Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We're leaving.....

on a big bus!  There is honestly just way too much happening around Chaos Manor to even begin to post about it all w/ my limited time tonight.  I will though VERY soon.  From medical updates to IEP updates to house happenings to you name it.  For now though, this will have to be very short.  Tomorrow, we leave on our trip.  Our big trip.  There are many firsts involved in this trip.  Many.  For all of us.  We're all very, very excited as you can imagine. 

Kids have been cleaning and packing all day long.  We leave tomorrow morning.  In true Chaos Manor fashion, we've had a ton of little hiccups today.  From not being sure if the bus was inspected to having to change several plans we had made on the trip b/c Summer is too young for such events to you name it.  Oh, I made Logan get in Shrek's Swamp.  See, all my kids are very avid swimmers.  Very.  No issues w/ them in strong waters, etc.  Logan swore up and down he could swim and I knew he traveled to Varna in the summer to go camping and swim.  I however, wanted to see w/ my own two eyes.  No, he can't swim.  Under water or above.  More like a fish flopping.  No worries, we'll teach him.  This however will limit what he can do at the water park.  I'm just frustrated w/ him b/c he swore up & down yes, he CAN swim.  URGHH!!!  Drives me nuts.  Yep, just like one of the other kiddos already.  Glad I checked though.  Now, Reni was completely honest and said she's scared of the water and can't swim.  But, we've had her on some fun water slides already this summer and I know her fear will fade fast.  I'd rather have them afraid and be cautious and learn than fearless thinking they can swim & take risks. 

We're tying up all loose ends.  Tomorrow, we are WVA bound!  Swimming at the lake in the late afternoon, burgers on the grill, s'mores on the fire and a movie.  Wake up Friday and go to the glass company to learn how glass is made.  Then, head to Ohio for the Bulgarian Reunion!  Can't wait to meet some folks face to face.  On Sunday, we have yet to make plans of whether we're going on a riverboat cruise or going to a water park.  Then, we head to KY.  In KY, we'll be going to Mammoth Caves, Dairy Barn, Beech Bend Amusement Park & Splash Lagoon, and another thing yet to be determined due to Summer not being old enough to go to the Corvette Factory.  Tons planned.  I'm hoping the kids will last and us as well.  LOL.  This is a new adventure for us all. 

I will be taking lots of pictures and we are hoping to make Missed Exit Memories.  We'll see.  Is there a rule that you have to collect the kids at each campground??  A lot went into this trip and I hope we get even more out of it.  Time will tell.  So much else to share with you but I really can't till we get home.  The next few days we will remain unplugged as to really enjoy ourselves and our trip.  I'm sure though I'll post something in a few days though.  So, we are off on our adventure once more.  Last year this time, we were returning from our first trip from Bulgaria.  It was an emotional roller coaster.  Hard to even fathom that this year we'd be taking all ten kids with us on  a big trip at the same time we were gone last year.  What a difference!  A wonderful difference.  Once the kids are home, you do really forget about all that you went through to get them home. 

Tons more left to do.  Warren and Max are checking the bus out mechanically and making sure that's good to go.  Kids are asleep believe it or not!  Dogs are being walked and we're ready to go.  Well, Warren & I aren't packed but we don't take as long as the kids.  You are used to it w/ all the adoption trips.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  We'll finally be on vacation as a family of 12.  Enjoying every minute of it.  Yeh, right.  LOL.  It is a real family you know.  I have yet to assign seating on the bus.  Tons of pictures in a few days and adventures we've gone through.  Can't wait to share.  BTW, had to share that the little boy I advocated for who was deaf has found a family.  I'll be doing a little more advocating once home.   For now, signing off and ready to enjoy what life has in store for us.   Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Generous hearts

It's a rarity once folks are home from an adoption to be given a gift.  Especially, after so many months being home.  Well, the other day we were given a gift from someone across the ocean.  A gentleman from Australia no less.  He just felt like doing something nice for our family so sent us a monetary gift to use. 

When I announced to the kids what we'd be doing with that gift, they were thrilled.  I sometimes wish I would record those moments.  See, we do live on a strict budget.  You have to limit the things you do and you tend to take great pleasure though when you do get to do certain things.  You appreciate the little things more I think. Anyhow, we have decided to go to the movies and afterwards have ice cream sundaes.  We are going to wait until later in July though when it's really hot & there is nothing else to do. 

