Thursday, August 7, 2014

To School or Not to School....That is the Question

So, most of you know we homeschooled 7 of our kids the year before last and before that.  However, this past year Alyona needed to very big neurosurgeries and I knew I would not be able to dedicate the time to homeschooling.  So, put them in public school last year.  Was the worst decision I made. Truly, it was.  I was so much more stressed with them going to school than I was when they were home.  Thought it would be opposite.  It wasn't.  And what they were learning, don't get me started.  I will not debate Common Core on here but suffice it to say, hate is an understatement in how I feel about it.  It was a mess!  You should have seen the way they were trying to teach division.  Reni was about to lose her mind as were Bojan & I trying to teach her.  We caved, taught her the old way and she learned it first night AND understood.  Found out they were letting Nik play quite a few computer games and such.  We have a limit on that for a reason at home.  He becomes obsessed and can not let go.  There were many things.  Not just elementary, but middle too.  All these things combined along with the fact the kids actually requested they be homeschooled (with the exception of Summer as she could careless), we have decided we need to pull them back out and let them learn, let them have friends that are good influences, not listen to the cussing all day long at middle school, and everything else.  Our choice. 

Now, Bojan has requested to be homeschooled as well.  However, I want him to at least try high school.  High school is more complicated, he's smart, etc., I just want him to try before giving up on high school.  I made Irina, Max and Yana go.  Irina, got homeschooled her last year.  Max has one course which I'll be starting this week with him in order to graduate.  Yana will finish high school next year.  I just prefer not to homeschool in high school.  Though after asking some of the kids' friends basic questions, I wonder at times if it is the wisest decision.  I used to not believe in homeschooling. Thought those folks were quacks.  I did.  Sorry people.  I've met many a former teachers in the homeschooling community.  Bottom line is school has changed dramatically over the last decade.  HUGE difference from when Irina first entered elementary to now.  I think the teachers are not allowed to teach the way they want any more.  And we need innovative teachers.  I remember some great ones that had their own style.  I have better grammar from high school b/c one teacher charged us ten cents for every grammatical error we made.   Made us think.  HER idea.  There are great teachers today but I think they are so incredibly hindered by the rules of admin and testing standards, they do not do so much out of the box thinking any more.  One year when we homeschooled, we made a solar oven.  Kids thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  LOL.  Or when they went to the Civil War battlefield and reenacted the soldiers carrying the wounded or heavy backpacks they used to carry.  We have more flexibility. 

So, homeschooling elementary and middle schoolers this year.  And, teaching Sofie the alphabet and numbers and colors.  Though, she knows a lot more than you think.  It will be hard as I know Sofie will pass Summer this year academically.  Also, homeschooling them allows them more speech which they need.  Kids are already trying to think of what they want to learn about this year and coming up with some great ideas.  Places they want to go.  Alex wants to learn about the Cold War he told me.  Getting ideas of what they want to do.  Extra activities as well though we're late signing up so have a feeling that may go over not so well.  I do know they'll be taking Spanish.  They were not into art at all except for Nik. So, don't really want to spend the money on that if they are not enjoying it.  NOt their forte.  Max and Nik and Logan, yes.  The others, no.  Though Logan has lost interest as well lately.  So, lots of thinking of what we'll be doing this coming school year.  No IEP meetings is a huge bonus.  Ideas any of you have or things you may think we would enjoy learning, please do share.  We are ready for new experiences this year. 

That Feeling

So,  you all know these are our LAST adoptions.  Without a doubt!  But still, that being said, you still get this feeling each time.  Can't explain it.  Even if the child comes with a few items(umm, or more like Sofie and Yana did), you want something that is their very own that you yourself bought for that child.  Not a hand me down.  Something for them.  For Sofie, I'll never forget.  Her feet were freezing those first few nights.  And we'd put socks on but she'd take them off.  We went to Target and bought her pink slippers.  And matching outfits for her and Summer but that was mainly per Summer's request.  For Irina, it was navy blue sandals.  For Max, this hat.  For Little Guy, it was this:

A bathing suit. I know, it's nothing fancy, nothing special.  But to me, it is.  This is the first thing I bought for him. Why a bathing suit?  Well, it's summer and we have a pool.  Knew I didn't want him to feel left out.  And yes, it may be silly.  But this was something we bought for him.  Kids helped me pick it out.   Girls did.  Boys don't like to shop.

