Saturday, January 14, 2012

Digby update

This will be quick.  We did not end up taking Digby to the emergency clinic.  We spoke w/ our vet.  She was actually able to hear him over the phone.  Yes, he was that loud.  Yesterday was just awful.  Our vet is awesome though.  We LOVE Dr. Marty.  There is actually a doggie flu going around.  Does he have it?  We don't know.  At first, we were worried about something being stuck in his throat.  Well, he can swallow just fine.  He is eating just fine too and not throwing up and more today.  Still coughing and hacking but nothing is coming up and no sign of blood.  He's not shaking, and his breathing is not labored at all.  Today, his coughing episodes have lessened a lot. Our only concern now is not drinking enough water.  We gave him some chilli pops to help w/ that and he ate those right up.  Of course, w/ all that coughing, I'm sure it's hard for him to swallow.  The pups have shown their concern and at first Kota didn't know what to think.  He started coughing and Kota stuck his tail between his legs scared.  They're okay now.  Kids are treating Digby w/ lots of respect.  That's good.  Empathy.  Only kid I'm really MAD at right now is Nik and his reaction of laughing at Digby.  Really ticked off at him. He knows better, was taught better.  And boy, did the other kids jump on his case for laughing at Digby.  I'm pretty sure Nik got that message loud and clear.  Sign or no sign.  Message was crystal clear. 

All in all, hoping digby is turning a corner.  Was scary.  Dogs really do become part of the family.  Thanks for all the advice and concern for our Digby.  Though we have no idea how many years we have with him, we want him here as long as possible.  Digby came to us as a rescue and no idea how old he is.  Just know we love him and when he's sick, we're all just a bit concerned for him.  Love our Digby.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Need suggestions please...ASAP

Anyone have suggestions, I need them ASAP. Digby is our Australian Shepard. He has been hacking for a few hours now. Not rough until about half an hour ago. He is coughing up what "might" be blood. I know, NOT a good sign. However, it could be something he ate. No telling. I've left a message w/ our vet but it is around 8pm on a Friday night. You walk into the emergency vet clinic they'll charge you $1000 right there. We've done it 2X before...once w/ Bear, once w/ Aspen. They did nothing for Bear but literally watch him. For now, he seems to have stopped. We gave him some bread. Any other ideas, please, please send them our way. We are very nervous b/c as some of you know, Digby was a rescue. No idea of his age & he came to us w/ what they thought was heart worms but he's been fine w/ that. Kids are VERY nervous about all this, especially after losing Bear last year. May be a long night for us all.  Just if any of you have any ideas besides going to the emergency vet clinic, please let me know.  We're trying to avoid that at all costs and go tomorrow instead.  However, if it does get worse, we won't hesitate to go.  We love our Digby dearly and are all just scared at the moment.  Obviously, no more posts till we are sure Digby is alright.  and the kids for that matter. 

Our stroll in the woods (part 2)

time to finish this post before it gets away from me.  So, on w/ pictures!

Hey, if I can get the majority smiling, I take the shot.  Ironically, same shot, Logan was smiling & one other one.  Go figure.  

Wasn't too hot a day for Alex so that was great.  Notice Logan in the background.  He's not happy b/c we just finished yelling at him.  He was doing something to Nik w/ the stick.  Typical brothers.  But, ended up hurting him and that's just not acceptable.  Good news is, doesn't take him as long to recover from being upset any more.  

3 musketeers.  3 trouble makers.  3 of whatever you'd like to call them.

1st attempt at a group shot.  Wouldn't have been too bad had Summer been looking at the camera.

 Think the group shot turned out okay.

I just think Bojan looks so grown up here.  I seriously can not believe he's already 13.  Of course, I should given the attitude lately.  

Had apples in the car for an after walk snack.  Then of course had to go to Wendy's for some free frostys.  Just was a really pleasant day to go out. 

Kids' names

I had a request to say how to pronounce my children's names.  Thought I'd do a post on where they came from ...the names, that is.  I know naming a foreign adopted child can be unnerving.  You don't know if you're doing the right thing by changing their birth name or not.  Remember, each & every family's choice is different. 

We try, whenever we feel possible, to keep our childrens' birth names.  Sometimes it is possible, sometimes not.  Some names just don't go over so well in the US and kids would get made fun of.  Max's was one of those names.  Get into all that in a minute.  I guess I should start w/ Max and Irina as they were our first two kids home.  I spent months saying names that I would name my first children.  Excited to try them all out in the car on my way to work.  Crazy, I know.  Things change though.  Saw Irina's picture and her name and thought it was just fine.  Kept it.  Now, we always, always give our children an American middle name if they have their foreign birth name just in case in a few years they'd like to change it.  High school comes to mind.  With Max, his birth name was Murat.  Pronounced Moo Rat.  Yeh, that wouldn't fly in high school.  Now that Max is 16yo, he's thanking us for that name change.  LOL. 

