Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Time at Chaos Manor

Really is a great time around here.  Spring time!  We love the weather during the spring in NC.  Windows are open, flowers are starting to bloom and just the beautiful Carolina sunshine makes it all a-okay.  School work can be done outside and lots of flexibility in regards to field trips.  Took a few pictures recently.  not many but some.  Mind you, flowers are just starting to bloom so not the way it will look in a few weeks but still, pretty nonetheless. 

This looks so much better today than when I took this picture last week.  It's fuller now and all the new mulch is down.

A view of when it was starting to come alive with color.  The dogwood now is beautiful.

A few of our azaleas.  

Close up of the azaleas.

Our yard is a great opportunity for the homeschoolers to learn about plants and insects.  Sofie is trying to catch a butterfly.  There were around twenty flying around that day.

Just one of the many flying aorund the azaleas.

Another butterfly enjoying the phlox.

Phlox just starting to bloom.  Need to take some more pictures.

These rose bushes are so veyr hardy.  They are now bigger and are starting to bud!  Remember, last year they produce roses from April till November!  And now, it is surrounded by some new mulch today as well.  

I am looking at the direct gardening site again to fill in some holes for the yard.  I love color for sure and can't wait to add even more to the yard eventually.  Should be beautiful in a few years and a yard will enjoy for years to come.  The kids enjoy keeping it up though we all hate the weeding. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Manic Monday

Oh, so much to catch up on but the weekend got away from me.  I'll do a manic Monday post and then start on all the others.  Plenty more coming tomorrow as well.

  • great weekend
  • mulch delivered Monday
  • working on putting down said mulch
  • kids have been working on the yard
  • Sofie had an IEP eval today
  • 4-H today w/ science
  • kids volunteered at nursing home
  • OT/ speech
  • AWANAS this week
  • library
  • friends coming over
  • Bettie stopped by for dinner yesterday
  • Sofie has neuro appt. this week
  • need to pick up her old MRI's this week
  • Summer has endocrinology this week
  • Bojan needs OT for hand control driving to take place
  • Bojan is looking for a job
  • all teens attending a job workshop Thursday
  • Job fair Saturday
  • Miracle League this weekend
  • taking a local field trip Friday
  • arranged more field trips for April
  • my parents are coming to visit at some point this month
  • Nate has been sleeping through the night again!
  • teens went to a mini missions event this past weekend
  • looking forward to Camp Cheerio next month
  • Logan is ungrounded this week
  • attitudes around here haven't been too bad lately
  • Summer was matched with another runner
  • I have been inundated with paperwork lately
  • still researching mattresses
  • thinking of summer vacations
  • thinking of summer projects we're going to do (pinterest type)

Seems like a pile going on at once but we make it day by day.  Many, many more posts to come.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nate's Appointment Today

Today we went to Duke Neurobehavioral Unit.  He has made progress and that's what we have to focus on.  Not so much his level but that there is progress.  He was classified as severely delayed.  Now, moderate to severely delayed.  Hey, it's progress in the right direction.  They also want us to go to an autism clinic to have him dx'd.  Though they also don't think he has it,  it would help get him other services and therapies he desperately needs if he were 'labeled.'  I'm not in a rush.  Doctor did say he's doing well with us and that she thinks there should be some type of human rights violation in regards to Nate.  Though I know his early life was not a good one, sometimes when I'm reminded of it, it hurts.  I guess I just feel we all need to move on and that Nate is healing with us.  I want to focus on that, not his past. 

Nate actually did great at the appointment impressing her with his block building and puzzle attempts.  Stopped to get fajita shells for dinner.  While there, Easter candy was 75% off.  Well then.  Had to get Nate his favorite...cadbury egg.  He loved it.  Picked up two bags of jellybeans and one bag of peanut butter cups for the rest of us to share.  Got home and teens went to a kick off at the church for an event they'll be participating in this weekend.  Not a bad day.  All are in bed now but Bojan who is catchign up on some school work.  After Irina gets home from work, I'm going to bed!  Early for a change.  Ms. Bettie came over and made egg salad with the kids today.  They said it was the best.  Kind of feeling bad about that one. LOL.  They love Ms. Bettie and goodness knows, we all love her cooking. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Easter was this past weekend.  Saturday was busy with Miracle League, teens helping out at the church and then a church program.  We also celebrated our birthday bash from last year out to eat.  More on that later.  Then of course the next morning the Easter Bunny came.   We also had some dear friends come for Easter and had such a great time with them.  No pictures from their visit as we were too busy catching up and letting the kids play. 

