Friday, February 21, 2014

2012 Photo Book

When I stopped scrapbooking, I told myself that I'd just create one nice photobook a year. Riiiight.....So, here we are in 2014 and I've finally managed to finish 2012. Better late than never, right? But it is really nice to look back and see how much they've grown!
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Three Years!

Time goes by in such a blur....I can't believe three years ago we were FINALLY liberating our tiny little boy from his orphanage.
Yuri picked us up in his yellow bus for the last grueling ride to Idritsa, down snowy roads and through abandoned towns. If I think about it, I can still feel my frozen feet against the floor, the psychedelic van seat coverings, the strange smell of the wiper fluid de-icing the cracked windshield. The soft murmur of Russian talk radio on his radio.
Yuri's Bus
I spent a lot of time looking at these seats!
For two years we had dreamed about this moment. For two weeks we had driven 2 1/2 hours each way to visit this shy little fellow who couldn't stand to be in the same room as us. We were unwelcome in his life and he made sure we knew that at every opportunity. We were so afraid that he would never warm to us. That we would always be strangers and never "Mama" and "Papa".
On the afternoon of February 7, 2011 the ladies charged with his care, ushered us into the "visiting room" and began to strip him naked. He was brought into that place with nothing and would leave with nothing. With lightning speed, they placed the three layers of clothes we brought on him. Six hands at once, pulling, lacing, tying him into his homecoming attire. One woman frowned and asked if that was all we brought. I'm convinced that in Russia, no matter how many layers you have on its one too few in the eyes of the Babushkas.
He was ushered downstairs to Dr. Anna's office. Dr. Anna who had known him since he was three months old, Dr. Anna who was the closest thing to a mother that he had known in his three short years. She knelt beside him and looked him in the eye. She started telling him where he was going and that he needed to "be a good boy for his Mama and Papa". I wondered how many times she had given this speech and if she felt any particular fondness to Charlie above all the others.
She was the only one that held the keys to his past. When we had first met almost a year prior on our first visit, she recited dates and milestones without ever referencing his file in her hands. She told us how his birthmother had made a treacherous journey (much as we did while visiting) roughly every 6 months to "refresh" her relinquishment. Anna said she wanted to make sure there was no question that he needed a family. She didn't want a technicality to stand in the way of Charlie's eligibility on the database. That speaks volumes to me about her love for Charlie. When his birthmother learned of the fact Charlie would be adopted by Americans, she updated her relinquishment that she felt this was in his best interest. When the Russian adoption world seemed to be against the Americans, his birthmother did everything in her power to squelch any doubt that living in the United States with a mother and father was the best possible thing that could happen to the son she had given birth to.
Dr. Anna gave him one last piece of Russian chocolate (his favorite kind) and sent us on our way. Charlie crying, the good doctor crying, all the ladies crying (accept that big cranky one) and us.....looking at each other like "Are they REALLY going to let us leave with him? What's the catch?" I promise you, until we touched down on American soil, I just KNEW someone was going to re-neg and come chasing us down to take him back.
We loaded that crying baby into Yuri's van and he clung tightly to me for the first time. He only cried until we left the gravel driveway and then fell promptly asleep on my chest.
In that moment, I became a mom. Wow.
Be a good boy.....


One last goodbye....
Our Boy!

 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Goodbye again...


I'm not much of a heirloom/materialistic kind of person. Maybe it's because I don't own very many old or nice things.

But THE CRIB is a different story. In our family history it has become a bit of a life all its own. It's one of those things we own that tells a magnificent story.
It all started when we thought we needed a crib for the child in Russia we knew nothing about. We just assumed he or she was little and they would need a crib. So after hours of crib shopping we purchased a lovely one. Then the store closed in bankruptcy and we lost our crib and our money for a while. Little did we know that NOTHING about this adoption would be easy, straightforward or simple.
So we found a new one, a beautiful one and crammed it onto our car because we were too afraid to order another one and asked for the floor model. The pictures are quite amusing. See HERE
The loading of the crib

