Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's Happening Back Home

We are emailing with the kids back home everyday.
Sounds like things are going as well as to be expected.
Thankful that my Mom is there with them.
Though a few of the boys have had to stand in the corner, they have also gone swimming, made cookies and brownies, and had visitors over.  The smiles and trials of life.  This is their last week of school.  I think Paul goes to a water park today.
Please don't forget the sunscreen!
Alex has his new crutches.
Our materials to begin Growing Kids God's Way arrived. 
Adam is taking the SAT sometime soon.

So thankful for family and the blessing of each new day.
Our time here on earth is but a moment compared to the eternity we will spend in heaven with our Heavenly Father.   May we all desire to shine our lights each day that we are blessed with as we praise our faithful Lord.

Now go check out our other blog!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bye Bye!

Time has flown by these last few days.  Tomorrow we leave on a jet plane for Ukraine!  This will be my last post on this blog for awhile.

Sveta's neck is feeling better.  She also seems less embarrassed as shares more and more about her experience.  She remains mostly positive about the whole race car incident when she talks about it.   When she told my Mom she sort of shrugged like it was their problem for not giving her more of a chance.  I'm just glad she is not bummed out about it-- but then again she never stays upset about anything for long.

Our kitties are doing well.  Taking care of them keeps the kids very busy.  They are still learning to use the litter box so meanwhile we find little cat poops in a corner of the patio or on the rug on the side of the house.  I know-- Lots of FUN-- not!

William and Sveta are the ones teaching the kittens to use the litter box by putting them in it a couple times a day and helping them to scratch the litter.  Little by little the kittens are getting used to the dogs.  I hope they are chasing each other by the time I get back.

John and I are going to miss the American Idol finale.  We hope Phillip wins!  How about you?

Hope you have a great week!  You can read about our adoption journey at http://becausehefirstadoptedus.blogspot.com/ .

Baseball, Family, and Kitties

Our kitties are tame! And they are even beginning to get used to the dogs.
Anna painting Grandma's toenails.
Anastasia and Sveta
Andrew at his last baseball game.
John and Dennis
Cousin Jenn with family

Andrew hit a home run.
Andrew's team made it to the championships.  They came in second!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Celebrating 8th Grade Graduation!

Last night we celebrated three of our girls' 8th grade graduation.
It was a very special night.
Julia, Sveta, and Annalyn
What three amazing girls.

They chose to go to Marie Calendars for dinner.
The ribs were messy.

The fried shrimp were crunchy!
The fried green beans were yummy!
It was a very special time out.

As a surprise for the girls, especially for Sveta who has wanted to go ever since she found out about the place-- we took them to an indoor race track.  Sveta's birthday is in a few weeks and we are going to miss it, so we thought it was a wonderful opportunity to do exactly what Sveta wanted-- and celebrate not only their graduation, but her birthday too.

They were so excited when they saw us drive up.  It was going to be awesome!
We filled out the paperwork, watched the video, put on our helmets, and watched the race before us.
To see the excitement in Sveta's eyes filled both our hearts with joy.
She may not be able to drive a real car, but at least she would be able to experience this.
The instructor went over everything, and though Sveta seemed to have trouble completely understanding the concept of green means go and red means stop-- we all thought she would get the hang of it once she actually started driving.  Just to be safe, the instructor set all of our cars to the slowest setting.
Soon we were off!
Sveta was the first to go and I followed closely.
All was good.  Little did I know that behind me, Annalyn had jumped one of the tire islands.  Don't worry she was fine as she quickly grasped how to maneuver the cars.  I added this tidbit to show that everyone can have a rough start and eventually get the hang of things.
As we neared our first lap, things went wrong.
Instead of following the track and doing her next lap, Sveta turned left to head back to where she started which was full of race cars.  It was where the next drivers stood and watched us-- so of course there was a tire divider.  Sveta did not know how to stop and drove right into that tire divider head on.  I didn't actually see her hit, but I was concerned and slowed down to see how she was.  She was able to talk to the guy, and he seemed to be instructing her further.  I was sure she would be back out on the track.  As I made a few more laps, I finally saw her getting out of the race car and walk back to where everyone else was waiting.
As I parked my race car to see what was wrong, the instructor came and talked to me.
I assumed she was just scared to get out there again and that was why she was not racing.
But the instructor told me that it was not safe for her to be on the track because she had no concept of how to work the pedals.  She could not understand that the right green pedal meant go and the left red pedal was to brake.
My heart sank.
Sveta was not going to get the change to get the hang of it because she couldn't.
I can't explain how my heart broke right then and there for my daughter.
I looked over the instructor's shoulder and saw Sveta bravely standing there holding her helmet.  She was teary-eyed and red faced.  Bless her heart, she was so brave.
He told me that she hit pretty hard and would most likely be sore in the morning
I went to her to comfort her.  It was very hard to hold back my tears.
Until you are a Mom of a special daughter such as Sveta, I don't think you can begin to imagine the pain and anger and sadness of such a situation.
Reality is hard sometimes.  Especially when something like FAS (which is that cause of her intellectual disability) is totally preventable.
John saw that something was wrong, so he parked his car too with the girls following.
Sveta was embarrassed and couldn't quite understand why they wouldn't let her back out on the track.
But the beautiful awesomeness inside her didn't let on that she was having all these feelings inside her.
Honestly, I couldn't be more proud of her as I was of her at that moment.
I was more upset with myself for allowing this to happen.
John and I thought we were doing the right thing by allowing Sveta to try something she really wanted to do, when instead we should have protected her from the pain and embarrassment of this situation because we should have known that this would be too hard for her.  

