Saturday, September 29, 2012

Logan's drawings

Logan likes to imitate his older brother Max.  Glad he has someone to emulate now that is decent.  Okay, most the time.  LOL.  Seriously though, the older kids' orphanage is a rough place and NOT family.  Recently, Logan told us something.  See, after they've been here awhile, older kids post adoption will start to open up about their life back there and what truly went on.  Logan recalled things earlier in the week.  One older teen there named Timur, owned a gun.  Yes, real gun.  Don't ask how he got it as I'm sure it was stolen.  Though a guess, probably a very good guess.  He would go around and hit some of the other kids on the head w/ the gun.  I asked Logan and Reni why they never told the director.  They both said that Timur would kill them.  The older teen had threatened to kill anyone if they told he had a gun.  Easy threat and the rest are young enough to obey.  They didn't know they could trust someone and fear took over their lives.  This is just ONE incident folks.  There are more. I will never share all on here but will share some so that others going down this path can understand what their children went through and how that would effect them in the future once home. 

Though Max would put Logan in a head lock in a heartbeat, Logan knows he's safe here and not going to get shot unless by a nerf gun.  So, awhile back, he started looking up to his brother Max and trying to draw like him.  Though it's annoying to Max, he puts up with it.  This is a bad shot but I took it w/ a different camera.  Still, shows a few things.

This was all Logan's doing.  No gore, no blood.  Just some flowers and a bird.  Not too bad a drawing at that.

Blurry, but you can make it out.  To:  Mom  From:  Logan.  

I think this drawing says a lot coming from a post institutionalized child.  He's comfortable in his home.  He has no fear of something happening to him.  He's alright to try new things.  He can get yelled at and frankly not care.  Before, he would have blown up, screamed at me and stomped off.  Changes have happened over the last 10 months and will continue to happen.  I'm proud of how far he's come.  I will do a post in the next few weeks on the before and after and all the changes that have taken place.  Really amazing to be quiet honest. 

Miscellaneous pictures

Camera still has many pictures in it from Nik's continuing birthday surprises.  Can't wait to share all.  Today, Saturday, turned out to be a rainy day.  All soccer games were cancelled.  Truly, I'd wished we'd have known last night so we could have slept in.  Oh well, we were awake, kids were dressed for soccer so time for breakfast.  Nothing fancy today for sure.  Irina and I decided  not to go to yardsales due to all the rain.  Good decision.  So, got caught up on quite a bit of paperwork earlier and now doing some emails.  Thought I'd write on here for a little while and move onto Sam's shopping later w/ Warren.  Our monthly shopping trip where each time they say "ooh, you must be having a big party."  Umm, nope.  Just feeding the family.  Since there are no games, we already cleaned up the house early this morning, all we really have to do is veg out for once and enjoy every moment of being lazy, watching a movie or reading a magazine.  Every once in awhile, it's nice to have a down day. 

Summer, enjoying some last great times of Summer when it's not too cold out to play.  Of course in NC, my kids play outside all year long.  LOL.  

Oh, so many things I can say about this mess.  We're waiting for our shed.  It's hand built in KY & then shipped here by truck.  Takes 4 to 6 weeks.  Soon,we'll have it and the yard will no longer look this way.  Unfortunately, our grill broke.  We grill out a lot.  Love it.  We've only had our grill about 2 years and completely worn out to the point we could not salvage it to cook on.  So, Max is here turning the old grill into a work bench table for other projects.  So, not a total waste.  We reuse a bunch of things in this house to cut cost.  Trouble is, we had to buy a new grill.  No other choice.

A sign fall is in the air.  Got this from the farmer.  Beautiful mums there.

Here's Warren putting the new grill together.  Got charcoal this time.  Was cheaper of the two and Max & him decided they'd like to cook w/ charcoal this time versus propane.  Summer is just watching and Digby is standing laying guard.  

Some of the kids goofing around.  

Logan, trying to teach Nik a Bulgarian hand thing.  Not sure what it's called but something they did in the orphanage.  

