Saturday, November 5, 2011

Support from others-- angels among us

November is adoption awareness month as most of you know by now.  I figured throughout the month, when I'm not traveling, I'll take bits & pieces of adoption and explain what it means or how it effects an adopting family. Today, I want to talk about support.  Support is something that is pretty vital during the rigorous adoption process.  Support can come in many forms and from many different sources.  One thing that is very important is emotional support.  Our journey has been a very long one, longer than any of our other adoptions, and a very difficult one at that.  We could not have gotten where we are today without the support from friends and our church.  Our church was always there to offer up prayers through our tough times and always there to ask if there was anything they could do.  Even got an email a minute ago from a lady at church asking if there was anything she needed to do for the kids while they were at Pilgrimage while we were in Bulgaria.  Many have called or emailed us offering support throughout our process.  We've had friends and neighbors offer words of encouragement.  Many offer to check in on the kids while we're gone.  It's the little things that matter during these long adoption journeys.  They are emotional. 

Having the emotional and spiritual support from others means a lot during this process. Some are dealing with such crazy issues that they're not allowed to say publicly yet.  Some are dealing with family issues against adopting that they don't want to share.  Some have found out devastating news about their child a half a world away. These are all things that are going on with folks right now.  These are all helped by encouraging words, or offers to help, or prayers.  It means everything to an adoptive family to have support from others.  It helps them survive this crazy process.  So if you know an adoptive family, drop them an encouraging letter in the mail.  Say a prayer for them.  Offer to watch their kids.  Call up to chat.  Anything helps.  It may seem little to you, but I guarantee it means the world to that family.  you don't know how many times I wanted to cry this past year.  Yet, always lifted up by someone.  Someone was always there.  There are indeed angels among us.  Angels Among Us  Love that song.  It's true though.  When we least expect it.  Every time during this process during our deepest darkest times, there was always someone there for us.  Encouraging words, monetary donations, a card from a stranger, offers to help, etc.  You name it.  This process teaches adoptive parents so, so much.  Only fitting we're leaving during Adoption Awareness Month.  Only fitting it's Thanksgiving this month.  So, so much to be thankful for.  I have met remarkable people along this journey.  Strangers in cyber space become more like family.  You end up meeting many in person.  It's an honor for me to meet them.  It really is. 

Another thing that helps adoptive families is financial support.  It can mean the difference for life or death of a child.  I'm not saying that mildly either.  Due to a financial gift, we are able to take extra suitcases which in turns means donations can make it to the orphanages.  It MAKES a difference.  It does.  Some say oh, $5 or $10 won't matter.  I beg to differ.  Right now, we need just a bit more.  Think, if the people who visited this blog gave just $5, we'd have what we'd need.  Adoptive families typically can not do adoptions all on their own any more.  Rules have changed in the financial arena.  I've been adopting for 12 years now.  It is WAY different than it used to be.  For 7 of our adoptions, we did it all alone financially (other than orphanage donations).  This time, we've needed to fundraise a bit and donations have helped immensely.  Still, we are short and have 3 days left.  We think we may have it but too close to call.  So, if you ever think that $5 or $10 won't matter, it does indeed matter.  Think of how many bought Halloween candy they didn't use.  That one bag could easily help a child get home.  Hey, at $9 a bag, it would have helped.  How many coffees were bought today.  Or a fast food lunch.  Yes, do these things for sure.  Not saying don't.  I'm just saying take ONE lunch and donate it to a family.  Just ONE lunch to someone making the difference in the life of a child.  ONE lunch ONE time.  That's it.  That's all it takes. 

I have seen families do some incredible things for each other in the adoption world.  I've seen families states away do adoption fundraisers for their siblings or help sell items in an Etsy shop to raise money for adoptions.  We had a friend have a yard sale for us & donate their proceeds to OUR adoption!  Folks, they are adopting too!  how incredibly self-less is that?  If that isn't support, I don't know what is.  I was blown away by that gesture.  Still tear up thinking about it.  You have adoptive families traveling w/ other adoptive families for support so that their husbands can stay home w/ the children.  I have seen grandparents go on these adoption journeys w/ their children to meet their grandchildren for the first time.  How awesome is that?!  Can you imagine meeting your grandchild for the first time?  So many ways to offer support.  Please, if you know of an adoptive family, say a kind word.  Give them a phone call to check in on them.  Let them know they are loved.  It truly means a lot to the adoptive family.  It means you care.  Think of the pregnancy process.  Family & friends always checking in to see how they are doing.  How's the baby?  How are you?  Is it growing?  What are you having?  What can I do to help?  Do you need a baby shower?  I remember my work had a baby shower for me when we first adopted w/ Irina & Max.  It was amazing the clothes we got for the kids, the toys, and even a swing set.  Since we were new parents, we didn't have any of that stuff.  It was just great support.  I've seen amazing things that people can do for others.  I have seen angels among us.  Be an angel to an adoptive family.  It WILL make a difference. 

