Saturday, July 18, 2015

Alex's Birthday

I wished I had better pictures of Alex but you must remember, we had literally just gotten back from vacation.  See, we went to the reunion in Ohio and came back for 2 days.  Then left for our 4th of July vacation (will be pictures soon).  Had a blast at the campgrounds and came home on Alex's brithdday.  So after being gone so much, we had nothing in the house to eat.  Asked Alex what he wanted.  He did not want cake as we just had a pile on vacations.  Instead, he requested ice cream, hot fudge and whip cream.  We were all okay with that.

I think Alex is shocked we got all 15 candles in ice cream without it melting.

It was just us since we had spent the last two weeks celebrating with all sorts of people.

Hard to believe he's 15 but he is.  Next year, we'll be home for his birthday so a little more planning maybe.  Happy Birthday Alex!

Friday, July 17, 2015

When There are No Words, No Communication

Oh, this is indeed a topic.  Years ago, when we got Nik, I was introduced to a whole new world I did not know existed.  How could anyone communicate without talking I thought?!  We did not set out to adopt a deaf child.  Just telling the facts here folks.  In fact, our checklist specifically said no to deaf and blind as we personally never thought we'd be able to communicate with the children.  And knew nothing about braille.  Boy, sometimes there are bigger plans than you out there.  Let me just tell you that right now.  Nik came home unable to talk.  Unable to communicate his needs at all.  But, we didn't fall apart.  No one died.  It was going to be just fine.  Made me feel absolutely stupid for ever checking those items off on that list.  I can never imagine my life without my son.  But, this is not about me.  Back to the story.  Nik was smart.  He would look around and observe how things are done.  Then, mimic them.  He also as we know, had a knack for drawing.  If he knew I was going to the grocery store, he'd draw pictures of what he wanted & stick them in my pocket book.  I'd pull out drawings of ice cream or candy at the store.  Or, if we were out of something, he'd draw a picture and stick it in the fridge for me to find.

Point is, he found a way to communicate.  We all did.  Over the next couple of years, more communication issues with more kids.  Sofie came to us not really talking.  Now she talks but not many understand her.  Severe speech apraxia.  We try to mix her speech with sign but she has tremors so hard to understand the signs at times.  We're all working on it though.  And that's what counts. 

Nate came to us.  Whole different ballgame.  Non-verbal completely.  Some say well how do you know if anything is wrong.  That's when the maternal instincts kick in.  Like last night he was screaming in his crib and we had just put him down.  Different kind of scream.  Sounded like he was in pain so Warren went right away.  Sure enough, Nate had taken his foot, put it behind his head and gotten it stuck between the rails.  You just know.  When Nate scratches up his face, we know he has an ear infection.  When he shakes his head, he doesn't want any more to eat.  When he puts out hands together, he wants us to clap for him.  We are beginning to sign more with Nate as well.  Hoping he can get the basics down.  He is a very quick learner to be sure.  I'm proud of him.  I know many write him off but not me.  We know he can do more.  There is someone trapped inside there waiting to communicate.  So for now, reading his cues.  I spend a lot of time having conversations with him.  I speak and then answer too.  I answer the way I think he'd answer though sometimes think it comes out as Stewie on that Family Guy show.  I want Nate and Sofie and Nik to hear as many words as they can.  To learn what they mean.  Whether by voice or in sign.  I want them to have the ability to communicate their needs.  and, they do.  Each in their own special way.  Living with non-verbal children is very different.  It's not bad.  Only time I think it is bad when I can't figure out what is wrong.  I tend to harvest guilt from that at times b/c I feel as his mom I should know everything that is wrong with him.  But, we all are learning as we go to communicate in this non-verbal world we are experiencing.  We also however, have found great joy in the slightest gestures and his giggles/ smiles are worth it all. 

Presents, Playground & Puncture Wound

Still playing catch up on the blog but this one is from last weekend.  LOL.  A dear friend had some things his kids had outgrown.  Bike, clothes, even a play set.  Asked if we could use it and absolutely could.  So, went to go pick it up last Saturday.