This is a basket (yes, I forgot to buy a tub so laundry basket from upstairs it was!) filled for everyone.  Socks, candy and pretty much all outdoor stuff.  This is the time of year their outdoor supply gets replenished.  From a basketball to bubbles, bug catching kit, ball catching items, sidewalk chalk, and much more.  Even a chess game.  

Sofie and Summer found their favorite item. 

And they actually did good taking turns.

Two days later, tonight, we colored Easter Eggs.

Nik showing off one of his eggs.

Reni and Isabelle really getting into it.

More egg dying fun.

Summer and Sofie are loving it!

Some of our Easter Egg participants.  Tomorrow, it's egg salad for lunch :)  Was a wonderful, relaxing weekend filled with some fun and good friends.  Couldn't ask for more. 

Homeschool Happenings

Yes, we're still homeschooling here.  All but Bojan are homeschooled.  Currently, we're working on flowers/ photosynthesis for science & studying the constitution for history.  Math is all over the map.  Some are on addition, some multiplication some fractions, some geometry, etc.  YOu get the picture.  They go to a homeschool 4-H club which is what we have on Tuesdays.  And, since my teens are studying government and such, they are members of a volunteer teen court.  They also do youth group.  Looking into sports this week actually.  We also meet with other homeschoolers for activities like field trips and park outings. 

At home, do projects from time to time as well. 

Recently, the kids did leprechaun traps. This one is the girls.

This one is Alex's.  

This one is Logan's.  It is suppose to hang up and then there are shiny grapes underneath it.

We are doing a pizza unit study.  Lots of info on Italy so the kids had to draw Italy and outline it in salt dough.  Turned out okay I do believe.

We finally ended up having to put up a second computer.  Too many need it.  Hate that we had to crowd up a room w/ another desk but so be it.  No choice at the moment.  This will make some school work more productive to be sure.  Plan to sand the old desk, paint and put new hardware on it.  It's on that neverending to do list.  

So, just normal homeschool stuff going on.  Nothing really new.  Sofie finished her preschool book and now I need to start her on kindergarten stuff.  Wasn't going to do it till next semester but she's ready so we're going with it.  

More to come in a bit.  Just had a lot to do this evening so blog posts were pushed back a bit.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Manic Monday

Getting back into the groove of blogging after Easter break.  Monday it is.

  • had a great Easter
  • friends came over;  loved their visit
  • went to an Easter program on Saturday at church
  • missed church on Sunday
  • rainy day Sunday so just chilled
  • my cousin came on Friday for lunch and was a great visit as well!
  • Logan has been cleaning up the yard
  • Bojan is off school this week
  • kids had an Easter Egg hunt 
  • kids went to Miracle League baseball and enjoyed themselves
  • found money in my pocket so treated kids to hot dogs & chips at ball field (never done it before due to costs but was beautiful day and a splurge)
  • kids are studying the constitution
  • doing some gardening
  • going to work on old house in April
  • no OT or speech this week
  • no AWANAS this week
  • teens go to a youth retreat this week
  • Nate has a doc appointment this week
  • Warren is on call this week
  • Reni's birthday is this week
  • Max turned 21yo
  • Yana and baby are doing fine
  • tons of paperwork I need to get done
  • Nate due for his last PPR
  • van needs inspection
  • errands need doing
  • second computer hooked up for kids' school work
  • hung up curtains in kitchen since Warren won't let me paint it LOL
  • need to sand makeshift desk it sits on this weekend and paint it
  • mulch coming this week
  • need to weed outside & mow
  • trash needs to be hauled off
  • kids ALL need new shoes
  • going to be on the radio in July for adoption related stuff
much, much more that I'll get to soon enough.  One day at at time.  Just happy to be back writing.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

4-H Fun

My homeschoolers are in a local homeschool 4-H group.  They do all sorts of things.  One day, they made flashlights.  All of them from young to old. 

Summer, showing you her flashlight.  When we go, the older ones help the younger ones which is awesome.  

Nice that all ages get ot participate and learn something.

Nik was so proud of his flashlight.

Nik wanted you to see it with the flash off for obvious reasons.  And yes, they all slept with it that night, even Sofie. 

