Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I can't show you any cool Halloween pictures of us carving pumpkins this year because I'm a loser mom and we haven't actually carved our pumpkins for this year.

We spent three hours priming the walls upstairs last night and we came to a few conclusions.
~All primer is not created equal.
~Beware the wrath of a four-year-old with a paint roller.
~Three hours of painting leads to very sound sleep.
~Advil is a necessity of life.
~As tempting as it is, we can not leave everything covered in primer white...we must paint with color or our upstairs will look like an asylum.
~Wood and laminate floors are nice looking...but we may need some carpet in order to reduce the echo effect going on up there.

While bringing horses in from the pasture last night I was able to see the house all lit up on the inside. I must admit that it looks warm and inviting. But it definitely needs another kid in it. I'm not being greedy...one would be enough.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Liar, liar, pants on fire

So I thought I could trust you all to call bullshit when you saw it.

Hmmm...I may have to re-evaluate our relationship.

I am not doing well. Not at all.

Now who wants to help me paint?

Dear Catherine:

I am pleased to inform you that Travis' marker has been completed, and was shipped via UPS Ground on Friday 10/27.

-------------------------------------

Well, I'm glad he's pleased.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Toast Life

Last night we attended Baby Milo's social debut. On the drive into the big city for the celebration, I saw a billboard for Korbel that said, "Toast Life." And that is what we did...in grand fashion.

It was quite the party (even though we were too lame to participate in the costumey fun). Milo slept through the first half, all snuggled up in his bumblebee costume. But once his mama (or was it his papa?) took him out of his little bumblebee bunting, he was awake enough to grace us with his arm waving and a couple of smiles. He is such cute baby...very mellow and laid back.

It was a lot of fun to meet Laura and Justin's family and friends. Justin's mom, brother, sister-in-law, and niece (only a few weeks older than Milo), all dressed up as Joe, Justin's step-father. It made me giggle to see all those mustaches...especially on the baby.

Laura's mom is just as lovely as Laura, though I question her sanity just a bit in leaving warm and sunny Florida to come to Ohio at this time of the year. But I can see why she would move to the frozen tundra of the north, as she seems more than content to sit and just snuggle with her little bumblebee.

And lest you think Milo's parents have been mellowed at all by parenthood (of a living child)...I give you this...

Friday, October 27, 2006

This post or that post

I have two posts rolling around in my brain.

The first is filled with negative energy directed outward at everyone who has told me recently that "it's just too hard to read your blog." Yeah...I get it...I'm sad...this blog is sad...you just can't bring yourself to face that. Never mind that I don't get a choice about the sadness and you make me feel like an inconvenience when you say things like that...we're good.

oops...it seems as though that first post just slipped out. Though I can assure anyone reading this that the original version was much longer and filled with profanities that would make your hair curl.

The second is the post that I'm afraid to post. It's the one that will most likely cause a chain reaction of telephone calls the likes of which I'm not sure the telecommunications infrastructure of our great country can handle. Plus, I don't want to jinx anything. No, I'm not pregnant (thank God).

[Big deep breath]

We submitted the preliminary application with an adoption facilitator.

[Another big deep breath]

Ladies and gentlemen, hope has returned to the building.

We submitted the application via email and I have to admit that it was exciting to press the SEND button. Terrifying...but exciting. This is a process unlike any other. Yes, it has similarities to other "big" steps in life. But this one...it makes me want to giggle and throw up all at the same time (which I’m sure would not be a pretty sight). And it's funny, because I thought you didn't get morning sickness except when you were the one pregnant. Turns out other things can induce similar physical symptoms. But I digress.

The procedure seems somewhat like the lengthy drawn-out sort of process you go through when buying a house. It feels like the excitement and fear in that instant before you walk down the aisle to get married. All the anticipation of a new baby is there. I can’t say it is without fear…but it is a different kind of fear. I suppose once you’ve faced the fear of having another dead baby, the fear of a failed adoption is somehow less stressful. Yes, I know an adoptive baby could still die…but it won’t die inside me.

So there it is. The post I was afraid to post.

It’s like admitting failure and embracing possibility all with the same set of words. And it’s a much better post than that first one I was considering.

We will hear from the adoption facilitator within the next two weeks.

[Another big deep breath]

(I have a feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of that deep breathing in the coming months...maybe I should take up yoga.)

***edited to add: Private Domestic Adoption***

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Do you see it?

Siding on the FRONT of the house!

Crafting and shopping and other non-birth/death related activities

~Do you have any idea how hard it is to craft in a house that is under construction?

~I have almost finished the not-so-secret gift for a friend's baby. K...I spent yesterday's seminar time crocheting away and it's almost finished. I should have it ready to mail out to you by Monday. It is completely impractical but I hope you like it anyway.

