Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Usually Halloween is by far my least favorite holiday.  To prove my point I had bought nothing up till yesterday in regards to the kids' costumes.  We have a couple of  plastic tubs of costumes and I figured they would suffice.  In the end I went to Wal-Mart and bought some red and black t-shirts, fake mustaches, silk flowers, face paint, and colored hair spray.
I have to admit that helping the kids with their costumes turned out to be a lot of fun.
Andrew, Paul, and Jonny were very happy with their painted faces.  Poor Jonny has poison oak on his right ear so he was not feeling so hot.
Look at Ju-Leah!  (She has poison oak too.)

I feel so bad.  I put this mustache on Oliver after watching Dennis put one on.  He cried when I took it off him because of his rash on his cheeks.  Thankfully he forgave me.

Anastasia was a Southern Belle.
Sveta and Anna were Flower Power Girls.
Oliver allowed this costume on for five minutes.  Then he was done!  Galina dressed up as a gum chewing, wild hair dresser.


Rachel was a cow girl!
Paul was Shrek!  It was such a blessing to see how much fun he had.

Dennis went as Spiderman minus the heels.

Nolan was a little goldfish.  This was his first time trick-o-treating.  He was scared going up to the houses when he heard dogs barking.  Little by little he began to enjoy himself.  
Annalyn was our graduate.
Half of a group photo.
Alex was Tigger!
I took Alex, Dennis, and Nolan to a few house right around our cul-de-sac.  John took the older kids further out into the neighborhood.  Together the kids collected tons of candy.  Rather than each of them have their own stash, we put all the candy together in a big bowl and keep it in the kitchen.  Each day the kids can have a few pieces. 
Happy Halloween!

Tomorrow I am taking 13 kids on a field trip all by myself.
Lord please give me energy and patience!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?

I can sure be goofy sometimes.  I think we all can be.  Here is Bullseye watching William play computer. 
Laughter sure is the best medicine.
William was a huge help for dinner.  He peeled nearly 30 potatoes!
Here is Caleb serving up cake.  
One night we had chili bowls for dinner!  To make the bowls more edible I painted butter on the inside and out and toasted them in the oven.  This also helped keep the bowls from getting soggy.
Andrew and Jonny have stepped up to help Paul with his BSF this year.  Paul doesn't really know how to look up the verses yet, but he is learning.
Nolan is a great eater!  He went for his post-op appointment last week and the surgeon says he is healing great!  Just tonight I am pretty sure I heard him say, "I want more,"  just like his brother.
Julia and Anna doing their schoolwork in the morning.
Oliver is such a love!  Oh how we love him so!  When we first got this jumper he didn't like it very much.  After raising the seat it is just the right height for him to bounce away!
Tonight we carved pumpkins.  I wasn't much in the mood but I know that it is something the kids enjoy.  I really didn't carve pumpkins, I just watched them and took pictures.  Not all the kids carved pumpkins either because they just didn't seem interested.  Some were doing homework and a few were outside "acting". 
It was fun watching those who still get a kick out of this tradition.
Julia made cookies to have after pumpkin carving.
Anastasia really enjoyed herself tonight.  She carved a pumpkin all by herself.
Just look at how she cut the lid.  :) She cut the top off and then continued to cut away at the top so that the lid no longer fits.
I was happy to see Paul working on a pumpkin since he hurt his finger yesterday.
Nolan liked playing with the pumpkin guts.
Poor Oliver is under the weather.  His cheeks are so red and chapped, bless his heart.  They just make him all the cuter.  Isn't he adorable in his green jammies?  I am enjoying him so much.  I love our bedtime ritual. He loves his nose rubbed and he sucks his tongue in the cutest way.  He is a great cuddler!
Here is one of the pumpkins nearly finished.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ending the Week

It has been a not so good week for one little boy.
It began with him coming up with the bright idea of pulling his pants down during naptime and dancing on his bed.  Underwear was on-- but still.  I just happened to check on the boys and saw them goofing around.  He of course was the master mind.
This could have been an isolated incident, but he was just getting started.
I should have known since behaviors like this seem to come in a cycle.

