Friday, July 6, 2012

Father's Day

First, I'd like to answer Lynda's questions.  Lapbooks are more of a visual learning tool we use for our homeschoolers.  See, in public school, Alex couldn't get multiplication.  That is the ONLY thing he wanted to learn this year.  So, figured I'd get a lapbook as I like them for various subjects.  Simple, simple concept yet seems effective, at least for my kids.  They love, love, love it and have actually retained information this year.  I asked Alex what was different this year in learning.  What did he like.  What helped him.  He said "Mom, those books we did were cool.  I can remember things w/ them."  We use two different companies.  The Journey through Learning company seems to be easier for my younger kids.  Homeschool in the Woods is more in depth but awesome.  We're going to do a combo this year.  I supplement these w/ other sources as well.  Here's the link to the one site .  Look at all lapbooks.  It's easy b/c it's instantaneous.  We're doing the Olympic ones starting tomorrow.  Can't wait b/c we learn about it and then get to watch the Olympics.  Awesome.  Wanted to do the 4th of July one but we were on vacation.  May get it for next year though.  We're still learning how to teach Nik so that's a hard question to answer. 

Onto Father's Day that I didn't have time to write about previously. 

Every Father's Day we make Warren a tacky shirt w/ a stupid saying on it.  

 Warren, reading his card.  Each of the kids wrote something.  They were too excited that they couldn't last till Father's Day so he got it a day early. 

All the kids anxious for Daddy to open everything up.  

Warren rather suprised he got a burger press.

NOt sure what that look is.  Oh, I know.  It was hard to read as it is a picture on a mug.   Picture of all the kids together.

Warren checking out his mug and laughing.  See, we can't quite afford a space of his own.  He's always wanted a "man cave."  Instead, we got more kids.  LOL.

One day, maybe he can put his mug in his man cave.  

Reni liked seeing her name there.  Warren was checking out the shirt.  I always put a saying on the back below the names.  This year it said "finally finished???"  I don't think he thought that was too funny.  I did though.  We had a low key Father's Day and just enjoyed it.  Actually, we were getting ready for our big trip.  Great day all in all and kids are really happy they have the best daddy ever!

Q & A Part II

1.  You briefly mentioned in a post recently about your kids being orphanage rockers. My newly adopted five year old is a rocker and I was curious if you'd seen that subside in any of your older children. Am I going to be sending my son to college as a rocker? :) Might need to warn his roommates then...  I've had many orphanage rockers.  Once they get comfortable in their surroundings, they tend not to do it as violently any more.  However, the longer they were in the orphanage, the more likely this habit will remain.  2 of my teens still rock but not like before.  One is a quick side to side w/ the head and then asleep.  The other one though, still pretty fierce a rocker and I too am thinking college roommates beware.  LOL.  BTW, the one that is a fierce rocker still was 6 at time of adoption.  Definitely less than it was when first home but still very noticeable.  Doesn't hurt them though and they've had no issues w/ spending the night w/ friends.  No one ever says a thing.  Guess it just bugs me.  Well, doesn't any more.  Used to b/c I thought they might hurt themselves.  They don't.  It's comfort.  And like I said, after awhile for years and years, I think it's pretty much habit too. 

2.  Also, have you dealt with much sensory processing disorders in your family? My son's is the worst when he is tired and trying to stay awake (does gross things, breaks things, squeezes furniture, etc.) 
We've dealt w/ a little bit but not enough to ever comment.  Nik would do gross things too but therapist said it's common and just let him go.  Umm, okay when younger but as they get older...nope.  His new thing is trying to squeeze my finger so hard he seems like he'll break it.  Tried all the suggestions ands nothing seemed to work for him.  Nik sensory seeks as well.  Trampoline and swinging is fantastic for that.  Seems to calm a bit more.  I just don't feel comfortable in knowledge to speak on the topic.

3.  Have you thought of writing a book. We actually have talked about writing a book soon.  Not sure anyone would read it but hey, might be fun to write. 

