Saturday, September 6, 2014

Build a Bear Workshop

Recently I joined an awesome site called Smiley 360. Where you "qualify" for missions to test free products. And by qualifying I mean they make sure if you're testing cat food you actually have cats and things like that.
Well since I have KIDS I qualified for an awesome treat from Build a Bear Workshop! We got to go and make a new Super Hero Bear for free! How cool is that? Of course, big brother could not bring himself to adhere to the rules, so he insisted on an Army Guy bear. Well, since we were paying for his- I figured I'd let it slide. But it ended up being soooo cute!
If you'd like to sign up for Smiley 360 follow the link HERE and do it! It's free and I've gotten to test some pretty cool things- soccer equipment, beauty products, cleaning supplies, medication, vitamins....anyway.... I think this free gift from Build a Bear takes the cake!
Oh and HERE is a coupon for $5 off $25 they're sharing with you! Yay!




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Well this is embarrassing....

I've been MIA since February. In my defense, February was like 5 seconds ago. Now it's June. Ooops. I keep thinking I need to pull the plug on this little blog. But I.JUST.CANT.DO.IT.
It's like a documentation of parenthood and the beginning of something monumental and I just can't bring myself to hit the delete button. So here I am, limping along.
Since February I've finished up work in the special needs middle school for the summer. Jack has "graduated" nursery school, Charlie has passed Kindergarten! My silent little Russian that barely uttered a sound until his third birthday is now reading books at grade level. 
He turned six in March and we "tricked" him into staying at a Disney Hotel for his birthday instead of having a lame "friend party" Hahaha. He had so much fun he said he wanted to do it every year. Parent score. Is it just me or is there nothing worse than a kids birthday party?
Chad is starting the next step in his ministry and has begun candidacy in the United Methodist Church. We have a four year plan. I like plans. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Last week Jack woke up screaming in pain from his nap, clutching the back of his head, arching his back absolutely howling. Of course we rush him to the emergency room. There is something about taking your 2.5 year olds clothes off and replacing it with a tiny hospital gown that makes a parent die inside. Nothing else matters but finding out what is wrong and praying to God that it can be fixed.
One minute your planning dinner, the next minute your watching your baby move in and out of a CT machine. It was a nice little reminder that life is so, so, so, so fragile and we take so much for granted. Turns out he had a severe stiff neck. Three days later, he's still nursing it along. But praise God, it was fixed.
Ok, since I probably won't update this blog until October...lets just be honest here....Here's whats on the horizon for us this summer:
E the Intern (Chad's ministry intern) is living in an RV in our driveway. It's a really nice RV, so we're still one step above the Beverly Hillbillies.
Chad will be gone most of the summer so we're planning lots of fun trips and visits to the Grands.
My sister is getting married and I am the Chief Bridesmaid (I cannot be called a "Matron" under any circumstance) The boys are supposedly bearing the rings. We'll see about that.
I've convinced Chad into taking a cruise with me. It was really hard to talk him into taking a kid free trip full of sleeping, eating and island hopping. NOT!
Now....here are some super cute pictures to apologize for not updating the blog as I should.





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!
Click here to view this photo book larger
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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.