Friday, April 18, 2014

Max's Drawings

I haven't done these in awhile.  Thought I'd post a quick pic Max did this week.  Looks better in person but you'll get the idea.  We are truly thinking of opening up an Etsy shop for Max.  Maybe he could draw it and then make prints.  Do you all think that would be a good idea?  Looking for input.

A very interesting looking car to say the least.

Took this one with a flash.  Wasn't sure what would work better.

A little closer view of the front.  He even has details inside the headlights!  He has been drawing ever since we got him.  His passion, his outlet.  Helps that he's pretty good at it.  Let me know what you think of Max's latest creation.

Military Ball for Yana

I know I don't post a whole lot about the teens on this blog but that is with good reason.  After a certain age, I think there are privacy issues that come into play.  However, I have been yelled at by quite a few of the teens AND their friends for not having them on there as much any more.  Go figure.  So, here and there I'll post.  Well, until I get yelled at again.  LOL.  You know how teens are. 

Yana is in JROTC.  Learning about the military and she likes it.  So, she had a military ball to attend a few weeks ago.  Thankfully, we had hunted for a dress the previous month.  I knew my upcoming months were going to be busy so wanted to get a head start.  First dress we found. Score!  Those with teenage daughters will know just how big a deal that is.  I'm sure in the fall, I won't be so lucky with homecoming.  Thought I'd share a few pictures of Yana in her dress.  Was a little windy that day too.

Umm yeh.  That's not the 8.5 yo I brought home from Russia.  Where'd she go?!

A side view.  It is a purplish blue color for the dress.

Back of the dress.  Gorgeous day and evening to attend a ball.

Tried another shot but the wind got in the way.  She had her hair pulled back.  

Yana with ticket in hand to the ball.  She went there and enjoyed a time with friends.  She has a boyfriend but due to rules of the school, he is not allowed to attend the events.  But, he picked her up and surprised her.  Thought the dress was gorgeous and well, Yana is growing into a young lady.  I will admit, it is strange seeing your own children all dressed up going to grown up events.  You always remember the little kid inside.  But, Warren and I have accepted the fact our teens are growing up.  Yana is 18 years old now.  After next year, she'll enter a new chapter in her life after high school.  So, this military ball is a small stepping stone.  Glad she had fun and looked beautiful to boot. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bojan's new legs

So, Bojan got another new leg.  We have an awesome guy named Frank that does all his work.

Always a scene at our house.  Frank always looks at both legs to make sure everything is just right.

Caught him on a goofy smile but this is so you can see the new leg.  Swirling colors.  Very cool.


Frank has been with Bojan from the get go.  It is awesome to have that relationship.  He's even come to Chaos Manor for dinner and a swim with the kids.  You can't ask for more.  His family is sweet and his girls are cute as can be.  We all love Mr. Frank and the excellent work he does for Bojan so that Bojan can walk.  One leg is camo and one is the blue swirling one.  though Frank and I personally like the wooden socket looking one.  Bojan would have none of that cover.  Hey, his choice.  I can not express our gratitude for all the work he has done on Bojan.  Not just for the prosthetics but when he had AFO's as well.  Great guy with a big heart.  Wish all our specialists were like this.  

So, Bojan is set for awhile now.  We do a lot of the adjustments on our own.  You'd be surprised at what you learn over the  years.  Amazing what a trip to Lowes carrying a leg will do for you.  Today, Bojan went scuba diving.  He loved it.  Another new adventure for him. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Indoor Soccer

Wow, 5 blog posts in one day!  I'm slowly catching up.  Thought I'd share a few pictures from where Alex and Logan play soccer.  it is an indoor soccer league and a first for us this year.

 Alex is in the white shorts.  Constantly pays attention to the ball.

Logan running after the ball.  Black shorts, red shirt.  

 Alex just finished kicking the ball.  Looks like he's doing karate.

 Logan watching closely as he is now goalie.

 And, waiting for the ball.  The hands on hips are a nervous habit. 

 Logan after the game. 

Alex after the game w/ a friend popping his head in.  Was great that day b/c they had friends come and watch them play.  Meant a lot to them.  My kids really do have awesome friends.  

Indoor soccer has given us new rules and new skills.  It's great for them to play on diverse soccer teams so they learn skills across teh board.  Indoor soccer is different than outdoor.  But having the knowledge of both I think will only increase their skills and enhance their performance.  However, both boys truly miss Upwards.  Anyhow, more to come tomorrow.  Another family is joining us for an outing.  Then we have speech therapy.  We have scuba for Bojan and soccer for Alex and Logan.  Oh, and prepping the whole house for a yardsale on Friday.  Should be an interesting day to say the least.  Bring on Thursday.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Belated Birthdays

Being so busy, never got to even post about two recent birthdays.  So, here goes. 