I have so much more to say but honestly, have a lot to do even w/ the time change.  List is still long and has to be done.  Hey, at least we have food again and not just relish and yogurt.  LOL.  I have more to share.  Just wanted folks reading this to know it means the world to an adoptive family to know you support them on this journey.  Even if you can't adopt, you can indeed make a difference in the life of a child.  Go on, write that note to someone adopting, make a donation, call up a friend you know adopting, take them to lunch to just talk, help them shop for that special outfit that takes their child out of the orphanage forever.  Simply, be their adoption angel.  Trust me, I have not forgotten a one of the people that supported us.  Saved all the cards.  Everything.  I want my kids to know when they are older just how many people loved them home. 

T- 3 days & counting!

I can't believe we're this close & it's actually happening.  We are actually leaving in 3 days.  Today, we did some running around.  I decided to let Warren to cut my bangs/ trim my ends in order to save money.  We're short funds so every little bit helps.  He cuts the boys' hair just fine.  He's a barber yes, hairdresser, NO.  It did not turn out pretty.  LOL.  I said cut to my eyebrows.  I think we both must have a different definition of the term eyebrows.  It's only hair.  Yes, I keep telling myself that.  He only trimmed a little off the back & I told him to stop & not worry about it.  I'll get it cut when we get home if I can.  Just wanted to explain the hair up to the middle of my forehead in future pictures.  But, my hair grows fast so here's hoping it grows in the next 3 days. 

After the haircut, we went to pick up all the pie fillings to distribute before our trip.  I wanted folks to have them before Thanksgiving.  Despite us having a lot to do, this needs to be done as others are waiting on this.  Can't wait till they cook a pie for themselves.  This filling is delicious!  It truly is.  A big thank you to Tracy Rafferty for allowing us to do this fundraiser and make all that filling!  It is very appreciated and such good food. I can hardly wait to make the pies for Thanksgiving.

Next, we went to Sam's.  You can really tell food costs have gone up.  We did score some leftover Halloween fruit snacks for half price though.  Love end of season for food items.  Got what we needed for when we'll be gone.  Only bought for the time we'll be gone since last time my children ate A LOT more than they were supposed to.  Keep in mind, FASD kids have poor judgment & lack of impulse control.  We constantly have to stay on them during the week about their food consumption or they would literally eat non-stop.  The other day I was too busy w/ things.  During that time from when Max came home from school till I could recognize the food issue, he'd consumed 5 tomato sandwiches, leftovers in the fridge & I believe 2 apples as well.  Now, Max is a growing boy/ young man & not an ounce of fat on him.  Still, doesn't need to eat us out of house & home.  Remember, my kids don't have an "off" switch & that goes for many areas of their lives.  So, planned accordingly.  They get snacks and things it's just the 5 sandwiches bit w/ Max & Bojan (those 2 are the main culprits) has got to stop. 

Then we went to Petsmart.  Long time ago, girls & I went to yardsales and ended up getting Irina a very, very nice aquarium for $10.  Included everything w/ it, even the food.  Promised her we'd get fish.  Just hasn't been on the priority list lately.  Today, I said we're passing Petsmart, we're stopping.  Got her some goldfish.  It's what kind she wanted so we went with it.  They are in her tank now & Irina couldn't be happier.  She's very responsible when caring for pets or plants.  Let's just say we had forgotten the boys had a fish awhile back.  The water looked like mud.  Horrifying.  Animal cruelty imo.  LOL.  Yet, the beta survived in that muck & we then transferred it to Yana's room who took care of it just fine.  I gave the boys a plant & let them try their hand at that.  Nope. I swear the boys could kill a corpse again.  Just ridiculous.  No pets for the boys...for a long time. 

Came home & did a suitcase check.  Trying to determine whether to take 3 or 4 w/ the logistics of the kids.  Know Logan can take one but also know the logistics of all this w/ kids.  It's a sight w/ tired kids & parents and piles of luggage going through airports.  I want to be able to take ALL the donations but at this point still not sure it's possible.  I'm trying very hard though.  I know I can get all the older kids' orphanage donations in.  But the expense of extra luggage & such is a tough call.  It's beyond tight w/ the funds right now as you can imagine.  Going to figure the luggage thing out by tomorrow.  Hoping to take four suitcases & all donations but we haven't even packed for Warren & I yet.  Slowly but surely it will all come together.  It will. 

