Saturday, October 8, 2011

Upwards Soccer

Last weekend we really enjoyed our time at Upwards soccer.  We were there all day long but it was a gorgeous day so we did not mind one bit.  It was chilly in the morning but warmed up later.  Thought you'd enjoy some pictures from last weekend. 

Alyona, watching her teammates play.  

Nik, trying to lay down in the little chair.  Not working for him.  LOL.  Staying warm w/ a spare blanket from the car. 

Alex & Alyona taking a break for lunch.  Typically, we bring our lunch everywhere when we'll be gone all day.  This was one of those rush-rush mornings and we forgot to make lunches.  Couldn't go home due to spacings of the games & the fact that we were selling pie filling.  So, Warren ran to Arby's.  It has been YEARS since we've gone there.  And, we remembered why.  We're not much on fast food in this house.  Okay, so we love Wendy's frosty's and french fries.  Other than that, none of us really enjoy eating fast food.  Alex said "what is this stuff on here?"  I said, " I think some cheese mixture."  I'm lucky our kids are not fast food junkies.  Yesterday, we remembered our lunch for the field trip.  

We were selling pie filling as a fundraiser that day.  Nik is manning the table here.  While eating lunch.

 Alex, in action.  Alex is always at the ready in soccer. 

Hard to get shots of Alex b/c he is always in motion.  This kid loves soccer.  He's already asked me when he can play again.  So, looks like we're doing soccer in the spring.  Glad he's found his niche.  And, Alex is great at it.  Not just saying that.  Alex is one of these that has natural athletic ability at any sport.  Baseball the coaches from other fields were coming over to ask about him.  And that was years ago.  The fact that he enjoys it so much makes it all that more wonderful to watch.  We've never pushed our kids into anything.  Kind of let them find their own way.  If they wanted to try something, we'd let them. 

Alex has always been a sports fanatic.  Always.  Not happy unless he's kicking or throwing something.  Literally, can't control his hands.  Also, helped him to get rid of one of his tics w/ his hand he used to have.  Max and Nik have always loved art and been passionate for it.  Neither are that into sports and that's okay.  They live & breathe art.  Bojan, he is our drama(theater) and music guy. Hence, why he's pursuing band this year.  From what I'm told, 'L' is very much a sports man too.  So, our boys have all found their niche and glad that it's not all the same.  Interesting to see how they develop.  You just never know, do you? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

When homeschool projects....

don't quite work out the way you plan.  Last week, since it's fall, I decided maybe the kids could do some leaf prints.  Simple really. 

 First, we got out construction paper and found a variety of leaves in the yard.  Put rocks on top & let the sun do it's magic.  It's supposed to fade and leave leaf prints behind.  Works in theory but we just did not do what we were supposed to.  Like leave it alone for a few hours.  Hard for kids not to want to check on it every ten minutes.  In addition, they placed it where the sun moves and then it turns to shade.  You need full sun for 3 to 4 hours at least.  Going to attempt this on another day. 

 Nik, making sure his leaves are placed exactly right.  The two "littles"  were also participating w/ this project.  It was a gorgeous day for it for sure.

We moved onto painting when we saw that the leaf prints were going to be a fail this go around.  Some kids painted their pumpkins different colors.  Nik told me he wanted a scary face on his.  He tried to paint a mini jack-o-lantern.  Not too bad.  

 Alyona with her pumpkin. 

Digby always has to be around people.  I think since he was so neglected for a few years that he just craves that love.  Why else would he want to hang around five rather loud kids all day long.  No matter if they're painting or playing with rocks.  Digby just is a people kind of dog.  And we don't mind one bit.  BTW, those impatients in the background came from when they just die off from previous years.  Costs nothing and I have more and more flowers every year.  They say impatients are annuals.  Not here. 

Not all projects will go as planned and that's okay.  We just go with the flow here.  The kids did enjoy the painting though.  I'll have a pumpkin patch post tomorrow, along with some other posts.  Lots to catch up on.  Enjoy your weekend.

Busy Weekend Ahead

Wow, there is so much happening here lately.  I'll start with today a bit.  I felt much better than yesterday for sure.  Today, Warren had taken a day off work.  We went to the chiropractor first.  Then, off to the bank.  Then, a local consignment store I love (Little Joey's for those wondering).  'Little Bit' needs some clothes for the trip home you know.  Such cute clothes.  It was hard to resist.  We shop for her this go around and will shop for 'R' next go around.  However, 'R' and Alyona wear the same size so we have a few things at home already.  Though, I do believe that each child needs their own special outfit for coming home.  Something new.  I will have to shop for the new outfits another day.  I've done that for all the kids.  When you grow up in orphanages, it is a rarity you'd receive something new.  I want to be able to buy them something that is new.  Just their very own.  I know this might not sound like a big deal but I feel it is.  I want them to know it was purchased just for them out of love.  Now, being that they're kids, whether they like it or not will be a different story.  LOL.  My boys never cared what I bought for them.  The girls, well they all have their own tastes...all very, very different. 

