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Friday, April 29, 2011

Big kids and Easter

I planned to post these Easter photos earlier...but I got some grief from my big boys who were worried about their reputation. "No, Mom....you're gonna put us all over the internet and people will think we're little babies dying eggs!!" Then they saw pics from some of my blog buddies showing their teens doing the egg dying and hunting thing. Now apparently, it's cool and I am no longer under a gag order...so here are the pics from our Easter activities.

Dying eggs with our friend, Maleah

Mr. Cool shrink wraps an egg in a bunny wrapper...shhh...don't tell anyone!

Tanya shrink wrapped her egg in fluffy yellow chicks.
Our neighbors hid a ton of candy-filled plastic eggs for the kids to find.
Shhh...don't tell a soul that you saw Mr. Cool on the hunt.

Kate was the first one to fill her basket with eggs...notice anything different about that victory smile? No more braces!!!
We shared cooking duties with our best friends/neighbors. Many hands make light work and a great meal; there were eleven of us for Easter dinner!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Moses and the Ten Comments

Last night, my 6th grader asked me to type his Social Studies paper. He was asked to compare and contrast three religions. He worked hard on it and had some good information but I particularly liked this:

"The Jewish people have rules called the 10 comments."

This from my boy who struggles with authority, who hates to be "bossed around", who thinks kids should always be able to do just what they want without parental/adult interference. I close my eyes and try to envision what he was thinking when he wrote this. I get an image of Moses receiving stone tablets and God's booming voice saying, "Here you go, dude...just a few suggestions...if you don't mind...whenever you get around to it...thanks." Oh, yeah.....I can see it.

My DH thinks it was just a spelling error....I think not.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Twin teens of different mothers...

These two are my oldest kids...cherished virtual twins who are only 3 weeks apart in age and both soon to be 16, one born to my flesh and the other to my heart. They are so much alike with their deep feelings, their sensitivity to others, their introspection, their sense of humor, their just plain wackiness. Observe this video they made tonight:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My hurt child

Taken in Kazakhstan, 2005
Camping on Children's Island, 2007
He loves to eat and is learning to cook, 2011
This is my first boy, adopted from Kazakhstan in 2005. He was 8 years old, so skinny that his pants fell down every time he ran, so damaged and scared that he raged off and on for the first 2 years he was with us. He's also one of the smartest kids I've ever met...but he suffers from anxiety disorder, PTSD, and a boatload of other issues that stem from his early history of abuse, trauma and abandonment. He's is almost 14 now and has come a long way with medication and therapy...but his scars are deep and angry and the firestorm of adolescence has further unsettled my boy. He's a very funny kid when he's not ticked off at the world...but he's ticked off more often than not. He tends to isolate himself when he's not comfortable...which means he misses a lot of fun times. He struggles with attentional issues, hates any kind of change, and isn't a sunny personality. When we recently had house guests, my boy did his level best to be invisible, avoiding all family activities unless I pushed him. He said he was tired...or bored...or just not feeling well...or not interested in meeting new people. He never once admitted that he was terrified, that he was jealous, that he was sure his world was turning upside down, that we would undoubtedly like these new kids who showed up better than we liked him...because that happened to him in his past life, so why not again?

Trauma sucks...and it leaves an ugly scar.

Don't let it end....

We had an awesome weekend with our friends from the Philly area, lots of fun, lots of laughter over games, bike rides to the magic shop, pictures of a brand new coven of witches who are closely related to us...but it ended much too soon. For teens and tweens, this means it should have gone on for another several days as both families were in vacation mode for spring break. That's probably why the "pouty prince" graced us with a royal appearance as our friends pulled away from our door.

We waved goodbye and I turned toward our house, commenting on how much fun we'd had over the past few days. That's when my oldest son said, "Sure, until you spoiled it all." and stomped off. How did I spoil an otherwise perfect weekend? By refusing to let him jump into their vehicle and head out of state with them without a passing thought to how he would get home again. Sigh...ah, well. It was to be expected; saying goodbye is hard and someone else is surely to blame when you're a teenager. Might as well be Mom...who you have figured out will forgive you even before you've returned to your senses. He did manage to work through his feelings, came to me later to apologize. He told me that he was just overtired and sad to see his friend from Kazakhstan leave. Me, too, sweetie. It was still just a wonderful weekend for all of us.

Picture it...nine adolescents (4 boys and 5 girls...and did I mention that 7 of the nine were adopted from Kazakhstan?) having pretty much a giant 3 night sleepover which included:
  • Lots of loud music and even louder teen chatter. 
  • Vast quantities of sugar and snack foods 
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Video and computer games
  • Shopping for souvenirs in a variety of Witch City magic shops and mystical emporiums
  • A quick and dirty tour of Witch City's highlights and historical sights
  • The burning of spell candles and the offering of incantations by our newly minted coven members. 
  • A visit to our favorite Russian store for a sleepover feast 
    • Sushki, pelmeni, kolbasa, and Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs
  • Cutthroat games of musical chairs and freeze dance rounds 
  • A waiver of bedtimes in favor of late night movies and raids on the refrigerator
  • The enjoyment of old friendships
  • The formation of new friendships
The girls began to consider Wicca at the Bewitched statue.

We all played with interactive exhibits at the Peabody Essex museum.

We even hung out with the Easter bunny.

We linked the past with the future.

We took advantage of the nice weather to eat Mexican food for lunch at the edge of the local fountain.

Musical chairs, teen style...competitive...dangerous...and they cheat.

 Anne, we can't wait for you all to visit again soon...the house is waaay too quiet with just the 7 of us and we miss you. Hugs from our crew to yours!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A full house

There are currently 12 people under my roof...and 9 of them are between 12-16 years of age. My friend Anne and 4 of her kids are visiting from Pennsylvania; they arrived last night and we've been partying ever since. Seven of the 9 kids are from Kazakhstan, all of them at one time or another were in orphanages in Ust-Kamenogorsk. There are 5 girls and 4 boys...lots of music videos, drooling over Justin Beiber (girls), watching movies and playing video games (boys), and even some wine drinking (OK, that's the moms, not the kids.) Wait until you see the pics...soon, I promise...but right now, I'm thoroughly enjoying our very full (and noisy) house.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm not April foolin'!

April 1st...snow, sleet, and rain here in lovely New England. The kids are trading colds again...which makes them crabby...which makes Mom want to hide under the covers and never come out. Days like this, I'm ever so grateful for my dear husband...especially because each and every morning, he does something wonderful and life affirming for me. It's something that makes it possible for me to face the day, even days like this one.

Every morning, one of these gets delivered to me in bed...yes, right to my nightstand around 6:30am.

It's a triple shot latte...OK, maybe it's a quad shot...but I don't have a problem. Really. I could stop any time I wanted to...although it's possible someone might die if they crossed me before I had my life-giving latte...but I don't want to.

I love lattes. Even when we were adopting in Kazakhstan, a highlight of each day was a trip into town to shop for dinner and enjoy a latte at one of our favorite places. 

That's where this cute heart souvenir came from; Pizza Blues gave them out when they added their new coffee bar. Not surprisingly, it says, "I love coffee" in Russian...and while I don't drink regular coffee at all, I'd do most anything for a really great latte.

Heck, I'd even sleep with my barista.