Friday, October 19, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

Haven't done one of these in awhile and thought it was high time I did.  when you have children with various mental health disorders, sometimes behavior is not what it should be.  So, I like to take note of the thoughtful things they do over a week.  Does make a difference for sure.  There's always something for each & every one. Started this and messed up w/ editing.  So, Summer is off for now.  I'll catch her up next week. 

Irina-- she's been playing hairdresser to her younger siblings any time they ask. 

Max-- keeping w/ the hair theme, Max has been giving people a hair cut when needed.  He recently cut Summer's and Warren's hair.  Very thoughtful of him.

Yana-- After school, Yana asks me if there is anything she can do to help.  I appreciate the thoughtfulness of that simple question.

Bojan-- Started letting Reni walk the dogs w/ him.  This is a big deal.  Gives them time alone to chat and bond further.  He asked her to go and initiated this time together.  She was so happy to go with big brother Bojan.  

Alyona-- Was so excited she chose to go and support Reni at her soccer game.  Cheering her on the whole time.  Very thoughtful of her for sure.

Alex-- Alex has been working super hard to try to keep the boys' room all cleaned up.  This is no easy task when forces are working against you.  LOL.  He wants a new room and to do that, I said the room must be cleaned.  He's thinking of more than just himself though as he's cleaning up his brothers' messes as well.

Logan--Logan has really been trying to work hard on signing and taking Nik under his wing kind of in communication.  It's nice to see for sure.

Reni--  She has really been taking the big sister role seriously.  If Summer needs a bath, Reni will do it.  She makes sure she has her diaper on every night and gets all her soccer clothes out for her.  She also makes sure that she is ready to go places w/ shoes on the right  feet.  LOL. 

Nik-- He asks Summer to play w/ him on the trampoline or swings everyday.  He truly loves his sister.  Just sweet of him to think of her all the time.   

Field Trip-- part 2

After we went to the chocolate factory, we headed off to another part of Raleigh for lunch.  See, recently my mom purchased some gift certs and this was the perfect opportunity to use them.  Off to Grand Asia Buffet it was.  We had never been there and so we were all pretty excited to be honest.

This is the box the candy bars come in.  2 to a box.  So, we split it up.  I actually loved the sea salt one.  The pink peppercorn was unique but some liked it.

Don't you love the organic ingredients?!  Not many is the part I love about it.  Had the kids look at this and then read the ingredients on a bag of chocolate today.  Words they couldn't even pronounce.  Big difference.  

Reminds me of Willy Wonka except w/ silver wrapping.  

Ooh, on our way to the Chinese buffet!  

Looks like he's smoking but he's just trying to blow the straw wrapper off at me.

This shot was after Logan had just tried straight Wasabi.  Poor guy.

Reni got an eclair and told Alyona she just had to try it.  Finger licking good.  

Don't let the smile fool you.  She's trying to get out of eating dinner and go straight for dessert.

Buddies for sure.  

 Why what else would you do at a Chinese Restaurant than build a jello tower.

They noticed the fountain on the way out w/ pennies to make wishes.  

The girls wanted their picture taken w/ the statue.

What a comedian.  Pretending to be bit.

Not sure what Logan's trying to find in there.

Satisfied bellies and then it's off to the bread outlet.  Only trouble was we remembered you must have cash or check & I had neither.  So, hunting for an ATM began but Warren didn't want to pay the fee for one.  

 Saw Petsmart & wanted fish for the little aquarium the kids got for upstairs.  Just little neon tetras would do.  Got the guinea pig drops we needed too.  And cash for change.  Then, off to the bread outlet.  We love it.

These giant bags of bread are just $4 a bag.  Filled to the brim.  Got tons of bagel thins, loaves of bread and french toast.  Put it this way, we spent $21 and it should last this family of 12 for about 12 months.  We resisted the urge to get the Tasty Cakes for just $1.50 a box.  LOL.  It's a great way to save money for sure.  And, it's not as smushed as it looks.  
After the bread outlet, we went to pick up Bojan.  Umm, we kind of forgot about him.  Sounds horrible but I kept thinking it was Friday b/c usually we do field trips on Fridays.  It was Thursday.  Thursday I pick him up from band practice at 3:30.  Fridays, 5:00.  So, you see why I was confused. 