After that we came home quickly and let the dogs out.  Ate lunch in the car and then got to Hill Ridge Farms for a pumpkin patch field trip for the homeschoolers.  And one "little."  Was the BEST day for it.  Not too crowded and could not ask for any bluer a sky.  Wonderful weather.  Kids were awesome.  Headed home & told I need to make a video by Sunday evening.(more to come on this at another time)  Got home, dropped off a "little" and went to pick up Yana from cross country.  Brought them home and then the girls decided to go to the homecoming football game.  That's where they are now.  Max is over at a friend's house for the evening.  Bojan will be at a friend's tomorrow evening.  While we cooked kids played w/ friends across the street & here.  People across the street have a zip line.  Cool stuff.  Irina and Yana helped install that zip line years ago.  Had pork chops on the grill, sweet potatoes and beans for dinner.  Yum.  Now, kids are watching a movie. 

Tomorrow, brings very early morning soccer games for Alyona and Alex.  Nik played already this week.  After soccer, we may go to a Deaf Chat meet up group since we'll be near there.  We'll see.  Rest of the afternoon, we'll be cleaning the house up and making a video.  The kids' youth group job of unloading pumpkins has been canceled b/c truck can't get to the pumpkins due to rain in fields.  So, that's another day.  Sunday morning we're working the new coffee/ hot cocoa shop in the church basement.  Max & I are working it.  Then church & home.  I have massive homeschooling to get organized for the next few weeks.  I want to change things a bit to better utilize our time.  I have thank yous that must be written.  I feel horrible I haven't gotten some of these out lately.  Need to go through kids' clothes.  There is much more than that going on but really, you get the idea.  Hey, all kids are healthy & we're doing great so I can't complain.  Just a day of sleep would be great.  Or this:

That was my fortune a few weeks back.  I want the day off.  LOL.  As a mom though, we know there are no real "days off."  And, that is fine with me.  Now, off to write some thank yous.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I'll have more posts to come.  Of our field trip today for sure! 

Locals-- looking for a pet???

Well, tomorrow is Saturday.  Every Saturday at local area Petsmarts, they have an adoption fair.  It is hosted by Paw Prints Animal Rescue group.  I can not say good enough things about this group.  How do I know about them?  Well, we have them to thank for Kota, Alaska and Digby!  They have brought 3 great dogs into our lives.  At the time, we were NOT looking for another dog.  Bear had recently passed away though we knew it was coming for a long time.  Yet, we went to this adoption fair and the folks were caring and understanding of our recent pet loss.  They let us take all the time in the world that we needed.  They were not pushing any animal on us whatsoever.  It was a wonderful experience.  FANTASTIC foster parents of these animals.  they have puppies, dogs, and cats.  There is something for everyone, that's for sure.  We got two that were puppies at the time and one later that was an older dog.  I will say had we done this again, we'd go for another older dog.  We love Kota and Alaska but boy, after not having puppies in our home for 15 years, it was a change!  Even the kids have stated when they are older they will get an older dog.  LOL.  However, there are plenty of people up for the challenge of puppies.  And plenty available.  The older dogs touch my heart immensely.  So much love they have to offer.  Whatever you may be interested in, there are plenty of puppies & dogs available.  Lots of love to give.  They are in Garner, Apex and Knightdale.  I'm sure they're other places as well.  Please go check them out if you can. 

Paw Prints

Nik's birthday-- family party (part II)

SO much going on but want to do this post.  I also owe a Yana b-day post.  Trust me, I have several posts in the works but things have gotten crazy at Chaos Manor.  I have an opportunity that has come along and trying to decide whether to do it or not.  More about it later.  You would not guess in a million years.  Anyhow, this post is about Nik & we'll keep it that way.  We left at part I, him helping w/ dinner, getting his cake out & opening presents.  And here's the rest of it. 

Nik, playing around with his umbrella.  Nope, he's not superstitious.  

 Nik very proud that he is turning 9 years old.  He requested marbled cake with chocolate icing.  Got just what he wanted. 

 Nik, blowing out the candles while the others wait to dig into some cake.