All else is going alright.  As best as can be expected.  Remember when I said it was all going great w/ all the kids & I was surprised that nothing was surfacing?  Yeh, those days are gone.  Kids are all antsy now, nervous, PTSD is starting up in some, not going to bed till after 11, etc.  For those new to adoption, this is not uncommon to happen to kids who've been through traumatic events or changes before.  It takes calming, reassurance, & patience to work through some of the changes that are to come.  This is why Warren and I need prayers for strength, guidance and peace during this transition time for our kids.  These are huge changes for them.  They know it.  No matter how many times they go through it, it is still tough.  Wasn't so bad in June when we went on the first trip b/c they had just gotten out of school, had the pool to distract them, knew we were not bringing the kids home, etc.  This time, they know there are major changes ahead for the entire family.  For those that don't know, children affected by FASD do not do that great with transitions.  Changes can throw them off.  Add to this not only the adoption but the upcoming Holiday season and you have an interesting set up.  Warren and I are fully capable of handling this for sure.  Especially now since we have the church that has offered to help in numerous ways.  Still, that doesn't make what is about to happen to this family any easier.  It is just something we'll have to work through together just as we have done with all our other adoptions in the past.  Praying the transition with these 3 go as easy as it did w/ Alyona & Nik.  Won't know till we get home & I think the uncertainty is what gets to everyone. 

Otherwise, all is okay for now.  We're getting ready to have pork chops on the grill w/ some stuffing and green beans.  Simple dinner but good.  Then, I think all of us will watch a movie together.  Kids cleaned the whole house while we were gone today & were so proud.  They did an awesome job!  I mean super cleaned it.  Could not believe it when I got home.  Bojan & Alyona's alterior motive was they wanted to be ungrounded.  LOL.  Alyona was grounded yesterday.  She cheated.  Yes, in homeschool.  URGHH!!!  I had forgotten to tear out one of the answer keys.  Umm, if you answer w/  "answers may vary," chances are mom will know you copied it.  I get so aggravated b/c I KNOW she is capable of doing more.  See, with being in special education classes all these years, I saw a lot of "spoon feeding" going on in terms of learning.  I want her to know she has a mind and she can use it.  They'd give her answers and that just is not helping anyone learn.  It's really not.  She doesn't know a definition, I make her look it up.  She tells me I never had to do that at school.  They told me the answer.   You're mean mom.  You know what?  She CAN find the answer in the dictionary and only needed my help twice w/ it.  Not bad, huh?  With all the modifications given to her in school, it took away her learning abilities I think.  She looks for an easy way out now.  I don't give it to her.  Yes, I know she is mentally challenged.  However, I also have seen her learn and do it if she has no choice but to do it on her own.  And she is SO much prouder and confident after she completes it on her own.  I've been teaching her on her grade level.  Reason they'd have to practically spoon feed her at school is teachers MUST teach on grade level according to the state & federal regs.  So, even though she couldn't even read, last year they had her working on 4th grade things that she clearly had no idea what they were.  Words IEP meant nothing to me.  Not individual unless you talk about modifications.  Teach them on their level.  Alyona is happier learning on her level.  We're keeping things simple.  Yet, if I know she's just being lazy, I don't tolerate it.  I told her this past week if you can't tell me the four major oceans by tomorrow, you'll write them 100 times.  Oh, she was bawling.  Now, some of you may say that's mean, she has FAS, she can't remember stuff.  Really?  You can follow a movie plot & remember, you can learn.  BTW, she named those 4 oceans just fine.  I'm working w/ her on the continents next.  Alyona partially needs confidence back that she can do stuff.  I'm trying to do that but in the same time let her know she's not allowed to get away w/ stuff and mom is not giving you the answers.  She tells me over and over they did it all together last year so they didn't need the answers.  We see where that got her.  Again, I liked her teacher.  However, the regulations put in place that she has to follow makes it near impossible to teach children like our Alyona.  I know she will never be on grade level.  That is okay.  I just want her to reach her potential but also don't want to put limits on it.  Hope that made sense.  Geez, I got sidetracked.  Lots on my mind besides this trip.  That's life though.  Always something going on.  More to come.  We haven't lost our minds yet!  Ready to go. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random pictures

Found pictures here and there and thought I'd share a few. 


Did we ever tell you Alaska is a people dog?  She always is hanging around people.  As you can see, we have all gotten used to her.  Wonder what the new kids will think of a dog around their neck while they put on shoes.  Yana is okay with it.  The worst part is when she tries to nip at your neck for you to pet her.


 During our hike they found a tree that looked like a chair.  All tested it out.


Even Max, the oldest boy in the bunch.  Can't really say boy at 16yo, can I?


 And this would be another reason we can't sell our home & decided to stay.  Kids do way too much damage on any given day.  Hinges ripped right off.  If we have time, we'll fix this weekend.  Yeh, doubting that will be fixed any time soon. 


Yes, that's my girlie girl in the pink sweat pants on the field.  This was one of their last games.  She really loved Upwards and we can't wait for them all to play this spring as well.  

Just some random pictures here and there.  Have to go work w/ the kids some.  Dreary day so it is a work all day kind of day.  Plus, making up for lost time as well.  Have a few other posts in the works.  Start and stop.  Hey, you go with the flow here and during the day, it's homeschooling first. 

