Saturday, October 6, 2012

This and that

I'm so very far behind on things.  I'm working on it.  So, figured I'd catch up the last few days.  Friday, we went to volunteer at the church all day long.  And I mean all day.  I didn't bring the camera b/c I knew we'd be too busy working to take pictures.  It was for a fundraiser for a young man who is battling cancer.  So, kids and I got there about 10:30 or so in the morning.  All the homeschoolers and I.  Stayed until around 7:30 at night!  Kids made it the entire day.  I was very proud of them.  Not any complaining.   Did their jobs and were great helpers.  Many compliments and that meant a lot. I really was amazed at their stamina.  We packed our lunches but forgot drinks.  Church was kind enough to provide those.  After helping all day, we were spent.  Warren met us there and we drove home.  I have severe night blindness and am not supposed to drive at night.  Irina was my navigator.  Well, really just to make sure I stay on the road.  In back of Warren's car b/c if I were to misjudge something, at least we'd hit our own car.  I know that sounds horrible but really not much of a choice.  Had to get home.  Before we left the church though, we were blessed w/ a big bag full of clothes.  In addition, we were given some extras leftover from the dinner.  My kids were rather excited b/c there was a big bag of goodies! 

Stayed a few minutes and picked up the 3 teens at home.  All headed to Wendy's for dinner.  Had a gift card and we were also blessed that day w/ some money to buy the kids something.  Dinner it was!  We all were exhausted and just wanted something hot and fresh and quick.  Wendy's was great and never tasted so good.  All I had had that day was a pack of crackers and grapes.  I was so hungry.  Now, earlier, I had made the mistake of telling Nik after church, we can go to Target and spend his birthday money.  Never thinking we'd barely be able to walk through the store.  So, Target we went. 

Nik never did find anything at Target but I did.  See, the dogs had torn up my sheets.  Warren and I literally have one pair of sheets left.  But, hate to spend the $80 to $100 on King sized sheets.  Found some nice sheets on sale at Target for $35.  They were black.  Not the color I'd pick but the price was right so black it was.  Does look kind of weird on the bed though.  We found a few other clearance items that we needed.  Told Nik he had to go somewhere else as he didn't find anything at Target.  Total break down tears and all in the car.  Went home.  By this time, almost 11pm.  Beat. 

This morning, soccer bright and early.  Reni and Summer had a game first so Warren took them.  Irina and I went to yard sales and got a few awesome deals.  Wished we could have gone longer but I had to make cupcakes for soccer and shower and put in dinner in the crockpot before Alex, Logan and Nik's games.  Phew.  Off to the games. 

Logan and Alex played a hard game.  Ended in a tie.  Alex made the goal for his team.  Logan was "hurt."  I really hate the melodramatic orphanage kid.  They all do it.  Part of it is, the louder they cried or carried on at the orphanage, the more attention they got.  Makes sense but when they come home, you have to re-teach them it doesn't work that way.  Hence, why we don't go running over every time our 12yo is hurt.  He must learn.  I'm sure we look like uncaring parents.  We're not.  He needs to learn.  Warren went over there.  He was up and playing ball again.  NO issue.  URGHH!!!  Tried to explain to him in the car that's not how it works.  We'll be there if you get hurt but don't be melodramatic when your not.  Boy who cries wolf comes to mind.  And yes, all my orphanage kiddos have done it.  By far though, Logan & Yana have been the worst about it.  However, that makes sense as those two were my oldest at time of adoption.  Nik was out of it in his game.  Still tired from yesterday.  He was a zombie.  Just like Summer was earlier.  What was super sweet though was the other team gave him a birthday card!  How awesome was that?!  We also had cupcakes for both teams at the end.  Beautiful day for soccer.  Since my glass of milk didn't tide me over, Warren was sweet and got me Jersey Mikes they were selling at the game.  Between yesterday and today, I was just plain hungry. 

After soccer games, we went to the shed place to re-sign the contract...again.  Don't ask.  Been a comedy of errors.  Shed to be delivered very soon.  Wahoo!!!  Can't wait.  We then went to drop off some clothes we had.  Then, to stop by Walmart to pick up Nik's sports glasses.  Not covered by insurance of course.  URGHH!!!  We're hoping these work better w/ the implants and he'll keep them on.  While at Wally World, Nik spent his b-day money.  He loved it.  Bought an air hog helicopter.  Him and Logan were playing the rest of the day flying it past the giant oak trees.  So cool.  While there, I scored a pile of great deals.  Flip flops for the girls for next year.  Comforters for most the kids for ....$7 each!  And they're NEW.  That doesn't happen too often for my family so nice when it does. 

