pile of people.  Or, at least I heard Thursday was the day.  With adoption, you can never tell.  I'm just really ready to hear a court date so we can start making plans accordingly.  ONce you have a court date, you can kind of guesstimate a time frame for pick up.  With us, that is huge as we have much to arrange before we go.  It's like executing a major battle plan.  LOL.  Anyhow, lots to tell, lots that may be happening, and many pictures still to post.  But, duty calls and IEP meeting, here we come.  No, I never did get that DEC 17 back.  Hoping we can do the meeting w/out it.  I've done that before and just handed it in later.  We'll see.  More to come.  I know I owe many folks emails or phone calls.  I'm getting there.  Like I said, think this is going to have to be a catch up weekend.  Got to run. 

King Kota

Time to chat a little about Kota.  Kota was brought home last year as a puppy.  Brought home in November along with Alaska.  Digby came a few months later.  Crazy, I know but we go with the flow here.  Kota is nicknamed King Kota for a reason.  The reason?  He is the alpha dog here and thinks he's boss.  Kota is the more aggressive bossy of the pups.  It took awhile but Kota has changed a bit.

This is Kota.  Notice he's laying by the damaged wall.  Nice, huh?  However, he has an accomplice with that.  Most of our baseboards look like that now as does the bottom legs of our couches, coffee tables, etc.  Puppies.  Aspen and Bear used to do the same thing so it's not like we didn't expect it.  

Kota likes to dominate.  He has learned though he can not do that any more.  Our vet gave us a few tricks.  Love the water bottle idea btw. Our biggest issue now is him and Alaska wanting to jump up on people when they walk in the door.  They want to play, it's a friendly thing, tails are wagging, etc.  However, I've told everyone to not engage them and only pet them when they're down.  Still, they keep jumping up despite the water bottle or commands.  So, suggestions on this.  We've told people to put their knee up when they do this.  These puppies by far have been the hardest to get trained out of all the dogs we've had in the past.  It is the first time I've ever considered obedience training.  Kota is super duper protective of the family & the house.  Nik & I do this thing.  Boxing...sort of.  LOL.  You'd have to see it to understand.  Nik loves it.  Well, Kota thinks were really hitting and let's us know he disapproves.  He'll bark like crazy at it.  Need to get it on tape.  It's all pretend and Nik's laughing like mad and the dog is barking senseless.  I do need it on tape.  One of those AFV moments. 

Kota is a barker.  Alaska seems to have settled down quite a bit though she still really loves to play & loves to run.  Kota's come a long way but we still have a little ways to go.  I know he's almost a year old so still much, much puppy left in him.  Just ready for him to mellow out a bit more.  Though I will say this, we no longer have to keep him locked in the bedroom when company comes over.  That's a plus for sure.  And, they are not escaping hardly at all any more.  Keeping fingers crossed here as this was a recent accomplishment.  

We're getting there slowly but surely with the dogs.  They are definitely well loved.  Now, we have to work on the hyper bit.  Like jumping up on people to say hello.  A guy that came to the house today said he has the same problem with his puppies that he has.  I guess that was kind of a relief as we feel at least were not the only ones.  The puppies have gotten better about so many things.  Kota is definitely a lot more calmer and doesn't question every person that comes to the house.  Well, as long as were with him.  He barks a lot when people come over but still much better than before.  He and Digby get along very well now and play every morning together.  Kota is the kind of dog that loves to rough house with the kids.  Yet, he'll lay on his back so you can scratch his belly.  Overall, Kota is doing excellent.  Just need to tweak some things a bit more.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Are we learning anything???

I wasn't quite sure how I'd homeschool my kids.  Shoot, all of them have different abilities and different learning disabilities.  We are taking things slowly because I'm trying to get a feel for where they are.  Nik can not count as high as they told me he could last year.  We are doing tons of phonics with him as well.  He's trying to speak more.  Speech therapist comes 3 times a week now.  We're all on the same page which is awesome.  Alyona is even way further behind than I thought she was.  I had her doing a preschool book just for review to give her confidence b/c I felt she's fly through it.   Nope.  It is clearly evident they have just pushed her through the system and it hurts.  See, she was already slated for a life skills class once she hit middle school.  That was not our intentions for sure.  So, I'm working with her on the basics and going from there.  My hope is to get her on a second grade level by year's end.  She is 12 years old & in 5th grade.  But, is indeed capable of learning.  Alex is diligently working on his multiplication.  He is doing money too and is doing fairly well with that.  So, what do we do with all of them together?

