Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Family Camp

At Roundup River Ranch. For freeeeeeeeeee! Compliments of Paul Newman's foundation and lots of generous doners. For kids with chronic illnesses (Flint) and on certain designated weekends, their whole family (the rest of us). So much fun. Such high quality provisions in every way. Grateful, we are!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Parenting at Arm's Length

While reading about treatment options for kids who face obstacles in attaching with their adoptive parents, I stumbled across a technique I found interesting. 

Hang on a sec - let me backtrack for a moment. 

Many of the experts seem to agree - typical residential treatment facilities aren't usually very successful in their attempts to rehabilitate young people with RAD. They are often very high structured environments with a rotating staff and very little freedom. So initially, yes, it will appear that kids are overcoming their challenges. They will often enough do quite well in a system such as this. 

Fast forward to transitions back into homes with families and that's when things begin to fall apart again. At home, there is more freedom. It's unusual, difficult (and quite frankly, rather impractical) for parents to structure every moment of every day. Flexibility is required. Kids are expected to bond with their moms and dads and siblings in ways that communicate trust for their folks and a level of affection. They must show self restraint and an obvious development of conscience and the desire to live in a certain degree of harmony with their families. Honesty is paramount for trust to be reestablished. It's often just too much to ask of the kids who return home overwhelmed by all the expectations laid upon them to play their role as family member and child to parents to which they were not born. 

Enter therapeutic strategy employed by one "residential home" I read about. Here, rather than placing kids in a dorm like setting with a bunch of other RAD peers, they set kids in families. With parents. Where they go to school and do chores and eat dinner and do all the normal family type activities. The difference here is that the parents use what you might call "line of sight" parenting. In other words, the kids are basically always within the parents' line of sight. They work together and play together and go to therapy and do life alongside each other. They labor to build the ability for attachment and healthy relationships and the approach has promoted some definite success. All for the bargain price of $200/day! 

Being a little short on the cash supply for such an endeavor, I figured if they can do it, I can do it. 

So, I have. To the best of my limited, untrained, novice, inexpert, uneducated abilities. But hey, I am the biggest wig around here most days, so that counts for something. 

Meadow and I have been best buddies, partners, tethered at the hip for over three weeks now. I've affectionately decided to label it Arm's Length Parenting. She helps me a lot. We hang clothes together and scoop the doggie doo together and make dinner together and exercise together and play games together. She's getting fitter than she ever wanted to! {awesome byproduct!}

Incidents (lying, taking food to eat in the bathroom, hiding people's belongings from them, stealing from siblings, hiding my clothes from me, cutting holes in their brand new, handmade bedroom furniture (!) etc.) that were becoming multiple daily occurrences have reduced to nil, nada, zilch. 

I might even be breathing actual breaths again.

My goal is to remain generally, the majority of the time, within arm's length all summer. 

A bonus to all this time together is that we are bonding. (I'm so freakin fun she can't help but grow to like me.) A little bit. At a rate Meadow will tolerate, which is slower and less close and more awkward than I would prefer, so I must do my work too - acceptance, patience, being a highly predictable parent, the realization that we may never arrive at a point of destination but will remain two sojourning souls wandering down a winding path toward a blessed bit of togetherness. Within Arm's Length of one another...  

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Familyvert - one who prefers the company of his/her family to solitude

(Don't quote me on that. I made it up.)

All alone in my house for a few hours today, (save one big, one medium and one tiny dog) I can hear the clocks keeping time. The incessant ticking and tocking aches in my ears. The quiet rises in my throat, threatening to leak out of my eyes. It's an extremely rare occasion to be here completely by myself. On any other day, amid the trampling of not-so-little-anymore-feet I don't even know I have clocks. If I did, I'd surely be more prompt.  

I miss my babes. 

I miss them all. 

