Friday, January 6, 2012

Blast from the past!

Hey, 4th post for the day.  I'm on a roll!  Or kids are out of my way.  One of the two.  It's now January.  A new year.  Thought I'd bring back the monthly blast from the past so you can see how much they've grown.  Unfortunately, I don't have much from January from years past.  Not sure why.  So, I'll share what I have though. 

 OMG, don't you just want to eat Alex up?!  He's too cute!  This was January of 2006.  Before our kitchen remodel as you can tell. 

Bojan and Max.  See, just burns me up when they blame the new kids for messes on the floor.  This was BEFORE Alyona and Nik and before Logan, Summer and Reni.  Yeh, not happy then either w/ their room keeping skills.  This too was Jan. 2006.  

January of 2009.  Alyona, Bojan and Nik at their grandparents' house.  Alyona is always a girlie girl in dresses.  Boys, well they can care less what they wear.

January of 2009.  Nik.  He went and picked all the daffodils in our yard for me.  He was so proud.  I couldn't yell at him.  Wasn't that sweet?

The teens.  Wow, have they grown since 2010!  Max, Yana and Irina.

Only in NC in January could you have someone in a hammock w/ bare feet.  Yana, listening to some tunes.  I believe this was January of 2009.  Or maybe 2010.  

 Our big snow of January of 2010.  We were all SO excited.  As you know, it doesn't snow much in NC & when it even snows an inch, the entire city shuts down.  I kid you not.  People wipe out shelves in the grocery store.  It really is funny.  Anyhow, we love it b/c we play all day long soaking up every single snowflake.  Here's the bunch in 2010.  Doesn't look complete, does it?

Alyona, my little snow angel.  She was born and lived her first 7 years above the Arctic Circle in Murmansk, Russia.  At first, I forgot why she hated the snow.  Her birth mother froze to death in the snow.  Now though, this snow angel can once again frolic in the snow to her heart's content.  

Well, that was my January blast from the past.  Sorry, I didn't do December.  Since this is the 4th post, not sure how many more I'll do this evening.  Need to answer emails first and then we have that thing called dinner.  Right now, kids have friends over so their just playing or hanging out.  Summer is in her cowboy boots w/ a dress on.  Hope everyone is going to have a relaxing weekend.  We are prepping the house to sell it.  So, lots of cleaning and fixing.  May throw in either a hike or a trip to museums.  We'll see. 

Looking for Mariah's family

I know I need to start advocating for some kiddos VERY soon.  I'm getting all that organized.  But, a friend of mine posted about a little girl that I'd love for you all to meet.  She wrote about her.  She is 7yo and in EE.  Here's the link to her blog and about 'Mariah.'  Share her post b/c we know her family is out there somewhere!  Anyone have reservations about adopting older kids, feel free to contact me.  They do indeed have SO, SO much to offer.  I've adopted ages 3, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6.5, 7, 8.5, 9, & 11yo.  So plenty around Mariah's age.  Please read about her and help spread the word of this precious little girl.  Thanks so much. I'll have more kiddos to talk about very soon. 

Flabulous to fabulous

Well, it's been awhile since one of these posts. One word for the delays...holidays!  Yes, I too indulged in way too many Christmas cookies.  But, back on track and loving it.  I wrote about this in another post but will write again briefly.  Okay, Alex and I have decided to do a 5K this spring.  I can't remember if it is in April or March.  Believe April.  Gives us time.  Someone sent to this blog a link for novices for running all kinds of races.  Trust me, Alex & I are not running to compete.  LOL.  I'm doing just to see if I indeed can do it.  Alex's nick name is Dash(from the Incredibles) btw.  He is fast. 

Now, this is our first week for training.  You are supposed to do a 1.5 miles.  Running it every other day and taking off on Fridays.  Well, I told Alex mom must walk this first week.  1) I have a bad knee and want to get it used to it again & 2) I may die.  LOL.  Alex said okay.  We have been walking around 4:30/ 5pm every evening.  I measured w/ the car to make sure we do the right amount.  It's truly not bad at all.  Yes, I know I'm only walking it right now but hey, it's more than I was doing before.  I took yesterday off versus today b/c it was Warren & Bojan's birthdays and Warren and I went out to dinner.  So, in a bit, Alex and I will hit the pavement again.  I actually am proud that we are sticking to it and not making excuses.

