Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Boundaries and What Not

El sexy pel√≥n and I were sitting at a shiny, white, plastic picnic table in the concessions area of Sam's on our weekly date because extravagance, it's our virtue. He was noshing on a crispy chicken sandwich and I a yogurt with blueberries and granola since he stays thin the easy way and I gain a few lbs. each time I inadvertently catch a waft of bacon. We take one of the minions with us every other time to bestow on them the magnanimous fringe benefits of of everything The Good Life has to offer. Being a Deutsch kid, it's really the blessingist.  

Fluorescent lights blared down on us, devout Walton enthusiasts scurried by, shoving their supersized carts out to their compact cars that would escort them to their stucco monstrosity abodes. Oh, I kid. There were plenty of SUVs in the parking lot too. Um, Colorado.  

It's tough to say why, exactly, they were staring at us as they passed by. Maybe it was because we sport a rear wheel drive maxi van and our house is uncharastically outfitted with old fashioned board and batten of a distinctly purplish hue. Who can know? Could it be because baldino and I are both a peculiar shade of age spot dotted peachy while the child sitting with us is a beautiful, deep, golden chocolate color with pristinely rosy cheeks? Maybe so. Either way, Sam's patrons, they're gawkers, that bunch. 

Oh wait, it could have been the fact that the crazy white lady who's *clearly* not sampled the all-the-rage-for-people-her-age botox was, you know, bawling. Like, actual pitter pattering tears plunging onto the gleaming slab where the cheap food lie. 

That's because it was the day she admitted it to me with her actual words. What I had surmised before, but hadn't the courage or gumption to truly believe. The darling. My daughter! She told me the truth. She enjoys seeing me hurt and she spends time thinking of ways to accomplish that very thing. 


Now, now. We could delve into great detail about the ache in her heart that drives this type of Awesome Stellar Life Sabotaging Motivation. But, really. Don't we all know the drill already about kids from hard places and all that jazz? To me, no matter how many adoption books I read, it all boils down to that one simple little phrase I heard many moons ago regarding folks in general: Hurt people hurt people. Period. She is not to blame. That hurt is somthing that happened to her. It's the soothing of that hurt, escorting it from a place of unhealthy to managable that's the tricky portion. That's where I fall short again and again. Assisting that long, precarious process is a job for The Big Girls.

Needless to say, I was crushed. Devastated. Obliterated. Humiliated. Horrified. Shocked. Angry. Hot. Fuming. Pitiful. Sad. So, so, so sad. My tiny self felt utterly betrayed. 

That was the day I realized, Boundaries, Lady! You need to get some! Do they sell them at warehouse stores in jumbo boxes?

A few of you have asked about yesterday's post. How, precisely, am I going about working to establish these boundaries. As in, specifically.

I meant to tell you. I really did. It's just that I'm not so amaze balls and everything at the How To Business. I've never managed to find a step by step guide, solutions manual, though I have scoured the county and each and every single one of my friend's brains to acquire one. (Right, friends? Yea and amen.) Here, on this screen, I just spew out all my personal bizNESS and hope you'll judge me a teeny bit less than harshly. It's my only method. To type as I go. But, I am NOone, no one, no one to tell anyone how to anything. 

All I can say is this: the personal boundaries I am learning to forge are very real, very needed, and very much about my MENTAL and EMOTIONAL well being. They have nothing to do with not spending time together or ignoring each other or being spiteful or rude or anything like that. Boundaries - they can be anything that help facilitate a healthier relationship for all parties. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I doubt there is any right way to boundarize your life. See? I just said boundarize. Pretty sure that's outside the boundaries of proper English. Whateves. I might talk more about mine later, if you want. I need some more practice first.    

It's just that I can not, can not, can not, continue to lay my heart fully on the line in an unsafe place that leaves me vulnerable to perpetual life hijacking wounding. I have to reserve part of it for myself, so I can carry on no matter what. I have to separate myself, mentally and emotionally from actions intended to provoke a rise out of me and break my heart. Because they do. Break my heart. And moving through life with a continually broken heart is wearisome to the soul. 

The funny thing is, I'm sure, without question, my daughter feels the very same way. Cycles, they can be mind shatteringly viscious.      

Thanks so much for reading. My weepy, extra fragile self who is finding ways to carve healthy spaces for herself is so, so grateful for you, dear, kind, wonderful and life breathing, friends. You are precious people. I can't imagine doing life without you. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Only Thing Harder Than Being Me is Being Them

I've heard it said that a mother is only ever doing as well as her most troubled child.

Speaking from my own experience I find this an altogether accurate statement. As in, one gazillion percent true. 

Moms, do we not we ache in our kids' defeats, triumph in their victories? When it comes to our children, more than anyone else gracing the face of the planet Earth, we realize full well what it is to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. 

Our heart strings naturally tether themselves to these other beings of ours, wrapping tightly around their very selves. In spirit, we go wherever they go. We feel whatever they feel. Along with them, we taste the fresh awe and novelty of brand new experiences. We soak up the vibrancy of life as we watch them move about with wonder. What was once black and white, escalates, rises, becomes vivid color. Any sting and bitterness and disappointment life may serve them, it serves us too.    

Joining a club with the ranks of All Mothers Everywhere, we bear the wounds of not only our own children, but those born to other women as well. Bad news of the suffering of a child, any child, penetrates our hearts. Our empathy grows boundlessly. When that mother hurts, we hurt for her. 

It's such a beautiful thing, really. The lovliness of God's design for the capacity of a woman to nurture other creatures is about the most tender thing we bear witness to.

But when you have a child that is deeply wounded, this kind of care can take a major toll. Lugging the lofty burdens of another can be exhausting labor. Particularly when you have a child who acts out with attempts to make you experience their pain.