4-H is a great program.  They do enjoy going and have even gotten to volunteer monthly at the local nursing home.  They learn and have fun.  What more could you ask for?!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jobs & My Kids

I know it is a concern of many parents of what their children will do when young adults.  It was a concern of ours and still is.  One of our many motivations to move was job outlook for when our kids turn into young adults.  We have been told many things over the years.  One being, our kids shouldn't work that much due to their FAS and things of that nature.  I'm sorry but I whole-heartedly disagree with that.  I think if they are able, they should work.  They should have a sense of pride in a job well done.  They should take pride in going to work on time, having their own money, learning how to manage money, how to work with others, how to take criticism (every job has it as we know), and much, much more. 

Irina is my oldest daughter.  She is 23 and works at Revlon.  Yes, the make up company.  It has a veyr large manufacturing plant here and it is assembly line work she does each night.  She works from 3:15pm to 11:15pm with appropriate breaks/ lunch in there.  She talks to other workers.  Has been commended by management.  Does she love this job?  Heck no!  LOL.  She wants something different but as I told her, this gives her a good foundation and do not quit till you find another job first.  Her dream is to still work with animals but reality is, that may not happen.  Irina works Monday through Friday and has off almost all weekends.  It is a good starter job.

Max is my oldest son and works at UPS now.  He drives on the interstate everyday for 20 miles to get to work.  He has to be at work at around 4am.  Yikes!  I know I couldn't wake up at that time.  But, he manages to put himself to bed early so he gets enough rest in.  Usually going to be around 7 so he can wake up at 3:00am.  He loves his job.  And, he even got certified in operating a forklift.  Now, someone may have thought this impossible for a child w/ ADHD and FAS to be able to handle a job such as this w/ a lot of responsiblity and scheduling but he does.  Everyday but Sunday.  And Max even takes Irina to work when he gets home and picks up Bojan from school. 

Yes, both still live at home but I think this is a fantastic job they are doing starting young adulthood this way, learning skills, managing time and money and much more.  Proud of them both. 

Then we have Bojan.  I think the child I thought would be the most successful at holding a job and such is not going to be what I thought. Being honest here.  Bojan is MORE than capable of holding a job and getting a job.  Yet somehow, he does not have one as of yet.  I'm not sure if he is scared or what the deal is but Mom and Dad are going to have to put things in writing soon I do believe.  This child just got inducted to the Beta Club and does remarkable in school.  He needs job skills too though as this would be beneficial for college.  Plus, he needs to save for a car!  We will be pushing the job hunt this coming month to be sure.  I think having a job makes kids want to be more independent and proud of their accomplishments.

Alex and Logan LOVE to work.  Though 15yo, they do neighborhood yard work frequently.  And, neighbors tell me how hard they work and what a great job they do.  Great work ethic and I appreciate that very much.  Isabelle and Reni watch dogs here and there. They are trying to get into babysitting but not much available at the moment.  Well, except their own home but mom doesn't pay :) 

Point to all this is I believe that if able to work, they should.  I do not care what disability you have.  Could care less.  Everyone can do something.  You should have seen just how proud Nik was with those first dollars earned when working with his brothers.  Now, he wants to keep doing more.  Again, I was told many of mine should only work maybe 15 hours or just volunteer. BTW, they volunteer as well places.  I just think having a job in your teens is a great idea and teaches them so very much about responsibility.  Please don't let others say they are not capable or it's too overwhelming.  Work them through it.  Yes, I did help with applications.  And no, I did not mention their disabilities.  Felt they were there to apply for a job on their own merit.  Did they get turned down?  Yes.  More than once.  But that also teaches them valuable lessons.  Perseverance, motivation, never give up, confidence you will get a job.  Just wanted to share a bit as I know many wonder if my older kids work.  They do. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

All Dressed Up

I'm still playing catch up from being out.  This was from a few weeks ago. Bojan went to Homecoming Dance with a friend of his.  A bunch of friends hung out and enjoyed an evening out to dinner and dancing. 

 Sofie was enjoying her brother being all dressed up.  Not too bad looking in a suit and tie.

He is 17 years old in this picture.  Time is flying by for our family.  Needs to slow down a bit more.  So happy they all had a great time. 

Teen Court

This semester I am really focusing on my kids learning the justice system, our government, election process, etc.  So, I signed them up for teen court.  It is a volunteer organization.  Takes first time juvenile offenders and puts them in front of their peers for judging as if in a real court. They learn about consequences for actions, what fines/ service there are for those who broke the law, and learn about the law in general and the judicial system.  They are not allowed to speak about the people in the cases outside of the court.  They have honored this too which actually made me proud.  My teens go every other week to court and this lasts a few months.  So, just twice a month and they had training in the beginning.  