In addition, I've been sticking to doing very light weightlifting and stretching every single day.  I wanted to add yoga in this week but that just didn't happen as I had planned it.  So, that is my goal for next add in evening yoga before bed.  I am liking getting back into things again.  I feel if I add one little thing each week, it's not so overwhelming.  And, I'll stick to it.  Having Alex walk w/ me also serves as a motivator.  For now, not changing the diet quite yet. I want to get my routine of exercising in.  Plus, once I add the running in while changing the calories at the same time, the weight should come right off.  Geez, why didn't I do what I went to college for??  LOL.  For those new, my degree is Health and Fitness Specialist w/ concentration in Cardiopulmonary Rehab.  So yeh, no excuses that I don't know what to do.  Just need to do it. 

I'm actually really excited that I've tackled this & do not think this will be another attempt & failure.  The motivation is there, the determination, the strength to keep going, etc.  I feel I'm very ready to do this and to lose weight in the process.  So, that is my first week in the New Year.  Starting walking 1.5 miles everyday but 1 (rest day).  Continued light weight lifting and stretching daily.  Next week, will start to run.  Please beta blockers kick in!  LOL.  Don't worry, cardiologist cleared me for exercise long ago.  Also, don't have to go back for another 2 years.  I want him to see a new person when I go back.  I will update every Friday.  Like I said, next week, want to add some evening Yoga in a few times a week and I must start running part of the 1.5 miles.  If you see me around the neighborhood and I look like I might pass out, yell at me and tell me to keep going.  I know I can do this.  In a few months, you will see me run that 5K.  I know to many of you 5K is nothing.  But when you start w/ doing nothing, it becomes everything. 

Bread, brains and broken

Well, been a long day and so much has been happening.  I have a ton of posts to catch up on and will this weekend...I hope.  You know, it's life.  Thought I'd share a few bits & pieces via pictures and play catch up on our day at the end.  So, here goes nothing.

Last night, a friend stopped by w/ a great gift...bread!  Lots and lots of it.  

This is not just any bread.  Nope. It's all kinds of Panera Bread.  Loaves, bread bowls, bagels, danishes, etc.  We froze a bunch of it.  She brought it over in garbage bags full.  We had bagels for breakfast...yum.  Having french toast tomorrow for breakfast.  Kids made sandwiches for school on it.  Just really, really tasty.  Thanks so much!  

Reni, working on some math homeschool stuff.  Not going to move the box of bread either.  

The other day, Yana plugged in her tablet to charge it over night.  It melted.

Literally melted.  House could have caught fire!  Geez.  I wrote the place I bought it from yesterday.  Waiting to hear back.  It has a year warranty.  It should not have melted, that's for sure.  

Today was the first day of the kids' homeschool academy classes.  They LOVED it!  Alex was shocked to see 3 of his classmates from his school.  I was not as shocked.  Alyona has been crocheting since she came home!  Nik LOVED the bug class.  Logan and Alex were really enjoying stop-motion film making.  They take that and Gizmos and Gadgets where they'll build stuff.  Nik and Reni are taking Munchie Math.  Reni is taking a dance class and Nik the bug class.  Alyona is taking Green Thumb class and crocheting.  Summer is in discovery kids and I'll be helping out in there as well.  Kids really had a great time today.  Gives us a great supplement and a good break from some routine here. They can barely wait to go back next week.  They'll also be taking classes on Wednesday nights at our church once they start back up again.  Soccer doesn't start till first week of March.  So, not too many sports right now, we'll be going places on the weekends along /w fixing up the house.  

Much more happening here at Chaos Manor and trying to sort through it all.  I have MANY emails to return & I'm sorting through them now.  We're done w/ school for the day so kids are watching a movie right now, while some are playing house.  Enjoy your weekend everyone.  I'll probably have a bunch of posts trying to catch up.  This is my get organized weekend.  we hope. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pictures we couldn't show

This is one of the hardest parts of adoption (besides the wait) is not being able to share pictures of your future kids w/ the world.  Most countries, you can not till after court.  With all our "stuff," we did not show pictures even after court just to be on the safe side.  Well, I figured it was high time I showed some of the pics from our first meetings.  I'll start w/ Summer.  As some of you may recall, she had a very, very difficult time meeting us and even coming to us.  As you now know, that is definitely not a problem anymore I'm happy to report.  So, here to share.

