Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beauty Box, Blessing, and a Bench

Today is Friday.  Well, not for long.  LOL.  Busy day getting stuff done.  Had a wonderful visit with an dear friend and her kids.  Everyone enjoyed each others company.  Just a nice, nice time.  Bojan and Logan painted the entire playground.  Stained it with repair deck stain.  Looks new!  Remember, we combined two playgrounds into one.  Anyhow, getting stuff done. 

 I had never gotten one of these before.  So, decided to try it.

It's just $5 and girls and I really liked it for $5.  Facial wipes, hair spray stuff, pumice stone, full size masscara, fashion tape, hair bows, lip gloss.  Not a bad haul.

The other day a neighbor asked if we wanted some extra cucumbers and zucchini from their garden.  We said sure b/c we love cucumbers.  Aren't they beautiful?!  

This was the beginning stages of it.  Logan and Bojan sanded and then stained a bench Max made out of an old bed.  We're doing all sorts of projects that have fallen by the wayside recently.  Sofie.  No shoes on of course.  I think the child's feet are made of steel. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Artwork by Bojan & Logan

Interrupting vacation posts w/ here and now posts.  So, Logan and Bojan spent the week w/ Warren's parents.  Warren's mom is an artist by profession.  So, when the kids go to visit, they usually get to paint or sketch something to take home.  She guides them along.  These pieces turned out great.  She even framed them for us!  They are hanging in the house now. 

 This is Logan's artwork.  I love it!  The nature scenes are always great to me.  He signed it too.

Bojan got creative.  Sorry a terrible picture w/ the flash that I took.  Bojan painted a tree w/ all our names as the roots holding up the tree.  Love the idea.  This too is hanging up now in our house.  

I thought both boys did really well.  Love, love how they turned out.  CAn't wait to see if Alyona and Reni bring anything home as well.  Means a lot when the kids make things and think of their family to boot. 

Ohio-- We Made It

Continuing onward, we left WVA Friday and headed to Ohio.  Only takes three hours but I also had to leave once in Ohio with Kim to go pick up Alyona's surprise birthday cake for Saturday.  So, we got to the reunion and kids were dying not to go run to their friends but they knew we had to get the RV in order first.  Never seen them work so fast.  But then we had people coming to greet us even!  Fun, fun, fun.  And keep in mind, at this reunion, I really don't take a whole lot of pictures b/c I want to enjoy everyone and everything.

We all took turns with Nate.  This is Max getting them ice cream.

Despite the weather being iffy all weekend, they played and played outside.

Irina trying to photo bomb Nik.

Bojan and his buddy Nik.

Sofie.  Think she's happy about getting ice cream??

Bojan chit chatting w/ some other families.  One of those families we are rather close to.  Our kids and their kids are like brothers and sisters.  IT's great!  Too bad they live in TX.

Yes, that was the sky most the time.

And this is Summer and her friend goofing off with the stroller.  It was the friend's brother's stroller.  Her and Summer were buddy-buddy the entire weekend.  

So much so that Summer slept in their cabin!  I didn't see her all weekend in the RV.  LOL.  That is the great thing about this place...the friendships between families.  We had some kids in the RV/ tent while some of mine were scattered in cabins.  Was fantastic!  First night we all enjoyed a nacho bar dinner and ice creams for dessert.  Everyone was getting to know each other.  Families reconnecting from last year.  Adoption issues, non-adoption issues, everything.  Always peaceful and always refreshing being around other adoptive families. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

WVA-- getting ready to head out

Well, next morning it was time to eat breakfast and hit the road to our next destination.

Girls weren't going anywhere.  They saw a spider.  Alex is digging in the back for it.

Spider captured, life can resume.

Coming back from a morning walk waiting to leave for Ohio.

Tired but they walked.  Trying to tire out Nate to lessen the crying.  He walked the entire campground twice.

Thinking this swinging him is not working.  LOL.

They do this to him but he LOVES it!  Right now, tired boy from all that walking.  At home, Max lifts him like this and Nate just laughs and laughs at it.  

And we are off to Ohio for the Bulgarian Reunion!  Next stop...Cincinnati.

WVA-- Campground Dinner Time

After a nice break in the lake, time to head back and eat.  Whenever we go camping, first night we always have burgers on the grill to kick it all off.  Always hits the spot after a long day of travel.

Anything wrong with this picture?  Should there really be fire on the ground?

 Hmm, what went wrong here Max is thinking.  Better here than like last year where Alex kicked the coals under the RV!

And it's time to eat after that long swim.  Notice,not everyone changed out of bathing suits.  Not when burgers, potato salad and chips await.  

Love it that Bojan prays even when on vacation.

Brothers.  Hmm, wonder if they'll be sick of each other by the end of the trip.

