July 30, 2010

Catchin' the Bug

I started my first diary when I was 6 years old. I vividly remember the day I was searching for candy in my grandma's dresser; that was the day the bug was born. She lived with us back then, and me and my two brothers spent a lot of time in her apartment. She would feed us Vanilla Wafers topped with strawberry cream cheese. I can smell the strawberry, vanillony goodness now. She also loved (gulp) Vienna Sausages. I have to say those never really took. We would steal sips of her diet Pepsi. And, life in her part of the house was slow, and magical. She had a round glass terrarium with little gnome figurines inside, next to her kitchen sink. The boys and I would sit on her kitchen countertops and take the gnomes out to play with. I think I eventually broke one of those porcelain red and green guys with funny hats. That was a sad day. Sometimes, I sorted her medications...and looking back it kind of cracks me up. Heart medications in the hands of a 6-year-old? Hey, no one was hurt. And, I like sorting little colorful pills.

So, back to the candy searching. One day I was up on a chair, searching for candy, when I found a little leather-bound, latching, locking, book labeled, "Diary." I ran over to my grandma and asked her what it was. She explained to me that it was her diary and a place to write down the things that happen in your life. I planted my 6-year-old bottom on her gold carpet and spent the rest of the time during, "The Price is Right," pouring over her entries. I was in heaven! Nosy even then. Hers were mostly appointment dates and times, birthdays and details about trips taken. I found another diary that was blank in her drawer, and begged to have it. I was such a rude kid. She lovingly gave it to me.

I don't have that diary anymore. But I do remember looking at it when I was about eleven. Of course I was mortified! Big scribbles across the pages. People I wanted to marry. Places I wanted to go. Things I hated about life. Things I loved about life. My best friend, my second best friend, and my tie for third best friend. My latest heart or flower drawing. At eleven, I was embarrassed at how stupid I was at 6. But my 6-year-old self loved having such a special place to write.

Fast forward twenty-three years. I haven't kept a diary loyally at all. Since I married Mr. Deem, for some reason keeping handwritten journals and baby books NEVER happens. I'll bet there are fifteen journals in random boxes in our garage, with only a handful of entries each. I feel too scatter-brained to do it anymore.

Even though it can be less personal--sitting down and typing something up is just easier.

When I started this blog...I wanted to write again.

During the past few months--I began to panic: "Is it an adoption blog? Homeschool blog? Military blog? Political blog?" 

"If I don't narrow my topic, it won't be interesting. It won't be valid."

Then I remembered why I wanted to blog in the first place:

    •  to experience writing again.
    •  to have a creative outlet while Mr. Deem is deployed.
    •  to document my life.
    •  to remember my past.
    •  to give readers hope in hard life circumstances I've learned or am in the process of learning from.
    •  to give God glory for the constant pursuit of His broken child and the crazy-loving way He provides for my family!

So that's why I'm writing!  I know at times in the future, I will again be shocked at my lack of understanding in my younger self. I'll panic and be embarrassed by my foolishness. But, I'm praying for boldness and creativity. My hope is that what I write will be useful, inspiring or at least interesting to those that read.

 God Bless~

July 29, 2010


 *Girly, crazy body-image, life after babies, post. Beware.

I got to see a number on the scale today that I haven’t seen for seven years. Sadly, the experience was mostly a letdown.
“WAHOO! ROCK ON!!! I did it. IeeeIee did It!!! Oooooh. Wait. Huh? Well, that’s strange. I still look…and it’s...still—saggy." *sigh*

I’ve imagined how I’d feel to see my, “pre-baby” weight, since I had Jack.  The funny thing is, I thought that when I got to see that NUMBER—I’d also get to see that BODY. But as I excitedly ran to the mirror to fully realize what that number looked like in person…it was nothing as I had hoped! Even though I feel pretty lucky to have carried four children and earned minimal stretch marks; there were other battle wounds.
The belly button that was lost in folds of soft white pasty dough, falling in on itself, and glaring grumpily back at me. "Yeah? So what?" It snarled. The five small scars from the gallbladder/endometriosis surgery. They said, "Hey, at least you're off the Vicodin." The self-inflicted navel piercing that was so short lived—it wasn’t worth the $50 dollar thrill. It said, "Youth is wasted on the young!" There was the ridiculous amount of s-t-r-e-t-c-h, and the gentle pooch that was slightly bigger on the right than the left. After all, that’s where Grant hung out—during my whole pregnancy. Forget moving around. That kid stayed put! And…then there was the top. Those roes weren't feeding among the lilies anymore! Oh, Song of Solomon. You mock my pain! Sustaining children for 6 years (72 months total) would wear any hardworking machine out. I won’t hurt your brain with the graphic details of those poor suckers. Let’s only say that all the silly analogies are really true. And, I’m earning all A’s in that department—no more B’s. Sometimes getting smaller ain’t more fun at all.

