Saturday, May 26, 2012

Life Changing Day

Big title, huh?  But it was in many ways.  Let me explain.  Today, we had Nik's last soccer game this morning.  Had to get ready early and go.

Summer w/ a hard boiled egg in one hand and bagel in the other.  Hey, rush breakfast.  One day I will actually get a picture w/ nothing on the floor.  Basket of peaches behind her.  Peanut butter, pool chemicals and who knows what else on the counter.  Yes, we need to work on that clutter soon.   We left for Nik's final soccer game. 

We were approached and asked by his coach if we thought Nik would mind being goalie.  First thought that popped in my head that I kept to myself was well, if you don't mind losing.  Sounds mean but watching him week after week being in his own little world and not contributing as much as he should to the team, that's where the thoughts went.  Reluctantly, I said sure, he can be goalie. 

Ahh, would he actually be able to pull this off?  Already, the gloves were getting to him.  However, his favorite color is orange.  So that helped.

Wait, he is paying attention!  This may well work for him.  All eyes on Nik.

Nik, getting very comfortable in his element of goalie.  Never played the position before.  Ever.

Watching a ball go out.  I was amazed at his concentration as goalie.

Nik was alert, watching where the ball was.  AND, when it was on the other end of the field, he'd still do his cartwheels and handstands. 

He truly is in his element.  Look at him watching the game.  He's become aware.  Alive!  He is not in his own little world.  You have no idea what this meant for him. 

Nik, getting ready to kick the ball down the field.  And boy, could he ever kick it!  So wonderful to hear other parents say way to go Nik!  What  a kick!  

Okay, this was a turning point for Nik.  The PI kid w/ autistic tendencies and deafness and FAS and many other dx's is in his element.  This is HIS thing.  Nik played goalie w/ all his heart.  He watched the ball.  He was on a team yet still able to be in his own little world.  Inside that white box lines.  He stopped the balls and looked w/ delight every time he picked one up.  He was so, so proud.  It was the best thing ever to watch.  Wished I"d video taped it.  I really do.  At one point, he even laid on top of a ball to stop it!  Parents were cheering Nik on.  Everyone coming up and saying "we found Nik's thing."  "Nik's a great goalie."  Nik's in his element."  Yes, Nik still did his cartwheels and handstands.  But when the team was on the other end of the field.  Nik paid attention.  He was focused.  He knew what to do almost instinctively.  He "fit in."  For once in his life, he fit in.  He was just one of the team.  Not some crazy kid w/ weird sounds doing his own thing.  No, he was a member of the team and acted as such.  He did his part and loved it.  Loved being goalie.  Nik was beaming at the end.  So, so proud.  It was life changing for sure for him.  And for us.  We saw normal in Nik for the first time ever and it was a slice of heaven.  He stood out but he stood out as a goalie.  A good one at that.  He didn't have to be told what to do.  He just did it.  Was just an awesome, awesome thing to witness.  Just had to share.

Friday, May 25, 2012

6 months home!!! (Logan)

I saved this one for last.  Why?  One b/c I wasn't sure what all to write.  Wasn't sure if everyone was ready for those true, raw feelings about how we felt about our son.  What we even contemplated doing at one point as it was that bad.  But, this is a story worth telling.  It is about a leap of faith in the adoption world.  It is about trust and about love. It is about perseverance and so much more.  So, that is why I must lay it all out there.  Others need to know that things can look so horrible, so grim, so bad yet can turn around w/ the right kind of parenting/ family.  I know now why these kids were passed over so many times.  Why that even w/a sizable grant attached to them, no one wanted them.  First time we saw the video of Logan & Reni we just couldn't understand why no one would ever want to even entertain the idea of them becoming their children.  It just blew me away.  Who would not want these two?  that's neither here nor there.  This is about just how far Logan has come.