Our oldest son turned 19.  This is his last year as a teenager.  Hard to believe that little four year old in pink tights that we picked up from Russia has grown into a young man.

Max, getting ready to blow out some candles.

Not sure what got him laughing here but it did.

Max, growing up into a young man ready to get out into the world.  He will be graduating high school this year and seeking employment.  He can hardly wait.  Life is moving forward for him.

Max's birthday is at the end of March.  Reni's is a week later on April 2nd.  Reni turned 12 yo.

Happy and thinking of all her wishes she wants to come true.

Just a couple of us and some of the teen friends wishing her a Happy Birthday.

Reni, the year before she enters teenhood.  Can't believe it myself!  She was in diapers when we picked her up.  Literally!  Now, beautiful young lady.  Smart and full of potential.  Wishing her a very happy 12th year this year.  I know she'll go far.

We do not give our kids parties or gifts.  Dividing it up among everyone was just not working out well so last year we started our birthday bash.  Where we go on a trip and celebrate everyone's birthday all at once.  Last year it was snow tubing at Hawk's Nest.  This year, a trip to Pigeon Forge, TN in less than two weeks!  It was a gift to our family and more on that later.  Kids are looking very forward to an indoor water park and possible trip to great Smokey National Park for their birthday bash this year.  They are all growing up so very fast.  Next birthday is Alyona's on June 27th and we'll be coming home from our summer vacation that day.  So many birthdays but comfort in knowing they are here to celebrate them. 

Sweeping, shaving, and sunburn

So much going on around here I always feel like I'm behind lately on this blog though I have been catching up somewhat.  Tonight is Saturday.  We have a visitor with us for a few days and save a post for just her.  Today we had soccer and a house showing.  Kept us on our toes to be sure.  Last week though was filled with illness as you know.  But other things happened as well and thought I'd share a few pictures.

We are constantly cleaning the house as it can be shown at any time.  Well, Summer and Nik had to wipe down the stair walls and banister.  Summer could not reach.  She thought of this idea ALL BY HERSELF!  She put the wet rag on the top of the broom handle.  Trust me, this was clever.  And, it got the job done for sure.

It was inevitable because frankly, most my kids have done this.  Trying to mimic older siblings.  Summer and Sofie get a bath together.  Since all girls share a bathroom, things like razors are kept up high as so the little kids can't get a hold of them.  Remember, I have 4 other girls that shave now!  Kept on the shelf by the top showerhead.  Well, apparently Summer has grown just enough to reach it now.  Her and Sofie decided to shave legs.  No real damage done.  Nothing like the first time Irina ever shaved her legs.  But still.  Couldn't believe they did it and now older kids are mad b/c they need a new hiding place.  Both Sofie and Summer said they were big girls now like their sisters.  Not quite girls.  Ways to go for that. 

Seriously, this one pains me to look at it.  So, Nik and Reni had a field trip the other week.  The week Mom and Dad were sick as dogs.  Not thinking clearly.  It was a trip inside museums.  Art museum.  Reni said it was boring as all get out.  I had NO idea they'd be walking the two mile thing around it.  Reni said they had sunscreen but would not put it on him as it is against school policy.  Can't put anything on the kids or even give it to them to put on due to liability reasons I suppose.  So, it was OUR fault he got burned around his neck, however, I wished common sense would have taken over on this one. BTW, Reni did not get burned at all.  Different skin types.

As you can see, just mostly the back got it.  Felt so bad and even more so since I was sick.  I always put sunscreen on them for fieldtrips but we could barely function that week and honestly I forgot.  He survived though.  Wasn't the first time he got burned and won't be the last, I'm sure.  He and Bojan out of all our kids have the fairest skin and are the ones we slather sunscreen on in the summer time or at outdoor events. 

Saturday Soccer and Adidas everywhere!

Well, Saturdays and Sundays are soccer.  I'll start w/ Sunday as that is Alex and Logan's practice.  Before practice though, we had found out about a huge tent sale at the fairgrounds of new Adidas wear and gear.  Perfect!  It was the last day of it and we knew it would be picked over but if we could score a bargain for a few of us on brand new stuff, we would.  So, sneakers were just $20.  I got $80 sneakers for just $20!  Brand new and can't beat that.  Alex, Logan also got sneakers.  Bojan got a shirt.  Shirts were $8.  Some were $5.  Can't really buy him shoes so there you go.  Wished I'd taken a picture of our haul.  Summer, Sofie, Alex and Logan got new soccer cleats.  Just $15!  And those things are expensive.  Boys were thrilled.  Nice to get something new from time to time and at a great price.  After that, we headed to their soccer practice.  This was a Sunday.  Last practice of the season for them. Thank goodness.  They have 2 games left though. 