Next two were Yana and Alex.  Yana we kept and gave her a new American middle name.  She now uses that in high school.  I still refuse to call her Nicole as do her old friends and everyone else that's known her for years.  Like I tell other new parents, they want to fit in as much as possible.  Name is one of those things that is used for fitting in.  They don't stand out as much w/ an American name.  Alex was Alexander in Russia.  Yet, they called him Sasha.  We kept him Alexander and just call him Alex.

Next was Bojan.  His birth name is Bojan.  However, it was pronounced 'Boy Yana.'  That would not fly in this country as sounds more feminine.  So, just changed the pronunciation to something more phonetic.  Now, it's 'Bo Jon' as far as pronunciation goes. 

Moving right along, we have Alyona and Nik.  Nik is pronounced Nick.  Kept his birth name spelling which the Russians said was rare.  Usually it is Nicholas or Nikolai.  Nope, his was just Nik so kept it.  Alyona was Alyona & kept hers.  Pronounced 'Ally o-na.' 

Finally, we have the last 3.  Borislav became Logan.  Radislava became Summer.  They called her Radi for short.  Just didn't think it would fly in the schools here.  She is one of the few where we put first and middle as American names.  Reni's name stayed the same.  I guess the best way to say it is 'Ren ee.' 

And for now, that's it.  Pretty sure we're done but we've been "done" before.  LOL.  (Warren I'm sure is falling over in his chair laughing right now)  I do know, we will take some time to settle into a family of 12 and enjoy a few things first.  No intentions currently to adopt again in case you all are wondering.  However, I leave my mind open b/c after Irina and Max (our 1st two), I swore up and down I'd never ever in my life do this again....ever.  Just goes to show you, never say never.  It may backfire...big time!  Enjoy your weekend everyone.  Catching up on some emails.  Kids and I just finished an apple pie I made earlier.  No big plans for this weekend.  Next weekend is the time we're doing a bunch of fun things.  This weekend, work on the house...boring stuff.  More posts to come as I'm hoping to catch up on some stuff. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our stroll in the woods (part 1)

Last weekend we wanted to get out of the house.  Weather is still so mild here.  Very mild.  Hard to believe it's winter.  We knew we couldn't go on a hike as Summer is not quite ready for that yet.  Plus, after our last wrong turn hike that ended up way longer than it should have, we decided to go to Warren's work.  They have trails there.  So, off we went.

 And, we're off.  Since Summer is so, so slow, we decided a bike would help.  Plus, with her balance being so off, this helps b/c of the training wheels.  When she first came home a few weeks ago, she could not pedal. 

 Alex and Nik stopping to admire the stream.

 Ahh, about half way through and no one has killed each other yet or pelted a rock at one another.  Now that's saying something.

Only looks like it's just Alyona.  

Hey, if the majority are smiling, we take a group shot. 

This is what took so long... the boys stopping to look at stuff or pick something up.  

 Alex, waiting for the other boys to catch up.

Reni and Alyona decided they should meditate while waiting for the boys.

 Yana and Summer.  Summer gained a lot of confidence that day and Yana got a lot of exercise w/ her as she couldn't steer. 

Yeh, don't think all of them were into this picture.  Oh well.  

More pics to come.  Need to get ready for tomorrow.  Kids have homeschool academy.  High schoolers don't have school.  Lots to do. 

Let's talk about grief

I am going to be doing a few posts on post adoption, adjustments, how you can ease things, etc.  I'll talk honestly about where are kids are, what they did, how they reacted to each other etc.  These are going to brutally raw, honest posts.  You don't have to listen if you don't want to.  I want to show people that yes, adoption sometimes can be very, very hard.  BUT, it can also take wonderful turns and progress can be simply staggering.  You seriously won't believe my kids in the next few posts and the photos.  But, more on that.  For now, Let's talk about grief.  Every single child leaving an orphanage must go through it. I don't care what people say. I am a very, very firm believer in this.  How can they not go through it?

Think about it for a moment.  A child is leaving w/ strangers.  Yes, you are still a stranger to them.  I don't care if they called you mom and dad the first day.  You are still a stranger to them as you are new.  They may have been told who you are but they don't grasp the concept yet.  This is uncharted waters for them.  They are about to suffer the greatest loss of their lives and they must, must grieve for that loss.  What do I mean by that.  Glad you asked.  Again, keep in mind, these are my opinions, based on my kids and my experiences over the last twelve years.  I am not an expert whatsoever.  I have learned from others along the way as well as from my own experiences.  So, here goes nothing.

When kids leave an orphanage, the majority of the time, it is the only life they have ever known.  They have 'family' there.  Yes, it is their family in their eyes.  My kids even called other kids brothers and sisters.  Imagine leaving your family behind today and hopping on a plane across the world.  No one speaks your language.  No one uses your name any more.  the foods are different.  The smells are different and even the sounds are different.  It is enough to rock anyone's world upside down.  You want to express your feelings but you can not.  For no one will understand you.  You become angry.  You start expressing your anger to these 'strangers.'  I fully believe the majority of kids leaving an orphanage go through grief. 

