Sunday, March 30, 2008

AVON for a good cause

Stacey, who is also a bereaved mom, is an AVON rep and has offered to donate all of her profits to Emmazing Grace from her internet orders now through April 15th. Her site is here if you would like to purchase something.

Be sure to chose DIRECT DELIVERY so that the products will be shipped to you.

Also, use the code REP10 for free shipping on orders over $10. Can't beat that!!

Finally, make sure you let Candy know if you order something so that she can tell Stacey it's from one of the Emmazing Grace supporters.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ouch

I don't deny that I'm fat. I know I'm fat. But there is something about being denied supplemental life insurance benefits because I'm fat that hurts a little bit.

A height and weight measurement above the medically recommended standard presents an increased risk of mortality and of developing certain adult onset health problems including: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Yes, I've had a lot to deal with the last three years. But it's clear that excuses won't work anymore. I've got to get this under control. But first I think I'm going to have a good cry.

Blogging buddies

I log on each morning and peek into your lives with apprehension. Trying to conceive, pregnant, surrogacy, children, illness, family troubles...all the makings of a really good soap opera. I wonder if I read because I'm a bored voyeur.

And then I find myself in tears over Dave's post at Bon's blog...

Or disappointed in myself that I missed an important milestone in Kendra's World by a couple of days because I messed up my bloglines...

Or distressed over the blog exit of friends around the world...

and I realize that it's more than morbid curiosity.

And maybe I need help.

I've met only four of you in real life (that I currently remember...I hope I'm not forgetting someone...that would be embarrassing). So why is it that you are such an important part of my life?

I know why and I'm going to indulge in a little nostalgia here today...

I remember so clearly stumbling upon this post when I was in so much pain I could barely see straight. I felt so relieved to have found women who understood and didn't mind talking about "it." So many times I would read blogs of these women...grieving mothers just like me...and wipe tears away as I nodded in agreement with the words they had typed and put out there in the blogoverse.

Over the last two...almost three...years, I've come to feel like I KNOW some of you. I know where you live, what you like to eat, what your favorite hobbies are, what your dreams are. Of course, these are just bits and pieces and I don't really know you all that much. But whatever you choose to share, I am here to read and absorb. Fueled initially by my desire to not feel so freakish and alone in this craptastic universe, I now genuinely care about what happens to you.

So I guess that's what I'm trying to say...I care. And I'm sad when you choose to no longer share. I understand it...but it still makes me a little bit sad. Your words have kept me sane when I thought I was losing my mind. Your words have been a balm on a raw open wound. Your words have flowed in to fill in the gaps like water between jagged rocks and grains of sand. Your words are beautiful and are a great tribute to your strength and character.

So I hope that you will keep in touch. Drop me a line every now and then to let me know that you're doing ok. Look me up on Facebook. Whatever. Just don't disappear. Because you would be missed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

All alone

Steve stayed home with Sam for spring break today...so that means no baby at work today! I've gotten A LOT of work done without a little person attached to me. But I'm noticing something strange and a bit overwhelming...

It's easier to miss Alex and Travis.

I think it's probably partly the place. This office held so many hopes and happy thoughts...and so many tears and sad thoughts...without the distraction of sweet little Myles, it's easier to reflect on where I was...where I've been...where I am now.

I think it's also probably partly that I finally understand the sentiment that a new baby doesn't replace the ones who are lost. They are still a part of my narrative...still a part of my heart. And I can acknowledge that without betraying Myles in any way.

And of course, part of it is that I KNOW where Sam and Myles are. And I KNOW they are being taken good care of by their father who loves them. I don't have to take anything on faith or fanciful promise. It is verifiable and fact. I've got more brewing on the topic of my own faith (which I'll share in a bit), but I'm still sorting it out in my head. The one thing I know is that I'm not a person of faith and I'm having to come to terms with that...and it's easier than I feared it might be.

