Friday, April 27, 2012

Random pictures

Gee, hit publish first.  Thought I'd throw in a few random pictures I had on the computer.  Tomorrow is an early day w/ soccer, picking up a trumpet, errands, cleaning up the house.  We may take the kids to the movies but we'll see.  Not sure what's playing at the cheap seats yet.  That's what we call them.  If not, we'll do a redbox movie and enjoy homemade milkshakes and popcorn from home.  The house is definitely looking better inside.  Finally.  Doesn't look like trolls live here anymore.  I was very proud of how everyone pitched in today despite the person not coming later to see the house.  It is very difficult for some of my kids to understand this process but we're trying.  This weekend is the push to advertise and sell.  Getting Warren to work his computer magic.  Want to take the girls to yardsales early morning but dog gone soccer again.  Not sure Warren would take the 4 to soccer himself as they are playing same times and different fields.  Yardsales is where we are able to pick up quite a few things.  It helps.  Not being able to go all these weeks is tough.  May get up early, go for an hour and come home to get them fed and ready for soccer. Sleep in the chair at the field.  LOL. 

Ahh, the two prisoners.  I can honestly say I'm shocked this past week at how fast Logan caught on.  He is no longer going along w/ everything Alex says or does.  This is awesome b/c Alex doesn't always know how to make the right choices. FASers need that external brain.  I am hoping Logan will slowly fall into that roll.  And the first time today, we had a major breakthrough with Alex. 

Nik, getting ready to make another piece of artwork.

Nik has moved past stick figures.  It is really cool to see his people come to life.  This is a student at a desk w/ a pencil box.  And a smile!  See, he can draw nice things too.

Summer practicing w/ some sidewalk chaulk.  She dressed herself of course.

 Max in his element.  He is our resident landscaper.  He loves it.  He weedwhacks, mows and trims hedges.  I'll try to trim them up but he doesn't like the job I do.  LOL. 

Logan, doing some punishment chores of picking up sticks in the yard.  In bedroom slippers.  

Bojan finds a way to practice his trumpet even in the chair.  He is so ready to get that cast off.  Bojan's final concert is this coming week.  The day he gets his cast off so that should be interesting.

Yana, coming home from walking Alaska.  Yana walks quite a bit around the neighborhood and of course runs it for practice.  Helps keep her healthy and the dogs.  

Reni is such a go-getter when it comes to soccer.  Right in there playing.  She was SO happy she gets to play here.  Apparently, women are not allowed to play in Bulgaria.  Logan was stunned when he saw girls on the team.  Girls play?  he asked.  Yes, in America they are allowed to play.  And let me tell you, Reni is making up for lost time not playing and loving every single minute of it.  Whereas Alyona would be just as happy strutting on the field in an evening gown, Reni would rather get in the game and get down and dirty on the field.  She'll be a powerhouse in a few more years. 

I have to get some more pictures up soon.  Just thought I'd share some random ones I had.  Enjoy your weekend.

Little learners

Homeschooling elementary kids this year truly has been trial and error.  I think next year we'll make huge gains as we know what works and what doesn't now.  Takes awhile to figure that one out.  All mine have so many learning issues that takes time too to understand how to get the most benefits out of what you're doing.  We do lapbooks now which the kids love and actually pay attention to.  That's how they learned most their multiplication facts.  Remember, these are kids w/ tons of memory issues and those just learning English.  Hands on is great too.  The other day we did a unit on Earth Day.  Talks about pollution, gardens, compost, water cycle, etc.  Lots of info.  So, decided to take them right outside for a short lesson.  Talked about recycling, composting, gardening and how the seeds grow, etc.  Just tons of info. Also, how we get things from the earth to eat.  They were excited about how mother nature can provide all sorts of things.  You thought I'd have given them liquid gold that day when I let them eat honeysuckles.  Our yard is covered in them. 

 Kids trying out some honeysuckles.  Our fence is covered in them.  Smells wonderful every spring.

Alyona trying to figure out what Logan is doing.  They told us they used to do this in Bulgaria as well.  They said that but then couldn't figure out how to get the honey out so not so sure they did that over there.  

Everyone trying a taste.  

Reni, tryign to find some that are not yellow.  

Summer, showing off her honeysuckle.  

Showed them how plants can grow beautiful and big.  And, how you can reuse the plants by cutting them in half and planting them in other spots in the yard.

Showed them the grapes starting to grow.

 Just a few of the many grapevines we have growing in the yard.

Kids searching for more honeysuckles up the front yard.  We have them growing all along side our property.  It's beautiful in spring.  