~I need to buy a snap setter for my charity sewing of burial gowns. eBay here I come.

~I have to unearth my sewing machine in order to sew for my charity sewing of burial gowns. Where do I put the mountain of crap that is currently sitting on top of the sewing machine? I guess it doesn't matter since the whole house looks like a disaster area.

~My secret santa shopping is done for my birth month message board exchange. This particular mom was a challenge, since I don't know her real well. But I think I picked something she'll like. Now to shop for family gifts. Christmas is right around the corner!

~Speaking of shopping, I get to shop for a baby girl gift for my friend's new baby! I just love pink and ruffles.

~I've been shopping for my Secret Pal...there are too many things I want to get her. How do you shop for yarn? Color? Fiber? Weight? Price? I can't talk about what I'm planning here, because I don't want to chance my pal figuring out my identity.

~I'm allergic to my "Alex ring." Figures. (If you have sensitive skin, do not buy ArtCarved rings made with their "Silver Select" metal.) The gold ring with all three boys' names that was purported to be solid gold, but was, in fact, a hollow gold band, was lost in the mail upon return to Limoges Jewelry. (I wouldn't buy anything else from them either, since their product descriptions misrepresent the actual items.) I'm thinking I should give up the idea of a ring at this point.

~Blogger has not been very cooperative lately. I'm thinking of switching but I don't want to spend a lot of money and I want all my archives to follow me. Any ideas oh wise and wonderful internets?

~Favorite Halloween candy? Mary Janes (in orange and black wrappers)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Welcome to the world Ava Maureen!

My friend M welcomed her miracle baby girl Ava into her already beautiful family this morning at 8:53am. Ava weighs 7lbs 14oz and is 20 inches long.

Congratulations to the whole family!

Inside jokes

Last night I turned to Steve and asked, "Do you ever have days where you just feel like you're not doing so well?" I know full well that most normal people would think I meant I was having a bad day. But I hoped that Steve would understand the true question.

And he did.

And he answered, "Yes."

And that was what I needed to hear, not because I needed to hear it, but because it was true. He has never lied to me about his feelings that I know of, and this is a gift that I never really paid much attention to until we lost our boys. Someone by your side who fully understands you. I don't mean in the superficial way that people think is important when they are 'falling in love.' But in the real and honest and sometimes ugly ways that we hope to never have to rely on.

He gets it in a way that few people ever will.

But the fact that he gets it is a comfort and a weapon that cuts too deep at the same time. I hate that we have any reason to share that sort of communication. It kills me inside to know that he will understand the truth when I ask those sorts of questions. I know if I asked him he would say that he wouldn't want it any other way...he would want us to be in this together. But I just wish I could spare him that understanding. While I'm glad I'm not, I wish I was alone in this.

------------------------------------------------

So my waking dream this morning was of a giant dark wood bookcase falling on me. In a split second I knew I couldn't outrun it...so I didn't even try. Likewise, I knew I could curl up in a ball and try to minimize the damage to my body...but I didn't. I just lay stretched out there until I was startled awake (by the impact of the bookcase on my body perhaps).

There was a time when I would have moved to save myself. In that split second I would have made the decision to scramble up and try to get out of the way, even if there was little chance I would make it to safety. I would have done something.

But now, I just lay there and wait for the crushing weight to land on me. No movement at all.

------------------------------------------------

In this morning's email:

Dear Catherine:

I thought I would contact you since the production of Travis' marker has taken slightly longer than I anticipated.

The marker is scheduled to be completed this Friday, and I will contact you as soon as I receive confirmation that the marker has shipped.

Please let me know if you should have any questions.

Sincerely,

Gary - Customer Service
Markers Direct


------------------------------------------------

Tomorrow I will be attending a conference out of the office with new mommy coworker. I promise I will not kill her...and I will be sure to take notes on all the amazing stories of her son's life so that I can share them with you (because I'm sure you'll be just as interested as I am in the life and times of a boy who should be about the same age as my first dead baby).

Monday, October 23, 2006

And the third verse...la de da de da

It seems I've been here before...this time, this place, this feeling. I posted something a year ago titled, "Second verse, same as the first." And here I am...not so very far from that place at all...but a million miles from the place I was two years ago. How did an entire year go by without me?

I want to feel like I'm a part of life again...not just a part of the same old refrain sung over and over without any sense of emotion. I long for that feeling of unbridled joy that could elicit dancing or singing without prior warning (and people need prior warning if I'm going to sing or dance...because it is a scary scary thing). I miss being happy and I feel guilty for it.

I stare at their pictures on my wall and think how beautiful they were. Our babies. But they are gone and I am tired of missing them. What the hell kind of mother am I? Don't bother me kid, you're dead.