Isn't she just a doll?!  This is why it is so dog gone hard not to share pictures.  You want to scream from the rooftops this is my kid and I love her!  But, you can't.  Summer is holding a photo album we gave her.  

This was a sandbox she would play in.  It was hard to sit down as the ants made this their home too.  Lots of ants.  Notice none of us sitting down.  Look at that body language.  Boy, what a change in her!

 Trying to just engage her in activity or conversation.  For those new to adoption, please don't be scared if your child acts like Summer.  They do come around.  Remember, you are a stranger to them in their mind.  We kept our distance b/c it was for the best for her.  Very hard for us, but best for her.

Yes, sitting down was tough.  Plus, it was the middle of summer and hot.  

Daddy, building sandcastles w/ his baby girl.

I can't say I miss these days.  She was just so, so timid.  It was almost hard to watch her in this state.  We knew why as we had experience.  However, didn't make it any easier.  You travel half way around the world and all you want is a hug or just a simple touch of the hand.  I know years from now, Summer will laugh at this just as Irina does w/ all her photos from our meeting.  

 My poor baby.  And on my first trip, no way for me to make it any better.

Not going to smile for mom, is she?

 Working with Daddy on some coloring.  She alternates between left and right hand.  She doesn't know which she prefers yet.  And I'm talking present day, not back then.  This was the closest we could get to her with our first visit.

Oh, if looks could kill.  Her hair was long and it was cut before we picked her up on trip two.  Girls at home were looking forward to doing her hair.  Oops.  

Last picture I was ever able to get of my baby girl before leaving her for months.  

Now, as I sit here and she's laughing and not going to sleep, it all feels right.  It all came together in due time.  She's meant to be here.  Summer is right where she belongs.  I know I was scared in the beginning just as she was.  But now, my baby girl doesn't want to let me go.  Runs to her Daddy when he gets home from work all while yelling "daddy, daddy!"  She's our little spitfire and has no shell whatsoever to come out of.  Summer is an absolute joy to have around...when she's not driving us crazy of course.  LOL.  She is so loved here and so wanted.  Yes, as you can see, that first trip was difficult and not a dream meeting.  But boy, now, we are truly living the dream!  The sibs first trip pics coming soon.  They had no issues whatsoever that first trip bonding.  Wait till you see. 

Their first pictures....

it's what drew me in.  I thought since the kids have now been home awhile, I will give you a look at the first pictures I saw of them.  You know the referral pictures that you keep pinned to the fridge during the entire process until you can see them and touch them for real.  Those pictures.  Summer was the child we picked out first.  It was her eyes that did it for me.  Something about her.  She has the most gorgeous big brown eyes I think I have ever seen on a child.

This is one of the first pictures of Summer we received.  No smile but we knew something was in there for sure.  Just had to have faith.  No, she's not left handed.  Reni is but not Summer.  

Isn't she just beautiful?!  I just wanted to hold her.  That was it.  Who knew it was going to be SO LONG before I'd be able to.  Now, the child doesn't want to let me go.  She is such a sweetheart.  Her hemaginoma is more pronounced here than now.  It's on her lip but now, you can't even really tell a difference unless you're looking.  We're not correcting anything b/c frankly, I don't see anything to correct.  I believe she was 2yo here.  Perfect.  The age I wanted.  Little did I know, 4 would be the age I longed for.  

She's standing up.  And, was pretty balanced in the video.  Summer was located in that orphanage that everyone is talking about lately.  She was there for 2.5 years.  It was where I thought we'd go to pick her up but she was transferred.  And that was fine w/ us.  I just knew she was ours.  

It's funny, you pretty much know which kids are yours.  See, after we accepted Summer's referral (well, she was on a waiting list obviously due to special needs), we were looking for maybe one more child.  We really wanted a deaf child so Nik would have someone to talk to besides his hearing sibs.  That did not work out and that's alright.  Nik is still right at home.  Anyhow, we found 2 sibs.  Both 4yo twins.  Boy and a girl.  Boy would need his leg amputated but was very healthy.  Girl would need extra care.  Accepted both.  However, shortly obtained a video and realized the little girl would need 24/7 care.  Something that with 9 other kids, we would not be able to provide.  It was very, very hard to let go yet for some reason, very peaceful about it.  See, what we didn't tell anyone was that we were feeling uneasy but couldn't figure out why.  Both of us were.  Now we know.  They were not our kids.  Our friends went to this orphanage in June.  Saw these two and found out a couple was adopting them that only had one older child.  This couple had much experience.  Our friends had said that indeed she would have needed extensive care.  All worked out.  Though I will say this, we felt extremely guilty that day having to write why we could not parent the twins.  It would not have been fair to the little girl nor the other kids in the family here.  I hope that made sense.  