It's interesting, to me at least, the complexity of this role of being a mother to living and dead children. It brings to the fore, all sorts of aspects of my own personality that I never even knew were there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Remembering Nicolas


Steve and I send all our love to Catherine and her family today.

I did not take this photo as we still have snow on the ground here...but rather, found it on photobucket and can not remember from whom.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jesus: The Complete Story

Me: (Scanning past TLC) Jesus...the COMPLETE story? In one hour?

Steve: In high definition if you go up a channel.

Me: Really?

Steve: As God intended it...And God commanded let there be 720 progressively scanned lines of resolution.

Yep...we're going to hell for sure.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Heard at my house

Me: "Why do you have to make so much noise when I'm on the phone?"

Sam: "Because that's what Samuel's are for."
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Sam: "Mommy, shouldn't this be the day we go on vacation?"

Me: "No. Not today."

Sam: "Well, what day then? Wednesday or Friday? You have to choose."

Me: "We're probably not going on vacation."

Sam: "Then me and Daddy will."
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Myles: (screaming)

Sam: "Myles...dude...would you please be quiet so I can watch my movie?"

Attention all knitsters!

Sign the petition to save Knitty Gritty.

Hey, a girl can be political sometimes, can't she? :o)

Thank you.

Best buddies?

She's been dropping little hints here and there every time I see her in the gym during kindergarten pickup. At first she commented about the age difference between Sam and Myles. I don't remember, quite honestly, if I told her why there is such an age difference. I think I might have. Apparently whatever I said was seen as common ground of sorts.

The next time I saw her she mentioned that her and her husband have been "trying" to have another baby without much luck. I know how these conversations often go...how people make a big deal of their two or three months of "trying" and, quite frankly, irritate the hell out of me.

Then the next time I saw her she mentioned she had had "an early miscarriage." I felt anxious about the possibility of having that conversation where my experience is compared to someone else's. I was so thankful when the kids came barreling into the gym and we were able to say our goodbyes and I could get away.

And then there was yesterday...

Yesterday I felt ashamed of myself and sad for her. They've been trying since their kindergartener was three months old. That's FIVE YEARS! I can only imagine the frustration and sadness. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her how sorry I am, but I know, given the complexity of my own emotions, it might be an unwelcome display. So I just said I'm sorry and listened to the rest. And boy, did I get an earful!

It's not her. They did testing and everything is fine with her. Her husband has a low sperm count (a fact I'm sure he'd be thrilled to learn she has shared with a virtual stranger in the gymnasium of their daughter's elementary school).

"Have you ever heard of Clomid? It's a fertility drug?"

"Oh yeah, sure."

"Well, I guess they did a study and they're putting men on it now."

"Does that work?"

"Yep. If it works like they say it will, he should be at the low end of normal. So that's something."

"Well...good luck."

Good luck. Yeah. You're gonna need it.

And while I really do wish her luck, I dread the day the happy news is announced.

This sucks. I feel like I can't be anyone anymore. I can only be so supportive and understanding before my own baggage gets in the way and I want to run away screaming. I want to help and be supportive and non-judgmental. I want to be the someone to confide in that she's hoping I am. But I can't. I won't. It is too hard...too draining. I've been through enough for myself and people I already know. I can't do it for her too. I wish I could.

I miss things being simple.

I really miss chatting about the weather.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rites of spring

The first day of spring.

Sunshine on new snow.

Myles' four-month birthday.

Carli Mae's first birthday just days after her little sister's safe arrival into the loving arms of her mama.

May this spring bring only good things to everyone.

Remember to hope.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fair and impartial

I have my very first jury trial coming up on April 16th in Judge Y's courtroom.

I received a summons for jury duty on April 16th in Judge Y's courtroom.

I think I'd do well with myself as a juror.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Welcome to the world Mackenzie Grace!!!

