Friday, December 7, 2012

An 'appealing' gift

Forgive me folks but I have been behind on posts.  I'll catch up this weekend for sure.  Yeh, right.  I say that all the time.  Well, I'll at least give it a shot though.  A few days ago, my sister Heather & her husband Kevin sent us a Christmas gift.  We absolutely LOVED it! 

Nik and Summer wondering what this thing does.

Look at this thing!  It's hefty duty for my kids too.  LOL.

In addition, a beautiful pie plate.

Nice red color and very well made.

Our resident handyman showing everyone how this works.  They've been using it everyday since we got it.  We may just have to go back to the apple orchard.  

This is the pie plate we bought when we went to Seagrove Pottery over Labor Day Weekend.  It was to replace the one we'd had for 15 years that we got at our wedding.  Both plates went into the oven.

See, the plate Heather bought came w/ a Taco Pie recipe.  Delicious and the kids insist I make it again.  Simple yet a huge hit!  Thanks a bunch Aunt Heather & Uncle Kevin.  We all love it to be sure. 

A visit w/ Santa

Yesterday was a very busy day.  I'll tell you about the day in another post.  For now, I'll tell you about what we did Thursday evening.  The Cleveland Chamber of Commerce (& one day I'll tell you why our town has like 10 different lie) put on a little free event.  Kids were able to see Santa, various performances by local groups and churches and much more.  They even got hot cocoa and cookies.  It really was wonderful and not crowded. 

It was so funny.  He was SO excited to go up to Santa.  Yet froze on what to say once there.  

Summer was just delighted to see the big guy.  Is it me or did this child just explode in growth the last few weeks?  My baby is looking like a young girl.

Another shot of her just thinking what to say.

Reni had NO trouble in what to say.  She wants a camera.

This church, Mt. Zion UMC, was just great.  We really enjoyed the show they put on.  They also gave out Nativity puzzles and cd's.  I talked to one of the ladies there for quite some time.  She did missionary work in Jamaica.  Knew ASL too.  Have to tell you something funny.  They left and were cleaning up.  Nik was very concerned.  See, baby Jesus was just laying there.  Nik thought someone had just left the baby there.  LOL.  It was a doll but he didn't know that.  He kept getting closer to check on the baby.  Very sweet of him.  

They also got Santa bucks and were able to pick something out.  They even got bags of cookies too.   Was a sweet little event and we all really did enjoy it.  More posts later but think I need to peel some potatoes for sure.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

I'll be honest, Thursday snuck up on me and I didn't have the chance to really pay attention to what everyone was doing.  I try to pick out at least one thoughtful thing they've done throughout the week.  For some reason, I focused on the boys this week.  So, next week I'll have all ten.  Here are a few things I caught the boys being thoughtful about. 

Max-- He was just awesome!  He put together 10 bikes that my parents had given all the kids for Christmas.  All ten in one day to boot.  Very thoughtful of him.

Bojan-- Went around after all the present opening and picked up all the trash laying around w/out being asked.  Nice of him to help out w/ out being asked.

Alex-- OMG!  I was SO proud.  Reni was scared to ride her new bike.  Having a traumatized child can be tough at times.  Alex helped her on the bike, encouraged her and clapped her on saying "Go Reni!"  I wanted to cry.  As most of you know, this is very difficult for a RADish.  Extremely thoughtful of Alex.

Logan-- Logan really seems to be trying to help out more.  If Summer needs something, he's willing to assist.  Someone dropped pizza today at the restaurant.  He ran over to help his friend clean it up.  A year ago, he would have just stood there and laughed.  Very thoughtful to help someone else out. 

Nik-- Nik shared his innopad w/ Summer!  Yes, shared it and let her touch it.  Was wonderful to see.  He knows she loves it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Birthday Bash

I've mentioned in a few posts about a birthday bash.  I figured I'd explain what I meant.  With 12 of us, birthdays seem to occur often here.  And, not to mention there is planning of the parties and the cost of it all.  Cost is a big factor.  Big.  After calculating how much we spend annually on the kids' & their birthdays, we knew we had to come up with something different and approached the kids with an idea.  A ONCE a year party for all of them.  Yes, just once a year.  Yet, we''re also going to reinstate our annual Halloween party that seems to have disappeared over the last 2 years.  Last year we were in Bulgaria and this year October just flew by us for some reason.  So, we'll have the Halloween parties once again.  One for the teens, one for the younger kids. 