Tidbits

Goodness, what a week.  You'd think after doing this so many times, we'd be better ept.  Ummm, NOPE!  I just finished putting Summer & Reni's clothes in a suitcase.  One suitcase.  They have to have a jacket.  Takes up serious space.  Shoes, more space.  This is just one suitcase.  Going to work on Logan's next.  I don't have all his clothes though yet so need to figure it out.  And how on earth am I going to guess the shoe size?  Seriously.  They sent me measurements but I don't think they're right.  Based on seeing him this summer.  Smaller than Nik yet feet as big as Max?  Doesn't fit.  Worst case would be buy him shoes there.  You do what you have to.  Then, Warren & I.  Don't be surprised if you see all of us in many, many of the same outfits in photos yet on different days.  LOL.  It's just the way it is.  We'll be in an apartment so we can wash clothes.  I'm trying to pack 5 outfits for each & then we'll wash mid-week.

Totally forgot today was the deadline for kids' tickets till just now.  Phew.  Close one.  Yes, they have a 24 hour # but much easier to get a hold of someone now.  Tickets for everyone on this trip going & coming are indeed officially booked!  We are chipping away at things for sure.  Just really hard to keep it all straight at the moment.

Went to the bank today.  Nothing exciting.  Dropped off the van b/c it wasn't fixed right the first time when they put the new tires on it.  while there, it's getting an oil change.  Special for $19.99.  BTW, a $19.99 advertised oil change costs you...$25.  Disposal fee?  Really?  Isn't that part of the oil change?  Came home and got some school work done w/ the kids.  Even the "little."  Hey, I need practice right?  Warren has been trying to get things together for him being gone from work for awhile.  In addition, adding kids to our insurance and putting in his time off for adoption leave.  We need this very much.  2 weeks of it will be used up for while we're gone.  Other week we get home is packed full w/ specialist appointments.  Full.  Busy.  We still have not really thought much of Thanksgiving.  Shoot, it's only 6 days after we get home.  And those days home are spent at doctor offices.  Maybe I should get a turkey now.  Who knows.  Least of my worries.  Most likely it's just going to be us for Thanksgiving.  And that is fantastic.  Looking forward to it for sure.  Love having company but believe that everyone is doing something else this year.

We must go grocery shopping.  I think if they eat one more package of Ramen Noodles, we may have mutiny on our hands.  We have seriously been too busy to go to the store.  It's crazy.  See, we typically do our Sam's shopping the last day of the month or so.  When you look in the fridge & see yogurt, a few eggs, dill relish & dressing, you realize you have to get to the store.  LOL. Thankfully, the kids have been understanding.  And, we seem to be cleaning out that pantry.  Restocking this weekend of course.  Did a quick run Wednesday just to at least get breakfast food for a few days & such.  When you're running around like a chicken w/ your head cut off, you tend to even forget the basics.  See, though we've done this before, this trip is still a little different.  We are bringing three kids home.  Some with issues that are new to us and that we have to prepare for.  Focus has been on making all the preparations for travel & the kids.  So, grocery shopping was an after thought of sorts.  Warren is going to the store this evening.  For cheese so I can make homemade pizzas.  We have veggies left thank goodness. 

Yes, started this yesterday.  It's now Friday.  Kids were up way past 11pm.  I don't know if it's the excitement of all this or what but they are out of whack a bit as well.  We all are.  It's all par for the course.  With four days to go, it's normal for nerves to kick in for everyone.  I think even Digby is feeling it.  He kept climbing into the open suitcase last night refusing to move.  We still have many things on our list to do.  Many. But, it's getting done.  It is now even more evident we will need a bit of help when we get home.  I didn't think we really would but clearly, we will.  Before, many asked us if there was anything they could do to help.  We usually said no.  This time, you offer, we're putting you to work.  LOL.  Seriously though, we've had some wonderful folks at church offer to help w/ various needs when we get back home.  That is a huge blessing.  Huge.  Having meals prepared.  Having people take a child or two out for an outing.  Having prayers.  It is all a very big deal and all a tremendous help.  And for people willing to help out the week of Thanksgiving, that is a very big deal.  Willing to think of others & help our family during this transition time, is just inspiring.  Knowing that people are that generous with their time is reassuring.

Anyhow, need to go.  I will have more later.  Just been busy.  I'm sure you can relate. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video

I do hope this link comes through.  It is a link to a facebook page so who knows. 

Video


It is a wonderful video.  Just one of those ones that is heartwarming and makes you think.  Love the end of it.  This was on the news one night.  Hope it comes through.

Parent lesson learned (part II)

Time to finish this up today.  We left off with things going pretty decent on the hike.  We would stop if they wanted to see something or had questions on what something ones.  A learning experience for all for sure as there are so many opportunities to learn about things out in nature.  But, we still had to keep moving.


Alex, of course, would find things to climb.  He'd convince Nik to join him.


Alyona.  At this point, they were all pretty much still happy with the hike.  Then, things started to get ugly.  About mid-way.  Well, how could we tell?


