Thursday, October 25, 2007

30 DAYS>>>>>

Time sure flies when you're having fun, working hard OR juggling a newly adopted daughter and two parents with illnesses and injuries. My mother went into the hospital on Sept 20 and has gone home yet. She injured her back early in Sept and through a series of misadventures is now rehabilitating in a an intermediate care facility. Bev's mom has been diagnosed with Kidney cancer. She will have surgery next week.
I also took a few days by myself and flew out to Denver to visit my granddaughter, Meredith. She SOOOOOOOOOOOO cute ! ! !

ON TOP OF THAT, we have a new DOG ! ! ! His name is Cash. He is a really a sweet and laid back dog (which is good).

Katya is doing good. We still struggle with a few issues, but a week ago we started a new system of rewards and consequences using a points system and monetary reward. It greatly reduced our two biggest struggles (going to bed and taking a bath everyday).

She is s sweet kid and I'm convinced she will turn out OK ! ! !

By for now...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Busch Gardens ! ! !

It has been more than a week since I posted anything. Sorry, but it has been a really crazy week. A week ago today my mother went into the hospital and has been on a roller coaster ride of her own. She left the hospital yesterday and went to an interim care facility for physical therapy. All of that has made for a very hectic week. Plus there is a lot that needs to be done at work. PLUS I leave this weekend to go and see my new granddaughter, Meredith Claire ! ! ! YAY ! ! !

Katya continues to adjust and "deal" with life her in the US of A. This past weekend was an easy adjustment for her, because we took her to Busch Gardens, and it was a complete surprise. Our friends Yulia and Avie invited us to go with them when they took two Ukrainian visitors.

Katya was fearless on all the rides and wanted to get on everyone more than once. She (we) rode the Griffin, Alpine Guiest (sp), Lochnest Monster, and Apollo's Chariot. She rode the AP four times ! ! ! Needless to say she didn't want to go home. She loved it, and had never seen anything like it before ! ! !

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Zhayne me house"

Wow, what a weekend and Monday it was ! ! !

First of all we went roller skating AGAIN and this time Katya took her friend Lillie. Then her Ukrainian friend Zhayne showed up. All three had a great time. Katya was kind of connecting with a few other kids. One was a BOY (I hope only because he was a good skater). She watched his style and a few things he did, especially when he did the Limbo game. She shortly thereafter began to squat down and skate on one skate.

That evening we went to a middle school church youth cookout. She was a little overwhelmed and wasn't her usual "people person". Some of it was because she MISUNDERSTOOD, and thought she was going directly to her sister Lisa's house to spend the night. Actually, we had tried to tell her she was going over to Lisa's after the cookout. After some pouting she eventually had a good time on the trampoline.

Sunday was her first time in MS youth ministry at church. It went better than her staying in adult worship, but only but so much because of the language thing. Speaking of the language thing, she is beginning to use new English words everyday. When she wanted Zhayne's mom to let him come over and ride bikes on Monday, she said, "Zhayne come ME house". The grammar wasn't great, but she is trying to use the English she is hearing.

On Saturday evening she did the sweetest thing. She told me she wanted to by a potato to cook. We went to the store and brought back a few potatoes. She wanted to fix them Ukrainian style. Before it was over, she was dragging me in to the preparation of a meal. She decided somewhere in the process to fix a meal for "Mama, Papa e Katya". She set the table filled glasses with water or juice and was so excited about doing it for us. She definitely has a heart to do for others. We need to nurture that ! ! !
Monday evening she wanted to do the same thing and cook. So we let her go for it. She had borrowed a Ukrainian music CD from Zhayne and she was playing that during the cooking and eating time. She had a ton of fun. Then Beverly taught her how to make marang (sp) like the topping on pies. She wants to take the marang cookies they made to school.
Speaking of school, I need to go to work...................

Friday, September 14, 2007

Last Day of школа ! ! !

Today is Friday and Katya already has planned on us going back to roller skate on Saturday. Only this time she invited Lillie ! ! !
I met Lillie and her dad yesterday. Katya and I went over to Lillie's house. Lillie is very sweet and her father is a really great guy. He came to the US as a refuge from Ukraine. Lillie didn't seem real excited about skating, because she said she hasn't done it much. It should be fun to teacher her. And it will be interesting to see if Katya takes on the role of teacher.

The school stuff seems to be getting better, kind of...

She enjoys showing us and our friend Yulia what she has done in school, so she must be a little proud of her work. There were a lot of tears Wednesday night, but the evening ended okay.

Well G2G.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Order of Operations"