I know I had done a previous Q & A but these last 3 questions got lost in the shuffle.  Or maybe a just a lazy blog poster.  One of the two.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We are cleaning, getting a new fish (remember our suicidal one while we were gone?), and swimming.  Nice summer weekend.  104.  Time to go cook some grub for the troops.  BBQ chicken, corn, and green beans.  More posts to come.  Trying to go through some old posts and finish them up.  Got only about 8 more to go.  LOL. 

Finding a family for Jay

I'm back and thought it was high time to start advocating for some very special kiddos again.  This time, a little one with hearing impairment issues (sensoneural hearing loss) and arthrogryposis.  This is one of the cutest little guys to boot.  It will take a special family to help this little guy.  He turns 3 yo this month.  He is located in EE and I am not allowed to display a picture or identifying info as you all are aware of the rules.  I can tell you it is a two trip country but many tend to not wait out the 30 days any more after court and just do three trips instead.  A family that can work fast would be wonderful as this kiddo will thrive in a family.  They are already working on the pointsetti method for this little guy.  He has bilateral clubfoot.  So many opportunities this little one could have here.  Finding a home for a child w/ dual disabilities is never an easy task.  However, I've seen what these children can over come first hand.  Nik comes w/ quite a few dx's as well.   Yet, he's thriving in our family.  This little guy is absolutely going to make a family very happy.  If you would like more information, please feel free to contact  Caitlin at Kids To Adopt.  Thanks so much!

Situation. Need suggestions please.

Okay, this will be hard for me to write.  It's about Nik.  He's 9yo.  He used to have no issues playing w/the kid across the street who is the same age.  They would collect bugs together, play together, etc.  Alex would play w/ him too.  Now, it seems this child only wants Logan and Alex to play w/ him.  ONLY invites Alex and Logan over.  I'm frustrated as I've tried different ways to resolve this such as inviting them here and having them play soccer or something of that nature.  Nik just welled up w/ tears yet again today b/c of all this.  See, Logan and Alex got to spend the night a few days ago.  And, I don't want to take that opportunity or friend away from them either.  See how I'm stuck in the middle here? 

The other night, Nik even packed a bag in hopes of spending the night there too.  He explained to me he packed deodorant for all 3 of them (Nik, Alex and Logan) and a robe for a shower.  I wanted to cry right then and there.  See, Nik has not gotten to spend the night w/ a friend.  He's dying to spend the night somewhere.  This is heart wrenching.  He wants to be like the other kids.  Yet I have the issue of when he's in a group setting, that doesn't work either b/c he isolates himself typically.  I've told him we'll make some new friends this year that can come over.  Hoping this holds true.  We'll have homeschool academy in the fall as well as Upwards soccer and church clubs.  Surely, we'll have someone that may want to come over and hang out w/ Nik.  Truly, you don't need to communicate to do so.  They just have fun.  Boys will be boys so to speak. 

Need ideas or suggestions.  We're used to this happening to a lot of our FASers.  Friends tend to "out grow" them as the friends mature and FASers take longer to.  It's hard.  Really hard.  Thankfully, my kids do have each other to play with.  If they didn't, I seriously think they'd have very serious issues.  We're working on getting Nik some systems set up so that he'll be able to "talk"(sign) to folks online.  Also, Skype w/ people.  But, he's also a 9yo boy and wants to play w/ friends.  And honestly, he doesn't have any.  Yes, we do things w/him and spend one on one time w/ him but you and I both know that will not cut it for a kid who just wants to be a normal kid.  Need suggestions on how to handle such a thing.  I wouldn't ask if I didn't feel so pushed into a corner on this either.  Remember, Logan and Alex are his friend.  And he's a good kid.  It's nothing against him.  Want to make that very clear here.  I wish he knew how much this hurt Nik.  Not sure that would make a difference though or not.  Again, kid is 9yo.  Logan and Alex are 12yo.  Well, Logan will be 12yo next month.  Is it b/c Nik is deaf?  Is that why?  Did he just "out grow"  him?  Don't know.  I'm out of ideas and would love to know what else I can possibly tell my son.  Thanks in advance. 