Summer, very proud of herself.

The homeschoolers showing their smiles and honeysuckles.  Older boys goofing off of course.

Showed them the replanted mums from fall.  We get mums for the mailbox every year.  Then, slowly replant them around the yard and they come back up.  Reuse.  

Just was a day of learning.  Was so nice outside, it's great to be able to experience some learning hands on.  They got invited by a fellow blog reader to go to a lab.  He's a paleontologist!  We're studying dinosaurs next month.  Very excited.  Well, got to run.  Soccer is very soon and Warren is running late.  Need to make sure we're all ready to go.  More to come this weekend.  I may actually catch up.  probably not but I'll give it a shot. 

What are they doing??

There are just not enough pictures lately.  So, thought I'd put one up.  Do you have any idea what they're doing. 

This was when we were studying Earth Day.  I'll have more on this pictures and much better pictures later tonight.  Taking a break.  We've been cleaning since we woke up.  Kids are watching episodes of How It's Made.  They love it.  And, never hurts to learn something.  Someone is coming by to look at the house today.  Kids are excited.  Though Warren and I know it takes quite a few people coming by to look to find a buyer, kids are under the impression this is it.  LOL.  I'm trying to explain the selling process to them but it's not quite working.  Hey, they're cleaning so I should let it go.  Cake's in the oven.  Smells great.  Now, to keep that smell all day.  Not going to happen.  Something is wrong w/ my aquarium so my room smells like fish.  Nice for showing a house, huh?  URGHH!!!  Candles.  More candles.  Really, the master bedroom does not normally smell like fish.  Got to love it.  Life.  It happens.  more later.  Any guesses on what some of my homeschoolers are doing?

Quick bit

Here's the new link today: .  Please take 2 seconds and vote for Summer!  She could represent SO much.  Thanks for your time.  We have someone coming to look at the house today around 4:30.  Trying to make it not look like kids live here.  Umm, that's one impossible task.  Soccer game this evening at 6pm.  I'll do a few posts later this evening.  But for now, lots to touch up, clean up and school work to do.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Got quite a few pictures to share.  I know I've said it before but I think this is my weekend to catch up.  Maybe.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

FAS listserves

Someone sent me a list of listserves for FASD.  Thought I'd share them as I know some of you out there parent kids w/ FASD.  No one group is better than another.  Usually w/ these groups, people find their "fit."  I have a few groups I'm members of.  Some w/ RAD are VERY private just based on the nature of the disorder and some not understanding.  But, most groups or forums I participate in are public and very supportive of parents of children w/ issues.  We all are in the same boat and I think that is what helps.  We understand each other.  Sometimes, venting helps.  Sometimes getting resources helps.  Sometimes knowing you're not alone, helps.  Whatever you are seeking, you can usually find a forum or listserve that will help you better understand your child's needs.  So, here's the list copied and pasted for FASD listserves: 

FASD listservs
(Internet mail lists Canada & international, Ontario, B.C.)

(for persons working in the field of FASD across Canada
 & internationally - news, articles, reports, events)
FASlink(for individuals, parents, professionals who deal with FASD)
Olderfas mail list
(support list for parents & mentors of adults with FASD)
fasdONE(for FASD Ontario Network of Expertise and Ontario FASD committees & coalitions)
(support for Ontario families with children or adults who have FASD)
Fas-bc(FASD listserv for British Columbia run by Dr. Kimberly Kerns at University of Victoria)

Information: Elspeth Ross, FASD educator,

Vote for Summer-- new link

This is the strangest contest.  The link to her changes daily depending upon ranking.  She was #710 then #35 and now # 51.  I know we can get her back up in the ranks again.  So, please vote for our Bulgarian Beauty today.  You can vote once a day!  Share the link w/ everyone & everyone if you don't mind.  Would be a wonderful opportunity for her.  This is one part of the contest.  2nd part the staff choses a some of the finalists.  One would get to go on the cover.  Imagine the story we could tell and spread the word of adoption?!  Anyhow, vote and share.  vote and share.  LOL.  Here's the link again:

more posts later tonight.  Hey, got 4 posts in yesterday.  Kids are really coming along on their multiplication.  Reading...not so much.  All have so many processing issues it is very difficult. However, we're not giving up.  Just thinking differently for next year.  Thanks again for taking the time to vote.  Only takes a second.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How do you feel about....

not ever having a baby?  I obviously get this question from time to time along w/ fellow adoptive parents I know.  Now that I have older kids and I've been parenting for over 12 years now, I think I can answer this one more sanely than I previously would have.