Sam's preschool Halloween party was fun only because I drank beforehand. No, I'm kidding, I didn't drink beforehand (though I really don't understand mulled cider that doesn't have a kick...blech). But I did steel myself to go into the party as that other person...the one who hasn't been through all this crap these past two years. And I had fun despite running literally face first into tiny babies who were born about the same time Travis should have been born. The little lady bug and the little lion costumes brought a smile at the time. I am inordinately proud of myself for holding it together.

But now the tears fall freely. I suppose it's some sort of delayed reaction intended as a defense mechanism. Personally, I wish it would stop with the giant mind-f***. It is impossible to work or get anything productive done when you don't know if you're going to burst into tears for a reason that may have occurred several days ago.

I want off this roller coaster. And even the decision not to talk TTC for the rest of the home renovation period has not meant I'm allowed to disembark from the ride. It seems the hills and valleys are taken at a slower speed that is much less vomit-inducing, but they are still there just has high and low as ever. I second-guess myself and wonder if there will ever be a time when life is good...just good...no strings...no qualifiers.

I am still stuck with the questions I asked the pastor during the planning for Alex's funeral...How do I just go on? Am I supposed to act like nothing has changed? How do I do that? How could God let this happen to us? Two years and I am no closer to any answers.

I so desperately want to sing a different tune. Because this one is old and sad and starting to wear thin on my nerves. (Don't ya just love a mixed metaphor at the end of a really bad post?)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tile decision made




The light tile is the floor tile. The other is the shower and tub surround tile with accent. We're saving some money and only putting the accent on the tub (since nobody sees the inside of the shower anyway). Now, I need to decide where to put the line of accent tiles...toward the bottom, middle or top of the tub surround.

Even pumpkins?!?!

I planned to grow pumpkins this year. But like a lot of things, it just didn't happen. Hell, I planned to grow a kid and that didn't happen. So I gave up the idea of pumpkins along with the idea of most anything else that required care to grow. In fact, I only got a few peas, tomatoes and peppers out of my garden because I just didn't feel that growing spirit in me.

So we'll go to the pumpkin patch and I'll smile and take pictures. I guess that's not so bad when you consider the long list of disappointments this year.

And aren't I a freakin' ball of sunshine? Geez...I don't even want to listen to myself.

I just want to buy a pumpkin without feeling sad.

It's only a pumpkin...not a metaphor for my life...really.

Friday, October 20, 2006

House update

The siding is moving along. The red window looks silly now. Definitely going to have to get out there and paint it white...soon.


We have one door in. Now to get the doorknob in it.



Here's the tub area where I need tile help. The front face and part of the surround walls will be tiled...if I can ever make a decision on tile. I would like it to coordinate with the shower tile...again...a choice I have to make. The floor tile is just neutral beige ceramic that has a sort of marble design to it.

Pain and Perspective

Each of us is broken, somewhere deep inside
And we're really not that different, if you strip away the pride

Pray for Me (Rob Crosby & Allen Shamblin)

I get that everyone has their issues. I get that people have problems. Believe it or not, I even feel empathy for other people going through a tough time...I do feel pain for them. I have perspective.

It's just that this ugly little voice inside of me always screams.

I never let it be heard by anyone but me (and Steve and the internet). I know that giving it a voice would make me a monster.

But that doesn't stop it from screaming.

More than anything, I want to silence it. I want some peace. I want the pain to subside so that I can feel for other people again without self-consideration. I don't want to have to weigh whether I'm capable of being supportive today...whether I have the strength to withstand someone else's pain in addition to my own. I just want to be a friend that someone can turn to without question or fear that I'm going to let them down because I'm not strong enough. Faking it seems wrong.

No amount of repetitive, "Keep perspective," makes it shut up. There has to be something else I can DO to feel better. Until I figure out what it is...the screaming continues.

My head hurts with the howls of pain.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Too many choices

Ceramic
Slate
Glass
Painted
Individual
Mosaic
Molded
Etched
Colors
Size
Price

And that's just for the tub tile!

Enough already!

If I have to listen to my office neighbor complain about taking the bar exam one more time... Results are out next week. I hope to hell he passes or I might have to start regularly bringing headphones to work.

I would kill for your problems

How do I deal with this?

I keep thinking, "I would do almost anything for your problems." I don't want to belittle other people's issues...but I just can't seem to stop my brain from going to that place where I think, "At least your kids are alive." And then the guilt for thinking that sets in and I beat myself up pretty well.

It seems I've got the grieving part of this routine down pretty well. Now I just need some help on the healing part of it.

Thoughts?

The little things

For the past two years I have been consumed with "the big things"...life, death, love, God. Many of the little things have been categorized into a less significant place in my life. Lately, however, I am again noticing how important the little things are. Actually, I am noticing how the little things and the big things collide all around me, causing ripples in my life that can change my mood, my thought process, even my direction in life.

