Saturday, December 10, 2011

Summer sleeps

This was just too cute not to share.  We were all busy chatting away at the table that it took us all awhile to even notice that Summer was sound asleep. 

We had shish kebobs the other night over rice.  It was a very late dinner as we were all busy that day.  I forgot what exactly we had done but all of us were working hard and thoroughly enjoying the meal.  Some times Summer will just put her head down.  That's what we thought she was doing.  Turns out, sound asleep.  Very tired.  

Super duper sleepy kid.  Nothing was going to wake this kiddo up.  LOL.  Now, how come she can't sleep like this when we put her to bed?  

Today is Saturday and we had a very busy day.  Took the kids out to a special lunch, went to a Christmas Parade and then onto get all ten shoes.  Another post on all that tomorrow.  For now, all are in bed.  For now.  Church in the morning and then we are staying put in the afternoon to play catch up on some things around the house.  Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend too.  I have many more pics and posts to put up but it really will have to wait.  Sleep is calling me. 

3 weeks home!

So, how's it going?  We get asked that a lot.  Thought I'd chime in a few thoughts.  After all, this is my 5th post tonight.  Told you I'd try to catch up.  It's been three weeks since we walked off that plane on the trip from he**.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  I'm not.  It is what it is.  It was not pleasant.  Logan running away in the Munich Airport and locking all the stall doors in the bathroom is just something I'd care to forget.  Along w/ asking him how in the world he got gum.  If you really want to know, he picked it up off the airport floor.  Disgusting but true.  However, w/ out these experiences, we wouldn't be where we are today.  I am going to be completely honest in this post.

I never ever thought we'd be where we are today.  Never.  I thought based on behavior in Bulgaria that it would be a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before our home returned to normal.  I did.  For now though, it has returned to normal.  We are all family.  All a unit working together.  Are there squabbles?  Of course.  I think it would be creepy if kids got along every single minute. I never did growing up w/ my sibs.  We fought.  We survived it.  We learned to move on.  Reni is learning I can't stand a tattle tale.  Sure fire way to know they're learning English.  Logan has learned if you do something you will get punished here.  My banisters are now all cleaned up.  So are the downstairs' doors.  Summer has learned what time out is.  Reni is learning if you raise your voice or raise your hand to reach for something, you are not going to get hit.  Just doesn't happen here.  Apparently, this concept is very new for her and she is getting accustomed to it.  Reni has learned hugs make you happy.  She smiles so big every time you give her one.  Reni has learned to find her voice.  She uses it too.  Reni has learned to ride a bike.  She has learned she is not a weak little girl and that she CAN do stuff for herself.  She has not peed the bed once since being home.  I think not having fear has something to do w/ it.  Just a theory though.  Summer has learned that baths are wonderful.  She can't get enough of them now.  Asks every single day a couple times a day if it is time for her bath.  Summer is learning that bed isn't so scary & everything will indeed be here in the morning when she wakes up.  Summer has learned how to get her brothers and sisters to do anything for her.  Logan has learned love means more than fighting.  Logan has learned what it feels like to be loved and not have to be in the defensive mode all the time.  He has learned how to ride a bike.  He has learned to completely conquer his fear of dogs.  He is learning English at a fast rate.  Logan has learned he will NOT be going back no matter what he does.  This in turn has completely turned his behavior around.  He is now for the most part, a normal 11yo boy just like his brother Alex. 

All have learned this is their family.  All have learned recently they will have a Christmas in this home.  With gifts.  Surrounded by family.  Nik and Alyona also seem to slide right into routine as well when we adopted them.  Reni and Logan and Summer have done chores since day one.  They are taken around the house and shown where everything is the first two days.  We don't expect them to remember it all but doesn't take long.  They are shown where their clothing is.  Now, Reni and Alyona share clothing as they are the same size.  They both have their own stuff yet tend to share it.  Only issue we have is when both of them want to wear the same shirt on the same day.  Bound to happen w/ girls.  Logan and Nik are the same size as well despite the age difference.  They also share but both tend to have different tastes so not really an issue.  Boys will wear anything really. 

Things really have fallen into place.  I can't explain it.  I can't.  The medical stuff is being worked out.  Getting results in here and here.  January 10th is the big day for results though.  All are up to date on vaccines.  All have gone numerous places with us. Only one meltdown at Target.  And that was more of an 'I didn't get my way' kind of thing.  In this short amount of time, they truly have blossomed.  Come so far so fast.  We'll see how tomorrow goes.  They'll be going to church service for the first time. 

Been a long few weeks but it has also flown by in the same token.  Everyone belongs.  They don't feel out of place.  Right now biggest issue is w/ the room arrangements for the boys.  This was starting to happen even before Logan came home.  Truly, Bojan and Max need a separate room from the younger ones.  We know this.  1 more has just taken them to that next level.  There is space in the room, that is NOT the issue.  This is more teens needing more personal space than they have if you know what I mean.  We're all working on a solution. 