I think this look says it all.  Geez, if looks could kill...  Okay, this is when I think the rebellion took place. LOL.  The whining, the complaining, you name it.  You picked the longest hike mom.  Suddenly, I'm the enemy.  Yes, I thought you could handle a moderate 2.75 hike.  Shoot, you're all young.  What about poor mom?  Yeh, they could careless.  I thought I'd be attacked for the vitamin C drop I found in my pocket.  They were asking if they could drink out of the stream at this point.  No, you can't.  It's not much further.  Yeh, I had no idea.  Why?  Because I'd left the trail map in the car.  Then, we started questioning if we were on the right trail.  


I can only imagine what Irina was thinking.  


This was actually a beautiful place to stop on the water.  Some didn't want to sit down b/c they were afraid they'd never get back up.  I could relate but sat down anyhow.  After this part, I didn't take pictures much b/c no sense in photographing such foul moods and faces.  Though I would have liked to have seen the look when they saw the parking lot.  It was like Christmas to them.


Alyona taking a rest by the water too.


Thought this was cute.  Bojan was holding Alyona's hand & reassuring her.  Really kids, I doubt we'll be lost forever.  Shoot, we're on a bike trail now.  We found a map at one point & decided it best to take the bike trail back the rest of the way.  Little longer but we didn't tell them that till we got in the car.  

Many lessons learned on this trip.  Many.  Still, we did it, had a decent time for half the trip and no one was hurt.  Not a total fail, is it?  Next time, we'll be a little more prepared for sure.  Water at the least.  See, I didn't think we'd be gone long at all.  Wasn't thinking.  Should have known with our bunch it takes at least twice as long.  

I have tons going on.  Will write another blog post later today.  But, school has to be done today.  They are eating lunch now.  We dropped the van off this morning.  They put new tires on it but ever since then the sensors have been on and it shakes badly.  So, took it back.  Trying to get things together.  It is tough.  So much to do & I'm running out of time.  I'm even foregoing things I want to do and at this point it is the what ultimately HAS to be done before we go.  Well, all of it frankly.  Warren and I are feeling the effects of all this now. Hitting us like a ton of bricks.  We'll get through it but just wears you down for sure.  More posts to come later today.  So much to say.  As usual.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Parent lesson learned (part I)

Sunday, we decided we needed to get out of the house & have some family time in nature.  We all love the outdoors, weather was gorgeous, leaves were changing, great day for a hike, right?  Well, we'll just see about that, won't we? 


Ride seems to be starting off well.  Smiles for the most part.  Okay, ignore Alyona in the front sticking her tongue out to those in the back.  We are making them sit in their assigned seats now to get used to it.  Hence, why Alyona has the whole front seat to herself.  That is where her new sisters will sit.  Summer will be in the carseat there in the middle.  


This is the park we decided to go to.  Fairly close and a really nice one.  Many different trails, different levels.  


We were deciding what trail to pick.  They have easy & moderate.  I went w/ moderate b/c seriously didn't think it'd take us that long and that easy may be too easy.  Umm, should have thought a little harder.  LOL.  We picked a trail that was only 2.75 miles long.  Thought that since it is our first hike this fall, we should start light.  Though, there were many trails a lot lighter that we should have maybe gone with.  Live and learn.  Packed no food except bananas which I left in the car.  No drinks b/c wasn't a hot day at all & figured we'd be done fairly quickly.  No gum.  Nothing.  Oh, & we happen to leave the map in the car.  You know, the one w/ the trails on it.  You see where this is headed, right?


They had a cemetery pretty early on in the trail.  We all stopped.  Kids looked at the old dates. One of the ladies' names was Irene which Irina thought was interesting.  They ooh'd at the dates in the 1800's and such.  Just was a very informative and interesting stop for all of us. 


For awhile, we were too spread out.  Had to keep reminding everyone to stick together.  didn't help that they'd all stop at different times to explore things.


Ah, a group shot.  We took three of these.  Unfortunately, this is the best one despite Max's mouth being opened & Nik's eyes closed.  Boy, later we wished we'd of stayed longer on that bench.


Alyona stopping to admire the fungus on the tree.  There were so many things for them to explore.  It really was cool.


 Max, being kind to his brother & carrying him a little ways.  Notice the blue square in the background?  Yeh, that's how the trails are marked.  I was getting aggravated w/ my kids turning the squares into diamonds and vice versa.  Had to stop & check every stupid tree to make sure they weren't causing future hikers stress.  Or us for that matter. 


Bojan, taking a moment to think.  Not sure what he was thinking.  Probably somewhere along the lines of why the heck am I going on this stupid hike.  Or maybe, should I drink this water or not.  Many thoughts Im' sure were spinning in that head of his.  Some were more vocal about it.  

More to come on our epic fail hike.  Maybe not a total failure for we did eventually complete it.  LOL.  Got to go figure out dinner. 

A not so great poem

10 days to go & what's the plan?
Find a sitter & fix the van!

9 days left & what do you know,
The list is long & yet we need to go.

8 days left & we need to pack.
Get the clothes together & no looking back!

7 days to to go, a week that is,
My brain is fried, please don't give me a quiz.

6 days longer that's all we have to complete,
This mission of ours that is oh, so bittersweet.

