Sunday, September 30, 2012

confessions


I think it's time for another round, don't you?


I rarely finish tv shows. There's just so many seasons and the story lines are so insanely implausible (I'm looking at you Grey's Anatomy). Exceptions: Friends and Gilmore Girls.

Being a parent has led to some truly gross/lazy behavior. I wiped Bennett's nose with his shirt the other day because I didn't want to get up and find a cloth.

One afternoon I found Bennett trying to pry dried banana off the heating vent in the dining room with his teeth.

I eat too many sweets. I would eat sweets all the time (and carbs) if I didn't worry about my health.

I kind-of like working out (it allows me to eat more sweets ...)

The best part about going to the gym is ten-fifteen minutes of uninterrupted shower time. Thank you, child watch.

Sometimes I wish I didn't care about what we eat or where it comes from.

I love stationary. I have to stop myself from buying every cute card and thank you note set I come across.


If we ever move I would dearly miss watching neighborhood life out the front windows. Our living and dining room look out on the street. Some nights we have fabulous dinner entertainment.

Bennett doesn't nap nearly as much as he "should." I've stopped caring.

I can count on one hand the number of times Bennett has slept through the night. Last time he did I wound up with mastitis. 

Sometimes I wish J had to do all of the meal planning, cooking and cleaning. Then I think about working full time and change my mind. (And J does help out around the house.)

I have a hard time remembering who I was before Charlotte died.

Decorations go up for Christmas. I do not decorate for fall or spring or Easter or St. Patrick's Day. And I really don't want to, but the fact that I don't have a "fall decorations" bin makes me feel like less of a mom.

My mom, dad and parents-in-law make our lives much, much easier. We couldn't have pulled off Bennett's first birthday without them.

I really, really, really want to grow our family, but I really, really, really don't want to be pregnant again, but I really, really, really want a living biological daughter.

I cannot believe I am preparing a speech for a memorial walk AND working on starting a babyloss ministry at our church. I never would have picked this path for my life.

I want to start a 'when dads dress baby' blog.


The best part about sleeping in on the weekends is waking up to the sound of baby feet on the hardwoods.

I wish early fall lasted forever.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

on my heart


I have much to say, but can't find the words. I have so much on my heart and mind right now. I need someone to sort and prioritize my life.

It's going to be a bit quiet around here for a few days. I'm a little sad. I'm very busy. And I don't have anything to say (can you believe it?).

I will tell you I'm inhaling Joe-Joe's as I write this because I've been working out four days a week and it makes me want to eat every sweet and carby thing that crosses my path. That probably defeats the purpose of working out, but when I use the elliptical and cross training machines they tell me how many calories I'm burning which gives me an idea of how much I can eat ...

I don't even know how I am right now.

This guy, as always, is busy and independent.


I can't believe he couldn't even hold his head up a year ago.

And this girl is missed.


I pulled her bins from the attic because I was looking for something. It is always strange to me that a child of mine has been reduced to two plastic tubs in the attic, a few pictures scattered around the house and a small urn in the living room.

I am going to watch a show with J. Eat a few more cookies. I'll leave you with a picture I found on my computer from B's early days. Just because I love it. I'm sure I've shared it before. Co-sleeping at its finest.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

and so it goes


We spent time with some of B's cousins yesterday then went to H&M. It's a good thing I only manage to get to that store twice a year or so. I can't control myself in there.

My nephew is really excited for his Make a Wish cruise (all cancer kids get a wish, not just terminal cases) which begins Saturday. My brave sister is leaving Ali for a week so Ryan can do this. She is one amazing mama.

When I said goodbye to my nephew yesterday he climbed my legs and hugged me. He's six years old now. I can't pick him up anymore. Sometimes I look at this vibrant crazy kid running around and I can't believe how sick he was.

I am so thankful he made it through a terrible couple years and is on the other side - healthy and like any other kid.



Sometimes I think the Lord gave us this little burst of sunshine with his big heart and survivor's spirit because he knew losing one little would be all our hearts could take. At least that's what I hope when I watch B and his cousins playing together. Surely we can't lose another. Surely one is enough.

Feeling a little sad today. That bone deep missing hurts so much sometimes.



Monday, September 24, 2012

when you hit a wall, dance


I'm trying to write my speech for the walk to remember in October, but I'm hitting a brick wall.

I tried reading early posts, like first days, to get ideas. I couldn't do it.

I tried setting up the camera in the corner of the living room and talking free form to see what I had to say. Nothing good.

Shoot this is hard.

I know God will give me the words to say, but trying to find them is proving difficult.

So I'm taking a quick break to share this video with you.

It's either that or cry.

And I might still cry. I miss her so much.

Her brother just learned how to dance. If you can call this dancing.

Cutest thing I've seen since he last did something super cute.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

awol


Bennett scared ten years off my life this afternoon. We were at my nephew's birthday party in the community center at the complex where they live. We had the small center (one main room) to ourselves so we let Bennett roam.