Anyhow, just know we're still early in the adjustment period. We have what I call flare ups now and then where they hate America but we have way more I love you's.  And for now, that's a good place to be. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Celebrate me home

I try  not to be very emotional nowadays.  I do really try.  Not b/c I don't want to show emotion but b/c I have two daughters that need me to be strong and emotionally intact in order to help them heal.  As the days pass, it is more and more evident of their rough life and the emotional toll it took on them.  Healing is happening and differences are very clear.  Even to our neighbor.  But, I do need to make sure they see me as the confident one. Emotions need to be expressed at proper times where they can understand it.

That is why the other day I was trying.  Thankfully, it was night and we were in the van.  I didn't reach crying but could feel the eyes welling up and emotion taking over.  See, on the radio came the Christmas song Celebrate me home.  First line is 'home for the holidays.'  I realized then that they were ALL home for the holidays.  Every single one of our kids.  No one was waiting in an orphanage for us.  No one was spending another night alone w/out us.  No one was wondering what was taking us so long or where we were.  Why?  Because they were home w/ family.  Only on this night, they were in the car w/ family.  Driving to church.  Every single time we'd pass a house w/ Christmas lights they would scream w/ delight.  Summer would yell "mama, mama!!"  As if I couldn't see them.  LOL.  All the while, the thoughts of everything we had been through the past few years, all came to a head.  The emotion of it all.  It was all worth it.  Everything. 

On the way home, Celebrate me Home played yet again.  Same thing.  Smiling faces (though teens were mad in the backseat b/c they were hot) and oohing and ahhing about the lights.  It was just very pleasant.  Very.  We were going somewhere else & even the new Bulgarian kiddos were singing along w/ Jingle Bells and attempting Rudolf.  I'll have another post on the newness of things for orphanage kids.  For now though, I just had to share that they are all indeed HOME for the holidays.  It just has many emotions with it. 

The other day, homeschoolers were coloring posters.  Got them at $5 below.  Cool new store here.  Logan was asking what things were and we were explaining it.  He kept saying no Santa in Bulgaria.  No gifts.  It hits me every time we adopt.  These kids have not had a Christmas.  Most likely, none have gotten presents for their birthday either.  Some of my kids remember getting an orange as a special treat for Christmas or something of that nature.  But not gifts.  I mean really, what orphanage could afford that.  So, Alex was trying to explain to Logan that we do get gifts here. They go under the tree.  Logan, just kept saying no.  So, we pulled out the albums.  I truly wished I had recorded this. The look on Reni & Logan's face was priceless.  They simply could not believe that these children received gifts. They looked at the piles in the pictures.  Still just stunned.  Pointed to themselves and I just said yes.  Screams of joy that I'm sure was heard a few houses down.  They were elated.  It was something so simple a concept but one they could not wrap their minds around.  It was all I could do to hold it together.  They will get their first Christmas here for sure.  Christmas Eve Service at church, making cookies & putting them out for Santa, and going to bed w/ great anticipation.  If I could afford it, they would have a grand Christmas.  This one will be wonderful, trust me, they're home.  I can barely stand the wait to see the look on everyone's face Christmas morning.  All ten, together.   Our first Christmas as a forever family.  All the pain of waiting and wondering is slowly fading.  Not forgotten, but fading. It really makes you appreciate what you have in front of you every single day. 

The other day, in the van(no, we don't spend all our time in here, I promise), Irina & the kids said turn it up.  Playing on the radio was Feed the World.  They KNOW the meaning of this song.  They know what it's like to live w/ practically nothing and then have what seems like everything to them.  They have a house, a family, clothes, food, & even toilet paper. I say that b/c I know for a fact one of my kids' orphanage used to use newspaper for the kids as toilet paper.  I know b/c one of my kids reports how they got in big trouble for trying to take the caretaker's toilet paper.  They said the orphanage kids were only allowed to use newspaper.  So, my kids understand the meaning of this song.  They know the gifts under the tree are not just gifts.  They have meaning to them.  My kids do not take things for granted.  I think this is directly related to the life they had.  My kids enjoyed our trip to Myrtle Beach one year that was a gift just as much as they enjoyed the gifts other years.  When you listen to the words of some of these Christmas songs really listen to what they are saying.  Think about the kids left behind.  They are real.  I know.  I have ten of them at my table.  They tell me stories of how life used to be.  So, when I hear Alex explaining to Reni & Logan how they will get gifts this year, it chokes me up some.  When we hear Celebrate me Home and listen to words of some of these songs as the new kids are cheering over the simple pleasure of Christmas lights, I do get emotional inside.  They are here.  For those waiting, it will happen.  It's an awesome feeling.  Today is three weeks home yet feels like we've been home forever.  We truly are celebrating them home this Christmas and every other day for that matter. 