Our resident handyman is already at work fixing one of the race track cars that broke.  He's trying to bypass one of the switches so you don't have to shake them.  Smart kid.  Okay, young man.  For at 16yo, you can't ever call them kids.

Nik, really enjoying his race track.  He LOVES it!  Nik also has a neighbor of mine tomorrow taking him out to celebrate his birthday.  She's treating him to ice cream.  He literally has counted down the days to it.  Love that we have such wonderful neighbors here who help out and treat our kids wonderfully.  Means a lot to us and the kids.  Nik had a wonderful birthday.  He is also going to the movies with a friend one day.  We just have to find a day that their schedules work out together.  My "baby" boy is 9 years old now.  He is our last little boy.  Wish he could stay young forever but also wonderful to see how they grow and what their interests become. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nik's birthday-- family party (part I)

For each kid, we celebrate their birthday as a family on their birthday.  Usually, with a meal at home and a cake of their choosing.  Afterward, they open up what we gave them for a gift. 

Nik, helping make the tacos for dinner that night.  He loves to help in the kitchen.  

Nik, getting his cake out of the fridge.  Sure way to know you have a big family?  Well, besides the two fridges we have in the kitchen, maybe it is the 7 dozen eggs we have in the fridge.  

Nik, very proud to turn 9 years old.  Oh, and to be eating chocolate cake!


Nik's bag waiting for him.  No, he didn't realize it was a Christmas bag.  Hey, we go with the flow here.  Out of bags, get a gift bag that you do have on hand. 

 Do you think he's excited to tear into this bag?  Yep, sure is!

This is not just any umbrella folks, this is a Diego umbrella!  He LOVES Diego.  

 Dad, dumping out the rest of the bag to make sure there's no more inside.

Nik, very pleased to show off his loot.  He got a race track where you shake up the cars to make them go.  He also got an umbrella and a magnifying glass.  First day I couldn't find him, he was outside in the front yard burning a leaf w/ a magnifying glass he received for his birthday.  Typical boy through and through.  Seeing if the sun can indeed make fire with the magnifying glass.  Yes, yes it can son.  Nik loved what he got from us and you'll be able to see more on the next post.  We also gave him money to spend at Walmart.  He bought a bow and arrow (told you my kids live for the outdoor stuff) and a beyblade that lights up.  Nik seem to have fun with his family that evening and enjoyed his birthday very much.  The teens' friends even called to wish him a Happy Birthday which I thought was really sweet of them to do.  My neighbor is taking Nik out this Saturday for a birthday ice cream.  More to come on his birthday.  Just need to get other stuff done today & this is post # 3 for today.  Just had to share.  He is just so happy. 

Teaching money to FAS kids

This is always a tough one.  Time and money.  Something that FAS children have a very hard time grasping.  No matter how many times you do it, the concept seems to elude them.  Many parents of FAS children have this issue.  We gave up on time.  Well, for the most part.  See, one day it hit me like a ton of bricks in the doc's office.  Doc asked how Irina was doing.  I said fine but she can't seem to learn time.  Explained to her.  I then said "I want her to learn how to tell time on an analog clock."  Neuro said " but Stephanie, you said I want."  It is not about what you want or even what Irina wants but what she needs.  Can she tell basic time?  I said yes.  Can she read a digital clock?  yes.  She said everything is digital now.  Microwaves, cell phones, wrist watches.  As long as she knows she has to be at a job at X:XX, then, it's alright.  She can look at the digital clock and do just fine. 

From that point on, I looked at what Irina learned differently.  Was it a life skill necessary and how deep are we willing to go.  Is it worth the chaos and frustration this may cause my child?  If the  answer was no, we just didn't do it.  That is the approach I take now.  Right now, we are working on money w/ the homeschoolers.  It is evident, NONE of my kids understand money.  Bojan and Yana seem to understand the most but even they need help from time to time.  Shoot, I know some adults who need help w/ money.  LOL.  Just look at all the shows dedicated to debt or saving money or such.  Plenty.

Anyhow, the homeschoolers are learning money.  Alex has a fairly good concept of what the coins are and how much they're worth.  He has no idea how money works, or how to make change or things of that nature.  That was evident Walmart when he handed over all his money to the cashier instead of what she needed.  Alyona has no idea.  Not even the value of the penny.  "Little #1" knows some values.(he's only 3 btw)  Nik knows some but not all as well.  So, today I got out some money.

First, I handed out everyone money.  Play money of course.  Though Nik had a VERY hard time understanding that he could not spend this money.  He kept signing Walmart.  And yes, one of the "littles" was here so he too participated.

