Monday, August 24, 2015

Preparing for school

We are a couple of weeks out from school starting back up, and I am trying to get organized and prepared to teach Anna for this coming 8th grade year. I am proud of myself for deciding upon the following subjects to teach: Algebra 1, American History, English, Life Science, French, Piano, Computer coding, and Cooking. I am going to put together another chore chart to help us stay on task. I love being organized! Some of the programs that I am using for Anna are : teaching textbooks, Plate MS Science, Bescherelle Conjugating Verbs (for French), United States History, Nitty-Gritty Grammar, and The Brave Writer.

I have 3 of the 4 school supply lists and we are going through our supplies to see what we already own, so we don't buy extras. Does anyone else do this? Sometimes there is the urge to throw out all the supplies that the kids bring home at the end of the school year and just buy new ones in the fall, but I try to overcome that urge and reuse whatever I can. I am improving in this area, and that feels good.

Today is Ukrainian Independence Day! We are celebrating by making Ukrainian Borscht for dinner. The twins are super excited about that. I am proud of their Ukrainian heritage! Most people in the US have several different countries in their genealogy, but my twins are 100% Ukrainian - that we know of - and that seems pretty cool to me.

It seems like we are trying to make up for lost time by scheduling several playdates with friends often. While it is fun, it's also a bit exhausting - but I love creating more fun memories for my children. Being a mama can be fun, indeed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fabulous Friendship

Good friends are such a blessing in life. I have had the incredible pleasure of knowing Valerie since 2008. She introduced me to my son, Keith, who was waiting for us in a crib in Ukraine. Valerie is genuine, generous, knowledgeable, hard-working, and a dear friend. I wish I could live next door to her. Maybe in heaven? 

Valerie came with four (of her thirteen) children to visit me this week. We had so much fun and talked for hours upon hours. I color analyzed her and she is a winter. ��

Our sweet kids. 

Anna and Maren are close friends. 

Iryna and Alayna became better acquainted this trip. 

Calvin cried for Evan after he left. So sad. 

This was our first time meeting Jesse, as he joined Valerie's family this year. He is such a kind and hard-working fellow. He fits right into their family. 

I cannot express how wonderful it is to have friends who understand what it means to parent adopted special needs children. I know that Heavenly Father brought Valerie into my life and I am so thankful for her friendship. Until next time, dear friend. 

Friday, August 07, 2015

From Asperger's to ADHD

We have had Anna evaluated by her therapist, a doctor, and two psychiatrists. It turns out that Anna doesn't have Asperger's, but she does have ADHD. It is interesting because I had a really hard time wrapping my mind around the potential Asperger's diagnosis. I realized that it was hard for me to accept because it wasn't true. Once I came to that conclusion, the Holy Ghost confirmed it to me again and now I have no doubt. I have ADD and I have heard that it is a genetic condition, so I am not surprised. In fact, now all five of my kids have ADHD! I guess it is something I will know and understand very well down the road. Anna is now on Concerta to help with her ADHD. I hope it helps her. 

It is difficult to manage electronics for five kids in the summertime. I generally want a relaxed theme in our home and at the beginning of the summer, I implemented a plan where there would be no electronics in the morning. The kids get up and have breakfast, do their chores, and then play with each other until lunchtime. Then they could be on electronics until dinner time. I thought that this was working until I realized how very cranky my kids were after five hours on electronics. 

Tyler and I discussed it and then put together a plan that involved 2 hours of individual electronic time for each child, plus some "family time" where they could have some limited time together on electronics. This plan quickly began to look just like our prior plan of electronics between lunch and dinner. Something more aggressive had to take place. 

We decided to do a detox from electronics for two days. No electronics allowed. Then I fasted about what I should do. The answer came: only electronics between 2-4pm. There has been grumbling mainly from Anna, but I feel the Holy Ghost confirm to me that 2 hours is plenty of time. There is such a difference in Anna when she isn't on electronics. Here is a picture of her from when she hadn't been on electronics for two days: 

That is a real smile, folks!

As much as I love the summertime, I am looking forward to school starting back up. The school electronics schedule is this: No electronics Sunday - Thursday. And then two hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Electronics can be a blessing in our lives, but too much of it wreaks havoc in our household. How about yours?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Family: Isn't it about time?

I love my family - both Tyler's and my own. I am so grateful that Tyler's sister, Tisha, and her five kids came to visit us last week. We had a BLAST! Tisha and Tyler went running, there was a hike, a visit to DC, a trip to Virginia Beach - it was so beautiful! It made me miss FL! We also played lots of Settlers of Catan. The kids had a blast swimming in the pool and playing from sun-up to sundown. We had a great time. Hurry back, Tisha!

New swimsuit for Iryna

Silas loves the kiddie pool.

Maleiah konked out at the top of the stairs.

Isn't he so handsome? <3

All the cousins!