Manic Monday

Alright, I started this on Monday.  Gives you an indication of how busy our week has been.  

Oh my oh my.  I haven't done one of these for a few weeks.  My posts will start focusing on the transition process itself soon.  For now though, I'm sure you'd like to hear what's happening at Chaos Manor.  So, guess I should start somewhere.  One of the "littles" is back today.  So, I had 7 kids here today.

The dogs.  We still have Digby, Kota and Alaska.  I say that b/c last week, it was being contemplated whether or not Kota would have to go.  Whether or not the bite was an act of aggression or not.  After much thought and review of all events, it is determined he will indeed stay here.  All ten of the kids love him now.  As a precautionary measure though, we are sending him to a training camp where they evaluate him for aggression.  It is done through a rescue group.  He will go for a week.  Logan now walks Kota all the time.  In fact, it is one of his chores.  Logan likes to play tug of war w/ Nik and Kota as well so he definitely is not afraid of the dog.  It was hard making this decision and I did not blog about it last week. Just too much to think about.  We had spoken w/ the rescue people, friends, and our vet.

The house.  Okay, I kept much quiet while doing our adoption.  Our plans were after the adoption to do a massive remodel and add space to our home, fix the roof, etc.  We had spoken w/ the bank and it look quite feasible.  See, we have a rather high interest rate compared to most in America today b/c for 2 years we were trying to decide whether to move or to refi.  With the remodel & the refi, the payments would remain the same or be lower.  We had spoken to the bank, like I said.  All would be great as long as bids came in at a decent price.  Ummm, yeh, that didn't happen.  Try the cost of an entire other home.  Over $100 a sq. ft!  You can buy a new home for that as you know.  Less than that nowadays.  Frankly, we were all kind of shocked.  One bid was less than the other and one guy didn't even get back to us.  So, the  tentative plans are to fix up a few things the next month or two and then attempt to put it on the market as an "as is" sale.  We want no haggling.  It is a GREAT home.  But we are also very realistic about selling a home w/ 10 kids & 3 dogs running around in it.  It stays in a state of chaos.  Yard is always a mess b/c kids are always playing outside so bikes, ride toys, etc. are out.  It would never be what Realtors consider show ready.  So we feel our only choice would be an as is sale.  There is nothing wrong w/ this home.  Yes, it needs power washing but that's an easy thing.  Yes, it has marks on walls but every house w/ kids does.  There are holes to go w/ those marks.  LOL.  We hate to do this b/c we love our neighbors & neighborhood.  You can't beat it.  However, in the long run, this is the best option.  My family needs more space and not just house space.  We're talking acreage.  Our goal is to be able to get a minimum of 10 acres, preferably much, much more to be able to put another smaller home on in a few years for the young adults that will not be able to live on their own in this family.  Time will tell if this is the plan that is meant for our family.

Mom & Dad-- we are still pretty exhausted.  Getting over the being overwhelmed part for sure.  Warren was dx'd w/ bronchitis virus when we got home and told it would be two weeks to get over.  He still has it.  So, he hasn't slept much poor guy.  I've been tired too but just sinus stuff.  We are finding our groove and trying to keep up w/ our new bunch.  Oh, our anniversary is this week.  The 7th.  No, not going anywhere, doing anything or buying anything.  Just happy to be together.  We can't go anywhere w/ the new kids just arriving home. Just one of our rules.

Appointments-- Nik, Bojan & Irina have dentist appointments tomorrow.  Concerned about Nik's teeth.  They seem super yellow to me lately.  We'll see what they say.  They go every 6 months.  New kids have their appt. on Jan. 2nd.  Alex has his endocrinology appointment this week as well.  Thursday I believe.  Gosh, do I hope to get an idea of an answer.  I'm sure it will just entail blood work and a wait to hear from us deal.  Who knows though.  I will be taking Reni to get that x-ray done this week.  Most likely on Thursday as I might not have the "little" that day.  We need to clear up her TB false positive test.  Also, her and Summer need to redo blood work.  Yuck!  Has to be done though.  MRI & EEG results for Summer and Logan won't be in until Jan. 10th.  Bummer big time.  It is what it is.  Just would help to have answers.

