Saturday, June 30, 2012

long saturday

In an attempt to save my sanity I took a whole bunch of pictures of our day.  Single parents: consider yourself admired.  J doesn't work long hours and this working weekends now and again thing isn't permanent, but it is hard.  I just have to remind myself we are blessed to have this opportunity, and someone who works hard to provide for us.

Reopened the wound above his eye last night. A maybe scar has now become a definite scar.

We visited J at work for lunch. B loves this lobby area. It has a water wall (I don't know what else to call it) and a fake fireplace to watch. They have water walls all over the hospital. B is in love with them.  

If you need to entertain a cranky baby just wander around a hospital for a while.  It's a fascinating place for a little one.  There's even a fish tank in our hospital's cafeteria.

I introduced B to the importance of brushing his teeth tooth this evening.

AND he took his first step!  But I didn't capture that on camera.  Here he is trying to stand without assistance.

Hey, you're not supposed to do that!

Or that.

I hope he has curly hair.

Bored?  Sorry.  It was a really long day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

new favorite

I bought a new skirt at Target the other day.  It's a super simple black maxi, but I love it.  I've only worn it once, but it was so comfortable it has received favorite status.

You all know fashion is a language I don't speak, but I want to wear less boring clothes some of the time and I thought this was a decent first attempt.

I want to curl up and cry today.  This being a mom deal is hard sometimes.  And J is working a ten hour shift at the hospital tomorrow, which means Saturday laziness is not an option this week.  I should stop whining and feel sorry for him.  He worked a twelve last Sunday, worked five days - three of those out of the office visiting patients on a nearby reservation, at the prison etc. - and he's back at it tomorrow.

B and I are going to hit up the farmer's market tomorrow.  And then maybe we'll have a mama/baby lunch out, or something.  I need to break up the day a little bit or else we'll both go crazy.  I can only chase him around the living room saying "no, dangerous!" for so many hours, ya know? (Our living room is baby proofed, but he still manages to hurt himself three thousand times a day.  B has a permanent bruise on his forehead now; it just moves places every few days).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

this is my story

This evening I once again spoke to a grief and loss class at a local college.  I feel honored and humbled to share my story.  I appreciate being asked to return so that pastors, future paramedics and nurses can learn about infant loss and its impact.

I spoke for thirty minutes about Charlotte and my story and then the class asked questions for thirty minutes.  And they had some good questions.  Revealing my soul in front of people like that is so hard.  I felt like I was going to throw up all day.  I write about being honest all the time, but when you're forced to do what you say, shoot, it's hard.  I'm so drained, but I feel blessed beyond measure.

At the end of the question and answer time the instructor asked why I was there.  What motivated me to speak about my grief to a grief and loss class?

I answered briefly - it's my way of parenting Charlotte, of lessening the silence around infant loss etc. - but as I walked through the softly falling rain to my car and then drove home I thought about it a little more.

Speaking about Charlotte is gut wrenching.  It feels like I'm being turned inside out, but it also feels good.  I don't know if that makes any sense.  When I talk about my story I feel like I'm exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I'm meant to do.

Feelings like this come straight from Jesus, I think.  He is pushing me to share my heart.  I can't see the why, but I know it's what I'm supposed to do.  I don't know how.  I don't know when.  I don't know where.  I don't even know if it will develop beyond this point.  But if it's in God's plan for my life I want to continue sharing my story.

I want to talk about how grief completely flattens one, but you don't have to be completely flattened forever.

I want to talk about how God, and the church, do not prevent bad or tragic things from happening.  They exist so that when tragedy strikes there is something (the church body) and Someone (God) to fall back on so one doesn't completely crumble.

I want to talk about how this generation of loss parents is impacting and changing the world in incredible ways.

I want to talk about how grief can break you, or make you stronger.

I want people to know grief requires time and hard work.  And the process of grieving alters as days and weeks and months and years pass, but it doesn't disappear altogether one day.

I want to meet people in their grief and walk with them.  I want to do what so many did for me: reach out a hand, provide a shoulder, walk alongside.

I want to be present because she is absent.  I want her to shine through me.  I want her story to make an impact, because she is gone and I won't get to watch her grow up.

I want people to know that even though she is gone and I miss her fiercely my heart is blessed and somehow I have defied everything I once held as truth and I am living and breathing and existing without her.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

urban farming: our backyard

Here's a quick garden tour to brighten your day!  I am so proud of our little food garden.  I know, it's pathetic that I find excitement in something people did for survival fifty years ago. And I'm being super obnoxious by referring to it as urban farming.  Tell me, when did gardening become urban farming?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

book update

I have spent the last few days knee deep in editing.  And chasing Bennett around.  He is SO busy. Yesterday at the store the clerk said, "Is he always like this?"  I was trying to pay and keep Bennett off the conveyor belt (those cart buckles are a joke).  "Yes, he is.  He's busy." I replied as I held Bennett down and shoved my debit card back into my wallet.

after a tumble in the living room yesterday. yes, that's blood on his shirt.

