Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Well, I don't know how to do it-- all the time. In fact, I am a fish killer-- and it totally stresses me out! Just the other day, three of the fish died-- one a slow and agonizing death I'm sure. When I went to change the water, one of the fish had something hangin' out of it, gasping for air. It was obvious that the poor little guy was not going to live much longer, but it wasn't dead yet. I thought about flushing it, but thankfully it died by the time I was ready to put the fish back in the clean water (I add drops to get out the chlorine).
At first there were nine.... now there are two. They look fat and healthy. Only time will tell.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A few of the kids got their progress reports today! They are all pulling high A's and B's except for Sveta who because of her cognitive delays receives staight C's for her effort. Still, the fact that she puts out such an effort and her behavior is awesome is what counts in my book! She might as well have gotten A's and B's!
Alex continues to adjust more and more. My own attachment to him is growing which is very important for the both of us. I guess when a mother is right there doing things for their child like I am, you really get to know them. He is such a trooper, and has the ability to always remain happy through almost everything. Tonight was just precious. Poor guy was taking forever to have a bowel movement, nearly thirty minutes on the toilet with no success when I could tell he was beginning to get tired. I started massaging his tummy and then Dennis came in and did something that made him laugh-- and that pressure was all he needed to get things moving. And then when he saw that he had went poo-poo, he had this surge of energy and began showing me how strong he could be while bearing down. Afterwards, he was so very proud of himself as he flushed the toilet like a big boy.
Alex is doing so well with this daily sit routine. It sure has made our schedule so much more flexible. No accidents outside of the one hour daily sit for quite a while now---- and you can just tell how proud he is of himself being able to be potty-trained in this area.
School is going extremely well for Alex. He just loves it! I admit that at first I was a little hurt that he didn't cry when I left him, but I am over it now. I would rather him enjoy school then be afraid to leave my side. I think that he has seen me take the other kids to school enough to know that I always come back for them. Plus, he can now recognize his name and even repeat the letters. He can express his wants quite easily now in English which avoids him a lot of frustration I'm sure. The occupational therapist is working with him and finally okayed him to have a walker in class. She has provided him with one in the classroom which is different than the one I have at home. Alex pushes the one we have at home and he pulls the one at school. This will help him to work different muscles and strengthen his coordination skills. At first Alex was hesitant and forgetful about using his walker, but now it is becoming like second nature to him which is absolutely amazing.... an answer to prayer..... definitely.
Jonny's birthday is coming up and I stressing over it. He wants friends over, yet it is too cool to swim, so I am thinking of roller-skating. But what if his friends can't skate? So, then I am thinking of a bounce house and pinata--- but will that keep a handful of kindergarten boys busy for 2 hours? I know I am being silly, I have done this before, but my feelings are what they are. Oddly enough, my Jonny is probably the easiest to please and would be happy if I served hotdogs and they played Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
It didn't even occur to me until yesterday that the overflowing closet could actually be the cause of much exasperation for all of them. It bothered me when one daughter would insinuate that another might have something stashed of theirs in their own drawer. It became obvious to me that I personally needed to go through their closet and get rid of some of the rattier looking things and weed out the junk when shirts started disappearing on a more regular basis. Refusing to believe that the clothes were just disappearing into thin air or that indeed the girls where hiding each others clothes, I had a hunch that there was a much bigger problem....... a hungry closet monster devouring my daughters' favorite shirts.
So yesterday, I decided to tackle their closet. Within minutes of going through their clothes one by one, I found Julia's favorite shirt completely hidden between two jackets without its hanger. "Mom you found it!" Julia shouted. You would've thought I found a hundred dollar bill or something. I continued sorting through the clothes making sections for each of the girls and soon three more shirts were found. Only one third of the way done, I already had a trash bags worth of clothes to give away and over 30 empty hangers.
Funny how something so trivial can feel like such a big accomplishment. Now if I can only get inspired to clean out my own closet and get rid of my size 6 clothes back from 4 years ago. I've long since come to the realization that I am always going to be a perfect size 10 baby!
Monday, September 28, 2009
And that can be just what the doctor ordered.
We decided to adventure into the doughnut making world and started our own assembly line.
We chose something simple of course........
AppleSauce Drop Doughnuts
All of the kids had a noticeably better weekend------ and actually did very little bickering. Praise the Lord! I think us all being in the word more has made a significant difference.
