Friday, June 7, 2013

Life changes

Sometimes in life, you're thrown a curve ball.  This year, we were thrown two.  So, we go with the flow as usual around here and adjust.  This year has already brought many changes in family dynamics.  It has also brought a lot of other changes.  Due to family size change, we had to get a new van.  It was either that or leave two kids at home all the time.  Wasn't what we were expecting but we went with it.  We are in the process of getting another RV.  Well, selling this one and getting a travel trailer instead.  That's fine.  Needed something that could fit everyone better and though C-MOW has served us well, we knew it too had to go.  Another change taking place around here is much bigger.  Especially, when you have orphanage kids.  Though we've talked about moving on and off for years, it has become abundantly clear in the last few weeks that we can not stay.  It is no longer a question of we WANT to move, it is a question of we HAVE to move.  Big difference.   Systems here are overloaded for a family of 14.  A somewhat normal sized family moving here would have no issues whatsoever.  Right now, just know there are too many.  This house was originally designed as 1900 sq. ft.  We have remodelled.  Quite a bit. 

This past weekend we found the perfect home for us.  7000 sq. ft, old Victorian and just gorgeous.  You could picture yourself in it.  Nothing to be changed for us except some paint and a few fixtures maybe.  All other details would have stayed.  Wood working was beautiful.  Now, landscaping needed a lot of work.  Not kidding ourselves there.  Long, long time.  But, we could have done it.  30 acres.  Ideal situation for us.  School a mile down the road.  Place for Warren to have an office all alone and not be disturbed.  I mean, it was perfect.  We went despite knowing it'd be a long shot.  Price was right.  However, there is no way Warren's work will let him telecommute even 3 days a week.  We needed that to happen in order to even take on this home.  Not possible.  And, well, have to keep a job.  Disappointment is an understatement. 

But, we press on.  We are on the hunt.  Ideal for us would be to build our own home.  Warren has been researching companies to do so.  Found one.  We want around 6000 sq. ft.  Our kids are getting older and as some of you are aware, a few will not be able to live independently.  We are looking for at least 20 acres (minimum ) to build on.  We must be within an hour's commuting distance to Cary.  (exit 287 for you locals).  This leaves us a lot of options at the moment.  Wanted to throw it out there in case someone knows somebody selling.  Really looking toward Chatham county.  But are very open to anything right now.  Those who are interested, we are looking for land to build on.  Lot would need to perk.  At least 20 acres, preferably more.  We're open to a home that we could add onto if we find the right one.  However, building our own would mean we can size systems to the load we have.  And, since we always seem to have guests stopping in as well, allow us that option too.  Keep your eyes peeled if you hear of anything.  We currently are not working with a realtor and at the moment, would rather not.  We've done & bought FSBO in the past and are comfortable with that.  Since we predict a loss in all this selling, we need to save as much as we can so hence, no realtor. 

I know this will be huge for everyone.  We never intended to move when we first moved here.  We moved here with just Max and Irina if that tells you anything.  It will be sad to see the house go but I think the kids will do really well to a new surrounding.  After we are done w/ our big summer vacation coming up, we will list the house.  We have been purging all week and slowly working room by room.  I found quite a few things already that I had forgotten we had.  Like a king sized comforter.  Seriously, how can you misplace that?   The clutter has to go. The things we don't use must go.  I've been selling on Craigslist too.  Part of that is really to raise gas money for our upcoming trip.  But a bigger part is to give the illusion that 14 people don't take up that much space when showing a home.  So, it is a lot to take on but people move all the time. We know having kids w/ certain dx's makes it a bit harder.  We also know, we can do this.  Max took six months to adjust to this home when we moved in.  He's older and could care less if we move now.  But, the others, they are still young, still very attached as this being their one and only home after the orphanage.  It's a big change.  I may need to borrow some prescriptions the day we move.  LOL.   Just kidding folks.  So, that is one of our big life changes.  Keep you all posted once we are closer to listing. 

Fire in the sky

Well, not really fire but fireflies.  We call them lightening bugs here.  Kids know it means the start of summer.  The Littles enjoyed the fun just as much.  The Littles, Summer, Nik and Reni went out to hunt last night for lightening bugs.  The yard was lit up like mini fireworks.  Very cool.  It was still raining but they didn't care.

