Saturday, August 4, 2012

Boys, bees and bye-byes

One of those weird titles.  hey, I find random pictures and I try to make it work.  LOL.  Sometimes I can, sometimes  I can't.  So, time for pictures I think.

Those are sticks sticking out of Nik's head.  He sticks magnets to his implants.  He'll be great at Halloween.  

Waiting for it to land.  Alex has really shot up this summer.  Maybe we could stop feeding him.  LOL.  

Alex, ready to toss the Frisbee.

Nik, proud of his catch.  

Closer look just in case you thought there was nothing in there.  Geez, you'd think after being stung over 30 times at once a few years ago, he'd know better.

My baby boy is growing up.  

Just like this picture for some reason.  Looks like he's deep in thought though I'm sure he's planning something a little more sinister. 

 Courtney with all the kiddos.  They truly miss her.  We enjoyed having her here and do hope she can come back and visit soon.  Hey, maybe we could take her on a camping trip with us.  I think she'd run from that idea of a CMV(Chaos Manor Vacation).  Seriously though, we enjoyed her company. 

Another shot to say good-bye.  Summer was sad that "her Courtney" was leaving again.  She said with us a few weeks ago as well.  Oh, she even brought us ALL Westminster College t-shirts.  Very sweet of her to think of everyone.  

More posts forthcoming.  For now, need to get some sleep.  We're actually taking advantage of tax-free weekend tomorrow and doing some much needed shopping for the kids. Unfortunately, shoes are not handed down too often and are always needed.  Hoping we can score some deals.  We'll see. 

Early b-day gift

The other day I found a bargain.  Go figure.  Have to do it w/ this bunch.  Anyhow, Nik's birthday is October 3rd so a ways away. However, a bargain can be found any time.  Nik broke his camera awhile back.  LOVED that camera by v-tech.  Found one the other day on Amazon on sale w/ no shipping.  Decided to get it and save it for Nik.  Well, the package came Friday.  I asked Nik if he wanted it now or later.  Surprisingly he said later.  I asked again about 20 minutes later after I saw him bouncing in the living room.  Went to get the box.

Nik, getting ready to open the box.  

He's really digging inside as Summer is anxious too.

I think this made his day!  

Nik truly loves to take pictures.  A form of communication for him for sure.  Plus, he loves to be like his older brothers.  works out well.

He will really get a lot of use out of this.  It also has a few games on it.  Reni has a pink one like it.  Now, I must really think of what to get Logan for his birthday.  His is August 23rd.  He has told me he wants a jar of pickles(dill), an mp-3 player, and a cross for his neck.  See, at the orphanage a kid stole his cross he told me  Well, he described the fighting as well but I'll spare you the details.  I do think it is a reasonable birthday wish list.  See what we can do.   Just thought I'd share.  We're entering b-day season again. Starts in June.  June-- Alyona, July-- Alex, August-- Logan, September-- Yana, October-- Nik, December-- Summer and Irina.  If you want cake, come to our house.  LOL.  Have a great weekend everyone. 

Happenings around the house

Today is Saturday.  We had an FASD Pool Party here.  Met a new lady and her daughter.  It is always wonderful to share with others similar experiences in raising your kids.  We learn from each other.  I also had my friend's daughter over today with us as her mom had to work and her dad.  It's tax free weekend here in NC and if you're related to working in retail at all, your pretty much living at work for the weekend.  LOL.  Her and Alyona and Reni had a blast together so that was nice.  We had typical cookout food and just chilling the rest of the day.  Now, compiling a list of what needs to be done tomorrow.  Tons.  Thought I'd share a little of what's going on around here lately. 

I've given up on ever making my bed again.  This happens every day.

Max is getting stronger with help from his younger sisters.

Summer is learning how to feed the dogs.  Her motto is more is better.

Yana is making up routines for dance try outs. 

Summer is practicing to be cute as ever.  And growing like a weed.