Christmas-- Love this time of year.  Just wish it were colder here.  Long for snow.  Being in shorts right now and barefoot outside, just doesn't feel like Christmas.  However, we have the tree up w/ lights.  Notice I didn't say decorations...yet.  It's about half decorated.  And as of today, it now has skeletons all over it.  The homeschoolers & the "little" studied bones and such today for science.  So, I had them make skeletons.  They wanted to hang them on the tree.  I let them.  We're an ecletic type anyways here.  All the outside lights are broken.  We've had them for years upon years and desperately need new ones.  Not in the budget so kind of bummed about no outdoor lights this year.  However, the inside is decorated so I don't care.  We'll try to get our little porch decorated too.  We went to a light show recently (post forthcoming) and will be going to a Christmas Parade this coming weekend.  My kids are not in the church Christmas play this year b/c of the fact we were gone and adjustment period of the new kids.  Miss it really.  Next year though.  Trying to figure out Christmas gifts.  Coming off an adoption does not make it easy but we're creative here and very thrifty.  Plus, have my friends and such looking out for deals they spot.  Since I have kids of all ages, bound to fit someone if they find a deal.  Going to make a gingerbread house this week and also some fudge I hope.  I'm guessing we'll never get cookies to neighbors as they eat them all as soon as they come out of the oven.  URGHH!!!

Adoption front-- It's over....sort of.  Adoption never is really over, is it?  It's forever.  The main part is over and now the real work begins.  In addition, we'll have post placement reports.  Need to remember when those start w/ Bulgaria.  Our main issue right now w/ the adoption is getting our adoption reimbursement from Warren's work.  See, reason we didn't really push the fundraising a whole lot is b/c we truly thought we'd have an adoption reimbursement coming to us as it has for all 7 of our other adoptions.  So, ONLY tried to fundraise what we didn't think we could handle.   Yes, we still would have money left to pay even after the reimbursement but thought it could be okay due to tax time.  Well, not now.  In retrospect, we should have fundraised more but very hard to do w/ kids at home.  Plus, like I said, only wanted to do what we needed.  Medical expenses that first week home were over $700 out of pocket.    That was the first week.  I knew we'd have expenses, do not get me wrong.  However, I thought we'd be able to pay for some of those on our card b/c our reimbursement would have helped pay for the adoptions.  there is still a chance.  It will work out.  Has to.  (update as of today:  It WILL work out for SURE!  Wahoo!!!)  Medical expenses are still causing us to be "tight" but it is alright for sure.  The reimbursement will be forthcoming.  For those that do not know, some companies do offer a reimbursement.  It varies in amount from company to company.  This does not cover costs whatsoever but it sure does help quite a bit.  We all are all well aware that nothing ever seems to cover total adoption costs. 

New kids-- Doing well.  I really have no reason to complain.  All are finding their place in this family and that takes time.  Alyona and Reni have become very true sisters.  Loving each other one minute, hating each other the next. that's normal for sure. They really have adjusted right in as if they'd always been here.  I for one am absolutely and utterly shocked.  I will have more on this later for sure.  Almost makes you want to adopt again.  (that one was for Warren to see if he's really reading this.  LOL).  Just kidding folks. 

I never did finish everything b/c we had a ton going on.  Thought I'd post this one anyhow.  Even if it's Friday. 

Gingerbread house epic fail

If some of you have followed this blog for awhile now, you are well aware of my feeble attempts every year to make a gingerbread house w/ the kids.  It has NEVER turned out....ever.  Last year, my sister sent me a gorgeous REAL gingerbread house.  This year, my mom sent me a fake gingerbread house to keep for years to come.  After I finally convinced the kids to stop picking off the fake gumdrops, & hot glued them back on, it was awesome to look at.  Still, I wanted to try it.  Was this going to be the year?  I documented our somewhat pathetic attempt.  BTW, that easy to assemble label is a blatant lie.

Everyone seems very excited about starting this project.  Alex was beside Nik & not in the picture. You can tell who the camera hogs are, right?

Nik, helping to roll out the fondant.  With my grandmother's old rolling pin.  She was a talented cook and baker.  Me, not so much.  Though I will say I can make cakes and decorate them.  Used to work in a bakery so learned a bit.  Wished they'd taught me to make eggs.  

We were in the process of reading directions at this point.

After we made some windows and doors w/ the fondant, I let them have what was left.  I tried a small piece.  Yuck!  I don't see how they can eat that stuff.  Edible or not.  

She doesn't seem to mind how this project is going.

Serious about her icing this little one.

Why I still had her in a dress, I'm not sure.  That green icing though pretty much matches "Shrek's swamp" out back.  

No kids, put some more sprinkles on there.  Clearly, there are not enough on those cookies yet.  Notice Reni picking them off the table?

Even w/ the repair on the back of the house, we really thought at this point it may actually stay erect.  It may work!  Excitement was building.  Maybe, just maybe we could get a roof on this sucker this year.  After all, it did say easy to assemble.  

This was clearly not our year, again, for a gingerbread house.  It just is not meant to be.  Unless Martha Stewart delivers one herself, it's not going to happen.  

Why I didn't do this in the beginning, I'll never know.  Why not just dump the stupid kit out, splatter some icing on it and eat away?  

No matter how disgusting it looks, kids will eat anything.  As long as there is candy involved.  

So another Christmas attempt at our illusive gingerbread house.  Hey, there's always next year.  