Do you think Summer is excited about catching a bug?

One of Nik's catches.  Better than t he other day when the boys caught a pile and released them all in the house. 

Nik loves bugs.  He's great at catching all sorts of critters.

Even though it was raining, the kids truly had a great time runnign around the yard catching lightening bugs.  Just was pleasant.  And to see the wonder in the Little Ones' eyes was just amazing.  Summer was extremely helpful to her sisters.  Was an awesome time even if it was just a few minutes.  We'll have to do it again w/out the rain.  

Tonight was National Donut Day.  So, we decided to go to Krispy Kreme.  Well, the line was to the street and there was no way of even getting into the parking lot for the donuts.  So, did the next best thing and went to Wally World for a few dozen donuts and a few gallons of milk.  So, our "FREE" donuts ended up costing us $43.  URGHH!!!  Though, we did get eggs  and coffee w/ that as well.  Kids enjoyed the donuts but they are still up at almost 11 o'clock and we leave bright and early for a long day a few hours away.  A fun cookout awaits us tomorrow as well as a very cool park.  I'll be sure to have some pictures.  More posts over the weekend.  Busy weekend but we're in the mood for some summer fun.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blessings from afar

Growing up a military brat, you learn to be flexible, to let go of friends, to change with the seasons, and so much more.  I was fortunate enough to go to a wonderful high school in Germany on an American base.  Our graduating high school class was  I think around a hundred.  At the beginning of the semester, it was 60.  Yet, new people were welcomed all the time as it was just a way of life.  Some friends though you meet, you can't forget.  I will say I had some of the best friends in high school.  We were all a pretty tight knit group.  We had to be.  I treasure the friends I made there and the ones I still have.  EVen if far away.  Imagine keeping in touch all these years through all the moves.  One of my friends lives in Alaska now.  The other day, a box arrived for all of us.

Summer is holding up a well hanging we received that has family rules on it.  The kids were questioning the sharing part.  

Nik has worn his shirt a quite a few times since he's gotten it.  It quickly became one of his favorites.  Nik tends to pick just a few items to wear despite having other clothing.  Well, this was added to one of his items.  

Alex, pretending like he's a teenager now.  I think he has the face down pat.  LOL.

Reni getting ready to try on her new shirt.

Alyona was more than happy to model her new shirt.

Summer was so excited with her dress, she didn't want to take it off....for 2 days!  

This was right after surgery and someone bumped his shoulder.  And yes, he was supposed to not take the sling off.  Listens well.  Surgeon yelled at him yesterday too for trying to lift stuff too early. 

Despite the face, he did enjoy his hat.

Thought it was so sweet of my friend to send all the kids something from Alaska.  Nice and useful too.  It's also nice to have friends throughout the years and the moves.  One day, hoping ot meet up again when they eventually land on the east coast.  Thank you so much Kelly for thinking of us all. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Some medical updates

I took Max for follow up today.  Healing nicely and stitches are now out.  Only 2 more weeks in the sling thing.  PT starts this Friday.  So, good to go.  Asked about pediatric PT for house guest but he says she'll need more specialized than what is offered.  However, they are now looking for one locally for me.  Know more Friday.

Came home and speech therapist was here working w/ Nik.  Had his new treatment plan as all the other goals have been met.  He's doing fantastic!  We're working on new goals now.  That's the good news.  Now, we have Summer who receives speech as well.  Soon the two newest littles will also receive speech.  Back to Summer.  She is not all.  We knew this could happen.  Looking at her, I totally forget a part of her brain is missing completely.  I forget she has no connection there.  I really do.  It's hard.  Lately, we've noticed more and more that Summer is sort of "stuck."  not progressing in development or things like that.  She doesn't seem to retain any information.  Despite constant repetition, it's just not there.  I guess what is bugging me is we know her life is going to be a constant struggle.  That part is hard to swallow.  The other kids are getting somewhat frustrated with her b/c sometimes you wonder if she's doing it on purpose.  Summer you can't be that stupid I hear them say.  I'm being honest here.  I've heard them say that.  And yes, I get on them.  It's hard finding balance.  They have more tolerance for some of the younger ones that they know can't do certain things or express themselves.  They even have tolerance for Alyona.  They know she can't progress.  I think the problem with Summer is everyone has high hopes for her and is determined she can do these things.  At this point, we may have to sit down with everyone and explain to them.  Though she seems normal on the outside, she is not.  She is missing part of her brain.  There is a hole in her head.  You can't fix it or make it better.  I have yet to have her tested or evaluated.  She was evaluated when she came home at a 2yo level across the board.  She is now 6yo.  She was 5yo when she was evaluated at a 2yo level.  We have worked for SO long on counting to 10.  She gets it most the time but then will forget 6. 