I remember several years ago camping with friends. At the time, we had 7 kids ages 8 and under. A constant whirlwind of commotion, uncontainable energy, endless corrections and futile attempts at corralling the herd kept The Man and I on our very weary toes. I envied the other family. With nearly half the number of kids we had and 2 teens to lend 4 helping hands, their camping excursion was a gentle breeze while ours better resembled the tornado that swept Toto and his teen mommy away to the land of the spooky little munchkins. I couldn't wait for our lives to be that easy. Today, they have a couple kids preparing to leave the nest and my envy has evaporated. Poof. Into thin air. I am so glad I'm not there yet. I've got a bit longer. I'm just not ready. 

Yet, I know my time will come soon. 

There have been many a day that motherhood has kicked the living tar right out of me, rolled me into a ball and sent me on a flight through the air only to land on the ground again, with a giant thud. It has reduced me to my weakest, most fretful state, brought me to my knees with worry and anguish and concern and fear that I will never be enough of what exactly it is they individually and collectively need. I have faced the daunting hours stretched out before me with trepidation more regularly than I can count.

But this role has risen me high, high, high too. It has set my spirits soaring, caused my heart to leap and dance and frolic with unaduterated gladness and sheer elation and enormous gratitude and boundless pride. Such pride for the people they are, the ones they are becoming, the ones they will be. 

I love them. All unique and precious and worthy and valuable beyond measure, my treasures on this earth. It has been a privilege to watch their lives unfold. 

I can't wait for them to come home. 

Let me soak up the mornings and noons and nights we have together while we still have them together.

Maybe I'm not so much of an introvert after all. 

A familyvert. Yeah, that's more like it...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Grand Finale

Four months of labor, loads of trips to Home Depot, and a few thousand dollars later, we have our last kids' bedroom. This one belongs to Onyx and Stryder. I am wicked proud of my husband for designing and producing such fine pieces of work all on his own. Art, it is. He would never tell or show anyone his handiwork. That's okay. It's what I'm here for...

From the entryway looking in:
 Side by side closets with extra storage above:
 Built in beds:
 Looking down from the top bunk:
Whew! I'm taking that guy out to dinner tonight!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Our Year in Sports (Or Not)

When I was a kid, posters of Mary Lou Retton, Svetlana Boginskaya, Yelena Shushunova, and Kristie Phillips adorned my bedroom walls. At night, I slid away to sleep with uneven parallel bar routines in my mind's eye. I would execute each trick perfectly, in the comfort of my bed, eyes closed, before drifting off. Once asleep, I would dream I was one of the girls training with Bela Karolyi at his gym in Texas. Like many others, (in my dreams) I would live with a local family, get a tutor for school classes, and spend 4-6 hours a day in the gym. And I would love my life. 

Gymnastics was my passion, my pursuit, my vision, my reason. I recorded the 1988 olympics on a VHS tape (remember those?!) and watched it over and over....and over....again...Torn tendons, ripped hands, bangs and bruises every which where were part of the program and I drank it all up, every last bit. I ate, it, breathed it, savored it. Many life lessons were learned through the sport of gymnastics. An apt teacher, she served me well.

When Bobby and I spawned wee ones, it seemed likely they would be inclined toward sports. He and I both were when we were young. 

Through the years, we've tried all kinds of sporting activities for them. Soccer camps, dance class, gymnastics sessions, upward basketball, tackle football, etc. You name it, at some point in time, with some child, we've probably given it a whirl. 

Earlier this fall when I signed up, then promptly unsigned five of them (due to scheduling and logistics) for basketball, I felt pretty badly about it. Major mom fail. My charges would have no need for mesh shorts or high top shoes. Could they survive? 

What if these precious young people, under my care, flounder aimlessly in all that is life because they never develop the ability to slam dunk an orange ball into a white net? Likely story. Vertically challenged, those Caucasian Deutschlets are.   

When the dust settled on my pitiful woes, we regrouped and decided that we would devote this year's time and limited finances toward renovating the bedrooms of our seven, providing individual space for each member of the tribe within the confines of shared rooms. It's been a major feat that is almost complete (the angels sing!). No sports. No activities. Allowance cut back to once a month. Helping with painting and construction where possible. Sacrifices would be made. We would all play the role of active participant in this endeavor, to some extent. 

