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.


Simply, Sarah said...

I'm sorry you aren't feeling well.
It looks like Christmas was good in your family this year. :) I love the stockings!

I hope they figure out what's going on with Oliver soon, and am so glad your ped is being so thorough with him and all the children!

Christie Minich said...

Merry Christmas Christine!
we had a wonderful Christmas too. :)
I loved the look on Paul's face with his lap full of gifts. :)
So much fun!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful Christmas-

Something you said about Oliver-caught my attention--I know that quite awhile ago he was having trouble with keeping food down-but haven't heard much about that lately--You said that he was lethargic and then later that he hasn't had an epsoide since the begining of this month. Do his episode's include vomiting and being lethargic/sleepy most of the day? Do they last several days and can they occur every so often on a regular bases? I have 2 children--one adopted and one in foster care--who have what is known as cyclic vomiting-- and they can get "sick" every 3 weeks or so--they are on meds--which are helping some--pleases email me if you think this is a possibility and we can talk more about it.

Also can understand a bit of what it might be like with the one daughter--we have another adopted daughter-who is going through alot and we are seeing her anger etc. not always sure what to say and do and have thought it might be helpful to talk with you.


Kathy C. said...

I bought everyone the same kind of cups a couple of weeks ago because we've been making smoothies for breakfast and needed bigger cups.

I have one trying to sabotage herself this vacation. I am not nearly so gracious as you! While giving her the chance to fix things, I'm also letting her miss out when she chooses not to fix them.

Michelle said...

looks like you all had a fun time on Christmas! i was just wondering if you are going to do any sort of post about the recent development in Russia with the ban on adoptions by Americans. i know you've got Russian-American kiddos and many adopted from other areas, so i'd love to hear your take on all of this.

Anonymous said...

You are very blessed indeed.
What inspiring letters your son wrote. God bless him.
sorry you are feeling ill. Praying you feel better and have a happy happy New Year

Anonymous said...

Hi! Holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy friends and family. It appears like your family had a blast at Christmas time.I wish your family many blessings as the new year draws near. Pat

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear from you ! Your Christmas seems fun and I love the kids' faces, they all look so happy !!
I am sorry to hear that one of your beloved daughters is having a difficult time right now... Please please please don't take it the wrong way, this is only my experience, but here I talk as a teenager who has also had problems,and who is also gone through things that should not be experienced by kids,and all of what I've gone through "exploded" at home... But seeing a psychologist has helped a lot, it has allowed me to say things I couldn't say at home and talking about those things with the therapist made me less and less aggressive (verbally and physically) at home.
I only wanted to tell you my experience, I really hope you haven't taken it the wrong way because I find you such an inspiring person and a wonderful mom, and I only wanted to share with you the "option" that has worked for me.
I hope the end of your hols will be as fun as your Christmas day seemed to be :)
God bless you and your family !

Amber said...

I am curious where you got the stockings?

Renee said...

What a HAPPY Christmas!

steph said...

I had to laugh at the numbering presents story because it hit close to home. I tried this method this year, had the presence of mind to email myself the partial list (partial because we needed to finish wrapping still), proceeded to lose said list, made a new list based on the one I emailed myself, which got a little mixed up. It was super fun for us to watch my 15 year old son open Just Dance 2 that was meant for my five year old daughter. :) Also, I know you've mentioned having made some dietary changes to help a couple of your kids (I think), but I can't remember what changes for which kids so I thought I'd mention that my daughters are all dairy and gluten intolerant. Before we figured this out, they suffered from reflux, vomiting and lethargy. It can be so frustrating trying to figure out what is ailing your kids. Hope Oliver feels better soon.

Ray Mazzilli said...

omg that letter from adam is beautiful, Christine. Your kids really love you very much, its very sweet to see him write something like that. I used to write letters for my mom like that when I was younger. I also used to leave letters for my mom on the washing machine before Id go to sleep for her to find in the morning when she did laundry just saying "I love you mommy"