I"ll be honest here.  It is a crushing blow when you face infertility issues and question why.  Why to doctors?  Why to God?  Why to yourself?  Why am I not worthy enough to have the precious gift of a child.  Of a baby.  All I ever wanted was a baby girl.  Funny thing is, I didn't even want a baby, baby.  I wanted a 2yo little girl.  See, once we decided to adopt, that was what I had envisioned for our family.  Yes, I had wanted a baby but knew going international, that wasn't really a possibility.  I know everyone comments on the terrible two's.  But for me, it is an age I've always loved.  They are so teachable at that age and so cuddly.  Just always had thought that was what was in the plans for us.  Orphanage kids are usually all delayed so I knew it was more like a baby anyhow.  Did we ever adopt a 2yo?  No.  Not yet! (had to put that one in there so Warren could pass out on the floor. LOL).  Our kids at time of adoption were 3, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6.5, 7, 8.5, 9, and 11.  No real little toddler in sight though most my 3 & 4yo's were toddlers.  The 4yo boys were in size 18 month clothing when they got home.  But, they grow out of it like a weed.

Each time we went into adoption, we'd say youngest as possible.  Yet each and every time, we'd see another child, a little older, and know that they were meant to be ours.  Despite our deep desires to parent younger children.  And, this is okay.  There is nothing wrong w/ adopting older kids.  Nothing at all.  You see many, many firsts.  Many.  I've dealt with high chairs, strollers, diapers and the like.  Not like I missed out on those things. LOL.  Not that lucky to miss out on diapers.  And, I've regressed some of my kids when they first come home.  Helps with attachment and things.  But in the back of my mind, it has always been there...the desire to have a little one running around.  You'd think after watching 4 tots (2- 2yo's and 2- 3yo's) that I would have gotten my fill.  Nope.  Trouble is, if someone came today and said do you want to adopt a 2yo?  I'd have to say yes.  Not quite sure I'd give up on the dream but the dream will have to take another turn.  It will eventually have to be grandchildren that I'll have to dream of.  YEARS out mind you.  I'm not that old!  Right now, I can't picture my kids having kids but I know in the future that will happen.  For some. Not all.  Shoot, one wants to live by himself w/ 30 cats.  He says he'll just date girl friends.  I told him not w/ 30 cats. LOL. 

Anyhow, it has come time to probably accept that I will never live out the dream of adopting a young one.  It hurts still but I'm coming to terms with it better than years past.  And you never know what the future brings you.  I do know this.  We were meant to parent the kids we have.  All the kids, all the issues, all the medical stuff, it was meant for us.   I know we're not the norm in America and that's okay.  Shoot, we're not the norm in the adoption community.  Most folks run for the hills when they hear FAS.  Many disruptions happen b/c of this disorder or b/c of RAD.  Both of which we have at this home.  But it is our comfort zone, our normal.  And though I never got my 2yo little girl, I did get 10 kids who we are parenting to the best of our abilities.  It's not the dream that started out for us but it's the dream that has come true.  And being that Summer is on a 2yo level for everything, I guess I'm doing alright.  Just sometimes  you ponder just a little one....just ONE time.  Please.  However, if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.  Adoption teaches you to accept things out of your control.  Adoption is such a journey.  So many things you never thought you'd learn along the way.  Patience, trust, letting go, love and so much more.  We are comfortable right now with our family.  Dreaming of places we want to take everyone to.  I know some things are out of reach just due to the expense of a family this size.  Yet, I know many adventures await us.  This family growing older in years but also in love.  So, if any of you ever need a babysitter for say a 2 or 3yo, I'm here!  That will have to do it I suppose.  Guess what prompted all this was the high chair we discovered in the junk closet today.  Forgot it was there.  I can't say the desire to have a young one will ever go away. I can say that it can be redirected.  I can tell you this, in the future I will most definitely have the most spoiled grandchildren ever.  So those new to adoption wanting an infant or a young one, don't worry about it.  What's meant to be always seems to find a way.  It might not be the path we thought we were supposed to be on, but it may just be the path you're destined to take. 

Our little garden

I know I owe a post on how we're changing our lifestyle in regards to eating.  I"ll get there eventually.  For now though, thought I'd share our mini garden we started. 

Anyone for very healthy oregano?  Tons of it.  Feel free to come get some.  There is also basil starting in this box.  Chives always do well and we use them all the time.  Very small garden but getting there slowly.

 Homeschoolers had Earth Day unit this week.  We talked about compost and I showed them the bin outside and explained it.  Scrap wood pile is leaving this weekend.  URGHH!!!  The first box at the bottom is all tomatoes.  2nd box is onions.  Last box  has beans in it.  Other side will be peppers soon.  There is already lettuce, radishes growing. 