I've always pushed the kids a bit more than what professionals told me they could do and that has worked thus far.  I let them lead the way.  However, I don't even think Summer has the desire to learn.  The other kids did.  Irina would try so, so incredibly hard and give it her all.  Alyona used to try in the beginning.  But, Summer, doesn't seem the least bit interested and is totally unfocused.  Not enough to consider it ADHD.  Just feel stuck with Summer.  I see the potential or maybe that is just me hoping.  I know she's mentally challenged.  It's just I guess with her I was so dog gone proud at how far she came in such a short time home.  And I mean way more than most my orphanage kids.  I still see potential but I also see the stark reality of her future.  This by no means means we're giving up.  We just have to readjust our thinking to fit Summer's needs. 

Little One has an appointment in July and surgery will follow shortly thereafter.  It's not major stuff.  She'll do fine to be sure.  Her well check was recently and she did wonderful. 

Irina needs a wisdom tooth pulled.  Trying to find the right time between surgeries.  Bojan's surgery is in July.  His amputation will definitely be a longer recovery than the rest.  He is very much ready though.  He is missing school tomorrow.  Begged to stay home.  It's field day.  Enough said. 

Logan needs to be checked endocrinologically I do believe.  His hands and feet sweat profusely as does he.  I mean literally, water will drip in buckets off his hands. His hands are always clammy.  And, he does not seem to be growing much.  Reni has passed him almost.  She's younger remember and from the same gene pool.  Just strange b/c at 12yo, he should be shooting up by now.  Something is "off."  Going to work on it.  Other than that, very healthy.

Warren just had a cardiac check up and heart is perfect as is blood pressure.  He just needs to get a stress test scheduled.  Our cardio guy does it as routine.  I get checked every two years so am also due this summer some time.  I have a cardiologist as preventative as my family history has much to be desired.  But, glad I have a guy willing to be proactive and make sure all is okay early on.  I used to get checked every 6 months, than every year and now it's every 2 years.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Other kids are doing a-okay health wise as well.  No complaints.  Though some right now look like a CDC experiment gone awry.  They have dug bug bites till they look like they have bullseyes on them.  Bandaids do not work.  We live in t he south and a creek surrounds our house.  Bug bites are inevitable.  Hoping they'll stop.  Summer still has scars from when we got her.  Hey, at least I know where they're from now.  She can't leave them alone.  But if bug bites are all I need to be concerned with, I can't complain one bit. VERY thankful for their health.

Tomorrow is Wednesday adn we plan on getting things down around here.  That's the plan anyhow.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, June 3, 2013

I have sweet friends

It's a fact.  Many times over I have been astounding by the outpouring of support for our family and my kids.  When Max had surgery, it was no exception.  A dear friend in GA sent Max a care package.  Really, a do not be bored package. 

A package is delivered and curiosity is peaked.

Ooh, what's inside this treasure trove?

They all started to peak at what was inside and grab a few books.

Even Yana came out to see what all was happening.  Summer just wanted the bubble wrap stuff that you can pop.

SO very cool inside.  It was a bunch of books and some drawing books as well.  Max dove right into them and was truly fascinated.  Some of these were college books which are what he needs in regards to drawing.  Let him expand his mind. 

I htink Logan and Bojan were just as excited as Max was.

Now Reni is curious.   Her reading level truly has gone up.  She is just jamming when it comes to school.  Very proud of her progress.  Max really enjoyed this box of goodies as did I.  He definitely needed something to keep him occupied.  Hard for him to do nothing.  Thank you Dee for making time pass a little quicker for Max. 

