Saturday, November 28, 2015


Just like our previous Chaos Manor, this new Chaos Manor has become a hang out place here adn there for teens it seems.  Like a revolving door really.  But, I take that as a good sign.  Plus, fun having them around at times and seeing how they all interact.  Some of Bojan's friends come here from time to time.  Two of the girls are super sweet and have wonderful personalities. They even put up wtih Sofie and Summer bugging them and asking them tons of questions.  One day all of them were out doing homework at the picnic table with Sofie and Summer on their laps!  LOL.  Last time they were here, Bojan and Reni made homemade soft pretzels.  Turned into pretzel logs though as they got lazy to make the pretzel shapes.  Still tasted good. 

Poor girl didn't stand a chance w/ two brothers  tag teaming and goofing off.  Trying to be serious here.

Trying to make evil faces without laughing.  Pretzel logs in the background.

Smiles and a goofy smile from Max trying not to laugh while making an 'evil' face.  Important thing was they all had fun.  And the kitchen was jumping with activity b/c everyone was in there.  It was not just these three goofing around.  I had a kitchen full of antics going on.  But, I know where they all are, don't have to worry about what they're up to, etc.  So it may be noisy but I take it as a good sign. 

Trip to the ER-- Irina

Today is Saturday and sorry for the lapse but it was Thanksgiving.  Will get back to that shortly.  This evening Warren took Irina to the ER.  Now, let me back up a bit.  Aug. 30th, IRina went to the ER for accidentally pouring super glue in her ear.  Thought is was ear drops but was nail glue (aka super glue).  Over the course of the next few months, she had multiple rounds of antibiotics, surgery, ear drops, etc. to no avail.  It is now getting worse.  Pain level high and pain moving into the jawline.   She has blood and puss coming from her ear.  Loss of hearing.  (proven by audiogram I might add).  It is not good and the only thing I have been getting from her ENT is let it heal on its own.  Last time I went on Nov. 5th with her, he said he'd contact his colleagues at Duke since this was such a rare case and not getting any better.  He said Duke would call me.  It is Nov. 28th and no phone call yet.   Today, they went to the ER and same old story.  Can only give local referrals not to Duke.  Really, but sorry the local ENT is the one who did the surgery and who has not gotten the help promised to me.  Left with a another round of antibiotics this evening and ear drops.  Of course the same exact ones.   Monday, we will be calling Duke ENT and if nothing comes of it, Duke patient relations as someone is dropping the ball big time here and my daughter may have irreversible damage to her ear.  Just very frustrated with it all.

Next in line to doc is Alyona Monday morning.  Sounding like another tethered cord or CSF leak.  Either way, not the best thing as you know.  Need to get these girls on the meds.  Nate's tubes will be put on the back burner as low priority till these more dire issues are resolved with the girls.  I feel Christmas season is going to be surgery season once more.  Keep you all posted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Night Before Thanksgiving

Clearly with Thanksgiving tomorrow, I am not writing 5 posts again this evening.  Sorry, but I still have sugar cookies and stuffing to make so posts are not happening.  We'll have around thirty people here tomorrow so really not that bad at all.  Kids and I have been prepping all day.  None of which was cleaning the house.  And at this rate, probably not happening.  My kids were too excited about making a welcome sign out of sidewalk chaulk so I went with it.  We warn people before they come here, we LIVE in this home.  It is NOT for show, but for living and daily adventures.  Take it or leave it.  Want immaculate home with kids, you may have to live in a museum.  Yes, we clean every week but we definitely don't have our home as a show place so to speak.  Chaos Manor is who we are. 

Yes, kids this is much more productive than helping clean up.  That was the extent of sweeping the floors.

Nik and Alex putting candy in party favors.

Aren't they super cute!  A dear friend sent them to us to put together and fill up.  Very sweet and kids had a good time doing it too.