5 days to go, that isn't that long,
I'll bet you're glad this isn't a song.

4 days till we fly and see our kids,
All while waiting for those house bids.

3 days to prepare and really get ready,
All while keeping the kids at home cool and steady.

2 days away from going to Bulgaria,
I must remember to say ciao and blagodaria.

1 day left before we fly day and night. 
I don't care as the future is now just so bright!

Yeh, that was my poor attempt at a poem.  Just something silly to do to get my mind off it all.  Enjoy it.  Make fun of it. Hey, that's why I did it you know.  Much more to come.  We've been working all morning on homeschool history.  Doing a lap book and a notebook.  Great for visual learners for sure.  All ages. Got to go.  More to come.  Busy.  Very busy.  All but neuro is rescheduled for the new dates.  Week we come home is crazy.  It will be Thanksgiving week and we're so far back to thirteen appointments that week.  Expecting at least 15 that week (3 days as the others are mostly off due to holiday).  I don't even care at the business of it all b/c just so thrilled that all 12 of us will be together for Thanksgiving.  The new kids first Thanksgiving ever!  How can you not be happy about that?! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nik-- trick or treat

Well, it's pouring down rain right now.  Seriously.  We're not going trick or treating for the first time ever.  We're all bummed about it.  So, told the kids we'd go out.  We typically will try to go out to eat once a month  but been trying to save whatever little we can for this adoption.  Since tonight is so bad out, we haven't been out to a restaurant for awhile (since Yana's b-day), we have decided to take the kids & then go take them to pick out one bag of candy. 

Not sure how that will work out since we got nothing but crap candy earlier.  What on earth do I mean by that?


Okay, so this one is one of the lucky bags we ended up scoring last minute.  It's the "good stuff."  Notice the packaging though?  It's Christmas!  I just wonder if the neighbors will think I got this last Christmas instead of today?  


And this would be the "garbage" candy I was referring to earlier.  Liquid blood complete w/ glow in the dark teeth.  I've heard the liquid blood is disgusting according to my kids.  They love the teeth though. 


We found a bag of Halloween toy treats I found.  This is our bowl of candy thus far.  Nik seems pleased.  One day, there will be a shot w/ a clutter free counter.  Really, who else has red sequin shoes on the counter?  Two pair yet.  Yes, for the new girlies of course.  

video

This is Nik being asked just a few questions about Halloween.  I was running out of camera batteries so could only get a few questions in.  I'll have to do one w/ a bunch of questions so you can see how he talks.  Just wanted you to hear him say trick or treat.  I thought it was cute.  We're waiting for Daddy to get home and then off we go. 

We stink this year

Yes, we stink this year at Halloween.  I could say w/ us traveling soon it is an excuse.  But, it's not.  We procrastinate.  Let's see.  I just got back from buying the worst candy ever from the store b/c there is literally nothing left.  Yes, we'll be that house that hands out the sucky candy this year.  Not looking forward to it to be honest.  The crappy candy is only the beginning.  See, with court being Oct. 14th and then all the date changes that came thereafter, I really have not put much thought into Halloween.  Shoot, we got our decorations up today & that's only b/c Nik & Max did them. I was trying to reschedule appointments and Max comes in & says Nik was using the staple gun.  Nice one.  Mind you, he was OUT there w/ what I thought were responsible siblings that are not supposed to let him have tools.  Though I will admit, he did a great job.  Not sure Warren will appreciate all the holes now in the siding or posts on the porch but oh well.  It's decorated at least.

Besides us waiting to do both decorations and candy on Halloween, we have the issue of costumes.  Not being of creative mind, I pick up costumes throughout the year at consignment shops or yardsales. 


This is what I resorted to...dumping a bin full of costumes on the floor and said find something to wear.  I knew there were a bunch of costumes as last year I found them for 90% off.  


What are the dogs attacking?  Why Bojan who is teasing them w/ the gorilla mask on.  Let's just say Kota hates(that's putting it lightly) any type of mask or hood on a person.  No, the dog is not going trick or treating w/ us.   And yes, Bojan willingly did this on purpose.


Alyona trying on a wizard hat though she decided to settle on a candy corn witch.  We've decided to have her wear it when she wants to be "Evilona." (what the kids call her when she's in a bad mood.)

Yes, I'm sure he'll erase this picture soon.  Kids put the wig on him after he'd just woken up from a cat nap.  Hey, he tried to crack a smile.  

So, we are thus far pretty epic failures in Halloween this year.  I can't say it's b/c there's a lot going on b/c at Chaos Manor, there is always something going on.  I'm just going to say next year we'll be more prepared and indeed have our Reeces's back! 

Nik's makings

Haven't done one of these for awhile.  Nik loves to make things out of Legos and Kinex.  I try to buy some if ever I'm at a yardsale.  It is so clever some of the  things he comes up with.  Here are a few:


 Nik made a ship out of legos. 