Many more posts to come.  I really am catching up.  This is post 2 for the night.  Been a very busy week and I'll explain in a bit.  For now, I just look at the fake gingerbread house (which looks very real, btw) and enjoy it. 

Flabulous to fabulous

Okay, so this one's going to be a short post since I have many more coming tonight.  I'm still on the quest to get healthy, however, I was sidetracked quite a bit this week.  I did not exercise and feel super guilty about that.  I will say what I did do though, as I think it's important to celebrate the small steps.  First, I have been for the past few weeks taking vitamin C and D.  Now, may not seem like much but I am extremely, extremely vitamin D deficient.  They put me on prescription strength and I was supposed to be taking vitamin D OTC once the script was done.  Last few months I was not doing that.  Now, do it every day and next check, hoping levels will be somewhat normal.  I am also drinking LOTS more water every single day.  I am also doing light weightlifting everyday as well.  I know these are not much but in the grand scheme of things, it is indeed a good start I feel.  The food this week started off great.  Veggie fajitas for lunch that I'd make.  Breakfast was also light.  Dinner wasn't too bad either.  However, that Tastycake gift did me in I'm sad to say.  No willpower. 

So, I plan on keeping the same little things I'm doing going.  I'm adding this week, at least 1 walk every day.  I play w/ the kids in the yard everyday & am always moving around but still, walking needs to become habit.  And not every few days but every single day.  Next week, I hope to report that these little things have continued & the walking added in.  Hold me to it!  If I can add a few steps like this every week instead of trying to do it all at once, I do believe I can reach my goal.  My goal is to be able to do a 5K run in the spring w/ some of my kids.  I think it's easily attainable for sure.  Step by step.  Me writing about all this makes me more accountable. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rest & a redneck parade

Okay, after that last post, I needed something a little more light hearted.  One thing all my kids love is playing around or resting on the hammocks outside.  Snapped a few shots today. 

 Alyona, my girlie girl.  I think she just looks very content here.

Ahh, signs that winter is eventually coming to NC.

Alyona, laying on top of a "little."  Don't worry, they were both fine and taking turns w/ each other.  This hammock has been the BEST.  Was $22 at Crate & Barrel on a clearance site.  Very strong and gets a lot of use.

5 girls laying on a hammock w/ a dog close by.  Really, can this even end good?

The answer is no, it's can't.  That's Alyona falling out and Summer helping her to fall.  Digby, unaware of the world around him.

Summer, getting ready to try out the hammock swing.  Kids get in this & swing like crazy.  They all love it.  Yes, those are stone pavers under her.  Sometimes, I still can't believe she's really all mine.  I love her to pieces.  

This is Summer and the "little" on their 'redneck parade.'  Max pushes them all over the yard and they wave to everyone in the yard.  The girls absolutely love it.  

I know I've been behind on posts and such.  Just been a busy week.  Tomorrow Alex has endocrinology.  this is the appointment that we were trying to get forever and a day.  Maybe we'll get some answers.  Doubt it though as I'm sure they'll have to do a blood draw first.  But, maybe she'll have ideas. Got to go.  Tons more to do.  For those curious, our tree still is not decorated.  Only partially.  However, now it has skeletons on it.  Yes, that is a whole other post.  LOL.  Have a wonderful evening. 

Some days just suck

I know, horrible title but I am being real honest here.  Some days at Chaos Manor just suck.  Today, is one of those days.  It started off by not getting enough sleep.  No one seemed to want to get their school work done today.  None of them.  We did most of the work but not all I wanted to get done.  I was highly disappointed as I know they can do better.  Decided after the lesson on bones we needed a break and why not attempt a gingerbread house.  You know, the ones I have NEVER been able to make every single Christmas.  This was a kit and surely I can get the "easy to assemble" ones right?  Wrong.  I have pics but those are a separate post.  It was a mess.  More than a mess.  Oooy, gooey mess. 

Warren was late getting home.  Did I mention it is our anniversary today?  It is.  Married 14 years.  No, did nothing, got each other nothing, etc.  Let's just say being back 2 weeks, things are still a bit hectic and Christmas is around the corner.  Lucky that we both even remembered.  I digress.  He was late.  Kids were all running around screaming for whatever reason known to man.  I made ham, green beans, stuffing, etc. for dinner.  Why I did it, I have no idea.  I should have just given them Tastycakes and they would have been just as happy.  Most likely happier.  Warren gets home and we shove off in the van for church clubs tonight....late.  One day we will not be late for something. 