Came home and we winded down.  Then, we had dinner.  Very grateful that someone from church had dropped off a full dinner!  Actually, plenty of food for 2 meals for our whole family.  It was so awesome.  

Today is Friday.  We stayed and worked all day long.  Kids knew that as we were gone yesterday.  Tomorrow is soccer.  Then, clean up the yard.  Not much happening.  Someone is coming by on Sunday to meet Kota.  It may be a match.  I have my reservations but not sure if they're valid or just selfish on my part.  After all, he is our dog.  The possibility that someone could even remotely love him half as much as we do is impossible to phathom.  It will be nearly impossible to let go but deep down we know a different situation for him is best.  Our vet agrees but still does not make it easier on anyone here.  So, we'll see how Sunday goes.  Got to get a few other things done.  Yana is staying at a friend's for her birthday.  Rest of us are just hanging out here.  Our family camping trip is in 2 weeks. First week of November.  Kind of can't wait to go and relax a bit in fall weather. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chocolate Factory Field Trip

First off, it's definitely not Hershey.  However, it is fantastic and I recommend it if you're in the local area.

Great old brick building at the end of the street.  Quiet for downtown.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Logan, standing in front of the sign.  The name of the company is Videri.  It's Latin for "to be seen."  They do approximately 200 lbs. of chocolate a week.  Versus Nestle or Hershey that does approximately 3 million lbs. a day!

You walk into the store and the aroma hits you right off the bat.  Wonderful aroma of fresh cacao beans.  They come from Peru, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, etc.  The sort the beans by hand!  They are a 100% organic fair trade chocolate company.  Love the architecture in this building.

Irina reading all about the fresh ingredients before we go into the little factory.

Nik and Logan standing in front of the coffee roaster.  I loved that the place took each step of the process and explained it on little signs for the kids to read.

She is the one of the things in this place just as yummy looking as the candy bars.  

Yeh, Reni wanted to do her own hair today.  They're all looking at how the organic candy bars are made.  

This is stage 4, grinding w/ the stone machine.  It is when they actually classify it as chocolate.  We explained all the stages to the kids.  1) sorting  2)  roasting  3) winnowing (separating the husk from the nibs) 4) grinding the bean 5) tempering (heating it to a certain temperature & melting it)  6)  Eating (our favorite part!)

The boys watching the tempering process.

At this point, I think we're all drooling.  LOL.

Looking at the new ingredients coming soon. 

Warren explaining a little math to them.  Kilograms. 

I think he was quite happy with the chocolate factory.  

The best part....samples at the end!  They make 4 kinds.  Dark milk chocolate w/ 70% cacao.  Pink peppercorn.  Sea Salt.  Dark chocolate.  All were by far good.  Though not as many of us were too keen on the pink peppercorn one.  It was great having the kids read the ingredients compared to a regular candy bar.  But then again, we normally don't pay $7.99 per bar either!   This is an awesome place to visit to get a quick lesson.  No appointments needed.  Self-guided tour.  Great folks there too.  And, no charge for parking.  We loved it.  It's a quick little trip but definitely worth it.  Love what they're doing and trying to make a go of it.  Locals, worth checking out for sure.  The atmosphere is just wonderful and the aroma stays with you.  

More tomorrow.  Got lots to do.  May have found a home for Kota. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our day today

Started off early w/ a neurology appointment for Nik.  He goes to a developmental pediatrician.  We can get meds if we want but we choose not to.  Some of my kids are medicated, some are not.  Nik is not medicated for his dx's.  He can be handled in other ways.  Nice to know that if we feel he does need it, it's there for us.  Nik has his deafness of course but also autism, FAS, sensory integration, etc.  We basically monitor progress and relay problems.  With all his "stuff," she's not so sure he'll be able to read but I'm not giving up for sure.  We'll keep plugging away at things.  Until he stops progressing, we don't stop trying.  So onward.  We left there, went to Warren's work briefly and got hot cocoa & coffee.  They have a Starbucks on site at his work w/out the Starbucks cost.  That's nice and a treat for Nik as well.  See, if the kids have an appointment, we try to take that child out for a little something afterwards.  Kind of "their" time w/out anyone else.  One on one type time.  Secretly we tell each one not to tell the others. 

