Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nature Center Field Trip

On Thursday, we got together w/ friends and went to our local Nature Center for a field trip.  They have things called discovery days.  This one was about frogs. 

Irina was helping out with the life cycle of the frog.

Summer and Reni coloring the life cycle.  Then, they glued it onto a paper plate.

The girls learning what different sounds the frogs make.  Umm, Little One and Summer had a bit too much fun w/ this experiment.

Some of the kids really looking at the frogs.  They had two big bullfrogs there so the kids really liked those.

Logan, working on one of his frogs.

Reni and Irina enjoying some time outside.  After we learned a few things about frogs, we then went to the park.

Kids always have someone to play with.  No socialization issues here.  LOL.

Alex fell and said he heard something crack.  He's always afraid of his  broken bone getting worse.  He has some rare thing on his arm w/ a bone growing out of a bone.  Easily can break off but they won't do surgery till it actually breaks off. Honestly, it's kind of hard to explain.  Anyhow, in the back of his mind, he's always nervous when he hears a crack that it's broken.  He's fine.  Just got the wind knocked out of him.

Summer has grown in so, so many ways these past few months.  Been incredible to witness.  She has fit into her new role extremely well and takes the lead now.  Very proud of how far she has come.

No, we're not at the beach but the park.  I just thought this was a cute one of Nik.  Hard to get pics of the boys as they are always in motion going every which direction.  We had a great time hanging out with friends and also really good time learning about frogs.  It was a gorgeous day as well.  Our next field trip we're going to the aquarium.  With a picnic on the beach.  Should be fun for all.  More pictures to share for sure. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happenings around here

I know I've been MIA for about a week.  Nothing is wrong.  It has honest to goodness just been very, very busy around here.  Lots happening all at once and something has to take a backseat.  So, blog, it was.  I'll hopefully catch up on some things this weekend.  I will explain a bit of what is happening around here.

The girls are getting a new room.  We have had to clean a massively messy garage out to the bare walls.  Upon that, discovered walls were never insulated. URGHH!!  So, contractors calling insulation company to see what kind of deal we can get.  Waiting to hear on that one.  Contractors are great.  They are delivering supplies tomorrow and bringing a bunch of guys over to finish in one day.  Phew!  Then, one of them is going to come out on his own and work with Max to install the carpet.  The rest of us will paint it probably next week.

The yard looks awful.  It's bad.  It is not an exaggeration.  Everything had to be moved from garage to shed and sorted.  We have yet another pile of trash to haul off.  Got rid of the hot tub finally.  Hoping we can get the yard half way decent this weekend.

We've had major problems w/ a few banking issues.  We bought a new van.  Well, bank still autodrafted for the van we didn't have.  Fine.  That's fixed.  Today, got a bill.  It costs us roughly a little over $2300 for 1 checkup visit to the dentist for 10 of the kids.  Thankfully, we have dental insurance.  However, dentist still has our old dental insurance info and filed as such.  Fixed that today...hopefully.  Shed folks sent us a nastygram saying we didn't pay them in February.  I called w/ payment info, bank transaction #, and date in February.  I was a little taken back by the lack of apologetic nature in the call being that it was NOT my fault and the payment was indeed made on time.  Fixed that one.  I still have to fix the pharmacy issue of them charging Warren full price for meds awhile back.  I believe he was in too much pain to realize the mistake.  I also need to file the vision claims to get that money back as well.  So, lots of money handling this week for sure.

Sent the PPR in and waiting for money back from that.  We have many things coming due or needing fixing.  Called our accountant and waiting on what we'll be getting back this year.  We'll be using part of it to go to deaf camp and part to pay off the room for the girls.  I doubt they'll be much left for anything else which means we'll have to figure something out regarding some repairs that must take place around here.  Truly, we still really need to move. 

Soccer season has started.  This week was orientation but we missed that.  So practices start this Tuesday for us.  We'll have practices Tuesdays, Fridays and games on Saturdays.  Keeping busy.  Yana will be Summer's assistant coach for her team and my cousin's little girl is also on there which will be nice.  Finally, we'll have time to talk.

We are still working on a massive mound of paperwork for a variety of things.  Hoping to finish it off this weekend.  In addition to all this, we have a house guest.  I've been calling her 'Little One' on the blog and some of you finally figured out that wasn't Summer.  LOL.  For now, I can not share more than that.  I will give you all a hint though that you will indeed be seeing her in the future.  And truly, that's all I can say for now.  That has been part of the reason for a lack of blogging lately and for some happenings around here such as the new van, more space, etc.  All things are intertwined, just can't elaborate at the moment.  And no, I won't be answering questions on the matter.