There are five stages of grief.  DABDA.  Yeh, I remember something from school.  LOL.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Now, not saying all children from orphanages go through all 5 stages, but I can almost bet they'll go through at least a bit.  You've torn them away from everything in their eyes that they hold dear.  It is the only life they've known.  Doesn't matter if it was a good or bad orphanage.  It was an orphanage and it was their life.  You took it from them.  How's that for being honest?  Sorry, I think it is important for people to hear.  So many go into this from a standpoint of "rescuing" a child.  I know there is controversy in the use of that word.  I understand that & it is an entirely different post.  Whether you believe you are rescuing them or not, you must understand you have destroyed their world they hold dear.  They have lost their culture, their friends/ family, their foods, their familiar surroundings, their routine, their name most times, and many other things.  It is a tremendous, tremendous loss.  I don't care what you call it or how you slice it.  It is indeed a loss and these children must grieve in order to move forward.

Now, I have had all kinds of grievers in this bunch.  Some grieved right away.   Others took months.  Some were angry grievers.  Some, depressed.  Some would literally sob in our arms for a few hours at a time.  Irina did this one night.  It hit her hard.  She climbed in Warren's lap.  She was 6yo at the time.  Started to sob and he held here there for 2.5 hours straight.  Sobbing.  All you could do is comfort her.  Remember, she was our first kiddo.  We had no idea what was going on.  After that, she was a totally new child.  Life was breathed back in that girl.  Yana was an angry griever.  Very angry.  She was 8.5 when she came home.  My mistake was not taking her "life" from her.  She would get mad, go to her Russian icons/ pictures.  She needed to know that WE were the ones there to comfort her now and assure her safety.  We took those things away from her..the icons, pictures, etc.  Put them away.  She was forced to come to us and that was her turning point here.  Summer was a depressed griever.  She did most her grieving in Bulgaria.  Alyona was more all over the map between angry and depressed in her grief.  Reni is more of an inward griever.  At times, I see glimpses that she still is going through a little of it. Not much but a little.

Now, I think Logan took the cake and took DABDA to heart.  Much denial in the beginning.  When we were in Sofia, he decided he would NEVER learn English.  Never.  Then the anger came on.  And boy did it ever come on.  He took a lot out on his sister.  In the apartment, we tried to keep them separated for the most part.  I wouldn't let him go near her.  Try doing that in an apartment or on the street.  I know most on here have read some, not all, of the things he did while in Sofia w/ us.  I can not tell you how that last day did not come quick enough.  It was hard to live through.  Having 2 RADishes prior to this I think helped prepare us for all his anger.  Then came bargaining.  He did quite a bit of that.  If I'm good, can I do such and such.  Then comes the depression.  This pretty much hit once home.  It was an eye opener that all was gone.  He had a whole other life to start living.  He stayed in the sad state for a  bit of time.  Then now, we are just now entering acceptance.  He has realized he's not going back.  He is here to stay, new family, new country, new foods, new name, new life. 

All my children grieved in a different way and in their own time.  That is the trick, to let them do it at their own pace.  Do not rush grief.  Yes, it's hard to see  your child like that but it is normal in my opinion.  They have lost a great deal.  Once they are ready to rebuild though, you see a change in that personality. 

I know many will not agree w/ what I said and that is okay.  There are quite varying opinions on this subject.  I'm just saying it from my viewpoint and what I've personally experienced.  I know everyone's journey on this is different.  Even Alyona who was extremely malnourished when we brought her home still had to grieve her loss.  I have a few kids that came from not so great places.  You'd think they'd want to get away & not grieve a loss.  Yet, all of them did.  I know some of this is choppy as I've written it in pieces.  I have heard of others discuss this and just wanted to put my two cents worth in that probably is worth less than that.  I feel for new folks adopting, it is a part that many agencies seem to fail to recognize that the kids might experience grief.  And to discuss it w/ future parents.  It helps to know that it can happen and it is normal.  I think it's normal. 

Thoughtful Thursday

Oh boy, bringing this back so now I have to think.  Shouldn't be too hard though.  Lately, my kids have done some great things. 

Irina-- Was willing to let Reni sleep in her bedroom a couple times when first home. Now, remember Irina is OCD.  I don't say that jokingly either.  Medication is involved.  She let Reni sleep there b/c she knew Reni was scared.  Yet, she also knew that wetting the bed was likely.  (I'll have more on that later...the good).  Irina chose love and I just thought that was thoughtful of her.


Big brother is always, always there for these girls.  Ready to tackle any silly request they have.  I think this is great considering most 16yo's don't seem to care much about their younger sibs.  Max has balance and I love that about him. 

Thoughtful for Max to think of his little sisters.  

Yana-- Yana sat at the table last night and helped Reni with phonics for English.  Another thoughtful sister.

Bojan-- Bojan has been helping Alex with school work if he needs it.  Bojan offering help like that is just a thoughtful thing for a brother to do. 

Alyona-- Alyona has really taken to the big sister role.  Caring for her younger sibs.  She has been teaching Reni and Summer the ropes.  Though at times, she does need to back off from being 'too' much of a big sister if you know what I mean. 