Congratulations to Darcie and her family on the safe arrival of Mackenzie Grace at 12:51pm! I'm so so so happy for you!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

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The Blackberry didn't last a week. It was too much phone for me. I have not retreated back to my paper dayplanner, but I really feel like maybe I should. Technology and I are apparently not made for one another.
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It is one thing to believe that cats should chase mice...to live in an old farmhouse with two cats indoors (and at least one outdoors)...expecting those cats to rid your living space of dirty rodents. It is an entirely different thing altogether to hear a scene from Wild Kingdom being played out behind you in the darkness of the dining room as you surf the internet on your computer. The noises...I can not adequately describe the noises.
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I sometimes really wish we could "rewind the world" (as my Sam said) so I could say, "I told you so."
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The mailbox is gone. Not even the post remains. We can only assume it is buried under a snowdrift somewhere along our road (thanks to the Ohio Department of Transportation's snow plow). Six years...almost seven...not a bad run along a state highway, I suppose. Of course, we've had to replace the actual box a time or two due to road salt and other deterioration. But this is the first time the whole she-bang has disappeared. Long live the mailbox.

**update: The snow melted and there lay the mailbox. So sad.
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Why do people ask for kitchen stuff for wedding presents? Aren't there far more exciting things you want?
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I have messages and emails to respond to. But I'm hiding because I'm not feeling particularly good or supportive (or even communicative). Selfish. I'm selfish...and tired.
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I found the LEXUS 2008 RX ad at the top of my hotmail page quite amusing this week given Geraldine Ferraro's comments in the press...
"The right color influences everything."
I know they're talking cars, but still, it made me giggle.
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My little town public library has online book renewal. Very cool. And now that I've found my library card in an old purse, I can check out and renew books at will. I've forgotten how fun the library can be. The POWER!
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Heard at my house:
Steve: "She gave birth to you."
Me: "And kept you alive for the last almost six years. That's more than your brothers can say."

While watching food network:
Sam: "WHAT is she making? That's DISGUSTING!"

Heard in the Walmart parking lot:
Sam: "I'll guard the stroller so nobody steals my baby brother."
Me: "You think somebody wants to steal your baby brother?"
Sam: "Well...hell-llooo...you know, EVERYBODY loves babies."
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The kid signed up for t-ball, so vacation has been postponed. It's a good thing, though, because I was feeling stressed about finding the "perfect" vacation spot in such a short time. Now I can relax a little bit about it and aim for the end of June or the beginning of August.
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After 13+ years, I have removed my wedding rings.

No, it's nothing drastic. Just needed a small repair.
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At exactly three months postpartum my hair started falling out. It's still falling out...almost a month later. I'm terribly afraid I'm going to end up bald.

Funny thing is, Myles' hair is falling out too. Guess we'll match.
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I have plans again. And I have energy again. I might get this house cleaned up this year after all. There's still so much to do before I will feel ok about tearing into the kitchen...(insert evil laugh here).
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I am officially an old person.

Yesterday we went to Ruby Tuesday's to have dinner. We walked up to the hostess stand and the hostess was too busy talking to her server friend to acknowledge our presence. Steve had to interrupt them in order for us to be seated.

The hostess led us (I was pushing Myles in the stroller) to a booth...at which there was no room for said stroller. I looked at her in confusion. Where was I to put the stroller?

She stood there looking bored as people pushed by us in the teeny tiny aisle and I said, "I just don't think this is going to work." In what seemed like slow motion, she replied, "I do have a table over there (indicating with a limp arm as though she could care less) if you want to sit there." I said, "Yeah, I think we should try that."

As we were making our way over to the new table, another hostess was leading another family to the same table. As we met, the other hostess snottily said to us, "Uh...oh...kayyy..."

At this point I had had enough. I said, "No, you know what, never mind, we're leaving." And we walked out.

We had Subway for dinner at home.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vacation ideas?

June 4-8

Let's hear 'em.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

For Kristin


RAK as requested in honor of Thomas' third birthday...small donation made to NILMDTS.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Everyone needs a little magic

If you ever want your inner spirit renewed...observe a magic show at an elementary school and watch the young ones as they ooh and aah at the magic mirror and magic hat...the multi-colored scarves and the magic rope.