Radom pictures

Have a couple of pictures.  Just random pictures.  Thought I'd share.  We've been really preoccupied these last few days.  Have really enjoyed our time with our house guest Courtney.  She's awesome and the kids have fallen in love w/ her.  She came to visit us and get some more adoption information and things of that nature.  She'll be back in a few weeks to do an adoption documentary.  Pretty cool.  Hope we didn't scare her too much.  That's why I haven't written.  Well, that and the internet was down for some time yesterday.  Today, it's going to be 102 out.  We're staying in.  We were outside almost all day yesterday.  I have a terrible allergy/ sinus thing going on and today think being in would be best.  A nap would be better but you and I both know that doesn't happen in this house.  I'm spending the day getting school stuff ready for the homeschoolers next year.  Also, we're doing an Olympics lapbook next week as well as studying Egypt in July.  Gives us all something to do and keeps their mind going.  Well, time for some random pictures.  More posts later today. 

Nik decided after  the party to snag all the balloons and hang them up in his room.  

And this would be where all our stupid duck tape goes.  URGHH!!!  He hangs his drawings all over the wall.  You come to our home, you will see lots and lots of patch work that needs to be done.  This would be one of the reasons why.

King Kota still thinks he owns the couch and the house.  He's much more mellow now which we love.  

Couch is still not big enough w/ all the dogs that take up real estate on it.  LOL.  Another reason we have a brown couch.  

 Max loves his sister.  Just needs to learn how to dress her a bit for bed.  Notice the zipper is in the back.  You can see Max in hysterics in the background when I told him what he did to Summer.  She was wondering how to go the bathroom.

Yet another dog on the couch!  This is Alaska in her sweetness.  She loves to cuddle and be held like a baby.  Sweet, sweet dog.  Just likes to bolt at any sign of the outdoors.  Can't wait to get a fence up some time this summer.

We're waiting on a few bids to go to the bank w/ about redoing our home.  Changing the current garage into a bedroom for the girls.  Adding a garage w/ space above it.  Putting on a new roof and new hvac system.  A fence as well.  Lots to do but since we can't move and the house is twenty years old or so, systems are starting to go soon.  roof, hvac, etc.  Same time, we'll refi it all.  Trying to think a bit about the future as some of our kids will be w/ us long term.  Also working on some schooling issues w/ the kids.  Waiting to hear from the school regarding an IEP meeting for Alyona.  Yep, still waiting.  First contact was in May.  Got to love JCPS.  I've contacted them 2 times since then.  Never ends.  If she can get into a self-contained class this year at another middle school, we'll send her.  If not, she'll be homeschool again.  We'll see what happens.  Well, need to work on some house stuff and then I'll write some more posts since I must live like a hermit today.  LOL.

A Plea for Help

This is not about adoption.  This is about a friend in trouble w/ limited time to get surgery she needs.  We have a dear friend that has been a blessing to our family and to Nik.  She is local, been to our home, is REAL, and a woman of great caliber.  She is an interpreter for the deaf.  Uses her hands daily and her eyes.  This is where you all may come in to play.  See, recently she found out she is going blind.  There is surgery that can save her eyesight though.  She has insurance.  Though as a teacher, it is not that great of insurance.  Costs are high.  Long story short, she needs to raise $4500.  Now, this is a lady who gives all and helps so, so many including our family.  Her heart is kind.  She is modest and will never admit how many she has helped.  Frankly, I honestly don't think she knows the impact she has on people.  It's amazing.  She is self-less and adores teaching.  She does not drive fancy cars or live in a lavish home.  She does more for others than herself.  You know, the kind of person you'd define as hero.  Yeh, that's her.  Well, we have a chance to give to someone who has given so much of their lives to others.  Please, please read her story.  It's not long.  A paragraph.  She the link on blogs, facebook, etc.  Let's help her so Linden can continue to help so many others for years to come.  Thanks so much!  Linden's eyes .

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What I loved about the Bulgarian Reunion

I don't think I ever said what I loved about going to the reunion this year.  Our family was new to this.  Never been to a Bulgarian Reunion before and not quite sure we'd fit in.  Sometimes you go to things like this and are afraid of bonds already having been formed that you're left on the sidelines. NOT SO HERE!!!  Nope.  We were all welcomed with open arms by everyone.  It was incredible.  I loved the fact that there were children from young tots all the way up to early 20's.  No one was left out.  Everyone seemed to have no lack of finding someone to hang out with.  All my kids had friends by the first night. 

