I'm just a girl trying to find her own custom groove in this world without bending to the expectations of others.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I think he was only 10 or 11 when we first started this quest and we kept a little journal of all the mysteries we figured out. Neither of us would play it without the other and we'd even talk about the game and what we were going to try the next time we played it. It was something only him and I shared.
This year, the final chapter of the game was released. I got it for us for Christmas. He loaded it yesterday and we decided to play after everyone else went to bed last night. I got a bag of chips and two Cokes and we parked ourselves in front of the computer ready to delve into new worlds and break unbelievably hard codes.
Right from the get go, it seemed different than normal. I usually sit back and point to the screen saying things like, "ooh, try that switch," or "wait, did you see those numbers? they must be a clue, let's write them down". He navigates through the worlds and keeps track of the journals. I'm not sure if he didn't want to play last night, but he seemed more annoyed at my observances than anything else. He didn't want to try my suggestions or maneuver where I thought we should go. Eventually, he feigned a stomach ache and retired to bed.
Having a slight headache myself, I decided to hit the hay too after checking on the baby. I accidentally woke him up and he stayed up with me for almost two hours. This I didn't mind, because he was being unbelievably cute and unoridinarily cuddly. It did, however, get me thinking about my older son and how his time with us at home is coming to an end.
Just as this is the last segment in the Myst series, soon the last days of Steve living at home will be here. Now he'll only be 17 next month and he at least has one full year left of school, but the day will come when my first baby will not be with me all the time. The disappointment I felt last night over the early ending of our play time is only a prelude to the sorrow I'll feel when he moves on.
"Myst - End of Ages" is an ironically appropriate title to finish our tradition.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
We took Drew to have his picture taken last night and after shopping for a half hour, our little pager went off signaling that we only had 15 minutes to get back to the location for our turn. I think they need a new system because we waited in line for 45 minutes once we got back and had to endure little David and Zack-y in front of us. I'm not sure if I wanted to smack them, or their mother. While she chatted on the phone, the kids ran in and out of the gaited line making each person step to the side or move their strollers so the brats could get through. Everyone was annoyed and the mother, oblivious. They hit Drew with their little basketball that they were throwing around, they screamed when I wouldn't move our stroller for them to get out and then they ran into the shot of Drew and Santa. We had to take another picture and of course, Drew wanted down by then and our picture turned out horribly.
We decided to treat ourselves to pizza and lemonade to calm down before finishing our shopping.
We sat by the carousel.
We decided to take Drew for a ride.
Daddy rode with him and the excitement on his face was the best. He clapped his hands and waved to me and Emily and then the horses began to move. The first time he went by, he laughed and clapped. The second time was just a smile. The third, a frown and the fourth time around, Dad was struggling to keep his squirming body in the strap. He was done. I found it very amusing. Half the kids were crying while their parents tried to comfort them and half wanted to go again.
I'm not sure the mall should be the source of children's entertainment. Without fail, there is always a handful of kids having serious meltdown and frustrated parents ready to leave them there.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The inside reads: How beautiful the feet of those who bring good tidings. From Isaiah. I did the photo's myself and you wouldn't believe how many tries it took to get the above shot. The rejects are funnier than this. Nevermind the Sasquatch feet on the left. LOL
So, since I don't know anyone's address, here's your Christmas card. Merry Christmas.
We accomplished that daunting task over the weekend and I've captured it digitally to share on my blog.
2004's edition was Santa's Brew. The fine print on the bottom says, "For those on the naughty list".
2005's version is Jingle Ale. The label says A Mulled Blend of Holiday Spices. "Get your jollies".
At least if I'm not ready for Christmas this year, I've got my libation. :)
Monday, December 12, 2005
If you know me and my need for organization, you know this is so not like me. I'm always done by now. I'm going to seriously have to haul if I want to be ready by Christmas. (All you Christmas Eve shoppers can just keep your comments to yourself!) I don't have any choice but to handle this challenge and maybe, just maybe it will be good for my anal little world.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Don't get me wrong, we had a great time as usual, but as far as our neighborhood parties go, this one was pretty mild. We did the usual eating and drinking, shooting pool and playing Screw Your Neighbor for quarters, but no wild shananigans (sp?). We did consider going sledding in a farmers field around midnight, but I'm sure someone would have ended up being arrested.
We did lots of giggling and picture taking, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Looking through the digital camera this morning though, I'm not sure I should post any of them.
Well, no one will know which one I am. (and I'll thank Clew and Martie to keep their mouths closed.)
No that's not Sammy Hagar in the center. That's my friend Molly.
Friday, December 09, 2005
The snow was falling (10" which resulted in a snow day today) and the luminaries that I lined the walk with were picturesque.
Pictures never capture that warm, glowing feel that you see in real life.
There were nine of us in all and we each made three dozen cookies to share. The efforts resulted in a wide variety from Pecan Sandies to Toffee Bars to the traditional sugar cookie cut outs. We had a great time chatting and sharing hot spiced wine, coffee eggnog and crackers and cheese.
Tonight we gather again for our annual Christmas party. I love our neighbors. We have so much fun together. We have a party for almost every holiday and even make up reasons to have parties. We've gone on small weekend camping trips together and with the exception of a few people, we never seem to tire of one another.
Did I mention it's a "fun" association. If one family doesn't show up for a party, they are guaranteed to find a 'for sale' sign in their yard the next day. Or a bra hanging from their flag pole or (very limited) toilet paper streaming from their trees.