Alex-- Oh my goodness.  I have seen so many thoughtful acts of kindness from Alex, it is hard to believe he has RAD.  Truly, it is.  He has come so, so far.  Mom, I'll get that for you.  Does Summer need help?  Alyona, I'll help you take out the recycling.  Really, these past few weeks,  I have noticed an extremely positive change in Alex.  Just been thoughtful to everyone that I honestly can't pinpoint one moment over another.  I just thought he should be recognized for it all. 

Logan-- Offered to take the garbage out the other day even though it wasn't his chore.

Reni-- Reni took charge and changed Summer's diaper.  No questions asked.  She could have passed it onto anyone else but she didn't.  Put Summer's needs first.

Nik-- Oh this one takes the cake.  The other day Summer fell down the stairs.  I put her on my lap and sat on the floor w/ her. She was crying of course.  Nik came over, kisses her and sits on the other side of me and holds her hand.  I was absolutely stunned.  Happy but stunned.  He really does love her.  Thoughtful of Nik to think of his baby sister when she was hurt.

Summer-- This little love bug is just as thoughtful.  She is always there to give a hug when needed.  Even when not needed. 

I'll try to keep better track this upcoming week of thoughtful things my kids do.  Just think every parent who has children with behavioral or mental disabilities, needs to see that there is good in every single one of them.  Some days you may have to look harder than others but it's there.  Yesterday, I'll admit was hard.  Nik and Logan were hammering holes in their door so they could make a peephole to see who wants in their room.  URGHH!!!  Yes, even on days like that.  Hope you're all having a good day.  More to come but we're catching up w/ school stuff.  They're playing for 30 minutes outside.  Irina's home as she had exams today.  History is next and then finishing up any work books.  We're on a mission this weekend to completely clean, fix & stage the downstairs.  NO other plans but that.  Period.  House must get ready to sell.  Next weekend we have museums we're going to and a big bonfire party at a friend's house.  Well, the farm.  We LOVE it there.  So, told my kids since next two weekends are packed, this weekend we must, must complete the house stuff.  They reluctantly agreed.  LOL.  More later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Milk mustaches

Thought I'd share a few pictures of some of the kids enjoying that Wendy's frosty the other day. 

How someone can get this messy w/ a small milkshake, I'll never know.

 Irina with her milk mustache.

 Reni, sporting her look.  I think those magazine ads need to use milkshakes instead of a milk paste.  Works quite well! 

We gave Summer the jug of milk, almost empty.  Told her to take a drink.  She's thinking about it.  

And, she was daring enough to try.  Though, it did end up all over her.  Trust me, was hardly any in there.  

My kids are big milk drinkers.  I try not to let them but they easily try to consume 2 gallons a day.  At about $42 a week, it adds up so I try to limit.  Don't like to but they will get carried away for sure.  And they wonder why I get angry if I see an entire cup in the sink to pour down the drain.  Geez.  

More to come.  Been a day.  Logan and Nik decided they should make peep holes in their door.  URGHH!!!  They hammered holes through their bedroom door w/ screw drivers.  Heard the pounding downstairs as I was working w/ the girls on school work.  Not happy.  Then, Irina ran the dishwasher.  No biggie.  Except we smelled burning plastic.  Spatula fell and burned up.  Luckily, no permanent damage.  These types of things are typical in this house on a daily basis.  You deal with things as they come up.  I guess that's why I feel drained today.  Well, that and it was a rainy day.  

We got a lot of school work done today which was nice.  Kids didn't think it was nice.  LOL.  Also, took care of an insurance issue so Nik can get speech therapy again.  Go through this every year it seems.  Tons more appointments made for everyone.  Trying to fit lots in the next two months.  Found an accountant too today which is one thing off my to do list.  It is currently 30 items long.  Crazy, I know.  working on things bit by bit.  We are entering new phases with our older kids and things.  Driving, vocational rehab, things of that nature.  Making tough decisions.  Do you declare your children incompetent?  BTW, HATE that word.  But it is becoming reality these are the things we must do in the future.  Neurologist first suggested it.  Anyhow, more on all this stuff later as I know other families are going through the same type of thing.  Maybe something we do right/ wrong may help others understand what happens when your developmentally delayed children get older and into young adults.  It's a whole other world.  Trust me.  Navigating new waters.  Got to go.  I am determined to go for a long walk this evening. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nik's drawings & makings

It's been awhile since one of these posts so thought it was high time.  Yes, I know I have many, many other things to write about and a ton of folks to email.  But, I also need a little fun and just seeing Nik in action and his drawings makes me smile. I know some of them seem a little "dark," shall we say.  But, it is cool to look at.

Hey, he's finally got a shirt on.  LOL.  Nik took the girls' weaving kit and made his own.  He was so proud.  It really is cool.  He uses it now to put his plate on at dinner.  

This is one of those that I am not proud of.   Nik made a fishing pole out of kinex w/ string as line.  Fine.  However, he put a metal chain on the end of it as "bait."  Told him NOT in the house.  Sure enough, he casts the line and gets it stuck on the ceiling fan.  We were so, so lucky it was not on.  So lucky. 

