Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Logan!!

Today, Logan turned 13yo.  Yes, we indeed have another teenager at Chaos Manor.  I swear I may never get rid of the smell of Axe in this house.  Masks that funky teen boy smell that seems to accompany them at a certain age.  Logan is about to start middle school.  Truly, don't know how it is going to go.  I have high hopes but also grave concerns.  He has been homeschooled this past year and I've gotten him reading in English and other things.  However, he lags behind greatly.  Being honest.  And though I think some of it is due to being in the country for not even two years yet, but some of it is just being lazy.  And yes, some of this is indeed the age.  Remember, I have 3 boys who are older than Logan.  Logan is at that tricky age of wanting to be a boy and wanting to be a man at the same time.  I still see the little boy in him and though I try not to see it, I see the young man in him coming out as well.  And as a parent, you worry.  I hope he makes the right choices in life and hope he leads a happy life.  I know thirteen is an exciting year.  Becoming a teenager.  I want his year to be filled with joy, hope and love.  I want him to experience all life has to offer him.  Try new things, explore new information and studies, and most of all, enjoy the first year of being a teenager. And please son, try to do it without any drama.  Though my boys are not all that happy with us at this age, maybe they'll understand later in life, it was us trying to mold them into decent, respecting, well-rounded human beings.  So, let the teenage years begin Logan!

Happy Birthday Logan!  May the teen years treat you right and may you flourish into an honest young man.  And stay away from the girls for awhile!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer fun, sleepovers and swatting

Someone asked how we were going to get everyone everywhere w/ them going to school.  Mine have always taken the bus.  The schools are not far from us at all.  And, I usually know the drivers.  Registered all the kids for school.  Tomorrow is orientation.  Anyone else across America think that the counties could do a much better job organizing these things?  I mean I have orientations for a kids in different schools.  Many parents have kids in elementary, middle and high school.  One parent even said their school had the elementary & middle school doing it at the same time.  Trouble is, they share ONE parking lot.  Truly a little more planning is all that takes.  Elementary one day, middle another, high school another.  Not that hard.  This has always been a thorn in my side b/c middle schoolers aren't allowed to get schedules if they don't come to orientation.  Ridiculous!  Instead, they have to wait in the library most the day the first day of school.  Well, the other year I could not make 2 orientations at the exact same time and so Bojan sat in the library most the day.  Got to love it.  These are the folks teaching our children.  And they get mad if the kids aren't organized!  Pet peeve rant over.  LOL.  Time for a few pics.

Reni, enjoying some time with friends for a summer swim.

 Alex almost looks young again in this picture.  He's growing up so fast lately.

Friends over for a summer swim and lunch together.  Just was nice to hang out and enjoy some last days of summer.  Some of the kids were in the house at the time.  It's great b/c some will swim, some play video games, some watch movies, some play pool.  So even though there may be 25 of them here, doesn't seem like it.  Well, noise level you can surely tell.

Hey, if he's going to be stuck in the wheelchair for a bit, he might as well do something w/ his time.  So, he grabbed the swatter.  He wondered why I wasn't happy about him zapping bugs in my kitchen while I was getting ready to cook.  My kids love the zapper but leave the stupid dead bugs laying around.  

Now, we have extra mattresses for when friends come over.  However, the other night, the girls and their friend decided they'd rather sleep on the floor.  Well, Little One was mad so she moved her mattress right smack dab in the middle of them!  I have a great picture of all of them in a row.  They really had a good time together.  Next house, girls' wing will be opposite of master bedroom.  Way on other side of the house.  Yep, learn from your mistakes.  LOL.

Summer and Reni getting ready.

Yes, I do believe Summer is ready to go to sleep, don't you? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A clean mess!

Well, I don't know why on earth I put myself through these things any more.  Really.  Why do I even look at Pinterest.  When it says easy, truly, we should be the first testers to see if it actually is easy.  The other day I saw something that really couldn't be any easier to do.  And, only 1 ingredient and we had it in the house already.  Win-win, right?  Ha!  Started with this:

A simple clean bar of Ivory soap.  Seen as harmless, clean, innocent.  You just wait.

So, easy experiment.  Just stick it in the microwave and wait.

Quite a few were interested.

 Notice how nice and fluffy it is?!

And this was what it looked like.  Not quite like that fluffy cloud on Pinterest though.