We then went over every denomination of currency.  We explained how each country has their own kind of money.  This is only good in the United States.  Trust me, you need to explain this one.  I explained why people mainly carry around dollars versus all those coins. 

They each got a bag and put their name on it.  They were to go "shopping" in the house.  Since FAS kids are literal (& little ones for that matter), I had to explain that you can NOT keep what you pick up.  They were to get 3 items and bring it back to the store 

 Not sure why Alyona has a sour puss face on.  That watermelon is delicious btw.

They returned and all picked out stuffed animals.  Alex also picked out a hat.  I made up values and they had to hand me the money.  All did fairly well for the most part.  I stuck w/ easy numbers and will increase in difficulty over the next few days.  Kids with FASD need to have something tangible and visible to be able to grasp a concept.  It helps immensely to do hands on learning with them.  I told them once we get this concept, we're going to Dollar General for a candy bar.  They have to pay for it.  Real money of course.  In addition, they have to give the right amount of money.  They are excited and ready to do this.  I do think they'll be able to get the basics.  Probably not Alyona but the others yes.  And even Alyona I think can get maybe some dollars and quarters.  We'll get there.  I can say from experience it is vital you teach them young and keep teaching them money.  Explain that the debit card is NOT an endless supply of money & that it is not a credit card.  If you have children with FASD, when they become teens, cosign everything for sure.  Gives them practice w/out running into trouble.  Max wanted a computer and saved for it.  He earned it.  That is one thing I want my kids to know... that you must earn money.  It is not free.  Teaching the concept of money to kids with FASD is a learning experience for all involved.  My most difficult one has been Alex.  He so desperately wants a card like Max w/ his picture on it.  He will not get one till he is in his mid-teens for sure.  In addition, he doesn't understand how it works at all yet.  I'm working on that part though for sure.  He was distraught one day in Walmart b/c we wouldn't let him buy the gift card.  He didn't understand how all that worked.  Slowly, we're getting there.  Do things in bits and pieces when you are teaching money.  Hands on is best for sure.  My goal is for my kids to be able to go to a store, purchase something and know what money to hand over.  Wish me luck.  LOL.

Teen Updates

I don't know what it is this year, but I think we are finally, finally, headed in the right direction.  Finally.  As you all are aware, I have 3 teenagers in this house.  Yes, I do want to scream sometimes as we all know how trying the teen years can be.  Guess I should tell you a little of where we are now.

Irina.  Irina begged us to homeschool her last year.  Her year was nothing short of horrific at her previous school.  Not exaggerating and won't get into everything.  Put it this way, I gave fair warning at the new school if anything happened like it did at the old school, I would be pressing charges.  It is not a joke.  Irina is our first and also has disabilities.  We've never focused on them but apparently when they get to high school, others do.  Now though, Irina is in a new school, Cleveland High School.  She feels safe.  There aren't nearly as many fights as the previous school.  people don't mistreat her here.  In the beginning we had a little rough patch but the teachers at this school are involved and on top of things.  Irina can talk to peers at this school.  The atmosphere in general is better.  The staff is on top of things if an issue arises.  Since Irina is more comfortable at school, she has a better demeanor about her.  Irina is involved with the church youth group which I do believe has made her feel one like her peers versus being different.  I think the only issue we have right now is the fact that everyone at school says you're 18, you can do what you want now.  Umm, no.  Not as long as you're living in this house.  You must go by these rules.  Bottom line.  She is trying to understand parents telling her one thing and peers telling her another.  Yes, I know this is normal teen stuff but the way Irina handles it is not.  Again, it's a balancing act for us as parents.  Irina is very excited about her new siblings and I truly think that will help her.  She is also excited about getting a job soon.  She has also vowed to lose weight so I want her & I to do it together.  Overall, not bad compared to where she was last year at school.  She is also doing a cooking club. 

Max-- Max is doing okay, I must admit.  Finally, some of that attitude is peeling off.  those with teens know exactly what I mean by that.  LOL.  Max is still heavily into art.  He is also taking a weight lifting course which he loves.  He still struggles greatly at math.  They are doing everything they can to get him to pass it but that somewhat burns me up b/c he still doesn't understand it.  Sending him the wrong message and I disagree w/ that.  Not everyone can be good at everything.  People will fail.  How many times did Thomas Edison fail before inventing the light bulb?  Wasn't it around 3 thousand times?  Anyhow, I don't like schools passing people for #'s.  I want my kids to understand the concept.  The school & us obviously disagree on this issue greatly.  Glad they want him to pass math but I want him to understand it.  Yes, there is a difference.  Anyhow, besides that though, he is doing fine.  Max is involved in youth group and some side jobs here and there.  Works well for him.  He is really wanting his own room.  Working on a solution to that.  Though, he doesn't mind sharing w/ Bojan.  Those two are still super close brothers.  They have each other in stitches some times laughing so hard.  Afraid their new brother may think something is wrong with them.  LOL.  Max is a good kid.  He's a 16yo young man and doing just fine.  For now, no worries about Max.  However, with teens, that can change over night.  Health wise, excellent shape. 