This was one of Nik's drawings.  I am actually loving this one as the firefighters are smiling.  Not only that, he drew himself and Dad!  Smiling.  Now, he always spells dad, Bob.  However, he always spells Nik Nik.  Not sure why he put Mik this time unless it truly is just a mistake.  Looks like he tried to spell jail.  But then again, you never know.  Firefighters are putting out the fire.  

Ahh, more like a Nik drawing for sure.  Guy going down a zip line into a vat of water.  The person falling and the line going through that rope is actually someone cutting the line down.  I won't tell you what some of that 'water' is.  I'll let you use your imaginations.  Got to give Nik credit, he has quite the imagination. 

More to come.  Got a bunch done today despite the neuro appointment.  Now have all kinds of other appointments as well.  Alyona is going back to doc for her annual eye check.  She has ONH(optic nerve hypoplasia) and strabismus so goes to a specialist.  Reni goes too.  Yana, Bojan and Nik are scheduled for a regular optometrist.  Alyona & Bojan go back to their ortho for a check up.  Bojan will need surgery.  I really have no doubt about that one.  Would be shocked if they didn't.  Alyona shouldn't need surgery on her arm but sure it depends upon her growth.  Vet is coming out to the house next week.  Other medical appointments have been made for the kids but can't think of them all at the moment.  February seems to be our month for appointments.  Want to get all done in case anyone does need surgery.  It can be scheduled before Camp Cheerio or summer vacation.  Casts in summer are no fun whatsoever. 

Off to make stuffed peppers for dinner.  Long day but we got some things done.  Hoping for the same tomorrow.  More pics this evening.  Even been answering emails...finally.  One of my resolutions was to get organized.  Ironically, I was accepted into a focus group today....about organization.  LOL. 

Results are in (MRI & EEG)

Today we went to neuro.  Logan was up first.  I am pleased to say if he had epilepsy in Bulgaria, he no longer does.  He does not show signs of it now so we will begin the process to ween him off these meds.  It is a slow process and must be tapered.  Have the schedule for it and will begin tomorrow. This is thrilling news to say the least.  Ironically, he does not want to be off the meds.  Surprised me but I think it is more out of habit and who knows what they told him may happen if he doesn't take them.  We are to watch out for any signs of seizures and of subtle seizures as the doc called them.  Logan will go back in a few months and then hopefully after that be fully released from neuro...wahoo!!!

Now, Summer's report was not as glowing.  Some of you I'm sure are unaware but one of Summer's dx's in Bulgaria was agenesis of the corpus callosum.  A rare birth defect where the corpus callosum is missing.  This is the part that connects the two hemispheres of the brain so that they can "talk" to each other.  Well, it is indeed missing.  Completely.  This explains SO, SO much.  So much.  Her little brain takes awhile to process info.  Quite awhile.  I know most parents would be in utter shock w/ a dx such as missing part of your brain.  We however, are used to things like this and took it as just something on paper.  It does indeed though explain the potty training issue fully.  He said the frontal lobe can't communicate.  Ironically, a lot of what is a part of this disorder is the SAME as FAS issues.  Neuro said she'll have quite a few processing issues.  We know that already.  Speech issues too possibly.  Know that too as she is still doing quite a bit of baby speak.  My others adopted at this age & this time had quite a lot of English by this time.  Summer can not figure out how to open doors.  Whether she's left or right handed.  Neuro said that is b/c the hemispheres are not talking to each other. Summer will be delayed in many areas.  The extent of her mental challenges will take a few years to figure out.  Just how far she'll go.  However, our goal is the same w/ every child we bring reach their fullest potential possible no matter the dx. 

Summer will have an OT and PT eval later this month.  They had an opening tomorrow but I'll be honest, I'm beat.  And, I can't go w/ the rest of them as it will be a few hours long.  this will tell us where her gross and fine motor skills are.  Speech obviously is out till she gets more English.  Double edged sword there as she will not be able to learn & process this as quickly. I'm guessing next year before an eval is possible but we are "hooked" up w/ speech so not a problem. 

I was very shocked at the dx to be honest.  Well, shocked and not shocked.  Not shocked as I saw some probable issues that may be related to this dx.  Shocked b/c I've had so many medicals before that are all wrong on my kids.  Makes me wonder what in the world happened at her birth for them to order an MRI the very next day.  That's not typical for any kid, any country.  This is a rare disorder that is a birth defect.  It can be associated w/ other syndromes.  Neuro said this will not explain her bruises not healing  & easy to bruise.  Her bloodwork (standard bloodwork) came back normal as did the thyroid.  Neuro said it may be worth looking further into issues w/ that.  Gave us no direction on where to start w/ that though.  So, I'll ask the ped.  I know for a fact she probably has parasites and need to do the testing.  I'll get that this week.  All my kids get tested.  All have tested positive for H-pylori.  New kids haven't been tested yet.  My other kids were treated for it.  I never got them retested but they do not seem to have any issues w/ it any more.  Doc thinks they're fine too.  Now, just need to do the new 3 kiddos.  Those who've done this before know it is NOT a fun process.  We'll also probably check Summer for Celiac's as well.  Some signs there too.  Someone on here suggested that and makes sense. 