Sisters enjoying an evening meal and some chit chat.  Probably about all their friends they'll see tomorrow.

Nothing like coming back into the RV and finding Naked Ken hanging... by Sofie's chew tube no less.  The teens did this one.  Stay tuned for more trip pics.

WVA-- We're Here & Ready to Relax

We arrive and get set up at whatever campsite we get to.  Once set up, then kids are allowed to go off places.  Just a rule we have so not one person is stuck doing all the work.

And after setting up camp, off to the little lake for some fun.

They ALL got in trouble for this one.  Not just our family but the other family too b/c rule is 5 at a time.  Ooh, we all got the megaphone.  

Nik, thinking about what flip he'll do.  His implant stayed on.  Another little girl at the lake wasn't so lucky and hers is at the bottom of that lake somewhere.

Isabelle, Alyona and friend swimming.

Love bringing our own lifevests b/c we don't have to spend time adjusting them.  For the little kids.  Sofie is getting tired here I Think.

Talkign to Nate.  I know he doesn't ever talk back but he knows a lot of what I'm saying. He loved the feel of the sand and loves water.

 I like this b/c Alex is helping his siblings up.

Irina has always had a way with animals wherever we go.  She chose not to swim this day.

Alyona, Isabelle, Logan and Reni waiting for Nik.

 I LOVE this picture but wished it hadn't turned out blurry.  I didn't take it but oh, this would have been fantastic.  We'll try it again next year. 

Sofie going down the little slide.  

 Looks different when soaked. 

 Reni having some time with Nate. 

Alyona jumping off.  This thing is one of their favorites when we go to this WVA campground.  They always have so much fun on it.  We had a great time and got really hungry after a long drive and an evening swim.  time to head back for dinner that Warren stayed back to cook.  He's not much for the lake. 

Trauma, Angelman's or ARIDIB

Or all 3 dx's???  What is Nate's?  Today we went to Duke Genetics for the end all be all genetic testing results.  The one that studies 56,000 genes.  It was his third genetic test.  Took over six months to read this one.  We were not expecting to find anything really as the other tests didn't really find anything either.  And, we were partially correct today.  Let me explain b/c this will take some time.  Well, easiest thing to say is no disease causing genetic mutation was discovered.  Sort of.  They discovered an abnormality on one gene.  ARIDIB.  The variant is p.Q712K.  Now, this will become known in about a year of whether or not this is an actual gene mutation.  See, right now, it can swing either way.  It is a wait and see type of deal.  Wait for more data to come in and research of the gene.  So, plan is to go back in a year and see.  Great news is nothing that is life shortening so we are golden. 

Now, Duke wanted to run another test today.  We asked if it would make a difference between now and next year.  They said no.  We said no test today, let's see how he progresses and if symptoms still the same in a year when we check again for genetics, we'll run that test on him too.  Duke Genetics feels he may have Angelman's Syndrome.  Again, we don't know.  So hard to tell.  He is a complex case with an unique history to complicate matters.

Abuse.  Was he abused?  It is looking highly likely but honestly, we weren't there.  We know for certain there was normal development for the most part on trip one according to sources.  Still wasn't walking but his development was good.  Trip two, we were told totally different child (by other sources as we were not there remember).  There was a dramatic difference between trip one and two.  Dramatic.  All our therapists in the past had agreed there was some sort of trauma that had to have happened to make him the way he is today and to have that bad of PTSD.  And we also know accidents happen with kids and this could have been a horrible accident.  No idea.  Then, we also have the flat head.  We know for fact now, it is NOT from anything genetic as original medical reports of his suggested.  Our neurology team here thinks it is from laying in a crib for long, long time on his back.  BTW, he never sleeps on his stomach here.  One of the reasons we had done all this genetic testing was in fact to put this whole topic out of our heads.  Now, it appears it is part of his history.   It can not be erased with genetic testing.  It is a part of who he is and why he is the way he is.  Even with an angelman's dx (if he gets one), it will not take away some of the other things that appeared to have happened.  Can we say this is fact.  NO.  We were NOT there.  All this is speculation based on evidence presented & Nate's symptoms.  Do we blame anyone?  NO.  How can we when we don't know exactly what happened.  Nate is who he is and he is ours.  We love him no matter who he is.  Having knowledge though allows us to better understand how his mind works and to prepare for his future. 