These are the onions Nik planted.  They've done well and we've used them quite a bit already.  Nice to reach out in your own garden for food.  Hence, why we need a much bigger grow much more.  

We experimented this year with one strawberry plant to see if we could actually keep it alive.  It's working!  Much to our surprise.  Showed the homeschoolers how it starts off w/ the flower and leads to the berry.  You can see some of the berries starting here. 

We also have planters around w/ various things.  We definitely need much more space for more plantings.  Hoping we can move.  Someone is coming this weekend to look at the house.  This garden is small but it's a great one to start with for the kids.  They helped clean it out, plant the seeds, water it, and pick the veggies.  It works for us and hopefully we can do this on a much bigger scale at the next house.  Time will tell.

Nik's drawings

Time to take a break from craziness for a second.  So, thought I'd share what our son has been up to.  He wants to be like his big brother artist.  Be prepared. 

Nik taped this to Max's and copied it.  Then, he took his own artistic liberties w/ it.  Nik told me the lady was going swimming.  Umm, okay kiddo.  I'm pretty certain this must have come from some Sports Illustrated magazine.  Just a guess.  

A close up view.  This was after he corrected her face.  Before, it was more Picasso like b/c the lips were totally sideways.  I know the rip is in a terrible place.  

This one scared me.  LOL.  He copied Max on this one and added his own stuff to it.  Nik said strong to me when I asked him what it was.

This one is one Nik drew all freehand and all on his own.  It's a cobra.  Thought it was pretty cool for a first try.  He is only 9yo remember. 

Lots going on

I know I haven't been as prompt at keeping up w/ the blog this week.  Turned out to be a busier week than I thought.  Tonight we're going to church clubs shortly.  Someone wrote and wants to come look at the house.  So, massive pick up and hide it in our future tomorrow.  Casts come off next week.  Yana's track meet is tomorrow.  We're going.  Pictures for sure.  Just  a ton going on.  Please vote for Summer if you get a chance.  Here's her new link & everyone says it's working:

She moved from #8369 to # 35!  So the votes are working.  You can vote once a day. 

I will hopefully have more posts this evening and more pictures.  Like I said, just been crazy busy.  Totally forgot about Bojan's leg.  Called today to see if it was ready.  He needs it before he gets the cast off.  His trumpet is still not ready. 

Logan went to the dentist today.  What they thought were cavities were actually dirty teeth.  This is very, very common w/ older orphanage kids.  They cleaned them up and sealed them.  He's been to the dentist here already but our dentist doesn't like to traumatize them on the first visit.  He did great.  Got the car inspected afterwards and went to the bank.  Did errand running this morning since Irina didn't have to work till the afternoon.  If she has off another day, we're going strawberry picking.  Much more going on.  Got to run. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

baking bread

Well, apparently we have a lot to learn about baking bread.  Here's what it looked like though:

Yes, that is bread.   Ahh, so many things to work on.

We made 4 loaves.  More like French baguettes.  Now, despite ugly appearances, the kids and their friend devoured them.  In fact, when Yana got home from track, there was none left.  It was very tasty.  Irina and I at first couldn't figure out why it wasn't rising.  I covered it w/ a towel.  2nd time I covered it w/ cling wrap and it did the trick.  So, not too bad for our very firs try.  We will be baking again.  We'll try this recipe again and then we're going to try one from my favorite cookbook that has yet to yield a single bad recipe.  

There is so much happening around here lately that I truly have not had time to respond to people. If I haven't, I promise I have not forgotten.  Tonight was soccer practice for the boys.  Yes, we let one rejoin soccer.  That was Logan.  Alex still has to earn it back a bit.  His coach spoke to him today about that.  Love his coaches.  They are just super duper awesome!  Now, Alex and Logan are still grounded in other areas though.  Oh, you have to hear this before I forget.  They're not allowed to play.  I look out the window and yell to Alex "what do you think you're doing?!"  He was on the trampoline mind you.  He answers "teaching Reni how to swim."  I wasn't quite sure what to make of that one.  One for the books.  Got to go.  Promised I'd get myself to bed much earlier than I have been lately.  Enjoy the evening. more tomorrow. 

New link for Summer

This should work.  I say should.  I've tried it and takes you right to Summer.  The one from yesterday goes to another kid.  Not sure what's going on but trying to fix it.  Here's the link to vote for Summer.   Please share.  The link to Summer changes with votes so you have to look for "Summer on the Steps".  