Drop them off.  Head out to attempt to do a little Christmas shopping for kids that, at the moment, I would have given a bag of coal to in a heartbeat.  Had to be back to pick them up so very little time to shop.  Did a little though and discussed our teens.  Lately, we have been having issues w/ two of them.  May have the one figured out.  The other one is a meds issue partially.  This happens w/ kids on strong drugs.  They must be adjusted every so often, especially, during weight gain. It's been about 3 years since last adjustment & obviously, they've matured.  That's a good thing.  Yet, body chemistry changes and that does effect the dosage.  So, need to call neuro for an adjustment.  We are also going to try two new things that are NOT drug related but have been very, very promising in neurological research.  They are two supplements and I'll give articles in another post. 

Now, I never want everyone to think it is all cakes and roses here.  It is NOT.  Most of the time okay, but today it really was not.  Logan and Max were going at each other. Only problem is when FASD is involved, there is no stopping point, poor judgement and no cause and effect thinking.  See how this could easily go wrong quickly???   It is something many FASD parents struggle w/ daily...maintaining constant vigilance.  Spoke w/ both our sons and tried to figure out a solution.  This was one kid misinterpreting what another was saying.  Getting blown out of proportion. 

Gosh I get sidetracked.  Got back to the church & apparently Irina had let Summer fall off the bleachers twice.  Summer sometimes has a rough balance issue.  Keep in mind, though 4, she's more like 2yo and we have to remember that.  Treat her more like a baby than a little girl.  Just the way it has to be for awhile.  So, Summer came running to me.  She's fine, not hurt, just feelings hurt more so than anything.  Logan taught Nik to break dance.  Nice.  Get in the car and the teens are all arguing in the backseat.  This is where one of those limosine partitions would come in handy. 

Get home.  Nik & Alex let Alaska and Kota escape.  They come back an hour later.  Kota apparently rolled in poop.   Everyone feels now is the time for meal number 2.  Trying to get everyone reigned in for bed time.  No baths for younger kids, you can do that tomorrow. Nik decides he should "play deaf" and Alyona has become "Evilona."  Summer pulled Alyona's hair & somehow someway Alyona retaliated.  Alyona is 12 but mentally more around 4yo.  That does not help matters any.  Essentially, I have a 2yo and 4yo going at it & no one can tell me why.  URGHH!!! 

On top of all this garbage that is continuing to go on, Bojan informed me his pants need hemming.  You all know I don't sew, right?  They need hemming for his concert tomorrow night.  Yeh, not happening kid.  safety pins, here we come.  Shortly thereafter, Summer decided she should brush her teeth....alone. 

This is what happens when you let her brush her teeth alone.  

Closer view shows you how she cleaned it up.  With toilet paper.  that's what all those white balled up clumps are.  

To add to my delight, I looked & noticed the toilet seat is not bolted down any more.  Alex said " I told you they broke it mom."  Umm, no, you didn't.  Seriously, can a family really go through about 8 toilet seats a year?  We bought 2 before we left for Bulgaria!  URGHHH!!!  

House once again looks like a demilitarized zone.  It was cleaned up yesterday.  I kid you not.  I just don't get it.  I don't.  Tried to fill out Alex's endocrine papers tonight and it claims I already have an account and won't let me make another one.  Told Warren to take glasses tomorrow to his appointment as he is sure to have paperwork.  

It's our anniversary.  It's the love we have for each other that gets us through the crappy days like today.  I know everyone has a bad day every once in awhile.  When you have several FASers in rare form, it just seems like it's 40 bad days in one.  I know it's not & our motto is "with every new day there's fresh hope."  So, it will be fine tomorrow.  I just needed to vent share that every once in awhile, we too have days that just suck & suck the life right out of you.  I promise there are much better posts & pics forthcoming.  Vent over, kids asleep. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Sweet Surprise

Today we received a very sweet surprise.  Literally.  Photos aren't the best as everyone is trying to see what's in the box. 

Ahh, the site of our sweet surprise.  And this was only a small portion of it.

 We got two huge boxes of Tastycakes.  For those unfamiliar w/ this treat, it used to be mostly up north.  Now, they've slowly migrated south but still don't have the juniors that I grew up w/ and love.  That's what that big box is full of...Tastycake Juniors....yum! 

Alyona was in the shower at the time of this picture.  New kids had no idea what they were about to it.  Wouldn't take them long at all.  Teens amused me w/ their presence.  As of late, they are not that interested in pictures.  Typical teens.

Just look at the size of those boxes.  Huge.

Reni and Logan.  Reni was quite pleased.  Not sure about Logan but being that his was gone in 2.2 seconds, I'd say he enjoyed it very much.  

Summer, loving her first Tastycake.  Snack in one hand, toothbrush in another.

Alyona's smile could not get any bigger.  Well, we finally moved those bunkbed pieces out of the dining room and into the kitchen.  Lovely.  

Maybe part of the problem w/ this evening was the wonderful sweet surprises.  I say that b/c it is now 10:47, and 5 of the kids are up doing punishment chores right at this moment.  URGHH!!!  2 are laughing about it.  Just has been one of those FAS nights where nothing seems to go quite right.  We have those every now and then and it's okay. It's just positively draining.  But, tomorrow is a new day.  We're starting fresh.  