What I'm slowly coming to understand is that especially with my adopted kids, I can't really shoulder the responsibility of their heartache. Not fully. I can not entirely carry the weight of their ill fortune on my own. It's not my fault, what happened to them. I'm an easy target for the blame, because I'm present, but I'm not where credit lies.

This level of codependency where I'm only as okay as they are doesn't work for me. It doesn't work in our family unit. Not long term, anyway. I have to keep myself pretty okay almost all of the time. Coming undone isn't really an option. Not for more than a while anyway. 

Life goes on. Lots of people are counting on me, looking to me, relying on me to set the tone of every day of our lives. Cracking up under the pressure isn't a viable choice for me. 

This magnificant family life Bobby and I have forged together will pass me by if I wallow in the depths of grief over the unfairness of it all for too long.

So, I must carve very real space for some personal boundaries. A place for me to be okay, even living in the midst of those who may not be. Even if those who aren't okay are my children. Lines have to be drawn. I can not allow myself to be sucked into the trauma drama vortex and remain there. It just isn't wise or safe or best for myself and my family. I know this for sure.

I'm learning how to step out of the whirlwind and still maintain great compassion for from whence these precious children have come. Because this one thing is undoubtedly true: I know I am deeply loved. I have no question that I'm valued. I belong. I have purpose and passion and vision for my life. I am known well, yet considered wonderful to my people. And that's not always the case for them. They don't necessarily hold the same truths I claim for my own. It's not their narrative just yet.  

I believe what Christine Moers says. In this situation, the only thing being harder than me is being them. 

So, I'll be right over here. Working to hold my boundaries firm while loving them fiercely. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


For the longest time, it just wasn't there. I expected it, anticipated it, searched for it around all the corners. I had been warned it would rear its head upon arrival, but it was oddly, noticeably absent. I remember our social worker asking about it at a post placement visit a year into the sudden merging of our lives, once separated by continents. "Have you seen it yet?" No. I really hadn't. Maybe this was a one-in-a-million miracle case. Perhaps we would escape its clutches. 

What I didn't realize at the time was it was simply being avoided, repressed, pushed away again and again, down deep into the recesses of the mind and heart that saw it as a threat too painful to experience. 

Because, realistically, when you adopt a child of that age, one who remembers her parents and feels a deep, visceral, resounding sense of abandonment and unworthiness and paralyzing fear, its bound to crop up at some point.

Only when the grief finally arrived it didn't so much look like what I have personally known grief to be. It took on a different hue, one that was muddled with a lack of knowledge of where and how to begin to work through the heaviness of the emotional burdens she bore. 

Rather than pain, it dressed itself as anger. Instead of hurt, it adorned itself with entitlement. In the place of openly sorrowful tears were hidden manipulations intended to inflict hardship on anyone in the line of fire. Feelings of loss masquerade themselves as resentment. Where vulnerability would typically lie, there were attacks meant to ward off the pain of suffering alone. If I cause you suffer too, I make myself feel better.         

I admit, it has worked. I suffer, too. 

It's just that she failed to realize is I was already suffering alongside her. 

Her pain already was my pain. Her sorrow, mine. Her grief, my grief. Her loss, my burden.

By choice, I entered into her suffering so that I might help her bear it. She doesn't have to go it alone. We are together. While in the mire with her, doing my best to pull her out, it splatters all over me too. I fall in the muck. It surrounds us both. 

Yet, I will not leave her, turn by back, abandon, neglect, run, hide or depart. She mustn't labor to make her actions the source of my suffering, I was with her, there, before she realized it. 

It's getting hotter, the incidents more frequent, more bold, more calculated. Bit by bit, the stakes keep growing. I wish it would stop. I rarely know just what to do. I never have a clear enough picture in the exact moment I need it. It all takes tremendous effort. I want to help her see. I am not your enemy. I love you. I will always love you. You are lovable. With a thick outer shell well established, it doesn't quite sink in. Maybe she won't see it until she is older, grown. Maybe never. 

I just have to keep reminding myself it is my job regardless of the outcome. Adapt where necessary, stay The Ultimate Course.

God, grant me wisdom, patience, stamina, and great, without end or condition, LOVE. 
"Things I can do when I'm tempted to make someone else feel bad to make myself feel better..."


Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Much to my surprise, their dad wrote a post too. This blog has been active for 7 years and my husband has contributed exactly once - when he got home from the hospital on the day Clover was born - before phones were computers and every announcement was instant. So, for him to take the time to come up with something to say amid the whirlwind that is his ultra busy schedule qualifies as extra thoughtful, I think.

Not surprising at all, it's about pirates...sort of...


Whomp! He bolted out of sleep. Disoriented, he frantically looked around to get his bearings. The sound of the waves against the hull and the cold, salty air pulled him back to reality. From the crow’s nest he quickly scanned the horizon for ships. How long had he been asleep? A British Man O War could have closed in on them unnoticed. How could he? It was his watch, his responsibility. He put his whole crew in jeopardy with such weakness. After all, wasn’t he supposed to set the example? Peering over the lip of the lookout to the deck below, he scanned his crew to make sure no one saw his failure… Good, all asleep. Only he knows. “Woe to him who sleeps on their watch. Deserving of eternal sleep is he," escapes his lips in a whisper. If one of his mates fell asleep on watch he would never stand for such disregard for the safety of the crew and this ship. He would personally send them to the bottom. Even Davy Jones wouldn’t be able to find them.

Alas, what a dilemma.