Another favorite prank is the panther. One of the neighbors found this old ceramic black panther with a missing paw and the mouth shaped in a perpetual roar at a rental property and brought it home to hide at another house. We never know where the panther will end up next, but last we saw it, it was peeking out from the landscaping at the first house on the street. She was dressed in a leopard bra and thong, had purple Mardi Gras beads around her neck and a red feather hat on.
You can see why we have so much fun. I'm sure there will be a story for me to tell tomorrow about the gathering tonight.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Anticipating hesitance with at least the teenagers, I braced myself for their resistance. When they seemed amenable (I don't dare say excited) to the idea, I decided to make a thermos of hot cocoa to take along.
Finally, after finding enough warm clothes for everyone and a saw for hacking, we were on our way up north.
The snow was falling in big, lofty flakes and piling up fast. It was a perfect scene for our Christmas tree hunt. I would have preferred to continue the mood with Handel's "Messiah" or some such musical pleasure, but the kids and my husband with their weird senses of humor all seemed more interested in listening to Bob & Tom's "It's a Wonderful Laugh". I conceded, just happy that every one was in a good mood and hummed "O Come All Ye Faithful" to myself.
As we drove further north into snow country, the flakes became smaller and smaller and finally ceased to exist at all. At least there was still some snow on the ground.
After an hour of driving, we pulled into the tree farm, woke up the baby, and bundled up. It was cold! Taking the saw, we headed north out of the parking lot in search of a Balsam Fir. I wanted an aromatic tree this year. We walked past the Concolor Firs, the White Pines, the Spruces and the Balsams. They all start looking the same after a while. (I think I'll remember a sled next year so we can pull the baby instead of carrying his thirty pounds through the snow.)
There was no light shining down upon it nor any choir of angels singing, but when we saw it, we knew that was our tree! It was such a pretty shade of green, had a perfect shape and it's trunk was nice and straight. We sawed it down, and pulled it back to the vehicle, taking turns heaving and hefting.
Then it was time for hot cocoa and peanut bars. The 17 year old promptly burned his tongue with the hot treat (complaining the rest of the way home) while hubby spilled his on the dash in a failed attempt at balancing the cup so he could remove his gloves. Yes, down the vents and all. I'm sure it won't last, but right now the Suburban has a faint chocolate smell in it when we first turn on the heater.
We took our little tree home and got it set up and decorated even. It's beautiful and smells wonderful. I ended up getting a Spruce. (Next year, I'll brush up on my tree identification before we go.)
Norman Rockwell-esque it wasn't, but it was perfect for who we are!
PS: I had pictures on my digital to include in various points of this story, but when I plugged it in, the only pictures were of my 17 year old in his tuxedo from the violin concert last night. Pictures I did not take. The kids must have somehow deleted the tree chopping pictures. Grrrr!
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
While they are therapeutic in their monotony, I hate working on a 1000-piecer only to discover one piece is missing! Worse than that fate is knowing half way through completion that there WILL be a piece missing. The one year old got a hankering for some cardboard and decided the pretty shaped piece would curb his craving. He ate it! Not actually swallowed it, but now the piece is about two times it's normal size and missing a little ear. HAHN!
Monday, November 28, 2005
Despite all my motivational reading, all my positive thoughts, there is one area of life that is always a challenge for me - finding time to enjoy everything I love.
Maybe the problem is that I love too many things. In this fast-paced, hustle bustle world, maybe a person should have only one or two small hobbies that they like to endulge in. Not eight or ten!
These are the things that I like to do for myself - aside from the standard spending time with my family and friends:
- Cross Stitching
- Watching movies
- Word games and brain teasers
Not necissarily in that order. Some days I would prefer to do one thing more than another. My problem is, that unless everything else is in order, I can't sit down and have fun with any of them. My house has to be clean, the laundry done and put away, I have to be showered and even hidden things have to be organized. This part of me drives me crazy!
Seeing that the house needs tidying everyday, a good cleaning weekly and laundry at least once a week too, it seems impossible to settle down with a good book or pick up a crossword puzzle. Add three home businesses to the mix, two teenagers and one toddler and I barely have time to accomplish all that needs to be done, let alone the things I would like to do.
Then I find myself apologizing to people for not being able to make time for them. Feelings of guilt that I'm not doing more volunteering and socializing often seep into the cracks of my crumpled world. But when I let the other things go in lieu of fun, I get frazzled and overwhelmed and even angry. It's easier to cheat myself and keep everyone else happy.
I either have to get over my obsession with organization or accept that I will not have the time to spend on the things I enjoy. Even as I type it, I know I won't follow through. The battle within will rage on with small victories occasionally and breif epiphanies centering me once again, only to start over in an annoying cyclical onslaught.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
To make things worse, I'm having my entire family over for dinner tomorrow. If I walked into a house and saw the hostess/chef wiping her nose and sniffling with vacuum cleaner force, their food would be the last thing I'd want to ingest. Hand sanitization will be a high priority during today and tomorrow's preparations.
I love Thanksgiving and the kick-off of the holidy season. It's snowing here today and is supposed to get worse throughout the next two days. I'm happy. I'm excited about tomorrow and I'm anxious to have another glass of my Hot Spiced Wine. A friend and I endulged last night and now I have an excuse to make another batch!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Stay safe and enjoy your holiday!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
My husband got his love of beer from more resourceful avenues and has continued this affection by brewing his own. He's made hundreds of gallons of beer over the last 4 years and while there have been a couple skunk batches, most of it tastes wonderfully smooth. I would compare it to the premium beers, not your Busch's and Budweiser's. More like Dos Equis and Bels Oberon. Mmmm.