Like yesterday when I opened my mailbox and there was a Halloween card for Sam. I saw the return address and immediately thought, "Grandma sent Sam a Halloween card like she always does." Then there was a beat, a brief moment where the collision of the reality of her death and that little card occurred, and I smiled. Right there at my mailbox I was struck by how much I miss that crazy old Polish lady...and how blessed I was to have her as my grandma for all those years. I miss her, no doubt, but I also celebrate all those moments I had with her that made my life so rich...so right.

My grandma always sent the cards and signed both hers and my grandpa's names before. My aunt sent this card, on behalf of my grandpa. And so it goes...

Thanks Aunt J. It meant more than you may ever know.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More grief

If you have another moment, please stop by Manuela's blog and surround her with love.

God, this happens TOO much!

You just never know

My colleague brought this magic wand into the office so that we can share its magical powers. When we wave it in a persons direction, they do what we want with no questions asked.

Now to understand the hilarity of this, you must understand that we are attorneys who work for local government...nobody does what we want with no questions asked. And the magic wand has, on more than one occasion, been contemplated as a weapon to bean someone over the head...opposing counsel, clients, defendants, the boss...the magic wand is equal opportunity.

My colleague is funny, but I have never considered her to be the type to really let her guard down and laugh a full belly laugh with anyone. So it really caught me off guard when she returned the magic wand to my office this morning telling me how it didn't work in the Supreme Court. I'm not kidding you. She took this thing to the Supreme Court of Ohio! She said it shows up remarkably well on the xray machine as you enter the building...but the security guard, while looking a bit perplexed, did not even ask.

I'm still laughing over this.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Outside and inside walls


Another soul gone too soon.

If you have a moment, please visit Emma's Mum and offer your love.

I wish you knew me when

Our mini vacation to the beach was actually an opportunity to meet a group of women I have been chatting with online for the last five years...since I was pregnant with Samuel. They have seen me through the best and the worst times in my life so far, and I imagine they will be there for many more. Though realistically I know people drift apart and it is hard to maintain online relationships, I still hope that we can stay close for another five...ten...fifteen years. They mean that much to me.

It seemed strange...overwhelming...to finally meet these amazing friends. But I really felt like I needed to see them face-to-face...a sort of test of myself. I'm not sure what exactly it tested, but I feel like I passed whatever the test was.

I even held a baby. A gloriously alive baby boy. My heart skipped a beat when Steve held him too, and that brief moment of what-might-have-been snuck up on me so that I had to excuse myself for a little cry. But I only felt the tears on two other occasions and I was able to control them until I could release the frustration and sadness in private. It was...in a word...good.

Recently a friend asked if I was truly OK...or if maybe I was trying to avoid something by cloaking everything in false cheer. And I really took some time to ponder if that is what I'm doing. The best answer I can come up with is, "I don't think so."

I know I'm distracting myself with the house project (which I promise I will post pictures of later). And I know I can't outrun grief and sadness. But honestly...I feel ok. I have felt for the past couple of weeks as if I have finally wrapped the grief up into myself...rather than the other way around. I am excited about things again. I am finding happiness in doing things again. I'm even wearing makeup (I know...shocking!).

I still miss those two little souls who didn't get a chance. But I'm finally able to see that I didn't disappear with them.

And I'm finally realizing that I don't need to replace them with another to feel hopeful about my life. I will be ok even if I never have another baby in my life. It's strange to say that, since I was so desperate to have a baby before. But there it is. I'm ok.

Back to the point of this post...

I met these women...my friends...and they all said that they thought I would be louder...more authoritative. I think I was like that before. I was so sure of myself. I had all the answers. For a moment, I wished they had met me then. But then I realized I LIKE who I am now. I know more...and I feel more. So while I mourn what I lost, it is possible that I can celebrate what I have gained as well. Yes, there are still things I need to work on in order to become the person I really want to be. And I will always wish for more happiness and less sorrow. But it's not all bad...the not being able to go back to my previous life.

I'm kinda glad you didn't meet me back then.

Think Sam liked the beach?

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm back!


We (Steve, Sam and I) spent a few days in beautiful Virginia Beach (we rented a couple of beach houses) with an amazing group of women and their beautiful children. Much chaos and hilarity ensued. It was a good good time.

I was supposed to meet up with Kathy. But our itinerary messed us up on the location and we shot right past her on our way to VA Beach. I'm really sad we didn't get a visit...but now that I've discovered it's not TOO far from home, I hope we can plan a visit sometime in the near future.

I did, apparently, walk right past Lisa P while at a rest stop on the PA turnpike. I didn't see her, but she saw me. Strange, huh? I wish she would have said hi. That would have been a kick in the pants.

