Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Past Week

Sveta learned a thing or two about baking bread when my Mom was here.  One day they made three dozen sub sandwich rolls using vital wheat gluten.
Even William took his turn kneading the dough.  After a while, he sort of got the hang of it.  Baboonya was a great teacher and practice makes perfect!
Here is a picture of my oldest and youngest.  Adam is about to turn 18 and will be graduating soon after.  I can hardly believe it.  Adam was accepted to three colleges and he quickly narrowed it down to two.  After visiting both campuses, learning what each school had to offer, he finally made a decision.  One offered him the chancellor's award.  The same one accepted him into their honor's program.   And it's close to home.  Drumroll please. After much thought,  he submitted his statement of intent to register at the University of California, Riverside.
He is majoring in mechanical engineering.
We are so proud!
Adam plans to work this summer to save up for his portion of tuition.  Though he will still be living at home, I have a feeling that we will be seeing much less of him.  I am so excited for all the opportunity that awaits him, but it will take some getting used to on my part.  This is so bittersweet for me... it is hard to put into words my thoughts and feelings.
Is he ready?  Of course he is.
Did we raise him right?
Is he going to wear his armor out in the world?
So many things cross my mind, and in the end, all I can do is have faith that he will build his life... his house... his future... on solid ground.
Oliver's pincher grasp is nonexistent so with the advice from one of his teachers, I came up with this.  As you can see by the tear running down his cheek, he was not very happy.  After a few minutes of practice, I realized that the socks were a joke so I took them off. :(
Today Oliver had an evaluation with a speech therapist to see how he swallows and to get some suggestions on teaching Oliver how to chew his food before swallowing.  I put a piece of graham cracker in the side of his cheek just as she said, and he actually chewed it a few times more than had I just given him the piece to put in his own mouth.  Tonight I made a special trip to the store to get these.  Tomorrow I will put strawberries in them to see how Oliver does with them.
Alex has been struggling lately.  A lot.  I was hesitant to share that, but it has become a daily part of our lives.  The behavior challenges are like continuous waves, and though we ride them day in and day out, it would be nice to stand on solid ground with him for a change.
He said he didn't get homework yesterday.  Today he said he didn't get it either.  Once, I can buy, but two days in a row didn't seem right.  I questioned him till I got the truth out-- he just didn't want to do it so he left it in his desk.  Rather than reward him with not doing any, I improvised by getting Dennis' homework and copying down the spelling words.  Alex had to come up with sentences. 
Poor Galina.  She sprained her ankle.  Again.  This time it was the other ankle and it swelled up quite a bit.  After keeping it elevated for the last 24 hours, the swelling has gone down and the pain is not as severe.  She skipped softball practice today, but she hopes to play this weekend.
I'm not too sure.  We'll see.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lots of New Things

Who needs a ping pong table?
Anastasia enjoys the outdoors.
So I thought that my kids could cook.  I always have them helping in the kitchen and some of them help bake bread, make a cake mix, or something simple like fried eggs-- but could they cook?  For one of their assignments I had them choose partners and one of the main dishes and desserts I picked out for the kids to make.  Then they had to double or triple the recipe with minimal help from me.  Let's just say that it was an eye opener.  Each dish turned out great but I ended up helping the kids quite a bit.  The kids learned that you can't add more pasta to the pasta that has already been cooking for 7 minutes. They also learned to error on the side of using a bigger bowl rather than having to change it because it is not big enough.   Next month I told them they will have to cook everything on their own.   Hope I am not tempted to open my mouth and put in my two cents. 
Sveta was proud of her Sante Fe Casserole.
My Mom has been here the last few days.  She has been baking all kind of wonderful breads with the girls.  They even made homemade bagels which are the best!
Julia and Paul made chicken pot pie.  There was enough filling to bag and stick in the freezer for another meal.
The bread was so delicious!  Great job girls!

Oliver is such a big boy!  He is 24 pounds of baby chunk!  His favorite thing to do nowadays is to spit his water out and let it dribble down his chin and all over his clothes.
Out of curiosity I decided to see if Oliver was still afraid of bubble baths.  Nope.  He loves them.