Nik is learning how to let people touch him.  Trust me, this is a big deal for him.  Some help from little sis doesn't hurt any.  

Other happenings are trying to figure out how to make more space in this home.  It's a tough thing to do.  Very tough.  Again, best option is to sell but just not conducive to sell in this market.  So, here we must stay and adjust.  We originally wanted to add a garage and put a room above it and such.  Sorry but at $70K and more (most of them being triple digits!), we simple can't afford that nor would we want to.  Back to the drawing boards.  We've come up with an idea to add sheds in the backyard.  Redo the inside to make more room...sort of.  LOL.  We're painting a lot in here lately.   Fresh colors and have decided to let the kids do what they want in regards to colors.  I figure, it's only paint.  It's their house too.  We don't live in a museum and you only live once.  Might as well be happy about the room you spend a lot of time in.  And though I'd love to change the color of our yellow living room, it's been this way for years and it is HUGE.  Too huge to paint.  Honestly, with the height, you need scaffolding.  Something we're not willing to do at this time.  We're sprucing things up and drawing plans to make more garden containers here.  We can't get the acreage, we'll create it so to speak out of wasted space.  Also, will serve as a ball catcher.  

We go to Lowes tomorrow for Max to get supplies.  Max is going to create me a patio set!  Yep, sure is.  We want a place to eat outside and just didn't want to spend $2K to get a patio set that would fit us all.  I will take pictures of Max working and the end result.  This is his first attempt.  I have faith in him though that it will turn out right.  Just getting a lot of little things done so we can enjoy all that is ahead of us in the fall.  

I am getting to work on doing some more advocacy work for orphans.  If you remember, this is how we ended up with Alyona and Nik.  LOL.  Not this time.  I also am getting photo albums together for Summer's old orphanage and caregivers.  Also, one for Bojan's mom.  Just trying to get some little projects done here and there and it is taking some time.  I know the last week the blog has become last on the priority list.  It happens.  Life comes first.  More to come. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Too funny not to share

Okay, sometimes my kids take my camera unbeknownst to me.  Well, this happened a few weeks ago.  The girls' friend had the camera so you're hearing her voice.  See, Logan and Alex were fighting.  Got in trouble and had to do a punishment chore.  Just so happens the night before we had fish for dinner.  There was raw fish juices in the garbage can and who knows what else.  It is a garbage can after all.  Told the boys to go out and clean the can.  I had no idea this was on there.  I was cracking up.  It's long but parts of it are just too funny not to laugh.

This was from the summer time in July.  Hot outside.  At one point, Alex is inside peering out the bathroom window laughing at Logan.  And of course, Irina has to play mean later on.  LOL.  I'm going through old half finished blog posts.  So, you may wonder why some are from so long ago.  There's your answer.  Love the fact that though they're in trouble, seems to be a lot of giggling going on.  Logan still has an accent but boy his English has gotten so much better.

Pool Fun

It is summer time you know so we must have pool pictures.  Plus, wanted to try out a new camera underwater.  I have one camera.  No video camera b/c it got broken years ago.  So, honestly haven't had videos for years now.  Of course, I'm not paying full price for anything as you know.   So, caught a deal the other day for a new Kodak camera.  Video and camera. Goes underwater too!  Here's a link.  On Amazon, it's a deal at $88 and such.  Well, still found a better deal.  I paid $40 for mine.  LOVE it!  I know can video tape the kids.  Lots of fun.  Now, must say I don't like the quality as much as my other camera but for the money, love it as a video camera.  Plus, I haven't tweeked any settings so sure that's why the pictures aren't quite up to par.  So, thought I'd share a few w/ you. 

Nik.  Not smiling for a change.  Usually, he'll give me that fake cheesy grin.

Yana, just enjoying some swimming.  She was doing laps till her siblings entered the pool.

Honestly, I'm not sure who it is.  I know Logan is on the right.  Yana is on the left.  