Each new child typically brings about new dx's.  We learn as we go.  After ten kids, not too much is an OMG kind of moment.  It's more like, fine this is what it is let's go from here.  Majority of my kids have multiple dx's.  I have a feeling Summer will add to her list in the future.  That is perfectly fine w/ us.  Summer is still our baby girl.  Still lights up a room w/ that smile.  And frankly, she is no different a child than she was yesterday.  Nothing's changed her.  Yes, a dx came in.  It doesn't change who she is.  Though it does indeed explain why many things w/ her are the way they are.  Why she'll just cry out of nowhere.  Her brain is frustrated and she can't express it.  All I know is my daughter learned to say chocolate and KNOWS what it means.  And that my friends is just fine w/ me.  That's my girl.  Summer will do just fine here.  She adds such a spark of joy.  She is our little spitfire.  She has taught us a lot already.  Following right in Nik's footsteps.  He has taught us all so much over the years.  It will be no different for Summer.  I'll keep you posted on things.  But, I won't blame things on her dx.  Just as I haven't for my other kids.  It is not an excuse for their behaviors.  Yes, it explains them for sure.  But, just as my FASers know, this makes Summer no different than anyone in this house.  She will learn albeit her own pace.  She will learn.  That is fact.  She will reach her fullest potential and given every opportunity every other child is given in life here.  We love our baby girl to pieces.  Potty training will have to wait and that is okay.  Before, it seemed more urgent.  Now, not so much.  It is what it is.  She will learn in due time.  She has her entire life ahead of her.  And just as her name suggests, it is very bright.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Daddy's girl

who would have thought a few short weeks ago, that Summer would ever be to this point?  I mean really, we couldn't be in the same room w/ her let alone touch her.  The turn around to me is inexplicitable.  It truly is.  It's like a light switch went off inside her once we got home. 

Summer, listening to daddy read a book.  Alyona wanted no part of reading so Warren asked Summer.  So, Alyona was mad even though she didn't want dad to read a book to her.  I say jealousy will get you nowhere. She didn't like my answer, hence her pouting here.  One day, you will actually be able to see my coffee table or kitchen counters.  pet peeve of mine...clutter.  I hate it w/ a passion but this house, it seems to find me.  

Summer, holding onto Daddy.

I think she is very comfortable with where she is here.  

Yep, Summer has Daddy wrapped around her little finger for sure.  He won't admit that you know.  She comes running to the door when he gets home from work... "daddy, daddy!"  Too cute.  She really is just a joy to have around.   You can't help but to smile when she walks in the room. 

Manic Monday

I am definitely ready to start a new week.  Was a crazy weekend to be sure.  Today was okay.  Wrote something earlier on my FAS group.  Thought you all might get a kick out of it to help describe only part of my day. 

A little bit ago, Nik was "fishing" in the living room. Made a fishing pole out of kinex w/ string & a metal chain as 'bait.' Told him to stop. Yeh, a world NO FASer of mine seems to understand. Went "fishing" and wrapped it around the ceiling fan. Max got it out and luckily, fan wasn't on.   Last night, my husband says "stop! Do you hear that sound?" I say "no, what is it." He said it's all the guardian angels running into each other trying to keep up w/ these kids. LOL. So true. 

Kids and I did homeschool stuff of course.   New kids are further behind than I expected.  Well, I expected Reni to be behind.  Same with Summer.  Thought Logan though would be a little further along.  However, he is not that far behind that he can't catch up so that's a good thing.  Refreshed some geography today.  Sight words and phonics for Nik and Logan.  we'll all get there.  Slowly but surely.

Logan got grounded for the first time today.  I was extremely disappointed in him.  Extremely.  I know he was one of the orphanage bullies in Bulgaria.  I know this.  I'm not naive nor stupid to think he wasn't.  He is an 11yo boy and in orphanages, you take on certain roles for survival.  In the short amount of time he's been here, we have gotten rid of a majority of bullying behaviors.  He does not do it to ANY of his sibs whatsoever.  Now, today, the kids chased after the dogs as they had escaped.  Nik tagged along, camera in hand.  He recorded the event.  On that video Nik captured, Logan was on camera caught red-handed kicking Kota!  I was appalled, disappointed and frankly wondering why the dog didn't attack him.  This is Kota after all.  Logan stood there in front of me not able to look me in the eye.  Knew he was busted, knew he was wrong.  No outside playing, no video games, nothing.  He was on the verge of tears which is great b/c that actually means he cares & has empathy.  After dealing with 2 RADishes, I think we can handle this one.  Just was so disappointed b/c I've seen such HUGE strides in this kiddo of mine but today felt like such a set back.  I know we have only been home a few weeks.  I know this is normal and it too will pass. Doesn't make it easier for sure. 