I'll start w/ the second trip.  The pick up trip.  The one that is supposed to be a joyous occasion.  I...think...NOT!!!  It was horrifying. I am not going to sugar coat this one single bit.  You need to know. I know I told a little of what was going on.  But I like to be home a bit before I tell the whole story.  So, here goes nothing.  On the medicals, we were told he had epilepsy.  fine.  Told he was mentally challenged.  Fine.  Delayed.  Fine.  Told he was on anti-psychotics, begging in the streets, lying, stealing, etc.  Wow!  Really??  Once we met him though, we knew better.  Yet, it's always in the back of your mind.  It is.  On the second trip, he was opposite of what we had met and we were wondering what to do.  Do we go through with this?  You do realize you can change your mind even that late in the game.  And this may sound horrible to some of you.  I think the new ones need though to hear the FULL story of where we were, why we kept moving forward, etc.  I can almost guarantee you, another family would have disrupted him right then and there in Sofia.  We did not.  We couldn't.  Despite all the horrible things he'd done, we were in this for the long haul.  Shoot, we'd raised two RADishes already.  We could handle this kid surely.  Right?  Well, day two into it, we were questioning ourselves big time. 

Let me tell you a little of what Logan did.  Kept hurting his sister by punching her, not listening, running away (literally down the street!), took a knife to his sister at a restaurant, lying, tried to steal hospital donations, kicked a cane out from an elderly gentleman, yelling at protesters, saying nasty things, trying to order vodka/ beer at restaurants, telling Summer to smack people on the butt in the police station no less, and the list could go on forever.   You get the general idea I'm sure.  A mess is an understatement. 

This is a picture of him rinsing out his mouth.  If Reni looks shell shocked it's b/c it's 2am the night before we fly 4am!  URGHH!!  He couldn't get a reaction out of us when we separated him from his sister so he decided he should up the anty and pull one of his teeth out.  Now, it was not at all ready to come out.  It bled for 2 hours.  I think at this point Reni wanted to hurt him.  LOL.  We all sadly were feeling not much love for him at the time when he kept doing one bad thing after another.  That may not be what you want to hear but I said I'd be honest.  It was hard.  It was a very hard pick up trip.  
Could we handle this?  What was he doing?  Was he really that bad as they said?  What's going on?  There were only two of us mind you and Summer had her own set of issues as you recall.  Honestly, we needed a third person to help us.  That is my biggest regret on that trip.  Anyhow, I chalked it up to him testing limits.  How much could I get away with type stuff.  Why did I say it was that?  Because at some moments,  you could see a nice kid trying to help.  Yet, years at an older kids' home had taken their toll on our son.  We needed a plan in place.  We called home and set things in motion as to how they were to act, we needed massive help, etc.  Warren was to handle ONLY Logan on the plane and I would tend to the two girls and the other papers and such.  The plane ride itself for us could have been made into a movie.  No kidding. 

Get home.  I wanted the natural pecking order to take place.  Kids asked if they should let Logan win.  I specifically said no.  Treat him like your other mercy. LOL.  See, Logan was a bully.  That's just a fact.  Thought he was better than everyone else.  Better at soccer, better at arm wrestling, etc.  Keep in mind, he is little for his age.  Most older kids are when they come home from years in an orphanage.  We took all technology away.  He wanted to go to gambling sites.  Ripe old age of 11yo.  He was computer savvy.  We knew that had to go right away.  See here at our home, only the older teens have technology.  Max has his own computer.  Irina has the ipod touch.  Yana will be making a purchase of one of those two items soon.  Bojan has a tablet.  Yana had one but it got burned.  Melted.  None of the others have technology except for some cameras and mp-3 players.  We had to strip him down to basics.  He need food, clothing, shelter.  Period.  No extras.  No mementos.  Nothing.  He needed to learn and learn quickly, we were his family, we loved him, we would not send him away and essentially he was stuck with us.  The quicker he could learn that, the quicker he'd be able to mesh w/ the family. 