Better view.  It was supposed to be huge and fluffy.  It was soft, was kind of cool.  Now, they said this would be not so messy.  It's harder to get soap off the microwave than you think.  In addition, supposedly harmless.  Yeh, no.  Little One for some reason managed to get it in her eyes.  She complained the entire night.  There was soap crumbles everywhere.  Supposedly you were supposed to be able to mush it back together and be able to use the soap again.  Umm, no.  Definitely another Pinterest fail.  Got to love it.  But, we'll keep trying.  Failing is fun at times.  Hey, it's entertainment.

Big decisions

Ever since yesterday's phone call, it has been a flurry of activity.  We also received an email that could be life changing however, I can not elaborate at all for now so that will have to wait.  In light of many events of the last hours, we have made the decision to now let all the kids but Alyona go to public school.  Now, school starts on Monday so when I say this has been a mad rush day, I'm not exaggerating.  I'm physically and mentally exhausted.  But, it must be done.  I need some time to dedicate to the younger kids and Alyona's recovery from what will be two very invasive surgeries.  So, today, I made the phone calls.  Gathered all the shot records, finished filling out homeschool stuff, and filled out enrollment forms.  Made a health assessment appt. for Summer on Sept. 4th.  Have already spoken to the ESL teacher for Reni.  Already got our private speech therapist and school speech therapist on the same page.  Talked w/ many previous teachers.  It's hard to go back given the reason we originally left in the first place.  But, they were all kind and we all talked.  So, we're good.  Today I turned in Summer's kindergarten registration packet.  Yikes!  Hard to believe.  Tomorrow, I will enroll Nik, Reni, Alex, and Logan officially.  Old IEP's have been pulled already and folks at the middle school have been spoken to.  I think we may all be on the same page.  Now, I must fix Max's mess w/ the IEP and them wanting him to repeat 3 years of math due to this stupid core curriculum.  Partial school shopping has been done thanks to a very generous friend who gave us a gift card to Walmart.  We were able to get a few items.  Still have a ton to go but we all have to start somewhere.  Only missing a back pack for Bojan.  His was totally worn out and had to be thrown out.  Everyone else though has one.  However, I'm also not spending a pile on a back pack.  So, if you see one on sale or find one of the large ones in great shape, please let me know about it as I may be interested. 

Tonight, we're having pork chops on the grill, homemade mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, bread for dinner.  We had art class today and I know Nik will surely miss that.  I will miss them during the day.  Though Sofie, Alyona and Cole (little boy I'll be babysitting) & I will be having lunch with them some days, I'm sure of it.  Plus, we'll have story time, art still, and a few other activities.  This new school year will bring many changes to us. 

I have yet to think of first day of school clothes for the little kids.  Nor have I gotten Bojan a book bag yet.  That will have to come in time.  We've been stretched this week as far as time goes but taking it in stride.  After this initial week is over, the pace should slow down and we can catch up a bit better.  We're planning trips still this fall and will cross the bridge when we get to it of whether or not we can go depending upon surgical needs and recoveries.  There's lots locally though that we are doing as well.  Kids will be back in sports in winter time w/ basketball possibly.  They took a break from soccer this year which was good for them.  Full force they'll be back in it in spring.  Not sure if boys will do football this year or not.  Up to them.  Yana wants to do cross country this fall and is going to be in ROTC.  Bojan still in band and enjoying it.  Max is still doing art work.  Irina is working and well, life is moving forward.  Tends to do that you know.  LOL.  Well, more tomorrow.  Have more papers to fill out and need to read Summer and Little One their nightly books.  A very late night dinner.  We had company over during lunch and enjoyed some fellowship with friends.  Just was nice and relaxing amongst all the chaos.  More to come but like I said, story time awaits so must go.  Hope everyone is enjoying their week. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Alyona's MRI results

As you know by now, we have 7 children with FAS.  Alyona is one of them.  Many things can be affected by alcohol when pregnant.  Especially in regards to development of thing.  Alyona came home from vacation this summer.  About two weeks later, girls came to me and said look at this mom.  Showed me Alyona's back.  Won't show the pics on here b/c does she her bra straps and well, any teen would be mad.  But, needed pics to show doc.  Anyhow, she was seen, that day and dx'd sudden onset scoliosis.  In addition, her stomach did not react and her curve was to the left.  Indicators which meant there was some pathology behind all this.  Not good.  Still, hoping it was nothing and appt. w/ Duke Ortho was scheduled.  Went.  Then, MRI scheduled for this past Friday evening.  Now, Warren and I have gotten a bit better at reading lips since having Nik.  He could not only read the techs' facial expressions but also what they were saying "What's that?!  I don't know?  Weird."  So we knew we'd most likely get a call and maybe at least a dx. 