Tomorrow is a big day.  We finally get the MRI/ EEG results of Summer and Logan.  Not sure what to expect really.  Thinking that Logan may indeed have epilepsy as he's told us of seizures in Bulgaria.  Summer, at times I feel is right on target.  Other times, I do think about it quite a bit. She's always falling (lack of balance), delayed, can't figure out simple tasks at times, etc.  I think to myself, could she be missing part of her brain?  Does this explain it or am I reading too much into things.  I hope I'm reading too much into things. I do.  I see her as my baby girl who can do anything she sets her mind to.  Hard to see the other stuff sometimes.  Yes, I am well aware she is delayed to an extent.  Only thing is I am hoping they are orphanage delays.  It is what it is.  We love Summer to pieces no matter what.  However, right now we are looking at the future for some of our kids.  Some that will never leave home but desire to for independence they'll never be able to experience.  It's a harsh reality.  As our oldest is 19, it is becoming more of a reality daily.  I will write about it soon, just hard.  So many decisions to make.  Hard to know what is right, what is wrong, what they will succeed at, are you doing all you can and so many other questions.  So even though she's young, these delays are life long.  We have to plan immensely for them when they get older.  That is actually another purpose of this blog.  To help others as we are just now venturing into young adulthood with our first child with disabilities.  It is nothing like an IEP meeting.  No, for this is life decisions about their life. 

Sorry, getting sidetracked.  Tomorrow is a big day.  Answers and most likely, more questions.  Ideally, an all clear and go home is what I desire.  I know that is most likely a dream.  Hey, we dream here, we dream big.  LOL.  Warren goes to the dentist on Wednesday.  Other than that, we should not have any other appointments. However, about to make a slew of them and expect a few surgeries out of some.  Irina's nose is collapsing again.  Found out years ago it was most likely broken at the orphanage.  DOn't know if this is when she fell out of the window over there or not.  Not sure.  It causes her issues w/ breathing.  So, back to ENT to get it checked out once more.  Bojan is going to need surgery on his clubfoot.  It's bad again.  I know at least one toe will need amputating.  Other work done on it as well. Alyona was scheduled last year to have her tonsils out but we canceled it.  She is having tonsil stones again so trying to decide if we need to get it done.  That's most likely 3 surgeries right there.  Reni and Summer have HUGE tonsils but we are not doing anything unless they have issues.  Our ped is agreeing w/ that decision.  Irina also found a lump in her abdomen.  I think it is just a cyst but getting that checked out anyhow.  So, many appointments to make. 

Much is going on here.  Trying to fix up the house as much as possible so we can list it.  First, have to figure out how to float what the loss will be on this house.  Selling in this market, there will be a loss.  We know this.  Just want all our ducks in a row before proceeding.  I'm still catching up on emails to people.  I"m getting there but still way behind.  It's life. It's a moving target. 

Birthday boys

The other day, January 5th, was Warren and Bojan's birthdays.  Yes, they celebrate on the same day.  We have 5 birthdays crammed into a month ...Summer, Irina, Warren, Bojan and mine.  Feels like it never ends.  And, throw in Christmas and New Year's to that mix.  Busy.  So, the other night we made the boys a cake.  Thought I'd share a few pictures from that evening.

 Everyone getting ready for cake. Notice Reni and Nik off to the side w/ their cameras in hand.

Bojan, daring Max to pick him up.

 Call the fire department!  LOL.  Warren turned the big 50 and Bojan turned 13. Both huge milestones for each happening to occur on the same day. 

 Warren and Bojan getting ready to blow out the fire. 

 They both blew out the candles so not sure why I only caught Warren this go around.  I think he had to go back a second time. 

The melted mess afterwards.  Only found one lighter so by the time we were finished, those first few candles were mush.  

Three kiddos waiting for the cake.

I do promise all my kids on pajama shirts.  This time, it's Logan without a shirt.  

 One of the birthday boys enjoying a second helping of cake.

The other birthday boy w/ his oldest daughter.  Who'd have ever thought he'd be the father of 10?  

Bojan still has to decide what he wants to do for his birthday.  He's still not sure.  Since we have no birthdays in February, I told him to take his time.  Do something fun that he wants to do.  More posts to come but I have a social studies/ geography lesson we need to get cracking on.  More later. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A fishy gift

Ahh, after such a downer it seems of a post, it's time for something a bit different.  We have been so grateful for the various gifts we've received over the past few weeks.  From clothing to food to babysitting.  Everything is very much appreciated.  Well, this past week was no different. 

Our neighbors gave us 3 fish!  Beautiful fish.  We have an aquarium but it was empty.  They were getting rid of their fish.  Some beautiful goldfish & coi.  Came from a pond.   I know the tank looks empty.  Haven't put plants in it yet. 

Aren't they just beautiful fish?!  We have 2 good size aquariums in this house and then 2 small aquariums.  Love fish.  Have always, always dreamed of a saltwater tank.  Need a room for it though.  New house for sure there will be a huge saltwater tank.  Well, it's a wish list item.  LOL.  Was just sweet of the neighbors to give us some fish.  Was perfect b/c we had an empty aquarium. 