I'm ok. We're ok. The animals are ok. The house is ok (still no siding...but I'm a patient person). I have lots to talk about, but the "f" key on my laptop is giving me problems. So I'll post more from work tomorrow.

{{{hugs}}}

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like a bedroom



I'll be taking a break from blogging for the rest of this week. Big plans. I hope there will be some exciting house updates when I get back.

I wish you all a great week. Take care!

I could be her

I sat across the conference room table as she described the horror of being raped, of miscarrying her very much wanted baby, of losing herself in the "justice" system, of her lifetime of sadness and resulting mental illness. She has obviously carried it around within her heart for decades...it shows on the lines in her face and in I could hear it in the hard edge of her voice. The fear, the sadness, the grief, the anger...all the things she couldn't let go of brought her to this place. Her husband, long since divorced, sat beside her and tried his best to reassure her...to be her strength. But I could see the helplessness on his face...the powerlessness to bring her out of the darkness that she cloaked herself in so many years ago.

As I talked to her openly about her miscarriage and the resulting chaos it created in her life, I silently prayed, "God, don't let this happen to me. And if it does happen to me...please take care of my family."

Yep, I prayed.

I realize this may not be earth-shattering to many who have long ago established their own relationship with God and the universe (whether it be an unshakeable faith or no faith whatsoever). But for me I'm left wondering...Is there still something there...or is it just that old habits die hard?

Then I read this article about the funerals for the Amish children in Pennsylvania.

"You think about them, you cry about them, you pray for them," said Lizzy Fisher, an Amish grandmother who is close to several great-grandparents of the slain girls. "And then you have to let go of things you can't explain."

Because if you don't let it go, you can end up like that woman I sat across from today. And while I'm sure the original grief was debilitating...spending the rest of your life wrapped up in that one/two moment(s) is so much more sad. A lifetime lost...just wasted.

I want my boys to be remembered, but not like that. Not in self-pity, sadness, and anger. I want something better. Something beautiful like they were.

So I search within myself. I have to let go (as best I can) of the things I can't explain. I need to find a path opposite the one I saw today. I want to embrace something...the legacy of two boys who are very much missed and will always be loved.

Secret Pal Nine!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

First of all, I don't really knit yet. I'm mostly a crochet gal. I have tried my hand at beginner knitting and will probably try it again soon.

I can find a project for just about any kind of yarn, though I do prefer soft stuff to scratchy stuff.

I do NOT like wool because, sadly, I am allergic.


2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a crochet hook pouch, but my knitting needles sit at the bottom of a basket in my living room.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I have been crocheting since I was about 12. I started with granny squares and have since graduated to all sorts of things. I consider myself intermediate on the pattern reading. But given enough time, I can usually figure it out.

I am a very beginner knitter.


4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


Yes, an Amazon wish list...but it is combined with wishes for my son as well.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)

Sweet stuff for candles. I don't like bath products because I'm usually allergic.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Any candy...though I am definitely a chocolate lover.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

Sewing and scrapbooking are my other two crafty things I like to do.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I'm a country music gal mostly, though I do like the softer/acoustic versions of modern pop/rock tunes (Nickelback, Goo Goo Dolls, 3 Doors Down)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

Purple is my favorite color.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married with one son who is four years old (you'll get an earful about the rest of my "family situation" if you read this blog much...sorry about that). I have lots of pets...Six dogs, three cats, three fish, and two horses.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves, hats and mittens...yes. Ponchos should be outlawed. lol

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I love to crochet most anything wearable. I do a lot for charity for babies. Oh...and snowflakes are my current obsession.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Right now I'm working on a gift for a friend's baby. shhh...it's a secret.


14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes...I LOVE handmade gifts. I have been the very lucky recipient of many wonderful gifts from friends and family.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Aluminum hooks. Needles...I'm still developing a preference. I own aluminum and bamboo and I like them both for different things.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

No


17. How old is your oldest UFO?

A month or so. I usually like to do a project start to finish instead of letting them sit unfinished.

18. What is your favorite holiday?


This is a tough one for me. I used to love Christmas but now it's a bit sad. I guess it's still my favorite...though I love my birthday too.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Not really. Dragonflies have personal meaning, though I don't really "collect" them. Of course, yarn is always piling up around the house...and fabric.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?


There really isn't anything I'm "dying" to get my hands on, though I would like a snowflake pattern book. I have no subscriptions to any magazines.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I would love to learn to knit better. But I really don't have the time or the concentration to learn something new right now.


22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?


Nope...never knitted a sock in my life. My feet are a US women's size 9 or 10, depending on the style.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) February 8th

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Columbus Day!