What would make you even more crazy was the looks Logan could manage when first home.  Very smug.  Laugh when he was in trouble.  Let me explain the laughing part as some of you may not know.  It's a coping mechanism for older PI kids b/c many truly don't understand various emotions.  Their lack of understanding of it makes it difficult b/c truly as new parents, you don't know what they don't know or what they're trying to get away with.  After 10 kids though, all PI kids, we know.  No fooling mom and dad.  He learned quickly.  Not too many fits.  He did not have rages.  He is not RAD.  Yes, in the beginning he had those behaviors but clearly was not RAD and I knew that from the get go.  His were purely testing limit behaviors to see if mom and dad would still want him.  We did.  We knew there was a good kid in there but peeling away that rotten onion was a test of strength like no other.  Yes,  you want to give up.  Know we can't.  And for us, we can thankfully see the end results.  Visualize it.  Many parents can not.  I know years ago it was hard for us to see the forest through the trees.  So hard to not know if the end result would be a positive one.  We put Alex in a lead role which at the time helped Logan.  And Alex for that matter.  

Fast forward from all that to 6 months later.  We are here.  We have arrived.  Logan listens.  Yes, he still gets in trouble but it's more typical 11yo boy behavior versus the other stuff.  He helps out.  He is very healthy.  Only issue is the color blindness.  Severe color blindness.  His siblings help him out with that.  He plays soccer.  He's learning along w/ the rest of them.  He's reading, knows the alphabet and has some science facts down that we've been doing.  He is much more tolerant of women.  Oh, forgot that part.  Even the driver said no, he won't listen to women and gave a chuckle.  They still think over there that women are some how lower than men in many areas.  Women can't do this or that.  They were shocked ot see a woman police officer here.  Logan about fell over when I told him Alyona and Reni are indeed allowed to play soccer.  He is now used to women being allowed to do many things.  Logan has learned he is not in charge.  He has learned there are consequences for his actions.  He has learned that Alex is not always the best example to follow.  He idolizes his brothers but it will take time for Max and Bojan to come around.  Max and Bojan's bond is so tight that making room for a "new member" is difficult.  They're working on it.  Bojan is a lot better about it.  Max still has a ways to go.  Logan has learned that people here will help him and not hurt him.  He is learning that he does not have to be the bully any more.  He can be kind.  Logan has a passion for soccer and excels at it.  I am still unsure of putting him on a higher level league next year.  We'll see.  I can go into a store now and not have to worry about whether or not Logan will steal something.  He won't.  He doesn't hoard money around here any more.  He returns it if he finds it.  He's gotten nicer to Reni.  Not to say they still don't have it out from time to time but it's normal sibling fighting.  There have been many, many positive changes in Logan in the last 6 months.  Yes, we still have some work to do.  But, not nearly as much as it was when he first came home.  Honestly, in the beginning I thought it would take at least 6 to 8 months to even get a sense of normalcy.  However, it happened much, much quicker than I anticipated.  

I did not tell all this to scare you or say don't adopt older kids.  I really and truly wanted you to see the before & after in just a few short months.  I know many would have rushed to a therapist right away.  No.  They simply need a little time to get to know what exactly a family is and what their part is in that family.  We are very proud Logan has learned as much as he had in such a short time.  It was a 180 for sure.  He still tries to get away w/ stuff but so do his siblings.  We are learning more and more about their history as they speak much more English now.  I'm going to start writing some of it down.  Some is hard to listen to.  Some is really expected coming from an older children's home.  Their home was much better than most.  However, you have 17/ 18yo's with 8 and 9 yo's and well, that can lead to disaster at times.  Logan is a sweetheart.  He really is.  His smile is contagious.  He has manners now.  They came here, there were NO social skills.  We forget that sometimes.  At camp, he couldn't find the forks so he was using his hands.  They didn't known how to open a milk carton.  No manners when first home.  None.  All that has vanished.  I can only imagine his progress at a year.  Our story may not be typical but I think you'd be surprised.  I've heard many similar over the last 12 years in the adoption community.  Despite our rough beginnings w/ Logan, his future is unwritten.  He will easily fit in with society and with the right guidance, do very well.  It really is amazing what a family can do for these kids.  As well as what love can do.  I knew deep down, there was an awesome, awesome kid inside.

Ah, shucks

Well, it's the time of year again to get fresh corn on the cob.  Yum!  My kids love corn on the cob but love the shucking process even more.  Everyone partakes as we get a case of corn at a time.  I freeze some  and we eat some.  Nothing like it. 