Some of my teens dressed up and ready to go to court.  I think it has been an awesome experience and given them some great knowledge of the law.  Thankful for the opportunity.  

Nate's Results

Got the phone call just now from the doctor that confirmed everything we suspected all along. Nate does not have Angelman's Syndrome nor does he have any other 'syndrome' or genetic abnormality. All of Nate's 'issues' and severe PTSD are explained by one thing. -- past abuse, neglect, trauma, malnutrition, etc. (more than one I suppose) Yes, even that flat head of his. There are many questions we will never ever get answered. Like, what exactly happened to him over there. And that is heartbreaking just thinking about it and probably best that it is not known to us. We love Nate for who he is, work through his PTSD, and all the other quirks/ issues he has. We live for that smile and the giggles. He has the best laugh bar none! The screams will take years to go away, I'm sure. You can't erase his past but we sure as hell can make sure his future is the best ever. We thank our team that went above and beyond to make sure this was not the reason for all his issues. In depth (& do I mean in depth) genetic testing. Watching the new therapist work with him today who specializes in trauma patients and says 'wow!' this poor child more than once, was hard. I knew what she meant. But his fear is so high, he is in a constant state of fight or flight w/ anxiety. We do not know how long this will take to overcome but we will work with him for however long it takes.  Nate does have a purpose in life.  I just know it.  He has already changed so many just by his sheer presence.  Our family has learned a lot from him for sure.  This is the last I'll say anything about this.  It is his past.  Not his present, nor his future.  Those are yet unwritten.  He knows he is loved beyond measure. 

Manic Monday

Gee, events unexpected can truly put one behind.  Playing catch up...again.  This week should be normal in posts.  It's Monday so might as well start with an easy one.

  • laid back dreary weekend but good
  • OT, speech and a new type of therapy this week
  • Max's car needs inspecting
  • Max's car needs repair
  • need to go to bank
  • need to send in Bojan's DMV stuff (has to fill out medical stuff due to prosthetics since he'll be using hand controls)
  • Digby got groomed and looks good
  • did some Easter shopping
  • can't believe this week is Easter
  • Max turns 21 this week
  • Easter is this week
  • need to finish Easter shopping
  • Yana is back home from the hospital
  • Savannah is doing great
  • Nate does not have Angelman's Syndrome (post on this coming up)
  • church events this week
  • Miracle League this weekend
  • going out of town this weekend
  • teen court
  • 4-H club
  • Irina's recheck is great so no more for 3 months on her ear
  • Irina's hearing loss is still there
  • Bojan is getting glasses
  • Bojan was inducted into the Beta Club
  • AWANAS this week
  • Bettie is back in town-- we all missed her!
  • Bojan is off school starting Friday
  • Sent in Bojan's medical stuff for driver's ed
  • need to go to the post office
  • overdue library books-- like beyond overdue...we owe $60
  • Reni gets her knee checked out Friday
  • Warren is on call Friday
  • studying plants in homeschool and pizza
  • calling endocrinology for Summer due to her c-ACC
  • Finding out more about Sofie
  • sorting closets this week
  • Nate is in a contest to win a bike
And much, much more to catch you all up on but this gives you an idea of what's happening this week.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nik's Runner

Nik is in a program where he is assigned a runner that runs miles for him.  Awesome program.  He has a runner from Richmond, VA area.  She writes to him and occasionally will send him something in the mail.  First time he got medals he was SO excited.  And impressed I might add!  It was as if he won the medals himself! 

This is Nik getting ready to open a package from Juri.  I just wish you could see the look on his face after.  My camera is broken  so not as many pictures lately.  See, Juri knew Nik was learning to read.  She sent him two books!  Then, since he liked it so much, a few weeks later she sent him a new book to read.  And yes, he reads them.  This runner has encouraged Nik so very much.  We owe her quite a bit of gratitude.  She is simply amazing.  Has two kids of her own yet takes time out to make my son feel special.  It is beyond awesome.  Had to share.  And yes, Nik has officially entered that awkward teenager nerdy looking stage.  Hope he passes it quickly like his brothers before him did. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Yana Back in the Hospital

I know since back I have not been able to explain Yana's birth of her daughter Savannah last week.  We were there and I will have a separate post.  But coming to you tonight to say Yana is back in the hospital where she will remain the next few days.  She just had emergency surgery from an infection of the c-section site.  She is now on IV antibiotics for at least 48 hours.  We will be visiting her tomorrow.  I spoke with her on the phone tonight and also spoke with the nurses.  So, send some extra prayers her way please.  Long recovery with two surgeries in one week.  More updates on her status the next few days. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Max's Mattress

Max got a delivery the other day.  