Sofie jumped up and down when she saw her new bike.  See, she didn't have a bike yet before and this is her first one.  Made her year to be sure.

Plants by the playground.  When we moved here, we had no idea what was planted where.  So, we've waited out the spring and summer and held off thinning things out.  Glad we did.  Many nice surprises.

Look how gorgeous these leaves are!

Decided the playground would go next to the existing playground.

Max working.  Alex...not so much.  But, he did help when Max asked him to.

Umm, also working hard.  LOL.  Not sure why they all look so sad in this picture.

And this was what was left to do still.

Max and Logan were figuring things out.

Originally, wanted them side by side the top parts so sandboxes could be combined.  That did not work out due to the way the ground was.  So, did it differently.  And it's worked.  Still need pics of hte final product.

During the playground set up, Warren went to help Max.  Reached overhead to knock a board into place with his hand.  He did not know there was a rusty screw and punctured his hand.

Trip to the ER for a tetanus shot and x-ray.  Non-impressive but that was a deep, deep puncture wound.  Saw the hand specialist yesterday.  He goes back in ten days to make sure all was healed right and nerves are back to normal.  Summer told him to use a hammer, not his hand.  I agree.

Fabfitfun Box

We still do one subscription box in the house.  Though this month we lucked out with the $5 boxes from Walmart and Target.  NEVER been able to get one before so can't wait to see what's in them.  But, we get one subscription box.  FabFitFun.  It comes only 4 times a year so nice surprises.  Usually, a couple hundred dollars with of stuff. if you want to join or check it out.  Anyhow, this month was different.  Something was missing!

We were excited opening the box but that should have been our first clue.  You never get two of something.  

Girls and I said, hmm, isn't as much as we usually get.  Checked the card list and sure enough, 4 items were missing!  One of which was a $100 necklace.  I called customer service.  Every other company in America should model their service department after this one.  They answered the phone themselves (no robo call thing), they listened to the problem, they were kind, and they have already processed the replacement request!  We love getting the surprises and trying out new things every season.  Love that Vaseline spray in the back btw.  My four items should be here in a few days.  Anyhow, thought I'd share about this box in case someone was thinking about it.  So, what's pictured AND more! 

Feeding Time with Nate

Nate came home from Bulgaria weighing just 15 lbs.  He came to us at 19 lbs.  He's gained weight since but now we have seemed to have plateaued.  We have an appointment this coming Tuesday with the geneticist and I'm sure this will come up again.  He is growing and I think part of the issue is he is growing taller and longer, but since more active, not filling out as much.  Last doc a few weeks ago said feed him creamy everything.  Let you all know Tuesday what Duke team says.   Anyhow, we all take turns feeding Nate.  I do not ask the young ones to do it but Summer wants to feed her baby brother.

Mind you, the child has a high chair.  But, Summer chooses to feed him on the floor.  Nate doesn't mind.

He curls himself up like that on his own.  Always crossing his legs to eat.  Even in the high chair.

Summer has a sweet touch.  Different day, same shirt.  Oh well.  Yogurt this time.

when he turns away, that's how you know he's getting full.  Nate loves sticking his hands in his shirt or your shirt.   It's a habit and a security thing for him.  I truly am glad I have great little helpers to help those even smaller than he is.  And well, Nate loves the attention.  Right now we are fighting with Nate and eating IN the high chair.  He prefers to be held.  That's fine now but when he's fifty pounds, that's going to be a real issue for sure. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Popcorn, popcorn everywhere!

The other day, I thought I had a good idea.  Thought.  Sensory stuff.  Why not get a big bowl of popcorn and let Nate play in.  That would be good for sensory, right?  Umm, not so sure now.

Instantly, we could see where this was headed.  Bojan even took his leg off.

Bojan was a great big brother for allowing Nate to sit on his lap with a huge bowl of popcorn.

