Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

The New Year will be here soon.  How exciting!  We are all watching a movie right now and I am typing up  this quick post before I get to bed.  I don't feel very well-- many of us are battling colds including myself.  Thankfully my other issues are doing better, but I am definitely sick of being sick.  John and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary yesterday.   The kids were amazing as they shooed us out the door.   John and I went out to dinner and a movie.  We shared a plate of caprese followed by my two top choices off the menu.  That's a John thing ordering my 2nd choice-- since our first date.  Then we went to see Silver Linings Playbook.  Overlooking the language, it was an excellent movie.  He got me a new laptop which I am typing on now.  It has Windows   8 which will take some time getting used to, but I am enjoying the touch screen and lit keyboard. 

As I look around the living room, I see Dennis fidgeting with his feet, Nolan cuddling up to me, and Rachel's feet being rubbed by Sveta.  Such a simple observation, but a reminder of how blessed I am.

We have had many ups and down, many smiles and trials, but our life is one filled with richness and love and laughter and patience.

Just the other day, Dennis came up to the bathroom to brush his teeth after dinner.  He was still chewing his last bite of chicken.  I gave him his brush ad left the room to get Nolan in his pajamas.  A minute later I returned as Dennis was wiping his mouth on the towel.  I noticed he was still chewing.  A bit confused I asked,  "What is in your mouth?"
"Chicken," Dennis answered.
"But didn't you brush your teeth?"
"Yes, I brushed," he said matter-of-factly.

I got a good chuckle out of that.
Anyway, I really need to hit the hay.  I hope you all have a wonderful New Year.  May 2013 introduce you to the plans God has for  you-- and you may take that leap of faith and live recklessly for Him!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Wonderful Time

Merry Christmas! Actually belated since I am so late in doing a Christmas post.  We've just been so preoccupied with life and activities that by the end of the day, I am ready for bed.  Julia finally encouraged me to update so here goes.
A few days before Christmas Alex got this great toy that hangs on the wall from Grandma and Grandpa.  Thanks for big brothers like Adam and Caleb who put all these toys together.  If it weren't for them, they would probably still be sitting in the box.
Christmas Eve was here before we knew it.  Finally after all these years, the kids would wake up to special stockings with their names sewn on.

As John and I finally called it a night at 1 am, he barricaded the two living room entrances with chairs, highschairs, and a coffee table turned on its side.  As an added deterrent John put pillows and a tipped mattress at the top of the stairs so that the kids would know to wait to go down stairs.  We had a nice giggle about it.
The kids were great and kept their word about coming into our room before 7am.  However, a few could not contain their excitement and still got in a sneak peak in the wee hours of the morning.  Of course William was the mastermind claiming that he thought John had set up an obstacle course for him to get through.
This year I had a *brainfart* and decided to number the presents from 1 to 93 in no particular order.  It was such a crazy number system that John teased me about hiding the list.  Actually the list went missing towards the end of present opening because John kept cleaning up wrapping paper as presents were opened.  I had to look and see what was in the presents before handing them to the right kid.  :) 
My number system made Anastasia a bit worried and sad since it appeared that she didn't have as many gifts as the other kids.  Finally John decided that it would be best to hand out all the gifts and then go around the room allowing everyone to open one of their gifts per round.  
Each of the kids got each other gifts this year which made for tons of presents.  Finally were were done a little after 9am.  Oliver was having a lethargic episode and slept through most of the chaos.

Even though this was our first Christmas with Nolan, he was not overwhelmed in the least.  He enjoyed opening presents very much.
Alex seemed to enjoy everyone's gifts!  He needed gentle reminders to ask before touching his brothers' new toys.
The morning of Christmas Eve, it was evident that Alex had a UTI so I took him to urgent care.  They were awesome and even gave us something for his mouth outbreak.  After years of misdiagnoses for Alex's mouth rash, this particular doctor said it was cold sores.  He prescribed acyclovir and it began drying them up after the first dose. 
Julia is crazy about Star Wars!  This year each of the kids got their own cup in an attempt to solve our cup dilemma.  Here is Julia's.  Her siblings had a fun time hiding her cup from her all day.
Andrew got a cool invisible ink pen set.  Galina wrote a message on his face. 
This year I got the kids t-shirts as a way to support other adoptive families.  It was a win-win!
Like I mentioned earlier, Oliver slept through most of the morning.  His last episode was the first week of December.  I talked to his doctor again and she wants to check and see by doing an EEG if perhaps he is having a seizure at night without us knowing it which could be causing his lethargy.  We have had blood work done to check for  illness, diabetes, and thyroid function.  All came back normal.  He had an echocardiogram which we are still waiting for the results but I think it is normal or else they would have told us right away.  We also are checking for food allergies. 

