Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lots Going On

We have been going non-stop around here-- but it's all good.
Last Thursday I was out pulling weeds in the backyard while the kids played.  I pulled up an earthworm tangled in the roots of a big weed and screamed because I was not expecting it.  Julia ran over to take it to our planter box and Nolan ran over to check it out. 
He tripped and fell face first into the planter box.
Fearing a broken nose, we went to Urgent Care to get x-rays.  
Too bad the x-ray machine was down.  The doctor said Nolan would be okay and if we wanted to come back the next day we could.  Yes, I want to come back I thought.
Friday morning I took him back for x-rays.  A few of the kids sat in the van (cool and breezy day)with Rachel and listened to music.  I thought we would be in and out and completely forgot about the battery draining.
Finally, Nolan had the x-rays done.  The doctor who initially gave them a quick look over said that it wasn't broken.  I still asked for a CD of the x-rays to show the cranial facial team.
When we went back to the van, the battery was dead. 
I still had to run to Costco, so I was feeling pressed for time.
I was able to find a nice gentleman who had jumper cables.
Hallelujah-- God answered my prayer I was saying over and over in my head.
In no time we were on our way. 
Sunday morning we got a call that indeed Nolan fractured his nose according to the radiologist's report.   
I began calling the head nurse at the cranial facial team and after three days of no return calls, I  scheduled Nolan to see the plastic surgeon outside of the team visit.  I just don't think it should wait. They didn't sound too concerned, but thankfully they will seem him within two weeks.
Back to Friday.
John took four of the kids to a minor league baseball game.
They all had a good time.
And on Saturday John took a handful of kids to a charity event to handout beverages to the runners.
After the run was over, they danced the Cha-Cha slide.
This past weekend was Caleb's prom.  Yes, he went alone, and had a fantastic time with friends. 
 Such a handsome young man!

Did I mention that Caleb was accepted into the Honor's program at the college he is attending?
Way to go Cay!
This week the kids have been state testing.  We are told that it doesn't count, but that the kids need to try their best.  What?  Thank you common core.  All the testing was done on computers this year, and each of the kids came to me sharing how ridiculous the test was.  They said the questions did not make sense at all.
A few more kids still have to test on Friday-- it will be interesting to hear what they think.

What is even more ridiculous than common core state testing is learning that the psychologist at the charter school thinks that Paul needs to take his speech evaluation in his native language.  Let's forget that he has been in America for almost four years and I speak more Russian than he does, but they are having trouble finding someone who speaks Russian-- or is it Ukrainian-- to test him?
Is this a stall tactic?  She insists that this is the law, yet I have not encountered this issue with any of my other children who receive speech services.
Let's just say I am speechless.
A few of us are doing something really special.  It may not seem very special to most, but it is very near and dear to our hearts.  It has been blessing our socks off, that I think it is time to share.
We have been visiting a small senior assisted living home where five amazing elderly people live.
Julia had been asking for quite some time, and we began making calls to different homes a few weeks ago.  Thinking we would visit one of the bigger retirement homes, we were saddened to learn that the administrators seem not to care.  Julia and Galina actually went to one senior home to speak directly to the activities coordinator in hopes that they would see how serious the girls were.
On their way out, there was one elderly woman sitting in a wheel chair wearing a beautiful, sparkly pair of shoes.
Julia said, "What beautiful shoes you have!"
The old woman looked surprised and said, "What?  These old things?"
Julia said, "Yes, they are very nice shoes."
The old woman said, "I need to get rid of them.  I keep waiting for my granddaughter to come and take me shoe shopping.  She keeps promising but I keep waiting."
Hunched over in her wheel chair, this old woman seemed so lonely.

We never did get a return call from that one senior home, but we found the one that we are visiting three times a week, and like I said before, it has been a huge blessing for us.

There is Meredith, Colleen, Smokey, Raymond, and Cal.  They are each special in their own way. 
Meredith likes to do puzzles.  Colleen likes to watch golf.  She used to be a beauty operator.  Smokey used to be a firefighter.  Raymond loves classical music.  Cal is a gentle soul.
The caretakers are wonderful too.
We have learned so much about each of them in just a handful of visits because they have so much to say.  They say they look forward to our visits.  They say we make their day when we visit.
In reality, we look forward to the visit just as much if not more.  Today we took them cinnamon rolls.  Andrew showed them magic tricks.  The kids played the piano and sang songs.
Tomorrow, we are going to go and make them dinner.  We are planning a movie night too.
So why do I share?
I share because the need is great.
There are elderly... many of them, widows... all around us.
They are sitting, cooped up in their room, longing for someone to talk to.
They often pass the day doing the same thing they did the day before and the day before that.
It would mean the world to them if they got a surprise visitor!
Lastly, I have some exciting news!
We received our travel dates.
John and I will be meeting our new daughter on my birthday!
Praise the Lord! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It is Time