Logan and Nik hamming it up for the camera.  

 Yana smiling while Nik tries to intercept a shot.

Nik, blowing bubbles I suppose.  

 Irina enjoying the water on a sunny day.

Summer showing me she can swim.

I'll be uploading a video soon too of Summer swimming.  In addition, I have some AWESOME kids to advocate for.  Much, much more to come! 

What's broken?

In a house with kids, things will get broken.  In a house with ten kids, things will get really broken.  In a house w/ 10 kids w/ special needs mixed in, things get broken...every...single day.  I will never forget when we were going through intensive in home therapy with a few of our kids years ago.  I made a comment I was tired of things getting broken.  I said things get broken every single day here.  She said "oh Stephanie, I'm sure you must be exaggerating about that as things can't possibly break every single day here."  Ha!  Clearly, she didn't understand Chaos Manor at the time.  So, that week I kept a journal of what got broken, how it got broken and who broke it.  The look on her face was priceless.  It really was.  She looked at me and just said I'm so sorry.  You have to find humor in it all though or you'll lose your mind.  Like yesterday.  The upstairs hallway is not painted.  Along with the trim.  One child decided the doors needed repainted so now we have 4 doors we'll have to paint this weekend.  URGHH!!!   But, that type of thing 

 This is a camera.  Max's camera.  He decided to take it apart b/c it's broken.

Irina, showing the broken ladle. 

 Can you even guess this broken item? 

It's the stove and unfortunately, the handle is the first of it's problems.  Kind of disappointed as my parents bought this for us just a few short years ago.  Handle is completely broken off.  Called the repair guy...$200.  No thank you.  We've gotten used to it. Next issue is we're not sure the heating element is going or what.  It takes forever to boil water.  And I mean forever.  We're starting to have to plan ahead.  Oven seems to be holding it's own but the stove top is going and we know it.  It's a Maytag if you're wondering.  We practically drool over new stoves at Lowes but not in the budget.  Doesn't hurt to look...every single time.  LOL.  

Thing are broken every single day here.  And it's not all little stuff either.  Nothing you can really do though but clean up the mess, explain to them what not to do (yet again) and move on. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Resident Barber

He's at it again.  Max is what they call a Jack of all trades.  He's our handyman, pool boy, painter, barber, etc.  You name it, most likely, Max can do it. 

Max, starting to trim up Logan's hair.  

He's got such a good eye.  He just uses his eyes as a guide and measurement.

Max, trimming Logan up.  

Now this shows total trust of your big brother.  LOL.

Today is Wednesday.  Kids had VBS again today.  Otherwise, we hung out today.  I swam laps and we finally got rid of tent city.  Trying to make plans on a couple of things.  August is back to being booked up again.  Oy.  September is getting that way too.  Amazing really.  But, some good things in there.  Soccer coach called today and all the kids practice on a Tuesday.  Love it!  Soccer is starting up.  Yana is trying out for dance next week.  So, scheduled is going to start getting packed again.  7 of the kids go to the doc next week too.  Never dull, is it?  We all decided we need much more sleep.  Thanks for all the advice on Irina.  I do appreciate it along w/ the ideas of where else to look.  Inquiring about another program in the area tomorrow.  I know it's trial and error for sure.  We'll get there.  Need to post a bunch of stuff on Craigslist. I'm getting there.  We got our Allure Box today.  It's a fall beauty box.  TONS of stuff in it.  Awesome.  Girls and I are set for quite some time.  So glad.  They apparently do this once a year.  Helps us out a bunch for deals like this.  Boys are mad and want a mens box.  LOL.  I've found a few already.  We'll see.

Blessed by bows

Last week, my girls received a package in the mail.  Check it out:

Addressed to the Boyd Girls.  Excitement is already building.  Summer looks like she's going to explode.  LOL.  

Time to open it up and see what's lurking inside.

Not sure which one of them is most excited.  I think it's a tie.  