End of summer is still my goal for completion of the eBook.  I think the editing portion is finished, but there are quite a few other things that have to be done before it is available.  We're close, and I'm excited, though excitement feels like the wrong emotion.  I am excited to share it, but I am not excited so many people need a resource like this.

The book is now eleven chapters (everything from saying goodbye (chapter one) to the postpartum period (chapter four) to a father's perspective on grief (chapter six)) and roughly thirty three pages.

I am trying to figure out how to get the book to people who need it.  What did you do after your baby died?  Did you go online right away?  Did you seek out resources?  How did you find Glow in the Woods, Faces of Loss and other support sites?  I would like to make this available at hospitals, but I don't know how feasible that is.

Bennett is having a screaming fit, so I best end this and attend to him.  Life as a nine month old is so hard.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

june rain reminds me of you


If you were here I would tell you, 

"Stop bugging your brother."

"Please listen to mama.  Daddy is working and it is raining so we are stuck inside.  I need you to listen."

"Would you like to color a picture?  We can take it with us when we visit daddy for lunch."

You would be fierce and fiery and busy.

Maybe I just feel that way because your brother is fierce and busy.  He doesn't have the fire, though.  Least not yet.

If you were here I would not let you see me eating chocolate chips at 8:45 in the morning because it took me forty minutes to rock your brother to sleep and they were sitting on my desk when I came upstairs to write this.  I'm not one to leave chocolate chips lying around, even at an early hour.  You wouldn't be either.

Since you aren't here to make a ruckus and fill the house with a two year old's energy I have to construct you.  I have to imagine the impossible to have what I want: you and your brother in one space.  Who knew the concept of brother and sister could be so complicated?

I miss you sweet girl.  Writing about you has made me miss you more.  I've been sketching with the thinnest of pencils and creating words from the briefest space in time; those sacred moments when life and death paused in its crossing to grant us a second with you.

Beneath the hurried pace of our life is a missing thread.  And in the middle of playing trucks and changing diapers I think of you and what may have been had that thread been stitched into the tapestry of our lives.

You are my dream.

You are a life imagined.

You are missed.

You are loved.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

coop tour!

I am enamored by this.  Completely smitten.  Urban farming is big in this town, can ya tell?

J said, "It's like the street of dreams for chickens."

He also said, "We're not going."

Wait, what?

It raises money for Habitat for Hens, which builds coops for families in need.

It only costs $8!

We would have chickens if I didn't mind cleaning up after them.

And if we ate eggs.

my favorite baby items

This was not easy!  As requested, here is a list of favorite baby items:

Ergo: I have a Sakura Bloom sling, a Moby wrap, and an Ergo.  I liked the sling and wrap when Bennett was a newborn, but now that he's older I love the Ergo. (Ergo Baby Carrier Black with Camel Lining)  I don't feel like I fully mastered the sling or wrap, I just don't seem to have baby wearing skills, but the Ergo is versatile and easy to use.  If you're going to buy one baby carrying device purchase the Ergo, even if the cost makes you hesitate.

Sleep sacks: Halo (HALO SleepSack 100% Cotton Swaddle, Cream, Small) is the most popular sleep sack brand, but there are plenty of other options. We used Halo and Carter sleep sacks when Bennett was tiny and it was cold outside.  Throughout the spring we used a lightweight Aden and Anais sleep sack. (Aden by aden + anais 100% Cotton Muslin Sleeping Bag, Mod Turtle, Medium)  I like knowing he is warm and comfortable without worrying he'll pull a blanket over his face.

Boppy pillow: I attribute our initial breastfeeding success to the Boppy pillow. (Boppy Pillow with Slipcover, Lots O Dots).  We couldn't have managed without it.  I could not get Bennett in a good position without it in the beginning.  We've also used it for general arm support when holding a sleeping baby for hours, tummy time support, cushioning and assistance when he began sitting.

Exersaucer/Johnny Jump Up/Something to keep baby contained and entertained: I don't think babies should be kept in toys all day long.  I think it's good for them to explore and play on the floor for long stretches of time, but sometimes keeping them in one place is best for everyone.  Bennett loved his exersaucer and Johnny Jump Up (Graco Bumper Jumper in Little Jungle) but you can get away with one or the other.  He will still use the jump up every now and again, but he won't go in the Exersaucer without screaming now (though standing and playing with the toys is still fine).

Stroller: I like our Chicco stroller and car seat set a lot. (Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 Travel System, Miro)  It was really convenient when he was little and it works well for us now.  If we have another I am hoping for a nice double, but the Chicco has served us well.  We've walked miles and it's still in great shape.  I know, most everyone has a stroller, but I really couldn't live without one.  We walk most days, it keeps Bennett happy and helps him sleep better at night.