I was holding Ali in the seating area when I looked up and realized Bennett wasn't with J. I scanned the room. No Bennett. I stood up and scanned again. No Bennett. "Where is Bennett?" I called. Blank stares. I rushed forward with Ali in my arms. "Who has Bennett? Has anyone seen him?!"

Everyone scattered and began looking. The center has two doors: one to the pool (locked thank goodness) and one to the parking lot. My sister rushed down the hallway to the second door. She spotted Bennett outside, red balloon cradled in his hands, toddling down the sidewalk. She ran and scooped him up just before he hit the parking lot.

I cannot believe Bennett pushed the door open and headed outside. He's only 12 months! He walked past two open bathroom doors, which is hazardous enough, and headed on out like he had somewhere to be. I am so glad he had that red balloon in his hands because it slowed him down some.

When we're in a family group I tend to assume someone has an eye on Bennett. I'll never do that again. The rest of the afternoon I kept an anxious eye out for Bennett at all times. He is so quick and independent. I have no idea how far he would've traveled if I hadn't noticed he was gone shortly after he left.

Thank the Lord for mother's intuition and guardian angels.

And then they made me stop, Daddy. They made me come in. Why can't I go wherever I want?


Friday, September 21, 2012

profile


B hasn't napped in the morning for days, but he is stumbling around the living room like an amateur drunk so I scoop him up and carry him to his bedroom.

He nurses and then valiantly fights sleep even though he is exhausted.


I sing and rock and wait for him to drift off.

I close my eyes, tip my head back and silently repeat this mantra, "be patient, this is the most important thing you have to do today."

When I start to nod off I lift my head to check on B. He is asleep, finally. On his back in my lap: arms akimbo, legs splayed, head to one side.

Even now, a year on, he looks like his sister in profile.

My breath catches as I look at him.

How is that possible?

When she lived less than a day and he has logged enough miles to make a year, how can he look like her?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

fall recipe: roast chicken, two ways


September is a warm time, if not the warmest time of year in the Willamette Valley. This morning I stared at the 10 day forecast with dismay, but I know the rain will fall soon. When I did a quick read through of blog posts this evening I saw no fewer than three 'fall is coming' posts so I know it is almost upon us.

I love fall to pieces. It's my favorite season, which I've told you 1,000 times, I know. I hate cooking during the summer because it's hot and we don't have air conditioning and when it's hot I don't feel like eating. But then fall comes along and eating soup by a fire becomes not only appropriate but necessary (ten months of the year I am chilled to the bone) and hot chocolate in the morning starts to sound good every morning.

This year, as in somewhere around February, I tackled making a whole chicken for the first time. I'm 29. Is that shameful? I think it is. I found a fabulous easy recipe for rotisserie chicken in the slow cooker and I make it once a month, if not twice. I think I've shared the recipe here before. I'm so tired (mastitis, seriously) I'm beginning to think I've already written this post, but I don't think that's the case ...

So that's recipe number one. It is so easy. Go try it. And when you have that one tackled take on this next one. I found this recipe in the Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild. Somewhere in the last year I became someone who flips through recipe books for fun. To think, it all started with a bit of innocent meal planning.

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme chicken

Ingredients:


1- 4-1/2 lb whole chicken
2 tsp dried rosemary
1-1/2 tsp ground or dried sage
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
bay leaves
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 small russet potatoes, quartered lengthwise and sliced into wedges
8 large shallots, peeled
1-3/4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp butter
minced parsley


Process:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rub chicken inside and out with salt. Combine rosemary, sage, thyme and generous amount of freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Rub herb mixture inside chicken. Place 1 bay leaf inside. Tie legs together with string to hold shape. Brush chicken with some olive oil. Sprinkle with half of remaining herb mixture.

Place chicken in heavy large roasting pan. Surround chicken with potatoes, shallots and any other vegetables you are roasting. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining herb mixture and salt. Add remaining bay leaf and mix well.

Roast chicken until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with fork (about 60 - 75 minutes depending on size of chicken). Every 20 minutes or so baste chicken and vegetables with pan juices throughout cooking. Remove chicken and vegetables from roasting pan and tent with foil to keep warm (aerating so skin stays crispy).

Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup and spoon off fat from top. Add enough chicken broth to measure 2 cups. Add vinegar to roasting pan; set over 2 burners and bring to boil over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits. Boil until reduced to glaze (4-6 minutes). Add broth mixture and boil until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve.

**

I admit, this one taxed my brain a bit, but it was so good I will make it again. And to be completely honest, the first time through a recipe always taxes my brain a bit. To make this post even more exciting I'm going to add a third recipe: homemade chicken noodle soup. This won't be very precise because I make it up as I go along, but it's a great way to use every bit of a whole chicken.

When you've finished supper remove as much meat as you can from the bone. Place the chicken carcass in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until the carcass is just covered.

Add:

Carrots and celery, roughly chopped.

Salt (however much you like).

A dash of apple cider vinegar (pulls minerals from the bone).

Fresh rosemary and thyme (if you have it, if not dried will do).

Set it to simmer for a good long while (at least two-three hours).

Remove and discard the chicken carcass (you can pull more meat from the bone at this time).