I am back to reading "Purpose Driven Life" with the older kids every Monday evening while John takes three of the kids to Bible Study Fellowship. Did I mention that I also started attending BSF on Tuesday mornings just so John and I can be studying the same thing. It can be incredibly beneficial for your marriage to be in the word together----- I promise.
Here John was helping Andrew to memorize the verse for the week.
No Anna didn't hurt herself, she just loves playing around with the crutches.
It is still pretty dang hot here in California-- so we did a lot of swimming.
Alex gets too cold in the water, so he prefers to sit at the steps. I learned from pre-school that having a big container filled with water and some plastic dishes and water bottles can make for cheap and long-lasting entertainment for little kids. Wish I would have learned this years ago.
Dennis continues to grow by leaps and bounds!
And here I thought his smile couldn't get any bigger!
Come bedtime, I quickly ran to Target to get a few things. When I came back, the kids surprised John and I with this. Coffee for me, Pepsi for John, and hot cinnamon rolls by candlelight.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Pretzels with chocolate chips of course! Daddy and our younger boys came up with the name.
Everyone thought they were a pretty yummy snack!
John even had me cover my eyes so he could surprise me with one of these yummy little goodies!
Friday, September 25, 2009
One day we have cats, the next day we don't. I guess they are our neighborhood cats! Since our family has alot of allergies, we can't keep animals inside-- and you can't make cats stay where they don't want to. Remember Rosie? Well she is not lost after all! We see her hanging out all the time! So basically, when we see them, we feed them. When we don't, we figure someone else has got to be or else they would stick around. This works for me!
Alex loves Sesame Street and so do I! I sat and watched it with the boys this morning and kept thinking to myself what an awesome program it is. And I love how they still show segments from shows I remember watching when I was a kid. I especially love when they follow the ball through the pinball machine. And Alex is picking up so much English from it. He likes trying to sing the ABCs and he can recognize Elmo! What a smart boy... and adorable too!
My "Chunk of Love" is sick. The Amoxicillin that he has been on might be helping his ear infection, but it is definitely not fighting whatever else he has. He fell asleep in my arms watching Sesame Street.
Don't you love the arrangements my kids spent alot of time working on?
Dennis took it upon himself to pack his lunch. He packed two fruit roll-ups, and a handful of pretzels.
Jonny has been busy decorating my front and back porch!
I think he is quite the artist. It is all that stuff he is learning at kindergarten this year! Almost everyday he comes up to me and asks, "Mama, do you wanna hear me sing you a song?" And then he starts singing songs about the color red or the color blue--it is just awesome!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Here are the kids left behind. They are from Alex's group at Antoshka. One of the caretakers sends me photos here and there. It is sad to think that many of them will not be adopted just because some family member visits once a year or they have special needs. Instead, they will grow up without a family to love and nurture them.
Alex lived the first four years of his life in this orphanage and now that he is home, he is prospering. He adores his siblings, he loves his cozy blanket, and he is not shy about coming up to me and plopping down beside me to cuddle and watch tv. All of these things are such simple pleasures. And these children probably won't experience the joy of snuggling with their Mama.
Actually, I think three of these kids are being adopted very soon, but still...... five remain. Five too many if you ask me. And each and every one of them are deserving. Oh how I wish I could give them each a hug goodnight tonight.
Aren't they just precious?
I don't have alot of words to describe the disgust I have for people who exploit children. It is just wrong.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Andrew is doing great in school this year. His teacher is a male and for some reason this has made all the difference. Absolutely no goofing off-- and he turns in all of his assignments and homework on time without hardly any reminders on my part. He is one of the highest kids in his class and doesn't mind having 10 extra "much harder" spelling words or being pushed to do things that will challenge him so he doesn't get bored. Very different from last year where I was beginning to think that he couldn't take school seriously. Yeah for Andrew!
At night, Andrew and only Andrew, will have night terrors at least twice a week. This is so disruptive to his sleep and mine that we have specifically been praying them away for the last five days and God has been faithful. Andrew was the one who reminded me tonight to pray them away again-- which was pretty cool.
Andrew continues to take piano lessons every Thursday and as I heard him play today, I couldn't believe that my seven year old could sound so good! Way to go Andrew!
Speaking of music, Adam continues to play in the worship band-- this Sunday he will be playing guitar instead of bass. How exciting! He enjoys it very much and is getting lots out of his weekly lesson. Julia is working on, "Breath of Heaven" which is coming along great. They are both so musically talented and practice without even being asked. Exactly how it should be.