Of course he would not walk the plank himself. No one knew. It was just like it never happened. Only it did. He dreaded the day he would be forced to send a mate to the sharks knowing full well his bones should already be soaking at the bottom. What was one more lie to add to a very distinguished career?

In his contemplations, he remembered the treasure. Where was it? He had been asleep far too long. It was gone.

He jumped from the crow’s nest and slid the ratline to the shrouds of the mizzenmast and scampered down the ropes leaping off to land with a thud on the deck below. “Up with yourselves!" shouted the man. The crew sprang up from their rightful slumber. Stumbling from their groggy state, they scurried to attention before their captain.

"Where’s me treasure? It was just with me.” The crew could tell the captain meant business. They saw he was fully armed. In their proper places rested three pistols, a cutlass and his favorite knife. They also knew he had some other nasty tools hid inside of his lavish overcoat. They were not prone to trifle with the captain. That’s why he was the captain after all. Right? That, and he always made the right decisions and led them as a proper captain should, to plenteous plunder, of course. “Again, I say where’s me treasure?" The crew had finally assembled to order. The captain walked back and forth in front of them. Pacing like a lion in a cage at the zoo. So help him, if someone had stolen his treasure he would unleash a wrath beyond measure. The sea could not tempest in comparison. “No patience, have I. Where’s me treasure?"

The seven pirates shifted uneasily before the scrutiny of their captain. As Whitebeard looked at his crew, his anger softened. Surely none of these would have taken his treasure. How could they? The treasure was the pride of them all.

Sure, he could see how they might want it for themselves. So did he. They were pirates after all. The code dictated that the strong can take for themselves whatever they may. Yet his crew and this ship were special. They shared their plunder openly and usually evenly. But now the captain was angry. He wasn’t sure if his anger was because the treasure was gone or that by his weakness the treasure was gone? If he had been strong and done his duty with more care would the treasure still be with them?

The captain snapped back to the moment when the three light skinned pirates drew their swords and ran across the deck in search of the treasure. Shouting and screaming with all kinds of noise looking for the one thing they all desired to have. (These three mates are strong and brave and would battle anyone for the protection of the treasure.) “Have ye checked below capin?" asked the first mate. (She is a witty one, that girl. In good hands they be when the captains gone.)

"Who will be checkin for me?" said the captain. Two buccaneers spoke at the same time, “I will” and “yarrr." (The captain knew who they were, because it was always the same two volunteering first.) Off they ran.

Unable to be patient, the captain sprinted to catch up with the crew. They all searched below in a wild frenzy. It was not in the forecastle or the galley or the hold. The bilge house and the capstan room did not have the treasure either. The captain felt grateful to not be alone in this time of loss and guilt. This crew had been through a lot together. They had followed him into battle and danger and trusted him to keep them safe. For the most part he had performed well. He would be a better captain though. They deserved it.

Despite his own weakness, his  insecurities, he could be stronger. He would be a better leader. It would just be easier if he had the treasure. Where was it? “Here I be” came a voice from the stern of the ship. The captain and crew stood in dim light and looked upon the treasure, the jewel of the Kansas main.

Beautiful. Lovely. Priceless.

Everyone was relieved. She was safe. The treasure’s treasure ran over and hugged her. (She was the little one of the crew who brings all of them luck.)

The captain met the eyes of the treasure. In those eyes he saw the truth. He saw that she knew of his failure. He knew that she covered for him. She kept watch while he slept.

As the captain stood dumbfounded in this realization, she winked at him and with a wry smile she yelled, "get ye to your posts you scurvy dogs, there be work needen done."

Monday, March 09, 2015

Mission Accomplished: Girls' Bedroom

This mamba jamba was a colossal feat. Fitting three girls into one average sized kid's room where every person has plenty of individual, "private" space was no small task. I have to give a HUGE shout out full of adoring recognition to The Man for his monumental carpentry, planning and execution skills. His talents, they run deep. His devotion to providing the best for his kids, even at the high price of his precious free hours and any spare dollars he may have once had, warms the cockles of my heart that drips with love for that guy. He's the berries. With whipped cream on top. 

Bobby and I spent hours, (Hours, I tell you!) in this room once it was gutted - taping off the floor, stretching our imaginations to the hilt, giving ourselves a headache from racking our brains, trying to configure a system that would prove the most efficient utilization of space and be highly beneficial for each of our lovely ladies. We came up with a plan that I think will please the masses. Here, I give you the tour of our brand new, old fashioned looking, shabby girls' room:

From the entry looking into the room:
 Walking into Jayla's desk area:
 Jayla's desk:
 Jayla's little crafting supplies closet:
 Jayla's bed:
 The view while Jayla sits on her bed:
 From Jayla's bed looking down at the room:
 Jayla's closet attached to her bed and desk:
 Looking at Meadow's loft from the floor:
 Meadow's desk:
 Meadow's closet:
 Meadow's bed:
 From Meadow's bed looking across at Clover's bed, and Jayla's to the left:
 Clover's desk:
 Clover's closet:
Clover's bed with a bench for all her loveys:
From Clover's bed looking across to Meadow's and Jayla's to the right:
The window seat with extra storage below:
If you have to share a room with two sisters, I think this is the way to do it!

Sunday, March 08, 2015


Super Jedi and Clover

One day there was a girl. She was walking  and suddenly a bunch of giants came. Then, Super Jedi came to save me. He brought me to his clubhouse. I didn’t remember it. All I knew is he saved me and that I was hurt. It was weird because I wasn’t at a hospital. 

Super Jedi asked me if I wanted to be a part of his team. “So, that’s why you brought me to the clubhouse! Oh cool! You even got me a suit, Super Jedi! Let’s go beat the giants at war.” 