I spent the day with my son...
-eating lunch at mcdonalds while sitting "on the tall chairs"
-shopping for house doors at home depot and lowe's while he hid in the maze of doors on display
-buying him a real toolbox for his toy tools
-shopping at wal-mart for jeans for him and him choosing his own style for the very first time
-stopping for a chocolate milk for him and a chocolate milkshake for me (and him telling me how he didn't want to sit in the car all day to drink it)
-him drinking his chocolate milk and half my chocolate milkshake
-shopping for laundry detergent and lysol at kmart and discussing the possibility of daddy killing me if I spent $10 on a trash can for the bathroom
-searching for quarters and having to buy some beads (oh the hardship) in order to get the change to ride the rides in the center of the mall

My favorite part...

Holding hands in the parking lot, telling him how I love spending days with him like this, "just you and me," and hearing him say, "I love days like this too...just you and me...mama llama."

There are a lot of ways this day could have been different. But it was good just the way it was.

That feels like a betrayal of some sort. But it wasn't. It was just us being happy together. In the spirit of the holiday...us discovering happiness again.

I love you Sam-a-lama.

Minor changes

Most of the home renovation updates lately have been boring little details that aren't really worthy of a photo post. But they tell me that siding and drywall are coming soon...so stay tuned for that. :o)

Jacuzzi tub installed


Sam's tub/shower installed


Electricity


Insulation and baseboard heaters

Hair dye and suspense

As I sat in the waiting area in the salon, I was thinking about my hair and how I wanted it cut. But I was strangely nervous. My palms were sweating and my stomach was in knots. I looked around and wondered what it was that was making me so...fearful.

Then I heard the hairdresser ask the woman in the chair, "So when are you due?" I held my breath. "May," the customer replied with that smile...you know the one...the one that says she's never even considered that something bad could happen to her or her baby.

I wasn't even paying attention and my body had heard and reacted.

May...

I hate May. And here she is eagerly anticipating May.

May...

So she's what? All of five seconds pregnant?

I grabbed a Vogue and tried to concentrate on the latest trends so that I wouldn't have to hear the excited chatter. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long and I was called over to my hairdresser's chair. I could focus on my hair and nothing else. Except that I could see her behind me in the mirror.

When she left, the hairdresser said, "Take care of yourself."

And I silently wished her well on her journey to May.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thank you Cynthia

I plan to make tuna noodle casserole while wearing my new socks today.

Thanks for the laugh.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I wore eyeliner and have no tissues

So of course, I get this wonderfully sweet message today...

Hi Kate,

I hope you don't think this is too weird that I'm writing you. We were on the Due in June (2005) board together -- my B and your Alex were due within a few days of each other. I always felt an extra bit of connection to you then, because your Sam and my E are about the same age too.

Anyway... for some reason, you and Sam and Alex have been in my thoughts a lot lately. I haven't been on SheKnows in a while, but I came back today to check in and see if I could find you. And I did.

I just want to tell you how very, very sorry I am for the loss of your son Travis earlier this year. I know there's nothing I can say to help (and I certainly hope I'm not hurting you more by writing to you).

I just wanted to tell you that I think of you and your boys often. I hope that you're finding some peace.

K


You know, it never ceases to amaze me...the connections that I've made in this life.

Sometimes when I'm driving around at night, I will peek into the windows of homes lit up with life inside and I will wonder who they are and what they hold dear to their hearts. I wonder what happiness they have experienced and what sadness they must endure. And I feel a little bit sad that their life will pass and I may never actually get to know them.

But this thing called the internet has created some very valuable connections for me. I actually get the privilege of making a connection with some of the people in those houses. Instead of just whizzing by on the street, I get to talk to you all and learn about you and your lives. Perhaps part of it is that misery loves company. But that isn't what keeps me here. What keeps me here is the limitless love and compassion...the countless stories and anecdotes...you people and your lives...who invite me in and make me feel a little less alone in this world.

Thanks for the reminder K. And thanks to everyone else who has offered a kind word or a thought for me and my family. We truly appreciate each and every one of you.

No good deed

I'm a relatively smart individual...really. You would think I would learn by now that it is true what they say. No good deed goes unpunished.

As if it's not painful enough to have to shuttle unused baby items from room to room while we have no safe storage space during home renovation. Steve and I decided that the stuff that was intended for Travis should go to charity. That way it goes to someone who could use it and we get a little tax break. Sounds easy enough, right?

So why is it that I can't find anyone who will take the damn stuff?!?!?

I mean, we're talking a brand new crib mattress...still wrapped in the plastic...and a brand new crib set...still wrapped in its original wrap. You would think SOMEBODY would WANT this stuff.

Homesafe, the domestic violence shelter, is not accepting anything at this time. The other local organization (...because I am NOT shipping a mattress...I am kind...but I do have my lmits) is not 501(c)(3) (which really makes me wonder now about the donations they take in).