Look at all those bows!!!  Can you believe how many there are?  Such cool varieties too.

Aren't they beautiful?!  It's so awesome.

Such dilemmas of what bows to choose.  This was just so incredible for her to do for the girls.  They thoroughly enjoyed it and have worn bows everyday since.  Made their day.  Mine too for that matter.  

Judy from VA sent us all these wonderful bows.  It really was a huge blessing for us.  I've never been crafty.  I am no Martha Stewart though I secretly long to be.  I can't create things such as this.  Wish I could.  And, we don't have the extra money to spend on special bows like this.  So for them to receive an entire package full, it really touched my heart.  Meant a lot to me.  Thanks so much Judy! 

This and that

Well, we have been hanging around with our wonderful house guest  Courtney.  Kids don't want to see her go.  She came a few weeks ago.  She's awesome.  Way too sweet to be with this bunch!  Anyhow, thought I'd share what we've been up to this week.  We have VBS every night.  Kids have been going to that.  Irina and Yana are volunteering with it this year.  Thursday is the last night of VBS.  Today, we did a bunch of errand running.  Went to the schools and let me tell you a bit of what crap is happening with that.

First, still waiting on Cleveland Middle.  Made the request in MAY but not in writing mind you, for an IEP meeting for Alyona to start middle school in a self contained classroom.  Normally, this wouldn't be an issue.  However, the only self-contained classroom is not in her 'home' school (the one we're districted for).  Complicated process and I knew that going in, hence, why I started in May!  URGHH!!!  I may show up in person w/ all 10 and just do a sit in.  What do you think??

Went to the high school this morning.  Ahh, the high school.  The place I thought had it together....W..R..O..N..G!  Went to get the driver's eligibility forms and report cards.  Went to the office and received the report cards.  Yana's had a waiver so she was going to 10th grade.  Max's did not have said waiver and said he failed and was going to be retained!  Umm, shocker shall we say.  Now, before school ended, I was told he didn't pass math (remember, his severe math disability which is NOT his fault & well documented in testing??). However, I was assured he was going to waiver and would be passed through given all the circumstances.  Left hand, please meet the right hand.  They can't do anything now of course as school's out for the summer.  Lovely.  Now, Max was looking forward to today and getting his driver's form back so he can get his license back.  See, in this state, if you fail a class, your license is taken away.  And get this, he has to fail TWICE in math in order to get a waiver/ opt out and take another class such as drafting or something of that nature.  I'm so mad!  Makes no sense if you have a well documented disability stating that math is a no go so to speak.  All else is fine.  This is just math.  Why is the school punishing him twice for something he can't help??  I just don't get it. 

I've written the special ed counselor.  Of course, you won't hear back till school starts.  Max is so smart in many areas.  I don't want you all to think otherwise.  He truly is very mechanically inclined and talented as you've seen.  This is really not sitting well w/ me what happened.  I'm sure I'll be in a fight for this one too.

What else did I realize today?  That Alyona may never graduate.  Why?  Because our governor in this state passed something that requires all high schoolers to take CPR in order to graduate.  Well, Alyona can't even press hard enough to give CPR, let alone remember the steps of what to do.  Are there exemptions to this requirement?  Haven't heard of any as of yet.  URGHH!!! 

In addition, all math requirements are changing this year.  I'm sure that will work out.  Ha! Just not pleased w/ the schooling here.  Never have been.  No secret here.  I guess my downfall is I'm hopeful that every year it will get better or change.  Never does.  They seem to always make things worse.  Especially, for the special ed population.  I will take a deep breath, let it all simmer until Friday.  Friday, head offices will be called.  Take it from there.  There is obviously way more that happened than what I've written.  Trust me, takes too long to explain it all.  Tomorrow is a new day, fresh start. 