Yana-- Yana is doing way better than expected.  Her transition into high school has been an easy one for her and happy that it has turned out this way.  It has been a rough few years and I'm here to share that RADishes DO heal.  Takes tons of time though and patience and love.  And did I mention patience?  I know not all kids w/ RAD can do this but I wanted to share that some indeed can over come the tremendous background to a fresh start.  This seems to be her year to shine.  Her year of a fresh start.  She is also 16yo so I too know this can change over night.  For now though, we are enjoying many great successes w/ Yana this year.  Her running cross country has been great for her.  She really does enjoy to run.  Health wise, she is in excellent shape.  She still gets migraines but they seem more controlled than they used to be.  Her grades are excellent.  A's & B's.  This was a child that was thought to never be able to catch up with her peers.  She is out of the special ed setting and in regular classes succeeding.  It CAN happen.  I know many other adoptive families read this and just wanted to give hope.  We are extremely proud of how far Yana has come.  Now, she is just a normal teenager driving her parents crazy about wanting to drive. 

All three teens overall are doing really well all things considering.  They have all made really good grades.  Well, except for one math class.  All teens are doing youth group at church.  They are also doing clubs.  All are interested in getting a job.  The reason we're holding back is we don't want too much on them too soon.  In addition, with the price of gas & me driving back & forth w/ them to a job, it would not pay at all.  Especially, in that van.  The gas guzzler.  Well, the kids have named nicknamed it the 'bird turd.'  They say b/c it looks like white bird poop.  Yeh, I'm not for that nickname either.  Anyhow, gas guzzling does not help wanting them to find a job just yet.  It will have to be soon though as they need the experience. 

I must say, I've heard some of my friends talk about what they go through with their teenagers.  I can honestly say I'm glad it's not me.  Yes, we've had some patches but overall, these are great kids, with goals, with motivation, with a future, and with tons of potential.  They are 16, 16 & 18 right now.  I've read the statistics on FASD.  I don't ignore it but use it as a learning tool, a guide of sorts.  Yes, kids are going to make mistakes.  Mine have.  But they have learned a lot over the years and I do believe will do just fine as adults.  It will take a lot of work on our part as parents but I believe that is true of all parents.  I type this all and hope they just don't go out and do anything stupid in the next week.  LOL.  I think I have the right to be proud.  I can not wait to see what awaits them the next few years.  Irina only has this year and next & then she will be out in the work force.  More on that soon too. 

Just thought it was time for a teen update.  Hadn't done one in ages.  I am very lucky to be their mom.  They have come so far over the past few years and surpasses many "professional" expectations.  I am cautiously optimistic at this point.  Yes, still worry about them being on their own in the future but every single parent does.  There's one thing we've always said to all our are no different than anybody else.  We expect them to have goals and to achieve them.  We expect them to be productive members of society.  We expect them to be good citizens.  I think they are on the right path.  Doesn't mean I can relax though.  Shoot, I'll have two more teens this coming year!  To all those parents who've recently come home with your kids and are wondering "how in the world?  How will they survive?  How will we survive?  Can they ever go to school?  Can they ever get a job?  And many more questions."  Stop stressing over it.  Stop thinking about it.  Just parent the kids for who they are. Trust me, I'd NEVER thought we'd be where we are a few years ago.  But the kids have grown into what I believe to be wonderful young women and a young man.  Can't wait to see what the future holds for them all. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick updates

On the home front-- still waiting to hear back from contractors we had out here weeks ago.  Again, we don't even know this is a probability or not till the estimates come in.  Time will tell.  If we are unable to do the "big" remodel, we have other options we are looking into.  Turning the garage into a bedroom would be the main thing.  Garage is a finished garage.  Just need to float a floor.  Windows are new so no worries there.  By doing this, we could allow Bojan & Max to have their own big room and the younger boys share the big room upstairs.  Keep in mind, the bonus room IS indeed big enough to house the 5 boys.  Just we know when boys get older, they want their own space and not sharing w/ little brothers so much.