Went home and we all enjoyed some great french dip sandwiches from the crockpot.  Got the recipe off Pinterest and it is SO good and SO easy.  Love, love, love it!  4 lb. roast, 6 cups water, 1 cup soy sauce, 3 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon rosemary.  Throw it in the crock pot on low and let it cook all day. Literally falls apart on it's own & use the sauce for dipping.  Yummy!  6 ingredients and awesome on any day you need something simple for dinner.  After eating, worked outside cleaning up. Prepping for the shed.  This thing is huge. It's not like a little shed.  Handmade in KY and made to withstand hurricane winds.  Built better than the house.  LOL.  This allows us a place for the girls to go and main thing it does is give the boys more room. 

Today, been trying to catch up on some thank yous and paper work.  We refinanced this past week.  My emails are behind and so is just about everything else in this house unfortunately.  And that's alright.  Things will get done.  I'm trying to find a place Warren and I can go.  See, in December it is our 15th wedding anniversary.  We have not gone anywhere in those 15 years together.  Ever.  Sorry, adoption trips don't count as they are just too stressful.  Our honeymoon was simple as we were just starting out.  Stayed at my aunt's cabin in the mountains.  We wanted to do something special this year but w/ things breaking around here,  it just won't happen this year.  That's okay but still want to do something even if just something little or simple.  I put the message out on facebook and seems like folks are full of great ideas that don't cost an arm and a leg.  So open to suggestions here as well.  Given our situation, we can't be gone too long.  Thanks in advance. 

More to do today and frankly, I'm really tired.  By the end of the weekend though, this will be full of posts as tomorrow is supposed to be a really cold and wet day.  Rainy and chilly.  Perfect for staying in and catching up on emails and blog posts.  Pictures tomorrow it is.  TONS of b-day pictures.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin art

Being that I'm not all that artistic, we  take art to a different level here.  I decided it's fall, time for some pumpkins.  Finally stopped raining so decided to paint some pumpkins for the season.  Whatever they wanted.

Reni, with that fake smile she and Nik have.  It's a ten year old thing I guess.

EVeryone getting ready to decide what they want to paint on their pumpkins.   We're not carving the big ones for a little while yet. 

Two thinkers.  It doesn't take us long to realize just how severely color blind Logan is.  He'll always ask us colors.  He's red, blue, yellow & green color blind.  He really can't see colors at all.  Otherwise though, vision is great.  Hey, at least he doesn't care if he matches.  Just don't ask him to pass the markers or crayons.  It gets interesting around here.

And why is she wearing a white shirt??  I sure didn't dress her for this.

I think that's scary enough, don't you?

Reni, just as content as Digby is behind her. Both just relaxing on a relaxing day.

We get paint whenever we can at yardsales.  Use what we have on hand.  Works.

Nik, very proud of his creation.  Notice the birthday boy tag?  He really doesn't want to take it off.  It's like his badge of honor.

My meticulous little one.

And Alyona is still undecided here of what she will do w/ her pumpkin.

Logan somehow always ends up w/ black.  Poor kiddo.  Would love to know how he sees things. 

I took the easy way out.  LOL.  Scary enough for me!

One of the kids 'zombies.'

Beautiful mum we have blooming.  Awesome deal on this beauty too!

Honestly think Alyona had more fun carrying around her pumpkin than painting it.  We all really did enjoy sitting outside getting a bit creative.  This was the same day we made the clouds.  So, worked out well.  Much more to come.  VERY busy this evening.

Wednesday night

Yesterday evening the younger kids had church clubs.  All are not into it as much as last year as the format has changed quite a bit and we all know how kids are w/ change.  Especially some of my kids.  Last year they had science clubs, cooking clubs, dance clubs, jump rope clubs, etc.  It was really super cool.  They had a blast!  This year, it is more of a youth group format similar to meetings w/ some games.  So, different.  Also, there's not many upper elementary kids like Alex and Logan.  You have to be in 6th grade to be in youth group.  And though both are the age of most of the kids in the youth group, Alex and Logan are technically in 6th grade.  Had to hold them back in order to learn English.  Do it w/ all my kids.  Helps.  Anyhow, we may try something different next semester, I'm not sure.  May do a family night type of thing or something of that nature.  Not sure as we love everyone at the church we go to, just not sure if this is the right fit as far as activities go. 

Trust me though, they still have fun and learn and that's what counts.  This time, Alyona went with us.  She's having trouble in the bigger youth group as even though she's 13yo, she can't read and is on a 4 or 5yo level.  Makes a big difference when everyone else is in middle school and their age.  Yana goes w/ her and said Alyona is totally lost.  They didn't go last weekend b/c Yana was sick.  They're going this weekend.  Alyona may fit in better w/ the elementary kids still.  Not sure.  Hard w/ kids that are not in a typical "mold" situation.