Today, at 7 something this morning, I get a call from the nurse at Duke.  She said I didn't want you to be alarmed when neurosurgery called you today.  Umm, okay.  She said at this point, scoliosis takes a back seat to neurosurgery.  Alyona has a tethered  cord.  You'll have a consult w/ neurosurgery and then surgery.  This may or may not be causing the scoliosis she added.  Lovely, a new turn of events.  We do not know the details of the tethered cord.  we're waiting for the consult to find out the details and what all is involved w/ hers.  Not the news we wanted to hear but we go with the flow here.  By the sounds of it, surgery will be sooner rather than later.  After she recovers, then we go for the scoliosis surgery. 

With this new info in hand, we  have decided not to enroll Alyona back into school.  It was questionable if she could handle it to begin with just given the sheer #of people and banging around she'd experience.   This confirmed it.  We have to do what is in the best interest of the kids and we feel this is the right decision.  If she stayed in school, she'd just get homebound services anyhow which is only 2 hours a week.  Not worth it. 

I'm glad Max had his surgery on his shoulder.  Glad Bojan is on the mends w/ the amputation surgery.  Now, we can focus on Alyona's upcoming two surgeries.  She'll do fine.  Though a shocker initially, Alyona will be better off with all this fixed.  I know this is progressive.  It was caught we do believe in time.  And to think, at first Duke wasn't sure if they needed to even do an MRI.  Glad we insisted and they concurred.  Thanks for thinking of Alyona.  I will keep you posted as things progress.  The next few weeks may end up being rather hectic we have a feeling.  Time will tell.

Manic Monday

Oh wow oh wow.  This has been a day to remember.  Beyond a ton going on.  I'll have to do a quick manic Monday post and get back to work.  Here goes:

  • Yana, Alex, Nik and Reni went to a rodeo this past weekend.  Loved it.
  • All kids went to VBS and loved it.  
  • Exploring new church options for our family
  • Advantix finally worked for Alaska & Digby's itching
  • Van needed a patch
  • Alyona had her MRI on Friday
  • Duke called me this morning (more info forthcoming in separate post..intense)
  • Scoliosis is taking a back seat 
  • Speech therapist is back this week
  • Some exciting news I can not share quite yet
  • Still waiting on Little One's finalization papers...very soon!
  • Need to get Little One weighed in this week
  • G-tube coming out soon
  • Bojan is tired of the wheelchair
  • Bojan goes to Shriner's this Friday
  • Art class on Tuesday
  • FASD Support group on Tuesday
  • Rescheduled Irina's doc appt.
  • Alyona needs new glasses
  • Filled out insurance papers 
  • Need to go to bank
  • Need to write a few thank yous
  • Bought school supplies partially
  • Fridge still broken b/c other things keep breaking that take first dibs
  • Supposed to go to Cape Hatteras but may have to cancel trip
  • Having beef and broccoli stir fry this evening
  • Filling out enrollment forms non-stop
  • So far behind on just about everything.  LOL
Much, much more going on.  Honest to goodness, these next three weeks may be some kind of hectic trying to get everyone back on par w/ school.  We are still questioning homeschooling some at this time.  Just b/c my dedication and time will need to be spent elsewhere.  There are many exciting things in the works.  Trip to WVA, trip to Asheboro for camping, Camp Woodbine for deaf/ HOH for the day, rodeos, Cape Hatteras, and way too many other things to name.  I'm planning for it all and well, that takes time.  Worth it though for sure.  Alright, time to get dinner going.  More on the MRI results next post this evening.

Max's dream bus

Trying to go through some old posts I've started.  Now, I know I showed this before but dont' think I ever showed the finished product.  Do you think a company will commission to make a bus for us that Max dreams up?  LOL.  Yeh, that would be one dream bus. 

This is what Max wants to travel in.  Don't we all!  Travel in style.

He even numbered our bus.

Must say, I like this door better than the one we have now.

And what custom bus would be complete w/out its own trailer.  AS if the bus wasn't big enough to haul stuff.  LOL.  He did all this w/ a pencil and a straight edge.  I like it.  I know we'll never have a bus like this but nice to know we can all still dream.