Back up to Saturday where we spend all day on the soccer field, come home and haul off trash and then do basic house errands. 

Logan came to watch his sibs play.  Think he's thrilled to help carry chairs?

Yep, she's a pistol.  LOL.  Sassy and all.  Cuteness wins over it all though.  She has us wrapped.

Nik's game was last so he was watching Reni play.

Reni hates playing goalie but does a good job of it.  I don't really have any shots of her b/c I was too busy watching the game.  She made the first goal of the game that day!

Summer, listening for instructions of wht to do next.

She is so proud when she gets to kick the ball and tells me every time.

Summer, in the shade.  

Mom and Sofie.  Wind was blowing but she just wanted a hug.  She squeezes tight, that's for sure.

Nik waiting for the ball to come his way.  

Soccer is busy but fun.  Fun to watch the kids grow year after year.  In addition, there are a lot of great parents, coaches and refs there.  The support for the teams is amazing.  The cheering, the smiles, the sharing of stories, etc.  I had the kids play on two different leagues this year.  The Upwards League is such a positive hands down compared to the indoor league Alex and Logan play on.  Makes a difference.  Alex and Logan truly miss Upwards this year.  However, the indoor league has given them other skills to work on and great to have a diverse repertoire.  We have a few months left of Upwards and will most definitely enjoy the sunshine days and cheering on the fields. 

The Work of Finding Deals

Okay, so it is no secret we bargain hunt when we can. You have to with this many.  Hence, why we go to the Farmer's Market, yardsales and the like.  Locally, there is an online Facebook yardsale group that has exploded lately.  It's fantastic.  You see what you are getting, can sell stuff, and it's local.  The boys' dressers are shot.  No other word for it.  We'd love to get new ones but let's face it, they are not good stewards of their stuff.  Used for them.  Girls I will buy new for here and there because I KNOW they'll take care of it.  Boys, not so much.  They know how I feel about it all. 

The other day, I spotted an entertainment center on line.  Solid wood.  You know, the really, really heavy stuff.  Back is pressboard but the rest was solid wood.  Asked Warren and he said yes, we can make it work.  So, decided to turn a rather large entertainment center into the boys' dresser.  Only trouble was, getting it up the stairs and into their room.  Thankfully, it came in three pieces.

This is one of the three pieces.  There are two of these and they go on each side of the large piece in the middle.  

And so it begins.  It may not look big but this is a very large and heavy piece.  Max is on the top pulling it up with a dolly while the other two are below pushing it up.

Very slow process indeed.

Yana for whatever reason decided this was videotaping worthy.  I guess if it went wrong, there'd be evidence of what happened.  LOL.  Onlookers just watching.

Now, here is where the problem sort of began.  This was a trick.  There was NO wiggle room to turn this sucker around.  But, they figured it out.  Almost crushing a few of them but they did it.  Like I said, this is heavy.  But, it was a bargain and it is sometimes work finding good deals and good quality.  However, you don't want really good quality for the boys.  LOL.  Just yesterday, Summer wrote on her pillow sham with markers.  Ruined the set.  But, in the grand scheme of things, these are minor.  

In our community, there is a lot of great deals around if you look.  I have a wonderful group of friends and we all look out for what the other is looking for.  Respond if it goes up for sale.  I've picked up things for folks and vice versa.  It works for us all.  This weekend, my plans are to have a big yardsale.  Despite getting a few new items, we are also getting rid of a few items.  Don't like the clutter and if we are not using it, it is going to go.  Period.  

Today was a lazy day.  We basically watched the rain and watched movies most the day.  Reni, Alex, Logan, Bojan went to a friend's house.  Yana went to track part of the day.  Rest of us were here.  Max finally completed his math course so that he can now graduate.  Long story.  Relieved though.  Max will be getting his license very soon.  So, my bargain hunting skills will come in handy when we go car shopping for his first car.  Times are changing around here for sure!  More posts to follow. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blessings Abound!

Truly, we are blessed.  Our family is for the most part healthy and I consider that a huge blessing to be sure!  Lately, other blessings popping up here and there and let me tell you, it helps a large family immensely.  Our second oldest daughter is dating.  A great guy that we all like. He noticed Nik playing with legos the other day.  Said he had some spares.  Went ot his house, came back and had filled up Nik's bin! 

Reni and Bojan have been making things too.  Nice to have entertainment.  