Adoption front-- Court is October 14th!  Next week.  Can hardly believe it myself.  This has been a long time coming w/ LOTS that happened in between.  All stories will be told but will be told in their own time, once the kids are home.  These are our last 3 adoptions.   I do believe it is time to enjoy our family & I truly feel these three complete our family.  Can I say with 110% certainty we'd never do this again?  No.  Because honestly, I thought we were done at 7.  LOL.  For now though, we are all very happy with our family to be and all the kids are SO ready for their new brother & sisters to come home.  Even Irina's Christmas wish is to have the kids home.  I thought that was very sweet of her.  They are all so very ready to have the 3 come home.  Not long now!  We are in the home stretch and SO VERY excited. I will not exhale I don't think until I receive word next Friday.  Praying it is all positive news and praying the judge says YES.  I miss my kids a lot.

After school activities-- Yana's cross country is coming to an end.  After today, only 2 more meets.  Very proud of how far she's come and the commitment she made.  Soccer. We have the rest of October.  The kids have truly enjoyed this program w/ Upwards.  They have really gotten some great skills from it.  The people we've met have been just super nice.  Very fortunate to have gotten to know them all.  Nice when strangers come together.  Warren and I have enjoyed seeing the kids play and score some goals.  They have already asked to play in the spring so that is what we will be doing for sure.  And, adding 3 to that list of players.  We have also been hopping w/ church clubs.  Kids attend a science club and cooking club on Wednesdays.  They love it.  Warren and I were going to do Bible study at the same time but right now our time is really short w/ all we have going on.  Next session though we probably will.

Cars-- Need some work in this department.  Never is good timing, is it?  The van needs 4 new tires.  For those that don't know, these big vans are built on a truck chassie.  They require rather big, expensive tires.  Last time we had to get new tires years ago for our other van, it ran us around $600.  Shopping around but will most likely be about the same if not more.  It is what it is.  Warren's car needs some work too. 

Health-- everyone seems to be doing fine.  Minor things like Nik's implant is malfunctioning.  Got to get that.  It's happened for 2 days now & thinking it's a bad switch.  Amazing as parents we can somewhat troubleshoot these devices.  Bojan is still waiting on his new cuff for his leg.  His leg keeps falling off.  Irina is awaiting her blood work.  Her blood pressure was normal at the doc's yesterday.  Figures. We're taking it every night & writing it down.  It is high.  Being that we don't know her family history, I am concerned.  Doc doesn't seem too concerned but I think that is b/c her bp was normal at the office.  It was not normal at neurology.  They did do a panel yesterday so that may give some insight too.  Just want to make sure Irina is as healthy as she can be.  We have a great doctor though & she knows her stuff.  So, if she is not concerned, I should relax a bit more. 

Much more to come.  Much more happening around here.  Just been hectic lately.  Today we had a dentist appointment.  Got appointment.  I did it again.  I wrote the wrong day down.  So, we go back home, write Yana a note for school & drop her off at school.  Come home, dogs have chewed up the tv remote.  Can't operate the dvd player w/out it.  No repairing it.

This is what was left of our remote.  The blue tape on the bottom is from before. 

Yet another roll of toilet paper victim to the dog.  URGHH!!!  Kota and Digby don't chew up stuff any more.  This is ALL Alaska and she knows it.  We have to find a crate but honestly, it has been low on the priority list.  Looking at airline tickets is enough to tell you a crate will have to wait.

After finding this, we let the dogs outside, and then had lunch here.  Soon after, speech therapist came.  She left after working w/ Nik.  We then did a session on money w/ everyone here.  I have some fake money.  Gave each of them a bag.  More on this later.  For now, just now I'm having a hard time explaining to Nik that this is play money & NOT real money he can go to the store with.  URGHH!!!!  Knew I shouldn't have let him "spend" the Jesus money from church.  More on that later too.  It's called JAM bucks (Jesus & Me).  Anyhow, it's been a long day to say the least on explaining money.  

Then, we I made baked meatballs tonight.  Yum.  Also, made dozen and a half hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  Ate dinner & went to take the kids to the church for the science & cooking clubs.  They love those.  And they learn things too.  Winning combo for sure.  While there, Warren and I went to try to find gifts for the people in Bulgaria for when we go back. It is SO hard b/c you want something special but it can't weigh a lot and can't be certain things b/c of airline regulations.  Found a few things but nothing that really jumps out at us.  Have a few weeks so open to suggestions.  Picked kids up.  Hey, at least they're nice for other people.  Fight as soon as we get in the car.  Asked them what they did in class and things like that.  One question was asked of them is what makes  you unique.  Alex said "my eyes change colors."  Since when?!  Where does he get this stuff from?  Seriously, he's not a chameleon and no, his eyes do NOT change colors.  They've been blue.  Anyhow, we've been busy to say the least.  I have a voc. rehab meeting tomorrow regarding Irina getting a job.  Hoping for a positive experience.  Keep you posted.  