Nolan had dental surgery last Friday.  The dentist removed the remainder of his two front teeth and filled five cavities.  That means that every single tooth was worked on in his little mouth.  Despite his chipmunk cheeks afterwards, he was ready to play a few hours after we got home.
I took Nolan to the ENT that our regular ENT referred him to have his cholesteatoma checked out.  She also suctioned out all the pus in the ear that just had a tube inserted into.   This unusually brave little boy cried-- it hurt that much.  Yet he stayed still till she was finished.  He is now on antibiotics and waiting to have a cat scan.  She thinks surgery is in the near future.
Jonny went to another Opthamologist  for a second opinion yesterday.  Turns out he has 20/20 vision without glasses and is a good candidate for surgery to correct his exotropia. The doctor told us he is colorblind which I already knew.  She will check his eyes in six weeks for a second look to make sure nothing has changed and if that is the case he will follow with surgery.  When Jonny doesn't wear his glasses his eye is much straighter so I pray that in the end his eye corrects itself.  Wouldn't that be awesome!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Three at Once!

It is always nice to visit with my Mom.   Today she made Italian bread with Anna.  Anna was really excited and is already planning the next thing she can bake-- homemade hamburger buns!
The bread turned out great!  It was crispy on the outside and nice and tender on the inside.  We ate it with butter and for a special treat I got out a jar of homemade cranberry curd.  Guess what's for breakfast tomorrow? :)
A few days ago I helped William pull out one of his teeth because it was cracked in half from the adult tooth pushing on it.  He noted that a few other teeth were loose.  Fast forward to today and he was sick on the couch most of the time.  I guess he got really bored because he brought me three more of his teeth.  And he was ready to pull a couple from the other side too.  Thankfully he listened to reason when I told him he needed to keep some teeth to chew with.

His brothers are so jealous!  "William, you are going to score tonight with the tooth fairy!"
My Mom and I convinced him that the tooth fairy would appreciate if he just put his teeth on the nightstand next to him.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


One day last week John and I went out on a "date".  A late night date to see the movie Not Today.  Since the movie is only showing in a few select theaters the closest one was over an hour away and didn't start until 10pm.  Thankfully it was an awesome movie bringing awareness to child trafficking and present day slavery or John and I would have fallen asleep.  On the drive home we both realized that we are not the spring chickens we used to be. 

John and Adam visited a second college campus this past weekend.  They were impressed with what they saw.  This particular college is close to home so Adam would continue to live here but the other college is awesome too.  He can't go wrong with either college which makes the decision all the more challenging.  We are figuring out financial aid and scholarships which will obviously play into which college he chooses.  If you could keep Adam in your thoughts-- he has some big decisions coming up in the next few weeks.

I took Paul to the eye doctor today-- a new one.  I don't feel comfortable with his current prescription and I wanted someone else to take a good look at him.  Sure enough she noticed some things that the other doctor failed to mention, so we are going to go back tomorrow for a dilation once they have his previous records.  He will most likely get bifocals with a stronger prescription in both eyes.  He will also begin patching therapy for one eye for the mild esotropia in his right eye.  I had always heard that after age eight patching didn't make much of a difference, but this doctor thinks that it could help just enough.  If it could help Paul's vision, it is worth a shot!

Now onto a few parenting "highlights":

Last Saturday, I was told by one son that another son had peed in the public shower at the ball park instead of the urinal.  When I asked him why, he didn't really know.

Last Saturday I looked over during the same softball game and saw one of the older brothers carrying Nolan on his shoulders while walking on the top bleachers.  I could have wrung his neck as I shouted at him to carefully put his brother down.  "Yeah, but Nolan liked it!"  Too bad, I didn't.

This same son of mine likes to walk along our brick wall fences in the backyard.  He also told me he wishes I would let him jump off our roof onto the trampoline.  Same son is excited that we are entertaining the idea of putting in a zip line in our backyard.  I think I am going crazy!

I look out the window to see two of the boys getting ready to go at it.  When I tried to settle it, one of the boys, like most always, could not listen to reason.  I ended up taking this son with me on a long errand I always have to run on Mondays so that we could have a long, long talk.  I think it went really well.  Today was a good day for him!  But with this son, all we could do is take it day by day.... sometimes hour by hour.

Yesterday the school called when I wasn't home and insisted that we come pick up Alex because of some "personal issues" that they didn't want to deal with although it is in his IEP that they are supposed to deal with it.  I was not home to handle this, so in the end, Julia got our neighbor to drive her to the school to get Alex after the school called John to get permission.  Bless her heart.  Needless to say, I kept him home today.  I am at a loss as to how to handle this.  On one hand, it is the law that they follow his IEP, but on the other I am concerned about how this affects Alex's peer relationships as he gets older.   Right now, he doesn't seem to be bothered or embarrassed by these accidents, but I think he will be bothered by it soon enough and then it will be too late because his classmates will remember. 

This evening Oliver hit the spoon of mashed peas out of my hand, and smeared it all over his face.  Repeat 6 or 7 times.  And repeat a few more times when older siblings thought they could get him to eat it better than Mom could.  I guess he doesn't like smashed peas.