These are spacers.  Not very fun, but necessary.
 (I'm told they make you feel like you have a big piece of meat stuck in your teeth.) 
After an ortho consultation for two of the kids this morning, we went ahead and began treatment.
For Anna, she has a stubborn tooth that just won't come in.  We have waited more than enough time, to see if was just taking its sweet ol' time.  But nope-- it doesn't want to budge, so we are going to help it along.  In two weeks, she will have laser treatment to cut through the gum so the tooth can be pulled up.  She will be fitted for a bottom retainer and braces too.
For Alex, he is now old enough to have phase 1 of his orthodontic work done.  I wanted to wait until he was not only physically old enough, but also mature enough to better understood what was going on.  When they placed the spacers, he immediately wanted to grab them.  Though he wanted to pick them out, I was able to explain to him why he can't.  
He will have 12-15 months of treatment done now, with another phase down the road.
In the next two weeks, he will be fitted with an expander to help widen his upper palate and draw back his front teeth.  He will also wear rubber bands in 4-6 months to bring his lower jaw forward.  All this to correct a severe overbite.  Once this is corrected he should be able to close his mouth naturally, and that will help with his dry mouth and speech.
He is excited and nervous at the same time. 
The neat thing is that the orthodontist, though almost an hour away, is near John's work.  Now the four of us can start getting together for lunch.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I gave Oliver a haircut the other night.   Even though it makes him look like such a big boy, he is still little cutie! 
Today we made egg rolls.  Rachel and Annalyn were surprised just how simple they were to make, yet so yummy.  Come time they move out, they will know how to cook for themselves quite well even though they joke that they will be stopping by every day for dinner.   That's fine with me as I enjoy cooking for my family.

Multi-tasking-- finally the imaging center is mailing us a copy of Nolan's CTscan.  Why does it have to be so difficult to get his records?  Three doctors have sent Nolan's records to the cranial facial team with only two more to go.  I hope to have them all by the end of April.  It could happen.
The younger boys see that everyone helps out in the kitchen on different days. 
"When can we help?"
"When is it our turn?"
"What can I do Mom?"
On the day we were making mashed potatoes, they asked to help peel.  They did a great job!
William quartered all the potatoes so they would cook faster.
The conversations that go on during meal preparations are quite interesting.   Kids can be so entertaining!
Nolan had a school program last week.  He did a great job singing.  In fact, he is still humming the tune a week later.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! We have much to celebrate. He is risen!  
Last night we attended the Saturday night Easter service at our church.  Afterwards we helped out as a family and enjoyed a church meal together.  This morning, our family gathered for a devotional c celebrating our risen King.

Luke 24

 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’  Then they remembered his words.
Afterwards, the kids enjoyed hunting for eggs in the backyard.

After the egg hunt, we dyed eggs.

My Mom and Aunt Tanya came over for Easter dinner.  They are spending the night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Drawings and Doctor Updates

I think the kids' art is wonderful.   I can't believe how much they have improved in the past few weeks.  Everything you see is freehand.  Right now they are doing scenes from the Civil War.
by Sveta
by Galina
by Julia
by Anna
by Annalyn
by Paul
by Andrew
by Anastasia
by William
by Rachel
Today marks exactly two weeks since Andrew first burned himself.  If it wasn't for our amazing neighbors' (the husband is a Physician Assistant) reassurance that he should be fine and I didn't need to rush him to the ER, I think I would have worried myself sick all the way to the hospital. 
Praise the Lord, Andrew is all better!
 Much of the time I used lavender, and purification essential oils.  The last few days I applied Mederma to help with the scarring.
So thankful that he is healed.
Today Dennis and Nolan had physicals.  They have both grown so much this past year.   Nolan received a Hep A shot--  now he is up to date on all vaccines.  He cried for only an instant-- he is such a trooper.  Nolan is going to get an ultrasound of both kidneys since he has occasionally complained of flank pain on the right side in the last few months.  He has never ran a fever, and the pain magically goes away after I rub or kiss his owie, but I would rather be safe than sorry.  Our pediatrician feels the same way, so we will have both kidneys checked out in the next week or so.  Both of the boys will be going to the craniofacial team center early this summer.  This team will include an ENT that will be Nolan's third opinion.  I am hopeful that this fresh set of eyes will bring answers since his ongoing ear issues are merely managed, not fixed.  Though it might still be a few years before the boys have their next major facial surgery, it brings me peace to have them regularly checked on.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Good Things

What a nice surprise! Our friend Tatyana sent these goodies that she got from her local Russian store.  I sure wish we had a store around here.  Thank you so much!
Andrew enjoys making things with ordinary household items.  He made these bows and arrows with wood skewers, duct tape, and yarn.
Our garden is finally planted.  It will be a treat watching it grow!