So happiness is definitely not found in a number.  Only, it seems in fading memories. Oh, OKAY! In being content with what the good Lord has given you! And, in the knowing that I’d do it all over again to bring those four little punks into the world. Who needs itty-bitty waists and rock-solid abs anyway?  It’s not like I ever had them! Was only hoping for a mid-season rebound, ya’ know? Oh, and the gray hairs the fifth one is no doubt cranking out at this moment. I’ll happily give her those, too. Because, there are things, and lives, more important than my sad, saggy self…

But don’t think for half a second that I’m not saving up for my million dollar mommy makeover! A girl’s gotta’ dream, right?

July 28, 2010


Sleep! Sleep! Beauty Bright

Sleep! sleep! beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep! sleep! in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet Babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast
Where thy little heart does rest.

O! the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep.
When thy little heart does wake
Then the dreadful lightnings break,

From thy cheek and from thy eye,
O'er the youthful harvests nigh.
Infant wiles and infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

William Blake 

Those first four weeks home, pretty much all I did was focus on bonding. When Ray came into our lives, she had developed a varied amount of self-soothing methods. Many of them broke my heart to see. Head rolling when she was tired (thus the bald spot in the back of her head). Retreating off to a corner to fall asleep. Repetitively opening and closing her hands when overwhelmed or bored. At first that one was cute. Then, I realized she was doing it because for 13 months there were vast amounts of time when the only two things she had to entertain, sooth, engage with, and look at...were her own hands. I've also mentioned before, that when she fell or got hurt in any way--there were no tears. All in all, I  firmly believe that, "bonding" was THE most important thing I could focus on. And, as vague as it sounds, and as, "resilient" as children are. It's important  to cue-into the child who you have become a parent to! So, that was my focus. I think that my heart broke every. single. day. for a good month. Not just for her. In fact--honestly, mostly for myself. Self-pity. Realizing the amount of time I had missed in her life. Feeling detached from her. Feeling like I had signed up for a lifetime of something more like babysitting, than motherhood. At times coming out of my selfish, broken heart, and seeing into hers...and realizing how hurt she had been. Losing her mother. Her grandmother. The nannies from the first care center. Nannies from the second. All in 13 months time. By God's grace, the wisdom of those who have gone before me, and a very logical, smart, comforting, loving husband--we're not in that space anymore. At least, God's taken the panic and terror that would sneak into my brain. And, He's given me some peace.

Anyway, somewhere along the line, Deems started dropping like flies to various illnesses (maybe someday I will post on that. Holy sweet-fevers-staff infections-ringworm-oral herpes-scabies-cow!). I started not sleeping. Reagan (who was sleeping in our bed) would roll around all night--really trying to find a comfortable spot to land. She never seemed content. She wanted to be close. But not THAT close. Nearness. Not intimacy. Then she figured out that our bed was only a foot off the ground...and that opened up a whole other can of worms. Nighttime became an exploring adventure for her. Did we discipline her for getting out of bed? Did we put her the crib? Try just holding onto her? Maybe my brain was clouded by sickness and zombia ( *Someone who is has succumbed to the dark word of Zombies; specifically caused by insomnia. It's a medical term.)--but it was all I thought about! My brain hurt from trying to determine our sleeping arrangement. I really wanted to co-sleep. However, with Mr. Deem's deployment coming up, and Ray needing to be sandwiched between us, so she wouldn't roll off or escape our bed. I missed my husband. And, I felt like I was forcing closeness on her. Which was not my goal at all. I wanted to make her feel secure--not trapped.

So for a few weeks we tried getting her to sleep in the crib next to our bed. HORRIBLE, horrible, horrible idea. This involved hours of crying every day. By Reagan and sometimes me. I felt like that's all I did. Try to make the crib an inviting place to sleep. It seemed like I never saw the other kids. Just tried to get the one to SLEEP. "Dear God, PLEASE make her sleep!"  When I put the crib rail up she would stand and bounce up and down, swaying frantically in a demon possessed fashion...and get bloody lips and gums from banging her mouth on the rail. I felt like crap. And, I was angry at her. "What do you want!?" If I put the rail down, she would try to crawl out. Did I say it was horrible? It's funny, because I consider myself a veteran mom. But, everything about this adoption has sent me back to ground zero. Which is good--everyone needs a good slap of humility once in a while, right? I feel exactly like I did back when I was 20, and Lincoln was a baby.