Our weekend

Don't get too excited.  It was an FAS kind of weekend for sure.  Those of you with FASD kiddos know exactly what I mean by that.  Yes, I'll take pity.  LOL.  Friday was nothing interesting.  Saturday, we agreed to get up and get moving.  Only trouble was is that everyone wanted to stay up all hours and no one slept Friday evening.  I swear, this keeps up, I may be serving Melatonin w/ that chicken.  So, ditched any plans we did have.  I won't go into detail.  Let's just say 2 kids had a complete and utter meltdown & one forgot to take meds. Think lions and tigers w/out the cages.  Yes, that's what it felt like all weekend long.  Hence, no posts for a bit.  Now, I know every once in awhile we'll have these and get through them.  Just seemed like this weekend it hit extra hard.  To top it off, it was a full moon.

Saturday, Warren and I had to do a few errands.  Once we felt it 'safe' to leave, we did.  We did take Nik and Summer with us.  Plus, we weren't going to be gone that long.  Get stamps, Nik a haircut.  Those two things were about 4 miles from our house.  No lines either so super quick.  Then, went to Staples to cash in some rewards points.  A friend at soccer gave us this suggestion and we love it.  You turn in empty ink cartridges and get $20 credit to spend w/in  a certain amount of time.  You can buy the ink cartridges off ebay in a lot and cheap.  She saves the coupons and ends up w/ $60 at a time.  Usually, they'll also run adds for a certain amount off.  Yesterday, I had a $5 off coupon and a $20 cash reward coupon.  So, we stocked up on some toilet paper, got a tape dispenser, and a new calculator(ours was broken).  It was great b/c it's all free.  Though, we spent a tad more.  $3 more.  After that, TJMaxx for household items.  Trying to sell the house and let's just say a few of our things are torn, ripped, cut or whatever.  Trying to make it look like ten kids don't live here.  Hard to do.

After the quick errands, off to Wendy's for some free shakes.  Everyone I hope is using their coupons.  I HOPE you all purchased those back in September/ October!  It was their adoption promotion.  Booklet of 10 free shakes for a buck.  I bought $5 worth.  Kids love it over the next few months.  Perfect size too.  Came home and cleaned up w/ what was left of our day.

Woke up this morning.  Nik was playing with a lighter on the couch.  Nice.  I don't even know how he found this one.  We use them for our grill.  Kept well out of reach.  URGHH!!!  No cause and effect thinking really gets to you sometimes.  Warren made a great breakfast and we decided maybe the outdoors would help with all the out of sync stuff going on here.  But, couldn't do a real hike as Summer is just not up to that type of stuff yet.  So, got her bike & put it in the car.  Drove to Warren's work and walked the trails there.  Great day for it.  I'll have a picture post on it later.  It was enjoyable and only one incident.  This one w/ Logan.  Hey, if it's not one kid, it's another.

After the time on the trails in the woods, we treated the kids to free frostys again.  I know, two days in a row.  Really, not typical here but it was a hilly trail here and there and that's our excuse.  We're sticking to it.  BTW, these are those junior frosty deals.  Tiny cups.  Just the right size.  Before this though, gave them the snack in the car.  Bag of apples I brought.  We eat at least a bag of apples a day.  We'd love an orchard.

Came home and started to clean up the yard.  Started to rain hard so back inside.  However, right before this, we learned one of the kids did something.  Something that could have really, really ended badly.  Okay, we have a pool.  It takes chlorine.  We have those huge buckets of chlorine.  Out of the way.  Warren went to add some to the pool.  We could hear him coughing from the other side of the house.  He screamed get away.  The bucket was literally HOT.  There was some type of chemical reaction going on.  The chlorine he said was yellow.  He said one of the kids had to have added something to that.  Can't figure out yet what exactly happened.  Everyone denies of course so you don't bother asking for some things.  There are no "dangerous" chemicals here but we do have cleaning products under the sink and some outdoor stuff stored in the garage.  Not sure what happened.  All I know is Bojan and I could smell that chlorine on the other side of the wooded area!  It was nuts.  Despite our constant state of hypervigilence, you can never watch everyone every single second of the day.  I have heard, FASD kids are the equivalent of having 3 kids.  On days like this, I must agree.

Just seemed like an out of whack weekend.  I know it's all par for the course and we all have these from time to time.  Just with some of my kids, they have no cause and effect thinking, lack of impulse control, and poor judgment.  All FASD qualities amongst other things.  Makes me tired just thinking about my weekend.  I know it could have been much worse.  No one was hurt.  Okay, don't count the fingers that got slammed in the door today.  Or the dogs that escaped.  Or all the stuff that got broken.  We have a saying around here..."with every new day, there's fresh hope."  Tomorrow is a new day.  Thank goodness.  Very grateful bad days aren't everyday.  Just had to share we too have 'those days.'  Much more pleasant posts to come.  But as I've said before, I have to keep our life with FASD honest.  Others need to know it is not all cakes & roses.