Came home, Warren went to work.  I was disappointed kids didn't do their work but kind of expected it too.  Got to work.  Worked on an Egyptian lapbook today.  We use A Journey Through Learning.  Great for my kids.  They are much simpler than some others.  We love Homeschool In the Woods but are much more involved for the level most of mine are at.  We may attempt some next semester though as I like them.  Very thorough.  My kids seem to remember things w/ lapbooks.  Remember, FASers do tend to be visual learners.  At least all mine are.  Having something tangible to help them remember is great.  And they get to prove stuff.  I asked my  public school kids what the longest river in the world was.  That would be Yana, Max and Bojan.  One said the Mississippi.  NONE could answer & the homeschoolers were more than happy to.  LOL.  Gives them confidence for sure.  It's also kind of an eye opener to what my public school kids have not learned.  They were lacking on the Revolutionary War for sure.  Anyhow, got a some stuff done and speech therapy was today as well. 

While we were working w/ Nik in the living room, other kids were in the dining room.  Well, time seem to be getting away from us all.   Well, someone disabled her alarm on her phone.  You know, the one that tells when she needs to go to her next client!  URGHH!!!  Boys did not fess up.  Lied.  How do we know it was them you ask?  B/c dummies (yes, I'm using that fits!), took a picture of themselves trying to put in a password to unlock the phone.  URGHH!!!  I was so ticked. 

Now, I have had to contend w/ meltdowns after meltdowns this week.  See, we had a tough decision to make.  And I will not share everything that transpired on here to get to said decision.  We had to decide whether or not to put our beloved Kota down.  It was to happen this Thursday.  It will not now.  Currently, looking to rehome him.  He IS a great dog.  I will not say otherwise.  However, he needs a family w/ not as much action in the home.  So, our speech therapist and a few others are looking for a family for him as are we.  Awesome, awesome dog.  This is so very, very hard to do.  I can't even write about all that has swarmed this decision.  Everyone in the family is upset.  Everyone.  It hurts.  It's hard.  But at the same time, we know it is the right thing to do.  Our vet agrees so everyone is on board.  He needs a home w/ less action and chaos.  A young person starting out or an older couple would be ideal. 

Anyhow, all this 'stuff' is going on here lately.  Hence, less posts.  Now, as if my day has not been filled w/enough crap to fill a port a john, we have FAS kind of things happening here.  Today, we made a cake for after dinner.  Great.  Just need to make the icing and knew i had enough for one batch of icing.  Go to make it.  Someone ate the stupid bakers bar of chocolate!  URGHH!!!  Had to have happened today.  Some selfish kid took the chocolate.  Knew I was making icing.  I was so mad I sent everyone to bed early.  Everyone.  I don't know who did it but I didn't care.  Was just mad.  This was after I had just finished telling Summer "we don't eat peanuts naked."  Yep, my life. 

Now, does it end there this evening?  Oh no, not in Chaos Manor.  Warren went to check on the kids.  He noticed Summer in bed.  However, something was weird.  Turns out someone had switched mattresses.  URGHH!!!  Someone wanted a thicker mattress.  Reason hers is there is so that she doesn't hurt herself in between the daybed rail.  Thief was Alex.  I was less than happy.  Granted, all the kids need new mattresses.  Well, all but 2.  Shoot, Warren and I have one heck of a ripped mattress ourselves.  But, after 3 adoptions last year and some major house/ appliance repairs, it is not happening as fast as I wanted it to.  And, can't find a mattress place to even cut me a deal.  Called a few of them already.  You'd think if someone was buying like 8 or 9 twin mattresses and 1 king, they'd want to work with you and cut at least a bit of a deal.  No.  So, until I work on that a bit more, we're all sleeping on what we've got.  And no one needs to take anyone else's mattress.  Just added to my day. 

They're not asleep yet.  Tomorrow, we plan on taking the kids on a field trip.  It's Halloween and they should know how chocolate is made.  Going to a local chocolate factory that just opened in the last year.  Get to see how it's made & all!  Fantastic.  And the fact that it's free helps as well.  Though, I'm sure we must spend some on chocolate, right?  After that, thinking of taking them to a park to play.  We'll see how we do with time.  Also have some errands to run.  Warren took off tomorrow.  So he's going with us for sure.  Should be great.  Now, I need to go get stuff done.  Tomorrow is a new day.  We are moving forward from here for sure.  There are other things happening but really, one thing at a time.  I think once this week is over, we'll be much better off.  Everyone has a bad week every once in awhile and this just happens to be our turn.  The good far outweighs the bad every single time. 