The scene in our basement looks like this right now in preparation for the Holidays.
We have a double batch of Christmas 2005 beer brewing, a double batch of Wheat and one batch of Ginger Tea Beer and one Indian Spiced Tea Beer brewing. The tea beers are his own recipes and while they sound not so good, they are wonderful!
The above picture shows the 30 gallons of beer (which translates to 300 - 12 oz bottles) in the "blow off" stage ~ when the yeast is eating the sugars during the carbonation phase. Everytime I walk past it, I resist the urge to yell, "IT'S ALIVE!!!" It rolls and bubbles and blurps and foams and it smells delicious. It will still be a couple weeks before it's ready to bottle even though the blow off period will probably end today and another couple weeks before it's ready to drink. Just in time for Christmas and New Year.
When we were picking up the supplies and grinding the grains for these batches, the girl that works at the store, seeing that we were using a blended yeast, asked Glenn if he had used that kind before. Not really paying attention to her, he answers, "yes." She then procedes to ask what kind of character the yeast gave him. A little dumbfounded, he replies "drunk?" I about laughed myself out of the store. The look on her face was priceless.
Beer tasting at my house, in about 5 or 6 weeks!!!
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I was on the phone with a girl from India for an hour and a half trying to restore my hard drive. It didn't work and we decided that I needed to do a destructive restore. That didn't work either and at that point, we both just wanted to get off the phone. We couldn't really understand each other anyway.
So I unplugged all my connections, considered strangling myself with the power cable, then hauled the tower to Best Buy determined to get a new one. I joined the long line of weary, tower-toting, un-technological people and waited patiently for my turn, ready to show them that I indeed needed a new computer. I tried a temp hive, a restore and tried changing the data peripherals and finally, the destructive restore that resulted in the same black screen. I wasn't going to let them talk me into diagnosing the problem because I didn't have an additional 3-5 days to be without my computer. Thankfully, the geek at the counter was super friendly and I didn't have to kill him.
Apparently, I didn't need to do the destructive restore as my problem was that the video card I added was conflicting with the original monitor settings causing it to freak out and turn to a black screen. He fixed it for me and sent me on my way. Past the fiery eyed people who wouldn't be taking their towers home with them.
Now I begin the long process of reinstalling all my software and making my computer the comfortable place it was just a few days ago. It will probably be a good day before I'm all caught up. I hope to get to everyone's blogs soon to read what I missed.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
This is one of my most favorite books. It can be an annoying read, not because of the context, but because it's all written in hand with different color markers. Kind of a color explosion on each page. I don't have anything against color, mind you, I just prefer things to be neat and organized. If you can get past that issue, the book is great. I think the title says it all.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is "We can dance through our lives and still be 'responsible'". I was reminded of it the other day while getting lunch ready for me and Drew.
Always finding ways to amuse and entertain him, I exited the pantry with pizza rolls and Dr. Pepper for me and vegetable chicken and bananas for him. I started dancing around wildly with the 2 liter of Dr. Pepper whistling the William Tell overature. Drew was giggling and having a good time and I must admit, I was too.
At least until I decided to open the pop. There was no warning. None of that slow rising fizz giving a person time to twist the cap back on. As soon as I loosened the top, it shot off the bottle like a rocket erupting fizz in nothing short of Mt. St. Helen's glory. I could not locate the cap, so I carried the oozing bottle to the sink to watch the pop roll out of it. When it was all said and done, I had little more than a half bottle of Dr. Pepper left. I even had to clean pop off the pot rack hanging above.
Ah, it was a mess, but effective for one big, baby, belly laugh.
Friday, November 11, 2005
2. The refrigerator stopped cooling.
3. The DSL line is hormonal.
Okay, we have another tv and it affects the teenagers more than it affects me, the refrigerator was a spare in the garage for extra pop, and I can rely on a dial up connection if I need to.
How quickly we forget that these quandaries are superficial when compared to what could be. That "new-take-on-life" feeling that occurs after a close call quickly gives way to distress with the weight of every day life. I find myself at inner civil war with the contradicting feelings of relief for near misses and stress from daily burdens.
Let me explain. Last Friday, I was defrosting my upright freezer when Emily (my 13 year old) yelled from the basement that there was something on the ceiling. I knew it would be water from the melting ice and was already planning the steps to correct the problem. I hollered to her to help me clean up the towels that I had placed around the freezer to prevent such leaks.
Taking the pile of towels to the sliding door, she began shaking the ice out of them. We do not have a deck built yet, but instead, a railing nailed to the house for protection. Emily, was leaning against that railing when it gave way, causing her to fall eight feet to the ground, landing on her side, narrowly missing a riding lawn mower and a fiberglass ladder, but not escaping the nails which were protruding jaggedly through the railing that she fell with.
I heard a terrified "Mooooommm", a thundering crash, then gut-wrenching silence. It took me only seconds to get from the pantry to the slider, but in that time, tragic thoughts raced through my head and I found it hard to breath. I didn't know what I would find when I looked through the door. Seeing that she was conscious, I got ready to jump before common sense took over and I grabbed the phone and ran around to the back of the house after screaming at her not to move.