I had the occasion to accompany my son to a magic show yesterday. He won a ticket as a prize for selling five items in the school fundraiser earlier in the year. At first, I didn't really want to go and I hoped he would change his mind and opt to stay home instead of traipsing out into the oncoming blizzard for a "silly magic show." And, I have to admit I was a little put out that it was scheduled for a day when he didn't already have school. I mean, the EFFORT (I was apparently struck with the woe-is-me bug earlier this week and had yet to shake it as of Friday morning).

But when we arrived and the school secretary ushered us in, I was immediately glad we had made the trek in through the snow and wind. His eyes sparkled and he smiled through the entire show. My eyes grew misty as I watched the awestruck children in the front rows. It was (at the risk of sounding corny) magical.

I was approached by the "class mom," who thanked me for bringing my son in for the show. She explained how they scheduled it this way because the T/R kids get all the assemblies...COSI, etc...and they wanted the M/W kids to have something special too (Let me tell you, the woe-is-me bug disappeared immediately).

I moved to the back of the gymnasium so I could stand and keep Myles moving in the stroller (you know...back and forth...forth and back...for an hour...). Something caught my eye. A little girl in the back row designated for fifth graders. Jeans, t-shirt, hair in a pony tail, glasses...she could have been me so many years ago. With every slight of hand, she proudly announced to her friends and her teacher "how" the trick was done...a real know-it-all. She had all the answers. She had it all figured out. She was so in control. Yes, she could have been me...

At first I was so angry with that teacher for letting her do that...letting her delve behind the curtain and sort through the "secrets." The teacher just sat there, a small smile on her face, nodding almost imperceptibly with each explanation delivered by the girl. I even started to grit my teeth during the last half of the show as the explanations continued...

...until I remembered to watch the front row for the happy wonder found on the faces of the younger children...on the face of MY child.

After the show, as we drove home, I thought about the audience as a whole...and about that little girl and her teacher, in particular. Somewhere between kindergarten and fifth grade, she lost her innocence...her ability to just let go and enjoy the magic of it all. Her teacher knew that. She's probably seen it a thousand times during her teaching career. She probably knew there was nothing she could say or do to recapture the magic for that little girl right now. She probably knew it's going to take some time...maybe even another twenty-some years...until the girl finds the magic again. Maybe on a cold and snowy day...in the face of her own child...at a magic show she didn't really want to go to...she'll finally feel the magic again. If she's lucky.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

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Not only do I have a programmable coffee maker, a DVR, a laptop, and a blog, but now I have memotome.com to keep me reminded (via email) of important dates. AND this week, the FedEx guy delivered me my new Blackberry. (We got a deal and I think Steve is hoping it will organize me...ha!) I have no idea how most of it works, but I'm having fun playing around with it. It may turn out to be too much technology for me. I have been able to figure out how to get my bloglines feeds on it (which is a lifesaver when the power goes out and you're home with a five-year-old and a three-month-old). So now I'm mobile! Give me something interesting to read dear internet. And if you're up for it...drop me a note letting me know all your important dates. Who knows...I just might get organized enough to send you a card or something.

I feel so 2008. Now I just need something to automate the laundry process...
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I haven't read a book in several years. The book from the meme I posted earlier this week...I've had that book for four years. I've read it once before and am re-reading it now. The rest of the series waits for me on my bedroom shelf...where they've been for quite a while now. I would venture a guess that it was before I was pregnant with Alex that I picked up even a trashy novel. So that's what? Three years? I just couldn't focus on made up stories. It all seemed irrelevant and pointless. I needed reality to keep me company in my misery.

But as I started feeling more hopeful during my pregnancy with Myles, I started to think about reading books again. I asked for and received books for Christmas and birthday gifts. And now that Myles is here, I'm making time to read. It's lovely.