Though this is not Nik's makings, it's one of the kids' favorites.  See, if we were to go out for milkshakes at our favorite milkshake place, Cookout, it would cost us over $30.  Warren found a way to make Mint Chocolate Oreo shakes that taste exactly the same.  He makes these every once in awhile & the kids (& me!) love them.  Great to have when watching a movie.


Nik had gotten his haircut.  So, he was making the "tools" they used there.  This is his spray bottle.  The "little" in the background is holding the scissors he made & they really work like real scissors.  Clever.


Here is Alyona taking the clippers to his hair.  The stuff this kid creates is amazing indeed.  He thinks outside the box which I love.  sorry for the blurry pictures.  Not sure what happened.  


Manic Monday

After a somewhat lazy weekend, we have a very busy upcoming week.  Today is Monday.  Kids have off school but homeschoolers are still working.  They understand this b/c mom has been "off" since we've had to deal w/ many date changes, some days last week were more off than on.  So, did stuff this weekend and today is a make-up day as well.  Hey, at least they understand it.  Warren does have work today.  Hoping to get the court decree today as well.  It was supposed to be translated over the weekend.  See, Warren must have this in order to take the adoption leave he is allowed.  Now, court was Oct. 14th.  We are praying he's allowed to still take all the leave.  See, there is some question as to how long out you can take leave after court.  Somewhere, Warren was reading 6 weeks out & then it's kind of a null type deal.  Now, that would cause us some problems as you can imagine.  There was really no sense in him taking leave immediately after court b/c we were not traveling then.  We're traveling next week.  We'll know today if this will all work out. He's allowed 4 weeks leave which would allow us travel and allow for the 20 + appointments that are arranged for when we arrive home for the kids. 

Another issue that has come up is our van.  Recently, we had 4 new tires put on it.  Since then, it is just not driving right and very bumpy.  No, not the different treads on it.  Must take it back while under warranty.  You know, b/c we have absolutely nothing else to do.

Bids are coming back in for the house.  I know I haven't explained this all that much.  Bottom line is we've run out of space.  Well, there is plenty for the new kids but as our kids age & some can't leave home, we must make a transition type of place for them to stay.  In addition, the leaking roof must be replaced along w/ the 20yo heat pump that can scare anyone on Halloween w/ the sounds that come out of that thing.  For the last few years the repairman has said this is the year it dies.  Poor thing's been hanging on to dear life for about 5 years now.  It's time.  Electrical will have to be updated as well.  Now, this is the dream addition.  First & foremost, it has to come in at a certain price.  So far, the first bid has.  See, we have been contemplating moving for over 2.5 years now.  Our interest rates are some of the higher in America b/c we have not refinanced yet.  If we can refinance w/ the construction loan mixed w/ it, our payments will stay about the same and may actually come out to $100 less every month.  It is doable.  It would give us the extra space we need & more importantly the independence our kids would need as they're in their 20's.  We've already spoken to the bank.  This would cost us nothing out of pocket and provide many of the updates and space this house needs.  This can only happen if #'s come in the way they should and everything falls into place at the bank.  So, by far not a done deal but at least preliminary results are looking good.  Since coming off an adoption, we had to make sure of all financing of this was feasible.  Trust me, kids are praying this works out.  LOL.

I've spent the morning redoing almost all our appointments.  One doc is not in on Mondays so I'll hear back tomorrow from them.  Trying to tie up all loose ends which are numerous.  We'll get there.  Hey, we have airline tickets, we have cell phone, we have passports, we have a sitter, & suitcases.  So, we WILL travel ready or not come next week.  We have the necessities.  Shoot, even appointments are arranged.  No, the house is not how I want it to be but in the grand scheme of things, it's okay.  We did a big clean today. 

Kids are ready for Halloween.  I'm not.  Didn't even buy candy yet.  Doing that soon.  No "littles" today as school is out here.  Able to get things in order.  Even the bill basket.  So, things are slowly coming together.  We need to find two more suitcases.  I'm going to do a packing run tomorrow.  IF I can not get the donations all in, I'm not sure what I'll do.  Obviously, they were donated.  I would give them to a local shelter if we could not pack them all with us and hope that would be okay with everyone.  There are many local charities here that really can use some items.  But, we are going to try our hardest to get it all in the 4 suitcases. 

Much more to come.  Only thing we are really stressing is the last of the funds to go.  I'll have a separate post on that soon.  Don't need a whole lot more but will need some for sure.  Again, a different post.  For now, enjoying my time to be able to get things done today.  Glad the house is clean.  I know it won't stay that way but having all floors swept & mopped & even window sills dusted just makes you feel like something got done.  LOL.  Right now, they're watching Captain America waiting for candy distribution this evening.  Speaking of which, I need to go get.  Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bouncing fun

Okay, the other day I took the homeschoolers and one of the "littles" to the local bounce house.  Told the kids I'm not sure how many will be there that day.  Well, we got there and had the entire place to ourselves!  A rarity.  They could run all they wanted to, didn't have to watch out for any babies.  It was like a dream for them.  Me too. 