Taking this picture was really hard for me since we were here because Sveta really wanted to to try the race track and it was her who was denied the opportunity to race.   In a perfect world it would have been her standing up there!
Just to show you how awesome Sveta is despite the unexpected turn of events-- she ended with saying that she still had so much fun racing around the track that one time.

Afterwards, we took the girls shopping and then we went for frozen yogurt.
We got home pretty late.
At the end of the night, all three girls had said they had a wonderful time-- which is all that counts.

Each of our girls are so uniquely and wonderfully made that it is a blessing to be there parents.  Guiding them, encouraging and praising them to be all that God plans them to be is such a growing experience for John and I.  Just when we think we have seen it all, we are presented with another  learning experience that stretches us to be more compassionate, more loving, more accepting, and to cherish all that life has and is.

Happy graduation girls!  Now on to high school!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Fastest Week

Oh wow!  What a whirlwind of a week!  Galina summed it best-- "The week started out slow and seemed like it would last forever and now it is over!"  Yes it is. 

Dolly our dog ruptured her anal glands so I took her to the vet.  She ended up needing surgery.  This right after taking Anastasia and William to the dentist.  Thankfully they had no cavitites.  Since our other dog Misty has been scooting I took her down to have her anal glands milked to avoid having them rupture.  Much cheaper than a vet bill!

We have 3 new kittens that were in need of a home.  They were quite wild too.  But in the course of a week, they have been tamed and are even purring.  Caring for the kittens have been a wonderful experience for the kids. 

Tonight we are taking Sveta, Annalyn, and Julia out to celebrate their 8th grade graduation.  They picked Marie Calendars for dinner. 

I have my last IEP meeting this afternoon.  So glad they moved it up so I can be a part of it.

After 5 weeks and continual follow-ups with the supplier, Alex is having his new crutches delivered today.  For taking so long and not returning my calls, I asked them to throw in a set of spare caps so I can change them just in case our next order takes this long.  They said they would.

We are having company again this weekend-- so I am off to get some other things done before we leave next Tuesday.   While we are in Ukraine, most of my blogging will be done here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting It All Done

The kids have about 11 days of school left.  While this is a crucial time for my highschoolers who have finals, a few of my younger kids couldn't care less about school now.  Especially since we got 3 wild kittens.  We are in the process of taming them by holding them, feeding them by hand, and getting them used to humans.  We finally learned to not be afraid of their hissing which is happening less and less. We have had them 2 days now and we already notice a huge difference in them.  The kids have learned so much caring for them.

I have been busy re-enrolling our home schoolers adding Paul to the mix.  When I went to get his birth certificate, I couldn't find it sparking a 5 hour hunt for his and Anastasia's paperwork.  Thankfully, I finally found it. After giving it a lot of thought, I've already got the majority of their curriculum picked out for next year.  Julia and Annalyn will have a set curriculum and teachers for all of their core classes since they are in highschool next year.  Sveta will also be in 9th grade but I will continue to choose her work.  John and I are going to take the three of them out this weekend for an early graduation dinner.

We leave for Ukraine in less than a week.  Getting all the schedules, medicine routines, school authorizations, etc. written out for the grandparents has kept me quite busy the last few days, but I think I am about done.  Suitcases are piled in my bedroom, as I pack here and there.  Fun!  Hopefully I can give a few more hair cuts, take one of the dogs to the vet, make one more shopping trip to Costco, and squeeze in a couple of dentist appointments.

Mother's day was very nice.  The kids pampered me with handmade gifts, coffee in bed, foot massages, a long hair comb, and a cleaned out van.  I also didn't have to cook dinner for 2 nights in a row-- a special treat!  Paul gave me a dream catcher, Galina gave me a framed picture of the two of us, Julia made me a cute pot holder, and Rachel got me an apron just to name a few!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Last weekend we had a barbecue potluck with our new friends/community group.
Even the younger ones had fun tossing balloons.
John and I worked in two shifts helping Andrew with his mission project.  I helped with the first half and here is John working on the second half.
In the middle of making Ranger cookies the other day, our mixer started acting up.  We all got a good chuckle out of mixing up cookie batter with one beater. 
Sure was a workout!  I guess I know what I am getting for Mother's Day even if I end up getting it myself.
Here I am with Dennis at the Mother's Tea.  Gosh, what a handsome young man he is growing up to be!
And here I am with Alex.  He loved listening to me read him story after story!  And look at his smile-- oh my he is a cutie!
For Mother's Day weekend, my Aunt Tanya, Mom, and Sister Elena came over to visit.  
Here I am with my Aunt Tanya (my Mom's sister) who I am very close to who is like a second Mom.
I love her to pieces.
She got this bike a long time ago and sent it down to us with hopes that we or my father-in law could fix it.
Turns out it needed new tire tubes and then it was ready to go.  But we told her that she could not have it back until we actually saw her ride it.
And she did!
Here is me and my sister.  She is moving to Texas tomorrow so this was our last time visiting for a while.  I will miss her, but I know we'll see each other again.
Adam saying goodbye to Aunt Tanya.
Goodbye pictures.
Me, Sister Elena, and Mom
Me, Elena, Mom, Aunt Tanya, and Mom (in-law)
More pics
Elena, and Galina
Elena with Alex and Dennis who have chocolate all over their face from the ice-cream sundaes they just ate.

Happy Mother's Day!