Then we met this precious little fellow named Charlie who would actually need a crib.  We happen to have one waiting for him.
Then joy turned to sorrow as our little boy outgrew his crib as the adoption freeze set into a hard freeze. Our agency told us to move on. We feared that we would never need a rock him to sleep and place him in that crib.
Here she is....just waiting for a little person
The door to the nursery remained tightly shut. The thought of that beautiful crib brought many a tear to my eye.
Then we did what any stubborn, pig-headed crazy people would do. We dug in our heels. We knew Charlie had outgrew his crib without us in Russia. So we tore that gorgeous crib down and built a new bed for our growing boy, that come hell or high water, WOULD need a bed at our his house.
Eventually, we know that after a LONG year of waiting we were invited back to Russia to pick up our three year old boy. No crib needed.
The crib lives again!
But the story wasn't over quite yet. I understand that our God is a redemptive God, but I would like to think that He is also in the little things. Would that crib be a sad reminder of a lost year in an orphanage? A silly purchase for something that was never meant to be?
Absolutely not. God had something else in mind the entire time. We all know how that turned out.
This week was a bittersweet day in the Deetz house. Jack has learned how to escape the crib. So, it was time....the crib had to go....again.
Goodbye again, sweet crib
It's funny how a piece of furniture can tell such a story. Someday I hope that our boys can use it for one (or more) of their children. I hope that it will always be a reminder of God's redemption in our lives.
P.S.- As I was getting this blog post ready to go, we got news of a family really needing a crib. So I didn't hesitate to loan it out for a few years. After all, that's what this crib is all about. It wouldn't know what to do without a little miracle nestled all snug inside.


Friday, December 27, 2013

1,055 Days


Idritsa Orphange

For 1,054 days my sweet boy lived here. Third floor, in a room with 16 other children. Children came and went, I'm not sure how frequently. Nurses and caregivers came and went. Days were spent looking at four walls, a small playground (weather permitting) and hallways illustrated with paintings attempting cheerfulness. 
The ladies that cared for him did the best they could. Clothes were shared, shoes were shared. Laps to cuddle in were few and far between. There just simply wasn't enough. Not enough diapers. Not enough food. Not enough time in the day to give that many children the attention they needed. Not enough hugs and kisses to go around.
Writing Home from Russia
Looking out of those lacy curtains, my sweet boy spent 1,054 days of his little life.
Today is a happy day for us, the day we "tip the scale" of orphanage life. Our 1,055 day together. Home. With a family. Where, praise God, there is always enough. Enough food, enough hugs, enough kisses, enough encouragement. And talking, constant talking....No longer is the world made up of four walls. A world of church, of home, of community. A world with a giant ocean for swimming in, a never ending parade of grandparents and gifts. A world filled with movie theaters, theme parks and camp-outs. A world with discovery and learning. A world that is explored everyday by a chatterbox wild-child with a memory like a steel trap.
I recently asked him if he remembered Russia. He said "I remember when you were there with me". I asked him "You mean when we met you? When we brought you home?" He replied, quite offended "No, when you lived there with me" Sadly, I told him we never lived there with him. He looked at me in disbelief. Then he shrugged and said "I guess you were just looking for me, but it felt like you were there the whole time" It was a profound statement to me, but he chased it with "What are we having for dinner?"
Then I realized I was with him the whole time. For 1,054 days I was longing for him and waiting for God to make a way for a child to be born. I was praying and seeking and waiting....Little did I know that a child was waiting, across the ocean for me.
Whenever I feel angry about the 1,054 Charlie spent waiting for a family, I can't help but think that God's timing is always perfect. That He was setting into motion the perfect plan for both of our lives. That while I was staring at the ink dots He was painting a masterpiece. Our red thread, though it twisted and tangled, was never broken.
And I can't imagine these last 1,055 days without him in it.
Thanksgiving 2013


Saturday, November 16, 2013

I hate Elf on the Shelf and 86 other reasons why I am a bad parent

Recently I was wasting time on Facebook instead of doing laundry (#36 of why I am a bad parent) and came across a PDF calendar of someone's Elf on the Shelf's planned adventures. As in, like a day by day outline of where their elf would magically appear to spread Christmas cheer to their children. If you don't know about Elf on the Shelf, you've been living under a rock and you can read about it HERE. 
My personal favorite was the day suggesting I should make a dozen tiny donuts out of cheerios and fashion a tiny take out box for my elf and pose him in a model to scale version of Krispie-Kreme Donut shop complete with a real working conveyor and those tiny paper hats. (Ok, I made up the part about the donut store...) But still, really? Please keep in mind that this calendar was also published on NOVEMBER 16th. Our Elf is going to need a search and rescue party to dig him out of the Christmas Decorations about a week into December.
Don't get me wrong, on week number one of the elf, I was excited to move him about the house and watch Charlie's surprise every morning to see where Chippy could be. I simply moved him from one perch to the next in our house. Then Pinterest happened.
I saw pictures of other elves hang gliding from the ceiling on their parents underwear. I saw Elves spelling out words in m&m's and growing forests of lollipop trees. I'm not too proud to say I bought into this irrational behavior for several weeks. Chippy dyed our milk green and took a bath in a tiny tub with marshmallow bubbles. But soon, the magic wore off and my true self emerged.
Enter reason #47 I am a bad parent. When my kids go to bed I don't even like to get up to go the bathroom. I want to sit. Like I've never sat before. Every night I almost shed a tear when I have to pack lunches or put clothes in the laundry not much less build a house of cards and balance a stupid elf on top of it. There I said it.
Some people may argue that it takes focus off Christ at Christmas. For me, that's just not it. If that were the case then we need to throw 97% of our Christmas traditions right out the window, including presents. 
I guess in the long run it comes down to this for me. Why all the pressure? Especially at a time of year that is the pressure cooker of seasons.
Mom, I am talking to you right now. Let it go. If you want to Elf, by all means, Elf your heart out. Just don't buy into all the hype. Forgive yourself if you have to smuggle the elf under your shirt at the breakfast table and toss him haphazardly onto the ceiling fan of the next room because you forgot to move him from the night before. (Yes, I speak from experience, Reason #59) Get off Pinterest and sit on that couch after 8pm like no one has ever sat on that couch before. Especially at Christmas time. Spend those last 10 minutes of the night reading an extra book to your kids instead of creating a paper snowflake forest for your elf to frolic through. It's just not worth it. Some of the best memories are not the things that we over-design in an effort to make us feel like we are making memories, but the memories that just happen through our presence with our kids.
So this year will we be Elfing? Yes, I suppose so. Will I be making tiny cereal pastries complete with chocolate glaze and sprinkles? Heck no. Chippy's calendar will look something like this:
Day 1: Hang off the ceiling fan. Day 2: Sit on top of the table Day #3....You get the picture. I have to go. My couch is calling.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Jack Jack!