Alex, Alyona and Nik are looking at a poster we have of the solar systems.  We study science, history, p.e., art, and lifeskills together.  I do their english and math separately.  

 This was a solar oven we made last week.  This is a great project to teach about solar energy and the sun.  We are studying the sun this week.  Even one of the "littles" knows it's in the Milky Way now.  LOL.  I asked her what galaxy we lived in & this 3yo shouted Milky Way!  So, I guess they're all learning. 

 My kids were very into this project.  They thoroughly enjoyed making the oven, following steps, and answering questions about the sun.  CAn you tell Nik is excited?  

We opted for smores versus a pizza.  You can see the chocolate starting to melt.  

 Alex enjoying his science project for the day. 

 Alyona showing off her smores.  I made them even feel the heat from the bottom of the plate.  Wanted them to see the way the sun works and heats.  Have to keep it simple and visual for FAS kids to really grasp the concepts. 

Nik, really and truly enjoying the science experiment.  Look at the chocolate on that marshmellow.  We are doing lapbooks to go along with our studies.  It's a great visual tool and I really like it.  

Tomorrow, no "littles."  So, we are thinking of making a pinhole camera and also talking about Native Americans.  May be making an Apache shield as well or save that for another day when we have more time.  Just lots of hands on stuff for them to remember things.  I will add spelling but not for another week.  I'm no longer afraid of getting it all in.  That's what the schools did and that was the grave mistake for my kids.  Now, they learn what they can, when we can and how we can.  I am stunned at just how many workbooks my kids have completed thus far.  They're soaking it up but I'm not pressuring them to do it.  They want to do it and ask me what experiments we're doing next.  Alex told me tonight that "mom, I didn't finish reading all about the sun.  But, I'll do it first thing tomorrow."  That's huge for him.  He wants to do it.  Just nice to see them learning and remembering. 

What's wrong w/ this picture?

Time for another episode of what's wrong with this picture. 

Umm, I'm not even exactly sure where to begin here.  The baby doll has been mutilated for sure.  Yet, Alyona still didn't mind playing with her.  Go figure.  The dogs got a hold of this one.  This was one of Alyona's birthday dolls this past summer.  They did the same to the other doll as well.  Now, we keep finding doll baby body parts all over the house.  Somewhat creepy from time to time.  

Lots and lots has been happening this week.  I will fill you all in on an update post at some point.  Let's just say we've had one heck of an FAS week.  It was a full moon.  And yes, that does indeed affect their behavior.  Not sure why but it does.  Give you an example so you understand.  Just from yesterday... Kota's front paws were blue, my son walked the dog around the neighborhood in his pajama bottoms, no one would listen, Alaska's head was completely covered in jelly, Nik took a shower w/ his implants on, Nik's coil broke, 1 kid forgot to take meds, OCD daughter went crazy with cleaning, dogs chewed up crayons and are pooping rainbows at this point, and way too many other things to name.  Yes, that was part (just part) of my day yesterday.  I know we all have days like this and that's okay.  Just realized though that I forgot to get that stupid DEC 17 filled out for the school IEP meeting.  Lovely.  Meeting is Thursday.  Doc is not going to fill it out in a day I have a feeling.  Think she'll let me fill it out & her sign?  Just kidding.  No one write me please.  I know we can't do that.  Alex had soccer tonight & turned out to have a scrimmage game afterwards.  Umm, forgot about that.  Warren took him this evening and called to say did you know they had a game?  Well, if I sent him in practice clothes do you think I knew there was a game?  Yeh, I was not in the best of moods.  Poor Warren.  I still feel under the weather.  Maybe that's it.  I think this is just one of those weeks that I will be happy when it is over.  But, being that it is only Tuesday, this may just be the longest week ever.  Yes, I'm whining today.  Sorry, this post turned into a whine post.  I know it could always be worse so I try not to complain too much.  However, we just spent a lot of time with Max.  He is acting the same way he did when he was having trouble in school last year.  I feel something is going on at school again and he's not telling us.  I'll ask his teachers tomorrow.  He does this when he doesn't understand academics.  Teachers are trying to curtail the issue with Irina and her situation.  People are at it again.-- the name calling.  Though, she is handling it better and does indeed have friends at the school and is even making new friends. It is progress for sure.  Bojan just gave me the case that his toothbrush was in...from the trip this past weekend.  URGHH!!!  On a lighter note, a neighbor brought me buns today.  Hamburger buns.  I think there's 30 of them.  It's fantastic.  Ironically, we cooked hamburgers tonight.  Alex now claims he has a hook in his throat pushing it forward.  What?!  Sometimes kids with processing issues have a hard time making sense.  Don't worry, he does not have a hook in his throat.  He has dry throat itchies from sucking in air during soccer practice tonight.  that translates into hook in throat for Alex.  I think chocolate is in my future.  Think I can go to the Hershey Spa?  LOL.  Thanks for letting me whine.  Promise next post will not be so whiney. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blast from the past!