With this many helpers, it really takes no time to do a case of corn.  All of them know to get the little hairs(the silk part) off of them  b/c we all hate boiling the corn and finding those on there.  The dogs patiently wait for one to chew on. 

Alex likes to be separate b/c he can't stand the peelings getting on him.  Girls had just taken a shower but still wanted to shuck the corn.  

Ooh, got the hang of it!  My kids will make great farm hands in the new Chaos Manor.  

My camera hog.  He too loves shucking.

Irina helped in on this session.  Summer is watching how it's done if you notice.

And to answer a question, yes, it is as good as it looks.  We love freezing it and having it in the fall.  Tastes just the same.  Much better than the frozen store kind that are stored in who knows what kind of chemicals.  My kids have requested corn on the cob this evening.  They know we're going to the farmer today to pick up our order.  I like that my kids know where their food comes from and that it doesn't just magically get in a shopping cart. 

If we stay here, there are plans being made of how to get more food on our small lot.  We have just an acre.  Hopes though are that we can still move.  Time will tell. 

Flabulous to Fabulous

I wasn't here last week to post but I sure did get some exercise in in the mountains!  I am still holding steady w/ only drink milk or water.  Mostly water.  Only one glass of milk in the morning.  I did allow myself ONE Mountain Dew at Camp Cheerio.  Previously, I could have had one w/ every meal if you'd let me. LOL.  Self-control is getting better.  Doing great w/ that. 

Also, I have a walking buddy and she is at my door every morning during the week at 7am.  Yikes!  Though I hate it, after the walk, I love it. We don't let each other off the hook either no matter how crappy we feel.  So, glad I added exercise.  I will add the real cardio this coming week.  Still stretching/ light weight lifting. 

Where I failed this week was diet.  I did not stick to it.  Back on track today but still that doesn't help the last few days.  My friend Rebecca that is walking with me, bought me a daily log/ fitness journal.  Started filling that out today.  I think that will help hold me accountable for everything. 

I'm getting there slowly.  Next week, I add cardio.  Glad I've stuck w/ the walking but I want to step it up a notch and add the cardio in.  Diet needs work.  It's not horrific but I can and will do better.  I feel I'm on the right track.  This week threw me off as far as sleep goes.  Lots of big decisions to be made, lots of worry on some things, and lots of papers to organize means 1am nights for me and up at 7am to walk.  I'm tired.  Not going to lie.  I'm really tired.  No, kids won't allow me a nap.  That will never happen around here. 

I would like to lose ten lbs. over the next month.  That's my goal.  I truly think I can do it.  I'm not counting the weight already lost.  So, not a fantastic week but not a bad week either.  I will get there.  I intend to be a little lighter on those waterslides next month for sure.  Kids have been cheering me on so that helps.  So if you see me, you best keep me in line.  My weekness is and always has been chocolate.  I truly think it should be on the food pyramid.  And not just in a tiny triangle either.  Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of dark chocolate.  Give me a good ol' Hershey Bar or Milka bar any day. 

Need to go.  School reviewing  today.  Yuck.  Enjoy your long weekend.  Many posts waiting to be put up here.  Just need to finish some of them.  HOwever, schooling/ kids come first. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Camp Cheerio impact and tidbits around here

Well, the storm cut me off earlier.  A little bit of time to write before clubs this evening.  Kids have church clubs and Warren & I will come home to work on taxes.  No, we did not get our refund yet for the adoption stuff.  URGHH!!!  Filed early February via a CPA.  Got a letter.  Sent in receipts.  Now, this week we get a phone call from IRS man.  You know if you are receiving a personal phone call from the IRS, it can't be all that good.  It wasn't.  Now, we must send in all canceled checks related to the adoption as well as credit card statements. In addition, a few letters.

Well, got too busy.  It's now Thursday.  Got all items together and faxing them in tomorrow.  I know others are in a similar situation and we all watch each other's time lines so figured I'd let you all know where we stand.

I have spent today working on papers.  Not only taxes but on insurance claims.  Lots of them.  Also, wrote out all bills.  Filed things, etc.  It was clean out our non-existent office time for sure.  I was on a roll today.  Even got some additional paperwork items taken care of.  Like filing for a birth cert for Irina.  Slowly but surely, I'll get things checked off this long list of things to do.

