Friday, July 20, 2012

Chillin', Cake Boss, and Cheeks

Today is Friday.  We're honestly just hanging out today.  Did some outside weeding early this morning but that was about it.  Kids have a church party this evening at 6 so going to that.  Yana is going skating tonight.  Max and Bojan have opted to stay here.  Everyone is doing something.  This weekend is a big work on the house type of weekend.  And soccer try outs.  And errands.  But, all needs to get done.  So today we figured would be best just to relax a bit. 

This is one way of chilling.   In a cool pool. 

It was so hot, the camera fogged up right away.  They are forming a chain to make a whirlpool.  Creativity.  Love our redneck patio set in the back ground?  Why yes, those chairs have no cushions.  

Still going strong.  

Didn't matter how much water they got in their faces, they kept going in circles.

And, a shot of our newest addiction.  We go through shows on Netflix.  Well, we are all now hooked on Cake Boss.  Kids have decided we should make some cakes.  So, next week we're going to work on that.  Granted, it won't look like Cake Boss cakes but I feel it will be a lot of fun.  And if not, at least it will taste good.  LOL.

Aren't they just the cutest cheeks in the world?!  

That's my girl!  All smiles all the time.  It's great.  Yes, she needs her bangs cut.  One thing at a time.  Doesn't matter what her hair looks like, I think she's the cutest thing ever.  This was taken right after she got out of the pool.  

Love that look.  Isn't she getting big?!  A few months ago, in a 3T.  Now, mostly 6/ 6X.  Crazy.  Tan little thing too isn't she.

And just b/c I can, here's another picture of the cutie pie.  The Bulgarian Princess.  Well, one of them anyway.  LOL.  Yes, this little one rules the roost.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paint, paint and more paint

Well, we're trying to get the house all fixed up since we're going to be here long term.  We've told the kids they can pick out any colors.  NO issues whatsoever.  don't care what it is but you must have to live with it.  Period.  So, we're in the process of repainting the dining room, the master bathroom, Irina's room, Yana's room, girls' new room, Max & Bojan's new room, younger boys' room and the upstairs hallway.  In other words, that's a heck of a lot of paint and will take some time.  We finished the master bathroom.  I LOVE it!  Got the sample from Lowes first to try.  It's hard to get a color of it on camera but I tried.

You can't really tell the color from here.  Too dark to see.  

Okay, so normally I don't take pictures of the toilet.  However, this gives a better idea of what the color looks like.  It feels a lot lighter in person.  It's an awesome color and with the white feels like the beach a bit.  I LOVE the beach.  

Close up of the color of the master bathroom.  I was just tired of the dull colors.  I want to come alive in the morning.  Not go to sleep.  LOL.

Now, we let the teen girls paint Irina's room.  What ever possessed us to think that this would be a good idea, I'm not sure.  Think I'm kidding?  Take a peek.

Granted, hard to tell they did anything wrong here.  Just notice how dark it is w/ the sun shining in.  That should clue you in.

Hey, at least they remembered to tape, right?  What is w/ the streaks?!

And this was only a little paint on the floor.  URGHH!!!  It was literally all over the room.

What were they thinking?!  It is so uneven and the camera really doesn't give it the justice it so deserves.  They had the nerve to blame it on the paint!  Since they were out of the cheap paint at Lowes, this is the expensive crap!  URGHH!!  They said the paint had chunks in it.  We said did you stir it??  

The dark line between streaks adds a nice touch.

They told me they could not get the outlet covers off even w/ a screwdriver.

Ah, forget taking the covers off, just paint over them!  What in the world??  Yes, Warren and I were so unhappy we said close the door.  We'll fix it next week.  So, this coming Saturday, we are fixing what they did.  Don't always ask for help.  Lesson learned.

Thoughtful Thursday

Boy, long time since one of these posts have happened.  For new people out there, those of us that live with children w/ mental health issues and behavioral issues such as FASD and RAD, have to understand the fact that it is the disorder causing a lot of these issues and NOT the child.  The child is good inside.  As a parent, I sometimes need to remind myself of that.  So, I try to find a reason for each child as to what they did nice for the week.  Even if it has been a horrifying week for them.  There is at least one thing  you can always find.  I'm sure of it.  So, here we go.