Now, the birthday bash is for all.  What we want to do is pick a new activity or something of that nature, have all of us go.  It will be much more cost effective AND I think more memorable for all.  We took a vote last week.  I asked for input and ideas.   Honestly, there weren't many ideas.  Well, when I laid my  idea out on the table that was all she wrote.  All aboard!  So, this coming year, 2013, we will be celebrating our Birthday Bash by going snow tubing.  Not a one of us has ever been before.  Rarely do we see snow in NC.  So, currently deciding where to go snow tubing.  Love the idea of Snow Mountain in GA.  We'd take the rv obviously and do some camping along w/ the snow tubing activity.  Make a weekend out of it for sure.  Hot cocoa, s'mores, the works!  Even will have a heater for the tent for the teens.  Kind of an inside joke here.  We'll have birthday cake to celebrate as well for sure.  Really looking forward to this thing to be honest.

Even though they won't really have parties or such, on their actual birthdays, they'll have cake and probably a spend the night type of deal.  We are going to try Birthday Bash this year and see how it goes.  May be an epic fail.  They may miss the hoopla, not sure.  We'll see.   So far, everyone is definitely for this idea.  Figured it doesn't hurt to try it.  Let you know how it goes.  Thinking of the tubing for February.  If anyone knows of places, do let us know.  Would have to have a campground nearby for sure w/ full hookup.  RV will be decked out w/ streamers, balloons and all.  Any thoughts on this idea?  Good or bad?  Time will tell I guess whether this works or doesn't.  Birthday Bash 2013 soon to come! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Summer's Birthday gift

Though Summer's birthday is not until December 19th, a dear friend sent an early birthday gift for Summer to enjoy.  Actually, she sent two gifts.  This post is on one of those gifts.  Honestly wished I would have filmed it b/c the screams really were worth a million bucks to hear. 

Mom, please let me open this thing.

All wrapped up in a pretty blue bag.  Summer was just dying to know what was inside as was everyone else.

Ripping the plastic off as fast as she can.

Smile as big as  the comforter!

Reni reading the front to Summer & Summer hardly standing the wait of opening this  gift.

Help me tear this thing open Irina.

I think she is really, reallypleased with her birthday present.

She could hardly wait to hold it up to see what it looked like.

Best part...reversible!  Dora is everywhere on this thing.  And yes, my youngest does indeed know how to fold the comforters around here.  Can't say they stay neat though.

She was totally thrilled with this present.  Heather, you truly out did yourself!  She made me go put it on the bed right away.

My two camera hogs.  She really has helped him come out of his shell a bit more and want to talk.  Love it.  Heather is a genuine sweetheart.  She has put smiles on my kids faces time and time again.  Thank you so much.  

Summer absolutely loved her gift.  As you can see, she LOVES Dora and Diego.  Funny as Nik used to be a HUGE Diego fan.  He still watches w/ her but more interested in rollercoasters on Youtube.  LOL. 

Christmas visit

This past weekend, my parents came to visit along w/ my cousins and Uncle.  I did not take a pile of pictures b/c honestly, we were too busy chatting away.

The grandparents came armed w/ a bunch of goodies the kids would all enjoy.  Bojan and Nik are checking out the new Wii games.  

But the biggest hit of all was the 10, yes 10 new bikes!  Max put all ten together that day.  Every single last one.  What a handyman.

Summer, getting ready to go for her first new ride.  Isn't it cool?

Nik, our daredevil, is completely content and happy w/ his new set of wheels.  Nice that he doesn't have to share the big bikes any more.  We had so many broken bikes that it was tough to take turns to ride.  This solved a huge problem.

Even Bojan tried to get it going w/ the bike.  Trouble is, he got a new knee recently and locks.  He found a way to make it work but Warren will have to take the time to rig it up soon w/ a magnet to make his foot stay on.  Definitely have to do that soon as he keeps falling off.  Thankfully, Warren is very handy w/ this type of thing.  Just need more hours in a day.  Love it though that all my kids can ride now.  May  have to steal one of their bikes.  They broke mine awhile back.  URGHH!! 

Of course food was involved w/ this visit.  Way too many goodies to count or taste for that matter.  I made ham and my cousin brought my Nana's homemade mac & cheese recipe.  Yum.

This is me (in the middle) and my two cousins that live here in Raleigh/ Clayton.  Nice having them close though we don't get to see each other often enough.  We hope to change that soon.

Picture of my cousins w/ my mom on the left.

My cousin Angie and my mom.

Yana, with a real smile.  Some of my kids tend to 'fake' a smile & it drives me insane.  I think sometimes they do it b/c they know mom hates it.  LOL.

Not the best shot but better than some.  Trying to get 15 to smile is never easy.  Shoot, getting 2 to smile is never easy.

My cousin's husband is typically one of the kids as you can clearly see.  He wanted to test out the new bikes.  Not sure Logan knows what to make of it all.