We won. It was cool, awesome and fun. The next time it happened to my other sisters and I even saved them without Super Jedi because I was trained. They got to be a part of the team, too.

The End 

Super Jedi !

Friday, March 06, 2015


*Stryder began his typing and became tired of slowly pecking away so I helped him type what he had hand written on his paper. 

My books
By Stryder Deutsch
Hello! I am Stryder Deutsch and I’d like to talk about books.

The first book I’m reading is called Star Wars Adventures. It is about three clone troopers going to save a family but the family thinks they are droids and shoots them so they go into the vault to steal the treasure. 

Another story is about a droid who disconnects from the system and goes to live a life of his own. And another droid tells him to go back to fight but the droid doesn’t want to! The other droid pushes them off a cliff and the good droid survived the fall. He sat down by a tree and he broke down. Later some guys came and charged him and he helped them on a farm. 

One other story is about Padme and her friend Naberrie go to a party looking for a guy who made the building and trying to get him in jail. He gets money from this guy and they have to get him into jail too. They find the first guy and he tells them how secure the building is and then he tells them about the roof and how it is the most secure place of all and when he goes up into the place that’s where he gets paid. Padme and Naberrie go follow them onto the roof and there were two stair cases. So they split up. Padme found the way that they went and distracted them go the money from him got the evidence that they needed and showed the senator the truth. 

Well, I have 3 books to do in school. They are math, spelling and language arts. I used to have a writing book but I finished it. The stuff I do with all the kids are science, history, geography, and mom reads to us the Newberry Award books. She’s reading The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Frank. E. Weiler now. We have also read this year Ivy’s Ever After and When You Reach Me and The Giver and I forget the one before The Giver. 

I’m reading Mr. Poppers Penguins for school.  I already saw the movie. 

That’s all the books I want to tell you about! Thank you for reading about reading!  


Siberian Tigers are one of the rarest tigers. Tigers are rare anyway. I like the way they look. I also like cheetahs. They are the fastest animal I know. I wish I was a cheetah. I also want to see one. They are my favorite animal. I also want to see black panthers. When I was younger I thought pink panthers were real. Lions are the biggest cat I know. It would be scary to be its pray. Giraffes are stronger than lions.     


     MY   FAMILY
        BY   Tyden    J     Deutsch

My   family   rocks!  I am going to tell you about my family!

The oldest  person is dad.  He is really cool.  He is making us really cool bedrooms. They each have a desk and wardrobe. And a lot of space. DAD  ROCKS!
Mom is next. She takes care of all 7 of us with no breaks. I could not do that! She is very loving and sweet to us. On Saturday mornings she makes blueberry waffles while we watch TV! Mom is always doing things for us. She is really nice.

Next is Jayla. She is 13. She is very crafty. She is also very helpful to mom. On Tuesday nights mom goes to Sam's for groceries and Jayla takes care of us. She gives us lots of ice cream!

Now there is Onyx. He is 11. He is very tough. Onyx likes to collect stuff he has more than 200 Pokemon cards. He is also very  smart. He is really good at making friends. He is a great brother!

Next  there is meadow. She is 10 or 11. She is very tall. She is also very positive. She is the best jump roper I have ever seen! She is also very helpful. Plus she can get along with almost anyone she meets! She is an awesome sister!

 Now there is Flint.He is 9. He shares a room with me. He is really fun to play with. He has the whitest smile ever! He loses a tooth like every day. Flint is really cool!

 Stryder is very energetic. He is 8. He can go outside in the snow with no shoes. He loves playing with Onyx. He is also very good at wrestling and fighting. And he loves to do dot to dots.

Clover is the youngest and the cutest. She is 7. During the summer she will wear swimsuits all day. She is kind of bossy. She has a lot of stuffed animals. She also has 2 blankets.She always has at least 1 of them with her.
That is all of my family!!!!!    

Unless you count my grandma J.J. She likes to have us over to her house! 


Thursday, March 05, 2015


My dad is so awesome!

He is making us new bedrooms. Jayla has one with a triangle shaped closet. It also has a little cabinet for her craft stuff. Clover has one with a little bench at the bottom. My bed is taller than both them. All the beds are different. My dad is even making us a window seat. Our built in loft beds are awesome.

He also made Tyden and Flint a room. They have a symmetrical bedroom. They have built in bunk beds. The desks and dressers are on opposite sides of the room.The window is in the middle of the room.
Onyx and Stryder have not gotten a room yet. When they get one it will be the last one he does. All the rooms are going to be awesome! 

{Reading to Stryder in her temporary bedroom while (awesome!) dad finishes the girls' room.}


What I Learned In School This Year
                                                 By: Onyx Deutsch

I am in sixth grade this year and these are some of the things I’ve learned:

This year I learned better how to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. 

If you are adding or subtracting you find the LCD ( least common denominator) which is where you find the smallest number that both denominators go into evenly. 

Adding: First you have to find the LCD then you add the numerators of both fractions and if the denominators are the same then you leave it as it is.

Subtracting: once again you find the LCD then you subtract the numerators and leave the denominators the same.

Multiplying: I think this is the easiest one of them all. All you do is multiply the numerators and the denominators by the other one.

Dividing: what you do to use the reciprocal on the second fraction and then multiply straight across. 
Reciprocal: all you do is switch the denominator to the numerator.

Improper: you find how many times the denominator goes into the numerator. How many times it goes into the numerator is the whole number in the mixed number. And what is left over is the numerator and your first number is the denominator.                    

We learned about the pony express and how they wanted skinny small boys to ride across part of america to deliver mail. They would ride for one hour on one horse then switch to another horse and keep riding.then that boy would switch and give the mail to another boy.

Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. What it did was it separated the cotton from the seeds. This really helped slaves because they didn’t have to do it by hand. But when he showed people his invention everyone easily copied his idea and so he did not make any money. 

When Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana purchase from France he sent out two explorers ( and 90 men) to explore their new territory. On the way they met many tribes and in one a girl said she would lead them. Her name was Sacagewea and when she was leading them through the new territory she was carrying a baby on her back.


We learned about how robots are being used to milk cows so people do not have to milk them by hand. On some the cows walk in when they are ready. They had tags in their ears so when they walk in the computer detects their tags and prepare to milk them. And the computer strains and bottles the milk. 

We also learned about microwaves and how they use a magnetron to produce microwaves that cook food on minutes. Microwaves are are very short radio waves and if they were to escape the oven it could be fatal to people. That is why the microwave does not work unless the door is tightly sealed. There is a fine layer of mesh between the pieces of glass that blocks most of the microwaves. Microwaves only heat the food they do not heat plastic or glass. But if you were to put a spoon in the microwave it would spark. The difference between a microwave oven and a conventional oven is the air in a regular oven gets hot and dry and so the food gets crispy and dry like breads and pastries do. But in a microwave oven the air does not get hot so food does not get crispy.

I hope you have enjoyed reading some of what I have learned!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


During this cold, snowy, cooped up spell we've had I thought it would be interesting to task the kids with writing and typing a guest blog post. I gave them free reign to say whatever they would like on any topic of their choosing. We figured these would make fun, memorable additions to our family's blog book. 

Personally, I just love to see their creative juices flowing. It's a tremendously empowering thing to sit down with a blank screen and fill it up with unique thoughts in the precise way that only you could imagine. I've grown to heavily rely on the cathartic qualities I find in the emptying of myself as a page fills with words. 

Every single entry these children will produce is sure to prove a slice of masterpiece, I have no doubt...

Here is Jayla's: 

25 Things About Me
I like to chew gum a lot.
I love to listen to music while I do my schoolwork.
I could bake something every day.
I don’t care about the brands of my clothes or if I got them from Goodwill.
I like to craft and decorate my bedroom.
Planning parties is fun for me.
I don’t mind doing school most of the time.
I am without doubt NOT a morning person.
I can do braids but not in my own hair.
I don’t enjoy most snack foods but like almost all meals.
I like to organize things.
I am good with little kids.
I can’t stand baggy pants.
I can’t draw people/animals very well but abstract patterns are easy for me.
I am not a good singer (unlike my mom).
I don’t enjoy cold weather (most of the time).
I am not a girlie girl.
I don’t like the taste of tea but I drink it anyway because my mom makes me.
I am very close to my mom and dad.
I’m not a huge fan of reading unless I have a good book.
I love my baby dogs.
I don’t like the color green.
I try to make instead of buy everything that I can.
I can’t sleep during the day (most of the time).
I get dizzy spinning very fast.
Thank you. 
The end. 

Making snow ice cream - chocolate, strawberry and cookie dough

Concerts and Epic Fails and Winning Anyway

We had been talking about it and planning for it throughout the entire day. So excited, we decked her out for the occasion in her pioneer girl outfit, complete with Laura Ingalls braids and hanging bonnet. In the past, their charter-school-for-homeschoolers music concerts were all on the same night. This year, there are three concerts scheduled on three different dates for our family's five elementary students. I had it marked clearly on my calendar. February 17th, First Grade Concert. Clover's Night to Shine. It was also Meadow's approximate-estimate-randomly-chosen birthday. I had a lot to coordinate. So we met big daddy in town for a Happy approximate-estimate-randomly-chosen Birthday Fun Mickey D's run, including cupcakes and gifts, before we headed to the school to listen to the 1st grader in costume sing her blessed heart out.

Except it's Clover we're dealing with. No big surprise here...when it was time to hit the stage, the shy little female child just wouldn't go up. Period. No amount of cajoling, bribing, encouraging, or offering to march directly up on that stage full of pioneered first graders right along with her would do any good. She wouldn't budge and only hid her pretty embarrassed face in her dad's coat. 

Truth? I didn't mind. That's my babe! To be expected. We know the girl well. 

Then, just as we figured it was time to pack up our schoolhouse pride and sneak out the door and into our van of shame, one of the teachers called them up. SECOND GRADERS to the stage, please. 

Jayla: "Mom, did you hear that?"

Me: "Hear what?"

Jayla: "They just called 2nd grade to come up."

Me: "So what? The 1st graders are already on stage and Clover wouldn't go. We're going home."

Jayla: "What about Stryder?"

***Panic Button***Sound the Mental Alarm***Catastrophe Alert***Beep  Beep  Beep***Epic Mom Fail***You Will Burn In Maternal Ruin For all of Eternity While The Good Moms Who Would Never Use a Single Swear Word, Wear Yoga Pants Nor Forget Their Child's Concert Date and Time Tormentingly Mock You***

In Subpar Mom's Brain: "Oh! Stryder! He's in 2nd grade! Was his performance supposed to be tonight? But he's not in cowboy attire! Or farmer wear! Or general hillbilly red neck hick clothing! All those boys are wearing red bandanas and hats! Stryder has on a black and grey camo jacket!"

Frantic But Trying to Play it Cool Mom: "Stryder, honey, it's your night, dude! Let's get this jacket off you so you can run up on stage!" 

"@#$%^ fizzlestix! Your uncowboyesque Spiderman t shirt has a giant wad of gum stuck to the neck! How did that happen? Not stage worthy. You'll have to wear your jacket, okey dokey?" 

Stryder: "It's okay mom, I have on my cowboy boots!"

Mom: "SCORE!" 