Irina-- she helped teach Yana how to make homemade peanut butter cookies.  Irina is our resident baker.  Yana, well, let's just say when she is an adult, there will be a lot of take out. LOL.  Not trying to be mean.  We're tryign to teach.  Each person has their niche.  Cooking just isn't quite hers.  However, I thought it was really thoughtful for Irina to want to teach her.  And, they did great!

Max-- Max took time out to teach Logan how to draw.  Got to love Logan's make shift desk.  That is a dream in their new bedrooms...desks for each.

Yana--   Offered to read to the younger kids which I thought was sweet of her. 

Bojan-- Bojan saw that Summer didn't have as much to play w/ in the pool.  So, he blew up one of the little rafts for toddlers that we have.  Very thoughtful of him to think of his sister like that.

Alyona-- Alyona has been offering to help out Summer more.  Like helping her get a bath or things like that.  Being a good big sis.  Most the time.  LOL. 

Alex--  Offered to get his sister some water b/c he thought she might be thirsty after eating cake.  Very thoughtful of him to think of someone else. 

Logan-- The other day Logan came in from walking Alaska.  Shoes were covered in wet grass and dirt.  It was all over.  Instead of leaving it, like most my boys would have, he got the broom and started sweeping up the hallway. I thought that was very thoughtful of him.

Reni--  The other day, Reni went on her own and made everyone Ramen Noodles for lunch.  She loves being independent and just was thoughtful of her to think of others.

Nik-- Nik wanted to help in the kitchen the other day for dinner.  Thought that was thoughtful of him for sure.  He used the can opener for the first time.  I know, canned cranberry sauce. 

Summer--Came up to her daddy after a long day at work and squeezed him.  She said "love you daddy."  She was all smiles sitting w/ him the other night on the couch.  Very cuddly.  Loves her daddy for sure! 

Today, Alyona has a friend coming over.  It's going to be a low key day for all of us I think.  tomorrow we'll do some errands but today, stay home, clean up and learn something.  Doing the Olympics lapbooks later today.  Tomorrow, kids have an event at church and are looking forward to it.  This weekend, it is paint and clean, paint and clean.  We want to get all this stuff done over the summer so that we have a pretty 'free' list during the fall when there is soccer, track, trips, school, etc.  More later today.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

10 kids to the dentist

This week all ten of the kids had dentist appointments.  Five on Monday and 5 today.  I took them each time.  Monday, it was 4 boys and Irina.  Today, it was 4 girls and Logan.  On Monday, even the nurse high fived me as not one of the 5 had a cavity or any issues whatsoever.  I was hopeful for today. 

Apparently, Summer went to the back like she owned the place they said.  Came in, said hello to everyone and started just chatting away.  No, I still have YET to get a shy child...EVER!  Anyhow, nurse called me back to chat.  She said Stephanie, let me first say "whatever you are doing, you're doing it right!"  I said what?  She said they're so well behaved.  She also said NONE of the kids had cavitities today either.  That's right.  10 kids to the dentist, no cavities, no issues, no nothing.  It was awesome. 

Better yet, she said Summer is such a different child.  She saw her back in January.  Still shy, withdrawn, didn't talk much.  Nurse said now she talks up a storm!  What a difference!  She said it is a completely different child.  The nurse was all smiles.  She has been with us for many adoptions.  She's seen the changes in the kids herself.  Just felt so great coming from her.  Knowing that others see in Summer what we do. 

Fantastic dentist visit all the way around.  Came home, had lunch and then Nik and Summer had speech therapy.  Summer's first day was today.  Speech therapist said Summer is the most motivated one she has.  LOL.  She was ready and so excited.  She usually watches Nik each time.  She knew right what to do.  It was awesome. 

Kids swam.  I did my laps later.  Nothing exciting the rest of the day. Oh, kids and I are completely addicted to Cake Boss.  See, we cruise through Netflix.  We LOVED flashpoint.  Finished that one.  Saw H2O, Kyle XY, and AFV to name a few others.  Now, hooked on Cake Boss.  Hey, could be worse.  So of course we made cake today.  Then, kids went out to play some frisbee.

Getting set up for some frisbee.

Alex was teaching the others how to do some tricks.  

Reni, still learning.  Telling us all how they had frisbee in Bulgaria.  

Ha!  A rare teen shot.  Yana, before the leg move Alex taught her.  Dont' you love pool toys in the front yard?  Yeh, so redneck here.  Oh well.  we try.  