This was really cute and we hung it up already.  As you know, we have quite a few trees in our yard.  Birdhouses are a must.  This is a duplex birdhouse.

My mom brought all sorts of gifts and also some items from the house they just sold.  This comforter set was one of those items.  Warren was VERY grateful as it is not as hot as the other one we have.  Nor as heavy.  We only had one comforter as the other one had gotten shredded.  Don't ask.  See, we're one of those couples where one is always hot and the other always cold.  So you can see where this may be a great debate.  This comforter is perfect.    We also enjoyed the gifts of Godiva hot cocoa.  And more hot cocoa and these chocolate marshmallows from Williams and Sonoma or somewhere like that.  (can you tell I usually shop at Sam's?)  We enjoyed all kinds of other treats and goodies.  Girls were especially delighted w/ this big makeup mirror to share.  I'm somewhat jealous.  May have to borrow that one a time or two.

A little Christmas.  Just sets the mood.  Joyful.  Had a wonderful visit and just wished they could have stayed longer than a few hours.  We may visit them in VA depending upon where we travel for our Birthday Bash (more on that in another post) this coming year.  Kids enjoy their time together when they can.  Was a great way to kick off our holiday season for sure! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Miscellaneous pictures

So behind on posts despite doing a couple a day.  Oh well, life goes on.  Like I said, blog is low priority here.  Kids come first.  But, have a few pics in the camera and thought I'd share.

My little fashionista.  She found her hat and was very excited.  Summer LOVES this hat.  Got her for it before we picked her up from Bulgaria last year.  I let my kids dress themselves.  70 degrees or not outside.  After 10 kids, I can tell you I don't care if they match any more.  I'm just happy they're dressed & did it themselves.  I used to shop at boutiques when I worked & only had Irina and Max.  They matched all the time & looked pretty decent.  Pictures and all.  I am happy to say my kids don't always match.  But, they are indeed loved and I'm there for them all the time now.  I know many working parents don't have that option, & we were one of the lucky ones.  I didn't care if I had to fore go the kid boutique shopping for them.  It meant more they were playing w/ me in the park.  Consignment store clothes and unmatched at that.  It's wonderful.  BTW, I think Summer could careless where her clothes come based on that picture above. 

Alyona, mad b/c I'm making her do work.  Go figure.  And yes, she's in her pj's.

Nik, working on some of his copywork for the morning.   I know the shades are always drawn but that's to prevent the outdoor distraction.  Trust me, when they're up the kids are always looking outside and watching squirrels or birds or deer or whatever. 

Alyona, having a brief meltdown.  Thankfully, they don't last as long.

Cupcakes I made for the party.  Red velvet w/ homemade butter cream icing.

Horrible looking cake, I know.  I hate baking w/ white cake.  Usually use yellow as it holds together more.  However, was turning the white cake inside to green & red so needed white.  The cake cracked...badly.  Iced it anyhow.  Then, used a plastic bag instead of my piping bag.  Hence, the really bad writing.  I didn't care.  It was edible and that's what counted.  Used to decorate cakes so really kind of ashamed to even take a shot of this cake.  On the up side, I heard it tasted good.  

Logan.  Why he got that huge cup of water, I'm not sure.  Think there's enough ice in there? 

Nik & Summer posing w/ cookies.

A double birdhouse from my mom.  Looks great outside right now.  I'm sure the birds will be happy.  We have several birdhouses in the yard and everyone has a nest.  Need to work on getting some more feeders up.

She's SO happy b/c Nik wasn't in the house & she swiped his innotab.  LOL.

Anyone want to guess what they're looking for?  Mice.  Yep.  We have them.  Happens every year at this time.  Bought traps and are catching them.  One by one.  Last year, we caught 8 or 9.  This year, one thus far. 

That was a couple of pictures I had.  Next post will be on what we did this past weekend.  Family came to town.  Tonight, Max took down the light fixtures in his room.  He did not wait for Warren.  URGHH!!!  I was w/ the speech therapist so didn't know what he was doing.  He got a small shock.  Now, he IS 17 and has changed over many lights before.  The entire upstairs is on a different control panel.  Made him stop.  Then, I went to go take care of other things.  Yep, you guessed it.  He started up again.  Why do even older kids not listen?  He did fine though and got hte other lights put up as well.  Still, I would have rather he waited.  Warren went to Sam's this evening.  Kids and I made a menu for the whole month.  Bojan had a bad day at school.  Middle school kids are just M-E-A-N.  Period.  No wonder Max & Irina asked me to homeschool them back then.  I think Bojan may be thinking the same thing soon.  He is tough and fortunately has an outgoing, awesome sense of humor.  But, even w/ that the crap he puts up w/ is ridiculous.  He's had people make fun of him.  That bounces off of him.  Really does.  Let me just tell you some folks have no manners.  The incident today really was crossing the line.  I'm actually thinking of taking it up w/ the school.  Obviously, there is a grave lack of supervision.  And sanitation while we're at it.  He said I only  have a year and a half left of middle school.  Sad, that the kids here count it down.  Sad.  Not sure which direction we're headed here.  More on the schools later down the road.  More to come.  Right now, everyone is downstairs watching the Santa Claus.  Cute movie. 