During the course of the week he did the following:
* Brought home someone else's box tops in an envelope with his name because he wanted to.
* Pushed the limits with a substitute teacher.
* Kicked a little girl on the bus continually even after the bus driver told him to stop.
*  Told the bus driver he kicked the girl because she is a girl but told me he did it to play. 
* Stole the teacher's room key off her desk and hid it in his very messy desk.
* Told the vice principal he stole the key to be the class clown but told me he just liked the key.
* Stole something from one of his sisters' rooms and hid it under his pillow.
*  Ripped up a photo when he was sent to bed for being mean to his little brother.
*  Took three times as long eating at breakfast every morning this week.
* Complained about whatever was served for breakfast every. single. day.
* Woke up his brothers in the morning-- not by talking or making noise but by shaking the bunk bed "accidentally."

These things all happened during the course of a week-- thankfully not all at once.  God is good like that.  It may seem like one thing after another, but there is always time to breathe.  Time to refocus.  Time to find the good.  Homework is no longer a struggle.  He asks to get it done.  He likes to show off his papers when he gets a good grade.  This is a long time coming.  Three years in fact.  Homework was something I used to dread.  Him too.  Now we don't.  And let's not forget him getting ready for school every morning by himself. This is huge!  And the road to get here was not easy-- but we made it!

The thing that I remember is that parenting is a slow and steady process.  It has its ups and downs with sometimes long periods of trials before I ever see a smile.  
It is okay for me to quietly weep at the end of a hard day.  
It is okay to get into bed at the end of day and thank God that He was there because if not, I am not sure where I would have gotten my patience.
It's okay to not know whether to laugh or cry when your son squirts his juice in his hair at lunchtime so he could look cool.
It is okay to scream out loud when your child is screaming at you to show him how crazy it makes you feel.  
Well okay-- the last one is not really okay but I had to share it since it has happened.  

My kids are not perfect.
I am not perfect.
Hey, I screw up as much as they do.
And just like I expect them to bare with me and forgive me, I do the same.
And over time, the kids see that.  They learn to trust that this will happen.  
And they make progress.  They change.  They grow.  Some things get better and new things pop up.  The issues that they had at 7 are so different when they are 10 or 12.  Or maybe not.  Lying may always be a struggle.  So may sneaking food.  
It really depends on the child.

It looks as if the cycle is ending.  It has been a full week.  He ate breakfast without complaint in a normal amount of time.  I think he understands that taking things for any reason is like stealing.  Period.  His regular teacher should be back in the class on Monday which helps ensure that he won't try to get away with things at school.  

If something new comes up, I will take it as it comes and not lump it all together.  Everything is easier to chew in small bites including parenting.

Have a great Sunday!  And remember that our God is bigger and greater!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go Check Them Out!

This is a craft the kids have been doing.  It is fairly simple and the possibilities are endless.
You can make bookmarks, refrigerator magnets, and two of the girls are making a big montage.  
Anastasia made this butterfly.
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Nolan had a hard time listening to me this morning.  I told him to play with his toys.  There was no other alternative.  He shouted no to me and threw a mini tantrum.  You better believe I scooped him up and carried him off to his room.  He screamed the whole way but I was pretty sure he was just really tired.  Sure enough-- within two minutes he was fast asleep and slept for three hours.
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After two days without hot water, our water heater is finally fixed!  Can you say, "Hot shower!"
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A fellow blogger and friend sent me a free sample of Choffy!  Instead of coffee beans they are cacao beans which produce a nice, warm beverage alternative.  Go check out Jill's blog to learn all about this rich, delicious drink and all of its associated health benefits.
Yum!
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Please go check out my friend's blog.  Her and her husband are adopting their first child from Ukraine.
 They are going to be having an auction soon to raise funds for some of the foreign fees.
Please prayerfully consider giving.  And please pray for them.
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Lastly, please pray for Selah.  She is an amazing little girl adopted from Ukraine who survived a near drowning when the stroller she was in rolled into the Erie Canal.  I am encouraged by her and her family's strength and I find myself cheering and praying for her often.  Please join me in praying for continued miracles for this precious little girl.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Intentional