Later, we had fish for dinner w/ corn on the cob and peas.  Cake for dessert of course.  Nik was rather upset I did not make a cake that goes up.  As on Cake Boss.  LOL.  Sorry son, not that talented.  Girls and I have decided to learn to make fondant this summer no matter how long it takes us.  Umm, that may indeed be all summer btw.  Well, got to go. I am drowning in emails and do promise to get back to folks.  Working on it.  Have a great evening.

Science in summer

Well, there is always time for learning.  A few weeks ago, I found a kit for sale for $7 at Walmart.  Picked it up. 

Nik was SO excited about this project.  Watching catepillars turn into butterflies.

He watched everyday out of sheer delight.  The other day, we were awoken by Nik screams.  Jump out of bed to see what's wrong.  He was screaming b/c they emerged from the cacoon.  He and the other kids were fascinated.  It is really cool to watch up close and personal.  

Getting ready to release some butterflies.  Everyone patiently waiting to see if they'll actually fly away.  

Irina decided she was the one to grab them and let them fly out.  

Ready to get some more butterflies out.  My kids could careless if they're in their bathing suits.  In the summer, they live in them.

Love Irina's face.  The butterfly is that spot against the white above Alyona's head.  Notice the eyes on it from below.

One slow one to emerge.  He wasn't quite ready yet but kids saw the butterfly in the cacoon which was cool.

Not too bad for a science project, hey?  Does this count as homeschool credit?  

And this is how Digby felt about all the butterfly hype.  Yep, he's just enjoying the relaxing dog days of summer. 

You Have How Many Kids???

I'm sure some of you other families get this question.  A lot.  I know we do.  All the time.  I guess what seems like the norm for us, isn't for everyone.  Which brings me to something.  How many is too many kids?  And who is that really up to?  I used to think 5 was too many.  Ha!  Today I feel 1 is too many but I'll keep to the post instead.  I think this is all a matter of perspective.  Do I think 10 is too many kids?  No.  Do I think 12 is too many kids?(we tend to bring them home in pairs. LOL) No.  Do I think 15 is too many?  No.  Yet, then something happens.  Do I think 17 or 18 is too many?  Yes.  But why?  Why do I think that?  I mean if I got pregnant with octuplets tomorrow, would I think 18 would be too many?  NO WAY!  Yet in the previous sentence, I just said I thought it was too many.  Why?  I'm not sure.  I'm not sure why some people think one number is more than another when it comes to kids.

And for us, it's not about the numbers.  It's not.  It's about the love for the kids.  It's not about a mission of rescue (we get asked that one a lot as well).  It's not some arbitrary number we've dreamed up.  I think it is more simply us wanting to be parents and be the best parents that we can be.  We get told many times by family members we're biting off more than we can chew?  Really?  I think it's worked out fine so far.  We just returned from a lengthy vacation and got complimented in various states along the way about how well behaved our kids are.  So we must be doing something right.  Whether it's 2 kids or 10.  Doesn't matter a bit.

When people get pregnant, no matter what the # of kids they already have, they get congratulated and cheered on about adding to  the family.  Each time we've announced an adoption to family, it has not been that way for us.  The announcement is met with resistance, comments, and negativity.  Why is that?  Is it adoption itself or the # of kids?  Many will comment we're biting off more than we can chew and you have enough kids.  When did a certain # of kids become enough?  Where is that written?  Who determines that?  I feel it is up to each individual family.  What works for one, may not work for another.   For us, it's working.  Did we ever dream of having 10 kids? Nope.  Our plans were different.  2 kids, both work, travel, kids in clubs, etc.  Yeh, that didn't happen. 

You never know how many you'll end up with.  You really don't.  Whether bio or not.  So why do we all think one # is "too many" kids?  Is it our fear of not being able to do a good job w/ a certain #of kids running around?  Possibly.  I know w/ my first two I was a complete mess.  Completely frazzled.  Yet, a few months ago we brought home 3 at once and slipped them right into family routine.  Didn't blink an eye. 