Small box but took it to the little girls' room to open.

Getting ready to take out what will hopefully change his a point.

What is this balled up piece of foam you ask?

What a mattress no less!

Course, there were plenty of helpers.  Reni is watching that knife carefully but no worries, Max does this for a living you know.

Doesn't seem like a mattress you'd want to sleep on, does it?  But, it expands.  A lot.

No time for mattress playing though when you have a box.  No matter what age, boxes and bubble wrap are fun, fun, fun.

Alyona is in that box somewhere.  

Max bought a new mattress for himself.  Something he needed, earned his paycheck and bought a mattress.  Thought that was a grown up decision of sorts.  We tried this mattress out.  Heaven to be sure!   In fact, Irina loved it so much, she bought herself one shortly after Max bought his!  Then, I bought one for Bojan as he didn't get a new mattress at the fundraiser like the rest of the kids did.  Only Alex and Warren & I that need a mattress.  Ours is so, so bad but we can't get a new one any time soon.  Just have to drool over my kids' mattress and one day, sneak a nap on there.  Max's joints were so bad, I was actually making an ortho appointment for him.  After getting the mattress, no more appointment needed.  It fixed it!  I know how he feels.  My hips are messed up from our mattress.  Definitely glad all my children are sleeping well though.  

Tomorrow, Nate has a GI appointment and a dental appointment.  Let you know how it goes. 

Decorating & Destruction

We try to decorate on a budget around here.  We also try to fix what gets broken around here versus buying new.  Hey, with a lot of kids, that is a must.

We moved into a house that apparently didn't have quite as active kids as we do.  This light fixture is between the two garage doors.  Across from the basketball goal.  Enough said.  Warren fixed it though it hangs a tad crooked now, the untrained eye won't notice my boys messed up the light.

These are all the door pieces Warren was working on.

 So, our door lock broke.  Sounds simple, right?  Just get a new lock, right?  Umm, no.  Not so easy.  See, this door was apparently some top of the line custom #.  You can't put any lock on.  Trouble is, this is a couple hundred dollar lock.  Our alternative was replace the couple thousand dollar door.  Not happening.  Only 7 places in the country sell this lock.  What kills me is this is a glass door.  Why all the security?   thought that odd.  Anyhow, Warren managed to take it to pieces to order the actual broken part.  $147 to fix the ONE part.  Whole day's job to put it back together.  Literally, a whole day.  Though we love our home, the previous owners did not have kids that have high usage and also kids that destroy stuff in unusual ways. 

We have to decorate on the cheap here so these $1 butterflies for an odd space were simply perfect and they look great!  Got them from  Cheap stuff but takes forever to get to you.  

Another view of them so you can see the 3-D effect.

Last month was Valentine's Day.  We do try to decorate here and there.  So had the kids make hearts.

Isabelle helping to hang them all up.

Max in the background thinking this is an idiotic idea.  LOL.

Candy heart box.  A gift to me from Irina for Valentine's Day.  Thought it was really sweet of her. 

The Llama Mama

First, I have to say this came about by initiating Sofie time.  Let me explain a little about what Sofie time is.  See, I had gotten tired of the kids teasing each other.  And Alex seem to have a thing for teasing Sofie.  It needed to end.  So, one day he was messing with her.  I said fine, you get Sofie time.  15 minutes for you to do whatever she requests.  He kept going.  I said fine, it's now 30 mintues!  Alex screams NOOO!!!  Same time, Sofie is jumping up and down excited as can be.  Well, first 15 minutes were outside b/c she wanted to play on the playground.  Then, it got to cold.  So, they came in.  Alex asked if watching a movie counts.  I said fine, but she picks.  Then, Sofie got a stuffed toy that she wanted Alex to hold.

Alex was not the least bit thrilled.  Rest of us were cracking up.

Sofie said Alex is the Llama Mama now!  Can't you tell how happy she is.  Alex is not amused.

Nik wanted to pose with Alex later.  Needless to say, there has been a whole lot less teasing by ALL the kids.  See, whoever teases, they have time with the person they teased.  Usually, the little kids.  Little kids are happy b/c they get to call the shots for a change.  win-win.