This week at school began with a phone call at my office at 9:10am. Katya's homeroom teacher called asked if Katya was going to be in school today. I said yes, because Beverly had called me 15 minutes before that saying she had dropped her off. The teacher said Katya was in class and neither was Lillie. Lillie is a Russian speaking girl that is being paired with Katya so she can translate teacher instructions. The teacher said she would look for them and call me back.
Evidently, the two girls switched homerooms before Katya's teacher thought they would.
Last evening was filled with homework (a first). We had our dear friend Yulia explain to her on Monday night that we would begin doing HW on Tuesday. My thought was that we would do her civics project which consisted of cutting out pictures from magazines and creating a collage.
The evening started right before dinner. Yulia called and explained the project. We had dinner and as soon as we were finished eating, Katya said "Katya e Papa" and pointed toward her room. This was her way of saying "okay Pop let's get started".
The collage project took about 3/4 hour and went well. THEN > > > >
Katya pulls out TWO math worksheets that we were supposed to do. Okay, I was cool with that, but was worried we would run too close to her bedtime.
We started with the first problem, AND GUESS WHAT? Yeah, I could NOT do it. Now I like math and it was one of the only subjects I did well in high school. We called Lillie, and she said she couldn't get the right answer either. I didn't feel too bad at that point, because maybe it was one of those rare times when there was a messed up problem.
We continued on, AND then ran into more problems I couldn't solve correctly. OK by now most of you are thinking I'm just plain old and don't understand "new" math. Well, you're right. I called my good friend who is a Math teacher and he told me we needed to solve the equations using the "order of operations". I NEVER was taught the "PEMDAS" order. If you don't know what PEMDAS is then you weren't taught it either.
Math took a lot longer than I hoped, because I knew she was watching the clock and bedtime was approaching. I couldn't explain to her the PEMDAS so I just showed her how to solve the problems by walking her through them. She kept telling me over and over "Katya No Sleep". At first I thought she meant that she wasn't going to be able to sleep because we would be working on math all night. Actually, what she meant was "this is taking so long that I deserve to stay up as late as I want". She is a night person and can stay up late in the evening without any sign of being tired.
Well, we did finish homework, and we had about 15 minutes before bedtime. She proceeded to look around my office for things to play with. DUCT TAPE & PACKING TAPE ! ! !
Her idea of evening fun was to tie me up and tape my mouth shut. She laughed and laughed, and then had a bowl of Lucky Charms. She really didn't settle down in bed until 10:30pm, but I was okay with that, because she had worked hard and even cried through some of the math.
G2G to work....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Last week ended GREAT ! ! !

Well, last week ended without any problems school-wise. The only thing we need to do is get our act together as parents. We need to get Katya into a routine of chores, some sort of homework, and better understanding that when we say no we mean no. Other than that, Katya is doing great.

Last Friday night started with bike riding and ended with rollerblading. She took to rollerblading like she does everything else, with great energy and persistence. It was rather unfortunate that she insisted on using my old roller blades, which in addition to being too big, the straps broke when I tried to tighten them around her ankle. Well, duct tape saved the day; at least for a while.

Saturday Katya slept in, because she stayed up late working on a early reading website ( She even took the laptop to bed with her and played with the interactive website.

After she got up on Saturday I took her to a roller skating rink. She wanted to use regular roller skates as opposed to roller blades. We skated the whole time (3 hours) with only a short break for a drink. She did really well. I have no clue if she has ever skated before or not.

Sunday we went for a long two-hour bike ride. She is definitely a physically active girl.

Parting words.... we never should have bought those Russian dubbed videos in Ukraine. She wants to watch those whenever she is not doing something physical. I guess we'll just have to take them away or insist that she only watch one a day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Three Days of School ! ! !

Well, she has made it through 3 full days of school, and she seems to be doing fine. Although we did discover yesterday evening that the weight of the whole deal is affecting her. We had our friend Yulia translate the "school rules" and "classroom expectations" to her and had her sign them. After about three of them she broke down and cried. Yulia explained to her about homework requirements (she really hasn't had any assignments, because they can't assign her anything to do). I told her that she might have some homework in Math since that was numbers, and that's when the tears started to flow. She said she had never seen the kind of math they were doing in her class. It was a real let down to her, because she likes math more than any other school subject. I tried to comfort her and told her that I would help her with math and that she didn't have to worry about not understanding what they are doing in class.

I emailed her math teacher and she is going to try to get some suggestions from the ESL teacher. I hope we come up with something.

She has done some things at school and she seems kind of proud of it, because she pulls out her big binder and shows us what she's done. I think she wants us to be proud of her. Most of the work is just copying English stuff from the board. When I tell her it looks good and try to make a big deal out of it, she shrugs her shoulders and makes an expression that says "it really isn't that good". I hope she will let us help her at home. I haven't pushed to do school stuff at home in the evening. All the things I have read about adopted kids adjusting to an new family, new school and new country is that they shouldn't be pushed and that they need down time for them to deal with the huge amount of stress. It makes sense to me, so I'm going with that philosophy for now.

The reality of being a parent again is sinking in. I had to miss a church youth leaders meeting last night. Youth ministry has been a big part of my life for the last 18 years. I usually make every meeting and event unless out of town on business. I knew I did the right thing though when Katya broke down about the math and school stuff. I would have felt badly had I not been with her.

We went for a short bike ride this evening (at my request). It is getting dark so early now that it will be harder and harder to fit in those rides after I get home from work.

Oh, she had her first experience with Mexican-American food last night. She order chicken fingers and french fries, because she knew what they would taste like. After the food came, I gave her a taste of my chicken burrito and she liked it, so next time she can get that.

She is a sneaky little thing. She pulls this stuff of watching a video right up to a few minutes before 10:00pm (her bed time), and then goes to take a bath, AND THEN starts messing with stuff in her room. Getting her down for bed proves to be the hardest thing of every day.

Last night she was looking at pictures on my computer and found some of kids roller skating and she got excited and conveyed to me that she wanted to go skating. Now to some parents that would just be "okay so every kid likes to skate", but for me that is like one of the funnest things ever. I used to roller skate at roller rinks a lot when I was a kid. I like ice skating and roller blading, but roller skating is my favorite. I guess I have a good excuse now to go, even though I am 61 years old.