A little wobbly, slightly unsure, just a bit jittery due to his disappointment for a mother's lack of preparation, the boy trotted up with his costumed classmates. Nothing screams you are not worthy of the badge of motherhood quite like sending your child up on stage in regular clothes with a bunch of dressed up kids whose moms got clearly got it just right. 


My boy. Watching him up there, spur of the moment, totally unprepared and more than an ounce uncertain with a giant sticky mound hiding underneath his jacket caused my heart to rise high and soar and leap and rejoice and pulse big and red and sugary and happy, happy, happy. I've never loved him more than in that very minute. We locked eyes. His face! For a time, I forgot my blunder and could bear to harbor nothing but pure adoration and elation and ethereal pride. The guilt was erased. It effortlessly shifted to otherworldly love and it all stopped spinning and there was nowhere on earth but that exact moment on that snowy night in that charter school auditorium in Colorado Springs. As for me? Glowing. 

These wonderful, beautiful, brave and nervous and shy and courageous and costumed and underdressed children, I think they are going to be alright, even in spite of me.

I couldn't have greater fortune. 

Though I fail, I win. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Structure and Nurture with Delight

We've never been a huge "rules" family. 

To some people, (not naming any names, ahem) hard, fast rules can be really difficult to choke down. They might feel unnecessarily oppressive to freedom of spirit, restrictive in liberty of thought and progression, and binding in conduct. They kind of get stuck in the throat. To this unruly fringe, (of which no one I know, personally, is  a part...) rules may tend to be seen as simply a list of rather arbitrary requirements imposed upon other people by those in power. And power, in the hands of humans, is rarely ever not abused.  

Phrases like obey the first time every time, renew your mind, control your thinking, and do it with a happy heart were what we were taught parenting was all about in our Christian cult. Where if you consistently do A)  your children will automatically do B) making you look like the most awesome, well respected authority figures in All The Land. Put a feather right in that self righteous cap!  When we decided to leave the ways of the group behind, these quips left a bad taste in our mouth, to be sure. So we haven't been big on using them.  

Instead, the adults who are posing as mature leaders in this racket called child rearing have made an effort to think of our home's vibe more in terms of guidelines, expectations, and preferences. I mean, hey, we had children in the 2000's!

The idea we have mostly tried to foster is sort of like this: We are your parents and we want what is the very best, most ideal and enjoyable for each of you. We will do all we can to give you everything we've got so you have all you need to reach your fullest potential. Living in this home together, there are things that must be done to ensure we are all learning, advancing and maintaining our individual and collective responsibilities. There are expectations for you, the children, there are expectations for us, the parents. But, we are adaptable and when something's not working, we'll go ahead and make amendments because change when necessary is a mark of humility and true progress, alright? Let's work together, okay? Rah, rah, rah! Go, team Deutsch!

Um, it doesn't always work. Not in terms of results, anyway.

My guess is it's because we're dealing with human beings here. Willful, brilliant, thoughtful and thoughtless and selfish and generous and scatterbrained and lazy and determined and scarred and ambitious and competitive and strong and weak and interdependent and independent and collaborative and opportunistic people. People! We are such a messy breed of organisms. 

Our expectations, they are regularly defied. Children, they tend to forget. Then forget again. And not remember. Right after they fail to recall. And forget to remember to not forget.

Bobby and I are at the place where we don't have any real answers. At all. The older we get, it seems the less we know for sure. Over the years we have tried just about every single thing known to grown ups dwelling with youngsters. Charts, stickers, consequences, rewards, point systems, insentives, you name it, we've probably given it a whirl. Some techniques work for a while, others not at all. Most of the kids kind of transition through stages then grow out of them. Some stay stuck in behavioral ruts they can't break out of. We're coming to realize more and more, you truly can't control anyone but yourself. Not ANY ONE. And sometimes even controlling your self is beyond your scope. All in all, we're basically at a total loss for how to steer this ship. 

So last night after a dinner of fettuccine alfredo and green salad, (of course!) we took it to The People to gather their input, gain clarity and whip them into shape with some cold, hard, rules. Oh, I kid. 

It was really a family brainstorming session.

We asked the 13 and under population, if we were to form a list of rules for our home, what would they be? 

This is what they said:

1) Do your morning and afternoon routines and any chores you have well
2) Put away what you get out
3) Do what you're asked to do by your parents
4) Be honest
5) Don't steal
6) Do your own school work (no cheating)
7) Don't wear muddy shoes inside (Flint's contribution. :))
8) Go to bed quickly when asked (as opposed to the 45 minutes it usually takes)
9) Keep conflict rules with siblings (no hitting, do what makes for peace and resolution)
10) Be quiet when doing your school work

Then, we asked them what the expectations or rules should be for the parent:

1) Provide for the material/physical needs of the children
2) Provide education
3) Give attention, be involved
4) Keep home in good repair
5) Provide transportation
6) Allow space and time for a social life and friendships
7) Provide indoor and outdoor activities to encourage physical, mental and emotional growth
8) Teach morality to the best of their understanding
9) Provide medical care when needed
10) Be kind, not abusive

We talked about how even adults face natural consequences and our responsibility in preparing them for the real world through requiring them to maintain responsibilites.

It's such a tricky balance, parenting. There is so much to do. So many mistakes to be made, so little time to muck them all up.

All in all, as we were throwing out ideas and having actual conversation and I was looking into the faces of these people who are emerging independent and bright and responsive and articulate, I was reminded of how simply it really all breaks down, no matter how many rules we might want to put up. 

There are no easy answers. Only maintenance and adjusting and forgiving and remembering not to take it all too seriously as it passes you by. 