Manic Monday

Quite the weekend w/ everyone here.  Have more posts from it.  Thought I'd do a quick Manic Monday post.  Notice it's late.  We've been busy doing school work today.  Here goes a little of what's happening here.  And I do mean a little.

  • Waiting for one more contractor to give me quotes
  • Yana will be getting a new bed for Christmas.  She designed it.
  • Christmas tree is finally decorated
  • Family came down this past weekend
  • Kids all got new bikes and are riding them like crazy
  • Alaska won't stop itching.  NO fleas, just itching like mad.
  • Speech therapist comes this week
  • Doing a field trip this Friday
  • Beautiful here lately
  • Going to a Christmas Tree lighting Thursday
  • Our 15th Anniversary is Friday
  • Will have to cancel our anniversary trip due to tax bill.  Bummed but I figure in a few months, maybe we can do something even better!
  • Re-stocking the rv this week
  • Max is starting to hang up new light fixtures in their room
  • Max & Bojan LOVE the new room
  • Younger boys love having more space but hate that the girls' stuff is in there temporarily.
  • Waiting on some quotes
  • Fence is still not up
  • We do not have enough hours in the day I'm afraid
  • Unexpected tax bill really threw us for a loop
  • Kids are making some new friends
  • Christmas parade is this weekend
  • Planning the birthday bash (something new we're trying in 2013)
  • Going to plan and cookies & cocoa party for her in the next 2 weeks
  • Windows are open
  • I'm so ready to get back into shape
  • This past weekend we ate horribly
  • Got to get that family portrait taken at some point here
  • Got lots of cool things this past weekend (will share in another post)
  • Our hacked bank account was taken care of
  • Bojan has a concert in 2 weeks
  • Nik is talking more and more
  • Max's shoulder still hurts
  • Irina is excited about a job prospect (really hoping she gets it)
  • Haven't written not one single Christmas card this year yet
  • Dealing w/ Logan being very prejudice (going to have this in another post as well soon)
  • Need to write Logan's transformation post
  • Many things on my mind
  • Warren's car needs some repair
Well, got much more to say and do.  Another post later this evening.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blessings abound!

Truly, sometimes I am just amazed at the different people who think of us.  I really am.  Last week was no exception.  Quite a few kind hearts passed our way.

Look at all those games!  A friend brought over a literal pile of games.  Kids were so excited to see what they were.  Thank you Danielle!

So many games to choose from.  Some batteries required, some not.

Divided up what stays and what goes in the rv to stay for when we travel.

This cat in the hat game was so much fun even Irina and I did it.

You  have to do goofy things depending upon the cards you draw.  Reni had to climb under the limbo stick trickamastick while holding a fish under her right arm.  Lots of laughs we all got from this.

Is he strategizing??  Battleship is a classic.  Nice way for some friendly competition.  I counted this as part of their math.  LOL.  We've been doing graphing/ plotting lately & this fits right in.

I remember playing perfection as a kid.  Fun, fun game.

They love this game and easy enough for everyone to understand.

A neighbor has family that does catering.  They were catering for a movie being made in town.  They had quite a bit leftover.  Our neighbor asked if we wanted any?  Of course!  Who would ever pass up tasty lasagna?  Took a pic after we cut it.  This was actually the best lasagna I've ever had.  Warren asked if we could purchase a few trays.  I think I may actually ask them that.  You never know.  Thanks so much for dinner that night Kristy.

A new king size mattress since someone was moving.  Amazing folks will buy something for a spare bedroom and not use it.  However, I guess for us it's a strange concept as we literally don't have a spare bedroom.  All ours are occupied.  We were very grateful for the gift for sure.  Thanks a bunch Karen.

One of the teens friends noticed we had this.  I actually got it in a CRAVEBOX recently.  He had a whole case and brought it over as he knew Yana and Max drank coffee and use this sometimes.  Very thoughtful of Tyler.

When my mom came down, she brought some brand new institutional sized spices and such.  These we can surely use. 

I am so grateful for the gifts we receive.  I wish I could get thank yous out faster when it happens.  I really do.  Does make a big difference for us and the children.   Thank you all for blessing our family in so many different ways.

Okay, I think that was 6 posts today.  Good night.  More tomorrow of course.