So, we were looking at other kids.  Our agency thought they had the perfect two.  Both of us saw the video and said yes.  Most definitely ours.  Kept watching it and smiling.  Knew somehow, they'd fit right in.  Just a gut feeling.  I could picture them playing soccer in the yard.  Guess what, that's just what they were doing earlier today!  yes, this referral was for Logan and Reni.  2 older kids no one wanted.  Everyone passed up.  It's hard to place a sib group.  Let alone an older sib group where one is a boy.  And that boy has epilepsy.  And the girl is very delayed.  yes, not on the top of everyone's list.  Thank goodness though b/c they then became the top of our list!  First pictures we ever received of them.  

I tried to blow it up but is even more grainy.  This is all we had to go on forever.  Isn't he a handsome young man though?  Makes you wonder how in the world he can get passed up for so long.  Why do they wait?  Especially boys? Trust me, girls are not "easier" as people say.  

Reni's picture.  See, at some point, she did indeed have glasses.  It was at a minimum a year that she went w/out as far as we can determine from future photos.  But this is not a correct script I don't think.  Her eye still turns very badly.  Her current glasses have corrected this.  Again, very cute yet passed over.  

I know much of it is a cultural thing.  All my children from Bulgaria are of Turkish origin.  And that is just fine with me.  They are beautiful, beautiful kids.  It is so hard to see older kids passed over time and time again.  They do have a ton to offer.  

Reni and Logan are bio sibs.  I think they were in a total of 3 orphanages from what I can gather.  The one orphanage we picked them up from was wonderful.  I still stand by that statement.  I can tell just from where they took them, what they did, the nutrition they had, etc.  Director had it right.

I think before they were transferred there is where all the trouble occurred.  Again, this is JUST SPECULATION as I was NOT there with them.  I am being given this information from my own kids.  This is what happened with Yana as well years ago once she started talking.  Truth started flowing.  This is where (not their last orphanage) the rock incident for Reni took place and some other "traumas."(my term for them.  Reni explained in the yard they used sticks on them)  Kids are starting to talk more.  Reni is filling me in on quite a bit.  And I know many folks wouldn't share this info but I want people to know.  It really effects how you parent them when they get home and it lets you know how you can help them.  When they have been hurt in their past, your main goal as their parent is to help them feel safe and secure.  In the beginning, if I ever raised my voice, Reni would squat to the ground and shake her hand no, no.  Now, in this house, it's loud.  You must raise your voice at times just to be heard. Plus, Nik is always loud just due to the deafness.  Now, she does not even flinch.  To me, a sign she is feeling safer and safer each day.  

I know I will never fully understand their past.  I will not know all that happened to them.  But I will be filled in on much I'm sure.  They'll be able to recall even more than Yana did.  Yana was 8.5 when we adopted her. These two are 9 and 11.  And Reni feels safe enough now to share.  Logan does not have as much language as her yet.  There are many, many signs that Reni was negatively effected by some type of trauma in her past.  The good news is kids are resilient.  Reni is doing beautifully.  So great in fact, that on New Year's Eve, she's going to a party w/ Alyona to one of their friends and spending the night.  She has come a long, long way in a few short weeks.  She knows she is loved.  She knows she is safe.  She knows no one will hurt her.  She knows there are people here to protect her.