And let the games begin!  Summer was the first one out which was no surprise to us.  

Girls were up first and the boys were to encourage them and cheer them on.  We were discussing encouragement that evening.  You try to pop the other person's balloon.  It is much harder than it looks.  

 Summer, measuring herself against Nik.  She sure has grown, hasn't she?

After the girls, it was all the boys' turn.  Nik is here waiting for instructions. After the activities, a sweet lady from church made Nik cupcakes for his birthday!  Thanks Lara, chocolate is our thing.  She even got Nik a present which he built as soon as he got home.  This is the one thing we love about our church, everyone one feels like family & is always there for you. 

The girls going into the house.  Though we told them to let Nik go first as the teens had decorated it for Nik.  

Some of the front door.

Nik's chair was decorated for him.  We had a late dinner.  Nik had cake before we left.  I'll have those pictures up later too.  Nik really did have a great birthday yesterday.  More on it all in a bit.  CAtching up this week for me has been just an uphill task.  Tough.  I'll get there.

Reni's perspective

Okay, I really hate it when my kids take the camera.  It usually doesn't work out that well.  However, they do it from time to time.  So, Reni had the camera the other day.  Only trouble is, Reni sees things a little tilted compared to the rest of us. She has strabismus and a few other eye issues.  But, doesn't matter.   She captures things too.  So, here's a little of what Reni took w/ the camera.  See if you can tell if she sees things a little differently.  Remember, to her this is even.

She took a picture of her brother Alex.  Hey, she got a  half smile out of him.

Nik getting ready to shoot an airplane at Reni.  Not too bad a shot.  Not leaning a whole lot.  

Closer they are, the more tilt it seems to be for Reni.  You can always count on Summer to ham up the camera.  

On this shot, I thought the rv might roll away.  LOL.  Alyona, who also happens to have massive eye issues.  Alyona's are much more complex than Reni's.  Alyona will never drive.  She's bummed but we told her early on so she's okay w/ that.  Reni should be able to drive but after seeing these pictures, we might want to reconsider that.  Have to ask the eye doc.  What's crazy, is Alyona does not see this way.  

Not sure what Alex and Logan are doing in this picture.

Not too far off w/ this one.  yet, Logan is at a distance.  The further away, the better the shot seems to be for her.  Logan is doing I don't know what.  

Nik, really enjoying the airplanes he received as one of his gifts.  Oh, he started decorating the door and windows.  Nik has no cares as to what he wears.  Apparently, neither do I.  

Just thought it was interesting to share how Reni sees things.  Okay, break's over for the kids.  We closed on the house today.  Just a refi but it was a good time to do it.  Paid time Warner and picked up some dough so I'm making pizza for lunch for the homeschoolers.  Irina did reading, spelling and studying science w/ them.  We're finishing up science and English after lunch.  Then, I think we may just chill around here.  Relief.  No place to be this evening.  Tomorrow for our field trip, it's time to give back some service.  So, going to the church all day for a fundraiser they are doing.  Yep, myself and the homeschoolers.  Should be interesting.  We'll be too busy to get pictures I'm sure.  

My kids all have a pretty good sense of empathy and wanting to help others.  There is one kid that is totally selfish but this is to be expected.  Yesterday though, the rest of us were stunned at just how selfish Logan is.  (I will have a separate post on the "selfish" orphan.  Happens a lot w/ older kids).  We were studying weather and disasters and what to do in one.  What you would take, what you need, etc.  He blatantly said he'd save his stuff.  Everyone got on his case saying you know you'd be dead, right?  ALL of them "got it" except him.  He is very, very materialistic for an orphanage kiddo.  you'd think they raised him at the Ritz. We're all working on it.  Takes time.  Hey, one out of 10 is not bad.  He'll get better.  He already is showing signs of giving so that's a start.  He's already learned fairly quickly Mom and Dad are NOT made of money and that his sister will have his head for not turning off the lights.  LOL.  And huge progress is every time he finds money now, he doesn't take it.  Loose change goes into the trip jar for helping to pay for gas for the rv.  Just now have to make him realize life is more precious than stuff in a disaster situation or any situation for that matter.  BTW, I've been in a few hurricanes.  Warren's been in a tornado.  I've been in a white out blizzard.  Felt a light earthquake but Californians would not have called that a real earth quake.  I've been in a near drowning and held up at gun point.  So, I've learned the value of life and how it can be gone in an instant.  Life is precious and I want my kids to understand that.  Logan will get there.  He will.  Tomorrow, I'm hoping his eyes are opened just a tad bit more.  Time to make the pizza.  Have a great day & I'll have more on here later regarding Nik's birthday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Homeschool happenings