And no, Holley, I still haven't finished reading Harry Potter Book 4...but I'm working on it. This year. I promise.
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I saw the movie Crash this week. Beautiful, horrible, wonderful, awful movie. I couldn't help but think how different it is to watch such a movie today than it would have been to have watched it when it came out in 2004. Bad things happen to everyone. Sometimes it's a result of the bad choices of other people...sometimes it's just shit luck.

There were a lot of "moments" in the movie. Some were obvious in a beat-you-over-the-head kind of way. Some were more subtle. For some reason, I found real poignancy in the moment when Jean Cabot tells her housekeeper she's the best friend she's got.

If you haven't seen it...you should.
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I was having a boring week when this great belated birthday present arrived in the mail from my friend Cynthia. Thank you sweetheart! I love you!

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Ice is really pretty.

And really slippery.

Ouch.

Enough said.
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I read The Shape of a Mother every day. Lately I've been wondering about the phenomenon of body image.

I remember when I was a child, seeing topless pictures of mothers in remote African countries...with babies attached to their sagging breasts...and I never once thought they looked gross or disturbing. These women had more miles on them than most of us will ever see if we live to be a hundred years old. And yet, I never had negative thoughts about stretch marks or sagging belly skin.

So why do I entertain such thoughts about myself when I look in the mirror?
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The power went out Thursday morning and I got to spend quality time with my sons. I loved it. But the big boy could probably talk the paint off the walls. And the little boy was not impressed that we chose to save on the cost of batteries by buying an electric swing. Mommy pushing it is just.not.the.same.
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As mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on upping our reading quotient in this house. Steve doesn't read books. He's a lost cause. So I'm working all by myself here and feeling like I'm pushing a big rock uphill. So it's nice when I find a little something to make the going a little easier. There is an series about famous Americans (though, Einstein wasn't American, was he?) that has snagged Sam's interest. He was especially thrilled when the first one we found was about Dale Earnhardt. The boy knows what he likes...and if I can use it to get him to read more...so be it.

And I think mean mama may reappear here sometime soon. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that he earn his Playstation2 time by reading. Is it? Back me up here, ok?
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Mother's of dead children can be especially sensitive. Sometimes even OVER sensitive...finding hidden messages into things said or done by other people that (often) are not intended in any way. I know I'm guilty of it.

It's part of the grief process, I think, learning how to filter the world appropriately again when this horrible, awful thing has happened to your family. Your perspective changes and you have to learn how to incorporate that into your own life. But the fact is that, generally speaking, the perspective of those around you has not changed and the discord comes from that disparity in "growth" between two individuals. I don't know that it's necessarily always positive growth...as losing children has made me more cautious, more fearful, and even irrationally paranoid.

I do know that it's a hard road...trying to figure out how you fit into the life you once knew so well. And now, almost three years down the road from the first shock, I am honest enough with myself to admit that I have misinterpreted the good intentions of others on more than one occasion. I have to be careful not to jump to conclusions when I talk to people, or I can get a completely incorrect message.

I hope I have learned enough to watch my own words carefully. But I know that no matter how carefully I choose them, they will probably be "wrong" when they are received by someone who is grieving. That's just the nature of the process.
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Heard at my house this morning...
"Playing with your phone while you're on the potty?!?! That's ridiculous!!!"
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While the power was out yesterday, Sam and I got a good laugh watching the cat chase the little dog around the house. At one point, Blue came running into the living room and jumped up on the sofa as if to say, "Please protect me." The cat came running into the room, looked around with a smug look on his face as if to say, "Take that! I am master of all that I survey," turned around and ran back out of the room.

When we were finally able to catch our breath from laughing so hard, Sam said the sweetest thing..."Wouldn't it be nice if the world could rewind so we could see it again?"

Yes Sam, that would be very nice.
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I have so much work to do. But I have the winter blahs and don't want to do any of it. I also think part of my problem is that I don't feel truly passionate about much of anything that I do here.