Ms. Bettie came over to help out.  Logan showing her the blog for the first time.
Alaska doing her part of just laying there guarding the door.

Not sure what these two were doing.

Reni and Alyona making chocolate cream pies.  In pajamas of course.

I don't see why I'm worried about ever turning heat on in this place.  Sofie is in shorts, t-shirt and boots.  She was this happy all day long b/c of the balloon Mak gave her.  A belated birthday present that was nothing but smiles from Sofie.  

Reni and Isabelle adding some art work.  They wanted to welcome guests.

Sofie overseeing their work.  She would not let go of that balloon all day. 

That took a lot of chalk.  They did art work in various places in the driveway and sidewalks.

Our gardener (aka, Logan) has done an awesome job upkeeping our yard.  He takes it very seriously.

And slowly, we are thinking of what we're going to do for decorations for Christmas.  For now, going to have a relaxing Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving from Chaos Manor! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Else is Broken??

A question often asked in this house.  I told you all about us having no heat at the moment.  Well, downstairs heat.  A couple weeks ago, Reni decided to clean the stove.  We have a 5 burner Kitchenaid propane stove.  Propane.  So, imagine our scare that day when there are flames shooting up from the knobs, propane stove remember.  We could not get the stove to switch off at all.  We knew this could end badly.  Screamed for Max to go outside to switch off the main cut off.  I needed ALL propane off.  There is indeed a cut off on the stove but you have to spend time taking the drawers and crawl under it to get to it. There was no time for that.  Not to mention it being a safety issue.  Main valve off, fire done, damage done. 

Took the stove apart.  You can clearly see where the fire was.

Closer look.  It is the ignition switch that caught fire and caused everything else to start flaming up as well.

Something so small can cause so much havoc.  Crazy, isn't it?  Scary though.  Very, very scary for us.  And Reni was just cleaning.  Got water in where there shouldn't have been.  Called Kitchenaid as previous owners sent in warranty card.  Service call is covered but not the part.  Fine.  No show. Called back the next day and told them no show.  They said no one was home.  I was home all day that day.  Said they'd come back out.  Never did.  We have decided to order the part ourselves and replace since this is an electrical issue (Warren does electrical work) and not a propane issue (he refuses to mess w/ any of the gas stuff).  Hopefully, we can order the part next week.  Things are 'tight' lately due to all the unexpected breaking going on in this home.  And old home for that matter.  Had to buy screens for old home and we have to fix a window. 

Propane stove broke.  No downstairs heat.  They say it comes in threes.  Yesterday, Max's car died.  We have determined it is the battery.  $120 fix.  Lovely, perfect timing in time for Christmas.  My kids may want coal for Christmas at this rate.  LOL.  In addition, we know for a fact the washer is going to go soon.  Praying that one can hold out a few more months b/c otherwise, we're all going to get a lesson in tub washing.  Oh, leaf blower broke as well.  Trying to think of what else.  They say it comes in threes but I'm thinking we are going for multiples of threes at this point.  On an up note though, the kids are healthy so I best not do too much complaining on what's breaking.  And the best part is, it will all get fixed in time.  Just never what you want around the holiday season. 

Alyona's Runner

Alyona was assigned a runner a few months ago. They write to each other and keep up with each other. It's nice because it gives Alyona a pen pal too.  Encourages writing amongst other things.  She lives in another state up north so not close to visit.  But Jen dedicates her runs to Alyona. 

This is a medal that Jen sent to Alyona from her marathon.  Alyona said that is BIG!  Was very sweet of her to do that for Alyona.  Keep on running Jen.  Such dedication and kindness.  Love it.

Thanksgiving Prep Time

Today is Tuesday.  Max's friend arrives today and he'll be with us throughout Thanksgiving.  Another old friend of the girls is coming this weekend.  Some of Bojan's friends may join us Thanksgiving Day as well.  Another family w/ their 11 kids will be here too.  So, definitely going to be a full week.  A dear friend sent us some Pilgrim Hats to use as party favors.  VERY cute!  Therapy was to put them together.  I'll take a picture later of them put together and filled w/ candy.