The two basic places where I feel my main focus should be: To provide structure and nurture, structure and nurture, structure and nurture, and remember to delight in them as they grow... 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On Snowy Despair and Hopeful Birthdays

The Snowpocolypse may not have amounted to quite what we anticipated over the weekend, but we still enjoyed a nice, long cooping up effect. Actually, in a lot of ways it was really great. We played our fair share of games and watched a couple movies and read books and quizzed each other and sat by the fire and ate until we burst the seams on our sweatpants. I used to d r e a d these times. Intensely. When the kids are small and have next to no ability contain their boundless energy while indoors Cabin Fever is an actual, literal, like, disease. One that is known to reduce moms to fits of wailing outbursts, shaking her fists in the air cursing the sky from whence all frozen flakes fall, random bouts of sweating profusely despite the -20 windchill, deliriously feverish hallucinations of reclining on A Beach Where There Are No Children, and full body outbreaks of itchy, red, allergic-to-snow hives. In more serious cases, she might bundle the whippers up (The Christmas Story style) and throw them out in sub zero temps for an energy sucking romp, (then lock the doors behind them for a few glorious sips of coffee alone). I don't blame that woman. It's seriously a thing.  

As the kids have gotten older these times have become far more enjoyable. I might even miss them when they're gone. Though I could easily live right as rain in The Land of No Snow. 

Still, it wasn't our miss Meadow's finest weekend. Lots of bonding time, with nothing to do but bond, bond, bond all over the bonding place can throw that one in a bit of a bondspin. There were frozen fistfulls of less than ideal circumstances flurrying about. 

I may or may not have handled them with my finest therapeutic parenting skills I'm endeavoring (most some of the time) to develop.


Can I just say? Those techniques take A LOT of mental fortitude and a whole bunch of I'll lay down my life for you type of thinking. 

Sometimes I just wanna say, 

S  T  O  P  I   T   A  L  R  E  A  D  Y  !

I  A  M  N  O  T  I  N  T  E  R  E  S  T  E  D  I  N  T  H  I  S  *explicative* ! 

A  T  A  L  L  ! 

Because, wow. It takes a ton of effort to do things the hard way. And maybe you'd like to just sit by and savor a good, old fashioned Snowpocolypse every now and again. 

As I was talking to a friend online, wallowing in my parenting kids from hard places misery, I was reminded of something I really ought to acknowledge. 

Last week was Meadow's birthday. 

This hasn't typically been a super happy, comfortable time of year for her. Last year, for instance, she took every single one of her presents and put them in a bag in her closet and never pulled a solitary one out to use. For months. And months. Until I *suggested* she *might.* No wearing the clothes, no using the art supplies, none of it. For whatever reason, it all was more than she was able to accept.

But this year? Not at all that way. Girl was a GEM with her gifts. The face beamed! She thanked everyone graciously, smiled an easy smile as she was opening them, brought them home from the restaurant and immediately put them all away, then began using them the very next day. She made beautiful thank you cards, not only for the grandparents, but also for all of us. A tootsie roll with a note of thanks for each of her siblings and parents.

Oh my heart, it grows and wells and oozes hope and love and tenderness and all the joy, joy, joy. My tears, they spilleth over. 

And when the times are tough and the behaviors flare up big and I feel the weight of despair over the future pressing in, I can remind myself of moments like her birthday. 

My girl, this sweet, beautiful, kind hearted, gentle natured young lady, she has come so, so far. In no way at all is it easy being her. Not a single day could I imagine exactly what it's like to be in her shoes. It's the least I can do to buck up and keep sojourning along with her. Even through the damn snow...  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Out Crazy the Crazy

It was a phrase I had heard Christine Moers use. You've got to out crazy the crazy. 

I received a clear explanation of how this could could work during our phone consult last week. 

For example, I described to her how our lovely Meadow would swipe the belongings of the other children and store them away up on her triple top bunk, where no one could see them. Then, once caught, the lying about how the items got there would be the natural progression. This type of thing would typically lead, in our house, to an hours long blown up battle over the importance of telling the truth and why stealing is wrong. There would be tears and denials and lecturing and maybe even shouting and on and on...etc...etc...etc. 

Once said and done the entire scenario would leave me drained, depleted, frustrated, and entirely ineffective as I was SURE we would face it again. Because we always do. We always face everything again. And again. And again. 

Christine suggested I talk at the things instead of at Meadow when a situation like this presents itself. For instance, "Humph! It looks like these treasures found their way up to your bed when they should have been in your siblings' rooms. They must just really want to be with you! Maybe they are looking for a treasure hunt game. I think they want us to go around the house and find where they belong and return them to their rightful owners. Let's go get started!" 

{Possible interjection by Meadow: "But I didn't steal them!"}

"Well, honey. I didn't say you did! I just think we ought to go ahead and put them back where they go."

And so on....

I found a chance to use this tip this morning, so I tried it out.

While grading Language Arts books for Tyden and Meadow (both 4th grade), Jayla discovered a page where Tyden missed several and Meadow got them all correct. (Uncharacteristic for her.) Jayla asked Meadow if she used the answer key for her work. Meadow emphatically insisted she most certainly did not! 

Due to cheating in the past we had already ripped the answer keys out of the back of the books and placed them in the cabinet to help remove temptation. It just so happens that Meadow got up very early this morning, and sat at the kitchen table, alone to begin her school work. When it was time to grab answer keys to grade work, what do you know? Fourth grade language arts was on top! Using my brain that is all rocket scientist-y and everything, I figured out what happened. She had used the answer key to do her work and earned herself a great, big A+. Score! 