Pack n' Play: I love our pack n' play (Graco Pack 'n Play Playard, Ashford). Bennett slept in it now and again when he was little, it's great for when we need to nap him at someone else's house, and it's now a permanant fixture in the living room so I can fetch groceries, do laundry, take a shower without worrying about him getting hurt.

Sophie: Oh, Sophie, what would we do without you?  This little giraffe is the best toy because it can be used for so long.  Bennett loves his Sophie. (Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether).

Taggies blanket: I wish I had bought one of these for Bennett when he was younger.  He loves it, and it helped us wean him off the pacifier. (Taggies Colors Blanket, Reflections)

Rocking chair: When I was pregnant with Charlotte I insisted on leaving the nursery rocker free because I thought gliders were tacky and we couldn't afford what I really wanted.  Two weeks before she was born I bought one while shopping online in a we're going to have a baby soon! frenzy.  I LOVE it.  It's not comfortable enough to sleep in, but it has served us well. (Graco Avalon Glider with Ottoman, Espresso)

Seki Edge Fingernail clippers: With how much scratching our rashy baby does we needed a good set of nail clippers. (Seki Edge Stainless Steel Fingernail Clipper). J just found these, which he absolutely loves. Don't buy baby nail clippers, they don't work very well, and they make a difficult job impossible.

Ikea play gym: I absolutely love this play gym.  Bennett enjoyed it from a very young age and he is still playing with it now.  I like it because it has a longer life than a lot of baby gyms. Bennett has transitioned from laying on the floor and playing with it to standing, sitting, and crawling around it as he plays.  I don't think Ikea sells it anymore.  If you find it secondhand, buy it!

There are things we chose not to buy that I feel like I should include.  Video monitors, for one, are very popular, but we don't use one so I can't include it here.  It was really hard to make this list, I'm sure I'll think of twelve things to add as soon as I hit publish!

Searching through pictures for this post made me crave another baby.  Look at how tiny B was!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

eight things

1. I spent way too much time this morning sprucing up my contact icons (twitter, facebook, etc).

2. Last week I re-structured my email accounts.  I linked all of my accounts so I wouldn't have to check more than one.  When I didn't receive any email from the blog's account I didn't think anything of it.  This morning I learned that the "link all accounts" button did not do its job.  If you email, I respond.  I promise. And I usually do so within a few days.  I know how hard it can be to write an email when you're grieving. I'm sorry if you've been waiting on a response, I am nearly caught up now.

3. I'm behind on everything.

4. Bennett is going through a very intense mama phase.  VERY INTENSE.  I feel very, very loved, but I also feel very, very tired.  After months of refusing to sleep anywhere but his crib, he now spends most of the night in our bed.  Apparently we're bed sharing now ... ?

5. After a difficult morning I wrapped a diaper clad Bennett up in a blanket to nurse and snuggle.  He fell asleep.  It was heavenly to hold his warm, calm, sleeping body.  It was like newborn days all over again.  I nearly cried.

6. This week J began working for the hospital now and again to help us reach our goal of paying off the loans we accrued at our respective colleges.  We miss him.

7. I should not be blogging.  No, really, I should not.  But I would rather do this than clean, or write, or edit.  At least it rained today so I didn't have to water the garden.  Thank you, Oregon, for your very reliable weather.

8. Bennett and lemon - just because.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

day out

We were planning to hit the zoo with B's cousins today, but two miles past the overflowing parking lots we were in the high hills of Portland with no parking in sight so we decided to ditch our original plan and find something else to do.

Since we were in the West Hills I suggested the Pittock Mansion grounds for a picnic.  Pittock Mansion is gorgeous, I haven't been inside in years, but it's fun (and free) to spend time on the grounds.

I don't know if it's us, or circumstances, or us, but when we go places with B's cousins it's always a comedy of errors.  My sister-in-law had jury duty today so our entourage consisted of her sweet baby, my mom, B, me, my sister (due in August, how will we manage another little one?) and her two kids.

Part of our traveling issues center around my sister and her inability to leave home without half of her belongings.  When her third little is born I think she should bring a pack animal everywhere we go just to schlep her things from car to destination.  And maybe to schlep me when I pass out from heat exhaustion due to strapping my sister's ten pound cooler on my stroller before ascending a giant hill because she couldn't manage it as well as everything else she was carrying (love you, sister).

Ten pound coolers (who brings six bottles of water for a three hour trip to the zoo?) and eighty degree weather (heat is my enemy) aside we had a really good time.

I can't decide if that's a dragonfly or a helicopter.

My niece has the best hair.

Bridge up - made getting home difficult.


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