In my opinion, each and every family out there whether adoptive or not, knows when enough is enough and too many kids is too many kids.  We are not at the point of too many kids.  Does that mean we're going to bring more home?  Not necessarily.  It just means we can handle what we have at the moment. Though this week, I'll be honest, they're driving me nuts and ten is too many!  LOL.  If you have the resources to provide for the children you bring home, I don't feel it's any one's business telling you this # or that # is too many.  Do what you feel is comfortable.  That being said, you also need to know what # is your "limit."  For me, I do feel 12 would be my absolute limit.  Warren now says it's 10.  Remember, this is the same man who said it's 2, it's 4, it's 5, it's 7, it's 10 as a limit.  At one point, we said 6 was our limit.  We could never ever handle more than 6.  This was when the plan was to bring Alyona home and that would be it.  However, we added Nik at the last minute and the rest is history.  There is no magic # for any family as being the right number.  You have a sense when your family is complete.  On one hand I feel ours is complete.  On the other, I don't.  Don't know what the future may bring.  For now, we are content with ten.  It's our #. 

So next time someone asks you how many kids do you have.  Gladly tell them the #, enjoy the moment and say thanks for asking.  If they ask you if you feel that is too many or they give their opinion (usually the case) it's too many.  Say happily "but 10(or whatever your # is)  is our #."  Smile and walk off. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Random pictures

Found a couple pictures that I thought I'd share.  No catchy title.  Just random pictures from around here.

Alyona.  Our now teenager.  She's growing up, isn't she?

'King Kota' in one of his favorite spots.  On the stairs.

I promised Nik a fish.  Beta fish it was.  The thing on the left is supposed to be this plant that sucks in all the dirt in the water and grows.  Don't waste your money is all I'll say about that one. 

The boys new hamper.  URGHH!!  Hate paying for things like this.  We used the last one I got till we couldn't use it any more at all.  I paid $2 for a brand new giant hamper for the boys at a yard sale like two years ago.  It was new, you could tell.  Biggest thing I'd ever seen, and perfect for 5 boys.  (we knew we were getting Logan back then).  This one is much, much smaller but I have been looking forever w/out trying to break the bank.  Like it or not, this is it boys. 

Nik, admiring his new fish.  Notice the Spongebob house for it?  He had to have that. 

All of them look on.  Discussing how they're carrying a full fishbowl up the stairs.

The other day it was pouring down rain.  My girls decided to go on the trampoline.

Drowned rats is what they became.  And loved every second of it.

Slapping each other with shirts.  Why, I'm not sure.

But since they were laughing the whole time, I wasn't about to stop it.  Notice Ms. Summer has no hesitation going after her sisters.  That kid has some serious spunk!  All in all, fun time for them.

Blessings abound!

This past week, we have received quite a few blessings.  And, no matter how small it may seem to some, we are thankful.  A friend of mine brought a big box of cereal....Sam's size.  Being that we never buy cereal unless it's a super duper clearance, this was a very delightful treat.  My kids ate it the very next morning.  The whole giant box was enough to feed us breakfast.  What a blessing!  didn't even have to cook.  Strawberry shredded wheat.  Yum.  Thank you Rebecca!

Another friend of mine came by w/ a van full.  Literally.  It was awesome.  She gave Irina a big tv for her room.  This is awesome b/c we have one tv and well, opinions vary we'll just say.  So, this allowed the teens to go to a room and watch something a bit different than the younger kids.  Ahh, peace.  Big blessing. 

When my kids dig in, they really dig in.  LOL.  She also brought a load of clothes that the boys were going through until games were discovered.

Also, games were brought by.  This bey blade game was a huge hit!  Thank you very much Danielle!  HUGE blessing all the gifts that were brought by.  

We also had a friend from Warren's work give us a box of goodies.  I wish I could remember who he told me did it.  Honestly can't remember.  Yet another blessing in the same week by a generous heart who thought of our family.  

Look at all the goodies!  Jump ropes, candy,  bubbles, toys, etc. 

Sand bucket which we didn't have for the sand box.  Nik even cleaned out the sand box and went and played in it that day.  

Bubbles were a much appreciated gift.

My bubble blowers.  We had bubbles everywhere. It was great.

One serious bubble blower here.

She likes to look at every single bubble.  Summer can definitely blow some bubbles.  Her, Nik and even the bigger kids had a great time with these.  Thank you so much for the blessing of play.  It means a lot to the kids.  

Blessings out of nowhere are always the best kind.  It was wonderful and much appreciated everything we received last week.  Very thoughtful of everyone to think of us.  I know the pictures don't show all the things we received or all the fun we had eating them.  Hey, food never lasts long in this house.  But we were really touched by the generosity of folks.  Thank you.