Rather than addressing her directly as I would have done in the million and ten times past, I decided to use Christine's approach. It went down something like this:

Me: "Meadow, I know you wouldn't cheat because you understand how crucial it is for you to do your own work so you can gain a proper education and grow up smart and strong and able to do anything you want to do in this life. But those answer keys? They are naughty little buggars. When they see a child sitting alone struggling with their work, and they KNOW they won't get CAUGHT, they JUMP out of the cabinet and HELP that child by GIVING them the ANSWERS. They can't help themselves! It's their job! To provide answers! So, they saw you all by yourself at the table and they figured it was the least they could do to give you a hand. Now, because they have shown themselves untrustworthy, I'm going to have to move them to my room where they won't be tempted to do a child's work for them. They need to understand that you all have your own work to do because this is YOUR education at stake. And that education is ubber important. I don't blame you honey, I blame them. I'm just going to give you another worksheet on the same concept to make sure you are learning what you need to know in order to advance because 4th grade material matters a lot. Okey dokey artichokey?" 

There were tears, yes. Lots of them. Because she was embarrassed and she was caught.

What there wasn't was conflict between she and I. 

Nor did I have a gargantuan headache. Nor did it ruin the rest of the school day.

She was gulping and crying and I just hugged her and told her I understand.

Now, later I can go to her and we can talk it out, when she is ready to speak truthfully, which she will be. I know she will. She's come a long way and she wants to be an honest person. I really believe it. She just has trouble getting there sometimes. 

I can totally relate to her. Honesty is not my difficulty by I have a whole big gaggle of other challenges I face. I have a hard time getting to where I want to be too. Every day I have a hard time. Every single blasted day. It's plain crazy how difficult it is for me to be the person I want to be when there are so many opportunities for me to act like a total jack wagon. 

I need someone to out crazy my crazy.   

 A note written to me from Meadow in code for me to solve: My mom is amaze balls. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

For the longest time I wasn't ready...

I was comfortable with what we had going and I held tightly to it. 

We had our share of challenges, yes. But for the most part, my family's Pre Adoption Life suited me well. Well enough that I figured we could pretty easily provide exactly what a child in need required, entrance to our family. All they needed was us...a couple of parents and a slew of siblings to love and care for them.

It has taken me years (years!) to come to accept how wrong I was - that my former life, our former family, my former self, would never be the just right fit for them. 

I slowly, painstakingly, through repetitive trial and heart crushing error came to realize, no matter how hard I pushed, lectured, doled out consequences, pleaded, and worked to force them to become the people that would make our lives together easier to live, they barely budged. 

Their behaviors were constantly undesirable which made my responses constantly undesirable which made them afraid of me because I was the lady with all the consequences and the anger and the frustration and the face of horror which propelled us into a cyclone of undesirableness all the way around. In their minds, I was easily earning the rightful title of Cinderella's Stepmother. 

Something had to change. 

As much as I longed for it to be them, the wake up call was was that it had to be me. Jagged little pill to swallow. 

Through the years I had read the books and watched the videos and tried the most palatable therapeutic parenting tidbits here and there. But honestly, deep in my bones I craved an easier route, the more natural and default version of parenting that worked decently well with my other kids, with whom I am so closely bonded. The things I was supposed to do for our adopted children made me cringe. The techniques took tremendous thought and effort. Worst of all, they went against every instinct I possess.

In so many ways it felt like giving up the authority I believed a parent should maintain. Like if I yielded to them too much, said "yes" to more than I was accustomed to, allowed behaviors I would never permit in the children I gave birth to, I would lose control of my home.

So I continued down the path of sameness, banging my head against the wall over and over and over and over until it was bruised. Suddenly, I recognized something tragic. The only one who was carrying the weight of the tumult that turned me black and blue was me. The kids? They didn't so much mind me lugging the sole responsibility of extending great effort on their behalf. 

Now, they were the ones settled, comfortable, relatively content and quite unwilling to budge as I was sweating, straining, exerting myself to fit the square peg of regular old authoritarian parenting into the round hole of mothering children with a history of trauma. 

As I reflected on five long years in, I frustratingly, tearfully grasped what was really happening here. We were at an impasse. Stuck in a rut. I was, am the only one willing to take the responsibility to get us out. It was going to involve some serious change in strategy on my part. 

I had nothing left to lose. Our connection was depressingly far from where I hoped it would be by this point. Everything that I was doing wasn't getting us beyond our old familiar cyclical treadmill, the one they didn't mind at all. Distance has always been their ally.

The one who was suffering most was far and away, me. 

What I failed to concede to for so long was that until our relationships evolved to the point of a certain basic level of trust and attachment and bonding, my adopted children would remain unresponsive to me. 

Me harping on them to change their behaviors to ones that would be more pleasant to deal with was of positively no effect. Their desire to behave better would have to come from within themselves. I couldn't want it enough for both of us. 

These days, my main focus is lightening up in every aspect. {Keep it moving} is my motto. Allot no time to stew on each situation that used to devour hours of my day and tons of mental energy. Make quick corrections where need be, don't ask questions, ESPECIALLY the dreaded, "why?" and move on. 

With practice, I'm actually getting pretty good at it. 

I just let it go like Elsa. 

I'll admit, I'm doing it mostly for me. I really couldn't live that way any longer - the tension was robbing me of my joy, devouring the precious years I have to enjoy with my children. 

The crazy thing is the natural byproduct of my changing is they are more comfortable with me and we're actually getting closer by their choice. 

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise, really. 

I mean, everyone prefers the snow queen to the wicked step mother.   

 *Showing my kids during school this morning what old school discipline was like by pretending to spank her with a kitchen utensil. (There was zero follow through.) 

*No children were harmed during the taking of this photo.

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