Warren and I got to share our story with a few folks and answer questions for a few others.  I never felt "left out."  You could go up to anyone and feel very comfortable.  Very.  I guess what I loved the most was the sense of camaraderie from everyone.  It was so relaxing.  Hot, but relaxing.  Though, I think I have a solution for that shade issue next year.   Anyhow, it was just great to go.  What I thought was even better, is that people who'd never adopted before and were adopting from Bulgaria were there.  Made me smile that they want to know the process and understand it.  Makes for great parents!  As if it couldn't get better, grandparents came!  Can you believe it?!  I melted at that.  Just the very thought that grandparents wanted to be involved in their grandchild's culture and life sent chills up my spine.  Really, really did.  It means a lot to the parents if grandparents are involved in an adoption process.  You will have a very tight bond for sure.  Love, love, love it!

I hope others got as much out of this reunion as our family did.  Such a success that we have decided to come next year.  Yikes!  But, we survived the trip this year, we can do it again.  LOL.  I'm just really thankful for the opportunity.  If you are in process of adopting from Bulgaria or have adopted from there, do consider going to the reunion.  Promise you won't regret it.  Let's put it this way, ALL the deluxe cabins are already booked for next year!  We've decided to deck out the rv, take the tent and camp next year.  Should get interesting.  Thanks for all who made it a success.  Special thanks for Yvonne and Viviane for hosting. 

Alyona & Alex's b-day party

We got home late, late Wednesday.  Had Thurs. and Friday to get ready and rest up.  Then had Alex and Alyona's pool party on that Saturday.  Nothing like keeping busy, huh?  We decided this year to do a red, white and blue theme.  Usually, we do balloons outside, etc.  Well, it was the hottest day of the year...107 w/ 115 heat index.  Yeh, no balloons.  LOL.  Plus, kids really don't care about decorations.  It's about friends and fun.

Okay, so at Reni & Logan's dentist appointments, we saw this in a magazine and said we have to make it.  Turned out cute and delicious.  Next time, we're making just these as they wanted more of these and no cake!

To me, Nik looks so grown up in this picture.  We found streamers and mesh netting so we went w/ it.  We improvise here.

Wasted no time getting in the pool.

Kids of all ages were there to play.  

We may need a bigger pool.  LOL.  It was great that the older kids had some friends to hang out with as well.

The young lady to the left of Alyona is from Yana & Alex's orphanage.  We still all keep in touch for sure.  

Some cupcakes, cake and those jello cups.  Now, the jello cups ended up melting in the fridge.  Well, the whip creme part of them.

Alyona waiting for some presents.

Alex, happy to get started on the presents.

Alyona w/ a cupcake to blow out and Alex w/ a cake.  

Hope all their wishes come true this year!  Alyona is now 13.  We officially have 5 teens in the house now.  Alex turned 12yo.

Bojan being Bojan.  What can I say.  

Alex blowing up a present for the pool.  Basketball.  

Alex with one of his cool games he received.  He and Alyona also got some giftcards to use.  

Last year before he's a teenager.  Better enjoy it kiddo!

Okay, so the younger kids want to get presents too for their siblings but don't have any money to do so.  So, they go in their rooms or other people's rooms for that matter and get some items.  Then, they wrap them in notebook paper w/ confetti inside and messages.  Alyona's reaction to opening up her own leappad.

Alyona loved this Justin Bieber card.  Loved it.  Can you tell?

 Logan decided to tie all the balloons together.  I guess I should not show him the movie UP.  

Nik, doing something mischievious upstairs, I'm sure of it.

We all had an awesome time at the party.  Turned out well and weather was fine.  We're used to hot here so it didn't bother anyone.  Next birthday up in Logan's at the end of August.  yes, another pool party.  Got to go.  A lazy day today for the 4th of July.  we've been swimming, talking about adoption w/ our house guest who is filming us soon, making strawberry shortcake and essentially, vegging out today.  Love it.  Happy 4th of July everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What we crave...

Well, we got another Cravebox.  This one was a special edition one for summer cleaning.  Hey, right up our alley! 

They always package these so nicely no matter what they are.

 Ahh, my kind of style...FREE coupon! 