And to see the size you are buying sends reality to you very quickly.  I will never forget buying 18 month clothing for Max, Alex and Nik.  All 4yo when home.  Well, Alex was 3yo, almost 4yo.  But, it makes you stop in your tracks and really think about it all.  Or when I was buying Irina, my 6yo, size 2T's.  Or Alyona, my 7yo 3T's.  You have a different mindset and even though this is child #13, it doesn't change the feelings.  It is no less significant than when we first picked up Max and Irina.  That feeling is still there.  Mothering I suppose you call it.  So yes, it is just a bathing suit for him.  But the meaning behind it all is so much more.  Was wondering if everyone else who adopts feels the same.  Do you remember that first item you bought your child to be?  Do you still have it?  I actually still have most of my kids' first items.   If they didn't tear them or wear them out. LOL.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Testing the limits

I know most the time I write what the kids are doing and most the time they are pretty good.  However, there are some days I just want to go back to bed.  Usually, it's one or two kids.  Thank goodness or I'd go nuts if all of them behaved badly at the same time.  Yesterday, Sofie gave me a run for my money. From the time she got up till the time she went to bed kicking and screaming.  And do I mean screaming. VERY uncharacteristic of our sweet girl who typically is spunky but for the most part, behaved.  But alas, she is a normal child.  And these days will certainly happen.  Didn't want you think Chaos Manor is a cake walk all the time. 

Started off with Sofie refusing to eat her breakfast.  Mind you, she hates eggs with a passion.  But only because she can.  Not because she really hates them.  She'll eat the breakfast casserole w/ scrambled eggs but not plain scrambled eggs.  But, as soon as she sees someone w/ something she wants, she shovels them down.

This is an innocent child, right?  No, you're wrong.  Let's see, her list grew through out the day of wrong doings.  She stole her sister's gum and was all stuck in her hair.  Both sides.  Yes, had to trim it out. She laughed.  Later in the day, I look out the window to see she left Summer on the playground.  What was Little Sofie doing? Why spray painting her brother's bed of course!  Hey, at least she had the sense to wear goggles while she did it.  Then it was dinner.  Sofie said she was done.  Why I believe this child lately, I'll never know.  Shortly after, I went out to check on them.  Sofie had spit all her baked potato out on the trampoline.  Yuck.  Wait though, it gets better.  The last straw was the other kids coming in and telling me she just peed on the trampoline.  Outside.  Outrageous!  Marched her inside, made her clean herself up, and sent her to bed.  To top off our evening, she threw the biggest, loudest, out of control fit ever.  We have seriously hit the terrible twos at this point in time.  Yes, normally I write about what she's up to, how cute, how sweet she was doing something, etc.  Well, she's making up for lost time this week.  

Today has been an incredible improvement.  Hoping we're headed in the right direction.  You should have seen yesterday though, she did not have even one single sibling on her side this time.  They had had enough. 

Big Family Veggies

Over the years, our food storage and budget has slowly crept up.  Though the past few years, seems to be on overdrive.  To cut costs, we go to the Farmer's Market locally for our produce.  There is a bulk section in the back that not many know about.  Well, not most the general public.  Restaurants and things of that nature shop there.  And big families.  We are one of them.  And, when you're buying 50 lbs. of carrots, chances are, you'll have to process it all to freeze some of all these veggies to use throughout the month. 

Bojan and Reni getting ready to do some cutting.  Notice the 5 dozen egg box?  Yes, you can't just cook a couple eggs here.  It's literally a couple dozen for scrambled eggs.Usually 2.5 to 3 dozen.  We also get fresh chicken eggs here and there from the lady Irina babysits for.

Bojan was teaching Reni how to slice the peppers thinner.  Remember, she's left handed yet cuts with her right.

Logan did ALL the tomatoes.  Tons of tomatoes.  Not just that pot.  The big box was in the kitchen.

Think Bojan had had enough of the processing of veggies. 

This is one of the main reasons we want to move to somewhere with more land.  So we can grow more of our own food w/ a bigger garden.  Also, we'd love to keep chickens.  Not enough room at our present location.  We'd also love to try a hydroponics set up but that would be down the road after we got settled.  We have a house showing tomorrow.  Fingers crossed. 

So What's Really Up??

Been cryptic lately, not saying a whole lot, missing posts, etc.  Well, been a little preoccupied.  But since things are moving right along and we are in the trenches, I figured I'd let you all in on something.  We are indeed adopting again.  No, I will not share the details.  And most likely, won't share them after all is said and done either.  Same as I did with Sofie.  Sofie's story is hers and hers alone to tell.  I respect that and hope others do as well.  I will tell you all this, we have had a house guest for some time now.  Hence, the low blog posts.  She is a delight and fits in well here.  Not too long after she arrived, we became aware of another situation.  So, we also now have a Little Guy with us. It is not the little blonde some of you see in photos.  That is a friend of the family's little boy that sometimes comes here to visit.