Much more to say but this is already too long.  More to come.  Have a wonderful week.  Stay tuned for some picture updates.  I'm way behind on all these posts.  Hey, like I've said before, blog is last on the list. 

Nik's drawings

Thought it was time for another installment of Nik's drawings.  Especially, after yesterday's drawings.  I forgot to tell you all on here.  Nik's speech therapist always has him draw something related to a word & then they play memory w/ the cards & he has to say the word.  Yesterday we were laughing.  Why?  you ask.  She said "I swear, I didn't possibly think there was anything weird or harmful he could make out of the word 'up.'"  Think again folks.  He drew someone being shot up & a volcano!  fire and all.  Nice one kid.  He also drew a seen for the word pop.  Let's just say it involved the police.  LOL.  So, w/ all his lovely drawings going on, I decided to show you a few that shows he is somewhat normal w/ his drawings and not Stephen King like all the time.

 Look!  do you see it?!  There are actually hearts and stuffed animals here.  And flowers.  He drew flowers.  There is no one being handcuffed, no fire, no death.

I'm not sure what all this is.  I do know the dog on the left is Alaska b/c he told me.  Tons of flowers.  There is a stove in the background w/ pictures of people.  Nice people.  No angry faces.  I love it!  

This is the orphanage.  It is.  It is a combo of the orphanage tables w/ the cribs in the background.  He got the photo album out from Murmansk and was trying to copy some of it.  I really thought it was sweet of him to do.  

This is from our trip to Knoebels this past summer.  Not sure why there is a race car on the rug but oh well.  Rollercoaster in the background.  

See, he can draw normal things!  Nik has a very creative mind.  Nice though to see the loving side come out every once in awhile.  Can't wait to show him all these things when he's older.  Many more posts to come.  Right now though, need to go make rice.  Baked meatballs are in the oven & it smells delicious.  Science & cooking club for all the kids this evening at 6:30pm.  Hope everyone is having a nice Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The list is long

It's been so busy that I didn't even get to do a manic Monday post.  Just a super busy week in store this week.  We had a good weekend.  Yesterday was Monday. Don't even remember what we did.  Today, Irina had a checkup.  Took awhile.  Kids were great.  Doc said how'd you get them all to be so quiet and well behaved.  I was honest.  Told her I said if they were too loud, they were getting shots.  Hey, call it mean if you want but they were the BEST kids in the waiting room.(though I think they knew I was kidding)  Our appointment was for 12:30.  Place is literally around the corner from our house...about 4 miles.  We got home at 2:00pm.  Speech therapist was waiting in our driveway.  She knows us well.  "Littles" were here today as well.  Homeschoolers were working on workbooks today.  I worked w/ Nik for a l-o-n-g time on phonics.  And vocabulary.  Picked Yana up from cross country.  Alex had soccer practice.  Boys are still not settled down and it's almost 10pm.  URGHH!!! 

Working on plans for the week.  Nik's implant seems to be malfunctioning.  Bojan's part is still not in for his leg so it keeps falling off.  Yana and Alyona go to the dentist tomorrow.  Yana for a spacer & not sure what Alyona is going in for.  CAn't remember.  We also have science and cooking clubs tomorrow evening at church.  Kids love it.  They are shooting rockets tomorrow.

More going on this week for sure.  And, let's not forget that court is in 10 days!!!  I can not wait for our kids to legally be declared ours.  To find out when we actually get to go bring them home for good.  So many plans to make.  Spoke w/ doc today about a few things.  My dream is to have them home for Thanksgiving.  However, I know full well this is not my decision to make.  We go with the flow.  Still, doesn't stop me from dreaming.  And, w/ court being on the 14th, it is totally a feasible dream.  Most have been telling me travel is usually 2 to 4 weeks after court.  Hoping that pans out for us.  So ready for them to experience many firsts.  And for me, Thanksgiving is such a fun time of year.  Just would love for them to experience that with us.  Time will tell.