The card up there is one of the handmade cards she makes.  Such beautiful work.  Big thanks to Elaine for making it extra special.  

Tomorrow we'll be doing all the dessert baking/ making.  Making sure we have all our last minute ingredients for the big feast on Thursday.  Alyona and Reni have an eye appointment tomorrow, IRina has work and Max may be working tomorrow as well.  Lots going on but also people in and out of the house all the time so pleasant at the same time if that makes sense.  I think it really will be a fun time this week.  

More posts forthcoming.  Late dinner of spaghetti.  Kids and their friends are watching Elf.  More to come. 


Loaded question for sure.  How's it going?  Hmm.  Tough one to answer.  Some areas very, very well.  Others, not so much. Working on what we need to but it takes time.  Alex finishes his fractions this week.  Starts geometry next week.  In February, I plan to move him onto Algebra.  Logan is still working on multiplication as are Isabelle and Nik.  Reni is working on long division.  Once done with that, I'll move her onto fractions.  She should be on fractions in beginning of year and geometry by the last quarter of the year.  Or, I may just concentrate on fractions and division to give her a good solid foundation since she is just 6th grade and move onto geometry next year.  Not sure.  Summer and Sofie are on basic math.  Well, Sofie on recognizing numbers and such.  Alyona is working with money but is on a life skills path more than academic. 

Alyona is working with a therapist on life skills as with school.  All my kids have to write in a journal everyday, do two current events a week, 1 book report a month and two country reports a month and they all have spelling tests each week.  English varies for each of them.  Right now, we entered a new subject for science. Dumb of me to do on a short week so probably so forget it and start Monday after Thanksgiving.  We have studied rocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, earth layers, etc. this semester.  Doing solar system now.  This whole year is Earth Science for them.  History we studied Ancient Egypt and are now going to be entering the Middle Ages next I believe.  For art, Pinterest projects here and there.  In the spring, we'll study some of the great artists. 

My kids do 4-H club, meet ups w/ other homeschoolers and church activities as well.  We'll add sports this coming semester.  The boys work for neighbors here and there if school work is done.  I w3ant to do more with them.  We'll get there.  Mine learn differently and I need to recognize that.  But, Nik is reading, Summer is starting to do addition on her own, Sofie can say the alphabet and count, Alex is progressing way more than I thought so truly not doing too badly I suppose. 

The other day, we got pizza from the Book It program from Pizza Hut as the kids have met their reading goals.  They read every day first thing when they get up and read at bed time too.

Summer was SO proud.  They each presented their tickets.  Sofie even got one too.  I ordered another pizza on special for the older kids as they do read too.  Kids were thrilled b/c we never get to order take out.  So really a great treat for all of us to enjoy.  

Next, we have Bojan going to Oxford Preparatory School.  He's doing fantastic and loves it there.  He is also in film club there.  They broke ground for the brand new school last week.  He was selected and attended a leadership conference in early November.  Next year, he'll start thinking of future colleges.  Hard to believe.  

So, we're plugging away with school.  Lots to always learn. 

Cold, cocoa and cleaning

Today is Tuesday.  Max officially got his job today at UPS so he is clearly excited.  Bojan has two friends over right now and they are making homemade soft pretzels.  I'm catching up on a few things including some blog posts.  It is cold in here.  Very cold.  Our heat decided it doesn't want to work.  Now, luckily we have dual heat so upstairs works just fine.  Only downstairs.  You know, where we spend all day.  We have a small space heater we use for camping but in large rooms, not really any good.  It's Thanksgiving Week so guessing no repairman till next week.  Luckily, we only had two really cold days in NC and rest of the week will be good. 

Hot cocoa is definitely a benefit of no heat since yesterday.  Kids love this idea and are hoping we don't get the heat fixed.  LOL.  Marshmallows to boot!