I know this post got sidetracked a bit.  Hope you don't mind.  I know this is a topic many do not talk about.  It's hard but it is reality for some. Reni told me what happened one time when they used sticks on her.  The only thing you can do in this situation as a parent is comfort them and listen.  Just listen.  If they want to talk, they will.  Some of mine have kept quiet about things in their past.  Some have not.  One of mine used to get picked up by their ears.  They'd also get slapped for wanting more bread.  One of mine got in trouble for trying to take the caretakers toilet paper.  They only wanted real toilet paper.  See, in their orphanage the kids used newspaper instead of toilet paper.  I could go on w/ things that I know happened to some of my kids.  I won't.  You get the idea.  As 'Annie' puts it... "It's a hard knock life for us.  It's a hard knock life for us.  No one cares for you a smidge when you're in an orphanage."  You remember the song and the movie for sure.  And please do  not misinterpret what I'm trying to say.  I want to make this perfectly clear NOT all orphanages are bad.  That is NOT true by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, a few of my kids were in great orphanages.  Reni & Logan's orphanage in Shumen was fantastic!  They were caring, observant, kind, and really wanted what was best for the kids.  They provided for them.  Took them places.  Prepared them for adoption.  Like I said, they got it right.  The kids respected the director yet did not fear them.  This was a good orphanage.  But it was not a home and there is indeed a difference.  However, this was not the only orphanage they went to.  And they were not treated the same in their previous orphanage.  Like I said before though, not all orphanages are bad.  But not a single orphanage is a family.  You can not replace a family life.  Not a bit.  Majority of my kids came from orphanages where the caretakers took care of the kids and loved them.  Some of my kids did not.  I know which ones did and did not have a "good" orphanage.  I will not share that info though.  It will remain private. Just know, over the 8 orphanages we have seen in person over the years, the majority did an awesome job w/ the resources they had and honest to goodness truly loved the kids.  I mean really loved them.  In fact, I still keep in touch w/ some of the caretakers at various orphanages.  Their love did not fade.  That is the kind (if you had a choice) of orphanage you would want your child from.  Others I have seen, do not have that same kind of love.  All you can do is hope and pray for the children left behind.  Right now, we are thankful our Bulgarian kids came from the orphanages they came from.  And from what I've heard, the vast majority of orphanages in this country are wonderful.  Again, not the same as a family but many do help prepare the kids for the transition into family life and give them the stability and skills they need while at the orphanage.  Hope that made sense.  This post is already too long.  Sorry about that.

Mini happenings

I know it's mid-week but a bunch going on so thought I'd share a few brief things.  Nik as of right now is no longer receiving speech therapy that he so desperately needs.  Our therapy place is saying that BCBS won't pay for it.  We get home speech therapy for various reasons.  Main one being would you like to drag 6 kids to speech 3X a week?  Half of them being FASers.  Umm, no.  It would be disruptive to other kids as well.  Plus, therapist does NOT live far at all from us and has a cluster of us in the same area.  Anyhow, we don't know what's going on w/ insurance as we have private insurance through my husband's work that is handled by BCBS but totally different ball game.  We have more benefits.  We have unlimited speech IF it is deemed medically necessary and all docs sign off.  Not hard to do w/ Nik's case.  Anyhow, now they are saying we don't have this and only have 25 visits a year.  So, called HR today & left a message w/ benefits.  I'll be waiting for a call back.  Hoping for good news.  Would hate for speech to disappear when it does indeed make a difference. 

In the process of possibly participating in a research project for older FASD kids.  Basic process started today and testing would be in the future.  If you are in the triangle area and would like to participate, please contact me and I'll give you the contact info.  Has to be documented FASD & be between ages of 12 and 18.  Think it will be an interesting project.   Would be great to have this disorder get some visibility.  Schools definitely do NOT know what it is.  URGHH!!! 

Took the kids to the park today w/ a friend of mine.  Was great having some adult conversation.  It was chilly today so we were the only ones there.  Kids had the entire park.  Mine took off their jackets so only but so cold for them.  Wish I had pictures but can't find my camera.  I know it's somewhere but not sure where. 

Came home and had lunch.  School work followed for the next 3 hours.  Really working w/ Logan and Nik on sight words.  And phonics of course.  Alyona is trying to learn money.  It's just so hard for her and hard for me to watch at times.  More on school later.

Have an IEP meeting for Max coming up.  Have a vocational rehab meeting for Irina.  Can't wait for her to get into the job community.  I really think it will help her.  I have to set up an IEP meeting for Alyona to go to middle school next year. Where Bojan goes.  Except, she can't go there or she'll be put in a life skills class.  She's higher functioning than that.  Deserves more.  It will be a fight to get her put to another school.  I know this as fact as my neighbor/ former classmate of hers, had to fight for her son to get him in this another school.  County does not want to comply despite it being in the best interest of the child.  It's crazy but one of the many reasons we need to leave this county.  Great for others who fall into the 'normal' category.  But if you sway either direction, special needs or gifted, there is nothing here for them.  Or, at least that has been our experience the last 12 years. 