This week, we were also given some snack food.  Now, having so many teens, food gets outrageous at times.  So any food is more than welcomed.  A sweet friend gave us quite a few bag fulls of snack foods such as granola bars, nutrigrain bars, trail mix, dried cranberries, etc.   Was just wonderful.  Thank you Ms. Carie!  

Another dear friend dropped off a few food items as well.  Thank you Ms. Rebecca!  Greatly appreciated.  

In addition to this, we were blessed w/ a package from a dear friend of mine from high school.  All the way from the great state of Alaska!  Big box full of clothes for Sofie.  As much as kids outgrow clothes, this was a huge relief.  Not to mention Sofie dug right in the box and has not worn anything but a favorite jacket she found. 

This is the jacket she loves now.  Sorry for the back shot.  Very generous of my friend.  Kelly, we love them!  

Just too many blessings to name.  Some think it is just a little something they're doing but it really makes a huge difference for us.  Over the years we have spent a small fortune on adoptions.  It's no secret, adoption is expensive.  However, once you see the orphanages, you just can't turn your back and do nothing.  We knew our life would never be a glamorous one once we gave up DINK status and brought the first set of kids home.  However, it is friends that we have that have made this possible.  Clothing and food helps out immensely.  Little things add up to big things and do allow us to adopt and help other kids in need.  When I say it makes a huge difference, I truly mean it.  The blessings that are bestowed upon us whether big or small have helped not just our kids, but many others.  I just want to thank everyone for making a difference in our kids' lives and the lives of others.  We do pay it forward whenever possible.  It is because of the small blessings over the years that has allowed us to adopt.  Allowed us to think ahead of what we want to do and what we need to do.  There are big decisions to make this year and what our future holds.  I can tell you this, every gift has meaning to our family greater than the gift itself.  I wish I could say thank  you in person to some of the gifts. Give that person a great big hug and let them know just how generous they are.  Thank you is just not enough. 

Alyona at Duke Ortho

Today was Alyona's followup appointment.  Went great!  Back looks good and not needed back till July.  She can resume normal activity w/ the exception of Lacrosse and Football.  So, cleared for all our upcoming vacations/ trips.  She was thrilled about that.  Now, the cyst on her hand/ arm.  It is at a risky place for surgery, right by the artery.  They are trying to compress it w/ an ace bandage to see how that does.  We are all trying to avoid surgery on that one. 

Kids had soccer practice this evening.  We cleaned the house today and kids are super motivated.  So the house we want to buy though long shot as we need to sell this one first and lots of interest in the house.  house we love!  It truly is ideal for our needs and our future needs.  It's not far from us at all and we are all just dreaming.  But, what is meant to be will be.  Also, bit out of the price range we are looking at.  We're looking all over at homes and land as well.  Meantime, really fixing this one up and getting all that pesty spring cleaning and decluttering done.  Have a post about our house for sale soon. 

It is spring break week.  Much to share.  Working on it.  Just been kept super duper busy.  More to come. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring is Here!

So, you'll notice last week I was a tad slack on blogging.  Okay, really slack.  Spring is here.  That means a flurry of activity around here with soccer and other events going on and usually at the same time.  Essentially, too busy to write. 

The shrubs are starting to bloom.  So, the work begins to trim it all up.

These were my $2 shrubs.  They are really starting to take off this year.

Azaleas are in bloom and filling the yard with color.

Beautiful, simplistic color.

Full bloom and just brings life back into the yard.  Days are longer and we are spending a lot of time outside.  Kids have rediscovered the trampoline and net was in such bad shape, had to be taken down.  We are busy assessing all our things around the house.  What needs to be done/ fixed/ replaced in order to sell.  Discovered the pool liner is going to need replacing whether we sell the house or not. So, soon we will be ordering a new pool liner and installing ourselves.  We installed the last one too so no big deal.  Just a lot of work.  

This week we are spending it cleaning the RV up and the house.  We cleaned a lot of the RV up today and fixed a few things on it.  We also went to the boys' last soccer practice.  Kids went to AWANAS.  And we also managed to get to the Adidas Tent sale at the fairgrounds in Raleigh.  Brand new cleats, all sizes for just $15.  Also, sneakers.  I got $80 running shoes for just $20.  Can't beat that.  They were out of shin guards which my kids truly need.  We came home from soccer and Warren and Max went to get an entertainment center we're converting to a wardrobe for the boys.  It was heavy!  Very heavy and had to go upstairs.  Crazy.  Tomorrow, Alyona goes to Duke.  Kids have soccer practice.  Much to do during the busy season of spring.  Haven't forgotten about here.  Just had life going on.  But so very much to share!