Finally, at the med center, between a lady throwing up buckets of blood and a screaming, bleeding one year old that shoved his binky into his gums, we were finally getting x-rays. Upon arrival, they were concerned that she broke her hand and her hip, but unbelievably there were no broken bones. She had some pretty big gashes so they bandaged her up, gave us an antibiotic and sent us home with Ibuprophen. I was emotionally okay by then, but when I tried to sleep that night, I kept reliving the accident in my head and imagining what might have happened. Why do we do that?
Long story short, she is okay and all of the stresses of that week faded to mere inconveniences. Now that she is seemingly better, stress and worry and frustration creep back into my thoughts. Why is it that when we know things could be so much worse, do we tend to fret the small things? Things like tv's and fridges and dsl lines that can be replaced take a higher link on our worry chain than being thankful that we aren't planning funerals or holding hospital vigils.
Maybe that's why close calls happen. To remind us that we're getting too wrapped up with inconsequential events and not giving our blessings adequate recognition.
This morning seems to be a little better so I'm going to try to catch up on everything I missed. I will post something of consequence at a later time.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Other recent tragedies in our household ~ all three kids are teething. Who would have thought. The 17 year old is cutting his wisdom teeth; the 13 year old, some-year molars ~ I don't know which ones; and the baby, his eye teeth. A round of Ibuprophen for the house!
Equally as devastating is the state of my fingernails. I painted bright red over my nicely french manicured tips in celebration of my Halloween costume. Now, it's chipping, revealing portions of the french white underneath and looking much like a subjects hands from CSI. There is no fingernail polish remover in the house despite a trip to D&W and Walgreens yesterday!
Twice as devastating is the fact that 13-year-old Emily might have blinked during picture retakes and she'll just "DIIIIIIIE" if she has to use the first pictures in which she is still sporting her braces!
Ten times as devastating as that is the embarassment 17-year-old Steve is experiencing at having to roll change for the gas hungry Cougar. It's so unfair that I won't exchange his coins out of my own cash so he can fill up for school. He opted for the school bus instead which is a much "cooler" statement than having to explain a possible sighting of him at the gas station with nickels and dimes! ????
Wheres the bottle of Captain? Oh yeah, I finished that off Saturday night.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Don't we look, ummm, naughty?
Saturday, October 29, 2005
My one year old would prefer that I hold his sippy cup while he drinks. He can, and has, sipped out of it by himself often, but mostly when given the sippy to handle of his own inclination, he chucks it to the floor, peering down at it curiously to see the pattern of splash drops it has formed. Because, even though the labels totes that it's spill-proof, a three foot fall from the counter above is no match for the rubber stopper under the lid.
There was a comment made (and I won't say by whom) that my son was too dependent on me to do things for him and how that always happens with the first baby. HUH? One, this isn't a first baby and; two, if I choose to hold his sippy cup for him to save my hardwood floors the half moon shaped indentations and my socks from adhering to the sticky mess until he is over his throwing jag, who the H cares???
Me, sensitive? Maybe a little!
Friday, October 28, 2005
After several weeks of planning, and many hours decorating to achieve the "construction" atmosphere shown here, Drew was not the excited little party boy that I had invisioned in my everything-will-be-perfect mind.
He didn't get into his presents. He didn't laugh and babble adoringly for everyone and he didn't smash cake all over his face. He played with it a little in his fingers, but didn't even require a clothing change when he was done.
Despite his lack of interest, I still enjoyed watching him turn one. The highlight of the night was glowing ducks for the bathtub. My sister-in-law works at a grocery store and is in charge of ordering. The ducks are for sale individually, but she gave him the whole bin. There's probably 30 ducks or more in the bucket and when you touch their tummies or put them in water (which is what they are intended for) they turn all different colors. All the kids loved these.
He also recieved a Tigger that actually tumbles to the tune of "Can't Touch This". It's hilarious, but right now he's a little less than petrified of it.
Today, he is super interested in the baloons and cake, but yesterday he could give a care. Nevertheless, all of it's captured on video and film for future viewing pleasure.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
It was a simple arrangement. A package would consist of 1-8x10 of the team, 2-5x7's of the individual, and 9 wallets all of one pose for $23. More portraits of that pose or an additional pose were available singly at an added cost, which I listed accordingly.
The orders with money and proofs were due at last nights game. The following is a phone conversation I had this morning with one of the moms:
Me: Yes, this is blah, blah, blah, and I'm calling because there was a problem with your photo order.
Other Mom: Oh, what seems to be the trouble.
Me: Well, you've indicated that you want a 5x7 of your daughter in pose B and a 5x7 of the team, but you only paid $10. It's $10 for an extra sheet and a sheet consists of 1-8x10, 2-5x7's of one pose or 9 wallets of one pose.
OM: Well, I only want one 5x7 of my daugther.
Me: That's fine, I can still do that, but to print one 5x7 on a sheet costs the same as printing two on a sheet. They can't put two different poses on one sheet. They can't do the team and the individual on the same sheet. You'll have to purchase two sheets if you want two poses.
OM: Great, then I want one 5x7 of the team, and one 5x7 of my daughter.
Me: Great, then you'll have to pay an additional $10 and at this point, buying the package is a better deal.
OM: *snidely*, How convenient. Well, what if I dont want a picture of the team.
Me: *Thinking~ WHAT????, didn't you just tell me you wanted the team too?* Saying~ well we can just reprint the proofs of you daughter individually for $10. You'll get 2-5x7's of her then.
OM: But, I want a picture of the team.
Me: *popping a vein*, A team picture will be more money.
OM: Then can I just have the proofs back.