Working on house things in order to put it officially on the market.  Praying it will be mid-January.  Need it to be soon. 

Many other little things are happening as well.  Warren and Bojan share the same birthday....tomorrow.  With the adoptions recently, Warren and I have been unable to do anything for our anniversary, Christmas and now birthdays.  I wanted to do something special as it is a big one...50!  Yes, he'll kill me for that one.  But shoot, when you have a 19yo daughter, someone is bound to figure out the age thing at some point.  LOL.  He did take off.  Not sure what we'll do since 6 kids will be home.  Can't really take them anywhere.  Plus, Bojan turns 13 tomorrow.  So, to 'big' events tomorrow.  Got to find that camera.  Bojan said he just wants to go out to dinner.  He hasn't told us where yet.  I'm really shocked he didn't want a party or anything.  I was prepared for a party type thing.  We'll see. 

Friday the kids start their homeschool classes at a private academy.  Very excited about it.  It's very close by and they are going to be doing some exciting things.  Nik will take Munchie  Math and also a bug class. Reni will take a Munchie Math & also a dance class...I think.  Alyona will take crocheting and a gardening class.  She was signed up for Victorian times but something happened to the class.  I think she'll love her classes though.  Alex and Logan are signed up for Gizmos & Gadgets(they build things) and stop motion film making.  Great supplement for homeschool classes.  They will also start back up in January w/ classes at church.  Not sure when they start back up.  They've taken science club, cooking, ASL and jump rope clubs.  Just on Wednesday nights but they learn a bunch.  We are taking a break from winter sports for adjustments as a family.  Soccer starts back up in March.  Warren and I will be going to a few local museums in Jan. and Feb.  Also, since weather is mild, visit the farm and go on one last hike till spring.  Not get lost this time and most likely a much shorter hike or there may be mutiny. 

Keeping busy.  Got to go on my walk this evening.  1.5 miles.  I know, not much but we all have to start somewhere.  Still excited.  Training for a 5K will be an experience for sure.  My goal is if I can do this, next fall, I'll workup to a 10K.  Time will tell.  Right now, it's just getting up and moving forward.  That starts w/ a walk.  Next week, I will be starting to run part of these walks.  Got to go.  Getting dark.  There are no excuses. I go either way...dark or not dark.    More to come.  I still have a bunch of half written posts.  Need to walk first though, make dinner and get through bath/ bed time.  And, picking a piece of the house to organize each night.  My walk in closet is now a walk in closet again.  Progress.  Just need to keep up the momentum. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas at Nana & Papa's

Time to finish up Christmas posts.  Wednesday after Christmas we went to Warren's parents house to celebrate with them.  Kids were ready to go.

Just finished yelling at the 3 girls here, can you tell?  They were hitting each other, screaming, etc.  I threatened no presents.  They were rethinking their actions and Alyona even hid under her jacket.  

Made it in one piece!  Reni, Summer, Nik and Alex ready to open presents.  

 Logan and Yana waiting on lunch to be served. 

 Alex, on the verge of meltdown mode.  He held it together until the very end when we were leaving.  He broke down in tears poor kid.  It was just WAY too much stimulation accumulated over the last few days and he just couldn't handle any more.  

Summer, wiping off dessert of some sorts.

Irina getting ready to open her birthday bag.

Alyona, enjoying the bow that Irina let her have.  Irina has quite a pile to enjoy.  She received some great bath items for her birthday and a storage box.  A really nice one to put all kinds of items in.

Some of the kids waiting to open their gifts.  They have to wait till everyone gets their gifts.  

Summer is so excited and it shows.  They're getting closer to opening them.

Bojan is not the happiest camper in this shot but Logan sure was.  Look at that smile.  He is ready to see what's inside.

The girls are so ready to show off their new outfits.  Fleece. My girls loft really soft things. 

Can you spot the sensory overloaded one?  Or, the one where noise is starting to get to him?  I give them credit though, they held it together the whole time.  We can go places with our kids but we always make sure we don't stay too long. 