It just makes me happy to know that someone thought of us as a family to do something like that.  One of my kids even said "one day, if I get money, maybe I could do that.  I think it would be fun to surprise someone."  So, a little lesson is thrown in about generosity and giving.  It may not seem like much to someone, but honestly, make someone's day today and think about them.  I remember someone did that for us for Alyona and Nik's adoption.  They sent us a gift card to go to a restaurant as a family.  Meant a lot to us b/c they were thinking of us as a whole family after the adoption.  This gentleman from Australia just wanted to do something nice.  What a nice role model to have your kids learn about.  Giving.  Doing something out of the blue for someone when they least expect it.  We greatly appreciated this gift and can't wait to go to the movies!  I must admit though, my favorite part will be getting a hot fudge sundae.  Thank you so much Wesley!  Your kindness has not gone unnoticed.  It also has taught my kids a few things and that my friend is priceless.

What to do for Nik?

I really hate decisions.  I do.  Especially, when it comes to the kids.  Back to Nik again.  I will do a long story short here.  They want us to start AV therapy with him and cease all signing.  Their hopes are that he'll have to start to speak.  I think they are totally off base here but not saying that at the moment.  Okay, to start with, Nik's is an extremely unique case.  Extremely unique.  We have not only deafness but AN..auditory neuropathy.  Totally different ball game when dealing w/ AN.  Not only that, we also have processing issues w/ FASD and ADHD.  And did I mention the sensory integration and a few other in the laundry lists of dx's??

Anyhow, Nik's been getting speech therapy forever and a day.  Right now, they come 3X a week for 30 minutes each time.  Now, they are coming same days but adding AV therapy on top of the speech therapy for 2 of those days.  Oy!   Today he said it's long.  LOL.  I don't mind the therapy.  Not one bit.  Here's the deal though.  With true AV therapy, they want you to drop any and all sign.  Goal is to sort of "make" him talk.  I understand their total immersion technique. I get the premise behind it.  However, I just can't yet agree with it.  BTW, we've dipped into AV therapy before with Nik.  Didn't help.  And back then, we didn't sign to him.  Did it make him talk?  No.  See, lately he's been getting more comfortable trying to talk with the sign.  Before, he wouldn't even attempt to sign.  I think for Nik he has finally realized if they can't understand me, they'll understand my sign.  The past few weeks he's just boomed w/ trying to talk. AV only started 2 days ago here so that's not the reason for it.  I do think he's ready to try to talk.  However, I am not confident he'll ever have intelligible speech.  I feel he needs that back up of sign.  Total communication.  Why are AV people SO, SO against sign?  Many people talk and sign. 

Oh, AV is auditory verbal for those that don't know.  And, there is homework every night.  Now, we do work with Nik on a constant basis.  This homework thing though w/ an FAS kiddo, well it never goes over well.  I want him to talk, I do.  I just don't know if this is headed in the right direction or he'll regress.  I feel he'll regress if we take away the sign completely.  Plus, all summer he's in the pool, no implant on.  Sweating, takes the implant off.   He is still deaf w/ out those on.  What would some of you do?  He's 9yo.  Can't speak but tries really hard.  Getting a few words.  He's comfortable at where he is.  Also, Nik has other issues that we need to bear in mind.  FAS, ADHD, Sensory integration, institutional autism.  Just feeling uneasy about the AV therapy. I thought the speech therapy was going so well I just didn't want to rock the boat.  Will it help him?  Don't know.  No kid like him, I'm sure of it.  Especially, with the background in Russia.  Anyone w/ any input, I'd like to hear.  This is NOT about whether he should be verbal or not.  This is about whether we should discontinue sign while he does AV.  Gut is telling me one thing but I don't know if I'm making that decision based on my emotional involvement as a parent.  Make sense? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pools, pecs and ponytails

Thought I'd share a few things in pictures to make things easier.

Summer, trying on some of the life vests.  In the background is the pile of goggles and other goodies for the season.  We get inflatables, goggles, etc. at end of summer clearance for 75 to 90% off.  Stock up.  My kids go through goggles like water.  Don't get it.

Bojan, getting ready to enter Shrek's Swamp.