So what IS a person to do? All I want to do is do something good for someone!

I'm THIS close to freecycling it and letting go of the idea of a tax deduction. It's not worth the added sadness it is bringing. I think it's just time to let it go.

But dammit...I didn't get the kid...I should at least get the measly twenty bucks knocked off my taxes!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Think Before You Pink

This will become a permanent link on my sidebar. Good information for those who are philanthropically motivated.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Are you KIDDING me?!?!?!

Whoever listed me in this better NEVER reveal themselves to me. I do NOT want imaginary stock in my blog traded in some weird game! This is my space and it is NOT for sale! And I seriously am now considering moving to a password protected service...because this crap makes me ANGRY!

I guess I should feel flattered...but I just don't. My experiences, my words, and my feelings aren't pieces in some game. And I find it appalling that anyone would treat them as such.

So how's that workin' for ya?

I hate Dr. Phil and everything he stands for. BUT, he has this phrase that I have carted around with me since I heard it...

So how's that workin' for ya?

Loosely translated into non-annoying-Texan-speak, it says, "Quit complaining, get off your ass, and DO something. You can bitch and bitch, but it's not going to accomplish anything. The only way to create change is to create change."

So how's that workin' for ya?

Since Alex died, I have been thrown into a tailspin. It's not just the grief and sadness that have caused chaos in my life. It's the complete change in philosophy that came with it. No longer do I control my life...Suddenly, things just happen TO me. Nonsensical things that happen without so much as a warning.

I guess I have always realized that this was the case. But I stuffed it down, refusing to allow it to surface and bring with it all the fear of uncertainty that I knew it would bring. But when Alex died (and again when Travis died), I had no choice but to confront it and acknowledge it. Which I thought I did quite well each time. But the truth of the matter is that I didn't do it well at all. I let it consume me. Suddenly, my ENTIRE LIFE was something that just happened TO me. I surrendered it all and gave up trying to find my own path. I stopped communicating with friends, I stopped participating in hobbies, I quit cleaning my house...you get the picture. And no, it wasn't depression. I was never depressed in the clinical sense of the term. It was, in its own way, a form of control. I deliberately gave it all away so I wouldn't have to experience the disappointment when "it" didn't go according to plan. I knew what I was doing and I almost relished the release. I let everything happen TO me. I didn't even want to drive for four months, instead preferring to suffer an insane waste of time each day in order to be shuttled around. It was easier.

But it's not workin' for me anymore. I'm coasting through my life and I miss the looking forward to things. Simple things...AND more complex things.

I think doing our house project has, in some strange way, helped me see that my way isn't working anymore. I watch the house get torn apart...and get put back together...and I wasn't even excited about it. Sure, it was neat to watch, but someone commented, "You must be getting so excited," and I was perplexed by that because I wasn't getting so excited. I felt nothing.

The planning, the shopping, the demolition, and the reconstruction have all been serving merely as distraction...so I didn't have to face my lack of emotion...my surrendering of caring one way or the other. I was ok with that, because I hoped that even if I was never able to look forward with hope, I would at least be able to live within the end result that we had created in wood and plaster.

Then last night we were standing in what will soon be our new bedroom, and I felt it...that excitement...that looking forward. It's going to be beautiful...and it's something we planned from beginning to end. And yes, there were some pretty tough obstacles along the path. But we dealt with them.

I know a house can't compare to children...living beings who graced my life for a woefully inadequate length of time. But really...my attitude isn't workin' for me anymore.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about an argument she was having with her husband. My point to her, so easily rattled off, was that being angry is silly if there is no resolution or solution. You can't spend your whole life angry. You have to decide what you are going TO DO about it.

Voila! I hope you won't think less of me if I tell you that the revelation wasn't even instantaneous. It wasn't until this morning that I thought, "Well duh! When are you going to take your own advice?"

The most painful posts I have written here on this blog have been those that contemplate moving forward into the future. I have arrived in a place where I accept the sadness of the past. But I am only now coming to a place where I can even think about my role in the uncertainty of my future. It's not working, giving up control entirely. No...not control exactly. It's not working, giving up effort. I need to make SOME EFFORT.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst. I think that might work much better for me. At least it will get me out of neutral and deliberately moving forward again.

Welcome to the world Baby Tyler!

Congratulations Chan and family!
We're all so very happy for you!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pumpkins great and small

As I stood in Super Walmart caressing the little pumkins marketed for pie-making (directions printed on a sticky label stuck to the little guys even), I contemplated buying a couple for the cemetery. Jesus Christ! My life is no longer about making a nice pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving...it's about whether this is the perfect pumpkin to take to my dead kids.