We've been trying to get in our groove w/ homeschool.  Think we found it.  For the most part.  Some days are better than others but that goes to show you it's normal here.  yeh, right.  We are ahead in history so taking a break this week.  Still waiting to register them all for homeschool.  The state's system was down and is now up.  However, waiting on them to give me an email.  They are sending them out over the next 2 weeks in batches.  Have until Nov. 24th to register.  Just want to get it taken care of.  Have been tracking attendance though and such.  I save their work & things of that nature.  Anyhow, we're working on various things.  For science, we are currently studying weather.  We're done w/ inventors and are on weather.  Been great thus far.  Worksheets/ study guides along w/ a lapbook.  And little experiments thrown in just for kicks. 

Started on our cloud projects.  Something simple but they are recognizing them more and more in the sky.  They have cumulus and cirrus down pat.  Still mix up stratus and nimbus but oh so close!  

Reni outlined hers in chalk first.  I asked her what kind it was and she said Cumulus.  

And there went all my cotton balls.  

Alyona working on her cloud.  We're keeping it simple and just sticking to the main types of clouds.  Not all the other classifications.  They are in elementary school so it fits.  

Nik was too impatient to make a cloud.  He put together one of his Lego birthday gifts instead.

Summer wanted to make a bead animal versus a cloud.  I let her.  She's technically not in school yet but goes along w/ all our learning stuff anyhow.

Summer carrying some of the cupcakes for Nik's team.  Nik's team and Reni's team ended up getting some as we had enough.

Summer, passing the time by making silly faces.

Summer, w/ that smile that never ends. 

Soccer is part of homeschool.  PE of course.  We also go to church clubs and have field trips here.  We also teach some basic home cooking stuff.  Reni helped make the baked meatballs yesterday w/ Irina.  All are reading and we're doing the book it program just like at school.  All of them need a lot of help in English.  Irina helps me w/ their stuff though so that's good.  We do her stuff more at night when the rest are in bed.  Works and you have to do what works.  I do feel all of them are learning something.  It was storming in the car the other day and Warren was driving.  I randomly asked what two things attract lightening and screams of answers came out...just from the homeschoolers though.  That should tell me something right there.  Same thing happened the other day w/ the Revolutionary War.  So, if my kids can retain it, how come the public school kids (my kids) can't?  Makes me think a lot and that this was the right choice for them.  We may not like it all the time but that is true of any school I feel.  Got to go.  We have clubs this evening and I make roasted chicken for dinner.  Cake is ready for after church.  A nice lady is bringing cupcakes for the church to sing to Nik.  Much going on w/ homeschool and other things.  Enjoy your evening.  More of Nik's birthday after I get back from the evenings activities. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mail Call

I know I'm kind of going backwards but that's just the way it's going to go.  I'm usually out of order anyhow so why not start w/ today. 

Nik got a special delivery today.  Carefully opening what's inside.

Think he's getting a tad bit excited??

Nik, getting ready to look inside at his gift.

Summer is curious for sure.  Nik is trying to see what it is exactly.  

Legos, definitely a hit!  That fake smile has to go from him and Reni.  Driving me nuts.  LOL.  Thank you Holloway family!! 

Nik opening up a card he received.  

He pulled this out and said clear as day..."clear."

It also came with stickers!

This all came in a handmade card from Kenya!  Mary Beth has a friend in Kenya in the Masai tribe.  Isn't this cool?!  Thanks a bunch.  

Nik received quite a few cards of them.  Some of them even from VT!  Thank you Parry family.  Hope I spelled that right.  

Seriously need to work on his smile. 

Most of the kids watch Nik open the cards.  If they sing, they take turns listening to them.  

Irina and I always help read the cards.  Nik really is enjoying opening all these cards and gifts.  Amazing to see where they're all coming from.  England, Canada, VT, CA, NC, VA, Australia, and way too many other places to name.  Really neat to see where they are all coming from.  Amount of support for one little boy really is awesome to see.  After living for years in an orphanage celebrating no birthdays and having NO communication whatsoever w/ anyone, it is wonderful to see Nik get the best birthday ever and wanting to tell people all about it.  He was telling his speech therapist all kinds of things today.  Many have helped contribute to make one kid a very happy little boy.  I can not express my gratitude enough and know I'll never get to thank everyone individually.  Wish I could for sure.  Just know, it means a lot to Nik.  It really does.  So, many more Nik posts to come this week and we'll get to them all.  For now, need to get to bed soon.