How do you do scary??

It's Halloween time of course.  We haven't quite decorated yet but my kids have done a few things around here.  Thought I'd share one in particuliar.

We have a black light above our door.  Lazy, we don't take it down all year.  I know, quite redneck but hidden so not as bad as Honey Boo-Boo type, right?  LOL.  I don't get cable so haven't seen the show.  Just glimpes of it.  The kids drew these monsters and ghosts to hang up.  

And what it looks like w/ the lights on.

Another shot.  The highlighters glow in the dark.  Kids love it.  Maybe by Halloween we'll actually get to  the other decorations.  Every year I say I'm going to be ready THIS year.  I'm going to have decorations and crafty stuff this year.  Never happens.  I think Martha & Pinterest have created way too unrealistic expectations for average moms.  I hope I'm average & not below average.  I know way too many people who do Pinterest projects all the time.  Where do you all find the time?!  Or patience for that matter.  For me, glow in the dark ghosts will have to do for now.  Kind of cool though, huh?

Going to get more posts done since kids went to bed early. Yeh, that's a post in & of itself.  URGHH!!!  This has been an almost unbearable week here at Chaos Manor.  There is light at the end of the tunnel though.  And that's what counts.  Please, please just don't let it be a train.  More soon.  I'm on a post roll.  LOL.

Blessings Abound!

Our family is very fortunate and very blessed to be sure.  Just look how everyone banded together and was able to give Nik a wonderful birthday.  He was so happy that week checking the mailbox.  I loved it.  I really did.  That was an enormous blessing to our family.

Recently, a friend gave the girls a bin full of toys/ crafts, etc.  Thank you Rebecca!  And just yesterday, we were told to pick up a desk for the girls.  I had not idea it would be more than a desk.

The car was full.  We were so surprised and so grateful!  

Alyona and Reni showing off their new pillows.

Summer, helping to carry the pink drawers to their new desk.  

And the desk.  Just perfect for the girls.  They ran upstairs and set it all up.  Even had the perfect girlie pink lamp to put on top.  Awesome.

Everyone checking out all the goodies that were included.

Even Alaska had to check out all the new stuff.  Bunch of books which as you can see Bojan went straight to.  He's our book worm for sure.

Nik and Reni ready to get creative.  Really cool set that came with the goodies.

Kind of like an old spirograph when I was a kid.  Tons of fun.  Thank you so, so much Kerrie for all the goodies.  The kids really did enjoy them.  

It has been a rough week and I know I owe a post.  I'll get there.  Well, Monday was the absolute worst for us.  A friend came knocking on the door.  Hadn't seen her in months.  I wanted to cry when I saw her.  She was carrying a huge salad and garlic mashed potatoes.  It was a sight for sore eyes b/c none of us had even contemplated dinner.  In addition, she brought over a bag of clothes.  Above is Summer trying on her new snow white dress.  She was thrilled!  

I think the shocker of a blessing came from a relative of mine.  She's a distant cousin who also has a heart for adoption.  She has adopted from Ukraine.  Anyhow, she gave me a gift.  She booked a cottage on the beach for Warren and I to stay for our anniversary!  So, two nights at Myrtle Beach sans kids!  51 days and counting.  Can you tell I'm a bit excited?  LOL.  I was stunned and very taken back.  After such a stressful few days and dealing w/ meltdown after meltdown, to hear we can go away was truly a blessing.  My ears may ring from the sound of quiet, I'm sure.  Thank you is not enough for what Judy & her husband have given us.  A chance to renew and revive is priceless. 

I just had to share all the blessings as of late that we've been graced with.  It does not go unnoticed and truly, I wish I could do more about personally thanking people better.  Shoot, I never even got all Nik's birthday thank yous out.  I tried.  I will say this, life must come first here.  The kids' well being.  And if meltdowns are happening in any certain given week, that is where the priority would lie.  Just because you adopt, doesn't mean the work ends once the papers are signed.  Tons more to do especially if they are PI kids.  There is much to over come and sometimes, it can go on for years.  I have had a few days of PTSD, anxiety, FAS, RAD, emotional, etc. kind of meltdowns by multiple children.  Some of this, I have not seen in years.  That's why the blogging slacked off a tad for sure.  I just wanted to share the good that can still happen even during such rough weeks.  