Warren got his x-rays.  Doc thinks he knows what's wrong w/ his ankles and may be able to fix things a bit better for him.  That would be wonderful for him to walk better.  Years ago, Warren had a nasty motorcycle accident.  His leg hasn't been right since.  Hoping for the best.

Kids are doing well health wise.  Now Logan has poison ivy.  yeh, that's been an experience for him.  He has a long way to learn about living near the woods.  Our kids that have been here awhile can identify poison snakes, know what critters to stay away from, etc.  Logan is learning...slowly.  LOL.

Max helped out a neighbor today cutting down some tree limbs.  Any chance to use power tools, he's on it.

Went to the pool place today to get things in order for the pool.  Usually, we have it up and running by Memorial Day weekend.  this weekend, Memorial Day snuck up on us.  We're going to a soccer party this weekend, church and then the aquarium at the beach.  Haven't been since we had half this many kids...literally.  Will be great to see it again.  Girls are going shopping w/ a friend tomorrow night and staying over her place.  I'll have the younger girls here.  Not sure how this is going to go w/ the older girls together.  They got into a huge fight.  So bad that Warren had to come back home, pick them up and bring them to me.  See, Warren and I had taken Nik, Summer and Logan to get their haircuts and to the grocery store.  Weren't there more than 5 minutes when we got a call.  Girls on the other end. Now, you'd think at this age, they could work things out.  Nope.  I was NOT happy.  We give them these little "tests" to see how ready they are to be more independent  and such.  didn't happen. 

We have since decided they should be punished.  They need to learn respect for each other.  Tolerance too.  Soo, we have decided temporarily that Yana and Irina will move in w/ the younger 3 girls.  Max & Bojan will temporarily move downstairs into their "own" rooms.  they are thrilled, girls are about to lose it.  They have had their own rooms for so long, I think they have forgotten a few things.  Irina and Yana used to be closer than close and sad to say they are getting further apart.  I know this experiment will not solve that but maybe it may help a bit.  I knew this would happen as they move into different stages of their life.  Guess I was just hoping it wouldn't happen so soon.  Thankful they were close for as long as they were. 

Looking forward to a great Memorial Day weekend.  Burgers on the grill, day trip to the aquarium, soccer party, etc.  More to do.  I'm getting there with organization.  I am.  We are having to make many, many big life decisions lately.  I know I haven't talked much about it.  One is legal guardianship issue.  It is so very difficult as every single person you speak with has a different opinion on the issue.  Especially, when it comes to FASD.  Crazy stuff.  Also, making decisions on our home.  Refi or not.  What to do if we can't sell and things of that nature.  Just lots to think about.  I know everyone has these decisions to make in life.  For now though, many big decisions seem to be coming in the same week.  To keep Alyona home next year or send her to middle school.  She is not life skills.  Yet, doesn't belong in inclusion.  Needs self-contained.  ONE school has it here.  Going to be an interesting meeting when it happens.  See, many decisions to make lately.  Thankfully, I've been walking with a friend everyday and that does help to make the stress less.  

Well, more to come.  Need to print some things off & do some more paperwork.  

Big Bubbles

The other day, Nik was not happy he could make bubbles w/ the wand any more.  So, he decided to improvise. 

Nik went and found a pipe w/ a big hole in it.  

What creativity for sure!  All his concentration was on blowing that bubble.

 He was mastering this bubble blowing by the end.  It really was cool. 

He tried many different ways to get that to work.  It really was cool.  Other kids were impressed as well.  

More topics.  I have once again started a ton of drafts and never put them up.  Next few days, you'll see probably 11 posts come up.  LOL.  That's how many drafts I have & that's my goal to get finished.  Yeh, you can stop laughing now b/c I too know that's not going to happen.  Our weekend will be busy once again.  Soccer party, church, day trip to the beach for the aquarium.  Oh and cleaning the house for sure.  But I will try to get at least five of them up. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Camp Cheerio-- heading home

Time to write the final chapter on this post and share some final thoughts.  But first, a few more pictures on the trip home.