As this school year comes to a close, and I look back, may I just say how very fantasmically enjoyable it has been? Really. My heart is epically full. 

Our posse has eaten dinner together at the table every.single.solitary.night. Afterward, we are free to play games. Lots and lots of games, we play. We read books and sit by the fire and go outside when it's warm enough and I beat them at tetherball, one by one because their mom, she's competitive. 

There is time. Precious, fleeting, vaporizing time has been captured, redeemed, cashed in, held, cradled, through moments - many moments spent together in each other's company. Rush has been all but eliminated.

We're often asked what sports or extra curricular activities our kids are involved in, and throughout this year, we've had to admit what few American Parents in 2015 could or would ever dare confess, "Uh...none. Zero. Zilch. Nada." Because that's the way we roll up in this joint. All countercultural and everything, prompting the Nice Folks to scratch their heads and wonder who exactly issued us our Parenting License as we clearly didn't get the memo about what is required for this gig. 

Seriously, it can be difficult not to feel the need to qualify and list reasons and assure All the Good People we really are Exemplary Parents. I mean, if they gave awards for slackers, we would claim top prize.  

It's hard to predict what the future will hold. Will we again engage in sporting activity? Probably so. Though truthfully, this band of offspring has never been huge into the whole scene. They haven't exhibited the same drive or desire for it that their dad and I held. I don't know if it's a product of their environment or the fact that we haven't really pushed it or a combination of both or what, but it hasn't proven so much their main agenda. They don't watch them on t.v. They don't read about them in books or magazines. They don't follow players or teams or coaches. They probably aren't dreaming of moving to another state with random families they've never met to train. Unless they just want to get away from the family they've got. Which is quite possible, but that's another story for another day. 

They favor building forts out of scrap lumber and whittling sticks to hooping it up on the court, which is fine by me. 

They ride bicycles and take guitar lessons on YouTube and play made up jingles on the piano and walk the dogs and do chores and bake all kinds of goodies and have friends over and draw pictures and master board games and check out 100 books a week at the library and sculpt snow caves and create duct tape masterpieces and write stories and build rubber band guns and bows and arrows and shields made from cardboard and spend a ton of hours with their siblings and parents, negotiating this game called life the old fashioned way. 

Are they any the worse for it? I sincerely doubt it. 

All the Good Mommies, we must remember: There are lots of great ways to raise kids, each equally viable and valuable in its own right. We just have to choose our path and go with it, confidently, heads held high. To heck with whether or not the critics (most importantly, the ones in our own heads!) agree. They don't earn our prize, we do. 

No one, not one of us can do it all.  

I have a feeling even Mary Lou would agree...
The girl has teeth again! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

On Withdrawing from Society, Easy Love and Hulu Self Care

Being a hermit does have certain perks. For example: FOBLO is a disease to which I have a decidedly robust case of immunity. 

All my friends are getting together without me and I come across their festive, smiling photos plastered about social media, arms slung all around each other's shoulders? 

No worries (!) 

No invite = No excuse needed as to why I can't make it. {Introvert Problems}

It took me a whole month to connect with even my closest girlfriend....for a phone call. 

It's just that things haven't been so stellar in the Life on the Homestead Department with regard to our adopted daughter and man, that can suck the life giving oxygen right out of a woman. My mental energy? Consumed. My physical energy? Devoured. My stamina? Weakened. Endurance? Used up. Emotional fortitude? Washed away. 

Whoa. It's a helluva lot of work to parent these situations. Holy macaroni. 

On a good day, I'm introverted. Throw in a few months of can't turn your back on your child and must foresee every possible angle that will be manipulated in advance or you will wish you had parenting and wowzers, I'm an utter recluse. I've always been a homebody to the nth degree. When times are tough, it magnifies. You know Agoraphobia? She is my homie. {Um, punny!} 

I don't have to go anywhere. The Housewives keep me company. The ones in Beverly Hills. For the fun of it, because I have such an outrageous number of spare hours on my bored little hands, I'm working my way through episodes one by one beginning in the first season on Hulu while I jump rope and press dumb bells and stair step and crunch abs, because physical strength, it fortifies the mind. I escape to the land of extravagance where every single thing is fake, phony, blown out of proportion and staged because it bears zero resemblance to my own existence where old fashioned minimalism is my ultimate objective, shopping excursions that don't involve groceries or thrift stores are faced with dread, cocktail parties are an absolute no-go, wine is served in mason jars, and the diminishing art of making do reigns supreme. Their wildly over the top drama brings me a measure of peace. Oxymoronic much? I think yes.