Yes, we're the evil parents that make their kids eat their dinner.  No exceptions.  Can you tell Summer is not a fan of broccoli? 

Have more pictures and more stories to share but I'm really being lazy today.  LOL.  I may get to it later but need to leave for Sam's soon.  Hoping tomorrow we'll be more productive.  Or not.  Sometimes, it's nice to just veg out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

And the birthday continues

As if Nana's package was not enough, another arrived.  This time from a sweet family named the DeMatteos.  The whole family took time to send Nik a message and a few gifts that will rule the house the next few weeks.  You'll see what I mean in a moment. 

We were stunned to see this huge box on the front porch.  I thought Nik was going to jump out of his skin.  LOL.  He was screaming w/ delight.

100 colored pencils!  Do you know they have been coloring nonstop since Nik got these?  I don't just mean the little kids either!  It's great b/c the box it comes in is also a case w/ individual holes for the pencils.  Makes it so much easier than digging through our bin of broken pencils and crayons.  

He opened this larger package next.  All are in total suspense.

I know this is blurry and I sure do wish I could have had it clearer. It is simply put pure and utter JOY.  This is the one thing he wished for on his birthday.  A Kinex Roller Coaster.  See, the few days before he even got this, he was typing in on You Tube Kinex Roller Coasters and practically drooling over them.  Saying "see, Mom."  This picture needed a sound track b/c it was like the screams you hear on Christmas morning from kids.  Just joy.

 I think the other boys are happy b/c they know they get to help put it together. 

Sketch pad was the next gift opened and was also a hit.  Since he was always stealing Max's paper to draw on, Max was very thrilled Nik received this gift.  

Nik, still focused on that roller coaster.  I honestly think that truly made his year.  Today, they are putting it together.  They've been working in pairs on it.  It's not small.  I still can't get over the generosity of so many that have made his birthday such a celebrated time.  As it should be.  Nik had such a horrible first few years of life, he should be celebrated now.  He needs to understand he is indeed cared about.  I thank each and every one of you for helping to do that.  I will have shots of the fridge once all the cards are in.  I have more gifts, cards, etc. but the camera still has images on it.  It will have to wait a bit longer.  Hope you've enjoyed it so far. I know I have and Nik definitely has.   He is in bed now w/ a gift he hasn't let go of.  I will dump more images off the camera tomorrow and get some more posts up.  Just been super busy lately.  I feel bad for not saying thank you sooner to some of you folks.  Just know I am humbled by all the sweetness and love surrounding Nik.  Means more than you'll ever now.  Thanks for sharing this time with me. 

Birthday surprise from Nana

My mom sent Nik's gift a bit early for him to enjoy.  He was quite surprised.

And the wonderment of what's inside begins.  

Everyone wondering what was inside that package.  Even the dog was looking.

I know it's blurry but the only one I have showing how happy he was with what he got.

Logan explaining to Nik what it was.  Nik had this thing together in just a few minutes.  What a ham.  

Irina showing Nik how the pump works.

Nik, trying to figure out how to put the balloon on the pump.  Summer is just watching intently patiently waiting for a turn.

Alyona really checking out to see how this thing works.

I know you can't really see his face, just the veins on his neck. He is laughing SO hard from the balloons flying high up in the air.  

Nik, trying to decide what color to blow up next.  And yes, his shirt is inside out.

This pumping action is not the easiest thing in the world to do.  But well worth the effort in the end to see those things fly as high as the sky.

Nik received a big Lego police set from Nana as well as balloons and a Kinex bulldozer.  He  & many of his sibs have thoroughly enjoyed all the gifts.  Thanks a bunch Nana. 

Can't wait to share more but some kiddos need to get to bed.  More in a bit. 

Bojan's leg

Bojan is missing a leg.  Aka they call him...above knee amputee.  Congenital for him.  Always had it or not as the case may be.  Bojan is 13yo and hitting a growth spurt pretty rapidly.  He is taller than me now and almost taller than Max.  New leg is needed frequently.  So this past Tuesday, he got one.