Thought since it turned September, we could do a blast from the past segment.  Love looking through the old pictures and so neat to see how far the kids have come.  They have all grown so much and accomplished so much.  Enjoy a look back in the years.

 Yana on her 9th birthday.  Yes, we used to have a deck before it became a dining room.  This was just a few months after Yana had been home in 2005.

 Another one from 2005.  Alex & Max unearthing a rock in the front yard.  Boys.

Yana & Irina zonked out on the couch in 2005.  Notice the sea of green carpet?   The mess behind them was due to a massive remodel we were undertaking.  Behind that outside double doors was deck that would become what is now our dining room.  Not only changes in the house but the kids too.  

 Waiting for the bus that year, my kids were a site.  Bojan in a walker w/ a prosthetic & a cast on the other leg.  Alyona in a cast as well.  This was during the botched surgery time we went through.  Oy.  Now you also see why Alex's nickname used to be cotton top.  Yana looked huge compared to them.  Crazy, huh?  2007.

 Nik, sporting his Santa hat.  2007.

Kids on Halloween, 2007. 

 Alyona, Nik & Bojan during a festival we went to.  Having fun as usual.  2008.

Nik, Irina, and Alyona.  Wow, Irina looks SO different.  Notice Irina & Nik in short sleeves and shorts.  Then look at Alyona.  Yes, she too has some FASD temperature regulating issues I do believe.  We all had fun at this festival at a local church.  2008.

 Warren working with the kids on some Lowes projects.  Warren is a brave man to hold the nail while the kids used the hammer.  To this day though, he hasn't broken any fingers yet.  And, the kids love this.  2009. 

Alyona and Nik enjoying an end of the summer rain storm in September 2009.  They were really having a great time with it.  Got to love Alyona's choice of rain gear.  

Yana and her friend Lauren helped Alyona & Nik get dressed together in a shopping bag.  For whatever reason, I have no clue.  Just know they were all smiles when it was done.  One plastic grocery bag equals entertainment for my bunch.  This was in 2009 also.  

Hope you enjoyed a blast from the past.  Takes me back for sure.  Can't believe how grown up they all seem now.  Time needs to slow down.  More to come the next few days.  Still feeling under the weather.  Have a wonderful week everyone.

Manic Monday

Goodness, where did the weekend go??  We had a semi-busy weekend.  It was not as productive as I'd hoped.  Friday, the older kids left for the beach with the church youth group.