Me: *WTF?*, No, then everyone would be angry that they paid for packages when they could have had the proofs and made reprints themselves (even though the proofs have a copyright stamp on the back).
OM: *sighs emphatically*, You've just made this so confusing to order.
Me: *thinking~out of 18 girls, you're the only mom that didn't grasp this* Saying~it is very confusing how they do reprints. Let me explain again...blah, blah, blah.
OM: I'll call you back.
Monday, October 24, 2005
After the rocky start to this pregnancy, things smoothed out and went extremely well for the next several months. Until the half-way ultrasound. I was very nervous to even go to this appointment, because this had been the u/s at which we discovered Owen had died.
My worry (as worry usually is) was wasted as everything in the exam looked normal. Until the radiologist read the reports. It appeard that one of the baby's kidneys was enlarged, which in and of itself wasn't necessarily a big deal. Another ultrasound was scheduled to determine if the kidney was continuing to enlarge. It was, so we were sent to a high-risk specialist.
We went to this appointment thinking that worst case, the baby would eventually need kidney surgery. However, the news we got was much more severe than that.
Back in the dr's private office after a two hour u/s, he informed us that not only did our baby have an enlarged kidney, but that he also had a major heart defect. An AV Canal Defect which means that blood can travel cross-wise through all four chambers of the heart. It would require immediate surgery after he was born. Then he told us that because we were dealing with more than one organ and because of the specific heart defect, that the baby would either have Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18 or 13, which meant he wouldn't live longer than a year.
How is a person supposed to react to that kind of news? My brain didn't accept what he was telling me. I didn't hear the word syndrome ~ I heard "symptom". It took several minutes for me to realize the enormity of what this doctor was telling us.
I opted to have an amniocentesis, not because I agree with the procedure, but because I know me and I knew I would explode without knowing for sure. The doctor urged us to have the test because it would better prepare the surgeons for what they would be up against.
I had the amnio and because of the stress of the day and the invasiveness of the amnio, I went into labor. Fortunately, they were able to stop it since I was only 6 1/2 months pregnant.
Three days later, we got the wonderful news that genetically, the baby would be fine. I will never forget the feeling of utter relief that day I got the phone call. Suddenly, the heart and kidney situation didn't seem as bad. At least until the actual birth date and surgery got closer.
More good news came in my 9th month. We met with the pediatric cardiologist and after taking a good look at the baby's heart through high tech u/s, his defect was downgraded to an Atrial Septal defect with a Mitral Valve issue. A much better diagnosis than before requiring surgery sometime in the later part of the first year of life.
Finally, the big day arrived. A c-section was planned two weeks early because the weight of the baby was already 10 pounds. I was nervous that the outcome would not be the joy that I longed for. When I heard his brand new baby cry on that morning, my heart felt so full, it almost hurt. To hear new life was a moment that words can't adequately describe. Then it got even better. The neonatal team that had been in the delivery room to take him away, examined him and said that he could stay with us. We enjoyed holding him and feeding him and just looking at this little miracle that defied all the odds.
Two days later, he was rushed to the NICU anyway for unrelated matters. Somehow, no one knows for sure, he collapsed a lung. Once discovered, it wasn't life threatening, but he wasn't allowed to be with me or leave the hospital until it was resolved. Again, I had to leave the hospital without my baby, but on Halloween of last year, we were finally bringing our miracle boy home.
Fast forward one year and our son is just about to celebrate his first birthday! He's since had a succesful kidney surgery and his heart is completely healed on it's own.
He is my daily reminder to never give up on the beauty of my dreams!!!!!
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Grieving at home after the loss of Owen was very hard work. Even my own mama couldn't comfort me. Not for lack of trying, but simply because I could not be consoled. This is when I met Clew through an internet loss support group and we became fast friends. It was helpful to me to be able to share with someone I connected with on many different levels. However, I'm not totally conviced that the support group helped me heal. Really, what it was, was a bunch of woman trying to conceive again after a loss. It was not hard to get caught up in the frenzy and I found myself wanting to be pregnant again right away.
By November it happened and I was ever so excited. At least I would be pregnant on Owen's due date, I told myself. Unfortunately, the excitment over this pregnancy was even shorter lived when I was rushed for emergency surgery in the middle of December. The pregnancy was ectopic and I lost my left fallopian tube. More anguish and more disappointment and more grieving for the first loss all over again. The doctor's told me that it was impossible for me to conceive again for several months, but I fooled 'em all when in January, I had another positive pregnancy test. And in January, I had another miscarriage.
Where are we? Oh yeah, 2002. March. Yet another pregnancy and another loss. I was quickly losing confidence in my body's ability to carry a pregnancy. And yes, I was a little obsessed with getting it to work. I was certain that a new baby would heal the hole in my broken heart. No one tell's you that your arms will physically ache when you give birth to a still born. No one tell's you that your milk will still come in 3 days after delivery. No one tells you that you'll hear phantom babies crying in the night. The need to have another baby for me was powerful. I craved it.
Then nothing happened. Months of trying only led to frustration and anger and timed-sex. It was not a fun existence. Finally, a test in October (because my doctor was retiring) showed that my right tube was also blocked now. IVF would be the only way to get pregnant. We went for it. In November I had another positive test, but days later, my blood work showed dropping numbers. Loss #5!
But again, we showed the doctors and conceived on our own the very next month. Again, God decided not to let us keep this baby. I miscarried in January 03.
Are you noticing a pattern? Can you guess what's next?
April 03 ~ pregnant. May 03 ~ not pregnant anymore.