We're planning more of our vacations and outings as we need to make reservations.  Some places, groups of 13 are counted as groups.  Have to make sure there are tickets/ spaces/ etc.  So, think I got most planned but now working out details of where to go.  Suggestions in Nashville, TN, are greatly appreciated.  April, we may go out locally and try out the new travel trailer assuming we have one by then.  Given our family make up now and other reasons, we are selling the rv and getting a travel trailer which will serve our travel needs much better.  We will test it out before going on a big trip so to do that, we'd just test locally at Lake Jordan or something like that in April.  Simple.  May, we go to Cue/ Deaf Camp in Roaring Gap, NC.  Can't wait.  Go every year.  June, is the big Bulgarian Reunion.  We'll be making our summer vacation out of it. So, WVA, OH, KY,  and TN, here we come!  Staying at campgrounds at all of them.  Kids are excited as the pools are open in the summer of course and some of these campgrounds have some awesome pools/ waterslides.  July, Bojan is having surgery (more on that).  Labor Day Weekend, we get to spend at the beach!  Cape Hatteras KOA will be our destination.  Fun in the sun for sure.  Hopefully, hurricanes will stay at bay.  October will bring a Halloween camping trip. So, making plans and getting things squared away for it all.  Camping has allowed our family to go places where otherwise, we couldn't.  Having our own "place" makes it nice for those kids who struggle w/ change in routine.  It's great.  We weren't sure last year when we got the rv if it was a smart move or not.  One of our better ones for sure.  To go somewhere w/ this bunch and stay at a hotel, it roughly would cost over $500 to $600 a night between 3 rooms and food out.  Can't do it.  But, being able to have your own place, pay $25 to $50 (depending on season) a night for ALL of us AND cook as we do at home, we can go places.  I highly suggest it for other big families.

Bojan will be getting surgery around July 30th.  It is very tentative at this point.  We are disappointed it is not sooner but do understand how busy they are.  If it happens then, during our Labor Day trip, Bojan will be unable to walk at all at the beach.  Teens' friends and us were brainstorming.  So far, we've come up w/ getting him to the beach via sled.  Yep.  Sled at the beach.  Wheelchair won't work.  Luckily, our campsite is literally behind the dunes, right at the beach so not far for access.  He'll be able to swim, just NO prosthetic ready whatsoever.  Hey, we'll make it work.  Bojan doesn't want to cancel the trip and we figured, the chicks may feel 'sorry' for him.  LOL.  Hey, at 14yo that is where your mind goes.  So, as long as he's okay w/ it, we'll help him get to the water.  Now, campgrounds, he'll be able to use the wheelchair for sure as it's paved.

There is much, much more going on around here.  Like say Alex practicing soccer.  Piling things up high so he can practice kicking specific items down.  Like a big vat of grease.  All over the sidewalk.  Nice one.  Or Reni answering lately in what I call scream.  Yes, I'd say she'll enter puberty soon. LOL.  Either that or just drive us crazy.  Just been a week full of little things going on around here.  It's not a bad thing, just busy.  Now, we're getting back into the swing of things and pressing forward.  Over the next few days, maybe I'll catch up.  Maybe.  We're getting ready to really enjoy spring weather coming on this weekend.  Tomorrow, kids and I are massively doing a spring cleaning while the room is being worked on.  I'll do a homeschool update, FAS update, Logan transformation and more soon.  Wanted to explain a little of why we've been so quiet lately.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I know I've spoken of disruption and rehoming in the past.  I have not much talked about respite but feel it needs to be discussed.  It's been coming up more and more with people I speak with.  Respite for those that don't know is a break of sorts for families.  Respite is different for each situation.  Some do respite for a reprieve from children w/ behavioral issues.  Some do respite to see if their family may function better in a rehoming situation.   There are many reasons to do respite.  Many do it to simply regroup within their family unit to see how to proceed from there.  So, a variety of reasons.

Respite is not an off the cuff decision.  Most of the time, the family thinks at the very least for months about this.  It's a very difficult thing to even consider...separating the family.  Whether for a short amount of time or for possibly a permanent situation.

And when it comes to rehoming, everyone's a critic.  Some say it should never be done.  Some say the family should have tried harder.  Some say I can do it better.  Some say more therapy instead.  Whatever the reason, frankly, it's no one else's business but the families involved in the rehoming situation.  It is a very delicate matter and should be handled as such.  No one ever comes home w/ a child and says "oh yes, I want to rehome them."  They fought in many cases months if not years to bring that child home, love them and care for them.  Sadly, sometimes love is just not enough for certain children.  No matter how much love you give them.  It is crushing for the family that must rehome their child.  The last thing they need to hear is criticism from others.  Unless you walk in their shoes, with their child, you can not judge them.  You can not voice what would have worked better b/c honestly, you just don't know  what the family went through.  What battles they had day in and day out w/ their child.  What techniques they used.  How they coped.  How they cried.  How they grieved.  So many things.  It will break your heart.

