Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our First Day of School

Today was the first day of homeschool at our house and to make sure we all got off to a great start I chose a special breakfast that met all of our needs.  Experts say that in order for children to do their best in school they should begin the day with a nutritious, filling breakfast.

However, I opted for the "bribery"/"drug-of-choice" breakfast for our first day.

 No one can get off to a bad start after eating a Boston Kreme doughnut!!! (And even if they do, they are quickly reminded by their teacher that they were given doughnuts for breakfast so they'd better shape up if they ever want that surprise again--I told you bribery works!)

Even Josi, (who started her day spending a few moments of reflection in time-out), was all smiles after her dose of sugar and cholesterol. :)

Of course the teacher needs her caffeine--especially since she just got back from working out and didn't have time to shower OR put on any make-up. Woo Hooey!

I think a little girl is realizing that her breakfast of oatmeal and bananas is a far cry from those yummy round things she sees her brothers and sister eating.

Our day got off to a great start with Nadia enjoying her first few moments in her "Preschool Pen",

Michael plowing through his math and spelling,

Josi staying focused and not being distracted (yet) by wanting to play with her little sister,

 And the eldest beginning his first year of high school and tackling Algebra II without any tears and gnashing of teeth... Ahh...the teacher is lulled into a false sense of security as she surveys her students in their harmonious and relaxed learning environment.

Even the dog is momentarily fooled by the calm surroundings and decides to take a snooze with both eyes closed.

 Then the tide starts to turn.  Little one is starting to go from gate to gate in her corral shaking it and looking for any weak points where she might be able to force her way out.  I'm tempted to get her a tin cup to bang back and forth along the gates at this point. :)

High School student has already resorted to the prone position to read his history book.

"Psst.  Hey you! Furry thing that licks me and lets me play in your water bowl.  Come spring me from this kiddie jail.  I'll make sure to drop more food from my high chair if you get me out!!!"

"Waaaahhh!  I'm all done in here!"

 Time for Plan B.  Let's see how well Nadia does in an inclusive setting.
The teacher wisely removes all writing implements and other sharp objects from within the preschooler's reach and is able to continue instruction time with her students.

 "Mom, how am I supposed to find the major rivers and mountain ranges in South America if Nadia's sitting on them?"  Um, ok, I guess Plan B may need a little tweaking as the year goes along.

 The preschooler is relegated to the high schooler's care while the other 2 students "embalm" an apple. 

"Whew!  School is tiring!" "I'm sure glad naptime is one of my assignments."

Me too, sweet girl...me too!  May I join you???

My prayer for this school year is not so much that my children will receive stellar grades in all of their subjects (although the standards will be high and we'll all be working hard).  Moreso, I'd like to see growth in their love for God and for each other, in their character--especially in the areas of serving one another and being kind to each other. 

 For myself, I'd like to respond to the many "glitches" in our day with patience and gentle words.  Ironically, I heard this verse on the radio as I was coming home from the gym this morning.  It is from Proverbs 16:23,24
"A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.  Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

I already missed the mark many times this first school day but I'm thankful I have a Heavenly Father who isn't grading me on my behavior, but who gently takes me aside and reminds me that He's here to give me everything that I need to be the kind of homeschooling mom He's made me to be.

His mercies are new every morning and so I can go to bed tonight looking forward to how He's going to show up tomorrow instead of hanging my head in shame for the many times I messed up today.

Now it's time to go to the teacher's lounge and have a bowl of ice cream!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Can She or Can't She?

Hear that is.  Ever since we met Nadia we had concerns about her hearing. She wouldn't respond to us calling her, would rarely, if ever, blink or respond in any way to loud noises, and just overall wouldn't make eye contact with us when we were talking to her.  She also likes to put her hands on our necks to feel the vibration when we're talking.  All seemingly classic symptoms of hearing loss. 

Her first audiological/ENT exam showed that she had no movement at all in her ear drums and that she was a great candidate for tubes.  They also tested her hearing in the sound booth but the results were inconclusive because she was very inconsistent in her responses.

So, she had her tube surgery about 3 weeks ago and all went well with that.  We've noticed improvements in her responses to us and she'll  react once in awhile when our dog barks or other loud noises "startle" her.  We've always wondered if some of her lack of response/reacting is just the language issue since she's only heard English for 2 months as opposed to Russian for over 2yrs.  We also realize that spending 2yrs. in an orphanage might  lend itself to some learned "tuning out" behavior. 