We had test after test after test trying to figure out what was wrong. Finally, I found a doctor that made sense. He surmised that all of the pregnancies had most likely been ectopic but had resolved themselves. After an ultrasound, he determined that, yes, my tube was blocked and we would not be able to conceive on our own.
I guess I don't like being told I can't do something, because in June 03, I became pregnant again ~ without help. The bloodwork numbers were really good and we all held our breath with a little hope. In July, I was rushed to the hospital for another ectopic surgery where I lost my last tube and my 8th pregnancy.
This loss was a major turning point. I finally threw my arms up and said, "Fine God, have it Your way!" After only a few weeks, I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. I was finally happy with the way my life was. Did I even want a baby or did I just want Owen? Regardless, it was the end of the road for us.
Around Christmas, my husband started talking about alternatives such as IVF. I didn't know if I had the energy to get back on that wagon and I knew I didn't have it in me to lose any more babies. But by January he had convinced me and I started giving myself daily shots.
The retrieval part of the IVF was successful, but something went seriously wrong with my body and we were not able to do the second half of the cycle. The actually getting pregnant part. I wasn't even upset.
Turns out the next month, we were able to complete the cycle and two weeks later, another positive pregnancy test. An ultrasound confirmed we were having twins! First yay, then OMG! Twins?!?! When I started spotting a month later, I knew the pregnancy was over. Blood has never been a good sign for me. Sadly, we lost one baby, but miraculously, one was still alive. And it was the longest pregnancy in history with it's own traumas and scares.
To be concluded......
It was mine and my husbands first pregnancy together. We had wanted for years to start a family and were finally blessed with the wonderful news. The pregnancy was progressing as it should when shortly after the half-way mark, I started feeling less and less movement. We were on vacation in PA when I really started thinking there might be something wrong.
At the ob's office the next day, the doctor was not able to find a heartbeat and sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound. I went home and got my husband and we set out for the hospital. Of course, the waiting room took forever and I was on pins and needles the entire time.
Finally, after twisting and turning down many antiseptic-smelling hallways, I was wriggling my round body up onto an exam table. The technician readied her machine and placed the wand on my expanding belly and the image of our baby instantly appeared on the screen. It was a perfect profile shot with hands and all. Then she started methodically taking measurements of the placenta.
"I'll just take these back to the radiologist and he'll be back out to talk to you."
"Wait," I said, "Did you see a heartbeat?"
In the dimly lit ultrasound room, I saw a lone tear fall down her cheek and she shook her head sadly, "No".
My heart started racing and I began to sob. I literally didn't know what to do. Where do I go, what happens now, maybe you're wrong. Please, be wrong!
My doctor came in then and started explaining what would follow. He spoke of loss support and even when we could try to have another baby. No, no, no! I don't want another baby....I want this baby.
Then he told me that the baby had most likely been gone for a couple weeks and we needed to get him out as soon as possible or my life could be at risk because of possible infection. I went home first to....to....I don't know to what, I just didn't want to be at the hospital yet.
Eventually, my husband coaxed me into getting back in the car and driving to the hospital. I remember as I was walking through the door, that I thought, "the next time I come through this door, I won't be pregnant anymore."
At the hospital once again, there was an aura of confusion. I obviously looked pregnant, but not ready to deliver. The nursed didn't know what to do for me, until a nice woman came and took me by the arm leading me protectively to a birthing room. After a million questions and a lot of sympathetic pats, I was administered the labor inducing medicine.
It started working almost immediately but hours into it, my contractions stopped. Almost as if my body knew it was too early and was trying to right the wrong.
Another dose of medicine and contractions started up again - full force! I kept begging for an epidural ~ actually, I asked to be knocked out ~ but they kept telling me that I wasn't ready. I got up to go to the bathroom and I felt the baby coming.
We delivered his lifeless body by ourselves in the bathroom. For unkown reasons, there was a full length mirror in the bathroom and I remember looking at myself in it and seeing our broken dreams before us ~ a brief glimpse of our family and what could have been and then, a flurry of doctors and nurses. I was led back to bed while the baby was examined.
It was clear that his cord was twisted, cutting off his precious life supply. They handed his 3.5 lb, perfect body to me and it was undoubtedly, the hardest thing my heart ever had to accept. We were able to spend four hours with him ~ four hours meant to replace a lifetime.
When it was time to leave, I didn't want to go. I wanted to be as far away from that place as possible, but I didn't want to leave my baby there. The hospital gave me a special bouquet of flowers with a cherub placed snuggly inside. It was positioned as such, that you had to cradle it just like you would a baby. It's intent was to give the mom something to hold as she was wheeled from the hospital. I hated people's sympathetic stares.
Grieving through the funeral and after proved to be much harder than the actual birthing experience and that is explained further in installment 2. To be continued......
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
A picture in the New York Times, dated June 16, 1947.
Neeltje's 6th child, Jan's (John) family upon their immigration to the United States
Just a few weeks ago, my husbands side of the family had a family reunion. He has a HUGE family. Just my father-in-law alone has 13 brothers and sisters. They immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands, er~ the Ald Contlee, when he was 16 years old. Once here, his future wife's family would sponsor them until they could afford to live on their own.
My mother-in-law's family was originally from the Netherlands themselves. Her grandmother's name was Neeltje, prounouced Neecha, and she wrote letters to her children throughout the turbulent times of their country during World War II. She couldn't mail the letters because the postal service completely stopped for 5 years. Five years dragged by without any communication with many of her children. At the family reunion, this journal was photocopied and given to all the decendents. She wrote particularly, on her childrens' birthdates. I am sharing 3 entries here, all written on October 21.