Oliver is close to walking.  We all think he could be walking this summer!

Friday, April 12, 2013


I guess the old adage-- Kids say the darndest things-- is really true.  At breakfast this morning one little boy told me that his poop was green.  I guess my speechlessness wasn't what he expected so he shared the news a few more times.  It even got a couple of chuckles from one of his brothers. Nice.

And then later in the day another little boy told me that if he doesn't brush his teeth, his penis hurts.  Poof-- out of the blue.  I'm still scratching my head with that one, as is Adam.
Here are three movies I really want to see.


Not Today

Camp the movie
 And here are other miscellaneous notes to self.

~ Make sure leftovers actually make it to the fridge after dinner.
~ Remember to bring Chrome notebook to your room at night so that no one sneaks it to their room for unauthorized Internet time.
~ Actually check the kids' schoolwork-- don't take their word for it that they actually completed it.
~ Do online shopping as time permits for plenty of next year's winter jackets for the kids or risk the kids not having enough when they lose them at school or break all the zippers.
~ Spend some time doing yard work because you actually like it.
~ Don't forget that your community group is having a kick off barbecue this Sunday and you haven't bought a single thing for it yet.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kids Keep on Growing Up

Last Saturday we made homemade pizza. John was gone with Adam up at one of the colleges he has been accepted to so I was home with the rest of the kids.  We also had Taylar and Rachel's friend Brett over. 
I came up with the idea to precook the pizza crust just a little so it wouldn't be so flimsy.  This worked out great! 
Look at Rachel the dancing sweeper listening to her Ipod.  :)
Alex kept rubbing his left eye and was complaining of pain so I took him to the Optometrist today for a full exam.  Everything checked out fine and he doesn't need glasses, but if you tell him these are not glasses you'll burst his bubble.  After they dilated his eyes, they gave him these to wear and now he wants to take them for show and tell tomorrow!
Our homeschool charter requires the kids to do some sort of visual or performing arts, so I have started doing art projects with them.  The first try at this assignment many of the kids were arguing how it was too hard.  "Mom, can't I take and F?"  I insisted that they follow the directions and redo it till they got the concept of this project being an illusion.  In the end, I actually think the kids were pleased with their finished project.  I know I am. 
The other day after teaching a few of the kids about pollination, we went for a walk.  As we admired the different front yards we passed a home with a hummingbird decoration in the tree.  Anastasia pointed it out as she remembered that it was called a "hummy" bird.  Close enough and the highlight of my walk!
Caleb got a job as a busboy!  He is so excited.  Way to go!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Growth

Easter morning we went to church.   Rather than have the kids wake up to Easter goodies, we saved their candy till after dinner. 
Nolan didn't know what to think I'm sure.  Was it his birthday?  Could he eat all of his candy at one sitting?  Was it okay if he looked at it all day?
Needless to say he was one happy camper experiencing his first Easter. 

As soon as the packages were open, the trading began.  The kids traded jolly ranchers for whoppers, and cookies for chocolate eggs.
Oliver was so excited to have this lollipop.  For a long time he just popped it in and out of his mouth.  Imagine my surprise when he threw it down.  Thinking it was more of an oops, we handed it back to him.  He threw it down again-- that stinker.  And then he began rubbing it in his hair.  He may not talk yet, but he made it pretty clear that he was done with the lollipop.

Monday afternoon Grandma and Grandpa came to our house to spend a few days.
Galina gets regular tutoring from Dad in math.
Yesterday it was observing snails, and today Julia and Annalyn had to dissect a frog.
This was an  event that Annalyn dressed  up for!

I don't know about you, but I think Oliver's smile gets a little brighter everyday.  It is impossible to not look at him and be filled with warmth and love.  He is growing up so fast.  He is now drinking from the sippy cup that he used to cry at just the sight of it.  He is not only riding his Y bike all by himself, but he using it as a walker too.  When we first got it one month ago, he cried when we put him near it.  No more tears.  Just giggles and flirtatious raspberries.
He is definitely attached to our family.  The other day when I tried to drop him off at the church nursery, he fussed and turned his body and clung to me.  This is so awesome!  We eventually went and had a great time in there but was definitely ready to leave when we came to pick him up. 
The seeds we planted are sprouting.
Here are the wildflower seeds popping their heads through the dirt.  It was so exciting to find them.
And here are our radishes! Aren't they cute?  Who knew gardening could be such a thrilling experience!  We look forward to each day to see if new sprouts have popped their heads up.
Is anyone else gardening?