After the school, decided we needed a pick me up.  Went to Pelican's Snow Cones.  Yumm.  Never had been before.  We have now all found our new indulgence.  Better than ice cream and much cheaper.  I forgot my camera so totally bummed about that.  I had kiwi flavor.  Delicious.  Went home, ate lunch.  Then, we headed to get the kids haircuts.  Again, forgot camera.  Reni was traumatized.  Remember, still fresh from the orphanage.  Girls covet long hair as typically, they shave theirs over in orphanages to keep lice at bay or keep things manageable.  I asked Reni if they cut her hair short over there and she just cried.  Some things, you just don't forget.  I assured her, it truly was just a trim.  She was not buying it.  It really was just a trim.  So, she cried.  Opposite end of the spectrum was Summer who was excited beyond belief to get her hair trimmed up.  Alex didn't go ballistic which was a relief. 

Then, we went to get peanut butter and something else for dinner at the grocery store.  Came home and off to VBS later.  Tomorrow, I'm not sure what all we'll be doing.  Hoping to swim.  Got to get some sleep this evening.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Need some cute kid pics

What seemed like such a down post needs to be followed by some cute kiddos I feel.  So, without further adieu here's some pics:

 Summer, just vegging out on the couch.  I'm sure Diego or Dora is on in the background.  

Reni, working on her chore...wiping the table down.  Do you love that fluorescent orange nail polish??

Summer, in all her cuteness.  She dresses herself.  Doesn't matter if it's her sisters' skirt or not.  She is my girlie girl and loves pink.  

Alyona.  My newest teenager.  Crazy, huh?  One day I'll have a picture w/ nothing on the floor.  I see watermelon and a basket of peaches.  No matter how big the kitchen, stuff still ends up on the floor. 

 I honestly didn't think my Bulgarian Beauty could get any more tan.  She can.

To me, she just looks way too grown up here.  My baby is growing up.  Umm, where's my young one???  LOL.  

Okay, cute pictures always help my mood.  This was post two.  On  a roll so starting # 3.   more to come. 

Vocational Rehab

Today was a meeting for Irina for Vocational Rehab.  These are the folks that supposedly help the high schoolers transition into jobs after high school.  they also help adults with developmental disabilities find employment.  Now, we had a run in with these folks back in February when we were trying to get Irina started w/ a job program at school.  They wouldn't tell us where their funding came from, wouldn't allow us to see legal papers Irina was supposed to sign, and told us piece work would actually cap out at minimum wage no matter how much output you gave.  So, we withdrew Irina from school.  That was NOT the only reason we withdrew her. 

Decided to go back as homeschoolers and see if anything different may occur.  Warren and Irina went this morning.  He said he would see what is available as far as jobs go and would try to help her focus on some job training such as interviews and things.  He also told us about a drivers ed class that may help her pass the test better.  She's taken it three times thus far.  They can't modify the test despite it being hard for special ed students and I totally understand that.  However, makes it very difficult for adults in such a position and very limiting for them as to what jobs they could have as they would not be able to drive. 

Now, I appreciate this guy wanting to help.  However, he is based out of Smithfield.  We live in a different town.  Though that's not far from us, it's very inconvenient especially if she can't drive.  I'd have to haul everyone 4 times a day for her to work!  It wouldn't pay for the gas.  Just stupid.  They are based out of Smithfield so they focus only on that town really for jobs.  I did not expect this to be easy.  I didn't.  I can't let her go to a job and have her pay me for gas ( I would do this given her age) and then not make anything from it.  Trying to think of a solution here.  Irina is  a very hard worker.  Motivated to do anything.  Doesn't mind hard work either.  Loves to clean.  Ideal worker really.  We will be doing more applications locally and seeing what can happen. 