But look how happy he is!

I think at this point, Bojan was starting to get annoyed but all that popcorn.

Popcorn, popcorn everywhere!  It looks like fun.

Other boys coming in to see what all the commotion was.

Max and Bojan goofing off as usual.  Broom in the background at the ready.  LOL.

And Nate not happy that his popcorn is all over the place.  It really was fun for him while it lasted.  We tried it again outside but he hated playing with it outside.  Go figure.  Maybe it's the mess he desires.  Well, need to get going.  Haven't even iced the cupcakes yet.  Nor is anything really ready for people to come over.  Or clothes out for the VBS kids.  But, I got some other stuff done today so I'm okay with it all. 

School, Sitting and more Sitting

Tonight, we went to the library for the first time.  Love it!  Nice little town library and kids can't wait to go back.  Alex is interested in plumbing as a career and checked out a book on plumbing to learn more about it.  Sofie and Summer checked out books as well.  Alex got a bunch of movies for us all and right now, we're watching Man of Steel while enjoying some popcorn.  Learned of many local events and craft events that we weren't aware of.  Pleasant experience overall.  Tomorrow, last day of VBS for younger kids and homeschool meet & greet at my home.  Hope all goes well.

Even though on summer break, still want the younger ones to do a little fun work.  Summer still does not know the whole alphabet consistently.  All her brain disorders really reek havoc on academics, that's for sure.  So, helping a bit.  Her and Sofie do these every day now.  4 pages a day.  Not much and they think it's fun so win-win. Got them at Sam's.

Nate wanted to help Daddy with work.  Not too much help going on here.

If you set him on your lap at hte computer, Nate just bangs on the keyboard.

Just sitting at the bar eating dinner.  These girls and Sofie like to sit here almost every night.  One day my dream is to have matching bowls that aren't plastic.  

Typical night at our house.  Nik playing Minecraft, older girls doing younger ones' hair after a shower.

Front view.  They love the little rocker my mom brought down when she visited.

Umm, tuned in or out?  LOL.  Just chilling. Even Nate has his hands behind his head.

This dinner is brought to you on an ER night or busy night.  We usually have two 'freezer' type meals you just pop in the over each month in case of a 'crazy day' scenario.  This was chicken patties.  Kids love it.  But they know it only happens if craziness does.  Fortunately, ours like homecooked meals and older girls are participating more and more at making them.  Irina made spaghetti tonight and made the sauce all herself. 

Ideas for Landscape Please

We moved into this home and it was very nicely landscaped.  You could tell it was professionally done.  We've been fixing somethings and adding others.  Normal when you move into a house.  Now, I used to work in a florist shop and over that period of time, learned more about flowers and trees than I probably wanted to know.  That being said, we noticed this crepe myrtle really that should have been somewhere else.  Planted in way too shady a spot.  Honestly, right next to the house in a corner, roots would not have had room anyhow. But, figured we'd leave it till next year.  Well, that is until we came home from vacation and found it almost fallen completely over.  Had one shot at saving it, so we took it. 

Warren, started the digging up of the tree.  Easy b/c it had just rained.

You really can't tell by this shot but it really was leaning over.  Earlier, it was past the boxwoods until we picked it back up.

We replanted in the front yard where it is full sun.  Yes, I'm well aware the tree goes into shock and it has.  Some leaves died off but now coming back to life and loving the watering every day so it can establish full roots.  It's root ball was so small in the other location.  Love how the boys are watching.  Why Alex is in his PJ's, I'll never know.  

Flowers in front of the gardenias and the rose bushes.  Leading up to side entrance.

This spot on the corner is where we removed the tree.

Picture of side entrance.  Rose bushes are on the left side.  Scooter and cooler are now put away.  LOL.  Cypress trees line both sides of the steps.  Notice the one side is growing much faster.  I want the two sides to be symmetrical really.  On the right is boxwoods in the back and cypress tree in front.  Crepe Myrtle where you can't see it in the picture.