Saturday, Alyona and I woke up to go to yardsales.  There were tons!  We only go w/ a certain amount of money but boy did we find some deals.  A cool Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket for Nik.  He thinks he's the coolest in it.  LOL.  It is really neat & I'll have to get a picture eventually.  Got tons of books and project stuff for just a quarter each.  We snagged them all.  Can't wait to try some of the projects.  Really great stuff and teaching tools.  Yana got a jacket too.  Too many things to name really.  We went home and made breakfast.  Chilled for a bit in front of the tv and then had the kids get ready for soccer games.  Alex & Nik had a game at the same time.  It was hot.  Too hot for Alex who failed to wear the cooling vest he had.  However, this time the lesson was too great & he said he will be wearing it from here on out.  Alex got scared.  Very scared.  I poured water all over him before the game began.  Hoping that would help.  Helped for awhile.  I could see him out on the field looking rough.  He even came for water once himself.  I asked Alyona and she agreed Alex looked bad.  Then, Alex came running over to me.  Said he can't breath, etc.  Made him sit in the shade, pouring water over him again, getting him water, etc.  He was beat red.  Really red.  He was sitting out for awhile.  It was not hospital type situation which was great but you could tell it could have headed that way.  He is now convinced he needs the vest we bought him.  In addition, Warren and I think it may be time for a visit to an endo just to be sure.  See, Alex sees a neurologist and has very thorough panels done via neuro every 6 months or so.  The urologist we only saw once or twice b/c with the horseshoe kidney, he said there really is nothing you need to do.  Just check later on in life.  Having the one big kidney deal though does effect adrenal issues.  We're going to ask his neuro next time(in a week actually) for a referral to an endo.  Can't see an endocrinologist in this area w/out a referral.  Or, she may have some suggestions.  Some FAS kids have temp regulating issues.  About half my FASers do.  However, I think Alex's situation is a bit more than that.  Just being on the safe side.

After the games came straight home to let Alex cool some more in air conditioning.  Had lunch and then went to do a few errands.  Nothing thrilling.  Went to the outlets to try to find Alex some cleats for soccer.  Thought we lucked out but they were just too small and nothing a bigger size up.  We were at the Adidas outlet store.  Did manage to snag cleats for next year for 2 of the kids though.  They were $10 & buy one get one half off.  So, for $7.50 for a brand new pair of soccer cleats, we picked up two pair but still have none for Alex.  Checking some more places.  

Came home & decided it would be nice to take the other three out to dinner and then for ice cream.  We had a fantastic time w/ the three of them and listening to their Christmas wish lists.  Nik wants a tire swing and a planetarium.  Alex wants $30 for college.  Alyona wants an alarm clock and a husband.  Umm, I don't think she's getting that husband for Christmas, do you?  I don't know where she came up with that.  Just thought it was kind of funny. 

Sunday we went to church.  Then, to a free home and garden show in Raleigh.  Always nice to get ideas for the future.  Kids were great.  Of course part of that may have been due to the fact that every vendor seemed to be giving out free candy.  Home again and then off to pick up the older kids from church.  They had a great time.  That was probably an understatement.  Of course, adults told us how wonderful they were, helpful, self-sufficient, etc.  They get into the car & immediately start fighting with each other!  Oooh, not happy.  Sometimes I'd love to video tape them.  Though I'm glad they behave so dog gone well for others and hold it all in, it would just be nice if they would continue to do so after the outing.  Got to love it. 

Today, just have one "little."  Nik loves it when he comes over.  They love exploring for bugs together.  Though right now, they're building kinex.  Alex just finished up reading.  Now, he's going to go walk Kota.   Then, we'll work on some math together.  I feel awful today.  So stuffed up and just not myself.  Think it is combo of allergies and sinuses.  Just enough to make me feel miserable and not get any sleep.  Not in the mood to teach anything today.  Today may be mostly workbook stuff for them.  Not sure.  Would like to sleep.  chest is hard to breath simply b/c so stuffed up.  I think I have the makings of one wicked head cold coming on but hopefully not.  Hopefully, I can stave it off.  Luckily, only place i have to go today is to pick up Yana.  After the "little" leaves, I think I might have to take a nap. 

I will get caught up on the blog a bit more this week but for now, feeling a bit under the weather and with so much going on the next few weeks, I need to catch this early and get well.  I have an Upwards post about their soccer but frankly, feel even weak to write.  Pitifull, I know.  Enjoy your week.  It is going to be a beautiful week so I need to get well and enjoy it w/ the kids.  More to come for sure.  Can't wait for you all to see pictures of the kids in action with soccer.