We thoroughly enjoyed the Tastycakes my parents sent to us.  A wonderful way to start of the Christmas season w/ a gift I didn't have to buy or cook.  LOL.  More to come but posts will be forthcoming tomorrow as this night has wiped us out behavior wise.  Max's glasses broke, Bojan's leg is not working right, Alyona has a massive headache, Alex's temp regulation is going haywire, & too many other things to name.  Hey, we all have crazy days like this.  Hope your evening is peaceful. 

Touching Tuesday

Every once in awhile, nice to think of something sweet that has touched you.  Today, it was Alex.  Alex was at the table doing his work, while helping Logan with his.  He looked at me and said "I'm glad we got Logan."  I told him "me too b/c we're not sending him back!"  Alex just smiled.  Just was a sweet moment for him.  I know these two will be quite close the next couple of months. 

Today we went to the dentist.  Warren helped me out by taking a half day off.  Irina, Bojan and Nik went to the dentist.  No cavities or issues.  Wahoo!!!  Hope next week is the same for Max and Bojan.  We are very fortunate enough to have dental insurance.  So, our kids go every six months.  While they were there, I took 6 kids to Target.  This was indeed a test.  We did have one meltdown by Reni.  Some times when kids come home from orphanages, the newness of everything is just too much stimulation.  Oh, Reni hated America and the whole 9 yards.  Crying, etc.  Other kids were just hanging onto the cart.  The "little" and Summer both were telling Reni in English that she was a baby and to knock it off.  (yes, I guess maybe I say that too much at home, huh?)  We kept going.  Logan was silent as he knew his sister was in the wrong.  That shows quite a bit of growth.  For him and her as she then learned that he was not going to defend her if she was not behaving.  Oh well.  We were not going to cater to her a bit.  We went about our shopping.

Got a ham, some oatmeal, etc.  Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing special.  Oh, I did buy gum for us all.  They all did, for the most part, well.  Went back home and had lunch.  Play time and then workbooks.  Going to do a lesson this evening about bones as we missed it today for the dentist and things.  Nothing exciting today unless  you count the kids killing a baby snake.  Hey, at least it wasn't poisoness this time.  We have copperheads here so my kids are pretty verse in what is poisoness and what isn't. 

We are ready for Bojan's concert this Thursday.  It will be his first one. Should be fun.  Kids are going back and forth for what they want for Christmas.  All while I'm trying to figure out how to fund this Christmas.  LOL. 

Sometimes I forget I have a "2yo" around the house.  Summer got into lipgloss.  She looks like she dipped herself in vaseline.  Hair and all.  No, I haven't give her a bath again.  I will deal w/ lip gloss girl in the morning.  Washed her face & hands all off and it doesn't even looked like I washed her.  Never dull here, is it?

Got a nice surprise and will post about it next.  Just been busy here at Chaos Manor this evening.  Much more to come.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A little about Summer

Ahh, my baby girl.  And yes, I call her my baby girl.  In so many ways she is still a baby.  So many ways.  I'll tell you a bit about Summer.  Our Summer Grace is 4yo.  When we saw her in June, she wanted nothing to do with us.  And I mean nothing.

Notice her body language in the sandbox.  I forget what I was trying to point to.

This was her inside.  Frankly, this was her the whole time if she wasn't crying.  This is where you have to trust that things will work out.  I mean really, I didn't get to touch her even that first visit except one time.  That's it out of all that visitation.  It was heart breaking to see her that way.  Yet, deep down inside, I knew she was ours.  

The second trip wasn't much better those first few days.  If you missed it, go back to some of those posts and you'll see her eyes and the sadness in them.  It was hard to listen to her constantly scream.  Stiff as a board if you tried to hold her.  But slowly, very slowly, those walls started to crumble and she started to trust us.  However, I guess I should go back even further.

Summer was on the waiting child list.  Special needs.  She was said to be missing her corpus collosum and delayed.  I didn't care if she was missing part of her brain, she was our daughter.  Just knew it.  And sometimes, you just have to take that leap of faith that it will all work out. Medically, she seems very healthy to me.  Summer went to the neuro and she had her MRI.  We'll get results on January 10th.  Neuro seems to think she may  be associated w/ some type of syndrome but that is all a guess at this point.  He said if she is missing her corpus collosum, then we will check for a few other things as this birth defect can go straight down the mid-line.  Meaning her thalamus, thyroid, heart, etc.  Not a bit worried.  She either has it or she doesn't.  Does not change who she is for one second.  In addition, if you met this child, you'd say that is a normal 4yo to me.  Me too!

