Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Did you miss me??

Two whole weeks I've gone without posting. I've thought about it several times, but my hands haven't made it to the keyboard--there've just been lots of mental posts. ;)

It's all done. School, that is.

The kids had a half-day last Thursday and have been home since then.

I still love being home, crazy as it can be. :) :)

Today was actually the second day of the rest of our lives--also known as homeschooling!

Yes, we have decided to homeschool for the next year. We just see too many gaps in our kids, and I am beyond frustrated that even at a Christian school Danielle doesn't know her alphabet but was learning to flip people off.


I get lots of comments like "Wow! Homeschooling six!" which make me wonder if I should be concerned about the fact that one teacher teaches 16-20 of them (or more!) at a time in the schools. If I can't teach six of them, why on earth should I be surprised that they aren't getting enough help when they're in a large classroom? :)

So this will be our new normal. Over the summer we're just doing worksheets from curriculum workbooks based on their last grade level. I want to see exactly where our gaps are and where we need to focus for each child. It will be a challenge but I know it will be worth it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This weekend I had the opportunity to visit with two friends--one I had never met before and one I met a long time ago.

During college, I worked for a summer camp for kids with special needs (Camp John Marc). It was literally a life-changing experience for me, and I believe one of the reasons I had very little hesitation with the idea of adopting children with medical needs.

A few weeks ago, one of the camp directors emailed me to let me know a current staff member was going to be in St Louis for a few weeks. Marne and I were able to get together and have coffee this past weekend, and it was a lot of fun. I found out that she worked last summer when a couple of girls "graduated" from Camp I-Thonka-Chi (a camp for children who have been burned). They were very special girls to me as I had worked with them when they had just started coming to camp (many, many years ago...and yes, it made me feel old! LOL).

Several months ago, a former student of mine from Michigan State had contacted me about being a reference for her. She was applying for graduate school here in St Louis. She ended coming here and then we realized a couple of months ago that she is attending the same church as we do! Last week, she emailed me to let me know her aunt Lois was going to be in town. In a very bizarre set of circumstances, we know her aunt. In fact, we traveled to Ukraine(!) with her on our very first trip with Master Provisions. She was 70 years old when we went to Ukraine. We loved her gentle spirit and willingness to take whatever came our way with the trip. It was so much fun to see her again, and to introduce her to our Ukrainian additions!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's rough being 8

"Moooommmm, I need help with my homework."

"Alex, I'm not going to give you the answers. Everything you need to do those questions is on your paper."

"But it's not here..." (pointing to one section)

"No, it's not."

"You mean I have to think all by myself??"

"Yes, you have to think. That's what happens when you're eight years old."

Friday, May 13, 2011

My dryer works again!

And boy am I thankful for a handy husband! ;)

About a year ago, my dryer started acting up. It would stop the cycle and flash and error code and seemed to be overheating. So I started running the cycles manually and setting the temperature to low. That bought me a few months.

But recently it's not heating up at all, or only sporadically, so none of the clothes are getting dry. I don't yet have a clothesline outside (and not really sure I want everything hanging out in the backyard!) so it meant running the clothes through the dryer sometimes up to three hours(!!) to get them dry, and then hanging them up for a bit in the basement or laying them out upstairs for awhile.

I had Googled the issue when it first starting happening and was pretty sure I knew what the problem was. Apparently these Whirlpool Duet dryers are notorious for these problems, and it's due to the thermistor. I found a thermistor on Amazon and then just needed to actually purchase it. I do some online surveys so I had enough in my Amazon account to cover the cost of the thermistor and shipping (they're not very expensive at all, so it was worth it even if that didn't end up being the problem as long as we could try to avoid a service call!).

The new thermistor arrived yesterday and after watching a few videos on the internet (yeah, I know) we decided to tackle it as it looked like a pretty easy fix. After one false start, Mark was able to get the new thermistor in and our dryer works again! I am thrilled as I do about 8 loads of laundry a week, and that was a lot of laundry hanging around to dry!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We love the dentist

Julia did great at the dentist yesterday. She was really excited about it and seemed to understand exactly what was going to happen (we can tell from her teeth that she's had an extraction before). She told me (in Russian) that she would go to sleep, it would hurt, and she wouldn't cry.** The whole procedure from her going back to coming out to the lobby took 30 minutes. She had some gauze to bite on and they told us to leave it in for five minutes. She didn't seem to have any desire to take it out of her mouth, so I let her keep it in for the ride home. When we got home she wanted to eat, so I told her to go throw the gauze in the trash. As soon as she opened her mouth we had a fountain of blood!

Apparently she had had the gauze held so tightly that the clot adhered, so when she released the pressure the bleeding started all over again. Thankfully she closed her mouth again when I asked her too. ;) We got the bleeding stopped without a problem, then she ate some ice cream and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.

She had a great afternoon with no pain (or so she kept saying). Walking to pick the other kids up from school, she asked me if she was all done with the dentist.

"No, you have one more."
"One more??"


They LOVE their dentist!

**I did tell her it was okay to cry, but the "no crying" thing stems from her and Bianca's last doctor visit where Julia got five shots and Bianca got four. Julia didn't cry but Bianca howled and Julia is lording it over her and apparently is never going to cry again. ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hijacking the blog

This post is for Sara and Mom O...

Here are the girls' dresses (ignore the socks--those are their regular socks). Let me know if something doesn't look right! :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Still here :)

...and LOVING it. :) :)

Hmmm...what to share from the last few weeks? I really am loving being at home. I go to bed every night thankful I don't have to go to work the next day. I love being able to focus on serving my family.

Bianca and Julia are doing really well. I have been amazed at their adjustment. That's not to say we don't have issues. ;) We have had a couple of common issues--bedwetting and finger/thumb-sucking. The bedwetting is occurring with one girl, but not because she is an actual bedwetter. She doesn't want to get up and go to the bathroom so she pees in bed. This is not at all uncommon for children from orphanages as they are not usually allowed to get up at night. Both girls suck their fingers (Bianca) and thumb (Julia). They are wearing mittens to bed at night on the specific hand. Julia has now asked not to wear it and seems to have stopped sucking her thumb. I'm sure at stressful times we will see that recur. :) The thumb/hand sucking we want to get stopped as quickly as possible as the girls are already 5 and 6 and losing teeth. We want to get this behavior modified so that it doesn't impact their adult teeth.

Julia already has to have plenty of dental work done. She's scheduled for three fillings, two extractions, and a crown. She won't be under full anesthesia like Emily was, but they're giving her nitrous and splitting the work into two sessions.

I promise we do have pictures to share. They're on the camera still and I'm hoping to get them off today!