October 21, 1942
~We live in terrible times. We can see clearly what a world is like that forsakes God. I better not write about it, you know more than we do.
It is terrible wet here. We didn't start the stove yet, because fuel is so scarce - it's all gone. Everything is taken from us. If we did not know and believe that God rules and everything happens according to His will, we would fear greatly.
All men from 18 to 45 years old now must enlist or register for Germany. Many have left already.
October 21, 1943
~We do not know if the war has brought you loss. What terrible times we are going through. Tonight again, heavy bombers in great numbers thundered across for a long time, and sometimes we hear an explosion and everything shakes. How long yet? We long for the end.
This summer we took in a wonderful crop; everything in abundance for us and our animals. But the occupation troops take everything away, also the cattle. So much has to be delivered to the Germans. From the little we have, we have give a thousand pounds of meat.
October 21, 1944
~A short time ago American parachutists came down in Gaasterland. A man told Jan (her 6th child, a son) that one of them said his grandmother lived in Drachten. Could that have been one of my grandchildren?!
We live on a busy highway and all we see are refugees carrying packs. All young men have to work for the defense of Germany, but many refuse and hide. Gerben (her 8th child, a son) has also left his family, but the Germans sometimes rob everything from those who refuse and burn the house. All traffic has stopped and there is hunger in the cities. They pay 100 guilders for a sac of potatoes and 4 guilders for a single pail of water. There is no fuel and electricity has been shut off. Great is the need.
Neeltje Holkema Aukema - January 10, 1870 - January 3, 1950
The inscription on her tombstone reads:
For we know that if this earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building with God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1
Can you even imagine the fear and sadness that the people of that time faced? 55 million people dead! 15 million military and 40 million civilians from bombings, massacres, migrations, epidemics and starvation.
What this brave women recorded to her children as a way of keeping close to them in her heart, has become a legacy for all generations to cherish and remember why we value freedom.
I wanted to post one more entry dated March 30, 1943 to show how bad was their experience.
March 30, 1943
~We do not know if we will still be here by the time the war ends. It is terrible. Heavy bombers fly over every night. Last week there was a dogfight in the air over us. Lots of machine gun fire. Not far from us some bullets went through the windows and straight through a baby's crib into the wallpaper. The child was not hurt.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Excuse me, WHAT?!?! In this so call word of freedom of speech, where kids can where obscenities on their t-shirts and people can sling racial slurs like mud, this company can't put a positive comment on their merchandise without a stupid disclaimer? I don't understand!
Monday, October 10, 2005
I'm reminded that many of these leaves, all different in shape and size and unique in their own design, are of the same species - the same tree even. Much like the human race. We are each uniquely individual designs that thrive together through one common God and will ultimately gather collectively in the winter of our lives.
I'd like to be an oak leaf in the forest of life.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
We had just returned home from a day at the mall, dinner and grocery shopping and were busy putting things away. Drew was crawling around the kitchen floor and made his way into the pantry (a favorite place to play). He somehow got his little mitts on a V8 can and was shaking it vigorously when he popped his other hand with it. It hit so hard that it instantly split it open right through the fingernail and everything. There was blood everywhere and I freaked! The tip of the finger was open pretty wide and we couldn't stop the bleeding so we drove to the ER.
They didn't want to do stitches because they would have had to go through the fingernail so instead, glued and steri-stripped the wound, made a finger splint for him to wear, and bandaged him up to the shoulder with a wrap. He looked like he just had surgery.
He was very brave though and had the whole ER fawning over him. He kept holding up his finger and saying "ohh.....ohh". Which is his version of Uh Oh!
Unfortunately it must have been hurting him because he was up in the night - a lot! And by morning he had pulled most of his outer wrap off and pulled the splint and steri strips off and bled all over the place again. We doctored him up as best we could (which is a trife better than the ER) and he seems to be doing good.
He looks like a kitty cat with a lame paw.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
After sitting at the computer for not more than 15 minutes with my almost-one-year-old in my lap, I stood to go upstairs when my right knee collapsed beneath me. Without warning, it just gave out despositing me and said son onto the floor with a little yelp.
I've heard of this happening to other people - older people - but I never understood it. I mean, I knew what they were talking about but I really didn't see how it could be possible. How does a leg that was supporting you one minute, without any trauma, completely fail the next? Shouldn't there be some warning as to the impending disrupture? One would think so, but no.
I should think that my knee would be sore today, because frankly, it hurt like hell when it happened. But just as stealthily as the attack yesterday, it's as shockingly fine today - like nothing ever happened.
Could have done without that, thank you very much.
Friday, October 07, 2005
The year was 1984. I had just reached the epitome of a teenager's life. Freedom. My own license to drive. Except I had nowhere to drive on a bright fall, Saturday morning.
Wanting to take the care somewhere - anywhere, I talked my mom into letting me get the groceries for her. (A chore I despise as an adult.) She consented and painstakingly made a list of the items she needed in the order that I would encounter them in the store. Then she sent my younger brother with me, "just in case".
Things were going well. All of the groceries were exactly where she said they would be, in perfect order. We were half way through our list when we came to the end of aisle 5. The list directed us to the meat market at the back of the store where we were to buy a package of pork chops, a combination roast, and 2 pounds of ground beef from chuck. The instructions were so clear.