Summer has such a contagious smile.  Very contagious.  Summer literally just lights up a room by coming into it.  Now, rewind a few weeks ago.  She could not be in the same room as us.  We were not allowed to hold her.  Couldn't bathe her w/out the torturous sounding screams.  It was horrible.  I didn't know if we'd ever break through to her.  Slowly but surely, we did.  Now, she tells me she loves me.  Squeezes me all the time.  She is just a doll.  Pure delight.  Emotionally, she has a long ways to go.  More like a 2yo in that department.  We can work w/ that though.  Summer is also not potty trained.  I was told she was.  No, she's not.  We are working on that this week.  It's going.  I won't say it's going okay and won't say it's going badly.  It's just going.

Summer has found her voice.  And, she uses it.  No problems there.  She is spoiled by all her siblings.  Yep, every single last one of them spoils her in a different way.  She loves to squeeze me as tight as she can and tell me in Bulgarian she loves me.  For goodbye, she says boo bye.  We absolutely adore this little girl.  She has come full circle for sure.  For a time, we didn't know if we'd make it.  Being honest here.  Today though, different story.  She fits right into this family like a glove.  She loves doing workbooks like her homeschooling sibs.  I just let her color.  She's not ready for work quite yet though she listened today all about bones and loves being read to.  Summer is a shoe fanatic!  She was this way in Bulgaria too when we'd pass by a shoe shop.  It's just hilarious.  And she's a size 9 shoe.  She'll wear any size though if she likes it.  LOL. She loves to dance w/ Max every night.  Jumping on the trampoline & swinging on the swing set are two of her favorite things to do.  She is in total control of the dogs.  Summer can hold her own for sure. 

She is full of spunk and full of life!  Just knowing this little girl is an honor.  I can not tell you how much we love her.  I know a few weeks ago it seemed so out of reach.  Now, she lays down to bed, cries the whole way up the stairs b/c she doesn't want to go to bed, and goes to sleep w/ her pink lamb that plays Jesus Loves Me.  I love seeing all the new stuff she's been experiencing.  Her expressions are priceless.  I wish everyone on here could see this gem.  I know not many would take a chance on a child that was said to be missing part of her brain, mentally challenged and not talking much.  I'm actually thankful for that as that meant we were able to receive this great gift of a little girl.  I wish I had more words for her than amazing.  She is by all accounts a normal little 4yo in my eyes.  Such innocence, such trust (now), such peace about her, etc.  Too many words needed to describe this wonderful child.  Summer Grace is just too precious.  You hug her, you don't want to  let go.  She smiles and you want to smile all the time.  She has a way to draw you in.  I do not know what is in store for this little girl but I know the plans must be great for her.  Honestly, I can't understand how we were chosen to be her parents.  I'm just so happy w/ her. 

The child that did not want to go near me, tells me in Bulgarian everyday that she loves me.  I didn't know on that first trip if she'd ever talk.  Now, she won't be quiet.  LOL.  Love it!  I call her my baby girl.  She is in many ways still a baby.  I know from experience, that will fade quickly so I'm savoring every moment.  Every single one. 

Irina playing with Summer.  

Okay, ignoring the horrific mess in the background.  Just focus on her eyes.  The sadness is gone.  her future is so bright.  The messy hair is from playing.  I don't mind one bit to see her running around all over the place.  To me, her eyes just look content and happy. 

I want everyone to meet my baby girl.  Really look at the joy she has about her.  She will change your life.  I know she's changed ours.  I will keep you posted on her progress and her dx's.  I do feel though her hydrocephalus dx and missing corpus collosum will most likely be different.  And if they're not, it does not change one bit of who she is or what she can do.  Please say hello if ever in the neighborhood.  You will not regret meeting her. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas craft (part II)

Thought I'd share with you the faces of my homeschoolers and how they feel about the projects they created.  Pretty priceless if you ask me.  Showed lots of creativity.

I don't think that smile could get any wider.  She is quite pleased w/ her work.

 Alyona, still working on hers a bit.  Turned out great.  The squiggly thing on there she created.  I thought that was rather clever.

Now you know why earlier I said look at the green tree.  I'm not sure if he took the easy way out or not.  LOL.  Alex said he liked snow.  So, he made a snow tree.  Geez, hope I don't need any cotton balls any time soon.

I never did get a shot w/ Nik completely finished.  I love how he put gingerbread men on and gave them eyes.  He also cut designs out.  He could easily be a watchmaker as he is so meticulous.  

Logan wanted snow on his once he saw Alex w/ snow on his tree.  

Reni needed a little help like Alyona did but for the most part, did it all herself.  Turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.  Yes, eventually our tree will get decorated.  Hey, it's up and has lights the first week of December.  That's a Christmas Miracle for this family.  

A closer view of Alyona and her tree.  

I like the fact that all the kids did their own thing w/ their trees.  They had a bunch of fun doing it as well.  Was just a nice time and craft.