Rachel is pretty talented herself. She is enjoying soccer and the coaches are impressed with her despite this being her first year. She is doing just as well as her peers who have been playing soccer for the last 7 years! Her team is undefeated still..........
Sveta is working on learning to count money this year. While we both easily become frustrated during her homework, I made up a chart that is helping her to keep track of how much money she has while she switches the value of the coins in her head. This is proving to be a challenging thing for her to say the least, but she continues to make baby steps, which is all we can ask for. Her ability to come up with a sentence using her spelling words has improved a lot too!
According to the doctor, Dennis now weighs as much as Alex! Can you believe it? What a little chunk! Dennis has one ear infection so I started him on antibiotics. Hopefully, Dennis will begin to feel better now--- in plenty of time for his next surgery which is scheduled for November 16th.
I had to mention one last thing before I hit the sack. Thank you for all of your prayers. Ever since my, "I am Human" post, Alex and I have had much better days concerning his bowel management program. I am not stretching the truth at all when I say that he has not had any accidents outside of the window of time when he does his daily sit. I have definitely felt the prayers! It has made life so much easier, and Alex feels more like a big boy who goes poo-poo in the potty just like his brother Dennis! It has taken some adjusting to figure out what works, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Thank you again! And Alex thanks you too I am sure! And so does his teachers (I'm sure)! Now I know that there will be ups and downs in the future, but being able to remember that it is possible to have such good days will be such ana encouragement.
On one hand they don't bother me one bit because they are simply not true and I know that the kind of person that would actually have the nerve to post such venom is in need of tons of prayer and since I am about keeping it real--- I don't want to pretend that I don't get such hateful comments-- but on the other hand, the comments are often referring to my kids and adopted kids in general in such a horrible way that by keeping them on my blog, I am in a sense showing tolerance towards something that should not be tolerated. What do you think?
Dennis is feeling a little under the weather with an ear infection or two. He has what the audiologist called effusion and I have yet to hear from the ENT so I scheduled Dennis in with our regular doctor. I'm taking Alex in too because he woke up crying the other night complaining of ear pain also. Since, he has been fine, but I am taking no chances. I am also going to look into getting a diaper prescription.
I looked into various programs-- and we always seem to be above the income requirement to qualify for any services. I know, I know we are blessed to have financial stability right now, and frankly I would like to see the services being used by those who truly can't afford them otherwise, but as a Mom I have to know that I turned every stone for my child to make sure we are making good use of any and all of the programs that are available in our state. I also can't help but feel some pressure from the IEP team that I make sure and look into all of these different programs to offset some of the responsibility.
Boy is that time consuming.
Enough complaining though. I'm off to the doctor. I should also find out the date of Dennis' next surgery later today.
Monday, September 21, 2009
This is the adoption announcement I put together for Alex. I wish I could have snapped my fingers and sent it out to everyone--- but instead I am posting it here.
Isn't this the truth? Yes, children are a gift from God.
Thank you Chris--- what a wonderful thing to have hanging in my living room.
The other day I threw together this stew. I tried to imitate the Ukrainian dish we would get from the deli back in Kramatorsk-- but mine didn't come close. Oh well, it was devoured anyway.
Alex is a great eater! He is always so complimentary of what I serve.
as did Dad.
This morning Julia asked me to help her with her Converse. I had showed her a "cool" way to wear them and she needed me to show her again.
Dennis thought his cereal was a bit too boring this morning, so Mom to the rescue! How about a few bananas?
Dennis ate it right up!
Jonny is so playful with his younger brothers. He, and Dennis, and Spongebob were riding their cars all over the house.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In a perfect world, with the perfect family, I guess the perfect answer would be that my kids get along great, all the time, and never ever fight, yell, or put each other down. I would probably be able to even say that they love each other so much that they always esteem the other higher than themselves. I may even sugarcoat it a step further by saying they learned to treat each other that way from mine and John's examples.
LOL, yeah right.
Life is not perfect, our family is not perfect, I am not perfect, and I am sure John would be okay with me saying that he is not perfect.
sometimes my kids
put each other down.
It can be painful to
let alone accept.
Actually, we make it a point to not accept it,
yesterday was no exception.