Alyona and the rest settling in for the 3 hour ride home.  Sad to go.  

I promise, there are people in all those seats.  LOL.  They are just laying around.  No need for a review mirror as you can see.

Summer, asleep w/ a book.  There was a book fair we went to.  Part of the proceeds go to the NCCSA so it is worth donating b/c it helps w/ things the following year.  Normally, our books come from yard sales.  So, kids were truly excited to pick out their own new books.   Alex was out when we left the parking lot.  

Alyona is lucky she's little.  Space is disappearing around here in this van.  We will have a solution by next trip but ideas are welcomed.  Our day trips are no big deal really but the ones you have to bring stuff on are really rough.  

Told the kids come in and just drop it anywhere.  They thought blocking the living room was the place to drop it.  Got to love it.  

Hey, only one fatality while we were away.  Apparently, the fish jumped out of the tank.  Finding Nemo.  I really am surprised the dogs didn't eat him.  Crazy though, huh?  It was a beautiful goldfish.  He was the smaller of the two. 

Well, wanted to say more but storm clouds are rolling in and thunder.  Shutting it down.  We have church clubs this evening.  Warren and I will be doing major paperwork this evening regarding taxes.  Speaking w/ our CPA tomorrow morning.  Warren got his x-rays today for his ankles.  Lightening.  Signing off.  More on thoughts on Camp cheerio later.

Camp Cheerio Day 3 (final day)

I left with us going to classes one last time and then all getting together and planning for next year. It's wonderful to see the new people that came want to come back.  That's the way we felt the first year as well.  Such a bond there and camaraderie.  So, now some final pictures from camp.

Enjoying the outdoors one last time.  Saying good bye to new friends.

 Mom and Summer enjoying our rocking chair.  We really must get an outdoor rocking chair.  

Summer, showing off her necklace she made in class.  Very proud.

Irina against the clear blue skies.  She did so awesome as a volunteer this year, they want her back w/ the same group!  This is wonderful for Irina.  She has always been great with kids.  

Summer, sharing with Daddy all what she did in class. 

I really wanted to hurt the person who gave 2 of my kids punching balloons to go home with.  LOL.  Their class gave them out.  Nik deciding he liked the annoying sounds it made.  BTW, it popped in the car.  

One last game before we have to take off the 3 hour ride home.

Nik, in his element.  This is his place.  His comfort zone.  This is where year after year, he learns a little more that it's okay to be deaf.  He's not embarrassed here. He's not corrected here if he speaks wrong.  He is just a 9yo boy having fun with friends here.  Since home, he is starting to speak in even more sentences and putting more words together.  He now wants to communicate.  It's worth everything to get to come here year after year.  It has changed his life for the better for sure.  

The trip home is next.  Right now though, on a hunt for canceled checks.  Reading statements.  Calling Advanced Bionics yet again as they did NOT give me a receipt to file our insurance claim for.  The paperwork I have today is intense.  Church clubs this evening so maybe then we'll be able to accomplish more.  More later though.  Much on our minds this week.  Just received a video from a friend.  Will post later.  The resemblance to Summer is unreal.  Just uncanny.  Mannerisms and all.  Makes you go.....hmmm.  I don't know about Bulgarian medicals enough (just know ours were rather inaccurate) but do know that Nik's medicals/ history were all falsified.  Umm, can't give shots to a kid that wasn't even born yet.  LOL.  Anyhow, is it remotely possible that some things were left off of Summer's reports?   I doubt it but it's one of those things you see and go hmmm.  All we've said since we've seen it is "wow."  We're speechless.  All of us.  Looks like an older Summer.  More on it all later.  Just tons to do and not enough time in the day lately.  One more Cheerio post and then a lot of what's happening here.