Everyone checking out their new clothes.  Boys got fleece pullovers which have come in very handy in this area.  Older girls got nice sweaters.  Reni and Alyona got an outfit and Summer received a fleece jacket that is definitely her style. 

Everyone trying things one.  Kids couldn't wait to change. 

I think Max had a bit too much to eat.  He's about to pass out.  LOL.  Nik is showing off his jacket.  While twirling his hair.  A new habit he picked up for whatever reason. 

Reni, very pleased with her new clothes that are just hers.  When orphanage kids first get home, they long for items that are "just theirs." 

Here's my cutie patootie.  Summer riding a toy. 

 Max, tossing the football around w/ his brothers.  We take some outdoor toys w/ us as my kids need lots of activities and are kids that spend a great deal of time outdoors.  Keeping them in for a given length of time is asking for trouble. 

 Reni, sporting her new outfit while riding the scooter.

Yana vegging out while Logan sweeps.  Not sure why he grabbed the broom and started sweeping.  

The visit was very pleasant and low key which was great.  Kids had plenty of food and goodies to munch on.  They love her homemade vegetable soup.  She gave us some to take home.  Only lasted a day.  Told you they love it.  New kids were funny as they're trying to decide the relationships of who's who.  Kids loved visiting Nana's art studio and as always, are impressed.  They know their mom is artistically impaired.  Shoot, I can't even manage scrapbooking.  LOL.  They do know their daddy inherited some of their mom's talent.  Warren is quiet about it but is also a very good artist.  Just wanted to share our Christmas visit.  We came home and tried to return everyone back to normal before school started.  But, with New Years Eve, everyone became a little more off kilter.  We're finally starting to get back on track.  See, with my FASers, it usually takes about two weeks for them to get back to "normal" once normal activities are thrown out of whack.  This happens w/ long breaks such as Christmas, Easter and Summer vacation.  You just go with the flow though.  

More to come.  It's cold outside today.  And, Alex and I are starting our training today.  Yes, we've decided to run a 5K.  No one get excited yet.  We started w/ walking today.  Someone sent me a link to a great site on how to train for novices.  So, we're walking it.  Plan on running part of it next week.  My beta blockers better go into over drive.  LOL.  I ran about a 1/10th of a mile today.  Yeh, I know, a joke.  Just wanted to see how it felt.  If it felt like it used to or if I thought I would die.  Nope, didn't die as you can see.  And, felt good.  I have a bum knee and supposed to go in for steroid shots about every six months.  I don't.  I want to try to do this without the shots.  If I can, I will.  If I can't, back to sports med for the shots, no biggie.  With my history and knowledge though, I'm more than capable to wrap the knee when I start to run.  Time will tell. And, it's cold enough out that Alex is okay and won't pass out.  Hey, between the two of us we may need a medic to run this 5K.  Just kidding.  I know when I do this, it will be a huge turning point for me.  I'm already excited about it.  And, it's only day two.  I've been doing light weightlifting morning & night.  And stretching.  And, drinking water.  Okay, so yesterday I had chocolate milk.  Can't go cold turkey.  More to come on all this on Friday.  Just had to share b/c I'm excited. I know it won't mean much to many but means something to me.  Plus, since Alex is one of my only athletes in the bunch, I think it will be great to train with him.  BTW, his nickname is Dash (from the Incredibles) you know. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years

Oh, we were so tired by New Years that we honestly did nothing.  Had no desire to either.  Alyona and Reni had a great time.  Wasn't sure Reni would make it.  She's still petrified of dogs other than our own.  And these were NOT big dogs and they didn't even jump on you.  She'll get there.  She made it though and had such an awesome time w/ a bunch of other little girls her age.  Still made sure we were picking her and Alyona up though.  Yes, she's bonded.  But, at her age, we need a little more independence to emerge as well.  this is a great start.  Rest of us, well, we stayed home.  Older girls had someone stay over.  None of us were enthusiastic to welcome in the New Year.  Had some burgers on the grill and such.  It was good.

Yes, this is pretty much what we did.  Eat chips and lounge around.  Lazy New Year.  We didn't even light the sparklers.  We all vegged out, watched a movie and ate chips.  Oh well, maybe next year we'll be more motivated to party.  Yes, hate to admit it but we were really lame this year.  Hope your New Year was more eventful.  Have to say though, we liked the quiet little event we had.