I will again reiterate, we do not know exactly the causation of Nate's many symptoms.  We can only speculate based on hard evidence and put the pieces of his puzzle together.  I do not want anything negative said on here as NO ONE truly knows.  Nate doesn't sleep a whole lot compared to most kids his age.  He has very disturbed sleep.  Wakes up crying.  Is terrified of certain things but we have since desensitized him of many of them.  Is beyond terrified of falling.  And many more things.  He does not officially have a dx of PTSD but if we take him to a psych, he would.  All docs agree there has to be previous trauma of some sort to have the reactions he does.  The whole point of this is to say this child is safe, overcoming more than you can ever imagine daily,  and is loved beyond measure.  Those are things you must know.  At this point, we honestly don't care which dx he has.  Nate is great!  He is who he is and we love him for it.  He is capable of learning, capable of doing anything his little heart desires.  That is what counts more than anything else said on this page.  This btw, is the first and last post I'll ever write about this 'stuff.'  I just can't write it out again.  I'd rather show who he is and what fun he has at the lake or playing with sibs.  In other words, his life NOW. 

Nik's Audiology Visit

I'll do Nik's post first b/c his is easy.  So, annual implant check up today.  We only have to go twice a year for Nik's implants unless there is a problem.  So, not bad.  Today they did the booth testing.  We let Nik go by himself this time.  He is 12yo and needs to learn to do somethings on his own.  He was perfectly fine.  Nate wooed the staff in the waiting room.  Nik had to make NO changes whatsoever to his programs.  And, she said he did better than last time!  Meaning, he can understand more stuff.  I was given forms to try to get Nik teletherapy as well.  Fingers crossed.  So, all in all, a good visit.  We ate in the van beforehand so we were good but thirsty.  Dummy us left the water bottles in the car.  Umm, it's about 100 outside today so it was like drinking bath tub water.   Yuck.  Couldn't wait to get home and get some refreshing water.  But since tea was made, that hit the spot. 

Got home and went to the library.  Kids love our new local library.  Really do.  Alex checked out more books on plumbing as that is what he wants to do as a career.  He's reading about it.  We rented some more movies and kids devoured more books.  Warren made a delicious chicken dinner. 

More posts forthcoming but working on getting some kiddos to bed.

Monday, July 20, 2015

And Time to Back Track A Bit-- We're Off!

Time to go backwards and tell a little more about our summer vacations.  That's right, plural this year!  I'll also share how we can go on 9 days worth of vacation for just $8.14 per person per day.  Not too shabby for the budget.  That's after all these picture posts though.  Hope you don't mind but you're about to be flooded with pictures. 

Told Summer she had to get her butt in gear and get moving to pack.  This was her response.

Alyona and Isabelle are supposed to be packing and such.  Nice job huh?

Ahh, people getting antsy.  Tired of seatbelts and carseats.

Where would we be without Barbies on a trip to play with?  Sofie sneaking a finger sucking in.  

And finally, Sofie is free at last!  From the carseat.  She was excited to be in WVA for sure. 

Manic Monday

Was a low key tiring weekend thank goodness.  We are headed for a very busy week here.

  • Nate has a doc appointment to get established as patient here in Oxford
  • Going to the library today
  • Nate has genetics Tuesady
  • Nik has audiology Tuesday
  • Going to the library Tuesday night for a craft event
  • Bojan and Logan come home Wednesday
  • Logan has tonsils out on Thursday
  • Irina and Max will go to a job fair this week
  • Kids have story time at the library
  • Going nowhere b/c of surgery this weekend
  • Going to the pool this week
  • Going to tape and prime the boys' room for painting
  • Swingset needs to be finished w/ a coating on both of them (big job)
  • Going to be very hot in NC this week
  • Need to pay bills
  • Were blessed over the weekend by a family (more on that in a separate post)
  • Selling stuff to clear more clutter
  • Nik is writing to his friend Andrei again
  • Nik met a friend locally as did Summer this past week
  • Learned of a few more things to do locally
  • Need to sign up kids for various activities soon
  • Need to figure out all the homeschool stuff for this coming year
    Much to share but lots to do.  Busy week ahead but isn't it always?  Nate's appointment went fine today.  Mainly just to get established as a patient at our new home.  Plus, he knows we're going to Duke tomorrow for all sorts of followups.  Kids and I will remain low key today b/c I have paper work nightmares to take care of.  Got to go.  Will post more tonight b/c I still need to play catch up with things.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Visit with a Friend

Awhile back, we had a friend visit the kids.  They have met her at the Bulgarian Reunion in Ohio and have been friends ever since.  She is an adult Bulgarian adoptee and enjoys putting up spending time with my kids.  It is great for them as they share a perspective that I can't with them.  They have a lot of fun when Ana is able to visit.  Though not from this state, she does have family in this state so occasionally gets to visit.  

Picture of all my Bulgarians and their friend Ana.

Isabelle, Reni and Logan.  And pretty cool they did flag colors with their shirts.

Nik sporting some glasses that Ana let him try on.

They wished they would have had more time with her but we had to leave on our next vacation and she had to get back to work.  Guess I need to take one with all my Russian kiddos.  And the lone Serb as Bojan calls himself.