Pour the broth into a large bowl (or two) through a sieve. Or use whatever you have on hand to make sure you don't wind up with vegetables and herbs in your broth.

Put it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning skim most of the fat off the top, but not all of it! Fat is good for you.

Chop up carrots and celery. Add.

Add rosemary and thyme.

Set it to simmer.

I like to let it simmer all day, but a couple hours is plenty of time.

When you are a few minutes from supper time make noodles separately and then add them to the soup. They go all mushy otherwise.

Taste for flavor. Add salt or chicken broth if you like. I only recently have managed to make a soup that I don't feel needs a bit of chicken broth added to make the flavor stronger.

**

So there you have it.

Roast chicken, two ways, and a soup recipe.

If you're thinking you can't handle raw chicken I promise you will be fine. I gag through the entire process, but I make it through.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

fairy tales for hope


Thank you for holding my hand, patting my back and reassuring me when I'm all, "my baby is small, it's not my fault, I feed him, promise, wahhhh ..."

I really appreciate it.

Last night I broke out in hives.

Picture this:

mama itching, naked baby boy running around covered in coconut oil itching his bum and sides something awful, daddy suggesting alternative treatments, everyone fretting and grumpy.

I am off the antibiotics. We are less itchy, thank goodness. I have raw potato on the sore spot right now (odd) and many instructions from my naturopath on what to do and how to proceed. And my floors are covered in the sweetest coconut oil bottom prints that you can only see if the light hits them just right.

So that's us. Now let me tell you about something completely different but so, so important.

I have a friend in this loss world, a dear one I would love to meet. Sally has been a light to me and so many others on this loss journey. Unfortunately (for me) she lives in Australia.

Sally's first child, Hope, was stillborn four years ago. For Hope's fourth birthday Sally's friend, a graphic designer, Tonia, created a fairy tale print for every day of the month of August. It was an amazing endeavor and the prints are now being sold with all proceeds going to Stillbirth Foundation Australia.

It is amazing what Tonia accomplished in such a short time. I bought two prints.

One for my girl (Thumbelina, sold out)
and one for my boy (The Ugly Duckling)
Sally has supported so many (if not everyone) in the loss community. She is known and loved by many. It is amazing and beautiful what she is doing in Hope's memory.

Please check out the Fairy Tales for Hope website and blog. You'll love looking at all of the limited edition prints. And you may find yourself buying a few.

Fairy Tales for Hope blog 

Order Fairy Tales for Hope prints


Monday, September 17, 2012

well checks and "healthy" babies


We're a bit of a mess over here. I am feeling a bit better, but have very little energy. Bennett is reacting to the antibiotics I am on. Sweet boy is just covered in little red bumps and itchy out the wazoo. Unfortunately I am allergic to all 'cillins - i.e. most antibiotics.

His doctor said I could try switching to a different antibiotic, but there's only one other option for me to take and it has a lot of the same ingredients as the one I am on. So. We are to fight through.

I feel like I should keep a running catalog of Bennett's injuries.

Currently: 

Fat lip (pretty much a permanent thing)
Rash
Scrape on his forehead
Scrape on his chin
Innumerable bruises

Dear boy.

And at his one year check up this morning I was told that he lost five ounces since his nine month well check. We made it all the way up to the fifth percentile and now we are back in the first. Five ounces isn't much, but he's already so small it is a bit of a concern. His doctor said she thinks he is suffering from "too healthy of a diet."


Well, shoot. Kid is allergic to most everything. He eats constantly, and still nurses a lot, but he is also the busiest blur of baby I've ever seen.


Only he's one now, so I guess he's a busy toddler blur? Please don't tell me I have to stop calling him baby. I just don't think I can.

I went in to the appointment all concerned about his language skills (which are completely fine) because everyone asks if he is saying words and came out fretting about his weight. Parenting is so hard. Being a mama is so hard. The doctor says, "he lost five ounces." I hear "You are failing at the most important job you will ever have. Feed him anything and everything you can get your hands on."

Bennett is sleeping soundly in the car, which is an entirely different problem. Getting him to settle in his crib for a nap is nearly impossible, but he naps in his stroller and the car. Once the weather turns I guess we will be doing a lot of car naps with lots of blankets and books to keep me warm and entertained while he snoozes.

I need to rest. This mastitis is serious business. I am on the mend, but still exhausted. Did you see Bennett's first birthday party pictures? I think we did a pretty great job with his party. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bennett's First Birthday


I can do nothing but sit. I am so wiped out and run down. It's like I have the flu only my stomach doesn't hurt, except it does a little from the antibiotics ...

Here is B's first birthday in all its glory.

J decorated the backyard


Cake table


Photo banner


Craft table - had the little ones make sand jars as their party favors






The picnic table J built was a huge hit with the littles





I baked, J baked AND decorated





So many toys, we're going to save a few for later






From us




B did not enjoy his cake






 







J bought a red balloon for Charlotte


Bennett and Charlotte


Admiration


Ali is five weeks old now



Too much party


Ready to play after a long nap


This moment brought to you by J



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