With all the glitches, she is way, way behind of course.  Trying to catch her up.  Thanks again.  More to come.  Kids and I are cleaning today and more science.  Reading is done.  Speech therapist comes shortly.  Irina is working again.  Kind of bummed b/c was hoping to do some errands w/ her today.  Need her help at times to corral them.  Car needs inspecting but standing in a small space w/ them can be a recipe for disaster at times.  LOL.  If Irina has off tomorrow, we'll get errands done.  Enjoy your day everyone.  Vote for Summer!  She'd look awesome on a magazine, especially being the fashionista she is.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Bulgarian Beauty

Well, I thought that since my daughter is just gorgeous, I should enter her in a contest!  Though all my kids are beautiful, this has an age limit since it's with Parents magazine.  If you vote for Summer, she has the chance to win for the week!  And, once those kids win for the couple weeks they're doing the contest, then they're entered into the bigger one where the people from Parents magazine judge.  Right now, the weekly one is just the most votes by folks.  Please vote.  If she won it would be a great way to spread the word about so many things.  Not to mention sending a magazine back to Bulgaria with Summer on the cover would be SO cool.  It really would.  She's such a beautiful little girl w/ so much spirit and life in her.  Want to share her w/ the world.  Please share the link also if you'd like.  Just a heads up, they seem to be having issues w/ their server. It's been on and off all day w/ server error.  Hoping it passes quickly.  Please don't give up!  Here's the link:  My Bulgarian Beauty! 

BTW, thanks for all the input on the photos.  #10 seem to be the unanimous vote on here and facebook.  Didn't have time to have anyone touch it up though I had a few volunteers who said they'd do it.  Thanks a bunch.  Just hoping they get the server fixed in time.  Pass the link around if you don't mind.  More to come but have a ton to do this evening.  Did I mention I really am ready for Camp Cheerio?

Manic Monday

Again, another weekend gone by and not enough accomplished.  Hey,  always next weekend.  Thought I'd do a quick list of what's happening here and what we've got coming up.  So, here goes.

  • Bojan's trumpet is in the shop.  Gets it back this week.
  • We are so tired of casts.  
  • Some very generous hearts we encountered this weekend.
  •  Those Krispy Kreme donuts were great!  
  • We all watched Fresh  and also watched Forks over Knives on Netflix.
  • Have decided to slowly transition to a whole food plant based diet.  No laughing please.  More on all this in a separate post.  Had to get a new vacuum.  URGHH!!!
  • Kids vacuumed everything including the baseboards.  Today, they were fighting over who got to sweep up the dirt as we had to get a new broom too.
  •  Jeff cooked us some awesome food.  Ate 2 gallons of soup yesterday.
  • We all have spring fever bad.
  • Logan has a dentist appointment this week.
  • Yana has track.  Going to see her meet on Thursday.
  • Kids have clubs.
  • Still on the fence of letting the boys re-join soccer.  
  • Logan has learned his lesson.  Alex is being a jerk. Sorry but it's the truth.
  • All of us are ready for Camp Cheerio.
  • I totally missed signing up Alyona for Special Olympics.  Kicking myself.  First year she's missed.  You better believe next year we're going.
  • Alyona will not be able to go to middle school here.  There are no classes for her.  She will have to be homeschooled again.
  • Way behind on stuff.
  • Selling a few things on Craigslist.  
  • Clearing some more clutter.
  • Making our own bread for the first time today.  Let you know how it goes.
  • Wondering if my daughter's mother thinks about her or is worried since the news about Pleven was in the national papers there.  Been on my mind a lot.  Want her to know her daughter is happy and healthy.  
  • Thinking about birth parent and sibling searches for a few of our kids.  
  • Lots of errands this past weekend.  We really enjoyed it though.
  • Summer ate lipsmackers chapstick last night.  Yuck!  She's fine.
 So, a bit going on.  I'll have more later.  Got to check their math though.  Then, finishing up our lapbook on Earth Day.  They've really enjoyed it.  All voted to study dinosaurs next so in May we'll be studying dinosaurs.  And reviewing everything else we've done in science this semester as well as finishing up any unfinished folders.  Didn't want to go anywhere today so we're not.  Though may have to end up at Walmart later for a few staples.  If this bread recipe works, we will not go back to buying bread.  We'll be baking our own. Hope it works.  Summer is feeling blah today but honestly think she's just super tired.  She had a terribly busy weekend.  Got to get going here.  Going to be a good week.  I can feel it.  Casts come off in 8 days!  Kids are very excited about that as they should be.  Been awhile now.