Now, to tell  you just how much I've been avoiding the mounds of paper work I still have awaiting me tonight, I went earlier to the RV, Max cranked it up w/ the A/C and I started painting the bathroom.  Since we must keep C-MOW for years and years, we decided to give it our own style inside.  So, all cabinetry will be painted polar white.  The walls will be one of those light, light turquoise colors.  A very beachy feel and make it feel a little lighter and bigger inside.  Cushions for the dinette must be ordered.  For those wondering, we decided to wash them.  BIG mistake and must order new ones completely.  Reupolstering them is more expensive.  New ones which will be $200.  NOT expecting that but it happens.  And frankly, the age of the RV, it needs new ones anyhow.  So looking on the bright side of things.  We're also in the spring going to rip up the bed and install more bench seats w/ seatbelts.  That is a HUGE project and undertaking so it will wait till spring.  LOL.  The flooring will also be ripped out and replaced.  The flooring will only be about $40 to $60 to replace at best.  Carpet and 13 people is just a dumb idea for anyone.  Especially when you have a muddy campground.  So, slowly redoing it to make it our very own.  Feel free to help if you're bored.  Our dream is to paint the thing but I can only imagine that costs.  It may have to be hideous for awhile.  I'll have to do before and after pics of the inside for sure.  And our little dinnette cushion fiasco.  Truly, we were just trying to clean it.  Go figure.  Anyhow, making C-MOW our very own for years to come.  Have tons of ideas and have a color scheme I want.  The light blue beachy color, polar white cabinets, brush nickel knobs/ etc.(hey, paint can of that is $5!), and red accents here and there.  Going to be fun and I think we'll have an awesome time.  My brother bought us one of those maps that shows what states you've been to.  Time to put that up and enjoy.  Little One went in the bus today and was jumping up and down. Totally excited b/c she thought we were going on another trip.  Hey, at least they like to travel together and enjoy it.  In addition, they are VERY good at thoroughly cleaning before and after we go on a trip and also w/ up keep on it.  I think it was one of our smarter purchases in retrospect even if we originally planned to buy it and see if we liked it.  We don't like it, we love it!  Wait till you hear all the places C-MOW is in the planning stages of going to.  October will entail a trip to meet friends and back again in WVA.  It will also entail a trip to Asheboro, NC for a very cool Halloween campground celebration.  Can not wait.  We were supposed to go to the outerbanks on Labor Day Weekend but not sure it's going to happen.  Campground is reserved but let's face it, it's a tight month w/ school and everything else medically going on.  Lots of copays add up.  We are trying to work it out to be able to go.  RV has half a tank full of gas.  Make a decision soon.  Anyhow, need to go to bed here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Too hot to cool down

This is not about the weather.  The other day my mom sent Bojan Sherry's berries.  Yum!  We all dug in as he was kind enough to share.  Well, I told her they came a little mushy and she told them about it.  They sent us the same order again.  Now, being in the business world previously, this is supposed to amend a situation and typically it does.  BTW, I could careless how the strawberries come as long as their fresh.  But, some DO care as they spend money on it.  Well, the second batch came in the mail and I took pictures to send to my mom so she could see how they fixed the problem. 

We got two of these boxes.  The 1 ice pack they put in the box was all mush and not cold at all.

We opened the first box as soon as we got it.  did not let it sit out at all.  This is what it looked like.

Didn't think I was seeing things right so took a different picture.  Nope, it really was this bad.  If I were a girlfriend, I would have been ticked off.  LOL.  My kids asked if someone had eaten them already.  

This was the other box.  Clearly, it was under that single icepack.

Here's a closer look of that second box.  Not as appetizing as it could have been.  In addition, the strawberries were warm.  I told my mom b/c she sends these boxes to other people.  Personally, my kids don't care.  You all know that.  They'd eat the bark off the tree as long as it was covered in chocolate.  Just really was surprised.  Come to find out, they had been on the truck all morning long.  Starting at around 7am till like 6 I think it was that night we got them.  Maybe a little earlier.  Dont' remember exactly.  It's the middle of August.  The trucks come to this neighborhood a few times a day. I would think w/ the writing on the box to keep it cold, it would have been on that first delivery truck, not the last.  But, that is just me.  Truly though, I think it could have been thought out better.