We still get a lot of this "look" where she turns her head and purses her lips as if she's really concentrating on trying to hear us, so I wasn't completely surprised at her follow-up hearing test today when the audiologist said that she still couldn't say for sure whether Nadia is hearing in the normal ranges. 

She is definitely hearing and her ear drums responded during the tympanogram test! However, to what degree and how consistently is still a question mark. We will repeat the hearing test in 3 months and if the results are inconclusive again, then we may need to do an ABR (the hearing test done on infants). Because of her age she'll need to be put under anesthesia for this test so I'm praying for conclusive results either way in 3 months so we can skip the ABR.

Overall, we're pleased with whatever degree of hearing she has because I was convinced in the beginning that the princess was deaf! :)  Either way, she's still our princess and she's already learned the signs for "more", "please" and "all done". This smart cookie will have no trouble communicating with us...which is definitely the up side of this potential "down".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just The Boys!

As I'm packing up, making beds, and closing out our week at the beach, I couldn't leave without posting pictures of the men in my life!

Allen, my almost 14yr. old. I'm loving this boy even as we head into the high school years in homeschooling.  We'll make it as long as I have my bible and a Starbucks right around the corner. :)

Michael, my warrior, heading out to conquer waves unknown. This boy's energy and spirit should be bottled and sold. We'd put those 5-hour drinks out of business! 

My main man being the Daddy his daughters need.  Aren't our men sexy when they are being Godly Dads?

Reaching out with those strong, protective hands to assure his newest daughter that he's there for her...always.

Brothers loving on each other the way that only brothers can do. (i.e. wrestling)

They think they don't like each other but I know deep down they will be friends forever.

This young man has never met a sport he cannot conquer.

And this guy has never met a fish he cannot catch!

My handsome man, who is truly a boy at heart, which makes him the best family man for us!

I love my boys!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just The Girls

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed saying things like, "I'll take the girls to the pool." or "Yes, those are my girls."  My Josi and Nadia...my girls...are 2 of the most wonderful blessings from God.  Oh yes, I love my boys...but this post is just the girls. :)

Just the girls all dressed in pink.

Just me and my newest girl.

Just loving her newest girl cousin.

Just some girl time in the pool.

Just my girl Lisa and I watching our families eat pizza together.

Just me and the girls posing for some photos...not really noticing the big wave coming toward us!

Here it comes!!!...look which girl gets it in the face first!

Guess the girls need to pay a little more attention to the big, bad ocean rather than the camera!

Just 3 little girls whose lives would be completely different if their parents hadn't heard and obeyed the call to bring them from faraway places to families who love and cherish them!
  Let's Hear It For The Girls!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Beach Baby!

We're in beautiful Myrtle Beach for Nadia's first family beach vacation!  We were all eagerly awaiting the verdict of whether Nadia would be a beach girl....or not. 

She started out a bit tentative with the whole sitting in the wet sand thing as rolling, foamy water rushed at her...

...but very quickly realized that water is water and we already know how much she loves water!

She enjoyed the sand but thankfully didn't try to eat it!

She liked the taste of the salt water so her tongue got lots of exercise. :)

As if she needed another excuse to stick her tongue out. :)

Even getting sand and water in her eyes didn't seem to bother her.

And the rougher the water the better for this girl!

Allen wasn't as enamored with the whole beach/ocean experience his first few trips here. I remember his reaction to watching the ocean waves racing to the shore as an almost 2yr. old.  His exact words were, "Ocean come get you!"  He stayed out of the water that year.

But now, we can't keep him out.

Jessica is always up for anything so she's right there boogie boarding or helping out with Nadia or whatever else anyone asks her to do.  We're so glad she's with us this year!

Josi is the ultimate water girl and usually has to be dragged out of either the ocean or pool when it's time to go home.

Michael is perfecting his skimboarding skills this year--hang ten dude!

Yep, I'd say the verdict is in and it's a resounding YES!  This girl is definitely a beach baby! ( I wonder how many Ukrainian-born kids ever get to see the ocean?)  Hmm....