This guy is supposed to call us back with more details.  Just feel down about it all.  Another thing he told us was that she won't be able to qualify for SSI.  Now, what will we do?  Here's the problem with that.  She won't make more than minimum wage paying job most likely.  On that income, she won't be able to live independently.  Doesn't fit into the group home setting.  Irina can stay on our insurance as long as she's in school.  That's only this year.  After that, she's on her own.  She won't be able to afford it and since she wont' qualify for SSI, she won't be able to qualify for Medicaid.  I'm really worried & don't know how this will turn out.  Now I understand why most people I meet w/ adult children w/ devel. disabilities are living at home.  Irina has SO, SO much to give society.  Now I even see more clearly why it's imperative Warren and I find a way to build that community we want to.  Can get it all off the ground. However, it all starts w/ selling this house and it's just not possible right now. 

Can you tell I feel like having a pity party today??  Anyone else have experience w/ Voc. Rehab, I'd love to hear how it finally turned out.  More posts forthcoming.  Just been a really, really long day.  This is just one thing.  Tons happening in regards to schooling.  URGHH!!! is all I have to say.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Getting crafty

You can only do so much swimming during the summer.  Well, the other day I cleaned out the homeschool bookcase which apparently had become the local catch all upstairs.  Found a few things and we decided to get creative that day.  Here's some pics from that day. 

Logan, starting to work on his canvas painting.  Found it in the bookcase.

Think it's turning out really cool, how about you?  My kids really love arts and crafts stuff.  And, it keeps them really busy.  

Nik found Popsicle sticks and decided to make a church.  Our church.  

He's working hard creating a scene.  Lots of little nik naks coming out of everywhere. 

Nik working on his piece still.  It involved a cross, Easter Eggs and the grass we walk on.  He worked hard and presented it to Ms. Pam today, the youth leader at church.  He was shy and wouldn't really look her in the eye but he did it.  They're going to display it in the JAM room.  I think he'll be thrilled to see it there.

I found a bunch of iron ons that we had received for Christmas.  Told the kids to get some old t-shirts and we'll make them new again.  Above is one of the girls' friends ironing on a peace pattern w/ flowers for Reni's shirt.  Very cute.  Everyone was watching in my room.  I know it looks like we live in a cave but at 100 degrees outside, we make sure all blinds and curtains are shut so that it keeps costs down.  

Yana, trying her hand at the iron ons.  

This was the shirt Logan picked to put it on.  Yana did a good job on that.

Alyona with her new shirt.  I do think they turned out pretty cool some of them.  Gave them something to do and kept them busy most the day.  Was nice discovering some things in that book case that we hadn't used in awhile.  Nice little arts and crafts items.  Going to find some more tomorrow I think.  And, giving me the chance to organize.  

Today was Sunday.  We went to church, had a fundraiser luncheon for Operation Smile, and came home.  Then, shortly later went to VBS.  Well, I took the kids there while Warren went to Wally World to return paint that they couldn't match.  He went back to the paint department and waited he said at least 30 minutes for someone and gave up.  Went next door to Lowes.  He said it was worth every penny to be out in 2 minutes for paint that matched the FIRST time.  Ridiculous.  Customer service is so bad how on earth does Walmart stay in business?  Discussion for another day.  So tomorrow it's paint the dining room time.  With the right paint this time.  We'll then take a break from painting and wait for more estimates to come in.  It's frustrating.  Really working on Plan C as we are pretty positive this is not going to work out.  And that's okay.  Just frustrating b/c we truly want to get started on something.  So do the kids.  We will definitely need a few extra hands.  I think we could get a fence up in a day w/ enough help.  We'll see.  Still must wait on other things first.  Roofer told us today to claim storm damage from the recent storm.  Well, yeh, I'm sure we could but roof is about 20 years old.  We know it needs replacing and we just feel unethical trying to claim something that's not true.  Just not right in our opinion.  Apparently though, common practice.  

Anyhow, lots going on as usual.  Much more to come and more pictures.  Tomorrow is Monday.  Errands to the bank, school, haircuts, and snow cone place.  Don't ask.  Speech therapy in the afternoon, appointments being made and then VBS in the evening.  So hopefully, tomorrow will be productive.