So I suppose it was the sight of the little sticky label with pie-making directions that made me deem these particular pumpkins not quite suitable for the dead kid brigade after all.

A couple other things are stuck in my brain with that moment...

Steve saying that we couldn't just buy our carving pumpkin at Walmart because that would take the fun out of it. We had to make our annual trip to the local nursery and wander on the hill, searching for the perfect pumpkin. I remember the fun of the trip last year. At some point, Sam had a meltdown and I shoved him in the minivan while Steve went to pay. It was five months post first dead kid and I still wasn't in any mood to deal with that life. Ah...good times.

And then the carving last year. We took pictures and it looked like a relatively happy event. Just the three of us. Now I look at those pictures and don't even see the painful smiles. Instead, I see myself wearing a bracelet in honor of Alex's memory. Back in the era of one dead kid. Was it better than now?

During my first year of college, I remember my parents came to visit me during one weekend when I was suffering a particularly bad bout of homesickness. My mom brought me a little pumpkin. I remember holding that little pumpkin as I watched through my dorm window while my family walked away. A part of me changed forever in that moment. I think it's the same part that hurts right now.

Damn little pumpkins. Can't I just simply make a pie?

Monday, October 02, 2006

To the bug I just squished into oblivion

I'm sorry. But you flew up my nose one too many times. Rest in Peace.

Adoption v. Pregnancy

Time to get some ugly out. I hope people will understand and not judge too harshly. But if you do...I know how to lock comments...and I don't mind doing so. I am in a fragile place right now and I don't need the wrath of the internets. This is my place to work things out for myself...and that is what I'm doing here.

So here's the thing...

I am inherently a selfish person.
I don't want someone else's child.
I want MY children.
I don't want to worry, every single day of my life, that some outsider with a "biological right" (trump card) is going to come into my relationship with my child and throw it off balance.
I want my child to be mine.
Relationships with children are hard enough without adding the constant stress of the adoption "triad."
I don't want a triad.
There is enough failure in raising children.
I don't want to have to worry about failing my child in providing for his/her cultural differences (that I may or may not even understand).
There is enough judgment in raising children.
I don't want to worry about additional communities of people (adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents) making judgments about how I raise my child.
I want to live my daily life with my child/ren without worrying about what else I "should be" doing.
I know adoption is supposed to be rosey posey and butterflies and kittens...but I don't feel that.
I don't want to resent my child for not being MY child.
I want a mother-child relationship that is free and clear.

I'm a coward.
I want an easy pregnancy that results in a live baby.
I don't want to worry about delivering another dead baby.
My heart cannot handle another ultrasound followed by the words, "I'm so sorry."
My mind cannot handle another image of a lifeless child.
I can't hear those words, "I'm so sorry," anymore at all.
I'm tired.
I want a baby.
I want peace.
I don't want to hear what everyone thinks about my choice to try again...or not.
There is no comfort in the, "Maybe someday," with a little smile and a wink.
It makes me want to vomit.
I want my children...alive.
But I want it all without the risk.

I am in no-man's land. Neither option "works" for me. I hate them both equally.

I want to cry.

I remember my life before. Before it was a normal thing to sit in the living room on a Sunday afternoon, watch football, and arrange flowers for my children's cemetery plots. Before my first thought upon buying a new car was, "Does this mean I have to go visit the cemetery more often now?" Before I had to explain to my son that the extra room may or may not ever contain a living baby. Before I had to weigh crappy options that make me want to curl up in a ball and scream in frustration, "It's not fair!"

The past is horrific. The future is dark and empty. How do I decide? The lesser of two evils? I want someone to make all these decisions for me at the same time I want people to mind their own business. I guess what I really want is for someone else to decide...but I reserve the right to blame them if it all goes to shit. Because I can't blame myself anymore. It might destroy me.

This little battle plays on...and on...and on...and on...

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Each and every day, in communities across America, expectant moms will feel their baby's first kick; parents will listen joyfully to their newborn's first cry; and families will celebrate the birthday of a healthy baby.

Also each and every day, seven babies will be lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS); more than 70 new parents will have listened sadly to their stillborn baby's silence; and countless lives will be lost to miscarriage and other sudden, unexpected infant deaths.

October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and First Candle is joining forces with individuals, local and national member organizations, as well as corporate and retail partners to increase awareness about these tragic causes of infant death.

www.firstcandle.org
For more information call 1-800-221-7437 (410-653-8226).
Bilingual Crisis Counselors Available 24 Hours a Day

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Something for the kids

Sam would watch this for hours if I let him.

I, of course, want to gouge my ears out with a spoon.



Is it wrong that we both kind of hope that the dog eats Elmo?
(Sam definitely gets a slight mean streak from me.)

But it's worth it for happiness like this...