Soooo, after about a month of sleep trials, I decided to give up. Not on bonding. But, just on my ideals of bonding. And, I know... there are  many, many great books on attachment, and parenting. But at some point--you shut down. I was at that point. I decided I may not be the perfect attachment parenting role model...but I probably should try something new before my sanity went down the toilet. Just like Grant's last pare of underpants (that boy!).   We moved her crib into Ked's room. Moved Grant's toddler bed into the boy's room (right next to Dribble the toad). Then, we waited.

Her first night in her bed, she was ecstatic!!! She was SO excited to be in the same room with Ked, and all the toys. She played with her glowworm. Smile. Dozed off. Yes. This is the same crib she previously bloodied her mouth on. One of Jason's fellow officers had come over to drop something off. After about an hour, she woke up screaming, and even after rocking and cuddles--she cried for a very long time. I think we gave that officer a scare about ever having children of his own! However, that night was the last time she cried over going to bed. Unless she's sick or had a night terror--she dives into her bed and loves it. I like that she's now willing to cuddle, kiss, and isn't alone (Ked's in the room with her). She likes having a little bit of her own space.

Maybe because she's used to sleeping with 10 other children. Maybe I just needed to give her more time. Regardless--for now, our sleep troubles aren't consuming our everyday existance. 

 Now it's back to more normal everyday things like: a three-year-old with serious potty training regression, a four-year-old and her lipstick obsession that is all over the carpet, and explaining to the older boys why is NOT okay to throw their action figures at the ceiling fan. All the usual stuff.

I think God new exactly what we needed. After she started sleeping through the night, Jason had to leave for a few weeks for deployment training. I got pretty sick while he was gone. And,  I kept thinking, "What if I'd been sick, had all the kids, AND she still wasn't sleeping?" A credit card shopping spree on Pottery Barn's website? Locking myself in my room for the weekend while the children flailed helplessly about in search of food? The possibilities are endless. And for the time being--catastrophe was avoided.

July 25, 2010


*This was written by my awesomely funny brother Zach, to our little brother David, who just had a birthday. Enjoy.

David. David. David. I've heard it said, "When I was a boy, I played like a boy, I dressed like a boy, I danced around like a little sissy....like a boy. But when I became a man, I took that boy out back and I SHOT HIM!!!"  I believe the time has come David, to take off your boyhood and put on your MANHOOD. Wear it proud, wear it every day, and wear as if it shields you from thoughts of wanting to live with your parents ‘till you’re thirty-five. Because, it does. Wear it as if it will make you strangle yourself with your own hands if you even think about buying a, "MAN BAG." Because, it will. Wear it as if it will cause spontaneous and uncontrollable expulsion of the bowels if you believe for one second!! The lie that the measure of a man is in his cars, trucks, money, clothes, good looks, sense of humor, or collection of ballpoint pens. Instead of knowing that your value comes from Christ alone. Because, it will.

And when the world cries out in the night and says,
"Where are all the good men?!!"
You, David will stand up and say,
"I am here!!"
For standing up you will be called a "sexist," “chauvinist," “moralizer," and a, "Jesus Freak." You will be accused of being: judgmental, intolerant, homophobic, and many other things. Because nothing offends the world more than a righteous man.  I personally think you have what it takes to offend thousands!!!!!! But, there are those (the orphaned, the widowed, the tired, the weak and the hungry) who will see you for what you are.

The hands and feet of God.

Happy Birthday David.

Welcome To Manhood

Oh wait! You’re only 17 this year!!!!
I take it all back!!!

July 24, 2010

Carpe Diem!

I don't know how to say, "Seize the Moment!" in Latin, so, "Seize the Day," will have to do. I guess that Horace meant the phrase to mean we should not think about the future, i.e. eat, drink and be merry today. 

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying..." (
Robert Herrick)

I'm thinking more along the lines of snuggles, kisses, conversations, having happy eyes, smiles and putting my agenda on hold--even when it's, "for the benefit of others." I'm thinking about subjecting myself to being interrupted 1289 times throughout the day, by five children.

I've had mucho heartache over being, "rejected," by Reagan. And, yesterday I had an epiphany:

I've been focusing on Ray's rejection of me when I reach out. However, there are many times during the day that she seeks me out, asks to be held, and is in an obvious search for attention.