Jealous of sisters' toys???

Lately, the girls are truly into Barbies.  I mean as in taking them everywhere. Only trouble is, we have very, very few Barbies.  Sharing is a must.  Not only that, somehow, all our Barbies have lost all their clothes.  They did indeed have clothes but now, nothing.  Still, the girls love them.  They do.  And, apparently, so does their brother Nik. 

Younger sisters were napping so perfect time to steal their Barbies.  Not a shirt in sight.  LOL.  

Honestly, not even sure what to think of this contraption Nik built for Barbie.  The older teens have gotten quite a few laughs.  Thankfully, Nik's mind is not in the gutter at his age.  To him, swinging naked Barbie is just plain fun.  LOL.  Today, he tied Barbie up to a hook in between the dining room and living room.  There she swung, naked, legs spread completely apart.  Poor, poor Barbie.  Hopefully, this phase will pass quickly.  His sisters hope for the same thing as they want their Barbies back.  Need to go to yardsales.  Anyone find super cheap Barbies, let me know.  Clothes are indeed optional at this point.  They never wear them anyhow.  

Well, need to go get Nik that candy bar.  And yes, I do realize it's 9pm at night.  Oh well.  Telling his speech therapist no more promises.  Nik lives by a clock.  Very, very upsetting if you tell him something and plans have to change.  He does not do well w/ change.  We're working on it.  But between autism and FAS, it's tough.  Anyhow, another dog gone lightening bug just flew by me.  in case you all didn't make it through the entire last post, Nik and Logan came in and released a pile of lightening bugs.  They've invaded and I'm tired of seeing them light up inside.  This is as bad as last year when they wanted a night light.  They scooped them up and put 30 some in a jar and put it on their dresser.  Nice,huh?  Boys.

Manic Monday

Well did I ever go MIA.  Been a long few days and just didn't realize how busy and booked up we really are.  And, that is okay.  We'll get a few days this week to simply sit and enjoy a lazy day here and there.  Who ever coined the phrase lazy days of summer obviously did not live here.  It is now Monday.  A quick overview here of a little of what we're up to.....

  • Went to look at an 1870 home this past weekend 
  • We've decided we can't stay in this home.  We must move.
  • Kids are NOT happy about the move (more on that later)
  • We love the house but not sure quite yet
  • Going to list our home in a few weeks
  • Still need to sell the RV
  • Warren's car needs repair
  • Fridge still on the fritz (we have 2 remember)
  • ceiling fan now broken in dining room
  • Irina enjoyed the graduation party we had for her
  • Speech therapy this week
  • Graduation party for Irina this coming weekend
  • Going to national Donut Day at Krispy Kreme on Friday (hey, we must!)
  • Alaska has chewed herself raw despite regularly being bathed, having a flea collar & using Frontline
  • Warren is very late this evening
  • Nik learned all his money and so I promised him a candy bar (actually, his speech therapist promised him I'd get a candy bar)
  • RV needs an inspection
  • Pool repair is not going the best
  • Slow leak in pool but now hose broken
  • Tying up the end of school work 
  • Cleaning out cubbies
  • Max's stitches come out tomorrow
  • Need to get to bank
  • Last docs of homestudy are being done
  • Homestudy almost done (wahoo!!!)
  • Did some major organizing today and felt great
  • Had been feeling so overwhelmed but finally at a good place (organizing helped that )
  • People are very generous in regards to Irina graduating
  • Irina's been writing thank yous
  • catching up on emails
  • need to send off insurance claim
  • Max and Yana are done with school
  • Bojan gets out Friday
  • Found a curriculum I want to use for homeschoolers next year (online)
  • Trying to decide if I should send Logan and Alyona to school in the fall
  • Alex requested to be homeschooled again
  • Stupid boys just brought in a pile of lightening bugs & now all over my ceiling
  • Going to a cookout three hours away this weekend 
  • Trying to plan our big summer vacation stuff
  • Campgrounds all reserved for the entire year 
Much more going on but that's some of it.   Slowly but surely, getting things done.  More on Irina's graduation soon.  Need to get the Littles in bed.