After Rachel's morning soccer game, we all came home except John who had to work for a few hours. Three of the younger kids wouldn't settle down until one finally got hurt and they were all sent to their room for naps. My older children said some things in response to my comments about how awesome the Brady family was and how fun it would be to go to the Grand Canyon-- all during a Brady Bunch Marathon that we were watching on DVD. "Well yeah Mom, we would have fun like them if there was only six of us too."
On top of it all, I found myself reminding them of things that I shouldn't have had to, and asking a few of the kids to not say anything at all if it wasn't uplifting. Needless to say, I was not pleased with my children's behavior and later that night, I kind of went off in a tirade about how disappointed I was with all of their behaviors. Yes, I basically threw my hands up in the air, and declared that I wanted each of them to live in their rooms until they could start treating each other the way they wanted to be treated.
Even later, I shared with John and vented my feelings about not only the kids but my own lack of being able to be a good enough example to my own children to get them to treat other better. It was nice that he didn't have much to say back---- he just listened and heard me out. I remember him rubbing my back as I drifted off to sleep.
In the morning, he woke me to share about an idea he had. Since I had told John last night that I had no desire to even go to church looking like some "fake and happy" family, he called a family meeting at 8:00 am to do church at home.
It went something like this.
All of us gathered around the living room and John talked about "our" observations with the children. He read some scripture from the bible and announced that we were going to do an activity. He uplifted the children by telling them that he wasn't going to announce the rules of the activity because they already knew them. Basically the rules were those taught in the bible in how to treat one another.
Washing each others feet.
If there was any rule breaking--- even by just one kid--- all of the kids would all have to go to their beds for five minutes and then come back and start over. Each time the kids were sent to their beds, the time would be doubled.
It took the kids going to their beds twice before they finally got it.
John and I took turns saying who should wash whose feet until everyone got a turn.
In the beginning a lot of the kids thought this was a dumb task. As we got more into the activity, John and I saw their hearts change. Only a few washed feet at a time so that the other children could hear the three uplifting things that the feet washers had to say about the ones they were washing.
Jesus was not above washing the feet of others-- and neither are we.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
After we were all done, I apologized for my own behavior the previous night and asked all of my children to forgive me too. We closed in prayer--- and then I announced, "Now we are going to church church!"
This activity that we did as a family is one that I think our kids will remember. It was a hands-on tangible experience for them to see that they are not better than the other nor are they above washing each others feet. We are family, and no matter what, our home is the one place where each and every one of them should feel loved, supported, and encouraged.
I look forward to more activities like these.
P.S. Thank you for taking a moment to vote for me over at Divine Caroline.
I know I promised 10 winners for the adoption decal--- but since there were only 11 who responded and I actually have 12 (but I wanted to keep the last two for myself), I am giving decals to all 11 of you! Woooo-hoooo!
So if Mary, Megan, Me and Jesus, Amy, Mom2Many, Hevel (hope it gets to your neck of the woods), Amie, WasherMomVal, Cara, SimplySarah, and Meredith will please email me with their contact info I will get those decals out to you in the next week or so!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
When we first got on the bus, Alex was terrified
compared to Dennis who is much younger. I totally chalk that up to Dennis being home for over a year and Alex home only a little over a month. But, as soon as I talked to Alex and showed him that Dennis was not scared and his classmates were not scared, he suddenly realized that he had nothing to be afraid of. At one point, he actually felt brave enough to stand up in the seat, to which I had to gently force him to sit back down.
Even though we looked at animals, crafts, tractors, and all of the other fair exhibits--- both boys loved the animals the best. So did I--- especially the pigs. I would so have a pig for a pet if I could.
I got Alex to say, "Fooof," as he pinched his nose closed and made a face. Any new words and sounds we can get him to make the better. He also learned to say pig, cow, moo, and bunny.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Here is a video of our trip to Knott's Berry Farm and the Pirate Dinner Adventure. Between John and I (mostly me), we went on every flip-flopping, fast as lightening roller-coastering ride that Knott's had to offer! It was awesome (and occasionally nauseating)
Here is a separate video of our family getting ready in the morning. No acting here-- just the real thing. Isn't Jonny too funny?
We had our friends come over to have lunch with us yesterday.
Anna had fun dressing up and putting on make-up with her friend Gina.
Later on in the day, we had Grandpa and Grandma and Cousin Jen over for spaghetti and meatballs! Mmmmmm.
After dinner, I took the girls who wanted to scrapbook over to Cousin Jen's house who has the perfect scrapbooking room. The girls had a blast---- even I made two cards.