Shows Bojan's new knee.

And with the socket.  We did not have time this go around to get a design on it as it was critical he get a new leg asap.  Bojan at first didn't like the knee but now he does.  Well, yesterday he was in a ton of pain.  What happened is the socket was made too high and was rubbing.  Ridges formed on his skin.  This has not happened to him since we first got him...6yo.  Immediately called the doc and Bojan is coming in to fix the issue tomorrow, Friday.  This office is always top notch & always willing to work him in.  They will grind the socket down a couple of inches.  We are hoping all his new leg and hardware last him for quite some time.  He just is growing so stinking fast though.  We are very thankful we have a wonderful clinic that handles all this and wonderful insurance that takes care of it for us.  Bojan's prosthetic has allowed him to do anything.  He also has a running leg he received through a grant years ago.  They are trying to adjust it now to make it work since he grew so much.  The only issue we have now, is both the clinic and us have tried to get his doctor at Duke to sign the script that's needed to file.  It's been approximately 2 weeks and he still won't sign it.  We're all frustrated.  Great doc but Duke for us has been horrible w/ scheduling and handling "the little things" as we call them.  Like a 2 second signature.  Otherwise, everything has gone well this go around for things.  

Many think missing a leg is hard to deal with.  Bojan has told me it's not.  No big deal for him or us for that matter.  It's never been odd for us.  Now, when new kids first come home, they're nervous but that's to be expected.  Everyone could careless around here whether he has a leg or not.  They're more interested if he does his share of chores around here. LOL.  Yes, imagine we make him walk the dog.  We were at a campground this summer and I was walking ahead of him w/ one of the other kids I think.  A golf cart stopped and asked him if he wanted a ride.  He said no.  I asked him later why.  He said b/c I knew if I took the ride you'd yell at me b/c I can walk by myself.  He's right. 

And let the birthday begin....

As you all know, I put out a request a little while back for Nik's upcoming birthday.  It was not easy for me to do this.  It's hard to admit your child will not be social and most likely not quite "fit in" with society.  However, it is what it is.  I wouldn't change him for the world.  He is here for a reason and I can honestly say has brighten the lives of many over the years.  So, I didn't want him to feel left out of birthday celebrations like his siblings have.  The older kids were on board and all actually understood.  At first, I thought they'd be a tad jealous of Nik getting a pile of cards.  The opposite has happened.  They are genuinely happy for him.  You must understand just how significant that is for the many of the FASers that reside here as well as those w/ RAD.  It's huge.  All want him to go to the mailbox and all are encouraging of Nik.  So, this past week, cards and gfits started to come in the mail.  For him, the excitement was almost too much to bear. 

These were his very first postcards!  All the way from California.  Thanks Kris.  BTW, he went to you tube right after this and typed in California so he could see more.  Smiley face was a big hit.  He went straight to the fridge to pin these up.  

 The very next day, Nik went to get the mail and look for his name on anything.  He was so happy to see 2 more cards w/ his name on them. 

Notice everyone waiting patiently  for him to open it?

Thanks Gulya family for thinking of Nik.  These two also went on the fridge.  We may have to start using the other refrigerator soon if this keeps up.  LOL.  Kris from CA has been sending him a different postcard everyday.  He is loving it.  He asked if we were going to Yosemite.  Umm, not yet kiddo.  

More to come today but in the process of cooking dinner.  Grilled chicken, broccoli, and homemade french fries.  Hope it tastes good.  More posts forthcoming.  unfortunately, may have to hit Wally World this evening and really not in the mood to shop for anything.  Tomorrow is field trip Friday.  Going somewhere but not sure where yet.  Long story on that one.  Just had to give you a glimpse of Nik w/ his cards.

Homeschool hunting

I try to incorporate various activities to provide some variety instead of just sitting in a chair all day.  Not like my children sit still anyhow.  LOL.  So, the other day we did a weather scavenger hunt since we're studying weather. 