For Christmas dinner we had friends and family over.  It was very nice. 

We all took turns dancing to a new Wii game.  It was so much fun!
Andrew's gift came in this lovely gift bag he colored.
Aunt Tanya joined us for Christmas.  We all had a special time visiting with her.
My Mom joined us too.
The kids took pictures with her.
A special friend sent us Russian chocolates for Christmas.  How yummy and thoughtful!
The middle boys got the game Operation.  The kids have been playing it over and over and over.
Adam, our oldest, wrote John and I letters.  With permission I am posting them because they really made John and I smile.

I got many wonderful gifts for Christmas and two not so wonderful--  a hurt back and a UTI.  I finally went to the doctor because I could no longer stand or home treat the toe curling pain.  The two were exacerbating each other to the point that I didn't even feel like getting dressed.  I'm day 2 of medication and I feel a little relief, but life doesn't stop.  Thankfully the kids have been very helpful.

This Christmas season has been hard for one particular daughter.  Really hard.  She has said things that will take a long time to heal.  John and I just have to remember-- two steps forward, one step back.  It is to be expected.  I won't go into detail, but I will say that in all of our 17 years of parenting, we were taken for a loop by all that transpired.  Thankfully, each day brings a new beginning.  Thankfully, there is an abundance of grace for everyone.   

This morning, I took eight of the kids for routine blood work.  Our new pediatrician is very thorough.  I made appointments online and it looked like we would be there from 9:30 to 12:30.  To my surprise we were out of there by 10am-- praise God.  The only one to have a hard time with the lab draws was Oliver.  He was pricked on both arms and still the tech isn't sure that she got enough blood.  Oliver screamed and screamed of course.   Right after, I was the only one he wanted to cuddle with-- which was a nice feeling.  Once he felt better and stopped crying he went to one of his sister's arms.  This is huge for Oliver who I truly believe now knows who is Mama is.  

Tonight Adam has offered to get and treat dinner so I don't have to worry about it.  I am blessed.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two Fun Days

On Friday we surprised the kids with a trip to Magic Mountain.  The day was nice and sunny-- a change from the dreary, cold prior days.  Dennis and Paul weren't interested in riding the big coasters, but they sure enjoyed the classics.
Sveta and Anastasia enjoyed the bumper cars.
Caleb and Dennis were bumper car partners.  

Taylar (Caleb's girlfriend) was Alex's partner.

This was Nolan's first trip to an amusement park.  Surprisingly he enjoyed most of the rides that he was tall enough to ride.

Here is John with Oliver, Andrew, and Jonny.
Grandpa and Grandma joined us at the park.
Riding Jet Scream

This was one of the few rides that Nolan did not like.

Here is Anastasia playing peek-a-boo with Daddy.

After we left Magic Mountain we all went to Denny's for dinner.  It was anice way to end the day and warm up with a mug of hot cocoa.
Today all the guys worked on the ramp.

Cousin Matt and Cousin Jenn came for a visit.  With Matt's extra hand, the half pipe was nearly completed.
After dinner, we opened presents.
Here is everyone gathered in the living room.

Matt and Jenn surprised the kids with all kinds of goodies.   They went all out!

Have you ever seen a 1/2 pound or 1 pound Sugar Daddy?
 And look at those hot lips!

Oliver was fascinated with Anastasia's big, red lips.
He imitated them.
And even posed for this picture.
But boy did he freak out when she went to kiss him with them.
I sure do love these two boys!  Aren't they the cutest!
So now I know what Caleb and Adam would look like if they grew mustaches. 

It was a wonderful day with family!