Reason posts have been scattered is we truly needed some time to bond and find our new normal.  There were things unexpected and it takes lots of dedication, patience, and endurance.  I've had many a late nights and well, blogging was last on my mind as family takes precedence.  I can safely say we have found our new normal and things are moving along so that I do have a little more time to blog.  Well, as best I can. Life does happen here.  Good and bad.  Prime example is today.  The dishwasher is broken.  It wasn't till after we started taking it apart that Irina informed us a glass had broken in the dishwasher some time ago.  Umm, yes dear, that could be the problem. So, Max to the rescue.

Max figured out it was the circulating pump.  He's mechanically inclined.  We need that and some gaskets.  Neither being cheap.  Around $150 I think Warren said.  And that's with us putting it in.  Has to be fixed either way as we're selling the house.  Just poor timing.  Isn't it always?

Irina is not too pleased we have to do dishes by hand now.  Hey, builds character.  Haven't ordered the parts yet.  We're still deciding on all together buying a new one or not.  Decisions, decisions.

So, what is up, is we're adopting again and selling a house.  Yes, all at the same time.  Hey, make changes, best to do it all at once with FAS kids in the house.  Now that things seem to be okay family wise and everyone adjusting okay and bonding and things of that nature, I can be more blog active.  Just thought it was high time I explained myself.  Now, back to life.  Just got an email saying we're showing the house tomorrow morning.  URGHH!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Blessings Abound

Blessings truly have been flowing more than you can imagine.  And honestly, we have been so very grateful for it. 

Little Guy has some serious sensory issues.  The other day, a dear friend sent a box with a weighted blanket in it!  A Godsend to be honest.  He loves it!  Thank you so much Hilary for thinking of our Little Guy.

The other day, our vision company sent us extra eye glass cleaning clothes and one that also attaches to a purse or keychain.  Kind of cool.  Very sweet of her to think of all of us with glasses.

When Little Guy arrived, we had absolutely nothing in the way of baby stuff.  And I mean nothing.  We found a crib for free from someone.  Very nice.  However, after a few weeks, realized why it was free and felt it not safe as he could pull himself up in the crib.  So, we were on the hunt.

Felt very blessed to have found this crib someone who was moving HAD to get rid of that day.  $40 later and we have a wonderful, sturdy, safe crib for Little Guy.  Very happy about that and so is Little Guy.  

We truly have been blessed lately by many things and people.  Seen the heart of many.  From food from a dear friend to a weighted blanket to someone asking if we want extra cucumbers & tomatoes.  We could not do what we do without the help from others.  Truly amazing. 

Naked Barbies Return!

Well, truly they never left this house.  But, haven't taken pictures in awhile so thought, why not. 

They are also into building Legos.  Course, the building must include a naked Barbie for whatever reason.

Summer and Sofie LOVE Barbies.  Caught Summer the other day playing in her room.  Bed not made, child still in pajamas mid-morning.  Yes, parenting at it's best.  LOL.

Not sure what Barbies are up to under the pillow.

Even amputated barbie wanted her hair done.  Summer knows how to braid by the way. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Manic Monday

Boy, the weekend goes by way too fast.  It was rainy t his past weekend, but nonetheless, needed to get stuff done and organized.  So, let's get onto what is happening around Chaos Manor:

  • My sister surprised me w/ a quick visit yesterday
  • We did a ton of errand running (Sam's, Walmart, BJ's,Staples, etc.)
  • Rainy weekend
  • Little Guy goes to ophthalmology today
  • Cancelled Irina's follow up ENT.  We're done w/ them. Going to Duke instead.
  • Purging closets
  • Getting ready to attend a clothes swap on Aug. 16th
  • Yana is still working at McDonald's and rides her bike there
  • Max & Logan have been helping neighbors w/ handyman stuff
  • Alex is mad and wants a job
  • Looking for jobs for many
  • Irina is babysitting
  • Kids' friends come back in town today
  • Deciding on what to do with house
  • Tired of paperwork
  • Need to get PPR stuff together at some point
  • Kids going to youth group this week
  • Need to go to bank
  • Catching up some more posts this week
  • Phones need to be replaced (land line ones)
  • Writing a friend from Cue Camp that may read w/ Nik online via video
  • Bojan never did get to finish the scuba opportunity.  They never called back after his one time in the water.  He is bummed.
  • Bojan will be interning at prosthetic doc this month to learn about the business
  • Still in need of some baby items 
  • Working on getting home school stuff lined up (WAY behind on this one!)
Dishwasher is now broken
Need to figure out fall sports.  Logan wants a break from sports this semester.  Fine by me!

Well tons more going on but need to get a few other things done today.  More posts to come this week.