And my Pebble. Oh, the love. The lovely loving love, love love. Not to be underestimated is the precious the ability to hold and cradle and rock another living being. A tiny living being. Who will never once talk back, swear to high heavens that she hates me or move out to pursue dreams of her own. She is mine to have and to hold until death do us part. The comfort! Priceless is the treasure achieved by a love such as this. Puppy kisses, they're the berries. 

And the Vikings. At night. Where I retreat with my ever faithful, steady, rock of support husband. Under an antique quilt on the love seat in our quiet haven of a modestly decorated bedroom. Just before the day is done when the band of hoodlums have been nestled into their cubbies and the lights are turned out. I am Lagertha, shield maiden, kick ass babe on a mission. Now, she and I have something in common, we don't back away from a fight. Nevermind that she could obliterate me with one swipe of the sword. In My Fantasy Land, we are peers. 

And Jayla who casually tells her dad one day that she and I are best friends. Breathing life into my days and hope into my heart and joy beyond containment into my world. That girl, like a honey salve to my soul, sweet, light, pure, natural, untarnished exquisiteness. 

And Tyden, who asks if he can schedule some uninterrupted time to sit down with me and tell me all the things he's been storing up to say. He openly shares, desires my company, delights in my presence. His gift is good. 

And Clover who doesn't want to go to her homeschool program because she'd rather stay with mom. Still my baby. 

By this boundless grace of free flowing love with radical Hulu self care aimed at keeping me firmly rooted outside the walls of the mental hospital so that I can serve my family well, we live to fight another day. 

The Real Housewives, Lagertha and I. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

When your husband gets you a consolation dog...

For years, we've been contemplating the notion of a foster baby. Both before and after our little stint of taking All The Hard Steps toward making a baby of our own the new fashioned way which made 2014 a terribly expensive, wildly roller coastery year that ended with sorrowful sorrow more boundless than my heart could fathom. 

Our last precious Deutschlet would have been born in March. The month came in all predictably lioness and went out lambesque sans brand new miracle of modern technology infant arrival. Damn vasectomies. Damn aging. Damn desire for one more sacred shot at fresh, beautifully bonded, sweetest gift, motherhood. Damn exhausting RAD propelling the urge for the gentle ease of naturally attached parenting. Damn it all.

Of course, as these things often do in the cosmic space where Murphy dwells, the sadness of March collided with the onset Miss Meadow's most challenging period to date. By far. Really, really far. Really, really, really far. 

If things don't slow down here in the RADish behaviors department, I'm not sure a foster baby is in the cards. I honestly don't know at this point, but I am positive that I want and need to proceed with careful pondering and whatever shred of wisdom I still possess. 

The thought of shutting the door on all babies of all kinds entering our home as one of our family is utterly dream crushing to me. I'm not saying it's definitely the case that we won't foster a baby, but I am saying things would need to improve here first with Meadow's situation. I have hope. And I am realistic. It could go either way. It's not an easy decision to make.

In light of all the gut wrenching going on around here these days, the kindest, most honoring and supportive beyond belief man I get to call hot husband has given me the best gift he could come up with to ease my babyless burden. He pooled together an outlandishly generous gift we unexpectedly received from some of the dearest people the planet has ever seen walking its surface, a contribution from each of the kids, and a portion from himself, to purchase and outfit me with a perfectly wonderful someone to nurture. 

I have a new baby girl who will stay little forever, Pebble.

Happy early Mother's Day to me. 


Woman's best friend.

{Puppy Love} 

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!

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