Camp Cheerio Day 3 (final day)

For some reason, the days seem longer at Camp Cheerio yet so short at the same time.  You just don't want to leave.  You don't want to say goodbye to friends who understand what you are going through.  You don't want to say goodbye to good times.  Laughing.  Something that sometimes you forget how to do at home for some reason.  You get bogged down and finally have discovered why you do what you do each and every day.  You don't want to say goodbye to the views, the peacefulness of it all.  There is a different kind of atmosphere at Camp Cheerio.  Yet, you take what you've learned home with you and move forward with all that you have discovered.

Time to pack up before breakfast.  Load up the van.

Time to walk to breakfast in the beautiful mountain sunshine.

Summer, who did her own hair that morning, enjoying some pancakes.  

Nik, enjoying his breakfast time.  BTW, he loves those hands up on the wall.

One last chance to ring the dining hall bell.  Kids love to do this.

Some last moments enjoying the view that we've come to love over the years.

Just can't beat the view.  Stone Mountain is out there.  Teens hiked that 8 miles this year.  

Pure relaxation and appreciation of nature.  

Now this is the place to hang out every morning.  A good thing we don't have this at our home or they'd never get anything done.  

Bojan, trying to be Mr. Cool. 

After morning breakfast, kids went to classes as did the adults.  Taking in everything from the weekend.  Warren and I got to sit in for next year's brainstorming session of what to do.  I had a few ideas.  And, getting to be in touch w/ the ones who plan the teen activities for next year.  I guess w/ 4, almost 5 teens in the house, we can come up w/ some stuff.  LOL.  It's hard to improve on the wonderful times year after year.  yet, somehow, some way, each year is better and better.   Truly amazing the group they have organizing this.  There were 252 people in attendance this year.  Full capacity is at 280.  I'm sure next year, it will be full.  There were 19 new families this year!  Had a great time meeting quite a few of them.  Each one has a story and always refreshing to hear how they have handled their child's hearing loss.  You are able to take away something from each family.  I do believe it makes us better parents to learn from others.  Much more to come.  But, need to get some schooling done.  I let everyone sleep in as last night was a nightmare.  More on that in another post.  Can't let this one go.   For now though, one or two more posts on the last day of Camp Cheerio.  Then, onto happenings at Chaos Manor.  Trust me, lots of them. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Camp Cheerio Day 2 (the night)

After the camp experience for parents, we had dinner.  Then it was another fun filled busy night at camp.  Learning from others.  We had the magic show.  Now, before we even got to camp, Nik begged for his hand to be sliced off.  See, last year they had a magician w/ a guiloteen.  Of course mini Stephen King was dying to go up on stage for that this year.  I kept telling him it's hard to get picked to go on stage w/ so many people there.  Well, they made his year.  Literally made his year.  If you could have just seen the look on his face.  Priceless.

Nik could barely contain his excitement when he was chosen.  

Nik looking at the interpreter.

Nik, getting help from Ms. Beverly.  She is just awesome!  

Nik at one point was looking to make sure I was still there.  

Showing his card to the audience.  Sorry such blurry pictures.  

Part of the audience.  There were two sets of full bleachers behind them.  

 Nik was thrilled he got to stay on stage for so long.  He was SO nervous but just content to be up there.  Glad they let him do it.  It really made him feel so very special. Despite him not being able to communicate, he always feels welcomed at this camp. 

When they said bonfire, we were thinking a real bonfire.  Umm, no.  This is what they call a bonfire.  Now, my kids are used to a bonfire at the farm.  Flames past the tree tops type of fire.  However, we had such a great time here.   The people above (staff) sing camp songs.  We were cracking up and still can not get that stupid milk sign out of our heads.  Laughed the entire way home about it.  

After the fire, we came home.  They worked on  a puzzle.  See a family had won a gift basket full of games.  They were sweet enough to give a puzzle to Summer.  Kids had a great time putting it together.  

Bojan.  Rarely saw him the whole weekend as he was hanging out with a group of girls.  His older sibs had a great time w/ that one.  LOL.  He was getting mad w/ all the teasing going on.  I swear this could could mess up a CSI clean room in a second.  

Irina, getting ready to go to sleep.  Well, what we call sleep in a cabin with 12 of us.  Not too much sleep you know.  I always say I'm bringing ear plugs.  Maybe next year.  More to come on the final day and all our thoughts about the whole trip.