video
It's hard to believe this little bundle of joy came into our lives two years ago. Our little Jack Jack was once a quiet, tiny peanut. Two years later he's currently requesting "chocolate milk in the round and round (microwave) and fruit snacks. He's running, jumping, climbing and knows every animal sound under the sun. He can count to 13.... When you ask him where he wants to go he simply replies "Mickey!" because he loves Disney World as much as his Mama.
Mama holding you for the first time
Going home from the hospital
He wants to watch Sing Songs on TV and sometimes will even specifically request the episode- "Big Feet" or "Peek-a-Boo", but mostly Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He tries to keep up with everything his big brother does. That includes tree climbing and power-wheel driving. His favorite foods (other than fruit snacks and shock-o-late) is spaghetti, pizza, french fries and hot dogs- hold the bun. He can operate an iPad with the best of them. He's one busy guy. 
So precious
We love you Jack and are so blessed to be raising such a hilarious, sweet and brilliant little guy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wonderfully chaotic

I know...I know....it's been too long again. But it's like life is stuck on fast forward and I can't get a break. It's just whizzing by and around me and I can't get off the ride. Well, I could, but then I think the house would literally fall down around me. So, for the three readers out there that actually still think this blog exists here is a brief recap:
I've been thinking about taking up yoga or drinking or at least a multivitamin regimen. I need some zen people.These boys are buck wild. Does anyone else's kids NOT play with toys? My kids NEVER touch a single toy. Well, I take it back we have these two play swords and they play with those because with the swords they can run and jump and climb the furniture WHILE stabbing each other with plastic swords. But anything else? Nope. Just running, jumping, screaming, climbing and destroying the house. On days we can't play outside it's literally like a nuclear bomb filled with confetti, dirty socks, old cups of juice, and torn book pages fill every crevice of the tiny rental house. Which brings me to my next point.
We haven't sold the freaking house. 242 days on the market and not a single nibble. You can imagine the havoc this is recking on our finances. When I pay our mortgage every month I vomit a little in my mouth. HERE is the link in case you want to buy it. I'm holding my breath.
On a lighter, more positive note, Charlie has been doing great academically in school. According to his report card he is "at age level" in Language (!!!!!) and math. Which is so exciting. He is really making some wonderful strides in his studies and in speech. Socially, he gets in trouble almost everyday because he CAN'T.STOP.TALKING. Which is quite ironic considering the baby child didn't speak a word for the first three years of life. His teacher complained about his talking and I plainly told her I couldn't be happier that he talks all the time. She looked at me like I had three heads. He's just making up for lost time :)
Jack is turning 2 this coming weekend. I can't believe he is two. With Jack we are raising one hilarious kid. His sense of humor is out of this world. Who knew a baby could be sarcastic and tell a story just to get a laugh. When I ask him how his school day went he tells me everyday his teacher bites him. Then he laughs. We told him he needed to start pooping in the potty (because he's starting to tell us while mid poop) and he responded to our request by saying "Uuuuhhhh....not today" What 23 month old says "Not today?" He makes me laugh everyday, that is when I'm not pulling my hair out at his antics. Stripping off his clothes, peeing on the floor, biting, hitting, throwing temper tantrums, telling me to "hurry!!!" or "Go Mama!!!" when sitting at red lights or talking to another adult....grrrr.....
So, life in a nutshell has been absolutely chaotic. Wonderfully chaotic. But that doesn't make me any less tired or looking all old and haggish (is haggish a word??)
On that note...I'm going to bed.