And no, I did not force him to go in here.  Pool was treated.  It needs vacuuming.  Bojan and Max volunteered to go in and scrub the liner by hand.  They did an awesome job.  It's now been shocked and retested.  Trying to fix the stupid vacuum.  Figured out why the vacuum kept breaking.  Nik, Logan and Alex through stuff into the pool all during winter.  URGHH!!!  

Other than the green, he said temp was great & pool wasn't bad feeling.  Just need to blue the thing up.  Last year it stayed cyrstal clear all winter and summer long.  This year, no.  Go figure as we all want to swim.  Of course, in three days we'll be swimming in black lake water that is untreated.  

Summer decided to do my hair.  Ponytails and all. 

Nik, trying to show off some of his muscles.

Camera hog couldn't help it when I was trying to take one of Logan.

Logan, proving he can do it.  

Girlie girls showing me they can be just as strong as the boys.

Ah, shirts off boys.  They must of thought that made them stronger.  LOL.  Bojan is just watching like this is stupid. 

Super duper busy day today.  I know I haven't even done a post from this past weekend or Father's Day.  Planning for a trip this big w/ all of them is even harder than planning to leave the country.  Really, it is.  You're having to think for way too many other people, equipment, lotions, medicines, etc. that must be done.


Haven't posted the kids' drawings for quite some time.  They did a few the other day on their own so thought I'd share them with you.

Max drew up some plans for the addition of the house.  This is what he wants to add onto our house.  I think it looks great.   We can call this house plan wishful thinking.

 Nik did this one. 

Nik also made this one.  His favorite  Says Dad, mom  & Nik.  Hey, no one is dying on this one!  LOL.  He never spells dad right.  It's either bab or bad.  

Nik spelled his name out of rice.  wish it was clearer.

Reni did this work of art for me.  Dad, Mom & Reni is what it says on the side.

Then, you must display your works.  Logan did the one of top left.  Not bad.  Nik's two are below that.  He wanted a picture frame so made his own and found an old Camp Cheerio picture we had.

Logan wanted to make sure I took his picture.  On the right side are two on top that Reni did.  One on the bottom is the last Supper that Nik copied from Max's Last Supper drawing.  My kids love to draw and paint.  I'm glad.  I pick up random pants and drawing kits whenever I can.  They'll bring them out and go to town.  Love it.  Hope you enjoyed seeing some of their works of art.

Manic Monday

Really, really busy lately.  I'm behind on posting which is just fine by me.  Some times you just have to slow down a bit.  Today we have been cleaning out the bus and starting to put stuff in it we'll be using on our upcoming trip.  Can't wait.  I'll just put a couple things we're up to in bullet points and catch up a bit later when I have more time.  

  • Cleaning out bus today.
  • Started packing today.
  • Kota & Alaska got a bath today.
  • Digby needs a bath.
  • All three dogs need to be treated w/ Frontline before we leave.
  • Need to shop for the trip.
  • Need to finish mapping out trip.
  • Tie up loose ends w/ dog sitter.
  • Cleaning house.
  • Have yet to hear from the middle school on Alyona's IEP.
  • Working on what I want to teach kids next year.
  • Studying Revolutionary War when we get home.
  • We're all ready for vacation.
  • Warren's results from ortho in.
  • Shrek's swamp is getting better.  Will be ready for party.
  • Organizing Alyona & Alex's b-day party.  
  • Need to shop for groceries.
  • Need to finish making appointments for everyone.
  • Kids still loving the trampoline.
  • Behind on thank yous.
  • Alyona turns into a teenager next week.
  • Haven't made cakes.
  • Looking into being a therapeutic family.
  • Thinking back upon last year at this time when we were in Bulgaria.
  • Trying to determine which soccer leagues to put the boys in.  Girls will play Upwards as well as Nik.  
  • Nik got shoes that light up.  Enough said.  
  • Too many more things happening around here.  Write more later.
Got to go.  Much to do.  Warren is picking up some food donated to us which is awesome.  Went to yard sales this past weekend while Warren was at work.  Nik loves the Leap Pad I found for him.  Will have Father's Day picks up soon. Just concentrating on getting ready for the trip this week.  Packing for 12 is not the easiest.  Will have more up later I hope.