These times include but are not limited to:
  • Dinner time. If I am washing dishes, sweeping, or making food--Ray is there.
  • (Sorry) Bathroom time. If I even think of using the restroom--Ray is there.
  • Spending time with the other kids. If I am holding somebody else--Ray is there.
  • The very sacred computer time. If I am doing this--Ray is here.
You get it.  You are probably thinking, "Yeah. Duh. " It's not different from what all children do. I just forget. And, it's not always convenient. Grant followed me around every single day for almost 2 years. It's normal. I'm realizing that if I stop (STOP!) and bend down. Reach for her. Pick her up. Kiss her cheek. Perhaps make room on my lap for one more. OK, maybe the chicken will burn! Something strange happens. First of all--I get my snuggles!!! Second of all (is that how you say it? Secondly?) Ray's needs are met...and she moves on. She might be back in five minutes. But, it's not entirely consuming. Eventually dinner gets fixed.  Maybe I won't get 30 minutes of angelic, direct, eye-gazing snuggles before bed. Maybe I will. But I can certainly get 5 minutes off and on throughout the day.

Here's to a new outlook on parenting. To lessons that need to be learned over and over again. To a God that is graciously there for me when I need Him in bits and pieces throughout the day.

Sometimes you don't get quality time unless you are willing to be there for the quantity of time. It's sad but true.

I'm not the only one who's busy:

She has cupboards to stock,
 matching outfits...
  to plan,
and daddies to wrestle!
Muffin batter to test,
tea parties to attend,
tea cups to break,
and books to read.
Lego help to lend Lincoln,
bus trips to go on with Grant,
potty time,
and fits to fall asleep during.
Phone calls to make,
sisters to follow,
swings to touch the sky in,
and rays to catch.

 I guess instead of being a crazy, controlling, love-crazed, feelings-obsessed momma...

I will give her some space. 

  And wait for dinner time~

July 23, 2010

Help in the Trenches

OK, so this post isn't as dramatic as it sounds. But in an effort to remember and give God honor when He provides; I thought I'd share:

I can't say that I'm the most hospitable person around. Not because I don't like people--I LOVE people! I intensely relish listening to the life stories of those I know...and ones I've just met. Unfortunately, I (selfishly) get caught up in feeling like the house isn't ready, presentable, or clean enough. It's my constant struggle.

In the spirit of  my last post, I had been whining to God about, "getting my act together," and having people over more often. But, then also feeling completely overwhelmed with figuring the logistics of that out. I know! It's not rocket science. But, it feels like it to me.

 Now bare with me: We have new neighbors across the street. We love them! They have three young girls. They've been coming over lately to play with the three olders. The oldest girl talks. She talks a lot. And, I think she's the cutest thing EVER. She is constantly volunteering her mom to babysit, or run errands for me. It's really funny. She tells me stories about the death of their family dog, places they've lived, school adventures, and all kinds of things that are important to a girl her age. When she comes over, I've just sat and talked to her. Enjoying her facial expressions. Her oh-so-wise understanding of the world. And I can't help but remember, CRYSTAL CLEARLY how I felt and thought at that age. I felt so...old. And, I remember how good it felt, when someone, especially an adult, treated my like an equal. And, listened. I'm pretty sure she feels too mature to play with Lincoln and Jack--even though they are about the same age.

Listening. That's what I had been doing. However, earlier this week...I was a stressed out mama! Sunday was hectic. And, we had a lot of catching up to do around the house (always). When the girls started walking over to play with the boys. I thought, "They are going to see our messy house and tell their mom all about it!" Yes. That's how immature and petty I am. We invited them in, and I told the girls they were welcome to play...but that I had to do some cleaning around them. The oldest (we'll just call her, "Gabbie") said,

July 22, 2010

THE best pancakes!

Although I'm not a fan of all the recipes in Sally Fallon's book,  Nourishing Traditions; THIS recipe rocks!

It takes a tiny bit of preparation, in that you have to soak the whole wheat (or whatever grain you use) overnight. It's definitely worth it.

Nourishing Traditions Pancakes:
  • 2 C. Freshly ground (yeah right) Whole Wheat, Spelt, or Kamut Flour.
  • 2 C. Buttermilk, Yogurt, or Kefir. (I use buttermilk.)
  • 2 Eggs lightly beaten.
  • 1/2 t. Sea Salt. (Never have it--table salt won't make the batter spontaneously combust.)
  • 1 t. Baking Soda.
  • 2 T. Melted Butter.
 Soak flour in buttermilk 12-24 hours.