I hid clues around the yard.  Weather facts on card stock.  Some obvious, some not.  

And, everyone was off on the hunt for facts.

Alex was looking under things and up.

Logan, hot on the trail for more clues.

This obvious one they missed time and time again for some reason.  

At times, it turned into more of a race of who could find the most cards.  18 of them were hidden in the front and side yards.

Logan studying some of the facts about the weather.

Alex, not so happy he also had to learn the facts so instead, he grabbed Wendy's coupons to read.  I guess he was hopeful.  And no, we did not go to Wendy's.  

Alyona studying the main sheet about the weather.  Place where we put all the answers to the questions.  They had a good time w/ it and the weather was perfect for being outside.  Tomorrow, we were going to go to the farm but may have to change plans b/c Bojan's leg is so messed up.  More on that later as well.  For now, need to go yell at some children who are supposed to be reading...not talking. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sassy 17

I shared the post regarding Yana's birthday but found a few pics from the next day and her cake w/ the family.  nothing fancy.  She went to the Homecoming dance and had a blast.  But we still wanted to sing and frankly, most wanted cake.  LOL.  Made a cake and lit some candles. 

Nik, excited even though it's not his birthday.

Yana, waiting to light the candles while Alex practices blowing them out.

Hard to believe she is 17 now.  Both her and Max.  Crazy.  She did have a great birthday and got to spend it with friends.  Just like any other 17 yo would love to do.

Yana, blowing out the candles.  Hope all those wishes come true!

Sneak peek

Thought I'd share a little sneak peek of a post that is forthcoming.

Nik, going to check out the mailbox.

Nik, looking for his name.  And boy, did he find some cards with his name on them!  I can not wait to share it all.   It will take me a little time but you all are bringing back a twinkle in a little kid's eyes who was crying last week b/c he had no friends to invite to a party.  Means a lot to him.  So much so, he has shown his therapist and social worker all the cards that he's received thus far.  One even from California!  He looked that up on You Tube later.  LOL.  Postcard had it spelled out for him which was cool.  Can't wait to share it all.  For now, just a sneak peak b/c I have a lot to write about.  Packages were even received today.  Right now, he's building a Kinex Roller coaster w/ Logan and is in 7th Heaven.  Just incredible.  I can't describe the feeling I have b/c of it all.  It's hard to describe.  Just seeing him this happy makes me happy for him.  It's contagious!  More on it in a bit. 

Treasure and toothlessness

I know I missed yesterday but we had soccer practice and frankly the day got away from me.  I have quite a few posts to catch up on (as usual) and quite a few happenings to share around here.  For now, a few quick posts until later this evening.  We have church clubs tonight so will be busy for a bit. 

The other day we found an awesome chest at the Goodwill.  Very beautiful and very well made.  Nicely hand crafted.  You can tell.  Picked it up and brought it home for the boys.  For now though, it was downstairs.  Max needed to fix the hinge on it.  Alyona decided it was a wonderful place to sleep.  She wondered why we wouldn't let her sleep there.

Nik lost a tooth at dinner the other evening.  He was thrilled.  Loves to get the dollar the next morning.  Shortly after, he lost another the next day.  Now, he waits to spend his money.  

Reni was shocked when her brothers wanted to pull her tooth that was just hanging there.  She wanted no part of it.

Max messing with her and joking he was going to rip it out.  Looks like she's being smothered but promise you she's not.  Reni lost a tooth and was going to throw it out the window as that is what they did in Bulgaria.  There is no tooth fairy at the orphanage so to say she was shocked she got money, is an understatement.  The other kids thought she was crazy for wanting to throw it out the window.  

Very short post for now.  More coming.  Need to go put the barbeque chicken in the oven.  Clubs are this evening so time schedule we must keep.  Thankfully, no happenings tomorrow so staying put and getting stuff done.  Yeh, I say that but somehow it never seems to happen that way.