This is the big empty space I'd love to get ideas for.  Whether it be what plants to put down or if a water feature would be better since it is so shady there.  Not sure which to do.  Would love suggestions and ideas.  Not doing this till next year but nice to have ideas to go by.

Right side of entrance.  Should I try to match on the left?  I think that is why they did the crepe myrtle originally.  Notice this one is much bigger and both planted at the same time.   Guessing when kitchen addition was done on the home.  Ideas welcomed.  Like I said, not doing anything till next year but tryign to get something in mind.  Thanks.

Sweet, Spider & Scary

Ahh, blog post # 3 tonight. On a roll folks.  Tomorrow Warren goes to the hand specialist so we'll see what they say.  going to try to take the kids to the Library after VBS and then the pool.  For now, playing catch up still on many things. 

I thought this was very sweet.  From Bojan.  I'll have to take a picture of the one he did of the family too.

Have to click on it closer but that is a black widow at the bottom.  With us living in the south and near woods again, my children are quick to identify various spiders and snakes to know if they are poisonous.  Well, that & if they can pick them up.  Yes, they'd pick them up.  This one Reni stopped once we flipped the bucket. 

Oh how I miss Naked Ken right now.  This Barbie is dressed. For what?  Not quite sure.  Sofie's favorite color is purple.  And, so is her Barbie now.  Little disturbing if you ask me.  Time to get some shut eye around here.  More posts tomorrow for sure. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Glasses Today for Nik

Today the kids had VBS again.  Younger ones.  I got lots of phone calling done and some paper work.  Was nice.  Later, went to pick up Nik's new glasses.  Now, I only took Nik with me.  Haven't done that in awhile.  I even let him ride in the front seat.  Treat as there's many that vie over that seat.  We get there and he takes his music toy in that he carries everywhere.  This one.  Yes, my 12.5 yo son carries it everywhere and rocks to the music.  Loves the music.  We here it all the time here every single day.  He's also shy as we all know.  Get to go to the back.  Nice lady sits down and gets his glasses out.  He puts the on.  "oooh, ahhh!  Mom, I can see!"  I can see.  Different."  The lady had tears in her eyes.  See, he does go every year to the eye doc.  But, Nik is hard on things. Wished I could buy two pair but can't.  He's just hard on things and wears them out.  Scratches the lenses like crazy.  So, no scratches and a script changed opened a whole new world for Nik.  He literally could not stop smiling.  We chatted the whole way home.  He could not wait to show his siblings.

Nik wanted a picture of others with glasses.  Aunt Lisa happened to be here visiting so she got in the picture too.  

Nik with his new glasses.  Only problem I see is he is looking ever so grown up for me.  

Well, Logan and Bojan are gone for the week visiting grandparents.  Doubt I'll have quiet though even with two gone.  Warren goes to the hand specialist tomorrow.  I'll let you all know how it goes.  Maybe I can slip in another post today.  Trying to do three a day.  Have chicken in the oven need to go check on. 

Just Siblings

When we moved to this new house, one thing we really liked was a nice big flat yard to play in. Though we only have 2 acres, it feels like a lot more compared to the small play area of our last home.  This is all flat ground and just more practical for our situation. One day, kids started playing ball.  All of them.  And, we have the space to do it now.

Everyone in the yard playing.  Even Nate.

Can you tell Summer was mad?  She wanted people to throw the ball to her instead of her actually trying to go and get it like everyone else.

Nate, happy he was up and about walking on the grass.

Hmm, Summer still seems to be holding a grudge in this picture.  And not sure what Sofie is wearing.  I just don't question things some times.

Nate gets nervous if he gets unsteady but did okay outside.

We all take turns when Nate gets tired. 

Ahh, summer has the ball now.  BTW, this all started out as a therapy session with Nate that we were doing ourselves.

And finally wrapping up the game of ball and just hanging out.  We really do like the yard and the ability to play quite a bit.  Backyard has more obstacles due to trees but still not all that bad.