Much, much more going on but I need to get caught up with a few other things.  The weather has been just beautiful here.  We are looking forward to a great field trip Friday w/ the homeschoolers.  Warren took off work, I have no "littles" here and we are taking a trip to a very nice pumpkin patch w/ other activities there.  Supposed to be gorgeous weather.  Can't wait.  More pictures to come for sure.  No new docs needed for the adoption so we are full force ahead.  October 14th is THE day we've been waiting for.  Court.  The day that God willing, the kids become officially part of the Boyd Bunch.  Though, in our eyes, they already are.  Hate to cut this short but it really is piling up with stuff to do downstairs.  More to come.  Enjoy the week.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My birthday boy

Well, it is October 3rd.  It is my baby boy's birthday today!  I have so much to say about it all, I'm not sure where to begin.  Nik has been our "baby" for a few years now.  His spoiled personality is a result of that babying.   We have always seen him as the youngest b/c he was.  We've seen him as a baby all these years b/c to us, he was the baby of the family.  Soon, (in 11 days), that title will be taken away from him.  However, it could not have come at a better time.  For, I can not treat this big boy as a baby any longer.  Though in my eyes, he'll always, always be my baby boy.

There is no baby in this face whatsoever.  It is crazy to think how fast the years have gone by.  He came home wearing only a size 18 month.  Remember?

Now, you see what my "baby" boy used to look like.  When we got him, he barely fit into a size 18 month clothes at 4 years old.  Got to love those pink tights he's sporting.  What style.  

Nik was willing to try anything.  So tiny.  My hand practically covered his entire chest.  Such a tiny little thing to me.  He was a baby in every single way.

Now though, now, today we have our 9 year old big boy on our hands.  He has matured in so many ways.  Nik loves to hear things now.  Always neat to watch his expressions when he hears something new for the first time.  He can keep up with all his big brothers.  Loves to draw.  Absolutely loves the outdoors.  He's our bug collector.  Nik is sneaky.  Has a gigantic sweet tooth.  Has no sense of fashion.  Typical boy there.  Is our daredevil.  Is my cuddle bug.  Nik is a very happy little boy.  We love him to pieces and can't believe he's turning 9 today.  We will celebrate today by just having us give him a birthday cake after dinner and singing to him.  Told him he could have his friend spend the night one night & we'd take them to the movies together. He was very excited about that idea.  My little guy is growing up little by little.  Nik never ceases to amaze us.  Happy 9th Birthday Nik.  We love you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Yardsales rock!

Some people may turn their heads up at this idea but not us.  We love yardsales around this area for sure.  Today, the girls and I went to yardsales this morning.  Well, Yana told me she wanted to go.  Tried to wake her up...twice.  She mumbled no, she did not want to go.  When we got home she asked why we didn't take her.  Can't win.  Told her next time I'll just physically pull her out of bed to wake her. 

Now, at first we almost turned home.  First two were just mostly piles of junk.  But, we kept going and sure glad we did.  Oh my oh my we had fun.  We ended up with a van FULL of items from yardsales.  Too many to go to.  In addition, we had to be back in time to bake the pie and go to soccer games.  But, we used our time wisely and made out like bandits.  Got the boys new winter coats for $2 a piece.  NEW!  "Little bit" got some boots.  Too cute.  The kids really love the baseball bean bag chair & it doesn't have those beans in it.  I got on it and seriously did not want to get up.  It's like one of those memory form ones.  Love it.  Got 3 bike helmets.  Hit one place that apparently had a clothing business that went out.  NEW kids' clothing for $1 a piece!  Yep, a $1.  Scooped up some there.  Irina got a really nice aquarium for $10.  Saw it on Amazon.  List price was $225 and then it was going for $172.  We got it for $10.  Came w/ everything including all the food.  Looks like they hadn't even tried to set it up.  Got Nik a race track and Diego umbrella for his b-day.  He will be thrilled.  Also giving him money.  The race track though will be a total surprise and I know he'll love it.  There really were too many items to name.  So many new items too.  I was just shocked at it all.  So were the kids. 

Came back home and dumped it all out of the van.  Made the pie and got breakfast done.  Off to soccer it was.  Great games and more on all that tomorrow.  Must get to bed and then up for church tomorrow.  Wish we could go on a hike instead.  Does that sound awful?  Like church, don't get me wrong but it is just SO beautiful outside it is a fantastic day for a family hike.  Maybe next weekend.  Anyhow, just had to share some of our yardsale finds.  What we've noticed lately is there are more and more teens shopping at yardsales.  I even see couples going!  Interesting for sure.  Girls and I have fun, wonderful deals and something to do.  Not for everyone but we sure enjoy it when we can.  More on our day tomorrow.  Was a great day.