So, free garbage bags, gloves, cleaning clothes, glass cleaner and other cleaner.

These gloves were AWESOME!  Tried them on and we are going to definitely be buying more  

Irina was so ready to get to work cleaning.  The glass cleaner was really nice.  Works fantastic.  Like professional glass cleaner for sure.  We love it and again, now we'll have to buy it.  LOL.  Really, the products to try are useful and not too out of price range for us to get again.  Thanks Cravebox!  Looking forward to the next one.

Max's drawings

Someone the other day took pictures of Max's artwork.  I figured why not put some up here.  Some is unfinished as you can see.  He just has such a mechanical mind.  Wish I had his talent.

Looks like a weight lifting set from school.  It's all in the details for Max 

Our van with a uhual.  

Looks like a started drawing but not yet complete.

I have no idea if this is a made up creature or one already in existence.  Just looks plain scary to me.

Hey, I recognize that rv!  He went and drew ours.  Great detail for sure.

Looks like some type of engine to me.  Of course, too technical for me to know.

Max drawing a truck and a camper behind it.

More coming later tonight.  It's July 3rd.  Not much.  We have a house guest here who is getting to know the kids and our family.  She will be doing an adoption documentary on us.  In August.  Kids have NO shortage of what to say.  Poor Courtney is getting an ear full.  Better than what my youngest did the other day.  Nik was having speech therapy.  Boys have obviously been teaching her some new words.  She hangs over the dining room table and says "mom, you fart."  I hear laughter in the background.  All I could think of was the seen from Annie when Ms. Hannigan says "KILL, KILL, KILL!!"  LOL.  It was all the speech therapist could do not to laugh.  Yes, this is my life.  Next post will be on the birthday parties this past weekend.  Kids have been swimming all day long.  Why are they not tired??  Give them a wheel and my kids could generate enough electricity for an entire town.  I really think they could.  Anyhow, next post on the b-days and then one on what all is happening around here.  Lots.

Monday, July 2, 2012

DAY 7-- headed home

After a week of fun, it was time to go home.  Everyone was ready.  7 days really was pushing it.  Actually, around day 4.  But, they pulled it together enough that we wouldn't mind doing this again.  We woke up and left later than anticipated.  That's typical for Chaos Manor though so no worries.  Had oatmeal and fruit and hit the road.  And remember, this is the day that Alyona became a teenager!  She celebrated her 13th birthday on the road. 

My three youngest girls are really close to each other.  Love it.  Alyona is so different compared to last year.  A void has been filled.  We went to Applebees for lunch.

Alyona, happy to be a teenager today.

Once again, Nik and Logan comparing muscles.

Waiting for our turn to eat.  They were rather patient.  Had we known the wait was going to be awhile, we would have eaten somewhere else.  BTW, this restaurant had some of the worst service of any we've been to.  

Irina helping Alyona w/ the menu.  

 Alyona got her own sundae.  she shared it w/ Reni but no one else.

The kids cheered when they saw this sign.  Well, until we explained that we have to travel to exit 312 and we were at exit 1.  They were not as thrilled then.  Was a pleasant day to travel. Home was a sight for sore eyes.  Dogs missed us immensely.  Only 1 casualty while we were gone. Same thing happened last time we were gone too.  We have a hexagonal fish tank in our bedroom.  We had very large goldfish in there.  Actually, they came from a pond.  Beautiful fish.  Last time, fish jumped out of the tank.  This time, our dog sitter came in and found the dogs playing w/ the dead fish on our bed.  The fish had jumped out of the tank.  What is it w/ the suicidal fish while we're gone?  Crazy!  We all survived our trip and did enjoy it.  Memories made for sure.  We can't wait to get on the road again.  Well, Warren needs a break from driving. Poor guy.  All in all, great trip.  Few meltdowns and lots of cooperation.  We received many compliments on great behavior.  Always nice to hear.  I was pleased how everyone pitched in.  Pleased at how the older kids helped the new ones to swim.  Pleased that relationships were strengthened.  Hope you enjoyed some of the pics from our CMV.  We definitely enjoyed it.  Got some magnets.  Collect them everywhere we go.  Also, try to get a little momento for our time jar.  Got to get to bed.  Have a great evening everyone.