Stir in other ingredients and thin to the consistency you want with water.

(I line 'em up on our electric griddle.)

They take a little longer than the usual pancake batter. A few minutes on each side.

In the book, it says the recipe serves 16-20. However, I find that when I make them, I end up with 12 pancakes. I use a 1/4 C. measuring cup to pour onto the griddle.

They don't look like much. But, give grain soaking a chance! Nutty, chewy, a little sour. They are REALLY good. Pour on a little love, butter and real maple syrup. Happy me. Happy kids.

July 20, 2010


I’ve been hesitant to post anything about adoption since we came home. Mostly, because I can’t quite wrap my brain and heart around what’s going on.  I would best describe it as being broken

Mr. Deem has been away training for the past couple weeks.  I’ve found myself on more than one occasion crying out to God, “WHY on earth did I want this life?!! WHY did you let me do this? Why five kids? Why did you let us join the military? Why adoption? What was I thinking? I’m a FOOL...because it obviously isn’t working!!
Grant has had some major regression in potty training. I’ve cleaned up more potty accidents than I can count during the past 5 days. Honestly, the yuckiness doesn’t bother me all that much…it’s the laundry. I’m tired of, “just making it,” I want to be successful at my job! So, between the messes,  being on an anaconda-like budget, and being a single-mom right now; I've been pretty low. 

Then, during our bottle time, Reagan started pushing me away again. Not in big fits of anger or fear…but in that uncomfortable way a child who’s not your own, pushes you away. “OK lady, you’re nice and all…but that’s enough. I’ve gotta be on my way now.”  And, that hurts. Because...I want her for my own. And, yet I realize that none of my children are my own. That's the beauty and the pain of having children.

So, on top of the bitterness and anger I had for just being home with the kids, I was 
adding, “Why doesn’t she like me yet!? Why doesn’t she trust me?” You can see how it progresses. And, you can probably see how foolish it is of me to demand love and affection from a toddler who has only known me for two months. Alas! Emotions cloud logic again.
So!  The past week has been rough. I’ve been whining a lot to God about why I can’t seem to overcome my selfish personality, and why He let me take on this life in the first place! 
  Last night Reagan woke up screaming and terrified. I ran in and tried to comfort her. She very deliberately pushed me away and avoided all eye contact. She only was soothed by my placing her on the floor. It breaks my heart when she does that! Makes me feel like crap. I feel like she has been abandoned so many times, that just being left alone is comforting to her. I believe she had a night terror. And, that I may not have been the person she was hoping to walk through the door. Who knows? But, she cried for over 30 minutes. Eventually, I joined her. Finally, the crying woke Ked up, and Ked started singing, “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star.” She's so sweet. That seemed to lighten the mood. And, eventually Reagan let me hold her and was fine as long as she didn’t look at me. Then she asked to be put in her crib, and I tucked her in and left the room.

I went to bed determined to ask God for help. I was in over my head and drowning in my own strength. So I prayed. And, whined. And finally opened the Bible…to wherever it fell open. You know—one of those, “OK God…TELL ME!” moments. So, my Bible opened to Romans 8. The chapter was split down the middle on two pages. Verses 1-14 were on the first page. I poured over and over them. Paul talks about not living according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. The flesh is dead because of sin; the Spirit is alive because of righteousness! I felt like God was telling me I had been relating to our daughter in a very, "fleshy" way. I wanted to have the rewards of this relationship. I wanted the cuddles. I wanted her trust. I didn’t care necessarily about what she’d been through…I expected her to trust me. Today.  And, when I didn’t feel loving , compassionate, or connected to her—I tried to “fake it ‘till I felt it.” Which is great advice. And, in general, I believe we are required to treat others with respect no matter what! But, God was calling me to something more. He was calling me to trust Him. And, even more, to trust Him with miracles. To delight in her as a miracle of His grace and supplication in our lives! He was calling me to STOP, “just getting by,” and reach for something deeper, and more meaningful. Something that was IMPOSSIBLE in my own strength. And would only happen through Him.
I felt exhausted just getting through those first few verses. THEN I started the next page:

July 11, 2010


He's not my baby anymore...


He's three...

I think I scored big time with rockets...

And by the saving graces of my sister...who brought the tea set.

What little boy doesn't dream of a Rocket Tea Party?


OK. I lied. He's still my baby. Forever and a day.