My brother and I proceded to the meat counter where I proudly (and loudly) asked if Chuck were in. The guy behind the stand said there was no Chuck that worked there. After glancing back at my list with a confused expression, all three of us caught on to what I was asking at the same time. My brother, being the supportive type, started laughing his a$$ off, while the color on my face morphed through all shades of the rainbow.
I don't even remember getting the rest of the groceries. Maybe we left the store. I just remember being horrified at my stupidness. Now it's funny, but to a 16 year old know-it-all it was a most sobering event.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
With all the discussion on olfactory triggers and past connections, and my almost nightly visits to the football field of my alma mater to watch my children cheerlead or play football, I've been feeling a bit nostalgic. Not in a longing-for-yesterday way, but more in a reflective aspect.
I found the following poem on "The Starlight Cafe's Poet's Forum", written by a man that posts under the name ProlificPoet.
Just a little memory song
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I was reminded that, although I have many triggers that transport me to different places, there is one scent that remains a mystery. It happens very rarely, maybe once every two or three years. I don't recognize the smell as being a familiar one - nothing I can name like Pachouli or burnt popcorn, but invariably it reminds me of something. The eerie part is, I don't know what that something is. I just know unquestionably that it makes me feel good. It's like the memory is in the shadows and if I search hard enough I will find it, but I never do. The recollection is so comfortable and familiar but my mind refuses to encompass it. Maybe it's a portion of my life from infancy. A time when I was too young to place any cognitive connections with the event. If that's true, then it's amazing I remember anything at all, vividly or otherwise.
The rarity of the occasion doesn't aid in the solution either. Without the smell present, the imprint of the memory that is surely there is impossible to capture. It's been at least a couple years now since I've experienced this unique happening. Maybe I'm due.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
On one her tapes, she suggests doing a little exercise to prove her theory that thoughts are things. Whatever you think about will enter your life. A self-fulfilling prophecy so to speak. What you have to do is think of an object, close your eyes and picture that object, say the name of the object outloud and then wait to see how long before this object appears in your life.
The first time I tried, I chose a swastika as my object. No, I'm not a Nazi - I didn't think a swastika would be an every day sighting and I was trying to prove the theory wrong. Anyway, I thought of the object in the morning and actually forgot about it for the rest of the day. That night at home, I was flipping through cable channels and saw the movie UB571 was playing. I love Bon Jovi, so I selected that channel to get a glimpse of my Jon Jon. As soon as the image was full on the screen, what I saw instead was the swastika. Imagine my surprise!
My husband's object wasn't so simple. He pictured a horseshoe magnet and it didn't appear for him until 3 weeks later on the cover of Money magazine.
I know the mind is a powerful tool, the depths of which we can't understand, but does the power of suggestion really work in this manner or are we simply noticing these things because we are thinking of them. They would have appeared in our lives either way, right? We, under other circumstances, wouldn't have given these objects a second thought.
I moreso believe that the idea behind this game is to show how thinking affects us. If we think negatively, we notice the negative but if we think positively, we notice the positive things in life.
Try it. Let me know what your object was and how long it took to find.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I was 13 years old when I wrote this quote and my mom flipped out. She was certain that I was taking drugs or that I had engaged in a sexual encounter. But I was merely thinking, not reflecting.
Even at that tender age, I had been through enough to know that I would never be innocent again. The passing of my father after a battle with cancer left me knowing that part of my childhood would not be remembered fondly and that my future would be adversly affected at different times throughout my life.
Think about it. Once you know something, you can never go back to the state of not knowing. The experience and it's after effects cannot be erased from your mind. At least without a really good shrink.
I'm not saying they should be erased, I'm simply commenting on the fact that once you are "in the know" you are never the same person prior to that experience whether it's good or bad.
Here are some things I wish I didn't know:
- What it feels like to lose a father and grow up watching other girls hate theirs.
- The raw pain and loss of stillbirth.
- The fear of watching your young child go through illness and surgery.
- The guilt of hurting children through the process of divorce.
- The disappointment of another person's betrayal.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I had to lie.
I've been reminded over and over again in my life that "The Golden Rule" doesn't necessarily apply to life like salve to a wound. Nor does it work in reverse. At least in this lifetime. Bad things continually happen to good people and good things to bad.
It may sound as if I'm jaded, but I'm not. After helping my son, I've simply decided that I will no longer be door mat to the transient that feed off my generosity. I refuse to be taken advantage of! I refuse to bend over and take one more up the proverbial tail pipe! From now on I will stand up for myself and what is best for me and my own while at the same time observing The Golden Rule!
Who's with me?
I know this about myself - if I can't do something, I must. I also know that had I never started this blog, I would probably be more productive in my daily tasks. Such is my world. I need everything neat and organized before I can sit down and do anything creative. If there are phone calls to make or bills to pay, I can't comfortably sit down to concentrate on any thing original. Today is an exception. I find myself with plenty to do, but not wanting to or not able to do any of my tasks. Later, the guilt will settle in when, at the end of the day, I have nothing to show for my alotted time except a couple of inadequate posts. But I shrug that off right now in lieu of something else....what exactly?....I don't know.
I chose the name of my blog because it seemed so fitting to life's experiences. As the name suggests, a jagged little pill is hard to swallow as are so many of the situations life tosses at you. Once down, these experiences tend to make you a better person, just as their metaphorical counterparts make you well. Anyway, I thought it was interesting. :)
So that's how it started. Where it ends up will be an interesting journey, and I find myself pleasantly excited by this new venture.