I love the flexibility of my job. I love the variety of the work. I love feeling part of my community. I know the work I do is important. Environmental regulation enforcement being the main part of my job responsibilities, I can truly feel as though I'm helping in this little corner of the world. But it just feels...I don't know...lacking?
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The construction crew smoked cigarettes while working on my house renovation. Every now and then, I get a whiff of that stale smoke smell. Maybe it's my imagination, but it makes me grit my teeth every time. And don't get my husband started on the Market Fresh coffee cups we're still finding in hiding places in and around our house. Is it a rule that construction workers have to be so inconsiderate while on a job site?
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Monday, March 03, 2008

I don't do memes

But Delphi tagged me with one that I can do without any thought...so here goes...

The rules are simple. Look up from the computer, look around the room where you're sitting and pick up the closest book. And closest really means closest. No cheating by running upstairs to unearth your pink-highlighted college copy of The Critique of Pure Reason or the Prolegomena. Open the book, turn to page 123, count down to the fifth sentence on that page, and then post the next three sentences.

I just happened to bring my latest (re)read with me when I came downstairs to sit at the computer this morning...Debbie Macomber, 204 Rosewood Lane. I am not the least bit embarrassed to admit I read this type of book. These days, it's about all I can manage with the craziness of life all around me. It's kind of like watching soap operas. Ten years can go by and you can still flip it on and understand what's happening. Uncomplicated and easy. And I think I deserve a bit of that.

Anyway...
He continued to hold her close. "I'll always love you," he promised again. Raising her head, she sought his mouth.

Don't ya just love it?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

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I was reading over at sweet|salty and love this comment..."What does it matter, this grand scheme of things?"

LOVE it!

Really...it doesn't matter. With the passage of time, I no longer despair over my beliefs. I have found peace with myself and what I do/don't believe...and I don't need to discuss it and seek approval. It really is quite an amazing feeling. I'm not sure if Myles' brought this with him or if I managed to pick my way through the minefield under my own power. But it's good. And I'm not going to question it.
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Thank you for all your book suggestions. I'm currently undecided on the wisdom of books about Captain Underpants. Something just tells me this would result in some sort of uncomfortable conversation with the Kindergarten teacher who already hates me.

Speaking of...Steve went to parent-teacher conference on Tuesday (I stayed home with Sam and Myles) and had quite a lovely conversation with the Kindergarten teacher. I am firmly convinced it is just me she can't stand and I really don't get it. I've never been anything but pleasant to her (even when she was less than pleasant to me). C'est la vie, I suppose.

Anyway...Sam is doing well and his behavior issues seem to currently be under control. Amazing what parental influence can do when the parents KNOW there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
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I am entirely over the snow and cold for this winter. Bring on spring already!
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My husband had an interesting political observation the other day regarding media comments about Senator Hillary Clinton. The types of things they say about her would not be appropriate if said about her opponent. Race is off limits. Gender is still fair game. Interesting.

Speaking of politics...my only real insight into the Ohio Democratic primary coming up next week is coming from The Daily Show. The sad part is, I'm probably better educated on the topic/candidates than most of the people eligible to vote.
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It's 11am Saturday morning and so far I've been yelled at because I didn't whip the boob out fast enough, the internet wasn't working, I threw away a very important piece of paper, "Daddy will be working forever," and I don't know how to play Lego Star Wars. It's going to be a great weekend.

Speaking of that important piece of paper that I threw away...
If you had an important piece of paper with an important password on it, wouldn't you put it somewhere safe? Or would you leave it out on top of the family's already messy desk so that your wife (who is the only one who does any cleaning in your pit of a house) would mistake it for a scrap and throw it in the trash? I'm just sayin'.
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Lately I have been feeling resentful of my place in my family. I'm here to make sure everyone is fed, clothed, and happy. I come second to all of that. My job (despite its rather impressive title) is deemed less important than whether there is apple juice in the fridge, clean pants to wear, or any other of a number of mindless chores. It's what I want and I'm making it work...but that doesn't make it any less difficult.
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Gotta go...the Mets are on TV!
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