Just today, I received a gift from my mom.  $300 from for gift certs to use.  For those that don't know about, check them out.  Ends up being about half price and great deals.  We've used them in the past.  (must sure to read the rules as each restaurant has their own specifications).  It costs us typically $100 if we want to eat out.  So this certificate will really come in handy for a meal.  Thanks mom!
Today is Wednesday.  We did not go to church clubs b/c we were expecting something to happen tomorrow.  Again, another post.  Max cooked chicken on the grill for us while I made the side dishes.  Simple tonight.  Tomorrow, kids and Warren and I are taking them on a field trip.  Downtown.  There is a relatively new chocolate factory.  Hey, we're having Halloween soon, they should know how chocolate is made.  It's a little shop so perfect for us.  And the price is  Okay, I'm sure we may spend a little on chocolate.  LOL.  If we have time, and we should, we'll go to a park & maybe out to eat w/ a gift cert.  Public school kiddos are obviously jealous.  Hey, they just went to the State Fair w/ friends so I'm not feeling but so much pity here.  They told us we must bring them home chocolate.  I'll think about it.  Depends upon how good it is. 

Last soccer game is Saturday.  We MUST prep for the shed.  It is indeed being delivered next Wednesday.  Max has an appointment w/ ortho next Tuesday.  Got to run.  More coming later.  Need to do a few life things first.  getting kids to bed for one.  Talk soon.  Mood is much better today. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Manic Monday

Boy is it ever!  There is so much happening, my head is spinning.  There is a big decision that has been made.  I will discuss further in the week.  It's been a long 2 days here, tons going on and frankly, I may not be able to get on here in the next day or so.  I am tending to kids dealing w/ some issues and much more.  So, manic Monday will be very brief today.  More later in the week.

  • found out today that the head of the IEP team left.  No one informed me.  No wonder my emails were left unanswered.  URGHH!!!  
  • my son did not give me the papers I was supposed to sign
  • my kids are going through a rough time right now
  • our shed was supposed to come tomorrow
  • shed being delivered next week b/c we don't have the time to prep the yard
  • Warren can no longer go to his dentist
  • checking kids dentist tomorrow
  • our healthcare is changing due to new mandates.  I...HATE...IT!
  • We will not be able to afford for Nik to have speech therapy starting January when new benefits start
  • Same goes for Summer
  • Med costs are going up for us from $45 copay to $120 copay
  • I hate the health care changes for the record ( for those who didn't before, I'm sure you guessed it now what political side of the fence I'm on.  LOL)
  • checking on all benefits that have changed to see what else is affected for us
  • last soccer practice is tomorrow
  • speech therapy is this week
  • last soccer game is this week
  • we're not going to clubs this week
  • house is a mess again after being cleaned up this weekend
  • no idea what we're doing for Thanksgiving still
  • camping the first weekend of November
  • big trip planned for the kids in November but only Irina knows about it thus far
  • never did get all the thank yous out
  • most the kids need new mattresses
  • Thursday is going to be a very, very hard day for our family (more later)
  • a distant cousin of mine has given Warren and I a gift...we are going away for our anniversary! (again, more later)
  • been blessed this week by two different families
  • early release this Tuesday for school
  • Nik goes to neurology on Wednesday
  • One child last weekend was pointed & laughed at ( I will not go into detail as some of my kids read this blog from time to time) in public
  • haven't gotten Halloween costumes out yet to see what we have
I started this all yesterday.  There is a ton going on at Chaos Manor all at once.  It's a very hard week for us but not quite ready to talk about it all yet and what all is going on.   I have piles of emails to answer.  I'm getting to them bit by bit.  More to come.  We all have crappy weeks from time to time.  This appears to be ours.  Meltdowns, hard happenings to deal with, and too many other things to name.  Life.  It happens.  We're muddling through this week and looking forward to next week being a new, fresh week.  Last weekend of soccer this weekend.  I'm ready.  Love watching them play but want to do other things on the weekends now.  Weather is changing and just nice to go places and spend time outdoors.