Once respite takes place, the families many times have to decide if a break was enough or if a permanent rehoming placement is needed.  This is where families providing respite have to be aware.  Aware that things can change in an instant and the child could go back with the family.   The respite family has to walk a fine line treating the child like their own and trying to help while also knowing the other family has to make a big decision and may have requirements for them to do as well.  Both families have to be willing to do respite.  Both families have to discuss the situation openly, honestly and without hesitation if something were to go wrong.  Let's face it, most of the placements for respite are due to behavioral/ emotional issues.  That is a lot for any family to take on no matter what their experience.  That's why it is vital both families in a respite situation cooperate and not be afraid to say what they think.  It helps.  

There are some groups out there for respite/rehoming.  There is a yahoo group if some want to look it up.  Again, respite will look different for everyone.  Respite, if done properly, can be beneficial to both families involved.  I think the key is honesty & really taking to heart the true needs of the other family.  Listen to them of what the child is doing and why they think that is the case.  Respite is not for everyone.  If you are going to be providing respite, you need to make sure your whole family is on board.  Some children may have a very hard time transitioning into a new routine, new family, etc.   Some may not.  But, either way, your children must be prepared for what is possible.  Hope all that made sense.  I just thought it was high time to mention respite since I know quite a few families consider it and some that are going through it. 

Oh, one other thing.  If it is via an international adoption, do check w/ your agencies and make sure all rules are being followed.  I do know in some countries you need to notify them if you are doing respite.  Just remember families are formed in different ways.   And do remember, MANY of these PI kids come w/ very deep emotional issues.  I still feel the harder issues are the ones you can not see.  Those seem to be the hardest to heal.  I am only speaking from my own experience here w/ my own children.  When we first adopted years ago, no one even knew what RAD was.  Some knew FAS but not many.  Now, you hear a lot but you still don't see that many talking openly about the struggles that come with it.  Please, if you know if a family struggling or hurting, reach out to them.  It does help.  And that is all I have to say about all that. 

Thoughtful Thursday

I haven't done one of these in a long time and it really is deserved.  For parents of children w/ behavioral mental health issues, it can be hard at times to always find the positive.  Things in our home get broken every week.  (no cause and effect thinking will do that).  It's a learning process and continues as the kids age.  We try to find at least one positive or thoughtful thing they've done for the week.  Doesn't matter who they are.  All deserve the recognition.  We called them Proud Moments & have done them on and off throughout the year.  So, here are a few lately.

Max-- took down the garage door all by himself to prepare the girls' new room.  He's been helping out a lot lately w/ things around the house since he knows Warren is very limited now by his knee.

Bojan-- Has been taking the dog for Max these past few nights since Max has been falling asleep.  Max has been doing more homework and work around the house as of late and then just crashing.  Bojan was being thoughtful and picking up the slack of that chore.  

Alex-- behaved very well at his grandparents house.  I appreciated this very much.  Readjustment since being back has been very rough but we'll get there.  Glad he was good for them though.

Logan-- I looked outside the other day and saw Logan go and push Little One on the swings for a few minutes versus playing soccer w/ his sibs.  Was a sweet thing to do.

Nik-- He asked Summer to sleep w/ him upstairs while the boys were gone.  He didn't want to be alone but thought very sweet of him to ask Summer.  He really does love her. 

Irina-- Has been great at being the teacher's assistant for me.  She helps check the kids' work, works with them, etc. 

Yana-- Asked her little sister Reni to go walking with her.  Just thought it was nice of her to ask versus running out the door.  She also volunteered to pain the bathroom this weekend. 

Alyona--She has been helping Summer with her numbers and letters.  Really and truly working with her and taking her time.  Just thoughtful of her to do for her.

Reni-- Has really been helping a lot lately with Little One.  If she sees I'm busy  cooking and a diaper needs changing or something, she's the one who volunteers.  Just been helping out with her.  We're currently trying to get Little One to see that someone other than Mom can do things as well. 

Summer--  She is very concerned about Little One and making sure all her needs are met.  Loves to play with her and loves her.  It is really sweet to watch but was proud of Summer for putting herself in this role. 

Much, much more to come.  We haven't not fallen off the face of the earth.