Doesn't Rachel's hair look adorable?  I just cut it a few days ago-- the shortest it has ever been.  I think it is too cute!
We have found some great buys at the 99 cent store--- like these pomegranates.  We harvested one off of our tree to compare and our arils ended up being sweeter.  Still, it was nice having an abundance if only for one day.
Other great buys were Eggo waffles (10 pack), 6--4 oz. Yoplait yogurts, and 1/2 gallons of Edy's ice-cream.  We pretty much cleaned out the store of these items.  :)  

William is a pretty good big brother to Nolan.  He always makes sure that Nolan has a snack at snacktime.  It is sweet.
I don't think I could live without this.  Finally-- after 4 different sharpeners we have found a winner!  
To show how serious I am about it, I allowed John to drill holes into my bookcase.  Now that's love.  And permanence.   
Here is a random picture of Sveta and Nolan.  Yes, Sveta is content walking around our "track" listening to music, holding Nolan.
This is Anna's favorite pastime nowadays.   Now that she is taking voice lessons she is singing up a storm!
Dennis and Alex followed Sveta around and around the track.  It looks like a good time was had by all!
Today was an interesting day.  Our charter school teacher came out to go over the kids' work.  At one point William went out to skateboard.  Next thing I know he comes in with a bee sting on his ear.  Anna of course was holding the stinger.  Of course.
After some ice on the bee sting, he went back out.  A couple minutes later he came back in sporting this injury.  It looks painful but the truth of the matter is that William hardly feels pain.  He gets these kinds of scrapes all. the. time.  From skateboarding, pogo stick jumping, biking-- you name it.  Funny thing is, I think he thinks it is hilarious.  We were doing a video for church and William fell while jumping a ramp on his bike.  You'd think he would be embarrassed but No!  He wanted to make sure the accident ended up up in the video.  As if it was cool.
William has sensory issues-- always has and probably always will.  I think he knows this too.  I just tell him to please, please, please be careful.  He is supposed to live way longer than me!
Sveta came to me insisting that I put a puffy thing on William.
"You mean a bandage?" I asked.
"Oh yes... that," she said.
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A few days ago, a certain boy of mine was jumping on the pogo stick   Even though he knew better than to break the hulu hoop laying out on the cement-- and even though he knew the hulu should be put up at that moment-- and even though he knew that I had specifically asked that everyone take care of that hulu hoop, he decided to pogo jump on it.  It was shattered in that one spot.
And then he left it as if nothing happened.
The next day I noticed it and it didn't take long to find out who the culprit was.  I waited patiently impatiently for him to get home from school.  I asked him to follow me outside.
"Is there anything you would like to tell me?"
After some run around, he began to tell me how he accidentally broke the hulu hoop.  
I stopped him right there.
"Please stop.  I want you to choose your words carefully.  Don't use the word accident.  An accident implies that you didn't mean to do it.  When an accident happens you should be quick to feel bad and quick to confess because after all it is just an accident.  Accidents happen to all of us and you know that if you come and tell me you won't get in trouble.  But you did neither.  So please do not start out calling it an accident."
At that point I didn't want him to know that his brother had told me that the hulu hoop had been a target to jump on.
Thankfully he honestly went on to tell me how he broke it, but he didn't act very sorry.
I wished he would have shown some remorse but he didn't.
To pay for the $6 hulu hoop he had to pull 3 small buckets of weeds. 
And no computer for the rest of the day for not coming and telling me immediately and for lying to me that it was an accident. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Sunday

More pictures of Oliver.  I just can't help it-- he is so cute!  He is eating and feeding himself like such a big boy!
Look at his two little teeth!
If you look closely you can see his two upper teeth coming in too!
Nolan is doing so well.  He is finally beginning to talk.  He can say no, more, and Wachel.
He loves to make faces for the camera.  Here is his munchkin face.   
Frosted Pumpkin cookies.  The whole family-- all 19 of us-- absolutely love them!
Our community group is awesome!  We love, love, love them all!  What we do is very special.  We always end with dinner.  We often hang out till it is time for our little ones to go to bed.  Good night Rachel and Galinka! 
Ha ha-- the girls are looking over my shoulder as I type this.