Nate is wrapped up in sleeper pajamas and blankets.  He tends to fall asleep w/ us on the couch every night.  He's too terrified to sleep by himself.  Even with Nik in his room, he's too scared to fall asleep.  So, we carry him up to bed every night.

More warm stuff.  2 full crock-pots of soup.

We are trying to clean for Thanksgiving around here.  Bojan is taking it seriously.  After he looks at all the pictures. 

Just getting ready for winter season to come to NC.  Prepping the yard, prepping the house, getting blankets out, making sure supplies are in place, etc.  The basics really.  We have three giant cans of hot cocoa.  If we have a zombie apocalypse, at least they wont' be cold.  LOL. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pinterest Again

I've incorporated art by doing Pinterest projects.  And, in addition, trying to try a new dish once a week if possible.  This past week, we made homemade danishes. 

Shape the cresant rolls.  Was two of those triangles put together.

Creme cheese filling that goes inside.

Put it on the crescent rolls.

Cook and about 20 minutes later, done.  Piping hot and glaze on top

Finished product.  It was delicious!  Was a hit with everyone.  We are definitely making these again.  Great for a weekend breakfast treat for sure.

Building, breaking and beads

Kids have had fun with dominoes I bought at a local yardsale.  Best $1 spent.

Even Nate is enjoying trying to put it together.  He likes when sibs build it up and he gets to knock them down.

Been cleaning for Thanksgiving.  3 glasses loast this last go around.

Bought these sensory beads.  Nate LOVES them.  They are horrible when spilled.  I will warn you.  Toughest little buggers to pick up and clean up for sure.

close up on our beads.  

Going to do 3 to 4 posts every night to play catch up somewhat.  Facebook name is Stephanie Spencer Boyd as some have asked me for it.  I keep up a bit better on there than the blog lately.  Be prepared to hear more and see more pics for sure!

Manic Monday

I'm not even going to attempt to catch you up on all that is happening around here.  So, here's a bit:

  • OT today
  • called for appointments for Bojan, Nate and Irina
  • Irina still has ear issues...waiting on Duke
  • Nate needs tubes for his ears
  • PPR coming due for Nate
  • New/ old social worker assigned
  • Thanksgiving...over 30 people going to be here
  • need to finish shopping
  • baking on Wednesday
  • Bojan only has school tomorrow and then done
  • Logan, Alex and Nik did knock out job on our yard
  • Same boys been working for neighbors after school work done
  • have tons of paperwork I need to do
  • houseguest coming tomorrow
  • Max & Irina's friends staying w/ us as well this week here and there
  • trying to figure out Christmas
  • working on a database for families
  • making a list of all places we're going for Christmas things
  • no AWANAS this week
  • no 4-H this week
  • no library this week
  • getting caught up with things
Many more happenings and I'll get to it all soon.  Just a lot.

Blessings Abound

We have blessed by many people lately.  A wonderful lady had been coming and teaching us to cook.  She is a neighbor.  Recently, I entered an online contest.  I won! A Santa sack!

Alyona modelling it.  As big as her!  LOL.

Closer look at the sack.  Was a great surprise to win something we can use.

Another blessing recently was a dear friend sent these Pilgrim Hats for us to make.  Kids did this today for therapy.  We'll fill it w/ goodies and put them out for guests.  Sweet of her to think of our family.  Thank you Elaine!

Roses blooming all the way into November!  Crazy.  Also had one hydrangea bloom and a petunia as well.  

Always count your blessings.  Always.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Promise I"m Still Here!

Oh my goodness.  I can't believe I haven't posted in about a month.  It honestly has just been a busier than expected fall.  I have kept up on Facebook though.  Will most definitely try better to keep up on here as this is more journaling type thing for me than anything else.  Great ot have record of some things in life.  Post to say, I'm back and will be writing again shortly for sure!