 Alex is at the top of that slide.  This is the much smaller of the two slides.  They hardly went on this one at all. 


Now, this is the slide they love.  I know you can't tell how slick this is, but trust me, super duper fast.   I went down it.  Lady in charge said she had just slicked the slides this morning b/c she thought they'd have a packed house.  Yes, great job slicking them to say the least.  Kids had a blast.
 

Alyona, landing at the bottom of that giant slide.  


Of course they all had to stop and practically drool all over the "goodies" that are for sale when this place has birthday parties.  


I'm not exactly sure what these two were doing.  LOL.  


Alyona with a big smile on her face.  She loves this place.  We can't go all the time but they enjoy going when we do go.  They offer a special w/ a punch card thing.  So, $2 to go for an hour and a half.  And they use every minute of it.


Nik going down one last time.  I didn't have hardly any pictures of Alex b/c he was just too dog gone fast.  


All of them very interested in how it is deflated & all the air that comes out of it.  


Nik in awe with all the bounce houses deflating.  They have 3 giant ones in this room.  When it is crowded, they open up the adjoining room.  We've been in there when it's that packed.  Trust me, we really enjoyed our time w/ just us there that day.  Every once in awhile, nice to take them for some mindless fun. 

Digby & a Dragon

As you all know, our dogs act as a great therapy tool for our kids.  They do.  I feel animals offer a sense of peace to traumatized kids that many in the professional world can't.  Again, just my opinions.  Maybe that is why equine therapy is successful and other animal related therapies.  Dogs can listen and not offer an opinion.  they are just there and that's what many of our kids need... something/ someone to be there that is not always mom & dad. 


Digby is always near by for a hug or a squeeze.   I think Digby understands the intensity of feelings that the kids have.  Digby was a rescue dog and did not have an easy life either.  He loves being outside but will only go out when we're out.  He's afraid of being left outside alone b/c that is how he spent his life before us...tied up alone 24 hours a day.  Trust me, Digby loves a soft cushiony couch now and his dog bed.  Glad we could give him a loving home but as you can see, he's given us much more.
 

I found this dragon kite brand new in the box at a yardsale.  It was $2 and worth every penny.  It is an easy kite to put together and they have had SO MUCH FUN!  Combo of a kite and a windsock.  


Even the older kids took turns running w/ it.  Love Nik chasing Max behind him.


Nik having fun w/ the kite too.  We had great wind that day.   This was taken when he was first getting it up in the air.  Kite even came w/ the kite reel.  My kids really do enjoy being outdoors and glad I can find some fun things for them to do every once in awhile.  

Days are getting cooler though that never stops my kids from playing outside.  Their new sibs are outdoor kiddos too.  Especially, the older two.  They will fit right in w/ this bunch for sure.  Can't wait.

Final date change

Yes, you read that correctly.  A travel date change.  For those keeping count, this is our 5th set of travel dates we've received.  This time it only changed by a day.  Wahoo!!!  Flights are booked and the final count down has indeed begun.  We fly out on the 8th of Nov. and return the 18th of Nov.  Amazing feeling.  We are now tied w/ our first set of adoptions.  We had 5 date changes for Irina and Max.  Got so bad we kept suitcases literally packed & in the dining room.  Our final date change, we had 27 hours noticed before getting on a plane.  Can't do that now, we have kids.  This is definitively our final date change.  Plans are being made again.  The things you have to account for while you're gone is rather a lengthy list.  I guess so much of it is routine that we truly don't know how much we do till we're gone.  LOL. 

We have a bunch left to do for sure but are chopping away at our list.  A dear friend donated to our account recently to help w/ last minute stuff.  That really does indeed help.  Changing tickets has not been cost effective of course.  That has really added to things.  I have another post about all that stuff.  I just wanted to say thanks for that added help.  Right now our church family is also rallying behind us in different ways which is a huge blessing.   People have volunteered to drive us to and from the airport, donated some funds, offered to cook some meals upon our return, praying for us, etc.  Just taking the time to show their support and it means a lot.  We will pay it forward.  I have no doubt about that.  For how can we be showered w/ such outpouring of love & support and not want to pay it forward for others to experience the same thing.  It's just a wonderful feeling. 

Much more going on and I will post more later.  Posts tend to be shorter nowadays (admit it, you're very thankful for that.  LOL).  Tomorrow is Monday & goal is to reschedule every single appointment that I made.  Yes, all 20 of them.  URGHH~!!!  And I KNOW I won't be able to get them right when I get back due to Thanksgiving week coming up.  Thanksgiving is less than a week when I get home.  So, trying to figure out what to have on hand before we leave b/c I know I won't want to shop once we freshly are home.  A kind neighbor offered us his turkey if he wins.  He goes to a turkey shoot every year.  Yes, I'm hoping he's a great shot this year.  LOL.  Was a nice gesture for sure though.  More to come.  Need to get going this morning and put things in order.  Have a wonderful Sunday.